Jermaine of NBA / SUN 4-20-14 / Financial writer Marshall / Chaim 1971 Best Actor nominee / ESPN broadcaster Bob / Artist's alias with accent / Fine hosiery material / Renault model with mythological name / Best-selling novelist whom Time called Bard of litigious age

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "On Wheels" — theme answers contain words that are also car models. Underneath each model name are two "wheels," represented by circled "O"s

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Chaim TOPOL (95D: Chaim ___, 1971 Best Actor nominee) —
Chaim Topol (Hebrewחיים טופול‎; born September 9, 1935), often billed simply as Topol, is an Israelitheatrical and film performer, singer, actor, writer and producer. He has been nominated for an Oscar and a Tony Award, and has won two Golden Globes. […] 
Some of Topol's other notable film appearances were the title role in Galileo (1975), Dr. Hans Zarkov in Flash Gordon (1980), and as Milos Columbo in theJames Bond movie For Your Eyes Only (1981). (wikipedia)
• • •

Did not find this as scintillating as I normally find Liz Gorski puzzles. It's just models of cars, with the added, small detail of the "tires" underneath each model name. I like that a circled "O" makes a nice approximation of an actual tire shape. Beyond that, the puzzle was just average. Also, exceedingly easy. Was done in under 9, which crazy fast for me, for a Sunday. True, I did have to chase down two errors, but they were slight—I'd written in STA for STN (12D: Common newsstand locale: Abbr.), and never corrected it when the crossing answer eventually turned into the probably-nonsensical HORA SONATA. Also, I'd written in ROMA, which seemed very reasonable, at 78D: "La Dolce Vita" setting (ROME). This left me with BEATLE BAILEY, which looks Just Fine to my eye. Thanks, Beatles, for making that spelling seem reasonable. Speaking of BEETLE BAILEY, that clue (93A: Walker's strip) was wicked hard, especially compared to the softballs that dominate the rest of the clue list. I needed nearly every cross before the answer became evident. Actually, I don't think it ever became evident—not until I'd finished and went back and looked at the puzzle, anyway. Clever clue, good clue, but jarring clue in comparison to all the rest.

Ah, I just got 96D: City that sounds like a humdinger? (BUTTE). My sister likes to tell the story of the time she and her family went on a road trip and the GPS had pronunciation problems—it kept telling them that they were nearing "Crested Butt." She had (still has) young boys, so as you can imagine, hilarity ensued. This is just to explain why now, when I see BUTTE, I think "butt" and not "beaut!" One other answer that gave me an odd lot of trouble was BRING (54D: Give rise to). That clue was not helping at all. I see now, that April showers BRING May flowers, so it works, but I had -RING and still wasn't really sure what the answer was. Weird.

Puzzle of the Week this week was not close. There were some very good puzzles. A Peter Gordon themeless (Fireball Crosswords) with interlocking pairs of 15s that puts All 15-Stack Puzzles To Shame (read about it here). A beautiful Doug Peterson themeless (Washington Post Puzzler, 4/13) that's fresh and slangy while still being clean and accessible (get it here—make sure you choose 4/13) (read about it here). Another Doug Peterson puzzle—this one co-authored with Joon Pahk ("Party Lines" / Chronicle of Higher Ed., 4/18)—that features ridiculous but truly funny puns (get it here) (read about it here). And a Ben Tausig puzzle ("Odds and Evens") that made me laugh repeatedly with its alternate ways of reading the theme answers (get it here) (read about it here). But the clear winner was this week's American Values Club contest puzzle by Francis Heaney, entitled "Flight Path" (4/16) (get it here for a dollar, or just subscribe to American Values Club Crosswords already. Geez). "The grid below represents a prison, from which you must escape"—that's the opening line of the puzzle's explanatory note. While not terribly hard (it's listed as a 4.5/5 difficulty level, but I'd put it more around 3), it is truly elegantly constructed, and even after I figured out what the general trick was, it was still a great pleasure to watch the solution fall into place. Francis made my favorite puzzle of 2013—another American Values Club contest puzzle called "Seasonal Staff" (read about it here). He's setting the bar for contest puzzles, and puzzles in general, really, really high.

Speaking of contest puzzles, still lots of time to get in on Patrick Blindauer's "Xword University" puzzle suite. He blurbs it better than I could:
Ever wanted to earn your Honorary Bachelor's Degree in Enigmatology? Well, now you can. Patrick Blindauer's 5th Puzzlefest, "Xword University," has a collegiate theme and is available now at It consists of a dozen crosswords, each of which leads to an answer. Combine all of your answers to solve the meta-puzzle, and email the correct answer to be eligible for the random drawing of puzzle books. (Contest ends at 11:30 ET on April 27 but XU will remain open indefinitely.) For only $15 you'll be guaranteed admission and will receive an invitation to Patrick's College Puzzlefest Google Group where you can access the PDF of puzzles. 
Patrick's puzzles are reliably great, so you should probably enroll now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:28 AM  

Easy Sun. for me too.  Cute theme, reasonably smooth grid, breezy solve.  Only WOE was BEADLE.  Great clue for ERASE.  Liked it.

Moly Shu 12:51 AM  

Very easy Sunday for me too. Same error as @Rex with STa before STN. Not sure what a CALDER is, the only one I know is a horse track. Didn't look at the theme until after the solve, nice touch. Liked it

AliasZ 1:04 AM  

Any puzzle that includes SCOTT TUROW, Scott BAIO, Brian ENO, ELLA Fitzgerald, T.S. GARP, Alexander CALDER, ANTON Chekhov, Woody Allen's ALVY, cousin ITT, ERTÉ, BEETLE BAILEY, C.S. FORESTER, Anne KLEIN, EVITA Perón, Marshall LOEB, Titus ANDRONICUS, Anita O'DAY, MUSTANG SALLY, Bob LEY, Jermaine O'NEAL, Neil CAVUTO, ASHLEY Judd, Chaim TOPOL, The Amazing RANDI, Ken OLIN, KHLOE Kardashian, Leonard SLYE a.k.a. Roy Rogers, Emperor OTHO, composer of the French national anthem Claude-Joseph Rouget de LISLE, Camille Saint-SAËNS, DAG Hammarskjöld, LEON Panetta and IDI AMIN, can't be all bad.

That's 33 proper names. In all fairness, LISLE was not clued as a proper name, so it's 32. How many are too many?

Add to this MEON, ANTON, ODEON, LEMON, GOESON and POUNDON: right on!

Otherwise it was an ingenious car theme, a typically lovely and visually pleasing Tuesday-easy Liz Gorski puzzle.

I enjoyed this one despite the plethora of proper names.

Stuart 1:50 AM  

Actually your slight mistake:


would have been cute. Hora is the famous Israeli Circle Dance and with "Topol", the Israeli actor, it could have been a nice cross reference.

jae 2:03 AM  

@Moly Shu -- Alexander CALDER is an artist who has created some pretty famous mobiles..

Anonymous 2:04 AM  

The time that it takes to work a crossword should include the time going over it to find one's errors...

Anonymous 2:24 AM  

Too darn easy, including Beetle Bailey, which I got immediately. Now I have to fun something useful to do with all the time I set aside for this puzzle and didn't need!

David Krost 2:38 AM  

Ditto on finding this one easy. I originally had STS (streets) for where a news stand would be, but was able to change it to STN fairly quickly because, being a long time trumpet player, horn sonata was a slam dunk.

I thought it would have been worth Rex pointing out that the "tires" on the cars were always placed identically, below the second letter of the car name and the next-to-last letter. That was a nice touch. But the puzzle was so easy I hardly noticed the circles.

chefwen 3:23 AM  

Walkers strip was a gimme as comics are my second addiction after crosswords, wine being my third. I dragged this one out as it was my only entertainment for today. Big Guy on the mainland again.

Cute theme, but as Rex stated, not up to our usual Gorski standards. I did, however, like it.

Danp 5:25 AM  

I didn't read the title before doing the puzzle, but at some point I thought it was an Easter egg hunt and I got the teacher's key, because most of the O's were circled.

I might have liked the theme if all the O's were tires, but if you have to draw attention to the theme O's by putting circles there, it's like adding a laugh track so people will know what's supposed to be funny.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:51 AM  

Amen to @David Krost's observation about the placement of the tires.

Several write-overs on the way to finishing this one, but then I always approach Sundays rather loosely: 18 A, ETTA before ELLA; 23 A, tried to get CAMARADERIE to fit where CIVIC PRIDE belonged; 67 D, OTTO before OTHO; started 114 A trying ACETONE something, as in what you would use to take off nail polish.

Only know 93 D, BEADLE, from the musical "Oliver!".

Moly Shu 7:01 AM  

@Jae, thanks, not familiar with his (or any other sculptor's) work. Now back to my cave.

Hartley70 7:05 AM  

Super Easy! Didn't look at the theme until the fill was completed. Where's the Bunny? A lily? An egg?

chefbea 7:49 AM  

I too was expecting an easter theme!! And hand up for Sta. Of course knew stella d'oro and also love the lilts of the same name.

Of course knew BEETle Baily

Enjoy your day everyone and don't eat too much ham or Peep Cake

chefbea 7:50 AM  

that should be lilies.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Easy-medium for me. I've seen a lot of easier Sundays. Chaim Topol? Crossing "Optima card" as a trick answer where anyone would put MasterCard? Does anyone use one of those? I liked it overall and wouldn't say it was hard, but if this is as easy as all that, there needs to be another category of mega-easy! Finished a bit faster than my average for Sunday, but less than a minute faster. Ergo easy-medium.

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

"I might have liked the theme if all the O's were tires, but if you have to draw attention to the theme O's by putting circles there, it's like adding a laugh track so people will know what's supposed to be funny."

I think the o's are circled because the resulting concentric circles make a nice representation of a car wheel, and not to draw attention to them.

Carola 8:28 AM  

Very neat construction with the eight cars parked in symmetrically placed phrases and their wheels positioned perfectly beneath, cute grid pairing of MUSTANG SALLY with BEETLE BAILEY and nice mirroring of SAN DIEGO and SEVILLE. Otherwise, this one seemed rather prosaic to me, with its EAR TAGS, STOPCOCKS, and COTTON BALL. I liked the contrast of TEAL BLUE with SNOWY EGRET and the BEETLE/ BEADLE cross.

@Bob Kerfuffle - Ditto on OTTO and ETTA and wanting Cameraderie.

joho 8:32 AM  

I've never done a Liz Gorski puzzle I didn't like and this one is no exception. Yes, it was super easy for a Sunday but now I have more time to get ready for church!

I thought the O's were elegant and a perfect use of circles.

Car related words in the grid added to the theme: MOTOR, HORN, STOP, NOISY, UEY, GEO, STP, STN, TUNED, LOCK and LEMON.

Thank you, Liz!

(On a sad note, I never had the pleasure of meeting Sparky in person, but I got a sense of her intelligence, spirit and humor from her posts ... I will miss her.)

loren muse smith 8:51 AM  
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loren muse smith 8:53 AM  

Textbook Liz with her pictures. Just yesterday I was talking on the phone with another person on this blog, and we were going on and on about what a cool person Liz seems to be. I was delighted to see her name at the top this morning!

I had a ton more trouble than all of you! There were (in addition to soooo many names I didn't know) a lot of smallish answers that are just not part of my WORDAGE: OTHO, BAAL, ORO, IS IT I (kind of a distant Easter vibe?), ADANO. . . But those names - I really had to fight for some of those.

"Scrub" before SCOUR. "Etta" before ELLA (Hey, @Bob). I don't commit to the a or N in STN anymore. I just wait for the cross. Also – SODA and its mirror image ADOS.

@jae, Bob – I was working on a collaboration, and the other person had BEADLE on his assigned part to fill. I was at the kitchen table glancing at it and said, "What the heck is a BEADLE?" My then 11th grade daughter said, "It's like this church guy. I think he works in like a synagogue. (Synagog?) I'm pretty sure he is the designated lead dancer in the Hora Sonata. TOPOL LOEB KLEIN comes to mind as one of the more famous BEADLEs." (Ok – the last part I made up.) Anyway, I didn't know it, either. But I like the BEADLE/BEETLE cross.

LEMON lifesaver – Man. I've been remembering a part of my childhood all morning. Dad would every once in a while surprise my two sisters and me and give us each our own roll of the "five flavor" ones. For the life of me, I do not remember a LEMON one. What I do remember is that one sister would tear open the roll and methodically insert a candy, chew it up, swallow it, and repeat the process until she had mowed through the entire roll. This never failed to fascinate me. To her credit, I don't think she ever asked me for one of mine when hers were gone.

@David Krost – I wish I could play the trumpet. And good eye on the circle placement.

@AliasZ – add LEON to your list.

So the plural of the bug LOUSE is lice but the person LOUSE is LOUSES?

It's funny how this, well, kind of abashed Real Housewives fan can feel such disdain for the Kardashians. I've never paid even the slightest attention to any of them. I'm reminded of this book I had about cultures who ate bugs and how one culture who regularly ate, say, big ole fat grubs would shudder in distaste at the knowledge that this other culture who regularly roasted tarantulas over a campfire. So, yes, I'm a hypocrite. (But if you admit to hypocrisy, does that by definition eliminate the hypocrisy? I guess this is kind of like the All Cretans are Liars paradox, huh?)

Liz, et al, Happy Easter! On to the acrostic.

Casco Kid 8:53 AM  

1:41. No googles. Guessed wrong/naticked at SkYE/BAAk. I must credit Mrs. Kid with dome key insights for RANDI and a few others. 60 minutes for 85% of the puzzle. 45 to clear up trouble spots in NW, SW, SE corners and equatorial East.
What is LISLE?

The circled letters were all O's, which proved useful on spelling UOMO right. Hidden eggs? I thought. Thanks, guys, for pointing out the theme. It solved almost perfectly themeless.

3/7 for the week.

billocohoes 8:57 AM  

First theme answer I got was "Mustang Sally" so I was expecting a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ford's pony car, making just a string of car models feel a little flat.

UAAlum72 9:05 AM  

@loren muse smith

When louse is a bug, plural is lice, but when it's a 'dirty rat' -
He's your guy when stocks are high but beware when they start to descend
It's then that those louses go back to their spouses
Diamonds are a girl's best friend

from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Danp 9:14 AM  

@anonymous 8:19. Then perhaps the title should have been tires. Wheels might have asterisks. But either way, the circles draw attention, and have to, because there are so many other O's in the puzzle. Many solvers, myself included, would have never noticed the wheels without the circles.

loren muse smith 9:24 AM  

@UAAlum72 thanks for the lyrics. I guess one could be a smart alec and say

It's then that those louses go back to their spice?

One spouse is fine, but add a couple, and, well, you get spice!

Mark 9:26 AM  

For notorious beadles, see them benevolent in Blake's "Holy Thursday" (Songs of Innocence) and then "usurous" in another "Holy Thursday" (Songs of Experience). Contrary states, excruciating satire.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Aren't equinoxes semiannual, not biannual?

AliasZ 9:42 AM  

- The plural for LOUSE is lice, no?
- Things to remember: BIANNUAL = twice a year, BIENNIAL = once every two years.
- Weren't SISAL and Ebert those dudes with their thumbs up...?
- LOOSE TEAS (or loose peas, corn etc.) sounds like TEAL BLUE paint to me.
- HORN SONATA on the other hand is quite real.
- I was looking for an Easter egg hidden in this one, but the only thing I found was SECS and STOPCOCKS.

Speaking of Easter eggs, the first Council of Nicaea in the year 325 established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox, based on the lunisolar Hebrew calendar. All nations that observe the Orthodox Christian religion converted to the Gregorian civilian calendar: Russia in 1918 and Greece being the last in 1924, however the Church calendar remained. Largely due to the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, Eastern and Westerns Easter Sundays rarely coincide, in most years they are 1-to-5 weeks apart. In the last 34 years they coincided only seven times: 1990, then 11 years later in 2001, then in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2014 and will again in 2017. After 2017 it will not be on the same date until 2025.

Here is the beautiful Russian Easter Festival Overture by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov to celebrate both Easters today. But promise me you'll listen to part 2 as well.

Happy Easter!

Susan McConnell 9:44 AM  
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Susan McConnell 9:46 AM  

Fun, easy Sunday...just right for any newbies. And a car puzzle made by a girl, to boot. Bummer to see the dismissive "it's just...." comment in the write up.

Hartley70 9:55 AM  

Anonymous, I use an Optima card much more often than MasterCard, and Casco Kid, lisle is a very fine cotton.

Ludyjynn 9:55 AM  

I grumbled with disgust when writing KHLOE, but then laughed with appreciation that it was located under COCKS. Good one, ECG!

Thanks, @Stuart, I feel vindicated in my STA response.

Got a big kick out of TitusANDRONICUS appearing hours after I had watched an episode of "Inspector Lewis" in which the play figured significantly in the police solving a series of ghastly revenge murders. Timing is everything.

This was a smooth, but not TOO easy Sunday solve. Hope the rest of the day GOESON this well.

Arlene 10:21 AM  

I had to Google the Kardashians - and I am resistant to knowing any more about them. So be it.

I liked the idea of the wheels under the cars. I also wonder if BOLT at 28D was put in there intentionally (a Chevy model) - to balance the GEO Chevy at 99A?

lawprof 10:22 AM  

This would have been lots more fun if I'd picked up the theme during the solve. Unfortunately, I only saw that the circled squares were all O's, so those went in immediately. Never did associate them with the cars above them until I came here.

Two writeovers: Bishop/BEADLE and pOtOk/TOPOL (just read the "Chaim" part of the clue and dropped in the author rather than the actor); but both quickly fixable from crosses.

Alas, one stupid error at the 18A, 3D crossing: had ELra/ArVY for some (again) stupid reason.

Anent "stupid." Some time ago my wife and I were driving our (then) six year old grandson somewhere, when another driver pulled out in front of us. My wife muttered, "Stupid!" and grandson says, "Uh, oh, Grandma said a bad word." Seems that word is verboten at his school. Probably a good thing.

Z 10:30 AM  

IS IT I or is a Judas clue just a little off for Easter morning?

Played challenging here, but started after a day of flying and drinking (splurged and used my rewards points to fly 1st class - I could get used to 1st class real fast), so that was partly to blame, then having a total brain LOCK in the NW didn't help. Add in that I was iPad solving instead of my preferred pen and paper and it took me a combined 50 instead of my more usual 30ish.

A little name heavy, so it played a little too much like a trivia contest to me. Otherwise, a fine Sunday, with one arched eyebrow moment.

Gill I. P. 10:39 AM  

Some MIT grads EES? Other than that big question it was an easy peasy puzzle.
MUSTANG SALLY and the BOLEROS underneath her gave me the theme so I dashed off to the rest of the O's.
I enjoyed it but it was over too soon which is just as well since I'm off to paint bunny faces on little chocolate covered noses then deliver the bajillion deviled eggs I made to the Senior Center.
Happy Easter day.....

OISK 10:43 AM  

Liked it, although was unaware of car name theme! Nice fill, there is actually someone who spells her name Khloe??

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Ugh, just ugh. Done in by "cold cereal" when I started with "rolled oats" and "Optima card" when I started with "Master card". An error in the solution -- equinoxes are semi-annual (twice a year), not biannual (every two years), and a quibble -- horns are typically brass not winds.

Mohair Sam 11:01 AM  

@lms and @UAAlum72. Keep up the word play, we're lovin' it.

Wife completed most of this before I was downstairs. She says it was easy and fun. Thanks Ms. Gorski and Mr. Shortz for presenting a breezy puzzle for what will be a busy Sunday for many of us.

I think I had an Uncle who was a Beadle at the Old Bailey - neat cross there. I do indeed have a niece named SALLY who once owned a MUSTANG (yeah, that's why she bought it), hence 34A was a major gimme in this house.

Since pick, pick, pick is the montra here I'd like to point out that the wheel base on the CIVIC (as presented) will cause handling problems - shoulda found a way to use Accord.

Steve J 11:16 AM  

My experience and impression almost exactly matches @lawprof's first paragraph. Didn't pick up the theme, noticed all the circles were O's, never noticed the cars till after.

This was 98% easy and 2% frustrating. Had a couple blocks that just would not come to me. I had confidently inserted master CARD early on in my solve, and I stubbornly held on to it even when I saw IS IT I wouldn't work. Didn't help that I never considered that TOPOL actually had another name; I've always seen him credited by his mononym.

Other problem was the area above PRIDE in CIVIC PRIDE. Couldn't see the actual PRIDE part, CRIERS would not come to me, and I kept putting STP in and pulling it out.

Also dropped in e.m. FORESTER for a bit, not caring that E.M. has one fewer letter in his surname. That quickly corrected itself with the downs.

And I also ended up with BEaTLE BAILEY.

Overall, while this was typically fun as most Gorski puzzles are, this wasn't quite as snappy and clean as I'm used to with her. TEAL BLUE seems redundant, there's a lot of three- and four-letter fill (most of it is good, but the sheer volume became noticeable), and a ton of proper names. Add in a lack of really zippy fill (understandable with the theme density, but still missed), and this was just a little off her usual game. Still a good puzzle, but not a great one.

crossvine 11:20 AM  

I figured out the theme at MUSTANG SALLY and BOLERO and thought it was cute. Had to tax my mental data bank for car names, which aren't my specialty. Got through it in a reasonable time but not my fastest Sunday. Biggest sticking points: COLD CEREAL (for some odd reason) and OPTIMA CARD.

Don't think bachelorette parties are GIRLY anymore. My nieces have had and been to some pretty wild affairs (often in Vegas).

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Agree with the previous post---wind player would indicate a woodwind player to most. Also, is a yeo, 74D(yeoman)a Brit petty officer? It's not in my navy...

Blue Stater 11:35 AM  

Another meaty, challenging, interesting puzzle from Liz Gorski. More, please.

Mohair Sam 12:02 PM  

Yeah @anonymous (a couple of ya) - I was a little confused by the use of "wind player" for horn. Of course there is always the brassy looking French Horn which is a double reed. Confusing, but puzzle is probably correct (technically).

mac 12:09 PM  

Not easy for me, probably because of putting in Scott Truro instead of Turow, plus verbage for wordage. I think I made that word up.

I thought it was a meticulously executed puzzle, but the many, many names got to me.

Is it the slugger who practices in the cage? I thought it was the pitcher.

Happy Easter, everybody!

Nick 12:09 PM  

I usually love Elizabeth Gorski puzzles -- was glad to see her name this morning. But today's puzzle is bogged down with so many proper nouns and so much dated pop culture it has a depressing heaviness to it. Why is it that NYT puzzles are so frequently musty and frozen in time?

Steve J 12:26 PM  
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Steve J 12:30 PM  

@Mohair Sam: The French horn is indeed a brass instrument and doesn't have any reeds. The only instrument I can think of that looks like a brass instrument, but is actually a woodwind, is the saxophone (which is a single-reed instrument).

@mac: Baseball players practice their hitting in a batting CAGE.

@Gill I.P. EES = shorthand for electrical engineers.

anonymous in Montreal 12:31 PM  

Too many proper nouns, crossing. Didn't get A?VY x EL?? and B?IO, or ADA?O x E?TON. Too many 3-ltr abbrvs. How many ways are there to spell UEY? K?EIN was guessable but LAVUTO, OLIN, and KHLOE [instead of CHLOE (who are these people anyways?)] all in a row didn't help. See, that's why I didn't mind ASHLEY - it was gettable from the others (given that I knew SCOTTTUROW). Liked the intials in front of GARP. I liked ARC and ARKS - although ARCS could also be covenant keepers.
Biannual is the same as semi-annual, but the two imply slightly different things.

anonymous in Canada bis 12:33 PM  

ps why is BEADLE "English"? Because it only exists in the English language? (which isn't true) Or because it only exists in England? (which isn't true)

Fred Romagnolo 12:46 PM  

I zipped thru w/out noticing (or needing) the theme. Started in with "orb" at 9A, but was quickly pleased to see that clue meant REALLY ancient ("pore" was the giveaway). I'm a little mystified by "Quaker production," my oatmeal's hot. Is Quaker in reference to being cold? I'm a West Coaster, so come in late on this blog, so hope someone else will pick up on it for me.

jdv 12:49 PM  

Medium. I agree with SteveJ, except 90% really easy and 10% challenging. There were three trouble areas. Top left ALVY & CUNARD?!? crossing CIVICPRIDE. Mideast region CAVUTO & COLDCEREAL crossing STOPCOCKS. South region GIRLY & BEADLE?!? crossing OPTIMACARD.

I really liked the theme, but didn't notice any of it while solving. The tire placement is important; otherwise, the vehicles would be unstable and would have to be recalled.

Lewis 12:51 PM  

Rex, thank you for you puzzle of the week recommendations -- I look forward to them and enjoy them immensely. Please keep this up.

anonymous in Montreal 3 12:57 PM  

See? STOPCOCKS, not STOPLOCKS. LAVUTO made as much sense to me as CAVUTO.

RnRGhost57 1:08 PM  

A few too many proper nouns for my taste but enjoyable nonetheless.
@AliasZ, beautiful music suggestion. Thanks

Kathryn 1:15 PM  

Cute theme, but nothing really stood out as being interesting or great. Most of the pop culture references (with a few exceptions--KHLOE, for example) seemed dated.

Carola 1:46 PM  

@Mohair Sam and @anonymous - The discussion of "wind player" and "horn" reminded me of Flanders and Swann's "Ill Wind" - do you know it?

Masked and Anonymo9Us 2:04 PM  

Get in the Easter spirit, folks...
Those puz tires look almost exactly like deviled eggs! yU-Um.


M and Also 2:11 PM  

Y'all might wanna take a peep at this Easter Themeless puz...


jae 5:00 PM  

@mac - Cape Cod on your mind?

All of the female Kardashian off spring have names that begin with K. Mother Kris must have thought it was kute. I only know this stuff by osmosis ( late night talk shows, newspaper articles...). I've never seen the show.

@lms - My daughter and granddaughter are Real Housewives fans.

Mark 5:13 PM  

But after Kris married Bruce Jenner and became Kris Jenner, then she should have re-named herself Jris Jenner and re-named her daughters Jim, Jourtney, and Jhloe, right?

jberg 5:14 PM  

Solved the puzzle this morning in a friend's country house with no internet -- just got home, and everything's been said except: 1) I, too thought BIANNUAL meant every two years, just as biweekly means every two weeks, etc; but I see that Merriam-Webster says that you can use it either way, every two years or twice a year. Go figure!

2) Finished with an error because I had SCAr for SCAB - which, I agree, is a little better -- and don't know anything about BAIO/rAIO.

Totally blanked about the theme -- car models, huh? Do I have to add them to my list of things to memorize?

Disappointing for a Gorski puzzle, I thought.

Barbara 6:22 PM  

DumbergI still don't get RANDI...for "Amazing" debunker. Can somebody explain it to me? Loved it (the puzzle) anyway.

Barbara 6:24 PM  

Still don't get RANDI for "Amazing" debunker. Can anyone help? Loved the puzzle anyway.

Benko 6:34 PM  

@Barbara: The Amazing RANDI is a magician and actor who has a standing offer of one million dollars for anyone who can give evidence of the paranormal. He debunks those who claim it.
@M&A: Tougher one! Got an "aha" moment with the "Sandy's krab" clue.
All my solving times have been slow today-- I blame eating way too much at Easter brunch.

Mohair Sam 9:12 PM  

@Carola - thanks for the Flanders and Swann link, had never heard that one. When I think of them I think of Hippopotami, Medeira, and 3-toed sloths. God, were they delightful.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

My name is loveth anetor I live
in uk and was born in California.
THE GREAT dr alexzanderhightemple BROUGHT
i got married 4months ago. My
husband and I have been
living a very happy and lovely
life. So as time went on, I
began to notice this strange
attitude that he was
possessing. He was now going
out with other girls, to the
extent that he was no longer
picking up my calls, and he
was not even sleeping in my
house anymore. I became
confused and didn't know what
to do anymore. So i
became worried and stranded,
that brought so many
thoughts into my mind, because I
have never experienced
a thing like this before in my life.
So I decided to visit a spell
caster, to see if he can help
me out. So immediately I went
to the internet, where I
saw an amazing testimony of a
spell caster who brought
someone's ex lover back,so I
contacted him immediately
and I explained to him all my
problems and he told me
that it will be very easy for him
to solve, compare to the
ones he has done before. And he
also gave me some
proof to be really sure of her
work, and he assured me
that my husband will come back
to me immediately after
he is through with the spell
casting. And also he told me
to put all my trust in him and I
really obeyed him.
So it was 8:00 am on the next
morning, when I was about
going to work, when i received
my husband's call, and he
told me that he was coming back
home, and he apologized
to me, and told me that he is
very sorry for the pain that
he has cost me. And after some
hours later, he really came
back home, and that was how we
continued our marriage
with lots of love and happiness,
and our love was now
stronger than how it were
And these great man also told
me that once my heart
desire has been granted unto me
that i should go and
testify of his work right here on
the internet. Right now I
am the happiest woman on earth
today as I am writing
this testimony, and I want to
really thank
dr alexzander for
bringing back my
husband, and for bringing joy and
love to my you
all there having dificulties or the
other don,t worry every
thing will be fine
So my greatest advice for you
out there who your husband
or your wife is acting strange or
behaving the same way
like this, or you have any
problem with your relationship or
anything related to do with spell
casting, is for you to go
and visit this great man anytime,
and i assure you that
she will be of help to you, and I
am 100% sure that he
will solve it out.once again
contact him on these email
now..and your problem we be all over because I really trust him as the best spell caster in the

Casco Kid 10:27 AM  

Fun puzzle. Mrs. Kid and I knocked it back while pausing a TCM TiVoed "Neil Simon's Califorina Suite." Yes, that's a young DANAPLATO in the final scene with JANEFONDA. You know. In case it comes up.

Counting pips at Black Jack is essential for implementing the Basic Strategy, which is the guide to hit-or-pass-or-split-or-doubledown-or-surrender based on player count, dealer count, and the dozen or so optional rules that the House may implement. The Basic Strategy assumes a neutral shoe. "Card counters" per se use a fine tuned decision trees based on whether the shoe is running high or low. Card counters also adjust the amount of the bet based on shoe count. That's how they are discovered. But all players count enough to use the Basic Strategy.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:36 AM  

@M&A - Just did Themeless #11, 4 min, 59 sec. Very Us full, but I have absolutely no idea what 9 A means. Any hints?

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

We really enjoyed this puzzle with its reference to Mustang Sally. Coincidentally, appearing in the same edition of the NYT, was the Maureen Dowd Op-Ed all about her 1965 Mustang and how she cruises around blasting the fabulous Wilson Pickett.

D and A

M and A Help Desk 12:53 PM  

@BobK. Hint for 9-A: Think Little Orphan Annie? And note that the clue has double-??'s.


Bob Kerfuffle 1:04 PM  

@M&A - LOL!

Thanks, got it. As always, perfectly logical on its own terms!

(I think my mind has been warped by that sponge in square pants.)

Anonymous 7:50 PM  

My Name is John Richmond,I never believed in Love Spells or Magics
until I met this special spell caster once when i went to Africa to
Execute some business..He is really powerful.The woman i wanted to
marry left me 1 weeks to our weeding ceremony and my life was
upside down.she was with me for 7 years and i really love her so
much..she left me for another man with no reason..when i called her
she never picked up my calls and she don’t want to see me around
her…so,when i told the man what happened.he helped me to do some
readings,and after the readings he made me to realize that the
other man has done some spells over my wife and that is the reason
why she left me..he told me he will help me to cast a spell that
bring her back.At first i was skeptical but i just gave it a
try…In 2 days,she called me herself and came to me apologizing..I
cant believe she can ever come back to me again but now i am
happy she’s back and we are married now with lovely kid and we live
as a happy family..Am posting this to the forum incise
anyone needs the man.His email address is
the following are the spells that he can
launch within 72 hours. :
( 1) If you want your ex back .
( 2) if you ever have nightmares.
( 3) Do you want to be promoted in his office.
(4 ) Want women / men who are behind you.
( 5) If you want a child.
( 6) [ Do you want to be rich.
(7 ) You want to tie your husband / wife to be yours forever .
( 8) If you need financial assistance.
(9 ) Care Herbal
10) Help get people out of jail
( 11) Marriage Spells
( 12) The Miracle spells
( 13) The beauty spells
(15 ) The Spell of Attraction
( 16) Evil Eye Spells
(17 ) Kissing Spell
( 18) Remove Spells disease
contact him on this email: OR

Anonymous 7:52 PM  

He brought back my ex within 24 hrs when
others failed just using this post as a
testimony and to tell people that there are
still Real spell caster out there .
if you need his help in any way be it LOVE
CHILD...SPELL REMOVAL........GOOD contact him directly on
Thank you all.
Name:Ashley Thomas
Location: France

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

Hello my name is HENRY,I know a great spell caster who
helped me when I had problem with my wife if you need a
right place to solve your problems contact DR EGUTEL is the
right choice. he is a great man that have been casting
spells with years of experience.
he cast spells for different purposes like.
(1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(9) Herbal care.
His Email address .

uncle john 8:05 AM  

Where is the editor?

spacecraft 11:31 AM  

I'd like to cast a spell, all right--on these intruders!

Anyway. This one did not play easy for me; just a case of answers not coming right away. Unlike OFL, I found many of the clues to be...a little off. Stuff like "Futurist" for ORACLE. Not that it's off, or even inaccurate, it's just that when you say "futurist" while doing a word assocoation exercise, I'm not at all likely to respond "ORACLE." The puzzle had that kind of feel.

Then there was the obvious answer to "Visa alternative:" masterCARD. Natch; what else? (In my defense, this is the corner where I started; I thought masterCARD a good long gimme to start.) This cost quite a bit of time. OPTIMACARD??? Whassat? And that clue is SO misleading it would've drawn a flag, but for it being part of the theme, thus rendering "master" unviable.

Not really challenging, it just...lemme give you another example. Quaker makes both hot AND COLDCEREAL. So, this time it's not the clue but the answer that's a bit off. The whole thing was uncomfortable. SPIER??? See what I mean? A spy is a spy.

I fold my low two pair.

Solving in Seattle 4:04 PM  

"So, who do you work for?"
"The CIA."
"What do you do for the CIA?"
"I'm a SPIER."

With the exception of a few shank fillers, I enjoyed this Lizpuz and finished rather quickly.

I have to admit that I didn't look for a theme and didn't realized the circles were meant to be wheels under car models. Duh.

Four nines.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

All been said since I do the syndicated puzzle.

Got the theme early, and hoped it would help with the crosses, but there were way too many proper names and silly abbr. (UEY,eg) to make the rest work.

SISLE and LISLE are making way too many occurrences in puzzles these days.

Gave up half way through, and won't look back.

Dirigonzo 5:11 PM  

I was almost done in by the smash-up of proper names running down the grid in the mid-Atlantic area, with CAVUTO, KHLOE and SAENS all cavorting around and me not knowing any of them. Happily I did know STOPCOCKS and COLDCEREAL so I was able to piece it together on crosses but overall that was a hazardous area for me.

Lots of service organizations appear with the Elks and the Lions showing their CIVICPRIDE and the VFW sitting in the middle of the grid.

BEETLEBAILEY made an appearance as a clue for the theme answer "Comic Strip" in the Premier Crossword by Frank A. Longo today so it was nice to see him back for this puz.

Theme - what theme? I didn't see no stinkin' theme (but I did spend a while trying to figure out the significance of the circled Os, which were very helpful to me, by the way).

@Z - Not just Judas, but Jezebel and BAAL make an appearance too - tsk tsk.

No sense even anteing up with four nines showing so I'll take my fuzzy word capcha and call it a day.

Tim Goodenough 8:26 PM  

UEY is not a word! Maybe clued as Donald Duck's nephew H. The only correct term for a 180° change in direction is a UTURN.
But really, NYTimes couldn't come up with an Easter-themed puzzle? Really?

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

I'm surprised the Times couldn't come up with a 4/20 themed puzzle.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

My name is Mrs jennet from Chicago am 25 years old i got married at the age of 23 i have only one child and i was living happily .After one year of my marriage my husband behavior became so strange and i don’t really understand what was going on, he packed out of the house to another woman i love him so much that i never dream’s of losing him, i try my possible best to make sure that my husband get back to me but all to no avail, i cry and cry seeking for help, i discussed it with my best friend Allix and she promise to help me. She told me of a man called DR okosobo, she told me he is a very great man and a real man that can be trusted and there is nothing concerning love issues he cannot solve and she told me how he has help countless number of people in restoring their relationship. I was really convince, I quickly contacted his email address at . I explain all my problem to him, he told me that i should not worry that all my problems will be solved immediately. He told me what to do to get my husband back and i did, he said after 3days my husband will come back to me and start begging, and it really happen as he said, i was very surprise, this is so amazing.
To God be the glory our relationship is now very tight and we both live happily again. If you having similar problem, Contact him now( and get your problem solve once and for all. i am a living testimony to it.
1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be
yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(9) How you been scammed and you want to recover you lost money.
(10)if you want to stop your divorce.
(11)if you want to divorce your husband.
(12)if you want your wishes to be granted.
once again the email address is contact him immediately.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

My name is Mrs jennet from Chicago am 25 years old i got married at the age of 23 i have only one child and i was living happily .After one year of my marriage my husband behavior became so strange and i don’t really understand what was going on, he packed out of the house to another woman i love him so much that i never dream’s of losing him, i try my possible best to make sure that my husband get back to me but all to no avail, i cry and cry seeking for help, i discussed it with my best friend Allix and she promise to help me. She told me of a man called DR okosobo, she told me he is a very great man and a real man that can be trusted and there is nothing concerning love issues he cannot solve and she told me how he has help countless number of people in restoring their relationship. I was really convince, I quickly contacted his email address at . I explain all my problem to him, he told me that i should not worry that all my problems will be solved immediately. He told me what to do to get my husband back and i did, he said after 3days my husband will come back to me and start begging, and it really happen as he said, i was very surprise, this is so amazing.
To God be the glory our relationship is now very tight and we both live happily again. If you having similar problem, Contact him now( and get your problem solve once and for all. i am a living testimony to it.
1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be
yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(9) How you been scammed and you want to recover you lost money.
(10)if you want to stop your divorce.
(11)if you want to divorce your husband.
(12)if you want your wishes to be granted.
once again the email address is contact him immediately.

joy mark 2:55 PM  

When i take a look at my life now, how perfect it is, i always wonder if five years back i was told i could have such a life, if i could ever have believed. Nothing seemed to be moving, I always use to get funny about him going down the pub with his mates while me at home and we then ended up falling out and he would be gone all night and come in at like 2-3am drunk. I also use to get funny about him going away on holiday with his mates every year. I know him breaking up with me was my fault but not sure why he broke up with me anyway money was getting tight living together so we decided to move out and he go back to his mums and I get a place for me and my daughter we argued a lot at that point because of the stress trying to findX somewhere to live he said he wanted to go on a months break after moving out so we can clear our heads 5weeks into our break me text me saying we’re over I was really upset because I love him so much I was always testing him and ringing him saying I love him give me another chance then he blocked my number so I couldn’t contact him do then I message him on fb asking about my daughter as she was going on about how she doesn’t understand why she’s nit seeing daddy anymore he replies with contact me once your over me and I will have contact with your I left it a week and even though im not over him still till this day I messaged him saying I was over him so he replies with me glad to hear your over me we will arrange something for me to see your daughter. I still love him and I wanted him back i told my sister about it and she introduced me to the Famous spell caster, who helps in so many ways.i contacted her and she did her thing,before i knew it,the next day mike called me and apologized that he was sorry for everything and me sure he will never leave me again. i am so happy now, you can also get in touch with pristess iyawo on her site or her email on and you will be the next to tell a new testimony.

Beckerb Haroldh 7:03 AM  

Read my testimony!!!
Getting ex back after a breakup. I Am Becker 30 from England,my boyfriend of a year just broke up with me and am 28 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Purity can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 28 hours later, my boyfriend came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my boyfriend are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Purity. If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you.This is his call and Add him up on Whats-app: +2348160153829

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