Lumberjack contests / THU 1-28-16 / Mother of Eos Selene / fishy deli order / Former liberal informally / Home of Carthage Palace / Souvenir of Russian trip / Burlesque co-star 2010 / Seeker of elixir of life /

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: BALLOON (39A: Party staple suggested by connecting this puzzle's special squares) — if you connect all the "HE" squares (symbol for "helium"), you get a round shape, which I'm guessing is supposed to be a helium-filled BALLOON

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: DUPLE (33A: Twofold) —
1. Consisting of two; double.
2. Music Consisting of two or a multiple of two beats to the measure. (
• • •

There's some cool parts to this—I like the improvised "HE"-containing fill, like ACHE FOR and "I CHEATED" and ALL HERE. I've never heard TUNA HERO, only TUNA SUB, but maybe that's regional (58A: Fishy deli order). I also don't believe in ACID HEADS. POT HEADS, of course (they're the ones ON POT). DEAD HEADS, so I'm told (I like how DEAD from DEAD SPOT intersects HEADS, making a little DEAD / HEADS crossing...). ACID HEADS seems over-improvised. It's one of those answers crosswords keeps trying to convince me is real, like ROLEOS and Laura INNES (sorry, Laura; not buying it!). Fill has rough patches, but is mostly lively and fun. The theme as a whole doesn't work that great. You can call it a BALLOON, and I see that there is HElium in those squares, but nothing about the BALLOON says "floating." It's a circle. It's just a circle. So there's nothing very BALLOON-specific (again, besides the HELIUM). Some way to simulate floating, which is to say, some way to simulate a string (for example) would've been nice. Not sure how one would do that. All I know is ... circle is circle is circle. It's a circle. Visually. That is what it is.

[update: apparently there was a string in the paper / pdf. Just not for us lowlifes who solve in AcrossLite or directly on the NYT app. Once again, the NYT fails to indicate this. Here you go]

DUPLE is a ridiculous non-word. I'd've done everything in my power to cull it. Not a big fan of RADO, either, though that, presumably, is a word people actually utter (when, say, they're buying a high-end Swiss watch), unlike DUPLE, which no one ever says ever. DUPLO is a kind of chunk faux-Lego, if I remember correctly. Crossing A NICE with A COLD is kind of an atrocity. Two bad partials ... crossing? Maybe the theme was taxing this grid more than I imagine. Anyway, I mostly enjoyed this. Didn't have too much trouble except for in and around DUPLE. I really need to stop writing that word. It's driving me a little nuts right now.

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Caught the theme early and didn't have too many problems. DUPLE was new to me also so I needed the crosses.

Pleasant Thurs. Liked it.

From yesterday:

@Z - Not interesting, no there there...(A strong opinion follows)...No one has ever come close to the imagery, humor, poetry, emotion and pure artistry in Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde On Blonde. I was on boot camp leave in '65 and saw Dylan in Columbus, Ohio just after his Newport set. It remains the best concert I've ever seen and that includes seeing Janis Joplin at the Yale Bowl a couple of years later, and she was amazing.

I do admit to mailing the "Come mothers and fathers from throughout the land" verse from Times to my girlfriends parents. They didn't really like me and I'm sure sending them that verse really helped. We celebrate our 50th this year.

Wanna Get Small? 12:11 AM  


Those are phrases that no self-respecting drug user has ever uttered.

Music Man 12:24 AM  

I write DUPLE every day actually, in my lesson plans, except when I only focus on triple meter that day. Rhythm patters (DUPLE), rhythm patterns (triple) rhythm patterns (Asymmetric) tonal patterns (major)...(minor). But I'm sure the majority of solvers aren't music teachers and also use Music Learning Theory.

Also, I've heard people referred to as ACID HEADS many times.

Agree with everything else though.

Carola 12:28 AM  

I was feeling a little CHEATED by a too-easy rebus, until the significance of the HEs dawned on me. Very clever idea, and so nicely carried out. Favorite theme entry was ALCHEMIST, which seemed apt for Ms. Gorski, who can often turn a grid into crossword gold.

Two do-overs: Yves Tanguy before PERE and pillow SlipS before SHAMS.

kozmikvoid 12:38 AM  

Wasn't sure I'd be able to finish that NE but eventually got AMP, the M of which was my last square. Besides that 2-letter spot it seemed to fall pretty quickly. I didn't feel pro and con this one, but the questionable fill seemed to be on the higher end. RADO, DUPLE, ROLEOS had me scratching my head, which brings me to ACIDHEADS. I lived in San Francisco for a while, and can assure you that it is a thing...or at least it was a thing in the late '60s and '70s. And some folks are still paying for being one back then.

madchickenlittle 2:28 AM  

Duple Meter. I say it all the time; but, I am an amateur flautist. Very amateur.

chefwen 4:57 AM  

So who's eating all that tuna? Yesterday we had a TUNA SUB, today we have a TUNA HERO, that would be my last choice of a big, long sandwich.

Got really pumped up when I saw Elizabeth Gorski's name as her puzzles usually deliver lots of bells and whistles, today we got some bells but the whistles didn't show. Caught on early at the bottom with tHEo and acHEfor, so that was not the problem. It just seemed to lack the PIZZAZZ I have come to expect from Liz's puzzles. I get her weekly puzzles via email that I look forward to and enjoy, so I'll quit my bitchin' now. At least we got to draw on it, which adds to my enjoyment. My balloon was red, yours?

Loren Muse Smith 5:33 AM  

Rex – good catch on the DEAD HEAD cross. I noticed the A NICE and A COLD cross, but I kinda liked it – an ice, cold HELIUM-laced beer. Too bad it's a SHAM; wouldn't the debates be fun to watch if the candidates were all drinking this?

I think the circle of HEs does a fine job of representing a BALLOON. Liz is so good at pictures, I bet she's already working on a Sunday rebus depicting a balloon sword. Or a wiener dog. Or a sword-wielding wiener dog.

Liked TRIAL floating above BALLOON.

So I've looked in to DUPLE. It must be an alternative 2 version of triple or quadruple. Rhymes, aptly, with PUPIL.

And RADO was a woe. ROAR/RADO – (?). "Road/dado" would've been easier for me.

I've talked about this here before – I suffer fairly badly from globophobia - the fear of balloons. My problem actually is broader: the fear of being startled. (I can't peel the paper off refrigerator biscuits lest the thing pop open prematurely; I leave the room when someone is uncorking champagne.) I tell ya – if you come near me with a balloon that is blown up so much that I can see through it, I have to put some distance between us. Close my eyes and cover my ears. It's bad because unlike a fear of snakes or spiders, this one is hard for people to believe. During homecoming week, a student saw my discomfort and chased me around outside with a balloon and then popped it. Luckily I was wearing sunglasses because my eyes welled up, and I almost had a breakdown. It’s that real. I tell this because there may be someone out there with the same fear who thinks they're a weirdo. I know I sure felt silly until I started meeting other sufferers. Hi, Oprah.

Liz - always a treat. I'm a big fan.

Max 5:35 AM  

Not into having TUNASUB yesterday and TUNAHERO today. They need to space out these tuna clues, you can't have tuna sandwiches every day.

Anonymous 5:53 AM  

Thought we'd see something about laughing gas with all the "he" clues. Tee Hee! Rado? Acid heads? No.

We've seen a lot of "tuna" recently, including "tuna sub." Seven letters, could have been "nova lox." I was waiting for the inanity to begin. But we did get "lox." No "nova." Is that redundant? And, for the sound guy, "speaker" and "amp." Looking forward to the rant.

Not sure why the puzzle creator had to include "octet." Once you figure out the gimmick, I doubt most folks go back to count them. I mean, it fits but who cares?

And the circle thing? WTF? A ball of helium? An orb or helium? A sphere of helium? Sheesh.

George Barany 6:19 AM  

And so, our chemistry lesson continues as the fabulous @Liz Gorski uses HELIUM, which has ATNO 2, to fill her BALLOON. HELIUM is the prototype nobel gas, with a full shell that has a DUET of electrons. Beyond that, outer shells of nobel gases, starting with neon (ATNO 10) and continuing with argon (ATNO 18), etc., contain an OCTET of electrons.

@Nancy from yesterday, thank you for your kind remarks. You (and others) should feel free to contact me off-Rex for additional chemistry anecdotes and jokes.

Trombone Tom 6:37 AM  

I usually enjoy Ms. Gorski's puzzles and today was no exception. I thought it was a light-hearted (HE-HE-HE . . .) romp. Even if you were not high (ACID HEAD and ON POT). It seemed a little on the easy side for a Thursday. Got the idea that the circle was a BALLOON but @Rex is correct, a string would have helped us AcrossLite solvers.

Anonymous 6:38 AM  

Way back on the 1960's when LSD was new in the drug culture, the term 'acidhead' was commonly used. The term may be dated but it is legit

Ms. Absinthe 6:53 AM  

The comments here on the Nov. 17 puzzle pretty much settled the "acid head" question for me, but maybe no one remembers that discussion because you're all on pot? Oh well. It IS interesting to watch the NYT gradually adopt recreational drug use terms, as in Pete Wells' reference to dirty bong water yesterday.

LaurieG in Connecticut 7:27 AM  

not necessarily a true statement in the 60s.

Z 7:35 AM  

My first thought as I opened to the puzzle, black pen in hand, was "How'd I do that?" I was a good 40% of the way through the solve before I realized I didn't do that. At which point I wondered how much throbbing grousing we'd get from the techno crowd about the missing string. Sometimes print is better.

More iffiness than I expect in a Gorski puzzle. INNES/SHIATSU is a naticky WTF DUPLE. SHIA TSU looks like some new spiritual movement blending Islam and Taoism, while INNES always looks like it is missing its first and last letters. I'm never quite sure what makes a HERO a HERO, but I'm pretty sure TUNA is not part of the usual recipe. I can't wait to see the response for @CM and @NCAP on the clue for AMP because it even bugged me.

Yet, with all these gripes, you gotta love finishing your puzzle and drawing a BALLON. I was just a wee bit bummed that there's no NENA in the puzzle.

@jae - As I said yesterday, lots of artists whose opinion I respect love the guy. He clearly spoke to people. From my perspective, though, he doesn't live up to the (sometimes excessive) hype. Want to put him with Lennon, Simon, Marvin Gaye, Carole King. Okay. Start calling him G.O.A.T. , though, and you get the side eye from me.

John Child 7:53 AM  

I rise to the defence of ACID HEAD as I think I did the last time we saw it. In a certain time and place, it was very much a "thing." It's now dated, like bell-bottom jeans, but I think I would like that 15-letter answer in my puzzle too!

I feel differently about ON POT though: Only the fuzz would use that phrase, man.

Gather ye Gorskis while ye may: Head over to her site and sign up for one of these beauties every week.

BigMistake 8:01 AM  

Avg to slightly easy Thursday, loved the symmetry of the rebus squares (which made it easier), and despite some iffy fill - enjoyed it

jberg 8:08 AM  

I solve in the paper, so I saw the string right off. Or rather, I saw a wavy black line running from near the bottom of the grid down into the clues. I immediately thought "must be Liz Gorski" -- but I was telling myself a joke! Then I looked at the byline and saw that it actually was. I still had no idea that the line was a string, though, and most of the way through I was expecting that the connect-the-rebus-squares drawing would give me some kind of canape-- probably bits of raw tuna on crackers, to go with the SUBs and HEROs. Then I finally got the revealer from crosses and figured out that it was the string. Somehow, this made the visual experience of the puzzle enjoyable, despite any weakness in the fill.

I still don't get "speaker's position" as a clue for AMP, though. If PXS hadn't been so clear, I would have resisted it. Do people put speakers on top of their AMPs? Wouldn't that block the ventilation and make the AMP overheat?

As another amateur musician, let me join the chorus of frequent DUPLE sayers. It's not just an affectation -- 'double time' means something entirely different, so you need a different word.

@Loren, I feel for you. I hope you got that kid sent home.

Biggest writeover: start/I'm smart before ONSET/I CHEATED.

Remember, tomorrow is TUNA CLUB day (3-layer fish).

Hungry Mother 8:09 AM  

Go it the rebus early and it was a help to know that there were 8 of them in a circle. ALCHEMIST was tougher then it should have been for this ex-chemistry major (finished in mathematics).

Glimmerglass 8:12 AM  

I was teaching in a boarding secondary school in the 1960's. Trust me, there were acid heads. There's an interesting possibilty where 33A crosses 30D. Early in my solve I had a second rebus OU where DOUBLE crossed ROUBLE (both acceptable alternates for DUPLE -- which I hadn't thought of yet -- and RUBLE). The problem was, it had nothing to do with the HEs I'd so far found. Eventually, I came around to DUPLE.

kitshef 11:34 AM  

David Bowie wrote a song called "Song for Bob Dylan" ('with a voice like sand and glue'), which was itself an homage to Dylan's "Song to Woody", so I was hoping we'd keep the chain going with a Woody Guthrie tribute.

Hand up for SlipS before SHAMS, and I had octagON before BALLOON but could not figure out the 'party' connection.

Thank you @Nancy for the Paul Simon recognition yesterday. A Dylan equal on my Mt. Rushmore. Like Dylan, a poet who happened to work in song.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

RADO is a Swiss high range manufacturer of watches, with headquarters in Lengnau, Switzerland. It is noted for its use of scratch-proof materials, a field in which it is considered a pioneer.[citation needed] Today the company produces about half a million watches a year with a staff of about 470 in total. Rado's watches are obtainable in more than 150 countries.
RADO watches vary in pricing according to model, age and materials but the core collection of RADO pieces will range from about US$ 700 to about US$ 28,000. Models that include pave dials of diamonds and baguette diamonds can cost approximately US$ 30,000 to US$ 250,000.

That qualifies as a "High-end Swiss watch" in my opinion.

Da Bears 11:59 AM  

Rex, acid head is before your time. Otherwise, you are dead head on.

Elephant's Child 12:11 PM  

DUPLEX. No worse than CTEAM.

Tim Aurthur 12:13 PM  

Let me add my dazed and confused voice to the chorus of ACID HEAD defenders. That term, along with ACID freak, was commonly used back in the day.

Victoria 12:33 PM  

I had the very same do overs!

AliasZ 12:38 PM  

I loved the HE rebus and the BALLOON, and Elizabeth Gorski is the best at visuals. How about a SHE rebus next, Liz?

The simple DUPLE meter reminds me of the Humoresque No. 7 in G-flat major by Antonín Dvořák, in 2/4 (DUPLE) time. The melody has been used in the USA as a reminder to passenger train toilet users, sung to these words:

"Passengers will please refrain from flushing toilets while the train is standing in the station."

If you have THEA RHEA, take IMODIUM.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

I'm new at crossswords but try to do the NYTimes every day. I consult your site after I finish to see how I did and what you have to say about the puzzle. Don't know how to comment online (not much into computers) but I have to make two comments on today's puzzle.

1) a "onesie" it worn by a newborn, toddler presumes walking and you can't walk in a onesie.

2) alchemsits did not search for any elixir, they tried to turn base metals into gold.

KITTY 12:56 PM  


Guerin Wilkinson 12:56 PM  

Acidhead: Haven't we covered this before? I was a self-identified one in the early 70's. I'm not the only one. An east-coast expression?

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

so THAT's what that random line was! Did not get "cher" or "hence" so thought the puzzle had a mistake. Not likely! Had fun with this one.

Martel Moopsbane 12:59 PM  

I'm with Glimmerglass. DUPLE sounds so wrong, I even resisted making the correction until I realized that BAL couldn't possibly be Homeboy.

I solved in print, and didn't even notice that the string had meaning, just figured it was a print error.

Charley 1:03 PM  

In New York City it's a hero sandwich.

OISK 1:07 PM  

`Didn't recall until yesterday that George Barany is a fellow chemistry teacher. He reminded me of my eliciting "songs that begin with elements." Ne time you're feeling' lonely...Cu in my dreams, and He sweet, to name a few. (no one is surprised that my songs are OLD!!)

This puzzle and yesterday's were very easy for me. As @Nancy said, even non-rockers like me know that there is a song "The times they are a changin". (not that I could sing any other line from it!) I couldn't stand Dylan's voice, but did enjoy some covers of his songs, especially the Chad Mitchell Trio (anyone else remember them?) and "With God On Our Side." When he crossed over to rock, or at least what sounded like rock to me he lost me entirely.

I was sure that today would continue the trend, and since it was Thursday would be something more obscure. The greatest hits of "Indigo girls" perhaps? Never heard of them, are they a derivative of "Purple Haze"? Glad NOT to see them today; I am in no mood indigo.

Liked seeing "smite," (yesterday) which called to mind an Allan Sherman song about "Sir Greenbaum" (to the tune of "Greensleeves.") which had the wonderful pun, "Ah, wouldst I could kick the habit, and give up smoting for good."

I've never ordered a tuna hero in a deli, nor called anyone an "acid head," (pot head, hop head, yes...) but those are not worth sneering at. Roleos just seems made up. Auto-correct doesn't like it...

All in all, though, an easy but fun Thursday puzzle. I liked it.

GILL I. 1:18 PM  

Where's my string? I didn't get a string! I feel CHEATED.
Oof...this took me a long time to figure out. Of all things, I so wanted ROLEX for the RADO corner and I could not get passed that F...up.
(TH)eo is the only Huxtable that always appears in crosswords so I did a whooping crane mating dance when I finally figured out the HE that was everywhere yesterday along with a TUNA HERO/sub that I cry "Fowl" because I'm convinced everyone of those deli sandwiches have some meat and cheese. Do deli's do TUNA melts?
Anyway, after I figured out the He thingy, I skipped around finding the rest of tHEm.
I'm in the @chefbea camp. She said it all for me even though she lives in Hawaii where it's balmy and I'm here in rainy (yay) California and I too like it when ECG draws on her puzzle which I didn't get.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

This puzzle floated my Thursday boat, with the lighter-than-air, HELIUM-filled BALLOON. My copy didn't have the string but it is a cute addition.

A bunch of writeovers today. I Slipped up on SHAMS like @Carola. The rest were just while getting my rebus bearings. I agree that INNES-SHIA TSU was a NAtick waiting to happen, but didn't. And I gave DUPLE a DUPLE and triple look and was convinced I'd just have to live with the DNF, and that didn't happen either, A NICE bonus.

@Loren, if you had been at my house last night, you would have had to decamp to the backyard shed. My husband was finishing walls in the basement. He called to warn me that there would be some very loud reports when he nailed into the cement floor. Even with the warning, I nearly jumped out of my skin every time (about 5 times) the gun went off. Later, I checked out the tool he was using. It had little shells like you would use in a 22 rifle, and I found the casings on the floor. No wonder it was loud! I'll take popping BALLOONs any day.

Thanks Liz Gorski, for a puzzle with no DEAD SPOTS.

And I noted this in my late post last night but I'll repeat it here, that I solved the contest puzzles @George Barany offered in Monday's blog comments and I recommend them to all here. Tough but fun. And prizes!

Masked and Anonymous 1:34 PM  

I did the newspaper puzversion. First thought: Who is the uncredited drawer of the string? Primo string line. Standin O, for that string. Standin O for a fun Gorski puz with doodles, too.

Second thought: What, no SHE balloons?

Third thought: Day-um, what a wide-open NW starting corner. Heckuva way to begin yer day. Weirdly, I then proceeded to solve the NW corner pretty fast, but then stalled out on Russian souvenirs, duples, and hirsuteness. Figured CAGE/GASES in the upper-N-central, so my fast solve time balloon began to deflate, to the point of sagnation and cinnamon roll dependency.

Other, random numeral thoughts:

* @muse: I sympathize. I was in the Army, and did some time in a howitzer battery. I don't exactly have a phobia of balloons, except maybe when they drag their strings tauntingly thru my puz clues. The charges in a howitzer shell were also connected to each other by strings.
* RADO. Little-known low-end Swiss watch brand: RADONT.
* DUPLE. Little-known low-end porn flick rating: DUPLE-X.
* ATELIER. Learned somethin, hère, pere. It don't have the PB1 Immunity one would like, for a long, centrally-placed answer, but hey -- Don't think twice. It's all right. (Dylan-esque ACIDHEAD flashback)
* RHELIUMA/THELIUMA. fave weeject balloon-fill.
* ACOLD/ANICE. Anchored the tastiest, desperado-est puzregion. Mighta gone with ROOD instead of ROAD. Or ANISE + DADO, instead of ANICE + RADO. (yodo, @muse)
* 4 U's. This is pretty much par, for a 15x15 on HELIUM.


Anonymous 1:36 PM  

RADO to me brought to mind (since I'm a retired hippie from the 60s) the following: Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot

Masked and Anonymous 1:47 PM  

yo, @John Child -- Clue for ONPOT coulda been worse:

{Early morning crossword solver's common site?}
{Where the lid go?}
{Opposite of on top, partially??}.

M&A Help Desk

crabsofsteel 1:57 PM  

I thought the string was a misprint. Solved the puzzle but did not get the theme. Clues were wonky.

Jim Powers 2:25 PM  

My paper has a broken string in it: one large and two little gaps in the line. Because of that, I assumed it was just a printing flaw (not uncommon) and it never occurred to me that it was actually meant to be there. (As it turns out, it WAS a printing flaw, just not in the way I thought.)

dick swart 2:27 PM  

The symmetry of the HE squares got me through the NE. I had the theme early and knew which boxes the HE would be in.

'Duple" from music 101.

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

What kind of clue is word go? Clearly, I'm missing something here.

Wm. C. 2:57 PM  

@Professor (of Chemistry, of all things) Barany --

"Nobel" Gas ???

No wonder you haven't won the "Noble" Prize.


the redanman 2:58 PM  

RADO is real, there's more to watches than the ubiquitous "I don't know watches" ROLEX.

I like BALLOON smack in the middle of the balloon itself, nice touch.

TUNAHERO was smelly.

ACIDHEAD was perfectly legitimate terminology in the sixties.

Overall decent, but not as good as the WSJ puzzle yet again.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

Am I the only one almost done in by the crossing of SHIATSU, a word I rarely see, and SHAMS, a word I’ve never heard of?

I think that’s the only H that’s not part of the rebus -- and so I instinctively put in sheiatsu and sheams, none the wiser until OCTET clued me in to an over-count of HEs.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

@jberg, I had the same hesitation about AMP as an answer for "speaker's position. I assume that Ms. Gorski had in mind the kind of guitar "amp" that is actually a combination amplifier and speaker in a box.

Mark 4:05 PM  

I saw the string, but I thought that I'd somehow carelessly made a line on the page with my black solving pen before I got started. Even after finishing it I didn't get it.

Myuen88 4:21 PM  

I'm from the 60s/70s. Acid head is a thing.

DigitalDan 4:32 PM  

In addition to use in music, a DUPLE is a two-TUPLE. Familiar to, if not super-often-used by, mathematicians. Less common in literature, which explains the lack of familiarity in some balloons -- circles, that is.

Charles Flaster 4:39 PM  

EZ and enjoyable.
HELIUM gave me the needed completion of puzzle.
Not familiar with INNES.
Liked cluing for DEAD SPOT and NONO.
CrosswordEASE -- ILSA ( but part of great cinema).
Thanks ECG

Paul W. 4:46 PM  

The "string": thought someone had xeroxed a hair and that somehow got left in today's edition.

beatrice 5:24 PM  

Ms. Gorski is a professional musician, I believe, and her NYT puzzles usually (I think) contain at least one blatantly musical answer. HERE she was more subtle, using DUPLE, OCTET, TONES, TOOT, and arguably CHER in non-musical senses. So I will avail myself of this opportunity to shoe-horn in my two Purcell picks from yesterday. After all, they are both in DUPLE time and both consist of TONES. (These particular pages also contain brief but excellent commentary, and the texts.)

'O, I am sick of life'*

'Rejoice in the Lord alway' -

* based on a text from 'Job' - it goes on, ' bitterness of soul..' - but I agree with the chemist(?)above - being 'SOURED on' and being 'bitter' are two different things

Over and Out.

Lincoln Boyd 5:27 PM  

Can someone explain how speaker's position leads to AMP?

Mike D 5:49 PM  

I thought having THEA and THEO in the same puzzle was the lamest aspect of a pretty lame effort.

Margaret 6:07 PM  

Having an irrelevant line on the .pdf was not a problem. What is a problem is when the .pdf lacks relevant information. For instance, Sunday the 17th I think, when the them was Twisted Words, I could not figure out what one was supposed to do until I looked at the puzzle in the magazine -- on! little arrows around the black squares that the words are meant to twist around. This happens more often than one would wish. Not sure why. But the NYT should do better.

mac 8:05 PM  

When I got the arts section, I looked at the puzzle and accused my husband of drawing on it!

Medium because of the time it took me to get the theme.

@Carola: another Yves before pere....

Nice Thursday, all in all.

Big Jim 8:41 PM  

Acid head is definitely a thing. I went to high school and college in California in the 70's. Take my word for it.

pwoodfin 8:43 PM  

I solve the puzzle on paper printed out from a version of the NYT called the Times Digest. It's a shortened version of the paper sent free to subscribers. When I looked at the puzzle online I thought how weird that a stray pencil squiggle would have found its way onto the page. I thought it was a scratch or something. But as the puzzle progressed I thought this just might be intentional, it pointed directly to one of the "HE's." Eventually I connected the circle shape to the revealer and was not particularly sold on the premise of the shape being a balloon. Then I saw that the squiggle was the balloon's string. Brilliant! Perfect, perfect, perfect!

It's too bad the visual is lost on digital solvers because the gimmick is pretty cool. All that wondering what's going on and then to finally be told is a great aha moment. The author, Jonathan Safran Foer, often organizes words on the pages of his books that can only be appreciated by SEEING those words. An audio recording would not convey the same meaning. Alexander Scriabin composed works that incorporate colors projected on a screen by a "color organ" when performed. Again, recording would not convey the entire intent. To say nothing of opera.

So, sad to say that technology has failed many of you solvers. And, Rex, your little footnote, "apparently there was a string... ", is worthy of much more than a footnote. The string is huge. The string is a head-scratcher that is finally revealed. This is a puzzle of myriad levels: center revealer, HE's signifying (and in one answer saying precisely) helium, an initial visual (circle) and finally the icing on the cake -- the string.

Liz, you've outdone yourself. Thank you! A truly enjoyable Thursday.

And, Rex, acidhead, tuna hero and duple are all very real. Where have you been?

Cheerio 8:53 PM  

Rex commented recently about the relative dearth of female crossword puzzle authors in the NYT. I expect there are various explanations but just for the record, I was filling in my first answer when I had a jolt of a thought "this one is by a woman!" Then I looked up at the byline and saw it was byE.Gorski and felt happy. I love her puzzles. Thanks!

Z 9:11 PM  

@Anon2:29 - I've been an Elvis Costello fan from the word go.
I can't recall hearing this colloquialism recently, so I wonder how dated it is.

Colby 10:12 PM  

So close to being able to work Nena in for NONO to create a 99 Luftballons reference.

Patricia Markert 11:41 PM  

There are still pleasures in reading the print newspaper, like wondering if someone had marked up my paper before I had read it, only to discover after I'd finished the puzzle and drawn the balloon that the random line leading from the base of the puzzle was the string attaching to the balloon.

Leapfinger 9:24 AM  

Squaring the circle is supposed to be impossible, but Gorski did a great job circling the square. Placing all the HEs in perfect symmetry--very SMOOTh!! -- plus it let me put the HE in THEA, HERO and TITHE while half the grid was still blank. Bi-iig help, that was, and I needed it after having FOIST/FOX in place of HOIST/HON.

@jae, loved your letter to the inlaws! How do they feel about you now?

@jberg, your CLUB idea is better than my GRINDER, but we got our 3 layers of fish today with TUNA, LOX and SOLE (HE HE HE)

All the giggling made some people think of laughing gas, but that's nitrous (nitrous oxide, for ALCHEMISTS in the room). If Gorski ever decides to fill a BALLOON with Laughing Gas-- NO NO NO! -- I'll be there.

BTW, thanks to all who earwormed me "99 Luftballons". Not.

My comment submitted yesterday went on the LAM for mysterious reasons, so I've dredged up what I remember. I can be ridiculously persistent when disgruntled.

Kimberly 11:12 AM  

Musicians and microbrew fans are both familiar with DUPLE; those of us who both drink and play are DUPLE comfortable with that answer :-)

Amy 4:19 PM  

totally thought that string was something I drew inadvertently with a pen.

Burma Shave 10:19 AM  


and HOISTS ACOLD PORT to her piehole,
HENCE she’ll ACHEFOR a good SHIATSU rub,
it ISTO raise MORALE in heart and INSOLE.


spacecraft 11:08 AM  

Lots of problems with this. DUPLE is legit enough--within the narrow range of music writing. But out in the rest of the world: not happening, ever. "Dyeing 'WISH'?"(emphasis mine)??? What "wish?" "Oh, please, if you're going to dye me, PLEASE use HENNA!" Absurd. The clue might just as well have read "Dyeing declaration?" More problems: a SHAM is NOT a pillowcase. It is for decoration only; no one ever actually SNORED on one. And a ONESIE on a TODDLER?? Folks, by the time your little one is toddling, I sure hope he's outgrown his ONESIES. Another clue that's just plain WRONG. And here's yet another: if you see "no service" you're in a dead ZONE. I suppose, really stretching it, you could be in a SPOT where just a little movement would unblock the signal, but mostly you'll need to drive on a few miles. This was one of several writeovers. Within walking distance, 6 letters starting with N? Why, NEARBY, of course. Didn't you? And with INStep below it instead of INSOLE, I almost went aground.

I thought ALCHEMISTs sought to turn base metals into gold, but maybe they forward-channeled Ponce deLeon as well. NEOCON is a new one on me, short for neo-conservative, I presume. Nowadays I believe the trend is the other way: you-know-who is creating "neolibs" by the thousands.

And finally, the perfect octagonal BALLOON shape (?) is flanked by twin WOEs RHEA and THEA. Oh yes--and my paper did not see fit to print the "string." All in all, it made for a Thursday slog. We slog on Sundays, guys; kindly give us the weekdays off from that. Clues designed to prevent, rather than ease, solving made for a medium-challenging day. Got the rebus at TITHE/THEO, and it eased up somewhat after that, but still...Had the theme been minus the "drawing" it would have been fine. The use of HE, including the extra reveal line at 56-across, is brilliant. Credit where credit is due; blame too. Maybe OFL OKD EKE; I don't. C.

BS2 11:53 AM  


They’re ALLHERE, at the CO-OP, toking HELIUM like zeroes.
Don’t SNEER, you can TUNIS fish, but you can’t TUNAHERO.

this stream of unconsciousness OK’D by the PLEATED ONESIE PUPIL ATELIER

BS3 12:24 PM  

@Cathy re: yesterday, HON, you can have a bit of Burma Shave in you whenever you want. I'm ONCALL.

Waxy in Montreal 12:59 PM  

Enjoyed the clever theme though no string was printed in my syndicate paper. Easy solve other than DUPLE and SHAMS which were personal DEADSPOTs.

rain forest 1:41 PM  

Fun puzzle. I got the first HE in the NW, and thought there would be HEs and SHEs all over the place. My string was visible only in segments, but the idea was clear. I knew DUPLE and RADO (uncle has/had one), and ACID HEAD is/was a thing.
Up here in Vancouver I don't think we use the term HERO for a long sandwich, but I know that it is synonymous with a sub (I think).

Only @Rondo would know if Laura Innes is a yeah baby.

Diana,LIW 4:17 PM  

Got the rebus early on, and that made the solve easier for once. I've come to accept rebi, but in the back of my mind they're still CheATING. ICHEATED, as usual, on some of the names. Dr. Weaver was my favorite on ER, but still didn't know INNES. Do now. Shame on me. Then there was Clooney - looks a lot like Mr. Waiting.

Did anyone in Syndieland get the string? Wonder who pulled it. ;-)

REP wouldn't come to me - cleverly done Ms. G.

Couple of "odd" clues - "word go" "take a dip" - that would be a swim, not a bath. But way more clever misleads and wordplay.
Guess I'm partial to partials - ANICE and ACOLD were very helpful to me.

Can remember the wonderful tuna hoagies in Phiadelphia. The store down the street sold whole or halves - my lunchtime treat. The secret to Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies is the Philly bread, baked in an Italian bakery in South Phila. Also glad to see my other fishy friend show up today. You know who, initials NL.

Still wishin' I had had that string - that really ties this pretty puzzle up.

Diana, Strung Out, but not ONPOT or an ACIDHEAD, just waiting for the string

rondo 6:02 PM  

No string attached to my puz as the clues are printed above the grid. Wondered about the HE squares until HELIUM showed up. Har.

DUPLE RUBLE PUPIL. Say that three times fast.

Yeah baby CHER has worn some interesting ONESIEs over the years. They raise my MORALE. Ms. INNES? At one time, long ago.

@Cathy – ANICE pair (of posts) yesterday. If there’s a REMOTE chance . . .

From the ONSET, this puz felt more like a DRILL than fun. Sorry, but I kinda SOURED on it.

Cathy 8:54 PM  

Didn't feel the love for this one. Agree with @spacecraft. DEADSPOT, HENNA? TUNAHERO looks/sounds weird.

RADO. Never heard of it. I wonder if it's better than my expedition timex.

@Diana,LIW- Nova LOX! I was running commenters through my head, NL, who's NL...ha ha!

@Burma Shave- you lifted my MORALE, I'm honored:)

Diana,LIW 10:28 PM  

@Spacey - a case of the Mondays on Thursday? Totally agree with you, though, on the "onesie" mishap.

BS - great poetry - careful with Cathy. Tho she's a big girl now.

@Rainy - please don't tell my husband about the RADO - he will want one to add to his collection of non-Timex time keepers (said the Queen of Timex owners)

Nova Lox. Look for it in your grocer's deli section. Had it 3 times last week for lunch while Mr. Waiting was out of town. Almost made up for missing him.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Smoked Salmon

Nicky James 11:32 AM  

In our simple life, love plays a very specific role.Now we are able to make your love life healthy and it has no space for any type trouble. These all are possible with the help of AGBAZARA TEMPLE OF SOLUTION. He helped me cast a spell that brought my long lost lover back withing 48hours who left me for another woman. you can also contact him on ( ) or call him on +2348104102662 and be happy forever like am now with his experience.

from USA.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP