Tabasco turnover / THU 10-23-14 / Michael of Weekend Update / Brewster arsenic old lace role / cousin of exampli gratia / Tolkien's Gorbag Bolg / 2006 million-selling Andrea Bocelli album / Designer who wrote things I remember

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: [Times Square]— there are four "squares" made out of the word TIME—actually, each "square" is made out of two TIMEs running clockwise. These "squares" are arranged symmetrically in the grid.

Word of the Day: Michael CHE (40A: Michael of "Weekend Update" on "S.N.L.") —
Michael Che (born May 19, 1983) is an American stand-up comedianwriter, and actor. He was briefly a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and has previously worked as a writer for Saturday Night Live. Starting at the end of September 2014, he will serve as a Weekend Update co-anchor for the 40th season of Saturday Night Live, alongside Colin Jost[2] Che will be replacing Cecily Strong in Weekend Update. Che is the first African-American co-anchor in the history of Weekend Update and the first former Daily Show correspondent to leave for Saturday Night Live (although a former SNL cast member has later joined The Daily Show.) (wikipedia)
• • •

Smoother and cleaner today, though the theme is so slight that I nearly missed it entirely. I was actually concerned at the end when I had TIM for the answer to the revealer, and couldn't figure out why I hadn't encountered any other weird, partial, potentially rebus-y answers anywhere in the grid. I figured there'd be a TIMES square. An ambitious rebus, that. But I believed! Sadly, or happily, we got the TIMEs square we got. Four of them, actually. And so another puzzle about "time" goes into the meta mix. Only one "X" today, so the weird "X"-ification that seemed so promising as a meta element in puzzles from earlier this week appears less important now. Nothing about this grid stands out as particularly odd, except perhaps a general dullness. There are no marquee answers, and not much in the way of fresh, colloquial, modern fill. HATE MAIL has some bite. I called that new clue on CHE, by the way. Earlier this month. Here it is. Proof.

No real trouble with today's grid. Wanted HUNK before HULK, though both seem weirdly (if differently) judgmental. Wanted AVALON for [Camry competitor], but Toyota makes both, so probably not a great guess. MORTIMER Brewster was a big "?" but MORITMER's a name I've seen, so getting it from crosses = cake. Probably the hardest answer for me to get today was DAYSAIL, as I don't DAYSAIL or NIGHTSAIL or SAIL and have (thus?) never heard the term. The grid offered up so little resistance that I cut right across (and down) and ended up connecting the NW with the SE before I'd filled much of anything in. AMA MERV VANISH HIE IDOS OPIATE LIED. Boom. Then I went back and filled in the stuff I'd blown by. SW corner was the easiest, SASHIMIS was the iffiest (plural???? that answer is … damn it! I genuinely want to say 'fishy' but I hate puns! I guess it's just 'suspicious' then.).

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Whirred Whacks 12:04 AM  

    I really liked this puzzle just on its own merits. (At this point, I don't have any clue how it fits into the bigger META scheme of things.) Anyway, It's a fun buildup -- wouldn't you agree?

    Maybe because this is the fourth Blindauer puzzle I've done in as many days, but I feel like I'm getting on his wave-length -- at least for some of the clues.

    GAMETE popped right in for "Life Starter."
    As did OVEN MITTS for "Range wear"
    And CITADELS for "Holds"

    It's been an enjoyable week so far. I really liked @Z's "Something completely different" from yesterday (and happily shared it on Twitter).

    If you liked that then
    Perhaps you'll like this secret message!

    wreck 12:09 AM  

    Like Rex, I knew 56A had to be Times Square, so I first looked for a rebus. Seeing how Mon-Wed each had "TIME" as an answer, I started scouring for other examples and soon found the theme "time squares." I also thought SASHIMI was already the plural, so I paused for a long time there before finally going with it. Other than that, it was pretty dry.

    Carola 12:13 AM  

    Here I was going to say it was an unusually easy Thursday for me, and then I SEE I DNF - never questioned HUnK, although AnTIMA did seem a little strange. XKE gave me COAX, CHARGE, and OUTEAT, and the rest flowed from there.

    Like @Rex, I didn'l see how the TIMEs squares worked until I was finished. I kept trying to incorporate one of the black squares somehow. Once I saw the pattern, I was surprised I hadn't noticed all of the TIMs and MITs while solving.

    I enjoyed the international buffet of SASHIMIS, EMPANADA, ESPRESSO and how French and Italian time (TEMPS, TEMPO) were incorporated into the TIME answers. Marginally time related: TENSE (as in grammar). Favorite word: CITADELS. Also liked the casual feel of MOSEYS x DAYSAIL (Hmm, the TIME of DAY across the center....)

    Z 12:16 AM  

    CHE, DMITRI, or MORTIMER. Take your Natick pick of the day. Mine was CHE, joining HUARTE, ERICH, CLU, REHM, ELISA, TIMON, and LEON to layout the Natick meta-theme. I believe the Natick Mall food court has specials this week on SASHIMIS EMPANADA, fresh DOE, EEL, and ESPRESSO to wash it all down. Yum yum.

    jae 12:53 AM  

    Medium for me leaning a little towards tough in the NE.  EMPANADA, MORTIMER, MAMET...seem like Sat. stuff. 

    Me too for HUnK before HULK. 

    Clever graphic.  Perhaps the best puzzle so far.  Liked it.

    Anoa Bob 1:11 AM  

    As I recall, dimly through the mists of time, there are no plurals in Japanese. Whether singular or plural is at play is indicated by context, not by suffix.

    On the other hand, one could argue that SASHIMI, along with SUSHI, occurs often enough in English text to allow for them to be pluralized with the added "S".

    However you look at it, it's still a POC, a seven-letter entry that needed some help to occupy an eight-letter slot.

    DAY SAIL conjures up many pleasant memories. There's a saying among sailors to the effect that if you're on a power boat, you have somewhere to go, but if you're on a sailboat, you're already there.

    RnRGhost57 1:54 AM  

    Cool and easy. Betting the next two a lot tougher.

    Moly Shu 2:03 AM  

    Liked this one much better, but too easy again. I must just be on PB2's wavelength cuz this offered little resistance. Didn't know MORTIMER, DMITRI or SARA, but had no problem with them via crosses. Saw the TIME SQUARE clue, looked at the upper left square, saw that it was encircled by TIME's and just filled the same thing in around the other 3. Really aided the solve methinks. CITADELS, cool. Didn't know they played sports at MIT, thought it was so hellbent on higher education that intercollegiate sports competitions somehow got in the way. From now on they're my fav college team. Go you fighting ???? !!!!!! Not sure what the mascot is, gotta be engineers, right?

    Look @NCAPrez, I got through a whole post without saying it.

    Steve J 2:55 AM  

    Definitely the most enjoyable puzzle of the sequence thus far. Not that that's a high hurdle to clear, given how dull the last couple have been. I know there's a buildup going on, but the puzzles still need to work on their own. This one finally did.

    Like many others, I wondered at first why the ball dropped on poor Tim on New Year's Eve (and, yes, I thought of John Cleese's wizard; great photo choice, Rex). It's a good Thursday theme, even if it was a little tough to spot.

    It was good to see answers and clues get a little more lively. HATE MAIL (both answer and clue) was very nice, and I really liked the clues for EMPENADA and OVEN MITTS. Hopefully the inclusion of a little more spark continues tomorrow.

    chefwen 3:02 AM  

    My first fill was EMPANADA and then SASHIMIS, go figure. Food on the mind always.

    Got the gimmick with the reveal, had a great time highlighting my TIMES SQUARE in pink, it's the little things in life.

    Hand up for HUnK which I think is a lot better than HULK, I always think of the Incredible .... when I see HULK.

    Another enjoyable PAUER puzzle.

    @Numinous - Hope you are better after your last bout of fever. Getting a little concerned that you haven't commented lately. Laiki AKA Rice has a new playmate, we have purchased a Goldendoodle puppy that we picked up today at the airport. First intro was a little iffy on the kitties side, but I think it will all work out. Keeping the Wisconsin heritage in mind, we have named him Bucky.

    68GTCS 3:39 AM  

    No morpheme - s for plurals in Japanese is right @Anoa. Made wasabis even worse than sashimis. Yuck. Otherwise a fun one, easier than yesterday for me. Looking forward to the meta!

    mac 4:40 AM  

    Fun puzzle! Could start in the NW, so went down the East side first. At 56A I noticed the Tims, Mits and figured it out. The last two were filled in from that/

    I think wasabis bothered me a little more than sashimis. Normally you put a little wasabi in the soy sauce for a dip. Now I'm hungry.

    Day sail is my kind of sailing. I need to get off that boat at the end of the day.

    Looking over the grid after finishing I think there are many good words and clues. Hatemail is my favorite.

    mac 4:41 AM  

    Could NOT start in the NW, my usual starting point.

    PJ 6:46 AM  

    Tim the Enchanter and Green Acres. It's going to be a good day!

    dk 7:12 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

    Once had a patient who was beyond psychotic and loved saying the name MERV Griffin. He also felt the dropping of the ball on New Years eve was a secret message….. hmmmm I wonder who P, Blindauer might be. Patient never revealed the secret message and may have enjoyed this puzzle.

    Got the rebus but could not find the TIME squares. Only other challenges were spelling related and pie eyed for DOE.

    Rex love the guess work for the meta puz. Off to Austin tomorrow where it seems it is 82. Cue "Everybody's Talkin"

    LHS 888 7:19 AM  

    I'm with @Mac. I found the NW really tough. 1st entry was REI followed by isbn and maxIMA which killed isbn, and then... nada. In the NE I started with SEM which led to SoybeanS thinking of Kasumigaiseki peas which are often wasabi-coated. MORTIMER & EMPANADAS went right in, and wanting INI or oNI made "oybean" come right out. Hand up for really disliking improper esses on Japanese words. Tried to force SushirollS in before SASHIMIS. Ah, well.

    The rest of the grid was easier, although not the cakewalk @Rex describes. By the time I saw the theme revealer I had enough completed that I could see what was happening. Lightbulb! Back to the NW to apply the theme and straighten out the maxIMA>ALTIMA error.

    Last letter in the grid was the middle E of EEL. I just couldn't believe EEL would be in this puzzle. Exactly why I thought that is a mystery...

    maxIMA > ALTIMA
    isbn > ETAL
    SoybeanS > SASHIMIS
    hEroS > TEMPS
    rpi > MIT

    Liked clues for HIHO, OUTEAT, OVENMITTS, INBED
    Favorite words: MOSEYS, OHPLEASE

    Very pleased that I was finally able to officially finish a puzzle this week. I really enjoyed the mental workout. Thanks PB / WS!

    jberg 7:49 AM  

    No such thing as SASHIMIS, not in English anymore than in Japanese. It's like deers -- just can't be said.

    I thought he had the name of the square wrong, but finally decided since you had TIME twice, you had a square of TIMES.

    I did like speed as a very and hold as a noun in the clues; and if we have to have EEL, it might as well be a river.

    Hardest part for me was MOSEYS-- I tried paSEos first, and just couldn't get that A out of my mind, so just sat there staring at MaSEYS until, very late, I got the theme and that gave me OVEN MITTS.

    Susan McConnell 7:50 AM  

    Liked the 4 TIMEs squares. Reading through the blog, it dawned on me (head slap) that Rex's mysterious X is the multiplication, or TIMEs, symbol. So there's that.

    joho 8:15 AM  

    Way to go, Patrick! Neat trick creating TIMES Square.

    Like others I was puzzled at TIM. Then I saw all the MITs. Finally the aha moment struck and I shaded in all the TIME squares. Fun! @chefwen, my pink highlighter wasn't handy so I used green.

    Only real negative was SASHIMIS which was like fingernails on a blackboard.

    The meta has got to do with TIME, right? But then again, we have the clue "Go poof" with the answer VANISH right down the middle?


    NCA President 8:18 AM  

    This was surprisingly easy for a Thursday. Spent most of the time waiting for a shoe to drop. Rebus? Lots of Xes? Nothing. I filled in the entire grid without knowing the theme until TIM...and then I started re-checking (like Rex) for rebuses missed. Nope.

    Just one nit to pick:

    "Where the ball drops on New Year's depicted literally in four places in this puzzle"

    Well, yes, the words TIME do form a literal square, but the ball doesn't literally drop here...nor does where the ball drop appear to be two words wrapped around a square. The word "literally" is, to me, literally overused. Like that other anagram of meat used here recently.

    I don't know about OUTEAT. I don't think that's a word.

    @Moly Shu: bless you for refraining.

    TokyoRacer 8:41 AM  

    SASHIMIS and WASABIS are not words in either Japanese or English. The plural is the same as the singular.

    Charles Flaster 8:45 AM  

    EZ again and I know PB can come up with more complex puzzles so something is afoot.
    Caught TIMES after MIT answer . Yes MIT does have sports. Played basketball against them a long time ago (1966). Weather outside was zero and probably coldest I ever felt in my life.
    CrosswordEs--- EEL,EVEL,EOE.
    Liked clues for OVEN MITTS, CITADELS,SPRUNG.
    Thanks PB.

    Alfred Butts 8:57 AM  

    SASHIMIS and WASABIS are both good in Scrabble!

    Z 9:13 AM  

    The great Japanese plurals debate impelled me to find this video of Finns eating SASHIMIS on a Fjord DAYSAIL. Don't tell me you're too blind to see.

    @LHS 888 - regarding ISBN, a momentary lapse of memory stopped me from popping that in, and then crosses saved me. I like the way you think.

    @NCAPrez - at least there is a literal TIME square in the puzzle. Descriptive dictionaries now acquiesce to the errors of the masses and indicate that literally is now commonly used to mean figuratively. How vulgar.

    I didn't get the theme until the reveal, and then immediately went back and filled the four TIME squares. This sped things up. I don't know if everyone noticed, but @sanfranman59 is showing both Tuesday and Wednesday as challenging. I suspect it is the naticky squares slowing people down.

    old timer 9:18 AM  

    I certainly did not see the TIMETIME in a square! But I guess I should have.

    As for plural sashimis, it seems to me that all the riceless items that are served to a diner at a sushi bar are sashimi (no s). But, there are sashimis and sashimis, different for each restaurant and perhaps for each diner. Wasabis was the clue here. All the wasabi one person eats is wasabi, no "s", but there are different makers of wasabis, maybe for all I know different styles. Probably more common to be forced to say "kinds of wasabi" or "types of sashimi" but I don't think a plural is absolutely wrong.

    OTOH, I think empanada is clued wrong. I'm sure you can get empanadas in Tabasco, Mexico, but the empanada really is something you find in Argentina, Chile, and I suppose elsewhere in South America.

    "Eel" was no woe for me, since the Eel River is close enough to provide some of our drinking water where I live.

    OISK 9:38 AM  

    Happy to have finished correctly, after going "PFFT" yesterday. Clearly, I am not on Patrick's wave length, finding all of his puzzles more difficult than average for the day, (and yesterday's impossible - perhaps my second DNF on a Wednesday in over a year). I don't like having two foreign food names, one under the other in the NE. Didn't recall that the "ORCS" actually had names, but "ENTS" did not fit. Don't watch SNL any more, so never heard of Mr. Che, but it all worked out eventually. Had a lot of trouble with 49 down and 58 across. Want-ad abbreviation, I had "eve". That gave me "Tavist." Finally changed it, using the "Try every letter" method. Equal opportunity employer. Oh. Good, clever puzzle, IMHO, but more of a slog than a pleasure for me. (and I didn't see the theme until I came here)

    Questinia 9:38 AM  

    @ dk, I know someone who for years routinely sat in the front row of the audience on the MERV Griffin show hoping his mother would notice him. As the camera would pan across he'd look up and say "Hi Ma!". She never noticed.

    Arlene 9:47 AM  

    I DAYSAILed through this one - something I never do on a Thursday - so something's brewing here.
    I got the TIME square theme in the SE reveal - so filled in the NE and SW to help solve those areas. The NW was already done.

    Okay - ready for Friday and Saturday . . .

    Leapfinger 9:51 AM  


    Just try saying 'easy' if you slapped in ACCORD, and had CRUDITES over EMPANADAS! Between those (and several others), the NW and NE CO-AXed me in style. I was PIE-eyed and BUG-eyed long before I SLOEly saw DOE-eyed. Just grateful for @NCAPrez' sake that COVERALLS proved wrong, were cut down to OVENMITTS. Had to move my RUE from 25D to 22A, and don't recall exactly what I had in the centerpiece, but I know I had to rework it all when I finally read the MERV clue and MOSEYed on. ID EST, sequence is all.

    Fortunately, the Southside was kind, allowed me to pull myself up by the bootstraps.

    The theme? When I read the reveal, I looked around for
    Not my day.
    If we square TIME today, maybe we'll cube it tomorrow... or perhaps mince, slice, dice or puree it. Since we had CALC yesterday, I suspect we'll go with the PAUER function, and @mathguy will be in his element.

    hmm... Element. Leads us back to OXYGEN, doesn't it?

    Time to double down for Friday. Do all y'all think the week is getting better and better? SO DO I!

    Ludyjynn 9:53 AM  

    Enjoyed this easy, for me, Th. outing. Very nice grid overall. Even stuff I didn't know at once revealed itself through crosses.

    My favorite so far this week. Keep 'em coming! Thanks, PB and WS.

    chefbea 9:53 AM  

    I so wanted aprons for range wear but it wouldn't fit. Had pie for 57 across which held me up. Favorite clue was odd couple.

    Time is running out for this meta puzzle!!

    Chef Z 10:08 AM  

    @old timer - I think stuff stuffed in a crust can be found in lots of different cuisines. Wikipedia says EMPANADA originates in Spain, and is certainly part of various Latin American cuisines. The difference between the insides of an EMPANADA and the pasty found in Michigan's upper peninsula is mostly the spices. Simple recipe - make a crust. Take some stuff and spice it up. Stuff your stuff in the crust and roll it over. Bake until it is heated through. Add gravy. If you call the gravy "salsa" you are having an EMPANADA, call it "marinara sauce" and your are eating a calzone, call your gravy "gravy" and it just might be a pasty.

    Mohair Sam 10:14 AM  

    A special thanks to the performing arts department kids at DeSales University for their fine performance of "Arsenic and Old Lace" last month. Without which we would have had two DNF's in the past week or so. Elderberry a few days ago and MORTIMER today were gifts. The Japanese and Mexican foods in the NE were Greek to us, but the corner was saved by gimmes MORTIMER and David MAMET.

    Took us a long time to suss the theme. Especially since we insisted on HUnK and GAMEof Life (a beauty of an answer if the damned clue was question marked). Wife finally saw that if it was HULK then ALTIMA worked, I guessed right on MIT, hence GAMETE, rebus solved and quickly confirmed thanks to Arsenic and . . .

    Medium/challenging here and a really nice Thursday workout - some fun misdirection, great clue for HATEMAIL.

    Have a nephew who lives on his sailboat, he has taken us for the occasional DAYSAIL and actually calls it just that - so it was pretty much a gimme.

    Tip of the cap to @Rex for calling the CHE shot. I remembered his comment and chuckled when we saw the clue.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:17 AM  

    Hand up for HUNK before HULK.

    Otherwise, proceeded very cautiously, waiting for that rebus or wordplay that never came, finished the rest of the grid cleanly.

    Still, I managed a mis-step no one else seems to have made.

    When I got to the reveal at 56 A, with no idea at that point as to what was going on, I took my pen and drew a line through the TIM of 56 A, and then proceeded to go UP from the M to an E and an S, giving me a perfect "TIMES" on a "square" (like a carpenter's square.) When I looked for the "four places" mentioned in the clue, I found the TIME in 59 and 67 A, and four more like it, before I noticed that three of those could be made into complete squares. Then I went back and c hanged my original line from up to down, completing the fourth square.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:22 AM  

    Carpenter's square.

    mathguy 10:34 AM  

    @Anoa Bob: Great line comparing power boats to sailboats (after I figured it out). I haven't been sailing very often but the thought brings back the pleasure of sitting in the sun in comfortable clothes having something good to drink among pleasant people.

    Liked the perfectly-symmetric placement of the four identical squares.

    Looking at the paragraph above reminds me that the NYTimes doesn't hyphenate multi-word adjectives anymore. That's a pity because that rule promotes clarity.

    Hartley70 10:44 AM  

    OH PLEASE! We lovers of rebuses, rebusi, or rebus (no s in Japanese plural), have waited long enough for our Thursday fix. Today is close but no cigar. It's made me Grouchy. I haven't found much progression this week and Monday through Thursday have felt about the same difficulty level. I suspect the inclusion of the mysterious meta clues have hampered the constructor's individual puzzles.

    Steve J 10:45 AM  

    @Z and @Whirred Whacks: Yes, it was in the puzzle four days ago. It was kind of funny to do it a couple times. Day after day after day is tedious. Please leave the poor dead horse alone.

    Just @Z: None of those names qualify as Naticks. While perhaps unknown, they're all very fairly crossed.

    @LHS 888: I also dropped in ISBN right away. Fixed it quickly when I read 17A's clue and knew there were no cars ending in B.

    @Many: I join the fingernails-on-chalkboard reaction to SASHIMIS and wasabis. Both are like informations or insurances. Sure, you can do that. But people are going to look at you funny if you do.

    Leapfinger 10:48 AM  

    @Bob Kerfuffle
    No pen, but I did similar, turning a corner to add the E to TIM. Didn't think of the carpenter's square, though, despite having one right on top of my mitre box. I really need to keep black squares from staying invisible.

    @Mohair S, GAMETE should have been a gimmee here, but instead I was chasing some varietal, like ?alpha-SPERM? Whatever that INTIMATES.

    Wasn't crazy about CITADEL, after reading some things about that Chaleston SC institution, but really liked DMITRI, partly because of Maria Schell in Bros Karamazov and partly because it wasn't Smerdyakov.

    Seems to be a consensus for HUNK.

    AliasZ 10:52 AM  

    A crazy thought occurred to me. Maybe the meta has to do with changing back to Eastern Standard Time on Nov. 2, when we will re-gain the hour we lost in the spring. So far every one of this week's puzzles had the word TIME in either the answers or the clues. Something to keep in mind.

    This was so far the best of this week's offerings. I needed no COAX cable to hook into the wavelength of PB II. I liked the 8-stacks in the NE @ SW, and all the other 8's and 9's scattered around the grid. SASHIMIS and WASABIS was a jolt, but I will learn to live with it. Dr. Strangelove or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Clumsy Plurals."

    I have to start LIMITING my intake of EMPANADA, SASHIMIS with wasabis, ESPRESSO, and the DESERTED tray or else they will all VANISH. I wonder, can I OUTEAT myself?

    All the stuff about OXYGEN, DIOXIDE and OZONE yesterday reminded me of DMITRI Mendeleyev.

    For a little light fare, here is a waltz from the Jazz Suite No. 2 by DMITRI Shostakovich, conducted by DMITRy Yablonsky. Lovely! Sounds like film music. Good film music.

    That's it for now.

    Hartley 70 10:58 AM  

    Your description of DAYSAILing makes me smile. We owned a racing day sailer (translation - no head) for 30 years and I remember lots of windy yelling and banging about, alternating with steaming hot, windless days with the boom flopping back and forth. Where were the pleasant drinks parties with canapés and champers I'd like to know!

    Anonymous 10:58 AM  

    I've heard of DAYtrips, but at the time of appearance, DAYSAIL seemed to smack of some shade of green paint. Since then a couple of comments seem comfortable with the phrase, so I just want to ask whether it's really a thing?

    Whirred Whacks 11:10 AM  

    @Steve J 10:45 Thanks for "tsk-tsk-ing" me. Hope you weren't a hall monitor in high school.

    I figure that during this "meta-week," all of the rules of appropriate behavior are a bit loosened. In addition, I gave people fair warning when I said it was a tribute to @Z (which by the way was a thing of beauty). And yes, it was a bit juvenile, but lots of fun!

    Go Giants!

    Jim Quinlan 11:20 AM  

    Finished this twice as fast as yesterday! But it took me so long to see the theme... even when I was filling in TIM... I thought maybe there was a rebus for the rest of ESSQUARE somewhere that I was missing.

    Fun though! But this gave away the meta without a doubt...

    Meta obviously has to do with angry leprechauns who wear pink shoes.

    r.alphbunker 11:20 AM  

    HI MOM has appeared about 25 times in previous NYT puzzles. I wonder if any of the constructors were the person mentioned by @Questinia

    Hartley70 11:23 AM  

    Great paint name, but yup, it's really a thing. Very common in the East in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, it refers to a type of boat, a daysailer, or an experience, daysailing.

    Hartley70 11:28 AM  

    Never heard of Rick Astley before so this is a new and thoroughly amusing experience for me. Obama is my hands down favorite though Alec Guiness' expression is priceless.

    Naked cowboy 11:37 AM  

    Wasn't the "range wear" clue answered OVERALLS just last week some time? This is why I love crosswords. Same clue, OVERALLS one day, OVENMITTS another. Great, now I'm picturing a cowboy wearing nothing but OVERALLS and OVENMITTS. Now you are too!

    Masked and AnonymoUUs 11:39 AM  

    Whee. Jects. Check out the Column 12 Cafe:

    Honrable mention to: TIM. MET. MIT. TEM. Cute little theme, @PB2.

    Continuing down the 1-A + 1-D line of meta thought: we now have: TEAT AD AS. ANON B will be delighted to hear that M&A is startin to have second thoughts about that pattern's viability. Will keep a wary eye on it, but am havin serious high-odds doubts...

    Frustrated that I haven't nailed this meta deal yet. I had the PB1 dice meta corralled, long before the ThursPuz installment. Gives me REI-ILE-OBI IRE.

    Really like @Susan McConnell's multiplication sign = times = X theory. So far, the four puzzle's X's ain't formin any useful visual patterns. Does look a bit like a burnt spot that happened to turn up on the bottom of my this mornin's cinnamon roll, but that's about as useful as a daysail down the old Eel River... So far, all the X's have occurred in Numbered Squares, yieldin the sequence: 20, 5, 13, 16, 19.

    On the Halloween Meta Theory front, today we have: BAT. ORCS. VANISH (ghostish ref.) Also, EEL, for some folks.

    Fun puz, today.

    M et A
    "U Can Make This Stuff Up"

    Anonymous 11:41 AM  

    The plural of tsunami is tsunamis. So why not sashimis? When a word is borrowed into English, it is perfectly normal for it to adopt English grammatical rules.

    The same is usually true when English words are borrowed by other languages. The plural of caméraman in French is caméramans.

    There was a brouhaha here a few weeks ago about PANINI being clued as a singular noun. However, "spaghetti" is an uncountable noun in English (and therefore singular) even though it is a plural in the original Italian. No one would say, "The spaghetti were very good today."

    How about a moratorium on dead-horse pedantry?

    Mohair Sam 11:44 AM  

    @Hartley70. Bolstering your 11:23 comment on DAYSAIL - The nephew I mentioned earlier who uses the term kept his boat on the Long Island Sound.

    Fred Romagnolo 11:56 AM  

    I thought - it's either Alexei or DMITRI, so I'll wait for crosses. @NEAPrez: outeat is definitely a word, I think it used to be hyphenated. @Chef Z: you left out peerishki (except no gravy). No one has pointed out the connection between MORTIMER and CHARGE! in Arsenic and Old Lace, the crazy (TR) brother's famous cry while running up the stairs. I thought that @Evil might connect 33A with circumcision, he definitely missed a good opportunity at 36A. It seems to me that SASHIMIS is fair in that the clue had wasabis. Funny story about me: first time I encountered wasabi I foolishly thought it was a Japanese version of an avocado sauce, and popped the whole little container-full in my mouth! They tell me I turned every possible shaded of red thereafter.

    Gill I. P. 12:22 PM  

    DAY SAIL...! Hi @Tita and @Diri. Are you both out on your clippers?
    LOVED the puzzle. VERSACE GOD full of AMORE for moi. Don't eat sushi but I could eat SASHIMIS till they come out of my HIHO.
    @old timer: to add to @Chef Z...Yes, EMPANADAS originated in Spain AND Portugal. In Tabasco, they make them with corn dough and stuff them with marinated meat, salsa and cabbage. That's it! That's the meta theme...!
    Fun week so far PB. This one was clever and entertaining. I knew you were up to something after finding TIM in that little bottom corner so I MOSEYed all over the grid making little squares of TIME...
    Hasta manana con sonrisas.

    Charles Flaster 12:30 PM  

    Totally agree on your Mon-Th comment.Tuesday was my natick.
    Wed ,Th were ez.

    Undercover again, this time IN BED 12:31 PM  


    'leprechauns in pink shoes'

    Ah, hoh-hoh, I get it now: 'The Quare Fellow" by Brendan Behan. Quigley, now!

    @FredRom, EVEL may have dropped the ball, but I'm working on OUTEATing something that OPIATE RITE IN BED. I promise no mattress springs will be SPRUNG, and no GAMETE will be harmed. Too INTIMATE? Let us know if the "OH PLEASE, GOD!"s get too loud.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:32 PM  

    Am I alone in thinking the proper answer to 65D should have been "irk", which is the act of provoking IRE in the one being ticked off?

    Never noticed the TIME squares until I got here.

    M et Also 12:32 PM  

    @FredR: yep. That wasabi greengoop is a WMD. I like to put a dab on my bread plate, and watch it slowly eat its way through said plate, over the course of the meal. U musta really cleared out yer sinuses.

    I think there are 23 I's in this ThursPuz. Unusually high. Significant? I-counts for other days:
    MonPuz = 11
    TuesPuz = 9
    WedPuz = 11
    Nope. No big patterns, there. rat fudge.

    M et A

    p.s. Maybe if U super-impose the black squares from all the puzs into one grid, the remaining white squares reveal a neat pattern. Or the SatPuz letters left in those squares spell out PEWIT. That would certainly make all this more than worthwhile -- am I not right, @63?

    Undercover again, this time IN BED 12:33 PM  


    'leprechauns in pink shoes'

    Ah, hoh-hoh, I get it now: 'The Quare Fellow" by Brendan Behan. Quigley, now!

    @FredRom, EVEL may have dropped the ball, but I'm working on OUTEATing something that OPIATE RITE IN BED. I promise no mattress springs will be SPRUNG, and no GAMETE will be harmed. Too INTIMATE? Let us know if the "OH PLEASE, GOD!"s get too loud.

    Undercover, this time IN BED 12:35 PM  


    'leprechauns in pink shoes'

    Ah, hoh-hoh, I get it now: 'The Quare Fellow" by Brendan Behan. Quigley, now!

    @FredRom, EVEL may have dropped the ball, but I'm working on OUTEATing something that OPIATE RITE IN BED. I promise no mattress springs will be SPRUNG, and no GAMETE will be harmed. Too INTIMATE? Let us know if the "OH PLEASE, GOD!"s get too loud.

    Leapfinger 12:56 PM  

    Got a mouthful of hot? A spoonful of sugar will cure it. Really.

    Those are not literal TIME SQUARES; they are literal TIMETIME SQUARES.

    Making little squares of TIME, @Gillyfleur? Sounds like piecing together a crazy quilt. Yes, Quilty! That could be it! The meta is Lolita!!

    [The captcha giving me a 'distinct tots har' on that]

    dick swart 1:08 PM  

    The last two days, I've looked at the tops and decided too hard a way to start. Worked bottoms-up and much easier!

    Is Arsenic and Old Lace making a comeback? I think this is the second time it has appeared in a week.

    jannielouise 1:10 PM  

    Personally I though wasabis/sashimis had folksy charm. Slapped down HUge while the rest of you were closer with HULK or HUnK. In general I loved all the food-related clues - OVENMITTS best of all.

    irked 2:36 PM  

    @ Martel I agree: IRE is a noun. Irk is a verb.

    RooMonster 2:54 PM  

    Hey All !
    Thought the puz on the easier side, although I was hung up in a few places. Had to lookup ERTE, stared way too long in that SE corner. Also had tAm for BAT, which gave OtI for OBI, didn't know the stash was for anything but clothing. MAOIST, taoist, always get that wrong. 44A, had metoo, then andme, finally SODOI. Had bug-eyed first for DOE.

    TIME, TIME, TIME is on my side...

    Lewis 3:01 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 3:02 PM  

    This comment was withdraw by the author even before it was published. Doing this seemed easy for a thursday. Although, typing these letters took longer than usual for a thursday, and seemed kind of like a friday.

    Lewis 3:04 PM  

    So I'm starting to skip reading some people's posts, just for this week, because I would really like to try to solve this meta myself. I may have to stop reading Rex as well, but I don't think he would give too much away, or I hope not.

    I liked the clues for OVENMITTS, HATEMAIL and IDO, and I liked the vagueness of the clues "Ran out on" and "Bounding".

    I love all the E's in the row starting with 57 and the I's in the column starting with 11.

    Michael CHE was hilarious during his brief stint on the Daily Show. His comic timing is world class.

    Anonymous 3:13 PM  


    Lewis 3:14 PM  

    Factoid: IBN in Arabic means "son of", and the equivalent Arabic word for "daughter of" is "bint".

    Quotoid: "When the solution is simple, GOD is answering." -- Albert Einstein

    Z 3:56 PM  

    @Lewis - I've been assiduously avoiding any honest meta-speculation by amusing myself with other diversions,, although my wife is with @Steve J on a certain song.

    @Steve J - written like a guy who got RRed again... How can anyone not love a Klingon version of Never Gonna Give You Up? I've also been flagging them the last couple of times.

    As for naticks - Based on comments here REHM/ELISA was a pure natick. The others definitely are pushing it.

    @Fred R - I only included the most prevalent variations in my neck of the woods. I'm sure there are many many more. I think sauceless versions are pretty common, too.

    Tita 4:36 PM  

    @Anoa Bob - I second your DAYSAIL sentiment. Thanks for that.

    Hi @Gil - I came by today exactly because I thought about our future-friend @Diri too.

    Alas, my DAYSAILer stayed on the hard this year... :(

    Meta indeed - considering TIMES SQUARE is named for the Gray Lady herself, even though she is no longer headquartered there!

    sanfranman59 5:13 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 14:12, 16:43, 0.85, 21%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Thu 10:18, 10:33, 0.98, 42%, Medium

    Steve J 6:13 PM  

    @Z: I was referring only to today's proper names. They all seem pretty fairly crossed. Agreed that, while I got it, the REHM/ELISA cross the other day was a tough one for most.

    As far as RR: Haven't fallen for it here. I always mouse over links to check where they're going before I click. Probably a habit born from falling for it back in 2007 when this was a thing. I'm just commenting on how thin the line between amusent and tedium can be.

    Teedmn 9:23 PM  

    HATEMAIL was a gimme because today's Mpls Strib had an article about online abuse - 73% of people online have seen examples of online harassment and 40% have experienced it. Even here, we've seen it rear its ugly proboscis.

    I think the meta has to be the NY Times in some form. Just saying...

    Anonymous 11:14 PM  

    Really? A few comments on a crossword blog and you're claiming that people here have been victims of abuse? Gimme a break.

    sanfranman59 2:11 AM  

    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 5:44, 6:02, 0.95, 26%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 9:18, 7:54, 1.18, 88%, Challenging
    Wed 13:57, 9:30, 1.47, 98%, Challenging (6th highest ratio of 251 Wednesdays)
    Thu 14:20, 16:43, 0.86, 23%, Easy-Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:55, 4:04, 0.96, 25%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 6:23, 5:22, 1.19, 91%, Challenging
    Wed 8:11, 6:12, 1.32, 96%, Challenging (11th highest ratio of 251 Wednesdays)
    Thu 9:48, 10:29, 0.94, 35%, Easy-Medium

    Anonymous 9:36 AM  

    On the subject of words it English that are the same in singular and plural, my recollection from distant years in college is that they all come from Anglo-Saxon neuter declension, in which there was no inflected ending for plural. If I recall, "horse" was also originally a part of that declension too. Many long years ago, so possible the memory is wrong. Needless to say, I hadn't the faintest idea who Sara Bareilles or Sara Evans are.

    oldbizmark 11:23 AM  

    not a fan of patrick's puzzles. really looking forward to next week.

    Donkos 5:49 PM  

    Day sail is a real term as opposed to cruising which implies a longer time on the water. A day sailor is generally a small boat without a head (bathroom) or berths (beds).

    rondo 11:35 AM  

    Easy-medum my butt! Especially with an Accord over the XKE. So, I had to work from the bottom up. All the east coast real-timers seem to like a puzzle when they consider it esy. I prefer a challenge since I don't worry about TIME. 8 Is in the 11d column must be some sort of record (FOR YOUR Is ONLY?)
    Will soon be donning the OVENMITTS for turkey time. Happy Thanksgiving to all the syndies!

    "smooth fancity" is my captcha for the day - football related?

    spacecraft 12:01 PM  

    I got this done, but I still don't know how. "Easy-medium?" Plus, others called it easy--one even said "too easy?" Are we doing the same puzzle? Cluing was no less than off-the-wall. "Holds" is one of those it-could-be-any-of-a-hundred-things clues. CITADELS? That would be the 101st. Either there's something I don't understand about holds, or something I don't understand about citadels. The two words have never even waved distantly at each other in my experience. The entry filled itself in on crosses, and I still wondered where I went wrong. Eventually I decided it was all right.

    Then there's "Letters that are hard to read?" = HATEMAIL. Well, I suppose if it starts out with a string of epithets you might find it emotionally difficult to read on, but man! That's a Saturday stretch IMO. Other examples include "Bounding" for LIMITING--fair, I guess, but certainly our man ATTEMPTED a misdirect (nailed it!); and "Tick off" (verb) for IRE (noun). Yeah, I know that IRE is also a verb, though nobody ever uses it as such. If you arouse someone's IRE, like mine with this clue, you IRK them. To me, tick off = IRK.

    I saw the Times Square thing; very clever. Getting 'er done was a chore. I hate to tell you how many places I just flat-out guessed. Most of the NE, exempla gratia. And CHE. Great guess there; I dimly remember ORCS as some kind of fantasy beings, though not from where. Tough one completed: I feel generous on this Thanksgiving Day: A.

    1140. Need a little more.

    DMG 1:06 PM  

    This seems to be a week for me to fail the NW! In unknown territory, my sweet talk was COos, making the cars the improbable OLTIMA, and the it-could -be sKE. Waiting for cooking daughter to show, I hurried my way through the puzzle and skipped the posts, except OFL's, to,see what Syndites had to say. @ Spacecraft confirmed my feeling that this one was harder than rated Mayve would have helped if I had seen the TIME in a box thing. I just thought TIM was wrong! Anyway back to,read above comments as time allows. Happy Feasting!

    857. Ugh!

    rondo 4:35 PM  

    For what it's worth - LEEANN Womack just now sang the anthem before the Dallas football game

    Anonymous 4:46 PM  

    Turned out to be Easy/Medium for me except I have a wrong letter in the NE. It's Turkey Day so I've forgiven myself and blamed it on overeating last night. Yes, we had to have THE dinner yesternight.

    Not looking forward to Sat. as I only get the puzzles Wed thru Sun.

    Gobble, Gobble to all the Syndies and may all your Black Friday's be White.

    Ron Diego, the Herb of La Mesa, CA
    (I'm no longer the Sage).

    leftcoastTAM 6:28 PM  

    Okay, I got the TIME parts of it but not the square. Shouldn't the clue be " depicted 'figuratively'" instead of "literally"? Or maybe both? And, by the way, shouldn't it be TIMES square instead of TIME square? Oh, well.

    Dirigonzo 6:53 PM  

    Huge thanks to @Z for sending me this puzzle after my local daily let me down. I came up short because I didn't know MASHI_IS or EMPAN_DA, but I figure I knew enough to qualify me for the meta-puzzle.

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