Fashion designer Jacobs / TUE 6-2-15 / Opera singer Pinza / Weizman 1990s Israeli president / Arlo's partner in funnies / Coveted late-night gig

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: I don't know. I kept stopping to sigh and shake my head and take pictures of my grid. Medium?


THEME: HERO SANDWICH (57A: Sub … or a literal hint to 20-, 34- and 43-Across) — "HERO" is "sandwiched" inside three theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • BEACH EROSION (20A: Problem cause by ocean storms)
  • PITCHER OF BEER (34A: Bar order for the whole table)
  • LEARN THE ROPES (43A: Pick up basics)
Word of the Day: EZIO Pinza (65A: Opera singer Pinza) —
Ezio Pinza (May 18, 1892 – May 9, 1957) was an Italian opera singer. A bass with a rich, smooth and sonorous voice, he spent 22 seasons at New York's Metropolitan Opera, appearing in more than 750 performances of 50 operas. At the San Francisco Opera, Pinza sang 26 roles during 20 seasons from 1927 to 1948. Pinza also sang to great acclaim at La ScalaMilan, and at the Royal Opera HouseCovent GardenLondon.
After retiring from the Met in 1948, Pinza enjoyed a fresh career on Broadway in the musical theatre and also appeared in several Hollywood films. (wikipedia)
• • •

This isn't just bad, it's comically bad. It's like someone set out to write a bad puzzle. It's like a parody of a bad puzzle. In fact … is it a parody? … [checking] … I don't see parody. I just see atrocity. And the thing is, so do you. None of you think this is good enough for the NYT. Even if your favorite thing is disagreeing with me, I don't believe you can defend this puzzle with a straight face. No, I see your face, and it is decidedly not straight. The fill is a 1 out of 10 (if we exclude the longer fill, it's a 0). The theme  might have worked if the execution had been anything like interesting or competent, but it is neither. Sandwiches have two pieces of bread, and the filling touches the bread. So for the theme to work, you need two-word phrases, with letter string "HERO" shared between them. Only one of the themers does this (BEACH EROSION). In the others, BEER and LEARN just stick out there on the ends of their respective answers, like one of those colored toothpicks that sometimes get stuck in sandwiches. Or like a piece of fluff that really doesn't belong on a sandwich at all and isn't really edible. But the sad theme is just a sad theme. A kind of run-of-the-mill sad theme. Unacceptable for a puzzle of the NYT's stature, but not, in and of itself, a crime against humanity. It's the shamelessly terrible fill that's the real issue here. Did you see the NW corner? Did you? Here, let me refresh:


This is where I thought the puzzle was trolling me. Why is the fill this bad? It must be theme-related. Last time this constructor published a puzzle, the fill was also terrible, but there, at least, there was a thematic reason (severely limited letter bank). Here … dear lord, Why? And then there's EZIO over EZER, which is like some kind of terrible crosswordese joke. I could list many, many more total bummer answers. Probably a dozen Bad, another dozen Less-Than-Good. I nearly made RUER the Word of the Day because that is what I am. I rue that I solved this at all, rue that I had to write about it. Mostly, I resent that the position of editor of the NYT Crossword puzzle has become such a sinecure that stuff like this gets published, and will continue to get published, with absolutely no repercussions. Every single puzzle at the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament this past Saturday put the average NYT puzzle to shame—difficulty levels varied, but conceptual brilliance and overall polish did *not*. My fellow crossword critics (the two who were in attendance) agreed—almost zero scowling. Just joy. You'd think the self-described "Best Puzzle in the World" (!?) could at least come close to meeting that kind of quality standard. You'd think. And to think, I kept telling people this past weekend, "You know, last week's Times' puzzles were almost all really solid … I think things might be looking up." LOL.


The fault, once again, lies entirely with the editor, who a. never should've accepted this puzzle, and b. once he'd accepted it, should've … what's the word? … right, *edited* the damned thing to make it far less ABBR-ABRA-BAABAA-Bominable. An assiduous editor would've rejected it with a note indicating that the theme concept was indeed solid, but that the execution (including theme answer choice and overall fill) needed to be considerably improved. Then maybe you end up teaching a novice constructor something about professional standards. And maybe the puzzle he later resubmits to you is good. And we are all the better off for it. But this is not the puzzle world we live in. I thought this was a CHER tribute puzzle half way in. I think I might've liked it *slightly* better if it had been.

Go buy the Indie 500 puzzles ($10 for Play-at-Home option, under "Register"). You won't rue it. Oh, and the clue on NATE (44D: Silver of fivethirtyeight.com) reminds me—there is a World-Class Nate Silver-related clue in one of the Indie 500 puzzles (don't worry, he's in the clue, not the answer, so nothing's been spoiled). So good, I said "wow" out loud while solving (much to the annoyance, I'm sure, of the competitors in my vicinity).
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

    138 comments:

    danny 12:12 AM  

    This puzzle was pretty bad, but the childishness of the tone of Rex's trolling on the NYT has indeed reached a climax. There's no way of getting real criticism anymore at this site when the axe-grinding is so patently obvious. It's been this way for years, but it's officially gone overboard in my opinion. I'll no longer be reading.

    jae 12:18 AM  

    Medium for me and, while I liked it a tad more then Rex did, this really wasn't a fine Tues.   Way too much dreck and the NW and SE corners are not pretty.  The long downs were not bad.  I'm wondering how much of the problems are pangram related?

    Anonymous 12:39 AM  

    Ha! If Parker Sharp were editor of the Times puzzles, which it often seems his wish, there would be no puzzles published... get over it, please!

    Anonymous 12:41 AM  

    Goodbye Danny...and hopefully goodbye to Mr. Shortz soon.
    He's overstayed his welcome by two decades.

    Anonymous 12:47 AM  

    "I rue that I solved this at all, rue that I had to write about it."

    You do know that you don't have to, right Rex?

    Charles in Austin 1:00 AM  

    I found ABRA over ABBR entertaining, almost magical.
    But I knew Rex wouldn't.

    RAD2626 1:26 AM  

    I like almost every puzzle, even the ones that flummox me. But I totally agree with today's writeup. I really, really disliked this one. The fill, the theme, even the long downs. The clue for URBAN SPRAWL was bad although I concede I liked the clue for the PIZZA. Just no fun at all, even though it was not hard. So many awkward clues and words.

    I also think the right answer forv1D is Yes sir, Yes sir. I always thought the questioner starts with BAA, BAA, not the sheep.

    Anonymous 1:26 AM  

    Rex, Rex, Rex.........this puzzle is not so bad.....the long downs are considerably better than average actually. Methinks you got up on the wrong side of bed!

    Brett 1:31 AM  

    I come here to get an experts opinion on the difficulty and execution of each puzzle. Not to read about how much you hate everything. Should I be reading another site instead?

    I do appreciate the bits of wisdom I find here, it's just hard to get to them without being brought down by the weight of Rex's Debby Downer routine.

    Anonymous 2:03 AM  

    We know you are a tournament solver, Rex, and we know you are mostly bored by early week themes. However, a huge chunk of humanity only does easy puzzles. Save your ranting for the really bad ones- this is an average Tuesday puzzle.

    Questinia 2:46 AM  

    I don't have Rexpectations. My Gestalt is different. I experience places like the NW as a knot of similarity, a whirlpool of A's and B's the brain kicks out of and into the puzzle's pangram. To me a puzzle is a confluence of words, associations, and terminal velocities of my finger's spastic wind drag over the keys. I don't project my own couture construction abilities onto a puzzle because I haven't any and that sets me free from disappointment.

    Maybe Dr. Brave and his ABRA ABBR BAA BAA spell casting compels me to think this way. I am a happy puzzle-solving lover.

    chefwen 2:53 AM  

    Thought all the a's and b's in the NW and the e's and z's in the SE were a little off putting, but I did like this more than Rex, but then again, I am easily pleased.

    Bawl before WEEP at 60D set me off on a different path (the road less taken) but was soon rectified.

    Nylon before LYCRA has me pretty well messed up also at 25A. As Mother used say "it all comes out in the wash". And it did.

    oswegocsa 3:15 AM  

    This is the first puzzle I've hated enough to post a comment about. Between the ancient crosswordese (pointed out helpfully by Rex) and the poorly handled theme, not to mention the poor cluing (really, light blue = AQUA? I think of Aqua as being greenish blue, either light or dark), I was icking to myself as I solved. Now, time to see what the Crossword Fiend's diary had to say...

    Anonymous 3:22 AM  

    Thank you, Rex, for upholding your standards.

    John Child 3:44 AM  

    Good long downs as noted, but there's a price. URB from URBAN SPRAWL results in BAUM / ABBRA / ABBR. The double Z in CHEESE PIZZA brings EZIO and EZER.

    The constructor's notes on xwordinfo or wordplay today are interesting.

    I always read what Rex has to say about the puzzle. When I get to "This should have never been accepted..." I skim until there's something else about the puzzle. It's as easy as skipping a comment about spell casters.

    jae 3:55 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    jae 3:59 AM  

    Every once in a while it occurs to me that Questinia might actually be Brooke McEldowney.

    mac 4:12 AM  

    Not good, and poorly edited. But it's only Tuesday.

    Starting in the NW, I thought for a moment that only a limited number of letters were going to be used in this puzzle, but I was wrong, they were all used.

    I worried for a moment I was not going to finish at the cots and oasis crossing. Expected some acronym for ready to eat food, and did not expect to see an oasis on the highway.

    mac 4:35 AM  

    Just for comparison, do Elizabeth Gorski's puzzle in Crossword Nation.

    Greg 5:13 AM  

    Count me among those whose "favorite thing is disagreeing" with Rex over the bitter tone toward Will Shortz that is the primary theme of this blog... BUT this puzzle is, in fact, awful. That's the problem, though. When you whine and moan about everything, it's tough to take it seriously when you happen to be right.

    Charles Flaster 5:27 AM  

    Medium solve and not in Rex agreement.
    Liked clues for IRIS, BEACH EROSION and URBAN SPRAWL.
    Ha-- two days in a row for AJAR!!
    CrosswordEASE--EZER and EZIO.
    nYlon→LYCRA.
    Thanks BH.

    GILL I. 6:07 AM  

    Funniest post by @Rex in a while...I also agree with him...
    I think somewhere along the way, the NYT has to put some more pizzazz (or CHEESE PIZZA) in their puZZles. I may be spoiled by the likes of BEQ and several others, but I get cranky when the same ole same ole keeps cropping up.
    Has anyone read about Arlo's partner...in say...the last 40 years? LYCRA? what happened to spandex? All the Mensa IQS I ever met where blathering idiots...
    Really...is it OLAF or OLAV???
    PITCHER OF BEER? who orders that???? Give me a pitcher of sangria...at least!

    Lewis 6:50 AM  

    @questinia -- thank you. You see a puzzle as an opportunity. It's not that your bar is lower than Rex's. You just have a wider vision.

    I didn't see the puzzle as ugly. Workmanlike, sure. Did it have a lot of pop? No. Did it exercise my brain? Yes. I, like @questinia, enjoy the solving process. The only puzzles I don't like are those that are too easy and too dull. This one had good Tuesday bite (Rex gave it a possible medium, after all), and I found some interesting things as well. I love Questijnia's poetic view that the NW was a beautiful springboard into a pangram, with all its A's and B's. Me, I just saw all those B's (5 out of the puzzle's 7), and my brain smiled.

    I also saw a strong liquid theme in this puzzle: BEACHEROSION, LYCRA, OASES, SPLAT, TIDE, AQUA, ASHORE, WEEP, RAFT, PITCHEROFBEER, and NEAP.

    I didn't see it as a particularly memorable puzzle, nor as an OGRE. I left the puzzle grateful for the experience. I respect Rex's take as well. This is what makes the world go round, Rex.

    dk 7:04 AM  

    ๐ŸŒ•๐ŸŒ• (2 mOOns)

    Dr. Brave here. I used to be Reverend Ike but after the arrests and all… Anyway: Do you want a puzzle you can love and who will love you back. Want to solve with zero (I mean none) write overs. Then my brothers and sisters I want you to put your hand on this post and say: I am the greatest! Puzzles fall before me! Then send $1 to Rex. it is that easy.

    If you act today I will include my magic spell that eliminates spelling errors from posts. Wendy (post above) did not send her dollar in a timely manner and… well.. you can read the results.

    Yadda yadda Captcha

    How can you not like a puzzle with AJAR and NEAP nestled in the grid? I expect this puzzle was targeted for Memorial Day.

    Thanks Bruce

    Anonymous 7:15 AM  

    You know this blog has "jumped the shark" when spellcaster comments are the most interesting ones.

    bravespellcaster@gmail.com

    Kris in ABCA 7:23 AM  

    Loved the Frazey Ford video. That woman has no need of a spellcaster.

    Danield 7:35 AM  

    Fun to read latest attacks by Bill O'Reilly (Rex) on Obama (Shortz) for his job-killing regulation (editing).

    Loren Muse Smith 7:41 AM  

    I have to agree with @RAD2626 - BAA BAA is what *I* would actually say to the black sheep, somehow hoping for the same connection I’m going for when I moo at a cow.

    Or when my husband, having spotted a “red tail hawk,” does this strange, piercing whistle expecting some kind of avian reply. (FWIW – if it’s big and doesn’t flap its wings much, it’s a “red-tail hawk,” even though it’s probably a turkey vulture or buzzard who just doesn’t speak hawk. Haven’t I been over this with him?

    I always felt weird when I lived in New Jersey and people ordered three PIES from Domino’s. I order three “pizzas.” So I was thinking “chess” pie or some other plain but staggeringly delicious dessert.

    I'm TENSE. I wake up TENSE. I probably sleep TENSE. But.... (read this next part with bared teeth) do not come near me and rub my back. Don't. Touch. Me. Don’t come up behind me and rub my shoulders thinking you’re helping me relieve some stress. You’re not. You’ve just made it a ton worse. And since I seem to be in the midst of some kind of tantrum period, here’s a question: why do the guys who like to HUG always get to be The Boss of the Greeting?? How many times has this happened to me – “Hey! Great to see you! Come over here; I’m a hugger.” Or “I like to HUG.” Just once I wish I were assertive enough to say, “Hey! Great to see you! You just stay over there, pal. I’m not a hugger. But it still is good to see you.”

    Ok, so I’m avoiding pulling on my Pollyanna cap (hi, @you-know-who!). Rex – I really do have a straight face. We’ve beaten the dead horse so so many times about fill vs theme, and I’ve always maintained that the theme for me is where I find my fun. Here’s what I liked about today’s theme –

    1. I get a kick out of seeing HERO (or any word) hidden in phrases. That BEACH EROSION is the single one where HERO is divided between only two words didn’t bother me a bit.
    2. I had always thought in reverse about the SANDWICH theme idea and was kicking around things like HEAVY CREAM, HOCKEY TEAM or HAPPY MEDIUM rather than NORTH AMERICA or ALPHA MALE. Cool that it can work two ways, and now I can revisit some ideas.

    I agree that the NW and SE have some issues, but they sure didn’t spoil it for me. I loved URBAN SPRAWL and CHEESE PIZZA, FRAIL, SPLAT, and OWEN (my dog who just follows me around trying to make meaningful eye contact).

    There again, I could be at Per Se enjoying some chocolate mousse with Cool Whip on top rather than real whipped cream, and I’d just raise my eyebrows as I inhaled it and think, “Man. This still tastes pretty good.”

    So I’m firmly in the @Questinia and @Lewis camp on this one. Thanks, Bruce.

    Rug Crazy 7:47 AM  

    Now I feel bad for enjoying as much as I did

    Aketi 7:49 AM  

    @rex, aw go drink PITCHER Of BEER on the BEACH at Coney Islanf and watch all the eldery sunning themselves in skimpy LYCRA suits. It might make you less TENSE about mediocre puzzles.

    Rhino 7:57 AM  

    I thought the puzzle was fine but I knew Rex would hate it. He did not disappoint.

    I thought his write up was fine, but I knew the commentariate would hate it. You did not disappoint.

    So this has been a Russian nesting doll filled with mediocrity and hate. All in all, a pleasant, crunchy treat that went well with my cup of coffee.

    Lewis 8:05 AM  

    Factoid: Joan BAEZ dated Steve Jobs in the early 1980s, and she performed at his memorial in 2011.

    Quotoid: "It isn't the mountains AHEAD to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe." -- Muhammad Ali

    L 8:08 AM  

    Hate when my long comment, carefully vetted for typos and errors, winds up in the ethersphere somewhere. Sigh.

    Main point was c'mon NYT - no one here says "cheese pizza"! That's what my Midwestern husband says. You want a cheese pizza? You order a pie, or perhaps a regular pie. But no cheese pizza. If OFL can get all nitpicky, then so shall I.

    chefbea 8:11 AM  

    I didn't think the puzzle was so bad. Pretty easy and a pangram also!!! Wondered if the pitcher of beer was sol cerveza??? also AJAR two days in a row!!

    NCA President 8:13 AM  

    RAD2626: good catch. I say, "Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?" And the sheep responds, "Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full...[and a bunch of other stuff in English]"

    As for Rex's tirade viz a viz Jeff Chen's xword write up: Rex has crossed over into almost entirely offering value judgments whereas JC tries to offer some objective tips/comments on the construction. For what it's worth, JC (ever the optimist) didn't really care for the puzzle either...but he says it in a nicer, more reasoned way. I think Rex has just come to the point of skipping that step and goes directly to the end game. Who knows, maybe in 10 years, JC will be where Rex is now. Tired of going on and on about how difficult it is to fill in ?Z?? on top of ?Z?? and go directly to the fact that the constructor got themselves in that predicament in the first place.

    Sometimes this blog reminds me of Plato's "Cave." Are we the ones sitting in the cave watching the shadows on the wall and Rex is the one returning from outside to tell us the things we are looking at (and accepting as reality) are really just reflections of something even more amazing going on outside? I started coming to read this blog because I didn't know anything about the inner workings of puzzle construction or, for that matter, what made one puzzle good and another bad. In short, I didn't know what I didn't know. (I still don't know a lot). So the twist here is that maybe those who continue to call out Rex are the ones returning from the outside to tell us that what Rex is saying is not the true nature of things but a poor reflection of it. It's like wondering if maybe, in the Garden of Eden story, that it was God who was the bad guy and not the snake.

    So...I just keep subscribing to the NYT puzzle and coming here every morning to see what I'm supposed to think about the puzzle...or to compare what I think about the puzzle to Rex and the rest of the posters here.

    If you need me, I'll just be sitting here staring at this wall...

    Anonymous 8:26 AM  

    Thought Rex was right. Last week raised his expectations, so now he's back down to a lower point than ever. Thought the HERO should have pulled together two pieces of bread that were themselves coherent, but BEACSION didn't work, nor did PITCFBEER or LEARNTPES. Awful fill with that feat might have been forgivable, but no joy.

    pmdm 8:27 AM  

    You've got four long theme entries crossed by two long vertical entries (3D and 26D) and all six are very good, not at all forced or otherwise wretched. You also have the requirement that today's clues must be quite easy for solvers, which inevitably requires less-than-superior fill intruding on the solving experience. Rather than fixate on irritating fill, I tend to appreciate puzzles whose longer entries are strong and clean. So to me some of the evaluations of today's puzzle seem to me a bit harsher than the puzzle deserves.

    I am surprised that, in the write-up, the rant did not include the usual condemnation of pangrams.

    I looked at the theme this way. The word HERO is sandwiched between two strings of letters. Not words, but strings. Upon the insertion of HERO between the two letter strings, the entry becomes a valid expression. Demanding that HERO be inserted between two actual words in imposing an added condition on the theme. That would be fine, and perhaps more elegant, but the theme is fine just as it is.

    I would think that the Monday and Tuesday puzzles are edited with the beginning puzzle solver in mind. I'd like to hear from them about what they thought about today's solving experience.

    oral roberts 8:28 AM  

    Lewis,

    "Factoid: Joan BAEZ dated Steve Jobs in the early 1980s, and she performed...."

    Guess what I was hoping the next two words were going to be?

    Anonymous 8:29 AM  

    I would rather have seen Annabel's take on this puzzle

    Karin 8:33 AM  

    Hey, does anyone know how to get the answers to the Little Variety in the NYTimes? I just get an error message when I go to the print solutions. Thanks!

    AliasZ 8:34 AM  


    Let me ASKEW, have you ever INURE life thought of a PITCHER OF BEER as an Anheuser-Busch salesman? Yeah, me too.

    I would have liked it more if the word sandwiched inside the theme phrases were "hoagie" or "submarine" or "Po' Boy" or "blimpie."

    What a coinkidink! I was listening to a 10" mono LP (1949) of EZIO Pinza singing arias from diverse operas (Bellini, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and Halรฉvy) last night, just before the NYT published the on-line puzzle at 10:00 PM. What a beautiful voice! I wouldn't have been more surprised to see his name in the puzzle if I were reading the biography of EZER Weizman. Or if I had a slice of CHEESE PIZZA for dinner. Or a hoagie. If you are curious why I was listening to EZIO Pinza, it's simple: I do not own a Joan BAEZ LP.

    Despite some less than pristine crosswordESE around the grid, I enjoyed this puzzle, BAABAA, ABBR, ABRA, RUER and AZERA be danged. Any puzzle with EROS, a VAMP with a nice PARE, AHEAD and a HUG is a winner in my book. Not to mention PAS, as in "Le PAS d'acier" by Sergei Prokofiev.

    Enjoy your day.

    Rex Porker 8:38 AM  

    Today epitomizes who I am. I rant and I roar and I come back for more. Hey, that rhymes! Aren't I clever?
    Did I mention I solve puzzles in tournaments? As predicted, I was super nice in the week leading up to the tournament. It's really all I had to look forward to in my otherwise lonely and angry existence. Now that it's over, I can go back to being, well, me.

    Anonymous 8:41 AM  

    HEROSANDWICH is redundant and kind of green paintish.

    NCA President 8:43 AM  

    @Rex Porker: If Rex stopped writing this blog, you would cease to exist. You wouldn't want that would you? Just think how different your day would be without having to come back to the blog 5, 6, 10 times to check to see if you got a shout out. As much as you appear to rag on Rex, you need him...kind of like a remora.

    Rex Porker 8:45 AM  

    [Side note to all my five fans here: have you noticed that every one of my posts is essentially identical? They're like Chef Boyardee products: Different labels, but inside you'll find same old pasta of varying shapes, some sort of ground meat product, and tomato soup. So how about giving me some love here? It's not easy being repetitively uncreative day after day.
    Porker]

    Consider the numbers 8:48 AM  

    Mon CHER* Rex,

    How many puzzles does the Indy 500 showcase annually?
    How many does the NYT?


    *Moi aussi

    Rex Porker 8:52 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Nancy 8:53 AM  

    @Lewis says that all he asks for is a puzzle "that exercises his brain." Me, too. Unfortunately, I could have sent my brain out to pick up a CHEESE PIZZA, while doing this one. No challenge whatsoever. But @Lewis has provided, thus far, the high point of my puzzle day, in revealing that Joan Baez dated Steve Jobs. I didn't know that and I find it interesting -- a lot more interesting than the puzzle.

    Rex Porker 8:55 AM  

    Hey a fake Porker! You noticed: Rex's's posts are quite redundant, and therefore so are mine.
    Ironic, since I am essentially a fake to begin with. I've clearly hit the big time and I I'm duly flattered.

    GeezerJackYale48 8:56 AM  

    Hey fellow gripers: if we all weren't inherently picky people, we would not be posting our opinions here. So give Rex a break; he is obviously pretty jaded on the whole subject after all this time. So he picks - and we pick at his picks and his pickiness!

    MDMA 9:21 AM  

    I read Rex's writeup and shrugged. To hate a puzzle, you have to pause and think about how much you hate it and why. On Mondays and Tuesdays you never really pause, they're over too quickly.

    I do late-week puzzles in sections after a preliminary pass through all the clues to try to create a few footholds. But for Mondays and Tuesdays, I skip over anything that stumps me even for a couple of seconds, knowing that on a later pass there will probably be enough crossing letters filled in to make the answer instantly clear. Doing it that way, you're never at a standstill.

    This puzzle was like a leftover slice of pizza warmed up in the microwave. It was okay.

    Ludyjynn 9:24 AM  

    Highlight of this very easy, very meh puzzle solve was EZIO. Ezio Penza won the 1950 Tony Award starring opposite Mary Martin (Larry Hagman's Mom!) in "South Pacific", one of my favorite R&H musicals. He played the French planter, Emile de Becque. Who doesn't tear up when they hear "Some Enchanted Evening"?

    The movie version starred Rosanno Brazzi opposite Mitzi Gaynor. She was the only one of the four leads who did her own singing. Brazzi, stunning specimen of hunkiness that he was (second only to Cary Grant in my book), had to be dubbed by Giorgio Tozzi, and was very unhappy about it. Producers allegedly threatened to recast the part if he did not cooperate!

    In 2008, Lincoln Center staged a revival, starring Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara/Laura Osnes (filled in when KO went on maternity leave). I saw this production and it rocked, surpassing the high expectations I had from viewing the film over and over again. EVERYONE sang live beautifully. PBS also filmed this rendition, and it is also available on YouTube. So yes, this puzz. was worthwhile in that it made me think of all of the above!

    Aside to LMS: Cool Whip sucks; period!

    @NCAPres, loved your Plato's Cave comments.

    @Rex, you are still my x-word blog HERO. Please keep doing what you do.



    Rex Porker 9:25 AM  

    [Translation: "I find Rex boring, so I'm boring." Ooops, I probably should have found a better way to say that. Talk about ironic! Oh, well, this gig is the only arrow in my quiver, so what else can an admitted tedium dispenser do?
    Porker]

    Carola 9:30 AM  

    The TIDE of ILLS that I noticed included URBAN SPRAWL, BEACH EROSION, and AGING (apt over FRAIL), but I see @Rex's point about the grid ILLS, too. Still, I enjoyed the puzzle - maybe I'm a cheap crossword date, but I like it when I can spot the theme early and then see if I can anticipate the reveal. Today, I saw the HEROs after the first two, but still needed some crosses to get "local HERO" out of my mind for the reveal.

    About 1D - I agree that BAA BAA is spoken by the questioner, to establish rapport with the ovine interlocutor.

    Ludyjynn 9:30 AM  

    Typo alert: EZIO Pinza. Sorry.

    Anonymous 9:34 AM  

    @Loren: have you been off your meds again? Very concerning.

    Anonymous 9:40 AM  

    Looks like @fake porker fell into a trap. Parker is boring, therefore Porker is boring, and now fake porker is boring. The rest if us are bored victims.

    ArtO 9:42 AM  

    Well...you certainly can complain about the NW entries but I'm with the folks who found the long theme entries and their crosses pretty good. And, as noted, it is just a Tuesday. And, as noted, 365 puzzles a year must mean evaluating thousands of applications. So, let's cut Mr. Shortz some slack...and Rex, too, since he critiques well over 300 of these a year.๐Ÿ˜Š

    MDMA 9:46 AM  

    @L,

    Right before posting your magnum opus, just select-all and copy it to the clipboard first. Then if your post ends up in hyperspace, just paste it back into existence. For example on a PC that's CTRL-A = select-all (at least in the Chrome browser), CTRL-C = copy, CTRL-V = paste.

    In many places "cheese pizza" is a common term. And "pies" have apples or pecans or whatever. As it is, there's already more than enough obscure New York slang ("nova").

    Joseph Welling 9:46 AM  

    It felt sort of Monday-ish to me, at least in the sense that the theme didn't figure in at all in solving the puzzle. It's just something to look at after the fact.

    What's with all the spam here today?

    Arlene 9:48 AM  

    Oh my - what a discussion!
    I do the puzzles for fun - ran through this one - like cheese pizza and hero sandwiches.
    I don't like to pick nits out of them - so will leave that to everyone else.

    wreck 9:50 AM  

    According to the Constructor @ Xwordinfo -- we are a bunch of "H8TERS." He's the same guy who gave us that 8-letter masterpiece a short while back.

    jerry k 9:56 AM  

    I thought Ezio Pizza made the puzzle quite entertaining.

    Rex Porker 10:00 AM  

    [Yeah, you've guessed it, that's me again. It's easy to transform myself into "anonymous" to try to find my way out of this self-created mess I've put myself in by pretending to be someone else. It's too late for me to just shut up and accept my losses. I'll just keep posting and count on everybody getting so bored that they tune me out until I can sneak away with what little is left of my dignity.
    Porker]

    Kay Beck-Waas 10:09 AM  

    Dang!

    So the BraveSpellCaster has now infiltrated Canada!?! Thought for sure them Royal Canadians would have more sense; seems perhaps @BSC might be more CREE-n8ive than we thought.

    (nyuk, nyuk)

    grammar nazi 10:11 AM  

    @fake rex porker said: "... self-created mess I've put myself in...". That is some seriously awful sentence construction.

    Z 10:21 AM  

    My pear was briefly AvIAN.

    From the constructor over at xword, "However, much to my surprise, the puzzle got the green light from Will on the first go-round."

    I'm closer to @Lewis than Rex, but @MDMA really nailed it for me with, "To hate a puzzle, {I} have to pause and think about how much {I} hate it and why. On Mondays and Tuesdays {I} never really pause, they're over too quickly." This is exactly the reason beginners are needed here. Did EZIO over EZER stymie or give that rush of satisfaction?

    @NCA Prez - Great analogy.

    A little while back on Twitter Rex made the exact same point about Indies and the NYTX as @consider the numbers. The question is, "Is this the best that can be for a daily puzzle? Are the demands of the daily puzzle such that we are going to have puzzles like today's?" Personally, I think Rex goes too far with "sinecure," but in the sense that I don't believe that to be accurate, not in the sense that he shouldn't make such a statement. If the NYT can nix the Bridge column you better believe they can and would nix the puzzle editor. The puzzle editor is more like a baseball manager who has to manage for the season, not just the game or the situation. A manager has to rest his best players, has to give the 25th guy on the roster some play time to keep him fresh, has to not use his best reliever too much, all of which might cost the team a game here or there, in order to have everybody performing well at the end of the season. Fans like to nitpick every single decision, but the best managers are judged on the 162 game season, not on any one game or decision.

    William Palmer 10:21 AM  

    Rex, please go the corner, hold your breath and turn blue. Photos of this will be appreciated, videos of it cherished forever. I am sure Will Shortz is prostrate with grief and fear over your disapproval.

    Caryl Baron 10:21 AM  

    Questinia, thanks for your upbeat, literate and erudite comments—I enjoyed them far more than Rex's hex.
    Sadly, this blog and comments on comments are becoming far too ranty and juvenile. It's just a puzzle, and tomorrow's another day.
    And then there are the multiple spams that worked their way in today. A better filter is needed—but then, sometimes it's fun to scan the bad grammar and misspellings.

    Zeke 10:44 AM  

    I liked this more than Rex did, but I guess that's not saying much.

    Nancy 10:45 AM  

    To @Ludyjynn, and anyone else who's interested, re: EZIO Pinza. If you never saw the show with the original cast and you never saw SOME ENCHANTED EVENING performed by Pinza and Mary Martin on TV, here's a link to the kinescope of their performance. (Before the days of tape, much less digital recording, you could only "tape" something by photographing the image on the TV. This makes for the performers looking like flat pancakes, but it's worth putting up with in order to see the performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqBtME2kXUY

    If you think you're seeing lots of chemistry there, it's not your imagination. See if you can get a copy of Mary Martin's autobiography, MY HEART BELONGS, in which she talks at length about her humongous attraction to Pinza every night she was on stage with him. Don't know if the book's still in print; I read it in ms. in my publishing job back in the '70s. Another don't-miss backstage book from that era: A.E. Hotchner's superbly written bio of Doris Day, the title of which I forget, but you can Google it. You think you couldn't care less about reading about Doris Day. Wrong! Find out why that seemingly virginal screen lady was hotter than a pistol in real life. As many of her leading men were happy to confide to Hotchner. (Don't know if that book's in print, either.)

    aging soprano 10:50 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    aging soprano 10:50 AM  

    I really enjoyed this puZZ. It was so eaZZy that I actually did the whole thing without even a Google on my coffee break. I admit, the bread on the HERO SANDWICHES was sliced unevenly, so the sandwiches were somewhat ASKEW. And I also enjoyed remembering EZIO singing Some Enchanted Evening, one of the highlights of my childhood. He was much better than the bass baritone who did de Becque with Kelly O'hara. Ludyjynn, did you hear her in the Met production of Merry Widow (if i remember right) this year? She was outstanding.
    Also loved the factoid about BAEZ and Jobs. Thanx Lewis.

    JFC 10:52 AM  

    I have decided this Blog is only virtual reality, that Rex Parker is John McEnroe, that Rex Porker is Evil Doug and that Michael Sharp should do stand-up comedy....

    JFC

    jberg 10:55 AM  

    Wonderful comments, @Loren, let me give you a big HUG ... oh, wait...

    I liked the nursery feel of the NW, with L. Frank BAUM, Mother Goose, and Aladdin. But then I got to the cluing for ASKEW, which asks for an adverb. Why, why, why?

    OASES are what they call rest areas in Illinois; I guess the constructor/editor were trying to shake the NYC-centric nature of the puzzle. As for whether to order a PIZZA or a pie, That's Amore!

    Hartley70 10:55 AM  

    Today's puzzle, call it good/bad/indifferent, was worth the price of admission to the comments section. I swear that most days Rex is only the insignificant opening act for the real star-studded headliners here.

    @jae Thank you for the intro to Brooke McEldowney. His definition of "share" from "A demon's nest of sentiments" is perfection.
    Questinia as his alter ego today gave me a good chuckle.

    @dk you've got my dollar. Where should I send it?

    @Nancy's brain out for cheese pizza is a great image, and btw I say cheese pizza too. I thought only authentic Italian-Americans said "pie", like they say "gravy" for spaghetti sauce.

    @RexPorker, Yummmm, Chef Boyardee, little bits of happiness swimming in a red sea! It's 1958 and I'm eating lunch at home before I have to run back to elementary school with an orange stain around the edge of my lips. I'm finding comfort in your predictability. Never change! Some days you're a scream.

    @Ludybaby, how do you know this stuff? I'm crushed to learn of all the lip-synching. I knew about Audrey in My Fair Lady, who doesn't, and Julie got robbed on that role, but Brazzi too? Sniff! I'm a fan of KO myself and would have loved that production.

    @NCA, the cave, the cave hahaha! I'm there.

    @Lewis, wasn't Joan a little AGED for him? I'm hoping he wasn't a teen when she was cougaring him. And a bit passe for such a current entrepreneur. That is the strangest factoid among so many of the strange tidbits you post. Love them.

    @Loren, totally get the hugging thing. Traditional New Englanders do NOT hug or cheek kiss, and it was the most disconcerting aspect of my move to NY. I would do an internal recoil as I saw those arms and lips coming my way. Forty years later I've gotten over it and can canoodle with the best of them upon a 5 second acquaintance, but I feel your pain.

    As for the puzzle, as I like to say, it's TUESDAY for Pete's sake! Nice job, Bruce.

    mathguy 11:11 AM  

    @NCA President: Terrific post. I looked up the Plato cave analogy. Wonderful concept. (I went to a Jesuit university where Aquinas was the only philosopher we read extensively. We didn't read The Republic even though we were required to take a philosophy course every year.). Even though it has a different point, it reminds me of the Chekhov story about the two bedridden patients. The one by the window describes all the glorious things he sees outside.

    I agree that Jeff Chen gives a much-more-balanced and reasonable review of the puzzles. So why does Rex have so many more readers? Maybe because our society has become so polite and loathe to criticize. We enjoy hearing someone speak his mind. Keep it up, Rex.

    Myuen88 11:12 AM  

    I, too, spent excessive time trying to figure out where CHER fit in the last theme answer. Grrr.r.

    old timer 11:14 AM  

    Solving time on paper: 7 minutes. In other words, easier than a Monday. And easier than the syndicated puzzle in my local paper, which I do not do because it is never a challenge.

    Rex is right. This puzzle never should have been accepted. If there is an excuse, it must be that there are few good constructors who have been submitting puzzles of Monday or Tuesday levels of difficulty. It was interesting (and horrifying, actually) to read that the puzzle was reworked by one of Will's assistants. Can you imagine how awful the puzzle must have been when Haight submitted it?

    I noticed the theme early on but since knowing it did not aid me in any way, paid no attention to it. There was one really good answer: URBANSPRAWL. And one answer I was glad to see: VINNY. You could construct a whole puzzle about "My Cousin Vinny", with multiple plays on the word "Ute" (spelled "youth" of course).

    Sheila Bell 11:22 AM  

    NYT has nerve to charge for xwords like this. Rex right this time! Yuk.

    Joseph Michael 11:32 AM  

    With spellcasters, multiple Rex Porkers, a proliferation of anonymice, and a grammar nazi, it's sometimes hard to keep track of what this blog is about. Rex's rants like the one today only add to the confusion since they seem to draw more from his hatred of Will Shortz than his love of crossword puzzles.

    Thank God for the many clever, insightful, and often funny comments that also appear here from day to day and keep this a blog that's always worth reading.

    And, oh yeah, the puzzle today wasn't all that bad. The HERO theme worked just fine for me. Though some of the fill was strained, I still managed to enjoy the solve and look forward to another puzzle tomorrow.

    Rex Porker 11:36 AM  

    [Damn! I finally get a compliment, and it's for the other guy and his Chef Boyardee simile. It really is time for me to hang it up....
    Porker]

    Masked and Anonymo5Us 11:43 AM  

    Another point of view on this TuesPuz, slightly paraphrased, to save on space:

    A
    A
    A E
    A E
    A E I
    A E I O
    A E I O
    A E I O U

    Loved @NCAPrez and @Q's comments. I learn so much, figurin out what they have to say.
    Always love @muse's takes on stuff; just wanna give her a big U-sandwich hUg.
    Kinda wanna give Constructor Bruce a big hUg, too, for some reason...

    Is the AGR?/AER? crossin one of the Shroe dinger puzzle dealies?

    In the interest of providin some semblance of symmetry to this discussion...

    A E I O U
    A E I O
    A E I O
    A E I
    A E
    A E
    A
    A

    M&A

    **gruntz**

    p.s.
    @muse: I've never been big on hugs. Especially from dudes.

    weingolb 11:46 AM  

    You don't put toast in a toaster, guys. If you're aging wine, you've already got wine and therefore it's not part of the winemaking process.

    Kinda liked the A and Bs bunching up at the top left and the Zs down at the bottom right. A pangram puzzle that visually goes from As to Zs! Not great.

    Andrew Heinegg 11:53 AM  

    Amen, Amen.

    Andrew Heinegg 11:56 AM  

    Amen, Amen.

    Andrew Heinegg 11:56 AM  

    Amen, Amen.

    evil doug 12:04 PM  

    [Yes, I'm also the grammar nazi, and ersatz evil doug, and a variety of other contrived characters, both named and anonymous. No, there's really nothing wrong with that "seriously awful construction", but I'm desperate to distract you all from my lameness.
    Porker/nazi]

    GILL I. 12:17 PM  

    @Loren....YIKES! I'm a huge HUGger. I also cheek kiss. My whole family is like that. If we ever meet, do I just shake your hand? After all, we've been cyber friends now for a couple of years....
    @Ludy...Thanks for the memories of EZIO. I had a Joan Baez crush on him. Did you know his first name was Fortunato?
    Crappy puzzles brings on great comments....

    Anonymous 12:24 PM  

    Sigh... I was really counting on a Bonnie Tyler link.

    old timer 12:34 PM  

    If OFL had done the blog yesterday, I think he would have liked the Monday puzzle, and could have very usefully compared yesterday's to today's. A clever theme, though you can nitpick about putting "sol" before "cerveza" instead of after. The fill was very clean, with gems and rarely seen phrases like LIKEMIKE, LIQUOREDUP and JUNECARTER. And LOVEIN. There is maybe only *one* piece of fill that Rex might disapprove of: "CEE" clued as "letter after bee".

    Compare yesterday's to today's, and you can see why today's was so ludicrously bad that only a desperate editor would have bought it in the first place.

    Lewis 12:40 PM  

    @hartley -- She was in her mid-40s, and he was in his mid-20s...

    Anonymous 1:04 PM  

    I personally am a fan of the hello butt squeeze. That ok with you, Muse?

    Questinia 1:11 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Questinia 1:14 PM  

    -Cool Whip buffer- {{{{{ Group Hug }}}}}- Cool Whip buffer -

    @ jae, thanks for intro to McEldowney. I think I relate more to one of his characters!

    This puzzle is indeed a little like Cool Whip, a concoction I always attributed to the inventiveness of last century's space age. And when one thinks of space age inventions one thinks of Tang.

    And then one wonders whether Cool Whip and Tang ever were used in a recipe.

    Oh yes, Dr. Wakina.

    TANG PIE

    1 c. sour cream
    1/3 c. dry Tang
    1 can (equal to 1 c.) condensed milk
    1 graham cracker pie crust (may use type of graham cracker crust that can be baked)
    1 lg. container Cool Whip
    Mix together all ingredients, except Cool Whip and pie crust.
    Takes a while for Tang to dissolve.
    Pour into crust. Spread Cool Whip over top.
    Freeze.

    Recipe states it keeps for weeks . {I think Twinkies, Tang, and Cool Whip must have similar petrochemical DNA)

    Potentially splendid but I'll pass. Resident chefs?

    dick swart 1:14 PM  

    pheeewh, what a slog through the comments. And the Rex criticism of the people rather than the puzzle.

    These meta analyses do not have much resonance with me. I do the crossword because it now wakes me up in the morning.

    It used to keep me company on the train, or accompany a first cuppa in the office.

    I am not really interested in a constructors mistakes real or perceived. I am certainly not interested in reading a diatribe on the management of the NYT.

    I do the puzzle because I like to do the puzzle first thing every morning. the fact that it is there every day for a mental workout is all I am looking for.

    M and Also Zapped 1:18 PM  

    Oh, man. Just spent forever, writin up a spellcaster comment parody. It submitted fine and appeared for a full minute, before bein decommentmissioned. @63 musta been doin some blog cleanup, and zapped darn near anything that fit the usual pattern.

    :(

    M&A

    Mohair Sam 1:24 PM  

    @Loren Muse Smith. Yes, yes, a thousand time yes on your hugging stance (actually on your entire post, I was fine with the puzzle too). When approached by huggers I hardly know I've learned to emulate the look of Keir Dullea in "David and Lisa" as he delivers the line "Touch Can Kill!" It works, but you will lose a few friends.

    Well I liked this one, damn it. I thought ABRA on top of ABBR was kinda clever (but will raise my hand with the BAABAA clue correctors). And I had no prob at all with the HERO mix. C'mon - your ham and cheese separate the bread evenly, but your Philly cheese steak "wid" is a mush of oniony grease, greasy steak, melted cheese, and bread. I'm picturing OFL at Pat's or Gino's in Philly complaining to management about unevenly cut and greasy bread.

    Whenever I see EZIO Pinza's name I remember an underground recording by Martin and Lewis on which they sang (to the tune of the Mary Martin line "I'm as corny as Kansas in August") "I'm so horny for Ezio Pinza." It was a long time ago.

    Pinza, for those of you who don't know him, was one hell of a talent - @Nancy's link at 10:45 is worth a look, or you might just key his name on YouTube.

    Anyhow, I'm beginning to think it would be good his sanity (and ours) if @Rex found an Annabel for Monday's and Tuesday's. He doesn't tolerate light and simple puzzles well at all.

    Ludyjynn 1:24 PM  

    @Nancy, just re-viewed the Pinza/Martin kinescope as you suggested. Really enjoyed their chemistry, thanks.

    @Hartley70, I have been a lifelong film and theater addict and am a fount of mostly useless trivia as a result! Recently saw the UNdubbed Audrey Hepburn singing as Eliza Doolittle (shown on PBS, I think). She wasn't half bad, though unquestionably Julie Andrews should have been awarded the part which she played on B-Way. I used to listen to my Dad's copy of the original "My Fair Lady" cast album over and over again, as a kid. She was marvelous.

    @Gill, just checked and Wiki says Pinza was "christened" Fotunio, FWIW.

    RIP, Betsy Palmer and Bruce Jenner.






    chefbea 1:28 PM  

    @Questina think I'll pass on the tang pie. I'll make my pie with cheese!!! Do they still make tang???

    chefbea 1:31 PM  

    Yep!!! Amazon sells it

    Anoa Bob 1:33 PM  

    There's an article running right now in the Science section of the NYT that could be a source for some spiffier clues for the oft seen, handy-as-a-shirt-pocket-sequence-of-letters xword staples ANAL and ASS. But I think the real gold to be mined there would be for a name for a snarky commenter on this board. Or maybe even the name for a whole new blog. Here 'tis: The Case of the Devious Defecator.

    Provides fertile grounds, so to speak, for a different avatar with each new post showing how truly devious (and imaginative) the commenter can be.

    allan 1:42 PM  

    I've been complaining about Shortz for a long time. When I was a regular poster to this blog, I would end many posts with WWSR, which stands for When Will Shortz Retire? I've given up hope. I've seen this puzzle deteriorate into this.

    I for one thank Rex for unequivocally stating that it's time for him to go.

    WWSR!!!!

    Loren Prude Smith 1:48 PM  

    I don't even like to touch people's HANDS! A hello nod is the best I can do.

    Dr. Wakina 1:52 PM  

    Russian Trolls take over crossword site.

    Charles Flaster 2:04 PM  

    Been doing Broadway since 1956 and your description of South Pacific is so spot on.
    The Lincoln Center performance exceeded my wildest( optimistic) expectations.
    Great memories!
    Thanks

    Charles kluepfel 3:02 PM  

    This is the second time recently that I've seen INURE used in the wrong voice. INURE means to to MAKE less sensitive, not to become less sensitive. Loud noises inure you to the sound, so you become inured by the sound.

    Loren Muse Smith 4:05 PM  

    Look – the whole hug thing came across as shrill and prickly. If I know you well enough and haven’t seen you for a while, I will hug you. (I’m gunning for you next year in Stamford, @Bob, @ims dave, and @mac.) M&A, Ahem, I would hug you if I knew who you were.

    @ludy – I have Cool Whip everyday on my thingy of joyless sugar-free chocolate pudding. Something had to give; I had started eating two home-made Rice Krispy treats, each the size of a paper-back novel, after lunch. Every day.

    @Questinia and @Loren Prude Smith – Hah! Cheered me up!

    Anonymous 4:35 PM  

    @mathguy said :"I agree that Jeff Chen gives a much-more-balanced and reasonable review of the puzzles. So why does Rex have so many more readers?"

    Is there any evidence that this is the case? Or does this board just have louder, more full-of-ourselves commenters?

    Anonymous 4:41 PM  

    I am now officially done reading (and supporting via paypal) this blog. It was quite interesting at the beginning to learn about the art of crossworld puzzles, but Rex's negativity and vitriol no longer make it enjoyable and educational. So I'll continue to do the puzzles but have just deleted Rex's bookmark.

    Aketi 4:44 PM  

    @ nancy, I like your brain on CHEESE PIZZA when it offers up the link to An Enchanted Evening.
    @ questina, might try your recipe for nostalgia's sake. I still remember when Tang and space sticks hit the market around the same time my mother went to work. No more home baked cookies or pies. She would have loved your tang recipe. Cool whip, jello, marshmallows, hamburger helper and Cambells mushroom soup were all staples in her kitchen.
    @ lms, I know my husband would enjoy cool whip if we ever made it to Per Se. My dh and I took bets on the dessert at one of the second tier (in relation to Per Se) restaurants. He couldn't believe that the long bit of fluff looked like colored cotton gauze that was lifted out of a glass jar with tongs and snipped with shears onto out plates was really a giant strand of flavored marshmallow.
    @m@A5us, your vowel art does amuse me.

    As for HUGS, even though I grew up in California where it is expected Its not my thing unless it's on the BJJ mat or with someone who has been picked on and needs one. One of the instructors at the dojo amuses himself by sneaking up behind me and giving me a bear hug to see how I'll react as training for my upcoming test. So one day I tried to get out of the bear hug with a hammer fist to his thigh and missed. He hasn't bear hugged me since but he did get me back.

    Aketi 4:49 PM  

    @ lms, I love Rice Krispy treats and the prove your not a robot thingy is tempting me first with ice cream then with cakes.

    Doug Garr 5:00 PM  

    I've since stopped reading Rex's blogs because of his near venomous dislike for anything that doesn't come close to his very high standards. I only checked in today to see what the responses would be. I kind of thought it was an okay puzzle, and right on the Tuesday difficulty level. You are commenting more from a constructor's point of view than a solver. Most of your fans (dwindling every day) are solvers not constructors. Accept for the baabaaa stuff most of it was pretty good, in my view. I'm glad there's been some backlash. Rex, get a life. I pity the students who have to be in your class, btw. They must call you Not An Easy D.

    Z 6:17 PM  

    According to Alexa, Rex is in the top 25,000 websites in the U.S. Xword breaks the top 300,000. One reason for this is that Rex optimizes the blog for people using google looking for answers.

    Teedmn 7:56 PM  

    The SE had me saying "Wha?" while I was solving it but the comments on EZIO have made it more palatable, especially as my favorite clue was the one for CHEESE PIZZA, which is what we order around here.

    I was trying to sing "Diamonds and Rust" this very morning, which is the only Bob Dylan song I like :-) , native MN son or not. Definitely my fave Joan BAEZ song.

    @LMS, have had several discussions in the past week regarding when the ubiquitous HUG thing started. I know it wasn't around when I was in college so mid to late '80s maybe? I have learned to 'embrace' the trend but still resent the expectation of having to hug anyone with whom I have had my first 5 minute conversation.

    @Z, nice analogy yourself. @Rhino, per your comment, you must like your coffee bitter!

    And @Questinia, I'm thinking a recipe with Tang, Cool Whip and Twinkies would be some nasty kind of space age tiramisu.

    Bruce Haight, I think this puzzle was a fine Tuesday offering, and yes, I am saying it with a straight face, no HAHA here.

    George Barany 11:17 PM  

    The present post is an experiment. This morning, I composed a message addressing the differences between @Rex and @Jeff Chen in terms of the goals of their commentaries, and the blog/site in which they appear. For reasons that still baffle me--and also stumped some rather geeky folks that I've consulted--the original message posted just fine, and then vanished within a relatively short time. I tried four more times after that, with the last two being edited somewhat to change or remove selective words that had the potential of activating some sort of filter. Has anyone had a similar experience, either today or some other time. We'll know soon enough if this post, with de novo language, passes muster.

    Elephant's Child 12:10 AM  

    @GB, your post of 11:17 p.m. has now been present and accounted for for almost an hour. Seems that it passed muster. Now, have you any Grey Poupon?

    John Child 1:15 AM  

    TEST

    @Jim Horne
    http://xwordinfo.com/

    George Barany 4:43 AM  

    Thanks for the feedback, both on-Rex and off-Rex to my 11:17 pm post, which is still up. I now continue the experiment with a modified version of my original post, the one that appeared briefly, then disappeared, now five separate times [and I have since learned that @M&A had a similar experience). Please forgive the fact that in the interim, some of my original points have been made by others.

    The experiment failed again, so please bear with me as I break it up into three paragraphs, each of which will be posted separately, in succession.

    George Barany 4:45 AM  

    Paragraph 1:

    Disagree if you will, but it seems to me that each of the crossword blogs has evolved, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, into a different "mission/persona." For example, the xwordinfo dot com site was established by @Jim Horne as a database resource primarily for constructors (but it is also very useful to editors and solvers). After @Jim Horne turned over much of the reins to @Jeff Chen, additional functionality was added, including constructor notes (for almost every puzzle), editor notes (occasionally), and--most germane to the present discussion--technical commentary from @Jeff Chen himself (occasionally from his wife, @Jill Denny). Keep in mind that the Chen/Horne site has an annual membership fee, which affects the number of people it reaches.

    George Barany 4:46 AM  

    Paragraph 2:

    @Rex for the most part, along with occasional guest bloggers, provides a daily recap of the solving experience and points out in colorful prose the strengths and weaknesses of each puzzle. As such, the blog serves as a lightning rod to a passionate, opinionated, and highly engaged community of core commentators, and as a magnet for all sorts of anonymice. There are also occasional commentators, and (I suspect) a much larger community of "lurkers" who never (or rarely) post, but read nonetheless.

    George Barany 4:47 AM  

    Paragraph 3:

    Once @Rex posts at midnight EDT (for the most part, occasionally posts are delayed to the next morning), he takes a hands-off approach, not even removing posts from spellcasters and such. If one knows what to look for and what to ignore, one can learn a lot from the blog, both as a solver and as a constructor. Also, it is to @Rex's credit that he has managed to set up the site in a way that a stumped solver, when googling a particularly pesky clue, is naturally drawn to the site. Once aware of the site, many people come back, thereby increasing its influence.

    George Barany 4:48 AM  

    All three paragraphs posted, 4:45, 4:46, and 4:47 AM. We'll see how many of them "stick" ... and BTW, these captchas are challenging!

    the redanman 12:16 PM  

    AWKWARD - I never found it on the grid. It was there wasn't it?

    kitshef 11:26 PM  

    Puzzle was OK, though the 'bread' should have been symmetrical. The Z-word triplet of AZERA, EZIO and EZER were way to hard for a Tuesday, but the crosses were all fair.

    Really, given puzzles @Rex has let slide in the past, I have no idea why he comes down so hard on this one. At least there is no SUHWEET.

    On a completely unrelated note that no one will ever see, seeing as how I'm posting this nearly two days late, the litter of fox kits living under our deck has reached the age where they are going off on their own each evening. They are adorable.

    Your No.1 Fan 7:06 AM  

    @NCA Prez, you know, the sheep learn English from English sheep dogs.

    Pretty good take on Rex viz a viz Chen, except it smacked of Brown vz Board of Education. (Don't take the long route figuring that out.)

    Then you had to go all deep and analytical with Plato's Cave and a reverse transcriptase version of the Creation story. I saw that paragraph earned you some love, but that pretty much came from the kind of readers who pull out hip-waders when all that's needed are some water-proof high-tops. Depends on your understanding of 'deep', right? When I was about 6, I came up with the idea that perhaps my dreams were the actual reality, where I had dreams of my waking life. So fear not, ideas can evolve. Meanwhile,hang onto your day-job.

    While you're staring at the wall, at least light a fire behind you. Who knows? You may see something interesting.

    ps to @kitshef: It;s never too late. Thanks for the kits

    Kate Mark 8:05 AM  


    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.
    He cast spells for different purposes like
    (1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dream
    (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) HIV/AIDS CURE
    (10) is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery

    Contact him today on: traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com

    Lord Orangan Tutu 7:16 PM  

    A POWERFUL SPELL CASTER HERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!! BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST YOUR INFORMATIONS WITH WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE SPELLS, SPECIAL THANKS TO LORD ORANGAN TUTU IS THE ONLY MAN YOU CAN TRUST IN HERE. HIS EMAIL IS ( Orangantutu@gmail.com ) AND HIS MOBILE NUMBER IS (+1 443 345 0929) AS I WAS NOT ONLY RIPPED OF 5,000USD I WAS ALSO BLACKMAILED AND 12,000USD WAS DEMANDED FROM ME!.I LOST MONEY TO IMPOSTERS AND CON MEN CLAIMING THEY HAVE POWERS THAT THEY DON'T TO CAST SPELLS, ALL BECAUSE I WAS DESPERATE TO SAVE MY RELATIONSHIP AND MY WEDDING THAT WAS ABOUT TO BE CANCELLED! MY WEDDING DATE WAS SHIFTED 5TIMES ALL BECAUSE OF A WOMAN JIM WAS SEEING IN DENTON, I WAS RESCUED MY LORD ORANGAN TUTU AS I WAS TOLD ABOUT HIM BY MY AUNT WHO HAD AN ENCOUNTER WITH HIM! HE NOT ONLY HELP WITH THE LOVE SPELL I NEEDED HE ALSO HELPED ME RECOVER HALF OF MY MONEY LOST! JUST SEND HIM A TEXT AND YOU ARE GOOD TO GO VIA (+1 443 345 0929) IF YOU ARE IN IN NEED OF A LOVE SPELL OR WHAT EVER SPELL DO CONTACT HIM AS HE IS RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. HE IS SO POWERFUL OMG! YOU CAN PRATICALLLY FEEL THE POWERS!! I GOT MY HUSBAND BACK IN PRACTICALLY 4DAYS! I NEVER BELIEVED HIM AS A RESULT OF WHERE I WAS COMING FROM! BUT HERE I AM!!... WASTE NO TIME AND CONTACT HIM NOW WITH...(orangantutu@gmail.com) CONTACT HIM NOW AND YOUR PROBLEM WILL BE HISTORY

    Lord Orangan Tutu 7:16 PM  

    A POWERFUL SPELL CASTER HERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!! BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST YOUR INFORMATIONS WITH WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE SPELLS, SPECIAL THANKS TO LORD ORANGAN TUTU IS THE ONLY MAN YOU CAN TRUST IN HERE. HIS EMAIL IS ( Orangantutu@gmail.com ) AND HIS MOBILE NUMBER IS (+1 443 345 0929) AS I WAS NOT ONLY RIPPED OF 5,000USD I WAS ALSO BLACKMAILED AND 12,000USD WAS DEMANDED FROM ME!.I LOST MONEY TO IMPOSTERS AND CON MEN CLAIMING THEY HAVE POWERS THAT THEY DON'T TO CAST SPELLS, ALL BECAUSE I WAS DESPERATE TO SAVE MY RELATIONSHIP AND MY WEDDING THAT WAS ABOUT TO BE CANCELLED! MY WEDDING DATE WAS SHIFTED 5TIMES ALL BECAUSE OF A WOMAN JIM WAS SEEING IN DENTON, I WAS RESCUED MY LORD ORANGAN TUTU AS I WAS TOLD ABOUT HIM BY MY AUNT WHO HAD AN ENCOUNTER WITH HIM! HE NOT ONLY HELP WITH THE LOVE SPELL I NEEDED HE ALSO HELPED ME RECOVER HALF OF MY MONEY LOST! JUST SEND HIM A TEXT AND YOU ARE GOOD TO GO VIA (+1 443 345 0929) IF YOU ARE IN IN NEED OF A LOVE SPELL OR WHAT EVER SPELL DO CONTACT HIM AS HE IS RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. HE IS SO POWERFUL OMG! YOU CAN PRATICALLLY FEEL THE POWERS!! I GOT MY HUSBAND BACK IN PRACTICALLY 4DAYS! I NEVER BELIEVED HIM AS A RESULT OF WHERE I WAS COMING FROM! BUT HERE I AM!!... WASTE NO TIME AND CONTACT HIM NOW WITH...(orangantutu@gmail.com) CONTACT HIM NOW AND YOUR PROBLEM WILL BE HISTORY

    Lord Orangan Tutu 7:23 PM  

    A POWERFUL SPELL CASTER HERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!! BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST YOUR INFORMATIONS WITH WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE SPELLS, SPECIAL THANKS TO LORD ORANGAN TUTU IS THE ONLY MAN YOU CAN TRUST IN HERE. HIS EMAIL IS ( Orangantutu@gmail.com ) AND HIS MOBILE NUMBER IS (+1 443 345 0929) AS I WAS NOT ONLY RIPPED OF 5,000USD I WAS ALSO BLACKMAILED AND 12,000USD WAS DEMANDED FROM ME!.I LOST MONEY TO IMPOSTERS AND CON MEN CLAIMING THEY HAVE POWERS THAT THEY DON'T TO CAST SPELLS, ALL BECAUSE I WAS DESPERATE TO SAVE MY RELATIONSHIP AND MY WEDDING THAT WAS ABOUT TO BE CANCELLED! MY WEDDING DATE WAS SHIFTED 5TIMES ALL BECAUSE OF A WOMAN JIM WAS SEEING IN DENTON, I WAS RESCUED MY LORD ORANGAN TUTU AS I WAS TOLD ABOUT HIM BY MY AUNT WHO HAD AN ENCOUNTER WITH HIM! HE NOT ONLY HELP WITH THE LOVE SPELL I NEEDED HE ALSO HELPED ME RECOVER HALF OF MY MONEY LOST! JUST SEND HIM A TEXT AND YOU ARE GOOD TO GO VIA (+1 443 345 0929) IF YOU ARE IN IN NEED OF A LOVE SPELL OR WHAT EVER SPELL DO CONTACT HIM AS HE IS RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. HE IS SO POWERFUL OMG! YOU CAN PRATICALLLY FEEL THE POWERS!! I GOT MY HUSBAND BACK IN PRACTICALLY 4DAYS! I NEVER BELIEVED HIM AS A RESULT OF WHERE I WAS COMING FROM! BUT HERE I AM!!... WASTE NO TIME AND CONTACT HIM NOW WITH...(orangantutu@gmail.com) CONTACT HIM NOW AND YOUR PROBLEM WILL BE HISTORY

    Burma Shave 10:18 AM  

    EROS’ AERO

    Over a PITCHEROFBEER, JANIS the VAMP SNAREd a PARE of brave men
    to LEARNTHEROPES of ardor, she gave them a TENSE HUG and then,
    NEXT they removed all her LYCRA, and though AGING and FRAIL,
    she was still RACIER than most women, and her HEROSANDWICH wouldn’t fail.

    --- BRER EZER BAUM

    rondo 10:43 AM  

    Sure there’s weakness in this puz, notably lotsa proper nouns, but the NYT puz is still better than the other daily puzzles that I can get in either the St. Paul or Mpls papers. So I choose to do it; some of those others could really make you nuts, and they’re usually themeless.

    I still think (and hope) that HAHA should get clued “Packer Clinton-Dix” sometime before he becomes a former Packer.

    Pretty sure that the most correct and least Anglicized version is OLAV.

    Always liked the word VAMP. Any VAMP has gotta be a yeah baby.

    AJAR, again?

    Hey, it’s a Tuesday and there’s a PITCHEROFBEER there for us. And PIZZA and a sub. Let’s Party! Here’s mud INURE eye!

    spacecraft 12:30 PM  

    Starting out in the NW I wondered if this guy was just trying to stuff as many A's and B's as possible into the grid--sacrificing all hopes of quality in the process--but not so, as the vertical lead-out seems to be a marvelous phrase: URBANSPRAWL. How can something so good be born of such an abysmal womb? That long down, I will tell you right now, is the single saving grace here.

    One other point kept me going, forestalling yet another CNBMTF. What was the theme? It didn't come to light until after I'd filled in about half of the downs at the bottom. I had a start of HE...and figured it might be HEAD-something--you know, BEACHHEAD, a PITCHEROFBEER has a HEAD...but the third one didn't fit. At last, as I did more of the south, I saw it. Looking back, there it was: HERO in every one. That to me was satisfying enough to justify completion. OFL's analysis complaining about words in the theme phrases that didn't include part of HERO seemed awfully nitpicky to me. I understand it, and concede that two-word phrases throughout would have been more elegant, but still any theme that can hide from me that long is OK by me.

    The other long down, CHEESEPIZZA, is a familiar term, seen it on menus more than once, but still feels very green-painty. Ever see a cheese-less pizza? Me neither. As to the fill: Yikes! Scrabblef***ing for its own sake, and the grid is a veritable proper-noun stuffer. Remember those "stuffer" contests, Will? They were great. D-.

    DMG 2:15 PM  

    Got a kick out of all the As at the top and the Zs at the bottom, tho the latter nearly did me in. Didn't know the car make or the the Israeli, and alway want EZIO to have an N somewhere (ENZO?). Temporarily mis-remembered JANIS as JANet, and thought bathing suits were made of Latex. Somehow it all got worked out, even if pen on paper doesn't yield a Happy Pencil! So for me, this was a fun puzzle with a few challenges.

    Cathy 3:34 PM  

    Wow.
    Soooooo many proper nouns. Blech.
    Was happy to see BSA. Used to be a proud girlscout myself.
    I've always said pizza. A pie is a dessert to moi.

    @DMG- no happy pencil for me either. I like pen and paper as well.

    @Rondo- re. The man in black. Yes I've heard "won't back down"' but have you heard "hurt"? Ouch...

    @Spacecraft- okay I give up. What is CNBMTF? Also thank you and @Rainforest for the tip for my name. Was afraid I had to set something up.



    @ Burmashave- you are so clever! Funny

    rain forest 4:04 PM  

    This was a fairly straightforward puzzle from A (top) to Z (bottom)--nice observation @DMG, with all the other letters SANDWICHED in between (pangram) echoing the theme.

    I find it curious that a Tuesday puzzle can evoke such a kerfuffle, and I guess @Rex's over-the-top criticism is the catalyst, but, once again, I fail to see the point. Open the paper, see the grid, start at 1A, try to solve the puzzle. If moved, comment on your solve and/or the intricacies of theme/fill/cluing. What's to gripe about, unless your self esteem suffers as a result of failure to solve?

    May I also mention the sense of community within Syndiville, a kinder and gentler group than the real-timers, as a reason to come here most days.

    rondo 5:36 PM  

    @Cathy - if memory serves, @spacey's acronym is for Could Not Bring Myself To Finish. Such as yesterday's puz.

    @Burma Shave has posted at least one verse every day, including weekends, since sometime in February. Maybe around the start of the syndi Jan 1 puz?

    BTW - I had two high school chums that started out with BSA motorcycles, then graduated to Harleys on which they both were killed.
    But I was a one-time member of the other BSA.

    Cathy 6:23 PM  

    @Rondo- I wasn't familiar of BSA motorcycles. I watch American Pickers so must of seen them! Nice history.

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