Political commentator Paul / THU 6-13-13 / Tay Fyne / African healer / French composer Edouard / English word derived from Tswana / 2012 software release / Palazzo Alfieri's locale /

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: WINDOWS 8 (65A: 2012 software release ... or a hint to the starts of the answers to the starred clues) — said words can precede "window" in a common phrase ... they're types of windows *or* states that a window might be in ... something like that ...

Word of the Day: "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" (3D: "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" figure => OGRE) —
"Hop-o'-My-Thumb", also known as "Little Thumbling" (FrenchLe Petit Poucet), was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697.[1] It is Aarne-Thompson type 327B, the small boy defeats the ogre.[2] This type of fairy tale, in the French oral tradition, is often combined with motifs from the type 327A, similar toHansel and Gretel; one such tale is The Lost Children. (wikipedia)
• • •

The theme feels a bit dicey to me, mainly because CRACKED and BAY are in completely different universes, adjective-wise, as they relate to "window." True, a window might be CRACKED or OPEN, but those are simple adjectives describing virtually any window, which seems very different from places where the window exists (CAR) or types of window (BAY) or shapes of window (OVAL), etc.  Eight long theme answers is an impressive total, and that theme density makes the overall smoothness of the fill especially admirable. But the wobbliness of the theme, and just the appearance of shameless shilling for a corporation, dampened my enjoyment a little.


The weirdest part of my solve, however, was how much more difficult I found the tiny NW corner than I found any other part of the grid. The puzzle played like a pretty normal Thursday *except* for the five missing squares I had up there. I came to a dead halt. Just ... stopped. For a while, I thought I might have to look up what the hell "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" was (never heard of it). Had -A- TRIPS and it seemed like it could be anything. Or nothing. I wanted DAY (but there are no DAY windows ... I don't think). 1D: Tangent starter? made no sense to me. Wanted ON A, but was pretty sure ADO was right for 1A: Rowdydow, which made ON A impossible. I don't like the "?" in the ARC clue. It's not really a play on words in any sense, and ARC does, literally, "start" tangent (in the word "arctangent"). Anyway, ARC never crossed my mind. OGRE never crossed my mind. And ZEE!? (20A: 90 degrees from N?) I knew it had to be right, but couldn't figure how. My thinking: "N" is in the middle of the alphabet and ... ZEE is at the end, so ... somehow ... applying a geometrical metaphor ... nope, nothing. Only after I was finished did I get it—rotate the letter "N" ninety degrees, and you get the letter "Z." It's a great clue, but in that already nightmarish corner, it was too much for me. I think I only put that corner together after trying different kinds of windows and stumbling into CAR. I would never have finished, I don't think, if I hadn't actually seen "Bad Teacher" in the theater (2D: "Bad Teacher" star, 2011 => DIAZ).

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Some vacation travel (CAR TRIPS)
  • 6D: *What makes bread rise? (POP-UP TOASTER)
  • 22D: *1965 hit that ends "My baby don't care" ("TICKET TO RIDE")
  • 11D: *Area with the world's highest tides (BAY OF FUNDY)
  • 12D: *Bushes were once found there (OVAL OFFICE)
  • 41A: *Caboose (REAR END)
  • 29D: *Like Linux (OPEN SOURCE)
  • 30D: *Frozen daiquiri ingredient (CRACKED ICE)
I *almost* want to complain about the "8" in WINDOWS 8, not because I don't think numbers should go in the grid (I do), but because the cross isn't fair. If you don't know what damned number WINDOWS is up to, then several numbers could go there as the [Rush-hour hour]. *BUT* ... since the revealer makes sense only as a play on words, indicating the number of "windows" that can be found in the grid, all you have to do is count the asterisked clues. There are 8. WINDOWS 8. Still, the cross is, technically, unfair.


Bullets:
  • 4A: Its logo's letters have a stripe running through them (ESPN) — a useless clue. I watch ESPN every day, and this logo feature is not a defining feature. It may be a feature, it's just not one that stands out as important. 
  • 15A: African healer (ALOE) — another tough clue. Looking for a name of a kind of person. Then got the "A" and realized what was going on.
  • 46A: English word derived from Tswana (TSE-TSE) — Again, tough. No indication of what kind of word ... category ... anything ... 
  • 50A: ___ equivalent (measure of explosive energy) (TNT) — ???????? 
  • 69A: Axe target? (ODOR) — again, technically, no "?" needed. Axe is a brand of body spray. It literally targets odor. You wouldn't put a "?" in [Ban target?] or [Secret target?]. Or maybe you would. But you shouldn't. The clue is literal. 
  • 25D: Apt anagram of Russ. (USSR) — strangely, I liked this.
  • 28D: French composer Édouard (LALO) — not someone I listen to, so I have no idea how/why I remembered him, but I did. Probably because he's not that uncommon in crosswords. Did not have as much luck remembering GIGOT (53D: Political commentator Paul), whose crossword fame is ... nil. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

96 comments:

jae 12:06 AM  

Easy for me.  Only erasure was MUmble for MUTTER and TICKET cleared that up. 

WOEs: GIGOT and SKEE ( as clued).

I could see this being on the tough side if TICKET TO RIDE and maybe EGOYAN were unknowns although, the crosses look pretty getable.  I guess I'm wondering how familiar solvers born after say 1970 are with the some of the Beatles earlier (pre Sgt. Peppers) work. 

Great clue for 20a. 

Clever theme plus a lot of good stuff in this grid.  Liked it!

jackj 12:13 AM  

It’s no surprise that teenager David Steinberg knows about the use for AXE. Even finding IUD in the puzzle was no big deal, but seeing the name of the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Page Editor, Paul GIGOT was mind-boggling.

There was no need to worry about the theme, even knowing the first theme words were types of WINDOWS, (which I didn’t), made no difference in solving today’s puzzle.

The theme entry BAYOFFUNDY was a fun reminder to anyone who feasted on the “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” feature in their Sunday newspaper comics section many moons ago, that these New Brunswick tides were the world’s highest, with a 60 foot swing, and you’d better believe it.

Cleverest of the theme phrases were POPUPTOASTER, “What makes bread rise?” and “Bushes were once found there” for OVALOFFICE, (though with a duplicate of it in Dubya’s new Presidential Library, a Bush may still be found there).

Using a number in the puzzle was shades of Henry Hook, who delights in slipping numbers into his puzzles unannounced to confuse those looking for words in their crosswords and never expecting numerals.

There was a lot to like in the fill; the double “Virginia___” clues for SLIMS and TECH; the “Eerie phenomenon” of DEJAVU; the grumbling mumble that is MUTTER and what was arguably the puzzle’s most clever, the “90 degrees from N?” clue that was simply a flip of the letter N, to arrive at ZEE.

A wonderful Thursday from David Steinberg, who never ceases to amaze!

retired_chemist 12:13 AM  

Very similar experience to Rex's. Lost almost all my time in the NW, where my problems were almost exactly Rex's. ON A tangent stuck for too long, keeping me from admitting 1A was ADO. Rowdydow? Really? ON A led to AIR TRIPS and then - and then - nothing. But I eventually thought of ARC tangent and matters cleared up quickly.

NW corner challenging, the rest easy-medium. 68A ARCANE slowed me down only a bit. Needed all 6 crosses for Atom EGOYAN. It still doesn't sound like a name.

SNOOKI and SARTRE in the same puzzle may be the eclectic coup of the year.

Thanks, Mr. Steinberg. Liked it.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

CRACKED ICE made me angry. What is cracked ice?! It's CRUSHED ICE!!!!!

Ado Cracked Mutters 12:17 AM  

@jae
I can guarantee you young and old know the Beatles Pre-Sgt Pepper if last night's Beatle singalong is any indication...tons of 20somethings there, one teen who shows up monthly, and lots of folks my age...
(Last night I did "If I Fell" and "It's so Hard (Loving you)"

ANd yet, I stumbled on the clue!!!

NW corner was so hard for me, @Rex parsed my problems with it word for word...
to my horror, SNOOKI was my first and only for sure full!!!

Anyway, impressed with theme density...
THe different kinds of windows (BAY,OVAL), plus the state they are in (CRACKED, OPEN) seemed akin to the PIG puzzle we just had, where some were kinds of hogs, some were in the form you ate them.

Mix and match is the new 40. Or the new 8.

Whatever. David Steinberg never ceases to amaze me.
I did have to scream at him tho for putting IUD in his puzzle, yet rejecting a lovely one of mine over the word GYNECOLOGY for perceived offensiveness for his Orange County readers!!!
I have warned him I will never let him live that down till he's old enough to realize that GYNECOLOGY is not a dirty word!

Axe is such a weird name for a product, I don't know where to begin on that one as a namer.

Off to pack for Minneapolis dog-sitting trip... plus, perhaps, a visit with my beloved dk, unless he flakes out again!
(consider glove dropped)

okanaganer 12:20 AM  

I have never heard the term CRACKED ICE! I was baffled that Across Lite wouldn't accept CRUSHED (even though Google agreed with me) and also never heard of LALO, LEA, or SKEE LO, so that area was a disaster. "Onse upon a time"?...thought it might be a variant spelling.

I had MURMUR instead of MUTTER for a while. I typed EIGHT in square 67, which A.L. also rejected and told me should be simply E.

Typical Thursday for me: quite a rough ride!

Steve J 12:25 AM  

@Anon 12:17: There's a difference between CRACKEDICE and crushed ice, much like the difference between cubing and dicing when cutting up food. Cracked ice is broken-up cubes, rather than the pulverized ice you get in crushed. The answer is indeed correct.

Regarding 50A: The terms "kiloton" and "megaton" in reference to nuclear weapons refer to the equivalent tons of TNT. The clue's awkwardly phrased, but I picked this one up quickly.

Had the same problems as Rex in the NW, including wanting DAYTRIP rather than CARTRIP. Also found the 8 to be a bit wonky in the theme revealer. Those challenges aside, I liked this one.

syndy 12:27 AM  

Reading Rex's blog today was pure DEJA VU!Except I had Oaf?as Rowdydow and OGRE was my Entree to the nw from hell.I knew Hop O' M thumb was a fairy tale and what 4 letter word is also in a fairy tale? I don't know SNOOKI but I'm fairly sure I don't want to know Snooki.I know that Evil Doug is unimpressed with shout outs but 63 across made me think of him.Did anyone else have blogspot issues yesterday?

Ellen S 1:51 AM  

I actually found it fairly easy -- meaning, I finished it, without Googling, and before the constructor advanced to an age where I wouldn't be shocked (shocked, I say!) that he is conversant with things like IUDs.

When I saw Mr. Steinberg's name I figured I would have to cheat my way to the finish line, but while it was hard, I think it was mainly skewed old. We can know, or infer, SNOOKI from past puzzles, and don't have to have ever watched Jersey Shore (thank the gods; Ghost Whisperer is more than bad enough); and it's nice to see a fresh-ish clue for ALOE. I did have (lots of) places where I had to go work somewhere else for a while, but little by little it all got filled in.

The RRN seemed somehow to have a different attitude. Am I just more forgiving because it's Steinberg or does it seem somehow to say, "Oh, well, they'll be expecting some crappy fill, let's give them a random Roman numeral." As I got the DC_ I did think it would be Detective Chief Instpector.

@Syndy -- what kind of blogspot issues? (from here tha answer is "no.")

chefwen 2:23 AM  

@retired_chemist - "Snooki and Sartre in the same puzzle may be the eclectic coup of the year". You going to help me clean the wine off of my computer screen?

Loved PUFF over BUFF 33A before exercise 38A after a lot of exercise.
spry before DEFT at 42D. That was about it. Fess up to Googling EGOYAN, so a DNF for the kid.

JFC 2:46 AM  

Rex, You know it really doesn't matter. What really matters is that the Hawks won in 3OT....

JFC

Evan 3:13 AM  

Doomed by never having heard of the BAY OF FUNDY. I went with FUNDI because I also couldn't remember if it was FRYER or FRIER. Turns out both spellings are legit, but the latter is a dreaded "var." answer. I might have guessed the Y if I had known it was a North American body of water. Since I thought it might be somewhere in Asia, I figured that the I looked more reasonable. EGOYAN was also a mystery to me and needed every cross for that.

Somehow the northwest corner didn't give me too much trouble, though I did try TEE first before ARC. Rotating the N 90 degrees allowed me to see DIAZ. I never saw "Bad Teacher," but I do remember the trailers where Jason Segel was arguing very passionately with a little kid that Michael Jordan is the greatest, better than LeBron James. Segel's right and he'll still be right no matter what happens in this year's finals.

So far, I can't say I'm a big fan of Windows 8. I get that Microsoft wants to channel the experience of using a smart phone, but the new set-up is still too confusing for me when I just want my regular Windows desktop (though it's easy enough to switch to it once you figure it out).

jae 4:02 AM  
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jae 4:32 AM  
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jae 4:43 AM  

And, speaking of TICKET, McCartney was on Colbert tonight which will be replayed several times tomorrow, set your DVRs. 

@Andrea -- Glad to hear it.  See next comment. 

@Evan -- So TICKET was a gimme?  Perhaps the early Beatles abide more than I thought.  Then there is the urban legend about the 80's teenage who was surprised that Paul was in a band before Wings. 

RE: NW -- Different wheelhouses.  I had ADO/ARC as the puzzle was coming off the printer.  My 1a thought was "they're really reaching for ADO clues".  My only hesitation was CAR TRIPS because it seemed too easy for a Thurs.

poc 5:42 AM  

I found it Easy-Medium. I completely misunderstood the WINDOWS trick and kept looking for other instances of 8, which slowed me a bit, so I wasn't counting out eight references to windows. It didn't seem to matter. The NW was certainly the hardest as Rex says, and I never did figure out why N is 90 degrees from Z. I liked INFORIT, EGOYAN and TICKETTORIDE.

As an old Linux hand it was fun to see both Windows and Linux referenced in the same puzzle :-)

Jack Lee 6:39 AM  

Thanks for explaining "90 deg from N". Tough puzzle; only completed it with help from my best bud Google.

Milford 7:08 AM  

This week (save Wednesday) has been running on the more diffucult side for me. DNF because I gave up and googled the LOCHS.

I think part of my problem was not paying much attention to the theme, so like others I got stuck with my dAyTRIPS snd CRushED ICE. Also took the "Tangent" clue as a conversation development, and had And before the literal mathematic ARC.

Like @chefwen, I thought the PUFF BUFF combo was great!

I remember the BAY OF FUNDY from the puzzle months ago, and looking up time-lapsed videos of the tide change on YouTube. Amazing!

Oddly, on the Magmuc app, 28D missed the É in the name, so just "douard".

Z 7:11 AM  

NW was easy, here. The ZEE clue was nearly automatic for me. LALO/LOCHS was a total WTF. hALO, or fOCHS, or kOCHS, or sALO, or tOCHS. Pick a consonant, any consonant.

I had the diagonal from NW to SE filled easy peasy. Had to work in the NE. I, ROBOT had to be either Asimov or Dick, the go to authors for sci-fi flicks it seems. Then the SW did me in. Picked the wrong consonant so a DNF (or finished with an error, if you prefer).

loren muse smith 7:15 AM  
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loren muse smith 7:17 AM  

David – the solving world IS IN FOR lots of challenges in the coming decades. You’re so gifted!

@JenCT - let's see some pictures of Justice!

Rex - “I would never have finished, I don't think, if I hadn't actually seen "Bad Teacher" in the theater (2D: "Bad Teacher" star, 2011 => DIAZ).” I didn’t see the movie. I didn’t finish because of that corner.

I, too, flirted with “tee” for ARC and had “zed” for ZEE. ;-)

@okanaganer – I considered “murmur” and “mumble” before MUTTER. Ok – I’ll openly admit here that I read all theTwilight books, and those three MU verbs are Meyers’ go-to verbs when relating *anything* Bella, uh, UTTERs. What is it about that initial MU that lends itself to vagueness: MUTTER, mumble, murmur, muffled, muddied, muted. Worth musing over, huh?

@Steve J – I have heard of CRACKED ICE, too, and it feels like something smart, sophisticated, fancy people use. “Jeeves, SNOOKI and I will have a spot of Rangpur, but this time please pour it over CRACKED ICE; you know how pedestrian I find crushed ice.”

So this Twilight-reading solver put in DENY with no hesitation. Thank you all my English teachers who made us memorize lines from Shakespeare and poetry. I feel so learned when I can recite some line of famous poem. Makes me want to reach for the CRACKED ICE.

Liked that Romance language corner with IDEE/DÉJÀ VU/OJO. Poor Dad.

I got a kick out of ZEE TEENSY TSETSE. (read with a French accent)

“Harvey” has one more letter than GIGOT.

I agree – the clue/observation for RUSS was terrific.

But. . .yes – the prize today goes to @retired_chemist for pointing out that SARTRE shares a grid with SNOOKI. I can see the headline: “SATRE GOES APE to learn that he shares a grid with SNOOKI. Seeing that DIAZ is there, too (and that there is, uh, no exit) he REAR ENDs a RIG hauling Virginia SLIMS. Details at 8AM”

MetaRex 7:23 AM  

Awesumious thematic density! Think the mix of straightforward and cracked in the theme is absolutely fine for both CrossWorlders and real people.

Didn't have anything at all to fill in in the NW and NC for the first forty-five seconds or so...TICKET TO RIDE was a v. pleasant first answer to lay down.

Two trivia points taking off from OFL...yep, I fished around for a minute or so after getting the incorrect signal until I realized it was Windows 8 not 9. Not that I counted the windows or anything, but I'd say 9 works if you do count...there are eight asterisked answers plus the one Windows ? answer.

Second, much as "90 degrees from N?" is an awesome clue for ZEE and much as I appreciate OFL's explanation, it's kinda off/cracked, right? To get the tech right, it should be "90 degrees from En?", eh? But that would be no fun at all...and 90 degrees from N goes great with David S.'s off/cracked theme...

Conrad 7:25 AM  

@jae - it's not an urban legend. About fifteen years ago I was in the room while my daughter (then early teens) was watching a quiz show on MTV. The question was, "The name of the band that Paul McCarney was in before he started Wings." The contestant got the answer right, but still someone thought the answer obscure enough that it qualified for the show.

John V 7:41 AM  

Very easy for a Thursday. Did not have Rex' issue in NW, as I thought ARC tangent was pretty obvious, so ROWDYDOW had to be ADO. Only pause was 6D, which was cool. 35A proves beyond a doubt that there is no breakfast test, is what I'm saying. Nice indirection for 20A. Claret is making a comeback? Ugh.

Good puz, David.

The Bard 7:44 AM  

Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene II

JULIET: O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Tita 8:07 AM  


Read the revealer, looked at the 1st letters of the starred answers I had so far, and saw a C,and R, and thought he was spelling out CRAP diagonally...
(You might discern that I am not a fan of WINDOWS8 - I have a strong bias against products whose design forgets what the product is there to do. It's not all about YOU, Microsoft! There - rant over.)

I love to make, and eat, cream PUFFs. That's why my REAREND is no longer BUFF.

Also liked ZEE and OPENSOURCE.
Wondered if @Anoa Bob would GO__APE over the Plural of Convenience that requires an Aggreement of Convenience = IDEES fixeS.

Clever puzzle, Mr. Steinberg. Thanks.

Susan McConnell 8:29 AM  

Did, but did not really enjoy. Just not crazy about the theme, and Across Lite left the reveal as WINDOWS E/EAM, which is just weird. Like TICKETTORIDE, which, along with Paperback Writer are my favorite Beatles tunes. I did also like the F cluster in the right center.

Joe The Juggler 8:33 AM  

Yeah, I don't care for the N and ZEE one either. If you rotate N you get Z. Arguably if you rotate an EN you could get a ZEE.

joho 8:40 AM  

@Rex, one of your best write-ups ever! And you nailed the problems in the NW which is where I DNF due to the fact I wouldn't let go of dAyTRIP. Maybe with TICKETTORIDE already in the puzzle I was thinking dAyTRIPper! Let's all sing Beatle's song with Andrea!

Remember, if you're MUSCLY you must never be PASTY!

I continue to be amazed by David Steinberg.

Glimmerglass 8:43 AM  

Very similar experience to Rex, retired_chemist, and chefwen. Just goes to show how one can correctly (sometimes almost correctly) finish a puzzle with big gaps in knowledge. I got it all right, even though I'd never heard of ERGOYAN, SKEE, GIGOT (I get only the puzzle from the NYT), or LOCHS. Never understood ZEE until I came here (great Saturday clue!). Good puzzle, great write-up.

dk 8:43 AM  

Bravo for David knowing that CRACKEDICE is the actual ingredient for a daiquiri, now if he would loose the frozen part all would be well. See any craft cocktail book for details.

No idea who the LOCHS are but got them in the crosses.

Curmudgeon alert! Agree with the screed on the number 8. As a Mac user I say let them eat cake. Although Apples method of addressing problems with Java has derailed my behavior modeling software. It is sad that as a user I have to pay for a contractor to fix a problem caused by others… like the bank bailouts. MUTTER! MUTTER!

������ (3 Stars) I penned in 1D, 20D & 56D right out of the gate - the benefits of a "liberal arts" education.

Note: Brother has an opening this Saturday at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hopkins MN from 6-8. Be there or be DIM.

oldbizmark 8:56 AM  

CRACKED! Another answer like that, Mr. Steinberg, and you will get CRACKED. Otherwise, a fun, challenging puzzle, although I don't get the theme, really.

Gareth Bain 9:05 AM  

@jae: I'm way more familiar with pre-Sgt. Pepper than post. But then my parents stop listening to the Beatles after they "went weird"... So I grew up with a pile of Beatles 7 Singles, the Revolver LP and the 1962-1966 anthology.

I was fortunate to see "Bad Teacher" at home, so I could bail 10 minutes in after realising what an abomination of a movie it was...

CBCD 9:09 AM  

Hall of fame - well, that doesn't work.
Let's try this - Oval of Fame - that must be it!

Z 9:21 AM  

Ford Motor Company worked its way to the top in vehicle quality. Then they rolled out a new on-board computer system that they developed with Microsoft. Their vehicles immediately went from the top to the bottom in quality based solely on problems caused by said software. As a good citizen of our society, Apple is no better than Microsoft. As designers of products that work for people - it's like comparing IUDs to the rhythm method.

MFT 9:21 AM  

thanks for sharing ur information....

Madras Institute of Fashion Technology (MFT) is an educational Institute which was established in the year 2000 in chennai and registered under the Government of Tamil Nadu. The institute has established tie-ups with number of Universities, Research institutions and Garment industries

mftindia

Bob Kerfuffle 10:16 AM  

The NW was my undoing today, though apparently not the same way as for others.

I started with what loren muse smith named a "faux hold", with 18 D, "Virginia ____" as REEL (is that an old age thing?) and 24 A, "Border" as EDGE, a rock solid but wrong crossing which held me up even as I worked the remainder of the puzz. Eventually CARTRIPS and CUSP worked their way into my grid, but I will blame the double "Virginia ____" clue (5 D and 18 D) for my failure to double check and never notice that I finished with nonsense at 18 D (TECL) and 28 A (LOCLS)!

Good puzzle overall (even if not quite what I hope for on Thursday.)

jberg 10:18 AM  

DNF, just couldn't think of ODOR/TWO-D. And I was so proud of myself for getting all those proper names I didn't know, but in the end, no luck. I did love the PUFF BUFF area! And I vaguel remember LALO, which made me doubt nOaHS at 28A until I finally realized that I've often eaten at LOCH Fyne Fish when in the UK.

Tomorrow is another day.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Not being a Microsoft groupie (and not noticing the count of starred clues), plus living in Atlanta where rush hour is from 6:00 am til 10:00 am, made the revealer square a crap shoot...

Bob Kerfuffle 10:43 AM  

Hey, just a reminder:

Lollapuzzoola 6 will be on Saturday, August 10, 2013 in New York City.

Read all about it and sign up at this site.

Masked and Anonymo7Us 10:45 AM  

Yes, Virginia... Nice U-count, kiddo.

Middle area was toughest, at my house. NW went in about as fast as I could write. For some reason, I thought it was Bay of Bundy. Been watchin too many sitcoms.

Also, been usin too many Apple gizmos, to know what Windows most of the world is on. Rush hour for me is around 10-11 am, so I tried "X"AM and Windows X. So, needed two extra windows. Suggestions abounded...

TEENSY windows.
OTTO windows. (spelling?)
DRY windows.
LOCH-ed windows.
TWO-D windows.
ARC-ed windows.
BUFF-ed windows.
PASTY windows.
TECH-y windows.
ROLO-up windows.
This concludes my OWED to windows.

RE-GRIP? GRIPES.

Two Ponies 10:47 AM  

DNF and frankly Scarlet I don't give a damn.

M'n'E again 10:48 AM  

p.s.
Oh-PUN windows
M&A

chefbea 11:09 AM  

Tough puzzle. I know nothing about windows in the computer sense. I have a mac. Luckily I had a doctors appointment this morning so the puzzle kepts me busy while waiting. But DNF

Paul Keller 11:17 AM  

Great puzzle.

Like others, I got bogged down in the NW after penciling in DAYTRIPS. Ended up with a few dumb mistakes: KOA for LOA, SEA for LEA and 7AM for 8AM (I miscounted the theme answers!)

I take issue with Rex's comments re the clue for ARC not calling for a "?". If you think ARC "literally" starts TANGENT, you've lived with a trite cluing convension for way too long.

Alex Vratsanos 11:51 AM  

Ah, June 13... I knew I was going to see a great puzzle today.

June 13, 2010 was Francis Heaney's "Flag Day" Sunday, which Jim Horne named his puzzle of the year for 2010... June 13, 2011 was not only my high school graduation day, but the day I made my NYT debut... and June 13, 2012 was Susan Gelfand's "Playing with Fire" Wednesday, which I liked very, very much. And now we have June 13, 2013, David Steinberg's "Windows 8" Thursday.

Not only is it quite a feat to get nine theme entries into a 15x, but the fill is really strong, too. I also loved seeing the "8" there, as I think throwing a number in there adds a little zing to the puzzle and is more elegant than spelling it out. Overall, amazing work, David... I tip my hat to you.

r.alphbunker 12:01 PM  

Great puzzle.

Got the {90 degrees from N} answer right aware because BEQ had a theme like that a while ago. airTRIPS for CARTRIPS tripped me up in the NW. Once that was in place all the downs came.

Notsofast 12:03 PM  

Some of the theme fill was weird to me. Tenuous. CAR? OVAL? But overall, an enjoyable Thursday.

John V 12:20 PM  

@alex re: June 13. Add to the list that Mary and I were married on this date, 1970, 43 years today. She has endured my puzzling lo the many years :)

Sandy K 12:21 PM  

Had nothing but SNOOKI and REAR END for a long time so I knew I was IN FOR a TEENSY bit of a challenge.

When I finally CRACKED the theme, IDEES started to POP UP- altho I had never heard of EGOYAN, SKEE-LO, guessed on those LOCHS, and came here to find out why ZEE?

Tho I'm not a fan of WINDOWS 8, I was a fan of this puzzle- loved the tricky inclusion of the 8, any Beatles song is music to my EARs- very clever clues and construction!

PS- I thought 68A might be Natick- Nah!

Masked and Anonymous's Last Silver Bullet 12:22 PM  

p.p.s.s.
ZEE windows. (French. In Paris, they oh-PUN ZEE windows. Accent on zee -dows.)

Before y'all slam the window shut in my face...

fave fillins: DEJAVU, IROBOT, OCCULT, CUSP, PUFF-BUFF, MUTTER.

fave clue: The one where you had to sing through a song lyric backwards, to get TICKETTORIDE. Luv those.

fave weejects: zee IUD and zee DCI.

Good ThursPuz.

evil doug 12:26 PM  

Andrea: Hope you found somebody to sing harmony with you on "If I Fell". One of my five favorite Beatle-boy tunes---the way John and Paul work up and down the scale against each other, occasionally crossing at a note. Those early songs---before all the electronic tricks that kind of trivialize their true genius---are still the best.

No surprise that you liberal pussies don't know Paul Gigot. He's brilliant, and he doesn't have to raise his voice to be heard and appreciated. Best thing about the current NSA commotion is the odd bedfellows that are lining up with each other. There're no party lines on this one. Obviously, they'll have to dispatch a drone to terminate that publicity-seeking traitor, Snowden. Goodbye, Eddie, you arrogant punk....

I spent a couple weeks on an exchange with the RAF in Lyneham, England. Pub crawls, skittles, Guinness---and, oh yes, a little (illegally close---don't tell USAF) fingertip formation flying over Loch Ness in our C-130's....

My rush hour apparently starts at Windows 7.

Snooki over 'rear end' and next to 'buff'? Maybe there should be a breakfast test....

Evil

AndYetAnotherDietLady 12:29 PM  

I had to work this puzzle in 10 minute increments throughout the day in between visiting different sites in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. I thought the puzzle was a solid Thursday puzzle. Even though I am a Mac user, I handily knew WINDOWS8 right away. On the other hand, I had a hard time connecting that to the *ed clues. My favorite clue was for ZEE. That got a smile from me when I realized what the answer was. I finished without having to google anything. Although I had my fingers crossed after I entered the E for EGOYAN and pressed the check puzzle button. That was a total lucky guess for me!

Alex V 12:42 PM  

@John V: Happy anniversary!

retired_chemist 1:02 PM  

@ chefwen - better the screen than the keyboard. They are, in Sartre's equivalency, "other people" to clean
that sort of stuff off of.

Joe The Juggler 1:05 PM  

In one of his books, Sam Levenson recounts how his mother used to butcher jokes the kids told her, but in one case came up with an equally good one.

Original version: Want to hear a dirty joke about a window? Never mind, you couldn't see through it anyway.

Sam's Mom's version: Want to hear a joke about a window you couldn't see through? Never mind, it's too dirty to tell.

Sorry if that was paneful.

Sheila Ryan 1:29 PM  

I'm nowhere near to being a puzzle fiend. For the most part, I limit myself to a daily stab at the NYT crossword, and this is my first time here. It's been fun reading comments.

My approach is generally to whip through on a first pass and scribble in the indisputables--answers I don't need to think about. It's interesting that EGOYAN was the first of these, as I gather it wasn't a given for many. And I was 99.4% certain about SNOOKI, though I'm pretty dim when it comes to recent or current TV references.

BAY OF FUNDY came readily, too--as did WINDOWS8. But it took me a good while to apply "windows" to a number of the starred clues. In fact, I gave up on some. Even after I had TOASTER, POPUP did not come to mind.

And although I instantly sussed the references to Bushes, OVALOFFICE eluded me for ages, mainly because I was determined to read OFF as "of _____" and fixated on the possibility of the answer being "Something of Fire". (Burning Bushes?)

Anyway, I enjoyed the post and comments. They offer me a window into approaches to puzzles.

Thankfully, I know of WINDOWS8 only from negative reviews, as I made the switch to a Mac five years ago.

John V 1:34 PM  

Welcome, Sheila Ryan! Don't be a stranger.

chefbea 1:40 PM  

@John V Happy anniversary

@Shiela Ryan welcome

Sheila Ryan 1:53 PM  

Thank you, John (and chefbea). I'll stop in again.

Thoracic 2:01 PM  

I'm Canadian so EGOYAN and BAYOFFUNDY were easy. I grew up about 30 kilometres from those impressive tides. So this should have been really easy for me. It kicked my REAREND! I don't think the theme answered were cohesive at all, and just randomly tossing in a single number amongst all those letters strikes me as not really kosher. I kept saying to myself " don't be an idiot, you can't just plunk one number in there". I'm done talking to myself. I give bad advice.

Bird 2:01 PM  

Wow. Too much WOE cluing for me. DNF with blanks in the upper west side. I was trying to come with a person at 15A. 18D was ANNA (for the plant). Didn’t know they were called POP-UP TOASTERS. I thought they were just TOASTERS or TOASTER ovens. Then there are two LOCHS most people have probably never heard of crossing a French composer I never heard of. And I don’t like the inconsistency of the theme (types of windows or conditions of windows). I do like the number 8 in the grid.

My daiquiris have crushed ice.

Hope tomorrow is better.

@John V - Happy Anniversary!

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

The Army taught me to cross the letter Z to distinguish it from the numeral 2. Rotating N 90 degrees doesn't produce Z for me.

David Steinberg 3:35 PM  

Thanks for the write-up, Rex, and for the comments, everyone! I'm glad many of you enjoyed the puzzle. @Alex V.: Interesting coincidence about the June 13 puzzles—we'll see what 2014 brings!

Gill I. P. 3:48 PM  

@Anonymous 2:39 I too cross my Z's as well as my 7's...
A lot of things I just didn't get. Still don't know what EES are for certain MIT grads. EGOYAN GIGOT SNOOKI SKEE and TWOD all a mystery to me. Did lots of PUFFing and finally called it quits which I rarely do.
Nice to see so many newbies - I hope you keep coming here.@John V Happy AD......

Sandy K 4:04 PM  

@Gill I.P- I believe EES are Electrical Engineers.

@John V- Happy Anniversary!

JenCT 4:12 PM  

@loren: I have a "meet & greet" with Justice tomorrow; pictures will be coming!

@Tita: LOL your entire post.

I actually own an ice cracker - good for those times when crushed ice isn't available; also, some prefer small shards of ice in their drinks "on the rocks."

Puzzle too tough for me today.

mac 4:18 PM  

Tough one for me. After reading all the comments I still don't get Like Linux, open source. Sounds Ewwww.

It was a goood puzzle, but too many unknowns to complete.

Safe travels, Andrea. BTW, Axe is a global brand, and very successful under that name except for in England, where they chose to call it Lynx. I've heard before that hard sounds like Ks and Xs (Spanx?) make more impact.

mac 4:19 PM  

Congratulations, @John V and Mary!

Lewis 4:20 PM  

Like a couple of sentences with connected words:

ONCE SKEE GOES APE, SARTRE GRIPES.
I SIN FOR PUFF BUFF REAR END.

David is definitely talented, and gets better with age...

Mr. Benson 4:35 PM  

The challenge today was definitely in the cluing. When I see that, my guess is that the initial draft of the puzzle came out too easy and the clues were intentionally toughened up. Also, I'd just like to say that Windows 8 is awful and doesn't need to be celebrated in a crossword theme; Windows 7 was pretty good, though.

Gill I. P. 4:50 PM  

@Sandy K. Gracias. I should have figured that one out. If you can, Email me (or, as I tell @Ellen S - eel me) because I'm curious if you've read two books I just finished which impressed the "stuhlgang" out of me.

sanfranman59 5:02 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)

Thu 18:07, 17:11, 1.05, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 11:58, 9:49, 1.22, 82%, Challenging

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Carola 6:36 PM  

Found it on the tough side. First pass got me only OLE, IUD, LALO and SARTRE. So lots of skipping around and square by square chipping away. After REAR END, I looked at the reveal clue and that helped a lot with the other WINDOWS. Ditto on the NW being the last to be CRACKED.

On SNOOKI - Besides her sharing the grid with SARTRE, I also smiled at the incongruous cross with LOREN.

@Gill I.P. - I didn't see that anyone responded about TWOD - for "two-dimensional." Those "D's" get me every time.

Z 7:04 PM  

@Ellen S - A new use for eels

LaneB 7:11 PM  

A number of answers I had no clue about and had to resort to Google either ab initio or to check on answers and avoid possible erasures. But in the end I finally finished whilst sitting with the dogs at the Humane Society. One error" at the cross between SKEE and EES. I used EnS and had never heard of the "I Wish" rapper [or darn few other rappers either.] Never did get the theme, either, since I don't know my Windows numbers. They were all dirty windows to me.

michael 7:36 PM  

For perhaps the first time ever, my experience with and reaction to this puzzle are identical to Rex's.

Michael 7:38 PM  

Is my grammar right in the comment I just made. "Are" seems wrong somehow...

Anonymous 8:48 PM  

I can't believe nobody mentioned Shrek's bride lying next to an ogre. Thank you David.

retired_chemist 9:19 PM  

@ mac: Linux is an open source multi-platform operating system, which basically means anyone can tinker with it.

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:13, 6:12, 1.00, 52%, Medium
Tue 8:17, 8:16, 1.00, 54%, Medium
Wed 9:26, 9:47, 0.96, 44%, Medium
Thu 17:52, 17:11, 1.04, 62%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:55, 3:49, 1.03, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 4:55, 4:54, 1.00, 53%, Medium
Wed 5:36, 5:39, 0.99, 47%, Medium
Thu 11:22, 9:49, 1.16, 76%, Medium-Challenging

OISK 11:08 PM  

I really like David Steinberg's puzzles, but not this one. Egoyan? Skee-Lo? Which Windows product are they up to? Nia Long? Snooki??? Toddlers and Titans? Hersey Brand, and ESPN logo..Linux??? .Too much there for me to gripe about - ever the curmudgeon. On the other hand, Bay of Fundy was a gimmee for me.

Overall, FAR too much pop culture, and too many movie references in a single clever puzzle ruins it for me.
I did finish it though.

Anonymous 11:55 PM  

the puzzle is awful. I've always contend a kid cannot create a good puzzle.they lack the overall synaptical connections.theres no smoothness, no flow.just disjointed look-ups thrown together. this puzzle proves my point.

Anonymous 2:11 AM  

Well, I've got to say that I explained "90° from N" to myself in an entirely different way - I never thought of the rotating the En thing. My explanation: N stands for North. What's 90° from north? East? West? No, Zenith! And Z stands for Zenith.

mac 11:42 AM  

Thank you, ret_chem!

Rob Turrentine 8:57 PM  

NW corner was impossible for me but I should have thought of CAR TRIP. Similarly, I should have gotten the Windows connection; but OVAL, CAR, TICKET? Agree also about the ? on tangent. Hop o my thumb - no way!

Steve McComb 8:20 AM  

Hated this puzzle and I am a computer programmer developing in the windows environment. I agree the NW corner was impossible.

BedfordBob 12:49 PM  

It started really tough for me. I could not get any rhythm going. Finally, the SE corner filled in and I was off and running. Had one error, never heard of Lola or those Lochs. Tried K instead.

One error I think. At least in Texas, frozen Daiquiris are served slushy. Daiquiris with cracked ice are called Daiquiris on the rocks.

All in all it was a fun challenge.

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

Cracked Ice? Really. Bartended for 10 plus years and never once uttered the words "cracked ice" in reference to a any mixed drink.

DMGrandma 5:05 PM  

Too many unknown names for me! SNOOKI, SKEE, GIGOT, EGOYAN....enough! Got LALO because as far as I know there's only one four letter French composer ending in O. Stumbled through with a lot of blanks, some caused by CUrb. Correcting to CUSP when I came here fixed that and bunch of things fell into place, but not enough. I pre-date the Beatles. I was into raising kids and Farmer-in-the-dell when they were around, so any of their music is pretty unfamiliar.. As for the Windows number, just left it blank. Solving pen-on-paper gives you that option without spoiling your day. All in all, looking forward to a more fun puzzle tomorrow. I prefer word play to trivia expeditions.

Dirigonzo 6:08 PM  

My original post seems to have disappeared in the Ethernet but happily is survived in the email follow-up, so I'll reproduce it for your reading pleasure (or to be skipped, whatever...):
BAYOFFUNDY and TICKETTORIDE were gimmes - that got the grid off to a pretty good start.

TWOD and "double D" are entirely different concepts.

Finished with OES (one empty square) because Tay and Fyne, and French composer Edouard were total unknowns.

Here's a 32 second video that shows what happens twice every day in the Bay of Fundy.

And while I'm here, I'll add this:
@DMG wrote, "As for the Windows number, just left it blank. Solving pen-on-paper gives you that option without spoiling your day." Which is precisely why I continue to solve the syndicated puzzle and why I am so happy to be a resident of Syn-City - it's like living in a small town compared to city life.

(I may have antagonized Blogger - my captcha is assweene.)

Waxy in Montreal 6:22 PM  

Mixed bag. As @Thoracic said "I'm Canadian so EGOYAN and BAYOFFUNDY were easy". For other reasons, so were TICKETTORIDE, and OPENSOURCE. But GIGOT, LALO, SKEE and the entire NW region were never gonna happen.

Lots of props to young Mr. Steinberg for this effort - imagine just how cool/challenging his puzzles will be when he actually grows up!

spacecraft 7:58 PM  

Too late to the party today to have anyone actually read this, so I'll do my rant now:

IF WE ARE DESTINED TO HAVE A RAPPER AND/OR HIP-HOP ARTIST IN EVERY PUZZLE FROM NOW ON, THEN i WILL JUST STOP DOING THEM.

There. I feel better...a little. That was one hopelessly unknown, luckily it was forced by crosses. But two others produced bona-fide naticks:

-->EG_YAN/OJ_. Figure the Spanish eye had to be either OJa or OJO, Eeny-meenied the O, was right. The other guy, that world-famous director EGOYAN? Don't know how I missed hearing about HIM. Must've been living under a rock.

-->_ALO/_OCHS. Tay and Fyne looked like two people's names, so...FOCHs? KOCHs? But then I hit on the idea that the names both sounded vaguely Scottish, so I tried L. LALO, huh? Back I go under that rock. But I left it.

TWOD is another rantable. "D" is an abbreviation for "dimension." TWO is NOT (!!!) an abbreviation. If you want to shorten "two-dimension," then you write 2D. Got it? You can't pick and choose PARTS of your phrase to abbreviate just so you can fill in your grid.
IT.
MAKES.
NO.
SENSE.

CARTRIPS is green paint. If you want to take a trip in a car, it's

"Road trip!"

One lonely square gets a number? Well, the yellow hankie is already on the field. Instead of multiple penalties, I think we'll just lump them together and call it "Unsportsmanlike conduct." Fifteen yards. Or, 15 yds. See? NOT 15 yards, or fifteen yds.

I did like the middle with the SNOOKI/LOREN/REAREND cross. There's some hope there...

Dirigonzo 8:43 PM  

@Spacecraft - It's good to see you back in fine form. I do love your rants - I don't always agree but I do always love them.

Kristi 2:29 AM  

Syndication land here - I believe oval window is referring to a part of the ear, not a shape of a window. At least when you Google "oval window" most of the hits relate to anatomy rather than actual windows.

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