Napoleonic marshal / TUE 6-26-12 / Film about 1919 Black Sox scandal / Island group east of Philippines / Colored like boat in Edward Lear's Owl Pussycat

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Constructor: Mike Torch

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: THE DEAD MAN'S HAND (38A: What 17-, 26-, 46- and 57-Across's beginnings represent) — ACEs over EIGHTs

Word of the Day: DEAD MAN'S HAND 
The dead man's hand is a two-pair poker hand, namely "aces and eights". This card combination gets its name from a legend that it was the five-card-draw hand held by Wild Bill Hickok, when he was murdered on August 2, 1876, in Saloon No. 10 at Deadwood, South Dakota. (wikipedia)
• • •

This wasn't just my fastest Tuesday since I started keeping track (mid-March), it was faster than all but three of my Monday's in that time period as well. Faster than yesterday, even, by a few seconds, and yesterday was Easy for a Monday. So, to reiterate, Easy. I was able to write in ACE VENTURA and PEA GREEN and EIGHT MEN OUT and even STATUTES without even looking at the clues, just based on the crosses I already had in the grid. No write-overs. Only a couple of slow-downs—at PALAU, and then at OCHRE, waiting on the spelling (-ER or -RE?). None of the fill, including the theme answers, is that interesting, but I like the theme idea OK, and the fill is nothing if not solid. No complaints.

No complaints is Not what the NYT will be facing in the coming weeks now that they have decided to deny home delivery subscribers access to the puzzle online (at their Premium Crosswords page). I started getting (uniformly miffed) email in the middle of the day yesterday informing me of the change. Here is a quote from the email sent to home delivery subscribers, which I posted on my Facebook page yesterday: "Starting July 9, Home Delivery Subscribers will no longer have free access to Premium Crosswords. You can, however, continue to access Premium Crosswords by subscribing at a special low rate being offered only to Times subscribers." So if you get the paper delivered to your home, you can enjoy all the same content online ... except the crossword. That, we're gonna make you pay (again?) for. They should've added: "And even though we realize how phenomenally valuable the puzzle is to us, monetarily (after all, why would we gouge you if this were not the one part of the paper that was raking it in?), we have absolutely no intention of paying constructors any more than the measly $200 they currently earn for a daily puzzle. Suck it, everyone." 

I can't say I'm surprised by this development, but I hope it drives two things home to people. 1. The puzzle is worth far more to the NYT than anyone would believe or than the NYT would likely be willing to admit, and 2. (related) $200 isn't even in the ballpark of a small percentage of what an individual puzzle is actually worth to the NYT (it is my understanding that constructors only get *that* much because Will really pushed for the pay to be increased from whatever paltrier amount it had been previously). There are many reasons why constructor pay won't change; mostly they have to do with the kinds of people who create them, not with the NYT, which is only doing what corporations do—paying as little as possible for the type of product they want to deliver. Annnnyway, clearly I'm coming at this from a constructor pay angle, while many of you will be coming at it from a home subscriber angle (or no angle at all). The economics of crosswords are highly obscured and sometimes deliberately obfuscated, largely because the very phrase "the economics of crosswords" seems, on the face of it, laughable. The NYT is content to have you laugh.

Theme answers:
  • ACE VENTURA (17A: Jim Carrey title role)
  • ACE HARDWARE (26A: Company for which John Madden was once pitchman)
  • EIGHT MEN OUT (46A: Film about the 1919 Black Sox scandal)
  • EIGHT TRACK (57A: Old tape format)
  • 14A: Hill in Hollywood (JONAH) — My go-to five-letter Hill is still ANITA. She's not right for this clue.
  • 43A: Shinto temple gateway (TORII) — kind of arcane, but you pick it up eventually if you do enough crosswords. A nice follow-up to yesterday's doughnut-shaped TORI.
  • 12D: 1984 best-selling Ed Koch memoir ("MAYOR") — Did not know that. Of course by the time I saw the clue, I had MAY-R in place and was only checking to make sure the clue didn't have something to do with musician John MAYER.
  • 9D: Colored like the boat in Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat" (PEA GREEN) — a long (and interesting) way to go for a simple color. Hurray for giving some life to clues, even (especially) in easy puzzles. 

  • 52A: Napoleonic marshal (NEY) — Do I like this answer? "Nay!" It's pretty crosswordesey. But I never ever saw the clue (filled it in entirely via crosses), so I never had a chance to get consternated. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Here's an interesting take on the NYT online-puzzle-grab debacle; brings up an issue I hadn't thought of:  

Letter from a reader: "It was great that you brought up the change the NYTimes is planning to make regarding the online premium crossword. In addition to it being outrageous to charge those of us who are subscribing to the home deliver edition of the paper, I consider it age discrimination.

It is much easier for me to do the crossword puzzle online that it is in the physical paper. I am 66; I am sure many older people like me will feel it's harder to fill out the tiny squares in the physical paper than it is online; the correlation of the clue and the blank in the puzzle is easier, and the issue of ink versus pencil just doesn't come up.

I have called the NYTimes to let them know I will be cancelling my home delivery, plus the two papers I have delivered to my main office, if they go forward with this plan."

I'm getting many "I'm canceling" emails this morning. Not sure the trend will be big enough to cause any change, but I'm certainly seeing more outrage than I expected.


Tobias Duncan 12:18 AM  

I am amazed that anyone would find this as easy as yesterdays puzzle. I had an easy/med time but it felt like it dragged and dragged.Did not know any of the sports clues or much of the pop culture. Poker theme kind of pissed me off as Will has a poker/football puzzle this week for the NPR challenge.Its pretty easy but still...

So happy to see Rex bitch about the lousy 200 bucks. I know the smart folks who make these puzzles for me are successful folks who may not really need the money but damn, 2 Bens is freaking insulting.

Oh and yay for double ADOBE bricks keeping me nice and cool in this mountain heat wave!

Tobias Duncan 12:36 AM  

Where the heck is the late night crew?
Just popping back in to say that I will send puzzles to anyone who ends up temporarily losing service during this gouging crossover process. I am not super reliable but I am better than nothing!

jae 12:48 AM  

Hey, we finally have a Tues. on Tues. and an easy one a that.  Only thing I needed to fix was Koed to KAYO.  As a long time poker player I gotta like this one.  Plus, poker is one of the other things I'm teaching the grandkids (can pool be far behind?).  

Like Rex I never saw NEY either and had a small lurkie* when he mentioned it thinking I had made an error.

Loved the totally justified rant!

*Lurkie: A sudden rush of s$$T to the heart. 

pk 1:18 AM  

Sliced thru puzz like a hot knife thru butter.

Then there is this other thing. The No Joy Thing. You mean, I have to pay to have the NYT (with paper puzzle, I guess?) delivered to my home? - don't want it delivered to my home if it doesn't have a puzzle in it. AND then I have to pay AGAIN if I want it delivered to my laptop, IPad, etc??? Are you kidding me?

Yes, I got the e-mail. I know things are rough in the print news biz now. But still. Very sad day.

As Rex suggested on FB, sure, I can write an Angry Letter, which may make me feel better, but I seriously doubt it will change anything.

Anonymous 1:24 AM  

Back in the last years of Maleska's reign (early '90s), the pay per 15x15 was $35. I think Will immediately upped it to $75 (Games Magazine's rate at the time) when he assumed the editorship in '93.

A friend of mine had a tiny cartoon accepted by the New Yorker (about 1/3 the size of a daily crossword). He was received $285... this was way back in 1974.

Clark 1:28 AM  

So I can pay $20 more (than my home del) per year to have on-line access to the puzzle. Or, I can cancel my subscription, pay $40 per year and have on-line access to the puzzle. Is that right? I get most of my news from various web-sites these days anyway. The quality of NYT reporting hardly makes a subscription worthwhile anymore.

Cool puzzle. I got the two EIGHT...s first. So, of course I was looking for EIGHTs above. Would the dead man's hand have won or lost?

syndy 1:30 AM  

I had the first two ACE answers and thought this was way too easy =then the Blacksox and I knew that was't an Ace so that made the thing a little more interesting.Got HAND and knew where we were going!I liked the PEAGREEN but I'd say OCHRE was more brown than yellow,surely?

thursdaysd 1:33 AM  

I had to guess at AJA/JONAH - I was right the second time.

I haven't had an email about paying for online crossword access, but this is likely to be the kick that gets me to stop paper delivery altogether (I only get Sunday as it is) and go all digital. Unless I abandon the NYT entirely.

Anonymous 1:44 AM  

I feel almost the same way I felt when I watched New Orleans fill up with water after Katrina hit and the sea walls failed. I'm not weeping now as I was then, but it feels the same way. Just dry-eyed.

Perhaps the elegant sleek ship that is the NYTimes has only hit a sand bar and is not sinking.

chefwen 2:28 AM  

Wow! Missed you all, was without internet service for two days, it felt like I was missing an arm. Good to be back. I spent most of the day catching up with what had been going on Sunday (glad I wasn't involved with that dust up) and Monday. Spent two hours with Oceanic Time Werner techs to no avail. Later today I logged on just for giggles and Presto Change-O everything was back to normal, go figure!

Still having the Tech come out to check all my wiring.

Super fast Tuesday. Two write overs with SPAR over mast at 63D and ALLAN over ALLeN AT 27dD

Askew Cia daMayor 3:23 AM  

As sad as $200 is (i still think the least they could do is $250 so we could say we get $1 a square!)
LA Times, next closest is but $85!

Credit must always be given to Peter Gordon for leading the pay fight till the Sun had to blink...but they know they got us. This bubbles up from time to time with nothing changing,

Have already talked myself blue in the face about this, but it's not so much the $200, it's the nonownership, nonresiduals as your work is resold to books, calendars, greeting cards, airplane mags, teapots, cookie jars, and on and on. But who could keep track of it all and disperse payments without a union and full time administrative staff.

Don't forget, many of the myriad papers who syndicate the puzzle even remove the byline!!!!! It's painful and shameful.
(Not much better elsewhere...Thank god for the WGA, as a result, I get a $42 check every now and then for a "Designing Women" episode I wrote 20+ years ago!)

So i try and pretend that I'm constructing for pure love (sometimes I am) and divorce myself from the exploitation because it was blocking creativity. Once I stopped railing about it, I became much more prolific and tried to enjoy the other perks (connection with friends, art for arts sake, pride, connection to other wordsmiths, even, gasp, praise from this site!)
But am thrilled others can see the injustice and are picking up the gauntlet.

As for puzzle, how fabulous THEDEADMANSHAND was 15 letters...and wonderful little twist on repeat a word...bringing that usual taboo to a fun level.

Not surprisingly, GabSON was my malapop!

I don't know what it says about my education that I knew MADOFF but not NEY.

And liked double AA AARON followed shortly thereafter by double EE EERIE.

So thank you MIKE TORCH for having SHONE a little light into our lives today!

r.alphbunker 3:31 AM  

I solved the puzzle with my back to the door and nothing happened.

@jae Aren't you from SDAK? That's where Wild Bill played his last poker hand.

Anonymous 4:10 AM  

So you're allowed to put Erie and eerie in the same puzzle? I really don't like that at all. Seems lazy to me although the constructor probably thinks its "cute".

Put me in the category of not at all easier than yesterday. Yesterday set a new record for me and while today's was relatively easy, some words just didn't come easy. Really everything in the middle surrounding the central theme answer was hardish.

jae 4:39 AM  

@r.alph -- That would be San Diego, but I did play quite a bit in grad school in Chambana, Ill. No Saloon No.10 there, fortunately.

Re bylines: I've been given LA Times puzzle-a-day desk calendars for Christmas presents that had no bylines other than Rich Norris.

Acme 5:19 AM  

That is distressing tho not surprising. Let's hope that's corrected before it's your grandkids names missing from their work! But how?!

Acme 5:22 AM  

Oops, make that $225 = 15 x 15.
No wonder i have no business sense!

Anonymous 6:11 AM  

Easy one for me, although the NW block gave me fits for a little while.

@rex: the plural of Monday is Mondays, no apostrophe.

The Grammar Police

wordie 6:44 AM  

This was a bit slower for me, as I had reelToReel instead of EIGHTTRACK and it worked with PREP and MUTT, and I just couldn't get beyond it. Also, spelled MADOFF MADdof and so thought 36D was spoon. The past week or so has been hard for me, all DNFs (haven't checked re Sunday, my husband was doing the acrostic, so will have to go,see what the dust up was.

JenCT 6:48 AM  

Loved the rant, @Rex.

Didn't know DEAD MAN'S HAND (I don't know poker), so I learned something there.

There seems to be a recurring theme amongst some posters: that they expect each puzzle to be a work of art; that's really unfair, judging by the payscale the NYT is paying to constructors, IMHO.

I can't imagine how much time a puzzle takes to construct, and what that equates to per hour...

Erle 6:51 AM  

The easiest way to stop being exploited by the Times is to refrain from sending your puzzles to the Times. If the exploiter comes and takes your puzzle anyway, then you're being exploited.

Whining about the pay scale without having any data other than "Constructors deserve more" is ignorant and unseemly. Obviously the Times brings something to the mix the constructors value--the platform, the brand, the editorial standards, and, yes, the money. They also have some financial model that takes into account the expenses and other factors of their operation and which results in their valuing of the puzzle at some particular amount. The puzzle may be a tidy profit center for them (though, judging from the same commenters names showing up on the various sites, I think the assumption that the xword audience is vast is probably optimistic) that subsidizes other parts of the paper. If constructors really want to test their power, then they should organize and bring pressure to bear and see what it results in. Would that cost money? Yes. So does running a newspaper. But the argument that the Times should pay constructors more just because they should is infantile. How much of the various tip jars on the Xword sites is the blogger paying to the constructors or to the Times?

Z 7:15 AM  

NICE Tuesday for a change. Let's hope it starts another run.

"...not with the NYT, which is only doing what corporations do—paying as little as possible for the type of product they want to deliver."

I hope everyone remembers this sentence the next time somebody suggests that "the unions" are the problem. The corporation's responsibility is to maximize profit for shareholders. Absent countervailing forces (e.g. competition, unions, or government regulations) corporations will (and have) cause great harm to society and individuals. The economic model of information is changing from mostly advertiser-paid to mostly user-paid. Expect more hiccups as this transformation continues.

Glimmerglass 7:37 AM  

I don't subscribe to the NYT newspaper, and I think the puzzle subscription is a bargain. It's more than 400 puzzles a year for less than $40 -- less than a dime apiece. I get 10 cents worth of pleasure from a dull Monday puzzle. Imagine what a good hard Saturday is worth to me. Depending on how many $40 subscribers there are (does anyone know?), the constructors have a good motivation to strike for a bigger chunk of the income, but I agree with Erie that the Times brings something to the product, too.

AnnieD 8:01 AM  

Perhaps if enough people, like me, cancel the home delivery and just go for the puzz, they'll realize that they lose more by charging twice....

dk 8:12 AM  

Old tape format I sez to mine-self: reeltoreel.
Turn a hose on:water

📺📺📺📺 (4 TVs aka old video format) best Tuesday in a long time. This one will throw off my numbers.

The discourse section,

I have taught monetizing intellectual property more than a few times. Any Franklin Pierce alums here? I, of course, side with Andrea's cogent argument that any creator should share in the benefits of their work. Today's on-line world does not make it more difficult to pay royalties it makes it easier. One can easily track the occurrences of ones art.

And there is the rub: One. Constructors of puzzles are a solitary lot. There is no Brill building where the likes of Caleb and Liz go to construct. The same is true for their customers -- the solvers. Thus we are ripe for the plucking.

The art submitted is "work for hire" and all rights are surrendered. As solvers we are doled out the art in formats that are controlled (in this case by NYT). As we are all solitary, except when we gather at waterholes lie Rex's blog, we have little leverage.

Had the NYT been able to afford my consulting fee I would have told them to simply place a small add in the top right corner of the puzzle section (sorry Will your byline would drop a few font sizes). The revenue would be far more than charging solvers and they could have upped the pay of the constructors. The companies placing the ads (on-line and paper) would have an up close and personal relationship with smart people (also known as early adapters and resilient consumers - prime cut).

I do not begrudge NYT for trying to stay in business. I can see the trend to make money off the user (solver). My point is when you are engaged in a solitary pursuit and not David Bowie (famous for management of his intellectual property) you are subject to victimization. And, to the NYTs of the world I say think with your big head not the little one.

The puzzle as a source of tasteful ad placement revenue is a gold mine. Think of an IBM logo with the word THINK under it in the upper right in a 24 font. Companies could sponsor a day -- sorry Tuesday you might suffer a little more abuse under this model. ©

Note: This information first appeared on 26 June 2012 and there is an implied copyright as indicated by the symbol at the conclusion of the discourse.

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

The IPad app is probably the cheapest way o go. No need to get the paper.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

The paper is cheaper than an IPad.

pajamapartypants 8:32 AM  

two things for what they're worth:

first, those people who still get the times delivered to their door are literally a dying breed...the times sees this and is probably beginning to transition away from paper. in the next 7-10 years paper newspapers will go the way of the telephone land-line. folks who get the actual wood-pulp version of the paper should probably cancel the subscription and get the online version. sure, you don't get "feel" of the paper in your fingers, but if you're reading the times for the "feel" of the paper, then i suggest holding some paper in your fingers while you read it on line.

second, i'm a musician who makes a living writing music. there is much that i do that i have to concoct a fee because there is no real precedent for how much to pay. you kinda guess depending on relative work and balance that with what the client is willing to pay. things like the time it takes to do the work, the expertise required to do the work, and quality all come into play.

$200 for any of the puzzles i do regularly in the times is abysmal. even the ones that no one likes (but still make the cut to get published) take time, expertise, and must pass the muster of mr. shortz. i've tried to do a puzzle before (okay, a few times), and i know it's hard to do. very hard to do. even if it took a constructor 2 hours to do a puzzle (i have no idea how long it takes to do a puzzle...but i'm guessing a friday/saturday puzzle probably takes no longer than a monday/tuesday puzzle), that $100 per hour is still pretty shabby.

i would have guessed the average puzzle constructor would have received at least $500 and all the writer's royalties that a song writer would get.

suddenly i'm less inclined to renew my subscription to the times just for doing these puzzles. we, as solvers, are partly culpable for supporting this scenario.


dk 8:34 AM  

Hey, NYT! I forgot to point out you have angered a loyal and robust portion of your customer base. Please call Netfilx to learn how it may turn out.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Two comments:

1. This was a medium challenging Tuesday for me though I'm not surprised the pop-culture mavens found it easy.

2. Many commenters spoke of their not being poker players. I would have thought that Wild Bill's death holding aces and eights was as much a part of American western folklore as of poker lore. It's been portrayed in movies and television.


Anonymous 8:37 AM  

I'm watching Deadwood, the HBO series, on Netflix. In it, Seth Bullock and Wild Bill Hickok work together but according to wiki, Hickok got shot the day after Bullock arrived in Deadwood. For some reason, I didn't watch the last two seasons when it was on. A good story even though the violence is sometimes a bit much. That area is a wonderful place to visit - lots of history, beautiful scenery. I think the only reason I'm commenting is that NYT's price rise. I thought about it for a long time last night and I guess they got me. I have to do this puzzle every day!

Lynn in VA 8:52 AM  

Lured out of lurking by this. One small detail that seems to have been missed - you already have to pay extra to do the puzzle on your iPad or iPhone - those apps are run by another vendor and as such are not covered in your NYTimes subscription or premium crossword subscription. So a lot of people are already paying twice.

Also, when NYT started charging for online access there was a huge uproar that doesn't seem to have changed a thing, so don't hold your breath.

And I was shocked to learn that authors of puzzles make $200 and get no residuals. That really bites.

jackj 9:00 AM  

The Times it is a-changing as we see that, (among other short-comings), they have no product placement firewall when it comes to the crossword. On the 86th cluing for OMAHA in the NY Times, for the first time ever it becomes a blatant plug for OMAHA Steaks. Are the T-bones in the mail?

Ah, the puzzle, well, actually it is quite good, (especially for a Tuesday), dealing us a clever theme of two pair, ACES over EIGHTS, for the legendary holding known by all poker players as THEDEADMANSHAND, with one of the entries for the themed bullets being particularly noteworthy as the clever ACEHARDWARE.

Since recreational poker seems to mainly revolve around “Men’s monthly poker games” it is fitting that the puzzle has a slightly macho ring to its clues starting with the Triple X rating given to ADULT films down to the final entry which tells us to turn the hose on those guys, just SPRAY ‘em.

The strongest objection to this puzzle might come from those who smell a “Natick” with the combo of PALAU and RADS. Many will likely assume the X-ray clue is looking for REMS (which are also clued in past Times puzzles as radiation units) and PALAU, though it has been used 4 times previously in the Times crossword, is hardly a name at the tip of one’s tongue. C’est la solve.

Whatever, the puzzle was still a lot of fun so thanks, Mike Torch.

John V 9:05 AM  

From the tarmac, again. Going home to repair lightning damage.

The revealer is completely new to me. TORII sounds like a cross between Spelling and a bagel.

That's all I got. Too many planes.

jberg 9:05 AM  

I really liked this puzzle, especially the East -- the crossing of TORII and MADOFF with KNIFE and EDIFY was just really gratifying. True, NEY is crosswordese, but the rest was imaginative and, well, EDIFYing.

I get home delivery because I campaigned for 15 years to get the NYT delivered in Dorchester, where I live, and because I like to read the paper sitting on my front porch sipping coffee, not sitting in front of my computer - and I always solve in the actual paper, just because I've always done it that way, since around 1962 (with gaps), and it feels right. But a separate charge is outrageous. The low fee is bad, but the lack of residuals is outrageous, as well. Just go to your bookstore (well, that may not be so easy these days), look at all the puzzle books, and you realize how lucrative this business is for someone. I'm not a constructor, and don't expect I ever will be, but it's still outrageous.

Tita 9:12 AM  

Thought this was slightly hard for a Tuesday, but a nice twist on a theme, as ACME pointed out.
Never heard of the hand or the lore.

Ad revenue at the puzzle level is small about a contextual ad each time you correctly complete a word? Can't you just hear that ACEHARDWARE jingle now? Or the Netflix ad for whatever the hell it is that JONAH Hill does? ©
@dk - we should join forces. Are you the guy who put ads on my shopping cart at the A&P? ;)

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

I hope the NYTs suffers for this dastardly deed. The $40 a year online may be the way to go for some, but I am a traditional paper solver and have been for almost 40 years. I will do my part and cut my subscription from 7days to weekends only. (I cannot fathom doing Sunday on my PC... I need a breakfast table and a cup of coffee and a pen). I hope everyone here takes some sort of action, even if it is writing an email to NYT. They will regret this

joho 9:47 AM  

I'm forced to be an on online subscriber as the NYT doesn't deliver to my town ... can you believe it? Not enough readers here. I was shocked to discover that fact when I moved here ten years ago. But, now, as it turns out, it's a plus for me. If I had a subscription to the paper right now I'd cancel it. BTW, I print out the puzzle and solve on paper, so I enjoy the best of both worlds.

I liked this puzzle a lot. It didn't matter that I didn't have a clue what THEDEADMANSHAND was. I learned from @Rex and his explanation made the ACE's over EIGHTs extra fun.

Great Tuesday puzzle, thank you, Mike Torch!

joho 9:50 AM  

@pajamapartypants ... 2 hours to construct a puzzle????!!!!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:51 AM  

Somewhat missing the point:

I had a subscription to The Atlantic Monthly. I thought that reading it would increase my intellectual cred, and my guests would be properly impressed when they saw it on my coffee table.

I allowed my Atlantic subscription to expire when, after having first moved the Rathvon and Cox puzzle from the printed magazine to online availability only, they completely dropped the puzzle.

Of course, there were other factors:

(1) I don't have a coffee table

(2) I don't have any guests

(3) I never had time to read the Atlantic anyway.

evil doug 9:51 AM  

It's hard for me to imagine that anyone enters into the crossword constructing game thinking they're going to make a living at it. Speaking for myself---but strongly suspecting I'm not the Lone Ranger here---the real reward would be the personal satisfaction of the achievement, and the pride of seeing my name in the Times.

What would the residuals be on a $200 crossword? While a legitimate beef on the face of it, the actual money has got to be next to nothing, right?

So it seems to me that the one realistic and reasonable expectation would be that the author of the puzzle be guaranteed their name would have to be published by anyone the Times sells the puzzle to. It would be a huge and inexpensive gesture on the part of what increasingly seems to be a corporate greed-monkey not unlike the banks it trashes every day in Paul Krugman's columns as well as its "news".

But as long as the fame angle of constructing is the overriding goal, the likelihood of some sort of grassroots organization effort or unilateral withholding of puzzles by authors is just not going to happen.

After I retired from Delta I took an adjunct teaching job at Northern Kentucky University. Four classes a year, 24 students each, zero benefits (even paid $20 a semester to park)---for roughly $8,000 net. Chump change. About $80 per student. If you call it about 80 days of teaching per semester, it was as if each student came in and dropped a dollar bill on my desk for that day's effort. Less than the cup of drive-through coffee they came into class with.

So why did I do it? Because I loved it. And as long as there are people like me in teaching, or most constructors in crosswording, there will always be somebody else willing to do it if we choose to withhold our services on even a legitimate ethical basis.


chefbea 9:53 AM  

Never heard of dead man's hand. Know nothing about did not like the puzzle and DNF

I get the NYT delivered on Sundays only and am able to get the puzzle and print it out. Now I will pay 19.97 a year which comes to about 5 cents a day which I feel is worth it..not fair but worth the price. I send copies to my 2 neighbors everyday and will gladly send copies to any and all Rexites.

lawprof 9:53 AM  

Didn't we just have "Tough Actin' Tinactin"? Now "Ace Hardware." How many John Madden commercials until we're finished? Is something goin' on?

Tedious commercialization aside (something that was beneath the Times' puzzles of yore -- sniff!), I found both yesterday's and today's puzzles to be satisfying starts to the week.

evil doug 9:58 AM  

Was chatting with a little ol' gal who's a regular visitor to my library branch. She hobbles in and pays a dime each to photo-copy the Times crosswords for the week. She said she used to solve it right in the actual library newspaper(!), but some other people who wanted to burn a copy caught on to her and read her the riot act.


Matthew G. 10:04 AM  

The NYT is struggling to keep daily in-depth reporting alive in an era of sound-bites and TV "journalism." If leveraging the crossword puzzle is part of their business plan to resist Rupert Murdoch's war against journalism for yet another year, I'll pay. In fact, I just did (of course, as I only take home delivery on Saturdays and Sundays, this new fee is not as redundant for me as it is for those who get all seven days).

Constructor pay is another issue. With this hike, they ought to be able to increase pay while still bringing in more revenue, and I hope they do.

I agree with Rex about today's difficulty level. My fastest time on any day of the week in months. Once I had the two ACE entries, I jumped down to the lower part of the grid, thinking they might also start with ACE ... saw the Black Sox clue and immediately thought, ACES and EIGHTS, THE DEAD MAN'S HAND. Didn't take long from there, though I fell shy of an all-time record because of the TORII/AARON/NEY part of the grid, where I flailed a little bit before it suddenly came together.

I thought this was the perfect early week theme. Tidy and lively.

Crosscan 10:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crosscan 10:28 AM  

evildoug asks: What would the residuals be on a $200 crossword? While a legitimate beef on the face of it, the actual money has got to be next to nothing, right?

The flaw in this logic is that it is not a $200 crossword. You have to determine all the revenue generated by the crossword - newpaper sales, online subscription, syndication fees, book reprints, coffee mugs, etc. and then ask how much of that revenue should go to the constructor.

Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster sold the rights to Superman for $130. They are worth a wee bit more.

Masked and Anonymous 10:28 AM  

@lawprof. U may have something between the lines of your comment. Product placement. NYTimes could place product names in the puz, for compensation from the product's company.

i think the Evil Dude is right, that most constructors do it for the love of the game and the glory of "making it". Still, it's always nice to be appreciated. If the NYT starts making more by charging more or by using @lawprof's idea, the puzzlemakers (and editor) should probably be due a little more dinero. Fair's fair.

Gotta realize, folks, that newspapers are holding a dead man's hand, and are looking for how to evolve. Kinda like in that Prometheus film. So cover yer mouths, just in case.

Poor puz is gonna get u-like amounts of respect today. Let me slip in a thUmbsUp, for what it's worth. Hope you keep 'em comin', Mr. Torch. And ACME. And other constructors. Even you, old #31.

Mel Ott 10:32 AM  

I don't know much about business, but I doubt that nickel and diming your longtime, faithful customers is a good business practice. I have had home delivery forever and will continue to subscribe. But I will not pay the extra fee for the online version.

Twice in the last few months the Sunday mag, including the crossword, was missing. Not to worry - print the online version and go about my day as usual. I didn't even bother to call customer service for a refund. In the future I will demand a refund so the NYT will get less money out of me, not more.

Bad business practice, I would say.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Easy puzzle, almost too fast. I didn't even finish my coffee.
I have subscribed online to the NYT for years. It is a much greener alternative to the piles of paper that I used to collect every weekend. It costs just under forty dollars a year 1for a daily service and I can read it anywhere in the world as long as I have my laptop with me.
I don't even have a printer, so I use across lite to solve, and it works for me.

Two Ponies 10:40 AM  

Nice Tuesday for once.
Bleed-overs from yesterday: Omaha, Rolling Stones, and torii (kinda).
Three Simpsons clues. I liked it.

M-F I copy the puzzle from the library of the building I work at. Sats I buy the paper at Starbucks. At the end of the year I guess I have paid over $100 just for the joy of the hardest puzzle of the week. But I really like doing them on paper. I stare at my computer enough as it is.

Eric NC 10:58 AM  

FYI copy of my email to NYT re their recent decision. Thanks for bringing to my attention as I junked their email without reading.

I just received the e-mail below and have to tell you how very disappointed I am to have to cancel my NYT subscription. When I signed up for Sunday delivery my confirmation said that the free on-line crossword subscription would automatically renew in March 2013 and yet nine months prior to that you are arbitrarily cancelling that commitment.

Quite frankly the Sunday local edition is not worth the almost $400 per year I pay as the articles that are of interest to me are already presented in my local paper and the irrelevant New York related articles are of no use to me. I was paying for the privilege of the free online subscription and the three sections that I actually enjoy reading on Sundays (Finance, Travel and the Magazine).

Accordingly, if you cannot honor the original commitment please cancel the Sunday subscription at $374.40. per year and transfer me to the on-line Premium Crossword subscription at the full price of only $39.95 per year. That alternative does not seem to be a financially sound decision on your part but if that is the way you want to run the paper so be it. For my part I will still get to enjoy the daily crossword puzzles and the Rex Parker does the NYT crossword puzzle blog.

evil doug 11:13 AM  


I'm really asking the question---looking for an actual figure. Acme mentions she only gets the occasional $42 check for a whole TV episode, for which I imagine she originally must have been paid a lot more than a crossword brings in. So if there were residuals on a $200 piece of intellectual property, what could they reasonably be expected to be?


pmdm 11:18 AM  

Subscribers to the NY Times WILL NOT LOSE ACCESS TO THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE. Included with your subscription is access to the New York Times Online Replica Edition.

Go to the WELCOME page of your online account. Then scroll down to the MY SUBSCRIPTION BENEFITS section where there is a hot link to the Replica Edition.

Granted, you will have to print a hard copy of the puzzle and will not be able to solve it at your keyboard. But you will still have access to the puzzle without having to spend anymore more than the cost of printing out a hard copy.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

@Chefwen - What dust up? I have to go back and read those days. Thanks.

Hard Tuesday. I'm impressed by Rex's speed.

Apparently Rex would approve of the NYT charging a separate rate to print subscribers for the Premium Crosswords if constructors were paid more for their puzzles.

I only pay for the Premium Crosswords and if charging the print subscribers a separate rate and not paying the constructors any more holds down my cost, I say hurrah for the Times. Thank you NYT....


ileen 11:21 AM  

I would rather the crossword constructors have their own websites & I would gladly pay them a nickel (or dime) for access to their puzzles that would otherwise appear in the NY Times. I bet they'd make a lot more than $200 that way.

pmdm 11:21 AM  

Forgot to explain what the Replica Edition is. It is a copy (photocopy?) of the paper version of the paper, exactly as you see it when reading the paper edition.

Crosscan 11:28 AM  


I agree that even royalties isn't going to make a crossword constructor wealthy. It would be very interesting to know if the Editor gets any royalties.

JenCT 11:34 AM  

@Anon 11:21 (JFC) said: "Apparently Rex would approve of the NYT charging a separate rate to print subscribers for the Premium Crosswords if constructors were paid more for their puzzles."

How do you draw that conclusion from what Rex wrote?????

It goes both ways 11:34 AM  

@Evil Doug - why is your argument one-sided? Does it not apply equally to the NYT too?
If the money discussed were truly insignificant, why not just pay it...

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

@jackj and @joho: It's "aces and eights" not "aces over eights". "aces over eights" describes a full house, rather than two pair.

Carola 11:47 AM  

I needed this puzzle to EDifY me about The Deadman's Hand and its history. Favorite word: GELID. I'll be keeping it in mind as we face a string of 100-degree days starting tomorrow.

We get daily home delivery ot the Times, as my husband loves reading the actual newspaper. I'll try going back to solving on paper, but suspect that the pull of on-line solving will win out and I'll pay the extra fee. Irks me, though.

mitchs 11:50 AM  

I don't have a dog in this fight because I only subscribe to the online puzzles. But I do think that the NYT is much more vulnerable to a constructor/solver revolt than in the past.

If, say, 15 of the top constructors agreed to form a paid subscription/tip jar site and split the fees, that would be a helluva good start.

There are probably a handful of people capable of editing such puzzles on a par with Will Shortz, or certainly close to it. (I'm a big fan of his, and don't mean to under rate his talents.

There have been many days and even weeks when the NYT trails the LAT on Amy's blog. I think the NYT has already lost some of its competitive edge. Personally, I would rank the Gaffney, BEQ, and FB right with the Th-Sat NYT, and often better - or more challenging and/or enjoyable.

evil doug 11:52 AM  

"why is your argument one-sided? Does it not apply equally to the NYT too? If the money discussed were truly insignificant, why not just pay it..."

Because---as my original post pointed out---they don't have to. The Times knows it will have a ready source of puzzles because constructors abound who aren't in it for the money. Even some of the regulars here who decry the terms of their arrangement with the Times continue to willingly submit to the paper's rules. Not saying it's fair; just the reality of the crossword business, I guess.

I suspect if the deal was zero pay and nothing more than a byline, they'd still have constructors knocking down their door....


baja 11:56 AM  

I pay for the online crossword puzzles from the NYT. About a year ago, I was informed that as a Canadian, access to the online newspaper articles, would not longer be free and unlimited, with my puzzle subscription and that in about 1 years time this would apply to US subscribers as well. Right now I am allowed 10 free articles a month but I am not sure how long this will last. I enjoy the puzzles immensely (not just the crossword) and do feel they are worth more than a token amount.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

I'm no longer surprised by NYT stupidity. I was a longtime electronic subscriber because I live in flyoverland, but they totally screwed things up when they instituted the pay wall, failed to respond to multiple emails--horrible customer service!
Now I just use the iPad app.

Linda 12:11 PM  

As a former talent agent, actors had a similar problem. Too many people are willing to do the work for free or next to free for the bragging rights. Try to negotiate when you have no leverage! I expect this is the case for the constructors. It would take some real organization and solidarity on the part of the constructors to make change. But
I would start with inclusion in crossword puzzle books and calendars etc. published by the NYT. Doesn't seem like too much of a task for them to track and pay an extra fee to constructors for this kind of usage.

It goes both ways 12:15 PM  

You then need only one argument...the NYT will do whatever the hell it wants. An easy argument indeed. And true!

The disingenuous hey-it's-not-alot-of-money shutdown is then irrelevant.

Sparky 12:20 PM  

Was fairly easy but had a Natick in nONAH/AnA. No idea for either. Natick mentioned in Paul LaFarge short story, Another Life, July 2 New Yorker. Have heard of DEAD MAN'S HAND someplace. Maybe even in the puzz during the last year or two. There are three THEs. Is that okay?

I have the Times delivered daily for the book, art, show, dance, movie, play reviews and notices plus the puzzle. Sometimes I print it out at night because I just can't wait. That's a little extra. I dislike solving on the computer. So I think I'll pass on the "special price" whoo, hoo, and just wait till morning.

@BobK and MelOtt. So much to read, so little time. So much to carry to the recycle bin.

evil doug 12:28 PM  

It: Thanks for conceding I've already sold you on my case. Much obliged.

The small-money point is still 'relevant' as the other side of the equation. Given the low financial gain, these people going to hire lawyers? To spend bucks organizing with each other? Plus, it just confirms they're in it for more than the money.

A guy tells a woman at a bar: "I'll give you $10,000 to have sex with me."

"10,000 bucks? Well,sure!"

"I've changed my mind. I'll give you $50."

"No way," she says. "What do you think I am?"

"We've already established that, honey. Now we're just haggling over price."


mac 12:31 PM  

Very good puzzle, professional and creative. Learned the poker expression, and of course I was looking for more Aces. Confused John Madden with the director at first.

@Tita: noooooo! There is a puzzle you can do online with moving parts and noises, and it's so annoying that I don't do it anymore. I don't mind advertising on blogs (wouldn't blame Rex at all if he did some of that) but when I want to concentrate on a CWP no distractions, please!

@Bob K: LOL!

I will support the paper version of the NYT as long as I can get it delivered, and I much prefer solving in it. I am a full-week subscriber and I find this additional cost insulting. It is not going to affect me much if I can print it out when I'm out of town, fortunately. Going to check if the NYT blog has anything to say about it.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

@JenCT – Fairly easily from the following: “They should've added: "And even though we realize how phenomenally valuable the puzzle is to us, monetarily (after all, why would we gouge you if this were not the one part of the paper that was raking it in?), we have absolutely no intention of paying constructors any more than the measly $200 they currently earn for a daily puzzle. Suck it, everyone.’" Plus: “Annnnyway, clearly I'm coming at this from a constructor pay angle, while many of you will be coming at it from a home subscriber angle (or no angle at all).”

The clear implication is that if the Times were going to use the extra income to increase fees to constructors Rex would be happy. At least Rex is consistent because he has always griped about the rates for the daily constructors. I suppose if you make a living doing XWPs you want the Times to publish yours for advertising purposes and the fee is secondary.

If you were a regular participant on Wordplay you would know that they have increased the staffing there to provide better and faster screening of comments. They have also added software and are continually updating their service. I do not have access to their data. I do not know how much additional revenue they project from this modest new charge. It is, after all only 5 cents a day. Frankly I am surprised by the reaction over paying $20 a year. If you are a print subscriber you still get the puzzle, just no longer online.

To quote Milton Friedman, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” The Times has the right to charge separately for the Premiums Crosswords and subscribers can pay or not. I have carefully read my contract and I could not find anywhere where the Times said the online version of the XWP is an entitlement.

Finally, I think this portends that the Times will be charging more for other services. If anyone just casually follows what is happening at the Times they will understand that the Times is going through some rough economic times and as unimaginable as this sounds, there might not be a Times one day not too far off and then there will no longer be a Times XWP…or a Rex Blog….


Lewis 12:57 PM  

DK -- I like the concept of putting an ad on the puzzle page. There are already ads on the KenKen and Set pages.

Pajama Pants -- I love the concept of holding paper in one's hands while reading the paper online!

Never heard of dead man's hand but inferred the answer. Had some trouble with the TORII/NEY section, otherwise it went smoothly. I always think of MADOFF as Bernie, by the way...

mrbreen 1:14 PM  

Hmmm... Count me among those who thought that "free" digital access to the puzzle was a nice perk. Asking an additional $20 a year doesn't seem outrageous considering the ever decreasing revenue sources the NYTimes used to rely on.

Everything I know about printed media comes from the fifth season of The Wire (which Rex should really get around to watching). Unlike the practices of the fictional paper depicted in that series, I feel the NYTimes is doing its best to offer top notch journalism for a relatively inexpensive cost to the consumer.

hazel 1:53 PM  

I'm with @mrbreen - perhaps because i too got some perspective from The Wire :-). I get outraged by a lot of things, but an extra $20/yr for something i enjoy doing almost every day is peanuts. And since I dont think the NYT is evil and trying to screw us, but rather trying to make ends meet (just look at their financials) I'll keep my subscription. Final tut, I also subscribe to the BEQ puzzles for my ipad - i think they're about $15/yr when i know you can get them free at his website. Worthy cause.

@tita - i must echo @mac's nooooooooooooooooo.

I liked this puzzle, but didnt find it supereasy - just right. Cool gimmick.

P.s.. Someone was asking about @foodie y'day - I've seen her posts over at the Crossword Fiend site recently....

ANON B 1:53 PM  

I prefer sitting in an easy chair aand doing the puzzle on paper.
Besides, I could never figure out how to do it online. Most web sites
are not written in what I call English.

Tita 2:23 PM  

@mac & hazel...that "monetization" suggestion was tongue in cheek, to be sure!

Each and every day I am amazed at where ads and logos keep appearing. A most intrusive one is the now-uniquitous and permanent channel logo, and the blood pressure spiking pop-up ad for one show while watching another.

I'm with Mr. Breen and Hazel in principle. The Times is justified in seeking fair payment for content, and they know the puzzle is valuable. They could be much smarter about how they do it, and I think that is what most folks are objecting to.

Who remembers the days of free (meaning ad-sponsored" tv? And who remembers when cable came on the scene, promising ad-free tv, for a monthly fee? How did that work out for us?

I do think the constructors deserve more, and we've been floating a simple widget for tipping constructors that could be embedded on web sites.
Voluntary micropayments might indeed work better for constructors, but it might also have the effect of giving the publishers even more reason to pay them pittances.

hazel 2:35 PM  

@tita - in that case, good one! And for the record, i agree that constructors deserve more!!

OISK 2:52 PM  

Knew about dead man's hand, but not a fast Tuesday for me. Like others here I have never heard of Jonah Hill nor of anything by Steely Dan, but eventually guessed correctly. I think that two pop references, where the middle letter of the crossing (down) could be any letter at all is a potential Natick for anyone unfamiliar with the references, and should be avoided. ( I missed a square in a Monday puzzle last week exactly that way, "Ani" and "GoNow" )

Constructors certainly deserve more, for all of the pleasure they give a great many people. I am resistant to on-line solving and reading, still preferring holding a book or a newspaper in my hands. But I am 66.

mac 2:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac 3:04 PM  

At 5D my first thought was Soestdijk, the royal palace in Central Holland, where the former queen and the princesses were raised, but the current Queen does live in the Hague, and the crown prince nearby. The rest of them are spread out, some even in London.

Sports Fan 3:16 PM  

@Tobias (12:18 AM) - There's only one sports clue: 19A. The rest are commercials & movies.

Besides, haven't you learned any sports from doing the NYT puzzles?

Sfingi 4:01 PM  

Don't know anything about poker, but solved from crosses or perps - except the Natick at AJA / JONAH.

There's no home delivery in my area )(flyoverland extension here in Upstate NY), and I only do the puzzle half a week. I must have the Tues. for the Science section. Thus, either subscription wouldn't be worth it. So I hope the never stop the print version. Gives me a reason to get up and leave the house before someone else buys up all the papers. I have thought of copying it at a library,
Once there was a snowstorm, and I couldn't get the Times or any other NYC papers. The company that handles them (Wolf News) went out of their way to get me a copy.

Also, I think the Sunday mag section has gone downhill - more like a flier.

I'm 67 and like to do the puzzle in bed with a Flair (ink keeps flowing). I feel for anyone who is being messed up over this.

Bird 4:06 PM  

Wow, 80 comments already! Easy Monday, I mean Tuesday, puzzle. Only slowdown was the East part of the puzzle with AARON, TORII and NEY in the crowd. And for some reason KNIFE took forever to appear as I was thinking saucer, spoon, boat and other items.

I do the puzzle in the paper (with pen), so I’m not affected by the really poor decision by the Times to charge extra for online access to their puzzles. W! T! F! However, I do sympathize.

One possible solution: We all cancel our subscriptions. We then set up a free web site (supported by ads and/or donations) where constructors can upload copies of their (NYT, LAT, etc.) puzzles. Constructors could further benefit from a $0.05 residual every time someone solves a puzzle. Assuming a small portion of the 2,000,000 Sunday readers log on to solve, those nickels will certainly add up. And I’ll gladly pay the constructors directly rather than give the NYT a cut.

@ACME – never thought about puzzles being re-used for merchandise and constructors not benefiting. That is just wrong.

I’m not a lawyer and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn, but is it possible to copyright puzzles? Are they already copyrighted because they are your intellectual property? Can sue for damages and retire? Nevermind – I saw @dk’s post.

Final thought - Those thinking of paying the online fee only and printing at home – don’t forget to factor in the cost of the paper, ink and internet access among other “fees”. If you think about it, the Times is transferring the costs to you anyway.

PS. The blog ate my homework. 3rd try posting so if you see 3 copies, that's why.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

@JenCT – That’s my reading of Rex’s proposed sarcastic add-on to the NYT email and the fact that he tied the two together. This is the second day of carping about this and at least two people have said they have been paying more than what they use the Times for out of a sense of loyalty and then complain about @20 more. They admit they have money to burn and then gripe about an extra nickel a day. Mind numbing.

@ED – That’s an old joke. The last time I heard it was by Bernie Mac at an Obama fund raiser in 2008 when he was warming up the crowd just before Obama came out. He was booed for its misogynistic nature. When Obama appeared he somewhat facetiously threw Bernie under the bus for it. A few days later Bernie Mac died from sarcoidosis.

Bird 4:14 PM  

PPS. I'm old school, but not old ;) and I like reading a newspaper. I remember my 7th grade history teacher showing us how to fold the New York Times so you could read it on the bus or train and not worry about disturbing your neighbor (you know, being civil).

Random thought: Maybe the Times is in collusion with tablet and smartphone makers. We will soon be required to purchase an Ipad with internet connectivity so we can read the paper and do the puzzle with the morning coffee.

Two Ponies 4:23 PM  

@ Bird, I fear you are correct. I was shopping for a new phone last weekend. All I want is a phone, no camera, no internet,no GPS, etc. I had a small fraction to choose from compared to the multitude of more advanced models. I just kept my old phone.

Lewis 4:29 PM  

@tita -- I love the word "uniquitous"!

Tying the two together 4:41 PM  

So, Obama killed Bernie Mac?

skua76 5:05 PM  

Great puzzle, my only problem was that I thought the DEAD MANS HAND was a full house, so I kept looking for an extra ACE.

I think it was about fourth grade when we had a guest from the local paper (Cleveland Plain Dealer) who taught us how to fold the paper for reading on the bus.

I've been doing the online version for years (always printing out the Across Lite puzzle to do on paper) even when I was at the South Pole where we got the Times Digest which included the puzzle. The squares in the Times Digest were even smaller than the ones in the regular paper. (The only problem was that the South Pole used New Zealand time which is 16 hours +/- ahead of NY so we were always a day behind in getting the puzzle.) I enjoyed tackling the Saturday puzzle before or during Sunday brunch (my day off), but the Sunday puzzle was too big to finish during whatever was left of my lunch hour on Monday.

For the first time in awhile I'm living where there is NYT home delivery, and I've really been enjoying it over the past couple of months. But (since I'm in the Mountain time zone) I've gotten into the habit of printing out the puzzle before bedtime to see how far I can get before it is time to sleep.

jackj 5:24 PM  


Your assertion that one must only use “Aces and Eights” rather than “Aces over Eights” ignores the fact that there is significant support for both usages, (a simple Google search will indicate the extent).

In any event, when I am lucky enough to draw a pair of Aces, coupled with a pair of Eights, in my regular monthly Poker game, the hand is called whatever I want to call it and there are no complaints from the other players, their only comment usually being, “You win.”

Joe B 7:19 PM  

Puzzle Schmuzzle. I'll pay the NYTimes $100/month if they can guarantee that I won't see a picture of Barack & Michelle on every damned page I click on. I love 'em, but enough's enough!

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

@Tying the two together said --

First, thank you for allowing me to ID myslef as the author of that post.

Second, I will add that his death was so close to that appearance it made me wonder about why he was at the fund raiser. It's actually a very sad story. You are free to draw whatever conclusion you want to from my comment. But that one is very sick and never occurred to me....


Sue McC 8:13 PM  

Long day, just got to the puzzle. I thought it was just ok. Found some of the clues annoying. I will feel more entitled to whine about it now that I am paying more for it.

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

To echo many others' comments - I am more than IRKED, I am more than IRED - in fact I am more like OUTRAGED at the hubris of the NYT to 'kick to the curb' those of us who are long-time, loyal subscribers and who have helped champion the the cause of institutions providing the kind of high quality news writing that is so hard to find. I think we should ORGANIZE. How about a NYT XWP boycott on a certain day where everyone prints out the puzzle or uses their newsprint copy to BLACK OUR all the answer squares and then snail mail them to NYC? Signed, Rock Rabbit

syndy 11:22 PM  

@ED The first I heard it was Shelley winters about/to one of the Gabor sisters on Johnny Carson .La Gabor admitted she would never marry a poor man and Shelly let her have it !

Spacecraft 12:22 PM  

Wow, three "THE"s! At least you could have redone the NW to come up with DENHAGUE, as it's locally called. The one at 38a could not be more superfluous; it's a shame it had to be included. OK, I'll give you THEDOW. That's pretty common. But three of them? Yikes!

Easy-medium for me, as I didn't suss out the poker angle at first. I like the symmetry of THEHAGUE, center of international law, with STATUTES. The fill, absent HDTVS, is fine.

I don't have much to contribute to the constructor-pay debate; I get my NYT puzzles syndicated in the Las Vegas Sun, which comes with the Review-Journal, so I pay nothing extra for my puzzles. I will say that it seems a shame that talent like that of many NYTP contributors seems under-rewarded. The danger is that the intelligent mind is bound to wonder "Why bother?" and we'll be left with a bunch of hacks.

Solving in Seattle 1:25 PM  

Holy Crossword Subscription, Batman!

As a Syndie, I echo @Spacecraft in that I get my NYT puzzle from the Seattle Times who credit the constructor in 2 point typeface in the lower right corner. Part of my (almost) daily indulgence is doing the puzzle on paper at breakfast.

I enjoyed Mike Torch's crossword today and managed it without even glancing at my iPhone, although crosses were needed.

I am not a Jim Carrey appreciater. One either is, or one is not. I don't appreciate Jerry Lewis either. However, my kids made me watch ACEVENTURA and I admit there were some lol scenes.

I will never be able to correctly spell the capital of Tibet.

I was in Vancouver for the past few days representing my club in a golf tournament. There are not enough golf courses in Vancouver even though there are five of them on the north bank of the Fraser River in SW Van. Unfortunately, two of them are on land leased from a First Nation tribe and are scheduled to be turned into condos and shops and casinos within a few years. Their ancestors would have shed tears.

Ginger 3:29 PM  

This one played Monday easy for me. For a brief moment I thought 'ACE' would start all the theme answers, but then I got the revealer, and knew it had to be 'EIGHT's. Since I solve 'dead tree style' I usually do both directions together, using crosses to confirm my answers. It's amazing what I learn that way, and is one of the reasons I enjoy crosswording.

I am in total awe of Constructors, especially after reading @ACME's edifying remarks about the mechanics of it. And, as has been said before, the creative artistry should be more fairly compensated. How to do that? I've no idea.

@Z (7:15) Intersting discourse on basic corporate econmics.

Captcha: Fethere: NYT's attempt to feather their nest!

DMGrandma 4:18 PM  

This was a smooth puzzle. Only pause was the crossing of AJAand JONAH,but J seemed the only possibility. What or who is AJA?

I get my puzzles in the San Diego Union, so I can't join the moans above. I have tried solving on-line, but find it cumbersome, guess I'm too old school!

@Two Pomies. If you want an easy, phone only, device, look into Jitterbug. You can keep it as simple as you choose. I carry mine solely for emergency use, only pay for the minutes I use, generally none. It's a security blanket. I think they also have minute-package features, now. Or whatever you call buying a block of time. My guess is that they aren't sold in stores, but they are often advertised in magazines. Just call the number.

Dirigonzo 6:54 PM  

Solving the syndicated puzzle that appears in the Brunswick (Maine) Times Record just keeps getting better and better, given the conniptions the prime timers who solve on-line are having.

But at least it distracted them from their usual complaints about the puzzle, which I thought was a wonderful Tuesday outing. GELID was new.

Anonymous 9:03 PM  

A woman tells a guy at a bar: "I'll give you $10,000 to have sex with me."

"10,000 bucks? Well,sure!"

"I've changed my mind. I'll give you $50."

"Whatever," he says. "Let's go!"

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