Onward in Italy / SUN 9-18-16 / Reef-dwelling snapper / Sage swamp-dweller of film / Start of legalese paragraph / Handy take-along / Guy into hip-hop

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Constructor: Jeremy Newton

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Make a Dash For It" —dashes in the Downs, wacky dashes in the Acrosses (7 times)

Theme answers:
  • PUSH-UP BRA / B-LISTER PACK (32A: Troupe of lesser-known actors?)
  • UH-OH / PHOENIX A-Z (24A: Actor Joaquin's complete bio?)
  • THE PO-PO / G-RATED CHEESE (44A: Schmaltz in kids' films?)
  • FREE WI-FI / AMERICAN GOT HI-C (65A: An airline now serves a Minute Maid beverage?)
  • B-BOY / CHICKEN CO-OPS (87A: Some apartments for scaredy-cats?)
  • TO-DOS / MOVING A-SIDE (100A: Record half that stirs emotions?)
  • HA-HA / LO-CAL HERO (109A: Sandwich for a dieter?)
Word of the Day: REDFISH (35A: Reef-dwelling snapper)
Redfish is a common name for several species of fish. It is most commonly applied to certain deep-sea rockfish in the genus Sebastes, or the reef dwelling snappers in the genus Lutjanus. It is also applied to the slimeheads or roughies (family Trachichthyidae), and the alfonsinos (Berycidae). (wikipedia) (my emphasis)
• • •

This is really quite clever. It's everything the average Sunday puzzle should be. It's got a clever, original gimmick, and it's genuinely funny, especially as the "wacky-clue"-type themes go. It's also got an elegant simplicity: real dash in the Down, fake one in the Across. Some of the wacky theme answers seem like very reasonable, plausible phrases (esp. LO-CAL HERO, G-RATED CHEESE, and MOVING A-SIDE), and then some ... well, some are AMERICAN GOT HI-C, which is as absurd as they get. Something about its having a phrasing similar to "America's Got Talent" really seals the deal for me. This puzzle is proof that the Sunday puzzle doesn't have to be overly complicated, difficult, or fussy to work. You can have relatively standard 7-answer wackiness and pull it off with aplomb. Also, with a few exceptions, this grid is fairly clean and lively. Not a lot of wincing. TO YOU ISMS is kind of wincey, and, you know, there's EEN and TOPED and ESS, but it's all so minor, especially in a grid this theme-dense and enjoyable.

Got the theme—or the idea of the dash-square, anyway—early, very early, with PUSH-UP BRA. Took me a little while longer to figure out what the hell was going on with the wacky-dash Acrosses. I did not get, for far too long, that the Acrosses were real, viable answers if you remove the dash. So I was looking at B-LIST ... and then B-LISTER ... and not really understanding what had to come next. Also, seeing THE PO-PO was *really* hard. Easy to see where the wacky Acrosses are, not so easy to see where the dash-having Downs are. So 18D: Cops, in slang were THE -O---. All I could think of was THE FUZZ. Had to get one or more of those P's before I had that D'oh! moment where you remember the theme after having let it temporarily slip from your mind. STEEL GRAYS is a truly painful plural, but it's made up for, at least partially, by its symmetrical counterpart, CROP CIRCLE. Well, not the answer so much (which is fine), but the clue: 74D: Work of extraterrestrials? —not! No one says "not" like that anymore (not for 20 years), so that was a bit awkward, but I love the light-hearted vibe there. Also, I love anything that mocks magical thinking / conspiracy-theory mind-set, which is destroying civilization.

Hey, NJ residents, there is a crossword tournament in your state very soon and you should check it out. It is part of the Collingswood Book Festival, and it is being hosted by Washington Post crossword writer/editor Evan Birnholz (puzzles will be upcoming NYTs). Here's the flyer (click on it if you want to embiggen it).

I have no idea where Collingswood is, but I assume a bunch of my readers live relatively nearby. So dare to attend a low-stakes tourney. You may find you like them. You'll meet other dorks like you. It's fun. Seriously.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

P.S. Peter Gordon made a Fireball puzzle with a very similar theme a few years back, but today's is fundamentally different and more ambitious in important ways. Go see for yourself.


jae 12:09 AM  

Easy-medium for me, caught the - theme early. It's tough for me to talk about Sunday puzzles just because of the size. There's bound to be mediocre fill and clunky theme answers, so the criteria for liking or not liking them gets messy. I tend to go for a Gestalt approach. If I am amused in places and don't wince a lot then I like them. This one was a cut above. Liked it a lot.

Mr. Fitch 12:11 AM  

The whole thing was spoiled for me by the title: "Make a Dash For It." These aren't dashes; they're hyphens.


puzzle hoarder 1:24 AM  

This is the rare Sunday puzzle that even I like. It has a theme that's both entertaining and clever. It was confusing to see see such common material like like UH-OH with their hyphens as I'm so used to their "normal" crossword spelling without. Leaving aside the other obvious ones(TODOS, HAHA) I checked out which of the themers have appeared before without their hyphens. Only BBOY, PUSHUPBRA, LOCALHERO and BLISTERPACK made the cut.

Randy 2:32 AM  

Fastest Sunday for me since I first started using the app over a year ago. Still a lot of fun though, most Sunday puzzles I get bored of and end up finishing a few days later.

Larry Gilstrap 3:01 AM  

The use of the hyphens in the crosses seemed clever, but not so much in the downs. We see UHOH, TODO, HAHA, and WIFI all the time in the puzzle without intrusive punctuation. Am I missing something? If only G-RATED CHEESE was limited to kid's films and not ubiquitous in most entertainment and news programming. Wasn't it just a few months ago when OFL was bemoaning THE POPO as inappropriate fill?, and rightly so. Who says that? I worked many years with urban teenagers and never once heard BBOY. Finally, I was just telling someone about the civility of the comments in this blog compared to just about any other online forum, and then last week happened. It's a conversation about a puzzle, for crying out loud. Apply the filter!

Dr. Bunger 3:19 AM  

My word! He's a lecturer at university and doesn't know Collingwood? It is perhaps some of the finest bone china England has to offer.

Anonymous 4:34 AM  

I thought at first sight of the grid that I would be in for another horrible fill Sunday puzzle. But the more I went, the more I enjoyed it!
Nice work, Jeremy Newton! The NYT didn't pay you enough for this one. Nice politcal balance, as well.


Anonymous 5:21 AM  

Final entry was fixing "dO I?"

smalltowndoc 6:24 AM  

@Dr Bunger: "Collingswood", not "Collingwood". As in Collingswood, NJ, where the upcoming crossword tournament that Rex was referencing will be held. Also, where my mother grew up.

Anyway, I liked this puzzle; thought is was pretty clever and well constructed. Although PHOENIXA-Z was a stretch.
I have a random, helter(DASH)skelter approach to doing crosswords, so I caught on to the theme in the SW with LO-CAL HERO.

John Child 6:30 AM  

BBOY may be OLD in the US, but it's used here on the other side of the planet. THE POPO sounds like Benny Hill humor to me.

On paper so no timer, but hard here. I see 26 write overs on my page. Hard in the good way though. Thanks Mr Newton.

Loren Muse Smith 7:16 AM  

Nice write-up, Rex. Always a pleasure to read a positive review.

Fun puzzle! I, too, got the trick very early, but with LO-CAL HERO. Unlike @Mr. Fitch, I don't sweat distinctions between hyphens and dashes; in fact, this never even occurred to me as I solved.

My favorite themer was AMERICAN GOT HI-C because the parsing is just so startling.

The last area for me was north, where I had as the 4A streaming casualties "ads" instead of CDS.

THE PO-PO didn't stump me. I actually had tried to fill that in earlier without the dash and figured it was too short. @Larry Gilstrap – who says that? When I worked at the country club, the cooks always referred to the manager as THE PO-PO.

Liked RUNWAYS crossing AMERICAN and TAKE DRUGS crossing TOKE. Oh, and FLAB over LO-CAL. Yup.

This is one I'll remember for a while. Thanks, JN.

Lise 7:20 AM  

I had SCOUT instead of SCOUR, which gave me TEDFISH which really ought to be a Thing.

Great puzzle - I looked forward to each theme entry and the downs were delightfully challenging. Loved PUSH-UP BRA and AMERICAN GOT HI-C especially. Thanks!

chefbea 7:39 AM  

Tough puzzle at first..but then got the theme...loved all the food references

Hope all Rexites living in NYC are ok...and New Jersey for that matter.

Kenneth Wurman 7:41 AM  

Best Sunday puzzle this year.

Kenneth Wurman 7:41 AM  

Best Sunday puzzle this year.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

This thing kicked the sh*t out of me.

Over two hours, and my normal Sunday time is around forty minutes.

It must have been all the drugs I did last night before I solved this one on my iPad. All the hookers hanging on me didn't help either.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

Wow. Comic Book Teacher Michael Sharp liked my puzzle. I am indeed a blessed man.

Anonymous 7:56 AM  

Symmetry fails at TIMELOCKS.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  


Lewis 8:04 AM  

Jeff Chen has this as his Puzzle of the Week. And while I found this puzzle to be solid, satisfying, and enjoyable, my favorite was Friday's PB. And easily the most memorable was Anagram Thursday.

Chuck McGregor 8:07 AM  

At first I only got partial fills for the themers, like CHICKEN, CHEESE, AMERICAN, HERO, BRA, and PHOENIX. Haphazardly filling in other stuff eventually got me in the groove of this puzzle and the "dash" bit to finish with only a few minor cheats, like how to spell PSY. I knew it phonetically (as in "sigh") but had to Google Gangnam for the spelling.

Like OFL, nothing to complain about.

Dash? Hyphen? I'm with @LMS. As I'd put it, I hyphenate words by putting in a dash. On my keyboard, it's the dash/underline key in my parlance, not the hyphen/underline key. Technical difference? YEP. Do I care? nope. To conclude that "the whole thing was spoiled for me" on this technicality is like watching a movie about ancient Rome and seeing a watch on the wrist of one of the extras. UH-OH, that spoiled the whole movie for me! I hated it. If it wasn't for that I'd have loved it.

ESCHEW is one of my favorite words, so I was happy to see it in the grid. I don't get TPS for 1a. Lots of other uses for the disambiguated TP in Wiki, though nothing to do with pranks.

So, here's TO YOU Mr. Newton for an enjoyable solve with a healthy DASH of difficulty.


r.alphbunker 8:09 AM  

105A. {"Shame on you!"} TUT from T[S][K]

77D. {"No joke!"} IMEANTHAT from IMEANTHA[S]

121A. {Made damp} WETTED from _ETTED

15D. {Numbskull} BOZO from _O_O

103D. {Worry} EATAT from _ _ _AT

95A. {Marauding group in Tolkien's "The Two Towers"} ORCS from [E][N][T]S

9D. {Search far and wide} SCOUR from SCOUR

At the end I had to replace hyphens with Ds

Details are here

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Regarding the placement of the rebi, there's no symmetry to fail.

Would tEDFISH school (figuratively at any rate) around the co[dash]eponymous talks?

Evan 8:19 AM  

Thanks for the plug, Rex.

For those of you interested in the Collingswood tournament, you can register online here, or register at the door next Saturday. It's not far from Philadelphia, FYI.

Billy C. 8:21 AM  

I am still a virgin.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

@Chuck, before there was Grand Theft Auto we used to blow off steam by TPing other people's houses. Nasty prank, hard to clean up, wasteful, and really fun.
Fun puzzle. Over too soon. PHOENIXA-Z was my aha.

George Barany 8:24 AM  

I solved @Jeremy Newton's Sunday puzzle (that seems to be his specialty) on paper, and enjoyed it to a degree surprisingly similar to what was related in @Rex's generally positive review. I picked up the trick early with PUSH-UP_BRA, and had my first "Aha" at LO-CAL_HERO. Very clever!... and reminiscent of a quirky movie starring Burt Lancaster that I absolutely adored when it first came out in the early '80s.

Not everything was familiar or inferable, though, and I had to resort to some judicious Googling. In at least one case, that backfired. The channel for 1-Down is currently known as THE_WC due to a merger of the original Warner Bros. network. C-LIST... certainly seems as reasonable as B-LIST..., but that delayed the "Aha."

On the theme entry in the northeast corner, the clue directed me to PHOENIX_C-V (curriculum vitae) and it took some mental gymnastics to get on @Jeremy's wavelength -- presumably A-Z should be parsed as "A to Z" as in the whole enchilada of a life's work = bio. Or am I overthinking this?

The last theme entry to fall was the CHICKEN_CO-OPS, because of the crossing B-BOY being outside of my knowledge base (me being all cooped up in the Ivory Tower, as some anonymice on this blog have noted throughout the past week). I did like @Jeremy's academic clue for THESIS, and give him a tip-of-the-hat for working his academic hometown (Austin, TX) into an otherwise uninteresting ESE clue.

However, my biggest laugh was for G-RATED_CHEESE, because it reminded me of this image. That sort of made up for adjacent political clues/fill ripped from the headlines at 70- and 71-Down, both crossing GITMO at 83-Across (remember the controversy when that came up, a little over three weeks ago?)

Agony G. Barrene 9:03 AM  

@George Barany:

The anonymice don't "note" that you are a chemistry professor (in your ivory tower), you brag about in every single post. Why does every puzzle have to be about you? Is your ego that monstrous?

Alecia Madonado 9:10 AM  

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mathgent 9:17 AM  

I usually don't do the Sundays. Low fun-time ratio. But The Closer was watching a British mystery and I was watching Cal play football and I needed something to fill the dead time. (Typical college games take almost four hours to play and contain about fifteen minutes of action.) But I'm happy to have done this one. I enjoyed all the across "dash" entries and the fill didn't require too much labor. (I did have to call in The Closer for the SE.) I'm giving it an A.

Tita A 9:19 AM  

I am so mad at this puzzle!!!!!!!!!
For any puzzle, I always squint while hiding the constructor's name, always try to squint over middle and end answers that might be revealers, ans on Sundays, try to not see the title.
All so I can guess the theme before getting any hints.
@Roy Leban...consider adding the ability to Hide titles, Hide revealers.

Really early on with this one I involuntarily saw the title, which gave it away Way. Too. Early.

This will go right up there in my Top Ten Puzzles of all time. So clever. Loved it.

At 21A wondered how I could fit "WHO cooks for you", which is what our barred owls ask. All night and a good part of the day.
106D TREE...green paint.
I felt like there were lots of PoCs.

Favorite is CHICKENCO-OPS.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. Newton. You are my GLO-BAL HERO.

Diego 9:19 AM  

Aaah, a pleasant review, (with some pleasant Neo-Soul) of a pleasant Sunday puzzle.
Dr. Bungle strikes agiain, Kenneth double clicks and there is even a complaint about the ever pleasant George.

All is right in the blogging world again.

Mike Mac 9:25 AM  

Bothered by A-SIDE, B-LISTER and G-RATED getting hyphenated but XGAMES appearing elsewhere without the same treatment. Maybe I don't understand the appropriate usage, but this felt off to me.

Tita A 9:25 AM  

P.S. Will Bob 90D be at the Collingwood tournament?

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I agree with @Mr. Fitch. Seems cavalier of Mr. Newton and Mr. Shortz to ignore the distinction between the hyphen and the dash (either en- or em-dash).

L 9:32 AM  

I haven't thought about Hi-C in ages...do they still make that stuff or are we dating oyrselves? Fun puzzle!

Teedmn 9:37 AM  

I found this to be an elegant Sunday puzzle. The title helped get the gimmick, the gimmick didn't give away the theme answers, the themers all made wacky sense and the fill wasn't dreck-y.

But I'm with @John Child as having many write-overs. Yalta-->YPRES, Metal Grays (yeah, I know, it's in the clue but I still wrote it in). I thought 26A was going to be "for whom", I had WHOM in for a long time because it crossed 5D's DimmER so nicely. 14D's oH isH did not help me find the crossing A-Z. Chest-->TORSO. VIP LINES, no, VIP LIstS, no, VIP LINES. B-Bro before B-BOY. It didn't SEEM TO be all that hard but I made it so. No DNF though (that I've found yet!).

I got the theme with AMERICAN GOT HI-C because the airport amenity had to be FREE WI-FI but it took me a while to figure out the dash.

I liked CLOSE, HA-HA down in the SW, taunting me that I was almost finished. I considered RIC-roll as a prank at 1A but the plural and "briefly" prevented that. And streaming services have not replaced CDS in my collection. I still buy CDS, though they are much bulkier to store.

Jeremy Newton, here's TO YOU and a great Sunday puzzle. A great week of puzzles, in my opinion.

Nancy 10:09 AM  

The high point of the puzzle for me was my last two letters in, (PHOENIX) A-Z -- mainly because it enabled me to change dOdO to BOZO at 15D. But what the bloody hell is THE PO-PO???

Thank you, thank you, Will for the title: MAKE A DASH FOR IT. I immediately saw the gimmick with its help. Without it, I might have wandered in the wilderness for a very long time. Maybe I wouldn't have solved at all. It's hard to know. Because of the title, this played easy-medium for me. I thought it was well-executed and I liked it, but didn't love it. For me to love it, the non-theme clues would have had to be a lot zippier. Especially in a puzzle this large.

Happy Pencil 10:12 AM  

I thought this was a quick, fun, and clever Sunday puzzle, and several of the wacky answers were laugh-out-loud funny. But as an editor I have to point out -- and this has been noted by a few early commenters as well -- that dashes and hyphens are two totally different punctuation marks. So the title is a massive fail (and so is Rex's review, where he insists on referring to hyphens as dashes).

This is equivalent to doing a comma-themed puzzle and titling it "COLON-oscopy" (or some other stupid thing). Just wrong.

Numinous 10:12 AM  

I was sooooooooo disappointed! "Make A Dash For It"? You're kidding, right? That is much too easy. I must say that I got a DNFthough. Guess I just wasn't paying attention: LO[w]CAL HERO. I have a Mac style keyboard to go with my iPad so I actually tried entering m-dashes or, if you like, m–dashes. I knew it wouldn't work but I tired it anyway.

I'm not so sure about AMERICAN GOT HI–C. Minute Maid? Um. I use Minuite Maid pink lemonade to take my meds. I'd never touch HI–C. I like the lemonade in the 20 oz. bottle. One will keep on my night stand for two or three days. TMI? OWWTH.

My inner 14 year-old was titilated by PUSH-UP BRA. And there I was contemplating corsets and farthingales and bustles and such. PHOENIX A–Z reminded me of a book that lived in the inner breast pocket of my jacket for almost two years in London. London A to Zed. I wonder if that still exists.

I was so surprised that OFL gushed over this ChenPOW. I was expecting a major disgruntle and here he is enjoying this simple little ditty. I know this was a hard puzzle to make with the crossing downs having to be, in general, a little more than HA–HAs. This all points up that simple and easy are the hardest things to do. This was a groovy way to spend the early part of my morning.

Cliff Guthrie 10:17 AM  

Okay, I finished this in near record (for me) time, except the web browser version of the NYTimes puzzle won't seem to accept any of my inserts for the rebuses (rebi?). I've tried -, D, DA, DASH, ...?

Meanwhile, my time creeps up from less than 30 to over 50.

I've gone over it and retyped every other clue several times to make sure there isn't something else going on here.

Anyone have any ideas?

da kine 10:22 AM  

Blogger Mr. Fitch said...

The whole thing was spoiled for me by the title: "Make a Dash For It." These aren't dashes; they're hyphens.



jberg 10:22 AM  

First of all, isn't a hyphen the same thing as an en dash, beloved of crosswords?

Second, why all the hating on @George Barany? I've never met him in person, but he seems very pleasant -- and also helpful to many. He constructs puzzles and gives them away free, and gets attacked for it; and now he's getting attacked for doing what you are supposed to do, namely include a little bit about your personal life in your posts. It's not like chemistry professors have rock-star status, or anything.

Third, why are there so many European countries with 8-letter names starting with A? I had Albania and Austria before I got to ANDORRA. Just a stroke of luck that I didn't think of Armenia in time.

Finally, to my embarrassment, it took me forever to parse PHOENIX AZ correctly. I seriously considered that there might be a street index for Phoenix similar to the famous London A-Z. Finally it dawned on me somehow.

Tsk before TUT, bAgels before SALAMI, DimmER before DENSER. Good puzzle.

Numinous 10:26 AM  

96.3% of people are going to call a hyphen a dash unless they are peedants. They just are. Odds are, when you type something hyphenated like six-year-old you are not going to be thinking six-hyphen-year-hyphen-old. If you're going to think anything it'll probably be "dash". Remedial college English instructors might make that distinction but otherwise, it's just an N-dash.

QuasiMojo 10:38 AM  

Amusing? Not a "Ha-Ha" anywhere that I could see. Except perhaps "Push-up bra" which reminded me of Jane Russell and her "us full-figure girls" ads. Not sure how an "A-Z" equals a "bio," even for lovely Joaquin, but then I originally had "C.V." which at least made sense, although hardly hilarious. Ho-hum! I found this puzzle an exercise, like singing scales, rather than a divertissement. I only finished it -- online -- to see whether the hyphens would count as dashes. They did.

Larry 10:44 AM  

@Numinous - Well, I'm one of the 3.7%. When I write something long-hand I always use a micrometer to assure that any n-dash I may use is a different length than any hyphen I may use - honestly. I've even had a custom keyboard made for my computer with special keys for n-dash,m-dash and hyphens. I quit posting on this blog because the stupid comment section doesn't permit these distinctions, all are presented equally - the horror. I'm going to have my wife hit the publish key because my clear example here, where the hyphens and the m-dash are of equal length and I can't stand it.


Maruchka 10:48 AM  

Fun, funny, and fine. Dash-ed it off yesterday afternoon, due to social engagements last night and today. Alas, got home and heard about the W 23rd St. explosion. Very close to a dear friend's home. And we just had the WTC 15th anniversary. What the hell's going on?

Fav of the day - AMERICAN GOTH-IC. Which crosses WI-FI. Imagining earplugs and iPhones on those two farmers (already imagined and realized, I'm sure). What would Grant Wood make of the world today..

Thanks, Mr. Jeremy.

@Tita - LOL. I gratefully live in a CHICKEN CO-OP - 24/7 security, happy to say.

Hi, @Rex - we could use some monitoring here, especially for trolls of all descriptions. Is this too time consuming? Oh, I hope not.

Roo Monster 10:49 AM  

Hey All !
Very nice puz. Loved the fact that the Downs were actual "-" words/phrases rather than just split entries. Ratches up the cleanness and integrity of the puz. Must have been a bear to construct. Figure: (A la @LOREN)
1- Have to find themers (in this case 7!) that can be split somewhere in the phrase to make another type of (wacky, @Rrx) phrase.
2- Find other already hyphenated (dashed) phrases that will go where the break in the Acrosses is.
3- Try to fill puz with light dreck with this kind of restraints. (Not easy,)

Takes away from my original gripe about too many black squares. Heck, add more if it leads to such a good puz!

I didn't put anything in the "-" boxes, just outlined them darker with my pen. Had a DNF on baWLED. Isn't MEWLED more for a cat than a human?

So a super SunPuz, clever theme, only a few writeovers for me, great construction feat which was also s great solvequest!


CJ 11:01 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Numinous 11:03 AM  

"All the world's a stage and all the men and women, merely players . . . At first the infant, mewling and puking in his nurse's arms . . . "

Hunter S. Thompson 11:07 AM  


Z 11:08 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
hollasboy 11:11 AM  

I thought a SWISH shot in basketball is one that misses the rim, hence the "swish" sound the ball makes as it passes through. Are SWISS shots a drinking thing?

Z 11:12 AM  

I've been complaining a lot lately about the general slogginess of 21x21 grids. This one did not feel at all sloggy to me so I was hardly surprised by Rex's review. I have a tie between AMERICAN GOT HI-C and G-RATED CHEESE for favorite wacky answers.

The title threw me briefly for a completely different reason, I was looking to change IT to -. This didn't slow my solve, just my understanding. I briefly considered B-LISTER PArt thinking B- was originally Bit of "bit part." The crosses fixed my thinking and then I saw BLISTER PACK and it all made sense.

@jberg secondly - I have a favorite saying, "some people's children," that does quite well to explain all kinds of anti-social behavior sufficiently to not waste much energy on it.

As for hyphen vis à vis dash, aren't these essentially typographical distinctions? The whole discussion calls to my mind the differences between # (number sign) and # (pound sign) and # (hash) and # (hash tag) and # (octothorpe). I can't recall ever needing to know the distinctions between a hyphen, an en dash, or an em dash to parse a writers intended meaning. I strongly suspect there have been times when the writer didn't know the distinction either, but was able to convey their meaning to me. In short, I don't much care.

Master Melvin 11:17 AM  

Sorry, Wikipedia, but in all or most of this country, especially middle Atlantic and Gulf Coast, the name REDFISH is most commonly applied to the Red Drum. The Blackened Redfish craze started by Paul Prudhomme some years ago referred to the Red Drum. See Wikipedia's article on the Red Drum.

Hartley70 11:17 AM  

Just like Rex, I really enjoyed this Sunday puzzle. My time was spot on average. The theme was fun, and I'm not aware of the distinction between a dash and a hyphen, thank goodness. I have too many other things to worry about...Zika, terrorists, crepey skin...

My final answer was THEPO-PO. I can't decide if it's cute and cuddly or insulting. I don't think I'll use it at a traffic stop, however. I'm old, but I'm not stupid. My favorite themer was AMERICANGOTHI-C because it was zany.

NCA President 11:18 AM  

I grudgingly liked this. It's Sunday, it's long, in some places it became tedious...but overall, entertaining.

I didn't like THEFENCES being in the same puzzle as THEPOPO. I just heard on Jimmy Fallon the other night that "THE" is the most common word in the English language. Repeating it here within scribble distance is too close for comfort, IMO.

I also didn't like AMERICANGOTHIC. Not nearly as elegant as the other themers.

I wouldn't argue if UGLI was dropped from the NYT xword lexicon. Also, Random Direction Between Random Cities™ needs to stop too. But these are ongoing nits and don't really reflect my opinion of this particular puzzle.

I'm still pixxed about Thursday though.

billocohoes 11:21 AM  

Even if not true, "The Po-Po" seems to be what TV scriptwriters think is ghetto-speak for the police, I've heard it many times.

I never see Sports Illustrated abbreviated as S.I., it's always SI (and the other MAG is Entertainment Weekly?). Or is that just the NYT style requirement for abbreviations? I spent time wondering what's the connection between Staten Island and East Whatever.

ArtO 11:22 AM  

"Hyphens and Dashes. A hyphen joins two or more words together while a dash separates words into parenthetical statements. The two are sometimes confused because they look so similar, but their usage is different. Hyphens are not separated by spaces, while a dash has a space on either side."

Seems to me, the usage in this puzzle supports the use of Dash. It is separating letters (if not words), not a hyphenated word.

Carola 11:29 AM  

Clever (the theme, A to Z) with a good shot of zany (AMERICAN GOT HI-C): very fun. I caught on, sort of, at A-Z, but then thought the dash would represent "to" in the other answers as well. I was working my way down the right side and only really understood the idea with MOVING A-SIDE; then it became a delighful exercise to fill in the front halves of the remaining theme answers.
One do-over: Corn CIRCLES.
One misread: "Franks on a roll" resulted in consternation until an alphabet run stopping at TPS led me to squint again at the clue.

Ellen S 11:31 AM  

@Numinous - an n-dash is the width of the letter "n" in whatever font you're using; an m-dash, strange to tell, is the width of an "m". A hyphen is a little dot. Hyphens break up syllables or join words.

N-dashes are used for ... There's a word I've lost but the n-dash would replace the word "to", as in A to Z, you would write A-Z using an n-dash. Or if an event is scheduled for 6pm to 9pm you would use and n-dash in "6pm-9pm" (don't give me no grief about the first "pm" is required or forbidden; it has nothing to do with the use of the n-dash). I believe that's all they're used for.

The m-dash is the commonly used dash--it is a kind of semicolon or parenthesis. It separates thoughts within a sentence. On a typewriter you use two hyphens and I was taught that you're not supposed to leave spaces before and after, as illustrated earlier in this paragraph. But in Word, in order to make an m-dash, you need to leave a space -- and if you do that, Word will convert the double-hyphen into an m-dash.

@Chuck McGregor, are you clear now that "TP" = toilet paper? I had a cat who loved to bat at the toilet paper rolls. If they were hung with the end on the outside, he could partly unroll the paper so he could grab the end in his teeth and run around the house, unspooling it, effectively TP-ing my house. I had to remember to put the paper on the roll with the end on the inside, so when the cat would swipe at it, he'd roll it up instead of unrolling it. He lived to be 19. When he passed, I figured the toilet paper was safe, but no, the younger cat took over the job. Now I'm down to one cat and she's not interested in the game. I'm so glad.

@George Barany, loved the sign, It will probably be treasonous if you-know-who gets elected.

FINALLY: I loved the puzzle. Laughed at the across-themers, hardly had to cheat at all (I had SoB for 13A and oH-OH for the down -- @Loren, what's it called when the wrong answer shows up later in the puzzle?) and used "Clear errors" to show me that the "o" was wrong. It certainly didn't make any sense. As probably neither does most of what I've said here.

Nancy 11:33 AM  

Amen!, @Hartley (11:17) -- I, too, have too many other things to worry about to remotely care about the distinction between a dash and a hyphen. But I fully expect that there will be at least 136 complaints about it by the time I get home later in the day.

I have the niftiest idea for a puzzle theme. Pay attention, all constructors on the blog. It's yours, free of charge. The theme answers:

The clues:
Dashes vs. hyphens on 9/18/16.
FARMERS ONLY on 9/17/16
Oscar Award-winning years on 9/16/16...

Well, you get the idea.

Mr. Fitch 11:37 AM  

The dash/hyphen distinction may be pedantic, but it's wrong, and it's in the title of the puzzle. If there's any place where pedantic adherence to proper grammar should apply, a crossword is probably it.

Charley 11:44 AM  

The last time I heard the police referred to as the Po-Po was...never?

old timer 11:45 AM  

Theses days U an always surprised when OFL has a positive review. Deserved in this case. The solve was not a slog. Not always Easy, but always interesting. I especially liked AMERICAN GOT HI-C.

I got the theme with CHICKEN CO-OPS: until then I wasn't sure what "Make a dash for it" could mean.

I just realized PHOENIX AZ is a Thing if you omit the dash.

Leapfinger 11:51 AM  

Fun to see the recurrence after the recent EN-DASH -- or was it EM-DASH?? Also pleasant to catch a theme at the git-go that remained interesting through its perms and combs. PHOENIX-AZ was a stretch I was happy to make, and AMERICAN_GOT_HI-C was delicious in its 'Wha-a?' parsability.

Liked the Return of the CROAT, but WHIP_UP the MEWLEDrain? I'm agin it. ouldn't figure out what's up with THE_WB, THE_SIS and THE_FENCES. VIP_LINES (on ZIPLINES?) was cute, but X-GAMES should've been bounced.

What a marvelous word is ESCHEW! I think a fair number of children first hear it in relation to avoiding those who A-choo. Being as it may or may not be that we're thus introduced to S-CHEW and A-CHEW, I offer up that somewhere during K-CHEW-12 we learn this other life-lesson, but now I-CHEW with my mouth closed because I N-CHEWS to do so. None of which has bearing on whether I could B-CHEW up to Mat-CHEW P-CHEW. Guess that'll T-CHEW.

Nice job, Jeremy N; I tip my hot TO YOU. Oops, I MEANT HAT.

Have a great Sunday, ANDORRA pro nobis one and all

Malsdemare 12:13 PM  

I'm a freelance editor and every time I get a new manuscript, I have to go back and reread the rules and usages of hyphens, n- and m- dashes. I have to play by the rules when I'm getting paid for being precise, but this is information I purge from my brain until the next ms. I'm cringing that I have to think about it here, on my favorite blog. So -- I won't! Pffftttt! By the way, this is WAY off blog topic but Berkeley Breathed, of Bill the Cat and Pffft fame, is back. He posts on Facebook. Terrific antidote to the bilge of this political season.

I loved this puzzle even though I had to ask Mr. google just who the hell was on Happy Days. I'm not sure I ever saw that show. I dnf'd at B-BOY; I had B-BOP (why not?) and failed to see that pIN made no sense. And, I'm chagrinned to report I didn't get the whole PHOENIX joke until I came here. I knew how A to Z fit with bio, but blanked on how PHOENIXAZ was a thing. Maybe I need a spellcaster? Favs include G-RATEDCHEESE and CROPCIRCLES. I also really like YIN once I got it.

I'm not loving the ad hominem attacks on fellow bloggers. Sad how some people get their kicks. We learn the most interesting things here because people have passions or knowledge or skills that they share. I don't really want to return to the old monitoring days but wouldn't mind it if OFL deleted those sorts of posts. I recognize it as a form of censorship, but hey, itl's his blog, he can do what he wants.

Gorgeous day; the malsdemare are going on a hike.

Malsdemare 12:20 PM  

@Nancy. I LOVE your puzzle theme. Could we add PICKED NIT? And @George Barany, the sign is wonderful. Thanks @old timer, for maing me feel less stupid -- or at least not alone. @Leapy: B-CHEW up maCHEW P-CHEW? Classic.

Malsdemare 12:22 PM  

Note to self: Proofread!!! Sorry about the typos, everyone.

Three and out.

David Levinger (Washington, DC) 12:29 PM  

Toilet Papering is a prank where (typically high schoolers) throw rolls of toilet paper up over the branches of large trees in people's front yards, draping the tree in banners of white.

Julie Gomoll 12:31 PM  

I'm a typographer, and I'm not at all bothered by the title. Dash is common usage, and it's ok with me. Most people don't know what em or en dashes are.

For reference:
* A hyphen is used to break up words, as used in today's puzzle.
* An en dash is the size of a capital N in the typeface being used. It's slightly longer than a hyphen, and is used to denote ranges: August–September or 5–10
* An em dash is twice as long as an en dash, and is used to separate two thoughts. It's sometimes interchangeable with a colon. This puzzle — it made me smile.

Roo Monster 12:36 PM  

Ok, so what y'all are sayin, is that the - is a dash in PUSH-UP BRA, but if I have an ASIDE :-) to ramble about - like this frinstance - then what I just did is a hyphen. Is that correct? Or is the ole brain getting it backward? Or do only grammarians care? Or are there worse things in the world to worry about than fretting over dashes and hyphens? (That was for all the fools...)

Or just what the hell is RUE Monster yammering about?


QuasiMojo 12:41 PM  

@Nancy, not sure I quite get your theme but love the idea. How about adding "Bugaboo," Soap Box" and "Pique Dame"?

Bookin' the Cooks 12:44 PM  

This was by far the most pleasure I've ever had with a Sunday crossword puzzle. While an entire puzzle made of anagrams make my head hurt, puns and double entendres (not necessarily risqué) are naturally grokked and make me smile. That's not to say it didn't pose any challenges – it did – but they were fun to solve.

Anyone else ever see the documentary film titled Planet B-Boy? B-BOY is definitely an old school hip hop term.

PHOENIX AZ (Arizona) or A-Z as in all inclusive.

My favorite was AMERICAN GOT HI-C.

TomAz 12:52 PM  

The distinction between a dash and a hyphen occurred to me as I was solving, but I didn't let it detract from my enjoyment.

I also had TEDFISH for a little while.

I liked this puzzle. Good but not great. AMERICANGOTHI-C was my favorite answer just cuz it's so goofy.

puzzle hoarder 1:10 PM  

Po-po is definitely a thing here in Chicago. The word police is pronounced poh-leece with the accent on the first syllable. My guess is the doubling of the accented syllable and the dropping of the second just emphasizes the difference with the standard pronunciation of police while expressing people's alienation toward them. Then again it could all be the work of TV writers.

Suzy 1:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hungry Mother 1:31 PM  

In florida, REDFISH equates to "red drum". I caught a 27" redfish frojm my kayak near Naples (FL) one winter. I enjoyed a relaxing solve whie I was icing my legs after a long morning run. A very nice Sunday puzzle.

jberg 1:35 PM  

@Ellen S. -- I think the term you are looking for is "malapop" -- invented by @Acme, I believe.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

Some police forces patrol the beach wearing windbreakers with the letters PO on the back. (Police Officer)
Beach goers see a pair of officers go by and remark, "There goes the PO PO ."
Over and out.

SailorSteveHolt 1:54 PM  

Because I'm pretty new here, I'm not too familiar with the dynamic between commenters (bloggers?). Personal attacks are generally in poor taste, but the cutting ones really make me wince. Not that I have the right to lecture anyone from my rickety soapbox; I'm guilty of resorting to more than a few against my Twitter nemeses. I will say those types of comments here have an air of old-timey, gentlemanly rules of engagement to them. "I challenge you to a duel! Put up your dukes!" It kind of makes me giggle when I think about the insults I'm used to.

Anyway, I thought the puzzle was cute, even though it took me longer than it should have to realize the across hyphen(ed?/enated?)/n-dashed words weren't actual hyphenated/n-dashed ones.

Improper use of hyphens, n dashes, and m dashes must stick out like a gangrenous sore thumb to the typographers, editors, and other professionals trained to recognize the difference between them. They bother me and my only background is a typography course I took in college and a debilitating obsession to detail.

Agree with too many comments to @ specific individuals, but I guess that's the price of being tardy to the party. My understanding of THE PO-PO is that it was at one time an earnest expression in African Amdrican Vernacular English but has since taken on an ironic meaning in General American. Pretty sure B-BOY was an '80s phenomenon also from AAVE.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Admit it rex, this is you. You're your own troll. It would make a fascinating dark comedy.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

@jberg, it's rex. Why allow this viciousness to continue against a regular contributor. Rex is always easy on his friends's puzzles but he pans George's. Do you think he'd allow these comments toward you?

brainman53 2:42 PM  

I am unequivocally ambivalent about this puzzle. Totally agree with OFL that the theme is most clever. HOWEVER, at the risk of sounding like a jerk not to mention a total NYT x-word snob, the gimme clues for the fill made this feel more like a Sunday LA Times x-word. Just for example: home run territory in lingo, dark time in poetry, something that gets MADD mad, Pat ___, three-time NBA coach of the year, parts of airports and fashion shows, actress Kirsten, goalie's goal??? Are not the clues in a Sunday NYT puzzle supposed to be challenging? Does anyone agree? I had truly expected that OFL would be all over this one.

Alas, perhaps my 20- and 30-something kids are correct that I am just crotchety.

Martín Abresch 2:43 PM  

Freaks flock together
And make all the B-BOYS scream.

Always loved Beck's "Midnight Vultures." Like Supergrass too: nice choice of song today, Rex.

Nothing to add that hasn't been said. I liked the puzzle. Fun theme and good fill. My favorite theme entries were AMERICAN GOT HI-C and G-RATED CHEESE. The clue and answer for CROP CIRCLE was wonderful.

The title was important functionally. I can't think of a way to hide "hyphen" in a title. "Dash" strikes me as an imperfect necessity.

Happy Pencil 3:08 PM  

Thank you, @SailorSteveHolt, for clearly expressing why the title is irksome to some of us here. I completely understand that some people do not notice or care about the difference between hyphens and en dashes (that's what we're actually talking about -- the em dashes are just clouding the issue), but that does not mean that there is no difference, that the difference is irrelevant, that the difference is no longer observed, or that the difference is purely typographical. They are two different punctuation marks that, if used properly, serve different purposes.

We all have our areas of specialized knowledge, so how 'bout we just learn from each other? We seemed happy enough to do that not so long ago for the lengthy discussion of what kind of plastic disc is used in ultimate frisbee, or whatever it's properly called.

And yes, the personal attacks on specific posters are childish and tiresome.

'mericans in Paris 3:32 PM  

In defense of Mr. Fitch, I, too, was bothered by the dash-hyphen conflation, though as Martin Abresch observes, it is hard to make a play on words with "hyphen". However, the constructor or Will Shortz could have avoided the confusion by using a different title, such as "Double Links".

Why do I think the distinction between a dash and hyphen is important? Because in my job, which involves some technical editing, I encounter writers using a single hyphen when they should be using a dash (which is normally not found on the keyboard but has to be selected from a menu, or keyed with a sequence such as "Ctrl+Num -"), or typing a double hyphen (--). Especially when such writers leave no space around their single-hyphen "dash", then I trip over it, assuming that it is meant as a hyphen (e.g., indicating a compound adjective) and not a dash (i.e., setting off a parenthetical statement). Even when the hyphen is surrounded by spaces, I have to double-check that the writer simply has not accidentally inserted spaces in a compound adjective.

As for the puzzle, Mrs. 'Mericans and I completed it quickly (by our standards). The hyphenation trick was fun to work out, but I would have preferred more wackiness in the across answers -- i.e., more ones like "B-LISTER PACK" and fewer straight-forward like "PHOENIX A-Z".

Also, am I the only one to ask why, for 104D it is acceptable to use the singular "FLAP" as an answer to a plural clue (Kerfuffles)?

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

I prefer puzzles without Bra references. Just saying' .

For someone who asked, A-Z means "A to Z" , implying everything.

(and by the same logic, God used to be referred to as "Alpha - Omega")

Nancy Pilla 3:43 PM  

My thoughts exactly

Nancy Pilla 3:44 PM  

I'll be there with my sister, Beth.

'mericans in Paris 3:45 PM  

And, no, a hyphen and n-dash are not of the same length. (An n-dash is longer.)

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

More specifically, Jesus Christ is (not was) referred to as the Alpha and the Omega. Yeah, I Urban Dictionaried that beach cop pair business, but it seems a little fanciful to me. I initially thought I recalled PO PO from an early Ice Cube vehicle.

Chuck McGregor 4:45 PM  

Well, I read (not all of it) through the following link provided earlier:


It would seem that between style guides, typography, computer keyboards, operating systems, fonts, a plethora of usage examples, many differences of opinion, and caveats, there is far to much to keep track of as to what type of the various dashes and their cousin the hyphen to use.

If anyone can truly say they KNOW for certain what is correct, in every case which warrants it, what type of "line" is to be used, my hat's off to them.

That it took that much verbiage in Wiki to explain what en and em dashes are (and are't) says a lot (or maybe very little). Wiki uses almost 1,500 words to explain the difference in their style guide.

What's more is that, if one sees a dash or hyphen, it is likely that context makes the intent perfectly clear. If I see pre–World War II, the length of the line won't deter me from reading it as "before" World War II. However, "the rule" says it should be the longer en dash, but another rule says that pre-war should be a hyphen.

Can you see the difference well enough to make a difference (that is if the en dash translates to the blog font when this is posted. If not I tried.):
pre–World War II


Tim Pierce 4:54 PM  

"You thinking what I'm thinking?" is possibly my favorite clue of the year. Genius. Surprised no one else called this out. (Is it another old chestnut of a clue that everyone else is bored to see yet again? I'm sure I've never seen it before.)

Z 5:03 PM  

@Happy Pencil and @'mericans in Paris - You are making pretty typical prescriptivist arguments. We live (and always have) in a descriptivist world. I immediately noticed this in @Mr Fitch's Wiki link: Usage varies both within English and in other languages,.... Exactly. In common parlance what I entered into my puzzle were dashes.

Alex 5:39 PM  

This puzzle was fun for me. And a much-needed confidence-booster (look at all those DASHES!) after my utter humiliation last Thursday. (Yes! Let's complain about Thursday some more! :-D)
After I rolled my eyes at Mr Fisk's complaint (note to self - never ever take any sort of trip with Mr Fisk!) I laughed at DaKine's comment. And I was able to feel pleased about hitting Andorra immediately. The small size. Bonus smugness!
I thought TAKES DRUGS crossing TOKE was funny.
So, all in all, a triumph of a puzzle for me me me.

jae 6:05 PM  

If anyone is interested in the origin of B- BOY I highly recommend Baz Luhrmann's 6 part series "The Get Down" now on Netflix streaming. It's set in the Bronx in 1977 and the photography and music are terrific.

Nancy 6:20 PM  

@Malsdemare (12:20)and @Quasi (12:41)-- Your additions are spot-on and most welcome, although, @Quasi, I do have to ask: What the hell is a PIQUE DAME? It's a term I've never ever heard.

I came up with one additional theme answer myself, but I was halfway to the park and couldn't do anything about it until just now. Are you ready? CAUSE CELEBRE.

At this point, we have a plethora of theme answers and, therefore, the theme will be really dense. We'll need a top-notch constructor to pull it off. Any volunteers?

Rex Parker 6:23 PM  

This dash "controversy" is Peak Comments Section, truly.

QuasiMojo 6:45 PM  

@Nancy, 6:20PM. "Pique Dame" is French for "Queen of Spades." And the alternate title of Tchaikovsky's magnificent opera of the same name.

captwitting 7:06 PM  

Only one blogger mentioned Grant Wood as the painter of American Gothic,an iconic depiction of farmer and wife with pitchfork! Said to be Wood's aunt and uncle. I thought that answer to be the most difficult and clever of all the themed answers. Rex surely would recognize the painting if not the title.

tea73 7:39 PM  

My 20-something kid occassionally says THE PO-PO. Really. I have no idea where he picked it up.

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

American got hi-c is American gothic.

Evan Jordan 8:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan Jordan 8:13 PM  

I'm trying to figure out the same thing. Also, combing and re-combing the puzzle for a potential one-letter mess up with "hyphens" AND with "rebus DASH" is nobody's idea of time well spent. Loved the puzzle though. Super fun for a Sunday.

Z 8:16 PM  

@Rex Parker - We're always reaching for that mountain top.

Evan Jordan 8:23 PM  

If you're using the official NYT/Apple app for iPhone its a " - " not a spelled-out rebus. That's what I'd entered the first time through, but had "OOM __pah" as OHM not noticing that made SOB into SHB. Ugh. Good thing the puzzle was so fun.

Anonymous 8:48 PM  

Entertainment at the yoga retreat--OhM-pah band.

Rex Parker 8:51 PM  

Everyone knows what "American Gothic" is.

Tita A 9:00 PM  

Hi @Nan...nice to see you here.
Alas, Collingwood is nearly Philly...too far for me.

Andrew Heinegg 9:27 PM  

No one will notice because I am posting so late but, good God people, this was a wonderful puzzle and wah wahing about it is a hyphen and not a dash is too too. While it is, of course definitionally correct to call it a hyphen, when most people see the symbol-, they think dash, not hyphen. And that is what crosswords like this are about, a clue in the title that virtually everyone attempting the solve will get the meaning of as they go through the solving process.

The puzzle was cleverly constructed and fun to solve. Not brain-twisting (note my hyphen-dash!), but difficult enough to make one work a little bit to get to the solve. Nice work and a good write-up by OFL. Be happy!

Happy Pencil 9:37 PM  

Ah yes, I was waiting for someone to trot out the descriptivist vs prescriptivist argument -- as if we don't all follow rules of grammar and usage to a greater or lesser degree. I'll say again: If you don't understand or care about the error, that's your business. But that doesn't mean it's not an error.

Moving on ...

Chuck McGregor 11:59 PM  

@Happy Pencil

It is OK to point out an error. However, to call it a "massive fail" implies there SHOULD be a better title. Until someone comes up with a correct and at least an equally clever/fun title to express the theme, Messrs. Newton and Shortz win the argument by default as the best that could be done with it. This is as opposed to not understanding nor [sic] caring about it.

I noticed there are several stylistic and grammatical errors in your 9:37 comment. Those do not mean it is a fail. It just means you are correct in that we do not always follow the rules. Doing so would not have changed the intent nor meaning of your comment any more than "Dash" changed the conceit of the puzzle's theme.


Joe Bleaux 12:55 AM  

Yes, someone else agrees. I hope that's not nullified by my, too, being on the crotchety side. Regardless, 5 minutes into the puzzle, I was wondering what the hell was up with all the gimme answers. But it was still a fun diversion, so it's OK.


@Chuck McG, I'm guessing those weren't "air quotes" around your "massive fail".

@Z, you always have one more pithy comeback in your hip pocket, dontcha?
Repost riposte, repost riposte

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

Re: American Gothic. According to a letter written by Grant Wood cited on Wikipedia, the man and woman were intended to portray a father and daughter.

Alex 2:22 PM  

Looking at the painting again, I can see that the woman is significantly younger than the man. I went to the Art Institute of Chicago website, and it mentions that he used his sister and his dentist as models. Learn something new daily.

Amy 2:24 PM  

aha ! Phoenix AZ = Arizona ! lightbulb ! lol. wrestled for days with this one :)

Thiên Lôi 11:25 PM  

Đơn vị chuyên đặt mua hàng giúp nước ngoài
Đơn vị nhận đặt mua hàng giúp quốc tế
Đơn vị chuyên đặt mua hộ hàng nước ngoài

spacecraft 11:31 AM  

People LIKED this??? For me it was a DNBTF: Did Not Bother To Finish. Holy cow, how many THE's do we have to endure? THEPO-PO?? Who says that? The man, the heat, the...well, lots of derogatory terms; I thought I heard 'em all. But THEPO-PO? That's a new one. Sounds like baby talk. Ridiculous. We started out very badly with THEWB, legit enough, but as almost always, the THE seems like inert filler. Passing over THESIS (I'm sure THEBRO would approve), we now swing for THEFENCES. Apparently Mr. Newton believes he has THE-immunity. Three--three!--and we haven't even gotten out of the north yet!

Oh, the theme: meh. Others praise it; I just don't see much. Got it right away, and thought: OK, what else? Is that all there is? And the inevitable next thought: WHY AM I DOING THIS? No reason I can see. Incomplete pass; fourth down. See you THE next time. THE end.

Burma Shave 12:20 PM  


WHEREAS you SEEMTO GITMO attention in the RAW,
ASSESS your TORSO WITH it gone.


rondo 2:03 PM  

UH-OH, where to start? Across the upper tier I s’pose, where before it was done we had a RCD (random compass direction) a RRN (random Roman numeral) and TPS, CDS, EDS, ANDORRA coupla silly answers and those 3 THEs (not including THE SIS) before it even got UGLI. I can see why @spacey bailed. Well, I stuck around for all the wackiness, mostly because it was raining this A.M.

Another missed chance to clue HA-HA as “Packer Clinton-Dix”.

Would prefer to see AVANTI clued as “Sporty Studebaker”. Rare and priceless nowadays no doubt.

I SEEMTO remember that scene in Spiderman where we were treated to Kirsten DUNST’s WETTED TORSO and sheer PUSH-UPBRA while CHASING her LOCALHERO. Yeah baby. Bet that BRINGS memories TOYOU, too.\\\Not exactly G-RATEDCHEESE cake there.

For @D,LIW we’ve got LOX and TIMELOCKS.

AWW, TOPED and TOKE both crossing TAKESDRUGS, how cute. Musta TIEDON a good one.

WHEREAS I GUEST at no answer and finished WITH no problem, I ASSESS this one as easy/dumb.

rain forest 2:14 PM  

"Make a hyphen for it" - yeah, that would be a nice title. Words fail me regarding the "discussion" about those little horizontal lines we use for various grammatical reasons.

The word "prescriptivist" has been used a jillion times in the last few weeks. If I espy that word in a comment, I scroll by.

OK, enough about others' comments. I liked this puzzle a lot. It's easy, but not too much so; it is creative and solid, and the theme is well-executed. Also, it was funny/wacky. CLOSE to a perfect Sunday.

That is all. Gotta dash.

Ray o sunshine 2:19 PM  

Old fashioned ... pen with newspaper...on the deck in upstate NY in the sun surrounded by evolving Fall foliage made up for some of the non sensical answers and issues inherent with this puzzle.

Ray o sunshine 2:20 PM  

Old fashioned ... pen with newspaper...on the deck in upstate NY in the sun surrounded by evolving Fall foliage made up for some of the non sensical answers and issues inherent with this puzzle.

AnonymousPVX 3:37 PM  

Solved with no real issues. This is my least favorite crossword type, the "gimmick" puzzle. As I don't like these at all, I'll just leave it there.

leftcoastTAM 3:53 PM  

Sunday slog turned out to be less of a slog today; this one even had some PEP and dash (aka hyphen).

Moved pretty smoothly from NW toward SE, except for the P's in PO-PO (ugh), which I reluctantly entered as required by the crossing PACK. Another resister was the R in the unknown SANGUARO, but again the crossing BRINGS required it.

SE corner was the last to go. Sadly, it didn't go for me. Wanted ents instead of ORCS and settos instead of TO-DOS (oblivious of the symmetrically place theme entries). And not sorting out ANDORRA/CROPCIRCLES did me in.

Would have been an uncommonly fun Sunday exercise if not ending with a DNF and feeling like a BOZO.

crabby 4:51 PM  

@Charley 11:44 - remove yourself from the suburbs and into a core urban area, if you dare. Walk around, if you dare (and I bet you don't)and you will hear PO-PO and other words you'll hear in your neighborhood - like never.

Diana,LIW 5:09 PM  

As I was filling in the answers I was certain Rex would hate this one, since wackiness ensued. Surprise!

My solve was put off by also doing the Saturday puzzle today. I watched mournfully out the window all day, but no paper. I finally had to (again!) go to the supermarket, which is not a superstore, but is called Super One, and buy a replacement.

So by the time I finished them both, I was wrung out. Good thing I have some LOX to put in my LO-CALHERO. (Nova)

Some smiles, some yawns. Done.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

kitshef 7:17 AM  

I say no no to PO-PO, and even if it is a thing, having PO-PO and UH-UH and HA-HA is subpar.

The rest was - if not great, at least very, very good. Inspired and entertaining.

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Fresh Hip Hop Music Videos

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