Old Irish character / SUN 8-7-16 / Historic headline of 1898 / Temple of Abu Simbel honoree / Snack brand featured on mad men / Morlocks prey in scifi / Wye follower / Eighth-century pope with sixth-longest reign / Snapchat co-founder Spiegel / Mexican-born golfer Lorena / Accident investigator for short / Locke so-called dean of Harlem renaissance

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Anchor Lines" — phrases we associate with news anchors are given wacky, wordplay / pun clues:

Theme answers:
  • TOP STORIES (23A: "What's in your attic? Anddo penthouses have better resale value? Find out in today's ___")
  • BREAKING NEWS (29A: "Museum officials report a priceless vase has shattered. Stay tuned for the ___")
  • DETAILS ARE SKETCHY (43A: "A courtroom artist has been arrested for fraud. ___")
  • THE LATEST (66A: "Schools are cracking down on their most tardy students. We'll have ___")
  • BACK TO YOU (68A: "Coming up, a pistol dueler tells us his stance. Now ___")
  • TRAFFIC AND WEATHER (93A: "After the break, people are leaving the city during winter because of crime. Also ___") (man, this one's weak)  

  • FILM AT ELEVEN (111A: "Our camera crew entered a one-hour photo shop at ten. ___")
  • STANDING BY (118A: "With more about those defending the accused, our reporter is ___") 

Word of the Day: "BROWN EYES, Why Are You Blue?" (17A: About which it was asked "Why are you blue," in a classic song) —

• • •

One of my least favorite theme types. It's executed adequately, but this thing where you just put a bunch of phrases related to some field, any field, in the grid, and then write these wackified clues, always feels ultra-cheap. You can do it With Any Field. Just find eight, say, baseball phrases. Or knitting phrases. Or laundry phrases or auto racing phrases or elk-hunting phrases or whatever. Are they interesting? Who cares?! All the "fun" will be in the totally-not-tortured nutty clues you'll write. This is the floodgates I imagine being opened up when a puzzle like this appears. It's a template of been-done-ness and mediocrity. Do some of the clues make you smile? Maybe. Do some make you cringe or just stare in non-comprehension? Probably. The end. There is no other interest. The fill ... is fill. Not that far below par (though INAS over VOCE over ERES, come on...), but not remarkable in a good way either. I mostly just want to hurry up with this so I can back to watching Olympic coverage of entertaining and/or hilarious sports I only get to see once every four years.

I drove past Natick on this one. Didn't get off the highway (you can get off anytime you like, but you can never leave), but definitely saw how someone might get lost and end up there. Which is to say I drove past the OCHOA / OGHAM crossing and thought, "O, man, that's gonna wreck *someone*." No telling how many, but ... oh, look, first casualty came From Inside The House (my wife, five minutes ago, walking up the stairs with her laptop in hand: "Honey ... I have a Natick"). Should you know Lorena OCHOA? (89A: Mexican-born golfer Lorena) You know, probably. But as with all proper nouns, you really gotta cross them fairly, and there is no way you should be expected to know OGHAM (I sure didn't, and a. I'm a medievalist; b. I've definitely seen it in grids before) (77D: Old Irish character). So honestly, if you don't know OCHOA, there is no way in hell, except by luck, you can infer that "H." And ... I mean, YEESH, what a train wreck that section is. The Natick, plus adjacent ELOI and ONAT. To quote Friday's puzzle, GAH!

Puzzle was very easy overall, despite having a few things ("BROWN EYES," OGHAM, MAENAD, ALAIN Locke, etc.) about which I had no clue. Had PUPPY for POOCH (2D: Doggy); MMA (?) for UFC (55A: Mixed martial arts org.); YIKES for YEESH (70D: "Oh jeez!"); ERICA (??) for ERICH (44D: Actor Bergen of "Jersey Boys"). As you can see, at least two of those are demonstrably terrible guesses. No other problems. Good night and good luck. Courage. Etc.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:18 AM  

To quote Sam Donaldson "comparatively easy....one that evokes some grins"...yup, liked it more than Rex did

Did not know TINA (as clued) and OGHAM...I had the same reaction as Rex about the Natick problem with OCHOA...

Where's the outrage? 12:28 AM  

OGHAM is an alphabet, and how is a character an alphabet? An alphabet contains characters, it is not a character.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

ETATS and ESTADOS in the same puzzle, and ZEE and EFF. Yuck.

Pete 12:51 AM  

I just lost a long message - summary version:
A "C" was too generous,
POOCH reminded me of my visit to a dog show today, where the fact that I like big, athletic dogs (and their owners) and hate little yappy dogs (and their owners).

chefwen 1:06 AM  

Got about halfway done and handed it to my puzzle partner saying, it's all yours, I'm tired of it. Usually I hog the Sunday puzzle, but this one got old fast. He knew OCHOA and OGHAM thankfully filled itself in, so we escaped that snafu. Got a little turned around at 91D, I really wanted a Reuben sandwich, my personal favorite. Oh well, a PANINI will do. I happen to be a Grape nut so 127 A brought a chuckle.

Cute puzzle, just too much of it.

Randy 1:36 AM  

I filled in OAK for the Wye follower, because even though a famous tree / moderately popular indie band doesn't seem like NYT Crossword material, I had never seen the letter spelled out that way before. And they could have at least gone with an "en dash" clue ("short dashes?" maybe) instead of having another boring letter clue, which is always my least favorite.

It was a fun puzzle though, even if it was breezy. SPOONERISM was very cleverly clued, so it's a shame that most of its crossing clues were so easy as to practically give it away. Using "savor" as a noun to clue TASTINESS didn't really work for me. A savor is a taste, but I don't think it's necessarily tasty.

Martín Abresch 1:53 AM  

I liked the clues for SYKES (A comedian called Wanda), WINOS (Grape nuts?), and BROWN_EYES (About which it was asked "Why are you blue?"). I liked the entry THE_JONESES.

The rest seemed ho-hum. I filled in each section as it came. I had a small pause with SPOONERISM (Fighting a liar, e.g.) and a small pause at OGHAM/OCHOA (but I guessed correctly).

The NE was the one section that put up resistance. ADRIAN_I and PYE were unknowns, and it took me too long to figure out BROW-E-ES. I had hAtch/talK for CALVE/LEAK. VARIANCES took a while to pry out.

paulsfo 3:35 AM  

I, for one (maybe the only one), liked the theme answers pretty well. The 'traffic and weather' one took me a second but then nearly got a chuckle out of me.

paulsfo 3:38 AM  

Holy Cow! My comment was posted immediately. I don't know if someone is moderating at 3:30AM ET or if moderation is off, but i like it. :)

Mark 4:11 AM  

This sort of theme just isn't my cup of tea. Maybe the puns just aren't wacky enough or whatever. But it's sort of what I expect from a Sunday puzzle (I like the daily puzzles with themes better). That said, I liked some of the clues, particularly the clues for spoonerism and Brown eyes.

Marty Van B 6:21 AM  

The foreign translations of the United States was rather timely. Apparently NBC was putting pressure on the IOC to move the US National Team farther back in the parade of nations. Portuguese, like the French and Spanish in this puzzle, has our name beginning with an E. NBC worried folks would tune out with the US coming in so early. What they should have been worried about is how awful the commentators once again were. That's why I tuned out.

Anonymous 6:32 AM  

I do NOT understand how so many monolingual crossword developers and editors are hell bent on using Spanish clues (26A: parts of décadas), but utterly uncaring and ignorant of the meaning of the answer. ANOS, in Spanish, means ASSHOLES, NOT years. That TILDE is there for a very important reason. Without it, Mr. Shortz, you are simply an ANO.

Jofried 6:33 AM  

First time in ages that I couldn't finish a Sunday puzzle and it was the golfer clue. Anyway I'm new here but could someone please explain what Natick means?

Lewis 6:40 AM  

@paulsfo -- Don't know where you've been for the last two weeks, but welcome back!

There were many gimmes (though GIMMEFIVE wasn't one for me), placing this on the easy end of Sunday. I learned Anatolia, and like YEESH, HARKEN, and JACCUSE. I liked trying to crack the theme answers with no or few letters, and BACK_TO_YOU was my favorite.

Some of the puzzle felt cobwebby and dull (answers like EMPANEL, SPOUSAL, VARIANCES), but rather than turn me off, I liked that the puzzle had a distinct flavor and personality, rather than a grab bag of words from which no tone or feeling emerges. So it passed the bar of quality that I look for in a NYT puzzle, and I enjoyed it.

Loren Muse Smith 7:25 AM  

Yeah. I face-planted at OCHOA/OGHAM/MAENAD. Didn't even try to guess, but I agree with Rex – that H isn't too inferable.

This trick feels Tom Swiftian to me, and I love that kind of thing. I can understand, though, that this kind of theme isn't everyone's cuppa (hi, @Mark). I liked it - surprise, surprise – just to see the common phrases news guys use saddled with a double entendre. TOP STORIES, DETAILS ARE SKETCHY, THE LATEST, and BACK TO YOU were my favorites.

"Fighting a liar" is so apropos right now that I didn't even get that it was a joke for a long time.

Thought 111A would be "developing news" or some such.

Whoever first had the idea to put PINEAPPLE on a pizza should have been chased down the street with a baseball bat.

NSFW – when I was working at the country club, I once tried to look up the store hours of Dick's Sporting Goods. Now that'll give you your wake-up call. Hello. ROOSTER schmooster. Cock-a-doodle-don't.

Of course I liked the clues/answers for EFF, ENS, and ZEE. In that spirit, 8D could be clued, "Urdu extremes?"

FRITOs are my go-to chips. I'm adding FRITO Pie to my lunch-for-the-week rotation this year. Too bad I eat alone in my classroom, because I'd be the envy of all the other teachers if they saw me assemble that mass of tastiness and dig in.

All in all – fine Sunday romp. Thanks, SD.

chefbea 7:37 AM  

Fairly easy for me after a few googles...mainly the golf answer. I had a pizza once with pineapple and ham on it...not bad!!!

NCA President 8:03 AM  

WINOS clued as "Grape nuts." If you look up "Tortured clues" in the dictionary, I'm sure there would be a picture of 127A shown as fig. A. And that is saying something because there are several clues in this puzzle vying for that prestigious spot. Not the least of which are the way you spell letters. ZEE and EFF along with Wye...and speaking of, there's also PYE.

I submit that someone should do a themed puzzle that includes all the different ways to say United States in all the major languages of the world. Or, just include a couple here and there randomly throughout a Sunday puzzle...

While we're on the subject of Naticks, you also have that MAENAD crossing with OCHOA/OGHAM also. MAENiD? OCHOi? Looks legit from here. Just letter salad thrown together for kicks. I guess I'm supposed to be grateful for learning three new names today. I think I'd have more fun just reading the dictionary while on the throne. (Oh come now...you all have done it before...)

I've given up trying to like Sundays. I just do the Sunday puzzle out of habit. It's kind of like eating too much sugar...you eat those donuts because they're there...and you know you are going to feel badly after you eat them...but you eat them anyway. Then, about 30 minutes later you feel badly. You swear you'll never do that again. Until you find yourself again staring down a box of donuts brought in by a friend who is celebrating "Monday." And so it goes.

So I won't complain about not liking this puzzle. I won't mention how I wish I had done about 100 other things. I've accepted my fate each and every Sunday. Hey...maybe I'll be surprised once. A guy can dream, right?

Cassieopia 8:11 AM  

I like these kind of themes, but definitely Naticked right and left, across and down, all effing over. MAENAD? "Anatolia, familiarly?" And it was plain unfair to cross "8th century pope w 6th longest reign" with PINEAPPLE, which is an abomination on pizza as far as I'm concerned. It never occurred to me - pepperoni, yes. Mushrooms, I'm on it. Then I started going further afield - mozzarela (var.)? Parmesans? Marinaras? Sausagees??? To be honest, I could have accepted any of those over (shudder) PINEAPPLE, so racking that up as a Natick as pineapple on a pizza is as unknown to me as a golfer's middle name.

Otherwise, liked the puzzle, of course it was Dee En Eff but I learned a lot of things, the most interesting was about those Abu Simbel temples. Too cool.

Kenneth Wurman 8:13 AM  

Got most of the theme answers without having any letters, except I first penned in "news at eleven" before realizing my mistake.. Give this puzzle a B.

Kenneth Wurman 8:14 AM  

Got most of the theme answers without having any letters, except I first penned in "news at eleven" before realizing my mistake.. Give this puzzle a B.

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

You need a PHD to be a curator--since about 1990.

Dr. Haber 8:31 AM  

But what about "Film at 11"? Since when did a one hour foto shop produce film in one hour? Pics yes. But not film for God's sake!

Lenny Harris 8:31 AM  

Three answers ending in -ness, two crossing at the final "s?" Poor.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Lucky, lucky guess on the H in the Natick -- didn't expect it to be correct. I did like the spoonerism.

Sheik Yerbouti 8:37 AM  

I've come to accept that PANINI is now singular, at least in American english. But I don't love it. Agree that most of this was just groaner puns plus average to below-average fill.

I don't understand 118 Across -- what is the pun there?

smalltowndoc 8:39 AM  

I didn't like this puzzle for several reasons, mostly the themed clues were not funny and the fill was terrible, as others have pointed out. Also, the themed answers are presumably something a news anchor might say. But isn't 68A, BACK TO YOU, something someone would say *to* an anchor?

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

The greatest thing about this puzzle is that the constructor is a different Sam Donaldson, not the news anchor.

Leapfinger 8:43 AM  

@Lewis, there's nothing 'dull and cobwebby' about SPOUSAL VARIANCES. Au contraire, cher ami, therein lies a whole lotta potential to light a fire. BACK TO YOU.

Predictably, I got a big old kick out of the theme. My 'Big brewer' was YEAST before PABST, but nobody's perfect, and I did figure out it had to be OCHOA.

As PHAR I SEES, this was a Sunday as Sundays ought to be. A nice bit of TASTINESS working in that S.A.D.NESS sign-in, Mr Donaldson.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Fun to solve, and my time was five minutes below average, but it certainly didn't feel easy. Too much obscure little fill.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

In response to Jofried-- here's a quote from Urban Dictionary:
..., coined by blogger Rex Parker, meaning two crossing words/clues that very very few people would know. As an example, one clue would be "A town in the eighth mile of the Bostom marathon" Answer-Natick

Leapfinger 9:04 AM  

Nemmind that I thought of Paul MUNI before Paul RUDD, but any puzzle that references "A Fish Called Wanda" scores points with me.

Mr. Yerbouti, while STANDING BY someone doesn't necessarily mean you're 'defending' them, it does imply you aren't actively ripping into them. (I know, singular thems, but you know they CAN TOo work.)

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

An ogham is also a character from the ogham alphabet

Nancy 9:20 AM  

I Naticked exactly where @lms, @NCA Pres and others did: the ridiculous OGHAM/OCHOA/MAENAD crossing. Didn't know; didn't care. Which is ironic, because most of the puzzle I found much too easy for a Sunday. The lack of challenge made it seem very long. The puns -- even though I love puns -- seemed pretty forced, and I agree with NCA Pres that the WINOS clue was "tortured." Add an unusual amount of crosswordese and you have a puzzle that is pretty feeble, I think.

Once again this week, I find myself heartily agreeing with -- and chuckling over -- one of @Loren's opinions. In this case, her recommendation for what should be done to the person who first suggested putting pineapple on a pizza. I don't have a baseball bat, Loren, but I have several tennis rackets. Might they do?

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

An ogham is also a character from the ogham alphabet

Hartley70 9:25 AM  

This feels like a perfectly normal Sunday puzzle to me, kind of cute and not too challenging. You can do it at the beach in August and not fry your brain. I liked that ersatz Sam Donaldson used this theme. Will the real Sam Donaldson please stand up!

I finished the puzzle and guessed correctly at OCHOA/OGHAM. I've heard that Hispanic last name before and the other I'll chalk up to Celtic genetic memory. I finished 6 minutes earlier than usual and it never became a slog to enter the fill. It'll never be an okay Thursday, but for a Sunday I'd give it a solid B.

kitshef 9:33 AM  

Ah, the five-letter countries near Fiji. Will it be samoA? nauru? palau? Oh, it’s TONGA.

I’ve always considered coffee's AROMA to be a repellent, not a draw. And THEJONESES are people to ignore – good for them but I want no part of it.

Nothing beats NTHS for sheer desperation.

Pretty much the standard Sunday puzzle. Easy (indeed, easiest in recent memory) and unpleasant. Probably less easy but more unpleasant if you didn’t know some of the more obscure proper nouns. As it is, TOOLE, ERICH, ALAIN, EVAN, PYE, and TINA were all WoEs to me.

Clearly 71D should be iN ICE.

Hartley70 9:35 AM  

I don't know Nancy. I hit @Loren's link for Frito Pie and it seems a much more egregious culinary sin than the lovely pineapple. I'm trying to imagine how you would slurp your chili out of a ripped bag of Fritos and not end up wearing it. Wait, I just imagined Cheetos in place of those Fritos and the idea sounded much better. An adventurous chef should never be afraid to make substitutions in a recipe!

JC66 9:38 AM  

@Sheik Yerbouti

Think STAND BY me.

68A BACKTOYOU was my fav.

kitshef 9:39 AM  

@Anonymous at 6:32. Why assume Spanish? The clue for ANOS could just as easily be an Olympic tip of the hat to Portuguese, where ANOS is correct.

@Loren Muse Smith. We should probably never go out to dinner together. I would order my pre-prandial pina colada and my pizza with onion and pineapple, and you would be forced to commit grave bodily harm.

Mike Rees 10:01 AM  

What ZEE EFF happened at the bottom there? I blasted through the top three quarters in well-beyond record time, and then a different, more sadistic constructor took over? I had nacho in for FRITO for the longest time and it took me forever to dig out of that hole.

Laughed out loud at DETAILS ARE SKETCHY, as clued. The rest were groaners. Still made my best time ever for a Sunday at just over 19 blurred minutes.

Carola 10:14 AM  

Sam Donaldson + Sunday = there will be groaners of varying LOL-worthiness + Rex won't like it. I always like to see what Sam has in store. Today I especially liked TRAFFIC AND WEATHER, mainly because it took me overnight to catch on.

MAENAD was my Hermione Granger moment: "I know! I know!" waving my hand in the air....I mean, writing it it without crosses. This was balanced by my "remembering" that Anatolia is a province in Spain.

Speaking of PINEAPPLE wandering into unlikely places, I recall my amazement on being introduced to "Hawaii toast" in Germany in the 1970s: white bread topped with a slice of ham, a slice of PINEAPPLE, and a slice of orange processed cheese - intended by my German hostess as a special treat and taste of home for her American guest. This was something not even hotdish-consuming Wisconsinites were acquainted with.

OGHAM - no idea, very neat to learn about. The Google images line-up is practically poetic with the example words it uses as illustrations (blackthorn, whitethorn, alder, willow....)

@Loren - re: fighting a liar. Totally with you. I thought it would be some zinger of a word that Stephen Colbert had recently coined. So I was disappointed in the otherwise nifty SPOONERISM.

@sheik yerbouti - I filled in PANIN and waited for the last letter, though I didn't think there was much chance it would be an O.

Z 10:27 AM  

@Randy - Hand up for "Wye Oak," which a little ironic when you think about it.

Hand up for playing Whack-a-vowel at the end of OCHO-. Bok OCHOy anyone? MAENiD does not look wrong even if OCHOi does.

Rex is in the Urban Dictionary‽ Cool! Of course, one could always check out Rex's FAQ page and find the "official" definition to natick and many other terms.

I'm PINEAPPLE agnostic. It is bread with stuff in it, have some fun. Personally, though, there is way too much sweetness in our diet, so I'll pass on adding sweets to my pizzas. Give me jalapeños and spicy Italian sausage any day.

AliasZ 10:32 AM  

Wye in heaven's name would anyone want to destroy a perfectly good pizza with PINEAPPLE? Or vice-versa?

THIS JUST HANDED ME: "The US relay team holds on to the baton and wins gold in the 4x400m relay race!"

MAENAD and OGHAM were total unknowns.

ONAT, ASNO and ABARE in such close proximity drew attention to themselves. Never mind ETATS/ESTADOS -- there is the quint-ON: ON TAP, ON AT, ON ICE, LET ON and WAS ON TO. Wow! A first ever, I think.

I would go as high as C+ because I like SPOONERISMs like blushing crow, but no higher.

Have a sunny Sunday, Sonny.

Hartley70 10:33 AM  

FYI: I had never heard of the meme "rickrolling"" until I came here and then fell for it several times when a jokester left a misleading link in a post. Well all you wild and crazy fans, you're on notice that Rick Astley is giving his first concert in 25 years in NYC on Wednesday.

Marie 10:47 AM  

ALAIN in the comments, ALAIN in the grid. Coincidence, I ask you?

I have a bridge you may be interested in buying...

Passing Shot 10:51 AM  

SASSINESS and TASTINESS? I now have a SADNESS. Plus WYE, ZEE, and ENS? This was ROT.

old timer 11:05 AM  

I still don't get the STANDING BY reference to defense attorneys, The other themers were OK and some quite amusing.

If you live anywhere with a substantial Latino population, you will know that OCHOA is a fairly common last name. That's how I got OGHAM which I barely remembered was a word. Or almost got it because I had mixed up UMA and Uta. In my dictionary, OGHAM is defined as an alphabet not a character. A decent editor would have changed the clue to "characters" but I think WS is getting sloppy these days.

I think most of us have read the famous SPOONERISM, referenced here: "Sir, you have tasted two whole worms; you have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the quad; you will leave Oxford by the next town drain." The Rev. Spooner was Dean and later Warden of New College, Oxford and had the power to send misbehaving students "down" from Oxford, But probably the quoted SPOONERISM was made up in his honor.

QuasiMojo 11:10 AM  

Bordering on ANO-rexic. Finished without a single google but felt depleted rather than sated. I guessed at Ochoa/Ogham but only because the "h" made sense in Spanish.

Agree with @Loren and @Nancy that putting pineapple on pizza is grotesque. I've never seen anyone order it or eat it. Reminds me of those ghastly McDonald's Hula burgers of yore. I wonder if Hawaiians put anchovies on their poi?

Nancy 11:18 AM  

@old timer (11:05) -- What a fabulous SPOONERISM. I've never seen it before. Thanks for citing it.

Alan_S. 11:25 AM  

Take a look at the latest "Real Sports" on HBO. It's a frightening expose on the corrupt IOC. After that you may tune out for good.

Maruchka 11:33 AM  

I recently spent a week with my 96 year old aunt, whose morning schedule always includes a couple of hours watching local news channels. Thank you, Lollie, came in handy (hoo gnu?)

Pretty good Sunday puzz. Fun, lively, nicely old-fashioned. Small GAHs along the way - gas/GUN, Uno/UTZ, seeds/OENOS. OCHOA/OGHAM went in serendipitously sweet.

Fav of the day - FRITO. So happy to see other Frito pie fans (Hi @LMS - also agree on PINEAPPLE).

My recipe requires 2 Alarm Chili, a boxed mix from Texas. Every seasoning is in it, and it works. These are added as directed. I also add a couple strips of almost-cooked bacon (chopped) and a pat or two of butter at the end, even red wine. Pour that on the Fritos, add shredded sharp cheese and/or blue and/or sour cream. OH MY. Yes, only Fritos will do, not some healthy chip alternative. OK, you can try (I did). Won't be the same, though.

Alan_S. 11:33 AM  

I'm with Nancy and Loren.
Nancy on one arm and Loren on the other.
Now Alan's a happy camper.

Mohair Sam 11:35 AM  

Mostly agree with @Rex today, loved his exchange with Leah Helene on "WYE" and "EFF". But I raised my review a half point on the SPOONERISM clue alone, had to fill nearly every letter before a happy aha moment - neat stuff.

Lost a lot of time here because we figured at least an MFA for a curator, thought it was a "R"ARE bodkin, and spelled Wanda SiKES. I've groomed more than a few horses, yet couldn't see STABLEBOY for the longest time with those errors.

No natick scare here. We were at the 2004 Betsy King Classic here in PA when Lorena OCHOA birdied the 18th to win her first LPGA title by one stroke. Lorena was laughing madly when she accepted the trophy - explained to the crowd that she had just called her Mom in Mexico City to let her know she had won. Mom had hollered at her for ruining the one hour televised delay of the tournament the family was watching back home.

@Loren Muse Smith - This household volunteers to join you in harassing the perp who first put pineapple on pizza. May form my own army to put an end to your Frito pie however.

jberg 11:39 AM  

@Old timer, not defense attorneys, just members of the public -- "I'm STANDING BY OJ, I think they tried to frame him," e.g.

I really didn't like a real "famous headline" when the theme is joke headlines. Well, maybe they're teasers, not headlines, and maybe that's ok, but it bothered me.

@Carola, I grew up in Sturgeon Bay, and that sounds like something we'd have eaten. Ham with pineapple, yes, ham with processed cheese toasted, yes -- maybe not all three ingredients at once, though.

My name is Anatolia, but my friends call me ASIA MINOR. Really???

Two quizzes:

Who are the five Popes who served longer than ADRIAN I?

What are those eight common elk-hunting phrases that @Rex has in mind?

OK, that's enough.

007 11:39 AM  

Haha - great point

Wm. C. 11:57 AM  

@O-Ter --

The clue did not include "attorneys," just "... those defending the accused, ..."

Speaking of "standing by," remember this?


YEESH, they both look so young! Well... It was almost 25 years ago ...

Joseph Michael 12:11 PM  

Have to agree with Rex's grade of C for this one. It could have been worse, but it sure could have been better. Theme concept feels old and the examples were not particulary amusing, though I did like the TOP STORIES pun. Also enjoyed being reminded of spoonerisms.

Count me in among those who naticked at OCHOA/OGHAM and didn't care.

Roo Monster 12:13 PM  

Hey All !
THE LATEST TOP STORIES, lots of partial in here, AT LARGE, AS NO, ON TAP, DAB AT, UP TO PAR, ON ICE, LET ON, WAS ON TO, SHY OF. Also, DETAILS ARE SKETCHY on the clue for TRAFFIC AND WEATHER. Did have some nice fill, STANDING BY on some of the threes,though. Some WOEs, TOOLE, MAENAD, SABRA, OGHAM. Writeovers, cap-ACL, nachO-FRITI, THatlater-THELATEST.

Did like THE JONSES, and also liked me in the Center Down, ROOSTER! :-)


Chaos344 12:22 PM  

C'mon people! Some of you really need to get out more often. Pizza snobs are no better than wine or beers snobs. Variety is truly the spice of life and tastes vary widely. Pizza is probably one of the most versatile dishes ever invented. You can put literally anything on a pizza. Even broccoli is tolerable. Conch Toppings may very well be regional. I love Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple, but here on eastern Long Island, chopped clam or calamari is also very popular. I'm guessing that Pizza from Scoma's on Fisherman's Wharf might be delicious with large chucks of Dungeness crab or abalone? Conch in Florida? Sliced mountain oysters in Montana? Yum Yum!

I gotta tell ya, the first time I ever had Macaroni & cheese with lobster, I found it comparable to an orgasmic experience. I've often used a sexual paradigm to rate potential favorite foods by asking myself the question. "Is this something you could partake of on a daily basis, and never tire of?"

Moving along, has anyone here ever meet someone from Mexico whose last name is Ochoi or Ochoy? How about Ochoe or Ochou? There is a large Latino community in my area, and Ochoa is a pretty common Latino/Hispanic name. I'll admit that it was tough to get with the nasty crosses, but the two O's were gimmes.

Zora Neale Hurston 12:31 PM  

Isn't OFL a literature professor? And he's not familiar with Alain Locke and the Harlem Renaissance? White privilege indeed.

Teedmn 12:47 PM  

@Loren and @Nancy, it can get worse; I saw a banana/shrimp pizza on a menu in Sweden and my friend Catharina ordered it! Shudder. And @Hartley70, while I can fully STAND BY your stance on Jane Austen, I cannot support anything involving Cheetos. Shudder!

@AliasZ, thanks for the timely theme addition.

And for me, Back to You brought this NSFW scene from "Bridget JONES' Diary" to mind.

And it would take a much cleverer person than me to turn any knitting terms into wacky phrases, though I thank @Rex for the idea.

I avoided the OCHOA/OGHAM Natick with luck only to DNF due to leaving in SPOONERIng. It's just THE LATEST in a series.

Da Bears 1:09 PM  

I loved this puzzle and thought the clues were cleverly written to lead into the answer. I think this is what Sunday puzzles should be and I usually have little taste for the punny themes that have been too often published lately.

Andrew Heinegg 1:27 PM  

I thought this was an odd combination of too easy for a Sunday and huh? with the Maenad and Ogham being a couple of the huhs. The pun basis of the puzzle once again shows the risk of such puzzles. Unless the puns are absolute groaners, the puzzle will seem weak as a whole. Here, while perhaps the puns might be considered decent, they are just not quite horrible enough to rescue the puzzle.

I do have an issue with OFL rating this as easy since, to me, if there are a number of answers within a puzzle that are answers that few solvers will have heard of or known about and those answers lead to a dnf for any significant number of solvers, that is not an easy puzzle. But, maybe I am trying to boost my own ego since I did solve the puzzle without errors or 'cheating'. I just looked at some of the answers upon completion with a perplexed look on my face.

The pineapple on pizza business brings on a philosophical discussion on food in general to me. I, like Loren, Nancy et al am repulsed by the idea of pineapple on pizza. In the same vein, I also don't think much of fusion cuisine, where you combine say French and Japanese cooking. Food and eating habits are derived, in my opinion, from the environment that the people and the food itself come from. That gives the food a sense of harmony in its flavors and textures, if you will.

Wine lovers frequently refer to the terroir or soil that the grapes are grown in shaping the taste of the wine. Likewise identical fruit and vegetables grown in different parts of the world taste very different from one another because of the soil and climate they are grown in. And, animals that carnivores eat taste differently depending on both what the animals to be eaten eat and the climate they are raised in. Anyhow, that is my food rant somehow derived from my distaste for pineapple on pizza in this puzzle!

Sydney 1:39 PM  

Lucky I knew ogham because I didn't know Ochoa! Maenad? No problem. I have more trouble with names of obscure actors and sports people, rappers, that kind of thing.
Rex, you're way too jaded and grumpy. Ditch the grades.

Masked and Anonymous 1:47 PM  

@Teedmn - I'm pretty sure our bunch ordered a shrimp & something pizza, at some little place in Sweden. Only memory of it was that the result looked highly organized, into little isolated piles here and there on the pizza.

This is the kind of SunPuz theme that I kinda enjoy, where U are tryin to predict the joke punchlines. Another example:
Elk-Hunting Punchlines …
1. The wapiti herd's best, albeit reckless, leaper was known as … *
2. Bird-wapiti, who thought it could fly was also known as … *
3. The incompetent wapiti-nazi leader was known as … *

The thing that always worries the M&A about a SunPuz is that somewhere in all that vastness of unexplored space will be somethin he don't know, crossin somethin else he don't know. Candidates:
- UTZ. fave weeject. No problemo, due to friendly crossfire.
- TOOLE. Was immediately frettin about the dreaded "OT" rebus, to start this entry.
- UFC. fave weeject [M&A is pretty fickle]. Eazy-E crosses, tho.
- PHARISEES/SARA. Close call, but eschewed the when-it-doubt-go-fer-U strategy, and went with the intersecting "S".
- MAENAD/OCHOA. Yeesh city.
- OCHOA/JACCUSE. Double yeesh city.
- OCHOA/OGHAM. Mortal blow: triple yeesh play.

So … DQF. [Didn't Quite Finish.] But had fun with them themers. Ergo … GIMME FOUR, dude! Thanx, Mr. Sam.

Masked & Anonym007Us

* answers:

Deborah Wess 2:28 PM  


Deborah Wess 2:38 PM  

My favorite crossing was GALLOPS with STABLEBOY. But Wye so many Effing letters spelled out for sure? Certainly agree with redundancy of Etats and Estado in one puzzle! Also didn't see "fighting a liar" as a Spoonerism until I had it filled in. But I do like easy puzzles.

AskGina 2:49 PM  

Generally, all seem to be in agreement with this puzzles strengths and weaknesses so the C grade somehow seems appropriate. I struggled w tastiness because I read savor as a verb and tastiest as a noun. So I dictated tastiness into Google and got a zillion hits for tasty ass. I didn't bother reading any of em and I'm not going to let myself dwell on why that's a thing. I've been re-reading Edit Wharton and one bio I looked it claimed that the phrase was coined in New York for her father's family. For me its an opportunity to bring this conversation to back to JaneAustin. In Edith's version of love among the upper classes none of the smitten live happily ever after and most of them die or come to deoreswing endings. But it's all so wonderfully written.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

This puzzle was boring. How about a picture of Rex's dogs to liven things up?

Numinous 2:57 PM  

Rebecca OCHOA. I dated her for a little while when I was in eleventh grade. Why I know of OGHAM, I'm not sure but I do. Must have come up when I was looking around trying to find out how to pronounce Irish, Scottish, and Welsh words and names.

Took me the longest time to remember Rev. SPOONER. It was on the tip of my tongue but somehow rinsed away as I sipped at my coffee. My first impulse for ZEE was ZEd.

One of the first rules for solving cryptic puzzles is to ignore all punctuation. If you ignore the period in the TRAFFIC AND WEATHER clue, the whole thing reads as an understandable sentence.

When I worked as an editor for TV news in Australia, we'd always get the film back in an hour or less. True that wasn't a One Hour Foto but we always managed to have FILM AT ELEVEN. Well, as long as it was in by ten.

Okay, I cheated for the last letter. I looked in my google translator for the Italian for "floor": pavimento. Wait, what? Then I looked at the clue again and realized it wasn't "Floor (It)" it was "Floor (it). Oh wow, and there I was thinking UTZ all along.

The puns were cute (enough). The puzzle kept me occupied for a while. Wasn't brilliant but not drab either. I'd say a C+ or maybe a B-.

Z 3:39 PM  

@Chaos344 - Since I'm a beer snob I won't go around calling people pizza snobs. Otherwise, something besides the Tigers we agree on. As for OCHOA, not a name I ran across growing up. Not on the Dutch side of my family tree nor the Spanish/Mexican side of my family tree. Still, if I hadn't elided past the "Mexican" in the clue I might have shortened my game of Whack-a-Vowel. Interestingly, Wikipedia has 33 OCHOAs on the disambiguation page, but not Lorena the golfer.

@Zora Neale Hurston - Dead and contrarian is no way to live. Also, OFL has a PhD, meaning he knows a whole hell of a lot about very little. Maybe if ALAIN Locke was alive in the middle ages or had written noir crime fiction (instead of such best sellers as Race Contacts and Interracial Relations: Lectures of the Theory and Practice of Race) he'd be more widely known today.

brainman53 3:56 PM  

This was an unsatisfying Sunday puzzle because it was the worst possible combination of a meh theme (unfunny, nonsensical puns) coupled with insipid fill (which I will not repeat for the NTH time), then bogged down by Naticks and arcane proper nouns.

BTW, what's up with HEARKEN? Seriously?
Why has no one complained about that one? YEESH!

I have been doing the NYT crosswords for only the last five or so years, starting with Sunday's then expanding to Thursday thru Sunday (cannot bring myself to do Mon - Wed, as they feel like any other puzzle -- call me a snob). Anyway, the Sunday puzzles seem to have become rather consistently unchallenging over the past couple of years. Is that the case or have I merely become a grown up NYT crossword addict who continually chases the crossword high?

Enough about me. Am I the only person who prints out the puzzle to solve with pen and paper? It somehow feels more satisfying.

chefbea 4:03 PM  

Just looked up Frito pie...Have to make it soon...or when the weather cools down

AskGina 4:24 PM  

Hahha, I just realized I left out mention of the phrase "keeping up wits the Joneses was coined for EW's family. Definitely not tasty ass. Tried delete, it didn't work. :D

AskGina 4:29 PM  

@brainman53, I solve weekdays that way because I stare a screen all day. My guilt over the dead tree thing is balanced by (my personal myth) that those trees are planted specifically for that purpose, knowing full well the down side of the processing and transportation aspects of it. I'm a conundrum

Chaos344 4:38 PM  


ARRGH! I knew this was gonna be a bad day from get go! The puzzle was meh, and there was no way the Tigers were gonna sweep the Mets. Sanchez pitches his best game of the year, (maybe two years) and still loses because he is matched against the hottest pitcher in the NL. Cleveland lost, so no harm done, but we're gonna miss Castellanos big time! I think the Tigers are going to be bridesmaids again.

brainman53 4:55 PM  

AskGina, I share your angst over the trees, as I'm sure most all NYT crossword geeks do. I assuage my tree guilt by using the both sides of the paper. Hey, it kind of helps.

Lewis 6:01 PM  

@leapy -- I yield to your excellent point.

kitshef 6:22 PM  

@Z - not sure what page you are looking at, but when I Wikipedia OCHOA I get this page, which does have Lorena on it.

Z 6:30 PM  

@kitshef - looks the same. I must have missed her somehow.

jae 6:42 PM  

@brainman53 - mechanical pencil and paper, less messy that way and yes to both sides of the paper. Definitely more satisfying.

Jackie 6:57 PM  

I wish anyone luck who tries to get a job as a museum or gallery curator with only a BFA. Bachelor of Fine Arts = a 4-year degree in studio practice. Even MFAs don't generally become curators. Curating requires expertise in the history of art, conservation, and administration. Thus, MA or (more often) Ph.D. in Art History and/or Museum Studies is required.

brainman53 7:10 PM  

@jae - cannot resist the challenge of using pen.

Mohair Sam 7:39 PM  

@Z - Not surprised that Lorena OCHOA is unknown to many here, but she is certainly not an obscure OCHOA. She was LPGA golfer of the year each year from 2006 thru 2009 - and had 27 tour wins during that period. She is considered by most the best golfer ever, male or female, to come out of Mexico.

Natick material for many? Yes. But certainly not totally obscure.

Karen 7:53 PM  

I had KKK for "Duke grp."

Joe Bleaux 8:15 PM  

Thanks! A nitpicky point, yes -- but now I know it ain't just me. Now, back to you ...

Joe Bleaux 8:50 PM  

Gah! I gotta find a dictionary! I thought "savor" was a verb, as in "I savor the thought of adding pineapple to the pizza toppings." And "Up top!" = GIMME FIVE? If the anchorman says so, I reckon. Yeesh! If it weren't for the Yuenglings I knocked back while putting this wretched puzzle away this afternoon, I wouldn't have had much fun with it.
@kitshef (perhaps my favorite poster, because you so often teach me something, and frequently beat me to saying what I was GONNA say): I was surprised that you didn't know Toole. I know you're no dunce!😉

Andrew Heinegg 9:36 PM  

Your observation about Ms. Ochoa is, of course, accurate but, the great Tex-Mex man, Lee Trevino, is the greatest golfer of Mexican heritage, no question. He is also the most sociable and garrulous golfer of all time regardless of descent.

Z 9:57 PM  

@Mohair Sam - I didn't know her (My golfer knowledge ends after Tiger and Els - maybe a couple of long retired guys from when I was young) but I never called her obscure. I was wondering about OCHOA as a common name, and the disambiguation page is often useful for that kind of question. Much like the "Mexican" in the clue, I must have skipped right over Lorena the first time I went down the list. I also learned that OCHOA has Basque roots. Interesting stuff you run into when looking for other answers.

@Chaos344 - Two good outings in a row for Sanchez. I doubt that he even made a physical adjustment. It really seemed like his problems were more mental than physical. As for the playoff chase, I'm feeling good. Besides, we're chasing Cleveland. I almost feel sorry for northern Ohio. Almost.

Joe Dipinto 9:58 PM  

"Panini" is not singular, I don't care how many stupid Americans think it is, or that the NYTimes Crossword Editor is continually trying to convince us that it is. If you saw a menu category that included a Reuben, Turkey Club, Egg Salad, BLT, etc., would it be headed as SANDWICH? No, it would be headed as SANDWICHES, with everything below being a SANDWICH. Similarly, PANINI as a menu heading means everything below is a PANINO, and collectively they are PANINI . Please stop this idiocy, Will Shortz, and any constructors as it applies.

Mohair Sam 10:24 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg - Lee Trevino is one of those rare people the mention of whose name brings a smile to the face of anyone who knows of him.

Roo Monster 10:26 PM  

@Joe Bleaux 8:50 pm,
Yuengling!! Originally from PA myself. The one thing I miss the most...


Z 10:36 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - Oxford disagrees because English speakers don't give a rats ptui about foreign languages. Heck, "Y'All" can be singular now so we need "All Y'all," so do you really think we're going to parse a nit over O or I for our over-priced toasted sandwiches?

Okay, I've far exceeded my three comment quota.

Nancy 10:41 PM  

@Chaos (12:22) -- I agree that just about anything would be good on a pizza, as long as it's savory. But PINEAPPLE is sweet. That's why PINEAPPLE, along with @Teedmn's banana on a pizza sound so -- what did Quasimojo call it? -- grotesque.. By the way, broccoli happens to be one of my favorite toppings. Spinach, too. They both help me convince myself that I'm having a really healthy and well-balanced meal. Perhaps I even am.

Which reminds me of a Sophia Loren interview from way back in the day. "You Americans like to call pizza 'fast food'", she said. "In Italy, we call it dinner."

old timer 11:00 PM  

Oh, I left out the one answer that made me rate this puzzle much higher than OFL did. JACCUSE. I certainly was looking for something to do with the Spanish-American War. I was delighted to learn that this was also the year that JACCUSE came out, in a mostly successful attempt to overturn the conviction of Dreyfus, a jew, for espionage. There were apparently some who did not like the idea of a Jewish army officer in France, and basically the man was framed. Zola's J'Accuse is a masterpiece of writing, in any language.

AskGina 11:04 PM  

@Joe Dipinto and @Z, breathe a sigh of relief that you've never had to see Panini Sandwiches on a menu. Welcome to California. And pineapple on pizza, again Welcome to California. Finally, @Joe, Depinto, really? (AskGina, first generation Italian American)New York's just the place where they got off the boat.

Andrew Heinegg 12:19 AM  

Your observation about Ms. Ochoa is, of course, accurate but, the great Tex-Mex man, Lee Trevino, is the greatest golfer of Mexican heritage, no question. He is also the most sociable and garrulous golfer of all time regardless of descent.

Andrew Heinegg 12:20 AM  

Your observation about Ms. Ochoa is, of course, accurate but, the great Tex-Mex man, Lee Trevino, is the greatest golfer of Mexican heritage, no question. He is also the most sociable and garrulous golfer of all time regardless of descent.

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

Not sure it's worth pursuing this panino/panini Englalian line of endeavor. The implications for an Egyptian Ra_violo may squeak by, but unlikely for the USA and Spa_Ghetto.

Michelle Turner 1:00 PM  

The accused is on the stand.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

Standing by someone is similar to defending or otherwise supporting them, maybe?

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

"Back to you" may refer to the duelers having their backs to each other as they take their steps away... ?

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

Defending may be perceived as "STANDING BY" someone.

Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Definitely a Natick for me, but it wasn't OCHOA/OGHAM, for which the H sounded better than any of the alternatives (OCgOA certainly didn't look right). For me it was MAENAD/NIN. I feel like i'm more versed than many in Greek mythology but can't remember seeing the word "Maenad". I admit my ignorance of Cuban diarists and female erotica, and can't remember seeing anyone named "Nin", but I guess Henry & June must be fairly well known? (given that no one else has commented on Anaïs Nin). I even tried a number of other letters (L,V,M) before giving up, since "Nin" just didn't look like a first name (having assumed, erroneously, that Anaïs was a last name...)

Burma Shave 12:26 PM  


No LASTPLACE, I’mEAGER for the greatest,
and ISAY I’ll pay that LOAN BACKTOYOU.



I WASONTO ABARE SARA, ATLARGE out in the gardens,


rondo 1:32 PM  

Can’t imagine a curator with less than a mFA, so that was today’s w/o. Pretty easy, but the jokey clues unfunny. Haven’t read the other comments (except OFL’s), so pardon me if this has been said. I’ll check above, but the PPP had to be really high

We’ve got ALANIS and UMA and Ms. GRAF and more, but yeah baby golfer Lorena OCHOA is tops today. In person she is a sweet and striking figure. More than UPTOPAR.

Regrettable plural NTHS, and what’s with the ZEE and EFF and ENS and USE? A little SADNESS caused there. And SASSINESS is quite the way to account for so many esses in the right column, where you’ll often find a bunch.

I dunno, not much TASTINESS here. A few places, and it wasn’t a rebus, but ISAY let’s do better.

spacecraft 1:34 PM  

I'm with you, @Cassiopeia. I knew--I could see right away it was going to be (yuck!) PINEAPPLE. Not on MY pizza, ever! It's OK in fruit salad, or even upside-down cake, but PIZZA? Nah.

I luckily happened to know OCHOA, only because I had the Golf Channel on one time and left it on while answering my phone. But there were plenty of PPPs I didn't know. Those, and the super-awkward partials (DABAT, SHYOF, ASNO, INAS, ABARE) were a major distraction. I think the theme was fun and clever, and you gotta love GIMMEFIVE. But OTOH, at the symmetrical position in the NE, we have SASSINESS. Can you spell plural crutch x5? Oh sorry, the last one is a mirror-image -NESS, not a plural. It just felt like this one was churned out to meet a deadline without much care. A PB1 or a BS1 would NEVER have submitted this.

Now we know how to say "States" in TWO Romance languages. YEESH! Then there's MAENAD, an example of what I call, "You've got this six-letter string, let's see if it spells anything. Oh, looky here! It does!" J'ACCUSE! Hopelessly unavailable obscurity!

This hole had birdie potential, but sloppy play lost a couple of strokes. Bogey. DOD is the sforementioned Lorena OCHOA. Yeah, I decided to watch it a while after I got off the phone.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. Yet I was unable to complete this puzzle owing to words like OGHAM and MAENAD. I'll be honest, I don't think anyone knows what they mean anymore. Scholars maintain that the translations were lost hundreds of years ago.

Unknown 2:58 PM  

Am I the only one who knows pepperoni has the same number of letters as pineapple and that birch trees have white bark? Start with that and APBs in the NE and tell me how long you scratch your head since you "know" what you have put down just has to be correct. I know next to nothing about puzzle construction but that seems like a giant gaffe to me. I did like the theme wordplay though

rain forest 1:19 AM  

Capacollo and mushroom, with added peppers, here.
I first (and last) had a ham and pineapple pizza in 1964. Repulsive.
You want broccoli or spinach-go have a salad. Thanks

Way late today. Many plumbing issues to deal with. Anyway, liked the theme, and most of the fill. No Natick for me. Ochoa/Ogham is a fine cross. Needed other crosses for MAENAD, but OK by me.

If Wanda was a reference to Jamie Lee Curtis, that's my yeah baby, or DOD as you wish.

One panino, many panini. One graffito, several graffiti. That's just the way it is.

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Anonymous 9:33 PM  

I love pineapple on pizza.

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