Orbiting info relayer / TUE 8-2-16 / French mathematician Blaise / Part of FNMA / Pro bono spots briefly / Martha's Vineyard alternative

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a *Tuesday*)

THEME: -LESS — so ... lots of "-LESS"-suffixed words, with the "... didn't want to be?" clues turning the answers into species of pun ... yes, that seems to be what is going on. The grid is chock full of this type of ... fun.

Theme answers:
  • COLLARLESS (17A: What the beat cop didn't want to be?)
  • RUTHLESS (21A: What the 1920s Yankees didn't want to be?)
  • ARTLESS (35A: What the museum curator didn't want to be?)
  • BASELESS (50A: What the G.I. didn't want to be?)
  • MOTIONLESS (54A: What the trial attorney didn't want to be?)
  • HELPLESS (3D: What the mansion owner didn't want to be?)
  • SEAMLESS (36D: What the coal company didn't want to be?)
[You do realize, of course, that the theme answer possibilities here are almost literally endless. ENDLESS, I say!] 

Word of the Day: PIERO di Cosimo (7D: Painter ___ di Cosimo)
Piero di Cosimo (2 January 1462 – 12 April 1522), also known as Piero di Lorenzo, was a Florentine painter of the Italian Renaissance. // He is most famous for the mythological and allegorical subjects he painted in the late Quattrocento; he is said to have abandoned these to return to religious subjects under the influence of Savonarola, the preacher who exercised a huge sway in Florence in the 1490s, and had a similar effect on Botticelli. The High Renaissance style of the new century had little influence on him, and he retained the straightforward realism of his figures, which combines with an often whimsical treatment of his subjects to create the distinctive mood of his works. Vasari has many stories of his eccentricity, and the mythological subjects have an individual and quirky fascination. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oy, I picked a bad day to return to "work." Tuesday being Tuesday, which is to say, Tuesday being irksomely substandard. So much ... LESS. Why? And the (pseudo-) puns. They hurt, and not so good. So bad. They hurt so bad. And the fill did not improve matters. The smarmy class ASPIRE-ation in this puzzle, ugh. "Help" = "servants in your 'mansion'"? "THE CAPE"? (where you summer when you're not in your ... mansion?) PAREE? (your cutesy name for that place you like to brag you've been to a lot, making a great ECLAT at the many FESTS you're invited to, no doubt; that is, when you aren't touring all the wonderful museums, seeing the various Monets and Corots and PIEROs, etc.). I can't relate to this puzzle at all. I'm sure COLLARLESS means something in this puzzle's world (maybe you keep your COLLARLESS ... things next to your ALINEs?), but honestly I'd have to GUESS AT it. This whole puzzle—theme and fill—is unimaginative, dated, FUSTY, and froofy, which is probably not a word, but I'm standing by it.

The puzzle was much harder than the typical Tuesday (a few seconds more and I'd've called this "Challenging"), and that *despite* having so many giveaway -LESSes. The difficulty was partly in the cluing of the themers (no way I could get to HELP from "mansion," almost no way I could get to COLLAR from "beat cop," SEAM from "coal company," etc.) and partly in the bizarro fill like IN HELL (?) and AT LUNCH (!?). Then you've got a solid bank—4-wide—of people's names in the SW. I wouldn't care at all about the difficulty if the payoff were worth it, but it's not even close. As for my own personal faceplants (nobody's fault but mine), I went with FETES over FESTS (25D: Fun gatherings) and CELT over PICT (10A: Briton of old). I also had no idea what was going on in the (by far) ugliest clue/answer pairing of the day: 23D: Part of F.N.M.A.: Abbr. (MTGE). I mean, just read that over. Again. And again. It's essentially a cat on a keyboard—lots of letters, only two actual words. Junktastic.

I'm so grateful to the brilliant Matt Gaffney for taking over last week (and to Annabel for her usual First-Monday sparkle). I hear Shortz showed up in the Comments again (and again, predictably, when he published a terrible puzzle and got told so publicly). Sounds like fun. I wouldn't know. I didn't do a single puzzle last week, and didn't look at the blog once. It was glorious. But ... I am glad to be back. Had lots of great indie puzzles waiting for me in my Inbox, and, as always, I still have hope that the NYT will right the ship. The good days are still very good. It's just that I have to suffer through too many of These Days to get them. Dum spiro, spero!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


mathgent 12:07 AM  

I liked it a lot, I'm wondering if this comment will be posted immediately. It's now 9:05 PDT.

jae 12:11 AM  

Tough Tues.!! This would have been a medium-tough Wed. for me. Part of my problem was HEirLESS for 3d. It took a bit of staring to fix that. I also tried to fit CUEstick into 10d which gave me @Rex celT before PICT. Plus @Rex FEtes before FESTS. Then you have WOEs like GISELLE and PIERO....so, tough Tues.!

I liked this more than Rex but...

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

I should leave a positive comment when I have a positive puzzling experience instead of solely leaving negative comments when I have a negative puzzling experience, and this puzzle was a slog. Unlike Rex, I rarely stop to analyze why a puzzle is a slog (note: it has nothing to do with how hard or easy it is; easy puzzles can be slogs and hard puzzles can be epic). But this one was a slog, and much more challenging than any Tuesday in recent memory.

Whirred Whacks 12:16 AM  

Well, well. That's a surprise. The L-Dopa still flows at this site!

David Krost 12:22 AM  

I think the word that applies to people like Rex is curmudgeonly. There is nothing at all wrong with the mildly amusing theme. I know you must realize that another word for an arrest is a collar, hence the relation to the cop clue, while there are many dress codes that forbid collarless shirts. Exceedingly common. So your seeming blankness there is either disingenuous or you really are being dense.

Maybe you should ask a few people before making such foolish statements.

Geometricus 12:36 AM  

Took me twice as long as a usual Tuesday. Maybe because I was watching "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" while doing the puzzle. As soon as I got the theme, the song "Hopeless" from the musical Hamilton popped into my head. But the clue "what Crosby and Lamour don't want to be?" never came up.

Mike in Mountain View 12:47 AM  

Welcome back, Rex! Sorry you didn't like the puzzle.

Average Tuesday difficulty for me, and pretty entertaining, too. The theme was fine and at times mildly amusing. Not sure why Rex hated it so much, though I know he is not into puns.

FNMA was a gimme for anybody who knows about Fannie Mae, and there are more than a few people who are more likely to know the Federal National Mortgage Association than music or movie trivia.

Da Bears 12:48 AM  

Never thought I would miss Matt so quickly. Agree with @David Krost about the two theme answers he cites. Thought the puzzle was fine for a Tuesday and agree it was a tad harder than the norm. Not sure why @Rex is so negative about it but i never liked the first day back from vacation either.

Pete 1:07 AM  

Joyless at 2X average Tuesday time, which seemed like 4X. 7 second grade puns do not a theme make.
@Da Bears - mentioning two aspects of one theme answer isn't the same as mentioning two theme answers.

Martín Abresch 1:10 AM  

Tough Tuesday.

Had STen/CeLL instead of STAN/CALL. I didn't know STAN Smith, and CeLL was a legitimate answer (Phone). I bet some solvers get tripped up at the crossing of LHASA/GISELLE. The answer to 15-Across (ALINE) appears in the clue for nearby 18-Down (AREA: Something a line lacks). And it might be a small thing but there is a homophone in BASS and BASELESS: this could easily have been easily avoided by turning SOB/BASS to SOP/PASS, SOL/LASS, or SOS/SASS.

Other possible theme answers:

What the movie theatre owners didn't want to be? FEATURELESS
What the NASCAR driver didn't want to be? TIRELESS
What the geometer didn't want to be? SHAPELESS
What the organized planner didn't want to be? LISTLESS
What the Hallmark employee didn't want to be? EXPRESSIONLESS

@David Krost - Google Ngram Viewer confirms that COLLARLESS the least common of the words. More importantly, it's the only one of the seven theme answers which meaning is simply OBJECT + -LESS. Contrast SEAMLESS, which has a literal meaning (without sewing seams) and a metaphoric meaning (as a film's seamless cut). COLLARLESS may be in the dictionary, but it still feels like an arbitrary use of OBJECT + -LESS rather than an independent concept.

Da Bears 1:29 AM  

@Martín Abresch, you apparently don't play golf (as well as tennis). It's a common term because many courses and all private clubs do not allow collarless shirts. The theme is clever and tight. @Rex is just being Rex on his first day back. I recall the day when @Rex lectured Acme (who is no longer here) on sports as an okay subject matter for XWPs. One of the best U.S. Open finals was Stan Smith vs. Ilie Nastase (another NYT puzzle favorite).

Mohair Sam 1:39 AM  

Welcome back Rex, trust you enjoyed.

SleepLESS in Southeast Pennsylvania tonight so I'm here early. And I'm in agreement with Rex - medium/challenging for a Tuesday, but not a lot fun. The theme fell flat for me - I liked the clues for RUTHLESS and SEAMLESS, but the rest fell flat. The puzzle was tough enough that without the easy to spot themers we may well have had the rare Tuesday dnf.

Four names side by side in the SW seemed excessive for any day of the week, and PIERO, PICT, and PASRAL particularly nasty for early days. And I get Rex's point on THECAPE, if you don't live in the Northeast the local term may as lost on you as "pop". Anybody else think SOBbing is something very different from "bawling"? Finally, I don't see CAPERs as a garnish, they look like tiny rabbit you know whats - but then I'm not a chef (although I love them in veal piccata).

I'm normally a big fan of Paula Gamache puzzles, but today I'm casting my vote with OFL.

chefwen 2:34 AM  

Welcome back Rex, loved Matt as a substitute, but missed your usual style and take on the puzzles.

Got the LESS thing early on and went ahead and filled all those squares in, but I still felt it was unusually difficult for a Tuesday. I was happy to have my puzzle partner today. He took care of the SW corner which was pretty white when I handed it to him and that wrapped it up.

Nothing wrong with a little challange on a Tuesday.

KFC 2:42 AM  

Hey Rex, did you know Matt banned David Krost for the entire week?

Eat more chicken!

Martín Abresch 2:54 AM  

@Da Bears - You are correct. I play neither golf nor tennis. You say that COLLARLESS is commonly used in specific contexts, golf courses and private clubs. That does not affect my argument that it is both the least common and (more importantly) least interesting of the theme answers. Your point does inadvertently confirm Rex's guess that COLLARLESS belongs to this puzzle's FUSTY world or mansion servants and summers on THE_CAPE.

I'm not sure why you mention Rex lecturing Acme on sports as an okay subject matter. I never argued otherwise.

Anonymous 4:25 AM  

Ah, yes, I missed the good 'ol Rex SJW snark! ;-)

Welcome back, Michael. All seems right--err, I mean correct in the world now!


John Ray 4:35 AM  

I had never heard of "collar" for an arrest either. Maybe it's a regional term?

George Barany 4:54 AM  

Welcome back, @Rex! Your experiences with @Paula Gamache's puzzle track my own [here's looking at you, all the "gimme" LESS; FEteS; celTS; the proper name pileup in the SW; and most especially MTG? where lPS (l for "long" rather than E for "extended") sure seemed like a reasonable crossing].

I also wondered about seeing A_LINE at 15-Across along with this clue for 18-Down (bold added by me): "Something a line lacks." I had to GUESS_AT the P in PIERO, but it took a post-solve Google search to understand how CAPER fit its clue, i.e. "Pickled garnish." Then, of course, there's THE_CAPE at 27-Across. AS_A_RULE, I prefer that such dupes be removed, but certainly understand that others might not CARE.

I did get a HA_HA out of the POOL_CUE clue, and loved seeing @GARRY Trudeau in the grid the same evening that he had been interviewed by @Rachel Maddow [see also this amazing recent newspaper article.]

Finally, note how the RUTHLESS answer refers to a teammate of someone mentioned in the ALS clue. I refer interested @Rex-ites to (in order) this, this, this, and this.

George Barany 5:07 AM  

My comment at 4:54 AM showed up essentially immediately, links and all. Problems I had encountered last week seem to have solved themselves by posting via my Google account, rather than via name/URL as I had been doing routinely for several years.

@Rex ... bravo for trusting this community enough to turn off moderation. I'm sure that several us would gladly volunteer extra pairs of eyes to provide vigilance against trolls and spell-casters.

I will also take the liberty to assume that a break from puzzle solving and commentary was very salutary to @Rex, and hesitate to recommend revisiting any of last week's puzzles. So suffice it to say that the great @Liz Gorski has a puzzle in this week's "Crossword Nation" (available by subscription) that--in addition to being a fun solve on its own merits--includes an Easter egg best appreciated by anyone who was following the events alluded to in the last paragraph of today's @Rex review.

Loren Muse Smith 5:08 AM  

@David Krost and @Da Bears – I worked at a private golf club, and both my husband and son golf. I, too, paused at COLLARLESS. I actually didn't fill it in at first because I figured it couldn't be right. "Collared" – sure – but COLLARLESS feels weird to me. So I'm standing over with Rex. (Funny that we say "sleeveless," but "sleeved" feels wrong. Just the reverse.)

Like Rex, I noticed the oldish vibe, knew when FUSTY fell that we'd see it in the write-up. And I went with "fetes" first, too.

There was a "Good heavens!" vibe: OH MY! MY STARS! GOSH!

@jae – I liked your "heirless" thought.

I was glad to have so many themers because there must be a ton of –less words. Wonder if they all could have been names like RUTHLESS (cashless, snowless, hopeless, priceless, childless…)

Yeah, despite running around and filling in LESSes, it was still kinda hard. Had to erase Nepal for LLASA just kidding. Also, MTGL and PIERO were certainly woes for me.

I liked RUTHLESS - "Ruth" is completely removed from its original meaning, whatever the heck "ruth" means there. C'mon Bobby. Have some ruth, man. Lend me ten bucks.

I like themes that re-examine a word, and the LESS suffix is full of possibilities -

Day of Oning (A reckless title)
ER BEAVER. (An ageless problem. Damn things get in the way and steal things)

Agreed that this was tougher for a Tuesday. But I really liked RUTHLESS and the clue for 57D SEAS. Hah!

Oh, East is East and West is West, and twain shall meet (Sorry, Rudyard.)

Officer Joe Bolton 6:55 AM  

"Collars for Dollars" is old NYPD jargon.

Officer Joe Bolton 6:58 AM  

Full Definition of collar

transitive verb

a : to seize by the collar or neck b : arrest, grab c : to get control of : preempt d : to stop and detain in unwilling conversation

: to put a collar on

Hungry Mother 7:05 AM  

This one seemed like a short run in soft sand.

da kine 7:38 AM  

I liked it. It was a bit challenging for a Tuesday but it was fun.

File as fog 7:47 AM  

At least Rex doesn't stoop to name calling under the pretense of criticism. Perhaps you know or even are the constructor? In which case you must be CLUELESS

kitshef 8:04 AM  

RUTHLESS was my favorite, and I'd've liked to see an all-PPP version. ARTLESS could have been clued using Paul Simon, and @Rex has shown us HEARTLESS - using the Wilson sisters.

MOONLESS - the Unification Church...
BEARDLESS - US swim team
SPOTLESS - Dick and Jane

Z 8:34 AM  

Any puzzle that evokes Pink Floyd can't be all bad.

28 Squares filled sans thought (well, I thought for a second coming up with RUTHLESS, so 24)? This is a theme concept screaming rebus me.

I totally missed the country club vibe as I solved. Camel. Eye of a Needle. You know what I'm saying. As a result, that whole social construct exists on the periphery of my vision AS A RULE. I did notice that SW corner. GISELLE was the only one that wasn't a gimme, but 25/25 squares are Pop Culture Proper Names (with a dollop of Capital City for a cross) seems just a wee bit excessive. I also didn't much care for the ISOLA/OSTER crossing GARRY Trudeau next door. As for FUSTY, I just did a weeks worth of 23 year old puzzles and PAREE and TALE clued by Chaucer both made an appearance. I don't know that I would go as low as a "D," but I'm finding it hard to argue with the King.

Time to vote. I need to help make sure that some SJWs get the judgeships up for election.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

I was completely with Rex on this one. Unpleasant from beginning to end.

Also, didn't think we could have MY HEAVENS after we already had OH MY so that threw me off.


Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Sheesh, a week away did... I dunno. I thought this was a clever and pleasant puzzle.

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

I'm annoyed by but inured to the constant Harry Potter and Star Wars questions in crossword puzzles but these princesses from Disney films are getting on my nerves. I continue to think its valid to ask for less childish pop crap in NYT puzzles.

Lewis 9:01 AM  

Well, dang, I feel like I'm swimming against the tide, but I really liked this. I liked the harder-than-usual Tuesday cluing (with clever clues such as for HAHA, AREA, and SEA), and I like the words FUSTY and ECLAT. I learned a new meaning for the word "assignation", and I learned ISOLA. I like that CAPER is close to but has avoided being COLLARed.

I did get held up for a bit when I put "pride" down instead of PAREE. And a nit: I don't think "beat" needs to be in the COLLARLESS clue. But overall, I liked the tussle, and a theme that already has commenters coming up with answer possibilities. Thank you Paula, and may your diamonds always be flawless and your puzzles never be seedless.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Although I got it from the crosses, I don't understand seamless for a coal company. Would someone please explain?

AskGina 9:09 AM  

Collared, at least in old movie speak, "He collared a perp."

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

THECAPE is certainly a regional term, but to imply that it implies some sort of FUSTY country club vibe to the puzzle is absurd and honestly more smug and FUSTY than using THECAPE to describe Cape Cod (as opposed to, oh, I don't know, Cape Fear? Canaveral?). I'm solidly middle-class and look forward to our vacations on THECAPE every year, still do (there next week). I suppose my use of staying "on cape" makes me a Kennedy! I must be a Rockefeller when I refer to NYC as The City and I currently live in Upstate New York too!

Puzzle was great, if a bit challenging and more Wednesday. I was so happy to see THECAPE and then completely angered to see such a snotty, immature comment on this blog that my vacation from reading this has started several days early.

Hartley70 9:11 AM  

I'm pretty pleased to see our 4th female constructor in a row today. This has to be some kind of a NYT record! Just in case Will Shortz is making a point, it might be advisable for any women here to scramble through their outbox and send off a puzzle that they were too shy to submit. Affirmative puzzle action may have arrived and it could be yourtime @RoothieMonster! Just kidding. Your tenacity is admirable.

For me, "Less is more" is not true today. When an ending is obviously repeated throughout a puzzle I feel a little robbed. After the first LESS, 24 boxes were gimmes.

I don't consider CAPERS a garnish, as in "this plate needs color so throw a few capers on the side of the plate." In my experience capers are integral to the sauce or dish being prepared, not an afterthought.

THECAPE is the only cape worth talking about in Southern New England. Sorry, Ann. I'm sure people elsewhere in the country have a different opinion.

I pondered for a while over that second R in Trudeau's name. It looked so wrong to me. I wonder if Jane Pauley rolls those R's when she talks to him. I would just for fun and then it would become really annoying. I suppose it would be a pain to go to court just to drop an R.

This puzzle gets a Gaffney grade of C++ from me. I would have dumped the LESSes and run it on another day.

QuasiMojo 9:12 AM  

I'm getting "collara" reading some of these inane comments. Collarless is a perfectly fine word. I see it often. You people do know that collars had to be attached to shirts back in the day?

Meanwhile it is great to have Rex back. I enjoyed the respite but I did not like the "grading" of puzzles. Too schoolmarmish for my taste. This is not "El-Hi" and puzzles aren't exams.

AskGina 9:12 AM  

The grade is a good system (at least for puzzles)

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

COLLARLESS was fine for me, making a collar is arresting a suspect. Cutting A LINE either with an attractive garment or on the fabric itself with scissors is fine too. I've never seen a perfectly eloquent crossword puzzle, there is always an odd turn of phrase somewhere.

chefbea 9:14 AM  

Tough puzzle. DNF Of course wanted 5 across to be BEETS. No time to read the comments...will read them later. Got to go to Curves

Aketi 9:15 AM  

@Rex, welcome back. Haha, another RUTHLESS review. Nevertheless, you didn't give it an F like Matt gave the Haight puzzle last week so there must be a bit of a soft spot in your heart.

@z, I agree it would have been more fun as a rebus.

I suppose I've watched too many old late night crime shows. COLLAR a PERP just seemed normal to me. Now I know how to use a Gi COLLAR for choke holds. I wouldn't know about dress codes against going COLLARLESS since my only experience of golf is the mini variety.

Hartley70 9:19 AM  

Coal runs in seams underground.

pmdm 9:27 AM  

Rather hard puzzle for a Tuesday.

A bass can sing falsetto, so basses are able to sing high pitches. That more or less kill the clue for 38D. (AliasZ, can you find an example?) However, I would say that a soprano is bassless.

Passing Shot 9:29 AM  

@Anonymous 9:08 -- a coal SEAM is a bed of coal or a coal mine.

jberg 9:30 AM  

@Rex, you seem a little envious of those who vacation on THE CAPE -- I hope your last week went OK!

The bad thing about the theme, as many have noted, is that you can fill in all the LESS squares right away. The good thing is that they are not ARTLESS in their construction -- in every case, the meaning of the first part is different in the -less expression from what it means in the clue. I enjoyed trying to guess them, and needed a few crosses for most.

MTGE, on the other hand... The problem is not that we don't know what FNMA is, the problem is that the abbreviation is kind of arbitrary -- could just as well be MORT or MRTG. You have to either guess or wait for the crosses.

At least those proper nouns in the SW were varied -- a fictional character, an entertainer, a mathematician, and half of a museum.

RAD2626 9:31 AM  

Thought the theme was just fine for a Tuesday but agree with others about rest of the puzzle being FUSTY, or musty or rusty or even dusty. Had FEteS like others and the P---E had me fill in PridE vs PAREE. Is that even a common or acceptable expression anymore or has it been subsumed by LGBTQ which is nicely scrabbly but will be hard to fit in a puzzle?

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Alternative clue for ruthless

what 1960s supreme court didn't want to be?

Roo Monster 9:47 AM  

Hey All !
Echo the sentiments of the Crunchy TuesPuz crowd. Did like the themers. Thought they were sufficiently wacky for Tuesday. Got the SE themers first, then filled in the rest of the LESSes.

Hey Rex, hope you're vaca was restful. Over too quick, I'm sure. Glad to have you back, even though Matt did awesome. Thanks for this blog also, in case no ones said it recently. :-)

Liked HAHA I BET combo.


Anonymous 10:02 AM  

I can't agree more with Rex critique of this puzzle. The theme was JOYLESS, the cluing was ARTLESS and the challenge level MATCHLESS for a Tuesday.
So many proper names. ALBERT, SHANIA, PASCAL intersecting LHASA, ENCL, RIAL? Plain ridiculous.
Many thanks to Matt Gaffney for his most enjoyable critiques and his rating of the puzzles.
I am glad Rex is adopting a rating system as well.

old timer 10:18 AM  

A joy for this old timer, with a time only a shade longer than the typical Tuesday, I do think if you are a solver who seldom completes a Fri or Sat puzzle without help, including ISOLA and FUSTY kicked up the level of difficulty.

I wrote in RUTHLESS at once. It did take a while to get COLLARLESS, but having grokked the theme the rest of the puzzle became much easier. My only problem: wrote in "motiveless" instead of MOTIONLESS

I certainly have heard COLLARLESS used as a word to describe a shirt without a collar. ISTR there are golf courses where your shirt must have a collar. Polo shirts qualify; T shirts do not.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

@Rex -- Glad you're back, refreshed after having taught two courses in the spring semester -- well anyway, you had to supervise your TAs who did the actual teaching and grading.

Nancy 10:27 AM  

Fun, breezy, with a lot of sparkle and more than a little "crunch." An unusually enjoyable Tuesday, I thought.

Nancy 10:29 AM  

Rex -- Thanks for restoring our beloved old system!

cwf 10:35 AM  

Happy to see @Martín Abresch citing the Ngram Viewer (which searches Google's corpus of scanned books) instead of a simple Google search, which is the more common yardstick on this blog and in the comments. The problem with the latter is that (unless you're using a Chrome Incognito tab or something similar), the results of a simple Google search are tailored to you based on your search history. Two different people will not necessarily see the same results.

Doug 10:44 AM  

Hard puzzle for me to finish. I still don't understand SEAMLESS for the coal theme answer.

Carola 10:44 AM  

GOSH, I liked it (Hi, @Lewis). I agree that after the first -LESS, the puns were easy to get, but I thought they were all clever, deserving at least a smile if not a full-out HAHA. I, too, especially liked RUTHLESS and SEAMLESS. Regarding the FAULTS @Rex and others find with hoity-toity entries: during a phone CALL the other day, my R.I. girlfriend told me she was packing her gear for her annual camping trip to THE CAPE; my husband's closet in our non-mansion features several COLLARLESS shirts, and you don't have to be in the jet set to manage a trip to PAREE to see a painting by PIERO di Cosimo in the Louvre. The only thing I thought was FUSTY, crossword-wise, was the sot's HIC.

John V 10:45 AM  

What @Rex said re: challenging

Andrew Heinegg 10:47 AM  

I usually think of Lewis's comments as constructor supporting no matter how poorly or well I think of the puzzle but, I am with him on this one and swimming upstream. I confess to potential bias after seeing Ms. Gamache's name on the puzzle. For one, whenever I see her name, I immediately change the m to n and think of luscious French chocolate dessert but, never mind!

Yes, the lesses were repetitive and not groan inducing as puns should be but, they were decent as puns and the many lesses made this a doable Tuesday appropriate effort. Collarless was certainly the weakest, i.e., the hardest to defend as a real thing but, gettable from the crosses and maybe the best pun of the puzzle. Ms. Gamache's skill as a constructor seems to only get better with time IMHO.

OFL seemed particularly grouchy about this one. But, I have to say, in reading this blog and looking at others, virtually everyone who comments gives a comment and a rational basis for their assessment. So many other blogs are taken up with personal attacks on earlier bloggers. There is something to be said for being civilized. Not only is it more reasonable but, it is more thought provoking and stimulating.

Marianne Campolongo 10:54 AM  

It took me much longer than usual for a Tuesday despite the -LESS fill-ins (5 minutes over my average Tuesday time), but I liked the theme - RUTHLESS was my favorite but COLLARLESS also made me smile. I've never played golf but THE CAPE is my favorite vacation spot. A tad old-fashioned but I enjoyed it.

Numinous 10:58 AM  

I didn't hate this puzzle but I have to agree with most of @Rex's criticism. Some of the answers like COLLARLESS, RUTHLESS, SEAMLESS were "Ah, I get it now"s. This took me longer than I thought it should have. Is Will upping the cluing difficulty? Seemed more like a Wednesday to me. I had celT before PICT who I don't really regard as Britans though I suppose the whole ISOLA is Britain. The PICTs are more like NE Scots to my Highland way of thinking.

@Lewis, I'm not so sure GISELLE is a particularly childish clue. Given the numbers of us who are parents and grandparents who have had to sit through interminable repeats of Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid and all the rest, a name like GISELLE should come right off the top of the head.

@QuasiMojo, in London, I had a friend who had all of his shirts made for him and the were invariably made with detachable collars. He'd have at least one white one for each as well as several matching ones. I thought it was a great idea at the time and would have followed suit if I could have afforded it in those days.

@LMS, if you don't mind, I'd like to quote Kingfish from the Amos and Andy Show:
"East is east and west is west and you're alright as long as the trains don't meet."

Welcome back, @Rex!

Anoa Bob 10:59 AM  

My usual pre-solve black square count of 34---typical themed grids have 36 to 38---showed promise for an above average puzzle, what with all that extra open space for the constructor to work with. This was quickly tempered when I saw that much of it would be auto-filled with LESSes. Along with those Ss of necessities, the several POCs like TRYSTS, FAULTS, REAMS, SRS, PSAS, etc., turned this into a bit of an S FEST for me. Make that FESTS.

For those who like the puzzle more than Rex, simply rotate his letter grade 90 degrees counterclockwise, and there ya go.

kitshef 11:01 AM  

Random question for the board. I don't solve for speed (as it reduces enjoyment), but I do sometimes time myself. I've done this enough over the months to build up a reasonable track record.

What I'm finding is my Tuesday average remains stubbornly higher than my Wednesday average, and my Thursday average remains stubbornly higher than my Friday average.

Anyone else find this to be the case? Is the Times getting the difficulty wrong?

AZPETE 11:02 AM  

What Donald is? Gutless!

AliasZ 11:15 AM  

"HIC, haec, hoc",
As she woke.
In her hair a flower,
Jumped into the shower,
And with all her power
Started singing shameless:
"Joe Jackson was Shoeless,
Erin go!" (braghless).

Then she hummed the Rondo
in Allegro Molto
Of the two-piano
D-minor Concerto

by Francis Poulenc, performed here by Sylviane Deferne and Blaiseless PASCAL Rogé.

Welcome back @Rex!

Joseph Michael 11:15 AM  

Welcome back, Rex.

Caught on to the theme at RUTHLESS but, even with the repeating LESS, this was one of the toughest Tuesdays I can remember. Ended up with two unknowns: PICT and MTGE.

The theme itself feels like something I've seen more than once before either in puzzles or word games. So it seems a bit FUSTY. Didn't like the redundant OH MY / MY STARS nor the overabundance of names.

Some of the cluing was clever. Especially for that thing that has arms and waves. My favorite themer was MOTIONLESS. But overall this did not did not generate the ECLAT that I expect from a Paula Gamache puzzle.

Nancy 11:21 AM  

I forgot to say in my previous post that GISELLE was one of the answers that upped the difficulty of this puzzle for me. Thought for the day: There sure are a lot of Disney Princesses, aren't there? Maybe there should be a collective term for them -- something akin to a gaggle of geese or a murder of crows. How about...

A privilege of DPs

A charmingsworth of DPs

A moatswim of DPs

A liberation of DPs (for the more politically aware 21st century version of DPs)

Feel free to add your own.

a har

Masked and Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Yo! Welcome back, Sunshine! How was the Riviera? Nice to see the Gaffney Grading System pics may have survived the transition back from regency to sunshine king.

Sometimes less is more and sometimes more LESS is more but seems like less, more or less. At lesst I didn't feel more clueless than usual. Or U-less.

Puz starts out with HAHA/HIC. Then things got a lot ritzier for a spell, as @RP pointed out. Pickled CAPERs just ain't part of the M&A chow plate. Reminds me of the restaurant I went to one time, called "Five". They served really artsy-fartsy-looking little meals on huge square plates. Half of what was on there defied identification. "Five" had the less [food] is more [profit] theme. They evidently had to charge a lot, cuz they had to put in lots of hours washin off them big plates. They had desserts, but no dessert menu. M&A quizzed the waiter quite a while, about that. But, I digress.

ARTLESS! har. ARTLOST word ladder! Or was that bygone themer LOSTART? That M&A brain cell is kinda a more&less combo (mess).

fave weeject: SRS. Reminds me of CCS. Really miss NER, tho. NER was best.

ATLUNCH/STILLUP was also a very nice more&less combo.
Have never been to Martha's Vine Yard. Do a lot of em wear the capes there? Actually, just a lot here I was almost clueless about, so the TuesPuz played pretty tough, at our house. M&A needs to get hisself some more ECLATs, I reckon. Chocolate ECLATs are my fave.

Thanx, Paula G. Learned at lot more about LESS today.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

kozmikvoid 11:25 AM  

@Z: Where was Pink Floyd invoked in this puzzle? Fearless wasn't an answer.

Alex 11:26 AM  

Gee, whiz! I enjoyed the puns! Collarless, seamless, helpless - I liked 'em all. I did have a bunch of trouble with MTGE. I knew it was Fannie Mae, but blanked on the final E. Sort of pitiful.

Masked and Anonymous 11:35 AM  

@RP. Just noticed the "THEME:-LESS" juxtaposition in yer writeup. har. Welcome back indeed, dude.


apt followup?…

Lewis 11:41 AM  

@numinous -- I don't remember saying anything about GISELLE, but I do agree with your assessment.

Tim Pierce 11:42 AM  

@Kosmikvoid: follow the link in @Z's comment to see what he's grooving on. (Though I too immediately thought of "Fearless" when I saw his comment.)

With respect to SEAMLESS: a layer of ore or coal in a mine is also called a "seam." Fans of Sting from the 1980s may recall "We Work The Black Seam" from The Dream of the Blue Turtles.

Z 11:53 AM  

@kitshef - Inverting Tuesday and Wednesday doesn't seem all that strange. Inverting Tuesday and Friday makes you a definite outlier. I haven't noticed it all that much lately, but Tuesday puzzles do have a history of being a little off, so that may be a part of it. Overall, though, I suspect it is just a matter of themelesses being more in your wheelhouse. I have noted, though, that doing the oldest archived puzzles have led to some almost Mondayish times on late week puzzles and an irksome DNF on a Thursday.

@Rotational Anoa Bob - Nice.

@Anon9:11 - Not that you're reading this, but I don't think it is any single answer that Rex is pointing out, it is the overall gestalt. I'm not sure I buy his take, but I get how he arrived at it. Taking Rex's criticism personally is... interesting.

Z 11:59 AM  

@kozmikvoid - Several species of small furry animals could answer your question. I wonder if Ummagumma is the masked one's favorite Floyd. @Tim Pierce - I don't know about you, but when I groove I always do it with a PICT.

GILL I. 12:24 PM  

ALBERT SHANIA PASCAL GISELLE...phew, it did feel endless.
I had no problem with any of the LESS words. I thought COLLARLESS was quite good...Is there such a word as NABLESS? I also like Assignations = TRYSTS. I always thought assignations had to do with making an appointment or a date whereas a TRYST(S) was like a secret rendezvous...Que sera sera.
GARRY - of all things - was the last to go in. I know him, I like his comic strip, and I know he's married to Jane Pauley, but two RR's?
Gary Indiana, la la la.
This is the dreaded Tuesday, and frankly, I enjoyed the extra little work.
Welcome back @Rex. And thanks for the fun we are having!

Aslan Lyons 12:28 PM  

It was worth suffering through this god-awful Tuesday to get to Rex's hilarious comments. Spot on.

Judith 12:50 PM  

Really wanted "helpless" to be "homeless". Would have made much more sense.

Leapfinger 1:07 PM  

@Da Bears, I know what you mean about the first day back from vacation. After my first climb in the Canadian Rockies, I came back on a flight from Calgary to NYC. After 2 weeks at gloriously pristine altitudes, seeing that musty brown mushroom cloud overlying the entire city about made me weep.

otoh, I echo the delight of @WhirredWhacks etal at Rex's apparent willingness to be immoderate, unLESS...

Agree with Rex that the theme possibilities (unlike the bootylicious) are endLESS, but (just as with the Tom Swifty genre), it all depends on how cleverly they're done. Today's bunch were Gamashed up just right, I thought. Any puzzle that inspires flight of poesy can't be all bad, can it? Am also pleased to note that none of our @chefs are tasteLESS. Would that california were FAULTLESS.

Given that I've just got new prescription glasses, am also happy to report I'm now peerLESS. That should help with my recent alarming tendency to participate in a monthly fender-bender.

But Dang! Another Frozen Princess? How many are there, in toto?

Loved the SW corner, whose denizens would produce some fascinating conversation. Blaise PASCAL didn't just talk Mathematics; I think it was in The Provincial Letters that he wrote: I apologize for this lengthy letter; I didn't have time to write a short one. [Let me make a note of that...]

Back to finish reading the comments, and see how many I've duplicated.

Chaos344 1:15 PM  


You're not alone in noticing that the puzzle difficulty level has deviated from the norm quite a bit over the last couple of months. I'm uncertain as to weather that's by design or not?

I only speed solve M-W. Thursday is problematic because it is often gimmick day, and solve times can swing wildly. I solve in AcrossLite. On Friday thru Sunday I keep the clock on, but don't go out of my way to speed solve. I like the option of being able to stop the clock if I have to answer the phone or want to make another cup of coffee. Although I don't actually file or record my times, I pretty much know when a particular puzzle solve is over or under my average.

As of late, it seems that Fridays and Saturdays have been pretty much interchangeable, with Saturdays being much easier than the norm. Monday seems to have remained relatively consistent in terms of the difficulty level, although we did have the ACM anomaly a few weeks ago. Today played more like a medium/challenging Wednesday for me.

All things considered, I think there has definitely been something going on as of late, but I have no idea why?

Chaos344 1:19 PM  

@AZPETE: 11:02 AM

WOW! Just can't wait to get the Moderated Format back in place, Huh?

Teedmn 1:20 PM  

The puns weren't too corny for me and I had fun, with SEAMLESS and MOTIONLESS the best of the bunch.

@LMS, your association of COLLARLESS and golf made me think of COLLARd *greens*.

Most of the FAULTS in the SW were mine; plopping "attn" in 53A clogged that up a bit but SHANIA Twain was a gimme for me (and I don't listen to country music) so eventually Queen Victoria's "Bertie" and PASCAL made their appearance.

RUTHLESS makes me think of the roller derby alias Ellen Page takes in the movie "Whip It" - Babe RUTHLESS. I always thought it quite clever.

Paula Gamache, I found this to be a fine Tuesday albeit about two minutes slower than my avg. Tuesday.

Capt Mike 1:59 PM  

Airmen are based. G.I.s are posted

AskGina 2:01 PM  

It would have been interesting to see wreckless here. Clue: Not have any car accidents

Bill MacGillivray 2:12 PM  

Picts are Scots not Britons. Britons are Celt or Gaels. Black Picts are Presbyterians, at least to my grandmother who would raise a class of whisky to curse King William and up the Pope.

Elephants Child 2:27 PM  

@Loren, ER BEAVER problems get sent over to the ObGYN specialist.

@Da Bears, I thought for sure that your avatar today in t'other place would be LESSlie "And don't call me Shirley!" Nielsen

Debra 2:27 PM  

Nice Tuesday, a little hard until the theme came out, then it all flowed in.

Big Steve 46 2:31 PM  

We're back to Mr. Grumpy. Unless Rex makes a lot of money off this, he should consider a new hobby.

A cecent puzzle with some challenges, especially for a Tuesday - but overall, pretty nice, IMHO.

Chronic dnfer 2:44 PM  

I'm pretty sure it's mtg. My spell check agrees. Dnf'd at isole/Gerry. Good grief!

Mike Rees 2:45 PM  

I'm actually on board with @Rex on this one. I might have rated this challenging for even a Wednesday or Thursday, frankly. Well over my usual time, but no Googles or hints so medium-challenging it is.

Also agree that it seemed like too much work for too little payoff. But I didn't find the fill overly sludgy, just difficult. Which I think should be to the constructor's credit - she took a very repetitive theme and filled good answers around it. I'm not opposed to partials and have never understood OFL's particular hate-on for them. I always thought they were a legitimate part of puzzling.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Fun, challenging, and solvable.

Masked and Anonymous 2:48 PM  

More fun with less …

* {What the beat cop didn't want to be} = CELLLESS. DONUTLESS. RHYTHMLESS.
* {What the 1920s Yankees didn't want to be} = DOODLELESS. HITLESS. DAY-UMLESS.
* {What the museum curator didn't want to be} = CURELESS. MOORELESS. MUSELESS.
* {What the GI didn't want to be} = MRELESS. TRACTLESS. BILLLESS. GRUNTZLESS?
* {What the trial attorney didn't want to be} = DEFENSELESS. WRITLESS. RETAINERLESS.
* {What the mansion owner didn't want to be} = GROUNDSLESS. INBREADLESS. MANORLESS.
* {What the coal company didm/t want to be} = PITILESS. SHIFTLESS. MOREORELESS.

Whoa, NER-ly. 007 themers. MYSTARS. Hadn't picked up on that, before, somehow. Bravo, Paula G.
See also:
* {What the crossword constructioneer didn't want to be} = CLUELESS. THEMELESS. SHORTZLESS. TIMESLESS. REXLESS?

Anyhoo, Fun theme idea. Thanx again, Paula G.

GARRY Trudeau was just on the TV interview circuit last night. He has a new cartoon anthology book out, called "YUGE!" (A shout out to old Doonesbury strips that have the Trumpmeister in em.)

M&A Helpless Desk

Joe Bleaux 2:52 PM  

Another context, FWIW: collarless pets. (My mutt, whose head is small for a dog his size, once shook off his restraint and loped away. First thing next morning, I went to the pound on the off chance he'd been picked up by the animal control folks. Luckily, he had! The clerk looked at the officer's report -- then, accusingly, at me. "COLLARLESS, I see," she said, in a voice fairly dripping with disdain. The mandatory microchip fee, she added -- I'm tempted to say "barked" -- would be $20. Nearly left me dollarless.)

Leapfinger 3:10 PM  

What the Blood Bank didn't want to be: B-LESS (see 2-down)

Good thing it wasn't THE HAMPTONS or everyone would be screaming.

Ditto to every good thing said about GARRY "2-Rs" Trudeau. First met him via the early strip he did in the pages of the Yalie Daily, and still have several of his compendia. (His introductions are a delight to read.) He and Jane lived next door to a buddy of mine at 23 Eld Street. Though I never did get to see them in the hallways of the apartment, a few times I did surreptitiously touch their mailbox. When New Haven was in the early throes of raising women's consciousness, he had a wonderful series on Joanie Caucus doing her darnedest with the pre-schoolers in her care. The best: Joanie getting all teary-eyed when one of her charges announced the new addition to the family, "It's a baby WOMAN!!". The light touch does it best, don't it?... The man has a great eye for social irony: apparently it was back in 1989 that he ran the first of several riffs about Trump having a run at the Presidency. Talk about prescience, eh?

Anyone remember when Great Britain was dePICTed?

@Teedman, you reminded me of an episode in The Office when Steve Carrell insisted the correct pronunciation was Collard People. Frozen aghastliness abounded.

Thought I fixed my avatar PICTure; don't know where I went astray.

Joe Bleaux 3:22 PM  

@kitshef: It ain't just you. At least three or four times in the past couple of months, I've found Wednesday and Friday puzzles surprisingly less challenging than those published the days before them. It messes with my informal assessment of my skill level.

Roberto Escobar 3:31 PM  

Welcome back Rex. See you migrated from SJW to scourge of the affluent and defender of the dispossessed. Puzzle was neither that bad or that hard at least for us fusty old folks. Within 15 seconds of my average Tuesday. Too bad they couldn't work in a Mies Van Der Rohe clue for less is more

Ralph 3:34 PM  

Except S&G broke up because Paul Simon DID want to be ARTLESS.

OISK 4:05 PM  

@Nancy and I against the world?? I really enjoyed this puzzle, and found it smooth and easy. Enjoyed the "Less" clues. Clever. Funny. I wish Giselle had been clued differently - Popular full length ballet? - but that's a very minor complaint. I don't understand the complaints here at all! I thought people were going to complain that it was too easy!!

Michael 4:27 PM  

I'm surprised by all the people who found this hard for a Tuesday. I thought it was easy even for a Tuesday. Maybe it's because I do well with names and fall into the age group this puzzle seemed designed to. The main problem was the ease in filling in all those "less" s, but even so I thought the puzzle was just fine.

Collarless seems like a completely ok word to me.

Rex is Rex...

GILL I. 5:33 PM  

@Leapy....I agree that Trudeau knows how to weave a wonderful story about social irony. I read him faithfully, until my very favorite Lacey was doomed with Alzheimer's disease. I wanted her to live forever, in a sane world, without having to give up all her worldly possessions to Alice, believing she was her sister Pearl... Gaaah. When she died, I cried for weeks!

Chaos344 5:39 PM  

@ Roberto Escobar:

Tsk! Tsk! You don't want to go there amigo!

Rex's diatribes often mirror the progressive difficulty level of the puzzle. For example, on a Monday, he might take a few shots at the PC level of the puzzle. The term AFRO is one of the clue answers that he loves to hate. In his world, there is almost no acceptable clue for that adjective. You have to find the racist connotations in everything!

On Tuesday, Rex might go after the lack of "balance" in the puzzle. That's a code word for diversity. Any college educated individual with a modicum of cultural and/or ethnic sensitivity understands the terrible pain and injustice wrought by "Old White Men" of past generations. It's a given, right?

Let's look at it another way. According to multiple peer reviewed studies,(Including one by the the totally "Unbiased" NYT) something like 83% of all college professors in America are self-avowed liberals and proud of it. Rex is one. He was indoctrinated by many others, and many of his students will become indoctrinated by him.

By Wednesday, Rex has the potential to devolve into full blown SJW mode. It's more than likely that he'll just go ballistic on the NYT or Will Shortz? There's no doubt that Rex is a master cruciverbalist. He can speed solve with the best of them. Unfortunately, he is very unforgiving of clues and answers outside of his wheelhouse. He hates Maleskans and he hates what he perceives as "Politically Incorrect" puzzles. It's actually kind of amusing to watch the back and forth between him and Will. Will baits him, and Rex always falls for it.

As for the other four days of the week? Who knows what we could expect? You figure it out. Look at today. Rex is all twisted about what he perceives to be an over representation of the 1%. Really? Mansions, Cape Cod, Servants, Eclat, Paree? Oh, the humanity!

The only thing I know for sure, is that Rex will bite his tongue and let this post through. We will never agree, but we will more that likely always respect each other.

old timer 5:51 PM  

You know who was SHIFTLESS? Lady Godiva! (And I would have loved to see that as a clue).

I think a Briton is anyone who comes from any part of the ISOLA of Great Britain. The peoples have changed over the centuries, and really the PICTS were the big losers, because what is now Scotland was invaded by the Gaels (or Celts) who had already conquered England and Ireland. Caesar contended with them too, in what is now France but what he called 'Gallia" or Gaul. The Protestants who took over Norther Ireland were from Scotland, but they weren't really PICTS. Just Presbyterians.

Of course the Celtic Britons were driven out of Eastern England by the Angles and Saxons, who were certainly not PICTS either. To this day, there is a remarkable DNA difference between English folk on the NW side of the old Fosse Way and those on the SE side. The former have Celtic genes and the latter German (or Anglo-Saxon). I mention the Fosse Way even though this is not entirely exact, because the old Roman road from Newark SW towards Bath survives as a series of byroads that are remarkably straight as Roman roads usually were. A very pleasant drive it is, too.

Mary Perry 7:08 PM  

This one challenged me even though the theme answers were gimmes. I had an early morning meeting so had to set it aside at about 80% completed. I came back to it this evening and finished up. So one could say it took all day to finish!

Brian 8:33 PM  

This is the first time in over a year that I haven't finished a Tuesday, and the whole puzzle felt like a miserable slog. I've never heard of PICT or ECLAT, and the clueing for FAULTS kept making me think the answer would be a gerund. I've *never* heard "bawl" used in a context other than sobbing, so I thought REAMS must be wrong. Then there's the 3x5 block in the south where I couldn't get anything other than OSTER. What the heck are ISOLA, IRR, and COTY? Maybe it's on me for not remember GARRY Trudeau, but the south would've still caused me trouble.

The only answers I found interesting were Blaise PASCAL, whose namesake programming language I once learned, and SEGA, on which I used to play a bunch of "NBA Jam" and "Sonic the Hedgehog".

Warren Howie Hughes 8:57 PM  

Welcome home, Rex, We don't relish those TIMES when you're out of site, because we CARE that you're the RIAL deal!

Z 9:07 PM  

@Brian - ECLAT will return. Add it to your -ese databank. IRR is short for IRRegular and it, too, makes IRRegular appearances in puzzles. Another item for the -ese databank. As for COTY, it is a brand name I recognized from my youth. I don't hear much about it anymore but it seems to be going strong. Wikipedia says it has $4.5 billion in annual revenue so I guess it is crossworthy. As for ISOLA, every variation on words for a land mass surrounded by water makes an appearance in puzzles. English synonyms aren't enough; French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese all make appearances. Dutch and German haven't appeared while I've been solving, but I fully expect them to some day.

This is in no way a defense of the Texas region of the puzzle. I pointed the section out this morning as well. I was able to finish it only because I've done lots of puzzles. The section is suboptimal in my opinion.

Xuansha 9:43 PM  

I want to be buried in a seamless stupa.

Kimberly 10:06 PM  

Welcome back, Rex!

Hated today. I was in a rush.Tight schedule, but I figured "Tuesday...easy."

A little while later I realized I must have hit my head and not remembered, because I was clearly drain bamaged.

Glad to hear it wasn't just me.

Roo Monster 10:29 PM  

@Z, 11:59A,
Awesome. How the heck did I forget about that song?


Xuansha 10:35 PM  

I want to be buried in a seamless stupa.

David Krost 12:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Krost 12:56 AM  

@Martin Abresch

Collarless may well be the least common, but so what. Out of two terms or 100, something is going to be the least common, so that proves absolutely zero. Your statement is based on a meaningless premise that being least common makes it rare or unusual. It is neither. Over 5 million hits in Google of "collarless", and it is in the catalogs of J. Crew, H&M, and numerous other catalogs. Please know what you are talking about and pass an elementary logic course, please.

Elephants Child 1:37 AM  

@M&A, your 2:48 list left me helpless, esp the anthercite company's MOREORELESS. Har.

@Roberto LESScobar, who is this Miss Van Der Rohe of whom you speak?

@Xuansha, I would not want to be buried in a seamless stupa. I hate to think what I would do when(if) I woke up. You know they used to bury people with a string that ran to a bell above-ground, so they could ring for help if they woke to find themselves in an unseamly position. Really, you can't be too careful, so I'd rather do like some Plains Indians and have my platform in a tree, and take my chances with the buzzards.

Carry on.

KFC 2:00 AM  

Did I mention that Matt banned David Krost for the entire week he ran the blog?

Hey Chaos old chum, enlightened is a much better word than indoctrinated.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

I know it's a couple days old, but I just wanted to say that I thought the NE corner was as tough as any Saturday puzzle. I must have just pict the wrong place to get stuck...oh my!

Mickey Bell 3:22 PM  

Hated this puzzle. There were too many puns for me. Not looking for gimmes, but nothing felt quite *right*. I ended up giving up - a first for a Tuesday for me. Using super-obscure (ALINE) or no-longer-used words (FUSTY) makes one start to GUESS AT answers. No fun.

Burma Shave 10:45 AM  


so they’ll ALERT me and CALL for the TIMES of their TRYSTS.


rondo 12:29 PM  

Pretty easy, even thought I had to GUESSAT 8d since the Pioneer Press print version had no clue for it. Apparently OFL and others don’t have a clue about COLLARLESS and need to get out more. Even where I work a COLLARLESS shirt is almost taboo unless you wear a jacket or sport coat over it. And many golf courses will not let you on the premises if your shirt is COLLARLESS, it’s right there in their rules of play and on signs at the course, so ASARULE, you end up overspending for a shirt in the pro-shop; be prepared. Like others, I did have a w/o with PridE instead of PAREE.

Canadian country singer and yeah baby SHANIA Twain makes an all too infrequent appearance. For a time I thought I might have to go with Olivia d’ABO.

Once more, a missed opportunity to clue HAHA as Packer Clinton-Dix. I won’t give up on it.

Even for a Tues-puz, this wasn’t that bad and to give it a D is BASELESS.

spacecraft 12:43 PM  

OHMYGOSH! MYSTARS! OFL is back--and it's plain he and PG are NOT buds. He was at least harsh. Out for a week...maybe he shoulda stayed for two. When I saw the difficulty rating, with which I agree exactly, I thought we were going to be in step.

However, I kind of liked it. The NW was again last to fall, as I was fixated on my poor (!) mansion owner not wanting to be HomeLESS. Yes, there is a bit of a snobbish tone to this, especially "THECAPE," but I wasn't all that disturbed. Hey, if you got it, flaunt it! I would.

Absolutely roared at RUTHLESS. The Bosox were--and the curse carried into the next century. Coal comes in veins, or SEAMs; I've heard this expression before so didn't stumble on that one. DOD is SHANIA, who else? Gonna give this one a par. To OFL: Lighten up, man.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

A total delight! Most fun of the crossword year. More like this, please. Thanks, Paula!

leftcoastTAM 2:37 PM  

Oh, and add PICT to that NE corner crossing.

leftcoastTAM 2:51 PM  

My first sterling post got lost somewhere[SOB].

In brief, enjoyed it, thanks to Ms. Gamache.

Diana,LIW 4:04 PM  

Whoa. Played like a Monday for me. I always get a surprise coming to RexWorld.

I knew once I got the theme it would be easy, but filling in the LESS areas made it seem a bit too easy.

OTOH - I adore puns. Got them all - quick as a rabbit!

My only almost Natick was PICT crossing COMSAT. But I plunked down that C, and saw that it was good. Yeah!

ALBERT, PASCAL, SHANIA - a lot more common to me than rappers or Game of Thrones stars. GISELLE came easily from the crosses. Usually Paula's puzzles are tough for me, but this one drove right into my wheelhouse and parallel parked with ease. Now y'all know what it feels like to not know the "Greek goddess of nose hairs" clues.

And what in the world is wrong with mansion, THECAPE, or poor old PAREE, which shows up quite regularly, clued as a song. Although my first guess was "gay blade." Went away quickly.

Someone in Syndieland has mentioned that Rex's difficulty rating seems to only be based on his solve time. One reason I don't time. I prefer enjoying my puzzles. But if I did time, this was done quite quickly.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Day Five of wonderful women wordsmiths

rain forest 4:41 PM  

It has been clear for some time that @Rex does not like puzzles by Paula Gamache. Maybe her approach differs from the "Rexian Way". Maybe he finds them riddled with unPC content. Maybe he thinks she is rich and snobbish; worse, maybe she is. Or maybe he just doesn't like her. Whatever, he has been consistent in excluding her from his list of constructors who don't get whatever he thinks they should get. Me? I like her puzzles. Keep it up, Paula.

Right on! - regarding Shania Twain, @Rondo and @Spacecraft. A great Canadian.

I don't know if COLLAR as a synonym for "arrest" is more common up here than in the US, but for me that clue was perfect.

I found the puzzle easy-medium, and enjoyable, even if PG couldn't include the gazillion other "-less" words.

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