Former New York archbishop / TUE 9-1-15 / Madrid's Sofia Museum / Phrase over movie poster / Like clothing customized from raw fabric / Like name Leningrad

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Constructor: Michael Torch

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Vowel sound progression —last syllables go through 5 vowel sounds, from long A sound (allegedly) to long U sound

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Cardinal Edward M. EGAN (53D: Former New York archbishop) —
Edward Michael Egan (April 2, 1932 – March 5, 2015) was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Bridgeport from 1988 to 2000, and as Archbishop of New York from 2000 to 2009. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001. (wikipedia)
• • •

These puzzle continue to skew old, staid, and safe. This concept is fine—sound progression is a time-tested theme. I've seen many of these before. This one seems reasonably original.Well, there's one problem. Kind of a biggie: uh, that river? It's not pronounced SAYn.  It's more SENN. So, short e, not long a. But maybe it's some Americanism I don't know about. Even so, both RIVER SEINE and CUT AND SEWN both feel like stretches to me. What other SEINE is there? The SANDWICH SEINE? The DIVE BAR SEINE? I get that there is a convention (an olde one) of saying things like "The River Nile"—maybe it's a poetic convention? But it feels stilted. CUT AND SEWN, on the other hand, just doesn't stand alone well, though perhaps this is some inside baseball (or inside tailoring) term that I just don't know. Possible. Anyway, themewise, we move through the long vowel sounds in that last syllable. That's all. Fill is a bit cleaner than yesterday, but still ruthlessly uncontemporary, as is the cluing. Again, this puzzle could've come straight out of '80s, '70s, '60s, no problem. I knew it was not going to be my cup of tea with the first answer I put in the grid:

Is that an *inherently* bad answer? Well, no. But at 1-Across, I knew. I've done enough of these. I knew. It was a harbinger. A telling sign of what the puzzle's cultural center of gravity would be. I feel like the NYT has just decided that making inoffensive, familiar fare for Boomers and their parents is the way they're gonna go. FALA-lalala, HAHA ECRU. This is mightily disappointing, as well as mighty confusing. But maybe as a business model, this makes great sense. For now.

[The only thing that came up when I searched ["LORD GIVE ME A SIGN"] was this song. Literally all hits on the first page related to this song]

Here's an epic puzzle tribute to the late Merl Reagle, by non-prolific crossword artisan Kevin Der. It's got several layers, and is really beautiful, in more ways than one. Check it out.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Alicia Stetson 12:21 AM  

Extremely easy Tuesday. You'd think that with Merl Reagle's death, Rex might become a tad more civil, a tad more forgiving, and a tad more humble. You'd be wrong.

Zeke 12:22 AM  

Fun easy Tuesday. Broke my personal record! Yay me!

jae 12:33 AM  

Medium for me.  Only erasure was ScAM to SHAM.  Like the subtle vowel progression, liked the long downs, liked the smooth grid, so liked it.

chefwen 12:41 AM  

Pretty easy here, would have been really easy had I not put CUstom SEWN at 46A. MAI TAI (of course) set me on the correct path.

Jon working on his own copy made me almost spit out my wine when he asked me if 36A was LORD GIVE ME A lIfe. I'm sure that request has been offered up before.

Upper right was also a wee problem area as I didn't want to let go of AcTS for 10A, but cHYME wasn't making any kind of sense.

Liked it!

Da Bears 1:18 AM  

And pearls before SWINE....

chefwen 2:19 AM  

Received two Merl Reagle puzzle books in the mail today. We have almost completed the first puzzle in The Best of Sunday Crosswords. I can already tell that there will be many, many hours of fun coming up. Sorry T.V. you will have to wait, I have better things to do.

Evan Jordan 2:32 AM  

Liked this one. LORD GIVE ME A SIGN had a nice puzzle-solver ring to it. No bad fill in my opinion.

Anonymous 2:52 AM  

The Der Homage puzzle is very nice but problematic due to one of his note instructions.

SmartJanitor 4:01 AM  

I used to enjoy reading your blog. Now that you've descended into repetitive carping, I just don't see the point anymore. Yeah, yeah the Maleska era . . . enough already! You used to make posts that were full of allusions and pics and clips. Those days are gone, now.

By the way, yes, "The River Seine" is just like "The River Nile", and "cut and sewn" is a (contemporary!) technique/look in women's fashions.

When they're too staid, you don't like it, and when they're hip, you often don't get it. Where is the Rexie of yesteryear?

Danp 4:42 AM  

The whole industry of making clothes and other cloth articles is known as "Cut and sew". It's a business term if nothing else.

Anonymous 5:38 AM  

Pronunciation of Seine from Wikipedia
The Seine (/seɪn/ sayn; French: La Seine, pronounced: [la sɛːn]) is a 776-kilometre (482 mi) long river

Hungry Mother 6:10 AM  

Both Times puzzles done at 6:08 AM this morning. Must be early in the week, as well as in the day.

Lewis 7:08 AM  

Yes, easy, with some good answers: EGREGIOUS, ATTICA, BRINGITON, OWLISH, and HAHA/FALA/ANA (not to mention eight answers that end in A). For the clue "Hot to trot", I wanted the answer "randy", but it turns out that the clue was the best, IMO, in the puzzle, and I would have liked more like that.

All the theme answers seemed to have partners in the puzzle. We had the CARPS of the RIVER SEINE, the CRASH SCENE on MAIN, we had COMING SOON for LORD GIVE ME A SIGN, the CUT AND SEWN SARI, and for COMING SOON we had the dire ASHFALL and HALE.

The puzzle felt pretty spry to me. A bright offering from Mr. Torch.

jberg 7:30 AM says "sayn" too. It's still wrong.

My big hangup was that I really liked 'pelth' for 'riches' (42A), and was therefore really reluctant to let those ASHes FALL. And when I did, I asked the LORD for a HAND, and wanted to haSh it out. Fnally saw LUCRE< SUSS< snd EGREGIOUS (not notorIOUS) all at once, and it was done.

I'm leaving for San Francisco in two hours, but don't expect to have any RICEARONI there.

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

I'm 72. You are apparently much younger. You prefer words that are more hip. I do not. Every puzzle, I suppose, should have some of both. Quit whining about words of a certain (other) era. I enjoy your blog.

Glimmerglass 7:43 AM  

If a theme falls in a crossword, and nobody hears it, is it a theme? I never noticed this theme until the blogs pointed it out as if it were obvious -- which I guess it is, though not to me. @Rex is correct that in French, la seine is pronounced with a short e. But in English RIVER SEINE backs into the i-before-e rule exceptions (". . . and words sounding a, such as neighbor and weigh"). Perhaps that's why RIVER is part of the answer. This puzzle was too easy to be much fun for me.

RAD2626 7:52 AM  

Liked the puzzle. Had eager before RHYME. Liked the clue a lot once I figured it out. Had duet for ARTS. Fell for another misdirection in the same corner. SW very easy. RICEARONI a given but now humming the stupid jingle. EGREGIOUSLY took the crosses. Only oddity to me was having OILSEED in the middle of the themers. Clearly not an Easter egg. But right there - maybe as a sign.

Jon88 7:58 AM  

Random House does list the "sayn" pronunciation first, but in this global village day and age, I find against the crossword.

Rosetta Stone 8:04 AM  

Multiple sites agree: In English, SEINE is pronounced like "sane".

how to pronounce SEINE

AliasZ 8:08 AM  

This sane theme, not seen for a while, reminds me of the sine wave of time indicating that crop seeds will be sown soon.

Yes, both the RIVER SEINE and seine fishing (the way to catch CARPS) are pronounced "sane" in English. Of course things change dramatically if you pretend to be French, which is why I liked this puzzle: you don't have to be French to get it. I so wanted CRASH SCENE to be CRime SCENE and CUT AND SEWN to be CUT AND dried, but they weren't.

It is not an overcomplicated theme, or fill for that matter, as it shouldn't be on Tuesday. I liked that the vowel sounds as recited in the alphabet were all spelled in an unexpected and accurate manner, except SOON -- that should have been SYOON, n'est-ce pas?

- ATEIN: a nonbeliever in tein. I consider myself protein.
- What do you call the fans of witchy old women? Cronies.
- Rain fall, snow fall, ASH FALL. What's next, cats and dogs? I thawt I THAW a puddy tat.
- L-BAR, in a long line of "alphabet run" + BAR, BEAM, BOLT, NUT, etc. Fubar.

Now IBID you a fair adieu with the Beaux Arts TRIO. Is MAITAI on straight?

Leapfinger 8:09 AM  

Not everything in this puzzle was exactly CUT AND dried, but there was also nothing EGREGIOUS to CARP about. But WAIT! WHAT? there's that semi-homonymous RIVER business @Rex brought up...

When I got to 36A, I wanted LORD_GIVE_ME_strength, but that didn't fit, even if elided to the colloquial GIVE_ME_strenth. That's when I glanced back and saw (first) that the THEMeRS ended with SEINE/SCENE -- Aha! the disguised vowel-run trick! Then (second) what @Rex said, that 'sane' for SEINE is insane. Still, thinking a little farther (third), the French waterway SEINE is SENN but the fishing dragnet SEINE is SAYN, with the just-right pronunciation. Of course, finding a good fishnet phrase could turn out to be a drag. Except for good old reliable wiki (fourth) coming up with the observation that deep-sea trawling commonly uses a Purse SEINE, but a Purse isn't necessary if you RIVER SEINE.

That's All I'm Sayin'

Enjoyed the evocative-slash-EGREGIOUS value of BRING_IT_ON and SOVIET_ERA, as well as the OWLISH NERD and ATTICA. Noticed a fitting symmetry in the placement of the ankle-biters, TYKE and RUNT.

Speaking of fitting placements...
FITNESS? HAHA!! Sadly, I'm HALF HALE, HALF in need of TONER.

Speaking of HALE...
Today, [Sound in body] is the clue for HALE.
Someday, I'd like [Sound in body] to clue for BORBORYGMUS.

Torch burns bright. Mens sana in corpore sano, all y'all

joho 8:11 AM  

I thought the vowel progression sounds were spot on and well done. I also looked up the correct pronunciation of Seine and got a written "sain" and a verbal "sain." I don't speak French, but I do hear people saying "senn" all the time and now wonder if that is an affection?

EGREGIOUS is lovely. LORDGIVEMEASIGN is new and "talky" which I like in a puzzle. BRINGITON gets a star for the same reason.

@Rex, thanks for the Kevin Der tribute puzzle, I can't wait to do it!

Michael Torch, thanks for your definitely better-than-average Tuesday puzzle in my book!

Z 8:18 AM  

I didn't get the vowel-sound progression at first for exactly the reason Rex pointed out. Looked SEINE up and saw the pronunciation cited by @anon5:38. To me it sounds like "send" without the D, not "say" with an N added. But what do I know? Enough to order a beer and find a bathroom, and not much else.

quilter1 8:23 AM  

Cut and sewn is legit. OK, I'm a boomer and I enjoyed this puzzle. It wasn't hard, or even crunchy, but it was pleasant, unlike many things in an old lady's life. I'll go for pleasant.

chefbea 8:27 AM  

Easy Tuesday. Love Rice-a-roni. we have it all the time..Now to do some Merle Regal puzzles

Schneidermann 8:39 AM  

@Danp, I thought it was the Schmatte business.

Trying to think whether there are alternatives to the 'cut and sew' approach. 'Weave and drape' for togas? 'Hunt and skin' for fur pelts? Not much change to the basic approach since the Industrial Revolution; it seems the next turn is the marriage of clothing and electronics.

Mohair Sam 8:45 AM  

So every night at 10 while watching the analysis of the latest Phillies loss I grab the laptop and print out the NYT puzzle. Naturally I peek at 1 across. Last night I saw EBSON and prayed that 4 down was four letters so it could be Oleo and I could come here and watch @Rex have a complete meltdown - but it was not to be, sadly.

Rex has got a point though, lately puzzles have been skewing mighty old. This one had several clues that could have easily been brought into the 21st century, but decided to stay old-fashioned with IAN of Studio 54, i.e.

But being an early boomer I was totally happy, and I lived in ENGLAND through the World Cup year - so that was the gimme of the week here. Enjoyed the theme too. I pronounce SEINE as does Rex, but have heard it the other way - so no problem theme-wise.

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

I weirdly struggled in the NE. As a result, time was more in the medium-challenging for a Tuesday for me.

Billy C 9:22 AM  

Hey all.
I've noticed that early week NYT puzzles are really easy. "Really easy" probably means that there isn't a lot that is original or challenging about them. It would seem likely that someone who has been doing a minimum of 5 crossword puzzles a day for a few decades, and who believes himself to be one of the greatest solvers in the world, would find them tedious and stale. Why he feels the need to do these puzzles, then express the same exact opinion of them week after week, is the only real puzzle most Mondays and Tuesdays.

mac 9:34 AM  

Easy, traditional Tuesday puzzle. Scam for sham, but no form of cackle fit.

A little surprised about riches - lucre; I thought that was a treasure come by illegally.

Annette 9:34 AM  

The river Seine is pronounced SENN on a translator; I consider SAYN in this context to be an Americanization. The fishing method employing a seine net is pronounced SAYN and would have fit better in the theme, tho maybe not on a Tuesday.

Nancy 9:38 AM  

Liked this more than most Tuesdays. Because I didn't know what to ask the LORD for ("strength" didn't fit), I needed crosses for the SE. The only reason I knew RICEARONI is that it's such an old commercial, it pre-dates the invention of the Mute button. (I haven't seen a TV commercial in decades!) I liked the 11D clue and I liked OWLISH as an answer. I even had one writeover: ScAM before SHAM. Even better: no proper names, except for the omnipresent REO. So very nice for an early-week puzzle.

Norm 9:45 AM  

I think OFL's commentaries should require moderation before being posted -- or is "making inoffensive, familiar fare for Boomers and their parents" not offensive in and of itself? Thank god, this Boomer's mother is still alive and kicking (and doing the early week puzzles) at the age of 94. Thank a lot for the insult, Rex.

mathgent 9:53 AM  

I enjoyed it. Only thirteen three-letter entries. Some nice entries like EGREGIOUS.

"Hot to trot, e.g." for RHYME. Can this be called a meta clue? It's a clue about a clue.

Rex's criticism seems unusually contrived today.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:02 AM  

Much above average vowel progression puzzle, IMHO.

I don't usually quote "words I liked," but surely BRING IT ON and EGREGIOUS are outstanding!

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

SOON does not contain a long u sound. Long u sounds like "you", not "ooh".

JC66 10:12 AM  

Anyone else think OILSEED sorta messes up the theme?

Joseph Michael 10:14 AM  

Vowel progressions are not among my favorite theme types, but this is a reasonably good one. I especially like how different the "s" words look in spite of their similar sounds.

I don't think that starting a puzzle with Buddy EBSEN dooms it to the obscurity bin. Liked BRING IT ON, ASH FALL,and RICE A RONI, though I lived in San Francisco for 25 years and never ate the latter.

How a disgruntled student might refer to reading, writing, and 'rithmetic: THEM R'S

Ellen S 10:26 AM  

It would have been really easy except I can't spell EBSoN. Drat.

Roo Monster 10:27 AM  

Hey All !
L BAR was my problem/nit for the day. Heard of T and I BARS, L being new. Nice clue for RHYME .

Easy TuesPuz, originally had hARPS, aAMES, making 46A hUTANDSaWN. Said, "Nah, that can't be right ". Nice seeing EGREGIOUS in a puz.

e-Bay action - I BID
Mother at home - MA IN
Reading, writing, arithmetic- THEM RS
Part of a funny refrain - HALF FALA HAHA
Oolong - TRI O
First planned top floor - ATTIC A
Silencing yourself - ME SH

OK, OK, I know those were bad! You're welcome.


Tita 10:55 AM  

32a...'eternity' didn't fit. A so-called football game is really just an infomercial, interrupted by occasional head-butting by EGREGIUOSly paid boys. there's a treat! It's one of those childhood foods that I rarely treat myself to these days, but oh, how I love the two-step progression to culinary bliss. Gotta stir just so, to get that vermicelli browned just right.
These days, I use less than a third of the "flavor" packet,

Jamie C 11:07 AM  

Whoa! 5 hours during prime morning comment time without a single comment. I feel like a tumbleweed blowing across the plains, or a tree falling in the forest. This comment moderation thing is awesome (unlike this Tuesday puzzle, which was less so)!

Nancy 11:10 AM  

Might as well add, since there are almost no comments up yet, that I didn't mind the theme because I didn't notice the theme. Even the most innocuous theme can't bother you if you 1)don't know it's there in the first place and 2)don't care about it once you find out.

GILL I. 11:21 AM  

I think RICE A RONI as a San Francisco treat might fall under the EGREGIOUS, good lord no, not ever, I'd rather fall into the Bay, example of anything closely resembling what anyone from that city would eat...Do they still advertise on the cable cars?
My cup of tea already started out cold because my Buddy's name was EBSoN. ethylONE? sure, why not....RIO (God help them) is so not ready for the Olympics...Maybe something good will come of it - like cleaning up the slums.!
LORD please don't call me THE MRS....
On to Merle and smiles for the day....

Ludyjynn 11:21 AM  

Theme, what theme? Another very easy early week solve for me.

I liked it only because of a single answer, FALA. If you are in the D.C. area, you must spend a couple of hours at the Tidal Basin's FDR monument, a glorious, outdoor sprawling homage to the four term prez. Each of the four outdoor rooms focuses on the major events transpiring at the time. There are numerous sculptures, one of which is of a seated FDR with the loyal FALA at his feet. The dog's head has been patted so often by visitors that it gleams in contrast to the rest of the patinated statue. BTW, cherry blossom season is the best time to visit, as the memorial is smack in the middle of the trees at the edge of the basin. Truly magnificent!

Just got my Windows 10 upgrade and it will take this Luddite forever to figure out how to use half the crap they installed. HAHA, joke's on me.

Thanks, MT and WS.

chefbea 11:38 AM  

@Tita - How bout adding some beets to your rice-a-roni?

Charles Flaster 11:43 AM  

Very EZ. One write over CRASH SCENE -->>CRime SCENE.
CrosswordEASE-- ECRU and IBID.
Clever cluing>>> BRING IT ON and ONLY.
Thanks MT.

nick 11:52 AM  

I had that same whiff of staleness at the start though mine came with 'ecru'. All was (momentarily)forgiven with 'uni'brow, but then 'LBAR' and 'lucre' made the landscape clear. Felt dutiful, not zestful or delightful.

old timer 12:04 PM  

Yawn. Not the puzzle, the review. OFL needs to train himself to find what's good in a M or T puzzle. For instance, clean fill, with no crosswordese and only two answers I notice that are a bit overused: SARI and ATEIM. amd they had fresh-sounding clues. What about the unusual and fresh BRINGITON, SOVIETERA, amd THEMRS? Save the CARPing for substandard work later in the week.

It was Easy. Not Monday-easy, as yesterday's was, but easy enough to do with no writeovers.

@Rex is only partly right about SEINE. Yes, if you want to sound more like a Parisian and less like a stupid tourist, it's Senn not Sane. But it's not quite the same short e as French words like alouette (gentil alouette) or gene (with a circumflex over the first e) or Vienne. "ei" never sounds just like plain "e". It tilts just a shade towards the long-e sound, which is of course pronounced like our long A. It is so hard to accept that French is actually a speak-as-you spell language like Spanish or Italian, and my daughters who took High School French never got the trick. But it's true, it's just that the rules for pronunciation are so much more complex than in other Romance languages. Any French "eleve" (student) knows this instinctively because, of course, he can already speak the language fluently. It is incredibly difficult for English speakers. I know the best I can hope for is to have a Frenchman ask if I am *Canadian* because everyone knows that all English-speaking Canadians have many years of French in school.

Carola 12:06 PM  

I give this one a blue ribbon in the "vowel progression" category, with its nice examples of various ways English can render sounds. I caught on with SIGN, after which I realized I had to change my reading of SEINE from senn to sayn.

Yesterday @Malsdemare mentioned how crossword entries can trigger memories. Today my needed pronunciation change from "senn" to "sayn" reminded me of a 1963 visit to a Madison coffeehouse and singing along at a hootenanny to "The Seine, the Seine, when will I again meet her there, greet her there, on the moonlit banks of the Seine." Epitome of coolness to a high-school junior from a nearby farm town. And "SEINE" did not RHYME with "again."

Masked and Anonymous 1:16 PM  

re: SANE/SENN -- My dictionary book says U are both right. Or both wrong, dependin on whether yer puzgrid is half-filled or half-empty, I reckon. My dictionary also have "River ___" for darn near any river except the one out back of my place. Which ain't sane … er … Seine.

Five U's. Good good.

re: What word yer puz starts out with -- Michael Sharp debut puz in the NYT started out with: GALOPS. So newfangled, it could put yer eye out. Snazziest M.S. Starter of all (imo): TABLECLOTH. Makes yer heart kinda RACE (another M.S.S.) KIWI (Sunday M.S.S.) was a cute one, as it mighta been one of them "inside baseball" dealys that @009 spoke about.

Speakin of which, InsideQuiltinSpouse says CUTANDSEWN is fine.

Nicely filled grid, plenty ok theme for a TuesPuz. Thanx and welcome back, Mr. Torch.

p.s. Next themed idea: Stuff that starts with RIVER (just to get back on @009's good side) …
* CITYJAGUARS - 11 (local hockey team, out by Vancouver)
… well shoot, there's a primo set, right there!

M&A Help Desk

** heavy gruntz **

Carioca 1:28 PM  

@joho, affectation, no?

@Gill, so much nicer to call them favelas than slums, sim? Almost musical...

Masked and Anonymous 1:49 PM  

M&A knows from (limited but seine) experience, that the NW corner is not necessarily the first thing a constructioneer fills, in a 15x15 grid. Usually, U sniff out the trouble spots, and try to fill them first (as taught to me by Mr. Reagle). As in today's grid, 5 themers will dependably create a trouble spot or two.

I've had grids where one of the last corners that got filled was the NW one. And sometimes what looked like a no problemo corner can turn into the Pewit Roost From Hell.

But today's NW corner mighta been a fairly early hotspot to check out, for the Torchmeister. Behold them ambitious double-down-niners (2-D, 3-D). They propose to cruise right thru not only two themers each, but also a nice juicy 7-letter answer at 28-A. Plus, originally, he probably tried having 1-D be a 9-long answer, to boot.

Just so U bud din constructioneers will know, here are a few safe and seine, selected 1-A answers that have recent Patrick Berry NYTPuz Usage Immunity:
1. ALPO (brand names are always cool)
2. STARTBACK (mind-rattlin irony)
3. MCADAMS (Popular celeb in M'Academia)
4. AMT (Weeject weespect!)
5. LEAFS (from the grammar book "Eats Miracle-Gro up and Leafs")
6. IDS (!)
7. ALARIC (son of Galops the Great)
8. PHDS (plural !)
10. BOSCO (chocolate-flavored brand names are always extra cool)

Remember. PB1 has yer back, on those.


Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Silly me. I do NYT crosswords printed in the NYT. So the biggest mystery to me for this one was where did the "theme" come from? Was I supposed to guess it?

Vancouver Nana 2:37 PM  

Mostly agree with Rex....If first answer is Ebsen you know most of the answered and clues will be "old school"!6

the redanman 2:44 PM  

Half rote-ese, half "amn't I cute?" clues. meh

Nancy 4:56 PM  

@Ludy (11:21)-- I'm afraid I win hands down in the Luddite Dept. You can't cope with your new Windows 10 and I'm sure I wouldn't be able to either. But I'm still on the Windows 7 that came with this computer when I bought it in 12/08. (It's my first and only computer.) I haven't ever thought about upgrading either the computer or the system. When I wake up one morning and nothing works, I'll consider replacing something or other. (I'll need a techie to tell me WHAT needs to be replaced.) But who talked you into upgrading to Windows 10 in the first place? He/she should be shot.

Teedmn 7:27 PM  

I have a RIVER of black ink running down my solution today. 10D was written over twice, 22D and 45D just once, and then there was the popular ScAM. 10d started as FOLSOM, then once I got the ICA, I changed it to iThICA (is there even a prison in IThICA?) and then ATTICA. The F from HALF led me to throw in Flow for FALL, which led to an outFlow. You know I wasn't getting any laughs out of cA_m at 30A, more like @Leapfinger's borborygmus than HAHA.

Liked the progression, SEINE/sane notwithstanding. Seeing EGREGIOUS was SWEDE. And I would agree that anyone who hits the water in the RIO Olympics is unlikely to remain HALE.

@Ludyjynn, my laptop has an icon on the bottom bar, beckoning me to upgrade to Windows 10 but I will resist until I read that the early bugs have been fumigated out. Windows 7 is still working fine for me and after seeing the horror that was Windows 8....

GILL I. 7:52 PM  

@Nancy...If you ever see this, I had a hardy laugh at your post.
My Dell laptop is about 3 years older than whatever you have and I'm still on Windows Vista (it's older than yours and it's all crap)...Even so, I love my Dell laptop and when it crapped out last year, I replaced it with a new hard drive (about $150.00) I can't seem to give this puppy up. I've written some mighty fine things on it and dang, the photos (although most could show up in some ancient museum) are close to my heart...I've grown horribly fond of it.
I have an iphone 6 now and it keeps me warm for now. Santa is bringing me an iPad for Christmas which pretty much takes care of the computer needs.
We can E chat if you want...I've pretty much been through your pain (or not)

Leapfinger 8:07 PM  

It might be time for @Malsdemare to update to @Mal_de_mer.

@old timer, you're absolutely right, English-speaking Canadians do learn French in school. In Quebec, at least, we had 2 French classes every year all the way through high school. (Earlier years are something of a blur.) However, all I remember, quite honestly, are some short stories by de Maupassant and Colette, and the wonderful phrase "Il a pris de son l'embonpoint". Most of my French comes from songs I learned as a kid when we lived in France. The French do have some of the best drinking songs around.

chefwen 8:32 PM  

I've just awarded myself the "dumbest answer ever" award. 40A I entered custom sewn and had to change it to CUT AND SEWN, scanning the puzzle I see where I got that answer, CUSTOM is right in the clue, ya big doofus. Think before writing - DOH! I'll be slinking out of here now.

joho 8:54 PM  

@Carioca, affectation, oui!

Z 9:06 PM  

There is no such thing as an "English" pronunciation of SEINE. Why are the Bombay and Peking of my youth now Mumbai and Beijing? Affectation? No, it's because learned people generally don't want to look like ethnocentric asses. I was feeling more forgiving this morning, but some of the comments convinced me that the theme fails. Now, can we discuss the merits of Denali v Mt. McKinley?

Tita 9:26 PM  

@old timer - what you said in your first paragraph.
I thought there was very little junk in this puzzle, and even though vowel progression themes are meh to me, it was fun to solve.
Lots more fun words like LUCRE, CRASHSCENE, BRINGITON, and more to offset the occasional LBAR or REO.

Thanks Mr. Torch - I liked it.

DadaUrdu 10:17 PM  

When I started doing the NYT crosswords, I enjoyed every puzzle, no matter how badly I did. Then I started getting better, and I found this blog--both of which made the experience even more fun. I'd do the puzzle, and then read Rex--he'd find some weird website to link to or explain something about pop culture I didn't know. He introduced me to Natick.
But now when I finish the puzzles and visit Rex Parker, it's to see how angry he's going to get at the subpar fill. (I'm not very good at predicting because I don't get mad at Crosswordese--it's a peculiar language we share). So I no longer really enjoy coming to this blog, but I still do because I like the comments, and it turns the solitary experience of doing the crossword into a sort of social experience.
But I do wonder why Rex continues to solve and blog about the NYT crossword since it so clearly makes him furious and frustrated. Isn't it supposed to be fun?

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

River seine English/American pronunciation, Riviere seine French pronunciation. The clue was the problem since it suggested French and River suggested English/American.

OISK 11:54 PM  

Took me over 30 minutes, because I don't know how Rice a Roni is spelled. I had Rice R Roni. (product clues, ugh!!) REO??? I guess it has been in other crosswords. I finally finished when "Egregious" popped into my addled brain. So NOT an easy Tuesday for me at all. I didn't notice the theme, and forgot to look for one, so relieved was I to have finished.

old timer 12:10 PM  

Rice-A-Roni is *not* a San Francisco treat and is served in no SF restaurant worthy of the name. The true San Francisco treat: It's It. A thick disk of ice cream covered in chocolate. Dates back to the days of Playland at the Beach, which was at the end of Balboa below the Cliff House and north of the Park. You can get them in many grocery and convenience stores in the greater Bay Area.

spacecraft 12:42 PM  

In the few instances when I do actually start in the NW, I like to take a stab at what the theme might be from just the first long across. So I looked at RIVERSEINE--a green-paint entry if I've ever seen one--and thought: this is gonna be about VERSE. No. It's yet another vowel progression, with interesting spellings in the final sounds. Where possible, they AVOID the vowel they're representing; I guess it's not possible to get an "E" or "I" sound without using those letters, respectively.

I have trouble with several entries. The clue for 3-down is adjectival, while the entry is a noun. Or is he really trying to sell me a hyphenated term: "SOVIET-ERA?" If so, that's a monstrous stretch, and surely doesn't belong in a Tuesday grid. Then we have to deal with THEMRS. Ugly. Not her, the entry! Yikes, she might read this blog one day. Thence to LBAR (?) and my favorite peeve ONED.

The fill is also sprinkled with tired [sic]-and-true stuff such as ALOE, ECRU and SARI, wrong number. (I've always wanted to say that!) The other side of the scale has symmetrical goodies BRINGITON and EGREGIOUS, but there's not enough to tip it. C-.

Burma Shave 12:50 PM  


“And BRINGITON by noon,
he’s TAKEN a pill, DAMN, and oh GEE,


rondo 1:31 PM  

So the puz is from the SOVIETERA and Tue-staid, it worked for me. Lotsa Tuesday puzzles have been worse.

Still waiting for HAHA to be clued “Packer Clinton-Dix”. But I won’t hold my breath.

Always like to see a SWEDE in the puz. Let’s find someone different for the clue. Maybe a yeah baby.

Pardon me while I UVULAte EGREGIOUSly.

If you stare at HER nylons, does your interest ECRU?

A decent, harmless Tues-puz. As for Wednesday, BRINGITON.

leftcoastTAM 3:36 PM  

Tougher than average Tuesday for me. A brain SAG due to aging process I guess. Still, was glad to solve it and enjoy entries like EGREGIOUS, RICEARONI, and LORDGIVEMESIGN. Didn't see the vowel sound progression until I came here.

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