Betty who appeared in Who Framed Roger Rabbit / TUE 1-6-15 / Starling Silence of Lambs protagonist / Image often accompanying phrase Legalize it

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

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

THEME: DNA (62D: Molecule hidden in 4-, 11-, 23-, 25- and 29-Down) — All theme answers contain letter string "DNA" somewhere in side them (strung across two words)

Theme answers:
  • TOOTH AND NAIL (4D: Fierce way to fight)
  • BRAND NAMES (29D: Wilson and Hoover, but not Eisenhower)
  • OLD NAVY (25D: Gap subsidiary)
  • GOOD NATURE (11D: Cheerful disposition)
  • ISLAND NATION (23D: Comoros or Barbados)
Word of the Day: Betty BOOP (1D: Betty who appeared in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit") —
Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer, with help from animators including Grim Natwick. She originally appeared in the Talkartoonand Betty Boop film series, which were produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures. She has also been featured in comic strips and mass merchandising.
A caricature of a Jazz age flapper, Betty Boop wore a revealing dress that displayed her curvaceous figure. Despite having been toned down in the mid-1930s as a result of the Hays Code to appear more demure, she became one of the best-known and popular cartoon characters in the world. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another day of 2015, another Shortz insider with the constructor credit. That is one way to maintain quality control, I guess. This is a decent, more-interesting-than-usual Tuesday offering, though the fill (surprisingly) was groan-worthy more often than I expected. The NW gave me the lovely POST DOC, but also a good handful of subpar stuff like British ENROL (?), OHIOAN, AT BAR, OHNO. But then the themers are all solid. TOOTH AND NAIL is probably the most vivid and memorable, but it's also the structural outlier (all the rest are two-worders where DNA touches both words—again, one thing I learned from Patrick Berry: hidden/buries word should (ideally) touch all elements in the theme phrase). But this is admittedly a quibble. There are other parts of the grid that are clunky (esp. for a Tuesday). Both ATAD and ABIT? As if one of those weren't off-putting enough. Yuck. Then OOO / YOWIE (an expression no one really ever uses as a true substitute for "Ouch!" except maybe in comics). STADIA … legal but never-used plural. ENOS … I don't mind your mom and dad, ENOS, but I've never been the biggest fan of you. Also, the puzzle is *heavily* segmented, which made it a bit of a pain to move through—luckily that fat center was pretty easy, with both CLARICE and OLDNAVY as gimmes (for me).

A word about POT LEAF (31D: Image often accompanying the phrase "Legalize it"). This is the fourth puzzle I've done this calendar year by an under-30 constructor in which drugs and/or normally covered body parts and/or bodily fluids and/or sexual terminology has figured prominently. And, in theory, I have no problem with any of these things. But there does seem to be a prevailing notion among younger constructors at the moment that the way you make your puzzles "young" is by a. making drug references, b. showing how much you know about tech and social media, or c. including answers that would make a 14-year-old boy titter (and these constructors are all former "boys"). So … I guess I'm calling for restraint of some kind. Balance. Formerly proscribed entries can be fun, but if your primary goal when filling puzzles is to make oldsters go "OH NO, NUDE TITS!" then I think you need to reconsider your goals. That said, I have no real problem with POT LEAF. It's definitely a thing. I have no real problem with pot, either. I just want younger constructors to be more thoughtful about exactly what "younger" means. [I'll deal with my concerns about contemporary pop culture ephemera later…]
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Anonymous 7:24 AM  

    The double helix grid shape also conveys the DNA theme.

    chefbea 7:32 AM  

    Gosh...I'm the second poster??? Tough for a Tuesday. In the printed version..ther are not all those cheater squares as in Rex's puzzle. The three squares to the left of HELLO is just a blank space etc.

    Anonymous 7:36 AM  

    Hahaha, my first insta-fill. That only happens with the puzzles in the free morning papers I grab as iI enter the subway station.

    I have no problem with "pot leaf". I do have a problem with "pot (and cigarette) smoke". Nothing like having next door neighbors in our apartment building who chain smoke both varieties to exacerbate my sinus allergies. Wish all smokers could be rigged up with rebreathers so that only they breathe the smoke they otherwise inflict on others. E cigs may or may not be any healthier for those who smoke them, but I certainly appreciate them.

    Anonymous 7:37 AM  

    When you finish the entire puzzle and never see any theme, then something is definite wrong. Or is it just me?

    Mohair Sam 7:38 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    joho 7:45 AM  

    I don't know much about the structure of DNA but do the strands coil down vertically? If so, I love that all answers are vertical. Nice visual touch!

    Nice Tuesday!

    Hey, @Rex, what's wrong with OHIOAN? 😊

    Z 7:48 AM  

    The puzzle on the printed page is much lovelier, using white spaces on the left and right, making the DNA theme immediately apparent. This effect is lost in the computer generated image Rex posted. The Grid Art does result in a highly segmented puzzle, but I like the trade-off.

    If we are always going to have ABIT and ATAD together in puzzles, so be it. I agree that alone they ought to be avoided. Together they almost become a feature.

    I like the image of NUDE ADAM and EVE doing YOGA with the MINTY MONTY ENEMY. Has an almost poetic quality to it.

    I give this puzzle a Brewery Vivant Farmhand (a French Style Farmhouse Ale) rating. Goes great with chicken or a little POT LEAF.

    L 7:58 AM  

    Did I oversleep a whole day? This was tough for a Tuesdsy. I liked the DNA grid, even if it didn't readily help me solve the puzzle. I likd the tough cluing for a Tuesday, like 29D - makes up for the appalling ATAD and ABIT in the same damn puzzle.
    Ohio = Worst State Ever according to my rabid UM family. Makes for a great T shirt though.

    NCA President 8:09 AM  

    @Z: I did the puzzle on the NYT site with the blank spaces peppered in there and I thought that the Rex version pointed out the theme much faster. I got caught up in wondering about the blank squares rather than simply seeing DNA hidden in all of the themers. I actually felt the opposite from you in that I thought the gimmick was not worth the trade off.

    If the idea is to emulate a helix and coil, then the themers should have coiled around themselves. That would have made it a lot more difficult, but at least you have a coil...this is just parallel words that have DNA embedded in them.

    To Rex's point about the presence of drugs, sex, and media in younger constructors' puzzles, I ascribe the use of jarring or "blue" answers to no more than another way to grab a little giggle here and there...much like the ridiculous fixation with puns in many NYT puzzles. It's just the modern day equivalent of the groaner. Personally, I'd rather have a cheap adolescent titter than a pun.

    I haven't noticed a gratuitous use of such words in recent puzzles, but then I only do the NYT and some of BEQ's...and BEQ manages to tastefully drop the occasional F-bomb or S-bomb which is always fun to discover.

    Leapfinger 8:10 AM  

    I'm a day late and a couple of bucks short, so a few Monday replies:

    @Lewis, your 'Spitted of St. Lewis' was quite a flight of fancy; did you mean to imply I've been irreversibly labelled a PunDemonia?

    @Alias, O NO! You reminded me of the schoolyard joke about the fellow who had his KIMONO Dragon on the ground.
    More L8er on DinDiRin

    @Z, really liked your word list; some Rapscallions still use several of them. Wondered about Obambulate, though: masquerading as a political version of 'perambulate'?

    @Nancy, I read and enjoyed your several comments and replies; sorry for not responding till now (see 1st sentence). I hope the fact that I'm Not a courtly Southern gentleman flirting with you wasn't too big a disappointment. There's always tomorrow.
    One of these days we can discuss how genderedness is authorized in the writer's voice. Plenty examples right here among these comments, yes?

    On to Tuesday now.

    Lewis 8:21 AM  

    @leapy -- I believe your condition is irreversible. I base this on reality. And I love it.

    I did titter when I saw BRA under TITS.

    @rex -- If these younger constructors are using the drug and tech answers as seed answers, then you may have a good quibble here. But it just may be that those words are well entrenched in their wheelhouses and it doesn't occur to them that there is anything "young" about them.

    I do Joel's daily runtpuzzes just before going to bed, and have a good feel for his cluing, so this fell pretty easily. I love the look of the grid, which makes the theme worth it, IMO.

    Andrew Morrison 8:25 AM  

    Average Tuesday for me. I was surprised to see ABIT and ATAD in the same puzzle. That seems a bit weak, to me.

    Has it really been that long? I drew a blank on the 'beeper' hint. Got enough of PAGED from crosses to see the light and say, 'Oooohhhhhhhhhhh yes. I remember those days.' I knew a guy who wore a pager because he thought it made him look cool and important. It wasn't active. Just wore it for looks. Some people....

    Leapfinger 8:25 AM  

    Phoo. Solved in AcrossLite and never saw the DNA clue, so that cute double helix was lost on me till Rex-time. Would be well-nigh impossible to coil the themers as NCAPrez suggests, but there could have been some -AT- and -GC- inserts between the strands, maybe.

    Question for today: Was it the BUTTEr BUTTED or the BUTTEe was BUTTED?
    (Rhetturn L8er to see if the BUTTler DIDIT.)

    Fans ROOT for POT LEAF (green paint notwithstanding). The DEA branch cannot stem the tide

    Was it to BARN_ARD OR to Wellesly that Annabel got accepted? Either way, Congrats!!

    I DOT OO when I write Laocoön. Don't you?

    Had a good time with this, I DID.

    AliasZ 8:28 AM  

    Loved the grid art, but what bothered me A TAD was that three out of the five theme answers contained DNA both backwards and forwards. For more consistency, I thought either all of them should have been ANDNA, or none of them. If you prefer the straight[ANDNA]rrow, you may engage in a PROLONGE[DNA]RRATIVE that includes OL[DNA]G, IPO[DNA]NO, OR[DNA]NCE, DREA[DNA]UGHT, E[DNA]FERBER, KI[DNA]PPING, FOLDE[DNA]PKINS etc. A[DNA]USEAM. Otherwise go CHEAP[ANDNA]STY with DRUNK[ANDNA]KED, CLEVEL[ANDNA]TIVE, ECHO[ANDNA]RCISSUS, etc. How can we avoid BRANDNAMES like IPAD?

    Who doesn't remember Doc Severinsen, trumpet player and bandleader of the NBC Orchestra on the Johnny Carson show? NBC in the POSTDOC era (after Doc retired with Johnny) has not been what it once was.

    I also thought ATAD and ABIT were SORTA somewhat a DAB of repetitive redundancy, but what do I know.

    I think young Mr. Fagliano should get his mind out of the gutter, what with POTLEAF, a BOTTLE of RYE whiskey AT BAR, and a bare BUTTED NUDE. And TITS? OOO... OH NO! Doesn't he know that drugs, booze and sex are the ROOT of all evil?

    A BIT of a news item that some may find A TAD disturbing caught my eye this morning: "Dogs Bred for MEAT in S.Korea Start New Life in US". Someone should have rescued Annabel's Chicken Little.

    Speaking of Echo and Narcissus, here is a lesser-known ballet by Russian composer Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873-1945) titled "Narcisse et Echo". It is somewhat reminiscent of Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloe," maybe not as masterful but similarly impressionistic, quite evocative and sensuous, bordering on sensual.

    Enjoy your day.

    Z 8:29 AM  

    @NCAPrez - Curious, I went to look at the puzzle on the NYT website. Fail. On the page there are no squares below the POS of POSTDOC or the TE of TENN, the EY of DISNEY, or the EMY of ENEMY. The absence of any squares in these spots make the double helix of the black squares immediately apparent. I see your point when solving on the website, why do we have these light gray squares in the puzzle? The Grid Art is essentially lost.

    @PuzzAzz users - did PuzzAzz properly render the puzzle?

    Lewis 8:34 AM  

    Factoid: Former pupils of ETON are known as Old Etonians and include 19 Prime Ministers and the writers Aldous Huxley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, George Orwell, and Ian Fleming, not to mention some other well-knowns: Beau Brummell, Damian Lewis, and Hugh Laurie, Prince William and Prince Harry.

    Quotoid: "We used to ROOT for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn't think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre." -- Dick Gregory

    Elephant's Child 8:38 AM  

    Fabulous post, @Alias.

    And you reminded me of "Narcissus and Goldmund", one of the first Hermann Hesse books I read.

    Whirred Whacks 8:49 AM  

    With answers like


    Joel Fagliano must've had a premonition that the spouse of a leading 2016 Presidential candidate would be in the news today for his connection in a Palm Beach sex slave ring.

    Nice job, Joel!

    Anonymous 8:50 AM  

    I am a trial lawyer and never, not once, in my years of practice have I ever heard anyone use the phrase "at bar."

    John V 8:56 AM  

    Actually pretty easy, I thought. Thanks folks for saying what the gird shape was for it was totally lost on me.

    Anonymous 8:57 AM  

    Another day, another petulant rant from rex. YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN! "Oh, Will and his favored constructors." "Oh, these kids today with their foul mouths and impure thoughts. When I was their age, we were constructing crosswords with chalk and abaci, and the dirtiest word we could use was 'moist.'" Is Rex a 90-year-old schoolmarm? Does he have any insight into what an old buzzard he sounds like?

    Anonymous 8:58 AM  

    TOOTH AND NAIL isn't much help when the other guy has a KNIFE AND GUN.

    Anonymous 9:02 AM  

    I'd rather have a drug or sex answer than a "Silent movie star" or sports one any day. Then again, I'm under 30 and have no interest at all in sports, so these questions are out of my wheelhouse anyway.

    Generic Solver 9:13 AM  

    I was going to gripe that a neighbor of a "Hoosier" should be a "Buckeye" and not an "Ohioan", but then I saw Wikipedia provided this:

    "Hoosier is the official demonym for a resident of the U.S. state of Indiana. Although most Americans typically adopt a derivative of the state name (either "Indianan" or "Indianian"), these derivatives are not in official use or proper within Indiana".

    Live and learn.

    Anonymous 9:21 AM  

    Much too easy, especially from a constructor who is one of Will's anointed.

    Ludyjynn 9:31 AM  

    Easiest Tuesday I can recall. Easy but very enjoyable.

    Rex, sometimes a rose is just a reference to your displeasure w/ TITS et al., as I type this, the titmice, downy woodpeckers and cardinals are busily gorging themselves at my backyard feeders, feathers standing out nicely against the falling snow. Much more poetic than contemplating Betty BOOP's pair, eh? (BTW, she is my favorite 'toon character of all time; always nice to see her referenced in a puzz.).

    Lovely clueing for MEOW, MONTY, ENEMY, REALTOR, DRAW. I also liked NUDE, ADAM and EVE in the same vicinity, and the irony of IPAD crossing TAPE.

    @Anonymous, ATBAR is perfectly LEGIT terminology for a trial/case in progress, from my experience as a retired attorney.

    Am I the only person in the country who has not seen DISNEY's "Frozen" (but knows more about it than I ever cared to)?

    Schools are closed due to the weather. If you're going out on the east coast, take good care!

    Thanks, JF and WS.

    Zeke 9:36 AM  

    Seriously, POT LEAF has been part of American iconography for over 50 years now. It's almost quaint. Actually, it's so quaint as to be meaningless as iconography. Back in the day I was lucky to have 50% of my purchase be acutal leaves, the rest being stems and filler. Now if any leaves are included in a purchase, people are irate. It's buds, all gooey, glorious, buds. Leaves are passe.

    Just this past weekend one of the news magazine shows had a followup on Colorado's legalization of pot. One woman had a shop there for several years, first selling legal medicinal pot, then recreational pot. She was ecstatic, as once it became legal for recreational use she finally was turning a profit. My reaction was, "you couldn't make a profit selling dope!? There's only one reason for that...."

    ArtO 9:42 AM  

    While it's fair to comment on the presence of "crud" in the grid, it's shameful not to include one word of praise for the cleverness and beauty of the grid which supports the theme.

    Great job Mr. Fagliano!Art

    pmdm 9:47 AM  

    Apparently no one has yet noticed or mentioned that in 3 of the 5 theme answers, DNA reads both up and down from the D. Could that have been the original intent of the theme?

    Steve J 9:51 AM  

    This was A BIT above my average Tuesday time. Not entirely sure why, as nothing felt particularly tough here. In terms of quality, this was also A TAD above a normal Tuesday in my book (the inclusion of both A BIT and A TAD aside). And that's without having noticed the central grid coil until much later.

    Speaking of grid shape: I solve on the iPad, so I had the black bars. I popped over to xwordinfo to see the grid without those. To be honest, having those missing chunks just makes the grid look awkward and weird. Maybe it calls a little more attention to the central coil, but the white space adds nothing. And I can see, as @NCA President mentioned, how those white spaces would throw people off into thinking they were somehow part of the theme.

    While I liked this one overall, you would think any constructor realizing they have to rely on tic-tac-toe to explain fill would view that as a big red flag to fix that section.

    Joseph Michael 10:18 AM  

    Fun solve. Hard to imagine that TITS, BUTT, and NUDE all ended up in the same puzzle by coincidence. Maybe the POT LEAF had something to do with it.

    RnRGhost57 10:20 AM  

    Maybe Rex is learning how easily it is to phase from Young Turk to Middle Age Fogie?
    An occupational hazard of higher ed academics, btw.

    quilter1 10:24 AM  

    OK, didn't get the gray squares until I came here. Makes sense now. Overall I thought it was easy. Is it me or is there a general crabbiness among commenters today?

    Hartley70 10:26 AM  

    I love seeing this much effort put into a Tuesday puzzle by the constructor. There's been nothing difficult about Monday or Tuesday this week, but today's offering had me at the double helix image. I built one in 1960 for my 7th grade science fair project so there was the nostalgia factor too..the joys of junior high! Very nicely done Mr. Fagliano.

    Charles Flaster 10:37 AM  

    Easy Tuesday. Agreed with Rex on his review but his editorializing was unnecessary.
    Thought all the DNA chains , either north or south, should have been circled.
    Liked clue for POST DOC.
    E TRADE might become some crosswordEASE real soon.
    Thanks JF

    Sir Hillary 10:38 AM  

    This is a nice Tuesday puzzle. The double helix design is very cool, and the themers are fun. I do agree that the fill is not the best. @AliasZ is correct in pointing out the inelegance of DNA running both ways in three themers, but I have to admit I did not notice that until I came here.

    Bottom line for me -- this one won't win any awards, but it kept me entertained during the solve.

    BTW, in light of yesterday's discussion on nouns masquerading as verbs, isn't "solve" SORTA a weird noun?

    Honeysmom 10:57 AM  

    Less challenging Tuesday than past three, and almost easy for this amateur crossworder. Don't understand Rex's ratings sometimes -- no Friday or Saturday can ever be called "Easy." And his rants seem to encourage either adulation or crabbiness.

    Tita 11:34 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Tita 11:38 AM  

    @Honeysmom - he rates each day's puzzle in the context of that day. "Easy for a Saturday" and "Hard for a Monday" are distinct things.

    I am not a regular curmudgeon, nor am I a school marm, but I am so tired of 3rd grade humor.
    An occasional well-timed fart or kick in the nuts might be funny, and might make me LOL, but there are movies and shows that are nothing but that for two hours.
    Potty humor and foul language don't shock me - they bore me.

    Are folks so unimaginative?

    @Ludy - same birds at my feeder, with plenty of turkeys below it. (Back to my GetOffMyLawn rant: Do I take puerile pleasure in asking my schoolmarmish great aunt to say TIT be asking her what that bird is, then TITter when she farts while laughing?)

    And no, I have never seen Frozen either...!

    I too always like Betty BOOP, and love the word.
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a very funny movie, even though it is rife with nuts being kicked.
    They gave such great homage to the double-entendres and inuendos aimed at adults in the old Looney Tunes...but kept going and beat it to death.

    I did like TOOTHANDNAIL near MEOW. The same phrase exists in Portuguese, but it refers to someone hanging on to an opportunity "com unhas e dentes". My cat hangs on to me in like fasion when I try to put her down, she MEOWing, me YOWIEing.

    Thanks, Mr. Fagliano. Fun puzzle even so.

    Gareth Bain 11:43 AM  

    Most times Rex's complaints are well-reasoned and sensible. Today seemed like an over-reaction, though. Most of that bad fill is not really bad - there are definitely places to see OHIOAN, ATBAR, OHNO, and STADIA in the wild.

    It's a very narrow way to steer between "no contemporary references, could have been made 40 years ago" and "pop culture ephemera".

    old timer 11:44 AM  

    I, too, have heard "ATBAR". Usually in some construction like, "the case AT BAR can easily be distinguished from the cases cited by my opponent."

    I liked the puzzle because the DNA theme helped provide answers to difficult questions. That's the whole point of a theme, isn't it, to give solvers a crutch? And this puzzle was mighty tough for a Tuesday.

    I was a little shocked to see TITS. A single TIT: very common and the image of a bird comes to mind at once. But I don't think I've seen a pair of them in the NYT crossword before.

    However, probably appropriate given that ADAM and EVE were NUDE in Eden, and not ashamed.

    Anonymous 11:54 AM  

    Will gave this puzzle a pass becauae Joel is his personal assistant. He would have panned it if another constructor had submitted it. Entries like ooo and tits and yowie?? Really?

    mac 12:02 PM  

    At first glance this seemed a puzzle with an amazing lack of black squares for a Tuesday, with three 15 letter answers to begin with! I was halfway done before I realized the blank squares were a very pale grey. The double helix is beautiful.

    I feel Adam and Eve are much more acceptable as fill because Enos was included. Same goes for a tad, a bit and sorta.

    I liked it, a lot of thought and work went into this puzzle.

    RooMonster 12:03 PM  

    Hey All !
    Here in Las Vegas, it is the CES show, real big show that brings in about 150,000-200,000 people to our humble burg. Haven't had time these past couple of days to comment. Like to think I've been missed, but probably not! :-D

    Easyish TuesPuz, I had the lightly grayed squares in my puz. Hands up for thinking they were part of the theme, and trying to use them somehow. How many of us put pen in first for ALP? Also, dicE for TAPE?

    Overall, nice puz. Some iffy fill, OOO, YOWIE, TITS.

    After reading@AliasZ's post, all I can say is Wow. Clever LOON!


    Casco Kid 12:16 PM  

    I wanted CLARIssa Starling, then remembered Anthony Hopkins purring, "CLAR- EESE" and was happy with CLARIsE. The consequence was a 14 minute solve that became a 25 minute solve as I stared at [Pro-___] AM_ crossing [1-10, e.g.] _sALE. I finally gave up and threw the hail Mary AMS/SsALE.

    Quick. Easy. Wrong.

    I agree with Rex today. ATAB and ABIT in the same puzzle rankled. AMY and ARM and ALA and ALP, too The theme was just OK and not did not assist in the solve.

    wreck 12:18 PM  

    It took me a little longer than usual for a Tuesday, but didn't seem to be harder as I solved it (like Steve J).
    I for one, didn't think Rex was scathing at all in his review. In fact, I think he has been noticeably more tactful since the first of the year!

    mathguy 12:22 PM  

    I just checked the newspaper version of the puzzle in my home-delivered copy of the NYT(I did it last night from a printout). Whereas five squares touching the left border and five touching the right boundary were very lightly shaded on the printout, both fives are cut out of the newspaper version.

    One of the compromises in not doing the puzzle as it is meant to be presented. My version was confusing. With no black squares, it looked like 1D, 2D, 3D, 11D, 12D, 13D were fifteen-letter entries. When I deduced that that wasn't true, I still was waiting for something to tell me how to fill in the lightly-shaded squares.

    Had I done the newspaper version, I probably would have noticed the DNA strands.

    Z 1:02 PM  

    @Gareth Bain said, "It's a very narrow way to steer between "no contemporary references, could have been made 40 years ago" and 'pop culture ephemera'. "

    That's the nut, isn't it? When is trivia "interesting" and "fresh" and when is it just "trivial?" My own opinion is that there needs to be a balance. Opera or rap clues are fine as long as the don't overwhelm. Likewise with anatomical/scatological/pharmaceutical entries. Fine in small doses as long as they don't overwhelm. A week of recreational drugs, though, means they become as boring as random popes.

    @WW - The National Enquirer has a website?

    Anonymous 1:04 PM  


    I found this one easy too. Not a single obscurity in the whole grid. Maybe TENONS, but that's an old crossword standby. Rex and the commenters here haven't really expressed what they found challenging about it.

    There is a famous (in his field) Belgian-born French mathematician named Jacques TITS. Saturday constructors take note, for non-bird cluing?

    pfb 1:42 PM  

    This went about how a Tuesday should go (for me that is). Decent puzzle. Regrading OHNO. Recently Apolo Anton Ohno came to my place of employment (a university) and was billed as a motivational speaker. Not a fitting name for his post Olympic profession.

    Whirred Whacks 1:42 PM  

    @Z 1:02 People laughed (and the media ignored) the National Enquirer's 2008 coverage of candidate John Edwards affair with his staffer/girl friend Rielle Hunter and subsequent love child. Turns out they were correct.

    But you're right: I don't usually spend much time on their site unless it's the result of a link from Drudge (Drudge is a guilty pleasure as is -- believe it or not -- DailyKos).

    Ilana 1:51 PM  

    I'm sure it was pointed out in comments (though I didn't see it just glancing through) but DNA runs both north and south (off the D) in all answers.

    jae 2:01 PM  

    Medium-tough for me too, mostly from misreading clues.  Trickiest cross for me was IPAD/TAPE.  I knew it couldn't be dice, but I haven't run across an IPAD used as a cash register. 

    @Tita & Ludy - Me too for missing Frozen.

    Instead of dreck I thought it was a mini theme: A BIT, A TAD, SORTA, DAB

    Solid theme, reasonably smooth, liked it.

    Anonymous 2:09 PM  

    Really, Rex, we know you hate all things science, but to say only "Also, the puzzle is *heavily* segmented, which made it a bit of a pain to move through" and not comment on that lovely double helix is just unfair.

    Mohair Sam 2:33 PM  

    Fill seemed a little tortured for a Joel F. puzzle (TITS, OOO, and others) but probably caused by the double helix design to match the DNA theme - pretty damned clever, imo.

    Any other nerds out there who used the Helix data base system for the the then new Macintosh back in the '80's? Man, that was hard to manage.

    I'll put a hand up with Rex on noticing the sixth grade silliness that sometimes sneaks into the puzzle in the form of a double entendre or a drug reference. But it doesn't bug me much, just something else I have to suss or fill - but Rex is right, it doesn't make the puzzle "today" either.

    Other guys have danced around the issue, but I'll come right out and say it: I love you Betty BOOP.

    Carola 2:40 PM  

    Such a creative puzzle theme and very nicely realized. Wish I'd seen it! But very glad to have the blog to reveal all. Nice work, Joel!

    Anonymous 3:20 PM  

    Did it in print without ever seeing the double helix or DNA in the middle--pretty clueless for a former genetics researcher who was not a post doc.
    Btw Wellesley has an e between the l and y. As a post 70 ish I like Rex's comments. Always breezy and fresh. So I don't always get the rapper names...who cares!

    chefbea 3:21 PM  

    could someone draw the double helix on the grid? I can't see it

    Slow Motion 4:16 PM  

    Sorry I can't draw it, but the two 1x3 blocks at the top are the top of the helix, and the two at the bottom are the bottom. The helix completes one counterclockwise turn from top to bottom.

    Anoa Bob 4:23 PM  

    Maybe some POT LEAF would help in seeing a DNA double helix in the grid. Looks more to me like a LOON diving for food or maybe a NUDE ADAM & EVE embracing.

    llana@1:51, the DNA runs up and down in three of the themers, but not in OLD NAVY or GOOD NATURE.

    Not a big fan of what appears to me to be arbitrary snippets of conversation like WE DID IT (22A) or I DO TOO (66A). They seem to be occurring more frequently these days. I wonder if constructors are loading up their word lists with the likes of WE (I, SHE, HE, THEY) DID IT or I (THEY, WE) DO TOO. Seems like one could generate a very, very long list of grid size-friendly pronoun-verb-subject/modifier type phrases, all of them as equally banal as today's three-worders.

    Z 4:34 PM  

    @Anoa Bob - Are BTWs to join POCs, RRNs, and RCDs as CrossJargon initialisms?

    Joseph Welling 4:46 PM  

    Anonymous said:

    "I am a trial lawyer and never, not once, in my years of practice have I ever heard anyone use the phrase "at bar."

    I'll add the other end of the career perspective to Ludyjynn's comment: as a 2L, I've seen the term "the case at bar" hundreds of times in opinions.

    Joseph Welling 4:49 PM  

    Do the forward and backward DNAs somehow contribute to the double helix picture, explaining why some, but not all of the theme answers contained ANDNA?

    I'm not seeing it, but then again, I spent what seemed like forever trying to figure out how LEG IT meant "OK." ;)

    Teedmn 6:34 PM  

    This was a fun, and easy for me, puzzle. While the grid didn't stand out in AcrossLite, it sure did look neat on the NYT version, so kudos to Mr. Fagliano for good theme answers and design!

    I created my own bit of middle school humor - having misread the tense on the clue for 11D, I was left with GOOD NA-TURd. Made a mess of Voltaire's quote too!

    Norm 6:35 PM  

    Whirred Whacks: Please do not link to the National Enquirer. Ever.

    Anoa Bob 7:10 PM  

    @Z, Banal Three Worder? It might gain some traction if the BTWs continue to dot the xword landscape.

    Ludyjynn 7:53 PM  

    @Tita, Turkeys at your feeder?! Wild, I suppose? I read somewhere they are becoming commonplace, even in urban areas, where they can be a public nuisance but are protected from human interference by local ordinances!

    @JosephWelling, best of luck to you; you're halfway through classes. Whatever you choose to do w/ the degree, I'm confident it will come in handy. Mine enabled me to practice, adjudicate and teach at university level at a higher pay rate than I'd made in public schools. Definitely worth enduring snarky lawyer jokes (many of which are very funny)! Good luck to you.

    Tita 9:25 PM  

    @Ludy - wild, yes. This season's posse numbers 17...preeevious years we've seen as many as 26. This afternoon I saw a beautiful red fox saunter acrooooss the lawn, so that may explain the decline.
    We're in Outer Suburbia - about as long a commute as one could stomach to The City. There are about 25 acres of woods/wetlands around us, so there is usually plenty of wildlife.

    Hand up for not noticing the double helix - cool beans...

    Tita 9:25 PM  

    @Ludy - wild, yes. This season's posse numbers 17...preeevious years we've seen as many as 26. This afternoon I saw a beautiful red fox saunter acrooooss the lawn, so that may explain the decline.
    We're in Outer Suburbia - about as long a commute as one could stomach to The City. There are about 25 acres of woods/wetlands around us, so there is usually plenty of wildlife.

    Hand up for not noticing the double helix - cool beans...

    Tita 9:25 PM  

    @Ludy - wild, yes. This season's posse numbers 17...preeevious years we've seen as many as 26. This afternoon I saw a beautiful red fox saunter acrooooss the lawn, so that may explain the decline.
    We're in Outer Suburbia - about as long a commute as one could stomach to The City. There are about 25 acres of woods/wetlands around us, so there is usually plenty of wildlife.

    Hand up for not noticing the double helix - cool beans...

    Elephant's Child 11:39 PM  

    Commenters who scoffed at DNA running both South and North in some themers missed the elegantly subtle reference to the occasional role of reverse transcriptase. If anyone is now tempted to tell me that doesn't relate in any way to reverse transcriptase action... Don't bother.

    Allah ATBAR.

    the redanman 2:50 PM  

    Sue me, thought it was easy, very easy. For a Tuesday.

    Fred Romagnolo 9:32 PM  

    Mathguy: I don't know how to use the internet. I tried to get you, but it didn't work, perhaps you can get me with let's see.

    greg simon lopez 2:29 AM  

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    DMG 12:30 PM  

    Didn't catch the DNA connection until the revealer. Guess I was too busy trying to figure the significance of the white spaces! Ended with a DNF. My "ouch" was an oOWIE, so I decided GoM must be Gym of the Month or some such. I definitely need help!

    spacecraft 12:33 PM  

    I thought something was up when today's puzzle appeared without ink in the side bars. Printed that way, it emphasizes the vertical, and that MEATy core.

    Synchronicity: I was just (re-)watching SOTL last night, with some fava beans and...well, you know.

    This one felt bumpy. Or maybe spaghetti-western-y: the GOOD (NATURE), the bad (agree about ATBAR: it's just plain not used), and the ugly (OOO).

    And now will someone please tell me WOE a POSTDOC (???) is, though I doubt I'll admire it as much as OFL does.

    I am not surprised at all the "blue" entries, though DISNEY would surely blush.

    Mostly uninspiring theme--and themers, plus very uneven fill, works out to a C.

    rondo 1:22 PM  

    Don't see why OFL says Med-Chal, this was super easy, didn't take a GENIUS. Rex must not like the verticality.

    Two-way DNA in places, huh. Maybe 7d shouold have been AND? Never noticed the theme until the reveal.

    Never like the tic-tac-toe clues/answers, seems desperate.

    What more to say about NUDE TITS?? Or the full MONTY.

    How to get golfer Michelle's attention? Yell YO WIE

    STADIA is also a certain method of surveying using the transit's top and bottom crosshairs to measure distance (to the nearest foot). Then reading the angle from your baseline. Compelling, no??

    This wasn't bad. SORTA liked it ABIT or ATAD. Soon forgotten.

    Burma Shave 1:49 PM  

    Violets are blue,
    POTLEAFs are green.
    NUDE BOOP TITS are something
    that you've never seen.

    rain forest 3:39 PM  

    @Spacey - POSTDOC is shorthand for post doctoral student, someone who has just earned his/her PhD. Typically these people spend a year or two as research assistants for full-fledged PhDs hoping to get on the tenure train at some University, or to land a job in, ahem, industry.

    Visually interesting puzzle where I "saw" the helical DNA strands right away, yet failed to notice the DNAs within them.

    Had I not just slammed down FriabLE instead of FERTILE, I might have set a record on this one.

    spacecraft 5:57 PM  

    Thanks, @rainy. Shows you how far I got in college!

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