City between Boston Gloucester / TUE 5-19-15 / HIV-treating drug / 1961 #1 R&B hit for Lee Dorsey / Hit David Bowie single album 1983 / Minneapolis radio station that carries lot of news, appropriately / Automne preceder / Greta Garbo's mysterious lady co-star / Small freshwater fish / 1990s GM make

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Constructor: Allan E. Parrish

Relative difficulty: Medium (normal Tuesday)


THEME: anagrams of GLEAN

Theme answers:
  • FALLEN ANGEL (17A: Lucifer, notably)
  • OBLIQUE ANGLE (27A: It's not right)
  • JESSICA LANGE (48A: Oscar-winning actress for "Blue Sky")
  • CONRAD NAGEL (63A: Greta Garbo's "The Mysterious Lady" co-star)
Word of the Day: "YAYA" (36A: 1961 #1 R&B hit for Lee Dorsey) —
"Ya Ya" is a song by Lee Dorsey. The song was written by Lee Dorsey, Clarence Lewis, Morgan Robinson and Morris Levy. Levy’s participation in the writing has been previously called into question. In fact, the Flashback release of the single (image) lists only Dorsey and Lewis as writers, as do the liner notes to the American Graffiti soundtrack. // The song was inspired by a children’s nursery rhyme. (wikipedia)

• • •

An ancient theme type. Not as ancient as GALEN, but close. Theme doesn't hit all the possible anagrams, but it can't / shouldn't—the point is that they're all at the ends of names / phrases, so GALEN and GLEAN wouldn't really work. Most everything about this puzzle is dated. BRANDI Chastain brings us close to the 21st century, but not quite, and only briefly (6D: Soccer's Chastain). Mostly, our cultural center of gravity is somewhere back around Lee Dorsey's time. At least that song is entertaining. Fill is stale, but has its moments (most notable "LET'S DANCE" and REDHEAD). Sadly, another dated thing about the puzzle is its desperate attempt to achieve pangram status, as if that were an actual accomplishment anymore. Today at least provides me a Textbook example of the Scrabble-f*cking required to get the whole alphabet in there. Is there anyone, anywhere, who thinks the puzzle is improved by the answer OOX? Because that's the cost of the pangram—that ridiculous non-answer (64D: Losing tic-tac-toe row). OOXTEPLERNON* is well pleased. Others ... well, others are probably so acclimated to that kind of junk that they've come to accept it as normal. You should accept bad fill when it gets you something in return. You should not accept it when it's there just so a constructor can accomplish an imaginary feat that most people won't even notice. Embarrassing.


I nearly got stopped cold by PON- (23D: Ride at a kids' fair) / "-A YA" (36A: 1961 #1 R&B hit for Lee Dorsey). I've never seen a PONY at a kids' fair. Honestly, I don't even think I know what a "kids' fair" is. I've only been to real fairs, where there is kids' fare and adult fare in fairly close proximity to one another. My point is that I considered POND and PONG (?) before I got to PONY. PONY as "ride" is accurate, but ... when "ride" is paired with "fair," different, more mechanical rides come to mind. So that was oddly tough for me. I know the song "YA YA" well from my years of oldies-listening in high school, but I didn't know the song's name or the artist's name, so for all I knew it was "MAYA" or something else. Otherwise, the grid was of a pretty typical difficulty level (not difficult). I had DRAM for DOSE (33D: 5 milliliters of medicine) and ANT (?) for TNT (42A: What can make molehills out of a mountain?).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*OOXTEPLERNON is the God of Bad Short Fill. He made his first appearance, like Jesus in a tortilla, as the central row in this puzzle from Oct. 30, 2009.

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

103 comments:

Cranky 12:10 AM  

Porker, were you the one that peed in Rex's cheerios Saturday morning?

We're working on 3 straight cranky reviews. Anyone know what the record is?

Clark 12:11 AM  

I was going to put TEA in for 42A: What can make molehills out of a mountain? On a couple of occasions when life was dishing up difficulties for me my little sister recommended that I make myself a cup of tea. And you know what? It turns out that is great advice. Makes a mountain into a molehill. But the crosses said otherwise.

DebinSac 12:16 AM  

The god Ooxteplernon thing is hilarious, but, actually, I didn't think this puzzle had an undue amount of bad fill. It was a fine Tuesday with theme answers I liked. As for those pony rides, the California State Fair has a kids' area, and it always has pony rides. My kids and grandkids have all climbed on. I suppose they could simply have said "ride at a fair;" I assume "kids" was put in to make the clue easier. It certainly helped me.

RAD2626 12:18 AM  

Rex is right about the puzzle feeling dated. FALLEN ANGEL (1994). Shaq, unless you count his TNT work now. Even HALO is fifteen years old. ASTI has more hits in the past two weeks than any Brewer. A sort of guess with the A in the ISAK/DACE crossing. Theme was fine but puzzle sort of meh.

Whirred Whacks 12:21 AM  

Test: spell

Z 12:27 AM  

AEIOU in a pangram? UGG. Most of the fill ain't too bad, but OOX and AEIOU are so bad that you barely notice EVE'S a SLOE, GERMY REDHEAD.

Just a Guy 1:00 AM  

Rex, I don't know if you read the comments, but would you be willing to provide the dates of what you think are exemplary puzzles from each day of the week?

I feel like you're constantly telling us why a particular puzzle is bad, so it would be nice to see what you consider to be excellent.

Thanks.

jae 1:32 AM  

Breezed through the top half of this and them came to a screeching halt at the bottom.  Medium-tough over all. 

The clue for KNOW was Fridayish,  CONRAD NAGEL was very vaguely familiar, DACE was a WOE as was HALO as clued,  need the crosses for LYNN/ YAYA.  

Reasonable Tues. theme, fairly smooth grid...yeah, I know...OOX, OTC, NEAL ONEAL...still liked it more than Rex did.

Anonymous 2:07 AM  

Rex is a critic. If you don't appreciate the value of criticism, find a less critical blog. Sheesh.

Ellen S 2:11 AM  

I gotta say, I am in awe of Rex's ability to tease out themes from some of these puzzles... like this one. I never even noticed. Well, I did notice ANGLE and ANGEL were anagrams but I didn't really pay attention.

Regarding last Sunday's EEL, I thought the clue was clever, and I notice the EELs themselves are not showing up as often, probably more of them falling as raindrops as @Ludyjynn noted. I wish we in California could relieve you Easterners of some of your floods. We'd all be better off. Some wells in the Central Valley have gone completely dry, leaving some communities without any water, open the kitchen tap nothing comes out, never mind irrigation. That's after years of drilling deeper and deeper community and individual wells. Oh, and going from wells to whales, SeaWorld is putting out advertising that their ORCAs are happy and live a long time. I don't remember how long, 40 years? 20? Even twenty years in a little tank doesn't sound like it could be happy. Can't blame them for lashing out occasionally; surprised it doesn't happen more often.

tkincher 2:14 AM  

It seemed pretty innocuous to me but, then again, I went on a pony ride at a kids fair a scant twenty years back. A few too many intersecting proper names for a Tuesday IMO, though.

chefwen 2:27 AM  

Well, I don't know what I did wrong, but my comments went PFFT!

Let's try again. Thought the puzzle was just fine for a Tuesday. Not being up on soccer, BRANDI was unknown, but the crosses filled it in nicely. Never sure if Shaq's last name is O'NEAL or ONEiL, I usually guess incorrectly, this time I just left it blank until I got GLEAM.

I did love SLOBS and GERMY in opposit corners.

Good one Mr. Parrish.

chefwen 2:29 AM  

These puzzles would be a lot easier if I learned how to spell, let's try opposite.

MDMA 3:17 AM  

I spent several minutes stuck at the east (center) part. Had to do an alphabet run for T_T, and after that, Y was the only plausible letter for the Natick at YA_A / L_NN. That was unTuesdaylike.

Thomaso808 3:19 AM  

I thought this was a good Tuesday puzzle with a nice theme and clean fill. I do appreciate a pangram, so OOX was perfectly ok with me.

I liked UGG crossing UGH. Both pronounced the same, right? For me, seeing the first inspires the second. I guess they are comfortable and I have a daughter who loves them, but to me she looks like a caveman when she wears them.

I also liked BRANDI right above MIA, both team mates on the famous US World Cup team. BRANDI is most famous for kicking the winning penalty kick in the final against China and celebrating the win by spontaneously ripping off her shirt, just like the men do, with possibly a billion people watching live. She made the cover of Time, wearing a sports bra. It was a bit controversial back then, and at the time I was the father of four pre-teen soccer-playing daughters, so...awkward. But a truly great moment in women's sports history!

Charles Flaster 4:31 AM  

EZ again with lots of old trivia.
Liked YAYA and NAGEL.
Good cluing for NEST EGG.
CrosswordEASE---RIATA, SEGO and ISAK.
Anagrams were fun to pick up along the way.
Chastain and Hamm are only female soccer players I KNOW. Never caught on to soccer.
Thanks AEP.

Questinia 4:54 AM  

Among
of
OBLIQUE
BRIEF
HALO
TORN
ANGEL
SOMEHOW
GLEAM
JESSICA
LANGE
again.

~WQW

George Barany 6:11 AM  

I have a beef with the clue for 57-down, "Minneapolis radio station that carries a lot of news, appropriately." I left New York City for the Twin Cities in 1980, and have lived here ever since. When I first arrived, I was duly impressed by the fact that the Mississippi River is the dividing line between radio station call letters that begin with W and with K. I listen to the news on the car radio pretty much every day, on my commute to and from work, yet I did not KNOW the answer to today's clue.

I was also amused to see "actress Patricia" at 18-down and her tall Irish cousin, the basketball player known to most as Shaq, at 68-across.

It was a nice touch to have two women soccer players, one (6-down) on top of the other (40-down).

I wonder how difficult it would have been to make 55-down GLEAN (rather than GLEAM), although that would have been an unusual position for a reveal.

I would like to close these remarks while wearing my chemistry hat, and share with you a short video clip of one of our fun demos, the METHANE mamba. That sure beats references to cow flatulence, doesn't it?

GILL I. 6:28 AM  

Well, it did start with SLOBS and end with GERMY. And then we were treated by @Rex to the LALA YAYA song... arrrump.
@DebinSac. Yes! Also you had to go to Land Park and spend the first part of your day at Funderland, then Fairytale Town and finally the Pony Rides....
One day, I will walk into a bar and ask the bartender for a SLOE gin on the rocks...Will I be understood?
My MOE is a little doxiepoo.
CRAM EXAMS, it works!

Loren Muse Smith 7:11 AM  

@George – my thoughts exactly on GLEAM to “glean,” but I would have liked it if it had just remained an Easter EGG.

@Gill - I liked CRAM crossing EXAMS, too! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Loved the clue for ACNE – “something no one wants to face?” Caused me to break out of my solving fog and consider about something even worse, and ingenious portmanteau, bACNE. (Hey, Jeff Chen – there’s a pair for your famous puzzle #5.) Brides – please be mindful of tattoos and other UGHish stuff when you’re about to go with the strapless KHAKI bridesmaid dresses. Seriously.

I almost called BOLSHOI on the clue for ONCE because I mistakenly interpreted it as something you never did at all. But then I realized the “again” saved it. Whew.

I guess I’m in the minority in my enjoyment of AEIOU and GRR kinds of entries. Also – I couldn’t help but notice the main reason bathroom doors are GERMY - well, uh, see 69A.

I kept going back up and reconsidering B, R, AND I:

BATTERING RAM INJURY
BIRTH RATE INCREASE
BODICE RIPPER INTROVERT
BACK ROOM INTRIGUE
BROWN RICE, ICK
BLUE RIBBON IDIOT
BLOOD RED INSECT


Funny, anagrams always elicit a mixed reaction from me, but they never please me nearly as much as puns. I thought it was a fine puzzle, though. Thanks, Allan E. Parrish, you phrasal-nailer, you!

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Is LYNN anywhere near Natick?

Rex Porker 7:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Porker 7:37 AM  

I teased you yesterday by saying "I will continue writing about puzzles when they return to some semblance of worthiness." Obviously, I lied, because today's puzzle is, like Wayne and Garth, not worthy, yet I wrote scathingly about it anyway.
Yesterday's puzzle, I think, got more comments than any previous Monday puzzle. The vast majority were positive, or at least playful. Clearly you boneheads on this board know nothing about puzzles. If I didn't like it and you did, surely you have poor judgment.
My original commentary today: tired unoriginal theme, puzzle felt old. This is the first (ok, the 400th) time I have said pretty much the exact same things about a puzzle, yet I continue to repeat myself and present it as original thinking. I wonder what grades I would give my students if they presented the same ideas in every paper they handed in?

dk 7:41 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Nice Tuesday.

A puzzle filled with ANGEL food including a reference to the main ingredient:Eggs. And, the constructors last name is Parrish. A religious experience fur shur.

Great teenage memory centers around SLOE gin fizzes at the Tecumseh Golf Club, followed by a late night drive to Saranac Lake.

The date of the above memory also explains why I penned in Fry instead of UGG.

I KNOW nothing about HALO but I have noticed that everyone playing Big Buck Hunter has a smile on their face.

What if Rex's cranky reviews were simply a ruse to get a rise out of his winged monkeys… errr followers?

ETE this 7:42 AM  

A beautiful song for today, since we see ETE every week but we almost never see "automne:"

La Bottine Souriante playing Ciel D'automne

NCA President 7:45 AM  

I don't know what to think about UGG/UGH, NEAL/ONEAL, two early 21st century women's Olympic soccer players, OTC/AZT, or AEIOU in a pangram all in one puzzle. On the one hand, why not? On the other hand, it seems a little crowded for all of those very similar/closely related answers to occupy such a small space.

It's probably coincidence, but having FALLENANGEL above EVES has a very Genesis-like flavor to it. If damned (literally) Eve hadn't eaten that tomato...

I thought NAN was spelled Naan. I eat at Indian restaurants a lot. Naan is the way it's usually spelled.

DACE was my least favorite. and in a twist of fate, ICICLE was my favorite. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad...

grammar nazi 7:48 AM  

Really, @dk?! The apostrophe thing again?! At least you people could get more constructive with your grammatical fumbling.

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

Anon@7:25: LYNN to Natick is 37 miles. Close enough for government work.

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

@dk - SLOE gin fizz at Tecumseh? Really thought that bartenders there didn't have time to do anything except open bottles of Jenny and Ballantine Ale. And drive to Saranac Lake afterwards? Lucky to find my way back to Mount Olympus.

pmdm 8:10 AM  

dk: I think you hit the nail on the he. He feeds on it methinks.

Some non-pangram puzzles have much worse feed than this one. Actually, many. Pointless criticism.

Billy C 8:11 AM  



@MDMA --

Factoid: Lynn is only about 20 miles from Natick.

There's an old Boston-area rhyme: "Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin, you never go out, the way you went in."

Apologies to Lynn natives; the city is quite nice now. ;-)

AliasZ 8:13 AM  


I liked this puzzle, except all the trivia: YAYA, LYNN, MIA, BRANDI, ISAK, ANYA, HALO, etc. and Morley SAFER too; the sub-par fill: OOX, AEIOU, AMAJ, RIATA, ENDO, GEO, UGG, UGH, etc.; all the proper names: NAN, NIL, NEAL, ONEAL, LYNN, MIA, BRANDI, ISAK, ANYA, CONRAD NAGLE, JESSICA LANGE, etc. and Morley SAFER too; and all the missing anagrams of LEGNA: EAGLN, LEANG, GLANE, AEGLN, LAEGN, etc. etc.

OK, OK, NIL is not a proper name, I just like to say NIL, NEAL, ONEAL. But NILS is. Seriously. See NILS Lofgren, e.g. From Wikipedia: "Nils is a Scandinavian given name, a chiefly Norwegian, Danish and Swedish variant of Niels, cognate to Nicholas and Neil." Echoes of NEAL?

No, seriously. It was an enjoyable Tuesday puzzle, OOX and the YAYA/LYNN Natick notwithstanding. YAYA in Greek means grandma. Seriously. Google mishit. How can you not like a puzzle full of ANGELs? I also liked LET'S DANCE a SLOE dance. The AGGREGATE of all the entries definitely made this a positive experience. And a pangram to boot.

Let us therefore enjoy a piece of the BOLSHOI ballet, and a bit of Mozart's AMAJ concerto.

QUELL heure est-il? It's late. Gotta run.

BC 8:13 AM  


Oops, Anon8:05

I stand corrected on the mileage. The precision of your "37" makes me assume you're right.

chefbea 8:13 AM  

I thought the puzzle was great!! No problems with AEIOU or OOX.

I have many aprons but none that says "world's best cook" My favorite is one that has the recipe for Lemoncello on it.

Dr. YAYA OOX 8:14 AM  

@LMS@ 7:11: Despite the patent grossness of WEE on the doorknob, in normal conditions WEE is sterile, not GERMY.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

@BC8:13: Google maps says if you walk LYNNE to Natick, the best you can do is 26.7 miles. Of course, you'd have to go through Revere, so chances are pretty good you wouldn't make it at all. 37 miles if you drive the fastest route.

Lewis 8:21 AM  

I like EAGER under AGGREGATE because every letter in the first is in the second.

Some beautiful answers: BOLSHOI, AGGREGATE, OBLIQUEANGLE, QUELL. Overall, a workmanlike Tuesday. The grid is mostly clean. I always expect at least one or two clunkers among the answers, even in a PB puzzle, even in a Michael Smart puzzle. If you've done some puzzle constructing you will understand why this happens. So overall, I thought it was a clean grid, and I got my brain wakeup with no bad aftertaste.

Thank you A&W!

Bob Kerfuffle 8:25 AM  

Good Tuesday.

Two write-overs: 6D, BRANDY >> BRANDI; 41D, WITS >> WAGS.

ArtO 8:30 AM  

@Rex Porker. Keep those comments coming. Love 'em.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Many nice juxtapositions and repetitions in this puzzle: The Marx bros near the Stooges, EVEs below FALLENANGEL, BRANDI/MIA, double nothings, the BOLSHOI dancing Otello. UGH, UGG.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Anon @8:17: Before you get mugged or step on a GERMY needle walking through Revere, make sure to stop at Kelly's Roast Beef for the best lobster roll in town.

mathguy 8:55 AM  

After finishing the puzzle, I looked for a theme and found it immediately. But what's the point? I guess Shortz likes themes and constructors are compelled to employ them. But unless the theme helps to solve a difficult puzzle, it seems irrelevant.

Since most people wash their hands after using a toilet, bathroom doorknobs are less germy than others.

quilter1 9:11 AM  

Found this very easy, probably because I, too, am dated and not in a good way. PONY rides at fairs are common and they used to be the thing for birthday parties at one time. Liked it.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

No one has ACNE "to" the face, do they? It's "on" the face, right? Though I got this 58A answer straight off, it really IS a tortured clue.

And, Tuesday puzzle though this is, I actually had one writeover: CONRAD AIKEN for CONRAD NAGEL. I guess I'd better get my CONRADs straight, before the puzzles start getting harder. Not bad for a Tuesday, in that there was some semblance of a challenge.

joho 9:21 AM  

Another pangram slam, @Rex, you are so predictable!

I've always loved your creation of OOXTEPLERNON, though ... one of your best!

I enjoyed this puzzle because I like anagrams and pangrams. Bananagrams, anyone?

Thanks, Allan!

Ludyjynn 9:24 AM  

In BRIEF, I liked the theme, which did help me get NAGEL. Despite some rough fill noted by Rex, SOME lovely cluing/answers listed above.

Spent many hours yesterday at the doctor's office. Large sign on the restroom door says: "Please wash hands before leaving. There are 1,000,000,000,000 GERMs in one gram of poop." UGH! If that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will!

Also liked juxtaposition of ANGEL and HALO.

Thanks, AEP and WS.

johnny stocker 9:35 AM  

Rex was way, way, way too hard on yesterday. Not this, though. This was...not good.

jberg 9:43 AM  

I believe this is the second 'Garbo co-star' clue in the past week. I guess we'd better start learning all of them!

I started with 1A, saw SLOBS, SAFER, & LEAVE, and thought they were too easy to be right. I was wrong. It did get a little more challenging, though. A little. It went by so fast I didn't notice the pangram until I came here, and I like pangrams.

42A is sad; they are actually doing that in West Virginia in order to get out more coal and destroy the climate more quickly. So that's one timely element in the puzzle.

But, @Rex, how could you have put down DRAM for 5 ml? Surely you knew that a dram was 3.6966912 ml?!!

@George Barany, I'm impressed -- if I tried that methane mamba (and I wouldn't since I'm a political scientist), the safety officer would shut me down.

NOG? All by itself?
C'mon.

Whirred Whacks 9:48 AM  

I teased Rex about not having read the Beats.

But I must confess that I haven't read any Saul Bellow.

Which Bellow book would you recommend? Augie March, Herzog, or something else?

Glimmerglass 10:03 AM  

@ anonymus 2:07
A modern meaning of "criticism" is "fault finding." However, the word actually means "judgment." A critic doesn't always find fault. A good critic often finds as much to praise as to condemn. It seems to me that a good review is a "critique," a compendium of the good and bad points of the [play/book/music] or in this case crossword puzzle under review. Some critics make their reputations by witty fault-finding; the best ones, by thoughtful analysis/.

Hartley70 10:09 AM  

Thank you puzzle gods (you know who you are) for a ballet clue. It's good to know you're listening. And hooray, the sporty clues were from that fabulous women's soccer team that included the outstanding Kristine Lilly who is a hometown girl. She played on the boys' travel teams and still put them all to shame.

On the Natick-Lynn controversy I would like to answer NO. This is New England and 37 miles equals 500 elsewhere in the country. They're on opposite sides of Boston so I can't call them "near". Speaking of distances, that was quite a ride to Saranac, @dk. You kids had more gas money than we did in the '60's, and better scenery too!

I got stuck in the SE because I spelled NAGEL as Nagle. I consider it a miracle that I got the name at all. I figured it out eventually but it wrecked my time.

Leapfinger 10:23 AM  

Hey @chefwen, thanks for the GERMY SLOBS! Clever of you to GLEAN that, but SOMEHOW, it makes me say "QUELL UGG!" (That's French for UGH).

Thought this was a nicely OBLIQUE ANGLE on the tried and true anagram theme. Saw it with JESSICA LANGE, and CONRAD NAGEL nailed it. I did wonder whether JES' SICA might be related to Vittorio de... Anyone?

In the cute trick department, I liked the column 7 tribute to women's soccer, though I think MIA Hamm shouldhave placed above BRANDI Chastain. The UNC connection, if nothing else. Wasn't 100% sure about ANYA. There must be a sufficiency ofpro soccer ANYA's, such as ANYA Tronson (coach and CATZ Director). I doubted Ikechi ANYA, on account of being male, and international rather than American. Finally decided it has to be abbrev for MANYA Makoski (played for both LA and Atlanta). Helas, could've made it with a 15x16 grid.

In AGGREGATE, liked the solve, what with the BOLSHOI: LETS DANCE and the half-a-shoutout to @ludyjynn. REDHEADs bring an EAGER GLEAM to many an eye, but it's METHANE that makes most everyone LOL.

YAdA before YAYA and hAkE before DACE. Whatever times two.

FALLEN EVES but no ADAMS? What's the deal here?

@Rex, an ANT can make molehills out of a mountain, but it'll take a long, looong time.

@EllenS, you go GRRL!!. I hadn't yet joined AARP when they came out in support of that travesty and now I never will. I sent them my opinion of that abject capitulation (in one of their postage-paid response envelopes,Ha Ha) and now they've stopped sending me invitations.

Nice Tuesday, Mr AEP, can we have a WEE bit MOE?

PS. Forgot to thank @'mericans in Parrish for his late-but-welcome installment.


Doug Garr 10:24 AM  

That Rex spent so much space whining about the clue for PONY tells me that he desperately needs to take some time off from blogging about the Times puzzle. You've never seen a kids' pony ride at a fair? How about saying the fourth theme answer was really obscure. Could anyone get Conrad Nagel without crosses? And so many puzzles have cross-cultural and cross-generational cluing. Take a break, Rex. Really. You need it. Go surfing. Go skydiving. Clear your head.

Z 10:39 AM  

@Glimmerglass - I agree 100%. One thing I do notice, though, is that many of the most vociferous anti-rexers can't recognize a compliment when it's given. If Rex says one negative thing the whole post is negative in their minds. They also have a tendency to interpret neutral statements as negative criticism. I read today's "dated" comment as fair and not inherently negative. It's as if anything that isn't fawning praise is negative.

I tend to be pagnostic. The Z, Q, V, J are all fine. In fact, two are in themers so not at all a problem. With those tough letters already in place, going for the pangram with OOX is fine by me. I'm more annoyed by AEIOU. I put that in and said, "Really?" Nevertheless, Rex is right in guessing that I don't think the puzzle was improved by having OOX.

@Questina - Nicely done.

@NCA President - Some restaurant somewhere once spelt NAAN with one A, making it crossworthy for all of eternity.

DJG 10:44 AM  

One quibble: I've never liked the clue "Losing tic-tac-toe row" for an answer like OOX, because it's not really a loser, it's just not a winner. It's not like the game stops and a loser is declared when OOX is on the board. I would much prefer it clued as "Non-winning tic-tac-toe row."

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Agree NAN should have been tagged with Var. Sure, it's a transliteration, but NAAN is far more common, I think.

I also liked Brandi and Mia, particularly in anticipation of the upcoming World Cup!

Leapfinger 10:57 AM  

@Questina, is that William Querulous Williams?

@dk, Fry goes with egg, Frye goes (or doesn't) with UGG. You should have known that since you were a young dk.

@Dr YAYA COX, Quite right, under normal conditions, WEE is sterile, but the escape hatch ain't. Check your ologist: one clean catch and you're in.

@WWhacks, I got tired of Saul Bellow long ago. In that line, I'd recommend Mordecai Richler's Barney's Version. It's especially good for readers of mature years.

The day beckons.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

Didn't care for this at all. Inclusion of both NEAL and ONEAL and UGH crossing UGG are undesirable.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

@Z said . . .

If you've been reading Rex for a while, you'd know that "dated" is one his (numerous) pet peeves, so when he mentions it today, you can be reasonably confident he's not simply making a neutral observation.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

I read 42A backwards. Therefore my original answer was REX.

Roo Monster 11:29 AM  

Hey All !
Nice TuesPuz. Four anagrams. Some dreck, AEIOU, agree with @Z on the "Really?" -ness of that one. And I, for one, happy with the Pangram! I'll take the OOX, as it's been in other puzs in varying forms.

With the UGG/UGH cross, it seems to throw off the centering of this puz, was looking for the symmetrical of SOMEHOW!

Always liked women who say GOLLY. :-)

FALALA
RooMonster
DarrinV

Z 11:53 AM  

@anon11:04 - Did the quote disappear, because it sure looks like you think I said the opposite of what I said. At any rate - Yes, Rex often observes that a puzzle is dated. If I say the Tigers CF has a strong arm but poor accuracy am I being unfair? If I say it after his poor throw allowed in the winning run last night is it a "pet peeve." Am I less of a Tiger fan? Should I stop watching baseball and talking about it? I ask because that's the logic of the anti-rexers. Has Rex ever written that a puzzle is dated when it wasn't the case? Observing that a puzzle is dated is actually far more neutral than my comparison. You will read Rex mention that some or even many solvers like puzzles that are a little dated. Personally, I like puzzles that are balanced, Yma Sumac is fine if you also give me a little Iggy Azalea, but I don't think Rex is "whiny" when he observes something that is true.

Rhino 11:58 AM  

I hated this puzzle, but mostly from the shameful Tuesday dnf. Didn't know LYNN or YAYA and couldn't figure out TNT. Which, fine, if that was all I probably could have thrown letters there until I could get it to makes sense. But I also didn't know DACE or ISAK. I knew IAGO from Othello (even played him once in the play 'Goodnight Desdemona, Hello Juliet') but wasn't sure if his name was spelled funny for the opera.

So too many squishy spots, too much ignorance and now I live to for a week without my gold star.

nwhitecar 12:16 PM  

I would have been filled with boundless joy if 34D had been Just Dance instead of Lets Dance, clued the exact same way re: the inimitable and ever-current Lady Gaga.

Joseph Michael 12:21 PM  

The best part of this puzzle was Rex's reference to OOXTEPLERNON.

The anagram theme would have worked better for me if two of the four themers weren't names.

@JustAGuy - There are no such puzzles

Lewis 12:42 PM  

Factoid: METHANE has been detected or is believed to exist on all planets of the solar system, as well as on most of the larger moons.

Quotoid: "The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. It’s the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.” -- Arthur C. Clarke

lawprof 12:55 PM  

Brings to mind the old Smothers Brothers routine:

Dickie: When I was in Moscow I went to the ballet.

Tom: Oh, BOLSHOI.

Dickie: No, really.

enough already! 12:58 PM  

Question of the day: If all the energy, attention, intensity and considerable brainpower that people here continually bring to bear to bear on the worthiness, fairness and accuracy of Rex's critiques were instead expended on other, more significant matters, do you think ...

Cancer might have been cured?

The Great American Novel of the 21st century might have been written?

The Theory of Everything might have been identified?

Global Warming might be in the process of being reversed?

I'm just amazed at the number of solver/hours that go into thinking about and blogging about Rex. If you like him, read him. If you don't like him, don't read him. But stop complaining about him. It's gotten so tired and it's such a needless waste of valuable time.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

@enough already @12:58:

No

No

No

No.

But thanks for the self-righteous lecture.

The irony is lost on nobody that you're criticizing others for "a needless waste of valuable time."

Mike D. 1:31 PM  

I'd say the definition of a crossword blog is "a needless waste of valuable time."
However, it is one we here seem to enjoy, regardless of the fact that Rex and many here seem to take themselves a tad too seriously.

Louis Black 1:36 PM  

@enough already! is exaggerating about cancer being cured, but what he or she said about people wasting time crying about Rex Parker is absolutely right. So much whining from people who have nothing to add and can't defend any of the stuff Rex critiques, so they just make it a crusade to bitch and moan about him personally.

Charles kluepfel 1:44 PM  

could have been older: Chris Montez for Let's Dance.

Leapfinger 2:13 PM  

...or Lola Montez...
(who drove at least one Ludwig of Bavaria mad)

I'm now waiting to hear someone expound on needed wastes of valuable time.

Jack Black 2:18 PM  

@ Lewis Black: How about people wasting time crying about people wasting time crying about Rex Parker? Seems equally productive.

Rex writes a blog. He expects people to criticize him. In fact, he goads them to do so. It's a game--Rex gets off on being a jerk, people here get off on being a jerk back to him, then people like you get off being a jerk back to those people. Thanks for playing.

JFC 2:40 PM  

@Rex, one of my first jobs was walking the pony around with a kid riding it at a Kiddieland. But that was 60 years ago so I suspect you missed that one.

If you go here you will see in Phoenix they switched to a camel:
http://phoenix.about.com/od/attractionsandevents/a/kidsfaire.htm

JFC

grammar hippie 2:42 PM  

@grammar nazi: Why are you harshing on @dk, man? He only has one apostrophe in his post. Correctly used, even.

Z 2:51 PM  

@Jack Black - I never MetaWaste of Time I didn't like.

@Leapy - How about Valuable Wastes? I usually use that time wisely... and never leave a GERMY doorknob behind.

@Rhino - Commit DACE to memory, it will appear again. Just like there are CrossRivers and CrossBirds, DACE is a species of CrossFish, i.e. a fish you are ever likely to encounter only in a crossword puzzle.

weingolb 2:52 PM  

DNF. Actually wasn't close and I spent 20 minutes too.

Crossing RIATA with IAGO with opera cluing is more Wednesday-like than I'd expect.

Crossing YAYA with LYNN is even harder than a typical Wednesday, especially given the Natick-y LYNN clue.

And as @jae observed, KNOW's clue was pretty Friday-ish.

Didn't notice the theme. The GLEAM got in the way? Seemed to be begging for GLEAn, as @George Barany mentioned.

weingolb 3:01 PM  

@Z and @Rhino - CrossWine is ASTI, ASTI till sunrise.

Luckily, thanks to the ingenious creators of wine appellations, ASTI wine can be red or white, flat or fizzy, dry or sweet (so it's not so day-in, day-out as your everyday DACE). It's no Barolo dammit, but it's both a desert island wine and a crossword puzzle wine. Could be worse.

Laci bácsi 3:21 PM  


@Leapy,

I am glad to oblige.

The "necessary stockpiling of worthless timelessness" is a concept recently identified by theoretical physicists, and it describes the behavior of sub-atomic particles and people with similarly-sized brains, and their interaction with each other. The space-time continuum in that environment ceases to exist, as all laws of known physics break down and time loses all importance.

In this nihilistic world "value" is meaningless and no "need" exists. Such was the universe before it existed, one yoctosecond before the Big Bang, when the concept of "stockpiling" was still 13.7 billion years in the future. The earth was without form, and void, darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

This clearly indicates that "void," "deep" and "water" existed before the universe. Someone must have forgotten to flush the toilet.

Elephant's Child 3:33 PM  

Zut alors!

L'ANGE is 'the angel' in French. So here's the conundrum: Why is the French ANGE a more down-'FALLEN' ANGEL than the English one?

Masked and AnonymoUUUs 3:56 PM  

Greatest semi-imaginary crossword semi-feats that go semi-unnoticed by most semi drivers:
* The Big P. Hey -- it means there's gotta be at least one U, in there.
* East/West symmetry. Means U often get a cool black-square artwork in yer grid.
* 007 or more U's. Also known as the James Bond Club.
* The Circles. Very entertainin little devils... [see "Everybody Gets Lucky" runtpuz]*
* Gray matter. Alternative to the circles.
* Puz with no E's, but everything else. See Patrick Berry's House of Wonders. Amazin dude.
* Oddball grid shapes. Often means more words for yer money.
* OOXTEPLERNON-like desperation, of the weeject pursuasion. It's an acquired taste, evidently.

As a former semi-drivin dude, let me just say I had fun with the puz, even if it didn't do anything brain-blastingly different. Or have a GLEAN sweep of possible Anagrams. Hey -- two grams in one grid!

M&A

* if any complaints about runtpuz plugs, would you mind standin behind my semi rig for a second?
* That George Barnboy dude made me do it.

Nancy 4:00 PM  

@Laci bacsi -- I laughed out loud at your 3:21 p.m. "explanation", even though I don't have a clue what you're talking about. (I don't get your nom de website, either, though it does sound vaguely Hungarian.)

Laci bácsi 4:19 PM  

@Nancy,

Don't worry, I have no idea what I am talking about either.

Guilty as charged: I am vaguely Hungarian.

"Bácsi" means uncle, or any older gentleman. I am an uncle, but certainly no gentleman.
"Laci" is a very popular nickname. If you yell it out on a crowded street in Budapest, half the men will turn around.

grammar nazi 4:31 PM  

@ hippie 2:42: S/he omitted the first one. I'm too lazy to search for the post, but I believe the word was "constructor's." Pay attention.

Leapfinger 4:35 PM  

@Laci bácsi,

It was at the end of para 1, line 2 that I BURST OUT LAUGHING. Will examine closely to see can I formulate a testable hypothesis. One thing that snagged my attention was what is left when you take the 'pil' out of 'stockpiling'; shall try to run with it.

Perhaps we can also run your conclusion past John

Many thanks from Tante Mew.

George Barany 4:47 PM  

@Laci bácsi, contact me off-Rex (my e-mail at the University of Minnesota is easily found by clicking on my link) but write in English. I can count from one to ten in Hungarian, but not in that order.

Ditto @jberg, and anyone else, if you want to know more about the methane mambo. It's easy enough to do at home without any chemistry training, as long as you have a natural gas outlet. The students totally love it when we do it on the last day of instruction; they line up and come to the front of the classroom in order for their personalized soapy fireballs.

beatrice 4:55 PM  

FALALA is, of course, not restricted to the Chrismas carol. Thomas Morley (c.1557-1602),especially, seems to have been partial to it. So here goes.

'Sing we and chant it' - perhaps the quintessential example of a song using the Fa la la refrain.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciIvhB-zTfc

'About the maypole' is set to a similarly celebratory text, but, written in a minor sounding modality, has a decidedly wistful quality. The 'fa las' always felt to me rather ironic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWpCjTfb7os

(Text: http://www1.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/About_the_maypole_%28Thomas_Morley%29)

To round it out, here is a lovely one I came across - 'Fyre,fyre! My heart!'. I couldn't find the text or make out many of the words, but as the poster of the video terms it 'cheeky', I rather think it is having fun with the trope of the love-sick swain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2nRlVelF1U

Hope these will put a GLEAM in your heart(!).

Danseuse 5:10 PM  

If anyone wants to know, the BOLSHOI is non-pareil.

Z 5:45 PM  

How long until Hungarian László Krasznahorkai appears in a puzzle?

mellisa lopez 10:19 PM  

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mellisa lopez 10:20 PM  

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kitshef 11:46 PM  

How I wish soccer player Wambach could have been worked in for 59D to complete the set.

Insanely easy for a Tuesday, with the one huge outlier of the YAYA/LYNN cross.

Also, Dr Brave was no help at all for me.

Blackeyedsusan 11:56 PM  

I thought the theme had to do with the sound of the words: I thought it was pretty cool how the "g" sound was slightly different in the four theme words.

Elephant's Child 12:49 AM  

@kitshef, I had looked for a ANYA in the pro soccer ranks to complete the column. You know, it almost works to replace ANYA with ABBY Wambach:

1. With a head-cold and stuffy nose, CONRAD becomes COBRAD
2. LOBAL is a real word, although not a great one.
3. Replacing EXAMS with EXYMS is the stickler, and I can't think of even a marginally legitimate work-around.

Good thought, though.

mellisa lopez 7:13 AM  

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Burma Shave 9:11 AM  

ZERO ONCE

I noticed that REDHEAD from an OBLIQUEANGLE,
so with an ADLIB, I said, “By GOLLY, LETSDANCE.”
I KNOW she was too EAGER, that FALLENANGEL,
SOMEHOW it seemed SAFER to LEAVE than to get in her pants.

--- “SLOE” MOE SEGO

spacecraft 9:12 AM  

I can't believe some people thought this was "great" or even "nice." Me? I had to make up a new acronym: CNBMTF. Could Not Bring Myself To Finish. Already in the NW I ran into the vowel string: "Oh no. you ditten!" Yeah. You did. Well, let's hope this is all of the ugliness.

Um, that would be a no. FALALA, really? IN THE SAME GRID with AEIOU? Preposterous. Geez, couldn't SOMEthing be done in either of these areas? But then, even more ugliness with UGG/UGH. Uh, what he said.

By this time I was halfway through, and saw the theme was just an anagram, but it didn't matter; already I didn't care much. Then by7 chance my eyes fell on the clue "Losing tic-tac-toe line," and I thought, no. I give up. I can't go on. Forget it.

I can think of no explanation for the publication of this babble, except that Will received NO OTHER submissions for this day. Hell, even then he'd have done better to rerun an old one. I don't need a completion to give this one a letter grade: F.

rondo 10:11 AM  

Excepting (not accepting)the AEIOU, OOX, GRR, and AMAJ, some of the fill wasn’t that bad. Even CONRADNAGEL (huh?) fell in pretty easily, having figured the gimmick.

KNOW is our public radio news station in the Twin Cities, but it is so NOT, NOT, NOT in Minneapolis! Their studios are about 5 blocks away from my workplace in downtown St. Paul and their tower (I can see it from my cube’s window) is in a suburb also on this side of the Mississippi River. We who live on this side of the river are quite sensitive about Mpls getting undeserved attention.We HATE it! Sometimes we feel like the REDHEAD step-child. So, WILL AND HIS STAFF ARE IN ERROR ON THIS ONE. Even @Barany should KNOW that.

So we have soccer player BRANDI on top of soccer player MIA; I like the visual. And both are on top of ANYA. I’d like to watch all of that action, by GOLLY.

I guess MIA Farrow, yeah baby, as a clue is too old-timey these days. JESSICALANGE, also yeah baby.

Maybe OFL NEEDs a DOSE of something OTC to QUELL the negativity vibe. Or TNT. But this puz could’ve used a little help. FALALA, UGG UGH.

DMG 1:33 PM  

Finished this one and, unable tsee any connection between a geometry term and an old time movie star, decided there was no theme!!! Got tangled up in the middle for a second as I thought the boots were spelled UGH, but SEGO saved the day. Otherwise, a good Tuesday solve.

rain forest 4:35 PM  

I enjoyed this, too, ie, I was an "enjoyer" @Spacey... Hey, I like your idea to publish puzzles from years ago. I know I wouldn't remember them, and it would give Shortz a lot of go-to material. I must look up CONRAD NAGEL because I "knew" his name, or maybe the theme made me think that.

@Burma - good one. Nice of you to have some self-restraint.

I'm really hoping for a Canada-USA final in the FIFA World Cup.

BS2 5:31 PM  

"I have my standards, even when I'm aroused" ,he said firmly.

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