Stylish 1960s luxury coupe / THU 3-13-14 / Giant novelist 1952 / Country calls itself abode of peace / Boston legend Phil to fans / Title character from village of Highbury 1815 / 11th-century founder of Scholasticism / One of vertices of summer triangle / 2000 Richard Gere title role

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Constructor: Alex Vratsanos

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: COLOR BY NUMBER (13D: Kid's art activity … or something seen four times in this puzzle's solution?) — a color sits next to a number four times, just like the clue says.


Word of the Day: AVANTI (17A: Stylish 1960s luxury coupe) —
The Avanti is a sports coupe based at the Studebaker Avanti produced by a series of entrepreneurs. After the closure of Studebaker's South Bend factory on December 20, 1963, cars with the name Avanti were initially produced from left-over Studebaker components and later from General Motors and Ford chassis and engines. These are not replica cars, for they were made by Avanti Motor Company. They have created a following by some enthusiasts and collectors. (wikipedia)
• • •

This definitely challenged me in places, but the theme wasn't one of them. I pieced together the NW and then hacked at the SW for a bit before moving into the middle with ICBM, RYN, and POOR, which turned out to be all that I needed to get COLOR BY NUMBER (I thought it was "numbers," but it turns out the singular is more common). I looked up and saw RED next to SIX and thought "… OK, three more to go." I thought / hoped maybe the number / color pairings would have some rationale—Black/Eight had me thinking maybe there was a pool-ball theme. But no. Arbitrary. Completely. And the numbers aren't even hidden inside other numbers. Same with the colors. They're just … there. Naked. So it's a fine concept, clever in its way, but there's something kind of dry and (as I say) arbitrary about the theme execution. BLACK OPS and EIGHT BIT are at least nice answers. The rest are pretty dull. Fill is not abysmal, but it's not flashy or imaginative either. DONG made me laugh, so that's something.


You can see all the short junk, so I won't enumerate that. I think the constructor is pretty young, but the grid is creaky with old names. Hardly a thing from the 21st century. Again, BLACK OPS stands out. I have to say one thing about baseball, and that is, SFO is not an abbreviation in baseball. In airports, yes. But on baseball scoreboards, absolutely, positively, without a doubt, no. I see no way in which that clue, 22D: SFO opponent in the 2012 World Series, is not an error. DET, yes, you'd see that on scoreboards. SFO, no. No you would not.

I had two mistakes that held me up, one major, one minor. EYRE for EMMA cost me a lot of time. Everything below ESPO was just dead until I worked back up from underneath with the help of the color/number theme. Later, as I was (mostly) killing the eastern hemisphere, I mysteriously wrote in STOP IT for STEP IN at 31A: Start to break up a fight, say. This slowed me up for sure. The SE corner (where I finished), went down almost instantly. Fastest quadrant I can ever remember doing. 20 seconds tops. Weird. Wish I could find that magic more often.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


The Bard 12:08 AM  

King Lear , Act I, scene I

KING LEAR: Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.
Give me the map there. Know that we have divided
In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age;
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburthen'd crawl toward death. Our son of Cornwall,
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife
May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy,
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love,
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn,
And here are to be answer'd. Tell me, my daughters,--
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state,--
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Goneril,
Our eldest-born, speak first.

GONERIL: Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
As much as child e'er loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

CORDELIA: [Aside] What shall Cordelia do?
Love, and be silent.

LEAR: Of all these bounds, even from this line to this,
With shadowy forests and with champains rich'd,
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads,
We make thee lady: to thine and Albany's issue
Be this perpetual. What says our second daughter,
Our dearest Regan, wife to Cornwall? Speak.

REGAN: Sir, I am made
Of the self-same metal that my sister is,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short: that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.

And yet not so; since, I am sure, my love's
More richer than my tongue.

KING LEAR: To thee and thine hereditary ever
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom;
No less in space, validity, and pleasure,
Than that conferr'd on Goneril. Now, our joy,
Although the last, not least; to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interess'd; what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

CORDELIA: Nothing, my lord.

KING LEAR: Nothing!

CORDELIA: Nothing.

KING LEAR: Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

CORDELIA: Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth:
I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less.

KING LEAR: How, how, Cordelia! mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes.

CORDELIA: Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

jae 12:14 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Subtle clever theme and reveal,  pretty smooth grid, fun Thurs.   Took me a couple of minutes of staring before I saw the theme.  

Now what color is TAN again?

Wanted to put a J somewhere in the Rembrandt answer.

First thought on the teal clue was some sort of duck.

@Rex - me too for SFO????

Rated X I believe for the nude scene with Brenda Vaccaro.   ( Voight is outstanding in Showtime's Ray Donovan).

No erasures (other than misspellings) and no WOEs.  Liked it.

wreck 12:16 AM  

I couldn't make heads or tails of the theme - even after getting the reveal. The clues weren't just hard -- they were usually just wrong in many cases. I agree with Rex about "SFO" -- even if the answer was to match World Series team's home airports, San Francisco is "SFO" -- Detroit is "DTW!" I hated this puzzle and basically quit 3/4 of the way through. I had no desire to google 15 times to finish.

T. Kashuba 12:29 AM  

If SFO is correct, then the Yankees are LGA?

Anonymous 12:33 AM  

I don't care much for Rex's thought that the pairings of color and number are arbitrary. I say big whoop.

Elaine2 1:14 AM  

I'm with @wreck -- really, REALLY didn't like this puzzle. Didn't get the theme, clues weird, also gave up to avoid massive googles.

Hope Friday is better.

wreck 1:25 AM  

A "Mashie Niblick" is actually a 7 iron.

"Dirty Dog" = "MEANIE"???? "Dirty dog" implies someone who cheats -- not a mean person.

Anonymous 1:35 AM  

My God -- is it just me or have the NYTimes puzzled just stunk this badly lately? Maybe that's why I only bother about once or twice a week anymore. Time to cancel the subscription? Frankly better things to do.....

Steve J 2:05 AM  

I did not understand the theme as I was solving ts. Didn't fully understand it when I read the explanation, either. I saw some colors around the grid, but somehow I never noticed they were adjacent to numbers. So this was basically a Thursday themeless for me.

Also, I didn't remember COLOR BY NUMBER; I only remember doing paint by number as a kid.

Those things aside, I enjoyed solving this. Found someo of the cluing clever, and I liked fill like EIGHT-BIT, KEEL OVER and PAYOLA.

As a resident of San Francisco, I'm completely agreed that SFO is an airport, not a baseball team.

Colin 2:11 AM  

This was pretty dismal. I finished, but with some lucky crosses. Can anyone explain what RHE (line score) means? How about the clue on PAYOLA? (radio activity?)

I might feel less dissatisfied with this puzzle if it didn't contain the latest instance of what is probably my most hated clue / answer: SEND for "Elate." I don't think anyone outside of a crossword puzzle has used "send" in this way since before I was born. Silly thing to gripe about, I know, but it keeps showing up and I'm afraid I'm going to permanently damage my eyes if I keep rolling them that hard!

Colin 2:16 AM  

(Nevermind about PAYOLA - I didn't realize it was once specific to the music industry. Good to know! Google didn't help with RHE, though.)

Colin 2:18 AM  

Ohhhh, Runs, Hits, Errors. Okay then. Carry on! Sorry for the triple post. I still stand by my comments on SEND, though. ;)

Masked and AnonymoUUs 2:18 AM  

I'm really diggin this theme idea. It's FLYBYNIGHT. It's AMARILLOBYMORNIN. it's NORTHBYNORTHWEST. It's RAISEDBYWOLVES. And mostly, it's OKBYME. Way to roll, AV.

The U's were kinda slim pickins, but let's accentuate the positives, here... the weejects were FIVEBYFIVE excellent. They rate the full bull-woot treatment:

* EDD. As in advanced ED spelling degree.
* RHE. Runs, hits, and edds.
* RYN. Runs, yards, and ninnyvans.
* NAV. Obvious better clue = "Van in reverse??"
* KTS. Other well-known gold units: BRS. NGGTS. MDLS. FLLNGS. STDNCRSSWRDS.
* OCH. Yes! The world NEEDA's a puz that dares to run the table: ACH, ECH, ICH, OCH, UCH.
* AGT. Opens things up for a future RDAGT. Or DRTDPS.

Ok, I know what y'all are startin to think. This here M&A dude is just some wise ass punk, that is givin this constructioneer and editeer a hard time over today's short fill. How can I make U see, how much I love the charm, the quirkiness, the novelty, the sheer joy of fresh desperation that these little jewels have bestowed upon m&e... Alas, I lacks the words to do such pure ecstacy justice... Thanx U just don't cut it.

It is like a RAE LES DET that III can never properly either illuminate or repay...


M by A.

Sam Cooke 2:35 AM  


Darling, you send me
I know you send me
Darling, you send me
Honest, you do, honest, you do
Honest, you do

Anoa Bob 2:36 AM  

Liked TORPOR, KEEL OVER & ENCLAVE, but I think the ambitious theme required too much compromise in grid design (very cramped in the middle) and fill (DRT, DPS, DET, etc.) to get it done. Can't recall ever seeing RHE in a puzzle (or anywhere else for that matter).

@Colin check this out:

You Send Me

chefwen 2:41 AM  

Didn't love it, didn't hate it, just kinda/sorta did it. No AHA, OOOH that was cute moments that I have come to expect on "tricky Thursday". Had to Google a couple of things, so a DNF here. RATS!

Jim Walker 4:45 AM  

There is no relationship on a golf course between level of difficulty and assigned par. Many par threes are more difficult to make par on than par fives on the same course. This is just as incorrect as SFO. A rather boring puzzle over all.

Davis 4:45 AM  

Pretty okay, not stellar. The ESPO/DONG crossing was Naticky for me--I wasn't sure which vowel went there. I also couldn't bring myself to put in MEANIE for "Dirty dog," because that just Did Not Seem Right.

So overall, a disappointingly slow and sticky Thursday for me.

JTHurst 4:58 AM  

I do not want to sound like sour grapes as I DNF, but I was very frustrated on clues I thought I knew. And I do not want to take Rex's job in critiquing puzzles as I am a neophyte but the clues and answers seemed forced to fit the theme. The flow of the puzzle was inconsistent and erose.

Not too hard a golf hole is 'An easy par" not a par three. Ask Tiger if the par three holes at WGC Cadillac were easy. (I guess you had to have a number there for the theme) I am sorry but you cannot Americanize Van Rijn it is like calling Beijing China, Peiking. Enough has been said about SFO and my trying to fit DTW in there was tough. SF, SD and TB are the only teams with two initials on field scoreboards. And when I got to women's shoe style and Jimmy Choos didn't feet I knew it was a DNF. And DPS, can anyone tell me is it a baseball reference or a jewel one.

But I learned a lot from the puzzle: summer triangle, founder of scholasticism, 1960s luxury coupe, Richard Gere as a gynecologist, and my next door neighbor, Brunei, is the 'abode of peace'. I am sure the Sultan came up with that name without populace consultation.

Most of all the puzzle allowed us to revisit the word 'tan'. Now I do not want to bring up the plethora of 'tan' qualifiers from yesterday but George Hamilton's tan does look like a good cup of English tea. Check him out in Godfather III as the lawyer and see if you don't agree.

John Child 5:04 AM  

Not terribly interested, and I didn't mind these short fill. I needed the EELS and the KTS and the ESTD to get going.

But I hated the clueing - toughened up, I suppose to make the puzzle hard enough. Well, it was hard enough all right for me, just not much fun. What @wreck said, except I hung in there.

Questinia 5:33 AM  

I'm sorry, Alex. Dirty dog, DONG, and SPERM do not pass the breakfast test.
It's also obvious how the colors around the grid subliminally encourage the solver to STEP IN, play Twister, KEEL OVER and make it RATED X with DR T who is beckoning "AVANTI, AVANTI". And did I mention NECTAR? Yoicks.

schmuzz 7:05 AM  

@JTHurst - baseball in double plays

eventually DNF for me - couldn't get DONG - oh my-
and the summer triangle reference

and my sister believes the snow will still be on the ground in DET for the home opener (boo SFO)

Moly Shu 7:41 AM  

Easy medium for me too. Agree with the SFO and easy par three detractors. Saw the TAN, and like @jae thought, here we go again. Overall good puzzle, maybe too easy for a Thursday. TORPOR was new for me, looks good in the grid, liked it a bunch

AliasZ 8:20 AM  

What a fine puzzle! I loved the consistency and symmetry of theme placement: color on the left, number on the right just like in the phrase, and 3-by-3 and 5-by-5. The cluing was just fine for a Thursday. I can hear the complaints if cluing were more straightforward: oh, this was too easy.

SFO: the clue did not suggest this was a scoreboard abbr. How ingenious to use an airport abbr. for a baseball team! It is called misdirection, people. Did we all get it? Yes, we did. QED.

RYN: Merriam-Webster under definition of Rembrandt has this: "(1606–1669) in full, Rembrandt Harmensz (or Harmenszoon) van Rijn (or RYN) Du. painter." The lack of "var." in the clue was perfect for a Thursday. Did we all get it? Yes, we did. QED.

MEANIE: All I could think of is Jimmy Cagney: "You dirty dog!" Did we all get it? Yes, we did. QED.

Clues are not definitions.

From Merriam-Webster:

clue noun

something that helps a person find something, understand something, or solve a mystery or puzzle

I liked the baseball references a couple of weeks before opening day: the aforementioned SFO-DET showdown of 2012, runs, hits and errors, double plays: Play ball!

I also liked RATED X, ENCLAVE, KEEL OVER, TORPOR, ANSELM and the Studebaker AVANTI.

I did not like OUTACT. Acting is not a horse race. Act out, yes, OUTACT, no. I did not know NAGEL, I also had VEIDT at first. NAV, the clock face III and OCH were also less than optimal, but the necessary glue that held this otherwise excellent puzzle together, as SPERM is the glue that holds all of us together.

Ding-DONG! The Witch is Dead.

Good one, Alex.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Why do people so often feel the need to quote large blocks of Shakespeare in their comments here (and have that be their entire comment)? Most of us are pretty facile with the Web.

Conrad 8:28 AM  

@T. Kashuba: No, the Mets are LGA. The Yankees would be JFK, I guess.

@Steve J: Color by number - 816,000 Google hits. Paint by number - 141,000,000 hits. So both are things but you're right that paint is much more common.

Suzy 8:34 AM  

best Picture in 1969 was Oliver--- rated G-- what am I missing??

Mohair Sam 8:46 AM  

Loved this puzzle (played medium-challenging here) until I read @Rex and all youse. Sheeze. But the solve was fun - nearly naticked at 30a/d, but guessed correctly that DENEB was part of the hitherto unknown Summer Triangle.

But yeah, SFO is just wrong, I was hung up for the longest time trying to think of the airport code for Detroit. And as one who hits woods and long irons a long way, but shanks anything inside a SIXIRON - the clue for 34D was just wrong.

In spite of the above, I thought the theme was very clever, there were several fun clues, I learned a little, nice mix of old and new, and enjoyed the solve - thanks Alex Vratsanos.

Hand up with @Rex for lost time with Eyre for EMMA.

So a few years ago we went to see Lear in one of those theater-in-the-round settings. Opening the last scene Lear is carrying CORDELIA's body from behind the audience. My wife has an aisle seat and gets accidentally kicked in the head by the dead daughter who looks up and whispers, "Sorry, are you OK?" Probably the first time that that sad scene drew a roar of laughter from the audience.

Andrew Morrison 8:49 AM  

Easy-med. EYRE for EMMA slowed me down, and until I read these comments RHE had me scratching my head. I get it, now, but thank goodness for easy crosses!

Also wanted RIJN so I couldn't figure out RYN until I caught the main clue.

In all, no complaints.

Pete 8:50 AM  

As a mathematician, I surely wish QED were used with more rigor. Attaching QED to a lame justification doesn't give it credibility, it's still a lame justification.

SFO is one thing, and one thing only, San Francisco International Airport. As such, it has no opponents, except maybe for LAX as a destination of choice for internationaly flights terminating on the west coast.

It's like saying that a PARTHREE is easy because it's shorter and easier to walk. That's a lame stretch to try to find a way, any way, to justifiy a bad clue. Attaching QED to the statment does nothing.

Do the Vietnamese have a joke - Is that some long DONG in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

Pete 8:52 AM  

@Suzy - See item 16A it the FAQ at the top of Rex's blog.

loren muse smith 8:56 AM  

@jae – me, too, for some kind of duck first.

@chefwen – I did have an aha moment – THREE next to GREEN back early when I had "paint" (morning', @Steve J, conrad) BY NUMBER, and I felt all smug and insiderish that I thought it was a little "GREEN paint" joke.

@Davis – ah, well. At least you finished. I had a big, fat dnf with "Espy/ryng" there. Sports, astronomy, (DENEB is something up there, right?), foreign money, and Shakespeare characters are III of my weakest fields.

Speaking of which - "Tre" before III. No one spells it my way, probably, but still.

"Lassitude" threw me. Feels just the opposite of TORPOR, but I haven't investigated yet.

"Pectin" before NECTAR. Next on my Investigation List.

My, my, @M&A – you're up early!
"Ok, I know what y'all are startin to think. This here M&A dude is just some wise ass punk" - startin??? Just kidding!!
"How can I make U see, how much I love the charm, the quirkiness, the novelty, the sheer joy of fresh desperation" You do make me see it. That's your gift.
And I'm so disappointed you did not make yourself known to me at the ACPT. Phooey on you.

"Wade IN" before STEP IN. Not to toot my own horn – HAH, right? – but I've had the occasion to STEP IN to stop several fights. It's easy when you're female; most men, even BOARS, are loath to hit a woman. My first intervention was at a party, late, in grad school (when all the people approaching the keg are walking exactly like 11-month olds who are just starting to walk) - this guy came out swinging at this other guy who had spilled beer on him. I jumped right in between, lied about how he had spilled beer on me first, and the swinger just stood there, confused. But his swinger had been deswinged. Then when I was the monitor on Thursdays at the soup kitchen in Chapel Hill, I STEPped IN between men many times to prevent a fight. Again – not as impressive as I'm (kind of) trying to make it sound because these guys just didn't want to hit at a female.

I've never served in the military, but I would guess that the SGT who elicits that "AYE AYE, sir!" couldn't give a rat's %$# if the lower guy "approves" of the order.

"Breviloquent" and "mashie niblick" look like words on a menu in one of those restaurants where the food looks baffling and VERTICal. "I'm considering the mashie niblick, but how is it prepared? Is it breviloquent or is it more like the mycobacterial vertices they serve at Per Se? Those always leave me gassy."

Speaking of "breviloquent – I've marveled before just how many synonyms there are for this word -brief, TERSE, laconic, pithy. . . (when other words have almost no synonyms), and How I. Ignore. Every. Single. One.

It took me forever to sort it out because, as I said above, it's "paint" BY NUMBER for me. Funny how you start out on those projects all careful and gung-ho, and after about THREE minutes you're just slinging paint willy-nilly to finish the damn thing.

No surprise here, though – seeing a grid with a color smack dab next to a number of the same letters was cool for me. Liked it.

baja 8:57 AM  

Impressed! Was wondering why it wasn't paint by number at first. Kudos

NCA President 9:06 AM  

I agree with Pete...the only way SFO is a "misdirection" is if it had a double meaning...i.e, if SFO were indeed in competition with another airport in some kind of world series of airports.

FWIW, I've played some PARTHREEs that were very difficult. Usually, they make them harder by creating an "easy" par four and making it harder by saying you have to essentially birdie this hole every time.

I'm surprised Rex didn't give OUTACT a shout out. I work in theater. Even if someone wins an award they aren't considered to have "out acted" the rest of the actors. In the case of a cast where one actor is weak, the rest of the cast does not "out act" him/her. Even in the case of auditions, the one who gets the role did not "out act" the rest to get the role. You cast for other reasons than that.

And not to put too fine of a point on it, if you sense that someone is "acting," (enough so to be able to judge whether they are "out acting" the competition), then it is widely considered bad acting. You should never tell that someone is acting unless they are "acting" intentionally.

'Nuff said about that.

@anon 8:28am: I just skip over those block quotes. Any time a character from Shakespeare is mentioned, those quotes show up. Meh. To each his own, I guess. (FWIW, I also skip over posts that use the answers in the grid as words in their posts...but I won't go too much into that because i don't want to be STEPIN and be a DIRTYDOG, INESSE).

Shafty 9:13 AM  

@JTHurst Also KC, as a 2-letter scoreboard abbreviation.

chefbea 9:39 AM  

Too tough for me. Didn't get it at all!!
No time to read all the comments . Have to make a yummy Almond Joy Pie.

Bookdeb 9:43 AM  

@Suzy, the best picture of 1969 was awarded at the ceremony in 1970. Oliver! was a 1968 film.

jberg 9:47 AM  

Oh no! Someone's going after @The Bard -- c'mon, it's a blog tradition, and sometimes helpful in knowing where the quotation comes from. Brush up Your Shakespeare!

ANENT this puzzle, it didn't BODE well for timeliness with Edna FERBER as my first answer. But I learned plenty -- e.g., that St. ANSELM was a scholasticist before Aquinas, or that mycobacterium are AEROBEs. I think I'd heard of Conrad NAGEL before, and should have remembered him (Conrad is my middle name, and there aren't all that many of us), but didn't.

PAR THREE didn't bother me -- as a non-golfer, I think of an easy hole as one where it's easier to get the ball from tee to hole, not where it's easier to make par. But I see the criticism.

@M&A - lost opportunity here to drop a cheater square and clue 64A as "biscuit brand name." But that would leave an unchecked letter, not allowed, I guess.

Now for the serious stuff. @AliasZ has a valid point. Misdirection through vagueness or inconsistency is still misdirection, and can be enjoyable. IMO, misdirection that is consistent and precise is even better, but maybe a vague misdirection is better than none at all. And the argument that we all got it, QED or not, is worth something.

Two more full days in Florida, time to rouse myself from my TORPOR and do something. Also time to use BREVILOQUENT in a sentence.

Danp 9:53 AM  

@chefbea - Almond Joy Pie? Mmmmm. What time's dessert?

Questinia 9:56 AM  

@ Alias Z agree whole-heartedly with your clue is not a definition assessment.

Although there are clues that masquerade as definitions.

Furthermore, puzzles can either reinforce what you already know or challenge your sphere of knowledge. From a neuroplasticity perspective the latter is better. Stretching the gray matter by exploring the unknown and straining the reserves of what one does know requires a certain ability to be comfortable with one's own cluelessness. Otherwise one is simply reciting one's ABC's.

I enjoyed this puzzle because it made me think 1) at first I may not finish it 2) had me thinking a bit out of the box re clues and 3) yielded a word grid Rohrschach that suggested my previous ribald comment.

Are they Naticks or pseudo-Naticks? Giving free thought to an apparent grid cul-de-sac then applying probability and statistics might help. For me, there were a couple of pseudo-Naticks like ESPO/DONG and PAYOLA/DPS.

Green Paint phenomenon- do all answers need to have a referenced idiomatic identity or can there be some randomness to them? I don't mind the randomness and idiosyncrasy of a "green paint" answer. It's just another figurative hue in the grid.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

This puzzle was so boring, I literally dozed off for a few seconds. That pretty much says it all for me.

Ludyjynn 10:39 AM  

@MohairSam: Your King Lear story is hilarious (provided your wife was unhurt) and reminded me of a similar scene which was supposed to be tragic/dramatic, but became highly comedic---at one performance of Tosca @ the Met in NYC, the heroine, Tosca, in deep grief upon discovering the death of her boyfriend at the hands of the villain, as her final act, decides to throw herself off of the parapet of the castle, to her own death.
Apparently, they had set up a trampoline for her to jump upon, because instead of disappearing from stage permanently, she bounced back up, in full view of the audience, which burst into laughter. Like I said, hilarious!

I thought this was a good Th. puzzle, medium, full of interesting words, my favorite being TORPOR.

Alex Vratsanos 10:42 AM  

My longest gap between NYT puzzles is closed! That said, I hope you've all enjoyed solving my puzzle... I guess some of you may have enjoyed it more than others, but no matter what, I'm glad you saw my work.

To respond to some of your comments, the clue I submitted for DET was indeed "SF opponent in the 2012 World Series". I concede that when I type in "Color by number" in the Wikipedia search box, it redirects to "Paint by number". Still, even after publication, it does not seem as workable as "Color by number".

As always, thank you for your writeup, Rex. You really are a great solver and a great writer.

Hope to see you all again soon,

Alex :-)

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

I used to have lots of paint by number sets as a child but I don't remember ever seeing ones for crayons. This kind of ruined the fun for me.
Breviloquent was a cool clue.
Pretty racy grid with sperm, dong, and rated X.
Hoping for a fun Friday.

Z 10:53 AM  

While there may or may not be posts I skip over, I will make every effort not to mention it. I think Miss Manners would approve of my silence on the topic.

Like so many others, thinking that combining the World Series and SFO was a great way to clue DTW slowed me down. Add in that Rembrandt suggested a rebus with only three squares for four letters, confirmed by Vatican City being ENCircled by Rome, and this played challenging for me. The other big hang up was thinking that N. Korea was the most likely country to call itself the "Abode of Peace." It fits right in with the modest announcement that the leader just received 100% of the vote.

As to the mashie niblick question, be careful before you aver "Wrong!" Just a quick perusal of the interwebs found references to both 6 and 7 irons being a "mashie niblick." Apparently, it was the club between a mashie and a niblick. So what gives? Here is an explanation that makes sense to me.

On the sports front, I thought hockey player ESPO seemed out of place with the spring training vibe of RHE, DPS, and World Series clue. 18 days until Opening Day.

GET A TAN - Har!

M and Also 10:59 AM  

@muse: har. Musta been too day-um subtle about it. Ticklish business, this M&A persona. "phooey" does sum m&e up pretty well, tho.

@jberg: But a U-checked square would certainly be excusable.

@AliasZ: Well played, on the QED. I see we have QED purists in the crowd, tho, so I may have to consider a minor adjustment, here. Liked the DET clue -- weejects shine the most very brightest, when also clued with weejects. QEDD.


John V 11:10 AM  

Got killed. Never got a toe hold on this one.

wreck 11:20 AM  

"If I throw my golf clubs in the lake -- they'll get wet." - Johnny Carson

Jack Nicklaus 11:30 AM  

Hey, Alex Vratsanos, you ever play the par-3 12th at Augusta National?

Thought not.

joho 11:33 AM  

@MohairSam & @Ludyjynn .... LOVE your theater jokes!

Count me in as another paintBYNUMBER person. @Alex, thanks for stopping by and saying why you chose COLOR.

With OPEDPAGE in I hesitated writing in BLACKOPS. Lotsa OPS there.

I enjoyed the theme because it's original and, well, colorful.

Unknown 11:34 AM  


Didd wii awl guet itt? Yess, wii didd. Cue ee Dee.

Just because something is understandable doesn't make it right.


Anonymous 11:35 AM  

Thank you, Masked and AnonymoUUs, for making me laugh so hard for so long that I can hardly see the keyboard through the tears.

C. Marlowe 11:37 AM  

Yes, @The Bard is tiresome and predictable. A good one to scroll past along with the three-named ramblers.

Fred Romagnolo 11:47 AM  

SFO is my airport, so went for DTW; agree as to the inconsistency: if it's DET, then it's SF, scoreboards are not airports, but, apparently not Vratsanos' fault. Also went for Veidt, instead of Nagel at first, both prominent silent actors who crossed over to talkies. Totally lost on Call of Duty series. Step in definitely green paint as is reel over.

Gill I. P. 11:48 AM  

Big RHE DPS RYN problem. SFO also threw me off - yes it's used only as an airport abbreviation....@AliasZ BINGO!
Apart from a few struggles I found the puzzle amusing. I learned about AEROBEs what a vertice is and that Breviloquent is an actual word.
I though PAYOLA was a bribe? Am I missing something with that radio activity clue?
@Ludyjynn: Ha, the Bouncing Tosca...!
I read all of the comments. Why bother coming here if all you want to do is toot your own horn....and leave The Bard alone!
Thanks Alex for this fine Thursday puzzle. Did you really know DONG is a Vietnamese currency?

Gill I. P. 12:02 PM  

Oops. Never mind on PAYOLA...The clue still looks wrong though.

Fred Romagnolo 12:06 PM  

I believe that the (apocryphal?) bouncing soprano was Maria Caniglia

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Sadly, Phil Esposito left the Bruins for the Rangers' money. Kinda tarnished his image for us Bostonians.

Nancy 12:15 PM  

Thanks to DONG, MEANIE, MARGIN (good clue) and III (another good clue) I DNF. Hated SFO, but DET came in anyway. Agree that PAR THREE is not a synonym for easy hole. For me, this was a disappointment for a Thursday, usually my favorite day of the week. No aha moment; you don't need the revealer at all to complete the puzzle. Assuming you finish, which I almost did.

JTHurst 12:35 PM  

@AliasZ, Questinia after reading your posts I thought I had gone down a rabbit hole and suffered a neuroplasticity perception jolt. And there he was all 3 inches of him.

Absolem: Who are you?

Me: I knew who I was before I started solving this puzzle and reading the posts.

Absolem: Explain yourself!

Me: I can't explain myself because I'm not myself.

Absolem: Well, Who are You?

And to paraphrase Freud sometimes a clue is just a clue, QED.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

@loren - I've never been in the military either, but have heard this sort of line in several movies - 'You don't say "sir" to me, I'm a sergeant, I work for a living.' (Stripes)

dk 1:10 PM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 Moons) Erratic solve for me

Sweden for 12A, Blue book for the essay local and the oft mentioned paint by number caused some angst and delays. Solving process is to whip through with my best response and then adjust after errs and a a few OCHs.

Better Johnny Carson golf story has to do with washing balls and standing putters.

dk 1:12 PM  

I will defend to the death the right to make longer posts. A simple solution is just to skip over them rather than dis them: Just sayin!

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

At the risk of being flamed, I say the RHP is not applicableto line score. Pitchers, both righties and southpaws have lines, but you don't typically call them line scores. Just lines. Line score is reserved for the game itself. That is, runs, hits and errors in toto, not for any particualr player ( pitcher or hitter). It's a small thing, but don't crosswords turn on such details.

Obviosly the analog to SFO is DTW. If you forgot your World Serieses, you might desperately try DFW for the Texas Rangers. (oops)
Mohair Sam, did you see Sandberg is giving Rollins the silent treatment? Could be a long year at the ballpark, er yard.


Some Phils fan

Sir Hillary 1:24 PM  

Here is why it's smart to read Rex's write-up and the comments before posting...

I came here ready to rip this puzzle to shreds, for two reasons.

1) I had BOoRS at 1A; not a bad answer for "Swine". oNENT looked just as right to me as ANENT. That made two numbers sandwiching RED, which seemed really sloppy.

2) Ii had OPEnPAGE for "Essay locale", thinking about a college exam. I didn't like it much but, hey, EDn meant just as much to me as EDD. That left OPEN crossing OPEnPAGE, which outraged me.

That would have been really embarrassing.

Andrew Heinegg 1:25 PM  

I agree with the 'bad' cluing complaints. I picked up on them eventually but, the enjoyment of solving a difficult crossword is figuring out a clue that is 'correct' . A significant number of these clues were not. The 'not too hard a golf hole' would have really chapped the hides of the professionals who hit over 100 balls into the water on a par 3 at a tournament a couple of weeks ago!

evil doug 1:28 PM  

Also "hung", Ponies....

Keldy23 1:40 PM  

I am totally with @Colin on the usage of SEND for Elate - outside of crossword puzzles, it's just not done. And for those of you citing the song, "You Send Me," while I can't speak for @Colin, that song was written well before I was born, so I think we should be able to agree that it is not exactly a shining example of usage outside of crossword puzzles.

Bird 2:00 PM  

Hand up for not liking this one. Got the theme, but could still not finish and wasn't interested in searching for answers.

Agree with those that some clues were either wrong or too obscure. SFO/DTW really stands out.

Mohair Sam 2:19 PM  

@ludyjynn. Love the Tosca story, what a great mental picture. Wife was (and is) fine - with a story to tell when anyone mentions Shakespeare.

@bard - keep the quotes coming. I read them only now and then, but I'm glad they're there to reference when I feel like it.

Carola 2:21 PM  

When I got to EASY ONE, I thought, "Not!" Had trouble with the baseball refs and especially the path from DENEB into the SW via the Vietnamese currency (no idea). That was the one corner where the theme helped me: had to be GREEN next to THREE. Last square was the O in ESPO/DONG.

I liked the venerable cast of characters - ANSELM, FERBER, CORDELIA, good old Conrad NAGEL. Loved SERENADE, TORPOR, KEEL OVER, ENCLAVE.

I wonder if it would have been possible to have all of the colors used metaphorically, like RED TAPE and BLACK OPS. All I can think of is "long GREEN" and "TAN your hide."

@M&A - You always make me laugh, but ACH, ECH, ICH, OCH, UCH - well, I'm just glad I wasn't drinking something at the time.

retired_chemist 2:23 PM  

OK and medium.

Here is a list of major league team scoreboard abbreviations (WikiProject). There will be a closed-book quiz tomorrow.

For current and former teams of current franchises:

ANA=Anaheim Angels
ARI=Arizona Diamondbacks
ATL=Atlanta Braves
BAL=Baltimore Orioles (original, 1901 - 2; current, since 1954)
BOS=Boston Red Caps/Beaneaters (from 1876 - 1900) or Boston Red Sox (since 1953)
BOA= Boston Americans (1901 - 7)
BOB= Boston Beaneaters (1901 - 6) or Boston Braves/Bees (1912 - 52)
BOD= Boston Doves (1907 - 10)
BOR= Boston Red Sox (1908 - 52)
BOU= Boston Rustlers (1911)
BKN=Brooklyn Dodgers/Robins/Superbas/Bridegrooms/Grooms/Grays/Atlantics
CAL=California Angels
CHC=Chicago Cubs (since 1903)
CHO=Chicago Orphans (1901 - 2)
CHI=Chicago Orphans/Colts/White Stockings (1876 - 1900)
CHW=Chicago White Sox
CIN=Cincinnati Red/Red Stockings
CLE=Cleveland Indians/Naps/Bronchos/Blues
COL=Colorado Rockies
DET=Detroit Tigers
FLA=Florida Marlins
HOU=Houston Astros/Colt .45s
KC=Kansas City Athletics (1955-67) or Kansas City Royals (since 1969)
LAA=Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim)
LAD=Los Angeles Dodgers
LA= Los Angeles Dodgers (1958 - 61; 1965 - 2004)
MIA=Miami Marlins
MIL=Milwaukee Brewers (original; 1901) or Milwaukee Braves or Milwaukee Brewers (current; since 1970)
MIN=Minnesota Twins
MTL=Montreal Expos
NY=New York Gothams/Giants (1883 - 1902) or New York Yankees (1958 - 61)
NYG=New York Giants/Gothams
NYM=New York Mets
NYY=New York Yankees
NYH= New York Highlanders
OAK=Oakland Athletics
PHA=Philadelphia Athletics
PHI=Philadelphia Phillies/Quakers (1883 - 1900; 1955 -)
PHP=Philadelphia Phillies (1901 - 42; 1945 - 54)
PHB= Philadelphia Blue Jays (1943 - 4)
PIT=Pittsburgh Pirates/Alleghenys
SD=San Diego Padres
SEA=Seattle Mariners (since 1977) or Seattle Pilots (1969)
SF=San Francisco Giants
STB=St. Louis Browns (AL)
STL=St. Louis Cardinals/Perfectos/Browns/Brown Stockings
STC=St. Louis Cardinals (1902 - 53)
TB=Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays
TEX=Texas Rangers
TOR=Toronto Blue Jays
WSH=Washington Senators (original, 1901 - 60; expansion, 1961 - 71) or Washington Nationals (since 2005)

Two Ponies 2:29 PM  

Ha! Good catch @ED

ahimsa 2:57 PM  

I enjoyed the theme and the puzzle!

I agree with many of the comments (e.g., SFO in the clue was weird) but overall the puzzle was fun.

After not doing any puzzles for a week or so (long story) I was in some sort of mental TORPOR today. So even though I got a quick start in the NW the rest of the puzzle was slow going. For some reason I was looking at the clue numbers and wondering how they fit the theme. I filled in 5 Down only from the crosses so I did not see the SIX next to RED at first. But the theme finally hit me over the head (like a two BY four?) at SEA GREEN and PAR THREE and then I was able to finish.

I loved the clue for CORDELIA. I just saw a version of King Lear at OSF last year. And that clue for SEND has me singing, "Darling, you send me...." (thanks for the link, @Anoa Bob)

Plus I learned a couple of new things, such as our crossword star DENEB is part of something called the Summer Triangle. (must be a constellation, will google later) And the Vietnamese currency is the DONG. (probably not related to the company DONG energy which has been in the news?)

In the end, as @M&A said, the puzzle was OK BY ME!

SEC 3:01 PM  

Huh, the comments regarding difficulty surprise me. I normally average about 35 minutes on a Thurs but I finished this one in 20...guess this one was just right on my wavelength. Only holdup was a brief period when I couldn't get traction in the NW but the theme helped me out...Given that the color number pairs were symmetrically placed and the same length for the SW and NE I looked for three letter colors for 4 or 5 down and then immediately hit on Red tape.

Anoa Bob 3:01 PM  

@Keldy23 how 'bout a 1997 version of

You Send Me?

ahimsa 3:04 PM  

@Suzy, who asked about 15 Across, the 1969 best picture went to Midnight Cowboy - Rated X.

It contains that famous Dustin Hoffman line, "I'm walkin' here!" I saw an interview once and apparently that was something he ad libbed, still in character, when a NY cab almost hit him in the crosswalk.

Doc John 3:07 PM  

Apparently, there is an airport in Detroit with the letters DET, so the SFO/DET thing can be considered valid.
Also, I guess I'm on the same wavelength as Rex because as I was solving, the Police's "Murder by Numbers" was playing in my head.

Keldy23 3:19 PM  

@Anoa Bob: Michael Bolton repeating (apparently verbatim - I had no desire to listen to the whole song) the words of a 1957 song 40 years after its original publication doesn't convince me that people have generally used "send" as a synonym for "elate" anytime during that time span. If someone can point me to even a couple more uses of modern people saying things like "I'm so sent!" instead of "I'm so excited"* or "It really sends me to hear that you got that job" instead of "I'm so elated to hear you got that job," in the last 30-odd years, other than in the context of that particular song (and of course other than in crossword puzzles), I will humbly eat my words.

*I think the Pointer Sisters made the right call going with "I'm So Excited" for their song.

okanaganer 3:43 PM  

Hey Alex...very cheeky, crossing COLOR BY NUMBER with Rembrandt!

mac 3:48 PM  

Hardest Thursday I've done in a long, long time. A lot of the delay was caused by "paint" instead of "color", but there plenty more crunchy corners.

Enjoyed it, as I would a Friday or Saturday. Theme came after the fact. And I love being able to count on the Bard to show us exactly where the Shakespeare-related quote/answer/clue came from.

I liked the Key preposition!

Anoa Bob 3:55 PM  

@Keldy23, from my hard copy Random House Webster's College Dictionary:

send: 8. slang. to delight; excite.

Here's a 2011 instrumental version. Betcha can sing along, at least to some of the words.

You Send Me

Cheers. 3&out

Z 4:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keldy23 4:03 PM  

@Anoa Bob, I'm not saying that it's not an actual word or synonym for excite, I am just saying that I agree with @Colin that (pretty much) no one has actually used it outside of crossword puzzles since well before I was born, other than in remakes of that one @#$& song. There are many words in the dictionary that (at least according to this blog) have no place in crossword puzzles. So, pointing out "use" in the dictionary is not quite what I meant by asking for examples of modern people using it in a sentence. Perhaps I will try to start working it into conversation to see if it takes off. I am so sent for baseball season to start in a few weeks!

But yes, now that the song is well and thoroughly stuck in my head, I am sure I could sing along to the instrumental version.

OISK 4:04 PM  

No problem for me. Enjoyed it, finished it, but didn't see the Numbers by the colors until I came here. SFO didn't bother me, although I don't think I've seen anything but SF at Met games. And Par three didn't bother me either. Par three holes ARE easier than par fives; it depends what you mean. I could probably shoot a 4 on a par three, never on a par 5. So the par 3 is easier. It isn't easier to get a PAR on the par three, but it IS easier to get to the green. No one had a problem with "Inesse"? In esse - to me that is crosswordese. Not a problem, though. A very fine Thursday puzzle, as far as I am concerned.

Z 4:06 PM  

I really can spell...

@Doc John - I actually flew out of DET once and it did not occur to me that it fit the SFO clue. Thanks. To be fair, DET hasn't had commercial service this century, ever since the ultra low priced Pro Air was grounded. I think my fare to Chicago's Midway was $25. After Vratsanos' post I was presuming that it was a typo that got through. Now, maybe not.

Seriously? 4:11 PM  

So, two airports played in the World Series?

foxaroni 4:18 PM  

There's a reason the song isn't "You ELATE Me."

I was proud of myself for knowing "Midnight Cowboy" right off the bat (guess I have a touch of baseball fever), but wrote down XRATED and never recovered. Ahhh, hubris...

Z 4:30 PM  

@Keldy23 - Here's a book title that is from 2008. It's hard to document other usage since the song so dominates the google machine, even when I exclude Sam Cooke (I found a lot of cover versions). I don't think SEND has ever been widely used in my lifetime either, but it does not seem to me to be as absent from usage as you seem to feel.

@Seriously? - Did you notice how many people thought the clue was leading to a DTW answer? Call me a homer, but I'll take DTW's 4R over SFO's 1R any day - has better starting pitching.

sanfranman59 4:30 PM  

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

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

Thu 18:30, 18:40, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 11:13, 10:52, 1.03, 54%, Medium

Pcrest Bob 4:51 PM  

first time poster here
just felt i needed to thank @The Bard for putting the Bard's words right in front of my indolent face.
no way I would have looked it up, even knowing the rich enjoyment it'll give me

Keldy23 4:58 PM  

@Z, I just don't think song and book titles are good examples of a word being commonly understood/used as a synonym. With that argument, you could cite the book "Looking for Alaska" (2005) as an example of how "Alaska" could justifiably be clued as "A girl's name" (Yes, I know that is only one book, as opposed to one song (and its remakes) and one e-book, but since YSM is a little-known e-book ranked in the low 300,000s in e-books and LfA hit #50 in books and had the movie rights optioned, let's call that a wash). If you can't think of any person that you actually know ever using the word in conversation as clued, I don't think it should be clued as anything other than a specifically archaic or old-timey synonym.

But fine, it's a perfectly cromulent word. I'm done trying to make this point and am going to focus on being wicked sent that the weekend is almost here!

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

A mashie niblick is a seven iron.

Z 5:40 PM  

@Keldy23 - I like "(I) am going to focus on being wicked sent that the weekend is almost here!"

mac 6:07 PM  

Welcome, @Pcrest Bob.

Unknown 6:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
michael 7:23 PM  

I am surprised by the comments about the difficulty of this puzzle. Seemed about average Thursday to me and I never got the theme. Got messed up for a while with Bhutan instead of Brunei.

The mock (?) passion here never ceases to surprise me.

Z 7:37 PM  

@various Golf "Experts" - What is so hard about saying "that clue tricked me because it is often easier to make, or even break, par on a par 4 or 5." I ask, because that is what happened.

@michael - the beauty is one can never tell. Personally, I never mock passion. Whatever helps fight entropy....

3 and out (unless I lost count - apologies if I've over-posted)

Benko 8:25 PM  

@michael-- I did the same thing with Bhutan. It makes sense--besides fitting and starting with the same letter, the "peace" part seemed fitting for the world's only officially Buddhist kingdom.

Benko 8:29 PM  

@oisk-- huh. To me "in esse" is Latin. Bit I conede that Latin and crosswordese do seem to overlap at times.

LaneB 8:45 PM  

BAd Thursday, lots of iffy connections between clues and answers. Did about 95percent before hurling in the towel in the NW. DENEB? For some reason BOARS never occurred to me. Big DNF not usual this early in the week

Ann Heil 10:49 PM  

Yikes, I can't believe this was Medium difficulty. Took me 41 minutes and was so proud when I checked and had a correct solution. Also surprised, as I had no idea what ANENT was. For some reason, I just could not see the numbers by the colors, even when the puzzle was complete. Very strange. I saw SEAGREEN and TAN and EIGHT and the others just weren't registering.

Ann Heil 10:50 PM  

Oh, and I love The Bard. Don't stop posting!!!!

Hic! 10:56 PM  

Meh. Had ISRAEL at 12A and kept trying to get OPHELIA (2 Ls?) to somehow fit at 13A.


Anonymous 11:11 PM  

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sanfranman59 2:17 AM  

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

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

Mon 5:58, 6:18, 0.95, 22%, Easy-Medium
Tue 7:35, 8:16, 0.92, 21%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:14, 10:14, 0.80, 8%, Easy
Thu 18:34, 18:41, 0.99, 46%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:54, 4:00, 0.98, 32%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:55, 5:11, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:15, 6:14, 0.84, 9%, Easy
Thu 10:56, 10:44, 1.02, 53%, Medium

John Dudley 6:16 AM  

Hair fall is the most important and common problems that people have faced up until today.if have face problem than visit: hair fall treatment gurgaon

Hal Prince 6:41 AM  

The Bard makes me Bord.

Sally Zarnstorff 9:46 AM  

Okay, I'm a day late, but nobody else mentioned this puzzle error. The "Mashie Niblick" clue is plain wrong. Even after I had it, I didn't get it (I thought it was something to eat!), so I looked it up. All the references say a "Mashie Niblick" corresponds to a SEVEN iron, not a six iron. (Six Iron is like a "Spade Mashie") Also, the 1969 Best Picture award was for the only Rated G movie, Oliver. Midnight Cowboy, X rated, won the award in 1970, but of course the movie itself was made in 1969.

Nobody 1:46 PM  

@Sally Zarnstorff - wreck@1:35a.m, Mohair Sam@8:46a.m, Z@10:53a.m, and anonymous@5:08 are all surprised to discover that they are "nobody."

Michael Sapio 11:01 AM  

Oscars are awarded in the year following a picture's release. Thus, 12 Years a Slave was the Best Picture of 2013, although the award was presented in 2014.

spacecraft 11:40 AM  

I do appreciate @The Bard's faithful recording of passages that flesh out the appropriate quotation, but I wish that once in a while he would regale us with an opinion of some sort. What turns you on, sir? Say something, AS, YOU LIKE IT, or perhaps LOVE'S LABOUR LOST.

The puzzle was just about Thursday strength for me, say, medium. The revealer helped me along with the quadrants--almost to the point of seeming an EASYONE. It just took a bit of work to get the revealer.

My hand joins the SEA of hands up for the SFO thing--slowed me down measurably--and for calling a PARTHREE "not too hard." Why, then, do so many successful pros have stats that show they're actually OVER par on those?

Fill is spotty: bunch of initials (RATEDX, TSTRAP, etc.) and the awful partial NEEDA, but the theme and execution are pretty clever. First time I've ever seen ol' Conrad NAGEL filling up squares. 30d put me in mind of the Hughes film "SIXteen Candles" in which Long Duc DONG is said to be "named after a duck's dork."

Two cruddy pair--and no, you can't draw from the "short deck."

Solving in Seattle 12:53 PM  

I, too, thought we were rebusing with only three spaces for Rembrandt's last name. Finally got it in the end.
@Questina said almost everything I was going to say, but my breakfast went down just fine.
As for the golf discussions, there were no loft rules for the old clubs. Today, a seven iron is usually 36 degrees of loft and a six is 32 degrees, but even they can vary. We're splitting niblicks here.
As for the "not too hard a golf hole" clue, I didn't have a problem figuring out that Alex and/or Will was looking for PARTHREE, but, for example, where I play golf we have a 225 yard, slight up hill, par three with OB to the immediate left and behind the hole and a giant sand trap to the right. "Not too hard a golf hole" does not apply.
As for the novel "Giant," I am in awe of an English chick coming to America and writing an historically accurate novel about Texas culture better than anyone with the possible exception of Larry McMurtry. I loved the part when Bick was at dinner at Leslie's home in Virginia and he was asked how big his ranch was.
Enjoyed the puz, Alex, and the ensuing discussion.

Boat - nines over threes.

DMG 1:17 PM  

Enjoyed the Bard's post- would never have looked it up myself, but got pleasure out reading it. As for the puzzle, it went fairly smoothly after CORDELIA made me give up "paint". Didn't figure out what the revealer revealed, but finished with just one wrong square. My essay was OPEnPAGE. That seemed wrong, but never having heard of EDD, EDn didn't ring any "your wrong" bells. The fact that I know diddly about baseball and golf probably helped me. I just put in something that seemed right. maybe a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,

Two little pairs!

rain forest 2:38 PM  

I think we can agree that SFO is an airport. But I also think we can agree that the Giants played the Tigers in the 2012 World Series.

Many par threes are tough, but on score cards, where "stroke holes" are identified, the par threes are almost always among the last, regardless of how tough they are. I think most of the non-golf community thinks they are "easy". This clue and answer did not bother me a bit.

The puzzle did SEND me, particularly after I got COLORBYNUMBER (even if "color" doesn't send me. It's "colour"). I quickly saw RED beside SIX, and that helped a bunch with the other three themers.

I rarely read The Bard, even if some of you enjoy it. I rarely read @LMS, which is way TMI. In fact, outside of we syndi-ites, I think you can read @M&A and @Alias Z and have a fine blogreading experience.

Dirigonzo 5:21 PM  

I remember paint by number kits from when I was a child (my grandmother loved to do them) but my kids definitely had color by number books that entertained them for hours, even though they usually ignored the numbers and used their imaginations (not a bad thing, I think). The NW corner remained blank even when the rest of the grid was complete; I finally parsed "Best on stage" correctly and OUTACT gave me a toehold - looking back, the section doesn't look all that difficult but I had to fill it in a letter at a time.

Where is ACME, I wonder?

999/44 - read 'em and weep.

Z 7:10 PM  

@Dirigonzo - ACME has made only a couple of brief appearances since her last puzzle. I personally believe she has chosen to resign her position in the commentariat.

Red Valerian 9:22 PM  

@rain forest--is telling us that you don't read @LMS too much information, or are her posts too much information? Actually, now that I've typed that, I'm thinking it's the latter.

I do read her posts when I visit @Rex, though only skim when they get long. They're mostly super fascinating, though so much about her. ("Evenin', @LMS") I do wonder about the number of "removed by author" posts she has. Getting it just right, I guess. But who am I to question efforts to make things clearer?!?

All that said, LMS's posts are, as I say, usually REALLY, really interesting. So, um, that's great!

I hope we all realize that we are all seriously odd to be reading this blog relatively regularly, let alone to be posting. (Sorry, @Rex. But you knew this ;-}

It might be (okay, it is) unseemly to be engaging in syndi-speculation, but I think @ACME and @LMS cannot inhabit the same blog.

There can be only one favourite "girl". gak.

Ahem. More than enough from me for now.

Z 10:58 PM  

@Red Valerian - I can say with a high degree of confidence that @ACME's absence has nothing to do with @lms.

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