Model in 10 straight Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions familiarly / WED 10-12-16 / Bit of Bollywood music / Keebler saltine brand / Weaponry storehouse / Item in swag bag / Jellied delicacy

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: I don't know, some circled words meaning "like" I guess —themers contain words that mean roughly "to be fond of"

Theme answers:
  • FANCY PANTS (26D: Pretentiously high-class)
  • PARTY FAVOR (4D: Item in a swag bag)
  • DIG DEEP (22D: Push oneself to the max)
  • CORN RELISH (9D: Southern side dish made with kernels off the cob)
  • LIKE-MINDED (28D: Thinking similarly) 
Word of the Day: ANNE V (36A: Model in 10 straight Sports illustrated swimsuit editions, familiarly) —
Anne Sergeyevna Vyalitsyna (Russian: А́нна Серге́евна Вьяли́цына; born 19 March 1986), also known as Anne V, is a Russian-American model. She is perhaps best known for her 10-consecutive-year run of appearances (2005–14) in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. (wikipedia)
• • •

Pretty unlikable. The theme is so vanilla it gives vanilla a bad name. I actually love vanilla. My favorite non-alcoholic beverage in the world is a vanilla malt. So screw that, this puzzle *isn't* vanilla. It's just blah. Shaded / circled words that mean roughly similar things ... is a theme type that is far too stale to stand alone without some snappy revealer or other raison d'etre. I guess I'm supposed to be wowed in some way by the unusual grid shape, or the fact that the themers are Downs, or something. But it's just a tired theme masquerading as something fancy. There's nothing here. Worse, what the puzzle appears to think is hip (or HEP, ugh) and new and cool is actually blargh. INK UP? (38A: Get tats) Come on. It's your arm, not a gas tank. Stop. Also, ANNE V? No. Being in a swimsuit issue is not a thing. Not a crossworthy thing. You can be in there 20 more times, don't care, no. When the only thing you are known for, per the opening paragraph of your wikipedia page, is being in the swimsuit issue a lot, you may be a thing to sad leering man-children who say "YES, DEAR" a lot and then complain about their wives to their locker-room buddies, and you may also be a lovely human being, but crossworthy, no. I do kinda like the pope-esque quality of her name (ST. ANNE V?"), but no. I GO no.

When I saw the biggish corners, I thought this was gonna play hard, but the opposite was true. My time was only a hair's breadth north of my normal Monday, and faster than this week's Monday for sure. This is all especially surprising given how segmented the grid is. Usually hard to navigate into / out of isolated corners. But the long answers were So easy that moving from room to room in this thing was a snap. I trim the STEMS off of asparagus spears, so that was a weird clue for me (41A: Asparagus spears, e.g.). I like the crossing of ORANGE and ERROR. For sentimental reasons. Which reminds me: vote vote vote. Bye now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:11 AM  

Jeff's comments at Xwordinfo are on the mark, this was Mon. easy. That said, the grid was pretty smooth and the theme entries and corner stacks were a cut above the usual early week fare. Count me more fond of this one than @Rex was.

chris 12:17 AM  

if you vote vote vote, don't vote on november 28th, as a certain ORANGE ERROR told folks to do today.

otherwise, surprised this one had so few words--yes, it has large corners, but it played as if partitioned into seven mini-puzzles. but all in all, i'm a fan of lower word counts done well.

that said, anne v stuck out while solving. maybe switching 4d and 9d would help, maybe not.

mathgent 12:24 AM  

I agree wholeheartedly with Rex. A complete nothing.

In his blog, Jeff Chen says that his goal was to write a very easy puzzle for a Monday. But surely the talented Chen could have displayed some witty cluing even if he wanted all the entries to be commonplace. A straight D, for dumb and dull.

GILL I. 12:24 AM  

Late night attendee = GAL PAL ???? why not just say it...lesbian friend. See, that's not too hard.
Go completely dotty? Can't we say feeble?
I had no idea why there was no reveal...Did GAL PAL need some lovin? YES DEAR so did ZEPPO.
OK, I actually had some fun with this but did not understand it at all.
Wasn't it DAS capital? oops wrong one.

George Barany 12:27 AM  

Checking in briefly to thank @Rex for the youtube clip from "The Pretenders" -- great idea (lots of FATIGUE here). Don't know the rules in the @Jeff Chen-@Jill Denny household, but whenever I was tasked to pick up the kids from school, I answered YES_i_can.

LEER at 3-Down telegraphed the locker room humor of crossing HOT_DATE at 61-Across with NUDE at 53-Down. Thankfully, ORANGE was not clued with respect to 58-Across in An Embarrassment of Riches.

I did appreciate the shoutout to @ALTHEA Gibson. On the other hand, I do agree with @Rex that this swimsuit model is not crossword-worthy.

Whirred Whacks 12:27 AM  

Fun 'n' breezy Mr. Chen.

Contrary to Rex, I liked having ANNE V as an answer. She's much preferable to yesterday's answer of (Bill) NYE, the man who wants to criminally prosecute some climate change skeptics for their ideas.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

I thought Rex would like this one because of some interesting words and snappy clues. Wrong again.

Whirred Whacks 12:35 AM  

@George Barany: I checked out your linked puzzle, and it made made me wonder whom you'd select in an election:
Andrew Dice Clay or Ethel Rosenberg?

Mr. Fitch 12:44 AM  

The "theme," such as there was one, was as unimaginative as I've seen. This would have played ok as a fun easy themeless, I think, but in its current form, no. Just no.

George Barany 12:50 AM  

@Whirred Whacks, thanks for the referral to @Andrew Dice Clay, who has the same number of letters as @Ethel Rosenberg.

My candidate of choice in the 2016 election is 16-Across (also 14 letters) in Stronger Together!.

It would also be nice if the predictions of Now Playing ... came to pass, albeit a year behind schedule.

Sacco Matt 12:52 AM  

Horrendous. Theme? I didn't see it until Rex clued me in. The slow motion train wreck that is the NYT crossword puzzle continues to aspire to mediocrity.

Bookin' the Cooks 1:56 AM  

Super easy tonight, yes. I usually miss themes tbh so didn't notice there was none.

GALPAL as a ladies night attendee was very odd to me. I thought ladies nights were when women got free admission to a night club? I've been married a long time so maybe things have changed and it now means lesbian night. Still, GALPAL?

Go completely dotty as a clue for STIPPLE was clever, I thought. Stippling is a technique of creating an image or painting with dots. Think Seurat's Sunday in the Park.

I use FANCYPANTS quite often to describe things that are (needlessly) fancy or yes, pretentious. It's a fun word that winks.

Anoa Bob 2:05 AM  

I thought maybe there would be something special or unusual or unique to warrant the offbeat grid design and relatively high black square count of 40, including two, er, uh, helper squares in the upper corners. But apparently not.

Then I thought that maybe PANTS, PARTY, DEEP, CORN & MINDED that accompanied the shaded/circled "to be fond of" words would play into the theme somehow. But apparently not.

Maybe I didn't DIG DEEP enough.

@mathgent, I believe the conventional wisdom is that in the world of crossword puzzles, responsibility for the theme, grid design & fill is primarily on the constructor but that the clues are heavily edited, here by Mr. Shortz. This led constructor/solver extraordinaire Tyler Hinman to once quip to the effect that "If you like a clue, give me credit. If you don't like a clue, blame the editor."

Larry Gilstrap 2:18 AM  

So my puzzle print out contains no shaded squares: Good times! Once I had lunch with IDA Wells and didn't understand a word she/he said. I made that up. I often listen to the Pandora Indian Classical Music station and never watch a Bollywood movie. To me, a RAGA is rhythmic and transcendent. They put that in movies? Cool!

Wow! LEA, LAY, LEI, LAILA you've got me on my knees, and I'm begging darling please.

I taught grammar in the trenches for many years, so time for a brief lesson. Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes. Contractions always have apostrophes. "Lie" means to rest or recline and the three principal parts of the verb are: lie, lay, lain. "Lay" means to put or place and the three principle parts of the verb are lay, laid, laid. Thus the confusion. "Lay" is a transitive verb and needs a direct object to complete the action of the verb. "Lie" is an intransitive verb and does not need a direct object to complete the action of the verb.

When I was single and had a HOT DATE, if I really did FAVOR her I would end the night with the phrase: "I DIG you." I never dated ANNE V, in real life.

chefwen 3:00 AM  

Easiest and most boring Jeff Chen puzzle I have ever done.

@Larry Gillstrap - Your LEA, LAY, LEI, LAILA got me my biggest laugh of the night, thank you.

Only write over PALE ALE over PiLsner.

Loren Muse Smith 4:08 AM  

It is an interesting grid. When I finished and didn't see a reveal, I revisited the grid looking for a picture. This is Chen, after all. And then when nothing jumped out at me, I wondered if it was a play on the current "down," as in I'm down with that. My son uses down this way all the time.

That YES DEAR FATIGUE really sings right there center stage. Like @George, my first thought was "yes I can."

"Big name in precision knives." How 'bout *only* name in precision knives.

And 12D – the last thing drawn in Hangman – LEGS. Hah! Haven't we all drawn on eyelashes, fingernails, lips, a tongue…

I almost started writing in "pixelate" for STIPPLE. Too long.

So Al Gore has started campaigning to help Hillary. He certainly took the northwest by storm this morning – 6 ALs.

Yeah – it's so easy to make the apostrophe goof with ITS. We see it here on this blog pretty much every single day. It's so commonly done, I wonder if it'll start showing up in dictionaries as an alternative. I'd be down with that.

@Bookin' the Cooks – I agree – "Ladies' Night" feels like discounted drinks for the women at some bar. I'd call a night out with my galpals a "girls' night."

@Larry - I'm afraid you may be fighting another losing battle on the LIE/lay distinction. It's becoming obsolete. I'd never ever use lain in speech. I'd feel like a pedantic fancy pants. And, yes, anyone reading this who uses lain in everyday speech, I would absolutely take note and stand there waiting for the whoms to start rolling in. Perchance.

(Oh, and, @Larry, on your contention that "all contractions have apostrophes" – I'm gonna have to disagree with that.)

@Crane Poole (from yesterday) – welcome! Liked your "Rexommended" word.

Hartley70 4:17 AM  

I would have preferred to see this run on a Monday. ANNEV is easily gotten with the crosses and STIPPLE is a word that I FANCY, FAVOR, DIG, RELISH and LIKE.

Lewis 6:55 AM  

So, it's a hybrid puzzle. Beginning-of-the week theme in an end-of-the week grid. You can see it as a patchwork failure, or an interesting out-of-the-box concept. I would have preferred this as a Friday, which can handle a weak theme, with far more difficult cluing, or a Thursday still with harder cluing but a reveal, one Jeff suggested in his notes: LIKE_MINDED.

As it is, while I enjoyed the solve -- and I solved this like a themeless -- the theme felt too thin for Wednesday, and the cluing was too direct for this day, with only one wordplayish clue for STIPPLE. Overall, it felt Tuesdayish, and this might have worked just right yesterday.

Good answers: DIG_DEEP, GALPAL, FANCYPANTS, and LIKE_MINDED. I'm guessing those corner blocks on top are there because without them the fill wouldn't have been so clean, and the fill here is remarkably clean (a Chen hallmark). There is a mini-theme, maybe stronger than the actual theme: Words ending in A (13!). I do like that heavy resigned YES_DEAR weighing down on FATIGUE. And, while it's not spelled right, and with Oprah in mind, I liked the GAL_PAL/GALE cross.

I liked the adventurous spirit behind this unusual puzzle, and to keep my beloved NYT puzzle fresh, Will and constructors, forge on with that!

NCA President 7:44 AM  

Theme? You call that a theme? I would call it a coincidence.

ANNEV...I got with crosses so I didn't even really see that until Rex pointed it out. I'm glad I didn't see it until I came here.

And Rex, if you cut the stems off of your asparagus, what do you have left? That's all asparagus is...just one giant stem with a floret thing at the top.

As for getting out the vote, I just read a great reply by Mike Rowe about this...and I think I agree. You can easily find the entirey online by now, but basically his idea is that you have no particular obligation to go vote, and really if you MUST vote, do so intelligently. Don't just vote for your party, or vote against someone else, or vote because a celebrity or your pastor told you to. I'm sure both Trump and HRC supporters would agree on this: there is nothing worse than the idea that a bunch of people are going to vote en masse for the other idiot. Like Rowe says, just because you have the right to bear arms doesn't mean you are obligated to buy a gun. All of us who are of the age to vote have the right to vote, but we also have the right not to vote and we owe it to each other to approach voting seriously and with some degree of competence.

So yeah, get out the vote. But don't vote if you're going to stand there and cover your eyes and pull a lever.

Hungry Mother 7:51 AM  

I'm always happy when I can breeze through a Wednesday offering. Got the theme and it helped with Ali's daughter's name's spelling.

Glimmerglass 8:07 AM  

Yeah, okay, you're right. It's not a great Wednesday puzzle. But your ultra-curmudgeon schtick is getting tiresome. Don't care about SI swimsuit models? What's that all about?

Leapfinger 8:13 AM  

Aw c'mon*, @Rex. If ANNE V appears in the swimsuit issue 20 more times, she'll be making it at age 50. That, friends, is crossworthy in one way or another. In my book.
*There you go, @LarryG. I'm gonna labor to give you your contraction.

Saw how the circled themers were all aLIKE, and did my damnedest to figure out "Why down?". Thought of the phrase 'to cotton down', though  the directionality there might be more to 'cotton up' to something. Maybe ITS the idea of 'being down' with something you like. Maybe ITS gravity. Maybe I shouldn't fall for that.  Maybe the answer to "Why down?" is "Why not?". Okay, Enough; time to drop it.

Anyone else want to ANNEX ANNEV?

I'm sure that zillions are suffering from Campaign INFomercial FATIGUE, so why is there a HEP burnt ORANGE tint to the grid? It seems to me that if a body's going to PARTY-FAVOR, it should try to do ITS own PARTY-FAVOR, and not PERLEI it into the opposing PARTY-FAVOR.

Nice to find a reminder of HEP-ZEPPO Menuhin, pianist and sister of Yehudi Menuhin, as well as Mam'selle HEP-ZEPPO, the petite skunk charmante who occasionally graced the pages of Pogo. Also nice to see A R-RANGES of the R-Rockies in ALBERTA, where I wouldn't mind being again just about now.


Thanks, Jeff, for the midweek foray. Now go back to late weeks.

Leapfinger 8:20 AM  

PS: Pretty COOL exchanges @GB/@WW. Doubly impressive when you look at the time-stamps. No slouches on these boards, eh?

seanm 8:23 AM  

agree that the theme was about as lame as possible. solved like a very easy themeless, took me about a usual tuesday time.

disappointed but unsurprised that rex chooses to make a big stink about ANNEV. in our current porn-ubiquitous world, the swimsuit issue is tame compared to the average network show. a lot closer to classy than scandalous than it once was.

and cmon george, HOTDATE and NUDE as locker room humor? save your outrage

chefbea 8:28 AM  

I agree...very easy ,no fun puzzle. I have lived in the south for almost 7 years now and no where have I ever seen corn relish. Not served any where we go to eat. I'll have to look for it in the grocery store.

Of course love caramelized onions

Trombone Tom 8:33 AM  

Count me among the crew who did not detect a theme until coming here. Pretty easy and straightforward for the most part.

Never heard of ANNEV (the crosses saved me) and missed noting its(!) cohort ANNEX.

I identify "hep" as coming from an earlier bunch of hepcats and HIP from a later cohort of the music world and (in the early 50s) the Beat Generation.

As to the misuse of LAY and lie, it's(!) like nails on a blackboard to me. Our English teachers drilled the distinction into us. I accept that it has now become common (mis)usage.

Since I missed the "theme" and have a different take on HEP vs. hip, I have a more benevolent view of this puzzle than does OFL.

kitshef 8:36 AM  

I bet 16A was originally ALfalfA, continuing the 'double AL' mini-theme in the NW.

Played a little harder than average for me, I guess because IDA and ANNEV, each of which needed every cross, and LAyLA before LAILA, which got me thinking sYnc____ for 28D, so set for LAY, tAlk for yaps. Not a huge detour, but took a little bit to unscramble.

The theme is, as @Rex notes, terrible. However, I think it plays decently as a themeless, with ZEPPO, CICADAS, FANCYPANTS, MOREAU, STIPPLE, DEARTH, and not too much junk (INF - bleagh).

ArtOj 8:36 AM  

Since when is a "non theme" a theme? Agreed, Monday easy.

Nancy 8:41 AM  

Two-thirds of the way through, I went looking for a revealer. There wasn't one. Well, I guess if I'd thought up this lame "theme", I wouldn't want to advertise it, either. Still, I didn't find this "Monday-easy" the way so many of the rest of you did. I never heard of ANNE V or XACTO; MIATA is another infernal car make (is there no end to them?); and to me, FANCY PANTS has never seemed related to one's "class", pretentiously or otherwise. It seems more about one's appearance. Like Loren, I wanted "pixelate" before STIPPLE (21D), but it didn't fit. I also was thinking of "break out" (in dots, a la pimples) for that clue.

Has anyone explained 13A, "crib" = PAD yet. I'll go back and look -- but if no one has, will someone, please? I didn't hate this puzzle as much as others, mostly because (for me) there was some thinking required. But nothing to write home about.

kitshef 8:42 AM  

I don't associate GAL PAL with lesbianism in any way - it's just a female friend. You might go to ladies' night with your GAL PAL because you can both drink more cheaply than on a regular night by having her buy all the drinks.

A swimsuit model can be crossworthy - Christie Brinkley, Kate Upton, Elle MacPherson... but ANNE Vyalitsyna is not. Also, to use 'familiarly' in a clue, doesn't it have to be someone we're familiar with?

kitshef 8:45 AM  

@Nancy: Crib = Pad = An apartment or house.

seanm 9:02 AM  

well, my wife, who's much less politically correct than even i am, though the ANNEV clue was sexist, so i take it all back. i was thinking if cindy crawford and kate upton are famous for it, then it's fine. not sure i can come up with a rule that is consistent, but i'll defer to others on this

Nancy 9:04 AM  

Fingernails on a blackboard. Setting my teeth on edge. That's the effect that the sentence, "I'm going to lay on the beach" has on me. Et tu, @Loren (4:08 a.m.)? You've succumbed, too? You've given up? You've decided to let in the barbarian grammarians blathering at the gate? Please, please say it ain't so. For many years, now, I've thought that when I die, the last living person who actually knows the difference between lie and lay will be gone. Thank you, @Larry Gilstrap (2:18 a.m.) for telling me that all is not yet lost. If I go -- and you're still here -- promise me you'll carry on the good fight. Tilt at windmills if you must, but never give up!

Mohair Sam 9:09 AM  

Easy-peasy Monday themeless (don't let 'em fool ya).

Highlight was Rex's link to Chrissie Hynde video. Clicked on a few more Pretenders' videos afterward. Chrissie is 65 now - Yikes.

Charles Flaster 9:11 AM  

Liked it more than Rex . Waited for the reveal but it never came--Enjoy, savor, etc...
Write overs-- YES DEAR for YES I can and
FAVORed the cluing for ARRANGE, FATIGUE, ALUM , and FORGERS.
Good bye Giants😠
Thanks JC

jberg 9:13 AM  

Am I living in a bubble? I've never, ever heard someone say "just lie the newspaper on the table." Is it really just me? In that case, it's time to send to ask for who the bell tolls.

Oh, the puzzle -- I thought it was kinda fun. (And that wasn't a contraction, it was phonetic depiction of an accent.) Any puzzle with DEARTH and CICADAS is all right with me.

And while we're on the subject of stuffy old traditions, don't cut the bottoms of those asparagus STEMS -- break them off with your hands.

Nancy 9:13 AM  

I'd never heard the word "crib" used for an apartment or house. Thanks, @kitshef.

Lobster11 9:18 AM  

The one positive thing that can be said about the theme is that the words FANCY, FAVOR, etc. have different meanings in the context of their respective answers: i.e., "fancypants" has nothing to do with liking pants, "party favor" has nothing to do with liking parties, etc. So that's something, right?

Tita A 9:35 AM  

Today is a great example of the comments board being more interesting than the puzzle.

@Larry...I never got the LAY/LIE thing, but your explanation is simple enough that I just might now...
As to the apostrophe conundrum, it's mnemonic - simply put the missing "is" back in...does the sentence still make sense? That one never flummoxes me.

We call that Boticelli "Venus on the halfshell."
Love the hangman clue. I wonder if which part is last is a regionalism. @lms...we would get pretty detailed too...though never down to individual eyelashes!

Now for the clue critique...

YESDEAR would have come to,mind for "...take out the garbage", "...fix that squeaky step", or ...change the light bulb in the attic". But any spouse who would have an eye roll moment at picking up the kids...

HEM is the greenest paint ever. And often wrong. Bellbottoms often had the hem cut off, or worn off, for that authentic 60's feel.

STEMS are 90% of what we eat when we eat asparagus, but which of us does not eat them STEMSfirst, saving that tender incipient floret to savor last? (Hi, @Numi.) Reminds of of my friend's babysitter...she offered to get dinner started one day... Friend asked her to prep the veggies. We came back to a colander full of nothing but the stems...the tips were in the compost bin. She had never seen them before.

Sorry, Jeff...a clever revealer or title might have helped to make the theme and grid design pop. But I did like lots of the fill. And always loved that MIATA ever since it first came out.nb

Teedmn 9:37 AM  

As themes go, I found this one rather tepid, but I liked the grid and the long phrases.

I was certain CORN RELISH was going to be "succotash" but I couldn't remember that word until after I finished - looks like it wouldn't have fit after all!

Anyone else put in FANCY dancy before they put on their PANTS? That was my main writeover today.

Like @Bookin' the Cooks, I thought of Seurat when I saw the clue for 21D (and I agree with everyone who thought that was the cleverest clue of the day). STIPPLE is also a technique used in stenciling. Yes, folks, I have a stenciled design on the ceiling of my library - so very 90's. I'm sure it will come back into style by the time we sell our house (circa 2040?) :-).

Thanks, Jeff Chen, I think you succeeded very well at creating an easy Wednesday puzzle.

Johnny Winter 9:38 AM  

@Nancy, never heard CRIB used for apartment or house? You might be the whitest person I know.

DJG 9:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 9:50 AM  

And re: GAL PAL, I saw that answer as @kitshef did, just a female friend with whom one went to the club on ladies' night. This past week on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me", one of the panel question/answers was related to this. Turns out that if you want to look more attractive, stand next to your less-attractive friend. So if anyone asks me to accompany them to ladies' night, I'm going to be wondering if I'm supposed to play the part of the ugly GAL PAL :-)!

Pete 9:54 AM  

Once again, the puzzle leaves me with nothing to say, so I dig into my study of human nature, this time to pause in awe of occasional goodness.

My wife's been concerned about rust on some of the joints in the gas line into our house so, in an act of abject appeasement, I had the gas company come out early yesterday to check on the gas line. Within 3 seconds of looking at the plumbing, the technician shut off the gas due to leaks and slapped a big red sticker on it. He was kind enough to give us a recommendation for a HVAC guy who could fix it in the case we couldn't find one. I called all of the people who've worked on our house in the past trying to get someone to come out, called the person who was referred to us, and just waited (or re-called them) for several hours for someone to get back to us. One of four said they maybe could come out early tomorrow to spec the job, and then tell us when they could actually fix it.

By coincidence my wife saw a gas-company repair truck in the parking lot of the office and she went to ask if they had any other recommendations. By greater coincidence, the person in the truck was the same person who was out at the house earlier. He told her not to worry, he'd have a crew of two out to the house in half an hour. Mind you, this was contrary to gas-company policy, the leak was on the house side of the meter and was thus our responsibility. She ran to the bank to get $200 to give the guys coming and drove it over to me. Sure enough, within half an hour the two guys showed up, along with the original technician. Half an hour later, the gas pipe was replaced, tested, painted. I only had $10 with me, and felt much chagrined about having the three guys split $210, but I figured they could at least take their significant others out to dinner with their shares. They were hesitant to take any money from me, but with much cajoling I managed to give it to them along with my heart-felt thanks, and I went back inside.

Within a few minutes there was a knock at the door - the had a problem with the money I gave them - it was too much. They gave me back $150.

They gave the money back.

Roo Monster 10:09 AM  

Hey All !
I did DIG the grid design. Was a weird theme, though, guess that's why we needed the shaded/circled squares, to see something was happening. Also odd that two themers started one square higher than the other three. The open corners were nice, and fairly dreck free. Liked IM COOL and HOOHA. Found puz pretty easy and straightforward. Agree with whoever (whomever?) said would've been better as a TuesPuz.

Old man line from "Monty Pythons Flying Circus" = ITS - Much better clue! :-)
@Alysia, MPFC fan?


Z 10:15 AM  

It takes a lot, usually, to make me cry, "wrong," but Shortz did so today. The PALE in PALE ALE refers to the malt used, not the color of the resulting beer. Most PALE ALEs are not light-colored at all. Pilsners and wheat beers are light-colored beers. Except for a couple of sub-types (Blonds for example) PALE ALEs are between the light colored pilsners and dark colored stouts. The Wiki article has several pictures, the first one being closest to what you will get if you order a PALE ALE.

@Evil - "Clear as mud." Yeah, as I read it yesterday i considered looking for something more in keeping with Vonnegut's rule (if you can't explain it to a five year old you don't really understand it). Here it is in a nutshell, though; taking an individual characteristic and assigning it to a group as an unmutable characteristic is wrong. It's done usually without forethought but can be identified by language we use. We can use whatever words we want but recognize that we are broadcasting to the world our prejudices.

@seanm - I think I'm repeating others, but the issue with ANNEV is that she is only "known" for being in SI's swimsuit issue. The only swimsuit model I know is Kate Upton and only because her significant other is the Tiger's pitching ace. Crossworthiness takes a little more than being in SI's soft porn issue 10 times.

And now, Sam Cooke Unchained.

johnny stocker 10:16 AM  

For somebody who's so up his own ass about everything, I'm detecting a pretty clear note of Slut Shaming AnneV in that write up.

Shame on you, Rex.

Nancy 10:36 AM  

@Numinous (from late yesterday, with apologies to everyone else) -- I just Googled a map of the Berkeley campus (55 years after my summer there) and it sure looks as though I walked up Bancroft, not Telegraph Ave, en route to International House. But how could I have forgotten the name of a hill so steep, so unending, so completely unendurable that you would think it would be forever etched upon my memory? All I can think of is this, @Numinous. Most of the time, I would have been walking from Internat'l House to and from either the outdoor tennis courts or the outdoor pool. Never from a classroom building, heaven forfend! I attended no classes; I was doing very well at my excellent college in the Northeast, and my foray to Berkeley was a way of having a lengthy CA summer vacation, filled with glorious weather, at a bargain price. So maybe the route from the pool or the courts was up Telegraph Ave?

QuasiMojo 10:44 AM  

I thought a Gal Pal was a guy who goes out with his girl friends. haha. It's been a while since I've gone out to a "Ladies' Night" alas. The LAY/LIE thing is easy. You lay brick and you lie in bed. People "lie low" not "lay low" unless they're slumming, I guess. :) This week of puzzles (starting with Sunday's) is going down as the worst yet of the Shortz era. Too many threadbare themes! Pseudo-hip fill. Dumbed-down "cultural" references. Which reminds me of that great Dorothy Parker quip: "you can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think." That's what's happening to the NYT puzzle (and the entire paper). It's trying so hard not to be elitist, it's lost its way. Remember how the first President Bush tried to be "ordinary" by going to the supermarket? That's the NYT now in a nutshell. Flat-footed and out of sync.

Joseph Michael 10:46 AM  

Without a revealer to tie things together, the theme entries feel kind of arbitrary and pointless.

I did, however, like much of the fill, such as GAL PAL, FANCY PANTS, HOO HA, and HOT DATE and did not find this at all easy.

@Nancy, 23D, 30D, and 52A might be three more entries for the puzzle theme you proposed yesterday.

Got stumped on the "Ali" clue for quite a while until I finally remembered that his daughter LAILA is a boxer as well.

old timer 10:50 AM  

I'm with her. Her being anon@12:29. I thought there was lots to like about the puzzle: XACTO, CORN RELISH, YAPS, ORANGE (as clued), ALUM (as clued), ZEPPO and especially GRAN were sparkly, clever, and rare for a daily solver to see.

I think the reason OFL was so unkind is that today's appearance by Jeff Chen proved he was wrong when he said the best constructors no longer submit to the Times. Because Chen is almost as well known as Patrick Berry, who of course has a weekly gig in the magazine.

I agree with @Z about PALE ALE. And with those who know that "lie" is always intransitive and "lay" is transitive. You can lie down (intransitive) but you have to LAY something down. Bob Dylan caught the distinction perfectly in his great song that begins "Lay down your weary tune, lay down, lay down the song you strum." You may at first think he is using "lay down" in the incorrect sense, but because a tune and a song are the objects of "lay" he got it right.

Passing Shot 10:51 AM  

This was easy enough, but I never seem to be on Jeff Chen's wavelength. Saw the circled letters but didn't care enough to suss out the theme. Have never heard of ANNEV and didn't care enough to look it up afterwards, but I think it's [note the proper use of the apostrophe!] a fair crossword clue. It's no less fair than sports clues that likely skew in FAVOR of male solvers. "Compose" before ARRANGE, and finally went with CICADAS over "locusts."

Overall, meh.

GILL I. 10:57 AM  

@kitshef...I have a good friend who is a lesbian. She's taken me bar hopping to a few gay bars and she always introduces me as her GAL PAL. Evidently this is to signal that I am straight. I'll have to ask her what she thinks of "Ladies' night attendee."
@Nancy: "She borrowed me a few bucks" makes me want to lie an egg.

Robert Brown 11:30 AM  

I put Gay Gal there. Too bad it didn' work. Would have been better.

Roo Monster 11:38 AM  

Since everyone else is getting screeching nits put, mine is the statement, "If you ask you me... " Argh! When did that get popular? It should just be, "If you ask me...".


Masked and Anonymous 11:44 AM  

The circled/shaded areas are all sorta LIKE-MINDED. So … today we kinda have a revealer, but no one wants to admit to it? [Other than Jeff Chen, over at his xwordinfo comments.]

Only 72 words. East-west symmetry. The Chenmeister likes E-W-sym. Middle area grid art looks a little like a piston. M&A had most of his solve-troubles today, in the piston. Probably got off to a bad start, wantin YESICAN instead of YESDEAR. Then there's STIPPLE. Finally had a break thru, by gettin several of the piston's weejects, followed by nailin EGOTRIP.

Bullet bites:

* ORNURSE. Looks kinda desperate, but Googles stronger than snot. So … ok.
* PER. fave past runt puzzle clue for PER: {1 percent minus 1 cent??}.
* INKUP. Powerful word, that "UP" pup. Add it to end of almost any verb, and U got YERself a verb plus two extra letters! Examples: THINK UP. FILL UP. CLUE UP. SUBMIT UP. PAY UP. DIG DEEP UP.
* INF. Reminds me of that shorty noise Trump kept makin, during the second debate. fave weeject.
* ANNEV. Had no earthly idea. She evidently hangs out around the beach, quite a bit.
* HEP. Confuses the M&A, on this whole HIP vs. HEP thing. Did zoot-suiters dig hep-hop?
* ZEPPO. This dude woulda been cooler with the zoot-suiters, if he'd gone by "HEPPO".
* HOOHA. fave entry. Gives HOOHAR some future hope.
* LEGS. Wanted feet. Are there versions of the hangman game, where U draw the hands and feet, separately?

Thanx, Mr. Chen. Try again. Don't let @RP discourage U. U can do this. [hoohar]

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 12:45 PM  

I thought I missed something clever about the theme, but I guess I didn't. What a letdown. Not even worthy of a Monday puzzle, at least not for the Times.

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Comment #1 autocorrect correction recap. Shoulda been:

* INF. Reminds me of that SNORTY noise Trump kept makin, during the second debate. fave weeject.

Speakin of which, new fave T-shirt logo creations:

The Audacity of GrOPe

Putin Words in Trump's Mouth

har. (Dibs, on publishin rights.)


Joe Bleaux 12:46 PM  

There are more of us out here than you might (justifiably) think, Nancy. We won't lay down our pens of protest and lie on our couches of capitulation😉.

Citizen 12:49 PM  

Yes, by all means vote. As with most things in life, we don't get exactly what we want but we do have the opportunity to analyze and select the better of 2 options for which there most certainly will be cosequences.

Joe Bleaux 12:51 PM  

You can lead a HORTICULTURE😉

Larry Gilstrap 1:05 PM  

@Chefwen, @LMS, @Nancy, and @Tita, I'm no peevish pedant and would never correct anyone's spoken grammar, but most venues require written English to conform to a standard. This blog has a kinda more conversational nature than, for example, a magazine article. I have often been asked to edit someone's writing, which can be a nightmare. Think pickle into cucumber. Sometimes someone will catch me in a spoken error and my defense is always the same: "I'm speaking my regional dialect."

jessica cohn 1:12 PM  

Why is the answer for crib , pad?sorry if this is silly question

mathgent 1:24 PM  

Does anyone know the precise relationship between Jeff Chen and the NYT puzzle department headed by Will Shortz? I understand that Chen gets the puzzles at least a week ahead of time. On his blog, he sometimes selects his "Puzzle of the Week" early in the week. On his blog, Chen suggests that he and Shortz communicate regularly. I've heard that there is a group of people whom Shortz asks to evaluate a puzzle before he either accepts it or publishes it. Rex has said that he was once part of such a group. Could Chen be one of the leaders of such a group? Might he be salaried?

Just curious. I admire both Chen and Shortz. Whatever will make the puzzles more entertaining.

QuasiMojo 2:04 PM  

@Joe Bleaux -- thanks for the correction, re "horticulture." I don't know what I was thinkin'! :) I really should wait until after my third cup of coffee before I post on here. Although I wonder if it is worth it in any case. I seem to be in the vocal minority on most issues. (And no I am not from Atlanta but have spent plenty of time there.)

RAD2626 3:08 PM  

The puzzle was just fine. STIPPLE clue was very cute. ANNE V was a stretch but no worse than many. Fill was good. Solid Jeff Chen puzzle.

My two grind your teeth usages are "I graduated college in only three years". Maybe in the fourth year you would have learned the preposition from. And "I waited on line for an hour ". What did you serve the people waiting IN that line?

Anonymous 3:57 PM  


Graduate has a long and really interesting usage history. Too long to get into the real nitty gritty, but Fowler himself agrees with you and cautions:
" the 'newish' transitive use in American English, as in “he graduated Yale in 1984,” is “much more controversial and is best avoided.”

I love Fowler, but can't agree. Doesn't Fitzgerald describe Nick as having graduated from New Haven?

(Signed) Some Quaker

Michael Lewis 4:08 PM  

Crib and pad can both refer to your home

Numinous 4:41 PM  

I'm very late in posting and haven't read any comments past 10:15 this morning.

@Nancy, PAD is pretty much a Beatnik term which has carried forward to some degree (as far as I know). Crib for a personal location has been around for over a century. Most notably as a place of business for prostitutes since the 19th century. It has also carried forward to mean, "the place where I stay." During the silver and gold rushes in California and Nevada, in the towns that grew up around the mines, there were streets lined with one room buildings, barely larger than the beds they contained, for the girls who worked from them, they were commonly known as "cribs". Just to ramble on, a girl would hang a red lantern (possibly stolen from the rear of a train) in her window to indicate that she was open or available for business. I don't suppose I need to mention what phrase that practice originated.

I've seen CORN RELISH @chefbea, but mostly in roadside stands along with all kinds of other things that resemble chutney here in the south. My wife, who is from a very small southern town says it's very common in small towns where folks rely more on themselves than on Wal*Mart. What all will you be canning this month? When you have hundreds of ears of corn to deal with, you have to do something with them once you've cut the kernels off the cob. That was a way for my wife, as a teenager, to spend a few afternoons around this time of year. Along with snapping beans and shelling peas which would make her fingers bleed, took up a week or more of afternoons, not to mention all day Saturday and Sunday. Five acres will produce a lot of food for a small family.

I found this to be very easy for a Wednesday, 39% faster than my average. The theme was amusing although, as someone pointed out, there are a ZILLION words that reference the notion of appealing to someone. I liked the shout out to The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Excuse me but now I've got to go find the Brasso to polish my CHAINS UNDERWEAR. I'm sure it's in its place in the utility drawers. Ugh!

Numinous 4:54 PM  

@Nancy 10:36, the last block of Bancroft, before International House, is pretty steep. Telegraph, heading south from the campus is all downhill until deep into Oakland. However, it's not steep. It's barely a coast heading south on a bycicle, but constant pedaling heading north. Sounds like a fun way to have spent a summer!

Phearl N Getty 5:09 PM  

If you live in a pad, you'll make your bed with crib sheets.

Dr Moreau is fine, but Jeanne Moreau has him beat by a kilometer.

evil doug 5:14 PM  


Crane Poole 5:17 PM  

Meh+ to me, but you folks are a tough crowd. FANCY PANTS only evokes the late Jon Polito in the Coen Brothers film 'Miller's Crossing'. "You's fancy pants, all o' yuz." Great dialogue. ANNE V? Had Anne of Cleaves been the Vth wife of Henry VIII, and not the IVth... well, just a thought.

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

From my cousin, Robert J Bagby, who bequeathed to me his love of the NYT crossword:
The possessive for it is just its
Yet its usage gives many the fits
As expecting to see
Standard apostrophe
But we shorten it is if it's it's

Nancy 6:11 PM  

@RAD2626 (3:08 p.m.) -- If only I knew how to embed a link on this blog, but I don't. I knew when I read your waiting "on line" vs. waiting "in line" comment that I had read somewhere that we NYers say it differently from everyone else. And so we do! Google "On line vs. in line", @RAD, and the NY idiom exception will pop right up. I have "stood on line" my entire life. So did my parents. So does my brother (even though he now lives in CT.) So does everyone I went to school with, and almost everyone I played tennis with who grew up in NY, and everyone I worked with in publishing, assuming they hadn't come from some distant place. And thus, it sounds not only acceptable to my ear -- it actually sounds better. I will say this in defense of our usage: I can see no proper usage reason whatsoever that would make standing on line grammaticallywrong. I'm sure it sounds awkward and peculiar to your ear, @RAD, but it isn't actually wrong. Really it isn't.

jae 6:46 PM  

Alan Furst "The World at Night" ....He crossed the Left Bank, entered the post office on the avenue Bosquet, It was crowded people in damp coats standing on line....

kitshef 6:51 PM  

My standard for prescriptivism is whether meaning is clear. I really hate the use of literally to mean figuratively as it obscures meaning. If someone says "I literally died of fright", we know the meaning. But if she says "I was so scared I literally peed my pants", we don't know whether she is being literal or figurative. Ergo, use of literally to mean figuratively is a 'no'.

On lay/lie, you have to work really hard to come up with examples of unclear meaning, so I do not object to those who use 'lay' for 'lie', although I don't do so. Same with "ain't"; I ain't gonna use it, but it's OK with me if you do.

Numinous 6:53 PM  

I looked online at the discussions of "on line" vs. "in line." And the discussions go on. If anyone wants the Sisyphean task of changing the minds of the entire north eastern United States, more power to him or her. Just don't expect to accomplish much. "Online" means connected, "on the line" means at risk. Just sayin'.

Anonymous 6:58 PM  

Wow, what a letdown for a Wednesday! The one exception was stipple/dotty. As a late-in-the day solver, I was hoping for something better today...

Anonymous 8:16 PM  

Numinous @ 6:53 - I live in the north eastern United States, specifically Upstate New York. I have never in my entire life stood on line, nor has anyone else I have ever known. However, I have stood and waited in many a line. ��

ESL 9:10 PM  

@Z, Vonnegut may well have said what you ascribe to him, but Einstein also said [here I paraphrase] that nothing is so complex that it cannot be couched in language a first-grader can comprehend. I'm guessing Einstein's observation preceded Vonnegut's.

As an aside, I believe 'unmutable' refers to sound, 'immutable' to the potential for alteration. I may be mistaken.

Z 10:29 PM  

@ESL - Good writers borrow, great writers steal. I've always thought of Vonnegut as a great writer. Also, as I was driving to practice this afternoon I thought to myself, "Damn! Should have been immutable." This was a good four hours after I posted. Some days one is quicker than other days.

@johnny stocker - I don't see it. Saying that your only claim to "fame" is being in the SI swimsuit issue and that this doesn't make you crossworthy isn't slut shaming. Tyra Banks is crossworthy IMHO because she's going to be known far beyond just the small segment of people who buy the SI swimsuit issue. A million copies sounds like a lot, but it is still less than one third of one percent of the US population. Compare this to America's Next Top Model which had more than 6 million viewers in its early seasons. Banks has done lots of things to make her famous besides appearing in SI, that is the difference between being crossworthy or not. Rex didn't say anything beyond this.

Roo Monster 11:44 PM  

To correct myself and call me a dumbass, the phrase is Believe you me. That's the one that irks. It's like saying, Believe you, me.


Anokha 2:18 AM  

Locker room reference as shade? A+

Burma Shave 10:35 AM  


IMCOOL with my GALPAL, we’re LIKEMINDED of late.


spacecraft 11:07 AM  

@Pete: remarkable story--if you're not pulling our LEGS. People like that do exist, but they're rarer than the super moon we were treated to last night. (Closest approach to Earth; last one was 1948.) Now to the puzzle.

I didn't expect OFL to throw Jeff Chen under the bus. Okay, so the theme isn't much PER se, but the phrases that involve it are all very good. And YOU try stacking those four corners and still make it an easy solve. Nothing outlandish anywhere. Mostly, nits to pick are with a couple of the clues.

--> 1-across: I agree with all the flap about that one.

--> When I think of HOTDATE, the word "romantic" does NOT occur.

We must endure another RMK at 24-across; otherwise a spiffy grid. DOD candidates abound; the obvious front-runner is one I've never heard of by name, but have seen in SI: ANNEV. (Man, I thought for sure I'd messed up somewhere there!) We could go with sultry French actress Jeanne MOREAU, the increasingly popular in xwords LAILA Ali, or trailblazer ALTHEA. But IGO off-grid and in-clue to come up with a lady I've wanted to honor this long time: Catherine Bach of the Dukes. A pair of LEGS to dream about!

I enjoyed doing this one, easy though it was, and we have our third straight birdie. 59 possible?

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

A fine puzzle - fun, challenging but workable, and fair. I'll take one like this everyday, thank you.

( I find the concept of a "theme" totally irrelevant to most puzzles.)

rondo 1:51 PM  

Nothing wrong with an easy Wednesday puz now and then, good for the newbies. Was thinking maybe there would be some rhyme-time action after GALPAL and PALEALE, but no, just things to say LIKE.

Yesterday we had flea/flee, today IT’S LAY/LEI and I never remember how to spell LAILA Ali.

@spacey has once again nearly covered the yeah baby spectrum, but IGO with frequent flyer Jessica ALBA.

There was a world premiere of a play called “ORANGE” last night in Mpls. Something to do with ORANGE County, CA, if YER interested.

No big HOOHA today and finished without ERROR. Maybe soon time to have a beer, ORNURSE a PALEALE.

Diana,LIW 2:09 PM  

DNF in the far middle-east. Even after putting all the letters in for LAILA, I forgot that she's Ali's daughter. Must remember.

The rest - pretty easy. And the theme - eh? Doesn't really do...anything. I mean, it isn't awful. Just, eh? Nothing really pulls it all together.

Tomorrow's Thursday - anything goes.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 2:42 PM  

Just a bit too easy, and with unnecessary shaded squares to highlight some common synonyms that apparently serve as a theme.

Not much here, though ANNEV (unknown to me) and LAILA might make good GALPALS.

rain forest 2:53 PM  

Fagh! Who cares if this was an easy puzzle and/or appeared on Wednesday? Really? It was a professional, competent job, and who can argue with that?
Also, there were a number of nice entries all over the place. Loved the playfulness of HOOHA and the ref to Patsy Cline. I did note that most PALE ALEs I've had aren't particularly light in colour.
Liked it.

leftcoastTAM 3:52 PM  

@rain forest--
You may or may not have included me in your dismissal of those who find a puzzle "a bit too easy," as I had phrased it. No matter, it's just a personal preference. I like early week puzzles that have a bit more bite to them.

rain forest 5:57 PM  

@leftcoastTAM - In no way was I being personal to anyone in my "dismissal". I am in the minority as one who really doesn't look for anything in particular in the NYT puzzle (the only puzzle I regularly solve). I know that usually they progress from easy early in the week to rather more challenging later. I enjoy doing them all, mainly because I sincerely admire the abilities of the various constructors to put together puzzles that are competent, sometimes whimsical, sometimes straightforward, and at other times, brain-wracking. I never approach, say, a Wednesday puzzle with the expectation that it will be of a certain type. I guess I just don't understand those who get their shirt in a knot because a puzzle is either too difficult or too easy for the day of the week. Maybe I should just be quiet when other commenters express their opinions, and perhaps I should cease expressing mine.

I really hope you weren't offended. No offense was meant at all.

rondo 7:42 PM  

@rainy - Love your comments, always insightful and well-said (or -written). A highlight of my day.

leftcoastTAM 7:54 PM  

@rain forest--
No offense taken. If this is the only kind of difference we might have, we're in pretty good shape. And there is no reason at all why you should stop expressing your opinion. It's an essential part of the game.

Diana,LIW 8:52 PM  


I would truly get my undies in a bundle if you forsook posting.

Yeah, find another site where someone would say THAT!

(Not to mention, keeping my knickers from getting a twist.)

Lady Di

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Diana, LIW 2:04 PM  

Almost didn't get the X, but I'd already looked some up.

@Foggy - a "head" is also lavatory.

Lady Di

PS - traveling yesterday, catching up today

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