Popeye's brawny rival for Olive Oyl / TUE 8-16-16 / Onetime CBS news anchor / Celtic tongue of British Isles / Rational self to Freud / Guy shouting cowabunga say / Group led by Richard Lionheart

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: ARTOO DETOO (65A: "Star Wars" droid ... or a phonetic hint to what's found in 17-, 26-, 41- and 52-Across) — every themer is a two-word phrase (or two-part word) where first word has two Rs and second word has two Ds:

Theme answers:
  • SURFER DUDE (17A: Guy shouting "Cowabunga!," say)
  • ROGER MUDD (26A: Onetime CBS News anchor)
  •  NARROWLY DEFINED (41A: Lacking broad application)
  • REAR-ENDED (52A: Rammed from behind)

Word of the Day: ROGER MUDD
Roger Mudd (born February 9, 1928) is an American broadcast journalist, most recently working as the primary anchor for The History Channel. Previously, Mudd was weekend and weekday substitute anchor for the CBS Evening News, the co-anchor of the weekday NBC Nightly News, and the host of the NBC-TV Meet the Press, and American Almanac TV programs. Mudd is the winner of the Peabody Award, the Joan Shorenstein Award for Distinguished Washington Reporting, and five Emmy Awards. (wikipedia)
• • •

Back-to-back sub-3-minute solves for me this week. Guess I've finally shaken off that vacation stupor I was in. Haven't cracked 3 on a Tuesday in a while, and did it right after doing the same with Liz Gorski's weekly "Crossword Nation" puzzle. Good times. At first I thought 2Rs, 2Ds, cute, ish, I guess ... but then I saw that the concept was more NARROWLY DEFINED than I thought, i.e. the 2Rs are both in the first word, the 2Ds in the second. That tightens things up nicely. Plus, in addition to the springy theme, we get a whole passel of long Downs to entertain us. DO YOU MIND? I don't. Considering how pitiful Tuesdays often are, I'm very impressed with this one (even if it was more a Monday, at heart). Weird coincidence that Kenny Baker, the actor who played ARTOO DETOO, just died this past weekend. Consider this a tribute puzzle. Most deliberate tribute puzzles are pretty terrible, so take the accidental tribute every time!

I don't think anyone on the planet has said "Cowabunga!" since Bart Simpsons said it in, like, 1990, and I'm not sure anyone ever really said it to begin with, so that SURFER DUDE clue could've been more ... something. ROGER MUDD was before my time, and his name was definitely the area of the puzzle where I struggled most, but somehow, with ROGER in place, my brain did click over to MUDD eventually (while I trotted off to solve answers just above him). My other hold-up was really stupid: I had --UT- for 7D: Popeye's brawny rival for Olive Oyl and wrote in BRUT- while wondering why BRUTUS wouldn't fit. Then I entertained BRUTO! (Turns out BLUTO can in some contexts be BRUTUS, so I wasn't too far off) Anyway, far too much typing, erasing, retyping in that area. Brief hiccup at the STROM Thurmond cross-reference, where my brain wanted answer to be OLDEST (42D: Like 10-Down vis-à-vis any other senator in history), but of course it's the comparative that's called for. Every other answer in this puzzle I got from a single reading of its clue. Very weird. Oh, I just looked back and realized I missed my biggest mistake. [Lessen, as expenses] = PARE!? I do not use this word this way. I PARE apples, not expenses. Brain wanted only EASE.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Easy for me too. What @Rex said. Liked it.

FYI: At Xwordinfo Ms. Lempel writes:

"After coming up with the idea for this one, I found acceptable examples surprisingly hard to find. There were plenty of phrases with two R's and two D's, but I was being picky here: the first word had to have exactly two R's and no D's; and the second word had to have exactly two D's with no R's."

Clark 12:14 AM  

ACME smooth. With beets to boot. Like old times.

newspaperguy 12:15 AM  

Nice, clean, Monday-ish puzzle for me, but the theme was a cut above. That's a big compliment because I rarely even look back over to find the theme answers and almost never use them to solve the puzzles.

Larry Gilstrap 12:37 AM  

I just looked up Tuesday in the dictionary and saw a picture of this puzzle. Two R's, two D's, and ditto to what OFL said. Neophyte solvers should take note of many of these answers. You will see them again soon in a puzzle near you. ALLAH and that Torah holder are neatly separated by the CRUSADES. Speaking of which, "crusade" was a word that used to get a lot of use, think Billy Graham for example. George W. Bush dragged it out briefly after the September 11 Attacks, but it was soon dropped like a hot potato, for good reason.

GILL I. 12:41 AM  

I know..I too PARE apples and potatoes and I would definitely Pare PABST from a proper pale pilsner.
Loved this Tuesday, Lynn. You got me at SURFER DUDE. Memories of listening to the Beach Boys singing "Little Deuce Coup" along with VIOLA and the KIOSKS.
BLUTO, ALLAH and STROM...the most honest, decent, CAR DEALERS in town.
Loved starting with ARFS and ending with ARKS.

George Barany 12:41 AM  

Pretty much a perfect early-week puzzle by @Lynn Lempel, and pretty much a perfect review by @Rex. I also found the solve easy, and couldn't help noticing--as did @Rex--the auspicious timing [link to the obituary, which I had read just a day earlier].

A different Thurmond passed away recently [click here] and for two even more recent obituaries, click here and here. I think it's fair to say that these were all "obituaries to DIE for." So SAD.

As to the living, one particular clue in the puzzle reminded me of Vice Versa, a puzzle that I constructed exactly four years and a few days ago. Interested @Rex-ites may want to comment on how well it holds up ...

ZenMonkey 12:44 AM  

This wasn't a deliberate tribute? Wow. The revealer was definitely bittersweet. I enjoyed the puzzle and I think it's a sweet "accidental tribute" to Mr. Baker.

Token Millenial 12:46 AM  

Fastest Tuesday ever for me. Faster than most Monday's. It practically auto-filled. I never know how to feel about really easy puzzles - it's EGO-boosting to get a fast time, but there's no challenge in the solve. I didn't notice the theme at all. Looking back at it now, it's a great puzzle - solid theme, not too much dreck, nice downs - but I wish this had either run on Monday or been clued slightly trickier.

ARTOO DETOO appears as a full answer! Star Wars stuff in puzzles always makes me happy. While I'm still wary that Disney will ultimately destroy the Star Wars franchise (can't hurt it worse than Lucas ultimately did, I guess), I'm rather excited about Rogue One.

The first and only time I cooked with BEET greens, I either did something horribly wrong or they're really, truly awful. Bitter and dirty. I love beets, but beet greens, not so much.

Did anyone else notice the lighting for the Olympic fencing event? While the swordsmen were very skillful in wielding their EPEES, I was more appreciative of the lighting designer's shutter cuts.

Happy Tuesday everyone :)

Token Millenial 12:49 AM  

Just saw the link to the obit - I missed that. Sad day... Hope this was an intentional tribute.

Hartley70 1:31 AM  

I bet this puzzle was in the chute and WS moved it to the head of the line after Mr. Baker's recent death. "Coincidence is only an illusion." I don't believe Will would need much lead time for a weekday puzzle, perhaps early on the day before publication. Sunday would need more planning because the magazine used to be printed by midweek. In any case, Ms.Lempl's puzzle is a serendipitous appearance today.

Sometimes a name just grabs you and I find that "Lynn Lempl" rolls off the tongue just as smoothly as her puzzles solve. Nice one!

Z 1:48 AM  

One second faster than yesterday, this time solving post Colorado Rockies game.

If there is a demerit to be given it is using ED twice. Past tense can be a nice toehold for a solver, but felt a little like cheating to get four themers.

Speaking of Baseball, this was the second Rockies game I've attended, the first time was at Mile High. Coors Field is a much nicer place to take in a ball game but the facility still got significant deductions: 1. No scorecards for sale. 2. The good beer was behind left field 3. No hot dog vendors in the seats (they did have Coors, Bud, and water vendors at least). 4. Having missed a half inning to buy a hot dog the usher made me wait for the AB to finish before letting me march down the 40 rows to my seat. I've been to ball games all over this country, from Anaheim to Boston, from Milwaukee to Asheville, 12 big league parks (including three that don't exist anymore and two that shouldn't) and several more Minor league parks. Three of those four demerits have never occurred anywhere else I've seen a game. Denver may be the mile high city but it doesn't know jack squat about putting on a baseball game.

Loren Muse Smith 2:04 AM  

Thanks, Rex – I might've missed the fact that the first word has only two R's and the second word has only two D's. Nice.

I did notice that our ESTEE whose phonology caused such a flap here recently crosses ARTOO DETOO.

Agree on 5D PARE's clue – adding "with down" might've been better.

Liked BMW/MINI sharing the grid with CAR DEALER.

Best clue/answer for me this morning – 56A PARKS "gets lucky with one's car downtown." Ahem. Well actually, it's not so ambiguous as worded. If you're gonna go all racy on the clue then I guess you picture someone making out with a car. Still…it's close and made me smile.

This set had to have been hard to come up with. Too bad LARRY DAVID is a ten – that might've been funner than ROGER MUDD – but I'll take it to have REAR-ENDED.

@Z – that ED on NARROWLY DEFINED didn't bother me, though NARROW MINDED would've been better for me. Pesky symmetry and all that.

Nice one, LL – your puzzles always leave me looking forward to MOE. Hope to see your name again soon.

Anonymous 2:07 AM  

Donde esta el grade? A-!

phil phil 2:52 AM  


You don't have listen to all the suggestions in the replies, Rex.

Charles Flaster 3:47 AM  

Enjoyed this easy one.
Liked cluing for OIL and DO YOU MIND( a sentence used by a favorite history teacher that got the class back to order very quickly).
No CrosswordEASE.
Only write over-- INNATE for INborn.
Thanks LL.

aging soprano 5:59 AM  

Easy easy easy. If there was a day between Sunday and Monday, that's where this would belong. Everything dropped into place, no erasures, googles or hesitation. Clean as a whistle. I do PARE expenses, the clue for PARKS was absolutely world wide perfect. What I didn't know filled in itself. Flowed like a river. ARTOO DETOO R.I.P.

aging soprano 6:00 AM  

Easy easy easy. If there was a day between Sunday and Monday, that's where this would belong. Everything dropped into place, no erasures, googles or hesitation. Clean as a whistle. I do PARE expenses, the clue for PARKS was absolutely world wide perfect. What I didn't know filled in itself. Flowed like a river. ARTOO DETOO R.I.P.

smalltowndoc 6:40 AM  

Excellent puzzle for all the reasons already mentioned. I really enjoyed it. The revealer really tied the theme answers together perfectly. Definitely an "A"!

Lewis 6:47 AM  

The theme made me break into a smile -- Why hasn't anyone thought of this before??? -- and Lynn always finds interesting answers to throw into the grid (KIOSK, OUTRE, DO_YOU_MIND). There is a mini-theme of double-E's to boot (5). Easy enough for Monday, but that's not Lynn's fault. Besides, it feels good to sprint every now and then. As usual for Ms. Lempel, this was a sparkling enjoyable gem. Thank you ma'am!

Jacob Roth 7:12 AM  

Bart Simpson didn't say "Cowabunga." That was a Ninja Turtles thing.

kitshef 7:18 AM  

Simply terrible. Crummy fill (USB USO ACCT EDS REP SPF NYC ESL SRTA) can be redeemed by a good theme. A stunningly limp theme can occasionally be redeemed by superior fill. On the plus side, double letter count looks to be solid.

RAD2626 7:32 AM  

Two very clean and clever puzzles to start the week. A very good sign. So how exactly do you pronounce ESTEE? I forget.

This is not the only tumultuous Presidential election our country has faced - and survived. In 1948 STROM Thurmond, then Governor of South Carolina, ran as a third party Dixiecrat candidate. That party was formed that summer because of opposition to the Democrats' support of Civil Rights. He actually appeared on the Democratic line in the four states he won (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and his home state) for a total of 39 electoral votes. Despite that, Truman prevailed over the prohibitive favorite Dewey by narrowly winning Ohio, California and Illinois. Shades of Go Set a Watchman.

@Phil Phil. "I LIKE THE GRADES. You don't have to listen to all the suggestions in the replies, Rex. ". A rare two full sentence oxymoron.

G.Harris 7:39 AM  

Easiest NYT xword ever for me. Just sat down and breezed through. No second thoughts, no hang ups.Either I'm getting smarter or the puzzles simpler.

Nancy 8:19 AM  

I'm with @kitshef and @Token Millennial (who after today will be much more than a mere token in my eyes.) This was a real bore. @TM -- You write that you never know what to say about a puzzle that's so easy it doesn't provide any challenge. Let me give you some suggestions: "A real bore". "Yawn". "Meh" (although that may be too positive in this case.) "NTR" (no thinking required). You're welcome, @Token Millennial.

Lewis 8:21 AM  

@kitshef -- 17 double letters, which is high but not unusually high (more than 20). Your description -- solid -- is perfect.

chefbea 8:22 AM  

Of course I loved the puzzle...just had beet greens the other night...Tonight maybe gazpacho...too hot to cook. Thank you Lynn for a great puzzle!!!

wgh 8:22 AM  

Love the coincidental (or not?) tribute.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

@rexparker No letter grade designation today?

golfballman 8:38 AM  

Cowabunga was used on the old Howdy Doody show, circa 50's

Linda 8:39 AM  

Fun puzzle.

The exclamation "Cowabunga!" goes back to the 50s TV program "The Howdy Doody Show." It was Chief Thunderthud's greeting to all the kids in the Peanut Gallery.

Roo Monster 8:43 AM  

Hey All !
Took a minute to grok the theme. Was thinking it was the sounds of AR- and DE- , but some themers didn't work that way. Ah, 2 R's and 2 D's, got it.

Nice TuesPuz, double 9's Down, with light dreck. Grid spanner middles always nice. Got yer NYC smack in the middle. Liked STROM, THROB, OUTRE, GRUEL, BLUTO, KIOSK, unusual words you don't see quite that often. Got @Anoa Bobs S in last square today.

Overall, nice, easy, clean. What more could one want?

Oh, BTW, just caught the replay of the Women's 100m dash, with the Jamaican diving over the finish line. Also, ot was said a Mens runner did the same thing and won. Shouldn't that be illegal or something? Or disqualifying at least. Should have to cross finish line upright.


Rex Parker 9:12 AM  

Grades will continue to be a standard feature. Sometimes I just space.


G. Weissman 9:43 AM  

I was hoping to hear from the person who complains about Freud-related clues. For what it's worth, Freud did not employ the word "ego." That's a creation of his English translator.

jberg 10:35 AM  

I didn't notice the first word Rs/second word Ds thing, which raised my opinion of the puzzle considerably. Aside from that, the down 9s at the top each has two Ds, while those at the bottom each has two Rs -- but the latter also have a D, so no symmetry there, and it's probably coincidence.

In my opinion, BEET, turnip, and radish greens are all perfectly good, but not worth buying unless you are getting them as a package deal with their corresponding roots.

I really want to think of a joke about CARD EALER at 34D, but nothing's coming.

AliasZ 10:46 AM  

I loved the R2D2 theme, but where was that literary-minded Larry David with his rather undeveloped anterior deltoids?

When did BEET-red become BEET-green? Asking for a friend.

For an R2D2 musical source, here is Robert Dowland (c.1591–1641), lutenist and composer, son of the famous John Dowland (1563–1626). By the way, "lutenist" does not mean he played the luten. Robert published two collections of lute music by other composers including his father. The following piece is called Monsieur's Almain from his anthology A Varietie of Lute Lessons (1610). Some VIOLA may come later.

Perfect Tuesday puzzle -- thank you Lynn Lempel.


Tita A 10:51 AM  

@lms...my first MINI, back in '03, was before BMW had gotten their brand differentiation act together. I got a letter on BMW stationary addressed to "Dear new BMW owner..."
Getting my car serviced is thankfully a rare event, but I sure wish they would taint the brand by letting BMW dealers work on them.

Rex...I had a brother-in-law who would shout "Cowabunga" for absolutely no reason. Often and loudly. He was one of the most exuberant people I knew. Were he still around, I know he'd be shouting it still. After he retired from teaching, he was a school bus driver. When he died (young), there was a parade of big yellow school busses from the church to the cemetery.
Thanks for the memory, Ms. Lempel, and for a great puzzle.

Wow...I've missed a lot. No more moderation, grades, a few new posters...(welcome!)... Can't say I like taking the multifaceted object that is a puzzle and reducing it to a single quantitative measurement. But that's just my OpINE.

Joseph Michael 10:56 AM  

This is one of those rare occasions when I liked a puzzle less than Rex did. Didn't hate it, but didn't think it deserved an A either.

Thought the theme was less interesting than the fill which was generally good. Especially liked DO YOU MIND and CRUSADERS. But the fact that there are 2 R's in the first word of each themer and 2 D's in the second added no enjoyment to the solve. The abundance of three-letter words (22% of the puzzle) didn't help. So, in my crossword classroom, this gets a B-.

Sorry, Lynn. I usually like your puzzles more than this.

Aketi 11:00 AM  

@Alias Z, when you chop the leaves off the root and eat them.

chefbea 11:07 AM  

@Alias Z or when you are embarrassed=beet red...or envy someone=green with envy

old timer 11:09 AM  

I must be very sleepy this morning. The puzzle seemed Easy but my time was 17 minutes instead of, say, 11.

Glad to be reminded of where Cowabunga came from. The cohort of surfers born in the 1940's all watched Howdy Doody and no doubt some of them were in the Peanut Gallery. It was a term you sometimes heard on the surfing beaches, usually followed by DUDE.

Mike Rees 11:13 AM  

Such fun. Great puzzle, great write-up. No errors for me, but I worked it casually so I didn't break any speed records, but I probably could have.

RIP Kenny Baker, from your fans on the Dark Side.

John V 11:18 AM  

Classic Lynn Lempel. Great puzzle; perfect Tuesday.

Mike Rees 11:19 AM  

Point of interest - there's a colloquial phrase for "rear-ended" that fits quite nicely (pun not intended) in that spot. Especially with the clue being "rammed from behind."

I need to get outdoors more often.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

Alternative clues:
· Annoying Know-It-All Trebek ALEX
· 1893 Blue Ribbon Brewer and never since PABST
· Group retaking Jerusalem from 15 across worshippers CRUSADERS
· CBS Anchor who didn't fabricate lies about Bush ROGERMUDD
· Like NY Times political views NARROWLYDEFINED

Kath320 12:24 PM  

I cannot comprehend how anyone, even the King of Crossworld, can solve even an puzzle this easy in under 3 minutes. You would have to read, mentally process and type the answers in under 4 seconds per clue, for just the across clues. Is that possible? Am I just a super slow thinker? I'd really love to improve my solving times so I'm sincerely, thanks!

Guy who complains about Freud Clues 12:36 PM  

@G Weissman - Good catch. For what it's worth, Freud never mentioned dreams either, though he did go on at length about träume, whatever the hell they were.

AliasZ 12:52 PM  

@chefbea, I am beet-green with envy for not thinking of that explanation.

As promised, here is a beautiful, romantic Romance, Op. 85, for VIOLA and orchestra by Max Bruch.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Anoa Bob 12:58 PM  

PABST Blue Ribbon, like Schlitz, is making a comeback, both advertised as using the original recipes and brewing methods. Have had both and they are pretty good.

@Roo, even the great ones do it. Along with the two-for-one POC in the lower, rightmost square where SLOT & ARK share an S, DEED/ODD & TOY/EPEE do also. But the degree of difficulty of constructing a 34 black square grid (36-38 is typical for a themed puzzle) that has four themers, a reveal, and some nice fill more than makes up for a few POCs here and some crosswordese there (hi @kitshef).

I associate THESES (9D) with Master's Degrees rather than PhD's, as clued.

@G. Weissman, no complaint about EGO, which I believe comes directly from Latin, just with using Freud in the clue as if his ideas were still current in psychiatry/psychology. ("It's in the New York Times, so it must be true.") To me, it would be like clueing BLOODLETTING (which was still in use in the late 19th Century when Freud was concocting his theory) as a currently acceptable treatment for disease. My complaint doesn't rise to level of FUROR, though, it's more like disappointment or sadness. Is that OUTRE? :)

Michael Hanko 12:59 PM  

Translating "träume" to "dreams" is not equivalent to the shift from "Ich" to "ego". Freud's word is simply the first-person singular pronoun in his native German, so a direct translation would yield English "I". A translator added an additional level of meaning or significance or something by choosing to use the Latin word. It grants the noun a gravitas to speakers of English which "I" does not and which Freud may or may not have intended.

Z 1:03 PM  

1. Never even noticed there was no grade today. It is sort of fascinating, in a people watching schadenfreude-laced sort of way, to see how people sort themselves out on this one little element of the blog. I've been long inured to the occasional misunderstanding by new readers regarding the difficulty ratings. Of course, I love the envy soaked rants about Rex's speed. But this is different. Who knew letter grades on puzzle would invoke such vehement feelings?

B. We don't have the bevy of constructors commenting like we once did (@Gareth Bain, @Evan, @ACME, @MAS), but I do recall hearing more than once that constructors knew a week ahead that their puzzles were being published. Given this and the lack of any mention by the constructor over at xwordinfo.com about the puzzle being advanced, I'm sure this is an accidental tribute.

III. @LMS - speaking of Ms. Lempel, she mentions not loving NARROWLY DEFINED, too. Although she doesn't give a reason, I'm certain it is the ED. As @GB alluded to in an email, there's a little blue pill for that these days.

Δ. Howdy Doody? TMNT? The Simpsons? That's 50 years of children's television clue possibilities and we get apocryphal surfer slang? Would not have been my clue choice (Sons were into the TMNTs, so that would have been my choice.

David Krost 1:11 PM  

Just so you know, paring expenses is a fairly common usage. Cutting expenses is far more common I am sure, cutting costs even more so. But ease or easing expenses? Never, ever heard that. Of those choices, the last has to be the least common.

Numinous 1:25 PM  

I think this was a good follow-up from yesterday. The whole idea is to woo newbies to solve the crossword. This was easy enough for the first-timer from yesterday. Could this be "New Solver Week"?

Cowabunga, Buffalo Bob! Eddie Kean/Buffalo Bob from the Howdy Doody Show coined that word for Chief Thunderthud, the only Indian ever with a mustache, to say whenever Clarabel the Clown squirted him with water. Eddie further illuminates the uses of "Cowabunga". Before entering SURFERDUDE, I entered Buffalo Bob. Wrote over it very quickly, realizing it wasn't Bob who used that term at all. One or two crossing letters gave the real answer away. As @Linda pointed out, most of the first wave (pun intended) of SURFERs who were born in the 40s watched Howdy Doody and carried on using it as they SURFEd. "Hey, Kids, what time is it?"

Reel 2, Dialogue 2, the inspiration for that "annoying" bot's name. George Lucas, so the story goes, was in the machine room during a break when mixing the sound for some film or another. Lined up on a rack were the various reels of 35 mm sound film for re-recording.
There would have been Reel 2 Dialog 1, R2 D2, R2 D3, R2 Music1, R2 MX2, R2 MX3, R2 Sound Effects 1, R2 FX2, R2 FX3 and so on. Feature films can have up to a hundred or more separate tracks to be mixed together, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" had over a hundred sound effects tracks, many of which had to be pre-mixed to reduce the number of tracks being delt with in the final mix (and I didn't even mention Foley tracks or ADR tracks). R2 D2 just stuck with George. R.I.P. Artoo.

Good grade A job, Lynn, many happy returns!

Guy who complains about Freud Clues 1:37 PM  

@Michel Hanko - Not really. Prior to Freud, EGO simply meant "the self; that which feels, acts, or thinks," - the essence of Freud's Ich: 'I' writ large, the notion of self. It's only since Freud, and the original English translation of Freud, that EGO has amassed the gravitas you attribute to it. You can't blame the translator because 100+ years later the word has amassed additional substance.

Teedmn 1:37 PM  

Two Monday's in a row, this one at my average Monday time, fun!

My boss loves the word Cowabunga but I have no idea why. Growing up in Minneapolis and currently living in Colorado, he isn't exactly hitting the beach every day. I first started working for the company his dad and uncle owned and the password for the mainframe was, you guessed it. Over the years, he has used it as a password for many an Internet site. Now that security has become a thing, he has lessened his reliance on the word so I'm not giving anyone here the keys to the company, but I often roll my eyes when I run into cowabunga in the wild (rarely, thankfully).

I was expecting GRUEL to be clued so as to tie it in with 14A's SOUP and 22A's SPOON but perhaps that needed to be more NARROWLY DEFINED.

Thanks, LL.

mathgent 1:39 PM  

To use @Nancy's coinage, NTR.

Today's WSJ was excellent. It was by a NYT regular, Zhouqin Burnikel. To my taste, this WSJ puzzle was superior to what she has had published in NYT. Why would she submit her better works to WSJ? I've asked similar questions before on this blog and received no answers. It might not be safe for constructors to respond.

the redanman 1:50 PM  

very easy and rather decent as well

beatrice 1:51 PM  

I'm relieved that some other folks said as much first, 'cuz I didn't want to be the only one. Yes, Ms. Lempel's puz's are usually stellar, but, while the 'good' parts of this were very, very good, the 'bad' parts were horrid. I started off feeling like I was solving one of the 'Highlights'crosswords in grade school, and it only improved a few times until (many of) the down clues miraculously vaulted into adulthood. As someone here said, the clues could have been (so much) more interesting. Theme was fine for a theme, themers fine, but..on Wordplay Ms. Lempel states this puzzle will probably be her last at The Times - is she going indie? Fed up here? Anyone know?

G Barany - thanks for the obits! the two Thurmond's were a good antidote to the other one; I first knew of Fyvush Finkel on 'Picket Fences' (he was great!), and later saw him in a documentary, not sure what the subject was, but he talked about his working in the Yiddish theater, and of course that was the first I knew of it. Wish I could have seen him, but did hear some bits of his singing - he sounded terrific. I'm wondering if you (or anyone else here) saw Yiddish theater growing up?

@chefbea, do you grow BEETS? The greens are wonderful, but from a store you just get a couple of forkfuls attached to a small bunch.

@AliasZ - do you have a protege?

Computer oops. VIOLA video to follow anon.

Reading carefully is a good thing 2:18 PM  

@Beatrice, What Lynn actually said on Xwordinfo was:

"I will have to get busy because I'm pretty sure this is my last puzzle in the NYT hopper. I need a big influx of both ideas and time."

Z 2:55 PM  

Freud this and Freud that. All I have to say about it all is "Leggo my Ego."

Anonymous 2:56 PM  

I strongly suspect Chief Thunderthud with his mustache and headdress would today be sent into the same vault of non-PC television stereotypes such as Amos & Andy (available on You Tube) Not to mention the lovely Princess Summerfall Winterspring from Howdy Doody played by the lovely Judy Tyler. Not particularly sensitive casting. Yet the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Braves continue undeterred along with Florida State. Hard to figure what qualifies as disqualifying. Imagine ten years from now an F Troop or Hogans Heroes type sitcom around the current world conflicts.

Leapfinger 2:57 PM  

@Z, I can't be positive, but I think your 1:03 Delta is wrong-end frontmost. The clue is for SURFERDUDE, not Cowabunga. Did I lose you?

Leapfinger 3:13 PM  

rrrROUGH crossing ARFS was a SOUPer start, though probably FU_ROR as I did when I made that connect. Even SOUP had that certain SPOON Tang, and the [Peter out] clue for DIE wasn't far behind.

Bisque? Quick, is it SOUP or China? I know it isn't BEET SOUP, even in the Borsht Belt.

I'd been thinking it was PABST time for another LLempel, and thought this one OU, TREs bon, with a tight theme and very apt reveal. Sadly, even droids seem to have their Happy Hunting Ground. Liked the clam before the STROM and the automotive MINItheme. I read above that REARENDED PARKS can be painful; though my recent REARENDings have been moving violations (NARROWLY DEFINED), it's hard to be sure which THESES are worse than THoSES.

@Rex, shouldn't PARE your apples; that's where you get all the vitamins and the good stuff that keeps you from getting all constirpated. Don't be GRUEL.

@golfman @Linda, thanks for placing Cowabunga. I remembered Mutant TNTs and Howdy Doody, but was giving credit to Buffalo Bob.

@ChasFlaster, I thought of the recent INborn also, but know that we're now deep IN NATE Silver time.

@Alias (and @Aketi and @chefbea), the BEETgreen turns BEETred right after the BEETamber.

@GILL, nice that you caught the ARFS-ARKS, but you missed SADK, which suggested all 4 corners should've contained A's (just for the symmetry, y'know). Wouldn't have been that hard to make ERSE fit the pattern, right?

In a more sirius vane, I appreciate the pointing out of the ALLAH-CRUSADES-ARK, hard on the heels of yesterday's CREATOR and ES-TEE ELMO, as well as the recent ADONAI, Adam&EVEnings and other Abel-bodied Biblical or o/w religious references. Being as it's hard enough to not be stepping on solving toes when it comes to politics and sex, perhaps we can go easy in the religious sphere and try to maintain some separation of Church (broadly DEFINED) and Cruciverbia? Do I hear an AMEN?

Would never suggest we DR ONE of the Lempel entries (well, maybe one of the TEENY ones that took on 'terrific kidding'). Lempel puzzles just don't need ALDERations. Hope the pipeline will be soon replenished.

Z 3:21 PM  

@LF - details details. And after my last post I'm amazed that you focused on my delta.

chefbea 4:35 PM  

@Beatrice..we tried growing beets but they didn't do well. So now I just get them at the farmers market...lots of greens

beatrice 6:10 PM  

@Reading - I actually re-read it several times, but obviously did not understand it. Thank you for correcting my misapprehension.

@chefbea - you have better farmer's markets than we do!

Okay. Mozart played the VIOLA and is said to have been an aficionado, but the *prevailing* attitude, then as still, was that the VIOLA was not a solo instrument (at least, so I'm told). But of course, he wrote wonderful music for it, including in the so-called VIOLA quintets - being string quartets with a second viola.

His last one, written in his last year, was in his 'beloved' E-flat major. Just the 1st movement - then the whole thing, in case you like what you hear.



Doc John 7:18 PM  

It is also well-known that ROGER MUDD is a direct descendant of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was implicated in the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln. Hence the phrase, "Your name is Mudd."

Anonymous 10:59 PM  

If you have children of a certain age, you might remember cowabunga from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Checked out the reference to the Howdy Doody show (before my time) and also learned that cowabunga was adopted by surfers in the 1960's.

Wm. C. 8:33 AM  

@Anon2:56pm --

Re: non-PC athletic team names (Washington Redskins, etc.) --

Your post got me thinking about my HS team name, The Warriors. Also in my league were the Red Raiders, Sachems, and Marauders. (Off the top of my head I can't remember the others.) BTW, the HS girls pep squad all wore Sacajawea garb.

Apparently Indian (oops, I mean Native American) descriptors were very popular for athletic teams. Thinking more about it, I wonder why? is it to imply aggressiveness (in athletic competition, of course?)

Blogger 7:31 AM  

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Burma Shave 9:04 AM  


he ABANDONED hope and asked, “DOYOUMIND?”

today’s stream of unconsciousness sponsored by PABST

rondo 10:10 AM  

Don’t get me wrong, this was a nice LIL Tues-puz with a good theme, but not A worthy - since the onset of OFL’s grading - compared to some other offerings. A TEENY bit ROUGH in the short fill with SDAK SRTA ACCT SPF BMW NYC USB USO EDS REP ESL and a LIL crosswordese TOBE found in ESTEE crossing plural EPEES. +/- 17 threes and about half abbr.s. And not a yeah baby to be found without swapping in PERI Gilpin and Meg RYAN. For the gals I suppose KEN is a real doll.

Liked the BLUTO answer as that was the name in the old cartoons before it got changed to Brutus. Ever notice how cartoons before +/- 1948 had actual animated backgrounds? The kind that took some time and effort? POST-1948 all that got ABANDONED. I nearly wrote a THESiS on it when I was an American Studies student, comparing it to society in general. Decided it was easier to make a living in the engineering field. Thanks for the cartoon link Rex.

PABST used TOBE my beer of choice in the 1970s. Not many choices in my area up until then.

Never really got into the whole Star Wars thing, but the ARTOODETOO theme was OK. I probably finished INNATE minutes or less.

spacecraft 12:05 PM  

Cute, unassuming theme--just un-obvious enough to set me up for the fun reveal. But I agree with @rondo: as the fill gets shorter it gets ROUGHer. Of several non-vowel entries, only BMW gets a pass, because it has BMW immunity. Thou shalt dis no Beamers!

But DUDE, you missed ROXIE, fetchingly played by DOD Renee Zellweger. I'd give this a letter grade of B; or a "pardie," or a first down. BTW, fly, Eagles, fly! Sorry, @da Bears, next time. RIP, KEN.

Cedric 12:25 PM  

I like how there are extra hidden themers with the ARfs and ARks in the opposite corners (AR 2) and ODDS with the 2 DEs. Too bad ROTOR ODDS is not a thing...

Ced 12:29 PM  

Actually, it's even prettier than this. ARfs is cruised by furor, that has 2 Rs and ARks by rotor. Nicely polished...

Ced 12:41 PM  

And ODDS crosses DEEDS

NM Robin 12:52 PM  

Thought the puzzle was easy. Like Ms Lempel's puzzles. Liked this one also.

@Gilli: nice catch on the beginning and ending. Didn't see that.

@Token: Greens you must wash them thoroughly. Saute garlic and onions, then just wilt the greens with the mixture. Pretty good but I like kale better.

@Old Timer: my time exactly and I thought I was doing good.

@Anon Bob: I agree. My son just received 2 masters and had a thesis for both. Decided to stop and get PhD later.

Anyway, good puzzle.

leftcoastTAM 1:13 PM  

A LIL TOO simple, a LIL TOO easy. A few more words like NARROWLY and ODDS would have helped, but I wouldn't DDDRRONE on about it.

Ced 1:38 PM  

And ODDS crosses DEEDS

rain forest 3:42 PM  

@Rondo, @Spacecraft - In addition to the adorable ROXIE, there's also VIOLA Davis who qualifies as a DOD or yeah baby in my book.

An easy puzzle to be sure (just a new nanoseconds slower than yesterday's), but an airtight theme and perky little theme revealer. Cowabunga, I say!
Lynn Lempel, the queen of early week puzzledom.

Ah, Howdy Doody and that gathering of unique characters. I don't know if I miss the show, but it is from an era to which we won't/can't return. Some say for good, some maybe not.

The crossing of I LIED/DIE makes me think of Donald Trump, for some reason I can't explain.

Diana,LIW 8:05 PM  

Felt like another Monday. Didn't see the 2 rs and ds until I was done. Not so much bothered by the "ese." Is that really how R2D2 is spelled?

And I'm in the Master's - thesis/Ph.D. - dissertation camp. Tho I guess you write a lot of "thesis" statements in your papers over the years.

That's all.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 8:17 PM  

@rain forest--
There you go again. Another one of those preposition-ending avoidance sentences, in this case "to which...."
You're perfectly correct, I guess, but unnecessarily stilted.

rain forest 2:14 AM  

@leftcoastTAM - the last thing I want to do is to sound "stilted" (well, maybe it's the second last thing I want to do). When I typed that, I didn't even think about it. From now on, sentences ending in prepositions will be the be the only thing I will think of.

Btw, I have always liked your choice of items to comment on.

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