Depression Era architectural movement / THU 8-28-14 / Part of spiral galaxy farthest from center / Kitschy quality / Carriage puller in rural dialect / Boutros-Ghali's successor as UN chief / Adolf Hitler according to 1983 hoax / 1920s-30s Ford output

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Constructor: Ned White

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: DOWN / WARD (21D: With 40-Down, how rain falls … or a literal description of the answers to the four themed clues) — four theme answers all run DOWN and all are definitions of WARD:

Theme answers:
  • PATIENT AREA (3D: 21-/40-Down to a doctor)
  • BEAVER'S DAD (10D: 21-/40-Down on 1950s-'60s TV)
  • PRISON WING (28D: 21-/40-Down to a penologist)
  • ACTRESS SELA (24D: 21-/40-Down in Hollywood)
Word of the Day: MODERNE (38A: Depression Era architectural movement) —
Streamline Moderne, or Art Moderne, was a late type of the Art Deco architecture and design that emerged in the 1930s. Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements. (wikipedia)
• • •

I feel like this puzzle's heart is in the right place. Something about its playful spirit makes me want to be fond of it. It's just that there are some core problems, and then a bunch of non-core problems (mainly the fill), that make me want to say, you know, E FOR effort, but nowhere close to A MINUS. (Both the answers mentioned in that last sentence are part of the problem today—EFOR is just terrible fill, and A MINUS is so inaccurately clued that I don't know where to begin. It just is. As someone who grades, a lot, trust me, there's nothing "nearly perfect" about an A MINUS, if only because this would imply that an A is perfect, which, just, no. No no. No.). So let's take the theme. To start, DOWNWARD is one word, not two. Picky? Yes. But with no "?" or … anything to indicate you're snapping a word in half, I don't see how you can do this. So there's that. Then there's the definitions-for-answers, which I don't care for, but I recognize other people's opinions about this feature might differ, and that's fine. It's just … BEAVER'S DAD actually strikes me as quite an interesting and unexpected answer of the Definition variety, where the others do not. PATIENT AREA is a pretty weak/general definition for "WARD." Are "wing" and "WARD" synonymous now? "Wing" signifies to me a sizable architectural feature. Is that what "WARD"s are in prisons? WARDs are "sections" of hospitals, and "sections" of prisons, so making one a highly vague "AREA" and the other an oddly specific and ambitious WING just seems wildly arbitrary.

There should've been "?" or something similar somewhere in all the theme clues. I mean, imagine seeing [Down Ward in Hollywood], no "?", in your clues. Makes no sense. Never mind that having "Down" in so many clues is weird when it's half your revealer. Not sure how you'd get around that, but it feels like a design flaw. Also, [How rain falls]? This is a most bizarre clue for DOWN/WARD. Of all the way rain might fall … down? What *doesn't* fall down? Do other things fall up? Sideways? Man alive there's gotta be some better way to clue DOWN/WARD. [How rain falls] is only a hair's breadth better than [Opposite of UPWARD].

Fill is hurting all over. Currently having a debate online about whether BRA SALE is "green paint" or not. I have no problem with it, but it does have that "yes it's a thing but no it's not a specific enough thing to be an answer" quality. But "bra sale" googles astonishingly well, so I'm going to stand by my pro-BRA SALE instincts. But I won't stand by a lot of this other stuff: STR ARB ARIB ESS (when you already have both ACTRESS and EGRESS in your grid) NO TASTE (?) IN A TRAP DE ORO ITT GES GIS + two RE-words etc. With very little strong fill to offset it. (Note: I liked OFFSETS fine) OUTER ARM is easily the most interesting answer in the grid (23A: Part of a spiral galaxy farthest from the center). Vivid, inventive, good. Rest of it kind of creaks.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Zeke 12:08 AM  

I'm used to Googling questionable clue/answers (I'm looking at you PRISONWING) and finding the first page mainly being links to dictionaries, confirming my complaints.

This is the first time that googling for this purpose ("prison ward") got me mostly porn sites. The rest were dictionaries and references to prison wards in hospitals.

So, a well confirmed and either embarassing or titilating comdemnation on wards as prison wings.

wreck 12:10 AM  

What Rex said!! This was nice idea gone horribly wrong.

Whirred Whacks 12:11 AM  

I agree with the Rexster: the DOWN part of the answer that then became the theme clue was confusing as it related to the four themed answers. Botched.

I smiled when I wrote in BEAVERS DAD. Happy show from my childhood!

jae 12:13 AM  

Pretty easy for a Thurs.  I kept looking for a trick but no...  

gut before RIB and I mean before ID EST.  Plus, my first thought was STYrofoam and maybe a rebus before STYRENE.

I lived in the Casa DE ORO area of San Diego County for years and always thought it translated to House of Gold.  Apparently not...Golden House.

ACTRESS WARD had me wondering when SELA started appearing in crosswords?   Her first big film was The Fugitive in the late '80s followed by a staring role in the TV series Sisters in '91.

A side from being a bit too easy I liked it more than Rex did, although I agree about the uneven theme. Favorite answer- BEAVER'S DAD.  

wreck 12:14 AM  

Why do you think they call them "Wardens?"

Carola 12:24 AM  

My reaction to the theme was similar to @Rex's, and I felt that OUTER ARM, TRAIN CAR, BRA SALE edged pretty close to the "green paint" AREA. I liked TWADDLE and MODERNE. Fun to see a CANOE along with the OLD NAVY ship IOWA.

MODEL A'S was interesting over BRA SALE - a size seldom featured in the AD PAGES. Much less A-MINUS.

Casco Kid 1:02 AM  

Brutal. 1:26. Clean lines score, but geez, what a struggle. I wish I had solved @r.alphs animator. What a tale of rabbit holes I could unfold.

OUTER...? sun, oRb, ARc before ARM. 5 min on each trying to make them right. What is an OUTERARM? Awful.

Quick, think of one of the zillion cities in LA that is, or has, a WARD. The solution even has LA at the end of it. I recalled about 20 places in LA county en route to nothing at all. But the East needs ACTRESSELA as a cross. RECUE ESS are ungettable without her, and barely gettable with her. dolES rather than METES went uncorrected for well over an hour.

MODERNE-with-an-E? It makes me want to go stand in a soup line so I have the full depression era effect. If they offer me potato soup, I'll insist on vichyssoise. MODERNE-with-an-E! Pah! But pAl for MAC meant the art movement was pODE for over an hour. Ugh.

Ok I'll spare you the west, north and south. Deep rabbit holes everywhere made this a very hard puzzle.

Steve J 1:28 AM  

Agreed that this was an idea that had potential it didn't fulfill. I thought things were off to a good start when I picked up the theme with BEAVER'S DAD, but it all went, well, DOWNWARD from there. The other themers were well short of scintillating, and Rex correctly note the problem with the splitting the single-word revealer.

Very clunky fill did not help the overall impression. And, as @Carola noted, green paint abounded. (Interesting to me: Rex noted OUTER ARM as a part he liked; I literally thought to myself, if humans could paint the outer arms of galaxies, would they paint them green?)

Disagree that NO TASTE and "kitschy quality" are synonymous. Bad taste would be a better fit. Even then, that's not really right.

@jae: Me too for gut before RIB (I've never heard "bust a rib" in the context of laughter) and sniffing a rebus that turned out not to be there at what I thought was styrofoam.

wreck 1:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
wreck 1:52 AM  

Hitting my 3rd post very early -- I absolutely loved "Leave It To Beaver" re-runs from my youth! Although I haven't seen an episode in the last 20 years, I bet I could still whip anyone here in "Leave It To Beaver" trivia! :) ("Eddie Haskel" being one of my all-time favorite sit-com roles.)

Pete 1:57 AM  

@Zeke - You do know that Google knows a hell of a lot about each of us, and that they use this information to tailor the sites they return to each individual based on their prior searchs, right? So maybe, just maybe, your search results say more about your internet usage patterns than about the phrase "prison ward" itself.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anoa Bob 2:17 AM  

I understand concerns expressed by the Rexulator and commenters, but with themeless parameters---33 black squares/blocks & 72 words---and with 6 theme entries occupying 50 squares, I thought Mr. White did a very nice job.

Granted some iffy clueing (I believe it was Tyler Hinman who tongue-in-cheeked something to the effect that "If you like a clue in my puzzle, give me credit; if you don't, blame the editor."), but there was a minimum of TWADDLE and doing a themed puzzle with all that extra white space, plus throwing in a few goodies here and there like MAESTRO, OLD NAVY, & MODERNE, leads me to give this one an A MINUS, no problemo. Not sure if it reaches DE ORO level, though.

@Carola, still chuckling over your last paragraph!

Charles Flaster 2:41 AM  

Eddie was a true classic and became part of our neighborhood vernacular. "YOUR PARENTS WERE HASKELLED"

Charles Flaster 2:55 AM  

TOTALLY agree with Rex on all counts. Thought theme might have been writing answers upward and not downward but realized that was not so.
Medium in 18 minutes.
Slowed down with 38D--pal for MAC and18A--up a tree for IN A TRAP.
How about a puzzle some Thursday where themed clues are missing an 'A' and theme is A- Minus. Not easy to construct.
Did like CANOE and WAWA(the store).
Thanks NW.

chefwen 3:08 AM  

It took me WAY TOO long to get the DOWN WARD schtick and it took me even longer to dig up The BEAV'S DAD, after that it was pretty smooth, AH yes SELA WARD, I know her (people mag). Still had a difficult time getting through the NW, my personal sticking area. Wanted drssES for 1A and had A gut for 19A, which, I think, is more common. Anyhoo, we got 'er done with zero lookups. Didn't think that would be possible when we first started out. Just kept chipping away with a plethora of write-overs.

Ellen S 3:12 AM  

hmm. I found this and yesterday about the same level of difficulty, but I really enjoyed yesterday -- first ever intelligent EEL clue! Thank you @Gareth and @David!

See, I don't really mind EELS; I just get annoyed when they show up day after day in the same way as RRNs and POCs or alphabet strings. Empty calories. Oh, no, empty calories would be the barbecue-flavored Quinoa chips I mindlessly scarfed down while solving yesterday's and then today's puzzles back to back. (or is that today's and tomorrow's?)

Jonathan Swift 6:23 AM  

Esteemed NCA President, your Indulgence, kind Sir:

I perused yesterday's blog late of the night and was intermittently puzzled and perturbed by your complaint regarding CONGERLINES. I did therefore consult assorted dictionaries of the American persuasion and did confirm to my satisfaction that the pronunciation takes a hard G on both sides of the Mighty Atlantic. Accordingly, that sorely denigrated entry works within the framework of the intended wackiness. My uncorroborated assumption is that your soft G was "Conjured" up from Another Source.

I do not leap to point a finger at you specifically on this issue, since a commenter on a different blog admitted to that same soft G error; for all I know, it may be wide-spread in the Colonies.

If I may make a Modest Proposal, I would suggest that the female of that piscine species be referred to as the CONGERESS. I believe that would Wash; D'ye See what I mean?

murphy 8:06 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

Bust a gut, bust a rhyme, no bust no ARIB.

Sadly this puzzle has me humming the Red Solo Cup song.

Did not find as much TWADDLE in this one as Rex. I do agree that much of the fill just seemed to fit but was just somehow a little off. And, as I ramble the same for the theme. Perhaps it was the reveal. The association between rain, ward and direction is bit loose. Google associative thinking for more information on this subject.

As Archie Bell and the Drells sang: Tighten

TT 8:13 AM  

There should have been a way to capitalize on Hugh DOWNS too...

Too many downs present. Agreeing with Whirred Whacks. Make more use of the redundancies if there are such redundancies.

AliasZ 8:18 AM  

I liked this puzzle just fine, both the theme and the fill. @Rex's un warranted nit picking made my eye lashes hurt. Snapping a compound word in half in a cross word puzzle can cause such anguish... Seriously? So I will just try to ignore it and concentrate on the puzzle as she sits, with out a TAN LINE. Which makes me wonder if nudists ever take advantage of a BRA SALE.

MODELAS is the female version of modelos. MODELAS normally appear in BRASALE commercials, unless it's Jerry Stiller.

The DOWN WARD theme missed the indefatigable character actor who appeared in over 200 movies, WARD Bond (1903-1960). The theme could have been DOWN WIND, which opens other possibilities, especially if a flatulent donkey is upwind.

Affixing an E to almost any word can make it appear more sophisticated: MODERNE, PASSE, FACADE, CANOE, artiste, ye olde shoppe, premiere, potatoe, maestroe, BRASALE, etc. I mean, BRASAL just doesn't have that genesis kwoy.

Here is the world première (see what I did here?) broadcast of the orchestral version of Adagio for STR, Op. 11 by Samuel Barber, conducted by none other than MAESTRO Arturo Toscanini. The one and only version you ever need.

Tita 8:22 AM  

While I was out, y'all invented a new term - does "green paint" mean something arbitrary?

I finished, but had a hard time because I was trying to parse "DOWN" in different ways - as in feathers, as the verb form, etc. I still don't get why it describes the themers... every single solitary one of the "Downs" run DOWN WARD...
I never heard of the actress, Agut before ARIB, and dressES made it really hard.
BTW - would I be using 'green paint' correctly if I apply it to 1A? Is that answer not true for every magazine, except maybe for Consumer Reports?

Would I also apply the term to my brother's cowboy jokes genre from yesterday?
(Little bit of syncronicity - he looked so much like the BEAV when he was little that my mom would get stopped all the time when out strolling.

I also suspected a rebus, not only suspecting STYRofoam for STYRENE,but also being smugly sure of doradO for golden.

Not my favoritist ever, but a good Thursday crunch.
Thanks Mr. White.

jberg 8:22 AM  

Where I grew up, we busted a gut, not A RIB. That turned out to be a huge rabbit hole (to plagiarize @casco). I was shut out of the NW until WAWA finally told me what kind of DOWN we had (I had thought of hard, and even yard, first), and it finally fell into place.

I liked the theme OK, though, and liked the way this one spanned the decades, all the way from the '20s to the '60s.

Mohair Sam 8:34 AM  

In the "What Rex said" camp on this one.

Lost a ton of time trying to make postMODERNE into a rebus because had pAl for MAC, so at least we felt a challenge.

Can someone name the outlying English speaking enclave where people bust ARIB and not a gut when they laugh too hard? I mean, I've heard folks say they laughed so hard their ribs hurt - not got busted.

Yeah, very much what Rex said.

pmdm 8:41 AM  

I suppose you can say that in a system in which letter grades are converted to number grades, a minus is nearly perfect since it would correspond to a grade of nearly 100% which is perfect. Then again, in some grading systems a-minus is only the antepenultimate grade followed by A and A Plus, which implies it would be two grades from the highest score, hardly "nearly perfect." So depending on which system you have in mind, the clue may or may not be accurate. Such clues irritatingly seem to appear not infrequently. I suspect Shortz likes this type of clue late in the week, because such clues serve to make the puzzles more difficult by misdirecting solvers away from the correct answer.

More bothersome is the clue for 16D. As somebody in another blog pointed out (I try not to plagiarize) , the entry should have been clued "disposable cup raw material." In the manufacturing process the liquid styrene is converted to the solid "polystyrene" which is the correct answer as clued.

My creative mind suggested to me that rain falls in drops, so the two syllables in downward were purposely separated into two words that better represent the separate rain drops during a storm. OK, so most probably that was not the constructor's intent but just a necessity due to the inability to fit "downwards" into the grind. But it's as good a justification for splitting the word as any.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Another day, another puzzle that didn't meet Rexhole's standards. Same whiny shit, different day.
Bad fill? Check. Theme that doesn't work? Check. Arrogant comments that imply superiority over the constructor? Check.
Does he even write this crap or does he just pick a few preset sentences from a list and insert them at random?

Casco Kid 9:18 AM  

The pain of the puzzle evaporates with @AliasZ's musical citation. Suddenly, it was all worth it.

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Tough puzzle. Had busted a gut, ala for 11 across, never heard the word penologist!! Did not like the puzzle

Arlene 10:00 AM  

This puzzle was not quite in my comfort zone - with the NW being most troublesome - finally Googlng for ANNAN which I should have known.

BUT - @zeke - I was curious about your Googling PRISON WARD and getting porno sites - and the subsequent suggestion that Google keeps track of our previous searches and tailors its responses. Just for the record, I just Googled PRISON WARD and it didn't turn up any porn sites.

Just saying . . . .

pmdm 10:01 AM  

Since Casco Kid bought it up, let me also applaud you, AliasZ, for post the link to one of the most beloved of 20th century Classical orchestral works. But I must disagree that it is the only version one needs. The orchestral version is an arrangement of the original version for string quartet. One should seek out that version also, for while it is not as lush it is more searing. And Barber made a third arrangement, for chorus, setting the melody to the words of the agnus dei section of the Mass.

Here's a link to one of the many versions available on You Tube. I don't know if it is the best one around, but it's truly nice.

And here's a nice enough version of the a cappella version. Just i case you don't know the words: agnus dei, qui tollis pecatta mundi, meserere nobis (dona nobis pacem last time) [Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us/grant us peace]

What are your votes on the best version? (not the performances but the arrangements)

About the post directly following my first post. Perhaps a "near perfect" example of testiness begetting testiness. Since tastes usually don't change, expect the write-ups to continue in the same manner. If it upsets you that much, just skip to the reader's comments.

Z 10:12 AM  

MODERNE is the word I use to insult ugly 1960' s and 70's architecture, and Art Deco fits, so that was tough.

I'm with Rex on BRA SALE, but I think he is overthinking A MINUS. Of course, if you teach lit and use writing as your assessment tool, the concept of "perfect" really doesn't make sense, so I get his point.

Considering ITT-ROAN-ISN'T IT, or ARB-SIC symmetrical to ARC-GE'S, not my fave.

@Pete - I don't think it is possible to say or write, "not that there's anything wrong with that" without at least a little condescending implication that there is something wrong with that.

@Jonathon Swift - there may be people reading today's comments who didn't do yesterday's puzzle. I would suggest in the future either posting on the actual day, adding a large spoiler alert, or being far more circumspect in what you write so as to not give away a theme answer. People who show up with a blue underlined name can opt to get later comments in their email, so it is quite likely that @NCA President would have seen your post.

quilter1 10:25 AM  

Hand up for gut before RIB. But I finished. Green paint? What is it?

Gill I. P. 10:30 AM  

I too liked the theme but like @chefwen it took me way too long to get DOWN WARD.
Hand up for busted a gut...
I think I just did a Ned White in the LA TIMES. That one was difficult as well.... Good Thursday job Mr. White...


A happy crossword story:

Back in May, I put out a @Rex SOS asking you fellow bloggers for help in finding someone who would construct a birthday present for our son. Well, that's how I became a cyber friend with puzzle maven and @Rex commentator, George Barany.
After a series of emails and exchange of lots of info, George got to know all of Jordan's foibles...Armed with this data, he designed a clever personalized puzzle that others not familiar with the family, could solve as well.
I can't begin to tell you how much fun (not to mention freaking hard) it was to be a part of this whole process. George, ever the professor, was patient and instructive despite my jumping all over the place and wanting my silly two-cents in every clue.....
The end result speaks for itself. This was posted by our son on his Facebook page:
"Without a doubt, one of the most awesome presents I have ever received in my life."
If you want to take a gander or try it out go to We Are Family
Thanks @Rex. Had it not been for this site I would never have been aware nor enjoyed all the puzzle opportunities out there. And, if any of you want to really excite someone with a fantastic puzzle, really do go visit George's site and visit with his puzzle colleagues.
"We now return you to......

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

I've seen the term "green paint" used here a number of times and I think I understand generally what it describes, but could someone explain how the term originated?

Benko 10:41 AM  

I think that OUTER ARM is a valid phrase, as opposed to
arbitrary. Because we live in an OUTER ARM of the Milky Way, it is a phrase you hear a lot in astronomy. I enjoyed that entry like @rex did.
I also agree that BEAVER'S DAD was the best theme entry.
--Posted in Olomouc, Cz. Republic

Uncle Jeff 10:47 AM  

Help. I don't understand IDEST.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:48 AM  

Started strangely for me, in that 1A and 14A were pure gimmes, yet 17 A was about the last entry I filled in - the blanks due to the crossing of a theme answer and a random Spanish word left a pattern I just had great difficulty with, trying to see NO_AS_E as one word!

But in the end, only tow write-overs; I MEAN started 32D before ID EST; and, oh, no, I wasn't fooled by 41 A, What makes a top stop? - immediately put in AN "S", only later changed to ESS.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:49 AM  

@Uncle Jeff - ID EST, Latin for "that is."

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

I just read thru all of the posts and see that @Tita and @quilter1 already asked about the green paint terminology. Hopefully somebody can clue us in.

RooMonster 11:02 AM  

Hey All!
This was mostly medium-hard out here, except for the NW corner, where I finally cried Uncle! (Not just because I'm a NEPHEW...) and settled for Answer Reveal, which is technically a DNF. Have a problem with Bust ARIB, who says that? It's Bust AGUT, everyone knows that! New word ARABLE, guess not much of a green thumb here! (As opposed to Green Paint..) Can someone explain COP for Lift? Bueller?

Writeovers: Put clothes in for TANLINE before I had any crosses, same with dressES for ADPAGES, NSa, then NSm (making ARm for the cross), finally NSC/ARC, pAl for MAC, ESTa for ESTO til OLDNAVY.

(Two-fer today!)

Hey HOSS! Had ERASES as VITAL answers were NEARISH, but had to RECUE somw TWADDLE I put in. I thought, ISNTIT in RUINS? Some OFFSETS and FACADES in the clues had me INATRAP.



Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Green Paint is an epitome for an arbitrary modification of a term. Latex paint, oil paint or wet paint would not fall into this category as the adjectives make a real and significant modification of types or states of paint. Green paint could alternatly be any color paint.

Z 11:05 AM  

Green Paint explained.

You are welcome.

mac 11:14 AM  

It fell a little flat for me, probably because I, just like @Tita, tried to work DOWN in the way I could WARD.

The prison wing clue is not accurate. There can be multiple floors of wards in a wing.

I had a hard time filling 35A, "isn't it", even tried to spell styrene styreen.

Carola 11:17 AM  

@RooMonster - "to cop" and "to lift" in the sense of "to steal."

RAD2626 11:25 AM  

Liked TAN LINE and the oft-mentioned BEAVERS DAD clues best. Thought SW was only section easy to SEE TO. Rest of puzzle definitely medium to challenging. AD PAGES did not jump out and looked for rebus there and with of course STYRofoam. That and gut ate up real time. Liked the puzzle a lot.

@pmdm @AliasZ. Always liked the string version better, but appreciate the link to Toscanini. Just lovely.

Zeke 11:34 AM  

My, such a calumnious comments section today.

For the record, I was using a client's computer last night in the midst of an all nighter getting a project finished by 9/1 (Yes, that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

Further, the implication that I'm a computer novice is insulting. Say, just for the sake of argument, there's no admission of guilt here, that I occasionally avail myself of "adult entertainment" (not that there's anything wrong with that). Do you not think that I would be savvy enough to have a dual-boot computer, the private partion equipped with a TOR browser, military grade encryption and enhanced privacy protection? Not that I have or know of such things mind you, just if I were to need them I certainly would have them. Do you also think, as a community, that I have a soul so dark that prison porn would appeal to me, rather than a gentler, more loving genre of porn (not that I know about various genres of porn, or even the existance of such)?

Lies and calumnies I say, lies and calumnies.

Steve J 11:40 AM  

@Z: If you're using MODERNE to describe ugly 60s and 70s architecture, you're using the wrong word. MODERNE is definitely a late '30s style. It's, to oversimplify, the form of Art Deco that emphasized rounded forms.

The ugly 60s and 70s architecture would fit into the broad (so broad as to be essentially useless) Modernist category. Specifically, it's mostly Brutalisim (with some International Style bleedover in the earlier days).



@Tita: While nearly all magazines have AD PAGES, the ratio of editorial to advertising varies greatly. Something like The Economist or the Atlantic probably doesn't even hit 20% of its page count being devoted to ads. Something like Brides is probably nearly the opposite. So, I think the 1A works.

@Anon 9:16 a.m.: I feel bad that you're clearly forced to read things you don't like. No one should have to be subjected to forced consumption of words.

Chip Hilton 11:52 AM  

Thanks, Rex. Now I can blame the awfulness of the clue for my thinking that AMINUS was likely one word out of the Maleska Era. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Z 12:49 PM  

@Steve J - Think of it being said with an Appalachian-French accent with sarcasm virtually drooling down the side of my mouth - not as an actual reference to a school of design.

@Zeke - Well defended. Not that there's anything wrong with playing with... computers.

@Anonymous 11:04 - Great minds and all that.

Carola 12:56 PM  

@Steve J - Thank you for the Brutalism link, which helped me put our most prominent local example, the UW-Madison Humanities Building into context. I hadn't realized that building in this style on university campuses was a national trend. When this building was going up in the late 60's, I attributed its fortress-like appearance to Madison's reaction against the often violent anti-war protests on campus and downtown. Structurally, the building hasn't ever worked very well, with chunks of concrete crumbling off and leaking from the start, which adds even more to the dungeon-like atmosphere in the classrooms. In the photo, you can see some small windows (always murky) at the top of the slanted lower tier, the only source of faint natural light in the classrooms on that level, the walls of which are gray concrete, with rust and water stains. It kills me that this soul-crushing building is devoted to the humanities, arts, and music! There's disagreement on campus over whether to rip it down (ugly, non-functional, depressing) or preserve it as an important architectural example.

J. Swift, Esq. 1:29 PM  

Highly Esteemed Z-Person,

Of my own volition, I would not have bethought me there were persons so disordered in their minds and behaviors as to involve themselves in not only Thursday puzzles but also Thursday blogs, prior to embarking on Wednesday puzzles. If indeed such there be, I shall not trouble myself as to their Houyhnhnms and comforts.

As for myself, I have constantly striven to maintain a more direct progression in my own Life, in keeping with the apparently Direct Linearity of Time.

If, as you say, it was largely inadvisable to use this later forum to contact said No Comments Addressible President, I must admit I did so for the purely personal pleasure of once again seeing my name in print. Blocked as I am at this latest turning, I must perforce betake myself back DOWN among the Lilliputians and Yahoos.

With thanks to All for this brief moment in the dear Lord's Sunlight, I bid a most grateful Farewell.

LaneB 2:34 PM  

Either the clues and fill are becoming more odd and/or disconnected or I'm becoming more stupid. I fear it's the latter. In either case doing the later-week puzzles is becoming more frustrating and less fun. Perhaps I should spend more time on the rest of the NYT or go to the library or read a book or whatever. DNFs are such a drag.t

Masked and Anonymo2Us 2:43 PM  

PuzEatinSpouse is out, attendin a quilters getogether.
So, am fendin for myself, for lunch. Opted for a few tasty Baked Potato Chips, with a nice cream sauce.

I took note that the Baked chips bag has a big banner on it, sayin "80% less fat". Regular bag says nothin. You'd think they'd wanna say "80% more fat" on the Regular bag. But wait... Would that then be the right number to use, on the regular bag? Does the answer depend on how much fat is in the bags?

I know what y'all are thinkin. M&A digresses. But, bear with me. There is method in my madness. Trust me. (If U can't trust a dude who's both anonymous *And* masked, who can U trust? Your congressman? Wrong, lawsuit breath!)

Today's puz -- the bigger one of the two -- has 4 fairly desperate answers, that Patrick Berry would probably only use, if U held a gun to his head and didn't fire...
* RECUE. It is something someone somewhere probaly has to do, occasionally. Probably mainly on Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
* ARIB. This ain't anything. AGUT is. ARIB can only be legitimately clued as "3/4 ARAB, 1/4 NAVI??"
* EFOR. I can accept nothing less than AMINUSFOR, in this context.
* STR. Lame. Who abbreviates string as STR.? There are plenty of perfectly (well, AMINUS-ly) acceptable abbrs. in this puz. STR sticks out like a sore orchestrapit.

OK. So 4 answers out of 72. That's 5% or so bad answers. Or... and here's yer tie-in... another way to look at it: 95% not bad at all!!! 18 times more not bad answers than bad answers!

Wanted OUTERriM, by the way.


The long-awaited M&A Collaboration with someone else anonymous who wishes to remain respectable is now available! Just go here and enjoy...

Inevitable complaints should be lodged at...

...Really harsh complaints should be lodged with yer local congressman.

M and Also Downward 2:49 PM  

WhooOOoop. That's

That there "blogsot" site is pretty racy. Might wanna check er out, @Zeke.


mathguy 2:58 PM  

Agree that the execution of the theme is flawed but still enjoyed it quite a bit. I was nervous filling in what I thought were gimmes because I was thinking Thursday rebus.

Tonedeaf in Seattle 3:21 PM  

My two favorite DIARISTs within 5 days of each other!

How about Samuel Pepys or Bridget Jones for an alternate clue @Will Shortz?

Sheila Bell 4:04 PM  

Can't ward also refer to political section of a city?

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

Now *there* is a juxta, @Tonedeaf/ Seattle! That 36A clawed at me, but didn't hark back to Sunday.

I believe the word is...can I go with 'thunderstruck'?

sanfranman59 4:14 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 15:26, 17:37, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 10:36, 10:56, 0.97, 41%, Medium

Atlantasolver 4:15 PM  

Puzzle was easy enough, but I still don't get "green paint." further clarification, please.

M and A Help Desk 4:49 PM  

Atlantasolver: re: GREEN PAINT.

Some puzzle answers can sound kind of made up. Rex likes to use GREEN PAINT, as an example.

GREEN PAINT is something that exists, but isn't very impressive as an answer, since it sounds a little like something boring drawn from the vast collection of:
Adjective + anything that the adjective could possible describe.

Another example or three:
* ATLANTA SOLVER (no offense to you).
* MASKED DUDE (no offense to me).
* LAME PHRASE (some offense to GREEN PAINT).

Hope that helps.


Anonymous 4:53 PM  

I did not "get" the down part of the theme unless it was because the answers were all in down clues. ??
Other than that, my husband suggested that the Eddie Haskell actor had died in some terrible way. So, I googled it.
He didn't but dude, this guy, due to the character he played, has been wracked with the weirdest rumours. Laugh out loud rumours.

r.alphbunker 5:10 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Atlantasolver 5:16 PM  

Illuminating, M&A, many thanks!

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

The "Down" "Ward" clues were just that, Down answers that had the name Ward associated with them. Actress Sela (Last name Ward), Prison Wind (is a Ward {area} of a prison), Beaver's Dad (name was Ward on "Leave It To Beaver", TV show, 60's), Patient Area (hospital Ward {again, an area of the hospital}).

Get it?

Anonymous 7:15 PM  

Agree with everyone else's criticisms. I barely got off the ground, just words here and there. I've never anyone say "bust a rib" in my life! No taste doesn't equal kitschy. How was I supposed to know that Beaver's dad was "Ward", and I've never heard of the actress "Ward". Lousy cluing lousy fill, lousy puzzle.

Leapfinger 9:52 PM  

Some special perks in the RexWorld commentariat today.

Thanks, @SteveJ, for the interesting links to Moderne and Brutalist. I was wondering whether Habitat67 qualified as Brutalist, anda few clicks down the slideshow, up it popped!

Also to all who asked and answered about green paint, esp @Z for providing the origins. @Tita, tell your brother he isn't the only one who held on to his 8-year old's brand of humour!

@Aliasz and @pmdm, fantastic to hear and compare the three versions of that beautiful piece. Just a great experience, each lighting up so differently.

Top marks to @Gilly, for a super-cool birthday idea and a neat bonus puzzle. Girl, such fun to meet your family! and to even share the grid with one of your grand-daughters! A little extra time with the 'other' Jordan didn't hurt either --- I still remember him in Carolina Blue. Loved all the photos --- you and GeorgeB did a GREAT JOB!

Thankee, all!

Charles Flaster 10:41 PM  

I agree. George is amazing

the redanman 10:52 PM  

too ugly in too many places. 100% correct, so not sour grapes.

sanfranman59 11:01 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 6:09, 6:02, 1.02, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 6:48, 7:54, 0.86, 13%, Easy
Wed 13:44, 9:31, 1.48, 99%, Challenging (4th highest ratio of 243 Wednesdays)
Thu 15:37, 17:37, 0.89, 27%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:25, 3:57, 1.12, 88%, Challenging
Tue 4:32, 5:21, 0.85, 5%, Easy (12th lowest ratio of 245 Tuesdays)
Wed 10:11, 6:08, 1.60, 99%, Challenging (3rd highest ratio of 243 Wednesdays)
Thu 10:08, 10:56, 0.93, 32%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 11:02 PM  

worse puzzle I've tried to solve in a long, long time.. awful clues

norbert jay 12:43 AM  

i would love to have lunch with other solvers. I live here in East Village.... am retired... the conversation is bound to be interesting.


Antagonist 1:54 AM  

Shout out to Rex for a perfect description of my feelings about this one. Best thing about this puzzle was that reading about it here reconnected me with a Mister Mister song from my youth!

DrXword 6:51 AM  

Disposable cups are not made of STYRENE, which is a liquid, but rather it's polymer, polystyrene!

Chele Hipp 9:48 AM  

Could someone explain 32 down - clarification lead in (IDEST) to me? I'm somehow not comprehending the answer.

Uncle Jeff 3:09 PM  


spacecraft 11:20 AM  

Yes, the theme is cornball and, for reasons outlined by OFL, defective; and yes, the fill lies in RUINS (NEARISH? Are you kidding me?)...but none of that matters. All is forgiven, because the grid contains ACTRESS SELA WARD. And may I say, Mr. White, that to immerse such beauty into this surrounding TWADDLE is a travesty of the first water.

The puzzle resisted solving for a while, till I grokked the theme (more of a *groan* moment than an aha! one). My first entry was wrong; I busted AGUT, probably like many others. Never heard the expression "bust a rib." It was my only writeover. No need to RECUE me; I won't bother to RETITLE this piece "DOWN WARD Facing Dog."

I cannot grade this. I abstain.

915: like today's effort, not good enough.

spacecraft 11:24 AM  

@Chele Hipp: parse it ID EST, Latin for "that is." (i.e. for short)

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

I agree with Spacecraft....sorta.
I liked it. Why? Because I finished and got all the answers correct without doing any research. When I completely finish a puzzle, I pat myself on my big fat head and say, Oh what a good boy am I. So, Mr. White busts a rib instead of a gut. Who cares? Mr. White is probably a little nutty like the rest of the world. I've already certified myself as being "nutso" years ago.

Ron Diego LaMesa, CA 10/2/14

Dirigonzo 3:00 PM  

I thought this was on the easy side *for a Thursday* The only place I found myself INATRAP was at the oft-mentioned Agut snare, easily fixed by the crosswords. I hope Thursday rebus puzzles aren't PASSÉ.

9351 is a winner, ISNTIT?

eastsacgirl 3:32 PM  

Finished but groaned at the theme. Figured it out with ACTRESSSELA (thought there were way to many esses to be right at first). And why oh why do I always put AFOR effort first.

DMG 3:49 PM  

I hesitated at DOWN, thinking Thursday would want something more crafty, but left it, and moved on. Then, SELA confirmed the WARD part, and the theme was established. Did wonder, as I wrote it, if AGUT was to crass for the NYT, and apparently, it is. Also had to get myself down from being upATree, but those were the only slips along the way to finishing this one. Not bad for a Thursday, or was this just super easy?

836 AMINUS? How odd that looks as one word!

sdcheezhd 6:02 PM  

Toscanini wasn't an Italian. The 30s style wasn't Art Deco. The clarification starter wasn't I mean. It wasn't A for effort. The bud wasn't a pal. It was ESTO and not esta. None of that helped. Overall I liked BEAVERSDAD and that was about it.

rain forest 7:50 PM  

Perhaps I have NO TASTE, but I liked this, despite some of the off-sounding entries. Maybe for RECUE, one could use, positioning a tone arm again. I dunno. I mean I got it, as well as NEARISH, and I'm sure at least some people have said this.

I had DOWN, then got BEAVERS DAD, which gave me WARD, and the rest was easy, although RETITLE came slowly.

I have to say that I continue to not understand the dislike of partials, or why some partials are Ok, but others aren't.

@Spacey, help me out on this. You seem to have an idea.

1677 I have an idea that this won't do.

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