Go down gangplank / TUE 3-15-16 / Just free of sea bottom / Eternally nameless Chinese concept / Welch of Myra Breckinridge / Site for parolee tracking device / Early rock genre for David Bowie / Bath prank call name

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Constructor: Gordon Johnson

Relative difficulty: Challenging (*for* *a* *Tuesday*) (solve time over 4)

THEME: SOLID LIQUID GAS (52A: Three main 20-Across ... with examples included in 38-Across and 11- and 26-Down) — three different STATES OF MATTER can be found at the beginning of the following theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • ICE-SKATING RINKS (38A: Places to do figure eights)
  • WATER TANKS (11D: Large containers often found atop buildings)
  • STEAMBOATS (26D: Some Mississippi River traffic)
Word of the Day: UTICA (29D: City on the Erie Canal) —
Utica (pronounced Listeni/ˈjtkə/) is a city in the Mohawk Valley and the county seat of Oneida County, New York, United States. The tenth-most-populous city in New York, its population was 62,235 in the 2010 U.S. census. Located on the Mohawk River at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, Utica is approximately 90 miles (145 km) northwest of Albany and 45 miles (72 km) east of Syracuse. Although Utica and the neighboring city of Rome have their own metropolitan area, both cities are also represented and influenced by the commercial, educational and cultural characteristics of the Capital District and Syracuse metropolitan areas. // Formerly a river settlement inhabited by the Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy, Utica attracted European-American settlers from New England during and after the American Revolution. In the 19th century, immigrants strengthened its position as a layover city between Albany and Syracuse on the Erie and Chenango Canals and the New York Central Railroad. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the city's infrastructure contributed to its success as a manufacturing center and defined its role as a worldwide hub for the textile industry. Utica's 20th-century political corruption and organized crime gave it the nicknames "Sin City", and later, "the city that God forgot." // Like other Rust Belt cities, Utica had an economic downturn beginning in the mid-20th century. The downturn consisted of industrial decline due to globalization and the closure of textile mills, population loss caused by the relocation of jobs and businesses to suburbs and to Syracuse, and poverty associated with socioeconomic stress and a decreased tax base. With its low cost of living, the city has become a melting pot for refugees from war-torn countries around the world, encouraging growth for its colleges and universities, cultural institutions and economy. (wikipedia)
• • •
If I could turn back time, I would turn back time because yesterday's puzzle was soooo much better. This is a conceptual mess. The two Across themers are barely and not at all coherent answers, respectively, and then ... it's just ICE, WATER, STEAM? That's it? No trick, hook, joke, wordplay? All those words used literally in their respective answers? I have no idea what this puzzle thinks it's doing. There appear to be a bunch of random water-related answers. Was that supposed to be part of this? DEBARK (ugh) and AWEIGH and REBOIL and SAILED, all symmetrical, all sort of watery ... coincidence? I hope so, because jeez louise that's a weak answer set. But at least there's a ton of Scrabble-f*cking because Who Doesn't Love Zs and Js jammed into corners, fill quality be damned, right!? (EN AMI ... I mean, come on; that "answer" should be banned for life). Here's what I love: EBULLIENT. Great word. Here's what I wasn't while solving this puzzle: EBULLIENT.

[STEAMed hams! UTICA!]

BES! The more I stare at that answer, the more laughable it becomes (22A: Wanna-___ (copycats)). I lost tons of time on STATES OF MATTER (which has all the charm and snap of COATS OF PAINT) and DEBARK (18D: Go down the gangplank). I don't know DEBARK. Looking at it, I get it. But the more common word, at least as I've heard it, is "disembark." So I had DEB--- and had no idea what was happening. I also confused "gangplank" with "the plank," but that's my bad. At least I didn't write in DEBOAT, like sommmme people I know (Hi, Lena). The fill was rough, and the theme was somehow both confused and excessively simple. Overall, the puzzle felt 30+ years old, minimally. I hope you enjoyed it more than I did. Actually, I'm almost certain that you did. Mistakes of mine included JAPED for JAWED (9A: Shot the bull) and PESTS for PAINS (24D: Annoying sorts). Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Medium for me.

Me too for PestS before PAINS.

Yes, EBULLIENT is a fine word but it would be tough to work it into a conversation.... "I'm EBULLIENT that my granddaughter just broke up with her douchebag boyfriend" ...does not roll easily off the tongue.

Interesting theme, reasonably smooth grid, so yes, I liked it more than Rex did. Nice debut.

George Barany 12:18 AM  

In a tribute to perseverance, debut constructor @Gordon Johnson informs us (elsewhere) that the 18th time is the charm with this puzzle. So hats off to that, while I leave my chemist hat on to point out that REBOIL muddles up the theme. Interestingly enough, the wonderful EBULLIENT has its etymological roots in the Latin for "to boil" but it might have been too much to expect additional fill relating to melting and/or freezing.

Yesterday, I was a bit late telling you about about You Might Be Geeky If ... by my friend @Steve Bachman. Since then, Steve has written a "midrash" which we hope will provide added enlightenment and amusement.

Anonymous 12:24 AM  

Solving downs only, I never read the clue for 16A. Scanning post-solve, I just assumed the answer was the plural for enema.

Martín Abresch 12:49 AM  

Theme Idea:


Z 12:50 AM  

Tuesday. 'Nuff said. Although Rex did miss the aquaLUNG at the top. If not for the revealer I doubt I would have noticed all the H2O in the puzzle while solving.

A quick glance suggests a low PPP today. Just 12/74.

Carola 1:16 AM  

I did enjoy it a lot more than @Rex - I thought it was very creative in idea and execution. Very neat that STATES OF MATTER has the same number of letters as SOLID LIQUID GAS. In the non-theme area, I thought JESTER, HECKLE, CRISPY, MACADAMIA and EBULLIENT were excellent.

Re: REBOIL - as a tea drinker, I've learned that you should never reboil the kettle but rather always start over with fresh WATER.

My 5-year-old granddaughter Rose asked her mom what the soul is. Her mom went on for a bit about ideas of identity and the self. Small pause. Rose: "So...is it a LIQUID?"

Loren Muse Smith 6:24 AM  

Five themers, with the two down ones crossing two themers each. Cool. And it's a pangram. Sure, it lacks wordplay, but with EBULLIENT, MACADAMIA, JESTER, HECKLE, and AWEIGH, I’ll take it.

Unlike Rex, I liked AWEIGH and its symmetrical buddy SAILED. If I had ever known that it's "anchors AWEIGH" and not "away," I had forgotten, so that discovery was an aha moment for me.

DEBARK was a new one to me, too. It looks more like a verb for a little macadamia tree pest. You could argue that it’s disembark minus the ISM attitude.

RAQUEL crosses DEES. Hah.

Miss Anita Bath can just head down to the soapy little southwest corner with DIAL ON TOP of ZEST. On her way back up, she can stop off and slap on some BAN.

I'm still fascinated with what we do to pluralize the computer "mouse" and maintain that if I run into a friend leaving Staples, and she tells me that she has three MICE in her bag, my mind is jumping straight to animal. When polled, most people (who, sigh, actually take the question seriously) decide that they wouldn't commit to either plural; rather, they would reword the sentence to something like, I needed a mouse, and they were on sale, so I bought three. That's going to a lot of trouble to avoid MICE or "mouses." But I think I'd do something like that, too.

Wonder if Neanderthal man ran around bragging that he had killed two sabertooths or two saberteeth.

Even without my beloved wordplay, I liked it. There is always some kind of little Linguistic Morsel to chew on. Today it was AWEIGH and DEBARK/DisEmBARK. As @retired_chemist once said, “I like’em all.”

Aketi 6:40 AM  

Wasn't EBULLIENT but enjoyed it more than Rex. Felt like a Monday. I expect Z will give it a low PPP count,

I liked NAÏF aligned with GLAM

The DOZen near the CRISPY made me think of "cream donuts" which makes me want one for breakfast.

Alexander 6:54 AM  

ebullient - [archaic, literary] (of liquid or matter) boiling or agitated as if boiling

Maybe more unintentional theming?

Trombone Tom 7:18 AM  

Pretty much agree with OFL, except, for once in my life, I found this much easier than @Rex did. Liked MACADAMIA (and the nuts, too) and EBULLIENT. Gordon Johnson and I were on the same wavelength so the rest went fast. I remembered ENAMI from another crossword so no problem there.

chefbea 7:52 AM  

Very difficult for me...I'm no scientist and had no idea what solid liquid gases are or states of matter. Wanted fiber for tuber. Love macadamia nuts.

Now off to vote!!!

Cassieopia 8:04 AM  

Blazing fast for me - nearly half of my usual Tuesday average! I have to thank Mrs Jacobson, my high school chemistry teacher, because the phrase STATESOFMATTER immediately popped into my head, and the rest was a cakewalk. Loved the watery semi-theme with DEBARK, MOAT, SAILED, WATERTANKS etc. Was particularly delighted with EBULLIENT...the perfect adjective for this fantastic Tuesday puzzle!

Cassieopia 8:06 AM  

P.s. @Carola - love the granddaughter story!

ArtO 8:09 AM  

Just because it's Tuesday "challenging" doesn't make it as bad as Rex's writeup would have one think. I just think it more suitable for Wednesday. The theme is perfectly fine IMHO.

Wm C. 8:18 AM  

(Sung in the sing-song voice of an annoying imp singing "Nah Nah Na Naaah Nah"):
"I beat Rex's time! I beat Rex's time! I beat Rex's time!"
That is a first in the recorded history of Rex reporting his time.

Did I mention: I BEAT REX'S TIME!

Roo Monster 8:23 AM  

Hey All !
The Ides of March is here, and just a regular puz. A debut constructor, 18th try. Ha! I can do that standing on my head!

I actually liked this puz. Got yer reveal, and three answers with the three types, plus a mini-reveal of STATES OF MATTER. So, very nice. Finally get a pangram! Disagree with Rex on this one, doesn't seem forced. (Although I do agree on EN AMI. Ouch.) But the Z is good, and the J and V are good. So for just a smidge of dreck, (which is pretty much in every puz) you get yer pangram.

Knew EBULLIENT from a friend who "discovered" the word, thought it was cool, and started using it for a good chunk of time.

UTMOST a cool word, Almost almost...


Nancy 8:40 AM  

ANITA Bath is prank call name? Really? The things you can learn from crossword puzzles, even on an easy Tuesday. Actually, the answers in this one were pretty good for a Tuesday. It was the cluing that was flat, with the exception of ANITA and LUNG. If only the theme answers could have been clued more cleverly or obliquely, this could have been much more ZESTY.

GILL I. 8:40 AM  

As Tuesdays go, this was a workmanlike, OK, pangram that fulfilled it's obligation. I didn't groan once!
Hey, I like EBULLIENT (which means to boil over) looking up at REBOIL. RAQUEL next to the graceful IBEX - LUNG JAWed TOE ANKLE do the hokey pokey.
I think DEBARK is more British. No problema with that one.
I always think of ZESTY as kinda piquant-like while chili is more in the spicy category.
I enjoyed your puzzle Gordon Johnson. It's tough having a debut on a Tuesday because @Rex never likes them, but I did and so have others.

kitshef 8:48 AM  

"The two Across themers are barely and not at all coherent answers"???? What the heck does that mean? Methinks @Rex has forgotten his high school chemistry, which would explain an objection to STATESOFMATTER, but how can one possibly object to ICESKATINGRINKS?

In addition to the excellent themers, we get MACADAMIA and EBULLIENT and RAQUEL (thank you for the laugh, @Loren Muse Smith) and even some nice short stuff (NAIF, SINE, Tori AMOS, GLAM). Yes, ENAMI is bad, and I could live happily without seeing EMIR again, and DOZ does not do it for me.

But I thought it was great, and appropriately Tuesday-level.

STAbleisotopEs before STATESOFMATTER off of the STA was my only overwrite. Would have been nice to work in FREEZE and SUBLIMATE and PLASMA, but given that every themer already crosses at least one, and often two other themers that's a lot to ask. Working REBOIL in there was nice, and that is not a word I'd normally like to see in a puzzle, but as a supplement to the them I liked it.

Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  

What the hell is wrong with DEBARK? It's a fine word, and I know I've come across it from time to time.

Nice debut puzzle from Gordon Johnson, ideal Tuesday. Fun theme, even if it was all wet. I liked the way extra-watery things such as NOAH, DIVE, and AWEIGH appeared in the non-theme answers.

Lived in UTICA for a couple of years a long time ago, actually its suburb of New Hartford (lived across the street from now retired Pirates center fielder Andy Van Slyke - Andy was 7 years old when we last spoke, so I may not be able to get you an autograph). Except for the lake effect snow we kinda liked the place. Left when the bank I worked for merged with a bigger bank in Syracuse and transferred me there, fitting right in with Wikipedia's comments.

Anyhow, a terrific Tuesday imo. And as far as @Rex is concerned - well he can DEBARK via the plank today.

Roo Monster 9:15 AM  

Just a little Random Nonsense for ya...
Asner, go by sea! SAIL, ED! (Tribute to prev. puz...)
Scared reaction at seeing the 7th letter? G! EEK!
Only show highlights of extra innings? ALL OT
UNLV team massage liquid? REB OIL
Skin of de tree? DE BARK
Didn't get the gist? NO AH


Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Sometimes things just fall into place. Tough acrosses were mitigated by gettable downs, and vice versa. I thought this one was easier than it should have been (mid 3's), and it turns out I beat Rex!!! Which has long been my personal daily goal but almost never happens. (I think our host occasionally feels our pain and mercifully throws us a bone.)

Missed my best-ever Tuesday time by only 3 seconds.

Norm 9:26 AM  

Found this one very easy and very boring.

Hartley70 9:30 AM  

@Carola, love it and Rose is a pip! Will she be heading to Union Theological Seminary or MIT?

Very fast Tuesday. I liked the theme and it's density. My fav was ALCOA because I haven't heard that name in years. I'm just old enough to have stayed up to watch The Alcoa Hour on television from 1955-57. It was an anthology series loaded with the biggest names in acting. You never knew what you were going to see, but it was bound to be great!

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Providentally, I don't think Neanderthalers bin gesprachen das Englisch.

Leapfinger 9:44 AM  

Boy, @Rex sure knows how to shoot the EBULLIENT! No MATTER, I enjoyed it.

@Martin Abr, I don't see that Neil Young belongs in/on that list.

Some of the constructor's engineer apparently crept into the grid, for I was no further than MACADAMIA before I was wondering whether John McAdam had had anything to do with nuts. Have to admit the first thing I did after finishing the solve was to look that up, and can report I now know a whole lot more about the history of road-building than I did mere hours ago. Asfaulty as that knowledge may be, I'm still a happy camber.

PLUS, I subsequently found out there IS a MACADAMIA Road south of Hilo (HI! @chefwen), but it's lined (rather than paved) with nuts.

Otherwise, a Tuesday that largely steers to the EBULLIENT. DEES 'n' DOZ? ALTAR'd STATES? Where are those I_DOS when you finally need 'em? Would you rather BE SET or BESET? At the ONSET or the OutSET? Funny language...

So will a NAIF BE SET when the BEST UBER-MANN finally comes along? Worth ALLOT, I'd say: STDS, you know

Seriously, would not ever want to DEBARK a canoe. Otherwise, thawt this a well-condensed puzzle that frees the mind. Nice property, GordonJ, and a subtle touch to find REBOIL's law set aside.


jberg 9:51 AM  

OK, time to get nerdy. Nobody else, including @George Barany, seems to be bothered by the clue for 20A, "Elements' various forms." Then the examples all involve water .... which is, uh, not an element (you know, H2O). (Can't figure out how to type the subscript here.)

That bothered me so much I forgot to check for the pangram, though I did suspect it would be there.

High points: crossing theme answers, as @Loren pointed out; TAI and TAO close together; and a HECKLEr come here to avoid the wrath of Trump.

Two writeovers: Dzn before DOZ, EBULLIaNT before ...ENT.

Cloudy day here in Florida -- have to find a way to EKE out an ALLOTment of sun.

Lewis 10:12 AM  

@rex -- hand up for JApED, and you can add ORCA, MOAT, and DIVE to your water list. Also, BES doesn't bother me at all, as clued. Furthermore, themes don't have to have wordplay -- I remember a NYT puzzle in the past couple of years in which the theme was Midwest capitals, and you had no problem with that.

I left the puzzle thinking, "What a good idea for a theme! Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?" I liked the crossing themers, plus the clue for ALTARS, and the answers ALMS, HECKLE, AWEIGH, and EBULLIENT. Very little junk. I found this easier than yesterday and not quite as bouncy, but the theme won me over, actually. Congratulations on the debut, Gordon!

Nancy 10:21 AM  

@Carola -- Out of the mouths of babes. What a charming granddaughter story.

@Hartley -- I'd forgotten The Alcoa Hour, which I watched too, back in the day. There were so many of these, and they were all so good: Playhouse 90; Studio One; Kraft Television Theater, among others. For a trip down memory lane, check out this link. Let me apologize in advance for the fact that it won't be in blue, which it would be on my email. I have no idea why.

Tita 10:26 AM  

Yay Science!!
This puzzle was sublime. I thought the theme was fun and clever, and delighted that it was one of those rarely-seen science-based puzzles.

I mean, this is something learned in 5th grade, no? It's not like a PhD is needed. (Yes, I forgot most of what I learned there too - this just happens to be my wheelhouse.)

I did start to get depressed when reading Rex's agony over BES and ENAMI - yes - those were, for sure, awful But thankfully, most of his plaints are not worthy.

As for DEBARK - unlike lots of xwordese, this is in fact a word I hear whenever i'm on a flight. Maybe it's only longhaul flights? But the crew talk about DEBARKing when it's time to get off the plane.
And wehn you think about it, it's a better word than disembark... Em-bark means to get on - why add Dis in front of Em - isn't it more sensical to drop the -em- prefix, and just use the -de-??
Would you say unimmature? undistopian?

I will also defend ugly REBOIL. I do it all the time - when futtering around the kitchen, setting the electric kettle to boil water for pasta, coffee, and yes, @Carola, even for tea, though I know better), I will REBOIL it because I left it too long.

I did notice the two turning-liquid-water-into-steam words, but I suppose that the ICE underwent sublimation to get to the LIQUID STATE.

I totally agree wtih @carola and @lms today. And that DEBARK/SAILED/AWEIGH group made for another mini-theme.
Loved both your stories.

A wonderful debut, Mr. Johnson - thank you!!!

Charles Flaster 11:01 AM  

Very EZ and enjoyed it more than Rex.Lots of CrosswordEASE--APO, EMIR, ORCA, and EKES which is making its presence known of late.
Liked cluing for DEBARK, ALTARS and really liked MICE.
Thanks GJ.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:01 AM  

Fine, sturdy puzzle for the ever-unsettled Tuesday.

Five themers, additional words of interest.

And although I find the concept of "Green Paint" one of the more annoying put-downs applied to crosswords, STATES OF MATTER and SOLID, LIQUID, GAS are real concepts, not Green Paint.

Martín Abresch 11:18 AM  

@Leapfinger - My thinking was Crosby, Stills, & Nash (& Young).

old timer 11:20 AM  

I solve on paper, so never will beat those who solve on an app. It took be 12 minutes to solve, which is good, and way faster than yesterday.

I suppose I should have expected OFL to be Mr. Sourpuss today. I kind of enjoyed the puzzle, what little I could see of it (if I'm solving fast I don't always savor the clues.) EN AMI went right in, and if it is a little tough for a Tuesday, it is one of those French phrases you sometimes see in English writing. "I tell you this strictly EN AMI. old chap, but your fly is open."

DE-something is pretty common in the travel and tour biz. You deplane, detrain, or DEBARK. On Amtrak, you will be detrained at the next station if you light up a cigarette while aboard.

Myuen88 11:32 AM  

I wrote DEBOAT.

OISK 11:48 AM  

First clue...Tori. Who?? No idea. And then, rock genre, which turned out to be Glam. Well, OK, I guess that is better than Gangsta, but I have no clue what Glam is. I just know that Mel Taub would clue it as "Food item that is not Gosher."

But then, A chemistry puzzle!!! How great is that! Not only the theme answers, which were solid, (or not) but ebullient, a word I always taught in chemistry, as a companion to effervescent. Add the "Light metal" clue for Alcoa, and reboil, and it's chemistry Tuesday. Loved it. For me, easiest Tuesday in months.

puzzle hoarder 12:27 PM  

Maybe @Rex disliked the straightforward nature of this puzzles' theme. There's something to be said for plain and direct. I was impressed enough by yesterday's theme to tell my noncrossword doing wife about it. By the look in her eyes and the sound of it coming out of my mouth I realized that it was just a bunch of corny puns that only a crossword freak would appreciate. Oh well guilty as charged.
I don't know what would be challenging about this puzzle. I had the PEST write over too but better than that I initially wrote in CRUSTY for 45D. That's right. As in "I'd like some Crusty the Clown chicken please."
There were a couple of misreads too. It wasn't hard to see biographic at 15A. The stranger one was seeing meals in 25D. If don't look directly at the word and you're trying to read fast that middle letter just kind of disappears.
@lms I think you might have the makings of a good fireman. We have something of a tradition that when we're out on the rig and one guy spots them they alert everyone. Oh well you did bring it up.

KRMunson 12:29 PM  

I saw "Shot the bull" and immediately went to bull-fighting? First off, I didn't think they "shoot" the bull in bullfighting. Secondly, isn't that kind of gross to have in a crossword puzzle? Lastly, they have a term for this barbaric act?!?!

Ok, I get that I was too literal. But it took me a while to get to "jawed". Then it was a forehead slap moment.

Average Joe 12:34 PM  

"What the hell is wrong with DEBARK?" - I'll tell you: Here in America we disembark from a boat, we DEBARK trees before they get turned into lumber.

Andrew Heinegg 12:43 PM  

I thought this was better than OFL did but, most puzzles would suffer in comparison to yesterday's nice effort. Finding out that it was the constructor's first NYT published puzzle makes me think he should given some slack. Constructing is an art, not a science, and this was a good enough effort to make me think that the constructor may have a bright future.

Teedmn 12:58 PM  

DEBARK brings to mind a discussion with a friend. He pointed out that when one BARKs one's shin, one actually DEBARKS it. That's the English we all know and gotta love!

I liked the clue for LUNG (hi @Nancy) and that the clue for 14A was not the action of handing down. Middle's middle is faintly cute and RAQUEL next to PULSE is nice placement. My experience with prank calls involved asking "is your refrigerator running" or calling a store to ask "do you have Prince Albert in a can?" Pretty old stuff. ANITA Bath sounds like one of the staff on "Car Talk" (my favorite being their Russian chauffeur, Pikov Andropov).

I feel EBULLIENT about this puzzle. Thanks Gordon Johnson, for persisting in your crossword construction efforts. Congrats on the debut.

AliasZ 1:12 PM  

The STATES OF MATTER theme caused a state of confusion with SAILED and anchors AWEIGH, plus a MOAT filled with the CLEAR liquid stuff into which one can tip a TOE to see if it's deeper than up to the ANKLE, and safe to DIVE into or at least SITIN.

EKE on Sunday, EKES today. EEK!
REBOIL -- soothing lotion applied on Civil War soldiers' wounds.
DEBARK -- what lumberjacks do with freshly cut trees.
What would ANITA be called officially if she married Moby Dick?


Little brown bear 1:29 PM  

Debarking is done with a spud, a tool used to strip bark off of trees.

Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Welcome to the crossword biz, Mr. Johnson. Thanx for the primo pangram, as it always gets @009 all riled up.

@009: har. Well now. I see that U are back on the RE-BOIL setting, sunshine. Gotta admit, the theme started out a little wobbly, but picked up STEAM, as it went along. And the ICESKATINGRINKS themer is real SOLID. And that revealer's grand finale was a GAS. So, shoot … WHATSTHEMATTER? Hey -- there's that wordplay, U were looking for!
Now, if we can just talk U down from that BES (fave) weeject …

Everybody's heard of Wanna-BES, so … ok. @009 probably just objected to both that and Wanna-BESET, all in yer one puz. However, there are some ways to clue away the may-BES, and turn em into killer-BES. Towit:

* { ___ Wesern Moels??} = BES.
* {Bess Truman, for short??} = BES.
* {Ares relatives??} = BES.
* {A grotesque Egyptian god depicted as having short legs, an oBESe body, and an almost BEStial face, who dispelled evil spirits and then re-boiled them??} =BES. (Near-historically accurate!)
* {With 39-Down: Almost present??} = BES (+TOE).
… And DOZ are just a few of the many double-?? clue possibilities available.

This was a fairly FLUID solvequest, with the universal PESTS before PAINS miscue, and a wee shadow of doubt at E?AMI/A?ITA. But ANITA sounded a little like "I NEED A", so … ok. Really, the rest of the fill was noticeably SOLID. Was confused by the tense of the NOAH clue, tho … sounded like the dude is just now making a new comeback.

And … TANKS for slippin in the EBULLIENT MACADAMIA, and ALL the alphabet letters, to add some extra flavorin. EKES/STDS might be a smidge weak to close on (yo, @AnoaBob), but I see U needed that there V for yer pangram. Don't need that K, tho. Even so, BESt SE corner alternative M&A could muster wasn't much better (with VANE and AROW, instead of VEND and EKES).

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Chuck McGregor 2:33 PM  

DEBARK AWEIGH, I always say.

When I worked in NYC, I directly overlooked an apartment building rooftop two stories lower. As such, I had a great view of the wooden water tank being replaced by the Isseks Brothers, one of the two companies that do this in the city. It’s quite the operation and definitely not a job for the faint at heart for anything to do with heights. One side of the tank was about at the edge of the rooftop, so a ten story drop working on that part.

Part of the deal is that the new tank leaks like a sieve for several days. Once the wood swells that stops and it’s good for around 30 years.

Unusually, as compared to @Rex, I thought the puzzle quite easy, getting all the theme answers without reading the theme clue. While I thought it a perfectly decent puzzle, I was as EBULLIENT about it as you will be with the only worthy take-away I had from it –

Had doctor’s appointment this am, so a nurse took my PULSE and listened to each LUNG.


the redanman 2:39 PM  

Easy for the science crowd although 16A is putrid, I can still smell it in the next room. I'm going to have to burn that paper.

Martel Moopsbane 3:04 PM  

@Tita - ICE would only have to melt to get to the LIQUID state. Sublimation involves direct transformation from SOLID to GAS.

I didn't mind DEBARK, but it made me wonder whether "debunk" might in the future be clued as "get out of bed?".

Z 3:48 PM  

@DEBARK Defender League - When I get off a plane I disembark because when I got on I embarked on my journey. Maybe next time I'll just bark. I'm sure the TSA agent won't mind.

Chronic dnfer 6:41 PM  

I'm so happy Rex said challenging. Stuck with it. Dnf'd at reset vs onset. Loved this puzzle. Starred after lunch. Played 18 came home and finished. Birdies 16 eagled 17 and doubled 18 for an 82!

kitshef 7:13 PM  

@jbert. I was initially uncomfortable with 'element', but then realized that water is one of the four classical elements along with earth, fire and air. So, not what I have chosen, but acceptable.

Leapfinger 7:46 PM  

@Martin Abr, that's my error. Despite preponderance of the evidence, the basic group is Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in my mind, probably a carry-over 'un poco' from Buffalo Springfield days.

Interesting idea to have a theme in 3/4 time

Z 10:17 PM  

BTW - My previous (stiill unmoderated as I type) comment notwithstanding, DEBARK is legit, just ugly IMO. Apparently the "bark" in DEBARK is related etymologically to "barge."

Burma Shave 8:25 AM  

RE: NY primary today


The MANN is a JESTER, this EBULLIENT Trump,
from the ONSET he’s JAWED with ZESTY chatter.
In ICESKATINGRINKS don’t you dare HECKLE this grump,


BS2 9:06 AM  


ONTOP I like BES, ALLOT like Tori AMOS.


rondo 10:25 AM  

Well it’s a Tuesday, did you expect the most sparkly puz ever? Didn’t think so. But when you start at 1a with a musical yeah baby in Tori AMOS, you get my attention. And the yeah babies only get better when you go down. RAQUEL is waiting down there with her aforementioned DEES.

ANITA Bath passes for a prank call? Har. In my more carefree and substantially less sensitive years I frequented a bar that employed a reasonably attractive, yet semi-dim, and quite “earthy” woman as a bartender, whom I’ll call Cindy. During a midweek happy hour I quietly informed a bunch of the regulars to pay attention to what Cindy was about to say, in 30 seconds or so, when she would pop out of the doorway to the back room. Remember payphones? Well there was one in the entryway to this bar and I dropped in my quarter, dialed the number for the bar, and Cindy answered the phone which was just inside that back room. I said I was looking for my friend Mike, and would she please page Mike Hunt. She emerged through the doorway, phone in hand, and in her loudest holler she paged my imaginary friend, “Is Mike Hunt here?”, and the entire bar erupted in uproarious, even EBULLIENT, laughter. That, my friends, is a prank call.

I did apologize later and Cindy turned out to be the UTMOST of good sports by agreeing to take turns ONTOP. ANITA Bath. Har.

Other than being somewhat bland, I didn’t mind this puz about MATTER.

spacecraft 10:55 AM  

What a wonderful concept: the soul as a LIQUID! It explains so much, like why the "humor" in the body is a LIQUID! Thank you, Rose.

Now, to me, the green paint entry of the day is ICESKATINGRINKS. RINK is enough for that whole idea, provided you don't confuse it with Ferber's Jett. To have just a list of the three STATES in the reveal line seems a bit flat. Still, points must be given for density.

So, it's Tuesday, and for BAN we trot out the U.N. guy? A bit overboard (!) for this early in the week. But of all today's PAINS, the biggest is my pet peeve: 45-down. I knew what it was, but I printed CRISP and stopped. I cannot bring myself to add that silly -Y ending--that changes absolutely NOTHING. You will never hear me utter--or see me print--that 6-letter word. Yes, I wrote in the Y while I was writing ZESTY. That word is legit. Oh, I know, 45-down is a real word; even Scrabble accepts it. I do not.

Two stars fill this dreary sky: EBULLIENT and the Damsel of the Day, unquestionably that lady referred to as "Miss Fussy Britches" by Bob Gunton as Shawshank's warden, soon to throw a stone (bleedover from yesterday?) at her--thus discovering how our hero got away.

The high points are enough to pull this up out of Patty territory: C-.

leftcoastTAM 12:59 PM  

I think RP is a little tough on this one, but I sympathize with his non-EBULLIENCE.

In part because of my trouble with the middle cross of TUBER/UTICA. Carelessly I entered an "A" for aTICA, misspelling and mislocating the notorious prison and ignoring the resulting odd TaBER.

Embarrassing DNF.

Diana,LIW 3:01 PM  


Paper was left on the front steps, away from any sprinklers.

Completed the puzzle two days in a row. A streak is born.

Yeah, liked it more than Rex - surprise! Not as word-playish as yesterday, but completing my paper's other puzzle today made this one seem quite ZESTY.

Now, to the gym.

Lady Di

rain forest 5:12 PM  

I'm in the EBULLIENT group regarding this puzzle (go away, @Rex), possible because I'm a former Chemistry teacher, but just because it's coherent and exhaustive.

Many good entries in here, pangram or not (which I don't mind at all), and it kept my interest up.

When you go to a KFC, they'll ask you, "regular or crispy?". At least here in Canada.

Nice one.

Diana,LIW 7:36 PM  


continuing our discussion regarding filling our brain with helpful or "useless" information:

You wrote:

"Yes, I think the more you know, the more you want to know, and that usually is a very positive thing. But I don't think that attaching new information to old, especially in this indiscriminate digital era, is necessarily an enlightening process."

Ah, an ERA. You must do crosswords.

I do believe that the more you know the more you (probably) want to know, as knowing is so addictive.

Actually, my point was more that the more you know the more you can potentially know, sans regard to said knowledge's importance. Or enlightenment. Whether you learn of a new way to cure cancer or a rap musician's name or the ancient morbid Greek goddess of toe fungus or the puzzle constructor's brother's middle name, that bit of information may end up being attached to something you do or don't care to know. You never know. (Until you know.) ;-)

Yes, I agree that so much of the info that bombards us these days is of "low" quality. But once it registers, quality or not, it becomes a potential stepping stone to information we might want or need to know. This stuff (learning and memory) absolutely FASCINATES me, hence my proclivity for crosswords.

(I'm sure you are stunned by my use of proclivity. The other day Mr. W was just as dumbfounded, nay, flabbergasted, when I told him our cat, Lambo, was sanguine about observing an outside kitty on our windowsill. It happens.) I, too, remained sanguine.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for more information

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