Flower named for Swedish botanist / SUN 2-26-17 / One-named singer once married to Xavier Cugat / French region around Strasbourg / Christian school in Okla / Potent sushi bar cocktail / Rapper with most-viewed YouTube video of all time / Stop insisting Ra doesn't exist

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Constructor: Josh Knapp

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Mixed Feelings" — wacky theme answers created by anagramming (or "mixing") a "feeling" in a familiar phrase:

Theme answers:
  • TINY AXE ATTACK (25A: Assault involve a hatchet?)
  • STRUT-WORTHY (23A: Fashionable enough for a runway model?)
  • CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM (44A: "Stop insisting Ra doesn't exist!"?)
  • TALES OF OWE (64A: Stories from bankruptcy court?)
  • HAVE NO FARE (68A: Be too broke to take the bus?)
  • MY SIRE LOVES COMPANY (82A: "The king really wants to be around people right now"?)
  • UPRISERS' PARTY (109A: Celebration after a coup?)
  • DOWNER WOMAN (112A: Negative Nancy?)
Word of the Day: ALEATORY (6D: Dependent on chance) —
adjective: aleatory; adjective: aleatoric
  1. depending on the throw of a dice or on chance; random.
    • relating to or denoting music or other forms of art involving elements of random choice (sometimes using statistical or computer techniques) during their composition, production, or performance. (google)
• • •

As cornball themes go, this is fine. TALES OF OWE is godawful, and HAVEN OF ARE is not much better (please don't correct me and tell me it's HAVE NO FARE ... my brain has tried to parse it that way and just keeps giving up). But then CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM is so godawful that it's actually kind of impressive. If you're gonna be godawful, be Epically godawful. The rest of the theme answers are good enough, but the clue writing is really tepid. Funny / adventuresome clues are kind of important in wacko themes, and these clues are awfully, painfully literal most of the time. There were some enjoyable non-theme answers today, most notably MOM JEANS, SAKE BOMB, and WAIT FOR IT ... (that last one strikes me as the most inventive ... though you never know about "invention" these days, what with word lists being sold for hundreds of dollars to constructors too lazy to build their own—to be clear, I don't think *today*'s constructor is lazy; he's a competent, reliable regular. But the mediocre constructor buying a word list in hopes of getting "better" is *definitely* a thing).

This played a notch harder than normal, largely because of the nature of the theme (who knows what "feeling" is going to be "mixed," and in what way?), but also (for me) because of clues I just couldn't grasp easily. You fire a MORTAR straight into the air? 90 degrees? Doesn't it ... come back ... to earth ... presumably on top of you? (1D: Weapon usually fired between a 45˚ and 90˚ angle) (As with AIRSOFT yesterday, I don't know from weaponry. My stupidest mistake today was reflexively writing in ASHE at 4D: With 41-Down, first tennis player to win two Olympic singles gold medals. Tennis, starts "A," four letters—good luck stopping my fingers from typing ASHE. Wanted VALE to be DALE (after I wanted it to be GLEN), and didn't know it was particularly "poetic" (18A: Land between hills, poetically). Forgot who Edmund BURKE was (10D: Philosopher who said "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion") and totally forgot what WOOLITE was (24D: Detergent brand with fabric in its name). Not a huge fan of RISES being in same grid as UPRISERS, and even less a fan of SERIF being not only in same grid as, but practically right next to, SHERIF. Blargh. But overall, this was OK. Occasionally, if infrequently, enjoyable.

If you have 38 minutes lying around today, please consider checking out the latest episode of "On the Grid," my crossword podcast (with my friend Lena Webb). Episode 002 deals with SLOE gin fizzes and EELS ... among other things. Get it here (and find it on iTunes).

 [I concur with this analysis]

See you tomorrow,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:04 AM  

Pretty tough Sun. puzzle for me too, (a) because it took me a while to see what was going on and (b) well, it was just a tad tough...ALEATORY was a WOE, I had to solve 41a and 73a to get ANDY at 4d, there was a fair amount of PPP stuff...tough.

The anagrams were mostly amusing, the grid was smooth, liked it a lot. Seems like we've had four winners in a row.

Moly Shu 12:12 AM  

That freaking SW corner. Had mammALS and rOILS, couldn't get anything else to fit. Finally took them out and tried IMGAME and finally finished. That corner easily took me 20 minutes. Just could not get it. Anagrams=meh. But the rest of it I liked.

Moly Shu 12:16 AM  

Oh yea. pcl first as it's a league, AAA not so much.

George Barany 12:18 AM  

Thanks, @Josh Knapp, for a fun puzzle, and @Rex for the review and perspective.

Tennis, anyone? I had GRAF, STEFFI ahead of ANDY, MURRAY. One F SHERIF based on the crossings, and "reveal" needed to get ALEATORY. HORNET and RESTS seemed plausible enough, and made it hard to find COMMIT. Considered TOP DOG ahead of BIG WIG, but then OLD DOG came along. SUCH is life!

Robin 12:46 AM  

Overall this played slightly tougher than an average Sunday for me. A couple minutes over my average time. Maybe I shouldn't complain after there having been a couple dead easy ones in recent months on which I set records for Sunday finishing time.

The CURB_YOU_SUN_ATHEISM made me laugh, so I liked that one more than Rex. But I'm still not sure what TINY_AXE_ATTACK and HAVE_NO_FARE are mix-ups of.

Have to agree with those who complained about the AAA clueing. That one p*ssed me off.

chefwen 12:49 AM  

Like @George B. said, fun puzzle that was challenging at times. Got it at STRUT WORTHY. That was before my neighbor stopped for a visit and we split a bottle of Rombauer, solve after that got a wee bit crunchy. Can't wait to see how dinner turns out.

CHARO 42D still has has a restaurant, just north of us in Ha'ena, but it is now just open for private events. We all love our Cuchi Cuchi girl.

Trombone Tom 1:20 AM  

Our miniature poodle had been named CHARO by the previous owner, but we renamed her Carla to our family's delight. No Cuchi Cuchi!

I felt it was not quite as challenging as some have found, but nevertheless a good workout. I was held up by a couple of miscues in the SW. rOILS before SOILS and he-man before MANLY.

The themes were cleverly done and some of the post-anagram names were not immediately obvious. I especially liked TINY AXE (ANXIETY) ATTACK.

aaron 1:26 AM  

CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM is beautiful and perfect

Trombone Tom 1:26 AM  

Oh, and I wonder how many will follow Rex's picture and read the Story of O. That should raise a few eye brows and maybe elicit a comment or two.

Anonymous 1:52 AM  

I need help. How does HAVENO un-anagram to a feeling?

Jeremy Varo-Haub 1:55 AM  


John Child 2:21 AM  

Nice low,word-count puzzle (136) with nothing worse than UNMOORED and the occasional ORU or ATS. I like the anagrams to make near puns rather than just puns. A tad under normal time here.

SHaRIF more common in print that SHERIF since the early 1980s according to Google. Rock the Casbah (1982) anyone?

Is a DOWNER a feeling? Close enough to make me hmmm. But then I hmmm at all sorts of things...

Merriam Webster: "If you're the gambling type, then chances are good you've come across aleatory in your travels. Deriving from the Latin noun alea, which refers to a kind of dice game, aleatory was first used in English in the late 17th century to describe things that are dependent on uncertain odds, much like a roll of the dice. The term now describes things that occur by sheer chance or accident, such as the unlucky bounce of a golf shot or the unusual shape of an ink blot. Going a bit further, the term aleatory music, or chance music, describes a musical composition in which certain parts are left for the performer to concoct through improvisation."

Hartley70 2:35 AM  

This was much harder than your average Sunday and therefore much more fun! I really liked this one and I thought the themers were terrific. I didn't look back and figure out the anagrams until I was nearly done, so the aha moment was enhanced by my anticipation just like the old ketchup ad sung by Carole King. I can't pick a favorite, but the TINYAXE does tickle the macabre. It's such a delight to find a Sunday that doesn't turn into a slog before you're done. Kudos to Josh Knapp!

NOODGE has a U in my world (sorry M&A), but @Lewis prevails with the double letters. Those double O's slowed me up and made this my last entry.

@Nancy will love her unscrambled shout out today, I imagine.

WAITFORIT felt so right that it couldn't be wrong.

OPERA as a Grammy category doesn't get much press or any wacky acceptance antics, but as an entry it was perfect after the TOSCA debacle @Acme and I confessed to this week. Tosca can use whatever restroom she likes as far as I'm concerned.

If I consider Sunday as the end of the week, puzzle-wise, this has been a week to remember and I will.

CDilly52 2:45 AM  

Thanks @Rex. Fun write up. The "extras" are one of my favorite elements of the blog and today's ("Space is the Place") is a great example. Always something interesting. As for the puzzle, harder than normal for me because of all my miscues, starting with ASHE for ANDY and PCL (shout-out to my OKC Dodgers) for AAA. Sad baseball gaffe when spring training games just got started on Friday. Very grisly workout for me. Hope my beloved Cubs are working just as hard but with more success!

Larry Gilstrap 2:57 AM  

That was a good Sunday puzzle, way below tedious and sporting a clever theme. Come on, man! I'm no constructor and certainly no fan of anagrams, but this scratched my itch. Constructors use word lists? Whatever, TINY AXE becomes anxiety? My mind couldn't make that happen in a trillion years. Automation takes over manufacturing, this is something new?

When I first met my wife, her friends warned her that I was EARTHY.

The first time I ever saw TIM Curry was in 1978 on the BBC series Will Shakespeare and he was terrific. The guy has had a prolific career, understatement. Talent will out.

Ever been to the North Shore of Kauai? Certainly, one of the most beautiful spots in these United States. CHARO had a restaurant near the end of the road, back in the day. I admired her for investing in a resort way off the beaten path. Then Hurricane Iniki hit and the path became even less beaten. Let's not lose our aloha.

puzzlehoarder 3:02 AM  

Another punday Sunday out of the way.

Alan_S. 3:48 AM  

Perfect title for this. Liked anxiety, enthusiasm, misery and trust; the law firm of mixed feelings.
Found this one easier than most and enjoyed it way more than Rex did. What else is new?

Robin 3:52 AM  

Thx, Jeremy Varo-Haub. That anagram seems obvious enough, in retrospect.

Anonymous 4:13 AM  

Pet peeve of the day: Octopi is not a word. The correct plural form of octopus is octopodes. I feel like William Safire should have a word or two with Will Shortz.

evil doug 5:04 AM  

Maybe not as entertaining as a 90 degree mortar shot, but the best real mortar video ever:


'mericans in Paris 5:34 AM  

Oh, MAMA, we really liked this one. Clever theme, well executed, and with lots of crunchy words and minimal dreck. And the PPP count was low, the names rarely obscure (at least for us old farts), and could be solved from the crosses. So, hats off to Josh Knapp for a nice, clean puzzle.

Mrs. 'mericans -- who just learned yesterday that she finally has French citizenship (and, no, she doesn't have to give up her U.S. passport) -- knew ALEATORY, which is used more commonly in French (as ALÉATOiRe), so that one didn't tie us up, nor did ALSACE for obvious reasons. But like others we did have to go back and change Arthur Ashe to ANDY MURRAY.

I agree totally with @aaron: CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM is beautiful and perfect. Don't ask me why, but its gentle HUMOR and cleverness tickles me to no end. And to take anxiety attack and turn it into TINY AXE ATTACK. Just brilliant. Here are some lame attempts of my own:

CLAM BEFORE THE STORM ("Last bivalve harvest of the day?")
HEART'S RE-SIDE ("Partial coronary bypass surgery?")
PROFILES IN OUR CAGE ("Hamster autobiography?")

And, WAIT FOR IT ...

IN A THIN TRUMP MOOD ("Melania's daydream?")

In answer to @Larry Gilstrap, "Ever been to the North Shore of Kauai?" Indeed, many times. (Hey, @chefwen!) Hanalei beach is one of my favorite places in the world.

Hilarious observation by @Rex regarding MORTAR trajectories. Presumably one shoots at 90 degrees if there is a strong wind aloft, one is protected, and the enemy is fairly close.

Anonymous 6:32 AM  

I almost bit and thought this blog might be serious. Then I saw the suggestion I spend 38 minutes subjecting myself to an audio version and quickly realized someone's putting me on.

Lewis 6:33 AM  

Just chipped chipped chipped away through completion. The theme didn't help much with the solve but made for some good post-puzzle reflection. Clean grid, novel theme, and a brain workout that felt like running at a medium pace up a scenic mountain trail. The puzzle left me feeling energized, and any puzzle that does that is a success worthy of gratitude, in my book.

My favorite part was the debut -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 115A.

Loren Muse Smith 6:37 AM  

Well. BURKE’s observation was certainly prophetic.

I had a similar feeling that @Bill Feeney described yesterday – after TOOTSIE/WOOLITE and a couple of S’s, I was thinking it would be really tough. But “then a toehold, foothold, and hold on I think I can do it!” I loved that line.

I ended with a mistake – had an aleatory choice between “law” and SAW, so I ended with a cocktail called a “lake bomb.” Ick. My first thought was a Kamikaze since it’s a Japanese name. Dumb. Dad had a lake bomb once when he took a swig of what he thought was his water on the counter only to see at the bottom of the cup some disgusting shells that my sister had collected at a nasty little lake outside Atlanta. Who knows what her plan was to do with them after they had soaked, but they had been there for a couple of days. Same sister once had a greasy soiled napkin on her plate – all wadded up and tight. Dad thought it was a piece of chicken she wasn’t going to eat and popped that puppy right into his mouth. He reported that it doesn’t take long to understand that you’re chewing on paper and not chicken.

@Moly Shu - I had a terrible time with that creature’s springtime action. I put in “molt” and “reptiles.” Then “spiders.” I had a pet tarantula that molted – no idea when – and I’d reach in to retrieve her fully-intact former self so I could ride up and down in the graduate dorm elevator with it in my hand, casually asking people if they were having trouble with spiders in their rooms. Good times.

I have to laugh that my first entry for the post-run feeling as “high” since back when I ran regularly, I hated every step of every jog I ever took. I never got to experience the runner’s high that everyone talks about.

OCTOPI had me wondering if vacations in Port-au-Prince could be Haiti hiati.

Hey, @’Mericans – I’ll see your suggestions and raise you one…

Before we could get our dog Molly spayed, she was a bit of a wanderslut.

Okay - one more -so if one of your baby twins accidentally swallows your wedding ring, do you have to look for it in the… WAIT FOR IT…

Depths of diapers?

I agree with those who liked this – nice job, Josh.

Anonymous 6:56 AM  

No one pumps up a road bike; the tires need air, not the frame. Got stuck on aleatory and was unfamiliar with the alternate definition for saw, otherwise, much easier for me than yesterday.

Nick 7:00 AM  

Not to be a pedant (as I immediately begin to be a pedant), but as "anonymous" above wrote, "octopi" is an incorrect plural for "octopus". If it were to have an "i" ending, that would mean that the word is Latin in origin. The word is Greek, so the plural form should be "octopodes". I know the dictionary says that "octopi" is common usage, but that still doesn't make it right.

Jonathan Alexander 7:05 AM  

Only real issue for me was a Natick of sorts for the C_RET to M_RAT cross....I liked this theme but do agree the cluing was a bit rough around the edges (could have been a little more clever)

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

@Hartley70. I think the song was Anticipation and it was the title track on singer-songwriter Carly Simon's second studio album, released in 1971. The song was a top-twenty chart hit in the US.

When are we going to see some Spoonerisms in puzzles?

Here is a selection:
Cat flap (Flat cap)
Bad salad (Sad ballad)
Soap in your hole (Hope in your soul)
Mean as custard (Keen as mustard)
Plaster man (Master plan)
Pleating and humming (Heating and plumbing)
Trim your snow tail (Trim your toe nails)
Birthington's washday (Washington's Birthday)
Trail snacks (Snail tracks)
Bottle in front of me (Frontal Lobotomy)
Sale of two titties (Tale of two cities)
Rental Deceptionist (Dental Receptionist)
Flock of bats (Block of flats)
Chewing the doors (Doing the chores)

For the literati:
Prinderella and the Cince (Cinderella and the Prince)
Beeping Sleauty (Sleeping Beauty)
The Pea Little Thrigs (The Three Little Pigs)
Goldybear and the Three Locks (Goldilocks and the Three Bears)
Ali Theeva and the Forty Babs (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves)

Of course, with a little digging you can find lists of slightly more rude ones.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

Can I just put up a (small) defense of the mortar clue? It did not say "weapon fired AT a 90 degree angle". It said BETWEEN 45 and 90.

chefbea 7:48 AM  

What a tough puzzle!!! Lately I can't finish a Sunday puzzle. Really wanted a fun easy puzzle for my Bea Day. Very busy day today - no time to read the comments

'mericans in Paris 8:19 AM  

Nice one, @LMS. How about A FIT OF GEAR ("Common sight in a ROAD BIKE shop"?)?

Punctuated equilibrium 8:20 AM  


mmorgan 8:22 AM  

First post here in years.

I didn't love it but I liked it. My favorite thing was how the theme answers all formed actual, familiar expressions after they were un-anagrammed. Some instantaneously burst out of the screen ("Curb your enthusiasm"), but some took some time to disentangle ("Misery loves company"), while always offering a nice "Ah-ha!". Every time I got a theme answer, the puzzle said, "Wait! You're not done!", which was more challenging than frustrating.

r.alphbunker 8:23 AM  

The following cascos slowed my progress through the puzzle

57A. {Places} LOCI-->PUTS

21A. {They're pumped to compete in a race} ROADTIRES-->ROADBIKES

18A. {Land between hills, poetically} GLEN-->VALE

10D. {Philosopher who said "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion"} PAINE-->BURKE


92A. {Go in (for)} OPT-->SUB

116A. {Muddies} ROILS-->SOILS

109A. {Celebration after a coup?} UPRISINGPARTY-->UPRISERSPARTY

105A. {Trader ___} VICS-->JOES

Details are here.

seanm 8:26 AM  

exact same situation. had mammals and IMGAME, and then just couldn't get anything to work and couldn't believe mammals was wrong. mostly did well with the puzzle even though i had trouble figuring out the base phrases on many of the themes until after. but that corner took me almost half my total time

Glimmerglass 8:33 AM  

I loved this puzzle, and before I came here, I thought @Rex would love it too. A clever theme with two or three really funny answers, although some not so funny. The fill was really fresh and varied with a minimum of xword junk. Also, this was pretty hard (a puzzle got slammed earlier this week for being too easy). So I thought @Rex is going to love this one -- it has everything he likes. But no. It got some grudging praise, but on balance, a negative review. Oh well. Most of the commenters so far liked it.

Punctuated equilibrium 8:34 AM  

What is DOWNER WOMAN an anagram of? I saw so many of the anagrams only after finishing the puzzle. The theme didn't really click for me fully. Had CIARA for CHARO, which made a horrible mess of that area for a long time. SUN ATHEISM finally clicked and helped me there, although I still don't know who CHARO is. Had NOODLE for NOODGE and didn't check the cross, which gave me TALS UP.
TENURE made me laugh.

I'm new to posting...so great to feel part of a community of solvers!

Unknown 9:05 AM  

This ruined the puzzle for me

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Wonder Woman

Punctuated equilibrium 9:12 AM  

Ha! Thanks.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

I thought this puzzle was slightly easier for me than most Sundays. Once I got "have no fare" and realized the theme, I did much better. I play a lot of Scrabble and Jumble on line so I am good at unscrambling. I think that helped me a lot.

Nancy 9:27 AM  

Actually, @jae (12:04 a.m.), I'd say that this is the fifth really good puzzle in a row. This presented more challenge than the usual Sunday and the anagrams were great fun. I filled in TINY AXE ATTACK as my first theme answer, and hadn't a clue what was going on. I still didn't when I finished the puzzle; went to Rex to see what the anagram was, and when he didn't provide it, I went to Anagram Solver to get ANXIETY. Wonderful. I picked up the gimmick at TALES OF WOE and that helped me with the other theme answers. I love CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM, DOWNER WOMAN, and STRUT WORTHY. It took me a while to get the latter, because I had BlaKE before BURKE at 10D. I know BLAKE was both a poet and an artist; I thought he might have been a philosopher, too. I also had rOILS before SOILS at 116A and was on my way toward PET PEEVE before PRIORITY at 86D, before THOR straightened me out.

Yes, @Hartley, I did enjoy the shout-out, though I would have much preferred it without the epithet. And who knew that OCTOPI had such high IQs? Certainly not MYSELF. That's the most interesting thing by far that I learned in this puzzle. My only question: How can they tell? Anyway, a delightfully diverting entertainment.

Z 9:36 AM  

In Order
Anxiety -> TINY AXE
Trust -> STRUT
Enthusiasm -> SUN ATHEISM
Woe -> OWE
Fear -> FARE
Misery -> MY SIRE
Surprise -> UPRISERS
Wonder -> DOWNER

Agree with Rex's, "If you're gonna be godawful, be Epically godawful," but thought these were epically godawful enough to be fun. If you're going to pun do not be modest about it. Haters gonna Hate no matter what you do, so go for it. Second day in a row I had to look something up post-solve. Yesterday it was, "Sweetie, is xxxxxx a breed?" Today it was actually having to go to a dictionary for ALEATORY.

@Anon7:46 - Yep. But reading it correctly doesn't conjure up the humorous imagery.

Octopodes v. OCTOPI: The Rematch

Well, Actually*, since adding an -es is the common pluralizing method for words ending in "s" shouldn't the correct answer in correct English be octopuses?


Lobster11 9:40 AM  

Looks like I'm in the minority today, but this made me want to fire a MORTAR at an angle of precisely 90 degrees on a windless day. I guess I just don't subscribe to Rex's theory that "If you're gonna be godawful, be Epically godawful." Maybe I just lack an adequate sense of HUMOR, but personally I prefer that one just not be godawful in the first place. Now everybody get off my lawn!

Joe in St. John's 9:52 AM  

Depends on whether it is a word that came to English from Greek directly, or from Greek through Latin. Octopuses is always correct. If it came to English through Latin, then octopi could be fine. To insist on octopodes would then be a false pedantry, even thought it would be correct for a truly and solely Greek word, or an English word that came directly from Greek. Seems to me that scientific names might be Greek in origin but come to English through a Latin filter.

GHarris 9:56 AM  

I consider myself well educated,well read and a reasonably competent solver but when aleatory,a word wholly foreign to me, is crossed with nudge spelt with two o's and everyone else gets it without complaint, I know that I'm playing out of my league.

Stanley Hudson 10:05 AM  

Mucho gusto for a domingo puzzle. Gracias Josh Knapp.

To bloody Marys and eggs Benedict.

Unknown 10:06 AM  

Couldn't figure out anagram for "Tiny Axe Attack," so thanks to the above. Got "Have No Fear," however.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Looked hard for a rebus early on when I saw ArbiT(RA)RY for 6D (dependent on chance), but then the gimmick became clear and I pretty much sailed from there. Not record territory, but well below average.

A great week of puzzles for me, judging by times relative to normal!

Numinous 10:18 AM  

Apparently OCTOPI(odes) are not alone in the IQ department for sea creatures. Squid are also said to have high IQs. Several sci-fi novels have regarded them as virtually sentient.

I really enjoyed this puzzle. MY SIRE LOVES COMPANY amused me a great deal. The rest of the themers were also interesting as they almost sounded like things. After I was done in somewhat less than my average time, I looked the theme answers over and suddenly the penny dropped. I used to do the jumble and I've played a lot of scrabble in my time so the anagrams came easily. In some cases just knowing it was an anagram gave me an effortless SURPRISE PARTY. Waiting for something that was going to come next on TV, I've watched a few episodes of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. What a terrible show. If Seinfeld was a show about nothing, CYE was about less than nothing. It took maybe seventy five billion nanoseconds to figure out the anagrams (do the math) for my OHO moment to be complete.

Jeff Chen tells us that he is bad at anagrams otherwise he'd have considered this for POW. I think we have at least a three-way tie and possibly a four-way tie for POW this week. I don't care what @Rex said about this (thats not the same as saying I didn't care for what he said) but I thought this has a tight and clever theme and is almost as dreckless as the driven snows of Peru (paraphrased from a line by Mick Jager playing bushranger Ned Kelly).

I had mamMAL before ANIMAL. In fact, I tried a bunch of stuff in that SW corner before things made sense. I was thinking orated before SAID SO came into view. I tried bOILED and rOILED and even had nOILED for a bit. ALEATORY was never noticed once the across answers fell. @LMS's spider never crossed my mind. Spiders squick me a lot. Was bitten by a brown recluse on the top of my instep once. That took eleven weeks and antibiotics to heal. But one day, at a nature centre in some park in SoCal, I got up my nerve to pet a tarantula, what a weird feeling.

So, instead of feeling ACHY, I've got "solver's high" from a great workout.

Tita A 10:33 AM  

Last day with my beautiful new granddaughter, so dropping in here quick before reading everyone.
Once I got the theme, early on, I feared I was in for a real chore. Anagrams bore me. The puzzle therefore did too, though post-solve I liked many of the answers, including, if not especially, CURBYOURSUNATHEISM.

@lms...don't know which of your stories I love more...your dad's tasting adventures, or the tarantula elevator story.

I also love the clue for CARET. I was not expecting that...
I was expecting outrage at the oddball clue for MCRIB. Would have been better, and more accurately clued with some reference to the affront to all humanity that it is. Though I do admit a morbid curiosity for trying that fried chicken shaped into a taco shell abomination that I've only heard the late night comics referencing.

Roo Monster 10:36 AM  

Hey All !
Liked the fun anagrams. Got it at the easy TALES OF WOE, next themer was MY SIRE... , got a chuckle out of that one. The SUN ATHEISM was fun, too, but had CiARa for the singer forever, making that actually hard to see. But then finally remembered CHARO. Flashback, that one.

@Nancy, Har! I thought the same thing about Octopi! Did they give them tests or something? And how can you tell if one isn't that smart?

Had my famous one letter DNF again. I swear that happens more than a 100% completion. Really irks me. One letter, ARGH! Had an E at MARAT/CARET cross.

Liked overall. Light dreck, fun themers, and a TAD ORGY. :-)


Nancy 11:04 AM  

@Numinous (10:18) -- I enjoyed your entire post so much today, Numi, and I was struck especially by your put-down of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. Though I watch virtually no sitcoms, SEINFELD was the exception. I loved it. So a few years ago when my brother told me that CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM was a much better show -- one I'd never seen because I don't have HBO -- I managed to get my hands on an early episode. I found I couldn't watch it; thought it was slapdash and sloppy. It seemed to be mostly improvised rather than written. Which reminded me of what I thought I'd once read about the division of labor in the writing of SEINFELD: that Larry David was the idea guy who figured out the plot and how all the plot threads were going to come together and Jerry was the one who wrote the dialogue and planned the structure and timing of the jokes. Thought for the day: This kind of show has to be written; it can't just be improvised. I feel that's been the problem with some of Woody Allen's less-successful movies as well.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Who pumps a bike??
Cyclists pump tires, not bikes.

Maruchka 11:14 AM  

I fell into the pre-ANIMAL mammal trap, too. I guess snakes and birds and fish of some sorts do shed. Mammalian ego trip?

Really liked this one. I rate it easy-medium. Thanks, Mr. Knapp,

Favs of the day - DOWNER WOMAN (know her), STRUT WORTHY (yeah, baby) and CURB YOUR SUN ATHEISM (I do not repent).

@Rex - Thanks for the Sun Ra video. Always nice to see him. And he's on - STRUT Records!

bookmark 11:22 AM  

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery is a fascinating book on octopuses, their high intelligence and consciousness. It was a National Book Award Finalist in 2015.

The author also writes that octopi is incorrect, as you can't put a Latin ending - i - on a word derived from Greek.

Dan Steele 11:30 AM  

Such individual variations! I completely finish this one, which I seldom do. And in a reasonable time. So I came on here expecting to see all you people who kick my butt in this thing every week saying this was the easiest Sunday puzzle ever. Not so much. Anyway, good puzzle… I enjoyed it.

Teedmn 11:30 AM  

I had a lot of ALEATORic action in this solution. Using @r.alphbunker's randomization function, the "chance" factor was built into the method, and my brain provided the other portion of randomness.

I held onto "warm saki" for far too long (yes, misspelled and all) until ROAD BIKES with its K finally made a TINY AXE ATTACK through my thick skull. I still didn't get the BOMB part, thinking it might be a saketini or some SUCH vile drink but it eventually appeared.

But I had a DNF due to not changing 97D from rESTS to TESTS. If I had continued to proofread my solution, I would have surely caught it but I had already expended as much time on the puzzle as I had on yesterday's lovely Saturday so I put up stakes and BET that it was all correct. Lost.

I don't know how much I like the clue for 44A but turning "enthusiasm" into SUN ATHEISM is pretty cool. Ditto for "anxiety" into TINY AXE. I know there are anagram websites all over the place these days but coming up with phrases that contain feelings and that then anagram into something fun is not ALEATORY! (I have to keep using that word because it is new to me and I like it.)

Thanks, Josh Knapp, nice Sunday.

@Tita, you gave me my biggest laugh of the day with your comment on the McRib (and I feel very strongly that if you were to satisfy your curiosity on the chicken "taco", it would truly be morbid).

@LMS, "Depths of diapers, yew, nice one.

@r.alph, I had many of the same missteps.

Dan Steele 11:36 AM  

I think many of us would advise you to give the show another try as there is many a sublime moment to be found in it. And many many things that clearly were not improvised, because episodes frequently come together like a Swiss watch like the finest moments from Seinfeld. I agree that some people do the show a disservice by overselling it and claiming that it is a much better experience than the earlier show.

evil doug 11:43 AM  

To cause to move with an up-and-down or back-and-forth motion: a bicyclist pumping the pedals;

Merriam-Webster 11:47 AM  

If you look in any dictionary, you will see "octopuses" and "octopi" as the acceptable plurals for "octopus." Just a reminder that we're speaking English here, not Greek or Latin. Do you people also insist on spelling "smorgasbord" with the Swedish accents?

Hartley70 11:47 AM  

Hey @r.alphbunker! What's a "casco"? Are you coining one of @lewis' "gridioms" and referencing a @CascoKid entry? If so, nice one and BTW where is that @CascoKid?

Hartley70 11:48 AM  

Happy Birthday @ chefbea!

Nancy 11:50 AM  

@Anon 11:13 -- My knowledge of bikes and bike culture is extremely limited, but I have witnessed many, if not most bikers in NYC pumping the pedals really, really hard. It's exhausting work, but there's a big reward at the end. After all, it takes vigorous pumping to produce the kind of breakneck speed needed to turn pedestrians like me into roadkill.

Joseph Michael 11:52 AM  

A fine puzzle. Left me feeling elapsed as punch.

old timer 11:54 AM  

I slogged my way through but did not enjoy it at all. Reading the comments it does seem clever but not fun while you are doing it.

Felicitations a Mme, 'mericans. J'aime la France plus que les Etats-Unis, moi!

I have to say I don't know why the Times has a puzzle editor and an assistant if they refuse to make the effort to clean up things like having "league" be AAA when it would have been easy to substitute "level". And there must have been some way to make it clear that OCTOPI is a common but incorrect plural. Octopodes is correct and so is octopuses.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

Picky, picky, picky....look, this puzzle was both fun and challenging....perfect for a Sunday solve.....Rex, get over yourself man.

Norm 12:00 PM  

Loved this puzzle, despite the nits that have already been talked about sufficiently.

Steve R 12:04 PM  

The plural of octopus is octopuses

Carola 12:11 PM  

I"m not a talented anagrammer, so it was hard for me to get a grip on to the theme. I caught on at HAVE NO FARE, then went back and stared at STRUTWORTHY for a while until it unscrambled itself. Thought I might never understand the TINY AXE and UPRISERS, but eventually they yielded. My only before-the-fact entry was MY SIRE LOVES COMPANY. So, admiration in retrospect rather than delight while solving.

I really liked learning ALEATORY, for the little jolt of recognition of the connection to Caesars "Alea iacta est." When I'm feeling anxious, I'll try to remember the TINY AXE ATTACKIng me, and maybe the smile will calm my nerves.

@'mericans - The hamster autobiography really made me laugh.

Wm. C. 12:14 PM  

Harder than normal for me. One word in each of the themers required a double-test: first, did it satisfy the clue; then, did it anagram to make a common phrase. Some frustration, but also some laughs ("curb your ...").

Like others above, had PCL first (via Mr, Google, never heard of the team ... nor the league). I don't think it unfair, though; the fill can be in the sense of a noun (PCL), or adjectivially, descriptively (an AAA team). There are many words (for example "good") that can be used as both, so why not phrases ...

Never heard of the word "Aleatory." I often have to fill in some or all of fill with crosses, but always have heard of the word. Never aleatory, though. And I'd be willing to bet that over 90% of the well-educated commentariat here are in the boat with me. A mistake, Mr. Shortz!

Allow me a short paragraph to go off-crossword-topic here. I and spouse went to see the movie "Lion" yesterday. Best movie I can remember having seen. Photography, acting, and story (a true one) just blew me away. It's nominated in a number of Oscar categories, and left out in a few extras that I think it should have also been in, so I'll be interested to see how it does. My recommendation: do yourself a favor and go see it!

r.alphbunker 12:16 PM  


Yes, a casco is an eponym and gridium inspired by @Casco Kid. I am not sure of his whereabouts now.

Pete The Puerile Pervert 12:30 PM  


ROTFLMFAO! Hope your WANDERSLUT didn't run into any of those spring-loaded armed and armored ARMADILDOS that Leapfinger alluded to in her 7:54 AM post? You would have learned what ANIMALS really do during SPRINGTIME!

Z 12:31 PM  

@Evil Doug11:43 and @Nancy11:50 - If you don't highlight that you are explaining the pump clue we'll keep getting the complaint. Oh, who am I kidding, of course we'll get more of the complaints.

@Merriam-Webster - Any dictionary? What's a pedant to do when even the reference works don't agree? Oh, I know, become a descriptivist making fun of prescriptivists.

AAA "league" is making it hard to find any sort of justification. When I filled it I just assumed it was a league I hadn't heard of, but being in the Pacific Coast League makes this a wrong answer. Anyone have a way to make the clue work? Also, the PCL has an interesting (if typical of sport leagues) definition of the Pacific Coast.

@'merican - How wide spread is this "drafting" effort? I'm sure it's being done for humorous effect, but insaner things have happened.

Tita A 12:37 PM  

@Nancy...I used to rollerblade in Central Park when they close the roads of a Sunday. It was such a NY experience. Everyone enjoying a fine day in the park. The joggers, the power walkers, the cyclists, the rollerbladers...everyone so polite and smiling.
With each other. But wow what bigotry across activity lines If a rollerblader dared impede, even for a moment, the forward momentum of a biker PUMPing up the hill, or a jogger in the way of a blader, you would hear such colorful language, delivered with such vitriol.

oldactor 12:50 PM  

Regarding octopus intelligence, I saw a video of a caged octopus being studied
by scientists. They put a camera on the cage. Soon the octopus learned how to
operate it and took pictures of itself. I'm not making that up.

oldactor 1:00 PM  

Go to Youtube and check "Octopus and camera"

QuasiMojo 1:08 PM  

@Hartley, the original source of Puccini's opera, Sardou's play "La Tosca" made the gender much more obvious. :)

GILL I. 1:14 PM  

So a den mother is a spiteful woman? MAMA mia.
Hard, hard, fun, loved it Sunday. I love anagrams. Give me anagrams every Sunday. Make my head scratch like mad with TINY AXE. Such ANXIETY figuring that one out.
The OCTOPI and their IQ's had me intrigued. Do scientist give them a Standford-Binet?
When visiting my youngest sister in Charleston one summer many moons ago, we both got pretty pickled and decided to go on-line and take one of those IQ tests. We were both pretty high and having laughter fits so we thought it was the perfect time to find out which one of us was the smarty pants. She on her lap-top and me on mine...off we went. If I remember correctly, her score was about 120 or so and mine was 105 or so. I didn't know what that meant but I'm pretty sure I thought I was as dumb as a bag of hammers. The next sober morning, I insisted we take another one of those on-line tests. I shot up about 15 points and she shot down 15 points.....I'm wondering if they give OCTOPI sobriety tests as well.
I dont think MOM JEANS are shameless...
from DOWNER you get WONDER Nancy!

Ryan Fitz Gibbon 1:23 PM  

I'm going to go ahead and be the insufferable ass that points out OCTOPI isn't a word. The plural of octopus is octopuses.

Mohair Sam 1:29 PM  

Awesome Sunday puzzle. One of the best ever as far as we're concerned. Medium became challenging here because we got TINYAX at 25 across from the downs, both SAKEBOMB and ALEATORY new to us and couldn't fill, and then got the TT. Obviously 25A was TINYAXBATTERY. Lost forever. Eventually (after a break to watch my Spurs crush Stoke) the aha moment on ROADB"IKES" gave us SAKE and the world opened up.

Normally not a fan of anagrams, but these were fun - especially "CURB . . ." Agree with @Nancy and @Numinous about not enjoying the show (although I was a huge Seinfeld fan) - guess we're not the demo David was after. Like OFL I cannot figure why I had trouble with BURKE even after I got the BU. TOOTSIE is 35 years ago, Wow! Didn't know there was a McRib sandwich, learn something every day.

@oldactor - Neat factoid on octopuses. Glad they don't have opposing thumbs or we'd be spitting ink at them. Speaking of which . . . .

@LMS - Still chuckling about your thought of multiple Hiati in Haiti.

And yes, AAA is not a league (my beloved Lehigh Valley IronPigs are class AAA in the International League) - the puzzle is imperfect. If you want perfect go stare at an egg. This puzzle was a beauty.

Teedmn 1:35 PM  

@Nancy, Your comments on the efforts of those trying to kill you via ROAD BIKES made me laugh out loud.

And having seen something about tests OCTOPI were put through, testing their IQs, I went searching Google to see what was out there and the first hit was how OCTOPI will soon rule the world.

Andrew Heinegg 1:50 PM  

I dnf'd this one on a brain leak at 7d. I know that it is always faster to fly east than west because the jet stream flows to the west. So, what answer do I put down for this? East, of course!!; Can't think of a maxim ending in e so down I go. Cheez.

I thought this was quite a nice little effort by Mr. Knapp. It is a bit unrealistic to demand all the themers to be good puns. This one succeeds with a number of them, IMHOP. Downer woman and curb your sun atheism are my two personal favorites.

BTW, Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming back to tv and I, for one, am enthused. Yes, the show had its moments of awkwardness and unwatchable, sometimes seemingly racist overtones BUT!, when it was good, it was side-splitting. I remind myself that no comedian can be funny all the time. It is just not possible.

Perhaps the best reactor to jokes that fell flat was Johnny Carson. No matter how many good writers you have and how well you tell your joke, if you have to do a monologue 5 days a week, you are going to have some clunkers. Carson worked up facial reactions and body language that almost always got the laughs that the joke didn't.

While Seinfeld may have been the best situation comedy show of this generation, I have little doubt that the root of the outlandish plot lines that were so funny came from Larry David. Sure Jerry Seinfeld made the ideas into a more coherent presentation of the show but, watching Curb, which Seinfeld had nothing to do with, clarifies (for me), the origin of the comedic ideas that made Seinfeld so successful. I thought, based on the starts and ends of the show, that Seinfeld was a rather mediocre stand-up comedian. But, his acting of himself in the show was terrific.

It seems to me that it is very difficult to be successful in comedy unless you are willing to poke fun at yourself. And, in the cases of Curb and Seinfeld, it is the fundamental element of the plots and why they can be so funny.

Curb went off the air around the time that Larry David's marriage fell apart. And, at that point, it was time for it to go as the stories had just completely fallen apart. Art imitates life and vice versa.

Moly Shu 1:50 PM  

@r.alph, "cascos" har.

'mericans in Paris 2:28 PM  

@old timer: Merci pour vos aimables sentiments. Je les transmettrai à ma femme.

@Carola: Glad you got a chuckle!

@Z: First I've heard of it. If I see a lot of posters going up, I'll let you know.

Jeremy Varo-Haub 2:42 PM  

Hey, @Robin, to me, every one of these seems obvious in retrospect, but I did what (almost?) everyone else seems to have done: I spent 20 minutes trying to unscramble HAVE NO before I facepalmed my way to the right pub.

Jeremy Varo-Haub 2:43 PM  

Oh, and I couldn't figure out two of these at all. I'm grateful for these comments, as ever!

emily 2:49 PM  

Hallelujah! I wrote down aleatory to look up because I had never heard of it before, now I don't feel like such a dope. And I wanted it to be Ashe instead of Andy (not to take away from Murray's accomplishments) just still feel badly about Ashe's passing. Love this blog!

Hungry Mother 2:57 PM  

Got competely stuck in the NE corner, so DNF. First Sunday I couldn't do in ages.

Wm. C. 2:57 PM  

@OldTimer, @'Mericans --

Moi, j'avait vivait et travaillait a Paris pendant deux annes, Mais c'etait il y a quarante annees. j'ai deja oubliee presque tout le francais que j'ai appris la-bas.

(Damned spell-checker. Looks only for English and rewrites the French for me as I type. Took a while to work it into shape!)

cascokid 3:07 PM  

Hmm. Disturbance in the ether. Greetings to @R.alph and @Hartley70 and @Moly Shu

As for the puz: 1:05. 2 fielding errors on the home team. Easy medium

. . . So what about @cascokid's cascos today?

[Take back, in a way] REdO for REPO.

That gave me

[Places] dUTS

So bear with me now. Isn't "dut" a "place" in "Whales Tales"?

0: "Whales tales, the prince of wales, calls regular rotational tails, on a court of 4 on 2"
2: "nay"
0: "who"
2: "3"
3: "nay"
2: "who"
2: "1" (For present purposes, let' say I am 1 and I've been playing for a while.)
1: "nay"
2: "who"
1: "dut"

Oops, looks like it's time for me to drink again. Damn. Slurp. Game on.

Every puz is a Schrodinger waiting to be discovered.

Claudius Aelianus 3:43 PM  

This blog has had Octopi /Octopuses discussions before 01/27/2013 and 12/29/2015

XWord Info has 33 Results for OCTOPI , all the way back to editor Margaret Petherbridge Farrar in 1953.

I just finished Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith. He uses Octopuses. He states that Cephalopods with their large and complex nervous systems are the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.

Despite the complaints, Octopi is acceptable.

Here is an: Octopus themed puzzle from the past.

Loren Muse Smith 3:53 PM  

Octopi, octopuses, octopodes, octoschmodes- whatever they are, they have mean-spirited, spoiled little kids. Buncha army brats.

Nancy 4:48 PM  

@GILL (1:14) -- So you love anagrams, do you? Check your email. Have I got a present for you! And a challenge. Actually, a lot of presents and a lot of challenges!

Yf 5:31 PM  

Anxiety attack
Have no fear (lame!)
The rest:
Curb your enthusiasm
Misery loves company
Wonder woman

Canon Chasuble 5:38 PM  

A totally lovely puzzle. Oedi-Pus means swollen foot (remember the story of his being abandoned?). Octo-Pus means eight-footed.
The plural of the Greek word Pus is Podes. So the plural IS Octopodes, NOT Octopi.

Roo Monster 6:15 PM  

How about Octopie ala mode?


GILL I. 6:53 PM  

Nancy....GAAAAAH. I'm more of the "Though Gary ate his tea biscuits, I didn't eat mine."
I'll need a scotch....or two.
p.s. Email is causing me some maddening trouble.
Thanks for the IQ enhancers!

Fountains of Golden Fluids 9:31 PM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Tita A 12:32 AM  

@lms...army brats indeed...har...!

jberg 8:10 AM  

Octopuses are so smart they don't waste time arguing about the proper plural.

I got the puzzle without too much difficulty (knew ALEATORY from music, which helped a lot), but couldn't figure out how to anagram TINY AXE. Finally I looked at the title, looked at the other answers, and realized that they were not just anagrams, but anagrams of feelings -- and ANXIETY just popped out at me.

Now I'm caught up on my comment backlog (yes, I did read all 100 of the previous ones), but have to go get today's paper and start on that one!

Center for Health Risk Assessment and Management (CHRAM) 9:14 AM  

In a not-very-parallel universe 64 across TALES OF OWE would have been as good or better as STORY OF OWE

Erin Hollander 12:08 PM  

I believe wonder was the feeling, anagrammed to DOWNER.

Mary Rose 4:17 PM  

Tales of woe
Surprise party

Silvia 5:17 PM  

Hi Robin,
Have_no_fare is have no fear


tiny_axe_attack is anxiety attack

tavara 7:05 AM  

You don't pump a road bike, you pump the tires

Craig Morris 4:39 PM  

Someone already mentioned AAA for League. AAA is not a league, it's a level of play. PCL would have been the correct answer. And another baseball miscue: 26D: TAGSUP. No, tagging up is advancing to the next base. NOT tagging up would be Get's back on base. Not a big deal, but clues should be accurate rather than misleading.

Anonymous 6:43 PM  

For some reason I saw Ra and thought, "Atomic symbol!" (which was wrong, and then had the first three letters CUR and thought, "Curium!" (which was wrong), even though Ra is Radium, but hey, Madam Curie had a thing for RADIation, and for the life of me I couldn't get out of that rut. DNF! Or as the Orange Haired One would say, SAD!

Burma Shave 12:34 PM  




spacecraft 12:38 PM  

"As 1-across goes, so goes the puzzle?" Not today. I love Queen, and practically have that song COMMITted to memory, so MAMA was the Gimme of all Gimmes. In no time the NW corner was done. Then I tried to move SE from there...good luck! Getting that was definitely ALEATORY, my new word for the day. SAKEBOMB? if you say so. Never been to a sushi bar, and if ALEATORY conditions are favorable, I never will.

So I had to travel down the WEST coast until TALESOFOWE--which, unlike OFL, I think is a great piece of HUMOR. Now I knew the theme trick, and things went better. Then came the south.

It almost stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't get in anywhere. I finally decided that the tied-together clues at 98- and 100-across had to do with some kind of ANIMALS (little did I know that it was simply ANIMALS!), and that the only thing they did in the spring in four letters starting with S was SHED. DAYTON was a pure guess, except that I dimly recall that the Wright boys had a ROADBIKE shop there, and so my path was along the SE coast.

That garment...MOnokini? gave me fits. I have run across MOMJEANS once before, but that term is still too new to stick with me. Some of the other stuff was so simple I overthought it. I mean, comedy is HUMOR. Duh! Anyway, I did finish, despite being nearly UNMOORed (ugh!). Needless to say, the rapper was no help. But a moving line on a tree--what could that even mean? On crosses: ANTS. Now, OFL complains about soft clues???

I thought, when done, that the theme entries were clever and funny, and the fill certainly not the WORST. A great DOD is CHARO; how about HER in a pair of MOMJEANS? Cootchie cootchie! IMGAME! Then there's the triumph factor, so a SOLID birdie.

BS2 12:59 PM  


ITSAGO if the VIXEN's horny, not PENSIVE nor ORALLY lukewarm,


rondo 1:30 PM  

About an hour of PENSIVE entries to complete the WHOLE thing. Some pockets of resistance, especially with minor inkfest at MOMpantS. Looks like I ended in the same place as OFL if that's his highlighted NOODGE.

IMGAME for that WHOLE anagram thing, which moves this slightly towards the action used in solving a Harper's puz.

Kind of odd in the east half with CHARRED CHARO, SERIF SHERIF, and TAD TADA all close to each other.

As a former CORNET player, I know that Louis Armstrong may have started with the CORNET, but he was known best as a trumpet player. Bix Beiderbecke was perhaps the best CORNET player of that era. BTW, the difference is that the diameter of a CORNET's tubing gets progressively larger after the mouthpiesce all the way to the bell; much of a trumpet's tubing is of the same diameter, giving it a sharper sound than the more mellow CORNET,

@spacey already mentioned the Cootchie Cootchie girl CHARO, so I will COMMIT to the sultry sounds of NINA Simone. Yeah baby.

Time for a late brunch and then perhaps I'll NODOFF.

rain forest 1:31 PM  

I kind of like anagrams though I can't say I love them. I also liked the show "Curb your enthusiasm". There's no accounting for taste.

This was fun and I'd say "medium" for me as I made steady progress throughout the solve. ALEATORY is a new one for me and was my last entry, but I knew it was correct because of the crosses. The themers were mostly amusing, especially CYE and TINY AXE ATTACK. A Sunday puzzle with minimal -ese or squinty clues/answers is an accomplishment.

The quote attributed to BURKE has current relevance, I'd say.

AnonymousPVX 1:44 PM  

Solved with much difficulty and zero enjoyment. Agree with all the above posters pointing out the obviously incorrect clueing. One wonders what a puzzle "editor" does, if not allowing this sort of thing.
Blech, on both the author and editor.

Diana,LIW 2:10 PM  

I declared OTters to be the brilliant creatures. And my animals decided to "mate" in the spring. I wanted another O in CORNET, so I thought maybe he Armstrong played another instrument on the side. The VALE was a glen. Really wanted RACETIRES to be pumped up.

You see where this is going, right? I finally did a fact check, and saw my errors. The corrections allowed me to finish, but the dnf was already there.

I thought TALES OF OWE was pretty funny. But DOWNERWOMAN put a large ? over my head. Why Nancy? Oh well...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

spacecraft 3:27 PM  

@Diana: I think it's just alliterative, like "nervous Nellie." With the R in 6th from the end, I tried to make REAGAN work to justify Nancy, but no. Just another misdirect.

And @rondo: I was definitely remiss in not awarding the enchanting Ms. Simone honorable mention. At least.

leftcoastTAM 6:15 PM  

Anagrams are okay, but not really into them.

Had to MEANDER around the grid before making any sense of it, having trouble with fill, especially in the NW (ALEATORY, SAKEBOMB, NOODGE, and "pumped" ROADBIKES instead of tires), as well as theme (e.g., a hatchet may be smaller than an AXE, but is it TINY?)

WONDER why I stayed as long as I did before voluntarily* resigning from this DOWNER.

*Okay, puzzle forced me to.

strayling 8:18 PM  

You pump the pedals. That one got me too.

leftcoastTAM 10:48 PM  

To all pen and paper solvers in particular:

Seems to me we may be playing by much different rules than many, if not most, others.

For most of us, it's no looking, no googling, no other outside-the-printed-puzzle help of any kind.

For online solvers, depending on the programs used, spell checks and corrections, other error alerts, happy pencils, and the like all seem like cheating to me.

This is bothersome because commenting on the NYT puzzles on Rex's blog involves many of us in noting and comparing each others' apparent solving proficiencies. But if we're playing by different sets of rules, such comparisons become misleading or simply meaningless.

Anyone out there? Any thoughts?

Eric Selje 8:48 AM  

@LeftCoastTAM I concur. The temptation to "Check Letter" or "Check Word" on the electronic versions is too great for me to consider. I will sometimes, rarely, resort to Google to verify a hunch or check a spelling, but my rule is that I can't actually push "Search", I have to see the answer in Google's Suggested Results. Also one of the joys of pen and paper is attempting to morph a letter into another letter without rewriting it altogether. For a while I was recording my solves so I could play along with the "how did I crack this" game.


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DR AYEWAH 11:24 AM  

Before people said there is no cure on HIV/AIDS but today many people have now believe that there is a cure.of HIV/AIDS can be cured through Africans root and harms,and days our great doctors have finally found the cure of HIV/AIDS, many have get cured with the help of a great spell caster known as Dr Ayewah he is the one of the great spell doctor in Africa and he has the cure on this disease HIV/AIDS. last month he share is Haber medicine in some medical hospital and now he is well recognize as one of the best spell caster in Africa, you don’t have to be sad any more or share your tears any more on this disease when the cure have already be found in 2011 the if you want to get in touch with him in private contact me on whatsapp +2349032874171 or e-mail dr.ayewah.herbal.home@hotmail.com

jonnie 2:31 AM  

DR ZULU SPELL BROUGHT BACK MY EX HUSBAND (email:zuluspelltemple@yahoo.com or WhatsApp: +2347067468416)
I'm Jonnie Lewis. My husband and I have been apart and divorced for several years. But Dr Zulu did it! My marriage is restored. He came home last two months after leaving because of an OW and him constantly telling me to move on. It was SO painful during my stand, but now that pain seems so far away. Like labor pains. I was really looking for help everywhere, Even though many gave me council that didn't make sense. I cried all day and night, because I was still so much in love with him and I wanted him back into my life, until one day when I went online searching for tips on how to get ex lover back and I saw so many testimonies online on how Dr Zulu restored marriages and broken homes, the testimonies sparked hope in me which led me to contacted his email(zuluspelltemple@yahoo.com) immediately, and he responded in few minutes, saying that the only solution is to cast a love spell on my husband, and I was obliged to provide all the necessary requirement for the spell which I did. After few days of casting the love spell, my husband called me and was apologizing, pleading for me to accept him back. We are happily living together now. If you have similar problem in your marriage, do not hesitate to contact him(email:zuluspelltemple@yahoo.com or WhatsApp: +2347067468416).

He also has solution to the following:,
Do as i say,
Quick sales,
Favor soap,
Progress at work,
For political appointment,
Love only me
Win contracts,
Win court cases,
Promised and failed (marriage or anything),
get your ex husband or wife back urgently
To marry or make someone of your choice marry you,
Protection against witches and wizards,
Get cure for fibroid,
low sperm count, diabetics, stroke etc..

Sandra Collins 5:14 AM  

My boyfriend of two years left me for another girl because I accuse him of seeing another girl and since then i have been trying to get him but he refuse to come back to me, he was not responding to my call or email and he even unfriend me on face-book and he told me that he is done with me. i was searching on the internet for help and i saw a testimony of how a spell caster help them to get their ex back so i decided to give it a try and i contacted him and i explain my problems to him and he cast a love spell for me and guarantee me of 2 days that my ex will come back to me and to my greatest surprise the second day a great miracle fell on me and my ex come back to me on the second day and he beg me for forgiveness drocusodospellcaster@gmail.com i will continue to publish his name because he is my Savior and we are happily married now. If you need him to help you Email drocusodospellcaster@yahoo.com or call him +2349067457724

Anonymous 2:20 AM  

Hello viewers,My name is Tessy Campbell,and i want to introduce this doctor who cured my disease with his miraculous and spiritual powers,herbal healing powers and herbal medicines from natural herbal plants after many years of suffering . DR.Egodi he is a leading herbalist healer on the entire African continent. He use pure natural herbal remedies and his ancestral powers to heal and solve all sicknesses, infections as well as solving all problems in nature of mankind, He is blessed with a very powerful gift to cure people, he use traditional medicine and Natural product to cure HIV AND AIDS, MADNESS, CANCER, ETC. And also he does LOVE SPELLS and so many others like,
1 HIV /aids cure
2 herpes cure
3 stroke
4 disable
5 cancer
7 alas
8 dick enlargement
9 hepatitis B
10 HPV Virus
For more information, E-mail Dr.Egodi don't die in silents.


Email:dr.egodisolutiontemple01@gmail.com ,

Call him directly on +2348073022041.

Tonya Smith 9:47 AM  

Hello friends my name is Tonya Smith i live in USA,Am over whelmed of what DR. OCUSODO. did for me he brought back my love who left for 1 year ago without notice, i have been looking for how to get this boy back to my life because i love this boy with the whole of my heart, i could not replace him with any body,one day i was watching my television when i saw a lady giving thanks to him and telling the world how he helped her i was so shocked i could not believe it because i never taught that there are powers that can bring back lost love, then that was how i decided to contact him too because i do really need my love back,when i contacted him i told him everything and he told me not to worry that my love will surely be back to my arms within 24hours at first i could not believe because i was thinking how could somebody that has gone for 1 year ago come back within 24 hours,so then i decided to watch and see,unbelievable within the next 24hours i heard a call from unknown number so i decided to pick the call the next thing i could hear was my loves voice he was pleading and begging me on the phone that i should forgive him that i should forget all that have happened that he did not know what came over him,he promised not to leave for any reason, that he was really sorry for what he did,i was so surprised because i never believed that this could happen,so that was how i accepted his apology and the next morning he came to my house and still pleading for me to forgive him i told him that everything is okay that i have forgiven him, that was how we started again and now we are married, i promised to say this testimony in radio station, commenting this testimony is still okay but before this week runs out i promise to say this in radio station and i will,sir thank you very much.World please am begging you people to try and thank this man for me,or if you need his help here is his email address: drocusodospellcaster@gmail.com or drocusodospellcaster@yahoo.com his contact number +2349047457724.


Hello my name is Nico from London i know a renowned spell caster who helped me when i had problems in my marriage with my Husband. if you need a right place to solve your relationship problems contact DR.AGBAZARA TEMPLE on: ( agbazara@gmail.com ) OR WHATSAPP +2348104102662 he is the right choice. he is a great man that has been

Cherry Lugard 4:17 PM  


What a miracle to have my ex back,my name is Cherry Lugard
and i need to share this great testimony... I just want to say thanks(DR. BEN) for taking time to help me cast the spell that brings back my ex lover {now my husband},who suddenly lost interest in me after six month of engagement,but today we are married and we are more happier than never before, I am really short of words and joyful, and i don't know how much to convey my appreciation to you doctor BEN you are a God sent to restore broken relationship.he deeply enjoy helping people achieve their desires, find true love,getting their ex lovers back,stop abusive relationships,find success,attract happiness,find soul mates and more,contact him today. and let him show you the wonders and amazement of his Love Spell System. He deliver results at his best in real spell casting, email him for help on benherbaltemple@gmail.com Via website: http://benherbaltemple.webs.com/ or you can also call him on +1(310)-220-0075.


What a miracle to have my ex back,my name is Cherry Lugard
and i need to share this great testimony... I just want to say thanks(DR. BEN) for taking time to help me cast the spell that brings back my ex lover {now my husband},who suddenly lost interest in me after six month of engagement,but today we are married and we are more happier than never before, I am really short of words and joyful, and i don't know how much to convey my appreciation to you doctor BEN you are a God sent to restore broken relationship.he deeply enjoy helping people achieve their desires, find true love,getting their ex lovers back,stop abusive relationships,find success,attract happiness,find soul mates and more,contact him today. and let him show you the wonders and amazement of his Love Spell System. He deliver results at his best in real spell casting, email him for help on benherbaltemple@gmail.com Via website: http://benherbaltemple.webs.com/ or you can also call him on +1(310)-220-0075.


What a miracle to have my ex back,my name is Cherry Lugard
and i need to share this great testimony... I just want to say thanks(DR. BEN) for taking time to help me cast the spell that brings back my ex lover {now my husband},who suddenly lost interest in me after six month of engagement,but today we are married and we are more happier than never before, I am really short of words and joyful, and i don't know how much to convey my appreciation to you doctor BEN you are a God sent to restore broken relationship.he deeply enjoy helping people achieve their desires, find true love,getting their ex lovers back,stop abusive relationships,find success,attract happiness,find soul mates and more,contact him today. and let him show you the wonders and amazement of his Love Spell System. He deliver results at his best in real spell casting, email him for help on benherbaltemple@gmail.com Via website: http://benherbaltemple.webs.com/ or you can also call him on +1(310)-220-0075.


hello everyone my name is Ross Krautsman from USA.Dr mogudu is the only Doctor who could ever get your HIV/AIDS cured with his healing herbal medicine , i have tried almost everything but i couldn't find any solution on my virus, despite all these happening to me, i always spend alot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day i was just browsing on the internet when i come across a great post of !vedal! who truly testify and said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed through the help of these great powerful healing herbal doctor, sometime i really wonder why people called him Dr.mogudu, i never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so i quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and he said a thing i will never forget that anyone who contacted him is ! always getting his or her healing in just 5 days after doing all he ask you, so i was amazed all the time i heard that from him, so i did all things he ask me to do so at at the very day which he said i will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and i becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so i went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said i am HIV negative, i am very amazed and happy about the healing DR.mogudu gave to me from the ancient powers, note that dr mogudu can also cure the following sickness penis enlargement,weak erection,premature ejaculation,herpes cure,infertility,breast enlargement and many more...you can email him now for your own healing too drmoguduspelltemple@gmail.com website http://drmoguduspelltempl.wixsite.com/spelltemple or call and whatsapp him on +2349055675364 +2348142943257 thanks

Sonia Mark 6:24 PM  

Good Day friends. Am here to share my testimony on how a specialize-healer called DR Clifford cure me from HIV.A great man who have the root and herbs to all kind of deadly disease.I saw his email on you-tube by a patient he have cure from Herpes When i contact him.he prepare the herbal medication for my HIV cure and also send it to me in USA via DHL, that get me cured.You can also reach he, his E-MAIL address drcliffordsolutioncenter62@gmail.com or call him +2348105049840. Sir i am indeed grateful for the help i will forever recommend you to my friend!!



hello everyone in this forum i am little bit ashamed to share this marvelous story about a great spell caster who helped me enlarge my small penis size through his herbal mixture cream,i was heartbroken before because i have a very small penis about 3.5 inches which was so annoying and shameful i could not satisfy my wife in bed ,,my marriage was really breaking and i needed help urgently,i have used pills,vaccines,drugs,surgery but none worked…so one faithful day as i was browsing through the internet i saw few comments on a forum about how Mr SAKHIN MEHMOD from UAE testified of how he helped him enlarge his penis and also cured his dad diabetes type 2 disease,,i contacted him through his website link http://drharrysolutio.wixsite.com/dr-harry he replied and gave me steps to follow and i did just as he said ,and he sent me the herbal cream to me through UPS and i received it within 4 days and used the herbal cream for just two weeks to my greatest surprise my penis that was 3.5 inches before enlarge to 10 inches long when fully erected ,for just two weeks of using his herbal mixture cream ,,wow my wife loved me more and was so happy that i can satisfy her very well now in bed ,,i even last longer than before thank you so much DR harry for making life a better one to live in ..so if you are out there having similar problems please contact him now on his email drharrysolution@gmail.com or visit his website http://drharrysolutio.wixsite.com/dr-harry or whatsapp him on +2348143240563 thanks
note he also have cure for diseases like

Sandra Dixon 4:04 AM  

My name is sandra, i live and work in Oxfordshire, UK. My life is back!!! After 2 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids, I felt like ending it all, i almost committed suicide because he left us with nothing, i was emotionally down all this while. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr.frankely of Ultimate spell cast which i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I came across several of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, you can contact him on (drfrankely@gmail.com or drfrankely@yahoo.com) or call him +13473807899.you can also view his web site: http://drfrankely4.wixsite.com/mysite ....he is the best caster that can help you with your problems. He can also cure many disease like HIV,, DIABETIES,,CANCER,,DIARIA,, IF YOU NEED A BABY IN YOUR FAMILY AND IF YOU NEED YOUR EX LOVER LIKE YOUR EX WIFE,,GIRL FRIEND,,EX HUSBAND,,EX BOY FRIEND.. add him on whatsapp +2347051767135

My name is sandra, i live and work in Oxfordshire, UK. My life is back!!! After 2 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids, I felt like ending it all, i almost committed suicide because he left us with nothing, i was emotionally down all this while. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr.frankely of Ultimate spell cast which i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I came across several of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, you can contact him on (drfrankely@gmail.com or drfrankely@yahoo.com) or call him +13473807899.you can also view his web site: http://drfrankely4.wixsite.com/mysite ....he is the best caster that can help you with your problems. He can also cure many disease like HIV,, DIABETIES,,CANCER,,DIARIA,, IF YOU NEED A BABY IN YOUR FAMILY AND IF YOU NEED YOUR EX LOVER LIKE YOUR EX WIFE,,GIRL FRIEND,,EX HUSBAND,,EX BOY FRIEND.. add him on whatsapp +2347051767135

Anita Greg 10:03 PM  

Hi! My name is ANITA GREG. I want to tell my testimony to the whole world of how this great and powerful man called Dr.KEN helped me to bring back my partner. My man left me for another lady for TWO years. I almost gave up until my friend advised me and introduced me to this great man whom she met on the internet. I never believed at first but she encouraged me and i tried to believe and contacted him on his email. I told and explained everything to him and he assured me that he will help me and that i should not worry too much. I believed him and i did all that he asked me to do which i did and it work perfectly and my husband came back to me begging for forgiveness. I am so happy and excited now. I discovered that when my husband came back he even loved me more than the way he used to love me before he left me. Dr.KEN opened up his eyes to see how much i love him and how much love we ought to share together as one. This is not brain washing contact Dr.KEN now on his email: greatdrkenspelltemple@gmail.com or via whatsapp : +2348104557346

Unknown 3:28 PM  

i never thought i would be HIV negative again after been diagnosed in 2015, i have tried everything possible in life from one doctor to another, one hospital to another, series of tests, different kinds of medication, i had already lost hope until i meet Great Dr. OSAGIE online testimonies, a specialist in herbal medication from Africa, i contacted him (drosagiesolutiontemple@gmail.com OR
DROSAGIESOULTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM) and he prepared HIV herbal medication for me which i took for 7days and now i am completely cured. i want to use this medium to express my gratitude to him for saving my life and curing me from HIV, for taking away all my pains and sorrows, I''m indeed grateful and i am so happy I''m now HIV negative. i will continue to tell the good news of your great works to everyone, if you have HIV or other disease contact him, Email: his email: (drosagiesolutiontemple@gmail.com OR
DROSAGIESOULTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM .wixsite.drosagiesolutionte.wixsite.com/solution on his blooger .http://drosagiesolutiontemple.blogspot.com.ng

) or His Whatsapp number: +2347030465649
thank you my great dr for curing me keep up your great work


garcia osas 9:44 AM  

IN THIS LIFE SOMEONE HAS TO TAKE THE RISK ON SOMETHING ,I AM Garcia hunfrey from New York City, Am here to share an Amazing testimony about how Dr ODOGUN just recently helped me in Getting my wife back to me that was something that i couldn't imagine will be so easy I've known Sophia for years, When we finally got married,things were so weird so we broke up in February 2015.In June 2016, she and I recently got back together and we were together until march 2017 when she started with some strange behavior later on she wasn't sleeping home. so one day she went out and did not return and ever since she left i haven't set eyes on her ever again and she couldn't give birth ever since i got married to her. During that time my mind was completely at a state of unrest, I wasn't eating, neither was i sleeping,because i love her so much that am willing to do anything to make her happy and be with her forever undermining our situation, I cried,I was so depressed and stressed out and was almost frustrated and was even planning to end it all. so one day i came across an aid were Victoria pope was shearing her testimony how a great spell caster that is above trust called Dr ODOGUN helped him and i love and care about her deeply that i just want her to come back because heavens knows how much i love her so i contacted him reluctantly. I never used to believe in spell casting but i gave it a try and it was a positive result. Today we are happily married and blessed by his Amazing powers with two wonderful kids. To you all out there no matter what you are facing similar to this this or not but just have this in mind that there is nothing imponderable that Dr odgun can not be made possible why because his Gifted. Once again thanks to Dr odogun with a . you can contact Dr. via his email address odogunspellhome@gmail.com or his whats app number +2349037605155

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