May 13, 2021

Thursday, May 13, 2021 Steve Mossberg


Woodin' you know it that our constructor Steve Mossberg has gifted us today with a small forest of trees bracketing four themers:

18. Words of deferential obedience: AS YOU WISH.  Whatever. The tree in this clue is the ASH,  popular for creating the baseball bats known as Louisville Sluggers.  Our neighborhood was planted with these beautiful trees along the road when it was founded back in the early 20th century.  We had one in our front yard, but sadly they were all felled by a lowly insect called the Emerald Ash Borer.  These images don't begin to capture the beauty and grandeur of these trees:

24. Trendy coffee additive: OAT MILK.  The OAK.  Another magnificent tree, but hardier than the Ash.  There are many varieties of OAK: E.g. WHITE, RED, BLACK, CHESTNUT, and PIN.  The tree in the lower left is a WHITE OAK and I'm pretty certain it is the WYE OAK that stood on Maryland's Eastern Shore for over 400 years.  It was the largest White Oak tree in the United States and the State Tree of Maryland from 1941 until its demise in 2002.  My first visit to the Wye Oak was on the day it was destroyed by a storm.  It was splayed all over the town.

31. It helps achieve a crispier pie crust: PIZZA STONE.  Not a mineral I'm familiar with.  But I am familiar with the PINE.  Unlike the previous deciduous trees, PINES are conifers.  The former drop their leaves in the Fall and the latter drop them continuously, but in much smaller quantities.  One of the keys to identifying conifers is the number of needles in each sprig.

39. One way to find a website: BING SEARCH.  Bing is Microsoft's search engine.  While BIRCHES generally prefer Northern climates, the PAPER BARK BIRCH seems to do well in Maryland.  Not only do they shed their leaves in the Fall but their catkins in the Spring.  And their bark slowly sheds off in large sheets year round, hence their name.  Here's one planted years ago, just outside our garden:

And the reveal bundles them all back together:

54. Do a campground chore, and a hint to the circled letters: SPLIT WOOD.  They say that chopping wood warms you twice: first when you're splitting it and then when you're burning it.


1. Core-strengthening exercise: PLANK.  This type of plank (as opposed to a piece of WOOD) is an exercise: "a push up that you hold it until you say 'uncle'".  A CSO to our unclefred!

6. Longtime Manhattan punk rock venue: CBGB.  Stands for Country BlueGrass Blues, but  a funny thing happened on the way to the founding of this club. It became so famous they had to make a movie about it, starring Alan Rickman and Malin Åkerman.  The movie was RATED R (not sure about the trailer):

10. Uno más de siete: OCHO.  "One more than 7".  Lección de español de hoy.  A CSO to Lucina, a DIEZ in my book!

14. Some area factors: RADII.   The areas of circles and ellipses.  Make no bones about it.

15. Warning from a king: ROAR.  You generally only encounter this royalty on Safaris.

16. "The Daily Show" host Trevor __: NOAH.  I've never seen this show as it comes on after my bedtime.  The original NOAH was STREAM-ABLE.  Why should TREVOR be any different?

17. Medicine cabinet brand: ORAL B.  Tooth paste or floss.  I prefer REACH FLOSSERS.  Despite the excessive size of my mouth, my hands are even bigger.

20. Super Bowl award: MVP.  I thought it was going to be this one:
Vince Lombardi Trophy

21. Outlaws: BANS

23. Runs across: SPANS.  Like the trees across today's themers.

26. Poetically huge: ENORM.  Like Beowulf's GRENDEL maybe.  Grendel's the one on the right.

27. Bodega cash source: ATM.  The three letters and "cash" were a dead give away.  A bodega is a small corner store or market that sells groceries and wine. Many bodegas are located in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods of large cities.  The word bodega means "wine shop" in Spanish, and it shares a root with the French boutique, and the Greek apotheke, or "store."  Whatever they're origin, they're not charities.

28. Jazz classic, say: STANDARD.  Here's God Bless the Child sung by Billie Holiday, who was born in Philadelphia and lived for a time in the Sandtown neighborhood in West Baltimore:

34. Dude: GUY.

35. Tunneling critter: MOLE.

36. Singer/songwriter Janis: IANSociety's Child, another classic

37. Nosh: BITE.

38. Silent communication syst.: ASLAmerican Sign Language.  We have a signer at Mass and it amazes me that she can listen to the priest behind her and interpret for the deaf people in front of her at the same time.  And she's the only lay person I know who says ALL of the words in the Mass.

43. Wrangler relative: CHEROKEE.

45. Customizable Nintendo avatar: MIIA Mii (/miː/ MEE) is a customizable avatar used on several Nintendo video game consoles and mobile apps. On the 3DS and Wii U, user accounts are associated with a Mii as their avatar and used as the basis of the systems' social networking features, most prominently the now-defunct Miiverse.  Sounds like it was all about Mii.

46. Hired muscle: GOONS.  Unfortunately an enduring feature of modern life.

47. Pyromaniac: FIREBUG.  Enough with the crazies.  I recall that Johns Hopkins University was doing research on FIREFLIES when we were kids and they would actually pay us small sums of money to collect them in Mason Jars.  Here is everything you ever wanted to know about these amazing creatures.

51. Shot banned in some pool halls: MASSE.    Masse shots have a greater potential to damage the cloth on the pool table. If an establishment doesn't allow those shots it's probably because most of the players in an average pool room aren't of high enough caliber to execute them.  This one's for all you pool sharks out there:

52. Tree hangers, at times: HATS. Clever clue. Wanted BATS, but perps told me Lucina wouldn't hear of it.  A HOLA to Lucina!

53. Jewelry company Alex and __: ANI.

56. Photo-sharing app, familiarly: INSTA.

58. "Stop right there!": HALT.

59. Not doing much: IDLE.

60. Replace a dancer, perhaps: CUT IN.  Another cute clue.

61. DaCosta of "Chicago Med": YAYAFor all you "Chicago Med" fans.

62. Oolong and Pu'er: TEAS.  I've had Oolong tea before, but Pu'er was new to me.  Here's the scoop.

63. Prepared to be knighted: KNELT.  A Knight's female equivalent is a DameThe youngest person to receive a Damehood in modern times was the sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur, who was 28 when she was honoured. Tennis player Andy Murray is the UK's youngest knight after he received a knighthood in 2016 at the age of 29.   The names of honorees are preceded by either Dame or Sir and they can also use DBE and KBE after their names, the "BE" being the anachronistic "BRITISH EMPIRE".


1. BOGO, say: PROMO. Hey, they rhyme!

2. Early insect form: LARVA. Trillions of Brood X Cicadas are way beyond the LARVA stage and may be upon us as you are reading this.  "Seventeen Year Locusts" are a real force of nature and by my calculations this will be my fourth CICADA EXPERIENCE.  They are harmless, but their high pitched singing for perspective mates, multiplied by millions per acre, is so deafening night and day, that I've purchased contractor ear muffs so that DW and I can hear ourselves think while we work in the garden.  Aren't they cute 😊:

3. Change as needed: ADAPT.  We're gonna' have to ADAPT to these critters for about a month.

4. Soccer score word: NIL.

5. Spectate intrusively: Var.: KIBBITZ.
6. Turn (up), as volume: CRANK.  Oops!
7. Meeting caller: BOSS.
8. "Hunger" memoirist Roxane __: GAY.

9. Bond before Craig: BROSNANPierce Brosnan OBE is an Irish actor, film producer and environmental activist. He is best known as the fifth actor to play secret agent James Bond in the Bond film series, starring in four films from 1995 to 2002 and portraying the character in multiple video games. The first actor was of course was Sir Sean Connery KBE, who died last year.

10. "Let's keep going!": ONWARD.

11. Cousin of card tricks: COIN MAGIC.  There are copious coin trick videos out there, but we only have time for one:

12. Popular avocado variety: HASS.  One of my favorite fruits and the only one for which I know the Product Lookup Code (#4225).  The name is not a type of avocado, but rather the name of Rudolph Hass, who developed the original cultivar commonly referred to as California Avocados.  Here is everything you want to know about them.

13. Cry with a head slap: OHH.  Nothing to see here.  This is a non-violent Corner.

19. Leading by a bit: UP ONE.  That's all it takes.

22. Michigan city or college: ALMA.  A CSO to JzB!  Everything you want to know about the town of  Alma, Michigan (and I mean EVERYTHING) and its College.

25. Kid's menu diversion: MAZE.  It's amazing the ways you can distract kids.  Youngest grandson is just getting into jigsaw puzzles.

26. Stiff collars: ETONS.  You can order your very own ETON COLLAR here.

28. Put on: STAGE.  Somebody just told me "You ought be on the stage - there's one leaving town in 10 minutes - be on it!"

29. Gehrig teammate: RUTHThe older of the two, Babe Ruth, was Lou Gehrig's hero:
Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth

30. Easter supply: DYE.

31. Suitable for the upper crust: POSH.  See 26D if you wanna' be.

32. Risking a ticket: ILLEGALLY.  Misdemeanors like parking, speeding, jay walking, whatever.

33. Trig ratios: SINESToday's math lesson.

35. Bub: MAC. noun.  The OED defines BUB as "An aggressive or rude way of addressing a boy or man".  One of the OED's definitions for MAC is "A form of address for a man whose name is unknown to the speaker."  IMHO you're taking a bit of a risk by being rude to a man you don't know.

37. Baguette spread: BRIEHere's a recipe

39. Help for a parade-watching tot: BOOST.  Full disclosure.  I do NOT work for President Brie.

40. "You didn't fool me!": I KNEW IT.  You can't be too careful these days.  I always try to get at least 3 independent sources for claims I read in the media.

41. Send forth: EMIT.  In the last decade of the 19th Century  Marie Curie, her husband Pierre, and Henri Becquerel discovered that certain substances EMITTED radioactivity (alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays).  All three were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, Marie being first woman to receive a Nobel Prize.  Pierre died in a Paris street accident in 1906.  In 1911 Marie received a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry, this time for her isolation of two radioactive elements,  Polonium (#84), named after her native country Poland, and Radium (#88),  Unaware of the dangers of radioactivity she took no precautions in her lab work.  She later died of aplastic anemia in  July of 1934, believed to have resulted from radiation exposure . 

42. Miserable in mid-flight, perhaps: AIRSICK.  I used to travel quite a bit for work and never developed airsickness.  Seasickness was a different matter.

44. Bilingual Muppet: ROSITARosita lives on Sesame Street.  Here she is with her puppeteer Carmen Osbahr:

47. Crew cut cousins: FADES.  Whenever I used to get my biannual haircut I'd tell the stylist to cut off as little as possible (so as not hasten the inevitable), but just enough that DW could tell that I got a haircut.  Now that DW is cutting my hair, she just has her way with me.  Here's one example of apparently many FADE styles:

48. Keep moist, in a way: BASTE.

49. Ending at: UNTIL.

50. Top-of-the-beanstalk dweller: GIANT.

51. Film-rating org.: MPAA.  I hope they don't give me any grief for the clip at 6A.

52. 44-Down's "Hi": HOLALucina gets at least three CSOs today!

54. Unlikely to make the first move: SHY.

55. Linguistic tribute: ODE.  Cwd glue.

57. Vow taker: NUN.  These VOWS usually include chastity, poverty, and obedience (see 18A).  Since nuns appear frequently in crossword puzzles (this past Monday in fact),  and as this is the last clue, I thought I'd close with an article providing little more info on this subject.  I'll just highlight a few things from it.  First a distinction should be made between NUNS and SISTERS, collectively referred to as RELIGIOUS women. NUNS live in monasteries (closed to lay people) and devote most of their days to prayer, meditation and housekeeping.  SISTERS on the other hand "live in the world" and are involved in services to society such as education, healthcare, and social work.  They may live in convents (which lay people may visit under certain circumstances) or they may even live in houses or apartments with other sisters or by themselves.  Another important point the article makes is that women religious are found in many other religions besides Christianity, such as BUDDHISM, JAINISM, and TAOISM.

Here's the grid:




OwenKL said...

This puzzle was Saturday tough. NYTimes tough. I eventually finished it except for one natick where unknowns CBGB and Roxane GAY crossed. The theme was easy right from ASH, and helped me get some of the theme answers.

As a poet, I've never called a thing "ENORM"
It's not STANDARD, and fits no form.
Let's not go inta
The travesty "INSTA"!
Such "PROMOS" on language are becoming "norm".

The pirate BOSS was such a CRANK!
He never gave a "please" nor "thank"!
And should a crewman
Think him human,
He'd be "pleased" to make him walk the PLANK!

{B+, A-.}

waseeley said...

OwenKL @3:59AM Boy are you up early!



Hungry Mother said...

Had CBmB and mAY. FIW, thanks to the plethora of unknown names. Maybe “Enola ____” would’ve salvaged my grid. I still think the preponderance of names is due to constructor laziness, until proven otherwise.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Inked in SIT UP at 1a. Realized that 3d must be ALTER. Wite-Out, please. (Have I ever mentioned that I hate it when Wite-Out is required at 1a?) Oops, ALTER isn't working either. And so it went. D-o really struggled with this one. My "Super Bowl award" started life as a CAP. Took twice as long as a normal Thursday to get 'er done. Noticed the trees, so maybe that counts for something. Thanx, Steve and Waseeley. (Bill, a PIZZA STONE is not an ingredient.)

The tree theme is a tad too timely. A man came to the door yesterday to ask if I wanted help removing the downed tree blocking the road out front. Downed tree? Where? Oh, bother. It was an 80' River Oak that had just keeled over. This morning the tree litter is gone, along with the legustrums on the south side of the house that failed to survive the "Big Freeze." As a bonus, my wallet is considerably lighter.

Anonymous said...

Top left & top center were toughies for me, but I managed to chop it down in 9:41.

Lemonade714 said...

I wonder what was his root word for this effort? Steve has been with us since 2019 and recently had his NYT debut in January. He is very active in the blogosphere and shares his adventures in puzze making.

I only remembered CBGB because it reminded me of the HEEBIE JEEBIES . I had no such luck with YAYA which was all perps; ROSITA came easily as I just watched the special about SESAME STREET and Lucy has some great CSOs with the finishing .

Thank you Steve and Bill

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Two wrong cells (bad WAGS) but got everything else. Tough to get started but the SE finally took hold. SPLIT WOOD gave me the OHH, and the circles helped with the solve. Trees were common and are often seen as CW fill.
Nod to Lucina with HOLA. We get OCHO quite regularly.

Waseeley, nice intro. I appreciate the effort.

Wilbur Charles said...

Lots of misdirection on this one. Lots of white until it finally filled. I shudder when I see pop-cul.

I hastily inked Bayer (medicine). RADII was a tough grok. Meets/SPANS.

I was thinking there were CHEROKEE Jean's.

And ole for the score. Okay there's my FIW on the P&P Natick of GAY and the punks. I WAGed rAY.

WAGing BROSNAN from SNAN was big. Naturally I had SPIN MAGIC.

Around here it's duH. I decided TASS would be clued differently. 8000 years old?

There's also Hope college in Michigan in Hope. I think the kids are already distracted with their games.

Lou and Babe had a falling out when Babe got too friendly with Lou's wife in Japan (on the ship)

Going over 85 in a 70. BRIE not the usual olio.

Oops. I had bOLA. I had BATS like WA mentioned. Two box Wilbur today.
BTW, Friday's just as bad.

I agree with Owen re. Sat-tough but a skosh higher on the grade on 1.


Big Easy said...

Good morning all. With the circles on the page the tree theme was apparent after ASH & OAK. but it was a FIW DNF because CBGB and Roxane GAY were unknowns and I guessed CBDC & DAY; made as much sense. Left CROSNAN though I knew BROSNAN; sloppy mistake.

MII, YAYA, ROSITA- unknowns solved by perps
FADES- never heard of that hair cut but as a bald guy I get a 'Crew Cut' on the sides every few weeks on the back porch; my personal barber, aka DW.
KIBBITZ- heard the word before but had no idea as to what it meant.

How do you gain 40 pounds in one week? Go into a hospital and have 4 IV bags hooked up to you 24 hr/day. How do you lose 35 of them in one week? Go home and stay close to the bathroom. My skin looks like crepe paper.

inanehiker said...

Boy this was a toughie for me - but finally just got down to the CBGB/ GAY cross like everyone else! could have been a D,M,N,B.... Once I filled in one tree, the theme helped speed the other answers fill.
AS YOU WISH made me think of "The Princess Bride"
My colleague I share an office with likes OAT MILK lattes.
ILLEGALLY took almost all the perps as I was looking to fill it in with what one was doing that that risked a ticket, like speeding or double parking.

Thanks WS and Chris!

Yellowrocks said...

I had the same Natick as others, the G in CB-B and -AY. For other unknowns, I found that perps, wags and P&P got it done. Not easy. Yes, HM, for a Thursday, Enola --- would have been fairer, IMHO.
The tree theme was a huge help.
SIT UP before PLANK.
A PIZZA STONE is a ceramic stone which you heat up in the oven and then place the pizza on to bake. "A pizza stone changes the game by acting as a point high heat transfer in an oven or on the grill. ... When the pizza is placed on the stone the crust begins to cook immediately, mimicking the cooking style of a traditional brick oven. Using a pizza stone will ultimately give you faster cook times and far better crust."
When we used to go tent camping we bought already split wood. I love campfires and fireplace fires.
Thanks for a fun outing, Bill and Steve.
I need to buy fig spread to go with my BRIE. Amazon or local store? I hope to have a party soon for the first time since I moved. Our family ziti birthday party Sunday was my first big cooking venture.

billocohoes said...

Bill didn't mention 47A FIG in the circles. Yes, FIG trees exist, but are they often split for campfires?

jfromvt said...

Tougher than many Thursdays, but overall just a meh puzzle with obvious theme. Thought the NE corner was tricked up a bit with OHH and the cluing for OCHO.

Wilbur Charles said...

Big Easy, glad yo see you're on the mend and downright chipper this morning.


Wilbur Charles said...

Re. Barney Ruggle. Boy wasn't pre-censorship fun. Humor and strict PC just don't jive. It's starting to give me heebie-jeebies

Yellowrocks said...

The theme, split wood, I believe, just means tree words that are split. The camp chore does not necessarily have to carry through in the fill. FIG tree is okay by me.
CHEROKEE for WRANGLER was a surprise when I found it. I was wearing jeans. My fave today, i think.
DO, so sorry for your woes of home ownership. Pricey!

waseeley said...

billocohoes @8:16am Wow a major blogger fox pass ! I've even got it highlighted. Missed an opportunity to run with FIG leaves! Thanx BC.

Anonymous said...

"Risking a ticket" and "illegally" don't seem to me to correspond in the parts of speech department but no one's mentioned it...maybe I'm missing something.

Husker Gary said...

-I should have posted an hour ago since I am subbing and all the seniors and the entire track team are not here but the NW corner bewitched, bothered and bewildered me! Loved it!
-Confidently putting in SIT UP, IMAGO, SOY MILK and TWEAK was not helpful
-I left CB_B/_AY blank. Natick, hie thee away!
-We benefit from our neighbor’s ASH tree but it is slowly failing
-Hmmm…, what’s Spanish for ATM? Never mind!
-STANDARD – Teacher next door greeted me with “Hey there!” and I’ll be humming this song all day
-Janis IAN’s At Seventeen is the best song about teenage angst I’ve ever heard
-Do you remember when Cuckoo was cluing for ANI?
-KIBBITZ – Backseat driving is very annoying
-Bob Devaney came to coach and Nebraska from ALMA College and made the Huskers a national power
-Me too! Risking sounds like a verb and ILLEGALLY an adverb
-Many rookie astronauts suffer from SPACE SICKNESS

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I had trouble in the NW corner but, overall, it was a smooth solve, albeit a slow one. My one nit is the use of circles in a Thursday puzzle. The theme was evident after the first two themers and, IMO, that disclosure lessens the challenge and satisfaction level. I went astray at Leash/Boost, Bats/Hats, and Soy/Oat Milk. I liked the duos of Bans/Spans, Mac/Guy, Shy/Dye, and Gay/Guy. We also had another A Team: Insta, Yaya, Larva, Alma, Pizza, Hola, MPAA, and Rosita. As noted, Lucina scored a Hat Trick with Hola, Ocho, and Nun.

Thanks, Steve, for a fun Friday and thanks, Bill, for the very informative and entertaining review. I’m an avid fan of all of the Chicago shows but, with few exceptions, I don’t know the actors’ names. So, when I filled in Yaya, I had to find out what role she played and discovered she plays April. I also discovered, sadly, that she and the actor who plays Natalie are both leaving the show after this season. Yaya is going to be in a new Fox series and her colleague’s future plans weren’t divulged. I’m disappointed because I like them both a lot.

DO, sorry to hear of your woes. I had to look up legustrums; I first thought maybe it was some part of your house, like railings or something attached. No green thumb here!

Have a great day.

Emile O'Touri said...

This was off my wavelength at every turn.Extremely forced.
An enormous slog.There's nothing really to say about this theme. I just couldn't find much to enjoy here.There's a difference between challenging and willfully obtuse.

CanadianEh! said...

Thursday toughie. Thanks for the workout, Steve and waseeley.
Glad to hear that others found this difficult, with a Natick at CBGB and GAY. I had another one at MPAA and YAYA.
But I saw the SPLIT WOOD, which gave me the O in OAT and broke open the NW corner.

I wanted to use my “call a friend” today to check all the Spanish with Lucina. OCHO was a Wag. I smiled at HOLA., ROSITA, bodega ATM (continuing the Spanish sub theme). Plus another CSO with NUN.

I hate BING and needed to use Google twice today to finish (NOAH and GAY).
I fought the unknown MII wanting Wii, but EMIT was strong.
I too noted MAC and GUY. PLANK and CRANK also.
Hand up for thinking of Wrangler jeans.

We had PIZZA crust and Upper crust (POSH) today. I was thinking of pies at first.
FADE referring to haircuts was unknown to me.

Going outside to help DH set up patio furniture now that the weather is warming.
Thanks YR, uncle Fred, AnonT for suggestions re glue removal. Later today we will check DH’s workroom for WD40. He might even have some GooGone he thinks. Hard to shop for anything else since we are still only curbside pickup at most stores except grocery.

Wishing you all a great day.

oc4beach said...

I don't mean to "split hairs", but I didn't get the SPLIT WOOD theme until it was 'splained by waseeley.

Also, I agree with others that today's puzzle was similar to a Saturday difficulty, or maybe even worse. Red Letters were required early which resulted in an official DNF.

WRT to the Wrangler clue, I tried COWBOY and COWPOKE, but they didn't fit. When the EE appeared from perps, I got my V8 can head slap and looked out onto my driveway where DW's Jeep Wrangler and my Jeep Grand CHEROKEE were sitting. Duh!

Shoulda known ORALB right off the bat. I just got my freebie ORALB toothbrushes and dental floss from the dentist on Tuesday when I had my 6 month checkup and teeth cleaning.

What I'd like to know, is how do you milk an oat. Or an almond. Or a soy bean. Etc. To me those things are not milk.

I agree with CanadianEh about the Natick at CBGB and GAY.

Oh well, enough rambling. Have a great day everyone.

Lucina said...


OOH! OOH! OOH! I feel like blushing. In fact I believe I am blushing. Thank you all for the CSO's. It was a pleasant surprise to see OCHO, HOLA and a reference to bodega in this puzzle. We see NUN quite often, though.

I found this Saturday challenging and not for the first time wished I had red letters to turn to. That is not possible in a newspaper!! But I slogged on and finished, that is, except for GAY which was a definite Natick for me with CBGB. Never heard of that venue. I, too, wish it had been Enola.

I started in the NE with OCHO/HASS and NOAH whom I watched last night. From there I just jumped around. CONNERY really held me back until I realized BROSNAN also played Bond. That helped ENORM to emerge. Whew! STANDARD, as well.

Looking for the SPLIT WOOD also helped once it dawned on me.

Steve Mossberg, this was a brain splitter, too!

Big Easy:
I'm sorry to hear you are still ailing and wish you well and quick relief.

That is too bad about the tree and your wallet, too.

You outdid yourself today. Excellent work.

Good job on the narrative with outstanding links.

Have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday, everyone! Tonight we are going to my daughter's for dinner so I don't have to plan anything. I'll take a salad. It's a belated birthday celebration for her.

unclefred said...

First of all, thanx, Bill, for the CSO!! And if anybody needs to start doing sit-ups and such, it is unclefred. Be a shame to get rid of this beer-belly, though, I’ve invested a lot in the Miller Brewing Company (and others) building it. Now, the CW, which seemed almost impossible at times, and I almost gave up, but FIR in the end....after 37 minutes of brain-strain. Once the grid was filled, I looked back and thought, “Ya know, that really wasn’t THAT hard, I just MADE it hard.” Lots of W/Os: AMEND:ADAPT; AHA:OHO:OHH; MAN:MAC; ELONS:ETONS (DOH!). And I foolishly started to fill ARSONIST at 47a until I realized (DOH! #2) it didn’t fit. Another fine mess I made for myself. So thanx SM, for the well constructed and cleverly clued CW, and my apologies for making such a mess of it. And thanx Bill for the terrific write up....and thanx again for the CSO. Everyone be well, and PLEASE get your shot(s), so a variant can’t develop which is resistant to all vaccines, and puts us all once more at risk. An airborne virus variant resistant to vaccines is a true nightmare scenario. PLEASE get vaccinated, and encourage all you know to get vaccinated. Remember, this is SCIENCE not politics!!

Picard said...

We are just back from a week of travels. Our first overnight travel since before COVID. The goal was to visit my mother for Mother's Day. I bought a tablet computer for her so she could have our family photo albums for easy viewing. I spent a fortune having these albums scanned and loaded them on the tablet. My mother was thrilled at the gift and was delighted to relive all of the events in the albums going back to her childhood in the 1930s.

Just kidding. She showed zero interest in either the device or the photos. She was enraged that I would think she might be the slightest bit interested in those events that happened so long ago. No, she does not have dementia.

The good news: My nephew was out from New York by total coincidence. So we had a happy reunion with him and my brother and his wife. And then we had adventures in and around San Francisco with my friend Virginia and on our own.

And my DW was happy to repurpose the tablet as her gift for our anniversary which is today!

Picard said...

Has anyone ever heard of Alex and ANI?

Has anyone ever heard of Roxane GAY? Hand up utterly unfair Natick with CBGB. I did a WAG that it was RAY and CBRB thinking RB for Rhythm and Blues. FIW. But I did enjoy the SPLIT WOOD theme.

Here we were at the famous Moreton Bay FIG Tree in Santa Barbara.

Hand up I do not get how ILLEGALLY works grammatically? Yellowrocks Can you help us out?

HOLA was a gimme, so hand up I had to laugh at HATS vs BATS.

Husker Gary Welcome back to health and normal weight. That sounds quite scary.

WA Seeley Thank you for all the illustrations and explanations!

AnonymousPVX said...

Well this Saturday grid was quite challenging.

The fact this is a Thursday made it even more so.

A couple of


PLUS….a bonus bad cell….OCHA/AHH instead of OCHO/OHH. My bad.

I must strongly agree that “illegally” does not answer “risking a ticket”. ILLEGALLY is an adverb.

Stay safe.

AnonymousPVX said...

Also, Picard…your Mom sounds “challenging”. Always nice for someone that you love and loves you to become “enraged” when you try to do something for them.

At least everyone else was fun.

Spitzboov said...

ATM in bodega is Cajero automático - n'est ce pas?

PK said...

Hi' Y"all! Wow! what a challenge to the brain & patience. I'm not in the same ballpark as Steve. Moan! Whimper!. Oh well, got my mind off of other stuff. I filled it. Thanks, Bill, for making an enjoyable & informational expo.

Many unknowns, including BING, CBGB, etc.

The reveal was filled only after seeing all the theme WOOD. I was thinking gathering WOOD in the forest rather than SPLITting it.

Had RA--I & tried RAbbI before RADII. Well, some areas have them rather than priests or...

Big Easy, so glad you lost that water. I was concerned.

Picard, too bad that all your hard work wasn't appreciated by your Mom. She may be struggling to maintain her grasp of "now". My daughter gave us DVDs of old family video tapes several years ago & I was delighted.

YR, FLN: Sounds like you are having the same kind of problems I am with my new PC center mouse. Part of my problem is I don't know all the shortcut stuff and the device does weird things. My puzzle time has doubled from all the mistakes I have to be vigilant & correct. a

Misty said...

Clever puzzle, Steve, very challenging for me, but, still, many thanks! And Bill, your pictures are just a total delight--what a treat--thank you.

Comforting to see all the comments about the Saturday difficulty--makes me feel a little better. But we had to ADAPT and go ONWARD as best we can.

Have a good day, everybody!

desper-otto said...

PK & YR, a nice, cheap, wireless mouse would probably bring an end to your suffering. I can't stand the mousepad in my laptop, either. I'd be lost without the wireless mouse. Here's one for just $10.

Picard said...

Big Easy My message was meant for you, sorry!

Welcome back to health and normal weight. That sounds quite scary.

AnonymousPVX and PK Thank you for the kind words regarding dealing with our mother. It is much harder for my brother who lives closer to her.

I have many happy memories with her. But she was often difficult for most of my life. She was very fortunate that my father was always supportive, but now he is gone.

Yellowrocks said...

Maybe it is not technically Kosher, but your can say that parking in a no parking zone is parking, RISKING A TICKET, or parking ILLEGALLY. Somewhat okay, but not elegant.

DO, thanks, but I do have a wonderful wireless external mouse which I have used for several years. I intentionally avoid using the touchpad on the new laptop, but I am continually touching it accidentally which triggers results I do not want. I think it is in the way.

waseeley said...

YR, et. al @3:03PM I can't stand mousepads either. I cut a thin piece of Masonite to size and taped it over the thing. On another laptop I have a piece of card stock, but it's not as effective.

NaomiZ said...

Yellowrocks has perfectly explained my own reading of the "risking a ticket" area. That didn't bother me, but I had at least 8 DNKs, including everyone's favorite Naticks at 6 Across and 8 Down. That one blank square gave me a DNF. Otherwise, perps worked.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I searched YouTube for advice on how to cut DH's hair. He's been enjoying the FADES ever since, and will probably never return to the barber. His cereal swims in OATMILK every morning, and we bake our pizza on a PIZZA STONE.

YR, count me in for the FIG spread and BRIE!

Feel better soon, Big Easy!

Picard, what a disappointment. Sorry!

Thanks to Steve for the puzzle. Rich, help us out on those Natick crossings! Bill, a delightful tour. Thank you.

NaomiZ said...

YR and Waseeley -- is there a way to turn off the mouse pad through settings? I turned off the touch screen feature on my PC monitor, which would react to DH's touch when he wanted to point something out on the screen and touched it accidentally.

Lucina said...

What a shame that your mother spurned your gift. Perhaps she does not want to be reminded of unpleasant memories of the past. In any case, it was a thoughtful gift.

My daughter and family gave me a "cloud frame" with many family photos of the family on it and more can be added, 40,000, in fact according to the manual. I love that it continually changes and I enjoy seeing all those pictures.

That is an amazing fig tree! I wish I had known about it when I was in Santa Barbara for a wedding. But we didn't have too much time for sight seeing anyway.

desper-otto said...

Naomi, YR, Waseeley: Yes you can turn of the !@#$@## touchpad on your Windoze laptop. Click the Windoze icon at the bottom left and choose Settings/Devices/Touchpad. You can turn the touchpad off on that screen. A better option is to leave the touchpad turned on, but unclick the "leave touchpad on when a mouse is connected" checkbox.

ATLGranny said...

Finally got a chance to report in after a busy day. Did the puzzle first thing and FIW. Two bad squares, one due to sloppiness at MiC and iSL, the other at the Natick CBGB and GAY where I guessed wrong. I see on the blog I had a lot of company there.

Since I got lucky otherwise, I am not unhappy with my efforts. One funny thing: I didn't realize Wrangler meant car until reading the comments. I too thought jeans and remembered that years ago Target sold a clothing brand CHEROKEE so accepted that fill.

Anyway, thanks Steve for the Thursday (?) challenge, and waseeley for your rich review! Very time consuming to put together, I am sure. Now ONWARD to tomorrow's puzzle.

By the way, Canadian Eh, if you don't have anything else handy for glue removal, oil works, even salad oil. It's more effort but eventually the glue comes off, I have found.

CrossEyedDave said...

I approached this puzzle like Paul Bunyan,
And (sort of) finished it like Lizzie Borden.

DNF'd @ CBGB/Gay

Thank you Vidwan for the late umbrella video link last nite,
Brought a tear to my eye.

Thank you Yellowrocks for the (potential) explanation of
Risking a ticket, but I still think incomplete adverb sentences should be illegally...

Which reminds me, I have given up on complaining about foreign words
In English puzzles. But I have to take a Thumper sized axe to
Complete foreign sentences, even in a Thursday.
(Luckily I know enough Spanish to know what comes before siete.)

Which reminds me,
I thin' I am losing my memory!
Super bowl award gave me agita,
So I am pretty sure I looked at it while perping,
But for the life of me I cannot remember what it was.?
I am going to have to go back and reread it.
I know it was 3 letters, so not a ring, or a trip to Disneyland,
What the hec' was it.?

Jayce said...

CNF (Could Not Finish). 100% Natick at the crossing of CB_D and _AY; had to do an alphabet run until the letter G rang the bell. Still don't know what the heck CBGB means. I don't care and will probably not remember who Roxane GAY is.

There was plenty to like about the puzzle today, especially the neat-o cluing of BOOST, BRIE, GIANT, and HATS, for example. I totally did not like that the entire clue and answer of OCHO was all in Spanish, however.

Proper names I did not know:
Janis IAN
Alex and ANI
YAYA DaCosta
Roxane GAY
MII (is it the proper name of the avatar?)

Proper names I did know:
Trevor NOAH

Never heard of a FADE hair style and will likely forget it too.

Lots of clues that end with "say", "Var", "perhaps", "in a way", and "at times".

COIN MAGIC is a term I am unfamiliar with. I have also never heard of OAT MILK at all, much less as a coffee additive.


Good wishes to you all.

Jayce said...

I posted my remarks before reading all of yours, which I enjoyed reading.

Owen, terrific verses today!

Ol' Man Keith said...

A tough PZL from Mr. Mossberg.
Nicely expounded by Waseeley. (Not to be confused, one hopes, with the rhyming word selected today on the Jumble Hints web site: i.e., "weasely.")

Spitzboov ~ re. ATM: I wondered the same thing.

ENORM was a given, but I wondered how others would respond--if they weren't familiar with period poetry.
Is OATMILK truly tending? Did it ever?
A strange imbalance throughout, between super easy fills like OCHO, ASL, and FIREBUG and highly specific or obscure ones, like CBGB, OHH (vs. OHO!), FADES, and even PIZZA STONE.
A 3-way of diagonals on the far side.
The central diagonal is chock full o' vowels. It gives us a multi-cultural anagram (12 of 15 letters), consisting of a Japanese farewell to a Portuguese stew containing a miscellany of meat & veggie items, ...

TTP said...

Thank you, Steve Mossberg, and thank you, waseeley.

Nope, not today. Like OwenKL, Hungry Mother, BigEasy, inanehiker, Yellowrocks, Husker Gary, Canadian Eh, oc4beach, Lucina, Picard, NaomiZ, AtlGranny, CrosseEyedDave, Jayce, OldManKeith (and others, I'm sure)... I had a topanga at the intersection of 6A and 8D ( CB?B) and ?AY ). Other wise, everything was correct, albeit it took a bit longer than normal.

Neighbors had a huge ash, but the emerald ash borers got it before it was treated. It towered over everything, including the power lines and my shed. As it died through the years, branches would come down in heavy winds. I was relieved when they finally had a tree service (with a crane) bring it down.

Loved your review, Bill.

You can disable the touch pad mouse on Windows. Settings, Mouse, Additional Settings.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Oh, I should thank Waseeley for teaching me the French Drop today.
Looks harder to do (with arthritic hands) than it must be for the kids to do, especially if they practice.

The magic kit I had when I was a kid had an easy gimmick for helping me "disappear" things. It consisted of a small dark canister, tiny enough to be palmed in my fist.
It was connected via an elastic cord to a clip that I could fasten on my upper shirt sleeve, or undershirt.
I could run the cord up under the sleeve of my jacket.

This was NOT a trick you could introduce by saying, "See--nothing up my sleeve!"

You just stretched the cord to fit the canister in your fist. Then you could stuff or insert any small object (coin, handkerchief, whatnot) into your palm, then release the tension enough so that the cord would yank the object far up your sleeve. Whoosh.
Then you'd show your bare palm to the crowd.

JC said...

Worth noting—MPAA renamed itself simply MPA two years ago

YAYA left the Chicago Med show only just yesterday!

“Risking a ticket” is an adverbial phrase so I didn’t mind it

Big Easy said...

Thanks. It's just slow getting back to walking normally. Appetite is only half there and I have to force myself to drink.

Malodorous Manatee said...

Thanks, Jayce for typing out the list:

Proper names I did not know:
Janis IAN (I knew this one)
Alex and ANI
YAYA DaCosta
Roxane GAY
MII (is it the proper name of the avatar?)

Proper names I did know:
Trevor NOAH
...Janis Ian

Crunchy for a Thursday.

Thanks Bill. Very happy that it was your week!

waseeley said...

D-O @ 3:56PM What version of Windoze are you running? Searched high and low through mouse and touchpad settings on my Windoze 10 HP laptop and couldn't find any option for disabling touchpad while mouse is connected. The draconian approach (other than my Masonite Rube Goldberg) is to uninstall the touchpad driver. I suspect though that Windoze would try to re-install it next time you reboot. There is probably a Registry entry for disabling that behavior, but Regedit is not for the faint-hearted.

TokenCreek said...

Where is RAY-O today?? Hope he ain't in the slammer.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

WEES - that CB_B | _AY was the last square filled. I did an ABC run and there was a faint bell that rung. Whew!

Thanks for the grid, Steve. North was tougher than the south.
Thanks for the illustrated expo, waseleey. LOL Stream-able.

WOs: soy -> OAT finally broke-open the NW (only had NIL for the longest time), KNEel -> KNELT
Fav: c/a CHEROKEE (LOL re: Jeeps, Oc4!)

{A+, A}
Cute DR, OMK

WEES re: CSOs. That was fun.

BigE - glad to read you're on the mend (and that's a lot of water weight!)

Like IM, I had to Google legustrums. Sorry about your River OAK (and wallet!).

Gnarly* tree, Picard. Sad about the ePhotoAlbum.

PIZZA STONE - I have two. When I make pizza, they are both constantly busy; the way I do it is ask each person in the kitchen, "what do you want?" and I build it. Then, everyone enjoys it (unless they don't like what someone asked for). The last pizza is "sweep the kitchen" with whatever toppings are left-over.

The missing tree: The Larch.

Hand-up for hating the mousepad (and that pointer-stick in the middle of the keyboard). I have four laptops and they all have (wired) mice.

Last thing: Whoot! CDC says: No masks for the Vax'd.
//unless local ordnance or proprietor requires it.

Cheers, -T
*In the surfer-speak sorta way.

Jayce said...

Frankly I think too many people are over-eager to shed their masks and stop observing common-sense behavior to protect themselves and others from continuing to spread the virus. Just my opinion.

Malodorous Manatee said...

I have only a single pizza stone, but Valerie has one also. My pellet grill will top 600 degrees so it takes a bit of time for the stone to reach its proper temperature. After it does, build 'em, cook 'em fast and pass 'em around!

Wilbur Charles said...

Picard, thanks for the pictures of the enormous fig tree. It explains for me the gospel allusions to same and the nut who climbed one

We are all agreed about ILLEGALLY. 15 yard penalty, loss of down*

Re. "ONWARD to tomorrow's puzzle.". I've done Friday. Same P&P deluge. But Wilbur finally solved so there's hope for all. I'm about to start Saturday

Jayce the "Var." as well as Archaic was common in xwords I played with years ago. I dread seeing those terms.


*Well most of us

oc4beach said...

Waseeley et al: On my HP laptop with Windows 10, there is a small rectangle printed in the upper left hand corner of the mouse pad. Next to it outside of the mouse pad is a small indicator light. If you double touch the mouse pad on that spot, it turns on the indicator light and will disable the mouse pad for that session. You have to repeat it every time you restart the computer.

Here is a picture of the mouse pad on some HP laptops.

Here is an explanation for some HP laptops. Other machines have similar options. Just google for your particular machine.

NaomiZ said...

I'm with you, Jayce. I'm going to wear a mask and exercise caution for a long while yet. I don't want even a mild case of COVID-19. Don't want to spread it to others, and don't want to live with long term health problems if I can avoid it.

OwenKL said...

I'm with others of you who dislike the mousepad. I put a dot of white-out on each corner to remind me where it is. If my hands were steadier, I'd paint the entire surface of the pad red. I've tried putting a plate over it, but finally just learned to live with it.
If I were typing two-handed the way I learned to, I couldn't avoid it. I type one-finger now-a-days, so it's not so bad. SFAIK, there is no way to turn it off in the settings of this version/brand*. On a previous laptop I downloaded a program that could disable it, but I couldn't get it to run automatically at start-up, so I'd never remember to turn it on until after I'd bollixed something up with the pad.

*d-o, followed your instructions. Still couldn't find a general shut-off, but did find (in wee tiny print on the advanced options sub-page) the check-box to disable it when a USB pointer is in use, and that seems to be doing the trick! Thank you!

CED, love all your links, but are you aware that for the last few weeks they've mostly led to a thumbnail, often on a page with a bunch of related thumbnails, and I have to enlarge it to see what the hell you've sent me to?

I queried my usually logorrheic dictionary app for legustrums. All it gave was "east". The Free Dictionary suggested it was a misspelling for ligustrums.

Got my first jab yesterday. Since I'm housebound, the fire department came around and shot me at home. They'll come again in a few weeks for the booster. No ill effects (knock WOOD), not even a needle soreness.

LEO III said...


FIW, with only one incorrect square this time. I knew all day long that I had a one in 26 chance for the correct letter in CBGD/GAY; not knowing either, I chose D.

Saw all the trees and split the wood, but that wasn’t good enough. The circles actually helped figure out some of the more stubborn clues.

Thanks, Steve and Bill!

I knew KIBBITZ from my ute, when I used to (poorly) play quite a bit of bridge. The kibitzers (so says Mr. Autocorrect) always made me nervous.

Friday's puzzle has been printed, so off I an to get beaten up again.


TTP said...

I forgot.

"You are risking a ticket parking there."

"You are illegally parking there."

Makes sense to me.

Anon said...

Difficult and unenjoyable
puzzle. Too many obscure proper names. Alex and Ani? Really??

unclefred said...

Picard @1:12 Wow, that is quite a tree!! Looked like somebody told your little girl to smile after the first picture where she looked profoundly unhappy. Thanx for sharing the pics!