Tar water as seen in medieval medicine / THU 3-3-16 / Having same pitch but written differently in score / Virtual city dweller / Early Japanese PM Shinzo / Gridiron scandal of 2015 / High-tech home gadget company / Ypsilanti sch whose initials name bird / Sci-fi classic featuring Dr Susan Calvin

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Constructor: Andrew Zhou

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: ENHARMONIC squares (7D: Having the same pitch but written differently, in a score) — there are three of these, where the squares contains the same pitch is written out differently in the Across and the Down answers:

Theme answers:
  • MUSEUM O [F NATURAL] HISTORY (16A: Home to many stuffed animals) / TH [E SHARP] ER IMAGE (6D: High-tech home gadget company)
  • LOOKIN [G SHARP] (65A: Dressed neatly and fashionably) / GET [A FLAT] (53D: Suffer some tire damage)
  • D [E FLAT] EGATE (66A: Gridiron scandal of 2015, informally) / CAR [D SHARP] (55D: One adept with a deck)
Then there are some other answers that seem related, including:
  • MUSICAL NOTE (3D: One added to the staff?)
  • TWO-TONE CARS (9D: Dichromatic fad of the 1950s) (not sure how "cars" fits in, but...)
Word of the Day: Bill EGAN (38A: First family of Alaska => EGANS) —
William Allen "Bill" Egan (October 8, 1914 – May 6, 1984) was an American Democratic politician. He served as the first Governor of the State of Alaska from January 3, 1959 to 1966, and again from 1970 to 1974. Born in Valdez, Alaska, Egan is one of only two governors in the state's history (along with current incumbent Bill Walker) to have been born in Alaska. (wikipedia)
• • •

I haven't been sick in a long time, but I sure am now, so I have no idea how hard or easy or good or not good this thing was. Actually, I sense that it was good, or at least original. I got the basic concept reasonably early, but my brain was not at all capable of doing the conversions or whatever at those three ENHARMONIC squares. You don't wanna know how long I gaped at DEFLATEGATE wondering why it wouldn't work (it wouldn't work because I had the first square as DFLAT ... ugh. Are the black squares at the bottom of the grid supposed to be in the shape of a tuning fork? I honestly don't trust my assessment of anything right now. I don't know why "cars" is part of one of the (apparent) themers? I don't know why "as seen" is in 20A: Tar water, as seen in medieval medicine (CURE-ALL). That was just brutal, and the "as seen" phrase seems superfluous. I don't think the impulse to double up on Japanese P.M.'s was a good one (ITO, ABE)—so many other, non-trivial ways to go. There are two "IT"s in this puzzle, but I don't really care (I MEAN IT, QUIT IT). ETHNO jazz seems terribly made-up (13A: ___ jazz (fusion genre)), and helped make that whole center area the toughest part of the puzzle by far.


I had NO WORD for NO NEWS (32D: "Haven't heard a thing"), and LOFTING (?) for WAFTING (59A: Floating). Loved FANGIRL quite a bit (41A: Certain geek). I imagine musical types will be squealing with joy at this one. That's fine. I liked it OK. Again, I am far far under the weather, so don't take anything I say today too seriously. Gonna go RESOAK something in hopes it will make me feel better.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

119 comments:

Loren Muse Smith 6:42 AM  

I hope you feel better soon, Rex.

Tough solve, but in the end I was able to wrestle it to the ground.

Gained entry at NICOISE. Wandered around looking for other low-hanging fruit: BRYN, ALMA, GRE, and then three massive mistakes that mucked up all kinds of things:

“Bellini” for FELLINI. I think I was going for some kind of “band” geek for 41A
“nom” for STE
“smu” for EMU with spectacular disregard for the clue.

Rex – Yes! DEFLATEGATE was obviously the neon rebus sign, but I couldn’t get past some kind of D FLATegate. It took forever, even with the D in AWED to abandon D FLAT for E FLAT.

Once I got rid of “museum gift store,” knowing that had to be wrong anyway, I finally got it all.

Oh. My. Gosh. To see these double-whammy rebuses, F NATURAL/ESHARP, G SHARP/A FLAT, E FLAT/D SHARP… terrific. This would have been a winner even without MUSICAL NOTE, ENHARMONIC, and TWO-TONE. I’m stunned. I mean it.

I liked CAL crossing UCLA and the ITO/ABE pair. In for a penny, in for a pound.

I imagine we’ll get those comments explaining why G SHARP and A FLAT are not the same note and comments asking how to fill this online. F NATURAL has to break some kind of Longest Rebus Entry record.

I do hope we’ll also get comments lauding this remarkable puzzle, one I’ll remember for a long time. Bravo!

optionsgeek 6:54 AM  

Stared at the letters FA___RL and kept thinking, "My this Trump thing has certainly carried over quickly" as I contemplated writing in FAtGIRL for "certain geek". Thankfully that turned out to be wrong.

Craig Trueblood 6:59 AM  

Can somebody explain the "F NATURAL/E SHARP" cross to me? I am by no means a musical expert but as I read the writeup in Wikipedia, "A note is natural when it is neither flat nor sharp." So how do these two notes have the same pitch?

Cassieopia 7:06 AM  

Well beyond my capabilities. Fill was easy but I knew something was up with DEFLATEGATE but could not figure it, or the others, out. (MUSEUM OF HISTORY fit just fine but ruined the down, so I was thoroughly flummoxed.)

One happy thing was finding Bill Egan's name; he was governor when I was in high school in Fairbanks. So at least that was easy...

Lewis 7:12 AM  

@rex -- Speedy recovery! Try chewing on some ginger. Yes. Really.

I didn't grok this until toward the end, when it came in a big-aha flash. Then I thought, "There are a lot of people who aren't going to get this because they don't know music theory." And I don't know. Are ENHARMONICs known by enough people to justify this theme in a NYC puzzle?

I thought the cluing was fair and on Thursday level. The puzzle would have been more elegant if ENHARMONIC went right down the middle (and if the rebus squares were symmetrical), but I guess that just didn't work. I think the theme, which is terrific -- original and satisfying -- justifies the inelegance. I liked the clues for AMMO, CEO, and LIMOS, and the answers CUREALL and WAFTING.

I loved the feeling of the hunt in this puzzle, trying to figure out what was going on, and when the flash came, it made for a quick and very happy ending.

GILL I. 7:18 AM  

I'm not a music geek, but I really appreciated this puzzle..and boy, did I have to work hard at it.
Thank you Paul, (my brother) for making me so envious of your taking over the piano in the living room and forcing me to take lessons of my own. I also learned how to read music and my first recital was "The Yellow Rose of Texas" which I played until the rose dropped dead.
What I did remember, was that a natural is neither flat nor sharp; the white keys are natural and the black keys can be either sharps or flats. So with all that incredible knowledge, I was looking for something devious here. I so overthought this thing that my head went a spinning. I knew it had to be MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY and I didn't know THE SHARPER IMAGE so I agonized for about 12 hours trying to figure this mystery. LOOKING SHARP/GETTING A FLAT brought me to my senses.
This was different and pretty clever. I hope non-music savants don't explode....!

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

Feel better @Rex! I was sure it would take forever to appease the rebus gods, but no, got it on the first try, simply spelling out (sans) spaces), the across accidental, e.g.: EFLAT. I assume the down ones would also have done the trick. (I realize i'm using the musical term accidental quite loosely here.) Found it delightful.

Alysia 7:29 AM  

I haven't finished this one yet, but just figured out the theme on G SHARP/A FLAT. So I popped in here to say...this puzzle is effing brilliant and has made my day.

That is all.

Mark 7:39 AM  

I'm not sure all the secondary theme answers were logical (such as two-tone cars), but the enharmonic notes were so unexpected and the level of difficulty satisfyingly hard, that I really enjoyed the puzzle. Puzzles like this are what Times Thursday's are all about.

George Barany 7:41 AM  

Oh dear, @Rex, as my mother used to say, nothing is as important as your health. Have some chicken soup, or hot tea with honey, and feel better soon!

I do admire your dedication to the craft by posting anyhow ... you made many good points and I'll defer to the rest of the commentariat to indicate where they agree or disagree with you. I look forward to seeing you and many others from this blog in a shade over 4 weeks from now, at the ACPT.

Floyd 8:02 AM  

What is the app format for the rebus? I went "FNATURAL/ESHARP" but it doesn't seem to be accepting it.

NCA President 8:05 AM  

This is one of those kinds of puzzles that requires a middling ground of musical understanding. If you don't know music at all, then this ENHARMONIC thing is utterly impossible to get. If you know too much, then you (ahem...I) can overthink it. Which I did. If you're in the middle, you're probably golden.

I kept finessing the rebuses to see which combination of letters pleased the Happy Jingle Gods. After what seemed like [waaaay] too much time, I gave up and hit "solve." I still don't get it. They just picked one of the two possibilities? W in the utter F?

I went on the xwordinfo site to see how they solved it...and of course they put in BOTH notes using musical symbols. So, I'm not sure how you are supposed to know how to finish the puzzle on the website when you don't actually have a "natural" sign...or a flat sign, for that matter...and then expect the jingle.

So, on the one hand, I finished it in that I knew what the theme was going on about. But on the other hand, I didn't because...well...how in the hell am I supposed to figure that out? That is, how am I supposed to figure it out in my lifetime. I don't have all day.

I appreciate the theme...but there needed to be a disclaimer (which isn't unheard of) to set some ground rules for how to solve on the applet.

This experience destroyed any pleasure I might have had in this puzzle. It happens occasionally, and I don't like it, but sometimes when I finish these puzzles I feel, how should I say?, not in a good mood.

Terrible.

Z 8:07 AM  

I have a TWO TONE collection in my iTunes library, having spent a lot of time sweating to The English Beat when I was younger. The CARS were not a TWO TONE band, so NO NEWS from me on how the slipped in there.

Knowing ABE & ITO are PMs seems like Xword Twee to me (Hi @oldtimer). I also thought the cluing for AMMO was a wee too current. I know quite a few police officers, mostly great people with a couple of assholes in the mix. Not a one has fired a round anywhere but on the range. Evoking police shootings at 1A would not have been the way I would have gone.

On a lighter note, loved the rebi (rebuseseses sounds so nasally). Figured it out thanks to Tom Brady's balls. F NATURAL stretched my MUSICAL NOTE knowledge, making me pause to consider how long the explanation will be for the lack of F Flat or F Sharp on the scale. I heard the reason once, but I don't think it ever got filed in the permanent memory section. Fun Thursday.

Kary 8:10 AM  

F NATURAL is the ENHARMONIC equivalent of E SHARP, in that they are the same note on the keyboard. Why you would print one or the other in notation is [blah blah music theory].

Loved this puzzle, and will be showing my own theory students today.

Unknown 8:12 AM  

Okay, I will ask: how do we fill this in on the crossword app? I can't get it to register as complete. I have it as acrossanswer/downanswer. Thanks!

Mark 8:13 AM  

Craig, not all notes in a musical scale have sharps/flats in between them. If you look at a piano, you will notice some of the white keys don't have a black key in between them. E and F are such a pair. The sonic distance between them is a half tone, rather than a whole tone. When there is a whole tone separating notes, the tone halfway in between them is a sharp or a flat, depending on whether you reference it to the note below or the note above. But in the case of E, the note above it is only a half tone away. So if you raise the pitch of E a half tone, i.e. make it E Sharp, it's the same tone as F.

Aitch 8:22 AM  

E and F are only a half- step apart. Easiest to visualize on a piano, they are two white keys with no black key in between. This means that E sharp coincides with F natural. Also applies to B and C.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

@Craig. The easiest way to visualize this is to look at a piano keyboard. There's a black key between most white keys. So if you're dealing with the black key between G & A, the black key is G-sharp if you bump upwards from G or A-flat if you come at it by lowering the A.

What you read on Wikipedia is basically correct, but on the keyboard you'll notice two places where there's no black key between pairs of white keys. These are at E-F and B-C. The flat/sharp naming system still works here, since it's based on the raising or lowering to the next consecutive key (regardless of color). Bumping up E to E-sharp takes you to the white key also known as F. By the same logic, F-flat and E are the same pitch, too.

jberg 8:29 AM  

Get well soon, Rex! To add to the home remedy recommendations, mine is to eat a head (not a clove) of garlic, raw. Then go into a well-ventilated room, you will get better.

I filled in every square, but I didn't realize that it was supposed to be F NATURAL, not just F, until I came here. I was seeing MUSEUM OF HISTORY as some kind of generic institution, I think. And that was the square that made me see the rebus. At first I thought it was the only one (figuring "LOOKIN' G" was some sort of slang), but further thought revealed the other two.

@Craig, probably you'll have a million explanations by the time this one gets approved, especially with the moderator sick-- but to sharp a note is to raise it a half-step, and if you raise E a half-step you get F NATURAL. (If you think in terms of the piano keyboard, E and F have no black key between them).

Two Japanese PMs were fine with me, NIL and NULL in the same puzzle less so.

@Loren, I almost went with NOM, but fortunately noticed the 'abbr.' in the clue. I also needed a lot of crosses to get NERO, thinking the Four Emperors were probably Chinese. i guess I'd better read Gibbon again.

Finally, putting LEA ("pastoral setting") in the puzzle along with the author of its most famous poetic use ('the lowing herd,' etc.) in a different clue was a nice touch, IMO.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

How do you get this to accept the solution on an iPad? I've tried every combination of rebus I can think of but it just won't take. Help!

Z 8:35 AM  

PPP Analysis
25/75, 33%.
That's a high number. Combine this with rebus and this puzzle may fall into the impossible range for some.

@LMS - Your SMU made me chuckle. Michigan has an NMU, WMU, CMU, and EMU, the only directional college we don't have is an SMU. As for reaction, I predict extremes, people will love or hate this. I don't think there will be many in the middle.

@Lewis - "Are ENHARMONICs known by enough people to justify this theme in the NYT puzzle?" The question, a fair one, makes my blood boil. Having watched Pols "reform" public education mostly by demphasizing the Arts in favor of math and science (as if it has to be one or the other), the fact that your question is a question strikes me as a fair criticism of public education in the 21st century.

Lobster11 8:39 AM  

Brilliant and fun theme -- if you happen to be knowledgeable about this somewhat arcane aspect of music theory. I was fortunate enough to have that knowledge, as a hobbyist musician, but I suspect there will be a lot of folks crying "Foul!"

The one aspect that keeps this out of my top-10 all-time themes list is that although the puzzle contains the equivalent of a revealer in ENHARMONIC, that entry appears in a random place in the grid. The symmetrically placed STORE SIGNS might equally well have been the theme. And of course the grid spanner, MUSEUMO(FNATURAL)HISTORY, looks for all the world like it wants to be the theme, rather than one instance of it. This theme deserved better.

Kenahoo 8:45 AM  

It seems like, by positioning, the "STORE SIGNS" answer should also fit in the theme somehow, but I can't see how.

Oh - things that can be flipped over, like "Open/Closed" signs?

JohnnyMao 8:46 AM  

The app was very forgiving—no rebuses needed to solve. I had CARE for 55 down and THFERIMAGE for 6 down and it accepted them as is.

kitshef 8:51 AM  

I'll add my home CUREALL, horeseradish and green tea. Take that with @George's chicken soup and @Lewis's ginger, and let us know what happens.

Loved it. Found it challenging. Solve went down the west, across the south, up the east, and finished in the north and central. So got the theme at GET(AFLAT)/LOOKIN(GSHARP). Musical dummy here, so EHNHARMONIC and the FNATURAL/ESHARP were WOES, but fair crosses all around.

Did object to NIL and NULL in the same grid. Maybe should have gone with AdVILS/dULL, though that would increase @Zs PPP measure. Despite high percentages last couple of days, PPPs have not generated complaints - which suggests it's the type of answers that causes problems. We're happy to have BRYN Mawr or UCLA, but you start getting too many EGANS and things get ugly.

Vincent Lima 8:54 AM  

I enjoyed this memorable puzzle. I had ACABA for AQABA, which gave me CU_TIT for "'Stop that!'" So I guessed that the puzzle's trick was something along the lines of "Cut it out," where the "out" is "cut" out of "CUTIT."

I got the theme at TH[E SHARP]ER IMAGE, and figured the other way of writing "E sharp" is just "F," which gave me Museum of History, which was a bit flat (hah!), but worked. Later, I remembered that plain old F is referred to as "F natural," and that made me happy.

When I say later, that's because I had time to reflect while I was stuck at E_ON crossing TWOTONE_ARS. For "Field of competition, for short," I was thinking ETON because they probably have a field where they play cricket against rival Harrow. (I now see they play that game at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.) I finally noticed the "for short," got ECON, and finished.

lg 8:59 AM  

I learned something new on this one. You only have to put the first letter of the rebus for the answer to be accepted by the app. Guess I never realized that in the past, as I've always spelled rebusses out completely when applicable. But on this one, after taking a STAB at every combination of each rebus, and I MEAN IT, I finally just tried a single letter for each and it worked. Dang, my ERR. What a bunch of SLAG.

App issues aside, this was a fairly easy puzzle for me. Easy-Medium? If I had known I didn't have to enter the full rebus, I would have had a record Thursday time. Bummer. I still enjoyed the fill either way.

Steve M 9:14 AM  

Perky Thursday

Blackbird 9:17 AM  

I found this puzzle easy for a Thursday -- no need to Google anything! -- and very entertaining. Love the musical theme, the enharmonic squares. The other clues and answers had a fresh, original flavor. 13 Across, ethnojazz. 41 Across, fan girl. 20 Across, tar-water is a cure-all. 36 Across, Nero is common enough fill, but the clue was terrific. 4 Down, ode is common enough fill, yet it was refreshing to see the clue, Thomas Grey's "The Bard". I look forward to more Andrew Zhou.

Tita 9:27 AM  

Get well soon, Rex!! And thanks for posting through your misery.

Really tough, really loved it.
I knew it had to be DEFLATEGATE, but just couldn't make sense of it. Had to use a scratchpad, which put me on the path to enlightenment.

@Lewis describes that path quite well.

I know just a little about reading music...but not enough to know ENHARMONIC.

Liked the obtuse clue for EWER. Love me a salade NICOISE.
WAFTING has me seeing Elmer Fudd being carried along by the scent of an apple pie baking,

Clue for RESOAK is perhaps the worst clue, and answer, ever.

Thanks, Mr. Zhou, for an fabulously clever Thursday!!!

Lisa Ivey 9:29 AM  

Speaking of "how to fill this one online," just how would one go about that?

blinker474 9:29 AM  

Rex says 'medium-challenging'. I say brutal.

SHARPIE 9:31 AM  

Thank you Andrew Zhou! What a wonderful, entertaining, imaginative, brilliant puzzle! If only every day could be as engaging! This was truly New York Times caliber. NO DRECK, just superb cluing and a clever theme. MARVELOUS!

Trey 9:32 AM  

Finished the puzzle but my app will not recognize it as correct. Is there a trick on completing the rebuses on the NYT iphone app? I cannot even fit FNATURAL/ESHARP in a single square as it is too long by 2 letters.

Fabulous puzzle by the way. Made me think quite a bit. Although my musical knowledge is close to zero, I found this entertaining, challenging and fun.


By the way, the TWOTONECARS seems to be a good coue. Lots of older cars from the 50s had a whiteish color combined with a second darker color. Think of many of the cars with tail fins from that era. Many had that style of painting

Trombone Tom 9:32 AM  

Hope some hot tea makes it better. A really awful coughing flu has been making the rounds here on the left coast and it seems to last way too long.

DEFLATE GATE unlocked this for me, but it still took this musician a really long time to sort out the sharps, flats, and naturals.

And it ended up a dnf for me as I got stuck on FAtGIRL, thinking of the sideshow definition of geek. I think I've seen FANGIRL before, but it's not part of my daily vocabulary.

Anyhoo, this was a real workout and enjoyable puzzle.

Ann 9:33 AM  

A "sharp" is a pitch a half-step up (and a "flat" is a half-step down). E and F are a half-step apart, so E sharp is the same note as F (that is, F natural).

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

@Craig Trueblood ... There is only a half tone between E and F so E sharp, a half-step above E, equals F.

You can see a visual example on a piano keyboard where there is no black key between the white E key and the white F key.

fuzzle 9:41 AM  

Solving online was frustrating because one had to choose only one - the arbitrary right one - of the enharmonics for each of the theme squares.

Jim Finder 9:50 AM  

Get well soon, Rex.

I greatly enjoyed this puzzle. Never knew that the America's Cup is a(n) EWER, nor that transfix can mean STAB. Nice to learn something new. I didn't understand trunk attachment = VINE until sleeping on it.

I can't get behind "In times of yore" = AGO (25A). Knights were really cool in times of yore. "Knights were really cool AGO."? Two days ago I had a nice omelette. Two days IN TIMES OF YORE I had a nice omelette."? Doesn't work.

Craig Trueblood, here are a couple of links that may help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Major_scale_in_the_chromatic_circle.png

https://www.google.com/search?q=piano+keyboard+notes&espv=2&biw=1254&bih=678&tbm=isch&imgil=REfNZdC1WQsBnM%253A%253B55WxnAdwz8WfvM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.piano-keyboard-guide.com%25252Fpiano-keyboard-layout.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=REfNZdC1WQsBnM%253A%252C55WxnAdwz8WfvM%252C_&usg=__xVgdskedNfCCsEXqe2b7K64kcw4%3D

Nancy Anderson 9:51 AM  

Great puzzle! Struggled to get the trick because I've only ever heard "card shark" and not CARDSHARP. Perhaps this is a regional thing, as I am a Midwest FANGIRL. 8-)

Wm. C. 9:53 AM  


Hey, @Shortz, this puzzle was inappropriate for a general audience, particularly on a Thursday, which should be medium-tough, not impossible for those of us with little/no (specialized) musical education.

I suspect that this plays easy for musical adepts. But for me, it was a slog -- even though I got the fill --not too hard -- do I know that e-flat and e-sharp are enharmonic (whatever the hell that is!)? I look forward to Thursdays, for me an enjoyable challenge, but you stole it from me today. Go to hell, Shortz!

Do you get the idea that I'm a bit unhappy with this puzzle? ;-)


Bob Kerfuffle 9:58 AM  

Excellent puzzle, meaning, Challenging but I got it!

I was cussing a bit when I got down to DEFLATEGATE without having solved any other themer, because that grid which Rex saw as a tuning fork was looking like a football goal (is that what they call it?) to me, and I know nothing about football. But that word, which was repeated endlessly on the TV and radio, opened the gimmick to me. From there, although equally unencumbered by knowledge of music theory, I was able to suss out the rest of the theme entries.

And hand up for LOFTING >> WAFTING.

Get well soon, Rex.

mac 10:01 AM  

Very smart puzzle, and a lot of work, but a good fight this morning!

Definitely chicken soup, Rex, and keep warm. Hope you have a great book to read.

Generic Solver 10:03 AM  

@Craig Trueblood - Look at a piano or (musical) keyboard and there is no black key (flat/sharp) between the E and F white keys. Hence E# (E raised a half-step) and F (natural) are the same note/pitch, so they are enharmonic.

On the other hand, there is a black key between A and B, so A# and B-flat are enharmonic.


Unknown 10:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane Thorne 10:13 AM  

A sharp or flat is a half-step up or down. A half-step up from E is F. There is no black key between E and F or B and C.

Evelyn 10:15 AM  

To Craig's question:

It's easiest to see the Western scale on a piano keyboard. There is no black key between the E and F keys (see the piano keyboard in the link below), so an E# (that is, a half note above E) takes you straight to F (which, as you say, is the same as F natural). I haven't studied music theory since high school, so there's probably a better way to say this, but the natural sign is used to "de-flat" or "de-sharp" a note. For example, if in the scale chosen by the composer, an unmarked F is understood to require an F-sharp, but the composer wants it flattened, she would mark that F with a natural sign.

http://www.piano-keyboard-guide.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/piano-keyboard_diagram_2.jpg

Best, Evelyn

Nancy 10:16 AM  

Too clever for me by half! I don't know what an ENHARMONIC is, so my mind wasn't pitched in the right direction to see any pattern here. I knew NATURAL was missing at the museum; I knew 6D was some sort of IMAGE, though I never thought of THE SHARPER one (even when I used to shop there, when there was one in NYC). I saw all sorts of missing things at 65A and 53D, as well as 66A and 55D -- but I had no idea what they were or why. I could say that this puzzle is absolutely brilliant, but it's always a downer to have to come here to find out why. I do think that we non-musicians are at a disadvantage, but I could be wrong. A glance at the comments made me see that @lms figured it out, and I don't think she's a musician. I'm going back now to read you all and to see who did figure this out.

Evelyn 10:18 AM  

Aa to Craig's inquiry -- it's easiest to see the Western system on a piano keyboard (go to http://www.piano-keyboard-guide.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/piano-keyboard_diagram_2.jpg). You'll see there's no black key between E and F, so an E-sharp is an F natural. The natural sign is used to de-flatten or de-sharpen an unmarked note otherwise understood to require a sharp or flat (it depends on what scale the composer chose).

Best, Evelyn

Evelyn 10:21 AM  

Sorry for the double post -- I hadn't realized the first went through. . . .
Best, Evelyn

Larry Ditkoff 10:29 AM  

I thought this was an extremely clever puzzle. While I am not musically inclined I was able to figure out about sharps, naturals and flats. My only issue was 8 across. I had grab for transfix and I could not get the answer. I think "stab" is a poor answer for transfix. Transfix is a bad clue. I should have gotten it anyway, but an excellent puzzle.

Blue Stater 10:32 AM  

A deeply silly waste of time.

Sir Hillary 10:33 AM  

Feel better, @Rex.

I found this one to be very difficult. Theme is well outside my wheelhouse, and it took me quite a while to figure out exactly how the rebus squares worked.

That said, this is a really impressive construction, and I had a lot of fun solving it. The three overlapping theme squares are amazing. The cost today is some lousy short fill.

Randomness:
-- WAFTING / rAFTING / loFTING...Schrodinger triple play.
-- How does STAB mean "transfix"?
-- "Mo" = SEC? Really? Is that "moment" = SECond?
-- Really like FANGIRL as an entry.
-- Cool how D[EFLAT]EGATE is next to the little goal posts.

Thanks, Mr. Zhou!

Nancy 10:39 AM  

Wow! I see a lot of you non-musicians got this. All I can say is that this blog is composed of a lot of very brilliant people. To me, this puzzle is truly ACPT caliber, in that it serves to separate the wheat from the chaff. And today, unfortunately, I was the chaff:(

Lisa Ivey 10:39 AM  

I finally got it to work on the iOS app by randomly using ONE of the answers for each rebus (in my case, FSHARP, AFLAT, EFLAT, but I don't know if that will work for everyone.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:41 AM  

@ Vincent Lima -- Perhaps at 39 A, you were thinking, as I was, of the famous quote attributed to Wellington, "The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton," which Wikipedia says was probably apocryphal.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:51 AM  

"Aqaba your baby to a Dixie melody" I hope EWER aLAUD to submit this on Rex's site and wont be rendered NULL and void, being that RP is such a straight AERO?

SiLo 11:09 AM  

46 across clue: Mo, answer: sec. WTF? Can someone explain? Thanks!

SLS 11:15 AM  

I thought the puzzle was tough but fair. However, I also think there are enough of us PAYING the NYT extra just to do its puzzles online that the app (iPad for me) should be able to handle switching rebus answers like this in a clear and consistent manner. I had to go to the comments here to figure out that (fnatural/esharp) needs to be entered as "f" for the app to accept the solution. This merited an editor's note, even if that "spoiled" the rebus reveal, or better yet an faq on rebus and other tricks and how the app deals with them. I can see leaving us to the mercy of Across Lite or other third-part apps, but this is the Times own app for heaven's sake.

jae 11:23 AM  

Mostly easy for me except for figuring out the rebus, which moved it up to medium.

@Bob Kerfuffle - My first thought was goal post

I know very little about music theory, but I have played piano and cornet so I do know that sharp, flat, and natural are musical terms. However, I didn't know about ENHARMONIC relationships until reading the comments. That said, I didn't have a lot of trouble finishing the puzzle.

Tricky Thurs., liked it.

Mike D 11:28 AM  

I anticipated a lot of whining (ahem, @ Wm C) here today about "specialized knowledge." Guess what, people: every puzzle requires some specialized knowledge, whether it be astrology, silent film stars, geography, sports, etc., etc. People who are the best at these things know enough about a lot of things to excel, and they're good enough at words to fill in the gaps when the clues are outside of their wheelhouse. I personally love puzzles that teach me something. Rather than whine about them, I try to absorb the new knowledge and move on.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Get well soon!
About the "Two Tone Cars" clue - there was a simple piano duet (think along the lines of "Heart and Soul") that my sister and I played growing up. It was called "Cars" and one person played mostly on the black keys, and the other played mostly white. It's an old, obscure duet - never met another person that knew it - our mother taught it to us. Perhaps the author was referencing this?

Kimberly 11:29 AM  

That was a great Rebus, and one that can't have been easy to execute. To be a terribly picky, it would have been more elegant if the two long vertical musical answers had more symmetry, but the elegance of the theme clue and the symmetry of the rebus answers was really lovely.

Was happy to see card sharp used correctly; too many people say "card shark," which is only slightly less annoying than "butt naked." Was also happy that nothing waxed, waned, or ebbed. Seems like an eon since that happened.

No idea why the constructor found it necessary to singly out the police for the AMMO clue. Ammo is not specific to the police, and the whole thing felt kind of uncomfortable. I guess they were trying to trick us into using "beat," but really just "rounds" would have been sufficient.

No NYT-crossword-is-psychic moment. It's like the constructors have all lost their super-special magical connection to my soul. A vague sense of rejection and abandonment is waxing.

John V 11:40 AM  

Brilliant theme. Icky NE with EWER crossing SET and friends. This putative musician loved it!

Roo Monster 11:46 AM  

Hey All !
Bizarre puz. Had absolutely no idea just what in the heck was happening. That middle section was tough! ETHNO, EGANS, THFER IMAGE, and not being musically inclined, ENHARMONIC a WOE. So not knowing that was a big hurdle. For the bottom, just put in LOOKING and DEEGATE, which got me nonsensical GETG and CARE. Had to hit Reveal for ETHNO, as never would've figured that section out. Bit the NYT site got me the Completed jingle with my single letters. So a DNF, but just happy it's over.

62A M.A. hopeful's hurdle- Cinnamon buns?

SLAG SLAB STAB
Roomonster
DarrinV

Mike Rees 11:59 AM  

I just picked one or the other and it worked fine.

Mike Rees 12:00 PM  

Pick one or the other. That worked for me.

Mike Rees 12:01 PM  

Enter either "?"SHARP or "?"FLAT, with ? Being the appropriate letter. Like AFLAT in the tire clue.

old timer 12:02 PM  

Whatever @Rex has, I've got it too. After a couple of years without a cold, I'm coughing and sniffling. Or, as my wife points out, maybe we just both have extreme allergies, for we seem to live in the Allergy Capital of the Earth.

So even though I got ENHARMONIC I did not quite understand the whole E SHARP/F NATURAL thing. But it really was a brilliant puzzle.

I think my own children would have gotten the trick, though they are not very musical. Helps that they grew up with an old upright piano, which I bought from a member of our old babysitting co-op who was leaving town. I pretty much have forgotten how to play the piano other than to pick out the melody with my right hand. But my mother-in-law had both a piano and an organ in her house, and could play very well.

Mike Rees 12:02 PM  

Pick one note or the other to enter into rebus. Should work.

Mike Rees 12:04 PM  

For the many asking, I used the down clue answers in the rebuses and the iPhone app accepted them. So, ESHARP, AFLAT, DSHARP. Hope that helps.

Leapfinger 12:06 PM  

Professor Sharp, I'm sorry to hear that you're flat on your back, though this time of year, it's only natural. Measure for measure, nothing beats hot tea with lemon and a slug of whatever rye or whiskey you can get your pause on; in a pinch, pitch the tea and skip the lemon. I think you'll feel better stretto way. Just get plenty of rest; we can hold the forte. We also appreciate your taking the treble when you're feeling so low and generally piĆ¹... mordent you'll ever know.

Not a music maven by any stretch of the imagination, just acquainted enough to recognize in passing on the street. Absolutely loved the clever combination of crosswords, music and sign language that Andrew Zhoued us today.

Andrew Heinegg 12:29 PM  

I got knocked out by the middle of the puzzle. But, I did think it was a well done effort. I am trying to picture the blogmaster combining all the remedies recommended to him in today's blog and I am trying not to get sick thinking about Rex taking all of those things together!

I skip M-W 12:41 PM  

Hoping you feel better, Rex. Chicken soup may not help but usually feels good.
Sorry to say that I dnf, despite having been thinking just before starting on the Xword, about B-sharp being C-natural and stumbling across the word enharmonic while studying scales. I'm a beginning ( 3rd-year, but very slow) piano student. Woke this morning with all filled in but the rebus squares and a couple around them, kept staring at the upper rebus, knowing what the crosses had to be, without any light going off. Confused deflate-gate with inflate-gate, and in flat isn't a note. Got bored, came here, wish I had tried harder. Brilliant puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

First thing out of a crossword reviewer that a constructioneer luvs to hear: "I haven't been sick in a long time, but I sure am now …"
Last thing M&A wants to hear about @009's fettle: "I haven't been sick in a long time, but I sure am now …" Sure sorry, dude. Get lotsa rest. Drink lotsa liquid refreshments. Watch a schlock film. Be better.

So … Michael Sharps and Feelin Flats. M&A is not musically educated, but managed to toughie my way thru this puppy. So, some feelin of accomplishment and pride; kinda like ekin out a Minnesota caucus plurality-win, say. Luv the east/west grid symmetry; always a chance for primo grid art. Early reactions to sight of the (entirely unfilled) grid layout:

* Football goalpost.
* Y.
* U on pedestal.
* One of them claw on a stick dealies that U use to change recessed lightbulbs in raised ceilings. M&A managed to rip out the lower part of the lightbulb with one of those. Sparks flew.
* Tuning fork [full disclosure: only thought of this, post-solve].

Answers of mystery: FANGIRL. NICOISE. Coupla BRYN MAUL grads, maybe?
fave weeject (of 22!): SIM. Also admired STE's weirdball clue.

False start: Had NOWORD instead of NONEWS. Lost heaps'o precious nanoseconds there'bouts, aided by the pitifully unhelpful ECON clue.

FELLINI flashback of the day (FFOD): Just recently saw us a so-called "fellini-esque" flick, called "Youth". These viewins are much like tryin to solve a biter runtpuz. U finally just sorta stop fightin it, and let the experience kinda ooze all over U.

Back to @009: Steamy shower can often help. Hair of the dog that bit U may help, in certain party-related cases. I now have also heard (20-A) that "tar water" might help. (Wonder how U take that stuff in, tho? Might be one of them TMI deals, I reckon.) I personally recommend a rigorous cinnamon roll regimen. Anyhoo… best wishes for a pronto full recovery, pard.

Thanx, Mr. Zhou. Impressive specimen of constructioneering.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

Martel Moopsbane 1:00 PM  

I'm far from musical and never heard of the word ENHARMONIC in my life. Nevertheless, the penny finally dropped at LOOKING(sharp)/GETA(flat). A tough solve, for sure.

Mark M. 1:10 PM  

Remember the logic - puzzler from years ago about a man and his son involved in a car wreck? The father dies at the scene but the boy survives and is rushed to the ER where the Doctor says "I can't operate on him. That's my son!" In these enlightened times, we can assume it was the mother, but 30-40 years ago, it was not the first thing that popped into your mind. And you felt like a sexist for not even considering a woman. Why do i bring this up? Because for the life of me, with FAN _ _ RL could I make anything work. FANBOY I know, but it was forever before I even came up with FANGIRL. I'm sure there are plenty, but I have never heard of them referred to in that sense, although its perfectly fine and a great clue.

Teedmn 1:23 PM  

I got this one enough to feel like I was successful, even though I left a bit of a mess in the upper center after taking ETHNO and STE out and leaving them in limbo. I knew NATURAL was missing in 16A and that 6D contained SHARPER IMAGE but didn't know THE was part of 6D and didn't know the EN of ENHARMONIC so things were just WAFTING loosely up there. Oh well, it was a great theme idea, IMO.

The clue for CEO gave the best payoff today for me since "bra" originally went through my head for 'top of an outfit?'. NO NEWS was the toughest - I was thinking it was referring to hearing no sound rather than receiving information and ECON wasn't clicking as clued (I just got it now).

I didn't know the second definition for 'transfix'so I invented an elaborate explanation of the deer being STABbed in the eyes by the oncoming headlights and thus standing transfixed in the middle of the road. Or it can be a synonym of Impale, pierce, skewer, spike, etc., which is probably the better version. :-).

@Rex, give yourself some TLC and get well soon.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

We have a couple of young musicians in the house, but my own familiarity with arcana such as enharmonics is quite limited. I was vaguely aware that certain flats and sharps are equivalent notes, but had no idea why, nor had I heard of the term.

Despite that, I picked up the trick at the CAR D-SHARP/D-EFLATEGATE, quickly got the other in the deep south, then worked my way up north to finish with resorting to any outside assistance.

Thanks to all the posters that chimed in with detailed explanations, which should help greatly in remembering.

Feel better RP.

RT

AliasZ 1:38 PM  


This was one of the most enjoyable puzzles this year so far, right behind the MONTE/VERDI - OFFEN/BACH - SCHOEN/BERG puzzle. I learned the word ENHARMONIC in elementary school some 60 years ago and never forgot it.

RESOAK: I cannot imagine a sentence that requires this word.
SIM: "Yes" in Portuguese.

@Rex, I hope you'll feel better real soon.

Cheers, all.

Chuck McGregor 1:38 PM  

After reading other explanations, here’s concrete example of how the scales of two different key signatures are written Db (D-flat) and C# (C-sharp). To play the two scales the exact, same keys on the piano are used. Actually they are played the same way on most any instrument. As a listener you would not hear any difference, the two keys are ENHARMONIC. To someone writing music the difference is often profound. The two keys are

Db / Eb / F-natural / Gb / Ab / Bb / C-natural / Db

C# / D# / E# / F# / G# / A# / B# / C#

Just to make thinks confusing, these are so-called major keys. If it were Db minor it would be notated in the key of E major (4 sharps); if it were C# minor it would notated in key of Fb-major (6 flats and 1 double flat!). I have never played a score in that key and never hope to!

Debussy’s Claire de Lune is written in Db. Without going through the exercise of transposing it (a laborious task), my musical “gut” says the piano score would likely be far more difficult to read if it were in written in C#. Trust me, it’s bad enough in Db!

So, why didn’t he write it in an “easy-to-play” key like plain old C major? A C scale easy to play as it is just the white keys on the piano. A mystery of music is that different keys actually elicit different emotions. You can play Claire de Lune in C but it losses “something” in the translation. Doesn’t sound, well, quite as beautiful (IMO) no matter how well played. Composers often choose a particular key for this reason. Another is logistics. A certain key may simply exceed the range(s) of the instruments to be used or the capabilities of those expected to play (or sing) the notes.

For example Beethoven chose the key of C-minor, in one writer’s words, for its “stormy, heroic tonality," his 5th Symphony being the classic example. Examples of other composer’s feelings about various keys are easy to find with Ms. Google.

Cheers

kozmikvoid 1:52 PM  

For everyone asking, the rebus worked for me on the phone and the computer. I have esharp, aflat and eflat as the rebusus (rebi?)

Dick Swart 2:10 PM  

Brilliant! Hard; unexpected; some musical experience required. But brilliant!

Fred Romagnolo 2:18 PM  

On Thursdays, I look for a clue which indicates what kind of gimmick is being used; there was no such clue here. If ENHARMONIC had been so designated in the clueing I would have gotten it. The rest of you are pretty damn clever to have gotten it - my hat's off to you. Shamefully, I have the requisite musical education, which makes it even harder to say DNF!

Anonymous 2:42 PM  


I WOULD DRAW A DISTINCTION BETWEEN A MUSIC TRIVIA PUZZLE AND A CROSSWORD. I SUBSCRIBE TO THE NYT FOR THE CROSSWORD. I'M TOTALLY UNINTERESTED IN CHALLENGING MY KNOWLEDGE OF MUSIC, PIANO KEYBOARDS, FLATS, SHARPS, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. IN MY OPINION, IT LOOKS LIKE A CROSSWORD. BUT IT'S A MUSIC KNOWLEDGE PUZZLE. HATED IT.

puzzle hoarder 2:45 PM  

I almost finished this puzzle with only the vaguest knowledge of musical notes we have a piano and years ago I did teach myself to play a few carols. However I never learned anything about musical theory.
Sharps and flats appear in puzzles frequently. It took some work but I figured out the rebuses at the bottom of the puzzle. I could write the word sharp just outside of the puzzle.
The 16A rebus was more of a problem. I knew "natural" should be in the entry but I'm unfamiliar with the term used in connection with musical notes. Since I just wrote in F/ESHARP I was right anyway. From what I've learned in the comments a plain old F is a natural.
Where I really messed up was the clue for 5A. I kept reading it as Spanish. I guess I was conflating para and por. Even then the second half of the phrase would have been ejemplo. To confuse matters more I had _NHARMONIC for the longest time and not understanding "same pitch" to mean harmonic I assumed it must be unharmonic. Of course I've never seen the term enharmonic. I wrote in STU knowing it made no sense. The worst part of it is that I've put in STE for French place names countless times. At this point I'd been working the puzzle for 54 minutes and I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees.


Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Please please explain 46 across Mo--what is sec?
Thx in advance!

Joan R 3:04 PM  

I loved loved loved this puzzle. Since I retired I've been working hard at understanding music theory so this was right up my alley.

Alby 3:08 PM  

Refreshing, a theme I've never seen before. Challenging in that it reached beyond the typical crossword wonk's ken. Wish the puzzle had accepted my use of # in place of SHARP though. That would have saved me some time.

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

Is there really such a thing as a "Card Sharp?" I thought the term was "Card Shark" ...

submariner 3:49 PM  

Can't connect Mo and SEC.

Jerome C. Posatko 4:05 PM  

@Nancy Anderson I completely agree! What the heck is a CARD SHARP??? Card shark - sure, that works, but Sharp is entirely foreign to me. [Googling...] I found this blurb; I suppose it's legit:
http://grammarist.com/usage/card-shark-card-sharp/

Unknown 4:17 PM  

In the iPhone app I entered just the sharp rebus answers and it accepted them: esharp, gsharp, dsharp. Hope this helps.

Aketi 4:20 PM  

@rex, of the CUREALLs mentioned here, there actually was a peer reviewed study on the benefits of chicken soup that one of my profs for my public health degree loved to cite. Of course my grandmother and her sister swore by hot toddies.

I got that there was something going on because the MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY that I literally spent visiting seve al times a week throughout much of my sons childhood was stuffed full of stuffed animals and it just had to fit in there somewhere. The fact that my late brother-in law loved stores like THE SHARPER IMAGE gave me the other piece of this has to fit in somehow clue. I fortunately went to school in an era when I was actually taught to read music in my public school. My son n fortunately has been able to attend good public schools where he also was taught to read music The connection between music and math is strong and it's sad that the exclusive focus on math and reading without the synergistic inclusion of the arts an humanities actually detracts from learning both well.

Hartley70 5:12 PM  

Fan-damn-tactic!!! What a work-out. I am not the least musical and "every good boy deserves fudge" is the only remnant of my long forgotten music education. SHARPS, FLATS and NATURALS are beyond me, but by Jove, I finished it and I loved it.

My rebus worked as long as I put in either the across or the down answer.

Anonymous 5:33 PM  

I think I just got "Mo" and Sec thing.
Moment
Second (Like, "just a sec"")
Oy
And I never "got" the trick.
Feel better, Rex
I just have a headache after this...

Wm. C. 5:47 PM  

@MikeD11:28 --

Thanks for your constructive (not) observations about my "whining." What are complaints to some are "whines" to self-absorbed self-described know-it-alls.

Sure, crosswords reasonably can contain moderate doses of specialized knowledge. But this was not a moderate dose, it was a theme for which some otherwise-successful solvers have NO knowledge. A theme can reasonably have some difficult pieces, but this was binary: adepts knew it all, and others -- like me -- knew none.

As to your observation that this is an opportunity to learn: gee, I'm now a better person, now that I know D-Shap and E-Flat, et. al., are the same thing. Pretty astute observation on your part, Mike.

OISK 6:07 PM  

I read music, so had difficulty only with Esharp = Fnatural , had to visualize a keyboard. Very clever and creative, though brutal for those who don't know any music theory. My only "dislikes" were "Mo" for "sec"(wait a Mo? Does anyone say that? Min, maybe...) and fangirl. What is a fangirl? I thought that was a type of burlesque performer...

Still, brilliant puzzle

matty lite 6:26 PM  

I just wanted to comment for the first time in years to say how much I loved this puzzle. I am literally a doctor of music theory, so that may have something to do with it. Now you non-musicians know how it feels for those of us who never learned Greek, or memorized the Hebrew months, or weren't around to know the names of celebrities from the 50s, or for some reason have a lifelong mental block when it comes to remembering how to count past 20 in Roman.

crackblind 7:14 PM  

I enjoyed this one a lot. The DEFLATEGATE/CARDSHARP cross is what finally gave me the rebus and I immediately figured out LOOKINGSHARP/GETAFLAT from that, then the other one came into play (I had originally left out "NATURAL" on 16 Across because MuseumOfHistory fit and made sense in a weird way). The randomness of the rebus locations also messed with my head .

However, it took me hours to figure out how to get the iPad app to accept the completed puzzle. It really screwed with my time because I would come back to it whenever I had a free moment and just stare. It was sheer luck that I tried just the across rebus in each square and got the success message.

old timer 7:47 PM  

Now the interesting thing about so-called enharmonic notes is that they are the same with pianos and harpsichords and (for the most part) fretted instruments. But as someone who used to love playing baroque recorder, I pretty quickly realized that C sharp is not really the same note as D flat. Close, of course. But the feeling of the two keys is quite different. If you play recorder or flute or any of the viol instruments, you hardly even think of it -- when you play in a sharp key, the note you want to hear and play is subtly different from the ENHARMONIC note in the flat key. But that observation explains why Bach or other composers who wrote before the pianoforte became so dominant chose one key or the other in order to convey a mood.

bookmark 7:49 PM  

Google Caravaggio's painting of "The Cardsharps."

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

Ok, so mo=moment and sec=second. As in Give me a_______

Mark F 8:46 PM  

Although the figure in the south central might be a tuning fork, I would like to think it is a conductor, directing the orchestra (scattered black squares). Does it work?

Joe Dipinto 9:29 PM  

@kenahoo at 8:45 am: The symbols referenced in the puzzle are called "signs" in musical nomenclature - sharp sign, flat sign, natural sign, so I believe "store signs" was intended as a semi-theme answer in the same manner as "two-tone cars."

Proud Mamma 9:42 PM  

Im not a music geek, but got it when i filled in image. But i didnt know term enharmonics .

BW 9:42 PM  

I wish there had been a title or clue hint for this puzzle, as I had everything filled out fairly quickly except around the offending squares, and simply failed to catch on that there was a theme at all. I feel like simply having a direct hint elsewhere would have made this puzzle sufficiently non-esoteric.

Aketi 10:07 PM  

Forgot to add that the first car my dad let me drive was a TWO TONED aqua and white 1957 Chevy Bel AIr. It was around the time tthat American Grafitti came out and the car was considered "vintage". So that clue was a definite nostagic gimme.

Mike D 10:52 PM  

@ WM C: Thank you for proving my point.

paulsfo 12:44 AM  

I got TWOTONECARS with no crosses and before I got the theme; maybe it's an age thing. Didn't realize that it was related to the theme until I came here.

Burma Shave 8:29 AM  

LOOKINGSHARP

This MUSICALNOTE puz was like a pre-DEFLATEGATE scrimmage,
Tom Brady couldn’t GETAFLAT ball cuz he had THESHARPERIMAGE.

--- ALMA NICOISE, FANGIRL

rondo 10:06 AM  

I can see how the non-musical solvers would not like this. But that just shows how under-educated these “brainiacs” really are, and then they complain. QUITIT! If they’d have paid attention in grade school music, they would know about the sharp/flat equivalency and where the half-steps in the scales are. NONEWS to me! For rebus day I thought this was practically brilliant. IMEANIT.

With all that MUSICALNOTE stuff going on there wasn’t any place to have a yeah baby. Ah! LEAh!

I have actually made a NICOISE potato salad, back when I used to play around in the kitchen a lot more. Probably a bit different than some others since it included roast beef.

For a rebus/gimmick/trick thing in a puz, this was probably one of those TESTS you’d either love or hate. I LAUD it.

rondo 10:25 AM  

BTW - so glad to see that folks solving on their toys are having trouble on rebus days. 'Taint natural.

spacecraft 11:23 AM  

I'm AWED that I was ABLE to finish this--me with no formal music training. Just...dimly aware that # is a half-tone above the letter, etc. And the "alphabet" ends at G, so G# would equal Ab. I hoped. As to the F NATURAL, well, that just belonged there, as did E# going down, so I crossed my fingers and assumed they were the same note.

I agree enthusiastically about the too-cute use of two WOE Japanese PMs. This is but an example of the general I'm-gonna-clue-you-so-tough-you-won't-know-what-hit-you mentality. This guy is trying to turn an already challenging Thursday grid into a fuhgeddaboudit Saturday one. Hah! But it didn't work, you scalawag! Despite many "stretches"--including the LIMOS!--I have figured. You. Out.

A very cleverly conceived theme, whose execution must perforce appear awkward, with some off-the-wall fill, make for a pretty deep challenge. Triumph factor notwithstanding, Mr. Zhou seems to have tried overly hard to trip us up. It's OK, though; no yellow flag or REDTAG today. No individual yeah babies this time, we're left with imagining some FANGIRL we've seen--or maybe one whose ALMA mater was BRYN Mawr. STAB/SLAB/SLAG starts some word ladder, but where would it end? B+.

P.S. Don't know what I said to piss off the censors yesterday, but whatever it was, sorry, guys. I DID post.

Diana,LIW 1:39 PM  

This was one of those puzzles that at first glance seemed impossible. Two Japanese PMs? Really? But then, one by one, I kept getting the answers. In they went. Even got ENHARMONICS. But didn't suss the rebus. It's sad to get 90-plus-percent, only to have to come here for the answer. DEFLATing, for sure.

I'm not a big rebus fan, and not a fan of three randomly placed different rebi. But that's just me. Kudos, big time, to all who completed this toughy!

@Rondo - GB wasn't online yesterday, but today he does mention the Minn June tourney. (I managed to only read that paragraph, being skilled in the ways of the future.) He just posted a link to the website, so that you can get on your own. But, of course, he will be there.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the rebus to make sense

Rex Parker 3:53 PM  

@LeftcoastTAM,

I just accidentally deleted your most recent comment. My apologies.

RP

leftcoastTAM 5:41 PM  

No problem. I only groused about my difficulties with this unusual rebus.

Teedmn 11:12 PM  

Diana LIW, I'm thinking of attending the MN tournament this year so if you flew in, I'd love to meet you.

sdcheezhd 2:44 AM  

This is a good example of why Thursdays are my favorites. Wish there'd been 1 more theme answer.

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