Mandela player in 2013 biopic / THU 7-14-16 / 1940s film critic James / Dance craze of 1910s / Piano designer of New York Times building / County seat on Arkansas River

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: PHONETIC (60A: Like the alphabet that includes the answers to the starred clues ... and an anagram of the eight circled letters) — grid contains the phonetic alphabet words that represent the letters in PHONETIC:

Theme answers:
  • PAPA
  • HOTEL
  • OSCAR
  • NOVEMBER
  • ECHO
  • TANGO
  • INDIA
  • CHARLIE 
Word of the Day: RENZO Piano, designer of the New York Times building (36A) —
Renzo Piano, OMRI, OMCA (Italian: [ˈrɛntso ˈpjaːno]; born 14 September 1937) is an Italian architect and engineer, who won the Pritzker Prize in 1998. Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff said of Piano's works that the "...serenity of his best buildings can almost make you believe that we live in a civilized world." // In 2006, Piano was selected by TIME as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[4] He was selected as the 10th most influential person in the "Arts and Entertainment" category of the 2006 Time 100. // In August 2013 he was appointed Senator for Life in the Italian Senate by President Giorgio Napolitano. (wikipedia)
• • •
Don't have much to say because there's really not much here. This theme seems astonishingly slight. I keep looking at it waiting for some secret, special, AHA feature to make itself known, but so far, no dice. The grid contains the eight words that represent the letters P, H, O, N, E, T, I, and C in the PHONETIC alphabet. That is all. What am I supposed to do with that? There is literally nothing interesting about it. The grid is just an ordinary grid. All I can do at this one is shrug.


There were some sticking points, but then the rest was quite easy. Had trouble getting APPEAR from 17A: Surface, and really had trouble getting the part after OVER in OVERTIP (4D: Be generous to a fault, in a way). OVER- ... something. Also had ETA for 37A: Forecasting figure (EST.), which really gummed up the west. Other than that, the only real problem I had was not knowing who RENZO Piano was (cool name, though I do hate the horribly self-indulgent / self-referencing clue) (36A: ___ Piano, designer of The New York Times Building). But again, all I can do is describe my solving path and point out a few unremarkable features. This puzzle gives you nothing. It's the definition of filler. A placeholder. Thursdays are supposed to be cool, twisty, baffling ... even the failures are usually ambitious. This just sits here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

70 comments:

George Barany 12:27 AM  

@David Kahn has long been one of my favorite constructors, but I had trouble getting traction on this puzzle. Eventually figured out what was going on and worked my way through all of it, with the northwest corner being the last to fall.

With the completed grid in front of me, I could admire the constructing feat and/or multiple strokes of luck to have nine words with the lengths required for crossword symmetry (and some overlapping theme entries, too).

Too bad ALAN_ALDA has never won an OSCAR (though he was nominated, once). I did see (and enjoy) "The Bridge of Spies" but it does seem like a curious choice as representative of Alda's body of ensemble (not SOLO)_ACTing -- his role in that film as the senior partner in the Tom Hanks character's law firm is not much more than a cameo.

jae 12:53 AM  

Easy for me. No real problems with this one. Did not know @Rex RENZO but the crosses were fine.

Not much dreck, clever/intricate theme, liked it more than Rex did.

"The Boxer" is an amazing song. One of S&G's best.

Larry Gilstrap 1:02 AM  

I found around VT and NH is where I had some trouble. Maybe, I had too much fun tonight. Reference me and you might find I glaze over at the word anagram. I taught during the back-to-basics phonetics nonsense. I was an English teacher, for crying out loud! What simple phonics rules apply to English? Sheesh, Hi @LMS. That's why the folks @Rex love the language, warts and all. I can remember when Simon & Garfunkel albums were make-out music. My hometown was Glendora CA and this weekend we are having our class reunion. Just seems like yesterday, blahblahblah. PASADENA was the big city with a Bob's Big Boy, a big parade, and a big football game. Lots of bigs in that town. LA is where we went to see the Dodgers and the Kings.

Anoa Bob 2:20 AM  

I thought it was super easy since I learned the PHONETIC alphabet in the Navy and it has somehow stuck in my CORTEX all these YEARS. Was surprised to see TWO circled letters in TANGO while each of the others has one.

As a former bartender, I say it is impossible to OVERTIP. Under yes, OVER no. Never.

ATEAT seems to APPEAR regularly enough to warrant a different clue approach. How about something along the lines of "Like a nursing infant"?

So far I'm on track to win some Labatt Blues from my wager two days ago that of the next ten puzzles, at least five will have an "S" in the lower, right-most square of the grid. I know from experience that the southeast section is often the last to get filled and by then you can have kinda painted yourself into a corner, so to speak, and a plural or two can be oh so convenient.

Theme-wise, I was, like Rex, waiting for the other shoe to drop as to whiskey hotel yankee. Was left hanging with a whiskey tango foxtrot.

Vincent Lima 2:23 AM  

Last letter in was the D of CDEF to replace CLEF. Though I agree the theme was Bravo-Lima-Alpha-Hotel, I did enjoy the TSELIOT quote.

Marty Van B 2:42 AM  

Yup, no aha moment with the theme. It was more like an underwhelming oh moment. That said, if the theme isn't going to knock socks, I appreciate that this wasn't a slog.

Wonder if anyone else got thrown at the 16A clue re: "Bridge of Spies". I plunked TOMHANKS right down as my first answer in the puzzle. I remember watching that movie never having really considered who the eponymous airport is named after so it was cool in that sense to learn a little about Dulles who was played by ALANALDA.

There was some pretty clever cluing in there that kept today on the fun side. RHO for "Aristotle's character", STREAKS for "Runs out of clothes" and I really like that TSELIOT quote. I'd never thought of him as being at all funny.

Thumbs up!

Dolgo 5:12 AM  

Did anyone else notice the reversal of"gimmick Thursday" and "Clever-Clue Wednesday" this week?

phil phil 5:38 AM  

I understand English is the required language for communications between pilot and control tower. But I wonder if a French pilot ever had a momentary lapse and used taxi-way OSCAR when HOTEL was given.

oconomowoc 6:17 AM  


yankee uniform charlie kilo.

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

Whisky TANGO Foxtrot to OFL's continuing streak of downer reviews.

Martha 7:16 AM  

ISTS? Really?

TokyoRacer 7:17 AM  

Best video you ever put up! chsssss shput!

Those were the days - smoking on TV and stamping it out on the floor.

Late Boomer 7:29 AM  

The theme answers seem pretty obvious and there have been a couple of comments alluding to it (e.g. yankee uniform charlie kilo) but was surprised you didn't actually mention that all the theme answers are the ICAO alphabet universally used by pilots. For me, that's what bumped up the interest.

Lewis 7:37 AM  

I think this would have worked better on a Wednesday, a 78-worder with a clever but not-so-tricky theme. That is not David's fault, of course. It's a nice idea to take the letters of PHONETIC and place their surrogates in the grid, and probably took some wrestling to construct. As for the solving experience, it gave me enough of a tussle to make me glad for it, and I do like the backward POOL crossing HOTEL.

I had ESE and CLEF and was sticking to them in the NE, and it was the last to fall. I never learned the phonetic alphabet terms and still don't feel motivated to. Whenever I have to spell something out to someone, I just think of words that start with the letter when needed, and that's always worked!

NCA President 8:02 AM  

Meh. Seems just very random to pick a word and then S P E L L it out in the puzzle with circled letters. To me, if I were going to stereotypically mention the phonetic alphabet, I would include "bravo" and "zulu" for sure. Otherwise, INDIA, PAPA, NOVEMBER, and HOTEL, unless you know the alphabet well, are just words. In other words, the theme did nothing to help solve the puzzle and was a mild distraction with all the cross cluing and circled letters. In the site applet, when you land on 60A, the entire puzzle lights up...but really to no advantage at all. Getting PHONETIC does nothing to help you with the other words, again, unless you know the alphabet.

TAPEDECK...in today's world, that reference is really old. Even when I had a TAPEDECK I rarely called it that.

I also had ClEF before CDEF. That meant that the crossing of ELBA/ALANALDA was a near natick. With the L in there for C-EF, that crossing, both proper nouns, could have been anything. I finally acquiesced to the xwordese ALDA and that solved that.

It only seemed like there was a plethora of cross clues (ASPHALT/PAVERS, TWO/YEARS) because of the cross-referenced themers. I like the applet on the Times' website, but today there was stuff lighting up all over the place.

I had SOLOist until I saw ISTS. I had mom until I saw DAD. I didn't like the SE corner. I will never like the word UTAHAN. MYLOSS...?? TENS is arbitrary as clued...originally I had oneS because bills!

Didn't care for this puzzle.

TonySaratoga 8:09 AM  

I thought you were going to say "too bad Alan Alda appears in 42% of crosswords nationwide."

Jennifer Freeman 8:09 AM  

Alan Alda didn't play Allen Dulles, the CIA director. The airport was named after Allen's brother, John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower's Secretary of State.
Liked the puzzle but maybe should have been a Wednesday.

No BS 8:15 AM  

I do the puzzle on an iPad using the NYT app. Sometimes when I open a puzzle I find it has already been partially completed. No one has access to the iPad. Anyone have an idea how this is possible or how I can make it stop?

chefbea 8:28 AM  

Great puzzle with GREAT clues that really threw me off. Loved it thigh I had to google a bit

kitshef 8:29 AM  

Saw Paul Simon at Wolf Trap two weeks ago. He did not perform much from the Simon & Garfunkel days, but he did sing THE BOXER. Fifty years old but it still gives chills.

Puzzle challenging, and for that I'm grateful. oriole before WEAVER and BEastly before BESTIAL clogged things up in the NW and SE,and most of the rest was slow chipping away and not very much fun. There's gotta be a way to get RENZO out of there.

And why do we call it a PHONETIC alphabet? Charlie and X-ray in particular seem to be non-phonetic. Apparently the formal name is The International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet; spelling alphabet makes more sense.

I've only every heard Utahn as the demonym for someone from Utah. I notice when Googling UTAHAN it suggests 'did you mean Utahn?'. UTAHAN is clearly in use, but Utahn more so.

Nancy 8:36 AM  

After yesterday's funny, lively beauty, what a disappointment this Thursday was. If we're not getting a rebus, let's have something more scintillating than the phonetic alphabet -- something I never, ever think about, and certainly won't start thinking about now. And also -- what @NCA Pres said: What's the big deal about putting random circles around 8 letters to spell out a word. And not even in the right order.

I did like the T.S. Eliot quote. And agree with @jae that THE BOXER is a great Simon and Garfunkle song, though I hardly would expect people from a different generation to know it-- anymore than I would know some of today's pop hits. And anyway, unlike, say, Bridge Over Troubled Water, THE BOXER is a song for the S&G cognoscendi and not for the general public.

BEASTLY before BESTIAL gave me some trouble. And it took me forever to figure out why OSCAR was the answer to 50D. Otherwise, pretty easy and pretty dull.

kitshef 8:44 AM  

Am in pursuit of a red ... car. License plate reads Eggplant Xerxes Crybaby Overbite Narwhal.

Tim Pierce 8:51 AM  

@George, I assume that the purpose of the "Bridge of Spies" clue was to fake us out into putting in TOMHANKS. I very nearly did, but reminded myself, "this is Thursday. That's too obvious."

Carola 8:55 AM  

Medium for me, being slow on the uptake ("What phonetic alphabet could "APPOSE" be in?"). I will borrow @Loren's "Sheesh!" I didn't catch on until ECHO, then went back and saw the downward running PAPA, TANGO, and HOTEL for a little series of AHAS. (Except then my CORTEX failed me again with, "Wait, CLAW is in the PHONETIC alphabet?") I recognized HOTEL and PAPA from listening in the olden days to United AIrlines channel 9, where you could hear the pilots talking to the tower, getting "turn HERE" instructions. Nowadays everybody's glued to their "devices," and I don't think they offer that option anymore.

Like others, I wrote in Tom Hanks, ClEF and Etd/a; I was glad my tArERS became PAVERS. I liked SEASON x YEARS.

In the "random ways we know things" department: on a visit to Freiburg, Germany, friends raved about RENZO Piano's Beyerler Museum in Basel, Switzerland, and insisted on taking me to see it. Wonderful use of natural light, especially on a wall of Monet's waterlilies.

Conrad 8:58 AM  

@No BS - They don't need access to your iPad, only to your NYT account. I can start solving on my computer screen, then move to my iPad and the part I've filled in is there for me. I suggest you change your password, and if that doesn't help, contact NYT support. In my experience, Support has been helpful albeit a bit slow.

Z 8:59 AM  

Yankee HOTEL Foxtrot is fantastic album. This puzzle not so much.

@George Barany and @Marty Van B - The only reason to use this movie to clue ALAN ALDA is because Tom Hanks has the same number of letters. There's misdirection and then there's cheap tricks. This one strikes me as a cheap trick.

If I want to go to PASADENA I have to go Via Chicago.

Anyone else out there hoping beyond hope that the answer would be UTAHiAN? Just me? MY LOSS.

ASH should have gotten a Pokémon clue. I don't want to be Misunderstood, I'm not into Pokémon Go, but it may just be the greatest exercise motivator anyone has ever come up with.

THE BOXER from Late Night with David Letterman

Roo Monster 9:04 AM  

Hey All !
Before getting theme, had in NE 12D-cuBA, 13D-ClEF, 14D-cART, giving me cCc for the end of 7A. Thinking there was gonna be a "letters" theme, as in (something)SEAS(C's). But eventually saw TAPEDECK, fixing the Downs. So that was exciting.

Had six YEARS for the US Rep answer. Only TWO? Is it the Senate that's six? Or do I just not care enough political-wise to give a hoot. Also oneS for TENS for Some bills. mom-DAD (Happy to change that, as was ready to hear the hullabaloo that mom would've caused.)

Did like the PHONETIC theme, neat to get all the letters in, and resulting light dreck. Agree with the should've-been-a-WedsPuz crowd. (Maybe even TuesPuz,)

WEAVER a WOE. RENZO also. Puz actually started difficult, but then I believe the ole brain decided to start working, and ended up easy-medium. Two CHINsUP!

SMELL the CORTEX burning...
RooMonster
DarrinV

jberg 9:05 AM  

Circling the letters was overkill, it actually kept me from noticing that the circled letters were all first letters of the theme answers. So I noticed that the letters spelled PHONETIC, but not that the theme answers did, which is actually a lot neater. I enjoyed the puzzle because of the tricky cluing, and because it brought back memories of my college friend who was in NROTC and had the phonetic alphabet on flash cards. (@Larry, I think that what you are thinking of is phonics, an entirely different thing.)

RENZO Piano is best known for art museums. A few years ago he designed an addition to the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum here in Boston, which required first breaking Ms. Gardner's will, that had specified that nothing could ever be changed. He did the new Whitney Museum as well -- plenty crossworthy, IMO.

Suzy 9:07 AM  

Enjoyed it more than most-- The Boxer is my favorite S&G song. Now it will be in my head all morning!

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Unlike most others, I enjoyed this a lot and thought that many clues were terrific.

ArtO 9:22 AM  

Always start Thursday looking for the rebus so it took a few solves to realize there's no trick. Relatively easy Thursday. More love for the construction feat would have been nice. But that would be out of character for OFL.

AskGina 9:25 AM  

I loved this puzzle. My only problem was 57d so I love any Thursday that I can finish with one tiny Google.

Chuck McGregor 9:32 AM  

Glad to find I was not alone in C-D-EF / AL-D-A being the last entry, getting rid of C-l-EF.

Happily I completed this with no cheats, though tempted at times, but kept at it. Like @Ana Bob I was not PHONETIC-ally* challenged due to my Naval service.

* The all-knowing (not!) spell-check refused to let me capitalize the first part of Phonetically, but adding the dash did the trick.

Liked this a lot. With Charles as my given name, salesmen, in particular, love to iVfer I must be a CHARLIE. Hate when they do that. My dad, also a Charles, was called Chic, but had the same problem.

Science Ed:

An ECHO isn't necessarily a "quick comeback." It depends on what one means by quick. In acoustics, quick usually means milliseconds whereas some sound reflections (echoes) can take several seconds to arrive back at the listener. The rough line for what is considered an echo is when the reflected sound arrives back at the listener after 35 milliseconds. However, other factors come into play (frequency of the sound and the volume level of the reflection) such that what is perceived as an echo can take up to 100 milliseconds.

When a reflected sound arrives back more quickly than these time frames, the ear integrates the reflection with the original sound so we perceive it as a single sound event. Sound reflections from short sounds, such as those from, say, a snare drum "hit," are more easily perceived as echoes within shorter times. Those from, say, a bass drum take longer to be perceived as an echo.

TGIF to follow...

Cheers

Cheerio 9:54 AM  

I liked the clues at 50A and 50D. Also the TS Eliot quote. Interesting puzzle.

old timer 10:07 AM  

I really came here just to see who would use Whiskey Tango Foxtrot first. Congrats to @Anoa Bob.

I thought OFL's review was just right. Clever, but blah. Not really crunchy enough for a Thursday. A rare puzzle where, after putting in a few gimmes like RENZO. PASADENA and PEPE, I solved left to right and top to bottom. The revealer was helpful, though, because by the time I got to the SE I knew I needed an E in the circled letter.

I never can remember whether those folks in Mormonland are Utahns or UTAHANS.

Looking around the Net, I find a debate (mostly in Spanish) as to the origin of PEPE as a diminutive for Jose. One school of thought is tat St. Joseph was referred to as the "pater putativus" (putative father) of Jesus; in Spanish that is "padre putativo" which can be shortened to PP or PEPE. Another is that Peppe is the Italian version and is simply a reduplicative nickname for the Italian version of Joseph, which is Giuseppe. Problem is, the "putative father" theory works just as well in Italian as it does in Spanish.

Any Romanian scholars out there? Romanian is not only a Romance language but is surprisingly close to the Latin spoken in the days of the late Roman Empire, when Chrisitianity become common.

John V 10:17 AM  

Painful. I have little luck with David Kahn's puzzles. Could not soss the NE.

Hartley70 10:22 AM  

@NoBS, It sounds like you have reached Nirvana and are now sleep-solving. Oh and put a lock on that refrigerator door. I think it's time to start weaning yourself off the Ambien. Other than that I've got nothing. Sorry. On the upside your times must be great!

Hartley70 10:39 AM  

I'm sorry to say that this neat little puzzle is a bit of a letdown on a Thursday. There's not a thing wrong with it but there's not a single thrill lurking anywhere. I say WS should have placed this on a Tuesday so we'd all be clapping our hands and exclaiming on the lack of dreck, the obsolete TAPEDECK,as clued, being the exception.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Oddly enough, RENZO was the first answer I got. It's just an unusual name that's stuck with me ever since I first saw it, in an article about how he designed the NYT building.

Mohair Sam 11:00 AM  

Agree totally with OFL and most posters today, solid puzzle - just not exciting. @Lewis is right, this would have been perfect on a Wednesday.

WE stumbled for the longest time at 50d OSCAR (To get one, act now) - neat misdirect. Agree with @George Barany - there are better clues for the ubiquitous Mr. ALDA, I'd forgotten he was in the movie. And yeah Rex, RENZO Piano is an awesome name.

@Rex - Thanks for the Victor Borge link. Phonetic punctuation, the man had an amazing comedic mind.

Lady Mohair and I went to see "Julius Caesar" at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival last night just to confirm that Julius does say ET TU. He does, our monthly crosswordese entry is valid.

Chaos344 11:14 AM  

Pretty much agree with everything Rex said.

36A brought back a lot of memories for me. I use to be a ducking hunting guide for a Fortune 500 CEO whose first name was Renzo. We became good friends. He was the only person I ever knew who had that first name, but I guess it is probably common in Italy? The funnier part was that the Renzo in the clue had the surname Piano. I used to work with a carpenter whose name was,(wait for it) Paul Pianpiano. He was the only Pianpiano I've ever know. What a coinkydink that one crossword clue summoned up pleasant memories of two people from my past.

Dick 11:24 AM  

Whiskey Delta Foxtrot!

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Couldn't be more crossword-eligible than Renzo Piano. The Morgan Library too. And one man's self-indulgence is another man's justifiable pride.

Joseph Michael 11:53 AM  

Agree with Rex that this was much ado about nothing.

Thought the clue for 56A might have been "Milking the cow."

GILL I. 12:30 PM  

I was enjoying the puzzle....I was enjoying the answers and then I did an @Anoa WTF at the end. [sigh]..No umph nor oomph nor AHAS, A GEE, nor did I want to do a TANGO in INDIA or sing OLE with CHARLIE, but I loved seeing the WEAVER BIRD. They are beautiful little resourceful things. If I could remember how to embed, I'd show you a YouTube of these little critters making their nests...
@old timer....nowadays, or so I think, Chepe is the favored Pepe alternative. Then you can name your son Chepito...Hah!
@Anoa again....I've been counting those S's...
Hey @Hartley...I wish I could embed the air-controller PHONETIC alphabet conversations you sent. Thought of you immediately!

Paloma Vita 12:40 PM  

My one beef, and it happens more often than I would like, is the cluing for "EINE" as being "One in German". One in German is EINS. EINE is the feminine form of the indefinite article "a". I guess it could apply if one uses it as I just did... but one should avoid the use of "one".

msue 12:42 PM  

Ooooooh. Now I get it. Phonetic alphabet. Wish I cared. Also had CLEF for CDEF at first. Realize this comment is more of a meh than anything else, but that is how I felt while solving.

Sheryl 1:00 PM  

I found it hard - not sure if I was just rushed and couldn't focus, or it was because I didn't know the phonetic alphabetic and expected the circled letters to be an anagram. Maybe both.

Alpha Charlie Mike 1:06 PM  

RENZO Piano did the California Academy of Science building with the living roof which is quite extraordinary and a very big deal out here in SF... Also the Pompidou Centre, non?

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

I spread the ink blot love around today with each quadrant being OVER-TIPped in black. Yes for Tom Hanks before ALAN ALDA (I haven't seen the movie), BEastly before BESTIAL and Scent before SMELL. Started 5D with Q for quarter but stopped myself before inflicting more damage on the grid.

And then there's the clever clue for 50D, where I first put Order. If I had grokked the theme earlier, I could have used that knowledge to fix that one. OSCAR-TANGO-OSCAR-HOTEL, not having the NATO PHONETIC alphabet memorized, it wouldn't have helped after all.

This wasn't an exciting Thursday but it was an original concept and well-constructed (CDEF notwithstanding). Nice one, Mr. Kahn.

OISK 1:48 PM  

Once I knew "Tom Hanks" wouldn't fit, I was trying to think of the British actor. Just could not come up with that name until after I was done. (Mark Rylance). Alan Alda's role in that film was pretty minor, so I am not crazy about the clue. I also had CLEF before CDEF, and "takes on" before "tilts at."

Thought the theme was pretty weak; actually did not get it (or really try to) until I came here.

I like The Boxer also, although the music is much better than the lyrics. The most memorable part of the song, after all, is "Lie le Lie, ( BOOM!!) " But the lyrics (IMHO) are really second rate.

Always happy to finish correctly these days.

Tom 2:08 PM  

No Crunch. No AHAs. Kept me out of trouble for a few minutes.

Numinous 2:45 PM  

So sorry that yesterday's puzzle was the POW. Not. Surprisingly, today's. Fell rather flat. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow or Saturday.

Eloise 3:20 PM  

Is no one else bothered by the clue for "hose" being "bamboozle"? In my world, bamboozle means to trick or pull a fast one, with the implication of some kind of misdirection, while "hose" refers to plain old cheating or giving someone a raw deal. I would never substitute one for the other. Bamboozling is much more elegant than hosing....

the redanman 4:05 PM  

Very uneven, "Theme" so simple, I lost interest in finishing and put it down, came back to finish.

UTAHN, UTAHAN ehhhh

pfft

Z 8:27 PM  

Have I mentioned that you should really be doing the AVCX? Meta-Alert, which takes a "been done" theme to another level.

Numinous 12:10 PM  

As I have said, it's a pity that Wednesday's puzzle was the POW.

My family (well, clan actually) is from Mull so IONA was a gimme.

STAFAMOBILE 5:41 AM  

Nice bro
STAFABAND MOBILE - Free Mp3 Download

spacecraft 10:08 AM  

@jae: You are right about "THEBOXER." My favorite S&G song; you have to love the lyric: "Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." La la la. That was my ticket in, and I thought this was going to be a great puzzle.

Well...I liked it better than OFL did, but there were a couple of serious drawbacks. Although cleverly clued, CDEF is still a nonsense letter string. I understand there's probably no way to fix it, but it's a shame anyway. Of course, RENZO is prohibitively obscure, and crossing with the unknown (to me) Chuck TODD (probably a NEW YORK newsman, grrr...) created something of a natick, although the O made the most sense by far. Coulda been TEDD, I guess. No, he's a Las Vegas weatherman, Florendo. There, I can be provincial too!

Other entries that SMELL: ISTS, TILTSAT, ATEAT and Brigham Young as a UTAHAN. Don't you have to be born there to be called that? And APPOSE, a perfectly good word--that nobody uses.

DOD could be any one of CHARLIE's Angels; my personal favorite was the angelic Kate Jackson. The rest of this could have been utter garbage and I still wouldn't award worse than par, just for 66-across. As it is, oh, what the hell. Birdie. That clue for OSCAR brought a chuckle: "Don't you want this beautiful golden statuette? Then don't delay! Get out there and emote for those cameras!" Every OSCAR-winner has to be wincing at that one.

Burma Shave 10:42 AM  

ECHO SEASON

PAVERS SMELL ASPHALT for YEARS and a day,
from CHINUP to CORTEX, that DAM SMELL’s a CLICHÉ.

--- CHARLIE WEAVER


HOSE AWAY

TODD, THEBOXER, would STREAK, so his BESTIAL TORSO would APPEAR,
LETS say his SOLOACT made me freak, I yelled, “TODD, CUM over HERE.”

--- RUTH RENZO

Longbeachlee 12:25 PM  

Include me in the clef club.

rondo 2:38 PM  

I saw Bridge of Spies, forgot that ALANALDA was even in it. Tom Hanks was going to take his place in the puz except that H wasn’t fitting into the iNE or ENE, which ever it was going to be, also couldn’t make his K work. So finally ALANALDA, who I never really liked anyway and he takes up more room in xwords than Ed Asner, who is a much better actor. So I had no w/o due to lotsa cross-checking, but I’m sure that upped the time to finish.

I had a Motorola 8 track TAPEDECK that got moved into a bunch of different cars. ’63 Bonneville, ’64 Buick, ’68 Satellite, ’70 Fury, ’73 Maverick, and ’72 Impala from which it was stolen while living in the Phillips area of Mpls. By then 8 tracks were becoming passe. Or CLICHÉ.

I did graduate from college Summa CUM Laude. Yes, more bragging today. But there it was in the puz.

I’ll go along with @spacey re: most any of CHARLIE’s Angels – Kate, Farrah, Jaclyn, Cheryl, Shelley, Tanya and Cameron and Lucy, but not Drew. And there’s only one Bond girl in the bunch, pretty sure there’s no OSCAR winner there. But I like them all better than ALANALDA.

My date Natasha in Odessa, Ukraine, said she would quit her day job and become a waitress if I didn’t stop OVERTIPping. Apparently a straight 15% was too much according to their customs. Heck, 20 hryvnas was only four bucks, but apparently a lot to them. I told her to quit her day job and come home with me. That was a night to remember back at the HOTEL. I felt like James Bond. Definitely NOT like ALANALDA.

Mostly agreed with OFL except for the difficulty rating. And there was that one mean trick of an answer. Tom Hanks deserves an apology from ALANALDA.

centralscrewtinizer 4:05 PM  

Would have been a Delta November Foxtrot except wife gave me THE BOXER and BEASTIAL finally surfaced to allow CLICHE and ATEAT.
Funny, nobody mentioned bigamy. Anybody read the book 'Number Seventeen' by said wife of same?

leftcoastTAM 6:21 PM  

PHONETIC as the revealer and repeated in the circled letters was odd and didn't seem right to me.

That the theme words are in the NATO alphabet didn't help much either though they were easily filled in.

Didn't finish in the NE corner. Had clef instead of CDEF, and really didn't care at that point.

Agree with Rex about the overall quality here.

leftcoastTAM 7:04 PM  

No, rondo, cum was in the puzzle, but not summa. Yes, that's highest honors. Good for you. Unfortunately, I had to settle for a magna at Harvard. (False modesty here.)

kitshef 9:01 PM  

@leftcoastTAM from earlier this week. I think - without any proof - that people will tend to downgrade a puzzle where they do not finish, or where they get stuck for a long time on a small section.

So for me citing a DNF is part of full disclosure, so that folks may know to take my grumpy sniping with a grain of salt.

leftcoastTAM 9:31 PM  

@kitshef: Agreed, good point.

Sailor 10:11 PM  

Kinda shocked to find myself mostly in agreement with Rex today. Overall, I found this a really disappointing Thursday in that there really is no puzzle-within-a-puzzle.

Like others, I enjoyed the TSE quote. But other than that, I’m looking for something to like here, and having a hard time finding it. There are a few cute clues, certainly, but more weak ones. Aristotle character??

The return of the egregious UTAHAN is particularly irksome. It seems both childish and arrogant for the NYT to insist on a spelling that is different than the one Utahns themselves use.

Nightowl 7:04 PM  

My son-in-law came upnwith TomHanks, too, and I waited to see if it fit!!

Nightowl 7:22 PM  
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