Bygone sticker / SAT 6-6-15 / Pol affiliation of British PM William Gladstone / Heavy durable china / Former big four record company / Longtime sponsor of Socceroos national soccer team

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Constructor: Jason Flinn

Relative difficulty: Easy-Challenging



THEME: MIRROR, MIRROR …  — that's the phrase that appears in the diagonally arranged circled squares. It's a phrase that was said by the EVIL QUEEN, who was asking who was the fairest of them all (answer, of course: SNOW WHITE). Now the trick here is that the MIRROR parts of the grid have an actual mirror function, in that the answers that run into those circled squares (whether coming from Across or Down) bounce off the figurative "mirror" at a 90-degree angle. So Down answers veer right, Across answers bounce down. The angle of incidence = the angle of reflection. Physics finally pays off.

Theme answers:

  • EVIL QUEEN (5A: She queried a magic object named twice in this puzzle's circled squares)
  • SNOW WHITE (64A: Answer provided by the magic object named twice in the circled squares)


Word of the Day: ROTI (56D: Pita-like bread)
noun
INDIAN
  1. bread, especially a flat round bread cooked on a griddle. (google)
• • •

I think this puzzle is great. I'm not sure, but I think so. I asked others to tell me whether I'm right, and I'm mostly waiting to hear back, but for now: great. It's just one of those "wow" concepts—the fill is no great shakes, but it doesn't have to be because the concept is so solid. The NE and SW corners threatened to be Much harder than the mirror-related parts … but then the thematic material (SNOW WHITE, EVIL QUEEN) in those corners was easy, so those corners became fairly tame. My only complaint is that this should've been a Thursday. Would've been Challenging for a Thursday, but conceptually, it's exactly where it belongs. I want my Hard Themeless Saturday! But if you're gonna swap out my themeless with a themed puzzle on a Saturday, yeah, make it this good and I won't be able to squawk that much.


I imagine lots of solvers will have a parallel experience to mine. Initial flailing, followed by realization that something very loopy is going on ("OK so STEERAGE … but what kind of email header is three letters starting with "E"? … and … uh, OMENS and I'M OUT … oh, come *on*, I know that's NOIRE!! …"). Once I realized that there was a serious trick involved, I went looking for the clue that would help me figure it out. Eyes lit on the clue for SNOW WHITE, which had "magic object named twice" in it, and the MIRROR, MIRROR thing came to me instantly. As soon as I'd filled all the circled squares, the concept came to me as well. After that, the only tough thing was making sure I was putting the letters in the right squares. Everything along the MIRROR, MIRROR axis was very easy. As I said, the NE / SW corners were initially harder, but in the end, not terribly.

Bulllets:


  • 1A: Some safety stats: Abbr. (INTS) — safety is a position in American football. INTS are interceptions.
  • 20A: Cuttlefish feature (TENTACLE) — I learned about these amazing creatures from Jaron Lanier's fantastic book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. This is also where I learned the word "neoteny."
  • 26A: 1992 Prince song or its peak position in Billboard (SEVEN) — I forgot this song until I said the title aloud (?) and then it came back; or at least the chorus did. It's technically called "7." His songs aren't on youtube, so … here are a couple of other "seven" songs:




Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

164 comments:

jae 12:04 AM  

I think I agree with Rex except for the challenging part which he seems to retreat on.  This was easy for me.  Put in INTS out of the printer and then read the 9a clue and filled in the circles ( shaded squares).  Went back and, after filling in a couple of NW answers that didn't quite work,  figured out the MIRROR trick.  From that point on it was Tues. easy.  Only erasures were STOic before STONY and jIg before RIP.

At Xwordinfo  Jason says this was originally aimed at Thurs.  IMHO that's where it belongs...tricky but on the easy side for Thurs.  Liked the puzzle and the very clever twist, but not on Sat.!

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

Still not super-confident on Saturday, so I gave up before I figured out the trick.

I am not happy about this.

Z 12:14 AM  

I don't know how long I sat there with the NE and SW done and MIRROR MIRROR laughing at me (can I blame having the Tiger game on? - How can a team this good find such creative ways to lose?) All the answers I knew were right wouldn't work, NOIRE, TORRE, PRISON RIOT, I'M OUT. Everything was too long or didn't work with crosses. Finally, finally, I said "it has to be The Descent OF MAN and the bounce off the MIRROR suddenly made sense. Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma'am! Done. 41 minutes, I'm guessing 25 of them sitting here with a puzzled look on my face.

Good stuff. Really good stuff.

Hayley 12:16 AM  

Hey,

I wanted to make a posting here today because, firstly, I have a new comic out on this puzzle at acrossanddown.net, but also because I heard some of you don't know when I put out new ones and may accidentally encounter spoilers due to this. For this, I recommend subscribing for email notifications(it's free), or joining the Facebook page, or following my Twitter, though you may still miss the latter two, so the subscription is most reliable. I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware so they don't have to guess and check. If you have any questions you can email me at kakumei@verizon.net

I hope you like today's comic,
Hayley

Pete 12:19 AM  

Horror show. Made me want to eat a poisoned apple.

I got the gimmick as most likely did - gibberish in the NW, filled in enough of the NE to get EVILQUEEN, threw down MIRROR MIRROR and was off to the races, the kind of races where you run as fast as you can into a wall, leading with your head and bouncing off.

The potions of the puzzle not reduced to gibberish by the gimmick are nice enough, but the rest is gibberish. It was painful to fill in. I don't do the puzzles to have half of it painful to fill in.

It was new and different which usually I approve of. However, new and different when it creates this much mental chaos is not something I appreciate.

wreck 12:27 AM  

I took my DNF and cheated after about 30 minutes. I got the basic conceit and tried to finish on my own. It still took me quite awhile to finish - it gave me a headache! Oh well - I appreciate the construction though.

Carola 12:29 AM  

Walking from printer to easy chair and reading the clue for 5A, I instantly saw MIRROR MIRROR and was prepared for a disappointingly easy Saturday puzzle. Well, not. Flummoxed by why some answers were too long for their space (PRISION RIOT) or too short (STONY) and why obvious crosses refused to cross (OMENS x NOIRE; SNEE x ANDRO) (hi, @Z) - and even making up book titles (Descent of MANkind), I spent an eternity trying to figure out how the MIRRORs were involved. Finally got it at THE MASTERS. In contrast, the non-reflective corners went quickly.

Had to run the alphabet for the T in INTS and correct Router to RIPSAW; couldn't believe I got faked out for the nth time on a SILENT letter.

chefwen 12:32 AM  

I'm with@Pete. Nuff said!

wreck 12:32 AM  

Thanks Haley! Love your work and appreciate the links!


(Stuff it Billy C)

Whirred Whacks 12:35 AM  

Yes, the puzzle is great. Plus, it has the added bonus of making solver (in this case: me) feel really clever for figuring out the gimmick fairly early on.

Had STOic before STONY for "impassive."

Thanks to those of you who wished me well this past Sunday (May 31) when I disclosed that I had accomplished my personal challenge of finishing every NYT puzzle for a year. Some of you were a little hurt, though, by my comment that my least favorite day was the Sunday puzzle because it didn't give me much satisfaction for the amount of time I'd invested in solving it (it felt like I was doing two Thursdays). A few of you described the joy of the routine of your Sunday solves. Great stuff!

I then realized that one reason I didn't experience the same delight with the Sunday puzzle is that I was typically solving it on Saturday afternoon (it comes out at 3PM in California). My Sundays usually have other activities, and so I never developed the relaxing habit of actually doing a Sunday NYT puzzle on Sunday. Maybe I'll give it a try, and my enjoyment level will rise!

Adam 12:36 AM  

The physics is wrong. If angle of incidence = angle of reflection, then why does the word hit the "mirror" and turn a corner?? Show me a mirror where light hitting it directly head-on would turn 90 degrees! meh.

Z 12:39 AM  

@Carola - my only groan was when SILENT W appeared, long before I got the mirror. I had --LENT W before I got it.

I should add that 40-60 minutes is not atypical for me on Saturday, but if I had grokked the theme quicker this would have been closer to a Wednesday for me.

Z 12:42 AM  

@Adam - Uh, the MIRROR MIRROR is angled.

chefwen 12:52 AM  

@Hayley - Thanks for the link, of course I have signed up, love your drawings. Todays was great.

wreck 12:56 AM  

Oops - sorry about the spelling, Hayley!

Anonymous 1:09 AM  


The Masters and The Descent of Man gave the gimmick away but I don't think it really works as the reflections seem incorrect, contrived. Even if they're physically accurate, or given poetic license if need be, I can't say I loved this puzzle. While I admire the construction to some degree, the nonsensical entries one is left with detracts from it. In the end, a fun enough puzzle.

A Robot that can detect drinks.

dmw 1:26 AM  

For once I had the same solving experience as Rex (although it took me 42 minutes, and him probably 4.2).

George Barany 1:33 AM  

This puzzle by @Jason Flinn is admirable, as is the @Hayley Gold acrossanddown.net webcomic it inspired. @Hayley, in her own 12:16 AM post, was too modest to mention that just a couple of days ago, she was the subject of this profile/interview on the PuzzleNation blog. I hope that many of you can support her work by subscribing to her site (it's free!)

jrmintz 1:42 AM  

plunked down 'mirror, mirror' right out of the gate. a fine trick, really, but a snooze for a saturday.

MDMA 1:48 AM  

The 5 Across clue was such a giveaway that I got the diagonal MIRROR MIRROR within seconds of starting. The NE filled in readily, the SW was a little slower.

But then the diagonal was tricky. I knew there had to be a gimmick and I knew most of the answers in that region since the cluing itself was Wednesdayish at worst, but had a hard time figuring out exactly how those answers were supposed to be entered. After a number of false starts it finally clicked. Would have made a big mess if I was solving on paper.

Charles in Austin 1:52 AM  

I had to struggle to figure out how the gimmick worked but absolutely loved it when I did. I was afraid that the shaded squares would be MIRROR RORRIM, which would just be silly. But the angles of incidence and reflection (45 degrees) trick was adorable.

Then there was an added feature: The EVILQUEEN is looking directly "into" the mirror (at a right angle to its surface), and what does she see there but SNOWWHITE (?!)

I have never been happier with a Saturday puzzle.

Anonymous 3:40 AM  


@ Adam The mirrors are on an angle.

The online version has grey squares, incidentally, not circles within them. The physics do appear to work so I was mistaken earlier.

RodeoToad 4:19 AM  

First off, I get Snow White mixed up with Cinderella, which ordinarily doesn't matter but does today because they don't have the same number of letters and I thought there was something going on with Titmice turning into Cinderella in that corner somehow and man I really don't trust anybody anymore.

Second off, the quote is "Magic mirror," not "Mirror, mirror." (Yay, I get to be that guy!)

Third off, today's my birthday and I get a NYTimes Saturday crossword on my birthday only once every, I think, 28 years (it's complicated because I was born in what would have been a leap year under the Georgian calendar system), and I don't like this one.

Fourth off, I hate it when I figure out the trick but can't implement it because of either cross-eyedness or laziness or maybe I didn't really figure out the trick but just sort of did. Man, I don't trust anybody anymore.

KFC 5:08 AM  

@Rodeo Toad - Same here except it's Sleeping Beauty confused with Snow White for me, which is why I tried to cram Malificent into 9a. And, nice catch on Magic MIRROR a classic movie misquote. Not trusting anybody is excellent policy, especially if you were under 30 in 1970.

Eat more chicken, the Col. is back!

MDMA 5:29 AM  

@RodeoToad,

This is off-topic, but June 6 was a Saturday in 1953, 1959, 1964, 1970, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2009, 2015, etc. Never more than an 11-year gap, and usually half that.

Wikipedia: Common year starting on Thursday and Leap year starting on Wednesday

MDMA 5:31 AM  

fixed link: Leap year starting on Wednesday

GILL I. 5:45 AM  

This felt like my special date night where I get all dressed up, carefully put on my makeup and go out with my favorite man (husband) to the best Japanese restaurant in town. I already have visions of the Sashimi I'm going to order: Hamachi, Maguro, Suzuki and Aji....or maybe just the chefs recommendation. Then, after my first sip of Junmai Ginjo, I'm being told that the only thing on the menu is Kobe beef.

Thomaso808 5:50 AM  

Yes, Rex, this was a great puzzle. I really, really enjoyed solving this. Yes, it would have been better as a Thursday offering, but that doesn't take away from the puzzle itself.

Funny that for the iPad version, which changes the clues to a lower shaded font when the answer is filled in, that feature was completely useless for the reflected answers.

I kept getting distracted by the un-answers created by disregarding the mirror gimmick, e.g., 21A SHORAGE, 42A OFMASTERS, 25D THEMAN, and 52D ANDRE. Plenty of wordplay and mindbending to be had here.

Yay, Hayley chimes in on our blog! Great cartoon! I'm signed up!

mac 6:02 AM  

Well, here I was, the two triangles filled in and mirror mirror on the diagonal, and then almost nothing I knew had to be right fit. What a battle!

I gave up and came to Rex for a tip, and after that it was a matter of filling in the words.

A good feat, but not my favorite kind of Saturday puzzle.

Love the tentacle and the "fret not". Wanter "fear not" there at first.

mac 6:02 AM  

Well, here I was, the two triangles filled in and mirror mirror on the diagonal, and then almost nothing I knew had to be right fit. What a battle!

I gave up and came to Rex for a tip, and after that it was a matter of filling in the words.

A good feat, but not my favorite kind of Saturday puzzle.

Love the tentacle and the "fret not". Wanter "fear not" there at first.

dk 7:10 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

First I have to get up at 4AM to run a software install that fails. Now I have to wait until Monday to have IT manually install the software and I find out they have to do the manual install 95% of the time. So why have the self install. I guess it is ok to waste my time.

With that as a prelude -- As Rex wrote -- if this was Thursday I would have understood. But this is a sacred puzzle day. Not one to be trifled with. This puzzle is a trifle.

The construction (form) is interesting but the function (you know the solve)….not so much.

Ok. I have on my cranky pants and I am spewing whine.

Perhaps I will introduce the IT team to my little friend SNEE or perhaps a nap.

Anonymous 7:15 AM  

@rodeotoad

Here's the original Brother's Grimm text.

http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Sneewittchen_(Schneewei%C3%9Fchen)_(1812)

It says:

„Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand:
wer ist die schönste Frau in dem ganzen Land?“

Hope that helps.

ThatcherBHatcher 7:25 AM  

This was one of those puzzles where my admiration for the feat of construction -- considerable, in this case -- balanced my annoyance at having to work out the solution. Liked the clue for PRISON RIOT. WAITE/ESTRADA combo almost did me in.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

Agree with @Pete 12:29 am. i got the gimmick, MIRROR MIRROR, EVIL QUEEN, and SNOW WHITE, but the result was not enjoyable.

gberg 7:41 AM  

loved your comic, made up for hating the puzzle!

gberg 7:45 AM  

loved your comic, made up for hating the puzzle!

nyestreet 8:15 AM  

Staring at completed puzzle and still don't get mirror thing. Waste of Saturday morning coffee hour.

r.alphbunker 8:16 AM  

I'm in the great camp. The avatar graphic shows that I filled in most of the answers that did not reflect during the first half of the solve. The red squares are caused by an unreflected OMens and WEigh. Like @Carola I was thinking "disappointedly easy" at the halfway point so it was nice to stall until I figured out what was going on.

Rhino 8:22 AM  

A lot of comments by 7:00a (Minnesota time). I'm surprised so many people solve crosswords late at night. They seem much more of a morning thing to me.

As for this puzzle, I liked it fine. Got MIRROR MIRROR off 2 across and for awhile I thought I was going to see some massive palindrome action. When I finally got the gimmick, I was a little disappointed.

Now I have to get my youngest off to his day-long soccer tournament in Northfield. He's terrible; it's going to be a long day.

Alec Schwartz 8:25 AM  

Struggled until the clues for Dacent OFMAN crossing THEMASTERS which were bullets for me and realized what was going on. Then was able to get back to the beginning and re-enter answers the correct way.

Danield 8:28 AM  

Yes, Rex, this was a great puzzle. Brilliant concept and execution.. Kudos to Jason Flinn. We can debate whether it was Thu or Sat level of difficulty--I think it was both as my solving experience mirrored that of @Z.

Muscato 8:31 AM  

This is one that, if I still did it on paper, I probably would have liked, but as an iPad solver, the technicalities of getting each mirrored answered filled was both hugely frustrating and RUINED my (never all that impressive) time. Ah, well, it was a fun one finally to finish, and I suppose that counts for something...

John V 8:35 AM  

Not even close.

AliasZ 8:45 AM  


What a delightful, delightful puzzle!

I already had the NE and SW corners filled in, looked at the grid and said to myself: "Self, this is Saturday? It sucks!" (On Saturdays I talk to myself in the third person). At that time I only had OMENS, IMOUT and OWE in the NW corner not having fingered out the trick yet, so it looked like a snow-covered country road back\slashing between two isolated patches of forest.

When I started to tackle the road, it took me a few minutes to realize that WOIGH and EURR__ do not look right, until "The Descent OF MAN" finally gave me the "aha!" I was waiting for. Too bad after that it was over too soon.

True, I would have preferred it for Thursday, with a Krozelesque envelope-pushing themeless Saturday puzzle instead, but I still had tremendous fun with this one. Due to my temporary myopia I spent an average Saturday time with it until I got the happy tune, so why not Saturday?

A Mesopotamian text from the third millennium BCE describes SEVEN demonic gods -- not dwarfs -- that have power over the elements. Perhaps the root of all mythological importance and richness of the number SEVEN? The Russian translation of this text inspired Sergei Prokofiev to compose a cantata titled "SEVEN, They Are SEVEN", Op. 30, in the year 1917 when Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown by the Bolshevik coup d'état. The cantata perfectly depicts the horrors that followed.

On that happy note, enjoy your weekend.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

Those of you (including rex) whining that the puzzle is on the "wrong day" are ridiculous.

Generic Solver 9:03 AM  

Another example of a puzzle where displaying the constructor's ingenuity appears to take precedence over the solver's enjoyment in actually solving. For me it's all about the solving experience. I'll go to an art museum if I want to admire the artist's creativity and I won't get a headache in the process.

Zeke 9:05 AM  

Beautiful puzzle. A magical feat of construction and a satisfying "aha moment" solve. Like many, I filled in the entire puzzle that didn't touch the MIRRORs, then figured there had to be a trick because I couldn't suss ANY of the answers, across or down, that touched the mirrors. Aha! Then it became smooth and easy.

Maruchka 9:18 AM  

Oh, how I wish I was a better anagram-mer, Marg (more practice with Frank Longo's Spelling Bees needed).

DNF to the nth on the rocky roads off Mirror Mirror LANE (a nod to yesterday's puzz - paper came way too late, again).

The difficulty level led me away from the impossible to the illogical but doable. Kept seeing (The Descent) OF MANners. Thanks for the range, @Rex. I'm on the right side of your header.

Fav of the day - BOTCH. 'Nuff said? Off to check out @Hayley's toon.

@Carola - Me, too. Yet another silent (doh).

@Gill - Wakarimasu. Tho' a crisp martini (with a crispy ok*a in it) could salvage the evening.

Haiku Nerd 9:24 AM  

ENGROSSed in STEERAGE
the EVIL QUEEN MADE A PLAY
FRET NOT, DIVA WAITS

AnnieD 9:26 AM  

Great puzzle! Loved the trick with the mirrors...very reflective for a Saturday. But it did play like a Thrs for me. I don't normally pay attention to time so in between working the puzz I was playing with the cats and other things. When I finished, I was surprised I still had a Thrs time. But a most enjoyable solve.

wordie 9:30 AM  

I loved this puzzle! I was delayed by thinking of the witches stirring their brew in a MacBeth (or ???) and couldn't remember the witches' names. Then I thought like another who posted earlier that maybe the second mirror would be spelled backwards. I found the cluing more difficult than many of you. For example, a tailor's measurement would be inseam or waist or chest etc. a tailor does not say now I'm going to measure your girth. But I love tricksy puzzles on any day. It was a satisfying solve for me.

Billy C 9:41 AM  



@wreck --

Thanks for the shout-out! ;-)

I'll give Hayley a pass on this one, just like Flaster the other day ... and as I also always give to The Good Professor when he posts links to work other than his own.

Thanks, GeorgeB, for the link to the five questions to Hayley. I enjoy her work and it was interesting to read her perspectives. One thing that I find amazing is that she is able to do the solve and get all those art cells posted so quickly.

Rex Porker 9:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roo Monster 9:43 AM  

Hey All !
What a mind bender. Not in the Love It camp, though. Had the NE filled first, actually found it on the easy side. Then had OMENS across and IMOUT down, along with TORRE across in the SE. Which led me to figure out MIRRORx2. But then none of the other answers were working in the NW, so after cheating (:-[ ) by hitting Reveal Square, ending up with OMOUT/WEIRE and saying "Wha?" After two more Reveal Squares at 2D, finally figured out the reflection thing. Dang. Also didn't like the clues on alot of the reflected answers. Obtuse, they were. IMO should've been a tad more straightforward. Just sayin.

Appreciate it from a construction viewpoint. Wonky from a solving perspective. That SILENT W threw me a bit also. Had SI_ENTW and was like "ent-wa? What the hell kinda word ends in ent-wa??" So another victim of the ole SILENT letter thingie.

ROTI is new, had naan first. bcc early on for FYI.

ROUT
RooMonster
DarrinV

Rex Porker 9:49 AM  

Well, I can't even tell how I feel about a puzzle any more. I thought it was great, I think, but "I asked others to tell me whether I'm right..." You'd think after all these years of doing thousands of puzzles and "reviewing" them, I'd be able to form my own opinions. You'd be wrong.
(Even when he picks a great [I think] puzzle, I still have to get in my jab at Shortz. He clearly published it on the wrong day.)

NCA President 9:52 AM  

With so many comments so early you can tell this is one of those polarizing puzzles that people either love love or despise...probably not too many here on the fence. I landed on the despise side and here's why:

Sure, the construction is clever. But comparing this to music (which is about the only thing I know), it reminds me of serial music, namely of the 12-tone variety. 12-tone music is organized via a grid...every octave (or yesterday's atrocious "ottavo") is made up of 12 semi-tones...and the composer fills in the first row of the grid using all 12 tones without repeating one. S/he then continues filling in the 12x12 grid creating rows from that so that there are unique versions going across, backward, up, and down. S/he then writes a piece around that first row they scribbled out. The rule is you can't use a note twice until you complete the row first. It's basically a giant puzzle. Arnold Schönberg came up with the idea and it was mostly to find a new way to organize music rather than the (current at the time) post-romantic pan-tonality that had ties back to Wagner.

Long way to say, while the construction of such music is a feat, it sounds awful. Only a few (Dallapicola mostly) composers tried to find a tonality in the row and so their music kinda sounded familiar and yet not so much. But most of it was just dissonance, a-tonal by it's very definition, and pretty much was the beginning of the end for art music. Well, pointillism by Webern didn't help, but that's another story...

Here we have that kind of puzzle. The constructor achieved a very clever feat, but when you just look at the grid, it's horrific. So, like so many composers who have tossed 12-tone away and use it only for student compositions, if you can't do it to the satisfaction of your audience, don't do it. Yeah, I know...the people who like this puzzle like it for the construction of it...to me that's the wrong reason to like it. The construction should be the background noise...the answers and look of the grid are what's important.

The 8-letter puzzle a couple of weeks ago is in the same boat...and Rex hated that puzzle. Why? Because while using 8 letters to build a puzzle might be a feat of construction, it looks terrible and the experience sucks. @Whirred, who was probably the most honest about this, said it best: just getting the conceit was enough. And while I agree half the fun of solving is getting the theme, after you got the theme, all that was left was an ugly grid full of TURROSS, and NOIGH, and TAONY, and etc., etc., etc.

You may or may not agree with my reasoning here...but this is exactly why I hated this puzzle. Kudos to Jason for coming up with the idea...now if you can find a way to make that idea beautiful in the end...

Loren Muse Smith 9:59 AM  

Rex – what a perfect rating. Like everyone else, I dispatched the EVIL QUEEN and SNOW WHITE corners fairly early and then boom boom MIRROR MIRROR, but I actually played around with MIRROR, RORRIM first (Hi, @Charles in Austin), feeling pretty smart.

I saw the reflections sending the words out to the edge of the grid, but because my mirrors mostly have just one side, it took me forever to realize these mirrors reflected both ways. I do have one with two sides, but one side greatly magnifies everything, so what you're looking at goes from passable to horrifying, kinda like this:

xxxxT
xxxxR
xxxxE
NOSETRUNK
xxxxH
xxxxA
xxxxI
xxxxR

Before seeing MIRROR MIRROR, I fumbled around a bit

"_ _ware" for IRONSTONE
"Iglesias" for ESTRADA
"naan" for ROTI
"Adidas" for QANTAS

Of course, my entrée was IKEA – Iakttagelseförmåga Kärleksbekymmer Engångsblöja Användargränssnitt. Shoulda been a Monday clue, if you ask me.

FRET NOT feels fun but unupdated. Which brings me to my utterly predictable language thought most of you can skip now. In class, we’ve been talking about the SEVEN coordinating conjunctions and the mnemonic FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). So here's the serendipity. I've been whining that we need to take the F (for) out of the list because "Only SNOW WHITE and Cinderella speak that way."

I think I'll skip school tomorrow, for I have a test and need a little more time. Who uses for that way anymore?

If I overheard someone say that at a party, I'd crane my neck to check out the guy's outfit. Mayhap he's in a tunic and tights ? Perchance a codpiece?

Hail, fair sir! What bringeth thee to these perilous chambers this fine eventide? Be it the tales of some killer weed hereabouts, for your supply doth dwindle?"

So anyway, I have dubbed the conjunction for the SNOW WHITE conjunction.

Ingenius gimmick and great challenge for a Saturday. Terrific that you snuck SEVEN in. Too bad STAIRS couldn't have been reworked to be DWARF, huh?

Bill from FL 9:59 AM  

I vote great. Once you see the trick, the cluing for the central squares is Thursday (or even Wed.) level, but the trick is genuinely hard to see, so you (or at least I) need those clues to even break through. Easy-Challenging is right. I stand in awe of the construction.

GeezerJackYale48 10:05 AM  

Since Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" may have been the first movie I ever saw (check my name and you will understand) I got the shaded squares and 5A and 64A immediately. As to whether it should be "Magic Mirror" or Mirror, Mirror", it depends on whether you quote the original German or the Disney version.

Nancy 10:05 AM  

I am awed, simply awed by all of you who solved this. I filled in the NE and SW easily, and SNOW WHITE and EVIL QUEEN immediately gave me MIRROR, MIRROR. Then all hell broke loose. Because I knew there was something really, really fiendish going on, but MIRROR, MIRROR wasn't helping me in the least, other than giving me 12 letters I was sure of. I had no idea what I was supposed to do about THE DESCENT OF MAN and THE MASTERS, neither of which fit. So I looked for some sort of image reversal (that's what mirrors do, right, they reverse images, as in Leonardo's famous mirror writing.) MIRRORS DO NOT GO OFF AT RIGHT ANGLES, DO THEY? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS PUZZLE AT ALL! I don't think I need to improve my verbal skills; what I seem to need desperately is a crash course in physics. And yet so many "regulars" here got this puzzle, some even finding it easy. Amazing!

So put me squarely in the camp of @Adam 12:36 and @nyestreet 8:45 in not getting the whole mirror thing. And put me in the camp of @Pete 12:19 who said the puzzle made him want to eat a poisoned apple. Wonderful comment, Pete, and I heartily agree!

Ludyjynn 10:06 AM  

First of all, let me say how I really feel: I HATED THIS PUZZLE!

I am simply not wired to deal w/ garbagey-looking words. The experience was akin to watching an episode of the guilty-pleasure cable tv show called "BOTCHed", where two Beverly Hills plastic surgeons try to fix previous total train wreck surgical procedures performed by hacks. The crap vocab. in this puzz. was like their patients looking in the MIRROR before the docs. worked their magic and restored their various nose jobs, boob jobs, etc. to normalcy. Fine for tv fare, not so much for x-words, IMO.

This constructor has put me off eating apples for the rest of the day. THE END.

JC66 10:12 AM  

Tedious. I'm on the hate side.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

The people who are ranting that they don't like the gimmick are likely the same people who rant about tired, repetitive themes or puzzles that are too easy and straightforward. Variety is the spice of life, but there are just some people who just don't like spices.

pmdm 10:23 AM  

NCA President: It's not impossible to compose serial music that isn't awful, but it's certainly tough. And most of the serialist composers seem to delight in writing music that sounds ugly. Are you familiar with the music of Easley Blackwood. He began his composition career writing serial music that sounds astonishingly euphonious, then turned to dissonance, then was commissioned to invent musical notation for music in which the octave is divided into 13 to 24 intervals which brought him to tonal music in the Romantic style. There's a recording of a number of his string quartets that is a good introduction to his early period. There's a good amount of his stuff available for sampling on You Tube. I think his 2nd Symphony might be an example. It's definitely atonal, but it might not be serial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhxIRENHqb0


Here's a link to a solo guitar piece that divides the octave into 15 intervals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJQsR-Z5aDc

The Darwin clue made it very easy to grasp that you were going to have to enter the answers in the grid in some unusual manner. The lack of irritating fill made this a very enjoyable puzzle to solve for me. One of the better Saturday puzzles in my humble estimation.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Not on Saturday

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

I like my puzzles on a certain day to be a certain way! Anything that strays from my rigid requirements makes me stomp my feet and tantrum like a toddler.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Years ago, when I was a young lad and a relatively novice solver, there was a Sunday puzzle that used the word "jail" as a clue for STIR. I had no idea what it meant, so I researched and learned the etymology. Now I can't hear the word "stir" without thinking of jail, so "stir stir" (PRISONRIOT) was my entry into MIRRORdom. The rest was history.

Steve M 10:34 AM  

Got mirror mirror early
Got evil queen early
Got Snow White earl
But still baffled

chefbea 10:43 AM  

couldn't do the puzzle...and too many comments to read. I have one question...and maybe it has been mentioned above...why does my print out of the puzzle say the constructor's name is David Woolf..not jason flynn???

clare doyle 10:46 AM  

I agree love the comic hate the puzzle. Could be that I found it easy then felt really messed with.

Indypuzzler 10:55 AM  

Quickly decided that "mirror mirror" was the diagonal answer in shaded squares but flailed around for a bit as I initially got the Sleeping Beauty Disney villainess Maleficent to come to mind. Since it didn't fit I "settled" for EVILQUEEN and after solving looked back to see that it really was the generic name in Snow White. Like others figured out the bending mirror thing at Descent of Man crossing but still struggled because I decided my brain is not good at visually "bending words". Thanks to @Thomaso808 and @Muscato I have decided to blame the IPad!
I guess I would just add, "c'mon!" to folks that point out improper mirror reflection/refraction...whatever! Very clever construction and I appreciate a slow and thoughtful slog on Saturday.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:56 AM  

Grumble grumble grumble . . . . aha! . . . . Great puzzle! . . . . Loved it!

(But, yeah, might have been better on Thursday.)

@lms - This is just for you and me: Have you forgotten my challenge to concerned grammaticists to find a proper use of "for you and I"?

It is in the song lyric, "For you and I have a guardian angel, on high with nothing to do, but to give to me and to give to you true love . . . " etc.

Oh, forsooth, I seem to have spilled mead on my doublet!

Hartley70 11:03 AM  

I was able to complete this in a horrendous amount of time, but I didn't understand why I was making the right angles. The whole angle of reflection thing went right over my head because I was stuck on lexicography not physics. Add to that my last physics class was in 1965, the year of a long teachers' strike in our city, so you can imagine how much info I've managed to retain despite my undeserved "Easy A".
I got the gimmick at WEIGH which led to STEERAGE, and I fumbled around turning corners until I got the happy song. I think my solving experience would have been equally frustrating on a thursday although I admire constructor's idea, if not my own execution.

Z 11:06 AM  

@chefbea - It's a mystery. Likewise the actual constructors name is ALL CAPS in the .puz file. Some sort of technical kerfuffle apparently.

@LMS - I love the word "mayhap."

@NCA President - I've seen the suggestion that the history of music is the story of increasing dissonance.

Yesterday I ordered an Oddsides Cuckoo Wheat, which was described as a "wheat beer" on the menu. When it arrived at the table I discovered a label with a bird that looked very similar to Sonny the Cuckoo Bird (of Coco Puffs fame) and the info that this wheat beer had coffee added to the brewing process. Not what I was expecting. I took a sniff and then a sip. Hmmm, the coffee suggests Coco Puffs, not coffee, in a very pleasing if unexpected way. I suspect many people would despise the beer, but I will be getting a six pack of it soon. My reaction to this puzzle is exactly the same. This is a well-brewed concoction that plays with our expectations but still manages to deliver a tasty puzzling treat.

Re: MIRROR MIRROR - The 5A clue references the number of times MIRROR appears in the puzzle, not the movie, not the original Grimm clue. So the "misquote" we all know is there without the puzzle cluing being wrong. Ingenious.

Clark Kent 11:08 AM  

It's like bizarro crossworld today, for sure. Rex is happy (for rex) and his minions are whining. There must be some mirrors about.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

A Great, Great Puzzle

As a video game designer, I occasionally have to create puzzles that use the skills the player has been developing previously in the game in new ways. Success in puzzle design is when the player reaches a limit of frustration, but then through subtle cluing realizes they have to overcome solution bias and use mechanics or inventory items in new ways.

This is a great, great crossword because it gets the solver to brink and then that "a ha!" moment, that release of endorphins, the sudden ice break is reflected (pardon the pun) in the theme. Some people dismiss this as a gimmick, but the real challenge here is getting the user to overcome entrenched bias and solving the problem themselves without becoming too easy and simply giving the answer away or too hard and baffling them. I consider "gimmick" puzzles harder to pull off than standard themed puzzles, and therefore even greater when done well, like this one.

Obviously some people here were baffled, and understandably. I was too until I took a break and came back fresh. But even after the answer is revealed, I find it hard to believe you don't see the cleverness and artfulness that went into its construction.

@NCA President. Surely you don't believe "the answers and the look of the grid are what's important." Have you ever taken a crossword, handed it to someone else and asked them to solve it because you wanted to look at the filled in squares? Have you ever know anyone to do this?? Have you ever know anyone to cut out a crossword and frame it because of the aesthetics of the final product? Are there books out there of solved crossword puzzles that people buy just so they can appreciate the filled puzzle?? The answer to these is "no," because the answers and look are - at best - secondary if not unimportant. The joy is in the solving. The joy of crosswords is the process of solving, not the product of solving.

Indypuzzler 11:17 AM  

Amen @ anonymous 11:10.

old timer 11:19 AM  

I just gave up. Oh, I had MIRROR MIRROR right away, but could not make sense of the answers. Had to come here to learn what the trick was. A note would have been helpful here: "Although this is Saturday, think Thursday."

I'm not going to bother to finish it. The end result looks too ugly.

gpo 11:26 AM  

Hated it, hated it, hated it, hated it, loved it.

I didn't cop to the gimmick until the NE and SW were completely filled in and it was obvious that something was very wrong with the remaining quadrants. Usually I expect a Saturday to be tough but straightforward

I hate to even admit some of the the things I was thinking, like was Darwin's work really called "The Descent of Manners"? Plus, I was not expecting the mirrors to send the words off at 90 degree angles, until I grasped the angle of the mirrors.

This is pretty spectacular, although I thought I was going crazy for about 40 minutes.

Nancy Klein 11:29 AM  

As a child, I always scored very poorly in mechanical reasoning and spatial visualization on standardized tests. I guess that is why it took me so long, after realizing the concept of the puzzle, to figure out where to put the reflected/deflected letters. Got it in the end but it took twice my usual Saturday time to do so.

Bob Friedman 11:31 AM  

I hated this puzzle. It just frustrated me. It was more like a jigsaw than a crossword. It also left tons of nonsense stuff when looked at as a cross word.

RnRGhost57 11:39 AM  

Today's my 28th wedding anniversary, so even this clusterfu$k can't put me in a bad mood.

Lewis 11:46 AM  

Seeing TITS crossing SNOWWHITE made me lose a little equilibrium.

Lost in the hooplah was some excellent cluing: WEIGH, BEG, TRAITS, TICTACTOE, SNEE, NAGS, EEE.

I like the out-of-the-boxiness of this Saturday puzzle, where we expect no theme, then think "oh it's a minor one, with the fairy tale and mirror", then get struck with even another theme, the mirror trick. I like being knocked out of regularity every now and then; it kicks me out of complacency.

Terrific idea and execution -- Bravo!

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Anon @ 11:10am--well said, amen, +1, etc. Thank you for putting into words what I was feeling about this masterpiece and its detractors.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

I was sure IMOUT, OMENS, NOIRE were all correct but couldn't get it to lead me to the right angle. Not even after Descent OFMAN nor THEMASTERS. So I relied on the Check fx in Across Lite to see the light, er reflection. Still for me STIR as a jail was absurd and archaic even a NATICK. And to that I say piss off.

Nancy 12:00 PM  

@Nancy Klein (11:29) I'm wondering if there's something about being named Nancy that dooms a person to being terrible at spatial relations. I, too, was horrible at that section of IQ tests. I remember being shown a profile view of a stand-alone human ear and being asked whether it was a left or a right ear and I'm trying to put my own ear to the page in order to figure it out, as I'm gritting my teeth and saying: "How the hell should I know?" Even worse were the geometric figures comprised of bricks, with one missing brick. You then had to figure out, from 5 different figures with one brick missing, which was the same figure rotated 90 degrees or some such. Every answer I chose in this section was a complete guess; I never had the slightest idea what the right figure was. It's one of the reasons that I can't play chess: I can't visualize the board even 2 moves later, much less many moves later. But my problem with THIS puzzle was more of a mirror concept thing: I'm capable of making my answers veer off to the right; I just don't understand why I was expected to do that.

Master Melvin 12:08 PM  

Splendid puzzle!

Like many others I got MIRROR MIRROR, EVIL QUEEN, & SNOW WHITE pretty early and filled in NE and SW without much trouble. But then took a long time to figger out exactly how the reflection thing worked.

A great brain teaser for a quiet Saturday morning.

Nicki 12:18 PM  

Hated it. A puzzle that's a challenge because of a trick isn't much fun when, after you figure it out, leaves you with a meh puzzle.

mathguy 12:32 PM  

@chefbea: I printed out the puzzle last night and it had "JASON FLINN/Edited by Will Shortz" in the upper right.

The gimmick defeated me. After a couple of hours, I went to Jeff Chen and read just until he revealed the gimmick. Then I went back and finished it. With some difficulty. I had many of the words and then knew where's to place them.

I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to get the gimmick. I'm usually good at that. I might have gotten it if there were more gimmes. But there may be a bigger problem. I made a deposit at my bank last week and I added up the five checks on my deposit slip. I checked the addition before bringing it to the teller. I had added incorrectly.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

@Nancy 12:00--You're "supposed to do that" because it's a puzzle that you have to figure out. Just like you're "supposed to" sometimes add a letter or two, or you're "supposed to" put more than one letter in a box sometimes, or you're "supposed to" fill in some circles sometimes, or you're "supposed to" make words go in funny directions sometimes. Sheesh.

mathguy 12:34 PM  

I forgot to mention that I thought that it was a great puzzle, absolutely great.

Mette 12:35 PM  

Agree with anon@11:10. Very satisfying when it finally made sense.

jberg 12:43 PM  

Well, I loved it. MIRROR MIRROR was my first answer, since I couldn't remember the SNOW QUEEN'S name, and had not sussed out what kind of safety we were dealing out. Then, like @Rex and everyone else, I had all these obvioius answers like I'M OUT and OMENS that conflicted with each other. So I thought about the mirrors, and tried having each answer back up when it got to them, and then finally figured out the angled-reflection thing.

It should've been easy from there, but wasn't because a)STOic, b) SHORTer, and c) largEST seemed so obvious. I was so set on that trio of wrongies that I decided it must not be PRISON RIO but rather a riot in some prison with a name ending in EI. I think I had to get _KEA from crosses before I sorted out that area, and was still looking for a proper name at 5A until I got the final _UEEN.

I'm puzzled by the complaint of many that the entries are gibberish when you read them straight across or straight down. Since you are not supposed to read them that way, so what? De gustibus, I guess!

@Loren, thanks for the point about the SNOW WHITE conjunction! I'm going to try to use it more, for I like to honor the old traditions.

I also loved the meta-ness of the Supremes, singing about reflections on a reflective stage wearing dresses covered with little mirrors. Great choice, Rex!

Andrew Morrison 12:44 PM  

I usually hate gimmicks, but I thought this puzzle was excellent. It remained a challenge even after I figured out the gimmick. Only thing that confused me was Stir stir. I eventually arrived at PRISONRIOT (having wasted a lot of time with STOic), but it still made no sense to me. Oh well, I got the magic song and avoided a DNF. Time to research 'Stir.'

demit 12:45 PM  

The gimmick is ultimately unsatisfying because you have to make excuses for it. That is, the image that "bounces off" the mirror isn't the same image, only reversed. THE hits the mirror and comes back MASTERS or OF hits the mirror and comes back MAN. Plus there's all those ugly gibberish words that are created in the process. Sometimes gimmicks try too hard; all there is is the gimmick.

Didn't like. Once I got the trick, DNBTF. Did not bother to finish.

Seven years bad luck 12:51 PM  

I had the 2nd mirror reversed (mirrored). I expected the answers to be mirrored as well. What is with this 90 degree nonsense? ¡I hate this puzzle elzzup!

Lewis 12:56 PM  

Factoid: The voice of SNOW WHITE in the Disney movie, 19-year-old Adriana Caselotti, was held to a very strict contract. Because Disney wanted to keep the character's voice special, the contract forbid Adriana from EVER performing on stage or film again. But she did sneak in another - uncredited - voiceover in “The Wizard Of Oz”. In the scene where the Tin Man sings “If I only Had A Heart”, she is the voice that says “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Quotoid: "I busted a mirror and got SEVEN years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five." -- Steven Wright

Tita 1:08 PM  

Love it!!!
@Z - me too. Even though I first dropped SNOWWHITE into 5A, followed by MIRRORMIRROR...
NE and SW were "relatively" easy, since they didn't have any gimmick. I kept telling myself that in addition to the theme answers, there must be a trick. I got those two corners, but just couldn't land any fill around that MIRRORMIRROR diagonal.

Should the second entry be RORRIM? (Hey, @Charles)

Like you, Descent OFMAN finally broke it - even though I thought the event was pgatour.

@Pete - mental chaos is why I do puzzles...!

Thanks Hayley - I'm signing up now. And Thanks George B - a doubleheader of self-promotion!
@Hayley - I'm surprise you say "I needed something I could do without too much time lost...".
I always marvel at how you come up with each gem so quickly - they obviously require so much reflection...

@lms - one of the all time great posts!!!!!

Thanks for one of those "Now why can't I come up with a cool idea like that?!" puzzles, Mr. Flinn!

Suzy 1:26 PM  

No where in my wheelhouse!! Puzzles should make some sort of sense-- bummer!!!

cwf 1:30 PM  

Loved it. I'm going to pile onto the anon @11:10 band. Couldn't have said it better.

Charles Flaster 1:34 PM  

DNF but enjoyed the flying.
Rex review is very appropriate.
Thanks JF.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Gee, @Suzy@1:26, maybe the puzzle DOES make sense and you just aren't bright enough to figure out how?! Nah, couldn't be. You win "ignoramus of the day" award.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:54 PM  

satpUzthUmbsUp! Bullets…

1. Reflections:
B
O
FUNCY
N

2. OMOUT - Signature signoff for the star of the "how to chant while meditating reflectively" show.

3. SHORAGE - Shortage with a shortage

4. ENGRET - Snowy wading bird that reflects on structural design a lot

5. TORRO - Masked dude that carves T's on bad guys with his sword

6. ENTR'ADA - Intermission runtpuz in the middle of Nabokov novel (**gruntz**)

7. AMODE - Unprintable remarks bestowed upon the wake-up buzzer on a clock radio

8. For folks that miss their themeless Saturday slugfest, a little musical reflection by Teresa Brewer (#2, 1953)…

"...And baby
I don't want a ricochet romance, I don't want a ricochet love
If you're careless with your kisses, find another turtle dove
I can't live on ricochet romance, no, no not me
If you're gonna ricochet, baby, I'm gonna set you free…"

M&A

Z 1:56 PM  

@Nancy 12:00 - Because science. No need to bother with the text in the link, just look at that first diagram. Here's a way to see this in the real world: Take a flashlight into your bathroom and turn off the light. If you face directly at the mirror and shine the flashlight straight the light will reflect straight back at you. For every little bit not straight you angle the flashlight the reflection will reflect that much away from the flashlight. In the puzzle, the "light" (the answer) is hitting the MIRROR at 45° from straight on, so the reflection has to be 45°, too. 45°+45°=90°.

@demit - You are right if you think of each letter as a quantum. If you think of each answer as a quantum at the moment of reflection the "science" works just fine. @Any real physicist here - feel free to correct me.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Without question, the dumbest puzzle ever.

M and A on the Rebound 1:59 PM  

p.s.

Reflection #1 didn't work right. It should maybe have been done thisaway:

*B
*O
FUNCY*
*N
**

(Was originally trying to avoid the cheater squares.)

M&A
"Crossword Construction Engret"

MDMA 2:00 PM  

Lots of people seem to be having trouble with the physics here.

Imagine a mirror and a single incoming ray of light — a laser beam perhaps. If the light ray comes in at a 45° angle, it reflects back out at the same 45° angle. Exactly like a billiard ball bouncing off the side of a pool table.

The two 45° angles add up to a 90° right angle. So if you now tilt the mirror itself at a 45° angle, you end up with a horizontal incoming ray and a vertical reflected ray.

NCA President 2:01 PM  

Actually I do think the grid has a certain aesthetic. And I figured someone would disagree. I was trying to be thoughtful and defend why I didn't like this puzzle.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

@NCA Pres: There's a backhanded compliment if ever I heard one. Me after a blind date: "That woman certainly had a certain aesthetic." Probably not likely to call her again.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

I think people on this blog take their cue from Rex: It's one thing to say "I didn't like the puzzle because..." It's another to say "it didn't make sense" or it was "stupid." This puzzle and it's MIRRORs do a very good job in those instances reflecting back to the person making the comment.

Michael C. 2:21 PM  

@Zeke you're alive?! It's a crossword miracle!

Cheat her squares 2:30 PM  

I count 4 cheater squares. Can anyone confirm?

DigitalDan 2:46 PM  

ILIK
E
DIT

Anoa Bob 3:06 PM  

This did not work for me. I see words that make ninety degree, right angle turns when they reach the MIRROR diagonal. Some words make the turn at their respective center letters, e.g., WEIGH & AMORE, and some have a different number of letters on each side of the turn, e.g., IMOUT & ANDRO.

But there is not a single word anywhere that is actually a MIRROR image!. I get the angle of incidence/reflection thing. But a MIRROR image would have the same letters reflecting back from the MIRROR as were being projected onto the MIRROR, but in reverse order. Right?

So I think for the puzzles's gimmick to work, the solver would have to not notice or not care that there are no actual MIRROR images involved, just right angle turns. And some of those balance and some not.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

@anoa: you've got to be fucking kidding me.

Fred Romagnolo 3:50 PM  

@Nancy & @Steve M: youse guys is right! I am teaching myself to suffer fools gladly; I'm beginning to find the anonymice fairly amusing. But they're still pathetic.

joho 3:50 PM  

When I wasn't done with this puzzle I said MIRROR, MIRROR on the wall, who is the dumbest of them all? All I could see was me.

Brilliant, Jason Flinn!

Fred Romagnolo 3:59 PM  

@Billy C: I left you a billet-doux very late yesterday.

Masked and Anonymous 4:37 PM  

p.p.s.s.

@Cheat her squares: I count 3 symmetric pairs of cheater squares in the grid:
1. The ones before INTS and after SNEE.
2. The ones before SHORAGE and after ENTR'ADA.
3. The ones after PRISONRTH and before OFMASTERS.

While I'm here, some more background research M&A turned up on TORRO:
This masked defender of the unrespected really wanted to call himself UORRO. But he didn't go with UORRO, mainly because of the following top reasons:
* He could never get the U corners to look right, using sword strokes.
* He already had second cousins that were going by "VORRO" and "WHORRO" (the latter a porno star).
* Hoping for Toro sponsorship.
* The local villagers couldn't pronounce UORRO, when singing his theme song.
* ENTREAUS was not an acceptable grid entry from the Shortzmeister.
* Bullfight tie-ins with El Toro gave it instant name-recognition strength.

M&A Help Desk

Billy C 5:06 PM  


@Tita -- I saw no SELF-promotion in The Good Professor's post today.

@Fred R. Yep, just saw it, Tnx!

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

I truly enjoyed the crossword solver "high" when I figured out the mirror answer format. It was an especially big rush after a prolonged period of suffering.

Physics made perfect sense to me at 45 degree angle. Kudos to the constructor on this one.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

the NE and SW and Mirror Mirror went in effortlessly, seemed impossibly easy for a Saturday and then nothing. Knew "i'm out" "steerage" "noire" "the masters" "torre" "amore" etc and just couldn't figure out the twist. i just don't expect these on a Saturday (i believe the last one that was a Saturday that i had no clue was the one where a letter was left out of the clue).

Amy 7:04 PM  

I liked this a lot but think it would have been entirely too hard for a Thursday for us mere mortals. It was hard.

kitshef 7:24 PM  

Paper solver, and my NW got so overwritten and blotchy I had to re-draw that corner on scrap paper and start over. Like many, I finally twigged at THEMAN and the descent OFMASTERS, but that was far too late to save my NW.

Count me among the 'loved it'. Loved having to work for the theme and loved the strange resulting words (TEARMON, STOIST, SHORAGE).

Fill is pretty good overall considering theme density. Not a fan of SNEE or ERIN, and of course I will never, ever, ever get my GTOs and GTEs and REOs straight so I wish they were banned from all puzzles.

Outside the NW, which would take all day to recount, not too bad for over-writes. malefoopsitdoesn'tfit before EVILQUEEN, lArgEST before VASTEST, GTe before GTO, Transpooopsitdoesn'tfit before TELEPORT, haRaNG before SERING (57A).

Did I mention loved it?

OISK 7:25 PM  

As our leader said, it was pretty easy if you got the trick. I knew there had to be one, but stubbornly looking for reflections with reversed letters, I never found it. So a huge, annoying, frustrating, did not even get close to finishing. More annoying, because I knew the answers to almost all of the clues. (not John Waite)

So I hated it! But that doesn't mean it wasn't a brilliant puzzle. That said, even had I reflected sufficiently, I would have disliked this kind of puzzle. I tend to make errors on these even when I see what I need to do. Ruined a perfect week.

Anonymous 7:40 PM  

at least/last @OISK admits it--you loved this puzzle if you solved it without cheating, you hated it if you didn't.

sir mix-it-up 7:46 PM  

Has anybody had the thought that if you predictably put puzzles with "tricks" on the same day of the week (i.e., Thursday) they might not be so tricky?

Wood 8:18 PM  

Solved without cheating but it took me TWO HOURS. Like many others, had entire NE and WE plus MIRROR MIRROR filled in within 10 minutes. Then, flummoxed. Knew there was a trick ... took me an embarrassingly long time to see it.

OISK 8:18 PM  

@sir mix-it-up...In this case I knew there was a trick, but I still didn't see it. By the way, now knowing the trick, I went back to the puzzle and filled in the rest of it in under 5 minutes. So "easy - challenging" is exactly right!

Mohair Sam 10:42 PM  

So I read @Anoa Bob's 3:06 post aloud to Mrs. Mohair. She rolled her eyes and yawned. Then I read her Anon 3:37's reply. She's still laughing. Brevity is indeed the soul of wit.


challenging-Easy Rex, not Easy-Challenging. Battled this thing for an hour and then caught the trick and finished in minutes.

Loved it.

Anonymous 11:08 PM  

Stupid waste of time. Guess which hand holds the penny. Not worth the sub. I'm out.

Anonymous 11:43 PM  

I like the idea, but things don't bounce off mirrors at right angles. Mirrors reflect, so I spent a lot of time (such as with The Masters and The Descent of Man) trying to reconcile actual reflections across the grey squares.

Leapfinger 11:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Mark 12:58 PM  

I am here to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for over 9 years and we had two kids. thing were going well with us and we where always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treated me and the kids. later that month he did not come back home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted traditional spell hospital for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he casted on him that make him come back to me. my family and i are now happy again. Thank you Dr. Aluta for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay. He cast spells for different purposes like
(1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(9) Herbal care
(10) is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery
Contact him today on: traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com

obat pembesar penis 6:23 AM  

I think I agree with Rex except for the challenging part which he seems to retreat on. This was easy for me. Put in INTS out of the printer and then read the 9a clue and filled in the circles ( shaded squares). Went back and, after filling in a couple of NW answers that didn't quite work, figured out the MIRROR trick. From that point on it was Tues. easy. Only erasures were STOic before STONY and jIg before RIP.

jual cialis 6:27 AM  

At Xwordinfo Jason says this was originally aimed at Thurs. IMHO that's where it belongs...tricky but on the easy side for Thurs. Liked the puzzle and the very clever twist, but not on Sat.!

harga mobil jazz 6:30 AM  

Still not super-confident on Saturday, so I gave up before I figured out the trick.

I am not happy about this.

oxygen regulator 6:31 AM  

I don't know how long I sat there with the NE and SW done and MIRROR MIRROR laughing at me (can I blame having the Tiger game on? - How can a team this good find such creative ways to lose?) All the answers I knew were right wouldn't work, NOIRE, TORRE, PRISON RIOT, I'M OUT. Everything was too long or didn't work with crosses. Finally, finally, I said "it has to be The Descent OF MAN and the bounce off the MIRROR suddenly made sense. Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma'am! Done. 41 minutes, I'm guessing 25 of them sitting here with a puzzled look on my face.

Good stuff. Really good stuff.

vmenplus 6:33 AM  

Horror show. Made me want to eat a poisoned apple.

alat bantu sex 6:35 AM  

I got the gimmick as most likely did - gibberish in the NW, filled in enough of the NE to get EVILQUEEN, threw down MIRROR MIRROR and was off to the races, the kind of races where you run as fast as you can into a wall, leading with your head and bouncing off.

fm 6:37 AM  

The potions of the puzzle not reduced to gibberish by the gimmick are nice enough, but the rest is gibberish. It was painful to fill in. I don't do the cross to have half of it painful to fill in space.

harga kursi roda 6:39 AM  

It was new and different which usually I approve of. However, new and different when it creates this much mental chaos is not something I appreciate.

tempat tidur rumah sakit 6:40 AM  

I took my DNF and cheated after about 30 minutes. I got the basic conceit and tried to finish on my own. It still took me quite awhile to finish - it gave me a headache! Oh well - I appreciate the construction though.

polisi online 6:43 AM  

Walking from printer to easy chair and reading the clue for 5A, I instantly saw MIRROR MIRROR and was prepared for a disappointingly easy Saturday puzzle. Well, not. Flummoxed by why some answers were too long for their space (PRISION RIOT) or too short (STONY) and why obvious crosses refused to cross (OMENS x NOIRE; SNEE x ANDRO) (hi, @Z) - and even making up book titles (Descent of MANkind), I spent an eternity trying to figure out how the MIRRORs were involved. Finally got it at THE MASTERS. In contrast, the non-reflective corners went quickly.

wisata puncak murah 6:44 AM  

Had to run the alphabet for the T in INTS and correct Router to RIPSAW; couldn't believe I got faked out for the nth time on a SILENT letter.

foto pernikahan 6:46 AM  

I'm with@Pete. Nuff said!

harga kursi roda 6:48 AM  

Thanks Haley! Love your work and appreciate the links!

tempat tidur rumah sakit 6:49 AM  

Yes, the puzzle is great. Plus, it has the added bonus of making solver (in this case: me) feel really clever for figuring out the gimmick fairly early on.

4newbie 6:51 AM  

Had STOic before STONY for "impassive."

jaket kulit garut 6:52 AM  

Thanks to those of you who wished me well this past Sunday (May 31) when I disclosed that I had accomplished my personal challenge of finishing every NYT puzzle for a year. Some of you were a little hurt, though, by my comment that my least favorite day was the Sunday puzzle because it didn't give me much satisfaction for the amount of time I'd invested in solving it (it felt like I was doing two Thursdays). A few of you described the joy of the routine of your Sunday solves. Great stuff!

cuci sofa murah 6:54 AM  

I then realized that one reason I didn't experience the same delight with the Sunday puzzle is that I was typically solving it on Saturday afternoon (it comes out at 3PM in California). My Sundays usually have other activities, and so I never developed the relaxing habit of actually doing a Sunday NYT puzzle on Sunday. Maybe I'll give it a try, and my enjoyment level will rise!

jasa seo murah 6:55 AM  

The physics is wrong. If angle of incidence = angle of reflection, then why does the word hit the "mirror" and turn a corner?? Show me a mirror where light hitting it directly head-on would turn 90 degrees! meh.

supplier kosmetik 6:58 AM  

@Carola - my only groan was when SILENT W appeared, long before I got the mirror. I had --LENT W before I got it.

spacecraft 10:54 AM  

DNF. Sure, I knew there was something wifty going on, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what it was.The phrase EVILQUEEN did not occur; now that I see it, yeah. Guess the old gray cells are getting grayer. But in any event, I now see that one of the answers involves a SILENT letter. That crap always throws me, and starts a rant (which, since I never even got that far, I will eschew).

I did strongly suspect that MIRROR went into the shaded squares, but maybe the bottom was reversed (like it would be if you put it up to a mirror), and so the only two letters I was certain of were the two R's in the middle. Alas, that wasn't enough help.

I can't call it "bad" just because I couldn't get it; now seeing the whole thing I concede its elegance, if confusing. But I can say that the penalty incurred with 41-down would have made an A impossible.

Burma Shave 11:43 AM  

SHORTOF AMORE VIBE

FRETNOT EVER THEMASTERS grubby mitts,
I MADEAPLAY for SNOWWHITE’s TITS.
She made me WAITE and BEG and pay my DUES,
She’s an EVILQUEEN, if EWE BOTCH it, EWE lose.

--- EARL “THEMAN” ANDRO

rondo 12:08 PM  

This was a mind-bender for me. MIRROR MIRROR filled in with no question. Then the NE and SW, no problem. But how to make OMENS and WEIGH go in? And THEMASTERS and OFMAN had to fit in there too. That’s where I got the trick to fill in the diagonal blankness. Still a bit confusing as I am generally more linear than “reflective”. I appreciate the construct, but not sure that I like it that much as a solve. On Saturday.

What can I say? I like TITS. Without PADS.

I had the last at bat in our ballgame last night. The ump’s final words: EWE ROUT!


I had a good VIBE going in the themish corners of this puz, but reflecting on that diagonal, I didn’t EVER get it back. Maybe today’s Sudoku and Jumble and the other games will brighten things. Then the great outdoors calls. That oughta do it. TITS.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

I threw in the towel on this one. Don't think I would ever have sussed out the trick unless by accident. I admit Mr. Woolf created a very, very clever puzzle and now that I've been LECTURED it all makes sense. What bothers me is I had the answers but didn't solve the riddle. Oh well, kudos to David W. and woe is me. I will now take my saddened body to the town square and place myself in the Stock, for public derision and humiliation............Not.

Ron Diego La Mesa, CA

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

First NYT puzzle in my 64-year lifetime that I ever gave up on. The gimmick is cheap, and not a mirror image. Terrible

rain forest 7:23 PM  

I don't like to denigrate other commenters but:
Those who are angry because they couldn't solve it and therefore didn't like it--get over yourself.

Those who actually think the answers should reflect directly back have completely missed the idea.

Those who believe that the reflected parts of the answers should actually be mirror images--what @ Anon at 3:37 said.

Finally, I, and I hope no one else here, wants to be told why they should or shouldn't like a puzzle as @NCA president suggests. How holier-than-thou can one get? Serial music? LOL

Without being told, I really liked this puzzle for the reasons that so many have expressed. I like it when I get an *aha* moment as I did when I filled in DESCENT OF MAN. Some great cluing in there, too.

Hey @ Spacey - my last entry was SILENTW. Make of that what you will.

Canadian Chickadee 7:36 PM  

This is a really stupid puzzle. I understand the logic behind it, but to me this is cheating -- it is not fun! I'm not Alan Turing here and I don't want to have to decipher the enigma machine on a Saturday morning. So boo - hiss to Jason whatsit who devised this stupid thing.

leftcoastTAM 8:01 PM  

I saw the theme early enough but couldn't execute the gimmick. (I have lots of problems with capital punishment, but I think this gimmick deserves to be executed, as humanely as possible of course.)Having tried to solve in my usual pen and ink, that diagonal strip of mirrors reflected a royal mess of futile write-overs.

rondo 9:39 PM  

I'm missing @Cathy. I like her witty comments.

leftcoastTAM 12:15 AM  

This is a couple of days late (Syndiland time) and probably won't be seen by anyone, but....

Regarding the Friday, June 5 puzzle and it's MIRROR, MIRROR theme, @Anoa Bob 3:06PM posted a perfectly valid criticism of the theme and its "reflection" gimmick, pointing out that there really were no "reflections," nor was there any logical consistency in what was presumably "reflected."

Then @Anonymous 3:37PM responded with a crude, insulting put-down, implying that Anoa's criticism was ridiculously stupid. Which it wasn't. Anoa was absolutely right.

Disagreement is fine, especially when it's backed up with a few facts and some reasoning. Arrogant (and may I say stupid) insults should be ruled out of bounds.

leftcoastTAM 12:21 AM  

Correction: the Saturday, June 6th puzzle.

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