Armored as horse / SUN 11-30-14 / Singer whose I Get Ideas was on charts for 30 weeks / Julius Wilbrand invention of 1863 / Where Indiana Jones reunites with Marion / Flowering tropical plant / Textile patented in 1894 / English glam-rock band with six #1 hits / Its icon is Spaceship Earth / Digicam component

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Constructor: Matt Ginsberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: "Zap!" — the ADs have been "zapped" from familiar phrases. So the "AD"s are visible, but they've been rebused into individual boxes (a visual representation of fast-forwarding?); wacky "?" clues reference the "AD"-less phrases (though you need the "AD"s in the crosses). Actually, now that I think of it, maybe the ADs are not there in the Acrosses, but are there in the Downs … this is, of course, impossible to represent visually … but it explains the "AD"-containing crosses. Anyhoo, here are your long themers:

Theme answers:
  • BRO[AD]-MINDED (19A: Focused on one's fellow fraternity members?)
  • IRISH BALL[AD] (24A: Dublin dance?)
  • CHANGE OF [AD]DRESS (36A: What Clark Kent needs to become Superman?)
  • ON THE SH[AD]Y SIDE (45A: Somewhat bashful?)
  • FIVE O'CLOCK SH[AD]OW (63A: Local afternoon newscast?)
  • [AD]OPTION AGENCY (83A: Business offering the right to buy and sell securities?)
  • FOLLOW THE LE[AD]ER (93A: How to find what a creep is looking at?)
  • L[AD]IES FIRST (109A: Says "I didn't do it!" before fessing up?)
  • LEGAL [AD]VICE (115A: Cigarettes or booze?)
Word of the Day: TONY MARTIN (72D: Singer whose "I Get Ideas" was on the charts for 30 weeks) —
Tony Martin (December 25, 1913 – July 27, 2012), born Alvin Morris, was an Americanactor and singer who was married to performer Cyd Charisse for 60 years. (wikipedia)
• • •

I thought this one worked reasonably well, and the cluing felt well and truly toughened up, making the Sunday something other than the dull walk in the park that it has occasionally become in recent years. I have already gotten mail from people wondering what the hell "Zap!" has to do with ADs, making me wonder if this concept isn't dated already, a hold-over from a time when people recorded shows on VHS tapes. Certainly, the idea of fast-forwarding through ads is still with us (if you use a DVR, you've almost certainly done this), but I don't think I've heard the expression "zap" in this context in ages. I generally associate it with the '90s. I have no explanation or evidence to support my feeling that the phrase is no longer with us in the way it once was. Just a gut feeling. I also thought the current pope was es-shoe-ing the whole RED SHOE thing these days. Clue is still correct, historically, but the first thing RED SHOE made me think of was "uh uh."

While I generally like this theme, there are a couple clunky things. First SHADY and SHADOW are too closely related, etymologically, to both be crucial theme-answer words. They're not exactly dupes, but they're close kin, and a truly well-crafted and elegant construction isn't going to the "shade" well twice in the same puzzle. [Addendum: a second dupe—a friend just pointed out that SH[]OW doesn't just dupe SHOWY, it intersects it] Second problem is also a result of inadequate attention to craft. If you're going to zap ADs, you *zap* ADs or you omit them entirely, i.e. there should be no "AD"s in this thing, *anywhere*. Again, this is a matter of elegance. One could argue "that rule applies only in the theme answers." OK, but in a puzzle called "Zap!", I expect them to be zapped. Everywhere. And I especially don't want the first answer I encounter, 1-A-bleeping-cross, to be ADDS (!?). I see only one other instance of "AD" in the grid (at ADANO), meaning that it wouldn't have been hard At All to zap them. Just do it! Get rid of 'em. Come on. Raise the bar, NYT. A theme idea this good deserves commensurate execution.


Biggest trouble spots for me were the SE and NE. I got into the far SE corner pretty easily, but the rest of that quadrant, yikes. Might've helped if I'd ever heard of CANNA, or knew what West ELM was. Had to infer the S and the S and the Y in MESSY to pick it up and then travel up from there. Harrowing! But I had a much worse time in the NE, where the phrase IRISH BALLAD just … didn't seem like a coherent thing to me, I guess, so much so that I had IRISH --LLAD and thought I must have an error. I had never heard of either of the missing crosses there: IMAGER (OK, maybe I've heard that, but yuck, is that really the term for the viewfinder?) and BARDED (I've read soooooo many works with armored horses in them, and have never ever seen this word). If I didn't know that SLADE was an [English glam-rock band with six #1 hits], I might've had fatal trouble up there. I had GIRDED for BARDED and my first glam-rock answer was T-REX. But I survived. And overall, I enjoyed the challenge.


Puzzle Worth Noting this week goes to Tyler Hinman's seasonal creation for American Values Club crossword, which does some truly stunning things with the black squares. It's titled "Open Up," and you can get it for $1 here, or just subscribe already, what the hell?
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    89 comments:

    jae 12:10 AM  

    Holy moly, this was the toughest Sunday for me  in many a moon.  Didn't think I going to finish for a while.  The CLARA/HONUS/LORRIE/ARISTOS area was the last to fall.  The first three of those were WOEs.  Throw in stuff like BARDED (had @Rex  giRDED for a while),  ZLOTYS (which I knew from crosswords) crossing the ZADORA rebus (again, only from crosswords) crossing OOCYTES (yes, crosswords), the marginal WEENY crossing EDESSA... and you've got yourself a regular Natick rodeo (hi, M&A).  

    I'm still trying to figure out if I liked it.  Very clever concept with some nice long downs...but sheesh (thank you @lms) what a slog.

    Moly Shu 1:04 AM  

    Tough here also, slogged through and finished. I didn't like SHOWY and SNOWY (too close), BARDED, and WEENY. Didn't know TONYMARTIN. Liked FOIST. tibet before NEPAL, and many other missteps.

    @Jae, I'm sure if you asked my coworkers, they probably wouldn't use holy to describe me. A-hole, sure, but not holy.

    jae 2:42 AM  

    @Ste. Shu - Actually, moly was my second choice for that particular phrase.

    GILL I. 3:14 AM  

    No, itsy-bitsy is Teeny. A WEENY is a hot dog or maybe an IRISH BALL[AD].
    I want to join @jae in the holy moly camp....and, my horse was PADDED because I know PREK is really not a word anyone would utter.
    Only one RED SHOE?
    Other than the crazy cluing, and scratching my turkey overloaded stomach, I did sit back, look at the whole shebang and think this was kinda O.K. cute. I caught on to the AD thingy pretty early on, so that helped. I need to go sleep.

    Anonymous 3:20 AM  

    I gave up on this puzzle. Didn't know Barded, Slade, Imager, IBM as servers so the NE was too much of a struggle. Prob woulda' gotten it if I stepped away and returned, but the puzzle was so tiresome throughout I didn't want to. The cross of Oocytes/Zadora/Loc was not possible for me and I never heard of Weeny which also created problems being I didn't know amphorae.

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:30 AM  

    Great puzzle, but DNF.

    My last pockets of resistance, as for @Rex, were the NE and SE. The NE fell after I changed 33 D from SIRE to PA/DRE, and filled BARDED purely from crosses.

    The SE remained a mystery to me. I had a firm faux-hold (thank you, LMS) at 105 D, where JARS is the only word I have ever seen associated with "amphorae", even though JUGS are almost the same. (A quick look at Google post-DNF confirmed my prejudice.) But with the R from JARS, I could only think of 115 A as MORALA/DVICE (makes no sense) and I also could never come up with ELUCIDATES at 111 A. This despite the fact that I had changed my original GRANDPA at 86 D to GRANDDA/D. So I gave up with a messy (but not 118 A, MESSY), incomplete grid.

    I wish more puzzles were this hard!

    Anonymous 6:33 AM  

    Excellent puzzle. Learned some new words. Plenty of twists and turns.

    Construction question: There were 4 downs that were clued with question marks (Leaves in a waiting room? Flaky? Pique activity? High fidelity?) but they had nothing to do with the rebus questions which were also clued with question marks. Howzat?

    Zippy.

    pmdm 6:59 AM  

    I like the puzzle but very much dislike the title. Just best to ignore it just look at the puzzle for what it is: something with nice wordplay.

    Clara Wieck (her maiden name) was not only a pianist but also possibly the best female composer who lived up to that point in history. Her parents were not happy when the quite young Clara fell in love with Robert Schumann. After his death, she became close to Brahms. As did her husband, she wrote a Piano Concerto in a minor, and it certainly deserves (in my opinion) to be played more often. What do you think?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpCGCtK9GAM

    chefbea 7:35 AM  

    Too tough for me. Didn't understand why the theme was ZAP? Do people say "zap the ads /commercials"?

    John Child 7:45 AM  

    Holes and errors NE and SE like the gang. I did not like the clueing, but it's hard to know whether to call out the constructor or the editor on that. I didn't WIN and didn't much care by the end.

    'mericans in Paris 8:12 AM  

    Medium overall, but difficult in the NE and SE for us. (That's what @Rex actually meant, right?) Didn't mind the title, as until my Dad became senile a couple of years ago he still spoke of "zapping" commercials on TV. He even constructed an early "zapper" some 45 years ago, made with a photo-sensitive diode connected to the volume. To turn off the sound he would just shine a beam from a flashlight on it from the comfort of his armchair.

    Figured out the trick early on with SADO, but didn't get "BRO[AD]MINDED until late.

    Otherwise, this was really a puzzle that drew heavily on my wife and my separate arcane knowledge bases. My wife new CANNA; I had never heard of it. I knew OPA-Locka, Fla. because I used to live next door in Hialeah. She remembered CHARO; I didn't. And so forth.

    Wrote in "angoraS" confidently at 56-A, and then when my wife came up with "TWO A.M." for 34-D, so I changed 56-A to "MohairS". Finally, when that didn't work, changed it to MERINOS.

    Technically DNF, as we had ImMS at 15-A.

    As for WINE JUGS, I'm with the others. WINE JarS would have been better. Other grumble is over WEENY. I know it only as a juvenile insult, or as half of WEENY-dorkus.

    Loved @jae's term: Natick rodeo!

    Very cold here in Paris today. BRRR! Not yet SNOWY, though.

    Jim 8:27 AM  

    Surprised Rex cared so much about the non-rebus 'AD's located in the puzzle. I seem to remember another incident where he didn't care so much (see the comment thread)

    Leapfinger 8:29 AM  

    My comment just disappeared, and it was a good one.

    [Ad]monish tanah ha'puzzle ha'zeh?
    The theme confused me in the end; I have a meeting tomorrow,and now I don't know whether to expect LEGAL ADVICE or LEGAL VICE.

    I CANNA aFJORD the time to reconstruct the REST.

    Happy Sunday.

    Andrew Morrison 8:46 AM  

    Challenging. Just couldn't break through on the NE for the longest time. what is an IRISHBALL? Never been to one. It was the only thing that made sense, but I just couldn't help wanting to cram JIG in there. Finally 'got' the server reference, and once I plugged in IBM it all fell into place. Definitely a challenge for my Sunday morning coffee.

    Maruchka 8:50 AM  

    WEENY is only half of the phrase (ref. teeny-weeny). @Gill and @"mericans are spot on. Maybe 'Bitsy alternative'?

    Really liked the density, but got hung up in the middle wormhole - could not see PIETY, ADOPTION, OPTION, nor LEADER for the trees. So, DNF here.

    Fav of the day - FOIST. Liked L(AD)IES FIRST, too..

    @Rex - Thanks for the ZAP Comix cover! I have one copy left, very LEER-y.

    @chefbea - We said 'Nuke the AD' in my house. I didn't know ZAP-sh*t until today.

    F.O.G. 9:11 AM  

    Had several ROYAL PAINS in this one. Couldn't get CANNA/COCAS or ZLOTYS/ZADORA/OOCYTES, so a D.N.F. for me.

    Still, I enjoyed it more than a WEENY bit, even though Mr. Ginsberg had to BE LIKE THAT.

    Leapfinger 9:18 AM  

    @Maruchka -- L[ad]ies FOIST??

    NCA President 9:25 AM  

    DNF for me. I had to cheat to figure out the NE (which I think Rex meant to say instead of NW...unless the poles have shifted overnight).

    WEENY? Who says that?

    I wanted BROMancED in the NW in some form. Didn't get it, of course.

    It was tough, that's for sure.

    Maruchka 9:31 AM  

    @Leapy - Hehe. Ye-ah, heah in Brooklyn. Youse get FOIST place!

    BB 9:41 AM  

    Re camcorder: "imager" refers to the electronic CCD, not the viewfinder.

    Glimmerglass 9:49 AM  

    @'mericans in Paris: I also think of WEENY as a juvenile word for penis (but not necessarily as an insult). I thought the same thing yesterday (or was it Friday?) about HOOHA. "It's a boy, dear; I can see his little HOOHA."

    AliasZ 9:49 AM  


    ARISTOS? Oh dear, it's desperation time. HRISTOS would have been a lot better, but than we would've lost CLARA Schumann, who was my first entry.

    Great theme today, I had fun searching for ADs to zap. The last one was in the NE cul-de-sac, but somehow I was able to dig up SL[AD]E out of nowhere. It is too bad not all ADs [see 1A] were zapped. Also, too bad the down ADs were not also zapped, although that would have made it nearly impossible to fill as cleanly as this one was.

    The only iffy theme entry in my mind was ON THE SH[AD]Y SIDE. "On the shy side" is about as common an expression as "on the shady side", besides I prefer the sunny side of the street. Favorite was FOLLOW THE LE[AD]ER.

    In non-theme entries I enjoyed ELUCIDATES, GRANDDAD, ROYAL PAINS, CHEER UP, and too many other to name.

    To stay within the Schumann family, let me close with the third movement of this wonderful Concert Piece (Konzertstück) for Four HORNS and Orchestra, Op. 86, by Robert. But I recommend that you listen to the entire work in this performance -- Radovan Vlatkovic is an amazing horn player. It is an upbeat, Sunday-ish sounding music that may put a little more joy in your heart today.

    joho 9:51 AM  

    Hmmmmm, lots on convoluted and less on clean and clear for me. Definitely had to work at it -- much appreciated -- and felt great about finishing it.

    Weird take on BRO(AD)MINDED left me thinking that the BROS were admiring the BROADS.

    ImOut before IFOLD, siRE before PADRE and CHAD before CHADS. If fact seeing that it really was plural got me the AD gimmick.

    Loved BELIKETHAT!

    In the end I liked it and enjoyed the challenge, thank you, Matt Ginsberg!

    Lewis 9:59 AM  

    The theme was excellent, as one of my great joys in life is zapping the ads on my DVR. Rather than seeing ADDS as a crossword elegance violation, I see it as a hint to the theme. This was overall a clean puzzle sans dreck. I learned BARDED, and always love the look of ZLOTYS.

    Answers with zip: BELIKETHAT, ROYALPAIN, MUSTSEE, and ONCUE. Clever clues: RNA, NECK, PAROLE, and FIN.

    As Rex said, not a dull walk in the park.

    Nancy 10:02 AM  

    Wonderful, clever, misleading puzzle. I picked up the theme while struggling with ON THE SHAY SIDE. How could I make that unwanted A go away? Finally figured it out when I realized that 36D wasn't CHAD,but CH(AD)S.
    Cried out "Aha!"
    57D threw me off for the longest time. I had I'M OUT, instead of I FOLD. And so, FIVE O'CLOCK SH(AD)OW, began with the mysterious-looking MIVEO. That took a long time to correct.
    Such clever misdirection! It looks for all the world as if 86D is GRANDPA, when it's really
    GRANDD(AD).
    Sadly, I naticked on one letter: where 61D crosses 71A. Oh, and I forgot to correct TEENY to WEENY at 103A, once I had JUGS at 105D. Planned to, but didn't. (Looked up "amphorae", btw. But in Webster's, not by Googling.)
    The kind of puzzle I just love, love, love. And so well executed. There can never be too many rebusae as far as I'm concerned!

    Loren Muse Smith 10:04 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 10:07 AM  

    There is no word to describe how much I despise ads. TV, internet, magazine. . .Granted, the things I choose to watch and read are peppered with especially insipid ads (Hence my first entry "a roni" for PILAF) but still. Why does any basketball team need a deep bench these days when everyone's going to get a pretty good rest every three or four minutes? And my blood boils when the computer screen dims for an ad appears that you have to x out of to keep reading.

    I. Loved. This. Theme.

    Got LADIES FIRST and BROADMINDED early, so I thought for a while theme had to do with some kind of order. Didn't help that FOLLOW THE LEADER was next. Color me an overthinker.

    @'mericans – I now worship at the altar of your dad. What a man with that device. Good for him.

    @jae – that CLARA/HONUS/ARISTOS area was the foist of my two undoings. I misspelled CHIANG's name as "Shiang" and had "push" for RUSH. Honestly – who yells "RUSH!" at someone? (except maybe at Ditka sometimes)?

    Second area that I didn't finish was the ZADORA/ZLOTYS/OOCYTES part. I'm too impatient to embrace all the &%$# footnotation, and I guess the LOC would've cleared most of that up.

    @Gill – people say not PREK but rather PRE –K.

    Thought 91A was "Ill" as in sick, so for the life of me, I couldn't see IOTAS.

    Never heard of a LINTEL. Cool. I imagine some kind of LINTEL lentil theme has been done, huh?

    How 'bout these -
    DRUG ADDICTION - "Proper pronunciation of Xanax and Xarelto?"
    ADVERSE EFFECT - "Phenomenon of poetry- reciter guy always winning the girl?"

    @M&A from yesterday – Hah! I learned the hard way about potato peels down the disposal. Love the rest of your list, especially the glasses! They say ice cubes will help clean everything out, and I've tried that a couple of times, somehow feeling silly and gullible as I stood over the impressive noise.

    So someone has to ask, Matt… Dr. Fill could've made short work of this one? I agree that it was a hardish Sunday, but I really, really like the conceit. And I like the time of year it was published.

    Off to look at the 16 catalogs I received in the mail yesterday. ;-)

    Lewis 10:10 AM  

    Factoid: CHARO studied Spanish classical guitar with Andres Segovia for seven years, and has played the instrument as part of her act.

    Quotoid: "What we seek we shall find; what we FLEE from flees from us." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Teedmn 10:13 AM  

    @Leapy, @Maruchka, do you get a TITLE with that FOIST place TROPHY? :-)

    Saw the AD rebus at SADO but that just meant I was like an Arctic explorer crossing crevasses - the uncertainty shut down my ability to put in any answers. I wandered the grid, plugging away slowly. I mostly circumnavigated the grid before finally getting FIVEOCLOCKSH(ad)OW. Of course I had FOUR first, causing its own problems but at least I knew where I was going now. Hands up for Zap! being no help.

    Wanted ExplIcATES a first, so Scoot was "exit". A Roni before PILAF. Like @ Rex, wanted T Rex before SL(ad)E but that would make circus tumblers "aflex" and luckily I didn't go there! Like @Rex, didn't know BARDED a in spite of all the Fantasy books I've read, though the NW was the last to fill and I slogged with all my might, planted the flag and called it fun!

    Thanks for the great workout, Mr. Ginsberg!

    Teedmn 10:16 AM  

    Oh yeah, I finished in the NE, not the NW, but when you are at the Pole, the compass no longer works as well.

    Anonymous 10:17 AM  


    I'm capping here so this will be seen among the many comments:

    DO YOURSELF A GREAT FAVOR AND DO THE POST PUZZLER. GREAT CLUES, GREAT ANSWERS, A FANTASTIC PUZZLE.

    You can thank me later.

    Anonymous 10:23 AM  

    I’m with chefbea 7:35 AM. “Zap ads” is not an idiom. The title provides no clue. A clue is needed.

    And I still don’t know what my weeny has to do with any of this.

    You like obscure words? Here’s one for this puzzle: pfffffffffffffft!

    Matt Ginsberg 10:38 AM  

    @Loren Muse Smith: A video of Dr.Fill solving today's puzzle is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ody0JMS8xFE&feature=youtu.be

    @many: I originally titled this, "The Miracle of TiVo" but Will changed it. Not sure if the new title is better or worse. He also changed many more of the clues than usual, although I don't know if he made it easier or harder, all told.

    Glad most seem to have enjoyed it!

    Burt Offerings 10:42 AM  

    This. Puzzle. Sucked. The end.

    Horace S. Patoot 10:42 AM  

    This one had more than its share of contrived plurals. Try To use MERINOS or COCAS in a sentence. I doubt that anyone but Maxwell's Demon has ever said "OZONES".

    Ludyjynn 10:46 AM  

    The AD trick revealed itself to me w/ CURAD, but it took a while for me to TSE all the REST, making it feel like a ROYALPAIN at times.

    I agree w/ others' nits, esp. WEENY. But there were so many good words, esp. ELUCIDATES, which clarified GRANDDAD for me.

    Has anyone ever actually seen CHARO sing? I recall her ubiquitous presence on talk shows, gyrating her JUGS and yelling, "hootchie cootchie", period. Pia ZADORA, another great talent (not) who resorted to billboard ADvertising to put herself in the public eye.

    Despite a DNF at EDITS, where I had 'ebets",(don't ask!), misspelling LINTEL and EDESSA in the process, overall I give this puzz. a ROAR of approval.

    Thanks, MG and WS.

    Perry 10:48 AM  

    Would it have been any better for the puzzle to be named "Adept"?

    Davidph 10:53 AM  

    @Loren - Dr Fill? Oh no, there is a computer now that solves crossword puzzles? Is there anything left for us humans?

    Ludyjynn 11:06 AM  

    @Lewis, I was so intrigued by your factoid that I just Googled CHARO, only to discover that she was saying "cuchi-cuchi" all along, whatever that means!

    Apparently, Segovia taught her flamenco guitar when she was a child in Spain. Small world, huh?! He discouraged her from the theatrics, respecting her musical talent, instead. I had the pleasure of seeing him play, late in his life, at Carnegie Hall. AMAZING! Other artists have 'borrowed" from him, witness The Doors' song, "Spanish Caravan", quite an homage.

    Questinia 11:09 AM  

    Ole @ Lewis
    Charo playing guitar

    For some reason I knew there was a rebus very quickly but I didn't know what it was until CURAD and CHADS made it plain. I misread digicam as steadi-cam and was trying to figure out the name of the stabilizing mechanism for many destabilizing minutes.

    Ole @ 'merican's daddy
    Ole@ jae's Natick Rodeo. It's sort of like a cruciverbal clusterf#$k.

    Ole @ y'all

    ArtO 11:38 AM  

    After struggling for an hour and managing to suss out everything but the NE, I was somewhat mollified to come here and find that even the most accomplished solvers had problems. PREK and PADRE could never show as I had SIRE and MAILED in that sector. Total disaster in that region.

    jberg 11:39 AM  

    Sigh, I just gave up on this one -- stuck in both NE and SE, because a) I couldn't get the idea of an IRIAH reeL out of my mind, and b) I thought my ADVICE should be morAL. That just kept the rest of it away from me.

    I figured out the rebus fairly soon, but didn't understand the title until I read @Rex. One of the handicaps of neither recording nor watching TV. Got to get that set connected someday soon!

    I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving holiday!

    r.alphbunker 11:42 AM  

    Here is a video of a human solving the puzzle
    http://sanskritlibrary.com:8080/CrowdSource/GetSolution?id=65
    Click the fast forward button

    I have heard of spotted horses but not barded ones.

    JFC 11:50 AM  

    Preferred Deb Amlen’s write-up to Rex’s today. Rex seems to ramble whereas Deb is focused and spot on.

    That said, Rex raises an interesting point on the meaning of zapping ads. I had even forgotten that you could program a VCR to skip over the ads while taping a show. But another way ads can be zapped is through Government regulation. They don’t have commercials like these anymore:

    http://tinyurl.com/pqhq4em

    JFC

    GILL I. 11:52 AM  

    @Questinia....You beat me to the punch on CHARO.....She actually was (is) a very talented person who adopted a very unfortunate buffoonish character whenever she acted. She sings flamenco in a very convincing way as well. Too bad she will always be known for cuchi cuchi.!

    mathguy 12:00 PM  

    A lot to like in this one.

    Every theme entry was a battle. I went to bed without having gotten LEGAL(AD)VICE. Woke up at 4:30 and finished. Didn't like the clue for MESSY.

    Still bloody but feel good that I was able to survive.

    Rex Parker 12:03 PM  

    My E/W dyslexia is for real. Sorry about that. Fixed it.

    RP

    Rex Parker 12:05 PM  

    Also, "zap ads" is, in fact, an idiom. Five seconds w/ Mr. Google will verify this for you. It's not the most current thing, as I say, but don't say it's not a thing at all, because that is absurd.

    RP

    Blue Stater 12:05 PM  

    In the running for membership in the ten worst ever, and definitely one of the five worst Sundays ever, for the reasons set forth in abundance above. Periodically I consider abandoning the puzzles (after 60 years of doing them) until there's a change in regime, and this is one of those times.

    BillyC 12:13 PM  


    I got Hanoi as the Asian "city of the Lakes" right away, though for an odd reason. I remembered that when John McCain got shot down over Hanoi, he was fished out of a lake where his plane came down. As it turned out, his injuries were just a prelude to the years of severe punishment he got in the Hanoi Hilton, especially because his father was found out to be the US theater commander at the time.

    The war was a sad misadventure for all involved ...

    RooMonster 12:38 PM  

    Hey All !
    Still mid-solve, as working today and doing puz in fits and srarts. Cool so far, slow at first, but then started filling in nicely. I think a better title for puz (as Zap doesn't do it for me!) would be Classified. Why, you ask? Because you take an AD out. Get it?

    Reading comments after I drag this puz down!

    BRRR
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Maxwell 1:32 PM  

    I did the whole puzzle thinking the theme was tennis. Ad in. Ad out.

    Mohair Sam 1:44 PM  

    Tough puzzle for us, but enjoyed the challenge. Got ourselves naticked at the "L" in LOC, had an "h" - yes, I know loc. cit. but when we did our alphabet run it didn't register. Aargh - would have loved to say we beat this one.

    When I think about it "zapping ads" isn't a term I've used - but as soon as we got to S(AD)O I understood what Mr Ginsberg was zapping. Made perfect sense to us. Really fun theme that did not give its answers up too easily.

    Toughest corner the NE for us. Had the trex thing for SL(AD)E and loved idLIKETHAT. Made it a battle to get right, but we fought through.

    Very much in tune with @Rex's comments today, nothing to add, nothing to complain about.

    OISK 2:01 PM  

    Never heard of Lorrie (Morgan) nor Slade, but only the first was a problem for me. Lorrie, or Larrie? Horus or Harus? Didn't remember the Egyptian God, but I think it has appeared before, and Horus rang a bit truer. Very clever puzzle! Took me a long time before I saw the theme, but lots of fun after that. "Bro-minded". A good laugh from me.

    Pam Rosenthal 2:08 PM  

    Took a while, and somehow wasn't worth it. I dunno how this works in the brain, but there just didn't seem like a lot of lights going on in my head as it did it. Not enough "oh, I thought of it THIS way, but it could also go THAT way" coolness, which is why I do crosswords. It was frustrating before I got the trick, and sloggy after.

    Fred Romagnolo 2:12 PM  

    Before they got the bright idea to put "mutes" on remotes, you could buy a "Blab Off" at an electronics store. You had to open up your T V and snip one of the two wires to the speaker; then you reconnected the snip with the device, which had a simple on-off switch attached to a long wire to where you sat. It worked, but you had to worry about tripping over the wire. I still use the term "zap" to mean remove. I should like to point out that Turner Classic Movies doesn't interrupt a movie with commercials, thank God! I even zap the few that are on PBS. I DNF'd the NE on SLADE and IMAGER, and I wasn't on the intuitive clue/answer to BELIEVE THAT.

    Whirred Whacks 2:22 PM  

    Very tough for me, but I slogged through it.

    Zapping ads reminds me of the following exchange:

    "Could you fax over a copy?

    "No, I can't fax because of where I live."

    "Where do you live?"

    "In the 21st century."

    I think "zapping ads" has gone the way of the fax, telex, landline, pay phone, Rolodex, typewriter, black book, newspaper, teller, and travelers checks.

    Enjoy your Sunday!

    pmdm 2:26 PM  

    My above post should have included a link to a recent story the NY Times had on Zap Comix. Just got home. so couldn't add it to now. Hopefully most of you can open the link.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/arts/design/zap-comix-now-in-a-coffee-table-boxed-set.html?_r=0

    And you should listen to the entire four horn piece by Robert Schumann, but try find a version with period instruments. The more gritty sound of the french horn (compared to modern French Horns) is a joy to listen to in this work.

    If you don't mind homonyms, you could also seek out music by the wonderful American 20th century composer Willian Schuman (no relation).

    Carola 2:42 PM  

    Oof, did I struggle with this. Early on, I kinda sorta got that ADs were involved (or not) but it took me ages to get how the crosses worked, with AD needed in Downs but zapped away in the Acrosses. Darn it all that "refuse" can refer to a singular or plural - I had one lonely CHAD that caused a DNF. Enjoyed the grappling, though. As Rex said, nice to have a Sunday that puts up resistance.

    RAD2626 3:04 PM  

    Very cleverly done and - for me - very hard.

    Agree with Mr. Ginsberg that Miracle of TiVo was better title. Maybe rejected by WS because of proper name.

    Thought cluing was great. P_R___ for sentence ender had to be PeRiod. Oops, PAROLE even better. Bowls over clue crossing with PINS also well done.

    All in all a tough challenging puzzle but totally fair.

    Casco Kid 3:54 PM  

    Outclassed. 3:32. At 2:30 I asked my expert solver buddy if there was a rebus. Yes, he said. How? Where? I asked. He explained. I finished with four googles and 6 errors an hour later.

    The clues were so hard In general that I couldn't put enough pressure on the rebus squares to out them. I had rejected the correct rebus early based on failed crosses. Hats off to all of you who could leap to the right interpretation or who could solve enough of the crosses to force out the rebus and its meaning.

    Masked and AweenymoUs 4:03 PM  

    Matt had m&e at WEENY. thUmbsUp.

    Got the AD semirebus at BRO[zap]MINDED/S[no zap]O. You'd think it'd be clear sailin from there, but M&A found several ways to clog up the works. Tough bark on them clues. MESSY. Fun, tho.

    Acrosses had the zap button. Downses only had mute.
    ADs weren't symmetric; approve.

    Weejects Are Back Yay Dept.:
    * OPA. Better clue: "Outer edge of a big Florida town??"
    * ANA. Better clue: "___ Green Gables (casual version??)"
    * S[non zap]O. Major show of Mattspect, working the weeny outcasts into theme participation. Approve.
    * TDS. Wweject plural abbr. of convenience. Trifecta.
    * TNT. I thought Nobel invented this stuff.
    * ED ESSA. Reminds M&A of a non-giraffe-kissin constructioneer, that he met somewhere before.

    Back to workin on the Holiday Meta Runtzravaganza...
    M&A

    M and Also 4:14 PM  

    p.s.
    Ever track the ADs on the network's nightly news? First half (the true newsworthy stuff) has no ADs! Last half ( mostly fluff pieces) is unmercifully peppered with ADs. Counted 18 ADs, some 60 some 30 sec spots, in the last 14 minutes; impressive density. Advice: mute last 14 minutes, and work on a runtpuz or two. :-)

    M&A
    23 shoppin days left.

    Casco Kid 4:16 PM  

    From the wherever-you-go-there-you-are file: I spotted this -- written in stone -- while walking @cascodog in Ann Arbor last week #LestWeForget

    Mohair Sam 4:28 PM  

    That's one fine lookin' dog @Casco.

    Shelly Gitlow 4:43 PM  

    Agreed- not the greatest puzzle - but kudos for getting both Charo and Pia Zadora into the grid.

    GILL I. 4:54 PM  

    @Casco...What a cutie. Does it have corgi in her?

    Casco's Dog 5:15 PM  

    @Gill I - There's maybe a little Corgie left in me. I ate one on Friday, damned yappy dog.

    Dora the Explorer 5:23 PM  

    How is III Iotas in 91A?

    Harry Stotle 5:33 PM  

    @Dora the Explorer -

    Because the Greek IOTA looks like a capital I.

    Arlene 6:13 PM  

    I got the rebus at LEGAL adVICE. But didn't finish the NE - just couldn't get the BALLad, and didn't know SLadE.
    As others have mentioned, I gave it up after hitting a wall in the NE - maybe I could have finished if I came back, but just didn't want to spend more time on this.
    I didn't really understand why the title is ZAP! even after seeing some explanations.

    Z 6:15 PM  

    "Yap?" Corgis don't yap. More Basso than dogs twice their size.

    @Casco Kid - how timely as syndiland has been posting on the meta all week.

    Fun Sunday. For whatever reason it didn't seem at all sloggish to me. And then I come here to find all this "weeny" "prek" "Hooha" discussion going on.

    GILL I. 8:09 PM  

    @Z...You left out the MESSY TSETSE.

    michael 8:54 PM  

    I liked this one -- nice theme, challenging, but doable,

    Z 10:14 PM  

    @Gill I. - FOLLOW THE LEER... the BRO-MINDED with an IRISH BALL tells CHARO, "Don't SAY NO. You'll soon WARM TO my MUST SEE FINALE. Just LAY DOWN, I'll help your CHANGE OF DRESS and we'll both CHEER UP."

    amtravco 12:08 AM  

    A toughie for me, but I did finish it in under an hour - 59:40 to be exact. I took the theme to be "AdBlock," after the popular ad-blocking browser software: the word Ad in a single "block."

    Kris in ABCA 12:20 AM  

    @casco's dog was my favorite part of,the solving experience!

    James Mac 10:40 AM  

    Best part of the puzzle for me was the Slade answer (and Rex's link). And I wish I had a name as cool as Neville "Noddy" Holder (lead singer).

    Anonymous 10:42 AM  

    I keep looking for someone to use Evil Roy ________ 1972, for a clue to Slade. Starring John Astin, Gomez Addams, Rudy's dad, Patty's hubbie. Etc etc.

    Jon 2:40 PM  

    Got the rebus immediately at LA/DLE, ULNA. Never thought I'd ever hear of Charo or Zadora ever, let alone in one puzzle. But unlike those two ladies I was firmly GIRDED, thus Naticked at NE. I had STYX. I thought Slade was just rock 'n roll. BTW ZAP AD is so flummoxingly arbitrary.
    Best, Jon

    Cliff Martin 4:45 PM  

    It helped that I shopped at West Elm two days ago in Vancouver, B.C., and that I recently added canna (aka tropicanna) to my garden.

    Cheryl Davies 11:32 PM  

    Syndicated solver, I never comment. This was The Worst Puzzle Ever. Sorry Matt. Didn't get it at all.

    rondo 1:01 PM  

    Seems odd that the quickest area to fall for me was ZLOTYS//ZADORA/OOCYTE area (topped by HAWN). Definitely remember Goldie on Laugh-In in her bikini, and Pia without a bikini in early 1980s men's magazine - both yeah babies.
    Otherwise a slow uninteresting chore to fill the grid. Good example of why I usually skip Sundays.

    No no.s = no play

    Dirigonzo 3:28 PM  

    As usual it took me just about the whole grid to catch on to the rebus, which I finally did at L(AD)IESFIRST/LADLE. My second trip through the grid seeking ADs to ZAP! was a lot more fun than the first, and if I hadn't mis-remembered Ms ZADORA name as "Mia Padora" everything would have been fine, but that brain cramp caused OWS.

    7444 - IFOLD.

    spacecraft 4:17 PM  

    Yikes! First: yesterday, somehow my paper published the puzzle from May (?!) 14th. May? MAY???? I've been doing this every day for three years and I've never seen that one. (DNF, if you wanna know).

    And now today: double yikes! I got 'er done, but almost the whole page looks as MESSY as a dog's MEAL. "Well, fine" morphed from I'dtaKETHAT to I'dliKETHAT; the final version, BELIKETHAT, doesn't really fit the clue very well. In a specific context, I understand it, but basically the clue is off base. What with the common error giRDED, that corner gave me fits.

    So too did the SE, where my WINE JUGS started out as JarS, and GRANDDAD was GRANDpa. That's MY name: GRANDpa. Nobody ever called me GRANDDAD. But then that's me. And isn't "clarifies" ELaborATES? Sure--except when it's ELUCIDATES. Just wanted to, um, clear that up.

    Other stickers: "Hot-pot spot" ending in __OVE: I was thinking about those smudge-pots that they use in orange grOVEs. No. It's just a STOVE, man. Stop overthinking. And LIVEin instead of AT.

    I saw the trick straightaway in the NW: that the ADs were needed for the downs, and created familiar phrases on the acrosses; then you "zapped" the AD and were left with a wacky phrase clued with a "?" This helped me to get through it.

    Unknowns like OPA and EDESSA, and tough (in some cases, BRUTAL) cluing made this an all-morning affair. Challenging, no "medium" to it. But CHEERUP, spacecraft, you finished! Gotta give it an A-.

    490...oh well, fine. BELIKETHAT.

    KariSeattle 9:58 PM  

    Slogathon without elucidation didn't bowl me over, I felt this Sunday puzzle was foisted on me. Thank God for Merle Reagle!
    This one made me wince and I felt bomb barded /: (

    Bananafish 4:09 PM  

    Got naticked at OOCYTE / LOC.

    I, like many above, did not care for the title. How about "Out, Damned Spot" instead?

    Cliff 2:32 PM  

    If you are old enough, you may have "zapped" ads by
    muting the sound, because video taping hadn't been invented yet.

    manitoba 7:27 PM  

    Nobody but nobody calls fast forwarding a tape zapping. One of the worst Sunday puzzle I have TRIED to do in a very long time.

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