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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Constructor: Kevan Choset

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: Prince CHARLES — All clues are "titles for this puzzle's subject," who is "spelled in order by the circled letters"

Theme answers:
  • EARL OF CHESTER
  • BARON OF RENFREW
  • DUKE OF CORNWALL
  • PRINCE OF WALES 
Word of the Day: Peter RABE (35A: Broccoli ___) —
Peter Rabe aka Peter Rabinowitsch, (1921–1990), was a German American writer who also wrote under the names Marco Malaponte and J. T. MacCargo (though not all of the latter's books were by him). Rabe was the author of over 30 books, mostly of crime fiction, published between 1955 and 1975. [...] In an essay included in the book Murder off the Rack, edited by Jon L. Breen, Donald E. Westlake opens with the line, "Peter Rabe wrote the best books with the worst titles of anybody I can think of." When Gold Medal changed the titles of Rabe's first two books from The Ticker and The Hook to Stop This Man! and Benny Muscles In, a pattern was set that would last throughout his career. (wikipedia)
• • •

What, no DUKE OF ROTHESAY (14)!? No EARL OF CARRICK (13)!? Bah and pah! [/fakeindignation]

If there's a theme out there that I could care less about, I'd like to see it. Puzzle is about as interesting as its subject (to me). A giant Who Cares? hovers over this whole endeavor. Do you know how hard it is to get CHARLES to appear in order in this guy's titles. First and last themers contain everything but the "A," so what you put in second and third slots barely matters. All that matters is symmetry. In fact, you could replace EARL OF CHESTER and BARON OF RENFREW with EARL OF CARRICK and DUKE OF ROTHESAY, respectively, and the theme would still work. And I'd still care just as little. On the fill front, it's not good. Way way way too much short, tired, old, common stuff, including crosswordesey names like TERI / POLO and Mark O'MEARA and whichever ALOU they used today. 1-Across was ENGR—the saddest opening gimme I was ever gimmen. That answer pretty much set the tone for fill quality the rest of the way.

["Nothing Compares 2 U"]

Not sure I made any wrong turns in this one. Didn't know the first two CHARLES titles at all, but they filled themselves in easily via crosses. ALECTO plays an important role in the Aeneid, which I teach frequently; I'm used to the two-L version of her name, but the "A" from TABOR was enough for me to guess her name there. Speaking of small drums, I briefly thought TABLA for 5A: Small drum. Turns out, TABLA is a *pair* of small drums. So ... I hope that tidbit solves all your future TABOR/TABLA confusions. Aeneid knowledge also came in handy for 62A: English poet laureate Nahum (TATE), as he wrote the libretto for Purcell's Dido & Aeneas (which was first performed in the late 17th century) (I'm teaching 17th-century literature in the upcoming TERM) (I should probably get on that) (Good day).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

119 comments:

jae 4:03 AM  

Mostly medium for me and mostly because of the cross referencing and needing to fill in the circles, other wise @Rex easy.

Did not know that CHARLES had all those titles (or the titles) and also did not know ALECTO.

Had sItS ON before LIES and imho before FWIW.

Any puzzle that leads off with ENGR and has KNIFERS, RAVERS and APERS in it has problems. More annoying than amusing.

And, @Leapy and GILL I. from yesterday, I just watched Ina Garten make Caesar Dressing, the anchovies did not come from a can and she used a combination of canola and olive oil.

Moly Shu 5:00 AM  

What OFL and @Jae said. Yuck. Let me add III to the fill problems.
Disappointed there's no indignation, fake or otherwise, for the normalization of TIFFANY in the writeup. Damn, I was expecting a full-on explosion, and instead got an Aenied education. Double yuck

I am not a robot 5:41 AM  

Undoable. Is that rating? Earl of Chester and Baron of Renfrew? Really?

The Viceroy of Walla Walla 5:43 AM  

I got every single answer wrong.

I'm not quite sure how I did that.

George Barany 6:39 AM  

@Kevan Choset is an experienced constructor whose work appears in the New York Times not nearly enough, but today's effort fell flat to me. I continue to be in awe of @Rex for his solving ability, since there were several entries that had me scratching my head, despite the overall theme being relatively easy to grok out.

Poor TIFFANY, what did she ever do to deserve being in this puzzle? (I see this point was already made by @Molly Shu, though perhaps from another direction).

FWIW, @math gent and I were just corresponding off-Rex, first about "LA LA LAnd." This segued into reminiscences about "Singin' in the Rain," and now comes the second shoe dropping with the news about @Debbie Reynolds. While there has been so much focus on @Carrie Fisher for her iconic "Star Wars" PRINCEss, my favorite role of hers is as Marie in "When Harry Met Sally" (come to think of it, the latter movie was recently discussed on this blog, in connection to the word YES). RIP to all we have lost in 2016.

Unfinished business from yesterday. Following a tip from several others, I finally got a chance to listen to the @BEQ interview linked to here. That was 12 minutes well spent ... I recommend it highly.

Martín Abresch 6:44 AM  

There is a major faux pas in the cluing. The theme answers are clued [One title for this puzzle's subject, spelled in order by the circled letters] and [Another title for this puzzle's subject]. Gasp! The Prince is no subject.

puzzle hoarder 6:53 AM  

As I understand it the reason for these pompous Sir Chug-a-Load titles is that they come with extensive land holdings which comprise the royal wealth. It makes perfect sense that there's a Trump thrown in for good measure. Apparently no filler was too awful to not use in making all this possible. I thought KNIFERS was the worst until I put in FROYO. That Y was my last entry. I assume this means frozen yogurt but I'm hoping people don't actually use it.

Lewis 6:54 AM  

Well, this was not easy for me, and so solving it became a challenge, and meeting with success left me feeling good about the puzzle. That is, it provided me an opportunity to employ persistence and brainwork, and provided the reward of victory. I would call that a successful puzzle.

I also liked the clues for OBOE, PLAN, LALALA, and SAYS, and seeing TEARDROP next to CRY. From somewhere in the recesses of my brain came RENFREW and CHESTER. Did I care about the theme? Not particularly. Did I enjoy the puzzle? Absolutely.

Loren Muse Smith 7:11 AM  

Aw c’mon. This was kinda cool. Who knew Charles had so many titles? To get symmetrical titles with the right order for his name…. I’ll take it. I tried to come up with my own list, but I don’t really have any titles

1. Supreme Car Singer of the Universe
2. Snazzy Dancer
3. Unabashed Real Housewives Watcher
4. Demon Rum Not-Knower
5. Under a Rock Dweller (see #3 and #4)

So all I could come up with for my name was

BLACK HOREHOUND WITH SMALL CLUMSY FEET TO BEAT SOMEONE WITH. Works for me.

Too bad Black Horehound is a plant. What a cool dog that would be. Molly. Molly! Where the heck did she go? Don’t tell me she squeezed into her fishnets and pleather skirt and headed off to the stud farm again. Sheesh.

First thought for 19A “goes” was “pees.” Seriously. Besides, we say is like now for says.

I did notice the brawl contingent. KNIFERS. Check. RIOTERS. Check. BAT. Check. EPEES. Check and check. They insisted. Just humor’em.

Wanted “sets” on and then “lays” on before LIES ON. Just to bug people ‘cause I’m in a bad mood.

Took me forever to get FROYO (Hi, @puzzle hoarder). And I just had some. Stopped at a gas station where it was my plan to get my own personal thing of Tonight Dough Ben and Jerry’s and dispatch the entire pint. But they didn’t have it. So I got a cone of chocolate and peanut butter FROYO. Asked my husband if he wanted one, too. No. I’ll just have a bite of yours. You’d think I’d know better. 30 years of marriage and I should know that actually means I’ll just have a ginormous bite of yours Every Single Time you offer it over to me because you’re trying to act all generous and unpiggishlike. I want to be that person. I really do; I want to share my food with zero childish resentment. But I can’t. I try, though. So I offered the cone to him, he’d take a huge bite, hand it back, and I got so distressed and ridiculous and panicked that I finally handed it to him and said that he could just finish it; I’d had enough. You’d think after 30 years, he’d understand that I was being a childish baby, that he’d hand it back, swearing he was finished. But nope. He believed me and was like, “Really? Me too.” So he threw it out the window. I was devastated but too ashamed to let on.

Couldn’t help but notice TEARDROP next to CRY. RIP Carrie and Debbie. Hi, @George.

kitshef 7:12 AM  

Fantastic theme, except for the stupid circled letters thing.

Construction is really odd. It’s like the top half was worked over and over to make it really tight, then the bottom half was just thrown together in a hurry and wound up full of XSOUT and LALALA, and my God, KNIFERS/RIOTER/RAVER/APERS. What’s the deal with that?

Then there the idiosyncratic choices for the PPP. Never heard of TOBY Ziegler, nor TIFFANY Trump, nor Nahum TATE (okay, that last one is my bad). TOBY should be Keith or Flenderson; TIFFANY should be either a jeweler a singer who covered I Think We’re Alone Now; TATE should be Golden or Sharon.

And just because, here’s Lene Lovich singing I Think We’re Alone Now in Japanese.

Charles Flaster 7:20 AM  

Liked this one , especially the construction of the title symmetry. Not a lot to choose.
Medium due to a DNF at the TOBY/ FROYO
area. Also never changed pBs to BBC.
Liked cluing for OBOE, I'LL GO, and LA LA LA.
One write over--OF AN age to OF AN ERA.
CROSSWORDease--RIAS, SRI, and ALOU.
Thanks KC; really enjoy your stuff; must be those Brooklyn roots.

Scary Fehl Infant 7:30 AM  

Prince Charles and princess Tiffany. Ugh. What a disgusting, lickspittle, toadying and obsequious little puzzle.

I've never understood the American fascination with the British royalty. Didn't we fight a war so we don't have to recognize them?

And now we have wannabes entering the White House. Why do we have to have this crap in our puzzles?

Everybody's Token Black Friend 7:56 AM  

Couldn't help but wish there was some mention of Sir Loin of Beef.
With regard to contempt for royalty, my family has ascended, in astoundingly few generations, from forced servitude to a station of considerable wealth that made it possible for my father to rub elbows, without resting them on the table of course, with several members of the current British monarchy. We considered it an honor. Just saying...

r.alphbunker 8:05 AM  

Prince Charles probably does cryptic puzzles.

Getting PRINCE OF WALES made me look for CHARLES in the circles. This gave me the C of EARL OF CHESTER and the R of BARON OF RENFREW neither of which I have heard of.

I had DUKE OF NORMANDY for a while.

Details are here

Passing Shot (aka Duchess of Don't Care) 8:09 AM  

Did not enjoy this. SitSON for LIESON, KillER for KNIFER, OMarRA for OMEARA, didn't know the alternative single "L" spelling for ALECTO. Hated UEY, III, XSOUT, APERS. BLAH.

kitshef 8:12 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith. I recognize that your husband is an independently functioning human and that you cannot force him to do anything, but here are some things you can tell him to perhaps discourage him from throwing food out the window:
1) It attracts and feeds rats, which most people don't like, and mice, which are key in the life cycle and spread of Lyme disease and the ticks that carry it.
2) Hawks and owls, attracted by roadside rodents, get killed or maimed by the thousands when hit by cars.
3) If my memory from the '70s is correct, it makes American Indians cry.

NCA President 8:13 AM  

@Scary Fehl: Agree with you on all points, but mostly on the confusion about British royals. Apart from Diana, who appeared to be trying to do good in the world, the rest of these people are just figurehead leaders who've done nothing to deserve what they have except that they were born into the family. I guess that makes them curious oddities in the world, but not something to create a puzzle around. I don't know where CHESTER is and have never heard of RENFREW. I know Mel Renfro, though. I did happen to know that Charles has a thousand titles, but I don't know (or care) what they are.

Seems a puzzle theme like this should coincide with an event or season or some other context. Just a random shout out to Prince Charles at the end of 2016 seems really, really arbitrary, and, I believe, takes away from the enjoyment of the puzzle. Had this been around our Independence Day, or Guy Fawkes day, or even the signing of the Magna Carta day, maybe this would have made more sense and would have been at least apropos of something.

I liked the shout out to Modern Family, GLORIA and the entire cast is amazing. I had KNIvERS at first. III is bad, no matter how cleverly it's clued.

I know there are a few supporters of our king-elect here, so if you're one of them, Just. Stop. Reading. Now. But...

I'm not sure what WS's attraction to the King-elect's family is. Kinda creepy, if you ask me...unless Will is vying for the court jester position and like so many others, willing to set aside dignity for a chance to get in on the royal party. Shameful and pitiful.

chefbea 8:16 AM  

Dont understand the WOD??? I love broccoli rabe...it has nothing to do with Peter Rabe @rex. What is that all about????

Fun puzzle. Got charles right away

Teedmn 8:31 AM  

Tough enough for me even if the theme did not seem particularly Thursday-ish - too straightforward, circles notwithstanding. I think it played tough for me because it was too straightforward - I was waiting for the trick to arrive. That anticipation takes a bit of energy and even when the axe never falls, the FEARS have already sapped your brain.

My self-chosen titles, (me being an APER of BLACK HOREHOUND WITH SMALL CLUMSY FEET TO BEAT SOMEONE WITH, aka @LMS) would be:

Queen of parenthetical phrases

Long hair shedder extraordinaire (check your socks)

Lady in waiting for her old phone info to transfer to her new phone (on hold 2 hours
last night, never did get someone to answer) (hi @Diana, LIW)

Champion-of-the-world procrastinator

BARON OF RENFREW made me think of this product, yum.

Interesting puzzle, I'm with @Lewis on how it played. Thanks K[F]C!





Old Lady 8:33 AM  

I rather enjoyed this puzzle. To understand the role of the monarchy in Britain, watch The Crown. It serves a function, whether it's needed is another question. Prince Charles has been waiting so long for his turn that it's nice that he at least stars in this puzzle.

Nancy 8:49 AM  

Here's a RANT for you -- RANT being one of about 4 words in this puzzle that weren't pop culture-driven. There's "skewing young" and then there's skewing ridiculous. I felt as though every forgettable pop actor (how many of them are there here? Three? More?), modern text message, video game (that's what Space X and Minecraft are, aren't they?), computer command -- well, need I go on -- had been downloaded or uploaded or whatever it is into this puzzle. And with such all-consuming glee -- as though these bits of ephemeral trivia were the Most Important Things About the World That Anyone Could Possibly Know or Want to Know. Well, they're not, Mr. Choset, and I decided to stop early and not waste any more time. I only wish I'd stopped even earlier. OISK will hate this, I'm quite sure. DNF and DNC.

anne weaver 9:01 AM  

Others have said it more eloquently than I, but .... Will Shortz, stop the frigging references to the one who must not be named's progeny!!!!! #Can'tTakeItAnotherSecond
#PuzzlesNoFunAnymore
#LittleEscapePleasuresNoLongerWork
Sigh....

Nancy 9:05 AM  

Re: The Carrie/Debbie sad deaths. I wish I could put this in blue for you, but when I heard the news yesterday, I went to YouTube to see various interviews. This is the best and most interesting of them. I'll put the link up, but you'll probably do better just typing into YouTube: Carrie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds/Oprah Winfry.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzjgp2XebwE

NCA President 9:08 AM  

BTW, the key combination Command-Y on my Mac is for "Quick Look 'Keychain Access'" and in Chrome it takes me to search history. The official default key combination for REDO is Command-Shift-Z.



A Listener 9:14 AM  

@Nancy...Amen

Martín Abresch 9:24 AM  

I thought that the theme was fine, and the constructor was smart to make PRINCE OF WALES the final entry: that's the well-known title, and it acted as a revealer for me.

Those four theme answers are obviously difficult to construct around: two 13s and two 14s. Eek. I wonder if it would have worked better as a 14x16. The 14s turn into grid-spanners and are less awkward to deal with, plus there is an extra row to space out the theme answers.

Not much to add about the fill. Liked TEARDROP and BIKE PATH. Disliked most of the rest. That NW corner really gets try puzzle off to a weak start with ENGR, EPEES, and ECOL. ROSS SEA has joined ESSENES as one of my least favorite mid-length answers.

It's become a joke how The Donald slights TIFFANY at every turn. If he doesn't care about his own daughter, then why should we?

The best part of this puzzle was that it gave us @LMS's comment. Great stuff!

Z 9:47 AM  

DNF a BAr/ALECrO. Sigh.

@Nancy has a point on the PPP*, 27 of 76 for 36%. That's two consecutive days of PPP themes, but the first at least managed to keep the PPP count in the rest of the puzzle reasonable.
*PPP is Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. More than 33% invariably causes some group of solvers problems.

@chefbea - I assume the WOD is Rex being Rex.

Reading @LMS's FROYO musings makes me wonder if we have moved past the odd social mores we used to impose on ourselves. Seriously, what stops otherwise independent people from saying, "I'd rather not share today." I watch my son's interactions with his girlfriend and they don't seem burdened with the same need to decipher what the other really wants.

Isn't TIFFANY the forgotten Trump? Me, I'm mostly thoroughly amused that Bibi is in bed with American Neo-Nazis. The news reads more and more like a Kurt Vonnegut novel every day.

I know empirically that no more celebrities have died in 2016 than in any other year, but it has felt worse than normal all year long. Blackstar

Questinia 9:47 AM  

And I had, @Loren, "sits" on which led to Duke of Cornwalts and the rabbit hole of thinking it was a puzzle of meaningless puns having to do with peerage. Also @Loren I recommend a "bite-guard" regarding food. As developed by my husband, it's a system of placing your hands and fingers over the proposed food to be shared (works best with a hamburger or sandwich) which acts as a stopper for taking too large a bite. With a little practice a bite guard can be perfected and is a sign of indisputable boundaries without incurring indignation.

I need to learn my Furies.

John Child 9:52 AM  

Oh @Loren, it's always a pleasure to read your cheerful take on any puzzle. But I thought this was an utter waste of time. I look forward to the PPP analysis, since it appeared to be about 80%, none of it interesting to me.

Roo Monster 9:53 AM  

Hey All !
Wow. The fill. Ugh. UEY, III, AIX, FROYO, FWIW, XSOUT, even ADHD and FASO. Plus a TERI and a TORI. Theme ok... if we were in England. Otherwise, who cares? Throw this puz in the boot. (Which is British for car trunk.)

Needless to say, (isn't that a funny saying? Cause you're going to say it anyway...) I didn't like this puz. Especially on Thursday. I think Will might be on vacation, and someone else is flinging puzs in. IMHO FWIW. :-)

Writeovers, Triangle-TEARDROP, sItSON-LIESON (which got me thinking it would be a wacky play on the names, with PRINCEOFWALtS and DUKEOFCORNWALs), but ended up fixing that to the normal names.

Almost let out a CRY doing puz. RIP indeed. REDO!

RUE
RooMonster
DarrinV

Numinous 10:07 AM  

Welcome to gimmick Thursday. This was certainly a gimmick. Figuring out that CHARLES fits into all the little circles? That was the brain teaser aspect of this puzzle? Figuring out a rebus is one thing, looking back over a completed puzzle and saying er GOING, "Oh look Maud, CHARLES'S name is in this puzzle too!" I'll grant that it is picked out only in his titles but I doubt there is a puzzle anywhere where that name and a lot of others could be picked out in order. I expect I'm getting to where I do this puzzzle because y'all do it and I enjoy the company.

@Loren, I understand that thing about sharing food, especially when you have your moouth and stomach all set for a particular serving of something. They take a big bite and leave you with a "peck on the cheek" when you were expecting an "orgy". Do you think your partner of 30 years knows that pisses you off? Do you think he tossed your FROYO out the window to "twist the knife"? By now, you should know better. Buy two and give him one. I have that problem with Mrs Numi sometimes. I'm making a malt and ask if she wants one, she GOES, "No, I'll just have a bit of yours." I tell her, "You'll have one or none 'cause one ain't big enough for me!" Then I get one and a half, LOL.

I'm starting to wonder if WS is a closet Republican.

Andrew Goodridge 10:08 AM  

ALECTO was an ALEC-WOE for me. Looked just as good as ALECrO, which should have been sorted out with a fair cross. But! A BAr is a [Club] just as much as a BAT is a [Club].

Feels unfair to me. Not a traditional Natick, but close. I'm just whining because this caused a DNF, but ok entitled to one last whine for 2016.

Tim Pierce 10:09 AM  

@Nancy: SpaceX is not a video game. It's an aerospace company founded with the goals of making private space travel economically feasible and to permit the colonization of Mars (no, for real).

I'm getting old enough myself that some of the younger pop culture references are both perplexing and frustrating. (Miley Cyrus? Pitbull?) But I can't agree that a puzzle referencing _Beowulf,_ the _Aeneid,_ Nahum TATE, BOP jazz, Felipe ALOU, is disproportionately weighted toward youth culture. "Modern Family" and "The West Wing" may not be your personal cup of tea, but they are both very popular shows that premiered almost ten and twenty years ago respectively -- hardly fly-by-night fads. There's plenty here to chew on for both young and old.

thfenn 10:12 AM  

Well, can't say I really finished this one on my own, but with some cheating managed to wrap it up. Wish I felt like Lewis, as I normally would in this case, but not today.

Had SNARE before TABOR and had to fix it with TIFFANY which just annoyed me. Sort of for @NCA's reasons, but less passionately. I'm just tired of having no escape from all things Trump. Want to talk Patriots? It's about Brady and Belichick being Trump supporters. Want to see the Chinese Ballet at the Kennedy Center? It's the day of the inauguration protest. I can barely watch the news and listen to the radio anymore without getting annoyed, and I refuse to let my view of the world and information sources come from social media and outlets that just spout what I agree with so I'm basically just shutting down and closing off. And doing crosswords. Where, of course, I can't escape either.

On top of that, I have no real interest in the royal family, other than some affection for the late Princess Diana, so there was very little 'fun' in this one. Wish I thought being educated as to all of the titles Prince Charles has was interesting, but yeah, we fought a revolution to get away from that (despite having royal families of our own dominate our politics for much of the last 25 years or so). KFC and FWIW made me change NORMANDY to CORNWALL, and I just shrugged my shoulders.

SLOW before BLAH and RUNS before SAYS messed me up, and resolving them was uninteresting. Thought KNIFERS was pathetic fill. Didn't need RIOTERS or RAVERS. Plus I can't name the Furies.

Agree there's some elegance to having TEARDROP next to CRY. Enjoyed thinking (like @Martin) about the irony of the puzzles' subject having subjects rather than being a subject. Agree with @George on Carrie Fishers role in When Harry Met Sally. I've been to Burkina FASO, and love baseball, so the SE was fun (I never mind ALOU for fill). Even thought XSOUT was kind of neat. But nobody's offered a shoutout to my favorite answer, and that was TOBY. What a great great television show that was. Own every season, and have watched all more than a few times. Think of that episode in which Bartlett stamped out a cigarette in Washington National Cathedral every time I go there.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

Re: TIFFANY being the "forgotten" Trump. She's so forgotten that I actually didn't know she existed. No, I'm really not making that up, I swear. To @Martin A's related comment (9:24) -- I couldn't agree with you more, which is why I make no apology for this gaping gap in my knowledge of all things Trump.

mathgent 10:19 AM  

I liked the theme a lot and it gave me trouble. I needed the circled letters of CHARLES to get the C and H in the upper part of the grid.

Overall, I found it bright and perky and I wasn't overly-bothered by some of the suboptimal fill. B plus.

Churlish Nabob 10:21 AM  

Boring slog made even worse by the Trump reference, the laughable III, and the pathetic RAVER, APERS, KNIFERS, TABOR.

And isn't Drumpf's youngest named BARON? Good god Shortz, get off your moustachioed ass.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Peter Rabe had nothing to do with broccolirabe, which is a spinach-like Italian vegetable.

jberg 10:32 AM  

I seem to be alone in liking FROYO (as an answer, I'd never eat the stuff); a lot more contemporary than the House of Windsor. OTOH, I wouldn't call one of those things RAVERs go to a "concert."

After reading Rex, I had to look up Nahum TATE (better clued as 'it could be modern or British), to see if he really had lived that long ago (Rex was right, of course). Glad I did, since it led to the revelation that he was the son of someone named FAITHFUL TEATE.

To call ECOLogy the subject that studies climate change is a stretch.

@Nancy, I share your disdain for all those names -- but just for the record, SpaceX is a corporation, not a game -- it makes and operates spaceships, and is connected to CEO Elon Musk's plan to put a human being, preferably himself, on Mars.

Norm 10:37 AM  

Boring.

GILL I. 10:41 AM  

Yes..Britishy. I liked BBC going down the middle. I pretty much knew all the titles because my husband of 30 years (Hi @Loren) is a Liverpudlian and I don't share with him because he always says "No Thank You."
I noticed all the PPP's (Hi @Nancy) and thought GROAN. I managed to get them all without Google so that is a saving grace, I guess.
My biggest head scratch was the DUKE OF CORNWALL. I stared at it for aeons, and eons because I only know him as the WINDSOR guy. Will the queen every give up her throne? She'll live to be about 105 and CHARLES will probably pass on before she does. Hey, the boys do a lot of charity work...
@Rex...17th cenbtury literature...! I studied it for a TERM at university. We did a whole semester on Cervantes, Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina. I LOVED every minute of it. Are you getting into any of the Spaniards?
@jae. No canola please. Ina uses it because it helps emulsify the Dijon. Olive oil will do the same but you just have to whisk it longer.
Hi @Questina....missed you. Glad you're back. Are you on vacation?

Andrea Ojeda 10:49 AM  

Hahaha! Oh my, I just love this story so much. Us too: 24 married years and he is still clueless when it comes to reading my intentions. :-)

QuasiMojo 10:50 AM  

BLAH and FWIW annoying. I agree with @Nancy. Too much TV trivia and pop trivia. Some of this was balanced by high-minded high brow fill. But overall it seemed like a lot of trouble for very little pay off. Who cares about Prince Charles?

Anyone who names a child after a store needs to question his addiction to consumer culture. Only in America... I think. Has anyone named his child Van Cleef? Or Saks? Ridiculous.

I had to cheat on Teri Polo since I've never even heard of that movie let alone her (him?). I tend to avoid anything with Robert de Niro in it. Very overrated actor. (His father was a good painter however.) Did you know that Humphrey Bogart's mother was an artist too? Maud Humphrey. A well-known illustrator of her day.

I would have done much better today if I had not thought the clue about the Furies was a misdirect. I had Sidney there for far too long.




Isandxan 10:56 AM  

I have been reading Rex's blog and these posts for a couple of years now. I enjoy reading all of your comments, but this is the first time I have felt compelled to post. You know how sometimes a movie is just so bad that the reviewer can't actually trash it because, well, what's the point?

I finished this puzzle last night (left coaster) and thought to myself: this is the worst puzzle, with the worst fill, I have ever seen. I'm really starting to understand what Rex complains about. There was TONS of BATty stuff: ENGR, III (with a Back to the Future clue. Really?), AIX, TORI & TERI, SRI, UEY, ADHD, RPMS over KFC crossed by FWIW, etc. etc., etc., yada, yada, yada.... LALALA. I can't remember doing another puzzle - NYT or otherwise - with so many abbreviations, acronyms and general crud. All coupled with a theme that the large swath of the NYT audience does not care about, including at least two titles that probably no non-anglophile with a royalty fixation (or, maybe, an English history professor) has actually heard of or could suss out without a degree in crosswordese (ROSSSEA, anyone?). I couldn't wait to see how OFL tore this one up.

And then, not much venom this morning. Totally underwhelmed. I think the puzzle was just so obviously bad, even to a relative neophyte like me, that there's just not much more to be said.

Thank you all for my morning distractions, and for all of your interesting insights. I have learned quite a bit reading through the blog and the comments. Tip o' the hat and cheers to you all. And best wishes to all for a much better 2017 than, frankly, I am afraid we will get.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

@QuasiMojo - Thanks a lot. You inspired me to look up Maud Humphrey's artwork, and now my blood sugar has spiked.

AliasZ 11:10 AM  


Meh.

I thought we were done with royalty once and for all. Many patriots died in the Revolutionary War, and again in 1812, to keep us free from them. Theme OF AN ERA best forgotten.

This guy Mark O'MEARA,
The champ OF AN ERA,
Played the twin-reed OBOE
And the water POLO,
Licking on a FRO-YO
In Burkina FASO.
A sarcastic "Ah, so?"
The Fury ALECTO
Thought it was delecto...

But now it's time, I'LL GO.

PS.
An apologetic REDO
Never will readers be SOLD TO.

Tita A 11:14 AM  

In spite of @lms, I too am in the utter waste of time category. Am gobsmacked by America's obsession with British royals. Uh..yeah...that whole revolution thing...? Remember that?

@Quasi - one of the lovely check-out clerks at our local supermarket is named Camry. We can only wonder if the parents chose that because it was in a Camry that they...well, 'nuff said.

Food sharing? At the beginning of my meal, I will be the most generous person at the table- "would you like a taste? Here - try some of this... It's delicious - really- you must..."

but...

BUT...!

Woe to he who wants a taste near the end of the Beef Wellington with roasted Asparagus and Rosemary Potatoes or Camarão Mozambicana with Rice Pilaf (or even my Milky Way bar).
You see, I
1) leave the best morsels for last, and
b) have the proportions of each component precisely measured out.

Early on, it's easy to change my proportions. But near the end????? You're not only going to be taking the best morsel - the juiciest shrimp, the most perfectly glazed bit of beef, but you'll make it impossible for me to recover those proportions.
There must be this much potato on the fork with that bit of beef. (That's normal, right??)


Token Millennial 11:17 AM  

FROYO is indeed a thing people say. To me, it has a specific context: I buy frozen yogurt at the grocery store, I got frozen yogurt for dessert at Golden Corral as a kid, but I go to a FROYO shop like Pinkberry or Red Mango when I want a big selection and lots of toppings.

DNF for me with BAr/ALECrO too. Guess I need to sign up for Rex's class.

Apart from that natick, I found this puzzle easy but dreadful. Lots of awful fill, lots of crosswordese, but nothing unfamiliar or tricky. FROYO/FWIW/RANT/RAVER/KFC etc. were all things that dropped in without a thought and got me on firm footing in the south. The north was slower - had no idea there was a Trump named Tiffany and do not care - but Husband glanced over my shoulder and gave me ROSSSEA, ending any issues there.

Glad this one's over. My wish for the new year: fewer deaths and better crosswords.

Carola 11:23 AM  

Gosh, what a lame effort. And on a Thursday. After CHESTER, RENFREW, and CHAR, I wrote in DUKE OF CORNWALL and PRINCE OF WALES. About the rest....that line across the middle: UEY - RIAS - ORE... and then at the bottom that crowd of APERS and KNIFERS, including a RAVER and a RIOTER. Just BOP me on the head with a BAT and put me out of my misery.

Hartley70 11:25 AM  

The comments today have proven to be this puzzle's raison d'être. It had about as much charm as Prince Charles himself. It probably would have played better in Merry Olde England.

@ChefBea, I think OFL just felt like doing a riff on Peter RABE today. I myself would have gone for Albert Broccoli. I loved his Bond flicks.

On the other hand, @NCA President, you've been on fire lately, and again today I find that I want to give you much more than a single CLAP. I'm thinking a cheer might do the trick.

Now @Nancy, I expected your PPP RANT today, but it might be a good idea to keep your criticism cheerful for the time being. Get too cranky and we might be suggesting the rabies series for you too!

@LMS and @Teedmn. Your Royal Highnesses have the most amusing titles. I enjoyed each and every one. How does that hair end up in the sock, I'd like to know?

@LMS, @Numi has clearly perfected the art of predicting Mrs. Numi's bowl sharing tendencies, but rather than go for the expense of double orders every time, might I suggest the use of a low, deep and throaty growl when the occasion arises? It works around the dog bowl here. Ignore that, @Nancy.

@thfenn, No "West Wing" reruns for me until at least 2020. It would be just too painful.

QuasiMojo 11:25 AM  

@anonymous at 10:57 -- haha! Insulin, anyone? :)

QuasiMojo 11:28 AM  

@Tita 11:43 -- omg as they say. Pretty tight space! I can just imagine the steamed up windshield... :)

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:32 AM  

My dog Orion approves of people throwing uneaten icecream-like substances out the car window. I do not.

I thought it was Broccoli RAab. It is excellent.

ELATE as a transitive verb? Is that necessary?

I am not a robot 11:38 AM  

@jberg, Faithful Teate. Well my day is made! Hopefully, it will replace the dear departed Debbie Reynolds singing Good Morning, Good Morning that has been buzzing in my head all morning.

old timer 11:49 AM  

Lotsa PPP made it tough, but the crosses made it easy. I got the theme at DUKE OF CORNWALL and it made it easy to pick up the themers above it Except for BARON OF RENFREW, which is just Wrong. Barons in the English and Scottish peerage have no "of" in their title. The Prince is BARON RENFREW (Wikipedia uses the OF, but Wikipedia is mistaken there). Of course almost nobody actually uses the BARON title -- a commoner who is raised to the peerage is generally called "Lord" and not BARON though he is one.

The Duchy of Cornwall owns a lot of land in Devonshire and a good bit in Cornwall and other counties. The rents are substantial, and provide the Prince of Wales with his income.

Masked and Anonymous 11:59 AM  

har. Nice title bullets, @muse, @Teedmn.

Best gimme: TOBY Ziegler. Just completed a lengthy bingewatch of West Wing, recently.

fave weeject: III. Looked like the puz was sorta notchin up a count of how many Charles titles it had made us sit thru, so far. Agree with @Martin, that royal titles and "subject" don't mesh up real good.

@Questina: Don't try that protect part of the offered goody with hand strategy, if offerin anything to my bro-in-law Cletus. Apt to lose part of a finger.

fave ipso momentum of desperationum debut-meat: OFANERA. Sounds kinda royalist. Or TIFFANY Trumpish.

Thanx, Picker of the Choset.

Masked & Anonymo3Us
1. Champion of All Underdog Vowels.
2. High Dudeness of the Cinnamon Roll.
3. Purgemeister of Pewitry.


snot easy.
**gruntz**

Leapfinger 12:01 PM  

Apparently Prince Charles has about 16 official titles, so praise the Lord this didn't come up on a Sunday. Among the 'unofficial' titles are the Saskatchewan Cree Pisimwa Kamiwohkitahpamikohk, which translates to The Sun Looks at Him in a Good Way, and the Tanzanian Maasai Oloishiru Ingishi. In English, they make that The Helper of the Cows, but since it literally means "he whom the cows love so much they call for him when they are in times of distress", that alone is enough saving grace to make the puzzle a keeper.

I s'pose the theme would have more relevance for any Commonwealth solvers: I have memories of Princess Elizabeth's annual Christmas messages on the radio -- "I thank you, and my sister Margaret Rose thanks you", and my admiration for their coveys of Welsh Corgis. When I was in grade school, I sent a birthday card to Buckingham Palace (don't remember whether it was for Charles or Anne) and was thrilled to get a thank-you note on royal stationery from one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting. No doubt I still think highly of the Queen, who has pulled a load ever since her WWII efforts, but Charles has always seemed well, lacking by comparison.

I feel somewhat more charitable about the fill since realizing the problems that using 14-count entries introduces, but that I I I still gives me AIX in my brain. At least the grid didn't include TAMPON; that would've been pure ignominy, no matter how many titles the princely chappie sports.

@jae/GILL, thanks for the updates. I'll make sure to look for the jar, and hope I don't mistake ancho chiles for ancho vies.

Also glad to see @Questina, so I can get back to calling her @Questinea. Hope it doesn't et under her skin.

Almost 1215, time to check out the Magna Carta.

Jared 12:14 PM  

I'm with @rex on this one. I couldn't care less about Charles' titles and that part of the puzzle was a real drag.

Can we also talk about XSOUT? Why is something like that in there with a normal clue?

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

When the theme of a puzzle is all of the titles held by a British royal, it is going to be very tough to turn that into an interesting puzzle and Mr. Choset
was unable to do so. If you are going to have a revealer, at least try to make it something that the solvers will care about and this revealer is far from being interesting. You add to that the almost endless list of overused, trivial and uninteresting answers, afar, apers etc. and you get a unpleasant solving experience.


I would like to read what a group of psychoanalysts make of the U.S. and particularly the British fascination with the royal family. I consider it to be a parallel fascination to all things Kardashian. They don't do anything but, millions of people want to know what kind of pajamas they wore last night and so on. Then there is the 'question' of when Elizabeth will cede the throne to the Prince of Wales. I am holding my breath in anticipation of the day.

The Tiffany business just trots out the question again of how and why this country would vote in Trump. He has two daughters from two of his three wives. He talks about the elder one in a way that can be fairly described as creepy and preverted. How many fathers that you know talk about how they would date their daughters? Can you imagine any other President making a similar un-asked for comment? Can you imagine any other President bringing that same daughter to his first meeting with a head of state with an important ally like Japan?

I get that the history of American elections dictates that, after two terms, people are looking for something different. Yes, the Democrats should have come up with something better but, is a thin skinned, serial sexual assaulter with a narcissistic personality disorder the best the other party could do? Yikes! It should be giving us a message that it is getting harder and harder to attract good candidates for public office and we need to figure out why.

nick 12:25 PM  

Make me think about yet another Trump kid first thing in the morning AND write the word 'froyo' and no matter the rest of the puzzle, I'm out. Ugh.

Nancy 12:39 PM  

@Leapfinger (12:01) -- What a terrific comment! I laughed out loud at your first paragraph and I also learned something interesting as well. And then your last sentence was the icing on the cake.

Anon 12:21 -- I enjoyed your thoughtful and well-expressed comments today and think you have fully earned the right to give yourself a blog name.

Crane Poole 12:47 PM  

Not a loveless puzzle, but had qualms. You folks sure did. DNF @ TABOR/ALECTO/ROSSSEA. I never heard of TERI POLO. Clue for SOLDTO did not click for a lonnng time.

EARL OF CHESTER anagrams to 'carefree sloth', FWIW.

TORI Amos wrote and recorded 'The Doughnut Song'. I wonder if she knows the connection. I'd include a clickable link to the video if I knew how. I assume this will be unlinked and can be copied and pasted if so curious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRde5VTQ9yE

Pete 1:31 PM  

Ah, an enumeration of some of the unearned benefits accrued to a specific member of the 'lucky sperm club" as a theme. What could be better?

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

I did not like the cross of. 'Alecto' and 'Tabor'. To me both these answers required esoteric knowledge.

Phil Calbi

Gregory Nuttle 1:33 PM  

It's already been mentioned a couple of times, but I just can't move on with my day without adding my wtf to the conversation on the Peter Rabe/broccoli rabe issue.

Anoa Bob 1:39 PM  

People who are stranded at sea can obtain enough protein and fat to survive indefinitely. Plankton, a good source of protein, can be strained from the water with a simple piece of cloth. Other marine life can be caught. Birds that land on one's lifeboat, raft, or whatever, are strangely unafraid of humans and can be caught easily. But the reason that people who are stranded for very long periods at sea starve to death is because of a lack of carbohydrates. They die because of a NO CARB (2D) diet!

So If you are anyone you know is considering a NO CARB diet (or any other extreme diet for that matter), don't do it. The AFTER EFFECTS, especially in the long run, can only be harmful. SOO, eat your broccoli RABE, and TONS of other vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries and seeds.

Oh, the puzzle? EPEES (again!?), ENGR, ECOL & SRI out of the starting gate? Time to do a UEY and move on to something else.

Masked and Additionally 1:53 PM  

p.s.
Occurs to m&e that many NYTPuz solvers mighta been slightly bummed out, cuz instead of the usual tricky ThursPuz wordplay themer gimmick, they got Prince Charles in the circles fare. A select few mighta even felt royally screwed (yo, @RP). har

M&A prefers the cinnamon-roll-is-half-uneaten approach. This was different, for a ThursPuz. Different is stimulatin to the animal brain side of things. Keeps us on our haunches. Keeps our knuckles from draggin on the ground. Keeps us from sheddin on our socks (?). Soo ... thUmbsUp, Sir Choset of Kevingrid. Next time maybe keep the other side of the kingdom happy, and rustle up a Queen Elizabeth rebus or somesuch, tho.

@Questinia darlin: sorry, M&A somehow inadvertantly managed to punch out one of yer I's, in prev. post. If U are back to bein a regular, I'll just go back to callin U @Q. And don't fret about Cletus; he means no harm. Better to just set a small portion of yer treat on the pickup dash for him, tho (still assummin @muse's roadtrip scenario).

M&Also
4. Earl of Harster.
5. Baron of Runtfew.
6. Duke of Cornball. [In an often unintentional way]
7. Prince of Weejects.

JC66 2:39 PM  

@Tita

Your point B "have the proportions of each component precisely measured out" reminds me fondly of my late mother, who at the end of a meal, after almost finishing, would have to cut another thin slice of cake in order to "come out even" and then have to pour a little more coffee to accomplish the same. The cycle could go on for some time.

Gregory Schmidt 2:42 PM  

The use of UEY should be automatic disqualification, IMO.

evil doug 3:04 PM  

Ah, Tiffany! The power you hold in your very name, Tiff. Grown men weep and gnash their teeth, Tiffany. Women snarl in angst over the simple printing of your name in a crossword:T-I-F-F-A-N-Y. Do you even know of this latent force you hold in your seven simple letters, Tiff, darling? Be gentle with the sorrowful solvers, dear--they may have to live under your spell for quite some time....

foxaroni 3:19 PM  

My wife (reader of the NYT Food section) said "Everyone knows what broccoli Rabe is." Me: "I've never heard of it." She: " That's because you don't read the Food section." Me: ?????

As I recall (a troubled premise right off the BAT), frozen yogurt was first called FROGURT. I always thought of it as being pronounced FROG-urt. Very off-putting. Glad it's now called simply frozen yogurt.

From Wikipedia: Frozen yogurt (also spelled frozen yoghurt; also known as frogurt or by the tradename Froyo ) is a frozen dessert made with yogurt and sometimes other dairy products.

Pretty boring puzzle. KNIFERS is ridiculous.

@LMS and @M&Also (1:53 p.m.) Funniest posts of the year. M&A, loved #4, 6 and 7.

Happy New Year! (Oh, please.......)

Jason Ball 3:22 PM  

Ugh. Obscure proper names, obscure French words, abbreviations that aren't abbreviations, and KNIFERS? Really? I guess I'll learn all of these oft-used fills eventually but I've only been doing this about 6 months...

But the worst was CTRL+Y. I have been an IT guy for 19 years and never have I seen anyone use CTRL+Y. You use CTRL+Z for REDO because it's right next to CTRL+X, CTRL+C, and CTRL+V. Fail, fail, fail.

Kathy D. 3:41 PM  

Boring, boring, boring. I don't care about the topic. Would rather have a puzzle focused on yogurt or brands of pianos.

dick swart 3:55 PM  

... and I thought it was Ray Charles ...

David from CA 4:21 PM  

Theme A: 4 people's names linked by having something to do with wood working somewhere in them
Theme B: 4 British titles linked by being held by the same person

Reread the "theme" parts of today's and yesterday's "reviews" and tell me with a straight face that Rex isn't biased by the devisor.

Thought today's theme far superior than yesterday's by any rational measure, unless you consider "performer names I know" constitutes a good theme.

As far as the puzzle as a whole though, bleah! for all the other reasons given above.

Teedmn 4:35 PM  

"Those handing over all of their money when accosted by KNIFERS" = FORKERS

Z 4:42 PM  

@Evil Doug - I'm reminded of the anonymouse who would show up and kvetch every time Obama appeared in the puzzle. Of course, with Obama a constuctor/editor has limited cluing options, with the Dysfunctional-elect and families there are mostly lots of options. I've always thought the likelihood to be less than 1%, but I still won't be shocked if something happens and he doesn't take office.

@Crane Poole - Tori Amos' Doughnut Song

@Nancy - Oprah interviews Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

I was going to link to Rex's FAQ page, where he used to have a mostly comprehensible link on how to add a link. He's updated the link to a help page that is no help at all. Here's the formula, just remember to change any { to a < and any } to a >. The stuff in italics you will replace.

{a href="url you are linking to"}text you want to appear in blue{/a}

Malsdemare 4:47 PM  

I hated that I knew TIFFANY, but for such a sad reason; her father sort of dismissed her in a comment about his children. He praised his older sons and Ivanka, skipped Baron entirely (but of course there's the shout-out to the kid in his famous answer about cyber security) and then did said something like, "Oh, and Tiffany has potential."

@QuasiMojo, the parents of a friend of mine named their sons Winston and Salem for . . . Yup, the cigarette the mom smoked. Otherwise, perfectly nice people. My husband's cousin named his daughter Sandy; last name was Klaus. So he-who-shall-not-be-named isn't alone in playing a little fast and loose with the appellations the kids get saddled with.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I figured out Charles' titles pretty quickly, but not due to any royal infatuation; just knew 'em, lord knows why. I, too, cringed at some of the fill. I've enjoyed other Thursday's more. But I adored the reference to West Wing. I too have binge-watched but not now; I agree, too painful. It was tough enough reading about the fall of the Roman Republic in the Cicero trilogy that I read because someone on this blog recommended it. Thanks to whoever you are; it was riveting!

Is it possible that our election-inspired malaise is tainting our ability to appreciate our usual small joys? I know life's dragging me down right now. I think I'll go build a fire and curl up with a book, Faludi's "In the Darkroom." Definitely a departure from fallen republics and grim elections.

evil doug 4:59 PM  

Let me ask you this, Z: If you lose your bet, is Trump your president, or not? For the record: My president is Obama, and has been since 2008.

Roo Monster 5:05 PM  

Hey @Z, does the "url you are linking to" need the -http://www - part, or just something like frozenyogurt.comm?

And we all need to enjoy 2017 ravinously, in case Trump sets about a Nuclear War.

RooMonster

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

All this talk about normalizing Trump plays into his hands. Go ahead stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la. He will be President on Jan. 20th and to object to a timely clue for "Tiffany" or whining about the popular vote serves to hurt your cause, I.e., winning in 2018 and especially 2020. It might make you feel better in the short term, but to paraphrase President Obama, "you lost deal with it."

John Child 5:20 PM  

@teedmn, I could hardly breathe after reading your comment about FORKERS. @Malsde: TIFFANY's little brother is Barron, not Baron, poor fellow. Wanna bet we see him in a puz within the next few months?

@Crane Poole: I too love anagrams.

Your Obd't Servant,
The Earl of Duke.

Anonymous 5:37 PM  

Obama was inaugurated in 2009. W was our president in 2008. Miss that guy.

QuasiMojo 5:41 PM  

@Malsdemare -- I once knew someone named Pete Moss.

GILL I. 5:54 PM  

Named after Barron Hilton...!?

Z 5:58 PM  

@Evil Doug - I'm not the possessive type, but Trump will be the duly elected President of the United States. Obama isn't "my" president either, he is "the" president. Why not "my?" Because our system was designed on a well-founded disdain for any individual wielding too much power. The "my" construct implies too much of a "loyalist" mentality, which strikes me as downright unAmerican. I have a t-shirt that says "Dissent is Patriotic." I've been wearing it while Barry has served, I will wear it while Donny serves.

johnnymcguirk 6:04 PM  

Seems like he was referring to the "not my president," crowd which, apparently, you're not among. Not sure why that was lost on you.

Z 6:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 6:24 PM  

@Roo - I have always included the entire URL copied from the address bar. Blogger is really old in Tech years and Google does nothing to update it, so I assume it is too stupid to recognize an URL sans the "http://www". Also, Not every URL uses "www" anymore, sometimes a site is an "https" site, and sometimes the url might be a shortened variety. As a result I always copy and paste. The biggest problems I see when I link are forgetting to put the URL in quotes and forgetting the "/" in the "close tag" at the end. Bold and Italics text use the same "tag" idea. So (again - replace the { with a < and a } with a >) {b}bold text{/b} will result in bold text and {i}italics{/i} results in italics. Finally, the "preview" function is now wonky, so I now copy all, hit preview to make sure it looks right, then hit the back arrow on my browser and paste what I wrote back in the box before publishing. You used to be able to hit preview, fix anything that needed fixing, then hit publish. Not anymore.

@johnnymcgurk - I know exactly what @Evil Doug was asking.

@email followers - sorry for the spam. I'll stop now.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

@Z. If you know "exactly" what he was asking, then you must be the same person. So you have been arguing with yourself for our amusement. Awesome. Thank you. For the record I am not Evil Doug/Z, that would be a little over the top.

beatrice 6:43 PM  

@Nancy - my post the other night wouldn't go through - but please add me to the list of those ELATEd that you are okay, and on the mend - and didn't lose your sense of humor in the process (thanks @GB!). @Tita - I think you've got me beat, but not by much.

Re: puzzle 'honoree' -someone mentioned that 'the boys' do charitable work - a Brit could better speak to this than I, but I understand that the PRINCE himself has long been involved with a number of charities - largely in Britain, but also concerning global ECOLogical/environmental issues. There is in fact a web-site enumerating them. He is a rather talented artist, as well. (Brought to me by PBS).

@MartinA (9:24) - it seems to me that the very things that truly matter and are worth caring about in this world are precisely the things which DJ has no use for and no appreciation of whatsoever - so the fact that he doesn't care about a person (or thing) is perhaps a strong indicator that the person or thing IS worth caring about. Just a thought.

Today's blog comments are so much better than today's puzzle - something that seems to be happening with ever greater frequency.

Re: WS may be angling for a job with DJ @(sorry can't recall who) - interesting - you perhaps know that WS crafted a BA degree for himself in 'enigmatology'. Both men seem to like keeping others off-balance, and delivering a good poke in the eye... WS to critics of his puzzles, DJ to.. critics. For some reason certain words of Churchill are coming to mind... alas.

Continuing with the theme of Fusty ol' England - Thomas Weelkes ((1576-1623) wrote a jolly madrigal featuring a TABOR and pipe - which wasn't just about music, if you know what I mean. Though I haven't figured out what the TABOR doubles for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD_Ip-JfqOM

An apparently troubled soul, he wrote a madrigal with FaLALAs rather more melancholy than care-free.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1DhKur1s-g

But he also wrote one of the loveliest of English madrigals, with its own, somewhat less burdened, faLALAs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cD0X5-GE5s

And here's his 'GLORIA in excelsis Deo', while it's still the season.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h16BWdSfwPk



Anonymous 6:44 PM  

Let's start referring to our president (gulp) elect as Voldemort in this blog

evil doug 6:46 PM  

Z: If I lived in Canada, Obama/Trump would be the president.

I'm a citizen of the USA. They're MY president.

Dissent - - LOYAL dissent - -is indeed a good thing.

David from CA 7:00 PM  

@Jason Ball - I'm afraid that in spite of your 19 years IT experience you are mistaken. CTRL-Z is UNDO, NOT REDO. I use it all the time in multiple applications - admittedly almost all from Mr Gates, so I don't know how universal this is. When I want to repeat the previous command, or to UNDO an UNDO (i.e. REDO it) I use CTRL-Y.

If you send me your address I'll send you my consulting bill :)

old timer 7:06 PM  

I did not vote for Trump but I like his attitude. We are at least in for interesting times. And I hope to like him better than the last Republican we had. Nice, honorable man who pretty much ruined our economy. Trump is not nice and not honorable, but I can hope that in spite of his rhetoric he will often do the sensible thing. He certainly put it to his buddy Putin the other day. (If you suppose I think highly of Obama, I do, though I regret not hearing him speak as eloquently when he was President as when he was a candidate).

To get back to the puzzle, I think of TABOR as a mainstream word, Wednesday-level, but I know my history and my music. TIFFANY has long been a common girl's name, I assume because of the famous jeweler. I think it is good to be reminded of Trump's almost-forgotten daughter.

Nancy 7:52 PM  

Thanks, @Beatrice, for your kind wishes and flattering remarks. I enjoyed your entire post a lot and agree that the blog today was infinitely better than the puzzle. Of course it was a very low bar, but still -- the blog today has been really colorful. Charles may be a complete stick (a term I think they use in the UK) but it turns out that he generates terrific copy!

John Child 8:31 PM  

@old timer: since you say that DJT is "not nice and not honorable" and since to appear to deplore his "rhetoric," what possible grounds could you have for"lik[ing] his attitude" or hoping that "he will often do the sensible thing"?

Since I deplore political discussion in this forum I would have preffered to ask this question "offline," but you don't have a live Google or Blogger ID (the blue link that many commenters use as their identity). If you click on my name you will find my email addrsss and can reply directly without annoying others on the blog. Thanks.

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

Ok, so when Obama was elected, Mitch McConnell promptly announced that the goal of Republicans was to prevent him from accomplishing/doing anything. Is that loyal dissent and would it be OK if the Democrats made a similar pronouncement?

wgh 9:39 PM  

This was a big ugh for me.

Robert Landman 9:56 PM  

knifers? how could you not lay into that one...

Anonymous 10:09 PM  

I miss the couple of trillion dollars and the many soldiers injured and killed from the moronic invasion of Iraq as recommended by one the most evil people in American history- Dick Chaney.

Unknown 11:23 PM  

Agree !

Unknown 11:25 PM  

Nothing wrong with the subject of this puzzle. You are right. Why not something about the Monarchy? Why is Rex in a snit about this!

Anonymous 11:44 PM  

@QuasiMojo Tiffany, Van Cleef and Saks are all names of people before they were names of stores. Nothing wrong with naming a child after another person. Mr Tiffany did wonderful work in his time.

General comment: I find it amusing when people say that the revolution was to escape monarchy given so many wanted to make Washington the first king. They objected to the way they were being governed, not the monarchy itself. Many also objected to the fact that as British citizens they could not buy titles in spite of their wealth or land holdings in America unless they went back to good ole England. That is not exactly repudiation of aristocracy.

A significant part of the US population likes admiring elites be they movies stars, wealthy or aristocratic. One only needs to look at the number of followers of such people in social media or the continued sales of magazines that cater to such people.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

@Z 6:24 PM

Good explanation.

stix 12:17 PM  

Just to be clear, TABLA does refer to a pair of drums, i.e., tabla drums. But it also is the name of the smaller of the two drums in the pair. The larger is the bayan and the smaller is the dayan, or tabla. So, it can be plural or singular.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Just testing to see if I have the hyperlink instructions correct. Carla Thomas

+wordphan 1:23 AM  

Late. Need to start earlier. PBS for BBC.
How we roll in Macon, GA!

spacecraft 11:01 AM  

DNBTF. Couldn't get anything going up top, so I started from the bottom up. My first entry was KFC. Well, okay...crossed by FWIW. What, is the whole puzzle gonna be like this? Could we have, maybe--an actual WORD? Um, that would be a no. III, AIX to (OMG!) XSOUT, are you serious? OFANERA??? I remember Mark OMEARA, he's a champion OFANERA long gone by. This is so bad it's starting to get funny. But then, trying to break into the north with RUE and reading "180," I thought, no. You're not gonna shove UEY down my throat on top of everything. No, just forget it. I have better things to do with my time. Score? WD.

Just in case a reader might not know, the preceding paragraph began with Did Not Bother to Finish, and ended with Withdrew.

Burma Shave 12:41 PM  

CRY HIS POLO TEARDROP

The PRINCEOFWALES OWES TONS of money,
yet CHARLES SAYS he’s EARNED a pound or two,
HIS payback TERMs he PLANs are funny,
he FEARS he’ll pay the BARONOFRENFREW.

--- TOBY TORI TABOR-TATE, III

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

Not easy. A pisser infestation of the worst sort. Very much an irritant. Rejected for fwiw alone.

Diana,LIW 1:34 PM  

A trivia fest (36% per Z) with four long "guess what I am" answers.

The comments today made the work worthwhile - more fun than the puzzle. @Spacey - knowing your love for non-words, I could predict your hilarious remarks today. UEY! I always say "Watch out for those KNIFERS," you never know when they'll show up.

Got the lower half, but had to look a couple proper names to get the rest. The theme, when I had it, did help then.

Learned Control Y. Gotta try it.

How did Saint Lewis manage to still write a happy comment?

@BS - is the date the ninth of Feb?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

BS2 2:31 PM  

@Diana, LIW - Feb 8 will be the completion of 2 years; 731 consecutive days (leap year incl.) of at least one verse per day. About 780 in all, including numerous doubles and a few triples.

Feb 9 will be the Second Anniversary of the first verse, therefore Feb 9 will be day 1 of year 3.

Still have not been approached re: book rights.

leftcoastTAM 2:44 PM  

Foiled by FROYO, leading to a small swirl of errors in the middle of the puzzle. Wanting either HBO or PBS instead of BBC for "Sherlock" airer helped matters not at all.

BLAH on learning of Prince Charles' surfeit of titles.

rondo 3:25 PM  

Didn’t know CHARLES held so many titles, maybe he should give back a few.
Two big guesses got me to the end of this puz. Had it all filled except for 6d: _LEC_O. Sorry, don’t know my Furies. For the second blank there, a club could be a BAR or a BAT . _LECrO looked and felt too much like Velcro, so I opted for the T. So now I’m at _LECTO crossing T_BOR so it’s gotta be a vowel, or sometimes Y. ELECTO looks wrong, esp. since Nov., TIBOR sounds like an Asian country or something, TOBOR/OLECTO both are “off”, ULECTO, nah, TUBOR? A G short of a nice Gold beer. Y? not likely. So the guess of A for TABOR/ALECTO. No happy pencil in the print version, so I came here to verify. Another non-w/o day.

Can’t go wrong with future Focker and one-time Playboy model yeah baby TERI POLO. I’LLGO on record for that.

FWIW, this puz had deficiencies, but it wasn’t going to solve ITSELF. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

rain forest 3:52 PM  

Canadian here, but I don't much care for the Royals, except for QEII (William and Kate are growing on me though). Anyway, to the puzzle.

I only knew two of the titles, all the while confused as to how a guy can be a Baron, an Earl, a Duke and a Prince all at once. How come no Marquis? Anyway, pretty versatile. Laughed at the mention of Tampon by someone above.

Had to get Prince of Wales in order to "see" CHARLES which enabled me to get the other themers. I can take APERS, RAVER, and even KNIFER, but ALECTO - WHO? Made me furious. However I did finish this challenging-to-me puzzle. Nice feeling of accomplishment.

People were talking "dissent" up there. They ain't seen nothin' yet. Also the Brits will debate, in the House of Commons, whether they'll allow Trump to come within a furlong of the Queen. Might cause a TIFF, although it'll take The Orange One's mind off invading Mexico and yelling at the Australian Prime Minister. Seriously, the man is crazy. America, you're on notice.

Longbeachlee 4:29 PM  

God forbid a woman should state her intentions

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