Holly tree / WED 6-17-15 / Modern prefix with aggression / Bygone component in luminous paint / 1921 play that introduced word robot / Hot Japanese bowlful

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Constructor: Molly Young and David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: famous people who refused honors

Theme answers:
  • GEORGE C. SCOTT (3D: Actor who refused a 26-Down in 1971)
  • DAVID BOWIE (5D: Rock star who refused a 37-Down in 2003)
  • JEAN-PAUL SARTRE (15D: Playwright who refused an 8-/57-Down in 1964)
Word of the Day: ILEX (7D: Holly tree) —
  1. 1
    another term for holm oak.
  2. 2
    a tree or shrub of a genus that includes holly and its relatives. (google)
• • •


Kind of interesting concept, and I always love remembering DAVID BOWIE, but the nature of the theme made this play *way* too easy / obvious, and the fill was really substandard. Dull, tired, yesteryear. Here is my solving experience in a little grid-photo essay. Let's just say that things did not get off to an auspicious start. I can often tell how painful / glorious a solve is going to be by the first handful of answers I get. Could such an early indicator be wrong? Of course. But it rarely ever is. One bad corner usually heralds many bad corners. Here's my first first few answers in the grid:

"R.U.R." used to be much more common. It's one of those answers that modern constructing techniques (and modern standards) have been able to drive to near (and deserved) extinction. But clearly it's not dead. It's a real play and I wouldn't care much about it if, again, it weren't the canary in the coal mine. After the initial ugliness, though, things just got weirdly, disturbingly easy. Finished up that NW corner, and then immediately plunked down not only GEORGE C. SCOTT, but ACADEMY AWARD, in its entirety, clear on the other side of the grid. What the hell else kind of honor is GEORGE C. SCOTT going to refuse. His silver medal in EPEE at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal? (great clue on EPEE, though—50D: Poker game?). So now I'm a few seconds into this thing and already…

Soon I get DAVID BOWIE and while I don't immediately get KNIGHTHOOD, I'm honestly not thinking that hard about it, as the grid is easy to fill and I'm sure I'll pick up the other half of that themer on crosses eventually (which I do). The delay in getting the second half of the BOWIE answer gives me time to really "enjoy" the grid. When my travels take me to the dreaded abbr. isl. of ICEL. I am compelled to stop, sigh, and take a picture.

As you can see here, JEAN-PAUL SARTRE isn't exactly hiding, and since the second part of his answer (the NOBEL / PRIZE, that is) will give me entree to not only the NE but the SW, the whole puzzle starts to seem like a dull exercise of fill-in-the-blank, paint by numbers, connect-the-dots, or choose your own 1st-grader diversionary activity metaphor. First part of themers just Handed you the second part, for the most part, leading to a dangerous spike in ho-hummitude. Even MEL / OTT was getting on the give-away-answers-in-other-parts-of-the-grid act.

    So now the only thing left was to discover unfortunate stuff like the intersection of SOUR ON and RAT ON.

    The whole thing ended IN A TIE, which was about as exciting as that answer sounds. The end. Lesson: a good concept is one thing, but without clever, interesting, or even serviceable execution, it's not worth much.

    Congrats to the Golden State Warriors on their NBA Championship. Even though I was born in S.F., I was rooting for Cleveland to make a go of it, because they were Such underdogs, and, you know … Cleveland. It's Cleveland. It needs a sports hug. I look forward to rooting for the Cubs in the fall (though Chicago doesn't need a sports hug at all—congrats also to the Blackhawks on their 3rd Stanley Cup of this decade).
      Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

      [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


      Anonymous 7:33 AM  

      I thought this was a fun solve, made easier by the obvious pairings but still thoroughly enjoyable. Of course, confidently entering DAVIDBYRNE did not help...

      dk 7:41 AM  

      🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

      Easy for a Wednesday. PIPEin for PIPEUP was the only snag.

      Happy to see the council of TRENT the same week as the Magna Carta. History week.

      Think of R.U.R every time I prove I am not a robot… or am I.

      I guess Marlon Brando or Sacheen Littlefeather did not fit.

      Rex Porker 7:44 AM  

      Today I said this: "Lesson: a good concept is one thing, but without clever, interesting, or even serviceable execution, it's not worth much."
      Yesterday I said: "But the charm of the theme was enough today."

      What are the possibilities here?

      1) Today's theme was so much worse than yesterday's that the crappy fill was worth it yesterday but not today.

      2) I generally like Peter Collins's puzzles so I gave yesterday a pass. Not so today.

      3) The real problem is Shortz: If yesterday's and today's puzzles had been switched, I would have liked them both.

      4) How I review a puzzle is completely subjective/arbitrary/based solely on my mood and has very little to do with the puzzle itself.

      The contrast between yesterday's review and today's is a clear demonstration of one simple fact: I am an enigma.

      Steven M. O'Neill 7:47 AM  

      I thought it was fun. I'm not as good as Rex, so (thanks to 3 down x-ref) the first thing I keyed in was ACADEMYAWARD, which was truly obvious, but the other awards weren't as obvious, and I'm a simple fellow who doesn't mind lousy fill as long as I don't get Naticked. (Plus I love run-ons.)

      evil doug 7:47 AM  

      Try saying the following with a Boston accent: "I need some CAULK for my bedroom window."


      chefbea 7:50 AM  

      Must have been easy...no googling. Glad to see my good friend Irma in the puzzle. Could use some ade down here...was 100 degrees yesterday but felt like 110!!!

      Rhino 7:53 AM  

      I did not (and do not) see ICEL as an abbreviation for Iceland (and elves of what now?), and am strangely ignorant of ATM manufacturers, so I had to run the alphabet at that point to get my gold star.

      Nope, did not like it. Nope, nope, nope.

      Seth 7:53 AM  

      Rex Porker, I'm going with #4.

      Loren Muse Smith 7:56 AM  

      Ok – how cool that they fit in WINSOME up top? And then there’s also IN A TIE.

      What this theme lacked in wordplay paid off in SPADES for a few of the clues. The clues for NITS and EPEE were terrific.

      And admit it, didn’t a lot of us picture EMUs running around with shapely calves? I sure did.

      Finally, the unwinsome ICEL was rescued with its clue. I honestly considered that there really were elves in Iceland and was briefly fascinated. Sheesh, my Icelandic folklore is nonexistent.

      I guess thousands of us tried Brando first,@dk, huh?

      I also had “latitude,” “ira,” and “studio” for TIME ZONE, BRA, and SUBLET. And a mental “soba,” “miso,” “sake” before settling with UDON.

      GET UP is a funny phrase. Hey, Irma. You’re sure sporting some GET UP. GET UP so everyone can get a good look at it. My husband once went to the hardware store, and I’m not making this up, in a freshly-pressed blue button-down business shirt tucked neatly into grey sweat pants that themselves were tucked into scruffy, pointy toed cowboy boots. And he wasn’t being funny or anything. Just heading out to get a new CAULK gun (his go-to all-purpose tool for home repairs of any kind). He was either going to rehang some pictures or deal with a pesky hornets’ nest.

      Can you imagine winning one of these awards and turning it down? I guess the gesture itself gets you a lot of attention, but the couple of awards I’ve won in my lifetime I’m so proud of I secretly wish I could lead with it. Hi, I’m Loren, but before we go any further, you need to know two things about me…

      Molly, David, I knew that SARTRE had refused his prize, but the others I had no idea. So fun to learn about GEORGE C SCOTT, DAVID BOWIE, EMUs’ calves, and Huldufólks.

      George Barany 7:56 AM  

      Nobody does tribute puzzles better than @David Kahn, and today he collaborates with @Molly Young, who is making her New York Times constructing debut. Bravo to both of you. As @Rex said, this one solved easily, but that should not detract from the admiration for the puzzle's underlying conceit: three unrelated honors, three corresponding recipients, and the letter counts work out perfectly for symmetrical placement within the grid.

      Good for @Rex to plunk in GEORGE_C_SCOTT ... my first instinct was MARLON_BRANDO but that was withdrawn when the "gimme" R.U.R. didn't work. My own plunk-in was JEAN_PAUL_SARTRE. DAVID_BOWIE took just a bit more work (unlike the first anonymous today, I never considered DAVID_BYRNE), so just enough ambiguity to toughen this up to mid-week level.

      Caryl Baron 7:57 AM  

      Yesterday was easy. Today, not so much. All that pop culture stuff my brain rejects just as BOWIE, SCOTT, SARTRE rejected those long downs. And MEL who? Do people really send their moms to a SPA on Mother's Day—after the overcrowded brunch?

      Anonymous 8:01 AM  

      I agree with Porker--today RATON SOURON gets criticized, but yesterday HOTDOG HOTFUDGE not even a mention? Rex (Parker) seems to be getting more capricious each day.

      John Child 8:21 AM  

      I'll file ILEX away in long term storage but hope not to see it again. I liked the fill for the most part though. WINSOME EYEBALLS TAUGHTEN, TIME ZONE JALOPIES, and CAULK the STEPPE. Finishing on ICEL was not fun. Are NEWZ {Home of the All Blacks} and SOUTHA {Birthplace of vuvuzelas} now OK? After that it's easy to let SOUR/RAT ON/ON go by. I'm more worried about the kids on my lawn.

      Interesting theme idea but without wordplay it will not appeal to all solvers. Is there a reason the theme answers are up and down rather than across? It's an odd grid, but 16x15 no more so that 15 x 16.

      jberg 8:28 AM  

      I'm with the 'admired it' crowd. The intricacy of the theme construction is wonderful, and since the theme provides virtually all the long downs, there aren't any bad ones. And then JALOPIES! Come on, it's all fun. The TIME ZONEs on my map have pretty jagged boundaries, so I wouldn't call them vertical strips -- but everyone got that anyway, right?

      So I liked it -- but DNF because I put in ILEa for the holly genus, and DIDN'T know the nonsensicalness of the resulting aED.

      Am I the only one who put in BIG EASy first?

      Haiku Nerd 8:28 AM  


      AliasZ 8:40 AM  

      "EYEBALLS soup again, mom? Can't we have rigatoni with marinara instead?"

      Nice puzzle about refuseniks, and a terrific debut by WINSOME Ms. Molly Young. Young and WINSOME -- a perfect combination. The "naysayers" theme brings to mind some individuals who should have refused such high honors for being entirely undeserving, but in most cases pride and narcissism wins out.

      Seven theme answers, albeit two of them only 5-letters long, did place some strain on fill quality, more than half of the 81 answers being threes and fours. An ENS - ESS here, a SEG - XED there, ICEL, INATIE, and SOURON crossing RATON. MEL OTT is there too with the EMU MASCot, and on, ANON. I missed Ono, Eno, eeler and NHLer Orr. Thank goodness for the BRA to provide some support and for the CAULK to stop the leak.

      But the 16x15 grid also allowed nice words in SPADES, like those WINSOME JALOPIES and aMUSING ONELINERs from another TIMEZONE with ILEX and UDON to providing color and flavor.

      There is a story line behind every one of these, and many other refusals. Marlon Brando comes to mind. I don't know which is worse, accepting an honor undeserving, or refusing it and thus drawing even more attention. If it were me, I would just accept it, say thank you, take the money and run. But then such an honor has never been offered to me, and not likely that it will ever be.

      Overall this puzzle was a pleasant experience with an admirably fresh theme, no doubt inspired by this constructor's repeated refusals by Will Shortz. What if the constructors turned the tables on Will and refused the honor of a NYT byline? "Thanks Mr. Shortz, but I refuse. I got a better offer from Stan Newman."

      Signing off: a distant descendant of the Huns from the STEPPEs of Central Asia. Borodin would be a natural choice here, but let me instead honor Ms. Young with this lovely Irish reel by Percy Grainger: Molly on the Shore.

      Happy humpday!

      Ludyjynn 8:46 AM  

      @CarylBaron, hand up for thinking a SPA is an odd Mothers Day destination. I guess the constructors got tired of the usual clues for it.

      @jberg, hand up for 'easy' before EAST.

      For the life of me, I do not understand why people who are honored by their respective professions or gov'ts. would refuse the accolade or recognition. It just seems rude! I'm sure all of the themers named in the puzzle had their reasons, but really, it's bad form, IMO.

      @Leapy, just read your late posted comment and am still laughing!

      As I type, am watching PBS' documentary, "Women Who Rock", an impressive REVUE of ladies who SCAT, write songs, play instruments and strut their stuff w/ the best of them. Wonder if any of the them ever refused an industry honor TODATE?

      Thanks, MY, DJK and WS.

      joho 8:47 AM  

      This puzzle was really interesting to me because it was educational. I didn't know that any of the theme answers refused such prestigious prizes. Plus the theme was dense and there are a lot of colorful words in the grid my favorite being JALOPIES. Now that's just fun to say!

      EYEBALLS popping up (out?) again is also amusing.

      Congratulations on your debut, Molly! And thanks also to David Kahn!

      NCA President 8:52 AM  

      I'm with @George Barany looking for Marlon Brando somewhere. And that alone slowed me down. I liked the puzzle in that I didn't know any of these factoids. I didn't like the puzzle for the reason Rex mentions...once you get them, they fill a lot of the grid in automatically. So getting the answers took a while, after that, the dominoes fell quickly.

      There were a few things I just didn't know: RUR, IRMA, ILEX...but the crosses took care of those. In fact, I didn't see RUR at all...it was filled in without even looking.

      I had miso before UDON, medalofhonor before ACADEMYAWARD (hey, it fits), jumbo before LEARS.

      TAUTENS seems like one of the "canary in a coal mine" words. You can almost hear a sigh of relief from the constructors seeing that TAUTENS "works."

      Several abbreviations today: XED, MASC, ICEL, TECH, ANON (ish), BRA (ish), and SEG.

      FWIW, I liked Rex's take on today's puzzle than Jeff Chen's at xword. JC is way too kind/optimistic. Rex's points, while a tad capricious compared to other critiques of his, were closer to my experience solving the puzzle.

      Thanks to RUR for the phrase, "Please prove you're not a robot." I'm not a robot!

      Aketi 8:57 AM  

      No googling, working my way up from the SouthEast.

      Cien Años de Soledad surpassed my ability to read en español, but I still preferred it to Huis Clos which I had to read en français in high school. I sort of like that JEANPAULSATRE is XED with JALOPiES. Sigh, I confess my bias may be due to the fact that the high school French teacher who made me read Satre, hated me so much he once through chalk at me. Whenever I needed a hall pass he would fill out a single pass for myself and another girl whose last name didn't appear in the theme yesterday, but was a perfect accompaniment for my last name.

      The themes in the puzzles are inducing me to EVOLVE. I upgraded my typing skills and learned how to prevent 100 years from turning into an 100 asses.

      @chefbea, perhaps some MICRO brew after a DIP in a pool might help too. It's not quite that hot yet here in the north.

      Glimmerglass 8:57 AM  

      @Molly Young. Welcome to the nyt puzzles. Don't feel bad about Rex Parker's slam today. You caught him on a bad day. Your (debut) "rejecters" puzzle is much, much better than Rex says. Other bloggers liked it better, as I'm sure you've read.

      joho 9:01 AM  

      How is BRA an abbreviation?

      Victoria Secret 9:10 AM  

      @Joho: Bussom Retention Assist. Duh.

      Victoria Secret 9:12 AM  

      Oh, and it's short for "brassiere," but it is in no way an abbreviation in any meaningful sense.

      Bob Kerfuffle 9:17 AM  

      Liked the puzzle, although for some reason it was a bit of a slow go for me.

      19 A, ERMA before IRMA, and count me among those with EASY before EAST.

      I thought it was a tad unfair that @Rex lists only the names of the refuseniks in his write-up, and not the awards also, since those are also theme answers, and the more real estate devoted to theme the less room there is for exotic fill.

      Z 9:20 AM  

      I like word play more than trivia, but this is a tick better than some past trivia puzzles in as much as the trivia doesn't strike me as trivial. Turning down the NOBEL PRIZE because one doesn't want topressure readers? Impressive.

      @NCA President - "sigh of relief" - Yep. My thought exactly. I imagine it as the same sound as a yoga class makes when they finish a long hold in a boat pose.

      Anonymous 9:32 AM  

      I really liked it.. Piqued my curiosity so I'm going to read about the refusals. A great Wednesday puzzle!

      Anonymous 9:49 AM  

      marlon brando went in immediately and from there it was off to the races... until nothing else fit.

      Indypuzzler 9:57 AM  

      Another hand up on Big Easy as I smugly thought "easy-peasy". I had an interesting (maybe) disconnect with Jean Paul Sartre because I tend to think of him first as a philosopher I forgot about the Nobel in the NE, looked to SW and saw a lone P and filled in Plato! After correcting this error and finishing I googled Plato award...surprise...there IS one for philosophers/teachers!

      RnRGhost57 9:58 AM  

      Another interesting theme would be people who refuse an award or honor early in their career, then later accept (Jagger), or those who accept then throw away but later accept again (Sir Paul).

      Nancy 10:07 AM  

      @jberg -- I also had Big EASy first. And I had ReD dye before RADIUM and MAle before MASC. So for an easy puzzle, and it was easy, there was opportunity for error. I liked it well enough, but didn't love it like yesterday's.

      To @Teedman, @Ludyjynn, et al (from yesterday) -- Thanks for letting me know that life amidst the critters isn't all it's cracked up to be. This knowledge alleviates much of my envy. Now, I'm off to Central Park on a glorious day, to bond with the critters there. They are perfectly lovely critters, but they are just not MY critters, if you see what I mean. And maybe that's just as well:)

      mathguy 10:10 AM  

      Curiously, I agree with both Rex Parker and Rex Porker.

      I don't know whether I enjoyed the solving or not, I did it right after watching the Warriors win and I was still dizzy with excitement.

      George C, Scott was one of my favorite actors. Patton was his finest moment but he never gave a bad performance, in my book. Does anyone remember one of his early roles as the big-city lawyer who was dueling with Jimmy Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder?

      I'm going down to get the newspaper now. The Chronicle will have ten articles about the Dubs. I wonder if there will be anything about Klay Thompson. He was the second-best player on the team during the regular season but he was terrible during the playoffs. Perhaps he was still suffering from the after effects of his concussion.

      Roo Monster 10:11 AM  

      Hey All !
      Quite a cool concept for a puz. Usually one sticks with one facet of a theme, e.g., only ACADEMY AWARDs or only NOBEL PRIZEs, but this puz has three separate honors refusers. Interesting way to get them all in the grid.

      Wanted dUpLEx for SUBLET first, but ANON would have made pRA, and TAUxENS didn't make sense. No one mentioned the two UPs. Wanted PIPEin first, because already had an UP. We get BRA and BRO. EYEBALLS again! Look out! :-) Had IN A TIE, but then took it out because of my dUpLEx, for 52A had NI_D, snd was like, "Huh?" Know ILEX as I used that answer before in a puz of mine. Agree ICEL awfl!

      Overall, not terrible, good WedsPuz. UDON is a new one, had saki early on. Snuck in my HEY greeting at least!


      Hartley70 10:18 AM  

      @LudyBaby, clairvoyance is a burden, but sometimes I just have to test my skills.

      GILL I. 10:20 AM  

      I rather enjoyed this puzzle. MARLON never entered my mind although I remember seeing his friend (I believe she was Cree) get up and make an idiot of herself. If I remember, she as booed off stage.
      Quick solve but I liked a lot of the words.
      If someone offered me a SPA for Mother's Day, I would be happy as a clam in butter sauce. Brunch is always at our place because the kids like to "surprise" me with a good bottle of Cava...
      @Aketi hot fudge....if someone through chalk at me, I'm not sure what I'd do. I do know my EYEBALLS would probably Pop out of my head.
      Thank you Molly Young for this snappy debut. Please keep them coming...

      old timer 10:21 AM  

      I finished the puzzle in awe of the constructors. Three refuseniks, three *different* awards refused. Rex definitely could have said, "with such an awesome theme, a few pieces of bad fill like ICEL can be forgiven, and I'll even give a pass to the clanging SOURON/RATON cross."

      Could have, but didn't. The reason, I think, is not any of the ones proposed by Mr. Porker. It's this: Rex has been doing NYT puzzles since he was a kid. He no doubt has, as I do, that big book of Sunday NYT puzzles that dates back 30 years or so. And in the Maleska era, there were tons of puzzles that were, like this puzzle, amazing feats of construction that introduced him (and me) to trite and repetitive fill. So he detests puzzles like today's, while I am a little nostalgic for them.

      Not many comments so far, but I have to give a shout-out to @EvilDoug. My first though with CAULK was the Lawn Guyland accent, which produces a tripthong,maybe even a tetrathong if such a word exists. Then I tried to pronounce it South Boston style. Definitely X-rated.

      I actually had no immediate answer for 3D and 5D. But I guessed JALOPIES, and EYEBALLS confirmed my immediate guess of JEANPAULSARTRE, and it was off to the races. You get one of those fellas, and the associated award, and the rest is easy.

      But not EASY, which I immediately wrote down for 45D. Correcting it to EAST was the last thing I did to finish the puzzle.

      Mohair Sam 10:25 AM  

      Jeez @Rex, the fact that Sartre turned down anything a half century ago may be a gimme for English profs but is fairly obscure for lots of us. And not being a pop culture buff I'd never know that David Bowie (his Pandora station is great, btw) had been awarded a KNIGHTHOOD, much less that he eschewed the title. And Scott said no to an Oscar? For Patton? Good actor.

      Interesting factoids on all three for me. Therefore a fun puzzle, informative, and a medium/challenging Wednesday in this house.

      @NCA President and @George Barany - yup, we wrote in MarlonBrando at 3D without hesitation. Cost us a ton of time.

      Is that a new clue for our old friend EPEE? Nice to see.

      Good one Molly and David - keep 'em coming.

      Joseph Michael 10:45 AM  

      Didn't know thst DAVID BOWIE had refused KNIGHTHOOD so that was, for me, the main TREAT this puzzle offered.

      Liked the theme of rejection in the arts, but wish it hadn't resulted in such an easy solve on a Wednesday morning.

      HEY, if MEL OTT and IRMA Rombauer were offered awards for crossword stardom, would they reject them?

      Congrats to Molly for her NYT debut.

      Arlene 10:52 AM  

      Enjoyable solve for me - and interesting theme. My usual solving rhythm was shaken up a bit - and I always like that. I guess one person's objection is another's delight.

      Tita 10:55 AM  

      Sure - marlonbrando - he didn't last long.

      I rate this puzzle high in Things I Learned...
      -Huldufólk - I think I need to add some álfhól (elf houses) to my Gnomes in the Mist garden. (Do Huldus get along with Gnomes?)
      -EMUS have calves.
      -RADIUM was used to paint all those watch dials...(and its sad/gruesome back story...)

      ILEX was actually a gimme - not sure why, but I know them. In the winter, we have Winterberry, a native holly that loses its leaves, leaving masses of red berries for the birds.

      As to awards in general, when they are just the folks themselves creating an excuse to pat themselves on their backs via one humongous pr event, well, ho hum. (I'm looking at you, Motion Picture Academy...!)

      Groaned only a little bit at TAUTENS, since a coupla weeks ago I learned the TAUT line hitch, which TAUTENS clotheslines very nicely, thank you!

      Overall, like @old timer, I marveled at the construction feat. The fun words made it a joy to solve. Congratulations, and thanks, Ms. Young & Mr. Kahn.

      Lewis 11:12 AM  

      I liked PIPEUP, WINSOME, and SOURON, didn't like TAUTENS. Has anyone ever said TAUTENS or heard anyone say it? Cool theme, but as Rex points out, many long answers that are easy to figure out with a few letters. Maybe Will should have saved this for another "difficult for a" Tuesday? Congratulations on your debut Miss Molly, and let nothing distract from your five seconds of fame!

      jae 11:21 AM  

      Easy for me too and the construction/theme out weighed the fill problems. Any puzzle with SCOTT, SARTRE,and BOWIE gets my vote, liked it.

      WOE: MICROaggression. Interesting concept.

      Me too for EASy before EAST.

      Nice debut Molly Young.

      Anonymous 11:24 AM  

      Love GEORGECSCOTT, detest rock's most overrated "star" DAVIDBOWIE who gave us maybe the single worst lyric of all time: "planet earth is blue and there's nothing i can do". Inane, vapid tripe.

      And don't give a whit about JEANPAULSARTRE a cheerless useful fool of Communists. Any time a Marxist thug or supporter of thugs appears in a crossword puzzle (CHE, MAO, POL POT, STALIN, or this guy [JPSARTRE), it should be accompanied by a death toll:

      CHE tens of thousands
      POL POT millions
      STALIN tens of MILLIONS
      MAO many tens of MILLIONS
      SARTRE the sum of the above, at least in spirit.

      MDMA 11:35 AM  

      Today I learned that George C. Scott is not Marlon Brando, although the gimme RUR made that obvious.

      I also learned, from the "Analyze this puzzle" button at xwordinfo.com, that ADE is not a legal Scrabble word. Usually short crosswordese that is not legal for Scrabble is either an acronym, a foreign word, a suffix or prefix, a proper name, an abbreviation, or some such. When did "ade" become a thing?

      r.alphbunker 11:36 AM  

      What a great way to deal with rejection, construct a crossword puzzle about it! This was a fine puzzle. Many of the clues tickled me. My favorite was {Bird with calf muscles} EMU.

      Doug Garr 11:49 AM  

      When you start with MARLONBRANDO instead of GEORGECSCOTT it's going to certainly cause a lot of crossovers in your puzzle experience. I wonder if I was the only dumb nut on this.

      Anonymous 12:02 PM  

      Yes, @Doug Garr, you are the ONLY solver to enter Marlon Brando. Thanks for the interesting comment. Oh wait, you're about the 10th person to mention this. Maybe consider reading the comments before you post and make an ass of yourself?

      grammar nazi 12:05 PM  

      Anon @ 11:24 said

      "And don't give a whit about JEANPAULSARTRE a cheerless useful fool of Communists."

      Enough said.

      Billy C 12:12 PM  

      Hey, @naxiposeur, good to see you back! ;-)

      Hartley70 12:14 PM  

      I thought this was a great Wednesday choice! Trivia is fine with me as long as it's not too obvious and this was just sussable enough. I was stuck with the G as soon as I saw 1across so I didn't waste any time on Don Corleone. It moved smoothly and I agree with the emu, epee, nits, jalopies love-fest.
      @Aketi and @Gill check "through" your posts before the mice arrive.

      David Davis 12:21 PM  

      And annoying

      lawprof 12:22 PM  

      Hand up for Marlon Brando before GEORGE C. SCOTT. Unlike others, however, who corrected quickly because crosses didn't fit, none of the crosses was a gimme for me, so the whole West was slow to come into focus (mainly because I thought Brando was a gimme, so I stubbornly stuck with it until I finally let go of the rope and finished up). Another slowdown was 9D(black suit) where tuxedo clogged the NE corner for a while. Otherwise, pretty slick, fun puzzle. Thanks MY and DJK.

      Anonymous 12:32 PM  

      "Nobody does tribute puzzles better than @David Kahn" = "Nobody makes hamburger surprise better than Trailridge Junior High cafeteria."

      Captain Obvious 12:47 PM  

      Hey did anyone else notice that MARLONBRANDO fits in 3d?

      foxaroni 12:52 PM  

      Rex word of the day: ho-hummitude. Cool!

      I wonder if I need to tauten my tautology?

      Z 1:01 PM  

      @anon11:24 - It's always good to read a nuanced, well thought out critique of one of the great minds of the past 100 years. Wikipedia takes a more balanced view. You may recall that I'm not much in favor of idolizing our political heroes. I also caution against the simplistic demonizing of people who see the world differently. Or maybe you're one of those people who think WalMart is raising wages out of a sense of social responsibility.

      Anonymous 1:04 PM  

      The Warriors are based in Oakland, California Not San Francisco!

      Anonymous 1:19 PM  

      This is interesting because I think your enjoyment derives from what you like about crosswords.

      For me, I'm less interested in the "puzzle" aspect of crossword puzzles and more interested in the trivia/learning aspects. I liked this puzzle because I didn't know any of those people had turned down such prestigious awards. It led me down a wikipedia hole about those three people.

      For me it was a perfect wednesday but I can see how those more interested in a challenging "puzzle" would be disappointed.

      Aketi "hot fudge" Pitbull 1:19 PM  

      @Hartley70, so much for my attention span! I never have been able to figure out how to go back and correct my brain glitches, but find it funny that GILL I copied it. Too bad the "through" in lieu of "threw" didn't distract the anonymice from irritating others.

      I kinda sorta find the anonymice behavior fascinating. I reading the Orson Scott Card Pathfinder series that started out promising in book 1, but has been fizzling out through (not threw) books 2-3. The books have time slicing which leads to multiply realities. One time stream has genetically modified mice that destroyed humanity. The mice are smart, sarcastic, annoying and utterly untrustworthy. They also seem to be necessary for the ultimate goal of creating the time stream in which humanity survives. At one point the mice are left in an airtight container back in prehistoric times under a glacial so they can't cause trouble. In that time stream they die of suffocation. I assume from the way the plot was heading and by reading the last page of the book, that the mice are eventually rescued in another time stream by the guy who left them under the glacier. Whenever the anonymice get going on a topic, I keep thinking of how ignoring them I leaving them in the box under the glacier and ackowledging them is like coming back to rescue them before they suffocate.

      Aketi 1:24 PM  

      @nancy, hope you enjoyed your day in the park with the critters. Too much work right now for me to enjoy it.

      dick swart 1:45 PM  

      This was a strange puzzle-solving experience for me.

      After some false starts and some think-time, I hit on Scott and Sartre and suddenly I was writing in answers as fast as I could, in amazement all the time as though I had somehow broken the code with Enigma and was reading the German dispatches.

      To go from usual Wednesday oh my here we are hmmmm to Away we go was an interesting experience.

      aging soprano 1:49 PM  

      Hi @ Aketi. I noticed the through for threw errors right away, but by the time I finished reading all the comments, someone else had already pointed it out.
      Would have been nice if ILEX had intercepted Xmas. But it DIDN'T.
      Did Marlon Brando turn down an Oscar, too?
      I enjoyed this puzzle since it was a Wed. I could finish.
      Tea for two and through for threw...

      aging soprano 1:49 PM  

      Hi @ Aketi. I noticed the through for threw errors right away, but by the time I finished reading all the comments, someone else had already pointed it out.
      Would have been nice if ILEX had intercepted Xmas. But it DIDN'T.
      Did Marlon Brando turn down an Oscar, too?
      I enjoyed this puzzle since it was a Wed. I could finish.
      Tea for two and through for threw...

      Lewis 2:07 PM  

      Factoid: The average woman owns nine BRAs at a time.
      Quotoid: "I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs TREAT us as equals." -- Winston Churchill

      grammar nazi 2:12 PM  

      @Aketi said, "I reading the Orson Scott Card Pathfinder series that started out promising in book 1..."

      nick 2:46 PM  

      Played medium here, and I disagree w/Rex re: the fill. Had fun, learned cool stuff, and even though I finished hours ago, 69D -- a bird with calf muscles -- is still making me happy.

      Carola 3:18 PM  

      I thought it was an unusually fine Wednesday puzzle - creative theme, very nicely carried out, and many good longer entries. The only easy part for me was SARTRE and NOBEL PRIZE; I enjoyed seeing the other two theme pairs gradually materialize from crosses.

      @Lewis - I use TAUTEN but only together with "up."

      wreck 3:29 PM  

      I guess TAUTEN is a word, but I am using "tighten" 99.9% of the time!

      I have to agree that I learned a few things with this puzzle making it quite enjoyable!

      Masked and Anonym009Us 4:05 PM  

      M&A turned down some sheet one time...
      But I digress.

      Good puzzlin debut, Molly Young. David Kahn has taught U well.
      15x16 grid. More for our moneybucks. More theme material (68 squares worth). More weejects (28; best = RUR and duck nephew DUI). More U's (9 -- hard to reject that). NITS. JALOPIES. EYEBALLS. TAUTENS.

      fave ONELINER row: BRA TECH WAR. I'll volunteer.
      Honrable mention: UNSOWN UDON DIP. Pass the ketchup, puleez.

      @Molly Y.: I thought yer openin corner was just fine. At least U didn't have stuff like NEN, AIME, AMT, EREI, BRYN, ECO, KIL, in there. (Opening corner stuff from someone elses's NYTPuzs.) Not that I mark down much for stuff like that, @009. Shoot, wait til U see how my NW corner opens up... Also: nice har's in yer xwordinfo comments. U ever make runtpuzs?



      Aketi 5:06 PM  

      @gn, since my 3 fingered typing typing skills on the iPad are less than stellar, I'll be happy to adopt you as my personal editor to fill in all the letters I skip like the missing 'm. Just let me know how I can give you access to make those corrections and I'm sure that would occupy your time for quite a while. In fact, if I could figure out how to get in to correct my typos and brain glitches I would do it myself.

      kitshef 6:53 PM  

      Odd man out here. I thought it was way hard for a Wednesday. Took forever to get a toehold, which finally came with INATIE made it clear egg was wrong, midwest went in from there, but even after that it was a long, hard slog. And that is with ILEX being a GIMME.

      Never heard it called a USERS manual - just user manual. UDON wasw a Woe. Fortunately running the alphabet on U_ON did not take long.

      Loved the theme, though. I think I had a vague awareness that GCS turned down an oscar, but the others were news to me. Not so fond of fill - awful lot of ON: UD-, -LINER, TIMEZ-E, SOUR-, AN-, RAT-. Plus both BRA and BRO.

      MICROaggression? It had to be right from the crosses, but sounded compeletely made up. Another thing learned today.

      Teedmn 7:41 PM  

      When I got to ICEL, I just shook my head no. Bad, bad. And then read @LMS's comments and felt much better about it as memories of my short trip to Iceland and multiple flights on Iceland Air (best way to get to Sweden from MN) came back to me.

      The TV screens on the backs of the airplane seats have Icelandic fun facts scrolling on them and one "factoid" (@Lewis :-) ) is that more than 50% of Icelanders believe in elves. When I Googled this to get the exact percentage, I came across a very funny travel column written by my favorite travel writer ever, Catherine Watson, who visited Iceland relatively recently (the article ran in Dec 2014 in the Mpls Star Tribune) and here it is: In Iceland Elves are Real

      @Aketi, I haven't exactly SOURed ON Orson Scott Card but I no longer seek out his books because they don't seem as compelling as when I first read Ender's Game back in the '80s. But your description of the Pathfinder series tempts me a bit, even if the first book is the best.

      Congrats, Molly Young, on your debut, and thanks to DJK also, a nice change-up for a Wednesday.

      Andrew Heinegg 11:15 PM  

      Lewis, you come up with some great stuff. Thanks.

      Amy 1:19 AM  

      Hey all, where is Steve J.? Haven't seen him in ages.

      Steve Lewis 5:04 PM  

      If anyone else interchanged MEL and OTT and made a total mess out of two corners, I missed it. I'd rate this one Easy-Medium and Fun.

      Kate Mark 2:41 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.

      Isabella Williams 2:47 AM  

      How To Get Your husband Back & Avoid Divorce,Love Spells That Really Work Fast

      My Name is isabella, I am From United Kingdom.i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband which i promise the DR NICE if i got my husband i will tell the world about his work, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Dr NICE OKSE for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after a week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still love me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr NICE OKSE casted on him that make him to come back to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr NICE OKSE for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact professionallovespell@hotmail.com . and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

      Burma Shave 9:25 AM  


      That WINSOME lady was a TREAT TODATE, she DIDN’T ever wear a BRA,
      She said, “GETUP and STEPPE in here you SAP, we’ll take a DIP in your SPA.”
      She LEARS at me and bathes me in OIL as she EYEBALLS me for a while,
      She URGED me, “HEY, GIMME your CAULK, I OTT to repair your tile!”

      --- ART TRENT

      spacecraft 12:21 PM  

      Late post today due to a temporary snafu with the puter. A very dense (75 letters, or over 40% of the total) theme, though as OFL says too much of a giveaway, pleased me. The fill...DIDNT.

      If sweet-talked enough, I can forgive the horrid XED, but ICEL?? No WAY! That abbr. does not--well, at the very least SHOULD not--exist. That puppy has to get the flag. Loved JALOPIES; INATIE, not so much.

      It was easy enough to do. I never understood the sullen refusal of awards--and they missed perhaps the most famous one, Brando's via Ms. Littlefeather. Still, theme and execution were spot on, all perfectly symmetrical. Too bad our construction team couldn't have XED out a few of the fill losers. C.

      longbeachlee 12:33 PM  

      No complaint here. Near-perfect and fun Wednesday for me. I googled Rex, and discovered he is a San Franciscan, like me. Did he go to high school there? Which one?

      rondo 12:35 PM  

      Not “easy” for this solver, but sometimes I just don’t connect with the clue writers. Today was such a day. That and a couple of write-overs in EASy and ghENT. And the last letter was the X in the holly tree. Do ILEXes grow in ICEL? (didn’t care for that)

      SunTzu would be happy to see ART atop WAR.

      Always nice to see my late dad’s name in a puz. Makes me stop for a bit.

      NIA Long, a yeah baby in a certain light, or perhaps a certain time.

      This puz does not deserve a PRIZE or AWARD, but HEY, it’s OK for mid-week. And not easy. That concludes this USERS REVUE.

      DMG 2:02 PM  

      Not a fan of puzzles that have you skipping around the clue columns, but stuck with it to the end, strange words and all. ILEX I knew from the Maleska day, where it was common. But TAUTEN? UNSOWN? And if the awkward ICEL is not acceptable for Iceland, what is? Inquiring minds wan to know.

      Anonymous 4:07 PM  

      Liked the puzzle very much and thank you Molly & David. No complaints here as all eventually fell into place. Unlike DMG I do like to jump all over the squares but to each his own. I'm not sure what scat has to do with modern aggression....whatever.

      I'm no Brain Whiz but this one fell fast. Cute & clever theme. But then, I am easily pleased and don't sweat the small stuff. One exception is the word tautens. I doubt if anyone uses it. Tightens, Yes.

      Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA. (Home to a large community of older folks with living trusts).

      leftcoastTAM 4:27 PM  

      I started with Marlon Brando, but then....Aw hell, it's all been said a dozen times above before I get to Syndiland. So maybe I just should start with Burma Shave, where I usually get a fresh chuckle, like today, and keep reading posts down from there.

      Anonymous 11:11 AM  

      ^^^^ agreed. Jesus, good for you yer so smart that you found this boring. I thought the theme was clever. and I do my puzzles in PENCIL. how ya like that?!?

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