Mark twain measure / WED 5-20-15 / Turkish currency unit / Role for Costner Stack / What barbers lower / Grampa simpson describe genesis figure / detective catches sight of bakery wares

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Constructor: Jacob Stulberg

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: four-letter word repeated 3 times... — but clued in a wacky way that requires creative parsing, thus:

Theme answers:
  • VISAVISAVISA (actually "vis-a-vis a visa") (20A: In relation to someone's travel document?)
  • ABELABELABEL (actually "Abe, label Abel") (33A: "Grampa Simpson, describe a Genesis figure"?)
  • RIDERIDERIDE (actually "rider I deride") (41A: Jockey who's jeered by me?)
  • PIESPIESPIES (actually "P.I. espies pies") (57A: Detective catches sight of bakery wares?)
Word of the Day: MundoFox (31A: Many a MundoFox watcher = LATINO) —
MundoFox (sometimes stylized, particularly on-air, as MundoFOX) is an American Spanish language broadcast television network that is operated as a joint venture between the Fox International Channels subsidiary of 21st Century Fox and Colombian private broadcaster RCN Televisión SA (both companies own 50% of the network).[2][3] The network carries a broad mix of serials (consisting of both telenovelas and teleseries), theatrically released and made-for-home-video films and variety programs, as well as limited news and sports programming. // MundoFox is headquartered with 21st Century Fox's other U.S. television operations in Los Angeles, California. The network is headed by its president Ibra Morales, who replaced original president Emiliano Saccone in January 2014. (wikipedia)
• • •

The "humor" of the puzzle continues to be very old-fashioned, but there's a cleverness here that's admirable, and a cleanness of grid that is sweet-jesus merciful. I don't think I went "yuck" once. Well, there's SPUME, which is inherently "yuck," but in that way that MOIST is "yuck," id est it's a very real word that just gives me very real heebie jeebies. No dings against it, crossword-wise. And no dings against the grid as a whole. No, wait: IRAE/BAAS? What the heck is up with that? That's a sore-thumb crossing. You could get rid of it without too much trouble. You'd have to tear the grid back a bit, but not much. Still, I really wish all easy puzzles were this cleanly filled. Why can't all MTWs (i.e. early/mid-week puzzles) do this? Notice what you don't see: a *#$&#$ing "Q" (for instance). Constructor is going for Best Grid, not Most Damned Letters Checked Off The Stupid 26-Letter Checklist. And see how much nicer? Nicer. The clues on some of the themers are contrived as hell, but that's sort of the nature of the beast today. This puzzle is solid, and solid feels like a Huge win, given the way things have been going of late.


Not much to say about the fill beyond praising its smoothness. PRIORY and MARSHAL are interesting words. CLASSY is a word that is kind of ruined now. I can only imagine two kinds of people using it: either a. someone who is being deeply ironic (sarcastic, even) and actually means the opposite, or b. Donald Trump (i.e. someone whose sense of "class" is maybe possibly questionable). It's the kind of word that would be quite at home 70 years ago, just before the word "dame." I like the word fine, in a retro kind of way. I just can't imagine using it unironically. All right, I'm gonna POST this and get to bed.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

96 comments:

Z 12:13 AM  

Just a wee bit more original than swifties. I was wondering about RIDER I'DE RIDE until I blinked twice and figured it out.

We have the symmetrical pair of CYST/SACS. What does this suggest about DEPTH/MADAM?

Brett Chappell 12:15 AM  

Post on YouTube or JIBe/JAB?

Talking about dated, I had TORA! TORA! TORA! in my head during the quick solving process.

Whirred Whacks 12:19 AM  

Smooth indeed. Quick solve. Enjoyable!

Several months ago, I used the word "spell" in a comment. Later in the comments, someone dropped in and shared their wonderful experience with a spell-caster and told us how we could get in touch. One of the regulars here postulated that because I had used the word spell, that triggered the appearance of the spell-caster comment.

Yesterday, I did a test and used the word spell, but nothing happened. Probably a different trigger.

Yesterday, I also asked for recommendations for Saul Bellow novels (cuz I've read none). The only advice I received came from @Leapfinger who said to read Mordecai Richler instead!

Anyway, as it turns out, Neal Stephenson's new book seveneves came out today, and so I'm reading it now. Amazing opening: our moon explodes into seven pieces on page one!

TonyToniTone 12:19 AM  

Fun theme, good fill. I liked it.

One question . . . Vis-a-vis is not a transitive verb, so what does it mean to VIS-A-VIS A VISA?

Casco Kid 12:29 AM  

Tone, "in regard to a visa"
Easy-medium. No hiccoughs. I very much enjoyed the word play. We've had ASTI so often recently that SPUME feels over due. Next up: ANTE.

Casco Kid 12:32 AM  

@WW Dangling Man, Bellows first novel, is short and sweet and very carefully written. Like he was aiming for Conrad in precision. Highly recommended.

jae 12:36 AM  

Yes, an easy Wed.  Easier than yesterday's for me.  It helps when you can fill in the theme answers off just a couple of letters. 

@Whirred - Re: Spell - Unless you're just kidding, check the late posts from yesterday

Very smooth grid, clever theme, light on trivia based answers,  liked it.

Whirred Whacks 12:50 AM  

@jae Yikes, you're right. I didn't check after 10 PM (EDT) yesterday, but as you pointed it, a spellcaster comment came in after that. Perhaps, we will get more spellcaster comments late Wednesday.

@Casco Thanks for the Bellow recommendation. I'll try to get to it in several weeks.

John Child 12:56 AM  

I did not think much of the theme when solving - as @jae says, get a couple of letters and write a short word in three times, without even reading the clue.

When I was done I did enjoy the cleverness though. And I agree that there were only a couple of unfortunate answers in the fill.

But there wasn't much sparkle either. The appeal of this puzzle is all in the theme wordplay. There are 25 answers that have been used over 100 times before. That would be high for a Monday; it's very high for Wednesday.

Phil Connors 12:58 AM  

As I said one fateful Feb 3, "It's different. Different is good".

TonyToniTone 1:02 AM  

@Casco - Thanks for helping me pass that brain fart. Jeez.

When I posted my question, I was stuck thinking that vis-a-vis meant "with regard" as opposed to "with regard TO," so I could only read the phrase as "with regard a visa" which made no sense and had me convinced it was some play on the phrase and was using "regard" as a verb.

None of that should make any sense to you, since it barely makes sense to me, now. The brain is weird.

Z 1:05 AM  

@Whirred - I check off "email follow-up" so that I catch the syndicated group's comments in five weeks. I had a dozen copies of the same spell-caster blurb in my emails today. It had been added last evening to posts on consecutive days. I don't think the word "spell" has anything to do with it. Or, rather, as much as not trimming one's beard helps in the playoffs.

Anoa Bob 2:05 AM  

IRON AROSE

ASSENT

INSERTS

SHOVES

EMIT SPUME

SPLAT!

PURR

CLASSY

chefwen 2:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bwalker 2:52 AM  

Another quick solve. I agree that it was easier than Tuesday's offering. Got the theme right away with VISA, but didn't truly appreciate it until PIES. Very clever and enjoyable. So glad EMU stayed out of today's PIES.

chefwen 3:18 AM  

Like @jae and @John Child, didn't think too much of the puzzle until I was finished, looked back and said O.K. That was really clever. I guess our minds go into sleeper mode mid solve. 57A gave me the most grief, but I loved it. Jon gave up mid solve, but I have convinced him to pick,it up again tomorrow.

chefwen 3:26 AM  

@grammar nazi, it was a slip of the finger. Forgive me.

George Barany 3:39 AM  

I'll add my vote solidly in the "fun, clever theme" column. I reluctantly filled in VISAVISAVISA with only about half the crossing words in the grid, thinking no way, but then I took the trouble to parse it out, appreciate it, and rapidly fill in the rest of the theme answers with only a few crossing letters showing. Nicely done, @Jacob Stulberg (fourth New York Times puzzle within the past two months!).

@Charles Flaster, how about 13-down! @Z, as to your comment quite late in the day yesterday, there may be a surprise brewing. @Whirred Whacks, thanks for clearing up the "spell" mystery; that's certainly not what I hypothesized.

r.alphbunker 3:55 AM  

An analysis of all four letter dermatologist concerns in the Shortz era revealed the following:
CYST, ACNE, WART, PORE, ITCH, MOLE, SKIN, LUMP, BURN. Is there anything else?

M&A has created a runtpuz that is a brilliantly creative reaction to Rex's posts of the last couple of days. You can get it
here.
At the very least you should check out
my commentary on the puzzle

George Barany 4:28 AM  

Thanks @r.alphbunker for directing us to @M&A's creative effort. Well worth the 10 min or so to solve, and then fully appreciate by working through your commentary. All links in your 3:55 AM post (I'm being deliberately cryptic so as eschew spoilers).

Thomaso808 4:57 AM  

What a fun solve! I Sort of got the theme off of VISA but didn't get the parsing until all was done. ABE had me going because I knew his name was ABE but the crosses were saying ABEL. Later aha with the full answer.

A little easy for a Wednesday, but really clean fill and a nice theme. Great job, Jacob!

@WW - I wondered what that was about yesterday. For some reason we got a double response. Anyone want to volunteer to call Dr. Brave and solve this mystery?

GILL I. 5:45 AM  

In my mind, elegant is like the table setting in Downton Abbey. CLASSY is the unselfish Isabel Crawly and her causes to help the disadvantaged.....
I enjoyed this puzzle. After I filled in the theme answers, I went back and parsed the supposed answers. The cluing "Detective catches sight of bakery wares" seemed off to me. PIES are goodies in a bakery. A bakery ware is a PIE pan...no?
SPUME is fine...it reminds me of a frothy wine drink. Asti SPUME ante....
MADAM sitting atop of A ROSE is RIGHT by me.
PURR.....

Loren Muse Smith 6:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 6:55 AM  

@John Child -“The appeal of this puzzle is all in the theme wordplay.” Bingo for me. I. Loved. This.

I saw vis-à-vis visas right off the bat and was like*, “Wow. How cool is *that*?” This kind of trick pleases me as much or more than a palindrome. I can’t imagine coming up with ones that could work without truly awkward back-story clues:

Ada, madam, Adam – presenting these two people to Adam. Meh
Pew spews pews – well, Dad sometimes had a heavy breakfast before church
Hoe shoes hoes – I got nuttin’
Hank shanks Hanks – Azaria stabs famous actor in prison?

Here's my best:

Cam scams cams – Panthers QB sneaks past paparazzi disguised as a PRAIRIE DOG?

@Z – May your SACS and CYST never SPUME.

Aside from “clap” before PEAL, I dispatched this lickedy splat. Really good one, Jacob!!

*the discursive “like” – recently I’ve started noticing people who eschew this kind of “like” and go with “all,” as in, “I was all, “MADAM, that was RIGHT LEWD of you.”

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Echos of Buffalo buffalo buffalo...

NCA President 7:45 AM  

@John Child: I was the opposite in that the theme, once figured out, helped to fill in the blanks. Three of the same words in a row only four letters long...usually across the span of the answer I had enough of the letters to just fill the rest in.

Originally had Abel for a character in Paradise Lost...until ABELABELABEL...then aha!...ADAM!

Nice, if not on the easy side, puzzle for a Wednesday.

I did not know that Quakers do not celebrate Easter. Maybe it's because the holiday itself is named after a pagan god? With all the hullaballoo over taking Christ out of Christmas, no one seems to care that the highest of Christian holy days is named after a fertility god. Anyway...I only know that Nixon was Quaker and not much else about them.

Rex Porker 7:48 AM  

I liked this puzzle. But rather than focus on that, I'll focus on how much I hate most puzzles, because they have too many letters (like Mozart's symphonies had too many notes), or old-fashioned themes (even though today's was an old-fashioned theme that made the puzzle ridiculously easy), or bad fill (even though, as I pointed out, this puzzle has some awful fill, just less than most).
Even on days when I like a puzzle, I'll find ways to be smug and hurl hateful SPUME at pretty much everyone associated in any way with the New York Times crossword puzzle.

Roo Monster 7:53 AM  

Hey All ! Cute little WedsPuz. The parsing of the themers was cool. Give this puz a medium rating. Couple of writeovers, clap-> PEAL, nIl-> ZIP, SNeerS-> SNORTS, JIvE-> JIBE. Overall, nice dreckless fill, neat concept. Good for Jacob for being on Wills good side!

RIGHT
RooMonster
DarrinV

Suzy 8:10 AM  

@Rex: what on earth is weong with the word "classy?"-- no irony intended.

Z 8:14 AM  

@George Barany - With all the Hungarian discussion here I thought the Man Booker winner would be of interest to people. In no way do I expect to remember how to spell László Krasznahorkai when solving a puzzle.

It also occurs to me that some might not recognize understatement. I really liked this theme. Yes, the solve was easy, but the word play is very creative. Google the phrases and you don't find lists of examples, so kudos on originality as well.

chefbea 8:17 AM  

Easy fun puzzle. Gotta go to Curves now. Be back later

Z 8:24 AM  

@Suzy - Rex didn't say anything was "wrong," he said CLASSY had been "ruined." See CLASSY as defined by the Urban Dictionary. Specifically definition 3 and following. When "unclassy" is defined as a drunk woman "throwing up anywhere besides a toilet" I find myself agreeing that the concept of CLASSY has been "ruined."

dk 8:35 AM  

OO (2 mOOns) Emoticons are not working. No doubt they have moved to LA for the $15 minimum wage.

Solid puzzle. The "wacky way" stuff is not my cuppa for a Wednesday but that is just me.

Gotta say I learn a lot from these posts. Quakers and Easter: Who knew.

Settling in for a loooooonnnnggg weekend. Frost warnings here last night. I hear the Red Neck Rivera calling and the sound of a banjo.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Sometimes I SPUME when I sparge.

pmdm 8:36 AM  

Some of these write-ups are good examples of "damning with faint praise." Perhaps that is what The Porker is getting at today.

joho 8:45 AM  

Jacob, how clever of you to come up with these themes phrases ... I love the way your mind works! The end result is original and entertaining. Bravo!

Loved the clue for RAZOR.

Is there such a thing as a CLASSY SPLAT?

AliasZ 8:53 AM  


When I caught on to the repetitious wordplay, I was all "Jacob dude, shave that PRAIRIE DOG with a RAZOR and JAB that CYST with a nine IRON." (Hi, @LMS)

This type of theme does a PEAL to me. It is fun discussing the use of a MasterCard vis-à-vis a Visa when on a shopping spree. I think the one clue that could have been improved was ABELABELABEL. Something like "Mr. Vigoda, apply a tag to one sound pressure level unit." Or maybe not...

Didn't we just have PRIORY of Sion a few days ago? That helped.

The downside of a super clean fill is that it makes the puzzle super easy, since you don't have to stare at clues like "Dresser" and keep wracking your brain for synonyms or some clever wordplay, because you know for sure it couldn't possibly be something as stupid as ATTIRER.

If you keep going east, you eventually reach the international date line. You cannot get any EASTER than that, because you are now entering the westernmost area on earth. You cannot go wester than that either.

@Beatrice, thanks for those lovely Morley links yesterday. I would like to think that I was partially responsible (my Morley SAFER joke, perhaps?).

Here is back at you with my Thomas: the 40-part REBIRTH motet "Spem in alium" by Thomas Tallis (1505–1585).

Have a cheerful Wednesday.

Ludyjynn 9:01 AM  

I think of bells PEALing and thunder claps. One sound makes me serene; the other puts me on edge. Monday eve., in addition to record rainfall, we had plenty of the latter. My dog and cat were FRETting throughout the AWEsome storm that lasted hours, all of us GLAD when it finally ended. Luckily, the only damage done was a large fallen tree limb on the front lawn.

Very easy puzz. for me, but not a BORE because of the theme. ZIPped through it.

Gotta SHOVE off now. Thanks, JS and WS.

ArtO 9:02 AM  

Barbering scores with the clever clues for EARS and RAZOR.

Enjoyed the theme.

Aldous Huxley 9:05 AM  

"Dream of being woken up by that PEAL of thunder and finding her gone; dream of searching and searching for her under the trees."

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Quakers don't celebrate holidays, the thought being if something is worth remembering, celebrating, it should be done everyday, not once a year.

Aketi 9:29 AM  

Only one of our cat, Faith, will PURR if you give her a belly rub. The other, Charlie (aka Zorro) will swipe you with claws as sharp as a RAZOR if you dare to rub his belly. Faith fends off the often unwanted attentions of Charlie with a lightning fast left JAB. When she is more amenable they will ZIP through the apartment chasing each other.

I wonder what trauma led to Rex's abhorance of fluids. First the MOIST TEATS and now SPUME. I always associate SPUME with the wake behind my dad's boats during our many outings for waterskiing or fishing. There is something mesmerizing about the rooster tail between the everspreading foamy edges of the wake, coupled with the slapping of the boat hull against the waves and the scent of salt water.

As for the poor PRAIRIE DOG, I'd rather not envision what they might look like shaved. The best PRAIRIE DOG exhibit among the New York City zoos is in Prosoect Park

Roo Monster 9:31 AM  

Random nonsense time!

Bully Tolkien tree-being-> ASS ENT
Linden on the Red Planet-> MARS HAL
Martinez if traded to the Angels-> LA TINO
Ski-Doo paths, Abbr.-> SNO RTS
Age-> B OLD
Hubbard in the third person-> I RON
Change fiver to five-> ERASE R
Comic Richards' "AEIOU and sometimes..."-> PRIOR Y
Jot down, AS PEN to paper
Either me OR AL can help
Had breakfast? -> ATE AM
Push for R-T-> SHOVE S

Now to dodge all the tomatoes that will get flung my way!

RooMonster

RnRGhost57 9:32 AM  

@anonymous wrote at 9:10, "Quakers don't celebrate holidays, the thought being if something is worth remembering, celebrating, it should be done everyday, not once a year."

Maybe Rex should be a Quaker. Give him something to be happy about on a daily basis.

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Rex doesn't like SPUME because it sounds like "spooge." He's not very mature.

mathguy 9:38 AM  

Had a lot of fun with it. Loved the four sentences, especially P.I. ESPIES PIES and VIS A VIS A VISA.

I like the word class as in "He's got class" and classy as in "She's a classy gal." When I use it, I'm not thinking about social class. My meaning is that the person is acting according to a set of principles which I admire. Or something like that.

Charles Flaster 9:40 AM  

Four consecutive EZ's and this one was the most clever. As most have stated this was easy to figure but creative.
Three writeovers--PEAL for clAp, ZIP for nIl and ASPEN for AldEN.
Liked cluing for SACS and RAZOR.
@George Barany -Mets winning it all would not surprise me.No real powerhouses in MLB this year.
Well done puzzle so thanks JS>

RM 9:50 AM  

Easter is in fact widely celebrated by Quakers. The avoidance of holidays is a tradition that ended with most Quakers about 150 years ago. There is a wide range in the manner of worship by all of the Quakers today, from evangelical to the most liberal form of Christianity. In most Friends churches Easter is likely to be celebrated in much the same way as would be expected from other Protestant churches.

mac 9:54 AM  

Cute, clever and easy puzzle. For some reason the SE was the hardest corner for me.

Very timely, also. It's fleet week in NY. I'm seeing lots of helicopters and I hope to spot one of the big ships on the Hudson.

Leapfinger 10:01 AM  

Afterwards, @AnoaBob rolled over and went to sleep.

@r.alph, mustn't forget RASH and OOZE (hope I haven't duped someone)

@WWhacks, @Casco recommends Bellow's first and short novel; I think that bears meout in tiring of his progressive works. Glad you're enjoying (the beginning, anyway). Chacun a son goutgoutgout.

I am hook, line and sinker in the 'so clever, loved it' camp. Thought it particularly CLASSY that two of the threepeats broke out a small middle word (A and I) while two broke out a long ex parse facto (LABEL and ESPIES) Like @Gill (it seems), I was stumped by that PIE Detective, cuz I spied where I shoulda espied,

Jacob S, you had me at VIS A VIS. So pleased to Discover again what a Master Card you are!

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:11 AM  

Actually I was a Quaker for a couple of years as a child, but one Easter I came home from Sunday school and told my parents that the teacher had told us all about the Easter bunny, and my parents decided they wanted a religion that believed in something more meaningful than that.The puzzle, by the way, was easy, my only mistake was nil for zip, which left Mark Twain measuring 'delth', which I thought must have something to do with the Mississippi delta.

PLD for DS &amp R 10:14 AM  

@GFRC for P &amp J: You can't fool me: there is no sanity clause.

Spume Auntie 10:15 AM  

I always liked the word SPUME because it evoked visions of foam blowing from ocean waves. I could almost feel the sea breeze on my face. And now you had to go and emphasize the spew in spume. Thaaanks for nothing.

Spume Auntie cries 'Spume Uncle!'

jberg 10:20 AM  

I started with VIS-A-VIS visas, but once the A-TEAM came in and fixed that, the rest was easy. Just to make it more interesting, I refused to write in any theme answers until I could make sense of them -- otherwise, as soon as you get one letter you can write it in twice more and get the themers without the sense.

@Gill I., think of Simple Simon saying "let me taste your ware" to the pieman. Ware is what a merchant sells (or keeps in a warehouse).

What I learned: the origin of TAM.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

I ruined the word for you--So SPU ME!

Nancy 10:42 AM  

Easy to solve, but I had a big WTF moment until I came here. Saw VISA,VISA,VISA. Did not see VIS-A-VIS VISA. And only then did I see P.I. ESPIES PIES. Again, all I'd seen was PIES,PIES,PIES. So, a much, MUCH better puzzle than I realized while I was solving it. Ex-
cellent job!

Billy C 10:51 AM  


I just have to comment that the four theme entries are very clever. Kudos to JS if he invented them all. I don't know how I'd even start to imagine these.

Roo-- cleverness plaudits also to your "Random Nonsense."

Hartley70 11:08 AM  

Like @Nancy I have a hard time "seeing" these. I got the PI ESPIES one right away, but the others irritated the heck out of me. I had the same problem with many of the buffalobuffalobuffalo examples, though oddly not the original. It was a pleasant enough Wednesday, although my own deficiency made me want to slap it silly!

Bob Kerfuffle 11:09 AM  

Excellent puzzle, IMHO.

I had one strange experience in solving: I saw the clue "_____ disc (blind spot)" for 56D but somehow (i.e., failing eyesight) confused it with 58D in the grid, where I filled in IRIS, thinking, OK, that's new to me, but it must have something to do with the intricacies of the eye, then later saw that it was actually at 56D, OPTIC, which also had to do with the eye!

Joseph Michael 11:34 AM  

I generally dislike puzzles where words get repeated even once, let alone twice. But, like others, I warmed up to this one when I caught on to the parsing aspect. Still I wish it had been a bit more challenging for a Wednesday.

SUESUESUE - Actress Lyon brings Scottish ed. institution to court

Siegfried 11:35 AM  

I just had to write a exam on the Nibelungen. Aside from all the DerRing-do, some days I'd just rather have an ORAL OR A LORALei.

*Digit Alice*

Sigmund 11:59 AM  

Ahh... an ORAL fixation!

Lewis 12:05 PM  

@rex -- Interesting points, entertaining, and back out of the snark tank.

Fun and cute, with good clues on RAZOR and EARS (as someone mentioned earlier), and RIGHT is right so all is well. This puzzle has the lowest double letter count in weeks (5), still waiting for that historic non-theme-related zero in the NYT. As @charles said, this is four easy puzzles in a row, hoping for some ratcheting up in the days ahead.

After my factoid and quotoid (coming in a bit), I will be away until Monday. Have a terrific holiday weekend, all!

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

@Lewis did you even read Rex's write-up? "Out of the snark tank?" What is this? :
"Notice what you don't see: a *#$&#$ing "Q" (for instance). Constructor is going for Best Grid, not Most Damned Letters Checked Off The Stupid 26-Letter Checklist.
If that isn't snark, what is??!! I think those of you who blindly kiss rex's ass no matter what can be a little blind.

Masked and AnonymoUs 12:13 PM  

Primo, A+ WedPuz.

Really need a themer with U's to boost the kinda anemic count. (Thank heavens for SPUME, btw.) MUSEMUSEMUSE ain't bad, if U can make sense outta MU'S EM USE MUSE. Or MU'S EMU'S EM USE.
Or MUSE MUSE(U)M USE. Dash too desperate on that last one? Thought so.

PRAIRIE DOG was nice, makin the solver tunnel across the grid top, to finish the entry. Too bad that the symmetric INSERTS ZIP doesn't quite rise above the green paint line. {What many a helpful postal employee does, to keep things moving at work??}

Triple stacked weejects in NE and SW: like.
fave weeject: ENO. Better clue: {One making a comeback??}

BAAS. yep. Saveable, with: {Swedish beater backing up??}

Sorta sad day, for M&A. Last Top Ten List, tonight. Day-um, that's the pewit's eyepit...

M&A

**gruntz**

Hartley70 12:27 PM  

@Lewis writes the best comments and his factoid and quotoid often make my day. Rah, Rah @Lewis rocks. Just saying.

Nom de Blog 12:45 PM  

@Hartley, I'd hesitate to say who writes the best comments, because there's a number of regulars who come up with some primo reading, as well as some irregulars, pseudonymers and anonymers who'll surprise and delight. Many different POV's, at the very least. I agree, however, that @Lewis is not only reliable, but reliably entertaining and frequently informative. An added benefit is that he probably has a lower Aggravation Quotient than any other regular, and I'm very glad he found a substitute for the PPP.Nom de Blog

Lewis 12:47 PM  

@anon12:08 -- What you quoted was a compliment that Rex was making about this constructor, more a hark than a snark, IMO.

weingolb 1:08 PM  

Easy than Tues, that's for sure.

Sure, this theme recalls the recent buffalo buffalo etc clue and the Tom Swifties on Monday, but it's worth considering that today's clever themers are the ultimate in wordplay for crosswords since they rely on the "no spaces for spaces" rule that the puzzles also follow.

It's a homography I guess, or word play that uses homograph phrases. Anyone have a name for it?

Lewis 1:15 PM  

Factoid: The Aztecs made RAZORs using obsidian (volcanic glass); obsidian makes a sharper blade than even high quality steel blades.

Quotoid: "I poured spot remover on my DOG. Now he's gone." -- Steven Wright

rose 1:24 PM  

Wasn't Spooge the ATM smashee in Breaking Bad?

grammar nazi 1:27 PM  

@weingolb, I don't even know where to start.

chefbea 1:28 PM  

@weingolb..wish we had Andrea back..she would certainly come up with a name

GILL I. 1:43 PM  

@jberg. Ah! Simple Simon to the rescue...The Life of Pi. Hadn't thought of that charming gentleman in ages.
Thanks!

Quo Vadis 1:45 PM  

@WW: *Henderson the Rain King* was seminal for me as a teenager fifty odd years ago. Must get a copy for the Kindle and see how it is faring these days.

JFC 2:03 PM  

@Rex, if you go here you will see what the puzzle has to say about your critique.

http://tinyurl.com/a2fap5o

JFC

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

@Quo Vadis--does that mean "Henderson the Rain King" made you SPUME?

Hartley70 2:08 PM  

@Nom de Blog, you are correct of course. My hyperbole was meant to describe my admiration for Lewis's posts and my displeasure at any mean-spirited personal criticism directed at him, in a cheerleaderish sort of way...a throwback to my youth. I couldn't imagine actually awarding a "BEST" accolade to any one Rexworld regular because it's always a delight to discover whose remarks tickle me the most on any given day.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

@Hartley, @Lewis, and @Rex. A little circle of brown noses. Maybe you should SPLUME on a cookie together.

Wood 3:37 PM  

Classy!

Wood 3:43 PM  

I agree that CLASSY can only be used ironically unless you're of a certain age. I typically say it with a nasal bray, a la Fran Drescher, when I see behavior that is egregiously boorish.

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

I was raised a Quaker. We always celebrated Easter. I never before heard anyone suggest otherwise.

On Borrowed Time 5:28 PM  

@chefwen-I incorrectly read your second post as "@grammer nazi,it was a (f)lip of the finger".

Intentional errors followed by a giant mixing bowl full of sauce.

Teedmn 7:45 PM  

@LMS, nice ones in Hanks and Cams.

@Roo Monster, good alt clues, liked SNO RTS and ASS ENT. I tried to come up with something tying Jeb and his brother together with FLA W but wasn't getting there.

To all y'all who commented with Tom Swifties Monday, it was great fun. I was reading them to my husband while he was driving and he just kept rolling his eyes while I laughed out loud. I really liked @Lewis' contribution "with abandon".

@Whirred Whacks, I'd be interested in hearing if "Seveneves" is any good. I see it's one of his hefty tomes. The last thing I read by Neal is "Anathem" which I really liked but I thought both "Cryptonomicon" and "The Baroque Cycle" went on way too long.

Thanks Jacob, for a nice Wednesday puzzle!

Ebenezer 8:00 PM  

@Z - I've always had a weakness for women who throw up in a toilet. High class ladies are such a turn on.

andy 8:24 PM  

Really liked today's puzzle. I checked the fill quality, and rushed to this blog to see how hard Rex might work to bash it. Props to Rex for being mostly gracious. He couldn't resist taking a couple shots, so this must have hurt him to write.

kitshef 10:44 PM  

Brilliant puzzle. Easy for a Wednesday.

Classy, it seems to me, has become a word used only by those who are not, but aspire to be, elegant. Think Robert Ludlum. Somehow it also seems to have acquired a porn association.

Two overwrites: LATINa before LATINO, rIal before LIRA.

Z 11:08 PM  

@Ebenezer - Vomit breath lends a certain je ne sais quoi.

Anon an' on an' on 2:49 AM  

Hi @Z! Always nice to finish with a CLASSY grace note.

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Burma Shave 8:58 AM  

LEWD ORAL ASSENT

I’m GLAD the CLASSY MADAM found no FLAW as I tried
some SHOVES and INSERTS as she cried, “RIDERIDERIDE.”

--- MARSHAL ADAM SPUME

spacecraft 10:51 AM  

Today's offering comes in a most favorable time slot, in that it follows yesterday's mishmash, but IMO it would shine even without that advantage. Let's just take the SW corner as an example. Though it sports both an X and a Z, it is seamlessly unstrained--and not a proper noun in the lot!

In fact, holy mackerel, the WHOLE GRID contains but six--and two of them are in one contrived theme answer! EASTER LATINO ADAM ABE ABEL NESS...that's it! Beat that, anybody! Real words--how refreshing!

Oh dear. Double-checking, I find the I in RIDERIDERIDE. All RIGHT, seven then. But still...Anyway, the theme is clever and different, even though rather a giveaway after the first one. You can lay down the appropriate four-letter word in triplicate and then wait for the clue to make sense--which is the fun part. I had a bit of trouble parsing that last one: PIE SPIES PIES? How did they get PIE out of "Detective?" The aha! moment soon followed. The good ol' P.I. The one who no doubt chases CLASSY dames.

I bet Geprge Peppard would be pleased if he could see the number of times his ATEAM became immortalized in crossword grids. Of this one, he'd surely say, "I love it when a plan comes together." A- (43d/52a).

rondo 12:16 PM  

I, too, noticed the lack of proper nouns, and I’m not finding a yeah baby today. IRIS DeMent was OK in her youth, definitely has a distinctive voice, but is not bearded as in the clue.

Was it a Midwest thing in the “old days”, or did others use the words “antenna” and AERIAL interchangeably?

I worked in this very same building that I’m in now in 1976 (then several other employers for 23 years) and the floor where I am now was loaded with STENOS. During breaks, I would take a stroll through rows and rows of them – no cubes back then, just desk/tables - and listen to the TONE of their PURRs as they checked out the new guy from ground floor. I’m GLAD to report that it worked into several dates and after work drinks at the hotel across the street. A lot of inter-office fooling around back then. It appears the for the most part, the times have changed.

Even with a SPLAT and a SPUME, this puz was RIGHT on.

rain forest 1:29 PM  

@Rondo, you are irrepressibly Randy. I think you might be able to challenge Wilt Chamberlain.

Easy but CLASSY puzzle with lots of fun and zero stuff to SNORT at. I even liked SPUME. I actually don't know what's not to like about that word.

Back in the day, we had a TV AERIAL, and my Dad attached several antennas (antennae) so we could get all the channels, of which there were nine.

649 Hey, that's the name of a lottery we have up here in Canada. Is that an omen? A hint? Should I?

Frank 2:06 PM  

What's dis classy GAL stuff? Da correct expression is classy BROAD! Cheez.

DMG 2:29 PM  

Enjoyed parsing these fun phrases, tho it took awhile to work out the PI SPIES thing. Only write-overs were the apparently common PEAL/ clAp and ZIP/nIl ones. Also have to admit I never can remember how to spell that kind of DOG and have to rely on the crosses for help. Was going to wish @Lewis a good holiday, but then I realize that he is, of course, back by now. The Syndi time warp can be confusing,

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