Thursday, October 2, 2014

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: E = MC … squared — Puzzle about Albert EINSTEIN (19A: 20th-century figure with a famous 56-Across represented literally six times in this puzzle) and his most famous EQUATION (56A: See 19-Across), which relates to his theory of RELATIVITY (26D: Subject explored by 19-Across), which probably has something to do with his having won the NOBEL PRIZE (9D: Recognition received by 19-Across) in Physics (1921).

Word of the Day: MR. SUN (33A: He's asked to "please shrine down on me," in song) —
Uh … this?

• • •

This is very nicely done. I like that every "E" in the grid is involved in the equation/rebus. I like that every "E" in the grid is actually in a longer theme answer. And I like the way the "squared" part of the equation is represented visually by the fact that the E and the MC are inside a single "square." Also, for a pangram, the fill isn't terrible. It's not great, but I've seen grids tortured in pursuit of alphabetic completion, and this one's really no worse than your average NYT grid (which, true, hasn't meant much of late, despite recent laughable claims that fill standards have risen in recent years) (side note: always a classy move to throw the constructor under the bus). The main thing to focus on here is the theme, which is Thursday-worthy and expertly executed. One could quibble that the E/MC directions are not consistent (i.e. sometimes E is the Across letter, sometimes E is the Down), but you could counter that quibble by noting that the puzzle maintains consistency by having all the "E"s appear in the long themers, whatever direction they're headed. And counter-quibbler you would have the stronger argument.

Bullets:
• COMCAST (21A: NBC parent beginning in 2011) — Hit a late snag with this one, as I wrote in NOBEL PRIZE off just the -IZE, but forgot that all "E"s had to be "MC"s in the other direction. So I had the NBC parent as -OEAST. Having no idea what a 21D: Gloucester haul could be (thought SOD … it was COD), I made a confused face for a bit. Then sorted it out.
• MCLOVIN (31A: Nickname for Fogell in "Superbad") — you ever have one of those moments where you hit a clue and you Know you know that answer, you can picture the answer, you can feel the answer, but you just can't remember the answer, so you peevishly refuse to go on until your aging brain starts behaving again? No? Oh well. Nevermind.
• PLUTARCH (44A: "Parallel Lives" writer) — I knew he wrote "Lives." I didn't know they were "Parallel." This clue makes him sound like a rom-com screenwriter.
• FILM CANON (5D: Most important movies) — probably the biggest stretch, answer-wise, in the grid. But it's got a wikipedia entry (of sorts), so maybe it *is* enough of a thing...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

jae

Medium for me and just about right for a Thurs.  The theme hit me about half way through (although I knew something was going on when COMCAST wouldn't fit) and it definitely got easier after that.  Very clever rebus made even more clever by the lack of extraneous Es.

Erasures:  mac before ABC and BusCH before BIRCH

@Rex -that was exactly my thought process on MCLOVIN. Fortunately it floated to the top of the swirling cesspool of memories fairly quickly.

Misc. TV trivia that could come up in crosswords:  Cheech Marin and Yasmine Bleeth (I've seen her recently) were both regulars on Nash Bridges.

Fun tricky Thurs.  Liked it.  Nice one David!

wreck

I am kind of torn on this one because it was solid, but confusing and took a little while to suss. COMCAST was my first indication of MC being in a rebus, but when I figured there was an E involved, I wanted the rebus to be consistent all the way through. It wasn't! I didn't know PLUTARCH, MRSUN, and hated MCJOB.
Isn't the C the only letter that should be squared?

We found this text in our archive (don't ask how it got there, we don't want to have to 'disappear' you), which goes a long way to explaining this puzzle.

Anonymous

Crashed on this. I was putting in MC in the appropriate squares, but didn't figure out the E part.

Like wreck says, only the C is squared. But I don't really see how any of it is "squared". "EMC" inside a square, which can be said for any letter or string of letters entered into a crossword grid. And if "squared" applies to the C, it applies to the whole string.

But we decided the other day that muscle tone can mean anything you want it to, so no biggie.

Fugu

What a perfect rebus. I'm surprised I haven't seen it already. I'm glad it was done by a constructor who executed it so well.

John Child

The new iPad app will allow E, MC, or EMC in these rebus squares, which is fine. But it will allow a mix of answers too. I had four MCs and two Es, and the app declared it correct. I disagree. That was a DNF. There's one rebus, and the app should require consistency.

Doc John

It was certainly an interesting slog for me. Took me a while to figure out the theme and even when I did I didn't realize that *all* the Es were also MCs.
The Northern California section really had me going until I finally came up with Lucy LIU.
And yes, FILM CANON definitely is a thing.
BTW, did you have a few before writing this up?-
"something to do with his having *one* the NOBEL PRIZE"
and
Ouch!

Steve J

With the week thus far composed of an unbroken string of blah puzzles, it was really nice to solve this creative, clever and fun Thursday puzzle.

Picked up very early that there was a trick going on, when the NOBEL PRIZE/COMCAST cross just didn't make sense. I sussed that there had to be an E, M and C involved, but the lightbulb didn't turn on yet. Solved EINSTEIN a short time later, and I was off the races. Solved this like it was a Wednesday.

Loved the clue for SCHULZ (great misdirect, as I thought to myself, "how the hell am I supposed to know who the producer was of Woodstock?"). MCLOVIN was a great reminder of one of the better gags from dumb movies in recent years. Some of the short fill is a little clunky, but it's easily forgivable in order to support a nice rebus theme.

wreck

@John Child
I had "E=MC" in the rebus and that worked too! I wish the new ipad app would let you "circle" a square - that would have helped me sort the rebuses(sp?)rebi??

Pete

Einstein's NOBELPRIZE wasn't for relativity but for the law of photoelectrics. Actually, people doent' get Nobel's for any one thing, but usually specific things are cited. Relativity was still too out-there for the Nobel at the time.

I saw FILEANON and thought, this doesn't seem like a thing, but I had a coworker who could use it if it were. FILMCANON, though? That seems like a thing, but if it's as tortured and mannered as the literary canon, let's pretend it isn't.

As soon as I sussed the puzzle's gag, 15 minutes in, it all fell into place. Thanks for that, ELOVIN — which also doesn't seem like a thing at first glance but most certainly is.

Anonymous

Rebus Christ, Rex. Did Will Shortz sleep with your wife, or something?

Either spill the beans or let it go, because this mewling is a bad look.

Davidph

Aha! Woodstock the bird in Peanuts. Thanks @Steve J.

Anonymous

@Anon 1:08

Mewl: to cry weakly : whimper

Yeah, that's what Rex does. He cries weakly.

Casco Kid

Well, guys, E=MC^2 or E=MCC is a thing, but EMC-in-a-square is just as stupid as it gets. Disappointing. Indeed, rejection-worthy. The theme is broken beyond recognition. Please, please, please FORGET you ever saw EMC. For one thing, the units are wrong. MC has units of momentum, not energy. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

But beyond that, I was unable to solve the puzzle because the north just wouldn't budge. The I had to google MCLOVIN and cheat on FIST and INCA in order to complete the puz. 100 minutes before I quit, so not for lack of trying.

[Backer] PITRON? Nonsensical and utterly ungettable here, although that is surely my ignorance. I missed MCJOB so tried to wedge the last EMC somewhere in the north. It was an utter failure as a solve for me. But independent of that, it was an utter failure as a theme.

Casco Kid

Ok I had PiTRON/MINIMi wrong too. My bad, there. MINIMA is clearly right, and a PATRON is indeed a backer.

lit.doc

Anyone else out there solve on the NYT site using their "play against the clock" app? Spotted the rebus pretty early on, but then discovered that the instructions for entering rebus squares in their Q&A is either wrong or only apply to that dreadful app they seem so fond of.

BTW loved the puzz.

Anonymous

Wow, what a gratuitous remark by Shortz about Gorski's puzzle.

Typo Rexy: "with his having one the NOBEL PRIZE" "Won" not "one."

Anoa Bob

Filled in several of the "E" versions first (EINSTEIN, NOBELPRIZE, RELATIVITY, & EQUATION) and when the rebus kicked in, I was unable to go back and insert the MC's in with the E's. (I solve on the NYT web page on an ancient desk top PC.)

No biggie, I didn't get MCLOVIN (really?! ELOVIN made as much sense to me) anyway, so DNF.

The anus is a very important part of the digestive tract, but the idea that it is related to a personality trait, here "Obsessive, say" (54D), was hatched in the 19th century and was ultimately jettisoned by psychology & psychiatry as having zero empirical validity by the mid 20th century.

When I hear or see ANAL used in this context, I wonder if the person still believes in astrology or alchemy, or goes to their barber to have leeches attached to remove excessive blood to cure some disease. Why not clue it the same way as ILIAC (40A), i.e., as a part of anatomy, and bring it into the 21st century?

While I'm at it, if one wants to persists in this Freudian mumbo-jumbo, one needs to distinguish between anal retentive, one who is obsessive, and anal expulsive, one who is, uh, messy.

Like to stay longer, but must get back to the Beyonce "Did she or did she not photoshop her thigh gap?" flap. Cheers.

Gill I. P.

@Anoa Bob...Hee hee. I was hoping we wouldn't have ANAL retentive smarty pants going on about the pros and cons of E=MC and is it really in the square and did Einstein have an affair with RELATIVITY...
OK...I really liked this puzzle because it was fun for me and it was different. I, the smarty pants, caught on at CO[E]AST and TO[E}ATS confirmed it.
SCHULZ (Hi Steve J) was my favorite clue and SUNDRY was my favorite answer.
Biggest stab in the dark was MCLOVIN BIRCH NARCO.
Good job and fun puzzle Dsvid Woolf....

Charles Flaster

EZ- medium with not catching second E in EINSTEIN so went with fileanon thus I have a big DNF.
Did think of E=MC^2 as not working. Do not agree with Rex' explanation but can accept the theme. Like most commenters so far caught it at COMCAST.
No crosswordEASE today. Liked clues for CANARY,RANCH,SCHULZ.
Thanks DW.

Mohair Sam

Well I was going to rip Rex and most of you above for even remembering a flick called "Super Bad." So I rotten tomatoed it and found I'm the fool (not a first, btw). Great reviews, grossed over \$100 million. MCLOVIN indeed.

Had Rex's experience on PLUTARCH clue, that title is so Movie of the Week. SCHULZ clue a dandy. AQABA sounds like one of those places you'll find James Bond.

Fun and clever Thursday rebus puzzle, thanks Mr. Woolf.

Is a MCQUATION a boring formula? And EJOB's aren't necessarily unfulfilling.

r.alphbunker
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glimmerglass

@Casco Kid. "E equals MC in a square" is a long way from stupid. Yes, it's a bit of a stretch, but perfectly okay for a Thursday rebus. My quarrel with the clue is that a rebus is almost by definition NOT LITERALLY represented! That's not what "literally" means. The clue perhaps should have said "graphically represented" or "figuratively represented." Or even "in a rebus."

JohnV

Knew it was a rebus but just could not suss it out. Big time DNF.

r.alphbunker

The fact that E is the most common letter in the alphabet but only occurs in the rebus squares is a nice touch.

I have no problem with the theme. Since the rebus involved putting the letters "EMC" in a square, it (the rebus) could be described as "EMC" squared. This is close enough for crossword puzzles.

It could also be described as "EMC" boxed inspiring this snippet of Java code:
int emc = 5;
ArrayList<Integer> a = new ArrayList<Integer>();

And isn't Rex Parkers ejob (thanks @Mohair Sam) that of an eMC? Given that, it is certainly not uncommon for some posters here to want to box him.

The theme of the following runtpuz is "It's all relatives"
SIS
ONI
N.B

Where 2D is clued as {___ - law} and 4A is {Part of a matrimonial ceremony}

OK, I'll stop and pass the baton to Leapfinger.

joho

Loved that I got the first aha moment with "MC" and then discovered yet another when the "E" became apparent.

What a wonderful Thursday rebus ... and a pangram to boot. This one deserves a lot of (EMC)LOVIN!

Well done, David Woolf!

Generic Solver

@r.alphbunker:
I guess technically "EMC" Autoboxed" would be the official description, but still enjoyed that quip!

When is a "crossword" really not a crossword? My answer: when it's like today's puzzle and violates a basic assumption (I know, I'm not open-minded and not thinking outside the "box").

LHS 888

I am definitely getting better at these... thanks in large part to this forum. NASH was my first entry. I got NOBELPRIZE off the "NOB". EQUATION was the next themer to fall, at which point I immediately entered EINSTEIN and RELATIVITY. Next was to suss out the odd crosses. I figured there was a rebus, but like @Casco was looking for MCC's in the grid. Aha moment came at TOeATS. Immediately replaced all Es with EMC rebus and that helped me solve the gaps in the puzzle... Except for the top center. I had no idea about MCLOVIN and had to google to get that. Drat! So close, but ultimately an official DNF.

Writeovers: shag > LUAU, read > raiN > SCAN, paintS > ColorS > CANVAS, BusCH > BIRCH (which was WOE)

PLUTARCH went in off the UTA-C because that's "the only thing it could be". Kept refusing to put in NARCO as I am used to the 4-letter NARC, so that was hard to see.

I really liked this puzzle. Thanks DW!

jberg

Hey, all you @chefs -- do people really put AGAR in soup? I know it only as something you feed to fruit flies in labs (at least, it was in the 1960s, when I had a student job in one). But soups? Pureed vegetables, roux, even cornstarch, but AGAR? Live and learn, I guess.

Very nice construction, anyway. What everyone said, and to both get a pangram AND avoid all non-theme Es must have taken some doing.

Never heard of NASH bridges -- a person's name? A show about old cars crossing rivers? Fortunately my vague sense that there is an actress named ALBA turned out to be right. And I somehow remembered PLUTARCH as the author of "Brief Lives" (actually John Aubrey), so wanted to write in Noel Coward (whose Lives were actually Private).

A nice start to the day. I just wish it would stop raining, so I could miscellaneous (49D) my laundry.

Hartley70

Oh boy, tough for me and I love a rebus. Could it be a 4am solve? Excuses, excuses. Never heard of "Superbad", PARALLEL LIVES, NASH BRIDGES, MR. SUN, etc, etc. I never saw MCJOB at all and left it as ejob which the app accepted. Oddly, I got the theme answers correctly once I saw COMCAST (thanks 30 Rock!) and TOMCAT. I thought it was a great Thursday but too tough for my brain, so I give it a LOVE/HATE rating. I love to hate it!

evil doug

Smut, fist, hard, pasty, scan, tool, anal, e(ar) job, outburst, thar she blows, and where Mr. Sun don't shine? Quite obvious secondary theme, you tomcat, David....

Evil

Sir Hillary

This was a nifty theme in my view. I can stomach some quibbling about literally vs. figuratively, or EMC vs. EMCC vs. EM^2 or whatever, but to say this was "an utter failure as a theme" is just bullshit. Or, more appropriately, ra[mc]rap.

Agree with @Steve J on the SCHULZ clue. I stared at the Z for a long time wondering if maybe Joan Baez had a husband named Al or Ed.

Funny (and intentional, I am guessing) that @Rex mentions a "rom-com screenwriter", because I kept expecting to see RO[MC]OM in the grid.

Best NYT rebus in a while -- thanks, Mr. Woolf!

Susierah

Great Thursday!!! Loved it! Just the right amount of misdirects. I, too, immediately entered Nobel Prize. Got the rebus at McJob, but not that mc=e, that took a little while longer, then the aha moment, and everything began to fall into place. Don't you love it when that happens!

The northwest was the last to fall for me because I entered onus at 1a and outlap at 1d. Once I corrected that to the rebus swim cap, smut, and the last was adding the rebus for film canon (woe?) I was done, no googles or errors. Lots of fun!! 46 minutes.

Whirred Whacks

Best puzzle I've seen in a while. Thanks David Woolf.

PLUTARCH appealed the (long-ago) ancient history major in me. [PLUTARCH and MCLOVIN in the same puzz -- talk about "unparallel lives"!]

In honor of this theme's subject, here's a (long ago) Einstein joke:

“Einstein in Heaven”

Einstein dies and goes to heaven only to be informed that his room is not yet ready. “I hope you will not mind waiting in a dormitory. We are very sorry, but it’s the best we can do and you will have to share the room with others.”, he was told by the doorman named Pete.

Einstein says that this is no problem at all and that there is no need to make such a great fuss. So Pete leads him to the dorm.

They entered and Albert was introduced to all of the present inhabitants. “See, Here is your first room mate. He has an IQ of 180!” “Why that’s wonderful!” Says Albert. “We can discuss mathematics!”

“And here is your second room mate. His IQ is 150!” “Why that’s wonderful!” says Albert. “We can discuss physics!”

“And here is your third room mate. His IQ is 100!” “That’s wonderful! We can discuss the latest plays at the theatre!”

Just then another man moves out to capture Albert’s hand and shake it. “I’m your last room mate and I’m sorry, but my IQ is only 80.” Albert smiles back at him and says, “So, where do you think interest rates are headed?”

Casco Kid

Note that EMCC offers many a fill possibility, albeit with an Irish touch.

[One hit wonder?] Napoleon MCCALLUM
[Spice brand] MCCORMICK
[Bergen's son] MCCARTHY
Wikipedia has long long list of MCC_______ possibilities.

What's more, you don't reify a false equation!

Michael Borelli

Someone please explain PIP as "One of hearts. "

AliasZ

This was fun.

I caught on to the fact that E=MC was "squared" (i.e. forced into one square) at EQUATION, which made EJOBS acquire the crowning golden arches of MC. Aha, that's neat! Thus, all E's in the grid equal MC's and they are all pigeonholed into squares. Six times. Why six? Who cares?

PLUTARCH (A.D. 46-120) was a Greek historian, biographer and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He said: The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits. Wise man, PLUTARCH.

If FILM CANON is the collection of the most important movies, I wonder if "The Pride and the Passion" with Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and Frank Sinatra, belongs. It is a movie about a huge gun being schlepped across Spain during the Napoleonic War. It is the biggest friggin' film cannon I ever did see. The unmeant* comic effect of Sinatra trying to act like a revolutionary leader with a Spanish accent, tongue tied around heavenly Sophia, is a joy to behold.

Likewise, if the Pachelbel CANON is the collection of the most important compositions of Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), then this Prelude and Fantasia most certainly must belong.

I enjoyed this puzzle, thanks David Woolf.

*I decided to use unmeant instead of unintentional from now on. It sounds zippier, more direct, less conventional, and less of a cliché than "a joy to behold", say.

Z

MCLOVIN I know from watching The Dan Patrick Show on NBCSports, I didn't know it was a movie reference (yes, I've seen SuperBad, all I remember is I thought it was stupid and violent and not very funny). As for PLUTARCH, my reaction to the clue was much like OFL, but I was thinking Nicholas Sparks or someone similar. First time I can remember that reading PLUTARCH made me smile.

@Anoa Bob - I use the term even though I know it's source is long refuted because people understand exactly what I mean but have little or no idea that the phrase comes from Freud. Today it is metaphorical rather than scientific. The district where I taught used to bring in speakers before the school year started. The only one I remember theorized that all those faculty members walking around all puckered up, being mean to kids and hard to talk to, needed to take a couple of moments for themselves in the loo and everyone around them would be much happier. It was the single best piece of advice I ever received.

OFL was going on about Shortz's comments on Twitter last night, so I looked at the Wordplay blog. To paraphrase, "some of the initial fill needed to be improved so it was improved" and "this puzzle sat for three years because I don't publish this type of theme much anymore." Could it have been phrased better? Sure. Was it as bad as Rex implies? It could be read that way, but I find it far more innocent.

A perfectly fine Thursday. Remember, crosswords are puzzles where figuring out how the clue can work is part of the fun. The rebus is "taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory" - a literal representation of the equation in a little crossword box.

@Michael Borelli - The markings on playing cards (the 1 - 10 hearts, diamonds, etc) are called PIPs.

ArtO

Got the rebus at COMCAST but too many clues out of my ken so DNF.

Kudos to Mr. Woolf for an exceptionally well constructed and entertaining puzzle.

Z

@Michael Borelli - Cards - in a card deck, the spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs that appear on the ace through tens are called PIPs. One would be called a PIP.

Pete

@Z - Sure, when you rewrite something to make it sound innocent, it sounds innocent. To paraphrase Will's comments - "Liz's fill was atrocious in parts. It was so bad I couldn't publish it as it was, so I had to do extensive rewrites." See, when you paraphrase something to fit your point, you can't use the altered version to prove your point.

David Woolf

Hello everyone!

Thanks everyone for the feedback. And thanks for those who are able to overlook the lack of exactitude in the equation. As a physicist (my day job), this bothered me a little as I was constructing, but as a puzzler, I appreciated the elasticity of our language that would allow the puzzle as is to be read as "e equals m c squared." To be honest, in my head it read as [e] equals "[mc] squared" though, I now think "e equals [mc]" squared is a more appropriate way to interpret the puzzle. Will did a nice job re-cluing the them answers to imply this interpretation, and sorry to those who were still unsatisfied. Frankly, its much more interesting to hide 'mc' in a square than it is to hide 'mcc.' Also, no one ever writes the equation with an 'mcc', so from that perspective it would have been very awkward.

Also I would like to note that I did not go for the panagram. Will adjusted the bottom section to add the 'J', though his version of this part of the puzzle is much better than the one I submitted. The fact that it completed the panagram was just coincidence.

Michael Borelli

Thank you.

LHS 888

Forgot to mention... Liked the clues for STYX and SCHULZ.

And, other writeovers: aleuT > INUIT, Argo > AGAR (thinking of cornstarch - hi @jberg!)

Leapfinger

Hey @Gilly, whenever possible, I still hang the laundry out to SUNDRY.

Have to check with PLUTARCH regarding that MINIMi/A thingy; I was thinking of, like, Circus Maximus/MINIMus... and of MINIMus, longtime partner of Mickimus. Would have stuck to that gun, but for the absence of cITRON and the inability to justify PiTRON, you know?

Had another of those flashbacks, after wondering whether MR. SUN begat Little Mary SUNshine. That was once my nickname, courtesy of one of our grad students, except for the time I had a coughing fit, when he came up with 'Cornfed Camille'.

Liked the nod to @Moly SHU, rejected NARC"O" out of hand, and was surprised by FIST, one way some get the ROXY off. [Insert blather here, for camouflage.]

Thought the theme a delight, and anyone carping about the appropriateness of the C-squared is being a HARD ABBAS ABAT it, and a BAD SPORT.

Now shall have to re-check with PLUTARCH on Abo, ABBAS, ABAT, Abamus, Abatis, Abant.

Have a lovely Thrsday, all y'all, and thanks for adding to it, David Lupus.

I keep forgetting, Congrats to @Whirred Whacks for the incipient grandparentalism!

retired_chemist

Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Woolf. I enjoyed your puzzle a lot. Totally with you on the theme - E = MC in a square is just fine. It's a crossword puzzle, not a physics test.

It was easier to see the MC rebus thantehwhole theme, leading me to (MC)INST(MC)IN (WTF?) for 19A for a while. The epiphany was of course highly satisfying.

No criticisms here. Just thanks.

Z

@Pete - interpreting, "original grid had a number of unappealing entries" as "atrocious" is certainly possible. Or, one might interpret that as "some of the initial fill needed to be improved." Hence, my closing statement - "It could be read that way, but I find it far more innocent." If one insists on feeling insulted our fellow humans will provide ample opportunity. Personally, I choose to assume the best about people's intent until they prove otherwise. And, really, the only person Shortz has to worry about possibly having insulted is Ms. Gorski. Not you, not me, not Rex.

Carola

i didn't need this puzzle to tell me that I'm no EINSTEIN, but it definitely reinforced the idea. I was v-e-r-r-r-y slow on the uptake with this one.

Finding the top crust impenetrable, I drifted to the SE, ending up in the AQABA area, where MCJOB led me to believe that the rebus would involve McDonalds. Not sure if you can get farther than that from the theory of RELATIVITY. Anyway, my squares read MCE (= wha?). So my eventual moment of enlightenment was more d'oh! than aha. My one small moment of triumph was knowing instantly that Woodstock referred to Snoopy's pal.

Molto bene, David Woolf! Thank you for the brain-racking fun.

Sir Hillary

@Casco Kid - Not sure how many will understand your Napoleon McCallum clue, but I sure do. If ever a clue elicited a visceral reaction in me, this is it. I am nauseous just thinking about that play -- worse than Theismann in my opinion. Great job, seriously.

Craig

In the equation, E=MCC, the “E” stands for “energy”, and the “M” stands for “Mass”. (Not “momentum” @ Casco Kid at 1:23 am) and the “C” is the speed of light. (“C squared” would be about 125 trillion miles per hour.)

Anonymous

@Casco Kid--yours is the most embarrassing comment I've ever seen on this blog. Pretty much every aspect of it reveals you to be bitter and not that bright.
Great, fun Thursday. The smug assholes who comment about how the rebus doesn't fit the equation don't seem to understand the playfulness of language or puzzle constructors.
Rex's little slap fight with Will is entertaining. Either Will slept with Rex's wife or Rex slept with Liz. Either way, gross.

Nancy

Went immediately to the clues surrounding and crossing 36A to get EQUATION. Looked for EINSTEIN at 19A and there he was. Knew what to look for in this clever, clever trick puzzle. Solved, even though I've never heard of MCLOVIN. A real treat. Loved it!

Arlene

This was too brilliant for me - and my patience ran out before I could figure out the magic. I knew we were into some sort of rebus, and I had most of the grid filled in. Sigh - haven't come up this short in a very long time.

Fred Smith

JBerg --

Hey, your wish (stop raining) has been granted. I thought my 11:00 tee time was going to be a washout, but now it's OK. Thanks much!

Leapfinger

@AdamC, lol! I also have a humongous stack of FILEANON to work on.

@r.alphbungle, lol #2. I may have dropped ABAT on my OTOE today.

@Alias, it surely sounded ASIF you were headed for "The [Big] Guns of Navaronne".

@CascoK, you are 100% Entitled, and don't need me to tell you so.

Today was the first time I deconstructed EINSTEIN into "One Saint One", and that was before the Pearly Gates story. There's always a little more take-away than anticipated.

SenorLynn

Leas than 30 min, & I didn't get the theme until very late. I knew there was a rebus, but tried to put it in MINIMA, to get MIN(imu)Ms, & something to go with SWIM at 1D. Didn't see that "E" was exclusively in the rebi--a very nice touch!
Anybody else think our 26 letters are 2-3 too many? The Greeks got by with 24 (8D).

quilter1

DNF as I never got the trick, but I got a lot of it. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

wordie

Loved it! Thanks, David Woolf!

davis

Loved this. It created the perfect "AHA!" moment. I'm scratching my head over all the seemingly wrong letter strings. I had "McLovin" and "NobelPrize". Then I thought out loud, "what the hell is a 'toecat'?" AHA! Thank you.

r.alphbunker

@Generic solver
Good point:

You could also call yourself Generics solver. :-)

@Whirred
Maybe you could add a troll to the end of your joke.

Elephant's Child

re the Pachelbel FILMCANON: There's something in the sound of the organ meets a deep-rooted need in the human soul; I can't really 'spleen it.

In related news, St Pancreas was beheaded at age 14 during the Diocletian persecution of Christians. As I liver breathe, that had nothing to do with the 'topless towers of Ileum',

Mohair Sam

@David Woolf. - Enjoyed your puzzle as I said earlier. Discovering that the constructor of the Einstein puzzle is a physicist was a bit of an aha moment. Of course.

@Z - Agree 100% with your take on Shortz's comments on Gorski's puzzle. Well said.

Pete

@Z - You missed the point, rather the exact statement, that I made. Taking a deliberately biased view as you did ("I choose to assume the best about people's intent") whether for good or ill, makes that interpretation invalid for challenging another's view. Once you say you choose to assume the best you've given up objectivity.

I doubt Will changed any more or less in Liz's puzzle than he did today's. The editing process in today's puzzle is as it should be: the editor is invisible until the author credits his input.

mac

I loved this puzzle! Figured it out at "tom cat" which was a write-over for cheats. Since I started mostly at the bottom, E-job and equation were already filled in. Of course McJob made more sense.

Never noticed it was a pangram, but congratulations for that as well!

It's too bad @Bob Kerfuffle is not here for the rebus, he loves them so much.

Horace S. Patoot

@Casco, I agree with you completely. I think it has to do with having a technical background. After deriving and memorizing a few hundred equations, substituting (mc)^2 for mc^2 sets off loud mental alarms. It's like an egregious misspelling. Also, mc does in fact have units of momentum, a trivial piece of physics.

I didn't see anyone complain about poring over cluing SCAN. Aren't they more like opposites?

Andrew Morrison

I was going to call RP to task for not blasting the inconsistent theme. I thought, 'yeah, great, but the equation is mc^2, and the answer only has one c.' Read these comments and then it hit me 'Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh MC in a Square. I get It!!!"

As David St. Hubbins said, "There is such a fine line between clever and stupid. ". Turns out I was the one who crossed that line, not the constructor. Glad I didn't go shooting my mouth off about it.

As it turns out, I found the puzzle played easy for a Thursday. I was surprised by how fast I solved it. Must have been on the right wavelength.

Larry

I cannot believe I'm saying this, but thank you NSA. Best laugh of the day.

Andrew Morrison

Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to slam CascoKid with my comment. I meant that I'm glad I figured things out in time so as to avoid the anonymous slagging that CK received for his comment. If you're going to slam someone, going anonymous is, well.....

RooMonster

Hey All!
Well, like a few others, stumped at first, but said to myself, "Hmm, it IS a Thursday, so might be a rebus", and turned out it was! Here's something funny... Had beNSTEIN in 19A! Was thinking, "Sure, he's smart enough to recieve the NOBELpeIce (Which I had in at first :-P), but what was it he did?" Had the NE in quickly, which led me to NOBEL, then when I went to the S center, knew it had to be MCJOB (I'm surprised a bunch of people never heard of that...), but the MC across made no sense. Went back to NWish, where I knew MCLOVIN had to be (another thing that I thought everyone would know, as that was a major promo spot for the movie {never saw it myself}), and finally got whacked in the side of the head by the Aha moment! I also like the fact of not having any E's anywhere else in the grid (which is hard to do!)

Had jeSUs for MRSUN at first, thought, "Hmm, NYT getting risky", but soon dismissed as the j didn't work, and figured out the TNT answer.maC for ABC(??), fiRm for HARD, UNKink for UNKNOT, MOLTa till got HOST, lager early for BIRCH.

Overall, liked this puz. It basically lent itself to a pangram, had a bunch of unusual letters with the themers, so why not? Interseting that Will added the J to pangramitize it! Wonder what the S central was before...?

BURSTing OUT,
RooMonster
DarrinV

Dictionaries

@Horace - Like too much of English, it means both:

Full Definition of SCAN

transitive verb

1

: to read or mark so as to show metrical structure [scan poetry]

2

: to examine by point-by-point observation or checking:

a: to investigate thoroughly by checking point by point and often repeatedly [a fire lookout scanning the hills with binoculars]

b: to glance from point to point of often hastily, casually, or in search of a particular item
3

a: to examine systematically (as by passing a beam of radiation over or through) in order to obtain data especially for display or storage
b: to pass over in the formation of an image

Karl

I never figured out the E=MC. The term MCJOB came to mind, but I never put it all together. Tough one for me but a well crafted puzzle.

old timer

Mr.Woolf done good. And said some very nice things about Will's editing skills.

It's hard to understand complaints about a rebus. Thursday is a traditional rebus day (and the plural definitely is rebuses, because "rebus" is not a Latin noun, but an ablative plural, similar to omnibus).

That said,I was stuck with "co east" for a while, and to eats" for the randy young men. Then it all became clear, and my last task was to find all six rebus squares. Nobel Prize came early, and I wanted Einstein early.

Ludyjynn

Dear David Woolf, You rock! I loved this puzzle, from the easy fill-in-the-blanks gimmes to the aha moment at 56D where I got the rebus theme to finding all 6 "squares". RELATIVely, speaking, this is my favorite Thursday in recent memory. Thanks!

May I have some more, sir?

AZPETE

Anal is short for analytical!

Andrew Heinegg

A shout out to all bloggers; I don't expect you all to follow this suggestions

but, I feel the need to try. Crosswords are mental exercises that will hopefully entertain/amuse/inform you. Rex's and bloggers opinions about the crosswords are not indices of their morality
or a basis for vicious and clearly unfounded character attacks. How about just commenting in an intelligent and hopefully humorous fashion, if you can. Thank you and I will try to avoid injury as I step off my soapbox.

I enjoyed this puzzle. The comment that pore over is a poor clue for scan seems well taken to me. They are opposites. I think that 9d is fair because it only references Einstein winning the prize not what he won it for.

Kim

I liked the puzzle and thought is was a nice coincidence that Schulz was in the puzzle on the anniversary of Peanuts appearing in newspapers

E Equals M and A Squared Anonymo8Us

Have reached a comfy waystation in our travels, so had to comment on this excellent example of puzmanship...

Flexi-Rebus (tm). A snowman's worth of U's. Relativity theory. McLovin. SHU...Man, this is the cream.
mcthUmbsUp.

Einstein postulated that the speed of light is a constant (c). I think he also favored nothing goin faster than c. He perhaps was unfamiliar with Dan F. workin on a runtpuz.

I think it was the COMCAST entry, that cued me in to some sort of rebus action. My north Italian accent wanted MuLTO, which yielded a not so tasty NUBMC goin down, so got really confused on where to park the rebus bus, at first. But thoroughly enjoyed playin whack-e-mcmole, until things got UNKNOTted out. Helped, that I had the relativity physics class, back in my innocent collegiate days of yore.

Really really clever theme idea. Made for one of the very best ThursPuzs in recent memory. Theme ain't everything, but it's way ahead of whatever's in second place. Congrats to The Woolf of Wall Shortz.

M&A

JenCT

@Arlene 9:56 - me too, DNF & gave up too soon on what looks to be an excellent rebus.

@evil 8:41 - I knew you'd show up to point those out...

@Andrew Heinegg 12:16 - well-said.

Zeke

@Andres Heinegg - First, as a matter of reference, we are commenters here, not bloggers. Blogging is what Rex does, sit down, work at a thoughtful post. We just call each other names and make anus jokes.

Speaking of calling each other names, who did that today? Well, maybe Evil Doug, but I'm pretty sure his assertion that David Woolf was a pervert was playful, wishful thinking rather than an insult.

Finally, @AXPETE, ANAL comes from anal retentive, that long discredited thought process of Freud's, who thought all of human development revolved around penises and pooping. However, I do believe that Freud's pooping and penis thought process merits reevaluation now, based solely on the TV commercials I see, fully half of which involve ED medicines or various medicines, suppliments or food stuff guaranteeing pleasureable, frequent and satisfying pooping.

Anonymous

Anonymous @ 1:09- I agree wholeheartedly! I don't even read Rex's blog anymore- I wearied of his boorish comments some time ago, and come here for the (mostly) delightful comments of readers.

I LOVED this puzzle- solving it was an extremely enjoyable experience. Greatly appreciated that each "E" box carried the marvelous theme -and that the placement of the EMC wasn't immediately obvious until the very end of the solve.

Looking forward to seeing David Woolf's name again soon.
THANK YOU DAVID AND WILL!

Mohair Sam

@Roo Monster: Loved your beNSTEIN mistake. If they had a Nobel for best TV show ever he'd have one. I'd award him a second Nobel for his de facto birthing of Jimmy Kimmel.

LeaPfinger

@r.alph, sorry, 'bungler' was a typo. You do come up with the most inventive stuff! I'm still entertaining myself with those animated solves; how do you do the eye- tracking Dooley?

SCAN is one of those interesting words with opposite meanings. It can indicate a cursory look-over, or in-depth analysis. Pore thing, the Queen of Hearts would cotton to that.

@jberg, 'do people really put AGAR in soups?'
I suppose that depends on whether you think corporations are people... Myself, I'm likely to go with cornstarch, a beaten egg or a little rue.

Zeke

@Leapfinger - You add rue* to soup? And people thought I was nasty by adding bile to most of my comments.

*roux

Whirred Whacks

I like @R.alphBunker's suggestion made at 10:51am:
<>

So here goes. I'm modifying the punch line of my Einstein joke made at 8:59am to the following:

-------

Just then another man moves out to capture Albert’s hand and shake it. “I’m your last room mate and I’m sorry, but my IQ is only 80.”

Einstein smiles back at him and says, “So, you're that troll I've been hearing about. What crossword blogs have you been visiting lately?

Casco Kid

Sir Hilary,
I had a new girlfriend at the time who wanted to be interested in football, so I decided to take her to my favorite sports bar (for atmosphere) for some MNF. "We were ready for some football!") Well, as you can imagine, that was the first and last game for her.

Every so often I check to see how Napoleon is doing. He made a full recovery, but what a horrendous, unforgettable experience for everyone involved, even the MNF crowd.

Curious that "MCC" tracked first to Napoleon McCallum in my mind, after all these years . . .

OK, guys, the next time Shakespeare is clued as an Italian playwright, I'm expecting everyone to sit up and say "Yup! He wrote plays that took place in Verona and Rome and Venice and off the coast of Milan, so he must be Italian." No whining from Modern Languages or English or History, or @Anonymous , when that sorry day comes.

dk

OOOO (4 mOOOOns)

5d should be shot with a canon along with UNKNOT. But the rest of the puzzle: Mama Mia.

As an avowed unliker of rebus puzzles this one was great fun. Figured out every part as it all hung together. Struggled with PIP and 44a.

As a diehard ROXY Music fan 66a mad my day: Love is the Drug.

Z

@Zeke - I think the general (but not universal) consensus is to assume all misspellings by the commentariat are to be ascribed to auto-correct. Nevertheless, I laughed.

@Pete - Do you know why, "Taking a deliberately biased view as you did whether for good or ill, makes that interpretation invalid for challenging another's view," is an untenable position? Until you do you might want to refrain. Here's a hint - the question is never whether, but only how.

DigitalDan

@littleElephant: surely that's St. Pancras? St. Pancreas was long ago exiled to the islands of Langerhans.

Hands up for the total science/mathematics Fail in an otherwise clever rebus. As someone recently stated, fiction plays better than education.

The only Mr. that I know to shine down on me is Mr. Moon:

Oh Mr.Moon, moon
Bright & silvery moon
Won't you please shine down on me
oh Mr. moon moon bright & silvery moon, hidin' behind that tree.

Etc. Etc. The Mr. Sun thing is almost certainly a more recent rip-off. Personally, I consider old Sol to be well beyond a Mr.

Pete

Lewis

Very late into the game. The puzzle was a blast. On "word after back or break", I wanted "wind". I've heard of a narc but not a narco. I like AGAR near AJAR.

@WW -- I liked the original joke better, and it made me smile.

Factoid: AGAR is derived from algae, and not only is it used as a soup thickener, it is also what is in a petri dish, and it can make modeling clay for children.

Quotoid: "I would have to commit a crime and have COPS chase me. That would be the only way to get me to jog five miles." -- Denis Leary

Gill I. P.

@Cornfed Camille...@Zeke beet me to it. I'm still having a good laugh at both of you!
@Pete: You totally lost me at deliberately....?

Zeke

@Z - No, the rule is you never correct anyone's spelling, grammar, punctuation or typos unless you can make a joke out of it, in which case it's mandatory.

sanfranman59

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 18:33, 17:32, 1.06, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 14:14, 11:06, 1.28, 83%, Challenging

mathguy

@Whirred Whacks: The famous mathematician Georg Polya once spoke about how he chose mathematics as a career. "I was too smart to be a philosopher and not smart enough to be a physicist."

@retired_chemist: Right on!

@David Woolf: Loved the puzzle. Thanks for joining in.

Moly Shu

Liked the puzzle tons, got the rebus at MCLOVIN and flew. Having said that, still am in the @CascoKid camp, that the rebus is...... Off. I get the E=MC in a square, it just doesn't sit right with me.

@Leapy, thanks for noticing my step sister Mai. My little sister Mu is a little jealous.

@DK, I too am a big Roxy Music fan, thought it would have been cool to somehow incorporate a Brian Eno clue, as he was a founding member. You know, the guy who's name appears as often as eel does.

Anonymous

Once I figured out the theme, a breeze except for SW corner; got thrown by 41D; had "CANTOR" before I figured out it was "CANARY" and finished the puzzle- and it was the corner with no "e's" and no relationship to the theme!

The NSA Is your friend (Yeah, right)

To: The hundred or so of you who clicked in my link & didn't immediately return here to laud our efforts on your behalf. You know that we know who you are, right? Who you are, who your friends are, what you do, where you work. You know this, right? And you thought it wise to piss us off?

Martin

@Anoa Bob, 2:15 AM

"Anal" lives on as an idiom, even though its foundation in psychology does not. People who say it say it because it conveys a lot of information in a short word. Most of us who use it do not believe in pop psychology, much less astrology or alchemy. Sometimes an adjective is just an adjective.

@Glimmerglass, 8:01

The whole point of the reveal is to expose the wordplay, that the rebus is "E=MC, squared." Being in a square is pretty literally squared as I see it. I hate when people say, "My head literally exploded" too, but this is not that.

Mette

Loved it. SCHULZ gave me NOBELPRIZE and finally saw the rebus at MC-UATION, but never noticed that every letter E was an MC. What a treat. Thank you.

wreck

@ Martin

Yes, we all get that the you can stretch "E=MC,squared" to get the rebus. But when the main theme is Einstein's EQUATION - it falls short. -- IMO
I don't think either side of this opinion needs to denigrate the other.
Bring on Friday!

Martin

No denigration intended. And I respect the opinion that the mathematical inaccuracy could make the theme a miss for some solvers. It bugged me at first too.

I was only responding to the characterization that "literally" was misused in the clue. It was a very specific comment.

wreck

@ Martin

I'm sorry, I should have been a little more clear, I wasn't calling your comment out,I was referring to the general tone from both "sides" today

Jules

As someone with only seven published puzzles, I always take it upon myself to mention if my initial submission was rejected based on fill and or theme issues. Not a big deal, one can only spend so much time on a puzzle if one can not be assured of the theme being of interest to the editor. So with the editor's green light on the theme and the offending entries singled out, a more intensive revision can be mounted. I'm sure this was the case with Ms. Gorski as well. I found it refreshing that Will pointed this out, and perhaps someone with 214 published NY Times crossword puzzles might agree.

sanfranman59

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 7:15, 6:03, 1.20, 96%, Challenging (12th highest ratio of 247 Mondays)
Tue 8:11, 7:50, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:39, 9:30, 1.02, 59%, Medium
Thu 18:39, 17:32, 1.06, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:55, 3:57, 1.24, 98%, Challenging (6th highest ratio of 247 Mondays)
Tue 5:22, 5:21, 1.00, 50%, Medium
Wed 6:37, 6:12, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 13:37, 11:06, 1.23, 80%, Challenging

Fred Romagnolo

DNF, barely got started; it was the COEMCAST impossibility which did me in. TOEATS didn't help. Of course I should have worked it out, but I was anesthesized over a large part of my face this morning; fwiw, the last of my skin cancers have been removed! I hope to respond better tomorrow.

Fred Romagnolo

P.S. Go Giants!

Anonymous

Really appreciated that no Googling was required, and "McLovit" just filled itself in as proper nouns ought to in a crossword. 100% finish, with the theme coming in awfully late -- probably because I did it as I was falling asleep. Upon awakening the theme became obvious. And awful lot of gimmees for a Thursday, maybe should have been a Wednesday instead, had I been awake I'd probably have blown through it. Still, nice them and no objectionable clues or answers.

Jon

Plutarch was almost the first thing I got. Aqaba then pretty much gave the rest away. Giving us the number of rebi solved the stickers.
BTW Loved the 'NSA is your friend' prank in the comment thread. Will, David deserves that Mercedes.

Jeffrey Dowling

I am here to give testimony on how i got my wife back

Jeffrey Dowling

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james mack

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Anonymous

By jove, isn't there some way to delete the above bullsh? I'm pretty sure anyone who does crosswords wouldn't pay any attention to any of their hogwash.

That said, the puzzle was hard until finding the rebus but I still had a DNF because I couldn't fins the sixth mc. So I finished with elovin for 31A. Duh!

Can't wait to see what the other Syndies have to say.

Ron Diego La Mesa, CA 217=1 Aww

spacecraft

I thought this puzzle was marvelously clever already, with E going one way and MC the other; then OFL tells me that these are the ONLY E's in the entire grid! I am bowled over.

I knew there was a rebus going on with MCJOB--what else could it be--but couldn't make much sense out of the across (was thinking the Jordanian city was AkABA, forgetting the more Arabic spelling).

The center gave me more fits; neither Lang, Roberts or Kornfeld is six letters long. For a while I wrestled with a second rebus combo, but came up with zilch. Then the gigantic AHA!!! moment: not THAT Woodstock--the bird! It's Charles SCHULZ!! That cracked this baby open like a fresh egg; 9d now had to be NOBELPRIZE, and since TOEATS made more sense for a foot fetishist than for promiscuous guys, the MC had to go the other way. I now had the EQUATION.

Despite one of the most restrictive themes I've seen lately, I didn't meet that much junk fill. This puppy, which I agree is M (edium)-C (hallenging) deserves a rare A+. Eminently well done, Mr. Woolf!

Wish my 114 were as good.

rondo

Liked this one alot though it took forever to get the E/MC thing - even with all of the theme answqers filled. Got NOBELPRIZE from just the N and EINSTEIN from just the S so the other two were pretty much gimmees. But an EJOB isn' necessarily unfulfilling - then the light bulb went onFairly smooth sailing after that except "ace" for PIP which put the west in limbo for a while. Jessica Biel recently and now ALBA - keep up with the "yeah babies"!

515 - throw a PALL on it.

rondo

Almost forgot Lucy LIU - also yeah baby IMHO.
Please forgive some of my sloppy keyboarding; since I had my left arm re-built the fingers don't always go where planned.

149 ISNT good

Anonymous

From Syndication Land

I don't think Rex is right about putting EMC in the squares. You just have to put in the MC, because the equation is E=MC squared. So everywhere you have MC it is also equal to E.

rondo

@Anon 2:09 Maybe Rex is explaining that the EMC go into one square when solving on a device. We in syndi-land are obviously on paper.

12029 - third time not a charm

Dirigonzo

I had passed by most of the theme-related clues and was rooting around in the bottom of the grid when the EQUATION/MCJOB cross came along and gave away the whole shebang. I went back up and filled in EINSTEIN and the associated MC crosswords, and RELATIVITY and NOBELPRIZE soon followed and provided the missing 3 rebus boxes. I like that Mr. Woolf didn't use TNT to blow anything up today.

205 - I'm no mathematician, but 7 looks to be the high score so far.

DMG

THe rebus got me. Got the scientist, his field, and his prize. But calling dull work a maCJOB left me vainly looking for a bunch of mac's. No NOBEL for that! See you tomorrow.

5623 = 7 A tie with @Diri.

rain forest

Fun, clever, tricky, great! I had most of the North done except for square 19, when simultaneously I figured SWI(MC)AP for 1d and saw EINSTEIN. Brilliant! E=MC squared, so as @Rondo says, you don't even have to enter the E because it is equal to MC in the square. I wasn't home yet, and had to suss out several devious clues, but it sent relatively smoothly from there.

I have to say that, because this is Thursday, my antennae were up for a rebus, which maybe helped me with that initial troublesome square. If I wasn't suspecting a rebus, I might have been forever lost.

Anyway, I join those who expressed great admiration for this construction. Excellent.

3309 Take it away, @Diri

leftcoastTAM

@Anonymous 2:09--I had exactly the same reaction to RP's take on how to interpret the theme. (Just apply Occam's razor and you don't need the elaborations.)

Teedmn

I agree the spam is annoying but I got a good laugh at the at 9:02 and his/her lack of a "fruit of the worm".

Great puzzle, got the rebus at TOMCATS. Didn't like NARCO but only a nit.

Thanks, Mr. Woolf!

Anonymous

Shortz is a sadist jerk. MC squared! Give me a break.

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