Subject of notable 2016 referendum / THU 2-9-17 / Caesarean rebuke / Surfer's tether / Trounce informally

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Constructor: Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: Across the pondATLANTIC OCEAN sits in middle of grid, and themers are paired answers representing the different names Yanks and Brits have for various things:

Theme answers:
  • 2D: 56-Down, across the 15-Down (HIRES) / v.v. (RENTS)
  • 4D: 41-Down, across the 15-Down (QUEUEING) / v.v. (LINING UP)
  • 35D: 10-Down, across the 15-Down (KNACKERED) / v.v. (EXHAUSTED)
  • 52D: 8-Down, across the 15-Down (CHIPS) / v.v. (FRIES) 
Word of the Day: ALITERATE (22A: Able but unwilling to read)
adjective
adjective: aliterate

1. unwilling to read, although able to do so. 
noun
noun: aliterate; plural noun: aliterates

1. an aliterate person.
• • •

Easy. Feels like I've seen an Atlantic-divided puzzle like this one before, but the word-pair thing is cute and enjoyable. Having themers cross-referenced made the puzzle Very easy to solve, though. Well before ATLANTIC OCEAN came into view, I could tell what was going on. In fact, before I knew it was a theme answer, it was clear to me just by the phrasing of its clue that 2D: HIRES was part of a US/UK pair. At that point, I thought HIRES was the root beer (seriously), so I'm lucky I didn't decide to jump to the other side of the grid and write in, I don't know, AANDW (though we have that here....). Once I hit QUEUEING, I *did* jump the pond and write in LINING UP, and then the pace picked up very, very quickly. When your central themer is so easy as to be an afterthought, the puzzle doesn't stand much chance. KNACKERED is one of my favorite Briticisms, though I'm not sure I'd say it—I just like hearing it. My wife's a Kiwi, so sometimes we forget in this household what's British and what isn't. I don't know if she says any of the British stuff any more, if she ever did. She's lived here so long even she gets confused about what's "original" and what's picked-up.


So, cute theme, but the fill on this thing, holy moly it's a mess. Soooo much tired, overfamiliar crosswordesey gunk. Innocuous stuff like ELOPE STYE ULNA ABASE ABET and then crosswordesey names like RITT RUDI and foreignisms like SOU UNO QUA ICI LAC AÑO and then generally ugh-ish PSAT ETTU ETRAIN RAH OMANI VIOLS ICARE ESE especially INOT ULA NANU ATUG and the cherry on top, AFLERS (!?). Hard enough to get me to buy NLERS and ALERS, no need to shove *bygone* sports -ERS down my throat.


Also didn't care for BOBO, mostly because I had BOZO, which is more "common" than BOBO as a clown name, in that I can identify at least one BOZO. Ugh. Now there are some fine longer answers that distract from the junkyard fill. Never heard of ALITERATE, but I like it. Not that familiar with LEGROPE, but I'm enjoying reparsing it as LE GROPE (I imagine him as a miserable French count who cannot keep his hands to himself). GO VIRAL and BREXIT are nice modern touches. If you haven't seen Aziz ANSARI in "Master of None" (Netflix), do yourself a favor. Enjoyed seeing him in here. Yes, the fill is truly terrible, but people are going to like the puzzle, generally, because the theme was cute and it was very, very easy. A puzzle that is both easy and charming, with a handful of decent longer answers, can make people forget (or forgive) some otherwise pretty shoddy craftsmanship.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Finn is right about the themers (geographically speaking) ...


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

116 comments:

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Our beautiful and intelligent first lady is a Slovene. Please don't #Resistance me in the face or #Resistance my storefront window.

evil doug 6:34 AM  

I'm guessing there's only one Bozo for legal reasons. Trademark or something....

I thought surfers called them leashes.....

Easy. But my most despised construction methodology is cross-referencing clues.

Pierrot 6:35 AM  

In France, we refer to your president as 9d.

evil doug 6:37 AM  

In America, we call you cheese-eating surrender monkeys, Frenchie.

Trombone Tom 6:37 AM  

What @Rex said. Way too easy for a Thursday.

Ironically, the WSJ puzzle today is a fine gem that would be perfect Thursday fodder here.

I zipped through this with one exception. I tried Duc before LAC, but those VIOLS set me straight.

three of clubs 6:47 AM  

@evil

Agreed. I hate having to look elsewhere for further information. It's like checking footnotes and the bibliography while reading a book. I'm interested, but not that interested.

puzzle hoarder 6:48 AM  

An enjoyable theme really does go a long way to making stale fill palatable. I enjoyed this far more than yesterday's while noticing the similarity of the fill. AFLER is a truly inauspicious debut. It was hard for me to judge the difficulty as I did this one on the tablet which always slows me down especially with cross referenced entries.
A good debut overall that balanced the routine fill in the blanks with a fun theme.

evil doug 6:48 AM  

I attended DRAKE University. You'd think we'd be Ducks or something, but we're Bulldogs.

My squadron nickname became Duck when it became known that the Little Rock phone company billed me as "Lt. Duck..." instead of Doug--perhaps a perfectly normal name in Arkansas....

Lobster11 6:49 AM  

Agreed: Cute theme, but super-easy and God-awful short fill.

The fact that the British answers were on the left and their American counterparts on the right really bugged me. But to be fair, it's worth remembering that this left-right thing is really just an arbitrary convention. I love to see "Down-Under" world maps that put the Southern Hemisphere at the top for a different (and equally valid) perspective.

Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for "Bobo Doll Experiment":

"A Bobo doll is an inflatable toy that is about 3 feet tall and is usually made of a soft durable vinyl or plastic. The Bobo doll was most often painted to look like a clown. The doll was designed to be bottom-weighted so that if it were hit, it would fall over then immediately lift back up to a standing position. It first came on the market in the 1960s."

I'm not sure this makes it a "common" clown name, but maybe a "notable" one or something?

Lewis 6:51 AM  

@m&a -- 9 U's! Try to control yourself.
@acme -- Guest appearance!
@rex -- I second your Master of None recommendation.

I liked the subthemers MATHS and BREXIT, and the solve gave me enough resistance to feel good at the end. I enjoyed the RU trio -- RUDI, RUDEST, and NEHRU. Also the side ISSUE. There were three crosses that struck my fancy: EIGHTY/EXHAUSTED, IHEAR/GOVIRAL, and especially RUDI/BIKINI, given that Gernreich was the inventor of the monokini (topless bikini), and it certainly made a big splash at the time.

Cheerio!

John Child 6:56 AM  

Another debut today -- congratulations Mr Trudeau. I don't like cross-referenced clues much either, @evil. And it made the puzzle awfully easy for Thursday. If the answers were geographically arranged, then the same cross-cultural clue could have been used twice: {Done in} perhaps for KNACKERED and EXHAUSTED. With the gimme for ATLANTIC OCEAN, let us figure out the theme.

I'm glad I read a little about Martin Ritt. Directed many fine films like HUD and Norma Rae, and also The Front, partially from personal experience of the Red Scare era.

There were lots of Bozos in the 1960s, even excluding Congress and the White House. The show was franchised, so any market large enough could have its own Bozo and gags. But Bozo appears still to be a licensed character, so that may have killed Bozo as fill even if it had been possible. Would RONALD MCDONALD pass do you think?

Joe Welling 7:19 AM  

Isn't it "semper ubi sub ubi" and not "semper qua sub qua"?

Aketi 8:00 AM  

Hope today's comment section devolve into an American versus French contest of who can be the RUDEST. Then the PC police might force us to say "freedom" before FRIES if we don't want to be labeled unpatriotic.. Not sure what we'd be required to say before toast.

It always amuses me that Bringing up Bébé is popular among American parents because they think adopting French child rearing practices will result in polite children when the typical stereotype of the French is that they are rude.

Was that deliberate that BREXIT jumped to the American side of the pond?

chefbea 8:05 AM  

Little tough for me...hand up for having to look back and forth. Another hand up for Bozo!!! My children use to call my father Bobo!! Love fish and chips (fries)

wgh 8:07 AM  

Clever and fun.

kitshef 8:14 AM  

Thought the theme was dull as the proverbial pewter knife. "Oh, it's Britspeak Amerispeak ... [yaaaaawwwnnn]".

Throw in the excess of crosswordese, and not a fun day for me.

But it was easy. If I had to guess, if not my fastest Thursday it's close.

GHarris 8:16 AM  

QEnjoyed this one. Liked the clues for go viral and bikini. Also had bozo first.

kitshef 8:17 AM  

@evil doug - if you're going to quote the Simpsons, at least credit the Simpsons.

r.alphbunker 8:18 AM  

This puzzle made my pants want to get up and dance.

Details are here.

Kim Scudera 8:33 AM  

@Joe Welling: thanks for the laugh!

Aketi 8:35 AM  

@kitshef 8:17am, :)

Nancy 8:48 AM  

Do all congenitally lazy people hate cross-referenced puzzles, or is it just me? Hugely annoying -- and with no interesting or challenging payoff for all the effort expended. I couldn't wait for it to be over. Now it's over. RAH.

New word for me: ALITERATE. Are there really people who can read but "won't" read. I mean everyone reads something -- even if it's only stupid tweets. I do remember a top editor in the publishing house I used to work at once saying about the CEO and President, heir to the family fortune and business, "[X] hasn't read a book since 'The Little Engine That Could.'" Was X* ALITERATE?

*If you remember where I used to work and do some intelligent Googling, you can figure out who X is/was. I'm sure he's long dead by now, so he can't sue me anyway. (Hint: It's not Donald Trump, who could and probably would sue me. Another candidate for the ALITERATE column, I'd say.)

nancy kirsch 8:49 AM  

Kind of loved the Drake/Josh cross. Spent about a billion hours with my son when he was a tween (hate that word) watching that show. Now he's a high school senior. Sigh.

Jonathan Alexander 8:56 AM  

As a surfer, I can assure you that no surfer EVER has called it a LEG ROPE. It's called a leash, plain and simple...

Cute theme, fill was atrocious and my heart sunk when I saw my aforementioned answer...

Roo Monster 8:59 AM  

Hey All !
Congrats on debut, Ross, but put me in the camp of the wrong sides group. As in, shouldn't the Britishisms be on the right, Americanisms on the left? Or maybe we need to turn the puz upside down.

Also agree AFLERS is a blargh (@Rex). Liked the theme idea, but alot of -ese, as others have mentioned. Guess I'm just being nit-picky.

O MAN I ONCE DIVINED EIGHTY VALID VISTAS. I CARE I WON NOBEL. KIDDED. hAR.

I HEAR THUD
RooMonster
DarrinV
(Don't send help, I'm fine, really) :-)

Teedmn 9:04 AM  

Nice Anglophilic puzzle today with Britishisms from across the "pond". And symmetrical to boot. I did wish there was a corresponding American term for MATHS besides MATH.

I found the NE a bit sticky, with no idea what the Patriots might have been pre-1970 and not sure what was asked for regarding Mercury but the crosses finally helped out there.

My __RAIl eventually became ETRAIl at 62A and I never caught the TRAIN on that one. And I plan on remembering Aziz ANSARI next time but today I just said, "QUA?"

Nice Thursday, Ross Trudeau and congrats on the debut!

Hartley70 9:06 AM  

I finished quickly thinking the theme was cute enough, but didn't quite measure up to my Thursday expectations. It's a lovely little Wednesday. Perhaps if the crossing pairs had been more obscure and greater in number, I would have been happier. KNACKERED was the best of the bunch. How about "yabbo", "rubber" or even better, the Scottish favorite, "dreich", which perfectly describes today....snowy dreich!

Stanley Hudson 9:06 AM  

Easy for a Thor's Day.

"Lafayette, we are here."

Numinous 9:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Numinous 9:12 AM  

I enjoyed this a lot. Well, not a lot, a little because it took so little time to do. I didn't bother looking back and forth, I just did the across answers until I could see both halves and the answers suggested themselves. I kept wanting goose where BOAR went. A goose was what Ebinezer sent the newsboy after when he woke on Christmas morning. Goose has always seemed more a traditional English Christmas dish to me. Then there was my first Australian traditional (?) Christmas meal: tuna salad after a morning trip to the beach.

@Rex and his old lady, sounds like they are victims of convergence theory; the idea that if you hang out with someone long enough and and like them, you'll start talking like them. I guess the opposite would be divergence theory where Woody Allen's New York accent would thicken rather than ease up while he is staying in Los Angeles.

Congrats to Ross Trudeau on a fairly clever Thursday debut. I hear the complaints about the geographically inaccurate placements of the Yank vs. Brit diction and I have to wonder that Will or Joel didn't try to get that corrected. Still, I thought the theme was cute and that overshadowed, for me, the dreadful short fill. I'm sure someone will complain that this is Tuesday easy. Seems like we think that Thursdays should be harder than Wednesday and that is often the case. It also seems that Thursdays are gimmick days. This one certainly had a good gimmick going for it. I'm betting people who haven't traveled much and don't watch PBS or BBC America are not going to like this one at all. Amazing how chauvinistic people can be about thier language.

I knew a guy from New York when I was first in London. He bitched about English accents which he could barely understand and wondered why the Brits didn't talk like him. He thought that the way he spoke came so naturally and easily and was far more efficient than British English. I was never able to convince him otherwise.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Definitely a super easy puzzle for me. First time in recent memory that I solved completely a Thursday puzzle and in under 30 minutes to boot. As a decades old solver I still have difficulty cracking the ten-minute barrier on a Monday puzzle.

Of course having ATLANTIC OCEAN as one of the very first entries was more of a "spoiler" than a "revealer". That said, I think that the theme would have benefited from a Sunday "stage" where more than pairs 4 pairs of words are highlighted.

As someone who recently edited three books by a British writer I can attest that I have learned of as many as a hundred of words that could fit the bill (I am not including spelling variants of the same word.)

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Since I regularly use Latin in my work, I thought I was in heaven in the central northern part of the puzzle, with 4A clue, stacked over a Latin ulna, then 4D based on a Latin word (cauda, for tail, though not helpful here for solving), 5D, the Latin formula, and even 15D, based on two Latin words (ok, must of these come from Greek ultimately). That left 18A, east, which I thought came from the Latin for summer, but my dictionary doesn't agree. So for *east*, clue should have been: Fred Flintstone's familiar request to his noisome very large pet in Rome: "eas, T" ("you are to leave now, T[-Rex]). My problem was I had never heard of -nsara Aziz, and for 4A both qua and quo can mean either *where* or *why*. So this was the only part of the puzzle I was unsure about.

On another matter, re: Nancy at 8:48. I believe Louis XIV was famously "aliterate* (a new word for me). He said something like "I do not care to read." I guess it would be true for any number of people, especially in the pre-modern era, who would have servants read for them.

Surphart 9:22 AM  

@evil-d
@j-alexander
@Rex
The leg rope was invented by a kiwi and is still called such down under...or a leggy.It is a leash on this side of the other pond however.

Z 9:29 AM  

Amazingly, surfers have more than one word for a LEG ROPE, including, amazingly, LEG ROPE.

@Nancy - I'm reminded of the probably not Mark Twain quote, The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.

Is MATHS with no paired Americanism a bug or a feature? I lean toward "bug."

Tita A 9:36 AM  

@Numi...I find myself on occasion listening to a native speaking their own language as effortlessly as I speak my own, and being amazed at how they can do that. Especially a 4 year old speaking German. This happens with languages that I try to speak with varying degrees of fluidity.
Its mostly a sour grapes kind of thing. So I share your acquaintance's wonder of that facility, though I don't reach the same conclusion.

I also am amazed at Brits who can perfectly mimic an American accent, while I think it's perfectly normal that an American can speak like a brit.

I liked the puzzle, though I also twisted myself around many times over to make the east/west of the pond thing work.

NEHRU is also theme-related, and while I'm not up on my Middle East border manipulation, I suspect the Brits had a hand in the drawing of the Yemeni borders.

@Hartley...you could probably build a Sunday puzzle if you keep going with those ideas...hmmm...what would be symmetrical to gob-smacked?

CrossMom 9:46 AM  

@Pierrot
I was coming here to suggest 9d as an appropriate nickname for _rump. Amused to see it's already being used in France.
Was surprised @Rex didn't jump on that one, but maybe he's taking the high road today. I'm not that mature.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

@Z - Definite bug, especially as it can easily be fixed by changing the A to an O.
@Z - Who cares that Aussies call it a LEG ROPE?

QuasiMojo 10:08 AM  

I kept waiting for "knocked up" to appear in this way too simple puzzle. But perhaps the joke was on me. I did learn that I don't know what "ocular" means since I have always assumed it refers to the eye (as in orb) itself but apparently it means "eye-related" which would include the eyelid, I suppose, and hence, styes.

I also have a firm belief that there is something intrinsically different about "chips" and "fries" but I have yet to put my greasy finger on it. Is it the shape? Or the size of them? All I know is that I like them more than what we get in this country (except at my local cafe where they slice the French fries right in front of you using real, fresh potatoes.) Oh god, I hope I spelled that last word right, I don't want to repeat the mistake of a famous "aliterate" veep.

@Z, regarding the now-legendary 7/15/95 puzzle. Yes, balletomanes are a pretentious bunch but "etoile" is not. Ballet is a French artform afterall. It seems less poncey to me than "diva" in the opera world.

AZPETE 10:10 AM  

Yes easy. Thought that 68A was a motor oil additive, not a "motor oil."

Passing Shot 10:15 AM  

I hate cross references, but At least it was somewhat easy. It's barely 10 am and I'm still KNACKERED.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Thought "cur" was "why"... Reminds me of the wealthy gentleman whose carriage was emblazoned with the motto "cur rides"...

Charles Flaster 10:34 AM  

Great debut and agree with previous posts.
BOzO
BREXIT
MATHS ?
GO VIRAL best clue
QUEUEING -easy after this one
Thanks RT

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Can someone please explain AFLERS?

Also, I'm surprised no one has mentioned that a different clue for ETRAIN would have been better.

mathgent 10:47 AM  

I came here this morning still remembering the fun I had last night doing this puzzle. But, as Rex explained to me, this joy is not legitimate. I'm part of a pitiable underclass of solvers who like puzzles which are easy and which have clever themes.

Even more disheartening, I didn't find it easy. The mind-twisting syntax of the theme clues made nearly half of the blank squares total mysteries to me. I was grateful that there were a few gimmes out there and I finally saw ATLANTIC OCEAN.

I found the way the eight theme entries were clued and their placement in the grid to be ingenious. I'm full of admiration for this intricate work.


Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Have to agree, the WSJ puzzle today was delightful, though I enjoyed this one too. Great entertainment on a snow-bound Thursday.

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

I worked for a British company for 12 years. So pretty straight-forward. Still I don't recall MATHS every being used. KNACKERED, CHIPS & QUEUEING yes. Though not HIRE. I've been looking into ski rental for an upcoming trip to Italy and lo and behold SKI-HIRE is there.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Another thought. Seems like the British English should have been on the right/east side of the Atlantic.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Cross-Reference cluing sucks! Other than that, the tortured fill and the fact that this puzzle was too easy for a Thursday, I liked it.

Don McBrien 11:15 AM  

@anon 10:42 -- The "Pats" (New England Patriots concussionball team) were in the American Football League (AFL) before it merged with the National Football League (NFL) in 1970. So, before then the Pats were "AFL-ers." Kind of fits with the rest of the short fill.

@anon 6:33 -- "beautiful and intelligent" LOL!!

old timer 11:19 AM  

I liked it fine. It seemed impossible until I solved the "Pond" then of course it was easy. I think most folks know CHIPS but I wonder how many know KNACKERED?

I was delighted to see AFLERS. I am sick of NLers and ALers but this one was new to me,

The French are a very polite people, and will be polite to any visitor who honor their customs. They think Americans are rude because we will walk into a store or restaurant and just demand service or ask a question without first saying "Bonjour, Madame (or Monsieur). It's true Parisians can be abrupt, just like New Yorkers, and for the same reason -- it is so tiresome to constantly be asked directions by stupid tourists. But in both cities if you look terribly lost someone will often come up to you and offer to help.

jae 11:25 AM  

Yes, easy for me too, @Hartley, more like a Wed. Add me to those who don't like cross referencing, but this was a cute idea and a nice debut. Liked it.

Also add me to the BOzO list and I had soLID before VALID.

@Z et. al. Re: 7/15/95 puzzle. I did this one a while ago and yesterday went back to resolve it to try and remember if I DNF on my first try. I did, tough puzzle.

Joseph Michael 11:29 AM  

Congrats on the debut, but for me this was kind of ANO. Hate cross references in clues and thought that the Brits were on the EAST side of the ATLANTIC OCEAN.

The highlight of the solve was learning the word KNACKERED, which I don't remember hearing in spite of three months in London.

Aziz ANSARI recently did a great opening monologue on SNL in which he implored racists in the age of Trump to go back to pretending they aren't racists. Please, he begged, just go back to pretending.

Perhaps the RUDEST RUDI is Guliani who has stopped pretending altogether and become a mad dog in his old age. A sad state of affairs for one who was ONCE a hero.

Malsdemare 11:44 AM  

I got ATLANTIC OCEAN way too quickly and while it was a fun discovery, the puzzle filled far too fast. I had the UEUE--G, saw QUEUEING, and that was that. The rest fell like dominoes, which is terrific, but, I wanted more!!

But just because the meal left me hungry doesn't mean it was bad. So thanks, Mr. Trudeau.

Cassieopia 11:46 AM  

Easy for most, average for me, I also wanted the clues on the other side of the "pond". See what this blog is doing to me? I actually am starting to notice and care about that kind of arcana. Also wasted a few seconds looking at the grid design for boats. This crossword hobby is a slippery slope.

DNF for me for a very embarrassing reason - had BOzO and have never heard of BOBO so the mystery Christmas meat was zOAR. Those crazy Brits, what will they come up with next?

Diana,LIW 11:51 AM  

It's an open house all day in Syndieland while we celebrate the second anniversary of Burma Shave's odes to the puzzle. Limericks, haiku, jingles, lyric verse, epic poems - he's done them all, every day for two years and a day.

Come by, meet the Synders, have a bite and some bubbly. We're five weeks in the past, but easily accessed by the Syndicated Puzzle button just above "Rex" at the top of your screen. A fun way to revisit an old friend (your puzzle) and see some new comments - some of tem might be to you!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords - off to the deLorean

Z 11:54 AM  

@anonymous9:54 - Even the wiki page on surfboards has a diagram with a LEG ROPE. LEG ROPEs were apparently invented by a Kiwi, so that would be the more correct term.

@Quasimojo - Way to spoil a 22 year old puzzle. ;) I never thought of ballet as particularly French, Russia being the first country I think of when I think of ballet. Wikipedia says it comes out of the Italian reference, so shouldn't the answer be (Marlon Brando voice) Stella?

@jae - Yep. A DNF here, too. Having to google a collection of letters that work to see if the collection of letters is a thing is not my idea of good construction.

@People wondering what we are going on about - The archived puzzle of 7/15/95 has been discussed the past few days. My take was posted late yesterday.

Moly Shu 12:09 PM  

Thought for sure OFL would crush the puzzle for the same reason I have a problem with it. Namely, MATHS. We have this whole US/UK thing going on either side of an ATLANTICOCEAN, but then we get -Numbers Class, in England- really stuck out as bad form to me.
Thanks for the shout out @Rex
@oldtimer, if you want to meet rude people that speak French, come to south Florida sometime between November and March. They make New Yorkers and Parisians seem like the nicest people in the world by comparison.

Hungry Mother 12:13 PM  

I liked the theme because I got it right away and knew tha pairs. Easy but joyless.

puzzle hoarder 12:19 PM  

Ok clique people I found the other difficult puzzle from '95. It was another Saturday. This one was June 3rd. I don't think it's quite as daunting as the July 15th one but it does have a number of obscure names. This one took me 2:14(hours and minutes) so give it a whirl.

Andrew Heinegg 12:26 PM  

I found nothing to like about this one. It is guaranteed to start out badly for me when it is a cross reference puzzle. That formula guarantees many easy and crosswordese answers. Never heard of leg rope or knackered but got them easily enough. It just was not fun.

Reading books is a difficult thing to do if you have a short attention span. It can also be difficult to do if your ego has convinced you that you know everything there is to know about everything including areas that you have never dealt with your entire life. But, no worries. That doesn't remind me of anyone with any position of power.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

I just spent five post-solve minutes on Google hoping to learn about the old English Christmas meat called "zoar."

Nancy 12:37 PM  

I'm sure 20 people brought this up before @Cassieopia did at 11:46 a.m. But I guess I simply wasn't paying attention. Anyway I missed it. I DNF because I had BOzO the clown and never checked my grid. True, I didn't remotely understand the 43A "mystery meat" z--R at 43A, and had promised myself I'd go back to it, but I never did. And, gasp!, I had written in KNoCKERED at 35D. Making the mystery meat ZOOR. Well, look, I wasn't alive in Merrie Old England. Who knows what they might have eaten? Would I have solved had I gone back? Only if I knew BOBO the clown. Which I didn't. So probably not.

Carola 12:39 PM  

Okay, cute and easy, but a disappointment for a Thursday, requiring too little brain-racking and relying too much on crossword retreads. The cross references began as most vexing, but once I saw the symmetry eased back into merely annoying.

I knew KNACKERED from reading a mystery series written by an American but set in the UK in which the Britishisms are laid on with a trowel. Characters are constantly KNACKERED from being caught all day in tailbacks (traffic jams).

@Z - agree about MATHS being a bug.

Thanks to all who referred to the 7/15/95 puzzle yesterday. I missed the first couple of days of the week here and the original reference to it. Anyway, I set at it last night. Tough! I'm in the "never Google" group - if I can't finish on my own, I quit. Anyway, I finished with one incorrect square: 1 Down x the Navy noncom. Shoulda coulda done an alphabet run instead of going with my first guess and I woulda recognized the city name.

And more thanks for the references to today's WSJ puzzle. Will go take a look.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

My portfolio up another 40K. Thank you President Trump.

Jesse Gray 12:49 PM  

Surfer here: To clarify, most surfers refer to the tether between one's leg and the board as a "leash" but Australians most commonly refer to them as "leg ropes"!

John 12:53 PM  

I want to third this. The Wall Street puzzle was excellent today.

QuasiMojo 1:00 PM  

@Z, 11:54pm -- how can one "spoil" a puzzle that is over 20 years old? lol. I apologize if anyone's experience was ruined by my faux pas. As for ballet being French, it originated in the court of Louis XIV, or so the legend goes. That's why all the language of ballet is in French.

@puzzle hoarder, thanks for the tip. I'll check it out. I promise no spoilers this time.

@Moly Shu 12:09pm True that! Thanks for today's best lol moment so far. :)

Science Dude 1:11 PM  

Pretty much what Rex said, except that 1A was a real sour note to start. An Ohm does not have any bits to it. An ohm is a continuous measure of electrical resistance. It always annoys me when the puzzle get sloppy with science clues.

Chip Hilton 1:42 PM  

Alternate clue for 33D.: Waiter's name in "Moonstruck"

Rex's comments regularly make him sound like someone who's sick of crosswords. Punishment for becoming hyper-skilled at something, I guess. I have a friend, a professional drummer, who can't enjoy college marching bands. They're all too sloppy to him. I rather enjoy my mediocre judgement skills. Today was fun.

Masked and Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Great theme! Learned all kindsa stuff about British English vs. American English. For instance: In the U.S., yer debut puz goes THUD in the @RP-writeup. In the U.K., it goes BOBO.

fave pond-crosser: GOVIRAL.

staff weeject pick: SOU [Brit equivalent: KFC].

Wow. 9 U's! (yo, @Lewis). Well, that flat-out seals the deal. thUmbsUp on this debut. Congratz, Mr. Trudeau. [Brit equivalent: Mr. Shortz]

@RP: Superb Rant-up! Primo word gripe list! The "especially", "cherry on top", and "also didn't care for" entires were deftly culled out for their desperate charms: INOT. ULA. NANU. ATUG. AFLERS [debut word, so it should get a honeymoon period]. BOBO [Better clue: {Double little stinker??}.]

The other 21 gripewords were a bit odder. 14 of them have Patrick Berry NYTPuz Usage Immunity (PB1NUI), so they cannot be confirmed. Of the other 7, here's the skinny …
Bullets:
* ELOPE. Gets used a lot, due to super friendly letters. By a lot of really good constructioneers. Also, useful in conversation, plausibly. Soo .. ok.
* A-BASE. Baseball term. Used a lot by A-ROD fans, once. In M&A Official Dictionary (MAOD), too boot. Soo … ok.
* RUDI. Somebody's name. Often used in conversation, by his friends. Soo … ok.
* ANO. Could be strengthened by a better clue: {Opposite of ayes??}. Not in the MOAD. So … bobo.
* ETRAIN. Debut meat. Again, let it "cure" for a while, and we'll see …
* VIOLS. Musical Renaissance fair term. In the MAOD. So … ok. [DRAKES are VIOLS in the U.K., btw]
* ICARE. Apple Corp's new HMO plan for treating Samsung explosion victims. Soo … bobo.

Thanx, Mr. Trudeau. Come back, even tho puz submission postage from the U.K. must be kinda fierce.

Masked & Anonymo9Us
"Once Did an Across the Yalu Reject Puz"


biter warnin:
**gruntz**

Wednesday's Child 1:50 PM  

With AFLERS I dropped in Lanyard and figured I was off and running. Not so.

The theme was pretty easy to get.

I liked Rex's review. It was gracious. I would like more of the same in the future.

Decent puzzle as far as I'm concerned.

Wouldn't a DEERHIDE BIKINI be DIVINE?

Wednesday's Child 1:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefwen 1:57 PM  

Growing up as a wee bairn in Scotland and being James Herriot junkie made this one most enjoyable, even if I do hate cross reference clues, as most everybody here has agreed on.

Off to print out the WSJ puzzle.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

I agree with 'old timer' above that the French are really some nice people. They get an undeserved reputation of being rude. Many don't know English or don't feel confident using it, but if you speak French to them, they tend to open up. They don't go for 5 minute superficial friendships, but once your foot is in the door, they will be good friends. It is true, though, that customer service in shops in France is abysmal. They don't hold to the notion that the customer is king.

dmw 3:46 PM  

I think all the Briticisms are on the left, Americanese on the right. So clever they are grouped by country, even if on the wrong side of the "map."

Anne Hamada 3:47 PM  

Loved this puzzle! Perhaps it's because I'm an unabashed Anglophile. (I am so far gone that I have a chocolate brown German Short Haired Pointer by the name of Cadbury!) The word knackered is used in many British films as well as in ordinary conversation among
friends. (I've spent a lot of time in Britain...)
I do agree, however, that the rest of the fill was pedantic and boring. Never heard of "leg rope" and got it with the crosses. As for AFLERS,
ICK. I can certainly understand other bloggers' frustrations with this puzzle. A very short (time) Thursday for moi.
Nice debut Mr. Trudeau!

R. Biter 3:57 PM  



OK, two things:

STP is a motor oil additive. That is their 100% claim to fame. Sure, they also make fuel additives and now even motor oil under their brand, but no one buys STP motor oil and I'll bet you can barely find it in a retail auto parts store. STP=ADDITIVE. Memorize this.

Aziz Ansari is painfully un-funny. He is the Pakistani Emo Phillips. To even refer to him as a "comic" is worse than calling STP a motor oil. His name comes up frequently now because it is very xword-friendly; it should be clued as "not-funny person" or "Tom Arnold of the Indian Subcontinent."

That's all, men.

mark shuper 4:11 PM  

Dude don't harsh the mellow--only a hodad would call it a leg rope. Vals go home.

mark shuper 4:12 PM  

Dude don't harsh the mellow--only a hodad would call it a leg rope. Vals go home.

Anonymous 4:18 PM  

LOL

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

Yes. Ubi is certainly a better translation for "where" and probably for "when"

ACME 4:34 PM  

@ Lewis
Loved the puzzle even before the shout out! ACME was the very last thing I filled in, ironically (unless you count changing LSAT to PSAT, LEGROLE anyone?)

Was bugged that everything was on the wrong side of the pond, so I rationalized it as they drive on the left :) And I'm sure it was a matter of getting cleaner fill to have it reversed, bec I'm sure that did not escape notice of Will and Joel.
So imagine that the short fill might have even been uglier!

I loved having all the other Britishisms sprinkled throughout, MATHS, BREXIT (so fresh!), and I would count LEGROPE in that group. Gives a nice tone.

As for BOzO, hand up before BOAR came into view (To make matters worse, I originally spelt it BOOR, which I could see English cannibals chowing down on if you ate with the wrong fork or something!)

BOBO might be more familiar to folks (as was pointed out) that it's the name of the clown that you push down and he pops back up. Just a lot of folks prob don't remember he had a name or didn't know it. Whatever happened to those? My cat would probably love it.

And last night/this morning, extremely vivid dream where I sat down next to Rex and we made up after all these years. He was quite reluctant at first but then we started working on a puzzle together! And discussing which formerly mutual friends still prob hate me! Seemed quite real.
In my dreams!? ;)

SLOVENE and ALITERATE, the First Couple!

Unknown 4:40 PM  

Another Mork from Ork catchphrase? How long ago did we see SHAZBOT? Feels obscure and outdated to me, but I'm under 30 so had an easier time with RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE this week.

Anonymous 4:43 PM  

Who'd have thought we could turn this ship around and get the country back on track so quickly? Pretty darn impressive.

emily 5:00 PM  

You're right, leashes, goon strap -never leg rope. I wouldn't call this an easy Thursday...

JC66 5:11 PM  

@ACME

You always had class!

Nancy 5:24 PM  

@ACME (4:34 p.m.)-- I think by the time I first came to this blog, you had stopped posting. Or mostly stopped posting. So when your name was bandied about by all sorts of people here, I had no idea who you were. And, when people from time to time alluded to a falling out between you and Rex, I likewise had no idea what they were talking about. And although I still don't -- I guess one has to have been there -- I find your dream last night about mending fences with Rex quite interesting and rather amusing.

QuasiMojo 5:32 PM  

Because several here recommended the WSJ puzzle today, I tried it. What a brilliant concept, and a very fun yet difficult exercise! It nearly had me, but I eventually figured it out. Thanks!

Trombone Tom 5:45 PM  

@ ACME. The First Couple!!! I skip the political, but that one is priceless!

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

Maybe you could lend Ivanka some money. She is not doing so great lately and now the alternate facts lady is in trouble for trying to bolster Ivanka's sales. Sad.

Anonymous 6:17 PM  

Out with the Divider-in-Chief. In with the Uniter-in-Chief.

Tita A 6:45 PM  

@old timer...I agree with your observation about the French. People in cities are ruder than people in the country. That's true just about anywhere. Most Americans only visit Paris. And yes, they are overly proofs of their language, so not speaking even 2 words of it to them is an annoyance.

Having said all that...when I was living in Germany,I learned this, coined by some EUer:

Heaven and hell in THEEU...

EU heaven...
The cooks are French, the Italians are the waiters, the Germans organize everything, and the British are the police.

EU hell...
The French are the waiters, the Brits are the cooks, the Italians organize everything, and the Germans are the police.



@Acme...the first couple...lol!
And wonderful dream, too...

Wednesday's Child 7:41 PM  
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Tita A 7:58 PM  

*proud of...not proofs.

As for the rest of that nonsensical post,I plead snowed in with 13" before the drifting, 4 hours on generator power, and an absolutely awful head cold.
At least the power came back on.

Nancy 8:18 PM  

@Tita -- The way I heard the joke: Hell is the place where the English are the cooks, the French are the mechanics, the Germans are the police, and the Swiss are the lovers.

@old timer, Anon 2:09 and Tita -- I haven't been in France for many decades now, but I have traveled and stayed there in the past and had the exact same reaction that all of you did. They're not big on small talk and superficiality, but if you make an effort to speak their language and they connect with you at all, they go much deeper. They want to know all about you: What you think and how you think and why. (And it's not as though I'm a great linguist -- trust me). But I've always found the French people interesting and a lot nicer than their reputation would indicate. My voicing of this view, however, did not make me especially popular upon return to the US. An awful lot of people, it seems, really do not like the French,

ACME 8:28 PM  

@Tita my dear, what Nancy said, but you forgot the punchline!
Here is the old joke, told by an old comic:

In heaven, The French are the chefs, The English are the police, The Italians are the Lovers, The Germans are the Mechanics, and the Swiss run the place.

In hell, The English are the chefs, The French are the mechanics, The Swiss are the lovers, The Germans are the police ...and the Italians run the place!

Z 8:31 PM  

@Quasimojo -'With the archives everything Shortzian is new again. Although, frankly, that puzzle is pretty unspoilable. It is the very definition of "first world problem," but there is always someone with "that" puzzle on their clipboard. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent place to discuss pre-2006 puzzles that I know of.

I just saw a preview for a new Power Rangers movie, a favorite show of my 32 year old nephew and 26 year old son when they were pre-schoolers. I'd much prefer a Mork and Mindy movie, personally.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  

Not those of us who spend time in that wonderful country!

Anonymous 9:01 PM  

Thank God for Sessions, DeVos, Tillerson, what a cabinet! Trump's whack but at least he picked a qualified cabinet. Gorsuch is great too they're only going to need a simple majority once McConnell kills the filibuster for Supreme Court. Kennedy will retire soon and it's too much to ask RBG and Breyer to hang on for another four (eight ?) years. Finally we'll have a Supreme Court which will follow the law and not legislate. Thanks to Hillary for being such a horrible candidate.

Aketi 9:09 PM  

Nice to check back in on the comments to find that the French have been defended and a little humor thrown into the bargain.

Anonymous 9:23 PM  

If you choose to toss in alt right perspectives on this blog, how about if you go take an elementary school class in English grammar and punctuation. That way, the rest of the blog can think:'hmm, that person expresses slightly to the right of Attila The Hun with wonderful precision and eloquence'. Otherwise, we are liable to think you are as moronic as many of the other people that hold your political beliefs.

jberg 9:40 PM  

I came here very late, and have only read about half the comments -- so I'll just say a) yes, STP is an additive, though I suppose maybe they have tried to spread their brand to an oil; and b) what's all this left-right carping? The average Brit is way to the left of the average American.

GILL I. 9:44 PM  

Any country that can scrape mold off of unpasteurized cheese and have it taste like the opened pearly gates has the right, in my opinion, to think U.S. domestic beer, coke, Kraft and McDonald's is worthy of an occasional "Sacre Bleu." I love the French and they've never been rude to me. @Doug. Have you ever read "The Collapse of the Third Republic?" You might change your mind on how you feel about the French.
On the other hand...the Brits and their food make me laugh thinking about the hell chef. I love my now KNACKERED husband and his entire family but they can take a wonderful leg of lamb and cook it till it's grey and the vegetables all taste like cabbage. There are some decent restaurants in London but you pay through the nose. Don't be fooled by quaint pubs either. What Italian restaurant in this entire world would serve a side salad with peas in it!
This could have been a Sunday. I enjoyed the romp and kept thinking of our differences:
BUM BAG/FANNY PACK
AUBERGINE/EGG PLANT
HOB/STOVE
RUBBER/Trojan!
FANNY/ Sex in the City...
Did anybody else have TOE HOLD for that thing the surfers tether?
@ACME. I can always count on a huge laugh. Good one!

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

The funniest thing since the election is "the Resistance."It's so damn cute.

Numinous 10:53 PM  
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Numinous 10:59 PM  

I hated France the first time I was there but the food was awfully good, brilliant, in fact. On many subsequent trips with less linguistic frustration, I had a wonderful time and thought the Parisians congenial.

Dunno why we're discussing the Frogs relative to a basically Limy-Septic Tank puzzle when we oughta be taking the piss out of a certain Anonymouse or mice who is/are doing nothing more than stirring and who fails to mention the brilliance of the Republican administration for confirming De Voss then commences to abolish the department of Education.

It's only a matter of time before 45's off to the Funny Farm where life is beautiful all the time and he'll be so happy to sse those nice young men in thier clean white coats, they're coming . . . . *







*Sorry, I don't usually rave on but It's a bit late, I'm a little pissed, haven't had dinner yet and the pointless random remarks are irritating me. Normally, I wouldn't feed a troll. **
**Some translation of the previous footnote may be required.

+wordphan 3:29 AM  

Bollocks! Who gives a horse's arse
All the Brit smack I know.

Mark Winstanley 2:18 AM  

Your style is unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, I will just bookmark this page.

Cat5e Wiring Services

rondo 11:20 AM  

ULNA an early gimme so then ATLANTICOCEAN was too. What @Finn V chimed in with sorta tainted this puz for me since they’re all on the “wrong” side, unless you flip your globe over. Still better than a rebus. Random w/os like lSAT, IcaN, and BOzO slowed me a bit, but no biggie.

QUEUEING must be some sort of record for consecutive vowels.

Saç IÇI is a dish I had at a caravanserai in Baku, Azerbaijan. A spicy stew of vegetables and either goat or lamb (maybe BOAR?). I still have photos of that trip of my DEAR Sevda in her BIKINI. And her BIKINI hanging to dry in my hotel room. Yeah baby!

Sub-par fill (@spacey will hate AFLERS, who doesn’t?), bad geography, lotsa threes, not terrible but kinda landed with a THUD.

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

OFL's (and many others') easy; my DNF. I spent three years in England, and I have NEVER heard the word "KNACKERED." I assumed it was KNoCKERED, and the clown was "of course" BOzO. The clue "Old English Christmas meat" meant absolutely nothing to me, so with a shrug I just left it "zOoR." It made as much sense to me as any other possibility: none.

Single-letter add-ons, one of my main banes, abound: A(?)LITERATE and ETRAIN directly over ATEMPO. Not even gonna mention 7-across; @rondo knows. But hey, friend, no fair pulling a yeah baby out of your own past! I'm sure she was--is, even--but I'll go with someone in the grid, whom I don't know personally but would like to meet: our OWN ACME.

I guess you can get VISTAS out of "Prospects" if you put it in a blender. Theme is nice and dense--and I have no problem with the words being on the "wrong" side. Example: 4-down is 41-down, across...etc. So 41-down is what we say--and 4-down is the equivalent across the pond. That's what the clue says. However! The price is too high. And that awfulness in the west could have been cleared up with a better clue for 43-across. Had I finished that, I would've scored it a bogey. Which is across-the-pond for par.

Aphid Larue 12:08 PM  

Left to right orientation is fine. For example, brexit is on the right / British side of the Atlantic. Two down, is clued as 56 down across the Atlantic. That is, it is rent across the Atlantic. So the British word belongs on the left because it is what they say across the pond.

I do this puzzle several weeks late, in the Seattle Times. Sorry I missed all of you. AphidLaRue@yahoo.com
Try
Healthylifecalculator.org for

an estimate of the number of good years you have left.

Burma Shave 12:22 PM  

EXHAUSTED ISSUE

You KIDDED me ONCE about why my DIVINED DEERHIDES,
let me REFRAME how ICARE for my OWN DEAR lady:
IHEAR it’ll GOVIRAL how I ELOPED and IWON over my bride –
In her BIKINI she KNACKERED me, though she’s EIGHTY.

--- ART “RUDI” RUDEST

rondo 12:25 PM  

@spacey - I didn't see it in time: MIA Farrow, yeah baby.

leftcoastTAM 2:03 PM  

Not real good at British lingo, and not a fan of cross-referenced puzzles. As main features here, this one is a serious pain in the butt.

Tripped up by BOzO, IWiN and KNoCKERED cluster-f&@#.

Added insult with non-theme affected QUo/oNSARI natick.

May need a sitzbath and mild opioid.

rain forest 3:09 PM  

@Rondo - MIA Farrow has never done much for me. But, Sevda in, or out of, a bikini... Also, if you Google Images ACME, she qualifies as a yeah, baby.

I kinda liked this puzzle primarily for the theme. The left right positioning of the answers didn't bother me, and I thought that MATHS was included on the left to establish that side as the "British side". Also, you got your BOAR over there.

I've spent a lot of time in France, and I have found the French to be civilized, polite, warm and accepting, even in Paris. Maybe because I attempted French all the time, I was treated well. From my time there, I learned to always say "bonjour" when entering a shop, or meeting someone, or even just passing them on the street. Outside of Canada, it is my favourite country.

Travelogue over.





Diana,LIW 4:04 PM  

Liked the puzzle fine - cheated a bit because I was too busy/lazy taking care of Mr. w - who is his old feisty self. An answer to many prayers.

We were in Paris in 2000. All over the city were posters for a show "The Seine and Paris," with a painting of the E Tower at the 18?? exhibition. I took out my translation books, practiced in the street, and went into a shop to ask where (if they knew) I could request a copy of the poster. The clerk seemed to understand, talked with her manager, then went to the door, took down the poster, put a bow around it and gave it to me. It's hanging in my bedroom - used to be I my office. Fantastic memory of the gracious Parisians! Au revoir, mesdames et messieurs!

Diana, La Lady Attendre

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