Aperitif with black currant liqueur / MON 5-29-17 / Counterparts of dahs / Tousled look of recently woken

Monday, May 29, 2017

Constructor: Jeff Chen and Seth Geltman

Relative difficulty: Challenging (over 4?!) (I mean, it is 16-wide, but still)

THEME: PRIME TIME (63A: When TV viewership peaks ... or a hint to 17-, 24-, 36- and 53-Across)  — some answers that are ... like ... good times?

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: KIR (42A: Aperitif with black currant liqueur) —
Kir is a popular French cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine. // In France it is usually drunk as an apéritif before a meal or snack. It used to be made with Bourgogne Aligoté, a lesser white wine of Burgundy. Now, various white wines are used throughout France, according to the region and the whim of the barkeeper. Many prefer a white Chardonnay-based Burgundy, such as Chablis. // It used to be called blanc-cassis, but it is now named after Félix Kir (1876–1968), mayor of Dijon in Burgundy. Kir was a pioneer of the twinning movement in the aftermath of the Second World War, and popularized the drink by offering it at receptions to visiting delegations. Besides treating his international guests well, he was also promoting two economic products of the region. Kir allowed one of Dijon's producers of crème de cassis to use his name, then extended the right to their competitors as well. According to Rolland (2004),[1] the reinvention of blanc-cassis (post 1945) was necessitated by the German Army's confiscation of all the local red Burgundy during the war. Faced with an excess of white wine, Kir renovated a drink that used to be made primarily with the red. // Another explanation that has been offered is that Mayor Kir revived it during a year in which the ordinary white wine of the region was inferior and the creme de cassis helped to disguise the fact. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not feeling this at all. The theme is a tremendous let-down. I kept wanting PRIME TIME to actually mean something (honestly, I thought maybe the numbers on the theme clues were all "primes"?), but it's just a time that is good. YEAR and DAY and HOUR are at least discrete units, but throw AGE in there and ... who knows? Anything goes, I guess. The worst part about this puzzle was the cluing, which was off, badly, everywhere. The fill has its moments, but some of those moments are garbage. If the puzzle goes 16-wide, I expect there to be a reason and I expect it to be good. Being able to put RED LETTER DAY in the center is not "good" enough. My wife wanted to murder the puzzle for MAIL IT IN alone (59A: Do a perfunctory performance). She's right that PHONE IT IN is much (as in infinitely) more common. MAIL IT IN may be an expression, but yuck. See also RUB NOSES. That's some western bullshit. I know because the lead picture of "Eskimo kissing" at wikipedia features these two:

It's one thing to amass a giant word list. It's another thing to have the ability to control it, to have discernment, to know when to say when, when to say 'no.' I'm not impressed by a tepid theme with some rough (ETERNE, ugh) fill that then tries to play all 'zazzy with a few "fresh" answers. If you can't do your core job right, all the BEDHEAD in the world won't save you.

Bah humbug:
  • 24A: Topic of a happy annual report (BANNER YEAR) — This clue made no sense to me as I was solving. None. Zero. "Happy annual report"? I mean, I get it, in retrospect, but it's not really the "topic." BANNER YEAR is an idiomatic expression, so it's weird to say it's the "topic" or a "report." I kept wondering "What kind of report? Sales report?" I just couldn't envision the occasion at all. Also, I know BANNER DAY better than BANNER YEAR, though I'm not sure why. 
  • 36A: Something circled on a calendar (RED LETTER DAY) — this was King Garbage. What where and when? I've seen a bunch of calendars in my life, I have never seen one where a RED LETTER DAY is "circled." RED LETTER DAY is a *$&%ing metaphor. I circle appointments, birthdays, important days, but RED LETTER DAYs (which is something highly subjective, I think) precisely never. I want this clue to die slowly in prison.
  • 9D: Like a diet lacking bread or pasta, for short (NO-CARB) — ugh there is no such thing as a "NO-CARB" diet. Also, your diet can be "lacking bread or pasta" and still have carbs in it.
  • 18D: Counterparts of dahs in Morse code (DITS) — Morse code remains useful today only to provide an excuse for constructors to put junk in my grid and I am over it. À bas le Morse code cluing!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:18 AM  

@Rex, I agree with you that it would have been nice for @Jeff Chen and @Seth Geltman to have done a bit more with the PRIME part of their reveal, and enjoyed some of your comments about the cluing. I did like GOLDEN_AGE, since that was in the subtitle of my Ph. D. mentor's scientific autobiography. Is DR. AKE any relation to DR. DRE?

Ghostface Puzzlah 12:23 AM  

Oh man, this is the most fun I've had with a Monday puzzle in some time.

But yes, a little on the long side - more like a Tuesday/easy Wednesday time for me.

So many great words -- AMIRITE, RUB NOSES, BEDHEAD. I love that I could just write in SCYTHE as a gimme. Yeah, SPEX is weak, but the cluing for SELFIE felt fresh.

Ghostface Puzzlah 12:25 AM  

I think Dr. Dre was DRAKE's Ph.D mentor

Carola 12:28 AM  

I anticipated joining in enthusiasm for this treat of a Monday puzzle, so was surprised at @Rex's review. I liked the theme - even more after the notes on xwordinfo pointed out the ever decreasing TIME amounts, from AGE to YEAR to DAY to HOUR - with the solid phrases and the play on the idea of PRIME TIME. Plus INFIDELS and KNAVES, BEDHEAD and SELFIE, SCYTHE, UMBRA - lots to like, I thought.

Brian 12:30 AM  

Huh. I got a time in the same time ballpark as Rex, which never happens - I'm usually 2x-3x his time when he posts it - so obviously we had very different experiences. In looking back at some of that theme clue wording, it is a little odd, but I walked away from it thinking it was a generic NYT Monday puzzle. A decent theme, a mix of some crosswordese and some nice, snappy fill, but all in all breezy and mostly forgettable.

Mark McCarter 12:42 AM  

Dude. Cynicism is your forte. I get it, but for crissakes give it a rest. Start publishing some of your own puzzles and subject yourself to the unbridled wrath of critics like yourself. Can you take a punch as well as you deliver them? Put up or shut up.

jae 12:58 AM  

Tough Mon. for me too, but I attributed to Bad before BUM and niagrA before SENECA (didn't look at the across clues). @Rex makes some good points about the cluing, but this was mostly OK, or what @Brian said. Liked it more than @Rex did.

zevonfan 1:08 AM  

A Jeff Chen crossword puzzle - already knew Rex was going to throw a temper tantrum even before the Monday post. And this time with a potshot at the wordlists on xwordinfo!

Enjoyed the solve - theme could have been stronger.

Larry Gilstrap 1:48 AM  

This Monday effort seemed like a chunk of a Sunday, which is perfect for a long weekend. OFL wanted PRIME numbers? I'm thinking that the themers represent good TIMES. That's not enough? How about this? We go from AGE, to YEAR. to DAY, to HOUR, to second, not really. I see focusing there: am I alone? 3D is a nice clue for the mundane SELFIE. Check the calendar! Monday used to be wash day.

Enough about Rex, I believe JONI Mitchell is one of the greatest singer/song writers of our AGE. Google "Blue" and see what music legends say about that album. I hope she is well.

I balked at the plural DOGMAS. Sure, I see it clued as concepts, but it reminds me of a modified absolute: like "most unique." "Look at that person! They appear to be somewhat pregnant." Hi @LMS!

Yes, I went out again tonight and even had an India Pale ALE beforehand. No need for intervention, yet.

I never got chess. My problem not their. Hi @LMS! Maybe if I knew that MATING was in the mix, I would have embraced it. I'm the least competitive person I have ever met. Don't care about winning, just want to look good.

Here's a blast from the past: people used to talk on the phone and doodle on a piece of paper. Let's call them squiggles. In high school I used to make DOODLES of jackets, and collars, and neck ties. Preppie Wannabe. Fashion! My mom would fill a note pad during a conversation with her Sis. Nobody does that anymore. Wait, aren't all the nonsense things we do on our phones forms of DOODLES? Wow! that was profound, or not.

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Adm. Peary 2:15 AM  

My long time valet, Matthew Henson, and I relished the hospitality offered by the native population of the North Pole region. Trust me, we left quite a legacy. To RUB NOSES was only the beginning.

puzzlehoarder 2:39 AM  

It's too late to go to xwordinfo first so I got the time progression from the comments. One thing I noticed was the mini TV theme with PRIMETIME over NBC and CBS being the lead off entry. This was one of your better Mondays. A theme with no puns was a nice break. I never noticed how similar BEDHEAD and the phrase bad hair (as in "bad hair day") were until I confused them with each other. My initial write in for 59A was DIALIN. I supported this with BADRAP at 47D. Ironically this was corrected by MYFINESTHOUR. Our host's attitude toward the constructor was glaring. Shouldn't he have gotten this out of his system in high school? DR AKE? Someone's been doing stand up in their absence.

chefwen 2:46 AM  

Slung hash all day, had my little dinner party, drank a bunch o'wine, cleaned up and then tackled the puzzle. I ain't all that smart and I'm still trying to figure why it was rated challenging. Aside from putting the right letters in the wrong places (did I mention the wine) the only write over was SULK over Stew after I figured out that there wasn't a month with a T in the middle.

Wasn't overly fond of the theme, but it was O.K.

puzzlehoarder 2:55 AM  

Once again my phone comment went into the ether. It's easier to type on a keyboard anyway. This is one of your better Mondays. The theme is blissfully pun free and it has a logical progression. There's even a mini TV theme between the two channels and PRIMETIME. Our hosts attitude toward the constructor is tiresome. Couldn't he have gotten this out of his system in high school? DR AKE? Someone has been doing stand up in their absence.

Eejit 4:34 AM  

Well I liked it, it was fun. Harder than your average Monday.

Anonymous 4:40 AM  

@Rex's objections seem fairly ludicrous. The YEAR past is absolutely the topic of an annual report. And what's the point about a RED LETTER DAY being subjective even mean?

I tried to make diaL IT IN work.

evil doug 4:59 AM  

"Infinitely more common" may be an expression, but yuck....

Don't get you sometimes, Mike. The idea that one phrase has to be so many Google hits above another to be valid in a frickin' crossword is ridiculous. If it fits, if it's playable as it lies, then go for it.

Slower than average times for those of you who give a shit about such things mean a better than average puzzle to me.

Loren Muse Smith 5:30 AM  

Rex – I kept going back and reading your word list tirade, but I’m not understanding.

“It's one thing to amass a giant word list. It's another thing to have the ability to control it, to have discernment, to know when to say when, when to say 'no.'”

Your word list issue seems to be with MAIL IT IN and RUB NOSES. I can’t understand what the criteria are for deciding not to use an expression. Like @ED, I’m thinking your measure is how many google hits it gets? So there has to be something I’m missing. MAIL IT IN gets 452,000 google hits. I’ve heard the expression. Sure, “phone it in” (674,000) feels more common, but still. And RUB NOSES gets 101,000 hits. It feels very in-the-language to me. Maybe your point is that it’s too early in the week? So entries like EARL MONROE (188,000) and SMELT ROE (59,100) are more acceptable in late-week puzzles?

Did you not like the “western bullshit” RUB NOSES because Eskimos don’t kiss that way? I couldn’t follow that line of thinking.

Your slam of BANNER YEAR and its clue is even more mystifying. I see a bunch of execs sitting around a table with the annual report documenting a banner year. Profits are up. Everyone’s happy. The report is happy.

And I went back to find some of the clues that were “off, badly, everywhere.” I’m not seeing anything badly off. (Loved the clue for SELFIE.)

I’m with the majority here so far who really liked this idea. PRIME TIME is the perfect reveal, and all the themers totally work; the second word represents a period of time, and the first word modifies it to mean that it’s a good period of time. Thanks, @Carola, for pointing out that they go from bigger to smaller.

BarbieBarbie 6:18 AM  

I'm with everybody, including @Rex, but with less vitriol all around. Yes, a fine Monday puzzle. Yes, Jeff Chen makes good ones. No, AMIRITE is not OK. Rex didn't pick on that one, which surprises me. Someone in the early comments listed it as one of the fresh ones. I got it from the crosses, but "RITE?!?" Come on. That is a mostly-orally-delivered phrase, which means spelling it like that is just arbitrary. Unless you're a drugstore chain.
For those of us in the US: enjoy your BBQ, and think of those who never got to, so that we could. There's a national moment of silence at 3pm Eastern.

Anonymous 6:20 AM  

I suspect Sharp's TDS is largely responsible for his increasingly ad-hominem attacks on Shortz and his puzzles. Never has a kind word. He's a dick.

TonySaratoga 6:26 AM  

100% agree with you LMS. I was very surprised at Rex's reaction. I agree with him more than I disagree and I was sure he'd at least enjoy this Monday. Most Mondays leave me feeling empty and this one was a cut or two above. And for the record, MAIL IT IN is an awesome phrase. Totally don't get the criticism of that one.

Mike in Mountain View 6:55 AM  

Didn't love AMIRITE, @BarbieBarbie, but otherwise I felt the same about this pleasant puzzle as @LMS did, and as usual she said it better than I could.

Mr. B 6:57 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - AMIRITE is common enough in social media circles. I see it all the time...it's right up there with O RLY? or SRSLY!?
I gues if you can clue LOL in a crossword puzzle...AMIRITE is fair game.

I found this puzzle offered up a bit more resistance than your usual Monday. I finished a minute or two above my Monday average...which is ok by me... I liked it. Even a clue like"_____ Pieces" I couldn't get right off the bat. "More evasive than the truth" didn't help me much either...at first. I got UMBRA but hardly expected that in a Monday puzzle.

So... good one Mr. Chen & Mr. Geltman

Don Deal 7:03 AM  

Can we all just agree that as soon as Rex saw Jeff's name as the co-constructor and before he even looked at the puzzle, he had 90% of his review already written? And just needed to fill in a few blanks to make his review actually refer to some things in the puzzle?

Glimmerglass 7:11 AM  

The theme is fine for a Monday. Did you notice the the theme answers are in dimishing duration? That usually scores points with @Rex. Several tems of the fill were interesting. I liked x-ray SPEX and BED HEAD. I found the whole thing appropriately easy for a Monday for me. Two answers, however, I found unacceptable. ETERNE does not mean timeless. It means "permanent, eternal." Remember lady Macbeth, in her not-so-subtle hint, "But in them [Banquo and Fleance] nature's copy's not ETERNE." AM I RITE is an abomination. It's not informal, it's illiterate. These excrescences even cross in the SW.

Mr. B 7:19 AM  

@Glimmerglass... it is actually spelled as is - AMIRITE... not AM I RITE... that's social media for you...love it or not.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

it's been a lot of fun just to go along with the puzzles, to attempt them and then see what others, skilled solvers and Rex followers do... but, now, after having genuine fun on a Monday, and expecting that Rex would have the same, I'm finally sufficiently baffled and amazed to make a suggestion: the disconnect between Rex and most of us is obviously profound. We don't get his love of being above it all and genuinely nasty. Why, Rex, don't you apply your astonishing brain power to figuring out that distance, the opening between what your bio chemistry gave you, and the relatively sane one the rest of us enjoy? The pith and vinegar is finally, silly and sad. Put you deep solve side to work on yourself. Please. For the health of honest and joyful crosswording by a whole lot of us who come back to your space.

Aketi 7:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 7:44 AM  


Aketi 7:45 AM  

7:22 AM
Blogger Aketi said...
Is the SCYTHE in the puzzle to punish the INFIDELS who refuse to BOW TO the DOGMAS?

If puppies have an accident will their DOG MAS RUB their NOSES in it? Or give their BUMs a RAP?

The fact that THE RED LETTER DAY crossed GRAD reminded me that I did circle the day that my son becomes a high school GRAD on the calendar - in red pen no less.

IMAX blocked me from DIALing IT IN.


Anonymous 7:50 AM  

I read this blog in 25 seconds. Now I'm going to tell you how terrible it was.

QuasiMojo 7:58 AM  

This was not a banner puzzle with which to start the week off. Hasn't PRIME TIME been done to death? This one felt like a LA Times puzzle.

The originals were called X-RAY SPECS. Xray Spex is a punk band.

Am I right that AM I RITE is an abomination?

Give me MARMITE anyday instead.

Two Ponies 7:58 AM  

I thought this was fun. Some interesting words and the theme worked for me. Just what I want from a Monday puz. No emus with acne, no RRNs, and not too many POCs so I'm happy.

BarbieBarbie 8:01 AM  

OK, I accept that AMIRITE is used among texters with flying thumb talent, who think nothing of spelling out an entire phrase while saving exactly one letter, while people I know would just (slowly and inaccurately) type "no?". And I admit that seeing that phrase fill itself in caused me temporarily to accept BUcRAP as a valid answer, so then I was disgusted with myself and pinned it on Jeff Chen. Sorry, IWASNOTRITE.

Arlene 8:12 AM  

I thought it was just me - but after reading the comments, I'm relieved to find others with similar sentiments. Today I reached my limit on reading the constant negativity - and was just glad to see the completed puzzle along with a list of the theme answers and then jump to the comments. Still a valuable blog resource, but I actually try to practice the power of positive thinking - so must adapt here.

chefbea 8:25 AM  

Tough puzzle. DNF...on a Monday. Had prime time but could not figure out the theme. Was looking for a red, white, and blue puzzle, or something to do with veterans...wont even mention the food stuff

seanm 8:25 AM  

agree 100% with LMS and with Arlene, this review might be so deranged it will be the last time i come to this site. getting mad about eskimo kisses is like a parody of yourself. your other complaints just make it seem like you were looking for things to pick on because it's Jeff. not getting my money next year. you probably need to find a new hobby, since this one is just making you a miserable person

PG Bartlett 8:26 AM  

Just 5 seconds slower than my average Monday. But at 3:52, faster than Rex. I'm a fast solver but I don't think I've ever before beaten Rex. So this is a victory lap.

Rex's grumpiness makes his blog worth reading. I rarely react negatively to a crossword clue -- which would make for a tearfully boring blog.

Aketi 8:50 AM  

AMIRITE, should be abbreviated to AIR. It's too many letters to text.

@PG Bartlett, I'm with you. I like a little morning UMBRA to balance out the radiance. The glare from too much of the latter can lead to the need for EYE DROPs. We also have enough resident luminosities to save us from the dark abyss of negativity.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

For a less hate filled blog, Deb Amlen is very well done, with constructors' comments and thoughtful reader comments.

Nancy 8:56 AM  

I've never seen a Monday that was a RED LETTER DAY, puzzle-wise, and this one wasn't either. The problem is that even when the constructors don't MAIL IT IN -- and they didn't here -- the solver almost always can. A perfectly nicely conceived and executed theme, but no challenge provided. I sped through it, wondering how quickly I could get back to the latest Awful News of the HOUR in this LOONEY, less than BANNER YEAR. The answer? Very quickly.

RooMonster 9:03 AM  

Hey All !
Wasn't my favorite puz in the world, but can't heap as much vitriol on it as Rex. It was fine for a MonPuz.

Do agree with a few wonky clues, HED, NEAT, and some wonky answers, AMIRITE, plural DOGMAS, SPEX. But rest was OK.

Writeovers, ida-HED, SicklE-SCYTHE, lOCARB-NOCARB, oAhu-MAUI.

So, not too many DITS and Dahs about puz. Didn't BOW TO or GASP at it. AMIRITE?


Mohair Sam 9:22 AM  

Enjoyed this one - fun Monday puzzle, neat theme. Surprised OFL found this one Monday challenging, this filled like any other Monday for us. Only write-over was my traditional misspelling of GEISHA.

But let's get into the fun of analyzing our puzzle analyzer. @LMS let us know why his complaints made little sense (counting google hits? complaining of corporate terms he'd likely never hear? word lists?), and @Evil Doug said the same only more, ummm, succinctly. Others blame his perceived dislike for Chen puzzles or Shortz' editing. Not me. I think our man finished this puppy, looked at his slow for him time, and decided at that moment that he hated the thing - then searched for reasons why.

In his shoes I might have arbitrarily knocked 1:15 off my time, complained about AMIRITE, SPEX instead of SPEcs, found something annoying in RUBNOSES, posted a LOONEY Toon character, linked to a DRAKE video, and been on my way. But our Rex is an honest man.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

A Jeff Chen puzzle. A predictable review from Sharp with the usual below-the-belt comments. It's just a matter of seeing how low Sharp will go.

RooMonster 9:27 AM  

Picture test, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. :-)


Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Rex - You might be more familiar with Banner Day from "It's a Wonderful Life" when George Bailey comes home and says "Another banner day at the Building and Loan"

BarbieBarbie 9:31 AM  

@Roo, I see the generic blue Playmobil guy.

GILL I. 9:36 AM  

Nary a complaint from me. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Took me longer than my normal Monday because not seeing MAIL IT IN held me up a wee. I don't play chess either - tried it a couple of times but I get angsty if I have to wait forever...same with Scrabble. I'm always yelling "hurry up." So, I guess when you're a head you're a MATING?
I have BED HEAD every morning. My hair is long and I put it in a pony tale before I go to bed. God only knows what I do in my sleep because when I wake up, I look like Medusa.
BANNER YEAR was always bandied about at our annual conferences. Everyone lied like hell.
@Don Deal. Hah! I thunk it myself...
@Anony 8:51...except it's predictably boring and the format is awful. Stay here and get your fun fill of negativity.

jberg 9:43 AM  

I actually thought this was too easy for a Monday, with clues like ___ Paulo and To and ___. I liked it, but was disappointed with AUG crossing SULK; I never sulk during August. I'd have preferred AUK/KEISHA -- plenty of Keishas around to clue, and the auks are probably sulking as the Arctic warms up.

Two things really surprise me thoug:

1) The narrowness of @Rex's world; can't imagine not knowing what an annual report is! It is, exactly, a report on the past year, so if the year was a good one, it's a report on a BANNER YEAR.

2) I expected to come here and find a debate raging about whether herbal tea, as made by Celestial Seasonings, is really TEA. I guess this is a community of coffee drinkers-- at least, when we're not drinking wine, bourbon, or KIR.

I agree with whoever said a dogma is not one concept, it's an entire body of teaching -- so to get the POC, it should be something like 'tenets of Catholics and Hashidim,' e.g. (Or should that be Chasidim? I never know.)

Moly Shu 9:51 AM  

Imagine my surprise when I found that @Rex hated a puzzle written by @JeffChen and edited by Shortz. I'm in the @LMS @ED @DonDeal etc. camp. But I'm sure @Z will come along and defend OFL.
Some of us wish we could still get BEDEAD. AMIRITE?

Teedmn 9:59 AM  

I had the same reaction to AMIRITE as @BarbieBarbie so I'm glad to hear from others that it is common textspeak. I'm glad to get a *positive* theme for a national holiday, even though said holiday is not commemorating a GOLDEN AGE, though perhaps our FINEST HOUR.

Fresh fill and low dreck with a little crunch, thanks JC and SG.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

I'd like to say that I will stop coming every day to read Rex's daily petty gripefest, but I know I'll be back. It's like reading Trump's Twitter feed without the scary part.

CDilly52 10:00 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle as much as I despise textspeak. As with others, I accept that it exists, but as one reared by grammarians (I used to compete with colleagues to diagram sentences in the IRS Code), I loathe it. Am I correct?

Because it is Memorial Day, I eagerly anticipated connecting the "times" with a much deserved recognition of our veterans and those currently serving this great nation.
Greatest on earth; now, today.

Those are my criticisms. I broke my Monday record by almost 2 minutes today, and was excited to see Chen's name because he and I dwell in the same wheelhouse. No complaints here.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

We need you
Every day!
Thank you

CDilly52 10:02 AM  

And if you want a really fancy Kir, try a Kir Royale with champagne!

Robert A. Simon 10:03 AM  

Gosh! What's all the fuss about BANNER YEAR or RED LETTER DAY and the rest. Clearly, PRIME TIME can only refer to CBS and NBC. What else on Earth--or in the puzzle--could it be?

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Hi all,
Is Rex right about phone it in versus mail it in?
I'm only slightly older than him, and mail it in was my only thought. Perhaps it's not age related.
In any event, it was a fine puzzle. Thanks Jeff (and Will)

Anon South Jersey

Brian Grover 10:19 AM  

I've heard mail it in as much or more than phone it in. What a silly thing to rant about. Increasingly, I come here to laugh AT Rex, not with him.

pmdm 10:20 AM  

Seems there's more discussion about Mr. Sharp than the puzzle. I guess when the write-ups seem like tortured logic supporting an unsupportable evaluation that's to be expected. While some of the comments support what's said today, the great bulk of the comments seem to take issue with the evaluation, which strongly suggests it's inaccurate. I'll let others decide the truth of this.

jberg: I understand your issue with the difference between herbal tea and tea. I took issue last week with whether a URL prefix is part of the URL (which it isn't). Someone kindly pointed out (in different words) to me that the standard for crossword clue correctness is not whether the clue is absolutely correct but whether the clue reflects common usage. Onetime I emailed Shortz about an inaccurate clue and he responded the clue was accurate enough for crossword use. So I can understand today's apparent mistake. Am I indignant? Perhaps. Really surprised? Sadly not.

CDilly52 10:32 AM  

I would say "phone." Ohio reared, OK resident. Who knows?

jessica cohn 10:44 AM  

Am I the only one who never heard of akimbo?
Don't see any comments about it .

GHarris 11:07 AM  

Jessica arms akimbo is a time honored expression little used today. (Too long for texting I suppose). Enjoyed the puzzle, found it relatively easy. Thought Rex was inexplicably unduly critical.

AZPETE 11:12 AM  

Finest hour?

jb129 11:13 AM  

I thought it was easy until I got stuck on "Bum Rap"

Joseph Michael 11:29 AM  

To understand Rex's reaction to the puzzle, you have to remember that Jeff Chen gets his work published in the NYT and Rex does not.

While this may not be a RED LETTER DAY in the history of crossword puzzles, I did think that the puzzle has a decent Monday theme with some fun fill like BED HEAD, BUM RAP, and SELFIE (as clued).

Did not like the singular EYEDROP or the plural DOGMAS and hated AMIRITE. Also, I have never seen an annual report that was "happy." Was it smiling?

Did like CBS and NBC thrown in as bonus themers.

old timer 11:35 AM  

I wondered why this played a little slow for a Monday,

I wonder too why OFL is so vitriolic about the good, in-the-language themers like BANNERYEAR and REDLETTERDAY and did not blow his stack about AMIRITE, which no one has written or texted ever.

As a retired Catholic, I know the Church has many DOGMAS (or should that be dogmata?) many about Mary the mother of God. Examples: Assumption of the BVM (into Heaven). Immaculate conception of the BVM (she was conceived in the normal way, but her soul was always without sin). The eternal virginity of Mary (in other words, those inconvenient brothers of Jesus must have actually been His stepbrothers). So the definition of DOGMA as the entire body of religious tenets strikes me as a little off.

Malsdemare 11:39 AM  

I liked the puzzle, but then I like most of them. Loved AKIMBO, LOONEY, INFIDELS, UMBRA and didn't see anything worth complaining about. I should probably learn some rap names because no matter how often Dr Dre is clued, I totally blank. And the others? Not a prayer. I'm more likely to get Drake from a Perry Mason clue than a rapper.

In my view, Rex is the delivery system that brings me here to my fellow crossword geeks. He and I rarely agree on anything but I seriously don't care. If he weren't writing his blog day after day, providing me with an access to you, my mornings would be much bleaker.

Is it my imagination or do we suddenly have a lot of new posters here? Are y'all former anonymouses/anonymae/anonymata? Whoever you are, welcome!

Joan 11:42 AM  

You did not mention the best thing about Kir which
is the Kir Royale which is made with champagne...

Joe Bleaux 11:44 AM  

@evil doug (this isn't puzzle-related): I've just returned from the largest Memorial Day parade in Georgia, where the most spectacular event was the flyover of a single aircraft ... yup, your beloved C-130.

Let's Suppose... 11:48 AM  

Let's suppose that Rex had devised his blog in the following way: Every day you were required to answer 5 random questions to demonstrate that you had read his blog comments before being permitted to write your own comment or read the comments of other solvers. Then you would HAVE to read Rex if you wanted to have any experience on the blog at all.

But that's not how the blog is designed. You can have a lovely experience here, interacting with all the people you like and writing anything at all that pleases you, and never once having to read Rex if he annoys you or makes you unhappy. Best of all, Rex will never have to know, unless you choose to tell him.

So why do the people who are so put off by Rex's negativity continue to read him? Week after week. Month after month. And then endlessly gripe about him. It seems like complete masochism to me and a total waste of time. Both the reading and the griping.

JC66 11:53 AM  



Famous Winston Churchill quote referencing the RAF during WWII

JC66 11:58 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 11:58 AM  

@ Let's Suppose

You could ask, as many have, then why does @Rex continues blogging the NYTimes puzzles he hates so much.

Ellen S 12:02 PM  

I liked the theme and I enjoyed the puzzle. It seemed Monday-easy to me, but without being dumbed down; I was just throwing in answers as fast as I could type, so I wonder if @Rex had such a hate on because the solve took him longer than he expected.

I wasn't crazy about "AMIRITE", and agree with OFL about RUBBING NOSES. The Interweb says Alaskan natives don't like to be called "Eskimos" for one (a name bestowed on them by white colonial settlers), and noses are about all the skin that's available for greeting when one is bundled up against the cold. Can't kiss someone on the cheek when neither your lips nor their cheek are readily available. Yeah, Western bullshit.

samia hussain 12:08 PM  

nice post

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

@Let's Suppose ... Said... ~ A better question might be why Rex has to be so nasty and, sometimes, downright vicious in his "attacks" under the guise of "reviews," Your use of the word "negativity" underscores your ignorance of what the vast majority of his critics are railing about. A critical review can get its point across without the hurtful and degrading language that is so prevalent in Rex's world. Read some of Jeff Chen's reviews at XWordInfo.com for an example of an honest but fair analysis.

barry milliken 12:14 PM  

A better clue for "bum rap":
"Falsely accused of spanking your child?"

Sir Hillary 12:18 PM  

Today's write-up by @Rex is further proof that the write-up by @Rex is the least important part of this blog. What a bunch of mean-spirited, inaccurate K-Rap.

Nothing wrong with this puzzle on a Monday.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

Promise a man someone else's fish, create a lifelong Democrat voter.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

@AZ Pete - The "Finest Hour" speech actually referenced the entire British Empire and was delivered to Parliament shortly after British Civilians had helped evacuate the British Army from Dunkirk. France was lost, the British military was badly weakened, the United States seemed idle, Germany was never stronger. It came at the end of a long speech pledging that England would fight Hitler to the end, standing alone if necessary.

Here is that most famous sentence:

"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their FINEST HOUR."

And it was.

Let's Suppose 12:38 PM  

If you never read Rex, you'll never experience any of his "vicious" and "nasty" attacks. I'm not in any way defending his right to be nasty or vicious. I'm just saying: It's like a tree falling in the forest when I'm not there to hear it. From my perspective, Rex never makes a sound. And, from what I see here every day, I know it makes my blog experience a lot more pleasant.

Masked and Anonymous 12:54 PM  

Ahar! But -- what if M&A told y'all that AMIRITE has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, huh? What then? U got trouble with that? MAIL IT IN, INFIDELS!

Actually, U can't believe everything U hear, even from news sources as reliable as masked dudes who don't give out personal details due to fear of creditors.

@RP: Wow! What a rite-up! [Primo bullets, btw.] Long weekends --> extra SunDay imbibes --> loose lips --> sunk MonPuzs? I mean, shoot ... even with the AMIRITE incident, the theme seemed pretty solid, and there was a lottta great fillins to be had. Got both yer CBS and yer NBC, f'rinstance.

staff weeject pick: A rare deadheat! The committee was in total deadlock, between:

* GOA. This candidate has a lot goin for it. Has yer desperation factor. Actually anagrams to a real word. Has primo double-?? cluin potential. (Examples: {Blocked goal??}, {Kind of way??}.)
* HED. This puppy just screamed BED HEAD to the committee members. Also has clue potential, with the obvious: {Shed with a sex change??}.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {To and ___} = FRO. Guaranteed to re-boot almost any solvequest.

In summary: Any MonPuz that comes with DOODLES is ok by M&A.

Thanx, Chen dude & Seth G. Fun & slightly feisty [happens a lot, when 2 constructioneers gang up on U].

Masked & Anonymo4Us

Mr. Benson 12:59 PM  

Today we see Michael Sharp lashing out at crossword constructors for not delivering clues and answers directly into his wheelhouse. Lack of familiarity with the term "annual report" and completely in-the-language expressions like "mail it in" and "banner year" is quite stunning, actually. (He frequently compares Google hit results to show the legitimacy of phrases; today, he conveniently neglects to tell us that "banner year" gets more hits than "banner day," or that "mail it in" gets far, far more hits than "phone it in.")

Anonymous 1:05 PM  


Thank you. You are of course correct. As I'm sure you know, Churchill's boquet to the RAF was "never was so much owed by so many to so few".
I love Churchhill the way Rex hates Shortz: out of all proportion and unwilling to change my mind.

ANON South Jersey

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

@Let's Suppose Said ~ My point was WHY he chooses to be so "negative", not whether or not I (or anyone) should or should not read his blog.

laura Giles 1:10 PM  

Missing comments of Alias Z,Numinous and Leapfinger

JC66 1:14 PM  


Thanks for the correction. Bad memory...I should have googled before posting.

GILL I. 1:16 PM  

@Rex reminds me of the most feared British restaurant critic A.A. Gill.
When asked "But don't your readers love you at your meanest?" He answers: 50% go "You f*cking arsehole, I hope you die of cancer!" and 50% say "you made me laugh so much I had to get off the bus."
The there is food critic Anton Ego...He loved Remy the Rat's ratatouille....!

Anoa Bob 1:22 PM  

If you eat a NO CARB diet, you will die.

AMIRITE? In what bizarro world does that abomination have currency? Textspeak? If the idea there is to minimize letters/characters while still accurately communicating a thought or idea, then would not just plain old RIGHT? or RITE? work better. AMIRITE really stunk the joint up.

I've never seen a plural of convenience (POC) that couldn't be justified, however tortured and strained that might be. Most belief systems have accepted DOGMAS at their core.

The issue for me is how many of those oh-so-handy Ss are used. They take up space, thereby making it easier to fill the grid, but add little or nothing to the puzzle's value or interest. There are several in today's offering including three two-for-one POCs where a Down and an Across share a final S. Two are at the ends of DOODLE/CASA & TIDE/RESET. The third is a hidden POC. Can you find it? I won't NAG AT you if you can't.

I agree with @Moly Shu that an opportunity to add a little edge to the puzzle was missed in the cluing for BED HEAD. Right?

tazio35 1:26 PM  

I actually knew AKIMBO from a very old Firesign Theater album... amazing flash from the past!!

Stanley Hudson 1:38 PM  

For feck's sake, Rex, go to your primary care physician tomorrow and beg to be prescribed the strongest dose of Prozac possible.

Dick Swart 1:52 PM  

Perhaps because I am a long-time citizen of Prozac Nation, I found the puzzle easy and enjoyable.

However, I found the specific theme answers rather poignant in our current political situation. Perhaps I need an increase in my dosage.

Masked and Anonymous 2:15 PM  

M&A Research Dept. Findins Report.

Official M&A Dictionary Definition for REDLETTERDAY:

noun: red-letter day; plural noun: red-letter days
a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable.
early 18th century: from the practice of highlighting a festival in red on a calendar."

Sooo … does "circled" = a form of "highlighting in red"? What if maybe the defendant(s) had used a red magic marker to circle the date with? Clue is maybe a bit of a stretch, but probably not a long, "die in prison" stretch. M&A recommends a low bail amount and sentences defendant(s) to some community service work, along with time served while constructin the puz.

M&Aok with DOODLES.


Anonymous 2:29 PM  

@ anonymous 12:19,

You are right.
But teach a man to hunt and fish
and you will never see him again.

BarbieBarbie 2:51 PM  

OK @tazio, please chime back in with complete FT quote. Just the other day I was hijacked onto the Antelope Freeway with all that Everyone Knows Her as Naan, see stuff. And now this. Weeka, weeka.

Since I'm on #4, claiming immunity because one was to Roo only, I can't help weighing in on the whoe read-it-or-not thing. Michael is Michael. He has no Air Fluff setting. Either a puzzle is hung out to dry, or it is cranked up to Hot. I read his blog for the insights he gives me when he loves a puzzle. I come here for other insights. I solve, I stare, but I don't see nearly the stuff that you all do-- including him. I'm in awe of all of you. Or maybe agog. Thanks for all of it.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

Another banal review full of negativity and bad karma.
Actually, today's puzzle is very enjoyable.

Scroolfinger 3:29 PM  

Remember in addition to not reading Rex you can avoid anonymous posts by tapping or clicking on "Anonymous said..." before the text scrolls into view.

@Joseph Michael - Rex has had puzzles published in the NYT.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 3:43 PM  

Is BUMRAP like K Rap?

jae 4:26 PM  

BEQ used AMIRITE (all one word) in today's Mon. puzzle write up.

Masked and Anonymous 4:38 PM  


Puztheme does have the added extra bonus feature of the themer time intervals gettin shorter, as U progress along… AGE --> YEAR --> DAY --> HOUR. Sorta reflects the nanoseconds ebbin away, as one fights his/her way down thru the solvequest. Woulda been neat, if the final revealer had continued that string, somehow. I believe the Chenmeister proposed splatzin in AHAMOMENT for 63-A, over at the xwordinfo.com.

M&A, of course, woulda leaned toward startin with GOLDENAGES, and endin with NANOSECOND. But PRIMO-TIME is fine and dandy, too. Sooo … hey, beats NYMINUTES, right?

Happy Memorial Day to every swingin pencil and pen out there. Pausin to reflect a little on this red lettered day, it kinda makes old M&A (Viet Nam, 1970-71) just feel lucky to be around to rub noses with all U nice and smart folks, today.
Good times.

Yeah … sooo …
Let's go low, for the closer:

M&Also Once Again

Joe Dipinto 5:31 PM  

I liked the hilariously unnecessary inclusion of "(but didn't attend)" to the Joni Mitchell/Woodstock clue. Pointless asides that could have been used for some of the others:

Marilyn Monroe, notably (but not really)

Archie's wife on "All in the Family" (but not in the comic strip)

"We all ____ little mad sometimes": Norman Bates (but not Norma Desmond)

Land of Blarney (but not of potatoes, in the 19th century)

Substituted "math" for "mass," say (but didn't really mean to)

G. Weissman 5:46 PM  

Dude. Whining is your forte. I get it, but zzzzzzzz. Start publishing your own blog and subject yourself to the unbridled whining of bores like yourself. Start blogging or shut your pie hole.

The5th Harp 6:43 PM  

And NoCarb diets are a thing.

RooMonster 7:50 PM  

Yea, me too. Maybe this time??


RooMonster 7:51 PM  

Ha! Sweet....

Aketi 7:53 PM  

@M&A I a childhood friend who had a pet GOAT named Shamrock. Shamrock was enough of a pet that he was invited into the house (at least as long as he behaved himself). He'd usually get kicked out when he helped himself to the contents of the grown up's wine glasses. The thought of a bunch of Shamrock-like drunken GOATS causing a RIOT in the house just made my day.

KittenFuud 8:37 PM  

X-Ray Specks were a punk band. A really good one imho! Check out "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" for some shrieking nostalgia!
(I did not get today's paper but just discovered this site TRYING to find the origin of the expression "wha' hoppen?" I can't find it! My Dad said it, I listen to a lot of old time radio and it's all over that, but was it, in fact, a wartime slur at the Japanese that took off AND who was the first person to say it? Jack Benny? Flummoxed!)

KittenFuud 8:43 PM  

X-Ray Specks were a punk band. A really good one imho! Check out "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" for some shrieking nostalgia!
(I did not get today's paper but just discovered this site TRYING to find the origin of the expression "wha' hoppen?" I can't find it! My Dad said it, I listen to a lot of old time radio and it's all over that, but was it, in fact, a wartime slur at the Japanese that took off AND who was the first person to say it? Jack Benny? Flummoxed!)

kitshef 8:47 PM  

Back from incredible weekend at Shenandoah National Park (bobcat! bear cubs! rattlesnake! bunnies!!!), so posting awfully late. MAIL IT IN. Always. phone IT IN sounds ridiculous to my ear.

Also want to express gratitude to Joe DiPinto for a hilarious post.

Andrew Heinegg 9:04 PM  

Coward that I am, I am posting late enough so that no one will notice. I am certain that the only thing Rex and I have in common is that we do not care for Mr. Chen's puzzles.

That said, I don't see how red letter day and banner year can be defended. The no carb diet and Morse Code business seem at least debatable.

The anger that the anti-Rex folks display in reaction to the reviews is well, puzzling, to me. And the people who challenge Rex to make up better crosswords than the ones he pans are missing the point. You don't have to be a world class chef to know bad food when you eat it. And, remember that there is no arguing with taste. He gives articulate and well thought out reasons for his opinions even if I don't agree with him a lot of the time. And, the personal attacks on him are simply incomprehensible. How does a thumbs down review make you some sort of reprehensible human being? Oh well. It's a sign of the times?

Nancy 9:14 PM  

I missed your comment until now, @Joe dePinto. @kitshef's right -- it's very amusing. And speaking of kitshef -- reading your post gave me critter envy -- a malady I suffer from not infrequently when reading this blog. Sounds like a great weekend!

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg -- Calling a puzzle garbage, as Sharp often does, is indeed reprehensible. Taking potshots at Chen's wordlist is equally so.

Anonymous 11:56 PM  

@Andrew If you follow your logic, everyone should stop saying negative things about Trump as well as the "personal attacks on him are simply incomprehensible". Having said that, too many complaints seem to normalize or legitimize the blog writer in some way or other. Personal attacks on Jeff Chen or others who work with or at the NYT should never be included here.

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Andrew H. is dim-witted but earnest. I'd hang out with him.

Mohair Sam 12:35 AM  

@Andrew H. - @Lauren and @jberg explained fully why BANNER YEAR makes perfect sense.

And no need to defend @Rex for not publishing puzzles at the NYT. He's had 7 published per Wordplay, his detractors don't know that and embarrass themselves each time they attack him. He announced here four years ago that he would no longer be submitting puzzles to the Times or he'd likely have many more. His reasons for no longer submitting seem obvious.

tazio35 11:52 AM  

@BarbieBarbie - just now saw your Firesign Theater response... so glad to read of another FT fan. The AKIMBO quote was from their second album (1969). Remember Ralph Spoilsport Motors in the City of Emphysema. The quote was "it was a jackal-headed woman with her eyes akimbo". There was also an infamous quote of Carrie on Sex and the City, when she said "We're looking for Aidan,ladies, eyes akimbo". Even though the word usually refers to "arms akimbo", the "eyes akimbo" refers to looking in all directions at once. (I hope you see this even though I am posting on Tuesday!)

Jeff 2:25 PM  

i wish Banner Year would have been clued something like "John Bender's Christmas minus the profanity," but maybe that would have been to Breakfast Club-specific...

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Thank you for calling out the awful RUB NOSES. That's some racism right there.

Loved AMIRITE, though it seems to have gotten on some people's nerves.

Burma Shave 10:07 AM  


JANE and I had a REDLETTERDAY in a BANNERYEAR of dating,


spacecraft 10:11 AM  

To follow up re 9-down, OFL is right. There is no "NOCARB" diet, nor could there be. Carbohydrates are essential for life; they are the body's fuel. Eat zero carbs and you will soon die. However a LOW-carb diet such as the Wheat Belly* Diet that I'm on is very healthful. I'm nearly sixty pounds lighter in half a BANNERYEAR, and have been able to cut down on blood pressure meds. LOCARB I would accept, but that would leave ELTIRE..."What a Spaniard would call that round thing in his trunk?"

Theme is well-conceived and NEATly executed, with the TIME periods in descending order. What's next on our idiom list, "miracle minute," "sensational second," "perfect picosecond?" Most of the longer fill is also interesting--AMIRITE being the exception. It takes guts to let that one stand, though Ned Ryerson uttered it three times in rapid succession--separated by "or"s--on Groundhog DAY. Now THERE's a REDLETTERDAY if there ever was one.

It's the shorter fill that chops this one down. I expect better of Mr. Chen; this was not his FINESTHOUR. And with all those male ducks and explorers out there, WHY do we have to have a rapper clue for DRAKE?

JONI Mitchell is my DOD. Always been one of my favorites. We entered with one RBC (random broadcasting company) and exited with another. Oh no, there's one under that: the RRAP (random ridiculously awkward partial) GOA. Wow, what did you guys do with that beauty, MAILITIN? I don't want to take too much away from the good parts: par.

spacecraft 10:46 AM  

*"Wheat Belly" by William Davis, M.D. A real eye-opener.

rondo 11:34 AM  

Wow. OFL went out of his way to beat up this puz. Seemed OK to me with all those PRIMETIMEs. One w/o having started down with lOCARB; NOCARB seems near impossible to me.

LOONEY Tunes cartoons were best in the Leon Schlesinger (who LISPED, BTW)era, before 1950, when they actually spent time on detailed backgrounds instead of the abstractions that followed. The correlation between that and the fast-moving 1950s was going to be a big American Studies thing for me, until I changed majors. Somehow, life got INTHEWAY.

Don't care what Google says, MAILITIN is how I learned it. I think the phone version came later.

I've got black currant berries on the bushes here at home, had to special order them as they were banned for many years on unfounded reasons. Probably will have them on cereal instead of making KIR.

Songstress and yeah baby JONI Mitchell earns a REDLETTERDAY, unless you go with the BLONDE as clued.

I thought this puz was OK, AMIRITE?

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Somewhat confusing! If you were born in WWI, you could have figured this puzzle easy!

leftcoastTAM 1:38 PM  

Monday challenging and (therefore) fun.

Neat order for TIME periods.

Notable clue-answers:
Read "distinction" as "extinction", confusion followed.
Had Ethel (Lucy's neighbor) before EDITH.
SPEX, can't remember hearing this one before.
Clever cross: GEISHA/KIR

Special mention:
UMBRA. Salem OR, where I live, is in the middle of the
total solar eclipse due next month. Should be quite a
spectacle. Side effect is expected to be tons of traffic
and overcrowding in the area

Notable Monday. Enjoyed it.

Diana,LIW 1:58 PM  

Well I always heard, "Pony Express It In." Prior to that it was, "Slow Boat to China it In."

@Spacey - next progression? Taken from the Love Actually sequel - "The jiffiest of jiffies!" As the line snakes down the street from Walgreens.

Why I don't skip reading @Rex. I do learn some about constructing and solving. I anticipate his rants, and treat them as seriously as Lewis Black. Sometimes they are hilarious. Often, like today, they are mysterious. (Unless you believe, as many do, the Jeff C conspiracy theory.)

But it still surprises me when I, a mere child of the puzzle world (solving daily for less than 3 years) think a puzzle is smooth and easy. And it gets a "challenging" rating! I mentioned to Mr. W how smart Monday puzzles make me feel. Oh yes, AKIMBO. KIR. UMBRA. SCYTHE. SPEX. EDITH ;-)

Do you take your TEA with REESES? Or have an ALE with BARAK? Perhaps a KIR on MAUI? Mmmmm

Confidently dropping in DRAKE, I shall know that name for all ETERNE.

Rules of engagement? (from yesterday et al) Mine - "Enjoy the puzzle." And let the cat sit on your lap. Even tho he never answers my questions about the puzzle. That would be cheating.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 2:25 PM  

When I saw that Jeff Chen was a co-constructor today, I felt more than justified in skipping @Rex's post. Judging from the comments, that was an eminently intelligent decision.

I thought this was a fine Monday with a little more GRIT than usual. Plus, it has JONI Mitchell in there - Yay Canada. Btw, this weekend past was our national celebration of our 150th year as a country. Feeling Maple Leaf proud RITE now.

I always hear/say MAIL IT IN. I remember having KIR when in France two years ago, in a delightful restaurant in Arles. No Champagne though.

Decent start to the week.

leftcoastTAM 2:57 PM  

#Lady Di: An extension of your "Enjoy the puzzle" rule: Use the opportunity to express your thoughts about it, even when you don't particularly enjoy it.

spacecraft 7:07 PM  

@D,LIW: OFL's ratings are correlated directly to his solving time; he is a slave to the stopwatch. They have ZERO to do with the puz's difficulty, and everything to do with the number of nanoseconds it took him to finish. There are times when I actually pity the man.

Diana,LIW 7:43 PM  

@Lefty - I almost always enjoy the puzzle, even if parts of it are less than pleasing. Like a puzzle filled with arcane trivia - "King Solomon's wife's maiden name," or "The smallest river in the 4th largest state of Brazil." If there's too much of that and I give up, I'll look up some of the PPP, and then go back to solving the rest, even tho it's a dnf by then. I think @Lewis does that, too - just to get more practice in.

@Spacey - I think you are right, along with those who see Jeff C's name and know a pan is coming. Well...time = challenging, Jeff = the pan. Double whammy today. Poor puzzle. Never had a chance.

I've said before being a slave to speed solving is like eating a fine meal in 30 seconds - the Nathan Hot Dog eating contest way of solving. For me, enjoy = savor.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Slaw Eating

Diana,LIW 9:35 PM  

slow - not slaw

tho slaw is fine. especially with Nova

Lady Di

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

I recently returned from Alaska (middle of June, since I do the syndicated puzzle) where I was told the Inuit people consider the name "Eskimo" to be the equivalent of the N word to African-Americans. And evidently this has been widely known for years. It would seem the Times should have learned this at some point and nixed use of the word. Maybe Rex should have pointed this out?

spacecraft 11:00 PM  

Oh no--yet another indicator of The Age Of Taking Offense! Will this crap never end?

rain forest 12:57 AM  

I'm with you, @Spacey - re the terminology which I grew up with which is now non-PC, as well as the difficulty rating of a puzzle based upon solving time.

I have a friend who married a great woman who refers to herself as an Eskimo. She says that is a term that is used throughout the North except for the northern part of Alaska where Inuit or Inupiat (sp?) is used. Anyway, I think the term Eskimo means "wearing snowshoes".

As to solving time, who gives a rat's ass? I KNOW if a puzzle is easy, medium or challenging without reference to my time, which I never monitor.

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