New World monkeys / THU 10-24-13 / Singer/actress Lenya / Asgard ruler / Like women in famous Rubens painting / Danced to Julio Sosa music / Chenoweth of Broadway's Wicked / Karina in many Jean-Luc Godard film

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: BOOMERANG EFFECT (36A: Unwelcome reversal ... or a title for this puzzle?) — four theme answers run Down and then boomerang back up (in the adjacent Down space); all said answers are things that, in some way, come back:

Theme answers:
  • 5D: With 6-Down, mutual relationship (TWO-WAY / STREET)
  • 9D: With 10-Down, critical comments (NEGATIVE / FEEDBACK)
  • 37D: With 38-Down one who may give you a lift (ELEVATOR / OPERATOR)
  • 46D: With 47-Down means of getting home, maybe (RETURN / TICKET)

Word of the Day: ANNA Karina (3D: Karina in may a Jean-Luc Godard film) —
Anna Karina (born Hanne Karin Bayer; 22 September 1940) is a Danish, now French citizen, film actress, director, andscreenwriter who has spent most of her working life in France. She is known as a muse of the director Jean-Luc Godard, one of the pioneers of the French New Wave. Her notable collaborations with Godard include The Little Soldier (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961), Vivre sa vie (1962), and Alphaville (1965). With A Woman Is a Woman, Karina won the Best Actress award at the Berlin Film Festival. (wikipedia)
• • •

Seems very solid. I've seen many different puzzles that involve some kind of reverse-entry of answers, but this one is remarkably tight, especially considering that two of the theme answers symmetrically cross the central revealer. Nice construction / dumb luck. Puzzle played pretty easily for me, with the only significant resistance coming in the largish rectangle of answers in the center-east. PAGE-A was a mystery to me. Had -AGE- and couldn't think of anything. WORD-A-day calendars are things that sound familiar to me. But the 365-page calendar is not something I'd call a PAGE-A-day calendar (though I don't doubt it's a calendar type). Anyway, that answer, and PIEHOLE for [Trap] and ARTICLE for [45A: What the Beatles had but Wings didn't?] and ONE B.C. for [End of an era?] (!?) and LOCAL for [What pulls out all the stops?] all gave me fits. Three of those are "?" clues, so no surprise there, I guess. The LOCAL stops at all the stops ... so I'm not sure how "pulls out" is being imagined in that clue. "Pulls out" as in "produces"? As in "watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat"? ("Again?").


No time for extensive commentary tonight. The World Series calls. My first [Paella ingredient] was CORN. Had Square ONE before Square PEG, and LORD before DEAR (2D: Prayer starter, often), and LIE before FIB (57D: Small story). No trouble with TITI (54D: New World monkey). You know you do a lot of crossword puzzles when *that* clue is a gimme. My Google News search turned up many instances of FLOUTER, but they were all from French articles. Don't suppose that word actually gets used a lot in English. Oh, well, they can't all be gold. There really aren't that many clunkers today.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    73 comments:

    Gill I. P. 12:08 AM  

    Nope, no way. I TANGOED and I tried BOLEROS and yet my PIEHOLE couldn't utter TEERTS nor ROTAREPO.
    Why couldn't IER come after sex?
    I think I need a beer especially since Mr. @Rex thinks there should ever be corn in a paella...[sigh].

    okanaganer 12:21 AM  

    For 24D I had --BIT and, since I have never ever heard the word AMBIT, the only possibility was ORBIT...that works! Which led to ONALYST for investment house guy...never heard of such a word, but whatever. And RORA for some coach of some team in a league I ignore. Two wrong letters today.

    Aside from that semi-Natick, this is a pretty consistent and chewy puzzle. Unlike Rex immediately jumping to Rocky and Bullwinkle, for "What pulls out all the stops", as soon as I had L for the first letter, I exclaimed: "LEICA"!

    jae 12:23 AM  

    Very nice Thurs.  Caught the trick immediately with TWO WAY STREET but still found this medium- tough with NE being the tough part.  @Rex PAGE-A was hard to see and I resisted ONE BC because it's BCE now  right?

    My last entries were changing the t to an R in MORA and the t to an M in ISM.  AtOta made no sense.   Also had ensnarE for PIEHOLE (which I like a lot better) briefly. 

    Not sure you see INNS near interstate exits...motels maybe?

    Nice tricky crunchy zippy fun Thurs. from Mr. Collins!

    wreck 12:33 AM  

    I wish everyday was a "Thursday" type puzzle. Challenging but fun.

    Steve J 12:35 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Steve J 12:38 AM  

    This was 3/4 easy: Breezed through all of this other than the SE. RETURN TICKET is, in my experience, a Britishism rather than an Americanism (where we're more likely to say round-trip ticket), so that pairing didn't fall as quickly as the others. Couldn't remember if KRISTIN Chenoweth spelled her name with a C or a K, and I completely didn't remember that it was an I toward the end rather than an E. TITI was the opposite of a gimmee. Finally pecked away at it and still finished just a hair short of average Thursday time.

    Liked the theme quite a bit, even if it isn't entirely internally consistent. A TWO-WAY STREET isn't really something coming back on itself - by design and as its whole purpose, both directions flow simultaneously. Nor do I buy that an ELEVATOR OPERATOR is in any way an example of BOOMERANG EFFECT, other than that one goes up and down (again, by design; an elevator that doesn't return would be the bad outcome, and the up-down nature is a good thing, exactly opposite of the badness indicated in the theme revealer's clue). But when a theme's fill is well-executed, as this was, that quibble is relatively small.

    Loved PIEHOLE, and quite liked this as a whole.

    Evan 12:48 AM  

    This was easy-medium for me simply because I caught onto the trick almost immediately in the northwest corner. I might have finished in near-record time for a Thursday if, like @Steve J, I hadn't gotten so stumped by the southeast corner -- didn't know TITI or KRISTIN Chenowith, couldn't get around what seemed like very tough clues for SAKE and AUCTION, and just couldn't think of RETURN TICKET. Only when I took a flyer on ENTAILS and finally gave in and put down STK (ugh) did that corner start to fall into place.

    My only other snags were HOIST before HEAVE, ONE before PEG, and being stymied for a bit on PAGE-A (so, so glad it wasn't DAY-TO, since "day" is in the clue). Oh yeah, I had IN SPOTS (?!) before INK POTS, too. Really, just brilliant crosswording, Evan. An answer that not only doesn't make sense but it has SPOTS when that word is already in the clue.

    Overall, I thought this was pretty cool. Pretty smooth, not too many flashy entries beyond BOOMERANG EFFECT, although PIEHOLE is always funny to hear. Jeff Chen at Xwordinfo says that WRS is unfortunately necessary to make that corner fit -- it's not a term I mind, but I'm a football fan and am used to seeing all of the NFL's three-letter plural abbreviations. Granting that it's still not a great entry, Jeff's still pretty much right. You could change WRS/ODDS to WRY/EDDY, but I had a lot of trouble trying to get the seven-letter stack in that corner to work with that combo. I'm not sure you can do it without producing worse fill than the one with WRS holding it together.

    mathguy 1:07 AM  

    Terrific puzzle! Only six gimmes but then only five words I didn't know. So that's fair. And nine devilishly obscure clues to chew on like "End of an era?" for ONEBC. But why the question mark in the clue?

    jae 1:57 AM  

    With TETE and TITI in the puzzle it occurred to me that their might be some sort of theme if you add TATA, TOTO and TUTU?

    Carola 3:51 AM  

    Liked it very much - fun to solve, genius reveal. Caught on with INKPOT/ FEEDBACK, where I thought the BOOMERANG EFFECT worked best, with FEEDBACK running BACKwards. Would have been extra nice, I thought, if it would have worked to have ELEVATOR and RETURN going upwards. But, like @Steve J, I don't want to quibble!

    Really liked TWO crossing TANGOED and the bonus of BOLEROS. Had to run the alphabet for _ IEH_LE and laughed when I got it, PIE lover that I am. Art History taught me that any "women" are likely to be SABINE, reading the ARTS section of the Times has acquainted me with KRISTIN Chenoweth, and previous crosswords got me TITI.

    @jae - I think INNS refers to names - like the Hampton, Fairfield, Comfort, etc., INNS that cluster around the exits. And - me, too, for ensnarE.

    jae 4:08 AM  

    @Carola -- Of Course - D'oh!

    Nickyboy 6:50 AM  

    The local pulls out of all the stops, as in "the train is pulling out" (leaving). Is that not a widely used term? That's what we always said.

    jberg 7:30 AM  

    @Nickyboy -- I think that was the intention, but it doesn't make sense without the "of" -- and that would lose the misdirection. Me, I had organ there for a long time, which really slowed things down.

    I got the theme right away, with TWO-WAY STREET, but some of the others weren't that easy to get. And then I thought maybe a lot of Rubens's women were SupINE. And even though I put in AUCTION right away, I had so much trouble in that corner that I was questioning it. I finally just had to guess at the KRISTIN/TITI crossing - could have been KRISpIN/TIpI, for all I knew.

    ENTs are also otolaryngologists, which made me hang on to Hoist far longer than I should have.

    I liked this one quite a bit. My feeling while solving was that quite a lot of the clues could have been anything -- like ADAPT TO, RENEWED, and ARTS in the NW corner. I had to see that the crosses worked before I had the nerve to write any of them in. Nice work!

    Z 7:43 AM  

    I really like this puzzle. Struggled even after I got TWO-WAY TEERTS because the themer clues just weren't clicking for me. So each of the themers provided a brief aha/d'oh moment for me.

    With the Xmas buying season ramping up, the calendar stores with their PAGE-A-day calendars of cartoons and words and soduku and NYT Crosswords will start popping up in malls throughout America.

    Interesting EEL clue. Seriously doubted that the the three letter fish in a Disney movie would be GARs, so plopped down EEL. Thought of @Ellen when FAIL worked for the cross.

    Anyone else imagining the WOEs Jim MORAs double-dating with Lenya LOTTE and KRISTIN Chenoweth? I got all four purely from the crosses. Remembered after the fact that there are, indeed, two Jim MORAs.

    Beer Rating - A quality IPA with enough bite to make it interesting while maintaining a nice balance of flavors and aromas.

    Z 7:47 AM  

    @Jberg - Rape of the SupINE Women could be an alternate title.

    Mohair Sam 8:21 AM  

    Wonderful Thursday puzzle Peter Collins, thank you.

    Clever theme, nifty cluing, very little crosswordese, a few words I'd never known, a few gimmes, and a couple of "aha" moments. Loved it.

    Glimmerglass 9:25 AM  

    Great puzzle, and the most satisfying kind of solve. I got a little traction everywhere, but not, for a long time, enough to complete a section before moving on to the next. Didn't catch on to the theme, because I couldn't solve 36A. I was sure INK POT had to be wrong, because no word begins KCxxxx (except maybe somebody's initials); so I changed it to IN sPOT, which kind of makes sense. When I finally caught on (ELEVATOR ROTAREPO), everything made sense, and it didn't take long to finish. All the dominoes fell at once.

    joho 9:56 AM  

    Like @Glimmerglass I got the trick at ELEVATOR/ROTAREPO ... what a great aha moment!

    The SE corner was the most difficult and last to fall. Loved RETURN/TEKCIT when I finally got it.

    I didn't find the cluing or puzzle easy by any means and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

    Peter, I think this one shows that you're at the top of your game!

    Nancy 10:09 AM  

    Lots of fun. Like "Wreck", I wish every day were a Thursday-type puzzle. Like Rex, Ithought "pulls out all the stops" was ridiculous.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:16 AM  

    Nice puzzle.

    Only write-over at KRISTEN before KRISTIN.

    Thankful for the long discussion of TITI the last time it appeared - can't forget it now.

    Agree that 30 D, "What pulls out all the stops?" is awkward, but my spin on it is that the local train pulls out, or puts on its schedule, all the stops on the line.

    chefbea 10:20 AM  

    Got elevator operator right away but had trouble with the rest. Never heard of pie hole as trap!! You put a hole in the pie crust to let the steam OUT!!

    Yumm paella and double yumm for the pumpkin angelfood cake I made yesterday.

    Miss Unmannerly 10:26 AM  

    Shut Yer Trap.
    Shut Yer PIE HOLE.

    Questinia 10:32 AM  

    Like @ Z, found the themers not to be gimmes which led to the aha/d'ohs.

    I found the clue "pull out all the stops? " awkward. Also thought the answer to 45A should be *an* ARTICLE. Reason being both don't really conform to what I've experienced as crossword protocol. So I got a little confused in the Mid-Atlantic section. But I love getting dazed and confused.

    KerSTIN before KRISTIN. LOTTE made me think of "Moon of Alabama", making me smile. So I was smiling, dazed and confused.

    TITI made me wonder if Lake TITIcaca meant Lake Monkey Excrement. So then I became smiling, dazed and confused and agape with wonder.

    Just before the drool threatened to spill out of my PIEHOLE, the "congratulations" banner popped up and I was truly surprised.

    So, Mr. Collins, not only are you a rebel FLOUTing crossword protocol, you got me smiling, dazed and confused, agape with wonder, on the verge of drooling and pleasantly, truly surprised. I couldn't ask more from a Thursday.

    (Titicaca, btw, means "Stone of the Puma"...nearly the same thing).

    DBGeezer 10:36 AM  

    Could someone explain to this non sports fan what WRS means? I do assume that QB stands for quarterback.

    JenCT 10:40 AM  

    @Gill I.P.: Haha

    @Rex: Really, corn in a paella? You must've been thinking of another dish.

    Finally got to the puzzle this morning!

    Didn't get the theme until I stared at TEERTS for a while (whaaa??? Oh, STREET)

    "Shut yer PIE HOLE" - I hate that expression!

    Notsofast 10:41 AM  

    A complete disaster. I went down in flames. Er...I mean FLARES. Oh, the humanity!

    Two Ponies 10:44 AM  

    The east half of the puzzle was way tougher than the west. Never heard of auction bridge, forgot sabine, didn't know egalite.
    I did like the theme and got it early but the fill really tripped me up.

    Anonymous 10:54 AM  

    Re: SABINE / SUPINE women. Ever notice how much of "fine art" is just gussified porn?

    WR = Wide Receiver

    AliasZ 10:58 AM  

    What an enjoyable puzzle! It was only Sunday that we had a reverse theme, and today Peter A. Collins' sparkler shows how it's done.

    Most impressive for me was that two of the four theme pairs crossed the revealer, as Rex mentioned. Quite a feat. ELEVATOR ROTAREPO gave it away for me, soon followed by TWOWAY TEERTS, but RETURN TEKCIT was the last to fall.

    I also had hoist before HEAVE. After I got LOCAL, I thought, how can a low-calorie anything be equal to pulling out all the stops? The worst offense was the ethnic slur at 11D. Chopin was no shoe shiner!(ENTRE nous, I'm kidding.)

    Favorite non-theme entries: PIEHOLE, and AMBIT (from Latin "ambitus" meaning going round - see ambition.)

    Least favorite: FLOUTER. It is an artificial formation from "flout" used here so the puzzle can be completed, but it's not in the language. Actually, the origin of "flout" is from 1350–1400 Middle English "flouten": to play the flute. FLOUTER is really flautist, flutist or flute player. Zamfir is a pan FLOUTER.

    Sandy K 11:14 AM  

    Thought the theme part was excellent. Got the trick at the KC created by INKPOTS and DECODES-unless it was KC and the Sunshine Band, it had to be backwards...

    But there were some SPOTS that could've been FAILures, eg AMBIT/MORA and PAGE-A/ARTICLE.

    Also FLOUTER and WRS? Only got them from the crosses.

    But it's Thursday, so a bit of a struggle is to be expected. Despite a few of these ODD SPOTS, there was a LOTTE good stuff!

    John V 11:25 AM  

    Never got a toe hold. A complete wipe out.

    Masked and AnonymoUUs 11:33 AM  

    Superb bit of puzmaking from the Pewitmeister. har -- TITI! Dude really likes to collect the rare fauna. Knew TITI immediately, for some unsettlingly mysterious reason.

    Major wowwies for:
    1. Long, side-by side themers & clever theme idea.
    2. Having item #1 in place, he rams a 15-letter theme revealer right through them.
    3. Then he builds stacks of seven-letter answers outa the other ends of those same themers. With sixers along side a couple of them there stks. Day-um. Interplanetary, dude.
    4. Real pretty grid layout. Two-way crossins, if you will.
    5. TEERTS. ROT-A-REPO. TEK CIT. K-CAB DEEF. Weeverse weejects.
    6. Only 72 words. Qualifies for a FriPuz!
    7. All this on a budget of two hundred bucks.

    Big thUmbsUp. TITIs and TEERTS are all-in, too.
    Bowin down now, sayin "I am not worthy, O Pweitmeister dude".

    M&A

    Anoa Bob 11:42 AM  

    Imagine my disappointment. 1A ADAPT TO, 15A RENEWED, and 19A SRA gave me AN_A for 3D. Could it possibly be!? The seldom-seen-in-puzzles but much beloved ANOA!? Nope. It's the much more mundane [Yawn] ANNA. Dang. Buzz kill.

    My eponymous soulmate, the smallest of the buffalo, and an endangered species native to Indonesia, must wait for another day. Sigh.

    Good puzzle, but after ANNA my heart just wasn't into it.

    Mr. Benson 11:44 AM  

    I finished but it was a struggle. I just had the hardest time getting traction, and even though I had figured out the theme and the revealer, very little came easily. There were a few gimmes but they were spread out pretty evenly, so each section felt like a brute-force slog.

    Jisvan 11:54 AM  

    Found this extremely hard, even after turning to my puzzle partner Google (Wikipedia only). But the aha moment was lovely and eventually the grid was filled. A bit like pulling teeth. (I too was about to drool, @ Questinia)

    I once rode coast to coast on a bicycle in 25 days with a tour company lead by a gruff RN with a heart of gold and a wall of bike racing trophies. When we pulled over for feed stops, she would cheerily yell, "Stuff it in your pie hole!" Ah, good times...

    Anonymous 12:19 PM  

    Jen from CT, is that your new dog in your photo? I don't know if that is a new photo or I just missed it earlier, but the adorableness! Working dogs just impress me so much.

    Penelope/Sandy

    M and A A dna M 12:22 PM  

    p.s. Misschpelt "Pewitmeister" one time, at end of last treatise. Sacralige. er. Sacrelage. er. Sacrilage. ...dang ... am I warm, yet...?

    Forgot to mention: Amongst all the reverence, had great fun solvin this little gridmonkey. Had TWOWAY, but couldn't shoehorn the STREET part in nohow, when the ceiling lightbulb sputtered on. TEERTS!, I exploded. Really shook up the budgie.

    Like how the picture of the Pewitmeister keeps changin, over at the xchenwordinfo site. Last one looked like a paintball massacre aftermath. New one looks like he's overdressed for a major headwind situation. The M&A is followin developments closely...

    Mohair Sam 12:27 PM  

    @dbgeezer: WR = Wide Receiver.

    gifcan 1:32 PM  

    If, in the end, I figure it out, I'm happy. I'm happy.

    Wanted ELEVATOR operator but couldn't figure out anything that ended in REPO. D'oh, a reversal!

    Kept trying to make ual work in 40A but finally shifted to ISM when NOOSE tightened that section.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

    mac 1:33 PM  

    Took me a while, in fact at "return ticket", then feel into place fast. At 28D I first had SEVEN, not knowing (or remembering) pie hole made it hard to give up.

    Very solid Thursday, I agree, I'd like a couple a week like this.

    ahimsa 1:38 PM  

    Loved it! Many kudos to Peter Collins! (oops, that's Peter A. Collins, to be more precise) This was so much fun to solve.

    I got no traction in the NW so I started moving around the grid. I caught on to the theme at ELEVATOR OPERATOR. After I saw the trick the rest was fairly easy. I finished up back at the start because TWO WAY STREET was for some reason the hardest theme entry for me to see.

    My favorite clues were Trap for PIEHOLE and Flotsam or Jetsam in "The Little Mermaid" for EEL. Now that's how you make EEL interesting!

    No one has mentioned AFLARE yet? That was the only kind of ugly word for me. Maybe it's crosswordese that others recognize but it's new to me. I wrote in AFLAmE and but easily changed that M to R when I saw OPERATOR (or ROTAREPO, which sounds hilarious).

    BOLEROS, esp. when plural, makes me think of those short jackets rather than the dance.

    Even this non-fan of football figured out WRS. So I don't think that entry is too bad. I started going through the positions in my mind. (Hmm, running back, half back, ... No, it can't be any type of back because that B won't work after ST. Wait, it must be some kind of a receiver!).

    JenCT 2:35 PM  

    @Anon/Penelope/Sandy 12:19: Yes, that's my new dog! I've had her about 3 months now, and she's great - I plan on bringing her to the ACPT next year.

    I'm working on a short video showing the things she does for me; stay tuned...

    Airymom 2:36 PM  

    Still think it should have been "cigarette" not ""ism".

    Terrific puzzle.

    Alby 3:42 PM  

    The clue for LOCAL made me wrinkle my nose. I'd give it some leeway if it was making a pun, but it's trying to twist an idiom (and bungles the attempt).

    Anonymous 3:48 PM  

    I know there's a Greenville SC, but Greenville WI is so much closer, and in the same state as Green Bay!
    Liked it otherwise.

    Bird 3:48 PM  

    Did not enjoy this at all. Got the theme (which is good), but took forever to complete because . . .
    - some clues were more difficult than they needed to be
    - clued like a Saturday
    - some cluesd were just too clever to be any fun or use
    - some terrible fill in that awful NE corner
    - trouble in the middle east (ENSNARE sat there for the longest time; BC is an era?!; ARTICLE? Oh, I get it. Groan.)
    - pulls out all the stops is an express, in my mind, because the train does not stop
    - couldn't remember if it was KIRSTEN, KIRSTIN, KRISTEN or KRISTIN
    - what the hell is an AUCTION bridge?

    PIEHOLE is good though

    Sorry Peter, but I didn't like today's puzzle

    Lewis 4:19 PM  

    Trudged through this one, but liked it. Some little used answers, but very little dreck. Learned AUCTION bridge. Not fond of AFLARE. A good number of easy answers, but they were balanced by toughies.

    Made by an artisan!

    Anonymous 4:38 PM  

    TE, QB, RG, RB, DE.....and WR. All standard two-letter positional abbreviations I see every Sunday.

    David from CA 6:24 PM  

    Don't see HEAVE as "lift". If you heave something you toss it, if you lift it you are holding on. Can't see ever replacing the one with the other. Is there some usage I'm missing?

    "Hey trucker, give me a heave today?"
    "Say old chap, does the heave service the penthouse?"
    "Superman - could you heave my car while I change the tie? Oh never mind, just lift it over the cliff and I'll walk."

    Just don't seem to work.

    But nice puzzle anyway.

    Yeah, when the first definition of a word matches the clue exactly it's just plain wrong 7:09 PM  

    heave/hiv/ Show Spelled [heev] Show IPA verb, heaved or ( especially Nautical ) hove; heav·ing; noun
    verb (used with object)
    1. to raise or lift with effort or force; hoist: to heave a heavy ax.
    2. to throw, especially to lift and throw with effort, force, or violence: to heave an anchor overboard; to heave a stone through a window.
    3. Nautical .
    a. to move into a certain position or situation: to heave a vessel aback.
    b. to move in a certain direction: Heave the capstan around! Heave up the anchor!
    4. to utter laboriously or painfully: to heave a sigh.
    5. to cause to rise and fall with or as with a swelling motion: to heave one's chest.

    Anonymous 7:33 PM  

    Left side fine and I thought I'd register a good Thursday. Right side a total flop as brain went into neutral. And this after getting the trick. . Terrible clue for A45 and since when is a PIEHOLE a trap? Oh yeah, when trap refers to one's mouth.. Also, I don't think either MORA gentlemen are presently NFL coaches. So what?, you say. Anyway, the clues were too subtle for me and a big DNF resulted.

    Mercy next time, Collins.

    Anonymous 7:36 PM  

    I'm surprised about the doubts about LOCAL: it's the train that pulls into each station then pulls out of each of them. "Pulls out all the stops" is fine English.

    Z 8:42 PM  

    @David from CA - HEAVE-Ho ring a bell?

    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 6:31, 6:07, 1.07, 81%, Challenging
    Tue 9:22, 8:15, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
    Wed 7:55, 9:44, 0.81, 9%, Easy
    Thu 18:49, 16:44, 1.13, 75%, Medium-Challenging

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:56, 3:46, 1.04, 72%, Medium-Challenging
    Tue 5:42, 5:09, 1.11, 76%, Medium-Challenging
    Wed 5:06, 5:37, 0.91, 27%, Easy-Medium
    Thu 10:16, 9:30, 1.08, 65%, Medium-Challenging

    mjddon 10:14 PM  

    Auction bridge was an early form of the card game bridge. My mother played duplicate bridge.

    Acme 4:08 AM  

    Genius to find those matching in length entries!!!!
    Total awe, Peter.
    Glad folks are appreciating.
    Amazing RETURN has same amount of letters as TICKET...and ELEVATOR/OPERATOR
    And then to line them next to each other and make it all work!?!?
    Wow

    OISK 4:01 PM  

    Don't know whether anyone reads next day comments, but...Very fine puzzle, which I found to be brutally difficult, even though I caught the theme early on. Nothing wrong with difficult, as long as it is fair, generally solvable, and not overstuffed with pop trivia. This succeeded on all counts, as well as being immensely clever! Thanks, Peter.

    J.aussiegirl 10:54 AM  

    From syndication four weeks later - Yes! Fine puzzle indeed @OISK 4:01 pm.

    Very nice constructing Mr. Collins. At first reading it seemed difficult, but so worth the effort to complete. A couple of writeovers, eg egalite for liberte, teasets for tessera but it all became clear with the crosses, including the footy abbreviations.

    Boomerangs. Yep.

    Red Valerian 12:34 PM  

    Fun puzzle. Reminds me of one a ways back by Jooon Pahk. Anybody?

    Alas, I DNF because I am an idiot. Had never heard of Chenoweth, and thought that 53D (Benefit) could be SAtE, even though that was a really bad answer and that Rex would be complaining. doh.

    @M&A cracks me up. I expect that streetlights explode as s/he walks by...

    @J.aussiegirl--that's five weeks later, unless things are that different down under.

    spacecraft 12:39 PM  

    Hand up for Hoist--and that very nearly scuttled my butt. I was the longest time trying to make sense there before I finally DECODEd the "Reads with efort" clue, which led to NEGATIVE KCABDEEF. PAGEA and ONEBC were also very difficult to see; I'd rate this one somewhere on the challenging side of medium-challenging. I didn't 39d, but it was close.

    Why "unwelcome?" Does the thrower not WANT his boomerang to RETURN? I suppose, in the context of "What goes around comes around," it works...if you disseminate unpleasant things. Then again: isn't that YOUR bad? So, so often we seem to get what we deserve.

    Waxy in Montreal 1:29 PM  

    TITI, KRISTIN, AUCTION and STK caused major problems in finishing the SE corner. Otherwise found this puzzle fun and straight-forward to solve, especially once the reveal became apparent. Had RESORTS before INKPOTS and LIBERTE before EGALITE which complicated the NE as well.

    I think the constructor might well have chosen another French city for the NON vote given the association of VICHY with France's disgraceful collaboration with the Nazi occupiers in WWII.

    And a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my American fellow-bloggers. Talking of WRS and TDS, the highlight for this retired Canadian is to be able to watch three NFL games today.

    captcha = uobalan, surely an Asian city to appear in the puz in the not-too-distant future.

    Ginger 1:59 PM  

    Slow to catch on, until at 37-D my ELEVATOR decided to OPERATe on the top floor, and was I able to finally fill in the blanks.

    I think that AUCTION bridge is a 'bridge' between whist and the contract bridge (sometimes played as Duplicate) that is common today. I kept looking for trestle, or some form of suspension when AUCTION popped up.

    Synchronicity, Overheard from the TV is the other room "Next up, KRISTIN Chenoweth". Marvelous, apparently classically trained, voice. I remember her from 'The West Wing'.

    Fine start to Turkey Day...and a Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

    Anonymous 2:43 PM  

    Just dont get 45across the Beatles/Wings thing. Can someone explain?

    Turkey Stuffed 3:07 PM  

    @Anonymous, 2:43 PM

    What the Beatles had but Wings didn't? : ARTICLE
    “The Beatles” had the definite article “the” in their name, but “Wings” did not.

    Wings is a rock band that Paul and LInda McCartney formed after the Beatles disbanded. Wings had some tremendous hits including “Live and Let Die”, “Jet”, “Band on the Run” and “Mull of Kintyre”.

    Please add to your Bookmarks this wonderful site for answering almost all clue questions:

    http://www.nytcrossword.com/

    Solving in Seattle 3:16 PM  

    Thanks for an awesome puz, Peter. One of the best. My only nit was that I had AFLamE first, then held my nose and changed it to ---AR-. No biggy.
    Had a big problem with 28D because I had Lenya's first name ending in "a." Once I figured that out, PIEHOLE emerged. Great clue that I had forgotten.
    Caught on to the theme in the NW with TWOWAY TEERTS, and the other up/down answers fell easily, once I had a few crosses. ELEVATOR came on one cross: the "V" of AVA.
    MORA was a throw down, he of Seahawk coachdom, with a coach dad of the same name.
    My Rubens chicks were SupINE before they became SABINE.
    Most trouble in the Mid-Atlantic region, with 45A/29D/30D. Last to fall.
    @Anon, I think the 45A ARTICLE is "at."
    @Waxy, thanks for the well wishes, and a very belated Happy Thanksgiving to you, Red V and Rainy.

    Capcha: rotsori. An Italian pasta that never caught on?

    ecanarensis 3:29 PM  

    wondered if any others cackled upon reading the BEATLES/WINGS clue...the first answers that flashed thru my mind were on the order of "talent," "musical ability," or "decent songs." I confess I've always wondered what happened to Paul, post-Beatles, & wanted to nominate his pop music group as the Most Boring/Insipid Musical Group of All Time.

    Odin help me, now i've got "Band on the Run" stuck in my head...I'd as soon go thru that kiddie ride in Disneyland & be infected with the "Small World" earworm.

    Cary in Boulder 3:34 PM  

    @Anonymous 2:43 PM: Beatles is preceded by the ARTICLE "The," while Wings ain't.

    I enjoyed it. A rare Thursday when I actually "get" the gimmick. But expected to end up with a FAIL, thanks to that SE corner. Must've missed out on the past discussion of TITI, because that was a total head-scratcher for me. Had to run the alphabet to get SAKE, as _TK drew a blank going the other way.

    Musically speaking: Yay, no rappers. Return of ERES Tu, however -- which no doubt would've never been recorded without crosswords to justify it. And was "The INKPOTS" an abandoned naming attempt for the '40s-'50s singing group?

    EEL eeluded me for the longest time, since I never saw "The Little Mermaid." How did that happen? Oh, maybe it's because, OMG, I FORGOT TO HAVE KIDS!

    captcha: lintact = what still remains in my belly button

    ecanarensis 3:35 PM  

    @Solving in Seattle, I'm with you on the stench of the AFLAME/AFLARE business..."aflare"? I don't theenk so!

    As for the "What pulls out all the stops?" clue, I prefer my original answer, which I came up with when I had
    -O-A-: NOMAD. They wander without stopping, right? Dumb pun, so it fits the question mark. I think it's a keeper.

    ecanarensis 3:38 PM  

    @Cary in boulder, you definitely need to add "lintact" to the Urban Dictionary. Good one! That's what remains even after a shower, right?

    Cary in Boulder 3:40 PM  

    Forgot about the new word I learned today: AMBIT.

    ambit [ˈæmbɪt]
    n
    1. scope or extent
    2. limits, boundary, or circumference
    [from Latin ambitus a going round, from ambīre to go round, from ambi- + īre to go]
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

    Solving in Seattle 3:46 PM  

    @ecanarensis, what's the etymology of your ID that looks like an anagram of "sick canary" if you squint? Kind of agree with you on some of Paul's post Beatles music, but I happen to really like a lot of Wings music.

    @Cary, "lintact" might have to go in the Hall of Fame along with FUMET.

    Dirigonzo 4:03 PM  

    I got the puzzle a day late because my local paper doesn't publish on holidays - it was well woth the wait. My grid was still mostly empty when I caught on to the gimmick at ELEVATOR ROTAREPO and I worked my way more-or-less clockwise from there until I finished in the west-central cestion with a good guess at AMBIT/MORA. I was confused at 14d because Greenville, ME is pretty much due east of Green Bay; who knew there were other Greenvilles in the world?

    Nice to see so many syndi comments!

    Now on to the Friday puz.

    ahimsa 7:39 PM  

    Hi Syndilanders,

    I laughed at @Cary in Boulder's comment, "OMG, I FORGOT TO HAVE KIDS!" This magnet is made for you - www.funkyfridge.com

    No kids here, either. I still end up seeing a lot of kids movies, either with nieces/nephews or just for fun. But it's not like I remembered the names of those characters. For that particular entry I thought, "Hmm, three letters, something to do with fish or the sea, let's try EEL." :-)

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