Alternative to boeuf poulet / SUN 9-11-16 / Tavern tap handle / Buttonless garment / London home to many John Constable paintings / Galway bay locale to locals / Tryster with Tristan / on cards classic 1949 book / Geographic eponym of insurance company / Record six-time David di Donatello Award winner for Best Actress

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Constructor: Ned White and George Barany

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: Sack Time — it's about beds, and there's a vaguely bed-shaped black-square element in the middle of the grid:

Theme answers:
  • COVER STORY (22A: Magazine's lead)
  • PILLOW TALK (24A: Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedy)
  • BLANKET STATEMENT (32A: There are no ifs, ands or buts about it)
  • SLEEP OVER (49A: Pajama party)
  • SAW LOGS (64A: Snore loudly)
  • MONSTER (70A: What a child may think is under the [puzzle's central image])
  • DUST BUNNY (86A: What a parent may thin is under the [puzzle's central image])
  • CAME DOWN IN SHEETS (101A: Rained cats and dogs)
  • MESSAGE PAD (115A: Item on a telephone stand)
  • AND SO TO BED (118A: Line at the end of a day's diary)

Word of the Day: New Mexico's SANDIA National Laboratories (85D) —
The Sandia National Laboratories, managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin), are two major United States Department of Energy research and development national laboratories. // Their primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons. The primary campus is located on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the other is in Livermore, California, next to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory. (wikipedia)
• • •

There's a cuteness to this idea, particularly the MONSTER under the bed. Actually, that's my favorite part. The rest of it, however, has a ton of problems. First, theme answers both are and are not about beds; this kind of inconsistency is irksome. If you're going to bury your bed words in non-bed answers (and that's the ideal) then do it all the way. PAD, SHEET, COVER, BLANKETS ...are all used in non-bed contexts, but the PILLOW in PILLOW TALK is not a non-bed pillow. I can give a little more leeway to the answers that are proximate to the [bed] image, but the bed-part answers, no. Clunk. Further, the clue on DUST BUNNY does not ring true. No "parent" "may think" there's a DUST BUNNY under the bed. That is not a thing that a parent does. You might find one there, sure, but you don't *imagine* the bunny. You clean under the bed. The bunny itself is not something you think on, not nearly the way a kid thinks on the potential MONSTER. Attempt at parallel cluing there rings totally false. PAD doesn't seem that beddy to me, though I guess a *mattress* PAD is indeed often found there. AND SO TO BED is nobody's diary entry but Pepys', so that clue also rings false. Mostly, there is just too much bed stuff going on. Stuff above the bed does not relate to the below-the-bed-stuff, so thematically this feels like not clearly conceptualized enough. The cool central gag is dwarfed by a bunch of incidental, only vaguely bed/sleep-related stuff. Deadens impact of the "joke." Also, what is up with that title ("Sack Time")? What is ... that? A pun? That is not a phrase. No one says "sack time." If you google it in quotation marks, you will get a crossword blog among your first hits, so ... ?


Not thrilled with non-theme Across answers as long as or even dwarfing themers. Distracting. On top of that, TATE MUSEUM is not exactly a thing. It's the TATE GALLERY or the TATE MODERN. There are many Tate museums, but TATE MUSEUM is ... imprecise. Let's keep going, this time, to full-on inaccuracy: 1D: Big feature of Popeye, informally (BICEP). You'd think my complaint would be about BICEP (not a word), and yeah, it's icky, but the real problem is with the clue, in that it's factually incorrect. And people noticed. Right away:



I can't wait for the retraction on that one. Classic. Moving on, the fill had nice moments (e.g. PASTICHE, ADD TO THE MIX, WISEACRE), but too many ugh-ish moments. NW sets the tone with BICEP ASONE EIRE RTS ENURE (lots of mediocre stuff in small space), and then it goes on from there. VIVACE ANODE LST; CIO ICEE OKRAS plural!; ULE ALETA!! (a cross that broke at least one person I know). It's a grid w/ lots of short answers, and we get pummeled with them. Finally, there's the very terrible cross, the close-to-textbook Natick, of SCARNE / SANDIA (93A: "___ on Cards," classic 1949 book / 85D: New Mexico's ___ National Laboratories). Yeesh. SANDIA???? I have vaguely heard of SCARNE, but SANDIA? No. Crossing proper nouns like this, at a fairly unguessable letter... how do you see this and not go "Nope, back to the drawing board"? I guessed correctly; others won't. Here's my solution: change SANDIA (!?!) to SANDRA and clue R-NE in relation to a U.S. Senator of note.



I'll take R-NE over IN E any day. IN E is a suffix posing as a short phrase. Not a fan. Stop falling back on the dull tried-and-true stuff. Be inventive! And above all, for pete's sake, police your Naticks.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I hereby retract my objection to the title. It's not great, but it's definitely a thing—esp. in the military. Check this bit of military, uh, history out.

 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

111 comments:

jae 12:08 AM  

Easy for me too. Thought it was kinda cute but Rex is right about the problems, especially the Popeye clue. I knew SANDIA, but then I was a government scientist in a previous life. Liked it more than Rex did, but....

David Krost 12:26 AM  

Not sure how you slept through this (heh heh) but the phrase "sack time" is EXCEEDINGLY common. "I need to hit the sack" is the related phrase to "I need some sack time". Hell, how uncommon can it be if there is a chain of stores that uses the phrase? www.sacktimemattress.com

I have also heard the phrase used frequently in a lot of the military movies. Sure, maybe it was more common until a decade or two ago, but still very well known. You just missed that day in school I guess.

Sorry, you missed the boat on that one.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

Loved the monster under the bed and ditto the dust bunnies ... yes that's exactly what parents think might be under the bed! It doesn't have to be exactly parallel "thinking"! It got a laugh out of the crowd in this house ...

Also, the theme meshes with everything about the bed -- over/under -- I thought it was going somewhere extra cute with cover, pillow, blanket, "sleep over" and "saw logs" OVER the visual bed and monster and dust bunnies UNDER but then it fell apart with sheets and pad. Now if they could have kept up the visual imagery, that would have been extra impressive.

Absolutely agree on the Scarne/Sandria (it was my last empty and I gave up and googled just for the satisfaction of filling it all in). No way is that legit in this puzzle.

And fittingly, so to bed go i .....

happy sunday!

CB

Trombone Tom 12:32 AM  

Definitely on the easy side, but enjoyable. Liked the "bed" and what went under and on top of it. Again, I think OFL is unduly harsh in his criticism. Golly, just because one is unfamiliar with SANDIA is no justification to come down so hard.

I did happen to visit the SANDIA Labs on an Air Force tour and was quite impressed with the powerful laser they had that could blast holes in thick steel (and enemy satellites).

Will and his cohorts should be red-faced for letting that Popeye clue through. Those are over-developed forearms, not BICEPS!!!

Thanks New White and George Barany for a fun Sunday.

Diego 12:43 AM  

Didn't Popeye throw down a can of spinach and end up with big BICEPS? Maybe the clue refers to apres spinach big guns, not the pre-spinach pipe cleaners.

Easy, pleasant Sunday puzzle. A little something for everyone, duffers and crossword snobs alike.

ZenMonkey 12:56 AM  

On the whole I thought it was fun and very clever in parts. I didn't find DUST BUNNY nearly so offensive and I think the clues pair up just fine. LAXLY and OKRAS, absolutely not. I also got nearly Naticked at that devil's cross; I put in the N thinking it might be in the desert where there's a lot of sand. Silly idea but hey, I finished. :-)

chefwen 1:28 AM  

Agree with the "easy rating" and alas, I have to add a tad bit on the boring side. Just about everything was predictable, from COVER STORY to AND SO TO BED, nothing required much thought. I guess I'll wait for Loren to spread the sunshine. My dad called me bunny when I was a wee one, so I did love DUST BUNNY.

Anoa Bob 1:44 AM  

Wow, what a country! There's a nearly ten-minute collection of clips of Popeye eating spinach on YouTube. (In one excerpt he mistakenly downs a can of onions.) No support for any postprandial change in his BICEP [sic]. Maybe some support for the theory that the Popeye cartoonists were all on LSD. Here tis: Popeye the Sailor-Spinach Montage.

paulsfo 2:00 AM  

I knew about Sandia because I'm an adult who reads the newspaper. This is not a Natick.

Hartley70 2:13 AM  

What a kick to see @George's name as co-constructor! I am a devotee of theme density and so this puzzle gets extra points. Oh and I seem to disagree with most of Rex's complaints, except that this theme is really cute. I loved the visual bed in the center and the MONSTER underneath.

A DUSTBUNNY is what I expect to find under a bed unless the space is filled to capacity with plastic storage containers. PILLOWTALK may refer directly to a bed pillow but so what. Rex is carping on consistency for carping's sake. I remember that Day/Hudson film duo fondly and enjoyed the reminder of a fifties mentality. Who needs grim reality all the time?

I thought this was on the easy side until I got to the center of the West side of the grid. EDUTAINMENT was a non-starter. Cave science is outside my ken. I was saved by the SPEL start.

ANDSOTOBED I go, pleased that I've finished the puzzle long before breakfast.



Kenneth Wurman 2:14 AM  

I was thinking that this was going to be about football (with the college and now pro seasons starting) and viewed the bed as goalposts. .. but I realized I was wrong when I got "Pillow Talk" and blanket statement easily. Cute puzzle, but not so challenging.

Kenneth Wurman 2:15 AM  

I was thinking that this was going to be about football (with the college and now pro seasons starting) and viewed the bed as goalposts. .. but I realized I was wrong when I got "Pillow Talk" and blanket statement easily. Cute puzzle, but not so challenging.

Martín Abresch 2:57 AM  

I disagree with the criticism of the clue for DUST BUNNY (What a parent may think is under the bed?). There could or could not be a dust bunny under the bed (depending on how recently it has been cleaned), and a parent may or may not think that one is there. I think that the fact that "think" means slightly different things—"imagine" in the case of MONSTER and "reckon" in the case of DUST BUNNY—is a strength. Perhaps I'm missing some subtlety, but I don't see an issue here.

I tried to come up with an alternative to PILLOW TALK that used PILLOW in a metaphorical sense. "Surely, there has to be several such phrases," I thought, "Pillow gets used all the time to describe objects like clouds or marshmallows." I haven't been able to come up with such a phrase. This really surprises me. Come on, poets! Stop slacking and get to work establishing new powers for evocative words!

Loved the MONSTER under that central bed. At first, it seemed that the answers would all be variations on BLANKET, so I enjoyed when the theme changed things up. I liked BEER PULL and WISEACRE, and I liked the clues for MRI (Fear of a claustrophobe, for short), ISOLDE (Tryster with Tristan), and MEOWED (Cried over spilled milk, maybe).

Wondered if the clue for 41-Down (The world's largest is China) was being deceptive. I thought of EXPORTER right away, but it did strike me that China has become a large imPORTER as well. Just checked: they're the second largest importer between the good old U.S. of A. By the way, that western section was the toughest part of the grid for me. Had a hard time pulling SPELEOLOGY (it seems obvious now, as it shares its head with SPELUNKING), LAXLY, PARE BACK, and MEOWED.

The rest went in easily for me, though I agree that there are some scary crosses: especially SCARNE/SANDIA and ULE/ALETA. That latter cross was my last letter in the grid.

Martín Abresch 4:40 AM  

Honest question.

Do we want to open the floodgates on R-NE formulations? There are 50 states (plus DC) and 2 major parties, so that's 102 mediocre three-letter words suddenly available to constructors.* The trade-offs seem rather plain: allowing these would greatly increase grid flexibility, but it would be at the cost of having a new species of crosswordese. I can see this formulation becoming tiresome quite quickly.

*Technically, it's less than 102 as a few of those formulations spell out actual words: RCA, RID, DID, DIN, RUT, etc. I don't have time to check all 102, but a quick glance through the possibilities shows me that a large majority of the combinations would be new.

I'm not sure of my own opinion on this and need to think it over.

Loren Muse Smith 5:00 AM  

I'm with @David Krost – "sack time" feels very in the language to me. I was really surprised to see that it's not so much with Rex.

I loved the bed in the middle with the MONSTER under it. I did almost write in "boogie man," with no crosses in place, for DUST BUNNY. Personally, I always thought there was a witch under my bed in Chattanooga. Used to bend my arm and hang the elbow over the edge just to prepare myself for what her hand would look like when it started creeping up to snatch me. I really did. I was a nervous kid.

So when PILLOW TALK and SAW LOGS fell, I knew we were describing things for a bed. That's fun. To sit and think, "Ok. I'm looking for maybe blanket, sheet, duvet, comforter, odd sock that static-clinged itself to the sheet, spread, PAD, bed skirt (dust ruffle)…. At this point a puzzle feels like a treasure hunt. I enjoyed it a lot.

There's no "thinking" about it; I know there are dust bunnies under my bed. Heroically huge, nasty dust bunnies amid the forgotten fanny-pack, NPR tote bag, earring, black flip flop, coat hanger, shoe box, used ear plug, water bottle, and, mysteriously, wooden clothes pin. Yeah, I just looked under my bed.

Unfortunately I guessed wrong on the SANDIA/SCARNE cross, but I'm not all bitter and pissed off and stuff.

I would've lived the rest of my life not remembering that it was Popeye's forearm that was big. I could've sworn it was his BICEP. Hah.

Loved the clue for BRIDE.

Of course I fell for the three-letter "cow" for ELK but quickly fixed it for LOREN. Sigh. George always puts my name in his grids. It's embarrassing.

Three flourishes that have to be pointed out:

SHEEP that we insomniacs count
TEDDY – you can wear it to bed or cuddle up with it in bed. And it crosses…
DREAMY - the very last across word in the grid: Very, very nice.

Fun, light-hearted romp, you two. Nice job.

Anonymous 5:15 AM  

No PAJAMAGAME? Super easy but enjoyed it.

Anonymous 5:20 AM  

When Popeye eats spinach, his bicep (usually they focus on just one) bulges. Plenty of videos on YouTube show this, though they're all crappy low resolution. While forearm is a better answer to the clue, BICEP is not 100% incorrect.

Anonymous 6:35 AM  

@Anoa Bob
Interesting Popeye montage. It would be banned in today's society. In those 10 minutes we saw violence, bullying, a weak and subservient female, smoking (Popeye's pipe), animal abuse, a demeaning depiction of Native Americans, and exceedingly poor grammar and diction!

Aketi 6:54 AM  

@lms, you got the TEDDY and DREAMY that I quickly noticed Rex missed. There is also the doubling up on SHEEP and MOUTON, but I don't know if the French count MOUTON..

I saw that bed right away and started solving around it. Felt a little like eating the frosting off the cake first.

@Rex, you clearly didn't watch Popeye cartoons enough or you'd have realized that his BICEPs only "pop" when he eats his spinach. The whole fun was watching the shape of his bicep as it expanded which was often an anvil or what was in the bicep like TNT, an atom bomb or a volcano exploding, If you google Popeye bicep you get a bunch of gruesome images of men with seriously overdeveloped biceps and you get a medical condition called Popeye muscle.

As for those DUST BUNNIes, it's pretty clear that you weren't the parent that cleaned them. During those early months after my son was born when it seemed like all I did all day was feed him, I obsessed about the dust bunnies I hadn't had time to clean while I fed him. By the time I was finished feeding my son I was too tired to care.

Aketi 6:56 AM  

@LMS, do you eat your spinach before your competitions?

Gregory Nuttle 7:29 AM  

I came on here to say that bicep is an absolutely correct answer on the Popeye clue, but it looks like that has already been covered. Do a simple image search for Popeye, and you will see plenty of instance of the big bicep after he eats his spinach.

Lewis 7:41 AM  

Whew! After that review, George and Ned may feel in need of a comforter. But slough that off, gentlemen. This was a fine and enjoyable offering, into which I know much thought and polishing went (because I know how George approaches his puzzles, getting much feedback from others). It was not perfect, with a genuine Natick, and the Popeye error, but overall, it was a lovely solve.

There are enough gimmes to get the mind going, but not so much that the fun is spoiled. There is the beautiful visual of the bed -- and that's the first thing I saw -- with that MONSTER beneath. There is some clever cluing (TUNER, BRIDE, BOO, PAN) and appealing answers (COVER_STORY, TWO_POINTERS, AND-SO-TO-BED). I am not a fan of OKRAS, which I'm sure is legal, but I'm guessing few use that for the plural over simply OKRA. But sometimes to make a puzzle work you need an OKRAS here and there.

And the point is, the puzzle worked. It had a lilting charm as well as enough bite to satisfy my mind's need for exercise (it jogged my mind's inner springs?). The comfort level was just right. Thank you, gents!

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

Sandia is easy, sack time IS a common phrase and to Google multi-word phrases you need to put them is quotes, and if there's something under the bed the child THINKS it's a monster and the parent THINKS it's a dust bunny.. Other than that I agree with Rex. Too easy and no flashes of appreciative insight when getting the themers. Next...

chefbea 7:56 AM  

What a fun easy puzzle....to take our minds off of what we are remembering today. Thank you George and Ned. Three of my favorites are Heath Bar, shrimp scampi and Arp...who is probably seen at the Tate.
Started the puzzle last night , then had to hit the sack and finished it this morning

r.alphbunker 8:03 AM  

26A. {Habituate} ENURE from [I]NURE
INURE-->ENURE

69D. {Corporate tech head, for short} CIO from C[T]O
CEO-->CTO-->CIO

90D. {Motel sign filler} NEONGAS from NE_ _ _ _S
NOROOMS-->NEONGAS

120A. {Choice: Abbr.} PREF from PR_F
TORF-->PREF

117D. {Put down in writing?} PAN from P[E]N
PEN-->PAN

Three of those occurred in the SW corner. I am glad that George got a noble gas into the puzzle. I loved the clue for PAN. Details are here

Jon88 8:04 AM  

I checked with a friend in London. "Tate Museum" is something people say, but it is not the name of anything. The equivalent might be putting MODERN MUSEUM OF ART in a grid.

Proud Mamma 8:16 AM  

I didn't mind that the bed thing was loose. bedtime, bed, pillow that's all okay with me. Like Rex I also did not like the long answers between theme answers. As for Sandia, since it was in New Mexico, I guessed San Dia. Some weird parts, like ule, but the theme was fun for me. Especially I liked dust bunnies visually, although not in love with the clue.

Proud Mamma 8:17 AM  

I didn't mind that the bed thing was loose. bedtime, bed, pillow that's all okay with me. Like Rex I also did not like the long answers between theme answers. As for Sandia, since it was in New Mexico, I guessed San Dia. Some weird parts, like ule, but the theme was fun for me. Especially I liked dust bunnies visually, although not in love with the clue.

smalltowndoc 8:24 AM  

BICEP is incorrect, not because of Popeye's anatomy, but because the word, as a singular is incorrect. Biceps (more correctly, biceps brachii) is always in the plural because it is a translation of "two heads". The biceps has both a short head, which originates from the corocoid process of the scapula, and a long head, which originates from the glenoid labrum. If you palpate the belly of your biceps you'll feel an indentation which is the separation between the two heads.

Anyway, grammatically speaking, "Two heads" are better than "one (heads)".

Proud Mamma 8:26 AM  

Oh, so immediately after Popeye downs the spinach his biceps pop out. They then mysteriously shrink, but he continues to be stronger. His forearms are large before and after his unlikely meal.

Proud Mamma 8:27 AM  

Oh, so immediately after Popeye downs the spinach his biceps pop out. They then mysteriously shrink, but he continues to be stronger. His forearms are large before and after his unlikely meal.

Proud Mamma 8:27 AM  

Oh, so immediately after Popeye downs the spinach his biceps pop out. They then mysteriously shrink, but he continues to be stronger. His forearms are large before and after his unlikely meal.

da kine 8:34 AM  

I call BS on this one. The review, not the puzzle. I thought it was fun, the cluing was clever and a bit more challenging that the normal Sunday, and the theme worked. I DNFed on ULA/ALETA, but that's on me, not the constructors.

I didn't read the whole thing. Did the constructors or Mr. Shortz do something offensive? Knowing Prof Barany, I'm guessing not, but it doesn't take a lot to offend Rex.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

If you re-clued Kayak, this puzzle could have run 30 years ago. If you reclued Akeem, it could have been run 50 years ago.

I wasn't a fan.

-Rhino

Conrad 9:00 AM  

Count me with the "In Favors." I enjoyed the puzzle, found it a fun diversion (which is what puzzles are supposed to be, no? And I'm very impressed with "our" @George Barany as co-constructor. My only complaint came when I read the 15D clue, "Paint choice," and "green" didn't fit. Good job, Ned and George!

Aketi 9:05 AM  

@Lms,your list of locations where the DUST BUNNies proliferate caused me to get a brain worm over two subcategories "furbunnies" and "lint bunnies". They seem to be equally, if not even more, invasive. My cats like to play with their own fur bunnies and are particularly enthralled if they are mushed into balls. So out of curiosity I googled the worlds biggest lint ball and found out that there is a tiny town of Hume, Illinois is into weird activities including creating a giant lint ball.

TMI ALERT! I also discovered that there is a Guiness World Book of Records for the largest collection of belly button lint. Of course thanks to the "JAM that shall not be named" puzzle, I do NOT want to think about what might be collected south of the naval. Fortunately, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners are obsessively meticulous about maintaining the cleanliness of their feet, otherwise I'd quit.

Betseeee 9:13 AM  

The MONSTER under the bed was my favorite part, too. And I would've clued DUSTBUNNY as "What a parent *knows* is under the..."

Teedmn 9:18 AM  

I consider SPELEOLOGY a bonus themer - I'm pretty sure a lot of "Sack Time" is going on in those man caves.

And Popeye has gotten his workout this week - good thing he has his spinach - with BICEP today and SEAHAG earlier. When Rex started picking apart 1D, I thought he was going to be complaining about the unnecessary "informally" because I was scratching my head on that one. I had forgotten it was his forearms which were over-large. But my dictionary showed me that it is "biceps" so one bicep would need the "informally". The rest of the controversy has been covered. Crazy Popeye montage - couldn't watch all of it. What we found AMUSing back in the day...

I liked the puzzle - it was easy although I had @LMS' "cow" and enjoyed the aha on the misdirection. My "office no." for 23D was "ste" (didn't we see that one earlier this week?) before TEL. 118A was "now gO TO BED" which is something I have to tell myself every night as I fight to stay awake. I hate wasting time sleeping. COVER STORY was my favorite theme entry.

Yeah, I stared for some time at the SCARNE/SANDIA cross. Either one would have seemed familiar if the cross was easy but with the two together I was BLANK(ET). But I guessed correctly. And it was my last entry.

Nice job NW and GB.

pmdm 9:19 AM  

I'm not sure anyone pointed this out yet. Did you notice that all the theme answers are in the proper geographic locations? For examples, a pillow would be over the cover which would be over the sheets.

According to the constructors' comments (as posted on SWordInfo.com, the original theme answers went in a slightly different direction, one which seems to me a bit cuter. Too long to recount here, so if you are interested hop over to that site and read their comments.

I recently bought and watched the optical disk set of Popeye cartoons from the Fliescher Studio era (before Paramount foreclosed and renamed it the Famous animation studio). In the earliest cartoons, Popeye was portrayed as a pretty nasty character, striking out at anything that merely annoyed him. Fairly early on, every cartoon was simply a vehicle for Popeye and Brutus to get into a fight. Around the time Paramount took over, Brutus had pretty much been written out of the series. Perhaps that's when cruelty to animals began. Don't really remember. But most do agree that when Paramount took over production of the cartoons, the quality of the stories took a big hit.

Mike D 9:25 AM  

This was a joyless bore.
Having said that, Rex is completely and utterly wrong about BICEPs (Popeye's do indeed bulge when eating spinach) and "sack time," which is an extremely common expression. Rex fell into the "I don't know it, so it must be obscure" trap. Again.

Teedmn 9:27 AM  

I came up with two other PILLOW phrases but "dirty PILLOWS" as quoted from the movie "Carrie" is not NYT puzzle-friendly (or any other kind of -friendly, for that matter) and "mint PILLOWs" are arguably still too bed-pillow-like to change the meaning.

Tita A 9:28 AM  


These have got to be two grenades that Rex is lobbing in to stir us up...
@PaulSFO - yup - I know SANDIA because I'm alive. Never heard of SCARRE, but the N is inferable.
And especially DUSTBUNNY - may be one of my favorite puzzle clue/answer of all time!
Having two tuxedo cats, I think that there are DUSTBUNNYs under (and over) everything in my house.
In fact, I have a theory that my cats have been conducting a long-term experiment in dusteogenesis - reproduction by means of DUSTBUNNYs.

They are working with SANDIA Labs on the project - shhhhh...


@George - congrats!! I loved it. Yes, woulda been cut to have things appropriately above and below. Oh - and I'll never be able to eat OKRA again thanks to that most awfullest of gratuitous PoC. And wow -

(David K - good checking on sacktimemattress- I wonder if their Chief Branding Officer will get an alert about Rex's dismissal of the worthiness of their name choice.)

The typeface clue for OVAL tickled me too - nice change from the regular race track reference..
And everything that @Martin A said.

Lewis 9:32 AM  

@pmdm -- Well, you've given me a terrific learning experience. I was going to politely point out that Popeye's enemy was Bluto, not Brutus, but I thought I better look it up to confirm. And the answer is... both! For the full story, go to http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1548/is-popeyes-nemesis-named-bluto-or-brutus . Anyway, thanks for that!

Tita A 9:38 AM  

@lms - thanks for DREAMY.
And @George - thanks to for all the doubled-up clues, like Parlez-vous and HABLA and those that @Aketi mentions.

And I used to my entire arm out, telling myself "there IS no MONSTER - there IS no MONSTER..." I would always have to jerk it back in. So I guess the MONSTER always won.

Bottom line - it was a fun puzzle to solve the whole way through.

Mr. Benson 9:46 AM  

I get all the points above about Popeye and the spinach, but the clue should have said something about that. In his natural state, his prominent features are his forearms. So I agree with Rex on this one.

NCA President 10:04 AM  

I tore my BICEPs tendon once (don't ask how...okay, it was because I was chasing my cat, okay?) and I learned that, while it was just my right arm, and just one tendon, it was still a BICEPs tendon. So double problem on that answer. And yeah, Popeye's biceps was a focus after he ate the spinach, but if you were to draw his arm, you would be sure to make his forearms disproportionately large because it's a feature of his body.

And while we're on the subject of singular v. plural...read through the posts here where anyone mentions DUSTBUNNY and they almost all mention it in the plural when they're actually talking about what you find under beds (and dressers). Has anyone found just one dust bunny? We know they aren't actual bunnies, right? They are little balls of dust/hair that exist sort of en masse. Even if you found just one ball, and you might even say that you found a singular dust bunny, you would find that humorous because they don't exist in the singular (read the above comments to see how we commonly refer to them). I also don't think OKRAS is a word either. You put okra in your gumbo, you might put broccoli in your casserole...but okra, like broccoli, is not made plural by adding an S.

I knew SANDIA because I've visited ABQ often enough to know that it is bordered by the Sandia Mountains.

My near natick was at SPELEOLOGY/FEY crossing. Fay is a word that would describe something "elf-like" and SPELaOLOGY is just as well, reasonable as the E. I actually guessed the E, but I'm not sure why.

CATSUP? Does anyone say catsup any more? I think Hunts used to call themselves a catsup, but even if we'd bought that brand, we'd still call it ketchup.

And finally, as for the Schrödinger DUSTBUNNY under the bed that may or may not exist depending how you believe [them] to be so, I would have like the plural to be immediately MONSTER. You know, under the bed. Just a glance at the puzzle, it doesn't look like that would have been a huge problem to re-work.

But, what do I know?

Any Sunday that I can do under 25 minutes is okay with me...kind of drinking Gaviscon Xtra Strength Cherry Flavored antacid. ANd if you've ever had to take it, you know what I mean. LPT: always get the mint flavored stuff...it's terrible, but not THAT terrible.

A Martin 10:12 AM  

Don't know why Rex doesn't think Pillow Talk is bed related. Is pillow talk what lovers do - and sometimes that might be in bed. Right?

Nancy 10:14 AM  

So the payoffs for me were the MONSTER and the DUST BUNNY under "the puzzle's central image." But I was perplexed by the image. "Funny -- that doesn't look like a rug," I said to myself. (I can be, visually speaking, a little slow.) Only after noticing the COVER and the PILLOW and the SHEETS and the BLANKET (love that clue/answer), did I say AHA, NANCY, THAT'S A BED! It kinda looks like one too. I also wondered why you would command your poor dog to SHAKE. I was thinking of either fear or the flu. I was a little slow there, too. My only solving problem was not remembering SCARPE; I had SHARPE there first. Guess I can't get Rex out of my mind.

A cute puzzle -- if too easy for a Sunday. Those who've been complaining about bad Sunday punning got a reprieve today.

Nancy 10:26 AM  

Oops. I now see it was SCARNE, not SCARpE. Which shows that I didn't know SANDIA, either. But let me swear to @paulsfo and @Tita -- I am alive, truly I am. And I challenge anyone to read the newspaper more thoroughly than I do. Ask anyone who knows me. But somehow I missed reading about SANDIA along the way. It's not as bad as not knowing Aleppo -- is it?

Andrea Ojeda 10:27 AM  

SANDÍA is Spanish for watermelon.
Seems like a much more appropriate clue (wait, you all knew that, right?) ;-)

Mohair Sam 10:37 AM  

Well that was fun. Actually better than we thought after reading LMS (DREAMY ending, nice catch). Played very easy for us except for a couple of naticky traps - the well-discussed SANDIA "N" (we got it) and ULE/ALETA "L" (we didn't). In hindsight I don't think SANDIA should be considered a natick, but I think SCARNE was clued a "classic" because it's only that to insiders.

The MONSTER/DUSTBUNNY pairing was delightful and oh so true. Which of us has not finished reading a story to the little one, slipped out of the room, and thought to ourselves "when did I last give this place a really thorough cleaning?" As the kids get older that under the bed stuff gets scary for the adults too.

Further nit picking Rex - In what universe is "Sack Time" never used for sleep? While we're at it - "ANDSOTOBED" is certainly the most famous diary entry ever and you can bet your hat, ass, and snow shovel that it's been very privately used by others. And it bothered Rex that stuff above the bed doesn't relate to stuff below the bed - the theme is "Sack Time", no above or below is specified. And absolutely prefer "IN E" to "R NE", please don't open that door.

Didn't care for LAXLY (How to fly out of SoCal?) or OKRAS. Tried TATE Modern, 'cause that's what it is, then tried to make the TATE Gallery fit.

@LMS - Yeah, filled in 8d and said to Lady M, "That is not a coincidence."

Fun Sunday Ned and George, thank you.

Teedmn 10:39 AM  

Hah, @Nancy, your comment about misreading the dog command made me remember my friends' border collie, an incredibly smart dog. They had trained Smoke, when she came out of the water, to stand about ten feet away from people. They would say, "Shake", and the dog would shake the water off and nobody else got wet, unlike the usual behavior for dogs. Do dogs get enjoyment from spraying everyone in reach?

Nancy 10:56 AM  

@Teedmn -- Wonderful anecdote about Smoke, the obviously very intelligent border collie. It's said that border collies are the smartest of all breeds. That's the breed of the dog that was trained to recognize over a hundred objects just by word in that wonderful PBS program about Incredibly Smart Animals.

Alysia 11:25 AM  

I think that Schrödinger DUSTBUNNY may be my new favorite thing in all the world.

NCA President 11:30 AM  

@Andrea Ojeda: ABQ is also close to the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Evidently all the mountains in the ABQ area are red.

@Nancy: I know poodle owners who would disagree with you...not the toy poodle owners...but the full-sized kind. I guess the true test is finding out how they'd vote in this election. My guess is that there are probably lots of dog breeds that are smarter than many humans if we used that as a baseline test.

Ellen S 11:33 AM  

I haven't made an exhaustive study, but in the first half of @Anoa Bob's montage, when Popeye eats his spinach, a bulge ripples down his arm (though his BICEPs) and settles in his forearm. But I didn't have any trouble filling in BICEP in the puzzle, so it conforms to my philosophy of, "If you can figure out what the constructor wanted, it's a fair answer." It's like taking tests in school.

So, one BICEP but two OKRAS. Ick. I don't even like one OKRA.

Gotta run - supposed to be over at the animal shelter doing laundry in 30 minutes and ain't dressed and haven't fed the dogs. But just one more thing: those things under the bed aren't real bunnies? I'm shattered.

Joseph Michael 11:35 AM  

Enjoyed the sense of humor that ran through the grid, from the MONSTER and DUST BUNNY under the bed to the signoff AND SO TO BED and the concluding DREAMY.

Puzzle was easy, but that sort of fit the light-hearted theme. Got hung up for a while at 39A where I had originally entered SPELUNKING. And got hammrred in the end by the SANDIA/INE cross where I guessed wrong.

After the first LGBT puzzle recently, was a little suprised to come upon FEY, which is often used as a slur. But I did enjoy looking it up and learning its other meanings.

All in all, a fun puzzle. Congrats, George and Ned. I hope you don't put too much stock in Rex's overly negative review.

Ellen S 11:37 AM  

Oh, one more. @Nancy: I think at this moment it's more important to know what/where Aleppo is than SANDIA. When I saw the clue I thought, ScANDIA, but then, no, that's an amusement park. Fun with nuclear weapons, yeah, that's the ticket. (Okay, okay, fun with the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons.)

If we never get to where SANDIA is making front page news, it will be fine with me.

Malsdemare 11:45 AM  

I really liked it. I got SANDIA easily. To follow up on @Andrea Ojedo, the Sandia mountains got their name because when the sun sets in the west, the mountains turn a perfect shade of watermelon. Incredibly gorgeous. I'm not as nitpicky (or perhaos, just not as onservant) as others here. My almost fail was at the ALETA/ULE cross; that L was pure guesswork. Loved the DUSTBUNNY, though in this house, they don't just come in plurals; they come in boxcar quantities. PASTICHE was awesome!

You can teach your dog to shake on command by saying the word, blowing gently on her nose, and giving her a treat when she complies. It's awfully useful when you are getting ready to climb out the shower where you've bathed your dog and you don't want to let the beast out dripping wet. Trust me; malamutes absorb their weight in water and it would take a week for our bathroom to dry out if they didn't help me out in the shower.

This one was fun and the blog was especially delightful today. @Z, thanks for the lovely reminder of Emma Lazarus' greeting to those seeking a new life.

Aketi 11:49 AM  

@Teedmn, Nancy, & NCA Prez, don't know what tests they use to determine Doggie IQ but I loved the alt respond to shake. My parents had a Pomeranian named Duke who learned his to SHAKE with his left paw for my mom and would spin around in circles for roll over. Took just a few doggie treats from me and he learned to SHAKE with his right paw for me and actually roll over. He persisted in using the left paw and spinning for my mom much to her annoyance.

mac 11:58 AM  

Nice Sunday puzzle, George! I actually did the whole thing, having trouble with the Scarne and Sandia crossing, but I happened to pick the right letter.

Very cute to have two theme answers above and below the bed.

QuasiMojo 12:07 PM  

Relying on Google constantly to prove your point is beginning to feel like a "tic," Rex. There is a vast universe of knowledge, nuance and usage out there that is not immediately accessible via the internet. Nor is it necessary to seek it out. "Sack Time" was pretty clear to me without having to parse it. As is true for all the bed clues here. I thought this was a straightforward theme with a cute image of a bed bonus in the grid. Although it would have been more realistic in my day to find a stash of Playboys under it.

GILL I. 12:11 PM  

I thought this was a delightful Sunday. Easy..yes, but still had the whimsy and humor I like. I understand @Rex's critique - that's his job, but I don't look too deep into the why's and what-not's. The SAWLOGS and MONSTER under the bed was good enough for me.
I always do that quizzical WHAT when I see Shrimp SCAMPI on a menu. SCAMPI means shrimp....Is that like jumbo shrinp?
We had a golden named Murphy. She would SIT up and SHAKE either her left or right paw. You had to tell her which paw and she always got it right...
TATE MUSEUM and BICEPT....I live for them
Good job Ned and George. No off to have some pork belly with our brunch. MEOW

Roo Monster 12:13 PM  

Hey All !
At least it wasn't a RooMONSTER under there! :-)
Ok puz, not the best I've done, but certainly not the worst. Was better than OFLs review... but that's his opinion, and my opinion was mine. Or somesuch.

Curious if Will changed Popeye clue. Was never a fan of that cartoon, too violent. That's the reason also don't like Three Stooges. All they do is beat the hell out of each other. Give me Darkwing Duck anyday! (Remember that one?)

The top themers had the theme word first, the bottom ones second. The Top Center West was tough. Last to fall, and 5 wrong letters there. Had BEERPUmp, imPORTER, ScAM, SPimEOLOGY, cAmpY. Did remember ARP from the other day though! And how is 32D BOO? Can someone explain?

Kind of iffy on the longer-acrosses-than-themers also. 'Specially twixt the above and below the bed themers. OKRAS (plural) bad, sorry @George.

MOR(e)ASSES
RooMonster
DarrinV

Joseph Welling 12:24 PM  

I agree with most everything OFL said (given his retraction of the "sack time" objection) except there's nothing wrong at all with SANDIA or SCARNE. These are two names that came as easily to me as any pop culture reference.

The first thing I filled in was BICEP, and I said to someone, "That's wrong in two different ways." (FWIW, "informal" is not the same as a commonly-made error.) That set the tone for the puzzle for me.

I was most bothered by the inconsistent theme.

Oh alsomy objection to the DUST BUNNY clue is different (or in addition to) Rex's. Thinking there are dust bunnies under the bed that need cleaning has no connection at all to being a parent. We childless people clean under the beds also.

old timer 12:24 PM  

I thought the puzzle was tiresome. Not fun at all. And the fill was in many places subpar. OKRAS, PREF, ULE, URI (as clued), WDS. I was going to complain about SFO before I realized that BART now runs to the airport. In my day, Daly City was the end of the line.

Interesting railfan fact: the BART line to the airport runs along the old SP main line, the one that existed before they built the faster route along the Bay shore. From Daly City the route ran on a big series of curves before cutting diagonally through the Mission District. If you look at an aerial photo of that part of SF you can see exactly where the tracks were by noticing the odd shape of many of the buildings.

My real complaint: The constructors were unable to stack three themers above and below the bed. The resulting TWOPOINTERS and ADDTOTHEMIX were disappointing to say the least.

No problem with the DUSTBUNNY though. A parent might well expect a child to clean his or her bedroom, and still suspect there will be dust bunnies under the bed.

Ellen 12:44 PM  

@RooMonster: I didn't get that BOO clue either till my spouse explained it. A raspberry is a sound you make when you disapprove of something; so is hollering "Boo!" at a sportsball event.

Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  

@oldtimer: What …? … U ain't ever scored a two-pointer, in bed? U need to add it to the mix, dude, in bed. Actually, about any phrase works, if U add "in bed" at the end. Sorta like them fortune cookie fortunes.

Congratz to @George (and @Ned) for scorin a cute SunPuz (in bed). One of my fave subjects/pasttimes: BED! [Friends in college: "Why do U sleep so darn much?" M&A in college: "Becuz my waking hours are filled with a disproportional amount of pain." But, I digress.] Like @RP, it played pretty eazy_E, for m&e.

Bullets:
* DUSTBUNNY. M&A first answer offering (dumb-bunnily) was: LOSTBUNNY. @muse: Nice inventory, under yer bed. I'll see all that, and raise U one DUSTRHINO.
* MONSTER. I'm with @RP, on luvin the snot out of this entry. Made the puz extra special. Puts the whole enchilada over the top and safely into the thUmbsUp zone, imo.
* BEERPULL. Learned somethin new about beer, here. Sounds more like some kinda contest, at first blush. BEERPULL in bed … see what I mean?
* SPELEOLOGY. Makes some sense. Knew the word SPELUNKING, so … ok.
* BICEP-Gate. Knew immediately what the clue was goin after, but agree that would hafta be one really saggy bicep(s). As I recalled, the saggy biceps would perk up and zoom up into his upper arms, after when he choked down the magic greens. No?
* PAREBACK in bed. Never.
* ASAWHOLE in bed. Weak, but some potential understandability. Certainly better than TATEMUSEUM in bed.
* IREADYOU in bed. Applies well to Uncle Scrooge comic books, anyhoo.
* SPORT IN bed. We have our winner! QED.

Thanx, @George and Ned. Fun puz. Primo Moo-cow-clue Misdirect, on ELK. In bed.

Masked & Anonymo10Us
"Puttin People To Sleep Since 2009"

Alan_S. 1:11 PM  

Is it me or has there been a lot of LSD and mescaline references in the NYT Sunday puzzles lately? Must be all of us 60's era flower children are doing crosswords now!

Alan_S. 1:30 PM  

Oh, and I forgot to mention "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite". That's a trip in itself!

Masked and Anonymous 1:36 PM  

p.s.
@RP: Extra-good Sack Time pic. Makes U wonder what Sal I was called. ("Beer Thirty Time"?)

Had this kinda sad feelin roll over m&e all of a sudden, realizin that @George and Ned
ain't got no SunPuz to solve, today. Bummer. Leaves a pretty big hole in the day, that
$1000 moneybucks plus cinnamon roll binge eatin can at most only partially fill.
Poor babies.

Perhaps the stuff below can help them, just a dash (in bed).

M&A Help Desk


ode to yer sparklin @RP blog review:
**gruntz**

Fred Romagnolo 2:35 PM  

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, I seem to recall that she was originally referred to as ALETA of the Windy Isles. This was a fun and enjoyable puzzle; congrats to Ned and the good professor. I recently had an MRI, something I hope I will never have to experience again; I felt like I was trapped in a jackhammer. I didn't know SCARNE or SANDIA, but western place names so often start with SAN that it seemed logical. @Oldtimer: as a kid I lived near the county hospital, and my gram lived at 25th and Mission so I always took those train tracks as a short cut. It's fenced off now. @Roomonster: making the sound of a raspberry was a much ruder thing to do than cry BOO.

Chaos344 2:45 PM  

As is usually the case, I'm in complete agreement with @jae. Rex was correct about the Popeye issue and the very likely possibility of a Natick for some solvers at the SCARNE/SANDIA cross. ALETA was crossword 101 for older solvers. I too, put the STINKEYE on the plural OKRAS and the singular BICEP, and LAXLY if just plain fugly!

Martín Abresch: I'm with you Martin. Although I've seen the political party/state clue used before, I sincerely hope that it does not become a widely accepted practice among constructors. It should only be used as a last resort.

@LMS: LMAO as usual. As @Mohair Sam so perceptively pointed out, many regular posters are well aware of the little "lovefest" you and Mr.Barany have going on. Just be thankful he didn't figure out a way to fit you into 64A with something like LORENMS, or put a chemistry clue at 70A. No telling what a search under your bed might have revealed? Now that would have been REALLY embarrassing!

@NCA President: Correct on all counts. As to the Popeye issue, it was too cute by half for a Sunday puzzle. Better to have used a simple anatomical clue if possible. One needs to think of spinach as Popeye's Viagra. It may have caused his incorrectly clued singular BICEP to become temporarily tumescent, but it is not the state that we are used to seeing his arm in most cels.

Also agree that the word FAY is more descriptive of elfin characteristics that the word FEY, and many thanks for not going anywhere else in regard to that word.

Larry Gilstrap 2:55 PM  

I'm not really a fan of "puzzle art," if that is what a capital I is lying on its side, but the MONSTER and the DUST BUNNIES underneath it were a fun touch. I'm not sure a basketball would fit under my bed, so the TWO POINTERS sandwiched in seemed odd. That's the thing with themed puzzles.

Mama Karma 3:19 PM  

Fun, easy puzzle. I knew Sandia, but not Scarne, so that hung me up for a bit, and had "Pajama Game " until crosses made it obvious. No complaints except "okras"which is just wrong. However, if you hate okra, try it diced into small rings and fried. Yum!

webwinger 3:32 PM  

Wanted to like this puzzle more than I did when solving, having first checked the authorship, but I am appreciating it more after reading today's unusually perceptive and entertaining comments from the blognoscenti. I too was much irked by the inaccurate Popeye clue, but enjoyed the piling up of reactions. Popeye was certainly an apt charicature of bygone standards of masculinity, alongside Fleischer's exemplar of the erstwhile feminine, Betty Boop. And whatever is going on between GB and LMS I hope it's a mutual source of happiness for two of my favorite contributors here.

Carola 3:51 PM  

I loved it. The most Sunday puzzle fun I've had in a long time. I felt it was constructed with such cleverness and a terrific sense of humor. @Loren, thanks for pointing out TEDDY and DREAMY.

MEOWED showed that the CAT'S UP.

Amie Devero 4:16 PM  

I messed up the entire Southeast Corner, because the Tate is not the Tate Museum -- so I just couldn't bring myself to put that in.. There is the Tate Modern, and the Tate Gallery. There is no Tate Museum.

Amie Devero 4:16 PM  

I messed up the entire Southeast Corner, because the Tate is not the Tate Museum -- so I just couldn't bring myself to put that in.. There is the Tate Modern, and the Tate Gallery. There is no Tate Museum.

puzzle hoarder 4:48 PM  

Late entry as I'm on duty and we had a couple of 9/11 ceremonies to attend. I did the puzzle last night at my side job. This puzzle really brought home how much I'm not a Sunday puzzle person. I don't like themes and this one was rather bald faced plain. That there was so much of it only made it worse. PASTICHE dropping off of LAPIS was one of the few bright spots. The occasional SCARNE or SPELEOLOGY came off as just randomly thrown in with the crossword glue. What difficulty they added only served to prolong the tedium.
The EDU clue is new and I have no idea what the relation is to _tainment. A clean grid after much puzzling but little satisfaction.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

Maybe someone has said this already, but when Popeyes eats spinach, I think little biceps pop up. Anyone else remember this?

Annette 6:17 PM  

Am I the only parent who immediately thought there'd be pornography under the bed? I suspect George is too much of a gentleman...

Though I groaned at some clues, overall I found it cute. Love that SAWLOGS is on the bed, MONSTER and DUSTBUNNY under.

Annette

George Barany 6:38 PM  

Hi everyone, thanks for your many kind and insightful comments about today's puzzle--one that I had the privilege of co-constructing with the ever-creative and resourceful @Ned White.

I'm beginning to think it was karma to see @Rex tweeting last night about The Big Sleep, then Hammacher Schlemmer cluttering my e-mail in-box with an ad for their Sleep Enhancing Sheet Set, and finally the first Sunday of the NFL season meaning QBs were subjected to their own special form of "Sack Time." Some of this was truly eye-popping and exhausting to keep up with, so I dealt with it all by taking a catnap.

I don't think that I'm giving away any state secrets by noting that the published product results from the ideas and suggestions of numerous individuals, and it becomes unproductive to deconvolute what came from whom. However, I am grateful that @Will Shortz over-ruled at least one of our suggested titles, i.e., "Time To Retire," and in that spirit, will spend the rest of the day with preparing for this week's chemistry lectures at the University of Minnesota.

One more thing, yesterday we saw fMRI, and I mentioned the family connection (my Dad, my daughter). Today, we see MRI, and yes, I can speak from personal experience as to the claustrophobia this technique induces (no such problems with XRAYS).

NCA President 7:19 PM  

@chaos+numbers: whatever do you mean? ;)

Pnf408 7:29 PM  

The clue for TEDDY was highly annoying. If BICEP is described as "informal" then surely TEDDY does. It was a nickname.

IMO all National Labs are fair game. And Sandia is one of the better known.

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

@annette There is "porn under the bed" for George, bondage porn at that. 3 answers in a row: "And so to bed", "tie" "her".

Michael 9:50 PM  

I knew both Scarne and Sandia so this crossing was far from a Natick for me. (Incidentally, I drove through Natick earlier today...)

Michael Campbell 10:03 PM  

Smirked at the "acid" clue when I finally got it. Knowing Mr. Barany's chemistry background I was looking for something else. I liked this puzzle. Got alot of it right off but took a while to crack open some areas. Lots of fun misdirects. I really had a lot of fun with the pan/vivace/apace cross. That was a great clue for pan and I just didnt no vivace!

Z 10:30 PM  

Several assertions that Popeye has big BICEPs but not a single link to an image to support the contention. And yet @AnoaBob posted some pretty clear evidence that it is not the BICEP that is big. Until one of you comes up with a link to an image proving that Popeye's BICEP was enlarged at least once (no little bubble moving down to his forearms) you're consigned to the "who needs evidence" room of wrongness.

As for BICEP, sure, Latin, blah blah blah. But the puzzle is in English and BICEP was back formed 50+ years ago.

@malsdamere - You're welcome. Apparently even putting it in stone doesn't prevent people from forgetting what we are about.

@paulsfo - That is text book natick: "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." Proper Noun? Check. 75% can't reasonably be expected to know it? Check. Crossing of that proper noun that isn't a very common name. Check. I've been to Mt SANDIA, SANDIA National Laboratories authored one of the most famous censored reports on public education. So a gimme here, but ask John Q Public to list famous national laboratories and you might get Bell Labs. Not much beyond that, though.

Elaine2 12:37 AM  

In general, I was ok with the puzzle -- did know they got Popeye's muscle wrong....

But the thing that annoyed me most was the "misdirect" on "foal:horse as calf:xxx" It was not a "misdirect", it was an unfair clue. What was there to even suggest any animal other than a cow? I would have thought that a better clue might have been "foal:zebra as calf:xxx" which at least suggests that it was time to think about an answer like elk, gnu, or yak.


I figured out the error quickly, but still thought it wasn't good.

Michelle Turner 2:52 AM  

I was a little suspicious of the foal:horse as calf:xxx clue, because if the answer was cow the clue should have been foal:mare as calf:xxx.

Gregory Schmidt 6:43 AM  

Just happened to know both SCARNE (I play bridge) and SANDIA (I've worked in New Mexico). But yes, total Natick unless you somehow had previous knowledge. Also, I don't think I've seen ONER in about 20 years. Hope it's another 20 till the next time.

Brutus ...er Bluto 7:37 AM  

Hey Z: Popeye

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

@Prof. Barany --

"Spend the rest of the day preparing for this week's Chemistry lectures at the University of Minnesota."

Gee, that's impressive. You're a university Professor? ,!!???

As a senior University professor for many years, I guess it either must be hard remembering last year's material, or that Chemistry has changed a lot over the past 12 months. Sheesh, gimme a break! US University professors are among the most overpaid and underworked species in the world! What days do, lecture two auditoriums thrice a week, with TAs doing all the other teaching, proctoring, grading, and tutoring. Sheesh!

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Anonymous said:

"When Popeye eats spinach, his bicep (usually they focus on just one) bulges. "


If my friend who has outrageously long hair eats shellfish, her cheeks swell up dramatically. Everyone who knows her understands the swelling is a transient response and would not say her cheeks are a "prominent feature"--especially given that her outrageously long hair is her most distinctive feature.

Just one is a "biceps." The author tried to sneak this commonly made error in by saying "informally."

Amelia 8:40 AM  

You are both wrong, Rex and George. The Tate is the Tate. If you want to be precise, you can call them Tate Britain or Tate Modern (or Tate Liverpool and I forget the 4th.) They are NOT called museums in England, they are called galleries, but the Tate is not referred to as a gallery or museum in its NAME. I thought the puzzle was lovely. I knew you would have it in for George. You did. And I knew you would namedrop Pepys.

Peter Strauss 8:32 PM  

The plural of "okra" is "okra".
no such word as "okras".
As for Sandia, 'twas a cinch, since I used to work there (the Livermore site).

Anonymous 1:55 AM  

I thought "Sack Time" was a most appropriate title--this puzzle put me to sleep.

Anonymous 10:43 PM  

This was the worst Sunday Puzzle I have ever done. No creativity or fun at all. BORING! So disappointed!

spacecraft 1:12 PM  

Always interesting to see one of our regular bloggers get published. This effort was easy enough not to make me sleepy, but there were problems. Chief among them: how many OKRAS can there be?

No, I wasn't expecting a DUSTBUNNY either. I was looking for a pile of Playboys. The guys sacrificed too much to get parallel clues there. I had one writeover: IhEArYOU. Also agree that TATE is a gallery, not a MUSEUM. Well, OK, it's a MUSEUM too, going by definition--but it's KNOWN as a gallery. A few fill glitches are inevitable (rmk INE, e.g.), but ASAWHOLE pretty clean. DOD is Julia Roberts as TESS, of Ocean's Eleven. As Matt Damon said: "Best part of my day." Par.

rain forest 2:46 PM  

I feel like defending this puzzle because (a) George, and (b) despite the SANDIA/SCARNE cross, it was a pretty good, fairly easy, unsloggy Sunday. Sure, I noticed that BICEP requires an 'S' (big deal. I'm sure that most people would actually say BICEP when referring to one (although certainly not one on either of my arms). I also was pretty sure that it should have been TATE Gallery, or maybe just the TATE. I've never seen it, and maybe the Brits might understand what you mean if you ask how to find the TATE MUSEUM.

I didn't understand the discussion about R-NE vs. IN E. Anyone care to explain? @Z?

Other than that, lots of theme material pertaining to sack time (a pretty-well established phrase up here), a visual, 4 themers in the vicinity of the visual, and not a heck-of-a-lot of -ESE.

Anyway, I liked it.

Burma Shave 2:48 PM  

PAREBACK MORASSES

A little PILLOWTALK and a SLEEPOVER ANDSOTOBED as she cheats,
the BRIDE CALLED HER best man, and ASONE they CAMEDOWNINSHEETS.

--- ALETA SCAMPI

AnonymousPVX 3:06 PM  

I thought this a nice bit of fun. I didn't have the reaction to Popeye, his bicep(s) do get huge, my parents told me to get rid of the dust bunnies under the bed without looking, and the cave study clue was tough but I got it.

Sandia/Scarne was a bit of a natick, although I new Sandia.

AnonymousPVX 3:07 PM  

I "knew" Sandia. Geez.

Z 3:22 PM  

R-NE = Republican from Nebraska.

Diana,LIW 3:59 PM  

The Midwest did me in and I should NOT have allowed that. As I was walking to my computer to find my woes, I was thinking "well, I know what a spelunker is." So why didn't I put the SPE in before the LUNKER I had? Just tew caw shus.

Perfectly fine Sunday morning fare. Mr. W hit the sack in his man cave yesterday, "watching" football. Got up at one am and came to bed, and then couldn't sleep. Maybe he was thinking about MONSTERs.

I was a safety in grade school, and we were given tickets to a Saturday movie. And for the next few years the Blob was under my bed. I even suggested I'd like a CO2 fire extinguisher for my room, as that was the only solution to its menacing blobbiness.

Favorite clue - the one for BOO.

I once suggested to my Chicago friend that I loved the art museum. "It's the Art Institute," she pointed out. Saving me from the error of my ways. There's a group of day care kids who walk around our neighborhood holding onto a rope. "Kids on a rope," is how we refer to them. Always reminds me of the Art Institute scene in Ferris Bueller.

And so, to the gym.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, and BICEPs workouts

leftcoastTAM 5:02 PM  

My bias here is that Sundays' puzzles are inherently slogs because of their mega size.

In this case, found the theme a bit cutesy and simple (not necessarily a bad thing) and of some use in finishing the trek through it. Didn't come across any good aha moments, however.

So now ma and pa are the OLDS? Sorry to learn that.

Was glad to learn how to spell SPELEOLOGY, though.

SCARNE/SANDIA cross was another lesson in crosswordese and may come in handy some time, maybe.

Why persist in doing these things? Because they're an addiction.





leftcoastTAM 7:26 PM  

Reading through many of the comments, I'm struck by all the triviality, frivolousness, fluff, and repetition, particularly among the realtimers who make up the great majority.

The current non-moderating, openness of the blog apparently encourages this. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing (in fact, I think the openness and interaction are positives), but it certainly makes reading through many comments a waste of time.

I know, I know--there's no rule saying I have to read through them all, or any of them for that matter. Personally, I'm going to be much more selective in selecting commenters and comments that I want to spend any time on.

Not that this particular comment is worth anyone else's time on it at all. Just wanted to put it out there, whether in the void or not.

Diana,LIW 8:06 PM  

@Lefty - I agree - how many times does one need to read about Popeye's arms? (Tho today's comic strip, Baby Blues, had a Popeye arm reference!) Lotsa times I begin reading a sentence and then say, "been there, done with that." I think it also happens 'cause posters haven't read the previous posts.

Of course, that's not a BLANKETSTATEMENT.

Diana,LIW

rondo 9:00 PM  

Not much here to ADDTOTHEMIX, that N in the SANDIA/SCARNE cross was the last. Kinda heavy on the 3 letter answers to get TOBED in the middle

1960s yeah babies CYD Charisse and Sophia LOREN win top spot today, which is where I would want them on a SLEEPOVER. Can you even have TWOPOINTERS and LOREN in the same puz???

No great shakes, but I’ll give a fellow Minnesotan props for not constructing a rebus. Decent puz as ISEEIT.

kitshef 6:51 PM  

Genuinely surprised that on a blog concerned with games, SCARNE is a WoE to so many.

Puzzle felt like a struggle - could never get on one of those rolls where you just write as fast as you can read. Yet finished within two minutes of Sunday Best, thanks to also having no long pauses.

BICEP has been discussed to death already, and it is indeed terrible, but OKRAS and OLDS are worse.

DNF at PREm/SmO. Was thinking choice=premium and Figured SMO was some unknown thing in San Francisco.

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