Waffle introducer / TUE 9-13-16 / O'Neal's memoir of his rookie year / Central Florida metropolis informally / Cousin of baboon

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Constructor: Stanley Newman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging to Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: two Qs — three theme answers, each with 2 Qs

Theme answers:
  • QUINQUAGENARIAN (17A: Person between 50 and 59)
  • "SHAQ ATTAQ" (40A: O'Neal's memoir of his N.B.A. rookie year)
  • QUEBEC NORDIQUES  (65A: N.H.L. team that became the Colorado Avalanche)
Word of the Day: "SHAQ ATTAQ"

• • •

Well that was weird. Not much of a theme, but the answers are unusual enough that it's at least interesting (more than I can say for most Tuesdays). QUINQUAGENARIAN is not common (my blogging software is giving it an angry red underline right now) and "SHAQ ATTAQ" is downright obscure. I've never heard of it, which is at least a little weird. I mean, I've heard of "Kazaam." And I've heard of "Hack-a-Shaq," which is sincerely what I thought this was for a little bit. HAQQ-A-SHAQ! Difficulty level also jacked up by strangely tough mash-up of several words in and around "SHAQ ATTAQ": DIBS was mildly tough (31A: Rights, informally), and the front end of CUE CARDS was hard to see for a while (38A: Orators' aids), but real Saturday-level wrench in the system was that clue on BUT (32D: Waffle introducer?). Holy moly. It's a fine clue, but it's not at all a Tuesday clue. The fact that it runs through DIBS and CUE CARDS and, perversely, "SHAQ ATTAQ," made it especially debilitating. Everything else was Tuesday-easy, but that little nexus of nastiness added significantly to my solving time.

  • 5D: Davenport, e.g. (COUCH) — I'm reading Chandler right now, and there are no COUCHes in his novels. No sofas. Only davenports. Everywhere you turn.
  • 73A: Central Florida metropolis, informally (O-TOWN) — oh, this one added to my time too. Is this really what they call OCALA?*
  • 53A: Acknowledge as true (COP TO) — dropped REPLETE in the cross but then took it out because I figured this answer was ... NOD TO ... [cough] ... [sound of wind whistling in the trees] ... [somewhere a coyote howls] ...
Gonna go watch Sam Bee now. Later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Julie Z. Rosenberg 6:46 AM  

I think o town refers to Orlando.

Lewis 6:51 AM  

While there is nothing au courant in the puzzle's answers, it still felt fresh to me, and that had to be from Stanley's emphasis on fresh cluing. One example would be the clue for EDEN ("1950s British P.M. Anthony"), far from the typical Garden reference. Despite its PEG and LEG, there was nothing wooden about this offering.

And it had bite for Tuesday in the cluing, knowledge required, and non-simple answers (MACAQUE, OROTUND, QUINQUAGENARIAN). Yet it wasn't Wednesday level. Skill involved in making that happen.

There was a water-related sub-theme: STEEPS, SPURTS, EDDY, OARS, TRICKLE, TORPEDO, and SCISSOR (kick).

Q applause!

Loren Muse Smith 6:56 AM  

Somehow I got SHAQ ATTAQ with no problem. QUINQUAGENARIAN was a lot harder. How the heck do you say that?

This one played really hard for me, and I didn't guess right on the YARROW/O-TOWN cross. Sigh.

I love pairs of clues like the "davenport" and "reverberate" ones.

@Lewis – CUE in the grid feels playful. Cool.

As @jae would say, "Liked it."

Anonymous 7:01 AM  

Julie, see Rex's asterisk re o-town.


Anonymous 7:01 AM  

I must be a complete moron.....can someone explain how "but" is the answer for waffle introducer? Thanks J

Anonymous 7:06 AM  

A person who is waffling (not sure of, backing off from) about something might start a sentence explaining their unease with "But."

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

But... I could always change my mind about what I said before the but. In other words, I could waffle or vacillate. By the way, I thought OROTUND on a Tues was a bit much. Great word for later in the week, though.

Leapfinger 7:15 AM  

Is a COUPLET a quick version of what a COUPLE does under the coverLET? [Seems I'm not Quite over the Barany/White mattressful Sunday yet]

Anyway, since COUP is pronounced 'koo', shouldn't COUPLET sound like "kool it"?

That may be my Q to just kool it for a bit. At least till I finish the NW corner

Joseph Welling 7:21 AM  

I liked Q CARDS. . er CUE CARDS.

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

Snappy! I had -cUT at 32D at first, as in fries. BUT that would be a waffle follower, wouldn't it?

RAD2626 7:43 AM  

Really nice puzzle for any day. Followed Rex' rule re 1A in my opinion. Interesting clue and answer to start means good puzzle. Also cute connection to the Mini - hope that is not a spoiler alert. Only slowdown for me was having MAnAQUE in for the baboon, and also thinking nod to had to work. Got them both soon enough then smooth sailing through the bottom.

George Barany 7:43 AM  

Grrrrr, I had a comment all set to go when the Windows operating system on my laptop decided to restart and all the work was lost. Hopefully, I can reconstruct quickly enough to contribute to the conversation.

Compared to other relatively recent reviews, @Rex absolutely raves today about @Stan Newman's puzzle, and why shouldn't he? @Stan is an absolute legend in the crossword community, as evidenced by his cruciverbal autobiography and his own crossword franchise at Newsday. Appearances in the New York Times, then, are to be treasured, and today (his first since 2014) is no exception.

But there is another thing about @Stan Newman that particularly resonates with me, and thanks @Lewis for pointing it out, albeit unintentionally. Was the appearance of PEG and LEG in this puzzle accidental? Me thinks not, given that @Stan and I (and @Noam Elkies as well) are all graduates of the same New York City high school.

Off-topic, much appreciation to the numerous @Rex-ites who offered kind remarks about the honorable profession of University professor, be it of English or Math or History or Chemistry, among others ...

NCA President 7:50 AM  

OTOWN = Omaha. I didn't know there was an Omaha, Florida?*

Speaking of Omaha, where I grew up (near the O-town), we had a davenport. I didn't start calling that piece of furniture a couch/sofa until I moved to Indiana. Now I pretty much call it a couch. Apropos of nothing, we also called the foot thingy a "hassock" as opposed to an "ottoman."

I thought this puzzle was pretty challenging for a Tuesday. The SW, with MACAQUE, QUEBECNORDIQUES (I have zero recollection of this team), MORTIMER, and OROTUND was a bit beyond the ordinary for a Tuesday. And QUINQUAGENARIAN? Is that even a word?


*Just kidding

G.Harris 7:51 AM  

Got the toughies by crosses but found it overall relatively easy.

r.alphbunker 8:05 AM  

Ouch. Finished with QUINTUAGENARIAN/TVC. Details are here

Jamie C 8:08 AM  

Has anyone else noticed the Google doodle today is a tribute to a woman who is apparently famous for things other than being in crossword puzzles?

Jamie C 8:14 AM  

Wasn't it in ACTV that Iago insults Othello by calling him fat? "O,ROTUND..."

QuasiMojo 8:17 AM  

This puzzle was replete with revelations! I now know what I am. I'm a "quinquagenarian" but, alas, not for much longer. "Shaq Attaq" seemed quite obvious to me even though I have never heard of it. I also enjoyed the old"timer" nods here to classic pop culture, such as "Arsenic and Old Lace" (not my favorite Cary Grant role) and the Shakespeare/Opera stuff. I read somewhere once that "The Tempest" is the play by Shakespeare most frequently turned into an opera but none of them stuck, so to speak. Pardon my tongue-tied English today. Cheers to Stan Newman for a lively Tuesday puzzle. I enjoyed the clever use of "Davenport" twice in this grid. Fans of Nancy Mitford might recall her "U and Non-U" essay, pointing out the subtle differences, socially speaking, between "sofa" and "couch." As well as "curtains" and "drapes." Those things mattered once. Am delighted they don't so much anymore. I have been to Davenport, Iowa. Lovely city.

Jordan Silverstein 8:24 AM  

Being from O-Town, I can confirm that It is indeed Orlando. Very well known term, but probably only locally.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Given the number of times I have read negative reviews about how "old" and "tired" the NYT crosswords are, I was surprised to see what amounts to a relatively generous review from Rex. Perhaps QUINQUAGENARIAN is a nod to over 50s solvers, but VCR, CHER, MORTIMER, EDEN, YARROW and others all clued to stump anyone below a certain age. That said, I liked it. Decent fill and always fun to see a lot of Qs. I initially filled QUINtUAGENARIAN, taking a CUE from septuagenarian and octogenarian, and had tlC instead of QVC and lCd instead of VCR which caused me to lose time and boost my Tuesday average. Fun and challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

Howard Flax 8:27 AM  

This puzzle felt like a difficult Wednesday or a Thursday without the wildcard factor. Was looking forward to it when I saw the Stanley Newman byline, but it was a bit stale for me, no aha moment, more like "oh, i get it".

jberg 8:28 AM  

I liked it too. When I first saw all those 3s -- stacked on the sides, and running right across the grid in two rows -- I expected teh worse; but the clever cross references and pairings (e.g., UNTO .... UNDO) saved the day. What a Tuesday puzzle should be.

@NCA Pres -- me too growing up in Wisconsin, Davenports and hassocks all the way.

Early appointment today -- plus I've gotta go read the UPC on my VCR to see if it will get QVC.

Roo Monster 8:36 AM  

Hey All !
Had a heck of a time in the SE. That corner took as long (maybe even longer) tha rest of puz. Had ATL-QUEBEC-AREA. That's it. Didn't know MORTIMER (finally sussed it out having ___TIMER, what else name ends like that? I'm sure there's some...) and REPLETE an uncommon enough word to take a while to get to the front of the ole brain. OROTUND a WOE, COPTO somehow hard to see, BON (did finally figure out after getting UNTO, another one hiding for some reason), and EDEN as a 50's Brit PM? Ouch.

Rest of puz TuesPuz level. Had a few writeovers, Aria-ACTV(air conditioned TV? :-) ), lint-SPAM, TRInKLE(??), and totally spaced on spelling of ACQUITS, had AdQUITS!

Nice TuesPuz theme, Double Q's, ratchet up the U count for the M&As amongst us! Still fuzzy on the OARS clue. Anyone?

Grab me a SCISSOR (Grammarians? It's not a pair of SCISSORS, it's just one, right?)

E i E O C

Steve M 8:37 AM  

2 thumbs up

chefbea 8:38 AM  

Knew Shaq Attaq right away. Never heard of the other themers. Tough puzzle for a Tuesday.

Lewis 8:38 AM  

Would have been cool to have Queequeg in the puzzle...

Generic Solver 8:41 AM  

@r.alphbunker 8:05 AM - How do you export the puzzle into your analysis program? And is this a program you wrote and are willing to share with others (say at some link)? I would be fascinated to put my solving experience under the microscope as you are able to.

Billy C. 8:42 AM  

GBarany --

Wow, not only are you a brilliant Chemistry Professor in Minnesota, but you are also a grad of the prestigious Stuyvestant High School in New York!!!

As to University Professors, methinks that they are among the most overpaid, underworked creatures in the universe. Lecture 3 times per week, TAs to do all the recitation hours, grading, tutoring, proctoring, etc.

Are you kidding me, Prof???

Z 8:53 AM  

Hey! I was all set to write in Crosstown Ocala before I noted the "informally" in the clue. Then I got it all from crosses and never looked back.

Is it really Yma Sumac's birthday and who, besides crossword solvers, remembers her today? And I know you are all fine people but knowing what the Google Doodle is always seems just slightly odd, in a Jack Nicholson in The Shining sort of way.*

@LMS - How the heck do I say QUINQUAGENARIAN? Very slowly with one eye brow arched and a quizzical tilt to my lips. How about you?

My time says Wednesday but the calendar says Tuesday. Still, a fine tussle. I see that Apple™ is used to get at least one clue from this century. 50's tv, 60's folk, the 70's introduction of the VCR, and a 90's "memoir" has this puzzle screaming "I'm a QUINQUAGENARIAN! Get off of my lawn!" We are over half through the second decade of the 21st century, a little more recent pop culture really is okay. More Tom Hanks and less Cary Grant would be nice to see.

Z 8:58 AM  

*And sometimes even when you mention that you're kidding people miss the fact that you're kidding.

Mr. Benson 9:03 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
orangeblossomspecial 9:10 AM  

I'm like Rex -- I almost NATIQUED on the DIBS / BUT intersection until I finally pulled it out.

Jamie C 9:27 AM  

@Z, Darling? Light, of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in.*

phil phil 9:35 AM  

Same as Rex but the rubs didn't take any longer than my usual slow thinking. Except COPTO was my last and longest headscratcher.

Fun clues. I think pretty decent fill. Later than a tuesday, true. but what can you do. Can't dumbdown the clues they were too good, i.e. Supermarket checkout lines. And the grid doesn't seem to be as white as Fri or Sat.

Amy 9:35 AM  

I wonder if they considered making cue cards clue a revealer, like "....or, phonetically, a hint to ..." didn't need it but in retrospect could have been cue ( Q ) cards

John Child 9:43 AM  

@billyc: are you a natural or did you have to practice a lot to reach this level of nastiness?

JC66 9:49 AM  

Don't feed the troll.

Tim Pierce 9:52 AM  

@John Child: Billy C seems determined to remind us why the comments were moderated here in the first place.

(Liked the puzzle. Definitely harder than a usual Tuesday. Did not like OTOWN but the rest of it was groovy, especially the themers.)

Whirred Whacks 9:57 AM  

I POWERED THROUGH this crossword puzzle.

Hungry Mother 9:58 AM  

I've been to Disney World a bunch of times, but never heard of OTOWN. The Q in QVC also took me a long time, even tho I knew that I needed two Qs in the across. REPLETE took me longer than it should have. This was a Thursday level puzzle for me.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

@Jamiec, Yes! At last, the fame she deserves (I guess!)

Billy C. 9:59 AM  

Look, I got kicked out of college for failing chemistry and I've never gotten over it, okay?

Mohair Sam 10:02 AM  

What fun! We threw in SPring for SPARED (having momentarily forgotten QUINQUAGENARIAN) and gave ourselves fits down around VCR/CHER/DIBS as a result. BUT we were able to fill in reverse when we aha'd the wonderful clue for BUT.

Really liked CUECARDS in this puzzle. And liked @George Barany's catch of PEG/LEG too. How does someone even think of this theme? I can almost picture one of Stanley Newman's constructor friends challenging him a while back, "Oh yeah, hot shot, let's see you publish a puzzle with six Q's."

@Z - Feel your pain on Cary Grant clues, but the only other viable clue for MORTIMER may be Edgar Bergen, so there's no winning there.

Jamie C. 10:04 AM  

*that's a quote from The Shining, for those of you who thought I was bring mean.
And in my defense, the Doodle is just there when I open my browser...

GILL I. 10:05 AM  

Ooof...Worked hard but enjoyed it lots. Q is my favorite letter of the alphabet. I spent hours, during my prepubescent era, drawing pretty little squiggly tails. I know, my IQ just dropped a few notches.
I never got the BUT. I had the DI and S but could not figure that little puppy out. Dang. I always misspell POITIER but the ARIAN of the QUINQUAGE set me on my way.
Best Tuesday that belonged in Wednesday's slot in a long time. Que bueno querido Newman.

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Yay! It can be done. An early-week puzzle that actually makes you think. What a joy after yesterday's snooze-fest. And I learned a new word, too: QUINQUAGERIAN. Today, all the talks's about the SEPTUAs and the OCTOs and the NONAs, but back around the turn of the century, when average life expectancy was about 46, I think, QUINQUAGERIANs would have gotten a fair amount of press. Or would they have? Because I think I remember my father explaining to me, when I was quite young, about actuarial tables -- how you averaged all the children who died before the age of three and all the very young women who died in childbirth against the really old survivors like Benjamin Franklin. So maybe there were plenty of SEPTUAs and OCTOs, if not NONAs, back then.

I'm not wild about the COP TO clue (53A). I can "acknowledge as true" that the sun rises in the East, but not COP TO it. COP TO means to admit something you're not proud of. And when I saw "Rights, informally" (31A), I was thinking more along the lines of something truly noble like "We hold these truths to be self-evident" and not a playground-y word a child would use. But overall, a really interesting Tuesday for a change. More of these in the future, please, Will.

ole timer 10:09 AM  

Of course CUE CARDS was a revealer, but one that did not help the solve -- more like the maraschino cherry in the whipped cream on top of a sundae. I loved the puzzle. Oddly enough my time was typical of a slightly tough Tuesday. I got DIBS without a second thought and took SHAQATTAQ on faith.

My stepfather was from Davenport. And if a couch had flat arms and square cushions he called it a Davenport. If it had curved cushions, or wooden arms, it was a couch. If it had no cushions, it was a sofa.

I think OTOWN refers to Orlando (the metropolis) and not Ocala. Probably inspired by Chi-town for Chicago. Or maybe also by P-Town, for Provincetown which is not a metropolis at all.

Suggestion:: Next time you constructors need OLE, clue at as "Good ___ boy."

Z 10:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 10:42 AM  

@Jamie C, - Nicely done. Also, I'm one of those obsessive people who go through program settings and tweak things, so my default page in my browser is currently the Ann Arbor Ultimate Summer League site. Plus, I use Duck Duck Go because it does less tracking than Google, so I actually have to actively go to Google to see the doodle.

@Mohair Sam - I'm sure you got my drift, but for those who might think I have an issue with Cary Grant, North by Northwest is one of my favorite movies ever. Still, the man has been dead for nearly 20 years (this November) while Hanks has a hit in theaters this week. Although, as far as I know, Hanks has never successfully suggested post-coital bliss on the screen while still wearing an unwrinkled suit. Ergo, Grant > Hanks.

r.alphbunker 10:51 AM  

@Generic Solver
The program is freely available. It is a modification of the solving program at xwordinfo.com which Jim Horne generously allowed me to use. In a nutshell
1. Download the .puz that you want to solve
2. Open runtpuz.org
3. Choose the puzzle
4. Upload it.
5. When done, click the Summary button to review your solution.
6. If you want to compare your solution with other solvers, upload the solution. If you don't upload the solution it is saved in localStorage on your computer and only you can see it.

You can email if you have any questions

Joseph Michael 11:05 AM  

A tough Tuesday. Enjoyed all the Qs, including two without U' s, and especially liked learning the word QUINQUAGENARIAN.

MACAQUE brought to mind Virginia Senator George Allen's "macaca moment."

Didn't know O'Neal's memoir and misread "gels" as "gets," so entered SEES at 33D and ended up with SHAQ ATE A Q. Which sounded more like the version of his life that Dr. Seuss would write.

Also briefly misread "mistyping" as "misty ping" which sounded like an obscure medical condition. Maybe something you get after eating a Q?

AliasZ 11:19 AM  

My favorite part of the puzzle was Dorothy Parker's COUPLET, but I like Ogden Nash's retort even more:

A girl who is bespectacled
She may not get her necktacled;
But safety pins and bassinets
Await the girl who fassinets.

I loved the quacky theme, and the way Stan Newman played his CUE CARD. Albuquerque would have been a natural, albeit triter than SHAQ ATTAQ or QUINQUAGENARIAN -- quelquechose...

Otherwise the clean fill was exemplary with some cluing, what I would expect from the editor of Saturday Stumper puzzles. I especially liked OROTUND, CUE CARDS, MORTIMER, REPLETE, MACAQUE and a few others.

I thought it would be apt to listen to some Naughty Limericks by Russian composer RODIoN Shchedrin (b.1932). His liberal use of percussion instruments is especially riveting. Great fun!

Enjoy your Tuesday.

Michelle Turner 11:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Qute themers. Tough SW corner, at our house.
Surely CUECARDS is somewhat theme-related?

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Newman.

Masked & Anonymo9Us

dublin1949 11:43 AM  

fun puzzle to solove. How different my life would be without the Times crossword. What a joy!

Orange Bangery 12:01 PM  

@George Barany:

Are you a university professor???!!! We did not know that!!! How fascinating! Thank you for posting that information.

I once sat on a bus near a person who knew someone else who was divorced from a person who lived two blocks from that high school!!!

What an amazing connection!!!

Andrew Heinegg 12:10 PM  

First, my thanks to all of you for putting a certain contributor in their place. I thought everything about this puzzle was virtually perfect except for the day it was published.

As a lifetime holder of a PhD. in a inferiority complex, I was berating myself for not getting through the puzzle in a zippy fashion. But, that punishment was a small price to pay for the enjoyment of completing the work of this excellent composer of crosswords. Mr. Newman, like virtually all accomplished constructors, has had a continuing ascent in the quality of his work over the years IMHOP.

Finally, I have come to the conclusion regarding OFL's reviews that you can't please everyone no matter which direction the review is taken. If it is harshly critical, it's impossible to please him. If it is laudatory, then he must know the constructor or he gave the review a positive one because he had so many negatives in a row or some such other reason. C'est la vie.

Andrew Heinegg 12:15 PM  

First, my thanks to all of you for putting a certain contributor in their place. I thought everything about this puzzle was virtually perfect except for the day it was published.

As a lifetime holder of a PhD. in a inferiority complex, I was berating myself for not getting through the puzzle in a zippy fashion. But, that punishment was a small price to pay for the enjoyment of completing the work of this excellent composer of crosswords. Mr. Newman, like virtually all accomplished constructors, has had a continuing ascent in the quality of his work over the years IMHOP.

Finally, I have come to the conclusion regarding OFL's reviews that you can't please everyone no matter which direction the review is taken. If it is harshly critical, it's impossible to please him. If it is laudatory, then he must know the constructor or he gave the review a positive one because he had so many negatives in a row or some such other reason. C'est la vie.

Carola 12:18 PM  

Loved the puzzle, REPLETE with Qs and other grid treats - MACAQUE, TRICKLE, OROTUND....

One of my favorite family photos is a black-and-white snapshot taken on my confirmation Sunday (it didn't last). The four of us are sitting in the living room on the davenport, 14-year-old me in my first pair of high heels (white) between my beaming parents and adorable, cross-eyed little brother (surgery attempts, patching, glasses not yet having availed). Since then I've owned several couches, but in this photo we'll always be on a davenport.

Andrew Heinegg 12:23 PM  

I hope that you and your ilk come to the realization that the contributors to this blog have a kind of kinship with one another and hearing about things that go on in their lives is a matter of interest since it enables the others to know something about where the critiques are coming from.

So, if you and your kind find that some of the information/contributions of regulars on the blog are pedantic or foolish, don't read their writings. It is your Constitutional right!!

By the way, harsh criticism from a pseudonym is cowardly indeed.

puzzle hoarder 12:37 PM  

I think this modern trend of using computer lists to come up with words is the bane of puzzles these days. The constructor even says he "went to the internet" for QUINQUAGENARIAN. Ironically it turns out to be one of those pre Shortz words the editor seems to have tried to eliminate. Material like QVC and QED are things to be avoided not highlighted. This puzzle comes off as a perfect storm of what I don't like in a crossword, painful ease supporting a nonword rotting away in the computer cloud. Yes this is a genuine very late QUINQUAGENARIAN gripe.

mac 12:39 PM  

Very good puzzle! Definitely took longer than the usual Tuesday, but that's fine with me.
I finished in the SW. I needed too many crosses for Mortimer.
Good word to learn, "orotund".

Gregory Schmidt 12:44 PM  

Liked it. Tough for a Tues.

Chaos344 12:58 PM  

Great Puzzle! Would it be possible for Stanley Newman to construct a bad one? This offering was several minutes above my usual Tuesday solving time, I'd gladly accept my normal early week solving times to increase by 50% if the NYT would discontinue the obvious trend of "dumbing down" the puzzles to attract more revenue from new solvers.

@Leapfinger: Oh Leapy! Leave it to you to make that connection between COUPLET and COVERLET, but I'm gonna leave poor G. Barany out of it. He's already spent his time in the barrel as of late.

Continuing in that vein, we have another human conundrum to solve today. Medical conditions notwithstanding, isn't O-Town everyone's favorite recreational destination? Those who experience the pleasure of that venue for the first time, spend the rest of their lives returning as often as possible! Would anyone here disagree that a stay in O-Town is the best therapy for stress to be found anywhere? Couples never fight while visiting O-Town, and there is never any talk of politics, sports, or other mundane issues. You can take the trip alone, but its so much better if someone travels with you. Even better if they meet you there!

Being a confirmed agnostic, there's just one thing that bothers me about the place. It's not really in the "Bible Belt", but people visiting O-Town seem overly religious to me? Maybe its something in the water? Everyone is always screaming OH MY GOD? That's a little "preachy" for my tastes, but maybe it stems from the fact that they can't text it. There are NO cell phones allowed in O-Town! It's a really friendly place though. Everyone is always saying, "Come Again!"

O.K. Leapy. I know I'm being puerile, anapest to boot! I'm off to check my travel schedule! ;-)

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

Great puzzle. I always enjoy Stan Newman's work though it's usually as the Saturday Stumper. I didn't know he had "easy" (for a Saturday, harder than average for Tuesday)in his repertoire.

@r.alph, I would have had your exact problem with 17A except solving on paper enabled me to go back over and realize I needed two Qs in the answer, so I avoided the DNF.

67Ds clue brought this Beatles lyric to mind:

She's not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do, oh yeah
She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand like a lizard on a window pane.
The man in the crowd with the multi-colored mirrors on his hobnail boots.
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy working overtime.
A soap impression of his wife which he ate and donated to the National Trust.

Whirred Whacks 1:05 PM  

George Barany is one of genuinely nice people in this forum. He always has a positive thing to say about both the puzzle of the day (especially the constructor) and also the other comments made about the puzzle and the ideas they provoke.

I've had a chance to get to know him a bit off-Rex, and he's been quite generous in his comments and thoughts in our various email exchanges.

Dick Swart 1:05 PM  

He was a cruel man but fair!

Anoa Bob 1:10 PM  

Liked this word-nerd's delight a bunch. Only 34 black squares opens the grid up for a nice balance between theme and fill. One bar of black squares across the middle of the three left-most & right-most columns (themed puzzles almost always have two in those areas) gives us quadruple triple-stacked sevens in the corners. Good stuff.

My go to MORTIMER would be philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, who wrote for the general audience about great ideas and philosophers with remarkable clarity and precision, and, in his words, "without excessive jargon and footnotes".

This puzzle has an old school feel to it and to me is a fine example of the artful arrangement of words crossing one another.

Masked and Anonymous 1:18 PM  

yep. Mr. Newman confirms it in his comments over at xwordinfo.com, that CUECARDS was a kinda Easter egg entry, relatin to the theme. This was also well-spotted by many here at the Comment Gallery, of course. Mr. Newman also makes note of the "Quid pro Quo" schtick, at 68-D.

M&A comment#1 was real brief, on account of had to take time out to pull the radio out of PuzEatinSpouse's car, so it could be taken in to the local electronic fixit & bait shop for repair.

This was my kind of NYT TuesPuz. Feisty answers, with corner 7-stacks. Easy and hard clues, livin together in sin. Got to learn all about MACAQUEs and OTOWNs. Got yer solid U-count (9). Nice snarl at TV ADS (19-D). Theme was kinda minimalistic (39 squares), but with the qute extra Easter eggs mentioned earlier.
So … Rodeo.

Ain't there a town in Greenland named Qaanaaq, or somesuch? Q-TOWN!

fave weeject: QED.
fave U-combo: UNTO/UNDO.
fave TuesPuz evil clue: {Waffle introducer?} = BUT (As in: start of a statement, when one is waffling.)
fave TuesPuz moo-cow clue: {Corrida cry} = OLE. (Hall monitas just hate it, when U yell "OLE!" in the school corrida.)



Charles Flaster 1:21 PM  

Very easy until I encountered COP TO which could have been clued better , especially for a Tuesday.
I had hOP TO so it was a DNF.
Stanley Newman's books are highly recommended for crossword enthusiasts!!
Did like clues for DIBS and SPAM.
Thanks SN

Tom 1:37 PM  

Thanks, Stanley, for not cluing MORTIMER as (blank) Snerd. Just as old a reference, but at least Arsenic and Old Lace is performed occasionally by community theaters. Started in the NE and went clockwise in about 12 minutes.

Crosses made everything gettable, and PLAQUE went in last. Could be clued as "dental problem!"

Fun and challenging Tuesday.

Proud Mamma 2:15 PM  

Thought it was easy. Merely guessed the Q answers, once the double Q theme appeared. They just followed.

Trouble at O town, Eden and orotund.

Otherwise smooth sailing.
Not terribly interesting.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

"Stan is an absolute legend in the crossword community..." Egad, now we have a "crossword community?" Must consist of all the nerds who actually time how long it takes to do the puzzle and keep ongoing records of it! Sign of the times, I guess. For this (admitted) geezer the crossword puzzle was just a diversion that popped up on the cartoon pages of the local newspaper - at least when I'm in a non-NYT area - next to the Jumble and Dear Abby.

Well anyway, my regards to the crossword community!!

Chronic dnfer 3:17 PM  

Dnf'd at ubc/coublet. Was thinking universal bar code. Anyway great tiesdY and of course I chalk it up as a major victory!

Hartley70 3:30 PM  

Great Tuesday! This puzzle took a bit longer than usual because of course I had to fiddle around a bit to come up with QUINQUAGENARIAN. I didn't know the Quebec Nordiques either. Those two beauties slowed me down a bit, but I was delighted to have the challenge.

Other than OTOWN which I quickly surmised was Orlando, the fill was easy enough without being trite, HANOI and CHER for example. I spent many a Sunday dangling my feet over the side of a DAVENPORT as a child, or sitting on my grandfather's hassock. Until now I had forgotten that's what we called an ottoman back in 1950's Providence. I love being reminded of lost words. One of my favorite lost phrases is "bye and bye" used for "later". I wish I could remember to use them in conversation to keep them alive.

the redanman 3:40 PM  

I have no idea about this puzzle as I have been trying the on-line applet and my wife kept bugging me and I got frustrated, so I am guessing Challenging is correct even though I got two of the three spanners cold and nearly the third. Crosses killed me.


Roo Monster 3:44 PM  

Random Nonsense...

French RBI, e.g.? LE STAT
Fight with Asner? SPAR ED
Give the girl a medium grade? C HER
Actor Stephen, for one? A REA
Pirates in a line? YAR ROW
Singer Stewart anted? ROD IN
Emphatically talking about the team adage? HA! NO I


Anonymous 3:51 PM  

Is there a reason why attacks on individuals aren't deleted from this forum. I noticed that Patrick Berry handled that sort of thing very deftly when he was subbing. It's kind of scary.

chefwen 3:52 PM  

Pretty tough for me also, but I loved it. The B in DIBS/BUT was my last letter in.

Arsenic and Old Lace was one of my all time favorite movies and I still needed to get a pliers to pull MORTIMER out of the memory. Wanted to look up MACAQUE but my BIL wouldn't let me get up for my iPad. Kept saying "you'll get it, don't cheat". Damn, the kid was right.

Great puzzle!

jae 3:58 PM  

Tough Tues. Pretty much what Rex said:

DIBS/BUT cross fiendish.
Theme answers a tad obscure.

Smooth grid, lotsa Qs, crunchy, what @lms said liked it!

For those unfamiliar with QVC I highly recommend the movie "Joy", Jennifer Lawrence is excellent as usual and it's an interesting story.

GILL I. 4:26 PM  

Hey @Ole timer....don't forget "Sweet little OLE me."

Anonymous 4:35 PM  

I don't understand the phrase "but I got it from the crosses". Isn't that how one does a crossword puzzle. Easy puzzle today - enjoyed it.

Martín Abresch 4:47 PM  

Short on time today. I enjoyed this puzzle. The fill and the clues had a lot of personality.

Liked the Davenport double (COUCH and IOWA). Like ACQUITS, MACAQUE, TORPEDO, and CUE CARDS. Love "Arsenic and Old Lace." Agreed that the pop culture clues are on the older side, but they didn't feel stuffy older, if that makes sense.

Always nice to see Sidney POITIER, with whom I share a birthday.

Chaos344 5:16 PM  

Whirred Whacks:

D'accord. I'm kinda on the horns of a Lemming here. Although I don't totally agree with Billy C., I understand what might irk him in regard to Mr. Barany.

Mr. Barany is indeed a class act. My opinion of him changed dramatically when he sent me a five word personal E-mail. That doesn't mean I won't challenge him in the future if he instigates a confrontation on the blog. I would much rather address all such matters off site.

I do apologize for recently teasing Mr. Barany about any speculative trysts with our very own LMS. After all, who could resist the wit, wistful wanderings, wordplay, wiles and winsome feminine pulchritude of that West Virginian woman? Well, we've never actually seen her feminine pulchritude have we? That doesn't mean it ain't there! ;-)

Nancy 6:21 PM  

@Z & @Mohair -- Now you know I love you guys a lot, but you do have to know your limitations. After all, would you guys (or any other guys on the blog) be remotely interested in who I think should be featured more in crosswords: Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn or JLo? (I do have an opinion, but, when I'm around men, I have the good sense to keep it to myself.) For that matter, would you be interested in what Carola thinks? Or Tita? Or Loren? Or Aging Soprano? In the same manner, it is not up to you two to decide whether Tom Hanks is more to be desired than Cary Grant. Let me leave no doubt whatever on that score: Tom Hanks is not to be more desired than Cary Grant! Tom Hanks is a lovely man -- a warm, funny, very down-to-earth, aw shucks sort of man, and I strongly suspect that he would make a much better husband than Cary Grant, but I am not in husband-analyzing mode when I think of Cary Grant. So please leave Cary in any and all puzzles that constructors choose to put him in. Thank you for that.

Mike D 6:45 PM  

Does nobody else see the irony of anonymous (2:17) bashing the "crossword community" while posting on a blog site dedicated to said community?

Wags 6:45 PM  

Would like to have seen the word coupon in there as, for some inexplicable reason, we pronounce as q pon

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

Will someone please tell me what a "donator" is. Is that like a "donor"?

Z 8:23 PM  

@Nancy - Who am I to argue? I am curious as to your take on Mr. Grant's post-coital attire and its marked unrumpledness. I'd ask @Chaos but he seems busy.

@Mike D - Yes.

@Anonymous4:35 - "but I got it from crosses" may mean the solver needed all the crosses to get the answer or it may, as in my usage regarding OTOWN this morning, that I didn't even need the clue because the crossing answers filled in the word.

@Lewis - I was hoping a quahaug would make an appearance.

@puzzle hoarder - No issue with QUINQUAGENARIAN. I was part of the sesquicentarian class at my college (class "motto:" Do you think I'm sesqui), so that a similarly formed word for "50" seemed pretty typical of English. My hypothesis is that being a QUINQUAGENARIAN is typical, so we don't see it like we do octogenarian or nonagenarian, making QUINQUAGENARIAN atypical.

Z 8:25 PM  

@anon7:49 - Where did you see this word?

Mohair Sam 8:48 PM  

Hi @Nancy - Ummm, my only point was that MORTIMER is difficult to clue with anything but "_____ Snerd", hence Mr. Grant's role was the only logical alternative. I have no idea what you and @Z are going on about. But I did enjoy your rant.

The answer to your first question should be Audrey Hepburn. The answer to your second question is no.

Black eyed Susan 8:53 PM  

If you connect the Qs you sort of get the shape of the capital Q as those of us who learned the almost dead art of cursive writing learned to write it.

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

Little late to comment but since I live just down the street from the original Davenport & Company manufacturer (now a pretty nifty office building), had to put in a word for that great old company:

"A. H. Davenport and Company was a late-19th-century–early-20th-century American furniture manufacturer, cabinetmaker, and interior decoration firm. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it sold luxury items at its showrooms in Boston and New York City, and produced furniture and interiors for many notable buildings, including The White House. The word "davenport," meaning a boxy sofa or sleeper-sofa, comes from the company."

Gotta love those Qs!!

-- CS

Leapfinger 9:19 PM  

@Wags, or a QP doll, eh? We have a gracious plenty of Q-SHAQS in these yere parts, so some sections were regular sliders. I just have to remember not to BOW TO a COP. Too bad that, with my Quebecois connection, it took so long to get on the Nordique Traque. On the whole, however, it finally solved in a Quantum Leap.

@Mike D, just so. More proof that some lost souls never mature much beyond the Nyah-nyah-nyah stage of development. I suspect a querulous quondam Quisling.

Some folks want more Qowbell; I want Stan Newman to be a MOR_TIMER.

jessica cohn 9:39 PM  

Still trying to complete on my own the Tuesday puzzles. Some weeks more successful than others. Not this week ,
1) cop to ?? Never heard of this
2)quinquagenarian ??
3) Dibs?
Maybe it's just my inexperience but sometimes I think the answers are a stretch

jessica cohn 9:41 PM  

Also wondering whether the people on this blog know all of the factual trivia or do you all look up some of the answers ?
Example - Cary grants role in arsenic and old lace ? Do you all know that ?

Nancy 10:47 PM  

@Z -- My thoughts: You rumple Cary Grant, you ruin Cary Grant. Post-, pre-, whenever. Some men are for rumpling. Cary is not for rumpling.

@Mohair -- YESSSSS! Audrey Hepburn is the right answer! (Even though I understand perfectly that it's not my decision to make.)

Z 11:00 PM  

@jessica cohn - I had ---TIMER in place and inferred that MORTIMER might work, then confirmed with the crosses. MORTIMER is an old-timey name, so that helped me intuit it. Rex's joke about O-TOWN is an inside joke for frequent solvers; Five letter Florida town is often Ocala, so whatever the trivia in the clue, an experienced solver will see if Ocala fits. Knowing the actual trivia helps, but should not be required. As for your first questions; COP TO is something you might hear in a crime procedural, DIBS as in one sibling saying to another, "I have DIBS on the front seat." As for QUINQUAGENARIAN, I'm guessing most solvers pieced it together.

And, yes, the later in the week you get the more of a stretch the cluing will become. This is a feature, not a bug.

Elephant's Child 7:07 AM  

@jessica cohn

re Cary Grant's role in A&OL: I suspect that quite a few solvers had ___TIMER in place as @Z did, if their solve spread out from the top left corner. When I read the clue for it, all that came to mind was OLD_TIMER. I didn't try to figure it out further, and working out the rest of the quadrant gave me the answer in the fullness of MORTIMER.

Burma Shave 8:57 AM  


As a COUPLET hurts when on the SAME COUCH as PEG,
in SPITE of the SPURTS that TRICKLE down my LEG.


spacecraft 10:40 AM  

I wrestled with the very same nexus that bothered OFL. Also think cluing was very post-Tuesday, and that OROTUND (why, yes--the letter O IS rotund, now that you mention it) is OK for later in the week, though it's another one of those "real" words that NO One Ever Uses.

We don't hear "-genarian" till we reach at least sixty, usually. (Would a teenager be a "duagenarian?") Otherwise, this puzzle is REPLETE (!) with good and interesting entries. It certainly isn't one of those throwaway early-week trifles. Although other damsels came to mind while solving--the quid pro QUO bit had me thinking about Jodie Foster, especially since I just saw "Killing Reagan" last night--but have to go with last century's Lady Gaga: the irrepressible CHER. When I saw her in "Silkwood," I thought, holy cow, this chick can ACT! Then she played the mother in "Mask" and blew me away. And we haven't even gotten to "Moonstruck" (Oscar!) yet.

Okay, I've snapped out of it. Give this one a touchdown, off a Quarterbacque sneaque!

rondo 12:19 PM  

CUE the fanfare for a puz of this ILK. Far superior to a normal Tuesday. I had the SAME bit of trouble as others there in the middle, BUT emerged safely.

There used to be a NASCAR driver named Dick TRICKLE. Suppose he ever got teased about that?

EDDY is never clued “Guitarist Duane” (who was married at one time to Sunday’s Jessi Colter) and obviously not Allman (CHER was married to brother Gregg ). And once again OLE not “Sven pal”. Or even “__Miss”.

There’s really BUT one choice in I got you yeah babe CHER. See comment above re: a short marriage in the 1970s. EDEN coulda been Barb.

Pretty good puz, a lotta 3s, BUT spread around so as not to notice too badly. Decent, no ifs ands OARS BUTs.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

90% easy, 10% unadulterated crap. Rejected.

leftcoastTAM 1:52 PM  

Rex's "little nexus of nastiness" in the SHAQATTAQ(?!) AREA got to me. Had SHAQAsTAQ and BUs, neither making much sense, but that's what I SETtled for [sigh].

"Acknowledge as true" seemed awfully formal and a bit off for COPTO, and it took crosses to reveal QVC. OROTUND is a great word. OTOWN is apt, but never heard Orlando referred to that way, though visiting there twice.

AQUITS and SPARED in context of clues were a bit jarring.

CUE in that nasty nexus was an apt revealer of what might pass for a theme.

Ergo, a challenging and somewhat vexing Wednesday. QED.

leftcoastTAM 4:47 PM  

Tuesday, that is, but it seemed Wednesday-ish.

Diana,LIW 7:58 PM  

Not the worst day of my life, but perhaps in the top 20.

My email account was killed without any notification.

I began the day at 7 am with 5 fillings (tooth-wise).

I'm no longer numb from the fillings.

I'm having mashed potatoes for dinner.

I may have my email acct back for a few days/weeks.

Oh well.

On the good side - really, husband loves me. Finished the puzzle. Must figure out a way to get puzzle for the next 5 months.

Which leaves me...

Diana, Waiting in the Q

rain forest 12:31 AM  

OK, after hours for me. Forgot to post. Sorry, but I had a bronchitis issue to deal with. Anyway, just a few little comments.

@Nancy - why does the puzzle have to conform to your particular idiom?
@puzzle hoarder - go away.

Sorry about that. Had a couple scotches, However, let me say that this was a wonderful puzzle, regardless of the day of the week it has appeared. What are you gonna do? "Shit. This isn't a Tuesday. I'll solve it tomorrow."

Sorry again. Third time in four years I've had bronchitis. Not happy.

Only problem here was figuring out that OTOWN was Orlando. Who knew? Liked it.

Btw, @Spacey - brilliant comment! As usual.

Teedmn 12:37 AM  

@Diana, set yourself up with a gmail or iCloud account. It is easy - or HIW could help. Do not succumb to despair! (Or become incommunicado). Sorry to hear about the fillings, sounds like a numbing experience!

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