Thursday, November 17, 2022, Michael Schlossberg



 Lunch Break

Luncheon of the Boating Party
Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1881

The above scene depicts a break for lunch that was taken by a group of the artist Renoir's friends as they were boating down the Seine.  They've disembarked at a shore side restaurant and are treating themselves to quite a feast. The Wiki link in the painting title contains an interactive view of the painting that shows you the identity of each of the friends who appear in the work (can you guess his future wife?).  While the restaurant is real, and the excursion may have actually taken place, obviously Renoir couldn't have painted it in the restaurant; we know that each of the diners posed separately over a period of 16 months, and he then assembled their portraits into the final work.  Not only is it a masterpiece, but it's a tour de force of the painter's craft. You don't have to go to France to see this painting: it's owned by The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.  For a deep dive into Renoir's magnum opus here's a docent's video tour.

So what does all of this have to do with today's puzzle, constructed by Michael Schlossberg?  He also invites us to a lunch break, although one with far simpler fare than that of Renoir's sumptuous spread.  The grid circles are a mixed blessing:  the actual themers  are fill fragments, and depend on their visual positioning across adjacent lines to complete each theme entry.  Without the circles they would be almost impossible to spot, nor could they help you to solve the puzzle.  However they make it almost too easy to figure out what's going on (YMMV you know who). 

Here are the theme fragments and the results of combining them highlighted in RED:

 17A. "Fingers crossed!": LETS HOPE SO and 22A. Slightly ahead: UP ONESOUP.

28A. Denial: REFUSAL and 33A. Catchy pitch: AD SLOGAN. SALAD.  Could this and the previous themer be metaphors for crossword puzzles?

39A. Grand: THOUSAND and 45A. Kansas home of McConnell Air Force Base: WICHITASANDWICHWichita, Kansas is perhaps better known for this song than the AFB:

The reveal provides a simple menu for a quick ...

59A. Midday hiatus illustrated three times in this puzzle: LUNCH BREAK.  As we can see, each dish in the lunch is broken across two lines.

 Here's the grid:

 And the rest of the fare:


1. Mamba kin: COBRA.  One of the most deadly of which is the black mamba.

Black Mamba

6. Peak: ACME.  Near the top of the list for 4 letter CWD fill.

10. Some Dada pieces: ARPSHans Peter Wilhelm Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966), better known as Jean Arp in English, was a German-French sculptor, painter, and poet. He was known as a Dadaist and an abstract artist.
Jean Arp
14. Cover name: ALIAS.

15. __ and proper: PRIM.

16. Exactly: TO A TAlso, to a turn.

19. Theater award: OBIE.  The Obie Awards or Off-Broadway Theater Awards are annual awards originally given by The Village Voice newspaper to theatre artists and groups in New York City. 

20. Art Institute of Chicago area, with "the": LOOPIt's windy there.

21. "Come with me, Spot!": HEELThe ABC's of dog training, based on principles originated by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov:
Pavlov's Dog

23. One with pointy ears and pointy shoes: ELF.  They make frequent appearances in crosswords, e.g. last Thursday.

24. Actress Thurman: UMA.  UMA who?

25. Unintentionally reply all, say: ERR.  Could also be a job changing experience.

27. Longtime NASCAR sponsor: STP.  Short for Standard Temperature and Pressure.  Also short for Stone Temple Pilots.  Here's their Interstate Love Song (lyrics):

30. Miserly desire: AVARICE.

32. Egg layer: HEN.
34. Flour used for naan and paratha: ATTAAtta/Ata or chakki atta is a wholemeal wheat flour, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used to make flat breads such as chapati, roti, naan, paratha and puri. It is the most widespread flour in the Indian subcontinent

37. "We card" cards, for short: IDS.

38. Novelists Patchett and Petry: ANNSAnn Patchett (born December 2, 1963) is an American author. She received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the same year, for her novel Bel Canto, based on a true story (Patchett patterned one of her characters after the great soprano Renée Fleming and later became friends with her).
Ann Patchett

Ann Petry
(October 12, 1908 – April 28, 1997) was an American writer of novels, short stories, children's books and journalism. Her 1946 debut novel The Street became the first novel by an African-American woman to sell more than a million copies.  In 2019, the Library of America published a volume of her work containing The Street as well as her 1953 masterpiece The Narrows and a few shorter pieces of nonfiction.
Ann Petry
42. Open __ night: MIC.

44. Furry toy spiders that move when screamed at: YELLIES.  This puzzle is starting to get a little creepy:

49. Capitol Hill fig.: POL.  If only we could figure out what to do about 'em.

50. Actor who played Clubber Lang in "Rocky III": MR TMr. T (born Laurence Tureaud, May 21, 1952), is an American actor. He is known for his roles as B. A. Baracus in the 1980s television series The A-Team and as boxer Clubber Lang in the 1982 film Rocky III.   In 1995 the "Ultimate Tough Guy", went head to head with his own personal form of cancer.
Laurence Tureaud
51. Annoy: IRK.

52. Boar's mate: SOW.

53. Elba of "Cats": IDRIS.  Rumor has it that T.S. Eliot didn't even bother to roll over in his grave about this 2019 movie.  IDRIS is an incredibly versatile actor, but he may have gone a whisker too far this time ...
55. Tirade: RANT.

57. Floor model: DEMO.  We really needed a new car this Summer and it was the first time I can recall that we couldn't just walk into a showroom and buy a floor model.  We actually had to wait for a month to take delivery.

58. Murmurs lovingly: COOS.

61. Asia's vanishing __ Sea: ARAL.  Here's hoping it vanishes completely from crosswords someday.

62. Juvenile outburst?: ACNE.

63. Join: UNITE.  Or was it UNTIE?  Last week this was a CSO to Jinx.  It still is.

64. Mother of Castor and Pollux: LEDA.  Their father was a swan.  And HIS wife didn't approve.  It's complicated.
65. __ Spunkmeyer: OTIS.  My D.I.L. has strong opinions about nutrition:
And some might add OTIS Spunkmeyer's Double Chocolate Chip cookie:
66. Did well together: GOT ON.


1. Square dance figure: CALLER.  A CSO to Yellowrocks.  Here Phil Jamison calls a Texas Star square dance at a North Carolina high school. Brought to us by the Square Dance History Project.

2. Fútbol cheer: OLE OLE.  Here's the World Cup 2022 playoff schedule.  Some are expecting a clash of cultures over this one.

3. Removed with one's chompers: BIT OFF.  Or the two week old carton of milk in the fridge was a BIT OFF.
4. Abrasive tool: RASP.  More Thursdayish fill from last week.

5. Bat wood: ASH.   It's now an endangered species.

6. Legal challenge: APPEALHere's how it works.

7. Manitoba people: CREE.  The Sapotaweyak Cree Nation (SCN, Cree: ᓵᐳᐦᑕᐍᔮᕽ, sâpohtawêyâhk, meaning: "golden eagle") is a First Nations band government whose reserves are located in northern Manitoba, north-east of Swan River, approximately 400 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.
Flag of the
Sapotaweyak Cree Nation

8. Deceives: MISLEADS.

9. Genre with introspective lyrics: EMOEmo is a rock music genre characterized by emotional, often confessional lyrics. It emerged as a style of post-hardcore and hardcore punk from the mid-1980s Washington D.C. hardcore punk scene, where it was known as emotional hardcore or emocore and pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace.  Here's Dashboard Confessional's Vindicated.  Sounds like they're on the road to recovery (lyrics):

10. On: ATOP.  Up there with ACME and APEX.

11. Endorse without reading, say: ROBO SIGN.   Investopedia defines this as applying to employees of mortgage companies, but also might be applicable to any of us confronted with the ubiquitous prompts to "Click to accept Terms and Conditions" on websites.

12. Makeshift storage container for brushes: PAINT CAN.

13. Becomes more inclined?: STEEPENS.  Or a hill that seems to STEEPEN as we age.

18. "That sounds rough!": OH MAN.

22. River through Orsk: URAL.  I think that URAL may be turning into the geographical OREO cookie of crosswords.  You are probably not likely to visit anytime soon, but in case you do, here are some things to know about Orsk, Russia.

24. Employ: USE.

26. Trailer park parkers, for short: RVSRecreational Vehicles.  The crosswordese for someone who parks one is of course RVER.

29. Ryder rival: UHAUL.

31. "Stiff" and "Bonk" writer Mary: ROACHMary Roach (born March 20, 1959) is an American author specializing in popular science and humor.  She has published six New York Times bestsellers including Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003) and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008) (puns intended I'm sure).
Mary Roach
33. Contribute: ADD.

34. Out of the ordinary: ATYPICAL.

35. "Sister Carrie" novelist Dreiser: THEODORETheodore Herman Albert Dreiser (August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945) was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. His novels often featured main characters who succeeded at their objectives despite a lack of a firm moral code, and literary situations that more closely resemble studies of nature than tales of choice and agency.  Dreiser's best known novels include Sister Carrie (1900) and An American Tragedy (1925).

36. E-ZPass stretch, say: TOLL ROADA toll road, also known as a turnpike or tollway, is a public or private road (almost always a controlled-access highway in the present day) for which a fee (or toll) is assessed for passage.  But back in the day things weren't so E-Z if you wanted to cross a bridge in the Holy Roman Empire (or a ferry across the river Styx).

37. Educate: INSTRUCT.

40. Virtual citizens in a video game: SIMSThe Sims is a series of life simulation video games developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. The franchise has sold nearly 200 million copies worldwide, and it is one of the best-selling video game series of all time.

41. __ Lingus: AERAer Lingus (an anglicisation of the Irish aerloingeas meaning "air fleet") is the flag carrier of Ireland.  Founded by the Irish Government, it was privatised between 2006 and 2015 and it is now a wholly owned subsidiary of International Airlines Group (IAG). The airline's head office is on the grounds of Dublin Airport in Cloghran, County Dublin.  We flew Aer Lingus to Ireland in 1999 and I'm happy to report that the service was excellent. 

42. Levity: MIRTH.

43. "Eww!": ICK.  This puzzle is not only getting CREEPY, but ICKY!

45. Flinches: WINCES.

46. Happy cry from someone who finally deciphers a Magic Eye picture: I SEE IT.  DNK about Magic Eye pictures.  They are a series of books (and posters, post cards, and lots of other kinds of images)  that feature autostereograms.  If you look at them just right you can see a 3-D image on 2-D surface without a special viewer.  They're very sophisticated optical illusions that were derived from insights into optics, neuroscience, graphics design, and computer generated imagery.  They started as a fad back in the 1990's and  faded after a few years.  But they never really went away and they're still being produced and marketed.  Here's what one looks like, but I don't think they can be viewed very well from a computer screen.  If you're curious, there are lots of images in the last two links that you can print and experiment with.

"Magic Eye" picture

47. Salsa ingredient: TOMATO.  Teri has picked every last one on the vines and they're ripening in the sun room.

48. No longer asleep: AWOKEN.

54. Cuba, por ejemplo: ISLA.  Today's Spanish lesson.

56. Years, in Rome: ANNI. Today's Latin lesson.

57. Spy-fi villain in a Nehru jacket: DR NO.  What a franchise!  Bond takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' (well maybe not).  There have been 25 canonical Bonds, starting with the great Sean Connery in 1962.  [Spoiler alert!] Who do you think will succeed Daniel Craig who died in in the oxymoronic No Time to Die?

59. Southeast Asian language: LAOLao, sometimes referred to as Laotian (ລາວ, [láːw] 'Lao' or ພາສາລາວ, 'Lao language'), is a Kra–Dai language of the Lao people. It is spoken in Laos, where it is the official language for around 7 million people, as well as in northeast Thailand, where it is used by around 23 million people, usually referred to as Isan. Lao serves as a lingua franca among the citizens of Laos, who also speak approximately 90 other languages, many of which are unrelated to Lao.
Lao Language
in the Phetsarath OT font

60. Software glitch: BUGThe origins of this term.  Back in the day we used to say, "If carpenters built houses like programmers build programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization". -- Anon.


As always, thanks to Teri for proof reading and for her constructive criticism.


Michael Schlossberg, you are invited to post anything you'd like to share about this puzzle, its evolution, the theme, or whatever, in the Comments section below.  We'd love to hear from you.

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