Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Amanda Chung and Karl Ni make some noise.

Comments: 150

  1. At times, early week themes try too hard. Not the case today, nicely original and fun, even if I did not look at the theme until after the happy music played.

  2. I'm kind of afraid to ask what the hamster dance was (constructors' comments). And yikes, Deb! Glad you all survived Adonis. I thought this was fun, although I went through it without noticing a lot of the Down clues and answers. (I did notice KING TUT and STOOGE, and I thought THWART and WINNOW were two very interesting words for early in the week).

  3. @Henry Su Click that at your own risk. When I saw the reference by the constructor, I went to YouTube and played it. I had to lie down for a while before I came back to Wordplay.

  4. @Deadline, Thanks for adding the warning!

  5. The theme was cute and the puzzle solid. I think people will complain about the theme. The intellectuals who wants obscure scholarly words would surely object to simple animal (excuse me, pet) sounds. The puzzle probably could have done without the gray squares, but it is a Tuesday, so might as well make it easier. Knew the theme from HOMEOWNER because of the gray squares. Knowing the gimmick didn't help any with the rest of the themers, not that there was any need for help. I never heard/saw Steve Martin's KING TUT song. But then, I never saw him on SNL - before my time. Deb, what happened to Adonis after the credit cards?

  6. Adonis and his humans moved shortly thereafter, but I like to think they learned to fetch for him very well.

  7. @Deb Amlen You probably don't know why, but I think it might have been a better idea to have had him neutered in the first place. Poor little piggy.

  8. @Deadline, that isn’t what Adonis used for credit cards

  9. Best non-theme clue for me was close to a themer: One with a squeaky wheel? (3D) HAMSTER. I’ll let others link to Pet Sounds songs, but “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” shows why Brian Wilson is considered a great songwriter. Oh well, I’ll link, even though too many links can spoil the broth: Acapella version: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LO0l8AAEIzs Fun puzzle and funny) but also sort of sad) story, Deb. True? We may never know.

  10. 100 percent true.

  11. @Deb Amlen Thanks for the quick response to a doubting Thomas. Seems like the seeds of a good book or maybe a short story. I hope that there was some kind of a happy ending.

  12. @Puzzlemucker Hopefully bacon... ;)

  13. big fan of Sandra Day O'CONNOR -- In her day she was indeed One OF A KIND. A Pioneer!

  14. @judy d In addition to being the first female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’CONNOR was the decisive fifth vote (the “swing vote”) in many significant cases for much of her term on the court. As reflected in a summary from the ACLU (linked below), while certainly not a “liberal” (O’CONNOR was a moderate Republican appointed by Ronald Reagan), she often voted to uphold civil rights, voting rights, personal privacy, environmental protection, and workplace protection, including anti-discrimination laws. In 2005, she retired to care for her husband when he was struck by Alzheimer’s Disease. Ironically, she was replaced by Samuel Alito, who has been rigidly dogmatic in voting against protecting the rights which she was instrumental in upholding during her 25 years on the court. https://www.aclu.org/other/cases-which-sandra-day-oconnor-cast-decisive-vote

  15. KINGTUT! Had the pleasure of seeing Steve Martin perform live At Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). Nice Tuesday puzzle.

  16. Nice work fitting in WoW and Final Fantasy! Most constructors feel proud getting in a Mario or Zelda reference, but you went to the next level to my inner nerd’s great enjoyment.

  17. As an animal lover, I dub this arf-ully fun and purr-fectly cute :)

  18. Hmm. Just read Deb’s comments about Adonis the pet pig. Didn’t Adonis of Greek mythology fame die by getting gored by a boar ? Really eerie.

  19. @Brian - so did Robert Baratheon, whose stature more closely resembled Adonis the pet pig. Another coincidence. Wait...Robert Baratheon=Adonis?

  20. Had no idea what you were talking about. Learned about GoT today.

  21. @Brian I thought the Greek Adonis drowned admiring his own reflection.

  22. Fun and fast puzzle! And if it's not too off-topic...Happy Birthday, Deb!

  23. Was ALVIN really the leader? The human guy was the leader, as I remember, at least in the original song. Was there a coup and Alvin took over?

  24. @Wags - Alvin was undoubtedly the leader. Think of Alvin, Simon and Theodore as like Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

  25. @Wen David Seville (the human guy) was the power behind the power....

  26. @BK - Dave was not part of the trio. Within the trio, Alvin was the leader. And, it's not Dave and the Chipmunks - it's Alvin and the Chipmunks.

  27. This was a cute--and mostly cuddly--puzzle by Ms. Chung and Mr. Ni. HAMSTER and ALVIN are lovable extras, and for those who prefer a scaly cold-blooded friend, a pet CROC is available too. Like others, I very much enjoyed Deb's tale about Adonis the pot-bellied pig quickly taking over a household. The constructors wrote in their notes: "One of Amanda's friends frequently posts silly, punny riddles such as "If April showers bring May flowers, then what do Mayflowers bring?" HOME OWNER was the answer to one such riddle (though the actual riddle has since been forgotten) and became the seed entry for this puzzle." I wonder whether HOMEOWNERS isn't an answer to the riddle "If April showers bring May flowers, then what do Mayflowers bring?" Many homes are sold in the spring, and the new owners move in during the summer, after school lets out, and they arrive in what else? Mayflower Transit moving vans.

  28. @Henry Su By Jove I think you are onto something!

  29. @Henry Su I always heard Pilgrims.

  30. @Floyd, Me too. But that's why I said HOMEOWNERS could be *an* answer to the classic riddle.

  31. Ms. Amlen, I'm sorry, but you started with the pig stories, so... A man taking a walk in the country one evening encounters a farmer walking a one-legged pig on a leash. Man: "How'd he lose the leg?" Farmer: "He's a special pig. My house was burning; he ran in and woke up the family, saving all our lives." Man: I understand he's special. How'd he lose the leg?" Farmer:"You have to understand, he's a very special pig. My baby girl fell in the pool and Oinky here jumped in and pulled her to safety..." Man: "I still don't understand what happened to his leg." Farmer: "Do you expect us to eat a pig like this all at once?"

  32. @Benjamin Teral Oops. Three legged pig. I already regret the joke. Oh well.

  33. @Benjamin Teral Three legs, and one wooden leg. What a fiasco. I guess I'll keep my day job.

  34. @Benjamin Teral Walking a one-legged pig; that must have been something to see.

  35. @David Connell I thank you for both swans, which are lovely, but I confess that, although, Kind Hearts and Coronets is among my top favourite films ever, I am clearly missing something with regard to its connection to this puzzle.

  36. @Diana Oh for pity's sake, no sooner did I hit send than I realized. Silly.

  37. @David Connell Enjoyed the Yo-Yo Ma video; it’s great to see a master ply his craft. Interesting that he had sheet music for this performance; I usually expect the accompanist to have sheet music, but not the main performer. Is this a common practice?

  38. A nice, smooth Tuesday made more exciting for me because it ran my streak to a full year! A completed puzzle for me means I did it by the end of the applicable date, but I do look up answers when I get stuck after trying to do as much as I can without outside help. It's amazing how much less I need that help now from last year (also going back through the archive has helped a ton too) - hardly ever before Friday and Saturday, and even Fridays now it's become rarer. Pretty cool to see the progress and still so much fun! I look forward to the release of the new puzzle every night and at least early week I'm done for the day before I get to sleep. Thanks to Deb and Caitlin for the column every day - going to try and keep this streak going now!

  39. @Aaron Congratulations on your 365th. Well done.

  40. Wow, way to go, @Aaron! Keep up the great solving!

  41. Yay Aaron! 365 is a great milestone. Congratulations!

  42. I needed this kind of a puzzle today, after 8 hours in the car driving back from visiting my daughter in Iowa (normally doesn't take that long, but we did a bit of out-of-the way sightseeing instead of doing the direct route). The puzzle went very quickly and, having noticed the shaded squares, I figured out the theme well before getting the revealer. Crosses helped in a few spots, but most answers went in first time (except for sloppy typing).

  43. Very cute, although Miss Smartypants here decided she knew the theme of the puzzle and decided to skip ahead and type in the "m" for "moo" when I saw two "o"s in the shaded area. So, was my face red when I realized it was "woof" as in "Two of a Kind!"

  44. Was this one easy or am I becoming a better solver? Either way, it was fun. “Mufti” was a new one for me. I had to Google it. Is that cheating? I wish I could afford Crossfire so I could try making some puzzles. Got some excellent advice from one of your puzzlers on my plebe puzzle. Maybe later. My novel is getting all my time and attention these days. These puzzles remain an oasis of joy for me. Thanks

  45. @Peter Fitzgerald There is not such thing as “cheating” in the arena of non-competitive crossword solving!! It is an activity exclusively in the domain of the solver and subject only to his/her rules and regulations - to the exclusion of all others. The only way you could “cheat” would be to continue solving if/when you no longer enjoyed doing so - - in which case you would be cheating yourself. ENJOY! @PeterW

  46. The highlight today was reading Deb’s column; the Steve Martin King Tut video and the Adonis the Pig story were delightful! TIL TINTIN; it’s not often that I learn something new from a Tuesday puzzle. Also enjoyed seeing MUFTI (great word!) in the puzzle. The solve was Tuesday smooth; had NAAN for ROTI and FAT for OIL, but those were quickly fixed. An enjoyable Tuesday puzzle and finished somewhat faster than my average Tuesday time.

  47. @Ron O. Completely agree! Loved the pig story!

  48. @Ron O. TIL MUFTI. It is a great word! :-c)€

  49. I also started with NAAN. Even worse, I had FACEPAINT for 37A where TATTOOINK belongs, and then was taken aback when I realized I needed FACEPAINT for 9D...

  50. Glad to see Tintin. I am a big fan, growing up with him and all. :)

  51. @MP Same here! My dad grew up with the original serialized stories as they ran in Tintin Magazine. We had the whole comic series at home and I started reading them at a very young age. I remember my mother telling me (half-jokingly, I'm sure) she'd always hoped for me to take after Tintin but I was turning more into Captain Haddock instead. I must have behaved very badly that day. Haddock is still my hero, though. Hope to see him in a later-in-the-week puzzle one day.

  52. Blistering blue barnacles!

  53. Enjoyed the puzzle. Lots of nice words. WINNOW and THWART, as others have noted. TIL that in addition to Rocket Propelled Grenades, RPG stands for Role Playing Games. Not sure how I feel about that. That was the only clue in the puzzle I didn't get. Considering the cover of Pet Sounds, a little surprised that none of the theme answers did not include MAA. To me, the best part of Deb's story was that she knew a guy she could call who knew about training pigs, as one does.

  54. @vaer Couldn't decide on a Beach Boys song, so instead am going with Alvin and the Chipmunks. In my family, it's not Christmas without this song. Don't judge. We like Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, too https://youtu.be/CCQ2LPRoY78

  55. @vaer I “recommended” but couldn’t listen until later in the day.

  56. @Puzzlemucker You're too kind. But everyone would be much better off listening to this live recording of the Sloop John B with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine from 2016 on this beautiful June, er April, day in the NYMetro area. https://youtu.be/eDZgl7H-coQ

  57. As both an animal and a word lover, this was my favorite puzzle in a long time. It wasn’t just cute and furry but also elegant and sophisticated, with words like CORONET, CHOLERA, WINNOW, THWART and SWAN. As an added bonus there was comedy throughout, eg KING TUT, STOOGE, FIONA. And loved all the Ss in SASSINESS. Thanks to the constructors for a wonderful well rounded puzzle!

  58. What she said. Layla tov

  59. With OREO, ORC, and ORES all in the NW, I thought there may be a secondary theme. I enjoyed this; definitely no boo-HISS from me.

  60. I liked today's puzzle. I struggled to see, where I went wrong in the end. I had "TON" for Your (Fr.), which seemed to work with "O NO" and "TDN" down, but admittedly TES a closer fit.

  61. SPELLING BEE Yloprtu 25 words, 107 points, 1 perfect pangram L x 2, O x 0, P x 14, R x 2, T x 5, U x 0, Y x 2 4L x 8, 5L x 11, 6L x 5, 7L x 1 4 5 6 7 Tot L - 2 - - 2 O - - - - 0 P 2 7 4 1 14 R 1 1 - - 2 T 3 1 1 - 5 U - - - - 0 Y 2 0 - - 2 Tot 8 11 5 1 25

  62. One chemical term may be less familiar. Many informal and slang terms not accepted. Several common shorthand terms also not accepted.

  63. @Ron O. The chemical term should be familiar as the root for a common antiseptic.

  64. @Ron O. That was pretty brutal. I don't think we'd have finished without the grid. Thought we had the chemistry term with one of the T words, but I got there in the (bitter) end.

  65. A cute theme nicely tied up with the album title bow. There was a mini-theme of double O's (5), and two neighboring words I love -- THWART and WINNOW (Hi @LizB!). There were also those other animals in the menagerie -- HAMSTER, SWAN, CROC, and ANT (and even an anagrammed RATS) -- all of which make sounds, by the way. Yes, even ants make sounds (by rubbing parts of the abdomen together). Then I started wondering what animals don't make sounds, and giraffes came up, but it turns out that they do make sounds after all, so I got a nice nature lesson out of this. 54A answers the question as to the best place to store a Ho Ho.

  66. Super variety of fills with a cute theme makes this a winner IMO and apparently I'm not alone. My first theme fill was WOOF, which did help me get the first one as I guessed correctly that it might be MEOW. For some reason HOME OWNER wasn't coming to me at that point. The rest of the puzzle went smoothly, just right for a Tuesday. Amazing story, Deb and quite scary.

  67. Possibly because one doesnt own the house till the mortgage is paid off?

  68. Summer 1979 JCC summer camp in western NY Camper follies and we had to make up songs based on American historical figures My group had Molly Bucket Even when she was a young girl She'd never thought she’d be A revolutionary war hero A woman of history Where'd you get that bucket Molly Bucket Molly Bucket To the tune if King Tut. I can’t believe I still remember that. Good ol' Camp Lakeland

  69. @MJ Who was Molly Bucket? Did they mean Molly Pitcher? Certainly they didn't mean Molly Hatchet...

  70. @MJ You were good campers to resist some other rhyming possibilities;.

  71. @Steve L You ever stopped at the “Molly Bucket” rest stop on the NJ Turnpike. Great wings; they sell them by the bucket.

  72. Fun puzzle. Took me some crosses to get the Beach Boys album, because the answer was cut off in AL and I didn't think to scroll over so didn't realize it was a reveal. Otherwise would have gotten that right away. Still a smooth solve. Drifting... This ended up bringing me back to high school days for a couple of reasons. One of my best friends in high school had a LOT of 'pets,' including snakes and lizards and even a coati mundi. He ended up becoming a herpetologist and college professor. And then there's the Beach Boys, which was at the center of our background music at the time. The other reason involved 33a. I've mentioned that I've been reviewing pre-Shortz puzzles for errors. Yesterday I encountered one from early 1967 with the clue "Dr. Zhivago," and the answer GURI. The G was crossed by GALAS which was clued correctly. I have never spent as much time researching an answer as I did yesterday, trying to find some justification for GURI as a possible alternative to YURI. Nothing. In 1967 I had both seen the film (which was one of the top-grossing films of all time) and read the book. I still can't understand how such an egregious error could have gotten past the constructor, the editor and numerous solvers, especially at that point in time. Anyway - it is next to impossible to be thinking about Dr. Zhivago and not have 'LARA's theme' popping into your head with some frequency, so I was quite surprised when I encountered it in the puzzle.

  73. @Rich in Atlanta - that is a mystery, RiA. Yuri is the standard Russian version of the name George, and, as such, it was originally spelled Gyur(g)i, analogous to the Hungarian version György. But it hasn't been spelled with an initial G in centuries.

  74. @Rich in Atlanta That is very odd indeed. It really must be YURI. Is there any chance that the cross is wrong?

  75. @Andrew YALAS - Soirées in New Haven?

  76. Love the King Tut clue. I’ve watched that video many times. My son and I still laugh every time.

  77. This was a fun Tuesday puzzle: thanks, Amanda & Karl! It’s funny that A & K mentioned the hamster dance in their constructors’ notes... it popped into my head immediately when I entered HAMSTER, but that may be because of 16A ALVIN, which primed me. Or maybe it was because of all the animal sounds. ;-c)€ I loved Deb’s pig story, though in the end I wasn’t sure if she was pulling our leg. Happy Tuesday, everyone! :-c)€

  78. Delightful, smooth, informative, light. Like Debbie's column!

  79. No chipmunk sounds? Sister also got a pot bellied big that was really a big pig. The pig lived in her backyard for years. The pigs great joy was having its back scratched with a garden rake. Fellow psychologist also trained animals, one being Arnold (or the Arnolds) of Green Acres fame. On another note: Tron was made with the aide of a super computer, a Cray if I am not mistaken. Zippy Tuesday

  80. The T crossing MUFTI/ROTI laid my solve to ruin. MUFTI schmufti! ‘Tis times like these that bring out the “Animal Instinct” in me. The Cranberries ease my angst. https://youtu.be/Djq1boK0LF8 From Dr. Doolittle, Tommy Tune ponders the theme while afloat in the ‘05 Macy’s parade. Don’t miss the jowly cameo of Knotty the bloodhound. DL’s darling Panda is also on the ride along. https://youtu.be/Pmn_j5gwwUI THWARTedly, Bru

  81. @brutus So, that cross made you BARKing mad?

  82. @brutus To each his/her own - - I guess. If those lyrics were typical of The Cranberries’ offerings, I think I know why I never heard of them before bipping out to your link. Their SOUND was captivating - - but the LYRICS?!?!? And another problem? You could actually understand the lead singer.😜

  83. @brutus I was in the same position. I solve on paper, and at times like this, I make my best guess (this time I was right), look up the answer when I’m all done, and chalk up a new TIL (or two). :-c)€

  84. (From Today's Theme) Mrs. Chung and Mr. Ni offer us a set of four seemingly disparate entries that each have four shaded squares. Deb, I'm all for people using whatever descriptors and pronouns they wish, and I understand our constructors are married (to each other), but doesn't Amanda go by *Ms.* Chung?

  85. [Thanks, Deb]

  86. Re animal onomatopoeia: I love that in different languages the "dog bark" is varied, but always twice the same word: woof woof, guau guau in spanish, uau uau in portuguese, wan wan in japonese and -how clever these romanian dogs- ham ham.....

  87. I had never heard the word MUFTI, so after solving the grid, I gave it a Google. Wow. That word is *nasty*. It's one non-nasty definition (as clued) is not worth using the word for. I'm serious. If you don't embarrass easily, Google it, and look at the definitions in Urban Dictionary. I warn you though, it's a really nasty word.

  88. @Steve Faiella I only saw one nasty definition in Urban Dictionary, and honestly that one sounds like a joke to me - how many people would ever refer to that situation/activity at all, much less with a single word and expect to be understood?

  89. @Steve Faiella - almost all of Urban Dictionary is stuff made up by people to offend or shock - it has long been hijacked by such. I wouldn't trust it for much. Mufti, meanwhile, is a word that was borrowed from the Arabic by British colonials, and used steadily through the 20th c., especially in Britain, to mean, "out of uniform", "in street clothes". When the Reverend is spotted at a cookout in shorts and a polo shirt; when the General is seen dressed for sailing; that's (in) mufti. If you read Brit lit, or watch British films, you will have met the "non-nasty" (i.e., real) word "mufti."

  90. Steve, I never heard MUFTI in the U.S. Army, but it was a gimme for me from David's cited sources.

  91. This puzzle felt like a party from my college days, with FACEPAINT and TATTOOINK, KINGTUT, and the 3 STOOGEs. And the assigned reading for my lit class is up there at 2D. I'll get to it later.

  92. This male, unneutered pig enjoyed the puzzle: neither sloppy nor boaring!

  93. This puzzle had me at PETSOUNDS. Please enjoy "God Only Knows" while reading the comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkPy18xW1j8 OVERHIT crossing UPSHOT is funny. And something I would do. Nothing more to say about this puzzle except that I absolutely loved it because I will pull out my CD and revel in the music of this amazing album. Thank you, Amanda and Karl. (Your baby is adorable!)

  94. @Johanna Pooch adorable too. WOOF.

  95. I once OVERHIT a green. This was such a rare occurrence that it stands out in my memory. (If the last thing you want in your life right now is an @Nancy golf story, I'm giving you fair warning: FORE!!!!) Back in the days when there were caddies at golf courses and I had one, I had been hacking my way around the golf course -- topping most of my tee shots, slicing most of my fairway woods, and taking the world's largest divots out of the grass with my short irons. (I had seldom tried to hit any iron longer than a 7-iron, which is one of the points of the story.) We come to a hole with a water hazard right behind the green. I'm on the fairway, I don't know how far from the hole. The caddie pulls out a 6-iron. I had never hit a 6-iron. I took it and swung and THAR it sailed, straight and true, much, much farther than any of my tee shots or fairway woods hit that day. Over the green it sailed, straight and true and, kerplop, into the water. I was assessed a (1-stroke?, 2-stroke? don't remember) penalty on the very best golf shot I had or have ever hit in my life. I was aghast. "You overclubbed me," I said to the caddie. "Why did you overclub me???" Without missing a beat, the caddie, a grizzled-looking veteran, replied: "I'm so sorry. I didn't know you were going to hit it that well."

  96. @Nancy Didn't understand a word of your story, but it answered the question I was going to ask about whether OVERHIT is an actual word used by actual golfers. Do I infer correctly from your comment that golf courses no longer have caddies?

  97. @Deadline Private golf clubs - usually caddies are still available (I never play them but that’s what I hear). “Nice” public golf courses - no caddies, but carts usually have GPS to tell you how far you are from the green, and there are well-marked signposts indicating 100, 150, and 200 yards from the green. The people’s golf courses (often referred to as “munis” but they also show up in rural areas, often where corn fields once stood) - the only Caddies are in the parking lot (usually late model) and the only carts run as smoothly as a VW Bug with a blown head gasket. Ask in the “pro shop” about GPS and wait for the laughter.

  98. @Puzzlemucker How times have changed. I caddied at a local private club as a teenager. We carried two bags, and made $8-$10 for a 4-hour 18-hole round. The club also required caddies to serve players using motorized carts. That was easier, but required a bit of trotting to keep up with the carts. We always preferred to caddy for the better golfers, who kept the balls on the fairway. Less time spent searching for balls hit into the deep rough and trees. The better golfers were usually better tippers too. I also played at the local municipal course. We either carried our bags or used rental pull carts. No GPS (not yet invented) and no yardage markers on either course. The players at the private club would often ask our advice on distance and club selection. Made us feel like professional caddies like those at the Masters and other tournaments. Seeing the middle-aged men in the caddy shack, who had limited education and skills, really reinforced my intention to get a college education. I was happy to have learned that lesson.

  99. That pig story! 🤣

  100. LETTER BOXED H-B(5) B-G(10) Would never have thought of the 10 letter without having found the 5 letter wearing apparel first. Although I am 95% sure the 2nd word was a solution one other time in recent months

  101. Me too. I held off, wondering if the combination was too provocative. I have been trying to find an alternative, to no avail.

  102. @ColoradoZ same. was working with the Z and got the first half of the 10 letter word. In my head, I had transposed the i and j in the first word and couldn't figure out why it wasn't being accepted.

  103. @ColoradoZ For me, I had the first word early in the process. Then it took a good while before I got the first five letters of the second and headsmack time! Tough one today.

  104. Wow, more than a hundred Comments already! I have been doing the puzzles, just not making it to WordPlay. I am usually awake for a while in the night, so I go to the Wee Bee and, after I reach Genius Plus, I abandon ship. Once I have the solve on the puzzle (PuzzAzz for MTW puzzles) I never look back. This is because Packing and Sorting and Donating and Good-bye-ing are all ongoing... All projects are on Full Stop as I prepare to box up the sewing machines and stow all of the bobbins, feet, spools, knee-lifts, pins, and so forth. This week is probably the final harvest cutting for the asparagus bed. The iris are in bloom, the wee figs are beginning to swell, there are green buds on the echinacea....but I will not be here for the burgeoning display. Oh, the puzzle. though I do not think of pigs as pets, I am aware that there are farms where overgrown and abandoned pigs are taken in...and I imagine there are more stories out there about why, but Deb! their telling can't hold a candle to your account! LOL It's the DHubby's birthday, so I will read him your tale as an extra present.

  105. I solved the puzzle in 23 minutes and 23 seconds on April 23. Coincidence? I think so!

  106. Ike Turner was a drug-addled wife beater, I don’t understand why your clues that reference him don’t include that information. Next time, go with “drug-addled wife-beating singer Turner.”

  107. Greg, Why even give him a mention in the puzzle? It's not like three letters instead of four is a clever misdirection. I'm fine with another "Presidential nickname" as the clue.

  108. Ike was known for a lot of things, but not as a singer. Aside from having an infamous personal life, he was most famous as a bandleader and composer and had a significant influence on the development of rock and roll and rhythm and blues. He was also a wicked guitarist. As far as I know, Ike was never a lead singer on any of the many hit songs with which he was associated.

  109. @Greg - I'd still argue for "last honest Republican President."...

  110. Trying this one again... Is anyone else finding that "NYT Replies" is once again the default setting for the Comments?

  111. I just noticed that too, Barry.

  112. Yup, but not earlier today.

  113. (Not earlier for me either.)

  114. Any puzzle with TINTIN and PET SOUNDS is okay with me.

  115. Scrolled over lots of the earlier comments and couldn’t help thinking that it’s probably impossible to get a lobster into this. Do they make any noises? Probably not, or we wouldn’t be so okay with boiling them.

  116. Freeze before boiling- less pain !

  117. My wheelhouse! (Doghouse? Cathouse in a literal sense?) As Wordplay regulars of any duration probably know, I am an animal lover. A home without PETs? Unthinkable. Is the PET SOUND rendered at 49A as HISS a reference to a pet snake or to a second pet cat? Or to the same cat that MEOWed at 17A who is annoyed at being ignored? Had trouble remembering FIONA's name, although I actually did see "Shrek" on the TV (though they were just courting at the time). This was a delightful puzzle, that set my tail to wagging and started me purring contentedly. Thanks to all concerned.

  118. @Deadline - I debated on entering this recollection, but your post evokes it for me. Most of my siblings and I had little gnawers for pets, each to their own: me (hamsters), little brother (guinea pigs), little sister (rabbits), etc. but my big brother kept mice and rats solely for feeding to his snakes, of which he had more than one or two. He also kept lizards. One day, my grandmother was in the upstairs bathroom, where my mother had added an exterior greenhouse in the window, very elegant and filled with the kinds of plants my mother and grandmother liked - cacti, orchids, succulents. There were also little ornaments and gewgaws on the shelves. My grandmother exclaimed, "Oh, look at this one, it's so lovely," as she reached out to pick up a bejeweled gewgaw in the shape of what turned out to be a living jeweled lizard that had escaped its cage. It moved. It was quite some time before my grandmother re-entered our house. She insisted on a full accounting of my big brother's pets before she would come in, and then, only warily.

  119. @David Connell I love the image! The one of grandma and the pretty lizard, that is, not the one of the poor little mice and rats being fed to the snake. I can't get too exercised about that though. The little rodents and the snake are both parts of the food chains. So am I, and the animals whose flesh I consume.

  120. Today, I learned the word "gewgaw"

  121. Easy and fun puzzle. I loved revisiting the video of Steve Martin doing the King Tut song!

  122. @Shari Coats Me too.

  123. Fun, Tueseday PR for me. Took a rock and roll history class in college and distinctly remember my professor talking about how incredible Pet Sounds and Brian Wilson were and how they changed the face of music. Amanda and Karl have given us quite the fun soundtrack for our day.

  124. TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains highly opinionated comments about the c-word. Thank you for the non-cat picture. I was worried when I hit the first pet sounds that it would be all cats. I don't do well with cats. Ever since they stopped making lacrosse sticks with catgut, I haven't been able to justify their continued existence.

  125. Robert, “I don’t do well with cats.” is an understatement, then.

  126. Uh oh.

  127. @Robert Michael Panoff HISSSSSSSS! Deb, I suggest you punish him appropriately -- lifetime banishment from pictures of cute dogs, and even otters!

  128. Cute theme! Very enjoyable.

  129. Is anyone else finding that the Comments are defaulting to "NYT Replies" again?

  130. I just received an *email* letting me know that this comment -- which didn't post three hours ago, so I sent in a replacement that did post -- had posted. What's on second?

  131. @Barry Ancona You got a notification email????!!!!! Okay, it was late. And wrong. But you got one. Maybe there's hope for the rest of us!

  132. Deadline, Between immediate posting but no email and three hour delayed posting with an email, I'll take the former. You?

  133. Pretty easy Tuesday puzzle. Would have been “one pass and done” - - - except that I’ve never heard of TIN TIN, (except as part of RIN TIN TIN) and nothing about “The Addams Family” is stored in my memory banks so ITT wouldn’t come either. Finally was reduced to guessing. “Singer Turner” wasn’t a tricky clue at all. They were originally billed as “Ike AND Tina Turner” - - but he wasn’t all that much of a singer - - - and she had better legs!!!

  134. Spelling Bee is no fun! Today's puzzle - P, O, U, L, T, R, Y -- didn't allow rolly, yuppy, or rolypoly. :(

  135. @M Hi M! We're trying to corral all the Spelling Bee comments on one thread--earlier on, see the grid--and not telling any of the day's answers, since people work on it throughout the day. Thanks!

  136. @M - eek! What Liz said. If I hadn't finished the puzzle, I'd be even more upset to see that post!

  137. @David C, allow 'M'e to suggest that one 'M'eek, paltry little spoiler accident isn't enough to get upset about. Catch you in the BeeLine. [grin]

  138. Yesterday around this time, I noted that there were only 133 comments so far, seemingly pretty low for a day without (as far as I knew) technical issues. By comparison, there are 195 comments today. I suggested was that yesterday’s puzzle wasn’t especially interesting; not a bad puzzle, but just not containing much to discuss. It was suggested to me that if I just gave it a bit more thought, I could find another reason or reasons (implied: more obvious) for the dearth of comments. Twenty-four hours have gone by, and I got nothing. Maybe I’m dense. Any theories?

  139. @Steve L I had thought of Easter Monday, the end of a long weekend up here. Not sure how that affects the comments however.

  140. @Steve A few undirected comments. I suspect you are far from dense. Buoyant, even. I find observations about things that might not line up captivating - and I did notice the exchange you mention. I wondered myself if many school-age kids were out for the week, and that might be a partial explanation. But I could also buy into a general theory of correlation - engaging puzzle equals more comments. Finally, written verse is a blunt instrument. Don’t read too much into someone else’s words. My two cents.

  141. @Andrew and Kevin Americans rarely have Easter Monday off. In fact, here, Easter a Monday is barely a thing. Kids are off school in some places, including NYC, but hardly enough to make a serious impact. And a lot of our commenters are older than that. Still wondering.

  142. I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle today. The only entry that I found overly crosswordese-ish was that OOO. (Or was that a intentionally a meta-hint for what I would say when I discovered the theme?) Deb's story was the cherry on top!

  143. MUFTI nearly got me. Nearly. THWART is such a great word. I had a HAMSTER, actually two, when I was about 10. I accidentally let one loose in the house and my mom went nuts. We never found Uncle Bobby (the HAMSTER). I like to think he found his way out and became the rodent king of the neighborhood. ;-)

  144. @Deadline -- Maybe you'll see this and maybe you won't. I didn't see your query about caddies until just now. But I won't bury my answer under where you asked your question; then you REALLY won't find it! My brother lives on the golf course where The Travelers Tournament (that used to be called The Greater Hartford Open) is played. It's a private course and even they don't have caddies. Certainly public courses don't anymore. I like to walk, but I'm small and weak and no longer young and I HATE TO SCHLEP anything and certainly not a bagful of clubs. I don't drive a golf cart any better than I drive a car, and I don't drive a car. I don't WANT a golf cart, I want a bleepin' caddie. And they're nowhere to be found. (Which is one of the many, many reasons I became a tennis player and not a golfer.)

  145. @Nancy Thanks for replying (and in a neighborhood that I'm going to visit!). I've never played golf (except miniature, which is fun) and I've never been to a golf course. It never occurred to me that they don't have caddies anymore. Just a guess, but I'd be surprised if that wasn't just a way to get you to rent a golf cart. Actually, the only thing I know about the whole thing is that the First Golfer violates what is apparently accepted golf etiquette and drives his cart onto the green. (Also cheats, but I think that's a breach of more than etiquette.)