Corpus juris contents / WED 9-23-15 / Fast Company profilee / Beauty queen bride quaintly / Miller on town kiss me kate / Only american invention as perfect as sonnet per HL Mencken

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Constructor: Michael S. Maurer

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a Wednesday...)

THEME: just ordinary football terms that have been given wacky clues

Theme answers:
  • FIRST DOWN (17A: Appetizer, usually?)
  • KICK OFF (24A: Exile from?) — god, that clue's awkwardness hurts
  • DEFENSIVE LINE (33A: "I am not guilty," e.g.?)
  • RED ZONE (50A: Cuba or North Korea?)
  • FAIR CATCH (57A: Beauty queen bride, quaintly?)
Word of the Day: ANN Miller (8D: Miller of "On the Town" and "Kiss Me Kate") —
Johnnie Lucille Collier (April 12, 1923 – January 22, 2004), known professionally as Ann Miller, was an American dancer, singer and actress. She is best remembered for her work in the Hollywood musical films of the 1940s and 1950s. [...] She appeared in a special 1982 episode of The Love Boat, joined by fellow showbiz legends Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Della Reese, Van Johnson, and Cab Calloway in a storyline that cast them as older relatives of the show's regular characters. (wikipedia)
• • •

I guess I don't consider this much of a theme. You could replicate it over and over and over, with any field. Just put some terminology in there, and then clue it ... wacky. These clues could've been wackier, actually. Or at least more ... lively. Interesting. They're a bit dull. Whatever. Shrug. Pretty hard, though. I know football terms very well (I knew all of these), and I couldn't find the handle much of the time. Just not on my wavelength. Puzzle seems reasonably well constructed. I detest the word ESPECIAL, and w/ ESTOS up there, that section's not much fun. But the puzzle rarely resorts to stupid non-words (though, EMOTER, I see you ...), and there's nothing very cringey at all. It's all OK. Just conceptually weak. Not much fun for me. But I've been testing some pretty special puzzles, so maybe this puzzle is suffering in my eyes by comparison. There's really nothing Wrong with this puzzle. It's just blah. And if you're not into football, god help you.

  • 26A: "The only American invention as perfect as a sonnet," per H. L. Mencken (MARTINI) — Great clue on MARTINI, but Hard As Hell. Needed almost every cross before it dropped.  
  • 21A: Where you might spend dinars for dinners (SERBIA) — first, that pun is truly lousy. Second, I fell like half the world uses dinars. This clue was hard.
  • 52A: Dance class wear (UNITARD) — I wrote LEOTARD, because of course I did.
  • 35D: Ceaselessly (NO END) — I wrote in ON END. This was oddly disastrous.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lee Coller 12:38 AM  

Skeets just seems wrong to me. The shooting game is skeet, you shoot clay pigeons. I've never heard the targets called skeet, and even if they were, I think the plural would be skeet as well.

Googling this I can find no definition where the targets are "skeets".

jae 12:57 AM  

This was actually easier than yesterday's for me, so easy.   IrAN before OMAN was my only erasure.   

This seemed about average for a Wed.  Nothing to awful, but nothing wow worthy either.   An OK puzzle, but I liked yesterday's better.  Or, exactly what @Rex said.

Steve J 1:56 AM  

"Blah" works quite well as a descriptor for this one. This kind of theme relies on snappy clues, and these were, at best, mildly engaging. There wasn't really any zip anywhere else, either. Keeping with the football metaphor, his was a drive that stalled at midfield.

AliasZ 3:11 AM  

I am not much a football fan but still liked the puzzle and its theme.

There are many zany, wordplayish ways one can clue football phrases, but during solving it I had no idea what Mr. Maurer's intentions were. That is, until I got FIRST DOWN mostly from crosses. The fun part was figuring out to which football terms those crazy clues referred. I liked them all, but I would have most likely done something like: Initial fuzz on a newly-hatched chickadee, A medium-sized trout, Chafed area, "I had no way of knowing," e.g., and so on.

ESPECIAL is a real word, but in common usage special is preferred -- which is why I especially liked it. Not overused words are fine, ESTOS are not. I keep looking at the word SAUSAGE and I'm getting hungry. An EMOTER is a ham, with cheese and mayo on rye.

A few other entries stood out: RENOIR, Alan TURING, OSSIFY, SHEAFS, etc., but EROS alongside ORGY deserve especial mention. I'll leave the BRA alone.

EFS, SRS and HRS were less than stellar, but NO MATTER, this puzzle worked for me.

Happy Wednesday.

chefwen 3:41 AM  

For a few minutes I thought I was going to have to Google a couple of things. Took a break for dinner which we shared with the visiting Mericans in Paris. Had a great time getting to know them both while lingering over food and wine, a good time was had by all. I couldn't have had too much wine because while they were meandering their way back to the north shore I banged this puppy out in no time at all, and no Uncle Google.

Of course, I love football so the theme was right in my end ZONE.

Used to order off the beaten menu at El Pollo Loco and my order would come with a little ESPECIAL sticker on It, love that word (sorry Rex)

Had no idea about 26A until I had the MAR and final I in place. Filled in MARTINI and thought that was one of the most perfect clue/answer combos I have seen recently.

Hand up for leoTARD first.

Charles Flaster 4:03 AM  

EZ with very common football terms although my only write over was RED ZONE for enD ZONE.
Favorite answer was FIRST DOWN.
EFS was a stretch.
Overall, liked it better than Rex.
Thanks MSM

John Child 4:55 AM  

I emitted a few gruntz as I solved, but the grid looks pretty good now. Hands up for hating on ESPECIAL, but otherwise quite nice. My gruntz were all about clues that didn't evoke the answers for me. {Reprimand in a movie theater} - do we really say SHUSH? I was relieved that it wasn't shhhh though. {Become fixed} was tough, especially as I had KICK Out rather than OFF. I would have loved the clue to have been {Set in bone?}. {Training ___} was tough, as was {How the spiritual look}. And for some reason I was sure that the alternative to a download was DISh (TV) rather than DISC. FAIR HATCH looked funny, but I never fixed it, so DNF.

Loved {Word before test or trip}, {Part of a bun}, and {One plus one} though and gave the puzzle thumbs up rather than gruntz in the end.

Susierah 5:13 AM  

I didn't think this was "blah" at all. Thought it was fun and lively. Agree about especial, and never heard the word ossify, so that corner was the trickiest, wasn't sure of estos. Same here for leotard and no end. But a good Wednesday.

tkr 6:34 AM  

Isn't the clue for INWARD grammatically incorrect?

'How the spiritual look' means that the answer modifies look, not spiritual, and therefore calls for an adverb (INWARDLY). If the clue had been 'Where the spiritual look' it would have made more sense, right?

Did this bother anyone else?

Loren Muse Smith 6:37 AM  

Well heck. I had a huge dnf because I didn't know RED ZONE and couldn't for the life of me see BRA. Kept wanting "day" there. I also was thinking "hacker" for the Norton target and thus "dekes" for the hockey stat. That gave me "sacred" for those spiritual guys. Sheesh. What a mess I made.

Didn’t really know ESPECIAL could be used alone. Looks weird, like it could be some kind of sale on Norton AntiVirus software.

Serendipity – I saw not one, but two naked boot legs yesterday when Chris K showed me the bruises on his shins delivered by an angry doe. Hah.

Rex – I guessed MARTINI off just the MA, but I thought it was probably wrong. Drinking a perfectly-mixed MARTINI is like drinking a cloud.

“Offensive LINE” has the same number of letters and could have been fun to clue. Cold outside?

Periphery football terms: TEAM, GOALS, SIDE, RECAP, RINGS, SNOOP (insert Patriots spygate joke here) RENOIR (played for the Miami Dauphins)…

Fine puzzle. That southwest just killed me, though.

Hungry Mother 6:50 AM  

No "Hail Marys" necessary for me today.

RAD2626 7:46 AM  

I had all the glitches everyone has mentioned so far. Thought NE was hard because of Spanish and OSSIFY, and SHUSH not being" quiet". Also had MAR...for a long time but did not stumble on the TINI til the I fell. Also kept trying to jam malWARE into Norton (it doesn't fit even the third time). Liked the puzzle but agree the theme clues could have been livelier.

RIP Yogi Berra, who besides being a great player, and having an iconic cartoon character named after him, and uttering all the malapropism was a true gentleman.

NCA President 7:53 AM  

Upon filling in FIRSTDOWN for appetizer I thought, "Ah, so this is how this is going to be..." My god how I hate puns. Down the hatch! First! And ten more bites to go!

Fortunately for me and the start of my Wednesday, 17A was the only groaner. To Rex's idea that this puzzle really didn't have a theme, I would argue that a theme is something that helps in the solve. That is, once you see what's going on, it helps to fill in some of the harder spots. Or, in my case (enDZONE) it makes it actually harder. Not that endzone makes any sense vis a vis Cuba (end of the Caribbean?) or N. Korea (end of the world?), but because it was a football theme, endzone came to mind before REDZONE. So yeah, the theme muddled things up a bit.

I also agree with Rex about dinars. According to Wiki, there are nine current countries using the dinar, and a bunch that used to use it. So Serbia was a weird choice for the clue. It could have been Jordan or Croatia or Iran or...the point is, there is no "especial" connection I can see between Serbia, dinars, and the word dinner...except the dinar and dinner are similar in pronunciation.

Otherwise, according to the NYT applet, my time today was above my average. Which means, of course, that my average is now higher.

Roo Monster 8:06 AM  

Hey All !
Fun, footbally HumpDay WedsPuz. Little bit of dreck, but nothing major. Liked the *wacky* phrases (as Rex says. It always cracks me up when he says, "Wackiness ensues.") redefining football terms. NE corner slightly harder, but parsed out PARSE, then SHUSH (agree with John Child that I breathed a sigh of relief when it wasn't SHhhH.) Which confirmed my SERBIA ans SHEAFS. Two writeovers, like 95% of you, leoTARD->UNITARD, and BRainy->BRIGHT. Wanted for the pizza Specialty, didn't fit, then SupremE, finally got it to SAUSAGE.

ORGY seems a little edgy for the NYT, eh? Or is it just me? NO MATTER. SHUSH your TRIPE. :-)


Generic Solver 8:15 AM  

Solving this one left me feeling deflated.

joho 8:46 AM  

I thought this concept was very clever and I enjoyed finding the football-related answers. I do think, however, that coming off the heels of yesterday's boffo reveal, this paled a bit in comparison. That's just bad timing for this really good puzzle.

@John Child, I thought about your comment and realized I have actually said SHUSH!

When you think about it, training BRA is really a silly description of what the bra does, don't you think?

As I said, I got a kick out of the concept and enjoyed the solve... thank you, Michael Maurer!

jberg 8:49 AM  

@Loren, nice catch on the SNOOP!

The theme was OK, but clued badly. "You know I love you too much to do that" is a DEFENSIVE LINE; "I am not guilty" is a defense plea. And while I guess FAIR can mean beautiful, quaintly, the more likely meaning would be blonde, at least to me.

@tkr, "If you want to find enlightenment, look INWARD." It's a parallel construction to Milton's line, "Look homeward, angel..."

I did get MARTINI right off, but once you have the MAR, what else could it be? Stick to gin, though, none of that vodka nonsense.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

Puzzle: You had me at MARTINI. What a wonderful Mencken line. For the rest of it, I thought the theme answers were a little stilted, but what the heck. It was an enjoyable puzzle and I even had two writeovers: wIEn before KIEV and leotard before UNITARD. Nice Wednesday.

Lobster11 9:08 AM  

I'm with OFL on this one: "Just not on my wavelength." Don't know why, can't put my finger on it, but just doesn't right with me.

But here's the thing: I feel this way Wednesday. It might not be an exaggeration to say that over the last year-plus that I've been doing the NYT puzzle daily, I haven't once really enjoyed a Wednesday. Don't know why, can't put my finger on it, but just doesn't sit right with me. What is it about Wednesdays? In general, Tuesdays are a little too easy for me, and Thursdays are sometimes a little too tough, so it seems like Wednesdays should be right in my sweet spot. But I never seem to enjoy them. If anyone has any ideas that would help my understand why this is, I'd love to hear them!

Hartley70 9:21 AM  

I liked the clue for FIRSTDOWN, but then I realized I had football clues to look forward to and the bubble burst. It wasn't difficult because the crosses were fair, but it was still football.
I wasn't thrilled with ENDORSES clued as "backs". "Backs" to me involves some monetary or other investment. I would have preferred "recommends" as the clue.

quilter1 9:22 AM  

Not a lot of football knowledge, but I finished. I question SHEAFS. I would use sheaves for the plural.

Bully C. 9:31 AM  

Me too, harder-than-average Wednesday.

I didn't pick up on the fact that this was a football theme until I came here. Not too smart, with the question-mark clues after each one, and the fact that each of the fill from the clues were a bit stretched.

Oh, well, nice to have a workout on a Wednesday. Good job, MSM!

Mohair Sam 9:36 AM  

We were having fits with this challenging-for-us Wednesday until Mrs. Mohair sussed the football theme and DOWN made sense with FIRST and several answers therefore became near gimmes. Had had irAN for OMAN, always thought of good old BARTOK as kind of a one-named Enya type of guy, and don't know ANN Miller - we were fried in the north for a while.

Made the common errors of spiritual folks looking upWARD, and KICKout (before discovering theme). Learned today that the MARTINI is an American concoction, something to be proud of.

Learned NOVA from you New York deli folks here a while back and haven't forgotten. Thank you.

chefbea 10:00 AM  

Knew it had to be all football when I finished my appetizer. But not knowing a lot about football made it difficult.

Lox yesterday and Nova today...guess tomorrow we will get the bagel and cream cheese

Carola 10:27 AM  

I also struggled with this one a bit, despite seeing the theme right off with FIRST DOWN.
Disadvantage of being a Midwesterner: around here, beaches are closed for algae blooms or high bacteria counts. It took me forever to get SHARK.
ORGY and EROS make a nice pair there in the corner - though I learned just the other day that the subject of the Piccadilly Circus statue isn't EROS but his twin, Anteros.

Andrew Heinegg 10:37 AM  

Somehow this was easy-peasy for me. It must just have been my turn as too many are the days where I struggle or cheat to finish and Rex and/or others claim the puzzle to be a snap. Although I only drink wine, I thought that the Martini answer was the saving of the merit of the puzzle. It is hard for me to dislike the rest of this effort after that answer.

Alicia Stetson 10:49 AM  

Super easy, adequate Wednesday. Now I'm going to go put on my training BRA, drink a MARTINI, and head to the ORGY.

Nice that we had LOX yesterday and NOVA today.

I wish an easy fast for the Jews, a great Pope day for the Catholics, and condolences to Yankee fans everywhere.

Joseph Michael 11:10 AM  

Took a while to figure out the theme and had a lot of write overs along the way: upward before INWARD, leotard before UNITARD, quiet before SHUSH, estab. before SINCE, on end before NO END.

Hated EFS and ESPECIAL but loved the clue for MARTINI. Overall a FAIR CATCH of a puzzle.

GILL I. 11:12 AM  

Like @Rex and @Lobster11, I could not get on MSM's wavelength. Unlike @Lobster11, I love Wed. puzzles - they get me all ready for favorite Thursday.
I had so many write-overs but I won't bore anybody. I have never heard of NOVA in a deli and I don't know what ADD means. Wanted commies for Cuba and N. Korea and @Lee Coller.....YES! I've had this damn argument before regarding SKEET (no S thank you very much) and clay pigeons. Makes me want to get out my Calamity Jane rifle and pop a few.
I'm afraid to SHUSH anybody - you never know what one might do when loaded down with popcorn and a coke.

Masked and Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Nope. nope. nope…

Other than that enormous difference of opinion (above), this WedPuz was a righteous rodeo. As others (and that E.T. Al guy) have mentioned, the theme gave U some fun phrases to sorta decode into footballese. (But, as @009 points out, if U don't do football at all, the puz theme may as well have been about the names of Kanye West song titles.) M&A? Go Vikes.

Weeject Cafe special of the day: EFS. Luv the extra desperation of the plural version.

fave grid design feature: That racing TRIPE, down the middle.

fave fillins: SAUSAGE pizza and MARTINIs.

fave comment: @John Child's use of the **gruntz** keyword. He may be usin it in a slightly different context than M&A does, tho. For me, it ain't meant to be a rating of the NYTPuz. It just means that a new runt puzzle is available, over at @r.alph's and/or sites. Most people interpret it more like a severe storm warning, I think. But I digress.

This Maurer dude has done 23 NYTPuzs over about 23 years. Thanx and come on back sooner next time, if possible. U special.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Lewis 11:34 AM  

I did like trying to figure out the theme answers once I figured out the theme, which put some fun into the solve. I liked the clue for EMOTER ("One who acts badly"), but I think EMOTER sometimes gets a bad rap -- a good actor can and should be an emoter during some scenes; what is bad is an overemoter.

For a period I had "assify" instead of OSSIFY, and I kind of like that word -- "He really assified himself with that remark!". We have a backward PACER fittingly crossing TRIPE, and there is a low ENERGY. More solve than sizzle, but a good solve workout -- Thanks, Michael!

Paul Johnson 11:37 AM  

I'm with Lee Coller on SKEETS. My father was an active hunter/shooter who tried to get me interested in skeet shooting. Not once did he use the word in plural. Nor did any of the fellow shooters.

And I'd love AREA to never appear again in a puzzle. And BART was truly desperate. Here's my collection over the years. All pretty much, well, suck:

Gazetteer data
Geometric figure(s)
Flat figure
Surveyor's calculation
Sun Belt eg
Gray one can cause argument
Branches of study (lame)
Word after rest or residential
2 dimensional extent
Gray ____
An integral can compute it
Find the ___ (geometry test instruction)
Carpet layer's calculation
Part of town (ugh)

Chip Hilton 11:38 AM  

I enjoyed the challenge here - a good, testing Wednesday. I got NOVA from crosses but have no idea what it is. This despite the fact that I visit a wonderful Italian deli (Liuzzi's, North Haven, CT) a few times a week.

Boy, I'll miss Yogi Berra, a great man on so many levels. To help gauge his greatness as a ball player, check out this stat: In 1950, he made 656 plate appearances and struck out 12 times. What an eye!

Jane Thorne 11:50 AM  

The -ly is following the apostrophe into the Apocrypha of language logic in English.

old timer 11:58 AM  

I was saying to myself, as I speedily filled in most of the W side of the puzzle, "This is WAY too easy for a Wednesday." I continued to think so when I shifted to the SE. MED, NOVA went in right away. Knew EROS from trips to London. SEER, FAIRCATCH, ORGY all easy (and, really, after "Arse" a few days ago, ORGY does not make my eyebrow even twitch).

The SW was slower, because so many clues could have multiple answers. I did guess BRA. I've never understood why a ten-year-old girl would want to wear one, but they do. It was only in the NE that I found real difficulty. Wanted "Persia" for SERBIA, but knew that could not be right. Did not see the rare ESPECIAL, nor (at first) MARTINI, though I admire them as much as Mencken ever did.

Only writeover: I had "Kick out" before KICKOFF. And I almost wrote in the ugly "Estab." before the correct SINCE.

I thought it was a reasonably satisfying solve.

old timer 12:03 PM  

Oh. Here's another definition for AREA: "The below-ground space between a building and the pavement or footway." Very British.

Evan Jordan 12:04 PM  

ADD; as in Attention Deficit Disorder.

AZPETE 12:08 PM  

BTW, WTF is a NOVA? As clued it doesn't Google at all!

Leapfinger 12:34 PM  

Ha ha, I didn't go with the leoTARD, 'cause I had DELETED in place, and was pretty sure there wasn't going to be a word starting TL. Aside from TLingit, of course, and that not likely on a Wednesday.

Hand up also for ESPECIAL, one of the few E-words I E-NDORSES.

Had some rough plays, what with starting QUIET for SHUSH, thinking of the distant Gulf oil SLICK before the NC coast SHARK attacks, and not considering ZALES as big a name as Bulgari, f'rinstance.

Miswrote BOtEGA, which gave me FIRST_tOWN, a poor start to figuring out the theme; ditto for KICK_Out instead of _OFF. Hail Mary, I finally did figure it out, and still hope that someone somewhere knows guard.
Thought BRAINY more intelligent than BRIGHT, which is just ... bright.
And had a NOSH at the deli before getting the NOVA.

Couldn't remember ever having any form of -SAGE on a pizza: I'm a pepperoni and mushroom fan myself. Thought 20A a bit of a mess -- SKEETS? -- but enjoyed TURING Bletchley again.

Odd having END-END abut, but ORGY-EROS was fun. I still don't understand what a training BRA trains for.

Thought this a Wednesday that was toasty without being SEERing. Slightly odd but made you think, just like my most interesting friends. So Thanks for all that.

jae 12:57 PM  

@GILL I - Attention Deficit Disorder

Eileen 1:35 PM  

Thank you.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Finished the puzzle and thought there were only 3 themers. I didn't catch kick off or red zone. I watch football every weekend but only because I live in Seattle and I have to. Though I don't think I'm going to have to much longer...

Teedmn 1:44 PM  

This was a pleasant enough solve for a Wednesday. I agree with most of @Rex's write up and had many of the same problems, leoTARD being the obvious one. The NE was the hardest for me because I stupidly plopped in estbd at 21D in spite of the lack of abbreviation indication and quiet for SHUSH made 10D Surge as a beach hazard rather than SHARK. Deciding TURBOS was right helped me fix all of that plus led me to the dinar-spending country-du-jour.

I'm with @Lee Coller on the plural of SKEETS but weird plurals seem to have become commonplace - are we all becoming resigned :-)?

I liked the clue for PAIR, with no penta or tetra trick today, liked seeing BODEGA. It wasn't too easy so perhaps my brain won't OSSIFY. Thanks, MSM and WS.

Billy C. 3:20 PM  

@Leapy --

Re "Big Name," Zales vs Bulgari:

Depends how you view it, I guess. Bulgari is international and upscale, whereas Zales is domestic and caters mainly to ordinary-income folks. So Bulgari certainly rates higher on the sophistication and elegance scales.

But Zales has some 700 stores, and pedestrians who walk through the major malls in most US cities will have seen Zales. Bulgari stores are in chi-chi locations in places like Beverly Hills, Aspen, and Short Hills -- not places that most of the population frequent.

Mary 3:36 PM  

Several grammatically questionable answers today, the worst of which is sheafs. Did not find it in any actual dictionary and my online dictionary just tried to correct it as I was typing. Did find it in Wiktionary, but that is hardly reliable. "Bringing in the sheafs"? I don't think so.

GILL I. 3:44 PM  

Thank you @jae....I should learn all my Deficits!

Mary 4:52 PM  

Although a third person singular verb could be sheafs: he or she sheafs. So I stand corrected by myself.

Brian W. Ogilvie 7:56 PM  

MARTINI was great. Before I cottoned onto the theme, the crosses led me to KICK Out, which is a much better answer to "Exile from?" than KICK OFF. Otherwise, not much of a challenge, which is good since I do the puzzle in print and I teach Wednesday mornings.

mathgent 8:45 PM  

We're in Pariis for a week and got to the puzzle late. Probably very few readers at this time. But for the record, I liked it. Enough crunch, the theme helped me over a couple of stalls, only 14 Terrible Threes. I thought that a lot of pans here were reachs.

Tim 8:50 PM  

INWARD *is* an adverb.

Tim 8:55 PM  

"Word of the day: ANN Miller"

Really? In a puzzle with BODEGA, OSSIFY, UNITARD, MARTINI and RENOIR, the word of the day was "ANN"? :-)

Leapfinger 10:55 PM  

@Billy C, thanks for the Zales info, and hope that my comment didn't e-Fendi. Honest, my only contact with Bulgari is through the NYT ads.

SHEAFS actually is no problem if 'Bundles' is considered a verb.

Anonymous 11:33 PM  

Does Serbia still use dinars?

Hartley70 12:16 AM  

Since I'm stopping by so late, I see that no one actually answered the NOVA mystery. I don't have the requisite New Yawker Deli chops to be an expert in lox, but I can tell anyone still wondering that it is Nova Scotia Salmon with a different brine than regular lox. It's still eaten on a bagel with a schmear just like regular lox. Now I'll move onto thoughts on Irish soda bread where I belong.

oldbizmark 9:51 AM  

sorry for the late post but i was starving myself for the day.

i found this one extremely easy. i thought it was a nice gester for the jewish solvers who were going to have to wait to solve until the evening. not really sure how this was at all challenging, especially for a wednesday.

that is all.

ani 11:37 AM  

Tots: as in totals thus adds

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Did this one a month later. Must say this for the record even if no one ever reads it. UNITARD is flat out wrong. I'm a dancer and have never worn a UNITARD, but own more LEOTARDS than I do jeans. UNITARD is probably what they'd wear in a Borat-themed dance class, but I don't know that they exist.

spacecraft 11:10 AM  

I had several problems with this bad boy, which puts it in the, say, medium slot. Easy till I tried to get out of the NW: Problem #1. Grid configuration is such that the NW and SE (more on that later) have severely constricted entry points.

More bones of contention: why insist on cluing via acronym when it isn't necessary? With RCA and CEO it is. But why ADD? this is a perfectly good word, and cluable at varying levels of difficulty. Let's not ADD to the acronym glut. For that matter, 1-down could've been "Actor Vallone." Then we have the uglies: EMOTER, ESPECIAL without the -LY--and did you ever hear anyone sing "Bringing in the SHEAFS?" No. I realize it's an acceptable (barely!) alternate, but it's still ugly.

Ditto SHUSH. The hissing sound of "SHH!" is bad enough, but when you ADD a vowel you're just contributing to the noise. One says SHUSH to a child--or even a contemporary when they've "told a tale out of school," but NOT in a theater.

And now we get to the SE. I have a pet peeve with NOVA clued New York deli style. Bad Chevys and exploding stars are universal; whatever NOVA is in a deli is provincial in the extreme. Note to constructors: although it IS the New York Times, please remember that your puzzles reach around the world. Enough with the in-jokes!

Ah, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Let's take "Don't worry about it." This would be NO sweat--too short--or NO problem--too long. NOMATTER does not mean don't worry about it. Sorry, it just doesn't. NOMATTER what you say.

And the WOE-est for last: TURING. Huh? What is that? It's not a word. A name, maybe? I had to triple-check every cross entry, but nothing would move. TURING. OK, whatever--or whoever--that is.

Bottom line? I did it, but with little joy despite the fair but hard-to-see football terms (best feature of this one, for sure). C-.

Burma Shave 11:42 AM  


It’s an ORGY EROS ENDORSES, to NOEND he’ll PERSUADE you to please,
NOMATTER how the ENERGY courses, KICKOFF your shoes and don’t be a TEASE,
SINCE there are TASKS nobody EVER forces, be a TEAM player, FIRSTDOWN on your knees.


Longbeachlee 12:03 PM  

Struggled through to the end without "cheating". I recognized the phrases as not uncommon, but didn't make the football connection. Maybe my brain is in football rejection mode because of the collapse of my beloved Cal Bears

rondo 12:13 PM  

Touchdown – pluck a duck (or goose)? Field goal – high yield for a farmer? Extra points – good student’s reward? That oblong ball made for some obtuse clues. But I’ll take a sports theme any day. Had my head RAPT around enDZONE for a bit (didn’t know why) until I saw the commie thing there.

@spacey – Alan TURING broke the code that turned WWII and is oft times credited for developing what has become modern computing. Agree with bad plural SHEAFS and didn’t much like SKEETS.

ANN Miller a multi-talented yeah baby in her day, probably looked good in a UNITARD.

This wasn’t the greatest puz EVER, but not the kind of TRIPE that deserves EFS.

rain forest 1:10 PM  

Well, after 3 1/2 months in France (those French crosswords are difficile), it's good to be back. I see that little has changed except maybe the syndi crowd has shrunk somewhat, but there seem to be the same real-timers up there, and ol' Rex still can't bring himself to praise a puzzle where it is due.

I thought this one was very good, perhaps not ESPECIAL, but a good solve on a Wednesday. Liked the reference to the movie "The Imitation Game" about Alan TURING, and the football terms. Definitely not blah. After 100 days not doing puzzles, I can tell I have a ways to go to get back into the swing, but I'll get there.

Good one, Burma Shave.

Airborn Press / Gordon Long 1:42 PM  

This one was super hard for me, mainly because of miscues: leotard for unitard, quiet for shush, road test for acid test, spy on for snoop, riot for orgy, etherial for especial, and finally (i'm ashamed to admit) in desperation rolex for sales, but only because the "le" was all I had to go on at the time. I just guessed wrong at every turn. Don't follow football, so "red zone" meant nothing to me. I would have happily called this a Thursday difficulty rating, but no complaints once I actually got it together. I guess Michael Maurer's mind doesn't work like mine. Or else it does, and he fooled me completely on purpose!

leftcoastTAM 3:37 PM  

By the time I get around to this, just about everything good or bad about a puzzle has been covered above.

I'll mention a couple of things anyway: Didn't know NOVA as a deli purchase and wanted training DAY instead of BRA. Also slowed down by SHEAFS when SHEAveS didn't fit.

I agree with Rex's difficulty rating and most of his comments but didn't find it dull or blah as he and others did.

A good all-around Wednesday.

Bill Young 1:36 PM  

Bra should never be in a football puzzle

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