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Puzzles for July, 2022
with Jim Horne comments

Fri 7/1/2022
ATTAATEFORTWO
FLOWNPOLARBEAR
LEDINROLLAGAIN
ORIGAMIILLPTA
UTENACHOSPOET
REFIGOATNOTRE
DOCENTSSOD
RIDESHOTGUN
CATTHRONES
PSALMHAHAKEPT
RATEBEGETSDRE
ALTSAGLAUGHIN
YOUGOGIRLMEETS
DONOTIRONMELEE
ONEPOTATOASPS
Sat 7/2/2022
THESCREAMPATIO
HEXAHEDRASLASH
WALLABIESSINAI
ADONUTTATKIT
CIVETSGELBIDS
KNEWTURKANNO
GREATRECESSION
THISONE
NETFLIXSPECIAL
ORALGRAYPSAS
SEXYHATDRATCH
EATUSBFEEROE
ADIOSBALLERINA
REMAPICALLEDIT
TREKSTEXASTECH

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who is remapping his keyboard shortcuts.

Saturday puzzles ask you to dig up facts you may have forgotten (Rachel DRATCH left SNL in 2006), figure out terms at you that you may have never heard (NOSE ART?) ,or decipher what some non-English words might mean (Saya for a katana?)

But the pleasures of a Saturday puzzle can also derive from how common short words are clued. As the Inchworm song reminds us, two and two ARE (make) four. Here are some more that remind you that you're working on a late-week themeless:

  • SEC: Tick or tock
  • EAT: Verb whose past tense form is an anagram of its present tense
  • ACE: Game 1 starter, typically (oh, it's baseball!)

Then there are some less famous names:

  • ALI: Tony-winning actress Stroker
  • SAL: Comedian Vulcano of "Impractical Jokers"

And some misdirections:

  • USB: Port letters (not VSOP or some such)
  • HAT: Hi-___ (not RES)

ROE is clued carefully these days to avoid sensitive political associations. Fortunately, it's Saturday, so we can get away with "Tobiko or masago." (You got that one right away? Well, fine.)

A TANKINI combines a tank top and a bikini bottom. You get the modesty of a one-piece, but you don't have to remove your entire swimsuit to use the toilet.

Sun 7/3/2022 Expansion Pack
OSLOUNFITHELPBEAST
RHEANORAHETALELLIE
BOTTOMLINEACRECAPRA
SOSMETEOLDERBROTHER
GRATEDTASTYIMEASY
STEINETHNICONES
PUTTINGGREENANDSWAH
ATOZEAGERANTSAHME
NUNFALSETRUTHFLAIR
WHIRLPEORIALETGO
ASIANINCONTACTARSON
BUTTEVALUESNASTY
USHERAPARTSPOCKOAK
THISANEWBOOTHMULE
SITACTSCHARLEYHORSE
PSISALECTOITSON
ATARUNSMACKSCATHE
GIVINGTHANKSHULUCON
AMENDHANGTHIRDPARTY
TERCEUNDOAERIEREIN
ESTERSTARBETONETSY

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who is flitting here and there.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat...

I memorized that poem during my childhood Edward Lear phase so I was ready to slap the right color into 41-Across immediately. Only PEA-GREEN doesn't fit. PUTTING GREEN fits "Where golfers practice short strokes" from the set of random Notepad clues, but what does that have to do with either owls or pussycats?

Tom McCoy is one of the more creative constructors. Click his photo to see his Author Page, select any of his 34 other puzzles, and you're likely to think, "I've never seen a gimmick quite like that before." He's a deep thinker about math and words, which comes through in his themes. Watch his fascinating video in the notes to his previous puzzle.

In case today's theme didn't click for you, it's a homophone initialism puzzle. Read PUTTING GREEN as P GREEN, and it sounds right. CHARLEY HORSE (which fits "Leg cramp") becomes C HORSE which, when sounded out, fits "Fish with a prehensile tail."

In a sign of cruciverbal professionalism, his long Downs are fun too. LET'S GET ON WITH IT, and WHAT'S YOUR SECRET are outstanding.

FALSE TRUTH at 53/54 Across is an interesting phrase. I presume that's something like alternative facts?

They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

They don't write poems like that anymore.

Mon 7/4/2022
YSLFREAKSWAM
ATEBANTAMMERE
PASSINGTHETORCH
ARLOALOEGEL
TRIPLECROWNHIC
YESIDOSTOOGE
LESSIMHO
ASPIRINTABLET
BTUSLETO
OBRIENROYALS
TOETOWNANDGOWN
THATTOOERAS
STATUEOFLIBERTY
KONASLEEVEIAN
IMDBFETEDETC
POW Tue 7/5/2022
LAPSSALADMINE
EXITIMAGEEMIR
ALSOLADENRONA
FEARLESSMAGNET
YENSBABE
GRABATVARYRED
ROLOBLANKSPACE
ACTORELFSUDAN
SHAKEITOFFTORT
PERDOORROUNDS
SOWNHEAP
BROWSEDEARJOHN
YURIYOINKOBOE
OLAFOUNCEBIAS
BELTURGEDSEXT
Wed 7/6/2022
JACKBRAGAALPS
ACHERERANWAIL
BEANIEBABYMICE
SSNTRIPCARAD
CPARAYBAN
PRELLTHEUNAPP
ROSASHOWBOATER
UGANDALENTTO
DERBYHORSETREX
ERESINAITEARY
SOBERSESC
OFTENETASTAD
NOSEMAGICTRICK
TRAYAGENTEVEN
OKRADOMESVERY
Thu 7/7/2022
ABRABARBSOFFS
BROTINUREWRIT
YOUONLYLIVELIVE
SIGNALEDENVET
SLEEPYERATO
DEBTSSCOLDS
ASPOAKSTROUT
BLINDBLINDSTUDY
LASERITOOSEX
EMCEESSTOAT
ORATEFLIMSY
ELSMATHUPTAKE
GOODYSHOESSHOES
GLUEINUSEERIE
YARNSORTSDINS
Fri 7/8/2022
STATUSQUOINTOW
LEMONCURDNUHUH
ITSTOOBADERATO
DOTETINSSTIRS
NEMOTUMSULAN
LINTSAYGRACE
CROPKLEENEX
MIRAGAEVADDT
AREAMAPRARE
GODSPEEDNUMB
INTODRUBPOLS
CRICKWAIFTOTE
AUDIOARTEDITOR
CLEANSTOLENCAR
TESLAPENLIGHTS
Sat 7/9/2022
CHICACRAFTBREW
LAGOSLUNARYEAR
ABORTABOMINATE
RATSOMADEMAGIC
INTERACTEDTANK
NEATLAOSLUNGS
ERGELKSDOR
TOOTSIEBONEASH
APEGONGREI
SITBYBADEDIAZ
OVALZAZIEBEETZ
LATEMODELINTRO
INATANGLECOTAN
DEMOREELSEVADE
SKIPASSESPOSER

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is washing down his Rhode Island CLAM CAKE with a DRAFT BREW.

Not knowing either ZAZIE BEETZ or Ċ½eljko IVANEK made this puzzle challenging for me. But now I know. Two extraordinary actors.

Crossword clues always allow a certain flexibility. "Flexible musical tempos" will consternate purists who insist that "tempos" should be "tempi." It's Italian, after all. But that allows the answer RUBATOS to be similarly non-snooty. I mean, it's the common way many musicians speak.

On the other hand, ask any singer what "Voi, che sapete" is, and they'll tell you it's an ARIA from Marriage of Figaro. Is it really an ARIETTA (a small aria)? Well, technically. Maybe. I suppose. This precision is the opposite of RUBATOS fuzziness. All's fair on Saturday. You may already know this tune, even if you don't recognize the name. If not, Cecilia Bartoli is the perfect singer to introduce you.

Constructor Kevin G. Der knows more about both music and the world than I do, but it was fun to remember that the Plain of Jars is in LAOS, and learn that Nollywood is Nigerian. 2,500 films a year! Lagos isn't the capital, but it's the largest city in that country.

What is the "Business of the Dutch East India Company"? I know this one! It's got to be something about spices or coffee or sugarcane. Oh, it's SEA TRADE. Generic, but ok. It's Saturday.

HIZZONER? Huh? From Political Dictionary: "William Safire has said that the term was first popularized during the mayoralty of Fiorello LaGuardia; LaGuardia, as Safire says, was definitely not a formal figure, so a nickname which played with his office's formal title sat well with him."

Oh, here's one I know for sure. Holden Caulfield's brother is, uh, D.B. something, right? Not right. He had another brother ALLIE who died before the story even started. Did I mention it's Saturday?

PS for Pool Side: Stripes and SOLIDS are the two sides in the game of pool.

Sun 7/10/2022 Movin' On Up
ROFLAWEDTREATTEMPT
OURSCALERASTAANAIS
STUDFARMSAZTECBRINK
ARILIMITSEEOOLONGS
OTHOURIAHREBRAND
BASPANICBADRIP
TEARSATEDAMBROUHAHA
ARTDECODENIMOCTAGON
DOORSTOPSOLEMNELOPE
SSNSNUGNATOCRONES
STURIBNOTHIS
CATNAPGARBOHHIWAS
ARIALSENIORSENDHELP
RESPECTTAXEDAURELIA
LATESHOWRITARAILCAR
ASHIRANIGHTFLO
EVILEYEGENUSTOMB
HASIDICAWLAMUSEEAU
OREOSOHGEEBARCRAWLS
SCALAUBERSINGACASE
ESSAYPORESTEEDEGAD

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is ROFL.

Sunday NYT puzzles have titles. (With rare exceptions, other days do not.) Sometimes the title gives away the trick, and for that reason, many solvers avert their eyes. Today, I was able to guess the gimmick from the title alone. Fortunately, I guessed wrong, and the real trick is more fun than just shifting ON within a word. Here's how it works:

  • In the bottom half of the grid, common phrases have their terminal ONs expurgated.
  • Following Conservation laws, those ONs have to go somewhere. They float up to the ends of the answers immediately above.

These theme types work best when the modifications completely change the meaning of the base text, and that's where this puzzle shines. 3-Down transmogrifies BAT to BATON. That ON was stolen from SEASON in the answer below. Oh, Cap'n, 'TIS THE SEAS is the perfect answer to "Why art thou queasy?"

Entertaining themes only get you so far on a big Sunday crossword. You also need a sprinkling of outstanding clues.

  • "God whose name sounds like the ammunition he uses" is Eros (aka, Cupid) whose ammunition (!) is ARROWS. Do they sound the same? Very close!
  • "Takes a car, in a way." In a way gets us thinking that this must be either something about REPO or maybe GRAND THEFT AUTO. Wrong. When one UBERS, one takes a car. I love clues that I know I could never have thought up.

This is the second recent puzzle where a word got transformed into COUP. Perhaps the next one will run on January 6.

POW Mon 7/11/2022
CASHIMPSOSCAR
OHIONEATNAOMI
DARTSEGARURAL
WHITEKNUCKLE
ILIADREUSE
MARREDTHRASH
BLUEPRINTSSHE
EARSOARSTAR
ATEGREENTHUMB
DELETESPRITE
GRASPROPED
FINGERPAINTS
ARENAANTELACE
TAROTSKEWOVAL
SNOGSMOMSGERM
Tue 7/12/2022
ALDADAYECCO
LOINGENOAGROK
TWENTYFOURHOURS
IFCONEDIMEMSU
MAULSRENAMBER
ATTACKATASTE
CAINACHY
SPRYDOFOROTTO
LIEDIANEOHH
CEDARRAESTRUM
DALAIPLOTS
LIMOSMIAMI
SLEEPWAKECYCLES
HORNARESOALMA
EATSNIGHTTAUT
Wed 7/13/2022
BITEPABLOOAKS
EDENEQUALBRAN
ALASGUSSYAGRI
DEMURALASMELT
JEANVALJEAN
LGAMAINLOTTAM
PACTSTEERRIDE
GLORIAGAYNOR
ALBUSPENCEASE
LIPSYNC
RENEDESCARTES
POPEYEYAHWEH
IDOSANNESRILE
NEXTTIARAONME
TOYSELWAYEGAD

By now, the world is so full of published crossword themes that it's tough to innovate. Today's theme is original and clever, and ending with the dynamic duo of Popeye and God makes it funny too. Bravo.

Thu 7/14/2022
TADBASICRINK
USERERIKAICON
RACEAFTERSOAVE
OHOHOHALENAW
WIREMESHONIT
MARCOMADNESS
DONNOONANOVAL
EMOJIPORMNEME
ANNOSERAPENEW
FIRESIDECOAT
ALOTEARDRUMS
INNACETEARAT
PODPROGRAMNICE
AMORMOCHAKAHN
DEMOSTAINH2O

This is the seventh time H2O has appeared in an NYT grid.

The first was in 1964.

Fri 7/15/2022
DUETFRAYMMA
INLAWPROMOTION
STEPHRESCUEDOG
SOCIALITERAGER
TOTEMSCOMEDY
PRICESTUTU
RIVALTOOTHPICK
AGESLURPEENAE
MASSEUSESRETRY
LINKARCHES
PUPUSADOCILE
ONEILBOWLGAMES
SPACETIMEHIALL
TIREFIRESTRIBE
SNLTODDSLAW
Sat 7/16/2022
SPECSAYCAP
WOMANCALAMARI
ILOSESOLOPARTS
METHUSELAHDEFT
DEAROLDDADBIO
DWARVESODELL
ALTERNGRAMS
BARNESLASERS
BANDEDTESLA
ATESTHOTCOMB
RPMSTARTABLOG
SHOPHYPERBOLIC
TONECOLOREVENS
ONEACTERRERUN
WESSHYROPY

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is auditioning for a solo part in "The Nutcracker."

When I saw the clue "Words on a jacket" at 22-Across, I had a horrible flashback which, of course, I now share with you:

Late-week themeless solving requires constant questioning of your assumptions. You'll find a BIO on a book jacket. (Kindle users can look up "book jacket" on the Internet. It used to be a thing.)

I should have guessed it had nothing to do with that former model. Kameron Austin Collins is a conscientious constructor who wants entries that reflect his personality, his experiences, his taste, his values. Crosswords is a game but, for better or worse, it's seen by many as outlining which areas of knowledge are important, and even what might be worthy of celebration. Crosswords should be Funshine, not yucky.

Well, DOG SLOBBER is yucky, but affectionate yucky. DEAR OLD DAD, DREAM LOVER, and CARE BEARS contribute more warmth. THOTH looks creepy, but I'm sure he was a swell guy. Er, God.

  • "Emergency device in DC" refers to DC Comics or now, the DC Extended Universe.
  • "Salome" is the go-to play or opera for "one-act", just like Beethoven's 6th is the de facto crossword clue for IN F.
  • 1-Across reminds me of that jokey answer to Lewis Carroll's "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" Because Poe wrote on both. DESK fit "something you might write on" but not for long.
  • Crossword constructors often consult Google NGRAMS to determine the popularity or relative usage frequencies of words or phrases. Here's one comparing METHUSELAH, Oscar Wilde, and Salome.
Sun 7/17/2022 It's All On the Table
AMARETTILOCHSLABS
VENETIANREPAIRAISLE
QANNESLAEMERGEGETAC
GUTAESOPNETRKEVENT
AAASROASTHAMRKO
HILTINHASTENERDIER
INSOMNIATABUDOEST
INTURNTYRAYAKS
ASPENSLOETDSBAR
MARAUDSMITTUTILPEP
PLOTTEDPLABOINFLAME
SEWELANSSEASSLAVIC
WHITEQRHEAUBERS
FORAASHESUNUPS
EVENSTSARSNLHOSTS
BRENDANSUBSETSPURE
AGRMORTIMEREPEE
SURFATSIONLOUISNRA
ISAACIDIGITSMOKJETS
LOTTARELICSESTEEMED
SNEERRENEROUNDERS

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who knows when to hold 'em, & etc.

I think I understand this one.

Step one is to figure out there's a rebus trick going on related to playing cards. Each rebus square has two parts corresponding to the value and suit of a card. The Across answers define the value (TEN, QUEEN, etc.) and the Down answers define the suit (CLUB, HEART, etc.)

For example, 1-Down and 8-Down will use the suits. 1-Down [Pop culture sister site of The Onion] refers to the web site AV CLUB, and 8-Down [Aplenty] means IN SPADES.

But 22-Across will use the values, so [Plant with clusters of tiny white flowers] is QUEEN ANNE'S LACE.

The square at the start of 22-Across will be QUEEN reading across and CLUB reading down, so the card is the Queen of Clubs. Similarly, at the end of 22-Across, it reads ACE going across and SPADE going down, so the card is the Ace of Spades.

Look at the grid. It explains this better than I can.

In Texas hold 'em, each player is dealt two cards face down, and then (eventually) five more cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. (The detailed rules and terminology aren't important for this puzzle.)

The four Across answers near the top and bottom with two cards each represent hands dealt to four players sitting around a table. The top-left player has a Queen and an Ace. Combining with the center cards nets a pair of each. Two pair isn't bad.

The top-right player has a Two of Hearts and a King of Clubs. Not much going on here.

The bottom-left has an Ace of Clubs and a 10 of Spades. With the center cards, this player gets a Full House — two Aces and three 10s. Great hand.

Unfortunately for the others, the bottom-right player has a Jack and King of Hearts. Combining those with a 10, Queen, and Ace of Hearts from the center cards makes a Royal Flush — the best possible hand.

Over the years, there have been many attempts to combine crosswords with games like Chess or Pool or Clue or even Bowling. I admire the audacity of this attempt to combine with Poker. It's a lot of work to figure out that some random squares represent playing cards. Let's hope you love card games.

UPDATE: We've been asked how to enter the rebus values into the grids. We're not the NYT but I took a look at what their code accepts. For the Queen of Clubs, you can enter any of these options: "QUEEN", "QUEENOFCLUBS", "Q", "CLUB", "C", "QUEEN/CLUB", "CLUB/QUEEN", "Q/C", or "C/Q". The easiest would just be either Q or C, both of which work.

Mon 7/18/2022
HARSHGALARAZZ
ELOPEARIASALOE
ATSIXESANDSEVENS
POETMINTYRESET
TATABAAS
EDGARNADIRSPDT
BRAKESGURUCARA
BYLEAPSANDBOUNDS
ELLSOTISAMPERE
DYSGRANTSNHLER
BOERCLIO
CAIROGOOEYLULU
ONPINSANDNEEDLES
ATOMOZZIEGENIE
LIDSBEENGRASS

I know what you're thinking: "Jim, is there any way that, without doing any programming, I can use the OneLook search button on the XWord Info Finder to discover more phrases that match Jeff's ?? X AND Y pattern?"

Your instinct to try the OneLook button is dead on. The standard Search button knows a lot about words but doesn't understand phrases. That is, it doesn't know where words break. The best you can do is ??*AND* which, if you'll click there to see, produces mostly crap.

OneLook search words better for this task. Click the query ?? * AND * (notice the spaces) which means start with a two-letter word, follow that up with anything, then the space-delimited word AND, and then something else.

The search does find all three of today's theme answers. Other interesting results include IN DRIBS AND DRABS, OF MICE AND MEN, IN BLACK AND WHITE, IN FITS AND STARTS, IS PART AND PARCEL, AT BECK AND CALL, TO CUT AND RUN. Not all great, but they demonstrate when our OneLook search can be handy.

Most constructors will never care about these details, but for some of us, WE LIVE AND LEARN.

Tue 7/19/2022
SCAMPIAHABACER
OLDIESLOCIIONE
FOOTTHEBILLROLL
ACRETEESKUBLAI
SKAFACETHEMUSIC
TSARIAMB
ARIALREIGNBRAY
SHOULDERTHEBLAME
HONEOUSTSAEGIS
RAGSARSE
BACKTHEFIELDQBS
OPORTOLSATFUEL
LIMATOESTHELINE
TABUESAUEMOTED
SNOTLOSEATESTS
Wed 7/20/2022
ZITIMALTILIAD
OPENUBERVISTA
DOCCOMEDYALUMS
SHRUBSONKP
IRAUSCIPSO
MISSINGTHEMOCK
LOCIOHARASOB
IRESIGNFERNERY
MRIDECAFISEE
PICKACODANYCOD
SEERKMSUAE
BOZOSAYSHI
OMANILOANSHOCK
ROBOTEPICOREO
ABYSSWILETATS
Thu 7/21/2022
PCTCOBPOLISCI
OOHADOEVENPAR
OMICRONRATFINK
HIGHPROFHADES
CHIBIGGAME
SCHOLARLYREV
HAVETOEREMAI
OCELOTSRELEASE
LETPOINOTNEW
DROPDOWNMENU
PARTNERDOC
STORYSTORECRE
HAWKISHONESEED
ATEINTOACEAMI
DARTGUNDEFNET

Cluing ETUDES as "Certain warm-up exercises" is one of my pet crossword peeves. Anyone else? Calm down, Jim. It's only a game!

Fri 7/22/2022
RAWRRICEEAST
ALOELEMONSAUCE
YARDITSDOORDIE
KHAKITRIOS
WHOOPEECUSHION
HEFTEDASPEN
AMASSBRAINGAME
MARSLAINHOP
ONTHETOWNSHOTS
OSAKAPLAYTO
WHITNEYHOUSTON
BRASHOPRAH
LISTENTOMEFETA
UTTERBORESIRAN
REEDAYESTEXT

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is out for a quick drive, informally.

David Steinberg is a young man with a passion for both crossword history and for advancing the artform. You may know that he led The Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project, which is the only reason we have digital versions of pre-1993 NYT crosswords. You might not know that it's an ongoing concern. We get regular reports from users who spot bugs. An amazing woman named Jane Foley has found hundreds of mistakes, and she's but one of many who continue to contribute. Each error is then carefully researched by David before being updated here. It's a huge job, all for the benefit of getting history right.

Does WHOOPEE CUSHION advance the artform? Pre-Shortz editors would never have used it, but admit it, you smiled. And, yes, David passed a FART right underneath. Kids nowadays.

What are some "things people do in bars"? Do they RAWR to express appreciation for someone's level of sexual attraction? I wouldn't know, but what they do do is SHOTS.

Maybe they're looking for "Latin lovers"? Imagine their surprise when they end up going home with POPES. I hear the bedrooms at the Vatican are RAWR.

Sat 7/23/2022
EDWARDIRAWDEAL
NARWHALEMIRATE
AMIRITEPANETTA
MANANAOGDEN
EGGTOSSDARINS
LEESCOTILLARD
SSRWILEYPOST
CHEFSKISS
PHONELINENIB
LOGICGATECOCA
SETSEESSHAPED
UNFITKABOBS
GNASHEDMISSILE
AIRTAXIRETINUE
REMOTESTROTTED

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who will be back mañana.

John Lieb is the co-director (along with Andrew Kingsley) of the Boswords crossword tournament.

Boswords has only been going on for a few years, but it has quickly become one of the most important tournaments in the game. Like Lollapuzzoola (August 27) or ACPT (next March 31 to April 2), they have great puzzles from excellent constructors, but they stand out by having several tournaments a year and for absolutely nailing the online experience. This year you can participate virtually or in person, alone or in pairs. The summer tournament is tomorrow, July 24. Not sure if you should jump in? Go for it!

We have alternating current at our electrical sockets today because TESLA outmaneuvered Edison, who advocated for direct current. The consequences have shaped how electronics work ever since.

Marion COTILLARD is an outstanding talent with equal success in both her native French and in English. Keep an eye on her. DAR es Salaam (or just DAR) is the largest city in Tanzania. LEES is an old word for the sediment at the bottom of a wine barrel.

Slang in crosswords is controversial, AM I RITE? I'm not sure how I feel about that one.

POW Sun 7/24/2022 Going Somewhere?
ACRESAMIDTSAESS
PROMOBASEAHIVEEPS
HEROWORSHIPPEREGRETS
IDSSPASESAFRETNOT
DOCKIMPUGNFRAGRANCE
HOESIMONSOIRSKA
TRACERKARYNDREAYSL
BICHROMEGLOBEEVAL
ASHICESEADOONERVE
RECECLATNERDTRIALS
AERODROMEARSEANKH
FORKSULUTIERDISH
YODELSBEFITVERONA
IFSETHANFROMEAYEAYE
BEAUALEACEVIV
IMPOSTERSYNDROMEZEKE
TEACHSUMOGUYTONER
STLEODAWDLESPROUST
ALLROADSLEADTOROME
TILERSHEADELOPE
DISCSDRYREFER
Mon 7/25/2022
SALSACARBSLIL
AROARALERTONO
BIRDSOFPREYLBS
REEFERHUABLOT
ELSAGRANDPRIX
CASHBOOP
TIBETYETISODD
IDIDNTMEANTOPRY
POTOVERTENSUE
TRODACRE
TENNISPROBLAH
SARANEOROYALE
THEANNIEPROULX
EONJESSEINDIE
WEDAREELTEENS
POW Tue 7/26/2022
ALTOWNBASNORT
WOOLHOEDLONER
HARDCIDERARESO
INSERTITTVIN
LEONAWIFEHOOD
ERSPRINTMEDIUM
SENDPRICES
APRSLOUPENEST
COOKIELISA
EASYTARGETSPJS
CHEESIERKARAT
AHAREFHELENA
LEMMAFRIEDEGGS
ORBITLAVAUGLI
USONEEYEDTOYS
Wed 7/27/2022
TRAPSWEBSNOGO
ONTOPEDITAPED
TAMPAAGRAGENY
SCAREDYPANTS
CITIESANAIS
BLACKHATETOILE
SKOLTREATREY
EMPTYSUIT
MSGOMNIAIDES
ELECTSTURNCOAT
SINAIBAKERY
STUFFEDSHIRT
ATITTAPANORSE
GENACRUZICEUP
EDENHEREAKIRA
Thu 7/28/2022
ANTICADOHOMER
DIANAPORABOVE
UNRIGRHAPSODIC
BESTIRTOHEEL
ARINEAREST
AGAVEHAVEN
BOSCDONEGADOT
BRITSITKALANE
CARIBDOINOMEN
LIVERUNGER
DARTGUNASS
TECHIESALLOW
CANOODLEDMILNE
ALONGIDOEMAIL
DESKSCUTLOYAL
Fri 7/29/2022
ATARIBEESCAB
BASICCABLEBOLO
ITSMEAGAINAMIE
TATSROYCAREER
HALFTAMRON
ISPOKETOOSOON
DELTARAGESDDS
EROSPITASPORK
AFTBICEPNOWAY
DRINKSAREONME
SEENASROTH
DIVESTATLPLOP
ANISAPRILFOOLS
MACESHOESTORES
PIESIDSCHEST

Attend the tale of Titus Andronicus.

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is unsuccessfully skipping stones. I'm excited (well, excited and scared) to credit Robyn Weintraub for including one of my favorite crossword gimmicks. NYT headline writers are famous for little in-jokes that might include, say, an innocuous near-quote from a musical. They do this knowing only a percentage of the readers will notice but those that do will get a jolt of joy.

Today at 58-Across, we're asked to remember an obscure Shakespearean gastronomic detail. Well, the detail isn't obscure, it's the climax of the story, but the gory play itself is seldom performed and is considered bottom-shelf Bard. The PIES in question are more Mrs. Lovett than Sara Lee. As Lavinia cleans off her plate, she learns that her murdered sons were baked into that tasty meat pie. Yuck, right? But also (maybe) hey, I knew that!

A more familiar gimmick is the fake sex reference. You knew "Fun times between the sheets" wasn't going to be naughty, but it's an example of the general category of clues that foil your first assumption. "Hall of fame collaborator" has nothing to do with The Hall of Fame. Pay attention to those capital letters! "Lead-in to street name" has nothing to do with names of streets. Slang is fair game. "It looks better with curls" has nothing to do with your own beautiful locks.

Many people assume RIM SHOT (4-Down) is some percussion "flourish" that involves a quick ta-da-dum and a cymbal crash. This is wrong. It's a single shot with a drumstick that hits the rim and the head of a snare drum simultaneously. I don't know where that other notion comes from. (If the drummer repeats a rim shot, is there a repercussion?)

Leviticus 11 does indeed prohibit eating PORK (37-Across), but that barely scratches the surface of what you are enjoined to not just avoid but even detest. It is fascinating reading. If you're a biblical textualist, you have your work cut out for you.

Sat 7/30/2022
CUREALLSISPOSE
OPENSEATFLIPON
STAYSANESINEAD
MOMADAMSDORKS
OPSFBIWHITE
MIALIONTRU
ISTILLDONTGETIT
THREELEGGEDRACE
COUNTONESLOSSES
HOEMOOSCOT
FLINTBARMEL
CRAIGEELSMENU
HELLNOGUIDEDOG
EASTONONNOTICE
FRESNOSTOMACHS

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is hawking CURE-ALLS at a medicine show.

Let's talk ASS. That convenient word has a long history in crosswords, usually referring to a beast of burden or a despicable person — "Jenny", "Jack", or "Jerk". Today it's an intensifier as in, "this is a good ass puzzle." Hmmm, that doesn't sound right. You want the puzzle to be bad ass. Apparently that intensifier is also sometimes a reverser. Pro tip: regardless of what you think of your neighbor's ass, do not covet! It's a top ten no-no.

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" is the famous opening line in Daphne du Maurier's novel, Rebecca. ENYA should watch her step! Fortunately, it's not the same place. ENYA renamed her Dublin castle Manderley. That was a popular thing to do.

I love clues like "The N.F.L. mascot Roary, for one." I have no clue about sports mascots. But yes, I do! The clue is in the clue. Roary is an odd spelling, right? Roary must be a LION.

Candide is sometimes called a musical, but it really is an OPERETTA. Leonard Bernstein wrote the music, Lyrics are by Richard Wilbur, John Latouche, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Stephen Sondheim, and Bernstein himself. That's quite a list!

The surprise for me at 59-Across isn't in the answer (FRESNO) but in the clue. I would not have guessed that San Francisco is ranked as low as 4th in California by population.

A "future-altering decision point" is a SLIDING DOOR. You may know that metaphor from the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow movie. It's a popular literary trope. The super-hot-now writer Taylor Jenkins Reid used it in her novel Maybe in Another Life.

Have a great ass weekend! Er, I mean an atrocious ass weekend. Nope, still sounds wrong. Phat ass weekend? Forget it. Have whatever kind of weekend you want.

Sun 7/31/2022 Why, Why Not?
SRIRACHAWIMPEDDEFER
WIDESHOTELAINEENOLA
ALLSTATEBELLYBOTTOMS
MEYERSREDTEABART
COMBATREADBRIEFED
SALTALEOLINAXE
PPECAGEESCAPEELUTE
LOADUPCAMPYCOUNSELOR
ALGERIADIODESTITLE
SLUMBERPARTSAMOA
HOESCLASSSPURONSSW
LIEONGRIMYREAPER
ACTEDATTESTARACHNE
THREETIMESALADIGUESS
PAIRORATORYEASERET
ARCAMESNAHSEIS
ROOMBASFAIRYFIGHT
ROUTALLSETLEASTS
MADISONCOUNTSTARTOUT
PAESEENAMORWISEUPTO
HARTSGETSTOFESSESUP