Constituent part of Russia bordering Mongolia / THU 3-17-16 / 1990s fad game piece / Vin classification / Home invasion in police shorthand / Live ESPN broadcast every June / Some repurposed corn fields / Repeated title role for Jim Carrey

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: TURN OF EVENTS (59A: Unforeseen development ... or a feature seen four times in this puzzle's answers?) — four answers take a 90-degree "turn" somewhere in the middle of the letter string "EVENT":

Theme answers:
  • PREVENTABLE (17A: Like many disasters, in hindsight)
  • SEVENTEEN (10D: Hearst monthly)
  • ACE VENTURA (37D: Repeated title role for Jim Carrey)
Word of the Day: TUVA (4D: Constituent part of Russia bordering Mongolia) —
The Tyva Republic (Russian: Респу́блика Тыва́, tr. Respublika Tyva; IPA: [rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə tɨˈva]; Tuvan: Тыва Республика, Tyva Respublika, [təˈvɑ risˈpublikɑ]), Tyva or Tuva (Tuvan: Тыва, Russian: Тува́), is a federal subject of Russia (a republic, also defined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation as a state). It lies in the geographical center of Asia, in southern Siberia. The republic borders the Altai Republic, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, and the Republic of Buryatia in Russia and Mongolia to the south. Its capital is the city of Kyzyl. Population: 307,930 (2010 Census). // From 1921 until 1944, Tuva constituted a sovereign, independent nation, under the name of Tannu Tuva, officially, the Tuvan People's Republic, or the People's Republic of Tannu Tuva. The independence of Tannu Tuva, however, was recognized only by its neighbours: the Soviet Union and Mongolia. // Forests, mountains, and steppe make up a large part of the geography of Tuva. // A majority of the people are Tyvans, but Russian is also spoken extensively. Tuva is governed by the Great Khural, which elects a chairman for a four-year term. The current chairman is Sholban Kara-ool.
• • •

Wow, this puzzle worked exactly like it was supposed to, I imagine. I traipsed through it, enjoying the fill and the little bendy-word game, but not having any idea what the unifying concept was—then I end up in the SE, fiddle around with the answers down there, and Bam: the revealer actually does its damn job, giving me the conclusive "aha"+appreciation moment that is so elusive. What I like about this puzzle is how reserved it is. The concept, in the end, is simple, and despite all the turning, the theme answers don't crowd the grid, meaning that the overall fill can be reasonably clean and even sparkly at times. I never imagined I'd be shouting SATANISTS! gleefully, but here we are (20A: Devilish sorts?). OPEN TABLE, likewise great (5D: Restaurant availability). The cluing was a little on the easy side, which seems a reasonable strategy for offsetting the difficulty of figuring out the loopy grid trick. Though the puzzle seems to want me to be angry (SEETHE! ENRAGE! RANT!), I liked this one a whole lot: clever, clean, fun to solve.

The only parts that gave me a little scare were those teeny tiny corners. I honestly thought I might get stuck in the SW when the two little Downs ended up being mutually cross-referenced, and I couldn't figure out 66A: 100+, say (HOT). But then I calmed down and thought "Question that's an anagram of a question... there aren't really many options here." So WHO and HOW and done. In the NE corner, likewise, I wasn't sure if it was NAP or NOD (11A: Drift off), and for all I know Ginsberg wrote a poem about Plutonian ORE, so ... there was a little bit of muddling around up there before it all fell into place. None of the other nooks and crannies gave me trouble.

My only slow moments involved not knowing I was dealing with a turning answer. When did Hearst publish a magazine called "SEVEN," I wondered. Repeated title role for Jim Carrey ... four letters ... must be "LIAR (LIAR)." I also tried to make EVITA PERON fit and/or turn Down. It would do neither (44A: 1996 Madonna starring role = EVA PERON). I was weirdly happy to see the return of the Ampersandwich, i.e. the letter+AND+letter-patterned answer. Today: B AND E (15A: Home invasion, in police shorthand). I feel like we used to see these a lot more. I find them slightly charming, and they add to trickiness levels. I was also happy to end on a high note (figuratively) and end in a high place (literally)—last answer in the grid was APEXES (51D: Tops).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Richard Feynman 6:52 AM  

Tuva !

Loren Muse Smith 6:57 AM  

Hah! Phrases switching directions in a grid is fun. I was wondering if the fact that SEVENTEEN is turned so that SEVEN looks viable, whereas the other PREVE, ACEV, and TURN OF EVE don’t would elicit a PAN RANT. It didn’t. Yay!
Four early mistakes:

"sac" for POG
"set" for REP
"liar" for ACEV, just like Rex
"twist" for TRYST. Funny that my "twist" crosses TURN OF EVENTS

For that soap opera plot point - "suddenly remembered he had fathered a son while living as his alter ego, submarine sonar ace, Hugh Jeeres” had too many letters, so I went with “twist.”

CREPT – we were just talking about this verb last week. Lots of people use "creeped" as the past tense nowadays, but we realized that those of us who still use CREPT will switch to "creeped" in some instances…

And here, in the last picture taken of her alive, she gave the thumbs up sign as she crept on tippy- toe up to the sleeping honey badger.

Last night I creeped on David Woolf's facebook page for a bit. Who knew he played the autoharp?

Ok, David – so I didn’t creep on your facebook page ‘cause I couldn’t find one. If I had, I would’ve worked up the nerve to friend request you and compliment you further on this puzzle. Nice job.

Lewis 7:16 AM  

Clever and well executed theme. I like how the theme answers balance out -- two turn south and two turn east.

I solve on computer but always have a paper and pen to jot down answers I like (today: INUNDATE and TOOKNOTES) as well as nifty clues (today I marked none down). So I would have liked a little ramping up of the clues. But that would have just been gravy on a puzzle that gave me good brainwork and no UGHs.

My estimation of the puzzle and solve is another turn-the-corner in the NE: NO DUD.

chefwen 7:29 AM  

I was pretty confused until I got to the revealer. Could not figure out how a HEARST publication was SEVEN, never heard of that one, and what do I do with PREVE??? The reveal was a huge AHA that pulled it all together. Fun, Fun, Fun!

Puzzle partner filled in NBA DRAFT which opened up the middle nicely and I was pretty happy getting B AND E just off the B. Yup, I'm on to these people, finally. Had snuck before CREPT at 31D and that was it for write overs.

Great Thursday puzzle, in fact this week, so far, has been fun.

Charles Flaster 7:44 AM  

Total agreement with Rex especially about the reveal . Rated easy although I never changed DRAMATIcE to DRAMATIZE so it's a DNF. Still enjoy the TURN.
Writeover was TOOK NOTES for TOOK NamES and that led to the theme and eventually the puzzle completion.
Liked cluing for NEST EGGS and IN A SCRAPE. The fill was well done and no overt CrosswordEASE.
Thanks DW.

George Barany 7:52 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle by @David Woolf, and am glad @Rex did as well. In fact, the blog account covers just about all the points that were visited in my own solve, so I'l just concur, with hearty congratulations to all involved.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Solved this clever puzzle with a few hang-ups here and there: didn't know 14D TUVA, and wasn't' clear about who drafted on 33A. I had a glimmer that theme answers needed to turn, but it wasn't until I read Rex's review this morning that the turns all happened within the word EVENTS, even though I solved 59A early on. Must be a slow learner.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Air before ADD (Put on). I do not care to know what a POG is.

kitshef 8:41 AM  

Well, hello there, OKSANA Baiul. Another day, another skating reference.

Lacking a J and a Q for another pangram.

I originally parsed 29A as PEE RAT, probably influenced by the discovery of evidence of a mouse in the sun room this morning.

I like the idea that a green person has NO VICEs.

Kind of opposite to @Rex's solving experience for me. Could proceed only in fits and starts until I got the beginning of the revealer. Went with TURNOFfate at first, but at least that let me know the answers would be turning. Eventually, ACEVENTURA made it clear and allowed me to fix the revealer.

ARIeL before ARIAL, INtroublE before INASCRAPE, UCxx beofre UTEP.

Pleasant, interesting, albeit a bit easy Thursday.

Alysia 8:44 AM  

I think this was a great puzzle. I also think I must be improving, as I'm finding Thursdays doable and enjoyable (adjectives that were previously reserved for Mondays and Tuesdays).

The cluing was smart and fun without a terrible amount of crossword-see for fill's sake or an overabundance of pop culture.

I particularly liked "the occasional firework" (because who doesn't know THAT feeling?) along with the clue for MAZES. As a former Hoosier, suffice it to say I've seen my fair share of repurposed corn fields.

Z 8:46 AM  

OKSANA and Apolo pretty much exhausts my knowledge of ice-skating athletes who don't carry sticks, so it is a little odd that OKSANA is a gimme. But TUVA? Crossing a themer? Had me wandering how a "ventabl" rebus was going to work for quite awhile. Like Rex, I knew SEVEN wouldn't be an answer so wasted several billion nanoseconds wondering how UNAD(visabl)i-- was going to end. Fortunately, "when stuck move on and hope it clarifies" worked. Fortunately the cluing was not to difficult, so the reveal finally turned on the lightbulb. "Oh, SEVENTEEN is the themer, not UNADVISED." I never went down the "liar" rabbithole, but I hadn't gotten the C in CON until A-EV became ACE VENTURA Highway. Cool.

Maybe a little too easy overall, but then TUVA to make sure we all learn something today, and a well-designed puzzle within the puzzle. Good Stuff.

Heading off tomorrow to play in a tourney. I'll pop in briefly, but no PPP Analysis from me until Tuesday. It's not copyrighted so if there's a need feel free to do it yourself and share.

Susierah 8:59 AM  

I had Liar and asap, before figuring out the ace Ventura and stat, so that took a moment. Fun one !

John V 9:12 AM  

Fun, but could not see SEVENTEEN.

Hartley70 9:13 AM  

I liked the bendy twist today, but it played a bit too easy for a Thursday, no fault of the constructor. The entries were very well and fairly clued. I had the bend at PREVENTABLE and confirmed it at SEVENTEEN. My time was faster than an average Thursday.

I am a fan of CREPT and in my world creeped will never replace it. Creeped is reserved for something eerie that once "creeped you out".

I'm amazed that OKSANA stayed in my memory bank, but that's probably because she was associated with a rink in Simsbury, CT after she won Olympic gold.

chefbea 9:22 AM  

Had no idea what the theme was!!! until Rex explained. DNF

lg 9:28 AM  

I got about half of the acrosses on my first pass, including HOT which helped me figure out WHO and HOW pretty quickly. My first down pass gave me TURNO----E on the theme revealer, which helped me solve the other theme answers but left me stuck on the SE for a while because honestly, I've never seen FORA used as 61 Meeting Places and until I realized POG I couldn't get NOVICE (I had Newbie first). I know the plural of forum, just didn't think about it in this way, so FORA was my last word.

I enjoyed the puzzle, medium to slow time for me because of the SE. My only gripe is that the theme is a little funky, and I'm surprised @Rex didn't write about this, but none of the clue answers are truly "turns of events" if you ask me. Words and names are what the answers are, but not events. The theme should have been something like "turn the corner" or "turned sideways" or event "ninety degree" or something. Yes, I get the pun, but still.

Does it work? Yes. Is it "clean" like @Rex references and yearns for so often, not to me.

Matt 9:37 AM  

Can someone explain: certain encls. - SASES ?

Lobster11 9:41 AM  

I'm with OFL today all the way down the line, with the minor exception that for me the revealer only got to do half of its job: I had already figured out the turning part of the and had the other three themers in place before getting to the revealer; it was only then that I saw the "events" part of the theme. But that's not a complaint: Indeed, it meant that I got two separate Aha! moments for the price of one.

In addition to the event-turning theme itself, something I especially liked about the execution was that there was no way to tell where the turning was going to happen -- at least, if you (like me) had caught onto the turning part of the theme but not yet the "events" part. The first themer I got was ACEVENTURA, which happens to (1) head south, then turn east, and (2) turn at the beginning of an across answer, such that the second half of the turning event (VENTURA) serves as a stand-alone entry in its own right. So, I immediately started scanning the grid for other places where that same particular structural pattern might be. As it turns out (no pun intended), much to my surprise, none of the other themers follow that same pattern. If the theme hadn't been tied together by the "events" thing, this structural variation would probably be regarded as an inelegant asymmetry, but in this case it was a feature rather than a big -- a clever way to hide the themers and make it more challenging to find them. Kudos!

Tita 9:43 AM  

Alert the authorities...OFL Has been kidnapped and replaced by an alien that doesn't know he hates _AND_ fill!

I was sure of ARIAL, so I couldn't use LIAR. Never questioned SEVEN. Never gave it a second thought past wondering if it was about the virtues or the vices.

Had MAllS before MAZES. A quarter mile from us was a corn maze run by local farmers. The actual farm was 2 towns up...but here was their far stand and, in the fall, a really cool MAZE. Each year it was in the shape of something different, always local. One year it was Lime Rock race track, another it was Yankee Stadium...
I never went there, but it had been a much loved tradition for a few generations here.
The Lawson family had the best corn I have ever ever had.

The owners of that lot cancelled the farmer's lease, because they had a bid from Costco to build a gas station.
We have so many closed big boxes here that paving over a still-green field seemed an economic idiocy.

In the end, Costco decided not to build, the farmer went out of business, and the field lies fallow.
Oh, and the MALL that 30 years ago replaced the state fairgrounds thoroughly destroyed downtown.
(Now you know about my 2 personal Penn Stations)

Ok, I was sort of annoyed that there were only 2 themers to fulfill the reveal, even though I scanned the grid looking for another. Well, my bad,
Fine puzzle, Mr. Woolf.

jberg 9:49 AM  

I was going to complain about APEXES, but it seems to be preferred to my own preference, "apices." I had the X already, so no writeover there.

I needed the revealer to let me know that PREVE wasn't some kind of strange VENTABL rebus. But my main problem was knowing neither ACE VENTURA nor my CA expressways. Or rather, I did know there was a Santa Anita, so I put in SAN, confirmed by INUNDATE, and was looking for another rebus there. Then UMAMI made me realize that there must be a saNTURi freeway. I would never have finished without the theme; I had only three turns of events, and the only other V in my grid was in the middle of EVA PERON, and completely uneventful. Eventually, while musing idly about 54A, VENTURA xway suddenly came to mind -- I think looking for events may have stimulated it -- and I was done.

Very mild complaint about 6A: It's a home invasion if the people are home; a B&E if no one is. The former carries a harsher sentence.

Another sunny vacation day, so that's all for me!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:51 AM  

Nice, medium Thursday.

I await our musical gurus posting of some Tuvan throat singing!

Chuck McGregor 10:01 AM  

Shoulda read the theme clue before I cheated to reveal a couple of letters. When I did read it, I realized I could have had a clean solve. @Rex cleared up the Hearst magazine “SEVEN” as to why I also had not heard of it and as to why I could not find the 4th theme instance, not getting the TURN OF the word ‘EVENTS’.

The few answers I didn’t know - UMAMI, POG, EDU, SASES – all filled with their crosses.

As per others, thumbs up for the puzzle (while solving) and (post de facto) the theme:

Liked the cute WHO / HOW thingy, the ERIE OGRE crossing; that ARIAS can be (and in this case does) cross RANTs; still don’t know what to make of PEE RAT; nothing like a Nicely Brewed Ale on DRAFT;

Some juxtaposed strangeness ---

PESTO ARIAS (In days of yore, bad performances that would elicit the throwing of rotten tomatoes)

DAM TURN OF EVENTS (Said in reaction if WS had rejected this puzzle)

TOE CANTEEN (Foot care section at the pharmacy, with UGH)

IN A SCRAPE TRYST (You got busted)

SEVEN TOOK NOTES (WHAT A PITY, as those WHO did not would EVENTually DRAMATIZE HOW they CREPT towards being INEPT)

ENRAGE ROME HOW? (Ya got me. No idea.)

ADD A U- (Primary M&A criterion for puzzle construction)

And the ever colorful [as in off-color]:

HOT MAZES ERECT (a la Playboy Mansion fun house)


Digressing back to Monday’s puzzle and to those of you who go to certain theatrical performances these days:

ETHEL Merman is the quintessential example among audio professionals of how they wish all actors/singers could project their voice, thus obviating the need for always troublesome MICS. Stuff from the all-knowing Internet about her and the days before microphones were used in theatre --

“There's a reason some of the greatest composers in the history of the musical theatre -- Cole Porter (5 times!), Irving Berlin (twice), George Gershwin, Jules Styne et al -- entrusted her with some of their greatest work more than anyone else: they knew that she could "sell" a song all the way to the upper reaches of the balcony with every note, every word, and every syllable being clearly intelligible and on pitch over an orchestra, eight times a week.”

“Dozens of people gathered outside the theaters she was appearing in at odd times each night - the moments when she was known to be singing her numbers - because her voice could be heard outside the theater.”

In this vein, my admonition to actors is that the person you are talking/singing to on the stage already knows what you’re going to say. It’s the guy in the back row who should have a hearing aid that doesn’t.


pmdm 10:05 AM  

While this is about yesterday's puzzle, it is about something in today's Times. So I'll post it today.

Probably a lot of people wrote in to the editor complaining about the error in yesterday's puzzle. I did myself. So, for those who have access to the print editions, go to page A2 and read the correction notice. I don't know where you find it in the online edition.

Solving today's puzzle for me was odd. At first, I had almost no footing. Suddenly the bottom half fell into place. Learning about the not uncommon trick of having answers take 90 degree turns helped me a lot in the upper half. So after a hardish start this week (relatively so), things turned much easier. I wonder how that bodes for the next two days.

Kimberly 10:07 AM  

I am so tired this morning that while I figured out the answers were turning (Ace Ventura was my giveaway, since Jim Carrey hasn't had too many title roles, especially not repeating ones, and I'm a so cal resident), I didn't notice that they all contained "event" until I read Rex's blog. So this time I ruined my own "aha" moment by being too tired to care.

For me the northwest corner was my big frustration. My brain refused to see anything correctly because I was sure those devilish sorts were demonists and I couldn't let go, even though I'm pretty sure that's not even a word.

NYT crossword is psychic again, finally! I just watched "Howl," the psychedelic movie about Ginsberg and the obscenity trial about his poetry. If "Plutonian Ode" didn't pop quickly into your mind, I highly recommend you see it. I can't imagine a better way of experiencing his work.

Roo Monster 10:07 AM  

Hey All !
Bendy puz today. Got reveal TURNOFEVE, and said, Huh? What the heck is a TURN OF EVE? Caught it at ACE VENTURA, originally having liar in there, as probably 95% of people did. Perplexed for a sec or two at EVAPERON almost smack in the middle, thinking that maybe that was part of theme. Misdirection?

Hand up for TwiST-TRYST. Also, NewbiE- NOVICE, der- AUF, alt- VAR (jeez, you'd think that VAR would be ingrained...), ABaSE- ABUSE.

So, nice puz. Like that all entries sorta resemble real words to throw ya off a bit. Chagrined at the two UPs in the NE, but it does help M&As U count.


Nancy 10:23 AM  

@Loved it. Both the theme fill and the non-theme fill are colorful and (mostly) full of non-junk. I had a problem only in the SW, since I didn't know ARIAL or ACE VENTURA, though once the latter came in, it certainly rang a bell. I knew 47A had to be either EMUS or TITS (it always is one or the other). I don't like CON for "minus", and even after it came in, I didn't feel happy with it. But all in all, a clever puzzle that was do-able -- as something very similar, but absolutely fiendish that I have in my possession right now is not...

It's the new PB1 from the WSJ -- sent to me courtesy of @Mathgent, who has been gifting me for many months now with the most challenging puzzles ever devised, most by PB1. And I haven't failed yet, though I have, in every case, struggled mightily and deliciously. But this new one -- Oy! Imagine, Dear Blog, a puzzle in which not four but 12 answers veer off at a 90 degree angle. Not just the Acrosses, but the Downs, too. And, let's make it even tougher. You are not given the lengths of any of the answers. You know only where the first word of the Row or Column begins, but not where the next word(s) in that Row or Column do/does. Double Oy. So, since I am too embarrassed to tell @Mathgent in an email that I have failed so ignominiously, I will tell all of you instead. I CANNOT DO THIS PUZZLE!

puzzle hoarder 10:26 AM  

This played more easy than medium for me. I didn't see the theme at first. Most of the puzzle can be filled in without using it at all. 59A was where I caught on. When I had filled in most of the NW I thought 17A must be a massive rebus. After putting in 59A I went back and put the V in 4D. That was a new one to me. Not a single mistake or even a write over to mention today, boring I know. I read all the uses for a colon in my Webster's "A Handbook of Style" after solving and I still don't understand the relation between the clue and the entry for 19D. If 22A hadn't been so obvious that could have been a natick.
I remember the first time I ever encountered a word turning theme was years ago on a difficult Friday or Saturday. It seemed fiendish at the time. Today's use of it was quite innocuous by comparison. Where it helped the most was 37D. I had the V first and couldn't see where it was going. I was never misdirected by "Liar Liar." It seems obvious in retrospect but it never came up until I read the blog. That's the good thing about Steve Carey movies they're so forgettable.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

please tell me why con is minus at 43 across. thank you.

evil doug 10:46 AM  

Loren:In what 1990s fad game is a "sac" a game piece? Whatever it is, I don't think I want to play. Or, wait, maybe I do....

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

I too very confidently put Liar for "Repeated title role for Jim Carrey" at first.

Mohair Sam 11:05 AM  

Pretty much word for word with @Rex today. Delightful Thursday, just a bit on the easy side - NO DUD.

Avoided the clever "Liar, Liar" trap because we worked from the bottom up and had VENTURA before we read the Carey clue. Had to come here to find the fourth TURN because we figured Hearst had produced a magazine called SEVEN that we'd never heard about. Wondering if Self Addressed Stamped Envelopses is how you'd have to say it?

Happy St. Patrick's Day. For over 20 years, beginning in the 1960's, a Syracuse Irish pub would hold a big celebration in late February when a tanker truck would deliver 9,000 gallons of green beer imported from Ireland direct to its locale atop Tipperary Hill in 'Cuse (not far from David MUIR's birthplace). There would be a Grand Marshall and a very short parade, the trucker would hook up the hose to the pipe that led to the basement tank (with some green spillage), a band would play, and drinking green beer would set off the Saint Pat's season at the pub. This was religiously covered by all three local TV news stations and the local newspaper - a marketing coup even Trump would envy. In 1990 a cub reporter for the local paper wondered aloud to the pub owner why he'd never seen a beer tanker truck before. Nowhere. Never. None. End of hoax. Seems the owner had a local oil delivery guy take one truck, replace his logo with a few large shamrocks, plug the hose, put a half gallon of green dyed water in front of the plug, and pull up to the pub once a year. I checked Google before coming here - the pub still does this, everybody knows its a hoax, and nobody cares. Gotta love it.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Self addressed stamped envelopes

Brett 11:33 AM  

Self Addressed Stamped Envelope, something you'd enclose in, say, a contest submission by mail if you wanted them to send you something back.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:36 AM  

SASE Self addressed Stamped Envelope

I too like Apices better than Apexes

puzzle hoarder 11:44 AM  

I found the explanation for 19D. It's buried in the 2b section of the definition for colon. I hate to say it but they really pulled that one out of their colon.
@Matt S.A.S.E. stands for self addressed stamped envelope.

Airymom 11:59 AM  

A funny story about "Ace Ventura--Pet Detective". It was New Year's Eve 1999. My kids and I went to dear friends to celebrate. My son was six and my friends' sons were 8 and 11. Their mother rented "Ace Ventura" and the boys were mesmerized. The other mom and I were just hanging out chatting, occasionally looking at the movie. Suddenly my son turns to me and says, "Mom, who's Dick?" I said ,"I don't know honey, why do you ask?" "Well Ace Ventura just told the other guy, 'you don't know Dick'." Long girlfriend looked at me, clearly wondering how I was going to deal with this.
Somehow I said, "Well, you know how you're learning that song about the presidents? President Nixon's real name was Richard, but everyone called him "Dick". Maybe Ace can't believe that the other guy doesn't know President Nixon."

My son shrugged his shoulders and said, "Oh, okay," turned back to watch the movie, and that was the end of that.

My friend almost fell off the couch. To this day we both roar with laughter about my ridiculous answer and my son's casual acceptance of it...and how I avoided a big problem.

Great puzzle, great memory. And the two families still celebrate New Year's together.

Alysia 12:09 PM  

SASE = self-addressed, stamped envelope

seanm 12:10 PM  

SASES are Self-Addressed-Stamped-Envelopes (as you'd see in a wedding invitation)

the "turn of events" is literally the letters "EVENT" being turned, not events as opposed to words or names.

Anoa Bob 12:22 PM  

The theme needed lots of open space to make those TURNs, so we get a grid with 34 black squares versus the 36-38 typically seen in themed puzzles. Thus a bunch of 8-, 9- & 10-letter Downs. Nice.

POPS UP & ONE UP right out of the gate was a tad inelegant but nothing to SEETHE, let alone RANT about.

POPS UP also gets a reprise in the SW with ERECT, which is important lest one become an INEPT NOVICE on a TRYST. Rather than hearing your partner exclaim "HOT DAM!", you get "Oh, a DUD. WHAT A PITY!".

Malcolm Gibson 12:24 PM  

Re 59A, actually five: "Oh, what a pity" in SW, reading up from bottom of 62D. Ya think?

jae 12:32 PM  

Exactly what @Rex said right down to getting the "aha" when I hit the revealer. Fun easy-medium Thurs. Liked it a lot!

Cassieopia 12:54 PM  

Self Addressed Stamped EnvelopeS. I send SASEs off to my grandson in the letters I write him, so he can send a reply back without all the hassle of finding an envelope, finding a stamp, etc etc etc.

Charley 12:56 PM  

I'll quibble with B&E for home invasion. It really means a burglary.

NebrRaven 12:56 PM  

Being more familiar with Winter Park, Colorado, than Florida, my 22A MST slowed me down.

Cassieopia 12:57 PM  

Interesting to read different solving perspectives - unlike Rex, WHO and HOW was the easiest and fastest part of the puzzle for me, but I really struggled in the NW corner. "Get mad" twice hardly seemed fair but I applaud its cleverness. As always, I've yet to meet a puzzle I don't love, and this was no exception!

old timer 1:03 PM  

I grew up in L.A. so VENTURA came right away. Before you know it, I was down in the SE wondering what TURN OF EVE could mean. But I already had AGENTS, so figuring out the revealer was a happy surprise. Revealer in hand, I was able to replace A-V with ACE and went looking for the two missing EVES. Already had PREVE and sure enough it turned South to make PREVENTABLE

BANDE had me stymied for a while but when I parsed it as B and E then I was able to complete the puzzle, and I *still* was looking for the fourth EVE. "SEVEN" seemed like it could be a magazine, and I did not think a turn would begin on a letter other than E or V. Finally decided it must, and SEVENTEEN came into view.

Hearst was very clever thinking up that title. Almost everyone who buys it is a girl who is 12, 13, or 14 and only *wishes* they could be a glamorous high school senior. When my older daughters bought it, there was often some serious discussion about kissing -- when to kiss, how to kiss, too young to kiss?, etc. Again, well planned because girls of that age are likely to *experience* their first serious kiss when they are in what used to be called Junior High School. I have no idea what SEVENTEEN features these days.

TUVA? A gimme, but my first thought was I might have to write "Tanu" and TUVA together. I basically had the atlas memorized at an early age, so Tannu TUVA I knew, plus all the French colonies in Africa, whose names have now sometimes changed.

Hartley70 1:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 1:05 PM  

@jberg, although laws can vary from state to state, I believe you are mistaken in this particular distinction, although the home invasion aggravation of burglary or BANDE will carry a harsher penalty.

Hartley70 1:12 PM  

@Tita, I am very glad I moved here before the Fair disappeared and the mall rose from it's ashes. I hate the mall and if the Apple Store would just move, I could never set foot in it. I like to think the giant wooden character sculptures are enjoying a reincarnation at various spots around the country. It was so sad to see it go. My husband remembers attending as a small child and he is really really old! :-0

Hungry Mother 1:17 PM  

Fell into the theme today and then just slogged away at it until done.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

I'm with @Hartley70: CREPT forever (and I still use shone, proven, etc. When did those go out of style?)

I got the theme at PREVENTABLE but could not find ACE VENTURA or SEVENTEEN (I was eyeing up B AND EVEN-T with a double TRYST (yeah, I had TwiST also, hi @LMS) ). 43A Minus = CON just wouldn't fall in so I wondered if there was a xENTURA highway so Jim Carrey could be AlEx, whoever he is.

I really liked this puzzle with its fresh cluing for EDU, TOOK NOTES, NEST EGGS and GIT. WHAT A PITY I DNF'd. Thanks, David Woolf!

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Rex has been complaining about thin themes and lousy fill all week. Yet this one is no better...REP, GIT, CON, EDU, EST, UGH. Not to mention BANDE, NOD, SASES, AMT. I say UGH describes this puzzle completely. It is one of the worst Thursdays ever, and if it weren't done by one of the insiders (David Woolf) Rex would be throwing up all over it.

Dick Swart 1:25 PM  

No need to experience Tuva throat singing second-hand:

This tourist trip could be quite an event.

A fun Thursday morning!

mac 1:33 PM  

Good Thursday puzzle, but even though I got the "turn of events" quite early, I had trouble seeing Seventeen and Ace Ventura. My fault.

Up the creek=in a scrape doesn't quite work for me, and also minus=con, but it all worked out. Now I want to hear an emu.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

Shouldn't a puzzle that uses FORA instead of "forums" also use "apices" instead of APEXES? Consistent crosswordese, please!

Chip Hilton 1:41 PM  

Thanks, Mr. Woolf, for a pleasant diversion at the dentist's office: twenty minutes pre- and mid-crown. I agree with Rex. The clues were clear and doable. My theme breakthrough came with ACEVENTURA and I flew home from there. UMAMI? I needed all the across answers for that one.

Brendan Doyle 2:02 PM  

Self addressed stamped envelopes

Bronxdoc 2:04 PM  

Did not love, and DNF, and got ridiculously hung up on the two winter parks in two different time zones. Argh.

kitshef 2:06 PM  

@Matt: SASE = Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. A relic from another era.

Mark M. 2:20 PM  

Tried to make DUMB fir for Jim Carrey role before filling out around it. Because he was in Dumb and Dumber as well Dumb and Dumberer. AlthoughI was not sure if he was the dumb one or the dumber one.

Chronic dnfer 2:43 PM  

B and e was weak. No dnf today. Going to the driving range.

Chronic dnfer 2:46 PM  

Correction. Dnf'd at turn on events which gave me Nora. Googled fora and learned a new word.

Norm 2:48 PM  

Boy, was I ever aggravated solving this puzzle. I just could not see what was happening. PREVE? Tried to find a rebus with no luck. Mr. Happy Pencil came up, and I was still baffled. TURN OF EVE got me part way there, but I was going to complain that PREVENTABLE turned after the EVE ... and then I finally saw TURN OF EVENTS. I'll forgive Mt. Woolf all the grief he caused me. What a fantastic puzzle! (But I still don't get CON for MINUS.)

Norm 2:49 PM  

@Matt : SASE = Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (if you want your manuscript back from the publisher that rejects it).

Carola 2:50 PM  

A very nice take on the turn-the-corner concept - a right-on-the-money reveal and well-disguised (for me) EVENTS. I absolutely needed the reveal to complete the grid: i'd left some blank "Huh? What's going on squares" scattered about that I was then able to fill - last in was the V in TUVA. Loved those long Downs.

Do overs: NBA final and, as far as not relying on memory - I had -OOK- and started writing in "looked it up" but ran out of room.

@aging soprano from yesterday - We share a love of opera and hot water bottles :)

Shelly Gitlow 3:00 PM  

What - no link to Tuvan throat singing?

There's also a great doc about the throat singing, Genghis Blues.

Malcolm Gibson 3:56 PM  

Re 59A, actually five: "Oh, what a pity" in SW, reading up from bottom of 62D. Ya think?

Z 4:06 PM  

VENTURA Highway is a gimme if you listened to AM rock radio in the 70's.

David L. 4:29 PM  

Wait - no RANT about pops UP and one UP in the same corner?

Karen Munson 4:50 PM  

The best part of today's puzzle was @Rex's *Ampersandwich*. Boo yaa!!

Karen Munson 4:51 PM  

@Matt: sase is "self-addressed stamped envelope" which you include if you want the receiver to snail mail you back.

Blackbird 6:09 PM  

Creepy stuff gets me all creeped out. That's a creeped only usage, no crept allowed. Otherwise, I'll stick with old-school crept. Crept rhymes with slept and swept.. Creeped rhymes with sleeped and Sweeped. Wept and weeped? No. Lept and leaped are both okay.

Blackbird 6:11 PM  

Self-addressed stamped envelopes. An abbreviation, since encls is an abbreviation for enclosures. Snailmail speak in a digital age -- all but forgotten.

Blackbird 6:16 PM  

Bob Kerfuffle, you are so kewl. Have you seen the fascinating documentary, "Genghis Blues", about the American blind blues singer who heard throat singing on his short wave radio, taught himself Tuvan throat singing, and wound up traveling to Tuva to participate in a throat singing competition. Inspiring! Do you know the music of the American harmonic overtone singer Baird Hersey and his group Prana?

Annette 6:40 PM  

DNF for me, since I'm ignorant of anything Facebook-related and was otherwise too thick to suss out the NE corner. But what a great time I had; I'm surprised it's not a Chen POW.

I also missed the whole "Events" thing until I read @Rex post, thinking "oh what a pity" was a themer.


Quo Vadis 7:41 PM  

The plural of apex is apices. The plural of index is indices. The plural of Rex is Rices. That is all.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:21 PM  

Pro is to con as plus is to minus, or to use colons, pro:con as plus:minus.

Hartley70 9:42 PM  

You have a decision to make. You list the Pros/Cons or the Pluses/Minuses.

old timer 9:46 PM  

I like weird plurals. So much so that I used to claim that the plural of Margolis (a fairly common Jewish name) is Margolides. All the same, the usual plural of apex is indeed apexes, even though the usual plural of vertex is vertices. The usual plural of "index" meaning "indication" or "measure" is indeed indices, but the plural of the kind of index you find at the back of a book is indexes. Go figure. I do think "fora" is more often used than "forums" in the sense of an place for debate and discussion, but you would use "forums" to refer to, say, the central gathering place of several Roman cities.

As everyone knows, "Rex" has no plural because Rex Parker is unique. But the plural of the Latin word for "king" is reges.

Kimberly 10:10 PM  

To "anonymous" who asked "please tell me why con is minus at 43 across. thank you:"

Pros and cons are the "good and bad" or "pluses and minuses" of any given idea, product, or decision, etc. Pro is often symbolized with "+" and con with "-"

Anonymous 10:23 PM  

Rex, it's sad that you did not have the integrity to post my prior comment that was critical of this puzzle and of your evaluation of it. I guess it's necessary to kiss up to you and your xword buddies to get published on this comment board. I read your blog every day, and if this awful distorted review was a one-time event, I would not have posted. But you are so transparent, it finally got to me. Have some guts and post this. I dare you.

Nancy 10:29 PM  

@lms, @Hartley. @Teedmn; @Blackbird -- I don't have a clue as to what any of you are talking about. The word CREPT hasn't gone anywhere; I'm sure it hasn't. It means that at some time in the past, I moved stealthily -- perhaps even on my hands and knees. CREEPED means something quite different: at some time in the past, something icky made my skin crawl and my heart pound. I've never heard the two words confused. No one I know -- indeed no one I've ever heard speak -- has ever said or written CREEPED to mean CREPT, as in "he CREEPED, unobserved, into the room." Nor have I ever read such a thing written down, either. So I'm completely baffled by all the comments.

kitshef 11:55 PM  

Anon at 10:31 (and others). Before deciding to invest in the company, I considered the pluses and MINUSes. Before deciding to invest in the company, I considered the pros and CONs.

Alysia 8:31 AM  

Analogies oft use colons for the "is to" part. Like..."graceful : clumsy :: hot : ______" (solve for the blank).

Alysia 8:32 AM  

I think this is because when making a list, say, the pros column gets filled up with all the "pluses" of a situation. The cons, then, are the minuses.

Alysia 8:40 AM  

Beautifully done.

Leapfinger 11:09 AM  

Some of these comments crept me out. Then up pops ye olde Creep ED.

Now there's a turn of events.


Amelia 12:28 PM  

Now you can learn something, Professor. Moire is a VERY common term in filmmaking and photography. Sometimes patterns appear that make it seem like it's dancing on the screen. This is usually due to not being careful with wardrobe or set decoration. When one is making a commercial, say, one has to look out for such occurrences, because they are very, very hard to fix in post-production. I've been using this term my entire, lengthy career. Which means I'm old enough to be quite familiar with Lester Pearson, as well.

An example:

Burma Shave 9:23 AM  


FOR A TRYST, the HOT NOVICE into my room CREPT.


rondo 10:18 AM  

I had vacant squares in the vicinity of a couple of the themers until the revealer helped out. The whole NW was vacant due to a frEeTABLE, which was only free because I wasn’t thinking PESTO and originally thought some other sauce was in the gimmick of the day. And the frEeTABLE alsohad me thinking of some sort of __TheISTS, but “non” and “a” didn’t fit. UGH. A couple more slugs of Red Bull woke me up and got me to the finish.

EVAPERON looks like one of those new smoking devices. And PEERAT, well . . .

I remember skating yeah baby OKSANA Baiul very well. Smoking hot Olympic champ before things kinda fell apart for a while.

As will sometimes happen with a gimmick puz, I spent, or wasted, time in the gimmick areas where I am often INEPT. But sometimes EPT. Har. For a gimmick puz it did not ENRAGE me enough to SEETHE into a RANT.

spacecraft 11:28 AM  

7-down warning! I 3-down every time a 12-down like 15-across 1-down. Constructors, why do you 2-down me like that?

That out of the way, the rest of it was fine. Almost. I will now review poorly the clue for 64-down: "It don't mean what it says." Now I will review it well: "It doesn't mean what it says."

The colon clue was interesting; took some brainwork. I'm surprised that such a huge chunk of Asia, TUVA, was totally unknown to me until this puzzle. Luckily, ONE_P can only take a U (with 8 of em, "MANDA" must be thrilled). See how STUPID that looks? It's M&A. HINT HINT, constructors!

I can hardly forget OKSANA. I love "Chris Berman-isms," where he inserts a familiar phrase into a sports figure's name, such as "David if-loving-you-is-wrong-I-don't-wanna-be Wright" or "Fred last-chance-to-beat-the-other Couples." For her, it was "OKSANA it's-OK-by-me-if-it's-OK BAIUL." Lotsa fun.

I liked the Thursday-appropriate (for a change!) theme. Not only is it a simple "right turn, Clyde!"* but each one is, literally, an EVENT. WHATAPITY that 15-across gets the flag, and we can't have more than a B-.

*Eastwood fans will get the reference.

Diana,LIW 3:46 PM  

I solve in the paper with a pencil and well-worn eraser. Today, I used up about half of said eraser. Had PregO for 1A. That gave me POPSUP and ONthemenu. On to ARIAS, which gave me INtrouble. (I was.) Also had RAge where RANT should be, but ENRAGE disallowed that one, once PESTO covered my linguini. (In South Philadelphia it's red sauce on your noodles, doncha know?)

In the SW I had OWE, then ACE atop that. The downs quickly fixed that, WHO and HOW had to be the anagram. satuRATED was my flooding action, but the downs assured me that the VENTURA freeway was the right road to be on. ACEV - huh? Oh Ho! Ace Ventura. That gave me the trick du jour. Much more fun than a rebus IMHO. One by one the little letters corrected themselves.

Many, many erasures later I had a completed, error-free puzzle. Not one IOTA of a letter out of place. Fourth day in a row! Did you know it's National High Five Day? Well, tis. So I'm giving all you Synderellas hand up!


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Frazzeling Friday

wcutler 5:10 PM  

I finally finished a Thursday, and pretty quickly too. My favourite clue was the Facebook one, alluding to the developers' being in university at the time.

Longbeachlee 6:26 PM  

Since several people came up with the pro:con plus:minus analogy I guess I have to accept it, but I don't have to like it, and forgive David Wolff. David, this does not give you permission to take such an obtuse stretch again.

rain forest 6:45 PM  

Made a false start at 1a with PregO, and Gobi at 4d. Brilliant. Of course I first thought PESTO, but Gobi seemed OK to me. Anyway after unraveling all that, things went smoothly, wondering about PREVE and SEVEN, until CANTEEN appeared and I sort of knew what the trick was.

The turning entries were all very good, as were the words that were turned into. Does that make sense?

Loved the revealer because I had missed the fact that EVENT was turned in every instance. True aha moment. Smiled.

APEXES, apices. Stop! You're both right, and even though that's true, saying "apices" is putting on airs. Pass me the Kleenices, please.

@Burma Shave, consider note-taking a compliment in this instance.

leftcoastTAM 6:47 PM  

I expected more bite today than the previous three, but got chewed up instead.

I stumbled badly at the ACEVENTURA and SEVENTEEN theme crossings. Going for ACEs instead of ACEV and not knowing anything about BANDE didn't help.

I'm duly humbled.

Longbeachlee 6:49 PM  

Autombile:driving as airplane:flying. So therefore for the clue flying, the entry driving is acceptable. Now there's a "con" job.

Diana,LIW 8:23 PM  

Just curious...did anyone else wonder if the Tuvans were EMUlating EMUs?



kathy of the tower 12:50 AM  

What a fun puzzle, The SEVEVTEEN was the trickiest to find.

I appreciated the wod on Tuva. I only vaguely knew it had something to do with Mongolia.

I used to work with an Xray tech who had the most unique hobbies. He was quite well read and we would would have little book club meetings. One of his favorites was Clan of the Cave Bear. He subsequently learned flint knapping and scraped a deer hide in his old dryer with rocks,he introduced me to Tuvan throat singing. Conversations with Terry were never dull.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Late to the party again! Oh well. Still feeling compelled to comment on the most purely enjoyable puzzle that has been seen in lo, these many moons. Kinda easy for a Thursday, but with lots of little payoffs, clever clues, and a trick to the theme that is entertaining and fun, rather than tortured and inscrutable. Perfect!

Loved these crosses:

I am willing to forgive TUVA because it was easy-peasy to get from the crosses. Re CREPT: what @Nancy said. To prevent confusion, remember this phrase: "It creeped me out when he crept up behind me."

Thank you, Mr. Woolf!

--Left Coast Late-Nighter

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Isn't it a pity
Isn't a shame
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?

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