Roman magistrate / WED 1-21-15 / Kinkajou cousin / Thriller set on Amity Island / Michael of Flashdance / Handrail support / First Burmese prime minister / Self-portraitist Frida / Mr. Spock's forte

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Constructor: Jim Hilger

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (slower than normal, though oversized 15x16 grid might have something to do with that)

THEME: [T] FORMATION (50A: Following the nine black squares in the center of the grid, a hint to five pairs of answers in this puzzle) — "nine black squares" form a "T"; "five pairs of answers" also form "T"s, and intersect at the letter "T"

Theme answers:
  • WATER / TIGHT (5A: With 7-Down, incapable of leaking)
  • AFTER / TASTE (isn't that one word?) (26A: With 28-Down
  • OFTEN / TIMES (ditto) (29A: With 30-Down, frequently)
  • TITLE / TRACK (52A: With 54-Down, song with the same name as its album)
  • DUTCH / TREAT (56A: With 57-Down, meal for which everyone pays his or her own way)
Word of the Day: Michael NOURI (37D: Michael of "Flashdance") —
Michael Nouri (born December 9, 1945) is an American television and film actor. He may be best known for his role as Nick Hurley, in the 1983 film Flashdance. He has had recurring roles in numerous television series, including NCIS as Eli David, the father of Mossad officer (now Special Agent) Ziva DavidThe O.C. as Dr. Neil Roberts, and Damages as Phil Grey. He also appeared as Congressman Stewart with Queen Latifah in the 2006 comedy movie Last Holiday and Detective Thomas Beck in the science fiction action film The Hidden. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another very cute idea that doesn't quite get the execution it deserves. It strains under the weight of its own (admirable) ambition. I love the many-layered quality of the theme: the pairs form "T"s, they intersect *at* "T", and the black squares in the middle form a *T* that's part of the revealer. Nice nice and nice. But, first, I think there's something a little off about treating a compound word like a two-word phrase (which happens twice here at OFTEN/TIMES and AFTER/TASTE), and, second, I think there's something really, tragically off about the fill in a couple of places, most notably the INUTILE (!?) MOL PUF NOURI disaster zone. IDI and UNU should really never appear in the same grid together. Too much historical palindromic crosswordese for such a small space. IRENA ERI ATEN, wince, ABAB TRS, wince. And EDILE … jeez, I mean, EDILE? That is some last-ditch, desperation stuff. Just because the editor won't hold your fill to high standards doesn't mean you shouldn't. Dear world, hear my plea: put EDILE behind break-only-in-case-of-emergency glass, for pete's sake. What we have here, in the end, is a massive contrast between the theme (visually interesting, impressively dense) and the fill, which, with the exception of several of the longer Downs, is pretty subpar. I mean, A BOAT … really? And so close to EDILE? Too bad I already named the God of Bad Short Fill "OOXTEPLERNON," because MR. TAWN PUFENE has a nice ring to it. Maybe he can be the henchman.

[Profanity off the starboard bow …]

MOTOR TREND! PETTY THEFT! WATCH TOWER (if we're allowing compound words to be split, which apparently we are…). Can you think of others?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:03 AM  

So what does an ION have to do with the theme?

jae 12:05 AM  

Medium for me.  Seemed about right for a Wed.

Never sure where the H goes in KAHLO.

IN UTILE or is that one word?

Tried to put in ACT ? before ANON but the C wasn't going to work.

arouse before BESTIR

IDI and UNU what Rex said.

Liked it more than Rex did.  The theme is pretty neat.

wreck 12:10 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
wreck 12:11 AM  

I pretty much agree with Rex, though my time (according to the ipad app) was 6 minutes faster than my average Wednesday time. There was a lot of bad fill, but it sped up my time instead of slowing it down. If people thought "COMIC RELIEF" was a bad revealer, I can't wait to see what they think about FORMATION! That's a big WTF for me!

Whirred Whacks 12:16 AM  

An okay exercise.

One criticism: for a puzzle whose central concept is "T FORMATION," you'd think there would be at least one (or more) worthwhile football-related answer(s). CFL for "north of the border grid org" is too anemic to count.

dreisands 12:16 AM  

@wreck Formation follows after the 9 black squares in the center, i.e. T-Formation.

SenorLynn 12:27 AM  

Didn't notice UNU or EDILE because all the acrosses were easy. INUTILE is inferrable, but find where anyone ever said it.
Wasn't bothered by the "T" words being compound or not--still made for an elegant theme.
18 min, about avg according to iPad app.

wreck 12:39 AM  

Okay, I admit I'm dense! I filled it in quickly, but never saw it. I guess if I paid more attention to the revealing clue - it would have made sense.

George Barany 12:43 AM  

Elegant theme by @Jim Hilger, but as @Rex's critique rightly delineates, full of words that most constructors will go out of their way to avoid putting into their puzzles. I think that readers of this blog are likely to appreciate @Hayley Gold's latest webcomic, which independently comes to similar conclusions.

Anonymous 12:59 AM  

Meh. EDILE + KAHLO = NATICK. Live and learn.


Carola 1:22 AM  

Nice grid design and theme, with a few more TREATs: TINSMITH, SOULFOOD, SNIPPET, BLATANT. Echoiing the small inverted T at the bottom of the grid, I noticed two upside-down T's at the top: BLATANT SNIPPET (not sure what that might be) and INUTILE FAR-LEFT (a message?). I liked PAST TENSE over the large central T as a symbol for "time."

chefwen 1:49 AM  

I had to look up INUTILE just to make sure it was really a word. Thought maybe that first letter could be la U, but I was damn sure that uMPATIENT was not kosher. Liked the T FORMATION .

@jae KAHLO is always a I head scratcher ( spelling wise) for me also.

A good Wednesday, thanks Mr. Hilger.

Charles Flaster 2:19 AM  

Easy but one miscue.
Had age for AXE -- wrong hacker and I did think age was not necessary to my hacker but went with it.

CrosswordEASE--AWN, PEI, IDI and EDILE.
LIiked cluing for SNIPPET, PAST TENSE and WALKS.
The "T" and FORMATION are perfectly centered and seems difficult to create.
Although I missed TAX RATE it was brilliantly clued with brackets.
Thanks JH

Andy 2:20 AM  

Yayyyy No one hacked the app tonight, although now my streak number has been reset to 0 even though yesterday's grid was completed 3 times before the solving had time ran out . Each time it was completed it would say the streak was intact, but after a few minutes it would reset the streak to zero. I sent the info off to the tech ppl and of course have not heard back from them.

Two months ago there wasn't even a streak counting feature in the app . It bugs me that this bugs me now

John Child 2:37 AM  

I would have liked this puzzle more without the 12 extra Ts. It is a theme about crossing words at Ts with a T-shaped grid. How much more elegant to have fill with no Ts other than the 10 in the theme answers!

PAST TENSE at 23A precludes that, but another choice there might have allowed it.

MDMA 3:57 AM  

STEP for "Flight component" was confusing until I realized "flight" meant fleeing.

I kept thinking SToP for airline flights, which can either be non-stops or have stops.

INUTILE is a common French word that is a very uncommon English word. There are a few like that, for instance "sans".

Anonymous 4:49 AM  

@MDMA maybe the constructor was thinking of a flight of stairs?

mathguy 5:07 AM  

Liked the theme even though it didn't help me solve the puzzle.

Nice clue for the T in the lower left: TITLE/TRACK.

The sub-standard fill didn't bother me. The semi-drecky entries were fairly clued and there were were a sufficient number of gimmes elsewhere to smooth the way.

GILL I. 6:32 AM  

Wasn't that enamored with:
A BAB nor
A TEN....
Had the same huh! with MOL PUF NOURI. BESTIR my heart because I've never seen INUTILE used in English. Spanish si, but English no...
I would love for someone to use the word AGUE (how do you pronounce that?) to describe some chill.
Mrs. TAWN PUFENE saying goodnight...

Susan McConnell 7:12 AM  

The the,e as lovely but Rex is right...EDILE and that whole INUTILE area is a fiasco. Everything was ultimately gettable from crosses, but blech - ugly.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

INUTILE is a lot more commonly used in French. I agree with REX that this was harder than the usual Weds.--I'd say it would've been a better fit for Thurs. if not Fri. Lots of super-obscure stuff for a "one day after easy-peasy lemon-squeezy" puzzle.

John V 7:39 AM  

Big Gene would have loved this one. DNF as INUTILE, UNU, EDILE, KAHLO, NOURI were not gettable. Not my cup of T.

L 7:47 AM  

INUTILE was INexcusable. Along with other annoying words like LEADETH or BESTIR or a kinkajou cousin (?!?) or all the others mentioned above. Fun theme, inutile puzzle.

Lewis 7:59 AM  

Very nice to be back!

It was fun trying to suss the theme answers with little filled in. The reveal is cute, but unnecessary, IMO -- the theme became obvious without it, and I believe the puzzle would have been more elegant without it. I loved the clues to TOKE, STEP, PASTTENSE, AXE, and TAXRATE, and I do like the word SNIPPET. At first I thought the theme meant FORM A TI (the letter T) ON.

INUTILE is ugly, along with AWN and ENE, but I don't mind a few ugly answers to support a strong theme. This still was a lot of fun to complete, so thank you Mr. Jim!

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Once again, there is a word that Rex didn't know, therefore it's "bad fill." Is he a teenager? His writing would fail a 10th grade English class. Caustic, bitter, whiny, and angry for no reason except his to feed hisown massive ego.

NCA President 8:09 AM  

This is one of those puzzles I do well on only because I've been doing NYT puzzles for so long. Lots of the fill I only know because of thousands of other puzzles. Someone should just make a crosswordese themed puzzle and be done with it. This comes as close as any to that.

I get that MRT probably comes to mind when you're doing a puzzle about Ts. But it seems like you'd find a better place for him...more central or something.

I give this puzzle a T for Trying...but in this case it needs to try, try again.

RooMonster 8:12 AM  

Hey All !
@Gill, you missed A GUA! :-)
Thought this was a cool puz. Conceptually good, but seems some of the black squares could have been removed. 44 total. Of course, I didn't construct this puz, so maybe Mr. Hilger tried it and it didn't work. Who knows.

Anyway, the N central was my downfall. Has ArIsE for ABIDE, which threw off 6 &8D. Ended up with
so a mess! But rest of puz was good. Fun solve. The FORMATION threw me off, as was thinking FORM A T(something). :-)


Mohair Sam 8:12 AM  

Very much with Rex this morning. Loved the theme, hated the fill, liked the long downs.

Frida is, of course, Frida. But I wisely put the sound and spelling of KAHLO to memory a while back and it sure paid off this morning. Freakin' EDILE? Mrs. Mohair argued vociferously against it (on the basis that she had given me the "N" vote on the equally freakin' INUTILE) but I held sway and we avoided a naticked dnf.

Lost some time in the NW by assuming Act1 for Juliet, but quickly corrected by taking a TOKE.

Toughen up a handful of clues and this would have made a dandy Saturday where EDILE, INUTILE, KAHLO, and COATI would be much more welcome.

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Yeah Rex was so busy throwing a tantrum about the puzzle's perceived weaknesses (because that's what he does) that he didn't even find time to complain about these kids today trying to be so hip with their pot references. He needs to take a TOKE now and again.

chefbea 8:17 AM  

Fun puzzle!! A few words I didn't know so had to google. As for soul food...lots of it here in North Carolina!!!...Never had a chitlin but have had ham hocks.

Glimmerglass 8:18 AM  

As an old lefty, I am officially offended by the upsidedown T FORMATION linking FAR LEFT and INUTILE. Clearly this is an example of the mainstream conservative media trying to brainwash intellectuals. INUTILE, by the way, is a perfectly good word, and correctly used in this obvious political slur.

Lewis 8:21 AM  

Factoid: Chips from BEECHES are used in the brewing of Budweiser beer.

Quotoid: "Noise proves nothing. OFTEN a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid." -- Mark Twain

Edile Bestir 8:27 AM  

Who sang the song "TITLE TRACK"? Never heard of it.

And for you @Leapster, to finish some unfinished business from yesterday, here's one I've heard of.

Oasp Eim O'Lmew

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

@Lewis: Budweiser is not beer.

joho 8:30 AM  

Loved the visuals of all the T's with the stunning T FORMATION in middle a huge plus.

I circled all the T shapes -- talk about a dense theme! OK, so the fill suffered in spots, but, wow, I'm impressed!

@John V, "Not my cup of T," funny.

SNIPPET is a great word. With that N in place I thought Juliet was coming off the balcony at dawn. That was quickly fixed with JUTS/JAWS which was a great start to this scrabbly puzzle.

Thanks, Jim Hilger, I will LEADETH this tough crowd with my ENCORES!

Blue Stater 8:32 AM  

I thought this was pretty good (possibly because I finished it in record time for me for a Wednesday -- 10 mins), but I also enjoyed Rex's takedown of it.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Communists are far left. Socialists are mainstream, like most of the US population who love social security, public education, and medicare.

Leapfinger 8:35 AM  

I suspect the fine Machiavellian hand of PB2 subliminating in the background: Tempus fUTILE...

@Ma Gill, it's the same as plAGUE. Say when, and I'll provide the MOCkery MOC. Mrs TAWN PUFENE deserves no less.

Super execution of the theme, some stellar fill, and those that seemed underinflated mostly made me giggle. Maybe there are fewer people who knew you NU U than T,(Mr)
Didn't mind EDILE, it cropped up in Grade 9 Latin, about the same time as 'Lares and Penates', and the SNIPPET that 'recalcitrant' derived ftom 'calcaneus'. The example of a schoolboy 'kicking back his heels' was a fascinoma to me, and one of the first steps in a life-long love affair with etymology.

Appreciated the subtle misdirect for LAPD clue, and the punny groaners for TOKE and DOE. Will also view my alarm clock with different eyes henceforth.

For all that and more, thanks to Jim for the Hilger brand.

Rhino 8:38 AM  

Not much to add, except it snowed more than an inch last night and I'd rather type than shovel.

Liked the theme, liked MR. T as a revealer much more than T FORMATION. And, like Rex, I did not like the fill. Struggled in SW, never heard of a Go Yard or COATI, and finally had to cheat to get the L in EDILE/KAHLO. So my streak, which wasn't impressive to begin with, was broken.

Sir Hillary 8:45 AM  

Agree the fill was brutal, but today the theme was worth it. Sometimes I react that way, sometimes not -- had the complete opposite reaction on Monday. Go figure.

@Rex found some good alternatives. Mine are much weaker:

'Til tomorrow (Thursday) then...

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

My alarm clock has greta garbo's voice. Arousal, indeed!

Andrew Morrison 9:19 AM  

Med-Challenging seems right, even though I solved it little faster than average. 'Disaster Zone' is an apt description of that INUTILE section. I liked the theme of the puzzle. A little clean-up and this would have been a really good Wed.

jberg 9:20 AM  

I wish I knew how to change my name here, so I could post as @viagra complaining about the alarm clock competition.

As for EDILE, I'm with @leapfinger, always happy to make use of what I learned in Latin class. I loved the construction, but no VYZ!

RooMonster 9:20 AM  


RooMonster ;-P

Mohair Sam 9:24 AM  

@Anonymous 8:53. That was really really good.

Z 9:27 AM  

I've heard of some weird fetishes, but clocks? Too kinky for me.

I'm wondering if my NEWER NEWEL is better than EVIL's DONG. I'm sure either is better than a clock for most people.

INUTILE is what I might come up with when fUTILE is too prosaic.

Speaking of Frida KAHLO, you should all visit.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Front page of the NY Times right now: "Patriots being investigated for underinflated footballs" followed by "Bank of England fears deflation." Lovely.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:37 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Took a bit longer than usual. Would like to say with @Rex that that was because it was over-sized, but actually had more to do with my unfamiliarity with football terms - T FORMATION was almost my last fill.

Yep, INUTILE is one word. Reminded me: Ten days ago I was skiing (a little bit.) Had a chance to tell some new people that my style of skiing could be described in one word: Undercontrol.

Steve M 9:38 AM  


Steve J 9:39 AM  

Who knew alarm clocks were an aphrodisiac?

As many have noted, this was a nice heme marred by an excess of bad fill. That east-central section is a train wreck. And agreed with @Lewis thatnp the revealer was not necessary. Worse, the clue was written very awkwardly, leading to confusion that T-formation was being indicated.

I forgot there was a fabric softener called Sta-puf. I associate that name primarily with giant marshmallow men. (Yes, I know it was spelled differently.)

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Ha @ Steve J: I'm picturing pretty red blood cells. Nice heme indeed.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Of course they were deflated, the only way those asses NE Patriots can win is by cheating. The NFL needs to forfeit those dicks from the Super Bowl. Put the Colts in.
I hope their plane crashes on te way to Arizona.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Whoa somebody's been drinking more than "T" this morning!

Benko 10:09 AM  

I also was reminded a bit of the Maleska era a bit with the fill in this puzzle. A lot of those old standbys.
EDILE is OK by me, but then I'm the kind of person who reads Tacitus just for the heck of it.

Benko 10:10 AM  

Wow, that post was redundant.

quilter1 10:22 AM  

Finished a little later because I could not believe INUTILE even though it sat right there grinning. Medium puzzle, corners entertaining, but the NOURI, MOL, PUF area was a pain in the patoot.

Tita 10:34 AM  

@George - thanks for the link to Hayley today...I especially liked learning a new emoticon - T_T - after Z's link yesterday.

@Gill - puzzle spouse described his woes as AIGUE not 2 days ago...!
Love your A-List.

"INUTILidades" is common in store names in Portugal as a tongue-in-cheek euphemism for "junk". Here we might say bric-a-brac.

@BobK - until I read your post, I had no idea this was football-related. I simply took the revealer at its most literal sense.

PEI reminded me taht I had better memorize "IEOH" - what the I. stands for. That cost me a perfect puzzle at my first ACPT.

The theme was cleverly executed. Thanks Mr. Hilger.

Tita 10:35 AM  

Oops - *AGUE*

Noam D. Elkies 10:43 AM  

Further **T** **T** examples? The NPL wordlist has two from Greek myth, LOTUS EATER and LETHE WATER.

Picking Nit 10:52 AM  

An AGUE doesn't "give you" a chill. It IS a chill.

dk 10:53 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Passed the Wednesday bar for me. I find that words like EDILE and INUTILE all be they obscure make the grid… well… puzzling.

Did not know KAHLO, no doubt a failing of some art history TA, but did know EDILE and god knows why.

I see some members of government are resurrecting Nancy Reagan"s just say NO button. I had an opportunity to become a Swiss citizen some decades back… I wonder.

Noam D. Elkies 10:54 AM  

D'oh, it's **T** T****. OK, no Greek myth, and we probably don't want FATTY TUMOR at the breakfast table as it's such a HATED THING (not crossworthy, I know). Also WATER TABLE and WATER TOWER, but we already have WATERTIGHT. I'd love to see PETAH TIKVA in the grid, but then I used to live a few kilometers from that Israeli city, and most solvers would be mystified. If we're allowed one-word formations, how about the three-word TO_THE_TEETH?


AliasZ 11:15 AM  

I want my TATER TOTS!

The neat thing about today's theme is that all T-FORMATION crosses are 5 x 5. That is not all that easy to do. It also LEADETH me to come up with AZTEC TOTEM, PATIO TABLE, BATON TWIRL, TOTAL TRUST, FATAL TYPOS and very few others. Jim Hilger, the spurious sub-par fill is forgiven.

Now that I was made aware of their purpose, I am surrounding my bed with alarm clocks.

Here is a TIGHT "WATER Music" performance by Le Concert des Nations under Jordi Savall. Music composed by G. F. Handel, in case some didn't know. Take the 19 minutes to listen -- it will put you in a good mood, I promise.

Numinous 11:19 AM  

Liked EDILE though I'm more familiar with the aEDILE spelling. I guess I read too much Lindsey Davis.

@Leapy: I'm not sure if you're kidding. Fever with chills alternating with hot flashes is ague \ˈā-(ˌ)gyü\ or ayg-you.

I thought this puzzle went rather quickly, substantially under my average Wednesday time. I filled in the Acrosses checking the down clues as I went.

Clues reconsidered:
4D-Fix your best friend
23A-Ridged with fear

I thought the theme was ok though I had to think a bit to get T-FORMATION. So, for me, an easy puzzle with nothing much to recomment it.

Joseph Michael 11:28 AM  

Impressive theme, but I felt like an INUTILE EDILE trying to complete most of the fill.

Masked and Anonym007Us 11:45 AM  

Hey, wait a minute --

What about that lil upsidedown weeject T, down at the bottom of the grid? No suggestions for possible fills for him? Where's the respect?

Actually, about all I could think of was: ROT ATE.

Speakin of which, fave weeject: MRT. Bestows themer respect on a weeject. UNU gets honrable mention, of course; speakin of which...

Like all the pretty lil U's, even tho it's a more-fer-yer-money-sized grid. Heck, make it even bigger, if the U's keep flowin...

Over at xwordinfo comments, constructioneer says he had intended this to be a hard ThursPuz. He did not mention his weird fetish with alarm clocks. Personally, those gizmos leave me INUTILE.


chefbea 11:56 AM  

@Anon 10:03 bite your Tongue

mac 12:03 PM  

I started out very fast, but that inutile/mol/puf area slowed we down, as did TCROSSING instead of "formation". That took a lot of puzzling to undo.

All in all enjoyable, above average Wednesday.

Hartley70 12:14 PM  

This was not an average Wednesday for me. There's too much of the more obscure fill, obviously INUTILE, MOL, NOURI, COATI, UNU. I think they are better left for later in the week. The rest of the cluing was OFTEN TIMES a little left of center which made my time longer but gave me much more fun. I thought the theme was brilliant. Overall a thumbs up from me.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

You'll have a good idea with a kinkajou is if you have a 5 year old who watches Dora the Explorer.

Z 12:30 PM  


@chefbea - not a football fan, but the alleged crime sounds like speeding while the "shocked" response makes it seem like vehicular homicide. Listening to some of the coverage makes me feel far better about any over-reaction I've ever committed.

I see one of the half million posts by "Natasha Johnson" actually made today's feed. I find it comforting to know that I can resolve any marital difficulties by going to our favorite spell caster. I wonder if he can cure an Evil Dong or alarm clock fetishes.

UNU, ENO, and ONO walk into a bar...

Jim in Chicago 12:30 PM  

I actually know INUTILE. An Englishwoman named Catherine Winkworth is famous for translating pretty much every German chorale into amazingly wonderful English poetry while also maintaining the meter, making her translations usable against the original chorale tune without alteration. She met her match with "Ach wie fluchtig, ach wie nichtig", which she translated as "O how futile, how inutile." A literal word for word translation would be something like " O how fleeting, o how void."

Lewis 12:38 PM  

@anon 8:29 -- Good one!

the redanman 12:43 PM  

By the time I got through the dreadful fill before the SE, I got bored and quit, came here to see. Am on board with Rex today opinion wise. Hideous execution of a fine theme through unspeakable (literally) fill.

Barry Rosolen 1:01 PM  

What the deal with at sea?

Numinous 1:14 PM  

I'd feel silly explaining AT SEA or all AT SEA so here, I looked it up for you, Barry.

Chip Hilton 1:15 PM  

@Anonymous 8:53 - Does she say, "I vant to be avake"?

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

@Chip--you must have the same clock!

Moly Shu 2:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moly Shu 2:12 PM  

Mixed feelings on this one ala @Rex and others. Good concept and theme execution, but if you need IDI, UNU, INUTILE, NEWEL, and EDILE to hold it together, well....
I will give it points for getting 3/4 of me. Just left off that pesky Y.

@Tita from yesterday, thank you for actually reading my post. It's comforting to know that someone does. FWIW, I always read your posts also. Keep em coming.

retired_chemist 2:48 PM  

Shouldn't the proper clue for 39A be Kennedy Library architect? I was slowed down a bit by putting in the initials IMP, which I thought J.F.K. called for. Or was the Library a creation of Prince Edward Island?

wreck 5:49 PM  

48 Across reminds me of "Nathan Johnson" and his own "Special Purpose." (that's for Roo Monster!
; )

Shelby Glidden 6:12 PM  

How about towering petty trend

Anonymous 10:36 PM  

As a former Nation Puzzle doer, when Frank Lewis was the constructor, I'm not bothered by breaking up a word. I find it amusing.

Wood 11:41 PM  

I like Rex's use of the little-seen "!?"



Teedmn 12:13 AM  

I'm with @Leapfinger on the pronunciation of AGUE - I was taught that it rhymed with plague. But the on-line dictionaries say a-gyou so...I'm probably just going to mispronounce it for the rest of my life.

I actually noticed the grid before solving, rare for me, which added some fun to the solution. My many college chem classes left me at a loss with MOL, I wanted MiL, as in milliliter and didn't know NOURI from NiURI, so official DNF. I liked the theme, could ABIDE the fill.

Thanks, Jim Hilger!

Benko 12:30 AM  

I thought it was "ā-gū" like "accent ague." Didn't know there was a consonant "Y" sound.

Z 12:38 AM  

I thought it started with a schwa. Seems like a lot of different pronunciations out there.

pfb 10:25 AM  

Average Wednesday for me. May have finished faster if I had ever heard of INUTILE and was not wondering what I must have wrong.

aging soprano 12:23 PM  

Do you think I am inutile because I don't use an alarm clock?

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Clearly, I'm in the minority, but I believed almost from the beginning that this was unremittingly dreadful puzzle. The reason is simple: the meta- theme or challenge is not connected to the solution itself--if, for example, the word "fifth" was necessary to solve the vertical/columnar clues, then the meta theme would be integral. But it's not, and in fact, it's only after completing the puzzle than you can really see how "fifth" is a component of those disparate answers (and how truly arbitrary they are in every conceivable way).

I expected this puzzle to be condemned heartily (in the way that unreasonably hard Tuesday puzzle a few weeks ago was). But to each his own.

I love the Times crossword puzzle. I have done it faithfully for 30 years, and will continue to do so. But there have been moments in the last year or so where I thought that Shortz had lost the plot in terms of what solvers want--instead of what he and constructors want. I'm surely/clearly wrong, but had to say my piece.

anonymous 4:52 PM  

Are you familiar with the "play with a friend" option? Do you know why they discontinued it and if it will be revived?

Anonymous 6:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daniel Steve 12:21 AM  

Hello Everyone, I am Daniel Steve by name and i live in Texas USA, i will like to talk about the goodness of God in my life after so many months of trying to get a loan on the internet and was been scammed so i became desperate in getting a loan from a legit lender online. But as God would have it, i saw a comment from a friend called William Ken and he talked about this legit loan company where he got his loan fast and easy without any stress so he introduced me to a man called Mr Mason Diego who controls a firm called Diego Loan Company, So i applied for a loan sum of ($170,000.00USD) with low interest rate of 2%, so the loan was approved and deposited into my bank account in less than 48hrs, that was how i was able to get my loan to keep my broken business running and also to pay off my bills so i am advising everyone of you who is interested in getting a loan fast and easy to kindly contact them via email: { } to get any kind of loan you need today, thanks as you read the greatest testimony of my life.

Matilda Morgan 3:26 AM  

Am Sara Morgan from USA,Hi everybody,I won $70,000 two weeks ago in Nsw 6 pool from 38 lottery play.I was introduced to a spell caster a month ago by a colleague who he helped with marriage and financial issues.All what he said and what he promised to do really happened.I guess never believed in magic or spells because i thought they were mostly scam acts or tricksters until i met (Dr Iyaryi),everything changed,it exists but only in the right hands and with it everything is possible.I don't know how to pay him for this but i really hope i can do something important and special for him.. his email is contact him now and he will help you win lottery spiritually.You can call him,here is his phone number +2348056932763,is better to call hi to make it faster.Good luck to you all out there,who want to win lottery.My greater thanks to (Dr Iyaryi),the spell caster.his email address

Mark Belches 3:27 AM  

My name is Mark Belches from Canada these is the real powerful spell caster of 2014 I don't just know how to start am just short of word's and happy that am with my wife,Due to the help of,This great and powerful spell cast, Prophet Lord has brought back happiness into my life that i have lacked for years,Am just so happy today and today has been the happiest day of my life and this happiness has brought me joy and am so happy, Because has brought back my lover Nicol Mark into my arms without any delay, After my lover left me for good 5months,i was in deep pain and always thinking because i truly loved Nicol Mark,Until a faithful day listen to the radio due to boredom,Then in which i had a lady shouting in happiness about the great things [1] has done how these powerful and great woman brought back her lover back into her arms within 36 hours, when i had that goodness i decided in contacting [2] immediately,Because i was desperate in getting in touch with her,So i got in touch with her,Which then i told her my problem and she promised in bringing back my wife back to my arms within 24hours,And then when i had that my wife would be back to my arms within 24hours i was so happy and waiting to feel her, And really Nicol Mark came into my arms within 24hours,Begging me for forgiveness,i was so happy when i saw her, now my lover is fully back to my arms due to the help of this great Prophet Lord, who has bought back happiness into our great country(U S A) Please friends in need of help you don't need to go far all you need to do is for you to kindly contact These powerful spell for help,Because she is trustworthy and straight forward,You can contact him private mail,

Kakuta 1:35 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 1:36 AM  


Apply for a quick and convenient loan to pay off bills and to start a new financing your projects at a cheapest interest rate of 3%. Do contact us today via: with loan amount needed as our minimum loan offer is 1,000.00 to any choice of loan amount. I am certified ,registered and legit lender. You can contact me today if you are interested in getting a loan from us...

Loan Applicant Details

(1)Full Names:
(2)Amount Needed as Loan:
(3)Loan duration:
(4)Phone Number:

NOTE:All Responses should be forwarded to: for quick processing.
Thank You

Mr Elijah Roland

debra morgan 1:25 AM  

Hello Am Mrs , Mildred hope Am a Legitimate and reliable loan lender give out loans
on a clear and understandable terms and conditions at 2% interest rate. From
$12000 to $7000000 USD, Euro And Pounds Only. I give out Business Loans,
Personal Loans, Student Loans,Car Loans And Loans To Pay Off Bills. If you
need a loan what you have to do is for you to contact me directly
God Bless You.
Mrs Debra morgan

Note: All reply must be send to: MILDREDHOPELOANFIRM@GMAIL.COM

spacecraft 11:36 AM  

Yep, it's an actual word. INUTILE: useless. Let's just say there's a red line under it. Sta-PUF? Don't know it. All I can think of is the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man of "Ghostbusters" fame. *Thud* *thud*... still gives me nightmares. It was weird having that four-letter segment ___ATIE__; not the best start to figuring out IMPATIENT.

OFTEN TIMES is one of those phrases that rankle me because of wasted length. "Times" adds nothing to "often. Nada. I also hate it when people say "At this time" when they mean "now." From three words to three letters, and not a farthing's change in the meaning.

I also had trouble with TITLE TRACK: trying to think of a specific song/album title.

BESTIR and LEADETH continue the parade of musty language begun by INUTILE.

Theme is intricate and dense, a couple of the phrases not as WATER TIGHT as they could be, but the fill is a RUIN. I'm getting tired of handing out C-minuses; next time I'm gonna trot out a Peppermint Patty special.

DMG 1:31 PM  

Lots of stuff from the Maleska days here: EDILE, BESTIR, AWN, COATI... Got those, and, somehow, the H in KAHLO, but tripped on ImUTILE- circled the "m, but that didn't make it right! I'm generally not a fan of "this clue relates to that one" puzzles, but this one was kind of fun once I caught on! Now to see what Thursday holds...

Burma Shave 1:38 PM  


Burma Shave 1:39 PM  


rondo 2:10 PM  

Huh. T FORMATIONs on the Ts, with a big black T in the middle.
What a "tease".
Filled it all in, but kind of ABOMB. Maybe it's this cold I've picked up giving me a poor attitude. Or perhaps the puzzle?

rain forest 4:11 PM  

I found this kind of fun and relatively easy. As for INUTILE, I reasoned that utile means something like useful, so its opposite would be the grid word. I didn't look it up, but I'm pretty sure it is a word, so, fair.

EDILE is what it is, so what's the prob? I was not a solver in the Maleska era, so I can't comment there, but, as I always say, this is a crossword puzzle, and a solvable one, to boot. Lots of puzzles include words which people don't use often, if ever, but they are words, and it is always good to learn new ones to replace those that my brain increasingly is losing.

As long a I continue to prove I'm not a robot, I'm happy.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP