Kosygin of Russia / WED 7-2-14 / Honshu honorific / Often kicked comics canine / Lecherous goat-man / Boy of song who hated his name / Singer with 1994 hit bump n grind / pugilistic combo / Mountains tick off toy dogs / south africans are unexcited by swine / pastoral poems incapacitate teen faves

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Constructor: Jeff Chen and Dick Shlakman

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: blanks blank blanks — verb phrases where some plural does something to some other plural and all three of the words in the phrase rhyme:

Word of the Day: Guinea-BISSAU (28D: Guinea-___ (West African nation)) —
Guinea-Bissau, officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau Listeni/ˈɡɪni bɪˈs/gi-nee-bi-sow, (Portuguese:República da Guiné-Bissaupronounced: [ʁeˈpublikɐ dɐ ɡiˈnɛ biˈsaw]), is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west. It covers 36,125 km² (nearly 14,000 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,600,000. (wikipedia)
• • •

Wow. Well wide of the mark. This is the hoariest kind of wordplay. Very surprised that a theme this basic and corny passed muster. Felt like something out of … ELD, I guess (48A: Antiquity, in the past). Nonsense phrases that rhyme? Maybe in [insert other puzzle's name here], but it's pretty sub-NYT stuff, or ought to be. The fill doesn't improve things much, either. My greatest delights were R KELLY (if only for the contemporariness and awesome opening letter combination) (43D: Singer with the 1994 hit "Bump n' Grind") and ABANDON SHIP (an answer I got very late because I stupidly had SRI at 20A: Honshu honorific (SAN) for a while and really Really stumbled trying to pick up everything in the REPAYS MANS SMARTY D-DAY DADA section) (3D: Final order from the captain). SETS A RECORD has a terrible ad hoc quality to it (26D: Becomes worthy of the Guinness Book, say), and most of the rest of the fill just sits there. BISSAU is pretty terrible, as it is just a name part, not a real name, and a pretty long (and mildly obscure) name part at that. Also, I'M NOT QUITE SURE WHY THE CLUES ARE SHOUTING AT ME. When the theme clues have you actually missing "?" clues, something is wrong.

Grid shape provides us with scads of 3- and 4-letter words, which rarely leads anywhere good. I don't know, what else? … I dunno … so … Hell of a soccer match, that was. 90+ minutes of boredom/torture, then a last-minute point-blank shot to (miraculously, unjustly) win it that somehow goes high, and then an overtime that was as exciting as any I've seen this World Cup. USA's keeper was outstanding in the face of extreme duress. I look forward to seeing TIM HOWARD in a puzzle soon. Congrats to Belgium.

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Evan 12:07 AM  

I'm conflicted here. The theme idea was fine for me, if a bit easy to figure out after cracking the first one. There are some nice highlights in the fill like R. KELLY, ABANDON SHIP, NO PROB, and BAD RAP. But the pretty-much-a-duplication of UPKEEP and KEPT baffles me. It's not even necessary. Change GLOP to GLEN, and problem solved.

Billy 12:10 AM  

For some reason this was smooth sailing for me.

wreck 12:14 AM  

Natick'ed at BISSAU and LINDT
Otherwise, Ok. On to Thursday.

Clark 12:20 AM  

Heh, I liked it. But then I am a big fan of homophony and homonymy.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

I think you missed the point of the theme there Rex. If you noticed, these were 3 word phrases that were (roughly) homophones with each other in singular form, not just rhyming words. I actually thought that was quite clever. Once I figured out that pattern, it made the fill a ton easier.

Anonymous 12:28 AM  

I enjoyed it. The homophone themes were fun.

Casco Kid 12:33 AM  

Easier than Monday or Tuesday. I was bitten by RKoLLY/oLD. The clue for ELD [Antiquity, in the past] is painful on many levels, and RKELLY is unknown to me. 18 min. Googled "Bump n Grind" in the post mortem.

But it raises the question, how would you clue ELD?

jae 12:34 AM  

Delightfully silly and easy for me.  My only problems were @Rex Sri, oAfS for 1d off the A in ALBA (the ALBA ELBA pair was a nice touch) and ruNS before MANS.  


Liked it, genuinely amusing.  Nice one guys.

JFC 12:38 AM  

Anon wrote: I think you missed the point of the theme there Rex. If you noticed, these were 3 word phrases that were (roughly) homophones with each other in singular form, not just rhyming words.

I thought Anon was going to say that IDYLLS doesn’t rhyme with IDOLS.

But I’m not getting in the middle of this. Comme ci, comme ça.

It was a good puzzle. Clever, witty and learned! What more do you want?

SenorLynn 12:39 AM  

Pretty easy, in 14:46. Didn't know Z NEALE Hurston or DAN Savage, but easy gets from crosses. Remembered Guinea BISSAU. GOT RKELLY off the RK. . .
Thanks Mssrs Shlakman & Chen for the wordplay.

Hartley70 12:45 AM  

Pleasant little Wednesday. The last bit to fall into place was Dday/ Dada/ and runs for mans, just as suggested above. The theme answers were no challenge once you got the first three homophonic words. What a difference an N makes!

Anoa Bob 12:48 AM  

Don't know if this SETS A RECORD for me, but when I got BOARS BORE BOERS, I immediately filled in the other three themers, two with no crosses. Don't think I've ever done that before.

There's some cleverness displayed in this puzz, but the nonsensical nature of the themers put me off. @jae's "Delightfully silly" remark makes me see how others might enjoy this one more than I did.

Zeke 12:49 AM  

A problem with ones just glancing at aclue is that one can easily misread Honshu honorific as Hindu honorific and just plop down SRI.

A problem with being an auto-didact stuck in the middle of the Ozarks where everyone around you is an inbred functional illiterate is that one has never actually heard IDYLL pronounced, leaving one thinking it was pronounced with a short i.

A problem with RKELLY in a puzzle is that one really doesn't need to be reminded of serial rapists just before bedtime, does one?


ps - Yes, that was a sublimanal proding for MAS, goading him into thinking of ONE/ONES for his next puzzle.

Ellen S 1:00 AM  

Like @Casco, I thought it was easier than Monday; liked Monday best so far this week. I was a little intrigued, wondered it it was forbidden when I noticed the clue words didn't always match the answer words:
MOUNTAINS TICK OFF TOY DOGS has the peaks piquing the pekes. But next, SOUTH AFRICANS ARE UNEXCITED BY SWINE, I confidently put Boers Bored ... oops, I need an extra word; it only worked with the swine first.

Is that legit? Do I care?

Greg 1:37 AM  

As @Anonymous12:25 said, Rex has clearly missed the point of the theme here (or simply doesn't understand the difference between homophones and rhymes). That said, as to the puzzle... meh.

Jisvan 2:02 AM  

I doubt Rex missed a thing. I imagine it is more of a post World Cup slump. Put me in the Easiest Day This Week camp. It was fun to figure out what the rest of themers would be, after the first had fallen. Liked the captain's last order. Otherwise, kind of meh for me, too.
But that was one heck of an overtime! Happened to see it at Costco, on about 50-some screens, along with almost all the customers and staff. Big simultaneous cheers and then simultaneous groans. I know nothing about futbol, but community catharsis is a wonderful thing. Even when your side loses...

Leapfinger 2:33 AM  

Yep, as noted by several, the themers don't rhyme, they homonymizes. And as for why they're shouting, @Rex, I believe it's because they're headlines, is why.

Enjoyed the silliness, figuring out the homonym order. And then I got to IDYLL. (@Zeke, it's generally long I in the States, short I in Canada and some other backwaters.)

I had a little iddle,
I made it dance and sing;
And then Lord Alfred Tenny
Son wrote it for the King.

A couple of other possibilities (Wittier minds than mine might come up with clues):

Noted in passing that coming up with a pair is a snap, finding trios that work with the plural/ singular pattern and the central verb form is a bit tougher.

Anyhow, who was it said ABANDON'S HIP? Was it Salome or the Captain of the Costa Concordia?

Nice to see A NOD to DAN[p?] and SANfranMANS.

I'll be more than SATYRfied if there's *a* LINDT on my pillow.
Night, all.

Moly Shu 2:39 AM  

Much like @AnoaBob, I got the PEAKSPIQUEPEKES first and immediately filled in the other theme answers. Of course that made it easy. Except for the BISSAU and DADA crossing LINDT. Needed to think that through a little bit. Finally remembered LiINDT (the sea salt milk chocolate is really good), and I was finished.

Never heard "pics ORIT didn't happen". Feel like I'm missing out on an inside joke.

chefwen 2:54 AM  

Got it quickly with 17A, but messed up with having to switch up my BOERS and BOARS at 28A. They landed in opposite direction. Cute puzzle that started out iffy, but ended up easy.

Anonymous 4:20 AM  

Worked it on iPhone and didn't realize the themers were clued in all caps, and were meant as headlines, until reading the comments. Tks @Leapfinger.

Will pick a small nit with @Rex. BISSAU is a thing. It's the capital of Guinea-Bissau. People who do business in the region - and maybe the locals for all I know - distinguish the two Guinea's by calling them Guinea-Conakry and Guinea-Bissau (Conakry being the capital of the "other" Guinea). Agree with @Rex that, as clued, it's a partial.

Gill I. P. 4:53 AM  

This was to, two, too cute...@jae, I'd like to think I'm delightfully silly, because I had a we, wee, whee bit of a time on this puzzle.
Homophones drive bad spellers (like I am) to drink. That BOAR/BOERS clue through me for a loup.
I always think of GLOP as slimey goo so don't really understand that Zero-star fare clue.
Lordy what a game! We shared our shouts with about 100 very festive, very pro USA crowd. People from all parts of the globe - especially the Germans- rooting (ruting?) for out team. We may not have a trophy but by golly we troooly won the hearts of millions.
@Z...I asked the bartender for a "Raging Bitch." He laughed at me and so I ended up with a Pinot Grigio.
Must get some sleep because tomorrow is going to be another beach day [sigh].

Bob Kerfuffle 6:51 AM  

Fun puzzle for me.

Sad to think @Rex might be the victim of an excessive, mis-guided political correctness. Really, there is nothing wrong with the word "homophone."

Was bouncing around the grid a bit, having hit a bump at DDAY/DADA, carelessly entered 31 D TANS before SUNS, 50 D SLOP before GLOP.

loren muse smith 6:58 AM  

Hand up for trouble in the DADA/DDAY area. An early "issue" for ESSAY and "owns" for MANS mucked that area up for a while.

@Moly Shu – "Show me some proof, OR IT just didn’t happen." That's what I thought it meant.

@Anoa Bob, @Moly Shu – after I saw PEAKS PIQUE PEKES, I went in and guessed the others, too, with just the clues. . . And. I. Loved. It. For me, guessing the themers alone was worth the price of admission. @Anoa Bob – "but the nonsensical nature of the themers put me off." Funny – all the nonsense amused me, especially the PEKES one. (Seriously, though, is there anything that doesn't pique a peke? Testy little dogs in my experience.)

This was timely for me. @Clark – "But then I am a big fan of homophony and homonymy." I am, too. (So you can appreciate how yesterday I kept imagining traveling to RWANDA, visiting a bizarre bazaar and then going back to a hostile HOSTEL.) And today I'm seeing

SELLER cellars
LINDT lent __
DAN is one to use a ONE TWO.

So here's what I came up with: SOUPY UNLOADS HIS CARTOON COLLECTIBLES. But, yeah, it doesn't really rhyme and doesn't follow the pattern. And then I got "sites cite sights" but you can't really clue that.

I've said so many times, any theme that sends me on off on a mental exploration of the language to find other examples is a winner in my book. Just look at the posts already by @Leap and @Gil I.P. (loved'em!) When the dust settles on a solve, the theme is just a big ole spotlight on the language – be it semantic, phonetic, or even syntactic – that has one (Hey, @Zeke) revisit a string of letters. It's just that simple for me, so I'll accept the YATs and ELDs to give me a puzzle with a theme that exposes an interesting aspect of English. (Yeah, yeah - "interesting aspect of English" is redundant in my dialect.)

Dick, Jeff – thanks for the fun. I'll be contemplating this idea all day!

jberg 7:19 AM  

I had a lot of YAKs (though no GOATs) over this one. Got DADA right away, which helped. And I sort of liked ICK, NO PROB, AXLE, and ODIE. Thanks for a good time, guys!

jberg 7:20 AM  

Oh yeah, forgot to say -- @Moly shu and @Loren, click on Amanda Palmer in Rex's writeup. She says "pictures" instead of pix, but you'll get the idea.

Charles Flaster 8:04 AM  

Easy Wed. Knew LINDT and loved ABANDON SHIP. Theme was very creative and clever. Tried to come up with other ones but to no avail.
Much more fun than Monday or Tuesday.

RAD2626 8:08 AM  

Working top to bottom i thought the puzzle was NOPROB primarily because - as others have pointed out - of how easy the first theme answer was which made all of them easy fills. Little did I know I would get whacked in the SW corner, not knowing Zora Hurston and thinking that networkers would like to receive ImS. A 2014 DUHDUH manifesto.

r.alphbunker 8:09 AM  

Went from hating ORIT {Pics ___ it didn't happen ...} to loving it once I parsed it correctly

This just in: REX WRECKS WREX {Crossword critic drives car into Rockford Illinois TV station transmitter}

@Bob, @M & W and Magma-nimous
Thanks for feedback on runt. FWIW, editted version is at runtpuz.org

@M & A
You are doing for crosswords what James Joyce did for literature with Finnegan's Wake! Loved the boundaries you broke with your latest runt.

TI {20% of a tithe?}

AliasZ 8:24 AM  

Good mourning, RIP, Team USA. Thanks for the thrills and for a terrific effort.

Homonyms are fun whether wethers weather the storm or not, or as the vale veils Vail and the vain vane's veins pop. What is the best way to weigh whey? The queue in Kew Gardens is ON CUE.

@Gill I.P., oui, oui!

Isn't "birthday suit" the preferred sauna garment? Where I come from, it is.

ANOD and ORIT whir unfortunate, ALBA and ELBA write next to eat chowder plus ON CUE and ON AIR, we're Alito two clothes four come fort.

@Leapy, (or should I say grand-jeté-finger?) I saw ABANDONSHIP as the legal term for describing the condition of an empty factory after ownership decided to do something else.

A fun puzzle all around from the Shlakman/Chen DUO. A purr-fecked Wednesday.

ART Blakey's Jazz Messengers say Moanin' to y'all.

Susan McConnell 8:37 AM  

Overly easy for a Wednesday. Just weird to see this written up as a rhyming theme rather than homophones, which, once understood, make filling in the theme answers quite simple. Ended up being that kind of puzzle where you miss a lot of the clues because the fill went so fast.

hawkins 8:38 AM  

@Casco Kid - The only other way to clue ELD is "We '___ our bloomin' own": Kipling. That's not much of an improvement.

Beaglelover 8:45 AM  

liked this puzzle. thought it was cute.
I got 24D but only from crosses. What is it?

Magma-nimous 8:45 AM  

OK, @r.alph, still 'depend'ing, but not on the mixed-up M.I.T. guys, I see.

but Y.O.Y. is the 12A clue 'hoppy hour'? I still don't get it, you have some 'splaining to do.

Sir Hillary 8:48 AM  

Not sure why @Rex delivers an ad homonym attack on this one. Thank you very much, I'll be here all week.

I've got no issue with the theme -- sometimes simpler is better. However, once I sussed it (which I did with PAIRSPAREPEARS) the rest fell right in without crosses. A little too easy, that.

What made my solve notable were my writeovers, all of which seemed to have more correct letters than usual -- iSSue/ESSAY, BumRAP/BADRAP and sLOP/GLOP. I was moving so fast it took me a while to recognize the ERRORS.

Just yesterday, my daughter was telling me that sometimes she plays Sporcle in her spare time, and that she's just about memorized every African country but keeps forgetting about Guinea-BISSAU. Don't know about the rest of you, but it's Comoros that always trips me up...

Mohair Sam 8:59 AM  

Seemed like a real easy Wednesday, got a kick out of the silly theme, but nearly naticked on the D in DADA and LINDT (D being the only logical guess). What do we know from fancy chocolate?

Hey @Zeke, show a little more respect for your neighbors out there in that idyllic part of the country will ya? Maybe you oughta read a little Daniel Woodrell to get a better feel for the folks. Just sayin'.

Nice puz - thanks Jeff Chen and Dick Shlakman.

Z 9:05 AM  

Really important things first - @Gill IP - It is brewed in Maryland, about 40 miles from DC or Baltimore, and has art work reminiscent of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. One is unlikely to find it in just any bar. I bought mine in the local adult beverage store that carries an extensive collection of craft brews as well as Pinot Grigios.

I fully expect a blog correction after Rex reads the comments.

@Ellen S - I had to fix the pig answer as well. It is the only clue written in passive voice. Yet another reason to avoid the passive voice.

@Bob Kerfuffle - The PC comment caused me to laugh out loud.

@LMS - I am quite certain that PEAKS PIQUE PEKES is based on observational data, not silly at all.

@r.alph - 40%?

Loved it. Silly Homophones. LIARS poker (hey - a game I've heard of). Nice long downs (isn't the whole raison d'etre of the Guiness Book explained in 26D), DADA ART, ALBA ELBA right ON CUE, and a LION, an URSA, and a SATYR lying in wait. Nice job all around.

dk 9:06 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 MOONS)

Odd feeling of ennui as I finished this one. Only write over was BRONTE that I penned (Stabilo Bl@ck with green ink) bontes as I am a fool. I also struggled with ELD as I wanted auld -- alas too hard to draw another little box

As a lad I studied for the State Dept. exam and one needed to know the oddest of Country names. 30 years later I still try to keep up with World geography -- thus BISSAU flowed freely from the afore named pen. The point here is x-words are the wells from which we draw our linguistic EAU or detritus….

NCA President 9:11 AM  

Apropos of nothing, I think the biggest problem I have with the World Cup is the insistence on making this a nationalistic thing. Back in the cold war days, I rooted for the US in the Olympics because of the Soviet thing and, to some extent, China.

But, being a non-soccer fan, and now being asked even more incessantly by ESPN to care, the only thing they have to hook us, it seems, is nationalism. Like I'm supposed to care for soccer because my country's international reputation is somehow on the line. Meh.

Here in the 21st century the last thing we or anyone else in the world needs is more nationalistic pride. I get that it's an exciting sport that has a huge world-wide following (so does cricket and formula one racing, for that matter), but by attaching a "USA! USA! USA!" to the game won't make me like it any more. And if, in this new century of global community, I *do* happen to learn to enjoy the sport, why would I only root for my country's team?

The only thing we Americans seem to have conjured up in our "fandom" is that we shouldn't have lost to Belgium because, hell, Ohio is bigger than Belgium.


Oh, and I like the puzzle well enough. Homonyms should have equal rights in puzzles too.

retired_chemist 9:14 AM  

Another nice one. Once I saw the homophonic theme from 17A it was easy to fill the others in after a few crosses.

Hung up with these three interlaced answers: LINDT/BISSAU/DADA. Knew none of them. Kept trying various combinations and still didn't get Mr. Happy Pencil. Finally checked elsewhere and found that 64A: mold was obviously incorrect. Using the downs rapidly got me to ODOR and brought Mr. H.P. out of hiding.

Moral: if you depend on Mr. H. P., make sure first that all the easy stuff is free of careless errors before tackling your problem area. Had I done that I would have saved a couple of minutes and my time would have been consistent with easy-medium, which is about how it felt as I was doing it.

Thanks, Messrs. Chen ans Shlakman.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:15 AM  

@r.alphbunker - As a reality check (oops!), even knowing the gimmick and having done essentially the same runtpuz yesterday, took me 2:24 to fill in the grid. But it was much smoother, and more PC!


Lewis 9:23 AM  

I tried to think of another 15-letter answer that could fit the theme and came up with zip -- excellent job, Dick and Jeff, coming up with these answers. ORIT looked like desperation, but the clue saved it. Besides, you can anagram it to "trio" which fits well with DUO.

Didn't know BISSAU (nice to learn). Very much liked ABANDONSHIP and BADRAP, and I had a grand old time with this -- thanks, guys!

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP™): Four answers, when anagrammed, rhyme with each other (one of them becomes a crossword-usable suffix). What are they?

If you wish to post an answer, so as not to give it away, just give the sum of the answers' numbers.

Sir Elton John 9:23 AM  

Re: ELD - would you accept a partial? "___erberry Wine"?

"Elderberry Wine"

There's a fly in the window
A dog in the yard
And a year since I saw you
There's a trunk in the corner
I keep all my letters
My bills and demands I keep too

Well I can't help thinking
About the times
You were a wife of mine
You aimed to please me
Cooked black-eyed peas-me
Made elderberry wine

Drunk all the time
Feeling fine on elderberry wine
Those were the days
We'd lay in the haze
Forget depressive times
How can I ever get it together
Without a wife in line
To pick the crop and get me hot
On elderberry wine

Round a tree in the summer
A fire in the fall
Flat out when they couldn't stand
The bottle went round
Like a woman down south
Passed on from hand to hand

Leapfinger 9:31 AM  

Say hey, @AliasZée, how many weighs can you pun today? Thanks, you're tutu kind! Must admit I had a little thing going in a Dusseldorf radio-control room: Danke, Don queued ON CUE. [Bitte schoen.]

I was very taken with how you mondegreened 'eat chowder'. That put me in mind of the Indian name Chaudhree [sp var], and something that struck me ever since I first came across the placenames Lahore and Hyderabad. There seem to be words and names in Hindi that have a distinctly English language-sounding cast to them.(See also Roy, Singh, maybe mulligatawny...) One of these days I'll have to track that down and see if there's a structural connection.

Off to work now. Y'all make sure everything's KEPT in LION.

Fred Smith 9:34 AM  

@Rex --

1. I liked the theme and fill.

2. When you disagree, you'd be more credible if you weren't so disagreeable. IMO.

-- Fred

chefbea 9:36 AM  

Got the theme right away at 54 across and filled the others in. but Like@chefwen had to change the Boers and boars. DNF cuz there was a lot of stuff I did not know

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Also Natick'ed at BISSAU and LINDT (and I was actually in Natick yesterday).

Theme answers came nearly instantaneously. But FWIW, in South Africa, it's pronounced BOO-ers.

Unknown 9:48 AM  

28 across is incorrect.

South Africans are Boers; swine is boar.

Sir Hillary 9:50 AM  

@NCA President:

You and I must live in alternate universes. What you call nationalism sounds more like jingoism and is nothing like what I have seen regarding the World Cup. Like it or not, soccer is a team sport, and in the World Cup, the teams are determined by country...so if you are going to root for one or more specific teams, you are rooting for country teams.

While ESPN hypes the USA team more than others, they hardly invented that bias. Go to any other country, and you'll see the coverage reflected through the lens of that country's national team. This is called national pride, and there is nothing wrong with it so long as it doesn't devolve into ugliness. In my view, in this World Cup, it has not.

Plus, although ESPN is an easy (and often deserving) target, they have been quite multi-cultural and even-handed in how they have covered this tournament. Significant coverage is given to teams/games/players/storylines that have nothing to do with the US. Their team of on-air pundits includes Dutch, German, Argentinian, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Mexican, Spanish, English and American talking heads. When the US plays in only 4 of the 64 games, this is how it has to, and should, be.

We don't assume in this country that we should beat Belgium because it's the size of Ohio. Instead, we marvel at Belgium's talent, given their small size and population. Not once have I heard or seen anything to suggest that we should beat anyone simply because we are the "big bad US". We simply aspire to be better in the sport. What is wrong with that?

Bottom line...you should root for whatever team(s) you wish (for me, I am loving Colombia and Costa Rica). Or don't root for any. Or just ignore the whole thing. But don't equate support for the US team with any kind of ugly nationalism (which, again, sounds more like jingoism).

OK, off-topic rant over.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

With respects to those who love homphones, the word "Boer" is of Dutch origin, means farmer, and is pronounced "boor," not Boar or Bore, ergo, it don't work.

Sir Hillary 9:58 AM  

@ Lewis - Re the PPP, I get 87, although this is through four standalone words (no suffixes), two of which are the same.

Z 10:02 AM  

@Unknown 9:48 - If you had read my comment you would know why it isn't wrong.

@NCA President - I like sports where strategy and technical skill matters more than physical abnormality, so I like soccer. Messi, Saurez, Robben, Van Persie, David Villa (what an amazing goal) are all amazing athletes (even if the one guy needs to play wearing a muzzle). I will root for the Oranje for, hopefully, the rest of the tourney. But, yeah, it is kind of scary in a whole WWI/WWII way that so much fervor is expressed over a sports tournament. Still, better sports than wars. It is much better to root against the German futbol team than carpet bomb Dresden.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Considering the World Cup do you think '
Juan won one'.

Leapfinger 10:17 AM  

@Lewis, I get 158, and one is a suffix.

Carola 10:45 AM  

Liked it a lot. Before I filled anything in, I read through all of the headlines, with ????, until I saw the homophone theme at IDLYLLS. Fun to then get the rest.

It's always a bonus when the puzzle offers serendipitous pairings or groups...I enjoyed the grid treats others have mentioned. Wondered if the EARED-PEKES corner can count as "dog-eared."

Not sure if any chocolate you can get at Walgreen's counts as "fancy." Plus, LINDT reformulated their recipe not long ago - now is more like chocolate-flavored Crisco

@Sir Hillary - Good one! ("attack")

@loren - Are you saying that PEKES are NOISY ON CUE?

r.alphbunker 10:46 AM  

There is evidence that hops can be an ingredient of ALE.

Now you know what it is like for a cow to chew its cud :-)

re 40%
It's an unchecked clue. M and W discovered the phenomenon yesterday.

@Sir Hillary
"ad homonym attack"
Normally a pun of this quality requires a shaggy dog story to introduce it. Brilliant!

John V 10:50 AM  

Fun puz, liked the idea. Got easy once I figured out the gimmic, but got Naticked at LINDT/DADA cross; just didn't see SMARTY.

Hartley70 10:55 AM  

@Anonymous at 10:16 LOVE it! Hahaha

Two Ponies 10:55 AM  

The theme was very easy but filling in the rest was more of a chore than entertainment.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 11:13 AM  

@r.alph: Encouragin to have one mad scientist out there that enjoys by Daring Experiment runtpuz series (tm). I guess if too many folks liked em, I'd know I had failed, as a mad scientist.

20% tithe = unchecked clue = har. U could have an absolute ball, ignorin the schtick and just re-cluin every entry in this here grid...


Above is the last Daring Experiment one. Just had to get some things out of my system.
Aaaaaahhhhh... Feel better, already.

Cute puz idea. @muse: SITECITESSIGHTS seems doable. All I got is HOHOESHOSE. So I'll just leave, now.


Anonymous 11:28 AM  


Anonymous 11:30 AM  

I think that it is a mistake. South Africans are Boers and swine are boars!

jdv 11:31 AM  

Medium. Was unable to get into a good solving rhythm. Never heard of DAN Savage, SAN, LIARS poker or ALEXEI Kosygin. I liked the first three theme answers, but the fourth one...incapacitate for idle seems a stretch. Last square I filled in was MANS/SMARTY--brief moment of panic as I couldn't see MANS and didn't know what to make of Wisenheimer. ALBA next to ELBA.

ArtO 11:31 AM  

Easy. Fun homophones. It's only Wednesday so it's easy. So what! Nothing but negativity from the home front. Enough already!

M and Always Thinkin 11:35 AM  


MUUMUUMOOS? Didn't think so...


Bob Kerfuffle 11:38 AM  

@M&A - Almost 14 minutes . . . . to come up one letter short. (Was that 11 A/15D?) But a completely fair and gettable puzzle.

Lewis 11:59 AM  

@leapfinger and @sirhillary -- I'm thinking there are more than one correct PPP answer, based on your answers. I'll post my answers mid afternoon, and I'd love to see what you came up with...

mac 12:02 PM  

Easy puzzle once you got the theme, and that wasn't hard either.

Loved "Abandon ship"!

I'm loving the world cup; it helped that I had two horses in the race. Tim Howard was incredible.
Good posts, Sir Hillary and Z.

P.S. The plural of boer is boers, boere or boeren(NL).

AliasZ 12:06 PM  

Football can be a beautiful sport if you remove some acting. Some players are better actors than players. In the Netherlands-Mexico game the penalty that caused Mexico to lose was a perfect example. The Mexican defender barely, if at all, touched the Dutch guy, yet he fell down as if he were shot, like an extra in a poorly-directed Western movie. Diego Maradona, talented as he was, was the best at it.

National pride in sports is a positive thing. It is the last bastion of most European countries that joined the EU thereby losing most of their national identity. This can be hard to understand for a US native, who may find learning other languages in order to be understood 50 or 200 miles down the road a nuisance rather than a life-enriching necessity. Being French for a Frenchman or Greek to a Greek is an inseparable and essential component of who they are as individuals, and it includes centuries or millennia of history, language, culture, music, etc. that is perhaps not easy to comprehend for a person born in the USA. This subject however is way too big to discuss in this forum.

I can imagine a future world in which national borders have completely disappeared. There will be only Team Europe, Team Africa, Team Asia, Team USA, Team South- and Central-America, plus Australia, Switzerland, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Guinea-BISSAU and the Vatican. I'd love to see Vatican play Monaco.

ANOD spelled backwards reads DONA. I am absolutely delighted to have found this video of Robert Shaw directing the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the cantata DONA Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose text partly reads:

Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation,
neither shall there be war any more.
And none shall make them afraid,
neither shall the sword go through the land.
Mercy and truth are met together,
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

How fitting.

Andrew Heinegg 12:10 PM  

As in all things, there is no accounting for taste. I think this puzzle is entirely without redeeming features. That also happens to be my opinion about every Jeff Chen contribution to the NYT crosswords that I have ever done. They appear to me to be a seemingly endless list of not-newly-clued, tired crossword answers, un-amusing(to me) nonsense lines and answers that are new to me but uninformative.

Frankly, as Jeff Chen is essentially a member of RP's fraternity, I think he has done an admirable job of not making any ad hominem attacks on Mr. Chen. RP criticizes Mr. Chen's efforts in a diplomatic manner even though RP is of the informed (like it or not Rex haters) opinion that the subject of the critique is a poorly constructed puzzle. Mr. Chen may be one of the smartest and nicest persons on the planet (I have never met him or even read anything about him) but, I just don't think he does a good job of constructing puzzles. As I said, there is no accounting for taste, mine or anybody else's.

Z 12:46 PM  

@AliasZ - As a completely unbiased neutral observer, why would you even give the ref an opportunity to make that call when you've been mauling the guy for 90 minutes? Was he fouled? Yep. Did he sell the foul? Yep. Had the players been warned about excessive contact? Sure looked like it. Completely good call. Go Oranje.

Did I mention that I have a bridge for sale?

Good point on American's inability to understand Europe.

Three and out.

retired_chemist 1:19 PM  

@ AliasZ - hopefully we will not get to Team Eastasia, Team Eurasia, and Team Oceania.

r.alphbunker 1:36 PM  

@M & A

Slow down dude! Your latest runt outstripped the ability of xwordinfo technology to display it correctly.

Go to runtpuz.org and click the "Correct answer" link after the puzzle link to see how it should have been displayed. (You may need to close the runtpuz.org tab in the browser and reopen it to see the link).

LaneB 1:45 PM  

A no-google finish with several erasures made my day. Liked the gimmick once I figured it out and the rest fell quickly (relatively) into place. Chen and partner always come up with interesting stuff. Thanks.

Mohair Sam 1:58 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg - disagree totally on your assessment of Chen's work. He's one of our favorites here. Always smile when we open the puzzle and see Chen's byline.

loren muse smith 2:46 PM  

@r.alph – loved your latest runt. Bravo!

@M&A – "Themeless 40" Unchecked Clues – hurray for airers in clews!

!nuf .25:5 ni ti tog I – s'yadot dnA

Outlaw Z 2:52 PM  

Too appropriate not to share.

OISK 2:57 PM  

Despite never having heard of RKelley, the R and K were so obvious from the crosses, that there was no problem. Fastest Wednesday for me ever, under 6 minutes. This was SO in my wheelhouse! Knew Bissau from stamp collecting, buy Lindt chocolate at the opera, barely hesitated at all until I got to "Neale", which has been in prior puzzles, but I did not remember it. Someone asked about 24 down, and I didn't see a response. The "Dada" in the answer refers to dadaism, a European art movement.

I liked this puzzle, as I usually like Mr. Chen's puzzles, alone or as part of a team.

@Z - I was rooting for Holland, mostly for financial reasons, and I am glad they won, but that was a really awful call. I enjoy soccer, but for me, one of its flaws as a sport is how frequently in can turn on a dive.

lawprof 2:59 PM  

Picked up the theme almost immediately with PEAKSPIQUEPEKES and filled them all in, which provided toeholds everywhere.

One nit, however: all theme clues parallel the answers (i.e., the subject-verb-object orders are identical) except 28A, BOARSBOREBOERS. Like others here, I had BOERS before BOARS at first. Easily fixed, but diminishes, somewhat, the elegance of the theme.

I seem to be channeling @retired chemist because I, too, got all balled up in that BISSAU/LINDT/DADA mess. Unfortunately for me, however, I solve on paper, so Mr. Happy Pencil isn't around to withhold his approval until I get it right. So I ended up with a double natick: BeSSAU/LeNtT/DAtA, all of which were as plausible to me as the correct answers.

Lewis 4:05 PM  



But it looks like some of you came up with a different answer, which I'd love to hear about!

It is looking like I won't have a PPP tomorrow - appointments all day.

Lewis 4:05 PM  

Oops -- door/gore/bore/saur

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

I thought the capital letters were a reference to the often rhyming headlines of the entertainment newspaper Variety. Of course all headlines are capital letters. I may be way off on this and I have no idea if Variety still exists.

Last Silver ORIT 4:33 PM  

Fave weeject morph job: CAT YAT YAK.
Fave excuse for an extra U: the B?SSAU/L?NDT gridlockese area. Seemed like a primo guess, at the time.
Fun puz. Like most everybody, the themers were too easy after the first ahar moment.

Congrats to ORIT, on yer debut. Enjoy yer big day. I know U must be plumb excited, just like EGN was, just lately.

@BobK: Good. Sounds like U got yer nerve back. A vital asset, in runt fights.

@r.alph: har & yep. M&A had the same prob with xwordinfo solver app, doin his all-binary puz and his all-E's puz. What tragical, lost opportunities. I coulda been a contendah...

@muse: xnaht. Stnur nivlos, kcab rey ees ot doog. Lookin forward a bit... Acadia National Park is wUnderfUl. Be sure to go to the top of the big hill part. Plenty of parkin, up top, so U can get out and gawk.

TWOTOOTOOTUTUS? Aww, cmon... work with m&e, here!...


sanfranman59 4:35 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)

Wed 9:10, 9:31, 0.96, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Wed 5:43, 5:58, 0.96, 39%, Easy-Medium

Sir Hillary 4:53 PM  


From PLEA/ELBA/LEAP/RIAL...pale, bale, pale, rail. Should add up to 87.

joho 5:40 PM  

I just finished this one and liked it a lot.

@Rex doesn't like "silly" ever so get used to it. I was trying to think of a headline but have no ending, anyone: REX WRECKS ...

Thanks, Dick & Jeff .. this was lot of fun!

Oh, I think "Zero-star fare" should be sLOP, not GLOP. GLOP is a big ball of stick goo.

art mugalian 5:47 PM  

This is the last place I'd expect to enjoy a discussion on the merits of world futbol. Love it! Where's Ann Coulter?

Sfingi 5:54 PM  

Like most, nice but easy.

Knew it would bring out some creativity here. And it did.

Didn't know BISSAU. Made me think of an old joke about telling someone to go up to the wall in German, and they're doing something entirely different and unwanted.

mac 5:58 PM  

@Oisk: I agree with you, this was a soft penalty. On the other hand, a much clearer foul was not recognized at the end of the first half. And look what happened to Italy probably because the referee didn't notice "the bite".

Arlene 6:10 PM  

I agree with everything everyone said - the problem with being the 90th person to comment.

I liked being able to fill in the long answers once I realized what the theme was. Anything that shakes up the solving process like that is a big plus in my book!

I know that's not going to happen tomorrow. So savor the day!

retired_chemist 7:22 PM  

@ lawprof - I had that one too. Those two squares could have been almost anything.

Lewis 7:39 PM  

@sir hillary -- Great find -- I like it better than what I found!

Leapfinger 8:32 PM  

@Lewis, 3 out of 4 were the same as yours, but instead of URSA/SAUR, my suffix was ORIT/ITOR, as for progenITOR, credITOR. Acceptable?

michael 9:04 PM  

At first I had flop for zero-star fare. Like my answer better than "glop" but of course it was wrong.

Actually, "flop" would be a great answer, given some of the acting in the World Cup.

r.alphbunker 10:11 PM  

Nobody has commented on these answers. It's not too late!

ARSON 37A {Crime in much insurance fraud}
ASH 39A {___ brown}
BBQS 7D {Tailgaters' activities, for short}
BROWSE 25A {Netflix menu heading}
DEA 55D {Bust-making org.}
ILK 57D {Kind}
INS 54D {Networkers' hopes}
OLIN 6D {Lena of 'Havana'}
OPEDS 40D {Printed points of view, for short}
PARENT 45D {PepsiCo, to Frito-Lay}
REPAYS 5D {Makes good on}
SAPS 1D {Chumps}
SPAY 1A {Fix}
SUE 12D {Boy of song who hated his name}
TRU 34A {Play about Capote}
TSAR 53D {Pre-1917 autocrat}

Lewis 10:11 PM  

@leapfinger -- of course acceptable! But, in my opinion, not quite as strong because it's two syllables, which dilutes the rhyme, like rhyming "sing" with "morning", as opposed to "ring". Just my opinion though, and it IS a correct answer. I must say, ITOR me up to have to say anything negative about a correct answer!

Leapfinger 5:08 AM  

Dang, @Lewis! The instructions were to find an anagrammatically-correct suffix, so throwing in some post-factoid objections about rhyme schemes and multisyllabism seem a base canard that au fond ducks the issue. That would make me sore-saur-soar had I not meantime discovered that you're summat of a near neighbour.

Lewis 8:55 AM  

@leapfinger -- It is true! You did fulfill the instructions! I was picky, indeed, too picky! Good. Now that we're past that, whereaboots do you live?

spacecraft 11:19 AM  

How about CHARLOTTE'S SUNBEAMS ELEVATE? Or PENELOPE'S STAGEHANDS VOYAGE? Anyway, I started with the OLDIE' LION, a-wimoweh, and soon got IDLE in the middle of 54a. One read of that clue and the jig, as Max Smart so p.i.'ly said, was up.

Yet even with all the theme gimmes in place, some of this fill was strictly out of that grassy area in front of the Green Monster. Thank goodness I recalled Hurston's middle name from an earlier puzzle, or I never would've finished that section. WOE clue #1: "Networkers' hopes" = INS. HUH??

#2: 40a. Too long to copy here, the whole thing looks like utter nonsense to me. ORIT was forced in on crosses (as was the K of RKELLY, go figure), and that makes equal nonsense. But somehow, it was right.

#3; ____means nothing. DADA. Well, at least we agree. It certanly means nothing to me. Whose "manifesto" might this be?

I like @Sir Hillary's "ad homonym" attack. It's at least no more of a groaner than today's theme entries.

Single letter w/o, sLOP for GLOP. I'll give it a B-. Woulda been a straight B, but the rapper downgrades it.

More visual problems with the captcha; this looks like *something*90, maybe a 1 or 7...I'll just redo. Second one a solid gray bar, next one badly out of focus but I can just make out 1730. Curses, that's not gonna feed the bulldog. [My wife hates that expression, so I'm venting it here!]

rain forest 12:39 PM  


@Spacey - First of all, I love your comments, even when you get a little feisty. You are the Rex of the Syndies. Secondly,the networkers clue refers to the fawning that certain people engage in, in order to get ahead. I hate those people.

@Leapfinger - You are standing on shifting sand when you refer to Canada as a "backwater", linguistically, grammatically, or otherwise. When in a glass house...

I liked this puzzle - surprise! The "headlines" were suitably wacky, though easy to get. Only ORIT caused a slowdown.

I think the cartcha is 84.

spacecraft 2:04 PM  

I was just looking at that ORIT clue again; I think the light bulb went on. The clue says, in *short*, that if you can't produce photographic evidence that it happened, I won't believe you. But it's all so condensed it looks like a foreign language.

Thanks @Rainy, I'll try to UPKEEP.

DMG 2:14 PM  

Thought the homonyms were fun. Seems the world could use more of that nowadays! Only write over was MANS over runS. Hit a Natick at square 89, but correctly guessed an N. Don't understand he INS answer, but then, so much of today's jargon leaves me mystified. Guess I'm just ELD?

Have you discovered Bill Butler's puzzle solution blog. He presents the solution along with an explanation of the more unusual words. As I recall, that's what this blog did in the beginning. At any rate, after I've had fun and renewed "acquaintances" here, I often go there to enjoy what he can tell,me about our marvelous language.

Like @Spacecraft had to cycle through several unreadables to get 6326. Is 8 good enough?

John T. Vian 2:31 PM  

What was confusing to me was MOUNTAINS TICK OFF TOY DOGS is Peaks Pique Pekes, COUPES PEEL FRUIT is Pairs Pare Pears and PASTORAL POEMS INCAPACITATE TEEN FAVES is Idylls Idle Idols. Then I get to SOUTH AFRICANS UNEXCITED BY SWINE. I was sticking to the order and had Boers Bored Boars, giving me DEDA and SATS A RECORD. Of course I reversed the order to get the correct answer. Shouldn't the clue have been SWINE UNEXCITED BY SOUTH AFRICANS?

Dirigonzo 6:27 PM  

Solving "by the numbers" as I do, by the time I arrived at the first theme answer I had enough crosswords in place to easily see the homophonic trio (does that sound a little kinky?) and the rest of the puzzle, as the saying goes, was a piece (but not a peace or peas) of cake. I tried Grub before GLOP but that didn't last long.

@John T. Vian - @Z answered the question about the word order of boars/Boers thus: "I had to fix the pig answer as well. It is the only clue written in passive voice. Yet another reason to avoid the passive voice." So the order is correct if a little confusing.

3519 - I believe that's a winner!

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