High heel of Italy's boot / THU 6-25-15 / Org sponsoring literary fair / One-named musician with hit albums 18 Hotel / Death of 1793 David painting / Tinseltown terrier

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Constructor: David Poole

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: LEADBELLY (61A: Legendary guitarist … or a hint to eight answers in this puzzle) — rebus with "PB" (atomic symbol for lead) in the "belly" (very loosely defined) of eight answers (i.e. shoved into four total boxes):

Theme answers:
  • POP BOTTLES / TOP BID
  • UPBEAT / LIP BALMS
  • DEEP BLUE / APBS
  • RASPBERRY / CUPBOARD
Word of the Day: APULIA (24D: The "high heel" of Italy's "boot") —
Apulia (/əˈpliə/ ə-poo-lee-əItalianPuglia) is a region of Italy in Southern Italybordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southernmost portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises 19,345 square kilometers (7,469 sq mi), and its population is about 4.1 million. It is bordered by the other Italian regions of Molise to the north, Campania to the west, and Basilicata to the southwest. It neighbors AlbaniaBosnia-HerzegovinaCroatiaGreece, and Montenegro, across the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The region extends as far north as Monte Gargano. Its capital city is Bari. (wikipedia)
• • •

A rudimentary rebus that I didn't care for much at all. Conceptually it's OK—"belly" seems a slight stretch when you are implicating just one little square in sometimes very long answers, and when that square is more near the edge than in the "belly" of the answer, but fine: take famous name, literalize it (in a way) in the grid. But it's a one-note trick. Same "belly" every time. It's just a "PB" rebus. Four "PB"s. Not that exciting. I thought I'd get to a peanut butter answer eventually, so LEADBELLY was better than what I was expecting. But still, once you figure out the rebus (took some effort for me), you just hunt the same two-letter square a few more times. Challenging, for sure, given the overall cluing and the odd rebus-square placement. And I do like a challenge. But terrible fill plus one-dimensional trick = shrug. Just OK, at best.


ATTN BELG CRESC is a junk bloc. ETTES is the worst form of fill, i.e. The Plural Suffix. Inexcusable. PSIS APBS USS ASSN, another junk bloc. ESTAB, ouch. Fill is a C-, and that's a gentleman's C-. Also, POP BOTTLES is a horrendous answer. Or, rather, it's got a horrendously misleading and inapt clue. What kind of bottles did Andy Warhol paint? Answer that question honestly. Write it down. OK, did you write down COKE BOTTLES? Because That's The Only Correct Answer. POP BOTTLES, come on. Junk junk junk. Here's me trying to see how many letters I have to type before Google suggests [Andy Warhol pop bottles]:


I got only a couple letters further and then google just gave up trying to figures out what I meant. Out of desperation, it started guessing in Spanish:


Clue accurately. Not *defensibly*. *Accurately*. "APT!" I should want to shout.


Lastly, what is up with the APULIA (?) / PALMA (??) crossing. Only the fact that -ALMA looked like it desperately needed a "P" made me guess correctly. Two northern Mediterranean geographical clues? Crossing at a barely guessable letter? That's no good. If I hadn't heard of an ancient novel called "The APULIAn Ass" or something like that, I wouldn't have trusted APULIA at all. Oh, now that I look it up, it's actually "The *Golden* Ass" by a Roman guy *named* "Apuleius." He was north African. Well. So much for my knowing anything about APULIA. Bad cross. Almost all the makings of a true "Natick" (obscure proper nouns crossing at an uninferable letter) except I guessed the "P," so it must, on some level, have been inferable.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

    PS I assume ABA = American Book Association??? Nope. American Booksellers' Association (35D: Org. sponsoring a literary fair) Odd. Very odd. Not well known. Giving it a more obscure clue than the obvious legal clue does not improve it. It's still the same crummy little 3-letter abbr. we've been getting for years. Don't get cute w/ your crap fill. It will still be crappy, but now also annoying.

    128 comments:

    Mike in DC 12:08 AM  

    Too many abbreviations, but I still enjoyed the puzzle more than Rex did. APULIA was certainly a WOE, but PALMA? As in PALMA de Mallorca? That's not exactly obscure. Almost 7 million Google results.

    dmw 12:16 AM  

    Got the rebus early with Topbid x Popbottles, and Deepblue, as I played a lot of chess once, but still some tough cluing made the puzzle difficult and less enjoyable than it could be.

    Steve J 12:22 AM  

    Liked this on balance. LEAD BELLY is great fill, and using the symbol for lead as the rebus was nicely done (even if the "belly" part was stretched a bit). There's an overabundance of abbreviations in the fill, but this worked more than it didn't.

    Only thing that really slowed me down is completely forgetting that APULIA is a thing. I'm accustomed to seeing that region referenced by its Italian name, Puglia. I have no idea why that seems more common to me.

    There were a couple odd clues here: There's nothing in 49D indicating that we're talking numerals. Just saying Roman isn't sufficient. Or accurate, as S is clearly part of the Roman alphabet. And while the clue for 66A included an initialism, ODIN isn't short for anything (although, I suppose it could be argued that VIP stands as a word on its own now).

    chefwen 12:33 AM  

    I GOT it but I didn't GIT it. Never heard of LEAD BELLY, didn't know that PB was LEAD. Kept reading 44D as IN A NEST, oh, I get it, INANEST! Finished, but had no idea what the hell I did right.

    JFC 12:35 AM  

    Okay, Rex, I don't like being called creepy, even if I am creepy. So I have to give you props tonight. I can't disagree with you. In fact, I wrote on Wordplay before you published your commentary this:

    I think POP BOTTLES is a stretch. I once belonged to MOMA and lunched there regularly. COKE BOTTLES, yes. POP BOTTLES, no.

    See, Rex. We think alike...sometimes.

    JFC

    jae 12:35 AM  

    Easy Thurs. for me.  The rebus was pretty obvious.  I was just a matter of whether it was beer,  peanut butter or lead. 

    I agree with Rex that PALMA/APULIA is a tough cross. I knew PALMA because the cruiser I was on stopped there on the way home from patrolling the Med. in the summer of 1967.  Very nice beaches populated by Northern Europeans on vacation.   APULIA was a WOE. 

    Watched just enough of "American Odyssey" to come up with MALI.

    Fun theme trumps icky fill for me,  liked it.

    Anonymous 12:45 AM  

    Coke isn't pop? Huh. I guess I learn something new everyday.

    Whirred Whacks 12:47 AM  

    Nice enough puzzle, though I thought there might be more PBs.

    Rex's comment ("Odd. Very odd. Not well known.") about the American Booksellers' Association -- ABA (35D: Org. sponsoring a literary fair) seemed bizarre considering he's an academic English department dude for whom, I assume, getting published would be of paramount concern.

    I've been to three ABA conventions (each time I had a book published), and I thought they were pretty important events.

    MDMA 12:51 AM  

    Fairly easy Thursday. NE corner a bit tougher than the rest.

    I can't agree that _ALMA / A_ULIA is a Natick. If you don't know them, just do an alphabet run. What other letter is plausible in that spot, given a little familiarity with Italian and Spanish phonetics? Nothing else sounds right.

    ESTAB is an online knifing I guess. EBB, a virtual pellet.

    CAFFE was also in today's 5x5 mini puzzle on the iPad, with the same cluing.

    JFC 1:11 AM  

    Anonymous (12:45 A.M.) said...

    Coke isn't pop? Huh. I guess I learn something new everyday.

    Rex doesn't respond to Anons anymore (though when I was Anon, he replied to me), so I will reply for both of us.

    First, you don't belong here with that kind of a comment.

    Second, yes, Coke is pop.

    Third, so is Pepsi.

    JFC

    George Barany 1:57 AM  

    Quick hello from the East coast, where I keep forgetting the time zone, i.e., when no post had appeared by 11:45 p.m. local, I assumed it was ok to sleep until morning. Doh!

    Anyhow, as a chemist who certainly knows about Pb and has even heard of LEADBELLY (did anyone else see the B, E, and Y, and wonder how @David Poole was going to squeeze in some variation of @Patrick Berry?), the rebus and other aspects of the theme were not particularly hard to suss out. I grimaced at most of the same places that @Rex did, and was pleasantly surprised when all my geographical guesses worked out and the NYT applet chimed its congratulations.

    I'm very pleased, then, to recommend @Hayley Gold's take on today's puzzle in this week's acrossanddown.net/ webcomic.

    And one more recommendation, @Jeff Chen's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle, entitled "Give Me a Ring" -- a treat for all crossword lovers, but especially organic chemists.

    paulsfo 3:19 AM  

    I don't see any sense of ERA for which "Great time" makes sense as a clue.

    John Child 3:49 AM  

    TOTO and THE (BE)ATLES in the NW got me off to a flailing start. That got sorted out later, but imperfectly, so a DNF.

    Was ASTA a WOE for anyone else? One big role, so famous at the time that they changed his name for 10 or so other films. I recognise several of the films, but couldn't have told you the dog's name to save my life.

    I tried EST. A.D. instead of ESTAB. The American Library Association and DIN go down. It works, sort of.

    Haley Gold's comic is very good today.

    MDMA 4:30 AM  

    @paulsfo,

    An older meaning of "great" means "big". E.g., Great Lakes, Great Depression. Thus: a very long interval.

    Still a stretch, but within the usual range of crossword clue wordplay.

    mathguy 6:30 AM  

    @JFC: I wasn't able to find where Rex called you creepy. I went on the Wordplay blog because you mentioned posting there. I checked today's puzzle and yesterday's. I saw that @Lewis posted there yesterday. I'd be interested in hearing from you both how the two blogs compare. Is there more oversight on Wordplay?

    I never met a rebus I didn't like, but today's was oddly disappointing. Perhaps the fill was too ordinary.

    Jim Walker 6:58 AM  

    I liked the puzzle a lot. One minor gripe: A smithy works metal, a ferrier shoes. Had Puglia for way too long.

    elitza 7:12 AM  

    @Steve J: definitely had Puglia in for a long long time. It didn't occur to me until late in the game that it could be anything else.

    POPBOTTLES doesn't even fly for this lifelong Michiganian. Coke bottles, soup cans, sure.

    @John Child: same, re: Beatles and Toto.

    Too many abbreviations, too many proper names.

    Z 7:23 AM  

    Once again I wonder how closely people read Rex. He didn't call APULIA/PALMA a natick. He didn't say POP BOTTLES was wrong (nicely done, @JFC).

    I got the trick early, love the LEADBELLY revealer (we're Americans, our bellies are one of our defining features, so not that much of a stretch), but can't argue with Rex on the clue. My wife is a librarian, one of our best friends used to go to the ABA fair as a purchaser for The Henry Ford Museum, and still I was amazed to "learn" that the Bar had a literary fair. I started, of course, with the very sensible AlA there. Constructors take note Don't get cute w/ your crap fill. It will still be crappy, but now also annoying.

    @mathguy - someone else called @jfc creepy.

    Hey, Bolivia, if you have to have two seats of government could you make them different lengths. Doesn't help that La Paz is the only one I ever remember.

    RAD2626 7:24 AM  

    Enjoyed the puzzle despite the issues noted. Had bigBLUE at first before crosses revealed another PB. NW led to gimmick prettily readily. Overall an easy Thursday. Had to Google ESTAB after I was done with the puzzle to figure out what it meant. Duh. A real brain cramp. Still looks weird even knowing.

    Z 7:26 AM  

    "I can't argue with Rex on the fill." I swear I fixed that brain fart and it's still there. Just CARELESS I guess.

    r.alphbunker 7:37 AM  
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    GILL I. 7:47 AM  

    INANEST reminds me of tires screeching just before a crash.
    GOOPy PEEPERs reminds me of Betty Boop.
    Mallorca (double LL) reminds me of Havana/Habana.
    Got the rebus early on.
    Never heard of MOBY (unless it's Dick) and LEAD's last name was JELLY. Can you be a SCAJ if you cross the line?
    Too many little Abbrs. for me. Doesn't CAFFE Americano look wrong?

    Glimmerglass 7:52 AM  

    I thought this puzzle was pretty easy, once I picked up the rebus, but I very much liked the RASPBERRY/CUPBOARD crossing. Both words have a silent P (in the belly of the word!).

    Lewis 7:53 AM  

    @rex -- Very entertaining review and I agree with your points.
    @Z -- "... our bellies are one of our defining features, so not that much of a stretch" : For many, it is much of a stretch!
    @mathguy -- I just started posting on Wordplay last week, and don't have a feel for it yet, as I never regularly read it before. I'll see how it goes.
    @barany -- Loved your Patrick Berry reference, and thought I should have come up with that myself!

    I did like the clues to OVEREATER, EBB, LEO, and CUPBOARD. There is a mini theme of words that start with A (12). My guess is that some of the fill could have been improved if more time had been put into this puzzle, with only four rebus squares, but that is just a guess. Has anyone here ever said INANEST or heard it said? The crunchiness of the cluing/answers tipped this puzzle over to the "liked it" side for me, and ain't LEADBELLY a terrific looking and sounding name ... and musician?

    dk 7:53 AM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    You solvers are the INANEST. APULIA is the name of the road between Jamesville and Lafayette NY where dk lived until he was 18.

    The Andy Warhol I have hanging in my kitchen is a soup can so of course that is where I began.

    Major problem was not with the puzzle but with Across lite (may I complain one more time about NYT distribution canceling home delivery in my local). I could not remember how to insert multiple letters. I go on line for help and as often happens they only instructions I could find are for PCs. Finally my little gray cells kick in and I press the esc key.

    So while I like the use of PB and the reference to LEADBELLY my solving experience was poor to middling due to user error.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:58 AM  
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    joho 7:59 AM  

    Well, I loved the reveal as LEADBELLY is fresh and just plain fun to see and say.

    POPBOTTLES is a great answer, too. You may not like the Warhol clue but the clue doesn't determine whether the answer is good or bad. Besides Coke does come in POPBOTTLES, especially in the Midwest. Maybe, "Coke containers in Minnesota and Michigan?" would've been a better clue.

    There is no way I won't enjoy a rebus and this puzzle proved that again. I had fun finding the PBs.

    While @Rex gave this a RASPBERRY, I give David Poole a big bravo! Thank you for my Thursday rebus fix!

    Loren Muse Smith 8:02 AM  

    @George Barany – I got POP BOTTLES/TOP BID right off and, yeah, I was kind of snorting early on that this could be a Patrick Berry tribute (hi, @Lewis) since I do my darndest not to look at the revealer clue, see if I can suss out the theme without it.

    @Pete from yesterday. I agree with @Leapy – we've all been CARELESS and not noticed that a phrase is all blued over and the minute you hit some key, it disappears. I just printed and handed out a worksheet recently where this had happened and I missed it.

    @paulsfo, @MDMA – that ERA clue… I had "age." I was thinking that if it's gonna be looked back upon as a "great time," then it earns the "age" name. But there again, we are all living in the AD AGE right now. (Note to ad guys: if my screen dims for an ad while I'm trying to read or see something, I almost always leave the site immediately; I won't even wait to x out of the *&^%% ad.)

    So when I had "age" there, I noticed it matched ADAGE and then I saw the two LEEs.

    "Trattoria" before BRASSERIE (and thought back to the "Erie" clue). Cool.

    I loved the clue for PLACE. I bet like lots of others, I had "prove" first.

    @MDMA - on the APULIA/PALMA cross. I had a Z there. Put it there when I got the final Q in BBQ/IRAQ, smelling some kind of panshenanigram afoot and never changed it. I was rationalizing maybe the water down there looked really BLUE. Seriously. That was also back when, like Rex, I was wondering if there'd be some kind of spectacular J somewhere for a PBj theme. Heck. The V was already in PLACE in "prove."

    My inanest misstep was seeing this compound noun, "smithy might." My great grandfather was a Roman smithy might but moved to Azulia later on and became a belly dancer.

    Rex – talking about how the PB sometimes was closer to the edge - a long time ago, I submitted a BEER BELLY grid (or BEER GUT - I can't remember now) with real show-stoppers like FINAL EXAM, FORMAL ESSAY, SPECIAL EFFECT, making sure that the ALE was dead center in the BELLY. Was certain that extra little flourish would cement the deal. Nope. As you said, "But it's a one-note trick. Same "belly" every time." Ah well. Maybe a rebus would have been better, but coming up with a rebus grid is beyond my Ken.

    So a dnf thanks to AZULIA, but I enjoyed the romp.

    NCA President 8:04 AM  

    @John Child et al., I also had toTo...but I didn't get as far as the Beatles. I was kinda looking for a rebus at 14A (Gift or thrift store, was what I was trying to get). So with that in mind, all of the downs with toTo were so up in the air that I didn't see the error for a very long time.

    My "DNF," though, was in the tidewater area...ESTAB? This is an actual cornerstone abbreviation somewhere? I suppose you can abbreviate "established" any way you like, but sheesh...not that way. Even after getting BBQ, it was everything I could to put that A in there confidently. ESTAB. Nope.

    When was the last time any of you went to an ODEON?

    It didn't slow me down, but there ought to be a law against the 5, 6, and 7 Down triumvirate of abbrev.'s. ATTN, BELG, and CRESC. Seriously? It does make for an interesting idea for a puzzle theme: fill is entirely in abbreviations. Someone get on that, ASAP.

    Anonymous 8:09 AM  

    Mini Factoid: Andy Warhol was a "POP" artist.

    Danchall 8:14 AM  

    I had a similar thought about ABA, but it didn't really bother me. I thought there wasn't enough in "ABA" to tell the solver that they came up with a sensible guess. But when I googled ABA and "literary fair" after solving, most of the hits were for ANTIQUARIAN Booksellers' Association. Even more esoteric.

    AliasZ 8:14 AM  


    This puzzle was enough to give you lead poisoning. Better call the plumber. I was sure the Warhol clue was going refer to his CamPBell's Soup Cans but was wrong. Not only do we have a lot of PB tossed around the grid, we also have the toPBrass at the BRASSERIE, and a CRESC starting at the uPBow. I was disappointed that no HePBurn was present in the grid, Katherine or Audrey. They would have added class to an otherwise drab puzzle. No hiPBone or humPBack whale or a shiPBoard bromance either.

    I have seen ESTD. plenty of times but never ESTAB. BELG does occasionally appear on some maps underneath NETH depending on their scale, and CRESC is a mainstay on sheet music. But ATTN and ASSN? RRS, APBS, ABCS and ETTES? And MOBY without Dick? Oof! This was not exactly my cup of soup, CamPBell's or snaPBean.

    Let's spice things up with this UPBEAT trumpet concerto by Pietro Baldassare (c.1683–1768). And as a bonus, a touch of Pearl Bailey.

    Have a nice day.

    chefbea 8:16 AM  

    Never heard of Lead Belly...Didn't know that PB was the abbrev. for lead...Wanted soup cans for 17 across.
    There is a good restaurant in NYC (nowhere near The Pierre) called Odeon..at least it was there many years ago.

    chefbea 8:19 AM  

    Yep..The Odeon is still thriving..on West Broadway

    Lucy 8:20 AM  

    Argh. I solved the puzzle without understanding the rebus. I'll admit to being a bit dull witted, but I never saw the PB pairings - even with the giant LEADBELLY clue. The phone app accepted 'P' as correct rather than the rebus 'PB'. I got confused wondering why some of the B's disappeared while others stayed around. Note to self: POP is the word for fizzy sugary drinks only in certain parts of the country. Lots of us say SODA. Or COKE. (As in "What kind of coke would you like to drink - a Dr Pepper or a Coca Cola?") For me, POP is one of those weird crossword words.

    McFly 8:37 AM  
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    Sir Hillary 8:37 AM  

    Kind of a blah puzzle, although the stacked long downs in the NE and SW are very nice.

    BELG, SUCRE, MALI, APULIA, PALMA, IRAQ, FTLEE -- somebody get me a MAP!

    Like some others, I dropped pugLIA in right away. Oops.

    After a Pb Thursday, maybe we'll get a PB Friday tomorrow. One can dream...

    Howard Flax 8:46 AM  

    I was happy just to finish this in a reasonable amount of time. Had no idea what PB was referring to once completed.

    My main criticism of this puzzle is referring to Leadbelly as a "legendary guitarist". When I think of legendary guitar players... Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck come to mind, not Leadbelly!!!

    Oh well.

    Questinia 8:50 AM  

    @ George Barany, yes on Patrick Berry which soon turned into peanut butter so then I started looking for the *j* @ jae @lms.

    I take un peu SUCRE dans mon CAFFE [sic].

    I knew you lived on APULIA until you were 18, @dk, it's all online and I also work for the NSA as a den mother.

    POP BOTTLE/ POP art. As I write I'm reading the mini-factoid so I am late news...

    @MDMA yes! But what about online laboratory for laser energetics (ELLE)?

    Lewis 9:12 AM  

    Factoid: There is a cluster of OIL wells on the campus of Beverly Hills High School that generates about $300,000 of revenue per year for the school.
    Quotoid: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness." -- John KEATS

    John V 9:12 AM  

    LIked this one just fine, save for the APULIA/PALMA cross per OFL.

    @GeorgeBarany thanks for the linkto Jeff Chen's CHE puzzle, which I had missed. Will have a go at it on the train ride home tonight

    Young Turk 9:16 AM  

    As soon as I entered MOBY I was certain we'd be hearing plaints from the codger crowd. I was not disappointed.

    lawprof 9:17 AM  

    After a slow start (just ASTA and KEATS to begin)this one fell pretty quickly for a Thursday. Just one writeover: nortE for CAFFE. "Caffe Americano?" Isn't that just pinta verde?

    Hey, what's with this crazy captcha. Select all images with sushi? pasta? soup? Wierd (or is it weird?); can never remember, and I really don't care all that much.

    Ludyjynn 9:25 AM  

    I guess I'm easy to please. Liked ASPCA crossing ASTA and the French mini theme (I count 8 answers). No RASPBERRY from me.

    Writeovers: ADDto before ON; ore before OIL; teach before PLACE; Bali before MALI.

    GOOP; isn't that the Gwynneth (sp?) Paltrow website? Am I the only one who finds her to be a good actress, but a really annoying person?

    Lucky guess department: last letter to go in was the P in that nasty PALMA/APULIA cross. Sigh of relief when I checked Rex's grid.

    In my world, ABA stands for the American Bar ASSN. IMEAN IT. Period.

    Thanks, DP and WS. Had fun using my TETE to solve this rebus.

    Z 9:29 AM  

    CAFFÈ Americano is fairly common in the Middle Eastern restaurants in the Detroit area since Turkish coffee is a bit much for many people. No problem here, despite my not knowing it was Italian in origin. Basically, all things Italian were reminders of how much I don't know.

    @joho - I don't often disagree with you but I shook my head at "but the clue doesn't determine whether the answer is good or bad." How many times has a really good clue been praised here? I am with Rex and @jfc on the Warhol clue - defensible but not apt.

    @anon8:09 - Good one.

    Today's Challenge: Best clue for PO(PB)OTTLES.

    Haiku Nerd 9:30 AM  

    NEEDY EDEN PLACE
    A GIRL CARELESS IN A NEST
    I MEANT IT PEEPER

    Ludyjynn 9:31 AM  

    @YoungTurk, as soon as I entered MOBY, I knew I'd be seeing a snarky, offensive comment from you. I was disappointed to be correct.

    Nancy 9:32 AM  

    Unless one is up very early in the morning, all the points you rushed to this blog to make immediately upon completing the puzzle have already been made.

    I got the PB immediately at POP BOTTLES/TOP BID and never needed to look at the revealer. So, as I was solving, I spent my time wondering if PB was a self-reference from either Patrick Berry or Patrick Blindauer. (I hadn't looked at the constructor's byline either; I seldom do.) Came here to find out that George Barany had had the same reaction. Oh, well.

    I agree with @mathguy: While it might have been our beloved rebus, it was very easy and a bit flat. There were earlier puzzles this week that I actually enjoyed more. That said, I had PEEP at before PEEPER and kept trying to fit CLIPBOARD into the CUPBOARD space. But once I knew the trick, the rebus made the puzzle easier, not harder.

    Caryl Baron 9:33 AM  

    Hey-you never know. I was cycling in Mallorca this spring, so PALMA was a snap. And reading about Italian olive oil, so APULIA slipped right in.
    No, Andy painted COKE BOTTLES and soup cans, but never POPBOTTLES. I've just been reading "Making It New", a delightful book of essays by Henry Geldzahler, the Met Museum's first curator of Twentieth Century Art and later NYC's Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, and a good friend of Andy's.
    Strangely, it was the A in BEAU/ApbPS that got me, and I still don't understand the ApbPS.

    D-Squared Media NYC 9:51 AM  

    My favorite PB Patrick Berry (ok peanut butter too) Too many abbreviations today

    Generic Solver 9:52 AM  

    I finally figured out what's missing from this puzzle, and that is other clues that at least tangentially refer to Leadbelly, blues guitarists or traditional Southern blues, etc., to legitimately tie the revealer to the theme. Basically that would at least make it not feel like an afterthought to think of something or someone that had the word "lead" in it, and would add a degree of polish that feels missing.

    As it stands, the revealer could have just as easily been "Miscue by an inept catcher" (passed ball) or "Kid's favorite sammy ingredient" (peanut butter), or pick your favorite PB acronym (and there are several).

    Tita 9:53 AM  

    I DNFd with AgULIA/gALMA... See, I guessed that AgULIA was Italian for needle (it's 'agulha' in Portuguese), and that stilleto could have looked like a needle, and therefore an APT toponym...
    @Steve J - I knew the Italian name Puglia too, but alas, not its location.
    gALMA? Well, indefensible. Insert Embarrassed emoji here.

    To continue on the Italian theme, my colleagues there gave me a "field guide" to the 23 different CAFFÉ-based drinks, including Americano.
    Google "espresso field guide ratios".

    @mathguy - I stopped checking in at wordplay - just not enough time in my poorly organized day. I generally find it too pollyannaish. I wasn't learning enough about solving or constructing there. My humble opinion.

    @LMS - I had 'enact' before PLACE - that nearly kept me from finishing that section.

    Puzzle was fun - it was a rebus, after all! Not one of the best ever, but I liked the idea.
    PB stands for Latin Plumbum - as in plumbers who work with lead pipes, and plumbline which is a string with a chunk of lead at the end, or plum-crazy, which is the INANEST.

    Thanks Mr. Poole!



    @chefwen - hand up for IN A NEST. The new DOOK?


    Andrew Heinegg 10:02 AM  

    My ego grates against the idea of criticizing a puzzle I solved without a lot of difficulty but, a Thursday NYT puzzle that begins with Asta and contains many other cliched crosswordese answers demands the criticism. I agreed with virtually every word of Rex's review. The lead thing was ok and sussable but, the fill!

    Armagh 10:03 AM  

    A Northern-centric puzzle. Ft. Lee, NJ? Whatever; Tino Martinez? How many ex-players named Martinez have the Yankees had and who cares?; Worst of all "Pop Bottles." To a substantial part of this country, the term would be "soda bottles." Wouldn't fit the rebus, I understand, but damn this one is parochial.

    Carola 10:05 AM  

    Cute, easy, too quickly ingested. Like others, I caught on early with TOPBID x POPBOTTLES (@joho, you could add Wisconsin to your POP states). I did like the idea of Peanut Butter in the BELLies, along with OVEREATER.

    In the "how we happen to know things" department, I'm going to go for "most arcane" with this one: I learned APULIA from a medieval German poet's appeal for patronage from the ruler of Rome and king of APULIA: "Von Rome voget, von Pulle künic." And I was apparently fascinated enough with the doings of the jet-set in decades past to remember PALMA.

    Hartley70 10:07 AM  

    I would call this easy for a Thursday, though I had no idea that PB was the symbol for lead. The meaning of this particular rebus was the only difficulty I found. I had the rebus with TOPBID, very early in the game. I suppose I was lucky not to see ant Naticks, since there were a number of locations. And yes, no trouble with MOBY. RASPBERRY!!!!

    Mohair Sam 10:08 AM  

    Easy peasy one for us today. Gimmes EDEN and FTLEE led to quick LEADBELLY, led to PB Thursday rebus search (thank you TOPBID and DEEPBLUE), combined with near gimme APULIA (yes gimme), and we ran this baby.

    Knew APULIA for the same reason as @dk - lived on the east side of Syracuse for years and wondered where the heck the name for the oft traveled Apulia Road in nearby Jamesville came from - someone explained and we never forgot.

    Casting my vote with @Rex on the POPBOTTLES thing. It is coke bottles only.

    Yeah, a smithy might do some shoeing, but farrier would be a better clue imo.

    Anonymous 10:09 AM  

    @Ludy,
    Maybe next you can do some more humblebragging about your oh so many impressive adventures around the world. Please?

    Hartley70 10:10 AM  

    Sorry "any" though now I wonder if ants experience the Natick phenomenon.

    Herman Melville 10:14 AM  

    Better clue: "A big Dick."

    longtime west coast shrink 10:21 AM  

    @Ludyjynn -- Wouldn't be at all surprised if Anonymouse 10:09 = Young Turk in retaliation mode.

    Horace S. Patoot 10:24 AM  

    Apuleius's Golden Ass is sort of worth knowing about, being the only Roman novel in Latin remaining from the classical period, and the first dirty book (or so I was told). Erotic literature has certainly improved since then. It's better titled Metamorphosis, not to be mistaken for Ovid and Kafka.

    Hungry Mother 10:25 AM  

    Very EZ Thursday for me. I have good friends from Natick who were surprised to find out why their town is famous in some quarters. They thought it was because of the Flutie brothers.

    Steve J 10:38 AM  

    Several people have mentioned that Andy Warhol painted soup cans. He didn't paint any old soup cans. He painted Campbell's Soup cans. But many of the same people are upset over POP BOTTLES, because the clue/answer combo doesn't reference the specific Coke bottles he painted. The inconsistency disproves the objection.

    In other words, POP BOTTLES is a perfectly acceptable (if highly regionalized) generic expression for what was painted. Just like soup cans.

    Anonymous 10:41 AM  

    I wasn't actually aware that a person's knowledge of modern art rested on how many times he's "lunched" (ugh) at the MOMA.

    Perhaps people wouldn't call you creepy, @JFC, if all your posts weren't so sadly self-aggrandizing.

    Ludyjynn 11:06 AM  

    @longtime west coast shrink (great handle, BTW), I do believe you are on to Eddie Haskell's m.o. at 10:09 am. Nice catch! LOL.

    old timer 11:25 AM  

    I'm very good at geography, so the first thing I saw was SUCRE (considered "La Paz" but the RRS made the right choice clear.) Then Bamako, four-letter country, MALI! ODIN EDEN IMEANTIT and LEADBELLY! Sadly, I never thought of Pb for lead, so as I solved the puzzle I thought maybe the PB rebus was one-way only and a totally different one-way rebus was next to it. How else to get to 8 rebus squares? What actually gave me the answer was APULIA, which I knew, along with the better-known PALMA.

    Why to I know APULIA? because we have a great restaurant in San Francisco, A16, that specializes in the food and wine of the southern tip of Italy. If you go, you might as well let your waiter choose the wine for you -- only an expert in Italian wine would know the producers, but the wine is *good*

    I agreed with OFL's review. And very much liked Hayley Gold's comic. Thanks, George, for pointing it out.

    Oh, I have seen ESTAB. But "Estd" is a lot more common.

    weingolb 11:27 AM  

    Very easy Thursday. For each bit of awful fill, there was a gimme right beside it. Did it in pen and barely made a mistake.

    But my cross to bear wasn't APULIA/PALMA (I love wine from the region of Puglia). Instead, it was LEO/ELLE. I thought the cluing needed correction. "What the French might call AGIRL" would be MLLE. What the French always call AGIRL is ELLE. Seems like an obvious mistake to me.

    So I pondered the resulting LmO, after being certain that mLLE was correct, assuming LmO was more bad fill that stood for something along the lines of ABA or USS. Surprised to see that LEO is a summer sign. It's a winter sign if you're in the southern hemisphere.

    But I can see how @Lewis and others might have like this clue. It is kind of nifty.

    By the way, if you like deeply fruity red wine, try Apulian wine next time. It's frequently based on the Primitivo grape (which is genetically linked to Zinfandel). I also recommend wines from the toe, the instep and the arch of the boot of Italy. Nothing to sell, just a fan.

    Joseph Michael 11:28 AM  

    Got the PB rebus early on, lucky guessed at the PALMA/APULIA crossing, and conjured up LEADBELLY though I barely know who he is. Yet I had no idea what the theme was when I finished the puzzle.

    Now that I have come here and learned that PB is a symbol for LEAD and that its placement is in the BELLY of each themer, I can appreciate the puzzle a little more. Yet it leaves me fairly unsatisfied in the end.

    The abundance of bad fill and crosswordese thus did not seem worth it, though I did like some of the clues, especially the ones for PLACE and CUPBOARD.

    Also liked the timely reference to FT LEE the week before Rich Christie may be announcing his run for presidency.

    demit 11:34 AM  

    Since Andy Warhol was a POP artist, the bottles he painted could be called POP BOTTLES. I had no problem accepting the sort-of pun. Yes, his soup can is more well known, and thus would be easier to get, but easy-to-get is an odd thing to want in a puzzle, I think.

    Generic Solver at 9:52AM, good observation!

    weingolb 11:46 AM  

    @oldtimer our love for wine in consecutive comments briefly turned this xword forum into a wine group.

    Drink Italian. Makes every xword better?

    Pete 12:03 PM  

    @SteveJ - Your point re "soup cans" is well taken, though it doesn't negate the objection to POPBOTTLES. Warhol took cultural icons of his time (Cambell's soup, Coca Cola) and made art (and I use the term loosely) of them. Cambell's was integral to the work, as is Coke. Yes, anyone who used soup cans to describe one of Warhol's works has no right to object to POPBOTTLE, but that doesn't make POPBOTTLE right - it was purposefully a Coke bottle.

    Z 12:34 PM  

    @Steve J - What @Pete said. POP BOTTLES, soup cans, famous blondes, all defensible but all inapt. Of those three examples I think "soup cans" would be the most likely description to be found in the wild, suggesting that some of the subtext of Warhol's work has been lost through excessive fame. I think that qualifies as ironic.

    Slang for thick eye glasses.

    Anonymous 12:49 PM  

    It'd be nice if we could dial back the frequency of ISIS references in clues and grids.

    MDMA 12:59 PM  

    @YoungTurk,

    Moby turns 50 this year. His heyday was around the turn of the century. Maybe you're a codger too. We accept you, one of us, gooble gobble. Ooops, sorry for the old film reference, I know those upset you.

    @Z,

    You're splitting hairs. Rex wrote, 'Almost all the makings of a true "Natick"...'

    joho 1:07 PM  

    @Z, I think you're missing my point, or I didn't make it very well. POPBOTTLES is a fresh,lively, really good answer. Not liking the clue doesn't diminish how good the answer is. All it needs is a lively, really good clue and everybody is happy. Of course we all love great cluing which will always enhance the answer but it never changes the word in the grid. In other words, don't hate POPBOTTLES because you hate the clue! Oh, and I'm happy to hear you agree with most of the time :)

    dick swart 1:13 PM  

    @ Carol Baron

    I thought that the 'pop bottles' was a great double play (I have a Minnesota background). And as I was doing the puzzle I could look at the Mapplethorpe photo of the two of them.
    http://thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mPLhRfFswW7tKdPRMVop5SQ.jpg
    (Also M's David Hockney and a non-M Keith Haring)

    So the puzzle started well for me, was easy. and only annoying because the ABA cluing was a long way around to a cliche. I like hard cluing that has an unexpected payoff.

    Masked and Anonymous 1:16 PM  

    @Bob Kerfuffle is on a roadtrip to Mall Orca, even as we speak. I had looked it up, to see where it was, and had gazed upon the name of its capital city only a few short days ago. True to M&A form, could no longer remember the city's name accurately, but was pretty dang sure it started with a P-A-. So, mucho thanx, BobK. No nat-tick for m&e. And bon voyager.

    Always good to see BRUCE LEE, and his lesser-known cousins -- DECENT LY, RASPBER RY and BRASSE RIE -- in the puz, along with the primo bluesman PBBELLY. That old BRASSE is a real character, btw. But I digress.

    fave clue: {Like M, L or XL, but not S} = ROMAN. RRC!

    weejects anonymous: ABA, where B can be anything. Challengin. Believe I'da gone with ARA for 35-D, so that 36-D coulda been BEQ. Can't let these chances pass U by. APULIA: Two, two, two weejects in one: APU + LIA.

    Nothing in the holy wide world wrong with POPBOTTLES. I guess folks can argue all day about whether it's an acceptable generic substitute for Coke Bottles, in the clue's case.

    Amazin things M&A learned, just to-day: BELG, CRESC, APULIA, SUCRE, CAFFE (Caf iron!), ALEADS (see 33-D), that there other ABA, ETYPE, and PALMA (again). Thanx, Shortzmeister.

    4 U's. Can't put it in Masked and Anonymo4Us, where it belongs, anymore, on account of The Blorg. Have I mentioned this recaptcha iPad problem before, Google programmer/analysts? >>snort<<

    M&A
    "Can count the cakes; can't copy the gibberish"

    Mohair Sam 1:17 PM  

    Let me pile on the much battered Steve - Pop is totally unacceptable. If Warhol had painted "Soup" and "pop" on his cans and bottles they would have hung in motel rooms if anywhere at all - as @Pete said, the brand name was the point of the art. And yeah, I too chuckled I the "soup" comments.

    Masked and Anonymous 1:26 PM  

    p.s.
    Oh, and for sure thanx to U, Mr. Poole. Would luv to see yer 60-A painting, sometime.

    M&A
    "Watercolor Couch Seat Impressionist"

    Steve J 1:27 PM  

    The point was (as @Pete picked up) that you can't fairly complain about POP BOTTLES while simultaneously saying Warhol painted mere soup cans.

    I agree with @joho that it's a nice bit of fill, but it deserved a better clue. And with @Z that the clue/answer combo is defensible but not elegant.

    Mostly, I'm just mildly entertained by how worked up people are getting over that one.

    Leapfinger 1:42 PM  

    Yes @Gilly, Caffe Americano looks very, very wrong.

    I also thought Puglia, but that might be on account of Camille Paglia. Not saying that was the same connector for other solvers with divergent interests.

    Thought for sure that we'd be having Teaneck, Trenton or Hoboken pop up, just to work in that old PB NJ. Thought it was a plumb fine little rebus, but then me and Huddie Ledbetter go way back.

    HOLLand before BELGium
    DECorous before DECENTLY
    Idiotic before INANEST; @Blanche from Chicago, are you out there?
    And yesterday's SKITRAIL was responsible for BRASS Rail; ERIE, isn't it?

    IMEANTIT, yeeesh!

    Interesting, though, the difference between CARELESS and CAREfree, bien sur.

    Enjoy your Donnerstag

    Anonymous 1:45 PM  

    It has been a long time since high school chemistry, but I picked up on the PB=lead rebus with UPBEAT/LIPBALMS, and was off hunting down the rest them.

    Agree with most of the crowd that fill suffered mightily in this one. Surprised no one has made more of the POCs used for LIPBALMS and ODEONS, but there were so many other nits to pick.

    Once I caught the 'lead' scent, and started getting near the reveal, and having LE in place, it took me more than a little while to get LEDZEPPELIN out of my head, despite the fact that it would clearly have spelling issues, and no shoehorning of another rebus square seemed possible.

    RT

    Fred Romagnolo 1:47 PM  

    @HowardF: to me it's Segovia, which makes me what @Young Turk would rudely dismiss as a "codger." @LudyJynn: your worth is accented by the despicableness of your detractors. @Caryl: APB's - All Point Bulletins. @Armagh: since when aint the NYT Xword parochial? @HMellville: good one! @Weingolb: and what about Tuscany, the Romagna, and Piemonte? Ask @Oldtimer. Although I knew pb is the sign for lead, I stupidly figured that they were the initials of the guitarist known as LEADBELLY. As it turned out it didn't matter, but it confirmed my "codgerness." Check with @Herman Mellville for a much better clue for MOBY.

    Benko 1:47 PM  

    As a guitarist, Leadbelly had a very distinctive style. Extremely loud and rhythmic. He developed the style to make sure people could hear him play and dance along to the beat.
    I'd certainly call him "legendary."

    Pete 1:48 PM  

    @Steve - I missed you in your absence; you're a true gentleman here. Yes, I "picked up" on your point, if by "picked up" you meant I had the ability to read well formed, simple declarative sentences. I likely would have been less generous.

    Anonymous 1:54 PM  

    @Herman@ 10:14: Excellent. Ypu made my afternoon beer come out my nose.
    I'd also say "they might get you 5 cents in New York and 10 cents in Michigan" for POPBOTTLES, althougn I do like the misdirect--I was looking for POPicons or somesuch first.

    Cosmo Kramer 2:00 PM  


    Best clue for POPBOTTLES: "essential components of a scheme in Seinfeld":


    seinfeld popbottle return scam

    D.O.P. 2:25 PM  

    @Questina, that wold be: un peu de SUCRE dans ton (May I use 'ton'?) CAFFE. Ole!

    Would you sit in my lap as you drink it?

    Roo Monster 2:30 PM  

    Hey All !
    Well, my one-day-in-a-row complete 100% correct puz came to an end! The mid W got me. Had AIR at 37A, but took out and replaced with ego. Which got me peg for MAP. Finally said 31D must be BRASSERIE, which got me grACE off the g in peg. Ended up with gibberish ay 29A/30D. Ugh. Also had at the Natick, AsULIA/sALMA. Ugh again.

    Liked the puz overall. One of the few it seems who knew Pb is lead. Gold star for me! :-) Though never heard of LEADBELLY. As I've said before, not well versed in the arts. Put me in the toTo camp. Also brEw for SEEP. Percolate, get it? fIELD-> YIELD.

    Fun, albeit small rebus, close to pangram, lots of dreck. Mixed bag puz.

    CARELESS
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Kate Mark 2:36 PM  



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

    Anonymous 2:36 PM  

    Whoa, you really scROOed the pooch!

    Captain Obvious 2:37 PM  

    @Cosmo - Cans are not the same as bottles. The Seinfeld show had cans.

    Z 2:49 PM  

    @joho - now I agree 100%. Seems the same is true of @Steve J, @Pete, and me.

    @MDMA - If I say you are "almost good looking" are you taking it as a compliment?

    Nancy 2:57 PM  

    @demit (11:34): "Easy-to-get is an odd thing to want in a puzzle, I think." Enjoyed your observation and agree with it completely.

    @old timer and @weingolb (or should I call you WINEgolb?) Not to comment for or against the merits of Italian wines today, but I saw a great New Yorker cartoon back in the '80s (I think) when there was a huge international scandal about the liberties being taken in Italian wine production. The cartoon:
    A man and a boy, with their backs to the camera, are surveying a huge vineyard. The man has his arm around the boy and is pointing to the vineyard. He says: "One day, son, all of this will be yours. And always remember: You can ALSO make it with grapes."


    Cosmo Kramer 3:27 PM  

    @Cabtain Obvious@2:37: Are you even a little embarrassed to be so smug yet SO WRONG?! There were cans and bottles, which make the bottles an essential part of the scheme. Why don't you watch the clip I posted and learn something, then have the balls to come back here and share what you learned?

    In case you missed it (which you did) the episode is called THE BOTTLE DEPOSIT. Does that tell you something, or is it too obvious for you?

    Watch and learn:

    The Bottle Deposit

    Newman 3:46 PM  

    Cosmo is correct. We used bottles and cans. Captain Obvious just got schooled.

    Aketi 3:57 PM  

    Our cat Charlie, is a CARELESS OVEREATER who scatters his food all over the floor. If our PEEPERs aren't RIVETed on him at meal time, will steal lettuce off our plates or knock cereal boxes over to get at the Cheerios. Unfortunately, he lacks the cast FE STOMACH to match his NEEDY greedy approach to food. Nevertheless, he remains remarkedly UPBEAT even when he suffers the inevitable consequences of his voracious appetite.

    On the subway today, I applied one of the tenets of Martial Arts: "use common sense before self defense". I decided that even BRUCE LEE might agree that changing subway cars was a better option than remaining in the same car with a guy who was loudly bragging about how dangerous he was after his stay in RIkers.

    @Young Turk, this ones for you:
    http://www.mmafighting.com/2010/07/29/70-year-old-mma-fighter-john-williams-got-in-the-cage-to-feel-al

    Young Turk 4:07 PM  

    Wait, @Aketi, you're into martial arts? We hadn't heard. Perhaps you could mention it, along with your weird obsession with breastfeeding, more often.

    adicecream 4:10 PM  

    Some crankiness out there today. I liked this puzzle. Except Turi Polo or Polo Turi. And I'm smarter now because I learned about odeons.

    MDMA 4:22 PM  

    @Z,

    You're attempting a subtle rephrasing.

    If you said I had "almost all the features of a true good-looker", I would... fear for your sanity, actually.

    Haiku Too 4:30 PM  

    CARELESS UPBEAT BLOKE
    OVEREATER SHOED A GIRL
    YIELD BEAU ADD ON GOOP

    Aketi 5:01 PM  

    @Aketi did (I'm assuming JFC) from yesterday, I actually wasn't trying to be snide. The Mommy wars actually are sometimes much more vicious than anything I have read elsewhere and certainly much more vicious than anything I've ever read here. That level of viciousness makes my tremendously sad, whereas I find those who are mean to others here a little sad.

    Jonathan Hemlock 5:49 PM  

    Wharhol was a pop artist. It has nothing to do with what part of the country you're from vis-à-vis "Coke" vs. "pop." Would any late-week puzzle really call for the purely literal true answer of "Coke bottles"? That would be ZZZZZZ . . . .

    But the rest of this puzzle sucked monkey balls. And I know from an episode of Archer, where Mallory is telling the staff they have to tighten their belts and salaries will be cut, and then her phone rings and Cheryl says "it's your furrier, line one," and then Sterling says "we take salary cuts but you're getting new horseshoes," and than Mallory says "that's a FERRIER, you idiot," that the clue for the blacksmith clue was wrong.

    Indypuzzler 6:35 PM  


    Wow. I agree with @SteveJ that there seems to be much ado about nothing on POPBOTTLES and perhaps it should have/could have been clued differently but I got a kick out of it considering Warhol was a POP artist. Glad everyone declared a ceasefire. Also with farrier/blacksmith....
    http://horses.about.com/od/understandinghorses/g/blksmth.htm

    Anonymous 7:17 PM  

    Aketi said "On the subway today, I applied one of the tenets of Martial Arts: "use common sense before self defense". I decided that even BRUCE LEE might agree that changing subway cars was a better option than remaining in the same car with a guy who was loudly bragging about how dangerous he was after his stay in RIkers."

    Hey, I keep away from scary nut jobs on the subway, too! I didn't realize that makes me a martial artist. What color belt can I wear now?

    Anonymous 7:21 PM  

    @Aketi

    The term "mommy wars." Are you a woman? Stop already. It's 2015.

    Alicia Stetson 8:04 PM  

    Thank you Anon@7:21pm. This is some tiresome bullshit @Aketi spouts.

    JFC 8:37 PM  

    @Mathguy, there are three blogs I visit from time to time – Wordplay, Rex and Diary of a Crossword Fiend (“Amy”) – which Rex is gracious enough to post links for, but Wordplay is my home. I started with this Blog until Rex expelled me. It was a sad day but I’ve moved on.

    So, with that disclaimer, I am pleased to opine on the differences. Wordplay is the NYT Blog for its puzzles, so that Blog, like this one, only discusses the NYT XWP. Amy covers several puzzles but most of the discussion there focuses on the NYT puzzle.

    In my view there are two main differences between Wordplay and Rex. First, Wordplay is screened and will not allow comments that are profane or do not otherwise comport to their standards for expression. Rex lets it all hang out and rarely censors anyone. AliasZ is here instead of at Wordplay because he could not bear the NYT screening (for which I don’t blame him). So, kudos to Rex for “free speech” but one can understand why the NYT has different standards.

    The second difference is the tone in the comments. Wordplay’s comments are usually positive, even on days when a puzzle gets raked over the coals here. The comments here by comparison are often negative and more critical. The intellectual level of commentary, however, is comparable.

    There is, of course, the difference in the Blogger. Here Rex rules. At Wordplay Deb Amlen is in charge. The two are good friends but Deb usually looks for the good in a puzzle whereas Rex plays more the spoiler. Of course, Deb works for the NYT and Rex is independent.

    Finally, Rex is much more the focus here than Deb is at Wordplay. Deb explains a puzzle whereas Rex takes a clear stand one way or another. Consequently, many comments here are about Rex, whereas at Wordplay Deb stands aside and the comments are almost always about the puzzle, not what Deb says. I think Rex loves playing the fire hydrant.

    Those are my impressions. Others might differ.

    JFC

    JFe 8:58 PM  

    @anon@7:21p.m.

    Thanks.

    Nancy 10:00 PM  

    @JFC -- I'm not saying I would ever abandon this wonderful blog for another, but, at this point, I couldn't if I wanted to. Deb Amlen was enormously kind and helpful to me in the past (in a matter I won't bore you with), and I do sometimes go to Wordplay -- especially if the puzzle that day was especially interesting or tricky. I read, and then I come to the words: "Your thoughts?" I try to click on those words, but my arrow turns into a straight, impotent line and nothing happens. I don't see any alternate place to click, nor do I see any kind of sign-up to be a member. Nor do I see anyone's comments, other than Deb's, Will's, and the constructor's. Do you know what I'm missing here? Does anyone? I must be missing something.

    Kate Mark 10:17 PM  


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

    Kate Mark 10:17 PM  


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

    paulsfo 10:44 PM  

    @Nancy: I don't read Wordplay but I went over and I think i get it. First, you're correct, the words "Your thoughts?" are not linked to comments or to anything else.
    However, I think I found what you're looking for. At the top of each day's entry there is a date. Next to the date is a *tiny* icon and a number and the word "comments". EG: ( you can't see the icon here, but it's between "10:00 pm" and "64 comments"):


    JUN 23 10:00 PM Jun 23 10:00 pm 64 comments
    Visible in Melbourne and Sydney
    By DEB AMLEN



    Click on the "64 comments". This is the number of comments and clicking it takes you to the comments (in a popup window). Then you can read or enter comments (I was logged in at the time but I assume that, even if you're not logged in, it will probably give a chance to login to enter a comment).

    hope that helps.

    Nancy 10:57 PM  

    @paulsfo -- Thanks so much for doing this for me! I'll re-read your instructions tomorrow when I'm fresh (Nancy's Rule #1: Never do anything remotely techie late at night while tired) and then I'll go to Wordplay and give it a try. If it works, I'll give you a shout-out tomorrow. Thanks again.

    Anonymous 11:30 PM  

    I love Leadbelly, but the clue was askew. Calling him a legendary guitarist, even if he was a great guitarist, is misleading in the extreme. When you think of Leadbelly, you think of him as a singer--a great, great, one-in-a-million vocalist. Yes, his guitar playing was superb, but the guitar part is completely secondary. It makes me think that the constructor doesn't really know much about Leadbelly.

    JFC 11:43 PM  

    @Nancy, what paulsfo said. Not sure if you need to subscribe to the NYT Premium Crossword to gain access to the comments.

    JFC

    kitshef 11:35 PM  

    I really wanted jelly in the revealer.

    Completely agree with @Rex, the N Central part is garbage.

    Indigo Bones 9:00 PM  

    One of the worst NYT crosswords I have ever done.

    Location longue durée 7:14 PM  

    that's one of my favorite web site :) thanks for the article

    Anonymous 3:56 PM  

    My name is Suzanna jerry and my ex-boyfriend dumped me 8 months ago after I caught him of having an affair with someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me. I was so confuse and don't know what to do, so I visited the INTERNET for help and I saw a testimony on how a spell caster help them to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problems to him..... he cast a spell for me and assure me of 3 days that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my peter came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to get married. Once again thank you agagu spell caster, you are truly talented and gifted contact his email: agagulovespll@yahoo.com or agagulovespell@gmail.com

    Burma Shave 10:19 AM  

    ADDON PSIS SIS

    I owe an APOLOGY to AGIRL at a PLACE I was recently,
    it seems I was CARELESS as a PEEPER, and didn’t act DECENTLY.
    I gave my ROMAN PALMA swift UPBEAT when I’d seen it,
    Take ESTAB ASTA what I saw – you know IMEANTIT.

    APULIA CRESC

    rondo 12:10 PM  

    What? No write-over ink spilled. Maybe because I took the cautious clockwise spiral route from the NE all the way around and to the middle. Got the NE PB and knew right away who the guitarist was.

    I actually have LEADBELLY recordings at home. A lot of blues and rock and folk and other genres built on what he was doing. Yet Huddie Ledbetter remains underappreciated, IMHO.

    Warhol and Green Hornet clues very 1960s. Is that a nod for us in the “codger crowd”? Or we could go back even further to “The Devil and the DEEPBLUE Sea”.

    ELLE (you know the one) and TERI (all of ‘em) yeah babies!

    How about famous director Brian D. PALMA? (har)

    I had a PEEPER at least once. One usually thinks of guys peeping at gals, but this was AGIRL peeping me; I knew she was out there. She got quite the show and came back the next night for some more, and then actually knocked on my window to have a little chat, returned to her cottage next door, threw open the blinds and gave me some of the same. It was an interesting summer.

    I usually don’t care for multi-letter squares, but this one was harmless enough (even with the abbr.s up N).

    spacecraft 12:21 PM  

    Of course, @Whirred Whacks, a booksellers' convention WOULD be important to you--and the tens of other published authors. For the thousands of the rest of us...not so much. ABA is the American Bar ASSN, or maybe even for us Chamberlain fans, the American Basketball ASSN. Just how many "orgs." are out there with the same initials? There oughta be a copyright law, or something. OFL's point is well taken: don't obscurize (?) your CRAP fill.

    And oh, what CRAP fill it is! ASSN is fine, unless it shares the grid with too many more abbrs. ATTN BELG BBQ USS OBE ABCS ASPCA and the ridiculous ESTAB! C'mon now, when have you EVER seen ESTAB? EST'D is the abbr. of choice here, anything else is silly. This is flaggable. BELG, though legit (I have seen it on MAPs), is one I have trouble with, as it's more than half as long as the whole word. Till you add the period, you've only saved yourself two spaces.

    Really, this is some of the INANEST fill I've come across. Too bad, because I thought the theme, with its cool revealer, was enjoyable. I didn't have the trouble OFL had with it; in fact, despite the natick at 28 (which I agree cried out for a P, so not REALLY a natick), I actually found this to be fairly easy for a Thursday.

    Has NO ONE noticed the double LEE appearance (BRUCE and FT)? Isn't that a no-no? Despite the cuteness of the theme, the rest of it's so bad I have to go with a D-. David, meet Patty.

    leftcoastTAMl 7:16 PM  

    The theme revealed itself at POPBOTTLES, but I think LEADBELLY's BELLY was extraneous to it (in the "belly" of the crosses, ala Rex?? no way). Last letter in (P) was the potential but not real Natick at the PALMA/APULIA cross, as mentioned by @spacecraft.

    Teedmn 8:10 PM  

    @Burma Shave, yesterday's BS1 was a classic. But your use today of ESTAB ASTA, truly inspired.

    @leftcoastTAM, per yesterday, you are right about how the comments can go on per the solve and I'm one of the guilty. I usually re read my own comment before reading the Syndis' because that reminds me about the puzzle and mine for yesterday's puzz was a real eye roller. I'm working on self-editing, hope it works.

    DMG 8:24 PM  

    This one took awhile. Lots of stuff I had to walk around until enough crosses gave me an inkling of the word. Like others I had KNot, which reluctantly turned int KNAR (thought that was spelled gNAR) when the odd IMHERE made itself known. Worse of all was the bottom line. Wanted something music related. It wasn't until I finally went off-grid and spelled it out on paper that the ball fell. Gee, how obvious!? Last letter was the R in ARS- thought Cato was a poet and didn't know the director. But a good guess earned the (unseen in print life) happy pencil!

    @mathguy: I too am a Steinbeck fan. Had a spell where I read everything of his I could find.. AND, I too shelved East of Eden unfinished. Just too dark, and the coat hanger thing spelled time to find something else!

    @Ron Diego: It's easy to sign in with your name. Just open the box labeled "Name/URL, put your name in the "Name" slot, and skip the URL thingie. I don't even know what that is or how to become the owner of one!
    P

    DMG 8:25 PM  

    This one took awhile. Lots of stuff I had to walk around until enough crosses gave me an inkling of the word. Like others I had KNot, which reluctantly turned int KNAR (thought that was spelled gNAR) when the odd IMHERE made itself known. Worse of all was the bottom line. Wanted something music related. It wasn't until I finally went off-grid and spelled it out on paper that the ball fell. Gee, how obvious!? Last letter was the R in ARS- thought Cato was a poet and didn't know the director. But a good guess earned the (unseen in print life) happy pencil!

    @mathguy: I too am a Steinbeck fan. Had a spell where I read everything of his I could find.. AND, I too shelved East of Eden unfinished. Just too dark, and the coat hanger thing spelled time to find something else!

    @Ron Diego: It's easy to sign in with your name. Just open the box labeled "Name/URL, put your name in the "Name" slot, and skip the URL thingie. I don't even know what that is or how to become the owner of one!
    P

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