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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: PIG LATIN (62A: Hint to interpreting the five starred clues) — clues are all real words / names that, when heard, can be interpreted as PIG LATIN renderings of other words:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *X-ray [i.e. Wrecks] (JALOPIES)
  • 24A: *Ashtray [ i.e. Trash] (RIP TO PIECES)
  • 32A: *eBay [i.e. Be] (LIVE AND BREATHE) (not STINGING INSECT?)
  • 41A: *Outlay [i.e. Lout] (KNUCKLE-DRAGGER)
  • 48A: *Airway [i.e. Wear] (DETERIORATE)

Word of the Day: George SEATON (67A: George who directed "Miracle on 34th Street") —
George Seaton (April 17, 1911 – July 28, 1979) was an American screenwriterplaywrightfilm director and producer, and theatre director. […] Seaton joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a contract writer in 1933. His first major screen credit was the Marx Brothers comedy A Day at the Races in 1937. In the early 1940s he joined 20th Century Fox, where he remained for the rest of the decade, writing scripts for Moon Over Miami, Coney Island, Charley's Aunt, The Song of Bernadette, and others before making his directorial debut with Diamond Horseshoe in 1945. From this point on he was credited as both screenwriter and director for most of his films, including The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Miracle on 34th Street, Apartment for Peggy, Chicken Every Sunday, The Big Lift, For Heaven's Sake, Little Boy Lost, The Country Girl, and The Proud and Profane.
But Not Goodbye, Seaton's 1944 Broadway debut as a playwright, closed after only 23 performances, although it later was adapted for the 1946 film The Cockeyed Miracle by Karen DeWolf. In 1967 he returned to Broadway to direct the Norman Krasna play Love in E Flat, which was a critical and commercial flop. The musical Here's Love, adapted from his screenplay for Miracle on 34th Street by Meredith Willson, proved to be more successful.
Seaton won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay twice, for Miracle on 34th Street (which also earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay) and The Country Girl, and was nominated for Oscars three additional times. He received The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1961. He directed 1970's blockbuster hit Airport, which earned 10 Oscar nominations, including one for Seaton's screenplay. (wikipedia)
• • •


Hi all. It's time for my week-long, just-once-a-year-I-swear pitch for financial contributions to the blog. If you enjoy (or some other verb) this blog on a regular or fairly regular basis, please consider what the blog is worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for your enjoyment (or some other noun) for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. I'm in my ninth (!) year of writing about the puzzle every single day, and while there are occasions when the daily grind gets a little wearisome, for the most part I've been surprised by how resilient my passion for solving and talking about crosswords has been. It's energizing to be part of such an enthusiastic and diverse community of solvers, and I'm excited about the coming year (I have reason to be hopeful … mysterious reasons …). Anyway, I appreciate your generosity more than I can say. This year, said generosity allowed me to hire a regular guest blogger, Annabel Thompson, who now brings a fresh, youthful voice to my blog on the first Monday of every month. So thanks for that. As I said last year, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:

Rex Parker
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905

And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.

I assume that worked.

For people who send me actual, honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail (I love snail mail!), this year my thank-you cards are "Postcards from Penguin"—each card a different vintage Penguin paperback book cover. Who will be the lucky person who gets … let's see … "Kiss, Kiss" by Roald DAHL? Or "The Case of the Careless Kitten" by ERLE Stanley Gardner? Or the Selected Verse of Heinrich HEINE? It could be you. Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say so. No problem. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I remain most grateful for your readership. Now on to the puzzle …

• • •

Not much time to give to this one, as I had to sit here and wait nearly an hour for the NYT's website to behave. So now it's late. Anyway, the puzzle was mostly worth the wait—very clever. I don't usually like the whole answers-as-clues genre of puzzle, but the weird way this puzzle revealed itself made the answer phrases delightful, in a "what the hell?" kind of way. In retrospect, they can seem a bit forced (esp. LIVE AND BREATHE as an answer for the simple word [Be]), but the phrases are colorful and bouncy and I have no problem with them. I do think [Bee] would've been a better clue angle than [Be], but with the theme answers this densely packed, you gotta go with whatever works. The good thing about all the theme answers is that they are all good stand-alone phrases—unlike STINGING INSECT, which would make a fine clue for [Bee], but is no good on its own in the grid. All of these themers are plausible fill—not just clues posing as fill. Yes, this makes a big difference to puzzle quality / enjoyment, at least for me.

Fill is pretty nice, especially considering theme density. TINORE makes me squish my nose up a bit, but nothing else made me flinch even a little. OK, maybe GSN, which seems to be a casualty of trying to redeem ADEAL (45D) with the cross-reference IT'S (65A). If that's a problem, it's a small one. Favorite clue is probably 30D: Attribute of the 1%? (REDUCED FAT). It's bold, just this side of far-fetched. But that's why god invented "?" clues—to give leeway to boldness. I didn't know SEATON, but the rest of this was pretty much over-the-plate. Approved.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:21 AM  

    Medium for me.  Clever, very smooth, lots to like.  I was almost finished before I started sounding out the PIG LATIN clues, so finally getting the theme didn't help.

    DOsage before DOLLOP. 

    Excellent Thurs.!

    Steve J 12:23 AM  

    I thought this was excellent. Very fun theme, both in terms of being clever as well as being hidden just well enough that it took some work to figure out what was going on (either that, or I was just really slow getting PIG LATIN's crosses). And I really like that the theme phrases/words are really strong on their own (I especially loved KNUCKLE DRAGGER).

    Some very nice cluing outside the theme - for REDUCED FAT and for DOJO, for example - added to the fun. The couple little bumps in the fill were, in the end, immaterial. Great puzzle.

    wreck 12:23 AM  

    This one was fun. I was really scratching my head until I parsed PIGLATIN. It came together pretty quickly after that. I wasn't too fond (is that a litotes?!)of RIP TO PIECES for "trash" though.

    John Child 12:45 AM  

    Whew. I went down to the SE early on to try to decipher the funky clues, but two names I didn't know and GSN which I've never heard of shut me out there. So I solved through crosses only in a Friday time. Struggled at the end to fill in the SE even having figured out the gimmick - the G was the last letter.

    This one out up enough fight that I was very pleased to wrestle it to the ground. Thanks Mr Polin.

    Jim Quinlan 12:53 AM  

    Too bad MICHAEL didn't fit into 17-Across.

    X-ray ark! Or pay!

    That coulda been a lot of fun.

    Anonymous 1:01 AM  

    Clever theme but otherwise dull.

    Alan 1:57 AM  

    Struggled mightily, but ended with a hard-won solve. JALOPIES early from the crosses, feeling totally clueless until PIGLATIN, and amazingly enough, still lost for some time after. RIPTOshredS for a looong time (confirmed erroneously by stAid for GRAVE). DOsage before DOLLOP, which I nixed for cheese CURd, crown for TIARA, ITS/AgirL. Thinking Bee not Be for eBay, then sputtered through LIVEANDletlivE. Had a fun time though.

    Moly Shu 2:33 AM  

    Struggled, but limped home after I changed InS to IRS which let me see DRAGGER. Hand up for DOsage. Opel before OLDS, and plAN before SPAN. Didn't know DORIC or KRISTEN, but sussable through crosses. I had PIGLATIN before any of the other themer's and still struggled with them. Not as enjoyable for me, but appreciate what seemed like a Saturday for me. Liked the clue for BYE and the misdirection of AMEX.

    Andy 3:36 AM  

    Enjoyed this one . Only real snag was using Pete King (NFL writer for Sports Illustrated) instead of Pele

    Am quite curious as to what issues Rex had with the Times website, because when I first completed the grid in 12 minutes the app told me that it wasn't quite done correctly. Turns out I had typoed in one of the answers. It only took me 10 or 15 seconds to find he error, yet when I fixed it the puzzle completion time jumped up to 31 minutes. This is by no means something I will lose sleep over, but it was odd. Does anyone know if they are they working on the app again?

    Mike 3:36 AM  

    I just don't grok Pig Latin so this puzzle was a huge grind for me.

    Anonymous 3:47 AM  


    What's wrong with RIP TO PIECES for "trash"? I interpret this as "criticize" rather than "vandalize".

    Jisvan 3:55 AM  

    Every single thing that Moly Shu said, except had SPec, not plAN, before SPAN. Finished without understanding the theme, but a few moments of staring (off the clock) paid off when I realized it was the clue that was in pig latin, not the answer! Duh! That could have been a big help, but there were enough get-able crosses to make it work. Nice struggle. Wish I could say my 52 minute time was due to an app glitch, but I think not...(sigh)

    jae 4:18 AM  

    @Andy - The problem I had was not with an app. When I tried to use the NYT website at 7:00 pm PST to print out the puzzle in AcrossLite it wouldn't come up. My iPad Stand Alone app worked fine. About an hour later the NYT website was working.

    CBCD 6:00 AM  

    The clue for 8 down - STEEPLE - is carillon holder.

    That is incorrect.. A carillon would not fit in a steeple, which is usually a spire. A carillon goes in a bell tower.

    Conrad 6:19 AM  

    Struggled in a good way. Fell victim to most of the misdirection: mOrsel before DOsage before DOLLOP. iOnIC before DORIC. yaLu before NILE. Misread "siemens" as "Siemens" and was thinking former company name. Studied physics so long ago I didn't know that the venerable mho had been renamed. Aware of GSN but not their slogan. Good Thursday.

    Anonymous 7:15 AM  

    Iyay entway onyay inelay otay eesay indfay ayay igpay atinlay anslatortray. Asyay entionedmay, emesthay areyay otnay ymay upcay ofyay eatay. ooTay insideyay okeyjay orfay emay.

    Some very clever clues. A few "dust 'em off" words hidden in the far corners of the grey cells but thought the "medium" ranking was correct.


    Anonymous 7:28 AM  

    Hated it. That is all.

    phil phil 8:05 AM  

    X-ray and wair being homonyms made it DNF

    X ray being RX or prescriptions just killed me not seeing the clue as a 'sounds like'

    mathguy 8:20 AM  

    Liked it because it was an engrossing struggle. Feel pleased because I got it with only minimum help. I used my word finder on MI?? for "Go without saying?" By the way, that's a bad clue. Go?

    NW was the toughest. Didn't know SNOG, wasn't thinking soccer for football, thought of DOJO as a monastery not a karate school, and didn't see that X-Ray translated into rex= wrecks.

    Four wonderful clues. "French, e.g., to Brits." "What a seed often has." "Location of a bad apple?" "Shelter investigator for short."

    It seems to me that Will is not consistent in his use of question marks in clues.

    It's disappointing to me that physicists have renamed the mho. Physicists aren't known for their senses of humor, are they?

    Brody 8:25 AM  

    Got through this one with most difficulty in the NE--finally guessed TINORE and the rest fell. I liked the theme, but count me in the "Rx" camp looking for something to do with prescriptions for 17A. Fun start to my Thursday.

    evil doug 8:25 AM  

    "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" wouldn't fit, so I settled for "snog".

    "Reid" and "Arafat" next to one another seems about right. I guess I respect one more than the other....

    "Knuckle-dragger" offers a nice image.

    "I hate meeces to pieces."--Jinx


    Generic Solver 8:42 AM  

    Definitely much harder than a medium for me, in fact pretty much a total washout, which is rare for me for a Thursday. Having an obscure (to me at least) name such as "Mara Rooney" plus the Game Show Network in the revealer pretty much sealed my fate.

    PuzzleCraig 8:42 AM  

    @CBCD, see the Wikipedia article for "steeple". A steeple is a tower usually topped by a spire which may incorporate other components including a lantern and a belfry. Also electronic carillons don't take up the space of the more traditional structures. :)

    Andrew Morrison 8:50 AM  

    GSN was unknown to me, but it fit. TINORE seemed clunky to this non-geologist, but it fit. Medium, pretty fun puzzle. I too struggled with the theme until a bright light pierced the dark recesses of my brain and illuminated my long-lost fluency in PIGLATIN.

    AliasZ 8:52 AM  

    Liked it a lot. Igpay atinlay. Yay!

    After JALOPIES didn't make any sense for the clue, I reread the clue for PIGLATIN, which I haven't done carefully enough the first time, and then it became clear that I had to re-interpret the starred clues, not the answers. Aha, x-ray = Rex, you know, the sweet guy who proceeds each day to RIP TO PIECES (ashtray) puzzles he doesn't like.

    The DOOK award today goes to CCED. Who is this Ed guy who gets a copy of every single email?
    Never heard of SNOG, but I'm not proud of it.
    Did Rooney MARA airway a TIARA? I forget.
    The CUR|CURL crossing was cute. Can't wait to watch Olympic CURLing and paint drying.
    ARAFAT crossing REDUCED FAT was even cuter.
    IMHO, MHO is missing something.

    In the theory of Western music, mode (from Latin modus) generally refers to a type of scale, coupled with a set of characteristic melodic behaviors. This use, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the Middle Ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music (Wikipedia). Some of the modes are Lydian, Ionian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and yes, Dorian (or DORIC). To demonstrate, here is the mesmerizing Quartetto DORICo by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) played by the DORIC String Quartet.

    Feel an urge to utter niceties?
    Make it better: use a litotes.

    This puzzle was not unpleasant at all.

    Mohair Sam 8:59 AM  

    Great Thursday, medium solve here. What's not to like about this one? Lot's of clever cluing and relatively little "ese".

    I'm surprised that Pig Latin is still so well known, thought there would be more complaints.

    Cake for CURL cost us a ton of time, and no help there from the actress Wiig - we don't know her. Nearly naticked on the "Y" right in the middle - got it on the second alphabet run - big aha moment, last letter in puzz for us.

    Somebody here coined "Framingham" as a near natick, wonder if we shouldn't use Wellesley in honor of our young friend Annabel.

    @Evil Doug - Your French to Brits comment may be more accurate, but as you said, it wouldn't fit.

    Sir Hillary 9:07 AM  

    Excellent puzzle, although I erred my way to a pretty long solve: mOJO, Opel, eYE, gRAMS, Cad (for CUR). Man, it TIX me off when I do that.

    Bird 9:15 AM  

    Love Pig Latin so loved the puzzle, but misremembered the rules (only first letter moved) so I was thinking RASHED as the clue for 24A.

    Had SQUARE at 8A before some crosses made me doubt the answer and before I got to clue for 29D.

    Whirred Whacks 9:18 AM  

    Difficult slog for me. I got the PIG LATIN theme early on, but the clues for the italicised answers were too obtuse for me, and solved all of them through the crosses (I guess I was like one of those 'Down Only' solvers I read about here).

    For Ancient Greek dialect, I first thought ATTIC and KOINE before settling on DORIC. Also, had SQUARE before STODGY for "opposite of hip."

    In the end, I can say that I was able to DO OK.

    We've had 17" of rain in the first 17 days of December where I live. :-)

    Ludyjynn 9:20 AM  

    Despite getting PIGLATIN early on, I could not figure how to apply it to the other themers. I kept asking myself, AMI missing something here? So I played a fun game of "Hangman", filling in the blanks left from the helpful crosses, and finished error-free.

    Really liked some of the clueing, esp. for SNOG, PELE, AMEX,MIME, EDEN, BYE, DOLLOP, TLC and last but not least, REDUCEDFAT.

    @MohairSam, I second your Wellesley motion.

    Nicely done. Thanks, TP and WS.

    Lewis 9:24 AM  

    I solved it like a themeless, as I didn't get to the reveal until late, and didn't figure it out sooner. In any case, it was a fun solve because of some terrific cluing, such as on MIME, AMEX, DOJO, EXTRAS, and EDEN. A delight.

    joho 9:27 AM  

    No time other than to say this was super clever and fun with a theme and answers so fresh they jumped off the page. Nothing STODGY about this puzzle!

    Thanks, Timothy!

    Z 9:29 AM  

    CURd, Dosage, and shredS were my self-inflicted challenges. I never did parse rex --> wrecks. Hence, pretty challenging.

    I tend to think of a DOLLOP as a heaping spoonful, usually of whipped cream.

    Tuesday ION was a network, today we're doing chemistry (or is it physics?). IONic isn't it?

    A box to check to prove "I'm not a robot." I wonder how they're going to make sure I'm not a North Korean Hacker.

    wreck 9:43 AM  

    @anon 3:47am

    Point taken, I was thinking "trash" as in refuse.

    Arlene 9:43 AM  

    Tough one - almost quit. Had to Google various names to stay in the game. Finally got PIG LATIN, so that allowed me to finish.
    A lot of words I never knew - DOJO, SNOG to name two.
    I can't say I enjoyed this - but the AHA moment of figuring out the theme has its merits!

    Ellen S 9:53 AM  

    Somehow finished it with only a few times resorting to "Check Word" and one Google (or rather, IMDb) for Rooney MARA whose name I misplaced even though I know it. I needed the reveal to get about half the themers, which is the only way I got most of their crossers. But even though I found it fun.. or if we're practicing ourlitotes, it was a not unpleasant solve, and I finished in a not unreasonable time, for me, for a Thursday (started last night, finished this morning... slept in between) it felt really hard. I kept thinking, this puzzle belongs on what day is harder than Saturday!

    François Hollande 10:05 AM  

    While I recognize that it must be fun to call we French "cheese eating surrender monkies", I have to question the accuracy of that phrase. It was coined in reference to our not going along with America's most recent adventure in Iraq, one that has turned out ever so well. The fact is that we saw through the blatant lies and false innuendo that led to America's invasion of Iraq. I'm sure this was doubtless upsetting to many if not most of you. As upsetting as that was, you cannot justifiably overlook the fact that we were right and your previous administration was wrong, and actively lied to you and the world.

    So, as les adolescents say, va te faire foutre mal doug

    Nancy 10:09 AM  

    Unfay. But didn't inishfay. Too adbay.
    12D set me back for a while in the NE. I had heAVy instead of GRAVE. Eventually figured it out and came close to a solve. But didn't know SHEMP, didn't know SNOG (SNOG?????) and while I thought DIPS might be a term for nincompoops, I wasn't sure, so didn't write it in. Even when I saw JALOPIES as fitting the space, I didn't understand how it could mean king ("Rex"). If I had only thought "wrecks", but I didn't. A beautifully challenging puzzle.

    mmm cheese! 10:16 AM  

    Q: How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris?
    A: No one knows, it's never been tried.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

    OK for a non-rebus Thursday,

    Good to exercise our foreign language skills.

    Okay, okay, at 43 D I did have KRISTIN at first, but as I have noted in the past, on paper you can just add those three little lines and get KRISTEN and hope nobody notices.

    evil doug 10:31 AM  

    Wrong, frenchie. They were merely afraid. Again.

    Then there's DeGaulle. When he pulled out of NATO, he ordered all American troops out of France. Secretary of State Dean Rusk asked DeGaulle if his order to remove all U.S. troops from French soil also included the 60,000+ soldiers buried in France from World War I and World War II who helped save his ass....

    When I was flying in USAF throughout Europe in the peacetime 70s, overlying France was a pain because they'd restrict the number of American aircraft allowed each day. So we'd have to hold at the border until midnight when a new quota began. Meanwhile, flying for Delta years later, when a hurricane was hammering the Caribbean on our way to Caracas, the Cuban controllers couldn't have been more helpful in routing us right over Havana to avoid the weather.


    Anonymous 10:33 AM  

    Completing this puzzle did not bring me enjoyment.

    Altho the theme was clever enough for a Thursday, what ruined it for me were terms like SNOG? KNUCKLE-DRAGGER? (not cute if you never heard of it!) And I don't get BYE. Can someone explain that one?

    @generic solver- it's Rooney Mara.


    Josh 10:35 AM  

    As someone above hinted at: using homophones for 17- and 48-Across seems a bit like cheating. The other themers work really well, but rax and wair aren't things. Well, unless you're talking about roast beef franchises--is Rax still in existence? I remember going there as a kid--and Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc, for which, according to the interwebs, WAIR is the stock symbol.

    I like the concept, but the fill is really dull. If the wind had been moving in a slightly different direction, I can't help but think that Rex would have pointed that out, too. But apparently if a puzzle is "delightful in a 'what the hell' kind of way" the fill gets a pass.

    Not to say that the fill isn't clean--just dull.

    Z 10:43 AM  

    @anon10:33 - In a tournament the top players/teams will be "seeded" and receive a first round BYE. For example, in the NFL post-season, the top two conference winners are the 1 seed and the 2 seed. They have a BYE the first week of the play-offs.

    Hartley70 10:54 AM  

    WTF. DNF. And I'm doublely defeated by seeing this rated medium. I just didn't get it, even after PIGLATIN gave a hint. WAIR for deteriorate? Now I see the homonym, but shouldn't that have been consistent in the themes? And even the fill was beyond me, MHO, BYE. I'm depressed.

    Hartley70 10:58 AM  

    And now I'm more depressed for spelling doubly incorrectly.

    jberg 11:01 AM  

    I figured out pretty quickly that it was PIG LATIN, but couldn't parse X-RAY-- not only a homophone, but you had to guess the vowel, which isn't quite right. Oh, wait -- you pronounce the X in X-ray as "ex," don't you? Just occurred to me. in that case, great puzzle, less great solver here. I think I only fully figured it out with DETERIORATE (what my mind is doing).

    Whiz before CURL, Square before STODGY, Opel before OLDS (which was not really the name of the division, was it? Or was G.M. supposed to indicate the short version?)

    Proud to get MHO right off, though. As for physicists' sense of humor, see the names of the quarks. As for the French defending Paris, see 1870.

    The French were right 11:05 AM  

    Francois, don't waste your breath. Guys like Evil Doug have no ability to tell right from wrong. They think that the murder and torture of innocent people show strength, and they don't have any insight into the consequences of their actions. Therefore people who disagree with them are wimps, pansies, and sissy's. They were bullies in high school and they have remained bullies into their stunted adulthoods. They have high rates of violent behavior, failed relationships, racism, homophobia, and paranoia. Pathetic. But there have always been men like him, and there always will be.

    Anonymous 11:07 AM  

    Hrtley, you sound dishartleyned.

    Roo Monster 11:15 AM  

    Hey All !
    Ok puz, seemed a tad hard for a non-rebus ThursPuz, but then again, it is, after all, a ThursPuz, so you expect a little resistence. (Roundabout run-on sentence!)

    Had Square for STODGY first (STODGY is a cool word), wanted Cheese whiz for CURL, Opel for OLDS. Also not thrilled with MIME, had MutE at first.

    Put me in the clues-should-have-been-more-straight-forward camp (themers, that is).


    Jon 11:24 AM  

    Got the Pig Latin theme immediately due to ay-sound. NE & SE stymied me due to SQUARE & GMAN. Got to think outside the box and my AMEX is platinum.

    mac 11:34 AM  

    Lots off fun! I had a lot done before I got to the pig latin answer. Not experienced with it, I had to figure it out, which added to the pkeasure.

    Nobody had "frog" instead of snog? Knuckle dragger was new to me, but easy to figure out.

    chefbea 11:34 AM  

    Got the pig latin right away..cute puzzle.

    I will be absent for a week or so..Going up north to spend xmas with family and friends. Hopefully I will be able to do some puzzles and check in with you rexites. gotta go pack all my warm things!!

    what's this new robot thingy??

    RnRGhost57 11:40 AM  

    "Lafayette, we are here"

    Carola 11:47 AM  

    Super puzzle - witty theme, nicely opaque cluing. Seeing the italicized clues all ending in -ay, I immediately thought of PIG LATIN but then could do nothing with it: how in the world does JALOPIES fit with x-ray?? Took a lo-o-o-ong time before I figured it out, sustained along the way by DOLLOP, STODGY, MIRAGE, SNOG. Gratifying to finish.

    Joseph Michael 12:04 PM  

    Some clever cluing but thought this puzzle was kind of a mess. Rx? Wair? Would have been OK if the clues were all homophones, but the inconsistency made this a real KNUCKLE DRAGGER.

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:12 PM  

    Pre-ahar moment activities:
    * Filled the NW pdq. Learned SNOG -- was kinda expecting a plu, from the clue's casement. Wondered about the derivation of SNOG. Lost precious nanosecs.
    * Filled JALOPIES, mostly from crosses. Cute clue for AMI -- avoids bein SNOGgy, M&A mused, losin mucho more nanosecs.
    * Now had yer typical wtfwhs (hint: ends "with hollandaise sauce") moment. Eyeballed those sneaky, snoggy?, leanin letters in X-ray. "Well, here's yer rodeo," I postulates, while maintainin my clown-in-a-barrel naivete. Many nanosecs elapse.
    * PitStopped at the homemade cinnamon roll refuelin station. Lip smacks happily ticked off the nanosecs. Had to. Knuckles were draggin.
    * Refreshed, returned to the fray. Looked for the next snoggy leanin letters clue, and found "eBay". (Okay, okay... so I missed one, at first.) Then saw "outlay". Lengthy nanosecs runoffs story short: figured out the NonFrench lingo lab exercise. "Hey! All right then. I speak *this* stuff..." Mighty clever. Fun idea. Would make a cool runtpuz.

    GSN = Weeject of the Week (Weekject). Just luv it, when I have no earthly idea what the lil varmint even means.


    old timer 12:16 PM  

    The medieval modes are still found in traditional and folk music, especially Aeolian, Dorian, and Mixolydian. To hear what they sound like play a C scale on the piano. That's our normal major scale, and is the Ionian mode. Now, using only the white keys, play octaves starting with D, E, F, etc. What does your ear find pleasing?

    P.S. the French defended Paris all by themselves in 1914. And I for one am glad they and the Germans avoided any battle for the city in 1940 and 1944. It's a beautiful city and, yes, you can find some very good cheese there.

    François Hollande 12:26 PM  

    We were afraid? Of what - according to the American administration we were going to be welcomed to Iraq as liberators, given flowers and tea with honey, be in and out in six months. Certainly, there was nothing to be afraid of.

    In WW I over 4.3% of the French population died defending their country, over 17% were actively engaged in combat.

    In WW II, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the French Army and the remnants of the Belgian army lost a decisive battle to the German forces, one which Churchill described as a "colossal failure of the BEF". The remaining French soldiers maintained a defensive position, fighting the Germans long enough to permit the evacuation at Dunkirk. They then all died or were captured, leaving no effective army to defend France.

    DMan 12:42 PM  


    Looked up the derivation of SNOG.
    It is slang in the UK for "a passionate kiss". (French kiss?) Possibly derived from "snug".

    Now U (and m&e) have been properly on fused cay.


    Anonymous 12:44 PM  

    thought the puzzle sucked. just quit after 1/2 hour.

    Hartley70 12:58 PM  

    LOL Good one! I was just having a tantrum! I've perked up now.

    dk 1:21 PM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 m🐷🐷🐷n pigs)

    Sigh my youth comes back to haunt me. In the early 60's I was subjected to any number of my cohorts speaking in PIG LATIN. As I was learning the language of snogging surrender monkeys I was much (tres) annoyed.

    In retaliation a few of us created a newspeak version of PIGLATIN and that has destroyed my ability to recall the actual. This explains why even when I had completed the puzzle I still "understand no" as I once would have said.

    sofa for DOJO had me going - the rest fell like the Maginot Line.

    Still can not believe after all these years the fish that rise to ED's bait…. or should I say chum.

    Charles Flaster 1:25 PM  

    DNF. Had all but upper left quickly including 4 out of 5 starred clues. Did not know how to parse pig Latin even with seeing "ay".
    Errors were sofa for DOJO and saps for DIPS.
    That hurt and I could not erase them although sofa did not feel right with the ?.
    My Waterloo was missing OMEGA -- usually a gimme.
    So it was enjoyable and rated medium.
    Liked cluing for EDEN, BYE and Amex.
    I know people who are stodgy and hip-- usually in the 1%.
    Is ONYX appropriate for inky?
    Rex-- hope u liked being synonym for 17 Across.
    Thanks TP - always happy to spot your name

    RAD2626 1:31 PM  

    Jealous of everyone who thought it was fun and/or medium. I thought it was just brutally hard. Got JALOPIES from crosses and had absolutely no clue about the clue. And even if I solved the revealer early and remembered how to do PIG LATIN I would have to have stared a long time to get LIVE AND BREATHE from "be".
    Just plain very very hard.

    Loved clue for BYE even if I missed that too.

    Facts be pesky things, they often contradiction common conceptions 1:59 PM  

    Actually, the Maqinot Line didn't fall. The problem with the Maginot Line was that it didn't extend past Belgium to the Channel. The Germans simply went around it.

    Lewis 2:23 PM  

    Factoid: It took a long time for the spelling of JALOPy to become standard, with variants including jallopy, jaloppy, jollopy, jaloopy, jalupie, julappi, jalapa and jaloppie, and John Steinbeck spelled it gillopy in In Dubious Battle (1936).

    Quotoid: "We'll try to cooperate fully with the IRS, because, as citizens, we feel a strong patriotic duty not to go to jail." -- Dave Barry

    She's so heavy 2:24 PM  

    There is a character in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" named "The Maginot Line" because she's so fat that nobody can get past her.

    Fred Romagnolo 3:25 PM  

    DNF because of rex-Rx, didn't see homophonic connection; in fact I resented "airway" because I felt it was the only homophone in the set. It shows how we can flummox ourselves! I resisted giving up "square," so I threw out TIN ORE, later on realized it had to be the other way around. I wanted "frog" til OMEN gave me SNOG which I've never heard of. Also DIPS is a new one on me. I don't know OYE como va.

    Fred Romagnolo 3:33 PM  

    @Mohair Sam: ditto on Gig Young, I first became aware of him as Porthos in "The Three Musketeers. I was quite sad about his death after that terrific performance in "Horses."

    Casco Kid 3:56 PM  

    90 min. Chellenging. 6 googles SHEMP TIMORE AUDI OYE ROT HUGO and some clever insights from Mrs. Kid for NILE ONYX GRAVE MOORED made the puzzle gettable. I could complete only about 60% with copious errors without help. 30 minutes to get the trick and stop pushing rebuses.

    retired_chemist 4:17 PM  

    Enjoyed it. Fun theme, plenty of zingy fill.

    Solved as a themeless and filled in the theme answers correctly (after quite a few crosses) without knowing why or seeing the connection. Did wonder what a KNUCKLED RAGGER was. Finally got down to 62A and had my epiphany.

    Rejected ODEONS initially since I thought the plural was ODEA. Crosses convinced me otherwise.....

    ionIC before DORIC, a few other writeovers I can't remember.

    Thanks, Mr. Polin.

    Z 4:59 PM  

    Today's moral is don't be homophonicphobic.

    Z 5:02 PM  

    Captcha side note: I'm posting by just hitting the publish button, skipping the new checkbox. Apparently The Google still believes I'm not a robot (but am I a litotes.).

    Martel Moopsbane 5:06 PM  

    @François - not that it matters much, but "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was first used in an episode of The Simpsons. Some years later was it repurposed for pejorative use in the context of France's decison not to participate in the Iraq war.

    Chip Hilton 5:41 PM  

    I had ----K--D-AGGER for 41A. and felt pretty safe in going with cloaKanDdAGGER. That slowed down the pursuit for a bit. Overall, I enjoyed this clever puzzle, but thought that LIVEANDBREATHE for 'be' is a heckuva stretch. Like Rex, I loved REDUCEDFAT along with its clue. Good, challenging Thursday.

    RooMonster 6:21 PM  


    Since no one has answered your query, GSN is Game Show Network, a TV network that showed, well, you know...

    Not sure if it still even exists. Anyone?


    LaneB 6:21 PM  

    Simply too much I had no clue about, e.g.SNOG, BYE, ION,LIVEANDBREATHE, the use of the homoPhone for "wrecks" JALOPIES, and for "wear DETERIORATE and OYE. Thus a huge DNF and not a particularly enjoyable rebus-less Thursday. The puzzles are either getting tougher or I'm getting stupider. Guess which? Yeah, I know.umsnt

    Steve J 6:48 PM  

    @RooMonster: Yep, GSN is still around.

    Teedmn 6:50 PM  

    I could go on for IONs on how this kicked my butt! Wanted DOgO for DOJO (Googled), SHEpP for SHEMP (Googled), had gRAMS, SPec. up on a STAGE gave me RIP TOPIarys. Googled HUGO, dictionaried stannite and cassiterite. Gave up and came to the blog with PI_ _ATIN left blank so never got the theme. And there were so many fun clues but I just felt cross at failing.

    Great puzzle, Mr. Polin, I just wish I could have enjoyed it to the fullest!

    Anonymous 7:16 PM  

    Took a while to catch on to the Pig Latin and all the corners were tough. I never figured out the NW corner, mainly because I was translating 17+A as the Latin word "rex" and never realizing it should be "wrecks." Of course it didn't help that I didn't know DOJO and SNOG. I even for a while had the pejorative FROG for 4-D.

    OISK 9:10 PM  

    No problem for me once I caught the icktray. Never heard of oye come va and began with cheese cart. Challenging but clever.

    pfb 2:59 PM  

    It took me a while to get DOJO and thus JALOPIES (kept seeing RX as in prescription). I got the theme pretty quickly (once I saw 62 across). Solid Thursday offering.

    Cynthia Garcia 12:48 PM  

    A bit of a struggle but I liked the pig latin theme which made me smile once I got it. 'Knuckle-duster' eluded me - In my neck of the woods 'lout' is almost always preceded by 'lager' so I was looking for a boozy answer there. Had a slight plural issue with 'X-ray' (Surely that's only one 'jalopy'?) but it was no biggie. I had my fun.

    Stacy Donald 3:53 PM  

    How I Got My Lover Back {}...

    What a wonderful and a straight forward spell caster that has brought back joy and happiness into my life after i saw a post on how he helped a lady called Nicole Morgan; i decided to contact him for help, when i told this God sent man Dr Eboehi on how my lover left me for 2 years without calling nor texting me, When i shared this my sad experience with Dr Eboehi he said everything would be okay within 3 days i was like am i sure what this man is saying is real, So i decided to give him a try and at first i was thinking he was a scam and i taught he was like other spell casters who come online to add pain to people's life not knowing there feelings but to make money, this great man Dr Eboehi is never like that because he is for good and to make people happy with the one they love, am just so happy, Even before the 3 days i just got a call from a man who has left me for 2 years saying that he his sorry and that he wants me back to his life i was so happy, He invited me for a dinner which i met with him there and we both talked, he said he wants to prove that he would never leave me for any other lady he engaged me and also made me had access to all his account am so happy all thanks goes to this great man Dr Eboehi a man who has brought back joy to my life, friends that need help in getting their lover's back i would advice you contact Dr Eboehi via email: because he is the right man to help you get your problem solved.

    Thanks... Stacy Donald

    spacecraft 11:14 AM  

    Most disappointing: the puzzle page was smeared with patches of whiteout, resulting in the obliteration of clues 8 and 54-60 across as well as 11 and 12 down, plus the entire column of down clues starting at 35.

    Thus hampered, I could hardly finish, but I wonder if I could've anyway. I did thw NW okay, and got the piglatin trick, but erred with RIPTOshredS, a more familiar phrase to me than ...PIECES.

    Also, I have never heard the term KNUCKLEDRAGGER, so that part may have done me in in any event.

    I'm here today basically to ask one question, about the section I did complete:

    What in the world is SNOG, and how is it "French, e.g., to Brits?" I hope someone can clear this up.

    Connie 12:24 PM  

    I think it means French kiss.

    rondo 1:32 PM  

    I feel so umb-day on this Thursday.
    Somehow filled it all in with the last letter being the G in PIGLATIN. Only then did I get it and why up til then it was nonsense. What a dope!!

    OYE Como Va got much playing time on the old 8 track player in my 1963 Bonneville coupe. What a boat!
    MARA Rooney, named after 2 football-owning families, yeah baby. Saw all 3 of the "Girl who. . ." movies in Swedish first, after reading the books. Those Swedes did a helluva job.

    Always remember to search for TIX to prevent Lyme disease.
    Don't consider SHEMP as an "original" Stooge; he came after Curly disappeared, no?? And Iggy Pop didn't fit either.

    Couldn't we get Tara instead of Harry REID?

    Today's captcha:
    check ho-hum

    rondo 2:21 PM  

    Oops! Rooney MARA, didn't remember which fottball family name came first. Anyway , Noomi Rapace was far more convincing in the Swedish version.

    LongBeachLee 5:25 PM  

    Snog is Brit for kiss, which includes the French version

    DMG 7:19 PM  

    Undoubtedly I'm the last to post. It's been a long day., and this puzzle didn't make it easier. Actually it pretty much ate me. Got most of the stuff that didn't involve the italicized clues, and definitely didn't get PIGLATIN. so,combine a lot of unknown names and a trick language I've never experienced. A big DNF. Maybe tomorrow?


    Anonymous 12:33 AM  

    Me too!
    Let the swine have their language, me no likey!

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