Paintings outside mainstream per Jean Dubuffet / THU 5-14-15 / Noted Italian chocolatier / Hindrances for competitive swimmer / Wisconsin city near Lake Michigan / Largest county in Nevada / Part of Cuban combo

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium (except I failed, but … if you aren't stupid like me, Medium)

THEME: BURST OUT / LAUGHING (30A: With 37-Across, lose it … or what 12 answers in this puzzle appear to do) — "HA" must be imagined "bursting out" of the sides of the grid, i.e. some words (symmetrically arranged throughout the grid) are missing a final "-HA" or an opening "-HA"

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: FERRERO (35D: Noted Italian chocolatier) —
Ferrero SpA (Italian pronunciation: [ferˈrɛːro]) is an Italian manufacturer of branded chocolateand confectionery products and is the biggest chocolate producer in the world. It was founded in 1946 in Alba, PiedmontItaly by Pietro Ferrero, a confectioner and small-time pastry maker who laid the groundwork for the Nutella and famously added hazelnut to save money on chocolate. The company saw a period of tremendous growth and success under Pietro's son Michele Ferrero, who in turn handed over the daily operations to his sons. His son Pietro (the founder's grandson), who oversaw global business, died on April 18, 2011, in a cycling accident in South Africa at the age of 47. Reputation Institute's 2009 survey ranks Ferrero as the most reputable company in the world. Ferrero SpA is a private company owned by the Ferrero family and has been described as "one of the world's most secretive firms". The Ferrero Group worldwide – now headed by CEO Giovanni Ferrero – includes 38 trading companies, 18 factories, approximately 21,500 employees and produces around 365,000 tonnes of Nutella each year. Ferrero International SA's headquarters is in Luxembourg. Its German factory is the largest of all and Pasquale Giorgio is its current CEO. (wikipedia)
• • •

I love chocolate. I buy ridiculous amounts of ridiculously expensive chocolate (mostly special-order from Taza, but also from the supermarket—TCHO and Theo are favorites). So it is semi-hilarious to me that I have not really heard of the company wikipedia calls "the biggest chocolate producer in the world." The name FERRERO … I feel like I've seen it, maybe, on foil-wrapped something something-or-other, in the faux-fancy chocolate section of Wegman's (i.e. where the Lindt is). Maybe. But honestly, I just don't know the name. Throw in the fact that BARETTA looks and feels totally right to me, and you arrive at my failure: FERRARO / BARETTA. I looked the puzzle up and down for my error. Really thought it would have something to do with the WAUKES(HA) (?) / NYE (!?!?) crossing, or maybe one of the letters in ART BRUT (!?!?) (15D: Paintings outside the mainstream, per Jean Dubuffet), but no. I just got totally blind-sided by an A-for-E mistake in two crossing proper nouns. Sigh. Not fun. Weird that I imagined my mistake was at one "E" crossing of two proper nouns I wasn't sure of, when it was really at another. Ah well, it's always the last place you look.

[Ahhh … the show was called "BARETTA" … no wonder I was confused. I feel less bad now.]

I have mixed, but mostly positive, feelings about this puzzle. I got the basic conceit very early and easily. Here is where I got it:

It was (HA)NGER that tipped me. (HA)LFMAST and (HA)SSLE became obvious immediately thereafter. So … HAs. But the rest of the puzzle was just more HAs, so … no variety, and no real theme *content*, but still, it was fun hunting the HAs (though, since they were symmetrical, they weren't that hard to find … or half of them weren't, anyway). The revealer was really nice. A real phrase that brings the whole puzzle together via clever wordplay. Good job there.

Puzzle did make me feel stupid, though. Aside from not knowing FERRERO/BERETTA, I had never heard of ART BRUT (needed every cross and still wasn't sure …) and I still, as of right now, have no idea what the clue to NOUNS means (32D: All but the fifth and sixth words in "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo"). Hmm, it's this thing: "grammatical sentence in American English, used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated linguistic constructs" (wikipedia). Which I couldn't make sense of even when it was translated for me. Turns out that I, a reasonably normal human being, would've put a "that" in there to start the restrictive clause, i.e. Buffalo buffalo [that] Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Doesn't really matter here. I've just never heard of this alleged sentence. Lost on me. Sad face. So, yeah. Harrumph. Mr. Collins (today's constructor) is getting his Ph.D. from Princeton; I feel like this puzzle put me in my non-Ivy place.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    Questinia 12:11 AM  

    Ferrero is the Ferrari of chocolates available at Ferraro's.

    GREAT PUZZ! Very fun Kameron.

    George Barany 12:21 AM  

    It was a pleasure meeting today's constructor, @Kameron Collins, back in March at the ACPT. Good, fair review by @Rex, hitting a number of the points that I suspect other solvers will encounter.

    True, I grew up in New York, but having lived in the Midwest for nearly 35 years, maybe I should have done better on the crossing of 59-across with 54-down (never been to Nevada, though). Amusingly, I initially used ELK for 2-down until I discovered its rightful place at 51-down.

    Finally, @Hayley Gold has chosen this puzzle as the subject of her webcomic of the week. I recommend her take on the puzzle most highly.

    Whirred Whacks 12:33 AM  

    I agree with @George Barany about [HA]yley Gold's take on this puzzle: frustrating until I got the gimmick.

    I remember my first few championship swimming meets when I shaved my HAIRY LEGS (and arms and chest). It is a great feeling: you just "slip" through the water and feel oh-so fast!

    wreck 12:33 AM  

    This one took me awhile to see what was going on. I was pretty sure 1A was going to be HALFMAST in some form, but I couldn't find a 3 letter rebus to stick somewhere. I proceeded to fill up the middle of the grid fairly well, but after finally getting the revealer, it started to dawn on me at Big BertHA and You BetcHA what the conceit was.
    From there, it still took me a long time to ferret out the rest of the puzzle. I think this would have been a lot clearer on paper than my ipad! A big DNF as I finally tired of it. I have a hard time putting in an hour on a Wednesday night (my own problem - not necessarily the puzzle's fault).

    jae 12:45 AM  

    Caught the theme pretty quickly, but this was still medium tough for me.  The SW was the tough part.  Took a while to see HAIRY LEGS, get the odd clue for ÉPÉE, figure out APOCRYPHA, and FERRERO was a WOE (I did know BERETTA).  The SE was also on the tough side as kept wanting WAUKEgan which is actually in Illinois.

    @Wreck -  Doing it on paper allowed me to put the HAs in the margins which helped me keep track of them. So, yes.

    Crunchy Thursday with a clever/fun twist, liked it.

    Anonymous 12:50 AM  

    If only HA were a laugh, not an exclamation.

    Clark 1:05 AM  

    I just threw down a bunch of 3-letter rebuses until I noticed that they had the -ha thing in common. At that point the reveal cleared things up.

    But I goofed up both the Ferrero/Beretta cross and the Waukes/Nye cross. Rats.

    Anonymous 1:23 AM  


    HA isn't a laugh but HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA definitely is & and that's what the puzzle's getting at imo

    John Child 1:44 AM  

    Friday time here, but I was having fun and was delighted to get a bit of mental exercise in. Good puz, nice comic; happy john.

    MDMA 2:11 AM  

    In the iPad app, I filled in rebuses to keep track of the HAs (the fact that they're diagonally symmetric helps with the solve). But I guess you have to erase them in the end to get the app to accept the solve. Makes sense, but it destroys essential information.

    35A "Plotz" was not a word I had ever heard of.

    Not clear to me how 53D "Where do I even begin..." gives rise to WOW.

    Ferrero Rocher is saturation advertised around Christmas. Congratulations to anyone who's successfully managed to remain blissfully unaware.

    MDMA 2:28 AM  

    I was surprised that nobody commented about the repeat occurrence of WAUKESHA for two puzzles in a row. Then I realized that was just a personal coincidence for me alone, and the previous occurrence was for the January 11 2014 puzzle, which I did yesterday!

    I'm doing two NYT puzzles a day, one for the present day and one working my way backwards slowly through the puzzle archive in the iPad app. So a very likely Natick instead turned into an absolute gimme. (Never heard of NYE county, and WOW doesn't really fit the clue).

    Sometimes the universe conspires against you, but sometimes it's on your side.

    chefwen 2:50 AM  

    Did the same thing as @Clark and filled in the three letter rebuses, rebi? Worked for me. Being a former Cheesehead, YOUBETCha and WahaUKEsha were givens, after sussing out the theme.

    HALfmast was my first insight into the trick, really wanted half staff, then old BIG BERTHA showed up and the rest was history.

    Pretty slow in figuring out the trickery, but in the end we won. This is what Thursdays are all about. Loved it!

    r.alphbunker 2:55 AM  

    Biggest HA for me was realizing that {Hindrances for a competitive swimmer} was [HA]IRYLEGS rather than IcYLEGS. Fortunately I knew BERETTA from a recent puzzle. I remember that the clue there mentioned that it was founded in the 1500s.

    Carola 3:18 AM  

    Ingenious and challenging, very fun to solve. I couldn't see how to cope with the non-fit of haLFMAST and APOCHRYPha until, like others, I enountered BERTha. A-ha! Then YOU BETCha and the lovely haLCYON (previously hidden by the crossing SHRInk?) popped into view. I didn't see the symmetry of the ha's while solving - extra nice! - so had to work hard for haSSLE and haNGER.

    Also had to erase: MANhour, prIED, and nEW here?

    The way we go through Nutella, FERRERO is definitely a household name.

    @chefwen - Yes, I felt right at home!

    @r.alphbunker - I briefly toyed with IcYLake - fits with that Lake Michigan clue :)

    Thank you, Mr. Collins. Terrific puzzle.

    Thomaso808 3:20 AM  

    I associate TOPKNOT with sumo wrestlers, so "Stylish bun" was no help. Sumo and stylish? TOP NOT!

    ETEGERE was a WOE, really expected a DNF from that but the crosses held up, yay! When I see a "?" clue I expect to get an aha when I figure out the misdirection, but no joy here.

    Also got NOUNS for "Buffalo..." only by crosses, but like Rex had to google later to see what the heck that was. I get it but don't like it. It's a gimmick.

    On the difficult side for me, but very fun! The one other "?" clue for GNU was very clever. I could see the HA theme developing, but didn't notice the symmetry until I read Rex. The reveal was great!

    Great Thursday puzzle that probably got half the solvers thinking rebus from the get go, then forced an "outside the box" approach!

    The Typo Guy 3:35 AM  

    @Thomaso808 - If you had ETEGERE you did have a DNF.

    Clark 3:41 AM  

    Hi @chefwen, Best wishes to the dog. It's amazing how animals manage to adapt to the splint, or cast, or cone of shame, or whatever.

    I bet you were joking about the plural of rebus. But, I will go on record with the declension of res (thing):

    (singular - plural)
    nominative: res - res
    genitive: rei - rerum
    dative: rei - rebus
    accusative: rem - res
    ablative: re - rebus

    Thomaso808 3:52 AM  

    @The Typo Guy - haha I did get SOMEWAY, so yes my ETEGERE comment was a typo and not a DNF. I will still probably spell it wrong next time. Still not sure what it is, even though it's entirely possible that I have one in my house!

    @chefwen - you are not a former cheesehead, you are a relocated cheesehead, right?

    Z 6:12 AM  

    Rapaport's sentence is one of my signature quotes in my email program and I still had to think a second to come up with NOUNS.

    @Clark - WOW, Where do I even begin... (not really - just trying to help @MDMA). If you had been around for the octopodes/octopi/octopuses discussion you might see the wry humor in the common blog pluralization of rebus to rebi. I, for one, never considered the proper Latin usage. I do the same with Prius -> Prii.

    Puzzle would have been a lot easier if it had dawned on me to consider symmetrical placement of the themers. I got a real chuckle out of that when Rex pointed it out.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:06 AM  

    What a great idea! It took me longer to see the trick, especially since “bust a gut” has the same number of letters as BURST OUT. Once I changed that, I looked for the letters coming out.

    I solve in only capital letters, so my margins are screaming LAUGHTER.

    Two goofs: “pried” for SPIED (bet I’m not alone) and “whither” for SHRIVEL. Bet I am the only one who regularly misspells “wither.”

    Loved the clue/answer for GNU. And how ‘bout LOL(L) coming down off LAUGHING!

    @thomaso808 - I’m very familiar and captivated by the famous Buffalo sentence. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but I never met a gimmick I didn’t like. (It’s better than the Fish fish fish one.)

    About a month ago, the verb “buffalo” came up, and just for fun, I walked my students through a process to show them how the sentence works:

    Albany deer (that) Boston deer scare (turn around and) scare Atlanta deer.

    Let’s take out some unnecessary words:

    Albany deer Boston deer scare scare Atlanta deer.

    Let’s change the verb:

    Albany deer Boston deer buffalo buffalo Atlanta deer.

    Let’s change the place:

    Buffalo deer Buffalo deer buffalo buffalo Buffalo deer.

    Hey. Let’s change the animal:

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    We made a sign for us insiders that says “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Sad but true.”

    Kameron – just what I want in a Thursday! Good fun.

    Danp 7:13 AM  

    Only idiots eat with their eyes, and gold foil gets them every time.

    Anonymous 7:26 AM  

    I love it when a great puzzle like this ppens!

    Rug Crazy 7:36 AM  

    Have we met? started it for me
    Plotz is a Yiddish expression

    Aketi 7:44 AM  

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, there is a reason why I stuck to math and sciences. So much easier than trying to understand than Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    @Clarke, you just up gave me a headache. My EGO took enough of a blow when I still couldn't understand the buffalo. :)

    @rex about being in a non-I'vy place, one of the professors I had to TA for at Cornell wasn't LAUGHING when I told her that the undergraduate program at UC Davis was just as good as Cornell's. An Ivy League education did not improve my grammar.

    NCA President 8:00 AM  

    Almost all the Yiddish I know, I know from musical theater. PLOTZ...I can hear it being sung, but I don't know from where. But yeah, a guy who grew up in BF Nebraska knowing exactly one Jew and didn't meet another one for years fact, it was just about five years ago that I learned the word "nu." Which turns out is really common. It's learning stuff like this that expands my world enough for me to realize all judgments/conclusions I make about the world should be taken with a grain of salt. There is too much to know, and I don't know very much.

    I really liked this puzzle...the fun was in a) the discovery that this was either a rebus or had some other trickery going on, b) finding the HAs, and c) seeing the damn puzzle laugh at me after I finished it.

    I'm calling it easy because, even though it took a while to figure out the conceit, I didn't Google or otherwise cheat.

    I liked GODNO, MADDASH, HAIRYLEGS and HOOEY. I got the conceit with TABIT(HA) and corroborated with YOUBETC(HA).

    MANYEAR was something I've never heard of...but I guess if you have man hours, you'll eventually get man years...which must be like dog years SOMEWAY.

    Casco Kid 8:01 AM  

    Great concept. Good execution. Poor solving experience. 90 minutes. 7 errors.

    MANhouR gave me HANGOR (alternate spelling? ) Santa ANu (why not?) and hEE Haw. BaRETTA gave me a pot pourri of {FPST}AINT/{FPST}ERReR{AIO}/T{AIO}PKNOT. Hopeless, really.

    Steven M. O'Neill 8:03 AM  

    WAUKESHA/NYE was cruel. FERRERO/BERETTA messed me up the the A also.

    Tough puzzle for me. Fri or Saturday time (and I cheated like mad).

    jberg 8:14 AM  

    I lived in Wisconsin for 20 years, and still had a hard time with WAUKESHA. It looked so much like Ozaukee or Pewaukee that I wanted to put the HA at the beginning -- plus it's not much of a city (70,000 population) and while technically 'near' the lake, I was looking for a city on it -- and had the disadvantage of knowing that Waukesha is 20 miles to the west. NYE was a total guess. I guess you could call this a Natick, except that Natick is not a city.

    I got it with BERTHA, but still had hook for NGER for far too long, so the NW corner was the last to fall.

    On the other hand, my first guess for that Cuban combo part was BaNjO, which actually helped. So things balanced out.

    I did like the puzzle. SHRIVEL more than makes up for ABRIM! And I learned both what ART BRUT is (no relation to Brutalism, the style of the beautiful Bostno City Hall, and the meaning of PLOTZ.

    APJ 8:16 AM  

    Recently, a young French woman showed me an English expression that she found in one of those common little phrase books for travelers who are visiting this country: “Two to two to two two.” It was defined as a four minute time period. She asked me, “Do Americans really use this phrase?” Perhaps the author couldn’t resist sharing that little quirk in his book.

    Lewis 8:18 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 8:21 AM  

    Loved it. The puzzle was fun and hard, my favorite type. Even after sussing the theme, the cluing had good bite. The buffalo sentence is no fun and hard, but interesting to learn. After reading the Wikipedia article on it I feel like I've just been to the mall for several hours near Christmas. @GN -- How about explaining this in an easy, grammatically correct way?

    Some beautiful words: HALCYON, BAYOU, ARTBRUT, APOCRYPHA, SHRIVEL. I liked the clue for COLDS.

    So... If you reverse two of the answers and place them next to each other, it makes for a brand name especially popular in the summer. (Answer below the space below...)

    YAR NAB to Ray Ban

    AliasZ 8:40 AM  

    HA-HA-HA, this was a knee slapper! I almost BURST OUT LOLLing HAlf way between OmaHA and WAUKESHA reading the MaHAbHArata in a HAtHA yoga position. Or was it between HAwaii and SHAngHAi dancing the cHA-cHA-cHA wearing a HArdHAt? No, I am pretty sure it was between HAlifax and HAmburg, with HAt in HAnd and a HAndsHAke.

    My guesses where the outside-the-box HA's belonged were HApHAzard at first, but by sheer HAppenstance I eventually HAd them located correctly in their symmetrical positions.

    To celebrate the HAppy occasion, let us listen to the last movement of "Concierto serenata" for HArp and Orchestra by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901–1999) played here by its dedicatee, Nicanor Zabaleta.

    Then to further enHAnce our enjoyment, HAns Leo HAssler (1564–1612) also must be represented by his lovely madrigal, "Tanzen und springen".

    And finally as a personal nod to lovely HAlpernia, here is Hungarian rHApsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt, transcribed for the HAmmered dulcimer, commonly known as the cimbalom.

    I found it HArd not to like this puzzle. Thanks, Kameron.

    dk 8:40 AM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    Not as entranced as the rest of you. My problem is I generally solve via the NYT itself and today I solved on an iPAD. No chance for notes on the side, etc.

    Plus as I have often opined tricks, even cute ones like today, detract from my orthodox view of solving.

    My whinny comments aside. Some great fill and as a part of the cheesehead crowd a nice shout out -- now if there was a clue for: moronic governor and pedestrian.

    Guess I will go chase the school children who are cutting across my lawn.

    Like the concept of ARTBRUT? Donate to Franconia Sculpture Park, Taylors Falls MN. We ❤ Big Art.

    Lewis 8:40 AM  

    Factoid: The ten most used NOUNS in English (according to the people at the Oxford English Dictionary) are, in order of most use: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, and hand.

    Quotoid: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent ABOUT things that matter." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

    joho 8:46 AM  

    Kameron Austin Collins you delivered in spades with this superior puzzle!

    I had a wonderful AHA moment getting the trick, just what I want on a Thursday. My biggest hold up was having BUstagUT for way too long (Hi, Loren!).

    Excellent concept beautifully executed with fun, fresh phrases ... did I love it? YOUBETCHA!

    Roo Monster 8:52 AM  

    Hey All !
    WOW, where do I even begin... :-D
    Cool concept, like a bunch of other people. here, did not see the symmetrical placement of the BURSTing OUT HAs. Had to guess at two of them (APOCRYPHA-a WOE, and WAUKESHA- a town I never heard of) but figured it had to be those two, as everything else wouldn't fit with a HA on it's end, or start. So that made solving that much harder. Got all the way through until 12D. Never would've gotten that in a MANYEAR. Twixt 12D, 22A, and 29A, it was a triple Natick! Wanted EGO, but put EtO. Wanted BAER, but put BAEn. So after completing puz (except 12D) and feeling vastly smarter than when I started, ended up SHRIVELed with a 3 word, triple Natick DNF. AARRGGHH!

    Know NYE county, it's the next county over from Clark County, which is where Las Vegas is. I'm sure I wouldn't've known that if I didn't live here! Liked clues for EPEE , GNU, and HOMONYM.

    Overall, neat ThursPuz, I also wrote in the HAs on the edges of the grid, makes it more pleasing to the brain. Hey @Loren, I also fill my grid with capital letters! Which is why we don't compete at the ACPTs. Caps slow ya down (Is and Es especially).

    YOU BETCHA I POUTed at my DNF!


    Mohair Sam 9:08 AM  

    Really fun Thursday. Naticked exactly where @Rex did - know neither my Yiddish nor my fancy chocolates (live near enough to Hershey that such knowledge may be illegal).

    Got the gimmick early at the YOUBETCHA/HAVEWEMET cross, and (unlike many here) WAUKESHA was a gimme - although have no idea why I know the place.

    Clever clues, nifty revealer, what's not to like? Great Thursday puzzle.

    John V 9:14 AM  

    DNF notwithstanding that Buffalo, NY was my place of birth. Two DNF in a row this week. WTF? Clever, got the conceit but could not make it happen.

    Charles Flaster 9:17 AM  

    DNF with FERRERO holding up my SW.
    Write over hEE for YEE so Hee Haw seemed reasonable. Able to get WAUKESHA from a ppy Days episode with the Fonz.
    Almost had to Plotz when I saw the clue!!
    Liked cleverness of ARAL SEA.
    Thanks KAC

    RnRGhost57 9:43 AM  

    Superb Thursday puzzle.

    If Hayley Gold isn't already married I want her to marry my son.

    Questinia 9:43 AM  

    @Lewis, fascinating factoid: Time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, and *hand*.

    Not *say*.

    Or *like*.

    Wonder if the OED refers to written or oral usage?

    quilter1 9:52 AM  

    Hand up for Baretta. Got the gimmick at Tabit and then had fun looking for the ha's. Good Thursday.

    Nancy 9:53 AM  

    Loved it! I've been wanting hard and today I got hard. What a wonderfully enjoyable struggle. The opposite of a rebus, I guess, -- instead of extra letters, you get fewer letters. And, as in all the great trick puzzles, you absolutely need to figure out the trick in order to solve.

    The revealer is great. Since "losing it" can mean either bursting out with laughter or going ballistic, you need to figure out that a couple of HAs are missing, before you can have any chance of guessing the revealer.

    My first big mistake was FURLED for 1A, and I had fAS instead of LAS for "Things sung when you don't know the words." So the NW was initially undoable and I had to go elsewhere to get my first toehold. There weren't too many places to try: the trick affected every section of the puzzle in SOME WAY. But I didn't POUT, nor did my determination SHRIVEL. And eventually the crossings of SYSTEM/TOTES/OBIT/ABBEY/ABRIM let me in. (Although I had AteeM before I had ABRIM.)

    This was a wonderful struggle and solving the puzzle makes me feel like an absolute genius. Isn't that the way a great puzzle should make us ALL feel?

    Z 10:05 AM  

    Despite never seeing this brand before, these are obviously the best chocolates in the world.

    Ludyjynn 10:08 AM  

    I liked seeing HAIRYLEGS show up as a correct answer so soon after I wanted to use it in Sunday's solve.

    Misspelled FERRERO like Rex did w/ the errant 'A', probably because as a chocolate freak, to me this brand is pretty lame on so many levels that I could care less how to spell it. Still like BERETTA spelled w/ that 'A'. Isn't that how the old Robert Blake tv show character/title spelled it?

    Wasn't there a Who song w/ the lyric, "YOUBETCHA, you betcha, you bet"? Came out well before Sarah P. used it as a catch phrase.

    This was a TOPNOTch puzzle. Perfect Thursday. Thanks, KAC and WS.

    Anonymous 10:14 AM  

    As an English teacher, I used to challenge my students to correctly punctuate a sentence with 11 had's in a row:

    John where Sue had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.

    Give it a "buffalo" shot.

    Ludyjynn 10:17 AM  

    Never mind...The Who lyric is: You better, you better, you bet. Just looked it up. I've been singing it wrong for years! I could PLOTZ w/ shame!

    oldbizmark 10:21 AM  

    enjoyed this one too although for some reason... actually i know the reason... i couldn't get the "BURST OUT" part. Had all the "HA"s early but my MAN[HOU]R for "MANYEAR" really caused problems and delayed my finish.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:33 AM  

    Fine puzzle, definitely Thursday-worthy.

    As she did for some others, Big BERTHA opened up the gimmick for me.

    And, darn it, I'm 15 minutes late; shouldn't have taken the time to look at the mail! -- I was going to post the same sequence as
    @Anonymous 10:14, namely:

    John, where Sue had had "had," had had "had had;" "had had" had had the teacher's approval.

    Anonymous 10:37 AM  

    I d fun solving this rd puzzle!

    NCA President 10:38 AM  

    So 32D is: All but the fifth and sixth words in "Buffalo..etc." Please answer me this:

    Yes, Buffalo as a city is a proper noun, but in the sentence it is used adjectively. the clue correct or incorrect?

    Google 10:48 AM  

    @NCA President -

    Sometimes a noun is an attributive noun.

    oldbizmark 10:49 AM  

    oops. i had the same mistake as Rex. FERR[A]RO and B[A]RETTA looked to be right to me...

    Z 10:53 AM  

    @NCA President - Or a noun adjunct. Not to be confused with adjectival nouns, adjectives operating as nouns. So many ways to cause confusion....

    Nancy 11:06 AM  

    Forgot to say, I also got the puzzle at Big BERTha. Without that clue, I might not have been able to solve at all, since I didn't know TABITha and I didn't have enough crosses to get YOU BETCha (3 trick answers in one tiny section!). Much easier to see the HA at the end of an answer rather than at the beginning. So though I initially wanted haLF MAST instead of FURLED, I would never have found it.

    Arlene 11:12 AM  

    I got the theme at YAMAHA and BERTHA. I obviously know my motorcycles (at least better than rap stars.)
    HANGER would have come in sooner if I hadn't entered ASPEN instead of ALDER.
    HAIRYLEGS helped with APOCRYPHA spelling.
    Great Thursday puzzle - love finishing without having to Google!

    barryevans 11:42 AM  

    Loved this, despite not knowing Nye, Waukesha or plotz/faint (I'm a limey.) Any puzzle that uses my favorite word "halcyon" AND that I finish is perfect. James Bond used a Beretta in I think Dr. No (first novel) before Q put him right.

    Joseph Michael 11:44 AM  

    Suspected a rebus early on but took quite a while to figure out what exactly it was. Quite a feat of construction. A TOPKNOT(ch) puzzle.

    Had no problem with BERETTA but naticked at MAN YEAR. Wanted the more common MAN HOUR and couldn't get past the lead in to "haw" not being HEE. That resulted in the unfortunate MAN HEAR which is obviously HOOEY.

    Meanwhile I'm stll running "Buffalo buffalo" through my head...

    Zeke 11:46 AM  

    I believe it's unfair to categorize FERRERO as a "chocolatier" as 95% of their chocolate goes into Nutella. Nutella, whose semi official motto is "Nutella - the preferred spread of lazy, indulgent parents. With enough of this crap on it, your kids will eat anything". The CDC is about to come out with findings that Nutella is the primary cause of childhood obesity.

    Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:06 PM  

    Any xword that starts with LFM??? is guaranteed to have my undivided attention and deepish admiration.
    thUrspUzthUmbsUp, other Collins dude. Nice HA aha moment. har

    @muse: primo explanation of the bUffalo octet.

    Wouldn't have thought HAIRYLEGS would be that much of a hindrance, unless we are talkin teen werewolf, here. FERRERO chocolate was a WHOLE NEW learnin experience; I want to go to there. Got ABRIM off the B; am proud of that (I take what I can get, on self esteem).

    GOLAST **plus** CITGO? EGO? BONGO? Subtheme that screams "Let me outta here before I bUrst, I gotta GO!"


    Imfromjersey 12:17 PM  

    Was nearly naticked as Rex was by Ferrero/Beretta, had everything filled with an error from across lite and finally noticed it wasn't former Veep candidate Geraldine Ferraro but the can't Ferrero (which are delicious btw. That's what I want on a Thursday! Enjoyment and challenge.

    Anonymous 12:19 PM  

    Waukesha - birthplace of Les Paul.

    Anonymous 12:26 PM  

    ridiculously hard. at least could have starred the 12 theme clues so we would have some idea what we were looking at.

    Lewis 12:44 PM  

    @Z 10:05 -- Obviously.

    Lewis 12:49 PM  

    @Questinia -- This, from Wikipedia:

    It is based on an analysis of the Oxford English Corpus of over a billion words, and represents one study done by Oxford Online, associated with the Oxford English Dictionary. This source includes writings of all sorts from "literary novels and specialist journals to everyday newspapers and magazines and from Hansard to the language of chatrooms, emails, and weblogs", unlike some sources which use texts from only specific sources.

    GILL I. 12:52 PM  

    HOO EY...this was a hardun.
    Yes, Big BERTHA did it for me and I scrambled all over the place counting my HA's. I make those little stick things counting up to five. I feel sorry for you iPad people...what do you draw on?
    Had to finish this before I truly enjoyed it. One of those sit back and admire all the words and how it was constructed. Never heard of Plotz and didn't know WAUKESHA but, by golly, ART BRUT made up for it. I happen to really like Jean Dubuffet..
    FERRERO Roche comes out from hiding around Christmas time. My sweet neighbor always gives me a box. I haven't the heart to tell her I can't stand them. I want real chocolate i.e. Like Z's or something from Belgium.
    Great puzzle (I love your name) Kameron Austin Collins....

    chefbea 1:20 PM  

    just got home from our NARFE meeting Got the theme but couldn't finish Did not know halcyon

    Martel Moopsbane 1:25 PM  

    BERT(HA) spent her (HA)LCYON days in WAUKES(HA), YOUBETC(HA)!

    ngs 1:28 PM  

    Regarding the sentence “Buffalo buffalo… “ etc. @NCA President raised the question: Is the first Buffalo a noun or an adjective? Someone (@Google at 10:38) answered that it’s an attributive noun, which is defined as a noun being used as an adjective. That doesn’t mean it is not an adjective — that means it is being used as an adjective. In the context of the clue, which is labeling the parts of a sentence, the words are defined not by any broader linguistic context, where such words as adjunct or adjectival might come into play, but simply by use, which is why it’s called usage. Buffalo is sometimes an adjective and sometimes a noun in that sentence.

    weingolb 1:43 PM  

    Great puzzle. Definitely a favourite of mine because it was hard but wonderfully solvable. Took me a good 90 minutes.

    Ultimately a DNF since I got caught with the A/E problem noted by Rex and many others. (The A/E issue was particularly egregious in my case — I sloppily penciled in ePOCRYPHA / FeINT ... doh!)

    All my DNFs this week have been from poor use of As and Es.

    Anyone else remember ALLeN and ASSeI?

    ANON B 1:50 PM  

    Worst puzzle ever. How many people ever heard of "Buffalo....."?
    And as for the commenters:among
    other things, who knows what NARFE
    is or cares that chefbea just got
    home from there.

    TonySaratoga 2:36 PM  

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha is not an exclamation. It's bursting out laughing. 12 of them. Not one.

    Z 2:45 PM  

    @ngs - Think about it this way, "Buffalo buffalo" would be written " buffalo from Buffalo" if we weren't try to be cute. In the longer phrase "Buffalo" keeps it "nounness." In the two word phrase it also keeps its "nounness" even though we are also making it denote an attribute of the animal by removing "from" and changing word order. This making a single word function as a place, an animal, and an act is why people who like word play like this sentence.

    chefbea 3:02 PM  

    To make it clear for AnonB or any others.NARFE=National Association for active and retired Federal Employees.

    Also for @AnonB...don't be so rude!!!!!

    Roo Monster 3:09 PM  

    That whole Buffalo thing is just weird. Even broken down like in @LMSs post. Still not a real thing since some words are missing.

    Just puttin in my two cents.


    Martel Moopsbane 3:16 PM  

    I also wondered what NARFE might be.

    It took much less time to Google NARFE and get the answer than to compose and post a snarky comment complaining about not being spoon-fed the definition.

    chefwen 4:04 PM  

    @Thomaso - As we speak, I am sporting a t-shirt with the Hawaiian state flag in the shape of Wiscomsin on it, I just tell people that I'm a Cheesehead in paradise.

    @Clark - Yeah, I was just funin'.

    @ANON B - I thought we were done with your snarky ness, at least I was hopeful.

    ngs 4:17 PM  

    @Z — that’s good — I think you found a way to come to the rescue of the clue. But it still seems a stretch to assume so many “from”s — I think a person listening would probably make an assumption of their own and hear nothing but adjectives, no matter how much you intended them to hear nouns. But why not. Interesting, though, what you did.

    Z 4:28 PM  

    @ngs - Not me. Click on my 6:12 a.m. link to get the story behind the sentence. And I think "stretch" is exactly the point, how far can you stretch the language and make a technically grammatically correct sentence. Not a good sentence, just grammatically correct.

    Anonymous 4:31 PM  

    Can somebody please share the secret to submitting the solved puzzle on the NYT iphone app? Please be excruciatingly detailed--I have a correct grid but it won't accept it. I tried both with complete rebuses in each position, and without any rebuses, and it's rejected both ways.

    Just Guessing 4:41 PM  

    @anon4:31 - I think it should look exactly like Rex's grid. Make sure you don't have any typos like, BaRETTA instead of BERETTA.

    Airymom 4:51 PM  

    "Plotz" is a Yiddish word meaning to collapse or faint from surprise, but is typically understood to mean "crap your pants with excitement."

    "Oh my God, I just saw Barbra Streisand walking past me on Rodeo Drive. I could just plotz."

    Quite a challenge for a Thursday puzzle.

    Sanford Meyersfield 5:01 PM  

    I am away from home so I tried to find today's puzzle on the Web. The Seattle times publishes a puzzle which they label at NY times puzzle with today's date but the puzzle is not today's, yesterday's, or anything from this week. Does the times do 2 puzzles a day?

    Chip Hilton 5:20 PM  

    Same error as Rex. Otherwise correct, but I found it a chore, particularly the SW corner. I want a challenge on Thursday, so this fit the bill.

    Anonymous 5:20 PM  

    @Sanford - It's most likely the syndicated puzzle - I believe it's 4 weeks behind. Click on the button labeled "Syndicated Puzzle" at the top of Rex's page, is that the one you have?

    Roo Monster 5:24 PM  

    The daily is 5 weeks behind, and the Sunday is 1 week behind in Syndication.
    Now ya know. :-)


    Art Girl 5:36 PM  

    Art Brut, Tough art, hard art, not easy, not simple, not accessible. Challenging art.

    Blue Stater 5:55 PM  

    Worst in, oh, five years or so. But I hate, hate, hate these non-puzzles anyway, so I'm hardly an objective commentator on this particular instance of the genre. A pointless waste of time.

    mac 5:56 PM  

    Excellent puzzle, but it took me a while to figure it out. The buffalo bit was a puzzle in itself, but the crosses were easy. Chignon seems classier than topknot.

    Nice to see homonym in the puzzle as well.

    GD ROM 5:59 PM  

    Like @Casko Kid, I too was stuck on MANhouR and wouldn't let go.

    I also think I might be the only person that figured out what was going on at TABIT.

    TaxGuy 6:14 PM  

    I hate these idiot gimmick puzzles. And the whole Buffalo deal is the stupidest shit I have ever seen.

    Teedmn 6:50 PM  

    Lots of fun, this puzzle, thanks KAC!

    Like many, I tried a Cha rebus at YOUBETCha, then went down to the gimme TABITha and scratched my head, "HA?". I can't tell how hard it was because I was solving it at my desk at work (after hours for me) and people kept talking to me, grrrr. Had hors du combat instead of ÉPÉE at first, thought of kenoSha. WI, which is right on the lake but didn't fit. And finally DNF at tAINT/tERRERO, which I figured out on my second, AcrossLite solve. I forgot all about those ubiquitous, gold-wrapped truffles.

    Nice clues though COLDS was a gimme - I think I've had six or seven this season. I got to do a MAD DASH in the rain today. And I have nothing to ATONE for today (yet...there's still time. :-) ).

    michael 7:40 PM  

    Even though I got the answer, the buffalo thing got me buffaloed. Tried Waukee and Waukon (ignoring the ha stuff) before getting Waukes(ha). I had heard Waukee and Waukon (living in Iowa), but forgot where they were.

    MDMA 7:45 PM  

    Anonymous@4:31 PM,

    I solved on the iPad app. It accepted the non-rebus version for me (the version where all the HAs are off-grid).

    Fred Romagnolo 8:54 PM  

    Big laugh on me; I share my NYT with someone, but in order to get it to him in a reasonable amount of time, I sometimes cut out the crossword. This left me with no right margin, and therefore made the symmetry unrecognizable for a while. Two mistakes: Hee for YEE, and the a/e problem in the Southwest. I caught on at APOCRYPHA & TABITHA; being a biblical scholar has its rewards. (I also knew of the old TV show) Tabitha is the little girl that Peter brings back to life in Acts.

    ngs 8:56 PM  

    @Z that link you posted was very interesting, thanks.

    Leapfinger 10:43 PM  

    Funny how you can get it, but not get it. I knew right away that 1A was HALFMAST, but went off in seeing LF as 1/2 of HALF, so I was anticipating the trick would be to use a fraction of a word, eg: HALFTIME = TI or ME
    'Quarter'MAIN = M, A, I or N
    Third MAN = M, A or N
    I blame the Orson Welles theme for leading me astray on that one.
    It wasn't till 16A that I straightened that out, and YOU BETCHA I owe a big Thank You to SaHAra Palin. Altogether a delightfully inventive theme, and the reveal had me LOLLing. Quirky clues and super fill: no better topping than my favourite FERRARO treat!

    Can't think of all my write-overs now, but I remember my stylish bun was a CHIGNON first; I also wrote in OMA[HA], temporarily relocated to Nevada, but soon was able to draw NYE.

    Two small disappointments:
    HAIRY LEGS not being clued to tarantulas;
    Being limited to HAHAHAs. Working in some of our perennial HO's could have landed us HOTROD and HOLAS. I'm sure we could have maintained symmetry with a little Portuguese intervention...

    After getting but not getting NOUNS, I checked out @Z's link and @Loren's excellent stepwise explanation. I now want me 15 minutes back and promise to stick to Bison and Tonawanda.

    Anyone know the connection between SHRIVEL and SHRIVE?... L if I know!

    In this part of NC, we DOOK with the Kameron Krazies; can't wait to have this one back again!

    OISK 11:55 PM  

    Disliked this one very much. DNF on Ferrero on a coin flip - tipknot made as much sense to me as topknot, never heard of either, and Ferreri as much sense as Ferrero. I knew how to spell Beretta from spy novels. Don't know who Sandler is, or Garth, dislike clue for "hairy legs." Just way outside my pleasure zone. Boo.

    mellisa lopez 10:21 PM  

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    kitshef 11:39 PM  

    A week late, so likely no one will ever see this. Streuth! that was hard. The middle third of my puzzle (vertically) is writeover-over-writeover-over-writeover. Only once I finally shook MANhouR for MANYEAR was I able to correct my many, many, errors.

    mellisa lopez 7:14 AM  

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    Burma Shave 8:57 AM  


    I would COO in her ear, “Dear ABBEY HAVEWEMET?”
    “YOUBETCHA”, she said, “and SOMEWAY you’ll ATONE. I know! Let’s pet.”
    But she had HAIRYLEGS and made me SHRIVEL to HALFMAST.
    GODNO! She was LAUGHING because now I couldn’t GOLAST.
    I now had a HANGER, I could FAINT, or at least POUT,
    Because it’s usually ABRIM and ABOUT to BURSTOUT.


    Anonymous 11:30 AM  

    Why don't you save your puzzles for yourself anbd your elitist ivy league nerd dork friends. I didn't appreciate this puzzle at all. Burst out laughing....I guess that's what you and your Princeton nerd dork friends do watching the rest of us struggle through a ridiculous puzzle like this one. Please never publish another one of this nerd dork's puzzles.

    rondo 12:01 PM  

    Couldn’t quite figure out the gimmick until seeing the commonality of big BERTHA and YOUBETCHA. Had been wanting somehow to cram CHA into one square. Until I had to think “outside of the box”. HAHAHA.

    In my workspace cube I have GOT a 2007 photo of me crossing ABBEY Road in London, ala the Beatles. It was taken by my then brand-new girlfriend, now wife, and I had planned ahead enough to be wearing my white linen suit, like John Lennon in that iconic album cover photo. In the background there is a white Mini instead of the white VW in the original; just a coincidence since there was moving traffic that day. I had to make a rather MADDASH. There’s a webcam you can check online; people make that crossing every day and at all hours. It is quite the attraction to this day.

    If memory serves, Jenny GARTH was a 90210 yeah baby. WOW. She did not have HAIRYLEGS.

    HAHA Clinton-Dix is a defensive back for the Packers. So this puz had him 6 times!?

    This was a real teaser until the laughter finally BURSTOUT.

    20412 hit the number 2 days in a row

    spacecraft 12:24 PM  

    I was in the SE trying to figure out how to fit BERTHA into four spaces. First thought: rebus. No. So I left it and put a couple things together in the NE, when I noticed YOUBETC (HA). Hm. Another day so soon after Sunday's SORE THUMB where we have to think--and write--outside the box, eh? So the revealer line looked like LAUGHING, but the first part I couldn't get for a while. BUSTOUT? Too short. BUSTAGUT, maybe?? No, BURSTOUT. People don't say that, do they? Yes, I guess they do, the more genteel ones. After that, though very hard all the way, I managed to get it done. The FERRERO/BERETTA cross didn't bother me at all; I'm too much of a Bond fan to misspell the gun that M made him give up (or the Walther PPK that replaced it).

    SOMEhow (much more in the language) was in for SOMEWAY, and I was pickin' hEE with haw--but I wasn't grinnin.' Last letter was changing to YEE. "On" does not mean ABOUT. That's why we have the phrase "on OR [emphasis mine] about." I've heard of Waukegan, but never WAUKESHA. Ended up inferring it from the more familiar one. Besides, I had only eleven HA's and the blurb said I needed one more.

    I liked it. It didn't make me BURSTOUT LAUGHING, but it was still a fun solve. Challenging. I love the gall of OFL as he rates a puzzle he DNF(!!!) as "medium." Right. The crossword is really beginning to stretch its HAIRYLEGS (gotta love that one!) these days. A-.

    spacecraft 12:28 PM  

    "007?....Just leave the BERETTA."

    Anonymous 1:00 PM  


    Torb 1:15 PM  

    I got murdered. Figured out that loony theme but still couldn't manage to navigate through it. DNF!

    rain forest 2:42 PM  

    @Spacey - consider the sentence, "My talk today will be on (ABOUT) the effects of climate change in Las Vegas".

    I won't go into detail about the minutiae of my solve (looking for rebuses, altering spellings, leaving blanks, ha! etc), but the key from me was HALCYON.

    Though I do not time myself, if I went by time this would have been hugely challenging. However, once I figured out the trick, it could be closer to medium.

    Overall, though, I thought this was brilliant. Great fun.

    DMG 4:50 PM  

    Struggled until big BERT(ha) appeared. Still it took,a lot of time to ferret out all the HAs. I kept counting them, saying only so many more. Last one was (ha)VENTWEMET, which at last made sense of the V in SHRIVELED. Couldn't think of a question that started with V! Loved the revealer which it seems in retrospect should have been easier to uncover. Learned Plotz, which I had thought was a description of an ineffective person, as in "He's such a Plotz!" Sadly ended with a DNF in geometry: NYa/WAUKaS(ha). Hey, for me that's a good Thursday!

    Well, maybe not so good 1011

    Anonymous 7:21 PM  

    This was a big STRUGGLER for me and I put the puzzle down several times today. Afternoon nap aroused my grey cells and I finally broke through with Big Bert-ha and You betc-ha. Had to look up Babi-Yar but other than that I really enjoyed the struggle. Mr. Collins has my permission to do a repeat anytime.
    This kind of puzzle allows me to pretend I was a famous Cryptologist during the WW11, sitting underground with an Enigma Coder on my lap and turning to my workmates shouting, "Eureka, I got it."

    Signed, Ron Diego (or Walter Mitty) La Mesa, CA

    strayling 8:23 PM  

    Nice puzzle, but as for the buffalo clue I hope the compiler has ghoti it out of his system.

    leftcoastTAM 9:53 PM  

    I found this one very tough, maybe the toughest Thursday I've seen in a long while. I got the theme/gimmick early, and eight of the twelve BURSTOUT HAs, but couldn't find the other four. I also didn't get the 19A "haw" clue, believing that my answer hEE followed TEE as part of the LAUGHING theme.

    Okay, TEE-hEE isn't a BURSTOUT.

    Big DNF.

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