THURSDAY, Jun. 19, 2008 - Joe Krozel (GOLF GREAT ANDRE / TENNIS CHAMP ERNIE)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: LIES - TEN clues are inaccurate, which the puzzle tells you in two ways - first, with the letters spelled out by the black squares, and second by 56A: Number of clues in this puzzle that contain factual inaccuracies (ten)

This is the best puzzle of the year so far. In fact, I'm not sure it's even close. By year's end, I may have revised or recalibrated my opinion, but for now, O My God. I was tipped off by Merl Reagle (whose newly debugged puzzle site you can access from my sidebar) that today's puzzle would be a doozy, but I had no way of knowing just how original it would be. The miracle of the thing is - it's pitched at a perfect Thursday level. With TEN lies and highly IRRegularly-shaped grid, this should have been brutal, but it was just slightly tough. And best of all, it's roiling with entertaining answers. A+. Nice job, Krozzy (I've given you a nickname, whether you like it or not - you're welcome!)

LIES:

  • 1A: France's _____ von Bismarck (Otto) - it was very nice of Joe and Will to tip us to the theme right off the bat. I could see the big black LIES, but didn't know how it would be relevant until ... well, the first clue I looked at. This one.
  • 14A: Chemical element with the symbol Fe (Neon) - FE = iron
  • 19A: Former pharmaceutical giant (GTE) - they were a telecom giant
  • 24A: Father of Jacob (Esau) - actual father of Jacob = Isaac
  • 8D: Golf great Andre (Agassi) - he's tennis
  • 47D: Tennis champ Ernie (Els) - he's golf
  • 27D: It's more than 90 degrees (acute angle) - that's obtuse
  • 9D: Standard office-closing time (nine a.m.) - that's an opening time
  • 49D: Currency of China (yen) - that's the currency of Japan
  • 50D: Summer hrs. in N.Y.C. (EST) - those are winter hours
Thank god for little gimmes today, because I think the Eastern seaboard would have been a hell of a lot harder without them. ERI (36D: Verdi's "_____ tu"), EPI (38D: Prefix with center), and RRS (25A: Monopoly quartet: Abbr.) were enough to crack open the whole thing, and in pretty short order. I figured out ARTURO TOSCANINI (12D: Who quipped "God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way") just by glancing at the letters I already had in place - never looked at the clue until the puzzle was done. Not sure I've ever done that with a 15-letter answer. Felt good. I should note, however, that ARTURO TOSCANINI is about the most popular 15-letter answer there is lately. I think I've seen it three times since I started blogging. Cruciverb.com is telling me RUSSIAN ROULETTE is the most popular, but I don't think it's completely up-to-date, and at any rate, with this appearance, TOSCANINI at least makes it onto the Top Ten. [HA ha, I just found my last write-up of ARTURO TOSCANINI - Feb. 15 of this year - and I declared him over-exposed and officially retired back then!]

Good stuff:

  • 39A: Possible name for the first decade of the century (oughts) - had AUGHTS, which is true enough, but gave me LAG for 33D: Mill input (log)
  • 42A: Former Romanian leader Ion _____ (Iliescu) - this one was rough, but I got the first part from crosses and the second part by adding on a common Romanian name-ending series of letters (-SCU). Interestingly ILIE Nastase is also Romanian. ILIE Nastase + Nikolai CeauseSCU = ILIESCU.
  • 43A: One step from the majors (AAA) - nice clue for this otherwise unremarkable answer
  • 44A: Nickname on the Houston Rockets starting in 2004 (T-Mac) - wow, that's rough for non-basketball fans (i.e. a Huge percentage of NYT solvers). PS Congratulations to my once beloved Celtics for winning the NBA championship. I was a Huge fan back in the 80s when the Lakers/Celtics rivalry meant something. My H.S. yearbooks are filled with trash talk - and trash drawings - from "friends" who hated the Celtics. As a Celtics fan in California, I was an anomaly to say the least. I may have been unique to my high school (in that respect, if not others).
  • 57A: Dwarf planet larger than Pluto (Eris) - I'd like to thank the puzzle for teaching my brain the instinctive dwarf planet - ERIS reaction.
  • 45A: Kind of dog (seeing eye) - allow me to point out that if you have all the middle letters in this answer from the Downs, which I did, the only "dog" that wants to go in this space - perfectly - is PEKINGESE. All those E's fit perfectly into place. Ugh. This was the only part of the puzzle that I truly had to wrestle with.
  • 52A: Road access regulators (toll gates) - I don't know that I've seen this phrase before, but I like it. Is the "gate" the actual piece of wood that descends and blocks your entry/egress?
  • 53A: Sooner (Okie) - simply ... awesome...
  • 2D: Mother of Calcutta (Teresa) - blessed gimme. I got OTTO, ONESEC (1D: "I'll be with you shortly ..."), and TERESA in rat-a-tat fashion.
  • 32A: Suffix with palm (-etto) - A Woody Harrelson / Elisabeth Shue movie...
  • 5D: Silverstein who wrote and illustrated "The Giving Tree" (Shel) - you could have stopped this clue at "Silverstein" and the answer would have been obvious.
  • 11D: One who exhibits a pack mentality? (cigarette smoker) - most excellent. Cigarettes now cost $300 / pack in NY, so with gas at $750 / gallon ... how can anyone afford to smoke any more? When I see someone smoking in his/her car, all I can think of is "what are you, a Rockefeller?" Usually, the person is manifestly not a Rockefeller.
  • 13D: Job seeker's fashion advice (dress for success) - I assume that the job-seeker is the recipient of this advice; the clue is not clearly worded. [Fashion advice for a job-seeker], maybe?
  • 35D: Turkish pooh-bah (Aga) - today's winner in the eternal AGA v. DEY v. BEY struggle.
  • 37D: Th.D. subj. (Rel.) - I had DIV., but fixed it reasonably quickly. At least I was in the ballpark.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

94 comments:

Noam D. Elkies 8:41 AM  

Yeah, wonderful puzzle. Are you sure that 56A is not the eleventh lie? :-) [cf. "This sentence contain's three erors" -- or was it "...two erors"?] It might as well have been for me (and probably for all those fans of "non-basketball") given 44A:T-MAC, which for all I knew could have been part of the lie count if it were a nickname on any other sports team, basketball or b*seball or cycling or whatever...

NDE [posting from UK, whence the unusually early response]

Megan P 8:47 AM  

Don't you sometimes think that if all those people driving pickup trucks quit smoking, they could easily afford that $750/gallon gas? I spend half the year in way western NY state, and I think this often.

I LOVED the puzzle too!! I gasped with pleasure when I first laid eyes on it. And props to you for being a Celtics fan in CA.

Bill D 8:47 AM  

Wasn't sure how Rex was gonna react to this one - I didn't really expect "Best Puzzle of the Year!"

I had brief problems with the upper left corner and the lower left block. I still don't know why STR (Street?) is a "narrow passage" or what EOE stands for. Most of the lies were obvious, but for a Bible illiterate like me ESAU might as well have been a correct answer. I assume that for a basketball non-fan T-MAC might have been in the same category, especially with ELS and AGASSI obviously wrong.

I liked the triple 15-letter rack, not normally Thursday fare, but not out of place today. Not too many really difficult answers, either, but I guess if some of them are "lies" the rest have to be fairly straightforward.

Crosscan 8:55 AM  

What a terrible puzzle. It's not symetrical, foreign language crossings like ERI/ILIESCU, 3 letter long theme answers (TEN), 15 letter non-them answers, a stack of 3 letter clues in the upper right hand corner -

I hated it!!!....

That's a LIE.

My favorite puzzle of the year. Brilliant. This is what Thursday is for.

Crosscan

ArtLvr 8:57 AM  

Cripes -- I'm glad I didn't miss this, in spite of a houseguest coming soon and Things needing to be Done! I too had "Pekinese" as the SEEING EYE toward the end. The other, earlier temporary hitch was ENFANT at 18A where I thought an Ivan or tsar might be needed. Otherwise everything fell into place quickly, against all odds!

I still don't know why AAA is "one step from the majors" but expect it will be explained by somebody. Super fun!

∑;)

p.s. STR is Straits, like those of Hormuz or Gibralter.... EOE is Equal Opportunity Employer

HappyDad 8:58 AM  

STR = strait, i think
EOE - Equal Opportunity Employer

This was the most fun Thursday in a long while.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Rex: Props to YOU for presenting the WRONG illustrations!

Very clever!

--Sam

Gramatrick 9:08 AM  

lurved it as well. Took me a bit too long to figure out the theme (and register the lies), but it was hugely enjoyable.

Bill D 9:21 AM  

Thanks artlvr - AAA is "Triple A", the baseball minor league right below the majors. Below that, amazingly, is "Double A" and finally "Single A".

R Larson 9:24 AM  

@artlvr

"AAA" is the highest level of minor league baseball (above AA and A).

jls 9:25 AM  

aaa -- part of the minor league (baseball) system

one-two-three strikes, you're out

toll house -- yes, a place with a gate where travels paid a fee to continue their journeys. another name for chocolate chip cookies, too!

n-e-s-t-l-e-s

*very* clever puzzle. "best" of the year? remains to be seen for me, but the construction and the fresh, fresh fill? yowzuh!!

;-)

janie

Frances 9:39 AM  

By the time I reached 28A ("Spot") and had CAT... as the first three letters, I was so into the lies-and-opposites frame of mind that I parsed Spot as Dick-and-Jane's faithful canine, and was ready to insert some equally storied feline. Couldn't think of one offhand (Dick Whittington's and Puss in Boots wouldn't fit) so eventually crossed my way into the correct, but non-theme, 15-letter answer.

Alex 9:46 AM  

I was fine with the puzzle but it didn't bowl me over.

I'm all in favor of dumping symmetry as a general rule so I liked that. But the fill was, in my opinion, too easy for a Thursday. I did the puzzle in Tuesday time except for the ERI/REPRESS crossing which I had as EDI/DEPRESS.

And I didn't get the theme at 1A because the cluewas so obvious from the briefest of glances that I never looked at it closely enough to notice it said France and then the downs off 1A were also equally obvious that I never even looked at the clue for NEON.

Then I did the same thing with AGASSI that I did with OTTO so the first theme clue I actually read carefully enough to spot the theme was NINE AM.

20 mostly easy 3-word answers comprising the beginnings of most of the long words just tipped the puzzle to overly simple.

Teresa 9:49 AM  

What fun! My quickest time for a Thursday. I got the LIES as soon as I tried to cross Teresa (my name!) with Fe - iron, a gimmee. I then put down my ink pen and went for a pencil. Seeing Eye/Pekingese completely fooled me.

I don't usually attempt the Friday and Saturday puzzles, so was nervous about the four 15-letter answers, but they came easy. Loved catchaglimpseof.

Norm 9:49 AM  

Eh. Left me cold, even though it was probably one of the easiest Thursday puzzles in a long time. More annoying than entertaining IMHO.

PhillySolver 9:52 AM  

Pants on Fire!

There are two other Lies hidden in the fill...check out 42A and 52A. Krozzy is a real wit, but I think the right wing press is going to have field day writing about the NYT being filled with untruths. I did graduate work at OU in Norman (OKIE) and I filled this puzzle in as if I wrote it. I was amazed really that I didn't slow down. A beautiful full moon walking home from Trivia last night, great soccer games and such beautiful weather, I am sure my horoscope must reveal everything is perfectly aligned.

hereinfranklin 10:08 AM  

Loved this puzzle ALOT.
I believe your tennis pic is of John McEnroe, not Andre Agassi.

Steve 10:14 AM  

This was a lot of fun. I like to see something different once in a while. The NYT puzzles are the best, but sometimes seem to get stuffy and self-important. This puzzle was kind of like the X-Games compared to the Olympics!

Gary S 10:17 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle but I found that the gimmick of inaccurate clues was not entirely without flaws.

Some clues like "France's von Bismarck" were obviously wrong and had no possible correct answer.
Others, like "Currency of China" were factually correct, they just didn't match the answer that filled in the grid. I would have preferred that the clues all be similar in nature.

Another problem is that I was able to finish the puzzle correctly but was not able to be sure that I had identified all ten inaccuracies. That left me with a sense of incompleteness.

Good puzzle but I don't think it's the best of the year.

Margaret 10:23 AM  

I worked on this last night (which I rarely do) but glad I did on this one. Very stumpifying - especially in the Dakotas. I didn't get that the lies were in the clues, not the answers. I immediately put in LEAPED for jumped and then I though the answer to "Golf great Andre" was PALMER (the lie being Andre for Arnold.) And SHEL was so obvious that I thought it had to be one of the lies and that the actual answer would be NORM or something.

I guess the upshot was that I overthought it. But I eventually got through it without a google, so I'm happy.

PS. I got CATCH right away in the middle and filled in CATCH ME IF YOU CAN thinking that was a part of the theme (being a movie all about a liar.) Too bad that didn't work!

Rex Parker 10:25 AM  

I'm certainly willing to hear other candidates for Best Puzzle. There's one I can think of in the NYSun that I might have liked more than this. But I've gone months without adding a NYT puzzle to my "Best of" folder.

I don't think the easiness or the "different kinds of lies" complaint is valid. This puzzle has Imagination. And balls. And very few entries that make me go "ugh, not again." And HIGHTAIL IT, which is hot.

rp

Coop 10:26 AM  

Puzzle of the Year? No way...mainly because it was much too easy, even for a Thursday. Very clever puzzle though, and just on creativity you could make an "among the best puzzles of the year" case.

PhillySolver 10:27 AM  

hereinfranklin,

Watch out! Rex has been stretching the truth on graphics in his write up long before Mr. Krozel lied to us. Did you notice the IMAC instead of TMAC, and Leonard instead of Arturo?

I had forgotten about Joe Isuzu. I found those ads to be very funny.

Crosscan 10:32 AM  

Once it was determined that some clues were lies, it meant that there were no gimmes, as you could never be sure if the "obvious" answer was right. One more level of the brilliance of this puzzle.

Add the constraint of a 15-letter crossing a triple stack, with no room to alter the blocks.

I have forgotten nearly all recent puzzles. This one will stick with me for a long time.

Puzzle of the year (so far).

dk 10:35 AM  

Greetings from Las Vegas where i just won leventy trillion $$$.

I walk through CIGARETTESMOKERs at slot machines in the morning and I am here to tell you they do not DRESSFORSUCCESS.

I howled at the grid when I open this online and knew I was in for some fun. The Toscanini quote is much better than the popular "hard to soar with the eagles when you flock with turkeys."

ok blogimites: 7 come 11 cause baby needs new shoes.

Joon 10:39 AM  

i knew something was up right away, but i didn't quite catch on to what it was. 1A didn't make me think OTTO at all. it made me think, "there's something in france that's named after bismarck? why would they do that?" so i left it blank. i also filled in IRON and was befuddled by the inability to cross TERESA with it. at that point i started looking around the rest of the grid for the theme, and eventually found it at 56A. then i filled in the puzzle in practically nothing flat. there were a lot of monday-easy clues here.

lies aside, this is a really impressive grid. there's some crappy short fill, as you would expect, but the triple-stacked 15s are very nice and the triple-stacked 10s are even better.

"krozzy" is great. i wish i had the balls to pull something like this.

alanrichard 10:40 AM  

I loved this puzzle. I put in Otto and iron underneath it. I got Torest and Onspec from 3 & 4 down so I figured that everythiing was OK - boy was I wrong. When I saw tennis champ Ernie, I couldn't think of any tennis players named Ernie and then I realized the lies theme. Then I noticed 56 across. Once I changed IRON to NEON it was an easy puzzle but the theme was brilliant. I got Cad and Irr which opened up Dress for success. I loved the pack mentality clue. Toscanini just fit in contexturally. Flat things was also a clever clue but when you do the times long enough you learn to think outside the lines. Anyway I loved this puzzle!!!!!

Shamik 10:42 AM  

Saw the grid immediately and knew we were in for a fun run. So because I knew that France didn't have a von Bismarck, I just left it blank and went ahead. It wasn't until IRON and TERESA didn't work that I got it.

There was an initial frisson of annoyance, but then...a return of my sense of humor and I enjoyed this puzzle immensely. Thanks to everyone who noted Rex's pics being thematically correct. ; )

Smiling in western CO,

Shari

steve l 10:47 AM  

All I want to say about this puzzle is that I can't believe anyone looked at the grid when they started and did not see the L-I-E-S spelled out in it, and thus know what to expect! That being said, why were the L and the I smaller than the E and the S?

PuzzleGirl 10:52 AM  

Anybody remember last week when I was whining that the Thursday puzzle needed more ... something? Well, this one had all the something I wanted. Awesome puzzle. In my search for the ten lies, I looked up five -- count 'em, five -- answers that ended up being true. And still needed help finding the actual lies.

@steve l: The word LIES in the grid is obvious (obviously), but there are several ways a puzzle could use the theme LIES that are different from the way this puzzle did.

kate 10:53 AM  

I loved the novelty and the concept, it was a fun puzzle, I'm all for breaking the "rules" to provide new challenges. But I did think it was really easy for a Thursday.

ArtLvr 10:56 AM  

p.s. There's one more semi-hidden theme-related answer there, and it's 57A ERIS, because this is also the name of the Greek Goddess of Discord. You can apply that to the disparity in the size of the black square areas as well as the falsity of the theme clues!

∑;)

Rex Parker 10:56 AM  

And *I* can't believe anyone would ask that question about the size of the letters (on LIES). Try changing the sizes while maintaining a fillable grid.

rp

Rex Parker 10:57 AM  

Confession: I thought ERIS (size-wise) was one of the "LIES" at first ... then I noticed the China/YEN thing and looked up ERIS.

rp

Jim in Chicago 11:23 AM  

Puzzle of the year? You're lying, right? I despised this puzzle. In terms of difficulty, we're talking a Tuesday at best, maybe Monday, with the only potentially difficult part of figuring out which clues were incorrect, but even that was painfully obvious.

I hated this puzzle from the moment I put in the first answer.

Matthew 11:23 AM  

None of the minor complaints you could raise about this puzzle can outweigh its creativity and wit. This made my Thursday!

I ran into trouble when I threw in NICOLO PAGININNI for 12D. I guess misspellings aren't technically "lies"...*grumble* :)

Parshutr 11:40 AM  

Best puzzle of the year? I don't know how to compute that, but I certainly felt that this was the most innovative xword of ALL TIME, by which I mean that one had to trust to intuition as well as memory; the example of putting in the SCU at the end of ILIESCU.
Can't wait to see the Cureton drawing of this!

steve l 11:44 AM  

@rex

I guess that if you can break the rule about symmetry, you can break the one about three-letter fill and up only.

Rex Parker 11:46 AM  

@ steve,

In theory, yes. But that's not a trade-off I'd want to see.

Thanks for parshutr for inadvertently showing me that ILIESCU has LIES in it. It also has I LIE in it, as does RESILIENT.

rp

Parshutr 11:49 AM  

de nada, Dr. Rex.

Bill from NJ 11:58 AM  

I didn't parse the black squares for what they were until I got here. Just wasn't hip to the the jive. I knew something was up at 1A and went looking for the {possible) explanation and found it straight away at 56A and went ahead and filled it in.

Had a little trouble with GTE and went dull at 53A: Sooner (OKIE). I was looking for animals from the pack mentality clue and it took a little while to straighten that out.

I really enjoy non-symmetrical grids and got a kick out of this one even if I failed to see the point of it.

Crosscan 11:58 AM  

Look also at the clue to 48D: Time to LIE in le Soleil?

(and 3 more anagrammed LIEs in there).

tintin 12:06 PM  

Ernie ELS is also staring us in the face in big black "letters".

Brooklyn

Joon 12:15 PM  

steve, rex,

it's funny you should mention the rule about 3-letter fill. the only puzzle today's reminded me of is this one. definitely, definitely take a crack at it if you like puzzles that aren't afraid to mess with your mind.

Ellen 12:16 PM  

I'm a little worried that people think this puzzle is "too easy" or "painfully obvious" since I didn't think it was that easy (and to me, there is no such thing as "too easy" anyway). My time was on the slow side (5:10, on paper). I guess the complainers will all beat me at the ACPT next year.

ana gram 12:19 PM  

re anagrams: only one can be discovered using all letters in "INSATIABLE". (no lie) Can you fans of anagrams find it?

archaeoprof 12:32 PM  

Count me among those who absolutely loved this puzzle. It made me smile from the moment I saw it. The most imaginative in a long time, perhaps since that one with the theme "thinking outside the box," where we had to fill in a few letters outside the grid. Remember that one?

Karen 12:41 PM  

My time on this was a fast Thursday, definitely not a Tuesday. Part of the time spent trying to cross TERESA and IRON, which was the first clue my eye jumped to. And then I had Ere Tu instead of ERI. Krozel's done some other stand-out Thursday puzzles...the legal one, the b-homophones, a wrap-around. A name to watch out for.

jae 12:46 PM  

Great puzzle!!! My only problem was having to guess the vowel in the ERI/ILIESCU crossing. Process of elimination was helpful. ERA & ERE wouldn't have been clued with Verdi and ERO and ERU didn't sound like familiar Romanians.

I had 31a pegged as a lie as preemies are in the NICU in all the medical dramas on TV. N=neonatal.

mw 1:00 PM  

What do you call a Romanian revolution?

A Ceausescu d'etat!

:D

ronathan 1:01 PM  

Could "Gets it wrong" (17A) and "Nope, still not right" (29D) also be subtle hints as to the theme of the puzzle?

I really liked this puzzle. Even though some of the answers were easy gimmies (especially for a Thursday), I found the novelty of the theme to be refreshing and fun. I understand some of the gripes mentioned here, but overall I think its nice to have a change of pace once in awhile.

cheers,
Ronathan :-)

JimHorne 1:04 PM  

From my stats site, there are 4 15-word phrases more popular than Maestro T in NYT puzzles: ONCE IN A BLUE MOON, FAMOUS LAST WORDS, DEAD AS A DOORNAIL, and LEONARDO DA VINCI. See http://www.xwordinfo.com/PopByLength.aspx.

I agree, Rex. Outstanding puzzle.

ronathan 1:09 PM  

@ana gram

INSATIABLE= Beats in lai

(i.e. what happens when you get into a fight with a 400-lb Hawaiian at a luau?)

-ronathan :-)

JC66 1:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
hereinfranklin 1:13 PM  

Phillysolver...oh duh. Give me the dumb comment award. :)

PhillySolver 1:14 PM  

@ ellen, well written. I am willing to bet that none of us here will beat you at the ACPT. On the Fun-O-meter, this puzzle rates a ten. I really do admire the flexibility of the editor in allowing these occasional deviations. A steady diet of oddities followed by three standard puzzles would lead to notes saying the puzzles have gotten too standard in format and others writing that they love the symmetry...and that's the truth....or as we saw just a few days ago, truthiness.

JC66 1:17 PM  

I circled a letter in each LIE to make it easier for me to count them. Since I circled the A in ESAU/NINEAM, I only came up with nine. Therefore, I figured TEN was the last lie. Oh, well.

Still, a fun puzzle.

Michael Langwald 1:42 PM  

Here's the truth.....This puzzle definitely deserves puzzle of the year! Joe really took this theme to the limit and it was an absolute blast to solve it!

Joe knows how to come up with the most imaginative themes today. Do a backsearch on his puzzles and see for yourself.

As a solver, I have always enjoyed solving his puzzles the most...And as a constructor, I've learned the most from Joe's input!

Great job, Joe! You 'da man! And that's no lie!

Fergus 1:43 PM  

Stoked upon seeing symmetry trashed. I'm one who doesn't see much point in the constraint, and yet I respect the conventional rules, just like those for sonnets. (We've had several discussions on crossword association with poetry.) But to come out with such free verse, that's radical!

I seem to recall Ion ILIESCU as a bit of a crude NEONman, but his name is one that sticks in mind in a metrical way. Anapestic, dactyl? I forget.

The tentativeness enforced by the lies was good, but maybe could have been Clued more diabolically. For example, the ACUTE ANGLE could have come from 28D Not ninety degrees, which would have brought RIGHT ANGLE into play, with more confusion over whether it was a LIE. Maybe not the best illustration of the point, but that's the drift of my petty critique.

doug 1:47 PM  

In keeping with the theme, after I fully solved the puzzle I went back and changed 10 answers to mistakes.

In ink.

I'd give it a 10 for style, 3.2 for difficulty....

Doug
Lyin' Eyes, Ohio

Blanche 1:49 PM  

To correct the inaccuracies in the clues, all you need to do is change one word in each of them.

1A France's to Germany's
14A Fe to Ne
19A pharmaceutical to telecommunications
24A father to brother
8D golf to tennis
9D closing to opening
28D more to less
47D tennis to golf
49D China to Japan
50D summer to winter

Very clever puzzle. Let's have more like it.

Fergus 1:51 PM  

ana gram,

The cracker said: I B A SALTINE

Or the first of the immaculate popes: SANITABLE I

Blanche 2:12 PM  

ana gram,

banalities?

ana gram 2:12 PM  

@ronathan, fergus -- re anagram -- has to be one word only, a real word and not a phrase. :-)

Fergus 2:20 PM  

I recall an article in the Economist discussing the new PM of Japan, Noboru Takeshita, that began "No prizes for anagrams ..."

Rex Parker 2:20 PM  

Play your anagram games somewhere else, please. Thanks,

RP

ana gram 2:25 PM  

Yes, Blanche!! Congrats.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

i'm not sure it's not just a goofy puzzle which is just different enough by half to have people respond to it as they did.

but maybe it's just me gettin old.

lakim sgk 2:49 PM  

i'm a visual learner... i loved the visual cue.

foodie 3:14 PM  

This was F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! and it was really easy for me because I am a bit fuzzy on a lot of pop culture stuff so I take stabs at things and hope for the best. I think it interfered less with my ability to solve than, say, a rebus even though it had the constant uncertainty...Even the answer TEN for number of lies is sustpect, so it really messes with your mind. Genius!

I wrote, then erased, a little puzzle about lying-- coming to a fork point in the road and having one chance to ask for directions from one of two people, a habitual liar and an honest man, without knowing who's who, and how to pick the strategic question that lets you know for sure. I figured that Rex would not be happy if we started up on it. As Lilly Tomlin used to say: "And that's the truth!"

Fergus 4:13 PM  

Please pardon the anagramming. That's something that's lacking in NYT puzzle Clues -- or maybe, like the puns in newspaper headlines (notable exception: NYT), I miss many of them?

alanrichard 4:56 PM  

Well - this is the most responses I've seen to a puzzle. So whether you loved it or not - there was a reaction!! It might have been easy once the theme became obvious - but it must have been a project to create!

chefbea1 5:03 PM  

thought the puzzle was great although I couldn't finnish it til I came here.And not one mention of food

jls 5:29 PM  

toll house cookies ain't food?

;-)

j.

chefbea1 5:49 PM  

@jls its toll gates - never even thought of the cookies

Michael 5:55 PM  

This was a very enjoyable puzzle. I thought I'd have trouble with the puzzle, but it turned out to be easier than most Thursdays for me. I was convinced that 56 A would be incorrect, but the more I thought about this I realized (perhaps Prof. Elkies can help here) that an wrong answer here off by one in one direction would lead to a self-referential paradox. Of course, a wildly wrong answer wouldn't be a problem, but such an answer wouldn't be very interesting.

Chip Ahoy 6:25 PM  

Ew, noice. +++ Woo and Yay.

*dances* <--Lie. Stays seated.

Incontrovertible 7:26 PM  

This was a great puzzle. I'm not sure it was the best of the year. The large number of short answers made it pretty easy once you figured out the "Lies" theme, which as you say happens pretty quickly.

Leon 7:31 PM  

A man says that he is lying. Is what he says true or false?

Excellent puzzle Mr. Krozel.

Fergus 7:48 PM  

upside down
the grid reads

53-17

like a football score
or a pincode

jls 8:25 PM  

chef bea -- silly me.

you'd mentioned that you'd had trouble finishing the puzzle, so you came *here*, where there was no mention of food. i'd posted earlier about toll houses, because rex had raised the question about toll gates. which are found at toll houses, no? which reminded me of toll house cookies. food -- referenced in the link i posted.

oooh, no mention of food *in the puzzle*. but that's not how i read your post.

tough crowd here!

;-)

janie

GK 10:20 PM  

Rex, why is there a photo of Leonard Bernstein in your write-up?

Like several other commenters, I mistakenly counted only 9 factual inaccuracies in the clues. That would have set up an amusing logical paradox at 56 across: its clue would be factually inaccurate, but that would mean its clue isn't factually inaccurate, but that would mean its clue is factually inaccurate, repeat ad infinitum.

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

well, a preemie would be in a NICU not an ICU, so would that count as an 11th lie? Anyway this one's humor kept me going much farther than I usually get on Thursdays.

sillygoose 10:36 PM  

This puzzle was SO MUCH FUN to solve.

My eyes had sort of glossed over some of the "lie" clues, so that I started getting paranoid about some of my entries, wondering if Iliescu and Tmac were for real.

I like that this puzzle had a little life of its own even after my solution was accepted as correct.

Jane Doh 10:47 PM  

A sweet moment of puzzling, and I wish I'd gotten to it earlier so I could have smiled about it all day!

Retrospectively a very easy solve. Was slowed down a little by the thought that I was missing something. Noticed the LIES in the grid at first sight, and the lie at 1A, so had to scrub each clue progressively until reaching 56A TEN lies, except that TEN could have been just another LIE! Wonder if TEN was just an accident, a happily forced answer, or if there was intention to place a number somewhere to make this work as it does. The three down answers to make TEN are super solid, so it could easily have been a lucky, random occurrence. Hmm.

Factoid du jour = T-Mac. NFI. Googled after the fact to verify. NBA = only sport not on my radar (thugs). Except the Celtics.

Lots of fun, no LIE.

Joe Krozel 11:24 PM  

Now that the day is winding down, I wanted to make sure I thanked Rex for positing the notion that this might be Puzzle of The Year. That's very flattering. (How could I complain about the Krozzy nickname after such a kind assessment?) Rex sure stirred up some lively commentary both pro and con to his position, and it was all very delightful to read. I also want to thank a number of my fellow constructors who had nice things to say... John, Joon, Tony, Michael, (others): I marvel at your themes all the time but leave the commentary to the heavyweight solvers on this blog. Finally, I'm just delighted by the broad feedback from those who enjoyed this puzzle. It really makes my day that people get enjoyment from the stunts I pull. It just encourages me to do it some more! Thank you all. Regards, Joe

Anonymous 11:15 PM  

great puzzle,I started and completed this today.
I wanted to see Rex's post and comments! i was not disappointed!
expobill

Wilz 7:26 AM  

Rex, Rex, Rex, Rex....you are sooo clever!

Showing Ivan Lendl instead of Agassi & Artur RodziƄski rather than Copeland...

Seriously, though--today's was really fun--especially after that tedious pain I grimaced thru yesterday!

Orange 1:38 PM  

I give up, Rex—Why is the link for OKIE/Sooner a video of Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen"?

A NICU is one kind of ICU. Actually, it's two kinds—neurological or neonatal. Pediatric ICU = PICU, surgical ICU = SICU. ICU is pronounced eye-see-you, but the others generally rhyme with ick-you. There is no medical NICU that's not some kind of ICU, so the clue works for me.

Rex Parker 2:36 PM  

The words I used to describe this clue/answer are the very first words Billy Ocean utters in that song: "She's simply ... awesome."

rp

tad 7:32 PM  

Sorry for the late post....been out of town. I finished, and didn't catch the NYC time "lie". So I counted nine inaccuracies, and then assumed that the answer TEN was the tenth. Thought that was pretty clever....but also wrong. Oh well.

Retired_Chemist 12:36 PM  

Once one decides (in error) that 56A: TEN is a lie, there is no defined number of errors. I missed counting several errors. I got these answers mostly* by crosses, and thus did not pay attention to the clues. Left 69D as EDT (Summer hrs in NYC) and didn't check that it must be tollgates, not tollgated, to fit with the 52A clue. Oops...

Interestingly, @ Tad, if one counts nine other errors, then TEN cannot be the tenth. If TEN is true, then one must have miscounted the errors. If TEN is false, there are ten errors, so it is true. Can't be both true and false simultaneously.

As I counted only 6 other errors, I had no problem calling TEN an error. I think part of the genius of the puzzle is that it must have driven solvers nuts if they found nine errors and couldn't find the tenth.

*OK, Otto von Bismarck - I did say to myself, "Wow! I didn't know he was French." Sic transit etc....

tinwhistler 1:33 PM  

I suppose if the neo-con lies are filling the rest of the paper they might as well fill the crossword also. :)
--
Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

Yancy 3:09 PM  

Krozel's Commandment

Rules for construction do not apply,

When the crossword puzzle's a lie.

Thanks for the fun one today!

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