Bygone Chinese money / SUN 7-5-15 / Westernmost island of Aleutians / Indiana city where auto manufacturing was pioneered / Smack That singer / Art of flower arranging / Onetime Nair alternative

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Heads of State" — a Mount Rushmore puzzle. Nicknames of four presidents on Mount Rushmore appear as long Down answers, in the order (left to right) that the appear on the monument. Flanking the names are long, orienting answers: KEYSTONE, SOUTH DAKOTA / HOME OF MOUNT RUSHMORE

Theme answers:
  • AMERICAN CINCINNATUS (22D: *Nickname for George Washington)
  • THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE (4D: *Nickname for Thomas Jefferson)
  • HERO OF SAN JUAN HILL (33D: *Nickname for Theodore Roosevelt)
  • THE GREAT EMANCIPATOR (9D: *Nickname for Abraham Lincoln)
Word of the Day: TAEL (91D: Bygone Chinese money) —
noun: tael; plural noun: taels
  1. a weight used in China and East Asia, of varying amount but fixed in China at 50 grams (1 3/4 oz.).
    • a former Chinese monetary unit based on the value of a tael of standard silver. (google)
• • •

Sooo happy to see Liz Gorski's name when I opened my puzzle this evening. She told me she still had a few NYT puzzles coming out, and I guess the day after the Fourth of July is a reasonableish place to put this one. Only two of them are considered Founding Fathers, but one of them wrote the damned Declaration of Independence, so I'm gonna say this counts as a kind of bonus holiday weekend puzzle. I always think of Liz's puzzles as architectural and monumental—big ideas, artfully executed. She did the amazing Guggenheim Museum puzzle several years back. This one isn't as ambitious, and is in many ways straightforward, but I still found it mostly delightful. Also, I discovered that I am *terrible* at presidential nicknames. Just awful. I had filled in huge chunks of several nicknames and still couldn't land any of them. Look at this:

Actually, it's clear from this snapshot that Jefferson is THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE, but I must've just got that "PE-" because before that, no idea. I guessed the CINCINNATUS part of AMERICAN CINCINNATUS only because I remember looking up who CINCINNATUS was a few months ago and remembered that he was some kind of model Roman statesman. Did not know that was Washington's nickname. I couldn't even remember the name of Teddy Roosevelt's damn hill. Brain was blocked with BUNKER HILL. Also, SAM HILL, as in "What in SAM HILL is the answer to this clue?!?"

[This song reminds me of falling in love with my wife, so it is unimpeachable. Our first real date was actually on Labor Day, but that's neither here nor there.]

This grid structure results in a lot of short stuff, and that short stuff gets a little dicey at times. TAEL and ATTU reek of the crypt. A crypt that smells like pre-1993. And I nearly crashed the ship on the shoal of HOTE / AKON. And there's a lot of run-of-the-mill OREM OTOO NEET-type stuff, but it only made me EWW a little. Decent big idea, lively theme answers, some nice longer stuff like IKEBANA and KINSHASA and GROUND CREW, and I'm reasonably happy.

  • REDINK — to dink again. The clue can tell me this is RED INK all it wants (5D: Debt, symbolically), but my brain knows what it knows.
  • SPHERIC — AL had the day off (81A: Ball-like)
  • ARIL / URAL — originally ANIL / ARAL. They all sound like "kinds of sex" to me now.
  • AUDIE (61D: Cornish of NPR) — honestly, when I filled in her name, I said "Awww" out loud, like she was my daughter and she'd just won a ribbon or something.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Julie Delpy, for the win, for now, and for always. (28D: "The ___ Breathe" (2007 drama with Kevin Bacon and Julie Delpy))

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


Anonymous 12:07 AM  

It turns out I’ve mixed up Elizabeth C. Gorski and Loren Muse Smith. Two female constructors with longish 3-part names, I guess. I think LMS announced some time back in this comment section that she wasn’t constructing any more. Nice puzzle, Ms. Gorski. ELO and Julie Delpy are favorites of mine. I saw a PBS documentary on Mt. Rushmore today. Coincidence? Anyway… I’d like to get an account for posting here, but it seems like it’s tied to Google, and I’d rather not get in any deeper with them. If there’s a way to get an account other than through Google, I’d appreciate some instruction, thanks.

jae 12:09 AM  

The East side of this was easy-medium, the West, no so much.  CINCINNATUS  was a major WOE, did not know KEYSTONE, KINSHASA, AKON and had to ask my bride for HOTE (she pays more attention to cuisine terms than I do). So, a technical DNF.  Ambitious, interesting, learned somethings, liked it, but I'm not sure that NW corner was fair.

Pat 12:21 AM  

Rex being disingenuous and biased again. The fill here overall reeked, and the theme wasn't anything more than a basic list/trivia tribute, which Rex has stated on many occasions he doesn't care for. But, it's Liz, and he likes Liz, so he gives her a pass.

Honestly, do you believe that if Joe Schmo wrote this puzzle, Rex would go this easy on it?

Also, if Joe Schmo wrote it, Shortz probably wouldn't have accepted it.

And Re: the whole stupid Delpy controversy - can we consider this issue dead? Clearly Shortz bent over backwards to include Delpy in the clue for the dreadful AIRI entry. No doubt Liz put that in the clue to test Shortz once again. It's not like her being listed with Kevin Bacon in the clue is really helping anyone. Fact is, you show a picture of Julie Delpy to 10 people, one of them *might* be able to identify her. Try it with your friends and family. The only reason this was a "controversy" is that Delpy is a female, and that somehow it made Shortz a sexist to edit her name out of a grid. So for all you pro-Delpyites: I hope you're satisfied for her name being included in the clue of one of the more ugly partials I've seen in a while.

AliasZ 12:39 AM  

Great tribute puzzle, Liz. Thank you for bringing us back into a classic NYT puzzle mode after two days of youthful brashness. Lovely themers representing the four portraits on MOUNT RUSHMORE -- very apt and expertly done. My favorite was AMERICAN CINCINNATUS. I haven't heard this nickname before, but with a little research I came to appreciate it most of the four. I hope you will too:

"Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519–430BC) was a Roman aristocrat and statesman whose service as consul in 460 BC and dictator in 458 BC and 439 BC made him a model of civic virtue. Cincinnatus was regarded by the Romans [...] as one of the heroes of early Rome and as a model of Roman virtue and simplicity. When his son, Caeso Quinctius, was convicted and condemned to death, Cincinnatus was forced to live in humble circumstances, working on his own small farm, until an invasion caused him to be called to serve Rome as dictator, an office which he resigned two weeks later, after completing his task of defeating the rival tribes [...] His immediate resignation of his near-absolute authority with the end of the crisis has often been cited as an example of outstanding leadership, service to the greater good, civic virtue, lack of personal ambition and modesty. As a result, he has inspired a number of organizations and other entities, many of which are named in his honor. [...] George Washington was often compared to Cincinnatus for his willingness to give up his position as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and decline offers of near-MONARCHical power after the crisis of the American Revolution had passed and victory had been won, instead retiring to his farm at Mount Vernon." - Wikipedia


Among non-theme entries I liked MONARCH, GROUND CREW, IKEBANA, TATAMIS, HERE WE GO and a few others, but REMAN and EGO IDEAL -- YEAH, YOU two -- were far from ideal. I also liked the geographic names in this one: KINSHASA, KOKOMO, OMAHA, OREM, EVANSTON, URAL, AIRE, ATTU and ASTI. Did I miss any?

The one egregious offense was NAY and NOS in the same puzzle, clued the same way, a re-echo of OPES and OPEN. Can you DIG IT? We also had ESOS, ANIS, OGEE, ARIL, ASTI, ASTA, ATRAS, and a few other old crosswordese standbys.

The VERVE page on Wikipedia gave me the following genres: "Alternative rock, psychedelic rock, dream pop, shoegazing, [shoegazing?? -- is that the same as navel gazing?] BRITPOP, space rock." Can't they make up their minds?

Overall a very pleasant solving experience for me. Thank you, Ms. Gorski.

A few days ago I posted a work titled "The Red Puppy." Today allow me to go a few sizes bigger with The Red PONY, by the most American of American composers, Aaron Copland.

Happy 5th everyone.

Anonymous 1:45 AM  

This was a horrific puzzle, and I'm inclined to agree with Pat that Rex is giving Liz a pass here. ASTI, ATRAS, and ASTA? You must be kidding me. EGO IDEAL? Is that a phrase?


Anonymous 1:50 AM  

This was not Sunday NY Times worthy--way too easy and too plodding. if I finish in less than 45 minutes without a single "aha" moment, something's wrong. I did learn a new phrase, though--"ego ideal"--so I guess thanks for that, Ms. Gorski.

Anonymous 3:10 AM  

Agree with Pat. Expected Rex to grok all over the fill. LG is awesome, this puzzle ain't.

John Child 3:14 AM  

I don't think I've ever done a Gorski puzzle that wasn't fun, and this is proof of the rule. Yes it's "only" a tribute, but the phrases are great - just familiar for the most part, but no gimmes for me. Classic puzzle, as @AliasZ says.

GROUND CREW and ASSAILANTS each cross three of the long downs, and they are both great. That's a professional touch from Ms. Gorski.

I circled NAY / NOS, Okey / OKAY OKAY, and YEAH YOU crossing DO YA. In the last year we've seen quite a bit of this: WS is signaling that he doesn't mind short word duplicates and near dups occasionally. Is this reasonable reform to allow more creativity or a sign of slipping standards? I vote for the former, personally, though once per puzzle would be a good limit.

Only 134 words! Most Sunday puzzles are 140 words; a significant minority are 138. I bet @R.alph can tell us how often there's a 21x21 with 134 or fewer words. Would taking an extra black square have helped the fill, say in the DOKE, EGO IDEAL, DO YA, ESOS corner?

paulsfo 3:34 AM  

@Anonymous at 12:07. One way would be to create a new google account, using false information, and never use it for anything than talking on this blog. That ought to be pretty safe, evenif you think google is tracking your life (btw, they are, but they also don't *care* about your life, so i don't see that as dangerous).
Or you could research getting an openid identity -- looks like there are many ways to do so.

@Anonymous at 3:10. I also didn't like this puzzle much at all. However, I don't believe that "expected Rex to grok all over the fill" actually means anything. E.G., substitute "deeply understand" for "grok" in that sentence and re-read it. :)

Does "Stud money" refer to stud poker? If so, I think it's a pretty lame clue.

George NYC 3:42 AM  

Did anyone else try The Man On The Nickel for Jefferson? Doh!

'mericans in Paris 3:51 AM  

My biggest shock this morning was reading the word "delightful" in an @Rex's comments. Was he blogging from Colorado?

Mostly easy puzzle for us, but DNF. South and south-west regions were the hardest. South-west was the last to fall, but finally got it. Guessed at several entries in the Texas region. Natticked at BOSTW_C_, N__TI, and A_T_. Had BOSTWuCt, NulTI, and AlTa, leading to StaLL instead of SKULL. Had to Google TAEL to finish that one. Yuck.

Appreciate the difficulty of fitting in the presidential nicknames, Mount Rushmore, etc., but the fill was sub-standard.

Last Sunday had a lot of crunchy words beginning with "E". This one was all "As", but many are just plain dreck. I suppose one can't complain about AGE LIMIT, ARSENALS, ASSAILANTS, ASTI, ATTITUDE or even AMPED (up). ANTE, ATM, and AYE are pretty standard fill. AIR I isn't pretty, but at least it's a gimme. And AMTS, AÑO and ASSNS are OKAY if you have a lot of A-holes to fill. But AKON, ARIL, ASTA, ATRAS, ATTU and AUDIE?! That's too much.

Didn't like EWW -- not because of the clue or the answer, but because of the spelling. A Google search shows that EWW is used sometimes, but if one is trying to stretch it out, eeW, or even eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeW would seem to me to make more sense. Wiktionary, by the way, lists "eeW" as an alternative to "ew".

Apologies for not following through and posting a Matt Esquare story last Sunday. Just couldn't make a story out of the vocabulary, and couldn't find the time. SOMEWHAT better vocabulary this Sunday, and I think I can find the time. Later in the day.

Happy belated 4th!

chefwen 3:53 AM  

My heart went pit-a-pat when I saw Elizabeth Gorski on the Sunday puzzle. It's what I have been waiting for. I was expecting bells and whistles, circles, and fireworks. Don't get me wrong, it was a fine puzzle, just not the zing I am used to in Liz Gorski puzzles.

Plane folk and GROUND CREW were my favorite clue and answer. 4A TRUSS didn't we want that a couple of days ago?

I think GN may correct my "were my" to "was my". I have no idea after this long day of slinging hash..Correct away.

I'm begging you 5:08 AM  

Really, it's okay if you want to give Matt the day off. Seriously.

TokyoRacer 5:08 AM  

You should have used Amy MacDonald's 4th of July for the song. Check it out. In fact, check out the whole album - Life in a Beautiful Light. She's a really terrific Scottish singer.

Audie Murphy... 5:30 AM  

... The most decorated US soldier of WWII. Would have been a good day to work him in, no?

Hartley70 5:31 AM  

Spot on my usual Sunday time, so I agree with Rex's difficulty level. I didn't hit the little i icon, so I didn't know the constructor until now. I love LG constructions and this didn't disappoint me. I thought it was very fair for a Sunday, without the bias of knowing the creator.

I had never heard the nicknames for Washinton and Jefferson (made me think Harry Truman when I saw it). I couldn't imagine where CINC was going until the SW corner finally fell into place. I had a few wrong early guesses, armories for ARSENALS, strut for TRUSS, and never heard of NITTI. I've never been to South Dakota and Rushmore, although the sculptor Gutzon Borglum had a brother Solon, also a renowned sculptor, who lived and worked a few streets away from me right now on Borglum Road. I would have loved the chance to pop Borglum into the grid and crow about it later. When I first saw KEYSTONE I was expecting a Pennsylvania theme to emerge, so I quite enjoyed watching this theme play out. Thanks Liz for a good time and a little learning along the way!

Bob Kerfuffle 5:46 AM  

Finished on paper with 90 A as GRIT POP. ;>)

Thomaso808 5:52 AM  

This puzzle was great, with four 19s and two 17s that worked with a good theme. Too bad the 4th fell on a Saturday, because this would have been a great 4th of July theme (yes, I completed on the 4th as did most of you, but still...).

My only problem was with the NW not knowing KINSHASA, which itself is ok if getable with crosses but crossed by KOKOMO (a non-existent island made famous by the Beach Boys or, OK, Indiana's 13TH largest city!), IKEBANA (huh?), AKON (I knew this on the edge of my memory but had to check with my 20-something daughter), and HOTE (no, sorry).

That being said, my usual dread of the Sunday puz is the size of the drudgery to get through a 21x21, but today was not drudgery and I learned a few things (probably forget by tomorrow), so well done!

Anonymous 7:00 AM  

I'll chime in with Pat in that I expected Rex to tear this puzzle a new one. Sadly tedious and not fun at all.

RAD2626 7:39 AM  

Hand up for never having learned that Washington nickname. Tried AMERICAs First Father but that sounded like a priest. Put Khartoum in for KINSHASA (Nile, Congo what's the difference?) so that caused a little delay but worked it all out. Unlike many here, I enjoy tribute puzzles and this one had a lot going for it. A few EWWey answers did not diminish my enjoyment at all. And in a rare juxtaposition, Rex seemed to like this better than the always pleasant Jeff Chen

demit 7:45 AM  

I'm sure this was a triumph of construction, but I like to get an answer or two that makes me laugh, or at least smile, at the cleverness or wordplay. None today. Very humorless puzzle.

Z 7:54 AM  

Sunday tributes are not high on my list of puzzles I'm likely to love. This one did better than most by going with nicknames and throwing in a little geography. I hear you @RAD2626 - I had the K and waited because I just knew I'd put in the wrong one. KOKOMO took a second, but the history of the automobile is almost required learning here in the mitten, so I got it fairly soon.

I did not like the SW corner, EGO IDEAL, DO YA, YEAH YOU, and the foreign language whac-a-vowel of ESOS/ESaS. Otherwise, about what I expect from a grid this size with this much theme.

BTW - I forgot that I wasn't reading anonymice anymore. Shame on me. What a waste of electrons.

Lewis 7:57 AM  

A history lesson for me, as I, like Rex, wasn't familiar with most of those nicknames. I don't know how you can do a Mount Rushmore puzzle better; thank goodness the puzzle just didn't name the four men on the mount. But lots of crummy fill to support the answers. Was the fill worth the final result? Well, it didn't feel like a wow and at times was kind of a slog, yet there are those cool nicknames. So I say mezzo mezzo.

I did like PARIAH, CAMOMILE, IKEBANA, SATEEN, and even EVILONE. I liked JAI not being clued with "alai". And REDINK is a DOOK!

Charles Flaster 7:57 AM  

Easy except for upper left. Silly mistake was for Jefferson--thERomAN for AMERICAN ?&?.
Write over--ARSENALS for ARmorieS.
Thanks ECG.

NCA President 8:14 AM  

This was fairly easy for me...and i agree with Anonymous 1:50am that is was "plodding." I got to the end (KINSHASA/IKEBANA/HOTE/AKON cluster) and didn't care any more.

I also agree that Rex gave this one a pass. But I've long since given up on really caring what Rex has to say any more in terms of his liking or disliking a puzzle. He's too inconsistent for his opinions to matter. This puzzle, by another constructor, would have been ripped to shreds and he probably would be bemoaning the death of the NYT puzzle once and for all.

The NW corner is a case in point...IKEBANA? KINSHASA? HOTE? Not to mention EGOIDEAL, the clue for ATTITUDE (Truculent manner), the clue for HAVE (Eat or drink), along with the ARIL/URAL combo, the predominance of A-words: ASTI/ATRAS/ATTU/AIRI/ASSNS/ATM/ARIL/AIRE/ANTE/AKON/ANIS, and TATAMIS (WTF is a Tatami?).

I didn't like the puzzle just because of the feeling I had at the end...which was complete and utter apathy. No pay off, no reward for the slog, and ultimately no real enjoyment.

This is no reflection on Liz, btw. I'm a big Mahler fan but I don't like everything he wrote (I'm looking at you 8th Symphony) yeah, sometimes really great creators/constructors can miss the mark. I wish Rex wouldn't be afraid to point that out.

Glimmerglass 8:16 AM  

I learned about Cincinatus in high school Latin class. He was the ideal citizen-soldier -- left his farm when his country needed him, then returned to the fields when the crisis was over, rejecting the adulation of the Senate, who wanted to make him the emperor. Some called him the model for "the greatest generation." However, Washington (and Grant and Eisenhauer) succumbed, unlike Cincinatus. Colin Powell might be a better "American Cincinatus."

Rhino 8:31 AM  

Oy... Ooh... Ugh... Blech. Cincinwhatnow? Egoid_al, and I have no clue. Kinshasa crossing ikebana and hote and Kokomo? Now you're just screwing with me. Oof. Big DNF for me, and no sir I did not like it.

ArtO 8:37 AM  

A truly awesome puzzle. Yes, lots of crud but hard to accomplish this feat without it. Knew AMERICANCICINNATUS but "Father of the country" would be more suitable and familiar. Obviously too long.

Kudos to ms. Gorski for a worthy effort.

jberg 8:40 AM  

One of my Latin books in high school had a picture of Cincinnatus. He was standing in a field, holding a plow, while a couple of delegates from the Senate pled with him to come back and save Rome. So that one was easy -- but Jefferson THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE? Really? I've never heard that, and it doesn't seem to fit.

goTTI before NITTI, whom I've never heard of, and I almost foundered over the TAEL/NEET crossing -- finally decided it just couldn't be NaET. But then I come here and find I had aWW where I should have had EWW. I guess I have more empathy for bugs than Ms. Gorski. I was wondering how TaN could mean perfect, but I didn't wonder enough.

The big disappointment is that I wanted to connect the theme answers and get a picture of a mountain.

Well, gotta go. I need to get large AMTS of cash from an ATM.

Joseph Welling 8:52 AM  

I'll jump on the bashing-Rex-for-being-inconsistent train: I noticed he did not tell us that a Mount Rushmore theme aligning the presidents on the puzzle as they are on the sculpture has been done before.

Mohair Sam 9:16 AM  

Had the unusual experience of a non-challenging puzzle being a dnf because all the things that were new to us crossed - IKEBANA, KINSHASA, and AKON. I rang a bell in IKE, but guessed O for AKON and failed. Otherwise we flew through this thing with only Monday/Tuesday difficulty.

Someone kindly notify the folks at Celestial Seasonings that they have been misspelling CAMOMILE all these years. Thanks. btw - their chamomile tea is one of those extremely rare products whose ingredients list is one word long.

We join the group that saw Liz Gorski's name and expected a bit more of a battle this Sunday.

Casco Kid 9:21 AM  

Easy-medium. Medium time at 1:25. No googles. 3 errors. For [Hold up] I thought [Support] and went with Rig as I misremembered IKEgANA and was content to invent KOKiMO, Indiana "off the crosses." This one did not have DNF written all over it. It just had a tricky little DNF squirreled away inside it. Bravo, Elizabeth Gorski. Ya got me.

Mostly easy with correctable wrongness throughoout. THEGREATEMANCIPATOR was easy, HEROOFSANJUANHILL took a bit of excavation, THEMANOFTHEPEOPLE seems like a half green paint and half misnomer, and AMERICANCINCINNATUS is new here. I wanted facesOnMOUNTRUSHMORE then facEOF before finally the crosses yielded and HOMEOF emerged. There was a lot of that kind of resistance throughout: SLOWISH EGOIDEAL HOTE NITTI TRUTV OMAHA ANIS BRITPOP ARIL KEYSTONE were well SLOWISH to uncover.

corAL before PAPAL. PAPAL tiara!? Mitre OK. Tiara? Well, now, let's try to imagine that for a minute! (I'm sure my expert solver/retired priest buddy aka Anonymous will assign me four dope slaps and two chapters from the The History of Papal Vestments for that one.)

joho 9:21 AM  

With Liz being the epitome of of excellence when it comes to constructing epic Sunday puzzles with all the bells and whistles it's no wonder there's a bit of disappointment when a 4th of July puzzle doesn't actually burst into colorful fireworks 🎆 when completed!

The creative bar is set so high for Ms. Gorski that when crosswordese creeps into her grid everybody notices. Personally I appreciated it this time as it helped me figure out the long theme answers which I really liked. Plus I learned a lot.

Liz Gorski is an artist so I imagine she is adept in the art of IKEBANA. A beautiful MONARCH may even be involved.

Even with a dense theme Liz managed to work in some fun colloquial answers, too: HEREWEGO, YEAHYOU and OKAYOKAY.

I say Brava!

F.O.G. 9:24 AM  

Was stymied on two of the KINSHASA crossings. Know prix fixe, but never heard of table d'HOTE. Nor of AKON. Nor for that matter, BRITPOP, but was able to figure it out with the crossings. George Michael's former group would have been a better clue for WHAM.

I'd rate this puzzle a B-. Not that clever or interesting. HI-HO Silver, away.

joho 9:26 AM  

Oh, and for a very brief moment I thought, "George Washington was from CINCINNATi?!!

Billy C 9:29 AM  

I liked the puzzle. Sure, there's lots of short fill, but that's the price of the long answers. The long ones weren't gimmes for me; I never heard of American Cincinnatus nor Man of the People, had to wait until I got most of the horizontal crosses. Thanks, Liz.

mathguy 9:31 AM  

@AliasZ: Thanks for the paragraph on Cincinnatus.

Seeing Mt. Rushmore is on my bucket list but I've been advised that it's hard to encorporate into a worthwhile road trip. We are planning to cross Wimbledon off the list next year.

I liked it. It was easy enough so that I could fill in the Monster-sized grid rather quickly and there was some fun along the way.

@Nancy: Has anyone gotten the answer to your cryptic clue? If it's a true cryptic, the answer is either a synonym of bum, bum tip, or former. Since it was intended for @Whirred Whacks's article, it probably doesn't involve an anagram.

Ludyjynn 9:45 AM  

This puzzle gets both an AYE and NAY vote from me. I enjoyed the theme after having just viewed the MOUNTRUSHMORE PBS documentary, but disliked the plethora of 3 letter fill. Like others, I was AMPED up when I saw the Gorski byline, but overall found the solve to be just OKAY.

I try my best to create a MONARCH butterfly habitat in the garden because these beauties are under siege. Even though it is very invasive, I have milkweed planted for them, which is critical during several stages of their lives. They also love my Joe Pye weed and butterfly bush, both of which are in bud, on the verge of full bloom.
Earlier in the season, I had the pleasure of watching swallowtail caterpillars munching on my dill plants, but have yet to see an adult, fully morphed, in the garden. Hopefully, this will occur in July.

HIHO, I'm off to pick some IchEBAN eggplant and TEND the garden.

Thanks, ECG and WS.

Casco Kid 9:50 AM  

@Rhino I feel your pain. Daily. Usually in those situations I've contrived a cross that requires lots of painful wordbending in both clue and entry. Today, I just had to let TAEL AKON and JAI ride without any attepot at rationalization as there was minimal straining in the crosses on those. I know KINSHASA ATTU IKEBANA (but forgot!) based on a personal connections, Better to be born lucky than smart . . . for crossword purposes in particular.

BTW: rte before HWY for 45 minutes.

Teedmn 10:17 AM  

Almost all of my writeovers are in the south central today. Most cascaded from having keyED for 86D, so the Slumdog song was _ kI, working at the ball games was _ePS and the tiara/cross became royAL. This left HERO OF SAN _ _ oN_ _ L_ . Wracking my brain for any of the myriad saints but not coming up with anything.

My AcrossLite solve led me to UMPS so I fixed most of that on the 2nd solve but still a DNF because I used the Check button on 119A and d'HÔTEd when I saw it. SKULL, not StaLL or ShaLL or... Nice one, Ms. Gorski!

I liked the clues for GLASS (another misdirect for WW) and GROUND CREW. Learned EGO IDEAL. Where I work, we would argue that the buyer pays the NET price, not the NET COST. While solving, I tried to decide if it skewed young or old but I couldn't guess the AGE LIMIT of the puzzle. My lawn is dotted with milkweed for the MONARCH butterflies, as we are in their travel corridor. If you have a truculent ATTITUDE, you might have a middle DIGIT raised. OKAY, OKAY, i'll quit, you don't have to get CRANKy about it. :-)

Aketi 10:20 AM  
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quilter1 10:32 AM  

So excited to see Liz's byline today. And I finished before church, always a plus. I liked the theme and theme answers very much. Good start to July 5.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

I got 3 of the 4 President's monikers, but was clueless about GW. And I so wanted "AARP and others, Abbr" to be SCAMS. SHILLS wouldn't fit.

Aketi 10:37 AM  
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Aketi 10:41 AM  

@jberg, from yesterday. Thanks for explaining tmesis. Happens all the time when I try to copy and paste on the iPad!

@joho, I had the same reaction. Who knew that I'd learn more history from crossword puzzles than the required classes I slept through? Actually learned that New York City had its own smaller Tea Party in 1774 yesterday at the New York Historical Society's exhibit on Governor's Island.

@Mohair Sam and NCA President, KINSHASA is always and easy open for me, but I'm sure I would have not had a clue if I hadn't traveled there. As Peace Corps Volunteers in (at that time) Zaire, our meager stipends didn't cover the costs of travel to Kinshasa for a little R&R dancing to the soukous "orchestres" that were popular at that time. Many volunteers would try to wangle a free trip by claiming to have a tropical disease that would alarm the Peace Corps doc enough to fly them to Kinshasa for an exam, without being so serious that they might get medically evacuated home. Soukous is great dancing music, but often highly repetitive and less interesting if you are just listening to it without understanding the lyrics. Sam Mangwana is one of my favorite vocalists of that genre.

Aketi 10:44 AM  
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Andrew Heinegg 10:44 AM  

Interesting that R. Porker has not appeared today, as yet. As always, there is no arguing with taste (elsewise how could Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri be so popular?!). That stated, this appears to me to be a pass by Rex on this puzzle. Too much of dull fill and cliched crosswordese to be rated as well as it was.

Andrew Heinegg 10:48 AM  

Interesting that R. Porker has not appeared today, as yet. As always, there is no arguing with taste (elsewise how could Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri be so popular?!). That stated, this appears to me to be a pass by Rex on this puzzle. Too much of dull fill and cliched crosswordese to be rated as well as it was.

r.alphbunker 10:52 AM  
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r.alphbunker 10:56 AM  

@John Child
Your requested report is here. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

I have always thought that nicknames were supposed to be shorter than the name. I guess not. However, I think the term epithet better describes the four theme answers. Anyway, it was an impressive construction.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

@mathguy:(9:31) Thanks for remembering and caring! The answer is DEADBEAT. Only one person mentioned it at all -- an Anonymous who got the answer, but was less than thrilled with my clue. Oh, well, who said I was a constructor?

@Whirred: Speaking of constructors, I sent you a whole batch of ambiguous clues from REAL constructors yesterday -- early afternoon I think, but don't remember. Hope they'll be helpful.

Today's puzzle. It comes complete with (are you ready to tune out and scroll down real fast, those of you who really are not going to care?) NANCY'S PUZZLE-SOLVING MANIFESTO. Are you ready, those of you who are still reading?

After being gently chided yesterday by some of my favorite people on this blog -- people for whom I have genuine respect and affection -- today's puzzle offers the perfect opportunity to explain my philosophy on whether to blame a given puzzle for what I don't know or whether to blame myself.

I could not complete today's puzzle in the NW, because 3 geographical clues crossed each other at 13A, 13D, and 15D. Now, I've mentioned many times that geography is my educational Achilles heel. I'm pretty much hopeless. I can't remember place names, can't visualize a map in my mind's eye...well, you get the idea. I could have cheated to find these answers, but what would have been the point? The important thing here is that I DO NOT BLAME THE PUZZLE for having 3 crossing geographical clues. As an educated person, it is my place to know the answers, and if I don't, too bad for me. I richly deserve a DNF.

Whereas, as an educated person, I do NOT feel that it is my sacred duty to know every pop band and every pop singer of the last 40 years and which singer was in which band and what songs they sang or played. Knowing these things might make me more hip and with-it, but it would hardly make me more educated. Now, in this puzzle, I'm not railing about the "Smack that" singer at 40A, because, if I had properly known my geography, that unknown singer would have come in from the crosses.

So now -- assuming you're still with me --you have my MANIFESTO. I have complete respect for those who know a lot about pop culture and thoroughly enjoy that sort of puzzle. Just please respect my right not to like it!

Arlene 11:14 AM  

I learned a few things today - I guess that's probably better in the long run than finishing a crossword puzzle. I can't wait to use CINCINNATUS at my next social gathering.

John Child 11:23 AM  

Thx @R.alph

Aketi 11:27 AM  
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Nancy 11:31 AM  

@jberg (8:40) -- "He prayeth best who loveth best all things both great and small." AWW instead of EWW for 56D? Too much! You must have the softest, kindest heart on this blog!

Aketi 11:31 AM  

@Alias Z, good point and reminder late yesterday. Of course, once infiltration has occurred total eradication is often impossible; suppression is the only hope in the virtual world.

In real life, a cat can eliminate your first example. As for your second example, even though people say they can survive a nuclear holocaust, I witnessed an annihilation event. When army ants invaded my home in Aketi, they devoured not just the adults, but also the nymphs and eggs. It was definitely a triple EWW moment worthy of a grade D horror movie, but satisfyingly effective nonetheless.

Carola 11:36 AM  

I had a smile on my face as soon as I got to KOKOMO (one of those engaging Midwestern K- place names, along with Kenosha, KIckapoo, Koshkonong, Kalamazoo...). I was embarrassingly SLOWISH to catch on to the theme - I may have known about KINSHASA (junion high report on the Belgian Congo) but (ducks) didn't remember that Teddy Roosevelt appeared on MOUNT RUSHMORE. I also took a mental detour into Pennsylvania (hi, @Hartley70) and Ohio (hi @joho). So it was a treat when the monument was finally unveiled. I thought it was a superb tribute puzzle and enjoyable to solve.

Many other pleasures in the grid, as others have noted. Seeing Eliot NESS and Frank NITTI together brought me back to evenings of being riveted by The Untouchables on black-and-white TV: I had such a crush on Robert Stack.

Gotten entirely from crosses: JAI, AKON, DOYA, BRITPOP, AIRE, TAEL.

Lewis 11:37 AM  
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Joseph Michael 11:42 AM  

AYE. Liked discovering the four presidents in the order they appear on Mount Rushmore and learning AMERICAN CINCINNATUS which I don't remember hearing before.

NAE. The puzzle otherwise lacked sparkle, especially for one by Elizabeth Gorski. I agree with those who felt that Rex gave this a pass rather than an honest critique.

EWW. Lots of bad fill and few aha moments along the way, though it was nice for a change to complete a Sunday puzzle so easily.

OKAY OKAY. Could have been better. Could have been worse.

On a historical footnote, the house where Frank NITTI once lived is a few blocks from me. A small bungalow without much of a yard. I often wonder how he felt about the price he had to pay to live in such ordinary circumstances.

Lewis 11:43 AM  

Factoid: MOUNT RUSHMORE was originally intended to feature only George Washington, but after the project was authorized by Congress in 1925, President Coolidge insisted that a Democrat and two Republicans be portrayed as well.

Quotoid: "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your GLASS." -- Martin Mull

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

No errors and 42 minutes means an easy Sunday here. Got a bit hung up in the corners with EVIL ONE and EGO IDEAL. Agree that this one was Mostly Meh.

old timer 11:53 AM  

A very easy puzzle. Like OFL, I'm giving the dreck fill a pass because Liz G managed to work in *six* long themers.In the summer of 1968 I drove solo across the country from Washington, D.C. to Missoula, Montana, where I met my best friend so we could hike across Glacier National Park. On the way, I stopped at MTRUSHMORE and enjoyed the view from the cafeteria/visitors' center. Never knew the nearest town was KEYSTONE though. Got back in the car and drove into Montana towards the most spectacular thunderstorm I've ever seen. It really is the Big Sky state -- I could see for miles and miles.

The Washington clue would have been better for me if I hadn't started by misspelling CINCINATTI. I knew the nickname though and have known it forever, as a history major. As for T.R. I basically needed the initial H to write down the entire answer. What I did not know was that Jefferson was called THEMANOFTHEPEOPLE. Never struck me as having much in common with the "people". But his party was running against the Federalists, who were painted as being aristocrats, Today's Republicans are taking their cue from Jefferson's Democrats -- and don't think people like Ted Cruz know it (Cruz graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and went on to Harvard Law -- he ain't no common man at all).

I get the impression that Ms Gorski is not submitting any more puzzles to the NYT. Any of you have the back story to that?

And ... hoping for another Matt Esquare episode, 'mericans!

JC66 12:20 PM  


"The big disappointment is that I wanted to connect the theme answers and get a picture of a mountain."

One of the best comments this year, IMO.

Tita 12:31 PM  

Wow - I thought PuzzGirl or Anabelle was sitting in for Rex...

Ha ha - @Jberg - me too re: the visual!! And for being sad about the bug - if it were a ladybug of firefly, I would definitely have said aaW.

@paulsfo - Just cause I'm paranoid doesn't mean the google isn't out to gt me, but, even if you think they don't care about your life, they are selling your life to the highest bidder, Actually, to pretty much all and any bidder.

Sadly, too many of us "sell" our info for the price of a 10% off coupon, then it gets resold for much more. I thought you're in the sw business - oh wait - maybe you're a googleshill!!

No real complaints about the puzzle, other than wanting something trickier for my Sunday. It was a learning moment puzzle, as I didn't know Cincinnatus or the connection, nor Jefferson's nickname.
It was a dnf for me - I finished with BOSTWock/NoTTI. Oddly, I have had problems wthh hte last few LG's.

Thanks, Liz.

mathguy 12:36 PM  

@Nancy: That was very clever. I should have gotten it, although the superfluous "tip" may have thrown me off a bit.

I don't know how well-known Willy Brown is outside of California. He was a force in our legislature for many years and a two-term mayor of San Francisco. He writes a column in the Sunday Chronicle. In today's column, he has this quote, which rings true to me.

"On the question of that horror symbol called the Confederate flag: Let's be honest. The Stars and Bars rose to its zenith in Southern state houses not as a symbol of honor, but as a defiant, single-digit response to Brown vs. Board of Education and the federally imposed rollback of Jim Crow laws."

Z 12:36 PM  

@r.alphbunker - "epithet" tingles my "insult" bell. I see that this is a secondary meaning, but I wonder if it is now becoming more primary.

@Nancy - one of the nice things about this blog is discovering one's "outhouses" and "wheelhouses." More importantly, having outhouses is not an excuse for not finishing puzzles. I doubt I I'll ever see Yma Sumac, but she's right there with Yoko Ono in the ol' memory banks.

r.alphbunker 12:44 PM  

@Joseph Welling
The only puzzle I could find other than today's that had WASHINGTON, JEFFERSON, LINCOLN, ROOSEVELT and RUSHMORE as answers was this one by Sherry O. Blackard. It does not have the presidents aligned in the order they appear on the monument. WASHINGTON and LINCOLN are across answers and JEFFERSON and ROOSEVELT are down answers. Did you have another one in mind or some way to interpret this one so the presidents are in order?

Ellen S 12:46 PM  

Put me in the "disappointed" column. I anticipated a fun puzzle when I saw Liz Gorski was the constructor, but it was mostly bad fill (as noted extensively) and the rest was Trivia Night without the beer or shots. There was dang little in the way of "wordplay" except, oh, Army-Navy Stores, and "stud money" which could have been so much more fun. Biggest surprise was @Rex's praise for this. (Maybe he enjoyed the beer and shots before tackling the puzzle?)

Rex Porker 12:56 PM  

You people don't need me today. You've said it all.

evil doug 1:02 PM  
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Alan_S. 1:07 PM  

I get my kicks on RTE. 66 not HWY. 66.! Yes, I know that rte. and hwy. are interchangeable in crosswords but c'mon, not for rte. 66. Otherwise easy peasy and definitely sub par for Gorski.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Put me in the meh/easy camp. No one has pointed out "man" crossing "man" yet (4D, 21A), but that was the nadir of this puzzle for me. Had a few write-overs that lasted a few seconds: "awayWEGO" to "HEREWEGO", "DOKy" to "DOKE", "HIya" to "HIHO" "firED" to "AMPED". But finished quickly, without breaking stride. Disappointing Sunday.

Steve J 1:31 PM  

Hated this grid. Way too choppy and disjointed, and it practically demands that it be filled with a plethora of crap.

Didn't hate the puzzle quite as much as I hated the grid, but it's close. The payoff - some nice presidential nicknames, two of which I learned from this puzzle, and a couple nice medium-length answers - wasn't sufficient reward for the large volumes of awful fill, the completely missing sense of whimsy and playfulness, and the disjointed solving experience.

Elephant's Child 1:36 PM  

For the Record, The Red PONY is also a novella by Steinbeck, perhaps most famous for The Gripes of Roth. A further bit of serendip involves a recent comment mentioning the island of ATTOO as the westernmost of the Aleutians, followed promptly by the [re]appearance of ATTU with that clue; we continue the thread today with a bit of ATTUTIDE.

Great fun to see how everything connects, esp if sooner rather than later.

Fred Romagnolo 1:37 PM  

Although @AliasZ did a bang-up job on Cincinnatus, here's a bit more: after the Revolution, there grew a number of groups of ex-army officers who formed themselves into Orders of the Cincinnatti in honor of their beloved COC; hence the name of the city, plural form of the great hero. IMO (I'm not humble) George Washington is THE MOST UNDER-RATED hero of our country. He was our Cincinnatus, he was the temperate president of the Constitutional Convention, refraining from contributing to any argument, because he would always win, and literally establishing the first government of our country. I suppose Jefferson was THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE if by "people" you mean farmers and plantation owners, but not city folks (whose spokesman was Hamilton). HEROD was only a Tetrarch, the ruler was Tiberias.

jae 1:38 PM  

@Nancy - It's not a matter of properly knowing geography (Natick was a geographical answer) its a matter of whether the geography was fairly crossed thus avoiding a Natick. What I don't know is whether the AKON/KINSHASA cross fits the Natick criteria which is "if you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." I'm pretty sure about the AKON part but KINSHASA may rise above the 1/4 threshold, even so I'd bet it fails the "reasonably common" test.

Fred Romagnolo 1:42 PM  

oops: Tiberius. Willy Brown is a fun San Franciscan, but he makes the common mistake of referring to the Confederate Battle Flag as the stars and bars; different Confederate flag, not generally considered a recent symbol of racism.

JFC 2:10 PM  

I was thinking that @Pat and others had stolen Rex Porker's thunder and lo and behold he even agrees. Sad. I now mainly come here to read his wit.

Since I am the Ultimate Contrarian, I find all this low grade and high grade criticism a little surprising. Even @Rex damned it with faint praise.

Not even Liz Gorski can hit a grand slam home run every time at bat. I think it unfair to her and WS to create such a standard. This is a solid Sunday puzzle with enough creativity to pass LG's muster with some interesting fill. As for the bad fill I think LG knows it and makes fun of it herself with her cluing.

Rather than compare this puzzle to LG's "Guggenheim Museum puzzle several years back," It should be compared to the average Sunday puzzle of late and in that regard it ranks very high in my book.


Masked and Anonymous 2:32 PM  

If U had tied M&A up and blindfolded him, and shown him this SunPuz, he woulda said, "Kinky, but I've got a much better mask at home".
If U had taken the blindfold back off, and shown him this SunPuz, he woulda then been able to see it, and said, "Yo! A David J. Kahn puz!"

History puz. Even tho M&A grooves a little bit more on wordplay, it's a nice change of pace. Interestin grid design. I take special note of the unusual 4 monoliths of black squares, in the corners.

We once went to see Mt. Rushmore. Pretty fancy layout at the park, with a ginormous entry ramp leading up to "the view". Got in for free, on our Natl. Park Masked Seniors Pass card. Then found out that parking was $11 bucks. And the sculpturing technique on the parking garage was not all that impressive. Did take a pic of the garage, since it evidently was the "money" attraction. Lines between the parking spots did look a little like the black stripes in the puzgrid's corners, come to think of it...

Cool Chinese money name. Flip a Chinese coin: call it in the air … heads or TAELs? Not funny? Well, it positively killed, in Nanking…

fave abbr: HWY. Cousin of DWY and LWY.

HOTE. Knew it. Knew it.

AKON. Oh, sure; yep. Shoulda got that. Know him better as: Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam, I reckon. personal fave syllable: Bouga.


{Investigative org. that's partly "not sober" ??} = NTSB.


Leapfinger 2:46 PM  

JAI, y'all!

First thing I noticed about the grid was the mess of 3s and 4s, but if that gives me PAD THAI, I'm gonna love it. Besides the NITTI-grittyNESS of Ms. Gorski's nourishing fill, there's the elegance of the anatomical correct theme, bracketed with the location entries. Ms Liz knows how to wrap a gift, and top it with a bow.

@Bob Kerfuffle, me too with the GRITPOP, probably on account of Garage, Grunge and Grrls. It was only the absent jingle at the end that had me realize that RGS might not be carrying the ball, sooo...BRITPOP. Also, living in NC, my Piedmont city was ELON before ASTI,made it hard to decide between 'nasal' and RASPY. Also anticipated gOYA for DOYA

HEREWEGO with Marginal Notes:
Like @Rex, REDINK, and I didn't DINK even once.
SHIN instead of SIN today; there's nothing to arcSHIN off.
AUDIE -- March, and a whole series of AUDI-E models; daughter's first car was an AUDI 100LS, sturdy enough to withstand the mandatory new-driver wreck.
IKE BANA: Eric's brother. Sorry, Martin, this author has few chances to get hers back.
PAPAL, for online shopping. So long as you don't ROB Peter to PAPAL
IPAnema: One place to view some SA TEENs
REMAN: serial monogamy. Yet I always choose Muesli again and again
5280 ft of GIs filing down the road: CAMOMILE
Persons with painful 'roids: ASSAILANTS
...apologies for any excessive WHIRred NESS

Time to think about that PAD THAI, WASH DOWN with a GLASS of not-CAMOMILE.
Hope URAL BLEST with ARIL nice Independence weekend, and my SLO WISH is for a fast Gorski return. Till then, TATA, MISs G, and LAUDS to you.

"They Call the Wind PARIAH"

Lauds Almighty 3:00 PM  

RAD2626, 'Congo, Nile, what's the difference'....Groan...

demit, dammit, if the grid doesn't have it, look to the blog. Good luck.

Cherry Danish 3:06 PM  

Did anyone deign to read up on Gutzon Borglum?

paulsfo 3:18 PM  

@Tita : note that i gave him/her two ways around giving a useful google account.
As to your main point: Google collects a ton of info (as does every other software company, to the extent that they can). However, they explicitly do *not* sell that info; they use it to help target ads (theirs and their customers') in exchange for valuable services ( like tv shows do, but in a much smarter way). Again, I'm not worried that google will ever look at me as an individual. It does bother me a little that the infi is there for potential access by the NSA, or whomever, but that's life online (btw, i'm less worried about hackers getting it from google than from other sites, such as online stores losing my credit-card info).
So, would i rather Google didnt collect my info? Yes. But i think it's worth what they give me. And, again, every online company collects data about you -- the main difference is that i interact much more with google, so they have more info.
As Forrest Gump says "that's all i have to say about that." :D

Ouch 3:29 PM  

Today, WordPlay commentors had the edge on Rexvillians: IKEBANA

Somehow, I'm still moderately amazed when grumpy people list WTFs that ought to be moderately familiar from life experience and/or readings with other than a narrow point of view. It seems to me that knowing something only because it has appeared in crosswords is about the least valuable kind of 'knowledge'. Not that I turned up my nose at mnemonicizing ISAO AOKI...

I know it's a big and busy world, and that focus is important, but a wide-angle lens can be interesting as well as useful. Or just try noticing what's right around you and ignored till now.


Hartley70 3:48 PM  

@CherryDanish, I'm a sucker for prune, but to answer your question, you betcha! That was a wickedly strange upbringing (those wild and crazy Danish polygamists) but the boys became outstanding sculptors with quite a national impact.

Julius Caesar 4:01 PM  

ATTU Brute: Famous beastly inhabitant of the westernmost Aleutian island.

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

@Ms. (?) Danish --

At your behest, I too read up on the Mt. Rushmore sculptor, Gutzon Borglum. Am other of his many and varied pursuits, he was. Klicker, and one of the six Knights who sat on the Imperial Koncilium (whatever THAT is) in 1923.

Anonymous 4:15 PM  

Oops, that's "among other of his many and varied pursuits, he was a KLUCKER, ..."

Gotta remember that the spell-checker will do you in, when using an unusual word.

wreck 4:18 PM  

I guess it wasn't a complete waste of 45 minutes as I DID learn a few things. ( It pained me to no end that I had to Google for Cincinnatus on a Sunday.) I too thought Rex would blast the fill, I think he is more of a contrarian than a critic most of the time.

mathguy 5:24 PM  

Either I'm getting really good at these things or today's Cryptic Crossword was extremely easy. Whipped right through it. Except that I'm unsure about 1D. It's a four-letter entry and I know the first and third letters. Two different possible entries make equal dubious sense.

Z 6:06 PM  

@Ouch - "Somehow, I'm still moderately amazed when grumpy people list WTFs that ought to be moderately familiar from life experience and/or readings with other than a narrow point of view."
You aren't the first to observe this. When my wife was pregnant with our first we had to go to classes so that I could be in the room at our son's birth. I remember exactly one thing from those sessions, There is a wide range of 'normal'. Would you care to discuss the evolution of Sergiovanni's thought from transactional leadership to moral leadership? How about Catholic and Episcopalian influences on the Lord of the Rings as opposed to Lewis's Cosmic Trilogy. Do you have an opinion on the relative merit of an around I/O flick versus a Scoober?* All these are a part of my life experience but I'd be shocked if anyone here would want to talk to me about all three.
I view neither Rex nor the commentariat as especially grumpy, rather just a bunch of people with diverse sets of knowledge. I tend to think that crosswords reward knowledge that is a mile wide an an inch deep. That is fine, but is it really surprising that one's mile differs from other's mile?

* Actually, the only one of the three I'd be interested in discussing these days is the third. GM Nationals is just 19 days away.

Ludyjynn 6:33 PM  

OMG, I am a very happy camper...just observed two adult MONARCH butterflies flitting in the garden in the vicinity of the milkweed. This ranks slightly ahead of @Hartley's and @Nancy's b-day gift the other day.

@Z, well said, above.

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

Easy except that :

1. I've never heard of EGOIDEAL

2. The puzzle constructor and/or editor confused NET COST with NET PRICE. Price and cost are not interchangeable. What the buyer ends up paying is net price.

So the SW was a bit off.

Nancy 7:33 PM  

@mathguy (12:36) -- How nice you are! Thank you. I try always to remember when the applause grows dim: an audience of one is better than an audience of none.

@jae (1:38) -- Thank you for making me feel MUCH better about my geographical blind spot. From now on, I'll think of today's solving failure as a Natick. Or at least as a quasi-Natick. But, happily, no longer as a deep-rooted intellectual and educational flaw on my part.

@Z (6:06) Are you the best educated person on this blog? Or does it just seem that way? Wow! I have no idea WHAT you are talking about! On any of the three topics you refer to.

@Ludy (6:33)-- So now, you've added to the fish in your pond, the birds in your bird bath, and the eggplant in your garden, two beautiful MONARCH butterflies flitting around over your head. Which makes me even more pea-green with envy of your own, personal, backyard critters than ever before. But, oh, Ludy, when you say you are even MORE excited by the MONARCH butterflies than by that precious and oh-so-chic rubber koi fish purse you received just the other day, I find myself cut to the very quick...and I imagine @Hartley 70 will feel much the same.

Mohair Sam 8:02 PM  

@aketi - Neat story on KINSHASA. Ain't it fun how our life experiences make one person's gimme and fond memory another's wha?????

Hartley70 8:29 PM  

@Ludy,Ludy,Ludy.......WHAT are you thinking? Not to knock the well-traveled Monarch, but how do you compare a wonder of Nature with a "fintastic" fashion accessory? And prefer one over the other? There's just no need to choose. Smart women CAN have it all!

Anonymous 9:20 PM  

Like so many Sunday crosswords, this felt more like homework and less like something engaging and enigmatic.

Tita 9:59 PM  

@paulsfo - I agree with almost all you say. I have myself given in, and am completely transparent to google. (btw, I use the Google as a metonomy for all data hunter/gatherers.)
What I disagree with is the value - I feel that we are selling our data short. Just look at how much money is being paid for "big data".
I do believe the market will find an equilibrium.

Oh - and there are companies who most certainly want to know who YOU are - not just who you are like. (And I'm only talking about the legit companies - not the illegal scammers.)
And, yes, it does seem all very innocuous - that's why we all do it so freely.
But am I really paranoid for thinking that the day is nigh when your insurance rates will increase or decrease on a weekly, maybe even daily basis, based on whether or not you have eaten too many cheetos or not enough margarine (remember when margarine was better for us than butter?).
I sit in meeting where these kinds of things are being planned. Keep wearing that Fitbit!!
Wow - how did I get off on that tangent? Sorry all.

kitshef 11:30 PM  

Quite a diversity of opinion on this one, and I think that's justified. The long stuff was mostly great, and the short stuff was mostly junk. I thought it was okay, but having gone away for the long weekend, I have not solved anything since Thursday's gem. Perhaps I was a little puzzle-starved and easily pleased.

Sat for a long time staring at HOME OF COUNTRY SHMORE trying to figure out what could be wrong. If you'd been there with me, you'd be sure the problem had to be in SHMORE - but the crosses all looked solid. I think it was recalling a Friends episode where Joey solves a Wheel of Fortune puzzle wish 'count rushomre' that broke the logjam.

sLice before GLASS, DOKy before DOKE, rte begore HWY, aRAL before URAL, SPHERal before SPHERIC, and of course, HOME OF cOUNTRy SHMORE.

Music man 12:11 AM  

Couldn't finish, but glad to see a Gorski puzzle!

OISK 12:19 AM  

@mathguy - I wrote "Beta" for 1 down. Add "B" to "Eta" (for "H") and get "Beta", which is the answer to the third B, which is the clue.

Liked the puzzle, although it was a bit easy. Never heard of Akon, but knew Kinshasa (although I thought it was Kinshasha) so no Natick there. No one has mentioned the one answer that bothered me - "Reichs". Reich is a German word, and German words very rarely take an "s" to form the plural. The correct plural is "Reiche."

Agreed again with @Nancy's comments.

paulsfo 12:46 AM  

@Tita: I think the health insurance issue is real, though I think it's more likely to come from insurers getting ahold of our medical records and/or our DNA.
But, anyway, for whoever it was that asked, I think that the most simple and safe(ish) thing to do is to create a google account which isn't connected to your "real" google account, and never use it for anything but signing up for the NYTimes.

Leapfinger 1:15 AM  

@kitshef, I do like your thought about HOME OF cOUNTRy SHMORE. That's probably what Oliver Twist had in mind when he asked 'Please, Sir, can I have SHMORE?'

Billy C. 6:53 AM  


"Metonymy" today, after "thesis" a few days back (thanks, Proferrso Berg). This place is making me eruditer.

Billy 6:54 AM  

Darned spell-checker did it to me. TMESIS!

Billy 6:56 AM  


Bro 8:18 AM  

Give it t'me, Sis!

Izzie 1:50 PM  

Ego ideal is a Freudian concept, one that has not survived into current usage, apparently. Yes, Ms. Gorski's references do seem dated, but they can be good, kinda like Grandma's cookies.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Angry much?

Stephen 8:13 AM  

Thank you @paulsfo for defending my favourite word, GROK, from egregious misuse. Let us not misgrok it.
An let me offer a better word for that @anonymous thought: "Expected Rex to rexxh all over the fill".

The puzzle was highly powered by the theme, which provided a lot of solving horsepower. That's probably explains why this was as easy as it was.

Southern Belly 9:33 PM  

Well here I am 3-4 days late because that as when I get our our free "Louisville Eccentric Observer" which allows the poor folks like me a shot at the NYT Sunday Crossword. I found it refreshingly easy as I have just been learning the NYT skills for the past 5 years or so. Interesting how you veterans always expect humor along with excellent construction and wordplay. Gee - you dont expect much do you. Would you like the constructors teach your children manners as well? Anyway - I enjoyed this one for the Presidential nicknames - especially " Cincinnatus" as the city of Cinci is just down the road. Finally - I don't want to give Rex too much sh.. I appreciate his time, efforts, and perspective. So keep it up Rex. Just learn a little more respect for the KY Derby and the Triple Crown. Hope you saw the woman win the FIFA Soccer title for USA!!!!!

Burma Shave 11:35 AM  


HEREWEGO with the AGELIMIT again!
Change the ATTITUDE SOMEWHAT, I think.
We HAVE to ANTE up for Viagra for ONETO REMAN,
even if the NETCOST is no REDINK.


rain forest 12:50 PM  

Finished in pretty quick time for me, for a Sunday. I had no problem with the NW even not knowing AKON. It just appeared en passent, as it were.

Really, I should be somewhat proud since, as a Canadian, I was able to figure out so much Americana--CINCINATTUS being completely opaque to me.

Good puzzle. Lots of short stuff, but lots of excellent longer entries too.

rondo 1:18 PM  

Easy enough with some that needed crosses. Just kept plugging away at the fill until the long themers pretty much were spelled out.

Had flightCREW for a while, until it couldn’t be anymore. And rte for HWY. And DOKy.

Not sure, but I think I’d like to smack that singer. For the name if nothing else.

Have heard of Oasis, but not Verve, but with the B and P at the extremes, what else but BRITPOP?

A puz by Liz, so I’m still searching for a yeah baby. Not likely, eh?

I think it was @mathguy who said that RUSHMORE wouldn’t make much of a roadtrip.
WRONG!! All of the Black Hills area is beautiful, you’ve got the MOUNT, Custer State Park is beautiful and you will see buffalo roam on the roads and wild mules, the Crazy Horse monument, Deadwood nearby for gaming, Devil’s Tower not far away, The Badlands between Rapid City and Wall Drug. Sturgis in August. If all of that is not a roadtrip, I don’t know what is.

Oh yeah, the puz. Nice to have a “regular” one today.

spacecraft 1:56 PM  

Late post for me, largely due to the conviction that I had something wrong with KEYSTONESOUTHDAKOTA. That to me made no sense at all. Everyone knows that the nearest place to MOUNT RUSHMORE inhabited by humans is Rapid City. WTF is KEYSTONE? Some village? I'd like to meet either one of the people who live THERE. I hail from the KEYSTONE State, so you can see my confusion. Also, like 99% of us, I never heard of CINCINNATUS, and certainly never heard the Father of our country referred to as such. Today must be Obscurity Sunday.

I misremembered IKEBANA as AKEBONO; I'm sure the champion Sumo would be pleased. I like the intersection WHAM! HEREWEGO! and a lot of the other fill; some is less than IDEAL but that's nearly inevitable in a 21x21 grid.

Nice tribute to the final scene of maybe the best movie ever: North By Northwest. Have to take off for the obscurity factor, so B+.

AnonymousPVX 2:33 PM  

Today is 7/12/15, we get it a week late in Charleston SC.


My only problem was with the NW not knowing KINSHASA, which itself is ok if getable with crosses but crossed by KOKOMO (a non-existent island made famous by the Beach Boys or, OK, Indiana's 13TH largest city!), IKEBANA (huh?), AKON (I knew this on the edge of my memory but had to check with my 20-something daughter), and HOTE (no, sorry).

Had Okebana, Ikon and Rote as I also had no grasp of Kinshasa. Also had Ryichs instead of Reichs due to okey doky instead of doke, was thinking okey doky but it is okey dokey anyway. Is that clear, LOL.

rondo 3:22 PM  

@spacey - Keystone is about 20 miles from Rapid City, but right next to Rushmore. It was a gimme for me since I've been through there several times in recent years. The population is only three or four hundred, but every one of them owns a motel. The main drag looks like a mini-Vegas at night, at least during the summer months.
Deadwood is not much larger and is farther away, but more fun due to the prolific gaming.
Rapid City actually has tens of thousands of inhabitants, but in my experience, they roll up the sidewalks early each evening.

Texan in Syndyland 4:02 PM  

My newspaper has the puzzle everyone is talking about - Mt. Rushmore et al but constructor is Joe Dipietro. Strange. I wonder how Rex would Review it?

FR Conversions 10:42 AM  

Nice Story. Affordability is the cornerstone of everything at FR Conversions.

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