2005 Survivor island nation / WED 6-5-13 / Exclamations of tsuris / Tower of puzzle with pegs rings / Work containing 21 epistles / Kia subcompacts

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Constructor: Mark Bickham

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: T.N.T. — theme answers are three-word phrases where the words begin with T, N, and T, respectively. Revealer = 66A: Sound suggested by the first letters of the words in 17-, 26-, 44- and 58-Across (BANG!)

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: PALAU (32A: 2005 "Survivor" island) —
Palau ([...] /pəˈl/, sometimes spelled Belau or Pelew), officially the Republic of Palau(PalauanBeluu er a Belau), is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is geographically part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country's population of around 21,000 is spread across 250 islands forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands. The most populous island is Koror. The islands share maritime boundaries withIndonesiaPhilippines and the Federated States of Micronesia. The capital Ngerulmud is located in Melekeok State on the nearby island of Babeldaob. (wikipedia)
• • •

This week is leaving me speechless—not in awe, but in uh, as in "uh ... I don't have anything to say about this." The concept here is interesting, the execution somewhat bland (though I certainly can't come up with more vivid "TNT" phrases off the top of my head). The fill, once again, is dire. It's been bad all week. It's bad enough again, today, that I don't even have to point it out. You can see it. There. And there. And over there. Partials, French possessives, super-stale abbrevs. and phrases, whatever -UAL is .. I couldn't even find an interesting candidate for Word of the Day (though finding out that the capital of PALAU is "Ngerulmud" was kind of exciting). Three of the theme answers are spoken phrases. One isn't. Three begin with "T." One begins with "THE," a definite article whose first letter never gets counted in alphabetizing or initialisms. One-L "'Til next time" googles about 8x stronger than Two-L "TILL NEXT TIME." Many OYS, indeed (48A: Exclamations of tsuris).
I blazed through this, never noticing (or needing) the revealer. Felt like I stumbled a lot, especially in the area of TARGET (in SALES TARGET, 10D: Figure for a rep to achieve), which I couldn't see. Kept wanting "GOALS" even though it clearly didn't fit. Maybe QUOTA? QUOTAS? Anyway, there was some bumbling. Also, Tower of HANOI, wtf? Talk about your outliers. This must've been an attempt to make the puzzle harder, and I guess it did, by about 10-15 seconds (62A: Tower of ___ (puzzle with pegs and rings)). Nothing else seems at all out of the ordinary, except perhaps PALAU, which I just remembered for some reason (seen it in xwords, and was probably still watching "Survivor" back in 2005).

Hoping for more excitement, or at least a cleaner grid, tomorrow.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:04 AM  

    Very easy for me with no erasures. Pretty smooth grid, but nothing that stands out.  Saw the TNT early and was expecting something like "Southland network"  or "Rizzoli & Isles airer" as the revealer.  But no. It did, however, end with a BANG.  

    I was a little thrown by 50d.  If it refers to the CCR song the correct lyric is "I SEE A bad moon arising."

    A tad ho-hum for my taste. 

    Sarah 12:09 AM  

    I can see there's a lot of bad crosswordese here today, but it seems to me that the constructor just didn't care.

    JIBS/JETS lousy attempt to put a J: I'll take NIBS/NETS, LIBS/LETS, or BIBS/BETS, but JIBS...lousy entry. Just lazy garbage. NIBS are a delicious brand of Twizzlers, would have made a great entry.

    On the other hand, the constructor did too much with the theme here. BOOM revealer feels inaccurate and unnecessary, THENEWTESTAMENT could have been removed (I hope).

    Nothing really made me like this puzzle. 1.5 stars out of 5 for me.

    Anonymous 12:13 AM  

    Yeah, the BOOM revealer sure does feel inaccurate.

    Pete 12:19 AM  

    Why would anyone assert that JIBS/JETS was scrabblef#$#ing? Or lazy garbage? On the basis of what? That JIBS is less worthy than NIBS (which are what again?)? Than LIBS (which are what again?)? Are LIBS the opponents of CONS? CONSERVS?

    retired_chemist 12:21 AM  

    @jae - I SEE A is the correct answer and the correct lyric. What is the confusion?

    Easy here. Didn't get the theme until post-solve. Then meh.

    MOLT first @ 10A. SAMOA before PALAU, fixed by good old reliable ELIHU. Nothing else worth commenting on.

    On to tomorrow.

    Sarah 12:30 AM  

    NIBS are a delicious candy brand. Far more interesting than a triangular sail

    LIBS can be clued as liberals, or as a partial "Ad ____ (wings it)". BIBS/BETS are just quality words.

    Point is very simple: don't use a rare letter compromising your grid if there's a simple fill that avoids the obscurity.

    Mike in DC 12:47 AM  

    Am I the only one who didn't know this FENN person and who couldn't decide between "No Fuss" and its partner "No Muss"? Ugh.

    jae 1:19 AM  

    @r_c -- Sorry if I was too subtle. The CCR lyric is Arising not rising which is why I wasn't sure about whether it was CCR or not.

    @Mike -- FENN was Audrey on Twin Peaks and was Jack Nicholson's girlfriend for awhile.

    Anonymous 1:31 AM  

    Sarah I don't much care for the cut of your jib... which is a much better answer than useless fill like nibs or libs. Also, Tower of Hanoi an outlier? So you crossword people, full of obscure, pointless trivia, don't know The name of a pretty common logic puzzle? Yeah let's cram in a few more decades-dead silent film actors, so we don't have to complain about things people might actually have encountered somewhere outside of a crossword puzzle.

    Words of warning 2:13 AM  

    Don't feed the troll!

    Benko 2:19 AM  

    I think the reason that BOOM feels so inaccurate as a revealer is because the actual revealer was BANG.
    I found this puzzle awkward to solve and had tons of erasures, not my usual Wednesday. Had NO MESS for NO FUSS, for example, and lots of things like that.
    Also didn't know Tower of HANOI, but it sounds interesting. Perhaps worth learning about.
    watched Twin Peaks a little but didn't know FENN. preferred the Julee Cruise soundtrack to the show.

    chefwen 2:34 AM  

    Found this one a little too easy for a Wednesday. I was done before wine-thirty which left me little else to do but read People Magazine, a habit I've been trying to break for years. I did it years ago with smoking, you'd think this would be easier. NOT!

    New kids names are BOSCO thanks @Andrea and da Gama, thanks Jon and Gil.I.P. Will post pictures when available. Hope I'm not boring y'all.

    Looking for a challenge tomorrow, but not too.

    syndy 2:39 AM  

    Not so much a BANG as a whimper!

    Anoa Bob 2:53 AM  

    Ses gran erne fenn penin? Nas. Inatie iseea leia elihu.

    Ntwt: Oys amof; peseta palau. (Emus lees.)

    Ual? Har!

    Evan 3:20 AM  

    To be fair, the long downs are really good, though I kinda wish 38-Down had referred to the Canadian classic rock band The Guess Who because it's symmetrical with THE DOORS (with a simple clue like "'No Sugar Tonight' band, with 'The'").

    But yeah, it seems like the puzzle made quite a few concessions to get it to work. I don't include JIBS as bad or dull fill, but I do RUER (my dreaded verb + R or ER to give you a noun defined as "one who [verb]s"), ONS when you already have ON A TIP, AM OF, -UAL (might have been better as the abbr. of United Airlines), SSR, NT. WT, I SEE A, OYS, SES/A MOI, PEN IN, ERNE, and PALAU. Nothing unforgivable by itself, but there's a lot of them. I wonder what the grid would have looked like if TNT had been the revealer instead of BANG -- presumably the southeast corner could have been a bit cleaner without the terminal B, but who knows?

    Guess Who!? 3:32 AM  

    I did indeed put in Boom before BANG, and I love what @Jae wrote about ending with a BANG!!!!
    That alone makes the whole puzzle worth it.

    Love that it started with JIBS...

    Gotta agree with @Rex on OYS and two French possessives... and ONATIP crossing with INATIE look like the same phrase, but that's sort of interesting in it's own way.

    Here's fill I liked: GUESS WHO (not to be confused with THE Guess Who).

    Plus crossing ELIHU/PALAU with a U at the end is fancy!

    C. Ross Word 3:36 AM  

    According to Lyricsfreak.com the line is actually "I see THE bad moon arising." If so, it seems like a careless mistake. That said, I always thought the line was "I see a bad moon risin' " so no problem for the solve.

    Crunchy Wednesday puzzle despite some sub-par fill made this one fun for me.

    Keith H 4:25 AM  

    I agree with OFL on most of this one.

    I should be, but am not, ashamed to admit that I know about the Tower of Hanoi puzzle from two different undergraduate courses. It comes up in discrete math and algorithms lectures. It's actually fairly interesting w.r.t. those two areas of study, if that's any consolation to anyone.

    Generally, blah.

    jae 4:39 AM  

    @C Ross -- Not sure what LyricsFreak you are looking at but the one I checked had this

    jae 4:58 AM  

    And, the NYT is not known for "careless mistakes."

    loren muse smith 5:29 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    loren muse smith 5:31 AM  

    I thought I had finished with a mistake because I have never laid eyes on the word ROLF. It looks weird to me – like something you’d do behind a German SHED after one too many PrOSITS.

    I paused at the initial TH but reread the clue and decided it was fine. Sure, it would have been way more elegant to have all of the initial T’s be actual t sounds. What would have been better for me, like Rex pointed out, would have been four spoken expressions (rather than three and then THE NEW TESTAMENT), which is what I was expecting.

    So how strict are the rules for initial-driven themes? Would a puzzle with the reveal “Gigi” be allowed to have themers with two hard gs like “gas guzzler” or a hard and soft “gender gap” or strictly two soft gs like in “gentle giant?”

    I had to erase “boom,” too.

    @Anoa Bob – U Always make me laugh with those posts.

    @Evan – I have to say I’m an AGREEer with you on RUER.

    @Benko – Yeah, I was wondering why everyone was saying “boom.” And I did not watch Twin Peaks but did know FENN.

    I liked the diet soda TAB crossing OBESE. And the long downs were great. Especially GUESS WHO.

    I AGREE with @C. Ross Word – despite the abbrs, partials, two French possessives. . .I enjoyed the solve. Thanks, Mark.

    MetaRex 6:34 AM  

    If MR were king of the world, he woulda sent this one back w/ the suggestion that TRINITROTOLUENE be substituted for the discordant (THE) NEW TESTAMENT...

    Jeremy Mercer 6:38 AM  

    @jae and @C Ross

    It seems that Lyrics Freak has two different versions of the line, one in the Bad Moon Rising lyrics in the John Fogerty section, one in the Bad Moon Rising lyrics in the Creedence Clearwater Revival section.

    The two versions are :

    "I see a bad moon a-rising." (Fogerty section)

    "I see the bad moon arising." (CCR section)

    Which suggests Lyrics Freak isn't entirely reliable. Anybody out there know how we can confirm the true lyrics to the song?

    Or does it really matter? If both STA and STN are considered acceptable abbreviations of 'station' in the puzzle, maybe multiple versions of song lyrics are also acceptable ...

    Anonymous 6:46 AM  

    "I hip" is hippie slang, not beatnik. Beatniks said "hep" for "in the know" and would more likely "I dig" for gotcha. There's nothing more unhip than getting slang wrong. What a bumper, man.

    Anonymous 6:52 AM  

    And there's nothing worse than typing errors when trying to sound erudite.

    "I'm hip" is hippie slang, not beatnik lingo. Beatniks said "hep" for "in the know" and would more likely have said "I dig" for "gotcha." There's nothing more unhip than getting slang wrong. What a bumper, man.

    optionsgeek 7:12 AM  

    Very disappointed in the revealer. For gosh sakes, everyone knows that "BOOM! goes the dynamite".

    Milford 7:20 AM  

    Medium Wednesday, seemed to take a awhile to get the theme - I think like others I was going with the phonetics and thinking "TH". And TILL = short for until = made me pause a bit.

    I like the J crossing because of JETS, from my favorite musical.

    I vote for @Metarex's entry in a future T.N.T. puzzle. And the reference to AC/DC (@Rex video).

    Had maId before HEIR as the crime suspect.

    I remember in kindergarten I was asked to take a note down to the office and accidentally walked into the STAFF LOUNGE. Since it was 1975, I could hardly see inside for the thick cloud of cigarette smoke, worse than any biker bar.

    @loren - ROLF to me looks like ROTF (LMAO) texting!

    Z 7:21 AM  

    Is it Tuesday? PALAU/ELIHU is your classic Natick. If it weren't for doing puzzles daily for the past half decade there is no way in HANOI I would have gotten that cross.

    I first heard of Towers of HANOI in high school, so that was a gimme. That was before all my friends and I had dreams about BANGing LEIA. Badaboom.

    Thought the JIBS/JETS cross was a good start. BANG was a good ending. Getting there, meh.

    Slicimus 7:30 AM  

    Did anyone above say "ugh"?, I agree with "ugh", felt like a puzzle with ADD, especially the -UAL clue. Really? Like what's the ending for enevl? -OPE ????
    Also, since I don't really watch TV, got stuck on PALAU (thought it was Papau).

    leglegl 7:33 AM  

    Rolf crossed by part (with the clue that is used) crossed by Palau??? Give me an f'n break. That is just horrible. What is a rolf? Has anyone seen it before in a crossword (NYT or otherwise)?

    John V 7:35 AM  

    Just to say, this really has been an easy week. This one, fun, easy, felt like a Monday.

    Always a pleasure to greet a debut, so welcome, Mark Bickman and best of luck for many more!

    Mitzie 7:46 AM  

    I think today's puzzle should have been run yesterday, and yesterday's today (with appropriate clueing changes, of course).

    Didn't mind the fill as much as the theme problems.

    But who cares?

    dk 8:02 AM  

    @sarah. I give out the stars and there are four not five…. gheezzz louise. I also have a patent and your trip trapping on my bridge is gonna cost ya (see today's NYT for context)

    Despite Sarah's star poaching (really it is not a problem for me) she is right, paradoxically I agree with Mitzie (who cares) and finally I would like to add nice debut if only it was yesterday.

    I like the mini Purgatory them with 32A, 44A, 58A, 9D and the clue for 50D. Yes -- survivor is about purgatory.

    The TNT theme -- not a big BANG.

    💣💣 (2 bombs about to go….)

    Carola 8:03 AM  

    Easy and enjoyable. Liked the long downs, the "Reader's" clue, learning what kind of sail a jib is, and TONE facing off against OBESE. I believe the Bible POSITS that it's a SIN to LOLL about in EASE - Old TESTAMENT, though, I think. Hope those not lolling in retirement but heading for work and their STAFF LOUNGE or SALES TARGET have a good day.

    Susan McConnell 8:15 AM  

    Same as most...Found this a bit on the tame side. i liked the theme answers, though THE NEW TESTAMENT isn't as fun as the others. Like @Evan, was hoping for the GUESS WHO to pair with THE DOORS. Fun fact: The Hartford's STAG is named Larry. Hubs worked there for a while and we have accumulated quite a bit of Larry swag over the years.

    WA 8:27 AM  

    Am I the only one who didn't know this FENN person and who couldn't decide between "No Fuss" and its partner "No Muss"? Ugh.
    I too invented an actrress named Menn, which is as meaningful to me as Fenn.

    Even though I had the reveal, you could close the curtain again without any problem.

    "I see a bad moon rising" is followed by one of the most famous mondegreens in rock, There's a bathroom on the right."

    joho 8:30 AM  

    Inspector PEROT SHED all pretenses and simply said, "THERESNOTELLING who now is in SIN by stealing LEES DEERES." At that point his assistant excitedly POSITS, "THATSNOTTRUE! HAR!!!" I saw ROLF leaving the farm on a suspiciously disguised vehicle." "Well then" said PEROT, "Let's you and I AGREE. We'll patiently wait TILLNEXTTIME when we'll spring into action ONATIP. That's when I swear on THENEWTESTAMENT ... BANG! just like that we'll trap that rat!"

    Nancy in PA 8:35 AM  

    I think it's funny that a song famous for a Mondegreen ("There's a bathroom on the right") is engendering so much lyrics-second-guessing.I loved starting the puzzle with JIBS, and I know people who have undergone ROLFing, though I like Loren Muse Smith's alternate definition. Altogether, easy and fun.

    jackj 8:42 AM  

    The constructor makes his debut with a puzzle that ends with a BANG for the theme’s reveal entry, but unfortunately, he also gives us some of the blandest answers in memory.

    STAFFLOUNGE float your boat? Didn’t think so. How about SALESTARGET? No?

    How about the theme entries? Certainly needing the first letter of the three words in a phrase to begin with a T, then an N and finally a T, to make for the BANG, will give us some dynamite answers?

    Well, frankly, THERESNOTELLING, but if you get excited by the likes of TILLNEXTTIME or maybe, THATSNOTTRUE you’ll be ecstatic when you meet THENEWTESTAMENT.

    Maybe the BANG plays better with nonsense 15-letter phrasings designed solely to meet the thematic need like, say, TOMNEVERTARRIES.

    Well, he doesn’t tarry because he’s doggedly lusting after THENUBILETENANT who is busy being hounded by TINYNERDYTROLLS as she is desperately running away, trying to avoid meeting up with THENAKEDTRUCKER.

    But, enough nonsense, better to check out the fill in today’s puzzle. Surely POSITS rates at the top of the heap with GUESSWHO also making for a nice entry. Tying the second “E” of ERNEST (Gallo) to LEES, a “Vintner’s dregs”, makes for a clever chuckle (though the Gallo boys may feel slighted).

    Sadly, not enough saving fill to earn this puzzle any huzzahs from this quarter.

    Anonymous 8:57 AM  

    The 'TNT' theme clue is a streeeeettttcccchhh at best. A better alternative would've to have all the words start with 'The' sounds and use the word 'lisp' at the answer to the clue.

    Milford 8:58 AM  

    @susan - not sure what is funnier; that the STAG's name is Larry, or that you have STAG swag!

    jberg 9:02 AM  

    My internet connection went down just as I was posting, will try again -- should have been a Monday, should have had four THs instead of only three, but the revealer was nice. And I was glad to see the EMUS reunited with their friend, the ERNE (who eats eels, I imagine). (By the way, aren't all seabirds predatory? I can't think of an exception.)

    ROLFing was really big in the 70s, you folks just need to age a little!

    Jonathan Livingston 9:12 AM  

    Seagulls are scavengers.

    Tita 9:15 AM  

    My JIB is still in the baserment - my tiny sloop is under a tarp in the woods.
    West Side Story is one of my favorite movies.

    BOOM would go better with JIB...

    @chefwen - your cow is named after a Portuguese explorer?
    And did you see @Jen's late night post yesterday?

    Loved GUESSWHO.
    My cats are SHEDding something fierce.
    My sister's DOGS are too.
    (I like them crossing SALESTARGET - we talk about not chasing the cats and DOGS, but to go after the big deals, when chasing ours.)

    In Portugal, the LEES are called the foot... I wonder if that is a reference to the remnants resulting from the old process of crushing the grapes - HAR!

    @lms - your insight on ROLF is perfect!

    Puzzle was fun, theme slightly less than zippy. (And for me, I like all the foreign language stuff, esp. the paired posessives!)

    Tita 9:16 AM  

    Oh - and had it been Boom, with LEES and JIBS, we coulda had a mni nautical theme.

    Shamik 9:36 AM  

    Added 2 and a half extra minutes because of MACAU before realizing it was the culprit preventing Mr. Happy Pencil. Bleh.

    chefbea 9:38 AM  

    Fairly easy puzzle but didn't understand the theme tip I got here. I thought it meant the first letters of each theme answer...which were all T's. And couldnt figure out how bang was related to TTTT.

    Z 9:40 AM  

    Larry the Stag Swag - what could be better?

    The person who writes gems like "What a bumper, man," should take credit.

    @Slicimus - Or on Saturday, "End of obs?" and erve or cure might fit work.

    Still haven't seen a description of a ROLF. Is it something I would want to give LEIA on my fevered adolescent dreams?

    Is calling someone a "troll" characteristic of trolls?

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:54 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Eric 9:55 AM  

    Wanted "Boom," the wanted "Bamn," finally settled for BANG...more a gunshot or a balloon pop than TNT. Whatever. Theme was fine .

    ERICH! Always good seeing my name (or a derivation thereof) in the grid.

    Didn't PEROT run on the independent ticket....not reform? Need verification on this.


    Bob Kerfuffle 9:57 AM  

    OK, so you want BOOM at the end of your puzzle? Then no complaints about a few little changes:

    60 D becomes MAB - remember her?

    50 D becomes ISEDO - call it the Natick of Nigeria

    51 D becomes PENGO - an old video game

    57 D becomes STEM - part of a plant, or that new-fangled Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics curriculum

    63 A becomes ADGE - you remember, that British singer

    And, Bingo, 66 A becomes BOOM!

    (All answer words certified by Wikipedia.)

    pmdm 10:00 AM  

    A little gentle tsk tsk aimed at MS for incorporating the AC/DC video into today's write up instead of the CCR video found here.


    "I see the bad moon arising."

    "There's a bad moon on the rise."

    I would say that this video settles the question: the answer to 50D is wrong, wrong wrong. Mr. Shortz has made a verifiable boo-boo.

    Arlene 10:11 AM  

    I also was heading to LISP as the theme, and wondered what BANG had to do with that - but, of course, realized that TILL killed that thought.

    Anonymous 10:37 AM  

    Is 38d really a question? Seems to be a request or a demand, but not a question.

    Two Ponies 10:53 AM  

    Does this puzzle set a record for partials?
    Till instead of 'til really bugs me.
    Our new negative troll really bugs me too. Let's stop feeding her so she'll go away.
    I'm always happy for someone's debut but this was pretty bland.
    The stag is Larry? Too funny.
    @ chefwen, Is de Gama short for Vaca de Gama?

    Michael Leddy 10:57 AM  

    @Mike in DC: I too, had NOMUSS.

    Re: till: Garner’s Modern American Usage recommends it. I’ve begin to use it (having always written ’til), but till still looks wrong to me, and I wonder if it looks like a mistake due to its obscurity.

    Michael Leddy 10:58 AM  

    That is, if it looks to others like a mistake.

    Mr. Benson 11:04 AM  

    Am I the only one who, after seeing the first two long acrosses, thought maybe the theme was "SNOT" hidden in the words?

    Sandy K 11:23 AM  

    Think Nice Thoughts...hmmm, Ok.

    It was a fun puzzle. It took me a while to see the TNT theme cuz the revealer clue was a huh? until I reread it a few times.

    @M&A- 6Us and a HAR for U!

    Tomorrow New Theme!

    Sherilyn Fenn 11:27 AM  

    I was indeed in "Twin Peaks", but I did not date Jack Nicholson.

    That was Lara Flynn Boyle.

    oldactor 11:46 AM  

    How old am I?

    Old enough to have been ROLFed twice!


    Gill I. P. 11:56 AM  

    I'm glad I'm a bit late to this fun party. The comments are hilarious today. The puzzle - well, not so much fun.
    @Loren...In the 70's while living in San Francisco, it seems everyone was into ROLFing. My personal preference was Gestalt since I dated a Gestalt therapist and he was seeing a regular therapist and then lovechild Werner Erhard had everyone lining up to pay a months paycheck worth for an eight hour session of no bathroom breaks EST.... I loved that city.
    @jackj....THE NAKED TRUCKER!!!! OYS what goes thru my mind now....hee hee
    @Two Ponies VACA de Gama...LOL
    @chefwen....Of course we want pictures of the cuties.
    OK sorry I got off topic on the puzzle. I actually started to like it. JIBS was my first entry then PEROT and ERICH and so on. THE NEW TESTAMENT just fell so flat for me that it took the sail out of my BANG.

    Lewis 12:04 PM  

    @m&a -- seventh heaven for you, 6 U's and a HAR!

    First quarter of the posts had lots of sparkle, got me laughing. The puzzle felt more like a Tuesday and didn't cast the pall over me that it did for a lot of you. It felt like a good workmanlike puzzle, and congrats on your debut, Mark! Learn from the critiques, but take the compliments just as seriously.

    Rgrant50 12:11 PM  

    Can someone explain the reader's goal clue?

    jae 12:17 PM  

    @Sherilyn -- Dang! Mixed up my Twin Peaks actresses again.

    Jon88 12:18 PM  

    I find myself in the unusual position of defending a puzzle that didn't thrill me. Folks, "till" is a word. It means "until." It is not obscure, it is not iffy. It appears in many song titles, common phrases and movie titles.

    @Rgrant50: When actors audition, they are reading.

    loren muse smith 12:21 PM  

    @Sherilyn Fenn - I bet you're really Masked and Anonymous ;-)

    oldActor 12:22 PM  

    Rgrant50: As an actor I read for many roles and sometimes got the PART but more often didn't.

    MikeM 12:28 PM  

    Rgrant - when someon auditions for a part, they "read" the script first for the casting director.

    But what is: LEES, a “Vintner’s dregs"?? I dont get it thanks

    mrbreen 1:00 PM  

    I got Rolf easily enough from crosses, but am a bit confused by its clue. Nowhere on Wikipedia or on Rolf.org is the term Rolf used as a verb. Should have been clued as proper name.

    Nice write up today.

    Orange 1:32 PM  

    TILL has actually been in the English language longer than both 'TIL and UNTIL. (The original word was TILL and a couple hundred years after its arrival in English, the Norse "und" was tacked onto the beginning.) I've always liked the look of 'TIL better, but I've recently come around to writing TILL instead.

    Bird 1:50 PM  

    Not a satisfying puzzle. To me, TNT goes BOOM. How many cartoons do you see “BANG” next to dynamite explosions? DNF because I did not the answer to 32A ( I don’t watch reality TV) 41A (not familiar with that term, kept trying to fit knead) or 32D (not in same wheelhouse, kept thinking, “conclusion” or “end” or “chapter”).

    None. At least there’s that.

    Also wanted GOALS instead of TARGET
    UAL couldn’t be clued differently?
    PIN IN is ugly
    RUER is ugly

    Happy Humpday!

    Anonymous 1:51 PM  

    "Marriage" doesn't fit in 42-across!

    Just Sayin' 1:54 PM  

    @Mr. Benson - Ewww!

    @Shamik - So you DNF?

    @Evan - I too hate verb + ER or R words


    chefwen 2:06 PM  

    @Two Ponies - Da Gama just seemed to flow so nicely after Bosco. Still considering COWabunga. Fits in nicely with the surfing community here. A work in progress.

    Lewis 2:29 PM  

    mrbreen -- Rolf IS used as a verb, as in "The body worker Rolfed me yesterday, and I'm still sore." And commonly so (used as a verb).

    retired_chemist 2:34 PM  

    @ jae - I think I get it now. The error is not in the answer but a misphrasing within the clue. Est-ce vrai?

    Anonymous 2:34 PM  

    @Old Actor - Having been ROLFed twice is a sign of masochism, not age. Maybe stupidity, if you didn't learn after the first time.

    Tita 2:47 PM  

    @MikeM - "Drink life to the LEES!"
    In a good bottle of win, one that has aged many years, a sediment or deposit accumulates - this is particularly true with a fine Porto.

    That sediment is called LEES.

    lees (n.)
    late 14c., from Old French lies, plural of lie "sediment," probably from Celtic (cf. Old Irish lige "a bed, a lying"), from PIE root *legh- "to lie" (see lie (v.2)).

    Thanks for making me look it up - I know the word, but know I know the "story behind the story".

    You also made me look up the phrase I have quoted many times without knowing its origin...turns out it's from Tennyson's Ulysses.

    Tita 2:50 PM  

    Oops - one over - but just can't resist loving Bosco da Gama...
    @Two Ponies - I also like Vaca da Gama lots. ROFL - or ROLF - or ROTFL...

    Hmm - can we make this into a theme?

    Two Ponies 3:00 PM  

    @ chefwen and @ Tita,
    Thanks, I think we were sorta making the same pun.

    Ellen S 3:01 PM  

    @Anonymous 2:34, I read Miss Manners all the time and haven't figured out exactly what to do when someone is being impolite, as it is also rude to tell some "you are being rude." I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that @Old Actor, a fellow commenter who is not hiding behind anonymity, is stupid. But your comment sure seemed to say that. Our friend Evil Doug sometimes refers to others' comments as moronic, and sometimes to other commenters as morons, but we know who he is--if need be, we could even figure out who he really is, go to his house and flog him with EELS; plus, when he occasionally has a kind word, we know who he is.

    So, who are you, if I may make so bold as to ask?

    jae 3:02 PM  

    @r_c Yes. Although, according to @pmdm the answer may also be wrong. I listened to the video pmdm posted and while the printed lyrics say THE it's tough to tell from the vocals whether Fogerty is saying THE or A. @Jeremy Mercer's point about multiple versions is likely correct.

    chefbea 3:21 PM  

    @two ponies etal

    What do you call a person rabid with wordplay? An energizer punny.

    optionsgeek 3:24 PM  

    So no one on this page is the least bit disturbed about glossing over perhaps the best sport-caster Internet meme in history? Has no one heard the phrase "BOOM goes the dynamite". It's frickin' famous, 2+ million google hits, it's own Wikipedia page. I alluded to it in an earlier comment but nothing. No one seems to share my extreme annoyance at having write in BANG when the universe was clearly aligned for the answer to be BOOM. talk about crosswordus interruptus. Get with it people.

    LaneB 3:42 PM  

    Easy for some, but not for me. Apparently brain dead this morning. But I did finally finish having had trouble with several of the two-word answers,e.g., ONATIP crossing with INATIE and ISEEA and PENINSULA (which I first had as HEMIN.) Never did get the theme even after getting BANG early on Not very happy with myself today.

    Napolean 3:47 PM  

    BANG/BOOM - whats the diff? why dont you write your own crossword @optionsgeek.

    optionsgeek 3:58 PM  

    Actually, writing a meme-themed puzzle sounds like a great idea. It might have been done already, but not in a while.

    Evan 3:59 PM  


    I'm aware of that famous broadcaster. That clip went viral just as YouTube was still in its infancy. As I recall, Will Smith used the same line at the Oscars several years later.


    Watch this clip, then you'll see that @optionsgeek is joking.

    One 5:06 PM  

    @Ellen S - ROLFing hurts like hell. Your ROLFer will tell that it won't hurt as much the next time, but they're bullshitting you into coming back. It hurts the exact same amount. That's why One might make a joke about going for a second session is an indication that one might be masochist. Or might be stupid.

    sanfranman59 5:55 PM  

    Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

    Wed 9:55, 9:56, 1.00, 50%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Wed 5:43, 5:41, 1.00, 53%, Medium

    Anonymous 7:56 PM  

    I thought this was a perfectly fine Wednesday. Definitely a solid NYT debut.

    To close a couple loops:

    TILL doesn't mean "until"; "until" means TILL. And "'til" nearly means nothing at all.

    And, TNT isn't dynamite; the active
    Ingredient in dynamite is nitroglycerin.

    chefbea 8:25 PM  

    Think I'll go till my lawn!!

    Puzzle Mom 8:47 PM  

    So, am I the only person who thinks "Hartford Insurance Company Symbol" should be Hart? What's with this "stag" nonsense?

    sanfranman59 10:06 PM  

    This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

    Mon 5:58, 6:09, 0.97, 35%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 8:25, 8:14, 1.02, 59%, Medium
    Wed 9:44, 9:54, 0.98, 46%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:37, 3:46, 0.96, 23%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 4:52, 4:53, 1.00, 49%, Medium
    Wed 5:34, 5:40, 0.98, 46%, Medium

    mac 10:33 PM  

    It was a lovely day in New York City.

    @Puzzle Mom: the guys in Hartford call it a stag.

    Easy-medium puzzle. No sparkler, but just fine.

    Z 10:38 PM  

    @sanfranman59- how's the n doing? Has it stabilized?

    C. Ross Word 1:02 AM  

    I've obviously got too much time on my hands since I'm still on the "I see a..." vs. "I see the.." *controversy* from yesterday. Rather than having this *crucial* issue carry over to Thursday's puzzle and comments, I've chosen to follow up here, post-midnight, knowing that I may end up being the only reader of this comment. This is probably better for us all. In any case, as @jae noted, lyricsfreak.com has both versions. In addition, lyricsmode.com has the "a" version; while last.fm, metrolyrics.com and azlyrics.com all have the "the" version. After listening multiple times to the opening of the original CCR version of the song, to my ear, the lyrics are "I see THE bad moon arising." That said, considering the ambiguity, suggesting that it seems to have been a "careless mistake" was not fair to Mark and Will.

    @jae As a long-time reader, I agree with you that "...the NYT is not known for "careless mistakes." That said, clearly "careless mistakes" arise from time to time, as documented in the "Corrections" columns appearing regularly in the paper. Of course, this will happen in any complicated endeavor and to the NYT's credit, they make every effort to make the appropriate corrections to "the record" whenever called for.

    spacecraft 12:12 PM  

    The THE of THEDOORS is fine. The THE of THENEWTESTAMENT is...not.

    I had a big wrestle with the western block on this one. With the awkward partial (e pluribus unum) AMOF locked in, it pretty well forced STAFFLOUNGE. So now I have some ultra-obscure island (no, I don't watch that nonsensical crap wherein people make "pacts" that they KNOW will be betrayed--or that they themselves will betray. Makes no sense. The best of this type of show, which I actually could have warmed up to, was The Mole, which was canceled right away. But I digress), then there's a French expression which I finally worked out to be A MOI, and _O_L meaning "Hang loose." Then "Massage deeply" (?) ending in F, and "Reader's goal," _A_T.

    I tell you, I was stuck. On a Wedensday. Then for some reason, had to be from an ad promoting the series, I seemed to recall a "PALAU." I tried it. _O_L became LO_L, so LOLL fit. So now I'm down to PA_T and _OLF. I ran the alphabet, but outside of GOLF and WOLF I had no clue. ROLF would make PART...reader's goal = PART?? Well, OK, in one sense, I have read for--and even gotten--PARTs in my school drama days, but wow! What a clue for PART! That clue is strictly a Saturday clue. Not even Friday, man, Saturday all the way. That clue for PART has NO place in a Wedensday puzzle. I'm throwing the flag! Five yards for offside!

    And that leaves me wondering whether to leave ROLF (???) in. But having nowhere to run, I shrugged and left it, even though "rolf" is not a word in my dictionary. Wait a minute. Is ROLF a person's name? Some legendary Nordic bodybuilder who became a sadistic masseur? Just keep me away from him.

    So then, if I'm in a long poker tournament and just want my shoulders loosened a bit, I can say "Don't ROLF me" to the masseuse and she'll understand?

    I got it done, but sheesh! West central: challenging. Rest of puzzle: easy. What does that make it? With that fill: not worth rating.

    Syndi Solver 1:34 PM  

    I thought it was pretty good. I saw the T-N-T theme after the second entry (after staring at it for a bit) and that helped me get the last two theme entries.

    I liked this puzzle even though I ended up with an error. I don't know Sherilyn FENN at all. When I got to 52 Across I easily remembered the phrase "No muss, no fuss" from old advertisements (does anyone say that phrase any more?). But I didn't know which part to use. I went with NOmUSS/mENN. Oops! Hmm, I'll just rewrite the puzzle so that 54 Down is "Swiss bridge designer Christian." :-)

    Like @spacecraft, I didn't like the repeated THE in the final theme entry (first was in THE DOORS at 9 Down). All would be forgiven if THE NEW TESTAMENT were a really great theme entry. But it's not. However, I'm sure it's hard to come up with 4 T-N-T phrases at all, let alone interesting ones.

    So, kudos to Mark Bickham for a fine puzzle. I liked that the puzzle ended with a BANG. Cute!

    I don't know why some folks did not like the first three theme entries. I thought they were perfectly good T-N-T phrases--in the language and interesting (at least to me). And I'm not sure why folks were complaining about whether the T words started with a hard T or a TH sound. In fact, I think I prefer a mix since then the solver might take a bit longer to figure out the T-N-T theme.

    That west area (PALAU, AMOF, ROLF, ...) was definitely slow but I didn't seem to have as much trouble as some folks. I don't watch Survivor at all so my first thought was Tonga for 32 A. But I held off and waited for the crosses to steer me in the right direction.

    Oh, and Tower of HANOI (aka, Tower of Brahma) is something that I learned back in high school. I didn't realize that this was considered obscure. I think this may be a nerd thing. :-)

    Dirigonzo 2:36 PM  

    I'm trying to imagine a context in which "New Testament" would sound right in normal conversation without "The" - so far I got nothing. Anybody?

    LAX is a perfectly good word - why is it so frequently clued as an abbr.? LEES are jeans on a Monday but dregs by Wednesday - what's up with that? I've been called a "sorry sort" (and a lot worse) but never a RUER. Cats often mate in the Spring, too, which is why the shelters are always full of unwanted kittens by now - please, people - SPAY/NEUTER your pets!

    DMGrandma 3:37 PM  

    Didn't get a Bang out of this one! Just couldn't make that corner fall, not helped by the fact that I looked only at the starting T's of the referenced clues, and was looking for a sound akin to a lisp only starting "th". Also weak in French, have no idea about MLB, never sure of the spelling of LEIA, and don't think I have ever heard the moon quote! So many ??? In one little corner. Maybe tomorrow?

    @ Ron Diego: you're right about the SDUnion, mostly take it for the puzzle page, as for local news, it gets less and less here in North County. Cut my teeth, many moons ago, on the LATimes puzzles and agree they are fun, but with the Union, the WSJ and several local throw -a-ways on the doorstep, one more paper adds up to a recycling overload. Our bucket is full!

    paleolith 1:00 AM  

    Dunno if anyone reads comments on 2yo puzzles, but here goes ...

    So, we learn that Rex is aSEXUAL.

    I had a Towers of Hanoi set when I was growing up, though I didn't learn the traditional name until many years later. If Rex were a general puzzler instead of only a xworder, he'd know it as one of the oldest puzzles in the world. And then he'd have a valid complaint: it's Towers [plural, not singular] of Hanoi. Three towers, ten rings/plates in the classic version.


    Bob Kerfuffle 9:13 AM  

    @paleolith/Edward -- Only because you asked: Unless you Unsubscribe, doesn't matter how old the puzzle is, you still get the follow-up comments! (And, I would assume, read them!)

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