Jason of Harry Potter movies / THU 5-8-14 / Stratego piece with monocle / Fourth-largest city in Deutschland / Its first capital was Chillicothe 1803-10 / Heyward Stone Nelson Declaration of Independence

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Constructor: Matthew Lees

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: PARADOX (34A: What 3- and 9-Down are an example of) —

  • 3D: Statement #1 (NINE-DOWN IS FALSE)
  • 9D: Statement #2 (THREE-DOWN IS TRUE)

Word of the Day: Jason ISAACS (48A: Jason of the Harry Potter movies) —
Jason Isaacs (born 6 June 1963) is an English actor. He is known for his performance as the Death Eater Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, the brutal Colonel William Tavington in The Patriot and as lifelong criminal Michael Caffee in the American television series Brotherhood. Though most of his work has been in film and television, it also includes stage performances; most notably as Louis Ironson in Declan Donnellan's 1992 and 1993 Royal National Theatre London premières of Parts One (Millennium Approaches) and Two (Perestroika) of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, and as Ben, one of two hitmen, playing opposite Lee Evans as Gus, in Harry Burton's 2007 critically acclaimed 50th-anniversary revival of Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter's 1957 two-hander The Dumb Waiter at Trafalgar Studios He starred in the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) drama Awake as DetectiveMichael Britten from March to May 2012. (wikipedia)
• • •

I feel like I'm watching the NYT's long, slow slide into mediocrity and irrelevance. No, scratch the latter. It has such name recognition, such history, and its competitors remain so little known by comparison, that it will be nominally relevant for a long time to come, even at this rate of apparent decline. But any longtime solver of the NYT can see in this puzzle that the bar is no longer very high. There's not nearly enough theme material, not nearly enough pizzazz, not nearly … I mean, what is this? A weird content-free grid-making exercise? Who. Cares that it's a PARADOX? The statements aren't even statements about anything. It's an entirely self-contained, self-referential system. There's nothing to pull this puzzle out of the category of "minor curiosity." The worst American Values Crosswords and Fireball Crosswords absolutely crush this puzzle in terms of inventiveness, humor and cultural relevance. And that's an apples-to-apples comparison, because this is NYT's big day for sparkly, creative, even rule-breaking puzzles. Thursday! It's supposed to be a treat. But this is adequate at best. It's like a practice crossword—a good early effort that maybe gets published somewhere minor if you're lucky, and then you go on to do better stuff. But—especially when you consider the completely ordinary quality of the fill (which should be sizzling given how undemanding the theme is)—it has no business being in the Big Leagues. What in the world is going on?

The only fill that grabbed my attention was COWGIRL, a cute, lively, interesting term (8D: Lassoing lass). The rest is average to below average. There are only 37 squares of theme material here. I just don't get it. Or, rather, assuming the constructor is relatively inexperienced (he's not in my database of NYT puzzles from the past 8 years), I do get it. I get it. The grid has been filled by someone without a lot of experience. If I were seeing this is in a different, less (allegedly) prestigious context, I'd think this was quite promising work. Fill's not great, but at least there's nothing terrible here. It's COHOE-free, for instance. That is something. And in fact, the fill is probably average by current NYT standards. So, again, the puzzle is not abysmal. It's just Not up to what a NYT Thursday should be, which is to say it's not scintillating. You want to call yourself the best, give me scintillating. Please. I beg you.

And here's the best part, the coup de resistance and the pied-à-terre and the je ne sais quoi all rolled into one—This Theme Has Been Done. In 2005. IN THE NYT. Here ya go:


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Everett Wolf 12:01 AM  

Everyone should do themselves a favor and check out the latest Fireball--by Jacob Stulberg

It's everything a puzzle should be.

Casco Kid 12:15 AM  

45 minutes to submit. No googles. One error: PARADOs/sANDY, which I found after 47 minutes. I was prepared not to recognize the name of the logical construct cited, so I'd turned off critical review. For that matter, I work with XANDY axes all day long, so [Familiar axes] felt more like a cute reference to MJOLNIR's best friend SANDY, or some such. That is, I'd already thought of that crossing as a Natick, so anything could happen. But hey, it is Thursday, and I didn't get blown out, so it is a good Thursday.

sgt before NCO. Kiel before bOnN before KOLN. Wanted dwarf for [52D. It may be happy or grumpy.] Few other missteps, but SE filled slowly, with WIT being last in before the submission/rejection. Overall cluing was fair, and everything was gettable. Nice puzzle.

Rex's easy-medium seems like a good call.

Anonymous 12:28 AM  

Comparing this to the puzzle from 2005.....

Entries I dislike in 2005 Puzzle: RIC, UAW, ENIAC, ERS, EEN, OHARE, INRE, SECS (though SEC is fine), IMETA, NOPETS, SNO and YMCAS. 12 poor entries, IMO

Entries I dislike in 2014 Puzzle: NCO, CTRS, UPIN, AZORES, THOS, ERN, ROUE, DADAS, ISAACS, KOLN, ADEAL, SOC, ORG, ANODE, XANDY, NEE, EIRE, OBIES and RIAL. 19 poor entries, IMO.

Long fill is about the same. 2005 has SOFTBOIL, ANDROIDS, YOUDIG, GROWINTO, NESTEA and the intriguing DOTTHEIS. 2014 has EXERCISE, COWGIRL, UNDERDOG, PASYSTEM, PLASTER and the unusual LOSTSOUL.

In conclusion, the 2005 puzzle is actually significantly superior to the 2014 version. And in 2005, puzzles were almost always hand-crafted instead of computer-generated....

Fire the retard who accepted this.

retired_chemist 12:30 AM  

Easy here. What Rex said about interest and pizazz. Also what Rex said about absence of c**p fill. I liked more of it than he did. AZORES - nice fact; SO AND SO - fun; etc.

Chief complaint - why do 3D and 9D form a paradox? A paradox is apparently "senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory." None of these applies to 3D-9D IMO.

On to Friday.

RnRGhost57 12:40 AM  

I do believe Rex wants Will Short's job.

jae 12:41 AM  

Got to agree with Rex too easy for a Thurs. (easy over all for me) and not much zip.  Now last Thursday's was a hoot (remember the COW?).  No erasures, no WOEs, and no smiles or AHAs.  And it's been done.
Now if 27a had been clued as a cartoon character voiced by Wally Cox...would that be yer rodeo?  

I skip M-W 12:42 AM  

@retired chemist. 3d says that 9d is false. 9d says that's true. If 9d is true, therefore, it's false. That's the paradox. Certainly a weakness that this was done nine years ago with same 3-d and 9-d.

Moly Shu 12:57 AM  

Easy week continues. Agree with @Rex all the way. Nothing terrible, but nothing great or amusing either. 1A had to be axes or CANS, right? A few downs, and I was nonstop filling squares until I finished at AROUSES and FLOUT. Too many gimmies, SPY (love stratego), DOWSE, PASYSTEM, UNDERDOG, TRIO, all straight in without thinking. Even the 3 theme entries filled themselves in with just a few crosses of 3D. Of course the degenerate in me liked KENO, DAILYdouble, and kentuckyDERBY.

@Anon12:28, pretty sure Mr. Shortz is not a retard, and firing him seems harsh. But....point taken.

@RetiredChemist, I'm with you, let's get our brains beaten out on Friday.

Steve J 1:22 AM  

A Tuesday puzzle that ran on a Thursday. Extremely easy here, with a record-fast Thursday time for me. Filled in two-thirds of this on first guesses without hesitation, and the theme came nearly instantly once I had NINE DOWN IS, plus the P in PARADOX. Way too easy and non-tricky for a Thursday.

But running a puzzle on the wrong day, while something worth dinging the editor on, does not make the puzzle bad. There's some good stuff here, like UNDERDOG, SO-AND-SO and LOST SOUL. PARADOX is a good word too, and would stand out outside a thin theme. There's a decent amount of gunk like CTRS and THOS, but it didn't strike me as excessive. This would have been perfectly fine early in the week.

The thing this needed was much more challenging cluing. A necessity anytime half your theme fills itself in once you get the other half.

Now off to do this week's AVC.

chefwen 1:22 AM  

Pretty much a let down to my favorite puzzle day.

COW GIRL and LOST SOUL being my favorites, every thing else was kind of a yawner.

Shouldn't BUD competitor also be a shortened answer like PBRB and not a full name like COORS, just an observation.

Steve J 1:28 AM  

Forgot to add: In addition to dinging the editor for running a puzzle that's too easy for the selected day, you can definitely ding him even more for repeating the exact same theme answers. I don't object to similar themes running with sufficient time between, but to repeat exact answers from your own publication is eyebrow-raising.

Tom Harding 1:31 AM  

I would love to see all these independent puzzle makers form a cartel. Perhaps as pay one fee to receive access to a group of constructors' material. As it is, going to each one individually and managing subscriptions feels overly burdensome. Will Shortz has brought some amazing flare, direction and a voice to the Times puzzle but without talent of these amazing constructors, he's drawing on nothing.

Mr. Sharp, your blog has helped me become a better solver and for that I'm very grateful. It would seem you're becoming a bit jaded. I remembering Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi" and how the river held such romance to him as a young boy but then later as a young man and a riverboat pilot the romance faded as he learned to read its every secret. I can't imagine solving these puzzles at the level you do. The team at the Times should be concerned when they're not maintaining the puzzle to the standards of solvers of your ilk.

For the record, I found today's puzzle to be in the neighborhood of what I expect and have expected of a Thursday. It wasn't memorable but so very few puzzles are. There are 365 a year. It challenged and amused me while providing a much needed distraction from everything else that's going on with what it takes to be a human being.

These types of conversations I find so very interesting. What's really going on here? Are constructors now using the Times as a platform to launch their own individual businesses and thus saving their best work for themselves? Is there a dearth of top-quality material that Mr. Shortz has to work with? Is Mr. Shortz' attention divided and work suffering because of it?

Anonymous 1:54 AM  

Pizzazz? Sounds like the Rexster's been watching too many Broadway musicals.

Many Thursday puzzles aren't inventive, clever or involve rebuses. Rex knows this so that part of his criticism must be part of his jihad against the Times. The puzzle was Mondayish, however, so in that respect it was wanting.

Signed Rex's Jazz Hands!!!!!!!

Anoa Bob 2:04 AM  

Rex makes some good points, but, on the other hand, Mr. Shortz has to put up a puzzle 365 and, to boot, he regularly features debut constructors. Gotta respect that.

How 'Bout Them Cowgirls?

George Barany 2:16 AM  

The problem of theme duplication occurs more often than one might think, and one cannot automatically conclude--despite the availability of outstanding databases like xwordinfo.com and cruciverb.com--negligence or malfeasance on the part of either constructor or editor. Great minds think alike, and all that ... what is a reasonable statute of limitations for clever themes and specifically memorable fill? These are weighty questions maybe better discussed on another day.

What cannot be deferred is Brent Hartzell's reminder that It Was Thirty Years Ago Today, referring to May 8, 2014 vs. 1984, when a memorable sporting debut occurred. Now there's a theme that is unlikely to be repeated anytime in the near or distant future! Hope you enjoy it.

Anonymous 2:21 AM  

George: Stop posting your advertisements, please. The puzzles you link to are absolute garbage. Spare us, especially the unwitting solvers who actually click on that pap link.

Tom Harding 3:40 AM  

Steve J, I disagree that this puzzle - as clued - would be good material for a Tuesday puzzle. Wednesday seems to be the day when Tuesday to Thursday week puzzles struggle to find their home and today's fare falls into that category. It'd make for a tough Wednesday puzzle.

About six years ago, I really got interested in crosswords. Living in NY provided these free daily commuter papers that offered Sudoku and a crossword. Once I groked the vocab, I upped my game and would buy early week editions of the Times to challenge myself. My coworkers would rubberneck in the break room during lunch as I struggled with the puzzle offering unsolicited answers. Once I finally solved a Thursday, I subscribed online. I was delightfully-pat-on-the-back smug!

My favorite moment during those days was a Thursday. I worked a few blocks south of Central Park and would escape the break room on days the weather would allow. Walking up the west side of 6th Ave near 58th St to the park, I crossed actor ERIQ La Salle who starred in ER. Neat but not super unusual to see a celeb in Midtown, I didn't freak out until I found a nice bench in the park and read the 1 across clue of that day's puzzle that referenced the very man I just recognized a couple blocks earlier. Serendipitous!

An unrelated story has me accidently stalking - I swear! Really! - Gabriel Byrne, the Irish actor famous for his role in The Usual Suspects, in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. The suspicious look he gave me after we passed each other for the third time on the sidewalks of the charming neighborhood where my girlfriend lived on a Saturday morning made me feel like an unwitting employee of TMZ. I was in line behind him at the bagel/coffee place and we circled each other twice as we apparently enjoyed the neighborhood in circular opposite directions. In fact, I questioned why Kaiser Soze was following me.

mac 4:12 AM  

Nice New York moments, @Tom Harding!

Where'd my Thursday go?

I laughed out loud at "So and so"!

Anonymous 4:24 AM  

Anonymous 2:21

George is providing links to free puzzles, many by NYT constructors. Let curious solvers decided where the garbage really is: in the puzzles or your opinion. Considering the fact that many commenters here are very vocal about their dislike for the NYT at present (for example: "Fire the retard who accepted this", you should welcome the extra cannon fodder.

-(unanonymously) Martin Ashwood-Smith

John Child 4:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Child 4:51 AM  

@anon 12:28 may be right about the 2005 puzzle's fill being better, but I thought that the fill here was fine and that PARADOX added to this puzzle relative to that one. De gustibus ...

Critiquing the duplication is completely fair, but then the theme can't be evidence that the NYT crossword is markedly worse now than in, say, 2005.

jae 5:00 AM  

@Tom Harding -- Unless that was actually Kevin Spacey you were not being followed by Keyser Soze.

Tom Harding 5:10 AM  

@jae - don't be too sure! :)

David Ward 5:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
loren muse smith 5:22 AM  

On its difficulty, I absolutely agree with @Tom Harding. In my world, this was an easy Thursday all the way. I would imagine that among the solvers here, I'm pretty slow/unaccomplished but among the entirety of the NYT solvers, I'm probably somewhat above average.
It took me longer to finish than a M-W (maybe about 10 minutes? I never look at the clock); I struggled with spelling words like DOWSE, FLOUT, and EASEL (what a hassel) in addition to early goofs

"sniff" SMELL
"assist" ENLIST
"Oslo" OHIO
"daddy" DADAS
"p - -on" PLASTER

So I've solved Thursdays that were much trickier, but I would have found this fairly hard for a Tues or Wed.

@Steve J – would there be any other way to word/number the themers so you have two matching?

I don't remember the 2005 puzzle, but I was only an occasional solver back then. So I've never seen these two 15's and their All Cretans are Liars vibe. I briefly tried to WRAP my mind around the paradox but, as usual, just when I was almost there, but The Understanding slipped away. Anyway, whether my memory is bad or whether I missed it – either way I'm glad that themes are repeated.

On days like today, when there is such a strong objection to an offering, I really do sit and stare out of the window (what would I do without my window) and question myself – did I really enjoy this or am I just a NYT Toadie? And of course, I always reach the same conclusion – I enjoyed it. Yeah, yeah – I can feel the collective eye-roll.

@M&A – thanks for asking! We're thinking maybe a word-ladder approach for the CITY/FARM puzzle. And you *really* threw me for a loop yesterday. I'm extremely confused!!

Hey, Rex – I'm still so so grateful for this site, all the work you put into it, and what all it has afforded me in terms of growth as a Puzzle Person. (Sheesh. What a statement.) You're honest and you call'em like you see'em. When I make myself look at the puzzle through your glasses, I see your point about fill (not about theme, though). But then I sit back and do a mental check – "Well, heck. Did I still enjoy the EXERCISE?" the answer is "yep."

I still like'em all. Matthew – I'm sure I'll ponder the PARADOX several times today. Then I'll probably lay down :-) for a nap.

Tom Harding 5:22 AM  

And @jae, you win this round of spelling "Keyser". It is so noted and is waiting for the late day puzzle that references this specific character. But until you experience Gabriel Byrne crossing your path three times on a Saturday morning, you won't know what a strange fear that that is :)

Gill I. P. 5:27 AM  

Hey Anony 2:21...You leave George alone!
Well, I'm with @Rex in that a Thursday should be a big fat treat...This puzzle was fine if it had run on a (I'll do you one better @Steve J) Monday. If the theme has been done before, I don't care nor do I remember but, by golly, I want a Thursday full of COWS and such.
My little headscratchers: Biscuit and rolls are SOPS? THOS??? who says THOS?
Too bad the constructor doesn't get to choose the day his puzzle will run. I wonder what day he would have chosen....

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

Seldom have I disagreed so completely with Rex. Bringing this famous paradox into the crossword world was clever and amusing. There's more than one way to measure a puzzle. Sure lively entries are fun but how about novelty of theme? That's what makes today's puzzle great.


Anonymous 6:59 AM  

Oh oh. I should have read the whole blog (or Rex should have made his really damning point first). Rex's last paragraphs expose the biggest weakness in this puzzle -- it's already been done.


George Barany 7:22 AM  

On the subject of theme duplication, have a look at Think Twice by Marti DuGuay-Carpenter and especially the corresponding midrash which references by name some of the most respected constructors in the biz.

More recently, the New York Times ran a fabulous puzzle by Joel Fagliano, highly praised on this blog, that had a grid shaped like a pool table. A very similar grid developed by Michael Shteyman had run in the New York Times seven years earlier. After Joel's puzzle appeared, I talked about it with Mike, and was struck by Mike's graciousness and how complimentary he was about Joel's effort.

Susan McConnell 7:47 AM  

Felt much too easy for a Thursday, and then to see the exact same theme answers in the earlier version....ugh. I don't have a problem with themes being repeated in different versions, but to have the exact same two theme answers? I would think that would be enough for Will to give it a pass.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

Easy and fun-- under 9 minutes and in top 100 of 3000 or so on Magmic. Now that I think about it, maybe it was more of a Weds level? Still liked it.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

My Dear Anoa Bob:
"Mr. Shortz has to put up a puzzle 365" - Are you kidding me? Not a difficult job when you have a staff, interns and 8 full hours each day to choose tomorrow's selection. Hell, Rex could aptly finish a week's worth of puzzles before lunch.
Mr. Shortz has truly "jumped the shark" and is ready for retirement.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

"Hell, Rex could aptly finish a week's worth of puzzles before lunch."

That's nothing: Maleska would finish a month's worth of puzzles before breakfast with one hand tied behind his back... and pay mill owner for permission to come to work.

(With apologies to Monty Python "Four Yorkshiremen Sketch")



Anonymous 8:21 AM  

What irks me the most about this puzzle is that it has a clue whose "correct" answer presumes my likes and dislikes. Jon Stewart display = wit. I am perfectly fine with people having opinions other than mine on this, but a clue where the author's opinion is the answer is a puzzle faux pas. Simply one thing that is not good about this puzzle.

AliasZ 8:22 AM  

I distinctly remember discussing the PARADOX of "This statement is false" a few days ago, right here in these comments. I am presenting my royalty bill to Will Shortz herewith.

No theme repetition received more attention than the RAVEN one (thanks George for reminding us). It is worth reading the whole article by Matt Gaffney.

So big deal. Will, don't listen to that SO-AND-SO Rex. His passion for a quality product trumps his sense of fairness, compassion and cool headed, objective approach. But it doesn't make him a CREEP.

@Anon 12:28, you are the retard.

I like a theme that makes you think so hard, you get a headache. The mental EXERCISE of wrapping my head around this PARADOX was fun. To wit: if NINE DOWN IS FALSE is true, it becomes false, because it makes the statement THREE DOWN IS TRUE false, which renders the statement NINE DOWN IS FALSE false. And so on ad infinitum. Got it?

What could be more fitting than the absolutely gorgeous TROUT Quintet by Franz Schubert? Let this be your earbug for the rest of the week.

Have an equally gorgeous day.

Mohair Sam 8:22 AM  

@lms - thanks for the reminder, I enjoyed the puzzle but after reading Rex I was disappointed with it. Kind of like going to the symphony and really enjoying it only to have a leading critic rip the performance in the next day's paper. Now I'm disappointed that I have lousy taste.

Will agree with most that this puzzle was printed on the wrong day. Way too easy for a Thursday, but would have been a delightful Tuesday or Wednesday.

I have no place in the discussion (argument?) about the alleged decline in NYT puzzle quality. We have no basis for comparison - The Times puzzle is the only one we solve and we tackle it every day, usually successfully. But I can say that we enjoy it as much today as we did over a decade ago when we started.

I rue the day when Rex and/or his buddies take over the NYT puzzle - I guess we'll have to adjust to his feeling on "cultural relevance." Scary thought.

Matthew A. Harmer 8:26 AM  

XANDY killed me because I couldn't believe it to be an actual word; it took me a while to figure out that it was X AND Y, not "zandy".

13+ minutes for me, but I thought it was terrible as well. I've said before that I don't like Thursday puzzles, but if this is the alternative, I'll take a multiple-letters-per-square frustration over a poor-quality-puzzle frustration.

jberg 8:36 AM  

Whew, folks are getting pretty testy here! A little calm would help, IMHO. I agree with much of what has been said -- on both sides, even -- but no need to be so heated.

I liked FLOUT, KOLN (even shorn of its umlaut), DERBY, and KENO, in addition to the aforementioned AZORES, COWGIRL, & UNDERDOG. OTOH, the clue for THOS has got to be the most obscure ever -- gettable, but a jarring contrast with everything else in the puzzle. (@Gill, THOS is now what they were called, it's how they actually signed the Declaration.) CTRS was pretty bad, but I'll take it for COWGIRL.

The best part of the puzzle for me was that I had oPeN before UP IN arms -- so that for a while I had CoKE in my salad. I don't use the stuff (either kind), but it was fun to see.

@George, I love your puzzles, and I appreciate the erudite way you tell us about them! Keep 'em coming!

joho 8:40 AM  

I'm always up for any idea that's different and this one certainly is. If I did the previous paradox puzzle in 2005 I don't remember it.

I can see how this paradoxical theme would be polarizing, though. It seems you'd either like or you wouldn't. Not much of a gray area.

I was most fascinated by the cast of characters who showed up: EMS, NCO, SNORERS, DADAS, ANGELS, CREEP, SPY, ROUE, SOANDSO, COWGIRL, UNDERDOG, LOSTSOUL, ISAACS, ANNIE, RINGO and ZORRO!
Now that's entertaining!

Fred Smith 8:42 AM  

Hey, what do I know about puzzle quality, seemed OK to me, but...

I feel like I'm watching [Rex's] long slow slide into irrelevance. No, scratch the latter. [He] has such history, and [his] competitors remain so little known by comparison, that [he] will remain relevant for a long time to come! even at this rate of apparent decline. But any longtime [follower] of [Rex] can see in this [review] that the bar is no longer very high.

Andrew Morrison 8:51 AM  

Run this on Tues, and people would say, 'Sheesh - that was tough.' On a Wed, people would say 'That's just about right.' I have to say, after finishing in less than half my average time for a Thursday, that this puzzle was mis-scheduled. I didn't hate it. There were a few answers I could only get through crosses (that means I learned something.) There were a few slam-dunks. There were a few groaners.

Kim Scudera 9:10 AM  

Leftover comments from yesterday's blog:

Thanks, @pmdm79 for the very interesting exposition on ATONAL -- this sort of thing is a big reason I read @Rex and all of you nearly every day!

Thanks, @M&A, for the big "HAR!!" that followed your linking of tennis scoring to the alternative minimum tax. Still grinning over that one.

Now for today's puzzle:

I enjoyed COWGIRL crossing ANNIE.
6 Us for M&A!
Since I missed the '05 puzzle, I didn't know I should be outraged until I read Rex this morning -- which brings me to the big reason I read the blog:

Rex brings the historical perspective I enjoy, and the kind of criticism you get from someone who cares deeply about the subject -- the NYT puzzle, yes, but crosswords generally. His standards are high, but shouldn't they be? His tone is cranky, but unmet expectations can do that to a person. If even one clue in one puzzle is improved because constructors and editors know that Rex is watching, well, good, IMO.

Joseph Welling 9:14 AM  

The March 31, 2005 puzzle Rex pointed out (the one with "NINEDOWNISFALSE" and "THREEDOWNISTRUE") also had "GETAT".

Questinia 9:15 AM  

I come into the room with a platinum marcelled bob, long white satin gown, cigarette between my left index and middle fingers, walk up to Anonymous 2:21 and cyber-slap it right across the smacker.

~Keyserin Söze.

Ludyjynn 9:15 AM  

@AndrewMorrison, you took the words right out of my mouth!

I would add that yesterday's puzz. should have run on a Tues., IMHO. A very easy solve for me while stuck all day in a hospital waiting room, so I did not get to comment before now. The puzz. evoked a great memory. I was working in NYC for an ad agency, entry level position right out of college and while walking on the street one day was approached by a guy who offered me free tickets to "a new tv show". I said ok and got to attend a very early inaugural season episode of Saturday Night Live, w/ the stellar original cast and Dick Cavett hosting. Where does the time go?!!!

L. Rick 9:18 AM  

One good thing about this: it reminded me of the disgusting limerick about the Whore from AZORES. Feel free to google it ... but don't say I didn't warn you!

Jon88 9:26 AM  

"The worst American Values Crosswords and Fireball Crosswords absolutely crush this puzzle in terms of inventiveness, humor and cultural relevance." Apples and oranges. Compare the NYT to another daily and I'm behind you, but AVC and Fireball don't live in the same universe as the NYT.

dk 9:33 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 Moons)

Beginner's mind. A state one tries to return to in meditation. Like the musings of Rex and Tom (Twain reference) as one becomes more experienced the subtitles and discoveries become the mundane. A longing develops for what was once new.

An editors job includes being in tune with the audience. Every day we have new comers to the word of NYT x-words. And then we have both the young guns and old hands (pardon the western reference reading the Longmire books and have a longing for the open skies of Wyoming). Thus a need for balance.

My 2 cents: I take every puzzle day as a new day. It may be similar to another day but it is unique as it is today. There is a Zen quality to this approach as well as a practical use of "shutter logic." Shutter logic is an approach to artificial intelligence suggesting action is less a continuous stream and more a series of events: think movie and floppy book. My pint is if we looked at all puzzles we may see less of a decline in quality and more of an ebb and flow of difficulty.

Anyway today got two moons as 3 and 9 down may be a pair of ox but not a paradox.

I like COWGIRL (see Longmire ref. above).

Giddy up,

d(seldom seen slim)k

dk 9:35 AM  

point not pint…. but perhaps later today at the Anchor a pint may be in order

Gubdude 9:43 AM  

It actually annoys me that I get emails from Will (or his proxy) saying "Sorry, but this theme does not excite me enough."

But a theme that has already been done is exciting enough? What is the bar here? And the Mercury Seven puzzle that ran a few weeks ago had already been done as well. What gives?

D-Squared Media NYC 9:49 AM  

Ditto Rex. Don't ruin Thursdays. Favorite puzzle of the week.

Sir Hillary 9:56 AM  

Puzzle was fine. I can see @Rex's points, but it didn't feel like some massive abandonment of standards.

Never heard of a sea TROUT...only know of the lake and brook varieties.

@George Barany -- I am sure you will ignore morons like @Anonymous 2:21AM. Loved the linked puzzle. The "30 Years Ago" player (RIP) remains one of my all-time favorites. The 1987 and 1991 World Series were both great, with the latter being the best I have ever seen (and yes, that includes 1975). How cool also that the opposing first baseman had previously been the main man in Minnesota.

"We'll see you tomorrow night!"

Tita 10:01 AM  

Sister-in-law is from the AZORES - Faial is the best island, according to her.

I'm with @LMS & dk in their take on puzzles. Not to say that their should be no critiques, and that constructors/editors should not aspire to greatness, but nearly every NYT puzzle is a bright point in my day.

I need only one hand to count the puzzles that I really, truly, hated. Actually, I need only 2 fingers for that exercise.
One was the Sunday puzzle that wsa just an advertisement for the terrible film Titanic. The other one - well, I can't remember it. I only remember really disliking it. So I guess I shouldn't even count it.

Anyhow, thank you Mr. Lees.

chefbea 10:06 AM  

too tuff for me. Had to come here. And no time to read all the comments

Gotta go prep my trout!!!

quilter1 10:11 AM  

Easy for me. I liked PLASTER and COWGIRL, ZORRO, AZORES, and many of the other words. THOS is a legit abbreviation for THOmaS, and kind of a gimme as I have studied the Revolution a bit. Did not hate this.

quilter1 10:12 AM  

Easy for me. I liked PLASTER and COWGIRL, ZORRO, AZORES, and many of the other words. THOS is a legit abbreviation for THOmaS, and kind of a gimme as I have studied the Revolution a bit. Did not hate this.

Davidph 10:14 AM  

Ah, the Liar's Paradox. It comes in many variations:

The statement below is true.
The statement above is false.

If either statement is true, then it's also false, and vice versa.

Paradoxes are fascinating. They challenge our understanding of how language creates meaning. Two perfectly clear, useful sentences, put in a particular context, become an impossible riddle. For me, it highlights the idea that meaning is not inherent in the words; context is everything.

Math has similar paradoxes, especially in set theory (Russell's Paradox). They give the philosophers fits, though the mathematicians seem to go on fine without a solution.

Beaglelover 10:25 AM  

Kevin Spacey is Kaiser Souse!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:31 AM  

And the resolution of the paradox is . . . . stick to a nice rebus on Thursday! :>))

Steve J 10:37 AM  

It'd be swell if regular contributors didn't join in the name-calling that anonymous drive-bys and one regular Anon who is always recognizable even when she doesn't use her occasional nom de plume engage in. Even when arguments get mildly heated, we're usually free of that sort of thing here. It'd be nice to keep it that way. I've got the rest of the internet for reading dueling insults and name-calling.

@Tom Harding: If I go strictly by my solve time, this finished where a medium-challenging Tuesday puzzle would for me. Everyone has different sweet spots, of course, so I could have clicked with this more than others. But there's definitely a consensus today that the puzzle was too easy for its selected day. (Enjoyed your NYC reminiscing, btw.)

@LMS: You could maintain symmetry and do the same thing with 4D and 8D, switching the true/false order (reading left-to-right). Other than that, nothing immediately comes to mind. Were I constructing - or editing - if I couldn't pull off the puzzle without having the exact same theme answers, I'd scrap it if I can't find another way to make it work. As I mentioned, I think repeating theme ideas is fine with sufficient time in between and if there's not repetition of execution (like the pool-table puzzle mentioned in the comments; same concept, but the answers varied enough to make the new one fresh). This is too repetitive, in my opinion.

@MAS: Excellent use of a Monty Python reference.

Blue Stater 10:41 AM  

Well critiqued, Rex. I've been saying this for nearly 20 years now. Even if one likes WS's general approach to puzzling (and, frankly, I don't), the puzzles have seemed increasingly directionless in recent months, as though no one was paying attention. If you're running for WS's job, as per RnRGhost57 above, more power to you. You'd be a huge improvement.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 10:57 AM  

It had the unusual fill. It had the desperate fill. It had the SOC SMELL. Two outa three ain't bad.

@muse: my apologies, if I confuse. But I am the lost soul of confusion.

A PARADOX walk into a bra... (Yo, @Mr. Barany)

Any theme with dejavuosity can't be all bad. Sorta like New York, the town so nice they named it twice.

Primo fillins: CUKE. ZORRO. UHAUL. AZORES. DERBY. UNDERDOG. COWGIRL. THOS. SOANDSO. PASYSTEM. XANDY. FLOUT. ATLANTA. PLASTER. DAILY. UHAUL. LOSTSOUL. DOWSE. COORS. EXERCISE. CRIBS. CREEP. UHAUL. wow. They don't have to all be real long, to be pretty (Classic Viagra counterargument).

weeject of the day: EMS, as in SMELL-EMS. Also, always delighted to see ERN back in town.

Paradoxically, I also really liked 34-Down and 52-Up. But I confuse.


Mohair Sam 11:05 AM  

What @dk (9:33) said, exactly. Why can't I express myself that well?

Big fan of the Western genre, I'll have to take his tip on Longmire too.

pmdm 11:17 AM  

Thanks to those who expressed appreciation of my post yesterday. I do know how to embed audio links, but perhaps I worry too much about violating the copywrite law.

Retired Chemist: I know your question was answered shortly after your post, but I'd like to repeat the explanation worded just a little differently.

If two statements each by themselves can be either true or false but when taken together cannot be true be either true or false without contradicting each other, the two statement form a paradox.

That the same theme of today's puzzle appeared almost a decade ago did not in any way affect my puzzle solving experience today. So I consider the issue to be irrelevant.

M and Also 11:19 AM  

Aieeee... the sunshiney brightness of yer blog... it's... it's overwhelmin my eyepits... har

But, hey -- if U like downhill slides, wait til U get a load of **my** NYT debut nonruntpuz, comin out real soon, now...

In the meantime, here's somethin that no constructioneer is ever likely to repeat:



Carola 11:39 AM  

Before reading @Rex, my thought was, "Nicely done puzzle, but not the Thurday I was looking for." Remembering @Alias Z's recent PARADOX remarks made the theme even easier. I love diabolical Thursdays, my favorite being that hurricane puzzle, where answers were swirling around the eye. But COWGIRL, AZORES, SOANDSO, UNDERDOG, and LOST SOUL were nice grid treats and helped make up for the rather lame (I thought) theme.

In the memory lane department - I first heard the TROUT Quintet performed in 1971 at London's Royal Festival Hall with Clifford Curzon as the pianist. As a student I was fairly new to classical performances, but in London I could afford the cheap seats. I was absolutely transported by the delighful sparkle. Unforgettable. Obviously. Totally off topic - the other memorable RFH performance I saw that during that semester abroad was of a young avant garde French organist who came to perform his latest composition. The piece began with a massive chord that involved him leaning on the keyboards with his forearms and covering all the keys. He blew out the electrical system, and that was the end of the performance. He turned to the audience with a Gallic shrug and walked off.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:49 AM  

@M&A - Not reporting times if I use any cheats, so simply, DNF. The second part of the clue for 8 D was, shall we say, a learning opportunity for me.

(And there is a reason Bencoe finished #20 at the ACPT, and I finished #290!)

jdv 11:51 AM  

Easy-Med. For the most part the cluing today was straight over the plate. I felt like I was in a home run hitting contest. On a Thursday, I'm expecting some breaking balls, change ups, etc. Maybe a little pine tar to get more action on the ball. There were no question marks after any of the clues.

This would've been easy, but I got tripped up in the E & NE. Had DOME for LOBE and SET for WIT. Had a hard time seeing SOANDSO and THOS.

Arlene 11:53 AM  

I was going to get all huffy about this theme being a repeat from 2005 - but, eh, so what! I didn't remember it, and I liked doing this puzzle. Giving me an easy Thursday always makes me happy, or makes me think I'm actually getting better at this. Can't complain about that!

As for PARADOX - made me think of Alan Sherman's song about plurals - a classic called "One Hippopotami"


Master Melvin 11:53 AM  

@Sir Hillary: When you hear folks in the South bragging about catching trout, they are usually talking about sea trout, especially the spotted sea trout. Their fresh water is usually too warm for trout.

The sea trout is not a real trout but a drum. But they look something like a trout because of the spots.

When I'm in Florida in the the winter I enjoy catching (and bragging about) them. In the summer I catch their northern cousins, known locally as weakfish (because of their weak mouths). Both are good fighters and good table fare.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Actually, on xwordinfo.com, the constructor says he's been constructing for many years and that he's had 10 published in "major" publications. So yes, complete and utter bafflement as to why this was run on any day of the week, especially Thursday. And Jeff Chen has made it Puzzle of the Week!!! Crazy.

mac 12:12 PM  

After reading all the comments, I just want to go and have a drink with Kim Scudera and Questinia and discuss M&A's most hilarious

Questinia 12:25 PM  

I agree with @ dk's pint and point.

I see no real change in NYTs quality. There may be more sites that offer more puzzles that are not part of a NYTs -style canon, having a more Romantic and dynamic quality as opposed to the New York Times Classicism. We all cut our teeth on the Times and there are generations beyond who will need to cut their's. Otherwise where will kids like Cascokid go?

That being said, this is the only puzzle I have time for in my day so I may be just being locally patriotic.

M and A DNFers' Desk 12:39 PM  

@BobK: DNFustics!

@mac: My dear old grandaddy liked to say, "Any day you can drive three women to drink all at once is a pretty day-um good day's work.". He also liked to say, "Oooh... did someone just sit on a duck?". So there's that.


@Q: There is always time for runtpuz. And a drink, directly after.

Hartley70 12:41 PM  

I agree, too easy for a Thursday. But those of us who choose to live where there are four seasons find a perfect summer day to be all the sweeter. If every Thursday is crossword perfection, the thrill is gone. Ahh Chet.

Sir Hillary 12:41 PM  

@Master Melvin:
Thanks for the primer -- great stuff. I know next to nothing about fishing, but I sure do enjoy the fruits of other people's labors. I could eat fish at every meal.

Although as a baseball fan hailing from Southern California, my current favorite TROUT is definitely the Mike variety.

Wayne 12:51 PM  

+1. Rex wants to have it both ways. Is the Screed O' the Day about the long slow slide (LSS) or the lack of originality. This puzzle was fine. Nothing to write home about. But an enjoyable enough way to spend a few minutes.

wreck 1:19 PM  

My 2 cents..... it was easier than most Thursdays, so my sense of accomplishment was diminished a bit!
I'm like Mohair ..I liked it more before I came here and was told why I should hate it.

Fred Romagnolo 1:58 PM  

Nobody's mentioned it, but I got thrown by EMS; it was from crosswords that I learned EMT, so that seemed so logically correct, that I went slightly nuts trying to fit T_Y into a Stratego piece; see how embedded practice can hurt. I agree with the comment that constructors should not let their personal taste become answers; not everyone might agree on Jon Stewart's WIT, I know of people who don't. I enjoyed the inclusion of LOST SOUL & ANGELS, especially since the former vastly outnumber the latter in the chapel. First SHORE, then FRONT, before acrosses made it TROUT. DADDY before DADAS. It seems like it's been around three times in the last month that GET AT has made an appearance.

mathguy 2:05 PM  

I don't agree with Rex's criticism of the paradox as being self-referential. I believe that all true paradoxes are. When the word paradox is used in conversation, it refers to a statement that seems to contradict itself but upon careful analysis does not. My favorite paradox is about the village where the town barber shaves everyone who does not shave himself. Who shaves the barber?

I agree that the puzzle was easy but I found it enjoyable. Enough crunch and not too many gimmes.

Benko 2:10 PM  

I also found this runt puzz particularly difficult. I had IBM for one down and it took me a minute to see the error. Three down took me a minute to see, but I loved it. Theme answers also clever. Just over three minutes.

Benko 2:13 PM  

@SteveJ: I also find "Sarah" recognizable under any name or lack thereof. Maybe it's because she always says the same things in the same way--although her use of the word "retard" was a new low in hatefulness.
@georgebarany: Please don't stop posting links to free puzzles! More free puzzles!

Questinia 2:42 PM  

OMG @ Carola, I loved that hurricane puzzle too. I think about it from time to time.

@ mac, you're on!

@ el Masqerado e Anonymito. Donde el runt puz?

Freddy Murcks 2:50 PM  

I am not a long time student of the NYT crossword like Rex is, but I did find this t be a bit too easy for a Thursday. And given that the theme has been done before, "phoning it in" may be an apt descriptor.

ospnat when

Outlaw M and A Help Desko 3:05 PM  

@poco Q:
Referirse a mis comentarios anteriores.


el M e A.
"The Dandly Lion of Constructioneers"

Dick Swart 3:15 PM  

How quaint the ways of Paradox !
At common sense she gaily mocks
That paradox, That paradox
That most ingenious paradox !
We've quips and quibbles heard in flocks,
But none to beat that paradox !

'Pirates of Penzance opens this week at Portland Opera.

A happy coincidence

Joseph Welling 3:21 PM  

Jon88 said:
"Apples and oranges. Compare the NYT to another daily and I'm behind you, but AVC and Fireball don't live in the same universe as the NYT."


sanfranman59 3:23 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 12:30, 17:55, 0.70, 6%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 7:45, 10:31, 0.74, 7%, Easy

Gill I. P. 3:48 PM  

My all time favorite crossword was a Liz Gorski Sunday with a spiral staircase at the Guggenheim. My second favorite was her champagne glass one.
@MAS...Just finished opening the Monty Python skit. That one brought back memory tears of laughter. Our son and my husband used to try and out-do each other with the "my life was crappier than your life" routine.
OK..speaking of son and off topic I was wondering if any of you smart people would know how I can go about getting a personalized puzzle made for #1 son for his birthday in August.
Every year (and if he's not deployed somewhere a million miles away) we celebrate and I always try and come up with a surprise for him. He loves puzzles because he loves to throw around words nobody uses in real language. If you have any ideas you can contact me at 2macgsa@gmail.com.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.... And thanks for any suggestion.

Sir Hillary 4:01 PM  

@Gill I.P.:
I just worked with BEQ on a custom puzzle for a friend's birthday. I gave him more lead time than you've got, but he can probably crank one in time if you give him some content quickly. It was an awesome experience. Cost $300 though, so keep that in mind.

You can email Brendan from his site, which is linked on @Rex's page. If you want to connect with me directly, let me know.

Lewis 4:11 PM  

With just a few letters in, I wrote in the three theme answers and was off and running. That rarely happens to me.

Rex thinks he's being objective when he touts sites like Fireball as being clearly superior to NYT, even giving "objective" categories like inventiveness, humor, and cultural relevance. But as the comments here show, in the final analysis, it is a matter of taste.

I do subscribe to Fireball and enjoy its genre of puzzles. Comparing them with the NYT puzzles,I see them more like a different cuisine, rather than a superior one. And I enjoy them both.

vab 4:51 PM  

@ Steve J: Wondering why you think that people who simply post as anon, not taking the two seconds to use an initial or whatever, are not capable of being regular contributors? Your paragraph is illogical. Anons could be just as committed, just as regular, could come every day..could be passionate about crosswords, about reading Rex. Are their posts to be discounted as "drivebys?" Your paragraph is snobby and silly. May I suggest your posting as anon, or using a clever nom de plume for a few..? After that paragraph of yours, it would be sweet relief.
.. who has never posted as anon, for what *that* is worth..which is exactly nothing.. even if Rex likes names and some other people like intricate autobios. I know, people like to know how other people think.
But you apparently don't even need names, you are clairvoyant.. My how brilliant.

Anonymous 5:08 PM  

I miss ACME.

Gill I. P. 5:14 PM  

@vab...It's when assh***s print something insidious that is meant to get a rise. Like knowing that you can probably yell "fire" somewhere and get lots of attention...yuk, yuk.
p.s. I bet there are a ton of us who have never posted as anonymous.
Hey @Sir Hillary...Gracias. I think I knew @BEQ did - just wondering if there were some other budding crossword pro...@M&A?????

chefbea 5:36 PM  

I could post as anon...but once I mentioned a red tuber.... u would know who I am.

Verbal Kint 6:01 PM  

In a 2005 interview Kevin Spacey revealed that Bryan Singer managed to convince every one of the major actors that they were Keyser Soze. When the movie first screened for the company of actors, Gabriel Byrne was so stunned when he found that he wasn't Keyser Soze that he stormed off into the parking lot and argued with Singer for a half hour.

E Hefferon 6:39 PM  

I have never posted before and never expect to post again, but I can not believe that people who are educated and intelligent would throw around the insulting word that describes people with intellectual disabilities as though you are fifth-graders. I read all of the comments just to see if someone would call out the early commenter who used that word and although several people repeated the word to note that it doesn't accurately describe Will Shortz, it wasnt' until very late in the day that someone thought to object to the use of the word itself. Use of that word for the purpose of insulting people of normal intelligence by associating them with people with intellectual disabilities is hateful and bigoted and its casual use in a forum such as this shouldn't be tolerated by anyone. Feel free to fire away at me now. (If this shows up as Anonymous, it's because I've never posted before and don't really know how it works not because I am trying to hide my identity. E Hefferon)

Kim Scudera 7:17 PM  

Amen, @mac and @EHefferon (for totally different reasons!). Let's grab Questinia and M&A and LMS and other like-minded parties and grab a drink. I'm just west of DC, working too hard and ready to talk serious xwords!

Beezer 8:23 PM  

@EHefferon, your comments are right on. Some of my agreement is for the uncalled for and unkind remarks, the desire to not post again...but I sense you are a more serious and die-hard historian puzzler than I am. I have been looking at this blog for just a few months. My observations are: do these people have jobs that blog every day at early o'clock, if so, have they ever constructed crossword puzzles? Further...does anyone see this as a pleasant distraction that can be done in a leisurely manner drinking coffee or later (wine) without a bathroom break or does everyone sit down, take a deep breath and freaking blast through every day to submit their solve time? Is this all about how fast you solve? I find it similar to some book club discussions of award winning books when people excoriate an author and the "excoriators" haven't written pulp let alone garnered a Pulitzer or National Book Award. Anyway, from now on I'll likely skip looking at the sage comments posted here.

Z 9:03 PM  

For the intersection of xwords and music, a little DIES IRAE reporting from our friends south of the border (well, south for me, north for most of you all).

@Beezer - If you are in Hawai'i a midnight post is actually 7:00 pm the night before. My personal routine when I'm home is to make coffee, sit down with coffee and paper and solve in pen, usually posting soon after. The arguing is often strident, here, but the bad stuff is from anonymice. If you skip those posts you get a different vibe.

Beezer 9:38 PM  

@Z, thanks for the kind words and by the way the Z reverberates due to my last name thus Beezer. No, I'm not in Hawaii I'm in what most would dub flyover country yet still in EDT. Oh what would be one of those golly gee gosh darn states between PA and Colorado or Nevada ( everyone recognizes that). But no, I might start in the morning, go to work, end at night. I might let the app time out and walk away. Busy, busy! Not dumb or even conservative ( although since it is flyover, of course a red state ). Just a rube that enjoys the NYT crossword puzzle and feels bad that people actually criticize the brilliance of these puzzles even when " sub-par".

sanfranman59 10:02 PM  

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

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

Mon 6:20, 6:04, 1.04, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:46, 8:32, 1.03, 60%, Medium
Wed 9:22, 9:54, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium
Thu 12:30, 17:55, 0.70, 6%, Easy (14th lowest ratio of 228 Thursdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:04, 3:55, 1.04, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:21, 5:15, 1.02, 55%, Medium
Wed 6:07, 6:11, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Thu 7:14, 10:31, 0.69, 4%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 228 Thursdays)

Z 10:15 PM  

@Beezer - Verlander has thrown two no-hitters. He's lost a mile or two off his fastball. I'll still take him over every other starter playing right now, even if I do swear when he only goes five innings. Today's puzzle wasn't a no hitter. I think Rex was a little harsh, I enjoyed it enough, but it was not the best Thursday. If you praise every puzzle you end up never praising any puzzle. BTW - I'm in the mitten. The Hawai'i comment was just to point out that left coasters aren't actually posting at 2:00 a.m. local time.

OISK 11:12 PM  

Late to the party, so I was already beaten to the G and S "A Paradox" punch. I liked this one. I thought that Jon Stewart display was going to be "Mug." Liked "Lost Soul, Koln, (been there) XandY. A bit easy for a Thursday; last Thursday's had more "beef", but I enjoyed it anyway.

JFC 12:23 AM  

I feel like I'm watching the Rex's short, fast slide into irrelevance. I come here 22 minutes after the time when he is supposed to post and nothing.


Movies in indore 1:19 AM  

Hi! I actually added your blog to my favorites list and look forward to get the same quality content every time I visit your blog. Thanks a lot.

Dave 5:14 PM  

Wow, Rex - try some decaf. It isn't that this puzzle is the worst ever, it just isn't worthy of Thursday. More like a hard Tuesday puzzle. Had some time to kill and figured I'd do it this morning and finished it so quickly I was bored for the last 20 minutes of my waiting. First world problems!

Leila 8:18 AM  

That Fireball site is ugly as hell. What is this, 1999?

spacecraft 9:56 AM  

After reading today's too-typical review by OFL, I feel as though I need one of Jimmy Dean's breakfast sausages to dispel the cloud. @Rex, you sure know how to take the sunshine out of a morning!

Come on, guys, this wasn't THAT easy. For example, INTERCOM not only fits, but agrees with MOOD. And isn't Pops DADdy? Took a while to unsnag that corner. DADAS, eh? Can you hear a baby going "pops?"

Having started doing these less than four years ago, I'm not familiar with the 2005 offering, so that criticism, while valid for you old-timers, doesn't apply to me. You can drive yourself nuts trying to follow the logic pattern of 3d/9d. I'm put in mind of the STTOS episode "I, Mudd:"

[The crew is trying to deactivate Norman, Mudd's only unduplicated android.]

KIRK: Now listen very carefully, Norman. Everything Harry says is the truth.

HARRY: I am lying.

NORMAN (circuits overheating): You say you tell the truth, but you're lying, but... (blows up)

Fun stuff. I wish the MOOD could get a little less depressing around here. After all, the syndilink is back to normal--in advance of the weekend! Yay!

My captcha today is the un-pokerish 143, as in Allan Sherman's "The Ballad of Irving:"

Now a hundreed and forty-one were faster than he,
But Irving was looking for 143!
Irving. Big fat Irving. Big dum-dum Irving. The hundred and forty-second fastest gun in the west.

Waxy in Montreal 10:58 AM  

Have to agree with @sanfranman59's rating on this one. Certainly not up to the usual Thursday trickiness standard.

Oh, well, leaves the rest of the day to enjoy the rain, World Cup and US Open (and for Canucks, the Ontario election). May even try to GETAT ADEAL from those SOANDSOS at IKEA.

rain forest 2:18 PM  

Do people actually wake up in the morning and say "hey, it's Thursday, ergo today's puzzle will be a rebus"? Do people really have their day ruined because the puzzle isn't at a level they expext? Do people recall that other puzzle from 2005? To those people, I say, either stop commenting, or go to some other site. You don't add anything to this blog.

Having said that, I guess everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, as am I, I, who am the 142nd fastest gun in the West (Hi, @Spacey, lol).

I enjoyed this puzzle. If I were to give it a grade, it might be a 6/10, but I also enjoy a 4/10, and I'll refrain from grading any future puzzles. I'll just solve 'em and enjoy 'em.

DMG 3:14 PM  

Not much time today, so skipped most of the comments, but gather most people thought it wasn't all that challenging . On the other hand, I'm with @ rainforest. I, too, just solve them (as best I can!) and enjoy them. Took me awhile today to find my problem which was thinking lake shore, when TROUT was wanted but I got there! Now off to other things, but looking forward to tomorrow!

Dirigonzo 3:43 PM  

After I read Rex' review I just scrolled down to syndiland where I knew sanity would prevail. In an interesting little bit of syndi-synchronocity, I came upon this on fb today.

Since @spacy brought it up, here's "The Ballad of Irving" for your listening enjoyment.

Solving in Seattle 7:10 PM  

I happen to be as undiscriminating about crossword puzzles as I am about wine.
"Ahhh, this cab is almost exactly like the one I drank on this date in 2005."
OK puzz that was indeed pretty easy and simple for a Thursday.
@Spacy, you should put some new lyrics to the Ballad of Irving to fit the 43rd fasted cw solver in the world.

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