Doggone quaintly / TUE 12-9-14 / Black Swan role / Gotcha facetiously / William Sydney Porter's pen name / Doggedly pursuing / Mad Libs label / Fork-tailed bird / Gently used transaction / Pre-ayatollah leader

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Constructor: Paul Hunsberger

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (***for a Tuesday***)



THEME: SHOE (67A: Item depicted by this puzzle's circled letters) stepping on gum — this is what the circled squares depict when you connect them all with a pen or maybe just your mind...

Word of the Day: D LEAGUE (7D: N.B.A. farm system, informally) —
The NBA Development League, or NBA D-League, is the National Basketball Association's official minor league basketball organization. Known until the summer of 2005 as the National Basketball Development League (NBDL), the NBA D-League started with eight teams in the fall of 2001. In March 2005, NBA commissioner David Stern announced a plan to expand the NBA D-League to fifteen teams and develop it into a true minor league farm system, with each NBA D-League team affiliated with one or more NBA teams. At the conclusion of the 2013–14 NBA season, 33% of NBA players had spent time in the NBA D-League, up from 23% in 2011. Beginning in the 2014–15 season, the league will consist of 18 teams; 17 will be either single-affiliated or owned by an NBA team, with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants being the lone exception. (wikipedia)
• • •
Well, once I was done, I could indeed draw a reasonable facsimile of a shoe by connecting all the relevant letters. And there's some GUM, cute. Sadly, though, before I got to the art portion of our puzzle, I had to endure the actual-putting-letters-in-boxes portion of our puzzle, and *that* was decidedly less fun. The fill here is nothing short of abysmal, especially for a 78-word Tuesday, especially for the puzzle that bills itself as the best in the world or whatever they're saying now. I'm trying to find some way to express my feelings about -EERS, and  … I think my favorite ("favorite") thing about it is that it's crossing EERO. If you're going to put bad (i.e. terrible) fill in your grid, why not be comical about it. Cross it with something that is also not desirable, and that kind of rhymes! At least that makes the badness semi-interesting. ODO and OVO and AH, SO!? If "GUM" is the thing the toe of the shoe is stepping on, I can only assume that the AH, SO under the heel is a kind of metaphor for that other material you wouldn't want to step in.


The puzzle doesn't even bother to try to hide the easternmost SOLE and the HEEL. Honestly, this puzzle is at least two drafts away from being presentable. Hide those words and make the fill even semi-presentable, and you've got a cute little Tuesday. But as is, no. It's bad. AIRCON? I keep laughing every time I look at that answer, for three reasons. 1. No one ever says that (though in last two minutes I've had one person tell me it's British, and another tell me he (not British) grew up saying it but was recently mocked by a 20-something for saying it), 2. It's hilarious that it's clued as [House cooler, for short], as us normals have an even *shorter* way of saying it (or writing it, anyway) … and 3. because I like to imagine AIRCON is some kind of sequel to "CON AIR." Gah. You know, the problem is almost never "bad idea." It's almost always, lately, "decent idea that hasn't been sufficiently well developed or polished or crafted." The "Good enough!" mentality reigns. So many OYS.

    I liked D LEAGUE (7D: N.B.A. farm system). That's about it.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    94 comments:

    Zeke 12:17 AM  

    That portion of the shoe called a heel in the puzzle is not a heel, but a quarter. The first sole in the puzzle is a heel.

    What on earth is wrong with a response along the lines of "I really like the concept, but how about we get rid of the factual errors?"

    Dan 12:35 AM  

    Also, don't forget the double "egg": 60D Egg: Prefix & 25A Fallopian tube traveler = EGGCELL. Whoops. This one definitely needed some revising.

    jae 12:48 AM  

    Nifty Tues.  Medium for me.  Yes, it took a fair amount of dreck to pull this off but I think it turned out OK.  It's a Tues. after all.

    I believe the SHOE in question is a Hi (High)-Heel Sneaker which would make the HEEL placement correct and which goes along with the 1a clue.  Tommy Tucker came out with the song in '63 on Checker records.

    Casco Kid 12:55 AM  

    Quick Tuesday, which measures the degree to which I've absorbed crosswordese, because what isn't crosswordese in this puzzle?

    I liked DLEAGUE, as we have the Portland Red Claws in town. Tickets are still too expensive to purchase casually, unlike the AA Portland Sea Dogs, which can be a spur of the moment decision and funded from the lint in your pocket.

    Weird ones today, with a little recluing:
    [Ireland, with "the"] OLDSOD. Really? That's a new one. How about [Harvard yard the week before commencement]
    [House cooler for short] AIRCON is in the language? Naw. [Cage vehicle, to a dyslexic]
    [Hang like a hummingbird] HOVER. Hang? Nah. I'd prefer [Jetpack's neutral]

    Steve J 1:03 AM  

    Wow, that was amazingly underwhelming, even accounting for the low expectations I have for Tuesdays.

    Miscellany:

    Isn't EGG CELL redundant? I'm not aware of any multicellular eggs.

    AIR CON is indeed said by the Brits. Never heard an American say it.

    @jae: High-heel sneakers? I guess there's a song, but we always called them high-tops. Was high-heel sneakers a generational and/or regional thing? (Meanwhile, I'm having an inner chuckle at the train wreck that a Nike stiletto would be, which is what I pictured with "high-heel sneakers".) Regardless, from everything I can quickly look up regarding shoe construction, heel always refers to the part under the rear of the foot (i.e., under the heel), not up its back.

    Jisvan 1:28 AM  

    High heel sneakers are indeed a thing. They are not stilettos, generally, but platforms or wedges. They are not quite as uncomfortable as regular high hells--I mean heels-- no I DO mean hells! OK Tuesday, I guess. Meh.

    NYer 2:01 AM  

    Hi-Heel Sneakers is a song by Tommy Tucker. Also covered by Jose Feliciano.

    In the country where I was born (Pop. 100 Million), everyone says "aircon". And they aren't British.

    jae 2:06 AM  

    @Steve J. - actually  High Heel Sneakers and High Top Sneakers are two different things. 

    John Child 2:08 AM  

    @Casco One way to define crosswordese would be to look at how often a word has been used in, say, the Shortz era. Xwordinfo.com does that for each puzzle (and for a Jackson you can subscribe for a year).

    Yesterday's puzzle had 15 words that have been used more than 100 times, and 32 that have been used more than 50 times. Today's puzzle had 12 and 25 words, respectively.

    Flipping that over, today's puzzle has 21 words used fewer than 10 times, and yesterday's had 17.

    I agree with the critique on ova and egg. It's easy to fix too.:

    N O U N
    O D E R
    E D D Y

    That's not brilliant, but at least no OVO. The EE cross was unfortunate, but look how constrained that section is by the interesting theme.

    I enjoyed this, but agree with the sentiment that it could have used more feedback and another round of polishing.

    Moly Shu 2:44 AM  

    Well, I'll be DEUCED. Where exactly is that quaintly said? I'd like to visit. RESALE RESOLE and OSOLE, blecch. Disliked it so much, didn't even bother to draw the shoe when I finished. I'll just take y'all's word for it that a shoe is there.

    John Child 5:41 AM  

    @Moly It was deucedly popular in Victorian and Edwardian England. Dr. Watson might have asked Sherlock, "How the deuce to you deduce that?"

    Danp 5:45 AM  

    @John Child - Your solution leaves ODD and ODDS (6A) as well as ODO at 36A, which I think is plural for weird in parts of Finnland.

    I liked the theme far more than I disliked the things @Rex obsesses about.

    John Child 5:59 AM  

    @Moly It was deucedly popular in Victorian and Edwardian England. Dr. Watson might have asked Sherlock, "How the deuce to you deduce that?"

    rupture this! 6:57 AM  

    Let's just tell it like it is. This puzzle sucked. And chewed. So much terrible fill, so many awful clues. For one, a HERNIA is NOT a "medical rupture." A HERNIA CAN rupture, but it is itself a "bulging" or a "protrusion." The clue should be "potential medical rupturer" or something like that. Calling a HERNIA a "rupture" is like calling a bone a "fracture."
    This puzzle is full of absolute and utter crap. A NY Times embarrassment.

    RAD2626 6:59 AM  

    While some of the fill was indeed UGLI, the theme was pretty neat and the words and cluing were Tuesday appropriate. Not being a constructor, would you lay the shoe-words out first and build from there? Pretty constrained with TONGUE and LACES so close, no?

    a terrible poem for Molly 7:00 AM  

    Molly Shu didn't draw a shoe?
    How ironic--that makes me blue.

    GILL I. 7:44 AM  

    Well...yes, it's Tuesday but YEGADS or should I say DEUCED, what a strange puzzle.
    Question to all of you OLD SOD LEERY OGLErs: Was I supposed to draw a shoe? O SOLE SOLE mio, I feel like an AHSO...I have a sudden urge to SHIA. Does anyone put BLUE cheese on two Caesar's?
    I feel like a TERN.

    she lives in a shoe 7:44 AM  

    If you're going to make a puzzle that looks like a show, at least put the answer OLDLADY somewhere in there. Sheesh.

    she lives in a shoe 7:47 AM  

    "shoe" not "show." Double sheesh.

    Lewis 7:51 AM  
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    Lewis 8:03 AM  

    Factoid: Despite the large number of nicknames for breasts themselves, there are only a couple of nicknames for BRAs, including "over-the-shoulder boulder-holder" and "upper-decker flopper-stopper". (Wikipedia)

    Quotoid: When we TALK to God, we're praying. When God talks to us, we're schizophrenic." -- Jane Wagner

    chefbea 8:08 AM  

    I got all the parts of the shoe - tongue, laces and 2 soles? Almost missed the toe. didn't see the gum ...because those letters were not circled. So where is the heel??? No one has mentioned the different parts of the shoe!!!!

    Why does doggone = deuced??

    Lewis 8:10 AM  

    Well, it was a cute theme, and the GUM made me smile. I'm sure the theme letters made making the fill difficult. As I look over the grid, the fill is not as egregious as Rex made it sound, though there are certainly some examples, like ODO, EEN, and LST. But Rex is okay with a few of these if he likes the puzzle.

    Never heard or said AIRCON. If it's British, then it should have been clued as such. ATHEEL struck me as just weird. I did like the SHIA/SHEA crossing, EERO/EERS not so much, though I don't know why. This puzzle did have quite a high double letter count, 13, which I follow for some odd reason.

    The puzzle gave me my daily fix and the theme made me smile, so thank you Paul and Will.

    NCA President 8:12 AM  

    Oh well...you know, puzzle.

    UGLI seems to be the go-to hybrid fruit these days.

    @Steve J: EGGCELL...I guess this differentiates it from a chicken egg?

    I liked BLANCHE. I did not like ATHEEL.

    The puzzle didn't seem too hard/challenging, but it did feel wonky while doing it.

    Mohair Sam 8:26 AM  

    @chefbea - See @JohnChild (5:41) for perfect explanation of DEUCED. Probably the only clue I liked in this puzzle.

    AliasZ 8:33 AM  


    I complained that I had no shoes until I met Paul Hunsberger who drew me one in his puzzle. How cute, draw by numbers! We used to get those books for our kids to teach them how to draw a bird, a dog, Santa Claus, a shoe.

    There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
    She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
    She gave them some broth without any bread;
    Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed
    .

    Aww... brings back such fond memories.

    What do you give to a woman who has everything? Shoes.

    "Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." - Marilyn Monroe.
    "If I have any justification for having lived, it's simply: I'm nothing but faults, failures and so on, but I have tried to make a good pair of shoes." - Arthur Miller.
    "I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty." - Imelda Marcos.
    "Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?" - George Gobel.
    "I think I have something tonight that's not quite correct for evening wear: Blue suede shoes. - Elvis Presley.

    But I have to put on my shoes one at a time and run now. There's a sale at Payless Shoesource.

    mathguy 8:34 AM  

    I circled the words for the parts of the shoe in red. I got a kick out of seeing the resulting outline. I think that we are being a little picky about the fill.

    I went to the mall with my 9-year-old grandson last night. We noticed that there were no kids with Santa. Luke says that he and most of his friends have never sat in Santa's lap. But he also says that the Santa story makes Christmas fun.

    Leapfinger 8:46 AM  

    I'm sure that everyone who complains of the redundancy in EGG CELL *never* ever says ATM machine.

    Can't quite fathom why OFL took such a stiletto to this sprightly little Tuesday. True enough that some visual details clogged the works, and some fill bordered on the slippery, but I think @Rex focused too much on how a little sand'll grind down the machinery. I'm not one to mock a sin or two in the constructioneering art, but I was pretty pumped up by this PH metier. Would you rather half a loafer none?

    Besides which, it's about time we had a little something for the SHOE fetishists. I only wish there'd been a spot for IMELDA.

    Never mind the Blahniks, Paul H., it was A VERy fun idea, and a culinary inspiration to put GUM in your GUMBO!!

    Leaving y'all with a thong in my heart.

    joho 8:52 AM  

    I love drawing on my puzzles so this one tickled me. In my picture, though, I'd put the word BACK where there's a HEEL and replace the first SOLE with HEEL.

    Also I might have lost the SHOE in the SW to spiff up that corner and get rid of AHSO. You don't really need the word because the visual SHOE is so wonderful.

    Thank you, Paul Hunsberger for your clever and very creative puzzle!

    Anonymous 8:52 AM  

    *snicker*...as I filled in the grid, I was wondering what Rex was going to have to say.

    joho 8:54 AM  

    Oh, including the GUM stuck to the bottom of the SHOE was brilliant!

    chefbea 8:56 AM  

    I forgot to mention ARCH in my post....and I still don't see HEEL

    jberg 9:02 AM  

    Here's the Tommy Tucker song, but I think it was before the days of wedge-heeled sneakers, and just meant metaphorically. Here it is.

    I looked at the puzzle, saw the circles, and said "Aha! Santa's sleigh!" I've never been good at that sort of thing.

    In the paper, btw, the shoe-part squares had circles in them, while the three GUM squares were shaded gray.

    The odd thing about DEUCED is not the word, but that it's clued as a quaint form of 'Doggone," which is pretty quaint aleady. Similarly, TMI is clued as the "modern" form of "overshared," another modern term.

    AVER is not swear; it's an alternative to swearing for those who either have no religious beliefs (and therefore nothing to swear by) or who believe that swearing would violate whichever one of the Ten Commandments that is. You can also affirm in those circumstances.

    What I learned: Basketball has minor leagues. The answer was obvious from the crosses, but I resisted it.

    Harvey Briggs 9:04 AM  

    This puzzle proves one of my favorite mantras, "Ideas are easy. Execution is hard."

    Leapfinger 9:08 AM  

    Not that thong; the other kind.

    Don't like EERO crossing EERS? Much harder than crossing EYES, in my experience.

    HERNIA in the groina is so apt to cause a rupture. Don't be such a terminological nitpicker, else you'll have to correct everyone who thinksa 'break' is different from a 'fracture'.

    Enjoyed the nods to BLANCHE from Chicago, and to 'My HOVERcraft is full of eels'.

    Z 9:12 AM  

    The HEEL is right where it belongs, opposite the TOE, we have the ARCH in the middle with SOLE on either side, we have the TONGUE under the LACES. Nicely done. In the paper the shoe parts are circles, the GUM is in grayed squares. The visual does add lots of constraints.

    As for the fill, let's see if analysis supports first reaction. TMI/WON opposite BRA/OYS. For three letter fill, not too bad. We also get COT/ODO opposite EEN/LST. That's pretty tired except for COT. Finally, NED/NES. Yeah, that gets some demerits. That's five decent and five indecent threes, a washout. We get our Crossbird and our CrossArchitect in the four letter fill, compounded by the EERO/EERS crossing. But is this any worse than having ILSA and ISLA (both clued as names) in the same puzzle (as I saw elsewhere very recently). Both second E's are part of the slanting theme answers, as well as allowing us to keep D-LEAGUE, DEUCED, DOODLER. Hmmm, a wash. AIRCON is a WTF here, the NE looks like QUIZ was forced to add some scrabbliness, while the SW has the regrettable AH SO as well as the SHAH Olaf III of OSLO, or is it SHAH Olav II, I can never keep them straight.

    My initial reaction was akin to Rex's, but looking at it now, not so much. The theme is a hair too cutesy for my taste, which makes the fill seem worse than it really is. The "egg" thing should have been caught and "Egg: Prefix" rewritten. That's got to be on the editor. Otherwise, a typical Tuesday.

    Davidph 9:14 AM  

    @chefbea: the HEEL is 23 down.

    Casco Kid 9:14 AM  

    @JohnChild, looks like I'm an xwordinfo ignoramus, a problem I can cure by throwing money at it. Those 739are my favorite problems! But certain other web sites are ahead of xwordinfo in the money line.

    Thanks for running the numbers. I stand corrected.

    quilter1 9:17 AM  

    I didn't hate it. However for the Irish clue I believe auLD SOD would have been more authentic.

    Charles Flaster 9:20 AM  

    EZ and enjoyable theme even if not perfectly drawn. GUM was fun.
    Liked cluing for AT HEEL and SHOVES.
    CrosswordEASE-- EERO, UGLI, OVA.
    DLEAGUE might be a first for NYT. The concept has some potential to become popular.
    Thanks PH.

    Victor 9:24 AM  

    @ rupturethis: "Let's just tell it like it is." A hernia is indeed a rupture of the fascia (gristle) which runs around our bodies in sheets and holds us together. The rupture allows a protrusion of what's supposed to be held in. Hernia is also a female character in the comic strip Hagar the Horrible and might have been clued that way.

    Charles Flaster 9:28 AM  

    Sorry! Meant OVO.

    OISK 9:33 AM  

    Agree with @quilter1 that "auld sod" is better than "old sod," but I had no trouble getting the latter. A bit of Gilbert and Sullivan…"Now to the other extreme your tending. Don't be so deucedly condescending."

    I liked this Tuesday, although I had no idea what the theme was until I was totally done. Clever, and use of diagonals is pretty unusual.

    AnonyMole 9:35 AM  

    Once again, I have no idea what @Zeke is talking about.

    Ludyjynn 9:37 AM  

    I liked the long Downs; the three and four letter Acrosses, not so much. I DUNno how I feel about the shoe theme, since I solved it as an easy themeless. Connecting the circled letters is too much trouble on a TUesday!

    That's all she wrote.

    cheeseguy 9:41 AM  

    Highlight - Gum (cute) Lowlight - Rest of the puzzle. This was awful.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:55 AM  

    To me, a cute puzzle with lots of theme crammed in a 15x15 grid. My first impression when I glanced at it was, "Oh, circles and shading at the same time!"

    Managed to fit in one of my classically stupid write-overs, at 3 D, IN THAT CASE before IN THE EVENT (yes, I now have noticed that "that" is in the clue!)

    wreck 9:57 AM  
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    wreck 9:59 AM  

    I may have to breakdown and switch to puzzazz. The ipad app still won't let you shade squares. If you cant draw physical lines on your ipad, you can't really see any grid art as such. The puzzle was pretty simple, but I couldn't appreciate it until I saw the solution here and Xwordinfo.

    pb 10:08 AM  

    Not great but more in line with a Tuesday than last week.

    Masked and Anonym007Us 10:12 AM  

    Seven U's... This shoe had some cleats!

    This puz cobbled together a whole lot of stuff. I know from experience that U don't wanna mess with pictures of stuff that have to positionally spell out their bodyparts. Fill immediately goes on condition red. GUMs up the works, dude. Desperation ensues. In rare cases, a HERNIA develops.

    @Z: Nice weeject woundup. Thanx. Saved me some bullets. Only missing weeject that was sorely needed in this puz was yer EEE.

    What the hey -- this puz had its heart in the right place. Altho, maybe not so much its heel. Far be it for me to stomp on anything with so much sole.

    M&A

    Andrew Morrison 10:20 AM  

    I thought this was the easiest Tuesday puzzle in ages. No challenge whatsoever. Bad fill, yes, but easy. Nothing really noteworthy, but I did enjoy DEUCED.

    Steve J 10:22 AM  

    @Leapfinger: Not only do i never say "ATM machine", I'm one of those annoying people who points out the redundancy when others say it. Same goes for "PIN number".

    @AnonyMole (and, also a bit @Z): Zeke's point is that what the puzzle has labeled as the HEEL is not correctly labeled. And, therefore, why wouldn't the editor have said something along the lines of, "I like the idea, but it contains a factual error that needs to be fixed before I can run the puzzle".

    Looking quickly at Google, every diagram and bit of info I can find on shoe construction, the part this puzzle labels as HEEL is called a heel counter or a quarter. The heel itself is always under the shoe.

    Meanwhile, I've now spent more time thinking about - let alone talking about - shoes than I have in my previous 40-some years on this earth combined.

    @jae: Thanks for the links on high-top and high-heel sneakers. Obviously, I'd never heard of the latter (and Google, puzzlingly, was showing me high-tops when i searched for high-heel sneakers).

    dk 10:24 AM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOONs)

    A delightful romp. Problems, if any, with the fill were overshadowed by the concept and jokes I was making, to myself, at the expense of the puzzle.

    I wanted Dr. Spock (or Sperm) to travel the Fallopian Tube in search of OVO (Princess of Light) who was about to be tossed in a OAST by her arch rival BLANCHE AIRCON… note this game will soon be available on NES.

    Off to NOLA in a couple of sees so the GUMBO fill brought XMAS cheer.

    Thank you PAUL. Next time I know you will source your concept reveals as mistaking a full HEEL for a 1/4 HEEL is well….. puzzle HERNIA. DEUCE it all man, you are better than that.

    Boring story alert. First concert I ever photographed was Chubby Checker whose opening act was a new British group the Dave Clark Five. Mr. Checker opined that back in the day young girls screamed for him….

    Hartley70 10:25 AM  

    Yadda Yadda Yadda...well I liked it, got a kick out of the shoe and the gum, and thought there was a fair bit of fun crammed into what can be a pretty dull day.

    dk 10:25 AM  

    sees should be weeks in para 3: off to work

    Ed Sullivan 10:30 AM  

    "We've got a really big SHOE for you tonight..."

    Z 10:36 AM  

    @Steve J - Are you pulling an einstein? I see a stiletto HEEL, but I'm hardly a cobbler or any other manner of shoe expert.

    Andrew Heinegg 10:37 AM  

    I just could not or rather did not find much to like. Aircon, deuced and eggcell added on to a host of crosswordese all make for a less than enjoyable experience. I do find it interesting that some bloggers here find something to criticize RP about even they agree with virtually everything he wrote! You can't please all the people etc.

    Steve J 10:42 AM  

    @Z: "Pulling an Einstein?"

    My reference was primarily the many diagrams I found here.

    Roo Monster 10:43 AM  

    Hey All !
    It seems some people didn't have circles to go by in the puz, weird. Solved online today, had the cicrles, and when finished, the GUM turned red! So there's that...

    Cool puz, agree with the iffy threes, but constraint will do that to you. Was really looking for the Pangram, alas, couldn't squeeze in the J. Maybe change NAB to TAJ? Would require a bit of a redo, but hey. Just sayin'.

    Agree that HEEL should've been where the SOLE is in OSOLE, and BACK should be where HEEL is. IMO.

    Overall, liked, easy-medium here, as the AIRCON put me off for a bit. Also ATHEEL, which seems a non-word.

    TWIST DOODLER
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    mac 10:43 AM  

    It's a Tuesday. Cute theme, I love shoes. The gum was a nice touch.

    I've noticed people in Holland calling it AIRCO. Thank goodness it's used more and more.

    Doug Garr 10:50 AM  

    As soon as I filled in AIRCON (which nobody in my lifetime ever said) I laughed and said, wait till Rex comments on this! I like guessing how he's going to rate the puzzles every day, but it's more fun wondering how much he's going to hate them. This one he hated, and I couldn't disagree. I've never heard the expression DEUCED for doggone either. As for DLEAGUE, okay, but the real farm system for the NBA is DIVONE, as in NCAA hoops, which of course, is terrible fill. One UGLI puzzle.

    Z 11:00 AM  

    @Steve J - See my 3:59 pm comment here.

    Steve J 11:16 AM  

    @Z: Ah. I was off blog for a couple weeks, so I missed that discussion.

    All of my shoe "knowledge" came post-solve, so it interfere with my (lack of) enjoyment. I wouldn't have even known HEEL was in the wrong spot had Zeke not said something. But it turns out he was right.

    I don't draw 11:31 AM  

    I'm with Moly Shu (and not with Joho.) Didn't draw the shoe. Didn't care about the shoe. Did I miss something?

    oldactor 11:36 AM  

    My AC repairman is listed in my cell phone as
    AirCon Charlie.

    Carola 12:05 PM  

    For me, the puzzle is redeemed by the GUM stuck to the SOLE, after the many previous OY-worthy entries. Not sure how I feel about the OGLE - MEN - LEER(Y) - BRA nexus, but OYS does have the last word.

    About that DEUCED AIRCON - at least there's a BLOKE in the grid who would use it.

    SHEA, SHIA, SHAH, SHOE - almost a vowel progression puzzle.

    Elephant's Child 12:07 PM  

    re the HEEL-haters:

    If you were instructed (for some arcane reason) to demonstrate a HEEL and TOE maneuver, how would you do that?

    I give no quarter.

    AliasZ 12:10 PM  


    In case anyone was waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it is.

    You know what they say about guys with big feet? They need big shoes.

    If you were in my shoes, you wouldn't be a shoe-in, because my shoes are too big to fill, especially if the shoe is on the other foot. But if the shoe fits, it's comfy as an old shoe.

    Here is how Sergei Prokofiev envisioned Cinderella in the shoe that fit her. Slipper, shoe, what's the diff? Footwear is footwear.

    Cheers, on a dreary day in NYC.

    Anonymous 12:10 PM  

    I work for an American HVAC company. The guy next to me was born and raised in England. For that sample of two, neither of us has ever heard aircon.

    My construction friend, however, says housepai all the time.

    M and Also 12:22 PM  

    @JChild: Interestin stats, on fill frequency.

    Bullets:
    * Most popular word of the Shortzmeister era (Shtzera) = ERA (442 times out of 7689 attempts)
    * Of the top ten 3-, 4- and 5-letter words, none of the 30 have a U in em
    * Some clever crossword was the first to think of usin ERA in its fill. (Frank Longo has the honor, in Shtzera)
    * The puzs of the future will have more fill that has been used more oftener. (First Law of Underwear Re-Use)
    * 3-letter word that has been used the least, in Shtzera: UJU. (Tied with a few others). Dibs.
    * 1-letter entry used the most in Shtzera: black square. har

    But I digress.

    M&A

    Josh 12:26 PM  

    Lot of whining here today. Yes, AIRCON sucks, as does the EERO/EERS cross and the off-by-one-letter closeness of RESALE and RESOLE. The repetition of EGG in a clue and in an answer could certainly have been fixed.

    But the puzzle has a nice concept for a Tuesday, and the fill is mostly clean. The theme puts obvious restraints on that fill, and I think that the concept is good enough (again, for an early-week puzzle) to justify some clunkers.

    It was a breezy Tuesday solve.

    Gene 12:32 PM  

    Rarely agree with Rex, but I completely agree about the fill. The idea was cute, but ill-implemented.

    David S 12:53 PM  

    My least favorite Tuesday ever (sorry, Mr Hunsberger). I tried my hand at creating a crossword, and this felt like the things I came up with that Shortz rejected, only worse. I'd never have been happy with OSOLE and RESOLE (especially since RESOLE is hardly an interesting way to 'hide' SOLE). The clueing AND the fill were both weak, with EDNAS, EERS, and AIRCON. There were several times I thought, "Oh, Rex is going to hate this one" as I slogged thru the puzzle. The good news is that it's given me hope as a constructor once more. If the bar is this low, maybe I have a shot.

    aileen 1:41 PM  

    Really liked doodler. Never heard of Old Sod & Deuced. Deuced was really tricky due to the tense difference between Doggone and Deuced. You might say " That doggone clue!" but would you say "That deuced clue!" ?

    Bob Kerfuffle 1:58 PM  

    Yes, since as an adjective, DEUCED doesn't really have a tense.

    deuc·ed

    adjective:

    used for emphasis, especially to express disapproval or frustration.
    "I know it's deuced awkward for you!

    --Google


    Whirred Whacks 2:07 PM  

    Agree with @ Josh 12:26. Lotta whining today. Last Tuesday, many complained that the puzzle was too difficult.

    I think POOP would've been a more fun choice for something under foot than GUM (along with DOG somewhere up in the northeast). Cringeworthy?

    Since Sunday, I've been reading about the mega-storm that will hit the Bay Area with 75 MPH winds on Wednesday night and Thursday. I certainly feel something in the changing in the air. I've got my shovels and chainsaw ready.

    Benko 2:34 PM  

    "DEUCED" is a euphemism for "damned" and can be used in the exact same contexts. You are damned, not you were damned.

    beatrice 3:56 PM  



    I thought 'deuce' was euphemistic for 'devil', 'deuced' 'for 'devilish', etc., so looked it up -- seems to be the case, but 'damned' works, too, of course, in many constructions. Think it's much more British usage, don't know if it still is -- read a lot of English literature years ago. Seems to have a rather curious etymological development -- a sort of conflation of the Latin and French words for 'god' and 'two', perhaps mediated by the German phrase 'was der Daus!'-- 'what the devil!' -- two being considered unlucky, as a low roll of the dice (at least I think that's what they are saying).

    Philology -- the gift that keeps on giving.

    Baroness Orczy 4:37 PM  

    It does seem likely that DEUCED arose as way to clean up stronger language -- 'damned' -- or as a way to avoid naming 'who shall not be named'. (@beatrice, I thought the Devil was 'der Teufel').

    They seek him here, they seek him there.
    Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
    Is he in Heaven or is he in Hell?
    That DEUCED elusive Pimpernel!

    Danger Man 5:03 PM  

    Aircon and eers -
    two that should be banned forever!

    Anonymous 5:13 PM  

    @NYer 0201 - No kidding, AIRCON in the Philippines? Cebu, by any chance?

    Joaquin 5:17 PM  

    Before I started coming to this site I thought I was a nit-picker. Now I feel like those guys who I criticize for saying "Your a looser". I thought this puzzle was pretty darn clever.

    Benko 5:25 PM  

    @beatrice, You're right of course, that the original usage of "deuce" was a euphemism for "devil": "What the deuce? " or "I had a deuce of a time..."
    I thought it was "damned" when it was "DEUCED" because "deviled" doesn't really work in that context.

    rupture this! 5:48 PM  

    NOBODY defines a HERNIA as a rupture of anything. Nobody

    Z 6:22 PM  

    @rupture this! - Being wrong loudly doesn't work nearly as well as using the google machine.

    Teedmn 7:19 PM  

    I liked this puzzle. Sure, there was some DEUCEDly tired crossword-ese but I liked the clues for AT HEEL, ET TU, BRA and DOODLER. The theme was fun if not accurate in the HEEL but the GUM was a great touch. AIRCON would be AIRCONdo in these here parts so not big on that one. I liked the mini EU/UE theme in BLUE, DEVALUED, ACCRUED, DEUCED. Heck, it's only a Tuesday. I say thanks, Paul Hunsberger

    Anonymous 2:50 PM  

    In Japan, an air conditioner is actually called an air con (or eakon, meant to sound like air con). So that's one place it works.

    spacecraft 12:19 PM  

    As for AIRCON, I'm with OFL: I think of a movie sequel. It's the AC, everybody, and here in Vegas I'm really glad it was invented!

    As to the diagram, what's with that upward-curled TOE? I get an image of Harlequin. I mean, if your toe fits into your shoe like that, y'all need to rethink your size. Severely.

    Also, I'm with the critics about the flat parts being unhidden: ATHEEL OSOLE RESOLE...just don't kick it. Further, I agree that that whole upper central section with EGGCELL DEUCED (we can't have archaic and eat it too!) EERS DOODLER crossing CCED (UGLI!) and EERO needs to be "scraped off" and "reLACEd."

    In fact, the entire fill in this "SHOE" is one stinky foot. WS should've used his VETO power on this one.

    Oh, and college MEN?? I see little evidence. Maybe the occasional senior, that's about it.

    And I don't share OFL's like for DLEAGUE. Another letter-as-letter.

    The good news: we're back to numbers. The bad? Mine's 174. ODDS of me winning are: OYS!

    rondo 1:17 PM  

    Didn't love some of the fill while walking through this puz, but in the end, meh.
    As a semi-wise man once told me: You wouldn't be complaining about your shoes if you had no feet.
    Be glad to have feet.
    So, no whining from me today.

    Numbers please: 388 UGLI

    DMG 1:42 PM  

    A little bit trickery, but fun. I'm impressed that anyone could "draw" a shoe with words and make it work at all. As for the HEEL" error" pointed out by so many. If that part of the shoe is really called a "quarter", why are women"s shoes called "high heels" not "high quarters"? Somerimes I think we look too hard for something to pick at! Lecture for the day!

    6602 Better than some!

    eastsacgirl 3:39 PM  

    Didn't have a problem with the puzzle. Pretty quick solve. Theme was ok.

    rain forest 4:58 PM  

    First, the important stuff: I find that if I wait long enough, the captcha will "time out" and give me numbers, so I'm going to wait.

    @Spacey - great pun on "archaic".

    And so the puzzle. While kind of cute and cuddly, at least it did spawn some of the most annoying nit-picking about what shoe parts should be where, or even what they are called. It all seemed OK to me, and I rarely draw these things.

    I was hoping to see "tec" (gumshoe) in there, somewhere.

    Btw, when looking to buy my current car, I was at a dealership where the salesman repeatedly used the term AIR CON. True story.

    Now, just waiting for the captcha.

    Damn. I got words.

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