Novelist Pierre / SUN 10-16-16 / Principia Discordia figure / Unleavened cornbread / Title for Palpatine Amidala Star Wars / Malicious fictional computer

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Constructor: Tom McCoy

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Emotion" — the letter "e" moves (i.e. is in "motion") in one word in each of the themers:

Theme answers:
  • TRICKS OF THE TREAD (23A: Goodyear's carefully guarded secrets?)
  • BALANCED EDIT (33A: Revision that satisfies both author and publisher?)
  • MINUET HAND (48A: What a pianist uses for triple-time pieces?)
  • GREAT SALT LEAK (63A: Result of a Morton's factory explosion?)
  • MALES ON WHEELS (70A: Skater boys?)
  • MATE MARKET (84A: Dating site?)
  • THE CHOSEN EON (99A: Privileged time period?)
  • A TEAL OF TWO CITIES (112A: Color used by teams from both San Jose and Jacksonville?) 

Word of the Day: CUESTA (34D: Ridge with a gentle slope on one side and a steep slope on the other) —
A cuesta is a hill or ridge with a gentle slope on one side, and a steep slope on the other. In geology the term is more specifically applied to a ridge where a harder sedimentary rock overlies a softer layer, the whole being tilted somewhat from the horizontal. This results in a long and gentle backslope called a dip slope that conforms with the dip of resistant strata, called caprock. Where erosion has exposed the frontslope of this, a steep slope or escarpment occurs. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle is bafflingly dull and old-fashioned, which is startling, as its talented constructor is neither of these things. Simple gimmicks can work if they are executed to perfect, with surprising, clever theme-answer results. But these themers are just workmanlike, at best. I kinda like MALES ON WHEELS, but the rest feel like first-draft ideas that shouldn't been rejected. This is like a theme that hasn't been allowed to simmer long enough. Very undercooked, both at the level of concept (really, you just move .... one "e"?) and at the level of execution (really, these are the best themers you could come up with?). I would expect to see a puzzle like this (that is, competent but boring) in another, putatively sub-NYT venue. Not as the marquee puzzle of the self-described "Best Puzzle in the World." Beyond the theme, even, there's little that is fresh or current. ICE BUCKET, I guess, but that a. seems like a partial and b. already feels dated (52D: Kind of challenge). SANTA'S LAP, I really liked, both clue and answer (37D: You might wish upon it). But the rest, no. Eno.

The fill was clunky and musty. I literally shouted at the grid at one point after it not only crossed UPs (ADD UP / GOES UP) but then (like 20 seconds later) gave me Yet Another UP (SOPS UP). Up yours, puzzle! Also, AHH and AWW in the same grid? Ugh. LOTI? (28A: Novelist Pierre). No ... tee. Multiple OCTS and RDAS? The ridiculous not-a-thing prescription abbr. TER (this one drives my pediatrician friend Erin krazy!). I wonder if anyone is going to be tripped up by the CUESTA / ERIS crossing. I have never heard of CUESTA—I am happy to learn the word (which I will soon forget, no doubt) but the "S" involves some inference, i.e. knowing that ERIS (50A: "Principia Discordia" figure) is oft clued as [Goddess of discord]. I can see dropping an "N" in there, no problem. If you have to rely on the relatively obscure CUESTA to make your grid work, you should make sure the crosses are clued fairly. That is all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Richard Rutherford 12:59 AM  

One might have reclued some of this puzzle with references to the Orange One: ALLTALK, HAIRCARE, ICK, THREATEN,RASCAL,EERIE, MARTINET, erc.

John Child 1:11 AM  

This was a pleasant Sunday for me, on the easy side so it never bogged down. UP, UP and UP bothered me, but clearly the editor didn't mind. Isn't "12 9 11 5 20 8 9 19 3 12 21 5" a cipher rather than IN CODE?

From yesterday:
> Chicago Cubs history
> the music of Webb Wilder
> Gus Grissom's unfortunate demise in Apollo 1
> Jim Hall's remarkable Chaparral roadster

Thanks for the suggestions. I spent a couple of pleasant hours Sunday morning learning more about all four subjects.

Convict 417394 1:39 AM  

I raced through this entire puzzle, except for that far SW corner. Boy that was a struggle. I finally got it, but after I did I couldn't tell why it was so hard.

Just one of those things, I guess.

jae 1:40 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Top half easy, bottom half a bit more crunchy. RelING before RIDING took some time to REDO.

Mildly amusing theme answers, about average for a Sun., liked it more than Rex did.

George Barany 1:43 AM  

Thanks, @Rex, for your review of @Tom McCoy's puzzle, and to @Richard Rutherford and @John Child for your initial reactions. Hopefully, there will be more comments later (two more showed up in the time it took to compose and proofread this post).

I too wonder about fill like ICK, AHH, and AWW, which all seem a bit arbitrary, and add to that the relatively unhelpful "eww" in the clue (for ICK). The triple UPs are supplemented by double ATEs. I had FLIP ahead of SNAP, and several other missteps too mundane to bore you with.

Hard to believe that today marks the New York Times crossword debut of (Lord) KELVIN, after whom the temperature scale that gets us to absolute zero is named. I do appreciate the clue for OILS, which blends science with marketing. Seeing PELE in the grid was a reminder that he was too ill to light the Olympic torch this past summer in Rio. It would have been nice to clue ALI for the late great champion (and 1996 Olympic torch lighter in Atlanta) rather than as a partial from a fictional character name.

chefwen 2:56 AM  

Liked it, but, like the convict , the SW corner was problematic. Had degree in and out twice at 94D before it just wouldn't work. Looking back I think I was just having an ARID moment.

Loved all the long ones, especially MALES ON WHEELS, MATE MARKET was pretty cute too.

'mericans in Paris 4:37 AM  

ACK! Tom McCoy was more prescient than he probably expected to be, anticipating one of the major stories of the week:

“We just chatted back and forth … it wasn’t until they cleared the meal that somehow or another the ARM REST in the seat disappeared and it was a real shock when, all of a sudden, his [MINUTE] HANDs were all over me.”


Like Richard Rutherford, I, too, couldn't help but be REMINDed elsewhere in the puzzle of The Donald. There's also SUE FOR [libelous allegations]. But there is also a nod to Hillary’s E-MAIL.

Overall, we had mixed feelings about this puzzle. Nice to see Lord KELVIN get a mention, and some of the theme answers were real groaners. (A plus.) The juxtaposition of “IT’S SAD” and “CHEERY” was also nice.

But OCTS. Really?! And even Mrs. 'mericans, who works for one of those evil multinational enterprises, had never heard of CEE. The only CEE I know of is the Commission Economique pour l'Europe. And the web site, Acronym Finder (HTTP://, lists the first definition for CEE as "Conspiracy Entertainment Europe". I have no idea what that is, but you can bet your sweet bippy that it is involved in the plot to steal the U.S. Presidential Election.

(PSST. This puzzle has been written IN CODE. Now is the time to turn on the IBM and release the GREAT SALT LEAK. The ELDERS have already SET the MTA in motion. Power to the PROLES!)

Roberta Weiner 5:56 AM  

Very dull puzzle though I was wondering what a Santa Slap was 😉

Anonymous 6:09 AM  

Prepare for an ugly feelin', 'Mericans... CEE comes after 🐝.

Charles Rosenzweig 6:41 AM  

14 Down: REA?

Peter 6:58 AM  

In our current political climate, I thought that 1A ("Full of sound and fury") was ALT-TALK.

It was the last thing I changed, and a perfect answer, except for the fact that the term doesn't exist. Until Now.

Lise 6:59 AM  

I liked CHEERY next to ITSBAD. Both hanging beneath ICK. That made me laugh.

I took piano for several years, but sadly, never had a MINUET HAND... Also liked MATE MARKET.

I enjoyed the puzzle, mostly - thanks!

Loren Muse Smith 7:02 AM  
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Jim Crotteau 7:30 AM  

Didn't MeaT MARKET used to be a derogatory term for a semi-sleazy dating bar? A "Dating site?" Could be both a MATE MARKET and a MeaT MARKET. I was mildly annoyed by the UPs and sound answers (AHH, AWW etc.), but I found the theme answers amusing. My biggest problem was I couldn't parse "wishing upon" as anything other than the meaning in "wishing upon a star." SANTASLA_ therefore meant nothing to me. I had a similar brain cramp for the "1/, 2/, 3/" clue. Sigh, I'll never be a speed solver.

- Jim C. in Maine

George Barany 7:41 AM  

Meanwhile, somewhere in the tristate area, @radio disc jockey / crossword constructor Gary CEE is wondering about that "First in command?" clue (79-Across).

Was anyone else struck by the coincidence of GREAT leading off theme answer 63-Across, vis-à-vis GRATES being the answer to 45-Down? That's a good opportunity to direct attention to this image (one of several variations readily found on the internet).

'mericans in Paris 7:48 AM  

@Anonymouse 6:09 AM: You are going to have to translate that one for me. OK, CEE follows bEE. And so?

chefbea 7:51 AM  

Tough puzzle which I DNF Lots of things I didn't know
What is 1/,2/,3/,etc....I get that 1,2,3 are Nos but why the slash mark???

Loren Muse Smith 7:53 AM  

Reporting pretty hard here in Beautiful Downtown West Virginia. But I was chatting with a houseguest who was up as early as I was, so there was that…

Yeah – that ERIS/CUESTA cross was tough, but I guessed right.

I almost threw in the towel because I had "eek" for ACK at 5D, and couldn't for the life of me see ALL TALK. Can't you be full of sound and fury but then totally go off and hurt someone?

Funniest mistake – that clue for 89D ("model for an artist") had me filling in with no hesitation "disrobe."

@Roberta Weiner – I know, right? I was all "huh????" – filling in all the letters for 37D but not understanding that someone would wish on a SANTA SLAP. What. Is this part of some Christmas lore I missed?

Anyone else watch the Demon Deacons lose to the Seminoles yesterday? Weak Forest.

Loved the clue for IBM 115D. Who notices these things? And of course I liked "first in command?" for CEE.

I enjoyed figuring out the new phrases - liked BALANCED EDIT and MALES ON WHEELS the best.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

As long as we're complaining about ugly repetitive short fill, let's not leave out ICK and ACK.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

@'Mericans - Sorry, first letter of the word "command" is CEE. Ay, bee, CEE...

r.alphbunker 8:18 AM  

The main reason why the NW was so hard for me to finish was
1D. {Follower of John} ACTS from _ _T_

26A. {Title for Palpatine or Amidala in "Star Wars": Abbr.} SEN from S_ _

2D {Rhyme for "door" and "more" in the first verse of "The Raven"} LORE
You have no idea how much I wanted to just look at the damn verse.
@LMS - Do you see your name there?

Details are here.

And then there is make American grape again. GEE could be clued {Beginning of greatness}

George Barany 8:28 AM  

@'mericans in Paris -- CEE is spelling out "C" which is the first letter of "Command"

@r.alph.bunker -- I absolutely love your program that tracks the solving process. That video you linked to in your last paragraph is terrific, and your GEE clue made me laugh.

Mohair Sam 8:38 AM  

Agreeing with @Rex this morning, except it played medium/challenging for us for reasons below. We finished on a good guess at the "S" in ERIS (Hi @LMS).

Struggled like mad in the SW only because we thought KELVIN was a temperature scale and a degree was a unit. I see this flew right by our scientists so I assume we are wrong. But I refused to put the obvious KELVIN in there for the longest time thinking it's a scale, not a temperature unit. Annoying.

Held up a while with a similar complaint about 82A (Ecological role) - aren't all roles essentially NICHE's? Or is "ecological NICHE" a commonly used term I've missed?

Didn't want Chile to be ARID because it sits mostly on the Pacific, but gave in when DYNE made us CHEERY (and KELVIN therefore had to be good although ITSBAD).

NCA President 9:38 AM  

Oh joy, a pun themed puzzle.

Definitely not my cup of tea. I agree with Rex that there were too many UPs in the many, in fact, I started to doubt everything.

"ITSAJOB" should be "It's a living."

Bottom line: too many puns because it's a Sunday puzzle. Maybe a couple of these would have worked on a Tuesday or moderation, in other words...but because of the length of the puzzle, the pun hits just kept on giving.

Teedmn 9:40 AM  

Worst clue of the day was 3D, I thought. Gone flat? = LAIr? As in somewhere a person on the lam would hide out? Good grief, that's terrible! And wrong... Anyhoo....

I liked this puzzle a lot, starting with 1A's clue quoting Shakespeare. Almost all of the theme answers were fun though BALANCED EDIT was pretty unexciting. My favorites were GREAT SALT LEAK and A TEAL OF TWO CITIES.

At 37D, I was convinced we would be wishing on a star, up to the point that SANTA StAr just didn't work. I didn't write it in but I was working the acrosses with that assumption. His LAP was a nice aha.

Thanks, Tom McCoy!

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

I must be atypical. I found the SW corner first, which gave me the theme, but only got the NE later. BALANCED EDIT? Huh?

jberg 9:53 AM  

Yeah, @'mericans, I stuck to CEo until I had ETSY, and even wondered if someone had started a competitive site called oTSY. But it finally dawned on me.

I did like Lou GEHRIG in the same puzzle with the ICE BUCKET challenged aimed at finding a cure for the disease that killed him. And A ONE crossing A TECROW. And the ETSY/PATSY cross. Otherwise, kind of a slog.

kitshef 9:57 AM  

@chefbea - MOS, not nOS. The slashes are commonly used in expressing dates (1/7/2014)

On the one hand, I was genuinely amused by A TEAL OF TWO CITIES. On the other seventeen hands, the three-letter answers are terrible. So many of them are terrible. ICK and ACK, AHH and AWW, TLC, MTA, ETS, USD, SEN, CID, TER, MOS.

And then there's the combo abbrev. and plural of convenience in OCTS.

And on what planet is NEATO equivalent to "Goody"?

The MALTA clue was nifty, though the population given is just within city limits, rather than the metro area which is how city populations are more commonly listed.

Maruchka 10:02 AM  

A TEAL OF TWO CITIES gets my vote. Can almost hear the color chart discussions.
Go, Big Blue-Green!

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Four blank squares. Getting MALES ON WHEELS (a lovely theme answer, btw,) was impossible without knowing OLAF, ALI, and mostly MOS at 70D. What in the world is MOS???? Will someone please explain?

Despite my abject DNF, I thought this was a lively and provocative Sunday -- with the exception, of course, of the above mentioned PPP I didn't know. Having been on both sides of book publishing -- as an editor and a writer -- my favorite theme answer by a mile was BALANCED EDIT. But I also loved THE CHOSEN EON and MINUET HAND. And "EMOTION" for the headline was inspired. I just wish that ALI and OLAF had been clued differently. Then I would have figured out the mysterious MOS, even without having a clue what it is. But basically a really fun puzzle.

Passing Shot 10:14 AM  

Couldn't find a foothold until the SW, which fell (relatively) quickly. Caught on to the conceit at A TEAL OF TWO CITIES. Liked TRICKS OF THE TREAD. CUESTA is a new word for me; was looking to see if "suelta" was a word and luckily, "CUESTA" came up. All in all, an enjoyable, if not terribly me,orable, endeavor.

chefbea 10:14 AM  

@Kitsef thanks for the explanation...maybe @Nancy will get it now

Nancy 10:14 AM  

Never mind, everyone. @kitshef has just explained MOS -- months -- to @chefbea. Those commas completely threw me off -- I thought they were parts of a combo slash-comma marking of the numbers rather than a separator of three separate slash-marked numbers. If you see what I mean.

Alysia 10:15 AM  
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Alysia 10:16 AM  

@teedmn - LAIN, not "lair." As in..."lain flat."

Alysia 10:19 AM  
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Charles Flaster 10:22 AM  

Totally agree with Rex's review but it was a fun workout. Themers were whacky but sussable. Liked MINUET HAND the best.
Liked the RIDING clue.
Thanks TM

Norm 10:32 AM  

Disagree with Rex. This was a charming puzzle and a lot of fun to solve. What's not to like about GREAT SALT LEAK and A TEAL OF TWO CITIES? Now, I'll grant you that BALANCED EDIT was pretty bland, but one clunker does not a bad puzzle make.

@Charles Rosenzweig: MENS REA = legal term for the mental state required for a crime. E.g., intent to kill as an element of murder.

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

I can't remember a single Tom McCoy puzzle that I haven't enjoyed. This was FUN....AND must have been a rabe to construct.
MALES ON WHEELS is just wonderful. Just say it out loud along with MATE MARKET...AHH.
Liked that OLAF and ALI were clued differently. CEE didn't fool me this time and I'm usually a PATSY with these clues. The UPS didn't bother nor did the ICK AWW.
I've been to Chile several times but only on the Pacific side. Santiago sits in a valley surrounded by the beautiful Andes. Flying into the capital is like riding a roller coaster though. You're way up high and then the pilot has to practically nose-dive to land. We took a train to Villarica which is at the bottom tip. I've never seen anything so glorious... reminded me of the Swiss Alps. Right after we left, the volcano erupted. In other words, I would never associate Chile with ARID land.

Z 10:55 AM  

Running low on Sam Cooke videos, so how about a little Smokey Robinson.

Ken R 10:58 AM  

Thought it was a pretty dull puzzle on the easy side. Agree with Rex that if THIS is the marquee puzzle of the week, the NYT is no longer the Best Puzzle in the World. Just wish Sunday's would make you work a little harder to solve. I'm thinking that Stanley Newman's Saturday Stumper in Newsday is by far the most challenging and most satisfying solve of the week. Sometimes it goes beyond challenging, but 3 out of 4 are fair and eventually solvable.

Just an aside: American politics is absolutely SICKENING. This election is a national disgrace.

Roo Monster 11:11 AM  

Hey All !
Moving of the E. Hm. I thought it was rearranging letters in one part of the answer, thereby the Title of puz doing nothing for me. Oh well. Had an ISSUE with whole left side of puz. Particularly NW and SW corners. Hands up for not wanting a SANTA SLAP. Wanted StAr at the end. MOS throwing me off. And ISSUE based on the clue? SHIER also. Someone explain please.

NW had orecart for COALCAR, wanted emp for SEN. SW, NICHE took forever to see, wanted yuk or ugh for ICK. The BEVY/DYNE/CLYDE trifecta of Y's next to impossible to suss. Ending up cheating down there. :-(

Theme decent, agree with others about the ICKy threes and ACKy POCs. And the trip UPS. 27A not clued as "Oh, ___!" AWW...


DebbieJRT 11:43 AM  

I was all done, put in the last letter, and nothing happened. Couldn't find what was wrong. Finally gave up and asked for the answer. I had MON for MOS, because NIP AT made sense to me.
All together not a bad puzzle.

old timer 11:47 AM  

One of those puzzles that was so tough that I left in a couple of wrong answers near the top, hoping the right ones would come at the end -- and then in one case forgot to go back and write in the correct one. Why? because it was quite a slog as Sundays often are for me. Personally I loved the theme and grinned almost every time I got one. And I got them all except for BALANCED EDIT, which I took on faith and only after the puzzle was complete did I figure out EDItT = diet.

I really agree with OFL that the fill was sloppy and boring.

I had no trouble with CUESTA. It's a common Spanish description of that type of land form, which is common in California and the West, and as we find is a term used by English-speaking geographers. And for those who don't know Spanish. it is a cousin to the French "Cote". (Hint for those who learn French: that circumflex accent over the o in "cote" means that there used to be an "s" after the vowel; second hint for those who learn Spanish and want to pick up Italian: Spanish diphthongs like "UE" once were single vowels, like O, and the Italian cognate is therefore easy to guess.)

It amuses me that in certain old fashioned Dublin dialects, a Meat MARKET and a MATE MARKET are pronounced about the same. You can trate your mate to a plate of mate. A few centuries ago, EA words were pronounced in English with a long A sound, but the language changed in England so these words had a long E sound, with the sole common exception being "great". Ireland was slower to make that change and some Irish folk never did change it,

Hungry Mother 11:50 AM  

Had CUENTA, even though I knew it was Spanish. I liked the theme.

Joseph Michael 11:56 AM  

I wouldn't say IT'S BAD, but this puzzle left me wanting more.

Aside from MALES ON WHEELS and A TEAL OF TWO CITIES, the themers felt uninspired. And, although there was some nice cluing -- such as that for SANTA'S LAP, EMAIL, and FAKE TAN -- the puzzle had "gone flat" well before I finished it.

Favorite moment: the HAL/IBM connection. Least favorite moment: actually having to write in ACK in a NYT Puzzle.

lg 11:58 AM  

I could not agree less with Rex today, as I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. Baffling dull and old-fashioned? There's nothing wrong with a puzzle going old school. This puzzle reminds me of the puzzles I did as a kid and that just feels nice to me. For people who solve 30-50 crosswords per week, just about any puzzle can seem boring, but I think the majority of solvers would tend to disagree that this one wasn't at least decent. I found it fun and very enjoyable!

Alan_S. 11:59 AM  

"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth Quote (Act V, Scene V).

Valerie Penka 12:04 PM  

Took a while, but I liked it overall. I am, however, a pun fan. Loved Males on Wheels and a Teal of Two Cities. NW was last to fall. But SHIER? Still don't get it.

AskGina 12:07 PM  

@Richard, on might remember Shakespear, "... but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."

Valerie Penka 12:10 PM  

I agree with Mohair Sam - Kelvin is a scale and Degree is the unit. How did this clue get by?

Leapfinger 12:12 PM  

Well, I thought 'Try to win' was a GREAT clue for SUFFIX, and SUEFOR was the most disappointing of my REDOS. And No, I wasn't thinking of Oprah Wintry.

Had some fun humming 'La Donna E Mobile' as a theme song, but stopped short when I got to GREAT SALT LEAK. Has anyone even considered at what temperature NaCl melts? SALT liquefies at just over 800 degrees Celsius, which gets even worse at 1074 KELVIN. Man, if you don't think that's gonna burn!! ACK!!

As per @M&A, there's some GRATE/overlooked theme weejects:
The not-SO-RED mathematician, ERDOS (We have his Number)
The Sheik's Beauty, Bei EMIR Bist Du Schoen
The Beige Album, by Motley Crue
Leopold, the Pulmonary LOBE
Quick relief from servitude, with Alka PEON
(There's more, but that's as much as they'll ALLOW ME.)

Liked the Diamond's Lou GEHRIG, the LASSO Apso, and the RIDING on a PONE just above the BRONCS, as well as the previously mentioned highlights. Thought it a pleasant Sunday, though IT'S A JOB just to get out of those LEDER hosen.

Time to ARMRESTle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Ahar! Vowel movements! Always a good thing to begin one's Sunday up with, I say.

LOEB/PROLES has a light, pleasin bouquet of desperation. Polite golf clap. [LOEB just called, and requested a vowel movement.]
ERIS/CUESTA is lookin like solid desperation. Primo.
ADDUP/GOESUP certainly ups the ante.
OCTS looks as desperate as they come. Bravissimo.
SUBJ. har!

fave weejects: ACK. ICK. Self-critiquin lil varmints! Automation is really grate. [vowel movement]

The long (trans-6) non-themers were also pretty good: ICEBUCKET. SANTASLAP. DIORAMA. ITSAJOB. PROBONO. ATECROW. ALLTALK, with tough clue.

Thanx, Mr. McCoy. CUESTA musta needed multiple vowel movements, huh? Anyhoo … fun solve, with some feisty spots.

Masked & Anonymo8Us


Alan_S. 12:16 PM  

I can't remember the last time I thought a Sunday NYT crossword was so good that I would run around the house showing it to my wife and kids, telling them how clever and well executed it was. And it won't happen today either.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

One simple question: why all the UPs? Isn't the repetition of a non-themed word a no-no?

Martin 12:18 PM  

The kelvin is a unit. That's how the clue got by

Wm. C. 12:33 PM  

@Gill I 10:43 --

Re Scary landings in Santiago.

I've never been there, but I used to travel quite a bit to Asia, thru Hong Kong.

Until 1998 Kai Tak was its airport, located on the west side of Kowloon Bay, the city's inner harbor. On the northwest end, just across a street, are high-rise buildings, and to the southeast are mountains on the outer harbor islands.

The only way in was initially perpendicular to the runway axis, heading southwest. There was a huge red/white checkerboard on a hillside along this approach, indicating the point at which a sharp right turn was to be initiated to get aligned with the runway. At this point, though, the aircraft had to be at about 500 feet, because the runway wasn't' far beyond the turn.

I always booked a right-side window seat to get a bird's-eye view of the action. A sharp right tunn on a 747, 500 feet off the deck, wasn't something you saw every day. Any pilot flying this route glad to get several hours of Kai Tak-tailored simulator training beforehand. Further complicating things was the fact that the airport always had a strong prevailing crosswind, forcing a "crab-landing" at touchdown.

One other amusing part of this from the right window was the fact that residential high-rises were at eye-level in the right turn, only a few hundred feet away, giving some pretty interesting views of "early morning domestic activities" in the apartments.

In 1998, a new HK airport was built by placing massive amounts of fill connecting several smaller islands in the outer harbor. It's a lot longer commute from there into the city, and a lot calmer arrival. Oh, well ...

Here's a YouTube of the approach and landing from the 747 cockpit. A bit long, skip ahead a third of the length if you wish.

ani 12:47 PM  


Stanley Hudson 12:48 PM  

Liked it better tha OFL did.

@John Child, well played sir.

QuasiMojo 1:27 PM  

Having been called out as "uppity" by someone on this blog a while back, I can now say that this puzzle felt "up"-ish to me. I thought the title "Emotion" had something to do with feeling Up or feeling Down and struggled with the gimmick until I discarded that misguided concept. I agree wholeheartedly with our fearless leader today. This puzzle was a lot of work (took me nearly an hour) and very little reward. I think there should be a rule that "eww" "ahh" "aww" "ack" and "ick" be used as fill sparingly. It really brings the quality down to, well, comic book level. And I expect more from the NYT puzzle than guttural drivel.

Alan_S. 1:30 PM  

Also a fitting description of the Trump campaign!

Andrew Heinegg 1:33 PM  

What Rex and Richard Rutherford said. As the election date approaches (not a nanosecond too soon!), surely there should be some political references in the puzzles, preferably ones with some humor and/or snap.

You might say this puzzle was not one of the real McCoys (ugh). But, then your line would have at least as much punch as most of the themers here. Great Salt Leak was not only dull, it didn't really fit the clue for it. To give credit where it is due, The Teal Of Two Cities was the best of the lot for my money.

The best defense that I can imagine for this puzzle is my lingering suspicion that Mr. Shortz inserted some of the more trivial and trite words, isms et al. However, the bottom line is that grizzled solvers are used to better efforts from this accomplished constructor.

I notice that no one is complementing OFL for not praising the puzzle because of the name below the puzzle title. It should remind all that Mr. Sharp calls it like he sees it regardless of reputation. I don't always agree and I sometimes vehemently disagree but, at least I know I am getting an honest appraisal.

Andrew Heinegg 1:33 PM  

What Rex and Richard Rutherford said. As the election date approaches (not a nanosecond too soon!), surely there should be some political references in the puzzles, preferably ones with some humor and/or snap.

You might say this puzzle was not one of the real McCoys (ugh). But, then your line would have at least as much punch as most of the themers here. Great Salt Leak was not only dull, it didn't really fit the clue for it. To give credit where it is due, The Teal Of Two Cities was the best of the lot for my money.

The best defense that I can imagine for this puzzle is my lingering suspicion that Mr. Shortz inserted some of the more trivial and trite words, isms et al. However, the bottom line is that grizzled solvers are used to better efforts from this accomplished constructor.

I notice that no one is complementing OFL for not praising the puzzle because of the name below the puzzle title. It should remind all that Mr. Sharp calls it like he sees it regardless of reputation. I don't always agree and I sometimes vehemently disagree but, at least I know I am getting an honest appraisal.

Andrew Heinegg 1:34 PM  

What Rex and Richard Rutherford said. As the election date approaches (not a nanosecond too soon!), surely there should be some political references in the puzzles, preferably ones with some humor and/or snap.

You might say this puzzle was not one of the real McCoys (ugh). But, then your line would have at least as much punch as most of the themers here. Great Salt Leak was not only dull, it didn't really fit the clue for it. To give credit where it is due, The Teal Of Two Cities was the best of the lot for my money.

The best defense that I can imagine for this puzzle is my lingering suspicion that Mr. Shortz inserted some of the more trivial and trite words, isms et al. However, the bottom line is that grizzled solvers are used to better efforts from this accomplished constructor.

I notice that no one is complementing OFL for not praising the puzzle because of the name below the puzzle title. It should remind all that Mr. Sharp calls it like he sees it regardless of reputation. I don't always agree and I sometimes vehemently disagree but, at least I know I am getting an honest appraisal.

Teri Lee 1:36 PM  

Loved it, as I do all the NY Times Sunday puzzles. Occasionally I like one I don't have to think too hard as was todays. but nontheless interesting and enjoyable. I hope I never get so cynical as to think nothing more worthwhile in my day than to complain about a puzzle,

Numinous 1:39 PM  

Starter from start(le). A horse might start at the sound of a rattlesnake's rattle or it might shy away. Just 'cause nobody answered that one yet. It may happen while I type this but . . . .

I had to ponder over BALANCED EDIT (diet) for a while to figure it out. That was the first themer that I got but I was still pondering the particular affect implied by Emotion. I had a lot of letters from crosses in the other themers but they were still calling up blanks. Eventually I got A TEAL OF TWO CITIES and it all became clear. I thought there were some rather good and obscure clues in this one. I know that dreck happens, I try not to notice it two much. We're there three UPs? I just didn't register them. In the morning I have "quiet time" when I drink my coffee, smoke some smokes and amuse my brain with the NYT Xword. For me, that's critical thinking enough.

@old timer, I really liked your discussion of Britanian-Hybernian vowel shifts. I knew that MATE MARKET wasn't a thing, unless you include FARMERS ONLY, and I have been to more than one Los Angeles MeaT MARKET in my time. They were indeed sites to behold, ones that didn't require a log-in (I will paraliptically avoid any unseemly remarks).

I enjoyed this slog, 2 minutes under my average. I'm getting to like Tom McCoy's puzzles, though they take some getting used to, I'm getting there.

GILL I. 2:00 PM  

@Wm C. I had a friend who was the sales Manager for Cathay Pacific based in Honolulu. He would tell me that top management would routinely send sales staff to Hong Kong just to see if they wouldn't scream while landing in Kai Tak. I never flew there.
One of the worst landing sites, in my opinion, is La Guardia. Ask any pilot who has flown there.

ArtO 2:19 PM  

Toughest Sunday for me in a long time. Quite a few really devious clues. But, thought the theme answers pretty clever for the most part.

webwinger 2:20 PM  

I'm in the thumbs UP camp today. Theme wasn't exactly fresh but quite well executed IMO. Especially liked the title, which turned a perfectly normal word into an e- word that had nothing to do with the web, and perfectly captured the theme. (Then M&A managed to top it with Vowel Movement!) The pile-up of 3-letter ICK was so high it made me LOL--coming from an accomplished constructor I wonder if it could have been intentional?

evil doug 2:25 PM  

True dat, Gill I. Short runways, tight patterns and low altitude turns to final approach, traffic conflicts with JFK and Newark, water everywhere, lousy weather, goofy winds. Even taxiing was a challenge at a field designed for DC-3s. No room for error.

evil doug 2:28 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Berardi 2:32 PM  

When I disagree with Rex's rants, I still find them entertaining. When I agree (like today), they're downright cathartic. Total slog/ struggle for my flu-dizzy brain. As for CUESTA, it would be a legit word if it were clued like so: "Cuanto _____?" (Sp.) Super-common Spanish 101 / traveler's guidebook phrase ("How much does it cost?")

James O'keefe 2:33 PM  

Just hated it, but I am Irish, so no matter how bad it is, I finish it, sigh

Steve Simonds 2:35 PM  

John Childs said ...

"Like this clue" ... "in code" ... reads right to me.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

As usual, I disagree with Rex on what is obvious and what is challenging. For me, cuesta was a gimme but Eris was ???? We live in different worlds and I enjoy seeing where our experiences diverge.

Martín Abresch 3:06 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. I see the criticism of the (rather average) theme and the (often icky) fill, but what I liked best about this puzzle were the clues. The more crosswords that I solve, the more that I find that I can forgive just about anything as long as the clues are good.

This puzzle had a pair of true standouts, I thought: SANTA'S LAP (You might wish upon it) and IN CODE (12 9 11 5 20 8 9 19 3 12 21 5). I also enjoyed the three tricky clues in the NW: ALL TALK (Full of sound and fury), COAL CAR (Mine craft?), and LAIN (Gone flat?). No wonder I had problems in that corner. Elsewhere, I liked BOARD (Director's circle?) and MOS (1/, 2/, 3/, etc.). There were also several fun trivia clues: MALTA (Country with the smallest national capital in the European Union [about 9,000 people]), IRELAND (Country whose capital is known to natives as Baile Átha Cliath), OILS (The "palm" and "olive" of Palmolive), and HAL ([IBM], with each letter shifted one place later in the alphabet [coincidence?]).

Among the theme answers, I enjoyed GREAT SALT LEAK and especially A TEAL OF TWO CITIES. Least favorite was THE CHOSEN EON. MALES ON WHEELS (Skater boys?) is a dull answer with an excellent clue.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

As for guess is it refers to a startle reflex as in "the horse shied when it saw the saddle"
You can also say the horse "started"

G-Money 5:29 PM  

What are the "Up"s that people are referring to? What's up with the ups?

kitshef 6:04 PM  

@G-money. Today's puzzle includes among its answers "GOES UP", "ADD UP", and "SOPS UP". It is generally considered bad form to repeat words (other than articles and conjunctions) in the answer set, unless they are specifically part of the theme.

Anonymous 6:42 PM  

Kelvin as a scale is not expressed in degrees Kelvin typically but rather just Kelvin. So one would say 1 degree Celsius but would say 1 Kelvin. So the clue is correct as Kelvin is a unit.

Tita A 8:53 PM  

@Richard Rutherford...don't forget to add 122D ARMREST to your list... though it would need slightly different clueing. Talk about ICK.

Thanks Mr. McCoy...I liked the added puzzle of guessing the themers, and the did help with the solve.

novamaz 12:41 PM  

This was a somewhat challenging puzzle for me — just the way I like it; if I wanted easy ones I'd do the smaller ones that come with the comics. It always amuses me to read comments where people thought it wasn't this or not enough of that. I always thought puzzles were trying to make it challenging. Oh well.

I got 17D relatively quickly. 12 9 11 5 20 8 9 19 3 12 21 5 Answer: "In Code" but I didn't take the time to decode it. For all that are curious, I'll take the fun out of it by noting it says "like this clue".

@ John Child: Encoding (create code) and Encrypting (creates cipher). Encoding allows the perceived item of use or interest to be converted into a construct that can be stored or transferred efficiently*. These are not meant for security.
The goal of enciphering : Securing the content from attacks.
*Morse code is not a secret code

grammar nazi 11:04 PM  

Just wish people would stop pluralizing days of the week with an apostrophe. You can't always get what you want.

sara 12:32 AM  

someone asked about MOS and it looks like no one answered -- so (very
late) -- it is a list of Months

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