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?

Mary 5:42 PM  

My name is Mary and my ex-boyfriend dumped me 8 months ago after I caught him of having an affair with someone else and i trow insulting on him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me. I was so confuse and don't know what to do, so I visited the INTERNET for help and I saw a testimony on how a spell caster help them to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problems to him..... he cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my lover came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you DR. MAGBU.... RE UNITING EX SPELL TEMPLE caster, you are truly talented and gifted contact his email:

Marjan Viki 6:52 AM  

My name is Marjan Viki, AM from Canada i was propose to be marriage by a love one, but he suddenly changed his mind just because he found himself a new love, my heart was broken and so i was devastated to the extend of committing suicide a friend of my introduce me to a powerful doctor called Dr. Okoro when i first head of him i never believed his powers until i visited DR. OKORO JUBILEE SPELL CAST TEMPLE of the great prophetic, a man of wisdom and understanding he helped me out after having some conservation with him, and my ex love who promise to marry me later came back to apologize to me, today we are happily married with two lovely kinds. All thanks go to Dr. Okoro the powerful spell caster, if you need any help from him contact him with this email or

Marjan Viki 6:52 AM  

My name is Marjan Viki, AM from Canada i was propose to be marriage by a love one, but he suddenly changed his mind just because he found himself a new love, my heart was broken and so i was devastated to the extend of committing suicide a friend of my introduce me to a powerful doctor called Dr. Okoro when i first head of him i never believed his powers until i visited DR. OKORO JUBILEE SPELL CAST TEMPLE of the great prophetic, a man of wisdom and understanding he helped me out after having some conservation with him, and my ex love who promise to marry me later came back to apologize to me, today we are happily married with two lovely kinds. All thanks go to Dr. Okoro the powerful spell caster, if you need any help from him contact him with this email or

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

My name is Mrs. Max,From USA ,and
I'm happily married with a lovely husband and
three children.I had a very big problem with my
husband few months ago,to the extent that he
even packed his things away from our house. He
left I and my kids for almost 5 months,and i
tried all my possible best and effort to bring him
back.l discussed it with a very good friend of
mine,and he gave me an advice concerning a
spell caster, that he is the only one that can
handle my situations and problem,that he's
always ready and able to do anything related to
spell casting and helping of the needy, please
every one i would like you all to contact him
with his email address,which is as
follows."(". I
never believed in spell casting,but My friend
convinced me and i had no choice than to follow
my friends advice,because i never dreamed of
loosing my lovely Husband. And i contacted him
with his email address,and i discussed with him
all my problems and worries and so
surprisingly,he told me that I'll get my husband
back a day after. I didn't believe him, until
when i got home,the next day,my husband
called me to inform me that he is coming back
home.....So Amazing!! That's how i got my husband back
through spell casting and our relationship was
stronger than ever. One of the price i was asked
to pay was to tell it to the people around me that
problems like this,can always be solved by
theo. So! my advice to you out there is to visit
this same E-mail address,and tell him your
problems too,if you are in any condition related
to love issue or getting your ex back or and
problem at all, please Contact him and have a
life. you can contact him on

Glory 9:20 PM  

I'm here to let the whole world know how i got my husband back through the help of a spell caster called Dr. Ekpen Temple, it all started one morning when my husband and I have an argument and he angrily left and said to me that he is no longer coming back to me, at first i thought it was a normal joke, two weeks passed i did hear from him until it became 1 year i still did not hear from him it was then i started looking for how i can get him back (because i love him so much that i don't want to loss him for someone else) is was then i heard about Dr. Ekpen Temple the spell caster on the internet on how he has help so many people in there are relationship so i contacted him, to cut the long story short my husband came back to me and we celebrate the Christmas and New year together. you can contact Dr. Ekpen Temple on: (((EKPENTEMPLE@gmail. com))) or you can call him on +2347050270218 for help today.

Anonymous 6:17 AM  

once again thanks.
olunkunspelltemple@outlook.com1. He can help you cast a spell to get pregnant.
2. He can help you cast a Death Spell.
3. He can help you cast a Promotion spell.
4. He can help you cast Lottery spell.
5. Spell of luck.
6. Spell of Finance, and lot more.

Onokemolen Oduduka 9:54 PM  

i am Mrs. Lucas precious from Canada. i want to use this medium to congratulate Dr Onokenmonle for the great help of spell he has render to my relationship outbreak. since the past 6 years i was in a relationship problem with my ex, he always get me beating, i never knew he has another girl outside the town, her name is Michel, until i got this great spell caster email address from the internet, so i email him and i laid all my complain to him, he promise me that i am to keep off away from him, and i really agreed on it, but on a condition that my lost ex will be back,,,, he really put some few items which he uses to consulting his great oracle, his plan for my relationship was fulfill and my lost ex was back again within 48hrs... please if you are in such mess today please contact him at (

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,

Anonymous 1:15 AM  

I AM Dora Sandy i want to give thanks and i will always give thanks to drokojie who brought back my divorce husband that has left me for 6years within 48hours,i have said about this last week but i promised to always tell people about this every weekend so that those that did not read about it last week will read about it this week,i have been looking for how to get pregnant and how to get my divorce husband back to my life because i love him with the whole of my heart,i could not replace him with any body,one day i was watching my television when i saw a lady giving thanks to priest ina and telling the world how he helped her i was so shocked i could not believe it because i never taught that there are powers that can bring back lost marriage,then that was how i decided to contact him too because i do really need my divorce husband back,when i contacted him i told him everything and he told me not to worry that my divorce husband will surely be back to me, within 48hours at first i could not believe because i was thinking how could somebody that has gone for 6years come back within 48 hours,so then i decided to watch and see,unbelievable within the next 48hours i got a call from unknown number so i pick the call the next thing i could hear was my husbands voice he was pleading and begging me on the phone that i should forgive him that i should forget all that have happened that he did not know what came over him,he promised not to leave for any reason,that he was really sorry for what he did,i was so surprised because i never believed that this could happen,so that was how i accepted his apology and the next morning he came back home to meet me and still pleading for me to forgive him i told him that everything is okay that i have forgiven him,that was how we started again and he has Chang,i promised to say this testimony in radio station,commenting this testimony that now am pregnant,but still okay before this month runs out i promise to say this in radio station and i will sir, thank you very much.World please am begging you people to try and help me thank this man for me,or if you need his help here is his email address

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

My name is Mrs. Jason Destiny,From USA ,and I’m
happily married with a lovely husband and two
children.I had a very big problem with my husband
few months ago,to the extent that he even packed his
things away from our house. He left I and and my kids
for almost 5 months,and i tried all my possible best
and effort to bring him back.I discussed it with a very
good friend of mine,and he gave me an advice
concerning a spell caster, that he is the only one that
can handle my situations and problem,that he’s
always ready and able to do anything related to spell
casting and helping of the needy, Pls every every one i
would like you all to contact him with his email
address,which is as I
never believed in spell casting,but My friend
convinced me and i had no choice than to follow my
friend advice,because i never dreamed of loosing my
lovely Husband. And i contacted him with his email
address,and i discussed with him all my problems and
worries and so surprisingly,he told me that I’ll get my
husband back a day after. I didn't believed Him, until
when i got home,the next day,my husband called me
to inform me that he is coming back home…..So
Amazing!! That’s how i got my husband back through spell
casting and our relationship was stronger than ever.
One of the price i was asked to pay was to tell it to the
people around me that problems like this,can always
be solved by Dr Paul. So! my advice to you out
there is to visit this same E-mail address,and tell him
your problems too,if you are in any condition related
to love issue or getting your ex back or and problem
at all, pls Contact him and have a happy life. you can
contact him via email (
or call him +2348101733265

Kakuta 1:35 AM  

An amazing testimony on a spell caster who brought my wife back to me.. My name is Andy Sowers,i live in Australia,and I'm happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids.A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce.she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she didn't love me anymore.So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife.So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.{}. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who didn't call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website {},if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to the BABA KAKUTA for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again. {}, Thanks...

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Anonymous 5:15 PM  

Be careful here nobody can help you here or even suggest how you can get your ex or love back,any testimonies of most spell caster here must be ignore.because most of them are scam i mean real scam which i was a victim and i got ripped of thousands of dollars because i was so anxious to get my wife back after she left me for over 2 years with my 7 years old son Jerry,i have applied to 7 different spell caster here and all to no avail they all ask for same thing send your name your ex name address and picture phone number etc which i did over and over again and most of them were from west Africa until i saw a post about Dr. Ogbakija spell and i decided to give him my last trail.He asked me for four things my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and $170 and said my ex will come back in 24hours, i have paid over $3000 on spell casting and courier and nothing have work for me after 3 days i was thinking about how much i have lost so far so i said let me give her a try so i called her again and send my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and the $170 because i swear it was my last try so i was waiting as he told me to wait till next day and i could not sleep that night because i really love my wife and want her back at 9pm that day i saw my wife on line on face book and she said hi at first i was shock because she never talks with me for the past a year and 9 month now,so i didn't reply but again she said are you there? i quickly reply yes and she said can we see tomorrow i said yes and she went off-line i was confused i try to chat her again but she was no more on line i could not sleep that night as i was wondering what she
is going to say, by the next morning she gave me missed calls i decided not to call back as i was still on shock again she call and i pick she said can we see
after work today i said yes so she end the call immediately after i got off work she called me and we meet and now we are back again i called Dr. OGBAKIJA the next day thanking him for what he has done in fact i still call him and thank him as my life was not complete without my wife please be careful here i have been scam thousands of dollars if you want a true love spell then contact Dr Ogbakija (

olivia justin 5:16 PM  

AN Amazing testimony, i am Olivia Justin from Canada, on a faithful day as i was walking down my street, hopeless, i meet my old friend Tonia she was so happy to see me and she pick me up to a fast food joint in the city of Canada, she was my old time friend and class mate, but now she look different, looking good riding a big car and wearing all sort of customize jewelry i was jealous but since she is my very good friend i have to ask her some few question on how come about her wealth and she say to me as a good friend and old friend of hers, she told me the secret of her wealth behold i was so surprise that a voodoo spell caster can cast a lottery spell and will send you the lucky numbers to win millions of dollars, as a hopeless lady i have to try all alternative to make sure i get good money and take care of my family, so believe me i contacted this Africa voodoo spell caster name Dr okoduwa, i contacted him quickly through his mail address
at( and he cast the spell and send me the hot numbers to win the lottery big, to cut the long story short i am a billionaire today, Dr. okoduwa is truly a gifted voodoo spell caster and you can contact him today for a lottery spell lotto any can of spell he will help you as well. because this is the only way to win the lottery and the best way as well. all thanks goes to great doc, i promise to testifier of your goodness all through my life for making me rich and famous if out there you are pool or your business is not working well contact he today at or call he on +2348141195947

Tessy Cole 6:07 PM  

My name is Tessy Cole from Finland, My boyfriend left me a month ago and he was leaving with another woman who is 5 years older than him, i felt like my life is completely over so one day as i was browsing searching on the internet for help I read over the internet how a spell caster who has help several people to get there love back. I have been depress for the past one month and what i needed is to get him back and live with him happily. So, i decided to give it a try so i contacted the spell caster called DR. EBAKOR and i explained my problems to him and he said he will cast a love spell for me that will bring him back forever. I had no choice but to inform DR. EBAKOR to cast the spell which i use to get my boyfriend back and now my life is complete and both of us are very happy with the relationship. And i am really greatful to this man for what he has done for me and my family, Thank you very much and i will continue to say and share my testimony over and over again. For those who need help or that are having the same problem or other wise as me should contact him on his email address; DOCTOREBAKORSPELLTEMPLE@HOTMAIL.COM

You can also reach him on his cell phone: +2348136047017

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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.

Doctor Lgberase 5:25 PM  

I was amaze with Dr. lgberase spell, because WOW is the first word that comes to my mind to describe your services. He is outstanding and besides the fantastic results I got from the spell you cast is really keeping me going on at my new job and i will never forget how you bring back Merissa back into my life, I have to thank you for your patience with me and for always replying to my emails. From all the spell casters I tried you definitely are the best from all points of view.If you're looking for a good spell caster look no further, Dr. lgberase surpass all other spell casters, believe me! Email him on +2348107363362

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

My name is Cynthia and my ex-boyfriend dumped me 8 months ago after I caught him of having an affair with someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me. I was so confuse and don't know what to do, so I visited the INTERNET for help and I saw a testimony on how a spell caster help them to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problems to him..... he cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my peter came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you Dr OHEHE spell caster, you are truly talented and gifted contact his

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

i want to say a very big thank you to this great spell caster call alexanda for putting a big smile on my face by bringing my ex back to me and for making me pregrant which made my ex to leave me once again thank you alexanda incase you are out there you are having an issue with your ex or you want to get your ex back or you are having miscarriage or you want to get pregrant you can contact this great man for help through his email @

Robert Connor 7:37 AM  

I am Connor Robert from Scotland I have been playing euro million since i was 15 and i have never won and i decided to stop instead of i wasting my money in buying ticket. One day i saw a friend who told me that there is a spell caster in Africa that can help win this lottery he was so sure of it but what keep him wondering is that he was not sure if he can make me win big. I say let me give a try because i was so curious in becoming a millionaire so that flint round bitches. I decided to give a try and he assure me in 3days i will get result and immediately i went to buy ticket with the number he sent me and i did just that so for sure in 3days time result was out and i was a winner of £2million. I could not rejoice too much cause i was expecting this but was not sure if it really work but now that i have tested it and it work i will forever be grateful to this spell caster and my friend. When i went to show appreciation to him, he told me that he is here to help people who are in needs. The offer to show appreciation to this man is to spread his name across the world so that people will be helped and that is the reason i am online. Do not waste time the email is he is the only help you need.

micheal victor 3:02 PM  

I am Mrs. VANISSA DANIEL from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband, and i love him so much we have been married for 4 years now with three kids. when he went for a vacation to RUSSIAN he meant a lady called SANDRA, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I met my friend miss joy and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called prophet jeremiah omoto who is man of God for her ex and bring him back to her after 2days. Miss joy ask me to contact prophet jeremiah omoto I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the God of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great MAN OF God did for me and my husband, you can contact prophet jeremiah omoto on any problem in this world, he is very nice, here is his EMAIL contact: or watch him television marcylandtv com or +2347055176617 .

Illuminati Brotherhood 9:57 PM  

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Eternal. We are the Illuminati. The Illuminati is a collective of prominent
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Once a member, the requirements are unimposing and often spaced between
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