Jason's pet in "FoxTrot" / SAT 4-13-24 / Street food filled with queso / Capellini lookalike / Modern fashion portmanteau / Marion Crane's sister in "Psycho" / Cry while swishing one's hand / Creatures with the scientific name Monodon Monoceros / Eponym for a dish / Portmanteau for a rare winter phenomenon / Song title shared by Schubert and Beyoncé

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Constructor: Jess Rucks

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (Easy + PADIDDLE) (?!)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PADIDDLE (1D: Game played on a road trip) —
An exclamation shouted in a game by the first of a group of people who spots a motor vehicle with only one working headlight, this person being entitled variously to kiss or hit the others. (OED)
• • •

Well this was great, but unfortunately I ended on PADIDDLE, which is ridiculous. Just completely ungettable nonsense for me. The wikipedia description of the "game" is so full of "[citation needed]" that I couldn't use it, so I went to the OED, where the first citation was from a 1940s Archie comic strip, and OK, that starts to explain things. 1940s teen slang, I am not up on (despite my fondness for Archie). One indication this term is dated is that the OED has citations going up through 2003 but everything after the '60s frames the game as something bygone: "Years ago, in some parts of the country," begins one of them (1991), and "It's just one of those one-eyed cars. What was it she used to call them when we were little, my mother?" reads another. Maybe this "game" is making a comeback with Generation Whatever-Is-After-Z, but from where I'm sitting, PADIDDLE looks like a bloated wordlist word, one that should have had "in old parlance" or some such qualifier in the clue (not that that would've helped). I mean, if you're going to introduce a word like this (and it is a debut), at least give some clue what the "game" entails.

[from OED.com]

As far as I'm concerned, there are only two valid [Game(s) played on a road trip]: I SPY and PUNCH BUGGY (self-descriptive games, the both of them). But then this 2012 "article" about PADIDDLE at B98.5, which appears to be a radio station (?) ("Central Maine's Country"), starts with the claim, "We've all played it," so ... maybe you've all been playing this game behind my back my whole life and this puzzle is some kind of colossal "Gotcha!" project aimed solely at me. Well, if so, mission accomplished. (Apparently the term started out as "padoodle"; I encourage crossword constructors not to take this new-found fact as some kind of dare) [OK OK, turns out many of you know PADIDDLE and still (?) play it? Including the kissing/slapping part? How many one-headlighted cars even *are* there on the road? I wish more people would confess to not knowing this “game” so I could determine if it’s regional (non-California) or if I’m losing my mind—though the answer could of course be “both”]

But besides PADIDDLE, everything else about this puzzle was delightful. OK, asking me to know Jason's (?) pet (??) in "FoxTrot" (!??) is very close to a bridge too far, but the rest of it: gold. Big Friday Feelings. A 72-worder with marquee colloquial answer after marquee colloquial answer. Whoosh and zoom and hurray. Much better energy and much more freshness than yesterday's puzzle. Love the sarcasm and "had it up to here" tone of some of these: "HAPPY NOW?" "YOU TELL ME!" "I'M WELL AWARE." "IS THAT A NO?" The disbelief of "SAY AGAIN?" The friendliness of "COME ON IN." The Dolly Parton of DOLLY PARTON. All of that and very little dreck. DAH is about the only answer I would insist on throwing into the sea. Oh, and GIBE, but that's more a me problem, as my brain refuses, after decades of trying, to sort out the whole JIBE / GIBE business. Yes, sitting here now, I can tell that JIBE means "agree" and GIBE means "taunt," but JIBE is also a variant spelling of GIBE, so I just give up. I never use either word and I wouldn't care if I saw neither of them again. But I will. I have come to terms with that. So I'm not mad at GIBE. The only thing I'm mad at is PADIDDLE, which we've established.

Are SNOWNADOs real? They sound about as real as Sharknados, but the puzzle is telling me they're real, and I had fun inferring the answer, so COME ON IN, SNOWNADO! I guess you might be mad at "SAY AGAIN?," thinking it should be "COME AGAIN?" (which is what I tried to squeeze in there at first). But I say "SAY (it) AGAIN?" all the time, largely eating the "it," and with a polite excuse-me kind of "?" tone, so "SAY AGAIN?" tracks reasonably well for me. In general, I thought this puzzle had a very good ear, and a pleasingly broad range of interests—light on the narrow-demographic pop culture, heavy on familiar and/or sparkly phrases and terms. I had a wide range of initially wrong answers today, the dullest of which was ELEC for ECON (40A: Utility subject, in brief), and the most fantastic of which was DAYBED for GAY BAR (26D: Place to go out and be out). I was thinking of napping, as I often do (when I'm not actually napping). Actually, it looks like I had only one other initially wrong answer (that I can recall): I had SO-SO where I should've had "SHOO!" (57A: Cry while swishing one's hand). I was thinking of that gesture where you hold your hand out flat, palm down, and turn it back and forth real quick ... you know, the "SO-SO" gesture. The "not really" "it's iffy" "kinda sorta" gesture!? It comes with accompanying dubious facial expression. But yeah, "SHOO!" is good too. A lot depends on what the word "swishing" suggests to you.

  • 29A: Marion Crane's sister in "Psycho" (LILA) — first thing in the grid. I'm obsessed with this movie, and with LILA in particular. She's our protagonist, the one we sympathize with and care about, after her sister, uh, leaves the picture. She never smiles and doesn't take *&$% from the P.I. (Ar-bo-gast) and I love her. A grown-up Nancy Drew.
  • 52A: What's sharp near the bottom? (DIAPER PIN) — oh, that bottom. Good one.
  • 3D: Creatures with the scientific name Monodon Monoceros (NARWHALS) — I can't believe the scientific name actually helped me out! I figured "-ceros" was "horn" (from "rhinoceros") and "mono-" is obviously "one" so what has "one horn"? Well, a unicorn, yes, but also: NARWHALS! When it fit, and worked—thrilling.
  • 25A: Fit for a queen? (DRAG— "Fit" = slang for "outfit." This is quite a good "?" clue. Not forced at all. "Fit for a queen" is a perfectly familiar standalone phrase, and then the "?" just ... bends it. 
  • 28A: Music disc? (GONG— took me until -ONG to have any idea, and even then I was like "... SONG?" This isn't quite as good as [Fit for a queen?] — "music disc" not being a phrase anyone says — but it still works. It evokes "compact disc" (as well as records, which are disc-shaped) but then what you end up getting is a musical instrument that's shaped like a disc. Unexpected.
  • 13D: Street food filled with queso (AREPA) — The Age of AREPA is upon us and you don't have any excuse for not knowing this one any more. It's the ARENA of street foods, i.e. it's gonna appear in grids a lot, forever and ever, amen. Also, delicious.
  • 33D: Personal styles, in brief (MOS) — "M.O." = modus operandi ("way of operating")
  • 46D: Modern fashion portmanteau (JORTS) — second portmanteau of the day (after SNOWNADO). This one is "jeans" + "shorts." We used to just call them "jean shorts," but apparently that was exhausting.
See you next time.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


JMS 2:20 AM  

Wondering if you’d appreciate jibe (US) or gybe as a sailing term…?

Fake Anonymity and Faux Philanthropy 3:18 AM  

Re 29A. The wonderful Vera Miles played Lila Crane in Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). Still with us at 94, she's the last surviving credited cast member from that movie (per IMDb).

Anonymous 3:25 AM  

I'm 43 years old, paddidle is as common to me as "punch bug" or "jinx you owe me a Coke". I didn't learn it from my grandparents, I learned it from my peers. Not old-timey to me at all.

Though I had never seen it in writing until today. I always assumed it was "pididdle".

Ride the Reading 3:26 AM  

Arbogast! I have a colleague named Arbogast. He hasn't sneezed when Walter Matthau was closing the door, though.

Another one that was beyond my ken. Nearly double my average Saturday time. Gel for GOO. flIt for SKIP. Put in and took out PANGS a couple times. Wanted something Italian instead of ANGEL HAIR. tiNA rather than LANA. The Postman Always Rings Twice. bERet before DERBY.

Not a fan of having a photo of Dolly Parton accompanying the Wordplay column just below the puzzle (only in terms of the giveaway).

Ride the Reading 3:31 AM  

Oh: paradiddle? yes. Paddidle? No.

Anonymous 3:32 AM  

46D gives me an idea, since the Modern Era editors are Will SHORTZ and JOEL Fagliano, let's just call it the JORTZ era.

I started with TAU (wrong) and GAYDAR, then LOLCAT, BOT, something -MAN into EASYMAN into AVEMARIA which "confirmed" TAU. I needed NA_W (getting IMWELLAWARE from the NE) to see NARWHALS and that TAU was actually DAH (ugh). But there were no more "ugh" moments after PADIDDLE and DAH, and no real snags either, except getting kealoa'd at ICEbeErS/ICEDTEAS.

NARWHALS is a Jortz Era debut but singular NARWHAL has appeared a few times. Sometimes we also see common words that surprisingly turn out to be Jortz Era debuts, and KNOWING is one of them.

Top-notch debut for Jess but it could've been a perfect debut if it ran on a Friday.

Prefab 5:02 AM  

I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who wasted a lot of time on DAYBED/GAYBAR confusion. And while Jason's IGUANA was the first thing that went in my grid--one man's Psycho is another man's Foxtrot--PADIDDLE was so totally unfamiliar that even when I got the happy puzzle solved music, I couldn't believe it.

Anonymous 5:20 AM  

Liked the fun phrases, portmanteaus, etc. As someone whose crossword addiction began only a few months ago though, PADIDDLE made the NW mostly unsolvable. Couldn’t wrangle enough of the crosses to EKE it out.

Side note: could anyone enlighten me as to why the pros export every puzzle from NYT (and other syndicates) to a different program? I’ve seen a few mentions of this, and I’m curious to know if there’s any practical reason besides habit/familiarity.

Bob Mills 5:22 AM  

Got everything except the NARWHALS/DAH cross. Typical hard Saturday, but not unfair.

Anonymous 5:28 AM  

Very familiar with PADIDDLE. Never heard of PUNCH BUGGY - is that the same as SLUGABUG? Grew up in Wisconsin, maybe a regional thing.

Conrad 5:31 AM  

A perfect Friday difficulty level.

Misread "D.L." in the clue for 5D and thought it referred to baseball's Disabled List. Was trying to make it Sick(something)
aarp before NCAA for the group with eligibility requirements at 10A
@Rex Elec before ECON for the Utility subject at 40A
oak beforre ELk befor ELM as the Oregon Trail start at 49A

At 17A I got DERBY early and puzzled somewhat over 1D because I've always spelled it PiDIDDLE (incorrectly, apparently)

29A LILA (I've seen Psycho and I liked it but I'm not as big a fan as OFL or @Fake&Faux)
31D GO DEEP in the context of therapy

Georgia 6:12 AM  

Boy, the NW was tough trying to make CarBingo work. Anyone remember "Bird on a wire!"

Dale Gribble 6:26 AM  

Wait, you're from Massachusetts and didn't play padiddle? What a poseur!

Anonymous 6:45 AM  

Gen Xer who grew up playing padiddle. Favorite entry in the grid. :)

Nioniel 6:48 AM  

My children, grandchildren, and I have been playing padiddle for over 40 years right up until today. Our version involves tapping the roof of the car while yelling "padiddle".
Of course, I live in Central Maine. Perhaps it IS regional

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

When Morse code is spoken verbally a dot is pronounced "dit" and a dash is pronounced "dah". Whenever "dah" is sent by itself it represents the letter T.

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

My camp counselor in the 70s taught me about padiddle. She was from Delaware. Maybe it’s a regional thing.

DavidF 7:01 AM  

I agree with just about everything here, but I will say we played PADIDDLE on every road trip as a kid (along with punch buggy), and I'm only a wee bit older than Rex.

I honestly couldn't have told you how to spell it, though. I think we usually said "perdiddle" (or "paradiddle") rather than PADIDDLE. Close enough, though that once I had the DIDD, it was pretty clear.

Kent 7:04 AM  

ALEPo to ALEPe before hitting on ALEPA.

I also had So-sO for SHOO, then figured that utterance isn’t really a “cry.”

I knew IGUANA, but unfortunately also knew the pet's name, Quincy, which has the same number of letters and slowed me down.

The real problem for the second day in a row was the NW. I had I’M WELL AWARE and EASY MAN and nothing else. Finally committed to PANGS (the singular clue had me doubting the plural answer) and worked out the rest, with PADIDDLE the last to fall. (Rex, what you call punch buggy we used to call SLUG BUG.)

Andy Freude 7:11 AM  

Ditto “daY Bed” and everything @Ride the Reading said—including PAraDIDDLE. TIL that it’s AREPA, not AREPo, which looked pretty good crossing BONo (as in “pro bono,” I suppose). Guess I need to get out on the street more, do more dining al fresco, or is it al fresca?

SouthsideJohnny 7:11 AM  

JASPER crossing JORTS were a couple of unknowns for me - plus I never heard GO DEEP associated with therapy, but it kind of makes sense (similar to BOOMED for “grew rapidly” - definitely some Saturday mischief going on there as well).

I’m a bit surprised that OFL came down so hard on PADIDDLE - it’s a word that basically nobody has heard of and nobody cares about - in other words, it’s a perfect answer for a marquee 1D slot in a New York Times crossword.

Lewis 7:12 AM  

From the constructor's notes:

"The seed for this puzzle was PADIDDLE. Last fall, as I was driving my son to school, I saw a car with only one headlight and immediately thought, PADIDDLE! Because I am apparently addicted to creating crosswords (and therefore my brain has adapted accordingly), the very next thought that I had was, oh, that would be a fun themeless seed. And here we are! I hope this entry gives most folks a smile and maybe even evokes some fond road trip memories. Quite possibly, it’s brought up memories that are making you wish you had either gone on more road trips or way fewer, or you’ve never heard of PADIDDLE and are now grumpy (to those of you having some feelings, I apologize)."

C. Dean 7:17 AM  

Even though DOLLY PARTON was a gimme that announced itself 1000 miles aways, how could anyone ever object to the presence of that utterly delightful and wonderful woman anywhere?

snabby 7:19 AM  

SNOWNADOs are definitely real. I saw one up close at Mt. Charleston near Las Vegas 25 years ago. More like dust devils or waterspouts than actual tornados.

It was surprising to see, and to see snow so close to LV.

Lewis 7:27 AM  

Wordplay, humor, challenge, pop, newness, oldness, vagueness – what’s not to like here? Wit and polish – all in a NYT puzzle debut.

Clues that stymie, but then when you get them, seem obvious – and these I love – such as [Butt to bum] for CIG, and [Jobs done on one’s feet], for PEDIS.

Fun words (PADIDDLE, SHOO), a sing-song passel of schwa enders (BONA, LANA, SIENA, AVE MARIA, IGUANA, AREPA), lovely conversationals – and all of these are appearing in the NYT puzzle for the first time, mind you – (I’M WELL AWARE, IS THAT A NO?, SAY AGAIN?, YOU TELL ME).

Sweet exertion and reward for the brain; well-earned fill-ins, and enough cracks to let a little light in.

I repeat, what’s not to like here? And … how bogglingly impressive, NYT debut or not. Welcome to the Times, and be back soon – please! Thank you for a splendid Saturday!

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

41 yo here, from Kentucky, also grew up playing padiddle! Though, also have never seen it in writing...

Benbini 7:32 AM  

Agree with "big Friday feelings"; I struggled mightily with yesterday's puzzle and today's felt significantly easier.

Son Volt 7:33 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. Definitely obscure or at least regional - PADIDDLE comes across more as fresh flashback to youth rather than a gotcha type wordlist entry. Loved FoxTrot and SNOWNADO.


Cool stuffing all those Gs in the central right section. GONG and GIBE were tricky. Capelli literally translates to HAIR. Backed into YOGINI and JASPER - but liked the overall lack of trivia and focus on wordplay.

Highly enjoyable Saturday morning solve. Matt Sewell’s Stumper continues the good vibes today.

Miracle Legion

kitshef 7:35 AM  

Very EASY, MAN; despite a fair number of overwrites:
jIBE before GIBE
Elec before ECON
LILy before LILA
GAS pIpE before GAS LINE
ELk before ELM
cottER PIN before DIAPER PIN

Nice to have some proper names I actually know like LANA Turner and DOLLY PARTON.

And PADIDDLE was a no-brainer (DC area).

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Rex’s description of everyone playing padiddle behind his back for years and this being one giant gotcha puzzle had me near dead 😂😂😂

REV 7:45 AM  

Loved this puzzle despite never having heard of padiddle. (Grew up in NJ mostly.). Also, fwiw, autocorrect has also not heard of it.

Vadim 7:50 AM  

We Padiddled in Ohio. Early 90s.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

I do have one nit - clue for 39A (GO all over) crossing 31D’s GO DEEP answer. Very poor editing.

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Agree! I’m 50 and my younger brothers and I played paddidle (with punches) in the backseat, and then my teen friends and I played it. I still think “padiddle” when I see a car with only one headlight.

Nick D 8:07 AM  

We truly live in a gorgeous mosaic, where one man’s PUNCH-BUGGY is another man’s PADIDDLE. We played this as teenagers in Massachusetts in the early 1980s, and seeing a PADIDDLE meant you got to kiss your boy/girlfriend, if you had one.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Am 54, originally from Mississippi and now a longtime South Carolinian. Padiddle was my last entry—took me forever to parse it out. Otherwise, it was a fun solve.

pabloinnh 8:33 AM  

Grew up with PADIDDLE in far Upstate NY and have encountered it all over NH. To top all of this off, I was reading an account yesterday of all the eclipse traffic around here and the author mentioned a PADIDDLE who was following them for many miles and I thought, cool, I've never seen that word in print, and here it is today. And people say there's no God.

Thought this was a great Saturday. I didn't know LILA or YOGINI but the DOLLYPARTON quote is famous (and I just read that somewhere too, although I knew it already). I have never seen a SNOWNADO. but THUNDERSNOW happens occasionally around here and is way exciting.

Had the same problem with DL as @Conrad, although baseball has now changed that to the IL for "Injured List". which is a little more sensitive.

Delightful Saturday indeed, JR. Just Really a super Saturday, and thanks for all the fun.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Grew up in the Midwest in the ‘60’s and there were a lot of road trips. Never heard of PADIDDLE but we played SlugBug-called out for spotting VW bug cars, no hitting/kissing involved.

Ian 8:35 AM  

I grew up in Northwestern Ontario, never heard of Padiddle. A friend of mine who grew up in Southern Ontario and now lives in Iqaluit, Nunavut, posted on Facebook that he was playing Padiddle with his kids. I had to look the word up at the time, I had no clue what he was talking about, but his friends from Nunavut knew the game.

Asmazz 8:35 AM  

I am 65. Grew up in a family of six kids. Are we the only ones who called the game Popeye instead of padiddle?
Otherwise, typical Saturday—hardest puzzle of the week for me.

Dr.A 8:38 AM  

I’ve lived in Long Island (17 years) , Ithaca (4 yrs) NYC (Bronx and Manhattan together for 12 yrs) as well as the Bay Area (13 years) and San Diego (8yrs) and NEVER heard of Padiddle or Padoodle ever. So if it’s a thing, it’s probably not a Cali or NY thing.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

“Cows I Win” is our road game of choice. You see a cow, it’s your cow. You see a church, you got two cows now. Someone else sees a cemetery, your cows are dead. Whoever accumulates the most cows before the destination wins Cows I Win!

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

Padiddle is a legit car game...I played it in the 90s when growing up. Wasn't a fan of the puzzle though...too many obscure references and names...

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Mom, now 89, told us about Padiddle. She is 3rd generation Californian from Bakersfield. It was more fun in the days when a headlight burning out was more common

ChrisR 8:48 AM  

My father called cars with one working headlight "padoodles". And I've recently replaced bulbs on my wife's and daughters' padoodles.

Not up on my Latin and street food, I cycled through BENE, BONO, BONA, and AREPE, AREPO, and AREPA.

RJ 8:52 AM  

I'm from Massachusetts, 67, and never heard of padiddle. I grew up in Worcester, so maybe this was more of a Boston thing? Lots of write overs - beret to derby, bene to bona, and I was so convinced that gibe had to be spelled jibe that I removed pangs early on. Never heard of snownado, but sure, okay. When did jorts become a thing?

Enjoyable Saturday.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

PADIDDLE???!!! What on earth? But I would have considered myself lucky if that had been my only problem in the NW. I had two answers in: PANGS (easy) to GOAD for "taunt", which I thought was easy too. But what to do about the OL ending for "benefit" and the AY ending for "felt hat"? Only at the very end did I think of GIBE instead of GOAD and only then could I finish the puzzle. Oh, it's AVAIL! Oh, it's DERBY! Neither of them hard.

So many traps -- and I fell into all of them. Still, I maintain that all my kealoa answers were better than the puzzle's. GASP is better than GAPE for the "expression of shock", but GAPE it was. GEL is better than GOO for "Mousse", but GOO it was.

And why did I even bother to study Latin if I now confuse BENE with BONA? BENE left me with -ALLeN for "tap" and I knew the answer couldn't be FALLEN. Finally I figured out CALL ON and that gave me NCAA. It also enabled me to change cREPe to AREPA -- a street food I don't know at all. Am I living in the wrong city or just the wrong neighborhood? After all I DO know tacos and tortillas and burritos and fajitas and gyros and kabobs.

I suspect this was tougher for me today than for most of you -- assuming you didn't fall into the same traps.

DrSparks 9:03 AM  

COWPOKER … now *that* is truly a "Game played on a road trip"

Mo-T 9:05 AM  

Hah. A car with one headlight followed me most of the way home yesterday. All I could think of was riding around as a teenager (in the 60s) and hoping to be the first to spot one even though we never gave a slap. It was always a kiss. So that answer, once I had a few letters, fell easily for me.

Maybe it's age-related. Definitely not geographic. Comments are from all over. Some played it; some never heard of it. Pretty sure that Jess Rucks is much younger - at my age, who isn't??? But she knew padiddle from somewhere.

Fun Saturday.

gdaddywinz 9:07 AM  

My teenage girlfriend introduced me to Padiddle in Northern Virginia.

andrew 9:21 AM  

Rex gets sidetracked with the most PADIDDLiest things!

Punch Buggy sounds like cruelty to insects (I prefer a catch and release program for the ladybugs and boxelders that spend the winter in my apartment).

Fun fact: I Spy was a favorite Hollywood game of the ‘70s. Peter Falk and Sammy Davis, Jr. would spend HOURS riding in a back of a limo declaring “I Spy with my one good eye…” (may wanna Snopes that anecdote or scour Archie back issues for confirmation).

A fun, fair, fine Saturday!

Hal900” 9:25 AM  

As a native NYCer, I had no idea about Padiddle. Hard to play on a subway, I guess.

mmorgan 9:27 AM  

My mother used to tell me they played paddiddle in the 1930s (maybe even the 20s).

SusanA 9:31 AM  

Delightful puzzle, with so many fun words! If I need to learn a new word, PADIDDLE takes the cake for sheer fun.
My only real troubles were in the NE, where I surfed over the Spanish hint and put in Crepe, had Hotpics over HOTMICS, and Bene over BONO.
Somehow, the clue for NCAA had me thinking, doesn’t *every* organization everywhere have qualifications of some sort, from Mensa to the UN to your local arts group? Anywhoo, that whole NE gave me grief, but the ouzzle overall was just one smile after another. Thank you Jess Rucks, and may we have more of this please NYT?

Justin 9:33 AM  

40, from St. Louis, MO and never heard of padiddle. Also wondering what special kinds of heathens don't call it slug bug?

And yes, I'm also looking at you, slugabug guy.

Joel 9:39 AM  

I’ll add another vote to the PADIDDLE tally. I’m 42, grew up in Alabama, and definitely played it with friends when driving around in high school.

But are we all really going to let the duplication of ISTHATANO and YESNO slide?

puzzlehoarder 9:43 AM  

This was easier than yesterday and more entertaining. Unfortunately it was spoiled by PADIDDLE. The cross of that with the "Psycho" name was my downfall. The only sense I could make of 1D was that it was just some lah-di-dah string of syllables. For the name I went with EILA as in eye-lah. My wife used to babysit a kid by that name. No idea how that's actually spelled but Eileen is pronounced eye- lean so there was some logic to it. Whatever, this is a good example of the fog I have to solve through. The moment I got the "so close" message I put in the L to finish but the damage was done.

yd -0. QB35

Bob Mills 9:44 AM  

I agree with Lewis about "paddidle." It wasn't really a game. It was something you cried out when you saw a car with one headlight on and the other one off.Then you got to kiss somebody.

Jennifer 9:48 AM  

Never padiddle— we said POPEYE! (California circa 1980s)

Liveprof 9:51 AM  

I was sure the Beyonce/Schubert song was "Crazy in Love." Lost some time on that.

Jersey/Brooklyn here --- no Padiddle. (Ma didn't diddle either.) We played I Spy, or Geography.

Stormy Daniels is back in the news. (Lock him up!) She brings DOLLY PARTON to mind when I see her. (No disrespect intended to either.)

I thought YOGINI was a third portmanteau: for an item of beachwear made out of yogurt.

@Andrew (9:21) -- very funny on I SPY!

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

We always played padiddle while singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall.“ Our parents hated it when we sang that song. It is on the boring side. Does anyone else remember that? “If one of those bottles should happen to fall 98 bottles of beer on the wall.” And so on for 97 more verses. Also “ate a peanut just now.” Another good car trip song. Second verse starts “it was rotten.” Inevitably the peanut eater dies.

Fun_CFO 10:19 AM  

First, a very nice, fresh Saturday puzzle. More from Jess, please.

Never heard of PADIDDLE. Am a GenXer and moved a fair amount growing up (So Cal, Bay Area, Denver, Dallas, Houston) and our family vacations were largely road trips with lots of car games. I vaguely remember pointing out cars with a headlight out at night, but no gameplay (kissing/punching) and certainly no name attached to it. Kind of like the License Plate game, which I don’t know if that has some other name, we just called it what was.

SlugBug was a staple (as were I Spy, spelling bees and various word games) with a bonus for spotting only yellow VW Beetle’s in honor of the Banana Slug.

In any event, I’m just confounded having never heard of that game. My four kids, and other family and friends are going to tire of the survey I’ll be conducting the next few days.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

41 from St. Louis. Slugbug for sure. Also, dubourg and st plus X(Festus) since I’m sure you were wondering. Lol

RooMonster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
Add me to the list of those who know/played PADDIDLE, although it looks strange spelled out. I grew up in NE Pennsylvania.

Toughie for me today. Lasted until about 50 minutes in when I decided to go to Goog to look stuff up to be able to finish. Had to look up the Beyonce/Shubert pair. Had growl for PANGS, sNuG for DRAG, and waffling twixt emmA or annA for LILA. So that cleared up a lot in that NW corner. In NE, looked up both AREPA and BONA. Apparently not up on the AREPA resurgence.

So, Streak* intact. Har.

Lively puz. Sat tough here.

Happy Saturday.


Greg in Sanibel 10:21 AM  

PADIDDLE was my first answer in the grid (southeastern PA, 1970s). DIAPERPIN was the answer that got side-eye. Do people still use those? My kids were born in the 80s, and we never had them. But they’re sold on Amazon, so I guess someone still does.

Loved the clues, loved the sassy attitude, loved everything about this puzzle. More, please!

jberg 10:24 AM  

Wow, while solving I thought the comments were going to be dominated by the ICED TEA/ICE tea controversy, but that was no match for PADIDDLE, it seems. I heard of it back in high school in NE Wisconsin, but didn't start dating until half-way through college. Our family road trip game was finding the alphabet in order on signs as we drove around. Our most common drive was from Boston to our camp in Maine, and we quickly learned where we could find a Q along the way.

I'm so inured to seeing obscure characters from obscure TV shows that I skipped over Jason's pet, only later realizing that FoxTrot is a comic strip that I read EVERY DAY!

But what about DIAPER PINs? Are they still in use? I used to take care of my granddaughter a couple afternoons a week, feeding her tofu pups and changing her diapers. The first time I did it I was astounded to learn that her washable diapers fitted without folding and fastened with Velcro. You young folks don't know how lucky you are!

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

No idea what padiddle is or was, and I used to log 60,000 miles a year on the road with a band. Nope. Not that well-known.

beverly c 10:26 AM  

Never heard of PADIDDLE in California. We played slugbug. Never heard the buggy version. The NW was nearly unsolvable until I double-checked the spelling of NARWHAL. Unicorns fits.. Not familiar with Beyonce's catalog, and didn’t remember LILA. Nor the T clue…

Another problem area in the NE. AREPA. I've seen it in the puzzle before, but I forgot. Never seen one in the wild. NCAA is one of those sport things, but it could have been anything, crossing NHL, which I guessed could have been the trucking company DHL. My Latin is non-existent….

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

56 yo, Grew up in NJ/TX, did not “play” padiddle but when I got the third D and the E, it just came out from somewhere in my brain.

E.J. Copperman 10:36 AM  

I was in high school in the mid-1970s and we (or some of us) knew PADIDDLE, although I doubt anyone could have spelled it. But the first time I ever heard of PUNCH BUGGY was... when Rex mentioned it today. I might just be too old.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Grew up in western PA and was a padiddle player. I think I was a bit older before I played “punchbuggy, no punchbacks.” My son’s girlfriend (both 23, both from Chicago) taught him to play both punchbuggy and padiddle.

Newboy 10:39 AM  

PADDILE was not EASY MAN here in the NW……which made that NW quadrant the last to fill. All that @Lewis lauds and then some! First pass revealed almost nil beyond the POCs in a few spots. DOLLY came to the party early, but LANA didn’t appear until way after intermission. All that I hope for on a Saturday. And thanks Rex for a nostalgic moment with the OED….always as much fun as a good crossword.

jammon 10:41 AM  

Born/raised 1950 in Wisconsin where I've lived most of those years. But kickin' around and working construction in my 20's, I've lived for a time in CO, FL, LA, TX. NEVER heard of PADIDDLE. Never heard of YOGINI, either

Beezer 10:45 AM  

I am not sure how I’m currently living the 70th year of my life, went on road trips as a kid, and never heard of PADIDDLE but there you have it and it was my undoing. I had started the puzzle smugly putting in PANGS and took it out put it in…lost count before I finally had enough other eurekas to fully commit to it and figure there was a road game I’ve never heard of. Now. That sounds like I’m beefing…NO…I really enjoyed the puzzle and deem it a fair, fun, challenge!

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

The “D” in PADIDDLE/DAH was the last letter I filled in and it was a complete WAG (wild a*s guess). When the happy music played I was pleasantly perplexed as I also have never heard of either terms.

Carola 10:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I grew up in Texas and we would often play the same game as PADIDDLE, but we all called it “spadoodle”. Don’t know if that’s regional or just a neighborhood of kids misunderstanding a word. But I knew the game!

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

old enough to remember playing padiddle, but young enough not to know it came from archie comics. had debbie harry before dolly parton.

EasyEd 10:58 AM  

Hand up for being very familiar with PADIDDLE. Sounds like it was “played” all over the US and some of Canada, but there were gaps and maybe as modern tech improved the reliability of headlights its use has diminished. Hope @Rex takes this as learning incident. Got NARWHAL quickly but had trouble accepting the fact it had no “e” on the end. Also went through much the same word substitution process as @Nancy and others. Hey, kudos to the author for a fun puzzle with mostly fun clues and answers and very little dreck.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Gen Xer here who never heard of this word. Maybe it's a regional thing.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

I vote no on PADIDDLE. I grew up in the country in the 50s and 60s. Never played it and never even heard of it—and there were plenty of one headlight cars at the time and place.

GILL I. 11:07 AM  

We didn't play road trip games, we were always looking for a place to (ahem) piddle. We also hoped my dad wouldn't run over a stray.

5 cheats! Here they are: PADIDDLE GIBE LOLCAT HOTMICS and SIENA. Not that I don't know these words, it's just that they weren't popping for me. I also had a SLEW of huh's? Considering the sophistry (I love that word and it makes me feel smart) of the clues...i.e. DIAPER PIN IGUANA GAY BAR DRAG and GONG, I do feel pretty smart at my final accomplishments.

My only gripe? The clue for DOLLY PARTON has to be the longest one I've ever encountered in my life. Next time try this:"Prodigious songwriting talent, vocal and instruments prowess, charisma and trademark style who has achieved immense global success as a musician and blazed a trail for generations of artists to come?" At least you'd know it wasn't ONO.

Back to the fun parts. There were many. As I mentioned, lots of huh's but mostly aha's followed by a pat on my back. Things I didn't know but guessed correctly: JORTS JASPER and SNOWNADO. That, my friends, would make a good name for my bar where I'd serve you AREPAs.

Doovers: Tactics > HOT MICS. Then I played my pasta fiddle. Another word I love is CAVATAPPI. Why not? I mused. Everything else is tricking me....NO. ANGEL HAIR and all because I knew PETRI and guessed at IGUANA. Sarno > SIENA and finally...Gel > GOO. The rest got claps and ooh's and ahh's and all the other good things...

A very hard Saturday puzzle but one that I had fun with. Like running your 5K for the first time and aching all over your tender body and finally making it to the end even though you are dead last and you have to use the restroom and getting claps and smiles and finding the bulls eye.

I'm happy....

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Filled in the whole grid then had to spend about 5-10 mins correcting all the plausible looking wrong answers from the first pass.

BeNe gave me CALLeN and AREPe, an arepa-crepe pormanteau?!. I thought “callen” would be some forestry jargon used by tree tappers.

ELk grove gave TOkATO, the shade of red on the flag flown in Tokyo? The easiest fix.

SKIt and YOGINa crossing tETRa, which sounded like the name of a place and dish I hadn’t heard of. Maybe I was thinking Petra? PETRI was *so* satisfying when it went in.

Ironically the whole time I was hunting for mistakes I was most doubtful of PADIDDLE, yet I had gotten it correctly from crosses. LILA was the only one I wasn’t certain of.

Carola 11:14 AM  

The seven conversational phrases were gifts that made this one a fast Saturday for me - not to mention their being fun to write in. I especially liked the cluster YOU TELL ME, SAY AGAIN, and I'M WELL AWARE. Am I HAPPY NOW? - yes, for sure. As for solving - beginning with PANGS x AVE MARIA, I had plenty of crosses to handle the NW, but 1 Down utterly flummoxed me, so I tried again with the NCAA corner and had better luck, with a sweep through the rest of the grid. Last in: DAH x PADIDDLE.

Do-over: flIt before SKIP. Help from previous puzzles: JORTS. Help from reading food blogs: AREPA. No idea: IGUANA, PADIDDLE.

jae 11:16 AM  

Easy. I started out across with PANGS, waft, and aarp without reading any down clues. One out of three isn’t bad on a Saturday and the rest went very smoothly.

Sorta knew LILA.
Didn’t know PADIDDLE
Did know Jason’s pet.

Whooshy, sparkly, and fun. Liked it a bunch!

jb129 11:19 AM  

I loved loved loved this puzzle! (did I love it?). And welcome Jess! This had a Robyn (W) esque feel to it (compliment) & hope to see more from you.
While it didn't feel like a Saturday, that was greatly appreciated considering some of the puzzles we've been seeing from the NYT.
Congratulations & welcome :)
(BTW there's an interesting article in the NYT today re: xword puzzle solving).

Rug Crazy 11:20 AM  

One across should have been cued EVIDENCES

tkincher 11:23 AM  

I remember GIBE because of Hamlet's "Alas, poor Yorick!" monologue: "Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar?"

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Same - I learned Padiddle when I was at Binghamton in the 90’s and have played it ever since. I was pleasantly surprised to see it in the crossword.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

Good puzzle and I liked a lot about it, but is no one going to object that "On the D.L." (5-Down) has an abbreviation in it, while the answer, SLYLY, does not. I spent a while coming up with alternatives, because I thought it had to contain an abbreviation. Editing fail, IMO.

Ellen DS 11:38 AM  

In Missouri, at least around St. Louis, we called is Perdiddle.

E 11:38 AM  

I'm 42, from California, and have never heard of padiddle (a word that this comment window interprets as a spelling error). I ended up making a guess on "dah" to fill out the northwest and I still stared at it confused for a while.

Anonymous 11:42 AM  

1970 Midwestern kid here for the geography of folk games survey: never heard of Padiddle, we called it Slug Bug which is obviously the correct name, and also did the jinx thing.

egsforbreakfast 11:45 AM  

Well, are you HAPPYNOW, Jess Rucks? After all these decades of the entire world striving to keep @Rex ignorant about PADIDDLE, you go and put it in the New York f***ing Times! I equally blame Joel Fagliano because I happen to know that when Will asked him to take over for a while, his admonition was "Joel, you know the rules: Always include a few foreign phrases to mess with @Southside Johnny's head; Make sure to throw in a few POCs for @Anoa Bob; check that there are a smattering of answers that are obscenity-adjacent for @Gary Jugert; and, most important, never, ever, ever allow PADIDDLE because of the world-wide agreement to keep it secret from @Rex. CAPEESH?"

And speaking of obscenity-adjacent, what did the Spanish student say when asked to translate "anus"? ISTHATANO?

Actually, PADIDDLE was new to this Oregon-raised solver, but I absolutely loved the puzzle. What great variety and cluing! Thanks, and come back soon, Jess Rucks.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

I am 80 and from Brooklyn and I played padiddle on long road trips. I also remember calling out padiddle as a young adult on road trips with my husband ( to be). No kissing or slapping tho!

Tom in AZ 11:51 AM  

I'm in my early 60s and never heard the word PADIDDLE until the puzzle this morning.

Niallhost 11:57 AM  

DNF because of the NW. AVAIL and GIBE just didn't jibe/jive with me. Would have never gotten NARWHAL or DAH. And Pfft on PADIDDLE.

Thought the dumb but actually smart blonde had to be Madonna, but not even close to a fit. Then for sure Debbie Harry until the downs didn't work. Eventually DOLLY made sense.

Saturday level of fun except for NW. Too many ungettable answers for me.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Grew up playing PADIDDLE (from Syracuse). Had to Google PUNCH BUGGY.
As kids, we spent car trips trying to get truckers to beep at us by pulling an imaginary air horn. It often worked :)

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

I grew up playing Slug Bug in California. I was completely mystified, after half a century on the planet, to hear Punch Buggy for the first time when a friend from Texas visited. I drive a VW (not a Bug, an id.4), and the people at my dealership/service center all say it’s called Slug Bug too.

G. Allup 12:00 PM  

Hmmm... I always thought PADIDDLE was a word you included in crossword a puzzle when you wanted everyone in the chat to tell you where and when they grew up.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

NW corner made this impossible for me. I've never heard of padiddle.

Miracello 12:04 PM  

I did this in the 80s, in Iowa. Pretty big region!

Matt O 12:10 PM  

PADIDDLE! Never knew how it was spelled. We played it all the time growing up in Wisconsin as a version of Slugbug - when you saw a car missing a headlight you would shout "Pedito!" (that's how I spelled it in my head) and punch your nearest sibling. I guess we just liked smacking each other. We still do it occasionally and we are all in our 50's.

PH 12:14 PM  

Quite the debut! Nice to know that PADIDDLE was the seed for the puzzle and not obscure fill. I will certainly be looking for a "one-eyed car" from now on.

Monodon monoceros: "single-tooth, single-horn". The tusk is actually an elongated tooth, grown out in a spiral by males, rarely on females. They also have another tooth which usually stays in the jaw, but some males can grow two tusks. ("You know those guitars that are, like, double guitars?") The purpose of the tusk is a mystery. True unicorns of the sea.

Also had BENE for BONA. The only thing I remember from years of HS Latin is "Semper ubi sub ubi."

Congrats and thanks for a fun Saturday, Jess Rucks!

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

OFL's only recognized road trip games are "I Spy" and "Punch Buggy"? (Which I think we called "Slug Bug..?) What about "Guess 20 Questions"???

Gary Jugert 12:25 PM  

Easier than yesterday's and equally enjoyable, but still rather tough. Somehow I filled in the top row with correct guesses right off and even guessed NARWHALS off the N. The low proper noun count (only five?) helps make this so much better than the travesties last weekend. People who like tough puzzles, will weep, but would they rather have a list of C-list celebrities in a puzzle? I'm unsure what I will do with the rest of a Saturday having no need to Go-ogle actresses I've never heard of in shows I've never heard of.

The cutesy colloquial phrases were all fun today. SNOWNADO is a standout funny word.

I've never heard of PADIDDLE so I'm off to learn what it is. JORTS is also new to me, but I don't plan to learn what those are as I'm old and pretty much wear blue jeans.


Tee-Hee: Eight word drama. GAY BAR? YES/NO. IS THAT A NO?


1 Contest between those unwilling to show their cards.
2 Tug Del Ray's giant pan.
3 Mellow yellows' megaphones.
4 Unicorn of the sea's marinara base.
5 Laughing largish lizard.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: Anarchist needing Rolaids. ATE AND RAN RIOTER.


jazzmanchgo 12:26 PM  

Only reason I hesitated for just a second to fill in DOLLY PARTON was that I've always thought she WAS a "natural" blonde -- in every photo I've seen of her as a child or young woman, it looks as if she already has blond[e?] hair. Of course it's not the tinted "platinum" blonde that has been her trademark for so many years, but it looks blond/blonde nonetheless -- like so much else about her, she merely enhanced what was already there. (And what IS the "correct" spelling for that hair color, anyway??)

johnk 12:27 PM  

These days, there are many more perdiddles (as we said it in Cleveland) in states that lack mandatory vehicle inspections, like Florida. Lots of unsafe cars there -- and lots of unsafe drivers to go with them. I feel safer here in NY.
Other teen car games included one in which, when going under a bridge or through a tunnel, everyone must push up against the car roof. Or when driving over railroad tracks, everyone had to open the car doors. There were no names for those games, nor did we "play perdiddle". It's just what we did.

Gary Jugert 12:30 PM  

@egsforbreakfast 11:45 AM
Friggin' Fagliano and his PADIDDLE-izing. In front of 🦖 no less. Unnnnnbelievable.

MetroGnome 12:34 PM  

No one has pointed out that now that staring into phones while ensconced in earbuds has officially and permanently replaced actual human conversation (in cars and elsewhere), playing "road trip games" is as obsolete as reading books in the backseat?

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

For what it’s worth, my high school friends and I played “PADIDDLE” back in the 90s. But we were a weird bunch.

Kay Tow 12:42 PM  


And a good thing that you do remember it. And aways a clean pair. in case you end up in the hospital.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Slug bug for my Ohio family.

Nancy from Chicago 12:54 PM  

GenXer who grew up in San Francisco here and went on lots of road trips - never heard of PADIDDLE.

pbc 12:56 PM  

i;m a yes on PADDIDDLE. i played with my siblings while growing up in pittsburgh in the sixties and seventies. we were always looking for excuses to punch each other, and if we could rattle our mom in the car in the process, so much the better. i don't know that any of the eight of us kids passed the game on to our kiddos, so i hadn't thought of the game in ages and needed some crosses.

Donna 1:15 PM  

Cleveland, Ohio, 63, no padiddle. Vaguely remember something about punching arms if you saw one headlight.

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Padiddle was definitely still a thing in Rhode Island, and eastern Massachusetts during the 60's and into the 70's. Can't speak to how long it continued there, or if it still does, as I migrated to California in 1973.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

So glad to see today’s Relative Difficulty! I thought it was a fairly easy fill until the end—because I ended on padiddle too and literally said, “Padiddle? What the [heck] is Padiddle?” Fun to read the comments here though and see how many people knew of this game.

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Native Minnesotan. Never heard of Padiddle.

I got naticked on Bona (no Latin in rural public schools). I first had zina (zoomed and calledin), then tried zona, and then had to cheat.

okanaganer 1:42 PM  

Never heard of PADIDDLE. Or for that matter AREPA, YOGINI, BONA, GO DEEP (as clued), SNOWNADO, or JORTS. Also Jason or "FoxTrot" whoever they are. Thus, where yesterday was criminally easy, this was brutally hard for me. At least I learned some stuff. But still, at the bitter end I had one error: BONO crossing AREPO. Stupid Latin!

I googled SNOWNADO, and it's a fun but overly dramatic term for a dust devil in winter. I managed to stand in the middle of a dust devil once, and it was way more violent than it looked!

27 across --NA Turner: how could it not be TINA????... say it ain't so! And hands up for SOSO before SHOO.

[Spelling Bee: Fri 0, that short pangram is a word I've never seen before. Streak at 5.]

Eric Fredericksen 1:52 PM  

Grew up in Iowa and played padiddle all my childhood -- on evening school trips, there was a chance to get a cheek kiss out of it, but usually you'd just kiss your hand and tap the roof on car trips.

Masked and Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Nice SatPuz. Had the usual feisty clues, but not many no-knows at our house … just YOGINI, AREPA, and LILA.
PADIDDLE was sorta familiar to m&e from my college days. While I was drivin a coupla dorm buds to a Sunday night restaurant, we went past one of them one-eyed cars. One bud started stammerin, and then the other immediately yelled "Perdiddle!" and then preceded to hit the other bud on the arm. The first bud lamented not bein able to remember the word fast enough. Was news to m&e at the time, but I took care to remember it, from then on.

Also luved the DOLLYPARTON clue. M&A has an oldie 45rpm by her, entitled "Dumb Blonde"!

staff weeject pick: LEE. Fiercely weird clue, for m&e. Mainly cuz that there "Guess" jeans brand was a no-know.
M&A is a forever straight-Levis dude. All I wear, excludin at bedtime. Pair of Levi 569 jeans and either a sweatshirt or tshirt, dependin on the temps. Jorts? -- ain't happenin. Small holes in the knees are acceptable, unless it is a dress-up occasion.

Thanx for the challenge, Ms. Rucks darlin. Nice debut; congratz and come again soon.

Masked & Anonymo1U (s)

[don't have a test-solved runtpuz yet. Anybody else got one?]

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

Hi all! Jess Rucks here. Thanks so much for solving. You're welcome(?) for PADIDDLE-gate, 2024! LOL. My goal with PADIDDLE was to have people from my neck of the woods feel seen in crosswords... IMO, the Midwest doesn't always get the love it deserves (tho it seems to have a smattering of players all over the place based on all these comments)! Learning new things about different life experiences is one of my favorite things about crosswords (and counseling!). Cheers and happy Saturday.

Anoa Bob 2:08 PM  

We played a different road trip game when I was a kid. If we drove by a field of cattle, we would count all their legs and divide by four to determine how many cows were out there. At least that's how I remember it.

The answer GO DEEP for 31D "Really open up in therapy" reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from the T.V. sitcom "Cheers". The bartender Woody was telling Dr. Frazier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammer) about a phobia he had and asked him if there was anything that could be done about it. Dr. Crane said yes but it would take many lengthy sessions of in-depth therapy. Woody asked if there wasn't something faster. Dr. Crane said "Yes but nothing quite so lucrative".

In a game of pocket billiards such as Nine Ball, if nothing goes on the break it's called a DOLLY PARTON, all bust but no balls.

Not a fan of casual conversational snippets and this one is chocked full of them---YOU TELL ME, COME ON IN, HAPPY NOW, IS THAT A NO, et al.---but agree that the puzzle was well crafted and challenging to solve. Can't ask for much more than that.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

If you're from Wisconsin or Minnesota and over 12 years old and you've never heard of PADIDDLE...I don't know what to tell you. You somehow avoided the omnipresent.

It's wild to hear people from all over knowing that term (Maine, Iowa, California, Kentucky, Nothern Canada...). It's even wilder to hear people who grew up in PADIDDLE hot spots on the heat map claiming it's not a thing.

Honestly, I love it as an answer. Keeps things lively. I would've liked if some of the crossers were a bit more friendly, though.

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

64 y/o from DC area. Literally the first time I ever saw the word PADIDDLE. First learned of punch buggy when working on a wheat farm in Washington state during a college summer.

Masked and Anonymous 2:52 PM  

ok, good to go, now.



Anonymous 2:53 PM  

This was the most perfect and funnest puzzle I’ve done in a while. Thanks so much and can’t wait to solve your work in the future!

Burtonkd 2:57 PM  

Grew up in NC, but with midwestern parents. We had POPEYEs (hi, Jennifer), and put our index finger in our mouth to make a popping sound. Cows and graveyards as well as collecting all 50 license plates were faves. I’m not even sure how a Hawaii plate makes it to the mainland.

Loved the puzzle and also heard the Dolly quote somewhere recently.

Burtonkd 3:02 PM  

I am convinced that 95 percent of my daughter’s working brainpower was dedicated to spotting punch-buggies. Now, in her 20s, she still spots them out of nowhere.

Loved the process: one horn, hmm, rhino? Some kind of whale? Aha…

Kathy 3:17 PM  

@eggsforbreakfast and @garyjugart! OMG Hilarious, a LOLCAT for you!

I had @Nancy’s solving journey but I remembered bona (good) to bene’s well. However I never did extricate myself from the PADIDDLE corner without help. I stubbornly hung onto growl for PANG but once I got that little cheat nudge, the corner fell. I called out PADIDDLE and my husband exclaimed, you KNOW that word??

My mother always called out PADIDDLE when we were kids back in the Fifties living in Ohio. She withheld the part about kissing. (KNOWING wink) I have never heard anyone else say the word since, until today! Funny how the word seems to have been both everywhere and nowhere. By the Sixties, a surefire prompt for a kiss was a Johnny Mathis song on the car radio!

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

Midwesterner here. My first girlfriend taught me padiddle, with kisses at stake. Man, I loved that game…

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Rex you are correct. I loved this puzzle and was completely stuck on PADIDDLE

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

I grew up in Canada and also knew this game as spadoodle. But I think I've heard the padiddle name somewhere before.

Ilana 3:30 PM  

Pa what now? SAY AGAIN? Add me to your never heard of it camp. Grew up in Boston, DC Area, and West Virginia. Went on road trips all.the.time. I SPY, sure, games with license plates, OK. Never, ever padiddle.

Anonymous 3:34 PM  

Padiddle very big back in the 50's in N.J. Yes, that was a long time ago!

jae 3:51 PM  

I need to correct my post. The extensive PADIDDLE discussion dredged up memories from growing up in semi-rural Ohio where I did encounter Kiss version of the game. If I remember correctly a car with no headlights got you more than a kiss.

@GILL I. - Your DOLLY PARTON description could also mostly work for Taylor Swift.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

I didn't real all the comments, but enough to get the feeling that padiddle is almost certainly a very regional thing. I grew up in California, now reside in Washington state, and have absolutely never heard of padiddle.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Where are you all from? I'm from Baltimore and this was completely new to me.

Karlman 4:38 PM  

Grew up in Lancaster County, PA (an hour west of Philly) and played padiddle through high school (Garden Spot HS, class of 1983]. Always had to slap the car roof when saying it. I remember getting punched but never kissed, though those were the rules. :-)

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Not a NYC thing, I think

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Padiddle was a big thing in Pittsburgh back in the 80s when I was growing up. Back then a lot more cars had one headlight - before LEDs. I always thought it was a Pittsburgh only thing, so interesting to hear of other places that played. Can someone make a map based on the comments?

Tree Fanatic 5:32 PM  

My husband and I (average age 75) remember padiddle well, but would not have upgraded it to the status of a game. It's something you said when a one-eyed car approached, and the first one to say it got a kiss. Not much of a game, since most cars had two headlights. We grew up hundreds of miles apart, so I don't think of it as regional. My personal rant: I have not heard anyone refer to a cigarette as a "cig" in about 70 years -- where is THAT common?

G.Harris 5:37 PM  

I’m a really old guy. Back in the ancient Bronx we called one headlamp cars Pedillacs. Short jeans were cutoffs. (That’s how they were created) The game my kids played in the car was paddycake. When, on rare occasions, I swished my hand, my outcry was “Taxi “.

jb129 5:48 PM  

Thanks for stopping by @JessRucks :)

H. Gunn 5:50 PM  

@anonymous (4:41)

No, you after not the only one.

I would ask the moderator to delete Andrews comment (4:11). It is highly inappropriate and makes a joke out of serial child abuse.

JT 6:05 PM  

This would have gone more smoothly for me had not CAMERON DIAZ also fit in the DOLLY PARTON space! Took me a while to undo that one. And I never heard of Padiddle. I grew up in Ames, Iowa, and Tucson, Arizona.

GY 6:08 PM  

Fun fact, DOLLY PARTON and Eric Clapton have the same length. 😆 Padiddle never made its way to Canada unfortunately.

Anonymous 6:28 PM  

was excited to come here today and see who else knew PADIDDLE, and y'all didn't disappoint - ctrl+F reveals 125 mentions in all! i'm 40 and grew up in rhode island - we played padiddle in high school and when i was home from college. but it wasn't a G rated family road trip game. if you saw a car with one headlight, you yelled PADIDDLE and tapped the ceiling of the car. the last to tap had to remove an article of clothing. sometimes the driver got a pass, mostly they didn't. i still think PADIDDLE! every time i see a car with one headlight.

all that said, when I SPY, PUNCH BUGGY [i've never before today heard the term "slug bug" but it is AWESOME], and 99 BOTTLES OF BEER didn't fit, i was stymied by the clue for a bit. i did think of padiddle but i thought, that's just something me and my friends did, there's no way it's a thing lots of people did...and then, it was. the other thing i always think of is that daria episode where they play "i'm going to a picnic." each person has to bring one thing, you start with A, and run the alphabet. but you have to remember all the things that came before your turn and say those too. "i'm going to a picnic and i'm brining...asbestos insulation, brine shrimp, the cryogenically frozen head of walt disney, and...a dromedary."

anyway thanks to all who weighed in for the trip down memory lane today.

Anonymous 6:39 PM  

I had **t*ics for HOTMICS and put a P in there for PICS. Ended up with HOTPICS and BOOPED and could not for the life of me find the error! Took me way too long to find my error!

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

@JT i didn't know cameron diaz had a music career ;) cyndi lauper on the other hand...

Matt 6:41 PM  

Had **T*ICS and just assumed it was PICS to end a two word answer. Could not figure out the error at BOOPED/HOTPICS!

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

I’m from NY. Never heard of it until today.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

Andy Freud
Couldn’t be BONo because the clue had mala. As in bona fide

H. Gunn 7:22 PM  

@GY 6:08 pm

Well, Eric Clapton's racism and nativism should never be confused with Dolly Parton's generosity, goodness and acceptance of people from all backgrounds.

Liveprof 7:29 PM  

With all due respect, I'd like to come down on Andrew's side and oppose the censorship of his Jerry Sandusky comment. It was a joke. Tasteless, and he's had much funnier ones -- but still. Lighten up! Express your opposition --- excoriate him -- but don't censor.

Alcoholism is a serious disease -- there are people in my family suffering from it, and it killed my father-in-law. But if we can't joke about drunks, half of the cartoons in the New Yorker would have to be removed. Let's wield the censor's hammer much more carefully than this.

dgd 7:32 PM  

Your post was absolutely hilarious.
And any other text speak I don’t know

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

That’s just Calvinball in a car. Love it!

Anonymous 7:46 PM  

To be fair to the puzzle, I am sure you heard of bona fide or the expression he or she is a bona fide expert. That’s what the clue was getting at.
Good faith, opposite of mala fide bad faith. Being Saturday they only used the adjective

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

Add another to the list of those who played padiddle as a teen for the chance to kiss girls. When I saw the clue that was the first thing that came to mind, but I int write it or solve the NW because I never thought the NYTXW ha ever heard of that term

dgd 8:15 PM  

Anonymous 6:28 PM
Your post was educational for me
I was born inRI in the early fifties
and still live here but I had no clue as to the word or the game itself of whatever variety. Needed every single cross.

Just proves a point I make that just because you don’t know something doesn’t mean it’s obscure!
(But I will note you were the only one with that interesting version).

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

Never heard of it. Have lived in TX, NY, CT, MI, and NM.

andrew 9:03 PM  

Thanks @liveprof 7:29 for your anti-censorship defense of my now-deleted joke (tasteless though it may be to some - kind of like my earlier Sammy Davis Jr/Peter Falk I Spy crack).

Should have stuck with my original “Ma foreplay?” for the alternate PADIDDLE clue. A follow-up comment i submitted that was also not published. Whatevs - FIDDLE DI DEE!

After the initial column by Rex, like to see where the commenterati goes. Have at me - as many have in the past. But outside of ad hominem attacks or personal doxxing, censorship is not healthy in a free society (or a crossword community).

(Will see if this innocuous post passes muster…)

Anonymous 9:33 PM  

Yeah my girlfriend in 1988 liked to call padiddle when she saw a one headlight car. She was from El Paso.I had forgotten but when I saw the answer I remembered

Smolney Institute 10:15 PM  

My high school girlfriend taught me how to play padiddle, and that was in the late 80s so it's not really a bygone term to me. The same girlfriend would also kiss her palm and touch it to the car ceiling if she was running through a yellow light.

Art Wholeflaffer 10:55 PM  

Grew up in Illinois. Never heard of PADIDDLE. Except for an exceptionally rude story in the National Lampoon, circa 1971-72 where it occurs as a rather bizarre punch line in the story. Possibly written by Doug Kenney? It might be called "First Bl*wj*b." Oh yes, Google found it.

Chicago Sven 11:56 PM  

Some crossword applications, including the one Rex uses, give you a "newspaper view" which allows solvers to view all clues at once + the grid.

The NYT app (and mobile web version) shows only the grid's highlighted clue.

I also imagine the vast majority of pro solvers use computers, not phones.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

@dgd my mom was also born in RI in the early fifties, so i will have to ask her if she's heard of it when i see her this weekend. [i've lived in the boston area for the past twenty or so years but i maintain RI as my permanent address and still come home often, and hope to move back permanently some day.]

but yes, to your point, that's something i also try to remember when i scrunch up my face at some of the answers some days!

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Around Detroit in the 70s we watched for two kinds of cars at night: PADIDDLES and KADIDDLYHOPS. (Not sure that's how it's spelled and don't remember what it means--some other kind of car issue.) Yes, kisses--if on a high-school date. Sorry if it's already been posted--too many to read!--J

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Played padiddle all the time (59 here) but more fun was the ABC game, calling out the letters of the alphabet, one at a time and in order from A to Z, from highway billboards and signs

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

My first try was cow poker, but I’m 60

Kate Esq 1:07 PM  

Californian here, mid 40’s. Never heard of Padiddle and neither have my Gen Z kids.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

I’m from California, no freaking clue on Padiddle.

Matthew Milia 4:26 PM  

Padiddle was at least lurking in the recesses of my brain enough to get with the crosses. Never heard of Punch Buggy. I finished this with no errors and thought it was markedly easier than Friday (DNF), which goes to show just how subjective this all is.

Anonymous 6:07 PM  

Heard of padiddle. From a guy in New England.

Anonymous 7:50 PM  

34 from rural PA - padiddle / padunkle was a game referenced by my peers in like 2005-07 but I never played it with them. I would associate it more with late night joyrides than a road trip, from my context.

Anonymous 11:13 PM  

59, and I remember padiddle from high school in Oregon. Haven’t heard that word since then. And yeah…, good kisses from Sanda :)

Alix F 1:42 PM  

Alphabet game was our mainstay too. Never heard of Padiddle, know of punch buggy but never liked it (people hit too hard!). Going on a picnic another favorite. We also played the ice cream game where you invent fantastic or magical ice cream flavors starting with each letter of the alphabet and describe how they work. Animal ice cream might turn you into the animal of your choice for the duration of the cone, scoops of Bounce ice cream bounce back into the cone or dish perfectly clean should you happen to spill them, Cat ice cream gives you nine lives, etc. When it’s your turn, you recap all the flavors invented by the group (“I love __ ice cream, __ ice cream, __ ice cream, “ etc.) before saying your own.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

I refuse to believe any of you have ever heard of or played this game. I've been on hundreds of road trips with dozens of people and never in my life have I even heard it mentioned. I'm 100% sure this is an elaborate joke by all of you.

john howard winstead 10:06 PM  

As the song goes "What a fool believes he sees,the wise man has the power to reason away"!

Lady Anne 10:12 AM  

Maybe I'm thinking of something else entirely (totally possible) but to us, the term was "un-twiddile" meaning the car only had one headlight. Mind you, I'm so old (82) that VW beetles weren't a thing.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Easy? You’re funny Rex! Had to venture a guess for PADDIDLE. It was a lucky guess.

Burma Shave 1:15 PM  


YOU always TELLME, “NO!”


Anonymous 1:27 PM  

49 year old the grew up in Ohio. We played padiddle with the punching!

rondo 1:41 PM  

PADIDDLE, never heard of it. Slug-a-bug was a thing in the 1960s in MN.
Wow, a complete DOLLYPARTON!
SOAP in the corners.
Wordle par.

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Punch buggy and paddle are 2 different games (at least where I come from) - punch buggy being a “friendly” punch if you spot a VW bug, paddle being a peck on the cheek if you spot any vehicle with only 1 functioning headlight.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

I'm a native Californian and I know padiddle (though I spelled it pudiddle first) via my Mom who grew up in New Hampshire. There's no kissing or slapping in our version though.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Illinois here.
Padiddle: Complete unknown.
Slug bug: That's what my brothers and friends played. And we slugged hard.
Punch bug: That's what kids who moved to the neighborhood called it.
Slug a bug: Heard it called that .
The game was named for the VW Beetle, which is called a bug, not a buggy.
I only remember playing bottles of beer on the wall on field trips on a bus, with a lot of other kids.
I found the puzzle harder than yesterday, and it's definitely a voice thing. Late week puzzles should be hard. That's how you bulk up your neurons.
I'm feeling ripped!!!

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

I didn't read all of Rex, but don't recall him pointing out YOGINI , which is specifically a female spiritual teacher or master, since he always looking for female inclusiveness.

Aviatrix 5:30 PM  

I got the mysterious PADIDDLE easily from crosses, but was married to BOltED for Grew rapidly (like, when your lettuce or cilantro plant suddenly turns into a tree as it goes to seed), couldn't resolve the vowels of BeNe, BOne, or BONA, or YOGINa, and finally hit the reveal button in frustration.

I liked LOLCAT. It's been a long time. Longcat is loooooooong.

Anonymous 6:14 PM  

As if I needed any confirmation I’m out of touch with today’s teens it’s this puzzle. #NEXT

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