Deep blue dye / TUE 6-23-15 / Spanish liqueur / Wisconsin v landmark 1972 Supreme Court case on religious freedom / Stark Game of Thrones protagonist

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "ROAD to BALI" — word ladder going from ROAD to BALI. Also, four theme answer related to the movie:


Theme answers:
  • BROMANTIC COMEDY (16A: Modern-day genre for the 1952 film whose title is suggested by a word ladder starting at 1-Across)
  • HOPE AND CROSBY (24A: The film's headliners)
  • DOROTHY LAMOUR (40A: The film's co-star)
  • SONG AND DANCE MEN (52A: Occupations of 24-Across in the film)
Word of the Day: Wisconsin v. YODER (29D: Wisconsin v. ___ (landmark 1972 Supreme Court case on religious freedom)) —
Wisconsin v. Yoder406 U.S. 205 (1972), is the case in which the United States Supreme Court found that Amish children could not be placed under compulsory education past 8th grade. The parents' fundamental right to freedom of religionoutweighed the state's interest in educating its children. The case is often cited as a basis for parents' right to educate their children outside of traditional private or public schools. (wikipedia)
• • •

Er … no. This is loaded with problems. I don't care if you love the movie—that's not the point (I'm going to bet that most solvers have barely heard of and likely never seen the movie … I mean, not you, of course—you're quite the movie buff. But most.). The point is 1. word ladder, yuck. The worst of ladders. A hackneyed puzzle conceit if there ever was one. 2. BROMANTIC COMEDY is not a thing. Sorry, but no. Check out its wikipedia page—front-loaded w/ warning flags. I see that a few publications have used the term, but it's simply not common enough to qualify as a "modern-day genre" (which is already a deeply awkward way to refer to the genre of a *1952* film—how can a film be in a genre that didn't exist? Confusing.). Google "bromantic comedy" => 108K hits (also, for the record, autocorrect made it "romantic" just now). Now google "bromance," an *actual* "modern-day genre," and you get 9 million hits. There's the difference: fake portmanteau v. real portmanteau. So …. yuck to the whole awkward mess of that answer and its clue. 3. theme answers are just trivia, who cares? 4. OMG the fill is superbad. Not the good kind of "superbad." The bad kind. OPES! ALINED! ANIS APER A ON! A tent full of TAMERS! How many TAMERS!? MMCCC TAMERS! Can I get MMCCC AMENS? Thank you.

Further, ill-conceived grid construction leaves you with YODER, which is an Absurdity on a Tuesday. But the way the grid's built, you're locked into that Y---R sequence, and making an actual, viable, reasonably early-week answer out of Y---R is nigh on impossible. In fact, the whole thing is clearly too theme dense (what w/ the word ladder and all) for the constructor to smoothly handle. So it's a hot, rough mess. This thing just tries to do too much, and gets too cute, with a not-important old film, and so I didn't care. Killed it (just north of 3 minutes), but didn't care.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    Anonymous 12:11 AM  

    This puzzle annoyed me. Watch display = LED? Not since 1970. To be
    consistent, 44 across needs to be CRT (TV screen).
    MMCCC? Nonononono. Feature at a horse track = rail? Green paint.

    wreck 12:12 AM  

    I think Rex nailed this review pretty well. It wasn't hard, but it really was just kind of a "hot mess."

    McFly 12:12 AM  

    I didn't know the movie, but I didn't hate this. (I'm relatively new to the crossword scene, so not knowing something is a truth I accept on a daily basis.)

    I thought I was flying through until I got to the last clue and realized I didn't know any of the long theme answers. It all worked out in the end, though.

    The only scoff moment was at the UTNE and ANIS cross. Brutal.

    Anonymous 12:15 AM  

    Oh Rex, this puzzle scored the rarest of all trifectas: UTNE/EDDA/YMA! When's the last time we've seen that?

    jp flanigan 12:42 AM  

    Bromanctic didn't really bother me, and the puzzle breezed past, so there wasn't much time to get upset. But in retrospect!

    Dean 12:50 AM  

    Love the movie, hated this crossword. All it was missing were OLIO and the non-existent GST for Greenwich Mean (never "Standard") Time. At one point I dared hope the constructor was beijg ironic, deliberately forcing in as much bad crosswordese as possible and sooner or later there would be a clue such as "Like many of these clues" and the answer would be TRITE or TIRED. That would have been an awesome puzzle.

    Steve J 1:06 AM  

    Rex, I'm sorry, but you got the theme wrong. The theme is clearly "A compendium of horrendous crosswordese." Worst-filled puzzle I've seen in ages.

    jae 1:27 AM  

    Easier than yesterday's for me and about medium for a Tues. 

    Vacillation: YiDER vs. YODER. Finally went with YODER because it seemed more like a "name", what ever that means....My goal is to get an A IN (ace) English this year to bring up my GPA...

    I liked this a tad more than Rex did, but...

    @Steve J - nice to see you back.

    mathguy 1:35 AM  

    @Steve J: Welcome back!

    @Lewis: I just finished a puzzle you might like. The theme is words with double letters. It's a cryptic from the Wall Street Journal of June 12. It's free from their website.

    I think that Rex's criticism was right on.

    Anonymous 1:39 AM  

    Song and dance men? What the hell is that? What happened to "performer" or "entertainer"? This puzzle yucked since BROMANTICCOMEDY.

    chefwen 2:13 AM  

    Hey, @Steve J - Welcome home, we missed you.

    Well, at least it was over quickly. This was Jon's first encounter with a word ladder, he hated it and agreed with everything Rex had to say. I've never heard more complaining out of him over a puzzle, it was almost comical. He even crumpled up his copy and tossed it.

    Onto Wednesday.

    WOW, those pizza images on capcha made me hungry and we just ate.

    GILL I. 2:51 AM  

    I don't think anyone calls them CAPRIS anymore. I think the new term is cropped pants.
    Well, I did love the reference to the "Road" movie. I saw them all a million years ago. YODER MOOED?
    At least this got Steve J to come out of his hiatus....!

    Thomas R. Jackson 3:04 AM  

    I dunno. I get the that bromance is the real thing, but gee, it's a game, and bromantic comedy works well. Maybe the clue should have been reworded, but I thought it was fun. Yoder I got, but I knew the case. Didn't realize it was obscure. Went quick, but it's Tuesday and my ego gets wobbly if I don't. On the other hand, I don't get word ladders either.

    chefwen 3:29 AM  

    @GILL I. Whenever I see CAPRIS I think of Laura Petrie, so it works for me.

    Now I'm seeing Birthday cakes, stop it already.

    MDMA 3:46 AM  


    I remember that puzzle a while ago that had GST, but it can be read as Greenwich Sidereal Time, which is an actual thing. Maybe better cluing would have been the Goods and Services Tax of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a bunch of other countries.

    John Child 4:07 AM  

    Once you've ALINED HOPE AND CROSBY over DOROTHY LAMOUR in the middle it's pretty much YODER or bust.

    Eighty squares of theme material is a lot: 44% of the squares in this puzzle. That's awfully hard to fill nicely. The word ladder cleverly revealing The ROAD to BALI plus the two 13s would have been 50 theme squares, enough IMO. Without the other 30 squares for ROMANTIC COMEDY and SONG AND DANCE MEN there must be much better fill possible, simple and smooth.

    I liked the vertical stripe of six-letter downs running NE to SW. Nice answers and crosses all the way through the middle. TAMERS is fine with me.

    Danp 5:07 AM  

    Almost a homophone? C'mon.

    Loren Muse Smith 5:46 AM  
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    TokyoRacer 5:54 AM  

    Ummm, where is the word ladder?

    Loren Muse Smith 5:59 AM  

    Word ladders always deceive me just like vowel progressions; I always think, "Cool! Let me try one." And. Get. Nowhere. And I'm just manipulating letters - not bothered by symmetry, themes, etc. That Jules could start at 1A with ROAD and end with 60A as BALI as a way to make you (at least me) say the title out loud (which I did) I thought was good. HOPE AND CROSBY same number of letters as DOROTHY LAMOUR. Good. SONG AND DANCE MEN doesn't match "Bromance?" Hmm. Let's see what we can get by with here.

    @jp flanigan - Actually I get a kick out of seeing a portmanteau spread its wings. Bromanced, bromancing… fly, little guy! Show us what you can take! If Carroll can coin chortle, I'm pulling for this puzzle to kick bromance at least a little more over into our inflected lexicon. Heck, it could grow up to spawn its own portmanteaus. Bromancipation could be its first-born.

    @John Child – 80 theme squares? Sheesh! That’s almost a third of MMCCC! Poor Jules – that roman numeral is gonna be tough to live down. @John – you could add DANNY Kaye coming right down the middle, who auditioned for Crosby's role, and I'm totally making that up.

    @danp – "almost a homophone" for me but a full-blown one for @jackj and other Bostonians, I bet. (@Steve J – hey! WE know about our open O's and who has'em and who doesn't, don't we? Sniff, sniff.)

    Jules did paint himself into a bit of a problem with Y???R there. I haven't caught any Game of Thrones shows yet – not vapid and shallow enough, maybe? But as others have said, what other choices did he have?

    YOU OR "It's ____me, kid. Amscray."

    @McFly – I'm not new to crosswords and not knowing something on a daily basis is just an affliction I have to live with. When I saw the clue for 39A, "called to a calf," I immediately moved on, thinking it was just another highbrow idiom I wasn't aware of.

    Wow. Otto was hanging around the YMCA entrance doing that weird thing with that bald road toad and his mitten? Again? We need to call that guy to a calf, man. Mucho Loco.

    So when MOOED fell, I just felt silly. (ANIS/UTNE was tough, but how 'bout ANIL ANIS. As in sitting on an icy tundra.) Glad you joined us here. If you participate regularly, you'll get better and better at both solving and enjoying the experience.

    Jules – I've never seen any CROSBY HOPE move. Can't picture what a DOROTHY LAMOUR looks like. Dad's father and brother were amateur SONG AND DANCE MEN in downtown Charlotte (hat on the ground kinda thing) until they invariably got into a knock-down-drag-out because one of'em messed up.

    I get everyone's points on the number of iffy entries, but I still appreciated this puzzle, Jules.

    Questinia 6:16 AM  

    Bromidic Tragedy.

    Nail-biting moment: CIGNA or AetNA?

    YODER. How someone from Brooklyn says Yoda: "I sawr YODER slip on earl at toity-toid and Lex. He ain't yuman.

    TaxGuy 6:39 AM  

    I, too, suffered from A IN v. A ON. I suspect constructor is thinking of one exam, while I was thinking of a whole class.

    Worst outbreak of Crosswordese ever!???

    WTF is an UTNE READER?

    Lewis 6:43 AM  
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    Lewis 6:49 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 6:55 AM  

    @stevej -- I was beginning to worry something happened to you. Happy to see you back!
    @mathguy -- thanks for the alert.
    @rex -- You could have gone uber-judgemental on this one, and you didn't, thank you.

    Subtheme: Words that start with A (13!); and sub-subtheme, two-syllable A-words with a long-A beginning -- AMOS/APER/AMENS/AON. (I had to look up ANIS and ANIL to see they didn't belong to this group.)

    So much crosswordese (APER, ANIL, ORONO, OPES, random Roman numeral) and oldie theme topic, plus device-of-old word ladder, I'm thinking Will took this retro-feeling puzzle to please the solvers of yore that are still with us. It woke my brain up, and I'm grateful for that, Jules!

    dk 6:56 AM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    Imagine a 10 year old dk in front of a black and white portable tv. It is a rainy Sunday in Maine and time for the Sunday Movie Matinee on one of the 2 channels we got. We we're out on the porch as we were (according to the Grand Ps) scatter feeders and the porch could easily be swept clean. We had no tv guide and no scrolling feeds telling us what was on next so we just took what we got. Alas it was another Road to whatever movie. B double o double r ing. We had hoped for Francis the talking mule.

    This puzzle was fine but I was still hoping for Francis.

    I just ordered a tin of black and whites.

    Z 6:57 AM  

    MMCCC crossing the Romanesque numeral LCD qualifies as RRNomantic Comedy in my book.

    @Steve J - BFT. Where ya been?

    I'm pretty sure UTNE's first name is ERIC. That would have been a great cross-reference clue, eh?

    @LMS - Is it just me or do ROAD, TOAD, TOLD, and BOLD have the same vowel sound, then we get a vowel movement at BALD?

    smalltowndoc 7:20 AM  

    Totally agree with @Rex (2 days in a row!) Has anyone ever seen "APER" outside of a xword?

    Scarab 7:31 AM  

    How about having OPEN and OPES in the same puzzle??

    'mericans in Cincinnati 7:32 AM  

    The ROAD TOAD TOLD me my AUTO needed a UTNE up. What a CAPER that became—a real BROMANTIC COMEDY, ESPecially with those IDiOts, those aMENs ORr APErS HOPE AND CROSBY. They CURED nothing on my car, EATIN aON cookies by Famous AMOS MINUS the one I tried to HYDE from the TIN. The CIGNArette lighter MOOED instead of clicking. The DOROTHY LAMOUR APTS had LCD lights, and I saw LANCE and ERIC with YMA, real SONG AND DANCE MEN, but she was ICIER than EDIE taking the MCAT with a BOLD, BALD pencil in BALI.

    Glimmerglass 7:39 AM  

    @questina: YODER "Star Wars guru, in Boston"

    John Child 7:54 AM  

    @tax guy

    The Utne Reader is a digest with a fair bit of original content. It's "left," but there is only occasionally actual politics to the content. See... drum roll...

    @Good to have you back @SteveJ

    Rex Porker 7:58 AM  
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    joho 7:59 AM  

    @Rex, A tent full of TAMERS! How many TAMERS!? MMCCC TAMERS! Classic.

    FWIW I pronounce AUTO and OTTO the same so that clue threw me.

    Speaking of AUTO ... I used its TO under ROAD to complete the ROAD TO BALI.

    I really appreciate the theme density here but the not-in-the-language BROMANTICCOMEDY got me off on the wrong foot and I ended up not recalling a movie I've never seen.

    Lewis 7:59 AM  

    Factoid: A CAT named Morris ran for mayor in the Mexican city of Xalapa in 2013 (he didn't win).
    Quotoid: "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." -- Lewis Carroll

    Rex Porker 8:00 AM  

    If you were enjoyin this puzzle, which you weren't, I ruined it for you even before you came to read my venomous review. You see, as you were entering the nonexistant BROMANTIC, tripping on YODER, working on the APER CAPER, looking at LED and LCD screens, OPENing OPES, and visiting the EMB in DEC, I was in your head. Even if you were EATIN it up, you couldn't stop yourself from thinkin, with pretty much every word, how much I was going to hate this puzzle. You were right.

    Dan 8:01 AM  

    "The good kind of superbad" being the BROMANTIC COMEDY from a few years back of course.

    Y---R could have been "Long running CBS soap opera, for short" (Y AND R)

    chefbea 8:07 AM  

    Loved Hope and Crosby movies!!! Agree with what everyone is saying. I thought a word ladder was suppose to look like a staircase???? Didn't know it was "change a letter"

    Hartley70 8:07 AM  

    @dk, perfect! That's my summer Sunday too, although I wanted a Bette or Joan tearjerker, not Francis.
    @TaxGuy, a periodical

    Okay, beat me up. I quite liked this. Okay, more than liked, but I'm scared to admit it after reading Rex and friends. It certainly skewed old, but I've got my Medicare card in my wallet now and glad of it! Of course you throw in BROMANTIC and NED and there's something for the younger kids too. I'm impressed with the theme density, thought the word ladder was fun, and had no trouble with YODER. Even on a Tuesday, once you have the Y and the R what other name could it be? I still call them CAPRIS and so do some of the catalogues that arrive unbidden to my door.

    Steven M. O'Neill 8:08 AM  

    I love seeing the Road movie series in a crossword. It reminds me that, though I am old and getting older, I'm still not ancient.

    Anonymous 8:09 AM  

    This puzzle bored me silly with a minor exception for 52A (SONGANDDANCEMEN) proving there is no accounting for taste. It is a crushing blow when the 9:00PM magic hour arrives and the puzzle is clumsy and dull. I hesitate to critique the talents of a constructor since I've never constructed a puzzle and wouldn't know where to start. But this one wasn't NYT worthy. Bleh.

    Mohair Sam 8:09 AM  

    I first saw one of the Hope/Crosby road movies on "Rain Out Theater" on channel 9 for a Brooklyn Dodger game when I was a kid. Thought at the time how dated the comedy was. I've studiously avoided the genre since. Maybe that's why I didn't care for this puzzle at all. Or maybe it was the near record amount of 'eze.

    Anyhow, for the second day in a row - what @Rex said.

    And I'll join the throng: Nice to have ya back @Steve J.

    JTHurst 8:10 AM  

    A theme that catered to us elders. Sitting with my parents, eating a Swansons turkey dinner, on a metal TV tray with floral imprints, in front of the 24 inch, black and white TV, laughing when Bob got into trouble, and sighing when "Der Bingo" started singing. Oh those halcyon days.

    @Steve J welcome back, missed your erudite renderings.

    As good as Monday's puzzle was this was bad.

    Someone please explain 'word ladders' to me. Do they need to start with the same first letter? Why don't they 'ladder' diagonally down the puzzle? Are they always horizontal? How many letters in the word must be consistent with the others? Are they always the same length? Is the first word and the last word always the answers?

    Thanks for any help.

    Rhino 8:12 AM  

    Two years ago, before stumbling on this blog, I would have slogged through, put in the N for AON, and got my gold star without thinking much about it. Today, however, I had the pleasure throughout the solve of thinking, 'Ooh, Rex is going to hate this!'

    Rhino 8:17 AM  

    Also, I thought the SIB, DEB, EMB sequence particularly bad. I'm guessing DEB wasn't clued as an abb. because the constructor was embarrassed.

    AliasZ 8:21 AM  

    I don't know, but I think Tuesday is an ideal day to dust off the old word ladder theme. Jules got into trouble when he tried to drag the old theme and the old movie, scratching and kicking all the way, into hipdom. It didn't work. It cannot work. It shouldn't work. I would have been satisfied to see BOB HOPE and BING CROSBY hidden in the puzzle somewhere, the former symmetrically paired with DOROTHY, and all three of them clued without a reference to ROAD to BALI -- let the solver discover the connection.

    Another problem is BROMANTIC COMEDY paired with SONG AND DANCE MEN. The latter is an old term (perhaps from the turn-of-last-century to 1940's or '50's, I'm guessing) while the portmanteau "bromance" is brand new (according to M-W, first known use: 2004). The term BROMANTIC COMEDY itself seems made up. It doesn't even fit the movie. Oh, well...

    The back of the puzzle broke under the weight of theme density. No wonder MMCCC and AON and AMENS and YODER and ALINED, OPES and OPEN (why these two being the same word were even allowed, I have no idea), ANIL and ANIS, LCD and LEDS, DEB and DEC, Bobby ORR and YMA Sumac, etc. etc. were necessary to keep it afloat. Yet ultimately it was exactly entries like this that sank the boat.

    Like @John Child, I did enjoy the wide-open SW-NE strip slashing across the grid, but the two 4x4 runts in the NW and SE corners much less so.

    Despite its many shortcomings, the charm of ROAD to BALI, entertainment icons HOPE AND CROSBY, and of course DOROTHY LAMOUR, saved the puzzle from being a total failure.

    Plus CAPRIS No. 24 by Paganini. Enjoy!

    MDMA 8:25 AM  


    There's a chain of words, and each word differs from the previous in exactly one letter. Here you start with ROAD and end up with BALI, hence "ROAD to BALI".

    Billy C 8:36 AM  

    @ JTH --

    They can start with any letter.

    Here, the " ladder" term refers to internal variations in the ladder elements, not their position in the grid.

    I'm not sure, but maybe a different type of ladder could be a diagonal letter sequence across the grid.

    In this ladder, one letter changes in each element of the sequence.

    In this type of ladder, the variations are solely internal, therefore the elements must be of the same length.

    This type of ladder need not combine first and last elements to form (with the "to" inserted) a phrase, though often the first-to-last evolution creates some kind of a meaningful bookmark. In this case, the name of a movie.

    Anyway, I liked it. Thought it was a creative concept, even though som compromises on fill were necessary. The fact that it had a lot of -ese didn't particularly bother me; a small price for theme density, I guess. My guess of "o" Yoder/aon worked out ok; I got "alined" (necessarily clued as "Var."), but think it's weak.

    Haiku Nerd 8:37 AM  


    Tita 8:41 AM  

    @Z...word ladder vowel!

    My parents wound up in the U.S. because my dad was commercial attaché. Only I thought he worked at the train station, since that's where my mom and I dropped him off and picked him up every day.

    Me and my AUTO have been pulled off the ROAD by many a black-and-white. I wonder if any of the officers were named OTTO.

    Word ladders on their own dont't send me, but as @lms pointed out, the fact that this one made you say the name of the movie made it cool.
    Thanks Mr. Market.

    I suppose I should dislike this, but I

    NCA President 8:47 AM  

    Came here to see Rex rant with vile contempt for the puzzle. Was not disappointed. FWIW, even Jeff Chen panned it.

    For me, the trouble with word ladders is that so many letters are common. Sure, there is some detanglement involved, but once you get a letter that's been changed you pretty much know what stays the same. Since this is a 6-word, 4-letter ladder clearly two of the letters will change twice...but given the easiness of the clues, that was easily sussed out too. I don't agree with Rex's judgment of a word ladder conceit...I think newb solvers appreciate them. But when you start taking away all word play, you're left with nothing but puns. So I'll take a word ladder here and there just to keep puns to a dull roar.

    If you read Jules' comments on xword, he says at the beginning that he saw the movie recently and didn't like it. Then a paragraph or two later he says he hasn't seen it. Then at the end he apologizes for the "old timey" feel (apology accepted, btw) and that it might turn off younger viewers who should see the movie because they might like it. Huh? FWIW, I know from personal experience that kids these days will not like old timey stuff. They don't even like new old timey stuff from the 80s. If you go back and watch those older movies (pre 1995) it is staggering how films have changed. The tempos are faster, there is more action, the humor is much different, and to many young people, the inside jokes aren't worth the effort. So, Mr. Markey, I doubt very much a younger person will like The ROAD to BALI...or any of the other HOPE/CROSBY films, for that matter. Sad, but unfortunately true.

    And BROMANTICCOMEDY didn't bother me. It seems like a logical "genre" that centers around any bromantic theme...and even though Hope and Crosby weren't aware of bromance, the label can work in retrospect easy enough. Even as far back as Biblical David and Jonathan...who definitely were in a bromance...well, come to think of it, they might have been in an *actual* relationship...but I digress.

    Roo Monster 8:48 AM  

    Hey All !
    I happen to like word ladders, I like to find out the smallest amount of steps to get from the starting word to the ending word. But that's just me. As for this puz, didn't hate it, but agree with the dreckness of it. Leaning on the harder end of medium.

    @JTHurst, word ladders don't have to be diagonal. It's just the term used to describe getting from one word to another, by changing one letter at a time. Yes, they are all one length (in a particular ladder), and no, the vowel inflection or rhyming has nothing to do with it. Here are a few examples:
    HURT to HEAL: HURT HURL(T changed to L) HULL(R changed to L) HELL (U changed to E), HEAL(L changed to A). Get it?

    Word ladders rock!


    Tita 8:49 AM  

    Oops... Mr. Markey, of course. And ignore that last partial.

    Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:50 AM  

    I'm 75 and that movie is My parents generation! Definitely OLD stuff. But I got a kick out of knowing something about this theme and Monday's (great) Twitter-themed one both. Keeping up with the times while not losing my memory .... Crosswords are good medicine!

    Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:54 AM  

    @chefwen. You really don't need to do that verification thing. If your name shows up in the comment form where it says choose an identity (mine does and I hardly ever comment) just hit send. It's a Google glitch.

    Anonymous 8:56 AM  

    Are "word ladders" the same as "word golf"? If so, I vote yes. My own Road to Bali was much faster though: ROAD RAID RAIL BALI

    John V 8:59 AM  

    Way too much theme density. All else flowed from that. Ugh.

    Roo Monster 9:03 AM  

    @Anon 8:56, Oh, yours is flawed. You went from ROAD to RAID, which changes two letters at a time. And how did you get RAIL to BALI? Or maybe you were joshing? Only one letter at a time changes in Word Ladders. Don't know why I like them so much, but I do. Maybe Ican become the Resident Word Ladder guy like @Lewis with his doubles. I need a term to describe it, though. @Lewis?


    Honeysmom 9:06 AM  

    Once again, you picky people can't see the plain fun in a puzzle -- too busy nit-picking. Lighten up! And I'm old enough to remember the Hope/Crosby/Lamour road movies -- brought back happy memories.

    Billy C 9:17 AM  

    @JTH --

    Oops, forgot to mention:

    I think the auto-spell-corrected got you on what you meant, "Der Bingle."

    In wiki-ing the term, I also read up on his detailed bio. I didn't know that he is the -by far- most accomplished entertainer in history, as well as one of the most genuinely nice celebrities (a couple of scathing biographies notwithstanding).

    Also, the term "Der Bingle" was invented by the Germans (in retrospect, no surprise, I guess) in the '30s, and only later picked up by Ameriicans. Apparently, his movies and albums were as popular in Germany as here.

    Finally, he was a technological pioneer, leading breakthroughs in recording (audio tape, e. g.) and broadcast.

    An amazing man ...

    Anonymous 9:29 AM  

    It is disturbing that a silver's ignorance is the fault of the constructor.

    NCA President 9:30 AM  

    @Honeysmom: Nitpicking is part of this blog. I suppose we could all just say, "I liked it," or "I didn't care for it," but what good would there be in that? Reading how others solve and the nits they have is the reason I come here.

    Anonymous 9:35 AM  

    solver not silver

    Nancy 9:40 AM  

    Put me in the camp with @John Child, @Hartley 70, @tita, @Honey'sMom: I liked it fine -- especially for a Tuesday. I don't care as much as others about "crosswordese" if the theme is entertaining. My only nit: Like @AliasZ, I thought BROMANTIC was way out of place among the theme answers.

    @dk and @Hartley -- You Philistines! You preferred "Francis, the Talking Mule" to "Road to Bali" on your black and white TVs back in the day? Good taste starts early, my friends, before middlebrow habits become too deeply ingrained. I'm wondering if there's any hope left for either of you.

    Sir Hillary 9:40 AM  

    On its own, the word ladder is fine, even clever. Certainly moreso than NINE FINE FIVE. :)

    On their own, the symmetrical themers are also OK, the BROMANTIC thing notwithstanding.

    But the fill is so bad, it overwhelms any redeeming qualities of the theme. ANIL and ANIS! DEC and DEB! YMA and YMCA! LCD and LEDS! EDDA and EDIE! OPEN and OPES! APER and APTS! Need lots of TAMERS for those woolly beasts.

    IDOS looks like a operating system mash-up from hell.

    On the plus side...great clue for ERIC.

    Ludyjynn 9:53 AM  

    I detest so-called BROMANce movies. Puerile humor for the most part. At least the ROAD flicks, as I vaguely recall from watching them as a young kid when they AIRED on b/w tv, had SONGANDDANCE to distract the viewer.

    @Tita, you made me laugh w/ your 'train station' story. And speaking of traffic court, I used to represent folks there who had been stopped
    for any number of moving violations. My favorite case was the young driver who was cited for driving the wrong way on a one way street in Balto. City. The kicker was that the COPCAR which stopped her was the vehicle she hit in the process! Believe it or not, I got her a PBJ (not peanut butter and jelly) using her beauty and my charm to convince the judge.

    There was a policeman who appeared at many of my cases in which my clients were charged w/ speeding. You will not believe this, but it is true that his name is Officer Speed! He was notorious for handing out more tickets than any other Balto. Co. cop.

    @BillyC, thank you for your comments today. That's what I was talking about last eve. I am now de-stressed.

    Favorite clue/answer: ERIC Holder. Very clever.

    Thanks for an okay puzzle on this HUMID scorcher of a day, JPM and WS.

    JFC 10:00 AM  

    Sometimes, I think Rex is certifiable. Today he sputters out, suffering succotash! Yes, Rex a BROMANTIC COMEDY is a thing. It just is. Even if you don’t like that phrase, it just is. As for 1952, read the clue, which apparently left you clueless. To re-phrase the clue, if the 1952 film were made today it would be this genre.

    So, I shouldn’t have bothered with the rest of your critique because your entire premise is as false as you claim the premise of this puzzle is. But I did, because I like you. And it is predictable when you don’t like something. Bad fill, except this fill was even worse than the usual NYT bad fill.

    And, yes, I actually saw this movie. Not one of their best road flicks, but it wasn’t necessary if you appreciated Dorothy Lamour running around in a mini-sarong (whoops they didn’t call it that in 1952) or a two-piece bathing suit.

    Oh, I almost forgot. I’m still trying to understand how a ladder can be two parallel horizontal lines. Maybe it’s folded and resting.


    Anonymous 10:11 AM  

    @Ludyjynn, I bet your client was white. If they were black, they'd still be in jail.

    Young Turk 10:13 AM  

    So people here "get" Bob Hope movies from 1952 but they don't get Twitter. Shocking.

    Nancy 10:16 AM  

    @Ludyjynn (9:53)-- Wondering if you ever represented @tita and/or @Hartley -- both of whom drove "arrest me" bright red cars -- in traffic court when you were lawyering there? I don't drive (a fact for which all you people out there on the road should bow down your heads in profound thanks) but I'm wondering what other legal services you might offer. Your charm before judges sounds perfectly... charming.

    Leapfinger 10:22 AM  

    Some Monday orts.

    @rhino, loved your mushroom/ marshmallow melange! Shall have to be careful not to start floating shiitakes atop my hot cocoa.

    @Teedmn, great article, and well worth the space. That mayor (Stanley Kazakh?) has a lot of potential! Not sure why Almaty changed its name. Way back in '78, when it was still Alma Ata, the city hosted WHO's International Conference on Primary Health Care, which formulated the Declaration of Alma Ata, designed with the goal of achieving worldwide "Health For All". A fine document, well conceived and constructed, but unfortunately poorly implemented. There was no knowing how much more complicated things would be in ensuing years. Even the marshmallows are now in the soup.

    @Anon1052(?), another hand up for your Tiller Man. Am betting there's more than a Hundred of us who got it. I thought of the same name, but took it out on Cat Stevens. Yours is better.

    Now for a ridiculously late start on the Tuesday Puzzle.

    Casco Kid 10:37 AM  

    Fun Tues Puz. Downright Kerouacky!

    r.alphbunker 10:40 AM  

    I liked it. I would have liked it more if all answers but the first rung of the ladder had been clued as "-" making the "-"s look like rungs of a ladder. Perhaps that would have made it a Wednesday puzzle.

    Speaking of "-" clues (or missing clues) Sunday's puzzle inspired me to find all puzzles in the Will Shortz era that used that trick. The results are here

    Notice that our friend @George Barany made the list twice.

    AliasZ 10:41 AM  


    What is going on between you and Martin is the only thing I know of that comes close to a BROMANTIC COMEDY.

    old timer 10:44 AM  

    I like word ladders and would be happy to see more. I like puzzles with a dense theme. But it is a disaster to try to combine them. Easily the worst puzzle of the month, and I am beginning to think Rex is right. Will Shortz no longer has what it takes to edit the puzzle (and solicit new ones) every day. No way Shortz would have printed this one, or a few other clunkers we've seen recently, back when he first became xword editor.

    I did want to say that SONGANDDANCEMEN is a real thing. Unlike BROMANTICCOMEDY. People paid good money to see actors who could sing and dance, back in the vaudeville era and afterwards.

    Steve J 10:46 AM  

    @Z: I'm assuming you didn't mean the first three definitions at Urban Dictionary with your initialism.

    @John Child: "Eighty squares of theme material is a lot: 44% of the squares in this puzzle. That's awfully hard to fill nicely." And therein lies the problem with theme density as a goal. Recognizing that you need enough connected stuff to make calling something a theme worthwhile, the trend in recent years to pack in theme density for the sake of packing in theme density isn't a good one, because it leads to exactly this problem. Take out one or two of the long theme answers, keep the word ladder - which was quite nicely done, as far as these things go - and you've got much more room to avoid a plethora of atrocious fill.

    I get that for many (including, from what I can see, the NYT) the theme is everything, but there are times where it pays to recognize that less can be more. This was definitely one of those times.

    Thanks for the welcome-backs, everyone.

    Joseph Michael 10:56 AM  

    Liked the ROAD to BALI word ladder concept. A fun idea, though its horizontal placement in the grid seems to contradict the idea of a ladder.

    Except for HOPE AND CROSBY, the other themers feel arbitrary and, as many others have said, the fill is generally pretty bad.

    I would like to nominate AON and MMCCC for the DOOK Award for worst fill of all.

    Sir Hillary 10:56 AM  

    Seagal pap (1990):

    JFC 10:59 AM  

    @AliasZ, you make me blush.

    When you write BROMANTIC in the yahoo search engine, the first suggestion that pops up is BROMANTIC COMEDY. The term is in the Urban Dictionary, a favorite reference source of Rex.

    "A romantic comedy based on an eerily close platonic heterosexual relationship between two (or more) bros."

    Crosby and Hope were lifelong friends besides making those Road flicks. So in life they had a bromance, a term not then known.

    As for Martin, I prefer to think of us as Burns and Allen. I'm just not sure who is the straight man (that's a pun, son).


    Anonymous 11:00 AM  


    YES OR

    Clue as

    "_____ no"

    suitable fill for Tuesday.

    Z 11:01 AM  

    @Steve J - The current definition 4. I probably should have checked there first. Also, you're spot on regarding this puzzle's theme to fill imbalance.

    Also, thinking some more about the theme, I think of the Road to... movies as more "Road movies" than "Bromances." Some movies can be both, Dogma comes to mind, but weren't all the Road to... movies more centered around our heroes going to a strange place?

    DOOK DOIN 11:02 AM  

    @Joseph 10:56: One could resonably argue that AON is a DOOK. Not so MMCCC.

    Anonymous 11:06 AM  

    @Young Turk: You seem to have missed last night's 6:15 pm post. You should definitely read it. It was directed to you.

    mathguy 11:10 AM  

    @Roo Monster: Thanks for the word ladders.

    Word ladders are usually written in the shape of a ladder to show what letter has been changed. That's the way I like them.

    Road movies were just vehicles to see Hope and Crosby perform. They were very popular at the time. Kind of like the Elvis movies or the Abbot-and-Costello movies.

    Talking about poorly-made movies, what about Poldark?

    Young Turk 11:14 AM  

    @anon @11:06: I did read the post from yesterday that implied that racism and sexism were odious but not stupid, and I found it stupid. My posts are not ageist, they are observations about the age and perspective of the majority of people on this board, which skews toward the grey end of the color spectrum. Except in the case of @Nancy, who I am sure dyes her hair.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:15 AM  

    Daily Race results [new Blorg-inspired "prove you're not an iPad" feature]:
    ...U (got 5 lengths out of the gate)

    Enough wondrous desperation to give old M&A a Bali High.

    High lights:

    * AON. No,no,no… If you can't make EON, ION, or OON work, always use UON.
    * EMB/MCAT/YMA. That SE corner is all marvelously BALI-ed up.
    * ORONO. The Black Bears. Mascot: Bananas the Bear.
    * YODER. Shortz Era debut! Wonder why it took em so long…?
    * The ROAD TOAD. Mad Max Furry Road sequel flick.
    * The BOLD BALD ROAD TOAD. Hope-Crosby reboot flick, coming in 2016…
    * CAPRIS CAPER APER. Ladder rot.
    * MMCCC. Studderin roast host??

    I'm on the "admired its funkiness" side.



    Nikola Tesla 11:17 AM  

    I took my electrical engineering exam yesterday. I got an AON flux!

    RnRGhost57 11:38 AM  

    Labored puzzle but got me to wondering: is a broken bromance a "brovorce"?

    Nancy 11:40 AM  

    @Young Turk (11:06)-- How ironic your comment is. I am one of the very, very few woman of my age who DOESN'T color her hair! It's the luck of genetics, of course --and I don't judge the vast majority of women who do dye their hair-- but I happen to have remarkably little gray for someone my age. Friends and hairdressers alike have opined that I should definitely NOT color my hair. Wish I could send you a photo, @Young Turk, but that would blow my cover. But there IS someone on this blog who can attest to what I'm telling you. You know who you are! Come back, come back. I need corroboration.

    BTW, I hope, @YT, that you are as fortunate as I have been to age as well as I have so far. You would seem to be pretty young, and there are no guarantees, you know.

    Young Turk 11:43 AM  

    My apologies, @Nancy. I just assumed since you don't seem happy with your natural nail colour that hair would follow. Congratulations on your girlish good looks and I sincerely hope you don't dye anytime soon.

    Young Turk 11:48 AM  

    @Nikola--that was hilarious. I just hope it is understood by the folks here whose movie knowledge seems to wane after 1963 or so.

    dick swart 11:56 AM  

    The title song from "Road to Morocco"

    We run into Villians but we haven't any fears
    Paramount will protect us cause we're signed for five more years(yeah)
    Certainly do get around
    Like Webster's Dictionary we're Morocco bound

    This series was a great break from the war news which in 42 and 43 was not good!

    Both Hope and Crosby had their own very popular radio shows.

    dick swart 11:59 AM  

    add to my comment above:

    This crossword was terrible, but don't let that affect the importance of the specific sublects ... Hope and Crosby were national morale boosters as well as originating the kind of easy-going banter that helps define todays' 'bromances'.

    RnRGhost57 12:07 PM  

    Factoid (with apologies to @Lewis): Der Bingle smoked pot early in his career, a common recreation in the jazz milieu at the time.

    Ludyjynn 12:08 PM  

    @Anonymous, 10:11am, the client I described happened to be a very pretty white woman, but I have found that representing black clients in Balto. City to be advantageous for them, esp. in a jury trial situation where a goodly number of the folks serving on any jury are also black.

    What really helps a client of any color is his or her looks, I'm sorry to say. Case in point: my clients were both black female civil servants, one of average appearance, the other of considerable beauty. (She resembles the late Whitney Houston in her prime). Of course, we prayed a jury trial in a case of defamation (both had been falsely accused of theft by a downtown retailer). This case settled as soon as defense counsel sat across the deposition table from the gorgeous client, realizing that she would clean up, monetarily, so to speak, if she had a chance to testify in open court! The $$$ offer was high simply due to her being pretty. Being black was a bonus!

    @Nancy, red cars were the source of many profitable cases for me. (As far as I know, not involving @Tita or @Hartley!) Because I like to drive fast, I have never bought a red vehicle and never will. Not only will cops pick your red car out of the crowd for speeding, but insurance cos. will tell you they are involved in more accidents than any other color. Buyer beware!

    George Barany 12:16 PM  

    Quick hello, I've been on the ROAD myself, making opportunities to contribute to this forum truly hit-or-miss. Between @Rex's critique and numerous insightful and delightful contributions from the commentariat (and BTW, welcome back @Steve J -- you were definitely missed), there is little for me to add that has not already been stated.

    @Jules Markey indicates over at that this was the second of his nine published New York Times puzzles to be accepted, meaning that it was in the queue for quite a while. Even so, it appears that his submitted grid went through additional in-house adjustments before seeing print. All these may serve as mitigating factors to explain some of the more problematic aspects of the puzzle that others have already pointed out.

    Wood 12:16 PM  

    DNF on a downs- only solve...but came close. Had to look at three or four acrosses to finish the SE and fix a few other problems. Without looking at any acrosses I didn't know it was a weird ladder but the app highlighted those 6 answers so I knew something was up... Never heard of the movie but got the main themers anyway, except SONGANDDANCEMaN. Even with all that, would never have known YOPER so finished with AIN / YIPER. Still not bad considering the self imposed constraints.

    Z 12:29 PM  

    @YT - The original is coming up on a quarter century old, so definitely hitting "classic" status. Or maybe you're too young and only know the widely panned movie. If so, watch the original, Sooo much better. I know I know - such an old ager's cliché to say the original was better. In this case it just happens to be true.

    Lewis 12:38 PM  

    @roo -- verbumleitermaus (verbum is "word" in Latin, leiter is "ladder" in German, and maus (which is "mouse" in German just feels good there). That's my best shot.

    Anonymous 12:45 PM  

    Thanks "mom"


    Arlene 1:08 PM  

    I did the puzzle - was wondering where the ladder was - thought it was going to cascade through the puzzle. I never noticed the sequence until coming here. Ah - the benefits of blogs. In the "old days", that kind of revelation would never happen. Crossword solving was a lone endeavor.
    The puzzle? Pretty good for a Tuesday - I'm not one of those "bad fill" purists/elitists.

    Questinia 1:35 PM  

    @ Lewis *Verbumleitermaus* in dem Haus! Das rocken mir gut mitt Humor.

    "Ich heisse Ursula Verbumleitermaus von Cigna-und-Yoder".

    Leapfinger 1:57 PM  

    @Nikki Tesla, slightly abserb, but I agree that your AON flux was hilarious and brilliantly conceived. I only hope that the Young Turks in the room also appreciate that the concept of ion flux PER SE preceded the 2005 movie, not by aeons, by definitely by 6 or 7 decades. It's a crucial mechanism in every* life form on the planet, and channelomics has led to a handsome handful of Nobel prizes ['52-'03].

    Fine with me if the YTs want to stick with the movie; maybe they also won't want to know there was a Steppenwolf before Steppenwolf.

    *As far as I know

    Have to say I kinda OD'd on POCs, and MMCCC gave me the MOOEDy Blues. However, @LMS, 1/3 of MMCCC = DCCLXX, so there's still a fur way to go.

    @Lewis, sometimes it's Ah, men! instead of Eh, men!
    (Esp when it's a John&Martin BROMANce :D)

    Many years of entertainment went into this theme, and that cannot be discounted. Sarong, it's been good to know ya.

    And I love the word TUNDRA.

    Hartley70 2:35 PM  

    @Ludy my red car rationale is that a careless driver is more likely to see me. There are studies that corroborate this. But just in case I'm wrong and you're right, I balance my death-defying color choice by driving a Volvo!

    @Nancy, I am more than happy to attest to your au naturale hair color, you lucky girl. I'm speaking from the "Vive la Clairol" camp myself.

    @YoungTurk, you gave me a good laugh at 11:43!

    Teedmn 3:01 PM  

    @Rex Porker, your post has much truth in it. Before reading this blog, I would have taken this puzz at face value, with nary a nit. Now I mentally critique while solving, often in a negative way. But @Lewis and @LMS can usually bring me back to the lighter side.

    @Nancy, you know I'm in your corner on the hair dye thing. I often get told that my naturally graying locks look nice, but the fact that it is usually by a woman who dyes her hair makes me wonder...

    @Leapfinger, glad you liked the post from yesterday. I'm looking forward to asking my Ukrianian friends whether they use that phrase. I am Planning on adding it to my vernacular. I think it could be a vegetarian substitution for "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."

    Thanks, JPM, for a comment inspiring Tuesday.

    Anonymous 3:04 PM  

    So am I the only one who has never heard the phrase, "Black-and-white" to refer to a COPCAR?

    chefwen 3:18 PM  

    @Sallie ( Full Time) I know I don't have to bother with the Capchas, I just like looking at all that food!

    Nancy 3:34 PM  

    Many thanks, @Hartley (2:35). I was hoping you'd come through for me, and you did. Love you!

    @Teedmn-- It's not what the other women say. Listen to the MEN. (It's even better when they're straight and younger than you). :) I'm still getting compliments on my hair from the latter, even though my locks are not nearly as jet black as they were as little as 5 years ago. My advice to you: It's all about the shine. If your hair is shiny and lustrous, don't touch it. If you feel it's drab, color it. But if you do it, do it well. I see women all the time who look like they have a unicolor dead animal of uncertain provenance sitting on their head. Just ghastly -- and very aging, too. But when it's done REALLY well, it makes me feel that maybe I should do it myself. My model (because I had black hair) is the late Norah Ephron. She started coloring her hair at a relatively young age like my sister-in-law (who started at about 40 and also does it beautifully) and the results were spectacular. If I weren't a brunette, then my model would be Jane Fonda. (I also would want her plastic surgeon, btw.) Anyway, those are my thoughts, FWIW.

    Roo Monster 3:36 PM  

    Wow @Lewis, I'm going to have to write that down!
    @mathguy, I usually write them in "ladder" form, but didn't want to take up the space!
    Here's a couple more for ya:
    RICH to POOR:


    BEER to WINE:


    Did I mention I like Word Ladders?


    Aketi 3:51 PM  

    @Nancy, my mother had your genetics. Her hair never went gray.

    @Hartley70, Before my hair started going gray, I got bored with brown and would sometimes dye it various shades of pinks and reds. Once it did start going gray, it I had to convince my hair guy to chop off all the dyed hair with this (now somewhat dated) article on the gray hair trend among young women.

    Turned out he uncovered the almost pure white hair from my father's side of the family. Just got a complement by a couple of 20 somethings for both the white and the red streaks I added as "war paint" for my black belt test.

    Yeah for your red car, even if it is a Volvo. I now have a new vision of you with flaming red hair and black hair riding on the back of my sensei's bright green and black motorcycle. His green motorcycle and matching helmet look like they could be used in a Green Hornet movie sequel.

    JFC 4:02 PM  

    For all you poor sons of guns who haven't the slightest idea what AliasZ and Leapy are referring to about BROMANce, they are denigrating the repartee between Martin (who occasionally appears here, sometimes to Rex's consternation) and me on Wordplay. Both AliasZ and Leapy (aka Leapfinger) were once regulars there and likely monitor that site, though Leapy still comments there (but saves her good stuff for here). I am what is known as an illegal alien on this site, having been deported several years ago by Rex.


    Aketi 4:06 PM  

    @lms, after watching "Hand To God" on Saturday night, I'm not sure how I feel about a BALD ROAD TOAD with a MITTEN.

    grammar nazi 4:30 PM  

    @Aketi: I presume you got a "compliment," not a "complement" from the 20-somethings.

    Tita 4:37 PM  

    @all re: red cars...every car I've bought new has been bright red. For a time, police departments in New England seemed to be using lots of aerial recon - planes would pick out speeders, then radio down to the black-and-whites on the highway. After the 3rd time I got pulled over, I swore my next car would be gray with a dotted white line painted down the center!!

    And fwiw, I've never needed a professional - if batting my baby hazels didn't work (it almost always did) and a ticket was written, then simply showing up in court usually would. But if that fails me, I know who to call!

    @Young Turk - it's not about your age, but rather about your (seeming) lack of breadth and depth.
    Making sweeping judgements as you do may signal either a) intentionally stirring the pot, or 2) ignorance. Your puzzle-related comments speak to your not being ignorant, so maybe you just like the buzz you create by sounding like an insensitive ass.

    You're not the first to be younger. And as you've been told here already by your elders, if you're lucky, you'll find yourself in the identical position in a coupla years, when you'll be the doddering, full-of-wisdom-and-awesome-fun-things-you've-done coot, who will be fondly remembering the dawn of the then-quaint Instagram and Twitter, and those hilariously old-fashioned "smart" phone doohickeys.

    Oh yea - my current car is Chili Red. With 2 white stripes down the middle!

    Aketi 4:50 PM  

    @grammar nazi, aww you haven't given up on me yet as an incorrigible failure not worthy of your time? Thought you gave up on me when I misued through instead of threw. I'd try to pass off this latest error as a typo if the letter "i" was closer to the letter "e".

    GILL I. 5:08 PM  

    My first car was a VW that had about 50 thousand miles on it. I can't remember what original color it was since I had it painted over many times.
    I now drive a grey Ford Taurus. [sigh].
    My hair used to be chestnut red and now it's interspersed with sparkles of grey. I have a natural very white piece of hair that grows in the front that everyone thinks I dye.
    I am so boring....
    I did, though, drive my British boyfriend's green XKE (right hand drive) while in Spain...does that count for wild and carefree?

    Young Turk 5:08 PM  

    @Tita: I am merely making observations about the apparent average age of the people who post on this comment board. I don't think I made disparaging remarks about the elderly, I just observed that there seem to be a lot of reminiscing about things that happened well before I was born, the not terribly rare assertion that things were better "way back when," a frequent condescension toward young constructors and commenters, a general ignorance of and disdain for modern technology, and a certain pride in not being familiar with anything having to do with current pop culture.
    If you choose to be overly sensitive to such observations or consider them mean, that is certainly your prerogative.

    anonymous middle aged person 5:33 PM  

    @Young Turk, you just don't get it. Maybe in a few years...

    Anonymous 5:40 PM  

    @Young Turk -- "A lot of reminiscing about things that happened well before I was born." Imagine that! People daring to be interested in things that happened before YOU were born! How incredibly disagreeable and inconsiderate! What colossal chutzpah! But surely you can find a blog populated by members of your own generation, since you seem to have such a deep-seated aversion anyone older than you. You can twitter and tweet with them to your heart's content and who knows? Maybe they'll even find you likeable.

    chefbea 5:47 PM  

    I have nary a gray occasional one pops up in my eye brows

    Hotfudge 6:07 PM  

    @GILL I, your VW definitely qualifies. Old cars have charm.
    @Teedmn, I'm sure your hair looks great, I agree with Nancy on the shine factor. Amazingly, the 20 something's at Ricky's are great at picking out light hair oils that make white/gray hair shine.
    @YoungTurk, elderly is a state of mind, not an age. Haven't you ever watched the commercial where a group of people are playing strip poker. Then some young thing walks in and you see how old they really are? I've told my son he can't pull the plug on me if some part of my body can still be connected to a video game controller. If that's no longer possible, then and only then will I consider myself elderly,

    Mohair Sam 6:17 PM  

    @dk - Yes! Yes! A thousand yeses to Francis movies (Donald O'Connor versions only). Clint Eastwood made his movie debut in "Francis Joins the Navy" btw - justifies the entire series.

    @Nancy - Philistines indeed! Harrummph.

    grammar nazi 6:23 PM  

    @Hotfudge: 20-somethings. No apostrophe.

    Ian 6:27 PM  

    When was the last time ANYONE saw a black and white cop car!?

    Anonymous 6:47 PM  

    @young Turk

    They can be nasty...

    Roo Monster 6:54 PM  

    @Ian, all COP CARS are black-and-white now. They used to be whatever color the particular city they were in wanted, but then I believe some kind of law was passed (not sure, maybe you can Google it), that all police vehicles have to be black-and-white. I think it was for identification purposes. Now Marshall and Sheriff cars are various colors, also Highway Patrol.


    Michael S. 7:01 PM  

    Anon@5:40: You seem niiiiiiice.

    Carola 7:23 PM  

    I'm with those who liked the puzzle, had a DNF because of A iN, don't color their hair, and drive a red Volvo. I especially liked SONG AND DANCE MEN.

    Z 7:49 PM  

    @Young Turk 5:08 - Your post was an "Eddie Haskell." You can use the Google if you don't understand the reference. Also, as a general rule, if you (or anyone for that matter) ever feel the need to say "I am not a(n) ----ist," don't. "I'm not" just makes you seem even more ----ist. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend" both respects the obvious fact that you've insulted someone while also re-establishing the opportunity for discussion.

    @Aketi - I pictured you with a complement of 20-somethings, buff hairless chests and 6-pack abs, all aswoon at your feet.

    Fortunately I got my hair gene from my mom (black to the end) and not from my dad (bald by 30). My beard is mostly gray, but the hair up top only gets an occasional strand of silver. Oddest thing is that my beard had lots of red in it when I was younger, and that is what went grey first. The offspring's beards tend towards the red as well. Alleles like to play games, apparently.

    A fair number of local suburbs have returned to Black and White marked patrol cars. Dodge Chargers seem to be the current rage for unmarked cars. My personal "fav" was the sports car on the side of the road that had been pulled over by an unmarked minivan. That seems like entrapment to me, but I still laughed. Be careful if you're ever on 1-75 in Ohio.

    chefwen 8:36 PM  

    Most of the cop cars here blue and white.

    I don't have gray hair either as I get it dyed every three weeks, just can't seem to bite the bullet and let it go naturally. I'll just have to think of the wine I could buy with all that extra money, that might push in the right direction.

    Young Turk 9:05 PM  

    Well done @Z 7:49, you almost hit the trifecta: You had a) dripping condescension and pedantry, and b) a reference to a TV character from the '50's. All you needed to add was c) how much better things were back then. Oh well, nice try.

    Hartley70 9:15 PM  

    @Nancy, now I'm having hair anxiety! I just asked my husband if my hair looked like a dead unicolor animal of uncertain provenance and he said, "Not to worry, it looks more like a Davy Crockett coonskin hat." Maybe it's time I let it go gray, with just a little red Aketi stripe to match my car. It makes me wish I still had that 1969 red MGB convertible. Sigh.

    Yes, @Gill, you qualify as wild and free, as long as that Jag wasn't a lemon, as they so often were in the "olden" days.

    Nancy 10:35 PM  

    @Hartley -- You are TOO funny. So, evidently, is your husband. Seriously, though, the choice isn't between going gray and looking like either a unicolor animal or a coonskin hat. I've found good people to cut my hair by looking on the street and asking anyone with a really good haircut, who wears her hair similarly to mine, whom they go to. (I write down all the names and the salons, then call, get the price, and pick the cheapest.) If I ever decide to color my hair, I will walk down the street, or in the park, or anywhere I happen to be and look for the best dye job on a brunette that I can find. I'll look for shine, I'll look for naturalness and I'll look for highlights of more than one color. There are a lot of bad jobs out there, but there are some really good ones, too. I'm sure good people are available in CT. (Well, at least one is; my sister-in-law lives in CT and her color is awesome.) My advice is serious -- but I did have to stop laughing before I could type it.

    wreck 11:22 PM  

    Roo got me curious, so I looked into the "black and white" cop car question. While I don't think it is a law, it seems Homeland Security is strongly encouraging it and many, many cities have indeed switched to the color scheme. I think all of the suburbs in DFW have indeed switched in the last few years!

    Hotfudge 11:44 PM  

    @Z, now that I think about it, I AM surrounded by a lot of hairless 20 somethings with six pack abs in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but I hadn't really paid attention to them. I confess, however, that I actually have a minicrush on our "Professor" as we call him. He's 50 and still winning world tournaments in his age and weight class and has a hairy chest. I wouldn't say anyone is aswoon at anyone's feet. Most of the time we are all merely rolling around on the floor together. I'm such a beginner in that discipline.

    @Hartley70, I stopped asking my dh about my hair because he always remembers the previous hairstyle and/or as somehow being better than anything new. Since he no longer has any hair on his head but his mustache and beard and he's not in Nancy's demographic appropriate consultants, his opinion on hair color and styles no longer carries much weight with me. I do think I have to stop listening to the teenage girls in the locker room at the dojo, who are currently infusing their dark hair wuth a vivid green. Coonskin is definitely not uniform and it might actually be interesting depending on how it's done. Recently, I saw someone who had multiple horizontal stripes instead in her long straight hair. It was mesmerizing because the stripes were so even. My stripes are vertical and so "last millennium" according to my son.

    Salonika 12:17 AM  


    This is all so interesting and educational.

    Elephant's Child 4:30 AM  

    I think it was Shel Silverstein who had some good things to say about BALD-headed women. Of course, old Shel has now gone to where the sidewalk ends... If anyone did, he deserved a sidewalk made out of SONGANDANCEMENt.

    A belated confession: on first reading [Jekyll's counterpart], my immediate reaction was HECKLE. Not trying to hyde this; surely I wasn't alone?

    Leapfinger 5:20 AM  

    Aetna, I'm glad I met ya!
    CIGNA, I really dig ya!

    Just trying my hand at the APER CAPER.

    ROAD TOAD TOLD ... what? This is what I've been sitting on ever since I filled in 5D:
    When I was at McGill, way back in the '60s BYTE (Before Young Turk's Era), a perfectly lovely doctoral student from NJ gave me a pithy plaque with a full-frontal close-up of a 5D, and the inspiring caption, writ large: "Eat a live TOAD first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you all day."

    I finally disposed of that picture, though I saved far too long. The fact that I can clearly see it in my mind's eye even now proves that it's still lurking in some backstreet synapse to this day.
    Thanks for nuthin', ACV III; if I ever get to Summit, you'd best Look Out.

    kitshef 11:05 PM  

    Yuck. Almost a DNF on a freakin' Tuesday! Three Naticks, all guessed correctly which was pretty much luck: UT_E/A_IS, OR_NO/AM_S, A_N/Y_DER.
    Could have been UTzE or UTtE, ORaNO or OReNO, AiN for all I knew.
    Broccoli RABE was a WoE, too. That's six WoEs plus AON - did I mention on a TUESDAY!!

    My personal worst irritants from this puzzle were the clues for AON and COMEON, and the pathetic use of MMCCC. And then of course there are the crossing MCAs from YMCA and MCAT, with YMA thrown in off the YMCA to boot.

    Kate Mark 2:37 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 she is a woman and she is great. wish you good time.

    Anonymous 11:20 AM  

    "Bromantic?" Are we inventing words here? How could this be a modern-day genre when nobody ever heard of it? I Didn't like the puzzle. I gave up and looked up the solution.

    spacecraft 11:56 AM  

    First of all, can we PLEASE, PLEASE wake up the syndilinker! We are STILL on that awful Saturday--yeah, the one that I never even started because it was so impossible, and I'm TIRED of being reminded about it! Hey you: WAKE UP!!!!!

    Now that I'm already in a thoroughly bad mood, I'm fit to critique this puzzle. {wrings hands and goes "Mwaahaaa!"} ACTUALly, "MWAAHAAA" would be an improvement over some of this fill. For starters, OPES and OPEN in the same grid??? That's gotta be a no-no. Never mind about YODER; the real outlier almost kept me from getting out of the starting block: RABE. WHA???? It's not even a word! The crosses forced it in; even so I was afraid I'd done something wrong right up until I saw the solution. RABE. On a Tuesday. COMEON!

    The other fill crap has been listed. An RRN is bad enough, but a full house of MMCCC is ridiculous. The whole mess is ridiculous. This guy bit off WAY more than he could chew; the dense theme doesn't even make sense, for reasons already posted. The guys were buddies, but anything beyond that? No-o-o. I don't mind word ladders per se, but the whole thing puts way too many constraints on this little grid. As OFL said: killed it, but...F.

    Burma Shave 12:44 PM  


    We took our AUTO on the ROAD and RANGED out for a CAPER or two,
    for OURS we drove from the ICIER TUNDRA to the HUMID BAYOU.
    Eventually DEB removed her CAPRIS and felt BOLD MINUS pants
    and said, “OPEN your fly, don’t HYDE it. ORR just let me handle that, LANCE.”
    With her hand ATOP my lap, wearing the DRY MITTEN with the thumb on,
    DEB TOLD me, “The ACTUAL feel will be nice. Let’s try it. So COMEON!”

    this stream of unconsciousness not brought to you by CIGNA

    rondo 1:11 PM  

    Yeah, what most everyone else said. People like EDIE, ERIC, YMA, NED, DANNY, LANCE, DEB, AMOS, ORR, HYDE, DOM, and YODER, not to mention HOPEANDCROSBY and DOROTHYLAMOUR. I had so much HOPE after yesterday, but now I’m CURED.

    If I recall, the ROAD to BALI got DOROTHYLAMOUR (1940s-50s yeah baby) into a sarong, while everyone else wanted to get her out of it.

    I’d give EDIE Falco a yeah baby vote in a Soprano gangster’s wife sorta way.

    Weren’t HOPEANDCROSBY frequent co-emcees (MMCCC) in their day?

    I’ve gotta go and pick up an extra C note and meet YMA at the YMCA. AMENS.

    longbeachlee 1:59 PM  

    I never do Tuesdays, but this looked worthwhile. I couldn't get a foothold on the top, so I started from the bottom, and it became easy. Go figure

    packerbacker 2:33 PM  

    There's only one TUNDRA that matters - the formerly fozen one at Lambeau Field.

    Anonymous 2:36 PM  

    As did longbeach lee I started at the bottom and ran to the top in a rarely fast time. I liked it, I guess, because it worked for me personally. I'm grey and aged so Hope & Crosby & Dorothy Lamour was a snap. For a younger solver, that could have been a problem. But, no apologies here cause we oldies have to put up with rock groups and rap and younger clebs.

    @Rondo, good one! You're waxing poetic again.

    @Burma Shave. You are a nasty, nasty, nasty, but very funny guy!

    @Spacecraft. I've had it up to HERE with all the scrolling. I'm starting to think it is deliberate. I'm going to sign off on this blog, sign in again and see if there is some way to check the archives.

    Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where all the women wear a scarlet A on their breast and the men like it that way).

    Anonymous 3:31 PM  

    Fellow Syndies: I tried everything possible (known to me) to figure out how to get to the proper day without having to scroll through a week's worth of comments. I tried the "archives" and other things but just ended up with that start day of Saturday.

    I am now going in search of another blog for the NYT crosswords, and will check back in a week or so to see whats up with the Syndie comments. I'm really going to miss everyone but enough is enough.

    Ron Diego (Always known for his dry wit and wet grey cells).

    Cathy 3:39 PM  

    When I first filled in bromantic comedy, I thought it was going to be "broke back mountain". Then realized that movie wasn't a comedy. I always thought bromance was kind of a term
    for "leaning towards gay". So when Hope and Crosby filled in I was like huh? Learned something new!

    I also didn't get the ladder until I came here. I knew Road to Bali, but couldn't figure out where the "to" played out. Wasn't thinking horizontally. Gave up to soon!

    I have brown hair with a couple greys (grays?) sprouting out. I've never dyed my hair.
    Oh, sorry, thought that was the main topic of the real timers!

    Cathy 3:48 PM  

    @Ron Diego- Don't leave!! I so look forward to your posts!! Especially your send offs!
    I've never used the syndilink. Everyday I just google Rex Parker, then an odd answer or clue of that day. The web sites show up and it's usually the first one. I've wondered what you guys were talking about scrolling through days.

    Please stay:(

    DMG 3:54 PM  

    Hey it's Tuesday, and we get a trip down memory lane. What's not to like? How about the "word" BROMANCE? Strikes me as a silly made-up thing implying, but apparently not meaning, a romantic attachment between two men. Belongs in the same basket as those co-joined Hollywood names!

    Wow, guess I picked up the crabby vibe from all the kvetchers above. Sorry about that. As for the puzzle, it seemed Tuesdayish enough, and I enjoyed the hark-back to the Hope/Crosby road trips, even if they did seem silly even when new. My only write-overs were IDOS over vowS, and BALD over BAre. Must admit I couldn't find the word ladder. Like some others I wanted it to snake from top left to bottom right, but maybe that type of thing has another name?

    Now for the robot....

    leftcoastTAM 5:04 PM  

    This seemed an easy, but oddly simple and dull, puzzle because 1) all the long theme answers virtually filled themselves in and 2) I didn't have to see the word progression or even know the name of the movie it started and ended with.

    Yes, I am of that generation. When I was a kid I thought the Bob/Bing team was pretty funny, and I had a small crush on Dorothy in her sarong.

    rondo 5:14 PM  

    @RonDiego -thanks for the compliment.
    For the last week plus I have used the syndi button, going to that dreadful Satpuz, then I just scrolled down on on the far right sidebar where all of the June puzzles are all listed/linked and click on the correct day. Kind of a pain-in-the-butt, but only 5-10 seconds worth.
    Unless things show up differently depending on the device??

    Z 5:49 PM  

    Rex is vacationing and we are getting guest bloggers in Real-Time. Apparently he didn't give the guests all the keys.

    leftcoastTAM 7:23 PM  

    On the basis of his whole steaming body of work, @Burma Shave has shown that he may be one of the greatest artists of X-word blog raunch of all time.

    Mama Squirrel 2:41 PM  

    I knew Wisconsin vs. Yoder, but I'm a homeschool parent, so yeah.

    toxford 5:03 PM  

    I went to law school, practice law, and still didn't know Yoder. And Rex, I thought you might have been too easy on this puzzle -- you didn't mention that it had "OPEN" and "OPES," "LEDS" and "LCD," and "YMA" crossing "YMCA."

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