Ziegfeld Follies costumer / THU 4-14-16 / He gave Odysseus bag of winds / One-named singer born Christa Paffgen / Site where cuneiform tablets were discovered / Societal instability resulting from breakdown in societal values / Gesture made with thumb nose / TRUS 2016 political slogan / Radio listener grp

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Constructor: Jason Flinn

Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning toward Medium-Challenging)

THEME: WATER SLIDES (37A: Summer amusements ... or a literal description of three answers in this puzzle) — circled squares "slide" down on a diagonal, completing their Across answers while also spelling out forms of running "water":

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: MR. YUK (53D: Iconic green poison symbol) —
Mr. Yuk is a trademarked graphic image, created by the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and widely employed in the United States in labeling of substances that are poisonous if ingested. (wikipedia)

• • •

Pretty ambivalent about this one. It has some very nice moments, like the vibrant and contemporary LAMESTREAM and the colloquial WANNA BET!? But it's really proper noun heavy, in this trivial way that I find grating (clues on ERIC and ADA were especially ugh) (8D: ___ Blair, George Orwell's real name + 46A: ___ Clare, ward in Dickens's "Bleak House"). The puzzle tries to get clever, or innovative, I think, in the south, but it came off like a wreck for me, largely because MR. YUK is new to me. Unless he appeared in a crossword years back and I've forgotten him, this is the first I'm seeing him. He is "iconic" in that he is literally an icon, i.e. a visual symbol. But between him and SNOOK (?) and BOY-O, all spiced with some nicely aged OMOO ... I dunno. Felt a mess. Also, there's some unfortunate arcana in this thing. I've read the Aeneid (not to be confused with the ENNEAD) a million times, so AEOLUS is like an old friend, but I feel like he's not the greatest crossword answer. The bigger problem, though was the AMARNA / ANOMIE crossing, which I think is gonna Natick some people. I blanked hard on AMARNA. I wanted AMEN (AMON?) RA, then SMYRNA ... man, AMARNA. Rough. Thank god I'd heard of the concept of ANOMIE ... but I don't think everyone has. In fact, just now, reader Ben V. wrote me that he was put off by "5D-9D, 20A, 43A, 46A, 66A, 67A, but really just sadangry about getting naticked at 2D/23A." So my intuition about that crossing seems like it might not be too far off.

I like that all the sliding waters are actually moving waters, i.e. no non-moving forms of water, i.e. OCEAN, LAKE ... but I don't know what a "RUN" is, honestly. I've never used that word to describe a brook, stream, small river, rill, creek, etc. I see that Google has this def. as its 11th def. of "run (n.)." I wish RIVER or RILL or CREEK had made it in, as RUN seems small and cheap. I also wish CHICKEN RUN had gotten a movie clue. Cluing overall felt fussy and tough and odd. Many wrong answers at first: XED for DID (35D: Checked off the bucket list, say). WAR for VIE (59D: Battle). Two different answers were plurals that didn't end in "S," so those were tough (4D: Transient things => EPHEMERA; 31D: Lashes => CILIA). I've seen that damned [Take the wrong way?] clue so many times now that it feels less clever, more plagiarized. Usually, it's STEAL. Here, BOOST (another word that required crosses to see). So the theme is nice-ish, but the overall VIBE was kinda crummy.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:17 AM  

Medium- tough once again with the top half tougher than the bottom. It took me a while to see the theme, plus I had nsA before CIA, AEneaS before AEOLUS, diRELY before SORELY, and mAin before LAME (nice clue).

Sorta guessed at the ANOMIE/AMARNA cross. I think I've see ANOMIE before, but it's been a while, so I'm with Rex, it's a nasty cross.

I think RUN as a waterway may be more common in the Southern states, e.g. the Battle of Bull RUN?

Clever theme with a nice "aha" moment, some zippy fill, a lot of crunch...liked it a bunch.

George Barany 12:22 AM  

Given that we still had snow flurries in Minnesota earlier this week, @Jason Flinn's puzzle promising summer amusements seems a tad premature. For me, the theme emerged gradually, and afforded a number of "aha" moments along the way. LAMESTREAM is not in my working vocabulary, so even with the theme clear, the mishmash of crossing words in the northwest corner (already noted in @Rex's review) led to quite a delay in completing the puzzle.

Yesterday's puzzle had TORRE, clued as: "Former Yankee manager who also served as player-manager of the Mets." Well, guess what, today's puzzle has BERRA, the other answer that would have worked in that slot yesterday.

One clue in today's puzzle really rankled me. To find out which clue that is, please try Green Eggs and Canadian Bacon which was constructed in collaboration with @Craig Mazin--someone uniquely qualified for the cluing thereof. You may also want to watch this 4-minute clip from @Samantha Bee, which is highly relevant.

Anonymous 12:36 AM  

Jesus, what are they doing at the NYT puzzle? How can "snook" ever entered a puzzle, and on a Thursday at that (clued as it is here? And Mr. Yuk? Obviously it is a thing; I've never seen the logo (or at least never noticed it), and I reasonably positive that I've never heard or read that name. "Amerna" is decidedly NOT a Thursday answer.

For the record, I finished this puzzle in a slightly better than my average time for a Thursday (< 12 minutes) – somewhat of a humblebrag but mostly to suggest that I'm not complaining from some bitter DNF-driven sour grapes. But this was (yet another) ridiculous puzzle.

Come to think of it, "Mr. Yuk" is an appropriate answer for this dreadful puzzle.

Martín Abresch 12:44 AM  


Managed to get through the other thorny parts. Knew the first part to AEOL__ but couldn't remember if his name ended in US, IN, or AN. Did not know CHICKEN RUN. The abbreviations (EEG, UAE, and SNL) and the French (SEL) made that small section difficult to assemble.

Didn't know DEBI Mazar and couldn't remember if it was ELON, ELEN, or ELAN MUSK. I had LONELY instead of SORELY, so that took a bit to sort out.

Have heard the British word BOYO but not the British word SNOOK. My favorite answer in the grid is MR. YUK. I found that southern section odd but entertaining.

But mostly I am cocking a SNOOK and making a face like MR. YUK at AMARNA, ANOMIE, AEOLUS, APNEA, and ENNEAD.

Anonymous 1:22 AM  

As you know, I somtimes find your reviews overly fussy, but this one nails it. I got Naticked at the ANOMIE DOLCE crossing. Had A, don't ask why. SNOOK? AEOLUS? NICO? LAMESTREAM.


gourmand 2:31 AM  

In the completed puzzle you've provided (from Across Lite?), the themed squares feature circles. In the iOS NYT crossword app (at least my version), the themed squares are grayed...and the app has definitely featured circled squares in the past. This is by no means a big deal, but I'm curious what led to this discrepancy. Were there technical issues? Is it because I haven't updated my app in months? Did someone at the NYT decide that circled/gray squares work better on certain platforms? I genuinely want to know the reason.

Charles Flaster 3:32 AM  

Liked this medium Thursday more than Rex.
Started puzzle from bottom up so caught theme at BROOK but solved as a themeless.
Liked cluing for APNEA, WANNA BET , DREIDEL( great misdirect) , HAIR LOSS, and MERE.
Hoping Berra and/or Yogi continues to make his presence felt.
Thanks JF

Loren Muse Smith 4:26 AM  

Rex – I somehow remembered ANOMIE, so I had that N there. But it was LINEAL and ERTE that held me up. Never heard of LAMESTREAM, but I like it. My deathblow was OPERA. I was thinking the Italian "sweet" was "dulce," so even though I penciled in an O just to test those waters, I just couldn't see OPERA; OPAH and SETI were just beyond my grasp. Shame on me, though. Those are both stalwart crossword entries.

And I played around with "war/wind" before I wrote in VIE/VIBE.

I had the "WHO? Never heard of'em" reaction to ELON MUSK, but the name went in easily with the crosses. I couldn't extricate my mind from the Jetsons and Mr. Spacely.

Enjoyed the image of the French MERE dressing her BOYO in a SILK/ONESIE.

I usually have CNN on when I solve, and I snorted as I read the AEOLUS clue. Lots of bags of wind to choose from. 'Tworks for some, I guess.

I liked the MINNOW in the STREAM and the BROOK flowing into the BAYOU. No SNOOKS from me, Jason – nice job.

Anonymous 5:06 AM  

Agreed - bottom was Mr. Yuk indeed.. Not seeing how "boost" is taking the wrong way(?)

kelen 5:59 AM  

yup, same Natick experience....with Amarna though I kinda got Anomie....

CFXK 6:35 AM  

Surely you have heard of Bull Run.

Muscato 6:59 AM  

Well, we live on a Run and have friends who keep chickens, so that gave me the first one and off we went. AMARNA was kind of a surprise; I studied Egyptology and it still seems a shade obscure, even for a Thursday. I'm always pleased to come in well under my average time on a Thursday; to do so on a puzzle that Rex considers even a medium makes my day!

JayWalker 7:04 AM  

This is the second day in a row I solved the puzzle correctly but damned if I know how!! Had to struggle for at least 50% of the answers - and I mean struggle! Anomie, Aeolus, lamestream, dreidel (can someone explain that one for me?), boost, snook - and those are just the Across answers I either fought mightily for or just finally took on faith. Amarna, Mr. Yuk (??), boy-o, sorely (re the clue?) and mostly Elon Musk (I'm assuming that's correct - never heard of him) for the Down clues that gave me nightmares. Others that I seriously question: IPO (41D) throws me, as an "angel" in my world is the backer of a play not a company. Isn't that an "investor?" I truly don't mind the struggle but when I feel I'm being harassed instead of challenged, then I get testy. Oh well - I'm getting old I guess.

Imfromjersey 7:37 AM  

I wasn't familiar with Run as a term describing water, until I moved to Arlington, VA in the 1990s and lived a block away from Lubber Run Park. There is also a stream that runs through much of Arlington called Four Mile Run, a street and part of the bike path as well, so to me it was a common term. Turns out it's actually 9.4 miles long according to Wikipedia Overall I enjoyed this one.

tb 7:52 AM  

Battle of Bull Run? Might be a southern thang. There was a Sandy Run in S. Illinois where I grew up.

Glimmerglass 7:53 AM  

Rather a niggling sort of review. It's just not possible to grumble about RUN or MR YUK (both pefectly ordinary words as clued) without sounding petty and small-minded. I do agree with @Rex that there were too many arcane proper nouns, but most were gettable from crosses. Just enough hard stuff (ANOMIE) to make this a late-week rather than a Tuesday-level puzzle. I liked seeing AMARNA, but the clue was a bit lame. AMARNA was the city built by the odd-ball (in several ways) pharaoh Akhenaten as his desert capital (he was unique among pharaohs in that he was a monotheist, years before the Hebrews). After he died, he was almost erased from history, the city was abandonned and then lost for centuries, and pharoahs were polytheist again. Akhenaten even looked strange. Fascinating little eddy in Egyptian history.

Norm 7:53 AM  

Surely you've heard of the Battle of Bull Run, for example, Rex? I certainly hope you did think it was fought in Pamplona.

NCA President 8:02 AM  

Did not like. I got hung up with the SNOOK/BOYO/MRYUK and the LINEAL/AMARNA/NASH cluster f*#@s.

Also, 50D Moves behind? doesn't get a free pass for that question mark. TWERKing is when you move A behind, or YOUR behind, or THEIR behind...but NOT just "moves behind." It's clues like this that mess the whole puzzle up because once you find out that the constructor is able to create such clues, then it's hard to trust them from then on. "Moves behind" is awful.

I also think that my time was slow today because I kept waiting for there to be more of a theme. It's Thursday so you know, trickeration. But this was just three themers using running water descending in the grid. That's it. Meh. So the whole puzzle I'm looking for missing letters, rebuses, SOMETHING...ANYTHING more than just RUN, STREAM, and BROOK.

As for "run" as a water word, I think I've heard of names like "Millers Run" and knew that it referred to a stream.

By and large, I certainly didn't enjoy this puzzle.

Lewis 8:05 AM  

There were 11 answers that are simply not in my brain -- NASH, NICO, ANOMIE, AEOLUS, ADA, SNOOK, AMARNA, OPAH, BOYO, MRYUK, and CONNOR -- with three of them in the Texas area, and I finally had no course but to Google. I'm okay with that if after I Google I don't say, "Darn! I knew that!" ... and I didn't. There were only a few squares I hadn't filled in before Googling, but I never would have filled them in if I kept coming back to the puzzle all day. I will certainly remember ANOMIE and I hope I forget MRYUK.

I liked the clues for HAIRLESS and DREIDEL, and I liked seeing ELONMUSK and EPHEMERA in the puzzle. Whoever NICO is, she's under OATH. That backward EAU echoes the theme, and there's a double N mini-theme (6). Plus we have a LACE up and CHEW up.

Waterslides reminds me of Slip 'N Slides. When my sister was 8, we got one, and the ads and package said that you slid on a "cushion of water". She believed that with all her heart, and the first time she tried it, she ran, leaped high in the air, got horizontal, and basically crashed down in a monster bellyflop, with much pain and crying to follow. After that, she looked at all ad claims more skeptically, that is, she lost some of her innocence and gained some wisdom. One doesn't need a classical education to gain sagacity.

chefbea 8:17 AM  

Two puzzles in a row that I couldn't finish...and it isn't Friday or Saturday!!!
Did like the clue for dreidel though!!!

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Love Mr. Yuk! Love that the NYT xword recognizes Mr. Yuk.

blinker474 8:29 AM  

Thought this was a great puzzle, even though I had a couple of errors. Took a while to get to 'waterslides', and that helped a lot. Really liked the "lame stream" where I had first put 'mainstream.


L 8:38 AM  

I recall my Durkheim and ANOMIE was a gimme. But so much wasn't... SNOOK/OMOO/BOYO was brutal. LAMESTREAM was pretty fantastic though.

Kris in ABCA 8:40 AM  

I did just what Loren did: DuLCE for DOLCE and no idea about SETI and OPAH. I'm not sure I know what a space OPERA is, so that didn't help. To me, this area was tougher than the ANOMIE/AMARNA cross.

kitshef 8:42 AM  

RUN is very common around here for waterways. In addition to those mentioned by @Imfromjersey, we have Difficult RUN and Scott's RUN, and I just led a wildflower walk last weekend at Turkey RUN.

Felt basically the same difficulty as both Tues and Weds from this week, so - normal for a Thursday? Wanted AMAnrA for some reason in the recesses of my brain but ArOMIE looked wrong. Flipped the N and the R and it looked much better.

Fell for nsA before CIA, tried MRsiK before MRYUK (a WoE). BOOST/DEBI was really hard to see - a WoE crossing a (for me) tough clue. SaL (Espanol) before SEL (Francais).

Liked the theme and thought it was well-executed. Did not like the fill. ESTD, OMOO, OPAH (???), ERTE (???), ISIT, and worst of all LAMESTREAM, a term I abhor.

Tita A 8:52 AM  

Di think we need an alternate for the term natick... Should we call it an amarna or should we call it an erte? I was in fact able to apply a glimmer of intelligence to get the N of ANOMIE, figuring that the AN- prefix was called for since it has a *lack* of values.
So I guessed wrong twice there, first with N, then with S.

But the south...!!!? Never heard of or noticed MRYUK...had MhYrr in their for a few desperate moments. Wanting ANNApolis meant I would never see the inferrable ANNORBOR. And was somehow twisted into thinking the alligator was a sports mascot. BOYO?!

Anyone else want lovin for 5A Some spoonfuls?

I dodged LATIN...I got to Maria Regina just as they dropped it as a requirement and was thrilled...regretted that later...tried to take it in college, but the Latin (and Greek) prof advised against it given my regular course load.

Though I was born in NY, I had to take the OATH...REALLY TURNED THE DEFINITION OF "natural born" on its head. I know the LAMESTREAMers will have a field day with that when I run for president.

I liked the theme of this puzzle, but this is my 3rd DNF in a row...I think it is a record for me. I would normally not blame the puzzle for my DNF, but today, I might make an exception.

kitshef 8:53 AM  

To add to @Glimmerglass's comments, everyone is much more familiar with Akhenaten's son, whose original name was Tutankhaten, but when the one-God religion was changed back to polythesim, became Tutankhamun, and is commonly just known as King Tut.

Z 9:03 AM  

ANOMIE didn't get me. Not knowing ERTE worked costumes for Ziegfeld and Roy did. I may never comment about wanting balanced pop culture again. Some puzzles skew young. Some skew old. This one skews all over like a teenager's bedroom (if that teenager is a polymath). Politics, ancient Egypt, Greek myth, Sci Fi, bad TV, good TV, Dickens, Melville, NICO, AYN Rand watching football in ANN ARBOR, and, OMFG, cocking a SNOOK while BOOSTing SILK socks.

I am always throughly and completely amused by the concept of ANOMIE. It is just a fancy word for "kids these days," a complaint that goes back at least as far as Plato. Just because you got a fancy-schmancy word for it doesn't make you any less of a grumpy old man.

One other observation about this grid, the "slides" have resulted in the NE and SW to be connected by just two squares the central diagonal. This made it play like three separate puzzles.

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Names as a percentage of answers. When PPP is 33% or more the puzzle will play unfairly for some group of solvers

29/76, 38%. Heavy on the PPP. As always, an * means that the PPPness comes from the clue.

*Space OPERA
ANOMIE (I'm calling this a pop culture reference as in things our Pop would say)
AEOLUS (really should be spelled AEIOLUSY sometimes, dontcha think?)
DREIDEL (resisting the urge to answer - I'm sure others more qualified will)
ADA Clare

ERIC Blair
DEBI Mazur
AYN Rand

Carola 9:06 AM  

Luck of the "just happen to know" put this in the super easy category for me - a childhood immersion in mythology (AEOLUS) crossing with memories of a fascinating exhibit on the AMARNA culture + still smarting from a previous crossword's "why didn't I know him when everybody else seems to have heard of him?" (ELON MUSK) + fears that my toddler children would be poisoned (MR YUK). ETC.

Once I saw CHICKEN RUN, I understood how LAMESTREAM worked, the R of which gave me WATER SLIDES and the expectation of a "river" - so DONNYBROOK was a nice surprise treat. I thought the theme answers were very good.

Yesterday I was just talking with a gardener friend about EPHEMERA, as each day I go out and check to see how my trout lilies are doing (okay, and talk to them, too). Blink and you might miss them. I love these delicate signs of spring.

JB 9:30 AM  

Run is a mid-atlantic thing, perhaps just Maryland. A small river is a run...

John V 9:33 AM  

Challenging, but got it. As noted, several hard crossings. Thought SNOOK/MRYUK and neighbors the hardest part but also never heard of Sarah CONNER. DREIDEL was truly inspired.

Theme fun if a bit obvious from LAMESTREAM. Nice change of pace for a Thursday.

jberg 9:34 AM  

I'm a social scientist, so I just loved seeing ANOMIE crossing EPHEMERA. On reflection, though, I can see that might not be everyone's cup of tea. And I thought ELON MUSK, creator of the all-electric car the Tesla, was more famous than he apparently is.

So I liked this puzzle, but I would have liked it better without the shaded squares (or circles, I guess, for some) to show where the water ran downhill. I mean, it's a Thursday, there's supposed to be a trick, and this took most of the trickiness out of it. The revealer would have been enough.

I think I've seen DREIDEL more often (i.e., always) without the second E, so that held me up a bit, as did wanting CHICKEN coop before RUN. My son's family raises urban chickens, too, and they have a run, so I should have known right off.

For whoever asked, BOOST means shoplift, at least here in the NE. It's a highly regarded skill in certain circles (or shady squares, depending).

I was almost stuck on SNOOK, though, which I know only as a fish. But they live in the ocean, so as such it would have been misplaced.

skua76 9:36 AM  

@gourmand, in the Wordplay blog, Jason Flynn is quoted mentioning "shaded squares" so perhaps they are his doing? BTW I haven't particularly enjoyed any of this week's daily puzzles so far...

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

We received Mr Yuk stickers at school when I was a kid in the 70's & 80's (Alaska and Washington State). People came to our classrooms and introduced Mr Yuk, then sent us home with sets of stickers. Our parents put them on all the poisonous things in the house - not that we ever would have been under the sink drinking bleach, but it was a fun reminder that there were dangerous things in there.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:49 AM  

Fun puzzle, if not as tricky as I hope a Thursday will be.

And because I expect tricks on Thursday, I welcome every proper name I can get, precisely because with proper names you know if it is right or if it has been manipulated. (My first entry was AEOLUS.)

Never heard of AMARNA, but NASH, ERTE, and ANOMIE locked it in place. (Didn't know MR YUK either, but that's what crosses are for.)

Nancy 10:08 AM  

I never heard the term LAMESTREAM and I didn't know AMARNA, either. So I might have naticked on the cross, but made the most obvious guess, and therefore didn't. I found this hard, but rewarding and liked it a lot, despite all the PPPs. My very first answer in, though, was one of the proper names: I knew ERIC Blair (8D).

DONNYBROOK (my favorite theme answer) gave me MR YUK (huhhh?) and SNOOK, a gesture I've never heard of. I've heard of snookered, yes, but not SNOOK. Another huhhh. BOOST is another verb I don't know in that context, and I don't know DEBI, either, but I'm sure I'm right. I'll go back and look. This was full of contemporary slang to go along with the PPP, so it's amazing that I liked the puzzle at all. But I enjoyed it.

Wm. C. 10:11 AM  

Elon Musk is an amazing entrepreneur, heading such companies as PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors at various times.

Tesla, an electric-drive automobile, can do 0=>60 in under 3 seconds. Amazing.

Also ... Like others above, knew Anomie from some deep memory recess, never heard of Amarna. Nor Aeolus. Snook???

Don't know why several above had trouble with Dolce. I had the D from Doses, and La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life, perhaps the best-known Italian film, and most critically acclaimed Worldwide, directed by Federico Fellini with Anita Ekberg, Marcello Mastriani, Anouk Aimee.)

Latin. -- Took four years of it in HS. Me, with little foreign-language aptitude, studying as much time for Latin to avoid a Honor-Roll "C" disqualifier, as for all four other subjects --all easy "A"s for me -- combined. Our teacher was Miss Mason (known as "Moose" Mason for good reason), who had studied in England in college, and often said "It has been many years since I was abroad" -- much to the tittering amusement of all us juvenile males in the class.

ghkozen 10:14 AM  

Maybe its a generational thing, and when you had children. I am in my late 20s, and Mr. Yuk was definitely a thing when I was in single digits. It made me very, very happy to see it in the puzzle.

johnny stocker 10:17 AM  

I remember MR YUK well. That was a pretty big thing when I was a kid.

On the other hand, you can add me to the list of the people who threw up their hands at AMARNA/ANOMIE. No idea there.

Lobster11 10:25 AM  

Naticked at ERTE/AMARNA, then twice at SNOOK/BOYO and SNOOK/OMOO. Please tell me you're kidding. Otherwise, Z's PPP analysis says it all.

Two miserable days in a row for me. Going into Friday with zero confidence and a bad attitude.

Ludyjynn 10:36 AM  

This puzzle is a perfect example of why I read this blog. There is no way I would have ever been able to plow through this grab bag of Friday-ishness w/o the tenacity and tricks you all have helped me acquire over the last 2 years. Several OATHs were uttered along the way! That said, I admit to a single letter DNF at ESTb and need to look up the definition of ENNEAD, a new word for me. But getting that close was a win, in my book.

One of my favorite clues here was for ERTE. This was a novel approach to such a crossword staple and I learned something new about the artist. (@Z, You cracked me up by referencing Siegfried and Roy, the Vegas guys, in your comment; you were joking, maybe?)

@GeorgeB, nice catch re BERRA today, also my nemesis yesterday.

Liked LAMESTREAM crossing TED Cruz. Enough said.

I sat next to a brilliant but lazy friend in high school LATIN class. She never studied for quizzes and routinely earned big red "F" grades at the top of the returned papers. Immediately, she would set to work turning the F into an picture of a flag or some other beautiful manifestation. BTW, she later submitted an illustrated autobiography as her application to Sarah Lawrence College. Despite her lousy Latin grades she was accepted to this highly selective institution.

DREIDEL clue was worth the price of admission. Thanks, JF and WS.

Kimberly 10:42 AM  

ANOMIE still sticks in my craw, because I wanted it to be anarchy so bad from the get-go and was trying to figure out how that worked into the shaded area, and the elusive AMARNA just put me in a miserly, bitter mood for the rest of the puzzle. By the time I got to SNOOK I wanted to offer the constructor a gesture involving my thumb and nose.

I was mentally wedded to MAHI as a Hawaiian seafood way too long, which baffled me for crosses which should have been gimmes.

All in all it made me feel unforgiving towards clues that I would normally take in stride.

Instead of easy/medium/challenging, I should rate crosswords by how stupid they make me feel. This one I would rate "dumb as a box of rocks."

Anonymous 10:42 AM  


Z 10:45 AM  

@JayWalker - Maybe this might help.

Hartley70 10:49 AM  

So I thought this was really tough and really terrific. I only knew 2 of the PPP's to start, DEBI and ELONMUSK, so my entry door was narrower than usual. There was so much to learn here it was like taking a 37 minute 8AM class. To list all the answers I had to work to find would bore you all. I will say LAMESTREAM was an amusing surprise.

The theme added to the cluing and difficulty level was a delightful bonus. I would have loved this puzzle without it, but it was pretty cute. BTW, I've heard of a water RUN, but never come across one in New England.

mac 10:55 AM  

Well, if Jason set out to make me feel dim this morning, he succeeded.

Stew instead of chew blocked that area for a while, CPA for CIA the W. I thought PPO could very well be one of those elusive acronyms. I also thought Angels were especially for theater productions.

Some of the clues seemed a little off, like "take the wrong way" = boost. Not knowing Debi made it extra hard.

Maybe I should be blaming my throbbing sinuses....

Da Bears 11:06 AM  

On July 21, 1861, Union and Confederate armies clashed near Manassas Junction, Virginia, in the first major land battle of the American Civil War. Known as the First Battle of Bull Run (or Manassas), the engagement began when about 35,000 Union troops marched from the federal capital in Washington, D.C. to strike a Confederate force of 20,000 along a small river known as Bull Run. After fighting on the defensive for most of the day, the rebels rallied and were able to break the Union right flank, sending the Federals into a chaotic retreat towards Washington. The Confederate victory gave the South a surge of confidence and shocked many in the North, who realized the war would not be won as easily as they had hoped.

Tim 11:07 AM  

The bigger problem for me was not AMARNA/ANOMIE but AMARNA/ERTE. I had at least heard of ANOMIE before, even if I didn't know the definition for sure, so I could guess the N there. AMARNA/ERTE is a straight-up Natick, no two ways about it.

I filled in DuLCE for 5D, leaving me with u_ERA for 15A and stumped at O_AH. So I DNF with one wrong square and two blank.

Other question marks for me included SNOOK, DEBI and MRYUK (though I was at least able to suss out "Mr. Yuk" once I got the rest of the crossings).

Liked the theme a lot, but the fill kept me scratching my head and not always in a good way.

Roo Monster 11:10 AM  

Hey All !
Late start today, so haven't read any comments yet. Forgive if I repeat others. :-)

Theme idea nice, but the answers themselves... YUK. LAMESTREAM???? C'mon. And a RUN as a WATER thing? Maybe way down in the dictionary listing, as Rex noted. Also, some of the fill was Saturday level, IMO.

Did like seeing my old friend OMOO. O heavy South, especially S Center. BOOST as clued was new to me, but after Rex-plination, the ole brain morphed it into sense. Did like DREIDEL as clued, and MR. YUK. Haven't heard that for eons.

SO, even though I made the puz in a nickname-of-a-blogname kinda way (ROOMY), I didn't VIBE with this puz. The IDEA SORELY SANKA. I will SNOOK at it. (BTW, isn't that an offensive gesture?)


OISK 11:14 AM  

Brutal. @chefbea - almost two DNF in a row for me, too. Somehow all my guesses were correct this time, despite completely unfamiliar snook, Elon Musk, Debi Mazar Sarah Connor, Nico, Mr Yuk(??) and words only familiar via prior crosswords, like twerks, and onesie. What is "seti"? ( 7 down).

Groan and Yuk. I don't even like the way bayou was clued. But it did call to mind one of my Dad's favorite puns. The great hockey player Gordie just bought a home in southern Louisiana. He's calling it "Howe's Bayou..."

Nancy 11:14 AM  

@ludyjynn (10:36) -- From the girls I knew who went to Sara Lawrence back in the day, I would say that ultra-arty was what was being sought, and LATIN not so much, if at all.

@Anon 10:42: ONESIE is a cutesy-poo term for an infant's one-piece article of clothing. There may possibly be TWOSIES too; I'm not really sure.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Onesie is a little baby garment in one piece with snaps at the bottom.

old timer 11:27 AM  

So total a DNF for me that even Dr. Google failed to produce the right prescription. Oh, Dr. G gave me AEOLUS (I'd guessed Apollo). But AMARNA? Did anyone really *get* AMARNA except on crosses? Surely WS could have insisted that the entire NW be redone. I was mystified by ERTE too, because I read "costumer" as "customer" and was thinking bald-headed men in the front row rather than Art Deco.

There was plenty of stuff I did get, on the way. The revealer suggested only three answers were to be found. Which could only be the three diagonal shaded areas, sloping down. And so DONNY brook went right in, followed by the (wrong but easily changed) "main" stream media. I for one was glad to see my old friend SNOOK. I've seen references to someone SNOOKing his nose at someone all my life, and now I know exactly what gesture that is. Never seen MR YUK but crosses got me there.

The diagonal "run" came as a happy surprise, too. We've all heard of the Battle(s) of Bull Run, haven't we? I sort of knew that a "run" is a small stream, as a result.

Anyone else put in "lame'" for tablecloth material. LACE is better, though. Quaker Lace used to be the best material to top a holiday dinner table, and we have the pictures to prove it.

Sir Hillary 11:36 AM  

DNF for first time in forever. Still tasting the sour grape juice, so take the following complaints with a grain or two of SEL.
-- @NCA Prez has it right; the entire NW is a clusterf---. That was where I met my sliding WATERloo today. So annoying when the top-left corner is no fun.
-- MRYUK? Seriously??
-- Regarding SNOOK, I would say 's no OK!
-- OPAH crossing OPERA reminded me of Letterman's Oprah-Uma routine when he bombed as Oscar host.
-- I'll bite my tongue on SETI and just be thankful I learned a new term that I'll never use.
-- To be fair, in contrast the NW, the SE corner is rather good.
-- Nice to see BERRA after yesterday's YOGI. But despite many people (myself included) writing him in, BERRA was never an "alternate" answer yesterday, because he was never a player-manager of the Mets. Just a manager.

Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

1 for 2, on Nat-tick-guessin…
* AMAR?A/A?OMIE = guessed "N" correct.
* BOY?/SN?OK = guessed "S", mostly becuz BOYs looked like a word. Got buzzed.

@009: First of all, M&A is gonna stop checkin the day-um "__th Greatest Crossword Solver in the Universe" in About Me. So … ok. Also, I liked RUN fine. Reasons:
* Have heard of RUN, meanin a creek where horny salmon swim.
* Nice weeject runty underdog length.
* Has one of the four puz U's, today. [Lil darlins.] Nice show of respect, there.

Hardest area to get a grip in: N central. Ain't never heard of a CHICKENRUN. In act of total desperation, guessed DOSES off the ????S, and on in I went. [Yellin "bonsai", or somesuch.]

LAMESTREAM = new, and har. Always like new and different stuff, boyo. Better clue {Hey! Miz Derek! (??)}

Thanx, to Jason and the Shortzonauts.



Master Melvin 12:28 PM  

Player-manager means engaging in both activities at the same time. TORRE was indeed a player-manager for the Mets; BERRA was not. Yogi pinch-hit for the Mets a few times their first year, but was long-retired as a player by the time he became manager.

John Child 12:37 PM  

No answer yet to the circles versus shaded squares question, so I'll wade in.

The file format used by Across Lite (.puz) is a lowest common denominator. It doesn't allow shading (or a great many other things), but it's common. Shading may be more elegant or appropriate at times, and the NYT iPad app and online solver often use that instead. Normally circles and shading mean the same thing, that the square being marked is interesting in some way.

If you use Across Lite I suggest you try either the NYT app or Puzzaz, a terrific tool if you solve on an iOS device.

Wm. C. 12:38 PM  

@OISK11:14 --

SETI is Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, a cooperative venture of government and some universities to "listen" to radio transmissions from Space to find evidence that there is intelligent life elsewhere than on earth in the universe.

I immediately knew this because in the early 70's I was a minicomputer salesman who sold a small machine (with a steep educational discount) to a Harvard professor who was one of the leaders of the effort. The computer was needed to control the tuning of the radio receiver apparatus which was scanning the spectrum for transmissions.

AliasZ 12:56 PM  

Today's puzzle had three rivers run through it. Neat.

I love EPHEMERA because they go away almost as quickly as my hair. HAIR LOSS is also spelled out at 29-diagonal. WANNA BET? I was ready to lay a bet that 48D was LAYETTE but it didn't fit. What the heck is BOYO? I am ENNEAD of an explanation. And I go TWERK every weekday, no explanation needed here.

DOLCE is sweet not only in Sorrento but also in Leipzig, to wit: Flute sonata in B minor, BWV 1030 by J.S. Bach, the second movement of which is marked "Lento e DOLCE".

Anoa Bob 1:03 PM  

EPHEMERA crossing ANOMIE right out of the gate was a word nerd's delight. Tried ZEPHYR, the name of my sail boat, at 25 Across, until SANKA & EEG pointed the way to AEOLUS. Was not familiar with DREIDEL, so learned something new. Bonus.

Only know SNOOK as a marine fish popular with anglers. Since it's a saltwater species, I guess you would not find it in a BAYOU. Maybe in the KEYS. Here's one.

Molson 1:07 PM  

I'll have to disagree with you on this one. I thought this was a good, fun puzzle. SNOOK/BOYO are pretty poor, but I really like the themers and the NW/SE corners are good. TWERKS, EPHEMERA, ANOMIE, WANNABET, ELONMUSK, HAIRLOSS are all nice answers. MINNOW at the end of STREAM is nice add, also.

Dolgo 1:22 PM  

I agree mostly with Rex. I had to go though the alphabet in my head to get boost, which I've never used in that sense. It seemed most likely and I was lucky it turned out to be right. Of course I also had the problem because I've never heard of a "onesie." That is what happens when you've never had kids!

Mohair Sam 1:24 PM  

Well that was different. In true danger on a second consecutive dnf day, but used @Tita A's logic to suss the "N" (AN- being a negative) in the hated ANOMIE and whupped this toughie. The PPP count was high, but it seemed to cross all types of solvers - fair enough.

ERTE atop ANOMIE crossed by AMARNA and EPHEMERA is really Saturday NYT only stuff. On the other hand, SNOOK crossing MRYUK? Yikes! Have you no sense of shame Mr. Shortz? Good thing OPAH, SETI, and ERIC were surrounded by gimmes DOLCE and SANKA or we woulda been fried there for sure. I always forget if it's MUSK or Tusk because of that evil character in "House of Cards".

Let me throw Mill Run, PA into the run mix - It's SE of Pittsburgh.

@OISK - Terrible, but groan worthy.

the redanman 1:31 PM  

Very easy for Thursday except some really lame answers, maybe 4 of them ratcheting up the difficulty.

I kinda hate this sort of "difficulty". I caught on really quickly and LAME stream with AMARNA made it stupid. Sorry, that's my O.

Teedmn 1:34 PM  

I'm handing in my English-as-a-first-language membership. I survived all of the common pitfalls here but had a DOOK moment with ANNAR BO? Not knowing MR YUK, I left that cross blank because I could not see ANN ARBOR, a perfectly well-known, in the language city in Michigan. Sheesh.

I came close to a mess in the NW, not knowing AMARNA. I briefly had @LMS's DuLCE but I sounded out 15A until OPERA slapped me in the face. Finally remembered ANOMIE.

My 24D was It Is? before IS IT? I happen to be reading "Bleak House" so ADA, at least, was a gimme, unlike AEOLUS, who is the source of that other crosswordese, "aeolian". ELON MUSK is a name well-known to me. I am avidly following the development of electric vehicles so I see his name almost daily. And I'm so envious of the several of you WHO remain ignorant of Sarah Palin's LAME STREAM media coinage!

I liked the theme IDEA (and the clue for IDEA, 63A) but agree with @Rex that RUN was not a word that necessarily evoked thoughts of running WATER.

So although a few GROANs were voiced, I say thanks to Jason Flinn for the CHICKEN RUN around the grid.

okanaganer 2:02 PM  

I knew RUN only because I visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house, which is built atop Bear Run creek, and whose address is Mill Run Rd. in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. There's runs all over that there western PA.

Fred Romagnolo 2:19 PM  

Convince me I'm wrong: "Laddie" is A Scots term - "Boyo" an Irish one; neither group is famous for liking to be confused with the other one. Why would Akhnaten's Amarna have cuneiform tablets? I didn't know LAMESTREAM; seems to be a cousin of Snail Mail. For those who asked: SPACE OPERA is a cousin of Horse Opera. Shouldn't WANNA BET have had an indication in the clue that it was a slang expression?

Doc John 2:30 PM  

I completely agree with your whole writeup, Rex!

Chronic dnfer 2:58 PM  

Bummer for me. Even after seeing the answers I think this puzzle sucked.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  


Roo Monster 3:22 PM  

The Terminator people! Sarah Connor, mother of John Connor. Start watching movies! :-P

I seem to know more entertainment type answers than news-type answers. Probably because I don't watch the news. It's all depressing and idiotic politicos calling each other names. I find it more satisfying to fill the ole brain with entertain-y-ness. Just sayin. :-)


puzzle hoarder 4:55 PM  

I've lost two rounds of painstakingly pecking comments to hitting the wrong thing on this tiny phone screen. All I'll say now is if you found the puzzle hard it was meant to be. Besides from the obscure elements things that could have been much easier were clued to make them difficult too. OPERA is the foremost example. This is its 167th appearance in the NYTP but the first to use the "space" clue. Space opera has only been seen once in the Shortz era. It goes back to 1952 pre Shortz but I read a lot of sci-fi as a kid and I've never seen it. LAME STREAM was new too but at least it's topical jargon. MRYUK was unknown but ROAN,BOYO and OMOO were gimmies. Entering ECG when I fully intended to write in EEG and my CONNER misspelling hid what would have otherwise been an obvious AEOLUS. Ironically this was in the easiest part of the puzzle. I never looked back and ruined an otherwise clean grid. Still I really enjoyed this puzzle.

Margaret 5:06 PM  

Amazed you have never heard of a 'run' before Rex. One comment pointed out that they might be southern, and that is certainly the case. But in Pennsylvania -- not southern, and not so far from your stomping grounds, we have lots and lots of 'runs.' They are small streams -- too small to be a creek (crick -- as those are pronounced. Yesterday I took a drive into a county north of me and passed Laurel Run, Olive Run, and Mudlick Run (great name that). They all head downstream to Bald Eagle Creek, which will join the West Branch of the Susquehanna somewhat east of me.

Enjoying this puzzle -- savoring it one might say.


Tim 5:30 PM  

@John Child: the Across Lite puzzle file format neither allows nor disallows "shaded" squares. It identifies squares that need to be rendered in some distinctive way, to signify to the solver that the squares are special. It's common for desktop solving apps to render these squares as circles, but there is no inherent reason that the apps could not display them as lightly shaded squares instead (a solution I'd much prefer).

Roo Monster 6:33 PM  

Nice fish! :-D


Tita A 7:12 PM  

@Carola...trout lilies are among the volunteers that I treasure - anything that I don't need to plant and coax and beg to live, but that are happy on their own, get huge respect from me.
I'm delighted to see them (and saw several today), the wild trillium, and yes, even the skunk cabbage.

Mountain Brook (Mountain Rivulet would be more apt) crosses my property, ending in a wetlands, which are the perfect host for those natives. Oh - and the Jack-in-the-pulpit too.

mhiggy05 7:23 PM  

I love to come on here when I find puzzles especially challenging for my circle of knowledge and check the PPP, then feel righteously vindicated. Thanks for the PPP analysis that makes me feel not quite as ignorant as I would otherwise have thought.

John McCulloch 10:12 PM  

To boost a car is how I took it.

Z 10:20 PM  

@ludyjynn - Moi? I don't know much about Art Deco Fashion, but I do know ERTÉ didn't do Vegas. Glad it got one smile, at least.

Anonymous 10:43 PM  

Totally naticked anomie/Amarna.

As a child of the 70s, I remember well the Mr. Yuk campaign. Anyone else start singing "Mr.Yuk is mean/Mr.Yuk is green" while filling in the answer? Look for the PSA on YouTube to see what haunted 70s kids.

I've been cursing the member of my book club who chose Bleak House this month yet that's the only reason Ada was a gimme.

Leapfinger 11:54 PM  

Thumbing the nose is the gesture known (somewhere, some time) as 'cocking a snook'. Who knows but that the nose has been referred to as a snoot, so it's a reasonable proposition that the phrase was originally 'cock a snoot', and gradually transmogrified to SNOOK. The non-gesture SNOOK, as noted earlier, is a fish and one known by many names -- the Portuguese alone have over 2 dozen -- though no-one calls them MINNOWS. Some types have BARBS, and most are what might be termed serial hermaphrodites, with males becoming females as they mature. In that regard, they've been more socially liberal than humans by some aeons with no apparent signs of ANOMIE.

Erté was a Russian-born French artist, whose pseudonym was based on the initials of his real name, Romain de Tirtoff. Lettuce try to remember that.

CHICKEN with AEOLi sauce, yum!

Theme was terrific for showing WATER running downhill. No better representation of Entropy, smooth as SILK, and made this old geyser very happy.

Christophe 12:27 AM  

YUK says it all! YUK!!!

Cassieopia 12:30 AM  

Dreidel is a thing you spin like a top that is a child's toy - the "top" choice of December.

Carolina Aguirre 1:33 AM  


Leapfinger 2:04 AM  

@OISK: Fine, how's by you?

@Nancy, there's only ONE Z. Not sure howe he'd feel about that 'cutsie-poo', not to speak about those snaps at the bottom (crotch, to be precise).

@Z, I'm another who double-taked (took?)... was double-taken by Ziegfeld and Roy. Sly.

@Teedmn, am very impressed. Had Bleak House not been req'd in Freshman English, I doubt I'd've made it past the first 500pp, though Jarndyce&Jarndyce has proved invaluable. See what happens when you're paid by the page and installment?
On another subject, I've wondered whether the parental Musks were in the cantaloupe business when little Elon was born. Don't know whether he has had time to marry, but he'd better run like the plague from anyone named Ellen Mellon.

Had never been introduced to MR_YUK and can't discern the reason for a cutsie-poo icon when there's a perfectly serviceable skull-and-crossbones to dissuade the small fry from snacking on the drain cleaner. Seems counter-productive to use a kid-friendly approach, but maybe warm&fuzzy is more effective, WHO knows?

Sic transit gloria EPHEMERAe

Anonymous 2:19 AM  

The paper also had grey squares, fwiw

Bob Kerfuffle 9:09 AM  

@Leapfinger - This is just off the top of my head; haven't taken the time to Google, but as I recall the discussion at the time Mr. Yuk was introduced, it was said that the Skull and Crossbones had been used so often in children's literature and television shows and cartoons in association with cutsie-poo pirates (after all, isn't another name for S&C "The Jolly Roger"?) that children were more likely to find S&C attractive rather than repellent. Hence the need for an un-ambiguously ugly symbol.

carlc 10:54 PM  

A run is a stream. There are a bunch of themselves in these parts: Raven Run, Hickory Run (also a Pennsylvania state park) and Mud Run in Lehigh Go ge State Park, site of a terrible train disaster: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mud_Run_disaster

Gregory Schmidt 7:26 PM  

Given that ECG, EKG and EEG are all about the same thing, I thought that crossing AEOLUS with EEG was pretty bad.

Diana,LIW 1:27 AM  

Jumping ahead one evening. Kathy of the Tower, pls email Teedmn (in the Future) to be able to email me, and Rondo.

Let's get our St. Paul agenda going.

I'm coming in on Friday nite early enuf to get a room service din din.

Then, have Sat to explore St. P. Can meet up any time on Sat with y'all. Will be in st p until Monday afternoon, so my time is your time.

So, Kathy, Rondo, Teedmn - waddaya say?

Diana, You-know-who

Burma Shave 9:21 AM  


WHO will give a GROAN or maybe a SNOOK?
That’s how the MERE IDEA of EPHEMERA works.


spacecraft 11:06 AM  

Let me channel Ogden NASH for a moment:

Oh, the two-E DREIDEL
Must remain idle.
The one-E DREIDL
Remains my idol!

The latter is the correct spelling, the puzzle entry is an Anglicized alternate: not actually wrong, but...inferior. As for the OPERA, of all ways to clue that, he picks Space___??? What about horse or soap? Space OPERA sounds like a derogatory term. To what would it be applied? Star Trek? Them's fightin' words, man! Star Wars? Well, maybe, but I just thought that word could have been WAY better clued.

Are we really supposed to know WHO NICO is? WHO??? Or where AMARNA is? C'mon, man. Then there's ENNEAD. Only--and I mean ONLY--within the confines of a crossword grid. Can you imagine some sports writer going "The Philadelphia ENNEAD defeated the Florida Marlins to take sole possession of second place in the NL East, just half a game out?" Hooray for my Phillies, but that's the last column that guy would ever write.

As to the theme, LAMESTREAM (a new one on me and yet another piece of newspeak that I dislike) covers it quite well. DOD: I haven't seen Entourage but I WANNABET that DEBI would make a suitable one. Double-bogey.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Just to pile on... Wikipedia page on cuneiform lists about 5 places where tablets were found before Amarna, clue suggests Amarna was the first, so seems inaccurate as well as obscure.

rondo 12:17 PM  

BOYO boy. Well, that was the one answer I didn’t care for. Except for the mid-north I kinda filled this in from the bottom up, the aha coming from DONNYBROOK. The STREAM took me up to the LAME area and I avoided the Natick with the fairly sure N in those two A-words. Good thing I had AYN in there, otherwise ANNARBOR would have been Michigan and that would be a mess.

Velvet Underground anyone? Yeah baby NICO and Lou Reed amongst others were in that band. Besides singin’ she did some modeling. The other candidate, DEBI Mazar, is recognizable by her high forehead and exotic eyes.

Both MRYUK and ELONMUSK were gimmes. OFL must have been napping the day(s) they came around to introduce MRYUK. The safety folks really made a big deal about recognizing his ugly mug, for years and years. Hard to be unaware of that. ELON seem to welcome any and all press opportunities.

@D,LIW, I’ll bounce a few IDEAs/potentialities your way for a St. Paul Saturday.

This puz was a bit weak in the theme area and a few of the words off the A-list were toughies, but as Thursdays go I’ll take WATERSLIDES before putting HHO into rebus squares (like Sunday).

Longbeachlee 1:52 PM  

Oh costumer. I saw Erte, but to identify him as a Follies customer I would not accept. On me, but I still hated this.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

Still don't get the "Angel" IPO answer. If someone could explain, I would appreciate! Thanks for the blog!- AWR

rain forest 3:12 PM  

It was looking like a second straight dnf pour moi, but several correct flat-out guesses saved the day.

DREIDEL (or, @Spacey, DREIDL). To quote my hero, nevah hoid of it, but the crosses ruled there. Where's AMARNA, who is NICO? I wonder if AEOLUS had to suffer denigrating nicknames.

This was quite the abbreviation fest today, with many of them not signaled as such. On the other hand the variety in the cluing was welcome. Interesting, at least to me, that LAMESTREAM, TWERKS, and ELON MUSK, came easily thus proving that, despite my distressing HAIR LOSS, I do know some current stuff.

The RUN of more challenging puzzles continues, and I have to say I like it, but I'd like to get by with less guessing.

leftcoastTAM 3:28 PM  

Yeah, it was medium--except for the NE, which took an inordinate amount of time to suss out.

Didn't know CONNOR or NICO and had only a very dim memory of AEOLUS, who was the KEY the whole section. Crosses of course helped, but they weren't exactly an Aeolian breeze either.

A bit of a GROANer, but put it together for a satisfying Thursday challenge and fun solve. I've found the whole week so far to be like this.

I hope to be in top cognitive condition for Friday and Saturday after this string of energetic Mon-Thur workouts.

Diana,LIW 8:13 PM  

Happened upon Stan Newman's book, Cruciverbalism, yesterday, bought same, 1/3 way thru. Now I understand what Rex is talking about re the Maleska era. I solved pre-Maleska (Will Weng was the editor) and then started up again a couple of years ago. Stan describes his first x-word tourney, which I appreciated since I'm going to (but NOT competing in) my first one soon. Man, the x-world is full of characters. Guess that's why I sorta fit in.

This puz had some verging-on-Maleska-like words - ANOMIE, AEOLUS, AMARNA, ENNEAD (which was in another x-word today too!), SNOOK. Never saw any of that stuff at good old RITEAID. BOYO you can bet on that!

Got90% before my dnf, so that's good for a Thurs. Got the themers - cute. Not a ()*^&ing rebus. SETI was in a news story on NPR today - timely. Knew MRYUK -- not sure why, but he seems ubiquitous. Maybe 'cause I worked at the Children's Hospital in San Diego, or because I lived in Penna in the 70's. A 2006 survey found that 3 out of 4 people knew him. I guess the other 25% do crosswords, from the discussion today.

Hard to believe one could not know John Nash!

@Spacey - the OED spells DREIDEL as used in this puz, with the "dl" version as a var. However, I do agree with you on OPERA as clued. Sheesh.

@Rainy - a DREIDEL is a top (spinning toy top) that kids play with at Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday in December. Pray tell, what abbrs. were unclued as such - I missed that. Hvr, I cud b clueless.

@Anon 11:44 - I think that 2D sez cuneiforms were discovered, not FIRST discovered, at the oft- discussed ( ;-) ) AMARNA.

@Rondo - I've been looking up St. P diversions. Looks like a nice city - one claimed to be one of America's most "livable."

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Dan Christian Roehm 10:31 PM  

A run is a river created by a spring.

Dan Christian Roehm 10:32 PM  

a RUN is a river that flows from a spring head.

Dan Christian Roehm 10:35 PM  

And the water flowed down to the bayou

Anonymous 11:46 PM  

Many mentioned Mr. Yuk... Here is a bit of trivia for you... It turns out that Mr. Yuk was 'created' in Pittsburgh out of necessity. The classic skull and crossbones which would historically be found on poisonous substances was felt to not intimidate children enough in Pittsburgh as they were desensitized to the skull and crossbones because of this icons association to the Pittsburgh Pirates.


Have a great day.

Mike from Cleveland

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Alix F 12:26 PM  

I was unable to get SNOOT, which I’ve never heard before. Then found it this morning, in Kenneth Roberts’ wonderful historical novel Arundel.

The main character, Steven, and his Abenaki friend Natanis are preparing for a council where they expect confrontation, the former by shaving and the latter by painting his face in vermilion, yellow, black and white. Steven makes a sarcastic remark.
“He made a snoot at me, a horrible snoot, so that I nicked my ear with the razor. Natanis was pleased: his painting had been successful.”

Alix F 12:35 PM  

Roberts used SNOOt not SNOOK. So I still wouldn’t have gotten SNOOK without the crosses from MRYUK and BOYO, neither of which I knew.

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