Political writer Kenneth / SUN 5-21-17 / Peer Gynt character / Two-time Wimbledon winner Lew / Japanese relative of husky / Setting for spring in Vivaldi's four seasons

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Constructor: Randolph Ross

Relative difficulty: No, yes, whatever, who cares? Let's say "Easy"

THEME: "Misquoting Scripture" — "puns" (loosely defined) based on familiar phrases of biblical origin:

Theme answers:
  • AN AYE FOR AN AYE (22A: The Bible on political horse trading?)
  • THE FLASH IS WEAK (29A: The Bible on camera problems?)
  • ASSAULT OF THE EARTH (42A: The Bible on an alien invasion?)
  • GARDEN OF ETON (58A: The Bible on where Prince Harry learned horticulture?)
  • FALSE PROFITS (71A: The Bible on bad business practices?)
  • THE ROUTE OF ALL EVIL (82A: The Bible on directions to hell?)
  • IN THE BIG INNING (95A: The Bible on a climactic part of a baseball game?)
  • A MARK UPON CANE (107A: The Bible on ruined sugar crops?)
  • LET THERE BE LITE (16D: The Bible on diet food?)
  • FORBIDDEN FLUTE (48D: The Bible on a taboo musical instrument?)
Word of the Day: Kenneth VOGEL (66D: Political writer Kenneth) —
Kenneth Vogel is an American journalist. He is the chief investigative reporter at Politico. He is also the author of Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp–on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics. Vogel's writing often focuses on money in politics. As part of his work, he focuses on political fundraising with particular emphasis on the political activities of the Koch brothers. (wikipedia)
• • •

Just when you think the NYT might be righting the ship ... Sunday! Talk about wronging the ship. This is precisely the tired, hackneyed weaksauce the NYT has taken to serving of late, in increasingly frequent and unpalatable helpings. A pun / homophone puzzle had better be brilliant if it's going to carry an entire Sunday. Merl Reagle could do Fantastic Sunday-sized pun puzzles. Ridiculous, baroque, dazzling, theme-dense creations that had been meticulously thought out and planned, for months, sometimes years, as he waited to find just the right combination of answers, just the write "punchline" (usu. that final themer, which would often have *two* theme elements in one answer—the man was a genius). Now, no one can make a wacky puzzle like Merl could, but this thing isn't even in the ballpark. Not the same city, state, or solar system.

THE FLASH IS WEAK—what is that!?!?! If you're gonna pun, *pun*. At least make the clue a taunt from Superman, say. Better yet, change the answer to THE FLUSH IS WEAK, and give it a toilet clue. Instantly better. I mean, nothing is going to save this terrible theme from its terrible self, but if you're going down in flames, the more outrageous the better. THE FLASH IS WEAK ... ugh, who is chortling at that? There puns are So Tepid. Also, FLUTE for FRUIT is ridiculous and has nothing in common with the other "puns" (where you're dealing either with straight homophones or with a vowel change). And "a salt of the earth"—is that the phrase??? Is it? Because I thought it was "THE salt of the earth," in which case The Pun In This Grid Makes No Sense. It's not "A Farewell to Oms"-bad, but it's bad. And then there's the fill, which is predictably nightmarish. I actually stopped solving at 3D: Setting for spring in Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," partly because I literally choked while gasping at how bad that answer is, partly to take a screenshot in order to commemorate the moment. I titled this .jpeg "Vomit":

I was already annoyed that 1A was STK (ugh), and then after getting the "S" and "T" crosses, I tried the "K," and ... nothing. "Is there a ... KEYOTE? Where they grow peyote? What is Happening." Then I got KEYOFE, and after pronouncing it Key-OH-fay in my head a few times, I saw what the clue meant by "Setting." Dear lord. KEY OF E!? Do we have KEYOFA, KEYOFB, etc. to look forward to? Hot. Garbage. Lew HOAD? I don't believe any human was ever named that. SAFARIED as a past-tense verb is ridiculous-looking, and yet it is just about the only part of the grid that has any personality whatsoever, so good for it (46A: Went on an African hunting expedition). Why is the "hill of beans" LIMAS? I mean, as opposed to any other bean? Why "hill"? What is the pun? I *know* that "it doesn't amount to a hill of beans" is an idiomatic phrase, but Why. LIMAS? Could the answer just as easily be KIDNEYS? What is happening? ASE!? ADDA!? ITOFF!? -GENIC? PREV.!? Multiple TADAS? It's ruthless, this thing. A joy-sucking monster where the "best puzzle in the world"'s best puzzle should be.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Robin 12:32 AM  

That VALE/VOGEL cross nearly killed me, but if turned out the last bad letter I had to track was the final N in NIN. I had written it as NIF.

But yeah, count me in amongst those who thought it was a weak puzzle. Running into SAFARIED was where I realized it was not going to be much fun.

jae 12:40 AM  

HOAD I've never seen before but I've occasionally run across Tom JOAD and every now and then HODAD.

Brian 12:42 AM  

PTK Financial is associated with Schwab so I was stuck with Pancho for a while. Good ambiguity.

RAD2626 1:03 AM  
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RAD2626 1:07 AM  

ITS GREAT it was not. Really liked IN THE BIG INNING and liked FALSE PROFITS but did not like many of the others and look at the West Central: LII, CD CASE, NFL'ER, AND INS all trying to work together. And also several of what those things are called: DOG SAGE and BARN ONE. Also wondered why LIMA beans were in a hill like Rex and went with Pancho for awhile like @Brian. It was a quick solve, however. Took me less time than Saturday. Would anyone dare clue an original Mouseketeer as anyone other than ANNETTE? Mouseketeer roll call, count off now. Doreen, Bobby, Cubbie, Roy? Not a chance.

Anonymous 1:08 AM  

Lately it seems that Rex has nothing but scorn for the Sunday puzzles. Though I often agree with him (I too am still angry about A Farewell to Oms!), for me there's usually one positive kernal somewhere in the grid. Today it was In The Big Inning-both clever and funny.

Moly Shu 1:21 AM  

Hand up for "Where in the hell is KEYOFE, oh wait....". Also need to brush up on my Syrian political parties and obscure Wimbledon winners evidently. I'm sure OFL was upset that Trump wasn't the Putin ally. This puzzle kinda makes me wish I'd never started solving these things. Put me firmly in the 'not good/hated it' camp.

Mark 2:06 AM  

I liked this one a lot. And I write this as a guy who just isn't into the Sunday puzzles but likes the daily ones. I'm really not sure why many seemed to dislike it. There was some crummy fill, but there were lots of theme answers making some crummy fill almost inevitable. Of course if you hate punny puzzles, you won't like this one, but puns are basically going to happen sometime, and some puns will be great and some others not so great. It seems a pretty good Sunday to me

chefwen 2:28 AM  

Puzzle Partner filled in much of this one as I just got tired of the whole thing. Like Rex, I sure do miss Merl, and where is Elizabeth G. When we need her? Tried to find a favorite, couldn't.

Oh well, new week coming up. I sure enjoyed Wednesday through Saturday puzzles this week.

'mericans in Paris 4:22 AM  

Wow, a lot of people, especially OFL, seem pretty CROSS with this puzzle! We thought it was a good workout. Finished it together while waiting in the Air France Vaccination Center. Last entry was the "V" in VOGEL AND VALES, so glad to see that VOGEL is the word of the day.

We'd agree that the puns could have been better clued to make them seem funnier. @Rex's suggestion of changing FLASH to FLUSH would be a good start. But we were glad that the density of proper names and places (apart from KEYOFE) was relatively low. (Does SCHUBERT count when doing a PPP count?) For us, ANNETTE was a welcome answer, both because she's the only name from the Mousketeers that I know, and because she was the first of a string of unrequited crushes I had on young TV brunettes (including CHER). I was probably four or five years old when I first saw that show. Will we ever see Agent NINETYNINE in a Sunday puz? (I'd clue her as "Smarter than Smart".)

Speaking of 99, LOUSE UP made me think of my great aunt, Marion, who died at that age some 20 years ago. As a long-time schoolteacher, she hated any non-literal derivations of the word LOUSE, as to her, LOUSY or LOUSE UP should only refer to situations involving those detested head LICE, which were the bane of her early teaching days.

Liked the answer DOG SAGE, which conjures up images of an AKITA sitting on his BUNs in a TEE-PEE, ENTREATing some cool cats to EASE BY THE ROUTE OF ALL EVIL and repent their SINS. Definitely not one of those FALSE PROFITS.

Hands up for thinking first of Trump at 62-D.


'mericans in Paris 4:29 AM  

P.S., Do sheepish Internet TROLLS say "BAATH"?

Anonymous 5:56 AM  

Hey Comic Book teacher Micheal Sharp - I've researched my thesis on Ant Man using other peoples' twitter rants. Thought you'd be proud.

Lewis 6:01 AM  

I had a couple of funny brain glitches. For the longest time I wondered where the hell OREMUTA (which I saw as a single word) is -- is it a Native American town? Why haven't I heard of it? The other glitch was trying to figure out ANNETTE as one of the Three Muskateers, trying to jive that with my world view.

My favorite themer was IN_THE_BIG_INNING. That actually made me smile and let out a "Ha!". I liked the clues for ARIES and GEOS, and there were a lot of threes (36) to get through. KEEP_BUSY is debut answer for the NYT, and a good one. It was an impressive construction feat, having those two long down theme answers cross two across themers.

I tried to think of other theme answers, without success, although something with Blessed Are The Pacemakers is starting to gain shape...

Charles Flaster 6:05 AM  

Liked it more than Rex. Cluing in NW was weak.
Similar to a few others, loved IN THE BIG INNING. That was worth the price of admission.
Not into tennis but remember Lew Hoad as a tenacious player.
Thanks RR

Anonymous 6:07 AM  

President Trump tweets a lot and he's always right, therefore . . . .

Hungry Mother 6:15 AM  

VOGEL/VALES caused me to go to the red letters. For some reason, I had "H" in the intersection. Another one letter fail.

Z 6:47 AM  

@Moly Shu - If it had been Trump I'd have at least been impressed with the timeliness and edginess.

For those of you who have forgotten, the BA'ATH party also included Saddam Hussein.

Hand up for finishing at KEYOFE and wondering where in mythology one might find it. If you get an answer right but have no clue as to its meaning is it a DNF?

I don't know that I "hated" this, but fewer themers and funnier cluing would have vastly improved this I think. If OREM, UTAH or Edina, Minnesota or Enid, Oklahoma or the Oise River or Yser River or Yoko Ono or Brian Eno or Yma Sumac or Jacob Riis are appearing in your grid in full you might just want to reconsider your grid. Just maybe.

Loren Muse Smith 6:51 AM  

Yeah – puns aren’t for everyone. I don’t have strong feelings either way. My first one was THE GARDEN OF ETON, and I smiled. I agree with @Lewis and @Charles Flaster that IN THE BIG INNING was the best.

I thought this was pretty hard. My biggest louse-up was being certain that 16D would begin “lettuce” since it was about a diet.

I learned the word DEARTH in this magnificently boring game called Wordopoly. Trust me – run the other way if someone pulls out that big boy. I use the word from time to time ‘cause I can’t help myself, and then I feel conspicuous and dumb.

@RAD2626 - Rene Geon owns your Barn One in Oremutah. (Hi, @Lewis)

Here’s one of the many reasons I read Rex’s take every single day: THE FLUSH IS WEAK is excellent. Excellent. It speaks to all of us who’ve excused ourselves at someone else’s house, at a dinner party, standing there willing the damn thing to complete its task. Praying. Panicked. Bargaining with it. Running through various Plan B scenarios if “everything” is not vamoosed.

I want a commode that means business, that’ll flat get’er done.

BarbieBarbie 6:54 AM  

I had an audible at BIG INNING as well. Enjoyed that one. The others were fine, nothing to complain about, just puns, but a lot of them and long runs plus some crosses. So, admirable construction, just not as fun for the solver. VALES was my last because I entered it phonetically first, as WALES. WOGEL didn't sound human-like, and my app said I wasn't done, and then the light went on.
I have to agree it's a bit odd to use so many Twitter screenshots in a review. Not because they are others' words-- quotes are fair game-- but because all you see is [birdie logo] TWITTER, over and over. Like putting EAT AT JOE'S in the writeup. Feels like an ad, same as anything you read that keeps saying "sent from my iPhone " or "like us on Facebook." Cheesy. But Troll, honey- it's a blog, not a dissertation.

BarbieBarbie 7:01 AM  

Yeah, no birdie. Funny, I just pasted it in.

Puzzlehoarder 7:03 AM  

It was a Sunday. If the crosswordese doesn't get you the puns will.

chefbea 7:28 AM  

What a horrible puzzle!!! I love puns...but these were terrible. Happy birthday to puzzle husband

John Child 7:45 AM  

I think that having seven or eight theme entries could have allowed a more open grid and better fill. Impressive to fit in 10 answers, but at a cost... Pride goeth before a fail.

Z 7:45 AM  

Dilbert update: not funny today. Doonsebury update: not funny and playing on racial stereotypes. Pearls Before Swine update: Funny in that "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you" sort of way. Now off to wrestle again with the Fireball meta. PB1 has me stymied.

r.alphbunker 7:49 AM  

4D. {Vowel sound in "hard" and "start"} LONGA-->SOFTA
59D. {OT enders, sometimes} FTS-->FGS
97D. {Reacts to an awesome sight} GASPS-->GAPES
1D. {Don Quixote's squire} PANCHO-->SANCHO
43D. {Ireland's ___ Fein} SEIN-->SINN

Details are here.

blinker474 7:49 AM  

The was a very entertaining diversion. Rex hates it, but Rex hates most puzzles. That is his schtick, and that is his privilege. Any puzzle with ten (10) long theme entries, eight of which were good, deserves nothing but praise. At least from me.

Anonymous 7:50 AM  

If I had a Twitter account, I'd tweet out "Hey! What's up? I'm a real f***ing dick!"

Glimmerglass 7:51 AM  

We've had some fun Sunday puzzles in the last couple of months. This fell short of fun. I'm fond of clever puns, especially if groaners. These, not so much. I liked IN THE BG INNING, but I think I've heard it before. The others were kind of meh. I also found this too easy to be a fun Sunday. I often describe the usual Sunday diffculty as "a long Wednesday." This was a long Tuesday, at best. Nothing specific to complain about; not much to like.

suez 8:09 AM  

Though it drove me crazy for a while, I kind of liked the aha of KEY OF E

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

Too many pun fails. I thought it wasn't cool that the clue for 82A was theological.

QuasiMojo 8:45 AM  

As an amateur photographer, often apologizing for technical glitches, I thought "The Flash is Weak" was funny. I chortled at it. But some of the others, not so much. "The Route of all Evil" has no ironic twist to it. It's pretty straightforward, if you'll pardon the pun.

I do think that posting other people's screechy, shrill, and insipid tweets on here is a downer, Rex. Just saying...

Aketi 8:51 AM  
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Robert A. Simon 8:55 AM  

I am usually among the last to comment, which means A) I don't stay up and solve every puzzle and then pounce on Rex's blog as soon as it's up; being on top counts, I'm sure, big-time in this universe or B) I am pathetically slow; i.e., the right-fielder, the last pick in this particular schoolyard. All of you who answered "B," please gather your things and go to the room next door for the second part of our exam, an essay titled, "Who is your favorite constructor and why?" I'm a John H. Middleton or Margaret Farrar kind of guy because Acrostics in the NYT or elsewhere are just as good as they ever were because with 26 clues or fewer, you had better get every one dead-solid perfect or you ain't coming back.

Aketi 8:57 AM  
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Aketi 9:04 AM  

@LMS, as typical you brighten my morning, this time with your takd on THE FLUSH IS WEAK. Every single private practice lactation consultant I know lives in dread of visiting a client in her home and ex. We all scope out the nearby Starbucks before if needed before entering a client's home to avoid the possibility of having to come up with a Plan B.

I was thinking of the horses,not the trading when I figured out A NAYE IS FOR A NAYE. Not the first time I've had the right answer for the wrong reason,

@M and A, when I read @Rex's upgrade on THE FLASH, I thought you might have preferred THE GROOT OF ALL EVIL.

As for the TROLL who thinks studying comic books is a useless waste of time, my niece actually writes dialogue for movies, TV series, and video games that are based on comic book characters. Just looking at some stats on the Marvel movies alone, the PROFITS are not FALSE; they are real.

Nancy 9:10 AM  

Ah, Rex, go lieth down. This was fun!

I knew there would be a virtual Red Sea separating the pun-haters from the pun-lovers. Put me in the [Jacob's] latter camp -- I loved 'em all. Like everyone else, I was most smitten by IN THE BIG INNING. I'm wondering, Randolph Ross, if that was the BIG INNING of the idea for you, the first seed of the theme? I found most of the theme answers quite cute, too. There was, however, one that didn't work. It's the salt of the earth, not a salt of the earth. So ASSAULT wasn't successful. But a fun Sunday that, for me, was over too quickly. And how often does anyone say that about a Sunday puzzle?

Bill Feeney 9:33 AM  

Small nit. When does one buy a stock? I'm trying to think of how to use the singular as clued. Thought the puzzle was fun with copious themers. A groan man is a happier man.

Oren 9:40 AM  

You know the fill is bad when "REMI" doesn't even get a mention in Rex's writeup

Suzy 9:46 AM  

LMS-- You are one of the main reasons I read this blog! I didn't much care for the puzzle, thought it was tedious and a bit of a slog,
but thanks to your sense of humor and Rex's predicted pan, it wasn't all bad!

Teedmn 9:50 AM  

I liked a lot of these. FALSE PROFITS was great, as was THE ROUTE OF ALL EVIL and IN THE BIG INNING. It seemed like the cluing could have been just A TAD sharper. REFI, REMI and ADDA, meh.

In fact, the cluing on this whole puzzle was too straightforward, except for the theme. But I learned the motto of OREM, UTAH and that the members of the Roman SENAT made their VALES as they waved goodbye.

When I saw UMA, I thought, "We haven't seen her in a DOG'S AGE". (Is that really a phrase? Dogs, unfortunately, don't live a "long, long time"). For some reason the opposing SAFARIED and REFEREED tickles my IVORYs.

I had trouble seeing SHORT A at 4D but Schwa didn't fit with my crosses. And my last entry was at NYACK/COSIGNER. I had ApE for ASE for a while at 109D so _OpIG_R had me thinking piggy banks vis-à-vis the parents and the loan they are getting from their child. But "Peer Gynt" finally gave me an ASE in the hole and I pulled out COSIGNER, whew.

This puzzle was just fine for a Sunday. Thanks, Randall Ross.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

If you grew up in church, the pun about the "big inning" is as old as time---so wasn't funny to me. Another sports pun mentions Moses playing tennis when he "served in Pharaoh's court". I was looking forward to the answers but was disappointed at how blah they were and not funny at all. I could definitely pass on this puzzle.

JC66 10:07 AM  
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JC66 10:08 AM  

@ Bill Feeney

I bought Apple stock (AAPL) at $60 (I wish).

Nancy 10:08 AM  

Never mind DOG SAGE and BARN ONE, RAD2626's 1:07 a.m. DOOKs. What I originally saw at 16D was LET THE REBEL ITE.

Unlike others here, I thought the misdirection for KEY OF E (3D) was great.

'Mericans in Paris (4:22) -- What an absolutely delightful post. Perhaps we should keep you endlessly waiting at the Air France Vaccination Center every day. :)

Hartley70 10:13 AM  

I had a really good time with this and I'm not a fan of the usual groaner. The Bible connection kept me interested and despite this being Sunday, I had to ponder a bit to get them all. It was never a slog!

Nora Bensahel 10:15 AM  

Longtime lurker here, emerging to point out an error in the cluing: CHER won Best Actress in 1988, not 1987. I kept trying to stuff Marlee MATLIN into four squares...

Richard Gross 10:17 AM  

Groaning puns--isn't that a function of a NYT Sunday puzzle? This dullard had a good time.

Roo Monster 10:25 AM  

Hey All !
Half and half on like/dislike today. Some themers kinda NEATO. Some fill kinda bleak. Kind of a stretch on clue for BUN, although it is funny, and goes well with @LMS's FLUSH story!

Sportscaster Dick ... who knew there were so many? Tried Butkus, Enberg. Nope. Same area, ANACIN. Is that still available? @Rex's KEY OF E, holy cow, had to Reveal Word on that one, never would've figured it out. Messed up ITS GREAT by having ITS a rEAd. Har.

robin-oRIEl-ARIES, rabin-ABBAS, CDslot-CDCASE, Graph-GENIC, AKITo-AKITA, AjAr-ATAD, nAmE-BARE, imAgES-TRACES. Probably a few I'm missing, so as you see, I LOUSEdUP quite a few answers.

Time to Knock IT OFF, and read all these damn TROLLS interspersed in the comments. Tough to RASE BY them, by the time you realize they are TROLLS, you've already read the post. OAFS. They're ERODING this blog.


Two Ponies 10:33 AM  

Some days being happy is a choice.
Today I choose to be happy and let myself smile at In The Big Inning.

Mohair Sam 10:53 AM  

Well, we agree with @Nancy - this was fun.

Well, we agree with @Rex - we're just not quite as angry about it. Sure, this was flawed, and yes - some of the puns could have been better: ASSAULT was just wrong, and FLUTE hit a sour note. But the rest flew for me - what the heck, bible puns on a Sunday, pretty good idea imo.

Disagree with all y'all on KEYOFE - thought it was a delightful misdirect. Got Lew HOAD off just the "H", and I'm not a @Nancyesque tennis nut. Did not realize that ASSAD was of the same party as Saddam Hussein.

Enjoyed @Loren's musing on everyone's fear of weak flushes. Hired a then recent college grad back when low-flow toilets were just being required by law. She'd helped pay her way through school by working part time as a chambermaid at a new Holiday Inn. When we got the new 1.6 gallon flushers in the office, and the attendant clogs they caused, she remarked that the environmentalists and regulators who passed those laws had obviously never worked as chambermaids. Amen.

ArtO 10:54 AM  

Wishing for Merl is like wishing The Babe, The Mick, Dimag and the Say Hey Kid were still around. What we've got today may not be as great, but I didn't think this was as outrageously bad as OFL. There were a few good puns, as has been noted, and why not credit for the ten theme density. Not an easy task and, maybe, just maybe, some things had to give.

GILL I. 10:58 AM  

Some days you love them, some days you groan. I started a very loud groan at STK KEYOFE ORE MUTAH. Only seeing SANCHO Panza gave me a smile. Don Quijote de la Mancha was one of the best books I ever read as a young adult. I wonder how he got changed to Quixote.
I like Biblical things. I've read the Bible and I've studied it. This puzzle brings to mind the Lords Prayer which I recited every single morning at Cathedral School: "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets".
I could do with a glass of Merle today....Amen.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Hey "Rex," Lew HOAD was a spectacularly talented yet unmotivated player of the 50s, a right-handed Rod Laver (whose style was similar)---for us tennis fans, not obscure at all!

But why were all the them answers Old Testament? How about something out of the New Testament, or the Koran, or for that matter the Book of Mormon? Sheesh....

(I did like IN THE BIG INNING)

Carola 11:02 AM  

Well, I thought it was entertaining. The first theme answer I got was THE FLASH IS WEAK, which, like @QuasiMojo, I thougot was funny, and I looked forward to getting the rest. I agree that they were up and down on the funniness graph, but I thought it was a clever idea for a Sunday and beats having to get dressed and go to church.

My one troublespot was AN AYE..., because I somehow missed the crucial "political" in the clue and was looking for something equine-related, like "a neigh...."

cwf 11:03 AM  

Cher won the 1987 Best Actress Oscar in 1988. "The major awards are presented at a live televised ceremony, most commonly in late February or early March following the relevant calendar year..." (emphasis added)

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Great write up, horrible puzzle. DNF on "the flush is weak. Good god, that is bad.

Roo Monster 11:31 AM  

Ha, @cwf 11:03
Was going to write to @nora 10:15 that this will be the umpteenth time the Awards have been discussed here. Here is how I describe it:
The year has to be over (e.g. 1987) for all that years movies to be eligible for awards for that year. So, whoever won an Award in 1988, it was for a 1987 movie. So Best (Whatever) for 1987 is Awarded in 1988. Get it?

Pun for the day -
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.


Sandy McCroskey 11:41 AM  

I must join the chorus decrying this puzzle. The only longish answers are the stupid jokes.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

I'm convinced Will Shortz is colluding with the Russians.

Joseph Michael 11:54 AM  

Mixed feelings about this one. Some of the themers, like GARDEN OF ETON, were smile worthy. Others, like FORBIDDEN FLUTE, were irritating.

Liked FALSE PROFITS as a pun, but thought the clue was off since profits are not business practices but rather the results of them.

The fill meanwhile sank to some new lows with STK, REMI, PREV, ASIAM, and ADDA among others. I needed an ANACIN after wading through that.

The most amusing moment for me was BUN as the solution for "rear half." Now that's funny.

Mark Trevor Smith 12:01 PM  

I enjoyed this one. Trying to figure out the Bible puns with no crosses was fun, and gradually discovering the more elusive ones was more fun. Allusive fun.

Alan_S. 12:02 PM  

Bad dog!!!!!!!!!!!

Churlish Nabob 12:07 PM  

INTHEBIGINNING has been around for decades, though I hadn't seen it in a coon's AGE.

cwf 12:07 PM  

"The most amusing moment for me was BUN as the solution for "rear half." Now that's funny."

You know what? That actually is a rather amusing clue (I missed it, blowing past that answer with crosses.)

AAW926 12:10 PM  

Who are we to judge what's a good or bad puzzle? I look forward to the Sunday puzzle just for the fun if it. And it's always fun. I don't understand these negative comments. I'd like to see those who cavil fashion their own puzzles then let the negativity rip.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

Wow. You must have a really great life if you have time and energy to complain about . . . Crossword puzzles. Talk about your first world problems......

Malsdemare 12:15 PM  

This was fine. As usual, stuff that should have been easy wasn't (SCHUBERT, SOFTA) and the hard stuff (VITALE, which I misspelled), fell in with nary a whimper. I wasn't too crazy about ASSAULTOFTHEEARTH, but it was so close to being clever that I let it slide. Other puns were fun: I especially liked FALSEPROFITS. But IN THE BIG INNING has been around for a long time.

@Gill. Oh the trash baskets! We had tons of those, didn't we? I've been sitting here trying to remember those puns, along with all the other irreverent stuff, but the only one I can resurrect is "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who eats the fastest gets the most." My husband was an altar boy and said that he could never memorize the Credo (in Latin), he'd let his partner slog through it and then at the end say, "me too." I was at an all-girls' school and had to learn all the Latin responses so I was horrified (and a bit jealous) to hear of his escape hatch. And royally pissed that despite his obvious laziness, he'd still get to do wedding masses AND GET AN HONORARIUM.

Oh, wait, "Et cum spirit tootsie roll."

I'm with the group that gets tired of all the screenshots of tweets. There's an awful lot of that in the press as well. A journalist will write that Trump tweeted X, quote the tweet verbatim, and then post the damn screenshot. Come on, folks, that's padding the article.

We have a septic system; the consequences that those low-flush toilets wreak on us are very, um, stinky, and well, shitty. We've learned that if you hold the handle down, you can pretty much empty the tank, which of course defeats the purpose of the design, but somewhat pushes things along a little better.

Oh, the stuff we post about here . . .

I'm always a little sad after completing Sunday, knowing that the next few days will be quick and easy.

Have a lovely Sunday.

SouthsideJohnny 12:16 PM  

It was good to see Rex go ballistic on this one, and deservedly so. I generally try to complete the NYT and the Washington Post puzzles daily; both can be challenging, but at least the WP is well thought-out, and enjoyable. The NYT just contains too much garbage, and does so with amazing consistency. Hill of beans as a clue for LIMAS - aweful, as Rex and others have pointed out. I looked up VALES - it has to do with streams and valleys. I guess the play here is on valedictorians ? ? Dumb. I admit that I am a middle-of-the-road solver at best (in terms of skill sets), however the clues should at least make sense, especially after people that can solve the puzzle in 15 or 20 minutes explain them to you. Or how about at least some minimal standards - perhaps we could start with accuracy - is that such a stretch ? Yes, see CHER, for example.

Oh, and just when you think is can't get any worse - we are asked to name the first prime minister of Burma. Rex is correct, the NYT crossword is well on it's way to being relagated to the ash-can of history.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Too much sports.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

@Southside, VALE means "farewell" in Latin.

GHarris 12:50 PM  

Count me among @nancy, @hartley70 and @mark Trevor Smith, tough but ultimately enjoyable. Had left vales/Vogel v blank then forgot to go back to it. Since I was working on paper did not get a computer alert as to the omission. Don't know if I would have made the right choice so dnf but still feel fulfilled.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

For the first time, I'm really considering abadoning the NY Times puzzle.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

@Southside, alse see @RooMonsters post above about awards.

phil phil 1:18 PM  

Had LET THEm eat cake from those firat letters (16D: The Bible on diet food?) and thought boy is Rex gonna blow his stack on this one.

GILL I. 1:19 PM  

@Malsdemare: Just for you:
Our lager
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink
At home as it is in the tavern.
Give us this day our foamy head
And forgive us our spillages
As we forgive those who spill against us
And lead us not to incarceration,
For thine is the beer
The bitter,
The lager.
When Mary heard she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
I once played the Virgin Mary in our annual Christmas pageant when I was about 10 so I learned lots!

jberg 1:26 PM  

Running late; I'm mostly with @Rex, but liked th epuns better. The problem is that they varied so much -- AYE/EYE kept the sound and changed the spelling, others changed a lot more. A MARK UPON CAINE is that really what the Bible says? One always hears "the mark of Caine," in which case this pun actually added a syllable. But maybe that is the Biblical text.

@Nancy, you series of Biblical puns was enough to make it worth coming here!

jberg 1:32 PM  

Forgot to add--best thing in the puzzle was the Trump/ASSAD misdirect.

old timer 1:34 PM  

I agree with OFL today. And wasn't it the Grateful Dead who sang, "If the crosswordese don't get you then the bad puns will?

Riffing right along, I was never an altar boy, but went to Mass often enough. As a lifelong railroad fan, I loved to hear, "Et cum spiri choo-choo Oh."

Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Fractured Scriptures on a Sunday. Seems reasonable.

M&A add-on parasite themer: {The Bible on casting potheads in movies} = ?*

@RP: yep. THEFLUSHISWEAK is definitely a mucho better vowel choice. Every joy-sucking monster luvs him a nice, round elevated U-count of 10. Gotta agree with U, that STK is one mighty brave lil weeject, goin out there as point man for the whole shootin match. It gets staff weeject pick (out of 36 candidates!)

M&A add-on parasite themer2: {The Bible on Pee-wee's western movie appearance} = ?*

GENIC is very interestin, historically speakin. The {Photo finish?} = GENIC package has been used 3 times in the NYTPuz. Once today -- and twice in the past, both times by the awesome Manny Nosowsky. M&A misses Manny. He was fearless. Never bought off on STK, tho.

M&A add-on parasite themer3: {The Bible on Rex Parker blog write-ups} = ?* har


Mr. Ross has served us long and well, over a vast 104 NYTPuzs -- includin 48 SunPuzs -- since 1991. M&A salutes all his excellent work. Even tho he forgot to FLUSH today.

Masked & Anonymo9Us



Malsdemare 1:44 PM  

@ Gill. Perfect! Thanks

@m&A. Yours are much better than the puzzle's. I'd pick the best but can't. Bravo!

L 2:06 PM  

I must be the only one irritated by LIE and ILIE in the same puzzle. Big DNF for me - I couldn't finish the SE corner and ITSGREAT eluded me.

hankster65 2:53 PM  

Must be I'm some sort of outlier because I thoroughly enjoyed this one AND I loved "A Farewell to Ohms." Full disclosure: I love any Sunday puzzle that I successfully complete!

Joe in Newfoundland 2:54 PM  

SCHUBERT, ANNETTE, CHER, ABBAS, UMA, DANA, HOAD, SEGAL, YVETTE, LEE, ASSAD, VOGEL, VITALE, NIN, UNU. I guess we each have our little rules that says "this is fair" and "this isn't fair". Mine is "dead ok, but if they are still alive and have actually done something rather than just tell us that someone else did something, ok".
I suppose "-Foy, Quebec" was for New Yorkers who go north in the summer. Even most Canadians wouldn't be expected to know it, and would only figure it out if they know French. Add NYACK, OREMUTAH, SUTTERS.
This just makes SAFARIED even worse, and FGS was the worst for me. I liked the theme, but in this case instead of puling up the weak fill, the fill just pulled itself down.
ps just figured out the captcha thing - the signpost is not part of the street sign.

Canon chasuble 3:24 PM  

I cannot believe I am saying it, but I actually agree with Rex on this one. The 3 and 4 word answers were as trite and boring as the rest of the puzzle, and the puns so weak and unappealing that I stayed with it just to see if it would ever improve... and it didn't. For some reason, the first one I got was 48 down, and before I even completed it I told my wife that if the ending were To be "Flute" I would stop right there. I wish I had had the courage of my convictions, instead minute of this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Canon chasuble 3:26 PM  

That should have read "instead of wasting another minute"

Larry Gilstrap 3:48 PM  

I thought the puns were amusing and made the Sunday solve less tedious. I grew up studying the King James Version, so I knew the scripture references. Spent many hours riding the pews and learned to read by following the lyrics in the hymnal. My wife claims I know the Bible better than most Christians.

Years ago I heard these jokes: Baseball is mentioned in the Bible. IN THE BIG INNING God created the heavens and the earth. So, no innovation in that line. How about another, since I'm on a roll? What state is mentioned in the Bible? Arkansas...wait for it. Noah looked forth from the Ark and saw the waters had subsided from the land. Feel free to share!

Speaking of over sharing, I am thankful that @LMS used the phrase "Plan B" as opposed to "Plan #2." I'm trying to eat here! As mentioned previously, when flushing depress that lever forcefully and hold it down for a beat. Et voila!

CDilly52 4:09 PM  

What a contrast Saturday to Sunday for me! Saturday was brutal, almost DNF and today nearly solved itself, mercifully quickly because the quality of theme and fill did not impress. In fact it makes me wonder whether the NYT actually has any set standards for construction and content. I ask not to be snarky, but seeking information from the experts here.

I have been solving often since 1960, and daily since about 1980 and my curiosity about the craft brought me here (and elsewhere) seeking information about construction and editorial standards for crosswords. The contrast among this week's puzzles illustrates my, . . . well, . . . puzzlement. Does the NYT have editorial standards that it wants to see enforced? If so, what are they? Who enforces the standards? Admittedly, deciding what to publish must be difficult as there are many, many premier constructors out there. But with so much content available, shouldn't there be some sort of editorial rules that the "big boss" at the NYT wants to enforce? Or not? This week just served to pique my curiosity about these knotty issues once again. I shall keep solving and searching.

Masked and Anonymous 4:13 PM  

Two Much Info Dept.

1. @(magnificent beast) Z: U can do this Fireball Contest dealy! Even M&A figured it out. That Fireball cap is as good as my-ine.

2. @RP: day-um. Them there four sample tweet msgs were sure an awful cheery way to begin the day. Think I'd prefer cinnamon rolls.

3. @Aketi darlin: Always tough to see a GROOT opportunity in the NYTPuz slip by. Had a runtpuz lately about everything forrestie, and managed to sorta squeeze him in; runtz are always more leaden edge, I reckon…

4. @The Rossmeister: M&A can't help but admire the four blackened corners in yer grid design. Primo look. Was wonderin why y'all did that. Since the NW grid corner fill looks by far the most desperate, I figure it maybe had somethin to do with trouble fillin that corner up semi-successfully, without spaltzin in its black corner. I also figure the initial trouble makers there were 3-D and 29-A.

5. (#4, continued) That 3-D ??Y?F? starter pattern is pretty restrictional. About all a sane constructioneer would have to choose from in fillin it are things that go ??YOFFS. Then there is also the matter of 1-D's ??N?H? set-in-cement pattern. Yowch. That then means not much off anything will go in 25-A that will play nice with those aforementioned problem children. Double yowch, checkmated, and bingo-ed. Black corner and KEYOFE, it is.

6. {The Bible on lizards} = ?*

M&A Twitter Head Desk


smoss11 4:27 PM  

I was in the 5th grade when i heard the joke..."How do you know God is a baseball fan? Because the first words in the bible are 'In The Big Inning!'

Very unoriginal!!!!

CDilly52 4:28 PM  

AMEN @Suzy. I just laughed 'til I cried because I had that very experience just yesterday evening...at a Judge's home no less and was thinking about looking frantically for a plunger when, oh thank you porcelain Gods, whomever you might be!!!

Joe Dipinto 4:29 PM  

Open mic night at a club -- singer approaches pianist, says "I'd like to sing 'Angel From Montgomery', do you know it?" Pianist, having done Saturday's puzzle, responds, "I sure do! What key?" Singer responds, "Key of E." Pianist says, "Great, let's do it."

What exactly is wrong with KEY OF E as an answer? It's in any musician's vocabulary, and I'm sure many musicians do the puzzle. I'll admit I didn't particularly care for the theme and its execution today, but you are really becoming an insufferable read.

Joe Bleaux 5:04 PM  

It was mildly amusing when my father-in-law said it about 20 years ago. "Did you know baseball is mentioned in the Bible?" was his set-up for the line.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

I did not enjoy today's puzzle.

Mohair Sam 5:14 PM  

@Joe DiPinto (4:29) Well said.

Joe Bleaux 5:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 5:33 PM  

Joe Dipinto said...
Open mic night at a club -- singer approaches pianist, says "I'd like to sing 'Angel From Montgomery', do you know it?" Pianist, having done Saturday's puzzle, responds, "I sure do! What key?" Singer responds, "Key of E." Pianist says, "Great, let's do it."

But the pianist didn't ask "what setting?" did he? No one ever refers to the key as a setting.

Babs of Hollywood 6:25 PM  

Assad and Abbas and Ba'ath and Israel, all on the weekend that you-know-who is you-know-where. Oy.

Norm 6:35 PM  

@ John Child 7:45 -- perfect. I bow before your excellent comment.

Jim in Chicago 6:46 PM  

Worst puzzle ever. Past time for Will to retire.

I, however have hope that my pun filled list of hymns might be accepted.

1. low in the gravy lay
2. Gladly the cross eyed bear.

old timer 6:54 PM  

The Baath story is kind of interesting. You know that the Brits put King Hussein in power in Jordan, and his brother in power in Iraq. The latter did not work out, the former did. Meanwhile, the French gave up in Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon had its own unique structure, with power divided between Christians, Musims, and the Druze. But Syria was mostly Islamic with some Christians. As was the case back then, there were Russia-supported revolutionary parties, and the chief party was the Ba'ath movement, which had control in both Syria and Iraq.

In Iraq. Saddam Hussein (no relation to the former king) took power as a Baath leader, and stayed in power until overthrown by the US and its allies under George W Bush. In Syria, the current leader's daddy Assad took power but was not, I think a fervent Baathist. In fact the Assads are from apart of Syria that is not really either Sunni nor Shiite.

Thus endeth the first lesson.

semioticus (shelbyl) 7:23 PM  

Messy SW corner, weird puns, KEYOFE is indeed horrible (I mean, I'm not against inventing crosswordese necessarily but that's just blasphemous), not fun at all.

Anonymous 7:24 PM  

I just finished Monday's NYT. I predict Rex will not like it and he'll still be a dick.

Frayed Knot 7:26 PM  


Aketi 7:28 PM  

@too many to count, I knew I could count on many more Biblical puns and you did not disappoint.

Dan Steele 7:45 PM  

I actually thought this one was a huge outlier, theme division. Because I thought the answer was "the mark-up of cane." I expected to find much umbrage out here over this breach of crossword protocol. As wrong as my answer WAS, I think I like it more than "mark upon..." Ignoring the heinous damage I did to whatever innocent Down answer went with that trailing 'N.'

Dan Steele 7:54 PM  

My entire day was booked, and I knew I would barely have time to begin my Sunday puzzle this week. So I was quite happy to find this was the easiest one ever. Any other week this one would have been a huge letdown.

Anonymous 8:03 PM  

Hey Loren,
Too late to ask how everyone like the puzzle? You got a loud snout, wanna acknowledge that everyone is singular?
Hey @Z
In the biggest borough of the biggest city in the most important
Cityy of the world, it was beautiful at Riis beach.
Unfamiliar with it? Why not spend less time over in the Windsor strip bars and more with, well really, anything else.

Mohair Sam 9:20 PM  

@Z - Nasty shot above about Jacob Riis, and undeserved. To those of us who learned our history in New York State schools his name is very familiar - if you know the term muckraking you know Riis. Oddly, given today's puzzle, he was a pioneer in FLASH photography too. Google him, you'll be impressed - he was quite the man.

Anonymous 10:17 PM  

One thing for sure about President Pence. He won't force The Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for their employees' abortifacients. Adios Donald

Leapfinger 10:27 PM  

@MohairS, yesindeed, always thought highly of Riis's pieces.

@Newfoundland Joe, you misunderestimate anyone who spent growing-up years in La Belle Province. Besides which, on a Bible-themed day, what could it be but STE-Foy, when 85% of Quebec is STE Quelque-chose? My favourite is off Rte 9 between the E.U. border and Montreal: St Louis de HaHa. To date, I've only enjoyed the drive past the roadsign, but it's on my bucket-list.

As for who knew U NU was Uno: probably the same folks who dug Hammer-shoulders in the No.2 spot, just a little lower than HammerHead&Shoulders.

Say hey, I also read KEYOFE in the way of PEYOTE, and called TRUMP on the Putin ally. So the next best thing was to Go Lieth like David (O.T.) with his little harp, and lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from Pence cometh my help. No telling how deep the dipstick can go, is there?

Anyway, I call this PSALM ENCHANTED EVENING, MisterRRoss. Selah.

Jeff510 11:28 PM  

I liked it. I guess i have no taste in crosswords. I feel the person who selected the two buck Chuck at a blind wine tasting. (Is Trader Joe's a thing back east?)

Anonymous 11:35 PM  

Hamilton was lame. Read the book. See
Book of Mormon or even Groundhog Day if in NYC.

Anonymous 11:41 PM  

Hey Anony-Ass-Clown 8:03
You are not correct about everything, hell, anything even. Stop thinking you're the shit, and go jump off a bridge.

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

Brooklyn is biggest city by pop. Queens by area FYI

kitshef 2:15 PM  

Well, I enjoyed the theme and looked forward to each one. Of course, I also thought it was an unusually hard Sunday. A lot of political and TV stuff that is well outside my wheelhouse.

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

not as experienced a solver as most of you apparently are. would someone be kind enough to explain 41D to me? What are GEOS? also, 45D - what are O-lines? Thx

SailorSteveHolt 3:26 AM  

Syria was never just "Islamic with some Christians." There's a significant Druze population in the south; at one point, they had their own state (at least a state was proposed). Ditto Alawites, a traditionally idiosyncratic sect of Islam viewed skeptically by most Muslims. Some even consider them to be heretics. Over the course of their regime, the Assads have clamped down on the religion's distinguishing features in order to legitimize it in the eyes of other (Shia) Muslims. Kurds may be Sunni Muslim but they identify first and foremost as an ethnolinguistic group. Christians in the west have been pretty thoroughly Arabized; they no longer speak their traditional languages (except maybe minority Greek and Armenian communities if they still even exist). In the northeast are the Assyrians (also known as Syriacs). Most practice an ancient version of Christianity derived from Nestorianism. Nestorianism was deemed heretical by the Council of Ephesus and Council of Chalcedon in the 400s. Those Assyrians have suppressed their religion's origins in that schism for similar reasons to the Alawites. Some Assyrians converted to a form of Catholicism in the 1700s-isn and go by Chaldeans or Chalo-Assyrians, but most of them are in Iraq not Syria. (My maternal grandmother came from a Catholic Assyrian line.) French Presbyterian missionaries converted others. Again, they were mostly further east—in Iran. (My maternal grandfather was a Presbyterian Assyrian.) After centuries of ill-treatment (to put it mildly) by Muslim neighbors, they were finally totally extirpated in Iran (then Persia) and Turkey during the Armenian genocide and the decade following it. Assyrians have somehow managed to preserve Aramaic, not as a liturgical language but everyday speech. Hence, Assyrians in Syria are not only a religious minority but an ethnic and linguistic minority. Like the Kurds, Assyrians stress their ethnolinguistic identity before their Christian identity—unlike the Christians in western Syria. ("Middle East Christians" is a particularly contentious term. It implies Arab Christians.) My maternal grandparents spoke Assyrian Aramaic. Sadly, they didn't pass it down to my mother.

Baathism is a scourge that emerged from the pan-Arabist movement, which sought to Arabize all North African, Levantine, Mesopotamian, and Arabian peoples. (Not all inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula considered themselves uniformly Arab.) Berbers, Copts, Kurds, Yazidi, Druze, Shabak, Assyrians, etc. were forced to adopt a false Arab identity. Even Egyptians used to assert a unique Egyptian identity—another causality of pan-Arabism.

The one somewhat admirable goal of Baathism was its attempt to create a secular society. Dictators have/had kept a lid on religiosity, but obviously it was never totally erased.

SailorSteveHolt 3:31 AM  

I don't mind Rex's rants even though I'm rarely so passionately moved one way or the other. However, I am 100% on board with his critique. This puzzle was an unmitigated disaster. The only reason I'm commenting is because I needed a public forum to to register my intense hatred. 0/10 would not recommend.

Suzanne 1:02 AM  

Missed opportunity on 107 Across
A markup on cane- the result of ruined sugar crops, etc.

lodsf 9:28 PM  

I think that Merle would have loved this one.... lots of real groaners!

rondo 11:49 AM  

I wouldn't be surprised if @spacecraft DNBTF after 1a abbr. STK CROSSing KEYOFE followed shortly by SOFTA - all in that NW corner. If so, he will also have missed out on the RRN LII, NFLER, and a sort of shout out with SPACY. As well as a host of partials and abbr.s and more threes than I've seen in a DOGSAGE (That's coonsAGE, BTW).

Yeah babies abound with Scarlett in a clue, ever present UMA and CHER, and even DANA Perino. Even all of them couldn't save this puz.

INTHEBIGINNING was funny, but this puz is AFAR cry from what I like to KEEPBUSY with on Sunday. Would ILIE? or LIE?

spacecraft 11:52 AM  

Oh sure, there are problems--not the least of which is that awful 3-down clue/answer--but it's not THAT horrible. Hey, I finished it, and wasn't at it long enough to think "slog," so that's a point in favor. I missed Bible study when they discussed AMARKUPONCANE; that was unknown to me, but I assume we're talking about Cain, and the "mark" he bore for having committed fratricide. Easy except for there, and even then the crosses resolved the problem without too much bother.

DOD wannabes crowd the stage today: the ubiquitous UMA, EVA, CHER. But I'll go for that old-time singer-actress who co-starred opposite Frankie Avalon in those beach movies. The old joke goes, when she called in sick, Frankie found himself working without ANNETTE. Okay, it's no worse than any of the puns in today's grid.

I'm inclined to go easy on Mr. Ross; Plenty of vitriol exists above. Give him a par.

Dale Wyttenbach 12:05 PM  

Yes the crosses around 1 and 66 sucked but geez lighten up people, didn't any of the puns make you smile?

rondo 12:08 PM  

Forgot ANNETTE and YVETTE and coulda been EVA in the yeah baby category, disappointed ASIAM with the puz.

Burma Shave 12:24 PM  


UMA and CHER and DANA and EVA hit ITOFF at the BAR_
NONE of their TAILENDS would they LOUSEUP or spite,
they AGREE it's a SINN to SEE the FAT BARE BUNs of a star,
so they RENEGEON the ALE and say, "LETTHEREBELITE."


Torb 2:12 PM  

A real groaner of a puz. Horrible puns and loopy fill. Finally got through it but ended up w a one letter DNF. The V in Vogel/Vales.

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

Never got the NW, in part because of 3D and I couldn't come up with anything for 'vowel sound for hard and start". Because SOFTA isn't the proper answer. "Had" has a soft A, 'Bad has a soft A. Even with a Boston accent hard wouldn't be a soft A.

But even tho I got the rest....... meh.....

Diana,LIW 2:43 PM  

This puzzle - a great example of why slow solving is funner than fast.

1) the crosswordese falls on deaf ears - they just don't stand out the way they might if you see them one after another.

2) you get to pet the cat and discuss your potential answers with him

3) when a themer emerges, it's a prize you've earned. Of course, being a pun-loving kinda girl helps.

dnf'd in the NW due to STK never coming to mind (wanted IRA or CDS)

THEFLASHISWEAK is New Testament, btw, for those who were looking for NT representation. EYEFOREYE also referenced there, with the turning other cheek suggestion. Hmmm...what of turning the other check?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 2:50 PM  

Oddly for me, I was in an evaluative mood while solving this. First, "slog", then whizzing down the entire East side, "not a slog", and back and forth.

When I got LET THERE BE LITE, I was amused, and thought every themer would be an actual homophonic pun, so I was disappointed by a couple of the others. I also liked IN THE BIG INNING, and A MARKUP ON CANE which is what would happen when the crop is damaged.

Wondered briefly if the farmer keeps the horses in BARN ONE, and the cows in BARN TWO.

There was enough really good stuff in here to keep me going as I wrote-over several times (matte=>graph=>genic, eg). Vacillated between 'H' and 'V' before deciding that VOGEL sounds more like an actual surname.

Overall, I think this was a success, if not a commercial one.

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

My husband and I watched Lew Hoad play tennis at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. (Yes, we are ancient!). He was quite good--an Aussie I believe.

Bill Gegenheimer 5:14 PM  

I also had H there for Hale and farewell, knowing full well that it's "hail". Doh!

leftcoastTAM 6:15 PM  

Okay, just read Rex's review and no other posts. He does often ASSUALT a NYT puzzle, but that's his prerogative.

Took some time to figure out the theme in order to get going. It was not just "misquoting" the bible but also about misspellings, mispronouncing, homophones, puns, and other wordplay. Some are just off base, with a little or more misguiding and covert and doubtful trickery.

After figuring it all out, there was satisfaction in finishing it. But it was something of a slog, too.

leftcoastTAM 6:25 PM  

ASSAULT. (Didn't misspell it in the puzzle.)

AnonymousPVX 7:43 PM  

Got the solve sans joy. A real groaner and no just the puns.

Anne Martin 8:31 PM  


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