Popular game with sequel Riven / THU 8-18-16 / zero in sports slang / Car modified into Monkeemobile / Smokes once touted by Willie penguin / Sarge's sell my bonds telegram

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Constructor: Parker Lewis and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: reparsed 15s — 15-letter words imagined as if they were ridiculous phrases...

Theme answers:

Word of the Day: KOOLS (20A: Smokes once touted by Willie the penguin) —
Introduced by Brown and Williamson tobacco company in 1933, as an unfiltered 70mm "regular" cigarette, Kool was the first menthol cigarette to be nationally distributed by the then burgeoning tobacco industry and thus, was the first popular menthol cigarette. Kool enjoyed continued success through the 1950s, when growing public concern about the health risks associated with smoking began take a toll on the Kool brand. Brown and Williamson responded to these concerns by releasing filtered varieties of Kool - first an 85mm "king-sized" filtered version in the 1960s that was followed by a 100mm or "long" filtered version in the 1970s. The 1980s saw the introduction of Kool lights and it was also during this decade that the Kool brand began to lose some marketshare to other menthol brands, such as Newport. In 2003, Brown and Williamson was purchased by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and as a result of this merger, Kool became a Reynolds brand. Soon after, Kool's iconic green and white pack, virtually unchanged for some 70 years, was overhauled and the original unfiltered Kool cigarette was discontinued around this same time. However, the changes did little to boost sales, as Kool continued to lose ground to Newport and other menthols. On June 12, 2015, the Kool brand became the property of Imperial Tobacco Company due to a merger between Reynolds American (R.J. Reynolds parent company) and the Lorillard Tobacco Company. (wikipedia)
• • •

I once made a puzzle like this, also a Thursday NYT, where words were parsed wackily. But in that case, every word was a type of cheese (e.g. GORGON ZOLA ...) and there was a revealer (SLICED / CHEESE) and so there was ... whaddya call it? Cohesion. Tightness. A concept. This puzzle has nothing like that. It's built around three random 15-letter words. Who the hell cares? It's a Fail, thematically, right out of the box. The only reason I gave it a "C" is because the grid is well-filled.  Stunned this got accepted. That it got made, even. It's not like the constructors are novices. Further, the puzzle was way too easy for a Thursday. I like Thursdays that a. have good themes, and b. have some bite. This didn't meet either criterion.

WET MARTINIS are not for me (23D: Drinks with plenty of vermouth). A waste of good gin. (I don't recognize vodka martinis as a thing—what's the point? If I had to drink vodka, I guess I might make my martini wet as hell, idk). ROSHAMBO, rosham-no. I have heard of it, though, so it didn't hold me up much. LOOK IT UP (4D: "There's this thing called Google ...") was my favorite answer / clue of the day, easy, though I also appreciated HONEYMOONED (24D: Did a tour after joining up?). Was there any resistance today? Not really. I would never have put that headline (6D: Newspaper with the headline "Mystery Hero Saves Falling Space Plane") with the DAILY PLANET. I was thinking more WEEKLY WORLD NEWS. I also wouldn't list SATIN among top five upholsterer fabrics, so that took some doing (25D: Upholsterer's fabric). I think the TALESE clue (29D: Gay who wrote "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold") probably shouldn't have had "Gay" in it, 'cause once you write "Gay who wrote..." the rest of the clue is pretty much pointless. It's TALESE. Also, I probably would've gone with his creepy motel book, "The Voyeur's Motel," as the reference in that clue. More current, topical, controversial, everything (though that Sinatra essay is classic). Most trouble I had all night was probably the CABLE part of NONCOMMUNICABLE. Short answers down in that corner weren't self-evident, so there was some minor flailing. But overall, not much fight in this one.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


kitshef 12:05 AM  

Sometimes you see those lists of ‘worst songs ever’ or ‘worst pop songs ever’. LOVIN You by Minnie Riperton is my #1 nominee for such lists. Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldaur is next in line. Ah, the early ‘70s.

Other than that shudder-inducing reminder, I liked the puzzle a lot. A smattering of crosswordese (OKIE, OLE, SAN), but offset that with METIER, TALESE, ROSHAMBO, HONEYMOONED, WETMARTINIS, ALMANACS.

Theme was a neat idea. Would have liked more than just the three examples, though.

DNF at eDRIS/eNSOLE. It’s a fair Thursday cross – just stupidity on my part.

Bronxdoc 12:37 AM  

Hard for me, particularly noncommunicable, and what is roshambo?? Clueless.

e.a. 12:43 AM  

[Gay who wrote "An Untamed State"]

Sian 12:47 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Just the right amount of resistance and I loved the compound clues - satisfying and amusing. A good Thursday for me.

Sian 12:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Rippey 12:48 AM  

Fun puzzle. If you re-clue the three long acrosses so that there's no theme, then it's a great little themeless with strong words in both directions and decent fill, and I suspect @rex would give it a higher letter grade. I think he may have penalized it for having a weak theme - but isn't any theme better than no theme? So many questions, so little time.

Da Bears 12:59 AM  

Never heard of WET MARTINIS. It's made up off of the commonly understood term of DRY....

Puzzle sucks but it doesn't suck. C is an average of the two and I cannot disagree.

It all depends on what is is -- the ultimate parsing.

Graham 1:36 AM  

What's the problem with ROSHAMBO? It's pretty ubiquitous, isn't it? Maybe it's a coastal thing?

chefwen 2:15 AM  

@kitshef - couldn't agree with you more on those two songs (?) hearing either one will set my teeth on edge, I grimaced and ughed filling that one in.

At first glance I thought this was going to be a GOOGLE fest, but like the boss said EASY, not a LOOK IT UP was required. Still, not crazy about the theme.

jae 2:34 AM  

So, I'm on a mini staycation in Del Mar, Ca. because back in the day we use to celebrate our wedding anniversary by going to the track. Now it's number 50 and we brought our daughter and her beloved and the grandkids to the Del Mar Hilton for a couple of days at the races and the beaches. I'm solving the puzzle in the room while my bride is playing cards with my grandson and our daughter and I'm quizzing the kid on clues I think he might know (he's 13, he did know the PINTA). Our granddaughter is off doing god knows what with 4 of her dearest friends who decided to tag along for the celebration (we did extend a more or less open invite). All this to say, distractions and all, easy works for me and, while I liked it, I can see where @Rex and @chefwen have a point.

Larry Gilstrap 2:40 AM  

I agree with OFL that ROSHAMBO was entirely dependent upon crosses, even then, what am I missing here? Boy, did I dig deep into my Bible scholarship to look for MT.WTF only to see "mount" used to describe the ship of the desert. I thought the punny grid spanners were admirable and on further perusal they work for me. Post-solve I predicted that Rex would use the word "wacky," but full moon and end of summer may have triggered some crankiness. I enjoyed that 10D fumble zone; I threw in MelIEu and thought "Yea me!" then the harsh reality of the crosses proved that "forte" was more accurately METIER. Love iLLa Fitzgerald when she gets all skatty.

Loren Muse Smith 3:13 AM  

Rex – I disagree on so many counts. This was plenty tight for me. Parker and Jeff took ho-hum infected words and redrew the borders. The affixes reach over and commandeer the letters to their left to form surprising words. For the most part, anyway. That's what makes it so cool for me. Take the suffixes ALLY, ATION, and ABLE – dullsville – and make TALLY, RATION, and CABLE. TEMPE RAMEN TALLY is superb!!!!! (Remember I'm reining in the exclamation points, folks.) How. Fun.

Yo, man – toss me that pronoun cement. This guy keeps using "it's" instead of "its."
Where's that sty list? I wanna add another trough and some extra chicken wire.

Cove rage. Imagine the possibilities. Some bozo makes too much wake…

I'll say again – the appeal to me here is the startling words that appear from reparsing kinda boring word parts.

And I disagree that this was easy. Spot-on Thursday difficulty for me.

WET MARTINI – yeah – never heard of it. Funny how WET already makes it feel icky. Wet kiss, wet diaper, wet blanket, wet he people…

This is one I'll remember for a long time. I keep looking over the grid now, reparsing stuff. Hey, Jeeves – run this LOO KIT UP to Nigel, will you? I'll spare you the details, but, well… just hurry.

I'll just go over and join @kitshef, Paul Rippey, and @Sian. Loved it.

rachelrauch 3:59 AM  

I seem to have a pattern of breezing through the seemingly more obscure clues (no problems with ROSHAMBO, and being a Comic Con-attending nerd, I got DAILYPLANET from just the D in IDRIS), and struggling on the "easy" ones. For some reason, the SE corner was really slow to fill for me. Or maybe it's just because it's nearly 4am & my brain is on strike?

chefwen 4:14 AM  

@jae - Happy Anniversary. Hit up The Carvery on the third level and have a corned beef on rye and, of course, a beer on me. Will get back there one of these years, we miss it!

phil phil 4:15 AM  

Pretty easy and straight forward. About 17 minute plus 1 hour! for 'cable' ... on my iPad which seems to take awhile to type in answers. My fastest no-brainers take 9.5 minutes not sub 3 like Rex.

Like usual i had to get over a 'sure thing'. Was sure 'tie' was being on the level and was sure CA_tE had to mean 'sell' like 'noncom muni (sell)' just coldn't accept that the clue part of 'sell' was not a real clue part.
I think 'order' would have been more fair then 'sell'

Aline Camel Minces 4:21 AM  

SUREDO love the puzzle they made!
I love REPARSING things... Fun!!!

And such fresh and lively fill
IDRIS!!!! (Love him)

And fun fact that someone named White founded NAACP

Did you know Minnie Riperton is Maya Rudolph's mom?!

When I wrote to Jeff Chen and Parker Lewis (who can't lose) I guessed this puzzle would get an A... Now I have to eat my hat!

phil phil 4:25 AM  

@LMS i like you LOO KIT UP how about
Brit's carton label on bathroom fixture.

Trombone Tom 6:09 AM  

I liked this a lot better than @Rex did. The combination of clever cluing and playful parsing made this an enjoyable experience. I do understand OFL's quibbles but think there were more redeeming features to offset the negatives.

While I go for about a 3.5/1 gin/vermouth ratio in my martinis the concept of WET_MARTINIS has little appeal.

No problem with ROCHAMBO. Out here on the Left Coast I've heard my kids say this many times.

Really liked the cluing on HONEYMOONED.

Thank you Messrs. Lewis, Chen, and Shortz for a fun puzzle, even if it was on the easy side for Thursday.

No BS 6:12 AM  

Speaking of Brits, "bonk" has a racier connotation across the pond.

Enjoyed this one. Nevah hoida roshambo.

Hungry Mother 6:59 AM  

Easy, but enjoyable. I liked the theme, but what do I know?

Lewis 7:23 AM  

@aline -- Acme, is that you?
@rex -- True, the theme answers are not connected, as they were in your SLICEDCHEESE (did you consider CUTTHECHEESE?) puzzle, and such a connection would have added another layer to today's puzzle, but I think "taking large words and overanalyzing them cleverly" is plenty enough to be considered a theme. These theme answers are richer to me than the example you gave from your puzzle -- GORGON ZOLA -- and I think that counts for something.

So, this was a high quality puzzle to me. High percentage clean fill. Cluing made with care, with some real winners (BIC, LOOKITUP, SELMA, SPRAYTAN). The grid was well designed, allowing for non-theme long downs (since the themers were spanners). Not only does it finish with END, but it opens with aJAR, and there's even a slot for the COIN. Jeff is so detail oriented (this is obvious in his writings) that it's plain to see why he would love a theme like this, with such careful parsing of large words. Caring for every detail is Jeff's METIER.

While there were no areas in which I sprinted, there were no dead ends either. I worked slowly and intensely, with plenty of ahas and a bit of awe at the theme clues/answers, and when it was over I thought, "What a terrific experience!", and for a moment, SATIN wonder.

NCA President 7:24 AM  

This was a Thursday puzzle? I swear my time was slower than what it should have been just because I kept looking for a Thursday type gimmick and all I got was three words re-parsed. That's it. And puns...which are never good.

BAGEL is "zero in sports slang?" I'm going to take a stab in the dark here, but I'm guessing that is very regional thing. Living in fly-over country for most of my life, I've never heard bagel used to describe a zero. Not by fellow sports fans, not by ESPN, not even Tom Looney. If' I've ever heard it it was probably used by a New Yorker who was trying to be New Yorky.

The "TALLY" of TEMPERAMENTALLY crossing the ALLEYS of BLINDALLEYS seemed inelegant to me. I don't know why. And now that I really look at it, that whole little box with the double Ls and Es seems just wonky to me. It's like they shoehorned TALESE in there somehow.

Not a NORMal Thursday and not in a good way. Seemed like a run o' the mill Wednesday. No inventiveness, no real interesting creativity. Just a puzzle with three long words that turn out to be three punny words in one. As Paul Rippey mentioned above, it would have been just as easy to reclue the themers and leave it as an easy little themeless.

I throw in my lot for not knowing ROSHAMBO, but I disagree about the Ripperton song. It's a classic and even on its worst day it beats the hell out of anything written today on pop radio. Now excuse me while I go yell at some kids who are out on my lawn...

Passing Shot 7:28 AM  

Didn't care for the "wacky" theme but I thought it was fair, if a bit on the easy side for a Thursday. Have NEVER heard the term ROSHAMBO in the context of rock/paper/scissors (NYC). Always nice to learn something from a puzzle.

Debra 7:31 AM  

Super puzzle, not all that easy. A+

Passing Shot 7:34 AM  

@NCA President -- "BAGEL" is perhaps most commonly used in tennis to describe 6-0 set, as "Serena served up a bagel to Bouchard" (i.e., beat Bouchard 6 games to zero).

gberg 7:45 AM  

I agree with you, for me this puzzle was very enjoyable.

Cassieopia 7:55 AM  

@kitshef complete and total agreement here on "Midnight at the Oasis" and "Lovin You", I would always turn off the radio when they came on, even if it was Casey Kasem. Something about all those slidey notes, like fingernails on a blackboard.

If C is "average", that would be my grade too. An average Thursday. Never, ever, ever heard of BAGEL (in that context) or ROSHAMBO, geographically where is the usage found? Also struggled with the SE corner, tricky and clever cluing especially the END.

Glimmerglass 8:05 AM  

Whoa, Rex. Did you really just pan this puzzle because you thought you'd once written a better one? Get over yourself! I thought the three reparsed themers were clever and amusing. I got a chuckle out of today's puzzle, and I found it of medium difficulty for mid-week. @LMS: I also loved your PRONOUN CEMENT (just between you and I).

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Yesterday someone made NINE comments concerning everything from her bodily functions to the Olympics. This is more annoying than spellcasters, because with the latter you could skip them all at once.

Isn't there some sort of limit?

brian Tramontozzi 8:09 AM  

Rochambo explained:


G.Harris 8:16 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle. Remember Lovin you fondly as the song used in that funny commercial where the PR guy didn't have the funds to buy Who Let The Dogs Out for playing at an NFL game.

Generic Solver 8:18 AM  

@kitshef 12:05 - Minnie Ripperton passed away from breast cancer at age 31, sadly only a few years after recording that song. I'm sure you weren't aware, so I'll grant you that. Whether the song was good or bad, she displayed incredible range on hitting those unbelievably high notes at the end of the choruses.

As for the puzzle itself, it seems really poorly timed and of out of touch to add a clue/answer about the Winter Olympics (Racing event/LUGE) while the Summer Olympics are still ongoing. I get it that the puzzles come out when they do, but maybe this one could have been used not while the Summer Olympics were ongoing.

DrLee77 8:19 AM  

@Rex I found this fairly easy except for ROSHAMBO, which I got mostly from the crosses. Ultimately, I did remember the phrase. However, I didn't get the main clue puns until I got here. Now the clues make some sense. I agree that a clue like your SLICED/CHEESE answer would have been helpful with the solve and quality of the puzzle. Thanks for a good write-up on this puzzle.

@Aline I also wonder if you're ACME. If you are, I enjoyed your recent puzzle in another venue. You were one of the reasons I got hooked on this blog.

GILL I. 8:32 AM  

I really wish I could be as enthusiastic as @LMS and @ACME about this puzzle, but I can't seem to even muster up an AHA. I did like just about everything that wasn't theme related, though.
My grouse was in the cluing. It seemed a bit too forced and I felt like maybe it was looking for a yuck yuck chuckle. All it did was remind me of the song "Tell Laura I Love Her."
Hand up for not knowing ROSHAMBO. Hell, I'm probably the only American that doesn't even know how to play rock-paper-scissors.
WET MARTINI was my favorite answer because if reminds me of London. When I lived in Madrid, I was on a student visa and had to leave the country every 6 months. You had to have your passport with you at all times even though no Guardia Civil ever stopped me or asked me for it. Anyway, I was on my own in London - not yet 21 - and thought I'd be all cosmopolitan and go to a pub and order a martini. The (very cute) bartender looked at me in a very strange way (I thought maybe he thought I was too young to drink) and went about his business of making my drink. I got it in what looked like a jam jar. It was filled with Martini Vino Secco....no gin. He did give me an olive though!

chefbea 8:32 AM  

Tough puzzle...did not get it at all...no theme to me
Looks like a spell caster got in at the end of yesterday's posts!!!

RAD2626 8:32 AM  

Way closer to @lms than Rex in terms of liking puzzle. Thought it was terrific, albeit easy for a Thursday, which is not constructors' issue. Thought longer fill really sparkled, something that Jeff Chen emphasizes in his blog regularly. METIER, HONEYMOONED, SPRAY TAN, DAILY PLANET, LOOK IT UP all wonderful. Only the unappealing WET MARTINI seemed forced, but hardly a debit. This to me has been the best week in the NYT in a long while. Maybe a post-Lollopuzzoola rebound.

@NCA President. BAGEL or donut are also very common terms for a hitter who takes an 0 fer in a game.

Irene 8:45 AM  

Oh Rex you are so wrong. I came to the site expecting to kvell with you and found your review just mean. I loved it, especially the cluing on things like Honeymooned, Spray Tan, Daily Planet. Never heard of Bagel for zero but once I filled it in it made sense.

A great Thursday puzzle.

Royce 8:58 AM  

Best. Puzzle. Ever.

QuasiMojo 8:58 AM  

Hard to come up with a puzzle worse than yesterday's but this one succeeds nicely. Such banal answers! Agree with Rex entirely today. And I love his "Gorgon/Zola" clue. @kitshef. I too was not a fan of Maria Muldaur's endlessly played pop hit. I saw her in concert back in the 70s in Boston. Torture. Anyone else have "Gap" before "Map" in the subway clue? As in "Mind the Gap"?

Elle54 9:12 AM  

I thought the Daily Planet clue with headline referring to Superman the mystery hero was great! I do like Lovin You and Midnight at the Oasis. Good memories!

Tita A 9:12 AM  

Just like old times. Post-solve, I thought -meh- disappointing Thursday-. Reading Rex, agreed, secretly hoping I would be turned around. And yes - thank you posters!
I now like it more, though not quite over-the-moon.

Welcome back, ACME! (and I second waht @Dr. Lee said)

@lms - we live by Lattin's COVE - a tiny finger of water at one end of Candelewood Lake. We get mighty ornery when someone leaves a wake. I'm so glad to affix a name to the phenomena...thank you!!

Yea - SATIN stunk - could have been burlap or nails or horsehair or welting or greenpaint... But so much of the fill was great - I can let it slide.
And I mena really, how can we all not love a theme that is basically several huge DOOKs?????
Love that ad for KOOLS. Got a cough? Priceless...

@kitshef - thanks - now "put my 27D to bed" is the test pattern of my mind.

crabsofsteel 9:30 AM  

Puzzle deserves better than a C. I didn't find it to be so easy (roshambo?) but once I got the theme, it made it worthwhile.

Hartley70 9:40 AM  

This is a pretty great non-rebus Thursday in my opinion. Misdirection, humor, answers that made me go "huh?" and some that made me go "ahhh!" I can't ask for much more than that before breakfast!

There was so much in the "huh?" column that I was tickled to learn. ROCHAMBO, WETMARTINI, Minnie Ripperton's existence and Ms.White's accomplishment, ANVIL and a BAGEL that isn't better toasted, to name a few.

The themers had my gray cells working to parse out the answers and trying to think of others. I'm no @Loren, so I'm struggling with "Nicaraguan rebels fighting in prison" at the moment and I've almost got it.

Loved HONEYMOONERS, CAMEL and especially END.

This is a rave from me! You guys get an A+

Charles Flaster 9:58 AM  

Liked it more than Rex but not as much as LMS.
Very easy and predictable.
Liked cluing for LIE, LOOK IT UP( which famous baseball manager said "you can LOOK IT UP"), and CAMEL.
Writeovers-- INSOLE for INStep and DAILY PLANET for DAllas Times.
Thanks PL and JC.

blinker474 9:59 AM  

Very, very enjoyable puzzle. The theme answers were first rate, and some of the longer fills were great. I drink very, very dry martinis, have never heard anyone order a wet one, but that was my favorite answer. Many thanks to Parker Lewis, Jeff Chen and Will Shortz for a splendid puzzle.


Mohair Sam 9:59 AM  

Hopping on the @LMS bandwagon on this one - - what she said across the board. Fun cluing throughout. How can you not love the CAMEL clue? We joined @Larry Gilstrap in spending much time climbing endless biblical hills searching for the answer. Even enjoyed getting a nasty chill at the thought of a WETMARTINI. With the exception of ROSHAMBO (which is interesting in its own right) I Thought the clues for all of the long downs were clever.

Did anyone else notice how Trump's SPRAYTAN faded for a week or two when Marco Rubio pointed it out, and then made a comeback when Rubio got buried by Christie?

Terrific Thursday expedition, Lewis and Chen. Thanks much.

JC66 10:00 AM  

Yes, welcome back @ACME (if it's really you).

We missed you.

Nancy 10:05 AM  

Certainly not easy for me, but that's partly because I quickly wrote in aspCa instead of NAACP at 15A and therefore didn't see either INSOLE or SPRAY TAN (great clue), which would have helped me out greatly. And there was some oddball, if interesting, cluing for a few well-known people in the arts. Do I remember the great ELLA (16A) for doing the Memorex commercial???? Do I remember the successful writer Gay TALESE (whom I've met, btw, at the Central Park tennis courts and whose wife, Nan, I knew from my days as an Editor at the Literary Guild) from his article (I assume it was an article; it certainly wasn't a book) "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold"? Very strange, but not uninteresting. Like that clue, this puzzle was also not uninteresting -- though I did find the theme answers somewhat tortured. I struggled throughout -- my progress in the SE being hampered by having tIE instead of LIE at 56D. (LOOK IT UP to see why.) So that my "Aha" moment came very late indeed -- but at least it came. I liked it. But I didn't love it.

QuasiMojo 10:18 AM  

@Nancy, I didn't know you were an editor. Not surprised, however, since you are so articulate! I bet you have some fun stories to tell about the Manhattan "literati."

jberg 10:29 AM  

I'm too excited about the return of @ALINE CAMEL MINCES to say much about the puzzle, but I'm with @Loren -- the theme answers are individually delightful for the way they cross the word-breaks, whereas just splitting GORGONZOLA into two is a bit cheesy. (And for me, putting LUGE into the middle of the summer Olympics was a feature, not a bug.)

So I'd have given it a B+

Thanks to whoever pointed out that 29D could have been RoxanE. And the repetitive posting rule is supposed to be three times and out, but if we don't want @Rex to moderate we probably can't expect him to enforce the limit, either.

Nancy 10:30 AM  

Thanks, QuasiM! What a really, really nice thing to say! Wish you had a blog profile, so I could find you and chat.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

The puzzle comments here tend to have a negative tone. I'm beginning to suspect that what they really express is self-criticism for wasting a perfectly good brain on such an extremely trivial activity. Just a thought.

Ellen S 10:42 AM  

Read "Frank Sinatra has a Cold" here.

It was a profile of Frank Sinatra written for Esquire magazine in 1966. Sinatra was under the weather and didn't like giving interviews anyway, so Talese talked to friends, groupies and whatnot and the result was "one of the most celebrated magazine stories ever published." According to Esquire, so, take that with a spoonful of salt.

I think Walt Kelly did a bit about 50 years ago, involving Greek legends, including the smelly unloved monster sister, Gorgon Zola. Or maybe it was Ogden Nash.

Enjoyed the puzzle.@Rex's writeup today was what I expected yesterday. I agree it didn't need a revealer. Made me figure out what was going on, and then parse the answers. Fun! Chen & Lewis, you DOOK when you work together! (Thank you, @Tita A.)

pmdm 10:42 AM  

Given the many favorable comments above, at least one person should be stunned that he was stunned that this puzzle was accepted.

The comments on XInfo relate that the puzzle, as originally submitted, did have a revealer clue, but that clue was rejected by Mr. Shortz.

Are any of you familiar with Riperton's contribution to the first Rotary Connection album? I thought that was a great album, put out at a time when many musicians were trying to make Classical music and Rock compatible. I love the short string interlude on that album.

Kitshef, I understand your point of view from yesterday. I wonder if just as most Americans would not think F. Scott Key (writer of the words to USA's national anthem) as obscure, most of the English would probably not think of Thomas Arne, composer of Rule Britannica, to be obscure. He also wrote the music to God Save the King, the British national anthem, and therefore to My Country 'Tis of Thee. As composer of this well loved American patriotic song, I guess his name should be better known to Americans.

If Aline Camel Minces is not ACME, whoever it is certainly has recreated ACME's style of writing. Most will be very happy at her return. Can Evil Doug be far behind?

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Had to cheat to find ROSHAMBO. Way desperate to include this in any puzzle. So obscure I wonder if it was the puzzle teams first fill and clue.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Easy? Ummm, no.

The crosses of HYPED, ALP and METIER were brutal. Not sure if I would ever get HYPED out of "beat the drum for". Not only was there a tricky verb tense, but 'hype' to me suggests something extraordinary, i..e, going above and beyond. 'Beating the drum,' on the other hand, suggests monotony and routine, keeping the beat, accompanying, etc.

The trivia of ALP and METIER were no help.

Cartoon Gamerz 11:00 AM  

Happy to see that so many of us liked it. I thought that it was great. Since Rex started giving grades I've pretty much agreed with him on every puzzle. Until today.

Here in the Bay Area, BAGEL and ROSHAMBO are commonly used. BAGEL always in tennis.

@Nancy. You're right. The Talese work was an article in Esquire. When I subscribed a few years ago, Esquire sent me a copy which was printed into a miniaturuzed book. I think that I still have it somewhere in my bookshelf. It was beautifully written. But then again, I'm a sucker for all things Sinatra.

mathgent 11:05 AM  

The comment at 11:00 is by @mathgent, not my grandson Cartoon Gamerz. It was written before @Ellen S's explanation of the Sinatra article.

chefbea 11:06 AM  

Hope Aline is you Acme...welcome home!!! You have been missed

AliasZ 11:08 AM  

Is today Thursday? I couldn't tell from the puzzle. It felt like a themeless Friday with barely Wednesday difficulty level. I want me some Thursday trickiness.

TEMPERAMENTALLY could have been "Paint in one's imagination" or "Alleviate agreement total results."

This type of wordplay is one of my favorites, however three of them do not a theme make. Here are a few more

LOOKITUP: "Set of restroom supplies at bat"
SATIN: "Was in attendance of"
INSOLE: "Election winners' cheer"
TALESE: "School helper's injury"
WETMARTINIS: "You and I register our craft that 3rd person singular 'to be' contains."
If you want your HONEY MOONED, bring her to a frat house.

Sorry -- I normally like Jeff's puzzles.

But no hard feelings. As a gift, here is a SEMIARID overture. Hi @Leapy.

Have a roshambo Thursday.

Numinous 11:18 AM  

Charades! In cryptic puzzles, those clues are called charades. That, for me, was a nice AHA once I got it. I had CABLE before I got NONCOM and MUNI which I got from knowing what the clue was.

I recall a purely NYC answer: SPALDEEN which was a ball for playing stickball. A complaint went around the comentariat the the word was a serious NATICK, being so regional in origin. Now, of course, y'all were thinking Jon Ken Pon for another name for Paper, Rock and Scissors. The Japanese name for the game would have to be the first thing to pop into one's mind as opposed to ROCHAMBO which is largely a Northern California name for the game. How many of us are or were Left Coasters? Apparently those three syllables are used as a count down to the reveal. ROw shAM BOw.

I thought this was an excellent addition to "Newbie Week". I found the puzzle easy and a little thought provoking. DAILY PLANET came to mind immediately upon reading the Newspaper Headline. WET MARTINI needed a few crosses to get. I used to make those when I bartended. To make one you have to actually add vermouth to the gin instead of coating the inside of the glass and draining the balance or passing the vermouth cap over the top of the glass. There was once an aerator cap marketed to go on vermouth bottles, squeeze the bulb to spray a mist of vermouth over the glass or pitcher. Those were the days.

I thought the proximity of the CAMEL to EGYPT was cute. It seems that a large proportion of the CAMELs used in races in the part of the world that has CAMEL races are actually now imported from Australia which has a huge population of them feral or otherwise thanks to the early explorers. It is all part of the same process that left us with wild burros and mustangs in the south west of this country.

I got this done in 2/3rds my normal Thursday time. I give it an A (as these letter grades are all subjective).

Leapfinger 11:20 AM  

@jae, Congratulations! Sounds like a fine set of distractions.

Under the Spreading JAR-JAR Tree ...
Why did the village smithy drag his ANVIL indoors when it started to rain?
He wasn't an OVERT_RUSTING kind of person.

Liked the 'Biblical mount' misdirect; even though I think more riders in the Bible are sitting on an Ass, the answer CAME Lightly. Other winner is "Did a tour after joining up' for HONEYMOONED. Cute that @Larry Gilstrap connected 'full moon and end of summer', cuz HONEYMOONED sounded pretty good for having a sticky END to me. That's all I'll say cuz I've only ever been MOONed one time only, North of Jupiter, FL. HONEY, it wasn't all it's cracked up to be. Y'know the lyric "I see the pale moon rising"? Needed some SPRAYTAN, that one did.

Bonk? Oh yeah, and if you want to get into some other dialects, same goes for "LOOKI, TUP!!"

Might be a good time to listen to some Parsifal.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:28 AM  

Who puts cinnamon, swirled or not, in Babka? Is that another left coast of America thing like Roshambo apparently is? My grandmother ('babcia') from the hinterlands of Opole in Silesia once gently chided me for making cinnamon bread: 'you know it's German people who use cinnamon, we don't, usually' she said.

Didn't find it easy.

Roo Monster 11:31 AM  

Hey All !
Knew Rex would rate this easy! Because it wasn't for me. Couldn't seem to get the ole brain in motion to think of answers. Did online today, so used Check Puz feature a bit (but not Reveal this time). Not sure why the resistance, after looking back over puz. Strange.

Did like the reparsed 15's. Sorta like my Random Nonsense thingamabobs I've done before. Haven't in a while, though...

Apparently not too many people know ROSHAMBO as Rock, Paper, Scissors. If you don't even know RPS than you're really in trouble. It's a deciding game, basically. They heve tournaments and everything.

Thought at first the long Downs were part of theme as some had the ? in the clue. They weren't, but still nice. Lots of white space in this one. Light dreckness considering the open space. SWIRLY a cool word (though it took me a bit to get).

On a side tangent, I'm curious to know if I'm wrong here, (more than likely!) As you see, I ended that parenthetical sentence with the ! inside, but my other asides I put the period outside the aside. Which way is correct? I believe it's inside the parenthesis. Or does anyone even care? :-)


Linda 11:31 AM  

@AliasZ – Thanks for the link to the SEMIARID overture. I didn’t get @Leapfinger’s joke yesterday but now I’ve had a good laugh at it.

@Numinous – Re dry martinis, a joke I heard a long time ago asked 3 people how you make the driest martini – the first person said you pour just a drop of vermouth in, the second said you pass the vermouth cap over the top of the glass, and the third said you hold the glass close to your mouth and whisper “vermouth.”

Leapfinger 11:38 AM  

You never know what's coming down the pike while you're laboriously typing out your snippets, do you? Wrats, wrats, wrats.

That's all right, @Alias, we'll always have that venerable TAN GENT at The Teahouse of the August MOON".

WET_MARTIN_IS: Yoda tells me that @Herbach fell into one of those winery vats.

Linda 11:41 AM  

@ Roo Monster – The exclamation point inside that parenthetical is correct because it applies only to what’s in the parentheses. (Also, there’d be no comma before the parenthetical and there’d be a period after it.) The period outside the parenthetical is correct also – it applies to the whole sentence.

Tita A 11:44 AM  

And congrats, @jae. Sounds like you're celebrating in style.

evil doug 11:45 AM  

Of *course* it's acme. Nobody else abuses the exclamation point so inhumanely--although Loren seems to be giving her a run for her money....

Even better than "bagel"? The "Trillion":

"Denotes those occasions in which a player logs one minute of playing time without recording any other statistic. The term is derived from the player's statistical line in a box score, which reads as a one followed by 12 zeros -- the conventional English-language numeric representation of one trillion."

Joseph Michael 11:50 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle and disagree with Rex's review which comes across as sour grapes. Fun to reparse long words and find new meanings in them.

However, with entries like SPRAY TAN, TEMPERAMENTALLY, HYPED, MESS, LIE, and NONCOMMUNICABLE, there seems to be a Donald Trump subtheme at work here.

Alex 12:12 PM  

ROSHAMBO must be regional, as I needed every single cross. Didn't know or intuit a single letter. Tougher for me than for many of you, but they always are tougher for me! I enjoyed the puzzle. Probably because it wasn't as difficult as some others are! It took me a long time to come up with HONEYMOON. (I didn't have trouble in the Southeast, though. So there!) Anyway, I'll stop babbling on and tip my hat to all those of you who found this puzzle really, really easy.

old timer 12:20 PM  

@GILL I. In the summer of 1965 I went on a student tour of Europe. Spain was so cheap in those days they put us up at the ritzy Palace Hotel. The bar there was inceredibly elegant, and it certainly is where I would have gone for a martini. I like enough in my gin so I can taste it. 6:1 is the classic dry martini, but 3.5 to 1 is better. And Dolin is way better, for that drink, than Martini or Noilly Prat.

I think the puzzle was not of A caliber because it was too easy and the theme seemed forced. But I did get trapped by that biblical mount. It was painful to replace my Sinai with a CAMEL.

Michelle Turner 12:21 PM  

Ditto. And nice one.

Anoa Bob 12:30 PM  

Again we get a 34, rather than the typical 36-38, black square themed puzzle, as we did with Lynn Lempel's Tuesday offering, and again we can see how much it opens the grid for lively entries. Makes for a nice balance, methinks, between theme and fill. I did notice, however, that some of the better downs (WET MARTINI, MINCE, HOONEYMOON, ANVIL, ALMANAC & BLIND ALLEY) needed help from letter-count extending devices to fill their slots.

ROSHAMBO sounds like something they would say in New Orleans. Or maybe a minor Jewish holiday.

So how do you pronounce "forte", as clued for 10D METIER? I've always thought it was four tay for a musical direction and fort for someone's area of strength or expertise. But it looks like the former pronunciation has been used so often for the latter meaning that it's becoming accepted as standard usage.

My favorite moment in the solve was the clue "Mystery Hero Saves Falling Space Plane" for 6D DAILY PLANET. Worth the price of admission.

Welcome back Aline. LMS borrowed some of your !!!!!!!!'s !

ArtP 12:36 PM  

Many thanks to @EllenS for the link to Gay Talese's Sinatra story. A beautifully written insight to that enigmatic, multifaceted, contradictory, fascinating and, undeniably one of the finest entertainers in history (love him or hate him).

Enjoyed the polarized commentaries. Would give a heavy nod to those differing with OFL. Found the puzzle itself fairly tough. Never heard of ROSHAMBO. John McEnroe uses BAGEL quite often to denote a 6-0 tennis score

Jon Roberts 12:39 PM  

"Bagel" is a tennis term for a 6-0 set.

Jon Roberts 12:40 PM  

"Bagel" is a tennis term for a 6-0 set.

Lewis 12:44 PM  

@pmdm -- You were remarkably prescient!

allan 12:46 PM  

I usually agree with @rex's write ups, but not today. I loved this one, and would rate it a B+. @lms had a better write up than @rex did today. Having no revealer (or title) added to the enjoyment of figuring out what was going on. Being a frequent grouser about @Will Shortz, I think he is having an excellent week.

As far as difficulty goes, I thought for a while that I was going to be a DNF. The mid-south just would not come together. Luge turned out to be the key that opened it up.

@NCA President, being from NY/NJ I thought bagel was more of a Midwest term. I've never heard it used.

@Aline good to hear from you.

@evil I guess all it takes for you to contribute is for froggy to plunk his magic twanger.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

How many years of complaints about the substandard quality of the NYT puzzles has it been, Rex? Wouldn't it be better just to stop solving it and concentrate on others of higher quality? It's getting old and Will Shortz clearly don't seem to mind what this blog thinks.
The constant negativity and criticism gets to your readers too (at least to me). I used to enjoy and laugh and learn with your write ups. Now, it feels like each day, I pass by Oscar the Grouch's trash can hoping to say hi and find him in a good mood, just to feel immediately disappointed each time.

Mike Rees 12:59 PM  

I was blown away by how fast I got this done, considering how none of it I knew easily. Here's a list of DNK's for today!

Mary White Ovington, KOOLS, SUET, EPCOT, ARTUR, LANAI, IDA, SELMA, LOVIN, OKIE ... RADS, METIER (new word for me!), SAN Gabriel, ALP as clued, CAMEL as clued, TALESE, ROSHAMBO.

Two overwrites - dryMARTINI for WET (shame on me, a former bartender) and donut for BAGEL. Donut, I've actually heard in sports.

Enjoyed the theme, enjoyed the solve, finished 30% below average Thursday time. I suppose that rates easy in my book - and with so little useless stuff, I'd rate it better than OFL did. But I ain't off to start my own blog, so I guess I'll let it be :)

JC66 1:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 1:04 PM  

@ACME and @evil doug return.

It's a red letter day in Rexville.

Z 1:12 PM  

@kitshef - What? "Lovin you is easy because you're beautiful" doesn't warm the cockles of your heart? I'd totally forgotten that song existed until I watched the video. Damn you, Rex. So. Incredibly. Bad. So. Incredibly. 70's. How did we survive?

@generic solver - Sad. Tragic early death doesn't make the song any better, though. And this has nothing to do with anything else she may have recorded/performed. She may have many fantastic songs I know nothing about. This song, though, is cringe-inducing.

@NCA President - I've heard BAGEL in many sports contexts, baseball for certain, and even in Ultimate Frisbee where "we got bagelled" is something one never wants to utter while "We bagelled them" should never be said with too large a smile.

@anon8:08 - Rex once decreed a three comment limit, mostly, IMHO, to eliminate long tangential fights that you sometimes see erupt on the internet. It was mostly enforced through the honor system.

@Roo Monster - As I understand the convention, any punctuation inside the parenthesis applies only to the parenthetical while punctuation outside the parenthesis applies to the sentence. So, On a side tangent, I'm curious to know if I'm wrong here, (more than likely!) As... is missing a period and has a meaningless comma. I believe, On a side tangent, I'm curious to know if I'm wrong here (more than likely!). As... is better.

As for Rex's comments about this puzzle's theme I can not do anything but agree. If all the reparsed words were somehow related there would be a theme. But they don't. They were chosen for being 15 letters. That's not a theme, that's a bit of wordplay, but not a theme. Two thirds are military related, so finding a third military reparsing would have given us a theme. However, these are fun examples of the trick and the fill is clean. Since I don't feel that a theme is a requirement for a Thursday puzzle, I'd rate this better than Rex did.

Dolgo 1:13 PM  

This was one of the worst EVER!! Some of the clues far surpassed any ridiculous ones in memory. Yeah!FIRE THIS GUY!!!

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

I guess I'm the only person here who liked "Lovin' You" AND "Midnight At the Oasis". They were both played to death on the radio during my formative years, musically. I can sing all the words, I think, and I used to be able to hit Minnie's high notes (and still try, to the torture of anyone in earshot).

I found this puzzle tough - I disappeared into so many BLIND ALLEYS including @Nancy's aspCa, ceos before MBAS and my favorite, gAP before MAP.

I agree that if you find SATIN in stock at an upholsterer's, it's because no one bothered to order it and it's been sitting there gathering dust. Unless you are making SATIN pillows, I can't imagine it would hold up well to everyday use. (My mother used to do upholstery - no satin).

Interesting Thursday twist, kind of SWIRLY, thanks PL and JC.

Joe Bleaux 1:36 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
newspaperguy 1:37 PM  

To clarify: A martini is gin and vermouth. With vodka, it becomes a vodka martini. An (uncommonly served these days) wet martini is also called a perfect martini. And Minnie and Maria were/are wonderful singers. I liked the puzzle, especially LOOKITUP, a phrase I use regularly, as in, "Don't email me with a question. Look it up! It is easier, takes less time and leaves me out of the equation."

GILL I. 2:09 PM  

@old timer...The Palace Hotel! It's now called the Westin Palace but it still has that beautiful old charm. I arrived in Madrid in October of 1965 so it's possible we might have met at the bar...! I never had a MARTINI there but I know mucho americanos loved to cozy up and order Manhattans.
The gangs back!

Steve Reed 2:46 PM  

Instructions for reading the RexWordPuzzle Blog:
1) attempt to finish the puzzle
2) read what OFL has to SAY
3) scroll scroll scroll
4) savor what LMS has to say

Today was a beaut. Thank you.

Randy 2:57 PM  

I thought the clueing on the long answers was really clever, but I'm also a diehard fan of stupid puns. RECONSIDERATION I got almost immediately, NONCOMMUNICABLE took me a while since I was only vaguely aware that NONCOM was a military term, and "non-communicable" is a much rarer term than "incommunicable" in my experience. I've also never heard the phrase WET MARTINI but it makes perfect sense (as a construction, I mean - I like a high gin/vermouth ratio).

I don't think it was Thursday-level difficult, but I thought it was fun and well put together.

Mohair Sam 2:59 PM  

@Teedmn - I'll fess up to liking "Midnight", but will vote with the multitude on "Lovin' You'. At least you're not totally alone.

kitshef 3:39 PM  

While we are on parentheses, Is @newspaperguy's use in, "An (uncommonly served these days) wet martini ..." correct? I usually construct the part outside of the parentheses as though the parenthetical phrase does not exist, but in this case that would give "A (uncommonly served these days) wet martini ...", which sounds odd.

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

I wascoincidentally listening to ARTHUR Rubinstein playing the Chopin concertos while doing this puzzle, and sorry, we might say ARTUR but it is spelled as ARTHUR, with an H. I put ANTON initially who was famous in the 19th Century and I figured too obscure for this puzzle. Overall joyless.

Z 4:53 PM  

Hey @anonymous4:32 - I suggest you LOOK IT UP before you say things like that.

Chip Hilton 5:11 PM  

Okay, am I the only person here who's been misspelling temperament, temperamental, and TEMPERAMENTALLY his whole life. Where the heck did that silent A come from?!?

mathgent 5:15 PM  

Does anyone remember Rex saying anything positive about Jeff Chen's work?

Z 5:27 PM  

@Chip Hilton - Sounds like a silent E to me, but the phonetic spelling looks like a quickly elided schwa. The correct spelling looks wrong to me, too.

@mathgent - In March and February of this year, then I stopped going backward. Free hint to people who wonder how I found all the Chen puzzles: At the end of each post are "Labels." Click on the label (in this case "Jeff Chen") and all the blogs with the same label will appear.

chefbea 5:50 PM  

@Steve Reed...what about all the food comments?????

mathgent 5:58 PM  

@Z: Thanks, I'll have to take your word for it. When I asked for all Jeff Chens, all I got is today's.

Passing Shot 6:36 PM  

@pmdm -- thanks for the reminder about Rotary Connection. Love "Black Gold of the Sun."

Alysia 6:46 PM  

I really liked this one. I smiled several times while solving, took six minutes longer than usual, and felt great satisfaction upon completion. Can't really ask for much more than that.

Z 7:05 PM  

@mathgent - huh. It works on all my devices. Today's is at the top and I just have to scroll down for earlier blogs. With frequent constructors like Chen there are multiple pages. Computer, iPad, iPhone, it always works for me, although the iPhone doesn't load the whole page so it is more tedious to look at old blogs. Anyone else try this and not get the older posts?

Evan Jordan 8:00 PM  

Thanks for setting the record straight on Minnie. It don't have the focus at this point in the day to do it without rambling and sounding too preachy. She'd surely have a deeper reputation if she could have continued broadening her discography. Lovin You is understably reviled by many but she was so much more than that one song.

Colby 8:11 PM  

This was a pretty decent puzzle. Most posters also left with a positive impression. Rex must have been in a bad mood.

Nancy 10:55 PM  

@Ellen S. (10:42 a.m.) -- Thanks for the link to that very interesting Esquire piece by Gay TALESE on Frank Sinatra. I'd never read it back when it was published -- although I won't take a back seat to anyone in the depth of my youthful passion for Sinatra throughout the 1950s and into the '60s. I also loved the way he sang. There was so much that I, we, all of us didn't know about him back then. And it was probably better that way.

Token Millenial 11:45 PM  

In super late today, it's been a busy day. I liked this, mostly. Some fun cluing, no real groaners. I also really like long words, so sussing out the themers was enjoyable. Struggled with the "cable" part of the last themer like Rex did.

Hopefully I'll get an earlier start of Friday's puzzle, but not going there tonight. Good night all!

mark a 6:17 PM  

two of the best clues in a while: the double entendre in "like best buds" -- folks in CO, WA, and Amsterdam know about that.
Also, love the contradictory tension in "be on the level" -- so nice to pick up on the intersection of meanings. You may be on the level when you're lying down, but certainly not when you're lying to me...
These little plays are gleeful.

spacecraft 10:56 AM  

First and most important of all: welcome back DOD Andrea!! (If you had not seen this before, it's Damsel of the Day.) It's as if somebody turned the lights on around here.

And we need all the light we can get, because so often the lead blog is so dark. I'm in agreement with @Paul Rippey: if the fifteens had been clued straight this would probably have gotten a better grade. It's way too easy for a late-week themeless, but still.

I got DAILYPLANET right away. SPRAYTAN was less obvious, though acquired soon enough. I dunno...maybe I'm getting better at this, but no way does today's belong on a Thursday. A very nice, well-filled grid. DOD was to have been the incomparable ELLA, but when I saw @Acme that idea went out the window, shattering glass a la Memorex. (Take a MEMO, REX: lighten up!) I know one thing: Jeff IS getting better at this--and he wasn't too shabby to begin with. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:44 PM  


though her SPRAYTAN was a MESS, for the RATE of a COIN, HONEYMOONED.


this stream of unconsciousness brought to you by KOOLS

rondo 2:02 PM  

One ink blot today where HYPED was HoPED for a millisecond. Didn’t know ROSHAMBO, looks like the feminine counterpart to Rambo. DAILYPLANET a gimme, what else could it be? Same with WETMARTINIS (I’m a grad of the MN School of Bartending). And the Coen brothers are from the Twin Cities, so, gimme.

It’s not BAGEL in MN, it’s “donut”, as in the 41-donut loss to the NY Giants in the 2000 NFC championship game. LOOKITUP! Still infamous here. The use of donut is attributed to Randy Moss. NYers probably call it 41-BAGEL.

How do you TEMPER A MENTALLY superior rival? Have him snort ALINE or two.

Again we have OLE with no accompanying Sven NOR Lena.

Decent puz, and better than a rebus. The END.

leftcoastTAM 2:44 PM  

More or less agree with Rex on this one, but I'd give it B, instead of a C, because it required some mental agility and I didn't at all find it easy.

Themers were not easy to see and make sense of, and had to come here
to clearly see the last of them, NONCOMMUNICABLE. (Had wanted it to end with municipal.)

ONBASE in my baseball world isn't necessarily being in scoring position. Second and third bases, yes, first base, no. ONBASE just doesn't do it.


rain forest 2:47 PM  

I don't mind an easy Thursday puzzle, especially when it is entertaining like today's. I don't think you can say that the 15s are a theme, per se, but they were fun to work out. The whole puzzle is delightful, in fact.

I had never heard the term "wet martini", but I laughed when I wrote it in, thinking it made sense. As a side note, I like 'em both dry and wet, but prefer the former 'cuz I'm sophisticated. Hah.

There are hundreds of songs worse than the ones discussed here, but you have to admit, whether or not you like Midnight at the Oasis (fantastic guitar solo in there), Maria Muldaur looks pretty good performing it.

And of course, welcome back @Acme, if that indeed is you who commented up there. Nice to see @Evil Doug, too.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

From Syndication Land:
I loved this puzzle! Thought for sure it would get an A+. The fill is so clean and the theme is so fun, with the added bonus of great down answers in blind alleys and wet martinis. What's not to love?

Diana,LIW 4:14 PM  

I had NONCOMMUNICAtes, and couldn't finish that corner. However, I had already looked up IDRIS, so a dnf was well on its way.

Mr. W and I bought MYST the year it came out, and spent the better part of Christmas week "playing" and solving it.

There's this thing called Google, and I looked up ROSHAMBO - oh dear. Kick someone in the b***s over something. Er, not this lady.

When Mr. W takes on his Clark Kent persona, I have often accompanied him as Lois Lane - I even have a DAILY PLANET press pass.

OPEDS started in 1970? Really? I thought they were, like, forever.

Maybe Rex didn't get a piece of the babka, or maybe his MARTINI was too WET, but I don't see why he sooooo disliked this pretty little puzzle. I would not give it a BAGEL. Pretty KOOL, actually.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Nova on that BAGEL

leftcoastTAM 8:01 PM  

@Ellen S. 10:42 a.m., way back up there. Thanks for link to the fascinating Sinatra profile in Esquire way back when. (Might interest some syndilanders, too.)

sdcheezhd 11:51 PM  

OK I'm with the hate Lovin You like Midnight at the Oasis 70s people crowd. ANTON for ARTUR Rubenstein set me back. Agree that the theme is pretty lame.

Jentaps 9:12 PM  

What @Steve Reed said! This is the exact order in which I do the crossword. Thank you, and thank @LMS!

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