Young competitor in Hunger Games / WED 3-23-16 / Bridge four-pointer / Romantic comedy featuring two members of Brat Pack / Like toves in Jabberwocky / Strongman player on A-team / Parts of ratchets

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Constructor: Alex Boisvert and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: TRIPLE TIME (54A: Minuet meter ... or a description of the answers to the starred clues?)— theme answers are three-word phrases, each word of which can precede "TIME" in a (reasonably) common phrase or word:

Theme answers:
  • NEXT-DAY AIR (17A: *Speedy shipping option)
  • "ABOUT LAST NIGHT" (23A: *Romantic comedy featuring two members of the Brat Pack)
  • STARTING ALL OVER (33A: *Going back to square one)
  • LONG LOST FATHER (47A: *Recurring soap opera plot device) 
Word of the Day: PAWLS (45D: Parts of ratchets) —
A hinged or pivoted device adapted to fit into a notch of a ratchet wheel to impart forward motion or prevent backward motion.

• • •

Interesting variation on the "Words That Can Precede..."-type puzzle. No idea what's going on and then, boom, revealer, followed by the joy of saying all the words in the theme answers in succession, each one followed by "Time," I guess. I wonder how big the "___ TIME" list was to begin with. I'm guessing Massive. I'm impressed that they got three very solid answers out of this theme. As for LONG LOST FATHER, that one is a reach. I'm sure that some soap somewhere has featured such a thing. Who knows, soaps run so long that perhaps the conceit has been used multiple times. But as soap opera plot devices go, this one doesn't feel ... paradigmatic. EVIL TWIN, now *that's* a soap opera plot device. But it's just weak, it's not terrible, and given that the others are air-tight, I don't think there's much harm done.

I now and forever object to TOVE, BRILLIG, SLITHY, and all the other "Jabberwocky" nonsense, except in cases of pure necessity (11D: Like the toves in "Jabberwocky"). The idea that we're all supposed to know that made-up junk has always annoyed me, and here, it's patently unnecessary. That NE corner can be redone a million ways, with real words. Maybe you could ditch OLIN and NARITA in the process. The fill is mostly solid and serviceable. TURN TAIL and END RUN are cool, dynamic answers. I want to like LOVE HOTEL, but I don't know that I've ever seen or heard of it. Strange euphemism. I'd think LOVE NEST, or, better, NO-TELL MOTEL. Looks like the concept is much more common overseas, particularly in Japan. I'm familiar with the idea, just not this specific phrase. I also think of Cal Ripken, Jr. as a shortstop, as does everyone, so that clue on THIRD, while defensible, is mostly just annoying (he didn't move to THIRD 'til '97—his 15th year in the league). I blanked on RUE, and read the "Young" in 55D: Young competitor in "The Hunger Games" as somebody's name, i.e. the person who competed against someone named Young. Sigh. Surprised that TOOLS was allowed to fly with that clue (34D: Obnoxious sorts), which turns TOOLS into the rough equivalent of DICKS. OPE should always be a nope unless gun to head. No real problems, otherwise. Generally fine work.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:03 AM  

Top half easy, bottom half tough, so medium for me too?

Had Main before MOSS and a lot of hesitation in the South.

LOVE HOTEL seemed odd.

Vaguely remembered PAWLS which doesn't look right.

Thought TRIPLE might have 2 ps.

Went with the E version of IMPOSTOR at first.

Tried a couple of different spellings for SLUICE.

I did know RUE as clued.

Gotta like a Wed. I had to work for, plus the theme is solid and the dreck is light.

Anonymous 12:48 AM  

"Jabberwocky" is the only poem by heart. I was excited to see SLITHY because I actually knew it!

Adam Abraham 1:14 AM  

The Ripken as third clue is not serviceable. He was a shortstop for 15 years. he broke Lou gerhigs record as a shortstop. There are tons of ways to rephrase that clue Schmidt and arenado come to mind for past or present third basemen or stick with the Orioles and go with Robinson if you want. Use something totally non baseball related but cluing third as cal Ripken position is indefensible

Anonymous 1:17 AM  

Yes, I filled in "SHORT" for Cal Riken's position, which worked with the first two crosses I had. Later I went to Google to learn that, yes, he did also play THIRD base. He will always be a shortstop in my mind!

Brian 2:13 AM  

I got stuck in the south because of that Cal Ripken, Jr. clue, especially because I felt so confident about the answer compared to the other clues with which I was less familiar (Hunger Games and ratchets). I was a little league shortstop near DC when he started his 2,131st consecutive game – in which he played shortstop, of course – so it's hard for me to associate him with anything else. My first password for AOL Instant Messenger was SSTOP, in honor of him (or me?), and I briefly considered that option before settling on SHORT. Now that I look at the dates, the gap in knowledge makes a lot of sense: I lost faith in the O's after the Jeffrey Maier gut-punch of 1996, developed other childhood interests, and was paying much less attention to Cal by the time he started playing third base in the 1997 season. Shows what I get for being a fair weather fan.

Carola 2:34 AM  

It was a two-level reveal for me: my first understanding of TRIPLE TIME had me noting DAY and NIGHT...but where was the third? Ohhhh! My favorite was FATHER TIME, although I agree with Rex that LONGLOSTFATHER was the weakest of the theme answers. I don't recall a single one from my extensive soap opera viewing when I was supposed to be learning something in grad school. In those days (70s) there was a lot of amnesia, temporary blindness, and presumed dead people reappearing.

Bonus answers: WASTE TIME and - also a stretch - THIRD TIME's the charm.

chefwen 2:58 AM  

Food is alway at the forefront of my brain so rice was one of my first fills at 9A. That sure didn't last long, just about as long it took me to read 9D. Money is right up there with food and pot (of gold) fit in nicely at 63A. BZZZZT, wrong again!

Never have watched a Soap Opera, but as Rex said, LONG LOST FATHER seemed to be a stretch. Other than that, loved the theme, lots of fun after it was revealed.

PAWLS was a new word for me, thanks for the definition.

Loren Muse Smith 4:26 AM  

Rex nailed it. As soon as I finished and saw the conceit, I went back and savored, "the joy of saying all the words in the theme answers in succession, each one followed by "Time."

I dunno – from my vast soap-opera experience, I would say that the old LONG LOST FATHER ("mother" works, too) is even more common than the Evil Twin.

I was horrified at the bad clue for MOSS. Spanish moss is not really a moss. Sheesh. (I read somewhere that koala bears will eat that in a pinch, though. So will sea horses and jelly fish. And mountain lions.) ;-)

SLITHY is tough for the non-Jabberwocks, but, hey, chortle has fought its way out of the confines of the poem. I'm pulling for SLITHY to follow. It feels writhing, slippery, slimy, and slithery all at once. Have I mentioned that I grew up eating boiled okra?

I filled in FLASK but snorted to myself that "flesh" could work there, too. I've mentioned Aunt Charlotte's two mean little Maltese dogs, "Killer" and "Mr. Cool," both with their deceptive hair bows luring you in like the wrapper of a bar of baking chocolate. Tag-team nastiness, those two.

I liked SLEDGE. Didn't we have "sedges" a couple of days ago? SLEDGEd: SITTING BULL, SMOKE SIGNAL, SOFT PRETZEL, STEAM SHOVEL

Also got a kick out of the pair TURN TAIL END RUN.

Stumbled right out of the gate with "vive" for VIVA. Sigh. What a burden being an Oh-So-Smart Little Miss Prisspot French Major. Once I went back and corrected that, the rest of the grid fell snicker snack.

Alex, Jeff – much obliged. What frabjous finds: these three-word phrases whose parts can all precede TIME. And we get to see them because Jeff and Alex found enough symmetry to make it all work. Bravo!

Brett Hendrickson 6:16 AM  

The cross of NARITA and SLITHY is not ok.

George Barany 7:06 AM  

@Jeff Chen is a prolific constructor both on his own and collaboratively, so it's nice to see @Alex Boisvert's byline again, given how much he has contributed to the crossword community with a variety of useful crowdsourcing tools.

I definitely want to second @Rex's comment about Cal Ripken, Jr. Except for early and late in his career, and certainly through just about the entirety of his streak of consecutive games played that broke a record previously held by Lou Gehrig, Cal was a fixture at shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles. Click here for relevant statistics.

NCA President 7:42 AM  

IMPOSTeR v. IMPOSTOR. To me, the E is more common. Is the O version a var.?

I had Ripken at ---R- for a long time knowing he played both and really not trusting the puzzle enough to just slap in shoRt.

I could be wrong here, but after years of playing minuets, I personally have never referred to them nor heard them referred as being in "TRIPLETIME." They're "in 3," or if you insist on the sing-songy version, "three-quarter time." "Triple time" means something else to a means three times as fast. This musical gaffe is the equivalent of those clipart music notes that look like notes but aren't. The point of this rant is that none of you ask a musician to play something in "triple time." It isn't a thing.

I had djembe before TOMTOM because, well, it's a better answer.

I also wanted "coming back to the show with amnesia after everyone thought you were dead" as a soap recurring plot device but couldn't make it fit.

kitshef 8:06 AM  

Very easy. Other than PAWLS, the hardest part was figuring out the theme, even after the reveal.

Thought I had an alternative clue for SLITHY, but the Technicolor Time Machine character spells it SLITHeY.

Not a fan of AHAT, but overall fill is wonderfully clean.

Rip started our at THIRD, and a lot of people questioned Earl Weaver for moving him to short, as he did not look like a typical SS. Turned out to be a fantastic decision.

ArtOo 8:21 AM  

Super clever theme. SE tough with LOVENESTS hiding LOVEHOTEL and never heard of PAWLS. So DNF.

Hungry Mother 8:29 AM  

Lewis Carroll is always welcome here. I thought this was taking a long time, but when I was done, the time was pretty short for me on a Wednesday.

Kris in ABCA 8:36 AM  

I love that SCRAM cozies up to TURNTAIL. LMS's description of the evil Maltese twins is priceless.

Tita 9:00 AM  

Only soap I watched was Dark Shadows in high school. Oooh, Barnaby & Angelica - or some such vampirish names the two leads had.
Oh wait - I forgot - I watch Downton Abbey - just a soap with British accents and nicer china.

"Oh frabjous day" is a common exclamation around here - those words have passed into the language. (Wink, @lms)

(and lol to your MOSS rant!)

I've been to NARITA many times. I've never been to Japan. Stopovers only.

SLUICE is a great word to say.

Never understood the revealer, so that means a technical dnf. It was the whole NEXTDAY LASTNIGHT action - thought it was going to be something about relative TIME...
Thanks Mrs. AB and C...

Roo Monster 9:03 AM  

Hey All !
Extra word-following theme. Nice. Tough to have two words in this type of theme, and now we ger three! Very cool.

Also fairly straightforward for a WedsPuz, making me seem smarter than I am!

Clean fill, though TATTOOART to my ears seemed a stretch. And agree with Rex on LOVEHOTEL wonkiness. Wanted bongo for TOMTOM, but a letter short. Also had georGE in at first for SLEDGE, thinking George Foreman! Only writeover.

Overall, very nice, non-brain-hurting puz. My ole cranium thanks you.


1820 Stone Colonial House 9:06 AM  

Don't understand the kerfuffle about the THIRD clue. It is a valid use of misdirection, IMO. SHORT is not more correct than THIRD, because Ripken played both. Liked the puzzle , but thought the northeast a bit of a mash-up.

Z 9:07 AM  

I chuckled as I wrote in THIRD (never even considered "short"). Well over a fifth of his games played at the position makes it a fine misdirect, but sports fans are noted for having a high level of disdain for anyone who moves their cheese. Personally, I put Ripken and Jeter both in the "stars managers are afraid to move even though they don't play their position especially well anymore" camp. Cal probably should have played 5 more seasons at third than he did (and A-Rod was the better SS when he joined the Yankees). I'm not alone in thinking this, but oh the wailing you hear when such truthful heresies are uttered.

SLITHY seems no less crossworthy than RUE as clued (It's not someone's name? Than I have no clue what that clue/answer means). I haven't read or seen any Hunger Games but what I've read about it seems to suggest that people will be reading Alice long after Hunger Games' 15 minutes are up.

LOVEnests caused me a major slowdown in the SE. The "register" in the clue should have tipped me off, but LOVE HOTEL just isn't in use with anyone I know. I give it the Odin Side-EYE.

PPP Analysis.

15/72, 21%. This is the lower end of Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns we ever see in a puzzle. And, yes, this includes the SLITHY NARITA crossing.

jberg 9:17 AM  

I had to come here to figure out the theme -- I could see it was 3 words, but was so fixated on DAY and NIGHT as particular times that I never thought to put time after the word. Sigh.

I don't really know anything about sports, so the Ripken clue was no trouble for me -- five letter baseball position starting with T, and I was done.

What did give me trouble was somehow reading some of the clues shifted over to the left -- can't explain why. So I had OUR mutual friend at 2D, forcing me to write over the otherwise obvious OCEANS. I was halfway through the puzzle before I figured that out. (Took me almost as long to figure out what @Loren was up to with that SLEDGEd business. How do you think of all that stuff and still have time to teach?)

Magpie 9:21 AM  

I'm with NCA President on TRIPLETIME. Minuets are in three; triple time is hella fast (faster than double time).

And I'm with everyone else on Cal Ripken - not much of a sports fan, and even I knew that it should be SHORT.

Wm. C. 9:21 AM  

I've been to Narita Airport several times years ago, pre-retirement. It may have changed since, but the taxi ride into the city (and back) was a horrendous crawl, especially after a long, long flight from the east coast. So no problem on this one for me.

On a related point, Narita was often a waypoint to Hong Kong's old (until about 15 years ago, I think) Kai Tak Airport, located at the end of Victoria Harbor. It was one of the most extreme landings for those long-haul 747 pilots to make, since the terrain required a right-turn at about 500 feet, a few miles short of the runway. It was always fun to sit in the right-side window seat, being able to see the folks in their high-rise apartments having breakfast a few hundred yards off to starboard.

GILL I. 9:32 AM  

LOVE HOTEL? maybe in NARITA. In London or New York you mean Dayuse and when you wake up, you turn to your partner and say "ABOUT LAST NIGHT" at which point he/she will TURN TAIL SCRAM.
I don't know TOOLS as obnoxious sorts and only know RUE as in St Jean.
I like the TIME theme and I'm in the @Loren jabberwocky SLITHY camp.
Wednesday cool.

chefbea 9:35 AM  

Too tough for me. Had to come here..but I did get triple time. Of course liked sauté

Mr. Benson 9:41 AM  

That northeast threatened to derail me completely, but otherwise I'd call it medium on the difficulty scale. I also put in Main for MOSS, and it took me forever to get out of there. I had heard of SLITHY and thought about it, but assumed the answer was some other Jabberwocky word I wasn't thinking of.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Can't say much more than has already been said. Main for MOSS, shoRt, for THIRD (strengthened by pot for RED), and LOVEnests for LOVEHOTEL gave me fits and pushed this into infuriating more than challenging.

Nancy 9:59 AM  

I agree: top half too easy; bottom half not so much. But I made this puzzle a lot harder for myself by initially putting Cal Ripkin, Jr. at sHoRt instead of THIRD. Giving me, for the end of the rainbow, POT instead of RED. Eventually IMPOSTOR straightened me out.

I did learn something worth learning from this puzzle: that Odin sacrificed an EYE for wisdom. Making Odin one of the more interesting gods in the pantheon, I would think.

Once again, an after-the-fact theme that had no effect on the solving whatever. But when I went back and checked it out, I thought it was cute.

OISK 10:14 AM  

Booker T's backup? The only Booker T I know of is Washington. MGS are cars, aren't they? i have no idea... On the Ripken clue I immediately knew there were two possible answers, and the H and R worked for both, but "One end of a rainbow" was a gimme, so third it was. I did not mind the clue, despite my fondness for Cal and the Orioles.

Thought this was a very cleverly clued, apt Wednesday puzzle.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Please explicate Booker T's backup = MGS

Thank You Josh 10:44 AM  

Some terrible music cluing here. TOMTOMs are not hand drums. And TRIPLETIME is not even close to a meter. LOVE HOTEL is simply Not A Thing. Combine those true inaccuracies with the generally weaksauce fill of OPE, SLITHY, and NARITA, and I am distinctly underwhelmed. Didn't help that I genuinely didn't get the theme - I thought the clue was that the theme answers had three words? It's a decent theme but it won't help actually solve the clues because it's so esoteric and doesn't really make sense until you've already solved. And that's the sign of a bad theme to me.

Phil 10:44 AM  

LOVE HOTELs are definitely a thing. Especially in places near Japan's NARITA airport. I'm sure you could even drive to one in a MIATA.

Proud Mamma 10:53 AM  

Rex. Why is Jabberwocky uncool, but Ripkin is? I personally know more about literature than sports. and I only know many sports stars as crossword puzzle-ese. In this puzzle there are bows to masters of music, sports, television shows and channels, movies, cars and government and, yes, literature.

What is MGS?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:53 AM  

Fine puzzle; loved getting to the reveal and seeing how it applied to those super-smooth themers.

Hand up for MAIN >> MOSS.

Proud Mamma 11:00 AM  

I immediately put in love _otel and waited to fill in H or M. Do I know more than others about this?

Proud Mamma 11:01 AM  

I immediately put in love _otel and waited to fill in H or M. After all, you don't register into a nest.

archaeoprof 11:02 AM  

Nice reveal, wasn't it? Count me among the many who went back and enjoyed the puzzle a second time.
FWIW, my crossword puzzle class (which our fearless leader very kindly skyped with for almost an hour) published its own original crossword in our college newspaper this week. Not quite ready for the NYT, but not all that bad, either.

Lewis 11:08 AM  

Clean solid puzzle and enjoyable solve. The cluing was more direct than I like on Wednesday, but there were answers I liked (SLITHY, ENDRUN, SLUICE), a right EYE, and in addition, LOVE HOTEL seems to be a good cross for the "soap" answer and FLASK. I spelled IMPOSTOR with an E for that final O, and that caused me some delay. They are apparently both acceptable, but the former Googles better.

Jeff Chen is a gift to Crossworld. His writeups are wise and respectful and he seems to be eager to help constructors, even experienced ones like Joel Fagliano, whose puzzle he helped yesterday. Very grateful to you, Jeff!

Banya 11:12 AM  

As an avid soap fan, I'd say LONG LOST FATHER (also mother, sister, brother) comes up at least a few times a year.

If someone new comes to town, chances are they're related to someone who doesn't know.

Joseph Michael 11:22 AM  

This to me felt more like a Thursday in difficulty. Little seemed to work as I plodded through the grid. Then suddenly it began to fill ITSELF in and WON me OVER.

Had to Google once to get the "N" in NARITA and then was able to figure out the remaining TURNTAIL, IOU, and AIR.

Seems like that trysting spot should be a LOVE motel not HOTEL, but even on General Hospital a LONG LOST FAT MER wouldn't hold the audience's attention for long.

Nice work, Alex and Jeff. Your puzzles do not disappoint (except for msybe those PAWLS).

puzzle hoarder 12:00 PM  

The NE was the only hangup for me. That MAIN/MOSS write over got that section off on the wrong foot and I found it hard to recover. Writing NINETY in at 12D just made it worse. 28A had to be EYE so I did some erasing and started over. Oddly enough OBLIGE was what made it click. I don't know which is worse to not get from a first letter but for some reason both MOSS and ABLE were hard for me to see.
I have to confess to a feeling of schadenfreude while reading about the misdirect some people experienced with the Ripkin clue. My disdain for all sports trivia is usually a handicap but in this case ignorance was bliss.
@Z I like your PPP theory however it has the same flaw my own idea for objectively measuring a puzzles' difficulty has. I thought l could just look up how often a word has appeared in the NYTP and it would be analogous to it's difficulty to come up with. The more often it's been used the easier it is to get. I actually tried it on that puzzle from the other day that started with MINICAR. It turns out that particular word has only appeared twice in the history of the NYPT. In spite of that it was as easy to come up with as the most shop worn piece of ese. Some people will always know SLITHY and NARITA right off the bat and others like myself with have to run the alphabet against that T to be sure it's right. Pardon the TMI too much coffee.

Sonia S 12:46 PM  

Love Motel/Hotels are certainly a thing, as it happens I got it on the first pass. Which proves nothing except perhaps that I have especially seedy friends. ...

I always wondered if memorizing Jabberwocky would ever be useful for any reason at all ...

Had to double-check PAWLS on the googles to see if it was an actual word, and I never get attached any any of my sports fills as they are my personal jabberwocky.

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Biggest problem in the NE was MAIN, before MOSS (yo, @jae).
SLITHY, NARITA, OLIN were no problemo here, except for their spellings. Have been to NARITA (yo, @Tita); be sure to check out the restrooms.

Probably not first to notice this … there was a DOUBLETIME-themed NYTPuz on TuesPuz, 6 Sept 2011. Now, what world needs is a HALFTIME puztheme.

Speakin of which … {Congress} and {Half of Congress} = HALFCRAZY and CRAZY. har

Neat pair of {It becomes its own synonym …} clues, too boot. Kinda sorta like today's fave weejects:
* OPE. Becomes its own non hoity-toity synonym, if U add on an "N".
* SHO. Becomes its own non commercial synonym, if U add on a "W".

PAWLS. Learned something new, right there. Cool. From the Low German "pal". Had me a low German pal once, named Dieter. We used to play to-the-neardeath tennis matches against each other, outside in real hot weather. Then we pawled our way off the court, and limped over to the local ice cream shoppe, where loser had to buy the large mawlts. But, I digress …

Luv the Cal Ripken clue, as either of two answers will fit, length-wise; it is up to the solver to determine which. Sorta like that themer LONGLOST??????. Pawlsible answers:
* SUMMER. Due to constant congressin.
* SUPPER. Due to the lunch that wouldn't die.
* SCHOOL. Due to physical hygiene lectures.
* WASTED. Due to recent scenic car travels thru Colorado, following a certain "vegetation" purchase.
* CRUNCH. Due to the candy bar fallin between them seats at the Santa Fe movie sho. ["Very Semi-Serious" … super great documentary, about editing cartoons at The New Yorker.]

Thanx, Alex Chen men. [Day-yang: SECOND day in a row, that two constructioneers have ganged-up on us.]

Masked & Anonymo5Us

p.s. fave New Yorker cartoon, from that there flick:
Doctor to patient, in operating room: "You will be kept awake during the surgery." [Off to the side is this Scottish highlander dude, with a set of bagpipes.]

Tita 1:13 PM  

@Wm C - that's when I was connecting through NARITA to Hong Kong and elsewhere...from the IBM building I would watch planes approach below the level of the surrounding buildings. EEK...

I'm sure neither pilots nor those apartment dwellers miss that act of pilot prowess.

Chuck McGregor 1:15 PM  

@NCA President 7:42 AM: What he (et al) said about TRIPLE TIME – 100%.

With @Z on a no-pause THIRD going in. The only time I saw Cal live, he was playing that position, so…..

ABOUT LAST NIGHT, my CHAT was those nips from the FLASK talking, STARTIN’ with the GAL LOVER and the SLITHY SEX….

“Jabberwocky!” -- A favorite poem so I loved SLITHY. It’s such a mimsy word.

I accompanied (acoustic bass) my favorite pianist, accompanist for this first-rate, local choral group, the Sheepscot Valley Chorus, performing a delightful musical arrangement of the poem. I TRUST you might enjoy this performance without any frumious YouTube ads:

Jabberwocky, the Musical

Speaking of musicals, I also played in the equally delightful “Das Barbecu.” You might say EEK to the conceit. It is Wagner’s Ring Cycle sung (mostly) in two acts, as if it happened in Texas, complete with a country-western score. Of course, a main character was the one-EYEed Odin. It is a real hoot, seriously. I say that knowing the original well. As to the score for this, strangely there was no bass part. (C&W music? Go figure.) So I had to compose one for myself. Same thing for “Sunday in the Park with George” (a tough challenge) and several others. Wondering if Broadway composers/arrangers don’t like bass players.

Rather than always outgrabeing, I’d like to see a bit more noblesse OBLIGE from some of those bandersnatches, but maybe that’s just me.

When I got out of the Navy in the early 1970s, I had not seen a soap opera, with or without a LONG LOST FATHER, since c. 1960 (in black & white). Not that I watched them, but I had certainly seen a few episodes or parts thereof. I was in a TV/stereo store and one was playing on the demo TVs. As I watched, it sure looked like some woman was thinking about smothering some guy to death. Nah. Murder? And a female perp? No way. This is a soap opera. Ya know, some trysts, jealousy, envy, money,…...(as I was recalling). However, she proceeded to go ahead and do just that. From my prior experience with the genre, all I could think was, my-my-my, soap operas have sure changed from what I remember!

Wasn’t TOM TOM VIVA the original MR T?

Good puzzle (partly ‘cause I could finish it…) and it was fun to solve.

It’s Near-___ to have a Beer-___ for Cheers-___

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

Callooh Callay! I love a Jabberwocky reference anywhere I find it so in a Wednesday NYtimes puzzle is perfect. On the other hand, the diametrically opposed SW section looks like a TATTOO ART Mecca with all the ink I managed to use up. Really, isn't one AEON long enough to describe a star's life span? Do we need multiple EONS? I plunked aEON in down there, went up one and put in "talk", then ICON above that. Then the O of SHO convinced me that Ogled should be the answer for "Checked out" so everything at the bottom came back out. It wasn't until I finished the SE and reverse engineered from LONG LOST FATHER that I was able to clear the SW up.

I'm with Carola that FATHER Time was the most fun of the revealers. I started thinking, "are they referring to some new parenting technique..oh, that FATHER TIME!" Fun stuff.

Nice seeing THE ONE under ABOUT LAST NIGHT. Interesting to see SEX for "Congress" and then half of Congress is the SENATE, about as far from SEXy as I can imagine. PAWLS and NARITA were WOEs and having the RD in place at 49D saved me from any worries about what position Cal Ripken Jr. played.

Thanks, AB and JC.

lg 1:34 PM  

Medium is correct. I was hung up with LONG LOST moTHER and then couldn't get SLITHY because I was lost for a bit on the NE corner. Also, when did Showtime become just SHO? I had tmc at first (The Movie Channel) because at least that makes sense, since SHO isn't an a acronym like HBO. Of course that didn't work so I tried SHO.

TOOLS was dicey, OPE, OLIN and SLITHY were weak but overall the puzzle was good.

Anoa Bob 1:42 PM  

I flew in and out of NARITA several times while working in Japan in the 80's. Unless you have very, very deep pockets, take the train rather than a taxi into downtown Tokyo.

LOVE HOTELs were ubiquitous. There's no "L" sound in Japanese so they were pronounced ruh boo ho tay roo (sorta). If you say it real fast, it kinda sounds like LOVE HOTEL.

TRIPLE TIME seems like something a deranged drill sergeant would yell at her recruits. Non-musician here but I think of a minuet as being more on the slow and stately side rather than in TRIPLE TIME.

If you come into my shop and ask for a SLEDGE (61A), then this is what I'll give you:

Percy Sledge

If you're looking for the TOOL aka the "Persuader", then you need to ask for a SLEDGE HAMMER.

Doc John 2:20 PM  


Nancy 2:42 PM  

From Wikipedia ArticleBooker T. & the M.G.'s is an instrumental R&B/funk band that was influential in shaping the sound of Southern soul and Memphis soul. The original members of the group were Booker T. Jones (organ, piano), Steve Cropper (guitar), Lewie Steinberg (bass), and Al Jackson, Jr. (drums). In the 1960s, as members of the house band of Stax Records, they played on hundreds of recordings by artists such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and Albert King. They also released instrumental records under their own name, of which the best known is the 1962 hit single "Green Onions".[1] As originators of the unique Stax sound, the group was one of the most prolific, respected, and imitated of its era. By the mid-1960s, bands on both sides of the Atlantic were trying to sound like Booker T. & the M.G.'s.[2][3]

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

Pawl!? Yikes!

Warren Howie Hughes 3:38 PM  

Rex, Two Mediums in a row, R U SEERious

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Not that the clue is that much better for it, I would like to point out to all the nay sayers that Cal Ripken, in addition to playing Third at the tail end of his career, actually came up to the Big League as a Third Baseman his first year. He was originally thought too tall to be a Shortstop. He quickly proved them wrong and spent only a little time at Third before sliding over to Short, and then when he reached the late stages of his career and had lost a bit of mobility he went back to Third.

So the clue is still a little weak, but not indefensible...

Aaron Spanik 4:19 PM  

I remember my piano teacher in the 80s still referred to any piece with two beats to the bar as being in "duple meter" and four beats as "quadruple meter". It stands to reason, then, that three beats to the bar would be "triple meter". That said I never heard her use that phrase, and I played plenty of waltzes and minuets. Likely another case where a crossword clue is technically correct but departs markedly from common usage.

jae 5:18 PM  

Booker T & the MGs - Green Onions

Ellen 5:30 PM  

"I didn't read 'Jabberwocky' and I'm cranky at those who did" isn't a useful objection. The poem's a cultural touchstone -- I had it memorized at age eight without even trying.

As for Ripken, my thought process went as follows: "He was a baseball player, right? What bases are there in baseball? Oh, THIRD fits!"

Leapfinger 5:57 PM  

@Tita, I think maybe your autocorrect transgendered your Messers AB and C. Or was that an @Anoa Bob POC?

@jberg, please explain @LMS' SLEDGE, in case she doesn't return. Else I won't sleep tonight. It's been donkey's years since I've seen pig eons on my window's ledge. And that's a really long time.

Now for some me-time in the old Pawley Island Hammock.

Another day, another Greenwich Mean Party.

Chronic dnfer 6:24 PM  

Horrible puzzle. My biggest peeve was love hotel. Love motel maybe. Just awful. The cal Ripken thing inexcusable.

Norm 8:26 PM  

People, people, people. Booker T and the M.G.s were one of the best 60s bands. How can you not know them? That's like Rex complaining about not knowing the amazing words that Lewis Carroll coined for The Jabberwocky. Okay, maybe not. They are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is more than you can say for some of the modern names that Rex loves to praise. The initials in the sports cars stand for Morris Garage. I have no idea what the initials in the band name stand for. My first sports car was a 1962 MGA Mark II. I wish I had it back.

Z 10:15 PM  

@puzzlehoarder - PPP doesn't measure difficulty so much as "fairness." Once you get to a third of the puzzle being pop culture/products/proper names the likelihood of a "wheelhouse"/"outhouse" debate breaking out here goes way up. PPP answers are trivia, you know it or you don't. Most of the time we can use our other skills to suss out trivia we don't know, but when you get to 33% or more the risk of some section of the puzzle being unsolvable for some solvers goes way up.

Tita 10:27 AM  

@Norm - I had 2 1960 MGAs - coupe and roadster. Am actually in the process of selling off a few of the parts I still have laying around. I bought them in the 80's. One was my daily driver.
I miss them too!!

the redanman 2:49 PM  

Commenting today (Thursday) for yesterday's puzzle here, two duds in a row. Serious errors here.

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

I want to know who thinks a C-cup is a medium size???

Burma Shave 12:06 PM  


EYE CAN say OUR SEX was EVER so sublime,
THE THIRD’s THEONE that OBLIGEs me to tell,


spacecraft 12:13 PM  

Almost word for word with OFL on this one, except for his dislike of Carrollian verbiage. He just needs to be grabed by a few mome raths, and he'll be fine. I thank the constructors for that NE gimme.

Now someone tell me how you get from "Checked out" to ONLOAN. I guess I could "check out" the gas station's key to the bathroom, whence it would be ONLOAN--UNLESS (another ??? clue) I planned on making that facility my permanent LOVEHOTEL. Ugh.

My favorite all-TIME quote from the OCEANS trilogy: "I want the last check I write to bounce!" While we're there, let us pay homage to "the best part of my day," Tess, Julia at her SEXy peak and Damsel of the Day.

Clever, deep and not at all obvious theme--but then Chen = clever. Fill dotted with a couple oldies-and-not-so-goodies (MRT, YSL), but otherwise pretty clean. B+.

leftcoastTAM 1:36 PM  

I'll not look at RP's review or other posts until after I respond here. As usual, most of what I would say has already been said.

This one went from an easy theme to some tough fill: the SLITHY/EYE cross and certain never-heard-of entries, PAWLS and MGS that crosses forced out.

The theme entries were easy and the revealer obvious after getting by the minuet.

In short, an easy-medium, unexciting Wednesday.

Z 3:03 PM  

@spacecraft - you need to visit your local public library more often and check out a few books.

rondo 3:21 PM  

I didn’t write in sHoRt, but to me that’s the real answer and the reason Cal became an ICON. Funny that Prof. OFL doesn’t appreciate a great piece of English Lit. Toves are indeed SLITHY, and a gimme. And no write-overs, so not that tough.

The TIME is, of course, a band that Prince put together which included Jimmy Jam Harris and Terry Lewis who went on to win multiple Grammy Awards and were nominated for an Academy Award. Dozens of top 10 hits as writers and producers. Worked with many pop and R&B stars.

9a could just as well have been clued Randy ____ instead of Spanish ___. Just as odd.

Lena OLIN will always and for EVER be a yeah baby to me. Send me to congress.

I become an antonym of myself when “mo” is added in front.

ANNAL SEX must be THEONE to remember.

I didn’t TIME myself, but this puz didn’t take LONG from STARTING to finish TIME

rondo 3:30 PM  

BTW - can't believe anyone had trouble with Booker T. and the MGS. Green Onions is such a classic from the '60s. Booker T. put an album out not that many years ago called Potato Hole, which I bought upon release. Drive-by Truckers as his band with a little Neil Young guitar on the side. Fantastic.

Diana,LIW 5:31 PM  

Any time I complete a puzzle with no errors I assume I'll come here and everyone will say how easy it was. Imagine my surprise as many have called it easy to more challenging.

Solved as a themeless, but in retrospect it was kinda cute.

@Spacey - you check out a book from the library, and then it is ONLOAN to you.

3-day streak going - which would have been 4 days but for that one letter on Sunday.

Diana, Waiting for a SLITHY tove

crabby 5:34 PM  

@spacecraft, That library book has been checked out, it is ONLOAN.

isypecs 5:57 PM  

OCEANS 10? The only clued answer in the whole puzzle to jump black space? I don't get that.

leftcoastTAM 6:26 PM  

@Burma Shave: In rare form. Keep 'em comin'.

rain forest 6:39 PM  

Yup. Top half, pretty easy; bottom half, challenging.

Characterizing anything by Lewis Carroll as "junk" is absolute heresy, especially for an English prof, but I guess he thinks that superhero comics are high art. Of course! They're current. Carroll will always be current in my book.

Cal Ripken played THIRD and sHoRt. Put in the H and R and wait for it. Good clue.

Unlike so many others, I think this puzzle was a treat, with a clever theme which I even figured out before the revealer because I spent so much time in the bottom half, I had not much else to do. And, btw, TRIPLE TIME needn't mean fast. Ever do a minuet? Me neither.

Now, if I'm lucky, I might engage in some congress today. Or maybe tomorrow. Or...

Good stuff.

Teedmn 8:36 PM  

@spacecraft, think ON LOAN from the library.

Scotsman 10:16 PM  

A fun solve, even though I got a DNF because of SLITHY. I am not familiar with "Jabberwocky" so the toves may well have been SLIgHt, for all I know. NARITA and NARIgA are both airports I've never heard of, and while I wasn't sure what an EtE was, I couldn't think of anything else Odin sacrificed. I suppose I might have come up with EYE if I'd dug deep enough into my high school memory, but it probably wouldn't have helped with SLITHY. I agree with Rex: made-up junk.

Having said all that, I really like the theme here. Familiar but fresh. Solid answers with a good reveal. A nice recovery from yesterday's big swing and miss.

kathy of the tower 12:55 AM  

The puzzle didn't take too long. It took a little while to dredge up SLITHY.

I knew Booker T and the MGs immediately. I was on the dance line in high school, and we had to learn a routine to that song for tryouts. I can still do part of it, and I'm proud to say I can still do the school song.

I just listened to Green Onions, then listened to several other songs from my past. What a wonderful trip down Memory Lane...

Patricia Kincaid 1:12 AM  

Thank You!!
I couldn't survive without you, Rex.

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