Light for Aladdin / THU 12-19-13 / 1960s British PM Douglas-Home / Rio Amazon feeder / Longtime Red Sox nickname / Seattle Center Coliseum since 1995 / L'chaim literally / Falstaff's quaff

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Constructor: George Barany and Michael Shteyman

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: LIKE WATER AND OIL (36A: Incompatible)— rebus puzzle with three OIL squares up top, three WATER squares below, and the upper and lower halves of the grid separated not by full black squares but just the slim black lines between the squares.

[The grid in AcrossLite (pictured) is nuts, as the circles sometimes represent rebus squares (not marked at all in the low-fi version), and sometimes represent where a new Down answer begins. In the PDF / newspaper, you have to discover rebus squares for yourself and the dividing lines between top and bottom halves of the grid are represented merely by extra-dark black lines between boxes]

Word of the Day: ALEC Douglas-Home (62A: 1960s British P.M. ___ Douglas-Home) —
Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel (/ˈhjuːm/ hyoom), KTPC (2 July 1903 – 9 October 1995) was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister from October 1963 to October 1964. He is notable for being the last Prime Minister to hold office while being a member of the House of Lords, prior to renouncing his peerage and taking up a seat in the House of Commons for the remainder of his premiership. His reputation, however, rests more on his two spells as the UK's foreign minister than on his brief premiership. (wikipedia)
• • •

An interesting idea with a somewhat awkward execution. Full disclosure—I just solved one of the greatest puzzles of the year earlier in the day, so my standards for this kind of tricky-grid stuff may be unreasonably high at the moment. Still, there's an oddness to the way this concept is represented. First, the OIL and WATER *do* mix, so the visual is all thrown off. We'd need a solid line across the grid to get it right, but instead we've got this alternating jagged thingie which is visually wrong. Whole point of the puzzle is that OIL and WATER don't mix. But here they do, in the weird central Across answer. Then there's the rebus squares. There are three (why?) and they are oddly symmetricalish (why???). The mirror symmetry with the rebuses was a let down. Once I'd noticed it up top, I tried it down below, and sure enough, the WATER square was in the perfect mirror symmetry position. What is the point of this? To make puzzle easier? It's already easy enough. The number and position of the rebus squares seem odd and arbitrary. The black squares are oddly placed, and (necessarily) not the same below as they are up top. None of these features are fatal flaws, they're just … compromises and accommodations that took me out of the puzzle, dampening the effect the puzzle seemed to be going for. It's like a decent balance beam routine with a decidedly unstuck landing. Interesting, nice in parts, but not great. Puzzle gets points for unusualness, but its high concept is somewhat rough in reality.


There were an odd lot of terminal-I answers in the long Downs, and those things are just too easy to uncover. Got ARTICLE I and CLEMENT I with virtually no problem. Ditto LIBRETTI. I like how TOILET WATER gets in on the upper- and lower-half rebus (31D: Lightly scented perfume). I have never encountered a HOT WATER BAG (52A: Soother of an aching joint). It's a bottle, where I'm from, even if it is vaguely bag-shaped. ET VOILA was a very clever way of picking up a rebus square. Both KEY ARENA (37D: Seattle Center Coliseum, since 1995) and LAST PASS feel quite original, which is nice. I had a lot of the puzzle done before I hit TINF- and realized that rebus squares were involved. I thought the 34A: Chicken for dinner (BROILER) was a FRIER — it fit so nicely — so that held me up for a bit there in the center. But nothing else about this puzzle was that tough. Probably took a little longer to solve than normal, but that's pretty typical on a puzzle where you have to pick up some tricky concept. Once you lock on to the concept, the puzzle's pretty easy.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

100 comments:

August West 12:01 AM  

Yes! Outstanding. Caught the rebus at TINFOIL and it's adjacent OILLAMP. Went to the spanner. Entered LIKEOILANDWATER off the K in the gimme KEYARENA and the E in FOSSE. Also figured 36D was LASTsumthinorother, so I felt confident in both my 15 and that the rebus answers below would be WATER. Half right. WAHOO proved I had to flip-flop the "elements" of this fluid puzzle, and then it was over.

Loved RATFINK, BANANAS, COLORTV, the clue for AWE, ETVOILA, and how fantastic was MAITRED?

Solved on Magmic, and I'm not sure what the circled letters are supposed to represent, if anything other than the "separation" of the "oil" LAYER of the puzzle from its "water" layer. Weird seeing down answers stacked atop each other without black squares, but I like it!

Encore!

ESP 12:09 AM  

Thought the theme execution here was unnecessarily Byzantine.

The whole conceit of the heavy bars is to represent water and oil not mixing, except that's completely abandoned for T[OIL]ET[WATER] in the center. (I had a bigger problem with that one than I did with the "mixing" in the central Across answer.)

retired_chemist 12:13 AM  

Finished with an error - changed the A in at IT (58A) to O but missed changing the t to N. Because I could not see the reason for the circling of the letters LKTROL and WTMR in the middle, I figured something was amiss there and went to "check all letters" without looking elsewhere for a mistake.

Interesting, cool answers abounding. Nothing to complain about. Congrats to the constructors.

Questinia 12:23 AM  

I see the creative intent but was left thinking I must be really missing something. Is it just that the phrase is usually "Like oil and water" and in the answer oil and water are reversed?

I was hoping for the center circles to spell out "soap" or "micelles" because of just that visual of mixing Rex describes.

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

The theme needed more cowbell.

Steve J 12:39 AM  

Found quite a few things to like, but I thought the overall concept fell a little fat and felt a little overcomplicated.

Also, like @Questinia, I've always heard the phrase as "like oil and water", not LIKE WATER AND OIL.

Stuff I liked: WHEELIE, RAT FINK, the way all the rebus words were solid, actually in use and unforced (except, perhaps, for HOT WATER BAG (I had pad instead of BAG at first, but the term I'm mainly familiar with is bottle).

As far as the theme: The rebus symmetry didn't bother me at all, and I did like the idea of split downs without the black squares. But the fact is that the water and oil parts are indeed mixing along 36A, which is directly opposite the concept behind the theme. I recognize that it would likely have been virtually impossible to keep the two truly separate, but nevertheless it takes a lot of the oomph out of the theme.

Still, it's ambitious, and most of the fill works well. Even if it doesn't quite succeed on its own terms, I appreciate something that's ambitious and largely successful versus something that plays it entirely safe.

(By the way, it's unfortunate that Across Lite circled the rebus squared. The Magmic app only put circles in where the heavy black lines were used in print. The rebus circles definitely would have made an already easy puzzle too easy.)

wreck 12:39 AM  

It took me awhile to catch on, but it fell pretty easy after I figured the rebus answers OIL and WATER. I solved on magmic and couldn't figure out what the circles were for. After finishing I went to xwordinfo and read about it. I guess the circles were to take the place of "bars" on the grid. I thought the bars were totally unnecessary - it still solved the same without them.

Anoa Bob 1:44 AM  

When I was in USN boot camp one of the physical exercises that we did was to hold a rifle over our head, with one hand on the butt and the other on the end of the barrel, and then to twist the rifle back and forth vigorously, in 180 degree arcs, fifteen, twenty times or more.

The purpose, I later learned, was to prepare us for swimming in water that was covered with burning oil. (!!!!) The idea was to swim under water for as long as we could and then, when coming up for air, we were supposed to repeat this arms-overhead rapid twisting motion to temporarily disperse the burning oil and create a small breathing hole so we could get some air, and then resume our underwater journey. Yeah, right.

I think we would have been better served if they had trained us to react to that scenario by bending over, placing our head between our legs, and kissing our ass goodbye!

Did this in Across Lite---hey, that's what I pay the annual NYT puzzle subscription for---and got the OIL and WATER rebus stuff and the grid spanner at 36 (and 37 & 38!) Across, but couldn't make heads or tails out of circled squares in that row and the row just below (LKTROWTMR) and couldn't see why some Downs ended in the 33,34,35 Across row (CAPTAIN, TRANCES, etc.) and some ended in the 36,37,38 Across row (ARTICLE I, TUBA, etc.).

Maybe if I try some of those arms-overhead twisting motions, that will help clarify things.

By the way, water and oil are not "Incompatible", as the clue says. Sometimes they separate out in two layers and sometimes they are mixed together, as in an emulsion. Take, for example, milk.

okanaganer 2:15 AM  

@Anoa Bob, it's worth coming here just for stories like yours.

I am usually on full alert for trickery on Thursday, or as I like to call it, Thurebusday. Seeing the note on the NYT site, I downloaded both the PDF and the Across Lite, and the lines on the PDF made everything quite straightforward. I would really welcome an upgrade of AL that can handle such fancy grid variations and permutations.

As soon as I had BANANAS-------, I thought the rebus theme was going to be 'SPLIT'! (You know: BANANAS [SPLIT] / [SPLIT] SCREENS, or something.) Which it actually was, kind of.

Ellen S 3:17 AM  

I agree with @Okanaganer: Great story @Anoa Bob. Maybe you or somebody goes back far enough to tell me where I'm going wrong on 18A. In the 50s we got a TV okay, but it was black-and-white. My father got a color TV sometime in the 60s. My mother got a color TV in 1973 so she could watch the Watergate hearings in all their glory. I don't think a COLORTV was a fixture in the 50s. We were not rich but I didn't think we were that far behind.

Other than that I thought it was fun because I got to try out the rebus function on Puzzazz. No circles giving away the rebus or causing confusion. Just the dark bars everyone is describing as appearing in the print version. And it let me put the whole word WATER in the lower part in letters that actually were readable.

jae 4:35 AM  

OK, after reading xwordinfo I realized my intense dislike of this puzzle is totally the fault of the PDF printout which I was encouraged to use.  In the PDF I printed out there were black boxes with an X in the center in each of the circled squares in the AcrossLite version. That is, the "heavy bar" and rebus squares were identical and there were no heavy bars.   I got it but it was tough for me.  The MAITRE D area was the last to fall.  Still trying to parse how AT A TIME maps on to together.   I'm sure it will come to me eventually, so please don't tell me. 

I think if the "heavy bars" had been apparent I may have liked it.  But no.....

Do I need to update  Adobe?

@Anoa Bob -- Same training at RTC Great Lakes in '65.  I think they were preparing us for being torpedoed.  I too was trying to make sense of the  odd square pattern across the center. 

Article1 Clement1 MaitreD 4:37 AM  

@Ellen S
Yes, we didn't get COLORTV till mid-to-late 60s I think and was shocked to see The Wizard of Oz turned into color when Dorothy landed, having seen the film only in Black and WHite for umpteen years!

I got the OIL and WATER rebi
but fretted as to what LKTROL
WMTR was supposed to mean, spell out, etc as my printed out version had little boxes with ? marks inside.

Yes, ambitious and crazy and interesting.
Tho I started with ?LAMP and didn't realize the ? needed to be OIL.
but then light came on, ET VOILA!

MAITRE D clue was the hardest one for me to parse.

Liked seeing King Harald, having just learned about him last week with the whole BLUETOOTH thing. Fun when you get to put new knowledge into action.

I feel a bit sorry that this puzzle didn't get @Rex's full attention bec he was wowed by another. Each puzzle sort of deserves it's own day in court
(or whatever mixed metaphor belongs here!)
But that's life.

John Child 5:47 AM  

I liked this! Something different; looked hard but really wasn't. In the iPad app the circles mark the division between the two words of the long downs, and the not-straight line and circles looked like bubbles at the oil-water interface. Charming.

The six 15-letter downs alternate 8 letters / 7 letters and 7/8 too. For all that theme constraint, the fill is excellent even with lots if short stuff. Very nice job.

James Dean 5:51 AM  

One of the worst NY Times puzzles ever. Nothing clever about it, no interesting cluing, no commonality to any clues or answers, just drudgery. Fifteen minutes I'll never have back.

Danp 5:59 AM  

I have never associated ACCOST with ask. Can anyone offer a sentence where the two are interchangeable?

Glimmerglass 7:10 AM  

I agree with @ jae. The problem was not with the construction but with the PDF printout. I got little boxes with question marks in them everywhere. This goofy feature meant different things in different places. The top three meant OIL; the bottom three WATER. OK, but why have any fancy boxes at all? -- it's just a Thursday rebus. The "dividing line" (which as Rex points out, should have been a straight line) had the same goofy question marks. The whole typography was bad anyway, because the question mark graphic filled almost the whole square, forcing me to write over it.

Tita 7:55 AM  

Fun!! I had the circles everywhere, and kept wondering what it was that was not rendered properly - I thought maybe hte grid was physically split along that 'mixing line'.
But no matter, I figured it out, drew little drops of oil or water (I LOVE a rebus!)

I was at the wedding of my friend, almost 20 years ago. I am a mere one year older thna he and his bride.
The banter at my table was hte ususal "How do you know the happy couple?".

I told their friends about how we grew up next door to each other. And in fact, for the moon landing (one of the most exciting events in my tehn very young life), we went next door because they had COLORTV.
One of the 'youngsters' (probably 5 years younger than me) said
"How cool that you remember the advent of COLORTV!"

@Anoa - what a story!

I agree wth @Ellen S - it's a 60's thing.

Great fun, Mssrs. Barany & Shteyman! Thanks for a clevr Thursday.

AliasZ 7:57 AM  
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AliasZ 8:02 AM  
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AliasZ 8:04 AM  

@jae, Glimmerglass et al. who think that when you click "Print" on the main puzzles page what you get is the PDF, you would be dead wrong. The blocks with the question marks, behind which you can see nothing, is the product of the NYT's own lousy electronic version. Even though the note strongly suggests to use the PDF in order to see the graphics properly displayed, they make you do some serious detective work to find the damned PDF, but here it is. You have to click "Browse the whole archive" under the LATEST PUZZLES tab, which gives you a list of all recent puzzles with a choice of Play, Across Lite and PDF. And there it is. What I will never understand is why the NYT removed the PDF link from the main puzzles page in the first place, especially since PDF is specifically recommended in many cases. Some Bizarro world logic there.

Carola 8:19 AM  

Very pleasing. Like @August West, I got TINFOIL right away, looked at 36A and filled that in, and then went on the hunt for more oil and water droplets. I liked how the layout of the two grid layers were also "incompatible" with each other. Overall very fun to fill in - BANANAS, MAITRED, WHEELIE, TRANCES, LIBRETTI, ET VOILA...

loren muse smith 8:19 AM  

First off – congrats to George and Michael – how 'bout those two triple fifteens *and* a rebus??!! Talk about pushing the envelope – this has to be the first rebus with five letters (and not a picture, like ampersand)?

I solved the entire puzzle, and, like so many others, felt like I hadn't understood it entirely because my AcrossLite version had circles and not bars.

@Anoa Bob – Nice little tidbit of info I'll file away in case I need it in the future. I wish I could say "When I was in USN boot camp. . ."

@joho and @chefwen – you got your rebus!

Serendipity – two days ago, I was subbing middle school English. In one class, we were reading Diary of Anne Frank, and TOILET WATER was there. Lots of snickering, of course. I explained what it was and even remembered that Mom had some TOILET WATER in Chattanooga. Unfortunate linguistic turn of events for that stuff, huh? FWIW – I've said here before – I say "commode." TOILET feels ickier than "commode."

NESS again! (And ARRIVEDERCI!) Go figure.

I loved ET VOILA. The ET just made it that much better.

I'm not a math person, so I just felt so smart to put in "ration" for PERIOD, thinking it was a fancier, mathier way to say "ratio." GGGGG

(Speaking of GGGG – shout out to Chen on 9D. I still stare off into space and think about that one, Jeff. Amazing, and I *never* UUUU that word unless I mean it. Just the CCCCC homophonic triumvirate was enough to make me marvel.)

The Case of the Travelling Apostrophe
MAITRE' D
'MAITRE D
MAIT'RE D
MAITRE D' There.

TUBA – how funny – my daughter and I watched live streaming last night as her college roommate played a TUBA at the Kennedy Center in a "Merry TUBAChristmas"
Concert. It was a hoot.

George, Michael – ULTRA cool.

dk 8:19 AM  

Holy molarity! Leave it to George to give us a chemistry lesson and a puzzle. Oil is held in suspension in water and never really mixes. Ask anyone in Louisiana. Or, take another look at the midsection of the puzzle.

Rant section. Can you believe BP's ads in the NYT? I guess they lied (again) when they said:sorry for the mess. Villainizing victims is a sport-I guess

Emulsifier (or a type of emulsifier (e.g., egg yolk)) as the middle rebus letters would have made this a great puzzle. That said I am happy enough and I dislike rebus puzzles as a rule.

Some of the comments suggest this puzzle is overly complicated…. if you knew George you would know he can not help himself :)

������ (3 Stars)

i am not a robot 8:25 AM  

Concept: brilliant. = 10


Cluing: original,bit easy-ish = 8


Layout: forceful = 9


Other factors: unexcusable difference (and non-sense) of computer format. = 5

Overall = 8.0

Susan McConnell 8:33 AM  

Same experience as @Anoa Bob...with regard to the puzzle, not the rifle spinning. Yikes!

This puzzle left me quoting Maxwell Smart: "Missed it by *that* much..."

Beagle lover 8:36 AM  

I have the Times delivered. The print version doesn't have exes anyplace. I just filled in whatever answers I knew. After I noticed the black lines going across I got a few more answers. The puzzle on Rex's blog have different numbers. It looks like a different puzzle. I can't wait til Mon. So I can feel smart again!

cacjac 8:52 AM  

Don't like gimmicks usually, but once I got upper oils, it came into focus; eventually was Tuesday-like. I agree with those who liked the 15-letter words.
Disagree w/ comment KeyArena was a gimme(arena, yes, but Key?).
Danp: If you saw our state rep get asked about his vote recently against gay marraige in Illinois(by my wife, while at the mall) you might have got accosts.








cascokid san 8:54 AM  

1:20, 2 google one error where I had ICE(tea)/SEA(tea) instead of (WATER). At that point I had one OIL and one WATER rebus, so tea seemed OK. I was on the lookout for wine, next.

Magmic interface used bubbles/circles to represent the interface. Brilliant! Captures the immiscibility perfectly. If you don't believe me, shake your salad dressing sometime.

Too bad immiscible was neither clue nor solution.

Z 8:55 AM  

This is a fantastic puzzle. Once again, it looks like technical issues diminished the experience for the computer solvers.

Thanks @DK for explaining the water and oil thing a bit more. I thought @Retired_Chemist would do it, but he took a pass.

Eau de Toilette sounds better, but wouldn't have given us the rebus.

Re: COLOR TV: Wikipedia says, "Although all-electronic color was introduced in the U.S. in 1953, high prices and the scarcity of color programming greatly slowed its acceptance in the marketplace. The first national color broadcast (the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade) occurred on January 1, 1954, but during the following ten years most network broadcasts, and nearly all local programming, continued to be in black-and-white. It was not until the mid-1960s that color sets started selling in large numbers, due in part to the color transition of 1965 in which it was announced that over half of all network prime-time programming would be broadcast in color that fall. The first all-color prime-time season came just one year later." The "fixture" part of that clue seems a bit early.

Why did I think LIMED had an "n" in it? Apparently because I'm mixing up my fine art and my gardening.

John Child 8:58 AM  

The clue "Fruits or nuts" for BANANAS is wonderful.

joho 9:03 AM  

I, too, printed out the puzzle as instructed and got the little squares with Xes in them. So I went back to solve on the print out with circles. Such an odd experience because I got all the rebus squares for oil and water and filled in rest correctly but had no clue what was really going on! Across the middle I've got WATER and OIL spelled out and then in some other spots I've got those words in a rebus square. Very confusing!

Mohair Sam 9:06 AM  

Rex's write-up jogged an old memory. Whenever we'd have aches and pains my mother would tell us she'd prepare a HOTWATERBAG, to which my father would invariably say: "It's not a bag, it's a bottle."

Like many above I thought just hitting print on the puzzle page would give me pdf, and was confused by the wierd output. So I went back to acrosslite and solved as a normal rebus puzzle - seemed like a medium Thursday that way. Only upon reading Rex did I realize there was more to the story. A very nice Thursday puzzle, btw, the only confusion was in the computer formatting.

Thanks @AliasZ for the tip on getting to pdf. Much appreciated.

After completing I stared at 26d for about five minutes trying to figure out what a Mait Red was. Had to come here to find out how incredibly dumb I am. And finally, color TV is indeed from the 1950's, but it did not become affordable for most until the '60s.

r.alphbunker 9:11 AM  

Normally one doesn't expect crosswords and science to mix but George Barany and friends have figured out how to do it.

Does the lack of top/bottom symmetry have something to do with the theme? The top and bottom halves retain their identity (do not mix) if the puzzle is turned 180 degrees.

And is that an oil rig platform under COLORTV above the underground oil pipe over LAYER?

Are the black squares a spectogram of something?

jburgs 9:21 AM  

I had to sleep on this one but finally finished error free this morning.
Like others, I could not figure out what the non rebus circles were for in the middle (I solved on paper printed from acrostic so had no dark lines or other things people were speaking of. It didn't occur to me until coming here that the circles denoted the first letters of the second answer in the column. I had got that the answers were stacked early on at SLRTATE so knew that the answers were two words. If I had known the significance of the circles it would only have helped me a bit.

Found a lot of the the cluing very tricky. Others above have already mentioned some. ACCOSTS and ATATIME really bother me. I think they would have been impossible to divine without a LOT of crosses.

The clues for AWE and SHY really held me back for a long time. HOTWATERBAG was dumb in my opinion as well.

Proud to have been able to muddle through without any errors.

jberg 9:23 AM  

@Beagle lover--Wow, I hadn't noticed that! None of the downs that form the second half of a 15 are numbered in the online version (at least, the one that Rex posted). I don't know how those using that version figured out what the clues were. In the paper, it all works fine --and you get pictures of nude performance art on the Brookline Bridge, back in 1968 (when my parents had a COLOR TV, but I was happy with B&w) as a bonus.

Almost DNF -- I was fixated on a vehicle, or maybe a latrine, for 48D, MAITRE D'; but once I sussed that Hitchcock's title wasn't a movie, it fell into place.

Whoever asked: if you pick things up three AT A TIME, you are picking up three together.

@ACME, that last HARALD was clued as King of Denmark, this one of Norway. Some of them, including ol' Bluetooth, were both. But HARALD V is king today (we missed the chance for another RRN here!)

More generally -- I did like the theme, not at all bothered by the water-oil boundary being a bib blobby, and loving the TOILET WATER linking the two halves. Personally, I liked the thematic symmetry, as well. The only nit is that OIL is usually hidden in a totally different meaning (except OIL LAMP), but WATER is always water. It probably can't be helped -- the only possibility I can think of is SWAT ERASERS, which would be hard to clue. The concept was very nice, and must have been incredibly complex in the making.

retired_chemist 9:26 AM  

I tried briefly to make LKTROL WTMR into something like meniscus, obviously failing.

Tita 9:33 AM  

Also meant to say that @Rex's mention of the terminal "i's"...
I remember reading something by Will Shortz about challenges in constructing puzzles in other languages...

Italian plurals are made with "i" (or "e".
Reduces the opportunities for those pesky Plurals of Convenience.

Anyway, you reminded me that I have looked for that article recently, and can't find it - anyone recall it?

Uma 9:33 AM  

@John Child. The IPAD bubble comment finally got the randomly circled squares to make sense. BUBBLES!

Carnac the Magnificent 9:53 AM  



"Tin Foil"





What do you put on a squeaking tinf?

Jim Finder 9:54 AM  

AliasZ, thanks for explaining why I couldn't find the PDF link! I knew I had used it in the past.

Cheerio 10:00 AM  

I don't understand the clue for 14A. Why is ARR the answer to Times column?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:06 AM  

I did the puzzle as God intended, in the newspaper. :>)) And I loved it!

@Cheerio - Except that it is the first word of the clue and thus automatically capitalized, it would have been "times column", as in the ARRival times listing at the airport.

pmdm 10:07 AM  

"We'd need a solid line across the grid to get it right, but instead we've got this alternating jagged thingie which is visually wrong." Not really. Try to think creatively.

Think of an oil slick on the ocean. The motion of the water can break up the slick into individual oil blobs. And because of the waves in the ocean, some blobs will be on top of a wave, and some will be between waves. So the paper puzzle accurately depicts how an oil slick might look like on an ocean far out from the shore.

"The mirror symmetry with the rebuses was a let down. Once I'd noticed it up top, I tried it down below, and sure enough, the WATER square was in the perfect mirror symmetry position. What is the point of this? " I am perhaps mistakenly perplexed by this comment. My memory, which certainly is not infallible, tells me that in past write-ups for puzzles containing rebuses, when the rebuses were unsymmetrical the comments bemoaned the lack of symmetry. I'm curious: is my memory misleading me or is there a certain inconsistency?

The following is well documented but the younger among us may not be aware of the following. During the conversion to color TV, the FCC demanded that color broadcasts be able to be displayed on older non-color TVs. The networks submitted competing technology to the FCC which ultimately approved the technology developed by NBC. CBS had a temper tantrum and refused to broadcast in color using its competitor's technology. This helps explain why color television was so slow to invade TV outside of the NBC programming. The combination of the higher price of TVs and the lack of color programming available greatly hindered the sales of the new color sets. And thus Americans were saddled until the advent of HDTV with a picture resolution inferior to that used in the European systems.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Loved it!

AliasZ 10:27 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. I found nothing wrong with the symmetrical placement of the rebus squares. It reminds me of all the negative remarks when they are not symmetrically placed, which only proves, damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Once again, when you print out the puzzle from the "Print" link on the puzzle page, It. Is. Not. The. PDF. This is the PDF. Looks different, doesn't it? Each part of the double Down clues gets its own number so the number of down clues goes up to 66 instead of 57, and the acrosses to 73 instead of 64.

Some of the clues were above-Thursday tough, namely "Two- or four-seater" which, after no car-related answer popped in, I wanted to be "usher." MAITRE D' was brilliant. Also, the "Times column" which I wanted to be some abbr. of Editorial, Article, Obituary, Arts & Ent., etc. ARR -- oh, airport times column! Very clever. Same with "It may come in loose-leaf form": notebook? manuscript? I did not get it until TEA was already filled in. "Fruit or nuts" for BANANAS was a stroke of genius. My kind of clues. The one clue Messrs. Barany and Shteyman totally missed was for CLEMENTI. It would have been a perfect Thursday clue for 12D, not any more obscure than Pope CLEMENT I, and it would have eliminated the duplication of "I" entries.

Muzio CLEMENTI (1752–1832) was an Italian composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer. Born in Rome, he spent most of his life in England. He toured Europe numerous times, and it was on one of these occasions in 1781 that he engaged in a piano competition with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Influenced by Domenico Scarlatti's harpsichord school, by Haydn's classical school and by the stile galante of Johann Christian Bach, Clementi developed a fluent and technical legato style, which he passed on to a generation of pianists. He was a notable influence on Ludwig van Beethoven. Vladimir Horowitz developed a special fondness for Clementi's work and recorded many of his Sonatas along with shorter pieces. Here is one of them.

By the way, LIKE WATER AND OIL gets 347 million results, "like oil and water", 587 million results in Google search.

Blue Stater 10:34 AM  

The insanity continues, exacerbated by bad and utterly obscure answers (RIO NEGRO? Give me a break). Any time a candidate puzzle is too complicated to be properly represented in the software that's needed to solve it (as I read Rex's account, the print version didn't work all that well either), maybe, just maybe, that puzzle should be rejected.

I say again: this sort of thing is fine for Games magazine. It is altogether inappropriate for a general-circulation newspaper, even if done well, which this exercise was not.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Receiving the International New York Times (aka The Intl Herald Trib) we never receive themes or hints or even constructors of the puzzle. Upon receipt of a puzzle like this I usually discard it or wait until you post the solution to identify the absurd juxtapositioning of answers.

Z 10:47 AM  

@Alias Z - You forgot the quote marks. "Like oil and water" got 208,000 hits while "Like water and oil" got 1,280,000, six times as many.

Muzio Clementi 10:48 AM  

@AliasZ - Thanks for the shout-out. I don't think I am that well known, even to most Times readers.

Unfortunately, the use of my family name as a crossword answer might fail the "breakfast test" due to certain recent, sad events.

PapaLeroux 10:49 AM  

Like the puzzle but was confused by the "thing" that confused a lot of people.
Loved "bananas."
It was always "hot water bottle," never "hot water bag."
Wondered about "accosts." Go accost that cop how to get to Elm Street?? Nah.
Thanks @AliasZ for the PDF tip.

chefbea 10:50 AM  

great puzzle. Took a while to figure it out and I still couldn't parse maitred. Had to read the comments.

My captcha is all numbers and not blurred at all

Steve J 10:53 AM  

@jberg: At least in the Magmic app, the downs were clued like this:

Clue 1 / Clue 2

So, while there weren't independent numbers for the second downs, it was easy to pick up that there were two things going on.

I actually kind of prefer it without the numbers. Looking at the completed grid as it appeared on paper over at Xwordinfo, I think the numbers made picking up on the trick too easy. With the circles/bubbles, you had a bit of challenge in figuring out what was going on with the long downs.

Notsofast 10:54 AM  

Bizarre, and not fully realized. Me, not the puzzle. Okay, the puzzle too. But an interesting idea. Tip o' the hat for "Fruit or nuts" and "Two- or four- seater". I had fun.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 11:14 AM  

@Blue Stater: Ironic, but my PuzEatinSpouse knew Rio NEGRO, because she just read "State of Wonder", where the main character cruises along that river.

Just easin back and readin all the comments today. U folks are a real hoot. So was the puz, btw.

If I had a buck for every time I thought about all U crazy people, I'd think about y'all more often.

M&A

Two Ponies 11:18 AM  

Thursdays are like a box of chocolates ....

Liked this one a lot.

Hmm, two captcha words. Prompted by our robotic pimp from Mumbai yesterday?

Sandy K 11:20 AM  

I love a good rebus and this one did not disappoint. (We get the newspaper, so none of the problems others mentioned.)

Thought it was just right for a Thurs-puz...had some clever cluing and even tho the rebi were symmetrical, it wasn't That easy- eg- fRiER before BROILER, tap WATER before ICE WATER, and originally thought the theme was 'tide' due to 61D- LOW tide- but tideSKI got EXED-OUT...and then VOILA!

ULTRA ELATEd, PERIOD.

lawprof 11:34 AM  

Today's comments point out the extent to which the on-line version can (at least in some cases) differ from the newspaper version. This puzzle seemed to present very different solving experiences for those working in different media.

I do it the old fashioned way, in the paper, so I apparently did not have the advantage of seeing the rebus squares highlighted in some way. Nevertheless, this was a very satisfying solve. After an initial saran for TINFOIL, which slowed down the NW, the Aha! moment came with the reveal at 36A, when I was able to pick up [water]SKI. Then the water and oil squares separated quickly and it was over.

An interesting-looking grid, lots of crunchy fill and virtually no dross made this a fun Thursday. Good job Messrs Barany and Shteyman.

miriam b 12:13 PM  

Liposomes. Need I say more?

MikeM 12:35 PM  

If Elementi the First was ever a Pope I would have aced this friggin thing!

Downside of doing hardcopy: No Happy Pencil. No way to tell you are 100% correct.

LOVED this puzzle. I remember our fist color TV. My mom won it at a church rafflein 1966. The first show we watched was The Wonderful World of Disney

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Who remembers the plastic sheet with colors through it which was attached to the tv screen to simulate a color tv. And who also remembers the show Winky Dink where you placed the clear plastic sheet over the screen
and then drew objects on the screen with colored markers? I remember these items from the 50s. Am I getting old?

Mohair Sam 1:36 PM  

@masked and .....: Thanks. I couldn't figure why Rio NEGRO was a gimme here. Ann Patchett's wonderful book of course. Y'all oughta read it.

Gill I. P. 1:43 PM  

I just go to The NYT crossword page and hit print puzzle. No circles, no wavy lines, no nada other than a regular grid.
I enjoyed this puzzle but had a hard time figuring out the WATER/OIL. I thought the rebus would only be OIL but once LIKE WATER AND OIL revealed its head I YAZ WAHOOed.
I have never heard the term TOILET WATER. Or maybe I have and dismissed it. Like @Z it's Eau de Toilette. I mean really, what's that? Some scented water that had been floating in meadow muffins?
I just remember COLOR TV being green. Then you had to get up (gasp) and turn the knob so it was pinker....I kept my little black and white for years because the only thing I ever watched was I Love Lucy.
Good Thursday puzzle because the answers made me smile. I especially like TUBA TODDLER...images!

Bird 1:46 PM  

Agreed with @Rex that the idea is great, but execution not. I did like the puzzle though. Solved in the paper so I got the “alternating jagged thingie”. Perhaps solid lines above and below 36A would be a better representation of separate layers. I also would have liked it better if the OILs and WATERs were all aligned vertically as they are in 31D.

Didn’t catch on until I got to 31D. Had SARAN at 20A and thought something was up at 22A, but needed some more answers in the grid.

AT A TIME? ACCOSTS as clued?
BANANAS, WHEELIE and RAT FINK are nice.
Also wondering how CAPTAIN / LAST PASS, etc. are incompatible.

@Ellen S – Me too. No sure the clue for 18A is entirely accurate - to me, saying “fixtures” is like saying furniture. I’m sure everyone in the ‘50s had at least one piece of furniture in their living room, but I doubt they had a COLOR TV.

Anyone remember when stations played the national anthem before going off the air for the night?

Anyone remember the test patterns displayed when stations went off the air for the night?

Anyone remember when stations went off the air for the night?

I refreshed the captcha and got 2 numbers!

okanaganer 1:59 PM  

Re: getting the PDF version...a while ago I learned to NOT click the "Print" link on the main crossword page. Instead, go directly to the archive which has the link actually labelled "PDF".

I can't believe the NYT still puts up notices saying "we recommend to use the PDF" but then doesn't say where to go to find it.

mac 2:06 PM  

Nice Thursday, although it gave the rebus up a little too quickly for me, at tinfoil/recoils.

Funny words in the puzzle when you look back, like tuba toddler and Clement I, rat fink.

AliasZ 2:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AliasZ 2:22 PM  

TOILETWATER: Whose dog doesn't drink it?
HOTWATERBAG: try cleaning up the glass shards after a bottle explodes.

As I mentioned, I loved a lot of the cluing. Take the "A train" for BCD as an example.

But I don't want to get embrOILed in an argument while waiting at the TWA TERminal to visit and enjoy the unspOILed beauty of the IoWA TERritory. I wouldn't call LongfelloW A TERrible poet, but isn't "great" too narroW A TERm? Let me hop on my hydrofOIL and get out of here, but not without first offering this stormy scene from the opera TrOILus and Cressida by SIR William Walton.

Enjoy your Thursday.

jae 2:55 PM  

@AliasZ -- Thanks for the clearing up the PDF thing. I always print out using Across Lite and just assumed the Print Puzzle icon was PDF.

EdFromHackensack 3:21 PM  

I remember early TV where they signed off at night and the first shows in the morning were Modern Farmer and Sunrise Semester. I never watched them and I am unsure how I even remember their names

gifcan 3:22 PM  

I had a lot of fun with this puzzle, liked the BANANAS and SHRINKING clues.

The PDF version is an entirely different puzzle(thanks @AliasZ)! I printed the AcrossLite version and didn't have much trouble with it except I couldn't figure out what the circled letters across the middle meant.

I hesitated at PTA as as org., thinking them more as a group.

Yes, oil before water but then, one person's floor is another person's ceiling.

Laughed long and loud at @Bob Kerfuffle's comment, "I did the puzzle as God intended, in the newspaper"

This is always an entertaining blog with quick, witty, inteligent humor.

Thanks George and Mike, a great puzzle where the human concept is more clever than the computer program's ability to present it.

Lewis 3:57 PM  

@john child -- agree about the clue for BANANAS
@acme -- Me too! MAITRED was the hardest to parse for me.
@jberg -- what is a SWAT ERASER?
@anon1:20-- OMG! Winky Dink! Now the theme song is ear worming me.
@okanaganer -- I agree! Totally irresponsible of the Times.

I had a grand old time doing this puzzle. You know, that counts for more than anything else when I judge a puzzle.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Yes, the tinted plastic film to look like color tv! We had one--blue strip on top (sky?) and green on bottom for grass. Middle largest section: golden brown? Crazy life in NW Iowa.

jburgs 4:32 PM  

@okanaganer 1:59: Thanks for the tip on where to find the pdf. I tried to print then recalled what had happened to me some time ago when they rejigged the website. As it did today, when I print the puzzle in pdf, the page starts a third of the way down so that I only get a portion of the page. At the time I had this problem, I contacted the Times and they told me I was not the only one with the problem. They said that I had to download Acrostic and print from that so that is what I have been doing since. I have no idea why the pdf won't print properly for me. Up until they changed things it was my preferred option and would love to know how to rectify my problem. It is not a problem with my printer. It's weird because you would think that it would print a second page with the rest of the puzzle but it does not.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  


WTF? Did the regular newspaper have some kind of a line where the AcrossLite non-rebus circles were? I was completely stymied by that aspect of the puzzle. I still can't see any rhyme or reason with respect to why the non-rebus circles are where they are.

The actual answers were not tough once I stopped trying to make all of the circled squares into rebus squares.

This one was weird and stayed weird, for me. I thought it was an interesting idea.

gpo

Anonymous 5:32 PM  

Falstaff drank sack, a cheap white wine not ale. See 16 Across.

Jim Finder 6:23 PM  

Anon 1:20, I used to play Winky Dink too. Yes, we're getting old.

Why conceal your name?

Wikipedia 6:34 PM  

@Anonymous 5:32 - Falstaff Brewing.

David IN CA 7:19 PM  

Constructors really can't win on this blog, can they.

Perfect mirror symmetry in a rebus and you criticize that??? Just unbelievable.

What a fantastic puzzle. Took me forever to get it, and then it came together. Practically every single clue could be "worked on", compared to almost every other NYT puzzle these days where large numbers of clues I just have to ignore because they refer to some person I've never heard of.

And the oil and water don't mix - no one says the boundary between the two has to be a straight line.

Thanks G&M! Bring on some more!

Anonymous 9:07 PM  

I admire that this puzzle is fairly clean, despite the massive 7x3.5 corners with a rebus square and two rebus squares in the middle. Truly impressive work. Not my favourite theme but far from the worst (see Tuesday).

George Barany 9:31 PM  

Hello, Everyone!


We appreciate the many kind and thoughtful responses to this puzzle. It was quite an honor to be slated as the Thursday (read “gimmick”) puzzle just two days before the much-anticipated 100th birthday of crosswords, and like the rest of you, we can hardly wait to see what Will Shortz has in store for all of us. The fact that Will chose to run with this one, and applied his editorial magic to it, speaks to the staying power of crosswords, and to their constant evolution. When constructing this puzzle, we were well aware of the extensive use of bars in the rest of the puzzle world, but it is nonetheless a new step for the acknowledged gold standard puzzle in the paper of record.



Unfortunately, we cannot be as complimentary about the New York Times IT department, which seems to be behind the times (no pun intended) and having trouble keeping up with adventurous new formats. Over at xwordinfo.com, Jim Horne was able to devise an outstanding on-line solving experience, and Roy Leban’s team at Puzzazz handled our puzzle with no problems. While expressing our appreciation for the patience of on-line solvers who were able to get past the technical glitches at the Times Premium site, we also love the comment, not an exact quote, from someone who said that he solved the puzzle with pencil in the newspaper, as God intended.



Paraphrasing something once said about hockey, you came here for a crossword puzzle, and a chemistry lesson broke out. Yes, we know all about immiscibility, emulsions, micelles, liposomes, colloids, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, surface tension, menisci, liquid-liquid extractions, Rayleigh-Tomotiak instability, Langmuir-Blodgett films, etc., etc., but Will knows his audience and we respect that. Let’s head straight to the solution solution, as we originally envisioned it sans spurious circles at either the interface or telegraphing where the rebuses are supposed to be. We did our best to put together a schematic approximation of an important physical chemical concept within the constraints of a mid-week diversion.

Finally, we are pleased that many of our suggested clues were used verbatim or with minor tweaking by Will, and are reluctant to second-guess his judgment when he chose other directions [sorry Muzio CLEMENTI, it was not our intent for you to mutate into a little-known pope with a random Roman numeral]. Other clues of ours that did not make the final cut included: CAT: Spelling challenge to Terry Bradshaw, according to Hollywood Henderson;
ALE: It has a head and hops;
TEA: Some like it hot;
(water)SKI: One needs one to slalom
BANANAS: Woody Allen comedy in which Howard Cosell does play-by-play of a political assassination; and
KEY_ARENA: Storm center? (referring to the Seattle entry in the WNBA).



GB and MS

travis 9:39 PM  

lol. I actually thought the electronic version was very well done. My program didn't display any circles[it usually does at least on weekdays if there are circles], and I opened the pdf by finding the link on the Wordplay blog being careful not to read the blog from prior experience. When I started solving I noticed all the numbers were different and had feelings of dread. But then I noticed the double clues for the downs and I just used the think black lines on the pdf for reference.

Questinia 9:48 PM  

@ George Barany
Thanks for the "solution". I did the puzzle on the NYT's site and I knew I was missing something good in the grid design!
At least I didn't DNF despite just filling in "O" for OIL and "W" for WATER. The NYT's must know their IT limitations.

sanfranman59 10:05 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 7:08, 6:13, 1.15, 93%, Challenging
Tue 7:27, 8:12, 0.91, 21%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:28, 9:56, 1.05, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 24:56, 17:56, 1.39, 93%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:30, 3:49, 1.18, 95%, Challenging (11th highest ratio of 208 Mondays)
Tue 4:56, 5:09, 0.96, 35%, Easy-Medium
Wed 6:29, 5:58, 1.09, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 16:33, 10:24, 1.59, 95%, Challenging (11th highest ratio of 208 Thursdays)

ahimsa 10:25 PM  

Fun puzzle! Thanks to the constructors for both the puzzle and for coming here to post comments. When I saw H20 in that blue/yellow solution image then I smiled because that's what I used. (WATER? too long to fit!)

Questinia, I like your idea to just write W or O. Efficient! But solving on paper I think I'd forget that it was a rebus square. :-)

I learned my lesson last week (printed the .PUZ version, never saw the note) so this week I was careful to print the PDF version.

What's funny is that when I saw the clue "Incompatible" then I immediately thought "like oil and water" And it was even the right length. But I'm glad I didn't write it in since it was actually the phrase LIKE WATER AND OIL. Was that reversal done intentionally, using a less common version of the phrase to make it a bit harder? If so, then it worked for me.

Thanks to M&A for the reminder of how I knew Rio NEGRO. I have indeed read "State of Wonder" (also "Bel Canto") but I did not put 2 & 2 together until I came here.

I think HOT WATER BAG may be a regional thing? I hear bottle a lot more often but I think I've read or heard bag somewhere.

OISK 11:18 PM  

Really liked this puzzle; this has been a nice week for me. That I am a chemist may have added to the enjoyment a bit, but this was really clever, well clued and engaging - one of my favorites in quite some time. Surprised about the objection to "Rio Negro," which I don't think is obscure at all, is a major tourist destination for travelers to the Amazon; Manaus, the town located where the Negro meets the Amazon is on my "must visit" list.

Mike who solves the next day 1:08 AM  

Great puzzle.

I wasn't bothered at all by the oil/water mixing at the interface. Whenever I draw a sketch in a chemical eng class of a liquid in a container, I make the top wavy, ~~~~~~~~ ,
so seeing some surface waves seemed natural.

Steve J 1:18 AM  

@George Barany: I'm crushed that your CAT clue didn't make it in. That would have been one of the best clues in the history of clues (and that is one of my favorite sports quotes/insults ever).

Cheerio 10:41 AM  

@ Bob Kerfuffle - Thanks for the explanation. Clever.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

Wow I loved this puzzle, but reading all of these comments was extremely frustrating with people complaining that the line in the middle should of separated the puzzles evenly, and that the circles didn't make sense. Clearly no one here has heard of the concept of EMULSION. There are droplets of each phase intermixed with the opposite phase, which is a common occurence (picture a vinegarette salad dressing). I did it on Magmic and it was executed great. Had a really fun time solving this puzzle and it was extremely creative. Most interesting puzzle I've done in a while.

Rachel Matteson 2:05 AM  

The puzzle is quite tricky. I am amazed that you were able to solve it. I'd like to try answering other puzzles of this difficulty level. :)
- Dryers-Loaders-Blenders.com

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Your words are very strange to me rebus PDF interface. I just opened the paper and solved the puzzle. It was a good one.

spacecraft 12:08 PM  

I got the two top OIL rebi, but not much else. The grid as printed in OFL's blog is not numbered the same way my paper copy was. Thus 41d for me was NEGRO, which (I guess) matches the clue--in my paper--an Amazon feeder. But that word in OFL's grid is 38d: "Rebel yell." Really? I don't doubt that many rebels yelled that word...but REALLY? See why I got so confused?

Too much. All this stop/start, rebus here/no rebus there weirdness. You put a hairpin turn on a NASCAR track, and I crashed.

6's full of 2's.

rain forest 2:23 PM  

Loved it! Got the mid-North and the two OIL rebi, then the middle gridspanner, and noticed the numbering where numbers don't usually appear. This made the double downers apparent, and so I actually breezed through this, relatively speaking. Good cluing throughout, and the wavy center really did simulate an oil-water interface.

I think Hollywood Henderson actually said "Terry Bradshaw is so dumb, he couldn't spell CAT if you spotted him a C and an A". Not very nice, but pretty funny.

4's full of 3's. Lose.

Solving in Seattle 2:30 PM  

No time today to read anything except Rex's writeup and Syndyland.

Loved this puz! A great Thursday rebus. Thanks, George and Michael.

Broke the code with TINF- at 20A and LIKE--- at 36A, but wrote in LIKEOILANDWATER first, then had to swap them as 41D had to be NEGRO.

At 2D, I tried to figure out how to cram ARTICLE1section8 into 15 boxes, then realized there was a 45D and wrote in WHEELeys - later changed to IES which gave me SEAwater at 71A.

(I need @Diri to pat me on the back so I don't injure myself.)

Two pair. Loser.

Off to the golf course - Sunny and 52 today.

Go Hawks!

DMG 4:06 PM  

The grid I got looked pretty standard. No circles. No heavy black lines. Thus, it took me a bit to see that some of the downs consisted of stacks of unrelated words. But I finally figured it out, and got the rebus thing from TINFOIL, tho I hesitated there because somewhere in my past it was drummed into me that the stuff is made of aluminum, not tin. Other problem was MAITRED, but coming here showed me it was correct-a person, not an unknown vehicle!

Full house, 8's and 4's.

Waxy in Montreal 4:46 PM  

Guess syndiland papers (not paying their rent to the NYT?) weren't supplied with circles, dark-line dividers and the like but that didn't really affect solving very much.

Once the theme became clear, only difficulty came while spinning wheel(ie)s trying to identify a bogus third rebus in 52A, what I thought must be Hot Water BOTTLE.

Really enjoyed @Barany's original clues - too bad puzzlemeister Will saw fit to bowdlerize them. Wouldn't it be neat if all constructors visited this blog to provide similar nuggets?



Dirigonzo 4:57 PM  

I noticed the strange numbering ing the middle of the grid before I picked up on the rebus down in the bottom right corner. Once the WATER became apparent I was able to see the long revealer (which sounds right to me just the way it is) and went looking for the OIL. The double rebus in TOILETWATER eluded me for too long. I'm surprised nobody (@m&a, I'm looking at you) devised clues for the double down answers; how about it @SiS - you got anything?

Puzzles like this make me even more appreciative of being a syndi-solver where programming problems and computer limitations are not a problem. (I can create enough problems on my own, thank you.)

Have I mentioned that my home town used to bill itself as "The BROILER Capital of the World"?

Cary in Boulder 5:29 PM  

Hand up for Winky Dink! Watched it faithfully on my b&w TV. Ditto for the faux-color plastic covering (although I hadn't thought of that in at least a gazillion years). My folks never had color until after I left home. My wife and I didn't get one until the mid-to-late '70s when I decided, "Enough already! I want to watch the baseball playoffs in color."

As to the puzzle: It was a Thursday. It was a rebus. I finished. That makes it a great day.

I was initially intimidated by the six puzzle-spanning downs, but eventually caught on. Somehow pulled CLEMENTI out of a very murky recess of my mind with nary a cross. Thought TINFOIL would've been funnier if it'd been clued as some kind of hat. Say, "Chapeau for wackos?"

Skipped over a lot of paragraphs above, kvetching about the online problems. A good opportunity for us Syndilanders to razz (or at least RIB) the pros mercilessly.

Glad to see George B. give his side of the story. Good work, man. I enjoyed it a lot. With all the recent droning on about crappy fill, most of this popped nicely. Would have loved the original CAT clue. Didn't that story get mentioned here a couple days ago? Especially timely, as I'll always think of it whenever I hear these so-called analysts drone on with their drivel about the run-up to the Super Bowl.

Ginger 7:47 PM  

Another reminisce about very early color TV was "Disney's Wonderful World of Color". At one time it was virtually the only color programming available. It was an hour long ad for buying a color TV.

Took a loooooong time to catch on, but once I did it fell into place. Really liked it, especially all the different LAYERs.

Thank you @George Garany for the original 'solution'. Also, for the original clues. Your comments about your processes (pun intended) were most interesting! In the past, I've always enjoyed reading your posts.

My boat is 9's over 8's.

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

Hahaha! Great one!

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