Small eel / TUE 2-3-15 / Doughnuts mathematically / Actress Patten Anders / Rocker Barrett / Good in Jewish exclamation / Sports star turned model Gabrielle / Things on my guitar in 2008 Taylor Swift song /

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: missing initials — all Across clues are common initialisms that are missing one initial; answers to those clues are the words that the missing initials represent. So all the Acrosses are "theme answers."

Word of the Day: GRIG (1D: Small eel) —
  1. 1
    a small eel.
  2. 2
    a grasshopper or cricket. (google)
• • •

I found this one weirdly compelling. I mean, yes, there is predictably god-awful fill like GRIG and LUANA (?) and multiple DRATS etc., but somehow puzzling out the missing initials ended up being a reasonably entertaining way to spend five minutes (way Way higher than my average Tuesday time—this should've been a Wednesday, for sure). Difficulty on this one arose from several factors, but chief among them was the non-transparency of many of the initialisms in the Acrosses. Some of them were quite easy to pick up (once you figured out the gimmick), but others required a lot of work. Wanted UPS before GPS, SWAT before SWAK, BMW before BTW, etc. And if you can't figure out the initial straight off, you really have to work the crosses, or else run the alphabet looking for the initial you're not thinking of. Either way, you're spending way more time thinking about many answers than you normally would on a Tuesday. I'm highly disappointed in myself for not knowing a 2008 Taylor Swift "hit" (20D: Things "on my guitar" in a 2008 Taylor Swift hit = TEARDROPS). Then I looked it up and found out the song (which is actually called "TEARDROPS On My Guitar") only "hit" number 48 on the Hot 100 charts. That is not a real hit. That is a middling single. Only someone utterly unfamiliar with popular music could clue TEARDROPS that way. And yet now I feel better armed for the Swiftian future I will inevitably be inhabiting. Still, kinda disappointed the answer wasn't NOTCHES.

Even the junky fill ended up being, at times, interesting. I like how the consecutive answers at 10- and 11-Down, neither of them very desirable on their own, become almost a pop star when you look at them side by side.

B+ idea, C+ execution, so all in all, above average work.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    dreisands 12:08 AM  

    USPS was an across clue twice at 7 and 71. It's the only theme clued twice in that way. Seems a little clumsy/lazy in my book.

    jae 12:10 AM  

    I'm with Rex on this one, a tough Tues. for me which I would have appreciated more if it had run on a Wed.  I time myself on Tues. so needing to stop and figure out what letter was missing was a tad annoying.  I finished with what probably was medium Wed. time, except I don't time myself on Wed. and hence would have not been a tad annoyed. 

    Clever idea and interesting/fun to solve, but on a W....perhaps...

    Robert Klute 12:11 AM  

    It seemed daunting at first, but once I started filling in the downs the acrosses came pretty quickly.

    Lee Coller 12:12 AM  

    OK, I have an issue with 42 Across - Save (*OS). SOS doesn't stand for anything, it was picked because the Morris code (... --- ...) was easy to remember and identify. It was afterwards that people have backed various meanings into it.

    Steve J 12:14 AM  

    Well, that was certainly different.

    Not sure if it's different-good, different-bad or just different. It's certainly something I've never seen before. And it was nice to have the aha moment of figuring out what was going on with all the across clues. But I don't know that I really had much enjoyment in solving this. Maybe if the NW hadn't had to rely on such bad fill (there are actually multiple people named LUANA?!?). And if USPS wasn't used twice. And if the center wasn't so choppy.

    Agreed that this was tough for a Tuesday and would have felt more at home on a Wednesday.

    Clark 12:18 AM  

    This was pretty strange. It didn't feel like I was doing a crossword. Whatever I was doing to solve this felt like it was using completely different mental muscles compared to my ordinary (that is every day but today) crossword experience.

    But it was kind of fun. The only one I didn't recognize was ONTARIO.

    G.P. 12:23 AM  

    I'm no Taylor Swift fan, but "Teardrops On My Guitar" was a HUGE hit. Your #48 figure is from the year-end Hot 100. The single was certified triple platinum and made it to #13 on the weekly Hot 100. In fact, it was popular enough to be in the year end Hot 100 in both 2007 and 2008.

    Whirred Whacks 12:26 AM  

    I thought this was a lot fun! Really enjoyed the change of pace. I'm not usually a "downs-first" solver, but I was today. Thanks Joe Krozel!

    These clues reminded of some initials-only verbal equation puzzles. For example:

    N + P + SM = S of C
    H of R + S = USC
    R = R = R
    A + E were in G of E
    HH + MH at T = N or M

    Jim Q 12:31 AM  

    Was sure I was going to see negativity here, but I'm glad I don't so far... I'd agree with weirdly compelling. Lot of inferring due to number of (ambiguous) theme answers led to a pretty cool solve.

    That being said... SE corner for me with TER, NUNN, ECCE, REECE, led to the uninferable SCIENCE (for me) and made it a DNF (without cheats) for me.

    4 minutes until then.. still liked it.

    George Barany 12:31 AM  

    I enjoyed @Joe Krozel's offering, despite the valid points already noted by @Rex and @dreisands, among others. It does bring to mind Look Both Ways, a puzzle by @Tim Croce that also ties the never-to-be-broken record of having 100% of the white squares representing theme material!

    Anonymous 12:43 AM  

    Lee Coller said...
    OK, I have an issue with 42 Across - Save (*OS). SOS doesn't stand for anything, it was picked because the Morris code

    Before you can bitch about this you should know it's Morse code.

    LN 1:10 AM  

    Save Our Ship

    bwalker 1:12 AM  

    I really enjoyed this puzzle, but it took twice the time of an average Tuesday. Trying to figure out some of the missing words was challenging, but once you filled in the blank, it was straight-forward. I wanted 72A to be a republican army, a retirement account, and a failed constitutional amendment before run average finally clicked. 71A could have been clued OA* if U*A didn't exactly fit the theme. Loved H*MES. 50D was a sly misdirect.

    My dog Thor's tail curls over his back in a perfectly balanced doughnut, so 10D is never bad fill in my grid.

    Anonymous 1:15 AM  

    I believe he's speaking of Morris Code, as famously pioneered by Morris the Cat. The ... --- ... represents a scratching paw in need of cat food, hence SOS indicates a hunger emergency.

    chefwen 1:20 AM  

    Handed Jon his copy and he said "what is this"? Your Tuesday puzzle, said I. Looked down at my copy and thought, what the Hell is this? Jon cracked it at 18A and we proceeded to have a ball with this one. Thought I would hate it and ended up loving it. What a fresh change of pace.

    Thank you Mr. Krozel, what fun!

    bwalker 1:21 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Elaine2 1:28 AM  

    Like chefwen, I thought I would hate it and ended up really enjoying it! One of those days I guess I'm glad I'm not a speed solver -- so the extra time it took didn't matter to me!

    Thanks to Mr. Krozel!

    retired_chemist 1:28 AM  

    ACED IT - NOT! Thought it was well done and entertaining, but my time was more like a Thursday or Friday.

    Wanted tri for 28A - if the USPS deserves two clues, so does TNT. So saith the chemist.....

    Thanks, Mr. Krozel.

    bwalker 1:43 AM  

    @Clark -- HOMES is a mnemonic to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, ONTARIO, Michigan, Erie, Superior.

    Casco Kid 1:44 AM  

    Yes, fun puzzle! Grew on me as I went along. The asterisks in the across clues resonated with vague memory of M*A*S*H, so my initial reaction was to think about all the army acronyms I don't know: downs-only time! But it yielded steadily and I finished with a slightly higher than average time of 26 minutes. [SWA*] KISS was the last fill as I repaired KIeS/AMIe ("friends" in French? AMIS? AMIe? Whatev?) in the post-solve. NYT counts it as a proper submission, but *we* know it was a DNF. ;)

    Not much other wrongness: [One counting to 10] tot. [Law & Order actor] epps. Just overall slowness.

    Good to learn GRIG. I predict @AliasZ will give us GRIEG.

    Hartley70 1:45 AM  

    Really unusual and entertaining. It took me a long time because I got stuck in the middle west and I wanted metropolitan before TA and couldn't work around it for a while. Like @retired_chemist I had a later week time. What a kick this was, Mr. Krozel!

    Anonymous 2:17 AM  


    Ellen S 2:47 AM  

    It was sometimes challenging but not in a way that I think will keep brain deterioration at bay. It was just a matter of running through all the acronyms that have all but the missing letter; the downs were all pretty much straight definitions (are GRIGs going to show up in profusion until they turn into full grown Eels?) and definitely made the crosses easier.

    Those letter equations @Whirred offered are probably healthier mental exercise. Got no clue how to even start.

    JTHurst 3:05 AM  

    OM*, TIMWN* IM*O

    John Child 3:56 AM  

    Hands up for twice the time of a normal Tuesday. The ambiguous clues on some downs, the relatively large number of proper nouns going down, and some of the odd fill is to avoid using any down word that would have to be clued as an initialism OR that could be used as part of a common initialism. That's so elegant that all else is forgiven, IMO.

    DATA is a little sketchy, but I didn't immediately think of a *common* one other than the old-timey *P(processing). No foul in my book.

    JTHurst 5:18 AM  


    God, Puzzle, Humble

    SUGAR Prez 5:19 AM  

    I found today irritating. As a former government employee, I immediately tried to find the right interest group or government entity to fill in the clues. I'm biased in that way. Like others have stated, the downs were crucial to ascertaining the across. But, I must brag and say that I had 'TheBigApple' written as my gut told me "more common vowels and consonants than 'New York City'."
    But, indeed, not what I've come to expect from a Tuesday.

    Danp 6:15 AM  

    If time-comsuming equals difficult, this puzzle was a Wednesday. If simple clues to common answers equals easy, this one is Tuesday all the way. The difficult part was getting the theme and recognizing abbreviations.

    Either way, it was lots of fun, but let's not do it too often.

    smalltowndoc 6:48 AM  

    I liked it. But SWAK? I always thought it was SWAF.

    evil doug 6:58 AM  

    If "the" is an answer, all is lost.

    It's "The Morass Code": Swamp, oily swamp".


    Oscar 6:59 AM  

    RI* W*W FO* (5,2,4)

    crabsofsteel 7:25 AM  

    35 down - TOV does not mean Good, it means Day. Mazl Tov = Day of good fortune or luck.

    GILL I. 7:25 AM  

    @jim Q....I too thought I might see some heads explode!
    I'm terrible with initials but my daughter keeps me on my toes when she sends a text and I usually get it wrong although I have loads of fun trying to figure out what she means. SOS....Shit on shingles.
    Good one JK. Different and smile inducing....
    Only real question...Why are many young Brooklynites ARTSY as opposed to maybe San Franciscoites?

    Elle54 7:26 AM  

    I really loved this! Teardrops was a gimme. I showed the abbreviations to my 16yo daughter and she wanted to figure them out. (she likes it when I play Taylor Swift while she's getting ready for school)

    chefbea 7:51 AM  

    What a fun puzzle!!! Thought I would not be able to do it but it al came easy after doing the downs first. Had to google Tear drops. Didn't know ter was a prefix for three

    Every time I post..I get an e-mail saying my "delivery failed to RParker@..... Anyone else get these???

    AnnieD 8:08 AM  

    What a fun puzzle. It would've been a standard Tues for me, but I stupidly got stuck at I*S....I had LEANA instead of LUANA, didn't know GRIG, and could only think of Irritable Bowel Syndrome! Then came the light....Doh!

    I too don't understand why Brooklynites are ARTSY...

    I didn't like that USPS appeared twice....

    mathguy 8:12 AM  

    Got the gimmick at H*MES for ONTARIO. I was hoping that the whole puzzle would be mnemonics with MVEMJSUNP among them. I just memorized that one after reading a note in the NYTimes Science section last week. (I know that Pluto is not a fully-accredited planet any more.)

    @Whirred Whacks: I thought that the "verbal equation puzzles" you provided would be of the SEND + MORE = MONEY variety but they seem to be different. Does "of" represent multiplication?

    @Oscar: I thought that I would be seeing lots of alternate across clues here besides yours. We had W*W for WIDE. RI* could be PEACE and FO* could be BOAT. Are the three words intended to represent a phrase?

    I liked it a lot, but once I got the gimmick, it went downhill fast. The initialisms were too common.

    Lewis 8:23 AM  

    16A is kind of a reveal, but of course a reveal wasn't necessary for this puzzle.

    This must have been tough to construct, with every square theme related. And it is so original that a GRIG or LUANA can be forgiven. Joe, you like to push the envelope. Next time also make the downs words from initials!

    Great idea and execution and a great brain wake up. I agree that difficulty level was Tuesday, but timing level Wednesday, for those that value a low solving time.

    @evil -- I was told it was the Smores Code: Sweet On Sweet.

    AliasZ 8:23 AM  

    Oh look, a downs only puzzle! Too bad so many of them were proper names, starting right at the top row with GRIG Kennear, ANI DiFranco, TORI AMIS et al., whom you either know or you don't. LUANA was the only one I didn't know. I knew all the others, including Karin DOR, ROE v. Wade and Leann RIMES.

    What a great idea -- to mess with our heads like this on a Tuesday, making us think this was a lot harder than it really was. All the white squares being theme answers, it made Joe Krozel's job a lot more difficult as well, which is why some of the downs limped a little. But I didn't mind at all, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

    For those who wonder why USPS appears twice: they are so inefficient, they must do everything twice get it right once.

    GED stands for "General Educational Development." How clever for Joe/Will to use the tongue-in-cheek meaning instead: "Good Enough DIPLOMA."

    I liked how TEARDROPS drop down right in the center of the grid, which brings me to the Kyrie from the MASS in C minor (K.427) by Mozart, performed here by the ACADEMY of St. Martin-in-the-Fields under Neville Marriner.


    Susan McConnell 8:26 AM  

    Fun and different...I loved it. Learned GRIG and LUANA.

    Hartley70 8:27 AM  

    I think all the hip young NYers want to live in Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg and that's where their media and arts are happening. As one area gets too expensive, they move out to another like Bushwick.

    Whirred Whacks 8:29 AM  


    "of" means "of". For example:

    N + P + SM = S of C

    Niña + Pinta + Santa Maria = Ships of Columbus

    Rhino 8:31 AM  

    Smalltowndoc - SWAK stands for 'sealed with a kiss'... I'm not sure I want to know what SWAF stands for.

    Lewis 8:34 AM  

    Factoid: On 14 February 2013, Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat from Bangkok, Thailand held a KISS for 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds in a Valentine's Day "kissathon" for a new world record.

    Quotoid: "I once said to my father, when I was a boy, 'Dad we need a third political PARTY.' He said to me, 'I'll settle for a second.'" -- Ralph Nader

    imsdave 8:42 AM  

    I went to download the puzzle from Cruciverb this morning and thought 'whoa! - they screwed up' when I saw the across clues. Undaunted, I went to the NYT page and the across lite file was identical. OK, went to the NYT app and saw the same thing and finally new it wasn't a mistake.

    I think the puzzle really is a Tuesday. What extends the solving times is figuring out the gimmick. Once I got it in the NE corner, it played pretty much as normal.

    Loved it.

    Andrew Morrison 8:48 AM  

    What? No ROYGBIV???!!!

    Fun puzzle. Definitely head-scratching at times.

    Count me among those who like to know RP's solve times. I like having a better idea of where I slot in in terms of solution speed. Same goes for @CascoKid. Keep plugging away my friend! (For the record my time was 10:21, 1:30 longer than average. No star performer here!)

    mac 8:48 AM  

    Daunting at first - I'm not usually good with acronyms and initialisms - but in the end it went pretty quickly.
    I'm going to have to look up CRT.

    I finished with a sense of relief, but also disappointed for the minimal world play in this puzzle. Well-executed but not what I enjoy best.

    Anonymous 8:53 AM  

    Save Our Souls

    joho 8:58 AM  

    I love it when my initial WTF turns into AHA and LOL at the sheer originality and chutzpah of Joe Krozel ... how dare he clue with gibberish or what looks like code?! @imsdave (glad to see you!) I cried misprint!

    Absolutely loved it!

    chefbea 8:59 AM  

    @IMSDave Haven't seen you around here for a while. Welcome back!! Hope you are enjoying the snow

    Hartley70 9:01 AM  

    @Mac I may be dated, but I solved CRT with Cathode ray tube

    Anonymous 9:05 AM  

    Lighten up, Rex: this was great. Lots of fun to fill.

    Cea 9:26 AM  

    Agreed on Save Our Souls (which is also easy to send in Morse code). To correct earlier, 'tov' is 'good,' as in shana tova (good year) and such things.

    But all in all, I hated this one, given the combination of abbreviations I'd barely heard of and names I didn't know. Sorry.

    Roo Monster 9:28 AM  

    Hey All !
    Whoa. What in tarhooties is this, said I when first seeing the Across clues. Went directly to the Downs, started filling that-a-way. Figured out the trick after wanting WARS fow W*W, but already had it (WARS) at 56D. Confirmed by the two USPS clues, and H*MES. Then just a matter of trying to get all the initialisms.

    Kudos to Joe Krozel, this musta took some time to construct. I'll head over to xwordinfo after this to read his comments.

    Agree with the puz George Barany limked to. I had done it before, talk about a cool and extremely hard puz to construct! Check it out.

    Had to Reveal Word at 1D, never heard of GRIG. Also, SWA* wanted T for tactics or team or t-something. Had ties in there, had to hit Reveal Puz, crossed out the T and the E, got SLAKED, and figured must be KISS. So a DNF, but enjoyable brain-using.

    ACEDIT (not really :-D )

    Tita 9:29 AM  

    Reaction went Huh?!>> Oh no>> Fun!

    I got past the annoyed stage, when I realized the downs were not all going to be U*A Today easy.
    Wouldn't want lots of these, but a cool change of pace.
    @Clark - me too, re: the muscles.

    Learned plugOLA and GRIG.

    Wish @Acme were here to tell us how cool a construction feat this is.

    @Gil - I wonder if the original intent was that old army standby, S&$t on a Shingle - when we drive through Pennsylvania Dutch area, we visit a butcher who makes the dried beef that "chipped beef on toast" should be.

    THanks for something completely different, Mr. Krozel!

    wordie 9:36 AM  

    I guess I am among a very small minority who really disliked this puzzle. I don't find acronyms interesting or uplifting. I do puzzles for language- and culture-related fun. I have oversimplified but you get the idea. I DNF bc I DNCare.

    Anonymous 9:37 AM  

    Dumb theme, dumb puzzle. Not a fun solve in my book. Certainly below what I expect from Joe Krozel. W*F is Will thinking in publishing this *OAS?


    Anonymous 9:41 AM  

    Loved this puzzle! Agree with those who said it was too easy, but Tuesdays are always too easy! At least this was fun. Thanks Joe and Will- perhaps all Tuesdays should have a different angle...

    Z 9:44 AM  

    My "What's going on?" moment lasted until my eyes scanned down to 17A. H*MES is a gimme most someones from the Great Lakes State, quickly confirmed and we were off. Felt pretty average Tuesday here although a couple of write-overs hurt. united->GLOBAL, lAnES->EAVES, and Tr_->TER.

    WOEs were REECE, the LUANAs. LENO next to OVID and ICE-T near RIMES were both a gently amusing.

    Not being in the <25 set, Taylor Swift has long occupied "the next Annette Funicello" category of pop ephemera meant for others, not me. I find the "is she human" joke (based around the fact that no picture of her belly button exists) mildly amusing. Now, though, she has nominated herself for the "AY" award by trying to trademark her lyrics. It would be one thing if her lyrics were fresh and creative, but "party like its 1989?" My guess is that this is more "her people" than her, but she should be embarrassed.

    Nancy 9:50 AM  

    Much more interesting than most Tuesdays. Looked like it would be really hard, but wasn't, actually. But I did have a problem with the bottom SE, since I initially had TRE instead of TER. And didn't know SCIENCE or EARNED from the initials either. But I eventually figured it out. TER, I think, is used in Rx, as in take 3 times a day. An interesting change of pace -- especially since it came on a day that usually bores me. Glad to see more challenge at the beginning of the week.

    Gracie H 9:51 AM  

    For a Tuesday, this seemed more like doing chin-ups than skipping around the gym. Hopefully good brain exercise nonetheless.

    Danield 10:03 AM  

    Kudos to Krozel and Shortz (hey, if he's going to be criticized for every unpopular puz, he ought to get credit for one that gets strong positive reviews). If someone had described the cluing to me, I would have guessed I would race through the completion. Like most commenters, I didn't. Excellent, enjoyable change of pace.

    RnRGhost57 10:15 AM  

    A lotta fun for a Tuesday.

    Leapfinger 10:28 AM  

    Just loved this INITIAL Puzzle Offering from JoeKro! Went from 'Huh?' to 'Aha! and straight to "Hoo-hah!!'. This was one that Downs-only solvers would miss, like the PB2 puzzle that gladdened so many hearts.
    I tried to solve AMAP from the Acrosses; I could dook but couldn't doit 100%. First off, MOTOR wouldn't fit in for B*W, and that was only one example of ambiguity in the INITIALisms:
    B*W= BMW/BTW
    F*C=FCC etal/FTC

    @Evil, does that mean that if "an" is the answer, then all is won?
    (It would be you who comes up with 'morass')
    @bwalker, I like your Thori TORI
    @crabs of steel, good luck with your novel translation of TOV.
    PINOT on my shoe and tell me it's raining.

    @Rex noticed the TORI AMIS pair (perceptive eye), but I noticed ONTARIO crossed by the great SLAKED (twisted eye). Also think any puzzle is better with RAUL Julia.

    Mary had a little *amb;
    It followed her to schoo*.
    She had her little *;
    That lamb Bean no-one's foo*.
    (Sorry, @OISK)

    Not sure what to call this kind of puzzle: it calls for second-order constructioneering as well as second-order solving. Whatever it's called, I call it a ton o' fun any day of the week and thank JoeK for his ingenuity.

    Like @Casco, I did and do end with a KISS.

    Anonymous 10:31 AM  

    Tov means good. Yom means day.

    Have a good day!

    wreck 10:35 AM  

    In a stunning rebuke to Z:

    I thought it was fun -- although it took me several minutes longer than a normal Tuesday!

    Joseph Michael 10:39 AM  

    Kudos to this great puzzle, though it took me a while to warm up to it. Didn't crack the theme until LETTUCE and then everything fell into place. North west corner was the only holdout since I was sure it was TEAM not KISS. Thanks for something different, Joe. And every square a theme answer. Definitely got my money's worth.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:41 AM  

    Lots of fun, starting with the shock of opening the paper and getting the first look at the Across clues!

    (Hi, @imsdave! Was wondering if you were still visiting the blog. I'm off to the Alps on Friday.)

    Malsdemare 10:43 AM  

    Like @Tita, I went from WTF > OMG and had fun. I don't care about time so the fact that I stumbled about a bit trying to figure out what was going on didn't bother me. Once I got the theme, it was a fair Tuesday.

    I would not want a lot of these because I don't do text-speak and the whole thing could devolve into a lot of TMIs, ROTFL, and such. But, yeah, working a different part of the brain felt good. I sail so SOS has always meant Save Our Ship. Maybe that's not how it started, but I don't think that was the point of this puzzle. It was really about how we understand acronyms. Speaking of, did anyone else want BP on E, i.e. Best people on Earth?. My father-in-law was an Elk and that's what I always thought the acronym meant.

    There are a lot of people posting today that I've never seen; that tells me the puzzle was a winner.

    Thanks WS and Mr. Koziel.

    Timothy Smith 10:50 AM  

    Enjoyed it. Took a few fills to get the theme.

    Leapfinger 10:53 AM  

    No idea why there are complaints about USPS appearing twice in the clues. It seems to me that the same clue is used for two different entries in a number of puzzles -- often for sequential or adjacent entries -- and is usually viewed as a stroke of cleverness.

    Mah nishtanah ha-clue ha-zeh?

    Anonymous 10:54 AM  

    Sorry to be dense, but....39 Across? Help, please.

    Wikipedia 10:58 AM  

    The 12-hour clock is a time convention in which the 24 hours of the day are divided into two periods: a.m. (from the Latin ante meridiem, meaning "before midday") and p.m. (post meridiem, "after midday")

    pfb 11:03 AM  

    To the previous commenter: AM--ante meridian v. PM--post meridian.

    A little tougher than I expect on Tuesday, so I was glad i didn't time myself. I enjoyed this, but was not pleased to see USPS twice particularly when it was not necessary--71 across could have been C*A or seven across U*S. Regardless, more fun than I expect this early in the week.

    Monte Jaffe 11:09 AM  

    Loved it. Thank you.

    SOS = Save our Stomachs ?

    Leapfinger 11:20 AM  

    @ Nancy, me too for a write-over TRI--> TER. I've become used to the crosswordese insistence on TER for thrice daily dosages; it is abbreviated from ter in die, but in real life, I've only ever seen scrips written as tid.

    Anonymous 11:24 AM  

    Stop complaining. It was clever and fun.

    Merle 11:24 AM  

    Looked like the puzzle was going to be challenging, but it turned out to be ridiculously easy. Just proceeded to go ahead and fill it in. Slightly amusing, but not in the least compelling. Looking forward to Wednesday.

    John V 11:26 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Merle 11:34 AM  

    Enough with the ignorance already! WTF! Tov means good in Hebrew, yo! Mazel tov means good luck. Mazel means luck, tov means good. Yom Tov means good day, as in holiday-holy day. Yom means day, tov means good.
    Tov. "T'was brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe...." Now, "tove" is a whole other story.

    Feeling merry as a grig....

    Numinous 11:42 AM  

    They are supposed to be crossword PUZZLES and today's certainly was one. I had a serious WTF second or three until _OST_L gave the game away. Then it was just a matter of doing downs until the acrosses suggested themselves. It took me about half as long again as a normal (for me) Tuesday but I appreciated that. Usually M-Ws are too short and often don't give me enough to think about.

    @Rex, what's so "predictably god-awful" about GRIG and LUANA? No, I didn't know GRIG off the top of my head either but new words are often fun. At least the "Little eel" wasn't clued as "The Last Starfighter". Going through this with a fine-toothed comb, I found no nits to pick. I couldn't even dredge up a whine over STATES and POSTAL, repeated clues are so common. I smiled seeing NITRO, a place in West Virginia I've always want to visit so I could say I'd been there. Probably would have stopped off in Hurricane on the way.

    If @Rex only gives this a B+ and a C+ for concept and execution, remind me never to take a class from him. I once dropped a class given by a Pre-Law professor who nearly never gave As. The scuttlebut was that he'd failed the bar exam multiple times. Kinda makes me wonder about OFL.

    Honeysmom 11:44 AM  

    This near-novice enjoyed the novelty. First thought "What?!?" But got all but Grig/Global. Tuesdays are getting more clever and interesting!

    mathguy 11:44 AM  

    Whirred Whacks: Thanks for the hint. I'm still working on
    HH + MH at T = N or M.

    Blog Lurker 11:45 AM  

    Gotta love Evil Doug's comments, islands of wackadoo wicked merriment in a morass of posts. Dear Evil Doug, may you find your way out of morass and discover instead, more ass. And whoever asked about SWAK versus SWAF, if you get any jism on your envelope label, you'll get SWAF. JISM stands for Jury Is Still Moaning....

    Z 11:48 AM  

    @wreck - I musta missed that episode of TMZ. Altho...... Can we really trust an obviously unauthorized paparazzi pic?

    OISK 11:50 AM  

    @leapfinger, didn't understand your"sorry, Oisk".
    Don't know who Taylor Swift is, or what she sang, but have heard the name. The Luanas were a complete mystery. But when you construct a puzzle as brilliant as this one, the fill can't always be perfect. Took me a long time to find the "trick," but it went smoothly once I did. I don't understand 72, I wanted to put "equal." Great puzzle!!

    GILL I. 11:52 AM  

    @Tita...I'd LOL you but I always thought it meant Lesbian On-Line.
    My dad never EVER swore around us. He might have said malarkey after a dry martini or two but that was it. Imagine my surprise when my mom made dinner one night and it was "chipped beef on toast." CBT to the rest of you - and he said it was called SOS and he actually said shit!

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:09 PM  

    Way different. Quite fun, initially. thUmbsUp.

    @63 is a very tough grader. I'd give the idea an A and the execution at least a B+, considerin that JoeK had to come up with an abbreviation word for every dern Across entry in the puz. This means NO abbreviations, partials, names, or the other usual suspect gang of suspects in any of the Acrosses. Epic construction feat, even with bendin the word count up to 82.

    Just look at how squeaky-clean that Across fill is. Day-um. A few grigs swimmin thru the Down fill, I'd grant.

    Not sure if I'd call this a difficult solve. Definitely proceded at a slow pace, cuz It was askin the old M&A brain to think in an unusual manner. Does that make it "difficult"? Kinda like if U had a puz where all the clues were printed backasswards or without their vowels, or somesuch. I'd call it yer standard game, with a slightly obstructed view. Get that at Wrigley Field, sometimes.

    fave weeject: *


    Jp 12:10 PM  

    I add the words original, unconventional the words used to describe this puzzle. Fortunately I resisted my first inclination to toss the puzzle away and instead started to fill the down clues. Once GLOBAL came into view the rest was straightforward. Had SWAt instead of SWAK.
    Can anyone explain what SWAK stands for, please?

    wreck 12:10 PM  

    I was laughing while reading your post because, I had just seen that referenced on Twitter yesterday! (I hope you know I was just messing with you -- I usually fail to put a "wink" ;) sign with my sarcastic posts!)

    M and A Help Desk 12:18 PM  


    Sealed With A Kiss.

    (Don't mean we're datin, tho.)


    Roo Monster 12:28 PM  

    @OISK - ERA, Earned Run Average, stat for a pitcher in basball.

    @Gill I - LOL! at your Lesbian OnLine, good stuff!

    @Jp - was answered earlier, but SWAK= Sealed With A Kiss.

    @M*A - priceless

    SOS = Silly Ones Singing?


    You of All People! 12:28 PM  


    Leapfinger 12:28 PM  

    @OISK, at the last minute, I used the 2 L astersisks to work in LL Bean, for no good reason. Remembered you don't care for brand names, and I try not to annoy needlessly.
    Equal Rights Amendment? Good on you!

    LETTUCE now praise famous men.

    Charles kluepfel 12:37 PM  

    Wanted TRI for both 28 across and 68 down. Was able to fix the former but not the latter, resulting in no completion on 70 or 72 across or 50 or 55 down..

    Anonymous 12:56 PM  

    I just LOVE it when idiots on a comment board authoritatively say things like "TOV does not mean "good" it means "day"."" I mean, is the guy drunk? Does he not have access to the Google? Can't tell which is worse, the idiocy of the commenters or the cockiness of rex.
    And yesterday some condescending asshole felt the need to scold annabel for saying "for a Monday" but no such thing today when rex says "for a Tuesday." Oh no, we don't dare imply the The Great One has done something wrong.

    operapianist 12:56 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    operapianist 12:58 PM  

    Boker TOV = good morning
    Erev TOV = good evening
    I'm afraid you're wrong crabsofsteel!!

    Anonymous 1:02 PM  

    Good Yontef!

    Kinda like a PIN number, eh?

    aging soprano 1:08 PM  

    TOV (טוב) means exactly GOOD. Mazal Tov (מזל טוב) means "luck good"; that is "good luck". The Hebrew word for "day" is "yom" (יום). Thought you all might enjoy the Hebrew script option I have on my phone.

    M and Also 1:09 PM  

    @JoeK: U don't know, how M&A's gentle heart soared, when he beheld the 1-A clue({* P S}). And quickly, hopefully, joyfully wrote UNITED, right in there. Suddenly, the sun came out. Fifteen inches of snow up and melted. Bluebirds and chipmunks and bambi deers began to sing and dance. Peace was reached throughout the world. Romney the decided to run. Seattle ran that sucker in. It felt good to be alive.

    A few uRIG's later, our roof started to leak...

    Back to the Difficulty level:
    I have decided the puz was not completely "Hard". Let's call it...


    Anonymous 1:19 PM  

    Can anybody tell me what GI is if I is ISSUE? Cause that's not the army, nor gastrointestinal, and doesn't come up on wikipedia's GI disambiguation page...

    aging soprano 1:22 PM  

    ?מה נשתנה הרמז הזה
    Just can't resist it.

    aging soprano 1:23 PM  

    Before Midday.

    OISK 1:24 PM  

    Can't get over not seeing earned run average! Me of all people indeed. For me the year has two seasons, baseball season and winter, but even after writing "earned" I missed the connection.

    I live in Southern Brooklyn, by the way, far from the "artsy" crowd...

    aging soprano 1:29 PM  

    Maybe "general issue"? Just a guess.

    aging soprano 1:30 PM  

    Maybe "general issue"? Just a guess.

    Wikipedia 1:38 PM  

    G.I. (military)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    G.I. is a noun used to describe the soldiers of the United States Army and airmen of the United States Army Air Forces — and occasionally for U.S. Marines and shorebound sailors — and also for general items of their equipment.

    The term G.I. has been used for a long time as an initialism of "Government Issue" or "General Issue", but it originally referred to "galvanized iron", as used by the logistics services of the United States Armed Forces.

    dk 1:41 PM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

    Oddly compelling about sums it up. Only question is does once catch GRIGs is sauce pans vs. pots.

    Thank you Joe

    FredSmith 1:44 PM  

    @anon1:19 --

    GI stands for General Issue or Government Issue, initially used for materials supplied by the Army for its soldiers.

    Soldiers sardonically began describing themselves GI in WWII, I think, to make the point that the Army treated them as interchangeable, disposable items.

    Anonymous 1:48 PM  

    Thanks I saw the galvanized iron in the disambiguation page and didn't look further!

    aging soprano 1:58 PM  

    USPS made it in twice, but none of the PD's: NYPD, LAPD, COPD.

    Anonymous 2:21 PM  

    Great puzzle and fun to solve after initial paralysis wore off. The only Anders I'd heard of was Merry Anders of '50's westerns and that was obviously wrong. Never heard of either Luana so had Luann and stuck. Finally capitulated and checked IMdB. Also don't get TREE as decision-maker's drawing. I thought this puzzle was very innovative. Thank you.

    nkmcalli 2:25 PM  

    Loved it!

    beatrice 2:34 PM  

    Inspired by @Alias Z's (inspired) choice of music to illustrate today's falling teardrops, a few others (from the inexhaustible wealth of possibilities) came to mind.

    From 'Niobe' by Alfonso Steffani
    'Death of Anfione and Niobe'

    From the 'Stabat Mater' of Vivaldi

    'Lascia ch'io pianga' from Handel's 'Rinaldo

    'Seufzer, Traenen, Kummer, Not' J. S. Bach ('Sighs, TEAR()S, anguish, distress')

    Albinoni Concerto for Oboe no.2 in d, 2nd movement, Adagio

    As Mr. Z said, enjoy!

    bwalker 2:40 PM  

    Looked at my analog watch before lunch and saw:
    Hour Hand + Minute Hand at Twelve = Noon or Midnight.
    Full disclosure -- I taught middle school for thirty years, and these brain teasers made the rounds every so often. It just took a while for the answer to percolate.

    beatrice 3:00 PM  

    I should add:

    'Like Niobe, all TEAR()S' - Greek myth via Hamlet

    Stabat mater dolorosa' 'The grieving mother stood', hymn of Mary at the cross

    'Lascia ch'io pianga' - 'Let me weep (over my cruel fate)'

    Leapfinger 3:03 PM  

    @agin soprano, I surely do admire the way you sneaked in the Colorado PD! And covet your alphabetic capabilities.

    Is it possible to out-AliasZ AliasZ?

    the redanman 3:36 PM  

    way better than average

    Fred Romagnolo 3:50 PM  

    For H*H I wanted Horatio, 'cept it didn't fit. (In memory of the great "Hube the Cube") HHH. I have learned from a lot of you people to only do downs on Monday and Tuesday, so it was natural for me. Who said San Franciscans are arty! We were properly skewered for that on a South Park a few years ago, only they added an additional initial letter. Oddly enough, I knew LUANA, but not the new term (Brit?) for elvers. I did throw me for a while that USPS was used twice, which is one reason I'm glad I don't time myself. Didn't someone apologize to @Oisk for brand names on Sunday? How about Soft On Salacious? (or Slathering)

    Fred Romagnolo 3:51 PM  

    Rigoletto to Gilda in the 3rd act: "Piangi!"

    Z 4:00 PM  

    Anyone know how to say "Good" in a Jewish exclamation?

    @wreck - I did a Lesbian On-Line at your link. Quite the exposé. It's good to know that we have TMZ to uncover such important stories. Now if they can do a piece to determine once and for all whether or not Stevie Wonder is really blind - that's a story I'd be sure to see (I kid you not - it's a thing).

    @OISK - 16 days until Tiger pitchers and catchers report. Not that I'm counting down the days or anything.

    evil doug 4:01 PM  

    Elul? May?

    You still have some pitching left?


    Anonymous 4:10 PM  

    Maybe "government issue."

    Anonymous 4:28 PM  

    G.I.: Get Incinerated.

    Fred Romagnolo 4:35 PM  


    aging soprano 4:36 PM  

    USPS made it in twice, but none of the PD's: NYPD, LAPD, COPD.

    Tita 4:45 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Tita 4:47 PM  

    Watching "42nd Street" yesterday, and wondered why Una Merkel (why isn't she is xwords more) sings "He'll do right by little Nelly/with a shotgun at his bel... tummy..."

    Turns out "Belly" was censored by the Hays Office...

    And while I have heard of Taylor Swift, don't know her enough to know she never had bared hers.

    Anyhow, thought this would add an additional dimension for y'all.
    You're welcome.

    @Gil - what must you have wondered as you saw LOL everywhere - even cats are LOLing these days!
    Thanks for the spatter of coffee on my screen for that one.

    Jerry Herlihy 4:49 PM  

    TI*F. Thought it was fun.

    Fred Romagnolo 4:56 PM  

    @Tita, because of Una O'connor

    Fred Romagnolo 4:57 PM  

    But, she occasionally pops up

    Anonymous 5:41 PM  

    @anon2:21 -- wiki "decision tree" for detail, but basically it's a graphic aid to decision-making that helps chart out the various outcomes/consequences of a given range of choices.

    Lola505 6:07 PM  

    Very different, especially for a Tuesday or any day. I gotit. I'm proud of myself

    Dave 6:11 PM  

    Yes, hard for a Tuesday, but only medium because the downs were mostly gimmes.

    Teedmn 6:29 PM  

    Nice change of pace for Tuesday, thanks Joe Krozel!

    My favorite SOS is from "101Dalmations" (the book). The poor puppies slated to be turned into coats by Cruella De Vil are barking in Morse code "Save Our Skins".

    The LA Kid 7:00 PM  

    Being an Angeleno I wanted ANGRY @ 27d.

    petronius28 7:25 PM  


    OISK 8:03 PM  

    Good! In Hebrew, among my Israeli friends, is generally "Yofi." Even better, is "Mitzuyan!", which is more like "outstanding."

    demit 8:31 PM  

    petronius28: Don't worry. Some solvers get pleasure from how fast they can solve puzzles. To my mind, if you can solve something really fast, how much of a puzzle can it be? Get your enjoyment your own way, I say. Cheers.

    Leapfinger 8:59 PM  

    TIMWN* = This Is My Worst Nightmare Puzzle?
    Did we ever figure out SWAF?

    Ink O'Gnitow 9:06 PM  

    Hey, Gill I! What's the deal with San Francicoitus?

    Elephant's Child 9:35 PM  

    PDQ* A*AP
    Bach Soon

    Helena of Troy 4:25 PM  

    It was fun and a little more taxing for a Tuesday, which is a good wake up. For those who sneer, G*I.

    Marcus 3:03 PM  

    Small mistake but it held me up greatly. Pinot is a grape family. Pinot blanc, pinot gris, pinot noir and so on are grape varieties. Appears to be a technical clue but the answer only fits in a very colloquial sense.

    spacecraft 9:43 AM  

    Well, it certainly was different. And different, as someone once said, is good. Ah, it was Phil Connors on the morning of Feb. 3. And different with a honey like Andie McDowell in your bed: that's doubleplusgood!

    I did not find this particularly challenging, even for a Tuesday. Once onto Joe's game, most of the acronyms were simple. The few that weren't, immediately, quickly came to light after only one or two crosses.

    Granted, one wouldn't expect to see GRIG on a Tuesday, especially defined that way. My book calls it "a lively person."

    No one frowned at THE, standing alone? OK, I'll frown. Tsk tsk, Joe.

    Give it a B. I kinda liked it.

    Burma Shave 10:06 AM  


    [. . . TEARDROPS . . .] THE PARTY? ITS OVER!


    today’s stream of unconsciousness sponsored by ONTARIO POSTAL in honour of our favorite Canadian syndi-poster

    rondo 10:30 AM  

    Agree that it was “good different”. A little shake-up like this never hurt anyone. Certainly my fastest solve time ever for a puz with 37 theme answers clued as acronyms with stars!!! Not one write-over either. Does that make it easy-challenging?

    Like so many have said, some answers came with just the stars, some needed crossing help.

    Would like to sample some of REECE’s pieces. All 6+ feet of Gabby makes a long, tall yeah baby. Who says beach volleyball is pointless?

    Gotta admit it was an interesting Tuesday solve. Vive la difference.

    leftcoastTAM 3:19 PM  

    At first glance, I thought "Oh no!, a bunch of twitter and text message initialisms"--which fortunately was not the case. Fun to do.

    rain forest 3:25 PM  

    When I first looked at the clues, I thought the acrosses were in some kind of code for typesetters. No lie. So I decided to just try to solve the sucker with downs only. I did pretty well, actually, but when I got to PARENT, I looked at the clue, *TA, and a huge AHA ensued, YOL (yelled out loud). From there it went quite quickly. Throughout, I was thinking how clever, how meticulously done.

    It is always uplifting when someone tries something never seen before, and carries it off. Good fun.

    Anonymous 4:18 PM  

    Too old to understand all that texting, I would rather have, fill in the blanks my opinion but great effort

    ecanarensis 5:13 PM  

    Anon1:15am; LOVED your cat code! Would've loved it even more if I hadn't have the code inscribed on my arm (two different times!) in the wee hours by my Maine Coon.
    That needs to be a T-shirt, or bumper sticker, or something.


    Anonymous 7:01 PM  

    I found it exceedingly annoying and not at all fun after dissing the initial bit. Grig on a Tuesday????
    Haaaaaated it!

    Anonymous 7:03 PM  

    Sussing that is, thanks to spellcheck

    Anonymous 8:41 PM  

    Thought it was rather, how shall I not to my liking. Didn't enjoy it at all.

    sdcheezhd 5:35 PM  

    After I did this I spent the next hour thinking it was Wednesday.

    Unknown 10:52 PM  

    What is the M in 39A? It's the only thing I don't get.

    WEB's New York Times Crossword Solution @ 6:28 AM  

    9. *M : ANTE
    The 12-hour clock has been around a long time, and was even used in sundial format in Ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). However, the Romans originally used the AM concept a little differently, by counting backwards from noon. So, 2AM to the Romans would be two hours before noon, or 10AM as we would call it today.

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