Bell town in Longfellow poem / TUE 8-30-16 / Vegas resort with musical name / What hath gardener wrought / Electric keyboard heard on I am walrus

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Constructor: Roland Huget

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (on the slow side *for a Tuesday*)



THEME: CHEMICAL SYMBOLS (36A: This puzzle's circled letters, for the words that precede them) — first word chemical, opening letters of second word, that chemical's symbol:

Theme answers:
  • COPPER CUPS (17A: Flower plants from Australia) (?? ..... if you say so)
  • IRON FENCE (26A: What hath the gardener wrought?) (ugh, man, this clue...)
  • SILVER AGE (51A: Second-greatest period in something's history) (comics; that is the only "something" I know where this phrase applies)
  • CARBON COPY (58A: Antiquated office duplicate) (and George Segal / Denzel Washington film of 1981)
Word of the Day: ATRI (42A: Bell town in a Longfellow poem) —
Atri (Greek: Ἀδρία or Ἀτρία; Latin: Adria, Atria, Hadria, or Hatria) is a comune in the Province of Teramo in the Abruzzo region of Italy. In 2001, it had a population of over 11,500. Atri is the setting of the poem, The Bell of Atri, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Its name is the origin of the name of the Emperor Hadrian. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oh my no. So ... revealer is unnecessary / anticlimactic / lacking in any sort of wordplay or cleverness. If I didn't get premise of theme from first themer, I sure as heckfire got it from the second. So revealer = dead / pointless. Theme itself is simply "who cares?" except it's slightly worse than that because COPPER CUPS are fantastically outlier-ish, familiarity-wise. The other themers are, to their credit, things. I'm sure COPPER CUPS are too, but ... just less so. I will say that I think the puzzle squeezed every possible theme answer out of the periodic table. But there remains the question of "to what end?" Surely not entertainment. And what the hell was up with that IRON FENCE clue? It appears to be trying both to pun (?) on the phrase "What hath God wrought?" while also doing some kind of misdirect with the word "wrought" where it is used adjectivally in relation to an IRON FENCE instead of verbally, as it appears on the surface. But the result is a nonsensical disaster. The connection between gardeners and wrought-iron fences is fantastically loose, and the connection between gardeners and God is non-existent. Yikes.

["... and introducing Denzel Washington"]

Then we arrive at the real problem today, which is the fill, much of which REEKS of mothballs. If your (Tuesday!) puzzle has ATRI in it, something has gone very, horribly wrong and you need to fix it immediately (ATLI is worse, but the less spoken about that, the better). ATRI crossing ARIA (a "Vegas resort," really?) will be many people's last letter. Here, look:


But there was also PSEC and BEDECK and RIVE and PIANET (33D: Electric keyboard heard on "I Am the Walrus") and other olde-timey crud as well as new-timey crud like INHD. The clue on ACRES feels like the NYT trying to be inclusive but instead falling on its face yet again (15A: Forty ___ and a mule (post-Civil War allotment)). The clue needs a Lot (!) more context. "Allotment" leaves a lot (!!) out. Like, it was only ever theoretical and never actually got "allotted." Black people never got that allotment, just as they never actually get mentioned in this clue. "False promise" would've at least been closer to reality. Come on, now. [Sigh]. Shred this, start over.


I do credit this puzzle for forcing me to get to the heart of one of my great solving weakenesses: namely, spelling things that rhyme with EBSEN (44A: Buddy who played Jed Clampett in 1960s TV), including EBSEN (but excluding IBSEN, whom I can spell fine):


Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

94 comments:

Mike in Mountain View 12:13 AM  

I guess @Rex and this puzzle didn't have good chemistry.

Larry Gilstrap 12:21 AM  

Wow! I had a fun Tuesday solve. If I were mentoring an aspiring solver I would shove this puzzle under their nose. Crosswordese? PTA, ORU, SARI, etc. You betcha! I was an English major, so when I see those CHEMICAL SYMBOLS and know them, I feel all Renaissance. Ever have a Moscow Mule?

Richard Rutherford 1:01 AM  

Those who forget their Cockney terms are "Absen' minded".

John Driscoll 1:09 AM  
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John Driscoll 1:13 AM  
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Anonymous 1:17 AM  

picosecond is psec. I was delighted with that. Also loved element names preceding their periodic table symbols.

George Barany 1:56 AM  

@Rex telegraphed the review we've all just read with his twitter feed from earlier this evening, but @Roland Huget would have had to do much worse to get me, a chemist, to not love today's theme.

Without giving away their themes, this puzzle brought to mind a New York Times puzzle of March 26, 2014 by my friend @Alex Vratsanos, a February 2012 puzzle entitled Seeking Chemistry at a Singles Bar that my friend @Michael Shteyman and I had in Games, and a 1985 puzzle entitled It's Elementary by my friend @Charles Deber. Try one, two, or all three of them, and tell us what you think.

teevoz 2:04 AM  

Oh come on, Rex, it wasn't that bad.

Anonymous 2:53 AM  

Agree it was horrible. But not for the racial reasons you state. Will SJWs ever be satified? Short answer: NO!

Cheers,
Brennan

Martín Abresch 2:59 AM  

Yellowstone contains a geyser known as Sulphur Spring. That and tinsnips are the only other possible themers that I could find.

Liked the idea behind the theme, and I don't mind an obscure theme answer like COPPER_CUPS when it is inferable.

I'm with Rex on the fill. ATRI/ARIA was my penultimate square; my last was PIANET/ATRI.

jae 3:10 AM  

Medium for me and not all that bad for a Tues. Sure there's some iffy fill (there always is), but the theme is pretty clever. Liked it more than @Rex did.

WarrenZevonfan 3:26 AM  

This may be a ridiculous question (I was always stuffed in science classes for athletes in high school and college).

But could someone explain 56D "EONS" as the answer for "Stars exist over them" - Eon and Eons come up frequently - but I can't recall anything over the last 10+ years remotely resembling this clue.

Please go easy on me. I had a "Nutritional Science" class that also counted for a lab even though no lab component existed - and still made a C.

IONS/RINU = epic fail for me. Been "eons" since I erred on a Tuesday puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 3:35 AM  

@George – I have to add a remarkable LA Times puzzle by Jeff Chen with the themers

FLUORINEARSENIC – F AS
HYDROGINE IODINE – H I
OXYGEN NITROGEN – O N
and the reveal, ELEMENTS OF STYLE.

So string all the elements' symbols together, and you get the word FASHION. This one stunned me with its elegance.

Rex – Somehow, I did get the premise of the theme from my first themer, IRON FENCE, but I agree that the reveal is superfluous. You said, "Theme itself is simply 'who cares?'" I dunno – I like being shown little coincidences like this. This reminded me of Dan Shoenholz's puzzle with the state abbreviation embedded in the state motto.

On today's, though, three of the four themers aren't as in the language for me as the state mottos.

Even SILVER AGE. I keep seeing one word. I need a hair appointment because all the silverage is betraying my mileage.

Flirted with writing in "Eidelweiss" for COPPER CUPS. Misspelled EVONNE as "Yvonne." Had "employ" before EARNER. (Liked BIG BUCKS under EARNER. If only. I think I'd buy me a Dodge Ram with a Hemi. And two more pairs of Naot sandals. And a really well-made leather backpack.)

Oh, and @WarrenZevonfan - I had a Tuesday dnf, too, because I can't seem to remember ATRI. I was going "St. Lo" and forgot to straighten all that out. So my electric keyboard was a "pisnet" crossing a town called "Stri." Ooops.

@Martin – I love to play around with the theme, too, especially without pesky symmetry constraints. "Tin snips" was all I got.

I'll go stand with @jae. I thought the idea was pretty clever, and I liked it more than Rex did.

Dolgo 3:36 AM  

I will have to agree that this was one of the most ill-conceived clues I have EVER seen in a crossword. And the other bad stuff has been pretty much discussed above. And I think you all know me by now as a reasonable man!

Anonymous 4:54 AM  

If OFL had been on the job at crucial times in history there would never have been any slavery and probably fewer wars.

Trombone Tom 5:01 AM  

I pretty much agree with @Rex, but would rate it toward the easy side.

Never heard of COPPER CUP but the crosses filled it in with no problem.

Even though I am a musician (admittedly from an earlier era) I was not familiar with the term PIANET. I just thought they were called electric pianos. Little did I know that there were several Hohner models with slightly different sounds. I learn something new here nearly every day.

I enjoyed the puzzle.

Aketi 6:12 AM  

Hahaha, I enjoyed the puzzle because it was my fastest legitimate time ever. I did once have a recorded time of 1 minute 36 seconds because the IPad app wasn't working; but my actual time was much longer. Even when I've refilled a puzzle I've just finished to see how fast I can type in the answers I've never finished in less than 10 minutes. Last night I did. So of course I feel warm and fuzzy about this puzzle. And, gasp, I liked the CHEMICAL SYMBOLS too.

I liked the BYRD and BIRDiE combo.

Then there is the irony of adding and HERBAL supplement into a CHEMICAL filled puzzle. And the nutrition department in the recent puzzles have drifted from SUPER FOODS to GLUTEN to the epic decadence of SMORES. if your are going to engage in dietary suicide, I can think of nothing better than SMORES.

mathgent 6:29 AM  

PIANET is an electronic keyboard that hasn't been manufactured since the 80s. I enjoyed reading the Wikipedia article on it. It explains clearly how this instrument produces sound. I presume that other keyboards do it in a similar way.

I thought that I knew all the Denzel Washington movies but Carbon Copy was new to me. Denzel's first major movie. It also has the darling Susan St. James. I may Netflix it.

According to Jeff Chen's blog, "What hath the gardener wrought" was supplied by the editors. I suppose that it is intended to be word play involving wrought iron, but it doesn't do anything for me.

If Rex were still giving grades, this would probably be a D. I agree

Lewis 6:49 AM  

I like the big S in made by the blocks in the center of the grid, and wonder if that was intentional, standing for "symbols". (Before I started solving, I wondered if this was going to be about Superman.)

Roland's other NYT published puzzles were two Saturdays and a Friday, and this puzzle felt to me like a Tuesday puzzle made by a Friday/Saturday constructor, in clues like those for RBI, ESCORT, and GENE, and the assortment of wonky answers. Also, looking at his other puzzles on Xwords, there is an emphasis on the look of the grid, leading me to believe that the S in the middle is intentional.

I liked the DEBS/BEDECK and UHUH/SHAM crosses, and I enjoyed the resistance-for-a-Tuesday. I even liked the clue for IRONFENCE because of the play on "wrought". This one pushed good buttons in me, and thank you, Sir Roland!

smalltowndoc 6:56 AM  

@WarrenZevonfan: I took 56D to mean stars have existed for a long time, "over EONS". Sounds pretty awkward to my ear, though. Shouldn't it be, "Stars have existed *for* EONS?

@Martin Abresch: I like your additions, especially "tin snips"! Inspired!
Some other possibilities:

Deep sea divers risk "Nitrogen Narcosis".
Generic equivalent for Aleve, "Sodium Naproxen".
British alternative news website, "Neon Nettle".
Female oriented video game developer, "Silicon Sisters".
Method of fusing metals without oxididation, "Argon Arc welding".
Popular morph for large pet python: Titanium Tiger" (yes, I've owned at least six or seven pet snakes, including a python).
Durable portable timepiece offered by Movado, among others: "Tungsten Watch".
Certain spice grinder, "Chromium Crusher" (I kid you not!)
How about, "Mercury Hg..., never mind.

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Clues could have been better:

17A: Service for Mules
15 A: 40 promised for freedmen

and so on....

kitshef 7:08 AM  

Very nice idea for a theme, but alas nothing in the execution justified that mess in the middle with PIANET/ATRI/ARIA/INHD. Probably spent a third of my time on the PIANET/ATRI/ARIA double-Natick-waiting-to-happen.

COPPER CUPS? Anyone heard of those? COPPER mUgs, clued using a Moscow mule, I’d buy.

It’s not a bad puzzle, but it seems like it should have been better.

Passing Shot 7:30 AM  

PIANET, COPPERCUPS, and SNEE were new to me, so I enjoyed this. it's always nice to start the day by learning something.

aging soprano 7:44 AM  

Yellowstone was Yesterday. Today is I am the Walrus.

aging soprano 7:50 AM  

I think he meant Stars last for EONS of time. I never heard of RENU, don't think it existed B4 I abandoned the U.S, contact lenses and all, but the E seemed like the best bet.

aging soprano 8:04 AM  

Googled COPPERCUPS. Pretty poppy anaemone red flower.

aging soprano 8:04 AM  

Googled COPPERCUPS. Pretty poppy anaemone red flower.

da kine 8:15 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot.

I hope to one day get a puzzle published so Rex can poop on it and then I shall print it out and frame it. If he ends up liking any puzzle I publish, I don't know what I'll do.

I can assure you: any puzzle I published will include 'Natick' in a clue or as an answer.

chefbea 8:16 AM  

Tough for a tuesday...thank goodness for smore and slaw!!!

Pete 8:17 AM  

Actually, the 40 ACRES was an allotment, something people got. For almost a year in late '64 to mid/late '65, freed slaves got their 40 acres. In late 1965 Andrew Johnson took back the land, and gave it to white southerners. You know, because he wanted to Make America Great.

AliasZ 8:17 AM  


Crossword puzzle chemistry. Neat!

Tin snips nothing. Try these on for size:

TUNGSTEN WIRE -- Light bulb filaments are made from it
HYDROGEN HIGHWAY -- Chain of ecofriendly filling stations
CALCIUM CARRIER -- Milk, broccoli or sesame seeds, they say
OXYGEN OVERDOSE -- Cause of hyperventilation, perhaps
SODIUM NARRATIVE -- Story line about too much salt
CHROMIUM CRIME -- Hubcap theft
HELIUM HEAD -- One addicted to entertaining party guests by reciting Hamlet's soliloquy after inhaling balloon gas

Did you also notice all the hidden CHEMICAL SYMBOLS? You could call it heavy meta:

7D: Oxygen + ruthenium
9D: Tin, phonetically
23D: Phosphorus + selenium + carbon
60D: Rubidium + iodine

I haven't even looked at the acrosses yet. Don't worry, I'll spare you.

This was fun.

Z 8:21 AM  

I liked the theme far more than Rex. Maybe @GB or one of our other scientists can clarify, but I would think the theme would be more properly stated as first word element, opening letters of second word, that element's chemical symbol.

As for 26A, loved it. Oxford tells me "hath" is the third person singular of "have," or "has." What "has" the gardener wrought looks like active voice but is really passive voice. Cool. I would expect at least one full-voiced defense of gardeners' godliness sometime today.

@Brennan - History. It is not as if it is all that hard to find out that what Rex said is factual.

Leapfinger 8:27 AM  

@smalltowndoc, that was inspired! I thought of TUNGSTEN WIRE myself, but am calling foul on SODIUM NAPROXEN, though I can't explain exactly why. TIN SNIPS was first to mind, then SULPHUR SPRINGS, which has the added benefit of the sulphur/sulfur wiggle-room. There's a case to be made for the GOLD (or GOLDEN) AUK, which might primarily be found among COPPERCUPS behind a wrought-IRON FENCE. Wandering further into green paint territory, there exist Alaskan claims for PLATINUM: PTARMIGAN Lake area, as well as a Colorado rental described as PLATINUM! PTARMIGAN House. (I spose 1081 British pounds Sterling per night qualifies as PLATINUM.) I was wishing that rule about having the CHEMICAL SYMBOL at the start of the second word could have been relaxed, cuz I would've loved to see ARSENIC & OLD LASERS.

EONS before he took on the Jed Clampett persona Buddy EBSEN was quitethe song&dance ladies' man. After he reached his SILVER AGE, he retired (I think to Montreal, though not QuebecOIS) and opened a deli called EBSEN ESSEN DelicatESSEN.
(That's inclusive of a different group than ACRES.)

Had a very positive reaction to the theme; I always enjoy a clever concept that leaves room to extend the wordplay. It was a nice piece of CHEMICAL engineering, as well as a well-deserved nod to our resident CHEMIst(s).

Minor disappointment that the grid didn't have a STAG to join the BIG_BUCKS, though cool to have the minitheme of BYRD flocking with RAILS, a KITE and that cross SNOW OWL.
P'rAPPS the CHEMICAL and BIRDIE themes could be combined for oh, say... a BARIUM SWALLOW.

Will miss Gene Wilder; never better than in The Producers.

Tita A 8:27 AM  

Wow...I have to agree with Rex. Except for the not liking it part. In spite of the flaws, M. Huguenot had me with the science thing.

I looked at the circles, and actually thought of chemical symbols...but...needed the revealer to see that the name of the element was in there too. In my defense, it's because it took me forever to get IRONFENCE, because what Rex said.
ANd even though I know the symbols for gold and SILVER, I first tried goldenAGE and gIldEdAGE, since SILVERAGE isn't a thing. Unless you pronounce it like @lms does... ;)

But it did help me get rid of lOPPERCUPS, which AFl gave me.

While both my cats Produce PURRS aplenty, Venus takes the cake (the catnip?). All you have to do is walk into the room, and she'll start. Rub her belly, and she will raise it to a level where you think she's gonna break something.

Thanks for a tough Tuesday.

Nancy 8:36 AM  

I didn't know periods in history were awarded medals and, therefore, never heard of a SILVER AGE in that context (51A). I know we had a BRONZE AGE, but not because it came in third. Therefore I sort of needed the AG to get SILVER and thus the theme was useful in solving -- at least in that instance. Actually, it was also useful in getting IRON FENCE, too, since I think of a gardener planting and tending flowers and shrubbery, while I think of a carpenter building a fence. And I've never heard of COPPERCUPS, though I knew it couldn't be LOPPERCUPS. (I was torn between AFL and AFC at 1D, you see.) BIG BUCKS and SUPERMOM were nice, but otherwise the rest of the fill was pretty PRO forma. Still, not bad at all for a Tuesday.

@Michael in Mountain View (12:13 a.m.) Nice one.

Charles Flaster 8:39 AM  

Very easy and easy to solve without theme.
Very little crosswordEASE but did like clue for EVEN.
Thanks RH

Leapfinger 8:41 AM  

The REIN IN Spein steis meinly in the plein.

So often, I feel like I brought a SNEE to a gunfight.

Relieved to see St. George back in the saddle.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Aren't these elements, not chemicals?

G. Weissman 8:45 AM  

The PIANET / ATRI cross was Naticky bogus.

Blue Stater 9:04 AM  

Just awful. The rot continues.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

There was only one "El" -- you can't pluralize it.

Carola 9:17 AM  

I liked the puzzle - CREATive theme, nice to learn about COPPER CUPS, always fun to get a theme answer with no crosses (CARBON COPY).
God as a gardener: John 15:1ff.

Wm. C. 9:18 AM  


I thought the puzzle was OK. A little more difficult for me than the average Tuesday, but that's good -- stretching me a bit early in the week when puzzles are often too easy.

@Anon843: From Wikipedia:"Chemical substances can be chemical elements, chemical compounds, ions, or alloys."

Re Rex: Sheesh, I dunno what set him off like that. Does he hate Mr. Huget? Was his SJW-ness set off by the Forty Acres bit? And even with the tortured explanation, I still don't get his problem with "wrought."

Oh, well ...


Chris 9:50 AM  

"I think the puzzle squeezed every possible theme answer out of the periodic table" ... sulfurSmell ... tinSNips ... it's Elementary my dear Rex ...

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Buddy Ebsen was also supposed to play the oil needing Tin Man.

Mohair Sam 10:08 AM  

Jeez Rex, the only thing I liked about the puzzle was the clue for IRONFENCE. On the other hand, your EBSEN/Epsom/Epson tip is a classic that, if not post-it'd on one's computer, will soon be forgotten.

Never heard of SILVER AGE before, although I kinda like @LMS's take on changing the phrase into a word - would have made for a simpler clue. Learned about COOPER CUPS today too. Years ago when we first became able to "skip" songs on taped albums I was overjoyed because it meant I would never have to hear "I am the Walrus" again.

"40 acres and a mule" - About a decade back our great-nephew from Brooklyn played in a Little League tournament about 25 miles Southwest of Allentown. Picture Amish/Mennonite/Lilly-white Farm country. Short ride from where we lived - we were there. The three Little League fields bordered seemingly endless cornfields emptying into rolling hills. The Brooklyn team was the last to arrive, packed into three minivans. The kids rolled out, a veritable rainbow coalition of players, found the field they'd be playing on, the nearest, and began warming up. We said hi to our nephew and chatted for a moment, so the driver of one of the vans, an African-American, shook our hands, introduced himself as the father of one of the Brooklyn players, set up his lawn chair next to us - but remained standing. After a few minutes, still standing, this native Brooklynite mentioned quietly how beautiful the countryside was. Then he took a deep breath, and with a voice nearing the power of James Earl Jones he roared to the nearly all white crowd "Finally! Thank you, thank you so much. My forty acres. But where the hell is the mule?"
He made 100 friends that day.

Laura Hoke 10:11 AM  

Constructor clearly doesn't get out much. With the renaissance of the Moscow Mule being the "it cocktail" over the past couple of years, you can't walk into a store without seeing copper cups. Even my grocery sells them now. That would've completely changed the whole feel of the puzzle with a trendy first themer. I feel like we've been cheated.

Numinous 10:18 AM  

I had no problem with this. True, ATRI had me wondering for a bit as Adano always connect with "bell town" for me but I got the A right and didn't try to fill in the rest until the downs gave it away. I did have to look twice at CARBON (C)OPY since it was only one letter and the others were two. After living in Australia for six years, I've never, before now, heard of COPPER (C)(U)P. Things like Banksia and Wattle went through my head to no avail. Again, downs did it for me.

I think "promise" might have been a better clue for ACRES, maybe even "empty promise".

I guess I have to rate this easy/medium as I finished in under my average time for a Tue. If I had to grade this one, which I don't, I'd give it a B.

Footnote apropos of nearly nothing. Two years after finishing high school, I wrote a paper for a girl I knew who was still a senior at BHS, About two weeks later, I was sitting at the same table in the same coffee house where I'd written that paper and the girl came up to me, sat down and plopped the paper in front of me. In huge rubrics the grade was F/A with a small note beneath it saying, "Daniels alwas was a good writer." How that teacher, whom I'd had when I was a senior, figured out that I'd written that paper is still a mystery to me (I'd even told the girl to rewrite it in her own words, which she didn't).

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:23 AM  

I need to say, I was on vacation last week, coming downstairs in the hotel to "USA Today" instead of the Times. I tried the puzzle once, and, after filling in the first three clues I looked at. concluded it was not worth the graphite. Made me really appreciate the Times. I liked this one fine. Couple of spots I guessed at, but it's not a competition, it's a pastime.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

I must be firing on all cylinders this morning because I was surprised to see that Rex rated this as medium-challenging. I had not heard of COPPERCUPS, but the first C was rather obvious. I thought the theme and it's difficulty was just about right for a Tuesday and there wasn't any dreck that irritated me. I'll take a SMORE over an Oreo any day!

Shout out to @Pete at 8:17am, you gave me a guffaw this morning. Nicely done!

@Aketi, I can help you think of much more delectable means of dietary "suicide", although ecstacy is a much nicer word, CHEMICALly speaking. Call me, but not to worry. There will be chocolate involved. SMOREs are just the best on offer at summer camp.

I enjoyed this. Merci, Roland!

Roo Monster 10:31 AM  

Hey All !
Thought this was a decent TuesPuz. Noce open NE and SW corners. The NE played a bit resistance-y. I thought this had a fair amount of -ese, PAP, CODA, PSEC, ATRI, INHD, ONEA, SNEE, ODED. Are the _SEC answers getting like the _STAR answers?

No one mentioned having cod for ANN first. Come on now, many had to fall into that obe. Living in Las Vegas, knew ARIA right off, so no trouble on the R, but my trouble with ATRI was the A, PIANET not a thing I've heard of. But made most sense, sounding like piano. Last letter in, that pesky A.

Pete @8:17, just a nit pick, you meant 1865, right? :-)

Overall, liked it. C+ here. Not a blow-your-doors off puz, but not a REEKy puz like OFL thought.

Siskel being told Buddy is on modern TV? EBSEN IN HD, GENE!
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

I need some help this morning. I can't seem to publish as @Hartley70. The only option I recognized was Anonymous at 10:27am. I wish I had made note of what usually came after Hartley70(?) in the options but I've drawn a blank. It did link to a blogger profile that I can't locate either. I'd call @Nancy, but then I know we'd both start screaming!

Hartley70 10:43 AM  

Testing. Could it be back? I wish I knew what I did, but I'll take the correct answer without knowing why (shades of junior high math).

Hartley70 10:45 AM  

I must be firing on all cylinders this morning because I was surprised to see that Rex rated this as medium-challenging. I had not heard of COPPERCUPS, but the first C was rather obvious. I thought the theme and it's difficulty was just about right for a Tuesday and there wasn't any dreck that irritated me. I'll take a SMORE over an Oreo any day!

Shout out to @Pete at 8:17am, you gave me a guffaw this morning. Nicely done!

@Aketi, I can help you think of much more delectable means of dietary "suicide", although ecstacy is a much nicer word, CHEMICALly speaking. Call me, but not to worry. There will be chocolate involved. SMOREs are just the best on offer at summer camp.

I enjoyed this. Merci, Roland!

Andrew Heinegg 10:54 AM  
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Andrew Heinegg 10:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pete 11:09 AM  

@Roo Monster - Either "...1965 Andrew Johnson" was a typo at the '9', or I meant to say "...1965 Lyndon Johnson...", in which case I'm an absolute idiot.

AliasZ 11:14 AM  


No wonder the pileanthus vernicosus flowers are called COPPER-CUPS. It wasn't essential to know this bit of trivia for solving today's puzzle, but it's always good to learn new stuff that you will soon forget unless you happen to live in Western Australia.

These flowers remind me of The Bells by William BYRD.

Enjoy your day.

Joseph Michael 11:16 AM  

CHEMICAL SYMBOLS as a crossword theme is starting to feel stale and the weak fill throughout the grid didn't help. I did like the fact that the solve was more challenging than usual for a Tuesday, but overall this was a disappointment.

So no PURRS or BIG BUCKS for this one. And the concept of a tank top lacking a singular SLEEVE is particularly annoying.

Blackbird 11:19 AM  

Easy puzzle. Very easy. And pleasant.

old timer 11:30 AM  

Today I agree with OFL. This was a flawed puzzle, and one that played hardball on a Tuesday. PIANET? Almost a nonword. It *is* a nonword in my dictionary The constructor should have been ordered to try again, and also to leave out the disgusting ATRI.

I was surprised that my time was 14 minutes, which is a reasonable Tuesday time for me. Felt like 24 minutes, but that's because I hated it so much.

It has been interesting to learn about the 40 acres and a mule. Some in the Sea Islands did keep the land the U.S. Army had awarded them. Many other former slaves, now working for wages, were able to save enough to buy farms in places like Mississippi. So sayeth Wikipedia, anyhow. Probably those big plantations in the Deep South were not sustainable without slavery. They had, in fact, not been sustainable *with* slavery in the Upper South.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

"Rex" - you are so negative! Why do you even do this puzzle if you can do nothing but criticize it on a daily basis?

jberg 11:49 AM  

I didn't have any of the theme answers (because of that AFc/l thing) until I got to the revealer -- but that made the puzzle supereasy, as you only needed either the first letter or the letters in the circles to get the answer, even without a clue.

The mood after an accident at the nuclear plant? URANIUM UPSET.

Wrought iron is called that because it's been wrought by somebody, so the adjective/verb thing shouldn't be a problem. As for SILVER AGE, it comes from the ancient Greeks, who thought history was basically a long generation from the Golden Age, with the Silver Age the next step on the way to chaos. It wasn't until the Enlightenment that the idea of history as progress toward something better came along.

I got a head of cabbage in my farm share a couple weeks ago. I don't much like SLAW, so I'm trying to make it into sauerkraut. So far, it's going well.

Sheryl 12:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Gorgeous. It's almost like the puz is surrounded by a GOLD AUREOLE. [Reminds the M&A -- Really need to get my eyes checked.] I'd say this theme was definitely worth A TRI.

There are multiple orgasms of glorious desperation, in here. How can anyone resist a Closer Look …

1. NW/SE weeject stacks. Staff pick fave, from whole grid = ORU, tho.

2. {What hath the gardener wrought?} - Brilliant clue. Gardener hathses a wrought-iron fence. Primo.

3. Meta meta answer: CU-FE-AG-C(O). Surely U all see it! Gorgeous! [sputter] [gush] [gurgle]

4. Six U's. Roland! U the man!

5. BIGBUCKS and SUPERMOM. (yo, @Donald Drumpf) That's HUGE(t).

6. BEDECK! har

Only nick in the ointment: CARBONCOPY really needs to buy a vowel, to be consistent with them other 3 themers. COBALTCOPY. There's yer winner.

Thanx, Mr. Huget. thUmbsUp. Honest. Hey! … PROACTINIUMPAINT. Just sayin'.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

Leapfinger 1:03 PM  

@AliasZ, aside from the Pileanthus, there's also an award-winning variety of Clivia called COPPER CUP:

http://www.cliviausa.com/products/copper-cup-1st-place-plant-expo-x-tipperary-peach-clivia-seed.html

As you can see, an 'adult bloomed plant' can cost upward of $150 (plus S&H, I'm sure) which I call BIG BUCKS for any kind of blooming pot.

I'm guessing your BYRD piece isn't related to The SnSnabulation of The Bells.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

PIANET? I play keyboards and didn't know this one and I went with @LMS' sTRI and for the same reason (well, because I started with sTlo, but not because I forgot to change it later, because I didn't know ATRI anyway and I like Longfellow, sigh).

I think the connection Rex is looking for on the IRON FENCE is evidenced by the novel/film God's Little ACREs.

And @NAncy, loved your Bronze AGE coming in third. I needed the theme to get that one too, 'cause the phrase was unknown to me.

Good thing they aren't paying me the BIG BUCKS to solve NYT puzzles because I think I'd be out of a job by now! Only SHAM PURRS over this one.

Masked and Anonymous 1:42 PM  

p.s.
Just.
In case an odd Comment Gallery dude or darlin here or there didn't see it …
CU, FE, AG, and CO are all METAls. Note how thusly the puz's "meta" is hidden, in that themer groupin.
Elementary, my dear TungstenWatson.
Standin H2-O.

M&Also


**gruntz**

Carbon Omissions 2:06 PM  

@M&Also

I never meta llurgy I didn't like, but CObalt Blue it, so sorry

M&Apologies

Chronic dnfer 2:10 PM  

Pisnet. Oh well onto Wednesday.

Hungry Mother 2:13 PM  

I was a chemistry major for a couple of years in college, but I ignored the theme and just solved the puzzle very quickly for a Tuesday for me. I ended up as a mathematics major when I realized my academic love.

Unknown 2:28 PM  

I love your post. Got a yooge laugh.

Jared 3:11 PM  

The theme in this puzzle was fun, but there was a lot of ugly filler as Rex mentioned. Got stuck in the NE corner and had trouble recovering.

Grade = C

Elephant's Child 3:24 PM  

Hiya, @TEEDmn! Did you notice that right next door to you R BI-CARB to make you a Mini Soda

jae 3:27 PM  

@lms - me too for the yVONNE before EVONNE erasure.

AnonyMole 3:30 PM  

PRO_CREATE SUPERMOM (?)
Not sure what GENE RIVEr you're ROWING in.

RENU is a pretty good product name; RENUzit, maybe not so much.

Nancy 3:33 PM  

I just came back from lunch with George Barany, his charming wife whom I'd never met, and several of his smart and interesting friends --ranging in age, gender, and interests. George, as you all know, has a lot of friends, and he is uncommonly thoughtful about introducing to each other people whom he thinks have one or more things in common. Nor will he let anyone else pay; he always insists on treating. Thanks so much, George -- more in a private email.

the redanman 3:36 PM  

Some really ugly bits of fill for a Tuesday

Teedmn 3:37 PM  

Nice catch, @Elephant's Child; I never would have seen it!

Numinous 6:51 PM  

Should the clue for 26A have been "Dealer in stolen scrap"?

chefbea 6:59 PM  

Was just watching the news...a terrible accident in Binghamton NY. Hope you are ok @Rex

puzzle hoarder 7:12 PM  

Poor ATRI, upstaged by ADANO every time. It's one of those four letter ese enties that has somehow slipped through the cracks. Pairing ATRI with PIANET and using such an obscure clue for ARIA helped to balance the lockstep read the clue write in the standard fill that composed so much of the puzzle. The other highlights were coming up with COPPER when BUTTER didn't work then changing EPSEN to EBSEN and EST to RBI.
I don't grade these things they're just a way to kill time and their difficulty is all I value.
Finding things like PIANET is just a bonus. I read the Wikipedia page. I highly recommend listening to Roxy Music's "Editions of You".

Anonymous 9:16 PM  

In addition to 26A, two big BOOs to clues to 51A and 56D.

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

How can OFL be a SJW if he's not on the list https://sjwlist.com/Main_Page?

GP 11:10 AM  

Why is that even a thing.

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

This blog should be called "Rex Parker Whines About the NYT Crossword Puzzle." Day in and day out. I come here to verify my solutions, only occasionally checking to see whether your grousing-tone has changed. Nope.

Burma Shave 9:57 AM  

BIRDIE BYRD

The ESCORT was a SUPERMOM, ANN EARNER of BIGBUCKS,
an URBAN FRAU, the ONEA bomb, DECREED a PRO by all she (loves).

--- EVONNE EBSEN

rondo 10:14 AM  

SILVERAGE? Nevah hoid of it. UHUH. And I did finish in that PIANET ATRI ARIA area. No w/os and a rather quick finish, so couldn’t have been too difficult.

If I get in before @spacey, I’ll make my case for tennis champ EVONNE Goolagong. Didn’t she have her own line of clothing?

Another full cord of wood to stack today, so this morning will be a CARBONCOPY of Sunday.

Wonder if that IRONFENCE got a coat of green paint?

OK for a Tues-puz, wouldn’t call it ONEA.

spacecraft 11:46 AM  

An ESPN shout to Mr. Shortz: "Come on, man!" Today happens to be trash collection day here in the complex; this page is definitely going in. Adding to everything OFL said, the theme is certainly not a difficult one to find entries for; you only need two letters--wait. Here's one with only one! Oh my, do you think you can find a word that has one specific letter in it? COME ON, MAN!

DOD is actress ANN Jillian, a pioneer in breast cancer activism and so a fitting titlist for BC Awareness Month. Our constructor seeks a rating from the spacecraft desk of BIRDIE--but no such luck. Golf season is over now that the USA has--finally!--wrested the Ryder Cup from the clutches of the Europeans. We're in football mode now, and today's rating is: FUMBLE! Alas, the other team has recovered. Cue the failure trombones.

Diana,LIW 12:03 PM  

Did this puzzle first thing today and learned something. Namely, I need coffee. Emphasize NEED.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. I'm talking about me. Yeah, I got the symbols, got the hard words, but failed, absolutely FAILED to notice that the symbol was also in the answer. Thus, having never heard of COPPERHEADS (Mr. W is the gardener in the house), I figured lOPPERHEADS was feasible. AFL - right? Wrong!

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I'm off to get coffee.

Doh!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Caffeine

leftcoastTAM 1:36 PM  

This relatively tough Tuesday took something between a PSEC and EONS to finish. Not sure where that would fall on a time line.

Middle crosses were the tougher part: PIANET/ATRI/ARIA. Wanted spinet before PIANET, making ATRI/ATRI harder to get. No doubt have company there. Probably also at "E" for "y" writeover for the great EVONNE Goolagong.

Good theme and themers, and enjoyed it.



Diana,LIW 2:42 PM  

Ahh, much better.

BTW, that error was Lopperheads - the small L looks like an I.

What a painful dnf. I was so proud of not being misdirected by the many attempted misdirects, sussing out the PIANET, and generally acting like a crossword PRO. Did I even READ the revealer? Hah!

And forgot to mention that TEED(mn) is in today's puzzle - did you notice @Rondo? Now all three of us have starred in a puzzle.

Diana,LIW

rondo 2:50 PM  

Should've mentioned @TEED. Now we all have an answer.

Dubois 12:49 AM  

We all know this right?
40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks is the production company of filmmaker Spike Lee.

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