Kuomintang co-founder / SUN 11-27-11 / Italian automaker since 1906 / Dogpatch yokel / Sci-fi zapper / Villainous role for Montalban

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "YIN/YANG" — grid is half black (gray) / half white, with Yin/Yang symbol in the middle. Symmetrical theme answers contain words that are opposites / counterparts of one another.


Word of the Day: INIGO Jones (120A: Architect Jones) —
Inigo Jones (or IƱigo Jones) (July 15, 1573 – June 21, 1652) is the first significant British architect of the modern period, and the first to bring Italianate Renaissance architecture to England. He left his mark on London by single buildings, such as the Banqueting House, Whitehall, and in area design for Covent Garden square which became a model for future developments in the West End. He also made major contributions to stage design by his work as theatrical designer for several dozen masques, most by royal command and many in collaboration with Ben Jonson. (wikipedia)
• • •

Big thumbs up for this one. I vaguely admired it even before I realized that the dark and light parts of the grid contained opposites—cool shape, interesting fill, that was enough for me. The SUMMER/WINTER, HOT/COLD etc. thing just puts it over the top. Most Sundays are just oversized Wednesdays, and get a bit tedious about half way through. Not this one. Perhaps because the grid shape creates so many short answers, this puzzle felt quite easy. I was actually surprised I didn't come in under 10 minutes, as I hardly hesitated at all while filling it in. The theme answers in the yang (white) part of the symbol did not come easily, so there was some struggle there, and I wasn't sure what followed SUMMER at first, and I wrote in EJECT for 108D: Boot, in baseball, e.g. (ERROR), so that took a bit of undoing. But the longest theme answers (in west and east) went in almost instantaneously, and most of the short fill was not tough at all. Overall, it was a delightful solving experience. Imaginative. Lively. Good stuff.

A couple of weird / off things, though: first, the yin (black) part should have a white dot (square) inside it, technically. Obviously, this isn't really possible in a crossword puzzle. Or maybe it is, with some imagination. Also, LIGHT in LIGHT AS A FEATHER pairs with DARK in AFRAID OF THE DARK ... but it also pairs perfectly with a totally asymmetrical theme answer: HOT AND HEAVY. I find this very mildly distracting.

Theme answers:
  • 24A: Full of strong feelings (HOT AND HEAVY)
  • 31A: Something to enjoy on a beach (SUMMER BREEZE)



  • 42D: Weighing hardly anything (LIGHT AS A FEATHER)
  • 37D: Walter Mitty, e.g. (DAYDREAMER)
  • 48D: Kuomintang co-founder (SUN YAT-SEN) — Kuomintang being an early form of Yahtzee, which is itself a corruption of the original triumphant shout: "YAT-SEN!"
  • 116A: Started sneezing and sniffling, say (CAUGHT A COLD)
  • 102A: He might put chills up your spine (OLD MAN WINTER)
  • 16D: Suffering from nyctophobia (AFRAID OF THE DARK)
  • 43D: Time in Hawaii, say (HONEYMOON)
  • 45D: Question asked to one with a hangover ("ROUGH NIGHT?")     
Some things I did not know: that there were nine Thai kings named RAMA; That Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) was the Grp. with the 1973 gold album "Brain Salad Surgery"; that the SAHARA was the Bygone Las Vegas hotel/casino with a roller coaster; that LANCIA was the name of an Italian automaker since 1906. Many of the other proper nouns were right up my alley, however. HOMER didn't write "By their own follies they perished, the fools," but one of his translators surely did. L'il ABNER is a comics legend (20A: Dogpatch yokel), just as KHAN is an '80s scifi legend (27A: Villainous role for Montalban) (don't think he had a RAY GUN, though—14D: Sci-fi zapper). I only wish that Andy GIBB were in the white part of the grid, to counterbalance Marilyn MCCOO in the black (104D: Marilyn who hosted 1980s TV's "Solid Gold").





Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

82 comments:

Bram 12:20 AM  

Excellent Sunday. Must have taken him a week to make this puzzle, to make all the words fit in with that grid design etc.

syndy 12:28 AM  

ELIHU and FU NAM SHU in HONSHU eating moo SHU pork CAUGHT COLDS and said AH-CHOO playing YAHTSEE until the TSUNAMI came and washed them away!Floats like a butterfly but CHEN where is your sting?

Anonymous 12:44 AM  

I found this to be the easiest Sunday puzzle I can ever recall. I flew through it, and I'm normally still tussling with a few clues come Monday. It was also boring and the theme wasn't especially clever or enticing. A real disappointment.

jae 12:45 AM  

Very fine/clever/fun Sun. Easy-medium for me with no write overs.

Given a choice I would have gone with INIGO Montoya. But, I'm more into movies than architects.

Gill I. P. 12:49 AM  

This puzzle made me happy. It's so elegant and flowed so easily, which I presume Mr. Chen intended.
There were so many things I liked, but in particular, the Asian answers. RAMA, FU MANCHU, TSUNAMIS, HONSHU, AHI and SHU.
Then out of nowhere we have STEGOSAUR, ELP, LANCIA and ON THE NOSE.
Thank you Mr. Chen for the YIN/YANG.

Evan K. 1:02 AM  

My friends had never worked on / finished a Times crossword before. We all had great fun tackling this one this morning! (Physical copy: NYT Magazine.) I suspected what the theme would be before we began.

Dastardly clue of the day: "Amount past due?" TRE.

Jeff Chen 1:49 AM  

Hi all!

@Bram: I started working on this after being inspired by Elizabeth Gorski's fantastic Guggenheim spiral in late 2009. I finally finished version 22 of this puzzle in August this year. What a relief to put it in the mail! (insert sound of stereotypical movie cigarette being smoked)

I've been enjoying working with newbies looking to get into the construction game, as well as established constructors. If you have an idea you'd like to work on and want to collaborate, let me know! I have dozens of themes I'd like to develop too, so if you want to work on one of those, that works just as long as I can plausibly deny any insanity you may or may not contract.

Jeff
jeffchen1972 (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous 2:20 AM  

visually a lovely grid. didn't quite get the yin/yang of some of the answers. also didn't know inigo or the italian car manufacturer and a few others so did not quite finish.

chefwen 2:22 AM  

@Jeff - Thanks for stopping by and a BIG thanks for a fun puzzle. Agree with easy/medium. I had the finished puzzle in front of the computer before wine thirty. Husband noticed and was a little downcast that I hadn't solicited his input before I was done. One Google for SUN YAT SEN. Couple of write overs, nothing serious.

I thought the theme gave the puzzle a big leg up.

Shout out to @Rube at 20A (where are you?)

r.alphbunker 2:37 AM  

http://www.brendanemmettquigley.com/2010/07/crossword-249.html

Fitzy 3:29 AM  

Just broke out the Grand Marinier to celebrate! Granted it took me 4 hours, but I've been trying to solve Sunday NY Times x-words for the past 20 years and this is only the THIRD time I've been able to solve the whole puzzle w/o any help from family, friends, wikipedia, etc... I know many/most of you fully solve these pretty quickly, but this is a pretty big deal for me! I say 4 hours, well it was 3 hours plus one full hour to get that INIGO / ASTON / ONTHENOSE / SUIT section... being a huge Princess Bride fan, if the clue was related to INIGO Montoya(as jae mentioned), I'd probably have finished in 3hrs & 5 min... thanks for a great puzzle Jeff!!!

Greene 5:33 AM  

Immediately recalled the Gorski Guggenheim puzzle when I saw the shape of the grid. So happy that Mr. Chen was able to draw inspiration from that masterpiece and construct this gem. I found it exceedingly easy to solve, but I was never bored.

@Rex: Your writeups continue to crack me up after all these years. Long may you wave.

AnnieD 7:52 AM  

Nice puzzle though I didn't get it all. Gave up at 57 down when I couldn't make sense of SETOIEKE. If its a puzzle and a rock group, it has to be ELO, right? And if it's a business being cutsie with the spelling of track, it has to be TRAK or TRAX, right?

Wrong.

But a nice puzz all the way around and a very attractive grid.

Glimmerglass 8:24 AM  

Relatively easy Sunday puzzle, and Sunday tends to be easy. I didn't notice the hot/cold, etc., balances in the yin/yang. I've just done a yin/yang rebus puzzle (that might have been a Fireball) which was more challenging. Even after reading Rex, I think the hot/cold balances are pretty tenuous -- only part of the phrase is working. HONEYMOON/SUN YAT-SEN is too big a stretch to help anyone solve the puzzle. However, I did discipline myself to solve all the white part (mostly in order) before I touched the gray. So there was something for me in the pattern.

jberg 9:05 AM  

Not quite so easy for me, but very enjoyable. I had persistent errors at 72A, ELo instead of ELP, and at 89D, where I thought "Eight bits" must be a BUCK. Also had atra, than tron, before seeing that the Gillette brand had to be TRAC. And I DO as prelude to a kiss took a long time to come.

I sort of got the theme pretty early, which helped me in solving - but not until getting here did I realize that they were not just opposites, but variants of hot/cold, light/dark - which, I gather, is what Yin/yang is all about?

Two quibbles: SUN YAT SEN is the only theme answer where the yin/yang word isn't literal, so it doesn't quite fit. On the other hand, it was good to be reminded that the KMT didn't start with Chiang. Second, I thought a SET PIECE was a little bit of acting, rather than of scenery - although I guess it is, literally, a piece of a set.

Those are very minor, though - great puzzle!

M07S 9:55 AM  

Had a similar solving experience as Rex in that the black part went in wham-bam-thank-you-maam. The white part was like pulling teeth.

I don't get how Pirates of the Caribbean = RIDE or how Amount past due? = TRE. Can someone help?

Lindsay 9:55 AM  

Subtle. Very subtle. Almost to the point of themelessness. But then, I don't get out much.

INIGO Jones flitted through my mind just the other day when we (using "we" loosely) were thinking up NO GO phrases.

skua76 10:00 AM  

A fun puzzle, thanks Jeff! After seeing the notepad I opted to print the PDF instead. My personal Natick/ knowledge hole was MCCOO x MOYLE at the bottom...I guessed wrong!

joho 10:01 AM  

Beautiful grid, Jeff Chen, thank you for taking the years you did to create this interesting Sunday puzzle.

It wasn't difficult for me, but as others have said, it wasn't boring either.

Here complementary opposites came together to form a wholly enjoyable solving experience.

(MO7S, Pirates of the Caribbean is a ride at Disneyland/world. Due is 2 and TRE is 3.

John V 10:14 AM  

Lottsa fun! So, is today the yin and Saturday's the yang or the other way around? I'd say today was medium/Thurday-ish for me.

My dastardly clue of the day 80A Eight bits, for which I first wrote BUCK (quarter=2 bits?) Knew ELP straight away. Amusing error: had INEGO for 120A, which gave me SUET for corporate big-wig. Sorry 'bout that.

Nyctophobia? Good thing Jeff put in all the three letter crosses in the East or I'd have been toast.

Aren't ARCHIE and AMELIA yin and yang?

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Don't forget rough night and day dreamer

DBGeezer 10:57 AM  

Does the theme only apply to some answers? How is HARI 43a opposite or complementary to ERIN 92a? or HONEYMOON 43d to SUNYATSEN 48d? I also don't understand the yin/yang of rex's theme answers?
At least I understand 31a and 102a: SUMMERBREEZE and OLDMANWINTER

foodie 11:00 AM  

Beautiful puzzle! Thank you, Mr. Chen, for the combination of visual cues and evocative theme answers, wall with an Asian vibe. Lovely.

And any puzzle that brings back @Greene is great in my book.

This puzzle made me think of another old Rexite, Edith B (ARCHIE's wife). I hope she is doing well.

Do some of you remember The Big E, who was a regular here for a while? I had exchanged some email with him, and I recently sent him a message wondering how he was doing. I got a shock when a few weeks later, I heard back from his wife telling me he passed away 6 months ago, at the age of 37. She said that she took heart from the fact that someone on Rex's blog remembered him. So very, very sad. I wish his wife and family strength in coping with this loss...

Sorry for the downer. But I hope people will remember his great spirit. I guess it's the Yin and Yang of life in Rexville.

Z 11:07 AM  

Great Puzzle. All those three's could have been deathly boring, but they weren't.

Two slow areas for me, the whole mata HARI section took a little parsing on my part. ESP finally opened it up for me. I also took awhile to fill in the SHERYL/BYTE crossing.

Since I was the guy who gave his "post-metal" loving son "Brain Salad Surgery" to suggest that prog rock may be a seminal source, ELP was easy.

merlbaby 11:49 AM  

note to jeff:

from a constructing p.o.v. i would echo something rex said and add to it. terrific concept overall, but i would have not used HOT AND HEAVY. this theme answer simply needs to start with HOT in order to balance the answer that ends with COLD below, but HOT AND HEAVY has two points against it -- 1) it has the structure of a yin-yang duality (x and y) but really isn't one, and 2) "heavy" *is* the opposite of "light" and LIGHT AS A FEATHER is a theme answer. both of these points distract from the clarity of the theme. i would have used HOT CROSS BUN or some such to balance CAUGHT A COLD just to make sure that no incidental connections could be made. a small thing, perhaps, but it caught my sleeve just like it caught rex's, so i thought it was worth mentioning.

otherwise, a fabulous puzzle! --MR

Kathy 11:54 AM  

I just don't get why in Rex's grid, there are circled squares in the northeast. How does that fit in with the yin/yang theme? Also, it seems that one has to hunt for the opposites. I would think they would be located within the yin/yang symbols. Would someone explain what it is I am missing here? Thanks so much!

Kathy 11:55 AM  

And circled squares in the southeast, as well.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Weird one. Disappointed in that is was easy to solve the entire puzzle without "getting" the theme at all. After-the-fact elegance is nice, but honestly, that's not the point is it?

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

@merlbaby, on the other hand, "heavy" has the advantage of including another "y"--as do so many answers.

John V 12:06 PM  

@Kathy
The circles are the way the puzzle appears in AcrossLite. I guess there is no way to shade a square in AcrossLite. They map to the shaded squares in the Magazine version. The circles taken together and combined with non-circled squares comprise the Taijitsu symbol.

Tita 12:11 PM  

LIked this - elegant and easy to end an event-filled long weekend.

Not too many sticky writeovers...

rolls before ASTON. I guess since Rolls was sold to VW, it lost its luxury luster. (Now it's BMW, but the damage was done!

OLAf-->OLAV
ATRA-->TrAC
eLENE-->ALENE
iGlO-->EGGO
ocTa-->BYTE (embarrassing, my being in the computer biz...eh JohnV?)

Though I came to a grinding halt in the SW, not knowing INIGO, and that cluster of wrong guesses...but finally @Brian's Excel rule prodded me to see ONTHE NOSE.
Thanks Brian!

archaeoprof 12:15 PM  

Loved it too. Thank you Jeff Chen!

@Fitzy: congratulations on your success! Enjoy the Grand Marnier. I always put Kahlua in my Sunday morning crossword coffee.

@Foodie: touching update. Thanks for passing the news along to us.

Jeff Chen 12:20 PM  

@MR: THE Merl Reagle? Honored to hear from you - thanks for the feedback! I tried maybe ten alternatives to HOT AND HEAVY, but couldn't get that HOMER / ENOLA section to work. Usually I'd put in a set of cheater squares, but this time I didn't want to muck with the grid pattern. I think it was around version 17 (where the walls were red with blood from thwacking my head) that I decided to give up and stick with it.

Kathy 12:22 PM  

@John V - I had printed the puzzle from the NY Times website, so I didn't get any shading or circles in doing it that way. Thanks for your explanation.

Jim Walker 12:34 PM  

Mr. Chen,

I loved your puzzle. However, to those of us in, or near our eighth decade of life, there is, and will always be only ONE slammin' Sammy, and his family name is SNEAD. Crossing it with Ms. McCoo (might well have been "McWho?) is rubbing salt in the wound. I have to call a penalty on you (but only five yards.)

Look forward to your next effort.

Jim Walker

Sally 12:46 PM  

Very enjoyable puzzle! Only problem was I automatically put in ELO, so I couldn't get SETPIECE. Never saw Emerson, Lake and Palmer abbreviated in a puzzle before. I needed ELP!! from Rex.

John V 12:49 PM  

@Jim Walker: This early seventh decade solver wanted SNEAD, too, but Marilyn McCoo was right in my wheelhouse, having grown up with the Firth Dimension. So, a bit of a generational time-warp in that crossing, eh?

capcha uncoo: I am NOT making that up!

600 1:13 PM  

@Fitzy--Exactly my experience with finishing: ONTHENOSE, SUIT, INIGO, LANCIA, even LOANS and ASTON took forever--but they were fair, and I had a big D'OH moment when I finally saw ON THE NOSE and broke it open. (As for the Grand Marnier, you've given me an idea for the evening . . . kinda too early to get started now. Damn it.)

Very much enjoyed the whole experience. My time tells me it was easy/medium even though that one area seemed to take as long as the whole rest of the puzzle.

@Jeff Chen--so terrific to hear from a constructor. Loved your puzzle. Thanks for stopping by.

Thank you, @joho--I could not for the life of me parse out how the amount past due could be TRE. I had it from crosses, but it did not make sense. No searches were helping . . . and then I came here. Gosh, I love this blog.

mac 1:16 PM  

Lovely grid and fun, quick puzzle. No boredom whatsoever!

I'm shocked. @Foodie: I had noticed Big E hadn't shown up anymore, but I figured it had something to do with his new job in Washington. During the Brooklyn tournament he joined our Rexite group for lunch in a Thai restaurant on the first day of competition. He told us then the E in his Blogger name stood for Epilepsy. He was a charming guy, we had a great time talking with him. Condolences to his family.

Mel Ott 1:27 PM  

I suppose someone applied the nickname to SOSA at some point, but I'm with those who maintain that Slammin' Sammy is Mr. Snead. (Yes, I'm an old crock, too.)

Masked and Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Wasn't familiar with the yin/yang symbol, so that part sailed over my thick scull for quite a while. (First reaction: "Yay! boobs!" Pretty yang-y of me.)

I know this guy hasn't done a lot of puzs yet, but Jeff Chen is already one my fave NYT constructors. Really fun solve. Had a little solving snag for awhile in the far NE and at LANC?A/?NIGO. Otherwise, smooth sailin'.

Big thUmbsUp.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

Thanks @archeoprof & @600!

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

Not as easy for me as for the rest of you, but beautiful and enjoyable from start to finish. (Even though I fell into the ELO group and didn't understand the ELP answer until I got here.)

Just one question: Why is ENDS the answer to "two on a line"?

600 1:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
600 2:01 PM  

@Anonymous, 1:50--I assume the obvious: a line has two ENDS.

@Anonymous, 1:49--You're welcome, I'm sure--but why????? (Are you Fitzy? Jeff Chen?)

M07S 2:06 PM  

@Anonymous 1:50...A line is the shortest distance between two (END) points.

Unknown 2:20 PM  

Sorry to put in a sour note, but I fail to see the greatness in this puzzle. The shape is nice, but I expected something tighter in terms of placing "opposites," which seemed kind of random and barely there.

Lewis 2:25 PM  

@chefwen -- and when exactly is wine thirty?

@jim -- agree with you about Slammin' Sammy Snead

@anonymous 1:50 -- I was thinking that it was the two ends on a football line

@r.alph -- I believe the above (36A) has the potential of being a MANYTOONED clue, no?

This was the easiest Sunday ever for me; it felt like the cluing was easy. For me, there was a yin/yang feeling (and I'm guessing it wasn't intended by Jeff) to ENOLA and INIGO, which are placed in opposite positions on the grid, and just feel like word cousins to me. (Maybe because of the two consonants sandwiched between three vowels.)

John 2:30 PM  

I found this puzzle easy for a Sunday BUT I thought it was a picture of a turkey head for Thanksgiving and didn't realize it was a yin-yang symbol until I read it here. So I guess I'm a decent puzzle solver but my visual skills aren't quite there ;)

Rube 2:38 PM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle. Found it so easy that did it all last night & DNG. Had some of the same writeovers reported here: TRAC/atra, SOSAS/snead, ELP/ELo, + others. ALso, found the grey (circled) section much easier than the white part although the TRE, ELP section was the last to fall.

Apparently SUN YAT SEN is currently being touted in China as the true founder of modern China -- to the detriment of Mao.

Lancia was a gimme as an old girlfriend drove one, (this is in the 60s), and was extremely proud of it.

Recently have not been posting because I usually finish the night before and by the next morning when Rex posts I've lost interest and/or can't remember my puzzle solving issues. However, with Li'l ABNER appearing in the puzzle, felt I had to post today. Also, made my first batch of @ChefWen's Famous Muffins this morning. Absolutely marvelous -- TDF. Thanks again @ChefWen.

Sparky 2:45 PM  

Finished last night in 1 hour which is pretty good for me. Saw only 8 of the theme answers before coming here. Ten is a lot. Had BiTE/SHER?? but then I remembered the singer and it fixed itself. Atra before TRAC, ReYAL before RIAL, isIT before OFIT. The shapes fun to fill in. Thank you Jeff Chen for dropping by.

@Foodie. Sad news, appreciate your passing it along. BigE was so sweet before he got married, had us counting the days. My heart goes out to his family.

r.alphbunker 2:59 PM  

@Lewis

Line as in a football line of scrimmage? OMG was 36A a sports clue? :-)

dsf 3:05 PM  

Also got snagged by ?NIGO/LANC?A but otherwise enjoyable.

But isn't a LINE infinite...a SEGMENT has ends. Just sayin'

chefbea 3:22 PM  

Just got back from the cruise and guess I'm just too tired or jet lagged to finnish!! Great time - great food and yes..had the Times digest aboard the ship so did the puzzle everyday...and yes I had a great you know what salad one night at dinner

Missed you all!!!

JaxInL.A. 3:44 PM  

I loved the visual treat of looking at this puzzle while solving, and I share Rex's gratitude that the short fill was quite engaging. Thanks, Jeff, for sticking with this one until it worked. I had a marvelous time with it.

It was sad to see the news about @The Big E, and sweet on the same day to realize that @Kathy is back after the recent loss of her long-time partner. Life (and puzzles) go on regardless, eh? Regardless of our inability to understand why the rest of the world does not stand still for our grief. I suppose it's a tiny reflection of life's continuity which is, eventually, comforting. And thanks, Rex.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:23 PM  

I only met Greg Gardner, a.k.a. the Big E, once, but it was memorable. It was, as mac has mentioned, at the 2011 ACPT. Greg lived very near the hotel where the ACPT was being held, but in fact the very next day he was moving to Washington. He told us he knew of a very nice Thai restaurant, and led a group of seven on a long walk there. The food was very good, and in big portions, and I believe the people there knew him well. After we had all eaten as much as we could, it was getting late and we had to get back to the tournament. Greg suggested a plan: He called a car service, with whom he was also quite familiar, and they dispatched two cars which got us all back to the hotel in plenty of time for the afternoon puzzles.

Rex Parker 4:41 PM  

Merl Reagle in the house! Smartest puzzle critic I know. Super high standards. Always instructive.

rp

JenCT 5:02 PM  

Liked this puzzle very much; I like doing my Sunday puzzles at a leisurely pace, so I worked on it on & off between games. Go Jets!

Thanks for stopping by, Jeff Chen.

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

Just a question, isn't MSG an abbreviation which should therefore be clued with an abbreviated clue?

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

Just a question, isn't MSG an abbreviation which should therefore be clued with an abbreviated clue?

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

Rex: I've never rung in on your blog before, but I have to ask you how in blazes did you ever buy into that nonsense about Sun Yat Sen inspiring Yahtzee??? The game didn't exist until 1954...!

chefbea 6:06 PM  

To the family of Big E...so sorry for your loss. He will be missed by all

chefwen 6:14 PM  

@foodie - Sad news indeed. I remember the countdown to his wedding. I read his profile and knew what the E stood for, so when he stopped posting I became concerned. My condolences to friends and family.

@Lewis - Wine thirty is "when the mood strikes" usually between 4:30 and 5:30 P.M. Times may vary if you were just in a different time zone.

NittyGriddy 6:22 PM  

To Anonymous: MSG, like IBM, needs no abbreviation indicator if an editor feels that the short version is much more commonly used than the long version. Same goes for ABC (the network) and KGB. Editors may vary on examples like CPA and PTA, but don't be surprised if they omit indicators from answers like ATM, SAT, and URL, which are commonly seen as the "preferred" forms. Again, it depends on the editor, but that's why, in this case at least, MSG had no abbreviation indicator.

KarenSampsonHudson 6:53 PM  

I enjoyed the Wordplay write-up in today's NYT. Congrats! Your legions of fans love ya!

william e emba 7:17 PM  

The puzzle that I was reminded of when I saw the grid was a Merl Reagle puzzle from 2004 inspired by the four hurricanes that hit Florida that year. The names of the four hurricanes were spaced around the edges. So I took a bit of extra amusement from seeing IRENE in this puzzle.

As I was finishing the south I was looking at the cross between LANC-A and -NIGO. I stupidly read the wrong clue for 120A. I read 123A, "No problem!" Hmm, IN I GO!, well, OK, the cross sounded vaguely familiar and certainly Italian, so I moved on. I was quite surprised at seeing my stupidity here as the word-of-the-day!

Today's variety puzzle had a clue using "loan shark", so of course I got this puzzle's "shark products" clue much faster than I normally would have.

I like how MOTHERS pairs with DNA TEST (as in, paternity test) and SAHARA with SWEDES. I suppose the pairing of ISLAM with SENSE was unintentional.

In fact, the "correct" plural of TSUNAMI is TSUNAMI, but this usage battle was lost before it even began.

"Pirates of the Caribbean" has been a featured RIDE at the various Disney theme parks for decades. The Walt Disney Pictures film series was named for the ride. Of course, the success of the film has meant that the ride has been updated: Captain Jack Sparrow is now part of the theme park ride.

Masked and Anonymous II 7:21 PM  

@dsf: I decided "line" could be the kind you stand in to get waited on, which does have front and back ENDS. Maybe that's what they had in mind?

Today's fave fill: STEGOSAUR. Also liked HON, echoing HONEYMOON.

Today's fave clue: Those 14 kings in 15- and 16-Across.

Today's oofy fill: PEU.

Still tryin' to figure out: What the yin of OVENMITT's yang would be.

Elizabeth Gorski 8:35 PM  

Thanks, Jeff, for the shout out. Your yin/yang concept is brilliant and I wouldn't change a thing. You imagined, developed and executed a theme that hasn't been done before. That's the hard part, the heavy lifting. That's the dream. Congratulations.

nanpilla 8:36 PM  

@Foodie - thank you so much for sharing the sad news about Greg. He was such a great host that day in Brooklyn. I remember him saying that he proposed to his wife in the garden of that restaurant.
My condolences to his family.

joho 8:41 PM  

Wow, Jeff stopped in then Merl then Elizabeth. It doesn't get any better than that.

stevegaus 8:57 PM  

Who knew that there were two correct answers for "Eight bits" (89 down)both four letter words beginning with "b"?
I put in "buck", but "byte" was correct, as it turned out.

Jeff Chen 1:32 AM  

Wow, thanks so much for the comment, Ms. Gorski! I'm always amazed at your puzzles.

Jeff

Jenny 9:41 PM  

@chefwen - 'Wine thirty' is a time at my house, too. But for me it started as a rhyming thing, i.e. was at or around nine thirty (p.m. of course :-)

This puzzle was quite nice, though like @Kathy, I printed out the .pdf, and as such didn't get the shading effect. So that set me back a bit, enjoyment- and appreciation-wise. Glad I came here for the full picture.

Anonymous 5:31 PM  

What do you think of SOSAS? I am pretty sure it really should be SNEAD.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Sorry, but some of the yins didn't have a yan and vice versa, Slammin' Sammy should have been Snead not Sosa. I don't know why everyone liked this so much, other than the fact that the normal answers were easy.

Dirigonzo 11:53 AM  

From the land of the perpetually late (and often lost) I'm glad Mr. Chen did not let the pursuit of perfection (which apparently is an impossibility in puzzle construction) stop him from submitting this masterpiece. On top of everything else the list of music-makers he included - ELP (and briefly, ELo), SHERYL Crow, ANI DiFranco, Marilyn MCCOO, Susan BOYLE and even Irving Berlin - left me smiling at some great memories. Kudos all around.

Do you suppose 12/4/2006 was as much fun in Rexville?
- "Solving time: 4:33"
- "There are those who know this song from being a young person in the 80s, those who know it from a great SNL parody a few years back, and those (the majority of you, I'm guessing) who don't know it at all. I would direct you to cuttingcrew.com, but you will find only hair-care specialists - unless that's what the band's doing now to make a living. I'll look into this."
- "Stupid can't-make-up-his-mind-how-to-spell-his-own-damned-name OLAV tacked a good 20 seconds onto my time."
- "There are only two PENELOPEs I care anything about. I'm married to one, and Odysseus is married to the other."
- "Like Enya, Paul ANKA is doing everything to get himself into the Pantheon. Given that this is at least the third time I've seen him since I started this website, I'm going to have to give him real consideration. I may have to have an Enya/ANKA showdown. "Two will enter the ring, only one will leave!" Yes, that sounds good. And I'll have you, the viewer, vote by texting "ENYA" or "ANKA" on your cell phone to a special Cingular wireless number ... it'll be fun."
- "Over in the SW corner, I really wish EATEN and ANNIE would trade places so that the corner would read, from top to bottom: MOTHS EATEN ANNIE (they have!? awesome!). Also nice that ORPHAN (47D) and ANNIE are in the grid together. Nice touch. No SANDY, though. Only SHADY (42A), Sandy's evil twin. What a bitch."
- "ELOPE + GO SOFT + LAUGHS = worst honeymoon ever."
- The 15 comments were mostly an extended discussion of 80s pop music, to which Rex contributed this: "1987 killed more than its share of would-be artists. Someday I will regale you with my lengthy and well-researched theory about how 1987 was the beginning of the driest, most horrible 5-year period in pop music history."

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Eight theme answers doesn't seem like enough for a Sunday. So I started looking for other pairs. I guess if a constructor can't make MOTHERS/FATHERS work directly he's got to resort to MOTHERS/DNA TEST.

The only other one I could find was CTA/ELP, two groups whose albums I enjoyed in the early '70s. I wouldn't say were opposites, though. ELP was progressive; C went progressively downhill after dropping the TA.

Matt 1:50 PM  

A very easy puzzle done in syndication. I was somewhat disappointed that ARCHIE and ENOLA were on the dark side while AMELIA and INIGO were on the light side. While the theme answers were fitting, I would have liked to see male and female names only on their own sides.

I'm only in my forties, but Slammin' Sammy Snead is the first person I thought of and had to change it to SOSAS when that didn't work.

Dirigonzo 6:42 PM  

My Sunday paper publishes the Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo along with the syndicated NYT puzzle. Today's "Triple Features" was a fun puzzle but it left me with a couple of questions and I can't find a blog or forum to ask anybody. Is there anyone here who did the puzzle and wants to talk about it (with Rex's indulgence, of course)?

Anonymous 6:54 PM  

Spacecraft here. Enjoyed this one a lot. It forced me to think; to skip around and start at different places till I could mesh them and get the aha! for the connecting word. Finished with no help and only two writeovers: (1) hand up for 8 bits being a BUCK (old school) before BYTE (modern era). And (2) didn't know the Berlin song (what, me? yeah, that's one I somehow missed) so I guessed DONT be surprised, till that wouldn't go, but YOUD would.
I guess if I had to find a nit, it would be with the clue "Crow with a powerful voice." I think of power for voices like Ethel Merman (old school) or Susan BOYLE (modern era). But SHERYL? A super songwriter and a very pleasing, melodious voice--but powerful? uh-no. Kudos, though to Mr. Chen for not letting much dreck into all the short answers. When there are that many, it's almost inevitable you'll get some roman numerals, numbered popes, etc. Good job!

linguia: a land of many, um, tongues.

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

Perhaps no one noticed this, and I doubt it was intentional, but as a good atheist, I can't help but count ISLAM and SENSE as two of today's theme answers! Great puzzle, Jeff Chen!

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

How often do we ever see INIGO in a puzzle? Wouldn't the perfect clue have been the classic movie line?

"Hello. My name is ___________ Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

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