Hoopster observing Ramadan / Ankle-exposing pants / Baked with breadcrumbs cheese / Narrow arm of sea / Dangerous backyard projectile / Pluto flyby org

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Constructor: Jim Holland and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Adding On" — you add "-ING" on to the ends of one of the words in a familiar phrase, yielding wackiness:

Theme answers:
  • FASTING FORWARD (29A: Hoopster observing Ramadan?)
  • LUCKY STREAKING (46A: Gangster Luciano performing a risqué prank?)
  • BUM STEERING (68A: Hobo at the wheel?)
  • STOCKING MARKET (88A: Where to buy certain Christmas decorations?)
  • LIGHT SWITCHING (105A: Mild form of corporal punishment?)
  • SQUARE ROOTING (15D: Cheering done in a plaza?)
  • GOLDING DIGGER (57D: Big fan of the "Lord of the Flies" author?)
Word of the Day: CYGNET (55A: Young swan) —
noun: cygnet; plural noun: cygnets
  1. a young swan. (google)
• • •

Oh well. I was hoping for a much nicer puzzle on this, my blog's 10-year anniversary. But you get what you get, and I get an add-ING puzzle, somehow. Perhaps because I was terrible to animals in a past life, I don't know. And I thought add-a-*letter* puzzles were stale. This add-ING thing, yeesh. I mean, it yields an interesting answer or two (see FASTING FORWARD and the amusingly kinky LIGHT SWITCHING), but the rest is tepid cornball.  SQUARE ROOTING is just [Cheering done in a plaza?]? That is boring af. At least make the SQUARE a nerd or something. Something! With ultra-basic, throwback-basic themes like this, you gotta bring the wacky. Tepid wacky is unbearable wacky. [Hobo at the wheel?] for BUM STEERING? Try [Driving with your ass?]. See? 100% better. Possibly 200%. Even the title is half-hearted and bland. "Adding ... On." Which is really just add-ing. You add "ing." Title may as well be "Adding." But it's "Adding On." Because that's a phrase. Of sorts. Why not something ridiculous, like, I don't know. "Tacking Liberties"? 'Cause you're taking liberties with the original answers as well as tacking "ing" onto words in those answers. Or make your theme answers wackier. CHARLIE BROWNING! HYDE PARKING! LOWING ON THE TOTEM POLE! Come on! Some. Thing. Something!

I emphasize passion and commitment because even (especially?) when I have not enjoyed a puzzle, I have tried, day in, day out, for 10 *&$^&ing years, to bring not just cogent analysis, but genuine, heartfelt, occasionally absurdly emotional engagement with the damned crossword (fittingly, Sia's "Cheap Thrills" is blaring as I type this). I'm currently watching my sportswriter friend Adesina Koiki live-tweet the BYU/WVU football game like his life depended on it—like it was the most important, most amazing thing happening on planet earth right now. He's ALLCAPS into it. And I know that I'm not ALLCAPS into the puzzle every day. But lord knows I try to bring something of my passion for puzzles, something of my personal, idiosyncratic insight, something of my gosh-darn soul to every write-up, in however small a way. I am so grateful for your readership and for the crossword community and for the many genuinely brilliant, warm, and funny people I've met and become friends with as a result of this blog. I know sometimes it seems like the puzzle is trying to suck my soul out of me through my, uh, let's say, eye sockets. But I still care about crosswords. I care about good crosswords. And more than that, I enjoy the company of people who share this care with me. Thank you a gazillion or a bajillion, your choice. 10 years!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. a little history for you. Here's the very first comment I ever got on my blog:

And the second:

Moral: Don't be a grandpamike. Or do. Maybe you'll inspire someone to adopt the same "*$&% you" spirit grandpamike inspired in me.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George NYC 12:15 AM  

I still remember, many years ago, when you warmly clued me in on the rebus game. I had no clue. I've been reading daily ever since. Thanks for the effort!

SactoMatt 12:31 AM  

Long time follower, first time commenter. My grandpamike traditional side wishes happy tinth (sic) anniversary. My other side thanks you for an enjoying daily ritual. Keep up the insights

Diego Borrego 12:31 AM  

Thanks for sharing your puzzle insights. Your efforts are appreciated on this tablet.

Mark 12:34 AM  

Happy anniversary. It's a forgettable puzzle but a memorable blog today

Randy Picker 12:38 AM  

First time commenter.

Ten years of blogging on anything is pretty remarkable. I had not done crossword puzzles for maybe three decades--last in college often during Econ class--and started doing the NYT puzzle earlier this year. I have found two key changes in coming back to the puzzle. The iPad beats paper and then the crossword blogs turn a solitary activity into a group activity of connected souls. Very nice.

So good for you. You get a certain amount of grief on the blog but be sure to see the real accomplishment here as well.

brainman53 12:38 AM  

Gee! I agree 100% with OFL today. I hope he won't expect this every ten years.

Anokha 12:47 AM  

Happy ten years, Rex! My husband and I read your blog religiously after doing the crossword together, and we always enjoy your commentary. You introduced us to both the Pumpkin Dance and the Epic Sax guy, for which we are eternally grateful.

Mike in Mountain View 1:28 AM  

Rex/Michael, thanks. I haven't been with you for all 10 years, but I have been with you for well over half of them. I appreciate your passion and day-after-day dedication. Congratulations, and please keep it coming.

Lojman 1:37 AM  

Happy anniversary, Rex! Thanks for your dedication and hard work. -Lojman

Anonymous 1:50 AM  

Randy Picker @12:38 am hit the nail on the head: this site, more than any other, transforms what was part of a daily, individual activity/addiction into something much more interesting and worthwhile. I'd never thought of crosswords as particularly social endeavors before discovering this site, but I stand corrected. Agree with OFL's opinions or not, if you're reading this, you likely enjoy this blog and this crossword institution. I, for one, am grateful it is here for us all and look forward to my daily Vitamin-Rex.

jae 1:53 AM  

Easy for me too and I liked it about as much as @Rex did.

Thanks again for doing this. It's been a fascinating 9 1/2 years for me and I continue to look forward to this blog every day.

grandpamike 1:53 AM  

I still think this blog is a bad idea.

Martín Abresch 2:11 AM  

I thought that today's puzzle was easy and boring, just like Rex said.*

Now that that's out of the way....

Thank you so much for this blog, Rex. Your passion for crosswords does come through, and it's what keeps me coming back. I appreciate your opinions, even when I don't agree with them. I have learned a lot about crosswords from your keen observations and your insights. I love that you have high standards.

Hear, hear! to @Randy Picker. This blog turns a solitary activity into a social activity. How wonderful is that?!

A daily blog takes immense dedication. Thank you for keeping at it, and congratulations on reaching 10 years!

*Okay, I just can't leave it at that. I just have to whine about NTSB. I should probably know that acronym, but I don't. It gets crossed with GSN. Perhaps I should know that acronym as well, but I don't have cable, and so I don't know it, and so I had zero clue at the NTSB/GSN crossing. But the cherry on the top was the stupid trick clue for MISSENT (Erroneously hit "reply all" instead of "reply," say). The verb "hit" can be present or past tense, giving us either MISSENT or MISSEND. The difference is just one letter, but that one letter is the one that crosses NTSB because of course it does. Just .... just ... argh!

John Child 2:57 AM  

I had mixed emotions to see the "easy" rating. I burned through this with every guess right and probably a record time for me. It would be nice if I had acquired a new crossword puzzle superpower and could do no wrong. Sadly it was just an easy puzzle. Still ASSAY it was a lot of fun.

And to Our Fair Leader, a thousand salaams for what you do. We whine and kvetch and criticize, but this cruciverbal corner of the world is a better place because of your efforts.

Anonymous 3:07 AM  

Boring for us too, but we did learn that LOCH was not different from FIRTH or FJORD as an "arm of the sea". Thought clue for THERAPY was clever.

My wife and I do the puzzle each day then enjoy the blog and read the comments. Why so much vitriol from the respondents?

If anyone has done the PUNS AND ANAGRAMS - why is EMEND the answer to 43A "Boss, bitter or brace"?

I keep thinking about yesterday's "Pennsylvania RR" which last existed sometime in the 70s - the thrill as a kid watching those huge green GG1 electric engines emerging from the tunnel at Union City and streaking across the Jersey meadows.

Moly Shu 3:08 AM  

Thx @Rex

Martín Abresch 3:31 AM  

@Anonymous 3:07am - Each of the three words provides an END to EM: emboss, embitter, embrace.

George Barany 4:26 AM  

@Rex, let me join the chorus of congratulations for everything you've done and continue to do, on this, the atomic number 50 anniversary of your blog. Your activities herein, directly as well as through the community you have fostered, has brought new insights and passions about the cruciverbal arts, and thereby enriched lives and created friendships. Mazel tov!

Franciscus van Munster 5:36 AM  

Congratulations and thank you. Reading your blog after I finish the puzzle (on my own or with Google's help) is part of my daily routine. Reading your blog is my little reward to myself every day.
Here's to the next ten years!

F.O.G. 5:50 AM  

Congrats on your tenure!

I enjoy your write-ups even when I disagree with them. And I also enjoy the comments from your followers, who present different ANGLES on our common Sunday devotion.

'mericans in Paris 6:08 AM  

Hmmm: "grandpaMIKE"; c/o Michael Sharp. Could have been a clever way to start the conversation going, non?

Regardless: congratulations, @Rex, on 10 years of pithy commentary!

As for the puzzle, fie on the International New York Times! While the rest of you were breezing through an easy puzzle, Mrs. 'mericans and I were having to play the role of the OFs (old farts, for those who aren't familiar with this abbreviation) that we are, using a magnifying glass and asking each other "Eh, what's that number? Is that clue "entrail" or "enthral" (i.e., British spelling of "enthrall")?

Why?, because (to quote @Rex), the *&$^& INYT pasted the puzzle as a *&$^& .gif file, at 10 ppi resolution, or something. The grid, its numbers, and the clues all looked like a blurry eye-test chart. So, we're taking credit for this puzzle as a "super difficult", merely for persevering and completing it.

Have to prepare lunch now. Not a day for FASTING FORWARD.

Anonymous 6:09 AM  

Thank you, @Rex, for your "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" commitment!

Wes Davidson 6:44 AM  

You're the cat's pajamas! You honor us with your commitment.

RAD2626 6:58 AM  

Ten years is a long time to do anything. Congratulations, and thank you. You truly set the bar for commentary on xword puzzles just as the puzzle you comment on has supposedly set the bar for so many years. The puzzle has today much more competition for the top spot than you do which speaks to your abilities. And because you are each number one in your field, you each attract passionate commentary and criticism when readers feel you each fall short of that lofty standard. All of which is a good thing for us solvers. I hope you continue for another ten years.

I liked the puzzle. Corny theme but fill was really clean. It was easy but so be it.

Charles Rosenzweig 7:20 AM  

I look forward to midnight when you post your blog so I can check my answers and compare my experience to yours. Thanks for all your efforts! Grandpamike is hysterical. If it's a bad idea, don't read it! Did he ever hear of "freedom of speech "?

Muscato 7:37 AM  

Congratulations on your tenth - and bravi to all of us for what were likely at least Thursdsay if not Wednesday times for today's speed-through Sunday.

I was raised in a house where my mother did the crossword (and the second puzzle, which is beyond my limited Ken) every Sunday before church. It was a ritual not to leave the house until they were finished, and while we sometimes missed the processional, we generally made it). The afternoon was filled with calls to her puzzle friends to kvetch and laugh; this blog has taken the place of those calls to those now-long-gone small town ladies. Many thanks!

JCL 7:38 AM  


mooretep 7:51 AM  

We still have our crossword puzzle dictionaries from the '80s.
I used to call my aunt and we would finish the puzzles together over the phone. (that had a cord attached to it)

While we sometimes chafe at your obligatory negativity, your site is our goto for further insights (incites?) and revelations.

Trying to guess your word of the day and what you will complain about is a very meta activity.

Thank you for your bitch(ing)

chefbea 7:59 AM  

Congrats Rex on 10 wonderful years of blogging!!! I have made many friends here...not to mention sharing many recipes here,

Oh, the puzzle - finished it last night...havent finished a Sunday puzzle in a while. Was very easy. of course loved augratin!!

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

Happy Anniversary and thank you for making the puzzle experience more rewarding in many ways. You are at times a mentor, cheerleader, sounding board, and, yes, irritant but always fun. My wife and I have enjoyed your comments for almost the whole ten years.

Loren Muse Smith 8:09 AM  

I'm with @John Child and @RAD2626 – we're the only ones who likes this theme so far? Ah me. Granted, I haven't been solving as long as some, but the add-a-*letter* tricks always float my boat. They become little riddles, and I love sitting there trying to figure out where the added part goes and how it works with the clue. When I finally see it, I relish the aha moment.
I hesitate to say that I'm a cheap date because it feels like I'm accusing the puzzle of being subpar, something icky that I like anyway. Not so. This puzzle was neither "easy" nor "boring" for me. Yeah, yeah, alert the presses.

It's hard to resist trying to come up with more themers. How 'bout" The Sheriff" – MANNING HANDLE? Or my avatar.

@Martin A – I had a dnf because of "send." I was never gonna see NTSB and hence GSN. Heck, even with SENT, I wouldn't have known GSN.

Loved the clue for TOWELS 95D. "Dry" becomes transitive. Nice.

I also got a kick out of SKIN DEEP crossing LUCKY STREAKING. (Crossing ASS. And TEASE.)

On hitting that "reply all" – shouldn't the computer give you a are you sure you mean to 'reply all'? In the same spirit as are you sure you mean to x-out without saving? Think of all the jobs and friendships that could be saved. You Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, MSN email tsars – you reading this?

Signet – cignet – CYGNET.

Rex – I'll add my congratulations. This place has changed my life – I consider some of the posters here among my best friends now. Funny, that. These days I find myself wondering if you're just going to stop the blog, stop solving the NYT puzzle because, like so many others here, I wonder why you even bother. I get that your comments, reactions… are heart felt and sincere. All the more reason for me to worry that you're going to hang it up. I don't think that your vitriol is personal, reserved for constructors you don't like. That's just silly.

I imagine that we commenters are actually a very small part of the whole of Rex Parker. All the more reason to thank you for providing a place for our little group to come together and run our mouths.

tb 8:10 AM  

Thanks for your dedication and hard work Rex/Michael. Your passion for crosswords has made me look at them in a completely different light.

There have been a lot of Grandpamikes recently telling you to "be nice" or even stop blogging entirely. Please give them a big ol' fu and keep on blogging.

@George Barany: thank you for your very nice posts the last couple of days.

richarder 8:16 AM  

Happy Anniversary.

r.alphbunker 8:17 AM  

I thought the title of the puzzle was particularly clever. When I first read it I thought that ON was going to be added to phrases to create wackiness. And it could also be viewed as a description of what we are doing when we comment on this blog, we are adding our thoughts about the puzzle onto Rex's. He has been a catalyst for me in a way that other crossword puzzle blogs haven't.

I merged al dente with au gratin to get ALGRATIN which clogged up the NE at the end. And I went with OLE as the standard three letter Spanish word which also didn't help. Those were my problems. But I think that UGA is the puzzle's problem. Details are here.

ArtO 8:34 AM  

@rex many thanks for the diligence you have displayed in coming to my rescue so many times. This site is great fun given the erudition and cleverness of many bloggers. Congratulations on your tenth anniversary which, according to Google is either Tin or Aluminum. Certainly no tin ear or shiny wrapping for this blog.

George 8:46 AM  

Funny how someone can be a nice grandpa but overall a complete a$$hole. I hope you are doing this next year so I can send you $20 and get a nice postcard back.

JC66 8:50 AM  


Thank you so much for your blog.

Hartley70 8:57 AM  

Happy 10th Anniversary, Rex! Although this may feel to you like a bad marriage some days, you and the NYT xword belong together in Rexville. Please stay for 10 more, even if just for the sake of the kids! I had pretty much lost interest in puzzles when I stumbled upon your site. Not only did you revive my enthusiasm, but you created a warm, funny and at times challenging community of solvers. You are Sam of the "Cheers" bar to us, with a much more gritty take on the puzzle of the day than most of us can see. It's your view that gets the conversation moving beyond "Nice one!" I appreciate what you must do to get your blog up every day and I hope you can remember how much pleasure we get by visiting.

Today was a Sunday when I think most of us will agree with you on the simplicity of the theme and the easy rating. There's your anniversary present. Thanks, Rexie!

Kim Scudera 9:01 AM  

Couple of potential Naticks in this otherwise quick and enjoyable (sorry, Rex!) puzzle: TONELOC/GONER was TOmELOC/GOmER FOR ME (GOmER is a term I remember from medical school, and I really need to work on my puzzrappers), and NTSB/GSN will throw people, I'm sure.

Happy anniversary, Rex!

Cathy 9:19 AM  

First time commenter here. I really appreciate the dedication to craft over, my gosh, 10 years! This is a witty, smart, informative and sometimes infuriariting blog with which to connect with the world. Bravo! Congratulations!

Cathy 9:19 AM  


Sarah 9:25 AM  

I've been here for seven of your ten years, only on Sundays. I've gone through all sorts of hard times in my life in those years, but my Sunday morning ritual of doing the puzzle and then coming here has been a steadfast source of relaxation and enjoyment, even at times when nothing else felt good. I know that you have probably sometimes felt under-appreciated, so I just wanted to leave this comment (my first) to make sure you know that this decade-long project is bigger than it might seem. I have deep gratitude for you and this community.

Z 9:26 AM  

As I worked out the little puzzles of the theme answers I couldn't help but think, "Well, she ain't called the Grey Lady for nothing." Figuring out the themes is a nice little exercise, but, thanks to Rex, I expect more. I want a little devilry, I want a little boundary pushing, Come on Holland, Chen, and Shortz - Do better than good. We know you can.

I have only one objection to this puzzle, PEAs in Shepherds' Pie. If, as Ben Franklin probably never said, Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, PEAs are proof she has a sense of humor. Carrots, corn, heck, even broccoli. Just don't put those little slimy green pellets in your Pie.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

You are my husband'sand my go-to when we are at a crossword impasse. You have gotten us out of many a immovable situation...AND you are damn fun to read even when we don't need your help getting out of the weeds. Congratulation on your 10 year anniversary! :)

QuasiMojo 9:33 AM  

I must be going soft. I enjoyed this puzzle. Haha. Except I sorta naticked at NTSB and GSN. Never heard of either since I don't have a car and I don't watch or own a TV. But that's exactly what is wrong with people like GrandPaMike who criticized you that first day, Rex. They live in their own world and can't see that there is a vast, NEW world out there that they need to wake up to. I for one love your blog and wouldn't bother to do the NYT puzzle if I didn't have this place to come to afterward. The official Times puzzle blog is too mamby-pamby for my taste most of the time. I like the grit, sizzle and fearlessness of this one, and the exactitude of it! I learn something every day even when I think I'm smarter than the rest of you (including Rex). Most of all I relish the chance to talk about words with other like-minded cruciverbalists. When I was a child I wrote a letter to Thomas H. Middleton, questioning something in an acrostic. He wrote back by sending a postcard with his answer in a crossword format. Getting that was a thrill that I still remember to this day. And that's how I feel about "Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle." Happy Anniversary!

Passing Shot 9:37 AM  

Congratulations on 10 years, OFL! I just started doing the puzzle in earnest about a year ago, and your blog has been entertaining, educational, and sometimes even thought-provoking. Thanks for making these "trivial mental gymnastics" (as my SO disdains them) all the more enjoyable.

The Bard 9:45 AM  

For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thyself dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.

Teedmn 9:50 AM  

Solved today online using a random clue method, which was fun though I cheated a couple of times, couldn't resist looking at the crossing clues to see if I was right. Fave themers were LIGHT SWITCHING and SQUARE ROOTING. I'm not much for going hungry so if I were observing Ramadan, I would be hitting the FASTING FORWARD button constantly.

A problem spot for me was the NTSB crossing the GSN. I had no idea about either (I have since Googled the Natl. Transportation Safety Board and have heard of it) so I cheated on that one, only to find I had an error at 118A, thinking Scooby's female friend was tELMA, leaving 106D DVR choice about Michael Jackson's brother (or would I rather watch a DVR about the Marshal? Choices, choices...)

Nice Sunday ING addition, JH and JC.

Mohair Sam 10:02 AM  

@Rex - Congrats. Great work today and forever. Keep 'em flying.

Chaos344 10:05 AM  

@Rex: Happy Anniversary! Many kudos and thanks for running a great blog where freedom of speech is still respected. Today is my late father's birthday, so it has special significance for me as well. Hope you blog till you're 92, which was my Dad's age when he passed on.

Liz P 10:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz P 10:07 AM  

Happy Anniversary Rex. My favorite thing about Sunday morning is finishing the puzzle and immediately reading your blog to see if we agree, which we almost always do. Today's entry was one of my favorites so far. Keep up the good work!

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Smooth and painless, if not terribly exciting. My favorites of the theme answers were SQUARE ROOTING and FASTING FORWARD. Mostly easy, except for a bit of trouble in the area where I'd never heard of SWAGBAGS, didn't know ANTON and couldn't come up with the answer to the very clever clue for SANTA. I was so consumed with curiosity about the answer to 93D, that I raced through that section. First, nothing filled in down there. Then THE ----. The what, I wondered? Ah, yes, THERAPY! What a great clue and a great answer. But mostly a pretty tame puzzle, I thought.

Nancy 10:16 AM  

Just read your comment, Rex. Happy anniversary! And I'm just wondering who on the face of the earth can be ALL CAPS [as you say] into every puzzle every day of the week for 10 years? I commend you for even trying to do such an improbable thing.

Kenneth Wurman 10:20 AM  

B+ puzzle. A+ to Rex for the last 10 years. One comment.. I never heard the word game Ghost, but I enjoy playing "G H O S T" basketball games with my friends when I was growing up.

Kenneth Wurman 10:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 10:22 AM  

RE: Rex's 10th Anniversary - the only bad thing about it is I didn't find this site until year #8 so I feel like I missed a lot. The community really does make the puzzle more fun. I never noticed all the wordplay, the grids, the dreck, nor did I pay attention to who was constructing these things until I started reading Rex. All of the above adds so much more enjoyment to the puzzle.

And the friends I've made here are the cake, the icing and the a la mode!

As I assay today's puzzle further, I have to ask how many others had mUy before QUE at 22A? Is there any other person here who thinks of Miles Vorkosigan's father when they see ARAL? (I didn't think so.) Was I the only one who had to wait for the first letter of 79D because I thought lIMBUS (as in "limn") might be correct for a nanosecond or two? I'm now hungry for a KITCAR bar, and I'm wondering if the GAME LAWS prohibit LIGHT SWITCHING of the greedy squirrels I am constantly chasing off my bird feeders. (I went with prison wardens on 80D who were enforcing the too-short curfews).

Keep it up, Rex, we appreciate your daily efforts.

Maruchka 10:32 AM  

I'm old enough to enjoy cleverly clunky clueing. No AHAs this time, alas. I'd give it a C+ if @Rex was still grading..

It was nice to have NTSB in lieu of the ubiquitous OSHA, but didn't it show up just recently?

Love @Muscato's story. My grandmother was a crossword lover and avid reader. She had to leave school after 8th grade, and always encouraged her children and children's children to have as much formal education as they wanted. Tusind tak, Bedstemor.

Happy 10th, Mr. Parker! Thanks for your passion and persistence in sustaining a very fun blog.

OISK 10:35 AM  

Congratulations and thank you to Rex Parker.

Fast, easy puzzle, that I DNF because of something I complain about a lot. Acronyms should not cross acronyms. A TV network I never have watched called GSN with an agency, NTSB. I guessed the "S" for "safety." BUT, I had NDSB. ( D for driving?) And that made perfect sense because the answer to "erroneously hit" - hit being one of those rare verb forms that could be present or past... I opted for the present tense, and had "Missend." Tell me I wasn't the only one....

Brendan Norwood 10:35 AM  

Congratulations Rex! Like many here, I'm a longtime reader, first time commenter. It's always nice to come to your blog to debrief after a puzzle, and commiserate over boring themes and shitty fill.

Speaking of which, anybody else sick of OOM[-pah] and ONT [Neighbor of N.Y./Mich.]? That's two Sundays in a row!

Brendan Norwood 10:36 AM  

Way to stick to your guns, gpm!

JFe 10:40 AM  

@Rex. Happy Anniversary! Looking toward to many more years of Rex.

Alysia 10:41 AM  

Thank you for all you do. Like most others who've commented, this site is my go-to upon completing the crossword every morning (dangling modifiers be damned; it's early here). Coffee still in hand, I head over here to smile at both your remarks and the replies.

I've got enormous admiration for what you do and how long you've been doing it. There have times I've nearly lost my running streak because I can barely find time to finish the puzzle. You do not only that, but devote time to writing about it, providing us with insights, hints, tips, explaining your process, etc...and always with just enough pizzazz to make it WORTH reading at 5 am.

About a month ago I decided to attempt my first construction. There be been a couple of times I've wanted to shift things, replace my 1A with something less fantastic. I stop myself every time, thinking, "No. Rex would HATE beginning like that."

So, thank you. Again. For everything.

Alysia 10:43 AM  

Also: almost failed today's puzzle. Had CLING instead of CLANG and therefore HILLO. It really almost works either way, which I think is kind of crappy.

NCA President 10:44 AM  

I tend to be an introverted, critical misanthrope who wishes the world would see things more like me, i.e., critical and misanthrope-like. I don't expect to agree with everyone, though if we disagree and all you have are lame arguments (chaos knows who he is), then I just tune you out as white noise.

I have come to imagine that Rex and I are kindred spirits in that regard. He is never ever swayed by the commenters who regularly call him out for being critical, cynical, and occasionally misanthrope-like. I also imagine that if Rex and I ever had a beer together, we'd probably disagree in much the same way and stand our ground much the same way...but I would certainly respect the Hades out of his opinion.

I lift my coffee mug to you Rex. You dare say things that others only dream of saying. You dare to hope for the best even when all you get is the same old sh*t every day. So while you're cynical, you're still an eternal optimist. I like that...it's how I approach music every single day. The moments of true greatness are few and far between, and when you look closely (read: critically) at the broad expanse of schlock that parades around as art, you get to see the greatness in ways that others don't when it finally emerges from the slime of mediocrity.

You'll get lots of pushback for that...mostly because people are too afraid to criticize the work for fear of somehow being taken to criticize the creator of the work. For example, I've never once felt like you've ever taken a personal shot at WS...though you criticize his work incessantly. (FWIW so long as he is in the position of editing the self proclaimed "Best Puzzle in the Whole Darned World," he is subjecting himself to scrutiny.)

Here's to 10 more years of all of us sifting through the schlock to find the gems that make the search worthwhile.

BTW, today was not one of those gems.

Nancy 10:50 AM  

@OISK (10:35)-- You're not completely alone, in that I also had MISSENd before changing to MISSENT. It's not so much that I knew NTSB -- though it did ring a bell, once I wrote it in. It's that I've seen the past or present "hit" misdirection before -- so I was on the lookout for it. And I realized that a T for "Transportation" would be a better bet than a D. (I must say, however, I never once thought of D as in "Driving").

Roo Monster 10:57 AM  

Hey All !
Rex, Wow! 10 years! I've only been here a couple. Found this blog by looking for answers once. Was a "Syndie" at first, but made the leap to subscriber of the NYTXW specifically to join the crowd on here! Might have been the worst thing that happened to this blog... :-)

Liked this puz, fairly easy except for the SW corner. Had a couple of wrong-uns messing me up for a while. Had GOLDIedigGing at first, trying to figure out why it was GOLDIe and not just GOLD! Also had saga for EPIC until close to the end. The clue for EPIC seems off to the ole brain. And couldn't get off the Warden clue thinking a prison warden. Finally finangled it all put, only to discover NIMBiS! A one letter DNF. ARGH!

Rex, the puz title I believe is a play on Add On, meaning Add-ing, Addig On, if that makes sense. It sounded better in my head! At first I was looking for an extra "ON" in the themers. You know, Adding ON.

Clue on EBOOK sounded wonky to me. I get it now, but still off. Surprised at EROTIC clued as Hot. NYT getting a little risque!

Funny bit on GAS, parsed it as multiple GA's! Fun=GA's, no? Looked back over, *headslap*. :-)

Running in the nude without getting arrested? LUCKY STREAKING

Wink, wink, NUDGE, NUDGE

Malsdemare 11:00 AM  

Thanks, Rex, for the wonderful, heartfelt writeup today. I promise to never be a garndpamike.

I think I agree with Rex's assessment of today's puzzle though it was a little harder for me than for him. I haven't read comments yet, so I'll do that now and if I have anything to add to or complain about the discussion, return. Ta ta!

Andrew Heinegg 11:06 AM  

Many thanks to OFL for the 10 years of running the show; I highly doubt Mr. Shortz was aware or could care about such an occasion in deciding what to put out there today but, c'est la vie. I often agree with Mr. Sharp and I often disagree with him but, the most important thing to note, IMHOP, is his passion. You might think his comments are too cynical or overly critical but, you cannot question his caring. And, without that caring, you can be sure that this blog would be sorely lacking in the interesting contributions that so many of you other bloggers make because passion generates creativity.

On his anniversary, let me say that today was the kinder and gentler Rex. This puzzle was like filling out a long job application as putting in the answers was about the same level of difficulty and interest as doing the job application. The puns, if you want give them that level of dignity, were nowhere near awful enough to create even the slightest spark of humor.

This brings up another point. The co-constructor, Mr. Chen, has a long-standing reputation in the crossword community of being a really nice guy and a knowledgeable constructor. But, I have just never been able to get on his wavelength and today's effort did not improve that situation. As always, there is no arguing with taste.

Happy blog anniversary Sir Rex.

r.alphbunker 11:06 AM  

This was the first post of yours that I could find:

My first post was on (I was posting as salo the robot in Vonnegut's "Sirens of Titan")

Curiously they both were on Feb 16. I see that in 2007 RP was still mingling with the commenters sort of like what God did in the Old Testament.

Hungry Mother 11:10 AM  

Thanks for being here. As soon as I finish the NYT puzzle I come over to the blog to read your commentary and the prose comments. I usually don't have any particular opinions about a given puzzle (with one glaring exception a couple of months ago), but I always learn something from the puzzle and from your blog. I was a first time monetary supporter this year and I will continue in the future, hoping to always visit you after a solve. This particular puzzle was an easy Sunday, which for me is never easy.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

This one was ultra-easy. I solved it by filling in the words, NW to SE, once-thru, the way I NEVER do and people like Rex do all the time. Harder would have been nice, but this way I get my morning back, which is nice too. The theme was clever in a riddle-ish way, so I liked it as well as the title, which contained an up-to-date reference, something usually missing from these puzzles. NTSB is a gimme if you travel. Rex, thanks for doing your blog. Commenters, thanks for your comments. Trolls, thanks for your absence. Now let's all put down our puzzles, get out in the world, and learn stuff, so we can solve more puzzles. Happy Sunday, all!

Z 11:25 AM  

@Teedmn - No, but I do know who Cordelia Naismith is....

Steve M 11:34 AM  

Keep it cranky!

Robert 11:45 AM  

As a long time reader and very infrequent poster, I wanted to add my congratulations to Rex for his blog. I hope Rex will appreciate it if I compare him to Bill James. Bill James took baseball, something I had watched for decades, and gave me a new way to see it. Rex has done the same for crosswords. I think I have even gotten better at solving, no small feat at my age—I’m getting worse at everything else--thanks to reading Rex and the other posters on this blog. Thank you. Keep grouchy. While I’m writing, thanks also to Will Shortz. Whatever reservations Rex and others may have about some puzzles, the NYT puzzle is much more entertaining than it was 25 years ago, before Shortz took over, and that’s worth acknowledging, too.

Joseph Michael 11:49 AM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex, and thank you for all your years of tireless crossword crusading. Sorry you couldn't have had a Patrick Berry today to celebrate in style.

Puzzle was easy and mildly amusing, though it did have a lot of little junk spread throughout. NTSB crossing GSN and NIMBUS was for me the low point. Did like FASTING FORWARD and GOLDING DIGGER. All in all, a pleasant, though not exciting, start to the day

Marcie Watts 11:52 AM  

@Rex Iove your blog! Thank you for making solving NYT so interesting. Love all your followers too. Well maybe not all...

Malsdemare 11:54 AM  

Arrggh.! Grampamike!

I knew NTSB, though lord knows why, caught the whole MISSENT misdirection so survived that corner. I do not know rappers and have no plans to learn them . ViolA threw me for a bit before I got VELMA, and hand up for mUy before QUE. I really liked the clue for TOWELS.

And yes, this blog transforms a solitary, nerdy activity into a social, enriching experience. Thanks for your perception @Randy Picker. @Z, I agree that PEAS are proof the goddess has a sense of humor.

Now to make Amish Cinnamon. This should be interesting; I can't remember when I did anything worthwhile in the kitchen beyond make a smoothie.

George Barany 11:57 AM  

It's still before noon EDT, and there are already 75 comments up. I look forward to studying them later in the day, but first I thought we need to mark today's auspicious occasion with a custom "midi" puzzle (11 rows x 12 columns, late-week difficulty) created this morning: http://www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=28165&id2=907 Copy the link into your browser, or see if this link gets you there directly. If you want it in another format, please contact me off-Rex.

Have fun!

Malsdemare 11:59 AM  

Amish cinnamon buns. You'd think an editor wouldn't make all these errors; you'd be wrong. Now I am really done.

Bill L. 11:59 AM  

@Rex – I’ve been a daily solver and reader of your blog for about four years. Thank you for such a great forum for us puzzle geeks.

Your anniversary prompted me to go to your archive for a look at the beginning. It’s funny that with some commenters griping about NTSB today that your first post contained this:

19D: President's foreign policy grp. (NSC)
I did not know this one, and as of this second ... OK, I can guess that it means "National Security Council," but who can tell all the damned governmental abbreviations and acronyms apart? The only one I could come up with was "NSA" (because it's in the news a lot these days, what with all the governmental spying, wiretapping, and whatnot), which is what I had written until "24A: Emergency PC key" turned out to be "Esc," thus changning the "A" in in "NSA" to a "C" --> "NSC" - Ta da!

Suggestion to solvers: memorize This. Ha! ;)

Today’s puzzle: not much to say except I admire the desperation (Hi M&A) of the clue for HALLO (Uncommon spelling for a common greeting).

fiddleneck 12:06 PM  

I too am a very infrequent contributor, but a very grateful reader. There are many of you who/m I look for every day. I know I've been reading the blog for ten years, as I moved ten years ago, and I read you in my old place. Thanks.

Numinous 12:06 PM  

Wow, ten years! Other than eating etc, I'm not sure I'm doing any of the same things I was doing ten years ago. I admire your commitment @Rex and seriously appreciate your efforts. Without them, I'd be at a loss for how to spend my mornings. So, THANK YOU!

National Transportation Safety Board and Game Show Network were both gimmies. I had absolutely no problem with those two acronyms crossing each other. It's all about your frame of reference. Compared to some, I LUCKY STREAKed here. GSN was a hospital TV staple for my wife during her two month recovery from her amputation and helped pass the time without being too annoying. I KERPLOPped UGA right in but later erased it only to see it re-emerge as I figured out the downs. GAME LAWS came instantly to mind but I held off until crosses confirmed it (that sort of thing usually surprises me). I dug GOLDING DIGGER probably the most. I believe I read Lord of the Flies in high school. As a reasonably good Boy Scout the behavior of the kids on the island disturbed me. Then, again, they weren't Boy Scouts and had no frame of reference. "So it goes!"

I usually enjoy puzzles that Jef Chen has contributed to, this was no different. I guess I'm small-minded and easily amused. Once I figured out the thing with ING I was enjoying figuring out how to add it. I guess SQUARE ROOTING could be cheers at a teenager academic quizz show. On the other hand, ROOTING has an entirely different meaning in Australian slang.

I'd have to give this one an easy B+. I managed it in 2/3rds my normal Sunday time.

Bill L. 12:07 PM  

Oops! Apparently I don't know how to post a proper link. I was trying to link to the FEMA FAAT List. Google away if interested in more acronyms than you you'd ever want to see.

GILL I. 12:13 PM  

I'm not sure I'd still be doing the NYT puzzles if it weren't for @Rex and his blog. Michael IS Sharp and he writes well. He's caustic as hell at times; he can be mean spirited and down right nasty and I wouldn't have it any other way... He's a bit like what you feel after ordering a shot of Glenmorangie. Damn, that's so good, stings like a bee going down, makes my eyes water and, by gum, I'm going to enjoy every little sip.
I think I started reading @Rex after about his second anniversary. He was a bit more mellow then but still told it like it is. I also remember that I started to contribute to the blog around the same time as @Z and @Tita. It became a blog family with a ton of interesting, funny, smart people. Hey, I learned what bloviate means.
I almost dropped out when moderation took hold. The thread of conversation just died but I still came here because I was hooked. Hey, I had made blog friends and didn't want to lose touch.
@jae...Aren't you the oldest of the posters? Was it @Wayne who started the coinage "Tuesday is like the red-headed stepdaughter"?
Bring on the new.
The puzzle didn't cause me any angst. I'm like Loren...I tickle easily. BUM STEERING definitely needs an arse though. Had the hardest time with 64A because I always thought she was a BANDITO. I wonder where MAN EATER came from....the Amazons?
@NCA Pres....Good post.
Mil gracias @Rex...te saludo.

bv1955 12:16 PM  

Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary!
I look forward to your comments and appreciate the added dimension to my daily NYT crossword over the years!!

Erin Milligan-Milburn 12:18 PM  

Happy Blogiversary! [hug]

Masked and Anonymous 12:19 PM  

@RP: I believe I missed out on the first coupla blogyears or so, but, hey -- Mucho Thanx for all ten, anyhoo. Any dude that writes about any single one thing for all that time must really enjoy that thing, and want to goose it along to be even better. Standin O, for yer efforts. M&A's humble offering gift has been left, at the foot.

Also, M&A hereby presents to Mr. Rex Parker the very first Honorary I Fink U Freaky Award, includin all the benefits therein implied. (The check is in the mail.) Sincere congratz.

On the sunshiny side of the puz, today's objecte de blogeur has yer 11 U's. And 7 ING's. fave weeject: UGA.

Masked & Anonymo11Us

Rex Parkers runt. (Chock-full of snark potential.)

webwinger 12:30 PM  

I usually try to refrain from commenting when others have posted more eloquently as I would have, but have to pile on as a well wisher today. Like many others I always come here immediately after finishing (or not) the puzzle, and am seldom disappointed.

One thing I haven't read so far--equally awesome as RP's solving speed is his ability to whip out clever and literate (and illustrated!) comments seemingly in the time it takes me to get into or out of bed. Whatever your secret, Rex, I sincerely hope age does not wither nor custom (nor trolls) stale your willingness to continue!

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Congrats! Undoubtedly this is a decade-long labor of love (at times as sadistic as it is masochistic), and always coming from the heart (though at times sounding more as if it comes from parts further south). Keep it up! And down a notch or two on some days. Your kingdom's silent majority appreciates you ♡ (on the days we don't run screaming from your insanity)

Leapfinger 12:44 PM  

How fun to see @Granpamike still hanging on, and nursing his hobgoblin!

Nice work, @Rex, on turning decadarian. You provide an appreciated public service.

Wish I could now find some pics of young swans in circle formation (and that I knew how to produce avatars at will). This would be a good time to have a CYGNET Ring, no?

Have some overlap with @Marvin A's italicized closing. I did know NTSB, as I'm a border-line junkie for catastrophes in the news, but am also in the pop'n segment that doesn't have cable. Have seen enough of it to know HSN is Home Shopping Network ( I think that's right, isn't it?), but then what's GSN? Garage-sale Shopping Network?

Had only one write-over: didn't know what is this 'dunzo', so I drew on past experience and made that a GOfER. Toyed with sexCELL vs EGGCELL, which was nice near (if not quite in) GOMAD. Fun to have SQUARE_ROOTING echo a days-old theme, and ARG the day after "Talk like a pirate" Day. (Although I didn't.) The best, however, was slapping a French accent onto INTIME. After yesterday's STEP-INS lingerie, y'know.

Overall, enough good fill (like NIMBUS) and good clues (as for TEASET) to keep me happy. Plus we'll get to evaluate the DON TASK tomorrow evening.

My first themer came from sliding SE from the NW: I particularly liked BUM_STEERING cuz it reminded me of the one time I was mooned just North of Jupiter FL. I see a pale moon rising. Yup. Thought they all worked well, well enough to suck me in a little...

In no particular order:
Conjecture about reduced roadways? STRing THEORY
NY Mets game all sold out? NO ROOM AT THE INNing
German individual turns to Oriental divination? I CHing
Childhood game develops a powerful thirst? HOPing SCOTCH
What the horsefly did to the talking mule? STing FRANCIS

Late September, and I'm THOREAUly tired of the summer heat. Hark the Herald ANGLES Sing? ICY?? BRing IT ON!!

Thank you Jim Holland, Jeff Chen, Will Shortz, and thank you Michael Sharp.

Lawrie 12:52 PM  

Thank you Rex for (1) taking the time from your busy schedule (teaching, kids, etc.) every single day to do this column, (2) always being willing to give your honest opinion, even though it might not be a popular one, (3) giving me a serious standard against which I can evaluate my own improving (hopefully) solving skills, and, perhaps most importantly, (4) creating a very interesting and eclectic crossword community.

Cassieopia 12:58 PM  

Happy 10th, pretty amazing to keep a blog going for 10 years (has blogging even been around for that long?) I've only been diligent about crosswords for the past 2 years, and this is THE place to be for a newcomer like me - I have learned a ton from Rex and from the awesome community that posts here. Because of this blog, I've become much more fanatical about crossword puzzles than is seemly. Thank you to all, and especially OFL!

As for the puzzle, I'm a fan of puns so liked it, had an average time to complete, and liked the theme "adding in"/"add ing in". The solutions that made me smile were TOWELS and SANTA but I got stuck in the NW corner with the "line on a photo" and even after getting CREDIT it wasn't until just this very second, writing this post, that I understood the cluing. Still wondering why Atlantic captains are "EDS" - any help?

@leapfinger: NOROOMATTHEINNing - ha ha ha!

Congrats again, Rex!

Numinous 1:07 PM  

Last night I had a dream:
I was sitting in a circle in an Asharm with six or seven other 1960s types. Across from me was a blonde English girl with thick glasses and prominant buck teeth. She leaned forward and said, "Hey, George, THRUM your thitar for us, pleath." As he did, we all drifted off into a hash heesh haze.

Andy 1:08 PM  

Hey Rex, I think you're a curmudgeon most of the time and sorely lacking in even the most basic knowledge of Broadway musicals, which is painful to read. But I have learned a lot from you, so thanks for a decade of blogging and best wishes for at least 10 more! PS - are you a curmudgeon in real life too? :)

Andy 1:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 1:11 PM  

@Z, I re-read Shards of Honor/Barrayar back to back then Komarr/A Civil Campaign about once a year. Too bad we can't all be civilized Betans (though they still fall prey to political errors).

alton rockthrow 1:13 PM  

10 years. Totally bosso! But it's even better than that. This site http://www.fatdux.com/blog/2009/09/22/calculating-the-length-of-an-internet-year/ that an Internet year is equal to 4.7 regular years. So Rex has been doing this for 47 Internet years.

Beadola 1:14 PM  

Just want to add my two cents to tell you I love your blog. It has enhanced my enjoyment of crosswords many times over. It even gave me the impetus to go to the ACPT this past year. Many thanks, and I think I'll send you a few bucks now.

old timer 1:15 PM  

Thanks, OFL. And I agree with you today. The puzzle was unoriginal, unamusing, and a slog.

Mohair Sam 1:21 PM  

How safe has flying become? I am flat out shocked at how many here did not know the NTSB - those initials dominate the news for days, if not weeks, after every major air disaster. BTW - The NTSB plays the bad guy in Tom Hanks latest movie "Sully", maybe his second best flick ever ("Bachelor Party" stands alone as number one).

@Z - The Ben Franklin God/beer quote is a t-shirt slogan (you can buy one in the Franklin Museum here in Philly) taken from a letter of Ben's in which he thanked the God he may or may not have believe in for the rain which grew the grapes that made the wine he much preferred to beer. He never said it.

@Rex - Rereading your post - Tony Dungy would love the way you approach this blog, not just "doing your best", but working it with passion and total commitment. The result is responses like @Sarah (9:25). - Congrats on ten again.

smalltowndoc 1:23 PM  

Happy anniversary @Rex!
I've been reading your blog daily for about two years.
Sometimes I think you come across as a total ass, but mostly you're right on with your reviews and, frankly, you're starting to grow on me (a nasty visual, when you think about it).

Anyway, a question for you: What stands out, to you, as the best NYT crossword in the ten years you've been blogging?

Rex Parker 1:37 PM  

Who are you sweethearts and what have you done with my commenters?


Vega 1:38 PM  

Oh wow 10 years. This blog still rocks.

Lewis 1:55 PM  

Congratulations, Rex, on the anniversary. I come here for your wit, insight, and humor, and because you are passionate about this, I generally react to your pieces with passion. Your frustration at puzzles that are lacking -- and you are frustrated at the puzzles most of the time -- is balanced by the pure oozing joy that flows out of you when a puzzle that clears your bar appears. You give us commenters things to think and talk about, and the Rex community is a haven in my life. So thank you greatly!

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

First time commenting here to say Thank You and Congratulations!! Dedicated follower on Sunday's, though I get and do the puzzle on Saturday, when the Arts Section gets delivered to Cambridge, MA.
Comments and commenters are great, also. Nice to know this community!!
One comment on today's favorite word - a cygnet is a young female swan. A young male swan is a cob.
Here's to another 10!! ��

Alan_S. 1:59 PM  

Congratulations and thanks to Rex. But also, thanks to all the fine folks who congregate at this blog every day (or in my case, every Sunday). It almost feels as though I'm a member of an elite community.

This week? I agree with Rex. Too easy, no punch. Next week? I probably won't agree with him at all, and that's just the way it is here at the "Rex Parker does the NYT crossword" blog.

puzzle hoarder 2:07 PM  

The choice of CYGNET as the word of the day kind of says it all for this puzzle. Jeff Chen is something of a word meister so I was expecting much more. GSN and WIE were the only new entries to me. It's interesting to see how many people are unfamiliar with NTSB. I checked xwordinfo.com and the entries only go back to 2007 so maybe it's newer and more obscure than I think. A note about the themers. 29A is the only one where if you switch the position of the ING it forms a perfectly normal word; FASTFORWARDING. That this is just a fluke not a feature emphasizes the over all blah nature of the puzzle.
Congratulations on you're tenth anniversary. It goes by fast doesn't it? I've been commenting for about a year now. That and the reading are a bigger time suck than the puzzles but just as addictive.

LairdEaston 2:07 PM  

@Rex, happy first decade.

Catherine 2:09 PM  

Hey Rex, September 25, 2006, when you were giving birth to your blog, I was giving brith to my son Elias. He's turned ten today! He has green hair, a new scooter, and life is good! congrats on a decade of blogging.

YLM 2:10 PM  

Happy Anniversary, Rex! Been solving the Times puzzle since 1974. Found your blog about 5 years ago and soon discovered the wonderful community of commenters who follow you. Until today, I was content to spectate ("lurk" has negative connotations that I disavow) and wasn't even sure I could master the technology of posting a comment. Today I decided to give it a try to acknowledge the awesomeness of your 10-year anniversary.

Keeping this thing going for 10 years is an amazing accomplishment, especially considering the constraints you impose on yourself: daily solutions posted the previous night with cogent analysis, highlights, links to related cultural items and crossword sources, and other enriching embellishments. You manage this in sickness and in health, while holding down a challenging full-time job, raising a daughter and a dog, and pursuing who-knows-what other interests. The pressure would cause anyone to have a cranky day occasionally. And whether I agree with your tirades or not (it goes both ways), I see that they reflect the passion that has inspired this blog for 10 years. Rave on, Rex, if the mood hits you!

A word about the comments. They provide the perfect counterbalance to the blog. You lucked out big time in attracting this group of followers! Without knowing anything about the individual commenters beyond their profiles and what they volunteer in their comments, it's clear that they are a mixed bag of clever, verbally aware, witty, and--for want of a better word--civilized word hobbyists who enjoy sharing their views around the common device of this blog. It's a daily delight to discover their different perspectives and personalities. As others have said, I've learned a lot about the crossword craft from your blog, but when I start to tire of the technical minutiae, it is the comments community that keeps me coming back.

Whew! That's a lot for a first comment. Now let's see if I can post it. Apologies in advance for any screw-ups.

Masked and Anonymous 2:17 PM  


Where Are They Now Scenarios Dept.
Today's honoree: @grandpamike:

* Retired from blogging, after his groundbreakin sorta-posthumous invention of the "Mike Drop" yoga position.
* Recent Yard Defense Hall of Fame inductee, for drivin a record 5002 neighbor kids off his lawn.
* Current governor of Maine
* Followin deterioratin mental health, forgot blogname and has henceforth gone by "anonymous".
* Known for his schizo personality, also immediately posted as "lhoffman12", then later as "D. Trump".
* Founder of "Bad Idea" T-shirt outfitters.
* Keeled over, after someone kiddingly posted a "day-before-publication" NYTPuz blog.
* Got into runt puzzles.
* Was "outed" as not being a grandpa, by WikiLeaks. Moved to Venezuela and eventually lost virginity to a local peccary.
* Mysteriously disappeared, right after aborted attempt by Rex's wife to talk Rex out of all this blogging foolishness.

M&A Help Desk

Leon 2:23 PM  

Congrats ! Thank you for improving my solving skills

RAD2626 2:45 PM  

Well how much fun was all of his. Lots or reader/first time posters. Terrific treat to read them all.

Small suggestion to Rex: claim an anniversary once a month. Worked much more effectively than moderating.

Joe Bleaux 2:55 PM  

The "end," I suspect, tripped you up. It's the FRONT end (EMboss, EMbitter, EMbrace).

evil doug 3:13 PM  
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Joe Bleaux 3:18 PM  

Rex, if plaudits can become tiring, you're surely fatigued by now. Sorry, but here's another: I'm in awe of what you do and how superbly you do it. You and your commenters are a vital part of my day. Happy anniversary, and thank you so VERY much.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 3:29 PM  

Congrats on 10 years and 10 million thanks, Rex....I read your blog daily, comment almost never (I'm a late morning solver on pacific time, so just like today, everything's been said before I get here, and said better than I ever could. ). I play a little with blogging as a hobby ... Old lady photo/travel, only one or two posts weekly....Nothing at all to compare with your talent nor to what you contribute ..... but it does give me a tiny insight into the huge commitment it takes to get a post up every single day of your life (with one Monday a month off) no matter what! You are appreciated.

not 3:31 PM  

For what it's worth, I stumbled upon your blog many, many years ago when I was just an enthusiastic newbie to crosswords and dared only do Mondays and Tuesdays. You provided me with tips, insights, laughs and once (I will never forget this, ever) even with actual crosswords from the ACPT for me to try my hand on more demanding, fun puzzles. You encouraged me to keep trying to do Thursdays, even if I couldn't finish, because that would lead me to Fridays and maybe even Saturday!. I couldn't believe you then, but here I am now, ten years after I discovered that I could solve puzzles in a language other than my mother one, being able to actually finish (though sometimes cheating) the Friday puzzle and sometimes even Saturday. Honestly, I cannot thank you enough for all you've done for me, particularly, and clearly for the rest of this community that happily comes to you every day. Sure, your tone has been getting much more whiny and less humorous throughout the years, but who can blame you, really. I still think you should get a break of some sort until you can enjoy doing this fully again, but who am I to tell you how to solve your puzzles and blog your process? To me, you will always, even when I disagree, be the real source for all things crosswords. To me, you will always remain The King of Crossworld.

Thank you.

Andrea Ojeda 3:35 PM  

For what it's worth, I stumbled upon your blog many, many years ago when I was just an enthusiastic newbie to crosswords and dared only do Mondays and Tuesdays. You provided me with tips, insights, laughs and once (I will never forget this, ever) even with actual crosswords from the ACPT for me to try my hand on more demanding, fun puzzles. You encouraged me to keep trying to do Thursdays, even if I couldn't finish, because that would lead me to Fridays and maybe even Saturday!. I couldn't believe you then, but here I am now, ten years after I discovered that I could solve puzzles in a language other than my mother one, being able to actually finish (though sometimes cheating) the Friday puzzle and sometimes even Saturday. Honestly, I cannot thank you enough for all you've done for me, particularly, and clearly for the rest of this community that happily comes to you every day. Sure, your tone has been getting much more whiny and less humorous throughout the years, but who can blame you, really. I still think you should get a break of some sort until you can enjoy doing this fully again, but who am I to tell you how to solve your puzzles and blog your process? To me, you will always, even when I disagree, be the real source for all things crosswords. To me, you will always remain The King of Crossworld.

jae 3:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 3:43 PM  

@ralph - I remember starting to comment sometime in March 2007, but I was doing the syndicated puzzle so my first comments would have shown up 6 weeks earlier.

@GILL l. - You're close on the red haired step child quote, it was Wade.

It was this blog that made me realize I might be able to do this without looking stuff up. Up until then I was quite content with Google and my crossword dictionary.

evil doug 3:52 PM  

In 2008, I was just "Doug". Then those other Doug's--wimps!--didn't want to be confused with the "evil" one, so I adopted the distinction.

You didn't much want to deal with me either, but you hung in there.

I doubt anyone has left, come back, left, returned, so on, as much as I have. But after 10 years you might have finally got it right. No more stupid letter grades, no more ridiculous post delays, no more censoring me.

So maybe I'll hang in there. For now....

Way to go, Michael,


evil doug 3:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:56 PM  

Thank you Martin Abresch. EMbarrassment!

Dick Swart 4:22 PM  

Congratulations , Rex! Ten years of a blog on any subject, run and written by one person is quite an accomplishment.

And you have done it with unquestioned heart, soul, and insights of whatever nature. Whether complimentary, meta, caustic, sarcastic, exasperated, or deconstructing, the comments are authentically you and your educated and informed opinions.

Keep it up!

Annette 4:52 PM  

Most of my employees are young enough to be my children. They find it hilarious that their boss knits, plays steel drum, and reads @Rex religiously. So eclectic, they say. But they've now taken to trying the NYT puz from time to time, and they happily attempt some indie puzzles I think will catch their fancy. One of them now discusses the NYT puz with his father every day; it's only a matter of time before they start commenting here, and my training of them will be done!

Thank you. A 10-year blog is a bitch.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Congrats on 10 terrific years. Doing crosswords wouldn't be the same without you!

Kimberly 5:57 PM  

Thank you, Rex. You always manage to keep the crossword from being boring. No matter how trite a puzzle, I know I have your snark and insight to look forward to. And when the puzzles are great, when I read your commentary I feel like I got to share the moment with someone.

Adore you.

Rex Parker 5:57 PM  

I'm truly stunned and moved by all this. Thank you.


dm3000 6:15 PM  

Happy anniversary. Love the blog, but the sad fact is that only a small number of the puzzles in NYT are even medium-challenging, much less challenging, iYHO, and I agree. I really have to stop doing the easy stuff and spend more time online with the good stuff. Lazy, I guess.

Russell 6:31 PM  

Happy 10th to one of the best things on the internest. Thanks for what you do! It's been one of my favorite nerd-brags when my SO has guest-blogged here.

readerlabalso 6:41 PM  

Thank you, Rex, for this blog and the smart, funny community you've built around it. You all make me laugh every week.

Unknown 6:49 PM  

Love the blog. Was thrilled when I found it several years ago. And...loved the puzzle today. Not near an expert yet, and only needed to look up four clues. Closest I've come to completion so far!

daveyhead 6:54 PM  

What (mostly) everyone else said. Snarky, wicked, informative, often hilarious and always always interesting. I even usually read the write-ups when I've finished the puzzle clean with no questions.

Hope you can keep it up another, oh, 90 years or so. Thanks.

Dave Murray

Dan 7:20 PM  

Aww yay! Congratulations and *&$^ you, buddy!

Amy Simonson 7:22 PM  

Happy anniversary!! Now go buy yourself something made of tin/aluminum or a diamond, if you're more of a modern guy.

Andrew Heinegg 7:32 PM  

Many thanks to OFL for the 10 years of running the show; I highly doubt Mr. Shortz was aware or could care about such an occasion in deciding what to put out there today but, c'est la vie. I often agree with Mr. Sharp and I often disagree with him but, the most important thing to note, IMHOP, is his passion. You might think his comments are too cynical or overly critical but, you cannot question his caring. And, without that caring, you can be sure that this blog would be sorely lacking in the interesting contributions that so many of you other bloggers make because passion generates creativity.

On his anniversary, let me say that today was the kinder and gentler Rex. This puzzle was like filling out a long job application as putting in the answers was about the same level of difficulty and interest as doing the job application. The puns, if you want give them that level of dignity, were nowhere near awful enough to create even the slightest spark of humor.

This brings up another point. The co-constructor, Mr. Chen, has a long-standing reputation in the crossword community of being a really nice guy and a knowledgeable constructor. But, I have just never been able to get on his wavelength and today's effort did not improve that situation. As always, there is no arguing with taste.

Happy blog anniversary Sir Rex.

Neville 8:20 PM  

A very happy tenth anniversary to the big guy in charge. You've helped make me a better solver and constructor (fat lot of effort that took), and hopefully a better person, too. Thanks for everything you've done for us over the past ten years, Rex.

Signed, Neville, Prince of CrossWorld

Diana,LIW 8:27 PM  

A little birdie (hi @teed) told me to fly the deLorean to FutureLand, where an anniversary party is going on. Finally was able to park the deL.

Michael Sharp rules (like a king) in Crossword FutureLand!

This blog has doubled the fun of crosswords for so many fans. We've all learned about construction's fantasies and foibles.

And while I still say Rex is the Louis Black of Crosswords, his hilarious comments make me guess every day as to what he will say.

Tip 'o the hat, Rexie. Never say nae.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

phinneas 8:50 PM  

Keep it up Rex! The puzzle isn't the same without you.

Nancy 9:31 PM  

To Casseopia: 141 comments, and no one, it seems, has so far answered your 12:58 p.m. query. The ATLANTIC is a magazine; hence it is captained by editors (EDS).

Carola 9:44 PM  

@Rex, I got to the puzzle late and ran out of energy and interest before finishing but wouldn't think of leaving a puzzle without coming here to see what you had to say (I did have an inkling about this one). I'm glad I didn't miss my chance to say happy 10 years and thank you.

Wm. C. 10:33 PM  

Tnx, Rex.

Mecobren 10:52 PM  

Happy anniversary! Thank you for the enlightenment and entertainment!

shari 11:24 PM  

Happy anniversary! I found your blog in 2008 while cheating, googling answers. I was amused by your passionate commentary and occasional snarkiness, balancing arrigance with fun. Thanks for the laughs and insight. Cheers to the nexr ten years!

ZenMonkey 11:36 PM  

Mazel tov, and grandpamike sounds like he should have stuck to word searches.

Andy 11:50 PM  

Gonna sneak in under the wire here to wish Rex a Happy 10th! When I was a tyro about 6 years ago, my uncle recommended two xword sites to me: Rex and Fiend. With Rex at the helm of the crossworld, I've learned a lot about both solving and constructing puzzles, and I've improved by leaps and bounds at both endeavors. In conclusion, bless this mess.

(H/T)ipster of CrossWorld

mac 11:59 PM  

I don't like Sundays. There, I said it. I may do a little, but not happily.
But, today, I have to congratulate and thank Michael for 10 years of blogging!

George Barany 12:15 AM  

Wow, we're up to 150 comments, almost all focused on today's special occasion!

With assists from @Chris Adams, @Ralph Bunker, and @Noam Elkies, I've updated my post from just before noon, EDT. Please try this puzzle (11 rows x 12 columns, late-week difficulty clues): http://www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=28175&id2=677, which can also be accessed via this direct link.

Hope you like it, and may @Rex's second decade be as interesting and stimulating as the justly celebrated first.

Linda 12:55 AM  

Still close enough to Sunday to not have to add the word "belated"...? Congratulations, Rex! I'm happy I found your blog and this community.

Leapfinger 1:40 AM  

@GeorgeB, took a peep at your Sharp little puzzle. I care too, but have to say tis a queer one. Can't top that!

ReXX -- O the irony of the RRN!!

Hoot, Mon!

Selwyn-Lloyd McPherson 3:04 AM  

From all of the lurkers, thank you Rex. I do the puzzle every day over a pint and some fried food at my local, and part of the joy is checking your assessment at the end.

Puzzles are best with friends, and you've always been there. Much love.

Paul408 3:06 AM  

Stale theme, yes, but the really annoying thing was the highly segmented grid structure that made me keep starting over in practically every section. I finished the NW and only had a single letter, K, into the next section to the right. And the K being a final letter at that! Surprised not to see other complaints here.

Thanks, Rex, you've inspired me to up my game to where I'm now finishing Saturday puzzles!

Elephant's Child 3:29 AM  


If you finished the NW, didn't you also have an outlet via CREDT-PEA-ALPS? The GOMAD and ADAPT sectors were more isolated, but they weren't unreasonable minis. I thought the themers and some interesting long downs did a good job of connecting the segments.

Struggling 5:03 AM  

Congratulations Rex! I read your blog everytime I do the puzzle! You're not only a great puzzler, you're a pithy, personality-filled writer. I have your voice in my head as I work thru the puzzle. Sometimes you are too harsh, but my world would be smaller without you.

Aketi 6:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen R. 9:03 AM  

My husband and I consider reading your reviews as the reward for finishing each puzzle. Well, we treat them more as treasured stage readings, complete with loud cursing, as your emotion is so tangible. Thank you for your insight and for entertaining us each and every day.

Anonymous 1:28 AM  

Congratulations Rex! I just subscribed to the puzzle today and have escaped syndie land where we only get the Sunday puzzle the following Saturday. Reading your blog has been a treat over the past year. Love your insight and passion and the devoted commenters. Your site is as much fun as the puzzle. This is my first comment - couldn't not say "Thank you!"

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

For Anonymous 3:07 AM

EM-BOSS, em-bitter, em-brace (it took me a while)

John Lampkin 11:21 PM  

Late to the puzzle & late to the party, but hearty congrats with thanks. Your consistency is both astonishing and inspirational.

Fred 8:09 PM  

Rex - Congratulations on 10 years! I wonder if others out there share my relaxed but somewhat disciplined approach to doing the Sunday NYT crossword. I like to mull over the puzzle for a while before starting to fill it in. I do it with a ballpoint pen, and feel I've underachieved if even one square must be messed up to correct a mistake. I also admit to resorting to Google for help, not random searches but rather focused on confirming that I have the answer right before I fill it in. Purists may certainly consider this to be cheating, but I think not in this day and age. It is often surprising to find that Google and Wikipedia definitions match the puzzle clue precisely, and also that some of the more esoteric answers seem to have been derived from web searches. So, if the puzzle constructors appear to use Google to create, is it really cheating to use Google to solve?

tea73 10:13 PM  

We were away this weekend and very belatedly catching up.

Wanted to add to the congratulations and thank-yous for the blog.

@Teedmn Yes! Aral=Vorkosigan

Sue 10:58 AM  

I know this is old new now, but we just completed this puzzle today, as we also get it a week late. Unlike "grampamike", we love you and read you every day!!!!!

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

Happy decaversary, O Fearless One! I have to go along with you on this unremarkable milestone puzzle. I have come to expect more from the likes of Jeff Chen, though I will say that the fill reflects care. Pretty clean for a 21x21. So: theme: meh, execution: uneven--some good ones, some clunkers.Fill: nice. Double natick at 21-across, saved by the recent appearance of SWAGBAGS, previously unknown to me. The name of that Old Country guy is another total unknown. I almost had SNIPE (SNAGBAGS, APTON, why not?) till I remembered that party thing. Despite that glitch, the rest was relatively easy; let's call it easy-medium. If letter-grading, I'd go with B-; say, gain of 7, second and short. Nearest thing I can find to a DOD is MATA Hari. Well, actually, Michelle WIE is kinda cute--and rich! And...YOUNG! OK, Wie it is.

Burma Shave 12:03 PM  


and are DEMONS with the WILE for EXOTIC peeking.


BS2 12:16 PM  

Of course that was meant to be EROTIC peeking, must proofread.

Day #601 with +/- 630 verses for me. Happy 10th to OFL and thanks for the forum. Monetary contribution will be forthcoming.

Irene T 1:08 PM  

First time commenting for me as well only to say congratulations on your 10th anniversary from my husband Tim and I who need to do the puzzle together otherwise we would never solve it!

The main reason we don't comment is because we're a week behind and we only get the syndicated Sunday puzzle in our Saturday newspaper up here in the Great White North...aka Snow Mexico. :) I know we could get the app version but we still like doing this crossword old school.

We've only just started doing Times Sunday puzzle last Christmas and I happened to stumble upon this great blog in January of this year while searching for the solution before the answers came the following Saturday in our paper.

Love the ad-freeness of it all, we started contributing right away because we don't want ads to start and we love all the comments that people post. Even the criticisms are, for the most part, legitimate personal opinions and not trolling junk.

Regarding today's puzzle, we also thought we were getting so much better at these things because we solved it in record time for us. Rex brought us back down to earth again. :)

We can usually manage to finish the entire thing without googling before the end of the week but only between the two of us. It sits on our dining table taunting us each day to keep working on it. However, we sometimes get burned when a sports figure crosses a random state politician, neither of those subjects are our strong point.

We always check your blog after completion to see if we were successful so please do keep this up!

rondo 2:09 PM  

Happy anniversary Rex, and thanks so much. Well, I had to stack a cord of firewood this morning to make room for the other one that just arrived. Soooo . . . @spacey has beat me to the punch again re: yeah baby of her time MATA Hari and golfing yeah baby Michele WIE, who has unfortunately been grossly underperforming since she won her U.S. Open title. (And perhaps neglecting TILDA?) So I will STOOP to anti-yeah baby GRETA Van Sustern whose mere presence summons DEMONS.

I’ve recently related my STREAKING story and also the EROTIC Hall & Oates (MANEATER) concert activity, so DONTASK, unless you want them again..

I have been to LOCH Ness, did not see the monster. Many LASSES, however, or are they lassies in Scotland?

If anyone is watching the Ryder Cup, not only is the competition compelling (those long putts falling, KERPLOP), the October weather in MN is just perfect, certainly not ICY like IHEAR many folks think it is. Lotsa guys with SUBPAR rounds (that’s good).

I thought this puz a bit dull, but easy enough after I got that wood stacked just INTIME

AnonymousPVX 3:13 PM  

A week late per the Charleston Post and Courier, but congratulations. Obviously a labor of love, and your efforts are appreciated.
The puzzle was fine enough, I think part of the disappointment you felt was expecting something special because of the anniversary…and now I'm thinking of my ex…so I understand. Haha.

Diana,LIW 3:35 PM  

I just finished, w/o cheating one little bit. So, I'm predicting the commentariat says "easy." Haven't looked at Rex or the comments yet. For me, this solve was bit by bit, but then I kinda got on a roll. First theme answer was SQUAREROOTING, and with that and the title, I thought they would all be math related. Wrong. So, off to read the comments.

Diana, Lady in Waiting to read comments

rain forest 4:18 PM  

Easy, well-put-together puzzle with a theme that was mildly amusing, except for the SE, for me. NUN, NUTS, SUBPAR, THERAPY, STOOP took me some time to unravel, and at the NTSB/GSN cross, I had to guess the "S" (lucky). Anyway, maybe a bit bland, but fun.

@Rex - you remind me of my English 12 teacher who was a crusty, nit-picking and sarcastic guy who always ticked me off. After I went to University and was in my first-year English class, I gradually came to the realization that I had learned skills and knowledge about putting together decent prose. It came from him. This may yet happen with me and crossword puzzles, and in the memory of Mr. Sanford, who I now revere, I wish you congratulations for 10 years of dedication to your craft and your passion. You still tick me off, though...

Diana,LIW 4:50 PM  

Turns out I had two wrong letters. Had Michele Wei, which I changed - to Wee. If I'd reread INSPIReT I would have caught that.

And had NTTSa. NIMBUS was my word of the day to LEARN. And live.

BS - congrats to you, too!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Tom Morehouse 5:05 PM  

Yes, getting the "Adding On" theme helped make the puzzle easy over all, but there were a couple of small pockets of resistance in the NW and SE.

Unknown (to me) rapper TONELOC made the NW corner tougher than it had to be, and the "O" in GHOST, inferable but unknown, was last letter in for that corner.

In the SE, the "S" in the NTSB/GSN cross was last letter to go in there. First had MISSENd instead of MISSENT, due to reading wrong tense of "hit" in the clue. That messed up the NTSB (known)/GSN (unknown)cross, etc., etc., blah, blah.

To make a tedious story short, finished correctly, but it took time.

Fun to slog ratio: 1.0 [10 points total, 5 points fun, 5 points slog].

leftcoastTAM 5:19 PM  

uh..., didn't hit the right "identity" button again.

leftcoastTAM 5:49 PM  

Just one more thing...

@Rex--I'd like to add to the chorus of praise for your dedication and efforts. You do set high standards, and I've grown to appreciate your insisting on them whatever the hell others may think. You're in charge, and I hope you stay there for another ten years (or more).

leftcoastTAM aka Tom Morehouse

lodsf 11:57 PM  

Thank you, Rex. Another frequent reader but very rare posted but, as others, had to chime in with my thanks today (from synd. land). Yes, sometimes you're cranky but this is still the best x-word blog out there. Bravo!

Bananafish 12:05 PM  

Ironically, Rex, your personality and your sanctimonious positions on the construction of crossword puzzles align way more with grandpamike than lhoffman12. Congratulations anyway!

wcutler 1:09 PM  

Everything I had to say has been said by someone, but I'm sure redundant thanks to Rex for the blog and the platform are still OK.

I do the syndicated version, have been relieved to see that my questions posted so late still get replies. It IS nice to come here and see all the comments already posted - mostly my questions have already been answered.

I'm glad you ignored grandpamike.

akpeds 11:29 PM  

I tear the puzzles out of the newspaper every day, stack them up, then do them when time permits, especially when flying 6 hour flights out of and back home to Alaska. When they are really hard or really easy or really clever or really awful (after about 8 years I am starting to get judgmental) I can't wait to see what Rex thought. Most often he finds even my very hard ones (2+ hour effort on Saturdays) easy. Sigh. Another 10 years and I'll be in the league of many of the above posters, I hope.
Happy anniversary! Thank you from the cold North. You have relieved some of the isolation of living up here by creating this community.

Unknown 11:35 PM  

Congratulations, Rex! You're the best!

TartanCalf 2:20 PM  

Thank you, Rex! With your blog, you have provided an amazing place for solitary solvers like me to complete their daily crossword experience. Without your blog, even a perfectly solved puzzle doesn't seem "finished!"

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