LA Times Crossword 4 Jun 21, Friday

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Constructed by: Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): 2 + 2

Themed answers are common phrases in the format “x and y”, with both x and y being plurals. Themed clues are a pair of examples of x, followed by a pair of examples of y. Interesting …

  • 16A Big house, hot water : CATS AND DOGS (big cat & housecat, hotdog & waterdog)
  • 32A Abstract concept, space needle : ARTS AND CRAFTS (abstract art & concept art, spacecraft & needlecraft)
  • 37A Wee one, parlor game : BITS AND PIECES (wee bit & one bit, parlor piece & game piece)
  • 59A Pepper jack, gold dust : POTS AND PANS (pepperpot & jackpot, gold pan & dustpan)

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 7m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Boxing legend Pacquiao : MANNY

Manny Pacquiao is a world-champion boxer from the Philippines. He is the only boxer to have won the world title across eight different weight classes. Pacquiao has moved into the world of politics over the past few years and is now a member of the Philippine House of Representatives.

6 RxList selection : DRUG

RxList.com is a reference website that lists useful information about medications prescribed in the US. The site was founded in 1995 by pharmacist Neil Sandow, and acquired by WebMD in 2004.

10 Dad __ : BOD

A “dad bod” is a man’s body that is softly rounded. Well, that’s the description I like to use …

13 Roman playwright who advised Nero : SENECA

Seneca the Younger was a tutor and advisor to Nero, emperor of ancient Rome. Although maybe innocent, Seneca was forced to commit suicide by Nero as it was alleged that Seneca participated in a plot to kill the emperor. To kill himself, Seneca cut into a number of veins in order to bleed to death.

14 Traveler’s need, perhaps : VISA

A visa is usually a stamp in one’s passport, an indication that one is authorized to enter (and less often, to exit) a particular country. The word “visa” comes into English, via French, from the Latin expression “charta visa” meaning “paper that has been seen”, or “verified paper”.

15 Dr. Cornelius, in a sci-fi film series : APE

In the 1968 movie “Planet of the Apes”, Roddy McDowell played a chimpanzee archaeologist named Dr. Cornelius.

The “Planet of the Apes” franchise of films is based on a French novel by Pierre Boulle called “La Planète des singes”. The book was published in English as “Monkey Planet”, but was re-released as “Planet of the Apes” when Hollywood had made its choice for a movie title.

20 “__ 13” : APOLLO

“Apollo 13” is a great film, and supposedly one that is historically and technically accurate. The film is an adaptation of mission commander Jim Lovell’s book “Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13”. I am going to have to put that book on my Christmas list …

23 TV forensics letters : CSI

The “CSI” franchise of TV shows has been tremendously successful, but has finally wound down. “CSI: Miami” (the “worst” of the franchise, I think) was cancelled in 2012 after ten seasons. “CSI: NY” (the “best” of the franchise) was cancelled in 2013 after nine seasons. The original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was set in Las Vegas, and hung in there until 2015 when it ended with a two-hour TV movie. The youngest show in the series was “CSI: Cyber”. It lasted for two seasons, before being canceled in 2016.

Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.

26 Wintry mix : SLEET

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

28 Los Angeles birthplace of astronaut Sally Ride : ENCINO

Encino is a district in the City of Los Angeles on the north slope of the Santa Monica Mountains. The area takes its name from a historic parcel of land called Rancho Los Encinos (Ranch of the Evergreens).

Sally Ride was a physicist and astronaut who flew two missions on the space shuttle Challenger. In 1983, she became the first American woman in space, having been preceded by two female cosmonauts (in 1963 and 1982). Ride was 32 years on that first mission, making her the youngest astronaut ever to make it into space. In another first, Ride was the first LGBT astronaut, a fact that was revealed after her death in 2012.

31 Scandinavian demonym : DANE

Strictly speaking, Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe that covers the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The broader region that includes Finland and Iceland is referred to locally as “the Nordic countries”.

37 Wee one, parlor game : BITS AND PIECES (wee bit & one bit, parlor piece & game piece)

Back in the early 13th century, a “parlur” was a window through which someone could confess to a priest, and also a room in a monastery that was used by the monks for conversations with visitors. The term “parlur” arose from the French “parler” meaning “to speak”. Today, we sit in the “parlor” to enjoy our “conversations”.

45 Shire equivalent : COUNTY

The word “shire” comes from the Old English “scir” meaning “administrative district”. The term was replaced with “county” as far back as the 14th century, but the usage persists to this day. That is largely because some counties retain the use of “-shire” as a suffix (Yorkshire, Lancashire etc.).

46 Letters before an alias : AKA

Also known as (aka)

51 “Snowpiercer” channel : TNT

“Snowpiercer” is a TV show about a giant train (the Snowpiercer) that circles a frozen planet Earth after the human race has all but died out. The remaining population lives aboard the train in carriages that are separated by social class. The TV series is an adaptation of a 2013 film of the same name, which in turn came from a 1982 graphic novel “Le Transperceneige”.

55 Clothing : RAIMENT

“Raiment” is clothing, those items “arrayed” on one’s body.

59 Pepper jack, gold dust : POTS AND PANS (pepperpot & jackpot, gold pan & dustpan)

The term “jackpot” dates back to the 1800s and comes from the game of poker. In some variants there are progressive antes. This means that players have to ante up, add to the “pot”, when no player has a pair of “jacks” or better. They build a “jackpot”.

When prospectors pan for gold, they do so by mixing soil and water in a pan. Because gold is very dense, gravel and soil can be washed over the side of the pan leaving the heavy precious metal at the bottom. The gold has been “panned out”, and so we often use “pan out” figuratively to mean “turn out, succeed”.

62 Augsburg article : EIN

Augsburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany. Augsburg was founded in 15 BC, making it the fourth-oldest city in the whole country (after Cologne, Trier and Neuss).

63 Lake fed by the Detroit River : ERIE

The Detroit River runs just under 30 miles from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie, and so technically might be referred to as a strait. In fact, the waterway’s original name in French was “Rivière du Détroit”, which translates as “River of the Strait”.

64 London-based tea giant : TETLEY

Tetley was founded by Joseph Tetley in Yorkshire in 1837. Joseph and his brother used to sell salt door-to-door from a pack horse and started to distribute tea the same way. They became so successful selling tea that they relocated to London. Notably, Tetley’s was the first company to introduce tea bags in the UK, back in 1953.

65 City grid nos. : STS

Street (st.)

66 Mardi Gras follower : LENT

In Latin, the Christian season that is now called “Lent” was termed “quadragesima” (meaning “fortieth”), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term “Lent” was introduced. “Lent” comes from “lenz”, the German word for “spring”.

67 “Siegfried __”: Wagner symphonic poem : IDYLL

The “Siegried Idyll” is a symphonic poem by Richard Wagner that he gave as a birthday present to his wife Cosima in 1870. The title refers to their son Siegfried, who was born in the previous year. In a very nice touch, the work’s first performance was by a chamber orchestra on the stairs of the Wagner family’s home on Christmas morning, with Richard’s wife Cosima awaking to the sounds of the music.

Down

2 Radio interface : ANTENNA

An antenna’s job is to convert electrical power into radio waves, and radio waves into an electrical signal. The first antennas were built by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1888.

3 Cardinals’ homes : NESTS

Cardinals are a family of birds that inhabit the Americas. The northern cardinal is the species from which the family gets the cardinal name. It was named by early settlers from Europe for the red crest on the male, the color of which resembled the color of a Roman Catholic cardinal’s biretta (a square cap).

4 Sports org. that evolved from one created under Teddy Roosevelt : NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.

6 Data storage device : DVD

The abbreviation “DVD” doesn’t actually stand for anything these days, although it was originally short for “digital video disk”. The use of the word “video” was dropped as DVDs started to be used for storing a lot more than video. As a result, some folks assign the phrase “digital versatile disk” to “DVD”.

7 Kia subcompact : RIO

South Korean automaker Kia has been making the subcompact model called the Rio since 2000.

8 Golf rules org. : USGA

The United States Golf Association (USGA) was formed in 1894. The need for a governing body for the sport became evident that year when both the Newport Country Club and the St. Andrew’s Golf Club in Yonkers declared that the winner of a tournament at each of their courses was the “national amateur champion”. The first president of the USGA was Theodore Havemeyer. To this day, the one-and-only US Amateur Trophy bears Havemeyer’s name.

10 Herb from the laurel tree : BAY LEAF

The seasoning known as bay leaf is the aromatic leaf of the bay laurel tree or shrub. Fresh bay leaves aren’t very flavorful and need to be dried and aged a few weeks before use in the kitchen.

17 U.S. record label since 1934 : DECCA

Decca Records started out in 1929 as a British record label. The US branch of Decca was opened up in 1934, but the UK and US entities went their separate ways starting in WWII. Famously, Decca turned down a chance to record the Beatles in 1962 taking the position “Guitar groups are on the way out”. That said, Decca did sign the Rolling Stones.

21 Gerontology focus : OLD AGE

Gerontology is the study of all aspects of aging, including its biology, psychology and sociology. Geriatrics is the study of diseases encountered in older adults.

24 Original __ : SIN

In the Christian tradition, original sin is the state of sin that exists in all humanity as a result of Adam’s first disobedience in the Garden of Eden. According to the Roman Catholic faith, only three people were born without original sin: the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.

28 Mediterranean tourist site : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

29 “It’s Gonna Be Me” band : NSYNC

NSYNC was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded “in sync”. But, it’s also true that the letters of the name NSYNC are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:

  • Justin Timberlake
  • Chris Kirkpatrick
  • Joey Fatone
  • Lance “Lansten” Bass
  • JC Chasez

30 Mendelssohn’s Opus 20, e.g. : OCTET

Felix Mendelsshon wrote his “String Octet in E-flat Major” in 1825, when he was just 16 years old. At the time, chamber music was dominated by string quartets. Despite Mendelssohn’s young age, his “Octet” was viewed as ground-breaking and garnered him tremendous respect in the musical world.

Felix Mendelssohn was a German composer who was active in the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn’s most famous works are probably his overtures “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Hebrides”, as well as his “Italian Symphony” and “Scottish Symphony”.

33 Bacon portion : RASHER

What we tend to call “Canadian bacon” in the US, we know as “rashers” in Ireland. One of my uncles worked in the meat trade in Dublin, and his nickname was “Rasher”.

34 Suggestive : RACY

“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb meaning “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

39 Large-billed birds : TOUCANS

The toucan is a brightly-marked bird with a large, colorful bill. The name “toucan” comes into English via Portuguese from the Tupi name “tukana”. The Tupi were an indigenous people of Brazil.

40 URL component : DOT

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a uniform resource locator (URL).

41 Carlin’s “Atheism is a non-prophet institution,” e.g. : PUN

George Carlin was a groundbreaking, stand-up comic from Manhattan, New York. Carlin’s best-known routine was his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” that featured a list of words that would be considered offensive in some circles. Carlin was arrested and charged with obscenity after performing the routine in 1972 in Milwaukee. The judge hearing the case upheld Carlin’s right to perform the routine, but the controversy didn’t stop there. Someone complained about hearing the routine in a radio broadcast, which led to the US Supreme Court upholding the right of the FCC to prohibit broadcasts that might be deemed obscene when children were likely to be in the audience.

42 Prefix with dermal : INTRA-

The term “intradermal” describes the area between the layers of the skin. An example of an intradermal injection would be an allergy test. Most vaccines are administered with “intramuscular” shots, injection of the vaccine into a muscle.

47 Vacation rental? : KENNEL

Our word “kennel” meaning “doghouse” comes from the Vulgar Latin word “canile” meaning the same thing. A sheep (“ovus”) was kept in an “ovile”, a horse (“equus”) in an “equile”, and a dog (“canis”) in a “canile”.

48 Pumped : ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

57 Pointed at, say : IDED

Identity document (ID)

61 Math group : SET

In mathematics, a set is defined as a collection of distinct objects. Remember those Venn diagrams at school? Each of the circles in a Venn diagram represents a set.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Boxing legend Pacquiao : MANNY
6 RxList selection : DRUG
10 Dad __ : BOD
13 Roman playwright who advised Nero : SENECA
14 Traveler’s need, perhaps : VISA
15 Dr. Cornelius, in a sci-fi film series : APE
16 Big house, hot water : CATS AND DOGS (big cat & housecat, hotdog & waterdog)
18 “I like that!” : YUM!
19 Recording session rarity : ONE TAKE
20 “__ 13” : APOLLO
22 Swimming aids : FINS
23 TV forensics letters : CSI
26 Wintry mix : SLEET
27 Mushy ground : FEN
28 Los Angeles birthplace of astronaut Sally Ride : ENCINO
31 Scandinavian demonym : DANE
32 Abstract concept, space needle : ARTS AND CRAFTS (abstract art & concept art, spacecraft & needlecraft)
35 Even one : ANY
36 Game for an “it” girl? : TAG
37 Wee one, parlor game : BITS AND PIECES (wee bit & one bit, parlor piece & game piece)
44 “This looks like trouble” : UH-OH
45 Shire equivalent : COUNTY
46 Letters before an alias : AKA
49 Acidic, in Germany : SAUER
51 “Snowpiercer” channel : TNT
52 Just : EVEN
53 Many a news team : TV CREW
55 Clothing : RAIMENT
58 Grassy stretch : LEA
59 Pepper jack, gold dust : POTS AND PANS (pepperpot & jackpot, gold pan & dustpan)
62 Augsburg article : EIN
63 Lake fed by the Detroit River : ERIE
64 London-based tea giant : TETLEY
65 City grid nos. : STS
66 Mardi Gras follower : LENT
67 “Siegfried __”: Wagner symphonic poem : IDYLL

Down

1 Nasty sort : MEANIE
2 Radio interface : ANTENNA
3 Cardinals’ homes : NESTS
4 Sports org. that evolved from one created under Teddy Roosevelt : NCAA
5 Pull hard : YANK
6 Data storage device : DVD
7 Kia subcompact : RIO
8 Golf rules org. : USGA
9 Expresses shock : GASPS
10 Herb from the laurel tree : BAY LEAF
11 Lavish : OPULENT
12 Downgrades : DEMOTES
13 Sneeze (at) : SCOFF
17 U.S. record label since 1934 : DECCA
21 Gerontology focus : OLD AGE
24 Original __ : SIN
25 Unaffiliated: Abbr. : IND
28 Mediterranean tourist site : ETNA
29 “It’s Gonna Be Me” band : NSYNC
30 Mendelssohn’s Opus 20, e.g. : OCTET
33 Bacon portion : RASHER
34 Suggestive : RACY
37 Is astir with activity : BUSTLES
38 “Aha!” : I HAVE IT!
39 Large-billed birds : TOUCANS
40 URL component : DOT
41 Carlin’s “Atheism is a non-prophet institution,” e.g. : PUN
42 Prefix with dermal : INTRA-
43 Backup command : SAVE ALL
47 Vacation rental? : KENNEL
48 Pumped : ANTSY
50 Ward off : REPEL
52 Recycled item : EMPTY
54 Sported : WORE
56 Pro fighter : ANTI
57 Pointed at, say : IDED
60 Mint container : TIN
61 Math group : SET

34 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Jun 21, Friday”

  1. I finished, but phew!!! NE corner held me for long. I had TEALEAF for a long time on 10D then trying DADTIE for 10A… then it hit me, TEA LEAF isn’t a herb but BAY LEAF might work. But since I had AAH for 18A, I just couldn’t get the gears synced up. I thought 31A was some kind of Scandinavian demon… then DAD BOD fell, then DEMOTE then DANE!!! aarrgghh!

    I didn’t know what a TETLEY was but since all the crosses fell, I left it.

    Also, the theme was a complete mystery to me. I’ll show my ignorance. Never heard of X y theme.. Bill’s explanation helps but ….. what? I used to do a lot SUDOKU, sounds like someone used a X Y method and turned it into a crossword technique..

  2. @glen.. did the NEWSDAY.. did good.. had an error with Bejing Bucks.. YUAN?? the setter looked like someone new?? Have you heard of WINSTON EMMONS??

    1. That was a good puzzle. Winston Emmons is recent but prolific enough. He did the Monday LAT this week.

  3. 10:31… I got befuddled in the SW where I had THATSIT instead of IHAVEIT, and then again at the top where I boldly dashed in MEDS when it was DRUG.

    And I never got the theme at all… finally figured out they were all “this AND that” aphorisms but had to come here for the decode. Boo.

    1. Agree on 38D. “I have it” is what you say when your doctor tells you your test came back positive. “I’ve got it” is what you say when the light bulb comes on.

  4. Too farfetched for me. Totally stuck in the lower right. Also didn’t know Tetley. I just knew Twinings wouldn’t fit. Didn’t think it was much fun.

  5. Under 30 min. With no errors…all the theme answers were obtained via crosses…I could have stared at this one for 3 days and not come up with the theme…I didn’t really understand it even after Bills explanation 👎.
    Blue collar guy trying to solve a white collar puzzle.
    Stay safe😀

  6. The theme totally escaped me If'(and I still find it hard to follow Bill’s
    explanation). No errors after looking up the name of the boxer. If I’d
    had hoped theme might help, I was wrong. Talk about obscure!!

  7. I finished the whole puzzle but never did “get” the theme. I think it was far-fetched, even with the explanation you provided.

  8. Relatively easy for Friday but the SE corner had its moments.
    Absolutely clueless regarding the theme, thanks Bill for the explanation.

  9. 16:52 with no errors … But like others, the theme was an enigmatic mystery for me. Thanks to Bill for ‘splaining it (a crude nod to yesterday’s theme). I figured out the pairings for the theme answers, but how they related to the clues was baffling.

    SE corner was trickiest because my first attempt at 52D “Recycled item” was PAPER with POTSANDPANS already filled in. Took a bit to back off that and come up with EMPTY.
    NE corner was also a little slow until I changed 18A from YES to YUM after figuring out the intersecting downs from the neighboring acrosses.

  10. 21:49 – a major miracle for a Friday for me! Usually a DNF. 1/3 of Bill’s time on a Friday is a great day for me.

    3 lookups, including “IDYLL”, “SAVEALL” (yeesh!)

    2 errors – “SCOFF” (had scorn and couldn’t see past it) and “FEN” got me.

    Didn’t get the theme and wouldn’t have gotten it in a million years without Bill’s explanation. Just poked at it until everything fit …

    Be well.

  11. 11:27, no errors. Did it last night before going to bed. Spent ten minutes trying to understand the theme. Gave up and turned out the light. This morning, it took me another couple of minutes to finally get it. A clever gimmick, but new to me … and it made me wonder if it’s time to check into the Colorado State Home for the Bewildered … 😜.

    I would also point out that (IMHO) Bill’s explanation is not quite complete: Each theme answer is a common phrase of the form “Xs and Ys”, and the clue is of the of the form “A B, C D” such that all six of “A B”, “C D”, “A X”, “B X”, “C Y”, and “D Y” are common words or phrases. (So, the clue for “CATS AND DOGS” is “Big house, hot water” and all six of the combinations “big house”, “hot water”, “big cat”, “house cat”, “hot dog” (or “hotdog”), and “water dog” – the first two from the clue and the other four combining a word from the clue with one from the answer – are common words or phrases.) Astonishing (and it makes my head hurt to contemplate creating another example of this)!

  12. no errors but 29:35! Never got the theme other than Plural AND Plural, thanks Bill for explaining it.

  13. 7:44, 1 dumb error. I see I didn’t get this posted when I thought I did earlier with the comment above. Anyway, I really didn’t see the theme (I usually don’t), but just went with common pairs when I saw the first one.

    Random chatty thought re 15A: Ever read any of the books that have been turned into movies? It’s interesting, especially, to contrast the two and how they were treated, and especially how much of the story changes. Planet of the Apes is a good contrast along with about anything else on this front – one can even compare the Heston movie version with the newer version. The last story I remember was reading Cinderella and comparing it with the Disney story (Grimm Fairy Tales get quite gory), but I’m aware of how a lot of the Stephen King stories were adapted to the movies (most famous or infamous of those being “The Running Man” in terms of how the story got changed up, but “The Shining” is probably most controversial). I think “Up In The Air” was the one I was most disappointed with when I found out the Clooney movie was based on a novel. Probably the most rewarding was locating “The Godfather” and reading that.

  14. My age got in my way for 20A. I was confident that the answer was one of my favorite movies of 1953, “Stalag 13”. It took me quite a while to admit that I must be getting old and correct it.

    Like most of you, I thought the theme was ludicrous. The “downs” eventually filled in the theme answers for me, but even Bill’s explanation went way over my head.

  15. 12:56, no errors. Another completely unintelligible theme, which did absolutely NOTHING to *help* solve the grid. Come on, people, just **stop it** with this crap.

  16. Years of grocery shopping and cooking always provide the food items [Bay
    leaf & Tetley]…no special talent there. Real stretch for the theme…explanation felt like an exam. Always learn something!
    Ann L.

  17. I got the theme answers fairly easily as common phrases, but yes, figuring out what the theme was took quite a while. I came up with Bill’s version, but I have a feeling it was Mr Muss’s more complicated version. I really don’t want to think abt it any more.

  18. Today’s puzzle was too far-fetched, and the clues were very abstract. Our three family members, who do the puzzle together on the phone every day, really did not enjoy this crossword.

  19. 13:53 3 errors

    This theme is one heck of an example of a design that shows off how clever the constructor is, and does absolutely nothing for the solver. Thanks for the theories of what it all means.

    Oh wait. The theme did clue me in that there was going to be AND in the middle. So it was merely nearly useless.

  20. Finished it but had no idea what the theme was until I read about it hear. Definitely an obscure one!

  21. In the six months or so that I have been checking with this blog, don’t think I’ve ever seen 28 comments — but maybe that’s cuz I rarely finish Friday, Sat, Sun so don’t read Bill’s post? However, today I was proud of myself — got through all of it but must admit to some stupid errors (too stupid to list here). Still proud of myself!

  22. Tough Friday for me; took 22:27 with a bunch of errors. I found 4 when I had about 90% filled and did a “check-grid.” After that I just did some fill and “check-grid” a few times to get finished.

    Theme didn’t make sense but I could easily see what they were supposed to be and got all those without any difficulty. Demonym is new to me, but now I know. I did know TETLEY, having bought that brand before, still, the SE corner did provide a lot of mystery, along with the middle N.

  23. Theme was too hard to understand, making the puzzle too vague and difficult. I’m usually pretty good at crosswords, even the hard ones, but when the clue makes no sense, it’s impossible.

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