Songbirds in Rubaiyat / SUN 6-2-13 / Title song of 1970 Van Morrison album / Adams with 1991 hit Get Here / Harriet Beecher Stowe Pearl Island / 1929 Ethel Waters hit whose title is question / Puzzles of Black Widowers author

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Stir Crazy"— a blue/red rebus, with "BLUE" in the Acrosses and "RED" in the Downs in several squares throughout the grid. BLUE + RED = "THE COLOR PURPLE" (116A: Alice Walker novel ... or a hint to 12 squares in this puzzle).

[NOTE: if you are solving electronically, it appears you have to be consistent—all Rs/REDs or all Bs/BLUEs. As of 7:35pm Saturday night, exactly what is going on with the programming of the AcrossLite version of the puzzle is Not Clear ... it took my Bs fine, and wouldn't accept the puzzle when I changed one B to an R. But when I erased the grid and then hit "Reveal All," it gave me all Rs ... weird.]

The Purples:

  • "AM I BLUE?" / CREDO

Word of the Day: BULBULS (87D: Songbirds in "The Rubáiyát) —
Bulbuls are a familyPycnonotidae, of medium-sized passerine songbirds. Many forest species are known as greenbuls. The family is distributed across most of Africa and into the Middle East, tropical Asia to Indonesia, and north as far as Japan. A few insular species occur on the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean There are about 130 species in around 24 genera. [...] The word bulbul derives from Persianبلبل‎, bolbol, through Arabicبُلْبُل‎, meaning nightingale. In Arabic and Persian, 'bulbul' means nightingale, but in English, 'bulbul' refers to birds of a different family of passerine birds. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a very clever idea. My experience was somewhat marred by my *choice* to have the potential AcrossLite/applet solving problem revealed to me ahead of time. That is—I knew it was going to be a rebus, and I knew that only the Across answer would count [note: this was apparently at least partially erroneous information. Alas]. My time of *just* over 10 probably owes a lot to this foreknowledge. Still, I think the theme isn't that hard to pick up, and once you've got it, but puzzle isn't tough at all. The shakiest area for me was the NE, where I finished, and where I briefly wondered where my traction was going to come from. It ended up coming from "MY BLUE HEAVEN," which for some reason I didn't notice on my first pass through the clues up there, perhaps because I tend to enter new sections by looking at clues for the short stuff, and building from there. Anyway, "MY BLUE HEAVEN" was a gimme, and that put the terminal "V" in (now obvious) ASIMOV (16D: "Puzzles of the Black Widowers" author), and that took care of that section, even though I don't know a GUSSET from a hole in the ground. In fact, I might've thought a GUSSET *was* a hole in the ground before this puzzle (21A: Tailored sleeve detail).

There is one unsurprising and probably inevitable inconsistency in the puzzle, which is that *all* BLUE answers have BLUE as a self-standing word/color, whereas only *some* of the RED answers can claim that. "RED" is just so much easier to hide inside other stuff. In fact, I'm not sure BLUE is hideable at all. I liked that the  rebus squares were scattered all over the place. Never sure where the next one was gonna turn up (though they do appear pretty consistently in the long Acrosses ... and yet not in "MOONDANCE," but in the much shorter underneath it, [BLUE]BOOK).

TISANE is not a word I can ever really get my head around (99D: Herbal brew). There's nothing to hang on to. I don't get the etymology. I never ever ever hear it in the wild. So ... yeah, minor trouble there. And then, for no good reason, *real* trouble seeing NOBLE (74D: Magnanimous) and SOUTH (80D: Go ___ (deteriorate)). Thought first was a phrase starting with NO and second was a phrase starting with TO (even though I had SCENARIOS (77A: Imagined series of events) and thus the correct "SO-" at the start. Go TO POT—I think that's what I wanted. Otherwise, not many problems. Thought OLETA was ALETA (that's Prince Valiant's wife). Again, I always think "Fuggedaboutit!" means "No problem!", so NO CAN DO didn't come quickly (56D).

Lastly, ORRS is terrible fill (29A: Harriet Beecher Stowe's "The Pearl of ___ Island"), but there's very little junk otherwise, especially for how demanding the theme is. So ... hurray.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:15 AM  

    Easy-medium for me too.  Caught the rebus early and just kept going.  Only problems were in NE where like Rex  GUSSET was a WOE and the ASIMOV book was unfamiliar, and the SW where I was guessing at ARENDT, PETIT, and TISANE.  Could be a problem area?

    With SAM COOKE at 1a I thought R & B might be music related.  Nope, Oprah Winfrey movie.

    Anyone else try Tmen for FEDS.

    Smooth grid with some zippy stuff.  Breezy Sun. Liked it!

    JFC 12:22 AM  

    This really is a puzzle that is not very good but Ms. Gorski is held in such high esteem that the experts will praise it. It's dumb and it's boring. It's also a great disappointmdent coming from someone who Rex says is a genius. I no longer believe her on pangrams.


    Anonymous 12:26 AM  

    Fancy special effects over on xwordinfo.

    Anonymous 12:27 AM  

    Here it is with a working link I hope.

    Oscar Mayer 12:43 AM  

    The Acrosslite file is weird. The only letter it accepts in the wacko squares is B but if you reveal any of those squares it shows an R. How the hell are we supposed to figure that out?

    Noam D. Elkies 12:48 AM  

    Looks like the only word with hidden BLUE is A[BLUE]NT, uncommon but perhaps inferable from "ablution". There's a Harvard professor named Robert Lue, so RO[BLUE] would work for a campus publication, but not in the NYTimes.

    As for TISANE, says: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin ptisana, from Greek ptisanē, literally, crushed barley, from ptissein to crush — more at PESTLE. Yum, barley ptea.


    okanaganer 12:52 AM  

    Knew it was a rebus from the 116A clue "..hint to 12 squares.." (and found most of said squares) yet I didn't get the actual answer THE COLOR PURPLE until much later...weird. I typed "BLUE" into all said squares, but at the end Across Lite rejected those and insisted they should all be "R". Also odd.

    12D: "Just so" filled itself in entirely from crosses, and I stared at it for ages wondering what the heck TOAT meant. Thought it might be some new slang, like a corruption of TOTALLY. Then the parse finally clicked in...

    wa 1:07 AM  

    For me it was easy-stupid. I initially thought it was a play on the opposite color and when you got them mixed up it made purple.

    Otherwise tisane and bulbuls were words that just appeared for which I will try to work them into a conversation today.

    chefwen 1:15 AM  

    Got the theme right away with TALKED A (BLUE) STREAK. The Red part took a lot longer to show.

    My co-workers would pay me to bake each employee a cake for their birthdays. One year they asked me what I was going to make my least favorite salesman for his birthday, (he was a pompous ass) I replied "An OLEANDER salad". They all agreed that was a great idea. Didn't want to spend the rest of my life in jail so I made him a cheesecake. Major cop out.

    As this was an Elizabeth Gorski puzzle I felt compelled to draw on it, so I did. Do you know what I got connecting the B/R squares left to right? Absolutely nothing, but it was fun trying. One can dream.

    Had a great time, thanks Elizabeth.

    Anonymous 2:08 AM  

    In the NYT Crosswords iPad app, it wouldn't accept all B's in the special squares, but entering "BLUE" as a rebus answer in all of them worked.

    I actually like these double-rebuses, but figuring out the proper way to enter the correct answer such that the computer will recognize it is often the hardest part.

    r.alphbunker 2:11 AM  

    Got the rebus at DRESS[BLUE]S/SH[RED]S. It was fun wondering what it had to do with Stir/Crazy and the revealer was perfectly placed.

    Does stir/crazy have anything to do with the novel or is it just about stirring paint?

    Mike 3:12 AM  

    I had [RED]BARON but couldn't make sense of the across until I got the revealer

    Anonymous 3:42 AM  

    If anyone's read any Agatha Christie's Poirot stories,
    he's often drinking his "tisane" (some kind of
    herbal tea). FYI :)

    Anonymous 4:11 AM  

    Tisane is a French word for herbal tea.

    Davis 5:30 AM  

    I fell into a tea nerd community some years ago, and TISANE was a common word there. When you're a tea nerd it's important not to use the term "tea" to refer to something that has no tea tree leaves in it, hence "herbal tea" was verboten.

    Outside of that tiny community, I don't think I've encountered the term very often.

    On an unrelated note, is it just me, or has ELHI been coming up a lot lately?

    Ted C. 5:36 AM  

    Arby's ?

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:08 AM  

    For those whose curiosity may have been piqued by 43 A, but who have not yet made those few extra clicks, here's a bit more info from

    What is the absolute last word in any dictionary?

    Zyxt is listed as the last word in the online Oxford English Dictionary, an obsolete Kentish word that is the second singular indicative present form of the verb see. The next-to-last is zyxst, an obsolete word meaning 'sixth'. Several online dictionaries list the word zyzzyva, a tropical American weevil, as the last word in the letter Z.

    Anonymous 6:20 AM  

    Absolutely infuriating on iPhone. Tried "purple" as the rebus because that's what 116a suggests it should be. Deleted all of them and tried letter B. deleted them all again and tried "blue", which worked . A tedious waste of time.

    I resent finding out I had solved the puzzle but the software was refusing to accept it because Will, or his minions, couldn't be bothered to think through how their tricksy answers would be entered by the on-line solvers whose subscriptions pay their wages. It's not the first time either. Why couldn't "red", "blue", "purple", B or R all have been accepted? They're all right(ish)?

    CBCD 7:26 AM  

    Proust dipped his madeleine in a cup of tisane, and thereby hangs a tail.

    loren muse smith 7:37 AM  

    Rex- I was wanting “to pot” for SOUTH, too, and, yeah, “fuggedaboutit” for me feels more like “no problem,” too.

    Saw half of the rebus almost immediately with CORED. And I was certain the reveal would be “Red Square.” It wasn’t until I got FAVORED and muttered to myself that I always distributed BLUE BOOKS ( I was writing RED everywhere) that I had my aha moment.

    I enjoyed this one. The LORELEIs and the BULBULS singing their SOLOS with LYRICs about LOST LOVE. The law enforcers with FEDS, GUMSHOE, and TEC making everyone feel GILTy. And the menagerie of the PITBULL, HEIFER, OSTRICH, BULBULS, STOAT, STEER, BOA, and the TOAT (it’s a young STOAT, @okanaganer) NEARBY.

    @Davis – it’s been in the grid six times this year: April 22, May 16, May 21, May 30, yesterday, and today.

    @r.alphbunker – I took it to mean that you stir those rebus squares to get PURPLE.

    @Bob Kerfuffle – thanks for the info on those words! I’m addicted to this free app – “Seven Little Words” and a couple of days ago I had to come up with “syzygy.” Seriously?

    Anyone notice the homophones AMIN and A MEAN?

    GUSSET, mysteriously, came very readily. It feels round and metal to me, though. Maybe I’m thinking of “girder.” Or ”rivet.” I GUSSET doesn’t really matter. That whole UM-fest with BUMSTEER, UMPIRE, and GUM SHOE was pretty.

    I actually had a dnf because I had “Olett” crossing “tsk” at the top. Shoot. I struggled with lots of other people I didn’t know, but aside from the above, I was able to suss out ARENDT, RAU, AALTO, DORMA, MOEN, and ORRS.

    Speaking of country songs and LOST LOVE (and because it's a dreary, rainy Sunday, and I don't want to clean house)– here are some actual song titles. . .
    She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger
    If I Can’t Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
    If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I’d Be Out By Now
    You’re the Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly
    Her Teeth were Stained, but her Heart was Pure
    How Come Your Dog Don’t Bite Nobody But Me?
    Mama Get The Hammer (There’s A Fly On Papa’s Head)
    She Made Toothpicks Out Of The Timber Of My Heart
    Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well
    Gave Her My Heart And a Diamond And She Clubbed Me With a Spade
    I Don’t Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling
    I Still Miss You Baby, But My Aim’s Gettin’ Better
    C’mon Down off the Stove, Granny, You’re Too Old to Ride the Range
    Don’t Run Through The Screen Door Honey You’ll Only Strain Yourself
    From The Indies To The Andes In His Undies
    Since You Bought The Waterbed We’ve Slowly Drifted Apart

    Susan McConnell 7:45 AM  

    I got it at TALKEDABSTREAK/ERB, but didn't get the PURPLE connection until the end. The title didnt help me any. I appreciate the complexity of this from a constructors point of view, but as a solver it fell a little flat. The fill was fast and easy. Ms Gorski is a victim of her own success...I see her name and my expectations for a super fun puzzle go waaaay up. This one didnt do it for me. Next time!

    chefbea 7:51 AM  

    What a great puzzle!!! Started last night and got the theme right away. Then finished this morning. Easy doing it with pen and paper...just used a purple pencil to color the 12 squares.

    And I'm not embarrassed to say that I loved 86 down!!!

    Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

    @lorenmusesmith. How about "She Got the Elevator and I Got the Shaft"? or "Throw another Log on the Fire and Come and Tell me Why You're Leaving Me"? Fuggedaboutit means "no way—don't even think about it" to me. Very easy puzzle. The gimmick wasn't clever enough to interest me.

    baja 7:57 AM  

    One eyed one horned flying red/blue puzzle eater. Loved it!

    Milford 8:10 AM  

    Easyish Sunday, but ultimately DNFed because of two crosses, the RAU/ BULBULS and the ERTÉ/STOAT. But I got the BLUE part of the rebus almost immediately, got the RED part with the Snoopy clue, and knew our rebus was THE COLOR PURPLE. My favorite color, so that's nice.

    Still remember the anxiety of being handed a BLUE BOOK at a final.

    Also from college, I spent my junior year "studying" in ESPAÑA, and had a older professor for Spanish Film that would tell us stories of parties/semi-orgies he went to back in the day with Dalí, Buñuel, Picasso. I wish my spanish had been better.

    @Davis, yes (as@loren showed), it's been a lot, and it's annoying since it feels utterly made up.

    Thoracic 8:27 AM  

    Got the theme with Snoopy, but doubted myself later thinking it was DRESSWHITES, not blues. Once I restored my faith in purple I progressed along fairly well. DNF with RAU/BULBULS which was the natick-iest for me. I liked the puzzle over all, but I agree that this sudden popularity of ELHI, a made up word if I ever heard one, is annoying. On a side note, I offer this advice to all part time athletes out there. If you are old and out of shape, do not sign up to play 4 games of hockey in less than 24 hours in an all ages tournament. By Sunday morning you will deeply regret it!

    jberg 8:28 AM  

    I'd like ELHI if it was clued as "schools for eels."

    Aside from that, very nice theme, with some mnundane fill -- although one person's crosswordese (ERTE) is another one's Natick, I guess. I'd also have liked it better if there's been another turn-of-the-millenium clue for the one we're in now, just for completeness.

    Always some luck involved -- I know of ORRS Island only from the exit signs on the Maine Turnpike, but some how that was enough to get it from the O_R_.

    Finally, you folks with the electronic problems should try writing all those letters in one tiny square in the magazine! Makes it really hard to tell what you've done.

    I think it's a beach day, but not all the way to Maine this time, just Cranes.

    Anonymous 8:38 AM  

    Wouldn't the Across Lite rebus entry dilemma be best solved with "Purple" being the only correct answer? This makes most sense to me as the square is a mix of across/down|blue/red. Also, if 116A didn't give the rebus away, all the better.

    joho 9:09 AM  

    Perhaps because I'm a painter and love mixing colors this concept tickled me.

    Plus a two word rebus instead of the normal one ... leave it to Liz!

    Today the grid is her canvas and her words are the paint proving once again that Elizabeth Gorksi is a true artist.

    Oh, and I didn't jump down to the reveal so when I finally got there I loved that "Stir Crazy" finally made sense!

    Carole Shmurak 9:14 AM  

    @lorenmusesmith. You're thinking of ' grommet' when you are thinking of round metal things for 'gusset.'

    Brett Chappell 9:22 AM  

    The French world for herbal tea is "tisane" - ça aide à la digestion. Still, the app I used on the iPad from Magmic is rather irritating as I wasted a good ten minutes retyping first purple, then p, then r then finally blue in all the rebus fields to achieve success. And Moondance is a better song than Blue Moon.

    Z 9:26 AM  

    Geez Louise @LMS - 7:00 am on a Sunday and you're thinking about chores - it's a good thing you have us or I'd worry about you. Now you should waste the rest of Sunday posting links to videos of all those songs.

    DRESS whiteS is where I got the basic idea, so I thought it was going to be all reds going down and a melange of colors going across for awhile. Three BLUEs later I tossed aside that notion.

    I don't get how "Hardly fancy?" Leads to HATE. Anyone care to explain? TISANE, AALTO, OLETA, and ARENDT all gave me problems. TISANE and ARENDT were especially hard since PETIT is French and law terms are all Latin in my head.

    joho 9:28 AM  

    Hi, @Z! When you fancy someone you really, really like them.

    Z 9:28 AM  

    Duh - got it now.

    Carola 10:03 AM  

    @Susan McConnell - Your take on the puzzle matches mineTO A T.

    DNF - Had RAo and BoB crossing BolBolS.

    @loren - Those titles really made me laugh - thanks.

    Anonymous 10:07 AM  

    I knew the word "tisane" from watching Poirot episodes starring David Suchet. Poirot enjoys his tisane.

    David 10:09 AM  

    ELHI must be solving a lot of crossword construction problems. I'm imagining puzzles waiting years for the right word to finish a knotty corner.

    I believe YMHA is an obsolete term. They're all called Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) now, as far as I know.

    I knew of Asimov's Tales of the Black Widowers and More Tales of the Black Widowers, but I didn't know there were six collections in all. Yea! Found my summer reading!


    Tita 10:25 AM  

    Sadly, OFL is right - TISANEs are barely known here, and when found, are not really TISANEs but some implausible fruity concoction.
    In much of Europe they are common., My favorites are made with Linden leaves or verbena. They are soothing and delicate. I load up my suitcases with them whenever I return.

    Shout out to my friend Louise at 75Am Fluffy neckwear - she makes Neck Fluffs over on Etsy...! I never thought about it, but I suppose they are mini BOAs.

    @chefwen - ha ha - some might say that "pompous ass" and "salesman" in the same sentence is redundant...

    @bobK - thx for hte last words!
    @lms - thx for the titles... 8-O

    Early on in the solve, I picked up my tablet, accidentally changing focus to the Snoopy clue. (psychipop from yesterday's Snoopy dance I did), and got the theme at REDBARON. Though I thought it would be all the colors, so didn't totally get it till the revealer.

    Also loved the clues for HATE, and for UMPIRE.

    Another psycipop at the title we had STIR as jail explained to us last week as the derivation of STIR crazy.

    @Liz - great fun. The double-rebus reminds me of the Water/HOO one a ways back.

    Masked and AnonymoUs 10:49 AM  

    Good list.
    Hear also:
    * She's Got You (by Patsy)
    * That Ain't My Truck
    * Bad Dog No Biscuit
    * Mama Hated Diesels So Bad
    * The Gold, the Gun, and the Girl
    * There's a Tear in My Beer
    * I Got a Hole in My Pocket (might be an answer song to I Got a Rocket in My Pocket. Opinions here vary.)
    * All My Exs Live in Texas a couple million more.

    While I'm here digressin...
    Good puz. Title "Stir Crazy" didn't ever register at the front office, for me, tho. Some of them rebi work kinda cool in reverse: SOMETHING RED/BIG BLUE.

    Anybody know a good crossword clue for 38673? Was that one of the Beagle Boys?

    jackj 11:03 AM  

    This was a bit of a strange puzzle for me since I wanted it to be another Gorski triumph but the solve seemed rather humdrum, with very few struggles and what seemed endless theme squares, red and blue, red and blue, red and blue and then reaching the reveal towards the end and realizing it had no influence at all in solving the puzzle, only being the constructor’s clever equivalence of a period at the end of the sentence.

    One plus for the puzzle though, when looking at the “Freshness Factor” summary in XWordInfo after finishing, it includes the color as part of the answer so that one “reads” BIGRED, TALKEDABLUESTREAK, REDBARON and BLUEINTHEFACE, for example, and “reading” them, rather than just “thinking” them (as done when solving), is an exercise in trompe l’oeil that nicely elevates the effect of the themed color square entries of the puzzle.

    (That being noted, there still was not one color swatch combo that posed any difficulty when filling the grid).

    Thankfully, some of the fill was a cut above, (especially bearing in mind that having so many theme entries often causes some strained answers), and things like “Go______(deteriorate)” for SOUTH, GUMSHOE and GUSSET, BUMSTEER, NOCANDO (though it was an answer not quite as good as it’s clue, “Fuggedaboutit”) and the cutesy clue that looked for the de rigueur country theme of LOSTLOVE, were all top notch.

    But, there were also answers that were tainted by the PURPLE haze of necessity and not just the ORRS, AALTO, DORMA type entries, but things like HISOR, THAR, ONIN, ELHI, APEA, APOS, ETS and, yes, RAU and RYE, with BULBULS earning the day’s booby prize.

    For those “Born to the PURPLE”, this will be a tribute puzzle; for some of us not so fortunate, it’s just another Sunday crossword.

    Newbie 11:18 AM  

    DNF, as I had "Pared" apples, instead of "Cored." That gave me PMs for Ruler divisions (which seemed plausible if you are thinking of other kinds of Rulers), and Last Love for Lost Love. Enjoyed the puzzle, tho.

    Jeremy Mercer 11:26 AM  

    Am I the only Canadian who lost 15 minutes because they refused to believe there could be another hit musician ADAMS other than BRYAN?

    @Milford - I got stuck with RAE/BELBULS. Normally I'd quibble, but the rebus was so good you I can forgive a bad Natick ...

    Oh, and here in Marseille, you hear TISANE about 20 times a week ...

    Anonymous 11:29 AM  

    I'm always interested to see that the parts of the puzzle that challenge Rex are easy for me, yet I struggle in areas that he doesn't mention. Today my issues were with unknown authors crossing with obscure terms: Arendt/petit and Rau/bulbuls

    I also wante Bryan Adams

    John V 11:32 AM  

    Just popping in to say that I really liked this one a lot. Easy, for sure, but loved the theme. I dead perfect Sunday, in my book. Thanks, Ms. Gorski, and congratulations on number 202 and counting!

    okanaganer 11:37 AM  

    Me2 for good ol' Bryan Adams, mainly because the year sounded about right.

    I think ELHI has been in about 75% of the puzzles lately. Also, these "plurals" are getting just stupid. The plural of cm is cm, not cms! Can we have a moratorium on idiotic (and often simply incorrect) plurals?

    ksquare 11:45 AM  

    ERTE is not the name but the French initials of Roman de Tirtoff,(1892-1990) a noted artist and designer in the twentieth century.

    Georges Prosper Remi 11:53 AM  

    Just as I am known by the pen name Hergé, Roman de Tirtoff is known as ERTE. There is a difference between initials and a pseudonym. (Mine just sounded better with the initials reversed.)

    mac 12:32 PM  

    Easy/medium for me too, and a very good puzzle. I guess it was a lot more fun on paper, as Sundays often are.

    The SW was the last area for me, mainly because I had shored, and rangel for the pilot, but I figured it out.

    I like tisanes, favorite one is Sleepy Time, but verbena and lemon-ginger are good too.

    We had an electrician for a while who used the term "going South" but he thought it meant "to be stolen". When things were going ok (this was an old, dilapidated house that needed a lot of work) he would say "where gaining on it".

    Tita 1:07 PM  

    Doh...I just got the last one...
    Something Blue...
    I had NOBLy, which gave me __MyTHINGs...

    Figured Secratariat was BIG s - seems like a much better nickname...

    Finally DNF'd with SOMETHINGs, which made no sense.

    My app tells we that I have an S where a B belongs, but not where, so was a second puzzle figuring out what was wrong.

    Curses, Purple BARON!!

    Anonymous 1:26 PM  

    As an olde guy who prints out the puzzle to solve, I was dismayed at the printing format.

    The trhee number clues showed up as 10 etc, 11 ets, 12 etc: only the first two munbers! This required keeping track of clue number and the cluei tself on the listing. The downs were on a second sheet run-over.

    I have suscribed to the on-line puzzle since 1992 when it was hosted and run by a Seattle company on a contract from the NYT. I am also an on-line subscriber to the papar itself since it became necessary.

    This is a fair amount of outlay to receive the dogs breakfast on this Sunday!

    Dick Swart
    Hood River, OR

    bigsteve46 2:04 PM  

    I just love puzzles that drive the electronic solvers nuts. A happy day for us pen-and-paper luddites. Not a bad puzzle, by the way.

    jerry k 3:13 PM  

    How many people had TSK for 'shoot', which made me a little stir crazy since I never heard of Oleta Adams, so I'll admit, DNF because of those 2 squares.

    Sandy K 3:29 PM  

    Enjoyed the theme and rebus ASPECTS and was SAILing thru it easily - even got BULBULS...

    ...and then a BIG DNF at the end!! NO CAN DO the ARENDT/TISANE/PETIT corner-should have figured out PETIT- so now am in my BLUE PERIOD.

    @jae- yes for having T-men before FEDS.

    syndy 3:44 PM  

    The sons of the Prophet are brave men and bold And quite unaccustomed to fear But the bravest by far in the ranks of the shah, Was ABDUL ABULBUL AMIR..... Now the heroes were plenty and well known to fame In the troops that were led by the Czar, And the bravest of these was a man by the name of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

    syndy 3:52 PM  

    I would not have cared so much about the red/blue connundrum except that it disguised the error at TSK/OLETT OH WELL It was not hard to suss out the theme but how hard tpo please do you have to be not to enjoy this one ?

    Badir 3:59 PM  

    I was first looking for some type of tea for 99D, but at some point, realized it was TISANE, which I learned years ago from watching Hercule Poirot on PBS. He was always talking about "his little grey cells" and how he drank tisane, not tea. On the other hand, years later, when I started studying Scrabble, and they talked about the TISANE? bingos, I was like, "What the hell is that?", since I'd never seen it written!

    Anyway, I tore through this in 17:46, my 5th fastest _NYT_ Sunday.

    would a robot do this? 4:11 PM  

    I expected a reference to The Matrix somewhere once I figured it out the gimmick. Anyways, an ALB is 'priestly wear' in the same way a prayer shawl would be 'rabbinic wear' - lots of other people wear them too.

    JenCT 6:47 PM  

    As a native New Yorker, I agree with @Glimmerglass that "fuggedaboutit" means "no way, not gonna happen," NOT "no problem."

    Always like Elizabeth Gorski puzzles, and this was no exception. I thought the idea was really cute.

    @JFC: ouch!

    @loren: great song list!

    Paul Keller 8:01 PM  

    I thought it was a pretty good puzzle by and large. I uncovered the revealer before any of the rebus squares. "PURPLE" seemed the logical fill.

    I made a few of mistakes that kept me from a perfect solve. I suppose I should remember ACELA from other crosswords, but it kind of bugged me that ACELA crossed with AALTO, which I found too obscure to know and too weird to guess.

    chefwen 8:46 PM  

    Weird that ALVAR AALTO dude was also in today's LAT puzzle, I had not heard of him. Not weird, ELHI was also in.

    @JenCT - Any update on the new doggy friend?

    michael 11:35 PM  

    Not all that easy for me, but I finally got it all with a final lucky guess of a "u" in rau/bulbuls (a Natick for me). Glad to be solving on paper...

    Anonymous 12:17 AM  

    Elhi... Noooo not again. Loved umpire. Grandsons and I were watching NCAA baseball as I was solving. They loved the answer.

    JenCT 12:22 AM  

    @chefwen: It looks like I'll be training with a new dog by the end of the summer/early fall, hopefully. I just went to the NEADS walk yesterday!

    LaneB 3:13 AM  

    Ground away at this one for the better part of the day--even after getting the BLUE part of the rebus quite early. Didn't get the RED part until later and that delay held me up quite a lot. Anyway, I did complete the damned thing and finally felt quite good about it. Nice way to saste a Sunday

    Anonymous 8:55 AM  

    Tisane is a French common word, but I hadn't heard it used in this country.

    Anonymous 2:12 PM  

    In one of his last concerts, John Denver sang "Get your tongue out of my throat cause I'm kissing you goodbye."

    Anonymous 3:26 PM  

    Liked this one very clever
    trouble with orrs tisane but what is toat (12D)

    Bob Kerfuffle 3:30 PM  

    Standard crosswordese: to a "T".

    JBURGS 7:32 PM  

    As a relative newcomer I'm usually late to this party as it takes me a long time to get through the puzzles without googling etc. The satisfaction, especially with the Friday and Saturday, with finally muddling through, is great. My aha moments are spread out and I feel for you guys who race through. You were probably where I am at one time though. Did it really take rex ten hours to do this puzzle. Only took me cumulatively about 5 though had to google some at the end.

    skeoch 1:21 PM  

    Those are 10 minutes, not hours !

    Anonymous 1:21 PM  

    I get the Times crossword in both our local papers, although on different days. I finished "Stir Crazy" on Saturday and thought I'd time myself on Sunday when it appears in the other paper.
    It took me 13 minutes just to read the questions and fill in the squares...even knowing all of the answers!
    And Rex says he did it in just over 10 minutes!
    Even allowing for the fact that solving on a computer is more efficient, is this to be believed?
    I'd like to see a video - independently timed - of Rex solving the weekend crossword. 10 minutes? C'est incroyable!

    Unknown 1:32 PM  

    Six men host a mystery guest.
    His tale puts their brains to the test.
    But, one mind is greater:
    The group's humble waiter.
    Conclusion: Our Henry knows best.

    spacecraft 1:51 PM  

    A fun solve--and even funner blogs; @loren muse smith: ROFL for your titles list!

    In one of the rare cases where I didn't read the revealer clue before uncovering the rebus, I snagged the red/blue trick at ?HOT/?PERIOD. That sent me racing back up to the NW where I'd been befuddled by ER? from a clue in the past tense. Then the familiar expression TALKEDA [blue] STREAK fell in. Agree on the easy-medium.

    I also agree that "Magnanimous" is a bit off from NOBLE. I wouldn't call them synonyms. Just a few junk fillers--AMEAN here, MIV there--but overall typical Liz. She rarely disappoints, and did not today.

    Dirigonzo 3:46 PM  

    I had several RED squares filled in before I figured out they were BLUE in the other direction -by the time I arrived at the hint I pretty much had things under control, but it was helpful knowing that there were 12 purple squares so I could account for them all. I ended with a couple of wrong squares which bothers me not a whit - this was fun.

    ORRS Island is not junk fill. I live only a few miles from there and it is a lovely little island connected to the mainland by a standard bridge and connected to the last island out, Bailey's Island, by a unique crib-stone bridge which was recently refurbished. It's a beautiful drive that terminates at Land's End, which has a gorgeous view of the Atlantic (and a very nice gift shop).

    Cary in Boulder 5:56 PM  

    Howdy from a week in the future (or is it the past?) My first time back here in a long while, either way.

    Had a flying start with my man SAM COOKE as the very first answer. Special thanx to Rex for the song, as my on-air radio name is The Red Rooster.

    Got a big DNF thanks to TOAT (which bugs me even now, knowing what it is) crossing the totally unheard of OLETA. Also putting in BUD lost me ALB. And had to throw up my hands on that AALTO/ACELA cross. Figured it must be an R, but no.

    So, does Poirot drink TISANE to stimulate his little T-CELLS?

    Syndi Solver 6:42 PM  

    Cute puzzle. I caught on to the RED/BLUE rebus quickly. For some reason I plunked down OLEANDER just off the O so that whole corner was easy. I guess it's because I've read two different novels with that word in the title (White Oleander and Oleander Girl).

    I did wonder a bit what the connection would be and chuckled when I got to THE COLOR PURPLE.

    Thankfully, I know a little about birds so I got the BULBULS/RAU cross. I know quite a few folks who spell their name RAo, with an O, but none who spell it with a U. (and did not know the author mentioned)

    I, too, always think of Hercule Poirot whenever I see TISANE.

    And now I have to listen to some music in order to banish the Hall & Oates earworm I go from this puzzle ("I can't go for that, NO CAN DO").

    rain forest 1:51 AM  

    Nice romp among the cruciverbial plain, Liz. Pretty well always, you deliver the goods. It took me too long to figure out the red/blue thing, but once I did it was pretty smooth sailing, even with the odd ugly three-word fill.

    @LMS You missed my favourite c and w song: "If your phone doesn't ring, it's me".

    Looking forward to a good week.

    Connie in seattle 11:10 AM  

    ...and one last song: How Can I Miss You If You Never Go Away?

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