Acronym for class taught over Internet / SUN 5-7-17 / Bulked up in modern lingo / Rose's love on old Broadway / Animal avatar of Thoth / Blue symbol of Delaware / Chinese city known for its terra-cotta warriors

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Constructor: Natan Last, Finn Vigeland and the J.A.S.A. Crossword Class

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Duality Quality" — theme answers are two-word phrases where only difference between the two words is the first letter, but the words are pronounced differently, vowel-sound-wise (verse clues do the same thing, which is pretty nifty):

Theme answers:
  • DAUGHTER LAUGHTER (22A: "I know my girl enjoys her youth / When this fine sound escapes her mouth")
  • BUDDING PUDDING (37A: "Right now, it's fine, no five-star food, / But this dessert will soon be good!")
  • KOSHER NOSHER (57A: "This mensch looks up and shouts 'Delish!' / While downing snacks with real relish")
  • GARDEN WARDEN (76A: "Your will to serve must be mature / To be this keeper of nature")
  • MASSAGE PASSAGE (92A: "Go down this hallway: There's a couch / If what you seek's relaxing touch")
  • BASELINE VASELINE (109A: "This may have been the umpire's doing; / Now sliding home is easy going")
  • MODEL YODEL (15D: "Kate Upton strikes an alpine pose / And belts this out, with naught to lose")
  • HATCH WATCH (69D: "I have this duty on my farm / To look as chickens keep eggs warm")
Word of the Day: MOOC (63A: Acronym for a class taught over the Internet) —
A massive open online course (MOOC /mk/) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education which were first introduced in 2006 and emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012. (wikipedia)
• • •

Er, well, hmm. I mean ... look, I love (like nephews) the two constructors involved in teaching this class, and there are moments (SWOLE! MOOC!) where I can feel their influence, and I like it. But this theme is not terribly exciting (despite the admittedly clever cluing). You can run this theme forever. TOUGH DOUGH. ROUGH COUGH. NEVER FEVER. CATCH MATCH. FORK WORK. HEADER READER. I dunno. The answers used here just weren't that exciting. I think the ones where the change is drastic and strange work best, like BASELINE VASELINE (that one's got a *double* vowel change). Strangely, I think the title might be the best example of the type. Maybe it's appropriate that it all feels somewhat remedial, since this is the product of (mostly) novices, after all. And it's certainly no worse than a lot of Sunday's I've been subjected to of late. But this is all a little too basic for my taste, despite the admittedly cute theme cluing conceit. I do have to give a lot of love to the clues, which, in their poetic non-rhyming, perfectly replicate the sound-change concept of involved in the theme answers themselves (and in consistent iambic tetrameter, no less!). But the actual answers, the actual grid, was a tad dull for me. Also, I really wish HATCH WATCH had had an Orrin clue.

This puzzle was shockingly easy. Seriously, I'M SHOCKED. I finished in 8 and half minutes (?), and that's despite getting flummoxed multiple times by proper nouns (and that "GoT" clue where the answer was IMPS). ANSEL and ALIX were total no-hopers for me, and XIAN (36D: Chinese city known for its terra-cotta warriors) ... rings faint bells, but not unfaint ones, so I used all the crosses there. I know next to nothing about BELGIUM, so that answer had to fill itself in via crosses as well (8D: Home to King Philippe). Do people know "The Adventures of ALIX"??? (103D: "The Adventures of ___" (European comics series)). I teach Comics *and* I just read a global history of Comics, and still, no clue. [Geflite fish fish] is PIKE, which I also didn't know. Considered HAKE. Didn't know if EMERSON (60D: Boston college) was maybe an EMERSEN or something dumb like that, so I waited for TACOS to solve it (TACOS can solve it!). Had IPOS before LBOS (49A: Some Wall St. deals). Struggled mightily with URBAN (38D: ___ studies (college major))—you hear that, Finn! Mightily! College, shmollege.

Hey, the newest episode (003) of "On the Grid," my crossword podcast with co-host Lena Webb, is now up on iTunes, and here. We went to the Finger Lakes Crossword Competition and drank Riesling and generally had a lot of mostly crossword-related fun. Please check it out if you've got ~38 min. to spare. Thanks.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


John Child 12:12 AM  

Agreed, dead easy. But I liked the theme as well as any Sunday wordplay in a while, and I'm impressed how clean the grid is -- nary a groaner here, and that's rare on Sunday. This would be an excellent introduction for someone new to big-format puzzles.

I enjoyed trying to parse the answers without a vowel change ... {One who beans babies, then eats their ice cream?} : KOSHER, NOSHER. {Gekko supervisor in jail?} : GARDEN WARDEN

Anonymous 12:23 AM  

I agree it was easy I finished in under my normal Sunday time too. Rex seems a little too fond of himself.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

I agree with Rex that it was rather meh. I soldiered through it but it wasn't a lot of fun. Too many proper names as well. I had to google the avatar and Game of Thrones person as that was Natick.

Charles Flaster 12:29 AM  

Agree with most of Rex especially the one letter change in the answer AND the clue. Amazing.
Had two problem squares.
Kept OTTO in 61 Across as GO TO PRESS was perfect. What is OTTO?
But I kept AZUr in 116 Across because that seemed better than anything else. So this was a DNF pour moi.
MOOC and SWOLE were also new but they made sense in the solve.
The clue in 42 Down should be three "point "
Liked the clue for WIN.
Thanks to NL, FV and the class.

Anonymous 12:54 AM  

Second-guessed myself on JAPES. Figured the plural for papyrus (43A) could have gone A or I (Chinese geography not my strong suit). Had BEaT for wallop (107D), and didn't see the mistake at 116A.

Otherwise, this was a very gettable Sunday.

Joe Dipinto 1:03 AM  

Catch match? I pronounce the "a" the same in those.

I liked this puzzle. I think "act casual" was my favorite answer. And while on the subject of answers starting with "ac", the recent flare-up of acne seems to have gone into remission, for today anyway -- though ache came perilously close.

Anonymous 1:13 AM  

Way too easy for a Sunday NYT. I'm no Rex Parker, but it became clear pretty soon that this puzzle was too easy. That took all the fun out of it. It was just filling in the blanks.

Robin 1:32 AM  

This was relatively easy but not dead easy. I had a couple of the same problems as @Charles Flaster (i.e., OTTO and AZUL) and probably spent a couple minutes either figuring out the correct answer (AZUL, kept thinking maybe AZUA was a color) or just hunting the pesky thing down (OTTO).

Made some of the other mistakes that Rex mentioned but they all resolved themselves fairly quickly.

Couldn't decide whether I like the theme or not, but that was because I thought the vowel change lessened the cleverness. On the other hand, the same thing with no vowel sound change probably would have been a bear to construct. And the BASELINEVASELINE was kind of funny.

So, finished in about 2/3 my average Sunday, but about 50% slower than my record.

Moly Shu 1:45 AM  

Not easy here, I knew SWOLE but not MOOC. Main problem was the LUX PAPYRI XIAN area. Even with SURFER and YODEL in, couldn't get it. Did like the clue for DUMB.
@Anon12:23, congrats, you win the understatement of the year award. Well done.

Anonymous 1:47 AM  

Great puzzle my only objection is that the clues and answers were so anodyne there was nothing I could object to, thereby signaling my virtue.

lg 2:07 AM  

New record Sunday time for me so yeah, pretty easy. I could have absolutely demolished my old record but got hung up on MOOC, which I'd never heard of. Ended up having to guess but wasted valuable minutes there. I had MOeC for long time because well, eNEG seemed to work fine for "force on earth, informally", I.e "energy" right? So honestly, I'm not sure what ONEG has to do with the clue.

Everything else in this puzzle was easy easy easy and I have absolutely no problem with that! I've only been doing crosswords for about a year, so I'm not jaded just yet, and truthfully, even the easy ones are kind of fun for me! And to know Rex solved in 8+ minutes and I came in around 25 minutes, I count that as a major win for me. So, overall, I love it.

Kenneth Wurman 2:18 AM  

Loved this one and found it to be very clever! Best puzzle in a long time...

jae 2:28 AM  

Easy-medium for me because stuff in the MOOC vicinity and the @Moly PAPYRI section took a bit more sussing. Not all that exciting, but pleasant enough, liked it.

Larry Gilstrap 2:30 AM  

Anybody else drop in SchumER for POEHLER? I'm a sucker for funny women. That Kate McKinnon kills me! I try not to get wasted in any way, shape, or form, but not quite sure which of those are synonymous with ICED.

English is a bizarre language. Had we only switched over to Esperanto, back when we had a chance. I liked the theme, and after reading OFL's expose, I even liked the clues. Petroleum jelly has its places, but BASELINE VASELINE forced me to pause over my Wheeties.

Happy Sunday.

Mr. B 2:59 AM  

The word pairs made this play very easy for me overall.
I just got stuck in a couple of places...I have never heard of the MOOC acronym and I guessed gNEG guessing figuring it meant some sort of negative gravity...haha. Also never knew the Oscar winning spanish song - so the crossing of OTRa and SWaLE seem reasonable to me. But never got the iPad congratulatory tune...and I just dread trying to suss out where I went wrong on a sunday. Eventually got the happy tune though...and finished in half of my usual sunday average.
MIR to all !!!

Anonymous 3:32 AM  

Alix is a French comic, that started in the 60's. Stories take place in Ancient Rome - no relationship whatsoever with Astérix

chefwen 4:00 AM  

@Larry G - Thought ot Schumer before POEHLER, but was not sure of the spelling and when KOSHER NOSHER showed up, POEHLER, filled the bill.

Thought 76D Party Bowlful would be Packer Dip (Hey, it fit) but I guess not everyone is a Green Bay fan. Well maybe @JFC.

Didn't we decide that GEFILTE FISH was CARP just two days ago, now it's PIKE. I'm confused.

Pretty easy Sunday, but 8-1/2 minutes. Yikes!

Anonymous 5:45 AM  

This was too easy. Puns are fun but this was just awful - BASELINEVASELINE just beyond the pail (sic).

Loren Muse Smith 5:53 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 6:07 AM  


How is that pronounced differently? Is it New York-ese?

Loren Muse Smith 6:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 6:18 AM  

First themer was HATCH WATCH (agree with Rex that an Orrin clue woulda been great). Seeing the eye-rhyme, I reconsidered the odd clue with its italics and whooped. Oddly enough, I’m involved in a HATCH WATCH – there’s a nest over the light on our screened-in porch, and I get a mirror and stand on a chair every day now to monitor the eggs’ progress.

BASELINE VASELINE is arguably the best, but I really, really love KOSHER NOSHER because it feels so Yiddishish.

I also liked the absurd MODEL YODEL. It’s all fun and games ‘til the model starts to yodel. Time to pack up the camera, fan, and bronzer and head on home.

Possible headline for a singing duo: Donkey, Monkey on Key!

@Robin - funny how our takes are all so different; without the vowel sound change, I wouldn't have enjoyed this nearly as much. It'd just be a bunch of rhymes like "catch match."

@chefwen – me, too, for “carp” first. And then like Rex, I was going “hake.”

PAPYRI – I pictured a ridiculous papyrodes. Yeah yeah it’s Latin, but I’m still obsessed with octopodes and its pronunciation. I’m coaching my students on how to use this little gem, telling them they absolutely cannot lead with it. They have to lay a trap and hope someone bites. The plan is to find a way to say octopuses, and hopefully if the victim is lured in, the conversation will go like this:

V: Uh, the plural is octopi.
My student: (Looks at V for a second, hesitates, considers) – Do you really want to go there with me? Go down the Snobby Foreign Plural Path? Ok. Fine. Actually octopus is Greek, so its plural is oc TOP uh deez. (Lets the object in their hand fall and says…) Mic drop. (And walks off.)

We’ve been practicing, taking turns playing each part. They’re ready.

I absolutely don’t care that this theme has a bajillion possibilities. I’m always whining about English and its spelling, telling my students we should write a letter to the owner to complain. This grid is going up on the smart-board Monday for their consideration. Loved it, loved the themers and loved the clues. Bravo, Natan, Finn, and the entire class!!

Lewis 6:23 AM  

'Twas fresh and lively, minus wince or ouch / So kudos, class, and thank you very much!


kitshef 6:39 AM  

Early on I went back and forth between hating some stuff and liking some. By the time I was done, the negative had won out. I think the exact point I stopped caring was SWOLE, which is odd because it seems to be the only answer in the entire puzzle that is not PPP.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

Turns out Obama was a sex mo-sheen.

Trombone Tom 7:28 AM  

This was interesting, but kind of on the easy side. Not inappropriate for a lazy Sunday. Kudos to the Crossword Class.

No problem with MOOC. Living near the Bay Area and its universities I've been hearing about MOOC's for several years. ALIX was a WOE. I thought at first it was going for some kind of rebus and AsterIX. XIAN was a gimme as we have been fortunate enough to gaze at the terra cotta warriors on display there.

I am always fascinated by how irregular and illogical English spelling and pronunciation are; this puzzle and its theme drive that home. Who could look at BASELINE VASELINE and not grin?

Special credit to the constructors for the non-rhyming clues!

Steve Snyder 7:35 AM  

This was ok except for being way too easy. Clever clues however once I got the idea some of the themers gave themselves up without even looking at the clues.

Real issue here is that the NYT bar is now low enough that a puzzle created by a class of novice constructors can be published on Sunday. Even more amazing is that the class knew the bar was low enough that their novice effort could clear it. Not to take anything away from the students or instructors. Just this is the Sunday NYT but then maybe I am old enough to wish for a return of the good old days.

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Our leader's finish was quite hasty./"Remedial" dig was slightly nasty!

Ryan 7:55 AM  

TACOS solve everything.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

OTTO is 8 in Italian.

ONEG is 1G, as in g-force, as in gravity.

QuasiMojo 8:13 AM  

Does anyone remember manslaughter?

Aketi 8:23 AM  

When I caught the DODO in the corner and the DUMB off to its side, I suspected this might qualify as having some duality quality. The tripling of the head slaps, however, knocked that notion out of alignment with the theme. I've heard people called DUMB DUMBs before and even DUMB DODOs or DUMB bells, but never DUMB DUMB DUMBs. When I see thst many word repetitions I immediately think of the Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo crossword puzzle that I still don't really understand.

My Physical Therapist has told me not to LIFT DUMB bells. He's switched me to kettle bells instead. Apparently, according to Dr Google (who we all know and trust) the term DUMB bell arose from the fact that ringing a church bell was such hard work that wannabe bell ringers had to practice by pulling a rope attached to a weight presumably lighter than the bell. So the DUMB in DUMB bell refers to silence, not lack of cognitive ability of those who LIFT them.

Is DORAG becoming the new ACNE?

When I was growing up we sang the batsman song using DO DOs instead of na nas so apparently the ear worm I am experiencing right now thanks to the DOs that have been appearing in puzzles is all wrong. It should be:

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!
Batman, Batman, Batman!

48 nas. Take that Buffalos.

I'm not sure which I find more disturbing, the BASELINE VASELINE under, or the SCHNOZ headed towards, the MASSAGE PASSAGE.

John McKnight 8:26 AM  

To me, the discordant clues and answers worked in the same way discordant music works. The clues were pretty enjoyable. I thought it was easy-ish but I liked it. Last Sunday still stings some tbh

'mericans in Paris 8:44 AM  

HEY all! We liked this puzzle for its fill. Any puzzle with ... OMG, a ZOMBIE! ARREST HIM! gets a thumbs-up from me. Also liked GOCART, GAS MAIN, (Robert) DUVALL, HENNAS, ACT CASUAL, SCHNOZ, COUGH DROPS, and BELGIUM. TACOS served up a couple of days after Cinco de Mayo is a nice touch.

Was less excited about the theme answers, though loved the theme clues. For once the slashes were used correctly: to indicate breaks between lines of poetry, and as part of a URL address (in 78D). Yea!

Very fast completion for us. Main hang-up was in the New England area. Finally got PRO before SURFER, but resisted at first filling in "IMPS" as the answer to 14A. Since when are adult dwarfs called "IMPS"? All of us are IMPS at some time, and I thought it was a term used mainly to describe temporary behavior, especially among children, not an intrinsic characteristic. Not trying to be politically correct here, just expressing a doubt about the accuracy of the cluing.

Other snit: Where in the world is EDAM cheese paired with Pinot Noir? Certainly not France. Maybe in EDEN. (And as for the Dutch, they tend to eat Gouda, not EDAM. Most of IT'S exported.)

Mrs. 'Mericans VOTEd for the second time in France today. We're all very nervous about the election. Some DUMB person (or maybe it was intentional?) scheduled the second round on a three-day weekend (tomorrow is V-E Day -- Victory in Europe Day, a public holiday), so turnout is expected to be lower than for the first round. If enough voters abstain, we could witness victorious DAUGHTER LAUGHTER from la fille de Jean-Marie Le Pen. If that happens, France will need a lot of BASELINE VASELINE, 'cause we're ****ED.

Do digital COWs say "MOOC!"?


Nancy 8:49 AM  

The clue-producing Bards
Won't win any scansion awards.
Their poems they need to hone,
As I really ought to do for this one!

Actually, I'm just having a bit of fun here. I thought this was a pretty nifty, if easy, puzzle, the bad scansion notwithstanding. It must have been a bear to create. I have visions of the two puzzle pros saying to the Crossword Class: Look -- we did the grid. Plus we created the all those theme answer pairs. We've already worked our butts off. Your turn. What we'd like from you are clues that also embody the theme. To make it harder, we want you to do it all in verse. Isn't this a fun class? Aren't you glad you signed up?

As for me, the solver, I found it enjoyable, if not exactly challenging. A pleasant diversion.

Hungry Mother 9:31 AM  

Straight-forward, not too easy for me. Very clever theme, illustrating how frustrating English pronunciation is for those taking ESL.

Teedmn 9:41 AM  

AZUL, AZUL, mi mundo es AZUL today due to my DNF at the 116A-107D cross. I was walloped by thinking 107D must be BEaT; AZUr wasn't going to work so I thought AZUa might be a Portuguese version of AgUa? Nope.

I liked this puzzle. While the clues were sometimes overly wacky, I admired the sound changes in both the answers and the clues. 22A reminded me of Homer Simpson's ERRor when reading this sign and thinking he was taking his pig to the LAUGHTERhouse.

Nice job to all the constructors!

Maruchka 9:57 AM  

LOL to JASA team for the clever clue/solve pronunciations. Apres that, le deluge of PPP this, that, and waay over there. No humming along here, alas.

Fav of the day - KOSHER NOSHER. Ah, the gefilte fish at Russ and DAUGHTERs! Carpers and PIKErs, prepare for a mullet misdirect.

Mounted/ASTRIDE, aqua/AZUL (always brings 'Ghostbusters' to mind).

@'mericans - Courage, mes vieuxs! These are bizarre times, when France may actually vote in any Le Pen. Wishing you a better outcome than US.

Dan Steele 10:11 AM  

Yeah, easy. But such admirable clue/answer combos for the theme. I completely reject the "oh so many options" argument. First, you can say that for virtually any theme. Second, it just thoroughly disrespects the strong work the constructors have done here.

JIM Murphy 10:19 AM  

I'm wondering about that too.

Mohair Sam 10:26 AM  

Once Last and Vigeland laid down the rules for the theme I'm betting the J.A.S.A. class had a ball coming up with the poetic, non-rhyming, yet matching clues. Great excuse for after class beer and pizza, and maybe TACOS.

Agree it was an easy Sunday, but we had fun with it. We might have naticked on SWOLE or REN, but guessed right on both. Learned MOOC, neat stuff - the world is changing in good ways. Saw an hour show on the terra-cotta warriors but had to fill every letter of XIAN. And yes, agree that Orrin shoulda been clued in HATCHWATCH.

Great work Natan, Finn and Class. Thanks.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

My catch rhymes with fetch. My match rhymes with hatch.

I'm surprised to see (i.e., Google) that there's evidently no fancy linguistic term for eye rhyme.

Jeffrey 10:32 AM  

The a in catch is pronounced like the e in pet (the same as in ketchup), whereas the a in match is pronounced like the a in pat.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Not where I come from-New York as in The New York Times.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

And Trump is an ass-moron.

Alexscott68 10:57 AM  

Took me a while to get Rex's CATCH MATCH idea. I would usually pronounce CATCH to rhyme with MATCH, but in certain instances, pronounce it ketch, as in "I don't want to ketch a cold." But I would also say, "Wanna play catch?" Weird. Have a feeling it varies by region. Probably wouldn't work in a puzzle for that reason, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed this puzzle, even if it was easier than usual. I liked the theme (though I have to agree that BASELINE VASELINE was by far the best and would've been a good model to try and follow), and thought the fill was strong. Enjoyed this one more than any Sunday in a while.

Carola 11:01 AM  

Easy and endearing. NOSHER that I am, that one was my favorite, but BASELINE VASELINE is inspired.
Also smiled at HEN(NAS) atop HATCH WATCH and the pairing of ACT CASUAL with ARREST HIM! (didn't work).

Roo Monster 11:02 AM  

Hey All !
Puz was put up a notch by the clues for the themers. If not for those, puz would've been a real stinker. Enjoyed the theme answers. There's so many little language oddities in English, it amazes me.
When we all went out to bowl/I got a strike and let out a howl

Fill was exceptional for a crossing-themers SunPuz. Hardly a dreck to be found. Maybe SWOLE. (I had SWaLE.) Also DNFed on both X's! Had ESSEn/ALIn and LUs/sIAN. Good stuff.

Rex's CATCH MATCH works. I know some pronounce it kat-ch, but others say ket-ch. Just sayin. Ha, get it? Just sayin? As in pronunciation? Ah, forget it! :-)

So a pretty nice puz from the young-uns and the JASA class.
Just solved the Crossword by JASA/No need to ne as smart as NASA
Wait, don't think that qualifies!

ARRRST HIM! The one with the GOATEE and big SCHNOZ!

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Catch and match rhyme and are pronounced with the same vowel sound in and around NYC where the NYT and I are from.

gzodik 11:29 AM  

Has no one noticed that the theme answers are "eye rhymes", where the second words are spelled similarly, but do not rhyme?

Until GARDENWARDEN ruins the pattern.

Mary Gorman 11:31 AM  

Finished in far less than my average time. Despite the easy Sunday puzzle, found it very enjoyable. As usual, my biggest problem is with any pop culture references...maybe I'm too old!!

Dan Steele 11:44 AM  

Sorry if this sounds rude, but I'm pretty sure most people noticed that. That's kinda the theme. Along with clues that follow the same pattern. Ha, early on I was thinking, wow, these clues are the worst rhymes ever. Also, at least in my neck of the woods, "garden warden" fits this same pattern.

Roo Monster 11:46 AM  

@Loren, 6:18,
Yiddishish, LOL! Great.

@Aketi, 8:23
Isn't there only 16 Na's before Batman! ?

@gzodik, 11:29
Um, Huh? No offense, but none of your post made sense.The eye rhymes were talked about, and GARDEN WARDEN qualifies.


Andrew Heinegg 11:49 AM  

I try (most of the time) to adhere to the old saw of: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. So, I will just opine that I am in complete agreement with every word you wrote here.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Me too!

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

I wondered whether it would be Schumer, Poehler, or Sedaris. Got grads so knew it was one of first 2. Then got Duvall so Poehlerit was.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

I loved this puzzle, very enjoyable.Never heard of SWOLE, I guess it follows the same coinage rule as "woke". All we are becoming too lazy to say the full forms of words?? The twitter/texting shortening effect?

The only thing that really bugged me was tacos. NO ONE has ever served tacos with guac. at a party unless part of a meal!! For a chip and dip affair, the answer could have been "chips", or "tortilla chips", maybe nachos or nacho chips, or even Doritos, but not tacos. Tacos may have guac. in them or along side, but not when the given context was "bowlful". Just, no.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Hillary Clinton is NOT my president.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

One of the things I like about Rex's posts is that it helps me see redeeming features of puzzles like this. My Sunday morning dead brain missed the whole non-rhyming theme! Oof. Solved all easily, but all I saw were words with first letter changed.
That said, when I find this puzzle main puzzle boring, there is usually something worthwhile a few pages back with the other puzzles. I don't think I've ever seen such a dull, worthless collection. Are NY Times' subscribers polled on what sort of puzzles they want?
[anon. i.e. Poggius]

1820 Stone Colonial House 12:41 PM  

Spelling lead LEDE is new to me, and screwed me up big time in that part of the puzzle. When I worked in newspapers a lead was a lead, not a LEDE.

Aketi 12:44 PM  

@RooMonster, it depends on what version Dr Google coughs up. I copied the lyrics directly from what first popped up on Google but I just I found a 1966 version that listed a pattern of:
16 nas + 1 batman
12 nas + 1 batman
12 nas + 1 batman
12 nas + 1 batman
12 nas + 3 batman
16 nas + 3 batmen
12 das + 1 batsman
For a total of 92 nas, 12 das, & 11 batmen

Another with 31 batsmen, followed by 17 das, ending with 1 batman
And yet another that starts with 23 batmen, followed by 13 nas, ending with 1 batman

Anyway you count it among the variations the nas and das (or as we heard them DOs) rule over the Buffalo.

brainman53 12:47 PM  

Non-crotchety commentary: Cute-ish theme, decent fill, not as easy as the Sunday LA Times puzzle. There!

This is, of course, derivative of most all comments today, yet I was somehow compelled to post it anyway.

GILL I. 12:48 PM  

Loved this theme. Nothing finer that sitting outside on my sunny PORCH, eating 2 poached eggs with two slices of bacon and dusting my rye toast with some mango-lime jam. Open the puzzle - sip some Peete's Italian Roast, plunk in DUMB ODOR DODO and know it's going to be a fine day...
I think every ESL class should down-load the puzzle and stick it on the wall. Stare at it every day and say to yourself that English is a bit like Jean-Marie Le Pen. It can blow in any direction...take your pick and pray for the best.
Like @'mericans, I did a no no no when I saw EDAM. If I had a Carneros Estate Pinot noir sitting in my hand and if I went to the fridge and the only cheese I had was EDAM, I'd run to the store and buy either a Gruyere de comte, an aged Farmhouse cheddar or, if I could find it, some Zamadano. My EDAM would be paired with @Rex's Riesling - or maybe some champagne....
SWOLE was new to me and I mistakenly thought it was the TACOS pairing. Finally saw GUACAMOLE and yes, you can use TACO chips to scoop up the guac.
This was UBER sweet fellas....

old timer 1:21 PM  

Total DNF, because I could not come up with MODEL before YODEL, and had "ego" instead of PRO.

EDAM does not belong with good red wine (Korbel champagne, maybe, with crackers).

Every xword fan needs to know his numbers in almost every European language. In Italian, I know uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei sette, OTTO -- and I'm not sure about 4 and 5 and don't know the one for 9. But I know most of them, anyway.

Bonne chance pour M. Macron.

old timer 1:24 PM  

BTW, today's Magazine has two of my favorite puzzles: Split Decisions and Patrick Berry's Double or Nothing, which provides a very good mental workout.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

This puzzle was a whole lot easier for me than it was for the rest of you who said it was easy because I'm way smarter than you are. Way.

Oh, and I agree with all of you who get on here every day to complain about Rex. He's really bad for some reason or other, I forget what.

I just can't wait to make my comment on tomorrow's puzzle, especially since none of you will ever know whether I actually did it or even glanced at it.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Hillary Clinton is not the President but, you are a unwanted and useless troll with these posts.

Stanley Hudson 1:30 PM  

Loadsa fun, especially with a spicy Bloody Mary and an edible.

Thanx to constructors.

Masked and Anonymous 1:49 PM  

SunPuz by committee! Kinda like the results, tho. Wonder how many committee members were involved. Somehow, I'da entitled this puppy the other way around, as: "Quality Duality".

fave themer: (B/V)ASELINE. har. Ticklish little phrase to clue up, and still pass the breakfast test. Well, at least for M&A it would be ...

Oh, man … Just a Q short of a pangram. Shoulda coulda woulda put the puztitle into the grid. [Maybe they tried, and the fill exploded? Speakin of which … ]

Buyin large, a primo nice set of fill words by the committee. A class job. Exceptions to the ruling …

* MOOC. Mysterious to the M&A, but coulda been Ok by m&e, if they'da clued it in a combo cross-ref clue with the COW entry. [staff weeject pick woulda then gone to COW, instead of to: LUX.]

* LUX/XIAN. Had no earthly idea, but guessed the X correctly. Had started a beer bash celebration in our rose garden, when I realized that my XAAN/PAPYRA pairin was rubbish.

* ANSEL/EMERSON. Guessed the E (& M) correctly, but dropped a lot of worry nanoseconds, all around there.

* GHEE. Hasn't appeared in a NYTPuz in about 13-14 years. Them was some mighty good years.

* ALIX. Crosses were all fair, sooo … ok.

* SCHNOZ/ZOMBIE. Exception to the exceptions. Easily the most epic crossin pair in the puz. M&A hats off to committee member Z [code name].

* ARRESTHIM. Has just that subtle, sweet taste of eau de desperation that M&A so richly enjoys.

Fun, but pretty eazy-E solvequest, due to half of each themer bein a gimme. M&A gives this class a B+, with a beer blast in the JASA rose garden.

Thanx, NL and FV. And JA and SA.

Masked & Anonymo12Us


Anonymous 2:29 PM  


MetroGnome 2:32 PM  

Don't "farm" and "warm" rhyme? Doesn't that kind of betray the cluing scheme?

L 2:44 PM  

Old school gefilte fish uses both pike and carp.

Nancy 2:45 PM  

@MetroGnome (2:32) -- In my neck of the woods, "farm" has the same vowel sound as "car" and "warm" has the same vowel sound as "tore". I'm wondering where you live?

'mericans in Paris 3:00 PM  

Thanks to all those who crossed their fingers for the French presidential election. Big sigh of relief over here -- despite the American Alt-Right campaign to try to derail Macron's campaign:

MetroGnome 3:03 PM  

I've lived in a lot of places, actually. But as far as I know, "farm" and "warm" are exact rhymes -- for that matter, so are "catch" and "match." As for this puzzle's "easiness" -- not really. Too many dadgum/blinkin' NAMES I never heard of!

Joseph Welling 3:10 PM  

Aketi said:

"Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!"

How did this become standardized to "na na na" when it really was (at least to my ear) "da da da"?

CDilly52 3:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Thanks for the insight, ass. Nobody said you have to hang here. If you have such an exciting and adventurous life, why waste time here being all dumb-ass like?

CDilly52 3:27 PM  

I look forward to your posts, but you have outdone yourselves today (especially with the digital cows). Merci!

Roo Monster 3:32 PM  

ROFL!! Not only your willingness to write/post All of that, but the initial effort to find it, and then summarize it! Great stuff!
Maybe I'll try to Google the very first episode of the original series and see what they say.
This might be getting too technical...


Roo Monster 3:39 PM  

Ha! Just found one that said it was the original. Had just the bass guitar with the "na-na-na" rythym (just the guitar, no words), then a series of 10 Batman!s, followed by a quick 11 Das, and then Batman! again.
Will we ever know for sure?

Rebel Roo

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Jonathan Gruber said the stupidity of the American voter was key to passing Obamacare. Thanks goodness we wised up.

Joseph Welling 3:48 PM  

Right--the sung lyric was "Da da da"--but that clearly was an echo of the guitar sounds (that's a regular electric guitar, not a bass guitar, right?) So since the song itself used "da da da"--how did it become standardized to "na na na"?

CDilly52 3:53 PM  

Couldn't agree more with @MetroGnome that all the names slowed me down! Thankfully, the theme was obvious and easy, so my Sunday time was about average for me.

As for the construction committee issue, I see pros and cons. Kudos to the group for a job well done. The "CrossWorld" needs all kinds of puzzles for all kinds of solvers, so I welcome these folks. But no props to the NYT for publishing this on Sunday. The only criteria it hits, in my opinion, is size. While I wholeheartedly admit that well, size matters, it is not the most important element of NYT quality Sunday puzz. Wednesday perhaps and solidly so, but never on Sunday.

Doc John 3:59 PM  

"Sunday's"? Et tu, Rex?

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

Ass, you'll have no Healthcare with Trumpcare, moron.

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

As warned over a decade ago - it's a slippery slope from Maleska to Shortz.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 4:49 PM  

Does anyone remember daughter?

Honeysmom 4:54 PM  

So tired of Rex and his sycophants complaining:"too easy for brilliant me!" This was fun, clever,challenging and an impressive group effort.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

GILL I. - "Dusting my Rye toast with some mango-lime jam"? Can we all barf now or just go guzzle some Pinot with an Edam chaser?

Oldflappyfrommississappy 4:57 PM  

I am roamin catholic, looking for a pot to episcopal in.

Anonymous 5:00 PM  

"Budding Putzes" at J.A.S.A.? Yeah, that'll work.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Holy Negro, Batman!

jberg 5:04 PM  

I liked the puzzle a lot, despite having to guess on the ALIX/ESSEX (coulda been Essen) crossing. And my brother-in-law is in there at 47D.

@1820, lead became LEDE about when mike became mic -- bugs me, too, but I guess times change. I mean, what is SWOLE if not SWOLLEN misspelled?

The other thing I liked was learning all about regional pronunciations -- lots of things people think rhyme that don't rhyme for me. For example, if one wanted to reverse the theme, I'd be happy with "capture of a sailboat = KETCH CATCH."

The other thing I liked was all the people having debates without mentioning whom they were replying to.

But ODES of Solomon? That's different from the Song of Solomon, I guess, but what is it? (are they?)

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

Try the First Church of Cannabis, Oldflappy. Plenty of pot to piss in there you wandering Jacobite:)

Babs of Hollywood 5:11 PM  

Poehler, Schumer and...Sedaris. There are a lot of funny Amys out there with last names that fit!

Aketi 5:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 5:26 PM  

@joseoh welling,

I have no idea why Dr Googke standardized the Batman song to either the nas or the das. I'm sticking to my own alt facts as a "na na da da" denier and I'm going to continue singing the Batman song the way I learned it as a child:


for the rest of my life.

32 DOs and a Batman.

Na na na na
na na na na

is reserved for the "Hey, heeeey, goodbye" song.

GILL I. 5:56 PM  

@Anony 4:55. You don't speak my language. We could never be friends.
I use "dusting" as a noun = as in a light application. Mango-Lime jam is incredibly delicious. Go to Panera's and buy their fresh baked Rye. On your way home, stop at World Market and pick up the jam. It will probably be the best think you've done in your life.

Tita A 6:09 PM  

Just LOVED this puzzle! No, I don't care a whit that there are countless examples. That the clues as well as the answers are a subset of many is fine.

I am always tickled by the inscrutable difficulties of this language. And find joy in anyone who can cleverly sign a spotlight on it.

Has anyone done a puzzle on the 9 different pronunciations of -OUGH-?

And breathing again over thee French election. My French-American friend stayed with us last night so that he could vote in NY yesterday. And do the 5-borough bike tour.) He was very confident in Macron's chances.

So France and Holland dodged the extremist bullet.

Lewis 6:10 PM  

@fountains -- Good one!

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

The vast majority of Americans get their health care through their employer moron. Don't feed the trolls.

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

GILL I. - I will, thank you, although ham and Swiss might accidentally replace the mango/lime jam:) I'm sorry but I just don't see pairing mango/lime with eggs and bacon.

Nancy 6:21 PM  

@Tita, @jberg, et al -- This puzzle tribute to the woes of English pronunciation reminds me of the old joke: How do you pronounce GHOTI?

The answer is FISH. Here's why:

GH, as pronounced in ROUGH
O, as pronounced in WOMEN
TI, as pronounced in MOTION.

Anonymous 6:25 PM  

The lesser of two weevils, Tita.

Nancy 6:25 PM  

Actually, I think I have the joke bass-ackwards. I think it goes: How do you spell fish?" And the answer is GHOTI. (With the above explanation).

Alan_S. 6:28 PM  

@Dan Steele: you are a very kind man.

Anonymous 6:31 PM  

Yes, that is an old joke Nancy, ha ha! Zzzzzzz...

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

G.B. Shaw originated the joke facetiously, I believe, GHOTI, not being a real word but rather one he invented to facilitate the point.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Not sure about the French election, but we sure did dodge a bullet here in the U.S. last fall.

brainman53 6:56 PM  

People! If we cannot even agree on the two lyrics of the Batman Song, will we ever find peace re Louie Louie?

will-iam-ishmael 7:09 PM  

G is one unit of gravity. In acceleration you can be subject to multiple G's but on earth it's one G

Joe Bleaux 7:10 PM  

Literal LOL, and bravo!

Joe in Newfoundland 7:13 PM  

I enjoyed the theme, it would be useful for an ESL class.
Uh, how did octopus get in here? In fact, it came into English from Neo-Latin, so even if it is originally Greek, it was also pluralized as a Latin word. But knowing octopodes has changed my life, as I ask anyone from Australia or New Zealand which antipus they prefer.
ps this "prove you're not a robot" captcha thing is getting annoying. I had to do it 4 times just now. And I didn't get it wrong

Tom4 7:30 PM  

Easy but the lack of difficulty is offset by the excellent clueing! Well done JASA class.

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

KOSHER NOSHERS probably enjoy Gefilte Fish...which is essentially a fish dumpling made with chopped pike and carp.

I liked the puzzle and enjoyed the clues a lot.

noreen 8:21 PM  

I still cannot figure how 8 minutes is enough to complete the puzzle. I would not be able to read the clues and write in some tentative answers in 8 minutes! Any one else in this quandary?

Anonymous 8:22 PM  

Well right,it was obsequiously easy.Finishing this puzzle was akin to finishing a romance novel.Pure escapism at its best and worst. Finished in record time without even knowing or caring what the theme was.Fortunately Rex knew as always.

Guy Prevost 11:22 PM  

How much does a constructor make for a Sunday puzzle ? And can you submit over the transom to the nyt?

Daniel Petrey 11:23 PM  

Wasted / iced as in killed- gangster slang.

Izzie 10:31 AM  

Otto=the number 8 in Italian.

Leapfinger 11:54 AM  

Gefilte fish, as pointed out, are indeed found in old schools, and can be considered a pointless exercise in ruining carp, pike and whitefishm for goodness' hake.

@lms, just a note to point out that KOSHER NOSHER doesn't sound Yiddishish; it is Yiddish. Sheesh.

#Aketi, I hope you're feeling better again; I'm working on the Batmans vs Batmen issue. Nada nada.

@Gill, I understand, but seriously doubt the possibility of applying a 'dusting' of a viscous liquid. Consider a 'schmear'.

@'mericans, congrats and Vive la France; an object lesson never hurts. Le Pen isn't mightier than Le Macaron's words, bien sur.

Hats off to Finn's (speaking of Gefilte ghoti) Last (or Latest) Class. Y'all ought to be all SWOLE up with pride on your masterful eye-rhymes. Baseline Vaseline, I need that cross-stitched on a sampler.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

Go back and check the cluing, and consider each separately. TACOS work for "food item often served with guac." And GUACAMOLE works for "party bowlful." But you are right, tacos aren't served as a party bowlful.

Carol Spradling 5:08 PM  

I love this blog. But allowing anonymous posting might be something to rethink (I refer to the trolls). Happy spring from Vermont!

Elephant's Child 10:21 PM  

Hi @Carol, I'm glad you're Sprading the word. But I don't entirely agree; some of the Anonymoopodes' comments are real winners.

Spring in Vermont means the shrooms will soon emerge around Smuuglers' Notch, right? And then a couple of weeks' summer sometime in August?

Anyone remember 1927?
I wonder why you keep me waiting,
I wonder when bluebirds are mating
Will you come back again?
I wonder if I keep on praying
Will our hmmhmm the same?
I wonder if you ever think of me too?
I'm waiting, my GASMAIN, for you!

ps Please don't squeeze the Charmaine.

Internet marketer 10:30 PM  

very helpful articles. Thanks for sharing.

Burma Shave 10:42 AM  




Ryan Hauck 11:33 AM  

GAH, I kept reading "_NEG" as "something-neg" instead of "something-gee". It took someone else explaining it that it was "one gee" instead of "o-neg" like the blood type.

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

Gotta give it some non-slog points. There were a few WOEs here and there but nothing to get in a twist about; crosses were fair enough. I'm always excited when young people let their creative juices flow. Those clues! Easily worth the price of admission.

Like @M&A, I loved SCHNOZ/ZOMBIE. Nominee for BEST cross of the year. DOD is (OK, used to be) my favorite BLOND, Barbara EDEN. Philippe home not much of a mystery after the BEL-- start; the other choice was Belarus...nah. Good one. Keep it up, kids! Birdie.

rondo 12:34 PM  

Yes, good one kids. Saw a coupla eye-rhymes and knew something was afoot there and UBER yeah baby Kate Upton’s MODELYODEL gave it away to clear sailing. I suppose REN, ANSEL, and SCHNOZ will never be a cartoon dog, photographer Adams, nor Jimmy Durante to them. Surprised OFL didn’t mention BELTs in a clue and BELT as an answer.

NOVA for @D,LIW, but not the lox variety.

MADAMEs POEHLER and STREEP also making a yeah baby case.

Nice big puz for the class. IDIDIT about as fast as I could fill it in. Back to work. BYE.

AnonymousPVX 2:21 PM  

Despite the solve, I failed to find anything likable about this puzzle. MOOC/ALIX/SWOLE etc seemed like a reach to me, among others. Plus a lousy gimmick, ugh.

rain forest 2:23 PM  

Dammit! This puzzle wasn't hard enough! How can I demonstrate how smart I am when everyone finds it easy? No fair.

This was a lot of fun what with the creative non-rhyming clue-poems and the non-rhyming theme answers and some of them crossing each other. Certainly not a slog, with no dreck to be found, and a notable level of entertainment. KOSHER NOSHER, BASELINE VASELINE, MODEL YODEL were great.

I say "catch" with the short "a" every time, whether I'm tossing the ball back and forth, or acquiring a cold. If I say "ketch", I'm on a sailboat. People!

One of the better Sundays, and Kate Upton yodeling up there on the alp.

Diana,LIW 2:32 PM  

Don't know how easy this was as it took me forever. Partly due to one cat, then two cats, then one cat, then two cats on my lap, distracting me. So I slowed down and smelled the roses, and enjoyed the eye rhymes.

Had a 3-letter dnf, as usual due to lack of hipster knowledge. Still, I put a letter into every empty square. I guess if I knew anything about Game of Thrones I wouldn't have thought that bPORSURFERS could be a legitimate answer. And whilst I do go to the gym, I've never heard of anyone SWOLEing about. And I fell for the NEG vs. ONE-G, and didn't know of the massive courses. That sounds too awful - not my cuppa. I like hands-on, face-to-face, small group, open a BOOK and mark in it learning. You know, the kind that really results in understanding and knowledge. Rant over.

The rest fell nicely into place, with an aha or two thrown in for fun.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords (and lox)

Diana,LIW 4:07 PM  

aargh...that was bROSURFERS I had in the puzzle - typo above

Diana, Lady you know who

Ray o sunshine 4:24 PM  

Our behind the times newspaper didn't publish this puzzle till today, Mother's Day. When I finish handily I assume it's due to my superior intelligence not an easier than usual puzzle. Also was lead to believe political wrangling was taboo here. If I want political discourse I'll click my CNN icon, watch the latest SNL lampoon,or force myself to read the most recent bombastic White House tweet

BTW don't know about the downstaters but those of us in upstate NY don't rhyme "catch" with "match" especially eating Vanella ice cream in Febuary.

BillShepp 1:36 PM  

How can gefilte fish be made of carp, a non-kosher fish?!? Not that most of us keep kosher, but it seems unlikely that a Yiddish staple would be non-kosher.

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