Cheap smoke in slang / SUN 6-14-15 / Creator of Stupefyin Jones / Rank above bey / Sally sweet bun / Dick popularized zone blitz / Slaughterhouse scraps / Tenor in flying dutchman

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Constructor: Randolph Ross

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: "The In Crowd" — two-word phrases, second word begins w/ prefix "IN-"; clued as if "IN" were, in fact, a separate word. Wackiness, theoretically, at least, ensues.

Theme answers:
  • FIGHT IN JUSTICE (23A: Dispute between Loretta Lynch and her co-workers?)
  • GENERAL IN FORMATION (37A: Army V.I.P. at a military parade?)
  • BRAIN IN JURY (48A: Smartest one to consider a case?)
  • COURT IN JUNCTION (64A: Municipal building located where major roads intersect?) (makes no sense—it would be *at* a junction, not *in* one…)
  • SISTER IN LAW (83A: Nun for the defense?)
  • PRIVATE IN VESTMENTS (90A: G.I. dressed like a priest?)
  • CRIMINAL IN TENT (110A: Felon at a campground?)
Word of the Day: PUT (5D: Wall Street order) —
put op·tion
noun
STOCK MARKET
noun: put option; plural noun: put options
  1. an option to sell assets at an agreed price on or before a particular date. (google)
• • •

I can't write a lot about this one, as I have very little nice to say. There is a theoretically humorous angle to this theme, but it's too basic, too transparent, and the end, too dull and repetitive to be a good basis for a Sunday puzzle, especially in the 21st century. The concept and the fill both felt ancient. There are terms and expressions here that aren't just unfamiliar to me—they're borderline nonsensical. Clue on PUT made zero sense to me, but I'll take PUT on the chin and say "my bad." PIG IT, however, I will not accept. That is possibly the dumbest thing I've seen in a grid, and I've seen … some stuff. In an attempt, I guess, to have a lower word count on these Sunday puzzles, we end up with big white spaces that are clearly too much for some constructors to handle well. But even the little sections … I mean, why is anyone suffering a MOL/ORDO crossing in such a tiny section of a grid in the year 2015? That's a MOLORDOrous crossing. But I can tell you right now the cross that's going to groin-kick more people than any other: EL ROPO / LUNN (68D: Cheap smoke, in slang / 76A: Sally ___ (sweet bun)). This is a bad cross; this is a cross that will thwart more solvers than any other single cross in this puzzle; this is a fact; this problem is utterly foreseeable, and (likely) utterly fixable with a little elbow grease. I know EL ROPO *only* from solving crosswords for a long time (the cigar-type clue is a pretty hackneyed / low form of clue) and I Don't Know What A Sally LUNN Sweet Bun Is At All. Was that big … sometime before 1969? I have no problem with old-skewing clues, but when that's all there is, and when the theme is moribund and the grid just Isn't Clean … well, it makes me want to play HOB with something. Now where did I put my hob?


Seriously, the hell? Play HOB with? HOB. [Frodo, familiarly?]. Also, AT NOON? IN A CAN? Random adverbial phrases... Ugh. It hurts.

To the puzzle's credit, it saved the best for last, themer-wise. If only they all could've been felons at campgrounds...
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    119 comments:

    Jim Walker 12:03 AM  

    Only one of the theme answers sparkled: CRIMINALINTENT. The rest ranged from boring to WTF. SISTERINLAW was DREADful. Once again, Sunday has become problematic. BTW, is there a new rule that every NYT puzzle must contain the word ASS? Or are we talking a Sally LUNN sweet bun here. Sorry Mr. Ross, no sale here. Your MARK from this teacher is D+.

    andrew 12:10 AM  

    Now for the tea of our host, now for the rollicking bun,
    Now for the muffin and toast, now for the gay Sally Lunn!
    WOMEN: The eggs and the ham, and the strawberry jam!
    MEN: The rollicking bun, and the gay Sally Lunn! The rollicking, rollicking bun!

    from Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera The Sorcerer (as per Wikipedia, bun was first created in 1780)

    quite obscure. And you pointed out the other worst offenders: HOB, EL ROPO, ORDO

    jae 12:19 AM  

    Very easy for me.  Started filling in the NW and just kept going.  I'm kinda with Rex.  On the meh side and ORDO/MOL was not good. Briefly considered MiL, but IRDO seemed worse than ORDO.   Not much fun.

    George Barany 12:28 AM  

    @Randolph Ross is right up there among prolific New York Times constructors, with over a hundred puzzles (nearly half of them Sundays) to his credit in a quarter of a century. So there was a lot of nice material in here to counterbalance the points reasonably enunciated by @Rex. I ran into similar difficulties in the SW, and I couldn't help noticing a conflagration of words/clues like ASS (Dummkopf), LOOPY, HEADCASE, to go with theme entry BRAIN_INJURY.

    In a bow to @Ross's day job as a school principal, he brought up LATE_PASS and MARK. I loved SIGMA and especially MOL, which reminded me of a joke us chemists tell the students: Q: How many atoms in a bowl of guacamole? A: Avocado's number.

    Two full names that are only six letters long: AL_CAPP and AL_HAIG. AL_GORE would have made it a trifecta. It was a nice touch to update the FIGHT_INJUSTICE clue with the name of the current attorney general, who was finally confirmed nearly half a year after being nominated. I had VESSEL for the FITB Empty ?ES?E? until fixing it to NESTER. And I laughed at the clue for ROASTED.

    chefwen 12:37 AM  

    Have to agree with the majority (so far) kinda boring. As others have stated, best was CRIMINAL IN TENT, that, at least brought a chuckle.
    The rest was just fill and finish.

    I am yearning for a Liz Gorski Sunday, is that too much to ask for?

    Carola 12:53 AM  

    Like @jae, I found it easy. Agree that CRIMINAL IN TENT was the reward for dutifully filling in the rest, although I thought that PRIVATE IN VESTMENTS conjured up an amusing image and that FIGHT IN JUSTICE had some wit to it. Otherwise, I liked PEASHOOTER, QUADRUPEDS, LATE PASS, HEAD CASE, LAYETTE, TRITONS, ADONIS + EROS.

    That use of HOB was new to me; I remembered EL ROPO from an earlier puzzle and knew Sally LUNN just because I like to read recipes. REDIRECT: flashback to childhood days of watching Hamilton Burger try to undo Perry Mason's damage.

    Anonymous 12:58 AM  

    "But I can tell you right now the cross that's going to groin-kick more people than any other: EL ROPO / LUNN (68D: Cheap smoke, in slang / 76A: Sally ___ (sweet bun)). This is a bad cross; this is a cross that will thwart more solvers than any other single cross in this puzzle ... "

    I had no problem with that at all. I found the entire puzzle easier than most Sundays.

    John Child 2:12 AM  

    The conjunction of INJUSTICE, COURT INJUNCTION, and CRIMINAL INTENT feels like a cluster of answers separate from the other theme phrases. FIGHT (IN)JUSTICE works either way, but none of the other theme answers do.

    This felt hard for me throughout, though as I look at the grid there are places where I got bursts of fill. But mostly it was tough clues and slow progress. I enjoyed the wordplay today though, and from someone who doesn't like puns very much, that's a serious compliment.

    I recommend to you Rex Sports, named for a favorite sport of our host, which has come up a couple of times recently. Familiar and easy, but I guarantee you'll learn a couple of things you didn't know. The constructors are a gang of the usual suspects. ;-)

    MDMA 2:24 AM  

    Rex identified the weaknesses of this puzzle: EL ROPO / LUNN / HOB. Maybe he could have added THANES crossing HOB and LAMAR. But I remembered seeing EL ROPO somewhere in the last few months, perhaps in a Merl Reagle puzzle. So all's well that ends well.

    PUT as shorthand for "put option" is not really that obscure. Like stocks, puts and calls are bought and sold on exchanges, and you can do that by submitting an order to a broker. Most puzzles have one or two entries with specialized domain terminology (like mol in chemistry), mixed in with all the trivia and wordplay answers.

    The themed answers worked for me. A bit corny but made me smile.

    Doris 6:29 AM  

    Yes, @Andrew, you beat me to it. Have known "the gay Sally Lunn" (and "the rollicking, rollicking bun") by the immortal WSG since childhood. As for "hob," knew that too, as a reference to an imp or elf or, as mentioned here in "The Oxford Dictionaries" (not the real OED, i assume):

    play (or raise) hob

    North American: Cause mischief.

    Origin: Late Middle English (in the sense 'country fellow'): nickname for Rob, short for Robin or Robert, often referring specifically to Robin Goodfellow.(Puck)



    Lewis 6:39 AM  

    My favorite clue was "Where It.s at" for EUR. I thought the theme answers were clever but not funny. They did their job, however, of holding the puzzle together. I like seeing EYEBALLS in the grid. RIMY not so much.

    This was not quick and easy for me. Yesterday, the only word that I've never heard of was VIRTU. Today there was ELROPO, HOB, PASHA, ULSTERS, LUNN, and LEBEAU (these last three would make a nice sounding law firm); that plus some cluing that wasn't on my wavelength (which is a good thing!) made this solve go in fits and spurts. I agree with Rex's complaints -- I think all of them. Well actually, I've heard of PUT. I vaguely remember something called a "put and call". And @rex, it was the kind of writeup you do that I love -- witty, informative, and not decrying the end of civilization, or at least of the Gray Lady and crossword-dom.

    Overall, not a memorable puzzle, either in a wow or eww way, but still a workout that I'm grateful for.

    Kenneth Wurman 6:56 AM  

    Got Criminal Intent without any of the down words..
    Would be more PC if 52 down clue was "Kris and Caitlyn" ..just sayin..

    Kenneth Wurman 6:56 AM  
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    Kenneth Wurman 6:56 AM  
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    Bob Kerfuffle 6:57 AM  

    One write-over: 50 D, Kid, JOSH before JEST.

    Ted Cole 7:04 AM  

    Meh.

    Trombone Tom 7:11 AM  

    Agree with most that the majority of themers were pretty tepid. Overall the puzzle went smoothly except for Sally LUNN which was slow to come. PUT and HOB were familiar usages. Didn't like RIMY. Tried to put in cheaPO before EL ROPO. Enjoyed CRIMINAL IN TENT.

    'mericans in Paris 7:27 AM  

    We found this puz a mix of easy with a few hard clues. Natticked at the LEBEAU-VEREEN cross, and had to guess the answers to several others. So, ON PAPER, DNF.

    Otherwise, I agree more with George Barany than with Rex: there were some well-clued words and some nice appearances. SLEAZES is highly UNSUITABLE for a NYT crossword, however.

    On the other hand the vocabulary was so much better than last week's for writing yet another episode of ...

    Matt Esquare, Private EYEBALLS

    in "REDIRECT"


    O'Hara's surprise appearance during my stake-out at the docks shook me up, but the notion that the Mayor had ordered him to tail me really surprised me. It made sense, of course: O'Hara might see me as a steady source of income, but he wouldn't shed a tear if I was to end up wearing concrete boots at the bottom of the Detroit River.

    I was deep in such thoughts, having a hard time deciding between eating MUESLI or a LUNN bun for my late breakfast, when AT NOON my phone buzzed. I could see it was Klum Damone, Inspector for the Field Operations Division of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

    "YOS, Damone, wASS up?"

    "I thought you'd like to know. We've gotten back some of the first results from the lab tests on Hans Sagal."

    A wave of DREAD washed through me. I swallowed. "Go on."

    "Well, we found some blood under Sagal's fingernails. He must have struggled with the murderer and dug his fingers into the guy's flesh. What's unusual, however, is the blood type: AB POSITIVE. Only about 3% of the population have that type. That'll come in handy for narrowing down suspects."

    "Anything else?"

    "The autopsy also found a small MARK at the back of his skull, as if an ice pick or a large biopsy needle had been inserted there. There was evidence of BRAIN INJURY in the same area. Looks like your friend was already short a NEURON or two before he was strangled."

    "How OFFAL! Looks as if this is turning into a HEAD CASE."

    (continued below)

    'mericans in Paris 7:27 AM  


    (continued from above)

    "Here's the strange thing: the INJURY is not new."

    "MOMA mia! How much does the press know about this?"

    "A reporter from the Detroit Times got a tip off from one of the lab techs, we think, but we've gotten Judge NYE to issue a COURT INJUNCTION. All they can report for the moment is GENERAL INFORMATION.

    "By the way, what took the forensics people so long?"

    "Besides blood, they found minute traces of arsenic and asbestos under Sagal's fingernails. Protocol requires that we bring in the EPA bureauCRATs. That stopped everything until they could undertake an inspection of the whole lab; that was followed by a thorough cleaning of both the surfaces and of the air."

    "Sounds like over-kill."

    "Yeah, in a manner of speaking."

    "Oh, and one other thing. Sagal's stash of rare TRITONS is missing. We contacted his SISTER-IN-LAW regarding some of his PRIVATE INVESTMENTS, and that was the first thing she asked about. Apparently his seashell collection was worth quite a few PESOS. Theft of those may have been the CRIMINAL's INTENT, but I'm keeping an open mind about it. COULDA simply been a diversion."

    "Or he might have unloaded them before he was killed."

    "True. TO COME think of it, we did find several thousand RIAL in the pocket of his PJS. I have no idea how that translates into real money, though."

    "Depends. Were they Moroccan, Omani, Yemeni, or Iranian RIAL?! Big differences in value. For instance, one Omani RIAL buys you about 75,000 Iranian."

    "YOWSa!" Damone went silent for a few moments. "I don't recall which kind they were. I'll have to get back to you on that."

    I sensed Damone was lying, but LET IT be.

    "I have to admit, I'm already SICK OF this whole gruesome business", I said. "Kinda PUT me off my breakfast. "

    "Yeah. You meet all sorts of SLEAZES in our line of business, but it doesn't mean you ever get used to their dastardly deeds."

    "But it ANGERS me, too. I want you guys to FIGHT this INJUSTICE to the UTMOST."

    "OR DO our best, at least. With the city in bankruptcy, crime-fighting resources are pretty tight these days."

    I didn't want to hear that. "In any case, THANES a million, Damone, for bringing me up to date."

    POOR Sagal, I thought, as I put down the cell phone. SO SAD. I fished in my pocket for something to smoke. All I could find was EL ROPO. It would have to do.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:34 AM  
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    Anonymous 8:07 AM  

    @Barany, you are the only person on the planet who would say of Rex's screed that he "reasonably enunciated" anything.

    chefbea 8:08 AM  

    Found it fairly easy...but did not finish...Hob??? Now to enjoy the heat wave we are having. Was 90 degrees this morning when I got up at 7...going uppt to 100. Maybe I'll just stay inside and eat the coca-cola cake I made yesterday...should be refreshing.

    Anonymous 8:11 AM  

    Rex has gotten very cranky.

    Anonymous 8:11 AM  

    Can't remember the last time I just outright hated a Sunday puzzle...pig it????? I was saying out loud "please don't be "pesos" please don't be "pesos"...it was pesos :(.

    Loren Muse Smith 8:18 AM  

    Sigh. When BRAIN IN JURY fell, I smiled, looked out the window and thought for the gazillionth time, "How have I not seen this? That you can parse these in-initial words like this? How.Have. I. Missed This?"

    I gobbled this one up, enjoying the whole meal. The only themer that felt weakish was the SISTER-IN-LAW because the meaning of LAW wasn't quite so far removed as the others and was separated from the IN.

    Rex, you make some excellent points about a couple of crosses. The EL ROPO/LUNN area got me, but it was the ODU that I couldn't figure out. I knew it had to start EL R… And you didn't like the MOL/ORDO cross. I was thinking that I was just tooling along and didn't notice that cross, but when I went back and found it, I saw that single square was still blank. So a dnf on what was for me a fun puzzle. I also thought you would add SIP TEA to your objectionable phrases. We Americans SIP TEA AT NOON from A CAN, don't we?

    I get the feeling that because of the plethora of possibilities here, Randolph tightened it up so that all the themers had a military/legal vibe. Otherwise, maybe we would have seen:

    POPULATION IN CREASE - "Heads-up, goalie. Things are about to get pretty bad here. Your medical insurance up to date?"
    FLYING IN SECTS…"Ok listen up, folks. I want all the Sikhs over in the Jet Blue line, Jains– you're on US Air, and Buddhists, please go over to the Delta counter."

    I had no idea Ross was a high school principal. (Hi, @Z). God bless you. FWIW, a LATE PASS for me is something I just haven't had the time to worry about. I tell you, any kid can walk in 15 minutes late and hand me a Walmart receipt he found in the parking lot, and I wouldn't notice.

    8D – COULDA. Ok. Here it comes. There's this linguistic term, barnacalistic glomming, where a once-independent grammatical element attaches itself to the word before it and changes grammatical structure. So "man's" used to be "man his" and I bet in crosswords back in the 16th century, MAN'S was clued something like "belonging to a guy, informally" and pedants wrinkled their noses at this new, casual structure. Same thing's happening now with shoulda, kinda, woulda, coulda. Pretty soon, COULDA will some kind of full-blown auxiliary verb. You MARK my words. In fact, here's a Newes from Englande puzzle from 1577 that clued MAN'S just as I described

    MANS

    And there's no such term as barnacalistic glomming. I just made that up. But I do believe the phenomenon exists. Who'da thunk it, huh?

    RENEGE is a funny-looking word. Plus I can't let go of the eye-rhyme phenomenon.

    My liege, my protege ! Don't allege that you're going to renege on your college!

    Also, if you RENEGE, someone is being let down, and that ON is superfluous. Y'all taking notes?

    Randolph Ross, Mr. Principal Guy. Loved it. This time of year, I just wish a bird would swoop in and gobble up one of my bone-headier HEAD CASES. So he could just be a student intern.

    Michael Fuchs 8:22 AM  

    @Loren Muse Smith, I'm with you. Notice the niceness where the glass is half full, not the emptiness where it is half empty. I think people are born, or nurtured, to go through life seeking either delight or disappointment.

    I sometimes perform in the theater. When I see a play, I am conscious of the effort behind the scenes, the courage on the boards, the lovely touches of talent on display. There are always some touches of talent. I know how hard this is to do, I think. But my seat mate usually focuses on how to find fault. It exasperates me that she does that. (But I'm not here for marriage counseling. I'll save that for some future posting....😇)

    I would think those of you who are constructors would more empathize than criticize.

    Anonymous 8:23 AM  

    It truly pains me to be the proverbial stick-in-the-mud (a colloquial term familiar to those of us old enough to remember the delightful vixen, Stupefyin' Jones) but two - count 'em - TWO disparaging terms for mental illness in this puzzle?! For that I must throw some shade at the NYT puzzle editor today.

    Becka 8:24 AM  

    It boggles my mind that QUADRUPED is actually spelled that way. It looks so wrong to me. (This was obviously not helpful in the solving process.)

    Anonymous 8:26 AM  

    Sorry Rex, but Sally Lunn isn't dated, it's traditional. For me it was a gimmee, the first answer I filled in.
    Have some recognition of the solvers different frames of reference.

    Anonymous 8:30 AM  

    I agree with much of Rex said, but I did like the legal sub-theme:

    1) Legal: ON PAPER, FIGHT INJUSTICE, COURT INJUNCTION, CRIMINAL INTENT, SLEAZES (And by that I mean lawyers, of course), BRAIN IN JURY, NCIS, REDIRECT, The GOETZ case.

    Anonymous 8:34 AM  

    I had a really difficult time with this one - the clues were definitely not in my wheel house. The MOL ORDO cross was not that difficult for a couple of reasons. As to ORDO, the RDO crosses were not difficult, and what vowel other than O makes a Latin word? As for MOL, my daughter's high school celebrated 10/23 every year as MOL(e) day. One year she made a clay mole as her contribution to the festivities. I think of MOL every time I see it.

    - Jim C. in Maine

    Haiku Nerd 8:44 AM  

    ADONIS EYEBALLS
    TEEN IDOL SISTER IN LAW
    CRIMINAL INTENT

    Glimmerglass 8:45 AM  

    Rex says he doesn't have much to write because he didn't like the puzzle? That's never been a problem for him in the past! When I was a smart-ass kid trying to be both tough and "colorful" I once in a while lit up a Rum-Crook at the gas station where I worked (smoking at a gas station, you see, was especially"tough"). They cost a nickle and smelled horrible. My boss called them "El Ropos." He himself smoked White Owls, which I called "Quite Fouls." I loved the clue for LOOPY, which I promse to use in conversation sometime before sunset today.

    Maruchka 8:50 AM  

    Best LOLs of the morning, so far? Reading @'mericans new chapter and @LMS OFFerings. Shoulda known.

    Also agree with @LMS on SISTERINLAW. Otherwise, the theme solves have integrity, I thought. Did not know HOB - checked Wiki, and it can also mean a male FERRET! Recherchez le puzz hier. Also can be a sprite or fairy. First know usages of 'HOB nob' may be taken from 'Twelfth Night'. Love antiquated terms, Shakespeare, and appreciated the U (as opposed to non-U) feel. Thanks, Prof. Ross.

    Wanted stogie or cheroot (less one o) for EL ROPO. Ech - all taste nasty. Bernie GOETZ conjures bad, sad times.

    @GeorgeB - Same here, for ROASTED. Milton Berle in a Mr. Peanut get-up?

    Leapfinger 8:51 AM  

    A couple of days ago, I said right here that DS' XFL was AWfL, but today 1D really is OFFAL. Joke's on me, eh?

    otoh, there's ADIPose, the enzyme that'll take you for a swim.
    [That's my big fat joke for the day, and it just Keels me!]

    Have only done the top 1/3 of puzzle and have read no commentary yet , but I gotta run because it's the grandboy's HS graduation weekend and there's an early invocation.

    Sometimes youjust have to get things off your chest.

    Keep smiling.

    Lewis 8:51 AM  

    Factoid: A law in OKLAhoma forbids women from doing their own hair without being licensed by the state.
    Quotoid: "Only PUT off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

    Danield 8:58 AM  

    Hey Rex-

    Your comments exactly described my experience --right down to the ELROPO-LUNN CROSS. I screwed around in the southwest trying to make EDROPS (like e-cigarette) work.

    NCA President 9:00 AM  

    I think I agree with Rex here. This kind of puzzle is getting old.

    Maybe (just maybe) the NYT is at that crossroads that creative endeavors like this come to when the thing that made them what they are has played out and it's time to crossover into new territory. But, if you do that, you risk alienating your "base" audience...on the other hand, you have an opportunity to reach a new audience. So do you stick your neck out or play it safe? I've seen this kind of crossroads lots of times, especially in music where audiences flock to the "new thing" until the new thing becomes an old thing...then the artist has to decide whether they want to beat that horse til it's dead, or reinvent themselves and hope the old audience comes along. It's a hard decision to make...but necessary.

    I've done lots of non-NYT puzzles recently and I know what Rex is talking about in terms of fresh alternatives...edgy, cheeky alternatives...with words that are a little more outside the box (sometimes even rougher)...but they reflect today's newer, more open, less naive, less uptight, more nuanced sensibilities. We laugh at things today that they didn't even ten years ago. There's no sense holding on to old timey humor when it isn't really that funny any more.

    For example, JChen at xword called GENERAL IN FORMATION "amusing" to picture a general hiding in formation. Yeah, maybe if it was Gomer Pyle dressed as a general hiding in formation from Sargent Carter. SISTERINLAW "tickled" his "funny bone." This is funny? It's this kind of humor that will, if the NYT doesn't evolve, eventually be the death of this puzzle. Hey, I'm 55...I get it. It used to be genuinely funny. I remember being "tickled" by this kind of thing too...but it's now just sentimental reminiscences of days gone by. It's like showing Abbot and Costello to my kids,..the newer generations just don't find it funny, and by now, not even quaint. They are at once put out by the ridiculousness of the word play and the audience uproarious reaction. It's surreal to them and only funny in a meta way.

    And gradually, I am coming to the same point. There are so many other kinds of angles to puzzles or very new twists on the tried and true conceits that this kind of old timey "amusing" style just needs to be retired. SISTERINLAW as SISTER IN LAW is not even mildly amusing, and I only grin at it because it thinks it's funny.

    I'm pretty sure that a main reason I struggle with the newer constructors at the NYT, is because they are torn between the old and the new. Their conceits and fill are slightly different, different enough that much of the fill isn't automatic. I think, if there were more of it, I'd get used to it and appreciate the new normal.

    Anyway, someone at the NYT needs to bang that drum louder. Get edgy, get current...become truly humorous again.

    Maruchka 9:02 AM  

    That's 'knowN' - 'scusa.

    Tita 9:08 AM  
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    Ludyjynn 9:12 AM  

    Despite Rex's HISSes and JEERs, I kinda liked this puzzle. As always, I solved ONPAPER. First themer to go in was CRIMINALINTENT. As a retired attorney, I liked it on its own and the fact that it so APTly crossed Bernhard GOETZ.

    Could do w/o the ubiquitous (formerly espoused) JENNERS and Kardashians; to PUT it nicely, are their 15 minutes up yet?!

    I also appreciated the many education references by this constructor, esp. since I learned he is a h.s. principal (thanks, @GeorgeB): PTAS, GED, MBAS, as well as those previously noted.

    The English afternoon ritual of SIPpingTEA is a lovely idea which I would like to TROTOUT more commonly in the US. A perfect opportunity for CHATS and snacks w/ co-workers and/or friends. SOSAD we did not adopt this civilized custom en masse early on.

    Heading outside later to get ROASTED on this steamy day. Or maybe I should IDLE indoors a while more. If we're lucky, we'll see aft. thunderstorms and I won't have to HOSE down the gardens, after all.

    Happy Flag Day. Thanks, RR and WS.



    Tita 9:15 AM  


    ALexanderHAIG, infamous for telling the media "...I am in control here..." after the ASSassination attempt on Reagan.

    I liked the puzzle fine til I came here...
    That is, I did think all phrases were fun, though I cringed in most of the same places. But that wasn't enough to make me dislike it.

    There was definitely a dark vibe to the puzzle, though... Slaughter house scraps, PIGIT, ANGERS, HISS, CUSSAT, MEUSLI, RENEGEON, UNSUITABLE, AVARICE...shall I go on...?
    At least it 16D wasn't ABnegaTIVE...

    @lms...I am sooooo disappointed that barnaclistic glomming is not a thing...you really had me going, seeing as how I look up to you as a Grammar Goddess (and so much more fun at parties than Grammar Nazi...).

    Thank you Mr. Ross - a good Sunday romp.

    mathguy 9:19 AM  

    I think I learned ELROPO from comic books, meaning a cheap cigar. I can't remember where I've seen Sally Lunn before, maybe in a puzzle.

    I keep on promising myself not to do the Sundays but I can't stop. They take a lot of time and they're generally dull, like today's.

    The only class of people duller than high-school principals are math teachers. I know. I've been both.


    Anonymous 9:19 AM  

    Who is Kris Jenners? Is that the wife/ex wife of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner? If so, why does she have an s at the end of her name? Would Ruths be an acceptable answer for "Babe of baseball"? Nyes for science guy Bill? Why wasn't "creator of Stupefyin' Jones" All Capps?

    Rex Porker 9:21 AM  

    The only thing worse than a bad theme (i.e. most themes) is a theme that doesn't reach its potential. The criteria for this distinction are known only to me. And here I go, again, with the distinction between "dated and not fit for a crossword puzzle (SALLY LUNN)", and "dated but adds breadth to the puzzle (say, TABITHA from bewitched)." No surprise: the criteria for the distinction between these two things are known only to me. You see, I have a secret formula for what works and what doesn't, and that is what allows me to pass judgment on others' funds of knowledge, construction skills, and to say at least monthly that something is the worst thing I've ever seen in a crossword puzzle.
    Also, as an underpaid genius, I don't have much occasion to invest, so I've never heard of a PUT order (really, me??!!). Leave that for the MBAS.

    Summary for this week:

    Sunday: "I have very little nice to say."

    Saturday: "Well, it's Brad and Doug, so of course it's very good, but I made a few more faces and shrugged a few more shoulders at this grid than I typically do at a Brug Wilberson creation.

    Friday: "David Sternberg."

    Thursday: "I liked this one OK."

    Wednesday: "We had a gimmick like this one recently... [which was] a bit trickier."

    Tuesday: "This is a non-theme."

    Monday: "I enjoyed this."

    summary: Sucked 2
    Average 4
    Enjoyed 1

    Above average week for Mr. Shortz, I'd say.

    Sherlock Holmes 9:24 AM  

    I'm getting the feeling that on-line solvers and print solvers got different clues for 52d (JENNERS). On line it was "Long-time reality TV family on the E! Channel." Was it something to do with Kris in the print version? Very interesting...

    Sherlock Holmes 9:26 AM  

    I get this idea from the comments @ 6:56 and 9:19 am

    Anonymous 9:37 AM  

    Anon@ 8:23: "It pains me...". Believe me, it pains us more. You are ridiculous.

    Anonymous 9:40 AM  

    Print version clue for 52 Down is "Kris of reality TV". Not asking for the entire family, just the mother. If the online version was different it might have made sense. But asking for a person's name in the clue and wanting the family's name in the answer didn't make any sense.

    Anonymous 9:40 AM  

    52d in print was "Kris and Bruce of reality TV"

    Anonymous 9:42 AM  

    Huh - my version has both Kris and Bruce ( in print).

    Anonymous 9:43 AM  

    No reference to Bruce in the printed version in my edition of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Clue is simply, "Kris of reality TV".

    Sherlock Holmes 9:50 AM  

    Very, very interesting--we now have 3 verified different clues for 52d--It seems that Caitlyn's big announcement last week sent editors scrambling, and at least in one case (Pittsburgh) this led to an inaccurate clue because it went from plural to singular.
    Case solved. Elementary, my dear Watson. Crowdsourcing triumphs again!

    Anonymous 9:58 AM  

    Nice work Holmes!! From now on, if a clue is troubling to me I'll assume it's incorrect, and write any answer I please in the space provided and consider it correct. My completed grid might looked completely different from yours--you may have all the correct answers and mine may contain answers like "zybrt15"--but I'll think, "I killed that puzzle".

    Anonymous 10:01 AM  

    Anon@9:58--this is my approach when I do puzzles on airplanes or other public places! I just fill in words willy-nilly as fast as I can so the people around me are very impressed!

    Sherlock Holmes 10:06 AM  

    Anon@9:40: What paper? I am wondering if local editors can make last minute tweaks or if they get their puzzles later than the print NYT and Shortz made a last-minute change that turned out to be a blunder?

    jberg 10:08 AM  

    Wow, not only a print/online difference, but a difference between print editions! Mine is "Kris and Bruce."

    I came here ready to make all kindsa jokes about SALLY's sweet buns, but @Jim Walker beat me to it in the very first comment, so not much else to say. LEBEAU/VEREEN was a guess, but once I made it I remembered old Ben -- otherwise, Ida gone with LeBleu, I think.

    I know EL ROPO from pulp detective (tec, in crossworld) fiction, but of course it's dated -- back from the time when people actually smoked cigars.

    What I learned today: that the HOB you raise is different from the HOB in old fireplaces. Up to now, I always thought it was something to do with getting ashes in your food.

    Now off to fill the bird feeders.

    Nancy 10:18 AM  

    DNF. Had QUADRUPoDS instead of QUADRUPEDS, with a promise to myself to check it by crosses. But LoBEAU seemed just as plausible as LEBEAU for 109 A, so I never corrected. Same for tAS instead of RAS at 81 A: I've never heard of either EL tOPO or EL ROPO, only of EL CHEAPO (which didn't fit.) Didn't correct that either.

    Two early errors made the top half of the puzzle much harder than it COULDA been. At 5D, I had bUy for PUT, giving me FIsHy something-or-
    other at 23A. But the worst problem, at 21D, was surviVEs for GETS OVER. Taken together, these early mistakes really through me for a LOOPy and almost turned me into a HEAD CASE.

    So the challenge was there. But I'm with the people who thought the wordplay was rather meh and not especially funny. And I'm sure Rex is right in saying this sort of thing has been done better in other, similar puzzles.

    Nancy 10:20 AM  

    THREW me for a LOOPy! Why didn't I re-read my comment before posting?!

    F.O.G. 10:26 AM  

    Heard of "hall pass" but LATE PASS? YOWS? Really? Arbitrary and UNSUITABLE.

    Teedmn 10:34 AM  

    SO SAD that I blew it at MiL/iRDO. Otherwise, a successful solution, though a lot of black ink at my several overwrites - hall PASS, olIVE before NAIVE, Prune before PARCH and IN cans, rather than IN A CAN.

    I thought PRIVATE IN VESTMENTS was quite nice until I read @NCA President's comment and realized I was just harking back to my childhood humor. :-(

    @Glimmerglass, smoking at the gas station and you lived to tell the tale!

    @LMS, something got tweaked in my brain at student in tern - it was like an ice cream headache, pain and pleasure at the same time.

    RENEGE, I always want to pronounce it the way 'neige' is pronounced in French. RENEGE, to snow again, much nicer than the actual definition, IMO.

    I liked TROT OUT, a phrase my mother was wont to say. ON PAPER, it looks a bit troutish: "We fished all of the TROuT OUT of that there pond".

    Thanks, RR, for the puzzle. I just hope I do better in the week TO COME than I did this past week.

    Roo Monster 10:52 AM  

    Hey All !
    I liked the theme answers. Three with IN Jsomething, kinda neat. Agree with majority about some of the fill, however. That EL ROPO section was a nightmare. I spelled the peds as QUADRiPEDS, so ended up with _iTED for 96A, ran alphabet twice, settled on a S for siTED. Had dUNN also, so my cheap smoke was EdpOPs! Another tough section was SW, with crazy HOB, and crazier LIMN. Didn't know either, plus LAMAR as the birthplace city, (who knows that?) made that whole section LOOPY. Guessed at RIAL and LAYETTE, got em right. But, man. ULSTERS kinda (Hi @LMS!) unknown, but I do believe I have heard that somewhere before. RIMY new one, also.

    There was a lot of nice fill. Some dreck, but that comes naturally with a 21x grid. Had the Longtime reality TV family clue for JENNERS. Knew LEBEAU cause longtime Steelers coach, Steelers fan here! Although, wanted Butkus (sp?) first!

    PIG IT, or PIG out?
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Questinia 10:53 AM  

    ~DEREK (from Saturday) Walcott, The New York Times Sunday Crosswords, and Me~

    Exactly blankety-blank years ago (alright, twenty) I had the extreme good fortune of hanging out and working with Mr. Walcott for about two weeks at his home on St. Lucia. My husband was shooting a short film sketch with DEREK based on Omeros. I was a gofer, amanuensis to Mr. W., and occasional actor. I learned DEREK loves amongst other things dumb puns and has a very good sense of humor.

    One Sunday I saw a NYT's Sunday Crossword half-done in pencil on a table in DEREK's house.

    I asked him "You do the NYT's crosswords?!?!". He looked at me ironically blank, not saying a word.

    So I said "Yeah, they're probably too hard for you given your difficulty with the English language".

    DEREK laughed bellowingly. (I found out his wife, Sigrid, does the crosswords).

    Anonymous 11:03 AM  

    16D is not AB positive unless that is your type. O- is the "universal donor".. Leapy please comment. LAG ER RN

    Dr. Mike 11:04 AM  

    @Anon @11:03--AB POSITIVE is the universal recipient.

    Dr. Mike 11:06 AM  

    Cle is interpreted "Best blood type [to have] for a transfusion recipient," not "Best blood type [to receive] for a transfusion recipient"

    blinker474 11:11 AM  

    I liked the puzzle, and found all the theme answers very entertaining - maybe because I'm a lawyer? I knew Sally Lunn (my wife made them frequently when we had guests for dinner), el ropo, and hob, so I had no problems solving the puzzle. A very pleasant Sunday morning diversion, so 'thank you' Randolph Ross.
    GAC

    Andrew Heinegg 11:19 AM  

    Yup.

    Malsdemare 11:22 AM  

    @Dr. mike. Thanks. I, too, was wondering about AB pos, thinking of O- as universal donor, ignoring what the clue said.

    Puzzle kept me busy on this hot, humid, morning, while I drank my coffee. It's all I ask.

    Robert Konigsberg 11:26 AM  

    I agree that LUNN / EL ROPO is a vicious cross. I felt good about this puzzle but was blocked by that and THANES/LAMAR. When the first theme clue revealed itself to me (smugly with only three or four letters filled) I let out a good hearty laugh. So, mixed bag for me, though I'm clearly getting better at these puzzles as I continue to practice, solving more, faster.

    GILL I. 11:29 AM  

    Twas worth doing the puzzle just to come here and read @'merican in Paris and @Questinia.
    I'll actually ALWAYS try a Sunday, even though it is stale and a bit boring. This puzzle felt ancient for me...I agree with @NCAPresident!
    No one bothered by IDLEST? Wow, what a word!
    Like @Maruchka (no "s", people) I had STOGIE. EL ROPO sounds like some form of bastardization of rope in Spanish.
    Hey @Leapy...JETES!
    Off to do a rain dance.
    MOO

    Maruchka 11:29 AM  

    @Wreck re: Yesterday's SYNCHRO video - Thank you, thank you, thank you. This wins LOL award for today. Sent link to family and friends. A delightful precursor to 'Waiting for Guffman'.

    JFC 11:31 AM  

    Nicely said, Rex. One of your better negative reviews and I pretty much agree with it. On the other hand, Rex Porker's review is one of his funnier ones.

    JFC

    Alan_S. 11:31 AM  

    Hey, wait a minute. My kids think "Who's on First" is hysterically funny! The classics are not lost on any generation. When was the last time you saw it? Have you ever shown it to your kids? It's pure genius.

    AliasZ 11:32 AM  


    FIGHT INJUSTICE and SISTER IN-LAW are not entirely consistent with the other theme entries, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson so wisely said, "a foolish consistency is the HOB goblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

    - I have been duped, truped, but never QUADRUPED.
    - I had Prince Albert IN A CAN but I let him out AT NOON for lunch. Never saw him since.
    - AL CAPP and AL HAIG shouldn't be in the same room together, let alone in the same puzzle.
    - I worked with a techie whose personal hygiene was not ideal. We called him the PIG IT guy.
    - Shouldn't LA MAR be LA MER, and shouldn't LE TIT LA TIT?
    - All the J's were fun: JENNERS, JEST, JEER, JETES. I miss Jeter.
    - Friday Stan GETZ, today Bernhard GOETZ. Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.
    - Odeon: a place for shows, Pantheon: a place for gods, RENEGEON: a place for cowards.
    - EYEBALLS are NESTERs in their respective eyepits.

    This puzzle was fun in an R&R (refreshing romp) way. Thank you, RR.

    Just for you, here is HEADCASE and EROS by César Franck.

    Happy sun day.

    Aketi 11:33 AM  

    @tito, from Wednesday, just curious regarding ice skating, "which foot is the lead foot?". In snowboarding left is "normal" and right is "goofy". In boxing amd martial arts, right handlers are supposed to have a left foot forward stance. Since I'm right handed, but goofy footed, that was a challenge.

    @lewis, congrats on your Thursday puzzle.

    @rex, a groin kick usually only temporarily stuns your opponent. In my experience it is rare when someone KEELS over and gives up the match form an unintentional groin kick. As painful as it is, the guys usually walk it off and get back in again.. Even if I were a guy, I still would have more DREAD of a hard head kick that could make me LOOPY or might even cause a BRAIN INJURY. At my age some might call me a HEAD CASE for taking up a sport like Martial Arts, but I buy really good quality protective gear, especially for my head. I don't neef to lose any more NEURONS than I already have.

    Maruchka 11:37 AM  

    @Gill - Thanks.

    Hehe. I knew 'El Topo' from way back. Midnight movie de jour.

    CHuggin' along, @MaruCHka

    Anonymous 11:40 AM  

    Read more Dickens and answers such as "Hob" and "Sally Lunn" will make more sense.
    They may not leap to mind but eventually you figure them out with an "oh yeah, I knew that."

    I also found "Jenners" confusing as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette left out Bruce. Of course, during the week our puzzles are about a month behind and don't include the titles!

    I only do crossword puzzles once or twice a week, but "El Ropo" is very familiar to me as a crosswordeze-groaner. Orts, Mel Ott, Brian Eno, Alou family - these are our secret handshakes when we enter puzzle world.

    Overall, easy for me.

    quilter1 11:49 AM  

    I didn't mind it. Knew Lunn, elropo and hob. However I DNF the NE corner as I had buy for my stock order and pig it just would not appear. But there is always tomorrow.

    Nancy 11:54 AM  

    @Lewis (8:51) I'm almost always intrigued by your factoids, but today I was also infuriated. I'm tempted to move to OKLA, do my own hair 365 days a year, and just DARE the authorities to do something about it. The American equivalent of the Taliban, I call those misogynistic creeps. (Hope there's no one on this blog, living in OKLA, whom I've insulted.)

    @Teedmn (10:34) Only someone who chooses to live in frigid, icy MN could say that RE-NEIGE, for re-snow, has a "much nicer" meaning than RENEGE. If, during the brutal last 2 winters we've had in the Northeast, Mother Nature had chosen to RENEGE on all her planned RE-NEIGING of most of the US, RENEGE would have been the most beautiful word in the language, IMHO.

    nick 12:14 PM  

    Wow. Dreary.

    Joseph Michael 12:28 PM  

    Hard to like a puzzle that begins with "slaughterhouse scraps" and includes fill like PIG IT, HOB, YOS, ODU, RAS, IDLEST, etc.

    Theme has promise but most of the themers don't work for me, with the exception of GENERAL IN FORMATION which I thought was pretty cool. Also kind of liked PRIVATE IN VESTMENTS over OUTED.

    DNF at RAS/EL TOPO but didn't really care.

    Joseph Welling 12:32 PM  

    The bigger problem with COURT IN JUNCTION wasn't the "IN" IMO, but treating COURT as if it means the building. The building is COURTHOUSE.

    Anonymous 12:38 PM  

    Oldie but goodie:
    Did you hear the one about the two Indians having sex in a tepee? It's fucking intense!

    Indypuzzler 12:47 PM  

    I agree with Rex about certain fill most notably PIGIT which I have to believe has only been accidently uttered by a few. I can't speak to whether Sally Lunn is dated but I think I would have to do more than read a Dickens' novel or novels more than once to have that reside in my memory banks. Although I liked Stupifyin Jones in the puzzle I would target that as skewing old. With that said, I'm in the @Barany camp because I thought there was a lot of great fill to counter balance the PIGIT type fill and enjoyed it.
    My other observation is that other solvers seem to really want to (or expect?) to be amused to a chuckle at wordplay in Xwords. I am satisfied with "that's clever" because I don't think that any wordplay I've seen in a puzzle has really made my brain or my mouth laugh.

    Anonymous 12:53 PM  

    I'm traveling to Paris by boat. I'm going INSANE!

    Teedmn 12:56 PM  

    @Nancy, you're right, if we'd had a winter like the NE had, RENiEGE might not sound so nice. We had a really cold February but snowfall below average for the season so I could only read about the feet of snow piling up on you with awe. Now two years ago, different story...

    Pete 1:11 PM  

    I had the opportunity to have brunch today a the Sally Lunn Tea Shop. I declined.

    old timer 1:18 PM  

    Rex was for the most part right. George Barany was 100% right. OFL thinks something is bad if he doesn't know about it. I recommend a nice vacation in Bath, home of the Sally Lunn bun (if you go, remember these buns are supposed to be eaten hot -- or so it says on the Sally Lunn website -- cold, they are not that special.)

    I thought ORDO was a gimme, because who hasn't examined every part of a dollar bill at some point. The Sally LUNN clue might have been fairer if it was described as "famous bun from Bath". My only writeover was 77A, where I put in "note" because whenever a teacher communicates with a parent, it is (or traditionally was) via a note.

    I can live with COURTINJUNCTION -- "court" is often used to refer to the place where a court meets. Where is the Federal Court? is a fair question and it might be answered, "In lower Manhattan". And "junction" can be used broadly to refer to the area where two roads meet. But yeah, the clue was not great.

    I always seem to have the hardest time in the NW. In fact, I almost gave up, because my brain refused to see (or even consider) PIGIT. Abd wondered about OFFAL since some offal is quite tasty, like kidneys or pancreas. Obviously when I (finally) saw ONPAPER, well, PIGIT, I had to dig it. But clearly the worst answer of the week.

    Masked and Anonymo15Us 2:18 PM  

    15 hidden gems. (Lil darlins.)

    Like the old-timey-style theme. Figuring it out early also helped with solve. Theme has a feel like
    I've seen it before, not that I mark down much for that.

    Knew EL ROPO, from other puzwords. Don't know OD U, but sounds like a real mellow place of higher learnin.
    Knew MOLecule, not ORDO the seal.
    Sorta knew JETES/MUESLI/VOUS except for spellings. Don't have any EROS growin in our garden, but might be interestin to try.
    Otherwise, pretty friendly solve, for m&e. No HOB, no foul, so to speak. Thanx, Randolph.

    TKT is desperate enough to give hope to weeject growers, everywhere. I have lil stuff like that pop up in my own puzs, all the time.
    ITE! TOG! Sweet.

    @muse: primo xtra themer suggestions. Best M&A could come up with: {Three cheers for the Stamford ACPT hotel!} *
    Don't quite work as good as yers, tho.

    M&A

    * CROSSWORD PUZZLE INN OVATION.

    p.s.
    **gruntz**

    Aketi 2:35 PM  

    @lewis, I just recently delved into licensing language for potentially lactation consultants, so I'm fascinated by how a law about it being illegal to do your own hair could be on the books.

    Is it illegal to cut your own bangs? Put your hair in curlers? Perm your hair? Spray you hair with wash out color on Halloween? Braid your hair? Comb your hair? Are children exempt. Personally, when I was in elementary school I would have been delighted if would have been illegal for my mom to cut my hair, especially the bangs.

    Per Nancy's comments, Do they specify that guys are exempt from this law or do they have to use a barber? What if you change gender identity? Do the laws still apply?

    Where do you find these bizarre factoids?

    Indypuzzler 2:50 PM  

    @aketi, I googled Oklahoma hairstyling law and it came up with a hellogiggles.com that also revealed similar laws in Michigan and Wisconsin. I'm pretty sure that every state still has several antiquated laws that were never officially repealed yet not enforced and subsequently forgotten and they aren't included in the modern state statutory code books but are evidenced by historical compilation.

    Benko 3:27 PM  

    All right! The Stone Roses. I saw them on their short reunion tour a few years ago in Amsterdam. Sounded great. Tons of mancunian thugs in attendance.

    Fred Romagnolo 4:03 PM  

    @Aliasz: Both Al's were political conservatives, hope that doesn't break your heart. @Ludyjynn: before the Revolution, we were, in fact, a tea drinking nation; Britain's control of the seas put an end to that. Afterwards we also became a whiskey rather than rum nation. @Anon12:58: either you're an incredible genius or you've smoked a lot of bad cigars and really learned your obscure G & S Operettas. 64 across clues "building," a COURT is not a building. PIG IT does seem very politically incorrect, along with the disparaging connotations for mental illness.

    Anonymous 4:03 PM  

    16 D "Best blood type for a transfusion recipient" is BADLY worded. Sure AB Positive IS the universal recipient and the Best blood type TO BE if you ever need a transfusion. But if you're not AB+ and you get AB+ blood, it could kill you. So the "Best blood type for a transfusion recipient" is O-negative, all but eliminating a transfusion reaction.

    Fred Romagnolo 4:09 PM  

    There once was a fun book called "There Ought to Be a Law;" it had a collection of obscure out of date laws from all around the nation. If the illustrator wasn't Virgil I Parch, it was someone like him. @Lewis would probably enjoy it, if he can find a copy.

    Anonymous 4:15 PM  

    3 JEERS for 'merican in Paris as the new Rex Parker. Time we OUTED that LOOPY HEADCASE. Jeers, cheers, outed, ousted. close enough. But loved the dime novel he put together. Keep them coming.

    Sheila Bell 4:38 PM  

    My British friend put the tea kettle on the hob. Or theAga stove.

    wreck 4:58 PM  

    While maybe not scintillating, it took me a little longer than the lat several Sunday puzzles. It satisfied my normal Sunday expectations.

    Airymom 5:07 PM  

    Life has been very hectic the past few weeks, so about an hour ago I told my daughter, "I need some time to 'chill', I'll be hiding in the study, doing the puzzle." She just came upstairs and asked how I was doing. I told her I was done and that I couldn't wait to read Rex's blog, because: 1) he would no doubt dislike the puzzle, and 2) Rex Porker would make me laugh, which would be a welcome relief from this albatross of a puzzle.

    "Play hob with?" I even asked my 93 year old mother. If she never heard this expression, then mo one's ever heard of this expression. I can't even discuss "elpropo" and "lunn".

    On to the Acrostic in the NY Times magazine. I'm hoping that will be fun.

    Ludyjynn 6:22 PM  

    @FredR, Thanks for the Boston Tea Party reminder. Duh, I completely forgot; wonder whether the colonists did the whole 'afternoon tea' thing prior to the Revolution. Hand up for good old Jack Daniels as my go-to libation (although Gosling's Bermuda dark rum and ginger beer is a close second, preferably consumed while IN Bermuda).

    The skies have just opened up and I won't have to water the front garden after all. Procrastination pays off occasionally.

    F.O.G. 8:00 PM  

    Solipsism. That's my only explanation for this puzzle. Not sure why I am posting. After all, I'm just chatting with myself.

    Anonymous 8:14 PM  

    By the way, did anyone above explain to Rex that "Darkness at Noon" was a very famous book?

    Aketi 8:49 PM  

    @indypuzzler, thx.
    I found a lot of weird exceptions and special provisions when I delved into licensure laws. Most of it made you scratch your head over the scandal that incited politicians to add those provisions. Like, why were social workers using scalpels?

    The robo checker is either getting harder or my glasses are failing. I really could not tell which of the blobs were cookies and I failed.

    Anonymous 10:19 PM  

    I agree with most of Rex's comments. This puzzle was lame. Easy and uninteresting.

    Lewis 10:35 PM  

    @aketi -- I get them from all over the place, Google being the main facilitator. I do try to confirm a factoid before putting it down...

    Masked and Anonymous 11:48 PM  

    @F.O.G. - Thanx for teaching me a new word, today: solipsism. But I exist, therefore U am. Trust me on this.
    I mean, if U can't trust a masked and anonymous dude who posts a faceless internet msg, then who Can U trust?

    M&A
    "Call Me Misty"

    paulsfo 12:43 AM  

    I'm not sure if i'd heard ELROPO before, or not, but it fits so well with the clue that it didn't bother me (it did take me quite a while to arrive at).

    I've definitely never heard of PIGIT but it's gettable from the crosses and makes sense (with the clue) once you fill it in. BTW, i just googled it and found *several* dictionaries which list it, with definitions similar to "To live slovenly, in squal." So it is legit.

    To anonymous asking about Rex and "Darkness AT NOON:" I assume that Rex really *is* a professor but, if so, he is one of the least well-read literature professsors, and one of the poorest in general knowledge of any professor, that I know of. E.G, how can you be a well-educated, middle-class (I assume) adult and not have *heard* of a PUT, even if you've never executed one.

    My first theme answer was CRIMINALINTENT. Since the theme says "in *crowd*" and since this theme answer had a "crowd" (well, two) of "IN"s, i assumed that the other theme answers would, also. So a minor wild-goose-chase around that.

    @Questinia: when I read this: "I was a gofer, amanuensis to Mr. W., and occasional actor," my immediate and shocked reaction was "that's a *job*!?"
    That was because I didn't know the word "amanuensis" and had mistaken it for "enuresis". :) But you certainly got my attention.

    barryevans 10:02 AM  

    Comments more fun that the puzzle, thanks guys. (And I really enjoyed the puzzle.)

    Dennis Gallagher 1:36 PM  

    Fred Romagardo: I was about to tell you that the author of the column "There Oughta Be A Law" was Jimmy Hatlo when I decided I better look that up. Of course I misremembered. The author was Al Fagaly, a name that I swear I never heard before even though I read that comic every day in the paper.

    Kate Mark 12:54 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

    Kate Mark 12:54 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

    Burma Shave 9:50 AM  

    FAILURE ONPAPER

    SOSAD that the HEADCASE is NAÏVE about ESTD diseases,
    still he EYEBALLS the OUTFITS worn by those SLEAZES
    and CHATS them up, but they DREAD to do OFFAL things as he pleases –
    TOCOME to the UTMOST – it ANGERS those teases,
    It’s UNSUITABLE CRIMINALINTENT! But hey, the POOR guy isn’t Jesus.

    --- NESTER LAYETTE

    juniperlake 10:13 AM  

    We know what we know what we know...I know almost no song lyrics...sports figures are usually obscure to me. But I did know Sally Lunn...I'm a teacher and when I taught third grade, we learned something about colonial history...living in Phila. it was fun and involved wonderful field trips. We also baked...bread, snickerdoodles, and Sally Lunn cake. The last two are colonial treats. I agree that many of the answers seemed lame or a stretch, but except for sister in law, I thought the clue answers were fine. Maybe too easy; I could get some with nothing down to help me. And I always have a section that stymies me for a while, this time it was the top right corner. I still like the Sunday puzzle, even when it's not a smashing success.

    rondo 10:15 AM  

    Nope, not today. DNF for LOI (lack of Interest). Went through it once and had a bunch of stuff filled, then got couple of the wacky phrases, and said, out loud, “Enough.” Besides, it’s too nice today in MN not to be outside, doing something, anything else.

    Had a crush on LARAINE Newman back in the early SNL days, thought she was very sexy, always perky. Yeah baby.

    Lucy LIU makes another appearance, yeah baby, I like her in a corner.

    Other than that, happy Father’s Day to all fathers, I still miss mine after 23 years gone. I hope everyone else has a good Sunday.

    spacecraft 11:25 AM  

    My JENNER clue also reads "Kris and Bruce of reality TV." What a laugh. Any resemblance between that pair and reality is purely coincidental.

    I was hoping for some reassurance that my brain hadn't totally fried after yesterday's debacle, and I found it. Today's was pretty easy, in my book. I don't get the WOEs over the Lunn/ELROPO cross. ODU is Old Dominion University, so we have it down to the natick at 76. So, run the alphabet for E_ROPO: what else could it be? A cheap cigar tastes like rope, they're mostly made in Spanish-speaking countries. EL ROPO. EL-ementary. I agree, "play HOB with" is an archaic expression. I'd rather see HOB clued via horseshoes, or quoits. But again, the cross is simple: EYEBALLS.

    GETSOVER brings a smile. In the '60s I was stationed at an Air Force hospital in a London suburb (South Ruislip, if you want to know), and the guys there used "GET OVER" as a euphemism for getting laid. "Did you GET OVER last night?" "Oh yeah, and it was great!" [Said response, of course, was standard no matter what the actual outcome of last night's efforts--provided the "bird" in question was at all desirable.]

    Interesting sub-theme with FIGHTINJUSTICE, COURTINJUNCTION, SISTERINLAW, BRAININJURY, CRIMINALINTENT and the bonus, REDIRECT. All rise!

    I don't like RENEGEON. The "ON" is an awkward add-on, and not in the language. The word doesn't really mean "back away from," it means to fail to do what was agreed upon. I back away from a skunk; I sure don't RENEGEON him!

    And IDLEST?? That's a word? Yeah, it's a real word. Go figure. Man, if you're idle, you're idle. Where does degree come in? Time? The Guinness Book of Records honor for most hours as a couch potato? Silly. But perhaps those six letters could work:

    DR. MORBIUS: You've got to control those monsters of the ID, LEST they run amok! The ID the ID the ID....[cue Krell music]

    A mostly fun solve, despite a few YOS and YOWS. Say B+.

    Anonymous 7:30 PM  

    There are times when I realize just how old I am -- and that's when someone who purports to know a lot doesn't seem to have read as much as I evidently have --- at least of the British. A Sally LUNN was not a problem, nor was EL ROPO. However, I am not old enough to know Dick LEBEAU, though that clue did not seem to bother anyone.

    I'm tired of multi-word solutions that simply take up space -- beginning with clue 1 across. Can they be stopped, please?

    foxaroni 8:48 PM  

    @spacecraft--thanks for the "Forbidden Planet" reference. :-) (I still have my Robbie the Robot that speaks actual lines of dialogue from the movie.)

    Kate Mark 2:43 PM  



    Am here to testify what this great spell caster done for me. i never believe in spell casting, until when i was was tempted to try it. i and my husband have been having a lot of problem living together, he will always not make me happy because he have fallen in love with another lady outside our relationship, i tried my best to make sure that my husband leave this woman but the more i talk to him the more he makes me fell sad, so my marriage is now leading to divorce because he no longer gives me attention. so with all this pain and agony, i decided to contact this spell caster to see if things can work out between me and my husband again. this spell caster who was a woman told me that my husband is really under a great spell that he have been charm by some magic, so she told me that she was going to make all things normal back. she did the spell on my husband and after 5 days my husband changed completely he even apologize with the way he treated me that he was not him self, i really thank this woman her name is Dr Aluta she have bring back my husband back to me i want you all to contact her who are having any problem related to marriage issue and relationship problem she will solve it for you. her email is traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com she is a woman and she is great. wish you good time.

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