Italian scooter brand / TUE 9-22-15 / Angels Demons group whose name is Latin for enlightened / Montreal baseballer / Amount subtracted from gross weight / Pesticide banned in 1972

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Constructor: Victor Barocas and Tom Pepper

Relative difficulty: Shade over Medium (over-sized grid, took somewhat more time)

THEME: WIZARD OF AAHS (65A: Alternative name for 18-, 29- or 51-Across) —people who make you say "aah" somehow:

Theme answers:
  • PYROTECHNIST (18A: Fireworks expert)
  • OTOLARYNGOLOGIST (29A: Head and neck physician)
  • MASSAGE THERAPIST (51A: Hard rubber, maybe)
Word of the Day: ILLUMINATI (12D: "Angels & Demons" group whose name is Latin for "enlightened) —
The Illuminati (plural of Latin illuminatus, "enlightened") is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. The society's goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power. "The order of the day," they wrote in their general statutes, "is to put an end to the machinations of the purveyors of injustice, to control them without dominating them." The Illuminati—along with Freemasonry and other secret societies—were outlawed through edict, by the Bavarian ruler, Charles Theodore, with the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, in 1784, 1785, 1787 and 1790. In the several years following, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics who claimed that they continued underground and were responsible for the French Revolution. // In subsequent use, "Illuminati" refers to various organisations which claim or are purported to have links to the original Bavarian Illuminati or similar secret societies, though these links are unsubstantiated. They are often alleged to conspire to control world affairs, by masterminding events and planting agents in government and corporations, in order to gain political power and influence and to establish a New World Order. Central to some of the most widely known and elaborate conspiracy theories, the Illuminati have been depicted as lurking in the shadows and pulling the strings and levers of power in dozens of novels, movies, television shows, comics, video games, and music videos. (wikipedia)
• • •

Cornball, but that is some people's thing, so if it's yours, sweet. Enjoy the day. I have only one complaint about the puzzle, and that's with the first themer. No way, No no no way anyone calls the pyrotechnics person a PYROTECHNIST. You all know what the real word is because you tried to put it in and it didn't fit. It's PYROTECHNICIAN (which outgoogles the "correct" answer by a considerable margin). That is a major clunk. The good news is that, beyond that issue, there really are no issues. This is a nicely polished grid (huzzah!), and the answers are varied and common and reasonably lively. You can take ITERS out back and kill it, but the rest of these folks are OK by me. Nice grid-building, nice craftsmanship.

Seriously, that is all I have on this one. Sorry it didn't inspire / provoke more. I've had my face in my own puzzle all night, working and reworking two stupid corners that keep coming out Just OK. So I think I'm too tired to have any deep thoughts about this one. But as someone who's been spending a lot of time trying to get his own grid perfect, I want to acknowledge how nicely this one has been put together. Sometimes when a grid isn't flashy, the care and effort can go unnoticed. But it takes a lot of work not to lean on junk. So good for these guys.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. happy 15th birthday to my daughter, who is not (yet) into crossword puzzles

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Whirred Whacks 12:03 AM  

ATTICA has been used twice in recent weeks, both times clued by references to the early 1970s prison riot. As someone with a moderate classics background, I'd love to see it clued as "area surrounding Athens." If you read your Thucydides, you'll find many references to Attica.

Agree with Rex on ITERS. It made me cringe. The clue was "Roman roads." Shouldn't the plural of ITER be ITINERA because it's a Latin word?

jp flanigan 12:12 AM  

I think there is a lot to like here. I didn't think about theme till i needed it. Concentrated mostly on downs. Outsmarted myself and put in MADIBA instead of ARAFAT (1 year off) that added some time for me. Fun, good, tuesday.

Steve J 12:34 AM  

A shoutout to the ILLUMINATI is always going to win a puzzle points in my book.

Agreed this was a little corny, but in an enjoyable way. I was definitely left wondering what connected the themers as this filled in from top-down, and the revealer was not what I was expecting but seemed so obvious once discovered. That's a rare feat early in the week, where the themes are either seen from a mile away or are so gossamer-thin so as not to be seen at all (i.e., yesterday's puzzle).

The one blip was, of course, PYROTECHNIST. That answer has 49,500 results Google. "Pyrotechnician" has 215,000. I'm a little surprised the gap isn't wider, but there's a clear difference in commonality. Still, the crosses on the end were fair and easy enough to suss out the suffix I (and I'm sure many others) never would have otherwise guessed.

jae 12:37 AM  

Medium- tough for me mostly due to misreads and spelling problems.   Any Tues. that gives me a chuckle gets a big liked it.  Great theme entries with a delightful reveal.  Nice one guys!!!

cwf 1:26 AM  

I have a hard time criticizing a puzzle the crosses PYROTECHNIST with ATTICA, the latter of which left me with visions of Pacino outside a Park Slope bank. Also, ICEMAN!

Yeah, PYROTECHNICIAN would have been preferable, but, eh, I got the answer with only a few crosses. Also, ILLUMINATI was a nice thing to reveal. I keep meaning to pull that trilogy out again but am afraid I will ruin memories from when I read it as a teenager. The books are right there on the shelf! but still.

chefwen 2:48 AM  

MASSAGE THERAPIST is the only long one I filled in without questioning my spelling, that includes 12D ILLUMINATI. Hell, I almost fell asleep reading the Wikipedia explanation that Rex provided.

My elderly neighbor scoots around town on his little VESPA. I have to smile every time I see him all decked out with his protective gear on.

Other than my spelling inabilities (can't blame that on the puzzle) I really liked this one.

Charles Flaster 4:24 AM  

EZ and a little tuffer to get OTO....
CrosswordEASE--- ITERS and ENYA.
Liked cluing for MASSAGE THERAPIST, SPAM , PROFILER and WIZARD OF AAHS which fell right after UZI.
One down needs an indication of abbreviated.
Thanks VB and TP.

Loren Muse Smith 4:27 AM  

This one delivered that perfect aha moment. I always try to keep the reveal veiled until the end, and with the three themers coming into view, knowing what they were going to be, I was stumped, kinda looking for words embedded within. When WIZARD OF AAHS went in, my smile was huge.

And… I *despise* fireworks and massages. Despise. Never given much thought to an otolaryngologist, but, I'd much rather have one coming at me with a tongue depressor than a masseuse with oiled hands or a pal with a pack of fireworks bought at Myrtle Beach. (I don't know if it's still the case, but it used to be that you had to cross into South Carolina to get your fireworks.)

Serendipity – I had the word AFFIX on the board yesterday and was showing some languages that use infixes and explaining that English doesn't really have any true infixes. (I've learned that the plural S in passersby is not a true infix.) But, a friend of mine who is a professor of linguistics in Okinawa – a morphology specialist - told me that some cases of tmesis can be a kind of infix. I wrote guarandamntee on the board and we all got a guilty little snicker before I erased it. Nothing like a cuss word on the board to liven the class right up.

Mom and Dad were just visiting, and Dad has been on painkillers because of back trouble. Watch out with those opiates, man. Choose your CHOW carefully or, well, OPIUM CLOG.

Liked MINING and WVA sharing a grid. And cars bought AS IS can be HEAPS. Been there, done that.

Tom, Victor – terrific, affable, delightful constructors from Minnesota (your ICEMAN is about to cometh, huh? Still hot here in WVA) -I loved this one. The word is certainly your OYSTER. How cool that you got SAY to cross AAHS.


Lewis 6:37 AM  

@m&a -- Did you see that backward HAR?

This is a rave from Rex, when the only complaint he has is that PYROTECHNIST is not as common as PYROTECHNICIAN. This is certainly true on Google, but the former is definitely a thing, as dictionaries will show. And when was the last time Rex raved on a Tuesday???

I loved this puzzle, with some tough and sparkling clues (VEILED, SPAM, MASSAGETHERAPIST, i.e.) and nice longs (OPENDOORS, ILLUMINATI). The grid is very clean. This was not a humdrum get-it-done thank-you-sirs solve to me. It had spark. Bravo, gentlemen, and more please!

Z 6:42 AM  

Being a little slow on the uptake made me appreciate the reveal. That and being an actual theme today. Yesterday's "theme" is, at best, a motif.

@Billy C from late yesterday - Exactly right regarding the tone-deaf cluing. I still disagree that a plethora of SS phrases constitutes a theme.

Speaking of ITERS, I recommend that the next time you have time for dinner in Detroit try Ottava Via at Michigan Avenue and 8th iter in Corktown.

Moly Shu 6:48 AM  

Been listening to a lot of Coast to Coast AM, so ILLUMINATI was a super gimme. Thank you @GeorgeNoory, et al. Hand up for the PYROTECHNIcian attempt. Liked VESPA, not sure what to think about OPENSDOORS. A double POC perhaps???

Questinia 6:51 AM  

I parsed 31A as MASSAGE THE RAPIST upon completion. It had been a very, very long day.

jberg 7:31 AM  

If there was ever a puzzle that was made by the revealer, this was it. I was hating it, thinking the theme was "assorted professions," or something, and then I loved it. Also the clue for VEILED. And @Questinia's comment! Nice start to a long day.

Lobster11 7:40 AM  

Thought this one was fun and zippy, with an unusually low amount of dreck. OTOLARYNGOLOGIST is obviously a toughie, but entirely inferable. I don't get the objection to PYROTECHNIST; it seems perfectly legit to me. When did it become a rule that the "correct" answer has to be the one with the most Google hits?

chefbea 7:52 AM  

Fun puzzle. Of course knew Myrtle Beach. Very close to us. We go for the outlets..not the fireworks @LMS. There are signs all the way there announcing where to buy them!!!

Hungry Mother 7:52 AM  

YSL hit both Times puzzles today.

Airymom 7:54 AM  

Just spent a half hour wondering what rubber (as in a tire) has to do with a massage therapist. Eureka! Finally it hit me--a person who rubs your back hard. Obviously I am lacking caffeine. Great puzzle. Clever theme, almost no dreck.

joho 7:55 AM  

Too much fun!!! WIZARDOFAAHS is fresh and really funny. All theme answers are spot on. I had a blast doing this from beginning to end!

I even smiled at ITERS, my old friend from when I first started doing the NYT crossword.

I had the pleasure of working with Victor on my puzzle for the Minnesota Crossword Puzzle Tournament and I can't say enough nice things about him. Tom is also super nice and together they have created this wonderful puzzle full of surprises and more than that, a sense of humor. LOVED IT!

usaffrank 7:59 AM  

I'm surprised Rex didn't point out another bad answer, since PYROTECHNIST bugged him so much. On 53-down ("Cornhusk-wrapped food"), the singular of "tamales" is "TAMAL" not TAMALE.

George Barany 8:03 AM  

Delightful puzzle by my Minnesota friends @Victor Barocas and @Tom Pepper. The best puzzles deliver an "aha" moment, but the reveal on this one had me going "aah" ...

AliasZ 8:16 AM  

Otolaryngologician, pyrotechnicist, massage therapician, massagist, massagician, podiatrician, pediatrist, librettician, morticist, dominatrician, oh heck, just make up a damned word that fits, we'll print it.

A pyrotechnician is a wizard of oohs and aahs equally. Without the oohs the aahs have little meaning. But "The Wizard of Ooze" is not a title for anything as far as I know. Perhaps Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and volcanoes could be called that. Here is different example of oohs and AAHS by Federico Fellini.

Nice ambigram, ILLUMINATI. Also nice to see our old PAL and its reverse, LAP. Still awaiting the George PAL clue -- will it ever happen, Will? Other fun entries: DISPELS, AGONIES and TETRA, one less than penta. My brother OPENS DOORS for a living. My favorite Italian restaurant in the neighborhood has a fully functioning, shiny white VESPA (wasp: It.) hanging from the ceiling above the bar as you walk in.

Smooth and easy, clean and pleasant puzzle, PYROTECHNIST notwithstanding. Speaking of pyrotechnics, here is an example of the pianistic version of it, in an aptly fire-themed piece by Alexander Scriabin titled "Vers la flamme" (towards the flame), played here by legendary pianician Heinrich Neuhaus (1888–1964), a lifelong friend of Boris Pasternak, and teacher of Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Radu Lupu and many others.

Have a cheerful Tuesday.

Mohair Sam 8:20 AM  

Not having visited our OTOLARYNGOLOGIST recently we found this one played a bit tough for a Tuesday, but we loved it. Cornball is good every now and then.

Having read "Angels & Demons" we are more than a little concerned that the ILLNUMINATI have worked their way into the NYT crossword. We note several Latin, Italian, and bibical references in the puzzle too - along with a subtle ATTICA and LEO. And all this on the eve of the Pope's visit to New York. Secret code?

@Whirred Whacks - You'll see ATTICA clued with "Dog Day Afternoon" long before you see it clued with Athens.

@LMS - With you on fireworks and massages.

ArtO 8:29 AM  

A really terrific Tuesday. Wonderful long theme entries and a surprise, grin provoking reveal. Congrats to Victor and Tom.

mathgent 9:14 AM  

Plenty of drek in the 24 Terrible Twos.

I've never heard either PYROTECHNIST or pyrotechnician.


Nancy 9:18 AM  

Pretty darn good for a Tuesday. Nice long words and just about no proper names. WIZARD OF AAHS was cute. I found it easy, but quite pleasant.

r.alphbunker 9:25 AM  

Puzzle report

Cute theme. Given that the revealer elicited an AAH from me I guess the constructors are WIZARDs OF AAHS also.

It seems that PYROTECHNIST could be clued as a Var. Whether or not this is appropriate it raised the question about how often Var. clues have been used in the shortzian era. Answer: 447 times versus 2,316 times in the preshortzian era. Details are here.

L 9:32 AM  

I still don't understand the cluing for MASSAGE THERAPIST. sigh

And I hate to get all technical, but isn't LOX brined salmon? Smoked salmon is delicious, but might not be the same.

GILL I. 9:42 AM  

Oh snap....this was fun - especially the AAHS ending.
@Questinia...I was about to go on and on about how you haven't lived until you've experienced a relaxing massage at Maya Spa in Tulum, Mexico. I think I'll skip my details.
Best Tuesday in quite a while. the PYROTECHNIST didn't bother me - I think Vctor and Tom were just being accommodationists. Hey, I like vacationist as well (that's me)
ILLUMINATI is plain wonderful although I'm not sure I like it next to TSAR
TAMALE with SPAM will CLOG the ATRIA. Take plenty of OPIUM just before bed.

Jamie C 9:50 AM  

I'm a tad nonplussed at the criticism that one word is more common than another and therefore a better answer. I mean, these are word puzzles; they are supposed to have challenging/interesting words. Is "there are more google hits for pyrotechnician than PYROTECHNIST" really a valid criticism? Do we only want puzzles with common words? This angle of reasoning strikes me as lazy and incurious.
I, for one, was thrilled to learn PYROTECHIST this morning. Next 4th of July, I will turn to my friends and say, "AAH, the PYROTECHNIST was excellent this year, wouldn't you say?

Alex Trebek 9:55 AM  

@Qestina @ 6:51: This is a MUST watch regarding "THE RAPIST." One of the funniest bits ever to hit the boob tube:

Sean Connery on Jeopardy

Roo Monster 10:04 AM  

Hey All !
Hah, @Questinia! Reminds me of a scene in "Three's Company" when Jack had a therapists buisness card, and was trying to convince Chrissy the guy was bad news. He said something to the effect of, "It's right here on the card! Joe, The Rapist!"

Anyway, puz was good. Took a bit of redoing in the SE, as had AoRtA and small for ATRIA and TEENY, so the AAHS took a bit. Once fixed that area, ended up with the two A's together, and said Huh? Then parsed it and said Heh, nice.

Surprisingly good fill, ITERS POC'ed the exception. Even in the TEENY NE and SW corners. Great clue for TWOS. VEILED above DISSENT. Sneaky :-)


Anonymous 10:09 AM  

An OTOLARYNGOLOGIST is NOT a "head and neck physician". His field is diseases of the ear and throat. Sure they're located in in the head and neck. But there is much more there than just ears and throats. By that broad definition an otolaryngologist expertise would include neurology (brain) and orthopedics (spine). Both are in the head and neck, in case you didn't know. A really poor and inaccurate clue. Will Shortz get a dictionary or call up someone, anyone in the field.

gzodik 10:24 AM  

Why the continual miscuing of ROAN in crosswords? ROAN is not similar to chestnut (a shade of brown). Roan is a salt-and-pepper effect with white hairs interspersed in the base color. What ignorance.

Leapfinger 10:27 AM  

@Rex, I think most arbITERS would be of a different opinion. Who really wants to be driving on rutted roads? At least offer a small nod in the general direction of John Loudon McAdam. [No idea how that extra A crept in there.] OTOH, no argument suffices in favour of PYROTECHNIST; I would -CIAN it also, and just don't get the -GIST of it. Aside from that, the smoothest Tuesday in [my] memory and a pleasure throughout.

Had Boris Godunov and cohort be OPERA before TSARS; OPERA can be considered to be encompass the plural, and it fit nicely with SORTS and the possible DOdo and TVads;
Got OTOLARYNGOLOGIST right off the bat,but wondered briefly how I would fit MArriAGE_THERAPIST in the allotted spaces. Nope, no personal experience.

Random bits:
*The early INERT/EXERT combo hERT by making me alERT to assERT the chance to revERT to an ovERT convERT/ pervERT desERT. Obvious that I'm no expERT.
*MYRTLE Beach - a gimme for both varieties of Carolinians; ditto FRODO for one who had a cat so named, brother to Tom Bombadil.
*Anyone else notice that OAHU was underMINING ... what? RENovations? Any thoughts on that, @chefwen, @Thomas808?
*Interesting comparative reprise on yester-theme with OY, ST-/ OY, STER/ OY, STEst
*Thucydides, eh? I was thinking of DEMOsthenes and Samson AGONIEStes...

@Questinia, somewhere I read a while back that the American icon used to be the Cowboy, now is the THERAPIST slash THE RAPIST. So don't feel too bad that you saw that also.

A giant Gold Star to Barocas & Pepper for AFFIX of the highest calibre; y'all URNed it.

Looking forward to more out-standing comments today.

Hartley70 10:28 AM  

I loved the reveal and agree with every previous bit of praise and delight.

Fireworks are shockingly sold in supermarkets here the last few years. I remember them as totally illegal and kinda sorta think they should be. I would like to see those balls of fire firmly in the hands of professional PYROTECHNICS. Ask the ER personnel their opinion.

Since I have concluded that Tuesday is the most difficult day to do right, I send my applause to the constructors!

Guerin Wilkinson 10:34 AM  

I got no problem with corny. This was very refreshing. Loved it all, and couldn't care less about pyrotechnist. Hard rubber? Very funny.

Leapfinger 10:35 AM  


ICEMAN. Val Kilmer, Top Gun.
MINING/ WVA (headslap)

Warren Howie Hughes 10:37 AM  

Z said, "Speaking of ITERS, I recommend the next time you have time for dinner in Detroit, try Ottava Via at Michigan Avenue and 8th ITER in Corktown" "I will take his advice, as ITER one will work for me" :-)

Warren Howie Hughes 10:44 AM  

Z said, "Speaking of ITERS, I recommend that the next time you have time for dinner in Detroit,try Ottava Via at Michigan Avenue and 8th Iter in Corktown" "I shall do just that as ITER one sounds good to me!" :-)

Steve J 10:47 AM  

@Moly Shu: OPENS DOORS is a real phrase, so I didn't have a problem with. But I am saddebed that the idea that any plural in a puzzle is a bad thing is apparently spreading (@Z made the same mistake yesterday). The S in opens crosses an S that's in the middle of a word that's part of the theme. That S is integral to the whole puzzle. If it happens to intersect a plural, so be it.

It's the same idea any time a plural crosses an S that appears at the start of or in the middle of a crossing answer. Instead of noting that the S is an integral part of the word, some people seem to just fixate that there was a plural. If we take this concept to its logical conclusion, we essentially have to ban the letter S from puzzles. I would hope that would be self-evidently absurd.

Plurals are part of the language. Yes, sometimes a puzzle can do it to excess. Sometimes - even worse - a puzzle will feature a forced plural that really isn't used in the wild just to get things to fit. But plurals on their own aren't bad, they're just as valid as any other part of speech that goes into a puzzle, They're no more convenient than anything else a constructor uses to get his or her grid to come together.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:55 AM  

Leapy Love, MINING my own business, cause that's what we Welshman really dig! :-)

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:03 AM  

I thought it was an otoRHINOlarynologist. And I don't think Lox is smoked, I think it's pickled. And iters was the worst. Nonetheless enjoyable.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:05 AM  

Please do forgive the double post in my reply to Z's ITER comment...mistakenly thought it didn't take the first time?

quilter1 11:27 AM  

This one made me smile so it is OK by me. Wish I could afford the once-a-month massage club at my salon. As it is I manage two to three a year and AAH throughout. I also rate the puzzle easy. I just started at the top and filled in without pause.

Joseph Michael 11:33 AM  

I liked everything about this puzzle. Some of my best friends are PYROTECHNISTS.

I vaguely recall a syndicated print cartoon called WIZARD OF AAHS. Sometimes a little cornball is good fior you.

Moly Shu 11:37 AM  

@SteveJ, after reading @AliasZ's and your comments, I now know what I think of OPENSDOORS. It's fine of course, It just looked odd in the grid. And I really wasn't complaining, just (poorly) observing. Sorry to have saddebed(ed) you :).

old timer 11:41 AM  

My old man's an OTOLARYNGOLOGIST, what do you think about that?

(At which point, I spent some amusing time looking at a clip of the Smothers Brothers -- I'd forgotten they actually were good singers as well as funnymen).

I was confused when I got to AAHS at the bottom, then delighted when the answer came to me.

Of course it is true in Spanish that if you eat half your order of tamales, you have a single TAMAL. But tamales go way, way back in California, way back into the 19th Century, and the places that sold them were often called TAMALE parlors. One such, dating from the 1920's, is still around, I hope: The Roosevelt TAMALE parlor in San Francisco's Mission District. It's on 24th St., the home of Latino culture, but actually, 90 years ago the Mission was mostly Irish, and people born and raised in the Mission spoke what sounds like a West Coast version of Brooklynese.

Roo Monster 11:45 AM  

@Steve J,
I actually made and submitted a puz without an S! Called it No Double, but of course, came back as "Didn't excite Will enough" Was a pangram minus the S. So you see, it can be done! :-)


Molson 11:53 AM  

I actually laughed at the revealer - pleasantly corny. Definitely not a bad groaner.

Agree - ITERS is really the only painful bit here.

I had POPPY before OPIUM when trying to get the start of the second themer, but PTERADACTOLOGIST seemed like the only choice for a 16 letter OLOGIST starting "PT" and that didn't make much sense.

Smart Alexander 11:59 AM  

@SteveJ, so sorry to hear that you're saddebed. I certainly hope that you're happier once you've arisen.

Masked and Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Extra smooooth fill. Extra wide grid. Extra constructioneer. 4 U's.

PYRO-stuff-IST part was easy -- For the stuff in between, needed some help.
29A-IST was news to me.
MASSAGETHERAPIST went in pretty quick.

Clever revealer. Wonder if it in turn could be built into an Other Puz Universe themer, along with PRIMORDIALOOHS?
One Week Ago TuesPuz Revealer: GETTINGTOYOU.

fave weeject: NUM. The B is silent and invisible. (Which reminds me: this puz had no B's.)

@009: Crossword grid buildin is 90% perspiration and the other half desperation. Real hard to show sweat stains in the finished product, sometimes, other than in the lack of the other half, no?

Luv the look of AFFIX in the grid. A lot of sweat drops, and ENYA, may have went into pullin that one out.

thUmbsUp. RAH, Victor & Tom dudes. (yo, @Lewis) (et Al?)


**cryptic gruntz**

Bayh Valves 1:24 PM  

A special gift for OFL:

Nothing is moister
Than the tears of an OYSTER.

Ludyjynn 1:29 PM  

Very, very satisfying Tuesday solve.

PYROTECHNIcs also make me happy, BUT only when handled by the pros (Hi, @Hartley). Anyone else who does the backyard version endangers self, friends, family and neighbors' property. DOLTs.

Agree w/ @Anon.10:09 re OTOLARYNGOLOGIST. Besides, ENT (ear, nose and throat doc.) is so much easier to spell! I was literally 'blown' away by one who cleared c. 30 years of ear wax a while back. Try getting an appointment w/ one of these specialists and you'll definitely say AAH.

Thanks, VB, TP and WS.

Teedmn 1:55 PM  

Great puzzle, average Tuesday time for me. Had poppy before OPIUM and ScuM before SPAM. Loved seeing how the revealer interacted with the theme answers. Very nice, VB and TP.

I have a friend who named her dog FRODO: she wanted to name him Bilbo but her brother convinced her that everyone would think she was saying "Dildo" when she called him. Good choice, I think.

I have no idea what JAG stands for in the NCIS clue so I was glad I didn't need it for the cross.

Jason Pierre-Paul 2:11 PM  

There's a huge difference between a PYROTECHNIST and a PYROTECHNICIAN, trust me - I can count the difference on my fingers.

aging soprano 2:49 PM  

So, we had an easy Sunday, a simple Monday, and now this lovely Tuesday, which I also thought was easy. But maybe the fact that I finished the whole thing without having to google even once means it is well constructed rather than easy. Things that for others were gimmes weren't for me: AURORA, MYRTLE, ILLUMINATI and others had to be discovered from the crosses.
@whirred whacks, your definition for ATTICA is not for Tuesday.
I love and adore Massages and Fireworks, aah aah aah! But as a Soprano was not as fond of OTOLARYNGOLOGISTs, although they are essential to the profession.
We always referred to LOX as smoked salmon.
I won't be getting tomorrow's puzzle. Yom Kippur in Israel: no newspaper, no radio or TVSETS, no traffic. Just quiet and contemplation. The kids have a field day on their bicycles. Very high temperatures expected: in the high 30's C. There are going to be a lot of dehydrated fasters and cyclers, I fear.

Charles Flaster 2:57 PM  


Anonymous 3:40 PM  

I strongly disagree with Anon 10:09 re: OTOLARYNGOLOGIST. Being and otolaryngologist myself the clue was a gimme.

Here is a link to the governing body of my profession:

Interestingly, our governing body prefers "ENT" because it's easier and more widely recognized by the general public. However you can see that the full name of our profession is Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. To a medical person, this is very distinct from a neurologist, neurosurgeon, or orthopedic surgeon. In our field, Head and Neck Surgery is a subspecialty of ENT which deals with primarily cancers of the head and neck (but not cancers of the brain, vertebrae, eyes, etc). The term Otolaryngology is generally used in the medical community to signify ear, nose, and throat physician even though the root "rhino" is not in the word. A small minority of us prefer "Otorhinolaryngology."

Dr. Dave 3:54 PM  

In training, my (pretentious, academic) hospital's ENTs decided that they would no longer answer to "ENT" but preferred to be called ORLs.

Anonymous 4:09 PM  

Dr Dave did you train at Children's Hospital Boston?

Vancouver Nana 4:18 PM  

Enjoyed it. Fun clues, fun answers mostly. As a relative (18 months about) to NYT X-Word several first-time answers....always fun.

mac 4:50 PM  

Very cute Tuesday, with the best answer the reveal!

Not a lot of helmets on the heads of Vespa drivers in Europe, alas...

We know a father/son team who take care of the fireworks for the different towns around the 4th of
July. We always called them the pyromaniacs. Pyrotechnist sounds so odd to me (as opposed to pyrothechnician) that I though we were going to have some fun with wrongly written job names.

Nancy 5:00 PM  

@Hartley 70 (10:28) & Ludyjynn (1:29)-- One of the (football) Giants' best players blew off one or two of his most important fingers over July 4th this year and his future status with the team is iffy, to say the least. So your comments on the dangers of PYROTECHNICS are most apt!

chefwen 5:02 PM  

@L and Greater - From the Food Lover's Companion

Lox is a brine-cured cold smoked salmon, much of which has had sugar added to the brine, which produces a less salty product.
In cold-smoking, a temperature of 70 to 90 degrees is maintained and the fish might remain in the smokehouse from 1 day to 3 weeks.

Roo Monster 5:21 PM  

@Teedmn, JAG is Judge Advocate General, and was a TV show at one point.


da kine 9:22 PM  

Yup, its third declension neuter so it should be itinera. I thought it was masculine which would be itineres but that didn't sound right so I looked it up and you're right.

Tita 11:56 PM  

@hartley... Puz spouse is enameled of fireworks...about once or twice a year he scares up a small handful to set off.
I have warned him repeatedly that he had better practice dialing 911 with his nose, because I will have no part of messing with the zero-quality-control substance...
While i must admit that they are mildly fun, give me a box of sparklers any day over the chincey firecrackers we amateurs PYROTECHNISTs are allowed to get our hands on.

Wait...shouldn't 24A be ICEIST, to maintain the theme??

I loved this puzzle...and smiled even more when I saw Dr. Pepper's name at the top!!!

Leapfinger 6:45 AM  

And a good evening to you, tBoQ old PAL! How green is your valley, eh? AAHSome to have you pop up the day after 'OWIE makes the grid! That URNed you star billing as JFC's avatar, and started as good a dust-up as ever you did in person. JUNO you're still missed over at WP, and nice to have you RAISIN Cain over here.

[Typed in Tues night, drifted off w/o submitting. Sorry!]

L 10:40 PM  


Addie Kluemper 1:58 PM  

This was the puzzle for my son's birthday. He is 2, just like the "terrible" 43 across

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Enjoyed this all the way. I'd give it an Aah plus. Another great puzzle Tom! (And a Tuesday too! ) From your one-time tournament seat-mate Geri :-)

spacecraft 10:44 AM  

At last some fun! You guys are the wizards of aha!s. You can call it "corny" if you want to; I just got a chuckle. Yeah, that -IST ending on Themer #1 is a bit suspect, but it fits. The two most famous changes of meaning by the mere movement of a space are THE/RAPIST and this one:


Fun stuff. Despite a plethora of 3's in a distressingly choppy grid, I found little to carp at. NUM is not lovely, but you can see this took care. Kudos to the builders--and welcome back, Will, from wherever the hay-ull you were. A- (for the choppiness).

P.S. If you're not accustomed to see 47-down in its plural form, I give you this line of dialogue from the STTOS episode "Requiem for Methuselah:"

SPOCK [in reference to the android Rayna]: The joys of love gave her life; the AGONIES of love destroyed her.

They did some WRITING back in the day!

Burma Shave 12:37 PM  


She’d SAY she was a MASSAGETHERAPIST then sit in his LAP,
she was RAISIN more than his IRE by giving TEENY PEPE a tap.


rondo 1:27 PM  

Vas IST das? Those are some looong answers, I didn’t see that the grid was stretched. I suppose with all of those longs you’re going to have some Shortz. That line with ITERS TWOS and TSARS brings back some recent fill.

Is a manicurIST a PROFILER?

ENYA makes a frequent return, yeah baby from IREland. Was there ever a MYRTLE yeah baby?

What more to say about TAMALE OYSTER MINING with MYRTLE? This was a pretty good Tues-puz.

leftcoastTAM 4:49 PM  

Good and clever stuff here. I had to smile at the revealer. And the AURORA was worth some extra AAHS.

BTW, I'll take some BAROCAS and PEPPER with my TAMALE.

Thanks, guys.

strayling 6:59 PM  

A groaner in both content and intent. Well done, compilers, that was fun.

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agent william 5:05 AM  
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