Aerial navigation beacon / TUE 1-12-16 / Sea Italy Greece separator / Fitness program popularized in 1990s / Elle Decor reader

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (normal Tuesday time, but it's 16 wide, so ... must've been easier than normal, by a bit)

THEME: INTERIOR DESIGNER (41A: Elle Decor reader ... or any of the names hidden in 18-, 28-, 52- and 66-Across) —there are *fashion* DESIGNERs in the INTERIOR of every theme answer:

Theme answers:
  • FARM ANIMALS (18A: Most of the leading characters in "Babe")
  • SNOW ANGELS (28A: Things kids make in the winter)
  • RADIO RANGE (52A: Aerial navigation beacon)
  • ANKLE INJURY (66A: Serious setback for a kicker)
Important crossword vocabulary:
  • Ernie ELS (10D: 1994 P.G.A. Tour Rookie of the Year)
  • Alex Rodriguez aka A-ROD (69A: Youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, familiarly)
  • STU Ungar (43D: Poker great Ungar)
Word of the Day: RADIO RANGE
• • •

SPECIAL MESSAGE for the week of January 10-January 17, 2016

Hello, solvers. Somehow, it is January again, which means it's time for my week-long, 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, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. 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:

Rex Parker
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905

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 …

• • •

Yeow, this one was bumpy. Once I fully grasped what the theme was (well after I completed the puzzle and finished surveying the wreckage), I gained some appreciation for what the puzzle was trying to do. It's a nice repurposing of the phrase INTERIOR DESIGNER, and it can't have been easy to embed that many *well-known* designers names inside two-word phrases. However, there are several problems. Minor: somehow INTERIOR DESIGNER does not seem repurposed enough; that is, we're still talking about designers, and what with Vera WANG getting into home furnishings (maybe she's been there a long time already; I wouldn't know), somehow the distance between the revealer phrase and the concept of a fashion designer isn't stark enough to make the reveal really snap. This is to say that the revealer doesn't have the snappy wow factor that comes when we are forced to really reconceive what a phrase means, to think of it in a completely different way. Yes, we do have to think of it literally (designer's name physically situated in the "interior" of the theme phrase), and that is different, but we stay firmly in the realm of fashion / design. Moving from interior design to fashion design ... just doesn't have pop. There's also the obscurity / strangeness RADIO RANGE (which I would've thought meant how far a radio signal reaches) and the utter green paint* of ANKLE INJURY. I might accept HEAD or NECK or BRAIN INJURY as a stand-alone "body part INJURY" phrase, but all other body parts feel arbitrary. EYE INJURYs are real, but would you really buy EYE INJURY in your puzzle? (hint: you would not).

But ... BUT ... the biggest problem here is the fill, which is painful in many, many places. I winced my way through this one, from beginning to end. From the LO FAT TAE BO of the NORTE to the KOI of the IONIAN ISLA in the south. And those aren't even the nadir. SES!?!? SSTAR??! ITI!?!?!?!?!?!?!? It's an easy Tuesday puzzle; we shouldn't be seeing even one of those answers, let alone all of them. Over and over again, the fill made me shake my head and grimace. You gotta do better than this. And can we please, please, in the name of all that is holy, retire TAE BO. Just put it in a crosswordese retirement community with ERLE Stanley Gardner and Perle MESTA and other fine people who shouldn't be allowed near crosswords any more. I hear Florida's nice. Lastly, [Scalp] does not equal RESELL. It. Does. Not. "Scalp" specifically implies massive mark-up. Also, illegality. The word RESELL has No Such Connotation. This is like cluing HOUSE as [Igloo].

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*green paint (n.)— in crosswords, a two-word phrase that one can imagine using in conversation, but that is too arbitrary to stand on its own as a crossword answer (e.g. SOFT SWEATER, NICE CURTAINS, CHILI STAIN, etc.)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:09 AM  

Medium-tough for me, but maybe it was the 16 wide grid. Although, some of this seemed Wed./Thurs. ish...LEDA, STU and ELS (as clued), RADIO RANGE, MUSCAT, SES, S STAR...

Had Role before REEL.

Is that array on my dash really dials?

Pretty good Tues. Liked it more than Rex did, but he's right about the fill issues.

Z 12:20 AM  

As a guy with two titanium staples holding my Achilles to the bone, ANKLE INJURY is never green paint.

Otherwise, pretty much what Rex said. First thought when I finished was ,"Is Armani into interiors now, too?" Leastest favorite fill? YAY ME. I'd prefer it spelt "yeah me." I always do a little eye roll when the double dowse version appears.

Carola 12:25 AM  

A creative take on the hidden word theme - I thought the reveal was perfect.  After that central spanner I went back and searched out ARMANI (I loved the whimsy of his appearing AMIDST the FARM ANIMALS) and WANG.  Understanding the theme and seeing DIOR definitely helped me with RADIO RANGE.

I had a different reaction to some of the other words @Rex objected to: I thought the international array of entries nicely complemented the international group of designers.  For the Italian Armani, AMORE, ISLA, and LIRA; for DIOR the French SAUTE, UNE, and SES, along with Turkish (DEY), Japanese (DOJO, KOI), Russian (MIR), Spanish (NORTE, SRA), and even Latin (BENE) and Greek (ETA). Some of which, of course, have made the transfer from the original language into the OED.

Also going with the fashion theme, we have the old, "What did DELAWARE, boys?" (in care you're too young to remember: a brand New Jersey).

chefwen 12:40 AM  

WOW, you can barely walk across the room these days without tripping over a CC puzzle. The lady is definitely prolific.

Have to agree with @jae, medium tough. Only one write over bARn to FARM at 18A, but still, it seemed to take me a long time to get through this one. I was taken aback upon completion with the INTERIOR VS. Fashion DESIGNER until Rex pointed out the designers being in the interior of the answers. Well O.K. If you say so, I guess I can buy into that.

I CANNOT listen to BOCELLI's "Time To Say Goodbye" without tears coming to my eyes. Happens. Every. Time! Made a fool of myself staying at the Bellagio.

Blair Walsh 12:44 AM  

You know what a serious setback is for a place-kicker? A f(*&ing idiot holder who can't get the laces in the right position!

kozmikvoid 1:06 AM  

Ankle injury is not green paint at all in football. It's actually a very common phrase used a bare minimum of 10 times a week on ESPN during football season (that's probably a very low estimate since it's one of the most common injuries in the game). There's probably a 50-50 chance that if you check any sports web site right now and click on any preview article on any playoff football game coming up this weekend, the phrase "ankle injury" will appear.

And let's set the record straight: scalping is perfectly legal in all but a few states. And most of those states that have restrictions are only enforced at or near the venue. Not sure how something that's totally legal in 43 or so states is considered or connotated as illegal.

Ellen S 2:32 AM  

I'm usually pretty immune to the kind of fill that makes Rex explode, but OEDS was a POC that even I couldn't ignore. Would it be multiple volumes, or did somebody buy several copies of the condensed edition?

However, I have to mute my griping because this puzzle gave me a real run for my money. I started out with LOcAl for 1D and just continued putting in wrong answers everywhere. I wound up with a real mess in the SYR / ARYAN area. I actually put in NOODLE and changed it to dOODLE so ... Well I wound up with a big mess (was the Ba'ath Party founded in some Soviet territory?) until I straightened it out with a multitude of writeovers and won the congratulatory song from Puzzazz.

Good thing I've traded in my pen for an iPad.

Loren Muse Smith 4:29 AM  

I dunno, Rex. The reveal was plenty snappy for me. I just saw

1. They're all designers.
2. Their names are all embedded in the interior of the phrases.

I thought it the perfect reveal for the trick, one we saw in October of 2012 but with a different reveal (and two of the same themers):


@Z - When ANKLE INJURY fell, I sat back and considered if it was green paintsome. I was thinking that ANKLE INJURY, "knee-injury," "back injury" are fully in my language as phrases. But when I see Rex's "head, neck, brain injury," I see his point. Regardless, the entry as a themer, didn't bother me. Alert the presses.

Oh, and @Z – I see your point about YAY, but I always end up spelling it that way because "yeah" can have a different pronunciation:

Who's gonna make me, You?
Yeah, me. Whatch gonna do about it, buddy?

Rex, I agree with your suggestion to retire TAE BO. And I'd add to go ahead and let Susan DEY go with it.

"Quiche" was my first entry. Ya know, I never liked quiche anyway.

I can see how some of the fill could be challenging for an early-week solver, but I found all the crosses fair. I really liked the trick and the reveal.

Loren Muse Smith 4:30 AM  

Hey, @Tita – I think I've looked into your question before about why we hijacked the word ENTRÉE for our main course. Between classes, I tried to sniff around and then I remembered why I gave up – several different ideas, a lot of finger-pointing and blaming. It is weird, huh? I have to say ENTRÉE has a je ne sais quoi that "plat" doesn’t.

"Hey, Bill. You wanna split a plaahh?"

This is cool, though – people in Europe used to use their knives and forks that way Americans do (the "zig-zag" method) until the 1800s, when the aristocracy must've looked around and said, "Sheesh. This. Is. Ridiculous. Let’s just keep the fork in our left hand from now on." I guess the descendants of the Pilgrims never got that email.

GILL I. 6:00 AM  

Yes...I too had a NOODLE moment with INTERIOR instead of fashion but only for a short moment. After all, INTERIOR means inside of anything and all those cleverly hidden DESIGNERs are hiding in perfectly good phrases.
Well done, Ms. Burnikel. I thought your puzzle was pretty slick. One day, I'd like to see MUSCAT clued as the Vitis Vinifera grape.
@Z: Ay....,I'm a YAYME type person. Yeah confuses the h in me.
@Rex...why retire TAE BO? That's a delicious word with vowels galore. I'm sure Vanna would be happy to turn them over for you.

Anonymous 6:17 AM  

I didn't mind RESELL for Scalp, as in ticket scalpers, but I never have heard the phrase INTERIOR DESIGNERS. I thought they were Decorators. Of course, living in a van down by the river may affect my world view.

Hiram S. Chapel 6:43 AM  

I agree with Rex's acute analysis of this puzzle, although I found it a bit acerbic, if not rebarbative.

I did like the clues for RUNE and GOOGLED. Did not like RADIORANGE. I was wondering what a RADI ORANGE was.

George Barany 7:32 AM  

Full disclosure: @Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel is a Minnesota friend and neighbor. Even though I have no fashion awareness whatsoever, I found the puzzle to be delightful, with a spot-on reveal. I never for a moment considered that these designers might (or might not) be interior decorators, only that "interior" referred to the fact that their names are hidden within longer answer phrases.

We also learn from comments at that in the original rendition of the puzzle, the letters spelling out ARMANI, WANG, DIOR, and KLEIN were all circled, so the editorial hand of @Will Shortz is clearly on display as well. @Jeff Chen enthusiastically designates this his "Puzzle of the Week."

The cluing had a certain "je ne sais quoi" quality, starting immediately with 1-Across (LONG) and continuing with 2-Down (OBAMA). The clue for 70-Across (NOODLE) was certainly a surprise, though ultimately fair. It was interesting to see Minnesota Vikings kicker @Blair Walsh show up as a commentator; his only injury might seem to be to his pride.

If you'll indulge me, two more puzzle with friends: the seasonally appropriate Baby, It's Cold Outside with Marcia Brott and the quirky Sunday-sized Nothing Up My Sleeve with John Child. Hope you like them ... and stay warm!

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

@GB --

Seems like you take advantage of a lot of indulgences here in promoting your puzzles ...

Glimmerglass 8:13 AM  

Wow! Isn't Rex a Mr. Crankypants this morning? @Z: the word spelled "yeah" means "yes" and is pronounced yaa or yah, or sometimes like yup without the p. YAY in YAY ME is short of "hooray for me." Different word entirely. Perhaps you're thinking of "yea," a formal affirmative vote.

NCA President 8:23 AM  

@Blair Walsh @12:44am: You are a great kicker. You could probably kick a watermelon through the uprights at 50 yards. Stop blaming the holder. Laces in or out isn't why you missed that kick. You. Just. Missed. It.

The puzzle was easy-ish for me without ever knowing the theme. I'm not a big fashion fan so I didn't even care about the theme. I know all of the designers buried interiorly, but I didn't care to go looking for them. Meh.

Not a fan of OSCARNOD...I guess that's a "thing," but I'm not convinced it's a xword-worthy thing. Not a fan of NOODLE as clued. You use your noodle to think, but is thinking creatively "noodling?" I know guitar players that noodle...annoying as hell. And BITTEREND doesn't seem consistent to me, either. The end of an arduous process doesn't need to be the bitter end. It can be, but sometimes the end of an arduous process is not bitter at all. Again, me, anyway.

Rex, you squandered a perfectly good opportunity to link a "Muskrat Love" video.

AliasZ 8:33 AM  

I like searching for hidden assets in the interior, be they fashion icons or not. I liked the INTERIOR aspect of the reveal more than the plain old FASHION DESIGNER back in 2012 (thanks @LMS aka sinKORSwim) -- more elegant, but it made it necessary to stretch the grid to 16 columns -- less elegant.

It would've been tough to hide SAINTLAURENT in a phrase, which is why Yves does not appear. Try this: "Darryl F. and Richard D. vs. Dino De" = ZanuckS AIN'T LAURENTiis. Nah...

Songs on my RADIORANGE,
SunDIALS on my dashboard
Made me miss a lane change,
Ended up in crash court.

The best financial assistance program is a STEADY JOB. Here's an idea: start a TAE BO studio teaching how to TAE a BO.

Blue Stater 8:38 AM  

OK, I give up. What does "green paint" mean in crosswordspeak, and why does it mean that? TIA.

Blue Stater 8:40 AM  

Oh wait. I didn't see the last paragraph of Rex's comment. I still need a bit more explanation than that, though. Many thanks.

chefbea 8:40 AM  

I found this very tedious . Did not cheat. Took a good while to finish.
I go to many yard/garage/tag sales. I do not call that scalping. Most things are a dollar.

Seth 8:41 AM  

Yeah, I agree with GILL I: Why retire TAE BO? It's firmly, firmly a thing. A very well-known, stand-alone thing.

Hartley70 8:41 AM  

I wasn't bothered by the distinction between fashion and interior designers. The decline of fashion and the ascendancy of home decor in the Marketplace has been pronounced and I'm willing to bet that each of these traditional fashion designers has crossed over into home goods, even if it's just to offer a $5000 cashmere throw for the back of your sofa. I thought the this theme and it's execution were clever.

My only complaint is with the difficulty level which really isn't a complaint at all. I appreciate a Wednesday level on a Tuesday. In fact, let's make every day a Thursday! But I have to stop and remind myself that the crossword universe needs new blood occasionally so we need to let the newbies join the party on Monday and Tuesday.

@kozmikvoid, while Rex has erred in one direction while discussing the legality of ticket scalping, I believe you have erred in the other. As is so often the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Z 8:47 AM  

@Muse & @Gill I - I read what you wrote, but as I read I find myriad times where the same string of letters represent two pronunciations. Or maybe I should have written "I red what you wrote, but as I reed I find myriad times ..." Dang, that won't work. English, confusing the ETA out of readers since 1066 (or so - couldn't be bothered to look up whatever arbitrary date we've decided modern English began).

As for green paint, I suppose all injuries suffered by others sort of have that generic quality. As I think about it, I never did refer to my injury as an ANKLE INJURY, rather it was always "my Achilles." There is a whole jargon built up around injuries and only in dry reports would you find the mundane ANKLE INJURY. Hockey has taken it to whole other level, reporting "upper body injury" and "lower body injury."

jberg 8:58 AM  

I'm just back from a puzzle-less 10 days in Britain, where they are very literal-minded with their 'starters' and 'mains,' but then go all weird with 'puddings.' (That's for you, @Loren). I started out grumbling that ARMANI and DIOR weren't really interior designers, but then the play on words clicked in, and made me like the puzzle a lot more. And although OEDS is indeed, a horrid POC, I didn't complain because I had encS at first, and was unhappy to see both it and ENL in the same puzzle -- went looking for "eng," in fact, but fortunately didn't find it.

I never have understood the compulsion to spell YAY as 'yeah.' I'd be happy to hear it explained.

I finished with an error, though -- ARIeL crossing TeD. I did wonder how the latter meant 'tiny bit,' but didn't wonder hard enough.

Finally, why the complaints when @George Barany offers us a free puzzle? He's not selling anything, just doing a favor for those of us who are interested.

Roo Monster 9:00 AM  

Hey All !
"INTERIOR" DESIGNERS, hah! When I had ARMANI and WANG, I kept thinking they are fashion designers, no? Good stuff.

Like @chefwen, it seems CC puzs are everywhere! I picture her sitting at her computer cranking these out at least 2 a day!

Had troubles in the southern region. The SYR/ARYAN/NOODLE area wasn't weaving into the ole brain. Wanted some type of Award for OSCARNOD after getting the A in RANGE. But, ended up unraveling everything, and actually finished with no writeovers! YAY ME!

Was thinking Estados Unidos for 3D, but was only 5 letters! Nice fill IMO, considering the extra row, and still only 38 black squares. Nice longer Downs, light dreck! ID SAY CC did it again!


Anonymous 9:01 AM  

@anonymous 8:13 AM -- AMEN.

Ludyjynn 9:02 AM  

DNL=Did Not Like this puzzle. I'D SAY the revealer clue is simply wrong, as each of the 'interior' names are known, first and foremost for clothing design. They may have strayed into perfume, wallpaper, and/or home decor as a sideline, but would most likely read "Elle", NOT "Elle Decor".

@Carola, I wish I had enjoyed solving this grid as much as I liked reading your thoughtful analysis of it. Kudos to you.

As the inimitable GILDA Radner would say, "it's always something!"

r.alphbunker 9:05 AM  

The clue {Elle Decor reader ... or any of the names hidden in 18-, 28-, 52- and 66-Across?} implies that the embedded names should be interior designers but they aren't; instead they are designers that are interior to the theme answers. That happens all the time in crossword puzzles. For example {Tip of Italy, once?} LIRA has nothing to do with geography.

Also, SES has M&A immunity:
{Final part of rinses?}
{Rises up, in the center??}

archaeoprof 9:13 AM  

I rexspectfully disagree with our host. This is an exceptionally good puzzle, far anove the typical Tuesday.

Tita 9:15 AM  

I avoided the reveal, and was tickled to have guessed it all by myself. Yeah ME!
My niece is an industrial INTERIORDESIGNER. I have to have her do the puzzle to see what she thinks. And please, do NOT confuse them with decorators...!
I thought the puzzle was clever, with a perfect revealer.

@lms - thx... And lol, to the zig-zag fork thing, I grew up with that habit, and glad I am of much more efficient a way to consume mass quantities. I was once "congratulated" by the wife and greeter at our local Hungarian restaurant - she told me "You eat the right way - your friend - she eats wrong... All Americans eat wrong."

If you get a chance to visit Madeira, go! Close to heaven.

One of the most fun things about the hot tub in winter is making SNOWANGELS, then jumping back in. I wouldn't be totally sad is this winter does not provide as many opportunities as the previous ones.

Gotta go.

Thanks CC.

Nancy 9:21 AM  

Eureka! I figured it out! I was lying in bed this morning, trying to get back to sleep, and playing with the letters that make up Sacha R. Phleim (of 2 days ago) and Ash Charmpile of yesterday and, without benefit of pen or paper, it came to me. They each anagram to -- drum roll please! -- MICHAEL SHARP! Did you notice, Rex?

I wrote this same comment earlier, before having breakfast and coffee, which is why I mistakenly posted it on Monday's blog. I just don't function before breakfast and coffee. So for those of you who see the other post, it was inadvertent, I assure you.

I would have missed Ash Charmpile yesterday, @Leapfinger, so thanks for obliquely pointing "him" out. I needed both anagrams to see the joke.

Oh, yes, today's puzzle. Bland. Easy. Yawn.

Caryl Baron 9:25 AM  

Never thought of NOODLE as creative thought, but oh, well. . .
The theme wasn't a problem—just about every "designer" in existence is doing home furnishings, so I just thought CC was a bit confused as to their original area of business.
Scalp does equal RESELL and does mean massive markup, but that's no more illegal than what your cable provider charges.

Kim Scudera 9:56 AM  

Liked it better than Rex, despite rampant xwordese, and I'm with @Carola on the foreign language NODs to the INTERIORDESIGNERs.

Hey, Rex! Checks are made out to...?

Bob Kerfuffle 9:57 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, but then, I have quite a reputation as a Fashionista (Fashionisto?)

My friends will tell you, "When the less fortunate among us go to the Salvation Army in their tattered clothes to get used outfits of more suitable quality, those same unfortunates in turn hand down their old garments to Bob."

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:59 AM  

Getting to write in LONG at 1A, right out of the gate, made me happy. And it was over before the smile left my face.

Lewis 10:04 AM  

I was flummoxed by the clue for REBS ("Lee side, informally"). I kept thinking it was a boating clue and grousing that it was arcane for a Tuesday, and going through all the four-letter boating terms I knew. When the correct sense of Lee hit me, I had to laugh at the gotcha. Props to whoever came up with that clue.

We have a LIES down, and in row four we learn that LEDA ATE TAD. I liked BITTER_END, KOI, and even the silliness of YAY_ME. I know that in order to make a puzzle come to fruition, chances are likely that some ugly fill, including crosswords, will have to be employed, and it's an individual call whether a puzzle has too much. I didn't feel that this one did. I liked the little word search I did at the end to find the designers, and I liked that this had some grit for a Tuesday. Nothing much stood out overall -- that is, not a wow -- except for that terrific clue for REBS, which made me glad I did this.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Nope. Incredibly annoying cluing. Like pulling teeth.
Not on a Tuesday, for God's sake....

quilter1 10:11 AM  

Easy, and I thought a bit different enough to be interesting. Some of what @Rex thought gnarly was OK for me. I'm glad I got all the baseball answers from crosses or I would have been up the creek.

DJG 10:13 AM  

Put me in the pro-ANKLEINJURY camp. Ankle injuries are such a common occurrence in sports that "ankle injury" is a stand-alone phrase in a way that something like "eye injury" isn't. My only quibble is with the clue: I've never heard of a kicker injuring his ankle. I would have gone running back instead.

This was almost a Tuesday-level masterpiece. As Rex touched on, the fill probably could've been cleaner and RADIORANGE is a big weak link among the themers. These things knock it down a peg. Still a good puzzle, though.

Mohair Sam 10:56 AM  

Well I had intended a long rant about @Rex's mood this morning, but @glimmerglass summed it up concisely with Mr. Crankypants. What more to say?

Nothing obscure or strange about RADIO RANGE except as clued. "Aerial navigation beacon" might have been fine for a nasty Saturday, but something like "World War Two pilots hated being out of it" might have been clearer early in the week.

I've heard NOODLing for creative thinking before and wondered why. Don't see ANKLEINJURY as green paint, interesting divide on that one. And thanks to Zhouqin Burnikel for picking four of the five designer names I know. @Alias Z covered the difficulty of getting my fifth designer's name in there pretty well.

Andrea BOCELLI. Lady Mohair's reaction to his voice or the mere mention of his name always has me torn between whether to call her cardiologist or my lawyer.

Nancy 11:29 AM  

And, today, we have Hiram S. Chapel! Now that I know the secret, I'm having quite a bit of fun seeing these each day. The anagrams keep getting better, too. I would MUCH rather have drinks with Hiram S. Chapel or Ash Charmpile than Sacha R. Phleim, if push came to shove. In fact, Ash Charmpile sounds like he's got a pile of charm.

Old timer 11:31 AM  

Still Back East (Vermont now) and relying on iPhone so will only say don't retire Susan DEY because LA Law was my favorite TV show ever and I like to be reminded of it

OISK 11:36 AM  

There is a song called "Rock Lobster"?? Oh, that was yesterday. Didn't like it at all, which is a minority view.

But I enjoyed today's puzzle, and thought it was just right for a Tuesday. Average solving time, with a bunch of erasures. (Lo cal ---> lo fat Oscar bid---> oscar nod, Aegean ---> Ionian. )

GILL I. 11:43 AM  

@Carola...You have a DESIGNER's eye. Good post and very clever!

mac 11:44 AM  

Easy-medium, but not very fast for me. My favorite answer is Oscar nod, such a specific, American term. Not sure if I could translate that into Dutch. In two words, that is.

All 4 designers have worked on interior accessories, Dior limiting it to table top products. Still a good reveal, though.

Karen Munson 11:51 AM  

You got that right!! 😁

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

Similar theme back in 2012. Interesting that the revealer was the theme suggested by Rex!

Hungry Mother 12:16 PM  

Last letter for me was "L" in LEDA/ALOMAR. I went through to whole alphabet and made a correct WAG. Either a hole in my education or some lost gray matter.

Chuck McGregor 12:17 PM  

Nice workout and a legit finish courtesy of a few, fortunately, correct guesses.

Anonymous 6:17 AM “I never have heard the phrase INTERIOR DESIGNERS. I thought they were Decorators. Of course, living in a van down by the river may affect my world view.”

(Coffee spit!)….You win the Internet!

Seriously, I posted around New Year's that, to me, a wonderful hallmark of this blog is that people make fun of themselves far, far more than of others, except in obvious jest with no harm intended. This is both refreshing and welcome in today’s public discourse where malicious trashing others now seems to be perfectly acceptable as civilized behavior.

Today’s juxtaposed words culled from the grid, the weirdness level being somewhat low:

OBOE EMOTES (often does, musically)

OBOE EMOTES LIRA (getting paid for making it do that….formerely….in Italy)

TAE-BO SNOW ANGELS (wondering what those would look like)

DOJO ANKLE INJURY (as with football, I’m sure this is not a rare thing)

FARM ANIMALS STIR (one might say they sure did at Manor Farm [aka “Animal Farm”])

GEM? BOCELLI’s voice sure is!

AMIDST OSCAR NODs people were saying, “TOLD YA they would OMIT ROMAN PREEN!”

RADIO RANGE? I’D SAY the sky’s the limit. Har. (A little science joke there. YAY see, the “condition” of various layers in the atmosphere, such as the ionosphere or even clouds, can reflect various radio signals (including RADAR) or allow them to pass through, affecting how far the signal will go “across” the earth.)

As an example, I was a radioman in the Navy. Contrary to what one might think, my most reliable communications with Naval shore stations while out on the NORTE Atlantic were during really bad weather. Beautiful, clear days? Often I could not reach anyone -- literally anywhere on the planet one gorgeous day when I even tried Naval stations in the far East (as on the other side of the planet). Generally, bad weather would often reflect various radio frequencies I used to follow the curvature of the earth over 100s or 1000s of miles. On clear days those same ones could just keep going, essentially straight out to space missing stations anywhere over the horizon.

Class dismissed…


PS Yes indeed, I did get me some LOBSTER yesterday - two, fresh, 1-1/2 pound hard-shells that I hand-picked right out of the lobster car beneath the dock (i.e. caught only a few hours prior and still in Atlantic water), steamed at home within a half hour, picked absolutely clean* to produce enough lobster, very lightly coated with Hellman’s Real stuff, for six, very generous lobster rolls, using the de rigeur, plain-old, top-split, hot dog buns from Pepperidge Farm, very generously buttered**, then slowly grilled to a golden brown.

* This means the painstaking, time consuming task of picking out all the small morsels of the sweetest lobster meat. That meat is found in the body and small legs which many don’t bother with being so hard to get (there’s quite a bit of it in a hard-shell). This includes purveyors of lobster rolls where only the easy-to-pick front legs, big claws, and tail are usually used. The added sweetness and tenderness of this body meat takes a lobster roll from merely delicious to divine.

** With the best butter: Kate’s Salted Butter (

YAY! (as in hooray! Hi @Glimmerglass), a not bad, off-season price of $6.17 / lb (or about $20 and some work for maybe $80 worth of lobster rolls, and I’ll bet they were better).

Kate 12:41 PM  

Hey Rex! Deb also pointed out in the NYT blog that Ms. Burnikel had a completely different NW, without the TAEBO that rankles so. And she's a little in the dark as to why it was changed...

Anoa Bob 12:54 PM  

STU Ungar (43d) is considered by many to have been the best poker player of all time and with a three-letter first name like that, he also should be familiar to any serious xword solver.

There's an INTERIOR word ladder or progression of sorts today, ODS, OEDS & OPEDS.

One of the biggest challenges in coming up with theme entries is to find ones that not only fit the theme conceptually, but also have symmetrically matching letter counts. That's what makes themed puzzles so difficult to construct. Tacking on a gratuitous S to a theme entry just to boost its letter count to match a symmetrically placed themer makes that hurdle less challenging and that always dulls the luster of a puzzle for me. Today it happens twice with FARM ANIMAL & SNOW ANGEL.

Nota BENE: A recent PBS episode of Antiques Roadshow featured a kou wood poi bowl. Good xword potential there, right?

Masked and Anonymous 1:04 PM  

har. Gotta be fun to be the constructioneer, and the first word outta the @009 blog for yer puz is "Yeow".
@009: Interestin word list of Florida retirees, today. Bullets, on that:

* TAEBO. If not popular since the 90's, it's out. Musta been a bad decade, for the Rexmeister.
* NORTE. M&A sympathizes, here. Just outlaw all foreign words. Don't even let em into the country, anymore. College foreign language course requirements suck.
* KOI. Japanese! Don't let em swim in, anymore.
* LOFAT. Only allow if clued with more gusto. Example: {Caesar's "Check that steak grizzle out!"??}.
* IONIAN. Too old. Outlaw anything before 1969. No, wait -- make that 2000; almost forgot about TAEBO.
* ISLA. Sounds foreign. Out. PB1 Usage Immunity be day-um-ed.
* SES. Ditto. Kinda neat SES/SOS pairing today, tho.
* SSTAR. Only allow in puzs with themes about stutterin. Also: science stuff! There's yer trouble! Out.
* ITI. Sounds like correct grammar that's tryin too hard. Out!
* ERLE. So bad, it didn't even have to be in the puz, to be called out.
* MESTA. First name Perle. Reminds us of ERLE. Guilty by association. Ouuuuut!

(That there was an eazye ban list to get behind, as non of em had a speck of U in em.)

The theme was pretty neat, even tho M&A had no earthly idea what an Elle Decor was. Close call, tho: Elle is dangerously close to ERLE. Always enjoy doin the word-search game, post-solvequest.
RADI-ORANGE: Citric radish hybrid. My fave themer.

fave weeject: ENL. Which escaped the retirement ban, due to a photo finish.

Masked & Anonymo3Us
"It I, Again!"

** new blood gruntz **

ANON B 1:21 PM  

I wonder how many of the male solvers
have ever heard of Elle Decor? Not I.

Teedmn 1:30 PM  

I'm not sure why @Blair Walsh would show up here to blame the ball holder when he publicly took all the blame for the missed kick in the media. It sounds like the poor guy was broken- hearted. I truly feel his pain. Someone yesterday told me a joke about the guy who asked that his pallbearers be Vikings players so they could let him down one last time...

I liked the puzzle. It was Wednesday tough for me due to the MUSCAT/BOCELLI cross and also the ALOMAR/LEDA cross (the only LEDA I know has a thing for swans).

I was sure I would find @Lewis here pointing out the extra anagram of DIOR in the revealer. Probably after I hit "publish". I circled a few clues I enjoyed - coconuts on the beach spelling SOS, hogging the mirror by PREENing and the non-nautical Lee side. I made a nice mess in the NE, putting in romAn for ARIAL, forgetting we already had ROMAN in the grid.

Thanks, CC, nice Tuesday puzzle.

(And @Nancy, I enjoyed your "reveal" from this morning)

Leapfinger 1:39 PM  

Looks asif @Rex prefers Sam Spade to Kate Spade, don't it?

Frequently, C.C. has co-constructors, but did this on her own: Such an elegant theme! There's no sign of ending ingenuity in her meshing DESIGNERS into phrases' INTERIOR positions, with nothing low or rashly done. And speaking of Lowor Ashley, I think she was the first to move into the INTERIOR Decor market, with linens, wallpaper and furnishings. Now, of Kors, they're all doing it, and most coutouriers are getting in their two scents' worth. If anyone out there is still looking for other and more literal INTERIOR DESIGN, there are boutique clinics that do gastric banding and LIPO (not the classic Chinese poetry kind)

As a themish bonus, the outer reaches have a LONG GENE for us to watch. Wit' an hour to spare.

@Nancy, I thought you caught on with 'Sacha R. Phleim', since you mentioned anagrams in that comment. 'Ash Charmpile' was laying it on a bit thick, don't you think? Am keeping an eye out for 'Impeach Lars H', or, given it's PayPal week, maybe 'Cash Harp Mile'.

@Z, an Achilles' tendon rupture isn't truly an ANKLE INJURY, but Okay. Did they really just staple it? All things considered, I would have thought they'd lengthen it with a Z-plasty. Heehee
(That's the sort of comment gets my family into eye-rolling)

Thought War&Peace was EPIC at first, and some clues/fill definitely sported a LONG white BARED, even unto another DEY for OEDS, while the clues in the NOODLE corner were pretty KOI. Thought the 'casting need' would be latex gloves, a bucket of water or plaster bandaging (fiberglass moreso, nowadays), but now I'm just wheel-housing. Still, those would have been REELy useful for that ANKLE INJURY. @Rex, if there's one thing a Sports Medicine person needs to know, it's howto tape an ANKLE. Jes' saying. @Lewis, I also thought the 'Lee side' clue was posh; guess we're shown up as Southern transplants, eh?

One of these days, hope we'll get Roberto's cousin Pedro, aka PALOMAR.

I remember once I BITTEREND; she did not appreciate it.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Lewis 4:23 PM  

@teedm -- good catch on that "Dior"! You got me looking for more, but I can't find any.

Z 4:39 PM  

@Leapfinger - The Achilles never ruptured. Detached right from the bone. Hence, staples. And yes, all the ankle parts are different. Yet the question was always, "What did you do to your ankle."

@jberg - Exactly how I feel about YAYers. It just looks wrong.

Cleared2Land 5:17 PM  

Liked this puzzle just fine. Just two things felt outdated to me.
1. Not a whole of dials on dashboards anymore, mostly digital readouts.
2. I've been an air traffic controller for nearly 30 years and I can assure you that "radio range" is not a current aspect of air navigation. Even as outdated and vacuum-tube-centric as our air traffic system currently is, "radio range" is not a part of it.

Tom Rooney 5:26 PM  

I'm an old (unfortunately very old) airline pilot. So I got a kick out of the clue
RADIO RANGE -- clued by navigation beacon

The radio range, as a navigation beacon, dates back to very early in aviation -- think 1930s. It's too complicated to go into here-- but it involved several turns to orient the aircraft before it could safely continue to approach the airport. Lindbergh would have recognized it. I'm a Vietnam-era aviator, and my father taught me range approaches when I was learning to fly as a teenager. Even back then, they were considered obsolete. The clue brought back many fine memories of flying with my dad

Joe 5:48 PM  

So this is what it feels like to be an outsider to a conversation: I had never encounterd the term "green paint" until now. But it's a useful term--sort of a dull version of "What's the frequency, Kenneth?"

Mohair Sam 7:18 PM  

@Joe - I take it your question was ignored. Folks here are pretty good, I'm betting they thought others were going to answer.

Anyhow - "green paint" defined as constructor talk for a weak adjective and noun combination. Today I didn't think that ANKLE INJURY fit the description and disagreed with @Rex and others. On the other hand, Rex and several others here construct puzzles, I don't - maybe the definition has evolved.

@Rex - Maybe you could add "Green Paint" to your vocab page.

Feah Wreah 8:16 PM  

@Z -- Hurreah for you!!

(Let me know if that looks right to you.)

GILL I. 10:16 PM  

@Feah Wreah Hurray...;)

Mohair Sam 11:29 PM  

@Rex - Hope your green paint definition wasn't there all day. Gulp.

spacecraft 11:00 AM  

It's strange; some days I am completely opposite OFL, like a photo negative. Other days, like today, we are nearly congruent. What he said, except for the ANKLEINJURY thing. I think I've had a slight misconception of what "green paint" is. I thought it was the unnecessary inclusion of a word that the first word identifies, such as "Cadillac car." Anyway, I don't consider 66-across to fit either definition.

I did have to read his blog to realize the significance of "INTERIOR," which does take a lot of the sting out of the revealer criticism. That's not the occupation; it's the location. So, theme: not that bad. Fill, however...let's just say, when Z.B. finished this construction, she did NOT say "YAYME!" C-.

P.S. I'll bet a buck to a donut that OFL can't do TAEBO.

leftcoastTAM 12:59 PM  

IDSAY challenging for a Tuesday. YAYME(?), DOJO, RADIORANGES, RESELL(??), MUSCAT.

Also: role, rods, REEL; primp, PREEN.

Finally: "Brown a bit"= SAUTE?

A couple of writeovers and head scratchers.

Yes, again I'd say Tuesday challenging.

Burma Shave 2:00 PM  


There SNOWANGELS who BARED AMIDST drifts in their own YARDS,
but for AMORE AMY dared LOFAT gazing ATOM while on guard.


I am not in RADIORANGE due to a dental appointment this morning

Diana,LIW 2:27 PM  

Liked, and mostly agreed, with the posts by Carola, Lewis, and M&A. (BTW, see how the old Oxford comma made that sentence more readable?)

And Teedmn's Vikings joke made me laugh out loud.

SNOWANGELS made me smile - could feel that cold snow trickling down my neck. Good times!

We spent a week at the hospital when F-I-L was dying. At dinner break one night we were serenaded by a violinist who played "Time to Say Goodbye." One of only two times I can remember Mr. Waiting shed actual tears.

I enjoyed the solve, but dnf'd at RADIORANGE, RESELL, RUNE. Rune? Yeah, right. And was thinking the yard-sale variety, not the Super Bowl ticket variety of resales. My bad. And had Asian instead of Aryan. Yeah, you're right, that wasn't dope, it was dopey.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 3:01 PM  

At least the revealer showed me what the connection was between FARMANIMALS and SNOWANGELS. So pretty decent Tuesday theme IDSAY.

I think these days the term RADIORANGE is used as in how far away a signal can be picked up. For aircraft navigation, RADIORANGE was replaced by VOR long, long ago, and you can tune VOR to any strong frequency with your DIALS. If you have ever piloted a small aircraft (as I have) you appreciated it more than RADAR, if you flew VFR. Since my flying days they have gone to GPS which really makes things a snap.

Always had a crush on yeah baby Susan DEY, the xword constructor’s friend. AMY Poehler qualifies as a more current yeah baby.

I recently TOLDYA my SNOWANGELS story concerning Pink Floyd.

Maybe this puz was no REEL GEM, but OK for a Tuesday IMHO.

rain forest 3:34 PM  

I've previously said I won't criticize @Rex's blog, but I guess I lied (like Cruz, Trump, Rubio--ugh). I disagree completely with his critique today.

The theme, including the revealer, is about perfect. The names of those found in the INTERIOR of the phrases are names of DESIGNERs (doesn't matter what type), so INTERIOR DESIGNER is apt, and furthermore IS a thing. An interior decorator is a different breed of cat. The whole thing works.

ANKLE INJURY for a kicker-punter, placekicker, soccer player-is a serious setback (kicker/ankle-come on!) and removes the item from the supposed "green paint" category.

LO FAT is a perfect synonym for Lite, both words being marketspeak for a food/beverage that is less calorific.

I didn't even notice the other words that @Rex wants to go to Florida, and just because RADIORANGE is something out of his ken doesn't disqualify it for inclusion here, especially since the crosses were all eminently fair.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. OK. That's the last time I'll open my yap, er, keyboard, er, word processor to complain about @Rex...until the next time.

Off the topic, did anyone notice that the body of Antonin Scalia was still warm when the Republicans, omitting any reference to the man and his legacy, just had to immediately issue a proscription to the President's constitutional duty of nominating a successor. Of course, I'm a Canadian, and a syndi, to boot, so I guess my opinion is twice moot.

Diana,LIW 8:30 PM  

Yo Rainy, eh?

35 seconds left in the football game, Team B is first and ten on the 2-yard line, and Team A says, "No fair - you've had the ball for too long."

OTOH, did the Pubs ever consider how they'd feel if Mr. Sanders got to select the next judge? "We gotta wait 4 more years, at least!"

On another hand (I might be a Hindu goddess) it's so easy for us to criticize our current pols, isn't it? So unlike Lincoln's time (think Civil War). Or Washington's (many people HATED him, tho we don't learn that in history class). Cain killed Abel. We peeps have been fightin' for a long, long time, often with little reason. IMHO

I often think of the quote, or joke. When asked what he thought of Western Civilization, Gandhi said, "Wouldn't that be nice?"

leftcoastTAM 8:58 PM  

@rain forest:

I'm with you all the way. Your opinion is not moot at all.

(I'm a syndi-Oregonion.)

Anonymous 9:54 PM  

Noodle is a limp answer for creative thinking! Lame too!

rondo 10:17 PM  

@rainy - no, your opinion is not moot, nor doubly. It took the do-nothing Republicans exactly 10 seconds to declare that they would do NOTHING. I could go on, but I want to get to sleep tonight.
Your thoughts on today's puz and commentary are on the nose.

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