Controversial food preservative for short / WED 3-7-18 / Women's rights activist Mott / Eazy-E collaborator informally

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Constructor: Natan Last, Andy Kravis and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: PARALLEL PARKING (57A: Driving test challenge ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters) — two car makes are "parked" "parallel" to (i.e. directly alongside) one another three times

Theme answers:
  •   DOMINI
  •    SHONDA
Word of the Day: TONG (25D: Chinese secret society) —
  1. a Chinese association or secret society in the US, frequently associated with underworld criminal activity. (google)
• • •

this is actually an AUDI next to a FORD; please respect my photo research
Winced a lot at the fill, but when I looked up at the end and saw the theme, I thought it was pretty clever. Two cars alongside each other is not, of course, PARALLEL PARKING—it's just .... parking—and the fact of parallelness is not what's remarkable about the theme—technically all Across answers are "parallel" to all others (see also Downs). But I still think the visual of two car makes, whose names are exactly the same length, pulled up right next to each other, works OK. No one in the U.S. drives an OPEL, so points off for lack of realism. SMART is not nearly, not by a long long shot, as common a make as the others, but in cities they will have a certain prominence, so I'm fine with their being here. Totally forgot CHRISMARTIN's name (42A: Lead singer of Coldplay, once married to Gwyneth Paltrow), but that's on me. I'm allergic to Coldplay. So the theme is functional and even cute, so good. The fill holds up in most places, but things started out grim with BHT over AAA, and then with DRE EEL and ESS in the next section, I worried about what kind of crosswordese hellscape I might be driving into. PSIS OTOE! But the only bit of fill that really made me shout "No!" at the puzzle was IRED (24D: Plenty angry), which should be removed from all crossword wordlists and then buried under three feet of concrete. It's a non-word holdover from darker times and I don't want to see it ever again (we all have words like this—my friend Doug *refuses* to put ÉTÉ (or worse, ÉTÉS) in his puzzles; I would submit to him that at least ÉTÉ is a real word that humans actually use, albeit only in Francophone countries). TEN-PENNY is absurd—what am I, a nail scholar?—but [Denoting a 3" nail...] reads so much like a parody of an obscure crossword clue that I kinda like it. At least it made me laugh.

Really loved "DON'T EVEN!" (41A: "You're really testing my patience right now ...") and while I didn't really love DOMINI, I really loved its clue (22A: D as in dates?) (because A.D. "in dates" stands for "anno DOMINI") (I mean, you probably knew that, but I'm explaining it anyway because not all solvers always understand all the trickiness) (and then I get mail) (I'm not talking down to you, I swear). EZINES will always be terrible (and bygone), but the clue was nice (in the sense of "cleverly misleading"). I was thinking 60A: Web issues was referring somehow to problems with my browser or internet service, not of "issues" of a maga-ZINE that come out E-lectronically. Got slowed down because I thought the gear was CAMO—couldn't accept that there was an "S" on the end (17D: Paintball gear, familiarly) (I obviously don't paintball or wear CAMO(S), ever ... no, wait—actually, my hiking boots are camo! Hunters will never see my feet! It's awesome!).

Remember, it's *OH* MY LORD but *AW* RATS. Also, apparently it's *SHA*LALA and not *TRA*LALA (learned this the hard way) (50A: Refrain syllables). OK bye. Good luck with your latest snowpocalypse, northeasterners. We're missing the brunt of it here in Binghamton (just 4" expected), but *just* east of us, yikes. Stay inside and do crosswords!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 6:17 AM  

I played this as a Themeless, since I wasn't having any problems with the fill. When finished, I saw the automobile theme but missed the parallel parking part. Easy Medium works for me.

Harryp 6:20 AM  

Wouldn't that be double parking?

Lewis 6:31 AM  

I love the JASA puzzles, which are made with a twinkle in the eye, and always have some sparkling clues (SAND, EEL, EZINES, SPEED, DOMINI) and entries (TEN PENNY, DONT EVEN).

These puzzles are made by committee, and sometimes committees get a bad rap:
* "If you see a snake, just kill it. Don't appoint a committee on snakes." (H. Ross Perot)
* "A committee is an animal with four back legs." (John Le Carre)

But sometimes -- as with JASA puzzles -- the whole is greater than the parts. Another great edition!

BarbieBarbie 6:36 AM  

When you parallel park you start out lined up with the car ahead of the spot. Was my interpretation of the graphic. Plus it was literally true.

I liked this puzzle a lot. Shady side of medium for me, though. I spelled the razor TRAk for quite awhile.

Glimmerglass 6:45 AM  

As a teacher with most summers off, I built my own house. I drove a lot of TEN-PENNY nails (aka spikes). One could look it up, but the term is old enough that I’m guessing they used to cost 10 cents per pound, not ten cents each. @Rex was kinder to the theme than I thought he’d be.

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

@Lewis. Thanks for the quotes about committees. Two truer lines have never been said. Ross Perot v. NAFTA was way before its time.

The puzzle played a little harder than a normal Wed puz, especially in the 3 o'clock area. And indeed some of the clues were sparkling.

I'm waiting for someone to get the "d" in "10d (ten penny)" nails into a puzzle. Ha'pence, tuppence, decimalization anyone? Maybe their slang meanings have scared folks off.

Here's an idea, Rex. Maybe invite the JASA team to review a puzzle once a month. They're constructors, etc. They could take the "last Tuesday" spot.


Hungry Mother 7:01 AM  

Got the theme, but was slow to get the cars. Medium for me today. A big fan of “Scandal”, but thought her name was SondrA. Note to self: PAY ATTENTION!

kitshef 7:19 AM  

Solved as a themeless. Way hard for a Wednesday, I thought. Possibly those two facts are related.

CHRIS MARTIN over SHONDA crossing DANAE was brutal.

Donna SHALALA would have been a topical way to clue 50A.

Some of us still buy CDs, thank you very much.

@Glimmerglass - it was TEN-PENNY per 100 nails.

JJ 7:28 AM  

Did not like Shalala as clued. That would be tra every time. I liked that they had TENPENNY, and then 2 nail clues. I suppose you need those nails when you learn to construct. Overall I enjoyed the solve.

Bob Mills 7:33 AM  

SHA-LA-LA? Please! There must have been a way to reconstruct the SW to allow TRA-LA-LA.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

@Lewis Committees get a bad rap for a reason! I did somewhat wince when I saw the byline with JASA class as their last puzzle was a not-so-nice mishmash. However, I think they did a good job with this one. Kudos to you, guys and gals!!

Two Ponies 7:39 AM  

Why do I have the urge to hammer something? Three nail clues.

Camo things have become ridiculous. If you stroll through a Bass Pro Shop you will be amazed at the things offered in camo. It does lend itself to some good jokes. Camo slipcovers for your furniture for example. Now, where did I put that couch?

Agree about ired. No one says or writes that ever.

Otoe is an "early tribe"? Early as in they were met early in L&C's travels? Odd wording to that clue.

Are Chris Martin and Shonda Rhimes really famous enough to be in a crossword?

George 7:46 AM  

My first car was a 1974 OPEL Manta, and it was a piece of crap, but fun to drive. I love cars, and living in NYC am adept at parallel parking, so the theme more than made up for the fill.

DeeJay 7:56 AM  

Chris Martin and Coldplay are among the most famous of recording acts in the world, tho perhaps a decade past their prime. Shonda Rimes is somewhat less famous, but having just inked a $100,000,000 deal with Netflix, I'm sure her fame will rise...

Rob 7:58 AM  

I thought this was lovely. I laughed out loud at the clues for EEL ("That's a moray!") and KEN ("He's a doll").

I don't understand the hate for SHA LA LA. It's not ideal but it's no worse than TRA LA LA. Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl" uses SHA LA LA and if anything it's the more familiar variant for me. I can't name any actual songs that use TRA.

The one part that threw me briefly was CHRIS MARTIN, because I had "Gangsters' girls" as DOLLS initially. I'm not into Coldplay but now that I see the name I suppose it's familiar to me.

Liked the theme and the puzzle quite a bit. More like this please.

QuasiMojo 8:02 AM  

Those of you who don't like long posts, SKIP OVER this one NOW!!

I was prepared to dislike this puzzle but I was into it from the get-go. Yes, there was a lot of stuff in it that was out of my wheelhouse, and some of the answers were not what I expected, but that made it a challenge and there's nothing I like more than a challenge (but it has to be one that makes sense and does not produce groans.) Kudos to the team that put this one together.

I find PARALLEL PARKING to be much easier than regular parking or what is called DIAGONAL parking. That's where I tend to hit things more often.

COLD PLAY sounds just like what being married to Gwyneth Paltrow must be like.

SHA LA LA worked for me as I have heard it in lyrics several times including from this group, The Wynners. (Not sure if I can put links in these comments here.)

My only quibble was the clue for ANNEX. ANNEXATION involves a lot of discussion even if there isn't much wriggle room, if you catch my drift. For instance: "Annexation of the two parts of the Bronx in 1874 and 1895 gave New York City the last of its five boroughs."

RavTom 8:06 AM  

@Rex: I'm a klutz who should never be trusted with a hammer, but even I am familiar with the term TENPENNY nails.

'merican in Paris 8:13 AM  

Wow! I guess I'm going to have to be the contrarian today. I found the puzzle really easy -- less than half my normal time for a Wednesday, and on the whole enjoyable. At no point did I think to myself, IT'S HOPELESS!

First, the theme: not brilliant, but cute. I agree with @BarbieBarbie that the explanation for the term is that cars are PARALLEL when PARKING -- i.e., at the point when you throw your vehicle into reverse.

Otherwise, low on the PPP count, and all the proper names were get-able from the crosses.

As for clues + answers from fields like physics or home construction, I consider those as fair as popular culture ones, which Mrs. 'mericans and I struggle with here in France, where we almost never watch American TV (except years later, as we're doing now with The West Wing).

I was really surprised that so many people yesterday, for example, had confused a common element with a sub-atomic particle, the name of which appeared daily in the press last year, at least in science news, after the Large Hadron Collider had been switched on. Perhaps TEN-PENNY nail is a bit more obscure, but I consider it a fresh answer, nice to see.

Yes, of course, there's the usual collection of three-letter duct tape: AAA, ACE, CDS EEL, LEO, and ONE. And @REX is absolutely right about IRED. But I liked the cluing for PEA, and as a trade-policy wonk, to see NAFTA. (And, no, Ross Perot was not right in his predictions. DON'T EVEN ...)


Calman Snoffelevich 8:15 AM  

Who exactly are these constructors? And what kind of class is this?

'merican in Paris 8:22 AM  

Also, on the topic of tra-LA-LA versus SHA-LA-LA, my first guess was actually the latter. Don't know why. I think that they are lyrics in some song by Bruce Springsteen. It was also a song by Manfred Mann's Earth Band (anybody remember them)? Alternatively, the answer could have been clued as "Donna ___, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton."

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

@Glimmerglass & Kitshef - it was 10 pence for a long hundred = 120 nails. The long hundred was used precisely to allow for loss in production - you bought 120 nails (a long hundred) for 10 pence and hoped to use 100 of them successfully. That way a project could be priced out without factoring waste into a formula, it was already there.

Mr. B 8:32 AM  
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Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Send = ELATE ?

Mr. B 8:35 AM  

I had OHMYwORD and terN as the state bird which really messed me up in that mid-east section for the longest time. I eventually corrected my errors but finished twice my normal WED time. Oh well.

SHALALA is okay by me too.
Made me think of the 60's song by The Grass Roots - LET'S LIVE FOR TODAY.

Sha la la la la la, live for today
Sha la la la la la, live for today
and don't worry...'bout tomorrow...

Andy Kennedy 8:47 AM  

This played harder for me than it should. I got stuck in the SE corner an inordinate amount of time. No reason. The clues just didn't stir my brain right!

Loved the clue "That's a Moray!"

Cal 8:49 AM  

They were ten cents per hundred back when nails were handmade

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

I was questioning that one too!

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

I meant to reply to send=ELATE .... that’s the one I was questioning....

Nate 9:02 AM  

I didn't even know "Smart" was a car manufacturer. I thought it was a TYPE of car and was disappointed at the theme inconsistency. I guess I learned something today.

As an early-30's puzzler, I only know Opel from crosswords. Is there really no other car make that we could get into this puzzle?

I was also lost by the "Send" = ELATE clue. The hell? So I went to the trusty Google dictionary, which includes as an informal secondary meaning of the word "send": affect with powerful emotion; put into ecstasy. As in, "it's the spectacle and music that send us, not the words." That seems like such a massive stretch that my eyes just rolled out of my head.

ColoradoCog 9:08 AM  

@Anonymous, I will quote the immortal Otis Redding:

Darling you send me
I know you, you send me
Darling you, you send me
Honest you do, honest you do
Honest you do, honest you do.

ColoradoCog 9:17 AM  


Z 9:17 AM  

I reflexively wrote in atra where TRAC belonged and tr where SH belonged. Otherwise no real problems.

@‘mericans - I have the PPP at 28% not counting 6 embedded cars, so not high but hardly what I’d call low, either. Especially when several of them take up good chunks of grid space like LUCRETIA and CHRIS MARTIN.

@Two Ponies and @DeeJay - Search SHONDA Rimes news and you’ll find recent articles in everything from The New York Times and The Guardian to The Idaho Statesman. She’s well on her way to Oprah level fame.

@Anon8:33 - ELATE as in, “You send me.”

@Lewis - American Football - Episodic violence interrupted by committee meetings. How much more American can a sport be?*

BTW - @Two Ponies - Right below the “Leave your comment box” is the “Choose an identity” section. Since you sign in you have the option to have Blogger “Email follow-up comments.” Check that box and all the “playful” comments that the mods delete will be sent to you to enjoy.

@jberg - Serial parens? Made me laugh. You?

*I’m misquoting someone, but I don’t know who. Uncle Google will probably tell you who.

Sir Hillary 9:18 AM  

First off, how cool is it that the NYT publishes these J.A.S.A. collaborations? This was fun enough to keep me happy throughout. I really like how many 8+ letter words they squeezed in.

Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl". Bruce Springsteen's "Darlington County". Counting Crows "Mr. Jones". SHALALA is legit as clued, although trALALA seems to appear much more in crosswords, so I put that in first.

CDs pre-date the 1990s. The first song I ever heard on one was "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel in 1986. Perhaps the clue is written as such because for the 1990s and early 2000s CDS were basically the only medium to purchase music. When did cassettes actually die?

OHMYwORD fits just as well, but I don't know of anyone named wUCRETIA so that was a quick fix.

Anyone seen a recent picture of Sammy SOSA? He looks like he's had the same skin treatment as Michael Jackson. Strange.

Noah Swartz 9:20 AM  

I'm somewhat new to Wednesdays, but is 'send' for ELATE standard? That one really threw me :/

Stanley Hudson 9:21 AM  

“You Send Me” was written and recorded by the immortal Sam Cooke.

Ken R 9:23 AM  

@ MrB & ColoradoCog Ever think about doing a concert tour. You could open for Tommy James and the Shondells and John Sebastian !!

Mark Laser 9:24 AM  

Anyone who ever built something with a 2 by 4, knows “ten penny nail”. It is a little sad that competence with carpentry tools is dying among the population. I remember learning by working side by side with my older brother. It’s satisfying to build something material. Can anyone under 50 years old build a deck?

Chucky CheezWhiz 9:25 AM  

Yass yass

ColoradoCog 9:27 AM  

I stand corrected. I’m more familiar with Otis’ version.

Here's the thing 9:32 AM  

I seriously doubt anyone's seen the term Ten-Penny in the past twenty or thirty years outside of a good old fashioned hardware store. A store where the nails are in bins so you grab a handful, weigh them yourself on the scale right there, and go tell the cashier you just bought one and a quarter pound of ten penny nails. Oh, the cashier is 87 years old and has worked there for the past 70 years. My guy was named Harold. The store will finally go out of business when he dies, because none of the young punks they have hired in the past 20 years last more than 4 months because you actually have to know how to add in your head, remember where stuff is in the store, and things like that.

With regards to parallel parking, I've become a vicarious expert on the subject. I walk my dogs each evening around a school parking lot, one used by everyone to teach their kids to drive. They'll each get two or three days of learning the basics in the parking lot, then you won't see that particular car/kid/parent trio for two weeks, when they come back to learn how to parallel park. Watching that learning process is a hoot- kids can't do it, parents can't teach it, patience becomes frayed. I have learned the trick to parallel driving though, just from watching - The kids don't know how to drive in reverse, they've never done it. Imagine trying to teach the kid to park on the first day they've driven - Kid you're 10' directly behind a car, pull in next to it, between it and the other car 10 feet to the right - Remember, gas is on the right, brake on the left, the round thing in front of you is for steering - I have faith in you kid!

I keep wanting to make them stop, to just have the kid drive figure 8s, big circles, small circles, straight lines for an hour or so in reverse until they know how to drive in reverse. Then they can try to parallel park.

jberg 9:41 AM  

Nice puzzle, wonce you get past the EEKs and OTOEs, with lovely gridspanners.

I was going to let Sam Cooke explain ELATE, but that's been done already. But @Rob, here's an example, with varying numbers of LAs, from The Mikado.

I rarely watch TV, but I heard her on NPR discussing her book My Year of Yes, and have never forgotten her since.

My biggest problem was that once I saw trALALA wouldn't work, I thought it must be SHAnAnA. Not that hard to fix, though.

Thanks to all who set me straight yesterday re: card games and dominoes. Live and learn!

@Z -- I must have missed something, I don't get the reference.

Biff Gnarly 9:49 AM  

Happy to see at least one other person who had an OPEL as their first car. Mine was in the mid-80s. Pretty basic car, but it worked. Horrible brown color though.

Good to see clarification of the nails. I knew the term but absolutely questioned the price to number of nails in my head in the middle of the solve.

Surprised to see questions about CHRIS MARTIN and SHONDA Rhimes. Total slam dunk gimmees for me. Just evidence of how we all bring different perspectives to the puzzle.

And I'll accept that SHALALA is real, but I don't believe that anybody has that as their first reaction.

'merican in Paris 9:51 AM  

@Here's the thing -- Liked your description of an old-fashioned hardware store. I just love 'em. Here in Paris there is an absolutely amazing department store across from the Mayor's Office, called Bazaar Hotel de Ville, or BHV for short. Its extensive basement is dedicated to hardware and related stuff, a not insignificant part of which is covered by rectangular islands bounded by bins filled with various lengths and diameters of screws, or nails, or bolts. Other ones specialize in hinges. On one of the upper floor are aisle upon aisle of bins or drawers with whimsical door and drawer handles, made out of wood, ceramic, metal, glass, etc. "You want a draw-pull in the shape of a bee? We have it."

BHV, you SEND me!

GILL I. 9:58 AM  

I like the BUILDS ON TEA ROOM using a TEN PENNY. And I love hardware stores. Not the big box kind, the mom and pop's that no longer exist. I used to prefer wandering around these awesome stores and open all kinds of boxes and drawers filled with nails and screws than go shopping at Macy's. I always wondered why there were so many different types of nails and screws. Then you needed a special hammer or screw driver just to be able to use them. It's like those machines at the check out counter where you insert your credit or debit card. They are all different. I never know if I have to insert or swipe. Why can't they all be the same?
I like the JASA puzzle collaborations. They are always fun. I can imagine sitting in that class and trying to be the first to come up with a clue or an answer. My "Doggone it!" was CURSES and what started when an overture's over was CLAP. AW RATS that fouled me up and I bet it was planned.
Had trouble with the DANAE CHRIS MARTIN SHONDA section but otherwise pretty easy and entertaining.
Tiptoe through the TULIP SHA LA LA.

Z 10:08 AM  

@jberg - In reference to your “question” about whether or not Rex joshes.

@Noah Swartz - Send for ELATE is pretty common. Later in the week it will appear in more misdirective ways.

@Here’s the thing - In Dearborn we had that hardware store. The second generation ran the place, but the first generation still works. Dearborn had a plethora of homes built between 1920 and 1960. This meant that the specific item one needed for a minor repair job might not be carried at the local Home Depot. More than once the HD worker sent me to Duke’s. Finally I learned to just go to Duke’s first.

Nancy 10:09 AM  

As I SPED through the top, I was thinking: It took two adults and one class to make this very easy snoozefest? But then it got harder for me -- beginning at the obliquely clued DOMINI (22A) which baffled me even when I had 5 of 6 letters. TEN PENNY and DANAE were head-scratchers. And DON'T EVEN get me started on DON'T EVEN and AW RATS. I hate clue/answers like these.

There's an inconsistency here, too, that I suspect others will have mentioned. You're mixing car models (OPEL, HONDA, AUDI) with types of cars (SMART, MINI). You're not allowed to do that, are you? At least when I tried to do it by suggesting a theme with inconsistent theme answers, I was shot down by a puzzlemeister right here on this blog. (You know who you are.) Not that I was suggesting a car theme, heaven forfend! I was suggesting a very non-car theme. But my answers were inconsistent and I was called on it. So I have to believe that it's not kosher to be inconsistent. Going back now to see what y'all think.

Two Ponies 10:10 AM  

I am not surprised to misunderstood. I tried to make it clear that the vulgar comments are not missed at all. Those seemed generated by true trolls. I sense a caution from other comments that used to be edgy and yes, playful. If censorship does not offend you then carry on but don't cry when you become a target yourself. What does surprise me is that no one except me seems to care.

GILL I. 10:11 AM  

I'm a slow typist....@Here's the thing and @'merican share my love of hardware stores but they beat me to the punch hole.... ;-)

kitshef 10:11 AM  
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pabloinnh 10:12 AM  

Since no one else has referenced the "a camel is a horse designed by a committee" quote, I will. Interestingly enough, there doesn't seem to be a clear source. For some reason I thought it was Fred Allen, but maybe not.

I have to admit to feeling a bit ripped off, as years ago my friend was attacked by an eel while snorkeling and had his arm chewed up. I suggested the song to him:

When an eel bites your arm, and it causes great harm
That's a moray!

Some of you will know the tune, or at least the "sha-la-la" part.

puzzlehoarder 10:14 AM  

I did this puzzle on paper last night and initially could remember nothing of it when I woke. Reviewing it prior to reading today's comments I realized it's really rather charming. The idea of these two kids brainstorming it with a group of old people is a big part of that charm.

This came in at a minute over what I consider to be my average Wednesday time. Seeing how much late week work the two constructors have put out that extra minute is to be expected. As others have pointed out there is a good lacing of late week material here.

@ Nate and the anonymice, we've had the SEND/ELATE discussion recently. The phrase "soul sender" for an attractive woman should be familiar if you listen to R&B.

@two ponies, me thinks your "Guide to Who's Currently Famous" book must have a CAMO cover and you haven't been able to find it lately.

Nancy 10:32 AM  

@Lewis (6:31) -- I have another contribution to your famous adages about committees:
"A camel is a horse that's designed by committee."

@pabloinnh (10:12) -- I find your droll MINIverse simply ADORBS. But I'm wondering how your poor mauled friend might have reacted to it :)

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

CAMO is the gang color of the Deplorables.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

“Darling, you send me....”

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

@Mark Laser - Yes. You may bemoan the young’uns, but the cool thing about some of my generation is that the internet really can be a great teacher if you know how to do good research with it! I recently made a lovely, solid gate form my mom’s house, thanks to the webz!

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Try spelling her name correctly and see if that changes anything for you.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Ummmm, that would be Sam Cooke.long before Otis Redding covered it.

pabloinnh 10:51 AM  

@Nancy-He thought it was witty and clever, which is why he is my friend.

Re hardware stores-Just across the river in VT we have Dan & Whit's, and their motto is "If we don't have it, you don't need it." I can say from experience that this is true.

Two Ponies 10:54 AM  

@ puzzlehoarder, If there is such a book it wouldn't need a camo cover to hide from me. It sounds like a magazine from the impulse aisle at the checkout stand. If these people are still in crosswords 20 years from now I will believe they are famous.
While you are feeling snarky why not recommend a book to @Nancy on car makes? Wheelhouse and all that.
While I'm over here in the corner with my dunce hat on, am I the only one who heard Dino when I saw "That's a moray"?

Glinda 11:02 AM  

I use the word "ired" all the time. I like the started looks I get.

Danchall 11:10 AM  
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Danchall 11:11 AM  

Calman Snoffelevich:

JASA is the Jewish Association Serving the Aging, and they offer activities for seniors (55+) in NYC on Sundays.
The crossword construction class is one of several offerings.

Banana Diaquiri 11:13 AM  

"I didn't even know "Smart" was a car manufacturer. I thought it was a TYPE of car and was disappointed at the theme inconsistency. I guess I learned something today."

visited Bermuda some years ago, and 99% of the cars were Smarts. the rest were the biggest BMWs. naturally, the latter account for most of the road accidents.

GHarris 11:20 AM  

At Quasimojo I believe your history is a little askew. The last borough to join NYC was Brooklyn in January 1898. I remember it well.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

@Nancy, both Mini and Smart are car brands, just as Opel, Audi and Honda are.

jb129 11:24 AM  

I liked this a lot - got the theme right away & then went on to the fill. I really liked EZINES (web issues).

kitshef 11:34 AM  

@Z - I know you were being tongue in cheek, but Google "Shonda Rhimes" = 420k hits - about the same as Reuben Foster. Google "Oprah Winfrey" = 23 million hits.

@Nancy from yesterday on the mods - exactly!!

old timer 11:34 AM  

I had sha na na. An oldies band name back in the day, and part of the chorus of The Band's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. I agree. SHALALA would best be clued as Clinton cabinet member.

I don't know if this is an Apple thing but when I search for a song such as "Drove old Dixie down" the computer obediently plays your song, and then based on your personal history, plays other songs it think's you will like. So it's been playing other Band songs for me. Right now, "Up on Cripple Creek." I think I lived in the most magical of times, thanks to The Band and their first three albums.

I was waiting for someone to mention Sam Cooke. You Send Me was one of his first big hits.

Dan v. 11:36 AM  

Didn't know LUCRETIA Mott and had OH MY WORD instead of LORD. Oh well...DNF

JC66 11:37 AM  

Hand up for Sam Cooke.

@Two Ponies

I don't think it's that others don't care, but that they don't sense the same constrictive effects of moderation that you do. I, for one, don't.

mathgent 11:41 AM  

The puzzle barely registered on my excitement meter.

Next time I get to our hardware store I'm going to price 3" nails.

We're flying to LA tomorrow for a five-day stay at the J.W. Marriott (using our Marriott credit card points). It's in the LA Live developement downtown. We hsve tickets for a performance at Disney Symphony Hall and will spend a day at LACMA. What else should we not miss?

Banana Diaquiri 11:57 AM  

since I don't see anyone whose mentioned it: this is what parallel parking really looks like in a puzzle:


QuasiMojo 12:00 PM  

@GHarris, that wasn’t my history or even History. It was just a quotation from a book using “annex” in a way that contradicted the clueing. You can “ask” to annex something. Seizing a country against its will is another thing entirely. I will try to be clearer in the future.

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

First-class WedPuz, BHT …

DANAE/SHONDA/CHRISMARTIN railroaded crossin was a kinda awful hard pppop quiz. [DONTEVEN make m&e come down there, Shortzmeister.]

IRED. har
@RP: Dude. Don't en-tomb the poor thing alive. The lil darlin just needs a … Better clue? = {Comedian Skelton's unused biography title??}.


sittin in the corner weeject: BHT. Looks like BUT, with its pants hiked up real high.

Wow, primo squiggly black square designs; looks like a nasty viral infection. Also: 16x15 grid, sooo … more classtime nano-seconds for yer money.

Was just flat out relieved that the theme weren't PARALLELPORKING. [Cuz ... I don't know my brands of pigs any too well.]

Thanx, Last & Kravis & JASA

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Joe Bleaux 12:03 PM  

Hi, Lewis. In a late post yesterday, I said I'd bet that you are the cruciverbalist who coined DOOK. If it's true, please don't let modesty keep you from acknowledging it. If you didn't, do you know who did?

GILL I. 12:05 PM  

@mathgent...Go to The Original Farmers Market...Eat some fabulous Mexican food and buy something that comes in a jar and is pickled! Griffith Observatory. And get some tickets for "The Price is Right." You might win a car and you can give it to @Nancy... :-)
Have fun.

John Hoffman 12:21 PM  

Excellent puzzle! Some obscure stuff but not bad. Felt current. A nice variety —some old and some new —of clues.

Joseph Michael 12:21 PM  

The theme didn't do a whole lot for me, but I enjoyed the puzzle anyway thanks to clues like those for DOMINI, EZINES, ALIASES, and TEA ROOMS.

Grid also had some fun entries like DON'T EVEN, LET ME SEE, and AW RATS.

Picking up from yesterday, isn't ALPHA ALPHA what horses eat?

UP FOR DUSCUSSION: The drivers of these themer cars might include:

Soccer star MARISSA ABEGG, and

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:26 PM  

Just like yesterday's puzzle: Good theme idea, bad fill/grid. Overall, worse.

The theme got a "ahah, that's cute" out of me. That's always good. Especially on a Wednesday. I hadn't known that MINI and SMART were actual brands and wanted to punish the puzzle for inconsistency, but apparently they are!

The fill though. It didn't just feel stale, it felt moldy. Like ESS ARIA OTOE is boring but OK, I guess, but when you give me AWRATS BHT MOLLS DYADS it actually becomes something bitter. There were a couple good longer words, but not enough to save the puzzle.

GRADE: C+, 2.85 stars.

David Schinnerer 12:27 PM  

JJ @7:28..."Tra la la every time"???

Bob Mills @7:33 "there must be a way to make it "Tra la la"? (paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to scroll back up)

Not only in the great songs listed previously, but I will add Al Green "Sha La La", the Grass Roots "Sha la la...Live for today". The Beatles "Sha la la la la...Baby it's You"

But Van Morrison is the best.."Brown-Eyed Girl" my song for my Brown-eyed Girl. (31 years next week) Love you, Babe.

AW 12:29 PM  

From the Cambridge dictionary:

annex to take possession of an area of land or a country and add it to a larger area, usually by force:
The United States annexed parts of Texas and New Mexico, which belonged to Mexico.

Nancy 12:38 PM  

Re: SMART and MINI. Thanks, everyone, for setting me straight. @GILL -- too funny!

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:39 PM  

@Two Ponies

I check the box that sends me follow-up comments which sends me everything, and trust me, moderation is doing a very fine and necessary job.

There are two ways to interpret freedom of speech and censorship. The classical interpretation was the one that you subscribe to: An absolute right to say anything you want. I belonged to that school of thought up until a few years ago.

What changed? Well, I have since observed the mess the digital era created. The new censorship is not about banning people from speaking certain words (especially in the US where almost anything goes, thanks to RAV v. St. Paul etc.), but rather drowning out the truth with a flood of lies, vulgarity etc. generated by -not necessarily but in most cases- machines which are obviously more capable than humans are.

So yes, while I still think that freedom of speech is a very important negative liberty to have, we direly need to reinterpret it for the age that we live in. I don't have an umbrella solution though. Not yet.

Rose 12:39 PM  

All is not lost for the old fashioned hardware store. In Florence Massachusetts we have one complete with three generations who know the stock and couldn’t be more helpful. Take a look when you are in the Pioneet Valley.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

@Nancy, SMH, always SMH every time.
They are all car makers. That's all. SMH.

QuasiMojo 12:45 PM  

Annex, From the Merriam Webster Dictionary

1. to attach as a quality, consequence, or condition. Many privileges were annexed exclusively to royalty.

2. archaic: to join together materially: unite.

3 to add to something earlier, larger, or more important. Annexed a bibliography to a thesis.

4. to incorporate (a country or territory) within the domain of a state. The U.S. annexed Texas in 1845.

5. to obtain or take for oneself.

Ellen S 12:56 PM  

Thanks, @Rex, for explaining DOMINI. I got it from crosses, but I didn’t get it. Early on I fell in love with the puzzle, because of the clue for 19A — as some will recall, I am sick of EELs, but “that’s a moray!” — cute enough to earn forgiveness for all the rest. It’s hokey enough to suggest the constructors knew they were going to make me IRED. I didn’t like EZINES, though. Is that real? I thought they were called ZINES, a shortening of web[maga]ZINES, just as BLOG is a shortening of web log. Whatever. Fun enough Wednesday.

That’s perpendicular parking, In parallel parking it’s nose to tail, not side by side. Strangely, I can parallel park pretty goodly but I’m always way too far one side or the other of a slot in a parking lot. Well, I’m holding out for a self-driving car. Then it won’t be my fault.

The Ridger, FCD 1:00 PM  

I'm guessing so, unless all the house construction is done by old folks...

The Ridger, FCD 1:00 PM  

Very few snakes need killing.

Lewis 1:05 PM  

@joe -- Hi. I truly don't remember who coined the phrase; it could have been Rex, it could have been me, it could have been anyone. But I did go back to the day of the DOOK puzzle -- 12/16/14 -- and it was all anyone could talk about in the comments. They're pretty fun to read through, though, but I don't remember anyone suggesting that DOOK become a thing. Maybe that happened in a future puzzle close to that one, where it was suggested. Whenever I see one, I usually start my post with _____ is a DOOK. But I just don't remember if that was the start of using it as a term...

Big Jim 1:08 PM  

As a carpenter I can confirm that ten penny is common- along with eight penny, sixteen penny, etc. In fact that is the only way to specify the nails one wants when purchasing. The “penny” part is represented by the letter “D“. We generally just the number as a designation… As in: give me 10 pounds of 8d galvanized. Or: two kegs of 10d shorts. Etc

Larry Gilstrap 1:08 PM  

@Mathgent, So much to see in Downtown L.A. alone without even driving. It still has some edginess, it is in transition. A concert at Disney Hall is worth the trip; it is a mind blowing venue. I think @Gill was referring to Grand Central Market which is quintessential L.A. MOCA and the Broad are on Grand; good luck on getting into the latter. Other world class museums are the Getty and the Norton Simon, but require some travel. Just north of you will be El Pueblo de Los Angeles featuring Alvera St. and Union Station; don't miss Philepe the Original for a French Dip. If you like historic buildings DTLA is a mecca with places like the Biltmore Hotel and the Bradbury Building. I like visiting the Cathedral and strolling through the mausoleum. Ride the Metro.

Teedmn 1:20 PM  

This played moderately tough for a Wednesday for me. It didn't help that I splatzed in "shuckS" for 34A's "Doggone it!" and Diana for 41D's DANAE. I couldn't figure what in TEA__O_S was being cosied since "pots" and "trays" wouldn't work. Hand up for trA before SHA and Ltd before LLC. Though, like @kitshef, I still buy CDs whenever they're an option.

Thanks, everyone, for pointing out some of the clever cluing on this puzzle because after I finished and saw the contructors' names, I thought that it had suffered from "Made by committee" syndrome. I need to give it more credit than I did.

@Two Ponies, re: moderation, I felt the way you did during the first week or so, that everyone was tip-toeing around in order to be spared the wrath of the moderators; now both the moderation and the commenters seem to have settled into a happy medium, in my opinion. There's still some edgy give and take in the comments but none of the gratuitous crap you can still find in the syndiland comments from 5 weeks ago. So thank you, moderators!

Anoa Bob 1:20 PM  

I was thinking how cool to have a PARALLEL PARKING puzzle only a few days after a DIAGONAL PARKING one (both 15 letters!) and then I remembered that the latter is actually one I recently did from the archives and was published 4/21/2010. Nevermind.

Don't they have one-on-top-of-the-other parking in NYC where the first parked car is raised on a lift and then the second car is driven underneath? Or maybe it's where a ramp is lowered so the second car can drive up over the first? Maybe that would be PIGGYBACK PARKING. That's really what it looks like is going on here.

Ellen S 1:32 PM  

@mathgent - the La Brea Tar Pits are very close to LACMA. When I was there last (LACMA was my destination) we walked past the tar pits. Looked like road constructions, but still. Famous. You can say you saw them without going much out of your way.

Banana Diaquiri 1:32 PM  

@Anoa Bob:
Don't they have one-on-top-of-the-other parking in NYC where the first parked car is raised on a lift and then the second car is driven underneath?

actually, these days Tokyo is the land of stacked cars.


Chip Hilton 1:40 PM  

I nominate “D as in dates” as Wednesday clue of the year.

Trombone Tom 1:41 PM  

Well, the world changes. People are no longer familiar with low gear and can't relate to a 10-d nail. But, if you haven't slow-danced to "You Send Me," you need to.

I'm all in favor of the J.A.S.A.'s efforts and liked this puzzle. I found some areas of it not so easy. SHONDA was just pulled from memory and CHRIS MARTIN came from the crosses.

Oh yes, we are fortunate to have a wonderful store here in town, Pacific Hardware. Those older gentlemen can usually find whatever fastener or fitting you require.

JamieP 1:42 PM  

As my students would say, I was on the struggle bus with this one. Started out easily enough with Claudius because I teach Hamlet. I even saw "Audi" and predicted parallel parking. Knew Lucretia because I live close to Seneca Falls (and Rex) in the summer. But Put in Gouda for Tulip. That wrecked Discussion. Thought it was d-e as in up for debate, so I thought the down clue started with Fuels. Put in Ming for Tong which made 24 across start with I'm. Once I sorted all of this out I was four minutes over my average time. Oh well, on to Thursday.

Anoa Bob 1:42 PM  

@Banana, yeah I remember stacked cars in Tokyo and was thinking I had seen reports of the practice in hurting-for-parking-space areas of NYC.

Roo Monster 2:02 PM  

Hey All !
Where's the Studebaker? :-)

Liked this puz. Funky looking grid. Some nice clues, favorite being the one for EEL.

Had gouda for TULIP messing me up for a bit in the NE. Who knew TULIPs were Dutch? Other writeovers were msg-BHT, TEAspOtS-TEAROOMS, PhIS-PSIS, and the W-L in the Down Center.

Just learned who the JASA class are. I always pictured them as grade schoolers throwing out clues and answer willy-nilly. Har, good stuff.

I got theme as "Parking Parallel To Each Other, Not Actual Pulling-Into-A-Space-Between-Cars". Or so's it looks. (Got yet Grammarians saying AW RATS at that sentence.)

DONT EVEN is a parents RATED G self censoring. Sometimes the kid covers their ears and as SHALALA.


Mel 2:08 PM  

Listen to Springstein’s Jersey Girl for Shaka last. Also I used Myword instead of myLord which held me up wit Lucretia.

Suzie Q 3:03 PM  

My dad showed me how to line my car up parallel to the one I will be squeezing behind to park and it's worked all my life. That was called parallel parking. So the visual just doesn't work for me. Good puz just the same.
@ 'mericans, I saw a tiny shop in London that only sold buttons! So many and so cool. All of a sudden all my clothes needed new buttons!
@ Roo, If you want to see Dutch tulips try Holland, Michigan. Gorgeous.

kitshef 3:05 PM  

@Joe Bleaux, @Lewis - AliasZ - whom I have not seen for a while here - was the main commenter pushing for the use of DOOK as we know it today.

Banana Diaquiri 3:13 PM  

OK, OK. here's the definitive (at least so far as the innterTubes is such) definition of parallel parking:
"Parallel parking is a method of parking a vehicle parallel to the road (hence the term 'Parallel Parking'), in line with other parked vehicles. Parallel parking usually requires initially driving slightly past the parking space, parallel to the parked vehicle in front of that space, keeping a safe distance, then followed by reversing into that space. Subsequent position adjustment may require the use of forward and reverse gears."

the wiki. the word "parallel" is in reference to curb/edge of the roadway. the clue, clearly, chose to bend the semantics of "parallel".

Devin W 3:22 PM  

Yeah that was my only wtf!? On this puzzle.

sanfranman59 4:31 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:15 4:09 1.03 60.3% Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:03 5:26 0.74 3.4% Very Easy
Wed 6:48 6:07 1.11 67.8% Medium-Challenging

As I was doing the puzzle, I thought Mini was a model of Cooper and that was inconsistent with the other themers, but I see that's been addressed here and I guess I'm wrong. So I learned something today (always a good thing). What's Cooper, if not the make/brand?

IMHO, there's a good bit of dreck in here: BHT, AAA, AW RATS, SHA(?) LA LA, EZINES, DYADS, IRED, DANAE, ESS. I'm surprised that Rex didn't beat this one up a little more, but (a) he seems to be making an effort to be a little nicer in his reviews of late and (b) I think he has a soft spot for Natan (maybe Andy too?).

Foster Brooks 4:50 PM  

the mention of Dean Martin made me think of those fabulous celebrity roasts that he hosted back in the 70s. Comedy gold.

Monkey Ward 4:53 PM  

I'm an award winning auto mechanic and can state with certainy that SMART and MINI are indeed car makes.

Roo Monster 5:09 PM  

OK, to clear up these Car confusion-isms, let's go to Good Ole Wikipedia to tell us all about them.
Here are the SMART ones
Here are the MINI ones

Still looking for that Studebaker...


Banana Diaquiri 5:15 PM  

"I thought Mini was a model of Cooper"

you thought correctly, sort of; the Cooper model was the Mustang of Mini. but that company died, and BMW bought the name; the current Mini is way bigger than the original. yes, that's true. it's also true that Daimler (Mercedes) makes the Smart as well.

BarbieBarbie 6:57 PM  

Weird to see all these dictionary definitions of parallel, as though it’s not a fundamental math concept. Parallel lines are segments of any non intersecting infinite lines. Cars parked in a row along the curb are the trivial case where they are two segments of the same line. The cars as shown are also parallel. Perpendicular is like a “T” and is, confusingly, also called “normal.”

I like the moderated comments too, but what I notice missing besides the trolleries is the little needle-y comments, usually about some hot political topic, made by named commenters here, that set the trolls off. Too bad an occasional off-topic discussion isn’t possible without degenerating into weird “well, @name is ugly” stone-throwing. I don’t know what the solution is. But I really appreciate what the moderators are doing. Thank you, Friends O’ Rex.

JC66 7:17 PM  


The problem I, and others had with the revealer was that the cars aren't PARALLELPARKED, i.e. being parked PARALLEL to the curb. Which is completely different from being parallel to each other.

Joe Dipinto 7:26 PM  

Meh. I agree with @Harryp 6:20 -- this puzzle more accurately depicts double parking rather than parallel parking.

Additional songs with sha-la-la lyrics:

"Baby It's You" by the Shirelles (covered by the Beatles)

"Yesterday Once More" by the Carpenters

And Manfred Mann's follow-up to "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" was actually called SHA LA LA.

Churlish Nabob 8:06 PM  

I LOATHE the moderating on this site.

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

I'll build you the world's best ultimate espanse, donate all i have to tne Democratic National Committee, and suck an egg iv Sondra Rimes reaches Oprah fame.

Joe Dipinto 8:55 PM  

Also, I still buy CDs. WTF with that clue? Oh, right, the constructors (of this shitty puzzle) are obnoxious kids. I get it now.

Two Ponies 9:29 PM  

That's the spirit @ Joe D!

Z 11:07 PM  

@Anon8:35 - What’s the measure and what’s the time frame?

@BarbieBarbie - Well, @Evil Doug does the WSJ puzzle now, @MolyShu drops in only occasionally, and most of what’s left of the right here does not rise to needling worthy level. That’s more a result of the ebb and flow of who joins the commentariat than moderation.

@Joe Dipinto - Kids? See, the problem is that someone might read your post and think the puzzle was actually constructed by kids and decide you’re just a grumpy old coot.

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

Very quick patch: tPED (pranked on Halloween), rAZe, ARIe (of recent pop culture), perhaps?

a.corn 12:02 AM  

They’re not models they’re makes (i.e. brands). MINI is a brand, owned by BMW. SMART is also a brand. Completely legit.

Devon 6:40 AM  

I’m not a builder but I’ve heard of TENPENNY nails so that was easy. I was taken aback by the clue because it DID seem to imply that they were ten cents EACH and I was like dang!

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

what? you made the claim. You pick the parameters.
Although surely anyone well on their way will arrive shortly, no?

Monty Boy 2:49 PM  

I'm days late, so this is for the Indies:
Two comments on the ten-penny (10d) answer.
Hasn't anyone heard the threat: I'm gonna hit you so hard you're gonna hum like a ten penny finishing nail struck with a greasy ball peen hammer.
I think that was coined by the proverbial 7th grade bully.

And the observation: When you have a hammer, everything looks like a [10d] nail.

Unknown 11:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 11:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael McCormick 11:08 PM  

I thought it was easy, not the usual wiseass crap that they love to do. Straightforward

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