Raskolnikov's lover / THU 5-12-17 / Level of judo proiciency / Duchamp contemporary / Biblical wife of Elimelech / Ancient Roman Thermae

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Me me me! — three familiar phrases are clued via answers that intersect said phrases; these answers are adjectives that end with the "me" sounds, and are relevant to the familiar phrases that they cross only if you interpret them, phonetically, as imperatives (i.e. commands):

Theme answers:
  • HOMEY (8D: Comfortable inviting ... or, phonetically, a clue for 20-Across) => "Hoe me!" => VEGETABLE GARDEN
  • GLOOMY (27D: Somber ... or, phonetically, a clue for 29-Across) => "Glue me!" => MODEL AIRPLANE 
  • ROOMY (50D: Commodious ... or, phonetically, a clue for 58-Across) => "Rue me!" => LOST OPPORTUNITY
Word of the Day: ACOLYTE (22D: Devotee) —
noun: acolyte; plural noun: acolytes
  • a person assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession.
  • an assistant or follower. (google)
• • •


I finished this very quickly but it took me well over a minute of total bemusement before I understood how the adjectives had anything to do "phonetically" with the theme answers. I kept saying them slowly, like an idiot, and I could feel that terminal -E sound, but could not find the [___ me!] pattern for what felt like ages. I was breaking the answer into [___ "E"] instead of [___ ME]. So I had a belated but genuine aha moment, which was also an audible groan moment, as that is some cornball punning. That said, if cornball punning is your thing, this is a pretty good puzzle. It's especially good in the non-theme parts, which is important, as you may know if you read me, like, ever. Puzzles are supposed to be well made stem to stern, not just in the theme, so that when the theme is, let's say, not exactly to your taste, there's still delight to be found. Today, there was delight all over, esp. in the columns of long Downs, as well as the longer Acrosses at the middle and bottom (interesting L/R / mirror symmetry for the grid today, instead of the more typical rotational symmetry).

SEAMY coulda worked. Also THOME (which future MLB HOFer Jim THOME pronounces "Tow me!," I'm pretty sure). But the ones in the puzzle all work fine. I'm especially fond of the saucy VEGETABLE GARDEN, demanding action, now! As for the rest of the puzzle, I didn't have much trouble, despite being unable to flow smoothly down into the middle and bottom of the grid. Had to reboot with PCP and again with CLOY and *again* with PAR / AGE in order to get going again. Had NIOBI (😢) for NAOMI (18A: Biblical wife of Elimelech), but no other missteps to speak of. From PAPRIKA to ACOLYTE and on and on, this grid brings the interesting answers, and very little dreck. Satisfactory! Huzzah! It's a NEW DAY (for one day, at least)!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:12 AM  

Easy-medium for me too and almost exactly what @Rex said. Had to stare for a bit to grok how the theme worked, followed by a nice aha moment.

Fun, liked it a lot!

jae 12:14 AM  

Oh, and I went through at least three car models before I got to CIERA (ACOLYTE was not that obvious).

Brian 12:27 AM  

To counter Rex and jae, I weirdly got the theme pretty easily (I did not have much of VEGETABLE GARDEN crossed, but enough have HOMEY click it into place), but a lot of the fill took me some time. Medium-hard time for a Thursday, though not in an unfair way.

Paul Rippey 12:33 AM  

I found it easy until I came to 57D, the quaint English town of Newcastle upon Natick crossing with the perfectly reasonable answer to 63A, level of judo proficiency, DAm, which DNF'd me. DAmN.

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

Cursory look few offensive clues/answers ...Rex and the PC police win again ... congrats

chefwen 12:42 AM  

Got the whole thing done in record time with no assists and had no clue as to the theme. Read a couple of the long ones to puzzle partner and he who had built many model airplanes in his youth said GLUE ME, ya know, put an airplane together. It wasn't until then that I had my AHA moment. Is it a AHA moment if somebody has to point it out to you? Probably not!

Liked many of the long downs and who doesn't love a good bagel SCHMEAR?

puzzlehoarder 12:49 AM  

This is my first comment on one of our actual computers. The phone just wouldn't take one for some reason. This was a very easy puzzle. I figured out the theme through the "hoe and "garden" connection as soon as I'd finished. I was too distracted while solving to give the theme much thought. There was always some easy answer to be filled in. CAMEO and MONEYED didn't pop up right away so that was the one top section I had to backfill. the rest of the solve went smoothly. Fun little puzzle.

Robin 12:53 AM  

Anonymous, Why so glum? You were mentioned in the puzzle today!

Theodore Stamos 1:09 AM  

Sounds like I was like most people here: had no idea about the theme until after the solve. I guess I always prefer it when you need to understand the theme in order to complete the puzzle. Kind of requires that you crack a code in order to finish. Otherwise a decent puzzle.

Anonymous 1:13 AM  

@Rex realizes that it's NiObe (all tears) with an "e," and that she's mythological, not Biblical.

Larry Gilstrap 1:31 AM  

See me! Feel me! Touch me! Heal me! I have others, but this is a family forum. Those lyrics ring a bell. My college roommates and I used the phrase, Beer me!. One of our local entrepreneurs, operates Bagel Me! and soon will open Yogurt Me! He's one of those guys that insisted upon changing his product from French fries to Freedom fries. Even then, the French had trouble following our lead and I had trouble following his logic. Neither did the Dixie Chicks.

Now to the theme; I figured it out before I was done, but my solve lasted a bit longer than that of OFL. I balk when I'm told to sound it out phonetically and cross reference cluing doesn't help. My mouth rarely moves when I'm reading; isn't that the idea? Anybody want to buy stock in Hooked on Phonics?

HALO, TOPKNOT, HAT, BERET, and SCHMEAR form an almost word chain. Ok, I'm getting silly. Top that!

Now about me. I discovered Twitter around election time and OMG! What I've learned: old news is old news. Today, I saw a guy about my age sitting at the car wash reading the WSJ. Headline read "Grant Takes Richmond," or some such. Anyway, I dare to go deep in the comments reacting to a tweet of some one I follow. Somebody I respect and follow will post something heartfelt and eventually here comes Mr. TROLL. I have learned to dismiss virulent hate speech. We see it here in Rex World. Nobody is amused, if that is a goal. Eventually, no one notices, and that was a goal, I assume.

Trombone Tom 1:32 AM  

Count me among those who were slow to grok how this went together. I was about two-thirds done before I looked back and got the "Hoe me" from HOMEY.

The puzzle didn't put up a lot of resistance, except I tried eon before AGE.

This was a very cleverly done theme. The punniness didn't cause it to lose any points on my account. But I agree that this was on the easy side for Thursday.

Mike in Mountain View 2:14 AM  

Is it just me, or is the grid a picture of a person (shoulders, hands, legs, a head), perhaps the "ME" of the theme?

chefwen 2:26 AM  

@Mike - I think it's just you, or maybe I need another glass of wine and to squint my eyes. Yeah, I'll try that.

Charles Flaster 4:02 AM  

Totally enjoyable, easy and marvelously constructed. Never sussed the puns until I got here.
Writeover-- AGE for eon which made OPEN CASES my last entry.

Creative cluing for ESTATE TAX , TOP KNOT, and ALPHA.
No ACNE again ?
Thanks TP

Loren Muse Smith 4:07 AM  

Love, love, love themes like this – making you reconsider a word’s pronunciation. Hah!

Like @Brian’s experience, it clicked pretty quickly for me with VEGETABLE GARDEN/HOMEY, and I grinned.

First thought for NEW DAY was “new leaf.” And first thoughts for 35D “dead reckoning?” was either “autopsy” or “post mortem.” ESTATE TAX is certainly less ICKish.

Liked seeing the BERET wear a HAT.

SWIG SPIT BURP. That reminds me - gotta check in with my son, see how things are going.

TROLL. I’ve come to see their posts in the same light as those from the weird computer-generated ads that slip through; I just skip over them. To engage is akin to David Sedaris answering a blue-fronted amazon’s seemingly interested How ya doin’? thinking that this time it’ll be different. They’re only provocateurs if they provocatate someone. Otherwise they’re just noise. Gnats. (@Robin -to respond is as useless as insisting the bird get serious and have a real conversation this time.) There. Solved that problem. Whew.

Hey, Timothy - terrific idea. Managed to filmy with delight.

Anonymous 5:29 AM  

Anyone see the clip of Colbert's audience two nights ago when they cheered the firing of Comey, and then realized they weren't following the hate script? Classic example of lazy sycophants relying on the media to be told what they're supposed to believe. Now THAT was comedy.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

Wow. This had it all. Devilish cluing (SCAM, ARROW, SLY, RANSOM, HAT, APRONS), several answers out of my wheelhouse (which is a good thing), theme with a big aha that made me want to think of more answers (Soldier: ARMY; Exhibitionist: FILMY or SEAMY, and these aren't near as good as Timothy's). It was a trudge that didn't feel like a drudge -- the best kind of puzzle. Thank you for this TP!

Glimmerglass 6:42 AM  

Good review, @Rex. I'm fond of puns. My father specialized in groaners, but today's theme didn't measure up to his standards. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this puzzle. I especially liked the clues for NEED A RIDE? and BURP.

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

Oh Rex you are so smart

Loren Muse Smith 6:44 AM  

@Lewis – great minds, and all that… I was thinking FILMY for an empty gas tank. And STORMY for all the Christmas decoration boxes stacked in a corner until the middle of January.

Aketi 6:47 AM  

@LMS, you always bring a smile to my face but your link destroyed me because I have two childhood friends that owned "talking" birds. One, a peachfaced love bird, would sit on the ledge next to the bathroom mirror and say "pretty bird", make MWAH noises and lick the mirror. Then it would say "upside down birdie", lean back and hang upside down off the ledge.

@leapfinger, after your late post last night I dreamed of Martial Artists with TOPKNOTs on Teedmn's lawn swishing RACKETS at each other.

Hungry Mother 6:50 AM  

I got the theme after two answers and then used it to help. Easy Thursday for me with very intelligent fill.

Lewis 6:55 AM  
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Lewis 6:56 AM  

Get into Trump's hair: COMEY.

Eprailick 6:59 AM  

"Need a rise?" would certainly give anyone a lift in their day? Why, I ask people that all the time in the hopes of putting smiles on their faces. I'm an idiot. DNF because of that alone. Great puzzle.

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

I need some guidance here please. The men's lacrosse team at Adelphi walked onto the field with a Trump speech blaring. Are we suppose to be offended if Adelphi appears in a grid? Do we hate these people? Just wanna get this right. Thanks.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Pretty much a perfect puzzle.

Theme is crackerjack, and in addition to having lots of squares devoted to the theme, and crossing the themers, they were also able to work in ACOLYTE, ESTATE TAX, OPEN CASES, MEGAPHONE, SORCERY, and even some nice short stuff like POMP and SHIVS.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

Didn't get it until I read Rex today.

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

Man up.

evil doug 7:26 AM  

Went from totally pissed and frustrated to warm and satisfied. Put in VEGETABLE GARDEN simply because it fit at V___BL___RD_N, but took a little more aggravating time down country before returning to get HOMEY and finally full speed ahead from there.

GLOOMY MODEL AIRPLANE took me back to building an elaborate B-58 Hustler model with my dad when I was maybe eight. *Potentially* a very cool finished product, with operating landing gear, pilot hatches, and bomb release--but once drops of glue accidentally got into the critical hinges, GLOOMY turned into "F#%& me!" and plastic parts were hurled with extreme prejudice....

I generally hate cross-referenced clues, but in this case it made sense. Good puzzle theme, nice fill too.

Two Ponies 7:26 AM  

I had to get up, refill my coffee, then sit down again before I got the theme. Okay I guess but the most fun for me was remembering the Cutlass Ciera from Fargo.

r.alphbunker 8:12 AM  

Timothy Polin is one of my favorite constructors.

I finished the puzzle without getting the theme.

Cascos were:
65A. {Doesn't retire} STAYSON-->STAYSUP

39D. {Emolument} TIP-->PAY

36A. {Oomph} PEP-->ZIP-->PEP

Details are here.

QuasiMojo 8:23 AM  

Having SHAM before SCAM slowed me down big-time since I was sure HAIKU was right (instead of CAMEO).

Otherwise a fun romp and some clever clueing.

I'm not sure "Need a Ride?" is a very good pickup line. Especially in the age of Uber. Or if you watch all those TV shows about OPEN CASES.

Jonathan Alexander 8:29 AM  

Easy smooth Thursday overall for me. ACOLYTE took some crosses before it dropped (with the C giving me the CIERO for which I was clueless).

Like Rex, the theme took me a minute to parse out as I kept stressing the E sound rather than the ME sound as well.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Unlike most others, I found this quite challenging. Like most others, it was great fun. What a terrific puzzle. Fresh (to me) and clever theme, great cluing, good fill. It has it all. Is the mirror symmetric grid a sort of smiley face ("ME")? Many thanks Tim.

chefbea 8:31 AM  

another stupid puzzle!!! Made no sense to me. Think I'll go put on my apron and make some goulash with paprika

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

There is zero evidence Trump colluded with Russia. The New York Times is full of fake news. Thank goodness for the puzzle.

Mr. B 9:01 AM  

Wow...had a nice laugh when I finally got it.
Really liked this one... wonderful clues...but had a scare at the end.
I solve on an iPad and when I entered what I thought was the last letter...no happy tune.
I must have scanned the entire puzzle 3 or 4 times trying to find my error...no luck. Everything looked just fine to me.
So...turned off the iPad for a little mental break.

When I returned a few minutes later... decided to change SONiA to SONYA.
and...PHEW!!!I I just didn't see my misspelling of "monied" (MONEiED...yeah right...but it's nearly 3am where I am...that's my excuse)

@Anoa Bob...thanks for your insight into ANOA and the "Celebes ox" clue that i referenced the other day.
It's just ANOA was one of those words I first filed into my memory banks many moons ago when I first started doing these puzzles. Seemed it was just as common as ACNE is now (...or maybe not...ACNE wins)
You live up to your user name!!! So "Indonesian buffalo" it is !!!


Nancy 9:06 AM  

I didn't get the gimmick at all, but I finished the puzzle anyway. Then I went back to see the connections between the various cross-referenced clues. That's when my Aha Moment came. Bingo! I get it! Very cute and very different. I thought. But not necessarily a completely satisfying substitute for a rebus. Still, crunchy in its own way. It's the cluing that made the puzzle sing for me; almost all of it was tricky in some way. A nice job.

Hartley70 9:13 AM  

This was different than our usual Thursday puzzle, and surprisingly didn't leave me longing for a rebus. It was very clever. I had to think a bit to understand the relationship between HOMEY and VEGETABLE GARDEN in the beginning, and then still had to say the down portion of each themer out loud twice to get the connection. Moving those lips was my morning exercise. Thanks, Timothy.

Sir Hillary 9:16 AM  


Great clue for ESTATETAX. Don't love the one for AXEL, as I think of it as a jump (albeit one with rotations).

Nancy 9:17 AM  

Good one, @Lewis (6:56 a.m.)!

@Robin (12:32 a.m.) -- @Loren is being very smart and very sensible and she's offering you time-tested advice. Nonetheless, I thought your comment was quite witty and spot-on.

Happy Pencil 9:35 AM  

@Lewis, mic drop.

Wm. C. 9:37 AM  

I don't quite get why "Rue Me" => "Lost Opportunity".


Stanley Hudson 9:39 AM  

@Lewis 6:56 AM, genuine LOL.

Roo Monster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
Also took me til the third themer (best one, BTW :-D ) to parse the single words to get the long Acrosses. GLUE ME was the Aha one, then saw HOE ME. Good stuff. Agree that RUE ME has kind of an offness for LOST OPPORTUNITY.

But, it fits me. ROO ME! :-P

Interesting that TP ended up with the left/right symmetry. Wonder how many times he tried regular symmetry before landing on this grid.

Liked it. Light dreck considering the restraints and the long Acrosses in the center and South. And double stack 9 Downs. Great puz, TP!

Pun for the day-
I have a friend who's addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop at any time.


oldbizmark 10:02 AM  

DNF - NEED A LIFT instead of NEED A RIDE which killed me on BElE- and I didn't know DAN or TYNE. Otherwise, really, really easy again. No other complaints, however.

AW 10:04 AM  

Thank goodness for Rex's blog or I would never figure out 90 percent of the themes. I kept sounding out the down clues trying to find some phonetic link to the crosses but nothing clicked. How did HOMEY have any phonetic likeness at all to VEGETABLE GARDEN? Huh? Had no trouble completing the puzzle, but never got the trick. Thank you, Rex, for the explanation!

mathgent 10:18 AM  

Nice puzzle, twelve red plusses in the margins, above average for a Thursday. But no crunch. Since I got the three long themers easily from the down crosses, I didn't have to think about HOMEY, GLOOMY, or ROOMY. Or Hughey, Dewey, and Louie

Mixed emotions. Breezing through it made me feel smart, not getting the gimmick made me feel dumb.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:20 AM  

Doggerel usually lasks METER? Huh? I thought doggerel usually had only meter to prompt it for consideration as poetry. 'I never saw a purple cow/ I never want to see one/ but I can tell you anyhow / I'd rather see than be one. ' 'As I was going up a stair/ I saw a man who wasn't there/ He wasn't there again today/ I wish that man would go away' etc. Lotsa iambs.

Mohair Sam 10:36 AM  

Wonderful Thursday. We got the theme right off the 'Hoe Me' bat and still found the puzzle challenging. The clever cluing, my insistence that Oldsmobile made a sIERA, and the beautiful Mauna LuA caused the problem.

Insomnia had me watching the "Secretariat" movie last night, the owner almost sold the horse as a two-year-old because of ESTATE TAXes. The movie was on Country Music Television and was followed by two episodes of "Raising Hope" (I love that show). Trying to figure how CMT programmers link "Secretariat" and "Raising Hope" with country music.

@Paul Rippey - "Newcastle on Natick" - nice.

@Loren - Yeah, we see the anonymice exactly as you do. I'm only bugged when posters react. It's like somebody yelling at a barking dog that you hadn't noticed before - it's not going to go well. Enjoyed the Sedaris link btw.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

I think OFL's "seamy" and Lewis's "filmy" may well exhaust the short list of truly worthy representatives of the form (adjective parsed as imperative verbal phrase having the 1st person DO). Perhaps socks fresh from the dryer sigh, "ball me?"

Colby 11:02 AM  

"I'm a young rookie, but they're not gonna rook us!"- Memphis Grizzlies Coach David Fizdale

GILL I. 11:08 AM  

Maybe I had the wrong day of the week. I finished this faster than Monday's and even before my second sip of Peet's. Then of course, I didn't have a friggin idea what it was all about. I was so mad that I had finished so quickly, I was going to take MY damn sweet time figuring out what I was missing. So...I stared. I stared...I stared. Kept looking at HOMEY and wanting to know why he sounded like a VEGETABLE GARDEN. Ah...the GLUE of GLOOMY. So the ICK turned into a huge smile. At one point I thought I'd need to sneak a Bloody Mary in to understand this nifty puzzle. I kept shouting MORE...I want MORE!
I learned the word CAMEO from watching Alfred Hitchcock. He was a bit narcissistic don't ya think?

Colby 11:10 AM  

Also, two straight days with REN as an answer (albeit with different cluing)

Masked and Anonymous 11:20 AM  

YES! I'M IN! A-OK ThursPuz. SLY theme. Lotsa PEPpy fillins. Quality STAYSUP throughout. Very little ICK. Only a slight SCHMEAR of desperation [{PC file suffix}]. Cool East-West grid ALIGN-ment. A-Number ONE job! {Suh-weet!} [*.BURP.*]

Idled in place, burnin the precious nanoseconds, refusin to move on until I got that day-um mysterious VEGETABLEGARDEN/HOMEY connection. Sooo … M&A knew the theme idea pretty early on, by abandonin speed-solvequest mode. That's ok -- will kill it tomorrow, when the theme gets reduced way down to a hidden ACNE type thingy, or likesuch.

Some really neat, har-worthy "no help available"/"better grab yer ass & pray the crosses are all fair" clues, in this here solvequest, at our house...

Example Bullets:
* {Biblical wife of Elimelech}. As I recall, answer was BANA or TROLL, or somesuch.
* {Raskolnikov's lover in "Crime and Punishment"}. Shoot. I can't even keep the names straight in the Jack Reacher pulp I'm currently readin. Cool read, tho. Sure ain't got many adverbs in it. But, I digress.
* {Level of judo proficiency}. Oh, yeah ... That guy. Give that DAN dude weeject-of-the-day, just for havin the nerve to show his face around these parts again, so soon. Reminds me of Steinberg.

Thanx for the upliftin review, @RP. Always good fun to have a NEWDAY time. (Sorta sounds phonetically like NUDEY. Bit too desperate? … thought so.)

And thUmbsUp Thanx, Mr. Polin. More YUMMY, tho, please. [With long U pronunciationment]

Masked & AnonymoUUs


jberg 11:28 AM  

The theme helped me a lot with this beauty -- you did need it for the theme acrosses, unless you just went by crosses and plausibility. With the theme, it wasn't hard, but very enjoyable because of all the tricky clues. (You know you've done too many puzzles when you see "Rook or gull," 4 letters, and the first thing you think is "well, it can't be bird."

@Greater Fall: those poems aren't really doggerel. This isn't either, but it's a parody of same:

The tune doesn't have to be clever
And it don't matter if you put a couple extra syllables into a line
It sounds more ethnic if it ain't good English
And it don't even gotta rhyme - excuse me - rhyne

(Tom Lehrer, "The Folk Song Army"

What surprised me to today: so many people don't know Newcastle-upon-TYNE. That's the place you don't want to carry coals to, because they are (or were) a coal-mining center.

I, on the other hand, had no idea whatsoever whom NAOMI was married to. I only knew her from the song.

old timer 11:38 AM  

Count me in as one who did not figure out the theme but solved the puzzle with relative ease. Of course I do know that Newcastle is on the TYNE. Been there more than once, drank my broon ale and eaten an excellent Sunday Roast at the Bridge, which is one of the finest pubs in England and has unbelievably great music at the monday night folk club, upstairs. Last time I walked across the elegant Calatrava pedestrian bridge.

TOP KNOT I always love to see because as a child I read the story of the minister who objected to the ladies wearing them in church. The theme of his sermon: "Let those who are on the roof TOP (K)NOT come down."

Masked and Anonymous 11:40 AM  

@jberg just reminded m&e. Important additional clue Example Bullet:

* {Newcastle upon ___, England}. Figured, like any reasonable masked dude, that answer could be whatever the Brit version of ABUN or BUNS was.

Ok, back to the open hearins...


Joseph Michael 11:43 AM  

Didn't think I could crack this one. Then suddenly somehow it was solved.

Took a while to see how HOMEY, for example, could be a clue for VEGETABLE GARDEN. Just couldn't believe that the garden was actually saying "Hoe me." But alas it was true and the rest fell into place.

Lots of clever cluing, such as that for RANSOM, PAR, and ESTATE TAX.

Had "apostle" before ACOLYTE, but couldn't imagine driving an Olds called the "Piera."

YES, Timothy, this was AOK.

CDilly52 11:45 AM  

Or February on occasion at my house!

Vincent Lima 12:02 PM  

The theme helped with the solve for a change (as it appears to have done for some others, above). I had G----[Y] for 27D; knew it had to be "G??? me"; "Glue me" came to mind, which suggested, on the final "LE," MODEL AIRPLANE. This, taken with the good fill (and ruing a LOST OPPORTUNITY was very good too), made this a most enjoyable puzzle.

Enjoyed @Robin's comment.

Andrew Heinegg 12:04 PM  

Lovely little thing this was. There are a number of polished professional puzzle composers and Mr. Polin is one of them. This one was fairly easy in the solving part and mediumish in the phonetic part. But, mostly it was just fun.

As the 5th of 10 children, it took me forever to grasp the concept that my brothers and sisters would tease me because I would react. We all need to see the trolls in the same way. If we never react to them, they will not be getting what they want. I dunno if that will inevitably make them move on but, it is certainly the best shot at it.

CDilly52 12:06 PM  

Oh my that Sunday Roast, but the Yorkshire Pud and gravy with it are sheer perfection! Worked near there off and on a while back and it became a Sunday ritual...followed by a nap! Thanks for the reminder.

CDilly52 12:18 PM  

For me, this was one of the tightest, most enjoyable NYT offerings in a very long time, despite the fact that it too me until ROOMY to wake up. Appropriate use of x-references, too.

Made lots of the same mistakes as others, sham/SCAM; eon/AGE; yuk/ICK,.

I am usually a late night solo-solver, but had coffee with a small group this morning covering all our organizational bases for one couple's 2 year post Obergefell anniversary party. They helped out and we all thoroughly enjoyed the solve. Shout out to my "2 Ts" as we know them, who came up with GAMY: celebrating LGBT.

Happy Thursday; regular time for me.

Mr. Benson 12:19 PM  
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Mr. Benson 12:20 PM  

If Thome had been in there as a theme answer, Rex would have jumped all over it for inconsistency (not being an adjective like the others, not ending with a Y).

Although "double parked car" has 15 letters, so that's tempting....

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Anonymous 8:50 AM said...
There is zero evidence Trump colluded with Russia. The New York Times is full of fake news. Thank goodness for the puzzle.


That's the whole point of an investigation, is to find evidence. You walk into a murder scene, don't see the murderer or weapon, you don't declare "no evidence" and go home. You start looking.

Cassieopia 1:02 PM  

Great puzzle! Took me a bit to get the theme but I did, and spent more time than I should have wondering what "Roo Me" meant, and trying to fit "Kanga" into the across somehow.

A great puzzle puts up a challenge, but after being put down and picked up again, results in "aha" moments. This puzzle had many that delighted me: ACOLYTE, ALPHA, ESTATETAX, even BURP. And of course the theme.

Nearly got sunk by DAr/TYrE cross but figured out the N and the happy music ensued.

@Mike I can see the person in the grid and so glad you called that out! Although it has rather big ears...

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Don't feed the trolls

Malsdemare 1:13 PM  

I liked this. I "saw" VEGETABLEGARDEN just in the crosses, filled it in even though I had no idea how it corresponded to 8D for forever. It took GLOOMY for me to see the ME (hi REX; I too was parsing it ??? E). My favorite was LOSTOPPORTUNITY. Just a super-sweeeet clue and answer. I was flummoxed for a time by the similar clues for ETA and TAU; I'm gonna guess those were deliberate misdirects, not laziness. Loved SCHMEAR and SORCERY, which had the added advantages of helping me clear up some errors. And TOPKNOT is way cute; reminds me of all the king's many children in "The King and I," especially the tiniest, tugging on her daddy's tunic. In our house at the moment, it's the U. S. Constitution demanding to be glued. @Lewis. COMEY?? Hysterical!

I'm binge-watching old movies as I recover from surgery. Tuesday evening, I watched "Murder on the Orient Express," thanks to an off-blog reminder from Nancy about Agatha Christie's amazing oeuvre. Last night it was "Misery," an amazing tour de force by Kathy Bates and a terrific counterpoint for someone whose pain is a mere flea bite compared to the whack on the feet administered by Bates in the most horrific scene of the entire movie. Tonight it shall be "My Favorite Year." Then it will be back to the library; suggestions are very welcome.

Thanks, TP for a fun morning.

kitshef 1:24 PM  

@Malsdemare - Pains me to think of any of those as "old" movies. How about Being There or the original Arthur?

Teedmn 1:30 PM  

Except for thinking "dead reckoning" resulted in ESTimaTes (great clue for ESTATE TAX, BTW) and briefly trying to move Newcastle to Lebanon (TYrE), I didn't have many writeovers. SONYA was easy, since I read "Crime & Punishment" not so long ago and it's the way one of my very good friends spells her name. But I had to start out in the NE with AXEL-OXIDE. "Rook or gull" was too reminiscent of yesterday's avians for me to start at 1A.

I went through the "read my lips" experience in order to grok the theme. I was slowed down by the expectation that 48A's "stat" would result in an abbreviation. And I mixed up "The Dead Zone"'s plot with "Firestarter" so ESP was "psi" for a while at 38A. Anyone else consider an ALoHA man for 49D? That was a LOST OPPORTUNITY when 58A filled in.

Timothy Polin, wonderful job.

And @Aketi, in your dream, I hope no one got a KNOT on the head from using racquets in martial arts.

Carola 1:48 PM  

Fun. I got the idea with the GARDEN and its "Hoe me!" directive, but I still had to work away at the second one: with only LAIR filled in, I was a long way from getting the PLANE. I also spent some time wondering what sort of misdeed would be rued: I guess I think of ruing something said or done rather than something left undone. Probably because I tend to rush into things without thinking them through.

Newcastle upon Tyne: home of a grade-school penpal, who described her little brother to me as "a holy tenor," a phrase that puzzled me for an AGE (some sort of Church of England thing?) until I realized that in her British penmanship the "n" was actually two "r"s.

Dick Swart 2:45 PM  

Puzzle was easy but getting the theme was hard. I never did get it until I read Rex!

Aketi 3:47 PM  

@Lewis, stellar.
@ M&A I read both Crime and Punishment and a few Jack Reacher novels. All I remember about them is that I read them.
@Teedmn, no the RACKET strings bounced off the TOP KNOTS. They were yelling DUCK DUCK DUCK though.

mathgent 3:48 PM  

I just finished the WSJ puzzle by Alex Easton-Salners. A great one. Even though the title together with one of the long clues signaled the gimmick, I didn't see it until almost at the end. (My pleasure in solving was magnified because I did it while watching my countryman, Rafael Nadal, soundly whip the talented youngster, Nick Kyrgios).

Anonymous 4:31 PM  

@Aketi - Which did you read first, Crime or Punishment? I've heard if you read Punishment first it spoils Crime.

Naryana Gora 4:32 PM  

Same for me @Paul Rippey, except I finished with DAn. DAng.

semioticus (shelbyl) 4:38 PM  

This was fun! Like, really fun! And the clues were tricky without needing to be obscure!

For 65-Across, I had STAYSON because if you don't retire from work, you stay on. It read TAO for "19th of 24" of which I thought "oh I guess that's a Chinese dynasty clue", and BURN for "'Excuse you!' elicitor" of which I thought "oh, I guess if you burn someone physically or just with your words you can get such response". I think my answers make perfect sense!!!

All kidding aside, the theme was fun and the fill was fun. Yay! (If I didn't fill in VEGETABLEGARDEN just to see if I can figure other stuff out and finally see what the theme was about this could've taking me a lot of time though)

Naryana Gora 4:53 PM  

Hi mathgent. I like your red-plusses-in-the-margin rating system. Is it just clever cluing that gets a plus?

Masked and Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Funny & brilliant Comments Gallery material today, as per usual. Thanx, all U smart folks. This ain't gonna be one of em.

Wrong Again M&A Dept:
Additional research has shown that Newcastle is not the Brit version of White Castle, as M&A had assumed in m&sg #2. Poor postin performance. Maybe I should stick to book readin ...

@Aketi - yep. Always great to be as well-read as a beet, like M&A. Solidly keeps U from bein the life of the cockatiel party. [Nope. Don't even think about it: COCKATIELPARTY woulda made a kiss-ass bird puztheme seed, except it's friggin 14 long.] Maybe I should stick to movie-goin ...

M&A at the Flicks, recent recommendations: "Gifted" is really good. "The Dinner" was real hard for m&e to digest. "The Circle" is sorta ok, if U are a schlockaholic, I guess. Don't know about "Guardians of the Galaxy version 2" yet, but am about to go to there. Sure liked the first installment, tho. Can't believe GROOT ain't lit up the NYTPuz grids even once, yet. But, I digress. Maybe I should stick to whuppin up runtpuzs, with GROOT in em …

M&A Identity Crisis Desk

Naryana Gora 5:06 PM  

Oops, I had DAr not DAN. Dang, anyway. And DArN, too.

Naryana Gora 5:07 PM  

Same for me @Paul Rippey, except I finished with DAn. DAng.

janet schulman 5:39 PM  

why is 7th of 24 ETA Got the theme but didn't understand this easy answer Duh

Leapfinger 5:44 PM  

Tangled hair: COMEY (Yes, @Lewis, I see you; nine hours late, but it still tickles me)
Blockbuster movie: SEAMY
Wobbly table: SHIMMY

And for when there's more than ONE...
Hail the conquering hero: POMPOUS
Pop's Pop visits whales: GRAMPUS
Give some 'back': RUMPUS

When they say to keep something under your HAT, I didn't know that meant a BERET. Glad to see ACOLYTE; the ACO Regular was just too fattening. My favourite clue/entry pair was 53D, where the 'Meeting bigwig' was the one who could "C"HAIR...

SLY SORCERY, TPolin, and thanks for all the PAPRIKAsh

Masked and Anonymous 5:45 PM  

@janet schulman darlin: ETA is 7th of the 24 Greek alphabet letters.

M&A Outlaw Help Desk

Andy Silverman 6:26 PM  

My daughter came home from college yesterday and we got to do the puzzle together again. Then this happened. I said, "3 Down - Set straight. Five letters, second letter L. " To which she replies, sLaps.

Gonna be a long summer.

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

Rex Parker suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome. There is no evidence he collided with Russia. It reminds me of the gag, " I told the judge I didn't do it he says why not you." If you read the comments section in NYTimes articles relating to this the majority, presumably educated people, are convinced there was collusion. Who knows, maybe there was, but Rex and the rest of the alt-left might think of having some evidence before making these crazy accusations. They're just going to be burned in the end.

Anonymous 8:07 PM  

I next to u next to qwerty colluded not collided will proofread next time

Mr. Grumpypants 8:13 PM  

Ugh. In the minority here, but I found this to be a silly little puzzle with nothing to recommend it.

jb129 8:17 PM  

Finished at noon - must be "me" cause I groan whenever I see this constructor - oh well :(

BarbieBarbie 8:40 PM  

@Andy, hilarious! She has a point!
@Mals, depends on the surgery. If it wasn't abdominal, the world's funniest movie is A Fish Called Wanda.
This puzzle made me chuckle, and very late in the game. I think Thursdays are shaping up to be my favorites.

@LMS et al., agree about turning the other eye. But last week I had mine opened. One contributor to a blog I read apparently uses a phone, which allows replying right under the target comment-- but posted two in a row, which to the rest of us (not using phones) just looked like two in a row. One was a civilized, blog-relevant comment. The second was one of those comments the Three Billy Goats Gruff would find familiar. But here was what seemed to happen: our hero used a username for both comments instead of hiding as an Anonymouse the second time. It was quite startling to see the thoughtful comment immediately followed by the playground taunt. possibly, this person just got rubbed the wrong way right after posting and it only seemed like that. But it made me think: how many trolls might also be posting under names, on the same blogs, but using Anonymous as an invisibility cloak for the occasional spurt of venom? Ugh, if so. OK, back to Sedaris-like tolerance.

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

I thought Manhattan was supposed to be under water by now. Thank God it isn't. Talk about convenient truths!

Anonymous 8:50 PM  

LOL I always wondered why my phone / iPad showed up differently. Learn something new everyday. Thanks (posted from my phone ��but you know that ). ps my daughter said her teacher told her to put the period inside the " ) etc. I was taught to put it outside. Oh well.

Anonymous 9:01 PM  

I didn't see anyone else point out that SORCERY is decidedly NOT a "subject taught at Hogwarts."
Here are the subjects taught at Hogwarts:
Dark Arts
Defense Against the Dark Arts
History of Magic
Muggle Studies
Care of Magical Creatures
Study of Ancient Runes

-- CS

Anonymous 9:19 PM  

Captain obvious Pence said Christians are the most persecuted faith. Duh. Ya think ?

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

She's right.

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

Podesta's password was password. You can't make this stuff up. Between him and Carlos Danger the Democratic Party makes Trump look relatively sane, and that's saying something .

Anonymous 12:43 AM  

Get that brain surgery scheduled asap. It is critical to your survival.

alpha cameo meters 2:54 AM  

Your comment made me realize COMEY + big D = COMEDY Gotta be a puzzle theme in there somehow.

Nicky James 6:12 AM  

Life is good when you have your love ones around you, I am saying this because when i had issues with my lover i never seen life as a good thing but thanks to Dr. AGBAZARA of AGBAZARA TEMPLE, for helping me to cast a spell that brought my lover back to me within the space of 48hours. My husband left me for another woman after 7YEARS of marriage,but Dr.AGBAZARA help me cast a spell that brought him back to me within 48hours. I am not going to tell you more details about myself rather i will only advise those who are having issues in there relationship or marriages to contact Dr.AGBAZARA TEMPLE through these details via; ( agbazara@gmail.com) or call him on WHATSAPP: +2348104102662?

fredwsch 1:01 PM  

I use the online version of the puzzle. Is there a way to see the theme , such as "me, me, me" online?

Roo Monster 1:12 PM  

Holy Cow. I'd better call Dr. Abracadabra right now! Thanks Nicky James!

Roo Cadabra

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

I think that the NYT puzzle constructors should be paid a $15.00 per hour minimum wage.

Anonymous 11:44 PM  

Don't feed the trolls dope

Burma Shave 9:41 AM  


I’ll NEEDARIDE on this basis: I’m MONEYED, I’ll PAY

(notice the METER in this doggerel)

rondo 11:42 AM  

Now here’s a puz everyone can love. I had a write-over at STAYSon instead of UP; a different type of retiring, but that’s on me. Great clue for ESTATETAX. Would not want a HOMEY who’s a GLOOMY ROOMY.

Dated a NAOMI about forty years ago. Only real nymphomaniac I ever knew. ONE STAYSUP with her.

Speaking of NAOMI, in last Sunday’s Parade magazine, yeah baby NAOMI Watts.

YES sir, this was a TOPKNOTch puz.

spacecraft 1:23 PM  

Slept in for a change. Not to worry: this one didn't take too long. Pretty easy for a Thursday. Fell into the [not straight] GAY trap, also the wrong MODEL alERo trap. A bit inky on the fifth line, otherwise moved right along. I love me some PAPRIKA-flavored goulash.

Came to 26-across with EK_ and thought: oh no, not another EKE! I was so relieved it was the acronym EKG that I almost decided to award at least a birdie on the spot. The high road continued. Though I no longer eat wheat-based bagels, I do recall SCHMEAR with relish.

Sensing a theme here? YES, you're right: I haven't eaten breakfast yet. @rondo has already provided a slam-dunk yeah baby with NAOMI Watts, but out of curiosity I Googled SONYA--and came up with Bulgarian opera singer SONYA Yoncheva. She is a real looker, and wins my DOD.

I'm hungry. Without further ado, I give this an eagle. See you tomorrow.

Diana,LIW 1:56 PM  

Another day that started with "uh oh, a cross reference clues puzzle," and "oh no, all this trivia!" And ended delightfully. Found the disgruntled GARDEN pretty quickly, and then the HOMEY command. Helped the solve in other places.

Beehive before TOPKNOT had that area messed up for a while.

And, of course, I couldn't fit Nova onto the bagel. ;-(

Wanted some form of "sends back" (fare returned to the chef) instead of RANSOM. Double misdirect!

Now - must go memorize Greek alphabet.

Get out your MEGAPHONE and say "Puzzle rocks!"

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

Good puzzle, lots of fun. As usual, ignored the theme. Very nice not having a rebus infested puzzle for a while.

leftcoastTAM 2:56 PM  

Rex pretty well covered it.

SHMEAR and SPIT left bit of an ICK feeling.

TOPKNOT is new to me, and DAN was a recent entry, which helped.

Theme seemed on the thin side, but good Thursday fare.

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Three letters off. First Lea in stead of Loa. I first had Kea than changed it. Then Echelar instead of Schemar. Including the the new Tuesday and the syndicated strips for the other day this would be 4 days without hints minus a few errors for yesterday and today.


rain forest 5:26 PM  

What a good puzzle! Didn't get the theme until the bottom, and luckily that wasn't a LOST OPPORTUNITY. Had to get GLOOMY in order to see the "me" sound which then helped with HOMEY. Cool.

Loved the clues, the long downs, and non-theme acrosses in the centre section.

Just a great job.

wcutler 7:22 PM  

janet schulman 5:39 PM: I didn't check this out, but I assumed those were sequence locations for letters in the Greek alphabet. 60 down was the other one.

Tarheeled 1:24 PM  

Finally got it done. I often freeze up, and rather than Googling or running to Rex, I'll leave it for a day. When I come back to it, it often happens that it all clicks into place. I had quite a few write-overs, but still solved it. Not pretty, but fun. Didn't really catch the gimmick until I read Rex. No one will ever read this comment because right now it is 1:20 pm on Thursday, 7/27/17. We get the NYT by mail, except Sunday, so they come several days.late. Plus I don't do them every day, so they stockpile until I get to 'em. I still like to read the blog. They are archived back quite a few years. God bless you all and your great and fertile Minds.

Anonymous 11:28 PM  

@Tarheeled I read your comment! Our paper publishes them five weeks late as it is (except Sunday, which is only a week behind?!) Clearly, it is well past June 15, however. I set aside Th, F, Sat, and Sunday to do with my son when he is home from college. Today was our last for the summer, as he heads back tomorrow. We enjoyed the "corniness" of the theme. Only a few write-overs: eon for AGE and cARry for YARDS. It was a nice puzzle to end on - not really any "garbage fill." Our only disagreement was SORCERY, as it is not technically one of the courses offered at Hogwarts (as he rattled them off, only pOtions was the right length. . .)
We enjoy browsing through the blog after we complete the puzzles, as well as many of the comments, but we are both "lurkers" to be sure!

Anonymous 11:40 PM  

@Anonymous 9:10 Sorry, I missed your Hogwart's list. alchEmY fits for length as well - and would have matched the REN we already had, but ICK was there by the time we saw the clue.

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