Partial rainbow near horizon / TUE 12-27-16 / Controversial novel of 1955 / Devotee of eSports / Kane resident of soap TV's Pine Valley

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Constructor: Herre Schouwerwou

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (high 3s)


THEME: DOUBLE TAKE (60A: Surprised reaction ... or a hint to what can preced both halves of the answers to the starred clues) — two-word themers where both parts can follow "take" in familiar phrases:

Theme answers:
  • HEART SHAPE (17A: *Valentine outline)
  • COVER CHARGE (24A: *Cost to enter a bar, maybe)
  • DOWN HOME (32A: *Folksy)
  • BACK AWAY ( 40A: *What to do when coming face to face with a bear)
  • AFTER EFFECT (47A: *Delayed consequence)
Word of the Day: SUNDOG (43A: Partial rainbow near the horizon) —
Sun dogs (or sundogs), mock suns or phantom suns, meteorological name parhelia (singular parhelion), are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either horizontal side on the Sun, often co-occurring with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo. // Sun dogs are a member of a large family of halos, created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. Sun dogs typically appear as two subtly colored patches of light to the left and right of the Sun, approximately 22° distant and at the same elevation above the horizon as the Sun. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sun dogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the Sun is close to the horizon. (wikipedia) 
• • •

One of my New Year's wishes is no more of this theme type (which we've seen recently—I expressed similar sentiments then). The word-that-can-precede/follow-both-parts type theme is hoary and results in bland-at-best, forced-and-weird-at-worst answers. The revealer is like a solution to a riddle you didn't really care about in the first place. A bajillion things can follow "take" in a familiar phrase: action, advantage, advice ... you can see I'm still pretty early in the alphabet here. There's just a bland, so-what quality to the whole endeavor that's not really worthy of NYT-caliber puzzles. The puzzle also just plays old, in general, with its LICK for [Spank] (?) and its ALINEs and EGADs and IRMAs and OGDEN NASHes. It's a phoned-in puzzle from 30 years ago, with SUPERMOM and SUNDOG its only, uh, bright spots. Not AOKAY. About as AOKAY as that spelling of AOKAY. ISAO AOKAY, OK? No. Not OK.


The thing about STEPS (54D: Staircase parts) is you can *take* them, so the puzzle is essentially flaunting the fact that the whole Take ___ concept is astonishingly loose. AMARE is really bad fill, esp. for a Tuesday (7D: Verb that's conjugated "amo, amas, amat ..."). Kind of inexcusable. I mean, AMO AMAS AMAT is time-honored garbage that I expect to see, but the Latin infinitive? AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE was a six-time NBA All-Star. I'll take him, if I have to take that answer at all, which, again, I shouldn't have to, on a Tuesday. What happened to the "K" in SMART ALEC(K) (3D: Know-it-all)? Either spelling appears to be legit, but crosswords really flog ALECK as a stand-alone, so I've grown accustomed to its face. ALEC, of course, can be and usually is clued as a man's name when it stands alone. No one ever named their kid ALECK (apologies to the few of you whose parents did, in fact, do that). Isn't an AFTER EFFECT just ... an effect? Don't effects, by definition, come "after." Had some trouble getting into that SW corner precisely because I couldn't imagine what could come before EFFECT at 47A. I have no idea who RHYS Ifans is, but if he's famous enough to be in crosswords, I'm slightly stunned we haven't seen IFANS before (67A: Actor Ifans of "The Amazing Spider-Man"). iMac, iPad, iPod, iPhone ... IFANS! It'll fit right in.


The HALF GONE clue seems both cruel and weird (38D: Suffering from senility, say). Maybe I'm just not into slangy terms for people suffering with dementia and other age-related brain problems. I've not heard the term used the way the clue indicates. I'm honestly not sure I've heard the term at all, except possibly related to drunkenness.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS this guy's debut puzzle a couple years back had a quote theme. The quote was by ... OGDEN NASH

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

109 comments:

Moly Shu 4:04 AM  

I think @Rex has finally swayed me to his side on the precede/follow theme. When I saw the revealer clue, I felt let down. Sort of like @Ralphie when he decodes the ovaltine message. Did like SUNDOG (a woe), BEDBUG and BINGE. Had deal before IMIN and don't think I've ever had a Caesar salad with EGG or OVA in it.

Free Labor 4:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martín Abresch 4:16 AM  

I don't mind the theme, but I didn't like the fill.

SUPERMOM and SUNDOG were interesting entries, but the rest was a snooze.

I love a quotation clue, but today's was decidedly un-funny: OGDEN NASH [Humorist who wrote "Candy / Is dandy / But liquor / Is quicker"]. Ha ha! Let's get women drunk! Why not go with a purple cow reference, especially with MOO alongside? Throw in BED BUG [One getting a bite at night?] and HALF GONE [Suffering from senility, say], and that's one bummer of a puzzle.

Caesar salads have EGG? I thought that was chef salads. Oh, Caesar salads have yolks as part of the dressing. Huh.

Hartley70 4:41 AM  

The egg in Caesar salad is in the salad dressing, guys! (BTW they sneak a touch of anchovy in there too.) I've just done Monday and Tuesday puzzles together and I do prefer yesterday's. The Boxing Day theme was a winner, but in fairness today's constructor didn't have a holiday to work around.

I just did a late post for Monday where I wrote a bit about ANATOLE Broyard. I worked at the NYT for a bit during his tenure as a book reviewer.

Leapfinger 6:26 AM  

What @Rex said about Ifans, but o/w, put OGDEN NASH in the grid and I'M IN. The clue might only cite the dandy candy, but my mind provides slews of other deathless poesy. So OKAY, BEDBUG is kind of creepy, yet evenso Burns did To A Louse

Other assorted cuteness I found in the grid:
Cross my HART-to-HEARTSHAPE [up the road from GO_APE]
SIC as a SUNDOG
DEMUR: DEMi Moore, with a case of JLO-envy
COVER CHARGE'S CENT
RHYS' Pieces
A MARE, A MARE: Richard III becomes a tad picky
Reverse POC: the DOWNHOME way is to say 'We go BACK AWAYs'

Also, Row 12 reminded me of that fine old graffito
Nietzsche: GOD IS NOT
GOD: Nietzsche IS NOT

The theme? I went with it, I always like these. I never guess them before the reveal. Take A BOW, mine Herre; you're A GENT!!

Careful Reader 6:30 AM  

Hi Martin Abresch! Where do you see women mentioned in Ogden Nash's couplet?

Leapfinger 6:39 AM  

PS: Who's IRMA Bunt? I was sure it was ROSA, thinking of the Russian baddie with the curare-tipped shiv-in-a-shoe. I may be fuzzy on the concept of 'henchwoman'.

Kurt W. 6:56 AM  

Rosa Klebb, played by Lotte Lenya, was the Bond henchwoman in the previous film "From Russia With Love."

Martín Abresch 7:10 AM  

@Careful Reader (6:30am) - Words do not function in isolation. The title of Nash's bit of doggerel is "Reflections on Ice-Breaking." In what context is candy used to break the ice? The most obvious answer is courtship. If you disagree with this interpretation, then provide an alternate interpretative context.

Leapfinger 7:13 AM  

The wonderful Lotte Lenya in FRWLove, of course, Thank you, @Kurt! But we're both off-track about the henchperson part, which actually indicates a 'loyal supporter'. I think it's the 'hench' part, which just makes it sound so grinchy.

evil doug 7:21 AM  

Speaking of LOLITA...do a DOUBLETAKE on this one:

"What the traditional "heart shape" actually depicts is a matter of some controversy. It only vaguely resembles the human heart. The seed of the silphium plant, used in ancient times as an herbal contraceptive, has been suggested as the source of the heart symbol. The heart symbol could also be considered to depict features of the human female body, such as the female's buttocks, pubic mound, or spread vulva. The tantric symbol of the "Yoni" is another example of a heart-shaped abstraction of a woman's vulva."
~Wikipedia

Matthew RHYS is terrific starring in one of the best shows on TV--The Americans.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Mixed feelings. Overall, a solid, respectable effort. But putting OGDEN NASH in there raises it a couple of notches. Especially when crossed by the text of his most famous poem, "Describing the witness at an optic event": SUNDOG AGOG.

While @Rex may not like it, AFTEREFFECT is part of the language. Blaming the constructor for using it, and for SMART ALEC, seems unfair. English is loaded with redundant phrases, oxymorons, and spelling inconsistencies. Should they all be banned from puzzles?

evil doug 7:30 AM  

Ironic choice for a clue - - "crusade" - - describing JIHAD. But at least "infidels" is placed in quotation marks....

RoseLouise 7:32 AM  

I found the clue and answer HALFGONE extremely offensive. Senility is nothing to make light of.

mathgent 7:33 AM  

I liked Rex's comment very much. Witty and incisive. I also don't like "Suffering from senility, say" for HALFGONE. Not only because I'm old but also because I can't find much support for that definition in on-line dictionaries. I did find a reference to being mildly intoxicated.

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

It seems that Will Shortz is normalizing "jihad" by allowing its inclusion in this puzzle.

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

HALFGONE is offensive and indescribably cruel as Rex and commenters have noted. Agree with Rex on everything today. For me it was an average solve. Did not "see" the theme until I got to the blog.

The bullying pulpit 7:51 AM  

Candy is dandy
And liquor is quicker
Or just be pushy
And grab 'em by the !!


chefbea 7:54 AM  

Fairly easy puzzle.Knew sundog was going to be WOD. Have a jar of anchovies in the cabinet so time to make a caesar salad...with amare!!!

Mary Irvin 8:05 AM  

I dunno. I think Rex is just too cynical anymore. I've been reading this column for a couple of years now, and he mostly dislikes nearly every. single. puzzle. Why does he even do them? I've been doing crossword puzzles for about 15 years now. I don't do them in five minutes, as Rex claims he does (how is that possible? You can't even READ all the clues in that time. Color me skeptical), and sometimes I resort to Google (I consider it a learning opportunity). And I'm familiar with crosswordese (etui and the like), but I don't think I've EVER seen a puzzle that didn't have one or two hoary old clues/answers.

Of COURSE there are lots of words that go with "take," Rex. But the author cleverly put them together as non-nonsensical clues and answers and made them fit beautifully with the rest of the puzzle. I'm always impressed with the cleverness of the clues and enjoy watching them get more difficult as the week goes on.

And AFTEREFFECT is a commonly used expression. So there.

Z 8:12 AM  

I had a SUNDOG just the other day. Tasty.

I've mentioned before that a more main stream understanding of JIHAD is the internal battle to overcome our human propensity to do ill in the world, and that it is only a fringe mis-reading of the Koran that leads the gullible and violent to think of it in terms comparable to a crusade.

HALF GONE is a phrase I'm familiar with, filed away with things I don't say anymore like "retarded." As I recall, it was a term always used in a whisper, "poor dear, looking after her husband even though he's HALF GONE now."

@Martin Abresch - Any opinions on Baby It's Cold Outside? I'd argue that the "rape culture" interpretation is just as guilty of taking agency away from women, but mostly I mention it to irk anonymice.

AliasZ 8:17 AM  


@Rex, EFFECT: drunk; AFTEREFFECT: hangover.

I'm with @Leapy, the theme didn't bother me at all, in fact I rather enjoyed it, especially COVER CHARGE. What I enjoyed even more was Herre Schouwerwou's bit of OGDEN NASHery over at xwordinfo. By all means, go there and read it.

So many other words in this puzzle can be preceded by TAKE (albeit with a little help at times) that I stopped counting: A BASE; 'IM IN; one on the c(S)HIN; a LICKing; a DAY; a WEE; SIC; to TASK(S); STEPS; a LIE detector test, etc.

My wife (please!) measures curtain calls by storm after action in the fifth one for the team.

The line above may not make much sense, but I wrote it to test how long a sentence I can put together in which each phrase or word can be preceded by TAKE. I am sure I could have written a whole paragraph if I really tried.

Here's perhaps the best known FIVE of all time.

PS. If called by a panther, don't anther.

smalltowndoc 8:18 AM  

I've always been uncomfortable with the Ogden Nash rhyme. The way I interpret it, it suggests that getting "romantic" (you know what I mean) with a woman is facilitated by getting her inebriated. If that was Nash's intent, then it is not an acceptable phrase in this day and age.

Z 8:18 AM  

@Mary Irvin - Rex is not even all that fast. As for his criticism, the NYT should be the gold standard it claims to be. While I liked this weekend's NYT puzzles fine, none of them were the best puzzles I did this weekend. I might approach the point less directly than Rex does, but he's essentially spot on about today's puzzle.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

I agree with the poster who dinged Rex. He seems angriest when he calls a puzzle medium to challenging, as if affronts him to find a clue that he--HE--doesn't know. I, too, am relatively new to the crossword world, and often have to leave puzzles incomplete, but I found this to be fairly easy. Zipped through it with almost no hesitation. But at that, it took me about 1/2 hour--I also am leery of people who say they do them in mere minutes.

And I know that Rex gets angry at people who question his motives are call him on his cynicism. And he seems particularly annoyed today. Seriously, if you get no joy out of this, why do you do it?

Careful Reader 8:25 AM  

@MartinA, as you know, disagreement can be valid without providing alternatives, but if you wish: Any situation involving a mix of children (of unspecified sex), most of whom find candy intrinsically appealing, and many of whom view liquor with the glamor of the forbidden adult world.

Not that I believe this was Nash's scenario; I just think people should recognize underlying assumptions.

Also note that I used age only in answer to the assumption about sex, with no intent of serving up different can o' worms.

NCA President 8:25 AM  

I'm afraid to even post now for fear of somehow being seen as "rude" or otherwise harsh. The good news, I guess, is that I know you guys read my posts. :D

I would personally take this puzzle over a punny puzzle anyday. I only care about themes when I really need them to help me solve a puzzle, otherwise they are just side interests that function more to help the constructor rather than the solver in most cases. This case was certainly the case. I didn't need the theme to help me, and at the end it did nothing more than cause me to go, hmm.

No groans, so there's that. I don't know RHYS or IRMA but the crosses more than helped fill them in.

JIHAD might have been clued like it is more moderately understood...as a spiritual struggle...very much like the Christian idea of spiritual warfare. The clue really only contributes to the common misassociation of the radicalized version of Islam with everyone else. The clue, as it appears, is unnecessary. There are other ways to clue it. I'm sure there will be some posts cluttering up the feed here taking issue with that...or me...or both. For those who will, I'm glad I can be such an important part of your lives.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Agree with @Mary Irvin. While the precede/follow shtick may be stale, all of the answers in this case were smooth, common, unforced phrases -- a point that Rex didn't mention.

r.alphbunker 8:31 AM  

The 15A {Gently protest} DEMUR/7D {Verb that's conjugated "amo, amas, amat ..."} AMARE crossing made me nervous. Was thinking it might be DEMURE or AMORE. But what I had was correct and my streak of one wrongs has been broken.

Details are here.

John Child 8:35 AM  

Leapy - you may be "I'm in," but at least not ONAN.

I was pleased yesterday to be reminded about the Feast of Steven because it brought this bit of childhood pleasure to mind:

Good King Sauerkraut, Look out!
On your feets uneven.
While the snoo lay all about…
“Snoo? What’s snoo?”
“Not Much. What’s snoo with you?”

If you are old enough to identify that bit of clever doggerel you may remember this ever so much more enlightening passage too. Same year I think, or close:

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime;
 Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense 
in any immediate context of history;
 Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, 
can be accomplished alone;
 Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous
 from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own;
 Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love
which is forgiveness.

kitshef 8:45 AM  

Seems to me that quite possibly every cookie I have eaten in my life was stackable, so clue for 2D was basically "Cookie".

Leapfinger 8:49 AM  

An early favourite:
The turtle lives midst plated decks
Which certainly conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertle.

Brought to you by T.A.N., Turtles Against Nash

This was written long before the days of turtle OVA protection, so maybe these days Ogden really can't win for losing. Baby, it really is cold outside.

@AliAs, TAKE the A Train?

jberg 8:56 AM  

I figured out the theme while I was going along; it had to be a "can follow/precede the same word," and TAKE just emerged. So when I got to the revealer it seemed pretty neat; as an AFTEREFFECT of that, I liked the puzzle.

@John Child, good one. That guy was really famous, wasn't he?

@Leapfinger, use all of line 12, uttered by Darwin (or by his detractors, if preceded by "if you"): "GO APE, GOD IS NOT!"

As for the Ogden Nash poem, in his day men gave candy to women, by convention. Today, of course, it could be in either direction, or a same-sex seduction -- but that was not what Nash had in mind.

@Hartley, it must be some kind of holiday. I tried to look it up in Chase's calendar, but there's a paywall.

QuasiMojo 8:58 AM  

I did not "take" to this puzzle either. Even though it did not "take" too long. I just don't get the point of these types of themes. They seem like the stuff you find in USA Today or old issues of Dell Crossword paperbacks. I did like seeing Ogden Nash. But isn't clueing Jihad as a "crusade" a bit ironic? I mean, the word "crusade" comes from the Cross. I have no objections to opening up the NYT puzzle but it should make sense.

Brendan Hoover 9:01 AM  

Agree that the halfgone clue was terrible.

I thought this was a really easy Tuesday, finished it very quickly. I thought yesterday's puzzle was really hard for a Monday. Rex and his fill in thought differently. It always interests me when I get back to back days where I strongly disagree with the assessment of the difficulty. Why does it interest me? I don't know, it just does.

Anyhow, the fill was OK. After effects is a really common colloquialism, so no beef with that clue. I have no clue who any of the proper names folks are, Irma Bunt, Rhys, or Ogden Nash. I know the Ogden Nash saying, but never knew the origin.

Sundog sounds made up to me. That answer left me agog avec ennui.

Mr. Benson 9:02 AM  

"iMac, iPad, iPod, iPhone ... IFANS!"

I'm partial to iSnot at 57A.

Teedmn 9:08 AM  

I was just going to have a couple of spoonfuls of ice cream but when I looked down, it was HALF GONE.

Except for that themer, as others have mentioned, I thought this was a great example of this kind of puzzle theme. I smiled at the revealer and carefully read through all of the TAKE DOUBLE phrases.

When I go back to the Syndiland puzzles, I often find a tie-in with today's puzzle. Today, that tie-in is HAM - five weeks ago, the puzzle was the NON-KOSHER puzzle featuring HAM, pork, lard and bacon. Is that just an AFTEREFFECT of hindsight?

We always said, when clambering up a pole, that we would SHINny up the pole. I had a hard time seeing the truncated SHIN as it didn't sound correct. But perhaps that is just MOI.

I've enjoyed Herre Schouwerwou's puzzles since his first published puzzle and this one is no exception. Thanks for a nice Tuesday!

thfenn 9:12 AM  

I don't mind themes like this, though I can imagine they get a little stale once you're good enough to cruise through these at light speed. An enjoyable 16 minute solve for me with no peeking or googling. Thought it was really going to be a struggle when HEARTSHAPE was the first Across I could fill in, but it all played nicely from there on.

Really wanted PLAYDEAD for what you do in the presence of a bear, but Take Play and Take Dead don't work very well. Wanted to shim up a pole but I guess you shin up a pole. Loved seeing SUNDOGs growing up, as I typically associated them with snow in the next day or two, though never really took in that you see them better near the horizon. And here's another nod to The Americans - great show to BINGE.

Didn't like HALFGONE or AOKAY, but any puzzle that both conjures up pleasant memories and gets me digging into the difference between ENNUI and anomie after completing it has been a good one.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

I agree that the puzzle was a bore, but not understanding the difficulty rating. It was my fastest Tuesday time ever.

ArtO 9:36 AM  

I'll join the chorus objecting to HALFGONE and agree with the puzzle rating. Also want to thank OFL for the Sinatra clip. Somewhat surprising since I thought he would consider that too dated.

Nancy 9:36 AM  

Not that much fun to solve, but I did admire the construction. I haven't read anyone else yet, but I'm wondering if HALF GONE bothered any of you. It seems an awfully jokey and insensitive term for senility, which I'd argue is really nothing to JOSH about.

But maybe it's just the mood I'm in right now. I'm suffering the AFTER EFFECT, physically and emotionally, of a traumatic incident that happened over Christmas. It could have been much, much, much worse, and I'm going to be just fine, but what makes it so awful is that it never should have happened at all. It's not something I'm prepared to discuss on the blog, although I have discussed it off-blog with some of the people here. But to give you a hint, there were certain items in today's grid that disturbed me: SCENT; SIC; BACK AWAY; GO APE; and SUNDOG. If things had been worse, AORTA might have disturbed me too. Anyway, I'm still feeling pretty shaky. But glad to be back on the blog. To those of you off-blog who have been so supportive, my HEARTSHAPE thanks.

Unknown 9:37 AM  

The best thing about today's solving experience was coming across the EBTG video. Takes me back...

G.Harris 9:46 AM  

Seems to me that we have become so overly sensitive, as expressed in ultra political correctness, that we have invited the backlash that brought us to this low point in electoral history. Lighten up people, even in these darkest times.

Word Nerd 9:52 AM  

@thfenn, wait till you hit anhedonia.

Loren Muse Smith 9:58 AM  

I'm trying to post while sitting I the back seat of our car while my daughter drives us back to WV. It's hard to do it this way!

I never tire of this kind of theme,especially with such an apt reveal.

Caesar salad guys- the dressing has a coddled egg in it. Haven't we been over this?

@Evil - interesting heart shape info. On a different note, our school is having an official OEPA audit on February 14. I''m not sure what that stands for or what all it means, but it's serious as heck. My suggestion is to greet the big shots at the door as they come into the school and, since it's Valentine's Day, give them all a red construction paper heart to pin on their lapels. So they're all walking around being official and scary and judgmental- but with a big heart on.

Roo Monster 10:00 AM  

Hey All !
I guess if the theme works, Wlll will use it. Laughing at MOO and COW! @M&A.

Heard of RHYS Ifans, but couldn't pick him out of a lineup. Liked the i-things Rex mentioned, and the iSnot @Mr. Benson 9:02 saw! Continuing that, iRma, iMin.

Good TuesPuz. Easy for the ole brain.

Bad bunker shot? TOSS WEDGE, NACK AWAY, BEHAVE, or you'll be HALF GONE and AGOG. (Or just don't golf...)

WEE
RooMonster
DarrinV

Word Nerd 10:00 AM  

@thfenn, OR, as OGDEN NASH poetized it...

Would you like your tedium
Rare or medium?

JJK 10:03 AM  

I agree with Mary Irvin that Rex can be snotty about the time it takes him to do a puzzle. I don't really want to know that he did the puzzle in 3 minutes when it took me (and probably most ordinary mortals) 15.

Carola 10:09 AM  

I liked this variation on the tried-and-true theme, though I thought some of the DOUBLEs were better (COVER CHARGE, DOWN HOME, AFTER EFFECT) than others (HEART SHAPE, BACK AWAY). AGING + HALF GONE: yeah, not a fan.

@Nancy, sorry about your shock, glad you're OKAY.

evil doug 10:18 AM  

Loren,

OEPA: Officials Evaluating Practically Anything....

And in my experience, all evaluators - - USAF, FAA, whatever - - already have a big heart on....

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

@lms honey, I don't think that would work with JCAHO inspections, but it made me lol, even though it's been done. Ages ago, I was going to a Valentine's party (the same night 2 cops came to the door to arrest me and scared the living hoohaw out of The Kid, but that's another story); the hostess was quite a talented artist who was just starting to experiment with neon sculptures. For the occasion, she had fashioned a lovely shocking pink heart and placed it strategically under the angle of the roof to greet guests walking up the drive. It was the perfect occasion to say "Look, the house has a HEART on!"

AORTA know better.

ghkozen 10:23 AM  

It seems, from the clue for JIHAD, that Will Shortz has gone the full Trump. Jihad is, primarily, an internal struggle against your own propensity for sin. By flying it as he does, he normalizes and promotes the idea that Islam is somehow uniquely violent among religions. A more accurate clue would be something like "Religious war against the infidel," and the answer would be "Crusade."

Hungry Mother 10:26 AM  

Back before I was a vegan, I prepared Caesar salad by making my own croutons and coating the romaine lettuce with a coddled egg.

Leapfinger 10:26 AM  

@jberg, well done!

@John Child, you know that ONAN was the name Dorothy Parker gave her canary, because he spilled his seed upon the ground.

Over the limit again, mea culpa. Taking it to heart now.

John Child 10:29 AM  

All of our best @Nancy. We love you.

GILL I. 10:33 AM  

@Teedmn...while you're eating your ice cream I'm drinking a bottle of wine which is HALF GONE already...!
I know what @Rex means about the "Gold Standard." I used to only do the NYT puzzles. No others really held my interest. It's because of his blog and the blogerettes/dudettes that I tried other sites. I now do the WSJ and BEQ and if I have time, I'll dig around for others. The NYT, quite often, comes across as stale and in need of a face-lift. I think Will should start pushing for something more fresh...
Having said that...I enjoyed today's meatier Tuesday. I wonder if Herre had dared a SUPER DAD instead of the MOM or is that a "sacre bleu!"...@thfenn...I wanted to SHIm up the pole as well and when I lose it completely I GO MAD. Poor APE.
I liked it Sr. Schouwerwou (what a great name you have!) MOO COW and all.
p.s. @Nancy...GOD, now I'll have to ask!!!

Z 10:46 AM  

@LMS - Ah, the illusion that we all know what words like "Positive Climate and Cohesive Culture" mean. Man oh man how I don't miss that grind.

@Alias Z - You posted while I was typing earlier. Your effect/after effect example was perfect.

@Mr. Benson - If I remember correctly, the MacWorld product review for the iSnot was just two words, "It blows."

@Anon9:35 - Not quite sure what you're asking, so excuse me if this doesn't answer your question. The difficulty rating is relative to the day of the week, and Rex uses his time to gauge it. So for Rex this puzzle took longer than most Tuesday puzzles, but not extremely so. Personally, this was an average Tuesday, so I would have rated it medium.

@JJK - 7:19 - What does that make me? Rex can do puzzles faster than me, I did today's faster than you. Dan Feyer hasn't posted his time but he probably broke 2:00 like he normally does on a Tuesday. BFD. If it bothers you that Rex talks about his time maybe don't read the blog. Or maybe consider FAQ #6, to which Rex wrote: "I like to time myself on occasion, especially on early-week puzzles. I'm always in a kind of low-level training for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (again, above link). I don't care if you are faster / slower than I am, or if you don't care about timing at all. More power to you. Everyone does the puzzle differently. There are solvers of all different speeds who read this site. There's no reason for anyone to feel defensive / self-conscious."

Malsdemare 10:56 AM  

I winced at HALFGONE; thirty years of doing Alzheimer's research eliminated any ability I might have to take senility lightly. I think there are better ways to clue that phrase. Personally, it reminds me of a baby totally glutted, looking at you and saying, "Noooo! Not over the shoulders! Can't you see I'm HALFGONE, already? I just want to fall asleep in your arms. And then throw up all over you!" And, yeah, the Ogden Nash doggerel was about seduction, all right, but if we ignore the context of our social worlds and eras, we are going to be upset about a lot of old stuff: Rhett Butler carrying Scarlet up the stairs is a good example. Which brings us to LOLITA. Ugh!

JOSH is my second oldest sister who tells stories on herself better than anyone I know. She stepped out to her car one morning, opened the door and did a DOUBLETAKE. "What the f&$@" said my not very staid sister. "Where's the steering wheel?" "Hoy shit! Where are the back seats?" Seems she had gotten tired of setting off her car alarm, had the repair shop around the corner disable it, and Voila! Pretty predictable AFTEREFFECT.

@Nancy, sorry to hear you're world has been knocked awry. Hope life returns to normal soon.

I am not a robot 11:10 AM  

@John, just about every to say about the puzzle has been said already, but I wanted to thank you for those beautiful words. I'm going to incorporate them into my New Years resolutions, which I always make and almost always keep. You set the bar high.

kitshef 11:13 AM  

@Nancy - calming thoughts headed your way via the ether.

Hartley70 11:14 AM  

@jberg, I had never heard of "Chase's Calendar of Events". Fascinating read, I imagine. I'm sorry I can't take a peruse. You're not kidding about the paywall, at $63.99 for the Kindle version and 752 pages to download. I may wait until I have time to kill in the world's best waiting room, the library.

jae 11:22 AM  

@Z - Medium works for me too on this one. I do not have high expectations for Tue. puzzles, so this was fine by me (except for HALF GONE). More or less liked it.

smoss11 11:26 AM  

A suggestion for @evil. Just remember that candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. Make them a heart for their lapel but offer them a drink as well.!!!

Joseph Michael 11:27 AM  

While not terribly exciting, this type of theme is all right once in a while and this one was generally well executed. Couldn't figure out what the themers had in commin until I got to the revealer near the end. Liked SUNDOG, SUPER MOM, BEDBUG, and OGDEN NASH along the way.

HALF GONE versus "a third gone" or "a quarter gone" feels more like green paint than a slam against senility. GOAPE, ONA, and IMIN just don't look right. And SHIN feels more like a body part than an action.

With EGG, OVA, MOO, and COW, the puzzle also seems to have a WEE dairy subtheme.

@evil, I will never look at a HEART SHAPE quite the same way again

@Nancy, welcome back. I'm sorry to learn that you had a traumatic experience over the weekend and hope you are A OKAY.

Hartley70 11:32 AM  

@jberg, perhaps we could note the departure from England of Charles Darwin on the Beadle on December 27th, or closer to my heart, the premiere of the Howdy Doody Show. In either case we're unlikely to get the day off, unfortunately.

gzodik 11:35 AM  

@Martin A -- So nowadays if one offers a drink (or two) to a date, he is a rapist? PC has definitely gone way too far. (The same observation goes for an objection to equating jihad and crusade.) Also I thought ice breaking most often referred to livening up a dull party.



old timer 11:45 AM  

I pretty much agree with OFL today. I thought the puzzle was boring, and dated back to the Maleska era. And if you solve top to bottom as I pretty much did this morning, there is no AHA moment when you get to the revealer. I did like seeing Ogden Nash, whose verses were a staple of my childhood.

My time, pen on paper, was 13 minutes, very much a Tuesdayish time.

QuasiMojo 11:51 AM  

@Nancy, I think I was able to read between the words you cited. I hope you are doing fine and very glad to hear you are "a-okay."

Hartley70 11:53 AM  

It was a surprise to see ANATOLE Broyard in the puzzle yesterday. I haven't thought about him in a few years. I lived in his house one summer while he and his family toured Europe and as an added bonus he gave my family the use of his house in Martha's Vineyard that fall. He was a very generous man and my greatest delight was going to his mailbox each morning and emptying his enormous box of the many many books he received each day. As a NYT reviewer he was besieged by an endless supply of potential subjects. I could take my pick to read and it was a heavenly choice at the time.

@Quasimodo is correct as to his fascinating personal story which became surprising news after his death. His daughter wrote a book about her father which I can recommend to those interested in this very talented and complicated man.

dick swart 12:04 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW_zi8n4HDQ

Forget 'Candy', eschew 'Liquor". 'Madiera' is the key. Flanders and Swann.

Charles Flaster 12:13 PM  

Appreciated Rex's review but I still like this theme.
Who cares if there are numerous "takes".?
Easier than Monday's puzzle and loved clue
for SUPERMOM.
Any one of us would do well to read some OGDEN NASH at any chosen time.
Both of my parents were OGDEN NASH groupies and in my Brooklyn neighborhood if we saw a certain car coming down the street
it was known as an OGDEN NASH -Rambler. I sort of remember him appearing as a panelist on a fifties quiz show. I will check.
Thanks HS

ahecht 12:33 PM  

@Hartley70 Traditionally they don't add anchovies per-se, but they do add Worcestershire sauce which is made from fermented anchovies.

Alex Rodriguez 12:42 PM  

I had absolutely no idea who IRMA Bunt is, and after looking her up I think she explains why I am unwilling/unable to lay down a Bunt.

Crane Poole 12:52 PM  

Foo on HALFGONE. Agree with several above. Make it a burger, a beer, or a tank of gas - Or easily changed to HALFTONE or HALFDONE. No complaints otherwise, theme's fine with me, just enough resistance for a Tuesday with a few colorful entries. Playing old is a minor offense.

Best wishes @Nancy, Thanks for the 'iSNOT' laugh @Mr. Benson, @ghkozen: Am mixed on the JIHAD clue.

Far more EPEES than ALINEs. More variant sWORDPLAY?

Masked and Anonymous 12:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thfenn 1:06 PM  

@Word Nerd - thanks, didn't know what anhedonia was, and am glad I don't have it, at least when it comes to word play, crosswords, and improving vocabulary. All helps keep tedium rare, I guess.
@Gill, apparently we're not alone, but we remain misinformed - turns out you do indeed shinny up a pole and shimmy (shake, twist etc) on the dance floor.
@Nancy, sorry for your Christmas trauma, glad you're OK.

Mohair Sam 1:24 PM  

@Dick Swart - You beat me to it. I was going to suggest that making yourself believe that Nash didn't have sex in mind with his little quip was like believing that Flanders and Swann's old man was just trying to help that 17-year-old get a good night's sleep with his Madiera.

@John Child - Thank you for posting the "new-to-me" poem. Forgiveness has served me very well throughout my life, and I've never seen it better defined.

@Lauren - Welcome back - We feared you'd been bullied away.

@Evil - Well, there goes Valentines Day.

Ellen S 1:32 PM  

What a fine read today's comments were. @NCA Pres -- don't worry if people disagree with you. If we all agreed, we could just stay offline and talk to ourselves. That said, thank you @Z for starting off the discussion of Jihad.

I found the puzzle easy, like a Monday, and it surprised me that @Rex found it medium-challenging. I enjoyed it (did raise an eyebrow at JIHAD), didn't object to the theme, love anything with Ogden Nash in it (don't tell me anything about his personal life!!!) but it just -- filed itself in. Easier than yesterday, like the two would have been swapped except for yesterday being BOXING DAY.

Oh - I discovered something the rest of you iPad users probably already know. If you press and hold a word, or select a phrase, you get a pop-up menu that allows you to look it up (like a song) or search for it. No need to copy and open a search engine and paste into a search box, unless the iSnot search (thank you @Mr Benson!) fails, but for most searches it is fine. So to look up Anatole Broyard -- haven't yet, that's next -- will be easy Peary.

@Nancy, let me add my hope that you will be AOKAY.

Finally: just got a pop-up notification that Carrie Fisher has died. I guess that was a real heart attack, whatever it was shaped like. Too bad. I'll always think of her as a kid in the original Star Wars's, but she wasn't exactly old anyway.

Masked and Anonymous 1:39 PM  

@RP: yep things that follow TAKE are as common as I-snot. But miraculously, other than TAKE STEPS, there aren't very many non-themer entries that qualify. Maybe TAKE ABASE? TAKE SIC? But, I am become desperate …

Thanx, Mr. Shouwerwou. TAKE the $300 moneybucks. Liked that yer French words were all MOI-COW easy.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. Had a longer posting earlier, but it TOOK a hike.


almost anagrams (and buildings).
**gruntz**

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

Love the idea that Darwin sailed on the Beadle. Which I guess, if you get right down to it, is going to be bigger than a Beagle

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Loved Rex's mini-rant on AOKAY.

Larry Gilstrap 1:58 PM  

Add moisture to celestial lights and the results can be breathtaking. I still break for rainbows and will point out a SUNDOG to anyone in yelling distance. An even rarer phenomenon in the moonbow which requires ever necessary element of a rainbow, but the light is supplied by a full moon low in the sky. I also derive much pleasure from a classical RAGA.

Reading and studying LOLITA is fraught with contradictory feelings of guilty bemusement, uneasiness, and I'm not sure what else. Exhibit A: "At first she 'ran a temperature' in American parlance, and I could not resist the exquisite caloricity of unexpected delight -Venus febriculosa- though it was a very languid LOLITA that moaned and shivered in my embrace." I felt kind of weird just typing these words.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

@M&A, I knew the minute I saw that 'almost an anagram' clue, that we were on a skiddery slope.

Take home lesson, eh?

chefbea 2:25 PM  

@Nancy...hope all is well

Robert Sherman 2:44 PM  

Has people noticed that the definition Rex gave for sundog has nothing to do with rainbows. Rex's definition is right and I have seen them twice. Did theNYTimes mess up?

QuasiMojo 3:01 PM  

@Hartley70, what a fascinating experience. I'm envious of your peeking at his review books. I used to love reading Anatole Broyard in the Times Book Review. Worldy and wise. Lucky you!

Martín Abresch 3:45 PM  

@Careful Reader (8:25am) - Your alternate interpretation (a situation involving a mix of children?) is nonsense. You're reaching. Without a valid alternate interpretation, I consider your rhetoric about recognizing underlying assumptions to be half-baked, undergraduate drivel. You are wasting my time.


@dick swart (12:04pm) - Thanks for that link!

@Z (8:12am) - I do not have a firm opinion on Baby It's Cold Outside. The whole conversation takes place in a (thankfully) out-dated social context. I've read some interesting defenses of it, but hearing it over and over and over during the holidays is really quite exhausting. That guy just wears one down, and I'm tired of listening to his sales pitch.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

@Nancy - Hope all is AOKAY.

Ann Carroll 4:30 PM  

"Half gone" is extremely offensive. Will Shortz should have edited that one!

Doc John 4:53 PM  

RHYS Ifans will forever be known as the guy who answered the door in his underwear to a throng of reporters in Notting Hill.

Nancy 5:27 PM  

To all who have wished me well, I am so grateful and appreciative! Thank you all. This blog is a truly wonderful thing, it really is!

Careful Thinker 6:03 PM  

@Martin Abresch, of course I was reaching, but I only devised that because you essentially demanded an alternate scenario. I'm not arguing what O. Nash had in mind; I actually agree on that. I merely wanted to point out that you were jumping to a conclusion that you were also using as a preliminary assumption. And if you don't recognize that, I'd suggest you're wasting your own time.

GILL I. 6:09 PM  

First and foremost, I want to say I'm glad @Nancy is still with us - although she may be sporting an ugly scar or maybe it will turn into a beauty spot with time.
Now, for those of you leaving out anchovies in your Caesar salad.... don't!
If you're a vegan, don't bother eating this salad. You don't eat any animal products including eggs. The OVO is essential in a good Caesar as are the anchovies, the Dijon and a very good olive oil. I promise you, everything you've heard about the disgusting anchovy is not true. When smushed with the garlic it becomes creamy and lovely - not at all fishy. Buy fresh eggs and you won't have to worry about all the nasties.
Caesar Cardini and everyone else who claimed to have invented the salad would be proud of you. Just don't leave out the anchovies....

Phil Plait 7:31 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrFRbGjUtJk

@martin and @careful reader:

Don't be dicks

Z 8:18 PM  

@jae - "I do not have high expectations for a Tuesday" sort of says it all, doesn't it.

@Robert Sherman - Read the entire wikipedia article, check out the pics, and maybe go to some of the sources cited before you conclude that "partial rainbow" is wrong.

@Martin Abresch - 1944 seems so far away in some respects. But then I read several times today about George Michael being essentially outed in 1998 and the notion that this would even have been a story seems so 19th century to me. But, no, it's actually so 20th century.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:23 PM  

Late and you may not even see this , but Thank you for what you said about the half-gone /senility answer/clue. It gave me a heartache and I am glad to know someone much younger than I am had the same reaction. Too many people I know Yada, yada, yada.......

Felt about the same as you did on the whole puzzle for that matter.

Rita 9:10 PM  

My mom was more than half gone by the time death released her. There's some real truth in that expression, but it's pretty heartbreaking to some of us. If it's meant to amuse it has no place in a puzzle. If grief is OK in a puzzle, maybe this clue is OK?

GILL I. 9:43 PM  

So no one cares about my Caesar salad?

Unknown 10:41 PM  

No idea who Rhys Ifans is? You must live a sheltered life.

Was great in Notting Hill in the 1990s. Was in a Spider-Man movie. Was (is) a character on TV series Elementary.

Oh, I forgot. Not intellectual enough for you .

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

Sorry but I think that olive oil in Caesar salad is passe because of its heaviness. Some places make it with canola or another 'neutral' oil and some combine the neutral oil with some olive oil or, as I do, make the croutons with olive oil. I use grapeseed oil for the dressing itself. But, perhaps more important, don't use anchovies out of a can.

Anonymous 11:06 PM  

Very late to comment, from an occasional reader: Since the puzzle had cow and moo and Ogden Nash, I can't resist adding one of my favorite Ogden Nash's:
The cow is of the bovine ilk
One end is moo, the other milk.

And on the topic of Reinhold Niebuhr and the NY Times:
Sam Sifton, a longtime NYT editor and writer, is his grandchild (says Wikipedia)
Reinhold Niebuhr was also the great uncle of Gustav Niebuhr, who covered religion (very nicely) for the Times for many years. (according to a piece in Christianity Today)

Happy New Year, from a former Times writer who enjoys reading this community's comments

GILL I. 11:40 PM  

@Anon at 10:44. Grapeseed oil is good when you are cooking or sauteing a food at a very high temperature. Olive oil is the flavor of the gods - put it on everything. Yes..a dab on the croutons and damn, if you use anchovies out of a can, you are a Neanderthal...

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

I 'sign' my entries as anonymous because of an insult I perceive to have been made against me by Mr. Sharp. But, I have read the contributions here for many years. No one is more cared about than you because your contributions are unfailingly honest, self-effacing, un-hyperbolic and very frequently amusing and,in the process, informative. I hope that, whatever it is that you went through, has helped you since, according to the old canard: 'whatever does not kill you makes you stronger'. Or maybe that saying was made up by someone who was trying to figure out an escape from the miserable way they were feeling about a recent experience. The best to you,;

Hải Đặng 3:06 AM  

"This information is impressive; I am inspired with your post writing style & how continuously you describe this topic. After reading your post, thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel happy about it and I love learning more about this topic..
hoa lan ho diep | civil engineering outsourcing | Civil engineering services | Outsourcing land development services | Civil engineering services | Outsource Structural Drafting Services | Outsource CAD drafting services "

Robert Sherman 12:59 PM  

Scientifically, rainbows require water droplets, sundogs require ice. Even wikipedia says a circular rainbow can be confused with sundogs. Halos, caused by ice crystsls, are not rainbows, per wiki.

The best support for your view is a mislabelling within a Cornish dialect, a 2nd century roman work, and other old wrtiers on middle ages. A Disney cartoon did that too.

Overall, there is a scientific basis for the separation of sundogs from rainbows. One rises from ice crystals, the other from water droplets. I recall all this whole a grad student as us physics students stood outside with some faculty studying and commenting on the sundogs the day after a blizzard.

Leapfinger 1:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 2:55 PM  

@Robert Sherman - So what you're saying is ice and water are not the same thing? Alrighty then. Let me suggest that rainbow has meanings beyond the purely scientific. While a scientist may have a need for distinguishing between solid and liquid water's effects when acting as a prism, "partial rainbow" works just fine for most of us.

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד 1:55 AM  

Since the first theme answers I got were double take and down home, I thought the remaining themes would pair word that go with double, like double down, with words that go with take. I thought this puzzle was going to be great fun until I tried to find meanings for double heart and double cover.

Cassieopia 4:49 PM  

Super late and still want to comment.

1. Agree w @Robert Sherman. Raised in northern latitudes, I've seen plenty of sun dogs, very very high in the sky. Always fun to see, I've never thought of them as "rainbows near the horizon". Not to mention that clue is meteorologically incorrect.

2. The Inverse Rex Principle continues to hold for me: I found this puzzle exceptionally easy, and my solving time proved it. I know I'm in for a slog whenever Rex calls a puzzle "easy".

3. @Nancy - i'm late to this party, and you may never read this post, but I always enjoy your comments and I am sorry to hear that your Christmas holiday was difficult. Here's hoping that the New Year's is kinder to you and yours.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP