Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Constructors: Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: ABC (64A: One way of ordering things, like all the consonants in rows three, six and nine) - the consonants in these rows are indeed ALPHABETIZED 

Theme answers:
  • BOCA (17A) - DEFOG(18A) - HOJO(19A)
  • KOALA (28A) - MEN (30A) - PIQUE (31A)
  • ORS (44A) - TOV (45A) - WA(47A) - YAZ (48A)

Word of the Day: SALTON Sea (51D: California's_______Sea)

We went to the Salton Sea in 2013 and there were many, many dead fish. Photo by Russell Bates

The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault, predominantly in California's Imperial and Coachella valleys.

The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside counties in Southern California. Its surface is 234.0 ft (71.3 m)[1] below sea level. The deepest point of the sea is 5 ft (1.5 m) higher than the lowest point of Death Valley. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamorivers, as well as agricultural runoff, drainage systems, and creeks.(wikipedia)
• • •
Hi there Rexual Beings. I'm Amy and I'm filling in for Rex today. This was a last-minute arrangement and I just got back from a wine tasting, so please forgive me if I'm a little sloshy. I'm not sure I would have accepted this assignment on a similarly wine-fueled Thursday night.

This was a slightly more challenging and significantly more rewarding Tuesday puzzle than I've seen in some time. There's almost no crappy fill and some sections are truly delightful. While I didn't need to spot the theme in order to solve the puzzle, I found it very clever that constructors Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel managed to arrange three solid lines of answers that cumulatively contain every English consonant in alphabetical order.

That said, as an alumna of the San Diego Zoo summer curriculum, I must take issue with the myth-perpetuation that a KOALA (26A) is a bear. A KOALA is a marsupial, and a slow, stupid (though adorable) one at that. As an aside, here in Los Angeles, the citizenry is bitterly divided on the recent Koala v. Mountain Lion controversy.

I wish ODIE (14A: "Garfield Drooler), AMIE (36A: French female friend) and MOIRE(57D: Wavy-patterned fabric) would take a break from crosswords. Maybe a forever break. I also hate ELIZ (35D: Part of QE2: Abbr) - who says "Eliz"? Nobody, that's who.

Brand names show up more than usual with SKOR (13D: Hershey toffee bar), TARGET (40A: Walmart competitor), DASANI (42A: Fiji competitor), PELLA (53D: Big name in windows), PIK (62A: Commercial ending with Water) and HARDEES (69A: Sister fast-food chain of Carl's Jr.).  

I approve of ON A DIET(20A: Losing some love handles) and HOME GAMES (49A: They're never away), neither of which I've seen before in that context.

Signed, Amy Seidenwurm, Undersecretary of CrossWorld

[Check out Amy's website - You And What Amy]


Disneyland Documentary 12:33 AM  

Problem is the NFL plays "home" games away in London. So "never" doesn't cut it.

jae 1:02 AM  

Medium for me too, but it could have been easy-medium if I hadn't misspelled SALTON. Definitely easier than yesterday's.

Thanks for helping out Amy.

Mixed feelings about this one. It is clever and ambitious and, according to Xwordinfo, tough to pull off. That said, it was also a tad annoying. So, impressive but irksome...more or less liked it.

phil phil 1:09 AM  

How about

Hole in one
(49A: They're never away)

Carola 1:56 AM  

In early-week puzzles, I always try to figure out the theme while enroute to the reveal. Never, ever would have noticed the consonant ALPHABETIZATION, so I enjoyed that total fake-out. I also liked the rhyme of HOJO x MOJO, EDAM crossing its WAX, and FLORA intersecting FAWN(a).

chefwen 2:37 AM  

I'm still trying to figure out how I got so hung up in the SE again. For some crazy reason I couldn't see FROST and put down FROnT, that didn't make any kind of sense and it gave me NO WORnE which was just ridiculous. The old lightbulb was finally illuminated, but I felt like a big doofus.

I loved MOJO crossing HOJO. Where are you @joho, we miss you.

I also love SKOR bars, just wish they came with dark chocolate.

Bet I wasn't the only one to put BOZO in before BOBO at least I hope not.

Loren Muse Smith 4:07 AM  

Aw, man. Too easy. BOCA was my first entry, and I got the theme without seeing the reveal. Then I just went right in and filled in the D F G H J on that row. All that was left was figuring out what other two rows would complete the alphabet. Snort. Right. And HARDEES has just added CAPERs to its Steakhouse Thickburger.

Seriously, when I finished and saw the reveal, I was just thinking that those rows would have consonants in order – not that it would be every single consonant in order. How cool.

EDAM crosses WAX – nice. I also liked FLORA crossing FAWN. Uh, get it?

From personal experience, I would tweak the clue for ON A DIET to "has every intention to lose some love handles." Heck. I've been on a bajillion diets that had no effect whatsoever on anything. I'm sure it doesn't help that I put SALT ON just about everything I wolf down. (Note to self- start actually chewing the food and lay off on the salt.)

I have never successfully done a sukoku. I'm too impatient and I'm not a good reasoner. Wonder if ken-ken would be more my speed; I'm a pretty good adder.

Saw on Facebook that CC has one of the puzzles at the tourney. Congrats! I sure am looking forward to catching up with everyone. Life looked up when a little angel Rexite emailed and said he's picking me up from LGA. I had really been fretting about figuring out the trains. I'm too old and train-stupid.

Fun to print out a Tuesday and see a Thursday kind of grid. Nice job!

Roxy 4:53 AM  

Fun Tuesday, liked it! Cool theme, though I never saw it until Amy pointed it out. Enjoyed the clue for HOME GAMES.

George Barany 6:05 AM  

Delightful theme my Minnesota friend @Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel and her long-time mentor/collaborator @Don Gagliardo. Thanks @Amy Seidenwurm for pinch-hitting for @Rex with this review.

It was announced yesterday that C.C. will be one of the constructors in the upcoming ACPT. Wonderful recognition! I'm guessing that many regular readers and contributors to this forum will be at Stamford less than two weeks hence, and I look forward to seeing you again or meeting you for the first time.

Lewis 6:44 AM  

Solved as a themeless, and certainly the bottom six rows are a themeless (I'm wondering if the constructors tried to do this symmetrically in rows 5/10/15 but couldn't make it work). The grid design is cute, and the stunt/theme damn clever -- a roll call of consonants -- has this ever been done before? Answers that appealed to me: VESPERS, TEETIME, PIQUE, SLEEPER, HASHED, and CAPER. There is a mini-theme of double O's (5), and I like a poet (FROST) crossing SONNETS, though I don't know if he ever wrote them. Tricky clue for HOMEGAMES. Clean grid.

I like wordplay, and it is noticeably absent here, but I also like stirring my mind MOJO, and this did that, more than the usual Tuesday, which PIQUED my enjoyment.

GILL I. 7:22 AM  

This is pretty impressive. I usually don't like tricky type "look what I can do" puzzles, but this was fun and very well constructed. So I think everybody wins today.
I didn't know PELLA as a big windows name. I suppose cluing the answer as the old capitol of Macedonia or even the birthplace of Alexander the great would have been too BOBO for a Tuesday,
Speaking of....on last nights news, did I correctly hear "Es Una Nueva Dia" from fearless leader? If so, it took that SLEEPER MOJO right out of me...

Kitty 7:29 AM  

Truly appalling that NYT would sign off on 'bear' for a koala

jberg 7:29 AM  

@Lewis, here you go:

Into My Own

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.

I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e'er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.

They would not find me changed from him they knew--
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

jberg 7:34 AM  

Unlike @LMS, I really needed the revealer - spent several seconds staring at HOME GAMES, which pretty much had to be a theme answer, and trying to relate it to anything else at all. The revealer was also one of my two writeovers == first wrote in ALPHABETIcal ord before running out of space, and then went, grudgingly, to ALPHABETIc order. It was only the ZOO that saved me. (And that KOALA has nobody but itself to blame; mountain lions are gonna be mountain lions).

What was the other writeover? Well, I seriously tried a different P word at 31A -- quite exciting, but it was not to be.

Hungry Mother 7:40 AM  

Sailed on through with no sweat today. I fear what tomorrow will bring.

kitshef 7:55 AM  

The New Orleans Saints first HOMEGAME following Katrina was played in New York, so 'never' is too strong.

Played very hard for a Tuesday, I suspect moreso for anyone outside of NY for whom TRIBECA is not automatic ansd WATKINS is a huge stretch. SALTON seems very non-Tuesday, and Sudanese presidents is not going to be a Jeopardy category any time soon. And MOIRE, had we not just had it, would be day-wrong.

Nice little nature theme in SE with MANES, FAWN, ZOO, FLORA, plus BEE hovering nearby.

chefbea 8:14 AM  

Wanted Alphabetized for 64 across not alphabetization....although all my spices are in alphabetical order!!!
Of course loved the pan handler!!!
Love skor bars...and also heath bars

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Good on you, Amy, for pointing out that a "koala" is not a "bear." That mistake leapt off the page. (There's never a good small animal vet around when you need one!)

Lobster11 8:28 AM  

For me, this was one of those after-the-fact themes that you don't (I didn't) see until I was finished, which is something I generally hate hate hate. In retrospect, though, I realize that if I had been paying attention, I could have sussed out the theme earlier, and then put this knowledge to good use to finish the solve. So, my bad this time. Otherwise, although the cluing was generally a little too straightforward for my taste, the noticeable lack of dreck more than made up for it. On balance, I liked it pretty well as far as Tuesdays go.

Side note on BOCA (Raton, Fla.): I'm frequently amazed at how few people in the world seem to have heard of it. I don't know when or why I first came to know about it, but I feel like I've been aware of it since I was a child. For the last 10 years or so I happen to have been living on a street named BOCA Raton Circle. Whenever I have to provide my address to someone over the phone, or in a store, or wherever, I try to articulate the words as clearly as possible, often adding "it's two words" and "like the city in Florida." The other person invariably seems utterly baffled by this, and even after I've spelled it out carefully -- "...second word, 'Ra-TONE': R-A-T-O-N" -- they react as if I'd just listed a random string of letters. Drives me nuts.

Z 8:35 AM  

BOMB, TARGET, and SLEEPER are unfortunate entries today.

This puzzle could change me from being pangnostic. The alphabet and its order is right there with, with, uh, jeez louise, I cant think of anything more mundane.

PPP Analysis

23/78, 29%
Creeping into the danger zone.

L 8:57 AM  

Good wordplay today, but I DNF'd on the SE. Between FROST, SALTON and NOWORSE, I never climbed out of that hole. For a Tuesday, that's rough.

Chuck McGregor 9:01 AM  

This played for me like a bunch of little puzzles, 9 in my way of looking at it. However, in spite of this potentially worrisome layout with few letters connecting them, each fell nicely to my cruciverbalist wiles, such as they are.

The only real trouble spot was the SW where my only good foothold was PETA. I finally took that out in favor of SLASH, which yielded the correct SPCA for 52a, carpet BOMBed that section with the rest of the fill, and BOoMB! - got the happy jingle.

I was a bit PIQUEd to see the two CHEFs here disrespected as COOKs. I’ve seen cooks handle pans and I’ve seen chefs handle pans. There’s a difference.

I got tripped up by an AMFM answer the other day, so jumped on that for 56a to see if it would crack the SW and it did. I noted the shout-out to the @Rex rant with MOIRE appearing again.

Interesting plethora of multiple/doubled letters in the the top 3 “groupings” (with M&A decrying why couldn’t all those “O”s have been “U”s?), as well as in the SW.

Good touch with SPCA, BEE, ZOO, and FAWN counterpoised to FLORA, as well as the symmetrical SALT ON HASH(ed) (Hi @ LMS).

MOJO as clued? Not in any usage I know of. My electric bass is a ’63 Fender Jazz which has “expressed” a LOT of music since I acquired it in 1965. When first seeing it, other musicians often describe it as having “a lot of MOJO,” an essence beyond the fact it looks well-used. (FYI this model bass is rare classic.)

My brother-in-law was an inveterate chocolate lover. The two of us stopped at a HOJOs for an ice cream. As he was (apparently) surveying the huge list of flavors, I queried him as to his choice, to which he firmly replied:
“All those flavors and you pick chocolate?”
“There’s only one flavor. All the rest are imitations.”

Twilight Zone: Just yesterday, with too much time on my hands, I decided to watch a DVD I had not seen that was otherwise just gathering dust on the shelf. It was Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon,” though not his KATO role.

Love MICA. I spent a lot of time working with electronics in the days of vacuum tubes. MICA was a common component used in their innards. It is also commonly found amongst the glacial till here on the NE seacoast.

Visiting a friend in the San Francisco area, she was recalling a year or so she lived in Australia and her love of KOALA bears. I said they’d love it here. She said they would have nothing to eat there being no Eucalyptus trees. Without a word, I pointed to a lovely tree growing at the corner of her deck. I then mentioned there might be a couple more of them around this part of the state.

58d Coulda maybe shoulda have had a more appropriately contemporary clue: “Concern for a SPRING gardener,” at least for the northern hemisphere. However, it did appear is the “southern hemisphere” of the puzzle, so there is that.

Oddly, I keep seeing SIS ENOR for 22a.

This puzzle was not AT ALL DULL (suspecting this may not be the only use of this seen here). With LOGIC, common SENSE, and ADDER in some MOJO for footholds, it was a really fine CAPER.


Roo Monster 9:42 AM  

Hey All !
Another difficult puz to construct. Man, these people are good! And with clean fill! And all consanants in a row, with the last 8 in 4 words! Wonder how many iterations it took to finally realize they needed L/R symmetry.

Very cool puz. Tues level, IMO. No problem with clue for HOMEGAMES, c'mon peeps, y'all know crossword clues are allowed to be 95% accurate. Maybe this is an older puz done before the NFL went to London?

iraS-ATMS, ihop-HOJO, petA-SPCA, salMon-SALTON, PIc-PIK, and the SE for a minute wouldn't budge! Thanks to the other day, MOIRE a gimmie, which led me to SONNETS, and finally getting NOWORSE, got me ZOO and finished! Head slap for me on WATKINS, as I'm from PA originally, and we had a WATKINS Glen State Park near me! (Full disclosure: that wrong C in PIc was throwing me off!)

So very much in the like column for me. Clean fill, pangram, as the theme needed it! Cool grid. Rows 11-15 impressive to get cleanly.

Speaking of KOALA bears, first, they got the "bear" tag because of how they looked, small, cuddly, like a teddy bear. And I got a stuffed KOALA when I was 8 years old. Absolutely loved that cute little KOALA, named him Wally. And 38 years later, I still have it. Amazing!


Z 9:48 AM  

1. "______ bear" seems to imply common usage, not scientific accuracy. Would people be complaining if the answer had been "teddy?" Because a "teddy bear" ain't a bear, either.

B. HOME GAMES are never "away" games. It is like saying "blue is never orange."

Ç. YAZ? TOV? ORS? I dunno. If it had been me and that was the price to finish the alphabet I just might have said, "nevermind." What has me confused, though, are the "clean fill" comments? I finished the NW and thought to myself "it took two experienced constructors to come up with this?" ODIE crossing non-Norse God ODON? BOBO wearing MICA BEADs. And, sorry, ALPHABETIZATION is ugly fill with a capital UGH.

Just because something is hard to do doesn't mean it is worth doing.

Nancy 9:51 AM  

Nice review, Amy, and I agree with almost all of it. It was harder than most Tuesdays, which I think is a Very Good Thing. It had a large number of brand names -- PELLA, HARDEES, SKOR, DASANI; HOJO -- which I think is Not a Very Good Thing. I liked the clues for HOME GAMES; ON A DIET; and SENSE. I was surprised to see MOIRE and AMFM so soon again. (I'm sure many of you have said that; I'll go back to read you, after I try to make the second morning cut, which I probably won't.) But, like yesterday, there's a Who Cares?, after-the-fact theme that's irrelevant to the solving process. It didn't spoil the puzzle for me, but it certainly didn't add anything either.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

SE was brutal. Knew SALTON and wanted ZOO but couldn't reconcile because wanted dote (63D, be a toady) which would have worked with ALPHABETIcorder (64A). Some sluggish non-gettables: moire, frost, and manes, none of which were helped by flora, no worse and sonnets.

Rest was a breeze…SE took me to near normal time to suss out.

Sir Hillary 10:14 AM  

Didn't like this one. Nice discovery by the constructors that you can create a series of legit crossword entries using each consonant in order, but still feels thin as a theme.

-- Has anyone ever actually said the word ALPHABETIZATION? I've been trying all morning, and I still can't get it out.
-- Would have been better -- certainly NOWORSE -- with MaN/BaN in the upper Midwest and then HARDEnS/BEn in New Mexico. Could've cross-referenced HARDEnS and LOOSENS.
-- Took me forever to properly parse SISENOR.
-- Last week's MOIRE helped me today.
-- I do enjoys drinking VESPERS.
-- KOALA "bear" -- yikes.

Tita 10:16 AM  

Is that a KOALA smiling at us from the grid? I kept looking for a theme related to the image.

Boring theme. Agree with @Z and others who feel the impressive construction didn't make for solver's fun.

There goes that xword proximity-of-unusual word thing again, with MOIRE.

@Chuck...lol to your brother's HOJO story.

Nancy 10:31 AM  

@Malsdemare and @Hartley -- I responded to both of your comments yesterday around 6:pm last night.

Malsdemare 10:33 AM  

@Nancy, from yesterday. Yul Brynner in "The King and I" is blow-my-socks-off sexy. I don't much care what a man has on his head; it's what's in it that matters. Combine one bald man, one Deborah Kerr, and some amazing music and I'm dancing in my bare feet. The first strains of "Shall we dance" will bring me running in from the south forty for a turn about the floor!

I always miss the theme but this one, once pointed out to me, was pretty cool. Very few write-overs; just worked my way through like one of the tractors I'm starting to see in the fields here in central Illinois.

I must take issue with Koala bear; yes, it's a marsupial, but anyone with children knows that a koala bear is a prized stuffed animal, and a very real thing, so in my book a koala bear is as legitimate as a teddy bear.

jaycubed 10:45 AM  

I wouldn't call "Koala Bear" a mistake. It is unmistakably a common phrase, used by many who would never actually confuse a Koala with a bear. A jellyfish isn't a fish and is properly called a jelly, but jellyfish lives on as a common reference. Same diff.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  


Anonymous 11:13 AM  

There was a serious problem in the Northeast corner. For ten across, cash caches, I put in "alms" instead of "atms" I was aware of the word "briefly" in there, but I have a general problem with the "s" on the end of ATM, which means, I guess, automatic teller machine or whatever, or it could be teller machines, but the s, if pluralized, wouldn't be there anyway. Automatic Teller Machine S____ what? And what made it worse was 11 down. I don't know who either of those characters are, although I seem to recall that Scooby Doo was a dog who was nuts, so "loon" didn't seem to be beyond the pale. Since I didn't know that SpongeBob was a cartoon character (considering the number of brand names) it wasn't implausible that he was also a loon. I was deep deep deep in the woods on this corner, and I almost didn't get out. Someone needs to throw a yellow flag on this.

Joseph Michael 11:19 AM  

This was tough for me since I didn't know PELLA or HARDEES and thus DNF in the SW corner. It didn't help that the clue for 49D was squished into an unreadable jumble by my printer..

Otherwise I liked the puzzle and thought the theme was clever. Didn't get what was happening until the revealer, so I solved the puzzle as a themeless.

I agree about ODIE, AMIE, and MOIRE. May they rest in peace.

puzzle hoarder 11:29 AM  

I've lost my comments before to phone error and today was another example. I touch something accidentally in the lower left corner of the screen and I'm sent right back to the home screen. When I return to the blogsite I see my entry for a split second then it goes to the site's menu of days. I go to today's blog and scroll down and all my painstakingly typed in comment is gone. I finally figured out that if this happens in the future all I have to do is tap the screens icon at the bottom of the phone and the blog will be there with whatever else I've been to. If I tap on that little screen I should go right back to what I was typing. Pardon the TMI but this is an amazing insight for such a techno luddite.
One more thing if you're still reading I just did a Saturday puzzle in the local paper by c. C. Burnikel. It took me over 2 hours to finish! If you read my comments you have some idea of my chops. Maybe it was just a fluke but if she has a puzzle in the tournament be prepared for a workout.

Andrew Heinegg 11:54 AM  

This puzzle was very impressive.I never thought Ms. Burnikel was a mediocre constructor but, she has steadily gotten better and seems now to be in the elite category. Mr.Gagliardo and she must have formed a symbiotic pairing. This puzzle was challenging for a Tuesday and, like most other regular solvers, I wouldn't want it any other way. Nicely done.

AliasZ 12:04 PM  

-- A beau code of age hue, a joke lemon pie queries to view oxy ooze.
-- Abe cued a fig haj, kola mine piquers to avow axe -- youza!

If you don't like these, make one for yourself.

Lewis 12:10 PM  

@jberg -- Wow! Thank you for that!

Bob Kerfuffle 12:13 PM  

After I finished and knew the theme (which I had not figured out during the solve) I thought that in a way, this is a perfect Tuesday -- mostly smooth with a few minor bumps, and definitely quirky.

I came to the blog expecting to see Rex tear the puzzle apart, for being a pangram if nothing else. Very pleasant to have a less choleric review.

Where are our Spanish speakers to give us a translation of BOCA Raton?

Martin 12:18 PM  

For the marsupialists in the house, "___ bear" does not sign off on a koala being a bear. It signs off on the fact that "koala bear" is a common phrase. It's even in the dictionary.

The neat thing about the clue is that it could also clue BLACK, BROWN, PANDA, POLAR, SLOTH or TEDDY. Probably more.

It's the same deal as being told you shouldn't say jellyfish because they're not fish. Crossword puzzles are word games, not biology texts.

old timer 12:33 PM  

Didn't do yesterdays (am on vacation) so have no idea how hard it was. Did do todays. Six minutes, ink on paper, which is a superfast time. A few lucky breaks: got HOME GAMES off the initial H, SI SENOR off the initial S. and ALPHABET - something off a couple of early Downs. WATKINS Glen was, I remembered, the site of a big music festival. TRIBECA I stayed near once, at a hotel across the street from the World Trade Center, pre 9/11. And I'm not ONADIET, really, but have been losing weight the way many men do when they reach 70.

I only saw the theme after the fact. Pretty clever!

And a nice, complete write-up, Amy. Rex should be proud.

Mohair Sam 12:36 PM  

Fun Tuesday, clever theme. Must have been murder to put together. And I didn't have to black out half my puzzle to uncover it once I found the revealer!

Fun cluing throughout. But the prize for best misdirect of the day goes to @lms who had me thunderstruck for a few sentences with her "Aw, man. Too easy. BOCA was my first entry, and I got the theme without seeing the reveal. . . ." Nice one Loren, still cleaning coffee out of the mustache.

Surprised a few here haven't heard of the SALTON Sea, even more surprised it made Word of the Day. Not only a place, but Non-Californians might know it as the title of a Val Kilmer flick from a few years back.

Speaking of Word of the Day. My professor for English 101 always had a word of the day, and each Monday a word of the week. It was always a good idea to include these words on essay tests and term papers. I'm wondering if she isn't Will Shortz' great aunt and loaded him up with PENCILPUSHER last week and MOIRE this.

M and A in Cuba New Mexico 12:50 PM  

Weejects get lotsa respect, in theme participation, today. Bullets ...
* MEN. Not familiar with Maxim magazine, tho. I stick to the mags for masked dudes.
* ORS. Used the hosp. clue slant, to cover their buts.
* TOV. Now, here M&A woulda gone with TUV, to obtain yer total alphabetic zen vibe. No problemo, if the constructioneer merely embraces the mighty double-?? clue convention. Example: {"Muzel ___!" ??}.
* WAX. Great lil word.
* YAZ. Good thing for this puz, that Carl was such a star ballplayer.

Thanx, CC and DG. Luved that E-W grid symmetry.

Masked and Anonymo2Us

mac 12:52 PM  

Good Tuesday, but I definitely didn't need the theme to solve it.

Eliz is not pretty, and the koala mistake is glaring.

I've been to Watkins Glen, but only to watch the car races.

Teedmn 1:13 PM  

DNF due to lack of care. I threw in ALPHABETIcally in at 64A (yes, I did notice that was a letter short but figured I would let it sort itself out.) Except that requires one to go back and look at what goes where. I ended up with ALPHABETICAl ION. Really thought that was weird but didn't look back at 66D (Vets work at a cOO?) or 51D, the California SALlON Sea in order to fix it.

The ATF is actually the ATFE, with Explosives now being under their oversight.

PELLA was a gimme for me - we have replaced nearly every window in our home, one at a time, and my husband insists on getting only PELLA brand. Not sure why. He has become adept at changing them out. Only the big, four-paneled oriel is left.

Thanks, jberg, for the Frost SONNET, rather dark like so much of his work.

And thanks, DG and CC, for the ALPHABETIZATION pangram

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

My biggest gripe: DASANI is not like Fiji water---the latter is natural spring water, whereas Dasani is just filtered tap water.

OISK 3:55 PM  

@Nancy wrote "It had a large number of brand names -- PELLA, HARDEES, SKOR, DASANI; HOJO -- which I think is Not a Very Good Thing." Add to that "PIK, and TARGET and you move from not very good to very bad. Otherwise, pretty challenging for a Tuesday, and I admire the cleverness of the themed answers.

By the way, it is an odd collection of brand names for me, I have never tasted a SKOR bar, have never drunk Dasani have never been to a HARDEES, none of my windows are PELLA, and don't own a waterpik.

Z 4:24 PM  

@Anon11:01 - Apologies, I was in a rush this morning.

PPP explanation
PPP are clue/answer pairs involving Pop Culture, Product Names, or other Proper nouns. The math is the number of these types of answers divided by the answer count of the puzzle. Anything in the 25% range is not going to generate much hate. At 33%+ there is a high likelihood that some subset of solvers is going to dislike the puzzle. Which subset will depend on lots of other factors. Early week (easier) puzzles seem less likely to generate hard feelings.

The Undersecretary of Crosswords suggested that today's count was higher than normal. After a month of doing the counting and math I can say with some confidence that 29% is not atypical. I've not been keeping track, but I just might start to see if any other patterns emerge.

@Anon2:42 - my puzzle said "competitor," which seems accurate enough.

Aketi 5:54 PM  

@Nancy and Hartley70, from yeaterday, both my grandmothers and my mother had antimacassars. It was my mother who taught me how to crochet them. The Davenport, however, was merely a word I learned from reading my mother's stash of bodice ripper novels that she hid under her bed. Seemed like all sorts of things could be hinted at happening on those Davenports.

@Z ditto about BOMB, TARGET, and SLEEPER today. I spent two months in Brussels, many years ago on my way back from my Peace Corps duty in what was then Zaire. I had a great time with my Belgian friends going out to dance and drink beer in African bars in Brussels. Makes my heart ACHE. The puzzle itself, however, was light fun and too too hard for me today.

Leapfinger 8:25 PM  

@Martin, I like your list of bears. I was hoping it would be HONEY bear, so I could argue that a kinkajou isn't any kind of a bear.

PELLA was one place we could've dropped the brand name clue, since it could relate to so many different things, depending on whether you're Alexander or Catherine the Great, a rove beetle fan, an Italian or Rumanian or a resident of about 8 places around the world. My clue of choice would have been "A ca_____"

The SALTON Sea apparently has cycled into and out of existence for millenia, depending on river inflow and rate of evaporation. Then, in 1905, a development company built irrigation canals taking water from the Colorado River to the Salton Sink,a dry lake bed at that time. What happened after that is found in the encyclopedia under "Law of Unintended Consequences". As @Amy's photo indicates, apparently an abundance of dead fish now.
Actually, it's in Wiki, under https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea#History

and I learned of all this when the Salton Sea hit the NYT gridosphere last time.

Cool puzzle theme, though I agree the opener BOMB AT_ALL ATMS is eerie for the day. The closing row is more gentle, with Thomas HARDEE'S SONNETS. Here's one that might PIQUE @Lewis' interest... One of TH's umm, earthier:

In the Cemetery

"You see those mothers squabbling there?"
Remarks the man of the cemetery.
"One says in tears, ''Tis mine lies here!'
Another, 'Nay, mine, you Pharisee!'
Another, 'How dare you move my flowers
And put your own on this grave of ours!'
But all their children were laid therein
At different times, like sprats in a tin.
"And then the main drain had to cross,
And we moved the lot some nights ago,
And packed them away in the general foss
With hundreds more. But their folks don't know,
And as well cry over a new-laid drain
As anything else, to ease your pain!"

Shall try to make it over the hump tomorrow. Youza!! (var)

Burma Shave 9:33 AM  


Girls, PIK ATALL FROSTy glass with SALTON the rim,
make ITA TARGET for tequila, filled at LEAST to the brim.
AMIE, it LOOSENS your LOGIC and SENSES go dim,
there’s NOWORSE way to PIQUE that DULL ACHE for him.


rondo 10:19 AM  

Certainly would never have plucked out the theme without a reveal. Not much bad suff in the fill, perhaps a tad DULL. Only the one write-over at the second BEE in the clown. ODIE ODON ONADIET seems a very odd combo, maybe moreso than HOJO MOJO.

Can’t see FROST without thinking of W.A. FROST, a fine eatery and bar in St. Paul which I frequented for the first time forty years ago this July (yes, there’s a reason for remembering that). The bar is just classic and they have a patio that is always on top in the local polls.

Seems to me WATKINS Glen is more well-known for the race track than the park. On Tuesday.

Not much in the way of a yeah baby except my French AMIE, unless I TRIBECA.

The VIKES played one of their HOMEGAMES away at Detroit after the Metrodome dome collapsed a few years ago.

Fine piece of construction with the ALPHABETIZATION, the rest was NOWORSE than one should expect. On Tuesday.

spacecraft 11:08 AM  

These two are lucky OFL was absent. He'd SLASH and STOMP all over this. First he'd pan the pangram, then he'd remark that stuff like ORS, TOV and YAZ (to say nothing of PIK--which isn't even in a theme line!) is way too high a price to pay.

I, like many others, did not see the "theme" until the reveal line, which was itself a little confusing: ALPHABETICALLY is one square too short, while ALPHABETICAL ORDER is one too long. Instead we get the awkward six-syllable mouthful that is rarely used. I might have spotted the trick if the fill had not DULLed my SENSEs.

VESPERS is nice, and so is TEETIME, but...well, let's just say I hope the rest of the week is NOWORSE. C-.

leftcoastTAM 2:23 PM  

The gimmick is well executed, but it and the revealer were not very helpful in the solve. The difficulty was in sorting out the upper middle cluster.

Spelling DETOO correctly,seeing that it was the ATF and not DEA going to Justice, and then finally recalling TRIBECA, which yields the rat's unratty name, BEN.

So, a good Tuesday work-out.

rain forest 3:57 PM  

Like just about everyone else, I didn't see what was up with the consonants until I got the revealer. And then, to see them in order was pretty impressive.

@Z - you've been pretty cranky lately. I think that one can appreciate a puzzle for the solving experience, the clever cluing, or the feat of construction (there are probably others). If a puzzle has all of them, great. As it is, today's, in my opinion, scores on two accounts. This puzzle pretty well had to be a pangram, given the theme, and to me it didn't seem forced.

I enjoyed this one, and consider yesterday and today to be a good start to the week, puzzlewise. Income tax-wise, here in Canada, not so much.

Diana,LIW 4:45 PM  

The revealer did help in my solve, if only to verify my answers were correct. I was pretty impressed with the construction, too. I'd say easy and fun.

Fun for me because it brought back memories of the summers of 1971 and 1973. '71 I was thinking of taking some time off from college. Mom pulled some strings and got me a job at Howard Johnson's on the New Jersey Turnpike, the 11 pm to 7 am shift. We actually were supposed to use "HOJO" terminology for our orders (we did so only when a supervisor was watching - that's also when we wore the obligatory hair nets that only fell into the ice cream containers.)

Eye opening. Truckers. Vacationers. Tired post-concert goers. One night a hurricane closed the turnpike and turned off our power. We sat around and ate the melting ice cream. Then around 6, the lights came on and the (full) parking lot emptied into the restaurant - all at once. I stayed in school and graduated in the traditional 4 years.

The summer of '73 I went to the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen - The Allman Bros, The Band, and The Dead. And rain. I can still smell the rotting peaches in our miserably hot tent.

So, of course, I had fun today.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and more memories

Scotsman 11:44 PM  

I know I'm late with this, but I had to comment. This was an impressive feat of construction, I suppose, but it meant absolutely nothing during the solve. Who said, "Hey, what do you know, all the consonants are in order every three rows!" while doing this puzzle? Nobody, that's who. And then the revealer is a clunky, awkward, never-used word that I still can't believe is an actual word. ALPHABETIZATION? No. No, no, no, no, no.
This one should have been left on the drawing board.

Z 8:05 AM  

@rain forest - Just wait until the Afro/old white male discussions start. I'll be full out pedantic crank then.

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