Strict sabbath observer of old / SUN 4-30-17 / 1920s anarchist in prominent trial / Discontinued Toyota line / Gifford's successor on TV / Kenan's former Nickelodeon pal / Activity in dohyo / Yankee Sparky who wrote Bronx zoo / Special agent gibbs's beat

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "New England Chatter" — I have no *&$%ing idea what is happening. I think there's some attempt to make wacky phrases based on the idea of a "New England" accent, but mainly there appear to be simply a dropping of Rs (?). Just seems pseudo-British, really...

Theme answers:
  • SPOCK PLUGS (22A: Commercials for a "Star Trek" movie?) (why "movie"?)
  • A CALL TO OMS (24A: Yoga teacher's invitation?) (oy, see below)
  • HOT SPECIALIST (36A: Weather forecaster in Phoenix?)
  • THE BOD OF AVON (51A: Most in-shape person at a cosmetics company?)
  • PASSING MOCK (69A: Ridicule shouted out of a moving car?)
  • INSTANT COMMA (87A: Quickly added bit of punctuation?)
  • A SHOT IN THE DOC (100A: What allowed one physician to get through flu season?)
  • LOW COB DIET (116A: Regimen with limited intake of corn?)
  • IT'S MY POTTY? (119A: Toddler's cry upon entering the bathroom?) (ICK
Word of the Day: EUTERPE (38D: Sister of Erato) —
In Greek mythology, Euterpe (/juːˈtɜːrp/; Greek: Eὐτέρπη, Greek pronunciation: [efˈterpi], Ancient Greek: [eu̯térpɛː]; "rejoicing well" or "delight" from Ancient Greek εὖ 'well' + τέρπειν terpein 'to please') was one of the Muses, the daughters of Mnemosyne, fathered by Zeus. Called the "Giver of delight", when later poets assigned roles to each of the Muses, she was the muse of music. In late Classical times she was named muse of lyric poetry[1] and depicted holding a flute. A few say she invented the aulos or double-flute, though most mythographers credit Marsyas with its invention. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is the most ill-conceived, DOA Sunday theme I can remember seeing. Ever. The fact that this saw the light of day indicates that Sunday submissions must be at dire, emergency levels. Even if this puzzle had Nailed It, conceptually, managing to turn ordinary phrases into phrases that sound like a Bostonian was saying them, it would've been corny and old hat. Done, done and done. Trite. Again, that's the *best* case scenario for this theme. The actual case scenario is a disaster, a mishmash of sound changes that resemble precisely nobody's accent. Drop the "R" appears to be the theme. -ARKs and -ARTs go to -OCKs and -OTs. First problem, that is not, in and of itself, characteristically "New England." It's not, as my friend just wrote me, "pahk the cah in hahvad yahd." Just say SPOCK PLUGS. There's nothing "New England" about it. It's just a dumb phrase. And what is up with the title: "New England Chatter." Is that supposed to be a play on "New England Chowder"? Has to be, right? But ... but ... that sound change ... doesn't fit ... at all. Seriously, what is happening? But the biggest, most ridiculous failure of this theme is 24A: A CALL TO OMS. No one—literally, no one—pronounces OMS like it rhymes with MOMS. It's a long "O." It is. It really is. Like, really. Here. Look. Here is a site called "Om Cooking: Food to Enlighten Your Palate." Because the pun is on HOME!!!!!!!! OM rhymes with HOME. *Everybody* *Knows* *This*. Is no one minding the store?

Jaw-dropping that this puzzle was accepted. The concept and execution are both sub-3rd-rate-in-flight-magazine fare. The emperor continues to have few if any clothes. I'm done here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. since I'm using their image, I should probably at least tell you that the "comma chameleon" shirt is a real thing you can buy.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

First, not enough vitriol in the review. This was truly horrible. My passing my "I'm not a robot" test was more fun.
Second, I'm pretty sure 24A is a play on a call to arms, not a call to moms.

Moly Shu 12:24 AM  

@anon12:08, thanks for reading the review. Not.
Yea, this was not good and that includes WOE's RACEME and DROPSEAT, and extends to ATRI and CCL. Well, at least the Caps lost again.

RAD2626 12:33 AM  

Well, not too much to add to Rex' review. Agree with his assessment of theme but liked LOW COB DIET and A SHOT IN THE DOC as Bostonian phrases. Did not know MOTE and had RoY so dnf on top of being disappointed overall. Also needed all the crosses for RACEME and EUTERPE which were WOES for me. Had ET ALIa for a while and to support Rex' point, had A CALL TO aMS and wanted to sneak an H in. Finally, did not believe that HOT SPECIALIST was really the right answer given the clue. All in all pretty choppy.

Rachel 1:00 AM  

I imagined Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch's recently resurrected over-the-top Bostonian characters from SNL while reading the theme answers, while made me smile a bit at the absurdity of it, but overall I just didn't enjoy solving this very much and the truly horrible ACALLTOOMS really did it in.

Anonymous 1:38 AM  

Not a great puzzle, but not terrible either. One wonders why the guy who runs this blog continually rails against the puzzle.Why wouldn't, one wonders, the owner of this blog stop critiquing a puzzle that he regularly deems inferior ? The answer is obvious of course. Without Will Shortz Rex is just another SUNY professor. One wonders why that's not enough.

Robert A. Simon 2:13 AM  

Puzzles like this are why I do Acrostics.

And to RAD2626--who did not know "mote'--the only reason I knew it was the remarkable "The Mote in God's Eye," which was called by no less an expert than Robert A. Heinlein "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read." As good as it gets.

Theodore Stamos 2:22 AM  

Man....this was a drag: HITE, EUTERPE, LUCI, KEL, THEA, RACIME....ugh. Need my third coffee so I can start my day.

chefwen 2:34 AM  

Kind is a slog, but I didn't hate it as much as my fellow posters. A few of the theme answers made me grin, SPOCK PLUGS, LOW COB DIET and IT'S MY POTTY were kinda cute.

Hand up for ET ALIa and 42D went from seared to SINGED.

Where's Miss Gorski when you need her?

Larry Gilstrap 2:38 AM  

I solved in waning sunlight on a warm patio. These Sunday printouts feature teensy squares; broken record. But solving in natural light is the remedy and I highly recommend the practice.

Regional dialects are impossible to depict by mimicking the sounds using other real words. Rex knows that, but chooses to find fault with the accuracy of the perceived sounds. Anybody who tried to assume the role of pronunciation authority would fail quickly. Regional dialects still exist in this country and throughout the English speaking world. I had an intense yoga experience this morning and it was indeed A CALL TO OMS. Yogis and yoginis say OM many different ways. My mom was from the Ozarks and yesterday was Fridee and today was Sardee when see spoke. I had fun last year on our Moby-Dick trip to New Bedford, Nantucket, Mystic, and Pittsfield. The people we met spoke in close proximity to normal.

A tip: get to know your Classical Muses. Not so much her jobs, but the length of her names. EUTERPE has the killer name, but I'm fond of Urania and they both contain perky vowels. (Blush)

Something bizarre about TOE TO TOE.

jae 3:02 AM  

Easy and yep...

Yep vs. Yup

"Yep" is active; it is a go-getter; it implies that you are excited to respond in the affirmative, and is more playful than using "yes" but less committal than "definitely" or "absolutely". "Yup", on the other hand, is slow, perhaps drawling.

Robin 3:42 AM  

Perhaps this was easy, but I found it a real slog. Could not get into a groove, and took too long to realize what the theme was. Ended up taking about 2/3 longer than my average time for a Sunday. Seemed like there were a ton of short words.

I think I spend a third of my time pondering what was obviously one bad answer before I finally figured out what it should be. And now it wasn't one of the ones people have complained about above.)And I'm too embarrassed to admit to.)

Happy to say that I last got EUTERPE based on the first couple letters, although I was close to writing in EUTERPa.

Of the theme answers, a couple were okay, most notably LOWCOBDIET. I hadn't figured out the theme yet nor filled in the SE yet, so I was starting to think it might be some sort of palaeoDIET.

chefwen 3:51 AM  

Of a, not is a. DOH!

John Child 4:54 AM  

I bailed out at five minutes, checked xwordinfo, and did a Gorski from the archives instead.

evil doug 5:07 AM  

The blank grid looks all chopped up, like the face of a kid with an eruption of acne....

Walsh Mark 5:07 AM  

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Afflicted Guy 6:27 AM  

I'm calling doctor Osas RIGHT NOW

pmdm 6:40 AM  

Some like this type of wordplay humor, and I don't see why those who don't should prevail and block the publishing of this type of puzzle. Those who chuckle at this type of wordplay deserve their due from time to time.

This particular theme has been done before, as the constructor notes over at XWordInfo and present a fairly good justification for his reusing the theme. I have to agree with his basic premise.

But I have to agree with Mr. Chen concerning the puzzle as a whole. The fill was bad enough to suggest Mr. Shortz ought to have requited a revision. Amen to that.

Charles Flaster 7:11 AM  

I do not agree with Rex or any other naysayers. The author did show Boston type of accents with a different spelling.
This led to common phrases. Good job.
I took longer than usual as I tried to suss each themer with very few or no letters.
Liked the cluing for FOAMS and GEICO.
My only writeover was SCION for Supra.
Thanks AA.

CFXK 7:12 AM  

Started feeling queasy after SPOCK PLUGS and HEART SPECIALIST, muttering to myself, "WTF? The only people who talk this way are Hollywood actors mangling New England accents."

Totally abandoned it when I had A CALL TO -MS and said, "No! No! No! That can't be an 'O.' It just CAN'T!"

CFXK 7:15 AM  


sf27shirley 7:18 AM  

My goodness what a grouchy Sunday bunch! I have friends from Boston with strong accents and was planning on telling them about this clever puzzle.
Give me word play and puns over gimmicks (such as squares filled with card suits) any day.

Eric NC 7:21 AM  

I thought this blog was edited. WTH is Walsh Mark trying to pull. Interesting punctuation though. At about the standard of this puzzle.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Rex, I think you need to chill.

chefbea 7:36 AM  

Worst puzzle ever!!!! I lived in Connectucut and no one ever spoke like's a Boston accent - not all of New England

I'll probably be absent for a week...going to check out Ashville and surrounding areas. The Wells Fargo Golf Tournament will be held here and traffic will be a disaster!!! So time to see other parts of North Carolina

Lobster11 7:38 AM  


Arlene 7:39 AM  

I laughed through this whole puzzle - so disagree with the naysayers.
I play mah jongg with a lady from Boston and she sounds just like this! Loved the link to my real life experience.

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

It's not even a Boston accent. It's a Kennedy accent. It is a real accent but no one really talks this way in the Boston area except, as I said, the Kennedys.

poslfit 7:45 AM  

"Mote in God's Eye" was by Pournelle and Niven, not Heinlein! I found this puzzle slightly tougher than usual, but enjoyed the accent play, possibly because I'm far enough removed from it (based in Toronto) that I didn't notice the inconsistencies.

'mericans in Paris 7:51 AM  

@Rex's SNIT was worth the price of admission. IT'S his POTTY and he'll outcry if he wants to!

My parents both had Boston accents, so Mrs. 'mericans and I got the trick early on, with SPOCK PLUGS. But A CALL TO OMS is a stretch.

Which CALLs for a true story. When my family moved south from L.L. BEAN land to the Miami area, my younger brother was just starting school. (This was a time when parents, even of young children, didn't worry about them walking a mile to school and back through suburban streets.) After the first week, my brother started arriving home a half-hour later than previously. "Why?" my Mom wanted to know. "Because teacher is keeping me after school, to give me speech lessons," he answered, sheepishly. You can imagine what the following day's spontaneous parent-teacher conference was like! Despite his regional speech impediment, I am happy to report that my brother did end the semester with a PASSING MOCK.

Anybody recall Frank Zappa's MOCKumentary, "200 MOHELS"?

The Bod of Avon 7:56 AM  

I guess he really didn't like him:

IAGO: Thou art sure of me:--go, make money:--I have told
thee often, and I re-tell thee again and again, I
hate the Moor:
my cause is hearted; thine hath no
less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge
against him: if thou canst cuckold him, thou dost
thyself a pleasure, me a sport. There are many
events in the womb of time which will be delivered.
Traverse! go, provide thy money. We will have more
of this to-morrow. Adieu.

Othello > Act I, scene III

IAGO: Farewell; for I must leave you:
It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,
To be produced--as, if I stay, I shall--
Against the Moor: for, I do know, the state,
However this may gall him with some cheque,
Cannot with safety cast him, for he's embark'd
With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars,
Which even now stand in act, that, for their souls,
Another of his fathom they have none,
To lead their business: in which regard,
Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains.
Yet, for necessity of present life,
I must show out a flag and sign of love,
Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find him,
Lead to the Sagittary the raised search;
And there will I be with him. So, farewell.

Othello , Act I, scene I

RODERIGO: Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.

IAGO: Despise me, if I do not.

Othello ,Act I, scene I

Forsythia 7:59 AM  

@chefbea ...Asheville is beautiful right now! Enjoy!

Tough puzzle for me, dk TALIA, CHAO, ADIA, AGITA and RACEME, but rHEA really messed up NE.
As a Southern hillbilly, tough parsing the sounds. We drop Rs also at times, drawl the vowels, and add "r's" to endings.

This was a dnf since I need the "check" to change Fang to FLEA. And then I see most others thought easy. Tought and not fun. Oh well.

Ryan 8:10 AM  

I looked at the grid and the title and knew it was gonna be brutal. When ACALLTOOMS fell, my first thought was that Rex would have a field day with it. Thank you for not disappointing, unlike this puzzle.

Tom Faure 8:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
r.alphbunker 8:24 AM  

The yoga teacher pronounces OM like ARM? Where is Lewis when we need him?

And I had 25D {Mother of Helios} RHEA --> THEA and it made this even hodder to see!

How about {Arp field?} OTT?

Details are here

Glimmerglass 8:39 AM  

I agree 100% with @Rex and the naysayers about the theme . Transforming AR into O does not make a "New England" accent. There are many different regional accents from Maine to Connecticut, but none of them I know sounds much like these (especially not arms = OMS). I'm from Boston. I remember JFK. JFK sounded nothing like this. However, I thought the fill was quite good, especially the longer non-themers. I found the puzzle challenging, a good Sunday workout, even with the silly theme.

QuasiMojo 8:43 AM  

Thank you Rex for the no-holds-barred review. I have gotten into the habit of checking your blog on Sundays before tackling the puzzle in order to find out if it is worth the bother. You saved me a lot of it today it would seem. I will scour the archive instead for something a lot more entertaining and challenging. Btw, I agree wholeheartedly about the pronunciation of "om." "Om" is where the "art" is, so long as you're Cockney.

Unknown 8:44 AM  

Just NO all around. It's the wrong vowel all the way. As a native New Englander, I can attest it would never be a SPOCK PLUG: it's a spahk plug. And a shot in the dahk not DOC, And a call to ahms, not OMS, and so on, I didn't mind the puzzle otherwise, but the wrong-vowel problem grated on me all the way through.

Pamk 8:56 AM  

Terrible! And you substitute an h for an r for a semi- ridiculous Boston accent. If I can do this in 10 minutes, it's much too easy!

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Er, he said Heinlein evaluated it, not that he wrote it

Tita A 9:17 AM  

Ok, while SPOCK. For "spark" is totally legit, puzzle-trick-wise, overall I got to agree with those not liking the overall execution.

But my Sunday was saved by that t-shirt, and by @'mericans' PASSINGMOCK story.

And to by the return of the BODOFAVON... is that really you?

the above answer is the only one he that really tickled me.

I dnf'd due to rHEA and wriTEinVOTE.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

This reminds me of a trip many years ago to Plymouth Rock. They have one display at the end that talks about how many other "strange" accents we hear today which included my Texan accent (this was demonstrated by a recording of the Lord's prayer). I suppose the assumption was that mostly Bostonians would visit Plymouth Rock and certainly their accent is not "strange"---LOL. Took a long time to figure out and parse "a call to oms". That answer definitely missed the mark.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Go ahead delete this after you read this, Michael, but as an earlier commenter implored, "chill." Your feud with Shortz is not healthy -- why antagonize yourself everyday? You sound like such a bitter person, maybe it's not good for you to do this blog anymore.

I used to check in with you every morning when I finished the puzzle, just to see what you thought, but the snark got so depressing, I quit. Today was the first time in a year I've looked at your blog and I must say you seem even more unhappy than before.

This is nothing more than entertainment for most of us. If you hate the NYT puzzle so much, then just walk the f*ck away.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

In Robert Caro's spectacular four volume (hopefully soon to be five volume) series on LBJ, first daughter "Luci" is spelled with a "Y". Why? Wikepedia states "Johnson's first name was originally spelled "Lucy"; she changed the spelling in her teens as a rebellion towards her parents".

Mark Alberts 9:27 AM  

Rex and fellow pilers-on are being unfair. I have absolutely met people who talk this way. So maybe it's a "Boston" accent rather than a "New England" accent -- I mean, come on.

"Bod of Avon" and "instant comma" are as good as any you'll see of this type of wordplay. Of course it's hokey. So what?

DBlock 9:28 AM  

Add this to the list of Bostonians (actually a transplant and after 28 years it is my Philadelphia accent that is pronounced) who marvel that the rest of the world hears what does not exist
Oh and yes, as for the puzzle-- yawn yawn yawn

Suzy 9:35 AM  


Nancy 9:38 AM  

The puns were fossed and conny. The clues were totsherred. (I'm thinking of you, 41D. And you, 62D. Among others). The fill was ahh-full. (I'm thinking of you, EFS, STAC and NOU.) Just a really, really BAHd puzzle on all counts. Oh, and I Naticked on the KEL/A CALL TO OMS cross. Well actually it was worse than that. You see, I had rHEA instead of THEA at 25D. So What I had was roOMS, not OMS. And so I ended up with the immortal A CALm roOMS for the yoga teacher's invitation. (The whole time, I was thinking of @Aketi and hoping she could help me out. But she couldn't.) As I say, really BAHd. BAH.

GILL I. 9:40 AM  

Well Ash Charmpile piled it on today... and I agree with him!

Jon88 9:54 AM  

Playing devil's advocate for a second (regretfully), I note that Random House Unabridged has only one pronunciation for "Om," and it's "ahm." So while everybody knows it's "ohm," officially, it ain't. [/devil's advocate] Any theme entry that relies on a technically correct but universally disbelieved element should be removed from contention instantly.

seanm 10:16 AM  

the fill was bad, the theme answers were mostly terrible. it ended up taking me well over my average sunday time. i won't waste more of my sunday listing out all of the bad fill. my biggest problem came from having RHEA instead of THEA which, together with not knowing LUCI, and the fact that it is a horrible answer, made it impossible for me to get CALLTOOMS. NOU also gave me way too much trouble.

Wm. C. 10:23 AM  

I have no problem with the theme, but as a native Bostonian (albeit from the suburbs) I can tell you that genuine Boston accent is an "ah" for R, not a "oh." Except, as someone noted, perhaps, the Kennedys, who were probably warped by their time in England and their attempt to sound aristocratic. @Rex is right on this point, but he's a bit over-the-top today.

As a matter of fact, though, there's far less of this accent in Boston and the immediately surrounding area (and NOT all New England, as also noted above), than there was 50 years ago. Also, less-pronounced accents in other regional dialects. Primarily due, I think, to "the Tom Brokaw effect" (National TV with no accents, except in typecasting a character).

Calling salt (French sel) a condiment is a bit of a reach. It is considered a condiment by some, granted, but not by most. Should have been clued differently.

@Chefbea -- Have fun in Asheville, a beautiful city. Nice weather this time of year, also even in summer at its altitude. And while you 're there, don't miss the nearby Biltmore estate; go online and sign up in advance for a guided tour, where you get to see all the back-corridors behind the rope barriers.

Dragoncat 10:23 AM  

I enjoyed it. Was worried in the beginning but had my "ah ha" moment with Low Cob Diet. Maybe ACall to OMS was stretching the Boston accent but in general if I can get the theme and not use Google for answers, I'm happy. I find Rex's constant negativity a bit trying. I don't think he's liked a NYT puzz in about a year. I appreciate his solution though.

BarbieBarbie 10:24 AM  

Fast and difficult-because the themers seemed wrong even though I have studied at the feet of Click and Clack. Actually "Chatter" is the worst one.
But I still enjoyed it, because it's a puzzle with some decent fill. I confidently filled in HERA instead of THEA, which messed me up for awhile.
@ED, *chuckle* to your eruption comment. Very meta.
@Larry, oooohhhh... We visited your beautiful town on a whim one vacation when we were getting out of the hair of our coastal hosts. Wow. Beautiful drive to get there, fantastic place. Wonderful hiking. The flowers must have been crazy this year. Gotta say your completely unscattered "natural light" is probably not the same as most other people's.

Knitwit 10:31 AM  

This was not enjoyable for all the above reasons. I look forward to my Sunday mornings solving the puzzle and this left me flat. Oh well!

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Root canal.

John Child 10:43 AM  

ॐ has three sounds - Ah, oo, and a nasal um. AUM is a better transliteration than OM.

Mr. Benson 10:45 AM  

@anon 12:08, of course it's "arms" not "moms," but that's not the point. The point is that, for a wacky New England accent to make sense, OMS would have to be pronounced "ahms," rhyming with "moms."

And yes, that one stuck out like a really sore thumb, so sore you want to chop it off, though the rest of the theme didn't bother me.

Roo Monster 10:45 AM  

Hey All !
Echoes can be heard in the almost empty room where I'm standing, as I'm in the group who actually liked this puz. The "New England" accents were close enough for a crossword puzzle. If you used "actual" accents, like pahk and yahd, there wouldn't be themers that made any sense. I do agree about the A CALL TO OMS offness, and HOT SPECIALIST is also not the best, but for me, the theme works. It's like puns, you just gotta tweak the ole brain and suspend logicalness for a bit. Have fun. Just sayin.

This puz took me average SunPuz time. Did have a DNF, though. Not known ESSENE plus PASSINGjOCK/jAW. Had oSSENa for ESSENE, and parsed PASSINGjOCK as jerk. Har.

Wrote in ETALI_ and waited in the cross for that final letter. Do the same with clues like Mauna ___, just write in final A and wait on crosses. Saves a writeover!

ACID ROCK is weird. Is that really a thing? Or was it a thing in the 60's/70's?

There are some nice entries in here. I've said several times, all puzzles have ICK. Some here, but they get cancelled out by the good entries. So, no AGITA for me!


Roo Monster 10:55 AM  

ULM reminded me of another classic Monty Python sketch. Loved MAS's link yesterday, so check out this funny sketch!


Crane Poole 11:03 AM  

What a disappointment. Most of the above woes were my woes as well, and I am not evoking Elmer Fudd. A CALL TO OMS is a bombastic theme-failure and an embarrassment.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

I actually enjoyed and got a chuckle from all of the theme answers -- except the CALL TO OMS, which is just wrong.

Teedmn 11:21 AM  

I am definitely not up on my Greek mythology. I had the same experience as @Nancy, up in the NE. 25D was rHEA forever so 24A was never going to fall. I assumed the theme part of the answer losing the R sound would be in the first half. I didn't know KEL and was shaky on LUCI. Yup, double DNF right there. It doesn't help that I had no idea Yoga involved any OMS. With ACAL_rOOMS in place, I was doomed to repeating out loud "acarl rooms", trying to figure out what common phrase that was.

I found most of the theme phrases fun though I think the clue for 87A didn't work. Maybe if you made it refer to a grammar auto-correction? "Quickly added" ≠ INSTANT in my book, but I loved it as an answer.

Lots of mistakes for me today; I went eyE TO eyE, though since I'm not the tallest person, I'm more likely to go TOE TO TOE. I had "starts" at the start, at 66D, which gave me "aflac" and then "aEtna" instead of GEICO. It was as if I had gone deaf, considering how long it took me to "hear" TURN IT UP at 48A. "Hangs loose" was "droops" rather than CHILLS. And my attempt to use the anachronistic MISdIaLs at 89D was a definite case of MISTITLing.

I loved seeing CHASSIS and SMARM, DEAD SET ON, WHISKED AWAY, and COALESCE. I need to add RACEME to my crossword GRID vocabulary. And I think I'm going to start wearing headbands and asking "how d'ya like my HALOES?"

I'm with @RooMonster: Nice Sunday puzz, thanks Alan Arbesfeld.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

I've always thought of it as a New England, not Boston accent. Nice easy Sunday , especially liked low cob diet and a call to oms. Thanks Mr. Arbesfeld.

jberg 11:26 AM  

Far-fetched theory: It's "New England" because it combines the Kennedy ar => ah with the Down East Maine ah => oh. As I said, far-fetched.

Me, too, for rHEa -- she's my go-to mother -- and looking for some kind of yoga rooms. No idea about KEL, so it was just luck I finished.

And I put in butt dial with great confidence for 89D, "call wrongly."

Hardest part was seeing LL BEAN as a J Crew competitor, since I don't believe the latter sells fishing gear, guns, or rubber-bottomed boots.

RAD2626 11:40 AM  

@chefbea. On your way to or from stop in downtown Greenville. They have done a remarkable job with the city. Walk down Main Street, spend time at the waterfall, and eat at Soby's or any of the dozen or so really good restaurants. And the Greenville Drive, Class A affiliate of the Red Sox play in a beautiful stadium that looks like a mini-Fenway Pahk complete with its own Green Monster.

Piper 11:43 AM  

To all those complaining about Rex's negativity--it's HIS blog! Instead of telling him to walk away, you walk away! You don't have to choose to come here either. fine, disagree with his assessment but don't say what he can or can't blog about. Personally, I love his rants about bad puzzles and love that he sets the bar high.

GILL I. 11:45 AM  

Electricity is back on so I can fix my Sunday Egg-in-a-hole.
Started this late last night, plopped in SPOCK PLUGS and thought "Oh goody, accents." I'm pretty good with dialects and can mimic the best of them. I prefer the Spanish variety but a lazy Boston is pretty good as well. I remember the very first time I heard the accent, it was in Spain of all places. One of the ASM newly arrived teachers had a thick one. I asked her if she was from Brooklyn.
I think what turned me off is that it felt like it was trying a bit too hard. I got tired of all the "?" clues that had nothing to do with the theme. So many of the clues were the same o same o. I mean there's Pan Am rival = TWA [dead dead dead] as well as the starting clues for GRID GASH A SNAP and LEONI. If you're going to use tried and true crossword staple, please make the cluing more fresh...Please...
Can someone tell me why RACE ME is a flower arrangement? [33A). Sinatra was a Sicilian before he decided to be a BARITONE but I love the word and the use of EPHEMERA. I use that word when describing cook books.
If I ever hear someone, in normal conversation, say EKES OUT, I will fall into an INSTANT COMMA.

Hungry Mother 11:51 AM  

Another slogger here. No fun in this one, just head down and plod on. Yes, it had a theme.

Aketi 11:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Michael 11:57 AM  

Why did it take me so long to give up on this puzzle? I got the theme in the first couple of minutes with SPOCK PLUGS and still I continued. Why? Why? Why?

The AGITA was not worth it.

GHarris 11:58 AM  

Don't agree that this was easy when you have Kel, Thea and raceme all crossing in the same corner. Needed Google to finish and that was disheartening given my hard work to get all the rest.

nick 12:11 PM  

Couldn't make myself finish. Not hard but no spark anywhere to make the sustained slog of a Sunday even remotely worth the time. Instead, headed off to download last week's WSJ puzzles, which are pretty good. (Maybe more Trump/Colter/Ryan clues than we NYTers are used to, but well-made.

TomAz 12:17 PM  

I agree with Rex more often than not, but not today. I had no problem with the theme idea, and the execution was not bad (OMS being the exception). Faulting the spelling for not exactly reproducing the Boston accent feels like nitpicking to me.

My problem with this puzzle was that some of the fill was Maleskan. RACEME? sure and I'll leave you in my dust. EUTERPE? well you're kind of an ass yourself. ADIA? no, I have no adia what that means.

I still have no idea why certain commenters feel the need to attack Rex personally just because they disagree with his comments. That's something Trump would do.

dm3000 12:24 PM  

I do appreciate the instant feedback this blog supplies, plus the availability of the answer if I get stuck. I haven't gotten stuck in a long long time...

Charley 12:40 PM  

The whole concept of a New England accent is so wrong. What was meant here is a Boston accent. Which is far removed from a Maine Down Easter accent, or a posh Connecticut preppy accent, etc.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Harumph, harumph, harumph!

Once I got SPOCK PLUGS, I realized I was licked because I was having a hard enough time just getting the theme phrases, never mind figuring out how the Bostonian phonetics were going to be handled. Had to look up a whole lot of clues and was stumped anyway (e.g., the 'net gave me THEIA but the puzzle wanted THEA). 84D "Completely convinced about" is just wrong. You can be completely convinced that smoking causes cancer and be DEAD SET ON having another cig anyway. And what is ETALII (A27 Roster shortener)? I get ET AL, but what's the "II"? Finally, LLBEAN is absolutely NOT a competitor of J. Crew. Folks who shop at J. Crew wouldn't be caught dead wearing LLBean. Phooey!

This one was MURDER!

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Oh yeah, and "slight" 49D is absolutely not "neglect." Insult, disparage, scorn, snub, disdain, reject, scoff at—but "neglect"? No, no, no!

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

totally agree...ahms, not oms...wrong throughout

dumbnose 1:07 PM  

The constructor has never heard anyone with a Boston or NE accent, obviously. Being from Boston, this made it really hard to get the stupid phrases. Did...not...enjoy. Time to go do a puzzle from a decent source. I think the NYT crossword may have jumped the shark.

Aketi 1:13 PM  

Blogger Aketi said...
@Nancy, your post did more to pull me out of my BAH humbug mood than listening to Rex's link to the "ahoooooooooooooOOuuuuuuuuM ting".

I was contemplating how my husband is not a HOT SPECIALIST when I sent him out for salon pas hot patch for my back this morning. He came back with the Walmart version which never got hot. He tried again and came back with a salon pas mentholated antiinflammatory infused cold patches instead. I figure I'll give the cool mint version a try because clearly his heat patch seeking system is a little off today.

@Larry Gilstrap, sometimes my MMA instructors were literally make us spar standing TOE TO TOE so we learn how to block punches and fight at close range. So it's not so bizarre in my world.

Unlike almost all other objects that toddlers claim as their own, I've never seen or heard of a toddler claiming ITS MY POTTY even if they have cute little duckies or bunnies or Elmo on them. Mayt parents I knew during the toilet training phase ended up bribing them to use the potty, including the often used aim for the cheerios trick with boys. I didn't intentionally bribe my son when I took him to a movie where the restroom toilets had blue water in the bowls. He was so delighted in his ability to turn the water SEA green and
I was equally delighted that he was instantly POTTY trained.

old timer 1:13 PM  

Great story, 'mericans.

I went to prep school in Southern New Hampshire 1958-1962. There were, I learned, several New England accents. The Maine accent honored in "Bert and I." The Vermont accent, honored in "You can't get theah from heah." The aristocratic accent, spoken by the Kennedys, but also by the Saltonstalls, and pretty close to the aristocratic New York accent spoken by FDR and often heard in Hollywood movies (our Principal was a Saltonstall when I was there, and he had a cousin who was Senator from New Hampshire, sounded much like him, too).

And then there was the Boston accent. In 1958 my mother and I were totally confused when she asked a clerk at Filene's how to find the subway back to Copley Square. "Pack Street" she said. We would of course have understood "Pahk Street." But "Pack"??? Yet that was, and to some extent still is, how Bostonians who did not go to Hahvahd actually talked. (We did at last find Park St and the underground streetcar there).

The Boston accent was little changed as you went North. At least, the townies at Exeter High talked that way. Yet a few miles away, was the charming old town, Pawtsmuth, and across from it, you were in Maine with its own unique way of talking (according to E.B. White, who lived near Blue Hill and Brooklin, a very common word, soon adopted by his son, was Bayster (bastard).

But I digress. The puzzle was clever and quite hard, and I must admit I did not grok the probable error with OMS. But for all I know, some New Englanders would pronounce it "ahms" or more likely, "aams". (BTW. Vermonters from the Green Mountains, up around Greensboro, still talk in that Vermont accent. But Western Vermonters from Burlington and Rutland sound just like upstate New Yorkers, with only te slightest and occasional dropping of "r"s.)

Masked and Anonymous 1:14 PM  

This SunPuz might indeed have its problems pleasin the longtime crossword solvin veterans, who crave fresh themes with lots of zesty extra fill. More than enough desperate moments to please every taste, too boot.

Now, I can't even imagine how hard it is to splatz 9 themers into a 21 x 21 grid, limit yerself to 140 words max, and fill that sucker with sparkly words and phrases throughout. Best way to sum up my reaction to that proposed task: SEL-NOU-CCL-KEL! [pronounced aauumm.] Sooo… I give any constructioneer a hearty "congratz", if they can get a SunPuz published.


thUmbsUp for the best-shot-used-right-outta-the-chute SPOCKPLUGS -- and for takin responsibility for it all at the end, via ITSMYPOTTY.

Good to see olde friends again, like ADIA and ATRI. Learned some new stuff, with HYNDE and MOHEL and RACEME. Admired some longer stuff like NEGLECT and TURNITUP and PROTESTVOTE and COALESCE and ACIDROCK and LLBEAN. Liked the sneaky clues on SEA and END and BOWL [wanted BOAR].

Thanx, Mr. Arbesfeld. Looks like this puppy got some PASSINGMOCKSs, tho

Masked & Anonymo10Us


Blue Stater 1:15 PM  

Rex, in answer to your question, no, no one is minding the store. This puzzle was just plain pitiful.

puzzlehoarder 1:17 PM  

I'm not a fan of themed puzzles, especially punny themes so most of this was just a slog. In between the excessive themers and the crossword superglue there was some worthwhile material. I liked the obliqueness of the clue for NEGLECT. There wasn't enough of that kind of fill to compensate for the overall tedium. Other than the wacky themes there's really nothing original. SIMPS only gets a mention due to its being plural. Luckily I have number of Fridays and Saturdays from '95 to work on.

chefbea 1:29 PM  

@WmC Biltmore is high on our list of things to do!!!

@Rad2626..thanks for the greenville info

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Michael Shop hates Will Shortz. Shop's a dick. End of.

Paul Tsongas 1:46 PM  

Enny body wememba how I pwonounthed "pander bear"?

Andy 1:47 PM  

Total 110% dreck!!!

Mary Gorman 1:47 PM  

This puzzle was a total slog, while at the same time no challenge. the hardest part was keeping my interest long enough to finish--that was the real challenge..........

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

child's play = clock? what a crock.

Erik 1:54 PM  

Oof. Wow that was bad...

Hopefully the rest of your Sunday will be better than that!

Roo Monster 2:05 PM  

@Anon 1:50
Substituting here for @Always Check Your Grid:
A SNAP is answer for Childs Play. You moved a clue over.

I still maintain it was an ok puz. I don't think the NYT is desperate for SunPuzs, it's just Will publishes what he likes, snd has to please a wide audience. Most of y'all here don't seem rather pleased, however.

How about a Pun for the Day.
I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.


Mohair Sam 2:08 PM  

We did what @Nancy did. RHEA for THEA. Actually said that the Pun could be "A Call To Arms" but OMS in no way translates to "arms" in the Boston accent, so we'll stay with RHEA. Maybe there's some yoga position that sounds like ACALL with a Boston accent. Missed by a mile.

Never like local accent puzzles, and the above is why. It's anybody's guess how they actually should be represented. And Hollywood overdoes them to death, so they're never truly accurate. Unfortunate here, because some of the puns were damned clever, the puzzle had some awesome words like EPHEMERA, ESSENE, RACEME, and COALESCE, strong long downs like PROTESTVOTE and WHISKEDAWAY - and I always love me a little ACIDROCK.

@RAD626 - I'll second your vote on Greenville, SC. I was down there in the early '60s for a week and flat hated the place. Spent some time there off and on over a three year period less than a decade ago and have a completely different opinion. Hell of a town.

Stanley Hudson 2:27 PM  

@Paul Tsongas, genuine LOL.

John McKnight 3:10 PM  

The Walsh Mark post, above, was a million times better than this puzzle, which sucked. I hated all of it. It was objectively stupid and bad.

Andrew Heinegg 3:14 PM  

This was an awful puzzle but, my rant today is on the subject of the Rex ranters. This blog is owned and run by him. If you don't like the way he evaluates puzzles, go somewhere else. But, please stop posting here.

You apparently want him to go away and have someone else take over the blog. That is not going to happen and you know it. So, you make personal attacks on him that are clearly without basis and, in a show of how reasonable and fair he is, Rex leaves them there.

None of the regulars on this blog agree with Rex 100% or maybe not even most of the time. But, it is his show and, if you don't like it, don't read it!

Today was an especially bad time for Rex haters. Virtually every regular solver and blogger wholeheartedly agreed with his assessment, some of whom candidly admit they don't read his reviews. Why don't you join them and save your vitriol for some political person or doctrine you don't agree with. Who knows, maybe you can lower your blood pressure.

MetroGnome 3:43 PM  

Funny "Bahston" accent anecdote: Bandleader Artie Shaw once asked one of his assistants to order some new folders for the band's sheet music. The guy called a printer, who dutifully wrote down the band's name exactly as he heard it over the phone. Shaw's assistant, however, had a thick Boston accent -- so imagine everyone's delight when the folders came back emblazoned with the name: "Ottie Shore and his Orchestra"! According to the story, Shaw got such a kick out of it that he held onto those folders and used them for years.

Hartley70 3:43 PM  

Wow, it's very disheartening to post late and find that the puzzle you really enjoyed has been ripped to shreds. I'm standing on the starboard side of the boat with @Roo and the rest of you are getting your feet wet on the port!

Hi @Roo, I'm a 60's teen and yes, ACIDROCK is a thing...not my thing, but a thing.

I got a kick out of the theme, and as a MA/RI/VT/CT New Englander I found the ah distinction negligible. It was cute. It worked. It wasn't horribly obvious. It didn't use Oreo or Ono. It didn't use obscure sports terms or players. It played a little slower than usual which means it wasn't too easy. I loved it. What's not to like? Don't answer that again, please.

Well done, Mr. Arbesfeld!

Hartley70 3:48 PM  

BTW, you can pronounce my name Hahtley or Hotley and I'll still answer.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

I'm worried about Rex's blood pressure. Cheer up man. I depend on you every Sunday.

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

The yoga clue was terrible. I'm going cancel my subscription just like all those who follow the religion of global warming.

Carola 4:15 PM  

Took me ages to catch on with IT'S MY POTTY. Then off to finish the rest of the partially completed bits of chatter....not - DNF on A CALL TO OMS, as I didn't know KEL and misguessed rHEA. I thought the LOW-COB DIET was great, the others maybe not so HOT. Nice long Downs, though.
EPHEMERA for me at this time of year are the trout lilies that bloom in my woodland garden on the north side of the house, part of the lovely inheritance from the horticulture professor who owned the house before us. Faithfully for 28 years they've reappeared to assure me that spring has arrived. Two weeks of delicate pleasure - and then they vanish without a trace.

Moly Shu 4:37 PM  

Anon1:39 re: Michael Shop, har
@AndrewHeinegg, you say "if you don't like it, don't read it" the same advice could apply to OFL and his obvious (to me) distaste for Will and the NYT puzzles. I'm glad he has this blog, it allows me to read his critiques and also to read you and everyone else's posts if I choose. I don't begrudge posters for ranting against @Rex, they come to the blog like everyone else. Perhaps you should take some of your own advice and not read the @Rex vitriol if you don't like it.

QuasiMojo 4:48 PM  

Well said @ Andrew H.

Kenneth Wurman 5:12 PM  

I personally did not like this puzzle and found it difficult, not easy. I agree with Rex's assessment. Like many others I lost interest early which is unusual on a Sunday.

GPO 5:44 PM  

Jesus, lighten up, Francis. It's not the World Pun Championships.

I'm sure the constructor tried his best to provide us with a pleasant diversion on our Sunday morning.

Who could care about it enough to come down it with such vitriol?

Plus as a Bostonian, I thought the theme answers were kind of fun, especially LOW COB DIET.

Not easy, though, for me. I'd rate it a solid medium.

Nancy 6:07 PM  

I always find it fascinating to see others failing in the exact same way that I do, so that, for me, @Tita's and @Mohair's rHEA is interesting and @Teedmn's experience (11:21) with the A CAL-rOOMS thing, which completely mirrors my own Casco, was really fascinating. But how come you didn't come up with my own inimitable A CALM ROOMS, @Teedmn? It's a bit problematic, grammar-wise, but it makes a certain bit of sense, yoga-wise. (Hi, @Aketi, I'm glad I amused you on what sounds like a terrible morning.)

I love your anecdote, @'Mericans (7:51), though I'm sure it's more humorous in the retelling than it was in the original experience. @Gill (11:45) -- If you ever do make it to NYC, I look forward to hearing your dialects. I love people who do them well, as I'm sure you do. Your were in movies, after all!

@old timer (1:13) -- I learned a lot about New England accents from you, all colorfully explained. Were you one of the co-authors of The Preppy Handbook, by any chance. We now seem to have identified at least two preppies on this blog -- you and Quasi.

Once again -- the comments today were far more fun than the puzzle.

Anonymous 6:15 PM  

Lotto spell!

Andrew Heinegg 6:25 PM  

Yes, there are many disagreements with Rex's evaluations and I don't have any issue with them at all.

The complaint I have is with the posts containing personal insults. Franky, I get the sense from most of these anonymous posters that they don't like Rex's political perspective, which I agree with at times and at times not and which he has not brought out recently. The question is: are personal insults about someone you never met appropriate to post? And your opinion and mine on that issue obviously differ.

webwinger 6:39 PM  

I really liked this, and finished in 25% less than my usual Sunday time. I lived in Boston as a student for 4 years in the 1970s and regularly heard natives speak in the manner of the puzzle's answers, and make self-referential jokes about it. My favorite recollection is hearing someone complain about paying "a nominal egg" for something she considered overpriced. Was completely surprised when she translated to "an arm and a leg".

ultramet 6:49 PM  

How many times are we going to use this theme? I hated this puzzle so much that I stopped doing It to watch the Mets lose 23-5 to the Nationals. Yes, that was more enjoyable than this awful puzzle.

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

Rex is a jackass.

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Has not brought out politics LOL. Unless Scalia had been clued "Justice whose seat was stolen from Merrick Garland ' and Chao had been clued ''wife of the guy who stole Garland's seat" this puzzle was doomed from the get go as far as Rex is concerned. The resistance, however, ends not with a bang but a whimper.

Teedmn 7:47 PM  

@Nancy, A CALM ROOMS is not only inimitable but also not in the language :-). And in my MN accent, the L in CALM or palm is pronounced, which would cause it to not meet the strictures of the theme.

Since I made the rHEA error, I thought I'd look up THEA. As someone else pointed out, the main Google hits show the name as THEiA, so perhaps a "var." in the clue might have inspired me to rethink rHEA? Probably not.

Bridgete 8:01 PM  

I live in the Boston area (not a native but I still know what the accent sounds like) so you are definitely right that the vowel is all wrong. That said, I love the "punny" ones, so this one still amused me.

Anonymous 9:33 PM  

Late to the posting but wanted to chime in .... agree with the sentiments of several people who didn't mind the puzzle and would like to see it in perspective, especially appreciated GPO who seems to have read my mind (thank you!). As a person who lives in the Boston area, I can say that this accent absolutely can still be found and while one could nitpick about the "ah" vs the "oh," why do it? This is just supposed to be fun and for heaven's sake, you all know where it was going, so it was easy to suss out!!
Having said that, I actually didn't find it easy, mostly from the fill, and agree that it was a "medium," after going to references when I stalled.

Anyway, I do enjoy the other posters' comments -- this is crowd sourcing at its best, to get different perspectives and insights. In fact, I often just skim Rex's comments since I find them too negative, but I do appreciate that he has created this forum and give him snaps for that

Happy May!


CDilly52 9:38 PM  

I just finished after starting g at midnight. The theme was easy but the rest of the puzzle was a slog of a slog! Perseverance is its own reward, I guess.

ghostoflectricity 10:34 PM  

If I may use the apparent Arbesfeldian conception of a New England accent (in which, as Rex points out, the word "park" would sound like "pack" or maybe "pahk" but not "pock"): Wust. Puzzle. Evah.

Joe Bleaux 11:30 PM  

Hear, hear, Andrew! Thanks.

Andy 11:56 PM  

Total 110% dreck!!!

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kitshef 8:47 AM  

My only disagreement with @Rex's review is that this was hard. Harder than 90% of Sunday puzzles. Clues were littered with ambiguity, and if you don't know KEL you are never in a million years going to guess an 'L' for that final letter. KEV, KEY, KEN, sure. But never KEL.

Tita A 9:18 AM  

@old timer..."underground streetcar"? Priceless.

thomas greisen 3:18 PM  

I stopped at the 25% mark. Normally I will slog through a ill conceived puzzle, but not this one. I think my subscription is up next month. If thing do not change, I am out'a'here.

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Jonathan Norwich 12:53 AM  

This was hands down the worst Sunday puzzle I've ever solved. Disappointed the Times published it.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

I like the chameleon shirt.

Craig Morris 5:07 PM  

"pahk the cah in hahvad yahd." is the stereotypical "Boston" accent. There are many variations in and around Boston, as well as the rest of New England. For certain areas, the dropping of the "r" pretty accurate. Spock for Spark, OM for Arm are two examples that are pretty much on the mark from my 38 years of living in Massachusetts, NH and VT.

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Anonymous 3:02 PM  

Rex, it's New England Charter, not Chowder.

Fred 8:10 PM  

Sorry if I missed it in all the responses above, but can anyone explain why "efs" is a Buffet centerpiece, and what the heck "No mas" means? Overall, I agree that this was a pretty stupid puzzle. So dumb, in fact, that it was not nearly as easy as Rex concludes. Maybe I would have had more fun if I had started with "Spock plugs" instead of "Instant comma," which made no sense at all.

Army 42 8:03 PM  

@ Fred The middle letters of buFFet are "efs". No MAS is Spanish for "No more." Rememberthe boxer Roberto Duran? (Sp?) Posting late, as we in The Great White North receive this puzzle the following Saturday and love to read the comments. Did not enjoy this slog BTW. :)

Robert Berardi 8:07 PM  

A New England / Boston accent would be HAT SPECIALIST, IT'S MY PATTY, LOW CAB DIET, etc.

rondo 11:09 AM  

This GRID was not totally ASNAP as I had several minor issues in the NE by starting out kicking up dUSt, my ROCK was hard at first, and before my chance was FAT it was odd. All eventually fixed, but at least 45 minutes on the CLOCK.

Yeah babies galore AMONG acting talents Tia LEONI and TALIA Shire, rocker Chrissie HYNDE, and annoying KELly RIPA, but today will be DAME Helen Mirren's day, perhaps as the BODOFAVON?

Not in as big a SNIT as OFL, but that OMS thing ain't right.

spacecraft 11:26 AM  

I dunno, maybe we should be rethinking the 21x21 Sunday format. I can get through a 15x15 even if it's bad, but this? DNF. Just couldn't stomach any more after getting (read: slogging) about halfway down. I worked in the flower industry almost TWENTY YEARS and I NEVER, EVER ONCE heard of "RACEME." To me, that spells a playground challenge. And I'm sorry, but despite having read Bulfinch's Mythology cover-to-cover I still don't know who Helios' mother was, or Erato's sister. It was when I got to the Egyptian spotted cat that I threw up (my hands). WHO KNOWS THIS CRAP? And how in blazes could you call this easy???

Already I had put up with NOU, KEL (???) and the RRN. It was just too much. It was like trying to walk with an ivy vine twisted around my feet. Besides, I had already filled in THEBODOFAVON, and was positive that was the high point. If I take nothing else away from this, I have one good guffaw--but it's not nearly enough.

DOD candidates abound; RIPA, LEONI, TALIA ETALII. I'll pick lovely Tea LEONI. Too bad they're mired in all this. No score for a DNF.

And oh yeah: I'd say that Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly were heavy metal, NOT "ACIDROCK." Back to the fifteeners!

Burma Shave 12:05 PM  


with that HYNDE END and CHASSIS, she'd in PASSINGMOCK:
"You're INA mood AMOROUS, AYE know,



AnonymousPVX 2:14 PM  

Rex said it all. I hate gimmick puzzles, this is Exhibit A on why they suck hard. Also, I agree that those groups were NOT AcidRock, and apparently the constructor doesn't know that. There is more to say but I've wasted enough time on this.
And I got the solve. Meh.

leftcoastTAM 6:13 PM  

I'm at odds with Rex (and many others, it appears) on this one.

The theme is near-great. The substitution of "O" for "ar" in the themers captures the New England, especially the stereotypic Boston, accent, almost perfectly--with the exception of OMS for "arms". Can't trash the puzzle for that one slip.

Did have a problem accepting RACEME, and stared at NOU too long, but got a nice "aha" moment out of it.

Toss in some other clever non-theme clues like "Roster shortener" for ETALII, and you get a fun, satisfying solve for a leisurely (i.e., time-taking) Sunday.

Diana,LIW 7:21 PM  

I'm mid-finish, so not reading any of you yet. Paper was late this morning, and then I ran (yeah, walked) a 12-K race. Didn't win - those runners were ahead of me. See ya tomorrow.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting to finish today's puzzle

victoria janniffer 7:27 PM  

I am here to express my profound warm gratitude to the Natural Herbal Medicine, which i got from Dr Hazim,after 3 days of communication he sent some herbal medicines to me. I am now leaving a healthy life since the past 5 months after the completion of my Genital and Oral Herpes treatment with the Dr Hazim Natural Healing Medicine, i am now completely Herpes Free, after the application and usage of Dr Hazim Medicine. Currently the only cure for Herpes, Cancer,Diabetes and every other Human diseases is Dr Hazim Herbal Medicine. As i am A living witness of this great miracle, you can save more patient from pharmaceutical scandals by sharing or contacting this great Natural healer for the Medication
via email; ( also call him or Whatsapp on +2348154641673, Let Stop Herpes with Dr Hazim Herbal Medicine. Let`s save life by sharing this on all social network as God will bless you as you share this information that will give every Herpes patient’s a hope for a new Life. Thanks for your Time

gavin kate 10:47 AM  

My name is gavin kate i am from boston usa, you can also add me on
Facebook or send me an email via
I am here to give my testimony about
Dr LUCKY Natural Herbal Medicine who helped me in my
life, i want to inform the public how i was cured from (HERPES SIMPLEX
VIRUS) by Dr LUCKY, i visited different hospital but they gave me
list of drugs like Famvir, Zovirax, and Valtrex which is very expensive
to treat the symptoms and never cured me. I was browsing through the
Internet searching for remedy on HERPES and i saw comment of people
talking about how Dr LUCKY cured them. when i contacted him he gave
me hope and send a Herbal medicine to me that i took and it seriously
worked for me, in less than five days i was free, my HERPES result came out negative. I am so happy sharing this testimony. My advice to you all who thinks that there is no cure for Herpes, he is also specialized in the cure of the following: Cancer, HIV, Low sperm count, Barrenness, Hvp, Genital Wart, Rare disease, Hepatitis, Syphilis, Diabetes. etc. just contact him and get cure.


I was diagnosed with HERPES AND COPD about 3 years ago. At first, I was emotionally devastated. My symptoms were bad, and I just felt like I was going to die. My dentist didn't want to see me anymore when I told her that I had the virus, and my family reacted very badly. It was quite an effort, but I didn't give up. Just few months ago i found a traditional healer in health forum, who cured me with his herbal medicine, i had the treatment for two weeks and everything was ok with me, i m so much exited that i got hundred percent rid to the virus out of my life. You have the email here to contact him, or you call him on +2348078559371

dimesha marshe 6:30 PM  

I just want to advice everyone out there to please take to my advice now. There are a lot of herbal doctors but there is none like the Great herbal doctor that helped me get rid of my herpes virus. Just few months back here, i could no longer sleep because of my herpes disease and having known that i am 16weeks pregnant, i didn't want anything bad to happen to my baby and me either so i searched everywhere for help but didn't get any and i started to use really hard drugs from the hospital that i was told to use by my doctor and still i kept getting outbreaks and really hurts and was so scared of loosing my baby or my life either so i thought of browsing the internet for help and i saw several testimonies about Dr Akpan curing people of their herpes disease and with no further thoughts, i contacted Dr Akpan on his email that i saw, i shared with him my problem and he gave me hope that i must be cured and my baby will be okay, gave me some instructions and which i hopefully followed. He prepared the herbal medicine and sent to me here in Halton which i used for 14 days as instructed and to be truthful, i started to notice some changes in my body and after another 7days, told me to go for a test, So shocking i was confirmed Herpes negative. I really do not know how to thank him but my God will bless his good works and his generation. I have promised to share to all about his good work and so i advice you to contact him now for your cure on his email: Or his mobile contact +2348143502763 for call and whatsapp.

JonDee 8:17 PM  

Uff-da, this puzzle devilled me. I got the New England accent bit quickly (& these pronunciations are close to Down East Maine, with which I'm most familiar), but the NE corner took me a very, very long time, largely because of the 'OM' sound that was intended by the puzzle-maker, versus what I was listening for. Problem was compounded by my mind insisting on 'Rhea.' Sigh.

I thought the cluing was fine, albeit harder than I'd expected....more Saturday-ish.

I was challenged, & I was happy when I finished, which is what I want from a puzzle.

Julie Davis 12:00 PM  

I want to let the world know about Dr SABU herbal cure is 100% Guarantee percent sure to cure your HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS ,He is only person that i can boldly say he can cure any types of Disease.i was having HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS for more than 8 year when i met Dr SABU online on how he has cured so many people and how greatly he has helped many individuals online,so i contacted him and explained my situation to him lo and behold i was cure with his herbal medicine and now am living happily, so to anyone issue on herpes challenges i advised that you contact he can also cure any disease such as HIV/AIDS HEPATITIS B,DIABETICS,CANCER,HERPES HE is the great herbalist man called Dr.SABU i must say a big thanks for curing my Herpes Disease, i owe you in return. Thanks and be blessed sir.his Mobil number+2347057624993 or his websites:

wcutler 10:29 PM  

I liked it. I wished I had got COALESCE, LUCI and KEL, so I could have had a chance to figure out ACALLTOOMS. I liked the clue for RACEME.

Robert W. Harris 7:38 PM  

I did this theme a few years ago, including SPOCKPLUGS (LA Times, 11 Aug 13).

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