Tom who played TV's Luke Duke / THU 4-2-15 / Latino Walk of Fame locale informally / Titular rock band whose film's IMDb rating goes up to 11 rather than 10 / Tiananmen Square demonstration suppressor / Order at rathskeller / Classic late-night comedy bit

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Constructor: Joe Krozel and Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: THUS — black square for the letters T, H, U, S. Clues are various "arrangement[s] of letters in this grid," thus (!?):

Theme answers:
  • 1A: CABANAS (clue: HUTS)
  • 21A: SEAL (clue: SHUT)
  • 8D: REAR (clue: TUSH)
  • 43D: ELSE (clue: THUS)
Word of the Day: ARECA (4D: Tropical palm) —
Areca is a genus of about 50 species of palms in the family Arecaceae, found in humid tropical forests from China and India, across Southeast Asia to Melanesia. The generic name Areca is derived from a name used locally on the Malabar Coast of India. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hi all. I'm away from home for a few days, spending some time with family. Rather than dump the entirety of my blogging workload in PuzzleGirl's lap … here I am. Blogging the Thursday puzzle. I haven't done a puzzle of any kind since Sunday night. Liberating. I should probably take such breaks more often, because even though, as I look on this grid now, in the cold light of analytical reflection, it is clearly pock-marked and awkward, I kinda liked it. I liked the idea of it. I liked anagramming the letters and sussing out the theme answers (though there were very few of them, covering very little grid space). I also loved the long Downs. They were so good that they actually effectively distracted me from some of the terrible short stuff (like EDIN, SSS, ITELL, IME, UNCA, RONAS). There's something GREEN PAINT-ish about GET EXERCISE, but I think it just passes the stand-alone smell test. I think it would be better clued in relation to "advice" or "doctor's advice," but no matter (side note—I quite enjoyed my initial stupid wrong answer: GYM EXERCISE, considering it a. isn't a verb phrase, which the clue clearly calls for, and b. contains the word "gym," which is already in the clue).

I forgot about Tom WOPAT. Until now (38A: Tom who played TV's Luke Duke). I rewrote US law and made CACTI illegal to import for a few minutes there (49A: Plants that are illegal to import => COCAS). I had just one MAN ON at first (25A: Favorable situation for sluggers => MEN ON). Otherwise, I found the rest of it pretty DENG easy. This one won me over by being *different* and by having fabulous *long* answers. Iffy short stuff eroded my affection, but not enough to turn me. Not an A-PLUS, but fine work nonetheless.

["Why don't you just make 10 louder…?]
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. Peter Gordon's "Fireball Newsflash Crosswords" is open for 2015-16 subscriptions right now. These are right-up-to-the-minute, current-events-based puzzles. On the easy side. Great fun for solvers of all skill levels. Here's the info:


    Steve J 1:33 AM  

    I liked the theme, but I didn't have a particularly enjoyable time with the puzzle overall. I just was not on the right wavelength with so many of the clues. It felt like several were trying too hard to be clever and just missing, but it was probably just me not getting things as quickly as I'm used to. Wasn't happy with how heavily segmented the grid was, either, but it's probably not to be avoided with this kind of grid art.

    Anonymous 1:50 AM  

    Huh. I thought you would hate this one. I kinda enjoyed it, mainly because all the short crosses were fair.


    wreck 2:04 AM  

    Well, it was different! I struggled with this one (not that unusual), but I think "EDIN Chief" was perhaps the worst entry I've ever seen. I penciled it in just knowing it had to be wrong. Angry cat sound ... "SSS" ?!?!

    jae 2:19 AM  

    Easy-medium for me.  This was fun!   Had two ON before MEN ON and reAM before SLAM but that was about it.  

    ARECA and TIA (as clued) were WOEs. 

    Given the grid constraints the dreck could have been worse and it has some zip, liked it.  Nice one guys!   Or, what Rex said.

    The Scarlet Rag 2:45 AM  

    ERGO not ELSE
    for the fourth theme clue

    chefwen 3:05 AM  

    I struggled with this one. Finished it, but did not get the theme 'til I got here and felt like a big dumkof when it became clear. Oh well, sometimes it just works out that way.

    I have never had a Krispy KREME, are they really that good? Must try someday.

    GILL I. 4:14 AM I'm patting myself on the back because I'm getting all these lovely long answers and then I finish and think why is CABANAS one of the letters in the grid! It took me the longest time to figure this out....I was determined though since I so enjoyed finishing the puzzle.
    So....I wrote out my "arrangement" answers, looked at the HTSU and then HAH!!!! TUSH! That's where the REAR came from.
    I always think of CABANAS as a small little cabin with a thatched roof on a sandy white beach. HUTS sounds so provincial.
    I only had problems with MENON and MEOW so I did Google for WOPAT's name. Didn't matter because this is so much fun once you figure out the conceit...
    Thanks JK and TP.

    Ellen S 5:15 AM  

    I agree with all, I had fun with this one. the short fill didn't bother me, and I loved getting the longer answers and finally figuring out the theme.

    Thanks, guys.

    Thomaso808 5:16 AM  

    I wonder if WS clued RELAXING with "Easeful" as an editorial retort to all the commentariat from Monday's puzzle in which EASEFUL appeared?

    EASTLA appeared in the Mar 20 puzzle in exactly the same spot. I thought today's clue was harder than that Friday clue that referenced Cheech.

    Really good puzzle! The two vertical 3-stacks were lively and unstrained. The medium length intersecting 3- and 4-stacks between the C and H were also smooth, including SPINALTAP, which never gets old. IMDB does in fact use a rating for that movie that "goes to eleven" in homage to one its many very funny scenes.

    I spent a little time playing around with anagrams involving C and I, in addition to the U and H, thinking they might be rotated. Over thought it. Since 3 of the four theme answers were four letters, I also initially tried to literally fit anagrams of the four letters into the answer spaces. Now I know what the brackets are for in clues. Doh!

    Thanks for a very different, creative, and fun puzzle!

    Johnny Vermont 6:16 AM  

    Missed opportunity for what could have been some fun cluing and wordplay on TUSH. Just 3 arrangements felt a tad meager. Not bad though...

    Loren Muse Smith 7:20 AM  

    If someone had challenged me to guess the constructor based on the grid’s appearance, my first thought would have been Krozel of the LIES grid fame from a while back.

    This had to be a bear to construct, and I liked all the 15s, the 14, and the 13. Wow, oh wow.

    Watching any kind of STUPID PET TRICK lifts my spirits, especially one that has the dog sitting there with some ridiculous serving of food on his head, just waiting for the go-ahead.

    @jae, Rex – I was waiting to see if it was “one” on or “two” on. Sheesh.

    @chefwen – getcha a Krispy KREME, nuke it for about 8 seconds, and then Eat. A. Cloud. They’re delicious that way.

    @Thomaso808 – my thoughts exactly on “easeful.”

    @lawprof from yesterday – I feel your pain on the whom question. I've made a conscious decision not to use it anymore (except in To Whom It May Concern) for the very reasons that made you hesitate. I've said here recently, and it has become a running joke in my classroom, that if I overhear anyone use it at a party, I’ll look over to see if the person is a pretentious a-hole and keep checking back periodically to see if I hear other words like lain (another word I think I’m pretty much done with). It’s a poser – language, what is considered “correct,” is constantly changing, and we all have to choose what rule to defiantly eschew (split infinitives, say) and what to mysteriously hang on to.

    Joe, Tim – good one! I’ll remember this one for a long time!

    Lewis 7:43 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 7:45 AM  

    Another memorable out-of-the-box to go with Monday's flock o' birds. It had 61 words and 48 blocks. The most forced answer was EDIN -- I'm trying to think of a better clue (something with "burgh"?), but maybe someone can come up with something.

    Lots of OHOs for me in this one. I loved the clue for FLIPPER, as I was thinking of a pinball or dolphin part. The long answers were terrific, so good they even won Rex over. I didn't know if OFL would give the an APLUS or a SSS, and happy that he came closer to the former.

    The grid looks just plain weird, which strikes my fancy just right.

    jberg 7:52 AM  

    Jeez, I thought I was clever to notice EASEFUL, but two of the first 12 commenters noticed before me. Not much else to say.

    Krispy KREME tried to expand into New England about 10 years ago, but were routed by Dunkin' Donuts, so I've still never tasted one.

    NCA President 7:57 AM  

    Interesting concept, it must have taken a long time to engineer the placement of the letters and their sizes. Themewise the grid letters work, visually, however, they look a little awkward. Kinda reminds me of writing letters on an Etch-A-Sketch.

    I think the green paint aspect to GETEXERCISE is that the phrase is usually GET some EXERCISE, as in, you need to go out and get some exercise. Why do you take walks? To get some exercise. Why do you do P90X? To get some exercise...or, to simply "exercise." But "get exercise" is wonky.

    EDIN? MENON? UNCA? No likey.

    Cats hiss for sure, but they don't hiss like snakes hiss. Snakes' hisses are more like esses, whereas cats' hisses are like the German word "ich." The tongue is in a different place. Didn't care for that clue either.

    Otherwise, I didn't hate the puzzle. I finished without being angry, frustrated, or with any major groaning. Puns were kept to a minimum, and I thank Mr. Krozel and Mr. Polin for that.

    Rex Porker 8:06 AM  

    Short comment today. [Hic!] I'm on vacation, and a little bit drunk, so I totally screwed the pooch on my listing of the theme answers. Alcohol makes me kinder and more forgiving of very questionable fill, but it also makes me fail in my attempts at verbal gymnastics. [Hic!] I confused 43d with 26d. ERGO, I am going to SEAL the REAR door on this CABANA and drink some more. [Hic!]

    Lewis 8:11 AM  

    Factoid: In a running event for charity called the KRISPY KREME Challenge in Raleigh, NC, athletes run 2.5 miles from the Memorial Bellower to a local Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen glazed donuts, then run back to the monument.

    Quotoid: "I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of PORTRAITS by Picasso." -- Rita Rudner

    Conrad 8:16 AM  

    Back in the early days of personal computing there was the IBM PC. IBM neglected to patent it, so shortly thereafter companies started marketing "PC clones", which were functionally equivalent to one degree or another. Now IBM is out of the personal computing business (they sold their whole line to Lenovo) and the term "clone" hasn't been applied to PC's in over a decade. So "Some clones" as a clue for PCS is a quibble, but my only one -- besides those already mentioned by others -- in an enjoyable solve.

    mac 8:19 AM  

    I'm in a different time zone as well, just 6 hours East.

    Fun puzzle today, creative. I also thought "dolphin" for a bit, a nice little area.

    I thought the rathkeller without capital R and the ale instead of Bier was odd.

    joho 8:19 AM  

    I'd rate this as delightfully different!

    I couldn't miss the huge THUS but it took me forever to figure out how it tied into the theme which is a wonderful thing.

    I agree with @Rex about the long downs. STUPIDPETTRICKS is worth the price of admission. (@Loren, I wonder if anybody's ever balanced REESESPIECES on the poor dog's head?!)

    Will cluing RELAXING with "Easeful" just convinces me more than ever that he knows exactly what words will show up where. None of his it's just a coincidence!

    Brilliant Thurday, Joe and Timothy, thanks!

    Airymom 8:24 AM  

    Edin and sss were sorrowful answers, but then you have stupid pet tricks. Who could ask for more? And tush? A very creative puzzle, great long answers, with a few duds. I'll take this any day of the week.
    Happy Easter and Passover to all.

    Roo Monster 8:25 AM  

    Hey All !
    Interesting. For me, the WOPAT and UNCA answers were gimmies, loved Dukes of Hazzard as a youngster, and also watched a lot of Duck Tales, with Huey, Duey, and Louie, and Uncle Scrooge (Donald making a rare appearance now and then). Favorite cartoon of mine, you ask? Darkwing Duck. Now that was an awesome show!

    My last rejection was a pumpkin grid art, of which WS said he has had too many of. Hmm.

    Liked this one. Nice longer answers. Agree with Rex's rating. COCoa for COCAS, BLockOUT for BLEEPOUT. Now, I'm out!


    joho 8:25 AM  

    Oh, and @Lewis, I, too, thought of somehow tying "burgh" to EDIN but it just doesn't work, does it? As awkward as EDitor IN Chief is, I think it's the only possible way to go.

    Casco Kid 8:35 AM  

    Over an hour and had to capitulate with 3 errors. STUPIDcaTRICKS/ cCS/aRE. I should have gotten those. My clones began as cdS, which gave me caT.

    Tough puz. Lots of wrongness.

    [How the letters in the puzzle are arranged]
    1A ColumnS
    8D RowS
    [Sister sister sister] mIA
    [What may come after a long time?] era, eon then a long stare, then finally AGO
    [BBQ throwaway ] ash
    [Landlocked land with 2 neighbors] mongolia (rebus strategy not clear)
    [Tiananmen Square suppresor] taNk
    [_____ you what] Ishow
    Geoffrey BEaNE
    When the French toast? nouvelle ano, noelle? Rebus? OK, it was either ETE or ici. Which? And why?

    When OGLED became inescapable, after 45 mins, the only thene cross that kind-of worked was ERGO, which gave me the theme Thus->ERGO. from there Tush->REAR was visible, CABANAS finally filled in, and lastly SEAL. Whew.

    Diasppointing surrender after long hard fight.

    AliasZ 8:39 AM  

    Look, grid art again. It must have been fun trying find four random letters which can be anagrammed into four words. I know, four letters gives you 24 permutations, so what's the big deal? Try it once -- not that easy:


    THUS, this beauty is more intricate than it may appear at first blush. Plus it uses synonyms of the four words as theme entries. Wordplay of the highest order.

    The beautiful long downs were a pleasure to figure out, my favorite being STUPID PET TRICKS. ALL THOSE AGAINST say "Nay!" Remember pet rocks? Mine did some stupid tricks but we never made it to late-night shows. And it is great to see our NATIONAL PASTIME three days before opening day.

    DENG it, ATO, EDIN, UNCA, and especially ARECA were ugh, ugh, ugh. And WOPAT? Who'zat? But today I am in a charitable mood. Good one, Joe and Timothy.

    To celebrate Édouard Lalo not being in today's puzzle, here is his regrettably lesser-known Rapsodie norvégienne.

    Have a pleasant Maundy Thursday.

    Charles Flaster 8:48 AM  

    Loved this EZ puzzle. Initially thought there would be more trips through anagramland.
    Agree with Rex and others about difficulty of construction.
    Liked clues---PAUPERED, PORTRAITS and ATOMIC REACTORS (especially as March was James Bond month on Encore TV).
    CrosswordEASE---ERE, ALEE and RONAS.
    Thanks JK and TP.

    chefbea 8:48 AM  

    too tough for me!! No time to read the comments. Off to our monthly NARFE meeting

    Rug Crazy 8:48 AM  

    I agree with wreck. Didn't care for Paupered, either

    John Child 8:48 AM  

    There's a fun puzzle titled "Sea Shells" in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week from one of our regulars and a collaborator: Wednesdayish, with some very clever clueing.

    @Roo - reach out if you would, please. My g-mail is ktmiphone.

    Z 8:52 AM  

    Writing this while wearing cheap sunglasses (JFC - That video is 25 years old).

    WOPAT has some sort of west Michigan connection and I still couldn't remember his name. Had the same flipper issue as @Lewis, couldn't see the MEOW Mix for the chex Mix lock in my head, and "baseball tag" had me firmly looking for some sort of nickname or reference to game play. THUS, I spent half my solve time in the east. Finally finished and immediately wondered (again) why PASTIME only has one T. @Lewis? @WhirredWhacks?

    @chefwen - fried dough covered in a sugary glaze. What's not to love/disgust? The Canadians have successfully entrenched Tim Horton's, so neither Krispy KREME nor Dunkin Donuts does all that well around SE Michigan. Whenever I drive through a small town in Ontario I'm always amazed by the number of banks and doughnut shops.

    @LMS - Prince Hal could communicate with the Courtly and the lowly soldier. What is "right" in one place doesn't work in another. If Shakespeare demonstrated this who are we to argue?

    John Child 8:54 AM  

    EDIN as {Scottish city abbrev.} has been used eight times before, all in the pre-Maleska era. Maleska used {Dun ___, Scotland} once. It's now been used twice in the Shortz era with essentially the same magazine clue.

    DShawMaine 9:06 AM  

    Thought this was a very clever puzzle and since I actually finished (never a given on the Thurs-Sun puzzles), agree with the easy rating. Still, had to Google Wopat to open up the southeast (had SEASONEDTOorder, HUH for OHO, Chex Mix, and a few other false starts). Do not understand the Royal Catherine for PARR.
    Am a few days into a Florida vacation (from, yup, Dunkin' Donut country), and KRISPY KREMEs are on my must have list. Yum!

    the amazing interwebs 9:10 AM  

    @DShawMaine, if you used "the google" you'd find:

    "Catherine Parr (1512[1] – 5 September 1548) was Queen of England from 1543 until 1547, as the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII. She married him on 12 July 1543, and outlived him. She was also the most-married English queen, with four husbands, and the first English queen to be titled "Queen of Ireland".

    It's a series of tubes...

    Z 9:11 AM  

    Tom Wopat spent one summer starring at the Augusta Barn Theater, a fact that niggled at the recesses of my brain as I couldn't remember his name. Apparently having Luke Duke starring was enough to get the fact through the cocoon that was college life.

    @Casco Kid - I, too, went with the obvious taNk first, but quickly corrected because RELAXINk seemed unlikely. I got the rest of the letters from crosses, DENG being filed somewhere near WOPAT in my brain (i.e. the "that looks right but I'm never going to remember it without crosses" section).

    Lewis 9:21 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Tita 9:21 AM one Westport tourney, I asked Will about those implausible coincidences...A really obscure word appearing back-to-back...he maintained that it is completely happenstance.

    This was a struggle for me...not at all on the right wavelength, and too many unknown pop whose crosses didn't help. Too much wrong...huh befor OHO, taNk before DENG.
    Like @mac, refused ALE for the longest time. PAUPERED??!

    Not a fan of anagrams - I lose interest, even with a mere 4-letters. THUS, I stink at them. So much so that I didn't even see that TUSH was one! That is only my favorite word for REAR!

    But as some of you have said, ya gotta love an outside-the-box box. Keep tossing in the occasional outlier for us, Will.
    Thanks Mssrs. Polin & Krozel.

    George Barany 9:26 AM  

    Interesting that @AliasZ mentioned pet rocks, since their inventor, Gary Dahl, just passed away (link is to his New York Times obituary, published earlier this week). Fascinating reading. Fellow constructors, you're now on the clock to craft a tribute to Tom Koch, who created 43-man Squamish.

    Happy trails to GD and TK, and happy holidays to all in the @Rex community.

    ass man 9:27 AM  

    Now this is a research team I'd like to be a part of!

    Speaking of TUSH:

    A recent study out of The University of Texas at Austin analyzed men's mate preferences and found that men prefer a woman with a 45.5 degree curve from back to buttocks. Allegedly, this degree of curve signifies an ability to "better support, provide for and carry out multiple pregnancies," in addition to having a striking resemblance to Jennifer Lopez.

    Whole study is here:

    Lewis 9:28 AM  

    @Z -- sorry, no idea. I'm just a simple alphadoppeltotter...

    Zeke 9:28 AM  

    Yeah, finding all the variations of HSUT which are English words is quite the accomplishment. One has to go here and actually read the answers. Work.

    I feel it's time to give up any and all hopes of thinking there's a difference between nouns and verbs. As there is no dictionary support for pauper being anything other than a noun, either PAUPERED (as opposed to pauperized, which has dictionary support) is wrong, or we've given up. I hereby declare zeked to be a transitive verb, meaning to give a snarky retort to any and all verbal stimulus, e.g. When my barista asked if I liked today's weather, I zeked him with 'weather isn't to be liked or disliked, it's to be experienced'.

    @LMS - My local public radio runs something they call The TED Radio Show. They take a TED Talk, flesh it out a little, and instant radio. One I heard recently was by a young woman, born in Jamaica, who immigrated to the US as an infant, lived in a Jamaican neighborhood in Queens for several years, lived in Bed-Sty for several years, then went to Columbia for her BA/MA/PhD. She gave a talk somewhere and afterwards she was complimented for being "very articulate". Gentlewoman she, rather than smacking the person (the real sentiment was "you're very articulate for a black woman"), she made the TED Talk. The point of the talk was that she was poly-lingual, capable of speaking Jamaican English, Bed-Sty English, and University English. She was also enough of a lady not to point out the ignorance of those who couldn't converse in other than their University English.

    Tita 9:32 AM  

    chex here too. Like those collaborators didn't plan that one...OHO!
    soy >>MSG, etna>>OSSA.


    pfb 9:36 AM  

    I liked the sets of long stacks. They slow me down but feel so good when solved. I had the theme pretty fast but still took longer than usual.

    Nancy 9:46 AM  

    The aha moment didn't come until after I finished -- not without difficulty -- the entire grid. Maybe that's because the first theme answer I got -- CABANAS -- didn't strike me as a definition of HUTS. I don't know: you change clothes in cabanas and you actually live in huts? Anyway, I stopped thinking about anagrams as a key to the puzzle at that very moment, without being able to come up with any other key to replace it.

    But solve it I did, regardless. I found it challenging, loved all the long answers, and didn't mind most of the short ones. (Though I do agree with everyone that EDIN is awful.) And I also agree with @The Scarlet Rag that ERGO would have been the right answer, not ELSE, as a synonym for THUS. But anyway, I got my Thursday "fix" of an unusual and challenging trick puzzle. So I'm happy.

    Rhino 9:46 AM  

    In the immortal words of Regina from Mean Girls:

    "Will, stop trying to make EASEFUL happen! It's not going to happen!"

    I found this puzzle incredibly challenging. I was able to finish it, but at what cost?

    Ludyjynn 9:46 AM  

    APLUS reminds me of my ultra-competitive, grade-obsessed Hopkins students whining at me every semester that my 'A is the highest grade' policy was unfair because their Ivy League friends were allegedly being awarded the A+. While they disliked my 'there is no grade better than the best' paradigm, I did not budge and my classes were always full.

    @AliasZ, yesterdays NYT had the obit. for Gary Dahl, the 'pet rock' inventor, who became a millionaire almost overnight.

    Krispy KREME over-expanded when they showed up in Balto. about 10 years AGO, and all of the free-standing shops were subsequently shuttered, leaving the disgustingly delicious confections only available in grocery stores here. Not the same as getting them at the Drive-THRU, piping hot!

    This one fell medium for me. Like everyone, the long Downs made the puzz. Would have liked to see 55Across clued as "when the French roast?"

    Spring has sprung, and BLEEPing Winter is finally in the rear view mirror here. It has BEENe a rough long haul.

    Thanks, JK, TP and WS.

    Casco Kid 9:49 AM  

    I followed @John Childs advice (I usually do) and took a crack at the latest Journal of Higher Education puzzle. I made decent progress in all but NW in 25 minutes. Then I took a break and finished with 2 errors in 40 min. That's a good work out.

    Otherwise, it's a fun Barany and Friends puz with clever misdirects in the cluing. I'd call it a medium tough Wednesday.

    Nancy 9:50 AM  

    @Zeke -- We were typing at the same time, so I didn't see your post until just now, but I love your coining of zeke as a verb. Do I have your permission to steal it and use it myself? Pretty please?

    Ludyjynn 9:56 AM  

    OHO, just read @GeorgeB got there first re Gary Dahl. Sorry for the repeat.

    Also, meant to write, "Like everyone before me stated, the long Downs made the puzz. stand out."

    Have a good one, all.

    Armagh 9:59 AM  

    This puzzle smacks of desperation. Surely there is better Thursday material available for "the gold standard" of xwords. Abundance of three-letter fill alone should have earned this one a rejection slip. As always, BEQ's Thursday is a far more enjoyable solve.

    Z 10:07 AM  

    I'm confused by some comments here. 26D is clued as [Another arrangement of the letters in the grid], referencing "THUS" and resulting in ERGO. 43D is clued as "Further" and yields ELSE. Both clue/answer pairs look okay to me. Am I missing something? Why should ERGO be ELSE instead? All three seem to be synonyms or near synonyms.

    @Zeke - People have been complaining about verbification since at least 1871 (the same year people were complaining about Bizet and Tchaikovsky ruining classical music). Whether "too big to fail" banks "PAUPERED" us or pauperized us back in 2008 may be as much a matter of headline space as correct usage.

    BTW - since everybody seemed more interest in MEOWing yesterday than answering my question, I did some research. I could find only one reference work that used the term to mean both land and sea, but I did find one.

    George Barany 10:11 AM  

    @Ludyjynn, no problem with the independent repetition of information; improves the chances that it will be seen. I'm hardly the first to observe that some of the best prose in the newspaper is found among the obituaries.

    Also, with respect to earlier postings from @John Child and @Casco Kid, I want to offer a big shoutout to @Marcia Brott, an incredibly talented collaborator whose crossword constructions are finally getting seen beyond our narrow circle of friends. @Brad Wilber is a fabulous editor who week after week, ensures interesting themes and razor-sharp cluing for the Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle page. Thanks to all.

    Leapfinger 10:20 AM  

    Fabulous! Pulled up the puzz, saw THUS... HUTS...then SHUT. Was slow to see a 4th anagram and impatient to start, ERGO was in arrears for TUSH. DENG cute the way some themers were nestled in grid-artpockets.

    [Easeful] brought a big chortle; agree that it was in'clue'ded by an ED IN fine gotcha-fettle.

    It was all joyfully clever rather than crushing. I think my only write-over was for Catherine the Great, considering tsaR/czaR; thought of Henry the Eighth sixth only later. I read a lot of 16th cent. historical novels in my teens, and am used to thinking of her as Kitt PARR.

    @Lewis, great connexion with the annual race in Raleigh. If I ate even three Krispy KREMES at a sitting, I couldn't run a block. I bet half the runners are carted away on stretchers. Would be just deserts for STUPID People TRICKS^.
    [*No hate-mail, please. I know it's for a good cause, but a dozen K. KREMES in the middle of a run?!? Sheesh.]

    Very pleased to discover that Riccardo MUTILATES Verdi on the piano, as well as from the podium. (Disclaimer: not so, but I was stuck for another work-in.) Here's a series, judge for yourselves.

    A lovely and very successful collaboration, SEASONED TO my TASTE. Very KroLinesque.

    Steve J 10:23 AM  
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    Steve J 10:26 AM  

    @Z: Read Rex's list of theme answers. One of these things is not like the others.

    @chefwen and @jberg: As far as I'm concerned, you're missing nothing by not having eaten a Krispy Kreme. They're over-raised and over-glazed, resulting in what is essentially sugar-covered air. You'do get pretty much the same experience by just sucking some glazing from a tube. If you do have one, make sure it's warm. They're awful at room temp

    Notsofast 10:26 AM  

    A fifth arrangement, TICS could have also been made. A fresh idea. Nice Friday.

    Z 10:26 AM  

    @Steve J - Ahhh. I missed Rex's error. Usually I'd credit it to his sense of humor, but this one looks like a simple mistake. Thanks.

    dk 10:28 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOONs)

    Thought it was unka not UNCA

    Never watched Dukes of Hazard but listened one night to a discourse on why they never opened the doors to their car. Stock car drivers weld the doors shut as I am led to believe. THUS i guessed at WOPAT and that allowed me to move off of two on, my thought for 25A.

    Nice idea for a puzzle and a fun solve.

    Arlene 10:31 AM  

    I like these grid art puzzles - anything for a little variety in the solving experience. My mind immediately started making anagrams, which I guessed was the point.
    It was slow going - and I got interrupted before finishing. And like most of us have experienced, if you put it down and then come back to solve, it somehow becomes incredibly easy to complete. Brains rule!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:39 AM  

    Fifth, unused, deeper theme answer: THU'S. As in, "This is the shape of Thursdays to come." Since Will has indicated that he would like to move away from rebuses every week.
    (@LMS etal.: I would normally never use an apostrophe to pluralize an abbreviation, but if I had omitted one, THU'S would look like THUS, and then I would have to write a long extra sentence to explain what I meant, which I don't want to do, because I am a slow typist, and I am trying to keep my comments short, and I don't want to bore everyone, as I am very likely to do, as you undoubtedly will understand.)

    My two speed bumps from the A & E network: BEANE to BEENE, MAN ON to MEN ON.

    Anonymous 10:42 AM  

    Notsofast@1026: Are you as sloshed as Rex today?

    Masked and Anonymo5U*s 10:48 AM  

    @63* is spot-on correct: different. fun. puzzling. rodeo. Glad that he is havin such a nice, relaxin vacation. Keep it up, amigo.

    I might add that the choice of vowel for the Big Word could not have been better. Kinda wondered why they shouted out the "S" and then whispered that runty lil "T", but probably had somethin to do with constructioneering design subtleties, at the pro level. Like insurin that the signature Krozel Stack of 15-ers is preserved, etc.

    Only 19 letters of themers. But then again, only 61 words (plus Big Word). Grid has TUSH Symmetry; extremely rear.

    fave weeject: SSS. This puz is definitely pro-S.

    fave scent: MENON.

    Thanx for gangin up on us so well, Joe & Tim. thUmbsUp.


    Anonymous 10:54 AM  

    To all the mean people on this blog I just have one thing to say:


    Nancy 10:55 AM  

    @Oh, I am so embarrassed!!!! Only by reading Bob Kerfuffle, have I been straightened out. I, too, had MAN ON, instead of MEN ON. And, ERGO, I had aRGO, instead of ERGO. And then I read the comment of @The Scarlet Rag that ELSE was the theme answer for THUS and that ERGO would have been better. And THUS I agreed with him/her, without re-reading the clues to see that 43D was not remotely clued as a theme answer. Please BLEEP OUT everything I said in my earlier post. In the meantime, I'm going back to bed.

    old timer 11:12 AM  

    I didn't get it, the whole anagram bit. I think for ERGO it would have been more fair to say "another meaning for the letters in this grid", which would have made the whole thing clear.

    Fortunately I had MENON, which is how good play-by-play men talk. And PARR went right in. My first answer: UNCA. I used to have quite the collection of Disney comics.

    The Long Downs were just wonderful -- saved an otherwise clunky puzzle.

    steveo 11:12 AM  

    Good fun.

    Arizona is clearly (P)acific which makes a stolen base a SwIpE, right? (RIGHT???)

    Hartley70 11:19 AM  

    Loved this puzzle! It took me longer than usual but never bored me. I was so pleased to come up with Nepal before my geography obsessed husband. Right there was enough to make my morning.

    When Krispy Kreme arrived in NYC, we made the drive to join the crowd to find out what the Southern fuss had been about all these years. Bless it's heart, that fresh off the line warm glazed is pretty darn good. BUT, the next time you donut lovers go to the Stamford ACPT, might I suggest you hop off 95 next door in Norwalk to a hole in the wall called Speedy Donut. It is truly donut nirvana, with a special shout out to the lemon jelly. For those New Englanders forced to rely on Dunkin' Donuts, my sincerest sympathy.

    Loren Muse Smith 11:22 AM  

    Ok, @Z. We’ve been trying to remember the compound word that shares that middle letter – thanks for reminding me that it’s PASTIME.

    I’ve pulled the blog up for my 4th period to see, and upon further inspection/discussion, we’ve decided that there is not a shared T there; wouldn’t the missing letter be, in fact, an S? PASS TIME makes more sense to us than PAST TIME.

    My avatar is of most of my fourth period class; we just took it. Believe it or not, they’re kind of excited to post here!

    M and A Help Desk 11:35 AM  

    Yo, @museClass! Lookin Primo. Dude in the center back looks just like M&A, btw.

    PASTIME: from the middle English passe tyme, calqued on (!?) Middle French passe-temps. [from M&A's personal copy of The Use It Or Muse It Dictionary].


    ** gruntz **

    Z 11:42 AM  

    @Ms. Smith - Pastime's origin

    Joseph Michael 12:00 PM  

    Impressive construction and it's hard not to like STUPID CAT TRICKS, ALL THOSE AGAINST, and the clue for RESALE, but I can't say I had much fun solving this one.

    THUS I will go back to my HUTS, sit on my TUSH, and SHUT up for the rest of the day.

    AliasZ 12:19 PM  


    You are right, Riccardo MUTI LATES not only Verdi, but just about every other piece of music he touches. He is just one small step this side of Daniel Oren. Favorite statement from the clip: "If you look at zero, you see nothing; but if you look through it, you see infinity." Oh, soooo deep... What does that New-Age psychobabble even mean?

    I never forget his disastrous tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he purposely went on, and succeeded at, deconstructing the sheen and patina of that magnificent instrument, which Ormandy and Stokowski before him worked for decades to develop.

    From Wikipedia: "In 1979, he was appointed [The Philadelphia Orchestra's] music director and, in 1992, conductor laureate. Muti stated that his approach was to remain faithful to the intent of the composer. This meant a change from applying the lush 'Philadelphia Sound,' created by his predecessors Eugene Ormandy and Leopold Stokowski, to all repertoire; however, many of his recordings with that orchestra largely seem to do away with its hallmark sound, even in the works of such composers as Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and other high romantics. His sonic changes to the orchestra remain controversial. Some felt he turned it into a generic-sounding institution with a lean sound much favored by modern recording engineers. Others believe Muti uncovered the true intention of the works, which had been covered in a silky sheen by Muti's predecessor."

    That sounds an awful lot like a bloated ego who, unlike Stokowski and Ormandy, had a direct link to the heart and soul of composers. Perhaps a little less arrogance would have served him better.

    mathguy 12:24 PM  

    The right side and the upper left are pretty much separate puzzles. But since both were pretty easy, it didn't become an issue.

    I was as charmed as Will S must have been with the grid. In his introduction to the performance of the constructor-magician, posted here recently, he said that grids have symmetric layouts.

    Anonymous 12:26 PM  

    I'm missing why the question mark is needed on the movie candy clues (REESESPIECES).

    ET, The Extraterrestrial 12:52 PM  

    Because REESE'S PIECES are critical in a particular movie, not just a concession stand item.

    Larry 1:33 PM  

    @AliasZ - "That sounds an awful lot like a bloated ego..." ??? You know precisely what about the research and scholarship that went into Muti's sense of what the music must have sounded like originally? All you've succeeded in documenting was that you like Stokowski and Ormandy and don't like Muti. Therefore, Muti was wrong and evil. That sounds an awful lot like a bloated ego.

    OISK 1:53 PM  

    Really enjoyed this one!! No complaints at all. I don't like Muti either, but for a non-musical reason. I hear the Vienna at Carnegie Hall every year; he is the only conductor not to program an encore in my memory. Visiting orchestras ALWAYS include an encore, unless the program is unusually long. I don't have problems with his conducting, though - I probably don't KNOW enough to complain...

    Anonymous 2:17 PM  

    Could you people be any more pretentious?
    Thank you Larry for calling these people on their bullshit. It seems that anyone on this board with a "z" in their name is a condescending, pedantic jerk.

    Zeke 2:29 PM  

    @Anon 2:17 - Amen brother!

    AliasZ 2:30 PM  


    If you would like to discuss this further, my email address is in my profile (unless you are Larry Flynt, in which case never mind). This is not the forum. My comment was in response to @Leapfinger's post at 10:20 AM.

    Thomaso808 2:44 PM  

    Krispy Kreme has one store on Maui and no other location on any of the Hawaiian Islands. The store is located near the airport, so it is quite normal for the short 20 minute flight back to Honolulu to be filled with a fresh donut aroma from literally dozens of passengers hauling back multiple dozens of donuts for themselves, friends, family, and fundraisers. It's quite a phenomenon!

    Zeke 2:47 PM  

    And by Amen, I mean people with a Z in their name are invariably condescending pedantic jerks. In addition to myself I offer my father Zach, my sons Zeke Jr and Zion as examples.

    Laurence Hunt 4:04 PM  

    Just to be clear, Tucson is not on MST, it is AST, 12 months a year.

    Z 4:11 PM  

    @Zeke - I prefer "patronizing pretentious parvenu." I mean, if you can't be alliterate when you insult people why bother.

    Jes Wondrin' 4:20 PM  

    @Alias Z -
    1: Did you even read @leapfinger's post? Specifically the part where she said she made up the part about MUTIlation just for fun?
    2: If this isn't the forum for discussing music (and it isn't, but that's another point), that what exactly is your raison d'être here?

    AliasZ 4:30 PM  

    @Jes Wonderin'

    To engage trolls who don't know the difference between "then" and "that".

    Steve J 5:10 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Steve J 5:12 PM  

    @Laurence Hunt: AST is Atlantic Standard Time. Arizona is absolutely in the Mountain Time Zone, staying on standard time for the full year. There's no such thing as Arizona Standard Time (not officially, anyway), which is what I assuming you were indicating.

    wreck 5:19 PM  

    On that note, Texas is considering their own time zone (TST) as the alternative to keeping Daylight Savings Time (which seems is becoming more and more unnecessary)!

    jae 5:57 PM  

    @Casco - I don't think anyone has answered your question. It's ETE because ETE is summer in France and folks "toast"'in the summer heat. A similar version of the clue might be "Baking time on the Riviera" .

    imnotbobby 5:58 PM  

    I agree entirely with your sentiments, Rex. It was an often cringe-worthy puzzle that I ended up having a lot of fun filling. Overall it was a little too easy for a Thursday, but otherwise fun nonsense.

    Jes Wondrin' 6:08 PM  

    @AliasZ - Ah yes, the tired old trope that a clear mistake in typing negates substantive content.

    PS It's not trollery when one is referencing specific statements made, in context, with substance.

    Teedmn 6:17 PM  

    Hey, a "captcha" puzzle! I didn't get the theme until ERGO, so I can't say it was Easeful for me but still a lot of fun, I TELL you.

    Thanks, Joe Krozel and Timothy Polin

    foxaroni 6:43 PM  

    Comparing Krispy Kreme to Dunkin' Donuts is like comparing crepes to cornbread. On the other hand, Timbits rule!

    Fred Romagnolo 8:19 PM  

    What's all this about Krispy Kremes and Dunkin Donuts? I've never met a freshly fried (or baked) donut that I didn't like: and I've got the waistline to prove it (won't even go into my TUSH). FWIW French donuts are my faves. I have to disagree with the Muti put-downers - he really knows his Verdi. and those Stokowski and Ormandy strings were produced by players long dead, how is that Muti's fault? But I still like you "Z" guys.

    Fred Romagnolo 8:20 PM  

    BTW I liked the puzzle.

    Clark 8:48 PM  

    @Loren Muse Smith (and the 4th period gang) --

    I was right there with you guys. I had never thought about how to spell pastime and I just assumed without thinking about it that it was pasttime, thereby causing great difficulty for me on the whole right side of the puzzle. But then, I wavered. Maybe it was an S that was missing.

    I did, however, throw down STUPID PET TRICKS without hesitating and without a single cross.

    I loved this puzzle.

    michael 8:54 PM  

    I actually am an ed-in-chief and found this answer odd. I also find editor-in-chief a bit strange, but that's what the masthead says.

    Leapfinger 9:14 PM  

    PASTIME, from such as "It's PAST [the] TIME that we should have glazed those donuts".

    I did like PAUPERED, prob on account of "Mr. PAUPERED Penguins."

    Wow, @Alias, you're welcome for the lead-in! Little did I know, or suspect such depth to a punny observation. I feel all, you know...vindicated.

    Speaking of pet rocks, I have two of my own: one is a 14-pound chunk of granite of a curiously meaningful shape, that was backpacked over a glacier out of the Canadian Rockies. The other is a stone etched with "Nobody knows the trouble I've been".

    Thanks to @JohnChild and @GeorgeBaranyi for a whole other plethora of fun puzzles.

    Now I need to look up Maundy Thursday; I bet it has nothing to do with matzoth.

    Leapfinger 9:48 PM  

    Anony 2:17
    'Could you people be any more pretentious?'

    lol. is that a request? I'm sure we could try to be, if it means so much to you. Don't know about names with Zee/Zeds, but I don't find 2 YYs in Anonyms...

    Good Friday from Leapfingrrz

    ps to Jess Wondrin:
    Dear Jess, don't get between me and my Alias.;D
    pps to @CascoK, I thought your French Toast-French Roast very clever, and I'm all for @FredRom no matter who he likes.

    Why have opinions if not to air-err-share them, mes chers?

    Teedmn 10:16 PM  

    @Leapfinger, of course to air is human :-).

    How I Got My Ex Husband Back 12:09 AM  

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    i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr Brave for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he Dr Brave casted on him that make him come back to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell.

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    rondo 9:55 AM  


    For two days in a row the puzzles were really bad – either bursting with drecky fill or laden with 3 letter answers on top of a lame theme. Even poor @Burma Shave was deprived of fill worthy to use for his verse! It was becoming unbearable. So I decided to focus all of my energy and karma like a laser beam to the East on a heading to just north of Madison Square Garden. Perhaps directing all that force to the Gray Lady and the Shortzmeister will result in getting good puzzles back into the fold and they nevermore shall stray. Maybe if it also came from on high, like from a @spacecraft!?

    Certainly if we all focus THUS, our wishes will come true and our puzzling experiences will be happier without delay. This will certainly become evident at the end of 5 weeks, or in the case of Sundays a mere 7 days. Won’t you all join me?

    Thanks for reading,

    Burma Shave 10:30 AM  


    While I SAT RELAXING at the beach I OGLED some women,
    [(but I GETEXERCISE, too, like a SEAL I go swimmin’)].
    ITELL you it’s my NATIONALPASTIME, nothing ELSE is in doubt,
    But when I peek in the CABANAS, they say, “Get the BLEEPOUT!”


    spacecraft 11:42 AM  

    @BS: A particularly good one today: har! And it has one other good feature.

    It's short.

    On to today's. I knew I was in for some fun from the get-go, but was expecting OFL to rant about all the "cheater" squares (not sure how you count 'em, but I'd say at least 17), and I was all set to rag at him again. I never did mind them, and wondered what all the fuss was about. So, they're black squares on the edge. So what? I saw THUS, SHUT and HUTS right off; TUSH a bit later. Started in the belly of the "U" with RUDI, the awful but obvious EDIN, and my only writeover, taNk. C'mon, what does your mind's eye see when someone says "Tianamen?" That big ol' TANK, and that one gutsy hero. Hard to believe no one else did that.

    Soon, though, I had that ship righted, and the image caused by MUTILATES over SPINALTAP was not pretty. The right side gave the most resistance. Dredged my brain for that actor's name and it finally surfaced: WOPAT. Thank you, brain. I'll feed you some fish soon.

    7-down is a shout-out to Da-a-a-avid Letterman, who (here in Syndiland) is inside his two-week countdown. He'll be missed.

    Guys, you have got to watch WWTBAM tonight! The current contestant is from Natick, MA! And he's doing well so far.

    I did enjoy this, despite inevitable bad fill in spots for such a contorted grid. Surprising theyt did as well as they did. Like OFL, I can't quite give them a 2-down, but let's just change the sign.

    P.S. In case someone hasn't figured out the acronym, it's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

    rain forest 1:30 PM  

    When I first saw the grid, I wanted to find "Zarathustra" somewhere in there.

    1A alerted me to either different ways the letters were displayed (radial, clockwise, columnar, etc.) or to anagrams. Figured that out with REAR, and the rest went smoothly, with lots of oohs and aahs on my part.

    THUS I really enjoyed this one, even though I tried "say hey Willy Mays" and "splendid splinter" for 10D for awhile.

    Hey @Dirigonzo, isn't Natick near you? Maybe you know this guy.

    @DMG Come back! The syndi contingent is pretty thin these days.

    110 Why bother?

    Pantless 2:39 PM  

    IME ATO INS office,

    TIA SAT long AGO at the company office.
    RUDI SAT as well, but had other OPERETTA.
    It’s PARR for his course, for women seemed to be ALLTHOSEAGAINST him.
    RUDI worked to ERASE those UNCAlled for memories.
    While TIA could SEAL the deal, as she was the KREME dela KREME,
    RUDI was just told – ITELL available ELSEwhere paints the PORTRAITS of unworthiness.

    Back to EAST LA for Rudi, I guess. ALE for all.

    ---MEOW ALEE

    Ginger 4:21 PM  

    Amazing how wrong answers and right answers in wrong spaces can mess up a perfectly good puzzle. RaiSinetteS (yeah, I know it doesn't fit) and REINEDIN at 30D almost did me in. Eventually corrected. Also slow to suss huts.

    However, this perfectly good puzzle, was perfectly fun to do. Thanks Joe and Tim!

    DMG 8:23 PM  

    @rain forest: I'm still,out here, but I'm kind of worn down by all the picky-picky posts that have cropped up lately. Maybe I just need to do more skipping. I do start my day with Rex, Lewis' Factoid, M&A and one or two others before skipping down to Syndieville. but, by the time I get here it seems absolutely everything has been said! ven how to fix my marriage which I didn't know was broken.

    @Ginger: Glad to hear from you.

    No comments on today's puzzle which sort of fell into place once you worked out the shut/ huts....thing.


    dmast 11:10 AM  

    Terribly hard puzzle for me. Once again, reading the comments, to the stronger puzzlers, this was medium to easy. I am a Wed-Thu-Fri type solver. I typically solve about 75% of the Wed, 50% of the Thur, and 25% if the Fri. To me, this was a hard Saturday puzzle. The easy "foothold" clues were few and far between. Also, did not come close to decoding the theme.

    It seems as though some time back, the Thursday puzzles became much harder than they had been historically. The legendary NYT hardness progression with day of the week is shattered, and I can't figure out why.

    No matter, Thursday has become a day to do other things, and to look forward to Friday!

    Vinnygret 11:13 AM  

    Well, I would have never been able to solve this puzzle without this blog. ERGO means "therefore", not thus. While they may be synonyms, in Latin SIC is "thus". The state motto of Virginia is "thus ever to tyrants" not "therefore ever to tyrants". So I put "as is"for thus. Sorry - I was just so mad I had to get this off my chest.

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    Monica Brown 11:04 AM  

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