Gaming trailblazer / SUN 2-12-17 / 1950s French president Rene / Dismaying announcement about disaster relief / Roker's appeal before bastric bypass surgery / Abductor of Persephone

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Constructor: Lynn Lempel

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: "Do the Splits" — familiar phrases are clued as if one of the words is in fact two words, i.e. clued wackily

Theme answers:
  • GO OFF ON A TAN GENT (23A: Berate some guy for getting too much sun?)
  • POE, TRY READING (37A: Suggestion to a bored short story writer?)
  • BRA IN WAVES (55A: Result of a serious wardrobe malfunction at the beach?)
  • LAB OR PARTY? (74A: Scientist's dilemma regarding work vs. play?)
  • JUST ICE FOR ALL (86A: Dismaying announcement about disaster aid?)
  • FAT AL ATTRACTION (106A: Roker's appeal before gastric bypass surgery?)
  • UNFUNDED MAN DATES (36D: What a cash-strapped beau might take you on?)
  • FU MANCHU MUST ACHE (16D: "That villain in comics has sure gotta be sore!"?)
Word of the Day: POUFS (75D: High hairdos) —

noun: pouf; plural noun: poufs
  1. a dress or part of a dress in which a large mass of material has been gathered so that it stands away from the body.

    "a dress with a pouf skirt"
    • a bouffant hairstyle.

      "he grew his hair out in a sort of pouf" (google.com)

• • •

Started out loving this one, but also started out thinking the theme was something very different, more amusing, and more specific than it ended up being. First two themers I got were GO OFF ON A TAN GENT and UNFUNDED MAN DATES, so I thought it was going to be all about dudes somehow ... but then it just ended up being "split" words. Results were often good, but it's an extremely loose premise. There must be tons of words one can split. Why these? Just 'cause. I'm not a big fan of "some stuff I could think of that's symmetrical" as the primary limiter on a theme. Still, as I say, some were quite funny, including BRA IN WAVES and LAB OR PARTY? I still don't get what JUST ICE FOR ALL means in the context of its clue. How is "disaster aid" relevant here? It's dismaying to get ice as a form of disaster aid? To get *only* ice? But ... who brings ice to a disaster at all? I can't even imagine the context in which this makes any sense, let alone is funny. I asked Twitter. No response. Fu Manchu is a creation of *novelist* Sax Rohmer, so that whole "villain in comics" angle in the clue (16D) was lost on me. Also, that FAT AL ATTRACTION clue is super-off-putting. Somehow referring to someone's gastric bypass surgery felt ... overly personal. Dumb. Bad. There had to be a better way to go. I was thinking maybe Weird Al's video for "Eat It," but, improbably, that's NOT the one in which he gets fat. The one in which he gets fat is (improbably) yet another Michael Jackson parody: "Fat." 



I finished with a wrong square. Totally unfindable for me, even though I suspected that one of the words involved was wrong. But POUFS (75D: High hairdos) is not a thing I know very well, if at all, and as clued, well, I went with POOFS. If you hair is poofy ... POOFS. So I had NOB at 83A: Gist, and, as my friend Austin (who made the Same Mistake) said,  NOB "sounded perfectly gist-like to me." NUB, like POUFS, is a fussy word I'd never use. Also, I think of a NUB as a little stump, like a worn-down pencil. Just change NUB to SUB and the whole thing would've been confusion-free. But no. NUB. NUB was the preferred answer.


It's terrible form, design-wise, to have a 10-letter non-themer literally abutting a 10-letter non-themer (as happens twice in this grid). When themers are longer answers (as they are the vast majority of the time), there shouldn't be any non-themers as long (at least not running in the same direction). This is basic. Avoids confusion. Is elegant. RAWRECRUIT (51A: Greenhorn on the force) on top of BRAINWAVES is just yuck. I kept wanting RAWRECRUIT to be theme material and couldn't "split" it. ADMITTANCE (77A: Entry) didn't bug me as much (though, again, a word I'd never use), but the principle holds—non-themers are Shorter than themers. This is 101 stuff. The grid overall seems pretty solid, and many themers were enjoyable, but there was more clunk here, esp. in the theme, than there should've been.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS this is a treasure (the things you stumble on to when you're blogging a crossword...)


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

126 comments:

Charles Flaster 12:42 AM  

Very easy. Never stopped writing.
Only writeover was BOOS for BahS.
Creative cluing for CPA, PHONICS, LADLE, INFERNO, and my favorite themer ( by far) , FUMANCHU MUST ACHE.
Nice new clues for ELS and PEANUT.
I used the TAN GENT split quite often in my trig classes.
Thanks LL

Kenneth Wurman 12:42 AM  

Loved this one. I did mind the fat Al, didn't care for the man date, thought the best was was poe try try reading. Peanut cushioning?

Trombone Tom 12:43 AM  

Ms. Lempel more often gives us an early week puzzle, so it's a treat to have her for a whole Sunday grid.

@Rex cites some technical issues, but none of these bothered me. I enjoy word play and this crossword has plenty of it for our enjoyment.

The solving went pretty smoothly for me except for a couple of mis-steps. I tried HEBER before WEBER because I've not heard of the latter and there is a small town down near the southern border of California called HEBER. I also wrote in CEO, but it turned out to be the financial guy instead. Both of these mistakes were quickly fixed with the crosses.

Thank you Ms. Lempel and Mr. Shortz for a pleasant Sunday puzzle.

pmdm 12:44 AM  

I read both the comments here and those of Jeff Chen. Usually Mr. Chen's comments are more favorable to a puzzle than those I read here, but today seems to me to be an exception. The constructor's comments published on his site are well worth reading. They include some rejected theme answers and some insights into the workings of Mr. Shotz's mind.

I caught on to the theme quite early via FATAL ATTRACTION, but it really didn't help me that much. But the bottom line is that I did enjoy the puzzle, perhaps just a bit more than normal. But I also don't understand the "JUST ICE FOR ALL" answer in relation to the clue. I look forward to the explanation which I am sure will be given in one of the comments today.

I would have to strongly disagree with the complaint about the 10 letter entries that abut. Perhaps I just don't notice such things. Perhaps it's an issue of having to micro-analyze things until something materializes to complain about. If anything, I'd say creating a little trickery that forces solvers to think a little bit about which entries are theme entries is a plus.

LIBIDO and ORGY in the same grid. I wonder what Evil Doug will have to say about that.

Moly Shu 1:04 AM  

Same finish as @Rex, but I tracked down the NoB NUB. POUFS then rang a bell. I would imagine that ICE is a valuable commodity after a disaster, helping to preserve food. I seem to remember during hurricane Andrew recovery, ICE and water were constantly running short. Perfect opportunity for Metallica's ...and JUST ICE FOR ALL. Coulda got my headbang on.
Liked this one

David Schinnerer 1:14 AM  

I thought it was a really good puzzle. Rex asks "so many phrases to split, why these"?...Because those are the ones the "puzzle creator guy" chose to use out of the "so many". (too lazy to go back and look at his/her name) Jeez... only the ones Rex would have chosen would be the right ones. Such a narcissist...yet, here I am, reading his response, though I rarely agree. Such a weird phenomenon. I could never be around such a negative person in real life.

Ok, enough ranting...I just love doing crosswords, they are not a religion or science to me. Not worried about speed, and all the other minutiae that is involved. Maybe I'm in the wrong place here, sorry.
Peace to all...

chefwen 1:29 AM  

Loved, loved, loved it. Got the theme with GO OFF ON A TAN GENT after hopping around the grid for a long time, let out a big HAH! And was off to the races.

Didn't start out too well with tsks at 3D, reaps at4D (I know, it wasn't plural)' and rub at 5D. After much Wite Out I was able to mend that corner. After that mess I was a little more diligent in checking my crosses.

Power wash at 59A wasn't helpful at all.

Fun puzzle, time consuming, but enjoyable.

puzzle hoarder 1:34 AM  

I've been commenting for over a year now and this is the first time our host has ever confessed to a mistake. Who knows maybe it really is the first. I've assumed he's just maintaining this Alex Trebec (I hope I spelled that right) persona. Today breaks my own two days single letter mistake streak. As usual I paid little attention to the theme. Luckily the fill wasn't bad. Just challenging enough to be enjoyable. Knowing that 67D should be MANET not MONET was a highlight for me. Of course I had some write overs. AFROS/POUFS was one of them. I'm more familiar with POUFS as ottomans. It sure isn't from the NYTXP. I think the list said it was last used in '65. The hairstyle I just think of as bouffant. That JUST ICE themer was clunky and the FAT one bordered on distasteful but the rest were fine. Overall a fun Sunday.

Martín Abresch 1:37 AM  

I laughed at UNFUNDED MAN DATES, even though the plural form kept it from sticking the landing. I cringed at FAT AL ATTRACTION and GOOSE STEP.

65-Down's steamed CLAMS reminded me of this classic scene.

jae 2:22 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Mostly pretty amusing, liked it!

Isn't POOFS a pejorative Britishism? I did have NUt before NUB but I'd never heard of GARtO.

Daniel 2:23 AM  

I think JUST ICE FOR ALL might refer to inadequate medical attention? Like, a bomb went off and people needed transfusions, medicine, etc, and the EMTs just gave out a few ice packs. A little dark maybe?

Larry Gilstrap 2:50 AM  

I'm not sure I like these late night solving sessions, especially because Sunday printouts are tiny. Bleary towards the bottom. But, that's my problem not yours. The theme was a bit elusive at first. Kinda thinking that GOOF was some sort of DOOK and the idea of counseling Edgar Allan POE seemed so foreign to me, almost absurd. If had ever met the man I am certain he would have been daunting.

Remember PHONICS? Boy, they tried to shove that down the throats of every English teacher who knew better. Sound it out kids! Glad that duck died, or has it? Exhibit A: PHONICS, just like it sounds.

That bit of wisdom from Montaigne used to seem appropriate when lies lasted more than a few hours. I learned very early in life that I was lousy at lying and have rarely had to resort to that form of discourse. LIARS embarrass me.

I was born in LA, but have lived and worked in Orange County since the early 70's. GENE AUTRY was a presence on Lido Island, a benevolent owner of the Angels, and various media outlets. I never heard anything but compliments about the man.

CDilly52 3:16 AM  

Oh my goodness this one almost did me in. I kept trying to make all the long answers be themers and couldn't. Finally just hunkered down and slogged. Liked some of the themers (BRA IN WAVES, especially clever) but overall just difficult. I managed to finish, in part because I have two cats who insist on sitting on soft pillows that we call their POUFS. My seventh grade English teacher told us repeatedly that no word learned is wasted. Since my grandmother got me hooked on crosswords when I was eight, I already was a big believer in vocabulary. Saved me today - thank you Grans and Mrs. Roenker!

Carola 3:46 AM  
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Carola 3:54 AM  

I was happy to see Lynn Lempel's name at the top, as I always like her creative early week puzzles, and it was fun to see what she could do with more room to work with. I enjoyed figuring out the clever word splits in the longer phrases (with the same reservations as others about the bypass surgery and disaster relief), but thought the best were the shorter ones: LAB OR PARTY? and BRA IN WAVES.

That last one was my favorite, maybe because it made me laugh all over again at a memory: last spring my daughter was body surfing at a beach on the Big Island of Hawaii when she got tumbled in the washing machine action of the surf and suddenly - shwoop! - her bikini bottom was gone, ne'er to be seen again. Lest it sound mean that her own mom would find this funny, she was also laughing as she described crouching in the shore break considering by what miracle she could unobtrusively make it from shore to distant towel. In the end, nothing for it but to streak.

Anyway back to the puzzle - lots of non-theme pleasures, too: LIBIDO, PHONICS, FICHE, SIPHON, JAUNTY, INFERNO, CABALA, RAW RECRUIT.

George Barany 4:35 AM  

@Lynn Lempel, you had me at LAB_OR_PARTY!

Thanks, @Rex, for your review, and amen to @Martin Abresch's contributions/insights at 1:37 AM.

Yesterday, I reminisced about @ED_KOCH, my Congressman through the mid-1970's. Today's FU_MAN_CHU_MUST_ACHE answer has me going even further down memory lane to the late-1960's, thinking of my one-time neighbor (same apartment complex on First Avenue and 76th Street in NYC), @Joe Namath ... but I got side-tracked with this vintage commercial. Even more (and more on-point) can be found by clicking here.

Lewis 5:43 AM  

@rex -- Funny how wheelhouses differ. NUB/POUFS were slapped right down without a doubt.

Tis the season of love and love struck fast as I began to solve this. Lynn's puzzles have that spark, that crackle, that wit, and soon enough I was elated. Oh Sunday slog, where is thy sting? Certainly not here! I remember -- on a Monday puzzle, no less -- Lynn commented that she doesn't like to make puzzles with clues so direct that they insult the intelligence. I know in her puzzles there will be trickery and smile-producers, and that they may be difficult, but they will also be fair. Much joy in clues like those for RANKS, LADLE, ATOMS, PEANUT, INFER, and BATS. Much cleverness in the theme and theme answers. I know an LL puzzle will be made with care and a crinkle around the eyes, and my mind and heart will be lifted once more, and by golly, it just happened again!

Brett 6:14 AM  

I can't go to church this morning because I have the flu, but I suspect the Pete Yarrow video at the end will be church enough for me today. Thanks, Rex!

Roberta Weiner 6:19 AM  

Puzzle was ok (other than fat Al) but writing to thank you for the Peter Yarrow video. That was a beautiful way to start the day

Loren Muse Smith 6:52 AM  

I saw the trick pretty early with GO OFF ON A TAN GENT and was, like @Lewis, elated. Next was POE TRY READING. Yay. MUST ACHE split that way was worth the price of admittance.

And then, then… BRA IN WAVES! Man oh man is that great. I especially liked the themers that had a full-on, startling pronunciation change.

How can you not notice that Beatrix Potter was a kiddie litter?

First thought on the one with a lot of tweets – “turd.”

“Power wash” before SAND BLAST (hi, @chefwen) and “pie” before ABC. And speaking of an alphabet run, I thought of “qrs” before ESS.

Ira GLASS is the guy who put David Sedaris on the radio. You da man, Ira.

INFER and INFERNO. Hah.

I loved this theme and, as someone who’s received rejections because the theme wasn’t tight, I’ll just be encouraged that, if the themers are strong enough, there’s hope. I don’t care one whit that the themers here don’t tie together in some way. What’s more, all the words I’m hearing this morning on the news are entering my brain through an Adventures in Parsing filter. And that’s fun, the sign of a good theme in my book.

New York Gi Ants – buncha little Bronx bugs in their little karate get-ups doing their little katas. Ha YAAA!

Baby Sham Poo – little fake poop I keep in my desk drawer at school for emergency pranks. No lie.

@Daniel – Wow. You’re absolutely right on the JUST ICE deal. Thanks for that clarification. Funny how so many people want ice when there’s been an incident. Paper cut? I’ll run get some ice. I was never that mom who ran for ice for every boo-boo. Just throw a bandaid at’em and send’em back outside. It’s just a flesh wound.

@Carola – great Hawaii daughter story!

@David Shinnerer – you’re not in the wrong place. I remember what @retired_chemist (where are you, man?) – the puzzles? I like’em all. I always read what Rex writes, but I never let the sometimes extremely negative comments interfere with what I take away from a puzzle. Just come over and sit next to me.

Lynn – you always deliver. Loved it.

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

I know Autry wrote Frosty, but first thought was that Burl Ives sang it. Nob is something you gobble.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

NEW YORK TIMES CROSS WORDS = Empire State hold stopwatch at sermon

Passing Shot 7:30 AM  

So much wrong with this puzzle. Shouldn't 43A be LANKiER? Who says LANKER? And who calls children's LITerature KIDDIELIT? Seems a bit disparaging for an icon like Beatrix Potter. Then there are the puns. I hate puns. UNFUNDEDMANDATES and BRAINWAVES are groany in a cute way; the others are just ... ugh. And what's with the FAT-shaming of AL Roker? Sorry I'm TESTY. Liked the clues for PHONICS and CPA but the rest of this puzzle gets the EVILEYE from me.

chefbea 7:38 AM  

What a fun puzzle. Got the theme at Fatal attraction. Loved the clue for phonics!!!

'mericans in Paris 7:51 AM  

We found this one more easy than medium. But it offered enough resistance to be enjoyable.

Mrs. 'mericans started the puzzle and quickly got BRA IN WAVES. And LAB OR PARTY. The latter bugged me, because I am much more accustomed to seeing political parties spell the word "LABOuR". The United States, and some individual states, have had LABOR PARTies at times over the last century and a half, but they've rarely been serious players. Curiously, Wikipedia lists not only the Australian LABOR PARTY but also the Democratic LABOuR PARTY and the Progressive LABOuR PARTY in the same country. I wonder if that extra "u" (hey M & A!) indicates a greater affinity with the UK.

Am surprised that @Rex had a problem in getting to the NUB of the matter. On the other hand, I agree that FAT AL ATTRACTION was badly clued. An alternative could have been "Early popular Bill Cosby act?". But I suppose that Mr. Cosby is persona non grata these days, so the constructor or Will Shortz may have felt obliged to find a different reference.

Liked seeing RONALD in the puzzle, and NAFTA (BOOS to those who want to scrap it) and GATS (which in my world stands for the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services). However, could constructors please take a rest from SSN for a year or three? Surely there are plenty of GNU three-letter abbreviations that can be used.

CLOUDY and cold here in Paris, but supposed to warm up and get sunny the next several days.

CHEERS.

Glimmerglass 8:00 AM  

@Molly Shu and @Daniel have parsed JUST ICE correctly, but it's still kind of lame. Maybe I'd clue it "What the crime boss always gives his lady friends." In defense of the FAT AL split: Al Roker made a news item out of his gastric bypass, so in his case it wasn't "private" at all.

r.alphbunker 8:16 AM  

95A {Heart of the matter?} ATOMS/80D {Take some shots} FILM was the trickiest part of the puzzle for me.

Details are here.

Z 8:42 AM  

@pmdm - I was having a fine morning and then you pointed me to Lempel's comments which included this "gem" from Shortz: I think bloggers accord way too much importance to this sort of thing, which average solvers don't give a hoot about. My rule is: No answer word in its entirety can be part of a clue, and no clue in its entirety can be part of an answer. But in most cases, partial to partial duplication, as in this puzzle, doesn't matter. Just let me get this off my chest, Bull Shit. Horse Hockey. Steaming Pile of Elephant Dung. Long before I knew there were actually written guidelines or that there were crossword blogs or that there were indie puzzles or a movie about crosswords I knew certain things about crosswords, one of which was "if it is in a clue it won't be in an answer." And why shouldn't be the rule? It is not as if we have a shortage of words. Software and search engines making avoiding this a matter of a few extra seconds of editing, maybe re-working a section. I fully expect a Chaffetzesque "paid commenters" to be uttered next.

kitshef 8:47 AM  

Loved loved loved loved it. All the themers tickled me ... so unlike a typical Sunday. Some of the threes are iffy, and not fond of LANKER, but the awesomeness of the rest of it allows me to overlook those.

FU MANCHU was the primary villain in the hugely under-rated comic book, Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu.

kitshef 8:49 AM  

Just read the comments. @chefwen - I really wasn't trying to one-up you with my 'loved's

Maryann Gorman 9:27 AM  

Didn't mind NUB as a synonym for GIST, and you can see why starting at around 0:42 here: https://youtu.be/eDdnI87xLVY . Amazing how certain phrases and deliveries stick with you for 40 years!

I, too, found FAT AL ATTRACTION to be off-putting at the least.

Stuart Showalter 9:36 AM  

Right on, David! Who appointed Rex the arbiter of all things yuck and wrong?! Where (besides in Rex's imagination) is it written that something is "bad form"?

Stuart Showalter 9:37 AM  

Right on, David! Who appointed Rex the arbiter of all things yuck and wrong?! Where (besides in Rex's imagination) is it written that something is "bad form"?

Wednesday's Child 9:38 AM  

Don't like Sunday puzzles. Take too much time. No joy. Nothing against the constructor. Just the size.

Did like CDilly52's comment from her Gran, no learned word is wasted.

Numinous 9:41 AM  
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AliasZ 9:54 AM  


Simple solution: FAT AL ATTRACTION -- "Mr. Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'?"

Numinous 9:55 AM  

Well, damn! I had fun with this. I didn't find it too hard at all. I didn't worry about the "splits" in the themers until very late in the solve and then I got the fun AHA moments.

I'm not sure why but FAT AL ATTRACTION and GOOSE STEP just didn't bother me. Maybe I just don't take that stuff so seriously. Like Pogo says, ". . . it ain't nohow permanent." And that's probably the NUB of the matter for me.

@Rex, why these particular themers? As was said before, because these are the ones Lynn chose after careful consideration for the puzzle overall. She's been making puzzles for 38 years so by now I think she has some idea what she's doing.

@Z, it's not like Shortz partially duplicates words in clues and answers all the time. It happens sometimes but it's rare. I think his attitude is fine and he does mention folks like us who number in the thousands as compared to puzzle solvers in general who number in the millions. I'm inclined to agree that a lotta folks just don't give a sh*t.

Great puzzle, Ms. Lempel and congratulations on your cruciverbal longevity.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

POOFS for me too!

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

In Case of Emergency

QuasiMojo 10:14 AM  

I am somewhat amazed by the reactions here. I thought this was one of the worst puzzles I've ever seen in the New York Times, let alone anywhere else. Dumb puns, labored "wit," tiresome clues. Offensive humor. "Fat Al"? Someone must have handed out some punch or something. Halfway through I thought why am I wasting my time. But I wanted to at least have some sense of achievement by having started it. So I put in all the stupid letters and got the musical flourish that usually brings a smile to my face. Today it only made me grimace. I don't know what planet I'm on anymore as I can't see how anyone, let alone the cognoscenti who frequent this blog, could find this drivel amusing.

David Schinnerer 10:18 AM  

And my apologies to Ms. Lemuel in my post way up near the top for calling her the "guy" who created this puzzle, as I stated, I was too lazy to go back and check, (mea culpa). Very sexist of me to assume it was a guy. I didn't vote for Drumpf, I swear!!

Eric 10:24 AM  

@Rex thanks for that wonderful clip.

John McKnight 10:37 AM  

I don't have anything good to say

Tita A 10:38 AM  

I loved this puzzle too. In spite of the popular revulsion at the FAT AL themer.

My parents lived in Paris and the outskirts when COTY was around. When they moved to the suburbs, they had hens in the COOP. One hen would regularly fly that COOP, returning a week or so later. They never learned where that floozy spent her time.

I dnf'd because I had the 'murican spelling of COzY, which made me think a bOOzESTEP was something you see during the St. Patrick's Day parade in March, and wondered whether bARtO was some early film star.

@Numi's @Z riposte...I agree.

Thanks, Ms. Lempel!

ES 10:41 AM  

I really enjoyed today's puzzle; just one or two cringes as noted in other comments, but overall a solid B plus in my opinion.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

I ended the same way, with 'poof'. Natick territory. Disappointing...

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@Martin Abresch, thanks for your "steamed hams" video. lol'd!!

Teedmn 10:47 AM  

My BRAIN WAVES had me going all the way back to Justice BreNNan (who quit the SCOTUS back in 1990 and died in 1997) off the N of NASH but that would have left Dr. Ruth with a "sex lab topic which seemed unlikely. LIBIDO smacked me back into the right ERAS and I remembered Sandra Day O'CONNOR.

I went for the chemical solution of drAno before the SNAKE seduced me to the correct answer. "As yet" was Since, my "Way to go" was a rtE, and this puzzle was as easy as "pie" instead of ABC. Luckily I still remember my ABCs because I had to run them a couple of times.

My cOiFS answer for high hairdos went POUFS when I finally sussed out LAB OR PARTY. I was a bit confused by some of the longer fill, trying to break apart RAW RECRUIT and GOOSE STEP into smaller, punny phrases but those, along with SANDBLAST and ADMITTANCE, weren't invited out on the UNFUNDED MAN DATES. I see @Rex made the same observation.

Nice Sunday, Lynn Lempel, thanks, and it was made more enjoyable by solving randomly, thanks to @r.alphbunker.

GILL I. 10:54 AM  

@Quasi....Yikes!
I wish I could parse BOYISLYNNEGOOD. This is my favorite Sunday puzzle this year. Let me add another LOVE to @chefwen and @Kitschef.
And...MY favorite was FAT AL ATTRACTION. Rocker still, to this day, talks about how FAT he was and how his bypass surgery saved him. Every single moment he could/can, he'd repeat his fatness. So this clue was perfectly fine. Sheesh! (hi @LMS) POE TRY READING had me laughing and so did Mr. FU MAN CHU. The theme was just a lot of FUn (you must pay attention to it)...
My BRA IN WAVES hit a "glitch" at GOOSE STEP because I wanted the tea accessory to be spelled with a Zed and I just left the POOFS/NOB but I don't care.
I know everyone likes the PEA NUT clue but I don't think I understand how it's a bit of cushioning. Is that the stuff you put in boxes?
A thousand CLAMS for you LL. I'll take more of these any day
SODDEN LIBIDO signing off..

Nancy 10:56 AM  

I loved this puzzle. Much thinking was required and I found it playful and diverting. Imaginative, too. I picked up the theme at the first opportunity: GO OFF ON A TAN GENT, which made me smile. I did pull a GRIM ACE (the card you draw in blackjack when you already have 11 points) at the FAT AL clue, though. I suspect that poor Mr. Roker won't like this puzzle much and I hope he doesn't see it. And I also really, really could have skipped GOOSE STEP.

I wanted TSKS or TUTS before BOOS, so it took me a while to see LIBIDO (I was originally thinking ORGASM, though it didn't work). And if I hadn't misread 68A as "M on a farm (what on earth???), I might have gotten that section quicker. In fact, I was really, really slow in my solving -- and that's more than OK on this dismal morning where JUST ICE is coming down on a day that they promised rain. The longer this took, the better, as far as I'm concerned. A delightful diversion.

Devoted Reader 11:05 AM  

When we have a power outage in the summer due to thunderstorms or trees on wires, ice (or dry ice) is useful for saving all the food in our fridges that might otherwise spoil. Maybe because that happens a lot where I live, that was not a puzzler for me.

GHarris 11:10 AM  

Had to Google for Juliet quote and definition of turbid, otherwise everything fell in for me including pouf and all the themes. All in all an enjoyable exercise.

Nancy 11:17 AM  

@David Schinnerer (1:14 a.m.)-- As others have by now probably told you, you are in the right place. I have never once looked at a clock while solving a puzzle, nor felt the slightest curiosity about what my "best time" is. I have no idea what it is. As I've said before, it would be like seeing how fast you can eat a fine steak or lobster or how rapidly you can guzzle a great wine. As for Rex -- I simply don't read him. I don't know when he's grumpy. I don't know when he's being unfair to the constructor. I don't even know when he's being warm and fuzzy, which I'm sure he must be at least on some occasions. I neither know nor care. I come here solely for the community of the commentariat -- why not do the same, David?

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

@Z: So if the word "man" is an answer in a puzzle, no clue in the entire puzzle can have the word "man" in it? That's preposterous.

Maruchka 11:21 AM  

Any girl in the 60s, who ever went to a fancy dance, knew how to spell POUF. Guys - I do love the POoF gesture in 'The Usual Suspects', too.

Very happy with this one. One quibble - GO OFF ON A TAN GENT. All the other answers made 'alternative' sense to me (Poe, try reading; Justice for all; etc.). Is there such a thing as a Gooffana tangent, @mathniks?

Fav of the day - GENE AUTRY. A dear friend (now gone, alas) wrote a fun and insightful play about marketing and Westerns. AUTRY loomed large in the analysis. It's nice to hear that GENE was deemed a nice guy, @LarryG. I seem to remember he owned one of the large Nob Hill hotels in SF, can't remember which.

@'mericans - Thanks for mentioning FAT ALbert. Boy, how fallen are the mighty.. I loved Bill. Sniff.

CDilly52 11:27 AM  

And a big AMEN!! My grandmother got me hooked on crosswords and taught me the "rules" ....almost 60 years ago. No "cross-referencing" (as she called it) was RULE ONE.

Aketi 11:34 AM  

Got the splits with the TAN GENT and all the rest followed easily except SAND, BLAST, ADMITTANCE, and ATTRACTION. Finally discovered FAT AL and had a moment of sadness over the fact that sometimes talented people can be so flawed. As for the other no longer FAT Al, I didn't him recognize at all when his son was in the group that tested for their black belt with me. AL Roker and his family had to be the most adorable group of cheerleaders for his son throughout the 3 hour test and the belt tying ceremony. The Roker family rocked.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

I believe Rex appointed himself when he created HIS blog that you have no obligation to read. In this instance, "bad form" is written in REX'S blog. Feel free to go elsewhere

Aketi 11:40 AM  


@David Schinnerer (1:14 a.m.)-- I'm with @Nancy on savoring the puzzles. I prefer puzzles that last through two slowly sipped cappuccinos in bed. I solve on an iPad because it takes longer for me to typethan on a computer and I can solve with the iPad over my head while lying down.

Maddiegail 11:41 AM  

Feel so much better about myself! Rex didn't get JUST ICE FOR ALL either. But I finished the puzzle and that makes it a good day!

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Mr. Parker a bitter, overly critical sort, obviously tiring of his task.
Puzzle one of the better Sunday's in a while

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Possibly the worst NYT Sunday ever.

JC66 11:48 AM  

It's now 11:30AM in NYC and I've just started reading the comments (I got up to around 3:30 AM) and wanted to give my interpretation of *JUST ICE FOR ALL* in case no one else has.

As part of their incredibly botched response to hurricane Katrina, FEMA sent tons (literally) of unneeded ice to the affected area(s).

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/02/us/nationalspecial/stumbling-stormaid-effort-put-tons-of-ice-on-trips-to.html

Works for me.

@RP Loved the peter yarrow clip. Thx.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Just Ice For All would refer to people looking food, clothing, shelter, etc. after a disaster but only ice is offered. Not a difficult reach to deduce.

Ended with the same NOB but quickly realized it was NUB as I've heard of poufs and something being the "nub of the matter" in same reference as "heart of the matter."

Blue Stater 11:52 AM  

Excellent puzzle. Intellectually challenging, no tricks, no fuss or muss, and above all, no factual or linguistic errors (or none that I could discover), an increasing rarity these days. Let's have more puzzles like this one.

Joseph Michael 11:52 AM  

While traveling last week, I did some NYT crosswords from the February 2007 archives and one had a similar reparsing theme with GO OFF ON A TAN GENT in it clued the same way. So when this turned out to be the first themer in today's puzzle, i felt a little ripped off. It turned me against the puzzle and I ended up doing the rest of it with an EVIL EYE.

The other themers were thankfully different and I did like BRA IN WAVES a lot but the theme for the most part felt strained and unfunny.

I think my favorite answer was the non-themer GOOSE STEP as clued. My least favorite was LANKER which is a word that no one has ever actually said.

I usually like Lynn Lempel puzzles but this was a disappointment in spite of the fact that I solved the whole thing without a hitch.

Laurence Katz 12:05 PM  

I don't think Rex was being unduly harsh on the inclusion of long non-themers. He holds constructors to the highest standards. As a critic, that is his job. And he is correct, in this instance. There is nothing that terrible about the long non-themers, but they add an element of confusion that should not be occur in the very best puzzles. So, to put it another way, Rex is offering constructive criticism (pun intended): for this puzzle to attain the loftiest heights of puzzledom, the long non-themers should not exist.

Norm 12:17 PM  

Pffft. This was a great puzzle. Long non-themers? You can't spot the absence of a "?" ? Loved this puzzle. Yes, JUST ICE FOR ALL could have been clued better (maybe "Staff forgot to bring heating pads to the soccer game?" or some such), but BRA IN WAVES was so hilarious (and in the Old Gray Lady, at that) that it made up for it.

old timer 12:20 PM  

I thought it was a fine and relatively Easy puzzle until I got to the SE. Because I had "cozy" I could not suss out Mr. MANCHU's MUSTACHE. Finally changed it to COSY and completed the puzzle. I did Google for Juliet's HATE, and also to make sure there is a fashion line called CHLOE.

Thank you, thank you, @Rex for the wonderful clip of Peter Yarrow explaining Puff. A song that kept Lenny Lipton from abect poverty for many years. Or so I always believed.

Gil 12:21 PM  

Thank you for this Peter Yarrow clip. It is truly wonderful.

Gil 12:25 PM  

Oh, and cone on, guys. After a disaster, people need food, housing, medical care... what would happen if there was "just ice for all." Just because we love puzzles doesn't mean we have to be so literal-minded.

Bruce Levy 12:39 PM  

I liked it, but then again I'm no maven. I found myself wrestling with it at times, but finishing it off.

Happy Pencil 12:50 PM  

@Passing Shot, the term KIDDIE LIT, or sometimes kid lit, is commonly used in publishing circles. I agree with your remarks about Al Roker, though. That soured me on what was quite an enjoyable puzzle up to that point. I really wish she hadn't gone there.

And while I couldn't care less about the kid/KIDDIE duplication, I really hated that both EVEL and EVIL EYE appear as answers.

Still, this is certainly not the worst puzzle I've ever seen. I'm really surprised that it has elicited such extreme and contrasting reactions! Chacun à son goût, I suppose.

Nancy 1:05 PM  

Seven favorable comments! I just counted them! Which led me to view the Peter Yarrow clip that I had initially overlooked, because, as I say, I don't read Rex. I hate to be the grumpy one today, but what in the name of heaven are all of you raving about? Adoring vintage Peter, Paul and Mary as I do, this clip was unbearably painful to me. First of all, there were the made-it-up-as-he-went-along new words -- which didn't scan, didn't rhyme, didn't remotely fit the music, weren't even real lyrics at all. Mightn't it have been a peachy idea for Yarrow to have conceived and written out the new "lyrics" ahead of time -- before inflicting them on an audience? Second, Whatever happened to his voice? And, third, Whatever happened to his musical ear? No, Peter. Being adorable and folksy doesn't hack it if you bloody can't sing anymore! Time to hang it up, I'm afraid. You had a beautiful voice, once. Let's let that be what people remember.

Alan_S. 1:09 PM  

Enjoyed this one for the most part, however I found it more challenging than just medium.
It must be because of the renown Austrian/Icelandic figure skater, Dava Fiche Lanker, whom I've never heard of.

Masked and Anonymous 1:10 PM  

I'da called it "Split the Difference", but it was wonderful, anyhoo.

Really primo solvequest … it went soo smooth at our house, M&A felt like he was thinkin just like Ms. Lempel. Made M&A feel like a normal human for an entire Sunday mornin. SunPuz grids are like epic constructioneerin projects, yah know. In order to whittle the grid beast down to 140 words, U about hafta open up huge swaths of white squares somewheres [see northern swathes of 7(sorta)-7-5 lengths, today]. And yet the fillins came out extra-nice here, somehoo. Bravo, Lynn Lempel darlin.

Real real clever theme. fave themers: [answers far below*]
1. {"Drink yerself to death, lil goat!"}
2. {Let a trance in, almost??}
3. {Give the vineyard new untreated manure??}
4. {USB structure strategy??}
5. {Groping miracle worker's new 45rpm album??}

staff weeject pick: POUFS. "Poof!" … there's now a U in there! (yo, @'mericans in Paris) [4- and 5-letter words count as "weejects", on yer SunPuz white giant.]

Thanx, Ms. Lempel. Good job, as always. Now go do one of them MonPuzs, to get yer nerve back.

Masked & Anonymo9Us

* 1. "KID, DIE LIT!"
2. ADMIT T[r]ANCE.
3. RAW RE-CRU IT.
4. S AND B LAST.
5. GOOSE ST. E.P.


**gruntz**

Sherm Reinhardt 1:15 PM  

POUF was my last square as well, but I persevered and finally realized that NOB couldn't be "gist." After I've gotten the whole thing done and still have one square wrong, it sometimes takes another 20 to 25 percent of the already elapsed time before I find that one dagnabbed letter. "Balderdash" indeed.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

I think the ice clue is a reference to FEMA's ill fated attempt to provide ice for victims. Trucks were sent every which way, not enough was delivered and eventually FEMA destroyed the ice at a considerable cost for storage and melting.Google FEMA ice Katrina.

Cassieopia 1:31 PM  

Another no-google Sunday! Puzzle fell for me at FUMANCHU MUST ACHE. I was excited to see that I was in for word play rather than a rebus. The Al Roker fill was a bit sour, but all else was fun and I really enjoyed finishing this off with my morning coffee. Nicely done, thank you Lynn Lempel!

Imfromjersey 1:35 PM  

Was I the only one who briefly put in ORGASM in 1A? Maybe if this was an AVCX puzzle... Some of these were great, but Bra in Waves doesn't really make sense, unless a bikini top is ever called a bra. Puzzle was easy and some of these were true groaners but overall a fun solve. Thanks Ms Lempel!

Michelle 1:37 PM  

I think JUST ICE FOR ALL makes sense, as ICE means "in case of emergency" - you are supposed to have a contact in your phone now, labeled ICE, for someone to call... I. C. E.

COMMON SENSE 1:58 PM  

Cluing was wrong.

86.A should have read, "Dismaying Announcement After Illegal Border Crossing"

There, fixed it!

Rhino 2:02 PM  

Puzzle was fine. A little off my wavelength - and I also found the Roker clue a bit off-putting, but enjoyed it overall.

That Puff the Magic Dragon video though - easily the best part of my day. Thanks Rex!

evil doug 2:11 PM  

Once Al told "Dateline" that he'd dumped in his trou at the White House, I think all bets were off...

Jerry Herlihy 2:25 PM  

Jersey girls poof their hair. Makes it stand high over head. Think Snooki of Jersey Shore fame. I know poof, not pouf.

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Dear freeloader Nancy,

If REX didn't work hard every day to publish his blog in a timely manner, where would you post your tiresome drivel?

One Time Grunt 2:50 PM  

@Nancy: Amen to the critique of that video Lady!

@evil doug: Thanks to you and you brethren, hundreds if not thousands of American foot soldiers, are alive today. This is the Puff,The Magic Dragon that they remember, raining fire from the skies. The AC-47 gunship, and your baby the AC-130 gunship AC-130 gunship could orbit the target for hours, providing suppressing fire over an elliptical area approximately 52 yd (47.5 m) in diameter, placing a round every 2.4 yd (2.2 m) during a three-second burst. The aircraft also carried flares it could drop to illuminate the battleground. Awesome firepower!

Charlie used a ton of palm fronds on his butt when he heard Puff coming.

Thanks for that doug.




phil phil 3:26 PM  

JUST ICE FOR ALL : long version of BYOB on invite

phil phil 3:34 PM  

FAT AL ATTRACTION : Cosby voiceover character's girl friend

mhiggy05 3:47 PM  

Long time reader, new commenter. I couldn't let your post pass without a comment. I rarely hate puzzles, but this was one. I groaned and shifted uncomfortably with each theme answer. So forced, hard to parse... general Sunday slog throughout. I thought after reading this blog I was the only one!

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

A couple of chuckles in these perilous times - particularly FUMANCHIMUSTACHE & UNFUNDED MANDATE.

But INERT can't be sluggish!

evil doug 4:00 PM  

I wish I could take the credit, Grunt, but I never had the honor of flying the AC edition. One of my instructors did and shared his "home movies", and it was impressive.

And many thanks to you. We both know who got their hands dirty--I'm not worthy to shine your combat boots. "One Time" means *all*-time to me....

phil phil 4:01 PM  

For those who may not know, although Peter Yarrow did not consciously consider this, Puff resides truly in a place called hanalei.

Photos? Sure Puff (not pouf)

phil phil 4:33 PM  

Sorry for post #4

Here is his head notice the tuftted nose and the long dragon snout but mainly the long rectangular shadow, the eye, slightly left of center.
dragon head

Sandy 4:46 PM  

Yup----poof/nob was my downfall too. But the "Puff" video clip made it all better. Thanks for that!!!

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

Please, Mr. Barany...no spoilers!! It usually takes me a few days to struggle through Fridays and Saturdays, but it's worth it when I can actually finish without Uncle Google.

Please follow the rules, even the unwritten ones, in this wonderful corner of the internet.

(I mean like, yaknow, ya coulda simply said "Yesterday, I reminisced about my Congressman through the mid-1970's..." and made the same point without spoiling it for anyone.)

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Not a big fan today. Felt clueing sloppy. Super suffix is est? Banquet, a noun, gets dine, a verb, way to go is ave.--as in avenue? And I agree that lanker should be lankier. Got through the puzzle but without enthusiasm. Didn't have trouble with the themes once I saw fumanchu....

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

No Gene Autry did not write "Frosry the Snowman" - as pronounced by a previous poster, but he was the first to sing it.

Z 6:40 PM  

For those of you who didn't read the constructor's comments over at xwordinfo.com, she was equally ambivalent about this theme.

@Numinous and @Tita A - So you're saying you have never discarded an answer because it was a dupe with a clue? Or maybe only when it was a full dupe.

@Anon11:21 - Because there are no possible synonyms for man to use in a clue and every answer has only one way to clue it ever.

Worse, the constructor's clue was changed into a dupe. I'm sticking to my original call. If you are going to call yourself the gold standard then be the gold standard. Don't give me a lame "no big deal."

G. Weissman 7:07 PM  

Rex is right: Fu Manchu is a creation of novelist Sax Rohmer. Otherwise, he is known from Christopher Lee's portrayals on film. The idea that this "Yellow Peril" villain is from "comics" suggests a puzzle maker who regards various forms of "popular, "low" culture as interchangeable. Pretty poor for the NYT.

daveyhead 8:00 PM  

Finding any meaningful problems with this puzzle is impossible to me. Loved it

Tita A 8:18 PM  

@Z...I've probably only noticed 1% of partial dupes like the one today, particularly in a Sunday, unless someone points it out.

Heck - I had NUt for NUB, never noticing PEANUT.

Should my lazy ambivalence mean standards should be lowered? I guess not. But I am more incensed by dull and stupid clues like MEAT for Lamb (And no, I'm no vegan - it's just a terrible, terrible clue for which an infinite number of better ones exist) then a fairly innocuous KID/kiddie faux pas.

Not to mention an endless stream of things that are really important to be incensed about.

jberg 8:38 PM  

I found this tougher than most -- at one point I had the whole NW filled in, right down to the second of those two diagonal lines of black squares -- but nothing at all in the SE. PRIED and AUTRY helped me out there, but it still took a long time.The big problem was FIre before FILM, plus having only the vaguest notion that Al Roker was a thing. But it finally all fell into place; moreover, without the duplication rule, I'd have put in 'power wash' instead of SAND BLAST, and then where would I have been?

I did enjoy the theme, once I stopped trying to figure how RAW RECRUIT fit in.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

Did our most favorite, always upbeat lady @LMS just call our president "turd"? Aren't you a middle school teacher? What kind of a role model are you for our young people?

Independent

Z 9:08 PM  

@Tita A - On my incens-o-meter the KID dupe in a Sunday puzzle is at most a 5 on a scale of 1 to 100. Shortz' cavalier dismissal is at least a 15, maybe even 20, which is about as high as my incens-o-meter goes for anything xword related. Any complaint about a crossword is the very definition of a "first world problem."

Numinous 9:13 PM  

LOL@jberg, RAW. RECRUIT fit in because of the crosses. Yeah, yeah, I know. That just occurred to me and gave me a little chuckle.

@Z, No, I'd never use a dupe. At least not as long as I could catch them which is usually. I do recognize that shit happens though and sometimes something like that might get past Will or Joel. Especially given today's avowel. I thought it amusing that someone earlier bitched about EVEL and EVILEYE. I know how they look but to me they are radically different. I'm sure it's been done but a theme of homophones and near homophones might just drive these armchair critics insane.

I'm vastly entertained by the POUF POoF confusion. Especially along with UNFUNDED MAN DATES. Is there suddenly an LGBTQ theme here? I remember when POoF was short for POoFter pronounced more like POoFda. That used to be a term for a guy searching for a MANDATE. Might have been a good one to appear in yesterdays "Across the Pond" puzzle. Just by the bye, I think the phrase, "across the pond" is irrevocably stupid. I've sailed across that body of water during a hurricane. There was nothing pond-like about it.







BTW, @Z, I do enjoy your insight and pithiness.

Anonymous 10:54 PM  

Can someone explain the answer "peanut"?

Numinous 11:04 PM  

Plastic "peanuts are often used as packing/padding in shipping to keep the goods inside a box from rattling around.

Anonymous 11:06 PM  

Thanks!

Unknown 2:56 AM  

Chill out

Sasha Nove 8:07 AM  

Packing peanuts.

RalphWiggumisGod 4:33 PM  

Awesome clip!

Joe Bleaux 11:45 PM  

@anon 11:37. In my opinion, you are correct, sir, or ma'am. The blog is Rex's, and he be da man. Anyone who doesn't appreciate him, or the aforementioned fact, not only could, but should, take it on down the road.

Joe Bleaux 11:47 PM  

Nope. Spot on.

Joe Bleaux 11:52 PM  

Nob it ain't; knob is.

Izzie 11:53 AM  

Goosestep stopped me

spacecraft 12:25 PM  

I liked it. Medium, maybe leaning toward challenging in spots, but doable using some gray cells. Some of the clues are a bit sideways, such as the above-mentioned "Sluggish" (moving slowly) for INERT (NOT moving AT ALL). Agree that the JUSTICE clue is a tad problematic.

My POUFS were cOiFS to start, and remained so until I uncovered the hilarious LABORPARTY. So the c became a P--and for some reason I naturally (?) replaced the I with a U. Never even considered POoFS. I don't know why.

Another twin possibility turned out to be a triplet: "Club cousins." Was it BarS (places to go at night), or was it BaTS (weapons)? No, no, it was...BLTS (sandwiches)! Marvelous! Oh, my usual aversion to acronymics? Not this one. First of all, the BLT is firmly in the common language--in its abbreviated form--and secondly: I love 'em!

So I am not going to RANT and RAVE (same clue!); no HATE spewed here. But...is UNFUNDEDMANDATES a thing? Haven't heard that phrase before, although it brings to mind a certain blond politico...

DOD candidates abound, but I guess my last impression was the most lasting: Glenn Close in the title role of 106-across. Talk about your LIBIDO! Today's score actually appears in the puzzle: BIRD.

rondo 12:59 PM  

Har. Best thing I'll say about it is that there was no rebus, although any puz with RONALD in it catches my eye. Too bad it's a Reagan clue, though.

I've mentioned before that 20s/30s yeah baby Greta GARBO was a cousin of my grandmother and resented Gram's permanent move to the U.S. Should I feel odd about calling a relative a yeah baby?

I thought the FAT AL one was the best. Faint praise. So warm today that I'll definitely be using the WEBER.

Ray o sunshine 1:29 PM  

We, like others must get the Sunday puzzles a week later than the rest of you. So anyway....finished fairly quickly but didnt get the "Justice for all" clue..and poor Al Roeker.

Burma Shave 1:59 PM  

RINSE TESTY SANDBLAST

AZURE ROMAN MALE with a LIBIDO, I INFERNO ORGY's a dud,
IHOP around and IGETIT SOFAR as IGET CHEERS as a STUD.

--- RONALD OCONNOR, ASST. CFO, CPA

Diana,LIW 2:33 PM  

Interesting construction comments by Rex. I did notice that some of the non-themers were longer than usual. I rather liked it (them), and thought, "I wonder why you don't see more of this?" I love it when I can suss out a longer answer - they really help the solve.

Surprised that Rex and others didn't give more "hate" to the punnyness of the answers. (Again, which I love.) My first was BRAINWAVES - HA! Momentarily paused at the Roker answer; however, it brought to mind his (I believe) bravery at being so open about his surgery and prior struggles with weight. I'm sure that made a lot of other struggling people feel like they had a friend in Al, and they felt less alone. Being in the news business, I'm sure someone will point this reference out to him. I rather think he'd laugh - he seems like an even-keeled guy.

GOOSESTEP also made me pause, so I looked it up and discovered that it is still used in militaries in at least 70 countries world-wide. But it will always have the connotation many noted.

Didn't even notice "KID" showing up twice. It wasn't in the clue for the answer, though, so a minor penalty. Could easily have been avoided.

Also had bats before BLTS, so I stared at AASTER for a while. And Dave before DAVA - never heard of a DAVA. My bad.

Wonder if we'll be seeing some UNFUNDEDMANDATES in the coming months? Stay tuned, folks.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

AnonymousPVX 2:40 PM  

Same issue, poof/pouf. Nice puzzle - for a Gimmick puzzle - but clumsy clueing, plus another same issue, hard to tell what was and wasn't part of the gimmick. Meh.

AnonymousPVX 2:45 PM  

Forgot to mention how much I appreciated the Peter Yarrow clip. Ever since I first heard the song - and I'm 63 - I always felt bad for Puff. Nice that Mr. Yarrow cleared that up and closed the circle. I actually felt good about that, kind of dumb I guess but I'm glad Puff has a new friend.

leftcoastTAM 5:25 PM  

Inclined to agree with Rex on the uneven quality of the themers. Liked the long downs the best and would even throw in the amusing BRA IN WAVES.

Actually, apart from the themers, there were several aha moments in moving through whole puzzle.

Middle South was the rockiest part, with its ICE and FAT AL themers. POUFS became obvious after getting NUB, which is a common and well-used word, I thought.

Over all, found and enjoyed this one more than most Sundays.



Ben Eggenberger 8:18 PM  

I just realized something. I do not need the kind of negativity this guy spews every week in my life! I'm done!

Good ol'l Joe 1:44 PM  

I was thinking maybe it was an ice storm disaster and the forecast for tomorrow unfortunately is more ice on the way. JUST ICE FOR ALL

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