Group with 1951 hit Tell Me Why / TUE 11-23-10 / Broadway singer/actress Verdon / Upscale London district / Indy quick-change artists

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Constructor: Richard Chisholm

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: POKER HAND (65A: What the answer to each starred clue is) — POKER HANDs are clued in punny / wacky ways ... actually, no, one is clued that way, the others are clued literally, just not in reference to POKER ...

Word of the Day: MAYFAIR (38D: Upscale London district) —

Mayfair is an area of central London, England, within the City of Westminster. // Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today (from 1686 until it was banned in that location in 1764). Until 1686, the May Fair was held in Haymarket, and after 1764, it moved to Fair Field in Bow because the well-to-do residents of the area felt the fair 'lowered the tone' of the neighbourhood. [...] The district is now mainly commercial, with many offices in converted houses and new buildings, including major corporate headquarters, a concentration of hedge funds,real estate businesses and many different embassy offices, namely the U.S.'s large office taking up all the west side of of Grosvenor Square. Rents are among the highest in London and the world. There remains a substantial quantity of residential property as well as some exclusive shopping and London's largest concentration of luxury hotels and many restaurants. Buildings in Mayfair include the United States embassy in Grosvenor Square, the Royal Academy of Arts, The Handel House Museum, the Grosvenor House Hotel, Claridge's and The Dorchester. // The renown and prestige of Mayfair has grown in the popular mind due to its designation as the most expensive property on the British Monopoly set. (wikipedia)
• • •

Write-up will be delayed 'til late morning, EST. Feel free to comment on the puzzle now, if you like.


OK, I'm back from early a.m. appt. No time to write last night, no time to write this a.m., hence the (highly unusual) delay. I didn't really have much (nice) to say about this puzzle anyway, so no real loss (to you, to me, to the world at large). HOW ELSE? (18D: "Do you have a better idea?") bugged me so much that I sort of gave up on the puzzle halfway through. Fill is generally ordinary to trite. Never heard of the FOUR ACES, so that was weird. SMEARY is (as commenters have said) less than desirable. IRED always sucks. I always admire dense themes, esp. with intersecting theme answers, but did Not like the clue on ROYAL FLUSH (*Sound from a palace bathroom?) — they should all be punny or all not be punny. The other clues are simply literal, so ... boo. Best part about the puzzle is bonus theme answer "IT'S A DEAL" (56A: "Agreed!").

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *What SRO indicates (FULL HOUSE)
  • 27A: *The Magi, e.g. (THREE KINGS)
  • 50A: *Sound from a palace bathroom? (ROYAL FLUSH)
  • 10D: *Group with the 1951 hit "Tell Me Why," with "The" (FOUR ACES)
  • 40D: *Makeup of a double date (TWO PAIRS)

See you tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


mmorgan 7:56 AM  

Wow, I'm first!

Found this one easy and quick (Mr. Señor Lápiz Feliz made a smooth early appearance), though it was maybe a bit SMEARY... Had a few minor pauses (esp. in SW) but each time I came back to them they easily fell. Really liked lots of the clues and answers -- there is some creative and pleasant stuff here despite the always-miserable EKE. Somehow got the theme right off with FULL HOUSE -- it was kind of obvious, especially after jumping down to see the theme giveaway at the always-revealing (by location) 65A.

What can we find here...? I SAY, JOYCE, IT IS I. NO WAY MYNAH URGES RAPID TAXI. THREE KINGS ALLEGE IDLE PAIN. There must be more.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday morning, it was all I hoped it would be....

Loved this for a Monday.

Oh, wait, it’s a Tuesday....


pokemon 8:05 AM  

Fun....but pretty Monday-ish.

So many puzzles lately seem to feature ROO and IAGO. Way to ensure crossword immortality: give your child a name with lots of vowels.

Favorite moment: shoutout to LOLA, my middle (dog)child

5 across 8:10 AM  

Othello > Act II, scene III

IAGO: And what's he then that says I play the villain?
When this advice is free I give and honest,
Probal to thinking and indeed the course
To win the Moor again? For 'tis most easy
The inclining Desdemona to subdue
In any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful
As the free elements. And then for her
To win the Moor--were't to renounce his baptism,
All seals and symbols of redeemed sin,
His soul is so enfetter'd to her love,
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function. How am I then a villain
To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,
Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!
When devils will the blackest sins put on,
They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,
As I do now: for whiles this honest fool
Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes
And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,
I'll pour this pestilence into his ear,
That she repeals him for her body's lust;
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her credit with the Moor.
So will I turn her virtue into pitch,
And out of her own goodness make the net
That shall enmesh them all.

r.alphbunker 8:13 AM  

Six theme answers plus ITSADEAL is pretty good for a Monday or a Tuesday. A quality puzzle.

Tinbeni 8:18 AM  

Always like seeing LOLA in the grid. Hell, if the truth was known I love seeing her anywhere.

FUN Tuesday, no RANT from MOI.

Toast to all at Sunset.

(Damn, just checked ... must visit my favorite store ... yeah, some like the Malls, but I like B-21 ... a liquor Supermart. It almost makes me weep when I enter ... SOOO many Scotch's ... SOOOO little time).

ArtLvr 8:29 AM  

I shrugged and changed the channel when POKER tournaments first appeared on TV, but after the hole cards began to be shown I found it more intriguing. So I watched and learned for a time, and now it's gone AWAY again, -- no URGES to gamble that way, except with grandkids now and then.

SIGN of the times? The stock market is a SNAP by comparison, but I enjoyed the puzzle... especially with nostalgic FOUR ACES singing Tell Me Why!


John V 8:47 AM  

Not much to add, 'cept, yep this was for me an easy Monday. Saw the theme right away, but didn't need it to fill anything.

But, a fun ride on the New Haven; life's good with a fun puzzle and a mediocre cup of coffee.

Van55 9:08 AM  

EKE! A mouse!

Yes, eke is way tired.

Theme is not really imaginative IMO.

I've seen IRED before and disliked it.

24 proper nouns.

Oh well, whatever LOLA wants...

chefbea 9:11 AM  

Easy puzzle even tho I don't play poker. We even have it's a deal!!!!

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

A perfectly serviceable Tuesday offering.

19 Across, "Capital of more than 15 states", cluing EUROS, was the highlight of the puzzle.

retired_chemist 9:29 AM  

Seemed easy but my time was easy-medium. Liked the theme. Put POKER TERM first @ 65A, and MÊME @ 70A, but the obvious crosses set me right.

JC66 9:30 AM  

Isn't the poker expression two pair? I found TWOPAIRS jarring.

joho 9:31 AM  

I must have gotten out of the wrong side of the bed. Even though the theme is dense it is just lying there to me a flat deck of cards. Plus there is a lot of crosswordese in the fill. I do agree that this was easier than yesterday's puzzle, but it didn't sing like yesterday's fresh theme and fill.

PlantieBea 9:35 AM  

Not a fan of SMEARY, OWS,or the partial A SIGN, but overall this seemed like a solid Tuesday puzzle. Wish I could enjoy reading more JOYCE Carol Oates, but besides the Mulvaneys and an unforgettable short story that was set in a moving vehicle stuck behind a bus, I haven't been able to finish any of her many offerings.

Howard B 9:36 AM  

Liked this one, as it didn't require anything beyond basic, household card table poker knowledge (no 'river', 'flop', more specific game terminology. I'm not a big player myself, and my 'tells' would be horrendous if I tried :) ).

Re:proper names - I've seen crosswords in some general compilations sold in bookstores that have an apparent limitation of zero proper names (dictionary-defined common words only). Honestly, they're pretty dull and seemingly automatically created; little freshness to be found. Granted, some people do like very basic ingredients, no spice, a little salt if any, and to this I say it's personal taste. Doesn't make spice (in the form of colloquial phrases and proper names) bad, though. Just don't cross those opera singers with those 3-letter initialisms, that's too spicy for my taste! Feel free to vent, but a daily proper noun crusade is really a lost cause unless a puzzle takes it to an extreme without reason.
You want a worthy cause, rally against USA Today and other puzzles using extreme crosswordese and rough editing, to better the quality of nationally syndicated puzzles. I'll bring the signs and snacks (Oreos!) for that rally.

Back to you, bloggeristas.

Matthew G. 9:36 AM  

Surprised that Rex thought this was a Medium. I'd call it Easy, with the possible exception of the HOSEA/PASO crossing. I guess ON A PAR is also a bit weird, since I think most people omit the word "A" in that expression (although I've heard it included once or twice). So maybe Easy-to-Medium.

This was one in which I loved the theme and disliked the fill. I enjoyed the general absence of punny clues, which meant a better "A-ha" moment when the theme was spotted. This was also one where I thought the theme would have been better off without a reveal --- nobody's going to fail to notice that they've filled in a bunch of POKER HANDS, so put something more clever there.

And I really liked the bonus-theme answers PIT CREWS and IT'S A DEAL that were also clued in entirely non-poker-related ways (I've actually only heard the term "pit boss" used in reference to casinos, but I don't gamble so I'm just assuming their underlings can be referred to as "pit crews").

None of the fill was engaging, but with as many theme-related answers as the constructor successfully crammed in here, that was probably inevitable. A good Tuesday.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Rex might N.B. these when he gets around to his write-up but did anyone else notice that:

IT’S A DEAL is a bonus? (apologies to Chefbea)

THREE KINGS is an anagram for GREEK HINTS?

If ASU were ISU, we would have BIIRD, HAND, PEEWEE but no HERMAN

IT IS I spelled backward answers Descartes’ philosophical question IS IT I?

HAIKU spelled backward is OKIAH?


Tobias Duncan 9:38 AM  

Man I was slow this morning. I usually do the puzzle in the eve when they first appear on the NYT site but did this one at 7am before coffee. Had a few write overs and those just kill me , I am terrible at finding and fixing mistakes. Any advice ??

jesser 9:43 AM  

@JC66: Yes. The term is two pair. Unless you are the kind who looks out over the meadow and sees two elks.

I thought the theme was otherwise fine, but what's with PIT CREWS and MAYFAIR and HOW ELSE in there? Seems like those should have had some tangential relation to the theme.

Three irritating writeovers today, all caused by not checking crosses first: biO at 5D; veNT at 72A; and are SO at 71A.

I must now do work. Who thought up this system?

Revicate! (A Palinism. v. to revoke) -- jesser

Matthew G. 9:50 AM  

Can't help you with MAYFAIR and HOWELSE, but, as I alluded to above, but PIT CREWS does have at least a "tangential relation to the theme," since the sections of casino floors are referred to as "pits" and are supervised by "pit bosses." As I said, I haven't personally heard the term PIT CREWS used in a casino context, and couldn't confirm use of the term via Google, but I buy it based on "pit boss."

I don't think HOWELSE and MAYFAIR have any obligation to be part of the theme, since they're parallel only to each other and are a letter shorter than, say, FOURACES and TWO PAIRS.

Agree, in retrospect, that the use of TWO PAIRS instead of the conventional poker term TWO PAIR is a slight weakness in the puzzle.

DB Geezer 9:53 AM  

Could someone please explain to me the connection between skinny (1D) and INFO?

Matthew G. 9:54 AM  

@DB Geezer: As in the expression, "What's the skinny on _____?"

jesser 9:54 AM  

@Matthew G: I think we were both typing at the same time, so I didn't see your comment prior to posting my own, but I concur with you in that context. Well defended! Thanks!

Mel Ott 10:02 AM  

Nice easy fun puzzle. Minimum of crap fill and proper names. Nice theme.

I think TWO PAIR (without the S) is the standard usage, but no harm, no foul.

Don't like SMEARY. SMELLY would have been much better IMO.

quilter1 10:06 AM  

I'm interested to see why RP rated this one medium as I found it a typical easy Tuesday. I liked LOLA tho it gave me an ear worm. Liked the theme, too. Now off to brine my turkey and make pumpkin bars and dark salty caramels.

Rex Parker 10:13 AM  

Why in the world are people quibbling difficulty ratings on a Tuesday??? Felt like an ordinary easy Tuesday to me. There's just not that big a difference between easy Tuesday and medium Tuesday. Yet So Many comments about this inconsequential issue. Unless I say Easy and you say Challenging or vice versa (i.e. unless we're talking about extremes, seeing things very differently), I don't think questions of difficulty are that impt/interesting.

Unless there's nothing else to talk about, which is always a possibility.


Nitpicking Grammarian 10:22 AM  

Re 60A. Yes, ITISI does sound stilted. However, it is grammatically correct, as opposed to the common It's me. Why debase the grammatically correct answer with the label of "Stilted" in preference to the ungrammatical? Why not clue it as Grammatically correct answer to "Who's There"?

There was a opportunity here to err on the side of right, an opportunity not taken.

PuzzleNut 10:28 AM  

Nothing to add.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Rex is so funny. He is hilarous. Why is he quibbling about quibbling? This whole blog is nothing but quibbling. And on top of it all he answers his own question - there really isn't much to talk about (which I really think is why he did not give a write-up).

PS. Whys is Rex chiming in before he has even written it up?

PPS. Why did Rex rate this a Medium when this was as easy a puzzle as there ever is?

PPPS. Does Rex play poker?



Bob Kerfuffle 10:36 AM  

Nothing to add, so here's an earworm for "It's a Sign of the Times."

(Agree re: two pair, SMEARY?)

@Nitpicking Grammarian - Did you say "Herring on the right side"?

Two Ponies 10:39 AM  

Okay Tuesday even if the theme seems over-used.
The oddest clue today was 53A.
All of that for pain?
Favorite clue was for Royal Flush.
@ Howard B, I usually agree with @ Van55 on big proper noun puzzles but I suspect you are right about a grid without any at all.

SethG 10:49 AM  

Never saw SMEARY while solving. Did see HOW ELSE.

This seemed Tuesday to me.

Peter 10:59 AM  

The only reason you have not heard of The Four Aces is that you're too young. They were huge in the 50's.

Van55 11:00 AM  

@Howard B. Please don't mistake my mentioning the number of proper nouns in the puzzles as a crusade against them. I have acknowledged not only the necessity of including them to construct a puzzle, but the desirability of including them to add some sparkle as well as pop- and classical-culture, etc.

It is interesting to me, and I hope to others who follow this blog, how many proper names appear in each puzzle to attempt over time to gauge how many are "reasonable" and how many are excessive or excessively "marginal," "specialized" or "obscure."

To me, yesterday's 37 proper nouns was excessive. In solving today's puzzle, I hardly noticed the proper noun answers, and I was surprised that there were as many as 24.

I count them. I do not campaign against them (usually).

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

WOW! What a 0 Writeup by Rex! Did Rex get up on the wrong side of the bed? Is he overworked? I don't recall in the short time I have been visiting this blog ever seeing such a nasty writeup. I like it when Rex is IRED but if I were Mr. Chisholm I would hit the trail and never return [groan]. The new ex cathedra Rex Dogma: All puns or no puns for clues to theme answers....



Anonymous 11:16 AM  

A record Tuesday time. I liked this one fine. Except for TWO PAIRS, which I would never say. We can just make stuff up to the theme work? Yeah, I know the plural googles okay, but. . .

Parker Cross 11:18 AM  

New poster here.
I woke at about two this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I was happy to download and complete this puzzle while waiting for sleep to return. Just the right level of simplicity for that application.

Ulrich 11:22 AM  

I tried to understand the meaning of "proper noun" better (b/c the phrase, on its own, doesn't make much sense to me--as opposed to "proper name'). Anyway, my excursions into cyber space yielded the following, eminently shareable gem:

Today the meaning of proper noun capitalization is uniqueness within an implicit context, that is, it provides a name to an instance of a general type when the instance is unique within an implicit context. Most often the implicit context is "the whole world" or "the universe"...

I find this delicious on so many levels...

JaxInL.A. 11:27 AM  

Flew through this without stopping. Thought it was fun, with more than the usual compliment of Xs and a few other Scrabbly letters. I begin to see why solvers like Scrabbly-ness. Not something that I was aware of before I started coming here.

I particularly liked the two Gwen Verdon clues. She's a theatrical genius and I'm glad that she made a few movies so that we have a small reflection of her Broadway brilliance.

I couldn't see the video on the iPad (urgh!), so I don't know if Rex posted the FOUR ACES or GWEN or something else entirely. If it's not Gwen, please Google her and take a peak if you have not seen her before. There is a video of her and two other women doing a dance called Mexican Breakfast that Beyoncé apparently took as inspiration for her Single Ladies choreography.

I'm sure that @Sparky has more important (and challenging) things to do after that lung operation than post here, but I just want to send some healing thoughts that way. It was nice to see @Shamik post a few days ago after knee surgery. Thinking of you guys.

Shamik 11:38 AM  

Rex is right. There isn't anything else to talk about regarding this Tuesday puzzle. For me. The difference between a mid-range Easy puzzle and a mid-range Medium puzzle is 58 seconds. Do enough puzzles and sometimes the time difference just comes down to not very much in these early days of the week.

@JaxInLA and others who have sent good thoughts, they are much appreciated. When it comes to crosswords, I'm glad I didn't break my wrist!

It is I 11:42 AM  

@Anon 11:16 et al

You might never say "Two Pairs", but I bet @Nitpicking Grammarian would.


hazel 12:02 PM  

Regardless of the proper noun count, I liked yesterday's puzzle approximately twice as much as today's. Perhaps my puzzle enjoyment is inversely related to the number of proper nouns! ;-) More likely, it doesn't have anything to do with it.

I think a puzzle as more of an ecosystem, and its in balance or out of balance (XWORDASQAATSI) in a way that's not easy for me to count or define, I just know it when I'm finished. Its a tidal marsh or a jungle with a lot going on or its a front lawn with no weeds and needs a lot of fertilizer to survive.

I am so looking forward to fixing Thanksgiving dinner this year. So much to be thankful for, and here I give thanks for being able to quibble and/or otherwise discuss words whenever I feel like it!!

Matthew G. 12:25 PM  

@Rex: I commented on the difficulty mainly because I almost always _agree_ with your assessments of difficulty and this is one rare instance where I had a strongly different impression. So I thought it was noteworthy in that sense.

Evgeny 12:26 PM  

maybe the feel for the third language is betraying me once again, but isn't the capital, i. e. currency of more than 15 states not "euro"? without the "s"? i mean, is the currency of more 50 states "dollars"?

or is there something in the clue that suggests a plural answer?

Rube 12:33 PM  

What @Joho said.

Good one, @Ulrich.

Clark 12:34 PM  

@Ulrich -- Thanks for that. 'Proper noun' is one of those things that seems simple until you try to say just what it is.

[feckst -- 2nd person singular present indicative active, I will say no more, this being a family blog]

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

judging by rex's write up and the comments here this tues. was a forgetable puzzle. i also thought it an easy monday for a tues. lacked sparkle.@rex,i think we quibble as we are delighted to find it so easy when you say medium as so many times you say easy when we struggle.

Evgeny 12:48 PM  

one "not" too much, one "than" too few. wow, i should get some sleep before i comment

retired_chemist 12:54 PM  

@ Jesser -

What do you expect? Mama Bear learned all her three syllable (and up) words from tapes of Dubya's speeches.

@ Ulrich - LOL! Did you find that in some US Government handbook on nomenclature?

makeyrie - what Mama Eagle does.

Ulrich 1:17 PM  

@ret._chem: This is the source--your regular wiki page!

It contains other deep insights, like a town called "Newtown" may be, but does not necessarily have to be, a new [recently built] town.

Kendall 1:52 PM  

Like most others, this was much easier than most Tuesday's. I don't get PAIN as the answer for 53A. Am I missing something?

chefwen 1:54 PM  

I have nothing to add other than I have an urge to go to Vegas now and find me a nice, friendly, video poker machine. What a thrill to get a royal flush.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

@Kendall - when you get hit on the head hard it hurts and you see stars....

william e emba 2:23 PM  

I don't have a problem with the mixture of straight and bent cluing for the theme answers here. Sometimes I do. I suspect it's because the answers here are all in the language already (assuming we give TWO PAIRS a pass). And because, frankly, almost all the clues are bent already! I mean, FULL HOUSE in poker doesn't mean anything literal to begin with.

And how was the clue for ROYAL FLUSH a pun anyway? Outside of poker, that and similar bits of silliness are what the phrase means.

"Capital" refers to the money itself, not the currency, so yes, it can be plural here. For example, as the old NatLamp joke went, "What's the capital of Canada?"/"Mostly American", the punchline is clearly short for "Mostly American ", where could be "money", but it could also be "dollars". But it could not be "dollar".

On the other hand, the one and only officially sanctioned plural of "euro" in English used to be"euro". I got all used to that at the time, and then they went and changed the rules, so now EUROS is officially permitted. I hate it when they put nitpickers out of work.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

@william e emba - I got TWO PAIRS of socks in my drawers - brown and black. How many do you got? The Beatles sold out to a FULL HOUSE in their last concert but my house is empty (unlike my poker house that is full of aces and eights....

Howard B 2:53 PM  

@Van - I read you there. And this is why I shy away from poker - I am truly lousy at reading nuance into these sorts of things :). I may have had this confused with another post or topic, and mentally combined the two, figuring it was part of a general complaint. Didn't realize it was simply a statistical observation.
As Two Ponies also said, I'm also not a fan of the heavy name puzzles myself. Many of the puzzles that I cannot finish, from any source, are because of just that. (This past Saturday, I didn't know THE RASCALS plus a few others in the nearby fill, which sunk me with no way out except searching).

I wanted to clearly differentiate between a puzzle's fill, a solver's knowledge and their enjoyment, and that any one of them doesn't always correlate directly to the others.

Mel Ott 3:07 PM  

@Ulrich: LOL. My head started hurting halfway through the first sentence.

william e emba 3:07 PM  

Anonymous: in poker, the hand is known as "two pair", not TWO PAIRS. That's what people are complaining about. Beyond that, I have absolutely no idea of what your point is.

william e emba 3:14 PM  

Howard B:

Well, I didn't know THE RASCALS either, and the only gimme for me in the area had been ED AMES, but I plugged away and slowly but surely the NE revealed itself in slow motion.

I sometimes overnight a Friday/Saturday puzzle, sometimes two or more nights, but eventually I crack them. A little bit here, a little bit there, then I get back to work.

Van55 3:14 PM  

@HowardB -- wouldn't it be interesting to see of a constructor could build a puzzle out of nothing BUT proper nouns? ACME?????

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

@william e emba - in poker I have heard someone tell me that they had TWO PAIRS of aces, which left my FULL HOUSE sucking second best and my point is this is all meaningless crap....

sanfranman59 3:47 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Tue 7:58, 8:57, 0.89, 19%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:25, 4:36, 0.96, 43%, Medium

mac 3:48 PM  

Found it easy, but I tell you, the wet paint in my place is sticky! If it were smeary I would call the painter back.

Did Monday and Tuesday today, and found them both easy. Never had the chance to pick up the paper yesterday, waiting for deliveries and workmen all day, but my trusty Read Shop owner had saved it for me.

Tomorrow the cable man is coming (between 9 and 1) and I will have tv, telephone and internet!!

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

@mac - if I were an injun (aka native American) on the warpath I would smear some wet paint on my face or if I were an artiste I would smear some wet yellow into my wet blue to have some wet green to paint some leaves on that barren tree. DO NOT TOUCH or you might smear some paint on your clothes. As for the "y" why bother....

Sfingi 4:06 PM  

One flew East
And one flew West
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.


@Howard - I like the USA Today. It's not different than a Wed. puzzle. I've noticed slipover both ways between both puzzles. For us non-geniuses, it's great to have on a Thurs.-Sat.

@Hazel - a good puzzle is like porno - you know it when you see it!

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets,
and Little Man, Little Lola wants you.
Make up your mind to have no regrets
Recline yourself, resign yourself,
You're through.

@Ulrich - But, it was most certainly once a "new" town.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Thank you @Sfingi for the cuckoo opening and this is for @Ulrich:

You know what the fellow said? In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love and 500 years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!



Rex Parker 4:24 PM  

3-comment limit. Just a reminder. Thanks.

sanfranman59 4:40 PM  

@Sfingi ... I too do the USAT puzzle each day and it's one of now 5 dailies for which I track my solve times. There's some variability, but these days, I typically solve it in under 5:30, which makes it more like a tough NYT Monday or easy Tuesday than a Wednesday for me. There's not much overlap in the constructors of the two puzzles and, in general, I find the quality of NYT puzzles superior to those in USAT.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

"I sometimes overnight a Friday/Saturday puzzle, sometimes two or more nights, but eventually I crack them. A little bit here, a little bit there, then I get back to work."

If Friday isn't going well, then a decision has to be made. If I feel that I can crack it, I will pass on Saturday and see Friday through as far as possible. If it's not looking at all good, then I'll take a knee and DNF, even though I probably could have done better, so that I can take a shot at Saturday.

I might pack two pairs of socks for the trip to Vegas, and also take two pairs of glasses (just in case) - but when I suck out with a nine on the river, means my two pair beats your pocket rockets.

The entry isn't wrong, but people are right to look askance.

Ulrich 4:52 PM  

@sfingi: Yes, in all likelihood. I singled out the sentence b/c it stated, in a ponderous tone, what I considered painfully obvious.

@anon at 4:21: I'm on record for naming The Third Man my favorite movie of all time--thx for the reminder--must watch it again--for the 200th or so time...


r.alphbunker 5:10 PM  

Puzzle did not deserve the write up it got. Try a little tenderness.

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

"Puzzle did not deserve the write up it got."

No, it didn't. Often the case here. This is the place to be for solver commentary though. Bad with the good I guess. Wordplay sucks. 100% vanilla. The only only guys I like over there are Ashen and Noir.

elliebellie 5:40 PM  

Hi All, Today seems like the best day to log in and post a great big thank you to everyone for much entertainment and many laughs the past two years. I have been skulking around this blog for a couple of years now. Whenever the puzzle solve is lacking; reading the posts makes up for the bad experience.

I came out of cancer surgery two years ago thinking they had removed my brain along with the other body parts. One Monday morning (thankfully, it was a Monday) I picked up the NYT and solved the crossword. I haven't stopped since!

You people can be hilarious (even when irked) and I enjoy the witty exchange. At the same time I am too intimidated to join in but I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all especially to Rex-"The King."

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

No kidding Wordplay sucks. I was so angry one day I tried to call bullshit on a clue there and they wouldn't even publish my comment but just as well. They're idiots. Even Amy sometimes likes puzzles that Rex rightly points out are fatally flawed. Why doesn't anyone else see what Rex sees? Most puzzles most weeks are full of crap! Only Rex has the balls and the insight to tell it like it is and show Will Shorts he's falling down on the job. He truly is the king. That's why this blog rocks. Sic 'em, Rex.

ksquare 7:58 PM  

How many pairs are/is there on a double date (if the don't play poker)?

Sfingi 10:23 PM  

@Anon421 - and the bestest chocolate ever! I hear they have a lot of art hidden somewhere, too.

@Ulrichl or is it Ulrichli - bist du ein Schweizer? If so, I should have said Sind Sie.

Loving all the small furry 4-leggers today, including squirrels.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Trouble with the NW corner but a fun puzzle; we are Tuesday smart

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

The problem with 40D is the inconsistency. The answer to the clue is properly "two pairs", but as many have mentioned, the poker hand is always "two pair". Also, themed answers need to be consistently clued, so one pun out of six is unacceptable.

I am surprised that nobody mentioned my two biggest complaints.

The family in "The Sound of Music" (27D) is 'von Trapp', not just 'Trapp'. No excuse.

'Noel' (14A) does not mean "Christmas carol". Noel means Christmas.

Neither of these are reasonable errors for this paper.

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