Reorganize computer data to improve performance informally / TUE 12-2-14 / Landslide winner of 1972 / April Love singer 1957 / Drinking buddy for Falstaff / Harmful bloom aquatic growth / Seductive Austin Powers android / Polynesian dietary staple / 2000 Richard Gere title role /

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Challenging (like, off the charts for a Tuesday)



THEME: Curses in one direction are taken literally in the other, I think —

Theme answers:
  • 'ZOUNDS / ZEBU ("Holy cow!" / Holy cow)
  • DAMN / DAFT ("Nuts!" / Nuts)
  • WOW / WALTER ("Great Scott!" / Great Scott)
  • TELLS / SHOOT (Rats / "Rats!")
  • BLAST / TREAT ("Fudge!" / Fudge)
  • GEE / HOMBRE ("Man!" / Man)
  • HECK / SOCK ("Darn it!" / Darn it)
  • CURSES / BOWS ("Fiddlesticks!" / Fiddlesticks)
Word of the Day: ALGAL (36A: Harmful ___ bloom (aquatic growth)) —
An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae (typically microscopic) in an aquatic system. Cyanobacteria blooms are often called blue-green algae. Algal blooms may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments. Typically, only one or a small number of phytoplankton species are involved, and some blooms may be recognized by discoloration of the water resulting from the high density of pigmented cells. (wikipedia) (I assume "ALGAL" just means "of or related to alga")
• • •

Not going to spend much time on this one, largely because I found it so unpleasant. This may be the most badly misplaced puzzle I've ever solved. Took me nearly 2x my normal Tuesday time. This would've been OK, in theory, but in practice, I had to suffer through one damned antiquated quaint oath after another, and then through crosses that were often painfully forced. [Fudge] = TREAT? That's like [Camaro] = CAR. Total junk. If you don't have the "e.g." after it, it's not a legal clue. Likewise, [Great Scott] needs a "?" in order to indicate WALTER. Would you ever, in any other context, use just [Man] to clue HOMBRE? No. [Man of La Mancha], [Man, in Havana], yes. Just [Man], no. I think the core idea in this puzzle is kind of interesting, but man ("Man!") was it painful to solve. ALGAL?! I just stared at ALGA- / TEL-S forever, wondering what the hell? ALGAL is … it's just so bad, as fill. Is it ENOUNCE bad, you ask? Almost. Not sure how many D'OHS (!?) I uttered during this solve, but I'm going to say "several." TOMTIT DEFRAG (… now I'm just writing random absurd stuff from the grid …) ALAI IRAE. So much shrugging. If this had been a. a Thursday puzzle, and b. more cleanly filled, I might've been somewhat more kindly disposed toward it. But as is, yikes. Yoinks. Egads.


    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    135 comments:

    Anonymous 12:13 AM  

    So so so bad. How on earth did this get picked for a Tuesday?

    Anonymous 12:19 AM  

    At least I'm not a complete and total idiot for thinking this solved like a Thursday (or later; it could easily have been a Friday puzzle).

    Zebu?!? That's just ridiculous. There are times when I think Mr. Shortz cares more about clever gimcrackery than a decent puzzle-solving experience.

    This puzzle was ridiculous for a Tuesday.

    Whirred Whacks 12:24 AM  

    I liked this a lot (except for ENOUNCE).

    I enjoyed watching my thinking get trapped by the identical pairs of clues, and then wiggle free when I found a different context. Much fun!

    Trickiest clue for me was "Fiddlesticks" for BOWS. It took a while to get my mind out of the "CURSES" context.

    Side Note: Six months ago when I first started coming to this blog on a regular basis, I told myself that I'd hit Rex's Tip Jar if I were still coming here six months later. Well, today marks six months and tip Rex I did. It felt good! I've become a much better and more discerning solver as a result of reading both Rex's analysis, and also the comments of the many clever people who frequent this site.

    Enjoy your Tuesday.


    jae 12:29 AM  

    Add me to the very tough Tues. chorus.   Played like a medium-tough Wed or harder. I mean ZEBU/ZOUNDS is a tough cross and then there's FEMBOT, DEFRAG, AYR, ABRAM, ALGAL, LEN, FRACTALS, HECTARE, DR T... DAMN, that's a bunch of later week answers. 

    That said, my only erasure was oRca before CROC.

    Liked the theme more than Rex did, it was just the wrong day.

    Anonymous 12:31 AM  

    For once I agree entirely with Rex. I can't complain too much about any puzzle that I'm able to solve, but this felt more like a Thursday. Except the cluing was "off" somehow.

    John Child 12:32 AM  

    Extremely clever but lots of WOES for me, and a Thursday time to complete. The words I didn't know - ENOUNCE, ZEBU, DRT, TOMTIT, ABRAM, ICE SAW, and FEMBOT are all perfectly fair... later in the week.

    The XWordInfo statistics do make it an early-in-the-week puzzle, but it didn't play like one for me. That's no discredit to Mr Polin though. And it's quite possible that the odd and vague clues aren't either. Thanks for a bit of a workout on Tuesday!

    Casco Kid 12:32 AM  

    ZEBU, common throughout Madagascar, was a familiar fill, if not a gimme. It made me think of Sifaka lemurs exactly when I was supposed to be thinking of Sitka Alaska. So: SIfKA. Down one. ALGAe. Down two. Yielding the esoteric fELeS for [Rats] as collateral damage. Down three. 25 minutes.

    I'm moving to Puzzazz from now on. The latest NYT incarnation revels in my solving inadequacy. "Are you SURE you want to reveal your errors? You'll ruin your streak of 0 correctly solved puzzles in a row, you know?" I have choice words, but Rex has forbidden them from this blog, and I can respect that.

    Russell Long 12:36 AM  

    May I add to the litany of un-Tuesday answers with Sitka, Abram and fembot! Then we have Len Ford? Besides the janitor in Canton, Ohio who dusts off his plaque once a week, has anyone ever heard of him? Was he the only Len the constructor could think of?

    chefwen 1:30 AM  

    Couldn't agree with Rex more on this one. "puzzle rental boy", sitting next to me again, was totally unimpressed with my progress. Said "what changed in one day." I replied "wish I knew". This one almost brought me to my knees. I said that this was one of the most difficult Tuesday puzzles that I have ever done. Looked it over after I FINALLY finished and still could find nothing that I liked about it. Jon threw his copy down not a quarter way through and announced his displeasure in no uncertain terms. I will not quote his words, you can use your imagination, I may add that he uses quite colorful language.

    On to Wednesday!

    Moly Shu 3:26 AM  

    I'm with the dislikes on this one. ALGAL crossing HAL? Who is HAL, who is FALSTAFF? @Oisk, please tell me you know this one. Throw in an ENOUNCE and TOMTIT (probably a cousin of the pewit, eh @M&A?). Good call on the LEN, @Russell, I guess Mr. Dawson took the day off. Crap-o-la.

    Charles Flaster 4:56 AM  

    Agree with Rex.Definitely Thursday material but enjoyed sifting through the matched pairs.
    Knowing HECTARE, FRACTALS and PAT BOONE was a huge help.
    Mistake with Pembot as deprag or deprog seemed better to me.
    ENOUNCE and HOMBRE were last entries.
    Liked the monster anagrams ROC/ORC.
    CrosswordEASE----ALAI, ENYA, IRAE and ARLO.
    Thanks TP.( made me think).

    Jack Lee 5:06 AM  

    Actually, I found it quite fun and doable, though I failed to get ZEBU (had ZOUNDS but couldn't think of any cows spelled ZEB-).

    Jack Lee 5:08 AM  

    Not very convinced of "Great Scott", though. Is "Scott" an acceptable variant of "Scot"?

    Danp 5:46 AM  

    @Whirred Whacks - I'm surprised you had trouble with BOWS, since the clues all had one exclamation and one literal answer (though Hombre could have gone either way). What else could fiddlesticks be?

    The problem I have with today's theme is that the exclamation answers and clues could have been matched up in any combination. When these clues come up in normal puzzles, they are ANNOYING!!! And that's not a good starting point. And jumpin jehosafats... Zounds? Not since Hal and Falstaff were drinking buddies.

    GILL I. 5:53 AM  

    I'm with la @chefwen on this...Thought to myself GLORY BE why place this on a Tuesday? I wonder what day of the week Timothy had in mind...
    Other than the obvious misplaced day, I thought how clever to get so many words that have two meanings. Is there a name for that? My favorite is the DAMN/DAFTS. I mean who comes up with these opposite meanings? I'll add ZEBU/ZOUNDS to the pile. I love ZEBU because we had the sweetest most lovable Boxer that my brother named ZEBU. She was born with this one low hanging teat (UDDER?) that sort of hung there. Paul said she looked like a sacred cow.
    PAT BOONE and ENYA. Makes me want a REFER.

    Anonymous 5:54 AM  

    @Jack Lee,

    Sir Walter Scott was both a Scot and a Scott.

    Danp 6:02 AM  

    I've never been to Trader Vic's, so I thought it was clever to have a rye coctail with umbrellas. Thus DARN and RAITAIS.

    Jack Lee 6:07 AM  

    Hi, Anon 5:54 am. Ah, of course. Silly me. ;-p

    CFXK 6:36 AM  

    Kept thinking that I must have overslept through a couple of days - and then awake to a nightmare.

    Anonymous 6:57 AM  

    @Moly Shu - Falstaff and Prince Hal are characters in two of Shakespeare's history plays. Since we haven't heard from The Bard in a bit:

    ACT I SCENE II London. An apartment of the Prince's.
    [Enter the PRINCE OF WALES and FALSTAFF]
    FALSTAFF Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?
    PRINCE HENRY Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack
    and unbuttoning thee after supper and sleeping upon
    benches after noon...

    @Chefwen has a rent boy? Tee Hee Hee.

    Joseph Welling 7:04 AM  

    I agree with Rex on this one. To me, one of the worst examples of sacrificing good crossword cluing in favor of the gimmicky theme is cluing SOCK as Darn it.

    Glimmerglass 7:05 AM  

    There's no doubt this is off the charts challenging for a Tuesday, but that's a *good* thing. Pity the people who don't bother with early-week puzzles because they're too easy -- they missed the fun with this one. I do the early-week puzzles, but for me, harder is always better -- even when it defeats me, as a Saturday occasionally does. This one was very hard, but fair and doable. I think ENOUNCE is silly, but gettable from crosses. I liked this very much -- an early-week gift.

    Anonymous 7:08 AM  

    Among the worst NYT puzzles I've ever encountered. Being too hard for a Tuesday is the least of its problems. It encompasses all that can be bad about a puzzle all in one:
    1. Tired crosswordese: TERI ALAI AYR SST
    2. Bad cluing: "Great Scott!" "Boy's name that means the king"
    3. A lazy theme

    John Child 7:19 AM  

    I once met an Indian lady who told me, "I say everything three times. I say things three times to ensure that I am understood. Saying things three times is natural for me."

    I won't go for the threepeat, but I say again: The placement of this puzzle on a Tuesday is not at all the fault of the constructor, and the clues may well not be his either, since Will Shortz edits clues heavily.

    Conrad 7:29 AM  

    @Casco (and others of the same mind), please leave feedback about the new iOS NYT puzzle app. Touch the "person" icon in the upper right and use the "Feedback" option toward the bottom of the screen. I sent a message to the same effect as you: Let me turn off the timer and the "streak" feature because I don't want to be reminded of my own inadequacies. I got a form message back, basically indicating that they'll consider making the change if enough people request it.

    As for the puzzle, I agree with those who say it's appropriate for later in the week but I'm willing to make some concessions for cluing and crosswordese in exchange for the theme density, which is remarkable.

    My own personal "D'oh" was getting PAT------ and thinking PATtipagE (zounds!).

    SandySolver 7:33 AM  

    Since I solve in pencil and get no happy pencil image, and since I live surrounded by conservatives and have become resigned to their pervasive ethos, and since I don't know a tomtit from a tomkit, Scott Walker it was. Help!

    Lewis 7:45 AM  

    I'm with @johnchild that the mis-placement of this puzzle on Tuesday is certainly not the constructor's fault. If this puzzle ran on Wednesday or Thursday, I don't think this would have garnered as many complaints.

    I'm not with @glimmerglass, as I'm a fan of the puzzles starting easy on Monday and being tough if not brutal on Saturdays. It brings people into the puzzle. Those who want a difficult puzzle every day of the week have many sites they can subscribe to.

    @Ralph showed us yesterday what a difference the cluing can make. The cluing today was tough (what I think Rex meant by "painful"), but it sounds like a fair number of commenters completed the puzzle -- so it was do-able. Just not Tuesday do-able.

    PuzzleCraig 7:45 AM  

    @Casco Kid and @Conrad, I always do the puzzle in AcrossLite to avoid the competition bit. I had moved away from doing it online when Magmic kept losing my standing in the old app.

    As for today's puzzle, it was about a minute slow for my Tuesday, but on par with my Wednesday, so I don't feel it was too egregious.

    Anonymous 7:47 AM  

    JUST AWFUL. Don't usually agree with Rex on difficulty, but this was bad no matter the day. "Ugh"/Ugly

    Nancy in PA 7:52 AM  

    A whole generation of little girls will know the word fractal because it's in the lyrics of "Let It Go." I mix it up with fresnal--but maybe because I'm reading a novel featuring lighthouse builders.
    Just back from ten days abroad--first NYT puzzle since Nov 20th and I loved every minute!

    Susan McConnell 7:53 AM  

    Pretty much what everyone else said. I knew that the puzzles progress in difficulty through the week, but didn't know if that was an actual policy. Then found this.

    Lewis 7:57 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    chefbea 8:06 AM  

    WOW!!! A Tuesday puzzle that I can't finish..or care to.
    Fractals??? Zebu?? to name a few.

    Going to make some blasted fudge!!!

    Blue Stater 8:07 AM  

    @anonymous 12:19 - "There are times when I think Mr. Shortz cares more about clever gimcrackery than a decent puzzle-solving experience."

    I've been saying this for years. But this was a new low. ZOUNDS crossing ZEBU was probably the worst single intersection I've ever seen in six decades of doing these puzzles. What was WS thinking? *Was* WS thinking? It is time -- it is long past time -- for a chance.

    RAD2626 8:11 AM  

    Agree with everyone who thought this was extraordinarily hard for Tuesday. Put GEORGE in for Great Scott with GEE as the cross which messed up NE for a time. Thought CROC clue was great once I had a DOH moment and figured it out. Same with the noun for Fiddle sticks. Clever. But did not figure it out until I had finished the puzzle.

    Blue Stater 8:13 AM  

    Uh, let's make that "it's long past time for a change." And it is, as the evidence in previous comments abundantly demonstrates. Well, maybe the typo had a deeper truth: it's time for a chance for somebody else.

    Mohair Sam 8:13 AM  

    What @Rex said. Every word. Exactly. And add ZEBU.

    So yesterday I mention here that Will Shortz does a great job of balancing cluing to the day of the week. Then he gives us this. Sheeze.

    @SandySolver - Think of Scott WALkER the singer next time, you'll feel better.

    @Lewis - Thanks for the Charlie Parker quote - his story as seen in the Eastwood directed movie "Bird" is worth Netflixing.

    Anonymous 8:21 AM  

    I liked this puzzle. Dont normally do Monday thru Wednesday, but my wife thought I would like it, so I did it. I agree it was difficult, but I enjoyed the clue pairings of oath with ordinary expressions. Obscure cluing, but enough easy crossers to back into the right answers -- which is why I dont turn up my nose at the crosswordese. A minor quibble: "leroy" (or, well, "le Roi") is "the king in French, but "Elroy" is the king in no foreign language I know of. Dont mind when clues are tough, but they ought to be correct.

    NCA President 8:23 AM  

    Gadzooks! No, not at the puzzle, but at the comments.

    Sunday's puzzle made me wonder if my like or dislike of a puzzle is related to a) the difficulty level, or b) whether I could finish it or not.

    I don't know the answer to that question. I hated Sunday's puzzle, I didn't hate today's puzzle. It was harder than normal, yes. And yes, the clues were "off." (Man --> HOMBRE was one I noticed right away) And yes, there were some very much later-in-the-week answers.

    I only judge my like/dislike of a puzzle by the number of times I curse during the solve. Sunday's puzzle began with a small murmur of curses and crescendoed into a litany of expletives, for example. Maybe because today's puzzle is so short comparatively, but I didn't get past just a few "wtf"s and a couple of eye rolls.

    Meh. Such is life, I guess. One man's ICEaxe is another hombre's ICESAW. (is there such a thing as an ice pliers? or an ice hammer?...not a nice hammer).

    I give this puzzle an Okay: Did Not Hate rating. I've certainly done worse.

    Jeff 8:25 AM  

    Serious question for you all:

    About 1/3 into this puzzle, I could tell it was one of the worst I'd seen in years. Do you always grudge-finish a bad puzzle? How many of you just stop? I'm finding the "Did Not (care enough to) Finish" variation of DNF has become an occasional thing with me...

    AliasZ 8:28 AM  


    I thought it was a great idea that Will upped the ante for Tuesday. It is good to get out of that mind-numbing Mon.-Tues. rut of near-zero mental challenge. Today we get a little more meat than soup, more STEAK than sizzle. Great Scott, what's wrong with that?

    I thought the theme is a NEAT IDEA, proving that there is no limit to CURSES in the English (or any other) language. It was fun to see these expressions receive a fair TREATment and be used in their literal meanings as well, like the great WALTER Scott, the holy ZEBU and fiddle BOWS.

    This is how Falstaff and his drinking buddy HAL (Prince Henry of Wales) BERATE each other in the following exchange, teeming with a diverse vocabulary of insults:

    FALSTAFF:
    What, upon compulsion? 'ZOUNDS, an I were at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, I would
    not tell you on compulsion. Give you a reason on compulsion! If reasons were as plentiful as
    blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.
    PRINCE HENRY:
    I'll be no longer guilty of this sin; this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh,--
    FALSTAFF:
    'Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle, you stock-fish! O for breath to utter what is like thee! you tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bowcase; you vile standing-tuck,--
    PRINCE HENRY:
    Well, breathe awhile, and then to it again: and when thou hast tired thyself in base comparisons, hear me speak but this.

    -- Henry IV Part 1, Act II, Scene 4

    I also enjoyed EMBITTER, HECTARE, FRACTALS, FAN BELT, TOMTIT, a mighty FORTRESS and the clue for ONE EYE (Cyclops feature would have been too easy), but ENOUNCE not so much.

    This puzzle proves that Timothy Polin is clearly an EXPERT constructor and a clever punster. Thank you.

    joho 8:33 AM  

    WOW! Clever concept! But looks like Tuesday's red-headed stepchild is back.

    I agree with anybody who says Timothy Polin had nothing to do with this running today. This not being a Tuesday puzzle shouldn't take away from the originality and freshness of this concept.

    I knew ZOUNDS but had to work to get ZEBU. Now that's a difficult start to a puzzle even on Saturday!

    I DNF in the SW as I only got as far as ___BOT and didn't have a clue about DEFRAG and, @Rex, if HOMBRE had been clued differently I might have seen it a "man."

    I think it's funny how DOHS above ENOUCE can read as DENOUNCE as that seems to be the theme in the comments today.

    Loved "Fiddlesticks!" for BOWS/CURSES!

    Have to agree with @Joseph Welling about "Darn it" as a crazy clue for SOCK!

    @Timothy, I really admired this one, don't let the UPRISING around here get you down!

    Jp 8:33 AM  

    I could not agree with Rex more. The blanks staring at me were more numerous than for a Thursday. The most significant thing is that I simply did not care to finish. Not a pleasant experience at all. So many archaic terms.
    I am relieved that that most of the other commenters had the same experience

    John V 8:39 AM  

    Dnf. SW killed me.

    Z 8:52 AM  

    I've long been amused and bemused (but never emused) by the notion of "7th grade math." What's that? Something out of the ken of all 6th graders? Problems too easy to be bothered with by 8th graders? Of course not. "7th Grade Math" is short hand for those mathematical concepts that kids whose cognitive development is in the normal range are able to master during their 7th grade year.

    Likewise, Tuesday puzzles. It's been awhile since we have had such a glowing example of Tuesday's "red-headed step-child" status. 18:00 with an error (which I only found because I was solving on an iPad), fully double my typical Tuesday time. That's quite hard for a typical Tuesday, but I suspect is still well within the normal range. I must disagree with all the approbation and DAMNation heaped on this fun little tussle. I might have agreed with Rex about the clue for HOMBRE except that it is part of the theme, so had to have the one word clue.

    J.J. ABRAMs has been much in the Star Wars FLIX news recently. I expect the TERI/ORC/ENYA/FEMBOT scene will get all the adoloscent boys to turn out.

    I spent part of the time with the in-laws doing a little computer maintenance including DEFRAGging their computer (turns out it was their virus protection software causing the slowdown - if your protection accomplishes the same effect as malware why even have protection? People of color throughout the US want to know). I watch too much political commentary so had WALkER/TOMkIT (D'OHS - how many times have seen avian TITs in the puzzle?). Yes, my eyes uncrossed when I fixed that one.

    ALGAL blooms have been in the environmental news around here lately, although I have no idea how to correctly ENOUNCE ALGAL. Sounds like CURSES however I say it.

    Sir Hillary 8:53 AM  

    Cool concept which falls short in execution, certainly for a Tuesday. I have no problem with so-called "illegal" clues if they are there to serve the theme, but it's much too early in the week for such trickery. For example, "Darn it" for SOCK would be brilliant on a Friday, but not today.

    My bigger issue is the overwhelming amount of short junk. Are ORC, ROC and CROC really in the same puzzle?!?

    Nice try, but doesn't work today.

    Jlb 8:56 AM  

    Well, I liked it! Zebu and zounds went in right away. The iPad app had the pairs in gray, so it was easy to see what was going on. I'm always interested in the disparate reactions of various commenters. A nice crunchy Tuesday

    L 9:02 AM  
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    Lewis 9:03 AM  

    Factoid: Eugene O'NEILL's place of birth is now a Starbucks.

    Quotoid: "Don't play the saxophone. LET IT play you." -- Charlie Parker

    Tuesday puzzle? 9:03 AM  

    I loved everything about this puzzle except for the answers containing shaded squares

    Anonymous 9:06 AM  

    Rex has correctly identified the weak clues in this one. Still, I kind of liked it. Nice to be exercised on a Tuesday. Felt like a Thursday except that it fell in place more quickly after you figured out some of the more daft clues. I'd call it somewhere between a Wednesday and a Thursday.

    Casco Kid 9:20 AM  

    This was an accessible Tuesday, at least for me. ALGAL was my only real WOE, but even that one was gettable by staring at [Rats] TEL_S, which is exactly how Rex solved it.

    @conrad, @craig An advantage of the ipad Puzzazz app: the developers read this blog, or at least my tweets. I've been feeding NYT good ideas for some time now, but the app regresses.

    Bird 9:21 AM  

    As far as the puzzle goes, I don't thinks it's that bad. Yes there are tough clues/answers, but they are gettable with the crosses. And it should not have run today (what's the rest of the week gonna be like?)

    That SW corner could use some work (ENOUNCE/FEMBOY crossing HOMBRE as clued) was tough.

    Casco Kid 9:29 AM  

    I should also mention that if you control you own .puz file, then you can upload it to RuntPuz.org, and solve it with a @r.alph's Web 2.0 app recording the suss-by-suss for review in the post-solve chalk-talk. It is a nice piece of SAAS! Recommended.

    Norm 9:33 AM  

    I don't care what the day is: this was just annoying, period.

    OISK 9:33 AM  

    @Molyshu - Others have already posted scenes from Henry IV part 1, yes, I did know Prince Hal (later Harry) and Falstaff ("banish him not thy Harry's company…").

    Did NOT know DrT , but got it from the crosses. Very tough Tuesday, more like a Thursday for me. Some clues really unnecessarily brutal for a Tuesday, Len Ford?? I am a sports fan, but that was a new one for me. I don't know who Enya is, but doing the crossword every day has made that one easy enough. Would anyone who has ignored Austin Powers know "fembot"? The "small songbird" is British, which might have been in the clue, Or "Avian subject of song in The Mikado" would have pleased me as a clue, and "Hombre" for "man" without mention or indication that a Spanish word was desired annoyed me as well. I also think that on Tuesday, "Monster in English literature" should have included a reference to Tolkien. I agree with Rex completely this time.

    SandySolver 9:34 AM  

    Hah! Thanks.

    Cheerio 9:48 AM  

    It's odd because the "off" clues could have easily been fixed, and that would have brought the difficulty level down, so you would have had a two-for-one improvement.

    Cheerio 9:48 AM  

    An ideal theme helps you to solve the puzzle if you can figure it out. This theme did not do that.

    wreck 9:49 AM  

    I agree with the majority, that the puzzle was misplaced. ZOUNDS/ZEBU was the last to fall.
    I am going to disagree with those who hate the new IOS app. The only thing lacking for me is the ability to "highlight" or "circle" a square.
    As for the "streak" warning, remember that the old app did not even have the ability to check or reveal answers for 24 hours.

    Moly Shu 9:50 AM  

    @Oisk, thank heavens. Restores my faith in humanity. Now, back to my cave....

    retired_chemist 10:01 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    retired_chemist 10:02 AM  

    Tough, agreed, but enjoyable. I like the later week puzzles and this would have been a good one. Thursdsayish time.


    TOwhee before TOMTIT, scathE before BERATE, AlleN before ABRAM, etc. Penultimate square was changing ALGAe to ALGAl because TELeS - WTF? Ultimate was fixing a typo - WOm/mANT TO.

    Saw DAMN @ 7A, wondered if the gray lady was gettin' a little mojo in her, came to 57D with S??? and said - Nah, not THAT. Not even....

    Thanks, Mr. Polin.

    Cruxlogger 10:09 AM  

    I like -- even prefer -- unorthodoxy and asymmetry more than the Rexter seems to. Clooginess is another matter -- this was a 12 on the one-to-ten cloogy scale.

    Ludyjynn 10:13 AM  

    Everyone has already pointed out what I didn't like, so I'll focus on the clues/answers I did enjoy: EXPERT, BERATE, UPRISING, SITKA, FANBELT, REFER, EMOTE, EMBITTER and esp. HETERO. You'll notice that none of the themed words are included on my list!

    Almost from the beginning of this solve, I told myself, "Self, we're not in Tuesday anymore". But even putting on my mid-late week thinking cap, I DNFed in the SW corner. Many CURSES, unprintable here, escaped my lips.

    Thanks, TP, for a NEATIDEA.
    No thanks, WS, for its execution.

    Roo Monster 10:16 AM  

    Hey All !
    I fully expected to come here and see Rex ENOUNCE that this puz was easy! Every time I have a hard time in the solve, he says he did it in 5 minutes! But, to my surprise, he found it Challenging, just like I did! I kept saying to myself, "MAN, I should know these, it shouldn't be this tough!" I was wondering if the green shaded answers were messing with the brain! (Solved online, the pairs were green shaded.) Was able to get going, SW I got by staring at the space and temporarily forgetting the clues, just seeing if I could come up with a word that would fit and make sense. Got DEFRAG that way. Knew FEMBOT (Austin Powers movies, awesome!) SE tough, had CURSES in, but took out, as for some reason couldn't come up with ETHIC even after having ET__C. :-( Wanted Auger for ICESAW, not enough letters.

    Rest of puz fell into place slowly. I agree with the Not-A-TuesPuz crowd. Still a NEATIDEA puzzle. I think I said all the "!" themers as I solved!!

    DEFRAG ONEEYE, HOMBRE!
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:18 AM  

    My kind of puzzle. Loved it.

    Questinia 10:21 AM  

    This was like being mugged by an embittered one-eyed hombre with an ice saw. Me likey.

    Like @Z double my Tuesday time. I always leave the NYT's clock option on this time only to see my "ranking" go from double digits to "beyond the horizon". Knowing that I am being timed has an interesting effect. At worst I go into "startle" mode, like prey when it knows it is being scouted for consumption, to adrenaline-focus which can overthink.

    Mostly, it's like I'm trying to escape a room where the clue is *fire* and I'm wearing stiletto mules flapping my hands screaming arson!? pyro!? ax?! I need to trade in the mules for ballet flats and learn how to pirouette under the harsh watchful metronome of Will Shortzipova

    Mr. Shortzipova was probably bored and wanted to scramble it a bit. Or, maybe this is a harbinger of the rest of the week. [Interesting article @Sue McConnell and not surprising].

    Puzzle gets a da and not a nyet.

    Masked and Anonymo4Us 10:34 AM  

    Woulda been a ThursPuz, except for the grey point-out-yer-themer squares. That makes it more of a ThursPuz with grey squares.

    Fun puzzle. When U T-bone or L-bone themers all over the place, you're bound to unleash the hounds of desperate fillins a mite. Plus, ZEBU as a themer in the intro corner. Zounds with day-um sauce. thUmbsUp.

    Weejects Anonymous:
    * ANA. Always a crowd pleaser.
    * AYR. Yes! yes! Ayr! I need some ayr!
    * DRT. Stronger than DiRT.
    * SST. Not sure why @63 jumped all over this little darlin this mornin. Did he once own some Concorde stock?

    And remember: it ain't over, til the Tomtit sings.
    OK. Now it's over.

    M&A
    "Zebus!"

    **gruntz**

    mathguy 10:43 AM  

    Pretty sorry puzzle. Rex did a good job explaining why.

    @Jeff: I always finish if I can. I don't want to give the inept constructor the satisfaction.

    The Closer and I didn't think that DAMN was allowed by the NYT. Has it appeared many times before?

    I did learn that SITKA takes up a lot of area, although calling the whole place a city seems to be a stretch.

    A common comment ever since I started coming here is "Too (hard/easy) for (day of week.)" Are these comments intended to be feedback for Will Shortz? If not, I don't get the relevance.

    @Whirred Whacks: I was intrigued by your comment that reading Rex has improved your solving ability. (By the way, I also sent him some money recently -- as a Happy Birthday.). I haven't caught any solving techniques in his daily essay. I think that I have become a better solver because I do the puzzle every day and Rex's blog encourages me in that direction. I also read Bill Butler's blog every day. It helps me remember the new words I that appeared that day.

    Joseph Michael 10:49 AM  

    RATS. Just because Tuesdays are usually easy doesn't mean they can't be challenging once in a while. Loosen up. This was a NEAT IDEA. How could a puzzle with DAMN NIXON be all that bad?

    pmdm 10:55 AM  

    I have to chuckle reading the reactions to this puzzle. I don't think anyone disagrees that it was more difficult than most Wednesday puzzles. But that fact is totally irrelevant when assessing if the puzzle is good or bad. Complaints that Mr. Shortz published this puzzle on the wrong day of the week seem to me valid, but that doesn't mean the puzzle is bad.

    S0 why would Mr. Shortz have decided to publish this puzzle on a Tuesday. Only he can answer that question definitively. Here's a possible consideration. There is a good deal of crosswordese in today's puzzle (ALAI etc.). Much more than should be in a Wednesday or Thursday puzzle, but permissible (or even needed) in a Monday or Tuesday puzzle. Hence the compromise to publish it on a Tuesday. Would any of you really publish a puzzle with so much crosswordese on a Wednesday or Thursday?

    My quibble with this puzzle is the cluing, which seemed to me trickier than usual for a Tuesday. That could have easily been corrected, and even perhaps made the puzzle seem apt for a Tuesday publication. There is where I would aim criticism. My real worry is what's coming up the rest of the week. If the difficulty level increases using the usual curve, Saturday will be next to impossible to solve.

    I am baffled by the shading of the squares in todays puzzle (not evident in the image in the write-up and perhaps changed to circles in some software images). What's happening is totally apparent from the cluing, and the shading did not make the puzzle easier to solve. Odd.

    By the way, one of the comments in WordPlay today congratulated those who comment on this log, apparently delighted that people here are more realistically critical than those who commentate on that blog. Congratulations to us.

    M and Also 11:01 AM  

    p.s.
    Oops. Guess it was someone in the Comment Gallery that jumped on SST. @63 stands falsely accused. Wrong again, M&A breath. Zebus!

    Hey, @Q! -- FRACTALS!

    M&A
    "Off to smoke his ALGAL ORC REEFER"

    jberg 11:05 AM  

    Ok, first of all I DNF -- couldn't let go of leROY at 31D, BeAST seemed to be ok, so while I knew TlRI looked improbable, I figured it was one of those weird TV names. D'OH!

    Aside from that, I thought it was a NEAT IDEA, and din't mind ZEBU -- the cow of India, where they're holy.

    Like @retired_chemist, I wanted TOwhee, but I had O'NEILL already, and that had to be right. Fortunately, I remembered this Gilber & Sullivan song. I'm not sure that's a real species name, but it will do for a puzzle.

    ALGAL was kind of a gimme, but why clue it with a partial? Hardly a phrase that rolls off the tongue!

    I'm coming here late because we just spent an hour with a color consultant. Fascinating process for this partially color-blind guy.

    Anonymous 11:15 AM  

    Anonymous 7:08 AM notes this puzzle's crosswordese: TERI ALAI AYR SST, and several recent comments here, including Rex Parker's Sunday, note that the only way they knew several of the words was by having encountered them in crossword puzzles.

    Here's a question I hope some of you out there will respond to: Should NYT crossword puzzles be for a tiny group of title contenders or for its general readership?

    I can remember years ago doing the Sunday NYT crossword with friends on a beach in the Hamptons. By the time the carload I was in got back to Manhattan, we usually had the puzzle pretty well nailed. These days, that's not likely to happen, unless someone in the car had devoted a considerable portion of his life to solving crossword puzzles.

    Ravini 11:24 AM  

    Obscure, trivial, painful, generally unpleasant. Couldn't wait for it to be over. Like hitting yourself with a hammer, it feels so good when you stop.

    old timer 11:27 AM  

    It was way tough for a Tuesday. But I thought the cluing was perfectly fair, and the puzzle was nicely de-Naticked. In other words, most people can come up with ZOUNDS even if they have no idea what a ZEBU is.

    When I say "most people" I mean those who actually read their assigned Shakespeare plays in high school. Plenty of "ZOUNDS" there, and knowing the Falstaff/Hal story is reasonable even if you did not slog through Henry IV, because Hal (Henry V) has been the subject of so many movies.

    I really wanted "Leroy" instead of "Elroy". But it does mean "the king" in Spanish, though "el rey" has been the usual form for the last few centuries.

    The one really bad clue/answer: ENOUNCE. Not a word anyone ever uses. But it was fun to see "DEFRAG". Back in the day, we were all constantly running out of disc space on those old PC's.

    LeapFinger 11:34 AM  

    For me, ZEBU is a city in the Philippines, north of Manila.

    Great pleasure in seeing [ad]monish in the clues, and in the Pat T-Boone Steak.

    Last letter in was the B for 'fiddlesticks' BOWS, the last of many good laughs I had .... at myself, mostly!

    Shall never complain about so entertaining a solve, whatever the day of the week!

    PS. SITKA because a friend in National Guard was stationed there. Whatever works.

    Danield 11:41 AM  

    Once again I am grateful to Rex for his comments and this forum. Without it, I'd have thought I had a stroke last night. Kept grinding away (50 min to solve) thinking that I must have overslept by 72 hours. Won't repeat what has already been stated in comments above...ultimately had to accept that this one wasn't in my wheelhouse, but did appreciate some aspects of it.

    Ellen S 11:45 AM  

    @AliasZ wrote: It is good to get out of that mind-numbing Mon.-Tues. rut of near-zero mental challenge.

    Well, it all depends on how eclectic your reading has been. About two-thirds of this puzzle was close to fill-in-the blanks for me. I was thinking that the "Memory Gain" class I went to (now I can't remember what they recommended) said early-week crossword puzzles aren't good for keeping the mental facilities lubricated, you just fill in the squares with words you know. And unlike Rex, I've read or seen enough Shakespeare, enough clips from Austin Powers (though avoided the movies themselves), enough books other than crime literature, and I'm in love with archaisms enough that I was just filling in the answers until I got to the SW, where it all came to an end. Full of wrong turns; the only thing I had correct were ETHIC and ICESAW, which for some reason prevented me from seeing the rest. Dunno, but after I erased ETHIC I was able to fill in the remainder, then put ETHIC back in.

    "Great Scott!" went an ancient joke, as old as ZOUNDS: "I can't remember who wrote Ivanoe!"

    Oh, and as for LEN Ford, no, I never heard of him, but I've never heard of most of the sports references, so that didn't bother me at all. Sorry the jocks thought it was dirty pool to use someone obscure.

    Was the concept of darning SOCKs a problem for people? That's the trouble with our throw-away society: makes crossword puzzles so much harder.

    Ellen S 11:48 AM  

    I mean Southeast not Southwest. I was just accusing my daughter of being map-challenged. Better keep my mouth shut.

    Whirred Whacks 12:03 PM  

    @Mathguy 10:43

    Reading Rex (and comments) has given me more confidence to tackle the Friday and Saturday puzzles (something I didn't used to do), and also to trust my intuition on difficult clues.

    It's also been instructive to look at grid construction, fill, and clueing through Rex's (and others') eyes.

    I agree with Rex about 75% of the time. Today, I didnt. I thought today's puzzle was fair and medium -- a 30 minute solve for me. But he and others zip through Saturdays. (I slog my way through those.)

    As B. Kliban put it in Whack Your Porcupine: "One man's mate is another man's person."

    Z 12:08 PM  

    @mathguy and @whirred whacks - From a skill learning point of view, thinking about your thinking (AKA metacognition) helps a great deal. Coming here everyday helps one infer TOMTIT, helps one guess that "One-named Singer..." is the otherwise forgettable ENYA rather than Cher or Bono, helps one see that a name A--AM is probably ABRAM (not to mention that one can ignore the "James" and "Garfield" parts of the clue and know the clue is just "a name"). Most of what is learned here is learned by thinking about puzzles combined with repetition.

    @anon 11:18 asks "Should NYT crossword puzzles be for a tiny group of title contenders or for its general readership?" In my opinion, if anybody can do it than the doing of it loses some interest. I'm having a harder time being wowed by Mondays these days (it takes a pretty awesome and unseen before theme to do it these days). This is not a knock on Monday puzzles, and I try to react here in response to what they are intended to be. But if Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were just more Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday why would I continue? The other part of the NYTX is that one can learn to solve Saturday puzzles. Puzzles that I would never have finished not that long ago are now accessible. I think Mr. Shortzipova does a great job at putting forth puzzles that allow people to get better at crosswords.

    @pmdm - I always thought we were more unrealistically critical....

    Z 12:14 PM  

    @Ellen S. - "That's the trouble with our throw-away society: makes crossword puzzles so much harder." ZOUNDS! That made me laugh.

    Z 12:17 PM  

    BTW - Every time I look at @Whirred Whacks avatar I see a TOMTIT. (If you see a question mark I suspect you might be the person on a backwards horse) Three plus one and Out.

    dick swart 12:27 PM  

    A Thursday on a Tuesday.

    But enounce is something an etailer does when he emails you about an eceptional event.

    Andrew Heinegg 12:34 PM  

    I thought this was bad in every way possible. The cluing was either misleading or taken from something that is obscure to most. Then, if and when you got the answer, your reaction was either a yawn or a huh?. But, I must give credit to 25a, Sitka. Larger than Delaware or Rhode Island ; cool ;

    Jim 12:38 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Jim 12:39 PM  

    You missed an opportunity to reference Lisa Simpson again, from whom I learned zebu

    Arlene 1:08 PM  

    I almost stopped - but kept going. I checked the calendar to see if I had slept through Tuesday and Wednesday. I did persevere. But totally agree with just about all the comments above.
    I actually knew DEFRAG -
    but ENOUNCE???

    Questinia 1:29 PM  

    @ M&A, FRACTALS! DOH!!

    I once called up Benoit Mandelbrot in the afternoon and woke him from his nap. Got his number out of the book. He lived in Yorktown Heights NY of all places. Had to tell him how my boyfriend and I generated a computerized fractal using a Newtonian method iterative whatchmadingy.
    He was either logy or underwhelmed. There's a moral to the FRACTAL in this story somewhere.

    LHS 888 1:34 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    LHS 888 1:35 PM  

    First DNF on a Tuesday for me in quite a while. I simply couldn't suss EM-ITTER/A-RA-/RE-. I knew James A Garfield, and I didn't want to resort to Google to find out what the "A" stood for. I ran the alphabet on both blanks. Twice. And, still I got both wrong. On the other hand, HAL & PAT BOONE were gimmes. (Big fan of Henry V. Parts of April Love were filmed near my Grandfather's farm in KY & they used some of his equipment as props.) Another Allan Sherman song gave me TOMTIT.

    @Z said that the puzzle took 18 min which was 2x a "normal" Tuesday. I had to work at it in 3 different sessions, and it took me an hour of solving activity to finally achieve my DNF. That's 3-4x my "normal" Tuesday which puts me squarely in Thurs-Fri territory.

    Favorites: ZOUNDS, CURSES
    Woes: ZEBU, ENOUNCE
    Write-overs:
    AaRon > ABRAM
    Rad > REM
    tYR > AYR
    DEgaus > DEFRAG (yes, I know it's degauss)
    ALGAe > ALGAL (Hey! @Everybody)

    In the end, I was disappointed in myself that I couldn't see EMBITTER. It seems so easy in hindsight. I mean, if I could figure out ENOUNCE...?!?

    Anonymous 1:43 PM  

    BLAST! DAMN! CURSES!

    I couldn't finish this monstrosity, even with Googling several words. Most ridiculous Tuesday puzzle ever.

    Hartley70 1:45 PM  

    This was a really like/hate for me. I love the challenge on a Tuesday and I liked the theme, but like most everyone, I thought the cluing was wrong. I was particularly unfond of FUDGE for treat. Using a previous analogy, it is worse than Camero/Car. That would be FUDGE/candy. This is more like Camaro/Fun because let's face it, at current prices a Broadway show is a treat.

    I felt the same way for MAN. With this cluing it could be anyone of a hundred languages. CROC gets a thumbs down too.

    On the other hand, the puzzle had lots of fresh answers too. I loved ZOUNDS/ZEBU. I thought HAL was fair. And the crosses took care of the names I didn't know. I actually would like this level of Tuesday all the time. Will could even throw in a rebus or two!

    Whirred Whacks 1:46 PM  

    @Z 12:17
    And upside down, my avatar is a "seal balancing a ball on its nose."

    I created this design back in the late 70s when I wanted to create my own "rabbit/duck" ambiguity exercise. It's published in a couple of my books.

    A couple of years ago, a man in South Africa used it as a tattoo.
    Here's how the tattoo turned out for him.

    You're quite right about the importance of "thinking about thinking."

    Bob Kerfuffle 2:08 PM  

    Attention constructors!

    @Hartley70 has inspired a challenge: Create a new type of puzzle, starting with the clue, "Eponym of Colorado mountain," with the answer [Zebu]lon Pike in six spaces.

    This of course will be known as a "zebus" puzzle!

    The other theme answers are for you to figure out. :>))

    Brett Chappell 2:30 PM  

    Weird puzzle. More Thursdayish, but plainly not exciting.

    LaneB 3:08 PM  

    My enjoyment of a puzzle is inversely proportional to what I feel is the fairness of the clues and the obscurity of the words in the fill. This one irritated the dickens out of me what with ZEBU, FRACTALS, DEFRAG, BOWS [for Fiddlesticks?], ALGAL, FEMBOT, ENOUNCE and DOHS [wouldn't think of saying it whilst slapping a head.] Why was this picked for a Tuesday--or at all for that matter? A rare Tuesday DNF, but I ceertainly wasn't alone at least.

    Wrightcenterbob 3:08 PM  

    Glad I'm retired SW section got me.
    Wrightcenterbob

    I read you Slavishly 3:10 PM  

    @Quest:
    Hetero do XY?
    Better choose between Willa Shortzipova and Will Shortzipovitch...

    Anonymous 3:18 PM  

    Thought it was fair and not too difficult, but I've been doing these things for 55 years. And besides, any puz with ZOUNDS in it is OK in my book!

    Benko 5:14 PM  

    I thought this was on the tougher side for a Tuesday but it still was quite within the early week time range for me. Not terribly misplaced as so many seem to think.

    Snevik 5:15 PM  

    I liked the concept of theme at first glance, but the theme solves were so clumsy (HOMBRE, TREAT, ZEBU, even ZOUNDS) that I soured on it by the end. Really, the only section I had fun with was the center, where "LET IT go" crossed with a kid-unfriendly lyric from the Frozen megahit, FRACTALS. Although Polin/Shortz didn't do much to tip to the movie or song in either clue, so maybe it was a happy accident?

    Ludyjynn 5:45 PM  

    Dear @WhirredWhacks, I just realized who you are in real life. Many thanks to you for "A Whack on the Side of the Head" and "The Creative Whack Pack", both of which were invaluable tools when I taught a course called Creative Thinking & Problem Solving for several years at Hopkins. How interesting to finally 'meet' you here.

    Re puzzle solving, what @Z said, word for word, @12:08 p.m.

    @dickswart, your definition of ENOUNCE is classic.

    Hungry Mother 5:45 PM  

    Played like an easy Wednesday for me. Lots of thinking.

    Anonymous 5:51 PM  

    Wow, still consider myself a neophyte, googling cheater, but I didn't have to google anything but abram and the only other one that sort of stumped me was enounce.

    Joseph B 5:58 PM  

    I thought the theme - literal meanings vs. exclamations - was very clever, so I really enjoyed that part of it. I wish the execution and clueing were better.

    Ellen S: the issue with the SOCK clue is not that one might darn one rather than throw it out. (I just had some slacks darned.) It's that as a clue, "Darn it" is nonsense.

    As a non-exclamatatory phrase, "Darn it" can be only a command; it in no way is asking for an object of the verb "darn," nor is SOCK a synonym of the command. If the clue were "You might darn it," that would work.

    Imagine if the clue for DOG were "Walk it." Same thing.

    Anonymous 6:09 PM  

    Do the puzzle for relaxation so pretty much take them as they come. The blog today has been fun to follow, but nobody topped @Joseph Michael for the correct assessment.

    Blank Worse 6:19 PM  

    What theme?

    Teedmn 6:34 PM  

    A fun challenge for a Tuesday. Before I started reading this blog, I didn't bother doing Monday or Tuesday puzzles. Sometimes, if I saw there was a theme, I would figure out the crosses in my head and just write down the themes in order to find out the trick. Now I solve them so I get the comments here, and I time myself on Monday and Tuesday to up the ante.

    But today I was flapping a la @Questinia - I see that thinking under fire is not for me. Note to self, "don't go on a quiz show!"

    So today was double what I thought my "Tuesday time" was and a DNF at ZEBU/UNIT (the "U" was no li'l darlin' for me today, @M&A :-) ). But thanks for the workout, Mr. Polin!

    Elle54 6:40 PM  

    Fail

    Kristina Seeley 7:07 PM  

    Horrible Tuesday puzzle...weird clues. Got most of it, but just gave up!

    mac 7:40 PM  

    Yes, tougher than Tuesday usually is, but nothing wrong with that.

    The fembot needed a little work, but the zebu came easily through crosses. Of course I thought I needed an ice axe. After HOM... I thought there must be some slang way of spelling homo sapiens. Shouldn't we be alerted to another language in the answer?

    Woke right up when I thought Scott WALKER was considered great!!

    Joy Moore 7:52 PM  

    Merci, Rex. You just saved me from feeling like a failure!

    Hartley70 8:26 PM  

    Serious answer: I hold a grudge and can't walk away. It's like a good mystery and I need to know whodunit.

    Hartley70 8:33 PM  

    Brilliant!

    Questinia 8:49 PM  

    @MA, I imagine Shortzipova with Will in a platinum blonde wig-hat.

    Anonymous 11:04 PM  

    I still miss WIll Weng...I think the clues by Shortz are poor. this has few of the 2 word ones I hate, but all the other clue flaws are present. did not finish without blog

    Black eyed Susa 11:32 PM  

    Here's what Will said in article linked by @Susan McConnell: "Most important, a clue and its answer will always be expressed in the same part of speech and as a rule must be interchangeable in a sentence, with the same meaning each way."
    Now I know why "Darn it" and SOCK bothered me. How is this acceptable cluing?

    michael 11:39 PM  

    Yes, it was hard for a Tuesday, but so what? I'm in the minority here - liked the puzzle, appreciated a bit of a challenge this early in the week.

    Anonymous 11:46 PM  

    so glad to be reassured I'm not just stupid

    pb 9:48 AM  

    And I thought it was just me. Defrag got me.

    Anonymous 1:05 PM  

    I was going to complain about this puzzle but 100+ people beat me to it. Very frustrating. Theme (is it a theme) was a nice idea but poorly executed.

    -JW Norwich

    +wordphan 1:19 AM  

    I swear! I kept turning the paper over to make sure it was a TUESDAY puzzle! Zounds and love-a-duck, thanks for getting me back on track!
    Bleh!

    Anonymous 1:57 PM  

    I printed off this grid on Sunday morning after hearing all the gripes from fri/sat blog, expecting devious trickery it all fell rather fast, no hang-ups at all just surprised to see sticks for fiddles as one word when its NOT a cry of awe/despair etc. TedinDenver

    Stacy Donald 3:56 PM  

    How I Got My Lover Back {eboehispellcaster@gmail.com}...

    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: eboehispellcaster@gmail.com because he is the right man to help you get your problem solved.

    Thanks... Stacy Donald

    spacecraft 10:50 AM  

    Oh, FL, go take a pill! Yes, a few of the clues would more properly take an "e.g.", but that would spoil the effect. A little latitude is called for, methinks. I found it immensely clever, incredibly dense--and one fun solve.

    Agreed, though, that at least it be moved to a Wedensday. Tough to swallow a TOMTIT or an ALGAL on a Tuesday, but I got it done in close to Tuesday time, so...

    One more nit, if we must: "Fiddlesticks!" does NOT mean CURSES. It means you're full of s**t and yer hat don't fit. But again, to fit the form, we non-curmudgeons let it pass.

    Fearless one, non-curmudgeondom is a pleasant country--and it's bigger than a HECTARE! Try it.

    I ENOUNCE a B.

    8218: RATS!

    rondo 1:44 PM  

    Sure it was a Tuesday Toughie, but I don't care, I like 'em better that way. Wonder about the difficulty factor for the rest of the week.
    ORC, ROC, CROC . . . missing CRO (Magnon), COR (coefficient of resiliency) used for softballs, bats, and golfballs and clubs, and maybe ROCCO or some other combo.
    Real and spectacular TERI in that Heaven's Prisoners scene, yeah baby and no TOMTIT that ICESAW.
    Do football afficianados live in the FANBELT??
    Beatle words before be = LETIT, or what goes into a French cup.
    DAFT could have been clued with Punk, they sold millions last year.
    No complaints about today's puz, unlike so many othrs.

    Captcha, please
    Check again I'm no robot

    Chzetr 2:07 PM  

    Fer sure Packer Backers live in the FANBELT. Cowboys beware on Sunday.

    eastsacgirl 2:10 PM  

    Tough for Tuesday but very doable. Officially DNF by a few letters but fun.

    DMG 2:16 PM  

    This one really woke up my brain as I shifted gears going from expression to thing. Was surprised that the ZEBU is considered holy, but someone explained that is because they are in India. So, learned something! Finished with a guess at the E in ENOUNCE, but that led me to thinking DEFRAG might be a word. Who knew? Certainly not me!

    Think Captcha should be programmed to,delete any comment containing the word .spellcaster"!

    Meanwhile mine for today is 608 not the greatest.

    DMG 2:20 PM  

    @Rondo: loved your post,. Would have said so before, but it wasn't there when I first commented. Here's a dozen crocuses in thanks!

    rain forest 3:40 PM  

    This was a DAMN fine puzzle, and I have to say in my unbragging way, I found it easy-medium. If the worst I can say is that I didn't like ENOUNCE even though I've seen it in a puzzle before, then it can't be bad. I'd say that no matter what day of the week it ran. Tim Polin and Will Shortz are good HOMBRES.

    @Rondo - brilliant.

    Likewise, a check

    Anonymous 7:46 PM  

    I denounce this puzzle! Frick frack and fruck, indeed! : p

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