Bikini blast briefly / WED 1-27-16 / Service with bird logo / 2001 Sean Penn movie / Affair that led to Scooter Libby's 2007 conviction informally /

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Constructor: Adam G. Perl

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "THE TIMES / THEY ARE / A-CHANGIN'" (23A: With 38- and 52-Across, 1964 Bob Dylan song ... or a hint to the answers to this puzzle's starred clues) — answers to starred clues are anagrams of TIMES

Theme answers:
  • IT'S ME
  • I'M SET
Word of the Day: SMOOT-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 (1D) —
The Tariff Act of 1930 (codified at 19 U.S.C. ch. 4), otherwise known as the Smoot–Hawley Tariff or Hawley–Smoot Tariff, was an act sponsored by Senator Reed Smoot and Representative Willis C. Hawley and signed into law on June 17, 1930, that raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels. // The dutiable tariff level (this does not include duty-free imports—see Tariff levels below) under the act was the highest in the U.S. in 100 years, exceeded by a small margin by the Tariff of 1828.[3] The great majority of economists then and ever since view the Act, and the ensuing retaliatory tariffs by America's trading partners, as responsible for reducing American exports and imports by more than half. According to Ben Bernanke, "Economists still agree that Smoot-Hawley and the ensuing tariff wars were highly counterproductive and contributed to the depth and length of the global Depression." The Smoot-Hawley Tariff was one of the causes of The Great Depression as foreign trade with Europe as well as China, which the United States had just recently set up an "Open-Door Policy" with, was vital to the economy. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, I actually kinda like this. The theme, I mean. The fill ... er, that's another story. But the theme really works nicely. At first I ignored the starred clues, and just plowed ahead until I got the Dylan title, at which point I thought ... well, nothing really. Shrug. And then the puzzle was over (about a half minute faster than yesterday!). And *then* I saw what was going on, with the anagrams. So while I wish the puzzle had been a bit harder (so I'd've been forced to notice the theme during solving) and I really really wish the fill had been cleaner (it's quite poor), I think the concept is solid. And he picked up all the anagarms, too, I think. There are I-STEM verbs in Latin, but I don't think that's exactly a crossworthy answer. There are also the MÉTIS (one of Canada's official Aboriginal peoples), but again, not sure it's something you'd expect to see on a Wednesday, or ever. 

The long Downs (IN THE MOMENT, INDIGO GIRLS) are just fine, but I wish the rest (and I mean all of it) had been torn out and redone. ILE DE N-TEST is one of the worst juxtapositions I've ever seen. Multiple RDAS? Multiple ATNOS? A C-TEAM?? IGO GES ESOS ... I'M AT the point where I would rather REOIL ISAO and ELIA than experience This much junk fill again. You gotta gotta gotta polish your grid better than this. Gotta. The last thing you want is to have cringe-worthy fill taking attention away from your worthy theme.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:04 AM  

Pretty easy for a Wed. Filled in the Dylan song off THE TI and never had to pause (well it took a second or two to dredge up CIA GATE).

With a puzzle like this the question is does the theme out weigh the fill issues? I'm going with yes, liked it.

I have concerns about the up coming generation of solvers. I have two teenage grandkids (my granddaughter does the NYT Monday every week) and I often solve with them in mind. In this puzzle there are several things they would not know and probably never will know including the Dylan song. If you think I might be wrong read Erin's write up on Amy's blog. Others in the never know category include CIA GATE, OCHS, LARUE, INDIGO GIRLS, ELIA...

Deep Mac 12:22 AM  

Help! What is an ATNO? Atomic Number? What? Also: LIE has...what? do with "Club selection factor"? Sorry; I forgot to take my abstract thinking pill today.

allan 12:23 AM  

I had an easy time with this as well. I immediately looked for the revealer, found it, answered it, and off to the races. There are 39 down clues/answers to this, and I barely looks at a quarter of them to finish. Since I'm a big Dylan fan, I liked this a lot.

John Hoffman 12:25 AM  

Very difficult Wednesday for me!

Charles Flaster 12:25 AM  

Agree with Rex.
Found theme after seeing Bob Dylan song.
Surprised some of the anagrams were more than one word.
CrosswordEASE- ISAO and ADA.
LASH LARUE was a "good guy" but wore black with his whip as his weapon of choice.
Thanks AP.

weingolb 12:34 AM  

But then there is the juxtaposition from the last Perl puzz, also from a Wednesday: IQS, NEE, CIA crossing QEII. That puzzle also had OHO, RPI, EST, NOBIS, VCR, ARIP, ESL, OOLA, GMAT, SAYTO, and MRISCAN.

Not exactly a parser's puzzle constructor.

A lot of gotcha cluing today. Also a couple spots where proper names intersected and really turned up the heat: SMOOT OCHS, ELI LARUE? Didn't play easy here.

Anonymous 2:13 AM  

26th-stringers? The z-TEAM! (THE NERVE!)

phil phil 2:43 AM  

Happy to have not been completely fooled bt AANDE. For awhile, yes, but not forever.

I will always be fooled somewhat because there is no such thing . It's branded A&E. But AETE would be the alpha construct and that would definitely be a problem.

Loren Muse Smith 5:18 AM  

Rex – I liked the theme and its execution, too. A fersh take on anagarms (!) featuring actual stand-alone entries and not just the serendipitous circled strings of letters that we usually see – rookie mistake, cosmetic, dreamiest, honest mistake…

I kinda got a kick out of the "ME ME ME" vibe going (MELDS, MOMENT, IMMENSE, TIMES, IT'S ME


I wonder if our resident chemists minded AT NOS. I think its clever clue rescued it a bit.

Also liked SMITE crossing its past tense SMOOT. And if you make a right turn off ERIE, you get our now famous ERIE PA. Cool.

As language manipulation goes, anagrams aren't at the top of my list, but to see a big group of real words, now that elevates the idea for me. Good job, Adam.

Martín Abresch 5:20 AM  

Is it just me, or does this puzzle seem overshadowed by yesterday's DAVID BOWIE puzzle?

I had a very different solving experience. On my first pass through the across questions, I didn't get much: FED, ITEMS, MOMA, RDAS, IDES. But I read the overall theme clue at 23-Across, and then I got EMITS, spotted the anagram, and promptly filled in the remaining 43 theme squares. It felt too easy.

The fill took me a while, as the clues and I were often on different wavelengths. To my ear, "Obviously" and SO I SEE have very different in tone: I interpret the former as an insult and the latter is a neutral confirmation. I know MELDS (Canasta plays) through pinochle, and I don't think of them as plays. If I meld points, I'm just showing the points that come to me via the card combinations that were dealt me. I don't think that either clue is wrong: they just strike my brain as slightly off (which probably says more about my brain than the clues).

My last square was the SMO-T/-CHS crossing. Had no idea on either, so I held my breath and guessed O. Hooray for a lucky guess!

David Epstein 6:14 AM  

Not that I've seen it in crossword puzzles (though I don't have access to any database), but STEMI is a very common acronym in medicine... the layperson may know this better as an acute "heart attack" (ST-elevation myocardial infarction).

GILL I. 7:02 AM  

@Loren has her ME moments and I had some HE moments...RICHE HERB ASHES ANTHEM to name a few.
Yes, a little polish and maybe a REOIL HEre and there and this would be OTTER perfect. I really enjoyed this puzzle.
@jae...Learning new things...!that's what's fun about the puzzles, no? I always look up things I've never heard of. Today it was INDIGO GIRLS. I might also look up TUNA SUB because I like all kinds of SUBs, but TUNA? Where is the meat?
Have you ever eaten APO LAM GOAT? It's good...!

Steven M. O'Neill 7:15 AM  

I liked seeing OCHS in the puzzle, since that's also the name of the founder of the modern New York TIMES.

Z 7:43 AM  

Right above the puzzle today is a small item of note: CrossFamous author Amy Tan has had a leech named after her. Coming to a Saturday puzzle near you soon, " Chotonobdella tanae namesake." You've been warned. The authors quip on the honor is pretty funny as well.

@Deep Mac - Yep on atomic number (the letters are the periodic symbols (is that the right adjective)) and LIE as in the LIE of a golf ball will help me decide with which iron to smack it into the nearest body of water.

@Martin Abresch - I agree. But I've never been a huge Dylan fan. I've been to several shows because of the opening acts, people I admire greatly greatly admire him. Still, a big fat "meh" from me about 95% of the time. So the theme works and the anagrams are neat but this doesn't inspire a passionate response from me.

ISAO and CIAO in the puzzle. How many more four letter words are there that end in -AO?

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Nice experience solving the puzzle and a bonus ear worm.

NCA President 7:56 AM  

@Deep Mac: Yes to atomic numbers. And a LIE, in golf, determines your club selection.

This was relatively easy for me but not the breeze it was for Rex. There were lots of little snags I ran into: aTEST for NTEST, I refused to put in CTEAM because I couldn't believe it was correct, spyGATE for CIAGATE, ILEDE was a guess, and initially, iceup for REOIL.

Lots of alphabet soup today with MOMA, APO, RDAS, GES, MRE, IRS, TMI, AANDE, CIAGATE and SDS. I'm surprised ARM wasn't clued as a mortgage term. And don't forget NTEST and CTEAM. All of that short fill as alphabet soup seems sloppy to me...or like it's cheating somehow.

I'm sure that it took quite a bit of time theme-wise to get all of the TIMES in there. So, that was kinda cool.

If I were WS, I might have waited until next week or the week after or 6 months from now before running another puzzle like this after yesterday's tribute to Bowie.

Too soon, WS. Too soon.

Roo Monster 8:55 AM  

Hey All !
Liked the TIMES anagrams theme. Agree with Rex on the iffy fill. Let me add I MAT and MAT to the list. How many of us had shamu for OTTER first? Tell the truth...

N center was a disaster. 6, 15, 18A were outside the ole brains' knowledge. Had teE for LIE, ergo my not being able to see ERIES and FT LEE. Had cReES, which got me ccD for FED. Oof.

Thought LAM meant run, not make a run for it. Or is that the same thing? Sounds different to my ears. SANCTUM nice to see. Liked clue for THREE.

Parlez vous LA RUE :-)

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

It was the Plame Affair, or PlameGate, not the CIA GATE. If you google "cia gate" you get the wiki entry on 'The Plame Affair', the Italian wiki 'CIA Gate', and a bunch of police reports about people protesting at the gate to CIA headquarters.

Hartley70 9:25 AM  

There was an impressive number of theme answers today, so the short fill felt like an inevitability. MITES gave me the shivers. People can get them too! I had to think a bit for CIAGATE, and SMOOT is just a great name. I would have married young if that was my moniker. I thought this was "cute" and that's not a word I would use to describe Dylan or his music.

The day I walked into my freshman dorm in 1966, a red-haired girl from Syracuse had Dylan blaring on her record player and continued to do so every single day that year. If I think 1966, "Highway 61 Revisited" is what I hear playing in the background, like it or not. Mostly it was not. The times didn't really "change" in my world until 1968.

oldbizmark 9:30 AM  

naticked again!

kozmikvoid 9:33 AM  

Back-to-back song themes? Sheesh. I hope this wasn't an attempt to compare Bowie to Dylan, because that's preposterous. No disrespect to Bowie, but Dylan is in another stratosphere in both talent and popularity.

Other than that, what Rex said.

jberg 9:37 AM  

@Loren, I noticed that too, only my reaction was to think this guy must be a real egotist. If he was a reporter, he'd probably use an I LEDE. Is it OK to duplicate or quintuplicate a word as long as it has only one letter?

On the other hand, I think he deserves the LARUE AWARD for managing the NE and SW corners. They're pretty strongly constrained there, with the two themers sandwiching a 5-letter word--and then getting the nifty EAT-MRE cross reference in there at the same time. I also liked EYE and EAR (though I missed Nose and Throat-- maybe that could be another puzzle, with OTOLARYNGOLOGY as the revealer.)

Somewhere around here I've got a picture of me with Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson -- but I still put in spyGATE before CIA.

So I did have fun with this puzzle -- but REOIL?

I didn't notice the stars on the clues until I read the revealer clue -- then I went back and looked for them and found myself thinking "Dylan did a song about ITEMS?" (Honest, I did!) Finally I got THE TIMES, and it all fell into place.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

Yay! Finally a puzzle based on a song I've actually heard of! But will I be accused of generationism (I think I just coined it, but I'm not 100% sure) if I say that this is more than a Boomer Era song? This is an epochal song -- one that defined that the 60's more than any other. I haven't read any of the commentary yet, Rex included, but I am absolutely convinced that even much younger solvers will be completely familiar with it. I quite enjoyed this puzzle which, though very easy in places, had some bite in others. Now off to read everyone else. I'm sure there will be many comments from people of my generation that will be quite similar to mine.

Bobby Z 9:41 AM  

Funny thing, @NCAP, I was just thinking I'd like to see a solid week of titular songs.

jberg 9:41 AM  

@Leapfinger, just saw your good wishes from Monday. (Our papers didn't get delivered yesterday, so I didn't come here - apparently I missed a lot!) We spent 6 hours in the airport watching our scheduled flight get delayed, delayed, and then canceled. But they put us on another one, which was only half an hour late, and I made it back in time to teach my evening class.

chefbea 9:42 AM  

Saw that the words were all anagrams but still a lot I didn't know...ciagate and goat

Try putting rosemary on your tuna sub..yummm

chefbea 9:46 AM  

Just read that Abe Vigoda has passed away RIP

DJG 9:47 AM  

Yeah, good theme, bad fill.

It's not just that the fill was bad, but that it was versatilely bad. It hit five big categories of things that used to be allowed in crossword puzzles, but now should, in my opinion, be more or less banned (with some exceptions), because constructors have upped their games and word lists/software have gotten more sophisticated.

1) "Random" partials: IMAT, IGO, ILEDE
2) Plural abbreviations that you never see written as plural "in the wild": ATNOS, RDAS
3) Abbreviations of things from a bygone era nobody has really heard of anymore: SDS
4) The use of "and" in a brand that is always stylized with a "&": AANDE
5) "Random" re- word: REOIL (although you can find this in the dictionary, so OK, fair enough)

I wish editors would add these things to their specs. Constructors would quickly adapt and the quality of the puzzle would be better.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

1D, SMOOT -- I learned more about tariffs from watching Ferris Bueller than high school, college, and law school combined! :)

Ludyjynn 9:55 AM  

Puzzle was worth the time just to see INDIGO GIRLS in the grid. "...the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine". (@Z, would you please link everyone to the YouTube lyrics of "Closer to Fine", their biggest hit? Thanks!)

My top three favorite songs, THEY ARE: Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight"; REM "Losing my Religion"; Indigo Girls "Closer to Fine". Sorry, Mr. Dylan and Mr. OCHS.

IMMENSEly relieved that my NYT carrier is back on his game. Last night, heard the thud of papers hitting my front porch and there sat the back copies of THE TIMES from Sat. thru Tues. Today's paper arrived promptly despite the fact that we now have five feet DEEP mountains of snow which County front loaders dropped sloppily on everyone's freshly shoveled sidewalks yesterday, as they widened the lanes on our snow emergency route. Oy! The whole neighborhood was aTWITTER, watching all their hard work go straight to hell.

FT LEE reminded me of NJ Guv. Christie's Bridge GATE scandal. Lots of GOATS after the investigation, as I recall.

Thanks, AGP and WS. CIAO, all. Off to resume normal activities today, I hope. Yay!

Hartley70 9:56 AM  

There was a number...
There were a number..
I fear I erred,
It should be "were".

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Dylan couldn't sing. How can you say he was uber-talented? He sounds like a wailing dog.

Nancy 9:58 AM  

I forgot to make this point in my previous post. I was a bit unhappy about SMITE. I saw it immediately, before I had any crosses, but I think the clue is off. When you "do in" someone, he is clearly dead. When you SMITE someone, he might end up dead. But he also might not.

quilter1 9:59 AM  

A little tough but I got it all.Spouse is a Dylan fan so I hear it all the time on the ipod. Got all the geezer clues right away.

John Green 10:08 AM  

Los Angeles re-published Tuesday's puzzle in Wednesday's paper. Could this be some sort of metapuzzling exercise?

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

You folks must be doing this on line. My physical paper has yesterday's puzzle.

Bronxdoc 10:20 AM  

Lie of the ball > GOLF club selection

Noam D. Elkies 10:24 AM  

1D:SMOOT = past pluperfect of 1A:SMITE?

3D/28A: IN THE MOMA = Where some artwork strives to be?

Fun puzzle. I don't mind some ÎLE_DE N_TEST n_trees as long as they're clued easily enough that they don't get in the way of solving the rest.


Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Like yesterday, awful cluing. Like pulling teeth.

puzzle hoarder 10:35 AM  

I'm embarrassed to admit making a mistake on a Wednesday puzzle. I can't tell you how many times I've put aande in a puzzle. Maybe it was seeing the word hoarder in the clue that gave me the willies. My gut reaction was ada for the Nabokov heroine. Now I'm looking at 52D as if it were some media acronym I've never seen and I started thinking of every a_a name I can come up with. This is one of those situations people here call a Natick,when actually it was a prime example of not spotting your own mistake. The previous references I have for Ada are "Nabakov's longest novel" and "palindromic girl". Pardon the TMI. Dylan following Bowie what an appropriate theme pairing. I didn't even see the anagram theme until I read the blog. This was one of the few times I've used the reveal to put in what I thought was the theme. @George Barany thanks again for the response. I checked out the xwordinfo site. It looks very interesting. Yesterday's entry didn't make it in so thanks again.

thfenn 10:38 AM  

Got the theme early - once I had ITEMS and saw the clues for the Dylan song, all the theme related answers got filled before 'the fill', so that was fun (and indeed the times they are a changin when I can jump on the theme early and it helps me solve).

But really struggled with the fill. Had TIP for 'one more than due' and still no idea why it's TRE. Took awhile for LIE to dawn on me. Recently I couldn't get past SERA as a shot putter's need, this time I couldn't get past ARM as a place for a shot, leaving BAR there for too long. Guess I just don't like thinking about shots. Some refrigerators are GAS, and for some reason I couldn't let Recommended Daily Allowances become RDAS, which kept me held up on OSAGE. ATNOS took forever. Thought CIAGATE was called SPYGATE. Could swear a lot of 'foot long' sandwiches are TENINCH which sat there before TUNASUB for too long, and struggled with AANDE and CTEAM.

But I still take half an hour to do a wednesday, and I beat that with this one, got the theme early, and I like Dylan, Indigo Girls, and Ochs, not to mention Obama, MOMA, taking my hat off during the anthem, overlooking faults, the Palisades, old westerns, otters, tuna fish, the USA's Women's WC title, deep passes, penance, and living in the moment - so this was definitely fun.

I still don't understand why ILEDE next to NTEST is one of the worst juxtapositions Rex has ever seen, as I'm novice enough for the pleasure in solving these to far outweigh construction faults, but I would like to understand the criticism for those willing to, well, fill me in.


mac 10:47 AM  

After a terrible start in the NW I found a foothold in the NE, then circled my way around and up again. No real problems. It felt quite easy at that point, so much so that I didn't need the starred answers to help in the solve.

Dense theme, thoroughly done, good puzzle.

Ludyjynn 10:50 AM  

Just read that this time, news of his passing is for real.
RIP, Abe Vigoda.

Proud Mamma 10:53 AM  

Same. Glad to hear I'm not the only one. I ended up looking up some of the fact clues.

George Barany 10:56 AM  

At this late morning hour, I'm not going to have a whole lot original to contribute to the discussion of @Adam Perl's Dylan tribute, with the added anagrammatic twist on TIMES. @Rex raises several good points, and the comment of the day (so far) was by @Steven M. O'Neill who pointed out that the host newspaper for this puzzle, the TIMES, was founded by Adolph OCHS. I also concur with @Anonymous (9:18 AM) about the Plame affair; it was even made into a 2010 movie called "Fair Game," starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.

@Loren Muse Smith called out for a chemist's comment on ATNOS, but in the meantime @Z and @NCA President, and perhaps others, correctly explained atomic numbers. When I taught entry level chemistry, I liked to start my exams with "gimme" questions that could be confidence-boosters to the students. One example (and I'm paraphrasing from memory) pointed out that any kindergartener knows that the next letter in the sequence, after B and C, is D. However, what answer would the child of a chemist give? [The question also works for the next letter after N and O, which to the child of a chemist if not P!]

Z 11:05 AM  

@kozmikvoid - Try this one on for size.. You are certainly not alone in your extremely erroneous opinion*. When I listen to Dylan I always end up feeling there is no there there, that the Myth of Dylan is just a bunch people projecting themselves on the artist. "THE TIMES THEY ARE A'CHANGIN', Really? I hadn't noticed. The last time I was at a show the guy next to me missed a great opening act and couldn't believe it when I got up and left. Two songs and I was bored. Based on the kind of music I usually love I should love Dylan. I don't.

*Anyone who thinks I mean "erroneous" seriously needs to lighten up. We're arguing rock music for god's sake.

Z 11:14 AM  

I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I went to see the doctor of philosophy
With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee
He never did marry or see a B-grade movie
He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper
And I was free.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I stopped by the bar at 3 a.m.
To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
I woke up with a headache like my head against a board
Twice as cloudy as I'd been the night before
I went in seeking clarity.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

We go to the bible, we go through the workout
We read up on revival and we stand up for the lookout
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine

@ludyjynn - It seemed like a link to the video would be better.

Sir Hillary 11:26 AM  

SMOOT was first in, followed by SMITE, at which point I read the revealer clue and filled in the rest of the themers without resistance. So yeah, it felt too easy, but no one forced me to read ahead. Agree with @Rex that there's an inordinate amount of subpar short fill (mid-Atlantic is especially ugly) but I can let that go given the theme density. For some reason, the hardest part for me was the little tower in Minnesota -- I couldn't parse "due" nor the daring quarterback to save my life.

I'm not the biggest Dylan fan, but his songwriting talent is inarguable. My favorite Dylan period is early/mid-70s, when he delivered "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for the film he was acting in, followed a few years later by Blood on the Tracks, his best album in my opinion. And if anyone is a fan of Adele's beautiful "Make You Feel My Love"...well, it's a cover of a song Dylan wrote and released in 1997. It's quite lovely.

Nancy 11:29 AM  

@George Barany (10:56) -- You sound like a very colorful chemistry teacher, and I'm wondering if I would remember my atomic numbers better if I'd had you as a professor? Actually, I don't remember them at all. Not a single one. I don't even remember what an atomic number IS, to tell the truth. And yet, I had a terrific prof in college on the chemistry end of my combo Physics and Chemistry course. (The Physics prof was beyond dreadful.) But the Chem guy had me actually understanding the relationship between atomic numbers and the things that they're related to. Atomic weights? Specific heat? These terms cascade into -- and out of -- my head right now, even though I haven't the foggiest idea what they all represent. All I know is that I aced the Finals essay question that required me to tie all these things together. And out of all of it, is there ANYTHING I still remember? Yes. I remember that chocolate ice cream melts faster than vanilla ice cream. At one time, I actually understood why.

Lewis 11:47 AM  

Huge Dylan fan here, and for a moment I felt like taking one of his epic songs and using the title as an anagram generator was trivializing his work, but then my better sense came in, and my inner bouncer got rid of my inner heckler, and I enjoyed the theme concept, which was fun and original.

I greatly liked the clues for MATCH and LIE, and I love the answer SANCTUM. There is a mini-theme of double EE's (5). TUNA_SUB sounds green paintish to me, but I'm not sure about that. INTHEMOMENT is a NYT debut, and a good one. For me who is greatly familiar with Dylan's work and fairly facile with anagrams, this came in on the easy side. The 21 threes made the ride a little bumpy but not enough to lessen my enjoyment of the solve.

I'm going on a little trip, and will be back in a week; wishing you all a terrific week ahead.

old timer 12:10 PM  

Come Senators, Congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorways, don't block up the hall...

You have no idea how thrilling it was to hear that song when Peter Paul and Mary did it. Right now I'm listening to a later version that included John Sebastian. The Byrds did it too, though IMO their version is one of the few Byrds takes on Dylan songs that did not work (unlike, say, "My Back Pages" and 'The mighty Quinn".

I have never understood the hatred of Dylan as a singer. He was very effective when he started out, with that unusual, self-created manner of singing. Of course he made real money when others performed his songs, churning out hit after hit. I don't think Dylan had a top 40 hit until "Positively Fourth Street" which is, you know, really a mean and nasty song. America has never had a better songwriter, though, except maybe Irving Berlin. Dylan was a master of creating poetry that seemed to make sense, even when it didn't, to the point that there must be millions of us boomers who know all the words to, say, "Farewell, Angelina" though those words did not make sense then, or now. (Surely the Baez album of that title is the best she ever put together, after her first two albums).

I actually had a hard time getting the themer. Dylan wrote so many great songs, and it wasn't 'til I say THE TIMES that I got the rest. CHANGIN by itself did not help, and I always have a hard time with AANDE. Which has become standard crosswordese, and I should know it by now.

I thought better of the fill quality than OFL. The one I think was really bad was CTEAM. Not in the language, really. A-Team, B-Team, OK. But a C-Team would be a "practice squad" at best, in most sports and would be "the minors" in baseball.

Jim 12:35 PM  

Easy puzzle and I guess the theme was clever -- but the fill was so bad that I hated it. Got the them quickly and made the puzzle fall with no struggle. But it was so dated and awful (RDAS?, someone please explain ATNOS).

Annoyances: Twitter is not really a "service" and no one called it CIAGATE (well apparently the Italians did as it is in the Italian Wikipedia but not the English one)

Rabi Abonour 12:36 PM  

Nice theme, but a little weird to see two music puzzles in a row. As you say, fill is rough. ILE DE / MELDS Nattick'ed me hardcore, and PADUA / ATNOS was a no-go, too. With SO I SEE and LARUE, the SW was tough for me.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:38 PM  

No time to read comments at the moment, but I seem to be alone at 44A, RE-ICE >> REOIL (not that re-ice ever made sense.)

And no one has posted the preferred definition of SMOOT:

The smoot is a nonstandard humorous unit of length created as part of an MIT fraternity prank. It is named after Oliver R. Smoot, a fraternity pledge to Lambda Chi Alpha, who in October 1958 lay down repeatedly on the Harvard Bridge (between Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts) so that his fraternity brothers [...] could use his height to measure the length of the bridge. - Wikipedia

Masked and Anonymous 12:42 PM  

"… the order is rapidly fadin …"

I kept swimmin, all the way thru, without sinkin like a stone. The fill was plenty smooth enough to get me to the finish line, in spite of some tasty desperate bits. So, I gotta say the fill was at least SMOOT.

Luv Bob Dylan. Luv his themes. Luv his lyrics. Luv his wonky singin style. fave tune: Subterranean Homesick Blues; tough lyrics to memorize on that one, tho. Also, real partial to: "Things Have Changed" (Ironic much later follow-up to today's puzmusic?) First song I ever heard by Dylan was on my college's AM radio station, and it was "Mr. Tambourine Man". har. First reaction: what the heck was That? That radio station used to play "Teach Me Tiger" about every other hour, it seemed. But. I digress.

Tasty desperate bits, revisited:

* ATNOS. Primo stuff. Puz gets a hardy thUmbsUp, for this lil jewel, alone. Goddess of peak chart positions! Also, first-timers, among ham radio operators -- absolutely for real: "All-Time New Ones").
* IGO. fave weeject of the litter. Speaking of which …
* MITES. When I saw its {*Tiny biters} clue, I assumed * was an expletive deleted, and immediately wrote in RUNTZ.
* MITES/EMITS. Is it just m&e, or should they blow out those to cheater squares, and then position these two themers at 31-D and 27.5-D? I mean, day-um -- the themers would be much better distributed, And more nicely shielded from one another, to help eliminate any overly desperate fill antics. Even old @009 mighta been able to go to sleep happy (tho that's more of a stretch goal, I'd grant).
* MITES/EMITS. Of course, the constructioneer probably already tried out M&A's redistribution of wealth scheme, and found it wanting, in some way. Did he? The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind …
* RDAS. Has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity! More than once! So, nothin to whine about here … move on.

Oh, the Times puzs they are a-changin …

Masked & Anonymo3Us

David Cole 12:55 PM  

Pleasantly surprised at the back-to-back rock icon puzzles this week. I got lucky and was able to throw the entire Dylan tune in with just one crossing. I saw him on a co-bill with Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead years ago. Fortunately, on that particular tour his lyrics were completely decipherable - fantastic show!

I encourage folks to try the Eliminating the Competition meta contest that @John Child mentioned Sunday, via G. Barany's site. Some fun twists and challenges on both puzzles with cool aha moments.

AliasZ 12:55 PM  

Sweet! The times, they indeed are achangin'.

This was a pretty SMOOT puzzle but with a few bumps on the road. IGO, ISAO, IMAT, ALIT, RDAS, ATNOS, TIESTO, ILEDE, etc., you know who you are, don't try to hide.

What could have made it smooter was if Adam G. Perl had placed EMITS and MITES elsewhere in the grid. Jeff Chen suggested the ALIT-ESOS slots, and I agree.

"ILEDE the pigeons to the flag and to the republic for Richard Stans, one nation undercut in vegetable, with liver, tea, and just this for all."

-- Club selection factor: LIE -- any club as long as we can avoid the L.I.E.*
-- I am waiting for STEAM to be clued "19th-stringers."
-- AANDE: there is no such thing. Perhaps AAMPERSANDE. Even the full, official corporate name is "Arts & Entertainment Network", a property of A+E Networks. Nowhere does the word AND appear on the scene between A&E.

Let us savor this CIAO cone from "Symphonies pour le festin REOIL du comte d'Artois" by François Francœur (1698-1787).

I enjoyed this Perl -- but I am a swine.

*Long Island Expressway

dick swart 1:22 PM  

Atomic Numbers !!!???

Good lord, how long has it been for me? And in those days we only had earth air, water and fire. Hence my confusion over 5 and 6.

Chuck McGregor 1:28 PM  

Weird. The juxtaposition of 62a and 63a made up the A(ctual) T(ime) NOS for my successful finish. THE TIMES THEY ARE -- ONE : ONE THREE : ONE THREE (1:13:13).

As you can surmise, I found it a tough GO. The whole west side held me up for a long time for multiple reasons. Among other things was trying to work with “spy”GATE.

Late last fall, the cat did the taming (read SMITEing) of a shrew (little mice-like thing), actually 3 of them she found, not in PADUA, but in my house. At least she’s good for something other than chasing a spot from a laser pen.

Happy to see “sine” correctly clued as a RATIO, unlike dB (or was it decibel? no matter) a while ago, also a RATIO of two numbers, which was incorrectly clued as a sound measure or something similar. That is like cluing sine as a measure of an angle. Popular “notions” don’t change accepted technical or scientific definitions.

Not sure what is particularly “Sea World-ish” about an OTTER. I would have liked anOTTER clue better, like “Aquatic frolicker.”

As to A AND E. we also have H and R Block, B and M Baked Beans (made right here in Maine), B and O Railroad, Standard and Poor’s (or S and P), and, of course, our own M and A, So either ban them all from crosswords (except M&A) or accept that those are the verbal versions, in SMITE of the ampersand. ”Hey, M ampersand A. Doing your taxes yourself?” “Nope. Goin’ to H ampersand R Block after I have me some B ampersand M Beans.” I suspect that’s not how those brand names (or M&A) want to be known in the language, the ampersand being used to represent how they do want to be known. From that perspective, I think A AND E (et al) is a legitimate answer, though agree it’s arguable.

Update on the subject of rogue waves a while ago. In spite of warning signs, a woman got washed off the rocky shore of Pemaquid Lighthouse by one the other day. Where she was standing was OK for the “average” large waves pounding the rocks resulting from the recent East coast storm, but not OK as a local official explained. “The waves are good for five or 10 minutes and then, as usual, larger waves started coming in. For some reason, they need to get closer … they pay no regard. They have no idea these waves are not all the same size.” She was very fortunate to survive, somehow even basically unhurt, being in a spot where she did not get pulled into the ocean. Had she been pulled in, her chances for survival would have been grim, at best.

On a lighter note, so to speak, lots of sunshine and in the mid 40s here on this ‘winter’s” day.


Teedmn 1:40 PM  

No Dylan fan here, I'm always more about the music than the lyrics, so long, rambling songs with little movement musically do not appeal and that's how I see Dylan. Anytime I need Sparknotes to have the "deeper" meaning of the song explained, like @Z, I say "meh". The song I like is about Dylan - Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust".

Cute theme though and I liked the two 3's: THREE and DUE, which totally misdirected me until I remembered what little Italian I know. I like the INDIGO GIRLS, especially for their harmonies. And I'm not letting any bad fill bother me, I'm going to remain IN THE MOMENT.

Thanks, AGP.

Tita 2:00 PM  

Liked the clever theme, and liked learning to conjugate SMITE SMOOT smitten.

Is there a subtext going on here, with two OCHS's as erstwhile NYT publishers, and THE TIMES ACHANGIN?

Thanks Mr. Pearl.

kozmikvoid 2:05 PM  

@Z - Thanks for the article, it was a good read. Like him or not, though, you have to appreciate his impact on music and history. He captured the essence of the counter-culture movement. Bowie was...well, he was certainly a unique talent, but wasn't a revolutionary.

"And but for the sky there are no fences facing"

Words to live by.

Hartley70 2:10 PM  


@Nancy, I'm sticking with coffee!


Anoa Bob 2:51 PM  

Another tribute puzz? I thought Dylan was still amongst us. Some see him as a bridge between the beatniks and hippies. Maybe one of the first rappers, too, as evidenced here:

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows

Bonus points if you recognize the dude on the left.

For those who are not big Dylan fans,

You Are Not Alone

Ellen S 3:55 PM  

@chefbea: I was just thinking of Abe Vigoda the other day, at the petfood store walking past the Avo-Derm. Twenty years ago, maybe more, there were reports of his death and he had a heck of time convincing people he was still alive. Of course, his droopy, lugubrious appearance did not help. I'm sorry to hear that the reports of his death have finally come true. (Are you sure? Hi, @Ludyjynn!)

@quilter1, I also got all the geezer clues. SMOOT-Hawley, Lash LARUE, right in my wheelhouse, or my mother's. I was a history major but I think I inherited knowing Lash LARUE. Tom Mix's horse was named Tony, as I recall, though I've never seen a Tom Mix movie. I think she knew Larue's horse but I don't remember.

Ludyjynn 4:20 PM  

@Z, thank you and you are right; I meant to ask you to link the YouTube video where you hear the duo singing the lyrics or the one of them singing it live. Oops.

Chronic dnfer 5:53 PM  

Hard hard hard. At least Thursday tough. I guess I'm in the minority. Knew smooth and got the Dylan song but I thought a lot of the answers were way out there.

Chronic dnfer 5:56 PM  

This was a horrible puzzle. Apo is amountain in the Philippines. AAnde is just plain dumb. Worst nyt puz I've ever done.

kitshef 6:24 PM  

Had to do a quick check to make sure Bob Dylan had not died while we were on vacation and news-less. Relieved to find out not. Fine and dandy puzzle most of the way through that fell apart in the bottom quarter. AANDE CTEAM ILEDE and NTEST, four consecutive down clues, all stink.

CIAGATE is not a thing, unless you are talking about the guard station at Langley. It was, and is, The Plame Affair. ATNOS needs an "abbr.". TUNASUB is awkwardly clued (why foot-long?).

beatrice 6:37 PM  

Had two Purcell ANTHEMs picked out, then AliasZ's selection gave me pause..then Roo Monster came along and I knew what I had to do. Pierre de LA RUE (c.1460-1518) was a contemporary of Josquin who has been undergoing a rediscovery of late. Here are two examples of his work, one secular and one sacred.

old timer 7:00 PM  

Since there was a Grateful Dead reference up there, I'll add to my personal pantheon of great American songwriters of the 20th Century Robert Hunter (words) and for most of his songs, Jerry Garcia (music). There probably never was a pair of back-to-back tracks to equal Ripple and Brokedown Palace. And though some of Hunter's songs are a little Dylanish, you only have to listen to those tracks once to get what the songs are about. Problem is, everyone in the country heard Dylan's songs, in his prime. Only Deadheads (who number in the millions, I suppose, but not in the tens of millions) have heard most of those songs. Gotta say, Jerry and the boys had an incredible ability to hook the listeners at their concerts. You get a little of that from their later records, but there was nothing like being there.

John Hoffman 8:03 PM  

Me, too.

Nancy 8:38 PM  

@old timer -- You've captured it exactly: it was a real thrill to hear THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' when it appeared for the first time, as sung by Peter, Paul and Mary. Put me squarely in the camp of those who think Dylan was/is a genius -- a word I don't throw around lightly. And to those who say he can't sing: He writes music AND some of the greatest folk/pop lyrics ever written, and he's supposed to have a great voice, TOO? Cut him some slack, for heaven's sake. Paul Simon doesn't have such a great voice either, and, for my money, he's the OTHER folk/pop songwriter genius of our generation. Although, re Dylan, I remember my brother telling me to listen to his renditions of all the songs I loved of his that other performers were singing. Jimmy, who is far more musical than I, surprised me when he said he actually preferred the gruff authenticity of the way Dylan put over his own songs. I've never agreed and prefer the songs when performed by really fine voices.

There IS something, however, about a writer singing his own work. I remember the class moderator of our First Year BMI Musical Theater Workshop talking about Fred Ebb (of Kander and Ebb) "Have any of you ever heard Fred Ebb sing?" he asked. "It's absolutely terrible!" Pause. "And it's absolutely wonderful!" He was right. Go to YouTube and see for yourselves.

Evan Jordan 9:14 PM  

I remember it as "spygate", and I'd bet money that's how most remember it.

Z 10:01 PM  

@Teedmn - I don't mind having to dig for a deeper meaning, or a subtle allusion, a nice turn of phrase, or even a brutal truism (I love the little girl and I'll love her til the day she dies). I just want the result to be a little interesting.

@kozmikvoid - Did you know that lots of East Germans believe that Bowie's performance of Heroes at the Wall contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall? How's that for revolutionary for you? As for words to live by, is that song about drugs or death or nothing? The most likely Dylan in this house is going to be covers. I have the original soundtrack to I'm not There, but mostly because Calexico was the house band for that movie (I love Calexico). Dylan's songwriting reminds me most of Michael Stipe, more mood than lyric. The big difference is that Stipe's voice was one of the instruments in a band. If a lyric was basically nonsense it didn't matter because it sounded good.

@Chuck McGregor - Is MPH a measurement or a ratio? Is Batting Average a measurement or a ratio? I'd say cluing Sine or dB as a ration is more nuanced, but cluing them as measurements is fine.

Rex Parker 10:21 PM  


You might want to google "spygate."


Teedmn 11:29 PM  

Ach, THREE and TRE. Proofread, proofread, sheesh!

@Z, good point, I'm not looking for fluffy lyrics either. The Yeasayers have that really cool song about Henrietta Lacks Henrietta : the subject matter is amazing but so is the music. Dylan has depth in one direction but that's it, IMO. Elvis Costello's "Riot Act" and "Jack of All Parades" aren't trying to solve the world's problems but the lyrics are clever and the music is great. Okay, done with the Dylan critique.

Like a few other commenters here, I tried out the contest puzzles that @George Barany, @r.alph bunker, @John Child, et. al. constructed. Very nice, I highly recommend them. I also hesitate to try to link to them so go back and dig them up from Monday's comments.

Z 7:50 AM  

@Teedm. - Ah, you're just trying to get on my good side. Nobody does "Pissed" better than Elvis:

And now the cynical ones say that it all ends the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father who just squeezed the life from his only son
And how it's only voices in your head and dreams you never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference between justice and contempt

And I read those words today and can't help but think how apt they still are.

kitshef 12:06 PM  

"Oh, hear this Robert Zimmerman,
I wrote a song for you
About a strange young man called Dylan
With a voice like sand and glue.
Some words had truthful vengeance
That could pin us to the floor;
Brought a few more people on
And put the fear in a whole lot more"

David Bowie - Song for Bob Dylan

David W 1:50 AM  

"The Hawley-Smoot tarrif act which..anyone anyone? Raised? Lowered?..."

Still using my knowledge of Ferris Buehler to this day.

Gregory Schmidt 5:53 AM  

FTLEE, crossed with ERIES, crossed with FED (the way it was clued) = epic fail, imho.

spacecraft 10:32 AM  

I'm foursquare with OFL on this one. Ask (as yesterday, for a tribute to a LIVING person) and you shall receive. Here I am, knock-knock-knocking at heaven's door, and I see this. And if we're all stupid enough to actually elect the only person who thinks he deserves a "THE" in front of his first name, boy, THEN it'll be THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' for sure!

Color me red, but I've never heard of INDIGOGIRLS till just now. As for the rest of the fill...positively fourth street. I won't enumerate the horrors. So theme: A, fill: D-. Averages out to a C+, I guess.

Burma Shave 12:11 PM  


IGO a TWITTER and my EYE is rangin’
as THEYARE undressing inside their SANCTUM.

SOISEE the INDIGOGIRLS without the ITEMS they wore
Those are THETIMES ITSME who OTTER have thanked ‘em.


leftcoastTAM 12:56 PM  

Easier than yesterday, except for an extended pause over the FTLEE/TRE crossing because of the "due"-TRE sequence.

Otherwise, the classic Dylan song, backed up with a lot of familiar fill, made it all a relatively quick Wednesday outing.


Sailorman 2:53 PM  

ATNOS is a horrible fill for atomic numbers of, if I recall correctly, boron and carbon. But I happen to like smite but it doesn't mean to murder but to whip or beat.

Cathy 3:04 PM  

Wow. Another blast from the seePAST. In my bikini at the beach, living IN THE MOMENT, REOILing (baby oil, yikes), DEEP tokes on a joint aLIT from a MATCH (or was it a zippo?) ASHES to ashes, listening to DYLAN on my portable 8 track player. My MOMa wanted to SMITE me. Then Ted Nugent took over with cat scratch fever. CIAO DYLAN!

I got stuck at 53D third-stringers. Could not remove Clist. CTEAM. DNF

rondo 3:25 PM  

A piece of cake. But the fill? I think that’s been covered.

The INDIGOGIRLS had a hit that a local station played to death, I wanna say about 25 years ago? Don’t think I can go as far as yeah babies there. Fictional ADA gets that today. She had IMMENSE experience.

Is SMOOT a past tense version of SMITE? Or just a RR conductor at Hootersville?

Could have clued HERB as Alpert or weed.

I was once described by a former girlfriend as being the most INTHEMOMENT person she had ever known. Still don’t know if that was good or bad or . . .

This puz from THETIMES started with a nice idea, but it needs ACHANGIN’.

Diana,LIW 5:46 PM  

Hooray! Hooray! I finished w/o an error.

But's ADA, not Asa. (Just figured AANsE was some unknown TV channel of the 357 we have here. Who would watch a show where the "stars" do the same thing every day - keep too much crap in their homes.) (Hint - not I.) Arrrrggghhh!

I'm just gonna go "take the dark out of the nighttime and paint the daytime black."


Diana, Lady-Not-Looking Back, but waiting for tomorrow...

Cathy 6:00 PM  

Oh yeah. 18A Club selection factor. LIE. I didn't muster golf in my head. Club soda? Fiz(z)? Pop? Club membership? Fee? When I saw the answer LIE, my brain switched to as a golf lie. As in your score. doiiiiii! Learned something new.

Amazing what sticks in my head. Mortgage is due. Huh? What's that? I'm still thinking about my mistakes. Much more important:)

Also, sorry about TMI in my futile attempt at word play. I guess I had a bit of Burma Shave in me. Wait, that didn't sound right...

Anonymous 9:48 PM  

Strike for Ut.!

Can't believe nobody brought up Ogden Nash, with that cross.

Diana,LIW 10:12 PM  

Thot I posted...

Diana,LIW 11:29 PM  

Going to sleep at 8:28 pm west coast time - no recent posts - oh well.

Ando 3:03 AM  

CIAGATE is just wrong, and it's annoying because the specificity of the question ("Affair that led to Scooter Libby's 2007 conviction, informally") made me think it would be correct. It was Plamegate or the Plame affair, formally or not. (Spygate was when the New England Patriots were caught recording another team's coaches' signals.)

So "ATNOS" is "Atomic Numbers"? That's terrible.

'"Y"-sporting collegian' is "ELI"? Is that a form of "Yalie"?

Ando 3:07 AM  

thfenn wrote: 'Had TIP for 'one more than due' and still no idea why it's TRE.'

The clue is in your signoff, CIAO: due and tre are Italian 2 and 3.

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