Way to stream Game of Thrones / WED 9-7-16 / La Boheme soprano / Genre for much Top 40 radio, for short / We convenience store sign / Singer of 2016 #1 hit Cheap Thrills

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Constructor: Kary Haddad

Relative difficulty: Easy (very)

THEME: I CAN'T COOK (60A: Explanation one might give for following the directions of 18-, 24-, 39- and 47-Across) — answers are easy-to-fix foodstuffs, clues are [cooking instructions]

Theme answers:
  • HOT POCKET (18A: [Place in crisping sleeve; microwave fo 2 minutes])
  • RAMEN NOODLES (24A: [Boil contents for 3 minutes; stir in seasoning packet])
  • LEFTOVER CHINESE (39A: [Put yesterday's General Tso's in microwave; heat for 2 minutes]) 
  • MAC AND CHEESE (47A: [Boil contents for 8-10 minutes; drain; add butter; stir in bright orange powder])
Word of the Day: ALT-right (69A:___-right (modern conservative movement)) —
The alt-right is a segment of right-wing ideologies presented as an alternative to mainstream conservatism in the United States. It has been described as a movement unified by support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, as well as by opposition to multiculturalism and immigration. // The alt-right has no official ideology, although various sources have said that it is associated with white nationalism, white supremacism, antisemitism, right-wing populism, nativism, and the neoreactionary movement. // The alt-right has been said to be a largely online movement with Internet memes widely used to advance or express its beliefs, often on websites such as 4chan. (wikipedia)
• • •

I like this. I like this revealer. It's awkwardly straightforward and not-at-all-corny, so I'll take it. The instructions-as-clues bit is pretty clever too. Sure, LEFTOVER CHINESE is an outlier since its "cooking instructions" are just reheating instructions and don't come on a box / bag, but I still think it fits nicely with the basic idea. Fill on this one is pretty clean overall, if not ... let's say, sizzling. There's a good dose of modern stuff in the grid, like HBOGO and SIA and Kendrick LAMAR and EDM (which I always forget is a thing). Despite the fact that the grid breaks down a bit in and around the revealer, with abbr. on top of abbr. on top of prefix all covering a revealer that's kind of tricky to parse—despite all that, I crushed this one in something just north of an average Monday time (i.e. just north of 3). Once again, gimme-ing 1-Across propelled me to a fast solve (knocked out the first five Downs in order, no problem). I am not a fan of ON LIVE :( and I don't have a ton of love for BETIDE, but all told this was solid, strangely funny work.

I'd probably steer around the contemporary white nationalist / antisemitic political movement if I were cluing ALT, but that's just me. As someone I know just pointed out to me, you do have CSA in there, so it's not like movements with disgusting beliefs are forbidden. Still, CSA is bygone, whereas the ALT-right might take the White House. Am I offended by ALT-right's being in the puzzle? Uh, no. It's just ... f*&% them, everything about them, and every little thing that mainstreams and normalizes them. . . Yes. That's good. I feel better now. Put them in the puzzle, fine, but make the clue more accurate. Maybe crossreference with MESS and/or MORON and/or ODOR and/or OOZE? So many options. Be creative.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Wick 12:18 AM  

Ha... We're all doomed.

For some reason I'm really hungry

Z 12:29 AM  

Yep. Easy. The PPP might give the over 60 crowd some issues because it skews much younger than usual,

ALT Right, the ideological bastard off-spring of Jeff Davis and Roger Taney dressed up in a nice euphemism, so I like that CSA is there, too.

jae 12:47 AM  

Easy for me too and just delightful. Liked it a bunch.

And, speaking of hip-hop if you are interested in an historical perspective on how the the genre came to be, I highly recommend Baz Luhrmann's 6 part series "The Get Down" now streaming on Netflix. It's a love story set in the Bronx in 1977 and the music is terrific.

Mike in Mountain View 12:49 AM  

Tuesday time for me. Would have been a Monday time were I 20 years younger.

Not very exciting, but it was done so quickly there wasn't much time to be excited.

Best part of the puzzle was @Rex's reaction to ALT.

Anoa Bob 12:52 AM  

That stuff can give you a case of INSTA OOZE.


chefwen 12:55 AM  

Did not know ALT, CDC or EDM. ALT filled in with crosses, the D crossing in CDC and EDM remained blank. A lousy DNF a on a Tuesday, shameful, I feel like a MORON. The rest, easy peasy!

Ellen S 1:01 AM  

Well said @Rex and @Z!

I didn't find it as easy as our pop-culture-loving Fearless Leader. Far from a gimme, I had to ask my granddaughter for the answer to 1A. She disputes SIA - says she didn't have any #1 hits this year. I can't argue that one way or t'other, but will note that granddaughter has been working and going to nursing school so maybe she missed the important musical event. I was much more comfortable with the La Boheme clue.

Well, I don't think I can pretend any longer that my elderly dog (haha, as if I only have *one* elderly dog: the vet says I'm running an Eskaton for animals here, the youngest is an arthritic 7-year-old cat who for a while was falling off counters, sometimes taking crockery with her. glucosamine seems to be helping). Where was I? Oh, the dog is having a relapse of his spine injury. I better make a cup of coffee, it's going to be a long night, and drag him over to the Emergency vet for a nice shot of morphine or maybe they use methadone; whatever it is, it works. Then make an appointment with the acupuncturist tomorrow. (On the other hand, he's yelping less frequently now than 3 hours ago. Maybe the Tramadol is kicking in and I can skip the ER and just take him to the weird expensive Chinese medicine people. Also laser therapy. And strange herbs.)

Larry Gilstrap 1:38 AM  

I thought the theme was tight, particularly the revealer I CAN'T COOK. Of course you can! But, that area where the Santa ANA winds blow in the fall was the hard nut to crack.It took me THRICE as long as the rest of the puzzle. ADAGE crossing MAXIM reminds me why I like terse literature. I once heard someone say, "Who am I, the Pope of Rome?",and I use that phrase whenever it might even be mildly appropriate, usually in the spirit of clever self deprecation. I wasn't raised Catholic, but many of my friends were, so I heard stories. My friend was complaining about his tyrannical catechism teacher whose fiercest rebuke was, "Woe BETIDE you!" Fun Wednesday challenge.

Bookin' the Cooks 2:44 AM  

An easy Wednesday for me, and I, too, enjoyed the theme and the solve. Stupidly got hung up on WEB, though, but this being Vince Scully's final season as the Dodgers' announcer all I could think of to answer "fly catcher" was MITT. ūüė¨ Yes, I know I've said in the past that I know nothing of sports, but there's always an exception to a rule, and mine is Dodger baseball.

In addition to this cleverly constructed puzzle, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rex's comments on the Alt-Right movement.

Mart√≠n Abresch 3:08 AM  

Loved this puzzle!

Had a good feeling about the puzzle at 1-Across: Hip-hop's Kendrick LAMAR. Last year, having heard his name here and there, I finally went to YouTube to hear what he was about and good god he's good. If you don't know him, I recommend at least checking out this video, which features Lamar over the jazz stylings of Flying Lotus. It starts sad and becomes happy. Lamar uses his voices like a percussion instrument. His sense of rhythm is amazing. (Though in the end I'm most impressed by him on God Is Gangsta, which is broken and strange and spare and, man, it's just glorious.)

ADAGE crossing MAXIM was a nice touch, as was the bonus adage "It is better to TRAVEL well than to arrive."

20-Across reminds me of one of my favorite ever jokes found on Twitter: "I'd love to get in touch with Emilio Estevez. Does anyone have his emailio addresstevez?"

Figured out the theme early at RAMEN NOODLES. Never liked HOT POCKET(s). But what made this puzzle for me was the answer LEFTOVER CHINESE. I'm not quite sure why that one delighted me so, but I thought it was perfect and it made me laugh out loud.

I also loved this detail in the clue for MAC AND CHEESE: "stir in bright orange powder." Wonderfully written clue.

I ran into a spot of trouble in the SW as I put in ALL/LOGO for MIC/ICON, but I straightened myself out soon enough.

I CAN'T COOK, it's true. Though my goto easy-make food is the PB&J. Earlier this summer, my partner was out of town for 19 days. On Facebook, there was a bet as to how many PB&J's I would eat over those days (25). I mailed the closest guesser a jar of peanut butter and two jars of local jelly as a prize.

The fill may not have been perfect, but it sure was nice to have fresh references. I look forward to tasting the tears of the older folk who don't like the hippity-hop. Your tears are delicious!

Loren Muse Smith 4:40 AM  

Hah! I was certain someone would point out the obvious – fare for the poor graduate student.

The reveal could've been – I NEED SOME FOOD TO ABSORB ALL THIS ALCOHOL BEFORE I TEACH MY 8AM CLASS ON LEMMAS. To this, then, I would add my go-to nosh back in the day- grits cooked in a percolator. I'm not making that up.

No time this morning; I'm helping with the sophomore class Homecoming float after school every day this week. And, yeah, I think I'd rather just go into a closet and quietly stab my kneecaps with a plastic fork.

Kary – I thoroughly enjoyed all your INSTA-meals. Rex – great write-up.

Charles Flaster 6:15 AM  

Agree with Rex-- easy and well clued.
Naticked at SIA crossing SAMOSA ?????
One write over-- CARD for CARe.
Thanks KH

mathgent 6:19 AM  

Wonderful theme. But the cluing was too straightforward. My only hang up was the SW, where it took a lot of staring before I crossed out ALL over LOGO. I liked the Wayne's World expression NOT. I should have remembered MIMI.

When my grandson comes over, I sometimes make an enhanced mac and cheese using the Kraft box. Two strips of cooked bacon chopped up, an extra tablespoon of butter, and a slice of good Swiss chopped up. After preparing with the extra ingredients, I pour it into a Pyrex dish, top it with grated Parmesan, and bake to create a crust. Good eating.

My grade (for the puzzle): a solid B.

Lewis 6:42 AM  

This puzzle didn't charm me like it did so many. Oh, I liked it, but it wasn't a wow for me. I wanted some clever cluing; it should begin showing up on Wednesday. There weren't any answers that particularly tickled my fancy. I did learn EDM, and really should know it, because my son's job is smack in the middle of that genre. I liked the sub-themers LARD and OIL.

While the puzzle gave my brain the jog it loves, it solved quickly for a Wednesday. I chowed it right down.

De 6:45 AM  

Online before "on live" because no fan of Sia or Lamar ever watched broadcast tv while slurping ramen. Otherwise, a pleasant start to a dreary Tuesday.

AliasZ 7:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RavTom 7:14 AM  

Unlike Rex, I was offended by ALT. If it had been clued accurately ("modern white supremacist movement"), would it have made it in the puzzle? I'm uncomfortable normalizing it as "conservative."

GeezerJackYale48 7:28 AM  

Well, I guess we're all offended by something. I'm not offended by ALT because I didn't know what it was, just as I'm not offended by EDM, EDS and SIA because I never heard of them. I'm also not offended that the answer to 55A was MIC instead of ALL. I am mightily offended that the crossword puzzle and Rex's blog have become social commentaries. Take the chip off your shoulder, people. Let your behavior do your talking. It works better.

Hungry Mother 7:45 AM  

This over-60 guy found it very easy also.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

It's all Will Shortz's fault. I #@*! hate him!

George Barany 7:53 AM  

Yesterday was the first day of instruction at the University of Minnesota, so working @Kary Haddad's New York Times debut puzzle when it posted on-line was my treat-to-myself before collapsing from exhaustion; hence, I did not get to see @Rex's review and the first round from the commentariat until this morning.

Count me among those who found the vast majority of the puzzle very easy for a Wednesday, but also Naticked at EDM and SIA crossing SAMOSA (BTW, what are the cooking instructions for the latter?). Also, the T of BETIDE was a mystery, but at least I was able to sort out the CARe before CARD ambiguiety due to the fair theme entry MACANDCHEESE.

I too was surprised by the ALT clue, for reasons best articulated by @RavTom. The phrase in question has been all over the news since Hillary Clinton addressed it in a Reno speech at the end of August; click here and here for relevant mainstream media coverage and analysis.

Mike D 7:54 AM  

Poor Geezer Jack, forced to read blog posts he doesn't like. Must be hard.

George Barany 7:56 AM  

Posted a tad too quickly, but let me add kudos, as several have already mentioned, for crossing MAXIM and ADAGE in the northwest corner of the puzzle. What a great start to @Kary Haddad's New York Times puzzling career! Congratulations!

NCA President 7:57 AM  

Yesterday morning I took an Uber (no TAXIS, sorry cab drivers) to the airport because I was TRAVELling back to my transitional home where I had a couple o' SAMOSAs last night...which were delicious, btw (Indian food is the best)...so this puzzle was oddly timely.

Most of the newer names I got from crosses: LAMAR and SIA and HBOGO and even EDM for that matter.

Breezed through it so fast I thought sure I'd beaten my best time, but I did not. But, it went really fast. Probably the EDM/CDC crossing slowed me down the most. The D could have been a V or a B...CvC and CbC are things, right? Near natick there.

ADAGE crossing MAXIM was a fair misdirection, the only thing missing was "axiom" for the trifecta.

Surprised Rex didn't link a Jim Gaffigan video of his Hot Pockets bit. Funny stuff...Hot Pockets, not so much...those things are nasty.

Malcolm Gibson 7:59 AM  

Cute theme, but FAR TOO EASY with little challenge for a Wednesday. More a Monday, in my view. Fastest time ever (or close). I don't compete, so "fast" is never a plus for me. I like puzzles I can mull over and savor, like good mac and cheese (preferably that has some lobster in it!) Cheers.

Airymom 8:01 AM  

Explanation of EDM!?!

Amy Shecks 8:08 AM  

@Airymom, sometimes when I don't know what something is I type it into "The Google" to find out. Try it, it's like magic.

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

Electronic Dance Music.

Junief 8:16 AM  

It's Wednesday.

Tita A 8:19 AM  

Pretty sure I've never had a HOTPOCKET, though I have eaten those little "pizza" roll things... I've had Kraft's version of mac & cheese once or twice. But oh man, gimme some LEFTOVERCHINESE any day of the week.
And though RAMENNOODLES were not a stereotypical part of my college life, to this day I have a few packages of them for real dire emergencies.
Ala @mathgent, around here we dress it up...chopped veggies, some strips of whatever leftover meat is sitting around...and instead of the "flavor" packet, some spices from the cupboard and/or a little daub of "Better than Bouillon".

Speaking of food, i could think only of cinnamon sugar as partner of dreams. In Portugal, take p√Ęt√© √† choux dough, but instead of baking it for √©clairs or cream puffs, deep fry them in OIL, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Now you have light, airy, sonhos...dreams. Or if you're in New Orleans at Caf√© du Monde, they're beignets...

I liked the puzzle. And I like the ensuing "make it your own" recipes that are popping up here. Maybe Jacques Pépin can do a Fast Food My Way episode using this puzzle as his starting point.

Oh my, this puzzle has made me hungry on so many levels.

Gregory Nuttle 8:33 AM  

That was fun, but insanely easy. I would have called it an easy Monday. The only place where I even paused to think was around EDM and SIA while I parsed SAMOSA.

QuasiMojo 8:41 AM  

My noodle was not working today. As in brain. I'd call myself a "moron" but am afraid of the PC nitpickers out there. I naticked at "Samosa" "Sia" and "EDM." ???. I also never heard of a "Hot Pocket" so I had "HO's Pocket," thinking it a new brand of some Pop-Tarty thing, and "Beside" rather than "Betide." In short, this puzzle beat me into a pulp. A malodorous ooze. And since I literally can't cook, I am an especially embarrassed, egg-on-my face, loser. Very fun puzzle from Kary Haddad! (Any relation to Carrie Haddad, the art gallery owner in upstate NY?)

Oh No Jono! 9:02 AM  

Something weird is happening this week with the Times crossword.
My solving times thus far:
Monday - 13:56
Tuesday - 8:50
Wednesday - 8:43

Normally Monday is my only sub-ten minute time. And normally those numbers go up, not down.

I'm scared.

Z 9:02 AM  

@Airymom - Electronic Dance Music. Perhaps our favorite quad stack constructor would like to comment further.

@QuasiMojo - I just checked my PC Police Guidebook, 12th Edition, and you're good.

***Politics Below***
@RavTom and @George Barany - I've gone on at (too much) great length before on the Republican Party transforming from the Party of Lincoln to the Party of Buchanan and how the best Republican presidents of the past half century have been Bill and Barry. The ALT-Right won the Republican primary fair and square, so they are the Conservative party. The biggest difference between them and Pols like Pence, Walker, Snyder, or Brownback is that the Pols are better at coding their words to make themselves look less racist/anti-Semitic. Personally, shining a light on the ALT right is important. Conservatives are going to have to figure out who they are and that starts with realizing what they've become.

Wm. C. 9:05 AM  

Me too on samosa, edm, Siam.

Weren't we just talking about political discourse being inappropriate here? I guess OFL didn't hear about that. Oh, I think I remember that we were talking about the blog, not his posts.

I had never heard of alt-right, and thought OFL's reaction was a typical one for a lefty prof. Googling it, though, I gotta agree that the beliefs (as described on the sites I visited) are objectionable.

Carola 9:08 AM  

All I could think of was "What happened to the breakfast test?" Confront us with a HOT POCKET first thing in the morning? [Shudder]

I did like how OBERLIN intersects three of the theme entries, as they no doubt make up part of the students' diet. I was bemused to read in a recent Times article about "tech" items for back-to-college that a toaster oven is recommended over a microwave as being more useful. In my Oberlin days, the only tech items around - or allowed - were those heater coil things you put in a mug to boil water. Ah, the olden days, pre-LAMAR, EDM, and SIA.

And I liked the stack I CAN'T COOK over MORON and INSTA.

Amy 9:12 AM  

wanted badly for the revealed to be "late night munchies"

chefbea 9:26 AM  

Well..this puzzle was certainly not for me...I love to cook and usually have a scotch while preparing dinner.
Was a fun puzzle though...what do EDM and SIA stand for???Never heard of them

GILL I. 9:43 AM  

This was rather enjoyable. Didn't know Electronic Dance Music so I looked it up and I will probably forget it by noon.
I laughed at all these food items because I hate every single one of them. Well, maybe LEFT OVER CHINESE is OK, but we usually don't have leftovers.
I think "La Boheme" was the first opera I saw. I was about 15 and it was at the Teatro Colon. All I kept thinking about was when would MIMI finally die. Good grief, she went on and on and on. When she finally died, I almost clapped.
ALT-right is in the news just about every day...[sigh] British in-laws are here for a visit and they brought a copy of the Daily Mail. In the boldest, biggest letters the headline screams SHAMELESS...."Keith Vaz clings to power after paying male escorts for sex." Now that's a newspaper!
Well done Kary Haddad. IHOPES to see more of your fun STUNTs.

Mr. Grumpypants 9:45 AM  

I thought this was a rather stupid puzzle. I can cook very well, thank you. Doesn't mean I don't eat Ramen or mac & cheese [although never that crappy stuff made with powdered cheese], etc. This one fell flat as far as I'm concerned.

Mohair Sam 9:46 AM  

Well we flew through this super easy Wednesday and then got ourselves a big fat DNF because we thought SAMOSA was a place, not a food - and we settled on our music a couple of decades back therefore knew neither EDM nor SIA.

This theme was lotsa fun - Great revealer, we had "won't" before CAN'T for a little while because folks who say "can't" cook are just lazy. BTW - Do not, I repeat NOT, read the nutrition labels on any of the foods in this puzzle (especially the LARD).

@Z - I'm a contrarian who tries to find some good in the bad guys in history, or at least an unselfish logic to understand their stance. Roger Taney is one of those few for whom there is no good, and no logic. You mentioned Jefferson Davis - His wife once said of him that "if anyone disagrees with Mr. Davis he resents it and ascribes the difference to the perversity of his opponent." Remind you of anyone running for office?

Jim in Chicago 9:47 AM  

Disagree about SIA SAMOSA being a Natick. Samosas are pretty common Indian fare.

My downfall was the southwest. Input in "open ALL night" and LOGO based on the L of ALL and then just had a brain fart until I said it has to be MIMI and then it fell into place.

John V 10:02 AM  

Felt like we were in Buzzfeed land what with LAMAR and SIA; neither are in this senior solver's language. Crosing LAMAR with ADAMA is rude.

Meh puzzle.

Nancy 10:10 AM  

Today, I find myself deeply, deeply offended by the theme of this puzzle. It's a terrible slur on all of us I CAN'T COOK people. Do you really think that I, just because I CAN'T COOK, would stoop to HOT POCKETS (whatever they are), RAMEN NOODLES (that's a meal?) or LEFTOVER CHINESE (when I greatly prefer leftover Thai and leftover Vietnamese)? I only eat the highest quality, most nutritious takeout and I can afford it because I stretch out each takeout dish to last for two meals. This can be done by having a soup or inexpensive first course first. We I CAN'T COOK people have to be imaginative and resourceful, or we will end up eating as badly as this puzzle indicates. @Z has warned me very recently that I must always make it clear when I am just kidding, so even though it hardly seems necessary, I shall do so now.

On the serious side, I had EMO before EDM and I haven't a clue what EDM is. I had HOT Potato before HOT POCKET, which really threw me off in the NE. But I prevailed, finding this somewhat harder than most Wednesdays. With the exception of all the pop PPP, I liked this one a lot. I liked the density of the theme and I liked its humor.

@Mathgent (6:19 a.m.)-- Your doctored MAC AND CHEESE sounds quite wonderful. MAC AND CHEESE is the only one of the theme answers I actually like to eat on occasion, and your home-made version makes my mouth water.

Roo Monster 10:24 AM  

Hey All !
Who the heck is SIA? I've heard of Mia, Pia, Gia, Kia, CIA, Nia, Tia, but never SIA. SW corner tricksy. For clue Open ___ night, couldn't get the ole brain off ALL, or a derivative like TIL, MID, or somesuch like that. Crossing MIMI didn't help. Actually had to Reveal the M! Then saw MIC, and slapped myself. Kind of funky block pattern, 40 total. Did like the open corners in NW and SE. MACANDCHEESE threw me a touch. Wanted MACaroniCHEESE, didn't fit. No fit by Rex over AFRO today. He actually praised puz today, but I thought it was an ABC puz, not great, not bad, more a meh TuesPuz, then a WedsPuz. But that's just me.

Can you have SAMOSAs with MIMOSAs?


Nancy 10:29 AM  

@Larry Gilstrap (1:38 a.m.) -- I was fascinated to learn that Catholics are apt to say: "Who am I -- the Pope of Rome?" The Jewish version would be" "What am I -- chopped liver?" Maybe it's time to convert? (No, no, as per @Z, I'm just kidding again.)

Hartley70 10:33 AM  

I knew this just had to be a young constructor and the menu screamed student. Nice job, Kary! The theme was an amusing start to the day and that's my favorite way to begin. RAMENNOODLES was the only outlier for me because they post date my college days and just the thought of all that salt makes my BP rise. Everything else I've zapped and sampled over the years. My degree of gustatory desperation was in direct proportion to my enjoyment factor.

Like @Lewis, I too have a relative smack in the middle of the EDM industry. It's tough for me to understand the appeal of a lot of it, but I have been known to groove around the kitchen island to Skrillex's "Bangarang" on the rare occasion. It lasts a few minutes, then I have to make it stop.

I view the political rants here as a kind of irresistible quicksand. It's interesting to see who will be sucked in next. I wonder if anyone in the history of puzzledom has ever had their political views changed by a crossword blog post. Anyone?

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

HOTPOCKET was a gimme. LOVE Jim Gaffigan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-i9GXbptog

Mohair Sam 11:20 AM  

@Jim in Chicago - You're dead right about SIA/SAMOSA not being a natick. It beat me today, and I did not use the term "natick" in my comments. But I think some folks use "natick" meaning they were beaten in a personal sense, not that the puzzle was faulty by Rex's definition of a natick. I know I've used the term "personal natick" more than once, and said that I "was naticked" never meaning to fault the constructor.

Eventually the OED will wise up, include "natick" with full definition, and clear this whole thing up for good.

Joseph Michael 11:21 AM  

Caution: The Surgeon General has determined that this puzzle may be hazardous to your health.

Nancy 11:23 AM  

@GILL (9:43) -- I just read your MIMI comment -- that when she at long last died, you almost clapped -- and I roared. It reminds me of the (inadvertantly) funniest movie-with-audience I ever saw. We were at college, watching "An American Tragedy" in a screening on-campus. When Shelley Winters (in the process of being drowned by her scheming husband, who was hankering after rich, beautiful Elizabeth Taylor) finally went down for the third and last time, the guys in the audience started wildly applauding, hooting and hollering, and stamping their feet. (Understand that Shelley, in addition to being unattractive and lower-class was also exceedingly tiresome and that Elizabeth Taylor was...well...Elizabeth Taylor.) The male response was so spontaneous and unexpected and carried out with such exuberance and gusto that the rest of us just cracked up. So I'm wondering, @GILL, if you may not be the only person who ever rooted for MIMI to just die and get it over with.

Irene 11:23 AM  

The nuns in my elementary school would say "woe be tied to you."

Alex 11:23 AM  

I, too, breezed through the puzzle (enjoying the heat 'n' eat answers along the way). And then I ran into the SW corner. I had trouble with SAMOSA, EDM (figured that one out after originally entering "pop" music) and SIA. However, I also was mislead by entering "open all night" with confidence and "logo" for the Safari ICON.

foxaroni 11:30 AM  

Thirty years in radio and I've never heard any electronic dance music or the TLA (three-letter acronym). CDC, though--aren't they in the news almost daily with Zika coverage, or when it's flu season? Or is that the NIH? IDK.

Conflated samosa with semolina. That made it samola and the singer LIA. Sounded possible to me.

Enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks, Kary.

mathgent 11:37 AM  

@Nancy (11:23): Great description of the "An American Tragedy" screening. I remember being supremely bored when I saw it. After I send this, I'm going to look it up. I seem to recall that it was either a surprise winner or a surprise loser of the Best-Picture Oscar.

mathgent 11:56 AM  

The movie was based on the novel "An American Tragedy" but it was called "A Place in the Sun." It had won the Golden Globe and was favored to win the Oscar, but "An American in Paris" got it. It came out in 1951. I was a teenager when I saw it.

QuasiMojo 11:59 AM  

@mathagent and @Nancy -- it's called "A Place in the Sun." Best moment for me was watching Raymond Burr, pre-Perry Mason, ham it up bigtime as the oar-smashing D.A., Frank Marlowe. I'll check in later. Time to zap some leftover Spaghetti-o's.

Tita A 12:11 PM  

Gotta add to the @Gill @Nancy stories. Both really evocative - thanks!

So I managed to convince PuzSpouse to go to La Traviata at the opera house in Budapest. He agreed, because the theater itself was a jewel, and he sort of had an idea that La Traviata was an opera he could enjoy. And by enjoy, I mean tolerate. Oh - and because the opera there was sooo cheap. Not much of a risk if he hated it.
Well, the first half, he loved! Everyone was happy and partying. The music conveyed the mood.
At intermission, he kind of wondered why many of the men were hailing taxis and leaving.
He learned why, as it took Violetta an awfully long time (though not as long as MIMI) to finally die.

I wish I were more of an opera snob than I am. One of my earliest memories is hearing the final scene in Don Giovanni where he is bring dragged down to hell, with that terrifying bass of the statue.
(There was always classical music on the radio in my house - often tuned to different stations in different rooms. I have no excuse for not knowing more... And I relish the bits I pick up from the afficionados on this blog - thanks!)

old timer 12:13 PM  

Certainly not Easy for me! Took me forever to get BETIDE. Was not sure if Kendrick was LeMar or LAMAR, which I went with. But I know nothing of ADAMA. Since I did know OBERLIN, the middle was a piece of cake. But down there in the SE, I wrote in "Loire" as the place where old Joan's ashes went. STUNT is what gave me the correct SEINE.

The SW is a carnival of writeovers (not LEFTOVERS though). Wrote in "all" for MIC. Which gave me "logo" for ICON. Fortunately I recalled MIMI and got that segment right.

SAMOSAs are tasty though SIA is unknown. And a five-letter insurance giant beginning with A had to be AETNA. So I did end up with EDM, but had to come here to the comment section to find out what it is.

Political comment: Would Trump or someone in the ALT-Right deny Kary Haddad a visa? His name does sound a little Islamic, doesn't it?

Dick 12:21 PM  

Great fun on a Wednesday morning! As one of the over-80 crowd, I streamed through easily. Open Mic took a moment but had to be with Mimi.

My hold-up was in seeing three instead of thrice for too long. Thrice! Thrice?
What's next ... Yan, Tan, Tethra? Well, it would be a good cross with ovine.

puzzle hoarder 12:29 PM  

No matter how easy an early week NYT puzzle can be they always have guality elements which redeem.
This is not quite debut cluing for LAMAR but it's close. I would have passed on it clued in one of the old fashioned ways too. ADAMA should be as familiar as ADANO but hasn't quite sunk in yet. EDS I will have to Google. All I know of Slate is seeing it mentioned here. The best part was EDM masquerading as EMO. I actually questioned SAMOSA for awhile until CDC nailed that section down. Once you know the letters are correct it's not hard to infer their meaning. EDM it turns out is a fusty/musty old acronym given debut cluing. SIA is a retired pre Shortz era word that references native Americans. I'm surprised it didn't survive the purge just for the sake of it's multiculturalism.

r.alphbunker 12:30 PM  

I was slowed done in the SW by {open ALL night} and Safari LOGO. Otherwise an easy puzzle. Details are here

It brought to mind puzzle 2 in the 2011 ACPT by Pete Muller whose theme was a recipe.

Hartley70 12:30 PM  

@Quasimojo, hmmmm spaghetti-o's! Now you're talkin'. To the horror of my family, I still love 'em. One spoonful of slurpy goodness and I'm ten and home for the school lunch break watching the fifteen minutes of "Search for Tomorrow" with my mom.

Sir Hillary 12:34 PM  

I guess this was sorta cute, and congrats to the constructor on the NYT debut, but I dunno. Bugs me that, outside the themers, there is exactly one 7-letter entry. Everything else is 6 or less. NW and SE are nice 5x5 corners, but overall the grid feels super-segmented.

Tripped up for a while with all/logo instead of MIC/ICON.

Can't stand ONLIVE. Who says that?

ALT-right? Who cares? The whole discussion is a snOOZE.

I love to cook and am known among friends to be good at it. But if I'm truthful, what I really am good at is following directions. More complicated ones than those in this puzzle, but still...

Masked and Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Primo début. Standin O for the dude who can't cook worth a hoot.

RAMENNOODLES? woof. Better directions for that themer: {Throw worm-clones in trash; Drive over to the cinnabun store; Stock up}.

Only start-up constructioneer advice I can muster for Mr. Haddad: a-e-i-o-U.

Where did M&A go wrong dept:
55-A = ALL.
56-D = LOGO.
48-D = AETNA.
1 outta 4 ain't bad, in the SW.

Crossin of Mystery: SA?OSA/ED?. M&A Answer: R. As in: awful haRD b/w way haRsh.

Resuscitater, when M&A was darn near on life support: endUp. [Brief quiz: a-e-i-o-___ ].

No long stuff to brag on, other than themers. Staff weeject pick (out of 20 candidates): WAH. Missed a U placement opportunity, in that there north-central area, to get WAH? Oh, hell no. Speakin of which …

Really musta wanted SIA and ALT real bad, in that lil south-central area, to get @RP riled up on the ALT clue. But … better U-count-cookin choice…

*TUG …… {Note: Had 46-D be SATOUT, instead of SAMOSA. Remember: We can't cook; just sayin.]

Thanx, Mr. Haddad. Fun. [One last quiz: What is absolutely central to FUN?]

Masked & Anonymo1Us

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

I didn't even SIA SIA down at the bottom because SAMOSA was a gimme as was the rest of that area. LAMAR was a gimme also because all of the Grammy press he's had. When I Googled him, post-solve, to check on his awards, the first thing that popped up was a collaboration between LAMAR and SIA. Isn't that what always happens?!

I love RAMEN NOODLES. The packet is too salty so I only use a bit, and only the shrimp flavor due to my being a pescatarian. So we add some Thai garlic paste and Chinese black bean sauce, throw cabbage or cauliflower in and break an egg in for a little egg drop soup quality. It's delicious and cheap. I CAN COOK but usually don't.

Nice catch, @Lewis, on the sub-themers.

Kary Haddad, congrats on such an entertaining debut - nice Wednesday!

Wm. C. 1:21 PM  

@OldTimer --

Re: your question of Haddad as Islamic ..

Yes, could be. I had a neighbor named Haddad, who was of Lebanese extraction. But the name is common throughout the Middle East, all the way over to Iran, and west to the Nile.

Charlotte Anthony 1:30 PM  

I laughed out loud when I read your post! Good luck with your menagerie.

Andrew Heinegg 1:30 PM  

Politics, politics, politics; no matter what you think of Mr. Trump,the fact is this country has tried the:' I'm sick of politicians, let's get a non-politician for the job ' before.

His name is Jimmy Carter and, while he might have been one of the nicest and kindest men to occupy the office, he had no clue how Washington runs or how to navigate those waters. Thus, his presidency was an awful one. In my home State of Washington, we elected Dixie Lee Ray governor in 1976, the year Carter was elected. Unlike Carter, Ms. Ray was not a pleasant person at all and her politics skewed to the far right. She was a nuclear scientist and a very smart lady. But, she was elected on the same kind of 'flow' that was going through the country at the time, let's elect a non-politician for a politicians job.

The bottom line to all of this is this. If you support Mr. Trump because you believe Washington politics needs some fresh blood by way of a non-politician who will be able to accomplish the things he claims to be able to, I would respectfully suggest to you that you are convincing yourself of a fantasy coming true. Carter tried to do it as a nice guy. Dixie Lee Ray tried to do it as a nasty lady. Both of them were very bright. They were on opposite political and personality poles and both were equally ineffective and bounced out of office after one term.

If you need surgery, it is best you go see a good surgeon. If you can't find one you think is good enough, you had best go to the best one you can find because you will be guaranteed a bad result if you go to a non-physician for the surgery!

Andrew Heinegg 1:35 PM  

Politics, politics, politics; no matter what you think of Mr. Trump,the fact is this country has tried the:' I'm sick of politicians, let's get a non-politician for the job ' before.

His name is Jimmy Carter and, while he might have been one of the nicest and kindest men to occupy the office, he had no clue how Washington runs or how to navigate those waters. Thus, his presidency was an awful one. In my home State of Washington, we elected Dixie Lee Ray governor in 1976, the year Carter was elected. Unlike Carter, Ms. Ray was not a pleasant person at all and her politics skewed to the far right. She was a nuclear scientist and a very smart lady. But, she was elected on the same kind of 'flow' that was going through the country at the time, let's elect a non-politician for a politicians job.

The bottom line to all of this is this. If you support Mr. Trump because you believe Washington politics needs some fresh blood by way of a non-politician who will be able to accomplish the things he claims to be able to, I would respectfully suggest to you that you are convincing yourself of a fantasy coming true. Carter tried to do it as a nice guy. Dixie Lee Ray tried to do it as a nasty lady. Both of them were very bright. They were on opposite political and personality poles and both were equally ineffective and bounced out of office after one term.

If you need surgery, it is best you go see a good surgeon. If you can't find one you think is good enough, you had best go to the best one you can find because you will be guaranteed a bad result if you go to a non-physician for the surgery!

ghostoflectricity 1:36 PM  

No objection to having both "eds" and "edit" in the same puzzle? I agree about "alt-right." These people aren't conservative, they're neo-Nazis. That's like calling the Symbionese Liberation Army a "modern [well, early to mid-1970s] liberal movement."

Charlotte Anthony 1:36 PM  

I laughed out loud when I read your post! Good luck with your menagerie.

OISK 1:39 PM  

DNF. On a Wednesday. When the first clue begins "Hip hop's..." I am immediately fearful. And when it is crossed with a character from a show I never watched, I get irritated. But I guessed LAMAR and ADAMA, meaningless though both were, and moved on. HBOGO? What????? But again, (although I don't know what HOT POCKET is...not only don't I cook, I also don't microwave. I do build huge charcoal fires to cook two hot dogs though.) I got it right.

But then we come to something that I just think should be outlawed in crossword construction. Acronym crossing acronym. CDC was easy enough, but it left an across of "ED__" Never heard of anything like that, which meant that the third letter could be any letter at all. Nothing made sense, and I began to think the "D" might be wrong. I don't eat Indian food often enough to know what its appetizers are. The fact that it is a "common" appetizer is relevant only to those who eat Indian food. So I had no idea what letter to write.

And then, 66 across is a 3 letter singer, __IA. No clue. I ended up with SASOMA. Easy for some of you, maybe, but crossing EDM with a foreign term is bad even for a Saturday.

I couldn't swallow the peanut M and M's on Sunday, and then they cooked up another indigestible mess for me today! ( The word "SAMOSA" did pop into my head, but EDM? SIA? Nah....)


Cassieopia 1:52 PM  

One of my fave Wed puzzles and one of Rex's nicest write-ups. I'm with Andrew Heinegg on hiring people who have done the job before. Never been a fan of hiring a java programmer to operate a construction crane, especially when the programmer says, "I don't need to study or learn anything about a crane, I've got a very good brain with the very best ideas."

But back to the puzzle - ah that all Wednesdays were so enjoyable and fresh! And a debut too - very nice!!!

tea73 1:57 PM  

Also found this super-easy. I finished it in record time, which for me is more like nine minutes not three!

I enjoyed seeing ALT clued as conservative as I just learned the term last week. I'd be even more joyful to see it clued as Neo-Nazi.

When is CSA going to be clued as Community Supported Agriculture?

Didn't know SIA but had no problems with all the downs in that area of the puzzle so no issues. I could live on SAMOSAs.

Loved the orange powder clue. That made me laugh.

Aketi 2:03 PM  

Thanks to the earlier BO puzzle, I couldn't help dissociatomg the H from the BOGO post solve. It could be read as BO GO for a deodorant brand, or a neighborhood like SOHO and NOHO or a fitting ending to @Carola's echo chamber of IDAHO HOE PEKOE from yesterday.

@LMS and @Nancy, I definitely think that the theme foods should have been clued as "meals desperate graduate students eat" because they hardly have any money and they CAN'T COOK merely because their dorm room or studio apartment is too small for anything other than a hot plate. That is how I got started on peanut M&Ms habit from the vending machines In the grad school dorm.. Reminded me that RAMEN NOODLES should be added to the grad school food pyramid.

As for HOT POCKETS, I'd take SAMOSAs anyday over the brand name variety. Forge the taco trucks, the empanada trucks are even better. My son introduced me to nuchas
@M@A I'm sure the dessert empanada doesn't equate your cinnamon rolls but they do have cinnamon in them.

PS Nancy, I'm applying your rule. I'm not sitting up to write this I'm lying down thanks to the iPad. I hardly ever wear JEANs, but I did buy a pair after a mishap with a bee, a full cup of coffee and a pair of white pants just before a school tour which was so "epic" as my son calls it that a quick purchase of new pair of pant was the only solution. Fortunately, they were STRETCHY JEANS sold t me by a delightful young woman named (I'm not kidding) Epiphany. By the way your late comment last night was great.

Aketi 2:15 PM  

The LEFTOVER CHINESE clue reminded me of an even more desperate approach to grad student survival eating. At the time I did my masters in the 1980s a group of CHINESE students were welcomed into the program to study with us. Unfortunately, the stipend from their government was so low that they literally did not have enough money to cover food. One of my professors in public health discovered that they had figured out how to maximize the amount of calories per cost and they were literally living entirely on butter. The professor in question set up a fund to augment their meager stipend so they actually could eat decent meals.

timjim 2:28 PM  

Appropriate that this puzzle ran on a Wednesday, when the newspaper includes a food section. Agree that ALT was poorly clued.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 2:34 PM  

In my day at Oberlin, you didn't snack on hot pockets and mac and cheese, you snacked on things from Erewhon, and organic nut butters on whole grain bread. And I don't remember there being a Chinese restaurant in town.

Aketi 2:37 PM  

@Oisk, sorry I should have put up a trigger warning (Just kidding) for posting about the indigestible food mess that I subsisted on during my grad school days). In Peace Corps I tried to cook over charcoal because that's all they used to cook using charcoal in something that resembled a hibachi pot made out of tin cans. My Peace Corps friends still chide me over my disastrous attempt at cooking rice using that thing. They definitely concluded I CANT COOK, but will let me chop vegetables under supervision when I visit them.

Teedmn 2:37 PM  

@Aketi, your grad student story reminded me of the recommended emergency rations for a winter race in northern MN. Check out the food listed at the bottom of the Mandatory Gear Don't Bother Bringing RAMEN

Michael 3:20 PM  

I also got stuck at EDM cross with samosa

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Naughty-boy provocateurs, that's what most of the so-called Alt right amounts to. Serious people ought not take them too seriously.

Numinous 3:37 PM  

For RAMEN in our house we prefer Ichiban. We occasionally have CHINESE LEFTOVERS or Mongolian.

We also make MAC AND CHEESE with white extra sharp cheddar, crumbled goat cheese, and sometimes mozzarella or Parmesan. We use Italian rotini cut with brass dies because the cheese sauce just clings to it better than it does to American pasta. We add garlic and a little bit of finely chopped baby spinach. Lovely. However, Even though I know it's crap, I can get into Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I learned to like it as a little boy over 60 years ago and I still have not lost my taste for it as a quickie lunch when there are no LEFTOVERs. I've lost my taste for Velvita and Franco American but the bright orange powder still holds a very occasional allure much like Spaghetto Ohs mentioned above.

I thought the puzzle was pretty easy and I did it fairly quickly, everything crossed except for MIMI as I was confusing Boheme with Manon. Neither of those chicks could die quickly enough for my money.

A little amused by Alt RIGHT. Plonk your cursor anywhere on the page and then hit [ALT]+[–>] and it takes you directly to the END.

Nice Debut!

Brett 3:41 PM  

Appropriate article in today's Times in part about the Alt-Right: http://nyti.ms/2bPhUUW

jberg 4:00 PM  

@ghostofelectricity, I'm with you -- EDS is clued as meaning editors, so shouldn't be with EDITS.

It's late an dI have little to say -- except that I didn't know either EMILIO Estevez or the Battlestar Galactica guy,so I went with EgILIO/ADAgA. So sad.

Does the name ALT-right indicate an origin on the Alt section of Usenet?

GeezerJackYale48 4:15 PM  

I suppose you are right, Mike D. I have to read posts I don't like on this website sometimes. Life is tough. The fact that I agree with the posts today doesn't change anything. I still don't like political discourse on this blog. So I guess I'll just stop reading it.

aging soprano 4:31 PM  

I had a popcorn popper at Oberlin in 1966.

Andrew Heinegg 4:36 PM  

Threats, threats, threats.

Tom 5:23 PM  

Brezyezy fun today, except for the SW. Got caught in the same trap as many others until I finally remembered AETNA. Couldn't get the damned gekko out of my insurance head.

Fortunately, my Mac keyboard doesn't have an ALT key to remind me of the nutcase movement. As for the appropriateness of the clue and the comments in this blog, it's a movement that has been in the news aplenty, so people who read should easily get it. And the political scene is so bizarre, it's impossible for it not to creep into the remarks from the commentarians. Good write-up, Rex.

Roo Monster 5:48 PM  

Cooking is just burning to an acceptable level.


Wm Martin 6:10 PM  


RAD2626 6:22 PM  

Was delighted that LAMAR popped into my head right away and got me off to a good start which never lessened. Fun quick solving experience. Identifying radical political groups or philosophies in a puzzle does really not imo endorse them. If so, apparently a lot of constructors are Idi Amin fans and Isao Aoki is their favorite golfer.

I think "Pope of Rome" is redundant. He is the Bishop of Rome or the Pope. There are not Popes of any other locale (unless you count Benedict as The German Shepard).

Z 7:46 PM  

@Wm Martin - PPP is "Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns."

Speaking of which, The Greatest by SIA featuring Kendrick LAMAR

GILL I. 7:55 PM  

Thanks a lot @Z....I'd rather die with MIMI.

Mohair Sam 8:38 PM  

@GILL I . . . Because of your comment I watched @Z's SIA link. I can't stop laughing.

Andrew Heinegg 9:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 9:39 PM  

@Gill I and @Mohair Sam - Rumor has it that a new touring company of La bohème will feature Kendrick LAMAR as Rodolfo and SIA as Mimi. You heard it hear first.

Unknown 3:32 PM  

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Unknown 3:33 PM  

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kitshef 11:16 PM  

Anyone else feel guilty when they see exactly 100 comments and they want to post? Didn't think so.

Monday easy, with EDM being the only slowdown. In fact, not sure why this was not put on a Monday.

Theme is to die for. I went through a summer of an instant oatmeal packet for breakfast (no water added - just straight down), Peanut butter sandwich for lunch, Mac and Cheese for dinner. Every day for three months.

Burma Shave 8:08 AM  


KAT HOPES to ENDUP posing as an ICON for MAXIM,
KAT’s legs will BETIDE up, so she’ll NEED to OIL and wax ‘em.


spacecraft 11:22 AM  

DNF. Oh, I knew that [you-know-who] would find it not only easy but (very) easy. As soon as I saw the clue for 1-across, I thought: oh brother, Rex 1, me 0.

I just went somewhere else, as it happens the mid-east, working south from there. Was doing OK till I hit the SW. "Open---night" has to be the hugest misdirect ever in the history of crossword clues. Why, it's ALL, of course, what else? Open ALL night. And I still had the triple natick with that Indian appetizer and..."EDM??????? WhatEVER could EDM be?? That isn't even PRONOUNCEABLE, for crying out loud, never mind make any sense. No way in hell I could ever get that. Sorry, I'm one of the 6 billion non-Indians in the world, so SAMOSA was a no go. 66-across might as well be 1-across, for all I know. And I never heard of ALT-right. Absolutely impossible. there was no point in going north and trying to work out what 1-across might be, this was a goner.

Many more puzzles like this, and I'm going to have to find a new hobby. It simply is not my world any more.

rain forest 1:38 PM  

Thought I was headed for a DNF in a couple places, but I lucked out with CDC (something to do with disease control, I think), and a flat-out guess on MIMI.

As for the food, I've had SAMOSAs a few times (I only like the spicy ones), I COOK RAMEN NOODLES on occasion (adding an egg, various vegetables, and sometimes chopped up ham), and I make what I call French Onion MAC AND CHEESE, with Gruyere, Mascarpone, Sherry, and sprinkle with Panko and broil for a nice crust. Not bragging here, but maybe enlightening.

As for the ALT-right, my God! Didn't there used to be a Republican party?

Liked this puzzle quite a bit. Different. Entertaining.

leftcoastTAM 2:37 PM  

Easy for Rex and others, for me, NOT.

A resounding DNF at the SArOtA/tIA/EDm crossings. Didn't know SAMOSA or SIA, and couldn't summon EDM (thought Rap might be part of it).

Free ticket out of the NW was the ADAGE/MAXIM cross, and most of the rest of the puzzle was pretty smooth
TRAVELing, too. LEFTOVERCHINESE made the trip easy through the middle.

THRICE for Daniel D-L was nice, but EDS for "slate" came late.

The end.

leftcoastTAM 6:52 PM  

Although it would be nice to ignore anything having to do with Trump, it's almost impossible to do so. How can anyone really ignore the crazed elephant running wild in the room?

The political commentary appearing here has to get a pass, especially during these fraught days.

Diana,LIW 8:12 PM  

What the other Synders said. A very close to finish dnf for me. This puzzle cooks the way I do most days - gotta try that French Onion M&C!

Too busy today with paperwork. See y'all tomorrow.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for paperwork to be complete

rondo 8:28 PM  

Late to the game today, had to go buy a new car. Only one themer I haven't had is a HOTPOCKET. Don't know what that says.

@rainy - sounds good; I've dressed it up some but not to that degree. I can provide you with a recipe for "beanie-wienie" if you consider duck, sausage, and other possible meats with cannoloni beans, sherry, etc. Maybe you know of Cassoulet? Yes, ICANXCOOK, and my friends and co-workers will vouch.

Years ago there used to be a yeah baby actress named ANA Alicia and that's how that was always clued. Falcon Crest I believe.

Pretty decent puz, nw/os. so junk or lazy food aside, NOT tough for me.

Diana,LIW 9:11 PM  

Just read Nancy's comments, and was in total agreement until she indicated "just kidding." Saddens moi.

Diana, LIW

Syndyland Solver 9:18 PM  


Anonymous 10:17 PM  

A fun, challenging puzzle...very, very, good.

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