Coins that pay for passage over River Styx / SUN 12-11-16 / Skimobile informally / Purported rural shenanigan / Quaff in Middle-Earth / Nickname Game of thrones dwarf

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Constructor: Tom McCoy

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: "Retronyms" — theme answers are ... retronyms (you'd think you could've tried a little harder with the title, there...)

Theme answers:
  • BRITISH ENGLISH (21A: Dialect that was called 22-Across before the age of colonialism)
  • SNAIL MAIL (33A: System that was called 34-Across before the Internet)
  • REAL NUMBER (35A: Concept that was called 36-Across before research into the square root of negatives)
  • BLACK LICORICE (52A: Food that was called 53-Across before Twizzlers and the like)
  • FLATHEAD SCREW (78A: Fastener that was called 80-Across before a rounded design was implemented)
  • SILENT FILM (96A: Entertainment category that was called 97-Across before talkies)
  • PAPER COPY (98A: Object that was called 100-Across before electronic documents)
  • ORGANIC FARMING (109A: Activity that was called 111-Across before pesticides)
Word of the Day: AREPAS (29D: South American corn cakes) —
Arepa (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈɾepa]) is a type of food made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisines of Colombia and Venezuela. [...] The arepa is a flat, round, unleavened patty of soaked, ground kernels of maize, or—more frequently nowadays—maize meal or maize flour that can be grilled, baked, fried, boiled or steamed. The characteristics vary by color, flavor, size, and the food with which it may be stuffed, depending on the region. It can be topped or filled with meat, eggs, tomatoes, salad, cheese, shrimp, or fish depending on the meal. (wikipedia)
• • •

Easiest Sunday puzzle I've ever done. Nearly broke 8 minutes, which I have only ever done on like a Newsday or Globe Sunday (i.e. much less thornier brands). I don't really understand why this puzzle exists. The title tells you what the theme answers will be, and then there you are. The one tricky thing, from a construction standpoint, is you've gotta make sure you have a Down answers beginning at the front of the second word in every themer, so that the theme clues make sense when they refer to an "Across" answer where the number is not in its usual flush-left position. But that's the only thing separating this puzzle from one that is titled, say, "Big Cats," where the answers are JAGUAR, PUMA, etc. That is ... there's nothing to it. In fact, I started solving without looking at the title, and about midway I thought, "So these are just ... what's that word ... oh, yeah, retronyms." And then I looked at the title: "Retronyms." And I thought "you must be joking..."


There are four "IT"s in this puzzle, as well as one 'TIS—in a puzzle that already contains ITIS. So ... that happened. AREPAS are tasty, so I enjoyed thinking about them. Surprised they don't appear in crosswords more often, what with their savory taste and appealing letter combinations. Today's great crosswordese-retrieval triumph was reading 40A: Coins that pay for passage over the River Styx and, off the "O," putting OBOLS right in. Today's snags—such as they were—came in the NE, where TOA (not TOE?) (28A: ___ point) crossed ALGAL (17D: ___ bloom (result of fertilizer pollution)), and then again at NO ONE'S down below—came at that answer from the back end and needed every cross to understand what the hell was going on (116A: Not belonging to anybody). Oh, rounding the corner out of the N and into the NE was also mildly rough (!) because I had the UN- but not the HANDS of UNHANDS (12D: Releases, dramatically). That clue is vaguely phrased, both pre- and post-comma, so ... I circled back around and approached from underneath. There really isn't anything to say about this puzzle. The title tells you the theme. The theme answers are as promised. The end.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. [They go about two feet] is a great clue for SOCKS (42D)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

124 comments:

jae 12:11 AM  

Started on this while watching the local news and never hit a bump. Finished it before the weather guy came on. What @Rex said.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

The four IT partials (and a TIS), as mentioned, are rounded out by 4 first-person partials: SAYS ME, TRY ME, I CANT, and NOR I. Crazy. It was easy and fun to run through the puzzle though. CAPRIPANTS mirroring SUITANDTIE while EPICBATTLE mirroring COWTIPPING was a deft touch!

Anonymous 12:31 AM  

I thought this was a terrific puzzle. Rex needs to start taking Prozac. I'm going to stop reading this blog as it is just too negative. I realize some puzzles are better than others, but Rex seems to have a bias against all Will Shortz edited puzzles. I'll stick to the Crossword Fiend from now on for a little more balanced analysis of the NYT puzzles.

newspaperguy 12:32 AM  

An odd Sunday puzzle in which I got nearly all the acrosses with little effort. Kind of interesting in its own way, though. Retronym? Never heard of it.

Anonymous 1:55 AM  

Yes, Anonymous (12:31 AM), an ugly Rex Parker review can ruin your whole day.

phil phil 3:19 AM  

Hey boss ...de rats de rats!!!

My rat's pet hate is a pet crate

ISIT ITIS, DEARGOD

go Rex give'em hell don't listen to these nae sayers. And retronym the letter grades too, your blog...

Martín Abresch 3:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:32 AM  

NOONES is a DOOK.

This flew, with very little guile in the cluing, so it was anything but a slog. Usually Tom and I are on different wavelengths, so while the sprint was exhilarating, it was an alien experience for me.

My favorite part was the opposite corner answers expressing how I've been feeling of late: AMERICA -- DEAR_GOD.

Martín Abresch 6:36 AM  

Flew through this. It felt like a large Monday puzzle.

In my view, two things elevate "Retronyms" above a "Big Cats" puzzle. First, "Big Cats" would use names from the same paradigmatic category: the theme answers would be (essentially if not technically) a list of synonyms. The common element in "Retronyms" is linguistic function: the theme answers are more varied, making things more interesting for the solver. Second, "Retronyms" executes the theme in a smart and consistent manner: each two-word phrase (the retronym) gets contrasted to the second word (the original word). I like how this execution helps to define what retronym means.

I think that the theme is a strong Monday theme: simple, lively, and well-executed. Among the theme answers, I especially liked BLACK LICORICE, FLATHEAD SCREW (because it sounds dirty), and ORGANIC FARMING. I was expecting to see LANDLINE PHONE.

The quality of the fill was highly variable. I liked SUIT AND TIE and COW TIPPING. Also, DEAR GOD THAT HURTS! I don't mind the odd OBOLS when it's fairly crossed (as it was here). I'm less keen on crossing AREPAS/EFT. I don't like made-up-sounding DERATS, throwing-in-the-towel ALIENEE. Oh, and RAP SONG is stilted. Nobody says that. (Search for it in quotes on Google and it gets less than half a million hits, which is nothing.) Also, Eminem sucks.* I have some sympathy for the constructor—those black squares above the second word are a major constraint—but if I judge this by Monday standards, well, the fill needs some cleaning.

*To be clear, I'm not saying that rap sucks or wishing that names of rappers would not appear in the crossword. I'm only saying that I don't like Eminem and that RAP SONG is a stilted phrase.

The clues were straight-forward. I laughed at the clue for SOCKS [They go about two feet]. There were some mildly tricky clues: SUIT AND TIE [Look for business?], CUBAN [Mark of success in business], and CITY [Part of the names of four state capitals]. I also enjoyed the clues for PET CRATE [Terrier carrier] and CAPRI PANTS [Apparel also called clamdiggers]. As silly as it was, I also enjoyed the cross-referenced pair of IS IT? [Doubter's question] and IT IS! [Reply to 5-Down]. Good Monday-level cluing.

tb 7:02 AM  

@anonymous 12:15 AM:

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

I did about 1/3 of this puzzle and it was so simple and tedious I didn't bother with the rest of it.

Why waste a good cup of Sunday morning coffee on a boring puzzle?

Loren Muse Smith 7:08 AM  

I liked this because it’s so mindbendersome. So you have this Widget. And it’s just a Widget until a different kind of Widget comes out, so you have to specify it’s Original Widget you need so someone doesn’t grab the wrong Widget. But which is the retronym? Widget or Original Widget? I’m embarrassed to admit I can’t decide and even more embarrassed to admit that it matters so much to me. Sheesh.

So you tell someone to go put on their PANTS, and they come back in bell bottoms ‘cause you didn’t specify CAPRI PANTS?

I think I had my first Retronyms 101 lesson when I ordered tea in Maine one July and was stunned to receive hot tea. And we can’t just ask for water now. It has to be tap water or bottled water, right?

I guess in a way, I live in a big ole retronym, West Virginia.

Oxford English Dictionary just chose its word of the year for 2016. This theme reminded me of it. Yeah, there was this concept of Truth before, but now we’re gonna have to specify… Back atcha, @Lewis and your DEAR GOD comment. EPIC BATTLE, - “ALL MINE, SAYS ME,” RASPS the SCALY NEO ROI.

@Martin @ - I liked DERATS. Inge is a deratted ingrate. Hah! Let’s derat a pirate. . . so we can have Talk Like a Pie Day. Pwoossshhhh mmmffffwwah, or however a pie would sound. I’ve never really listened.

Oh, and @Martin A again – thanks a lot. I revisited FLATHEAD SCREW and imagined a sailor on leave in some port.

@Gill – what a terrific story from yesterday! I went right to that picture and saw you – ¡que bonita, mi chica!

Easy Sunday. Nice one, Tom.

Crane Poole 7:11 AM  

Though I haven't achieved your ease at crosswordese, the thing fell in record Sunday time here.
YAN CAN COOK DERATS, SASHA. I'd sooner eat a red newt.
EFT = Emotional Freedom Tapping? WTF?

GILL I. 7:22 AM  

Fine and dandy if you knew what a retronym is. I always look at the Sunday titles..always.. and I thought DEAR GOD what is that... So I went to my Webster's II and it's not listed. Dang, Google already and I haven't even started. I got something like cloth diapers yada yada and I still scratched my dumb head. @Martin - thanks for the explanation (I think)..
It was easy, though. I wouldn't call it Monday easy what with PAPISTS CUBAN AMERICAN RED HOTS. BLACK LICORICE gives me an EPIC BATTLE with my GASTRIC enTRAILS but what's not to love about AREPAS. While everyone else around the block probably ate PBJ's for lunch, I got AREPAS stuffed with ham and a fried egg.
I did like that it started with AMERICAN and ended with DEAR GOD...
Why no AMEN?

Patrick Merrell 7:24 AM  

Clever and nice how the numbering was handled in the middle of the theme entries.

Re the post, thanks for the James Blake "Retrograde" video.

chefbea 7:46 AM  

Easy not fun Sunday puzzle. That's all...but I do love black licorice!!!! especially good and plenty's.

three of clubs 7:54 AM  

My favorite retronym is ROTARY TELEPHONE which also seems to have the right number of letters for a weekday puzzle. Maybe PAPER BALLOT, although the etymology there gets a bit strange.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

Just too easy for a Sunday without any wit in the clues. I want to feel some satisfaction when, and if, I finish it.

Teedmn 8:01 AM  

Easy today but a DNF BEFaLL me, partly due to not knowing AREcAS were actually AREPAS so I had a caT in my CRATE rather than the generic PET (though not DE RATS).

I'm typing this from beautiful Mankato, MN with the prospect of driving home 120 miles after umpteen inches of snow fell overnight - (the Weather Channel is calling this storm "Caly". Since when did they start naming winter storms?) I'm thinking the roads will be ICKY and I hope we won't need a TOW because we SLID into the ditch!

Thanks, Tom McCoy, for a puzzle that took my mind off of the weather.

Glimmerglass 8:02 AM  

Today's was too easy for my tastes, but I lked the theme anyway. I have sometimes agreed with Anonymous 12:31, but when enough of us call @Rex on his forced negativity, he often falls into a somewhat more mellow period. When @Rex writes his autobiography, we'll get the whole story behind his bitter animosity for Will Shortz. In the meantime, we'll just write it off to the way things are. Sort of like a divorced couple whom you never invite to the same party, and to each of whom you never mention the other.

pmdm 8:02 AM  

The reason why this puzzle exists is a no-brainer. It exists so that people who enjoy this type of puzzle will have the opportunity to solve this puzzle. The puzzle editor's job is not to publish only those puzzles which certain individuals like, but to publish a wide variety of puzzles, some of which will be hateful to most who comment on this blog but are nevertheless loved by those solvers.

Or perhaps this puzzle exists to enable Jeff Chen award it "Puzzle of the Week" honors. Apparently there are people who like this puzzle a lot.

"It's my way or no way" seems to be what many politicians/voters believe in these days. I don't. I'm happy the puzzle was published for the sake of those who enjoyed it.

Lewis 8:22 AM  

What's the best retronym for a solve-on-paper crossword versus a solve-on-computer one?

Z 8:27 AM  

116A - Cloned Herman's Hermits singer

@Teedmn - NOAA doesn't name every storm. The Weather Channel does as a marketing ploy.

Roo Monster 8:34 AM  

Hey All !
Very impressed on how Mr. McCoy was able to hold symmetry with the way the theme works. Eight entries that were Retronyms that had to work with a black square at the exact spot. Nice. Tough. Able to forgive what seemed like a small amount of dreck.

Liked the theme, also. Pretty neat to think about. I liked the way @Loren explained it. Agree on the easy-ness, only hang up for me was having erEct for ONEND and CargoPANTS. So that area took some wrangling. Actually liked the ISIT/ITIS cross-pairing. Laughed at @Martins dirty FLATHEAD SCREW. Maybe also dirty in the right setting, ORGANIC FARMING?

OBOLS a WOE, or WIH (What In Hell). EFT a common cross-word, surprised some never heard of it. DERATS is kind of iffy, but I guess it's a thing, ala the Pied Piper. Is that who did that? Not up on my tales....

So, enjoyed overall. Nice constructioneering (Hi @M&A). ITLL DO for a non-brain injuring SunPuz!

SAYS ME
RooMonster
DarrinV

Hungry Mother 8:41 AM  

Stupid error deciding that it was "red hotz", giving me "Liza", which I knew was wrong, but left in anyway. Very simple DNF.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Yes, as Rex said, easiest Sunday I've ever done. I think I did 80% of it without even reading the clues. Or so it felt. (That's neither good nor bad, just an observation.)

Andrea Ojeda 9:10 AM  

I agree with pmdm @8:02. The NYTP might not be at its highest standard of late, but nevertheless, its puzzles have and can be enjoyed by all sorts of different solvers. Why not focus on those things that can be positive or appealing to other folks?
I know we don't have to agree on everything, and Rex's analysis is, for the most part, really good and well thought. But I'd rather come and read his old funny and sarcastic self than the everyday kill-joy. I have enough with my husband's commentary on my cooking, thank you very much! 🙂

TheMonkeysEyebrows 9:18 AM  

My previous Sunday best was 21:28, and I got through this in 15:31. Very easy, but I still enjoyed it.

Eamonn Lorigan 9:25 AM  

I'm with Rex on this one. The themed clues had no twist, no need for any second thought or subsidiary analysis. I feel like a worthy themed clue should make you smile because you didn't quite see it coming in the way it ultimately took shape. And the filler, as pointed out, seemed kinda lazy. Twenty minutes, not a single cross out. And I'm not all that good at these.

So really no challenge and not much fun.

JJ Kahle 9:38 AM  

Didn't enjoy the use of "stunk" for "Was horrible."

"Stink, stank, stunk." --The Grinch

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

An easy puzzle, for sure, but also pretty amazing construction with the black squares and inversion symmetry. As for the fill-- rerally, only "eft" was a contribution from a million past puzzles. I liked it okay-- and now I have my morning back, which is good, at this time of year. Only one thing: I don't get why "alienee" is defined by "property recipient." I have never heard of this. Can't even parse the etymology. Nobody else is asking, so this must be something everyone but me knows. Sheeesh. Can someone enlighten me?

kitshef 10:03 AM  

I enjoyed it. The fact is most Sundays are like overly large Mondays, or at worst Tuesdays. We get maybe ten a year that are genuinely tougher, or magnificently clever.

So when we get one with a good theme, well executed, I'm happy.

The Pied Piper was hailed as a hero for debratting the town.

kitshef 10:08 AM  

Anon at 9:40. An ALIENEE is someone to whom ownership of property is passed. It is formed from the verb ALIEN, meaning to transfer ownership. So as grant is to grantee, ALIEN is to ALIENEE.

I am not a robot 10:09 AM  

Before pesticides, organic farming was called farming. Before electronic documents, documents were called documents. Etc. So these retronyms didn't (could not have) existed before their successor (things?) And if you Google British English, the top answer doesn't identify it as a retronym. So, wha? Can someone please explain what's up here? And oh, this was a giant Monday.

noreen 10:15 AM  

I believe 'alienee' is a term used in real estate contracts. Legal jargon. Now I must say, I am impressed by all these completion times. In eight minutes, I can hardly finish reading the clues. In 20 minutes or 30, I have only begun to enter the answers I knew immediately. Never using Google, it usually takes me one or two hours to complete a puzzle, even a relatively easy one like this. I am not good on contemporary music, e.g., 96 D took me forever. Is anyone else as slow as I am?

I am not a robot 10:22 AM  

Is it that the clues should've read "What x was called AFTER (the gales of creative linguistic destruction blew)?

jberg 10:25 AM  

I don't get the objection to BRITISH ENGLISH. Certainly, no one called it that in Shakespeare's time. As for ROTARY PHONE (@three of clubs), I'm not sure it's a retronym. Maybe; I guess when they came out we called them dial phones (to distinguish them from the regular kind, where you picked up the receiver and told the operator what number you wanted). They were really cool.

I's as a clue for Ego's bothered me; and if instead of possession the apostrophe is to make it plural, that bothers me even more. But I liked the theme OK. I'm guessing Rex would have liked it with a trickier title, but I'm no good at thinking up that sort of thing.

Also, not so easy for me, as I wanted sLoT-HEAD SCREW first, despite the 'rounded' in the clue.

What I liked: both "Dixie" and "dixit" in the clues. Ought to be able to do more with that.

Sean Connery 10:28 AM  

I'll take IS IT TITS IT IS for $400.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

It would be nice if Rex would consider a guest host one day of each week (definitely in addition to Annabelle). We would all get a different perspective and a break from Rex's subliminal (and unexplained) anger and resentment. Today's theme was fine, and competently executed. So the puzzle was a little on the easy side - big deal. Who cares if Rex finished it in 8 minutes instead of 12 ?

Alex 10:32 AM  

Of course, I liked the puzzle more than Rex did. Of course. Easy, but fun. I hadn't heard of retronyms before, and I liked them. Each one gave me a little smile. AREPAS/EFT was a little hiccup for me. I, also, liked the clue for SOCKS, ditto for ECOLI. I had never heard of an ALIENEE. I grew up near Cleveland, where the great Bob Feller lived. He was sued (maybe twice) for alienation of affections by cuckolded husbands, and I thought maybe Bob was the aliener and the woman in question was the ALIENEE. Sort of a second career for him.
Anyway, fun for me. Not challenging, but fun.

Leapfinger 10:35 AM  

@Lewis.... Deadtree Solver?
(She used to comment, as Da Bears will remember; I think we both miss her.)
@Gill, I'm not forgetting those thigh-high turquoise boots, either!! REDHOTS, Mama!

Yes well, I liked the retronym idea of the one-category word till a subcategory came along. I guess all watches were pocket watches till wrist watches came along. Kleenex tissues shows how the derived category can rare up and devour the parent.

FLATHEAD SCREW seems to have been working like some kind of a spark plug. It was right when I was filling it in that I thought of one myself, and boy was I relieved that I wasn't scooped where 96A could've been: Spouse that was called 97A until the sexy young replacement took over.
Yup, there's your TROPHY WIFE, the one who wouldn't be NOONE'S NOONER.

Lotsa echoes today:
In the clues, liked the IPSE Dixie/ Part of dixit
In the grid,(i) symmetrical ARMINGs at 23A & 112A, with no Leggings except for the CAPRI PANTS. On balance, I'm all for COWTIPPING (serves them right, eh!) and FIRMER ORGANIC FARMING. I'll bet @Lewis noticed MING in the FAR East
(ii) aton if ICKY endings: ROBOTIC ERIC, EPIC ORGANIC GASTRIC... Yeah, I used to know this kid ERIC, could pass this EPIC ORGANIC GAS_TRIC. Really lit things up. Then he logged on one day and came down with a virulent case of E-COLIC. Sad.

Enjoyed this Sunday McCoy and could say lots more, but I have three days' worth of stuff on today's todo list. To echo another recent theme, Isle just imagine all CAPRI PANTS in anticipation of the next McCoy.

Y'all keep your Ziplocs baggie, now.

old timer 10:43 AM  

I was going to answer OFL's question, but @pmdm did it for me. It's nice to have a Sunday puzzle that is easy, and this was. Not too easy: SNAIL MAIL went right in, but most of the themers became clear only after you got a few of the crossing Downs. I'd have given the puzzle an A grade for density of theme and the lovely CAPRI PANTS and COWTIPPING, but there were a few clunkers like NO ONES and ROI. So maybe a B.

Nancy 10:55 AM  

Liked it a lot. It provoked thinking -- not so much in solving the puzzle, which was pretty easy, except in one section which I'll get to in a moment -- but in thinking about how much the world has changed in my lifetime. Most of it (my lifetime) has been spent in the world of NYMS [sic], but I realize that there are people here who have spent most of their lives in the world of RETRONYMS. Not all of the nyms and retronyms was I aware of, having never heard of a FLATHEAD SCREW back in the day, nor knowing the vast ways in which Twizzlers have transformed the world of candy. And this puzzle is proof positive of the necessity of checking at least one cross before writing in an answer -- otherwise, I would have written in ORGANIC PRODUCE instead of ORGANIC FARMING.

And one wrong answer just killed me in the SW -- which took me 3x as long as the whole rest of the puzzle put together. NEOS instead of BLOC at 68D kept me from seeing everything in that section. Was 78A FEETHEAD SCREW? Can "whoop" possibly mean SAY (88A)? Not knowing the #1 hit (67A) didn't help. It's lucky I don't time myself -- I would have burst into tears at how long this one section took me. But I had fun with this.

ArtO 10:56 AM  

Just a few hesitations but still finished in record time...as, apparently, did many here. Clever theme but not a whole lot of pleasure.

Passing Shot 10:58 AM  

with @pmdm and @JJKahle -- I didn't particularly enjoy this, but it was fine for a Sunday. Had STaNK for the longest time and was put off by the imprecise cluing in seveal places. TOPtier, yes. TOPRANK? Have never heard or seen this.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Re: British English - is no one else offended by the use of the term PAPIST? It was used as a derogatory term from the get-go, and was institutionalized via British statutes to enforce bigotry, the smell of which remains to this day. If it's not okay to use derogatory terms to describe sexual and 'racial' identities, surely it's wrong in this case, too.

Leapfinger 11:06 AM  

Another ICKY possibility: With a Sunday-sized grid, no reason we couldn't have had a retronymic GENETIC ENGINEERING (18). Would have gone nicely as a kind of contranym to ORGANIC FARMING, eh?

@jberg, saw that you also liked the Dixie/dixit. Didn't the Poli Sci in you think of le grand Charles de Gaulle at 110D, so close to GALLIC? Gave me the WILLIeS.

AMERICAns in Paris 11:06 AM  

@noreen -- My wife and I do the puzzle together, and two hours is a good time for us. This one took about that long, at least. Got stuck with the CEASES-ONUSES crossing. Had ON_SES and knew that the missing letter had to be an I or a U, but just didn't think of the plural of ONUS. Sheesh.

At least now we rarely have to resort to Mr. Google, except when obscure (for us) proper names cross other obscure proper names, or Hebrew letters. She knew ISADORA right off the bat, and I knew about COW TIPPING. And so it goes.

We enjoyed the theme, especially thinking about some of the retronyms. Also always glad to see at least one reference to Hawai'i in a puzzle. (Hey, @chefwen!)

BYE!

Malsdemare 11:12 AM  

@anonymous 12:31. Most of us come here for each other; Rex is our enabler and we're grateful for that.

I hate it when I get a puzzle done and then can't find that one typo, in this case RAySONG. I wondered about that as a reread my answers, but didn't check the clue against what seemed odd but possible, so DNF here. I'm not sure why PAPERCOsY did leap up and wave in my face, but it didn't. Loved that COWTIPPER dropped in with NO crosses. I'm too young to have been invited along by my older sisters on their rural adventures, but I think cow tipping may have been the same thing as the submarine races we all went to watch in Milwaukee along the lakefront on warm spring nights.

I wasn't very impressed with the theme; I really wanted something to keep me busy longer on this sleeting Sunday morning and those answers went in far too easily, CUBAN crossing OBOLS was pure guesswork, liked GALLIC, ISADORA, DEARGOD. Anyone else want pedalpushers for CAPRIPANTS? Yeah, I know it doens't fit the theme, but when I see those below the knee things, which look awful on short people, I mutter to myself about the dubious wisdom of grown women wearing kid clothes (this from a woman who lives in jeans). Sorry friends, I know lots of women love them; I'm not one of them.

Nice catch, @Lewis. My thoughts exactly. @Martin Thanks for the libidinous diversion!

Time to train my new barracuda.

John 11:14 AM  

Can we please mention that cow tipping is a form of animal cruelty, and not a shenanigan?
What's wrong with people?

Steve M 11:18 AM  

Like

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Missed some other good possibilities:
ACOUSTIC GUITAR
METRICAL POEM
(Both better than flathead screw)

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Papist would have been a 16th century retronym for Catholic. I think we can all get over that one now.

Nancy 11:24 AM  

@Teedmn (8:01) -- Yes, I've always wondered, too, about the cutesy-poo names we now give to awful storms that make people homeless and sometimes even kill them. I think it happened right around the time news went from information to infotainment. The same people who have given you "Caly", the oh-so-adorable snowstorm (blizzard, maybe?) have also given us the BEFELL AMERICA, DEAR GOD, THAT HURTS Donald. Thanks to @Lewis, @lms and others for opening up the blog today to political references and giving me a bit of cover. And drive home safely, @Teedmn!

Joe in Newfoundland 11:25 AM  

I'm not that good at crossword puzzles, so if I can finish a Sunday NYT puzzle in under half an hour, it was too easy.
I'm glad the cluing, easy as it was, wasn't "cryptic". That's a different sort of puzzle.
I don't mind PAPIST (I am one) as an historical term, but I was a bit surprised by SUITANDTIE. The clue did not specify "male".
ps the 'please prove you're not a robot' thingy has gone crazy. I had to select images of cups of tea; one of them was clearly marked "morning coffee" and the other was an espresso or such.

Z 11:26 AM  

@Not a Robot - I think you've misread. "Dialect that was called 22-Across before the age of colonialism," or, "dialect that was called ENGLISH before the age of colonialism." So it was once just called ENGLISH, now it is called BRITISH ENGLISH to distinguish it from, say, American ENGLISH.

Did you know that Bud Light is the best selling beer in the U.S.? Lots of people enjoy it enough to pay for it. Granted, it's a Belgium beer now, not an American beer, but still widely enjoyed. Personally, I never touch the stuff. If it has more color coming out than going in I avoid it.*








*Been working on my subtweeting game all week.

Knitwit 11:29 AM  

After a particularly crazy week, it was kinda nice to have a puzzle that I finished in a timely fashion without help from Google. I didn't pay attention to the title until the end. Thanks, Tom McCoy!

Joseph Michael 11:36 AM  

I have to agree with Jeff Chen more than Rex on this one since I liked almost everything about the puzzle. Theme was thought-provoking and there was a lot of nice word play throughout.

Yes, it was easy but I didn't mind the change of pace for a Sunday. Usually I agonize over parts of the big puzzles but this was entirely in my wheelhouse, making me feel smart on an otherwise dreary snowy morning somewhere in the middle of the polar vortex.

Even got a laugh out if it. For one brief moment, considered the possibility that the onetime title for Bernie Sanders might have been "mohel."

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

PAPIST is a 21st century disparaging term for a Roman Catholic. As it was in the 16th century. And the centuries in between. Witness Ian Paisley et alia.

John McKnight 11:50 AM  

I liked it. It was easy but the pace was fun and I didn't find anything unfair or overly annoying. I guess I don't like PAPISTS or ALIENEE but they don't ruin the puzzle.

Carola 11:51 AM  

I liked it - kept me interested all the way. The theme answers were fun to guess and to think about a bit before moving on. Besides the witty mirroring of those long Downs, I liked the center cross: too many RED HOTS in your mouth at once - THAT HURTS!

JJ Kahle, I agree with you, but I think it's a losing BATTLE. Same deal with the "NEO" conjugation of "sink, sunk, sunk."

QuasiMojo 12:00 PM  

"Dear God" to those who find offense in the slightest things. Papist seems less offensive than Pap Smear the other day. I wonder if extraterrestrials have maiden names. Perhaps they are listed in wedding announcements as "alienees"? That's a nod to all you Star Trek fans. I always found it amusing on that silly show that the leaders of galaxies light years away always speak with "British English" accents.

r.alphbunker 12:18 PM  

I liked discovering the retronyms. I have a friend who had a wired remote for his TV.

Confidently wrote in IPSO for 102A {___ dixit} IPSE. Was thinking IPSO facto. Unfortunately I did not check the downs and ended up with 77D {Argument-ending reply} SAYSMO.

Details are here

Beaglelover 12:27 PM  

I cringed when I wrote in PAPIST, so I agree with @anonymous. I also agree with @John, COWTIPPING is not a shenanigan!

Numinous 12:44 PM  

CAPRI PANTS, clamdiggers, pedal pushers, They've gone by a variety of names. I recall a Vargas painting in Playboy when I was 16 or 17. She was lying on her stomach with her ankles crossed and her knees bent. "The only thing I like more than wearing toreador pants is hearing them!" Ah, youth. That was for @Malsdemare. Also:

Back in those days we used to drive up into the Berkeley Hills along Grizzley Peak Blvd and park in the various turnouts to watch the submarine races in the San Francisco Bay. Ah, youth!

@11:03 Aonymous. I was once at a conference at an Episcopal church for some reason I no longer recall. One of the participants kept referring to the Catholic church nearby as "The PAPISTS down the street." I take that term as simply descriptive. The sects aren't all that different, PAPacy vs. episcopacy. I would not at all mind being called an episcopist by a PAPIST. Ah, history (be damned).

I appreciated the OED word-of-the-year article @Loren.

Was there a puzzle today? Oh, yeah, I did it. @Noreen & 'Mericans, I'm not a fast solver either. But for a typo that took me eight minutes to find, I'd have had this done in three quarters of an hour. That woud be about half my average Sunday time. I wouldn't time myself but the iPad NYTX app has a timer so I happen to know these things. I suppose the timings give me an idea of how I'm doing compared to myself. At least I get an idea of how easy or hard I found a puzzzle to be. Ah, statistics.

A couple of thoughts on a previous puzzle or two: FRIDAY was Robinson Crusoe's right hand man, that was the day he was discovered so that is what Crusoe named him before they learned to speak together, I liked seeing Jimmy Durante. I've been SNOCKERED more than once but that damned HARVEY tries to trip me when I am. I enjoyed seeing @Gill I in House of a Thousand Dolls.

I enjoyed this Real McCoy!

Gregory Schmidt 12:46 PM  

Please no more RAPSONG. Rap is spoken word poetry, performed over a rhythmic accompaniment - not song.

NCA President 12:46 PM  

To the "IT" problem...I can't tell if that is an organizational choice...a "motif," if you will...or just a constructor getting into a rut. I don't know if Rex included GISTS and PAPISTS, or the ROBOTIC/YDS and CITE/CITY/DERATS stacks where ITS abound in many forms.

Masked and Anonymous 1:02 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 1:08 PM  

SATELLITEDISH? PAPERPLATE? PHONESEX? FLYINGSAUCER? HAPPYMEAL?

A constructioneerin masterpiece. And a pretty easy solvequest.

fave weeject that wiggles: EFT. It's been since April, that good'ol EFT last dropped by. Day-um, son … I almost forgot all about U … confidently wrote in ENT, at first. Newt at all correct, M&A breath.

So … how far back does one have to go, whereat a SCREW was just a SCREW? "OOoooh … A kiss is just a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things don't quite apply, as time goes by …" [Mwah, @Ilsa]

Masked & Anonymo9Us


U know y'all is desperate now, for a lil Christmas fix:

**gruntz**

Susan Izeman 1:34 PM  

An easy puzzle that I completed working steadily top-to-bottom (usually I have to skip around). I agree that it was "too easy" for a Sunday, but on the other hand it was fun to have one that I could complete quickly and move on with my day.

Malsdemare 1:35 PM  

Thanks, @Numinous! Once again, into the breach(es)?

brainman53 1:40 PM  

I totally agree with OFL and the majority of commenters. This was an unfun, giant Monday puzzle. I hate to sound like a snob but I find only the Thursday through Sunday puzzles enjoyable. I do not see the point wasting time on a puzzle that I can sprint right through. Rex has to do them; I don't. I think we are not incorrect in wanting Sunday puzzles that are moderately challenging.

Other than that, I though it was a fine puzzle.

Hey, @QuasiMojo, I too have always wondered why space aliens are required to have British English accents. Also ancient Romans and anyone from a mythical, medieval-ish society ala Game of Thrones.

Numinous 1:42 PM  

@NCA President, I have to wonder about an "IT" problem. Or if there is an "ITS" problem. IS IT and IT IS here, as clued, were kinda cute. Even made me smile a bit when I figured them out. I put in truELY before SURELY and found either answer, along with the previous two, to be a connected bIT of an imaginary exchange. Neato!

In a 15x the repetition of any word is frowned upon unless there is a mitigating factor. In a Sunday-sized 21x puzzle, IMO, not so much. However, you are getting into the string, "IT" or even "ITS". Looking into an app I have, I find that including either of those strings in any proscriptions because they have been used in one answer, would ban a thousand or more words from that puzzle. I don't know if that's a good idea or not but I think IT'S overly fussy. OTOH it might generate better fill. Just sayin'.

Mohair Sam 1:45 PM  

Thank you @pmdm (8:02) for saying what I wanted to say, only much more succinctly. Fun puzzle, kind of easy (appreciate that in the Holiday Season), and learned retronym (although my spellcheck didn't). Besides, how can you not love a puzzle with COWTIPPING?.

I swallow hard when I see Tom McCoy's name at the top of a puzzle - rarely on his wavelength. Not so much today, we zipped right through this one. Oddly, we enjoyed it in spite of the ease - we usually like more resistance - but the way each retronym got you thinking put some extra pizzazz into the puzzle.

Is it just me or has the commentariat been particularly witty today? Nice going gang.

@Martin A. - I say RAPSONG all the time - Maybe I'm more on Tom McCoy's wavelength then I realize.

@Z - Liked your clue for 116A

@Andrea Ojeda - Lady Mohair never complains about my cooking because my cooking is perfect. Get your act together.

@Gill I (from yesterday) - Enjoyed your stories. We may have Vincent Price in common. Met him in 1963 - dinner in a room with 18 other people - he was there to speak on art at my college that evening. Don't think I've met a classier guy, he made a room full of 20-year-old gawking fools feel at ease. Within minutes we were chatting with him like he was a lifelong friend. Wondering how he was to work with.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Cow tipping doesn't exist. It doesn't happen. Find an example of it on YouTube, where every idiot posts every stupid prank they pull. A dairy cow can weigh up to 2000 pounds. Try to tip that over. Again, look it up, it does not exist.

Stuart Showalter 2:00 PM  

I totally agree with anonymous. Rex gives us one screed after another. It's boorish. He is obsessed with either the New York Times or Will Shortz, or both. Either way, I'm gone!

kitshef 2:01 PM  

@John, @Beaglelover - Cow tipping would be animal abuse, if it existed. But it doesn't. It's a myth. So, neither shenanigan nor abuse, just an unkind stereotype applied to rural dwellers by suburban snobs.

PS recaptcha keeps throwing sushi at me lately ... like I would know what sushi looks like.

GILL I. 2:05 PM  

@Loren...I laughed (again) when I saw that picture. I had forgotten about it...You can't hide anything from the internet, can you?
@Mohair. Vincent Price was one of the nicest people I ever met. He was a gentleman and he had a wonderful sense of humor. Every time he lit of a cigarette, a GRIP or some such would rush to his side to light it - just to be by his side...
@Leapster...No turquoise boots...just white thigh-highs. I used to dance in a cage!

brainman53 2:07 PM  

Also, is derat an actual word? Spell check thinks not. Or, is deratting an actual thing?

Just wondering.

Numinous 2:12 PM  

@brainman53 and Quasi, if all those space aliens had midwestern or southern accents they would sound too mundane. In those days, it would not have been good to give them the accents of our cold-war foes. English acccents would sound suitably foreign, or at least not American, enough to be effective. Couldn't have the audience thinking that all the people on planet X were Chicano or those from planet Y were Russian.

Spasibo. Khoroshego dnya.

Geophany 2:13 PM  

Easy but felt good! Enjoyed it.

brainman53 2:24 PM  

I have been far too negative today. Though my adult, millennial children do now label me crotchety.

kitshef 2:29 PM  

Can't believe I forgot to acknowledge SASHA Cohen in the puzzle. Absolutely the most beautiful, graceful skater ever.

CDilly52 2:30 PM  

Enjoyed it but too easy. The rotary phone qualified as a retronym as soon as the "touch tone," especially the "Princess" model became popular. All my teen besties and I wanted a Princess touchtone (pink or turquoise please) in our bedrooms and no, Dad the old rotary phone won't cut it!

Such good commentary today. Thanks everyone!

Larry Gilstrap 2:39 PM  

While solving, I kept wondering about those themers. In retrospect,I get the Retronyms labeling. Real cool? Not so much.

As I remember, from the 1968 film ISADORA, starring Vanessa Redgrave, the famous dancer was killed in a most hideous and cinematic fashion as her long scarf became entangled in the hubcap of the convertible which I remember her calling a Bugatti. But Wikipedia names another brand. Sorry, ETTORE, I thought I was on to something.

Did anyone before or since, look better in CAPRI PANTS than Mary Tyler Moore as Laura Petry?

Izzie 2:43 PM  

Thanks!

Izzie 2:49 PM  

No, I'm slower, Noreen. 😊

Fred Romagnolo 2:51 PM  

What's wrong with just saying "Catholic?" I've never heard PAPIST used in anything other than a derogatory way. I'm an Episcopalian myself, and I agree that the two religions are very close. Of course there are going to be political opinions expressed in this blog, it's about a NEW YORK TIMES puzzle! Calling rap a form of poetry makes about as much sense as awarding Dylan a Nobel Prize.

JC66 2:53 PM  

@M&A

COLOR TELEVISION, AM/FM RADIO, RADIAL TIRES, MANUAL TRANSMISSION

BTW, luv yur puzs

Izzie 2:56 PM  

Or Zayda.

Da Bears 2:57 PM  

My amusement today comes from @Rex, saying, “I don't really understand why this puzzle exists.”

Amused only because @Rex often says the same thing differently worded. In fact @Rex has developed an entire vocabulary around that thought. He could probably write a book with all the different ways he has expressed that thought.

Of course, the answer is because the constructor constructed it and the editor published it. By count that is 2 ayes and 1 nay. The ayes have it.

Yes, @Leapy, Dead Tree Solver, a Chicagoan who used to grace Wordplay with her comments.

No comment 3:04 PM  

Been reading this blog & comments for a few months now, and continue to be bemused by those who complain about Rex's reviews. Do people who hate fast food go to McD's, sit down to eat a Big Mac, then loudly proclaim how awful it is? Do those who hate horror movies go to their local independent cinema to watch a re-screening of Friday the 13th and then publicly rant about the genre?

What is your purpose in returning over and over to read a blog you cannot abide? Curiously, you're doing the same thing to Rex as you're accusing him of doing to the NYT crossword and Shortz: you're biased against him, yet you keep returning to complain.

Alex Clark 3:23 PM  

Disagree with above. I flew through this one, and it hardly made me think and work for it. And that's the whole point of crossword puzzles. If it was a word search and Rex was saying the words were too easy to find, then I could see a complaint. But this is supposed to be, at the least, mildly challenging.

QuasiMojo 3:49 PM  

@Numinous, I hear ya. I must confess I speak like that too sometimes, especially after a few drinks. I am reminded though of the time I went to a show by a medium. It was held at the YMCA. She had a Brooklyn accent when playing herself but when she became Octavian, her psychic guide from outer space, she sounded like Sir John Gielgud.

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

@Anon 1:54 - yes! Not to confuse the issue with facts, but cow tipping is an urban (rural?) legend.

Cassieopia 4:13 PM  

Enjoying today's comments more than usual. As for the puzzle, what Rex said. Extremely fast Sunday time and a theme that fell flat for me. Just wasn't to my taste so was pleased, for the constructor's sake, to hear that many did enjoy it. Different strokes etc...

Cassieopia 4:23 PM  

PS I'm afraid I laughed reading the outraged comments about cow tipping.

Hartley70 4:41 PM  

I'm arriving so late, that I have very little to add. Since I had never heard of "retronym", I enjoyed the theme. I think this was the first time I had to google before I began the puzzle, a humbling start. It was a fast Sunday, but I appreciated the salve to my ego.

Yes, @Malsdemare, to pedal pushers. Why change a perfectly good name? As much as I understand your stylistic disapproval, on a woman of a certain age, they are a much kinder choice than short shorts to beat the summer heat.

@Gill, I have added The Valley of Gwangi to my Amazon watch list. It seems made for a snowy, boozy evening of popcorn and G iggles. The 1000 dolls appear to have disappeared but I recognized your still photo and found your IMBd listing. You are not one of a 1000 dolls! You look like a star, dahling!!

evil doug 5:17 PM  

Check out CBS tonight at 8:00E--Dick Van Dyke colorized--probably see MTM in those capris....

Nancy 5:24 PM  

Re: CAPRI PANTS or pedal pushers and who should wear them. I think, as @Malsdemare says, it's mostly a question of height. Speaking as someone who is vertically challenged, I look ghastly in pedal pushers (they cut me in half). I don't wear them now and I never did. Whereas, dare I say, @Hartley, that I still look pretty great in short shorts (the only part of my body where I'm not vertically challenged being my legs.) I actually don't think dressing appropriately is a matter of age; it's much more a matter of body type.

Leapfinger 5:29 PM  

TIS I SIT, IT IS. IS IT? TIS!

@r.alph, I like your friend's wired remote. I have a friend who has an electric fork to match his electric knife.

I've said this before, after some rumenating: COW TIPPING is extremely rare, if not entirely non-existent, as so few bovines are hired into food service. However, I don't see why it shouldn't be 20% as it is for everyone else. Cud anything less be fair? TYVM.

Teedmn 5:50 PM  

DE-RAT = untease as in hair?

Numinous 6:59 PM  

Something that still rather astonishes me, though I realize it has to do with location, location, locution, is that many Europeans who learn, speak BRITISH ENGLISH. I'm not saying Yanks should be teaching all them ferners but it still surprises me when I meet a person whom I know to be Dutch sounds like he's from the West End. I once knew a Korean woman who had married an American and learned English from him. What a surprise to hear an Asian accent inflected with one from South Carolina. That was the weirdest yet.

Dolgo 7:52 PM  

Gee! Just yesterday I complained about "Ernani" being the only opera in crosswords and today they hit us with an aria from Puccini's "Gianni Schichi"! Maybe I should complain some more! I thought there were more stimulating clues today than you usually find on a Sunday. It was much more fun!

Anonymous 8:43 PM  

Agreed that it was too easy. Fastest Sunday solve I've ever had, clocking in at 13 minutes and change. Faster even than the really easy Sunday of 2-3 months ago which was my previous record.

Maybe I'm doing the Times puzzle too much, but lately I have found myself looking forward to the Friday and Saturday puzzles more than I do the Sunday because I want something that's going to last longer than a piece of pastry.

Regarding the retronyms, I was slightly surprised that they didn't get "acoustic guitar" or "acoustic piano" in there somehow.

Numinous 8:55 PM  

@Leapy, are electric knives and forks retrynyms for acoustic knives and forks?

David Thaler 10:36 PM  

Retronym is a well known word in my family. It was coined by my uncle frank Mankiewicz. Attribution was bestowed by William Safire in 1980. He'd be pleased to see people using it like it's just a regular word. He passed away last year at 90: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=15399.

daveyhead 10:39 PM  

For 98D Vibrating device, I wonder if anyone at least thought DILDO.
Eternally 16

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

I'll check out the crossword fiend
I could use some sunshine in the morning
I'm always impressed by what the constructors achieve
Am I stupid ?

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

Exactly

Patrick Butler 1:48 PM  

I agree with those looking for crossword analysis elsewhere. I don't object at all to calling out a bad puzzle, but every day? Why bother doing the puzzle if you have to slog through it every time? Make this a critique of the WaPo puzzle or one that you actually enjoy doing.

rain forest 12:27 AM  

Posting early for Sunday, and late for Saturday. Airport pickups and drop-offs are involved. Makes for an interesting life.

So Saturday: challenging for me; REGNAL, DERN, the comma, ESSIE, OSH, RIDA (although that works, for me) almost did me in. But I stuck with it, liked it, and was victorious in the end.

Today, I really liked it, for the theme and for the nice fill. I gather that @Rex had some negatives, but who gives a sh%t? He has a vendetta that he isn't going to relinquish. I don't care. I may not know crosswords, at least like @Rex does, but I know what I like. Go flush yourself, so-called OFL.

It isn't often when you do a Sunday puzzle and don't feel like you are in a slog, and that the clue/answer entries amount to good stuff. When it's "foreplay as read", I admit I get AS RED as a strawberry. I hope Mr. McCoy thought of that. At any rate, a very smooth and enjoyable Sunday. Thanks.

Go suck an egg, @Rex.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Agree...when was the last time he really liked a puzzle?

Burma Shave 12:46 PM  

GASTRIC ACTS

ICANT understand why AMERICAns write so SURELY
why ITIS they prefer ICKY REDHOTS over BLACKLICORICE.
So send a PAPERCOPY by SNAILMAIL early
and DEARGOD ISIT too much to SAYIT in BRITISHENGLISH?

--- ISADORA ALEXA WILLIS

spacecraft 1:32 PM  

Remember "Charly?"

That that is is that that is not is not is that it it is

That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? IT IS.

That said, this was a pretty smooth and easy puzzle, relatively. The theme has a bit of an unusual twist with clues referring to numbers across where there's no black square to the left, but as OFL says, uninspiredly titled. I noted that one non-theme entry could have been back-formed into another themer: "What Jagger's band was called before they had so many hits" (rollingSTONES).

Along with the "it" repeats, we have a couple of SAYs, SAYIT and SAYSME. Maybe that gets a pass because of the different pronunciation. Not my hill. I did wince at DERATS: "Put a contract out on Louie--before he testifies. We gotta DERAT the family."

I was about to give up on finding a DOD, but then I saw SASHA (read "Obama"). She's growing up quite nicely. This one's SURELY a par.

Ambiguous captcha today with "indoor seating." There's a closeup of a plate of food, but no clear indication of indoor vs. outdoor. Trust me, click it. It's"indoor." And now I see that in the time it took to tell you this, "verification expired. Check the checkbox again." *sigh* This is getting silly...

rondo 3:02 PM  

38 minutes of figuring out the old and new stuff. Actually liked this puz better than most Sundays. Maybe because it didn't take an hour.

Only a w/o in one place at RAPStar. Don't believe there is such a thing as a RAP"SONG". Don't they just SAYIT?

Any figure skater, including SASHA Cohen, has gotta be a yeah baby. No comment on ISADORA, maybe she's in a SILENTFILM somewhere??

Another missed opportunity to clue HAHA as Packer Clinton-Dix.

ICANT say this was the best Sun-puz ever or even TOPRANK, but IT'LLDO.

BS2 3:31 PM  

PREENS ADIEU

Oliver WARES a SUITANDTIE while ORGANICFARMING,
while LISA TAKESON chores in CAPRIPANTS.
Their MUTUAL RITUAL of COWTIPPING, ITIS so chARMING,
but LISA GETSAWAY to the CITY every chance.

--- GALLIC STONES

Diana,LIW 3:34 PM  

Agree with Synders - easy and enjoyable. Had fun guessing w/o crosses a couple of times. Haven't yet read Rex - knew he'd pan it since I found it easy and fun. Only read the Synders.

DERATS and FIRMER were a bit ICKY. ORGANIC FARMING was my favorite.

Now I'll go back and read the comments - maybe Rex, too. On to captcha.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 5:16 PM  

Liked the "Retronyms" theme a lot. Nicely executed and learned some new-to-me trivia in the process.

Some odds and ends in the fill:

TRYME, SAYSME, SAYIT. Unintended word progression.

"YAN Can Cook". Have never seen the show, but good for him.

DERATS?

OBOLS/CUBAN. OBOLS obscure and unknown, but revealed by CUBAN, a successful businessman-owner of the currently quite unsuccessful Dallas Mavericks.

Rate this one sloggy fun.

SharonAK 5:19 PM  

@ noreen, (who will probably never see this comment.
This puzzle took me a couple of h ours with a few googles for names. I agree with later commenter who said he couldn't even read the clues in the sort of time many post.
I enjoyed the comments today. Many of them were cleverly humorous.
I'm sometimes inspired to try to come ump with equally clever takes on the puzzle answers, but never successfully.
I liked the puzzle and mostly agreed with comments from Loren, PMDM, Anon 9:40 among others.

leftcoastTAM 6:10 PM  

In answer to @Lewis 8:22 AM, way above:

Cheat sheet, maybe?

AnonymousPVX 6:56 PM  

I don't like Gimmick puzzles, but I liked this one. I appreciated the construction required, and I enjoyed the retronyms as well. Plus a nice solve in good time.

I guess we all look for different things but I enjoyed solving this.

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