Disney bigwig Bob / TUE 3-8-16 / Cuckoo from Yiddish / Rebellious Turner / Virgin island that's 60% national park / Marry cutie on qt / Like Beatles in 1960s lingo

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: FUR COAT (60A: Wrap "worn" by 17-, 22-, 37 and 48-Across) — types of "fur" provide a "coat" for the themers by "wrapping" the answers (represented by circled squares—starting at the front of the answers, ending at the back)

Theme answers:
  • FUSEBOX (17A: Something to check if the lights go out)
  • SET THE TABLE (22A: Lay out plates, silverware, napkins, etc.)
  • OTTO PREMINGER (37A: "Anatomy of a Murder" director)
  • MINUTE STEAK (48A: Quick-cooking cut of meat)
Word of the Day: ST. JOHN (8D: Virgin Island that's 60% national park)
Saint John (Spanish: San Juan ; Dutch: Sint Hans; French: Saint-Jean ; Danish: Sankt Jan) is one of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea and a constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), an unincorporated territory of the United States. [...] Since 1956, approximately 60% of the island is protected as Virgin Islands National Park, administered by the United States National Park Service. (wikipedia)
• • •

This started out laughably hard in the NW—I didn't know the first seven or so answers I looked at, which is preposterous on a Tuesday—but eventually it got going and by the time I finished, look at that, normal Tuesday time. Pretty sure I looked at all the Downs sequentially until I finally hit the obvious PAX (7D: ___ Romana). That's a pretty wide-open corner for a Tuesday. Hard to get traction. Had a little trouble in the NE corner as well; but by the time I got to their symmetrical counterparts, I was flying through them with no effort. Just having MINUTE STEAK in place, which gave me the first letters for the 5-letter Downs in the SW, meant that I tore that corner up without hesitation—every answer went straight in with just one glance at the clue. This is just to say that having a single answer in the right place can be the difference between struggling with a section and eating it for breakfast.

The very idea of FURCOATs is nauseating to me (unless you're an Inuit or a 19th-century Russian or Aretha Franklin), so I am constitutionally unable to Love this puzzle, but it's well made. The whole wrapping conceit is old hat, but it's executed nicely here. This was definitely spicier and bouncier all around than your average Tuesday (which is too often boo!-sday). I know nothing about ST. JOHN (8D: Virgin Island that's 60% national park), but was able to get it from the terminal -HN (not a lot of options with that pattern). Wrote in EPCOT for SOCAL (which ... yeah, I have no good excuse. I have only poor excuses) (20A: Disneyland locale, briefly). I lived in southern California for four years and never called it SOCAL, so that abbr., while completely legal, always irks me somehow. Looking these corners over now, the Across stacks are all very nice-looking. Clean, solid Tuesday. One thing, though: crossing MAME (39D: Broadway auntie) with MAMIE (41A: Mrs. Eisenhower) seems ... lame? Lamie? It *feels* like a violation, even if it isn't. Or maybe it's a *feature*—a little sing-songy crossing to brighten your day. Or maybe it's a meaningless accident. Or a pterodactyl. You decide.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 6:57 AM  

Well wouldja just look at those stacked seven corners? On a Tuesday? With words I'd like to casually throw around to seem smarter: MESHUGA, TRAVAIL, ASSUAGE… Nice!

FUR has a NAP, right?

Very carefully-worded reveal, but the grid’s slip is showing; it starts off with IN A TRAP. So many people around here trap animals for their pelts. A neighbor got a mink at one of our ponds just last year. Rex – I’m not an Inuit or a 19th-century Russian. I'm also not a vegetarian or a member of PETA, but I'm ashamed that I don't allow myself to think too far into such things and take any kind of a stand. I get this uneasy sadness when the fate of animals with seouls comes anywhere near my comfortable, cowardly little radar screen.

Ever notice that the majority of women's middle names, if they're not just one syllable, are IAMBS? My middle name is Renée; my sister's middle name is LaVerne. IRENE, Marie, Michelle, Nicole, Elaine…

Iambic trimeter phrase. Is autonym an autonym?

“Snood” is much more of a grid darling than HAIRNET, but HAIRNET is so much better. “Snood” feels like some kind of jerk. You bloody, no-good snood. Byte me.

A crunchy, stacksome Tuesday. And our macabre THANE from Sunday reappears. Good work, David!

Lewis 7:19 AM  

A clean and polished Tuesday-level puzzle that didn't feel worn in the least. I loved the clue for YEN, and the answers TRAVAIL. ASSUAGE, and STALEMATE. I also liked the cross of MAME and MAMIE, and the east END.

I saw the "worn" in the reveal clue to also mean something besides Rex's explanation. I saw it as meaning that each of the animals in the circles have a wrap that is their own fur coat.

Having FURCOAT right next to the ARMHOLE BLASTER makes me a little nervous, however.

George Barany 7:19 AM  

It's always nice to see a puzzle by my friend @David Steinberg, and @Rex's review this morning was fun to read as well.

Crazy to see MESHUGA with its crossword-friendliest variant spelling; click here for a google n-gram comparison and draw your own conclusions.

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

A tactile pterodactyl.

NCA President 7:38 AM  

Easy peasy today. Interesting to see DS doing an early week puzzle. I have to say I think I appreciate his wit more in this environment than in the later week when the cluing gets tougher. Today's puzzle seemed more "genuine" or "organic" or something and much less contrived than some of his challenging-level puzzles.

That said, nothing really stood out...either bad or good. It was fine. No groans.

"Marry a cutie on the q.t." (ELOPE) seemed just a bit off. That extra bit of information (a cutie) seemed unnecessary...unless he was just going for the cutie = q.t. gag. Which is fine...but if you're going to go cutsie on the clue, seems the answer should reflect that. As it is it's just a straight ahead answer that really couldn't be anything else.

Not a bad Tuesday if just a bit beige.

GILL I. 7:49 AM  

When we can, or when I'm feeling that it's my time to contribute a bit of me to the downtrodden, we'll visit homeless shelters or food banks and try to help out. There are several. I always take dozens of deviled eggs because it's a treat for so many. Anyway, these last few years we've run into the same very old lady with her 3 very old dogs. Her name is Mary, but everyone calls her "FUR." See, she wears this mangy old fur coat every single day - no matter rain, sun, cold nor wind. She's not very talkative but I sat next to her one day sharing an egg and asked her about the COAT. Her wrinkled face lit up and she told me that she was wearing her pet OTTER and a FOX that had been run over. She finds all kinds of poor critters that have been run over. If they're not in too bad condition, she skins them, dries them, and sews them into her FUR COAT. She told me that a lover of animals should wear them proudly as long as nobody sells them for profit. I think I had my mouth open and full of egg when she told me that she was going to wear her three pups when they pass on to doggy heaven as well. I'm not sure how I felt after this conversation. I know I needed a glass of wine, but in a way, I was happy for Mary wearing her loved ones on her back. Fendi should be ashamed.
OK puzzle. Nothing really to write home about. Lots of names that @Z should have fun with. The Sun is out tomorrow....

chefbea 7:53 AM  

Finished the puzzle but I don't understand the wrapping? I know they are fur coats that many ladies have...or use to have...and a coat is a wrap...but????
Liked Mamie crossing Mame...and setting the table and grater.
Much easier than yesterday

jberg 8:09 AM  

Got started with NEURAL, and just zipped through it from there. I'm not sure about the MAME/MAMIE crossing, but otherwise a fine puzzle.

I'm sending this from my phone, as my computer won't connect, so I can't stay around. Happy Tuesday, all!

Chuck McGregor 8:12 AM  

GRIDGATE:* A Personal Encounter

(*You know what it is. How would you clue it? Get it in a grid while it’s hot!)

@Leapy: Warning! Not-so-laconic* diatribe follows. (Absolutely Love Danse MACABRE!)
* Which institution and remark of yours I strongly resemble.

Well, well, well. Yesterday, I needed a time-filler to baby-sit the GRANDKID, so I Googled for some printable puzzles, only caring if I could print them quickly as I was short of time.

Quickly found and printed two puzzles at random from one site with back to back dates. When I got around to doing them, what to my wondering eyes should appear at the top? Edited by none other than the infamous Timothy Parker!!

OK. So I did them. I am certainly not a puzzle editor, nor a constructor and, if I did a tournament, anyone betting on me not to finish last would lose. However, due to the discerning eyes and minds of @Rex and “his” Commentariat, I’ve learned a few things about the good, bad, and ugly of clues, answers, and puzzle construction (thank you all for this education to further satisfy my word fetish!).

However, I’m not at all qualified nor experienced enough to be more than a dilatant critic of crosswords, if that. As well it’s usually restricted to a clue/answer or so within. However and with all due respect to those who actually are editors, I think I could take these two on (already edited) as an editor.

As a long-time editor of people’s narrative writing, I only do that in kind, helpful ways. No such intents for these, ahem, editorial comments.

n.b. All “?”s with the clues are [sic].

Let’s start with the four(!) duplicated answers between two consecutively dated puzzles from one editor. In one of the pairs an ‘s’ was added…, like ADD & ADDS….oh wait! I must ADD that those were the very answers.

I circled about 3 dozen clues/answers that I doubt would have passed muster here and likely with WS. Some of them.

Golf standard score: PAR (awkward much?)

Boot wearing felines?: PUSSES ( [this space intentionally left blank, just like my thoughts on this one] )

Pin-up’s favorite dessert?: CHEESECAKE (maybe there’s just something I’m missing? OMG no! Just got it. It’s ‘casue they say “Cheese” for the camera? With 2 of the other 3 themers literally clued? The other one was - Double dessert?: PIE A LA MODE. Come to think of it, without the question mark, it IS literal. The “?” doesn’t make it otherwise.)

There were also answers like EROSE, SLUES (pivots [w/o “var.” added as it was for another “var.” answer in the puzzle]), and NOES (simply “negative responses.” Well, it filled the 4 squares as needed.)

As I’ve already exceeded the LLSL (acronym pronounced like thistle - Leapy Laconic Speed Limit), I’ll stop at ETHOS, a lovely word (IMO). Of course you know it means, quoting M-W, “The guiding beliefs of a person, group…” TP’s clue? “The guiding beliefs of a group.”

“Just sayin’,” said Tom coincidently.

That GRANDKID? Doted-on one, often. Meh.

If these are typical examples of his editing or not editing, as the case may be, @Rex is spot on: “I criticize Shortz, but [T.] Parker's not even close to his league.”

That these are typical? Please say it ain’t so.


PS I have only paid attention to names of 5 editors doing puzzles. They are WS and his 3 predecessors. The 5th? Sadly, now, TP. Bums me out his name is also Parker. However, he’s certainly not Sharp, @Rex Parker is. Har!

Roo Monster 8:15 AM  

Hey All !
Interesting corners for a TuesPuz. All 7's. Nice. Decent Tuesday theme, lots of good fill, agree with Rex on the MAME/MAMIE cross (Rex- Lamie? Almost spit my coffee out!). After getting the X and J, looking of course for the pangram. No Q or Z. Thinking about it, we haven't had one in quite some time.

Never know if it's AAH or AHH, today guessed correctly. Writeovers, ogle- LEER, OHHo- OHHI, korea- SEOUL.

Liked it.


Lobster11 8:17 AM  

I'm one of those solvers -- I suspect there are many others -- who cringes at the sight of David Steinberg's name at the top of a puzzle. He and I must just live on different planets.

This was a pretty smooth grid with a lot of nice entries, but I cry foul on featuring OTTOPREMINGER as the puzzles's longest entry. Having never heard this name before, I was doomed by crosses with MAME, SIMBA, and IGER. I thought the missing letter in _AME might be M, because I couldn't think of anything else it could be; I was pretty sure that S_MBA was missing an I, but A also seemed plausible; and I had no idea about the missing letter in I_ER. Not only is this too damned many crossing proper names, but none of them is the least bit inferable. Not fair!

Tita 8:24 AM  

Especially cringe-worthy with INATRAP as the lead-in.
I try not to mix politics and puzzles, but I was pretty surprised that this would be accepted by Will. At the end I checked the constructor, and am assuming that Mr. Steinberg's gets many free passes.

In spite of that, gotta agree with Rex (mostly because as of this writing 0 comments have appeared, so I got no one else with whom to agree!)

But as I was solving I was highlighting lots of fill today as fun/evocative.

I like the word RUBE...my theory is it derives from the German word for turnip, RÜBE.nwe use it often.

Since I was youngest by a lot, my two older siblings always split the chores...I was a mere babe. I remember distinctly the day...I mighta been 9...when my brother said..."Hey...she's old enough to SETTHETABLE"". My life was not going to be the same...

The END of a crusty loaf is my favorite- especially of the crusty bread that JEN Ct taught me to make. Having a piece right now.

MAME/MAMIE didn't bother me, but I raised an eyebrow at 33D...the answer was right in the clue...

jberg 8:27 AM  

@chefbea, the animals are the split ends of each word, so they 'wrap' whatever is inside-- e.g., FOX wraps USEB.

I forgot to say before -- SHALE is 'fracked material.' The fracking material is water with various toxic additives.

@George Barany, interesting that MESHUGA has risen from obscurity to dominance -- spelling simplification in action. It has worked its way rite to the top.

jberg 8:33 AM  

@Carola, I think you nailed it on the gerund/participle thing yesterday. Thanks!

The women in my family mostly have multisyllabic middle names (especially Elizabeth, but also Margaret) except for my sister Elizabet Ann. The men, on the other hand, are either monosyllables (Charles) or trochees (Conrad, William, Allen, Gerald). Don't know if that's a pattern!

Third time and out.

Mickey Bell 8:34 AM  

My only issue - FUSEBOX. I have been a home owner for going on 30 years and have never once checked anything but a breaker panel. Generational miss.

Z 8:41 AM  

I'm #TeamPterodactyl

I liked the puzzle, but not the grid. Whenever you have a corner dangling by two letters the puzzle loses some of its crossiness. The NW and SE are barely connected to the rest of the puzzle.

FUR COATs seem a little anachronistic to me. I've no issue with them in the abstract, but they are hardly necessary these days when we can so easily clothe ourselves in material from long dead dinosaurs. Then I see something like this and shake my head. I bet most of you will know exactly the point where I thought, "what a bunch of myopic, self-centered, spoiled assholes." They probably all think Fluffy is still living on a farm in the U.P.

@Gill I - Surprisingly low PPP today. Just 16/74 for 22%. There were a couple of iffy clues that I chose not to count (Does using "Beatles" really make the FAB clue Pop culture?) but even including those gets us no where near the danger zone.

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 are 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

kitshef 8:43 AM  

Past week's puzzles have been generally excellent, so we were due for a downturn, and here it is.

Theme does not work at all. If those things are going to be wraps, they need to be wrapped around something. So, the letters between the circled letters should spell something. Instead, we get USEB and UTESTEA and ETTHET and OPREMING.

That, plus the unwelcome reminder that people like to skin animals for fashion, ruined the puzzle for me.

Other than that, it is nice work. Some overused fill but nothing really bad, and quite a few nice longs; JUNIPER, FUSEBOX, MINUTESTEAK, OTTOPREMINGER. Of course, we also have to put up with NATALE.

Played Wednesdayish, with a lot of overwrites. trApped before INATRAP, IMokay before IMFINE, SpiralS before STRANDS, peaCE before TRUCE, palacE before SHRINE.

We always said layTHETABLE growing up, but friends/movies/TV/everything in this country that is not my family have convinced me that SETTHETABLE is the norm (in the US).

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

The Aretha Franklin reference is hilarious!!! Thank you.

chefbea 9:11 AM  

@jbergthanks...so the inside letters don't mean anything??? like useb?

Sir Hillary 9:17 AM  

The blank grid looks like a themeless -- acres of white space in the corners. Steinberg really is a top-quality constructor. Theme is well-executed, although I agree with those who find the concept of FURCOATs off-putting. Didn't make the INATRAP connection until @Tita noted it -- yuck. To be fair, though, I am inconsistent with this type of thing -- I have no problem eating meat, and I honestly don't know what my "leather" jacket is made of. Since I don't have occasion to wear FURCOATs or their synthetic equivalents, maybe I am just one of those annoying people who wish other people would change behavior I find objectionable.

-- Pretty damn clean fill. AHH is the lone blemish.
-- Didn't like the MAMIE/MAME cross.
-- As someone born and raised less than 10 miles from Disneyland, I can attest that no one from Southern California calls it SOCAL. Or, heaven forbid, the even worse Cali.
-- STJOHN is a lovely place.
-- Pairings that caught my eye: HAIRNET STRANDS, "DIE, THANE!", JUNIPER ASSUAGE (WikiLeaks guy?).

oldbizmark 9:20 AM  

NATICK-ed again... TWICE... on a Tuesday.

young gun 9:22 AM  

MAmE/MAmIE and OTTOPREMINgER/IgER. Brutal. Brutal. Is this for the oldie oldie olsens?

Nancy 9:58 AM  

I love constructors who actually listen to the solving commentariat, and therefore David Steinberg is fast becoming one of my faves. He's gone from pop-trivia laden instruments of pure torture and frustration to this squeaky clean grid with no junk at all. I would call it quite easy, except for the fact that I had three linked writeovers in the NE: SPIRALS instead of STRANDS; PEACE instead of TRUCE and EPCOT instead of SOCAL. That's my fault, actually: on a harder day of the week, I would have checked the crosses more carefully before writing anything in, but I was full of overconfidence.

I ignored the theme as I so often do -- and I believe it was extremely ignorable: blah and not needed to solve. But all in all, not a bad Tuesday.

Louie dietz 10:15 AM  

Nice reference to the movie Airplane

Wm. C. 10:37 AM  

I visited St. John once, a truly beautiful place, with a huge campground for vacationing tenders. We (two couples) were bare-boating for a week on a lovely 42-foot Benetton sailboat out of Tortola BVI. We did the BVI circumnavigation in 5 days, then went over to St. John, where we had to report to US Customs to get our passports stamped just for a one-day excursion. But what a lovely place, as were the BVIs. An unforgettable vacation...

Z 10:40 AM  

@young gun - IGER is current. As for the other three, being over 50 certainly helps. As for "oldie oldie Olsens," 30 ain't that old.

Nancy 10:41 AM  

@lms (6:57 a.m.) -- Gee, I don't know, Loren. About the IAMBIC middle names, that is. I had one friend growing up whose middle name was ANNE. I had another whose middle name was RUTH. My middle name is LEE. Of course, there's a reason for that. I, born and bred New Yorker though I be, was named after General Robert E. Lee. Listen up, all my new found Southern friends on the blog:

The maternal half of my father's family originally came from Richmond, VA. (Well, maybe not "originally" as they were Jewish, but long enough ago.) They were pre-Civil War Southerners. My father's mother, Mabel, was the youngest of three sisters, the other two being Cora and Bella. (A pretty Southern trio of girls' names, wouldn't you say?) Anyway, Cora's middle name was Lee. It seems that her mother, when she was a baby, was held in the arms of HER mother during a parade in which Gen'l Lee was marching. Being a crowd-pleasing sort of General, he stopped, looked at the little baby in her mother's arms and patted her on the head. He may even have said, "Cute baby," though we can't know for sure. The little girl was told, all through her childhood, that she had been patted on the head by Gen'l Lee -- a pretty big deal in Richmond. So when she married and had her first daughter, she named her after the General: Cora Lee. My father loved that story, and decided to continue the tradition with me.

Dad was in the habit of saying to me: "Walk tall, Nancy. You're an F.F.V." (Which means First Family of Virginia.) It was a joke of a statement for two reasons. One, we're Jewish, albeit not very. And second, being the height I am, it is virtually impossible for me to walk tall, even when thinking about Robert E. Lee and Virginia.

Joe Revesz 10:57 AM  

armhole? Arm Hole?! ARMHOLE!?!? just sayin

Chuck McGregor 10:58 AM  

Could not believe @Rex had trouble with the NW and I thought it very easy? No way. Methinks he is still not himself.

In fact, his “medium” rating defies any logic in terms of my solving skills, as there was virtually nothing in this puzzle that seemed other than smooth and maybe too straightforward. However, I’ve no legit NITS with the answers/clues. Liked them all. What was not to like when compared to the last two puzzles I did. (See previous comment), This one SUITED me well.

A shout out to a GOOD clue for PAR (An eagle beats it) vs. TP’s for PAR (Golf standard score) noted in my earlier post.

FUSE BOX : Telephone pole / Breaker box : Utility pole. I’m sure lots of people still use the formers but these days the latters are what they are and so-called, at least by those that work with them. I’m sure the moniker telegraph pole stuck for some time after telephone and electric lines replaced telegraph wires. We “dial” phone numbers with a keypad, not a “dial” and buy CDs at record stores. So a fair enough answer, given the similar on-going use of “incorrect” terminology with things electrical/electronic. Doesn’t change my gripe about MACH ONE :>)

In my college days, I was at a smallish dinner where I met OTTO WHO was the honored guest.

Thought using the rhyming EAGER beaver, the opposites of IAMBS, was FAB

Hopefully under the LLSLL (Leapy Laconic Speed Limit), the END


Bob Kerfuffle 11:05 AM  

58 D, SAO Tome and Principe, takes me back to some kind of school night long ago, where someone had a world map set up and was challenging people to locate foreign countries. In every country I was asked about, if I couldn't put my finger on it, I could at least put my hand on it -- until I was asked to find Sao Tome and Principe. It was one place on Earth I hadn't heard of to that point, and had no idea where it was. You can bet I have known it ever since!

Andrew Heinegg 11:08 AM  

I too cringe at the sight of David Steinberg as the author of the puzzle. Not because I do not appreciate the quality of his work but because I find it difficult to get on his wavelength and today was no exception. I solved without picking up the animal/fur theme and, while my political bent is what I would term sharply liberal, I cringe at the idea of being politically correct. That said, I am compelled to agree with OFL that making a word association with animals who are hunted and killed for the
sole purpose of providing decorative warmth is well distasteful at best.

I suppose my not being on Mr. Steinberg's wavelength is my excuse for the solving of this puzzle being in the medium challenging for a Tuesday for moi. But, it is a good one.

mac 11:35 AM  

Easy but well-made Tuesday puzzle. I also had a little trouble in the NW, and PAX gave me the foothold, too.

Travail, assuage, juniper are nice words. Meshuga is mesjokke in Holland. There are quite a few Jiddisch words in the Dutch language.

@GILL I: amazing story. What a character!

old timer 11:47 AM  

Mamma's got a FUSEBOX, Daddy never sleeps at night... (oops, wrong song). But I was grateful for FUSEBOX because it gave me traction in the old NW, The Downs there were easy enough. I started out with OTTO Previnger, but MAME was obvious and fixed that mistake.

Otherwise, a standard Tues for time (13 minutes) and difficulty. I liked seeing MINUTE STEAK. When I was a teen, a good friend's parents had an unchanging routine: They would dine at Scandia and go on to the Hollywood Bowl, where they had season tickets. Every so often they would invite me to tag along with their son, and thus I learned about the house specialty, MINUTE STEAK. Good, too!

Martel Moopsbane 12:13 PM  

@Mickey Bell - If you're driving at night and your headlights go out, you will definitely want to check your FUSEBOX. Or call for roadside assistance.

AliasZ 12:16 PM  

I enjoy following the progression of David Steinberg's construction skills from some rough early efforts to more polished, clean and pleasant-solving grids of late. Today's was excellent as well.

Is this the first time ever that Auntie MAME and MAMIE Eisenhower crossed each other in a NYT puzzle? I wouldn't dare cross either of them.

Some New-Yorkers may remember Crazy Eddie's electronics discount superstores in the 1970's and 80's, his eventual collapse, legal battle and conviction. One of his competitors trying to outdo him opened a store called "Meshuggener (sp?) Dave", I believe on Canal Street.

Rorschach test: What do you see when ASSUAGE & ARMHOLE appear next to each other?

Warm and fuzzy fur-wrapped puzzle today -- thank you David.

The theme made Me thINK of Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro." This may FlummOX you, but it was playing last night at The Met, which makes my choice quite SAlvageaBLE. Here is its overture conducted by OTTo KlemperER.

Charles Flaster 12:52 PM  

Late start but very EZ romp- much more so than yesterday.
Caught theme at FUSEBOX and no bumps thereafter.
CrosswordEASE--IAMB, ELSA, and NAT.
DS--why not use birdie in 53Across?
Liked cluing for YEN, MESHUGA, and of course BLASTER as it resembles a name that is quite familiar to me.
Thanks DS

puzzle hoarder 12:53 PM  

Welcome back @Rex I hope you're feeling better.
RUBE &FUZEBOX got the NW going. My initial impression for 1A was TRAPPED. I drew blanks for the first two downs. Interestingly the A worked for 3D and it was supported by NAT at 21A. 4D's clue made me think of the word HERE. It was seeing RUBE for 5D that got the ball rolling. I know those were the first two entries I wrote in because I had to change a Z to an S when I put in ASSETS. That's right I initially spelled FUSE as FUZE.
Pardon all this TMI but my poor spelling never ceases to amaze me.
Since the long 22A was as easy as the short 29D the rest of the puzzle went in with little incident or effort. I had the reveal at roughly the mid point but didn't bother to see what it meant until I'd finished. My only other write overs were OHHO/OHHI, SWF/SWM and PEACE/TRUCE. Oddly this puzzle took the same amount of time as yesterday's but didn't seem to require as much thought. It was an excellent puzzle nonetheless. This makes for two in a row for this week. I hope things keep up.

Masked and Anonymous 12:54 PM  

M&A has long been a proponent of "Show U Some Respect Week", which this week is startin out as, here at NYTPuz Central. 9 U's, in this TuesPuz! That feat just made our little housetrailer home down by the creek glow warmly inside, just like whenever we celebrate "Remorseless C-Roll Eating Machine Week".

fave weeject: SWM. I ask U, have U ever seen anything else that small and desperate-lookin (assuming U don't do runtpuzs)?? Better clue, of course, would hafta be: {Snk or ___ ??}. Double-?? clues, Shortzmeister: the times they are a-changin.

Fur burgers! Cool theme idea. Skunk pelts are also real extra-soft, btw -- but they get a bad wrap. Thought SetthetABLE had maybe a dash too much bun on the one side of the burger. Had U considered SAtanic biBLE … nope, wait … that's 1 letter too long. So, ok.

OHHI. M&A's eyes keep returning to this entry, every time he glances back at the grid. It's them day-um SWM/OHHI gravity waves. Actually, this is just a sign-o-the-times constructioneerin precaution: it virtually assures the Steinbergmeister that no way is USA Today ever gonna steal this here grid. Besides, it paves the way for future uses of OHHIS (yo, @AnoaBob), OHHIER, and (dare we hope) OHHIO.

Like @muse mentioned, primo 7-stacks in all the corners. NW and SE corners seemed kinda hard to get in and out of during solvequest, even tho they each had two L-shaped emergency exits. Funny, how some grids tend to come out like that. I assume we probably have the puz's OTTOPREMINGER waistline to thank, for makin the tops and bottoms open up so beautifully.

Thanx, Mr. Steinberg. A mad, fUrry road, to the Max!

Masked & Anonymo9Us

(runtpuz shoot off challenge, round 1)

Charles Flaster 12:54 PM  

I always spelled it as MESHUGGAH!

Karen Munson 1:09 PM  

I had the same write-overs as @RooMonster. Regarding cringing at certain constructors per @Lobster11, David Klahn is my undoing. Or in crosswordese, Mr Klahn you are my bete noir!!

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

I was nearly IN A TRAP in the NW, having put down TRAPped at 1A and ASSETS at 3D reinforcing it but 4D got me sprung from that mess. And the AaH vs. AHH at 57D cost me a few extra dabs of black ink. Otherwise this RAN pretty smoothly.

I thought the choice of different FURCOATs was an odd one for a puzzle theme but David did a great job of it. I fell for a rabbit fur coat at a sample sale in NYC one time but decided my status as a vegetarian/pescatarian would not support such a purchase. My friend, with no such qualms, came home with a shearling full-length coat.

JUNIPER was a gimme - we have several on our property and every year the cedar waxwings hang around for a day or so on their way north, eating the berries and making sure a few new trees sprout up during the growing season.

As @Lewis points out, the clue for YEN was very nice though I missed it during my solve.

Nice Tuesday with a little crunch, thanks DS.

Mohair Sam 1:16 PM  

Total agreement with Lord Rex today. Thank heaven for gimme PAX making FUSEBOX likely or our lights would have gone out in the NW for sure.

Thanks for posting "Laura" up there Rex, a favorite here. My sons were arguing recently as to whether the old man (me) watched that or "The Third Man" more.

@Lobster11 (8:17) - "David Steinberg . . . and I must just live on different planets." I remember seeing photographic evidence placing David in Philadelphia with the late, great Bernice Gordon on or about her 100th birthday. He is also aware of the work of the famous director OTTO PREMINGER. Solid evidence in my book as to which of the two of you is the Earthling.

Kimberly 1:28 PM  

After a long spell of "meh," it looks like NYTC is coming back and reminding me why I enjoy this little hobby.

While not a fan of fur (even if I were a Russian Tsaress I would forgo the fur in favor of a fancy fleece), my ailing mother-in-law was, and since she also lived on St. John for a while and declared it her favorite spot on earth (and she would know, having visited or lived in most corners of our little ball in space), I will forgive the un-PC inclusion here today. That's a run-on sentence with an inexcusable amount of alliteration, but today my memories are running on, so you will have to forgive me as well.

Chronic dnfer 1:31 PM  

Played very easy here. New speed record for a Tuesday. Going golfing now.

Aketi 1:32 PM  

I would have finished in record time were it not for the fact tha my brain went on pause and I missed that I had entered oSSUAGE and oHH.

@GILL I, I loved your story about FUR (aka Mary) and her COAT. My father grew up in the depression in an area where they still depended on hunting and fishing to augment their diet. Trout and venison were a regular part of his diet. My grandmother apparently beat my Dad when when she found, not an OTTER but a seal pup, in the bathtub. Even though the seal pup was kicked out of the house he managed to rescue any number of odd creatures. When we were kids, he taught us all how the catch squirrels and chipmunks IN A box TRAP, but always made us let them go.

The same grandmother gave my sister and I two of her FOX stoles for our dress up play. They came complete with glass eyes and the paws were fully intact with the original claws. The body wrapped around the back of our neck and was fastened together in the front with a snap sewn into the FUR so that the back legs and paws dangled down in front on one side of our neck and the head and front legs danglling down the other In retrospect it seems really macabre to wear a dead animal around your neck, but at the time my sister and I thought we were quite elegant, . When we were older, my brother actually bought a Candian Red FOX. Charlie the FOX was untamable even though my brother bought him as a kit. As son as he was a year old escaped to his freedom in the forest behind our house, and my brother reports that people still spot an ocaissional red fox among the typically gray foxes in that area.

@Mickey Bell, believe it or not, I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and still had a FUSE BOX that required glass fuses until the landlord finally decided to upgrade the system two years ago,

Music Man 2:16 PM  

Being a huge fan of the band Meshuggah helped me in the north west :). Man I love them.

Leapfinger 2:24 PM  

Hey, there's snoods, and then there's snoods. 'Course,it hadn't snood here all winter. Not like in BYTEuminous country.

This would've been a good grid to work in Hermione (Gingold or Granger). Anyone else here find the I Ching vanilla?

That's all fur now.

FAB job, David! One of the GRATER Tuesdays.

Karen Munson 2:43 PM  

Did Tony Parker of the USA Today Crossword get fired over the plagiarism flap? I noticed his name is not on the byline of today's USA Today puzzle.

Anna Paest 2:57 PM  

'Is autonym an autonym?' is an iambic tetrameter query.

OISK 3:29 PM  

@ young gun...Mame is a classic musical, and Antie Mame was both a novel and a movie. I don't think that is obscure. I actually love one song from the musical, not "Mame," which was done by several big stars, but "You're my best girl."

This was a lovely, smooth Tuesday with no Natiks. So much easier, and better than yesterday's puzzle, after with I was completely "Dapped out." I love David's cluing.

the redanman 3:43 PM  

NW was annoyingly hard, I hate when puzzles start that way. The rest was cupcakes and milk. I could barely muster interest to go back to NW and finish, but I did, just to do it. AAH is not how you spell aah, except in weak puzzles, ugh.

laura Giles 7:32 PM  

Mark McPherson to Waldo Lydecker in Laura :"A dame got a fox fur out of me once". Is that the reason for the Laura poster Rex?

Chuck McGregor 8:05 PM  

To echo others (only that after "and")
Funny, I'm over 3 times David Steinberg's age and have been liking his puzzles. Easy or difficult, I can eventually get where he's going with his oft devious clues and mix of solid "stuff."

@Martel Moopsbane 12:13 PM: FUSEBOX in a car? Works for me!


Leapfinger 1:12 AM  

"What's snood?"
"Not much. What's snood with you?"

Guess AORTA 'pologize to anyone who was expecting the Venous de Milo in the nood, and in general not try to squeeze off a comment when I'm pressed for time.

@Chuck McG, not to worry: the LLSL is constructed of subunits with a high elastomer content. I've heard it's very adaptable.

@McGILLIcuddy, I read your Mary FUR story aloud at the dinner TABLE. By the time we got to the 3 pups part, 100% of the audience was hiding its collective face in its hands; at the end, I could bearly choke out the ofFending words. You sure did good with your doing good!!

AHH yes, the puzzle! I also was TRAPPED at first, and went one better with NAIFS for RUBES. Got sufficiently sorted out in the NW to have circles around FOX and SOX, so promptly assumed the theme was "Steinberg: The Seussical". Got sorted out enough to see our furry-coated friends, but obviously didn't immediately appreciate how well they were wrapped.

Now that I do, I've come to the rather serpentine realization that a cottonmouth is not the same as MOUth_cotTON. Trying for better, I searched for my old MOUntaineering_piTON, and was surprised to find a MOUse_skeleTON in the back of the drawer. All this may just be a load of sheep, or quite POSSibly bunkUM, but we can't all embrue it with the SEx appeAL that David Steinberg does.

Night, all.

teach44 3:01 PM  

Held out way too long on number"9"for 90s fad.Better than usual Monday puzzle!

The Cranky Avenger 8:23 AM  

Just wondering - did anyone else cause him/herself problems by answering 30A ("____ shark" as "LAND" instead of "LOAN?"

Burma Shave 9:07 AM  


we’re not INATRAP and IMFINE with our date.
If our SEOULs are well-SUITED, we might ELOPE,
but what a TRAVAIL if you’re a STALEMATE.


spacecraft 11:16 AM  

Hand up for the byline shudder--especially after yesterday's debacle. And like OFL, I abandoned the NW (for me, again!) and started as far away as I could, in the SE. It actually wasn't too tough; about right for a Tuesday. Thus the foundering ship is righted. Starting there helped with the themers; it was easy to see what was going on. I plunked down OTTOPREMINGER as a straight gimme, though OTTER is not what I'd first think of as a FUR.

BTW, I'm glad that so little fuss was made over the subject. I feared the PETA contingent would get all out of joint; perhaps (I thought) M. Steinberg should have included a disclaimer note: "No animal was harmed in the construction of this puzzle." Similarly, no one seemed unduly offended by SWM; I was, but only because it's bad fill. Hey, maybe the Age of Taking Offense is drawing to an END? We can hope.

Seven stacks on a Tuesday is pretty ambitious, but after all, youth owns ambition. This one's not up there with the greats, but surely belongs solidly in the second tier. The main problem here is too many threes; perforce there's going to be some dreck in there. SWM next to OHHI is rough but difficult to avoid because of the theme entries. AHH gives us a most improbable second double-H entry. These are relatively minor quibbles, though. Good puz. B+.

rondo 1:43 PM  

Almost got “trapped” at 1a, but that seemed to obvious, so I check the crosses for potential Ps, THEN it came to me and it was a cruise to the finish. Didn’t realize it was a DS puz until done. But now I’m not surprised.

I can respect anybody’s position on the FURCOAT deal, but then what about a leather coat, or shoes, gloves, etc. (and don’t tell me that’s just the leftovers from making burger). Where to draw the line? And synthetics use petrochemicals – better or worse? Should we all just be SUITED in cotton (or silk at night)? There’s no winning that argument, so don’t start it.

As long as we’re playing this word game, how about NATasha fatALE for a fictional yeah baby. Can’t bring myself to use MAME or MAMIE.

I see ASSUAGE and get hungry for a bratwurst. Need new bifocals.

I used to be a bit afraid of a DS puz, but now look forward to them. Always better than PAR.

leftcoastTAM 1:58 PM  

Solid Steinberg--except for the odd use of the word "worn" in the revealer clue, IMO.

So a FUSEBOX "wore" a fox FURCOAT, and OTTOPREMINGER "wore" an otter, etc.? In what sense did these theme entries "wear" a FURCOAT?

OK, I know, the coats were somehow "wrapped" around them. But the idea still strikes me as odd

rain forest 3:33 PM  

I really wonder about the (real or faux) sensitivity of some people who are affronted by a playful puzzle theme where the answers are in FUR COATs. The same thing happens when the word "gun" appears in a puzzle. Does anyone really think that certain answers in a crossword puzzle portend the decline of our Western society where we eat steak, wear leather jackets, and kill rats in traps? I'd suggest that any PC Vegan PETA members cease doing any crosswords immediately, or at least spare the rest of us their sanctimonious comments.

Anyway, IA is just fine. In the last three years I have caught 11 raccoons IN A TRAP, a humane one, and relocated them to a lovely forested area near a river. I've done this in an attempt to prevent them from annually tearing up my lawn. I'm not a fuss ass about this lawn, but it does make an unholy mess when these critters ravage it.

Other than that, this was a lovely, easy, puzzle that held more interest for me than most Tuesdays do.

spacecraft 6:49 PM  

That's why he put the quote marks around the word.

Diana,LIW 8:55 PM  

Finished this w/o help. More tomorrow. BZ day.


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