Roman road / MON 2-15-16 / Gossipy types / Jeweler's magnifying glass / Black to bard / Cal Dean's east of eden role

Monday, February 15, 2016

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Not a Monday / More a Tuesday


THEME: Presidents Day, I think — let's see, there's a word ladder going from POLK to FORD through TAFT For Some Reason, and also the clues are kind of presidented up, randomly

SEMI-PRESIDENTIAL, SEMI-CHRONOLOGICAL WORD LADDER:
  • POLK 
  • PORK
  • PARK
  • DARK
  • DART
  • DAFT
  • TAFT
  • TART
  • TORT
  • FORT
  • FORD 
Word of the Day: ALIF (58D: A, in Arabic) —
Aleph is the first letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician 'Ālep Phoenician aleph.svg, Hebrew 'Ālef א, Aramaic Ālap Aleph.svg, Syriac ʾĀlap̄ ܐ, and Arabic Alif ا. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle makes me want to apologize to yesterday's puzzle for being too harsh on it. This is a train wreck. I can't find a single coherent organizing idea here beyond "vaguely presidenty things." Why POLK? Why FORD? Why go from POLK to FORD? Why through TAFT? What ... kind of structure or concept or idea is being played out here? Why all this congressional stuff on *Presidents* Day? It's not National Politics Day or Washington, D.C. Day. LEGISLATOR? You know the legislative and executive branches are ... different ... branches, right? This whole puzzle makes about as much sense, thematically, as PQR does as an answer in any puzzle ever for any reason. I let out an audible groan and really, desperately wanted to stop solving right about ... here:

Seriously, right before I wrote in PORK, I was thinking "please don't be a word ladder, please don't be a word ladder, please don't be a word ladder." When it turned out to be a word ladder, all goodwill drained out of me. Instantly. I thought for sure the puzzle would earn some of it back. Surely, there had to be a point to this oversized (16x15) word-laddered ... thing. But I don't see one. I CAN'T see one. I am a QUESTIONER of this theme's solidity and validity. EBON AERO ITER ALIF the end.

["a DARK horse riding up..."]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

73 comments:

jae 12:06 AM  

Medium-tough for me but it could have been the over sized grid. Other than that, what @Rex said.

Da Bears 12:10 AM  

Rex, God bless you for telling as it is!

Z 12:10 AM  

POLK. TAFT, FORD. Is that it for presidents who are four letter words? Nope. I guess a BUSH to BUSH word ladder woulda been too short.

kozmikvoid 12:21 AM  

Hey, kozmikvoid, how was your Valentine's Day? I'm so glad you asked...

At about 6:15, just before my wife and I were about to get some Valentine's Day dinner, my dog came running up the stairs of our back deck and proceeded to run full speed into the slider. Confused, I opened the door and was greeted with a smell that can best be described as burning flesh and rubber (or at least what I think that would smell like). He had been sprayed by a skunk at point-blank range right in the ol' sniffer. In what must have been light-speed, that smell took over the entire house. The next 90 minutes or so are still a blur, but it involved multiple gallons of tomato juice and hydrogen peroxide and apparently rants of personal desire to massacre the skunk responsible for the olfactory siege on my household along with all its beloved family and friends. The evening ended with me ordering takeout from a very fancy Italian restaurant and having to stand outside in 9-degree temperatures while they brought the entrees out to me because I refused to stinkefy their fine establishment with my horrific odor.

So it's fitting that WAFT is the centerpiece of today's puzzle.

And to top it all off, this puzzle sucked.

Martín Abresch 12:31 AM  

FORD
FORE
BORE
BOSE
BOSH
BUSH
BUSH
BUSH?

chefwen 2:15 AM  

I'm not too crazy about word ladders either, but I didn't find anything too offensive about this one. I just chalked it up to a typical, easy Monday puzzle. IDOIDO after the ice cream question was pretty lame and I was a little put out about DAFT right underneath my name. Jon said "would you rather have TART there"? Guess not, unless you're talking about a nice Strawberry tart, then it would fit.

Kimberly 2:26 AM  

I really don't mind word ladders, but they're supposed to start and end in ways that tie it all up and this was just nonsensical. It felt like a cheat. I also don't mind the whole random government thing since it's not just presidents day but also an election year and I've been glued to the political news, so it all kind of made sense to me. Really, though, Monday puzzles never excite me, so my expectations were low. This one, however, was just weird and not Monday-like at all. Not sure what it was.

Loren Muse Smith 5:49 AM  

Hah. I saw the grid, and my first thought was that it could be a word ladder. So I got POLK and then FORD, and thought, "Ok. Hmm." When TAFT fell, I said aloud, "Oh, right. It's Presidents' Day!"

So, yeah, "why POLK, TAFT, FORD?" Because aside from Bush, they're the only names with four letters. Maybe @Roo Monster can do a ladder using all four.

Three things that stood out:
1. the plethora of _ _FT words – six, right?
2. EVOLVE in a word ladder grid. Cool.
3. BERNARD (as he FLAILS his arms) sharing the grid with LEFT. And DONALD crossing DAFT. *

I never considered that extra non-ladder themers didn't fit; they all felt Washingtonsome to me, so no biggie.

Missed opportunity – shorten the ladder by three and give "fart" its NYT debut.

Anyone notice the WAFTing apostrophe in ads commemorating today's holiday? You can dig around and find lists dictating where, if used at all, the apostrophe goes in holiday names. (Who got to decide that it's Mother's Day, not Mothers' Day or Mothers Day? The same guy who decided it was a "murder" of crows and a DESK of pewits?) I vote we TOSS the apostrophe altogether in holidays. Take away a little ammunition from pedants waiting to pounce on, sigh, how dumb the hoi polloi are. Is. Can be.

* Made you look.

GILL I. 6:16 AM  

Well, I've had my first laugh today, thank you @Rex. I was really waiting to hear THAT'S BEEN DONE A MILLION TIMES ALREADY but instead I get a pig in a poke puzzle.
OK, I liked POLK in the OVEN, DAFT TAFT DE FOE of THEFT and YENTAS TOSS FORD.
This puzzle is waiting for someone like our daparted friend @joho to come up with a funny story REUSing some of these words....
I forgot today is President's day....thank you for reminding me David Kahn.

Lewis 6:23 AM  

It did seem odd to me to have the theme go from one random president through another to another. I thought that maybe there was something historical regarding the POLK/TAFT/FORD connection that I didn't know, but I guess not. So that aspect of the puzzle felt odd, but I often like odd.

What I greatly liked was that this puzzle was on the difficult end of Monday, that it had some terrific answers (OVALOFFICE, WAFT, DEFT, LOUPE, POCKETVETO, GASKET, FLAILS, and PORK as clued). For those who like puzzles with TITLEs, this one has one in it. I also liked the second word ladder, an echo if you will -- LEFT/DEFT/DAFT/WAFT/TAFT. Plus that extra FT-ending word THEFT. Those who like the FT sound should certainly not feel bereft.

Carola 7:09 AM  

Huh. I thought it was kind of nifty, hodgepodge though it admittedly is.
With DAFT, I could only think, "Tell me about it," after the last Republican debate.

Clint Ray 7:19 AM  

Your music choice made my wife's day. She looked like a little girl at Christmas with a puppy. When we realized it was a word puzzle we just filled in the gray squares.

chefbea 7:55 AM  

Easiest Monday ever...knew it would be a presidents" day puzzle. Loved it...Gotta go put a tart in the oven...then I'll eat it in the dinette.

BTW - I like word ladders.

NCA President 8:21 AM  

QUESTIONER, TITLE, and TEX are what's wrong with this puzzle. It's like it was constructed as a run o' the mill word ladder that just happened to be using 4-letter president names. Then, because Presidents Day!, some of the clues were back-engineered to be more presidential-ish. I'm kinda surprised AVOW didn't get some inaugural shout out.

The only true Presidents Day moment is including Washington in the puzzle...albeit in the form of a square.

And yes, LEGISLATOR occupies a prime enough spot in the grid to look like it's supposed to equate to a president. So that's a bit of a gaffe there.

I actually thought the theme had something to do with that WAFT/DAFT/DEFT/THEFT section.

FWIW, and just as an aside, I'm considered a baby boomer (one of the last), but my kids are millenials. So, there's that.

I did like APPEALS, since that is eerily reminiscent of Justice Scalia's occupation. I also thought BELIED, when included in this particular grid, was a nod to what both parties tend to accuse each other of.

Lobster11 8:25 AM  

This actually made for a decent Monday solve for me, perhaps because I never even noticed the word ladder.

Z 8:35 AM  

@LMS - I can buy the absence of a possessive apostrophe. I can buy the arguements for Mother's Day (you only have one mother- well, most of the time) and Mothers' Day (it's a day for all mothers). But President's Day... No. It is not a day to celebrate Obama. That will come soon enough.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Rex, you'll always be my Curmudgeon in Chief!

Sir Hillary 8:48 AM  

No problem here with word ladders, but if you're doing one on President's Day, you might as well go whole hog:

TAFT TART TORT FORT FORD FORK PORK POLK POLE POSE POSH PUSH BUSH

Would be better in chronological order, but getting from FORD to BUSH is a long process. Still, 13 words plus room for a central PRESIDENTSDAY.

Wow, constructing is so easy without those pesky grids! :)

archaeoprof 8:50 AM  

For me, there was one thing to smile about: YENTAS, because this weekend I was in Durham to see my nephew star as Tevye in a high school production of "Fiddler on the Roof." So I am thinking of his fine performance instead of this not-alll-that-fine puzzle.

Roo Monster 8:53 AM  

Hey All !
Word Ladder! As the Resident Verbumleitermaus of course I liked it! Even though it was superfluous...
Actually didn't notice the 16 wide. Agree with Rex on that, why?
My puz from NYT online has shaded squares, not circles, and as soon as I saw them, knew it was a Word Ladder.
Also agree with the "politicaliness" of a bunch of answers, not just Presidents stuff.
Two writeovers, mememe-IDOIDO, rePEALS(oops, different meaning)- APPEALS. Seemed a slighty Tuesdayish Monday. Was that Rex that said that too, or someone else? The ole brain slips sometimes...

In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I'll Be Back with revised ladders. I know you're all anxious awaiting that! :-)

ACK
Roomonster
DarrinV

Aketi 9:04 AM  

@chefbea, agreed on the easiest Monday ever. I would have broken the 10 minute mark for the first time ever had I not first used ALeF instead of ALIF. Have to go with LMS over her proposed NY Times debut word. Might have added a little "lift" to the puzzle,

@Rex, I knew you'd blow a GASKET over this one, I think that you should try a Monday puzzle from one of the freebie NY city ad filled morning papers once a year as a comparison point of just how bad puzzles can get. Those I can finish in three. I think you might finish in 30 seconds.

@lewis, thanks to you I know that some snails have teeth but do GATORS have MOLARS? Hope they don't go after the FAWNS. Had a flashback on the short clip "Godzilla meets Bambi" when I saw those two in the puzzle together.

Aketi 9:06 AM  

@martin Abresch,
BASH

Roo Monster 9:21 AM  

Okay, after some playing around, came up with POLK to FORD with
POLK
FOLK
FOLD
FORD
and all four Four Letter Prezs
FORD-
FOLD
FOLK
POLK-
PORK
PORT
PART
TART
TAFT-
TUFT
BUFT
BUST
BUSH-
Look up BUFT, it's in the Urban Dictionary. :-)

We now return you to your previous ramblings and rumblings.

RooMonster

Hartley70 9:21 AM  

Word ladders are dopey. I don't get the point. Is there a difficult word ladder? This probably was a nice one, but still. I have to give this an easy easy rating with the sole exception of ALIF because I tried an E first.

I do appreciate a nod to Presidents Day and I don't mind a few LEGISLATORs mixed in. Let's see if they can be civil to each other and get anything done.

@kozmikvoid, oh the noxious effluvium! I have found that an old blanket in the garage makes for a nice "camping" experience for bowser, for a day or two at least. In my experience there's no quick cure. Perhaps a smear of Vapo-Rub under the nose might help you forget?

@Rex, great song choice today!! I'd never heard this and got a laugh. I'll never forget POLK again.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:24 AM  

@LMS - Sorry, but the "official" name of the federal holiday is Washington's Birthday."

;>)

Geoffrey Boltach 9:31 AM  

I actually liked this puzzle. I'm relatively new to crosswords and it took me about 28 minutes to finish. Perhaps as I complete more, I will become more of a crumudgen.

Geoff

Patricia Markert 9:31 AM  

Dear Rex
I loved this puzzle for the fun of the wordplay. I especially appreciated things like pocket veto and dark horse and daft above theft above Taft.

Arlene 9:33 AM  

I enjoyed doing this puzzle - and its presidential allusions and other things governmental - it was fun. And I like word ladders. And FORD was an answer on Jeopardy last week, so that is so current!
The power of positive thinking is definitely a happier way to be.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

From the standpoint of enjoyment, this didn't do anything for me, since I simply don't like easy puzzles. But objectively speaking, I admire the construction, the use of other Washington terms in the long answers, and the fact that there is no junk at all. No pop names. No crosswordese. I would give this puzzle to a novice for her first attempt. And I say what I say about all constructors who show talent in creating a puzzle that's much too easy: "Give this guy a Saturday."

@kozmikvoid -- You poor, poor thing! Now, if your name were in blue, I'd click on your blog info, find out where you live, AND MAKE SURE NEVER TO GO THERE, NOT EVEN FOR A BRIEF VISIT.

Bill Levine 9:37 AM  

I enjoyed Sunday's easy puzzle and today's as well. I am new to crosswords and fonally able to solve them. I'm s sucker for word ladders and found this fun. At the point I have to complain about doing puzzles, i will peel myself
away from this harmless addiction.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

If this had been structured where the circled squares formed a step ladder, rising from the SW to the top central down to the SE then maybe, must maybe, it would have made some sense.

Chuck McGregor 9:59 AM  

Sitting in my cozy breakfast nook…….

Saw the grey (gray) answers. So, being (hopefully) an easy Monday, I decided to solve it without looking at any of the clues for those and getting them all with the crosses. Almost did it, missing on PO_K and _ORD, not knowing those downs. Once I looked at their clues, easy enough to fill to get the jingle.

Doing it that way, I only got the theme after the finish, there being no revealer amongst the clues. With POLK as #1 (filled with the crosses) I had assumed the gray (grey) answers might be presidential ones, other answers actually filling that role.

The 4-letter Presidents not in theme words, George and Dubya Bush, would have been tough to work into the morphing theme words, though @Martín Abresch 12:31 AM shows it could have been done.

However, some strange presidential combinations did fall out of the corners.

It seems a study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” found that Presidents from large families had more POISE. POLK had 9 siblings, so…

FORD, like all Presidents was in command of the country’s “SWORD.” One would hope that each had a TIDY DESK. Nixon BELIED the integrity of the Presidency from behind his DESK. Presidents also hope they have TIDY YENTAS who won’t leak sensitive stuff.

67a Wanted it to be “me! me!” or “self.” Nonetheless, I appreciated the (I’m 100% sure unintentional) shout-out in the clue.

The rhyming clue “Adam’s madam" brought to mind what my father claimed was the shortest poem in the English language;

The Antiquity of the Microbe
Adam
Had ‘em

Speaking of rhyming there is that center cluster of DAFT / TAFT / WAFT (looney Prez needs a bath?) and DEFT / THEFT (left no clues as in what Nixon had hoped about the Watergate break-in.).

The long downs also bear some presidential fruit. To wit:

POLK certainly used the power of the OVAL OFFICE to get LEGISLATORs to “achieve all of the major items on his presidential agenda” (Wiki)

As a QUESTIONER of their worth, FORD used the POCKET VETO 18 times to block laws passed by Congress.

While all my “takes” may be only (@Rex) "vaguely presidenty things," intended or not, for me they made up more than enough stuff related to (@LMS) President’s (going) / Presidents’ (going) / Presidents (gone) Day.

Cheers

PS @kozmikvoid 12:21 AM: Yup. I know EXACTLY what that’s like!!

kitshef 9:59 AM  

Disagree with everything in the review. Easy, even for a Monday, and delightful with three presidents in the word ladder plus gorgeous long downs either directly or indirectly related to the theme.

Generally come into a Monday expecting it to be dull but over fast. Nice to enjoy one for a change.

Dolgo 10:01 AM  

They say that tomato juice doesn't work against skunk spray, but I've had success with it in the past. You didn't say if it worked or not. I guess there's a commercial product on the market, but I can't see just keeping it on hand for the rare eventuality. Skunk spray is REALLY awfl, no?

cheeseguy101 10:04 AM  

Awful NYT puzzle.... again.

Dolgo 10:05 AM  

BTW, I like word ladders, too, buy I agree with the general consensus that this one was kinda silly!

kitshef 10:12 AM  

Shortest I've foun is 13, but 12 is theoretically possible.
BUSH
BUSK
BUCK
PUCK
POCK
POLK
FOLK
FORK
FORD
FORT
TORT
TART
TAFT

thfenn 10:13 AM  

Easy, in the end, but too many pauses for a quick time. OVALOFFICE or WHITEHOUSE for one. And it didn't click that young deer could refer to many, and since FAWN was too short it took a second time around to get FAWNS. Had Daniel DAFOE and didn't notice THAFT was wrong for awhile.

Didn't know a jeweler's magnifying glass was a LOUPE, so learned something there.

Aside from being Presidents Day, also timely what with someone on the west coast going around hitting birds and Golden Gate Bridge walkers with DARTs from a blow gun this weekend...how bizarre is that?

Bronxdoc 10:55 AM  

Nature's Miracle. It works and isn't messy. Your dog will thank you.

Joseph Michael 11:06 AM  

Don't blow a GASKET, Rex. It's just a word ladder. Not the greatest. Not the worst.

Would have liked it more if TAFT had landed in the center, but it was an okay solve without a lot of drek and it is, after all, President's Day.

Best entry: OVAL OFFICE. Worst entry: QUESTIONER. Most confusing moment: reading REUSES as a two syllable worcd and wondering what the hell it meant.





Masked and Anonymous 11:54 AM  

For completeness sake, U gotta have all 5 4-letter presidential dudes. This makes trimmin the word ladder down to the absolutest fewest steps essential. Also, really ought go in Presidential order: POLK-TAFT-FORD-BUSH-BUST.

At least the BUSH-BUST ladder is nice and quick. Also, two U's. (The puz's entire output, today, btw.)

TAFT-FORD can be done in the minimum 3 intermediate steps: TAFT-TART-FART-FORT-FORD.

POLK-TAFT is nasty. So is FORD-BUSH. Kahn has the right idea. Write the BUSH bunch off as "TEX", and go with the other three.

M&A

old timer 12:16 PM  

I liked the puzzle. My time was Tuesdayish, but that was because of the word ladder, which meant I was always wondering what was coming next. Plus, there was a moment when I was in awe of the brilliant central crossings that included DAFT, DEFT, WAFT, TAFT, and THEFT. Very impressed with POCKETVETO, too. Has that ever been in a puzzle before?

Why POLK to TAFT to FORD? Because they are the only dead presidents with 4 letters (necessary to a word ladder) who were not re-elected. And they are in order, too.

Mohair Sam 12:29 PM  

@kozmikvoid - Had nearly identical experience with our golden retriever many years back, except our tragedy was in the summer. Good news was he did not crash into the glass door, bad new was he came through the screen. He barfed thrice too, in three different rooms. We bathed him twice daily in tomato juice - we were told "old wive's tale" but it seemed to work. We opened the windows of the house and it aired out in what seemed like a month or so. Visited family on Long Island (125 miles away) two days later - they greeted us at the car and stepped backed quickly asking what we had driven through on the way there. So there's that to worry about - good luck.

Norm 12:51 PM  

This wasn't hard, just boring. I saw Kahn's name and thought I was in for another annoying "how obscure can I make this clue?" solve -- and then saw the circles and went (like OFL) "oh no, not a word ladder." POLK [the first name of my dear departed uncle, Polk Frost, known, of course, as Jack] was quickly confirmed by 1D and then I just filled in the rest of the ladder. Why I then bothered to complete the grid I do not know. This puzzle must have been constructed by an impostor. There was no wrath in this one at all.

Masked and Anonymous 1:01 PM  

p.s.
For completeness's sake, and for goodness sakes, here are the other two @muse-approved word ladder solutions:

* POLK-FOLK-FORK-FORT-FART-TART-TAFT.

* FORD-FORT-FART-BART-BURT-BUST-BUSH.

M&A Help Desk

p.p.s.s.
While we're back here in pre-moderationland …

fave moment of desperation: ALIF. This, ITER, and PQR gave up their pride, in order to bring us them nice double-tens, goin Down.

fave moo-cow MonPuz eazy-e clue: Nothin in the NW corner, I can tell U that. {Yes, to Yves} was my entry point into the grid! Had to go on a gimme search, on a MonPuzday! day-um. Bein a President ain't easy-e … M&A was briefly in mortal danger of bein swept on down the rabbit hole Oval Orifice of DNFyLand. All the President's faces passed before my eyes, dude ...

Masked & AnonymoUUs


**gruntz day off, for Ladder's Day**

Teedmn 1:11 PM  

Monday puzzle, meet Presidents Day (look @LMS, no apostrophe!) This worked fine for me with that hEFTy F-T section and the government-y bonus theme. (And I think every presidential candidate of any favor has a FLAILS/FAWNS moment at some point.)

No problems to speak of except starting to enter rEGuLATOR at 3D, briefly giving me SLuT at 21A. Thanks, DJ Kahn.

Chronic dnfer 1:51 PM  

Guessed at the "I" for alif iter so no dnf. It would have been the third Monday dnf'd in a row. Thought yesterday's puzzle medium-tough. On to Tuesday.

Chronic dnfer 1:53 PM  

Also the Westminster Dog show starts today. The Skye terrier is favored.

dick swart 2:05 PM  

Seemed typical Monday to me ... start NW first square, finish SW last square.

I liked the clueing of "touched in the head" for "edit"

Z 3:49 PM  

Thanks for the link @Bob Kerfuffle. I was pleased to see that Michigan is apostrophe free. There is something undemocratic about one or several presidents owning a day.

@NCA Prez - I also went looking for a Supreme Court reference. I thought I found it at YENTAS so looked no further and missed APPEALS. Good catch.

Aketi 3:53 PM  

@kozmikvoid and MohairSam, tears are streaming down my eyes in empathetic hysterical laughter. When I was growing up in a semi rural area we had numerous pets and my dad was infamous for his numerous rescues of abandoned wild things. I am quite familiar with the tomato juice treatment. Of course the smell that came closest to skunk was our not so domesticated pet fox.

@Nancy, you can add fox farms to your list of places never to visit. Both my cats woke up and glared at me for disturbing their peace when I read your comments today about Komikvoid's misadventure,

Vancouver Nana 4:01 PM  

But for Odie, Xer, and Ford, answers all could have been from the Polk or Taft administrations!

Tita 4:09 PM  

lol - great writeup today. I grudgingly agree.
Word ladders are 2 steps below anagrams in my word play list of things I like. So I couldn't dredge up too much love.

I did like all the inside-the-beltway words, even if they were not all directly presidential.

@kozmik...I smell your pain!! An experience most of us dog owners or dog in-laws have at one time or another.

Wedchild 4:10 PM  

President's Day, Presidents Day. Wednesday's Child, Wednesdays Child. How about just Presiday.

beatrice 4:53 PM  


This consort song by William Byrd is a particular favorite of mine, and my excuse for posting(?) it here is the appearance in today's puzzle of the viola da gamba player WENDY Gillespie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1TKkuVyxt8

My favorite version of this - sung by counter-tenor Russell Oberlin - is not available on YouTube, but in looking for it I made this surprising discovery - footage of Glen Gould, Oberlin & Bach.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tKOzYrdO4I

Edac2day 7:42 PM  

IDK... PQR? WTF!

Leapfinger 9:47 PM  

@Martin Abresch,

You FORE BORE to leave your word ladder as a simple declaration and ended it 'BUSH BUSH BUSH?'

Does that mean you're hedging your bets?

Anonymous 10:09 PM  

There are 5 four letter presidents as pointed out, 4 had only one term, 3 of those are dead as also pointed out. A rational selection for a President(')s(') Day word ladder. Adding Bush I (not re-elected) would have made it too long for the grid.

Martín Abresch 1:13 AM  

@Aketi
BASH definitely makes it cleaner: FORD, FORE, BORE, BARE, BASE, BASH, BUSH. So that's FORD to BUSH in six steps. My version (FORD, FORE, BORE, BOSE, BOSH, BUSH) uses the company name BOSE but gets there in only five steps. Is there a way to get from FORD to BUSH in a clean five steps?

@Leapfinger
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
Jeb Bush?

With Rand Paul and Jim Webb out of the race, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz are the last remaining 4-letter last name candidates.

P.S. A word ladder from BUSH to CRUZ is incredibly hard.

Hungry Mother 6:41 AM  

A total breeze. I did it after Tuesday's fiasco and found it almost trivial.

kitshef 10:46 AM  

@Martin Abresch here is a five step that avoids the brand name but has a terrible PoC, albeit one that could have been thematically clued e.g. as "Motion's supporters": FORD FORS FURS FUSS BUSS BUSH

Gregory Schmidt 10:47 AM  

ALEF/ITER Natick on a Monday?

Leapfinger 7:30 AM  

@Martin Abresch,

Thanks for the elucidation. I s'pose three Bushes does make a very short (i.e., inadequate) Hedge to Bet against. Easy to overlook.

You, Sir, are Abresch of Freth Air.

(per Syndiland request, it's Wed 2/17; found this lurking comment box still open and reFresched. Glad I did.

Burma Shave 10:48 AM  

S-WORD? KNOT OUI

EVE’s PARENTS were away at The DINETTE, by the PARK,
in that CASE OUI would PLAY and pet in the DARK.
That little TART, with POISE, said, “ICAN’T, ‘TIS TABOO”,
“Before you start to EASEIN, I need AVOW of IDO,IDO.”

--- BERNARD TRASK

Diana,LIW 1:48 PM  

I cry FOUL for the Natick of ALIF/ITER. Knew there was a vowel, guessed A. Didn't get one. Sooooooooooo easy until then, too.

Arabic? On a Monday? What the

Diana, Waiting for Answers

rondo 2:09 PM  

There’s a at least yd. there in the middle, maybe almost two depending how you count the FT FT FT stuff. And the word ladder starting with a pig in a POLK and ending with the only unelected Prez FORD. Fascinating.

IDOIDO was the longest running play at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater her in the Twin Cities area. Again, fascinating.

No yeah babies today, but there were possibilities with EVE, ILSA and WENDY. Wendell “WENDY” Anderson was once governor here in MN. I’m sure you find that fascinating.

Didn’t realize that the grid was oversize. Don’t usually find that sort of thing fascinating. You can probably guess how I didn’t find this puz – fascinating.

rondo 5:32 PM  

@D,LIW - You'll need ITER to graduate about 6th grade of xword school. It does come up often enough. ALIF is almost a trick since it is ALeF in Hebrew (more middle school xwordese). I know them from years of xwords dating back to the Maleska days.

Cathy 6:00 PM  

A little tough for Monday but was quite bored. POLK TAFT FORD. Yaawwwnn. I thought the same as @Rex. Please don't be a word ladder.
PQR? Why there outta be a law..

rain forest 6:02 PM  

Well, another opportunity to pile on the puzzle today, apparently. Whatever stirs your drink. No. Whatever shakes your martini.

As soon as I saw the descending series of 4-shaded squares, I thought "word ladder", and so it was. I can't fathom why people would have strong feelings either way about a word ladder, but it is something that pops up now and then.

Another stray thought: as I typed EASE IN, I immediately thought of @Burma Shave, and he delivered. Well done.

Is it possible to have a 'word elevator' or 'word escalator'?

Diana,LIW 8:17 PM  

Thanks, Rondo. I expected OFL to mention this cross, but I think he was so rattled by all that he mentioned in his rant that he LET THIS INJUSTICE GO UNCHECKED! I briefly solved the Sunday puzzle in the Will Weng era, then rejoined the XWorld about 2 years ago. And ITER? I took a year of Latin in 10th grade - back when Caesar was still alive. Memories are foggy...

Fourth graders who are solving should be able to count on Mondays, especially when 99% of the puzzle is one they could have completed in kindergarten while lying on their nappy rug. Monday, Monday - can't trust that day. You gave me a case of the "Mundays," Monday. ("Die MF die MF die" going thru my head to that cross.) (I'm sure you get the movie reference.)

BTW, how are your TPS reports going. Did you get the memo?

D, Waiting for Justice

Cathy 9:37 PM  

@rainforest- Its funny you should bring that up. (Word ladders) I don't know why I don't care for word ladders. It really doesn't make sense. I love solving crossWORD puzzles (and movies, traffic, weather..). Never really thought about it.

Off to try and solve my fear of ladders:)

rondo 10:31 PM  

@D,LIW, WfJ - Umm, yeahhh. I'm going to have to go ahead and get back to you on that. Don't go jumping to conclusions ('bout my game).
MN Xword tourney??

Cathy 11:03 PM  

Okay, sorry to pop in again. Word ladders to me are like sudoku. Okay, it's done. Now what. No triumph, learning anything new. I find no joy.
I'm sure it must be a feat to incorporate one in a crossword. I applaud those who have fun (no golf clap) for real. Still don't like it. And I'm still afraid of climbing a ladder. Geezzzzz, grumpy cat with wine:)

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