Cloth made infamous by infomercials / TUE 10-11-16 / School about 40 miles from SLC / Seller of Soderhamn sofa / Rag covered in dirt / Supposed sighting in Tibet

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: "H" to "CH" —sound change, four times

Theme answers:
  • ARTIFICIAL CHART (17A: PowerPoint slide with fake data?)
  • CHEESE SO FINE (26A: Sliced serving with ritzy crackers?)
  • I'M OUT OF CHEER (48A: Pep squad member's lament?)
  • CHAIN'S UNDERWEAR (63A: Briefs from Walmart or Target?)
Word of the Day: SHAMWOW (47D: Cloth made famous by infomercials) —
• • •

This was a nice enough puzzle, but man it played hard for me, largely because I could not figure out (mid-solve) what the theme was. Getting the themers was brutal. Wacky "?" + sound change + no explanatory revealer ... just didn't compute. Good minute over my Tuesday norm. Bigger than my theme comprehension problem, however, was my central clue comprehension (38A: Rag covered in dirt?). I think it's an incredibly cheap shot to put a "?" clue on a central Across (i.e. a likely, common theme answer position), when all the other themers have "?" clues ... and then have that answer Not be a themer. I actually think it's terrible form. Anyway, I absolutely died there because 40D: School about 40 miles from S.L.C., I had _YU and honestly have no idea at first glance what "S.L.C." is (since I never see that abbr. ever) and so it's a school, it's _YU ... I write in "N." NYU. *Further*, you give me an Einstein quote for 41D: "God does not play ___ with the world": Einstein???? Well, with _ICE in place, perhaps you can guess what perfectly plausible letter I put in there. Again, it's "N." So I ended up with my favorite "theme answer" of the night: TANLOIN! Too bad it was only a "theme answer" in an imaginary puzzle where you change a long "I" sound to an "OY" sound. VOICE SQUAD! "THE ROCKFORD FOILS" Etc. But TANLOIN in *this* puzzle. Just wrong. Ugh.

Rest of the grid seems pretty strong and clean. One big struggle was figuring out 57D: Successfully treat, only because I could only see "treat" in the sense of "pay for the meal of." My brain kept glitching, "Successfully?? You just ... treat. What's this 'successfully' bull&%^$?" I don't think of "treat" and CURE as synonyms at all. "Treat" means "manage" to me. You "treat" your psoriasis. CURE implies "eliminate." Ugh again. OK, I'm done. Gotta go watch Cubs, who have somehow scored 3 runs early off the normally un-score-off-able (in the postseason) Madison Bumgarner. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:11 AM  

Rex check out the movie SLC Punk.

Beijingrrl 12:14 AM  

It was a quick one for me. I guess you've never seen SLC Punk!

Richard Rutherford 12:31 AM  

Einstein famously expressed his dislike for quantum theory with that quote. But it's not a Tuesday clue.

Richard Rutherford 12:34 AM  

Einstein famously expressed his dislike for quantum theory with that quote. But it's not a Tuesday clue.

George Barany 12:39 AM  

Thanks for the review, @Rex, of the collaborative puzzle by @Samuel Donaldson and @Doug Peterson. I've met both of today's constructors, but don't know SAM well enough to comment on whether or not he has any nephews or nieces.

BYU (Brigham Young University) didn't phase me, because I already had the B and the Y from crossing answers, and never did have to work out that SLC is Salt Lake City. The Einstein quote is very famous, though I've always heard it with "universe" rather than "world" (and p.s., @Einstein was SWISS).

Did anyone else try PERU ahead of OHIO on 7-Down, only to encounter a familiar-looking clue at 16-Across? Having sussed out OH_NO as the answer to 15-Across, it was SAD to see the crossing 8-Down clue start with "Oh, ___!" However, it was clever to clue RAMS as "Aries animals" (61-Down) and then offer "God who sounds like he was mentioned in the preceding clue" for the adjacent ARES (62-Down).

ZenMonkey 12:41 AM  

As someone with a number of incurable ailments, I didn't have a problem with "successfully treat" at all. (Other than I also went to "pay for" first.)

I actually loved the TABLOID clue, but I see how it's an ERROR in composition. That's the kind of thing I really enjoy learning about here.

Mike in Mountain View 12:47 AM  

Slightly easier than usual Tuesday for me. Goes to show we all have our wheelhouses, and they are not identical.

Have to admit, though, that I did not grok the theme until Rex explained it. I read "CHEESE SO FINE" as a pun on "sHE's_SOFINE." Jackie Wilson. Jimi Hendrix. The Easybeats. Not The Chiffons, "he's_SOFINE," which I realize is iconic.

jae 1:05 AM  

Easy for me. Pelt before POUR was it for erasures. Not much of a theme, but then it's Tues. Reasonably smooth grid, a couple of nice long downs, a mild liked it. At Xwordinfo Doug writes: "My grids usually end up on the "less theme, better fill" end of the spectrum" and this one is definitely there.

hollasboy 1:26 AM  

On 55a, FLEAs don't fly, they leap. Clue was off.

Mark Barrett 1:52 AM  

I solve the puzzles on paper and for Lima I made the vertical line of the letter "P" and stopped myself as I realized it could be Ohio. My caution paid off when later it was not too difficult to make an "O" out of the initial line. It must have been the ghost of "Glee" telling me it could be the Ohio city where the show was based.

10:50 p.m. my time and the Cubs/Giants is in the top of the 11th. Not a good day for closers today.

chefwen 1:57 AM  

What a good puzzle to come home to after my three week trek to New England. Tried to keep up with the puzzles, but missed a few so I need to back track.

@'Mericans ALOHA right back at atcha!

Had MOSS and OH NO in place, so no problem with Peru @7D.

Only problem I had was KEENE before KEANE.

Whenever a SHAMWOW infomercial came on I couldn't mute it fast enough, stop screaming at me, damn it!

John Child 2:38 AM  

@chefwen, better a SHAMWOW than a Shapoopie. Or those wearable blankets ... what are they?

I fell for TV marketing this summer and bought a non-stick omelette pan. BUT WAIT, I actually got two. I really like mine, and the other one went to a friend.

I hate puns, but I liked this puzzle. As others have said, having clean fill is lovely.

Dolgo 2:48 AM  

The there was pretty DUMB!!

chefwen 3:44 AM  

@John Child - That's the craziest thing I have seen. Our dogs would be rolling in laughter I'd we ever walked behind them with a contraption
like that. Living in the country has its perks.t

Larry Gilstrap 3:44 AM  

I had a long baseball day, following a bike ride, so all should be well. Might I be so bold as to slip on OFL's cranky pants and express a bit of dismay at the entertainment quality of this Tuesday offering? Speed solvers won't like it because of the pitfalls described by our blogger. As an experienced plodder, I'm looking for the joy of that theme. CHAINS UNDERWEAR and the other themers, followed by fill like SHAMWOW are a bit too basic cable for my blood. And, Oh SNAP! exists in a world I have never frequented, except the crossworld, once or twice before. I'm beginning to see why Monday's effort was somebody's Puzzle of the Week. I finished, Yea me! But, where's the stuff about giant squid? How about P_S_Y clued as a Baghdad by the Bay grabber? I would vote for that guy.

Has anybody out there who lives in California experienced DEWY grass in the last few years, and if so where the hell do you live?

Loren Muse Smith 4:21 AM  

But wait, there's more! This isn't just a trick of tacking on a C; every themer results in a different spelling. So entries like these wouldn't fit: BAD CHAIR DAY, DOWAGER'S CHUMP, or CHEAT RASH (imagine the clue for *that* beaut. I can explain, dear).

Restaurant basketful – ROLLS. I tell you, when those ROLLS are put on the table, I can't concentrate on anything else. I just wait for someone to make that first move start the basket around the table. I try to listen to the conversation, but it becomes So then ROLLS we got so disgusted ROLLS that we just ROLLS left the ROLLS theater ROLLS and grabbed some ROLLS coffee. And let's not even talk about when there's just one roll left, and we've all finished ours. I want that last roll more than life itself. It just sits there, a warm, yeasty carbsiren.

Rex – I was expecting 38A to be a themer, too, but I got TABLOID lickety split. To your credit, you probably don't read them as much as I do. I'm powerless not to leaf through the pages in the checkout line if there's a story about Brangelina or some Real Housewife.

Wanted "poo" for FOO. Ok, not really. But what a great name for a band. Or a doggy waste pick-up crew.

Sam, Doug – nice job. I'm always sad to read that the add-a-letter themes are falling out of favor with Will, and I'm always delighted when one runs. I love this kind of trick.

Charles Flaster 4:42 AM  

Very easy but could have been a Thursday. TABLOID was my favorite answer despite
it's ?
Giants = totally amazin'
Thanks SAD and DP

David Krost 5:07 AM  

Don't blame the constructors for your knowledge gaps, Rex. As stated above, the Einstein quote is very well known, and SLC is hardly a stretch. And your criticism of "treat" is particularly pathetically lame. Doctors treating their patients is a novel phrase to you???? Get your ego in check, you made a fool of yourself in this review. It was an excellent puzzle that I solved in about 80% of my average time.

mathgent 6:19 AM  

I agree with Rex's criticism of the clue for CURE. I also agree with his objection to TABLOID. And I don't like it's clue ("Rag covered with dirt"). But not that big a deal.

The theme was inelegant but it added a bit of crunch. OHNO was the only junk I noticed. Only ten Terrible Threes. What does all this add up to? B minus.

emspop1 6:25 AM  
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George Barany 6:37 AM  

@John Child, now I've got this earworm.

@Loren Muse Smith, this group is for you.

doorslam 6:39 AM  
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doorslam 6:41 AM  

doorslam6:39 AM
I think of the Einstein quote as fairly well known, and anyone who's ever flown Delta on a regular basis has had a layover at SLC at some point. Only stumbling block was in the SW while trying to remember MUSLIN. I thought this was a clean puzzle, though I didn't grok the theme till I was done. Just over five minutes for me, which is three minutes below average.

Lewis 7:06 AM  

With these two constructors, you know the grid will be clean. I didn't fully suss the theme until after I solved, so I guess the theme didn't help my solve. I did like the clue for TABLOID, never thought about the question mark, but Rex makes a good point there. It was a high quality Tuesday outing, no harder or easier than usual.

Some nice treasures to mine, such as the OFF_DAY/IM_OUT_OF_CHEER cross, the FLEA/FLEE cross, the POUR out, SCALE down, and OOZE down.

My theme answer for Samuel and Doug is CHIPPER because their work is not only cheerful and lively, but often hipper than most.

John Child 7:20 AM  

@George -- my parents had the soundtrack, but I never saw the film. I rember Buddy Hackett in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which I did see at the time and again recently. He's best at the slapstick stuff IMO.

@Loren: Ask, and ye shall receive!

Hartley70 7:40 AM  

This was a really wacky theme. I finished the puzzle in a faster than average time, but I was forced to stare at the themers for a bit to see what was going on. The CH to H move was evident, but it was the spelling snafu that irritated me.

I like my spelling to be correct...all the time. After I won the 4th grade spelling bee and was awarded a hard cover copy of "Black Beauty" as a prize, I became a little spelling junkie. Typos and auto-correct exist to make me crazy. I'm sure it's a character flaw, but it's ever so satisfying to catch an offending error made by someone else. I blame Miss Carlin at Potter School for my intolerance. Sorry, Sam and Doug. My punishment is that in my family of dyslexics, no one can spell worth a damn, so I'm constantly answering "how do I spell..." questions.

Hungry Mother 7:56 AM  

Very quick for me. I did mostly downs and had no problem. I figured out the theme at the first one of them and looked for the trick in the others, which helped MUCHO.

evil doug 7:57 AM  

The theme sucks bad. I like Shamwow, though, and the dice quote.

jberg 7:58 AM  

so many old friends! I seem to recall that same ALOHA/ALAS corner fairly recently, and then IKEA, GEEZ, ROO -- well, I guess it's not all that many, just that I got them early on so they set the mood. I did like the theme, though -- got it with CHEESES OF INE, once I parsed it right, and then took another look at the other ones. Nice Tuesday.

C.P. Snow was right in "The Two Cultures" -- to some, DICE is a gimme, to others it seems absurdly obscure.

HILO makes me want to think of a theme with altered musical titles, e.g. HILO DOLLY -- but that's the only one I can think of!

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

This was an easy Tuesday for me (for once). I'm a west-coaster so SLC/BYU came pretty quickly. I loved the "Rag covered in dirt?" clue and was delighted to get it right away with no filled-in squares to help. The Einstein quote used to be a pretty popular one - I used to see it on posters in the early 90's when Einstein was a Thing. I might still have an Einstein bookmark with that quote on it somewhere. I wasn't crazy about the theme, but then I'm usually not crazy about theme puzzles, so a bug shrug there, but this very slow crossword-puzzle solver finished in half my usual time, so I'm happy.

Now I need to go out and buy a ShamWow!

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

I had the same frustrating experience at 38A as Rex, and had to google the quote to sort it out. Adding to the confusion was that I thought the rag had something to do with a loincloth.

r.alphbunker 8:23 AM  

Epic fails:
2D. {Stand in the shadows} LURK from L_ _ _
LOOM-->LURK (when you LOOM you make a shadow?)

4D. {What may keep a mohawk in place} HAIRGEL from HAIR_ _ _
HAIRPIN-->HAIRGEL (Maybe the HAIRPIN could catch on)

Details are here.

The Chrome browser displays a sad icon with an OH SNAP title when it crashes. Here it means "oh crap" rather than "nice one". But maybe it is blaming the user with a sarcastic "nice one".

I have often thought of C. P. Snow when I have read comments here. What about a puzzle whose left hand side features answers from the humanities and whose right hand side from the sciences?

kitshef 8:24 AM  

Hand up for thinking "fleas don't fly".

Hand up for not figuring out what SLC meant.

Very easy here. Only thing that slowed me down was a parsing problem on "CHEESES OF I??". Cheeses of ice? Cheeses of ire? Cheeses of Ike? Nothing seemed to work. And once I got the theme, struggling to come up with a common phrase that begins with "hes's of".

Like FLEA crossing FLEE, and the nod to Bill KEANE at NOT ME.

Amie Devero 8:25 AM  
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Amie Devero 8:27 AM  
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Amie Devero 8:30 AM  

Trying again here. I completed the whole puzzle using entirely crosses for the long answers. Could not figure out the theme, and even after filling it to completion I am still clueless despite Rex's exclamation.

George Barany 8:31 AM  

Today is one of significance to a regular commentator to this blog (one who has already checked in, above). Find out who with It's a Stretch.

ps to @Arnie Devero -- autocorrect seems to have turned "explanation" to "exclamation"!

chefbea 8:35 AM  

Too tough for me. Googled a bit and then came here to see what the theme was. Couldn't parse cheesesofine. wanted plural cheeses. Hope tomorrow is easier!!

NCA President 8:38 AM  

This was definitely on the north side of challenging for me. I didn't get the theme either, and at first blush, they seem really random. I guess that's part of the fun. Yee. Haw. Bottom line here is that I liked the puzzle but I hate puns. I'm guessing that's what those themers are...right?

As I've said 1000 times before, and it's days like these that brings it to mind...themes are just organizational conventions. Good or bad, old or new, right or wrong, they exist as a means to organize a central gist of a puzzle...or they act as an impetus for a puzzle to exist in the first place...obvs, there are themeless (which I generally prefer to pun-laden themed puzzles)...but in this case, the theme is just a skeleton upon which the puzzle is built. I may not like the layout of a house, but how it's decorated may be so appealing to me that I am not bothered that the front door is on the side of the house or that the only access to the bathroom is through the bedroom. If the decor manages to cover up structural issues, we say that the house is charming.

That said, there was much of the "decor" that was too cute for its own good. TABLOID being chief among the offenders.

Mohawks are held together by Elmer's glue...not HAIRGEL. There is no hair gel on the planet strong enough to hold a mohawk in place. True punksters use Elmer's.

Nancy 8:50 AM  

My favorite clue was for TABLOID. My favorite theme answer was I'M OUT OF CHEER. Like others, I feel that Einstein's quote is -- or should be -- very well known. (Although, Rex, I often feel that God doesn't play especially "nice" with the universe, either!)

But WTF is SHAMWOW? I mute commercials, so I've never heard of it. I wasn't sure of ISUZU either -- remember, car makes are my enduring nemesis -- so I held my breath and hoped for the best as I filled in the "S" cross. And I was right, so I finished. While the puns were less than side-splitting, they helped provide some teeth to this Tuesday puzzle, and for that I'm grateful.

Wm. C. 9:08 AM  

Shoulda clued 46A ("ISUZU") with "Pathological TV Ad liar Joe". ;-)

(Hint: Late '80s)

evil doug 9:21 AM  

Afro:Racially insensitive::

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Hilariously, NYU is about 40 miles or so from Sarah Lawrence College (SLC).

oldbizmark 9:32 AM  

DNF due to the "N" of CHIN and CHEESES OF I[N]E. Couldn't figure out what Jesus was of. Thought it was an obscure bible reference. Also had an error with F[R]EE in lieu of FLEE which lead to a F[R]EA instead of FLEA. I obviously didn't get enough sleep having stayed up to watch the Cubs' fans' hopes of a WS title taking a serious blow last night after the had the Giants on the ropes. Can't let those guys back in, Cubbies.

Emus Catuli.

Alex 9:34 AM  

I am well acquainted with the Einstein quote. Of course, he was wrong - turns out that God does play dice with the universe. Also, living in Colorado, I do think "Salt Lake City" for SLC. I thought this was a fun puzzle, and I smiled when I caught on to TABLOID. But then, I don't time myself.

Z 9:39 AM  

Maybe FLEAs fall with style.

Is TABLOID a bug or a feature? I get Rex's plaint about it being in a theme spot with a theme style "?" clue. For me, though, it was just a little extra spice that it wasn't a themer. I'm team feature on this one.

I got the theme right away, but it didn't help speed things up at all. CHEESE SO FINE is the real winner, but CHAINS' UNDERWEAR lets me add in today's Sam Cooke classic. I really should be billing Rex for all the Cooke work I'm doing.

I've mentioned this before, but Lima, OHIO is on the way to beautiful Versailles, home to many fine Ultimate tournaments. That is the most positive thing I have to say about Lima.

C. P. Snow! I read that book for freshman orientation back in '79. No problem here with playing DICE with the world, either the quote or that Einstein was wrong.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

This played easier than normal for me. I did the downs first so didn't have to worry about the theme so much. Did not understand the theme until I came here. Einstein's quote is very famous and nice to see in the puzzle.

Carola 9:59 AM  

Easy, and it hit my "just wacky enough" sweet spot. Got the theme with ARTIFICIAL CHART and enjoyed seeing the other transformations emerge. I was held up for a bit when popLIN elbowed in so that I couldn't see MUSLIN; I had to work that corner from the bottom up.

@Loren, I love your "would not work" phrases!

Roo Monster 10:08 AM  

Hey All !
Oh, SNAP! Snuck me in again. I'm getting pretty popular. WORD. :-)

The Downs seemed easier than the Acrosses today. Had nice clean fill, dreck free! Couldn't parse the theme as I solved, had to read each themer out loud to finally catch the Add-A-C. The CHEESESOFINE one was the one throwing me OFF. Was reading it CHEESES OF INE!

Liked the clue for OWLET. Still unsure how MIEN is appearance. The ISUZU, first time I ever heard of it was Wheel of Fortune back in the 80's. ISUZUs, along with KIAs and HYNDAIs were pieces of garbage when they first came out. Amazing how far they've come. Sad, too, cause took away from American made cars. Just sayin.

NOT ME fun to see. UNHIP also. Easy puz that didn't have me saying GEEZ or crying UNCLE!


QuasiMojo 10:13 AM  

"Fake data" and "artificial" don't really jibe. Fake data may be wrong or erroneous or false etc but they are not really artificial. This type of strained clueing is what makes these boring theme puzzles such a "shamwow." Not even Joe Isuzu could sell me on this wreck.

Howard Flax 10:14 AM  

Good morning Rex & commenters! I found couldn't figured out the theme until I parsed through it after the fact. Didn't mind the theme or the difficulty, I just found the cluing for the most part to be kinda boring. Granted the Einstein reference was interesting, but most it was like "okay, let me finish this thing, so I can get to other stuff".

Leapfinger 10:28 AM  

@loren, nice point about the C change in pronunciation. I wonder whether @CHAS Flaster noticed that too?

@GeorgeB -- @ 7D, I had some crosses so knew it wasn't PERU, thought maybe there're Lima beans in an OLIO. Stared a bit until I said OH... Also liked the ARES/RAMS/Aries conformation, so apparently we're birds who share some feathers. Both UNCLE SAM and I salute your Very Clever bit of name-dropping.

@hollasboy, thanks for the small holla. I agree that fleas leap, and it's a real circus when they FLEE.

I also like the MUCHO MOCHAS CAFE, and if you eat enough ROLLS (sometimes you can get a 2nd basket), the leftovers make a doggybag meal.

* A Mohawk in a HAIRnet? OH NO
*I haven't seen a ROLLS around here, but I've seen a Bentley.
*Symmetry of ROLLS/ISUZU? Nope.
Pairing of CRAG/HOLE: he shoots, he SKORs
*CHEERS to the ALL-TABLOID ROO, dirty or not.
*I've heard of CHAINS being SUNDERed, but didn't know there was special clothing to WEAR
*DEWY know why S.A.D. gets to initial the grid, but no such HONOR for D.P.?

In these yere parts, you're apt to hear people say "I'll meet you back 'Ra CHEER'", so I figured out the theme glancing from 48A to 26A, realizing that wasn't CHEESES O'FINE.  That made me very happy, since I love all kinds of CHEESES: Cambazola, Asiago, Tilsit, Fontina, Fromage d'Abondance... It may be un-American to say, but the only one I don't care for is  Cheddar, and (with apologies to baseball fans everywhere) I really don't like double cheddar.

Super Tuesday, fellas. WOK, STOP, WOK, STOP.

old timer 10:43 AM  

I am doing the puzzle before dawn these days and my brain can the a little slow, so I had to come here to find out the theme. At first I thought the theme was laundry detergents. I wasn't much amused by the theme either, but I agree, the fill was high quality.

I've been to SLC, on a Greyhound bus, on a train pretty often (the old California Zephyr when I was 17, to start with), by car, and by air once when my wife went to a conference in Park City. So the initials are familiar and so is BYU. If you go, you will visit the Temple and you will be seen as a potential recruit to the Mormon faith.

When I was a lad MOHAWK haircuts were not uncommon in Los Angeles. No actual Indians were involved. And, yes, mornings could be DEWY. It might only rain 8 inches a year there, but to get DEW all you need is moisture in the air, and there is often fog near the coast and on some summer days, fog that extends 20 miles inland. In fact, I have never seen thicker fog than the fog in Pacific Palisades.

I got PERU by glancing at the Downs up there, and was delighted when I also saw OHIO. That Lima was famous for making railroad steam engines.

Z 10:46 AM  

@Evil - The issue can be described as whether or not the cluing essentializes the attribute to a group. Maybe at one point when it was used in stereotypical caricatures of native Americans there would have been an issue, but "mohawk" has been so decontextualized from those displays that it took me quite awhile to even come up with why this could ever be a problem. For me it's rarely the word, it is the cluing and context that causes the issue. As a clue for HAIR GEL it is hard to see a problem from here.

Joseph Michael 11:10 AM  

This was challenging for a Tuesday and, like Rex, I ended up with "tan loin" in the center. Thought the theme was kind of CHEESEY, but the fill and cluing were both generally good.

Haven't seen a SHAMWOW infomercial in years, so it was a stretch to recall the name.

LURK might have been clued as "Act like Donald Trump during the second debate."

smalltowndoc 11:11 AM  

I liked this puzzle and thought it much easier than @rex. I was pretty sure I knew what the theme was with 17A. What other theme could there be when the answer is ARTIFICIAL CHART? My suspicion was confirmed with CHEESE SO FINE.

Two things regarding Einstein's quote, at the risk of being repetitious: 1) It's "God does not play dice with the universe", not "world" (who edits these things?); 2) If this is not the most famous quote in the history of physics, it's got to be in the top five.

Einstein was responding (in a letter to Niels Bohr) to the work of Planck, Heisenburg and others that quantum theory demands that, at some level, events are not predictable. There is always a built-in uncertainty or randomness that precludes accurately predicting the future (or even determining something in the present; that's what Heisenberg's Uncertainty Theory is all about). It laid to rest the concept of determinism.

There is some irony here. Einstein won the Nobel Prize for discovering the photoelectric effect, which, it turns out, is a manifestation of quantum theory!

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

I'm a regular reader of this blog, so SLC came to me easily. This is the third post it's been brought up and hung out to dry.

Cassieopia 11:16 AM  

A full 3 minutes faster than my Tuesday average. CHEESESOFINE made absolutely no sense to me even after I solved it. Had to walk through it letter by letter: cheeses of ine? Cheeseso Fine? Cheese So Fine made no sense for the *longest* time. Probably took me longer to get that pun than to finish the entire puzzle.

Lots of fun, thanks for the Tuesday!

Leapfinger 11:18 AM  

@r.alphbunker, love your idea of a split brain model grid. Perhaps it could have CORPUS-CALLOSUM running down the middle. Could also be a kind of self-test to see if we hew left or right.

TABLOID and DICE were some of the highlight clues, but what captivated me at the outset was the 4D, because it was in Grade 4 that Harry Wardell came to school one day sporting a mohawk. No HAIRGEL, just brushy and standing up on its own. Due to the conservative mindset of the day, he was promptly sent home, and I guess not allowed to return till he had a more acceptable mien. In any case, Harry had already been on notice for circulating a filched copy of Botany Bay around the classroom; for my part,I never did find the parts that were supposedly titillating, and still credit it with my first learning about Australian history with England's convictions.

Nancy 11:20 AM  

@Joseph Michael (11:10) -- My 4-letter answer, beginning with an L, would have been LOOM.

AliasZ 11:31 AM  

Lovely, punny theme today by Doug and Sam, with exemplary cleanliness of execution. A few missed opportunities:

CHAIR OF THE DOG -- Rex's throne?
HEAD FOR THE CHILLS -- Feel the onset of flu?
CHIDE AND SEEK -- Scold and pursue?
FOR THE CZECH OF IT -- Why I like Má vlast by Bedřich Smetana?
CHEWY LEWIS AND THE NEWS -- Jerry reading the NYT with gum in his mouth?
CHASTE MAKES WASTE -- [make your own clue for this one]

I agree with @Rex, "Successfully treat" does NOT equal CURE, more like manage, to avoid discomfort and limit contagion. CURE is a permanent repair and elimination of all traces of disease. A successful treatment however boosts the body's own defenses to self-heal, which in a roundabout may be called a CURE. But what do I know? I am not a doctor, and I don't even play one on TV.

Here is Dame MYRA Hess performing Sonata in F minor, Appassionata by Beethoven, and its SKOR for those who like to follow it while listening.

Happy Tuesday, and an Easy Fast.

Nancy 11:37 AM  

Re: Joseph Michael's comment: Hey, all you constructors out there, I've got a really nifty idea for a puzzle theme. Clues would be along the lines of "Asparagus section = STALK; Machine that weaves = LOOM; What a threatening sky does = GLOWER; What a glowering sky does = THREATEN; What helicopters sometimes do = HOVER; "Flora, the Red ______" = MENACE. Well, you get the idea. The revealer would be "Act like Donald Trump at the 2nd Debate." It's yours for free, everyone.

Tom 11:50 AM  

Did the puzzle this AM because I was up until Midnight watching the Giants pull it off. Go Gigantes!

Thought SLC referred to Stanford Linear Accelerator, so was looking for a nearby institution, like UCB (Berkeley). Thought "rag covered in dirt" wanted a specific tabloid's name, so ran through the titles I laugh at in the grocery check out line. No DICE.

Started at the bottom with DEWY and crawled up to the top with only minimal stoppage. The misspellings threw me a little. HAINeS underwear. HEER for Here, etc. Kind of fun, but typical Tuesday time.

Can't wait for the games to start tonight. Ideal scenario: Dodgers lose, Giants win. 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 has a nice symmetry.

Mike Rees 11:51 AM  

Just a hair under my average time. Would have classed as "easy" if I knew either MUSLIN or MIEN.

Masked and Anonymous 12:15 PM  

So … there's no hidden reveal/justification for changin the Hs to CHs? If we were still givin these puzs a grade, I'd maybe suggest givin this puppy an "incomplete". Especially on a TuesPuz.

@Alias Z: primo list of extra themers. Woulda gone with CHEWY DEWEY AND LOUIE, perhaps. Or even CHEWS ON FIRST. CHEW has lotsa great potential.

"SLC". char.
Knew DICE off nothin, so no problemo gettin TABLOID, tho. Pretty fun solve, other than forever wonderin why I was CH-ing my H's. [Only in the Acrosses, btw. Not true of Downs: MUCHO. MOCHAS. CHIN.]

@Z: Excellent Sam Cooke selection. One of his very best. Coulda sorta been musical accompaniment for a themer of WAIT TILL WE GET OUR CHAINS ON YOU. Too old an ad? Thought so.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Sam & Doug. 4 U's apiece -- that's what I call an epic collaboration.

Masked & Anonym8Us

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Rex let me say I throughly enjoy your commentary on a regular basis. As a physical newsPAPER subscriber in flyover country I appreciate your east-coast insights. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Rag covered with dirt? NYTIMES didn't fit.

Charles kluepfel 12:56 PM  

"God does not play dice with the universe.", easily translatable to world, should be as familiar as "To be or not to be, that is the question."

evil doug 1:01 PM  

Clear as mud, Z....

And, of course, therein lies the problem: It's a fool's mission to try to dissect usage to the gnat's ass by applying our own highly individualized criteria, personal experience, context, and history to so many words, so many connotations--especially when no two receivers share an identical filter. That's why I'll stick to leaving usage options to the sender, and allow receivers to apply their multiple, many-splendored interpretations as they, yes, *choose*. Simply impossible to limit language by attempting to discern every listener's standards without turning our language to a horribly vanilla, non-vivid bowl of soggy oatmeal....


Teedmn 1:04 PM  

I was scratching my head a bit about the theme - ARTIFICIAL CHART: okay, change H to CH sound. CHEESES OF INE was making no sense to me. When I finally sussed out the CHEESE SO FINE, I still thought it was a different change-up because I was forgetting about the Chiffon's "He's So Fine" and was hearing the outro in Robert Palmer's Simply Irresistible", as in "She's so fine, there's no telling where the money went."

So when I finished, I was sure that was going to be an outlier condemned by one and all, only to read Jeff Chen's write-up, which put me straight.

None of @Rex's problems here, only "bread" before ROLLS at 31A and a silly reflex entry of "Oahu" before I realized 66A was talking about the Big Island. Sorry @chefwen!

Nice Tuesday, Messrs. Donaldson and Peterson

mathgent 1:06 PM  

I'm in the minority not liking "Rag covered in dirt?" as the clue for TABLOID. I was hoping that some of our constructors would come up with something better. Like @AliasZ, who came up with several entries superior to the ones in the puzzle. The best I could come up with is "Dish rag?"

Numinous 1:14 PM  

@Rex, I disagree about the TABLOID answer, I thought it was very fair, question mark or not. I think it shows that constructors are allowed to play DICE with crossworld.

I knew KEANE but I'm not sure why @chefwen. Maybe because I'd noticed the spelling was the same as Walter KEANE's, You know, the guy who, with his wife, saturated the world with pictures of children with alienesque huge eyes that were ubiquitous in the '60s.

I don't understand, @John Child, why you would give your second omelette pan away. I often find myself trying to sauté two things at once. Ya can't have too many sauté pans.

Not so long ago, both my step-kids used the term "oh SNAP" on a regular basis. Confused me for a while until I realized that SNAP could stand in for any number of words so it could be bad or good.

@Nancy, ISUZU came easily to me since I had one marketed by Chevrolet. The Spectrum was an ISUZU imported by Chevy, They also did that with a Toyota Corolla which they marketed as the Nova. BTW, I was in Berkeley in '62 also but I was still in high school. I'm willing to bet you walked past my house many times, corner of Durant and Telegraph.

And on the subject of Berkeley, @old timer, I've never seen really thick fog in the Los Angeles area, not like I've been in in the Berkeley hills. I've driven in fog so thick on Grizzly Peak Blvd that 5 MPH was dangerously fast. Seriously. Couldn't see five feet in front of the car in an Isetta where there was no hood, just the flat front door. Dashed lines on the roadway, you could see the start of one but not the end as it approached. Berkeley being directly east of the Golden Gate may have had something to do with it.

Oh, yeah, the puzzle. Took me a little while to figure out the extra Cs thought I kinda got it at ARTIFICIAL CHART. CHEESES OF INE took a little while to resolve. I thought IM OUT OF CHEER was cute but, even though I'm wearing some, I thought CHAINS UNDERWEAR was rather forced. TMI? OWWTH. But I liked this anyway. ZILLIONS of SHAMWOWs mopping up the spilled HAIR GEL, what's to dislike? Nearly no glue other than the aforementioned. This was easy and fun.

Dame Myra Chess 1:46 PM  

'Decontextualized'?? [mmphhftf]

I'm all for not oatmealizing language, although, ameusingly enough, oatmeal do keep a body regular.

[sigh] Pity there's so many ways to stay out of charm's way.

Andrew Heinegg 1:53 PM  

This was easier than usual for me for a Tuesday. My typical routine is check the Rex rating and then do the puzzle. My solving experience was considerably different than OFL. The only ones I didn't look at and immediately (save the themers)fill in the answers were dice, BYU and shamwow. And, I take not knowing them as my bad. The Einstein quote is apparently well known, the clue for BYU is S.L.C. IMHOP a fair clue for Salt Lake City since the clue indicates it is a location being referenced and with the Y and U in there,B is the only possible answer.

I go into a trance when ads come on tv. Anything other sports is recorded and ads are zipped through. So I don't know or care to ever learn what a Shamwow is. I can hazard a guess but, why bother?!

I thought it was a fairly high quality puzzle for a Tuesday which I believe is tough to do. The themer puns did not quite reach the groaner level that I like to see but,they were closer to it than some of the recent NYT puzzles. And, it was an enjoyable solve. Unlike Rex, I thought tabloid was nicely clued. All in all, a fun time;

Andrew Heinegg 1:56 PM  

This was easier than usual for me for a Tuesday. My typical routine is check the Rex rating and then do the puzzle. My solving experience was considerably different than OFL. The only ones I didn't look at and immediately (save the themers)fill in the answers were dice, BYU and shamwow. And, I take not knowing them as my bad. The Einstein quote is apparently well known, the clue for BYU is S.L.C. IMHOP a fair clue for Salt Lake City since the clue indicates it is a location being referenced and with the Y and U in there,B is the only possible answer.

I go into a trance when ads come on tv. Anything other sports is recorded and ads are zipped through. So I don't know or care to ever learn what a Shamwow is. I can hazard a guess but, why bother?!

I thought it was a fairly high quality puzzle for a Tuesday which I believe is tough to do. The themer puns did not quite reach the groaner level that I like to see but,they were closer to it than some of the recent NYT puzzles. And, it was an enjoyable solve. Unlike Rex, I thought tabloid was nicely clued. All in all, a fun time;

r.alphbunker 2:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dame Myra Chess 2:41 PM  

I'm ba-a-ack.

CHERRY EYEBALL? Never on Sundae, I hope.

@NumiNOUS, you have CHAINS_UNDERWEAR? I guess you clean them with ArmorAll, izzat right?

Seems I have much to atone for...

Leapfinger 3:18 PM  

Hi @AliasZ!

If a Hungarian has 'lettuce' to burn, would you call that CHARRED ASH?


Charles Flaster 3:26 PM  

Since the USA Today has turned to Fred Piscop as its leader, the puzzles have been much more creative.
Just completed George Barany's offering and it was a terrific solve.
"Try it , you'll like it."

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

While I have long admired this blog, I strongly agree with EMSPOP1's concerns about how you label puzzle difficulty.

Labeling a puzzle "challenging for a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday" is completely unnecessary because you already make clear that you are assessing "RELATIVE" difficulty.

The way you label puzzles currently is redundant at best, and could be misinterpreted as arrogant/insecure at worst (especially with the "scare" asterisks added to the mix). Why not just stick with "Relative Difficulty: Challenging," without redundant qualification, or, alternatively, use the label "Difficulty: Challenging for a Tuesday"?

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Anyway, keep up the great work, Rex.

Karlo Kitanovski 3:31 PM  

This was VERY easy for me and it very well could have been my least as far as my solve time is concerned. This was one of my fastest Tuesday times ever. I didn't bother figuring out the theme until it was all over. I think the fill is clean and I particularly like the Einstein quote. As was mentioned previouly, the quote is concerning Einstein's view of Quantum Mechanics in comparison to Classical Theory (Newtonian Mechanics). Developed in the 1920's, by a group of Physicists (famously refined during their meetings in Copenhagen), the superior Quantum Theory marked a departure from the "deterministic view" of the universe that Einstein stongly believed in. Quantum Theory asserts that the best we can know about system interactions are the probabilities of outcomes. This "probablistic view" of the universe was in contradiction to Einstein's (and the physics community as a whole) world view. The paradigm shift that resulted from this new, "strange" Theory came to shape the rest of the 20th century and is the prevailing theory today. This rift in ideology can be seen in the famous "Einstein-Bohr debates" in the 1930's. Bohr argued the probabilistic view while Einstein defended the deterministic view. Niels Bohr is widely considered to be the winner of said debates. Thanks to the application of Quantum Theory, we have semiconductor technology, e.g. transistors and diodes. We have nuclear technology (both good and bad) and many other inventions including the MRI machine. There is no doubt in my mind that "God" does play dice. Enjoy the transistors in your computer "Rex" that enable you to rant to us everyday. Your blog is a good example of dice work, which exemplifies probability theory in action. I'm often curious about what your dice will reveal each day.

Crane Poole 5:02 PM  

Took 50 glances at CHEESESOFINE and 50 huh?'s to trigger the Chiffons in my head and thus the theme - and only after completing the puzzle. Not thrilled, but not bad. Also slowed by S.L.C. and TANLOIN for me as well until the eventual rethink. SHAMWOW? Blertz!!

I'm new here - only earlier this year did I begin doing the NYT daily but better late than never. Rex was rexommended by a friend and I'm truly enjoying. And enjoying all the comments, so keep 'em coming.

Lastly, was there a mention of Mortimer SNERD from Friday's puzzle? Probably not new in puzzles but new for me. Knocked me right out of my chair, it did. And people really didn't know Miracle Max last week? Inconceivable - but rest assured you sit atop a mountain of clues which confound me. Wheelhouses and and solving experience and all that.

Nancy 6:17 PM  

@mathgent (1:06 p.m.) -- While I very much liked "Rag covered in dirt," I absolutely love "Dish rag". Shorter, punchier, and much more on the money! Perhaps you have a future as a crossword puzzle constructor? Think about it, @mathgent!

@Numinous (1:14 p.m.) -- I was staying at International House in the summer of '62, and therefore had to walk every day up Telegraph Hill from the campus. It was very steep; I never thought it would never end; I remember that I called it "the FH". Did I walk past your house? I don't remember a street named Durant. (But then, I barely remember what happened yesterday). Therefore, you tell me. Did I?

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

Fun puzzle, but flying fleas??

Numinous 9:51 PM  

@Nancy, '62 was not long after the Student Union was built. That and Sproul Hall marked the southern extent of the campus terminating at Bancroft Way. As you walked down Telegraph Avenu, the first street you came to was Durant Ave. The next three were Channing Way, Haste, and Dwight Way; the most interesting blocks near the campus with book stores, restaurants, clothing stores, novelties, and beer bars. As kids we used to go to International House for cheap ice cream in the summer. That is to say it didn't cost a lot, it was still pretty good. You managed to miss the excitement in the spring of '64 with the Free Speech Movement and all the other new movements and groups. Interesting times.

Numinous 9:53 PM  

P.S. It was probably Bancroft Way you walked up, @Nancy.

Jeff Lewis 10:09 PM  

Among my Mormon friends, EVERYONE calls it S. L. C. In print and even in conversation, sometimes

Laura Hoke 11:50 PM  

Wow! Totally disagree with Rex on the difficulty. It was my fastest NYT Tuesday and my second fastest NYT ever. I didn't get the theme, but I was able to fill in the themers and the rest of the fill was easy peasy.

Anonymous 12:59 AM  

i very nearly wrote something along these lines, and i echo your idea. if it's a tuesday, it is an easy puzzle; if it's a challenging tuesday, it's by default challenging for a tuesday. no one reading this blog will ever think you mean that a tuesday marked "challenging" is challenging compared to the easiest of saturdays

Chronic dnfer 7:54 PM  

Dnf'd at I sort of cheer which gave me seen/muslin. Also a prob at sheawow/ajra/jeti. Sticky wicket.

Karlo Kitanovski 9:08 PM  

Nailed it! Einstein --> Photon (E = hf) --> Wave-Particle Duality --> Prize.

Einstein --> Special Relativity (E = mc^2, etc.) --> No Prize.

A common misconception debunked.

Anokha 1:36 AM  

Overall enjoyable!

Anokha 1:37 AM  

(But I didn't get the theme)

Burma Shave 9:09 AM  


ALAS, IMOUTOFCHEER, I’ve had an OFFDAY, too, ISLE blame it on my HAIRGEL,
and I made an ERROR to start ANEW, it’s TRUE, I don’t CHAINSUNDERWEAR well.

this stream of unconsciousness sponsored by SHAMWOW

NM Robin 9:34 AM  

@Rex: you never heard of SLC. Really! It's the airport code for Salt Lake City. Have you ever been to the "West", the real west not just Oregon? Probably not!

@George: I did a double take at 7D. I had already filled in 16A so had to check the downs.

@Mike: Thanks for explaining the theme. Still did not "get it" from Rex's explanation.

@Chefwen: Thank goodness I have never seen that commercial. I actually haven't seen any of those types.

I know none of you will see this. Just needed to get it off my chest.

I found the puzzle very easy. What I didn't know, I got from crosses.

Thank you S. Donaldson and D. Peterson for an enjoyable puzzle.

Diana,LIW 12:08 PM  

Smooth and easy, with no erasures needed today.

Didn't see the theme until it was done, since the "silly" answers made sense themselves. Got to go out and find that CHEESE SO FINE - is it like brie? Or a creamy kind, that could go with my Nova (lox)?

Thank, @Z, for the Cooke rendition.

And it was all worth it to come here and learn about the Shapoopie.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

The perfect Tuesday puzzle - very fair, very enjoyable. Lots of fun -more like this one, please!

spacecraft 12:35 PM  

(SHAM)WOW! Second OFFDAY in a week for OFL! Easy-medium for me. Come on, most of the fill clues leave nothing to chance. Hawaiian greeting? GEE(Z), I wonder what THAT could be? There were more than enough of those to get the long entries started. TABLOID almost filled itself in on crosses; the missing B wasn't all that hard to come up with. Great clue, BTW. I recognize no such "rule" about the central across; caveat solvor, IMO.

The beautiful ELLE McPherson charmingly rescues us from an otherwise DOD-less grid; CHEESESOFINE, indeed! One nit: the expression at 48-across. No one says "out of" there; it's "outa." The OF really looks outa place. See? But otherwise no complaints; solid birdie.

rondo 2:41 PM  

Agree with ALL who said easy. If OFL was really ONTO that “fresh” thing he should have complained that KEANE was not clued as the indie band instead of the late cartoonist. I guess it’s selective “fresh” for his own interests. But NOTME!

Living so close to WI, that CHEESESOFINE bit kinda rubs the wrong way during football season. I really miss Randy MOSS.

Had my first IKEA experience a month or so ago. That was ANEW way to go about buying dressers.

Since @spacey has stolen away ELLE, I will go with the cast of MYRA Breckenridge, including yeah babies Farrah, Raquel, and Mae. For you gals of a certain age Tom Selleck was also in it.

SOL could be clued as s### outta luck.

Pretty good Tues-puz, finished in a SNAP.

rain forest 3:31 PM  

Hey, a really nice Tuesday puzzle. Relatively easy, and very enjoyable, to boot. The first themer was completely opaque to me, and I was thinking this might be a themeless, but with CHEESE SO FINE, I first thought, "that's wrong! It's Hes So Fine", and then, bingo, I got it, and so the first one made sense.
Ultimately, I thought the theme and the themers were cute, and didn't need a revealer.

I always found it interesting that Einstein was deeply involved in explaining the universe, macro and quantum, yet believed in a God, especially one who doesn't play dice. Complex, brilliant man.

@evil doug - disappointed that you felt you had to respond to @Z and his "essentializes/deconceptualizes" bullshit. I thought you were throwing out bait to which, as is his custom, he so predictably rose. Way to go nonetheless.

leftcoastTAM 3:51 PM  

Yeah, "solved" it without knowing exactly what I had done or why. Theme answers forced and semi-opaque.

SHAMWOW? Okay, but glad not to have heard of it.

Not good, not fun.

spacecraft 6:09 PM  

One of the most memorable dialogues in moviedom came out of "MYRA Breckenridge:"

MAE: How tall are you?
HUNK: Six feet six inches.
MAE: Let's forget about the six feet and talk about the six inches.

@left: Never heard that kid going "But if you act right now--'cause we can't do this all day--"? Those ads were ubiquitous.

Re Albert: I don't doubt his concept of God differed from the traditional, but yeah, the quote was "--universe." Edit, edit, edit!

crabby 8:04 PM  

I remember 55+ years ago (before remotes) that my grandfather had a chair next to the TV that was only used to sit in while turning down the sound (today's version of muting)during commercial breaks. I guess that's what old people do. SHAMWOW!

Anonymous 12:50 AM  

Cool that a guy named Rutherford is explaining the Einstein clue.

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