Vocalist Flack / TUE 4-28-15 / Common gnocchi ingredient / North of border media inits / Demanding film role preparations

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Constructor: José Chardiet

Relative difficulty: Challenging (for a Tuesday) 

THEME: SQUARE ROOTS (34A: Math calculations exemplified 14 times in this puzzle) — ROOT appear in circled squares, in square-like configurations, 14 times because 14 is … is the square root of 196, which … if you had 1+9+6 you get 16, the square root of which is 4, and there are 4 letters in ROOT and also it's April (the 4th month). Or 14 is a totally arbitrary number. I guess that is also possible.

Word of the Day: STROPHE (61A: Poetic stanza) —
  1. the first section of an ancient Greek choral ode or of one division of it.
    • a structural division of a poem containing stanzas of varying line-length, especially an ode or free verse poem. (google)
• • •

Trying to find the good here, but it's real hard, Lord. It is real hard. I look at CBC TOA CTR, just for starters, and I think Why Lord Why? Why will you make me endure this? I want to believe in Providence, but it's hard to have faith any of this is going anywhere good. More than midway on my life's journey I walked into this dark wood and cried out, only Virgil did not come to help me out. He was busy composing posthumous STROPHEs, no doubt (what the what? I have a literature Ph.D. and I know that word solely from French). I just want to stop and note that ATOR is an actual answer that is in this puzzle. I think I lost 20 seconds just gaping at ATOR, honestly. If 14 is a meaningful number of SQUARE ROOTS, or if there is *anything* to this puzzle *at all* beyond the letters ROOT arranged into (rough) squares 14 times, I will listen. I will. Otherwise, I'm just left asking "Why?" The fill suffers so much, and there's no joy here. You Do The Same Thing Fourteen Times. Also, weirdly, the one (and only) solace of a puzzle theme like this *should* be that it makes solving easier, but it weirdly doesn't. Took me almost as long as a Thursday (Normal Tuesday: mid-3s; today: upper 5s). The whole thing is just befuddling.

Does anyone really drink SAGE TEA? And how is PEG a good name for a baseball pitcher? Because pitchers … hit batters? Really? I mean, they do, at times, but with (I'm guessing here) < 1% of pitches, which means that that's hardly characteristic, which means Not A "Good" Name. Or maybe the clue is referring to "peg" as a "throw, esp. a hard throw made in an attempt to put out a base runner" (actual def. at M-W). Let me explain what a pitcher's job is … no, on the other hand, I don't have time. Main point, a pitch is not that kind of PEG. Unless this is some "pitcher" / "catcher" sex thing, in which case … maybe PEG works, actually. But that seems unlikely.

Baby talk is always horrendous in a puzzle, and POO is pretty much peak horrendous. You already made me endure BOOBOOS and then you throw POO at me? C'mon, man. Trying to say something positive today is hard because the puzzle seems contemptuous of the solver. I wouldn't say the puzzle SPIT AT me, but it was definitely indifferent to my pleasure (selfish puzzle!). Ironically, the one answer I liked, largely because it seemed creative / inventive (POOR TAX), was one I botched at first pass. I had the thimble and dog and top hat paying a POLL TAX. I also, improbably given my years of solving experience, completely forgot how to spell Mies van der ROHE. Brain was like "well, it's ROWE or it's ROEW, and it's neither." Thanks, brain!

I asked Twitter to help me out with feedback on this puzzle. (I do this sometimes in the 10pm to 11pm hour when I'm at a loss / bored). Here are some responses I got:

  • S. O'Neill writes: "Not sure I could have gotten the top middle if not for the theme answer there. So at least the theme was useful for something."
  • But E. Cooper writes: "Wasn't as bad as I was expecting based on your tweet. Overreaction." Asked for further comment: "meh, I prefer my puzzles POO-free but nothing jumps out to me. i think sq rt theme was done recently but not constructor's fault." 
  • And E.B. writes: "... don't know why 14 of them. 16 would make more sense, but 14 was already way too many, so why not just go with 9? #LessIsMore"
Let's all pledge to do better tomorrow.

Oh, and maybe you'll find this interesting—the WSJ appears to be getting a daily crossword.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    Conrad 6:52 AM  

    As I was doing this I thought to myself, "Oooh, Rex is NOT going to like this one!" Sometimes my crystal ball is crystal-clear. I found it quite easy because once you got the theme the root squares filled themselves in, giving a leg up on the (mostly subpar) fill.

    mathguy 6:56 AM  

    Rex is right. A lot of dreck. But it was probably necessary because of the large number of themers and all those Os. I liked it.

    It reminded me that when I was in the seventh grade the nuns taught us how to calculate square roots. I just grabbed a yellow pad and calculated the square root of 58 to four decimal places (7.6157). I'm amazed that I can remember that complicated algorithm (which doesn't make much sense) from 68'years ago.

    Glimmerglass 7:00 AM  

    My easiest NYT puzzle ever. Once I got even one of the shaded squares, the solutions to the words passing through the other three were inferable. If two, easier yet. If three, a free letter. Even ROHE, which I didn't know, was a piece of cake, because the R and the O were freebies. I didn't like the puzzle, but it sure went quickly.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:03 AM  

    Man, oh man – all those circles! Be still my heart. This was hardish for, so relying on filling in the missing letters in the circles helped a lot.

    Rex - I was relieved to read your take on STROPHE. And ATOR threw me, too, because I went straight to "Gatorade" and was momentarily confused.

    Hey, Lewis – you gonna count all the double O's in this baby? I thought of you the whole time!

    "icky POO" – pretty redundant, no? UGH.

    I hesitated at PET DOOR. My sister has a cat door, but to me, it’s really a “doggie door.” Or is it...

    My first thought was "spit on" for SPIT AT. I guess you have a fightin chance if someone just spits at you.

    I liked FLAB, CABOOSES, DIETS. "Hey, TOOTS – you might wanna back off a bit on those NOOGIE TORTS. Just sayin'."

    ROPED IN – just yesterday I warned some future mothers that unless they're careful, they could go to bed perfectly normal one night and wake up the next day to find themselves inexplicably the new leader of the Brownie troop. Anyone have Gregor Samsa's number and EXT?

    GOON TOUR – where do you even start with that beaut? Berserkers? Kiss?

    I like the manipulation of ROOT here. It could work with dance, too, huh? I tried to configure "Macarena" and "Merengue" in a square but Blogger wasn't cooperating.

    Impressive number of theme SQUARES, José - thanks for the Tuesday work out!

    Anonymous 7:10 AM  

    Another "hard for a Tuesday", but somehow I enjoyed it more than last week's.

    Norm C. 7:20 AM  

    An opportunity lost for a puzzle about the OORT cloud. And with POO in the grid, I guess it's safe to say the Breakfast Test is dead, no matter how it's clued.

    Rex Porker 7:27 AM  

    Today I hated this puzzle. Today I was, for a change, right. This was a crappy puzzle, full of POO. Now only if I admitted to liking some puzzles some days, my hatred of today's puzzle would be meaningful. Sadly, it is not, because I hate (almost) every puzzle.

    trigger happy 7:29 AM  

    This puzzle should have come with a trigger warning. My baby was born with a CLUB FOOT. Boycott and nastily worded letters forthcoming.

    Kris in ABCA 7:40 AM  

    "Let me root, root, root for the home team,
    If they don't win, it's a shame.
    For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
    At the old ball game."

    That's a lot of roots.

    NCA President 7:43 AM  

    O my, O my...so many Os. O0oooo....


    Thank you, Rex, for pointing out the PEG anomaly. Terrible. SAGETEA...I drink herbal teas (mostly because I'm a hypochondriac)...and I've never heard of SAGETEA. Is it good for you? What is it good for?

    The only redeeming part of the puzzle for me was the EGOTRIP shout out Jose gives to himself at 62A. Well played, Jose.

    Otherwise, I believe UGH describes it best.

    Rug Crazy 7:46 AM  

    Great write-up by Rex.
    Terrible puzzle.
    Happy that my version didn't have the circles - would have made it worse
    Strophe/Rohe cross is NOT Tuesday appropriate- Sorry

    AliasZ 7:51 AM  

    Don't you just love to SPITAT a puzzle with NOOGIE, BOOBOOS and CABOOSES (I always thought the plural of CABOOSE was cabeese) SET LOOSE in it, and a pile of POO thrown in for good measure? Yeah, ME TOO.

    I was STRUCK by the multitude of square ROOTs in the grid. It was a bit too much for me to take. The fact that there was no symmetry in the placement of the squares, nor any order in which the letters of ROOT were arranged within the squares made the solving somewhat confusing. I would have liked, for instance, if ROOT were spelled clockwise from the bottom left, with the R progressing one square at a time, then alternating to counterclockwise with the same progression, in an orderly manner. Also, limiting the number of squares to nine would have been a better idea, I think, and having THREE as a meta revealer would have been the cherry on top, it would have made the puzzle sparkle. As it is, fourteen ROOT squares haphazardly tossed about the grid for no rhyme or reason only resulted in a huge number of threes and less than stellar fill: ATOR, OTT, TOA, etc. UGH...

    There was however some excellent longish (6+) entries as well. I especially liked ROBERTA, PET DOOR, STROPHE, SAGE TEA, OR IS IT, and when thugs take their show around the country on a GOON TOUR.

    Coloratura soprano, Bronx-born ROBERTA Peterman (a.k.a. Peters), had a 35-year run at the Met. For her extended, very successful career she was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998. She is cute too. In this clip she is a real doll.

    As much as I liked this puzzle by young José Chardiet (does he even shave yet?), I couldn't shout it from the ROOFTOPS. I would just stick my head through a PET DOOR and bark it.

    Lewis 7:56 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Z 7:57 AM  

    23 "O's" on Monday. 31 (I think) On Tuesday. I'm predicting 225 come Saturday.

    @NCA President - I saw that too, but was really hoping that José was an uncle. Do you know the way to tio José?

    If I were cluing PEG I would go a in blue print blue direction.

    Is this a debut? Guess I'll go over to xwordinfo and check.

    chefbea 7:57 AM  

    Easy puzzle..but nary a root vegetable in there. Love potato gnocchi . Hand up for not understanding peg.

    Rhino 7:58 AM  

    I thought the ROHE/STROPHE cross was unfair for a Tuesday puzzle. I also thought my son would be more impressed with my high score in Crossy Road (264!). So my morning has been filled with disappointment.

    Norm 7:58 AM  

    Ugly and not fun.

    Lewis 8:01 AM  

    @rex -- You are still on a roll. You came into this puzzle "trying to find the good" and "trying to say something positive". Even though this was a solid pan, it didn't have that sour lemon feel. You backed up your points and were laugh-out-loud funny in spots. Keep it up, please! This has been a very edifying and enjoyable week-and-a-half of reviews.

    @lms -- Yes, ma'am, I, the resident alphadoppeltotter here, was on high alert for the double letters, of which there were 20, and I think 18 were double Os (between yesterday and today, lots of O's!). This is extraordinarily high, but because it is so theme related, it's an outlier in the double letter contest. If a constructor can hit 20 -- or zero -- without it being greatly tied to the theme, that's a huge moment in this why-am-I following-this stat.

    I enjoyed the solve. There were some clever clues, unusual on a Tuesday: ROSE, PILOT, CABOOSES, DOS. I liked the answers EROSIVE, ROPEDIN, GOONTOUR, and ROOFTOPS. If it had felt like a slog, I would have grumbled at the fill, but it didn't. So there.

    The square root of 14, by the way, is 3.74, and with 3+4 equaling that 7, what more can one ask for?

    jburgs 8:01 AM  

    I solved this on line and the areas where the "ROOTs" were, were shaded, making the solving even easier. If I had printed out on paper I may not have caught on to the theme as quickly. I wish NYT would not do the theme shading.

    sburgernutr 8:03 AM  

    @ Rex Parker, SAGETEA is something women drink to dry up their milk supply if they need to abruptly wean or to tamp down a painfully abundant milk supply.

    Unfortunately, in my line of work, both my colleagues and my clients discuss baby POO in TMI detail. Even worse, the Facebook groups for lactation consultants routinely post pictures on the contents of INFANCY PANTS to elicit discussions of the diagnositic meaning of the color and texture. My clients text me photos as well. Fortunately babies are cute.

    As for the puzzle, I couldn't believe that one of the endless OGREs that populate the puzzles in the free ad filled papers handed out at the subway entrances made it into this puzzle. I resisted until it becsme my last fill.

    @z, you have ruined OREOs for me forever. :)

    r.alphbunker 8:03 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Aketi 8:05 AM  

    And with a slip of the finger while tapping on th iPad my true identity is once again revealed.

    r.alphbunker 8:07 AM  

    There is an entry for the number 14 in wikipedia. You really should read it before dismissing it as uninteresting.

    Z 8:13 AM  

    This is Mr. Chardiet's third NYTX, all Tuesdays. The first was in 2010, so he can't actually be as young as the pic over at xwordinfo suggests. I checked out Rex's previous posts (just click on the constructor's name at the bottom of the post and the previous reviews will appear) and see that JC has a tendency towards theme density. It's also fun to read old comments. ACME and the late great Sparky are both missed.

    joho 8:22 AM  

    I'm always amazed that a constructor can pack so much theme into a grid and still make any kind of sense at all! So if the fill is compromised, and it is, it's for a reason. The question is, is it a good reason?
    I think so. Seems like math lovers should like this a lot.

    @Alias Z, the image of you with your head sticking out of a PETDOOR is hilarious!

    At one point I thought it might be SpongeBob SQUAREpanTS. Well, not really, but that was another fun image this puzzle created for me.

    Well done, Jose Chardiet!

    Blue Stater 8:38 AM  

    Hardest Tuesday puzzle I can recall, and that recall goes back to the Eisenhower presidency. Alas, not entertainingly so. Rex has it right, as usual.

    pmdm 8:40 AM  

    Those of us old enough can remember that, around the time the Beatles were breaking up, many people were discovering all sorts of hidden messages in the group's songs "proving" that Paul McCartney was dead. For example, at the end of Strawberry Fields, someone says "I'm very slow" but at greatly reduced speed. It was an obvious joke - recordings the words "I'm very slow" and playing them back at a very slow speed. But those who were looking for a deeper meaning heard the phrase "I buried Paul."

    Sometimes I get the impression that when looking at the crossword puzzles we similarly dig hard and deep to find things that just aren't there, to find something of significance where there's really nothing. So I loved the humor in today's explanation of the theme. ("The square of 14 is ...". Hilarious. But then, could there really be meaning to the number 14?

    It's been said that numerology was very important to Bach. Some take this theory very seriously. Just skim through the following. (It's dense."


    So what is the real theme of today's crossword. Yes, it is actually the composer J. S. Bach. The number 14 is very important to Bach, so that's why there are 14 boxes in todays puzzle. Here is an explanation of why 14 is important to Bach.


    Obviously today's musical example should come from the Musical Offering. I love the video that accompanies the canons.


    Hopefully all will realize that I am not being serious about the "real theme" of todays puzzle. But it's a good excuse to post the link to the Musical Offering.

    Generic Solver 8:42 AM  

    Folks, please don't accuse me of being sexist, but PEG as "a good name for a baseball pitcher", should probably be "a good name for a softball pitcher". I did some Google research and see that there are in fact some women's hardball leagues, but they are the exception. Frankly, if women participate in extreme fighting and boxing, there is no reason they cant play hardball, so I'm all for it, but using a women's name for a clue about a "baseball pitcher" seems wrong to me.

    Anonymous 8:47 AM  

    They did

    Anonymous 8:49 AM  

    Boy, are you cranky. I thought this was terrific, especially for a Tuesday.

    Generic Solver 8:55 AM  

    .. and yes I realize Little League baseball is coed, but that doesn't make the clue for PEG any better.

    Anonymous 8:57 AM  

    some please explain 8 down (or i sit?)

    Zeke 8:59 AM  

    I heard Will has an option to run almost the exact same puzzle next week. I believe the intent was to see if the Square Root thing played well, and if not to re-run it with a modification. Next week it will be a TORO puzzle, with the bulls running willy-nilly through the streets of Pamplona, or milling about the holding pen. The revealer will be the the TORERO running through the two toros in the NE.

    If this is false, there's nothing I can say about this puzzle but to refer one and all to my post of last Tuesday. For those who didn't get the joke, let me explain: Most of the time I make up stories as a preamble, for context to make a point. The point last week was the last line or so: You can put any crap on on a Tuesday, it doesn't seem to matter.

    Anonymous 9:16 AM  

    never mind...or is it!

    Sir Hillary 9:20 AM  

    Hardly Mayweather-Pacquiao, but...
    In the red corner: SPITAT + POO + IRT
    In the blue corner: SWATAT + WOO + ART

    What say ye, judges?

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:21 AM  

    Perhaps someone else can supply chapter and verse, but I seem to recall a story associated with Benjamin Franklin about a man who installed two PET DOORs, a larger one for his big dog and a smaller one for his little dog!

    RnRGhost57 9:31 AM  

    A gimmick that wasn't all that fun. Perfect for a Tuesday.

    Arlene 9:44 AM  

    I, too, was a bit perplexed by the "square root" theme only resulting in multiple 4-squares with ROOT in them. Okay - I guess - but was expecting something a bit more complex.
    One clue did resonate with me - 49A - "Dependent on subtitles, say" with the answer DEAF.
    Subtitles, AKA captioning, are what people with hearing loss do rely on - and what I need and have advocated for in many venues, and continue to advocate for.
    Captioned live theater was my innovation, and I've advocated successfully for captioning in the movies, public events, etc.
    The reality is that 98% of people with hearing loss do not use sign language, so captioning is essential to deliver the dialogue which isn't heard or understood completely.
    Okay - off my soapbox - click on my name for more background info.

    Charles Flaster 9:48 AM  

    EZ and very mundane puzzle.
    Loved teaching square roots and there were a few good jokes about them.
    Fourteen must have been an arbitrary number.
    Suggest we remember ROHE for future crosswordease.
    Thanks JC.

    Nancy 9:52 AM  

    I always feel that tiny circles or shading in puzzles are put there expressly to annoy me. But since tiny circles are more confusing -- they look like "O"s where I don't want "O"s, shading is less disruptive. And since I solve on paper, today I got shading, even though Rex got circles. It annoyed me, but it didn't confuse me. Still, I'm happy-ish. For the 2nd early- week puzzle day in a row, there was a puzzle that offered some resistance. Not a lot, but some. Didn't need the square root thing to solve, though, and consequently I just didn't care about it.

    ArtO 9:53 AM  

    So many other ways to clue PEG. A pitcher THROWS. Or HURLS. But definitely doesn't PEG the ball. A fielder pegs the ball. The third baseman pegs the ball to first. An outfielder pegs the ball home or to a base but a pitcher is never described as pegging the ball to the catcher! Any person with only a rudimentary knowledge or familiarity with baseball would never have allowed that cluing.u

    Phaedrus 9:56 AM  

    Nice write up Rex. I enjoy the kinder, gentler Rex.

    If "stros" can be clued as slang for "astros", why not clue "strophe" as slang for "apostrophe".

    Anonymous 10:02 AM  

    Yet another piece of tripe. Constructors gonna construct but EDITORS should make good/better decisions. The SAGETEA/PEG is horrible--any day of the week but positively ridiculous on a Tuesday. Query to Shortz and NYT: Do you want people to be disgusted with your puzzle?

    Steve J 10:33 AM  

    Today's puzzle is a textbook example of why fill density for the sake of fill density is often a bad thing. By cramming 14 ROOTs into this, the grid is choppy and the fill ranges from flat to terrible. Maybe - big maybe - if the number of theme entries had been a perfect square, that would have added a modicum of interest to the theme, but 14 seems arbitrary and caused way too many problems.

    The bad fill's already been noted by many. What I didn't see noted (apologies if I missed it) is how choppy this is. Nearly a third of the puzzle's words are three letters. Obviously, there will always be some, but that's a lot and makes things feel clunky. The lack of showcase long answers (only five answers with more than seven letters, and only one with more than eight) also hampered any sense flow in this.

    In the past few weeks, we've had two Tuesday gimmick puzzles with severely compromised fill and quality. I hope Will's not trying to set this up as stunt puzzle day.

    Masked and Anonymo5Us 10:33 AM  

    I can dig it. Sorta like a "I am Groot" vibe. GRid ROOTS, with no roots at the bottom of the grid. (?)

    If U are doin square roots, I'm not sure there is a preferred root count number. More is cooler, as long as U don't hurt yerself, I guess.

    on the road in Georgia

    Joseph Michael 10:42 AM  

    OWIES? BOOBOOS? NOOGIES? ICKY POO? Be nice to this puzzle. It's just learning how to talk.

    wreck 10:44 AM  

    @ Joseph Michael 10:42 AM


    mac 10:45 AM  

    I'm afraid I agree with Rex. The Peg meant nothing to me, and, while strophe came quickly, I now think it may be a term in Dutch.

    lawprof 10:45 AM  

    Ok...so...runner on first. Batter lines one into the gap in right field. Pitcher sprints to back up third base. Runner rounds second, heading for third. Right fielder tries to throw him out, but ball gets away from third baseman and dribbles down the left field line. Pitcher (remember him?) scrambles to retrieve the ball, while runner tries to score. Pitcher PEGs him out at home. What's the problem?

    wreck 10:55 AM  

    @ lawprof

    In all actuality, the "Pitcher" is now a "fielder" in that instance. I think you are thinking more like a lawyer than the "jury." ;-)

    Anonymous 11:01 AM  

    CLUB FOOT, lactation, deaf communication...any other pet causes anyone wants to glean from today's awful puzzle? If so, please share them with us because we are VERY interested.

    Mohair Sam 11:06 AM  

    @lawprof - Well, that explains that. Great stuff. You pegged it.

    Today is that rare day when @Rex had a scathing review and I agreed with pretty much every word.

    Only remembered strophe because I ran into it somewhere in a lit class and made a bad joke about the word needing "apo". Natick territory for some with that architect cross I suspect.

    Nine square roots with a "three" crossing SQUAREROOTS might have led to less bad fill and a more clever puzzle.

    Ludyjynn 11:11 AM  

    Rex really PEGged this one, which felt like a NOOGIE as I solved.

    Writeovers: oil before STP; Marg before BART; Sonata before SENTRA.

    Trespassing is one of those behaviors which constitutes a TORT or a crime. Last night, here in Baltimore, we witnessed several incidents of clear criminal trespass. In the words of the Mayor, the conduct of the rioters was, QUOTE, "idiotic". Think of biting off your nose to spite your face, as my mom used to say. Totally self-destructive. Looters will be prosecuted since there is much video available to identify them. The National Guard is now on the ground downtown and many activities cancelled (again) to STOP violence and maintain peace. We shall see. Off my SOAPbox.

    WS, I agree w/ the prior comment that more careful editing of this puzzle was sorely needed.

    P.S. to @Nancy and @Hartley, Nieman's sold out of the Leiber koi purse!

    Andrew Heinegg 11:13 AM  

    Peg is not a pitch by a pitcher in bb. It usually refers to a toss by a catcher to second or third base to throw out a base stealer. Crossing that with sagetea is pretty bad. There are other issues as Rex and others have noted but, I am grateful to have a Tuesday 's that takes a little effort to solve. Low standards, I guess;

    Carola 11:23 AM  

    First challenging (what word has cOGOxx? - since my Monopoly pile was made up of carDS), then easy, post-ROOT-recognition.

    So, on the subject of ROOT....Around these parts, it rhymes with FOOT, which caused much derision when I went to live out east, where it rhymed with "boot." Returning to Wisconsin after a dozen years away, I was standing in line at McDonald's my second day back and overheard the guy in front of me order ROOTbeer. A wave of joy washed over me: "I'm home!"

    @loren - NOOGIE TORTS-->CABOOSE, lol!

    @Kris in ABCA - After the first three ROOTs, I wondered if the reveal would be "What we do for the home team."

    Master Melvin 11:51 AM  

    In fact we have a USA Women's National Baseball Team: http://web.usabaseball.com/womens_national_team.jsp

    But the fact remains that the throw made by a pitcher, male or female, is never called a peg.

    Benko 11:54 AM  

    @lewis: I'm with you. I think OFL has been on point lately.

    Dan 12:10 PM  

    I guessed ATOR off the R, but refused to fill it in at that point because I wanted to be wrong.

    old timer 12:15 PM  

    I liked the puzzle. When I saw how hard it was, I just pretended it was a Wednesday puzzle, with all those squares to help you solve it once you get the trick. In the end, I was surprised that my time (14 minutes, on paper) was not worse than it was.

    I have no trouble with POO. Or baby talk in general -- all words are created equal and available for use, IMO, but STROPHE was way hard for a Tuesday. As I said, I got it only by pretending it was Wednesday.

    Hats off to the commenter who proposed "softball" instead of "baseball". I have never heard of any baseball player nicknamed "Peg". OTOH, pitchers routinely peg runners out: "Quick comebacker tot he mound. Peavy scoops it up and quickly pegs the runner out at First Base."

    Better yet: "Line drive straight up the middle. Peavy LEAPS UP and grabs it, whirls and pegs it to Joe Panik, who tags out the runner. DOUBLE PLAY and the inning is OVER!

    old timer 12:21 PM  

    S F Giants fans will immediately recognize my homage to the immortal Jon Miller, play-by-play man on the radio. Did you know that Jon and his three comrades from the radio and TV sides each have at least three World Series rings? You work for the Giants, you get a ring, if rings are being given out.

    Thomaso808 12:46 PM  

    TRIS Speaker was not known to me but easy to get by the crosses. I am an avid baseball fan so I had to look him up. Rex should have made him the word of the day. From Wikipedia: "Considered one of the best offensive and defensive center fielders in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), he compiled a career batting average of .345 (sixth all-time). His 792 career doubles represent an MLB career record. His 3,514 hits are fifth in all-time hits list. Defensively, Speaker holds career records for assists, double plays, and unassisted double plays by an outfielder." Wow.

    I had ACE before PEG. I totally agree with all the PEG comments above.

    The clue for OTT threw me for a while. That was pretty clever, using a Canadian hockey reference instead of the good old (really old!) baseball reference to Mel.

    @LMS I really wanted to be the first to point out GOON TOUR, but Rex posted a little late. I knew you would see it!

    @mathguy I not only went to the same high school as you, but from your post a couple of days ago I saw that I went to the same grade school, only about twenty years behind you. I don't remember how to calculate a square root, but I guess that's why you're the mathguy.

    I liked the puzzle well enough and thought it fit just right for a Tuesday. If WS starts trending to stunt puzzle Tuesday that would be fine with me.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:58 PM  

    I wanted "Chuck" for 15D but couldn't make it fit.

    47A was simply ATORcious.

    Anonymous 1:00 PM  

    I'm with all the groans about PEG. Anyone on a baseball team can, in theory, PEG the runner (usually at first). I've always taken it to mean you do it to keep the runner close to the bag. I would suppose a great PEG meant you threw him out, typically by either the catcher or pitcher, rarely anyone else. At one point in baseball you could PEG the runner, meaning hit him with the ball. Illegal today.

    And I'm with the other "sexists". Baseball is rarely played by women. A League of Their Own WAS a league of their own. But you never know. So many boundaries are being crossed maybe MLB will find a woman who can pitch at the level. Nah.

    David Epstein 1:01 PM  

    IMO the revealer should have read "what appears literally √196 times"

    Mr. Benson 1:01 PM  

    I don't know of any pitchers named PEG, but Eric Plunk had a pretty good name in a similar vein. Worst pitcher names: Bob Walk, Homer Bailey.

    jae 1:30 PM  

    Yes, a tough tues., more like a medium Wed.   EGOTism caused problems in the NE and STOPHE was a WOE in the SE.  That, plus needing to stare to get DPS and DIETS made this a slow solve. 

    Also, oil before STP and @ Rex me too for POllTAX before POOR TAX, which I should have known having played Monopoly every Sun. morning with my sisters for years (I don't think we ever actually finished a game). 

    Got to go with the vast majority on this one, not much fun.  @Zeke may have a point about recent Tuesday puzzles. 

    GILL I. 1:39 PM  

    @Anony 1:00...Have you ever watched Mo'ne Davis pitch? She'd strike out Bonds....
    @Rex...Dang, your post was worth waiting till now to say anything.
    Borden always reminds me of Lizzie and her ax. Not that sweet milky cow. Did she really do that?
    My close friend, for reasons unknown to even me, calls me Jilly POO...!
    Can't wait for Wed.

    mathguy 1:42 PM  

    @David Epstein: Exactly right!

    Thomas808: St. Monica's was still teaching square root extraction when you were going there? By then I was teaching in the San Francisco public schools and they had discontinued it. Guess-divide-average (a good, but time-consuming algorithm) was being taught then. Since electronic calculators, calculation of square roots isn't taught at all. How about those great Holy Name nuns!

    @r.alphbunker: Have you ever seen the induction proof that there are no uninteresting numbers?

    @Arlene: We don't have subtitles for live theater out here. I wish that we did. I love Netflix because I can activate subtitles for their movies..

    Lewis 2:08 PM  

    Factoid: In 1974, an Englishman named Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of POTATOes from one plant.

    Quotoid: "When you step on the brakes your life is in your FOOT's hands." -- George Carlin

    weingolb 2:17 PM  

    I appreciate @wreck's reply to lawprof at 10:55 am. Well said.

    The editing needed today extends to the cluing. Could clues be more deft? Am I the only one who thought "Question that leaves an opening for doubt" doesn't get off the ground? I mean, don't all questions play on doubt, other than rhetorical questions?

    Is "Self-promotional autobiography, for its writer" clumsy or just too long-winded? I guess adding self-promotional to the clue is supposed to help. I thought it confused matters.

    "Demanding film role preparations" is another long-winded one. "Prepares for a very tiny part?" has more zing.

    While on the topic of people in front of audiences, hams are spotlight seekers, while DIVAS are something slightly different, at least in terms of their relationship to the spotlight, which they've already earned. Or am I just cranky?

    Or maybe today's just too hard/ambiguous for a Tuesday, even with the 14 ROOT helpers assisting.

    dk 2:32 PM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    POO, SASSES, SPITAT, TOOTS all sound like something BART may have to write on the black board.

    "I promise to DOGOOD and not SPITAT or POO on TOOTS when she SASSES"

    I did not find this puzzle as offensive as others. Perhaps becasue when I summer in Eastport Maine I often listen to CBC.

    TNT (and its derivatives) and DROOP are in the lead for the new fill of the month contest. Fabulous prizes await the selected fill.

    GD ROM 2:40 PM  

    This was a rough Tuesday, as many of you noted already. I had a few writeovers.

    money -> carDS -> DEEDS
    chaiTEA -> SAGETEA

    And the ever-perplexing, what-were-you-doing-brain writeover of

    elmers -> BORDEN

    This was hard to look at on the iPad app. The shading stops showing up whenever you're in an answer that actually has that shading.

    @Rhino - 264 is a good score! My high is 275!

    Hartley70 3:29 PM  

    @LudyJynn, we know. We pooled our resources and bought the last one. When did you say your birthday is?

    Z 4:25 PM  

    "PEG" is the throw. The PEG might result in an out, it might not. A PEG starts in the outfield, although an infielder might throw it if the infielder was the cut-off. Any throw that airmailed the cut-off is not a PEG, even if it results in an out. As a verb, a player PEGS the throw. If you PEG the runner the ball will never get to the intended target and the runner can't be tagged out (and the runner ends up with a nice bruise). Just me or is this how others have heard the word used? Good pitcher names include Catfish, The Bird, Old Hoss, Cy, Walter, Clayton, Justin, Madbum, and Mickey.

    As for women and baseball, there is no particular reason other than deep rooted sexism for the current relegation of most women to softball. The reaction time to hit a fast-pitch softball is roughly the same as hitting a major league fastball. Baseball relies as much on eye-hand coordination and reaction time as testosterone-enriched muscle mass. The fastest woman athlete may not ever be faster than the fastest male athlete, but they are faster than lots of baseball players. If we didn't systematically relegate women to a different sport we would already have seen women playing Major League Baseball.

    Late to the party 4:38 PM  

    Anyone have any strongly felt opinions about PEG? Ill formed examples would be preferable.

    AliasZ 4:49 PM  

    I do.

    Here is PEG.

    Wood 5:10 PM  

    Didn't hate it, though it took longer than an average Tuesday. Sometimes it feels good to be able to complete a puzzle in spite of all the nonsensical fill. Bad answers were at least fairly crossed. And I don't require a raison d'etre for the square roots or the number thereof. Liked the pun, and that was enough.

    Roo Monster 5:22 PM  

    Hey All !
    Well, I happened to like this puz! Apparently the only one... Hard to fill with so much constraint, I think it came out well. Sure, some dreck and lots of threes, but ok by me!

    Boom! Drinking a Coors as my foot fell asleep. Poor me! The moon shone through the wood door as my food was cooled.

    I could go on, but for all your sakes, I'll stop. :-)


    Ludyjynn 6:06 PM  

    @Hartley70, I nearly knocked Felix, the lapcat, off his perch by laughing so hard at your post. I'll be eagerly checking the mail on July 3rd for my gift. Seriously, you just made my day!

    aging soprano 6:17 PM  

    We pick wild sage on hikes and make it into tea. Yep. Have seen it in lots of places that serve herbal tea from real herbs and not herbal bags. There are different varieties of Sage. Not all are good as tea.

    aging soprano 6:23 PM  

    We pick wild sage on hikes and make it into tea. Yep. Have seen it in lots of places that serve herbal tea from real herbs and not herbal bags. There are different varieties of Sage. Not all are good as tea.

    Teedmn 7:16 PM  

    Ila Borders played professional baseball on a men's team starting in 1997 for the St. Paul Saints (now in the Amer. Assoc. of Independent Professional Baseball league). I saw her pitch a game and thought she did well. She was traded soon after to a Duluth team and played for various teams until she retired in 2000. So maybe someday there'll be a Peg?

    Crazy Tuesday puzzle, Mr. Chardiet. I was glad to see @Rex call it challenging. The SW would not fall for me. TORT was the only entry for 48A that made sense but for some reason I resisted it and thus added about 1/3 of my time to that section. I was definitely barking out the wrong PET DOOR on this one! (thanks, @AliasZ).

    Thomaso808 7:17 PM  

    @mathguy yes they were still teaching square root extraction in 7th or 8th grade in 1971 but not really expecting anyone to ever use it. I think a root canal is less painful than root extraction. Thank goodness for slide rules back then and calculators now.

    Judy Avitabile 7:22 PM  

    Go on tour, not goon tour.

    Judy Avitabile 7:44 PM  

    Nothing wrong with 'liquidator'.

    Anonymous - 8 Down is 'Or is it?"

    Nancy 7:46 PM  

    @Ludyjynn -- I was able to innocently enjoy this fabulous day in the park only because I didn't know that @Hartley 70 had generously -- perhaps TOO generously -- promised our beloved koi purse to you. Knowing that @Hartley and I only have until July 3rd to enjoy it will, I suppose, make it seem even more precious and special and worth every penny in the dwindling days ahead. That said, your birthday could have been on, say May 3. So glad it's not!

    Kevin Ferriter 10:47 PM  

    I haven't even read all of the comments as I'm late to this one. I can only say that Rex was right on and I was falling over laughing as I read his take on PEG. totally agree and am going with the sexual act between a pitcher and a catcher. Doesn't make sense any other way.

    As a weak solver, the theme actually helped as I was able to fill in lots of blanks with ROOT many times. I generally go too slow that I was hung up more on anything else.

    Burma Shave 10:17 AM  


    It STRUCK METOO, and one thing I’ll LETLOOSE is
    My own EGOTRIP concerning DIVAS CABOOSES.
    ORISIT that I’d like to DOGOOD for those lasses
    and QUOTE an old STROPHE about women SASSES?

    --- KEN DEEDS

    spacecraft 11:40 AM  

    I am in full agreement with @Generic solver. That square--the G of PEG--gave me fits. The clue didn't simply say "pitcher," it said "baseball pitcher." To me that would point to a male name. As @G.S. said, lady baseball pitchers do exist, and there's no reason to exclude them from the category (well, there is, anatomically, but that's a problem for doctors to argue), but if you're going to specify baseball you darn well better be talking males. I finally let PEG in, but only after picking up the spacecraft flag.

    Said hankie had to be thrown into the washing machine today; it was used over and over in this excuse for a puzzle--including landing in POO. UGH! Amen to all those who said that fewer SQUARE ROOTS would have been better. A more contrived fill set I can't imagine. Once again I repeat the axiom: Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Theme idea: fairly clever, even if not totally original. But execution: abysmal, and fill: equally abysmal, sucked, as it were, into that black hole of whirling roots. F.

    DMG 1:02 PM  

    Strange little puzzle-so many O's, so many funny answers. ATOR anyone? Actually, if If it hadn't been for the ROOT thing I wouldn't have been able to finish this one. What's a NOOGIE? Or shouldn't I ask?

    186 I think.

    rondo 1:22 PM  

    I enjoy ROOTs music, and scenic routes, even ROOT vegetables. This puz and SQUAREROOTS, not so much. UGH.

    Does Popeye’s acquaintance Alice do the GOONTOUR?

    I’ve been known to do BOOBOOS, and aahs.

    ROBERTA Flack, a great songstress, so yeah baby. I SPITAT Katy Perry. ROAR. STOP.

    Perhaps unkind, but IMHO this puz was a cat ass STROPHE.

    1510 is OK

    rain forest 1:32 PM  

    Having been adrift in Desolation Sound for 6 days, I'm back to puzzledom. Interesting how the solving muscles lose their memory after even a short respite, so this seemed more difficult than it probably actually is.

    As everyone knows, I don't do good scathe on puzzles. In the Northeast where the first theme squares (TOROs) resided along with TORERO, I thought that bullfighting might be the theme. Eventually, it was clear we had ROOTs afoot, verified by the revealer. Which was fine by me.

    Sure, a lot of short stuff, and some POO, but there was also the mighty CBC, and a shoutout to the OTTawa Senators--a clear effort to cater to we Canadians. Also fine by me.

    So, I liked it more than most. Perhaps I have a high dreck theshold. Somebody has to.

    27815 UGH

    DPJ 3:33 PM  

    There weren't circles in my paper's version, so I wasn't distracted by the theme, and solved it with no difficulty, although I've never heard of a noogie.

    With regard to women in baseball, I watched the Fort Wayne Daisies play in the All American Woman's Baseball League in the early '50's. One year they had Jimmy Foxx as manager, who was the basis for Tom Hanks' role in A League of Their Own. I was just a teenager, and developed a crush on a blond haired, pig-tailed shortstop.

    leftcoastTAM 4:28 PM  

    Slow going in the SW. Wanted wedGIE instead of NOOGIE. Anyone else?(See the cringe-worthy entry for Wedgie in Wikipedia.)

    centralscrewtinizer 12:44 AM  

    For pitcher, thought last name first and went with Era. For tea thought chai, based on h from moth for spotlight seeker. And so it went, looking for math stuff and only getting word play. Dirtiest math joke I know is based on a square root, which is sorta already funny. What is the square root of 69? Do the math and use something for the decimal part.

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