Extremely damaged, in military lingo / TUE 6-18-24 / Kinda comedic and saucy? / Pungent sushi condiment / Ending with Apple or Obama / Playful term for one's female friends

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Constructor: Aaron M. Rosenberg

Relative difficulty: Medium 


THEME: kinda — suffixes or prefixes meaning "kinda" (that's "kind of") are appended to the backs or fronts of familiar phrases that already contain those suffixes or prefixes (in non-suffix or non-prefix form), giving you wacky phrases where those suffixes or prefixes are whimsically, ridiculously, Seussically doubled:

Theme answers:
  • BURLESQUE-ESQUE (16A: Kinda comedic and saucy?)
  • SEMI-SEMINARY (28A: Kinda religious institution?)
  • JELLYFISH-ISH (39A: Kinda squishy and sting-y?)
  • QUASI-QUASIMODO (50A: Kinda hunchbacked figure?)
Word of the Day: FUBAR (21A: Extremely damaged, in military lingo) —

FUBAR (Fucked/Fouled Up Beyond All/Any Repair/Recognition/Reason), like SNAFU and SUSFU, dates from World War II. The Oxford English Dictionary lists Yank, the Army Weekly magazine (1944, 7 Jan. p. 8) as its earliest citation: "The FUBAR squadron. ‥ FUBAR? It means 'Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition," referring to unpaid military personnel with erroneous paperwork.

Another version of FUBAR, said to have originated in the military, gives its meaning as "Fucked Up By Assholes in the Rear". This version has at least surface validity in that it is a common belief among enlistees that most problems are created by the military brass (officers, especially those bearing the rank of general, from one to four stars). This version is also most likely to have had its origin in the U.S. Army, where the senior officers command from the rear, as opposed to the Navy or Air Force, where it is common for generals to command alongside their forces. FUBAR had a resurgence in the American lexicon after the term was used in two popular movies: Tango and Cash(1989); and Saving Private Ryan (1998). (wikipedia)

• • •

Good morning, fellow heat-handlers, I hope that you are handling the heat! The next few days are going to be suffocatingly terrible for the northeastern U.S., where I happen to reside, but I understand that things aren't much better in the upper midwest either, so ... yeah, stay hydrated, find some afternoon AC, and best of luck! I might have my first ice cream sandwich *and* my first vanilla malt of the season this week—must find joy in dismal circumstances (seriously, this is my least favorite of all the weathers). Today's puzzle theme falls under the category of "So Stupid That I Like It." It's just silly. That's it. Made-up words, but the kind of words I would absolutely make up because they need making up. Admittedly, they don't need making up very often, but if you've ever seen bad burlesque or a bad drawing of a jellyfish, or known a religious school of dubious accreditation, then these "words" may in fact have come in handy at one time in your life. I had real trouble getting started (with the themers, that is) because, well, you definitely need a bunch of crosses for that first one before you have any idea, so there's that. But if you solved that first themer from the front (as I did), then you got BURLESQUE first and (again, if you are me, specifically), you might've thought "so ... like Milton Burle? ... hey wait, that's not how you spell Milton Berle!" Comedic + saucy + "BURLE" had me thinking UNCLE Miltie, and then wondering what the hell the rest of the letters in the themer could be. Wasn't til I got all the way to BURLESQUEES- that I finally "got" it. Then I expected the next themer to also involve a suffix, but [zany sound effect] nope! Prefix this time. After that, smooth sailing—just enjoyed hunting the remaining suffix/prefixes and seeing what strange sound combinations they'd produce. JELLYFISHISH is by far my favorite—the most fun to say. -ISH has the most entertaining real-life applications, as well. "How do you like the knish? Pretty good, right?" "Well..."


As for the rest of the grid, I thought it was sufficiently bouncy and interestingly varied. It's undersized today, probably because handling 14s in a 15x15 grid is remarkably hard. Grid-spanners don't give you any black square problems, whereas having that one damned black square at the end of your themer creates cascading black square problems that affect where you can put the themer, which then affects where you can put the other themers, etc. A 15x15 grid would force these themers all closer to one another, creating a much more constricted constructing environment. The grid would suffer. Better to shrink the grid to 14, thereby eliminating your black square problem and giving your themers room to breathe. The only place the grid really felt under pressure today was in the NE—things get real ugly in and around that second "Q" because, well, it's a "Q," and "Q"s will do that. BCCS CPU SSE is definitely an OOPS situation, in that it's unpretty, but it's also a tiny part of the grid, and none of the fill in there is horrible, so as fouls go, it's very minor. The rest of the grid looks pretty good. Spicy, even. WASABI crossing FUBAR! Looking up FUBAR was funny for me, mostly because I knew "fuck" was involved somehow, but had forgotten how. It's got the FU like SNAFU, but unlike SNAFU, I couldn't remember what the initialism stood for. "Fucking U-Boat Attacking Rear!"? "Fuck U, Big-Ass Robot!"? So, becoming reacquainted with profanity, that was fun. Also fun: this sentence from FUBAR's wikipedia page: "FUBAR had a resurgence in the American lexicon after the term was used in two popular movies: Tango and Cash (1989); and Saving Private Ryan (1998)." Those are not two movies I would expect to find in the same sentence, or anywhere near each other. My actual first thought was "wow, what is it with Tom Hanks movies and FUBAR?" but that's because I was confusing Tango & Cash with Turner & Hooch. Who can blame me? I'm not convinced they're actually different movies. Both from 1989!? Come on...


Had ObamaCORE before ObamaCARE because of apple (core) and because I want ObamaCORE to be a real fashion trend that really exists in the real world (37A: Ending with Apple or Obama). I'm going to google it now and I better get a lot of pictures of tall dads in fleece vests or tan suits. Hang on ... LOL OK Obamacore is real ("real") but it appears to be a term referring to fashion of the (early) Obama Era, rather than Obama himself. Behold: The Dawn of Obamacore! (cue "Thus Spake Zarathustra")

[from ssense.com, 2022]

I liked the playful clue on GIRLIES, though I would not call my "female friends" that, ever, for maybe obvious reasons (38D: Playful term for one's female friends). The clue probably should've indicated that the gender of the speaker matters, but no biggie. I'm pro-GIRLIES. Traveling to Minneapolis in December to see CYNDI Lauper with my best friend, who is a woman, not a girlie, though I may start calling her that and see how it goes over. If I know her (and I do), it will go over ... interestingly. Anyway, GIRLIES just want to have fun, and that is just what we're gonna do. Hope you had fun with this one, and, again, stay cool, everybody. See you tomorrow.  


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

70 comments:

Son Volt 6:09 AM  

Definitely goofy - went by quick enough that I had to go back and revisit the themers. FISHISH is neat as is the QUASI pair. Some nice fill for early week - ONE LUMP is fantastic. Tall grid?

KInda Kute

NASAL is rough. Liked EAT IT with WASABI and COQ Au Vin. GIRLIES misses but Broadway Joe saves the day.

Pleasant Tuesday morning solve.

Dream Syndicate

Hal9000 6:29 AM  

Cute puzzle! But MEDIUM?! I think I finished it in record time. Very whooshish...esque...well, quasi-whooshie, at least.

Adam 6:37 AM  

I really enjoyed the theme, and found it very easy--nearly a Tuesday record for me. Lots of fun--one of the better puzzles in recent memory overall. Gotta love any puzzle with Joe NAMATH in it.

SouthsideJohnny 6:40 AM  

Quirky theme that adds just enough to be interesting without being annoying - you can’t ask for much more than that. The cluing contained just enough ambiguity to nudge it into Tuesday territory without resorting to gunk (well, except maybe for GORP, but that’s mainstream enough that it probably deserves at least a hall pass for today).

TONGA was also a tough one for me, which slowed down the EAT IT and GROKS crosses as well. We see SNAFU more frequently than FUBAR even though they seem to be kindred spirits - for you experienced constructors - is one more “grid friendly” than the other ?

If you can master COQ AU VIN (and it’s not a difficult dish at all), you will have friends for life.

Anonymous 6:50 AM  

Twelve-seconds-over-my-Tuesday-average tough as I wrestled with the theme and all those Qs. But worth it because the theme, once discovered, was so kooky and delightful. Since I am old and PC-oriented, I'd never heard of Apple CARE, but the pile-up of years got me NAMATH, GROK, and FUBAR without a second's pause, and the creaky and ancient GIRLIES, once dusted off, wasn't hard. Fun and impressive. Love saying the themers out loud!

EasyEd 6:59 AM  

I tried spelling ATTILA with one T and two L’s, so that made for an interesting start. Seems to me Broadway Joe and GIRLIES are a fit. A fun puzzle for a hot morning!

Jack Stefano 7:02 AM  

I guess that brief season of challenging (or “more challenging than usual” anyway) early week puzzles has passed. Which is unfortunate. Not as unfortunate as seeing grok and gorp on the same day, but unfortunate nonetheless.

kitshef 7:15 AM  

Silly and fun and what a Tuesday theme ought to be.

Julie Darby 7:19 AM  

I had GALPALS but that was my only hiccup today. I LOVED this puzzle and I was glad Rex did too. The face that ObamaCORE is real is hilarious. I didn't even remember that I skipped CARE because the fill was so sweet. Now I am off to read the article about other terms in the FUBER family...
https://medium.com/the-cellar-door/fubar-susfu-and-17-other-glorious-military-screw-up-acronyms-a91e22290aee

Benbini 7:22 AM  

As someone who's half Jewish and therefore SEMISEMITIC I fully approve of this puzzle's conceit lol

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

I didn’t know FUBAR and was stuck with LINER instead of LIFER. NUBAR sounded ok?

David Grenier 7:24 AM  

The only time I say GIRLIE is at karaoke when I tap “Looking for a girlie, I ran into a guy. His name was MCA, I said ‘howdy’ he said ‘hi’.”

Fun theme though. Silly and cute. Like Rex it took me a bunch of cross (thankfully pretty easy) to see BURLESQUE and a bit to figure out it was BURLESQUEESQUE. Once I had the first one the other themers were a little easier but still silly enough that I had a lot of fun getting them.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

It’s a 14x grid, your “record” times don’t count sorry

Nancy 7:40 AM  

What imagination it must have taken to come up with a theme so wildly original and playful. I absolutely loved this!

And boasting four theme answers, two grid-spanners and two 12-letter ones, this puzzle is impressively dense. I tried to come up with any other prefixes or suffixes that mean "kinda", but I couldn't. That doesn't necessarily mean there aren't any; it just means that I can't think of any.

And the clues are as much fun as the answers. I love the way the characteristics of BURLESQUE and JELLYFISH are summed up in two colorfully droll adjectives each.

Just a pure delight. Can there possibly be anyone who DIDN'T like this very breezy puzzle -- a puzzle that was so obviously meant to entertain us all? I'll go find out now.

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Four Qs! Nice.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

I got frustrated this morning, just started filling in impulse guesses and ended with a grid that looked like gibberish. Then checked against the key and only had to change the R in bra to an O.

Apparently these are words: GROK, GORP, ROUT

JJK 7:49 AM  

Fun and easy although I’ve never heard of FUBAR so that was a hiccup. JELLYFISHISH was my favorite themer and I also liked GORP, GROKS, and the clue for BOSTON.

I disapprove strongly of REALEST! Not proper grammar, one must say “more REAL”! What’s the world coming to??

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

I’m sure it’s been changed by now, but at one point I wanted to know when the phrase to f*** up (as in to make a mistake) started. The earliest citation was in the early 1960s. That seemed late to me, so then I checked SNAFU. From WWII. I always think of that when I want to remember that phrases were often spoken for a while before the earliest citation in the OED.

Lewis 8:05 AM  

Oh, Aaron can build a grid. You may remember his “Vertigo” puzzle last year (4/26), where diagonal symmetry enabled him to include a spiral made of gray squares. But what I love most about his puzzles are their themes – uber-entertaining, novel, unpredictable, and how-did-he-think-of-that? That is, bravo-worthy.

Some experienced solvers skip Mondays and Tuesdays because they’re “too easy”, but man, so often these solvers are missing blasts of brilliance that could fire up their day. This theme had me smiling all the way through and gave me a scintillating time trying to guess its answers (after grokking the theme) with as few crosses as possible.

That smile was bolstered by running across lovely serendipities: UNC crossing UNCLE, crossing rhymers ALE and BALE, and ONE LUMP abutting WASABI (try swallowing that!).

No ish about it, this gave me a splendid outing, Aaron, and I’m all eager for your next – thank you!

Lewis 8:05 AM  

Administrative note: I am going on my first real vacation since covid! I will be away until Monday, July 1. Regarding my clue-of-the-week list, I don’t think I’ll be able slip one in this coming Monday; most likely there will be a double list extravaganza on my day back. Wishing all a terrific stretch of puzzles, and a sweet stretch of days ahead!

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

I was disappointed that ‘Ones in it for the long haul?’ Wasn’t LINERS (i.e. ocean liners)

Julie Darby 8:27 AM  

Edited to add: I made a typo! ARGH! FUBER looks like a messy tuber... oh well.
Maybe something could be ADJACENT-ADJACENT...

Diane Joan 8:33 AM  

I loved this fun and creative puzzle! I’ve never used “girlies” to refer to my friends but it’s often used to refer to our female fur babies.

@Lewis: Have a great vacation! Doing fun things post Covid is a wonderful feeling of freedom!

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

I had gal pals for a while and like that much better than girlies…

RooMonster 8:47 AM  

Hey All !
Found this kind of an odd puz. Understand the repeating thingies to get wacky answers, but seems too "placemats" puz theme to the ole brain. Sorry, Aaron. I do like the fill in general, touch to get clean stuff around the Q's, also a bunch of answers cutting through two Themers.

Is REALEST a REAL word? How can something be more real than something else? Unless it metaphorical.

Knew FUBAR from being in the Army. Rex gets his Tee-Hees by repeating the F word "legally". Is that the REALEST Rex? Har.

BURLE SQUEE SQUE looks like it should be something.

Enough babbling from me. Happy Tuesday.

Three F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

thfenn 8:55 AM  

Fun fresh Tuesday. The prefix/suffix flip held me up for a bit, SEMISEMINARY being the last to drop, but they're all fun to both say and imagine/envision. FEN, BOSTON, ASTORIA, UAE, ESQ, GORP, PDA, and SEMINARY (not a semi one) all offered one familial shoutout or another. REALEST got a groan, but OK.

Hope everyone under this heat dome stays well. It's happily only 65 degrees where I am.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

The hierarchy of the WWII situationsl terms were SNAFU, FUMTU, TARFU and FUBAR.
Situation normal all fucked up, F'd up more thsn usual, things are really F'd up and F'd up beyond all recognition.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

Loved this! Knew FUBAR as a term but didn’t know it was a military origin. Really fun and inventive. JELLYFISH-ISH! So silly.

Bob Mills 9:47 AM  

Easy except for the FUBAR/LIFERS cross. I also never heard of GORP as a snack for hikers.

This was a very cleverly conceived puzzle with a plethora of "Q''s" (I caught onto BURLESQUEESQUE quickly, which made the other theme answers easier to get).

Is a habit something worn by religious figures of both sexes? I hope so. I associate the word with nuns only, and don't want to believe the constructor was telling a crude joke here at a monk's expense.

Fun_CFO 9:53 AM  

Yea, hard not to enjoy this one. Also, props on the 4 crosses of the themed Qs, with only 1 requiring a “u”. Granted, 3 of them were 3 letters, so likely going to be some sort of abbreviation or foreign.

I think medium is fair. This had a little bite for a Tuesday, offset by the undersized grid as far as times go.

This would be on my Tuesday list for consideration, if I were actually keeping an @Nancy list of PoY candidates. And I would venture one of the higher-rated Tuesdays on @Rex’s super-secret rating spreadsheet.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Successfully solved downs only. The theme actually helped do that.

Tom T 10:10 AM  

Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) clue of the day: "FUBAR" source (4 letters)

(Answer below)

The theme was a little too easy to figure out after getting BURLESQE-ESQUE. Took a sec to see SEMI-SEMINARY, but then the last two fell with almost no crosses.

So, "cleverish" idea in theory, but "more or less" flat from the solving perspective.

BCCS (9A) has a related though not identical HDW twin, CCS, at the middle bottom of the grid.

Answer to today's clue:

ARMY (begins with the A in 27D, AYES--you know as in the two words one said to the captain yesterday)

Ok, I'm gonna BALE. SEED you later.

Carola 10:16 AM  

I loved the playful theme - who knew that playing around with suffixes and prefixes could yield such delights? I agree with @Rex on "medium," although I got BURLESQUEESQUE right off, having BUR and the first Q already in place. But that entry made me think that all the theme words would have "kinda sorta" suffixes, so I wrote in SEMInarinary (admittedly with a suffix unknown to English, but...), and that got me fouled up for quite a while. After that the JELLYFISH quickly swam into view, and the hunchback immediately rang the right bell. Nice how suffixes and prefixes alternated! My other sticky spot was the FUBAR area: my long-haulers were (ocean) LInERs; fortunately, ASTORIA rescued me, its initial A triggering a memory of FUBAR, and I was able to finish.

Chipwith 10:18 AM  

Wow, odd but fun puzzle! Yaks, coq’s, hanging “q’s”, so many “q’s”. Plus Rex was so upbeat, I thought it was one of his helpers writing. I was surprised to see his byline at the end. Nice Tuesday puzzle.

Tom T 10:20 AM  

@RooMonster, actually it's BURL ESQUE QUE, who was the French Canadian grandfather of BURL IVES. Young BURL loved going to his pop-pop's farm at Christmastime, where he delighted in playing in the front yard by the beautiful tree with all the red berries.

Look it up!

JT 10:23 AM  

I, too, messed up on the FUBAR/LIFERS cross. Had LINERS and couldn't see what was wrong. Otherwise, a fun, silly, whoosh-whoosh puzzle!

Gary Jugert 10:41 AM  

I love this theme. It's like he walked into my head, found the junk room where I keep the "ways I think" stuff, and brought out my blow torch -- the "ishies." So few things in life feel permanent or complete and -ishes and -esques and sortas and kindas are a way of life for me.

Every word in the German dictionary according to American crosswords again today: ACH. Sorta lotta initialisms is the price we pay-ish today.

Propers: 3
Places: 4
Products: 1
Partials: 10
Foreignisms: 5
--
Gary's Grid Gunk Gauge: 23 (32%)
Funnyisms: 6 😅

Tee-Hee: I'm just gonna leave this here: BURLESQUEESQUE EAT IT GIRLIES.

Uniclues:

1 When the feathers make you sneeze.
2 Hun was hungry.
3 Burco beerbarrow.
4 Death came knocking.
5 Lauper with a fat lip.
6 Robot writes rhymes.

1 BOA NASAL OOPS
2 ATTILA SAT
3 SOMALI ALE CART (~)
4 LIFERS LAPSED
5 ONE LUMP CYNDI
6 CPU GROKS ODES

My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: The belief you should arrive at the Rex Parker blog to bitch about the puzzle you're already grumbling over in your head. DOUBLE TAKE GAME THEORY.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

jae 10:42 AM  

Medium. No WOEs and Galpals before GIRLIES was it for erasures.

Pretty smooth except for maybe REALEST and the theme was fun and amusing, liked it a bunch!

Whatsername 10:43 AM  

Good puzzle and the theme was particularly appealing. Always love a mention of my old idol #12 but I did do a double take at GIRLIES. I think the “playful“ part of that clue depends a great deal on the context. Think about it in terms of magazines. GAL PALS would’ve been a better choice there. My own affectionate term for my BFFs is “my ladies.“


Masked and Anonymous 10:44 AM  

Kinda semi-cool-ish-esque puztheme. JELLYFISHISH was an outright winner.
Interestin puzgrid. 14x15-sized. 71-worder. With the Themelessesque Jaws of black squares. Different.

staff weeject pick: ACH. It's kinda grunt of dislike-like.
Primo weeject stacks in the NE & SW, btw. And with both stacks sportin a Q.

Lotsa likes, includin: WASABI/FUBAR. SLALOM. CYNDI Lauper & GIRLIES. ONELUMP/GORP.

Thanx for the fun from startesque to finishish, Mr. Rosenberg dude. Cuz M&A's just want to have fun. Plus, luved how all them Q's begat some U's.

Masked & Anonymo8Us


**gruntz**

Stayhat 10:50 AM  

I wish NYTXW would do better with omitting things with blatant racist origins—“Miny follower”

Burtonkd 10:55 AM  

@Chipwith - The greeting didn’t look like Rex, so I went straight to the bottom to check. Guests usually introduce themselves at the top, but I wasn’t convinced. Terrific puzzle and review!

For those who haven’t run across GORP, it is a stand in for hiker trail mix. Possibly an acronym for: “good ol’ raisins and peanuts” or “granola, oats, raisins, peanuts.”
It was also appropriated as the Great Outdoor Recreation Page at gorp.com as a site for outdoor activities and interests.

@JJK - REAL works as a slang for a person who isn’t FAKE, so someone could be REALER than someone else, or even the REALEST person you ever met. Be careful about being pedantic with grammar: you’ve got a sentence partial, plus “strongly disapprove of” is better than “disapprove strongly of” and 3 other problems I won’t mention.

I guess CYNDI Lauper is famous enough that I should have noticed the “backwards” vowels.


mathgent 11:00 AM  


We saw the first two episodes (of three) of "Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown" last night. Great production. Jim Jones started here in San Francisco and we I thought we had full coverage of the catastrophe, but I learned a lot more last night. It has a lot of footage that wasn't available then. I know Tim Reiterman, who was then a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He was there and got shot. He's written a book about it and he is featured in the program. Over 900 died there in Guyana in 1978, most by suicide. A local congressman was shot to death by order of Jones that day.

doghairstew 11:10 AM  

Loved fishish and quasiquasi. Hated girlies. Has anyone ever called their female friends "girlies"... Ever??? That is not a thing!

GILL I. 11:12 AM  

The usual ugly duckling Tuesday transforms into this BURL SEMI JELLY QUASI swan and laughs all the way through a GORP here, a FUBAR there and a little WASABI. I would call this a JELLYFISH ISH quest of delight.

AARON sounds like someone fun to converse with over some GIRLIES cocktails. I would pick his brain and ask how he came up with these fun goodies. Some old friends join in. I remembered the names of FUBAR and GORP and Madame COQ with her BOSTON accent sitting alongside NAMATH and GROKS. It was, and still is, a fun gathering.

I'll take this kind of entertainment any time of the week. QUASI is just fun to say...so is QUEESQUE.

johnk 11:18 AM  

Enjoyable Mondayish easyesque, but semifortunately sans sillyish circles. I only question whether sugar is measured in lumps anymore anywhere.

Somebody please tell the Mini puzz editor and constructor to do better research when making their little puzzle. A piano is a string instrument. Look it up. That's all you needed to do to check on your cute little clue. As it is, the Mini puzzle STANK.

Kate Esq 11:19 AM  

I started with GALPALS over GIRLIES, but I have a Gen Z daughter and will confirm that GIRLIES is genuinely in the language, while GALPALS feels fusty.

This started slow to me, but once I got that first themer, things started to click into place really quickly.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

puz gave a shout out to LMS. go tarheels !

Gene 12:22 PM  

Just surprised it's deemed Medium difficulty, since I found it easier to solve Downs Only than the usual Monday.

pabloinnh 12:33 PM  

Had a good time with this one, which is either goofy or quirky or fresh, depending on the commenter. I thought it was all three.

Surprised anyone around here has trouble with GROK, as it appears in comments all the time. Also surprised when someone doesn't know an expression that I though everyone knew, today's example being FUBAR.

Hate the word GIRLIE. My son used to call his daughter that all the time (not anymore, yay)and it required some serious tongue-biting to refrain from yelling at him.

Some families use Ivory Soap as a deterrent to swearing, but with our boys it was WASABI. Extremely effective.

What a great old Tuesday, AMR. A Major Request for more like this, and thanks for all the fun.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Yes, well said. So Goofy that I liked it.

okanaganer 1:40 PM  

Now I know where our heat went! Here in British Columbia it is cloudy, rainy, and cold. Yesterday at supper time it was 11 C (52 F)... insane.

Doing down clues only it was quite easy, as others have noted. The only typeover I remember from last night was BESTIES before GIRLIES. The theme is cute and Tuesday appropriate. I like that there are two goofy prefixes and two suffixes.

[Spelling Bee: Mon 0 and quite quick. I had a second shot at Sunday; started at -6 but managed to get them all in the end, despite some tough words. Proud!]

Les S. More 1:58 PM  

Agree with anon 7:49 that GORP and GROKS are horrible words but at least GROKS has the good sense to cross GETS. I would add GIRLIES to the G-for-Gross list. GIRLIES? Really?

@Stayhat 10:50 am. My kids range from early thirties to early forties and I don't remember them ever them reciting that little ditty the way I did as a child. My kids caught a tiger by the toe.

I really disliked this puzzle. Partly (well, mostly) for the triple G mess noted in my first paragraph. Rest of the fill was just semi-OK.

Themers were fun. I had a bit of trouble with BURLESQUEESQUE because I was solving downs only and had ____ESQUEESQUE. Not having a real clue (my normal state), I tried to make it arabESQUEESQUE. Even puzzles that are less than perfect can have their fun moments.

Chipwith 2:46 PM  

@Burtonkd Thanks, yes! Also I noticed some folks didn’t like GORP and GROK. Hiking in the 60s and 70s, everyone had gorp for a snack and every recipe was unique. Toasted oats and raisins were pretty standard. Mine always had M&Ms also. And grok pops up rarely today but brought back memories of Robert Heinlein’s “ Stranger in a Strange Land” where the word grok first appeared. It’s not my favorite Heinlein novel but such a period (early 60s) piece!

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

I think it was at the beginning of this year or perhaps last fall that we had a bit of an uproar over the racist origins of that miny moe catch a tiger situation, with many credible sources cited. Allowing that to slip through the day before Juneteenth appears to be a pretty clear example of complete editorial incompetence.

I’m not trying to start an argument or even rekindle that discussion. However if I missed something obvious and my accusation is way off base, please feel free to point out the error of my ways.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

You forgot JANFU (Joint Army Navy FU)

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Can someone explain what a mini moe is ????

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

As a Zillenial, I squealed when I saw GIRLIES! Crosswords are always chock-full of old pop culture, so it's nice to see the nods to younger crossword fans. Absolutely call my friends GIRLIES and would never in a million years say GALPALS or "girlfriends."

jberg 4:39 PM  

Fun puzzle, inspired theme -- I balked at SEMISEMINARY because it doesn't seem like an adjective, but I decided it was OK.

Wheelhouses always surprise me. If you hike at all, you know GORP. It's occasionally called "trail mix," but not in the field, just in stores. You used to have to make your own, which was easy enough, but now you can buy it in packets for a lot more money.

As for GROK, I guess it's become a word meaning understand, but that's quite a comedown for the verb. In the novel it's a distinctive sense possessed by Martians and by the protagonist, who was raised by Martians. You just focus it on an object or entity and you understand its essence--rightful purpose, basic nature, etc. I guess it's not that useful since such a sense does not actually exist.

Is there some kind of contest going on to find multiple ways to clud OWE TO?

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

A total breeze (perfect for a hot day). I was headed for a personal best Tuesday, but I had CYNDY first and took a couple minutes to fix that to CYNDI. Easy and amusing theme. Totally fine Tuesday.

Michael Page 5:40 PM  

One unpicked nit:
SWAT stands for Special Weapons and TACTICS, PLURAL, not TACTIC, singular.

jb129 6:05 PM  

Oops - I was so nuts over having computer issues (it seemed like EVERYWHERE) I posted on the wrong day. Thanks again for responding, Rex. Like I said, I remember liking this puzzle!

Anoa Bob 6:11 PM  

Wait, isn't OWETO the former capital of SOMALI?

Entertaining theme for sure but I thought it did exact a price on the fill. With 38 black squares in a 14X15 grid, there's a lot of threes and fours clogging things up. Hard to breathe life into the likes of ESQ, TAU, CPU, SSE, QBS, UAE, ACH (crossing ACHES), etc. TSK indeed.

The grid also leaned heavily on the plural of convenience (POC) including four of the two for one POCs at the ends of LIFER/DAM, AYE/YAK, GROK/GET and GIRLIE/ACHE.

WASABI took me back to my two years in Japan in the 80s. I always liked to stir some WASABI in with some soy sauce and then dip whatever my chopsticks were holding into that. What a tsunami of pungent flavor that was!

These days in the USA it's dang near impossible to find real, let alone the REALEST, WASABI. It used to be a faux WASABI made with a blend of horseradish, mustard powder, cornstarch and green dye, but with the proliferation of convenience store/gas station sushi, even the horseradish version of WASABI is becoming rare. If you are buying what you think is some WASABI sauce at the grocery store, be sure to check the ingredients before you put it into your CART.

Burtonkd 6:39 PM  

@johnk - thanks for sending me over to the MINI today to see the piano/string kerfuffle. The clue is accurate: a piano has strings but is categorized as a percussion instrument because the strings are struck by a hammer, not bowed like the REALEST string instruments. Also, we got another visit from the non-medical AMA over there.

Anonymous 6:42 PM  

Morons. Fubar. Fucked up beyond all recognition. Snafu. Situation normal all fucked up.

JJK 7:37 PM  

@Burtonkd, thanks for the info on REAL as slang. I agree one shouldn’t be too pedantic about grammar, but I’m not sure I deserve your opprobrium for objecting (with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, I might add) to a word that may be proper slang, but is nonetheless improper grammatically. I also don’t really see how my short sentences (context: informal blog comments) contain 3 other grammatical errors that you decline to mention. But whatevs!

jcal 1:00 AM  

Fubar, more recently, is the name of a (I believe) Netflix short series about a father and daughter who both discover they work, secretly, for the CIA. Mildly amusing.

Dr.A 9:02 AM  

I had a visceral negative reaction to GIRLIES. I was so mad at that clue it ruined the whole thing for me. Sort of like a TUCKET moment. Anyhoo. Whatevs, guess it’s just a me thing.

doghairstew 11:36 AM  

Oh, I just read some other comments from younger people. I guess it is a thing.

LaurenCNM 2:25 PM  

Can Aaron M. Rosenberg write the crossword every day?? Like a permanent job?? Until today it has been a misery almost daily for the past 6 months. But this was so great it wiped all the bad crossword memories away. Thank you Aaron Rosenberg!

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