Sidekick in 1990s SNL skits / SUN 6-19-16 / Many-time Indy 500 pace car / Hazel's love in Fault in Our Stars / 1991 film with tagline secret of life secret's in sauce / Brand with two harnessed horses in its logo / Starting point for Pompeii tourism / 1948 John Wayne film

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Traffic Intersection" — some black squares (in the above version) function like intersections, where the square is "RED" in answers that precede and follow the square, but do not go *through* the square, and "GREEN" in answers that *do* go through the square, thus:

Theme answers:
HANK [Green!] BERG, but
BEET [Red!] // [Red!] SCARE

BLOOD [Red] // [Red] RIVER

BIG [Red] // [Red] HAIR

SEES [Red] // [Red] EYES

TURNS [Red] // [Red] HOTS

and finally


Word of the Day: TALLINN (63D: Baltic capital) —
Tallinn (/ˈtɑːlɪn/ or /ˈtælɪn/, Estonian pronunciation: [ˈtɑlʲˑinˑ]; names in other languages)[citation needed] is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) and has a population of 440,950. Approximately 32% of Estonia's total population lives in Tallinn. (wikipedia)
• • •

RUNNING A [Red] LIGHT. Cute. All the other intersections involved legal driving behavior, but here, a violation, and a near-miss of the JOLLY [Green] GIANT. I thought this theme worked pretty well. I was advised by a note that I should do the PDF or "Web game version" (?) because there would be colored boxes of some sort, possibly with green on two sides of the square and red on the other two sides? Wouldn't that make solving it really obvious. Part of the challenge for *me* was finding exactly which black squares were functioning as intersections. I get that colors are pretty and all, but why give so much away? Oh well, no matter, I did it My Way, and it worked. What's more, the fill was really very clean. I continue to not know TALLINN, so that second "L" was my last squares, but ... maybe next time it'll stick. There's always next time. Good ol' next time.

I picked up the precise nature of the theme at HANK [Green]BERG. I am a Tigers fan, so this is not a surprise. I have never heard of TOMGIRL and do not in any way believe it to be a real thing. TOMBOY, of course. TOMGIRL ... I thought the "Tom" part was supposed to connote the gender convention-breaking for the girl. How do you hop from boy to girl via "Tom"? It makes no sense. What's more, no one ever says it ever. Also, SANTACON is a "pub crawl"? Where when what? Typically "-con"s are conventions. I have never heard of this con and have no way of knowing if it's really famous or just some regional thing or what. Oh, wait. I do have the Internet / internet. Hang on. Wow, it looks like a very modern and really stupid thing and I'm going to go back to not knowing about it now. I was surprised to get stymied by an ampersandwich (BANDB). It's been a while. Usually I can spot those, but today, because the clue was so vague (1A: It's accommodating), and because the "D" cross was a tough "?" clue (4D: One going for a board position?), I had to work that area down to the last square before I knew what was going on.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:52 AM  

This creative puzzle by @David Woolf has a lot going for it, and much of that was already pointed out by @Rex. I too scratched my head about TOMGIRL, for the exact same reasons, but a Google search turned up this documentary.

You don't have to be a Tigers fan to love Hall-of-Famer HANK (green)BERG, one of the premier sluggers of his generation, and on any list of the top ten Jewish ballplayers of all time [his son Steve was a long-time presence in the Commissioner's office]. In fact, on (green)BERG alone, and fortified by FRIED (green) TOMATOES [since SOYLENT (green) was an earlier movie, and the wrong number of letters], the theme was so easily sussed that many of the theme answers could be filled in with little or no crossing letters [it was amusing to consider TURN (red) at 31-Across, only to find TURNS (red) as the actual answer at 98-Across].

I can confirm the use of a BEAKER in the lab at 1-Down, and--given that BUNYAN didn't work--give credit to the BEAVER at 38-Across. Also, NGUYEN (pronounced "win") is a name that appears often on the rosters of large classes that I teach. BORSTAL and TALLINN were new to me, though.

ICYMI, yesterday's constructor @Todd Gross created a themed Sunday-sized puzzle, Rock Around The Clock, to which we have since added this "midrash."

Ever so often, I think that crossword puzzles can shine a light on the real world, and to this end, @Christopher Adams and I offer A Piece of Our Mind. Due to its distressing content, this may not be for everyone, but several regular @Rex contributors have vetted it and encouraged us to share it.

jae 2:08 AM  

Medium-tough for me. Had slo lane before HOV lane which made that section the last to fall. It also took me a while to figure out what was going on with clues on both sides of the "lights".

Clever and tricky, liked it.

chefwen 3:06 AM  

We sure have had a lot of pretty grids lately.

I didn't read Saturday's blog until after I was finished with Sunday's puzzle. I really could have used @pmdm's hint about printing out the puzzle in the pdf format. Oh well, I got 'er done, but it would have been easier with that valuable hint. I was confused (not unusual) for quite a while before the green/red light came on.

Pretty happy with only two write overs. Stow before SALT at 77A and AquIVER before ASHIVER at 85A.

A funny thing happened when we were solving Friday's puzzle. I had just filled in VOICE COMMAND when Jon yelled at Max (the puppy) "GET OUT OF THE WATER" Siri piped up and said "I am unable to do that at this time". Needless to say, wine sprayed everywhere.

Great puzzle today.

'mericans in Paris 6:08 AM  

Absolutely agree to the "medium" rating, and that the puzzle was well-executed. Lots of clever cluing. Last week's Sunday was replete with the letter "S". This one has more than the usual share of answers starting with "A" (16 in total): ACKS, AKA, ARM, ASHIVER, AIRMAN, APACE, ACCOST, ARMANI, ANTISMOG, ALA, AVENGE, ASIS, ANTOINE, AUTO, ANS and AYE.

I started this puzzle on a flight from Stockholm to Paris, and got 3/4 of it done by the time I arrived home. Mrs. 'mericans was able to quickly complete the areas that had me stuck, but we just couldn't figure out the answer to 66A "Call, before reserving". Then, when we woke up this morning, Mrs. 'mericans cried, "Ah, it's re-serving, not reserv-ing!" So we put in nET. OK, I realize we should watch more professional tennis games, but both of us growing up would refer to a serve that had to be redone as a net ball, not a LET.

Also DNF because of my bad spelling: had CAMeRO and NIe. Oh well.

I can't even imagine figuring out this puzzle without the clues we were given in the paper version, with dark grey semi-circles representing a red light, and light grey ones a green light. Even then, it took me awhile before figuring out which way they were supposed to be read. (I had them rotated 90 degrees.)

We agree with @Rex that "TOMGIRL" makes no sense, and we've certainly never heard it (though that may be due to living abroad). gives a pretty ambiguous definition: "A boy who behaves in a typically girlish manner. A tomboy, a girl who behaves in a typically boyish manner." "TOMGIRL" makes more sense than "TOMboy" for a girl who behaves in a typically boyish manner, but that's the word that everybody knows, so inverting that for a boy who behaves in a typically girlish manner would call for a girl's name, like, oh, janeGIRL. I'm speaking here only of the logic of the English. Perhaps we should just drop both terms, and not use such labels?

Nice to see YUKON in a puzzle. And I got a smile seeing ETE on top of WINTER. There must be a story there in the sequence LEVIS GUYS SLEAZO ASHIVER AIRMAN YES NOONER.

Lewis 6:51 AM  

I hate doing puzzles in a hurry, but there is much on my plate today, so I did. Once again, it confirmed that I prefer to be a sipper rather than speed solver. Wonderful clues for LET, ALA, and EDATES (I first put down flAmES for those Tinder successes). I loved the traffic lights and the one violation -- a brilliant theme, and so much fun that it easily outweighed any ughs in clue and fill.

In one way, I was living the theme: Because my time was tight, as I mentioned, I rushed through this, just as I sometimes do when coming to a yellow light.

chefbea 7:01 AM  

Fun puzzle and some great clues...that threw me off a top choice. But I did not turn beet red!!! We have had beets twice this week..hooray!!

kitshef 7:03 AM  

Still working on the puzzle, but was forced to come and post my objection to the clue for 35D. DOLORES Umbridge did NOT teach Dark Arts, but rather Defense against the Dark Arts (though some might argue 'teach' should be in air quotes).

If the goal was to save space, you could go with ___ Umbridge, High Inquisitor at Hogwarts. Or ___ Umbridge, Headmistress at Hogwarts.

As written, the clue is flat out wrong. Now to work on my letter of complaint to the Times...

Z 7:46 AM  

The magazine has red and green semi-circles around gray squares. Yes, neat to look at. I did the HANK (GREEN)BERG corner first, so the trick was quickly apparent. The Hebrew Hammer is one of six statues beyond left-center field at Comerica Park, so a flat out gimme here.

Interesting takes on TOMGIRL, which actually makes more sense in a gender non-conformity way. Why do we call a girl "Tom" boy? Tom's are boys - so that's actually the one that is slightly logic defying.

The clue for NOONER made it sound like a NON-EVENT. I took several nano-seconds and at least half the crosses to grok that one. It is an interesting gift idea on this Fathers' Day.

PPP was a low 23%, so not much trouble there, although the cutesy cluing on STALLONE made me struggle a little.

All-in-all a fun Sunday puzzle.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Santacon is a huge event in NYC. with the millenials. I'm surprised you haven't heard of it. It's an all day pub crawl with many people dressing up as Santa.

Loren Muse Smith 8:11 AM  

I *have* to solve on paper w/AcrossLite format, so I went in and wrote which sides of the squares were red and which were green. Really good point, Rex, about figuring it out sans colors. It was still a beast to get, though. Finally saw half the trick at RED SCARE. Saw the other half at FRIED GREEN TOMATOES.

This is a really, really cool trick. What makes it superb is that the second half of the GREEN entries are words in their own right. But now that I think about it, I bet you'd have a tough time finding phrases with GREEN whose last parts are not stand-alone words. Still. I'm saying it's great.

What upstaged all this trickery for me was the clue for NET. Devious. Makes me wanna sniff around other words that could work like "reserve." Resting, resigned, respite…

I also really liked the "creepaziod/SLEAZO combo. Very deft cluing, that.

I had a weird start because as I was misreading the clue for TENSEST as "moist nail biting," I was mishearing someone on TV saying, "A dad and otter should not be in bed together. That's all I'm saying." I shook out the cobwebs and grabbed another cup of coffee. Moist nail biting, though – that makes the whole exercise easier, right? Soak'em and get those puppies bitten down, then move on to popping those knuckles. Then chew on the inside of your lip. Yes. I speak from experience.

I was fascinated to see HEW TO used this way. "Strictly follow" doesn't hew to my understanding of the word's meaning.

@George – I was looking for "Soylent," too.

Rex, @'mericans, we used the word TOMGIRL all the time growing up. I'd say, "I'm a tomboy, but Eric is kind of a TOMGIRL." (and @'mericans – crosswords have helped me learn not to spell in "Camero.")

I really had fun with this, especially since the cluing was hardish for a Sunday.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

I didn't know BORSTAL, and I thought YET was plausible for "Call before reserving" (qualifying, not re-serving), though I guess "Call" should have concerned me. Anyway, then BOYSTAY seemed good. I'd never heard of ROTOYS, but a rotating toy seemed as likely as a TOMGIRL.

jberg 8:39 AM  

My paper had circles with red and green on the MARGINS. It did make it easier.

A nice touch was that the second part of the green answers was also clued separately, with a different meaning.

But SHEAFED? Surely it should be sheaves. And "meeting" for NOONER? Is that what they're calling it these days?

I'm off--have to drive my wife to the airport. Happy Fathers' Day!

suetonius 8:48 AM  

Be grateful you don't know about Santacon. It is quite definitely a pub crawl and one of the worst days in NYC each year. Thousands of drunken twentysomething B&T-ers in ratty Santa costumes drinking from 9AM on. Vomiting, street fights, hand jobs in ATM vestibules photographed and put on the front page of the Daily News. Terrible day in the city. Makes St. Patrick's day look like British high tea.

RAD2626 8:58 AM  

I thought it was great particularly the consistency of the green go' s and the red stops.

I fall for the ampersands every time without fail and even after I am done still just assume it is some word or phrase I do not know. MAND M, HAND M, BAND B and ONAND ON. A real blind spot.

NOONER today, ADULTERY yesterday. Who knows where this is all headed. SAND M perhaps.

Loren Muse Smith 9:11 AM  

Ok. I see I had a dnf. I had "Borstan" crossing "net." Ah me.

Aketi 9:34 AM  

@rex, you've led a sheltered life if you haven't witnessed at least one SANTACON. In NYC It might just rival Halloween in popularity. At least amongst those who drink.

And the red and green decorations that go along with SANTACON time, also go with the red and green in the rest of the puzzle. Somehow my brains got stuck on the RED and didn't even notice that it wasn't FRIED RED TOMATOES it was GREEN ones.

msue 9:35 AM  

SANTACON is a thing. We happened to be in San Francisco one December during the event. Hundreds or maybe thousands of Santas were all over the Union Square area. It was a blast and, dare I say, quite jolly.

That experience made that particular clue a gimme - which is a good thing since I didn't grok to the red/green solution immediately. While I saw how the words RED and GREEN fit into the puzzle, the way the words 'stopped' or 'went through' the puzzle escaped me until I read Rex's review.

I enjoyed the puzzle despite my abysmally slow time. Glad for the decent fill, interesting theme (especially in retrospect) and some fresh clues.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

SLEAZO was terrible.

Aketi 9:40 AM  

@Tita, thx, should have caught that Cape Verde was once a Portugese colony and checked to see if the escudo was from there. The escudo was an LFC and the clueing must have been for Portugal.

Teedmn 9:42 AM  

It took the JOLLY GREEN GIANT to point out what was going on with the GREEN parts of the puzzle - the RED ones were all obvious but I only know HANK GREENBERG from puzzles so that didn't help me get the theme.

The NW took me awhile to figure out. 1A was _ANn_ for too long because I was so pleased with having nAil at 4D. This gave me "u.s. MAil" for the lead Indy car (hey, if they could sponsor a Tour de France cycling team, why not a race car?) I had to fill in a bunch of surrounding stuff before I dug myself out of that rut.

Double DNF at 55D. I had my crossword blinders on - 53A was obviously BEaT and 83A was SLEAZe and try as I might, I could not parse aTEREe as "dual-channel" but those four correct letters weren't giving me a STEREO pattern. Once I hit the check button, my error was readily apparent but too late.

Thanks, David Woolf, for a fun and elegant Sunday puzzle.

hbran 10:08 AM  

Printed the puzzle in black and white without looking at my laptop screen and didn't realize there were colors until I read the comments here. Still, was able to figure out the theme at FRIED(GREEN)TOMATOES and BLOOD(RED)//RIVER, once I looked back at the title. Loved it and am glad I did not have the color advantage--much more fun.

SANTACON is a yearly nuisance in my neighborhood, so that was a given for me, and TOMGIRL was a common insult on the playground when I was growing up. Didn't blink at that one.

Unfortunately, I had BEaT for BEST at 53A and SLEAZe for SLEAZO and therefore was unable to figure out 55D.

(Also, probably because I've been spending too much time on the Internet, I had "YaS" at 90A, instead of the much-more-logical YES, which I had to write over when I got GENTEEL.)

And LOL-ing at kitshef's comment. You are absolutely correct about Dolores Umbridge.

Carola 10:23 AM  

A first-class Sunday puzzle, I thought, with a clever theme and many other fine entries, along with some tricky cluing. I thought I had the theme all figured out when FRIED GREEN TOMATOES popped into view, but I was (aptly) held up at BEET RED....what? - expecting the phrase to go on. Oh - stop when it's RED. Loved the violation at 92A.

Trouble spots: 1A: hotel-->motel-->Botel-->no idea-->BAND B is accomodating? ACK! Hi @RAD2626. Also, not knowing how to spell SLEeZO, AquIVER (Hi @chefwen), TENSion (having read the clue as meaning "most nail-biting results from...")

@kitchef - Thanks for the DOLORES correction.

Kenneth Wurman 10:28 AM  

Beautifully crafted Sunday puzzle. I'm glad I still get the Times magazine section printed Edition. The intersections look like real traffic lights with vibrant green and red colors. I enjoyed the one exception "running a red light". Happy Father's day to all.

msue 10:28 AM  

p.s. Nerd(fighter) alert::

I didn't know about the baseball player Hank Greenberg, so I misunderstood 11D as Hank Green. The strange thing about that error is that Hank Green is one of the Vlogbrothers. The other Vlogbrother is John Green, the author of 27A's Fault in Our Stars. Nerdworlds crashing.

Aketi 10:29 AM  

SANTACON has been trying to clean up its image in NYC

But here was a poem I found by a NYTImes reader.

NYT Pick
Dwight Hatcher Connecticut December 13, 2013

T’was the night before SantaCon
And through the East Village
The natives were kvetching
'Bout the rape and the pillage.

In the calm ‘fore the invasion
They locked up their lofts,
They swaddled their infants,
And fortified their crofts.

“They’re coming from Jersey
Da Bronx, Staten Island
They’re making a mockery
The children they’ll frighten.”

“They roam through our streets
And drink all our booze,
Dishonoring St. Nick
Unless we tighten the screws.”

On Bloomberg and Kelly,
On Cocchi and Bratton
Deploy your SWAT teams
To save all Manhattan.

It’s now Sunday morning
The City’s been saved.
All the drunks have retreated.
They’ve ended their rave.

And as I go to my window
And throw open the sash
I see empty streets
Filled with bodies and trash.

On to the Starbuck’s
For coffee and paper,
Shielding my kids from
The mob’s shameful capers.

The barbarians and hooligans
In their red suits
Are back in their rooms
Their hangovers are beauts.

But I heard them cry
As they lurched out of sight,
“Merry ... Christmas to all
And to all a ... good night

Norm 10:31 AM  

I refuse to read the Notes until I've finished a puzzle or am ready to check myself into a padded cell, and it took a long time for the penny to drop. Caught the [missing] colors but totally missed the intersection aspect until I was almost through. This played hard but fair -- and fun -- as a result. I looked at the online version after ward and saw the green & red shadings, which would have given away FAR too much.

ArtO 10:40 AM  

Hank Greenberg was a truly great baseball player and fine human being. Check out his record on Wikipedia. Very impressive. Importantly, he was one of the few ballplayers who welcomed Jackie Robinson in 1947. In 1934 when the Tigers were fighting for the pennant, he said he wouldn't play on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur despite being relatively unobservant of his Jewish faith. When he consulted a rabbi, he received permission to play on RH and hit two home runs in a 2-1 Tiger's victory. He still did not play on YK. Many maintain he could have broken Babe Ruth's record when he hit 58 home runs in 1938 if not for being walked in 20% of his at bats in September (the highest percentage in his career) due to anti-semitism (which he experienced to a great extent during his early career).

While many clues are cleverly misleading, I take offense at "reserving" as a second first serve after a "let." It should be expressed as re-serving. Of course, that would take away the cleverness but cleverness should have limits and this went beyond, IMHO.

evil doug 10:42 AM  

"...hand jobs in ATM vestibules photographed and put on the front page of the Daily News"...

Is it pictures of hand jobs, or the *results* of hand jobs, that are put on the front page? I like to scrounge used newspapers, but I may buy my own that day....

MI Nana 10:43 AM  

DNF: had beat instead of best at 53 A and sleazy at 83 A, making artery seem reasonably at 55D.
Knew borstal from Brendan Behan's Borstal Boy.

thomas greisen 11:07 AM  

This was very hard for me. The clues were of the chart. Being Danish there was just so much that I just did not know. Tallinn cane easy though.


Lobster11 11:15 AM  

I got the pdf from the NYT site, but printed it on a monochromatic printer. Consequently, it was easy to see that there were a half-dozen "special" squares, but I just saw grey where others saw red and green. This meant that for me (1) it was a little tougher to suss out the theme, as traffic lights didn't come as readily to mind, and (2) I had to figure out on my own which direction was red and which green. This only marginally increased the degree of difficulty, though, because the puzzle title ("Traffic Intersections," printed in ginormous letters) was already a big hint, and once I got the basic idea it wasn't hard to figure out the red-versus green thing. I think I might have rated it "easy" if I'd solved a color version, but I'll call the black-and-white version "medium."

Anyway, I liked it a lot: Pretty clever theme -- especially with the addition of the RUNNING A RED LIGHT twist -- some lively entries, and surprisingly little crosswordese. I had my share of WOEs, but was able to get them all with crosses.

The only maddening part of the solve for me was getting within a handful of squares of the finish line but then grinding to a complete halt in the NW, stumped by the combination of what turned out to be BANDB, NIA, DART, and BLOOD(RED). I almost gave up, but decided to put it away for an hour and come back to it, at which time I quickly realized my error: I had CAMrey instead of CAMARO at 20A. Fixed that and the others fell easily.

old timer 11:20 AM  

Stop on the red, go on the green, don't mess with Mr. Inbetween!

My Magazine here in California has vivid reds and greens at each stoplight. Made the puzzle Easier, that's for sure, though it took a while to see that the Green answers went straight through. The second half of each Green answer is normally clued, too: GUM up, meaning "clog' for instance.

I was very impressed by the clues for DART and LET. NGUYEN, too.

TOMGIRL is new one for me. True, too, that some boys who seem girly, and have girl playmates are not gay at all and end up being "cis" even though they were thought of as sissy once upon a time.

Well done, Mr. Woolf!

G.Harris 11:32 AM  

The play, Borstal Boy written by Brendon Behan, was performed in the Village (NYC) many, many years ago.

Hartley70 11:46 AM  

This was a wonderful Sunday puzzle and while the colors in a pdf version would have been cheerful at 3am, I thoroughly enjoyed it on the app without any hints at all. And hard at spots? Oh yes, but clever. I'm looking at you, RESERVING.

I still don't get HOV and WINTER from the clues. "Sometimes it's not enough to know the answer. You need to know why!" That's a direct quote shouted at me by one of my junior high math teachers. Sigh. I guess it's true.

Wm. C. 11:47 AM  

'Mericans --

Re: your flight from Stockholm to Paris.

I too lived and worked in Paris for a time, at the European HQ of my American employer, as the head of European Sales and Marketing. Every week I travelled Monday-Thursday, visiting our subs and their key customers. Friday was for home office administration.

Most of the European flights were an hour from CDG. Stockholm was one of the few exceptions, about two and a half hours. That place is wa-a-y north. It's a beautiful city, but sadly all of my trips there were in, or close to, winter, so I never had a chance to enjoy the city and its surrounding islands during the long summer daylight hours.

Now that I think about it, the longest flight was when I visited our South African sub in Johannesberg, nearly 12 hours, and overnight in both directions. It was a last-minute trip to deal with a problem, so the business-class seats that I'd normally get for a trip of that duration weren't available, and I got stuck in the dead-center seat in the 2-5-2 A300 economy section.

Turns out that on the northerly return, I was surrounded by tha South African Rugby team, on their way to a match in Frankfurt. Big, burly guys so no elbow or shoulder room, and the guys behind me raised hell when I tried to recline my seat. Worse, each one had taken advantage of the duty-free liquor store at departure, and were liberally serving themselves (a no-no on any airline) right after takeoff. The flight attendants were cowed by their noisy drunken frivolity. When the co-pilot came back and threatened to land in Cairo and throw them off, they just laughed, saying they'd heard and ignored that empty theat several times before. Fortunately, about halfway into the flight they all passed out, snoring to beat the band. Longest flight I ever made, in more ways than one!

Hartley70 12:06 PM  

In re: Nancy

The long suffering soul is still warring with Verizon and feeling the effects of pre-Internet isolation. How do they manage on the Space Station I wonder? Perhaps they use Post by Proxy! When I turned on my cell this morning I found she had left me a voicemail that she would like me to post for her today. Here goes and I expect a bottle of wine or a KITKAT out of this Nancy when you're finally able to read it!

"I adored today's puzzle. I thought it was extremely clever. I was tempted to cheat it was so hard, but I couldn't cheat because I can't get to the blog to look at the answers. I really, really liked it and I miss everybody and can't wait to get back eventually."

Roo Monster 12:41 PM  

Hey All !
Pretty neat SunPuz. Did online today at NYT site, had the red and green colored lines around the block. Had they not been there, there would've been absolutely no way I would've finished this puz. I would've threw in the towel and ranted and raved about an impossible trick to suss out. Guess Rex, who would've liked it without the red/green are on some sort of ethereal puzzle plane that I'll probably never get to!

Liked it overall, liked the fact that the after-green answers were real words with their own clues. Agree with the TOMGIRL naysayers, that was an Ugh. Also fell into the BEaT for BEST trap, and deciding twixt SLEAZe/SLEAZy, giving me aRSATe/y for STEREO. DNF there, and also W center, couldn't grock HOV for some odd reason, so hit Reveal and finally seeing WINTER(GREEN)GUM, as the WINTER part was sneakily hiding from me!

Rr:CAMARO, it cracks me up that even people who own the car spell it with the e. Just a mini-rant...

Had FORtAkE for FORGAVE giving me BEAkER for BEAVER, confounding the ole brain, as already had BEAKER at 1D, so had to run the alphabet till V popped in, then the head slap! ITCHY cool/funny looking word, took me crosses to get as clued.

Online time: 1:00:21. Average-ish for me, I believe, usually print out puz and do during interrupted starts and stops, so no way of telling the time. Sure Rex was 15 minutes or some such!

RATED PG YAYAS (that's no fun!)

Gregory Schmidt 12:47 PM  

This one played difficult for me, mostly because of my usual lack proper names and places. I grokked the trick pretty early, but it didn't help all that much.

I had the misfortune of riding the NYC subway during a SANTACON. Thousands of drunk 20-somethings wearing Santa and sexy elf costumes, barfing their way around Manhattan. Lovely. I now try to look up the date ahead of time, and make a note to stay indoors that evening.

joan 12:54 PM  

Can someone explain 73A Bay, eg (answer ARM)?

Chuck McGregor 1:26 PM  

It took a couple 2, 3, or 5 reveals to get 'er done. Loved the theme. once I STOPped GOing for some other conceit and figured it out, in spite of my NYT printout having the colors

LET net be a lesson to you non-tennis folks. I was familiar with both terms and, not knowing the kid's jail, the "L" was one of my cheats.

So wanted Yo Yoes (sp?) for 41a. Was a bit put off when I only had "_____ONE" for 19a: Sly one? One wonders if the clue could have been "person" or equal to avoid the clue/answer duplication.

After doing the audio (canned music) for a production of RENT, think I could remember those song titles? Answer'S NO.

All in all, good stuff for a lazy Sunday.

Father'a Day Cheers to those who are.

Ryan James 2:17 PM  

You don't want to know about SANTACON. It's the worst.

Fun theme though!

jberg 2:38 PM  

Borstal Boy, by Brendan Behan -- both a book and a movie. I'd never have got it otherwise.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

Got the theme early with FRIED[GREEN]TOMATOES and the rest was fairly easy except the NE corner. Never heard of HANK[GREEN]BERG so that was rough at the top corner. I thought that a lot of the cluing was really good. Overall very much enjoyable.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

As for SANTACON, it started in San Francisco (of course) but there's no love for it here now. From last year's reports: "They litter the streets, throw up in the gutter, start fights," said David H. "It's gross." Enough said.

puzzle hoarder 3:32 PM  

Happy Father's Day to all for whom it applies. I spent slightly over an hour of mine doing this very enjoyable puzzle. It took me close to 25 minutes to get the theme at 34A. At first I just bounced off the clues in the north until I hit NOR and started filling in. It went steadily from there.
@mericans in Paris clued me into my CAMERO dnf. I was so convinced it was correct I never rechecked the 3D clue. NIA should have been a gimmie. It's common ese and like all names I score it according to which of several actresses it applies to (there's also Vardalos and Peeples.)
@lms scared me with NET. One mistake is a minor dnf but two would very sloppy. I have no idea why BORSTAL looked familiar. It's in Webster's but I don't have it underlined. Yesterday's RUNAGATES is underlined but not dated. Apparently I was making some kind of noting before the full blown hoarding started in 2005. This is all part of a slippery slope to out and out dementia most likely.

Filliam 3:36 PM  

My then-3-year-old was traumatized horribly when the NYC subway car we were on was boarded by a dozen super-drunk Santas. Dada had some explaining to do.

Not a fan of Santacon.

Am a fan of this puzzle with the exception of SLEAZO where SLEAZE should have been. That combined with having BEAT instead of BEST for 53A gave me fits.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Well it was a complete mess for me. What is an HOV lane?

But I was in NYC last year and accidentally was there on the day of Santacon. What a nightmare! Like St Patricks day with drunk elves. I guess getting that clue was the only positive thing about it.

kitshef 4:44 PM  

No, it did not take me 7 hours to finish ... had to go lead a ferns hike (18 species).

Other than my Umbridge umbrage, loved this thing to death.

In two weeks, ONEL has gone from 'wtf?' to 'ooh! I know this!' to 'not again!'.

@Hartley70 - thanks for the further Nancy update.

HOt lane before HOV and not knowing TOGAS made AVENGE very tough to see.

bUsy before AUTO (body) had me wondering how a pilot could be a baRMAN.

Leapfinger 4:45 PM  

In our mountain GREENery
Where God makes the scenery
Just two crazy people together

@jberg, yup Brendan Behan, me neither wouldn't have had a prayer.

Pretty sure that TALLINN was a two-N, but had to consider whether a one-L or two-L, one-I or two-I.TALON was kind of the anti-TALLINN, and a great clue, to boot. REDEYE almost gave me a blackEYE, and not sure which burrow DOREMUS crawled out of on the way to DOLORES. Sounded Potteresque to me

I have it on good authority that NOONERs in Jackson Heights tend to involve dry-cleaners. Local residents usually come clean about such things.

Anyway, it's a good thing traffic lights change on their own, cuz you know STOP signs don't. Spels big trouble for the same folks who run afoul of "Lather, rinse, repeat", Man.

Scintillating Sunday for all you Fathers and Others; may all your Amber lights be long ones.

Charles Flaster 5:37 PM  

Enjoyed finding the intersection without the note.
Agree with most of the bloggers in that it required some thinking to cement the theme in place.
COCREATOR was last to tumble.
Enjoyed it.
Thanks D W.

Sheryl 5:41 PM  

I did this one on the site so I could see the colored squares. I'm impressed that Rex didn't need them. It was the first time that I'd used this software, so that made for some awkwardness. At first, I kept closing the puzzle by accident. I usually solve with an Android app on my phone. I finally did get the hang of it.

I liked the theme, but TOMGIRL makes no sense, as Rex noted. Maybe JANEBOY would be an equivalent (as in Tom, Dick, and Jane).

As for SANTACON, I wish I didn't know what it was. They barrel through Greenwich Village (where I live) every year, loud and obnoxious.

Mark 6:37 PM  

I used "Puzzazz" software (available for iOS, but not android). And the intersections showed up properly with red and green edges.

Sheryl 6:46 PM  

Thanks for the poem!

I live in the West Village, but still don't completely escape SantaCon. Ugh.

Sheryl 6:48 PM  

You're doing these puzzles in a second language?? That's impressive!

Alex 7:25 PM  

Figured out the red first. Didn't notice the green lights until Fried Green Tomatoes. I had Fried Green Catcalls. Hmm. Anyway, I was really pondering what the heck Band B could possibly be. D'oh! (Had that in for Ack at first). Fun for me.

AskGina 8:09 PM  

I wish I'd liked this as much as some of the rest of you. Meh. Red and green. O.k.

Norm 10:18 PM  

HOV lane = High Occupancy Vehicle [carpool].

@Harley70: WINTER[GREEN]GUM was one of the theme answers.

@Joan: a BAY is an ARM or inlet of the sea.

Hartley70 12:46 AM  

Thanks @Norm and you're welcome @kitchef.

Sheryl 4:00 AM  

Thanks for mentioning this. Nice program.

Tita A 9:04 AM  

Great, insanely clever puzzle! But oh how I wish it had not had the colored spoilers.

My next-door neighbor and I cross-dressed for a picture when we were about 7. He put on one of my dresses, my mom somehow got his very short hair into little kiss curls (remember those?), and he wore my mayjanes and anklets.
I wore jeans, sneakers, and a plaid shirt...tucked my long hair into a Yankees cap. (All my own clothes too).
In the resulting pic, I look like a perfectly normal TOMboy. He looked like... well...I guess a TOMGIRL...even though we never heard of that word until now.

Fun times!

I will remember this theme. Btw, it went from really cool to awesome thanks to the violation at 92A.
Thanks Mr. Woolf!!!

SANTACON...charge $50 for every drink, use the extra money to pay for the cost to the city. Fewer drunks, and they pay their own way.

Dragoncat 10:34 AM  

Can someone explain Band B?

msue 2:26 PM  

Interested to read all the negative comments about SANTACON. My one exposure to it was quite fun and festive, but I was a tourist in the city and able to escape to a nice hotel room away from any drunks and littering. Your descriptions of it sound awful. Glad to hear your perspectives.

Izzie 4:11 PM  

Wintergreen gum. I don't get HOV either, but I have seen the sign in the highway.

kitshef 9:48 PM  

@Dragoncat - short for Bed AND Breakfast

Joseph Welling 9:51 PM  

"Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."

Amy 9:13 AM  

the clue for tomgirl was different in app (boy who challenges stereotypes) from the print version (gender confusion)

PeterThomas 12:16 PM  

I'm sort of afraid to ask these questions for fear of appearing clueless (pun intended) but what is Bay an example of?? Second, how does Tee relate to Top Choice.These + sleazo vs sleaze let me to a dead end. Bob

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Here in Chicago (Sun-Times) we got "Artful Thinking" by Tracy Bennett. Originally printed in the NYT on July 21, 2013. WTF???

Burma Shave 10:54 AM  


It seems MYMISTAKE WAS to moon her.
At the THYME, she FORGAVE me much sooner.
YES, at ACCOST I’d believe her,
I’ve got the HOTS for her BEAVER,


rondo 11:12 AM  

Well, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press ran a “best of” puz from 2013, so I checked here and of course it’s not the same. If this becomes a trend I’ll have to give up the Sunday puz. A week behind is one thing, but 3 years? Not gonna do it. Besides, it’s a gorgeous day here so the yeah baby missus and I are planning for the outdoors.

Curious if other folks had the same thing happen? Even though the paper was delivered at 3:20 AM it shouldn’t be a problem of being the early edition with a week old puz. Might have to check the Mpls paper.

Diana,LIW 2:06 PM  

Blasphemy! July 21, 2013 - go there for today's answers.

Fie on thee, NYT! Synders, untie! (sic)

Will. Not. Be. Denied. Puzzle!

Back later, after solve.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords from years ago!

leftcoastTAM 2:06 PM  

Same problem here in the Sunday Oregonian, the "Best of" from 2013, which I wasn't about to goose chase.

I hadn't seen it before, and I did it before coming here. Great puzzle, great disappointment not to get to the right blog page.

But I have one comment on it: NOBALLS?! Umpires don't count the absence of balls, but most if not all have them.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

As with Anonymous 10:13am, we also got the Tracy Bennett Artful Thinking puzzle in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. It was fun to solve but I can't enjoy the RP blog now.

leftcoastTAM 5:27 PM  

OK, thanks to Diana,LIW's help, I easily found the 07/21/2013 puzzle and have a couple of additional comments:

Adding to the fun were the off-beat pronunciations of the artists' names, like KAHLOS (even if pluralized) and CEZANNE.

Last to geau was WATTEAU.

rondo 7:37 PM  

@leftoastTAM - the umpire comment, now that's a good one.

Diana,LIW 7:43 PM  

Even though I'm used to time travel in the deLorean, this is absolutely confusing. Do I post here? In the 3-year-old blog? (Where Rainy and Spacey posted 3 years ago. Wonder if they remember this puzzle?)

Actually wasn't much of a goose to chase - just went to Uncle Google, typed in the author, title, rex parker, and WaLa! Number one with a bullet.

Speaking of Google, I came here mid-puzzle to figure out why NARCOTIC and MEASLY weren't working - thus found the errant puzzle here. If I want a "best of" I'll buy an anthology, thank you very much indeed.

You know I love puns, so this artistic puzzle was in my wheelhouse. Had the usual dnf due to PPPs, but I always accept a 95% solve.

Seeing references to "Merl's puzzle today" (in the old comments) made me sad.

Hope this "best of" isn't a trend...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Sunday Puzzles

Sailor 8:54 PM  

Same with the Seattle Times. @Diana, thanx for the portal to the distant past.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

Same here in Amarillo. Hopefully because of the colored squares.

Diana,LIW 10:24 PM  

@Lefty - I see you commented in long-distant past today. Remember the tv show, Soap? Confused? We Synders certainly are today. Where should we be?


leftcoastTAM 11:29 PM  

I hope the gods that be
will hear our plea
and fit it to a TEE.

rain forest 12:56 AM  

Way late for a variety of reasons, but I too had the Tracey Bennett puzzle, which was a good one. I may have done it 3 years ago, but I don't Remembrant it at all. I don't have a lot of Monet, so I don't subscribe to the NYT crossword and have to rely on the syndicated puzzle. That's the way it Goyas.

I do wear a Van Dyke, and I think I look quite appealing with it. I wish I could say Moore, but time is short, people don't even read here, and I don't think they'd appreciate Matissing about their snobby attitudes.

Sometimes I wish I could Chagall all of them, but I know they are not all women. Oh well.

Diana,LIW 1:22 PM  


I, for one, always come back a day late to see the last posts. Often the funniest ones. Yes, you did remark on the puz 3 years ago. I think the recesses of your brain retained a couple of the artists' names.


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