Quito quaff / THU 12-17-15 / Trouble in Yiddish / Racy books named after Victorian garment / Oenophile's concern / Pupil of a snake's eye / Dogpatch creator / Indian-born writer of 1981 Booker Prize

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Constructor: David Kwong

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

[NOTE: the solution to the online puzzle and the AcrossLite (.puz) puzzle had an error at 7D / 20A (ANDS / OSS). This has apparently been fixed in the online puzzle, but the AcrossLite (.puz) file is still corrupt as of 5:15am Thursday morning]

THEME: DICE — theme answers contain the letter string "DICE," which is represented by two contiguous "DIE" squares (plural "DIE" = "DICE"). In the Downs, each "DIE" square is simply the letter string "DIE"...

Theme answers:
  • PRIDE AND PREJU (DIE! DIE!) (17A: 1813 novel made into a 2005 film)
  • CAN (DIE! DIE!) BERGEN (25A: Five-time Emmy-winning actress)
  • BO (DIE! DIE!)-RIPPERS (46A: Racy books named after a Victorian garment)
  • LONG ISLAN (DIE! DIE!) TEA (59A: Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content)
Word of the Day: TSURIS (64A: Trouble, in Yiddish) —

• • •
SPECIAL MESSAGE for SYNDICATED solvers for the week of January 17-January 24, 2016 

Hello, syndicated (i.e. 1-to-5-week-behind) solvers! Somehow, it is January again, which means it's time for my once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year. This year is special, as it will mark the 10th anniversary of Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, and despite my not-infrequent grumblings about less-than-stellar puzzles, I've actually never been so excited to be thinking and writing about crosswords. I have no way of knowing what's coming from the NYT, but the broader world of crosswords looks very bright, and that is sustaining. Whatever happens, this blog will remain an outpost of the Old Internet: no ads, no corporate sponsorship, no whistles and bells. Just the singular, personal voice of someone talking passionately about a topic he loves. As I have said in years past, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:

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And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.

There. Hope that helps.

For people who send me actual, honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail (I love snail mail!), this year my thank-you cards are "Sibley Backyard Birding Postcards"—each card a different watercolor illustration by ornithologist David Sibley. You could get a Black PHOEBE. A California TOWHEE. Or maybe even a picture of some fabled SCARLET TANAGERS (15). Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As I say in every thank-you card (and email), I'm so grateful for your readership and support. So thanks, not A TAD, but A TON (partial fill! coming in useful!). Now on to the puzzle …

• • •

[Here is the part of the write-up where I say "HEIL is a problematic word to have in any puzzle, but particularly when it's crossing TSURIS." (So many OYS ...)]

The hardest part by far was working out the nature of the rebus. I knew very quickly that 17A: 1813 novel made into a 2005 film was "Pride and Prejudice," but I mistakenly thought TIDY worked at 13D: Cleaned (up) (as you can see, wrong tense...) and so very mistakenly thought I was dealing with an "ICE" rebus. When EDDIES was the only thing that made sense at 14D: Things going down the drain?, I thought I was dealing with a weird rebus where ICE crossed DIE ... for some reason. If you ICE someone, they DIE? Who knows? I figured the answer would be revealed in time. But I ended up with GOAYS for 21A: Drives (GOADS), which let me know something was very wrong, which made me have to take a hard look at that NE corner, which made me, eventually, sort it out. After that, the puzzle was pretty easy overall. Took every cross to figure out STINK (50A: Perform lousily), so getting into the SW corner was slightly delayed, but with ICED TEA in place, the LONG ISLAND part ended up being a gimme, and so bing bam boom done.

Speedy and mostly enjoyable solve. The fill gets a bit wonky in places, notably in the middle (ASSOC LAH GRO) and SE (ADUE CTRL HEIL ASA). I like that, with the "DIE" squares, "DIE" only functions as a stand-alone word once (DIE OUT). Where themers are concerned, LONG ISLAND ICED TEA is something of a "which of these things is not like the other?" in that it's the only answer to have "DICE" broken across two words (all the others have "DICE" at the end of a word (PREJUDICE, CANDICE, BODICE). The clue on BIKINI kind of male-gazes this thing up. It's not an offensive clue by any means (BIKINIs can certainly "attract" attention), but I might've cross-referenced my clue here with ARUBA. Maybe something more generally about beachwear. Just to keep the ogling down. I liked the aptness of SPEEDIEST—that answer led to the SPEEDIEST "DIE" discovery of the day. I knew there were "DIE" squares a foot, and I looked at 44D: First to break the tape, and I had "SP-", and in went SPEEDIEST. Speedily.

[warning: language / violence]

Are LONG ISLAND ICED TEAs the color of ... Long Island? (59A: Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content) That does not sound ... appetizing.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 6:46 AM  

This was a brilliant theme by @David Kwong, and I think @Rex's analysis covers everything.

Over the past few days, I've been pretty preoccupied with end-of-semester stuff, but I notice that my name has come up with respect to mentioning crossword puzzles from my Friends group. @Rex makes the call as to whether or not to allow them, and I respect that. I also appreciate the many supportive comments, and acknowledge that at least one individual does not agree. Everyone is welcome to contact me off-Rex via e-mail to discuss further.

For today (December 17, 2015), we've created an intentionally super-easy sports-themed puzzle called Back-and-Forth in Omaha, complete with a "midrash." Several individuals who became cyberfriends through this blog beta tested it, and found it enjoyable even though it did not take any of them particularly long to solve it.

Happy Holidays to this wonderful community!

Anonymous 7:07 AM  

Come tarry here and welcome be
And quaff the foaming brew.
A friendly smile, a word, a song,
Will cheer the heart of you.

I turned one of their signs into an earthquake sensor for a science project in elementary school.

Quaff is usually related to drinking beer, isn't it?

Like Rex, I left the last two letters off "Pride and Prejudi" to grok the rebus. The puzzle itself was solid, and the rebus took some time to sort out. Welcome be, indeed.


Anonymous 7:11 AM  

Yeah! Rebus! Turning to the review, I was braced to face what I sadly imagined would be a silly objection to the clue for GIJOE, but perhaps the ? saved the day. Naturally I assumed the BIKINI clue referenced the atoll's famously beautiful strands, but the Wikipedia entry doesn't mention any. Sheesh, what's tinier than a micro-aggression? See said entry for the bathing suit's designer's marketing genius. Now that's offensive! Kudos to the NYT for their continued refusal to make the puzzle into a safe space. Thanks, @Rex, for the note on the app bug.

Lewis 7:12 AM  

For 66A I really really really wanted it to turn out, with the same clue, to be SERENA...

Excellent Thursday, with interesting answers like TWANGY, TSURIS, MOXIE, ABROGATE, RUSHDIE, and all the themers. I also especially liked the clues to AXLE and WEEDS. Plenty of challenge in the clues, plus we had an AIM low and a WEEDS out. With my Jewish background, I wanted to see, after each DIE DIE, an AYNU.

Gave me a tussle and fun to figure out. Pip pip hooray!

The PrettyGreenBullet Store 7:47 AM  

I'm so frustrated! I think I have everything correct but it's not registering as being complete. I've checked, double-checked, cleared and solved all over again. I'm using the iPhone app.

Abby Friedman 8:02 AM  

Long Island Iced Teas don't actually contain tea... (not sure if you were joking about that or not?) see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Iced_Tea

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

The last line in the write-up may have been facetious, but just to be sure: Long Island Iced Teas are so named because they are the color of iced tea (or are supposed to be) despite containing no tea.

Nancy Klein 8:28 AM  

The NYT app marked by Andy/oys clue incorrect. When I finally asked for the correction, it gave ands/oss as the answer.

L 8:31 AM  

Let me not be the first to say. This puzzle gave me lots of tzuris. I couldn't figure out the rebus, so big DNF there, and I often have trouble transliterating Yiddish to English so I'm never confident I'm getting it quite right. But when you do a puzzle and LAH, OYS and TSURIS are your gimmes, you know it's going to be rough going.

mmbeitlermd 8:32 AM  

the times answer has oss crossing with ands instead of oys crossing andy as the correct answer to this puzzle. i couldn't understand why it wasn't congratulating me for finishing and asked for the solution and i discovered this error.

Z 8:37 AM  

I was 95% done and still hadn't parsed the "read the two DIE squares as 'DICE'" part. Very nice. A discussion elsewhere about the Buzzfeed demographic suggested that they don't like having to figure too much out. Harrumph. I love that nice little endorphin rush of "ain't I smart" when the light goes on for this kind of puzzle.

I knew HEIL, but not TSURIS. There was a little tittering on Twitter over a Philadelphia Daily News cover. But then this happens. I know Rex is oft accused of being overly PC. The simple fact is that America still has too much ugliness just beneath the surface, and part of the solution is pointing out that it is there and it is ugly.

The clue for LONG ISLAN(D ICE)D TEA was a little off, I think. The name comes from the flavor, not the appearance. That vodka, rum, gin, tequila and triple sec with a little Coke and sweet and sour mix should taste so much like sweet Iced Tea is amazing. And a little dangerous. Lots of drinks have that look, but only one mimics the taste.

JenCT 9:02 AM  

I make a mean Long Island Iced Tea - it'll knock your socks off...

Very clever puzzle, much harder for me (as usual).

My husband's from Long Island; I'm from Brooklyn. Very early in our relationship, he informed me that Brooklyn is ON Long Island, a point which I vehemently denied. My geography's gotten much better since then...

Hi everyone!

NCA President 9:13 AM  

I would call this more "medium" than "easy-medium" only because getting the rebus figured out took some time. Originally I had LONGISLANDICEDT...with that single T as part of the theme. Then I got to the EDDies part, next to TIDies...and then I started to add in singular Ds. It was the CANDICEBERGEN/BODICERIPPERS sections that messed things up. So, knowing that eddies, tidied, and Long Island Iced Tea were right, it took me getting over trying to spell Candice as "Candace" (I have a friend who spells it that way), and the final Aha moment was at DIEOUT/GRENADIER. DICE! DIE/DIE plural!

For the poor non-English speaking folk among us (you know who you are), on behalf of the English language I apologize that the plural of DIE is a hard S sound, even though if you are working in manufacturing and you have several dies, it's a soft S sound...you know, like when someone dies (z). I have no idea how anyone learns English at all.

Am I wrong that "Biting" (3D) is an adjective and that the corresponding acid adjective would be "acidic?" Is "acid" a noun and an adjective?

I did like the Biathlon misdirect. I had "bow" to start, then "gun," both of which have to be "AIMed." Oh, yeah.

I also found out today that not only am I not up on my British Prime Ministers, but I don't care about them either. I'm sure there are plenty of Brits who have great gaps in their knowledge of US presidents. We'll call it even.

As for the HEIL crossing TSURIS. Interesting catch by Rex. Does the word HEIL need to go the way of the name Adolph, or the ancient swastika symbol, or the toothbrush mustache? Or was it that it crossed a specifically Yiddish word that would have been apt during a time when "heil" was used to salute a Fuhrer? What exactly is heil's sin?

Carola 9:21 AM  

Lovely. Like @Rex, with the book title I first thought we might have an "ice" rebus, but the pair of DIEs in TIDIED and EDDIES corrected that and got a smile of delight. After that, the puzzle became easy. Loved BO(dice) RIPPERS. As well as GRENADIERS, ABROGATE, ABSALOM. I don't think we often see two TS... words in a puzzle, like TSARINAS and TSURIS, which is, I guess, what that had when the Revolution came.

chefbea 9:22 AM  

Knew there were two die's in each answer but didn't know they were dice until Rex explained. Long Island iced tea is the color if iced tea because of the coke (or pepsi) mixed with all the alcoholic stuff. Usually served with a lemon

Nancy 9:26 AM  

Brilliant. A clever, clever theme, wonderfully executed, that seems completely new. I got the trick right off at PRIDE AND PREJU DIE DIE, and I said "Aha!" Having worked in book publishing, I knew the term BODICE RIPPERS (never meant as a compliment.) But I definitely needed the theme to solve since I've never heard of LONG ISLAND ICED TEA. (Named for its color???? What color is Long Island?) Favorite non-them answer was BIKINI. Saw it right off the bat from the "B", but thought: "They're not going to do this, are they?" Well. they did. Funny. Just loved this puzzle!

Chuck McGregor 9:41 AM  

I got the DIE DIE rebuses as they worked with the downs, but had no clue about the DIE DIE = DICE for the across until reading @Rex. OY!

65a: I can never figure out whether it will be TS-, TZ-, CS-. or CZ- for one of them there Ruskie roy-als.

57d: CTRL and Home are the only 4-letter PC keys so with one letter they are always gimmes or, with only two choices per square, trying those letters can help figure out crosses. The same is true for those "direction" answers. Gotta be some combination of N or S with E or W.

26d: I went to ARUBA for a week, staying with some friends who lived there. I was in their kitchen early one morning having my coffee. The sun was brightly shining, 80+ degrees, lovely breeze wafting through the open air kitchen. When my host arose and walked in, his first words were, "Well...another boringly beautiful day in ARUBA."

31d: MOXIE! A shout out for my soda of choice with a fresh 12-pack sitting only a few feet away. As some Maine folk say, "If you don't like MOXIE you're probably not from around here."


1a: Like a Banjo. I wanted "rarely" because "never" didn't fit.

I wonder what a GRENADIER BIKINI would look like? On second thought, I don't think I'll wonder that.

I'll CAPP this with an ADUE and

DBlock 9:50 AM  

At first I simply put ICE into the square--thinking there was some sort of slipping on ice thing going on--as the words swirled around the ICE square--it kind of works but then realized the real rebus
and yes Heil near Tsuris was interesting to be sure.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:51 AM  

Alea iacta est . . . . Alea iacta est . . . .

Great puzzle!

GILL I. 10:08 AM  

OY, just about sums it up for me.
I've never heard the term BODICE RIPPERS although I'm pretty sure I read a few during my BIKINI days.
I could only figure out one DIE and like @Rex thought some ice was involved. SA(DIE) and RUSH(DIE) gave me the aha DICE moment.
Very clever Thursday but some impossible words. I finished but had to Google for ADLER TSURIS and EDEN.
my first entries (first pat on the back) were LAH and ABSALOM. I was so proud to remember Son of David. After that, I was scared to death to enter things I was pretty sure of, like TWANGY and the one word I can't stand, ESPIED.
Took me a while to finish and now I know that Chutzpah isn't about nerve.

RickLevenson 10:11 AM  

I found this puzzle to be... paradise.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

@Barany's at it again, promoting his puzzles here. I guess OFL has no problem with this.

Roo Monster 10:28 AM  

Hey All !
Agree on the cleverness of this puz, but was completely flummoxed on just what in tarnation was happening. Had AND thE J for the book/movie, so had to Goog it. (Should have known it? I dunno, not into BODICE RIPPERS, apparently.) But I also had the rebus as DI CE, which sorta worked for a little bit. But when I got to 46A, (which I never heard, BTW, but appropriate) I had the DI under RUSH(DI), and knowing my ROAN was correct, scratched my head on why the CE wasn't next to it. Finally gave in and Googed for ADLER and TSURIS. And then when I still couldn't make heads or tails of the CE Downs, said, That's enough of this silliness, and came here. Oh, said I, DIE DIE, not DI CE. So a very large DNF, as the NE also put uo a fight, and having to Goog, leaving empty squares, and not grocking the theme correctly. Ouch!

But, after all that, didn't hate the puz. Actually thought it a good, clever concept. Apparently the ole brain just didn't want to think that hard today!

Did have a couple of writeovers, gun->AIM, alot->lOtS->TONS, ABSALan, hitS->BOPS.

You got me, David Kwong!


G Moore 10:36 AM  

Fun puzzle for Thursday. Mad about the mistake at 7d still not fixed by 10:30.

Joseph Welling 10:38 AM  

I liked the theme.

My only quibble is with 9D--RNR. I guess the "and" in "R and R" is shortened to "'N'"?

Z 11:00 AM  

@JenCT - Hi back at ya.

@NCA Prez - Rex has been accused of having an ACID tongue. "ACID wit" works, too. Beyond that I can't easily come up with examples of ACID as an adjective.
Also, I don't think it is HEIL's sin, it's ours. But check my second link from earlier and try to convince me it isn't hate speech. I don't believe in banning speech, but I do believe that when you use certain words it says something about you.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:02 AM  

TSURIS shooting! This Thursday offering from David Kwong, had both my wife and I totally INCENSED, as it upped and DIEd on us right from the get-go! Can't wait to tackle Friday's Xword puzzle after this debacle! A fond ADUE, ADUE, To you and you and you!

Gene 11:02 AM  

Not often that I literally lol when I get the rebus!

Leapfinger 11:30 AM  

What a delight!

There's a philosophical undercurrent to the difficulty of coming up with both PRIDE AND PREJUDICE intact, isn't there? though some would rather DIE twice than admit it. Exactly how to work in PREJUDICE was mysterious to me, till I figured out 25A was talking about Edgar BERGEN's little girl; the roll of the DIE showed how neatly GRENA[die]R and [die]OUT made CAN[dice] come out real natural. That kept me giggling for the rest of the solve, and I especially appreciated BO[die,die]RIPPER and LONGISLAN[die,die]DTEA. I can't believe a single soul will say this was a crap-shoot!!

Loved the clues for AXLE and WEEDS.
HEIL is a matter of history; be NONRIGID and accept the fact. Crossing with TSURIS is appropriately poignant with meaning. As at least one person in the camps said, "If you can't laugh, how can you survive?"

Was there a test to crossing BIKINI with LONG_ISLAND?
How about STINK near to INCENSED? My vote is for Patchouli Musk.
ABROGATE must be related to interROGATE; shall have to investiGATE.
A TWANGY banjo in the NUDE would be a real ADdLER; if there's one around, I BET @AliasZ will know it.

A variant on the 'dog limping into the bar' story: Ogre walks into the bar with his jaw all bandaged up, "I'm looking for the varmint who shot my MAW".

Most of my TSoress came from TSURIS, but I ARBOR no ill-will; Lord NOSE it's hard to CTRL transliteration, esp when four Jews have six opinions. My take is that, in this instance, Mr. Kwong was making the point that those who OYS in their TSURIS might be considered TSURINAS.

As ever, a STELLA product, Mr. Kwong.

RAD2626 11:31 AM  

I finished the puzzle with DIE in the first rebus square and CE in the second of each pir and was very satisfied with myself, figuring it had something to do with dice and it all sort of fit. I give myself a DNF with an asterisk. I wish I had put in ANDs/OSs and gotten it right/wrong. I would have had another asterisk. Fill was very clever. Lots of good words and clues. And the NRA clue was not violence related despite the "piece" misdirection so no one should take offense.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@Nancy Klein, thanks for being the sacrificial lamb and clueing the rest of us to the Times' error, and allowing us to keep our streaks alive.

Wonder if they'll acknowledge the error.

AliasZ 11:42 AM  

Lovely puzzle today, in spite of the fact that the NYT amateur hour was in full swing again. There must have been an earlier version of the puzzle in which ANDS|OSS were correct. It was later changed to ANDY|OYS, but someone forgot to tell the people who prepare the electronic versions for the online app and Across Lite. Don't you love modern technology? Yeah, me too. Such TSURIS... oy, oy, oy!

The fill was {DIE][DIE]ey in places. NBAER -- seriously? What's next, NCAAER? OYS! But then I am preju[DIE][DIE]d against junk fill, and I don't think it is a sign of cowar[DIE][DIE] to say that. I have nothing against people with a jaun[DIE][DIE]d look, or surgeons who remove hundreds of appen[DIE][DIE]s during their careers. If you find yourself in Barcelona, Spain, make sure you visit the Gau[DIE][DIE]nter. It is well worth it, [DIE][DIE]rto.

What could be a more perfect musical tribute to today's theme than an aria from Orfeo ed Euri[DIE][DIE] by Christoph Willibald Gluck?

Enjoy your Thursday.

Paul Johnson 11:52 AM  

My Harper Collins German dictionary doesn't even list the German word HEIL (HAIL/HEALTH). My guess is it's so reviled even by Germans it didn't merit an entry. And clearly the only time HEIL was ever used with a salute was to Der Fuhrer as in SIEG HEIL. And they weren't wishing him good HEALTH Sure there was AVE/HAIL Caesar, but no HEIL Caesar. So I'd say that's the sin of HEIL

old timer 11:52 AM  

Looking at Linda Ronstadt singing "Tumbling Dice" made me think of California Governor Jerry Brown. These days, he's a respectable married man of 77. But during his first set of terms in the governor's office, he was quite the swinger, and for a time Ronstadt was his girlfriend, The old guy must have some pleasant (and intimate) memories of her.

Like many of you, I wrote in PRIDE AND PREJUD and felt totally stuck. I finally figured out that there would be two DIEs in a row in the themers. It was only when I had all the other answers and went back to the top that I realized I needed two DIEs there, too. But why? Oh!!! Two dies are "dice". Got it!

And having Gotten It, I decided this was a very nice puzzle indeed. No TSURIS for me.

HEIL simply means "hail" in German. As "ave" does in Latin, which is why "Ave Maria" is translated as "Hail Mary".

Aketi 11:54 AM  

@Nancy, oddly I was introduced to LONG ISLAN(DIEDIE)TEA in Seattle of all places. I think the color refers to the color of TEA, not LONG ISLAND.
@Z, I too think it should have been clued from r flavor, not color.
@ JenCT, it did so I never drank it again.

@Nancy, I have to change mess that during the peak period of procrastination while finishing my doctoral dissertation I read lots of BO(DIEDIE)RiPPERS intermingled with Dickens and Tolstoy.

@Lewis, thank you for adding the AYNU to the DIEDIEs.
That happy song will now what first entered my head after my dentist visit yesterday. While I was waiting for her I was playing a resurrected visually enhanced version of Myst on my iPad and when she asked about it, I said no one does in this game. When then led to a conversation about kids playing my video games chanting DIEDIE DIEDIE DIEDIE DIEDIE as they kill of enemies in the games. So that was the first thing that popped into my head. I didn't dare confess to her that my favorite game was Dead Space. It was so unbelievably scary that I also resorted to that chant when the necromorphs that had giant tentacles that tried to grab me and pull me into their giant MAWs unless I managed to shoot the infected areas of their tentacles, I DETOXed myself from that game by playing Portal which is now my second favorite game. No one dies, the only shooting is to create holes through walls to solve what are essentially physics problend.

cwf 12:02 PM  

I cannot remember another puzzle that made use of rebuses that were singular in one direction and plural in another. Very clever and it took me a long time to figure out how that worked (happened at LONGISLANDICEDTEA for me).

This is just darling:
"[Here is the part of the write-up where I say "HEIL is a problematic word to have in any puzzle, but particularly when it's crossing TSURIS." (So many OYS ...)]"

EFL 12:15 PM  

@NCAPrez, I'm willing to bet that more Brits know more American Presidents than Americans know British P.M.s, even if US persons outnumber UK persons by a Comfortable Margin. Ditto on how well many foreign-born learn to speak English compared to native-born Americaners. Maybe those furriners are just more interested.

Ellen S 12:49 PM  

@JenCT, geography is more than oceans and continents (and islands). It's also concerned with the human impact on the land and sea. Which doesn't explain why Israel is in Europe, but I read somewhere that the United Nations proclaimed it so, some years back. Israel, politically, is on the wrong continent, and my kinfolk there don't want to caucus with Africans and Arabs, so the UN fixed it. By similar, maybe reverse, convoluted reasoning, I think it can be said, or felt, that Brooklyn isn't really on Long Island. Or is "on" but not "of" Long Island. There may be an income test for really being a Long Islander.

I was stuck at the top for a long time, convinced that the rebus was AND, except I couldn't get the AND in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE to cross RANDR. Liked it when I finally figured it out.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

I went to bed wondering where I had made an error... but today found I had solved it, so I guess it was the ANDY/OYS issue, and was fixed even in filed puzzles. Nice!

Hey Rex: if you think "BIKINI" as an answer is somehow sexist, you need to get a clue (and look up the origin of the word).

Adrian 1:07 PM  

With the theme DIE DIE and the word HEIL in the puzzle (and then seeing a picture of Homer), I was fully expecting Rex to embed the Simpsons clip where Sideshow Bob is accused of sending Bart threatening letters.

"It doesn't say 'Die, Bart, Die. It's German. It says 'The, Bart, The.'"

"Well, no one who speaks German could be an evil man."

Jackie 1:13 PM  

Have to say that I hated this one. NRA shout-out in the central line, "Die Die" throughout, a Nazi salute, and leering at bikini babes all combined to make this really unpleasant. Surprised they did not throw in something "hood"-related while they were at it, or maybe something cutesy poo about Idi Amin or Pol Pot.

Alby 1:21 PM  

Well, I'll most likely remember the DIE/DICE distinction from now on. NBAER is as bad as CAGER.

Teedmn 1:28 PM  

My non-Jewish background didn't hold me back but my insistence on holding onto the double rebus a la @Rex's original Dice across DIE down rebus idea certainly didn't help. Oh well, 20 minutes on Thursday is not unprecedented. That tough SE added to the challenge along with having Solomon in at 23D and "gun" at 48A, and nerve first instead of MOXIE. All of that got fixed, so except for having a double rebus in some squares, I successfully solved this.

Two words starting with TS in one grid - where's T.S.Eliot when you need him?

I liked the clues for GIJOE, CODE, AXLE, and WEEDS. The clues for ARBORS and I BET, not so much.

Thanks for the interesting puzzle, David Kwong!

mac 1:45 PM  

Well. that was a real Thursday puzzle. The theme was fairly easily gettable,

Love that "stink"! At 12D I had Mate instead of agua for a bit, thought I was so clever.

Leapfinger 1:51 PM  

ACID rain, she said precipitately.

Zoltania 1:52 PM  

@Paul Johnson, my Harper Collins German dictionary (college edition, copyright 1990) has a listing for "Heil."

Z 2:49 PM  

@Anon1:00 - Did you understand what Rex said about the clue for BIKINI? Your post suggests that you don't. If you're going to criticize someone it should be for what they actually wrote.

@oldtimer - The guy yelling "sieg heil" while attacking a Black Lives Matter protestor meant something very different than just "hail victory." "Ave" and "hail" haven't been co-opted like "heil" has, to suggest that they still mean the same thing is inaccurate at best.

John V 2:51 PM  

Alas, it happens that sometimes my brain does not connect with certain constructors. I do not recall ever completing a David Kwong puzzle.

Thomas 2:51 PM  

Once I got what was going on in the theme, which I enjoyed, it wasn't bad. Unfortunately it took me an embarrassingly long time to work out exactly what was going on there.

Loved opening the grid with TWANGY. Not sure why.

I am about the last person to find a clue problematic, but even I scrunched my nose at HEIL. I tried to figure out some way it could be HAIL. Nope. HEIL. Is HEIL still used in the German military? I would be surprised if it were.

Seriously, what the HEIL? (har har har)

While I am making my PC-ish gripes, "Boy toy?" works on the one hand for GIJOE on the one hand, because the '?' clues that the answer is not a word for the "male sexual plaything" sense of the phrase. However, thinking of a GIJOE as a toy for boys (as the clue eventually intends) is dated and dumb. Unfortunately, altering the clue loses the double meaning, so I guess(?) that's why they stuck with it.

Never, ever heard of TSURIS. OY!

JennG 3:17 PM  

RNR is not a thing. It could be RANDR or R&R, but it would never be RNR

Hartley70 4:38 PM  

Fantastic Thursday Rebus, Mr. Kwong! I made the same journey as Rex as I tried to figure out how the rebus worked in the puzzle. I knew the answers to the clues, but it was a wonderful aha reveal when I finally saw DIE DIE.

I'd just like to say I feel the pain of those Middle America solvers who whined yesterday about the LOEB Central Park boathouse, although at the time I just thought they were sissies, Having lived in NYC and attended NYU (where Tita rightly observed that LOEB is a marquee name) it seemed like a perfect clue to me. Today, karma was a bitch and I had to stumble around the puzzle's mid-east trying to guess the name of a Chicago planetarium. Whaaa? Chicago?

Jennifer Kline 5:17 PM  

I had the same problem so I caved and "checked puzzle" and instead of "Andy" Roddick it said "Ands"? I was in the app too.

Karl 5:48 PM  

I liked this one. I really thought the DIE + DIE = DICE gimmick was clever. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

jae 5:54 PM  

Got stuck last night and just stopped. I knew there was a rebus, but could not see how it worked. There was alcohol involved. Picked it up this morning and everything was clear in the cold light of day. Clever and fun, liked it.

Monica 5:54 PM  

Hi - first time posting! So I finished the puzzle (loved it), checked and double checked, came here, accommodated the error by changing that "y" to "s" .... Still no happy music. 😟

Gregory Schmidt 6:55 PM  

NBAER? seriously?

kitshef 7:19 PM  

Poor clue for IBET crossing the odious, please-banish-it-forever NBAER. Despite that, wow!, what a fantastic puzzle. Challenging for me. Nothing came to me until LAH, and got no crosses off of that. Next came FAR and CALIF, then nothing until --ARINAS at 65A, and then finally able to make some progress.

Oh, also not fond of the clue for WERE. Front of a wolf? would be better.

GILL I. 7:40 PM  

@mac...I too wanted mate. I wonder if anyone who hasn't had that wonderful yerba, might think it a naval term? Love that stuff....!

Mohair Sam 8:25 PM  

Busy day. Did the puzzle over the dinner tonight and had the most unusual dnf ever. We were 100% good across except for TSURIS, but missed the rebus. Going down we misspelled RUSHDIE (no E), assumed the constructor didn't know his foot soldier terminology (GRENADER), don't know my Beatles songs (SADIE), nor my Yiddish (thought DIyS at 61d). We had assumed David Kwong was rolling the DICE over two spaces and you picked the letters you needed to make the downs work.

The good news is we're posting this so late only Rex will be laughing at us. Enjoy.

@Jenn G - Yup, 5 years in the Air Force and probably heard and used the term R and R at least a thousand times - never heard "RNR". The Urban Dictionary calls us wrong, but I wonder how many vets work there.

Speaking of Yiddish - there's a chain of sub shops in northern New York State called Jrecks. Years ago I met one of the original owners and asked him if he knew what that sounded like in Yiddish - he grinned. They make awesome subs, btw.

Numinous 8:35 PM  

I know it's late. I liked this one even though I was a bit baffled by [die][die]. The fat lady sang and I came her to be reminded, embarrassingly, that two [die] are DiCE.

@Hartey70, I'm from California. "FROM" being the operative word as I'm in Georgia. I don't know a heck of a lot about NYC but, from puzzles, I know a few things. I know a few things about Chicago too. Do I know the Planatarium? Nope. Do I know about the LOEB boat house? Nope. But I figured them out from the crosses. If I had to complain, I'd complain about Inti. I've never been to Peru. How am I supposed to know that? Instead, I just looked it up in the dictionary and figured it had to be the INCAn sun god. Please understand, I'm not "ragging" on you. There is a lot of stuff I don't know but enjoy discovering and learning about via crosswords. BTW, I'll admit that I do get a little smug satisfaction out of getting almost all of the California clues but I can still empathize.

I'd have finished this faster had not the [die]s puzzled me so I mainly thought this was pretty easy. Currently, my brain is a bit scrambled from writing cryptic clues so looking at NYT clues, part of me is looking for double meaning.

I expected HEIL to generate a much more siegnificant outcry.

Anonymous 9:50 PM  

How many puzzles has Rex had published in the NYT?

Anonymous 7:08 AM  

No one else bothered by the long-i pronunciation of "dice" not corresponding to the short-i pronuncation in prejudice, bodice, and Candice? Just didn't sit right with me.
--ChrisP in AA

AliasZ 8:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck McGregor 8:50 AM  

Anonymous 7:08 AM

"...the long-i pronunciation of 'dice' not corresponding to the short-i pronunciation in prejudice, bodice, and Candice...Just didn't sit right with me."

I would point out that the long-i pronunciation of the "DIE"s as singulars of "dice" does not correspond to this pronunciation in some of the down answers. So "die" becomes "dee" in SADIE and is no longer, pronunciation-wise, a singular of "dice." Its only the letters "D-I-E" that matter.

The theme answer...islanD ICEd...further supports this as the letters span two words. So using the letters "D-I-C-E" to complete the acrosses, not the word "dice," is the conceit, just as it is for the letters "D-I-E," not the word "die" for the downs.

Ergo, I think how either "D-I-E" or "D-I-C-E" is pronounced in their various contexts in this puzzle is a moot point (though it would have been an amazing feat if that was made a part of the game!).


Tita 9:58 AM  

Loved the gimmick. Thanks, Mr. Kwong, for a quirky Thursday rebus.

Hi @Jen CT! So nice to see you back here!

spacecraft 10:10 AM  

I wouldn't put the word "easy" anywhere near this baby. Yes, I too went the ICE route, and was getting bogged down everywhere. But doggone it, I had two gridspanning gimmes! Now how often does THAT happen? I finally figured out my mis-rebus at GRENADIER/DIEOUT. And then I thought, wow, super-clever!

I'm not a fan of NBAER; not even a fan of the NBA at all. We really ought to ban all NBAERs and MLBERs, etc., not just Pete Rose.

And while we're banning: HEIL. Please. I'm not even Jewish and it bothers me. Notable are the twin TS- entries. Where's TSETSE for the hat trick?

I worked--yes, WORKED--at this for an hour and a half. Though the completed grid looks like a dog's breakfast, it IS a correctly completed grid. The sense of triumph beefs up the grade, but fill NONONOs knock it down to a B+. Challenging-medium.

Burma Shave 12:00 PM  


she had MOXIE, but no BIKINI, that’s when I ESPIED SADIE in the NUDE.


rondo 12:39 PM  

All you rebus lovers found this just sooooo precious, but I just can’t stand this type of puz. EACH time I do ONE, it’s fingernails on the blackboard. Yeah, clever construction, etc., but what TSURIS.

A CALIF NBAER could be a Laker or Clipper or Warrior. Is N BAER related to Max?

Probably would not have gotten ADLER except for numerous trips to Chi-town. ADLER usually makes me think “psychologist Alfred”. You decide.

Today CAN(DICE)BERGEN and her NUDE Carnal Knowledge will URN yeah baby status. And anyone who performs the role of (scream it) STELLA!!!

I ESPIED the gimmick in the PRIDE answer, yet these puzzles still make me INCENSED. ADUE.

Diana,LIW 1:50 PM  

I don't have a set pattern to playing the puz. I might do all downs one day and all crosses the next, or (much more likely) I'll just jump around to the clues I can get.

Today I must have jumped to the clues that made me grumpy first, and it kinda tainted the solve for me. Lived = WERE? blggch! 58-down - greeting? Greeting? No.

And why oh why, after 5 bleeping weeks can't the syndicated version have the correct clues? That's not a technology error, that's just plain lazy. A few weeks ago my syndie version had 8 down clues MISSING!! Where's the fun in that?

Once I got the rebus there were a few fun reveals. But all-in-all, the STINK wouldn't go away.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Tom Morehouse 3:14 PM  

Most of what Rex said, and challenging, not easy-medium for me.

I found there were pairs of DIE fairly early on, but it took to long to see that I was looking at DICE and not realizing it. When I did...[head slap!]

Good Thursday workout, with a forehead bruise to show for it.

leftcoastTAM 4:34 PM  

Errors in my syndicated version of puzzle: clues for 7D, Clause connectors, and 20A, 1942 FDR creation. Answers are ANDS and SSS, which give NSSE(!)as answer to 18D clue, oenophile's concern.

leftcoastTAM 4:46 PM  

Never mind. (Not really errors, just differences in the puzzle clues and answers.)

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