Whitesmith's medium / SUN 3-22-15 / Martin's wife on 1990s sitcom Martin / Facilities overseen by CDC / Captain America portrayer Chris / 2007 film featuring Raphael Leonardo Donatello Michelangelo / Old-fashioned fraternity activity / Down Under marsupial

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Constructor: Jeremy Newton

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Upsides" — cute, clever title. Why? Because the Across answers at the east and west edges of the grid are CLIMBING / THE WALLS (38A: With 91-Across, super-antsy … or like 24 Across answers in this puzzle?)

Word of the Day: ST LEO II (26A: Pope during the rule of Emperor Constantine IV) —
Pope Leo II (611 – 28 June 683) reigned from 17 August 682 to his death in 683. / 
He was a Sicilian by birth (the son of a man named Paulus). He may have ended up being among the many Sicilian clergy in Rome, at that time, due to the Islamic Caliphate attacks on Sicily in the mid-7th century. Though elected pope a few days after the death of Pope St. Agatho (10 January 681), he was not consecrated till after the lapse of a year and seven months (17 August 682). Leo was known as an eloquent preacher who was interested in music, and noted for his charity to the poor. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is neatly executed, but purely architectural themes leave me cold. This is, I realize, a matter of taste, and, as I say, I think this one is quite solid. Does what it says it does. Fill is well above average compared to much of what we've seen of late. So I can see how some might find this enjoyable, even though I got bored directly after figuring out the theme. It's just that once you get the theme, then you know what's going to happen. Everywhere. There are no theme answers except the revealer, so no wordplay, no cleverness, no The Reason I Do Crosswords. No fun. But for those of you who admire a good construction stunt, this one seems like it might float your boat, ring your bell, or the like. The analogy I just used (on Twitter) is flavored coffee. I don't drink the stuff. Don't like it. But I know some do, and I assume they enjoy it. So I think of this puzzle as good flavored coffee—if you like that kind of thing, this is a good version of that thing.

[Underrated album]

The there was some fill that seemed a little forced, but I assume it was tough to get all those adjacent answers to climb the damn wall. YOUTUBED is just wrong. I am on YouTube every day, and I assure you I have never YOUTUBED. At a bare minimum, it's a transitive verb. You can't just YOUTUBE. Hey, you wanna come over and YOUTUBE? Hot Tub, sure. YOUTUBE, no. TV DAD is iffy, and the Cosby angle (13A: Cliff Huxtable and Ward Cleaver) makes it slightly icky. SHARE ONE'S BED is ridiculous. EAT ONE'S LUNCH! (that's me saying something equally ridiculous, something similarly Not a stand-alone phrase). But overall, I think the fill is quite strong—very light on the Klunkers. I don't think I would've gone with [Ghetto blaster?] for GAT, no matter how clever I thought the wordplay. The ethnic / racial implications are gross. "You know how those poor ethnics are with their loud music (and now, guns)." Ugh. Also, when I google [gat ghetto] I mostly get hits that suggest google thought I meant [gay ghetto]. So the GAT-ghetto connection: not strong. GAT is slang for revolver or pistol. No class / race implications. Crime implications, sure. But why drag the "ghetto" into this? I think I'm balking at what looks like the NYT's indulgence in white racial fantasies. Look, many dictionaries will tell you the phrase "ghetto blaster" ("a large radio and tape recorder that can be carried around, and is often played very loudly in public places") is sometimes considered offensive, so I don't know why you touch it as your base phrase. It's not like the NYT crossword is the most racially inclusive thing in the world. Maybe have less of a tin (and white, and privileged) ear next time.

Got theme in the NW, when I realized that STRAINED and STRAW both started STRA- (at this point I hadn't even noticed WARTS). Then I looked at theme title, went with my original guess WARTS, and saw exactly what was going on. Shortly there after, I got the whole revealer without much help:

But after that, the "walls" became just too easy to get. If you could get the "wall" Down, you could nail all the related Acrosses very, very easily. See here:

After this, I went up into the NE and then just circled back down to SW corner. Pretty uneventful.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    PS "TMNT" (45A: 2007 film featuring Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo) stands for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." I *know* some of y'all were like "?????"


    JFC 12:23 AM  

    Dear Rex,

    I feel for you, finding so little joy in your life's passion. What are Sunday puzzles if they are not "purely architectural themes"? The whole grid is architecture. Rebuses, circles, puns, whatever, they all require design. This was more enjoyable than perhaps more than 80% of Sunday puzzles.

    Maybe it's time for you to take a sabbatical? Seriously. Refresh your batteries and enjoy NYT puzzles again.

    Steve J 12:32 AM  

    Nice Sunday. Theme kept me guessing for a while. I figured something was up early on, but for a bit I thought there was a rebus I couldnt quite piece together. Then when I did figure out the upturn, it took me a moment to realize that all of the intersecting a crosses took that turn.

    Solid fill, too. Not fond of AT TEN and agreed that YOU TUBED isn't much of a thing, but those are really tiny offenses in a very well-done puzzle.

    DebinSac 12:38 AM  

    Really liked this puzzle. It took me a while to get the theme, though. Knowing it helped me in some areas, while others remained challenges to complete (and since Sundays are not usually terribly hard, I enjoyed that). Knew those names were the Turtles but could not recall the name of the movie and thought it climbed up to the right. That center portion was the last to go in.

    paulsfo 1:04 AM  

    I was so bored that I found myself in a hurry to finish so I could go back to see the end of a movie I've seen before. That's not good. I completely agree with Rex that it was a construction marvel but far too easy to fill in; the theme itself accounted for about 160 squares. Is that a record?
    Plus I found *one* clever clue, "One for war."

    What I thought was odd about "Ghetto Blaster?" is that it's a Sixties(?) term used to clue a Twenties(?) bit of slang. Maybe "Ghetto Blaster, once?" would have been better?

    Mark 1:40 AM  

    I liked this version of this thing. Fun to keep running the eyes up and down the walls to see all the parts get arranged into their places.

    jae 1:50 AM  

    My progression through this one was similar to what Jeff Chen described at Xwordinfo.  Irritated, followed by inappropriate rebus attempts, followed by writing outside the grid, followed by more irritation, finally followed by the "aha" experience.  Clever and fun.  Liked it more than Rex did, which is apparently becoming my mantra.

    chefwen 2:20 AM  

    Took me a crazy, long time to catch on. I knew 21A had to be braised, but where to put the D. Finally reached CLIMBING THE WALLS and had a AH SO DESU KA moment. After that it was FUN, FUN, FUN.

    Yes Rex, it did float my boat AND ring my bell. A most enjoyable Saturday evening. Thank you Jeremy Newton.

    Anonymous 2:30 AM  

    Started out with one across as "hay bale" (isn't that what they're called?) and that got me stuck for a long time.

    In addition to the dumb "Youtubed", I'd say "cold meal" for 57 across is pretty lame fill. That's not even a real phrase, at least not in my neck of the woods.

    Carola 3:19 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Carola 3:23 AM  

    I guess instead of "stunt," I'd say, "construction feat." I found it ingenious and fun to solve. But then, I was nowhere near as quick as @Rex at seeing the theme: flummoxed by the two upper corners (e.g., too many spaces for BALE and too few for BRAISED), I began at HAM x ACHE, stair-stepped down the north side of the diagonal, and finally saw how the upsides worked at DENUDES. Terrific! And the other 5 clusters were just as fun to decode. Some missteps: Spiked DRINK, DAbBED, and, before I had a clue, cup oF TEA.

    I got a smile out of SHARES ONE'S BED x HAS A SMOKE. A semi-apt alternative puzzle title: EDGINESS.

    mathguy 3:56 AM  

    I agree with Jeff Chen totally. Utterly marvelous puzzle.

    tthax 4:18 AM  

    Its a very low blow to compare this puzzle to flavored coffee.

    F.O.G. 5:11 AM  

    I like flavored coffee NOT EVEN A LITTLE, but liked this puzzle.

    Preferred pEcan PIE to PEACH PIE at first. Tis the season for PASTEL and NCAA.

    For "Lights up" I finally realized that HAS A SMile should be HAS A SMOKE. Fitting that POKY was the last piece of the puzzle for me.

    Anonymous 5:15 AM  

    Just in case somebody gets confused, there are a couple of errors in your summary of the climbers -- Legal Aid should be Legal ID, and "duabed" (should be "daubed") really does sound as if bed-sharing is going on...

    Greg 5:25 AM  

    Okay, I must be incredibly dense here this morning, but I cannot wrap my head around the "climbing the walls" element of this puzzle. I mean, I solved it easily enough, I get what's going on, but I can't grasp how the progressive beginnings/endings are "climbing the walls". Somebody please explain this to me as if I were a 2-year-old.

    GILL I. 5:34 AM  

    Hated it...Loved it...Hated it...Loved it. I felt like Mikey. In the end I thought this was about as good a Sunday puzzle as you can get.
    I don't like flavored coffee but I sure enjoyed this PEACH PIE especially after I finally figured out which way was up and over.
    The left side of my brain figured out the Upsides at STRONG DRINKS (what a surprise) but for some reason, the right side of the puzzle confused that side of the brain. BRAISED has to be right...right?
    TOONS on Saturday followed by STRONG DRINKS ( plain black coffee, thank you very much) in a SHARE ONES BED mood....Pure RAPTURE.
    Very clever Jeremy Newton. You had me doing a lot of head scratching (what is a DECISION TREE?) but I had lots of fun ...and that's a good thing.

    GILL I. 5:47 AM  

    P.S. To those who love to harp on @Rex: Give it up....It's his blog and if you've been reading for any amount of time, you can almost guess which way his wind will blow. Disagree if you will, but really, leave out the stale, repetitive rants....

    pfb 5:58 AM  

    It took me a little while to figure out what was going on, but that was part of the fun for me. Very clever construction; one of the better Sunday puzzles in a while.

    I am not one much for flavored coffee, but I liked this puzzle.

    George Barany 6:17 AM  

    This puzzle by @Jeremy Newton is just about as good as it gets. I am in awe. Just checked over at the other blog, where puzzles are rated by whoever cares to enter one: of 27 ratings, there are 20 of 5* (the maximum) and 3 more of 4.5* (including one from the host, whose writeup is considerably more upbeat that the one here). Plus, as already noted, @Jeff Chen at xwordinfo.com gives it his "puzzle of the week" (POW) and @Jim Horne chimes in, succinctly, with "Outstanding puzzle!" Amen to that.

    PS to stack fans who missed it when I mentioned it yesterday, this link takes you to a themed double triple by @Martin Ashwood-Smith, as edited by @David Benkof.

    Bob Kerfuffle 6:32 AM  

    Fun puzzle; had to keep the brain engaged more than in some other Sundays.

    Linked write-overs: 67 A, had ANIMAL before MAMMAL, which led to having 67 D as APPS before MACS (otherwise would not have thought of a "display" of APPS!

    @Greg, because you asked: Think of the outer grid lines of the entire puzzle as walls. An entry like 29 A starts off going across as normal, but after three squares it hits the wall, and starts climbing up. Every one of the six entries on the far right and far left columns of the grid are valid entries which also are used by four other words ata right angle.

    BTW 6:43 AM  

    FRom Dictionary.com:

    Slang definitions & phrases for eat someone's lunch

    verb phrase

    To defeat decisively and humiliatingly; clobber, finish: They are destroying the America that ate the world's lunch because we were the masters of change/ The hitters have been having his lunch (1960+)

    pmdm 6:50 AM  

    I solve crosswords not so much for the fun but more for the challenge. Puzzles that make me chuckle are fine, but so are those that don't as long as they don't have irritating fill (and irritating fill is in the eye of the beholder). This attitude allows me to enjoy the puzzles more frequently than some others. It's nice that others here enjoyed the puzzle as much as I did.

    Recently, many have been ranting about some of the comments that rant here about the write-up. If the criticism of our blog master bothers him, he can always remove these comments. But he doesn't. I actually suspect he enjoys them, but only he can confirm that. So if these vitriolic comments about him are fine to him, they ought to be fine with the rest of us.

    John Child 7:39 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 7:42 AM  

    Blown away by the concept and execution, trying to wrap my head around how Jeremy did this. Very clean grid overall. It was a fun solve -- and I'm with those of you that say if you get a brain workout you got what you came for -- but a bit easy for Sunday. The cluing was too direct, though I did like the clue for RED. With a little more bite to the cluing the puzzle would have been ethereal instead of thoroughly enjoyable.

    I wondered if the word "lot" in the clue for SCRAPHEAP was the kind of lot a junkyard is, or the kind that means very much.

    I didn't like the puzzle's title, because I felt it gave away too much. I immediately started looking for words going up on the sides, which helped me suss the theme.

    Some opposites here. While we have SHARINGABED (and @Carola, good catch on pairing that with HAVEASMOKE), we also have ASSAULT rifle and GAT. We have the cross of DRESSUP and DENUDES. And there's THELEFT on the right.

    Here's PRU again from earlier this week, STRAWBALE seems a bit green paintish to me, and some answers I liked were NOTEVENALITTLE, ASKANCE, MEFIRST, and NOTETOSELF.

    John Child 7:43 AM  

    I don't quite agree with either @Gill I or @pmdm. This would be an awfully dull world if we all agreed: Would you read through 100 comments that were all variations of "Rex got it right today"? No. So disagreement is good.

    But so is civility. Even free speech has limits, and ad hominem comments like: "{Blogger / constructor / editor / other commenter} is an idiot / jerk / incompetent fool} weaken the pleasure of the discourse, dramatically for me. Your mileage may vary.

    Civil, thoughtful discussion whether "I agree substantially" or "I think that comment was all wrong" is welcome.

    I wish Rex would block anonymous comments and make everyone log in with some sort of identifiable "tag." Of course someone can fake an id, but even then they are accountable in some measure for what they said yesterday and will say tomorrow using that id. Anonymity makes it too easy for people with weak ethical standards to be uncivil.

    [[rant finished]]

    I adored this puzzle. Most enjoyable Sunday puzzle for me in a very long time. Thanks a lot Mr Newton.

    Anonymous 7:48 AM  

    Can anyone recommend any blogs covering the NYT crossword besides this one? Have spent a year with this one and the joyless, childish whining has grown far too repetitive. Are there any that provide more balanced and objective, perspectives on the day's puzzle?

    Generic Solver 7:58 AM  

    The gimmick is fresh and original, but if you happen to catch on quickly, as I was fortunate to do, the puzzle becomes another long and tedious Sunday affair. The theme answers were easy to deduce, in part because they were longish.

    chefbea 8:01 AM  

    Took forever to get the theme but no aha moments. Must have taken forever to construct this puzzle!!

    @BobKerfuffle..I too had animal and apps at first

    Lewis 8:01 AM  

    Factoid: PANTY RAIDs were the first college craze after World War II, following the 1930s crazes of goldfish swallowing or seeing how many could fit in a phone booth.

    Quotoid: "I love to SHOP after a bad relationship. I don't know. I buy a new outfit and it makes me feel better. It just does. Sometimes when I see a really great outfit, I'll break up with someone on purpose." -- Rita Rudner

    Rug Crazy 8:04 AM  

    Enjoyed the puzzle.
    Have to agree with Rex on GAT.
    At Ten, also arbitrary.
    Always happy to finish Sunday without help (OK, the theme helped)
    I could do without Perv / Sicko as well

    jane_o 8:07 AM  

    YOUTUBED is not wrong. I'm in my 20s, so this might be a generational thing. When I want to learn how to tie a camping knot? I YOUTUBE it. When my boyfriend wanted the lyrics to a song? He YOUTUBED it.

    Replace the clue with "Did some online searching" and the answer with GOOGLED. Makes sense, right? Millennials don't care about silly grammatical rules because, internet.

    Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

    @anonymous 7:48. Google "nyt crossword blog." Today, the contrast with "Rex Parker" is striking. @greg. Imagine that the left and right edges of the grid are "walls." Four answers in each block on the left begin at the bottom of the block and come up the "wall" to the numbered across answer. Four on the right in each block continue up the "wall" to the top of the block.

    Anonymous 8:22 AM  

    Thank you, @glimmerglass ! Just what I was looking for, something that's actually measured and balanced, and not blowing smoke or, in the case of Mr. Parker, throwing timesome puerile tantrums.


    John Child 8:32 AM  

    Thanks for making my point about uncivil ad hominem comments from anonymice so clearly...

    allan mazur 8:43 AM  

    Isn't it "legal id," not "legal aid"?

    Anonymous 8:45 AM  

    I agree with JFC, first poster in this thread. Time for a break, Rex. Refresh.

    Arlene 8:48 AM  

    Fabulous puzzle, as mostly wordplay. I got the theme at TETON and then CLIMBING THE WALLS. The task then became solving the rest of the puzzle. I had ANIMAL first, too, but didn't put in APP - didn't think that was right.
    I was sorry when I finished - was having too much fun!
    Bravo for a great puzzle!!

    a voyeur 8:49 AM  

    I happen to agree with Rex on this one. Agree, disagree, I do read for his insight as a constructor and critic. It's his blog, and I value his perspective. I understand John Child's point, but anyone can have a screen name today and be Anonymous tomorrow to make churlish remarks. I choose Anonymous because I'm shy and in awe of you who consistently post and have interesting commentary to share. Call me a voyeur.

    MikeM 8:54 AM  

    I thought this was incredible construction-wise. I was sitting at the Starbucks at my local Barnes and Noble solving while my daughter shopped. When I "got" the gimmick I was so impressed I called my daughter over to show her. She couldn't understand how you could figure something like this out without special instructions. I told her - think about trying to create something like this. Btw she uses the word "youtuber" all the time so YOUTUBED, while awkward, was not too much of a stretch for me.

    Aketi 9:05 AM  

    @Bob Kerfuffle, I was going to respond to Greg until I saw that you had responded with far greater ability than I had yesterday in trying to describe how you create the base, WALLS, and roof of the box that creates a frame with your arms.

    I started with TRASH HEAP before SCRAP HEAP.

    One of my favorite MAMMALs is the TASMANIAN DEVIL

    The puzzles I don't like, NOTEVENALITTLE, are those filled with trivia, since the hard drive of my brain is already full. even if I purged some info to make room for more, the search function of my brain is glitchy enough that any attempt I made in competing with the Masters of Memory would still be LAME. This puzzle was not at all a BORE for me even though I got the theme right away.

    jberg 9:09 AM  

    Sure, it's a construction feat, but what a feat! I've seen lots of turn-the-corner puzzles, but never one where the same letters were shared by a whole bunch of answers, while making a word themselves. That's kind of amazing.

    And the fill wasn't so bad. We got a different LEO than usual, I don't think I've seen BCCS in a puzzle before, EDGINESS, even AENEID (which ought to be in more puzzles, given its letters). A quick solve but a happy one, for me.

    Quibble: RED is at the edge or side of the rainbow, not the end.

    What I learned today: BILE comes from the liver. If you'd asked me, I'd have said spleen.

    But I'd never refer to EVIL Doug as LESSER.

    NCA President 9:11 AM  

    I agree with jane_o about YOUTUBE being used as a verb. It's funny, Rex makes a thing out of using it as a verb and not a paragraph later he is "googling" the Gat Ghetto connection. I use both YouTube and Google as verbs. And I'm 55.

    Count me in with liking the puzzle. I'm starting to mellow on not liking that the theme helps solve the puzzle. Rex is right that once you get the conceit, lots of the puzzle falls into place. He just says it like that's a bad thing. It's not necessarily a bad thing. In smaller puzzles, maybe, by ratio, if you give away 15 or 20 letters you've given up a huge amount of the puzzle. But in a Sunday puzzle, there's a lot of territory left to solve. So, what's the...er, um...downside (no pun intended, believe me) to the theme helping solve a good bit of the puzzle? You get done quicker? I know there are some solvers in the world who can knock these things out in 5 minutes...surely they can't be upset that the puzzle is too easy?

    Otherwise, I liked that the words climbing the wall all shared the same letters which was an actual word. I don't know about Rex, but that looks really hard to do. Not that I'm a fan of things that are difficult for difficulty's sake...but this was accessible and impressive at the same time.

    Anonymous 9:12 AM  

    This is a great Sunday puzzle. Making multiple acrosses turn up and use parts of the same
    vertical string is a very impressive feat. It made it even more fun to solve.

    "Saturday morning fare" needs "once" added to it. Last fall there were lots of stories
    about how the last station to air Saturday morning cartoons had stopped.

    John Child "free speech has its limits": Sure, shouting fire in a theater and all that,
    but your suggestion that calling someone a jerk crosses that line is ludicrous. Move
    to Russia, ya commie.

    Thanks to jane_o for reminding everyone that there are lots of words and phrases that one is not familiar with, but that doesn't mean one can conclude those words and phrases don't exist or are far too obscure to occur in a NYT puzzle.

    GILL I. "leave out the stale, repetitive rants" : Your comment is fine. Belongs in a blog comment section. The rest of the comments are fine and also belong in a blog comment section, including the "stale, repetitive rants". Your silly idea
    that a particular observation must be made only once and never again is preposterous.

    Moly Shu 9:14 AM  

    Let's see, 5 letter TV channel. Either msnbc (wrong) or AANDE. And I was off and running. Took a while to grasp what was going on, but once I did, the puzzle sure got a whole lot easier. Does Aeneas play a prominent role in Virgil's AENEID? Now that would be cool.

    @avoyeur, will do

    @BillyC, patiently awaiting your fresh and well thought out reply to @GeorgeB today. You're slipping, pal.

    Aketi 9:18 AM  

    @F.O.G. I almost always find flavored coffee to be an ASSAULT on mt taste buds. Nevertheless I sometimes succumb to the temptation of the free samples at Starbucks. Rather than throw the sample out after I rediscover that it really is as overly sweet as I suspected, the LESSER EVIL is to dilute the sample in a venti-sized coffee.

    At least it's more appealing to me than dead snails or MBEMBE as they are called in the Lingala that was spoken in the area where I first was introduced to ESCARGOT.

    Nancy 9:19 AM  

    Wow!!!! Is this a great puzzle or what? Great to solve and an absolutely amazing job of construction. I can't imagine how Jeremy Newton pulled this off. So I love seeing the rave comments it richly deserves from such people as Jeff Chen, mathguy, George Barany, Lewis, John Child, Arlene and Mike M. I'm sure there will be many, many more as the day wears on.

    I got the concept quickly, but faltered a bit in my sense of the direction each corner was heading, and from where. (But then, I really don't have a sense of direction.) Plus there were two wrong answers that initially threw me off in the NE: AguE for ACHE at 11D and thiNG for BEING at
    21D. When you add that to the other elements of difficulty in the puzzle, it made for even more of a challenge. But it was a challenge I loved and I'm terribly sorry it's over. Great Sunday!

    Anonymous 9:28 AM  

    Got the theme right away when I was doing the middle left. I knew Oregon and Deleware were no tax states and was suspicious about the word orth. Then noticed the no climbing upward and had my aha moment. Very enjoyable despite waht the cranky one says today.

    Anonymous 9:28 AM  

    To F.O.G
    Strangely enough, your pecan pie answer would be more likely as South Carolina raises more peaches than Georgia as a rule---Georgia more pecans.

    Dansah 9:34 AM  

    "Where did you learn that?"
    "I youtubed it"
    Agree that's totally in the language
    BTW, boomer not millennial

    joho 9:40 AM  

    I LOVED Every. Single. Second. I spent on this amazing Sunday puzzle! Jeremy Newton this is a tour de force!

    I have to run but couldn't leave without commenting on how much I loved this puzzle.

    Great clue for POET!

    Did I mention that I LOVED this puzzle?!!!

    RAD2626 9:49 AM  

    Put me solidly in the camp of those who think this was a marvel and a joy to solve. Got the theme with TASMANIANDEVIL which explained why I had been having trouble in the west part of the puzzle to that point. Thought there were several clever clues. Liked the money for the meter clue best.

    No idea how the constructor kept it all straight. Just incredible. And to defy his great great grandfsther's law as well!! Congratulations on a remarkable puzzle.

    Whirred Whacks 9:50 AM  

    This puzzle made me feel really clever for figuring it out -- kind of like the way I felt after cracking the Blindauer TEMPUS FUGIT meta-theme last October.

    Very nice job.

    Aketi 9:50 AM  

    @ Loren Muse Smith

    I was away last weekend for a workshop and just caught up with the Friday to Sunday puzzles I missed. I went to the comments section and realized why there is still so much acrimonious commentary.

    Fortunately, embedded within I found your gem about the weight of a diaper when you pour liquid in it, made my day. my son and dh actually tried the experiment with a nighttime pull up diaper. Unfortunately they also decided to cut it open to see what was inside. The absportive gelatinous beads spilled out into the sink and clogged the drain. Our super was not all happy with us.

    Bob_D 10:01 AM  

    Rarely visit this blog any more for the exact reason noted by JFC. Jane_o is right about YOUTUBED. Don't understand why Rex puts so much time into something with which he finds no joy, unless being so negative is the source of his satisfaction.

    Janet murray 10:05 AM  

    Very glad you called out the jar tingly offensive "gat" clue

    Amanda Powers 10:09 AM  

    The first thing I look at when delving into Rex's summary is the difficulty level he assigns. Today, I actually shouted "MEDIUM?!" out loud, as I found this puzzle very, very easy. But last Sunday's puzzle, which Rex deemed "easy-medium" was tough for me. As someone pointed out earlier, it's interesting how different our wheelhouses are. Always a pleasure to read such divergent angles in solving the same puzzle!

    Anonymous 10:10 AM  

    Rex, it's time for you to get a new job. This was a perfectly enjoyable puzzle. You seem to be whining about every puzzle that comes along these days

    Lucy Richter

    Z 10:11 AM  

    All coffee is, of course, flavored. If you don't want flavor just heat up some water. The vast majority of time I like mine dark, rich, and bitter, but an occasional festive brew is fine by me.

    I have two issues with the puzzle. First, and less important, is that it is 21x21. I am increasingly finding Sundays more sloggy than fun, so even a generally great puzzle like this just sort of wears me down. "Oh, one more corner to suss out - hay BALE doesn't work...." Second is that 99% of the cluing is fine, but that 1% seems like it is from someone who gets their "news" from AM talk radio. Cliff Huxtable? Ghetto blaster? Frats engaged in PANTY RAIDs? How about throwing in a little Boko Haram and Robert Durst to round out the "all that is wrong in the world" sub-theme. Makes me not even mind ST LEO II.

    @Gill I and @John Child - As soon as I read, "I feel for" I clicked on "said" to hide the comment. I really don't care why someone hates it here. If you hate it so much go somewhere else. You have options. This is different from saying, "I disagree." Skipping the anonymice makes the comments more pleasant, too, although I do hope someone takes the trouble to answer the occasional actual query.

    Roo Monster 10:23 AM  

    Hey All !
    Well, put me in this was a way cool puz group! Figured it out with TETON, after thinking, how is TAX a Nice Thing for Purchases? Then the Part of Two State Names, starting with an O, got me to see the CLIMB, and let out a "Cool!" Completed the W side of puz, then was wondering how the other side was going to work. Figured out at old TASMANIAN DEVIL. Let out another "Cool!"

    I actually started to construct a puz similar to this one (although not as good, as mine didn't incorporate all the Acrosses it touched), Sunday sized and everything, but never finished it! Now I guess I don't have to!

    Liked how each CLIMBer was a real word reading down. Cool. Only a few writeovers, (Carol) ALT for SST, POKe before BOe made no sense, CARpool for CARAVAN, tar for e-cig ASH. Not too shabby!

    OOMPAH is a cool word. COLD MEAL coulda been clued "Cereal, e.g." or some such. Wondering if Jeremy had an ego problem? MEFIRST, TOSELF. Just joshin'! SICKO? :-P

    So again, in case you mighta missed it, Cool SunPuz, not too much dreck, executed well, nice answer flow for me.

    Oh, just found something, Open to debate = MOOT? I thought it was a dead topic if MOOT. Someone? And HUGER seems a made up word. Of course, More HUGE doesn't quite do it either, huh?


    Casco Kid 10:23 AM  

    Fun puz.

    I went with a PASsEL of [Lavendar or lilac] -- mixing up the meanings of PASsEL and SACHET-- giving me the horrifying [Ghetto Blaster]GAs. Really?! Egads. Fixed in the post-solve.

    It's official: Mrs. Kid and I will attend ACPT! I registered under my Nom d' Cross, and not 2 minutes later got a nice email from Will Shortz saying that never, ever in the history of ACPT has an entrant used a pseudonym. (Whither 63? I snarked privately.) He then asked me to confirm a name familiar to me because I write it on my 1040. WILL SHORTZ SOLVED THE META OF ME! In two minutes. That's a word of warning to M&A.

    See you in Stamford by pencils-up Saturday morning.

    Zeke 10:23 AM  

    I didn't enjoy this puzzle for exactly the reason Rex cited - It's a one trick pony. You're stuck with gibberish until you figure out the conceit. Then you figure out the conceit, and it's straightforward. The entirety of one's appreciation of the puzzle rests entirely on how much you appreciate the aha moment of figuring out the conceit: if that is high, you love the puzzle. If not, you're stuck with a ho-hum puzzle in terms of the solving experience. So yes, you either love it, as it was a brilliant conceit, or you don't, because the conceit leaves you with a dull puzzle. Which is what Rex said, as did every commenter here who actually talked about the puzzle.

    And Rex was totally out of line about YOUTUBE, as so many of you pointed out. How did I find out about knots? I YOUBUTED it How did I know that? I YOUTUBED it Oh, wait, he said "at best it's a transitive verb", and everyone's counter examples cite its use as a transitive verb. Oh well.

    Shelley Fuld Nasso 10:36 AM  

    I loved it. Finished in just over half my normal Sunday time. I didn't mind that it was easy because it was fun. But then again I like flavored coffee so it makes sense that I would like it!

    Andrea Ojeda 10:37 AM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle very much! Got the gimmick and felt very proud too.
    I started doing the NYT puzzle when I moved to the US fifteen years ago, and Rex has been a wonderful source of help and learning and fun all along. Lately though, I've felt kind of sad at seeing how little he enjoys what used to be a true love of his; not the art form itself, just whatever Will Shortz publish each day. I don't know. I miss the humor and excitement of earlier years, and each day I come back hoping to find him back...

    JDUWS 10:37 AM  

    Loved this one! How could Rex not be amused by "strong drinks" and "panty raids" in the same puzzle? I was totally entertained and thought the theme was interesting without being impossible to solve.

    Nancy 10:39 AM  

    @Aketi (from late yesterday): I missed your extremely kind offer when it was made. Just saw it now. Turns out I'm not smaller than you are, but I AM older. Quite a bit, in fact. And considering I had to stop playing tennis about 4 years ago, a sport I had played avidly since the age of 10 and almost non-stop since the age of 35 due to physical problems I won't bore you with, I think that taking up Jiu Jitsu, a far more demanding, dangerous and totally unfamiliar sport at this stage of my life would be tantamount to, I don't know -- suicide? But I am touched by your offer. Really! Thanks so much.

    Teedmn 10:41 AM  

    I agree with everybody ( but @Rex) that this was an amazing work of crossword construction. The middle climbing black squares added to my enjoyment. Some alliteration ASKANCE/ASCRIBE/ASCAP. I did miss having any real misdirection in the clues so my only "aha" was getting the theme itself. Unlike @Gill I, I didn't get it on the West side. But BRAISED down to YOUTUBED gave me half of it.

    But I must admit to not seeing the other half - that WARTS was STRAW backwards, along with all of the other sides. I was so busy building the steps that I didn't read the clues for side downs and totally missed that aspect. So that was a nice bonus to find when I got here.

    Very nice puzzle, Jeremy Newton.

    Joseph Welling 10:43 AM  

    I filled in TMNT very early, and assumed since it wasn't properly clued that it was a theme answer and they'd all be initials or some such. Once I got over that, it was a pretty easy puzzle. I liked it. . . other than TMNT.

    Joseph Welling 10:44 AM  

    . . and the clue for GAT. I agree with Rex on that one.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:49 AM  

    Please, @Joseph Welling, don't take this personally --

    I, too, was puzzled that it seemed 45A, was, as you say, "not properly clued." But now I have Googled it, and what do you know -- TMNT really is the correct title of the movie!

    Z 10:50 AM  

    @Zeke - Complaints about things Rex didn't actually write occur almost daily. I suspect that this fact, more than anything else, may explain why he doesn't follow the comments anymore. I'd ask him, but I don't think he reads these comments.

    Billy C 10:51 AM  

    @Moly --

    FWIW, I didn't comment because the good Professor did not promote his own puzzle in this instance.

    cq cqxray 10:52 AM  

    What a terrific puzzle! I was immensely impressed by the construction, which required 30 answers to work together.

    Not infrequently, I come to this site to check my answers, expecting also a celebration of the art of cruciverbalist from what I assume is a comrade-in-arms in the field. But alas, no; more often it is a tear down of how the crossword was a mere "stunt" that was "no fun" and doesn't have The Reason I Do Crosswords. Oh my.

    (NOTE TO SELF: I got a kick out of being able to solve this puzzle, but apparently that was because I didn't have the right principles.)

    Well, as someone said, this is his blog. I would give Rex a huge amount of leeway on his high-and-mighty comments though if I knew that he himself created puzzles that would pass muster with Will Shortz. So I wonder: is he like the experienced and well equipped coffee expert who can start with raw beans and end up with that gorgeous cup of coffee, or is he just the kaffeeklatsch columnist at Coffee Corner.com who tut-tuts whenever the coffee he is served (no flavored, please!) doesn't hit the bells on The Reason I Drink Coffee?

    quilter1 10:53 AM  

    DNF. I figured out the theme and got a lot of the puzzle, but was just some stuff I couldn't think of or didn't know. Frustrating that I knew who those ninja turtles were but never thought of using the initials in the answer. Not very fun today.

    Anonymous 10:55 AM  

    @Nancy, I wrote "WOW!!!" At the top of my (ink-on-paper version of the) puzzle before I saw your comment. I loved this one, though I agree that gat is 1920's ganster and not 2010's gangsta. As to Anonymous-objectors, when telling you my name here does not make me Google-able for all-time, I will do it; until then, Anonymous preserves my right to be forgotten and I hope I am polite.

    Loren Muse Smith 11:05 AM  

    I'm with @Barany, @Lewis, @Nancy, @jberg, @joho – I am in awe. This is one I'll remember for a long time.

    Unless I missed it- (I try to read all the comments carefully before posting. I really do)- no one else saw the title, the stair step squares going UP the middle and initially was sniffing around there for the theme?

    Rex – exactly - chacun à son gout. Unlike you, a construction like this is one of The Reasons I Do Crosswords. I like your analogy to flavored coffee.

    Like @Steve J, @jae – thought this was a rebus, too.

    THE LEFT crosses RED. Hah!

    I also had a dumb "died out" before DIE DOWN. Dumb because of the tense problem.

    @Steve J – look. I know this is getting tiresome, but wouldn't "benudes" make more sense than DENUDES?

    @Roo – agreed on OOMPAH. "Hey, Yo Yo Ma – OOMPAH YO MAMA!" Also, COLD MEAL could also have been clued as "The second half of the PEACH PIE, standing over the sink, hating yourself."

    @jane_o, @NCA President, @zeke, @Dansah – Me, too, for having YOUTUBE as a verb in my speech. Since I cannot access YOUTUBE at school, I can't tell you how many times I've said to a student, "Just go home and YOUTUBE it." It would follow, then, that YOUTUBED works, too.

    @F.O.G. – I grew the rest of the way up in Lilburn, GA, and I cannot remember one time that we had PEACH PIE. Pecan Pie, sure. Chess Pie, sure. Rhubarb Pie, check. Cheap Ole Chocolate Pudding, Graham Cracker Crust and Cool Whip, you bet. Oh, and me, too, for "has a smile" before HAS A SMOKE.

    @a voyeur – I used to be intimidated, too. Never very shy, though, I was nonetheless in awe of the people here, but once I started posting, I came to understand that the vast majority of people here are fun, kind, and down-to-earth.

    @Aketi – Hah! I can't believe y'all actually filled a diaper with water! It's all fun and games until the absorptive gelatinous beads spill out. Damn.

    @Z – Wow. I never knew you could click on "said" to hide the anonymice. I totally agree -skipping the anonymice makes the comments more pleasant. I always try to skip over them, AND just to beat everyone to the punch – I'm well aware that tons of you don't read me, either. NA na na NA na na. It's clear to me almost daily that lots of people skip my posts, too. I usually don't mind unless I pointed out something first and then someone else is credited with it and then I feel ridiculously, childishly wronged and hope someone else notes that I said it first but no one ever does and then I feel even sillier for worrying about it but not silly enough to post again to whine and claim credit for the observation. I can't believe so much of my life and thoughts are consumed with a grid of letters. Sheesh.

    Hey, Jeremy – Bravo! Note to self: pay huger attention to puzzles with this guy's name.

    Charles Flaster 11:06 AM  

    Loved this one . Cannot imagine the amount of time needed to complete it so that far outweighs any weak fill.
    Could not fathom lower right even with the theme so a DNF pour moi. Still a beautiful accomplishment by JN so I thank you.
    BTW also loved yesterday's puzzle!!

    Leapfinger 11:07 AM  

    Just loved it. All of it.

    NCAA: Great timing
    OOM PAH, which always makes me think South Africa
    Don't even mind that Mr.Newton went with POLISH instead of HUNGARIAN.

    Don't even mind that Mr. Newton had me CLIMBING THE WALLS till I finally saw the light coming up in the East. It hit ME FIRST around the LIVER, and the continuation was pure RAPTURE. No puns, just pure word-play: grouping words that could be stood on their heads and bent every which way.

    @Rex is just being a POKY BOY. Chalk it up to EDGINESS.

    Anyone else think we should stall WARTS?
    And whatever happened to the LESSER EVIL?

    Anyway, Jeremy N, thanks for making me think of a VISION TREE. Think I'll try to plant one this Spring.

    Hartley70 11:10 AM  

    Brilliant Construction! I saw it at TETON and had a moment of awe. Congratulations to Jeremy Newtonn

    The last letter I filled in was the G of GAT. I couldn't believe it was Gatling gun but I YOUTUBED it and they are still in production in a new and improved way. It was a sad clue and answer and paired with ASSAULT rifle added a shade of modern society I like to escape with the puzzle.

    Aketi 11:12 AM  

    @Z, good point. Boiled water is definitely a BORE. I don't mind the addition of STRONG DRINK to dark, rich and bitter coffee on a festive ocaission or even a few spices. It is when festive sounding flavors are infused in thick sweet syrup and added to my coffee that my tongue recoils.

    As for PANTY RAIDS I can attest to the fact that some tween girls also carry out raids on boxers or briefs as I discovered at summer camp. Somehow the concept of continuing that juvenile behavior in college seems developmentally delayed and far more innocent now that SEXTS are popular.

    Sadly, the real pervs and SICKOs who existed when I was young, still exist today even though they are caught and prosecuted more frequently now. Administrators, parents and teachers are still reeling at my son's school from the shock and ramifications of a previously revered teacher and coach who was caught and allegedly admitted to soliciting teen porn.

    @ Nancy, while I completely empathize with your distress over your name allegedly being hijacked last weekend, I hope you can understand why I empathize more with the student at my son's school whose photo was allegedly hijacked for a far more nefarious purpose.

    Malcolm Gibson 11:13 AM  

    Rex, lighten up....taking all this (and yourself) too seriously?

    Juan Valdez 11:16 AM  

    YOU TUBED in London
    I TUBED in France.
    I saw Richard GERE
    In Fancy PANTs.

    Thought the LESSER EVIL would be all over that MEANTIT.

    Is that OUT of LINE?

    Norm 11:17 AM  

    Brilliant puzzle. Took me a while to catch on. What jae said up top was pretty much my experience. I actually appreciated the fact that understanding the theme helped a lot with the rest of the puzzle, and I kept smiling as each "wall" filled in. A very creative piece of work.

    Casco Kid 11:20 AM  

    It took me an hour to discover the trick. Before that, I had a complex set of rebuses going that could only be described as Ptolemeic. Substantial wrongness along the way throughout the puzzle, so @Quilter1, I know where you are coming from. I finished in 1:45 with the error mentioned above and a second,a typo SERl/TlP. i agree with Rex's medium rating.

    Anonymous 11:21 AM  

    1. Again, those that can do, those that can't...
    2. Like really, the dog picture people aren't anonymous?
    3. Thanks to the people who lecture us as to why one should read this blog, etiquette, what phraseology to use. Sooo constructive.

    Ludyjynn 11:36 AM  

    Despite a DNF, as I had 'carpool' instead of CARAVAN and did not know GINA or suss out DIARY in the SE quad, overall, an enjoyable puzzle. I savored my hazelnut coffee as I went along; sorry, Rex.

    SEXTS TICKLEd me, as did YOMAMA.

    PEACHPIE or pecan, either way, YUM!

    This is turning out to be a great day to BASK in the much needed sunshine. I have been CLIMBINGTHEWALLS lately from cabin fever. See ya later.

    Thanks, JN and WS.

    old timer 11:40 AM  

    It's Rex's self-appointed task to critique every puzzle, every single day, and to do so in a way that makes us want to see what he has to say tomorrow. Today's critique was entirely fair, and Rex made it clear that all the construction skill in the world does not make him like gimmick puzzles. Rex is all about elegant and flawless fill.

    Now it seems to me that when a puzzle is hard to understand, and this one was for me, the constructor has to be *very* generous with is cluing. So I have no problems with the TVDADS clue, even if one of the actors involved has, decades later, become notorious. That was the first answer I wrote down, and it got me started on the way to figuring out the theme. But I agree, the "GAT clue was inexcusable. Especially because, you know, "gat" has never been a term used in the ghetto. "Piece", yes, or more often a nickname for whatever brand of pistol (or assault rifle) is to be obtained. "Gat" is something from my parents' or grandparents' generation. The term comes from the century-old Gatling gun, Machine-Gun Kelly probably used a gat.

    BTW, thanks to Rex for explaining the TMNT reference. I was by no means sure it was right.

    As you might guess, I had no idea the Left wall was to be climbed, too. I wanted 1A to be "hay bale" and was distressed when it did not fit. I discovered the Left Wall trick in the middle. Really wanted NOTETOSELF, and was delighted when TETON showed up.

    (Teton, of course, is the French word for teat. There have been a plethora of teats and tits recently).

    Teedmn 11:41 AM  

    @Loren Muse Smith, can't imagine who skips your comments. This is the second or third time this week you've provided me with a snort out loud laugh - between mini-van body shapes and hating yourself for eating the rest of the peach pie, that's classic stuff.

    Speaking of PEACH PIE, it wasn't served at my childhood home. My mother couldn't even say the words without shuddering. Seems that her mother had baked a PEACH PIE and all day Mom and her seven brothers had been slavering for a piece. When they finally got to satisfy this craving, Mom said she took one bite and ewwwww. Grandma had somehow used salt instead of sugar and the resulting horror had my mother avoid PEACH PIE for the rest of her days. Pecan pie, on the other hand, was a favorite.

    Benko 11:47 AM  

    Great theme for a Sunday. Found it very impressive while figuring it out.

    joho 11:53 AM  

    @Teedmn & @Loren Muse Smith: yes! Those diagonal steps going up through the middle of the grid are just another touch of brilliance! I ran out before I could mention it first LOL, LMS!

    Anonymous 11:58 AM  

    Loved the puzzle! Fun solve!
    Great construction!

    Agree with @Rex about GAT.

    Disagree about YOUTUBED. I do hear it used as a verb. Also heard in the verb-iage now- They got "red weddinged"- if you watch Game of Thrones, you get what that means.

    Benko 12:02 PM  

    Actually the term GAT had a resurgence in South Central L.A. During the late 80s and early 90s. Because of that particular ghetto's disproportionate influence on culture through gangsta rap and movies, the term spread from there.

    Joseph Michael 12:11 PM  


    This puzzle blew my mind.

    GILL I. 12:12 PM  

    @Loren...Dang, girl...black, strong coffee - no additives - coming out of my nose is a sight to behold. I always want to yell: WHAT AM I? CHOPPED LIVER!
    @Z. I always picture them sitting on the john, underwear draped around hairy ankles, reading (insert your favorite magazine). But I like your idea better.

    Moly Shu 12:15 PM  

    Curses! Foiled by @BillyC. Well played.

    Lewis 12:20 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Hugh 12:41 PM  

    Got a late start so still working this one through, but wanted to log on to say that I think this is a blast - most enjoyable Sunday for me in a while. I only read Rex's post (want to read everyone else's when I finish) and yes, I am among those who get a big kick out of these "architectural themes" and "constructive gimmicks".

    I though it was all very clever though a bit easy to figure out. NE fell first, now I only have the NW to tackle and I have NOTHING there!

    Agree that there are really no theme answers, and really not one particular clue that I would be able to count in a list of "really like", but figuring out all the sides was enough fun and amusement for me for a Sunday.

    Snow finally starting to melt in New Jersey and the sun's out - so no shoveling for me after I finish!

    AliasZ 12:51 PM  

    A marvelous achievement, Jeremy. You should be proud. This is the best NYT Sunday puzzle so far this year. IRATE this one A++.

    A little technical insight: the last letter of the three theme entries along the Western wall is sextuply checked, and the first letter along the Eastern wall likewise. In other words, the S in WARTS is clued six times: SAX, STLEOII, STRONGDRINKS, STRAINED, STRAWBALE and of course, WARTS. Likewise the N in TETON, The D in FACED, the D in DEBUT, and so on. Then going along, the T in WARTS is clued five times, the R four times, the A three times, etc., all along both vertical walls of the grid. This accounts for the theme becoming easily figured out once one abandoned the idea of rebus squares. It was at the Grand TETON that I got it.

    It also spotlights the extreme difficulty of construction, finding all those snazzy phrases and words of which an increasing number of starting letters fit so neatly - backwards - into TETON: N(YSENATE), NO(RTH), NOT(AX), NOTE(VENALITTLE) and NOTET(OSELF). And do it six times! Super, super clever. It must have had Jeremy Newton CLIMBING THE WALLS.

    How about that CARAVAN, performed here by its composer?

    Enjoy your sunny Sunday.

    Andrew Heinegg 12:53 PM  

    Amen, Amen, Amen.

    mathguy 12:53 PM  

    @Gill I, @pmdm, @John Child, and others. This is a very good party. It isn't polite to insult the host.

    Anonymous 1:06 PM  

    You puzzle masters are all ridiculous. This was a great puzzle for someone like me who is getting into it and wants to feel a little success with something not completely straightforward. If the Sunday puzzle catered to Rex and the like, how many % of the pop would ever even get it?

    BtW, "youtubed" is absolutely a verb. Use it all the time. A: "can't find that X video". B: "youtube it".

    Masked and Anonym007Us 1:11 PM  

    Newton Defies Gravity. Film at ten.

    fave sans wall items:

    * FTEA: Flea genus.
    * ENUDES: What I got at work one time, when I mistyped in a Url slightly. Had to do some X-plainin, to the company internet police.
    * ORTH: This provide the aha moment for M&A, for seein what the puz was up to. Speakin as a sorta constructioneer, I think we all wish we'da thought of that.
    * RONGDRINKS: Fresh outta the tap headless beers??
    * TMNT: And this puppy didn't even need no stinkin wall to climb.

    Thanx, Mr. Newton. 'sUp next?


    ** giant snarlin gruntz **

    RnRGhost57 1:15 PM  

    @Benko, thank you for the explanation on the resurgence of "gat" in the 1980s-90s. Would've thought that most Gen Xers, many Millennials, and even a few younger Boomers would have known.

    Younger Boomer here (born 1957)

    Moot and Avai 1:19 PM  

    And let me be the very first to mention...

    THE LEFT crosses RED! har.


    (yo, @muse)

    mac 1:25 PM  

    Very good theme, which I didn't get too quickly!

    Plenty of wonderful clues and and words, but I also didn't like the GAT one. Toughest area for me was the NE, where "thing" at 21D held me up.

    I do use YouTubed, sometimes do it to see a jewelry making technique on my iPad while I'm working on it.

    Hartley70 1:34 PM  

    Linking yesterday and today, I've been YOUTUBING and came across this video of jiu jitsu "framing". Remind me to take a cab and stay off the subway!

    Benko 1:37 PM  

    You're welcome. This isn't really a hip-hop crowd, as has been made clear repeatedly. Surprising that so many people automatically jump to "It must be racist."
    The crossword stalwarts ICE-T, ICE CUBE, and DRDRE have all used the term in their recordings. You know, all those racists from the ghetto who talk about people getting "blasted" as well.

    Numinous 2:31 PM  

    To Jeff Chen, as he said at xwordinfo, this may be the puzzle of the year. I'll go further and say this is the best Sunday puzzle I've ever done. At each of the six blocks I marvelled at the dificulties of construction. Once I got TETON, I looked above and suddenly saw STRAW standing on its head. And like several above, it was NOTAX that gave me the trick. Flabbergasted is a word that comes to mind. I just think this puzzle is so groovy.

    I balked at GAT but @Benko's coment rings familiar as I was living in LA in those days.

    On the subject of PEACH PIE: @LMS I don't think I've eaten one in the 16 years I've lived in Georgia unless it was from Hostess or Little Debby. My better half does make a killer PEACH cobbler though. It's rivalled only by her holiday season divinity and pecan pie. Lilburn, huh? BTW, your comments were part of the reason I got brave enough to start commenting here.

    Having lived in OZ, I really enjoyed the TASMANIAN DEVIL dropping in to say G'DAY though that greeting isn't limited to the "mornin'" hours. It's just as common at 11 PM. It still rolls of my tongue as if I hadn't left 40 years ago. I still remember a bartender's look of total incomprehension when I responded to, "What can I get you?" with, "Ilavabeeahthenks." It took me a long time to shake that accent and the idioms and the sense of humor. Even after only ten months there, my step daughter still calls McDonald's "Maccas". Oddly enough, when I watch Australian movies or listen to ABC radio, I don't really hear the accent, they all sound perfectly normal to me.

    @Jane_o, I'm so glad you do the puz. And like a buncha others here, I YOUTUBE frequently. It is a rule of the English language that a verb can be made from any noun. ONE would think that @Rex would know that but I suppose he's an English teacher, not a linguist. So, keep it up and keep reminding us old fuddies, that the world of words changes, even if sometimes we don't want it to.

    Anonymous 3:00 PM  

    Two quibbles:
    Where was there any clue that 45-A was an abbreviation?
    I'll bet that for every peach pie eaten in Georgia there are twenty Karo pecan pies eaten.

    Steve J 3:06 PM  

    Miscellaneous responses to responses:

    @Z: Water is flavored, too. If ever in doubt, take a good swig of distiller water, which is as close to pure H2O as you'll ever get.

    Also @Z: What's this clicking on said stuff? Is this one of those ways the mobile-formatted version of the site varies from the regular site (the most annoying variance being how the mobile format threads comments but the regular site doesn't, leading to orphaned "I agree" comments, leaving one to wonder which one of the 100 comments is being agreed to). The regular site doesnt have any "said" that I can see.

    @Zeke: Spot-on about the impression of the aha moment equating to the impression of the puzzle. For me, the aha moment was impressive. And I found that just discovering it didn't make the other theme areas auto-fill. Perhaps because I discovered the trick on the right side of the puzzle, where the crosses had the climbing bit at the end of the answer. Took me a while to figure out how to piece it together on the left (largely because the puzzle went east to west for me).

    @Casco: Great laugh from your use of Ptolemeic.

    @LMS: Good catch on denudes.

    @Benko: Thanks for the reminder on GAT. I thought it had popped back into the vernacular, but couldn't clearly remember.

    @cq cqxray: Rex has had multiple puzzles published in the NYT (under his real name).

    @various: Personally, I've grown weary of the constant commentary on commentary. No one is going to be convinced to change their approach. The people with weird obsessions over our host's mood will countinue to have their weird obsessions. The people who enjoy being dicks will still enjoy being dicks. The people who dislike it when people are being dickish will still dislike it when people are being dickish. That's life on the interwebs. (Yes, I recognize the irony and not-slight hypocrisy of meta commentary on meta commentary.)

    Anonymous 3:10 PM  

    Amen! Such a waste of energy and talent...

    paulsfo 3:13 PM  

    @Anonymous at 7:55am: If you make up a screename, e.g. 'UntraceableXwordGuy', then readers will know it's same person who commented last week but they will *not* know who you are, or your email address. Googling in the future would only find comments that you made to this blog (as long as you dont use the same alias anywhere else).
    That way you are still anonymous but people can write things like "Why can't people be as polite and charming as UntracableXwordGuy always is." :)
    So you still have your comments unlinkable to the rest of your life, while having the advantages of a persistant persona on this blog.
    Up to you.
    paulsfo (btw, i choose to use this name in a few places online, so those places could be linked to each other, though not to me. Unless it's thecops or the NSA that you're worried about; they *could* link paulsfo to my email address.)

    Ya got me 3:17 PM  


    Do ypu do anything besides 'gotchas'?

    Fred Romagnolo 3:23 PM  

    We pervs resent being called SICKOS! Where is @Evil when I need BACKUP? You couldn't watch a Warners Bros. gangster movie in the 30's, or early 40's without hearing the word GAT. I'm half smart and half idiot, I caught on in the West, then spent at least a half hour in the East trying to make the ,progression go down instead of up, as it does in the West! I finally got it with TASMANIAN DEVIL. @Z: I always read every word you write, and since I'm a West-Coaster solving on paper, I'm one of the last to hit the blog, except for those coming back for a review. Well, anon9:12 calls @John Child a commie, and @Gill I silly and preposterous - of course he's anonymous. And what's this "said" bit about erasing anonymice? Someone please explain.

    Numinous 3:30 PM  

    Brief time-out from making bread while the dough hydrates.

    Flavored coffee? I'm drinking French Roast which I grind very finely from beans and brew in my ancient Krups steam espresso machine. The carafe holds about one cup for me. I regard today's puzzle in the same light. Delicious to the last drop.

    Fred Romagnolo 3:31 PM  

    @Caasco: I second Steve J on your use of Ptolemaic to describe unending complexity in order to make something wrong appear to be right. Good Man!

    Fred Romagnolo 3:32 PM  

    I don't drink coffee, but I don't like "flavored" (herbal) teas; if it matters.

    demit 3:48 PM  

    Of course Rex is free to critique the puzzles in any way he likes. That seems unnecessary to say, as no one has argued that he isn't. But he has set up a comment system, which not every blog has, so I assume he invites comments, and not all of the "Gosh you are so wonderful I totes agree with you 4ever!" variety, so I feel free to opine as well.

    Rex's tone is often smug, frequently belittling, and my favorite times are when he sounds mortally injured because he himself has never heard of something. For him that means it simply cannot exist. But, Rex, "SHARE ONE'S BED" is a phrase that exists, in both writing and speech, when something other than "Yeah, we're bleeping our bleeping brains out" seems called for.

    I do agree totally with the criticism of the ghetto blaster clue. Very poor taste, NYT.

    Casco Kid 3:54 PM  

    @SteveJ and @Fred, Don't we all have an inner Ptolemy that sleep walks through reality, and an inner Copernicus needs that first cup of coffee? Mine=unflavored, BTW.

    Unknown 3:58 PM  

    I think of "GAT" as a 90s thing. Anybody else remember Snoop's line "Holla 187 with my gat in ya mouth, fool"?

    Anonymous 4:07 PM  

    From someone in his early twenties - "YOUTUBED" is definitely a thing. In a conversation - "Where'd you find this video?" "I YouTubed it." I've heard and seen it regularly.

    Anonymous 4:17 PM  

    Well put. Totally agree that if rp sets up this blog in this format, it's there for open comment, not for let's worship rp, or shut up. Maybe you over-protective types would like to set up and operate a censorship function. There are parts of the world in which that is s.o.p.

    Nancy 4:20 PM  

    Didn't get around to YOUTUBING "framing" yesterday, though I meant to, truly I did. But Hartley 70 (at 1:34) just talked me into it. The technique was about what I expected it to be, only worse. Let's take that cab together, Hartley 70!

    Anonymous 4:34 PM  

    There are answers with the theme - dressup and meetup. Enjoyed it as we'll

    Bob Kerfuffle 4:39 PM  

    @Anonymous, 3:00 PM - Evidently you wish to bring us into a higher level of philosophy, when you ask, "Where was there any clue that 45-A was an abbreviation?"

    If you have followed the link in my post at 10:49 AM, you know that (a) "TMNT" is in a sense an abbreviation, standing for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and (b) because the clue asks for a 2007 movie, TMNT is not an abbreviation, but is the completely spelled-out title of said movie.

    (Aside to @lms - Being unread is my complaint! (See above.) Don't take that away from me! :>)))

    Numinous 5:09 PM  

    @LMS (not an aside) and @Bob Kerfuffle

    The way you write a thread
    It's there for all to see
    The way I go unread
    No, no, you can't take that away from me
    No you can't take that away from me!

    (Apologies to George Gershwin)

    Loren Muse Smith 5:17 PM  

    @M&A – Har.

    @Numinous – nice! And I agree on the cobbler thing; we did eat us some peach cobbler, man. And home-made peach ice cream.

    @Bill Ferkpuffle – I'm so sorry; I totally missed that you had posted anything. ;-) (By the way – gonna miss all of you this year at the ACPT! Have a great time!!!!)

    Z 6:03 PM  

    126 Comments and counting. I remember when breaking 100 was unusual.

    Re: Said - This only works in the "Comment" Window in a browser (if you read the comments on the main page this trick doesn't work - If you don't know how to read the comments on the main page, see below). Each comment is started with a "Z said..." (or whoever). If you click on the word "said" the heading remains but the comment disappears. Click on it again and the comment reappears. This saves a lot of scrolling. I also use it on busy days to leave open comments I want to respond to.

    Re: Reading the comments on the main page - If you have Rex bookmarked what you get is two posts, today's and yesterday's. Above the Day of each post are a bunch of search tags (today's search tags begin with "Whitesmith's medium"). Click on these tags and the page will reload with only today's post and the comments so far. The biggest advantage to this for me is that the background isn't stark white.

    One More Trick - At the bottom of each post are two labels, the constructor's name and the day of the week. Click on the constructor name and you will get blogs on the constructor's previous NYT puzzles going backward chronologically. Click on the day and you will get that day's posts going backward. I think it loads 9 or 10 blogs at a time, so some constructors will have many pages. If you really want to know if Rex ever praised a DEBUT, here's a method to find out.

    These work for me on computer in any browser and on an iPad using Safari. No idea about phones

    @Steve J - I've had coffee that tasted like water, but never water that tasted like coffee.
    @Aketi - Absolutely. Syrup is for pancakes, not coffee.

    jae 6:44 PM  

    @Nancy - I went back and stared at that section at least three times before I realized it was ACHE not AguE.

    Zeke 6:52 PM  

    @Ya Got Me - I was going to link to a wide variety of my witty, insightful comments about the puzzle I've posted over the years, but it occurred to me that that would constitute an "I got you', so I'm at a loss of what to do.

    Jayhale 6:56 PM  

    All good except a cross between TMNT and yomama which I can't figure as a joke

    The Joker 7:00 PM  

    Yo Mama is so old, she sat behind Jesus in the third grade.


    Yo Mama is so fat, when she walks in front of the television we miss two episodes of Empire.


    Yo Mama is so ugly, when you were born, the doctor slapped her.

    Ya got me, Babe 8:00 PM  


    It's Catch-22, deja vued all over again. I'll look up your infamous MOTs myself.

    Appreciate your not zeroing in on the typo, you being toomuch the gent to go for low-hanging fruit.

    Rhino 8:33 PM  

    I've been running around all day and have just now finished the puzzle. I loved it, one of my favorites of the last year or so.

    I don't remember the 2007 TMNT movie - but I went out of my way to avoid the Micheal Bay version last year. He already ruined my childhood memories once with Transformers...

    But of course the bigger question is an existential one. Here I sit in my basement writing an anonymous comment on a very niche blog at a time when almost no one will see it. I'm hovering right between posting or not posting, trying sincerely to decide if it really matters.

    Because I know that it doesn't. In any way of thinking about it, it doesn't matter at all if I publish this comment. Not only will so few people come to these comments at this time of day, even those that do, will skip over this comment because it's author's name isn't blue and it doesn't have any words in capital letters, thus telling the reader which clue I'm talking about. And even if someone does read the first couple of paragraphs, no one will read this far down. So, finally, I can make my great confession, here in this space, and feel both like I have offered the truth to the universe and, at the same time, that I am completely safe from any consequence. So here it goes: I cry at movies. All the time. Especially when a character has been particularly kind. I hide this from my friends, of course, and my wife, but here in this space I can finally stop living the lie. My eyes are not itchy, I'm not rubbing my nose. No. I found the reunion scene touching, and am feeling out my eyeholes.

    Numinous 8:51 PM  

    So, @Rhino, thine EYEPITS runneth o'er. I cry often in movies too. I'm Bi-Polar with depressive features. I watch movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime. My wife knows I tear up, she doesn't seem to mind. In some churches, Sunday is a day for confession. And here we are in the Church of the Holy Crossword with cleansed souls. AMEN!

    Lewis 9:17 PM  

    @rhino - I'm telling everybody.

    Anonymous 9:27 PM  

    Flavored coffee! Hahahahaha Does that come with cotton candy, Rex?

    The construction's an awesome feat. That's what people are responding to.

    I'm not a robot.

    Carola 9:33 PM  

    @Rhino - Glad you've taken the first step in stopping living the lie :) I just try not to sob audibly.

    wreck 10:07 PM  

    I am posting REALLY late, but enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit. I didn't fully grasp the conceit until I was pretty far in, but once I did, it went pretty quick. I think if it was clued harder, I would have never finished. It was a nice balance.
    I just got my notice that my NYT Crossword subscription is about to end (which means I have been here 2 years).
    When I first started posting, I was pretty critical of Rex. Now, I think I am seeing the bigger picture. I am right there with Whirred Whacks and make a big distinction of the role of "Rex Parker" critic and Michael Sharp the person.

    A sheepish "regular" 10:20 PM  

    I don't cry often at movies, but I probably have one of the funnier
    experiences to tell. I was watching the movie of "The King and I" for maybe the 3rd time, having also seen the original B'way show and the revival of the show. The "Shall We Dance" number came on and I started to sob uncontrollably. Evidently I wasn't inaudible enough, Carola, because when the movie ended, my friend turned to me and said incredulously: "Were you crying? In the middle of "Shall We Dance, the most infectiously happy number in the show?" "Yes," I admitted. "It's the only happy moment they're ever going to have together and they don't even know it." And then I started to cry again.

    kalimba 10:29 PM  

    Most of the creative crosses have been pointed out, but, nobody noticed that Hifi crossed Ghetto Blaster? G was the last letter for me, and, as a music professional and historian, I was stunned that I couldn't get either answer until finally realized "Long I." Creative cluing, imo.

    I enjoyed that there weren't proper nouns or other obscurities crossing each other, and quite enjoyed the theme. I usually don't finish, but was excited to complete this one.

    Rhino, I only started getting emotional at movies after I had a child - what's up with that? But, commenting later still, nobody will read this one, I'm sure.

    Z 10:52 PM  

    Ghetto and language's ineluctable desire to change.

    M and A Psychiatry Desk 10:54 PM  

    @Rhino-- yep. During our FriNite Schlock movie fest here a coupla days ago, one of the horror flicks was called "Horror of the Blood Monsters". I am a seasoned veteran of pitifullly put together B-movies, but this one made me laugh so hard, I cried.

    Just had a pretty good laugh also, just readin a little story about a neophyte New Mexico chili contest judge. The dude kinda went south, in classic ACPT fashion, on tryin out chili entry #5, called Lisa's Legal Lip Remover. har.


    Ionescu 11:26 PM  

    Don't be absurd.
    As you can plainly see, there's any number of night crawlers.

    Apropos of your yesterday's comment: I don't care what they say, I think you have legs.

    Elle Finger.

    Tita 11:39 PM  

    I hate flavored coffees, but I love architectural puzzles!

    Way late, but still have to name-drop - next-door neighbor growing up got his first big break when TANYA Tucker sang his song - became a cross-over hit.

    I did go 'ick' at the Gat clue.

    Beyond that, clever, clever. It wasn't boring, and I needed the gimmick to finish. Great puzzle, Mr. Newton!

    Tita 12:34 AM  

    @Rhino - I cried when coffee snob Rex insulted all of us who were gonna like this puzzle.

    Clark 12:47 AM  

    1. Semi-Puzzle Partner, Barcelona Guy and I intercontinentally skyped this baby and we loved it.

    2. @paulsfo (3:13) I agree with you it's about adopting a persona. The anonymouse at 11:21 am said "Like really, the dog picture people aren't anonymous?" Dude, nobody cares what your real name is and where you live. Just pick a name and inhabit it for a while. Continuity of the self in different times . . . I'd better stop now or I'll start quoting Kant's third paralogism.

    3. @Rhino -- you're cracking me up. I mean that in the nicest possible way.

    Fred Romagnolo 3:46 AM  

    I can't quote Kant. But I still (at 83) cry at movies. So does my son who is in his 40's. I never go to bed without checking the blog. Then I play a few games of solitaire. so here's off to the games!

    Fred Romagnolo 3:48 AM  

    I'm West Coast so ignore the time posted - I make it around 12:49 PDT

    Country-Western Fan 8:15 AM  


    If you're talking about Delta Dawn, I wouldn't boast. It could have used a second verse.

    Tita 9:08 AM  

    San Antonio Stroll

    Maruchka 9:45 AM  

    Tearing up to have missed yesterday's blog spotlights. Sniff.

    @Numinous - love the lyrics, oh lonesome minstrel you.

    Does anyone remember Lonesome George Gobel?

    Anyhoo, agree with @Rex overall, especially the flavored coffee analogy. Like the staircase and airshaft (?) grid.

    Love, Yo MaMa's a Viola

    Hugh 9:47 AM  

    Back again as I finished last night (though likely no one is reading the blog for Sunday anymore :o)) NW finally fell - somehow did not fill in SAX for 30A until I came back to it. So with that "S" and 18A being obviously STRAINED, everything else in that corner fell into place nicely. Again, A LOT of fun.

    I take back what I said earlier - I DO have a couple of "really likes" that I finished late:

    104D - POET (one seeking money for a meter?)
    7D - LONGI (Hi-fi sound)

    So with those two, even better. One of the most fun Sundays I've ever had, Kudos to Mr. Newton.

    Dain Goding 5:09 PM  

    Other than the very inappropriate clue for GAT, doesn't this puzzle seem just a little... like the description of a date rape?

    Between the cluing and the answers, the puzzle includes, EYE, DRESS UP, MEET UP, SICKO, Perv, LEGAL ID, SEXTS, "That's close enough!", One getting hammered, STRONG DRINKS, Cupful before sleep, OBEY, SHARE ONE'S BED, Strips bare, DENUDES, Sleep (with), Drill (into), RIDE, and ASSAULT. This is all along with PANTY RAIDS, OVARY, TETON and WARTS and with a reference to Bill Cosby and fraternity activity.

    I was uncomfortable throughout this leering puzzle, to be honest. I'm all for some blue clues and answers like those in AVX puzzles but too many of these felt... non-consensual, at least when stacked all into one puzzle.

    Mr. Cheese 10:23 AM  

    I'm often stunned at the cleverness of constructs. I cannot imagine how this puzzle was developed. How many erasures? How does Jeremy's brain work?
    To get one group of 5 "climbing" words/phrases by using a 6th word boggles the mind... then do it 5 more times!!

    How I Got My Ex Husband Back 9:48 PM  

    OMG!!,I am out here to spreed this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex husband back. My name is Natasha Johnson,i live in Florida,USA,and I'm happily married to a lovely and caring husband ,with three kids. A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my husband .so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce.he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn't love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he 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 husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he visited.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com}. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband 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 husband who didn't call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he 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 { http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/},if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to the Dr Brave for bringing back my husband ,and brought great joy to my family once again. { bravespellcaster@gmail.com }, Thanks..

    rain forest 6:57 PM  

    Really dislike flavoured coffee. Absolutely loved this puzzle: for the construction feat, for the excellent range of cluing, for the lack of weak stuff, for the enjoyment factor. Like others, I say why not use YOUTUBE as a verb. Google, courier, and others I can't think of right now are "verbized", and more will come. Wheelbarrow is used as a verb, for Pete's sake.

    GAT didn't bother me, nor TVDAD. Sometimes, too much time and space is used to ferret out the 2 or 3 things to complain about, rather than celebrating the beauty before us.

    Great stuff today.

    spacecraft 9:53 AM  

    The list of things that our resident curmudgeon doesn't like is growing longer by the day. I'm beginning to wonder if there's anything he DOES like. Strange, though, that in all his yammering about ethnic slurrage, he doesn't even mention YOMAMA. To me, that's offensive.

    I liked it. The cleverness needed to come up with combinations that work here is frightening. BOY these kids are smart!

    TANYA SEXTS me ATTEN; by eleven, after a couple of STRONGDRINKS, we SHAREONE(S)BED. Later, she HASASMOKE.

    Okay, Spacey, wake up; the dream's over. *sigh* She IS a hottie.

    Anyway, there (SEXTS) is where I started, go figure, and I so wanted NOTAX but wasn't sure how the rebus worked, if any. A bit more puttering around there, and I saw it: NORTH, NOTETOSELF, etc. And there's TETON! [Guess what that's named after!]

    Shortly I ME(E)TUP with RAPTURE; I can still hear Debbie Harry--another hottie--singing "He's done with bars, he's done with cars, and now he only eats guitars." Good stuff!

    Ah, but then we come a cropper. I can buy TVDAD, NCAA and NFLTEAM...hell, I'll even go for NSYNC and TMNT. But LONGI? I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT! And AANDE? AAAAUGH! Now you've got me CLIMBING THE WALLS!

    I enjoyed this solve so much that I hate to give out less than an A, but clearly those last two drag it down a letter. B. I say again, "LONG" and "SHORT" vowels, along with initials accompanying the written-out "AND," ought to be piled on the SCRAPHEAP.

    Burma Shave 4:37 PM  


    During the PANTYRAID
    she pulled her DRESSUP and perchance,
    “MEFIRST”, was all she said.

    --- GINA LONGI

    rondo 5:03 PM  

    The construction here is quite a feat. When the themers can run from the edge all the way to the middle NOTEVENALITTLE TASMANIANDEVIL could make me say something bad about this one, and you know I’m not a big Sunday puz fan anyway. Even when I figured out the trick, I had a hard time bending those answers. All 24 of ‘em – that’s a lot.

    This type of construction is so much better than multiple letters in one square, IMHO. Maybe OFL needs a DIGESTIVEAID to ease the upset. Thumbs up from me.

    190 - low, but a number!

    Anonymous 6:31 PM  

    Guessed the gimmick from the title and immediately confirmed in NE. Breezed through most of it but CLIMBING THE WALLS didn't come until the very late in the game. Agree with you about GAT.

    LorettaP 8:26 PM  

    I found the clue for 38-Across confusing because of "24-Across answers" which I suspected should have read "24 across answers." After completing the puzzle I am sure it should have read
    "24 across answers ..."

    Donna 9:05 PM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle. Didn't have a prob with Peachpie. Georgia is the Peach State and as a NW native, it was an easy guess; don't like the word "huger"-- just sounds awkward even though it's correct. Was bothered by the "ghetto blaster" clue and the answer "GAT" even though I I'm familiar with the reintroduction of the word GAT in rap music. Nonetheless, thought it was all Ill advised to get at the answer GAT in this way. Thanks Rex for calling this out.

    And @The Joker: HA! Thanks for the Yo Mama jokes.

    Anonymous 12:40 AM  

    Why come on here to kvetch about kvetching! Most followers of Rex enjoy his comments; the good, the bad and the meh!
    If he annoys you, find another blog! Sheesh!

    Anonymous 12:49 AM  


    Anonymous 12:33 PM  

    What racism? I'm tired of everything being called racist. Guess that's trendy now....??

    Joseph McGrath 5:52 AM  

    Why was this puzzle rated Medium, when far more challenging (for me at least) puzzles are rated Easy/Medium?

    Anonymous 2:07 AM  

    I correctly completed the left center section long before I understood how to read it. Did this happen to anyone else?

    Note to Z: If you ever order hot water at a restaurant, you will probably find out what coffee-flavored water tastes like.

    from K

      © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

    Back to TOP