Musical genre for Gangnam Style / SUN 5-28-17 / Whom Kala reared / Hop o my thumb villain / Character with aria when I am laid in earth

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Constructor: Andrew Zhou

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "In Bad Taste" — Themers are written a la recipe instructions. Answers are all bad (?) things, and together they make A RECIPE FOR DISASTER (106A: What 27-, 39-, 56-, 66-, 79- and 96-Across together make up):

Theme answers:
  • STIR UP A HORNET'S NEST (27A: Step 1: Raise hell)
  • MIX ONE'S METAPHORS (39A: Step 2: Make some literary gaffes)
  • BEAT A DEAD HORSE (56A: Step 3: Devote energy to something hopeless)
  • POUR MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN (66A: Step 4: Be a financial wastrel)
  • CUT A POOR FIGURE (79A: Step 5: Look pretty schlubby)
  • SERVES TWO MASTERS (96A: And finally: Has divided loyalties)
Word of the Day: URBAN II (35D: Pope who initiated the First Crusade) —
Pope Urban II (Latin: Urbanus II; c. 1042 – 29 July 1099), born Odo of Châtillon or Otho de Lagery, was Pope from 12 March 1088 to his death in 1099. He is best known for initiating the First Crusade (1096–99) and setting up the modern-day Roman Curia in the manner of a royal ecclesiastical court to help run the Church. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is the second personal record I've set this week. I'm trying to let that sink in. I've been doing crosswords how long? (A: off and on for > a quarter century) And I've been doing them daily, without fail, in earnest, for over a decade, and I've been to dozens of tournaments ... and in one week, a single week, I break not one but two personal time records? First Friday (under 4), and now today? I was under 7!? Do you know how many times I've been under 8 on a NYT Sunday? None. None times. And when I finished this one the clock was just ticking over to 6:59. I didn't even really understand the theme. In fact, I'm still not sure I do. Seems really ... loose? Incoherent? Cutting a poor figure and beating a dead horse seem like bad things to do, but they hardly seem like "disasters." The whole thing just doesn't hang together very well. Answers feel contrived and far too unrelated to make the theme really click, hum, and whir. But as I say, honestly, what theme? I flew through this thing, destroying every answer I touched. Could do no wrong. It was an amazing feeling.

ONE'S—that is the constructor's little helper. You usually see it in quadstacks, e.g. A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE (15) (a classic example of the type). Here, it helps get MIX ONE'S METAPHORS to the right length to fit into the grid. You can see the constructor played with tenses (and articles) all over the place. [Look pretty schlubby] (2nd person) but [Has divided loyalties] (3rd person) (note: 3rd person is really awkward in an alleged "recipe"). And then you get the indefinite article "A" in A RECIPE FOR DISASTER, which you rarely see. These aren't bad or wrong things; they're just ways that a constructor can play around to get the themers to come out symmetrical. MIX METAPHORS, MIX ONE'S METAPHORS, MIXED METAPHORS, MIXED ONE'S METAPHORS ... all available depending on the length requirements.

["WOO WOO!"]

There's not really anything to talk about here. If I had any trouble, it was dead center, where I wanted GOT AT IT (which didn't fit) before GO TO WAR (54D: Begin fighting), and where WOO was half of a drink I'd never heard of (76A: When doubled, a drink with vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice). I wanted to THROW MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN (again, non-fitting). I thought 21A: Venusian or Jovian was asking for some kind of religious adherent (ALIEN), I never think of Buddha as a YOGI, and 68D: Napping, so to speak really felt like it was gonna be UNAWAKE (UNAWARE). Other than that, just like Friday, it was see clue write answer see clue write answer, start to finish. It's kind of a high, being in the zone like that. It felt semi-impossible, like when this happened in "Caddyshack":

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Canon Chasuble 12:14 AM  

Like Rex, I found this an easy puzzle (Breezed through it with pen and ink), but I also found it unassuming and kind of cute. I loved the recipe directions, and it was a perfect ending to a Saturday night full of gourmandizing.

Daryl 12:37 AM  

Finished this in 17:04. Really easy puzzle but I can't figure out how to not fat finger a Sunday crossword on the app when I'm using an iPhone - I'm not sure I could do sub-7 even if I were just typing gibberish! Very impressive Rex.

Moly Shu 1:24 AM  

Only real hang up was I wouldn't let go of gee until the end and finally succumbed to BOY. Venusian easily my favorite clue, reminds me of watching Friday's (an SNL ripoff) and Mark Blankfield's character who worked as a pharmacist at Drugs-R-Us. He was always on some form of medication and paranoid of a Venusian invasion.
Seriously @Rex, no Gagnam Style video ???

jae 1:28 AM  

Congrats @Rex. Easy for me too but I took a couple of phone calls and made dinner during the solve. @Canon - "unassuming and kind of cute" works great for me. Liked it.

George Barany 1:28 AM  

I'm in awe of @Rex's solving time on @Andrew Zhou's first-ever Sunday puzzle. As for me, not a whole lot to KVETCH about. I'm still looking for broken down metaphors to FIX (PIFA certainly seemed as good as any for 28-Down), and how could I forget that memorable opera singer TOBY Soprano? After all, DIDO is a soprano part from a 17th century Purcell opera [some of you may recognize this aria ... then again, maybe not (this from Gluck might be far more recognizable)].

@SEAN Spicer continues a recent trend to Trumpify clues, yesterday's constructor, @DAMON Gulczynski makes a cameo at 119-Across, and @ZAC Efron costars in the just-released version of "Baywatch" for the big screen. The latter's homosurnym @Delia Ephron penned this must-read essay in the newspaper of record, dateline Sunday May 28.

Repeated from yesterday: Also, please allow me to give a plug to the upcoming Minnesota crossword tournament, which will be held on Sunday, June 11 (two weeks from now). More details found here. Hope to see some of you there.

Finally, thanks for the numerous kind and gracious comments directed to me from this community in yesterday's comments section.

Quo Vadis 1:58 AM  

So if pop music from Korea is KPOP what should we call rap music from Korea?

Anonymous 1:58 AM  

Thought I was on verge of record and then...stopped dead in the NE corner. Was right on PAW, but did nothing for me. Only once I gave up an hour later on KVETCH (couldn't even get it from ___TCH), did the others fall. VANE became obvious, and KPOP returned from some dark place in my brain. Then a formality on ONE/PER to finish.


Larry Gilstrap 2:29 AM  

I took a dinner break half way through this Sunday effort. Fill the top half and then fill the gut. Mission accomplished! The revealer really helped. Those distinctive imperative mood verbs are essential to a worthwhile RECIPE.

I'm an English major but I enjoy reading science stuff, of late. The BONOBO is our closest relative and its natural habitat is disappearing. Should have left Africa with my tribe, but who knew? I'm thinking it's important to study these hominids while they still exist.

So I see that UCLA is located in something called SOCAL? I was born in Covina so I was born in LA, but rarely heard SOCAL, and if I did, I wouldn't have acknowledged it.

I spend lots of time in the desert and the season is like Comicon for naturalists. Botanists, paleontologists, geologists. anthropologists, birders, etc. are under every rock. Not a bad invasion. I know guys who are herps and have sat in on their discussions. They rarely use the word REPTILES. The clue still works as clued.

I taught Junior High School back when that was a thing, and one year we had a kid named "Jason" THURBER, and God he was a pain in the ass. His English teacher, not me at the time thank heaven, asked him if he was related to James THURBER. There was also a TV show, loosely based on the life of the essayist/cartoonist. He allegedly said that the famous author was his uncle. We cut that kid so much slack, based on that bit of fake news. Eventually, we realized he had no clue about who any author was and the whole charade collapsed. I hope all is well with him.

Hartley70 2:36 AM  

Great to see @George Barany return. The comments haven't been the same without you!

This may have been a bit on the easier side, but I had a good time with it. It never seemed tedious and I didn't get annoyed with the fill. There was lots that surprised me. TARZAN and THURBER, RAE and URBANII were nice to see. I haven't come across this theme before and it was cute, despite the DISASTrous atmosphere. This is what I ask of a Sunday behemoth... do not bore me, and you didn't Mr. Zhou!

chefwen 2:38 AM  

I am making a Thanksgiving in May dinner tomorrow, so I'll be doing a lot of stirring, mixing, beating, pouring, cutting and serving. Just hope it's not a DISASTER.

CUT A POOR FIGURE was a new one for me.

Cute puzzle, liked it.

Scrollfinger 3:01 AM  

Remember you can be your own blog moderator. All you need to do when "Anonymous" begins to appear when you are scrolling is tap it (iPad) or click it (desk top) and the comment will disappear.

BarbieBarbie 6:44 AM  

Both easy and fun. If this is someone's first puzzle, WOW and thanks!
Got the recipe allusion before the revealer, so I felt pretty smart. Half my usual time. But seven minutes... Nope. Whenever I read about times like that I picture myself at a crossword contest, but in the spectators' gallery, staring in awe.
SOCAL, yeah... It's crept in. @Larry, me too born there (well, six hours north), and we used to cringe at Frisco and San Fran ("The Stick" is perfectly OK), and now it's NOCAL and SOCAL. Ugh. If there were any blackboards left, and if I had any fingernails, it would be like that. Here's another funny one for you: Santa Barbara calling itself the Central Coast. I guess it is, if you stop where the missions did. Leaving half the state and two-thirds of the coast.
@Quo, good one!

Loren Muse Smith 7:13 AM  

@Quo Vadis – you get the Best Comment of the Day Award.

Rex – you said that you rarely see that indefintied article A in A RECIPE FOR DISASTER? I kept rereading that, puzzled. I can’t imagine the phrase without that A.

I was mowing my way through the hotel room minibar, I had a credit card, and an infomercial came on touting the most amazing make-up foundation I had ever seen. Now there’s a recipe for disaster. True story. I acted quickly, and they were nice enough to throw in free shipping, which was great because the starter kit I bought came in a box the size of a small microwave.

Ovine: sheep:: monotreme: platypodes. Just so’s you know.

Rex, you also zeroed in on the aspect that bothered me at first – that in isolation, the phrases begin with verb number/voice that don’t match. The one that stuck out to me was SERVES. But, BUT, if you separate out the recipe words a the beginning, it works. STIR, MIX, BEAT, POUR, CUT, SERVE.

My other issue was the missing step of actually baking the stuff. I’ve sat here trying to think of what would firm up quick enough to cut it all after you pour it. Rice Krispy treats? Maybe. If you understand the the steps begin after you’ve melted the marshmallows. But you don’t really beat them or pour them. (Instant Jello Chocolate Pie? Nope – you have to chill it.) Even with my thought that we’re just lopping off the very first words, COOKING THE BOOKS and CHILLY RECEPTION are both one letter too long for 96A.

Whatever the case, I liked the theme, that Andrew found phrases that describe negative stuff that all begin with recipe words. The reveal is perfect.

P.S. - @Nancy and @South Jersey Anon – I have put roast beef, Russian dressing, slaw, and rye bread on my grocery list.

chefbea 7:18 AM  

I love anything to do with recipes...except this puzzle!!! Never heard of the word schlubby!!!

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

There was a BONOBO in the news this week. It tossed a chunk of concrete into the crowd at a zoo (apparently not aimed at them, just exuberant). Nevertheless I misspelled it BONOmO (a brand of candy, I now remember), then couldn't make sense of mOY. I still don't see BOY as a synonym for "golly." Maybe sorta. Still, a very easy Sunday puzzle. Disapponting. I could have done six of these in the time I spent on yesterday's puzzle (but I had no errors yesterday).

evil doug 7:36 AM  

Whenever idleness is making me insane
Well then I feel I should be getting the train on the double
Here comes trouble
I hit the city and my head is a-reelin'
I get the feelin' that it really was worth going after
When we're tastin' disaster
~Marshall Crenshaw

Z 7:50 AM  

Thanks @LMS because I didn't see the recipe words. I was just, "bad clichés make a recipe?" Still didn't see them after reading Rex. That doesn't tighten up the theme more than I thought.

Lots of mini puzzles strewn about today. 21x21 grids are always at risk of feeling sloggy and schlubby, use a grid with a dozen little areas and it is almost inevitable.

@Moly Shu - Just imagine the Pips dancing Gangnam Style... WOO WOO!

@LMS - Jazz Fans --> Utahnopodes. I feel a rebus theme coming on.

Z 7:53 AM  

"does" not "doesn't" tighten up the theme. I hate when that happens.

@Evil Doug - Nice. Now, Marshall Crenshaw with some Pips, please.

Sue 7:56 AM  

For me the real head scratcher was UTAHN??

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Seven minutes - a new record. That's what she said.

Herbert Marshall McLuhan 8:11 AM  

KP,GN,KV, VL and DL are unusual patterns for starting a word.
This puzzle has an unusual amount of words beginning with two consonants:



Sir Hillary 8:47 AM  

Having no clue what the themers were all about, I laughed out loud when I got the revealer. I was bothered for a while by the tense of SERVESTWOMASTERS, but now I'm reading it like this:
-- STIR...
-- MIX...
-- BEAT...
-- POUR...
-- CUT...
Which is totally how A RECIPE would read.

Very nice.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

The theme is 'A RECIPE for disaster' when all the clues are taken together. All bad things with recipe instructions. Stir, Mix, Beat, Pour, Cut, and Serve.

Aketi 9:00 AM  

I wanted something BAKEd before SERVEd but I can't come up with anything other than half-baked or burned which doesn't match the patterns for DISASTER.

Mohair Sam 9:09 AM  

@Quo Vadis (1:58) - I'll join @LMS with a tip of the cap, that was a beauty.

Well we zipped through this like everyone else except for the tiny corner in the NE where we looking for something far more esoteric than ONE PER for limiting distribution, figured that America's Cup thing was an urn, knew not our "Gangham" music genre, and like one of the Anon's above got no help from TCH for the longest time. Eventually Lady M yelled "KVETCH" and hence VANE and EWER and we were done.

Thought the theme was clever - recipe steps each of which was a disaster building to the reveal. What's not to like?

Agree with the Southern Californians here on SOCAL. The only time I've heard the term was from bond traders referring to the local electric company as SOCAL Ed. COSECANT? Man, we're gettin' a little advanced in our math here, aren't we? Didn't Kim Carnes ("BETTE Davis Eyes") sound just like Rod Stewart? Some rock historians pin the birth of GLAM rock on T-Rex's reluctant Mark Bolan. Bolan had wanted to be the next Bob Dylan, go figure.

QuasiMojo 9:35 AM  

Oh, Rex, we're so happy for you!

Today's puzzle was a moveable feast of literary allusions!

I might have HEMingwayed and HAWthorned about some of the fill, but overall it gets an A+ from this cranky old lit major.

Best of all, I know that @Nancy will love it. (Btw, since the theme is a recipe, I will toss in my own hankering for a great roast beef sandwich. It is so hard to find real Russian dressing anymore, as we have discussed here before.)

As for SO CAL, I've certainly heard the term before and wikipedia says it is used often. I'm reading a bunch of Ross Macdonald of late and he uses the term the SOUTHLAND to describe some of the same area. That's a term that I don't hear used much anymore.

If Cole Porter had written the score for the movie "Cocktail," he might have penned a lyric for the bartender: "Do do that Woo-Woo that you do so well."

SouthsideJohnny 9:38 AM  

I don't see the America's Cup to EWER connection. Is the trophy a form of cup, thus an urn ? Seems pretty lame at best. The rest was pretty easy (and relatively straightforward).

Karen 9:47 AM  

SERVESTWOMASTERS is in the third person because it's the yield of the recipe, not a step (hence, "And finally"). (Cookbook editor here!)
I drank a woo-woo or two in my day—popular in the '80s.

Two Ponies 9:49 AM  

Perfectly pleasant Sunday fun.

That drink sounds yummy but I would be too embarrassed to ask a bartender for something with such a silly name.

I used to see lots of SoCal t-shirts and bumper stickers in Vegas.
My favorite one, however, addressed the Californication of Nevada with
"SoCal? So What?"

Tom4 9:52 AM  

@Rex the third person in the SERVES themer initially bothered me too but then I remembered that recipes often end with "serves x-y people."

Great puzzle - sent me back to my trig lessons!

GHarris 10:04 AM  

Must have been easy. Even I was done before finishing my coffee. Had same brief hang ups as Rex. Quo Vadis gave me a chuckle, always a nice way to start a Sunday.

Teedmn 10:13 AM  

I liked this theme but the fill didn't present any kind of challenge. Very straightforward cluing. I did enjoy "Had pants" for GASPED at 54A. And 10A's "One thrown for a loop" being a LASSO. Thanks AZ.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

C'mon Rexbots! Let's hear some some outrage about the Sean Spicer entry! Does this mean we've allowed him to become "normalized"?

RooMonster 1 10:42 AM  

Hey All !
I thought it was good. I like @Sir Hilary 8:47's explanation of SERVES TWO for the end of the RECIPE. Agree with @LMS about a missing step. No bake? Sunburn? - BAKE TIL BEET RED , or something like that.

Fill wasn't too bad. Got stuck in NW central part with the ALTA/LOOT cross. Wanted fire for LOOT, then some sort of bag. ALTA was and still is a WOE. And BOY was tough to see.

Have heard SOCAL enough times to legitamize it. GNAR is pretty gnarly. Wanted GrrR first. COSECANT didn't bring back nasty memories of trig. Maybe blocked it out completely?

Overall a good, dreck-light puz. Congrats Andrew on your first SunPuz. Lighten up on the black squars next time, though! :-)


RooMonster 1 10:44 AM  

Just got a new phone, have to figure out how to get rid of the 1 in my screen name, and put up a picture!


Wm. C. 10:47 AM  

@Southside --'s_Cup.jpg

Take a look, it's a ewer, affectionately called "The Auld Jug."

Btw, from yesterday, after never heard of "Flexitarian," I went out to pick up the mail, and there on the cover of Time magazine was reference to the cover article on diet, and what the heck, the word "Flexitarian" popped right out at me.

Nancy 10:47 AM  

Not all disasters are created equal, and MIXING ONE'S METAPHORS is such a trivial one that I might just say Oh, what the hell, and toss it right into the stew. Or the salad. Or the casserole. Or whatever it is we're making today. What are we making today, btw? As long as it doesn't have any TOXINS or HOT LAVA in it, I'm good to go. Would a DEAD HORSE or a HORNET'S NEST really make such a noticeable difference to the culinary preparations of a cook as terrible as I am?

I thought I knew every alcoholic concoction ever dreamed up -- at least by name. What in the world is a WOO WOO? I would never drink a cocktail that sounded so cutesy. Alcoholic drinks ought not to be cutesy.

@Quasi -- you can make your own Russian dressing by mixing 2 parts Heinz's Chili Sauce to 1 part mayo. Or something like that. The dressing should be deep pink, not pale pink.

@Loren -- I'm so happy for you! You are about to embark on one of the great sandwich experiences of your life!

I thought the puzzle was cute. I didn't find it as easy as many of you here.

Maruchka 10:50 AM  

Easy, yes, but so clean and elegant. What I don't know didn't matter. Everything filled nicely.

Thanks, Mr. Zhou.

'DIDO's Lament' is the most heartbreaking song. Fortunate to have finally seen the full opera last fall. It ain't over 'til it's over..

@LarryG, @Barbie, - These cutesy abbreviations run rampant in NYC - real estate speak for "let's hike the prices". Lately, these same realtors are attempting to change a swath of Harlem to SOHA. Residents are not amused, and up in arms.

The salad sandwich variation I love - corned beef, mayo cole slaw, Russian dressing, all layered on a good corned rye. Heaven.

ArtO 10:55 AM  

The magazine section comes along with other "Sunday" NYTimes sections on Saturday morning at our house so it's always interesting to finish the puzzle a day earlier than most and await the rating and analysis from OFL and the commentaries that appear on the blog. As a fogey, I solve on paper. Very pleasant. Don't race but have a general idea of my time and am fascinated by the times racked up by many who come here.

Totally amazed at @Rex's times...especially today. Seems impossible to read and write quite that fast but I suppose typing on the app adds to speed. I believe @Anonymous 8:49 pointed out the theme with a bit more dimension. All in all a pretty enjoyable, if somewhat easy puzzle.

Anyway, I'm appreciative of Mr. Sharp's work even if he's a bit crotchety most of the time.

Alexscott68 10:55 AM  

Thanks, Sir Hillary.

SERVES was really bothering me until you explained it. In retrospect, the theme works pretty well. I just wasn't seeing it. And the reveal works if you consider the DISASTER as a combination of all the ingredients.

Laurie 10:58 AM  

Has anyone ever heard of a woo woo?

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Thank goodness common sense prevailed and we voted for a Recipe for Success last Fall.

Nancy 11:11 AM  

@Quasi (9:35): Your Cole Porter lyric -- priceless!

@Marushka (10:50) -- Your observation about NYC real estate location rebranding is so true -- and for just the reason you state. They've managed to change the unappealing "Lower West Side" to the trendy "Tribeca". But they have failed utterly to change "Hell's Kitchen" to "Clinton". No one but the real estate brokers have ever called it that.

Nancy 11:12 AM  

Has ever.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Agree! Still dont get it.
Also had that poor horse flogged, because a "clef" crosses the line...My personal best, too, in 30 min.!

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

"ST", "SC", and of course, "TH" not unusual. Otherwise, I agree and noticed the same thing.

Joseph Michael 11:35 AM  

Starting with STIR and ending with SERVE, this recipe begged to have its steps presented in order. But suddenly one has to CUT what one has just POURed and prevously BEATen? This is indeed A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.

Hard not to notice the all-too-familiar outbreak of ACNE, the odd-looking YAXIS, and the repetition of ONE (no woo woo for that no no).

But a pleasant theme overall for an easy Sunday morning. I just wouldn't want to consume whatever it is that just got made.

Carola 11:39 AM  

After STIR and MIX, I saw that something was being cooked up, but I didn't see the reveal coming - and thought it was delightful. I like the theme even better now that @Karen 9:47 pointed out that SERVES TWO MASTERS is the yield. Very cute!

I liked how TARZAN and BONOBO are paired, but I GASPED at HOT LAVA - well, not really, opposed to warm or cold LAVA? Also liked CUT A POOR FIGURE crossing GOING SOFT. Tell me about it.

JC66 11:48 AM  

How about BOIL IN OIL?

James Sie 11:52 AM  

We both beat our record times on Friday and Sunday! Mine were almost exponentially longer than yours, but I can still bask in your reflected glory.

Tarheeled 12:13 PM  

Must be a record time for me for a Sunday. I don't time myself cuz I can't write fast anymore. Under an hour, anyway. But, yes, read the clue, write the answer! Only hang up and almost only write- over was 88 down. I put mediocre in too soon when the answer is messed up.
I may frame this one.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

so wanted 15 across to be: Krap

thomas greisen 12:50 PM  

This is the fourth weekend in a row that I quit midway through sheer boredom.

Tim Pierce 1:09 PM  

Rex, you might never have read a recipe before? Each step of the recipe is an instruction and therefore written in the imperative mood ("stir", "beat", "pour", etc) but typically the last line tells you how many servings the recipe yields, and is written in the indicative ("[this recipe] serves four"). The pattern here is very neatly written to mimic cookbook style exactly.

old timer 1:20 PM  

I almost quit. Sundays of this caliber don't interest me. DNF, too, because I did not know WOO (WOO) the cocktail and WOP did not come to mind -- I think it should be doo-wah (talkin' 'bout the girl from New York City),

I do recommend you read that story by Nora Ephron Prof. Barany pointed to. Suffice it to say it makes me feel the same feelings I felt when I saw "Sleepless in Seattle" years ago.

puzzlehoarder 1:35 PM  

As with most Sundays I'm feeling no rush to comment. I did this on the tablet last night which just adds to the tedium. Sundays never give me that sense of a solving high I get from a good late week puzzle. It wasn't a complete bore. I'm glad to see that KPOP is a debut. COSECANT should be also because for the Shortz era it's only appeared in the Variety puzzle which I've never done. Like most of us I had to get WOO from the crosses. Its never been clued that way so there's another debut. As for the theme, yes there was a theme, now it's back to those late week puzzles from '95.

Chapps 1:36 PM  

It was a Monday, disguised as a Sunday. So dull!

Stanley Hudson 1:54 PM  

A pleasant countryside excursion, enlivened by two champagne cocktails and a scrumptious edible.

Masked and Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Very good puz, for a big bad boy. I had many comments ready to roar outta the chute, but most of em have already been dealt with. Agree with the "SERVES TWO" escape clause theory, for the recipe themer parts.

Fairly smoooth solvequest, other than for some minor nanosecond carnage in the BONOBO+STYRON zone. Did not prove disastrous. Fave fillins: TARZAN. KVETCH. THURBER. REPTILES. VLASIC. PIMA (becuz learned somethin pnew). KPOP. fave eau de speration: RAES. URBANII. REGS. SOCAL (totally redeemed by UCLA literally bein in it). KPOP.
staff weeject pick: CTS.

OK, puzchefs... M&A's naggin unanswered question: Prexactly what gets made in the steps: STIR, MIX, BEAT, POUR, CUT and SERVE(s)? And let's just lay it out there, right pronto: DISASTER PLAN CINNAMON ROLLS is an unacceptable option. Nuh-uh.

UN-kitchen-AWARE M&A's best adhoc explanation: Some sorta cocktail recipe -- and "CUT" is maybe where the bartender happens to "cut the cheese", enroute. (Probably cuz of one too many all-day bean-nacho appetizers gettin guzzled up, during his/her coffee break.)

Nice weeject stacks, in the NE and SW, btw. Thanx, Mr. Zhou.

Masked & Anonymo9Us
"Cheese CTS All Around" (k-pop)

GILL I. 2:31 PM  

Testing new computer

Masked and Anonymous 2:48 PM  

@RP: Congratz on yer second world record. When UR hot, UR HOTLAVA.

@GILL I. Congratz on yer brand new computer acquisition.

Does a WOOWOO cocktail get stirred, mixed, and beaten, B-4 U serve it? Just sayin …



Masked and Anonymous 2:58 PM  

… And does a WOOWOO cocktail SERVE TWOWOO? ahar! … QED!

"Gotta Cut & Run"

Hungry Mother 3:01 PM  

I started solving at 4:45am, then got ready for and ran a 5 mile race, ate lunch after showering, and sat in a Lazy Boy where I picked at the puzzle until I got it. It took me 1:17 to solve it. I ran my 5 mile race pretty slowly also.

Jackie 3:28 PM  

Thank you for the Ephron essay info!

CDilly52 3:36 PM  

What a difference the proverbial "day" makes! Yesterday was the longest solve for me probably in more than a year, and it wasn't just COLPORTEUR (that my blurred vision from a nasty bout of iritis initially read as COLE PORTER-and what the hell does he have to do with dissemination of religious tracts-she asked?) but the tough clues and the difficult grid as well. Although I am in the minority, yesterday's "word" is part of why I adore crosswords. Some time in my life, I will use the word COLPORTEUR or a form thereof. My grandmother, who hooked me on puzzles, always used them as educational fodder and one of her many "Granisms" (as my sibs and I called them) was "learning is never wasted." Proven right time and time again, Gran. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and the love you generously and selflessly (often painfully) bestowed on us!

And so today as I romped through the very easy but delightful offering, I marveled at the consrast of fill and clueing as I found myself smack dab in the constructor's wheelhouse.

Did DIDO lament BETTE Davis's eyes? Perhaps the OGRE couldnt' catch the DLIST SERF; he MESSED UP. Have a WOO-woo and get over it. Personally, I plan to mix myself one, but would never order it in public! Yesterday, painful but educational. Today, pure fun.

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

I got up around six. Had a cuppa joe and squeezed off a nice Clinton. Knocked out the puzzle in about 20 minutes while basking in the pleasant afterglow one get's after voiding one's bowels. Went for an easy four mile run. Got showered and had cereal for breakfast.

Joe Dipinto 4:13 PM  

@Laurie - Try listening to the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil". It has many, many woo woos.

Izzie 4:49 PM  

I liked the use of Xs, starting with Y axis.

hankster65 5:00 PM  

Geesh, you folks are brainiacs. Took me 3 hours of head banging to complete.
I don't post here often but when I do I feel like an imposter who snuck in the back door. BTW, how is LOOT the answer to sack? A sack of loot? I don't get it.

jae 5:18 PM  

@Hank - The Hun's mater plan was to sack/LOOT each town they encountered on their march south.

Happy Pencil 6:13 PM  

@Sir Hillary and @Karen, thank you! The SERVES/SERVE thing was driving me nuts, but of course you're both right that SERVES TWO makes perfect sense.

Cute puzzle. Too easy, but then again, I don't really like spending my whole Sunday on a puzzle, so fast is okay with me from time to time.

jberg 6:33 PM  

I was really bothered by the non-imperative SERVES until I read the comments here and was set straight. Aside from that -- GNAR??? Really??? And isn't specifying HOT LAVA a little redundant?

But hey, it was fun and easy. I bet Will Shortz has a bet going about how many ways to clue ACNE, though --- today's was a doozy.

William C. already posted the URL for an America's Cup image, but in case you are lazy like me, and want a clickable link, here it is.

jberg 6:34 PM  

P.S., Sorry, I could only find one of the Cup in noCAL.

old timer 7:28 PM  

Delia Ephron, not Nora, who died. Great read, though.

And @hangster65, if you solved this with no cheating you are better than I am at this point.

hankster65 7:55 PM  

Jae, thanks. I had no idea.

hankster65 7:58 PM  

Jberg, much thanks! I needed a little encouragement.

RooMonster 8:05 PM  

I've always seen it NorCal and SoCal. The R I guess makes it more roll-off-the-toungey. This from a left-coaster (well, Nevada, but I'm close). :-)


Canon Chasuble 9:46 PM  

"Utahn" is a person from Utah, i.e., a LOCAL (which was what the clue called for)

Had the clue been LOCALE, the answer would have been Utah, i.e., the place.

johnny stocker 1:32 AM  

So does this have anything to do with the puzzle anymore, or has this become a forum for a boring dude who thinks a bit too much of himself to brag about his times? Seeming more and more like the latter every day.

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Anonymous 4:54 PM  

Long ago (late 70s) tribeca no caps was the [print] newspaper abbreviation for the triangle below canal. Stuck in my mind forever is an ad that began "Tiny horrible apt tribeca".

kitshef 10:17 PM  

A very unpleasant solve, as I knew very early I was likely headed for a DNF in the NW, so solved almost the entire puzzle with that hanging over my head. 6D and 9d complete WoEs, and 7D could have been a lot of things (pish posh to that).

Bridget Quaid 11:31 PM  

Thank you! Could not figure UTAHN.

Anonymous 6:57 PM  

A bonobo is NOT a "chimpanzee variety". They are two different species of primates, albeit more closely related than chimpanzees and humans or, say, chimpanzees and gorillas. But still.......

spacecraft 11:20 AM  

Well, I mighta shopped around for a better title...IN BAD TASTE made me look for it (and find it with WOP; put the whole thing--DOOWOP--in, fine. But not by itself).

The solve went fairly smoothly; of course this mere mortal took 49 minutes. I challenge whether it's even PHYSICALLY possible to do a 21x21 in 7. I'm talkin' even if you have the completed grid in front of you and all you have to do is copy. OFL, if I've told you once I've told you a billion times: don't exaggerate!

The theme is kinda cute, in its own ugly way, and there's not that much in the fill that's "schlubby." Course, there is that RP/RRN (random pope with, etc.), but what the hey. It's amusing that ESCROW, MONEY set aside, intersects MONEY. We have a smashing DOD, old school, in AVA Gardner; what's not to like? Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:04 PM  




rondo 12:28 PM  

I've usually got a time some 3 to 5 times that of the solving times claimed by the fastest device solvers, so at a leisurely half hour in pen that's right in there. With no MESSEDUP write-overs, musta been easyish.

Loved the comment about Korean pop as KPOP, so then what for Korean rap?

Gotta agree about old school yeah baby AVA Gardner, maybe toss in a stretch for Molly SIMS, with all due respect for the grunting Ms. SELES, and why the long face Ms. DION?

Might miss next Sunday due to participation in the MN Xword Tourney with @Diana, LIW and @teedmn among others. Hope today's puz was a good warm-up for what will ENSUE.

BS2 1:00 PM  




rain forest 2:30 PM  

You take those six steps literally and sequentially, and yep, you've got yourself A RECIPE FOR DISASTER, although I don't think it's meant to be eaten (can't imagine eating a metaphor). Remember, even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

I enjoyed solving this puzzle, easy as it was. Only slow-sown came in the South where I plunked down "agents", but the theme revealer came to the rescue.

In passing, I have to say that I just don't understand the whole Gangnam Style deal. What is the attraction? Cultural norms are one thing, but silliness is quite another. Or maybe I'm just obtuse.

Diana,LIW 2:38 PM  

Well if @Spacey is merely mortal at 49 minutes, my 2 hours must make me immortal - as in eternal. I could blame the cat in my lap, or the classical music in Mr. W's office, or, well, give me time. I'll come up with something. Just like the way I solve.

Nah. I just like leisurely solving. So next week, at my second Mini-soda tourney, I'm certain I'll do what I did at ACPT - not finish one puzzle in the allotted time. Every year there are some kids who attempt to be the last to finish the Bloomsday Race. Think I'll be that kid.

Speaking of ACPT, when there (as a spectator) I saw folks finish in amazing times. We'd be given 15, 20, or 45 minutes to complete, and speeders were standing up, wiping their hands, grinning like Cheshires, after a few minutes. So I believe OFL's times are true. That's great, if you like that kind of thing. For me, it would be like taking your dinner plate at a fine restaurant and pouring the contents down your throat. Wow - done!

All that said, I had an itty bitty dnf. Can never remember my Popes, "sked" threw me off (doh!), and GNAR? Really? I never met a dog who said that. Dogs say grrr. Period. And while I pick nits, UTAHN? Utah North? Bill Butler didn't explain it on his site. Anyone?

Har to Krap. Done!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for slow solving

Ray o sunshine 3:38 PM  

A DNF. Got hung up with "fyi" for lookout notice and "fire" for sack right below. Couldn't remember the gangnam style clue answer from a prior puzzle. Heck it's still cold and rainy had nothing much else to do today.

AnonymousPVX 3:53 PM  

Theme should have been "Donald Trump's model for Presidential Behavior".

Diana,LIW 5:11 PM  

Oh. Local. Not locale. Never mind.

Diana Banannadana LaTella


This does not belong in the New York Times. This belongs in a puzzle book at a newsstand at an airport. Something to put you to sleep during your redeye flight to L.A.

I've been extremely disappointed in the quality and skill level of the puzzle since Shortz took over. Finishing the NYT Sunday Crossword Puzzle used to be somewhat of an accomplishment. A tiny sign of intelligence with a soupcon of perseverance.

Shortz has dumbed it down so much that anyone lazy enough to find it in a middling puzzle book at a rural airport can finish it - in pen! -in the time it takes to boil an egg. Disgraceful.

It's barely worth waking up on Sunday's any longer.

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