Quarter-rounded molding / SUN 5-11-14 / Seven-time NBA rebounding champ 1992-98 / Rodent that burrows near streams / Subject of Pittsburgh art museum

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: "For Mother" — black squares spell MOM. Three unchecked squares in NW (and again in SE) spell MOM. Eight clues read [Mother ___]:

Theme answers:
  • 14A: JONES
  • 49A: TERESA
  • 68A: LODE
  • 70A: SHIP
  • 91A: TONGUE
  • 124A: GOOSE
  • 9D: HUBBARD
  • 95D: COUNTRY
Word of the Day: LEUMI (74A: Bank of Israel) —
Bank Leumi (Hebrewבנק לאומי‎, lit. National Bank) is an Israeli bank. It was founded in London as the Anglo Palestine Company on February 27, 1902, by members of the Zionist movement to promote the industry, construction, agriculture, and infrastructure of the land hoped to ultimately become Eretz Yisrael. Today Bank Leumi is Israel's largest bank (by total assets), with 13,500 employees and subsidiaries in 20 countries. (wikipedia)
• • •

Interesting and strange. Lots of thematic layers (well, three, which is a lot), but the part that involves putting actual letters in actual squares is pretty damned thin. I'm counting only 44 squares of theme material, 50 when you count those MOM squares. For a Sunday puzzle, that is not just low—I want to say it's the lowest I've ever seen. Lots of long, interesting answers, but they have nothing to do with the theme, which is OK, but if they whole point is MOM, it's weird to have your eight theme answers feel like they barely matter. OH, maybe you want to count DAY too? I don't, but let's throw that in. We're still light. Very light. This is the strange part. But as a kind of oversized themeless, with a dusting of "Mother" stuff, it was actually an entertaining challenge. Difficulty level was definitely amped up today—maybe it had something to do with the unchecked squares, but I think it was just the wide-open structure of the grid. Lots of white space + unchoppy grid = harder to get toeholds. It wasn't back-breaking, just slower going than normal. I appreciate that on a Sunday.


Some of the longer answers are quite colorful. I loved the super-80s "I'M SO SURE!" Did *not* see the "SO" part coming and was pleasantly surprised when I got it—in a nostalgic kind of way. DON'T START IN ON ME is an oddly specific phrase (48D: Words to one who's about to go off). The first three words I buy as a stand-alone phrase. The rest: arbitrary. Colorful and dramatic, but arbitrary. There is quite a bit of google attestation for the phrase, though the first page of results gets a crossword blog reviewing this puzzle, and then a bunch of random Google Books results and a Grand Theft Auto fan forum. I liked it fine, just took me a long time to figure out the IN ON ME part. There's some iffy / odd fill like OVOLO (???) (22A: Quarter-rounded molding) and POLE BARN (double ???) (55A: Simple storage unit on a farm). I liked all the full names, particular the part where JOE BIDEN met DREW BREES. No idea there was any famous Disraelis besides Benjamin, so that ISAAC guy came as a surprise. As for the two-letter words … eh, I didn't mind. They were easy to get, and they were necessary for the black-squares gimmick, so, fine.


Puzzle of the Week this week … and it's Lynn Lempel again, her second win of the year, both for fantastic NYT Monday puzzles. This one, you'll recall, was the puzzle about nothing. It's a testament to how good a puzzle it is that I'm giving it POTW honors despite the obvious, totally Not coincidental tie-in with adjacent paper content. That juxtaposition was surely not the reason the puzzle was accepted, but some editor somewhere knew exactly what s/he was doing. Aaaaanyway, the puzzle ruled, so I put my consternation aside. Glad Ms. Lempel is still turning out the occasional easy puzzle, if only so we can see by contrast how far off the mark so many others are. She's the bar. If you're not jumping her, you should at least be trying.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

93 comments:

allan 12:02 AM  

Happy Mother's Day to all.

jae 12:20 AM  

Delightful!  Some nice long downs and an easy-medium solve for me for Mother's Day.  Although,  LEUMI was a WOE.

Some day I'll remember how to spell SHIH TZU.

Moly Shu 12:28 AM  

Found it on the easy side. Don't mind the small(ish) theme entries, the large M O M looks really great, and makes up for any shortcomings. LEUMI, yikes, never seen, heard, imagined, etc. Mostly a smooth solve with minor difficulties in the SW. Took time to see PALISADES and LAUGHLINES. For some reason I never want to enter SHIHTZU without crosses for fear that I will enter a word that I know would never be accepted by the NYT. Even though I utter that word constantly while solving crossword puzzles.

Liked the RODMAN NORTH KOREA trifecta, even though magicmic messed up the references

Very good Sunday that was also visually pleasing.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

"if you're not jumping her, you should be trying"

You're aware of the slang use of "jumping her", right?

Michael Stack 12:37 AM  

Pls help--how does "second of six" equal "short I"? Thanks

allan 12:44 AM  

It's the second letter in the word six, which is a short i.

Andrew Morrison 12:57 AM  

Hmmm. Surprising rating. I found it easy - finished in near-record time (for me.) One man's struggle is another man's piece o' cake, I suppose. Definitely an odd puzzle, but fun.

long suffering mets fan 1:10 AM  

Looked at 49A and 91A clues and had to remember this is the NYT and not BEQ or Peter Gordon.

Sad to realize that Sandy Duncan was never Education Secretary.

Puzzle was dull

paulsfo 1:25 AM  

Thought the top was easy, bottom was much harder. Moslty I agree with 'long suffering mets fan that it was dull, dull, dull.

Please, Mr Shortz, some of us care about interesting, challenging, fun *clues*, not just the construction!

Noam D. Elkies 1:52 AM  

The MOM squares are not truly unchecked because they spell MOM. Twice. This is analogous to the X-marks-the-spot puzzle with four apparently unchecked squares that form the N/E/S/W compass points around the central block.

Happy MOM's Day,
—NDE

George Barany 2:02 AM  

This was fun, starting with the pattern of black squares, continuing with the unchecked squares that twice spelled out MOM, and several FITB's after the word "Mother". However, I humbly submit that PUTTING_ON_WEIGHT and DON'T_START_IN_ON_ME may also be considered theme entries, depending on your family of origin. It all in the inflections.

Steve J 2:07 AM  

Found most of this blazingly easy, except for the SE, where I ground to a halt for a little while. Could not see INDICATED and AMERICANA, even with a handful of crosses. Finally figured out DON'T START IN ON ME (one of the nicer bits of long fill), and finally got that corner to fall.

Nevertheless, I DNF because I didn't know FARO and didn't notice that all of the unchecked letters spelled MOM.

Had a lukewarm reaction to the puzzle overall. Cute concept, yet as Rex mentioned, despite having three levels, it felt kind of thin. There were some nice bits of long fill, but there wasn't much zing.

chefwen 3:58 AM  

Chalking this one up to medium. Jon had to bail me out with 56D RODMAN. Other than that, it was pretty much auto fill. A fun puzzle that made me reflect on my Mom. Miss you!

r.alphbunker 4:15 AM  

The 72D clue {Last month, Abbr.} was a lot more interesting to me because this is a Mother's Day puzzle. Of course, "apr" came to mind first but then I thought that it is too specific to the publication date and that would not be good for republication (of course the clue could be changed). But since Mother's Day is always in May then "apr" may be okay. But wait, 26A is {Part of A.P.R. abbr.} so that is either an editorial oversight or that rules out "apr". Then the penny dropped and I realized that "the" had been elided and that the clue was referring to DEC.

Norm Bates 5:26 AM  

I remember doing this same puzzle as a Mothers' Day Card years ago. Thinking back, I might have left off Splay and Sex up, or No Hit and Redhead. It wasn't meant as a memoir.

SJ 5:30 AM  

Worked this on iPhone, and someone need to have a little shaper eyes while editing. Clue for 55A is "With 58-Down, four time destination for 56 Down." There is no 58 Down and 56 Down is PCS ("Windows Boxes). Makes it just a little hard to come up with the NORTH KOREA/RODMAN connection.

SJ 5:30 AM  

Worked this on iPhone, and someone need to have a little shaper eyes while editing. Clue for 55A is "With 58-Down, four time destination for 56 Down." There is no 58 Down and 56 Down is PCS ("Windows Boxes). Makes it just a little hard to come up with the NORTH KOREA/RODMAN connection.

Ronghoti 5:32 AM  

One of the easiest Sundays for me, don't know why it went so fast. I started halfheartedly not intending to solve it all but it just kept flowing.

A nice Mother's Day treat.

Anonymous 6:11 AM  

I expected to find motherf***ker in there somewhere.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:38 AM  

Nicely themed and appropriate puzz.

Really loved it when the M O Ms appeared inside the grid Ms!

Really messed up my Mid-Atlantic region with three hard-to-explain write-overs: 53 D, BARNES before WARHOL; 77 D, KENO before FARO; and 83 A, ARTIFICE before ALLIANCE.

Hartley70 7:10 AM  

Just finished this after an annoying delay caused by the misclueing of 56 and 58 down. PCS did not go to North Korea. I can't recall this happening before. Is it in the paper version too?

chefbea 7:27 AM  

Was a challenging Mother's day puzzle but I got through it. Never heard of a peer review...is that where you rate your peers??

Happy mother's day to all!!

AliasZ 7:40 AM  


This was cute, fun and easy. I enjoyed the graphics, and the MOMs in the unchecked squares. Happy Mother's Day!

I loved I'M SO SURE, AVANT GARDE, MATURATION, PUTTING ON WEIGHT and DON'T START IN ON ME. These last two could indeed be theme entries, @George. As could "don't MESS ABOUT!" Never heard of OVOLO, NUTRIA, DREW BREES or POLE BARN, but I'll take Peter's / Will's word for it. I also enjoyed the multitude of "Mother ____" clues.

OTOH, I could have done without NAPAS, LARDS, ANITAS and GREYS.

There are so many musical references in today's puzzle, it was hard to choose so here are all of them: the opera L'amore dei TRE re by Italo Montemezzi (1875-1952), the Mother GOOSE Suite by Maurice Ravel, RULER Britannia by Thomas ARNE, Handel's Hallelujah Chorus played on STEEL DRUMs, and finally my favorite, In the Fen COUNTRY by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Enjoy your Mother's Day.

JTHurst 7:43 AM  

No the paper has 56 and 58 down in proper sequence. One of the triune clues I immediately got.

For a Sunday I 'breesed' through this until I got to 47a 'grudged'. The relationship between resented and grudged are two different grammatical constructions. So I put an 's' on grudge. I fought with "Son don't take your gun to town" for 48d for a long time.

I thought we would have more actual females in the 'mother_______' category. How does 'motherlode', 'mother tongue' or 'mother country' relate to mom. Why not 'mother nature' or 'mother earth' or 'mother seton' or mother machree', at least something in the feminine genre.

And why didn't the constructor sprinkle the puzzle with 'great' moms (besides 14d) like Marge Simpson or Margaret Anderson or even Ma Barker, which could replace clues like 'goof around' or 'pushing the envelope'?

Glimmerglass 7:49 AM  

Easy-Medium for me. But still fun. My biggest hangup was Mother COUrage instead of COUNTRY. (I was looking for something harder, more intellectual.) Happy Mothers' Day, all you mothers. As a man, I've never been a mother, though I've been called one.

Danp 7:52 AM  

@chefbea - a peer review is when other chefs critique your cooking, as opposed to guests or professors. It is usually used to refer to reviews given by "other experts".

chefbea 8:19 AM  

@Danp thanks for the explanation. I'll have to ask @Chefwen to critique my cooking!!!!

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Don't understand 34D answer; is that slang?

loren muse smith 8:24 AM  

I agree with those who found this one a little harder. The southeastish area put up the biggest fight. For 48D, I put in –completely confidently - "don't be a stranger." Added to that, with spectacular disregard to all my puzzle clue experience, I put in "pis" instead of the obvious ADS for 71A, so neither "apr" (mornin', @)r.alphbunker) nor DEC was apparent. Finally, I misread the clue for 120D as "Happy Mother's Day, ___!" and put in MOM there instead of DAY thinking how lucky Peter's MOM was to be addressed in a Sunday Times.

Initially it was "coke" for that Cuba Libre ingredient, and when I had to change it to "soda," I was all huffy and indignant in that I-used-to-be-a-cocktail-waitress kind of snit. Soda indeed. And who the heck are these "sats" for jazz musicians?? Sheesh.

@Moly Shu – I put in "Shar Pei" off that S and thought, "Who knew?" Then I imagined them and decided those dogs actually do look like lions. (@jae – when I finally changed it, I smiled, thinking of you, playing the Place the H Game.) I have a friend who has one of those designer allergy-free hybrids – a SHIH TZU/poodle mix. Tells people she has a Shitpoo. Yeah, well, don't we all.

@Steve J – I had Wyatt and Doc dealing Taro cards at first. Seriously? Wrong *and* misspelled. And ridiculous, but I ran with it, marveling at the trivia we learn in puzzles.

I'm going to just put this out there. If I had been forced to write it on the spot, I would have written "mother load." Lurkers take note: this place is scary at first because you think everyone is wicked smart and can solve every puzzle. Once you join in and get to know everyone, though, you see that, with a couple of exceptions who mostly get their hands slapped, there really aren't any spelling/grammar meanies here, and so many of us are open about not finishing a puzzle. Plus you make friends you can think about when you can't place that %$# H.

HARLAN and his HAREM are back again today. Happy happenstance, I guess. At least today's sultan didn't wake up and find himself in charge of Capri.

Of course I noticed the farm vibe – POLE BARN (huh?) I've done some googling, and I guess we have what's left of one. Over the years, the POLEs had been removed one by one for some reason, so when the derecho hit, most of that roof was gone in a flash. HAY BALE. Check. Kids used to build killer forts in the loft while I worried myself sick that the BALEs would end up smothering them. UDDERS. Check. I guess. They're beef cows, but they have to eat. COUNTRY. Check. As in way out in. SOW. Check. My daughter just helped plant the corn and beans. Potatoes are already in. REAP. Check. I'll be out there in the %$#^ August sun. . . MOTHER TERESA. Check. When we bought this place there was this one cow who had to be 68 yrs old. She had the face of Grumpy Cat and we never saw her move; she just stood there, glaring. Inexplicably, we called her MOTHER TERESA.

grumpy cat in case you haven't seen her

I see Rex' point about few squares devoted to theme, but the cool grid art makes up for that in my book. I would love to have seen EARTH in KOREA's place, though. Probably impossible, huh.

Thanks, Peter. I love your puzzles.

mac 8:36 AM  

Medium Sunday for me. Short I took a long time, and I needed some crosses for Leumi. I've seen the name on a building in NY.

Surprised Anita Brookner was mentioned in the puzzle, not a very well-known writer. I saw her a couple of times around King's Road in London, but only once did I dare say something.

Happy mother's day! I'm sad to be on a different continent from my son, but we will make up for it.

Arlene 8:41 AM  

Nice theme and I liked the gimmicks with MOM. Almost finished except the SW corner gave me some problems.
I was glad to finally see Mother Goose make an appearance!
Someone asked about 34D "coffin nail" - CIG - cigarettes are referred to as coffin nails because of the carcinogenic properties.

NCA President 8:59 AM  

Looking for Mother Nature...she never showed.

NUTRIA sounds like a kind of yogurt or shampoo.

GRUDGED? I think I'm more used to seeing that as a noun rather than a verb. "Hey, don't grudge me, man." Yeah, no.

LEUMI? Seriously, LEUMI? I have no idea what that is.

Susan McConnell 8:59 AM  

Fun, and on the harder side for me. Gosh, I sure am glad I visited Israel a few times so that I could remember Bank Leumi. Friends who moved there always tell this joke: How do you make a small fortune in Israel? Brink a large one!

Never noticed the mini M O Ms in the big Ms.

Casco Kid 9:14 AM  

Gee. I thought it was easy. 90 minutes, no googles, and my requisite one error: TRuSS/NuILL -- an oversight, as Sam ONEILL, while not a gimme, could only be ONEILL. However, you may lock your locks by trussing your tresses. Just saying.

2 solves, 5 DNFS this week, only one of which was a blow out. The other four were single character errors, like today. Average week here.

Fwiw 9:20 AM  

Bank Leumi also has a (very) few branches in the US ... My boss has some CD there.

jberg 9:24 AM  

Kind of hard for me, simply because the design made the grid pretty unconnected. I had MOTHER COUrage and LEUMI, giving me 4 letters to help break in to the SE, 3 of them wrong. Fortunately, I could see that 78A was either COke or COLA, and that got me going again. The center of the O was slow, as well.

I knew about POLE BARNs already, but not OVOLOs, so this was another educational Sunday!

Z 9:29 AM  

95% easy with 5% really tough. I ended up playing whack-a-vowel at CIG/NUTRIA and winning. Could CoG be some specific nail used by coffin makers? Finally decided it had to be the more nagging "smoking? another nail in your coffin" meaning.

Noticed some interesting "mother" allusions. SEXed UP UDDERS? Really? "PUTTING ON WEIGHT" and "DON'T START IN ON ME" look like lines we don't say to MOM. MONGOLS looks more like something we might use when referring to our MIL rather than MOM. LARDS, likewise. Then there is the ATE UP/TONGUE pairing. Really? in the NYTX? REDHEADed TERESA is Stacy's MOM in the video. The HAREM also includes CLARA BOW, Tea LEONI, Mrs. JONES, all practicing in the POLE BARN. In the end, this is more of an AVANT GARDE Mothers' Day Tribute Puzzle, with lots of reminders of how MOM got to be a MOM.

Maruchka 9:42 AM  

Coffin nail=quasi-affectionate slang from the old days, when smoking was fun.

"South coast, the wild coast is lonely. You may win at a game of FARO. But the lion still rules the barranca, and [I can't remember the rest]." Kingston Trio fans, please advise.

Easy, relaxed, no googles and perfect for a sunny Sunday morning. HMD, all y'all.

ArtO 9:48 AM  

I'm with @Z. Most easy with a few crunchy spots.

Amazed at @Rex's rating and relatively complimentary write up. Had expected all sorts of spleen at the two worders and gimmicky nature but for once it was accepted in the spirit of the day. Nice to see for a change.

ournyt 9:48 AM  

Fun puzzle--liked all the MOM references...so how is it that so many folks balked at 'Leumi' (Hebrew for 'National') which has branches all over the US, but no one had trouble with 'tov' (Hebrew for 'good')?

Casco Kid 10:03 AM  

@ournyt. Lesson of the week: the average American knows more Hebrew, or Yiddish anyway, than we think. I didn't think I knew either reference, but T_V had to be TOV, and the Israeli bank was saved by the Dennis RODMAN cross, which was itself a little tough because I had Mother LOvE, not LODE, right up to the bitter end.

Besides, this *is* the NYT puzzle we are doing so . . . Uh oh, @Z help! I'm about to reference a stereotype.

LCHAIM!

And This just in from the Department of Denotation and General Pedantry: Mother's Day is singular possessive. Wish your own mother a happy day. Hands off everyone else's.

Maruchka 10:10 AM  

Argh. It's 'you may win a game at JOLON'' not FARO. Also hear 'Another One Bites the Dust' as 'The Gentleman Rides the Bus'. Tinnitus bites.

Mohair Sam 10:13 AM  

So many of us have Mother's Day family things to do that I'm glad Will gave us an easy Sunday with just enough resistance to make it enjoyable.

Might have naticked on the "O" in FARO except for the second mini-MOM. What the heck is FARO?

Hand up with the "How-the-hell-do-you-spell-it?" crowd on the dog with the nasty first name. Always have to wait for that one to fill. Two days in a row for HAREM, maybe the Sultan of Brunei should rethink that one.

NUTRIA a toughie, but haven't we seen it here before?

Happy Mother's Day all you Mom's. And thanks for a fun Mother's Day tribute puzzle Mr. Collins.

Steve J 10:29 AM  

@Hartly70 (and other Magmic app users): The app often seems to do weird things with the grid numbering anytime you have unchecked squares. I've grown accustomed to various things not working correctly in the app. If it weren't for the fact that the annual NYT puzzle subscription through Magmic is half the price as through the Times itself (how that works, I have no idea), I'd have ditched Magmic a long time ago.

@Loren: Ha, nice one with tARO. I suppose it's conceivable that there was some weird 19th century game popular in the old west that dealt in tubers.

Ellen S 10:35 AM  

As a Mother's Day puzzle this one, sure has a lot of "guy stuff" references. Football, hockey, baseball, basketball, sex, alcohol. Reminds me of when my son-in-law bought my daughter an industrial air compressor (for himself) for Mother's Day a few years ago.

Moms everywhere can feel really honored, reduced to SEX UP and UDDERS. Geez, I know it's not a "real" holiday, but still.

But wait, there's more! The Captcha is "cuppage"!!!! An UDDER conspiracy!

joho 10:45 AM  

How lovely to get a Mother's Day Sunday puzzle with an original concept complete with graphics ... what more could a MOM want?! The whole idea seemed as fresh a bunch of newly cut roses.

Like others have mentioned, I found this harder than the usual Sunday which I appreciated. It made the pay off all that much sweeter.

@anon 12:29 a.m., Yikes, I thought the same thing!

Thank you, Peter Collins, for yet another well made and interesting puzzle!

John Child 10:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Child 11:04 AM  

I did not think this was easy, and I was annoyed enough at some of the obfuscated clueing that I considered packing it in. And then I saw that three unchecked squares spelled MOM. Do the other three? Yes!! That pushed my appreciation high enough to finish.

But appreciating a concept is quite different from enjoying something. I didn't, overall.

triggerfinger 11:17 AM  

Went on a swamp tour in New Orleans, saw lots of gaters and nutria...never heard the word until that day. Used to make cheap fur coats.

Benko 11:21 AM  

@ournyt: "Mazel TOV" is an extremely common expression. Didn't know LEUMI, but TOV was a gimme.
POLE BARN as the name of a thing was new to me. Always just called them barns.
FARO was incredibly popular in the 19th century. You hear about it both in Old West and European stories.
NUTRIAs are kind of cute and kind of ratty.
GRUDGED also a theme answer?

ludyjynn 11:37 AM  

Surprised that Rex agrees w/ my medium-challenging experience. I had an EENSY bit of trouble w/ obscure words: OVOLO, FARO and SHORTI, but lucked out through crosses.

Also surprised to see SEXUP, TONGUE, GOOSE and SPLAY in a Mother's Day puzzle!

HARLAN two days in a row. Interesting.

Mazel TOV and MERCI, PAC and WS.

Masked and Anonymo11Us 11:47 AM  

Have a super day, M&A&M&A.

Yo! -- Two-letter words! Malformed grid patterns! If there had been double-?? clues, it would be as if I have a twin...

Sunday runtpuz (a hallowed Mama's Day tradition) ensues:

www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3397&id2=754

M&A
"No pewits were permanently harmed in the making of any runtpuz"

Carola 11:49 AM  

A nice challenge, fun to see the M-O-Ms in the unchecked squares when I finished. In the "me, too" category: wanted Mother COUrage to balance Mother HUBBARD and imagined a fraught mother-child relationship with DON'T START IN ON ME (as well as GRUDGED). Liked learning what PALISADES are (I wrote in stockADES). LAUGHLINES is great; glad the crow's feet weren't mentioned. I appreciated the personal tribute of my son's name appearing at the bottom of the O :).

Fred Romagnolo 12:14 PM  

@loren: with you on pis, "circular" seemed to apply to a circle! @z: are you in competition with @evil? My first "Arizonans" were Utes, so I had EATTING as my first word in 7 down STEELDRUMS finally saved me. ISAAC was Disraeli's father, and highly regarded as a scholar. POLEBARN was my last entry, never heard the term, but I'm a city boy (San Francisco, where we love our local NAPAS).At first the "pot" in the TEACART clue made me think that was a term for marijuana that I hadn't heard. The only photos of NUTRIAS I
have ever seen showed them either in rivers or on banks. Are picket fences PALISADES? I agree on the difficulty of remembering the right spelling for SHIHTZU I wait for the crosses on that one. I've never heard of LEUMI hope I'll remember. I'm surprised that @Evil didn't weigh in on CLARABOW, or don't you youngsters know old gossip?

M and A and M and A 12:26 PM  

p.s.
We ended up with two blank squares, at:
* ROV?AN/LEU?I. (had gone with "Mother LOvE")
* ARN?/TR? (Woulda guessed "I". buzzz)
Wrote "mother" in both unfinished squares, and rode off into the sunset, to rub the spouse's feet. Cuz if momma ain't happy, then ain't nobody happy...

But I digress.

Fun puz, like The Galactic Invaders dude said, because of all the bonus long entries. Big Honkin Theme? We don't need no stinkin big honkin themes. Runt themes for SunPuzs. There's yer rodeo.

M&A

JTHurst 12:36 PM  

@AliasZ Thanks for the link to Vaughan Williams. Went to iTunes and downloaded the whole album with "In the Fen" on it. Another soothing piece of music to play whilst falling asleep.

retired_chemist 1:38 PM  

Rex: "But as a kind of oversized themeless, with a dusting of "Mother" stuff, it was actually an entertaining challenge." I agree. Themes don't thrill me mostly anyway. Easy here,although the NYT times probably will have it about where Rex put it.

Did not know that SHIH TZU meant"lion dog." Had the -U first, figured if tat was right it has to be SHIH TZU, which EZRA confirmed. First thought was LÖWCHEN, meaning "little lion" in German. They are shown in a cut that looks like a little lion - shaved afterquarters, big mane. But, sadly, that doesn't quite fit the clue.

Nice new words to learn: OVOLO, LEUMI, ISSY (wanted orlY), that LEONe spells it wrong. Nice long fill.

Well done,Mr. Collins. Thanks.

retired_chemist 1:42 PM  

We have had nutrias in our pond, so that was a gimme.

john o'toole 2:05 PM  

JOE BIDEN OVERTHROWS. Awesome.

jdv 2:15 PM  

Medium w/one error. CoG crossing NUTRoA. I don't understand the decision to clue CIG as Coffin Nail; why not Short Smoke? Especially if it is crossing NUTRIA, which I assume isn't known to a lot of people. Grr. I had everything except three blank squares that I had to guess at. POLEBARN (what the hell is that) crossing HARLAN and ARNE crossing TRE. 89d ARTERIAL doesn't look right; ARTERY seems more appropriate. Never seen ISSY before.

Carola 2:26 PM  

@loren - I like mother LOad - sometimes it's heavy!

@AliasZ - RULER Britannia - LOL. Great video!

Z 2:55 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo - I prefer to think of @Gill I.P. As my role model.

Regarding Mother's v. Mothers' Day - There is the woman who bore me, the woman who bore my three sons, my Mother-in-Law, my sisters, my sisters-in-Law, and let's not forget our grandmothers. Mothers' Day. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

M and All-in 5:26 PM  

@Z, U magnificent beast:
Couple things.
1. Whack-a-vowel?! har
2. Gill I.P. certainly sounds like a good mom to salute, today. Has a son in the military that she's gonna make a b-day puz for, and everything. All us folks on the blog should probably help her out with that puz deal. Group project!
3. Nice QED. First time I've ever seen it all written out longhand. Had no idea before that stranded demons were involved. I learn so much here.
4. Off to take my momma out to dinner in a few minutes. Hope all yer many Z-mommas had a great day.
5. No change on my NYT submission adventure. Barry Silk said he didn't hear back for a month! And then it took years more for it to end up published? Day-um. Hopefully mine'll get fasttracked -- I mentioned Rex Parker, in my letter of introduction.

M&A

Benko 5:52 PM  

@m&A: A whole puzz suite? I've been working with crossfire to make regular and cryptic puzzles of late, wouldn't mind trying one.
That runtpuz was the hardest yet, by the way. Nearly didn't get it.

Anonymous 6:05 PM  

Thought I already asked this but don't see it. 76a what does 800 have to do with tollfree?

What does D.C. player have to do with NAT? 82a.

Otherwise found puzzle fairly easy.

paulsfo 6:12 PM  

Regarding problems with the electronic version: I also subscribe to the puzzles to save money. However, I download the Across Lite version, and it doesn't have most of the errors that people have reported, so you might consider trying it, next time.

@Anonymous at 3:02 PM (PT):
800 numbers are toll free.
The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:01 PM  

@M&A - Sorry, total fail for me on runtpuz. Blame too much Mother's Day carousing. :>(

Z 9:17 PM  

@m&a - I've seen quod and erat in puzzles, but I 'spect you're going to have to break the stranded demon um barrier. Nice of those Romans of Randomity to stick a U in there for the Masked One.

Hey - Syn City - Five 8's. Beat that!!

Casco Kid 9:50 PM  

Watching The Shootist Sunday evening. A Faro dealer is John Wayne's last screen kill, and indeed, the last screen kill of his illustrious screen killing career. FWIW. #crosswordcoincidence

JenCT 11:23 PM  

Great comments today!

@Z - love " whack-a-vowel"

Happy Mother's Day, everyone.

LaneB 12:39 AM  

Plodded thru this clever puzzle steadily ad enjoyably.. Must have been an easy one despite Rex's designation.

Fred Romagnolo 3:48 AM  

@Z: Quod Erat Demonstrandum is a highlight at the finale of Moliere's "Imaginary Invalid," or at least in Miles Malleson's superb adaptation; I played Argon, probably best role I ever had.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

20 Down...umpire's cry - LET ? Help

Bob Kerfuffle 2:31 PM  

Think tennis, not baseball:

A let serve in tennis is a stroke that hits the net before entering the proper service court or if delivered before the receiver being set. (Wikipedia)

Dawn 5:07 PM  

Lion Dog is referenced for both Sharpei and SHIHTZU.
Unfortunately, I started with the wrong breed.

( I have met a Sharpei (wrinkly dog). Its coat is as bristly as a boars hide! )

So Lion Dog is a multi-breed connection.

Fun, but very hard puzzle. Love dog clues, even on Mothers Day!!

Anonymous 10:46 PM  

800 is the prefix for many TOLLFREE numbers in the USA.

NAT is short for NATIONAL, Washington's major league baseball team.

jimmy 12:17 AM  

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Anonymous 3:10 AM  

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Charles Flaster 1:15 AM  

Finished in a second sitting.What is CIG for 34D? Medium for me but very enjoyable!

JenCT 6:22 AM  

@Charles: see @Arlene 8:41 - it refers to cigarettes, and their deadly effects.

spacecraft 1:03 PM  

What a time I had with this one! East and south were bestial, thanks to a couple of penalty-drawing moves.

Flag#1: Maybe a mis- (or missed)print in the paper. "Through road" is an ARTERy, but somehow we have ARTERIAL. That's an adjective. The clue is not an adjective. Who MESSed ABOUT?

[BTW, that there's an arbitrary phrase if I ever heard one; I've messed around and lounged about, but MESSABOUT? Nah. Almost another flag.]

But the big one, the 15-yarder, is for SHORTI. Don't...just DONTSTARTINONME with that crap!

It was rough going all the way around that bottom. Had seTASIDE instead of PUTASIDE, misspelled Jen's and Joel's name...had to laugh, though, when I saw KOREA--the proudly-declared homeland of GREY's unforgettable character in "Remo Williams: the Adventure Begins."

Racked my dumb brain for minutes coming up with RODMAN...duh! How many LARDS can there be?

And...who in blazes is Mother Jones??

All in all, though, an enjoyable solve, and a fond MEMOIR of my own MOM, R.I.P.

Dirigonzo 4:30 PM  

I had a witty commentary all prepared about some of the racier entries the grid, but @Z already mentioned all of mine plus a couple I hadn't noticed, so I'll use my time instead to add some info to a couple of @spacy's points. In the City of Portland (that would be the one in Maine, not that other poseur on the left coast) there is a thoroughfare that runs across the peninsula on which the city is situated; it's name is Franklin ARTERIAL (really, you can look it up). And to quote Rat from "Wind in the Willows", "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply MESSing ABOUT in boats." I like that sentiment so much I have the quote on my fb page. Just tossing those out there as extra information.

Is a 6-high straight any good?

rain forest 5:06 PM  

Very nice puzzle. I really enjoyed the solve today, and if the MOMs weren't all feminine, who cares? Graphics, unchecked letters spelling MOM, nice cluing.

And, from The Wind In The Willows, "there is nothing quite so worth doing as simply MESSing ABOUT in boats". Or close to that.

A Fawlty Towers episode has the Major asking a guest what type of dog she has. She answers, "he's a little SHIHTZU", and the Major replies, "well, you should get him trained". I think you have to see it.

The Habs will bounce back. They always do.

Little boat: 2's full of 9's.

rain forest 6:17 PM  

Ah, @Diri, you must have been commenting right about when I was because I didn't see yours until now. Sorry for being redundant.

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

What does this have to do with crosswords?

ahimsa 10:43 PM  

@Diri, "In the City of Portland (that would be the one in Maine, not that other poseur on the left coast) ... "

I had to post to defend our fair city, Portland, OR, from such vile abuse! What nerve!

Naw, I'm just kidding around. I can take a joke. :-)

In fact, I laughed quite a bit at the bit on John Oliver's show that made fun of the debacle with the Oregon health care web site:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh9munYYoqQ

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

I was biased against this puzzle from the start because of all the unchecked squares just for the the sake of the MOM grid. And wouldn't you know it, one of those unchecked squares was the last blank square remaining. I'm staring at FAR_ not knowing the answer from the clue.

Running the alphabet didn't help. I finally reasoned that if one were constructing a puzzle like this and could chose from several letters to put there, one would have to be a real ass to drop in something obscure when there were widely used alternatives.

So it came down to FARE or FARM for me. Neither sounded like a card game. But (and here's where the AHA occurred) if I were the constructor choosing between an E or an M, I'd probably go with M for Mother. All set to enter FARM, I glanced at the other large M in the grid to see if there was an unchecked M up there as well. That's when I noticed M-O-M. How about that! Those single squares were checked after all. So FARO it was. Pen, down, smile on face.

I remember thinking early on that there could've been across clues for the singles. I had "Magazine that debuted in 2000" and "Early Lorre Film"...but when I entered a second unchecked M I shelved that idea.

Solving in Seattle 5:22 PM  

I'm a day late on my comment about the MOM puz. I kinda thought it was clever. No complaints here. Ezpecially liked the two M-O-M answers. I guess Peter had two of them. I also thought the blacked out squares spelling MOM was a subtle touch - shall we say readable from across the ARTERIAL?

@Waxy & @Rainy, please explain the "Habs" nickname for the Canadiens.

@Z's five eights is such a good hand I think we should cede the pot to him since he's a honorary Syndy.

rain forest 5:59 PM  

@SIS "Habs" is a contraction of "Habitants", the original settlers of Quebec.

Solving in Seattle 6:15 PM  

Are the hockey players that old?

Ella Jenkins 6:39 PM  

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Not Fred 7:43 PM  

Cola and Cats

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