Quaint dagger / TUE 6-27-17 / Florida state athlete slangily / Broody rock genre / Gene singing cowboy / Copper alloy used on jewelry / Military unit assembled for sudden attack / Company that was first in US to air TV ad with gay couple 1994

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Constructor: John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: GO DOWN SWINGING (48A: Fight to the better end ... or a hint to the starts of 20-, 32- and 40-Across) — themers being with three words related to swinging and missing a baseball ... but they're Not a great set ...  ugh ... I love love baseball, so double ugh ...

Theme answers:
  • WHIFF OF SCANDAL (20A: Slight sense that something is seriously shady)
  • FAN FAVORITE (32A: One who really brings out the crowds)
  • STRIKE FORCE (40A: Military unit assembled for sudden attack) 
Word of the Day: ROSE GOLD (38D: Copper alloy used in jewelry) —
Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy widely used for specialized jewelry. Rose gold, also known as pink gold and red gold, was popular in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and was also known as Russian gold although this term is now obsolete. Rose gold jewelry is becoming more popular in the 21st century and is commonly used for wedding rings, bracelets, and other jewelry. (wikipedia)
• • •

Whiff is right. At the theme level, at the fill level, this one just doesn't work. Typical Tuez. I knew before I even got out of the NW that the puzzle was gonna be rough. SHAH PACA HATH ET AL ACAI ... how do you get so much mediocrity in such a tiny space. Astonishing. And then ANAL SOL ARNO ... seriously, there is No Reason your short fill should be that dire. The theme is Not Demanding At All, so boring / ultra-common words should not dominate. I mean ANAL SOL. Really? Come on. The theme doesn't work either. Three strikes would've worked, except fan doesn't really work as a noun (the way the other two do) and strike doesn't really work as a verb (as the other two do), and "fan" usually means the full strikeOUT, so ... blah. As a baseball fan, I found the yuck factor kind of intolerable. Luckily, this was one of the easiest Tuesdays I've done in a long time. A long long time. Finished in under 3 (a full 35 seconds faster than yesterday). Speaking of yesterday, i.e. speaking of substandard puzzles, and being particularly annoyed by bad puzzles with themes relating to things you Love ... you should do this crossword by Finn Vigeland, which is a direct response to yesterday's anemic "tribute" puzzle. Finn loooooves yesterday's puzzle topic, and so, in less than 90 minutes, stem to stern, he made a decent tribute puzzle. Better than decent. And Way better than the one that appeared in the NYT. Here it is (PDF; .puz).

Gene AUTRY and ARTIE Shaw and ESAI Morales and on and on. This really is OLDE, in all the worst ways. And [Quaint dagger]? I doubt anyone ever thought of any "dagger" as "quaint." Pretty sure DIRKs kill people, so ... I think you mean "quaint word for 'dagger.'" Kind of a big difference. Also, DIRK is a name, so you could've avoided the dagger route altogether. I have never heard of ROSE GOLD. Neither has my wife. It's real, but ... it's not interesting. Make sure your themes work. Polish your grids. Try harder, everyone. Thanks.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Music Man 12:06 AM  

Are you sure refers to the full strike out? I don't think that's right...he fanned on the pitch. He swung and missed.

Anyway, this puzzle sucked I agree. A few dnf's even. Ugh

Music Man 12:07 AM  

Are you sure fanning refers to the full strike out?*

jae 12:09 AM  

Medium- tough for me. HATH threw me off, did not know SOL as clued, @Rex ROSE GOLD was a WOE, put in tORi before WORF without reading the down clues...so on the tough side.

I thought the theme was amusing, liked it more than @Rex did.

@Evil from yesterday - more annoyed than pissed off. And, for the record, I've purchased several Potter books for my grandson who loves them and I've seen one or two of the movies. It was more the fill, cross referencing, and non-Mondayness that I found irritating.

Music Man 12:09 AM  

Turns out it googles well your way, but I've certainly grown accustom to hearing it for one pitch, maybe a regional thing.

Kendall 12:38 AM  

I normally think the shorter fill is more enjoyable than most because I enjoy themed puzzles and find it makes up for cheap fill, but this just plain sucked. I played baseball and never picked up on this theme. I was two away from actually finishing because of the AUTRY/DIRK and ARTIE/AUTRY crossings. I know I'll have some misses in puzzles but DIRK seems like it could have had a more Tuesday level clue.

Other thoughts:
I had to google the thirty days HATH November quote and I've never heard anyone say that before.
Way to go IKEA!
SEGO is barely searchable without lily.

Maybe I'm being ANAL but this left something to be desired for me.

Robin 12:38 AM  

ROSEGOLD is one of the color options for an iPhone.

mathgent 1:01 AM  

I like the theme. You go down swinging after three strikes. I take WHIFF to be a swing and a miss. Also FAN (even though it is a synonym for a strikeout). And then the third STRIKE. Not the smoothest, I agree, but pretty good.

I used to really enjoy teaching PREALGEBRA. We didn't have a text so I chose some of the key ideas of algebra and took my time teaching them. The regular algebra curriculum is so packed that you have to rush through some topics. Only the brightest third of the class would get them.

The mathematics curriculum seems to be rushing students into algebra. My grandson just finished the sixth grade in a middle school in South San Francisco, about twenty minutes south of here. Because he is good in mathematics, he had the opportunity to take seventh-grade math this summer and then take algebra next school year as a seventh-grader. I was pleased that he didn't do it. The family is going away for two weeks and then he is going to a basketball camp.

Larry Gilstrap 1:02 AM  

Tuesday is famous for tacos and for puzzles I like better than OFL does. GADFLY, indeed! I follow baseball and like the three STRIKE theme and the revealer. I notice that most commentators recognize that the initial noun in RBI is already plural, but clued the way it is, NO PROBLEMO.

Shakespeare again? That moody DANE and the wacky LEAR with his issues with his issue. God forfend! any troupe that schedules the latter. The Fool is a powerful character in the byplay between the old King and reality. Companies are looking for a courageous dramaturge, as we speak. One of Yeats's iconic images is a GYRE of birds.

Enough of literature, I have recently become a huge FAN of the elliptical machine at my local gyms; that's some serious CARDIO if you do it right. Don't be like Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes; get on that torture machine and spin until time stands still, and it will.

My parents were immigrants from the Ozarks to Southern California in 1941; not exactly OKIE, but certainly Hillbilly. That's not exactly an ethnicity but it'll do. I've got all my teeth, but my aunts and uncles didn't.

And another thing! I'm over being annoyingly focused on anything. But 12D? What kind of pose and mirror does that involve? Even SPANK/KINKY doesn't help me cope with that adjective and that image.

Gene AUTRY is an outlier? Stream some Xmas music in December or walk into a Target.

Rage quit: Puzzle square #55 I'm looking squarely at you. I leave it blank, make the Pontius Pilate gesture with my hands and move on.

Brian 1:03 AM  

There's always supplementary info at xwordinfo, which has admissions that yesterday's Harry Potter theme constructor was someone who knows nothing about Harry Potter, and that today's baseball themer was someone who doesn't know anything about baseball (hence the idea than "fan" just means "strike").

Yeah, just a great big sigh.

Anoa Bob 2:01 AM  

PREALGEBRA at 11D reminds me of a George Carlin RIFF on the call at an airport terminal gate to "preboard". Here tis, short but NSFW. So how can you do PREALGEBRA. Don't you just do, like, beginning algebra? Introduction to algebra? Algebra for dummies? Oops, make that algebra for the partially proficient.

Today's puzz has a connection of sorts with yesterday's. PHILOSOPHERS STONE relates to modern chemistry the same way ANAL relates to modern psychology. Both are hopelessly outdated. Neither has even a WHIFF of contemporary legitimacy in their fields. I think if you want to put ANAL in your grid, and it's certainly a grid-fill-friendly sequence of letters, then do it in an adult way by clueing it straight up in its anatomical context. Nothing KINKY about that. Why clue it as somehow explaining why someone would be "annoyingly focused", whatever that is supposed to be.

Anonymous 2:41 AM  

I'm amazed people haven't heard of rose gold. We all learn new things every day, but it's just such a common thing for jewelry to be made of.

phil phil 3:03 AM  

Apple and Rollex color schemes. People see it but unless you're shopping you don't catch the name. Fresh and new, Rex complains when its not...

phil phil 3:13 AM  

Gene AUTRY was the Angels Owner. Pretty appropo for the puzzle.

Nachos are a FANFAVORITE but missing the TANGY SALSA

Anonymous 3:39 AM  

Wba crossing worf, was almostva natick for me..I just made a lucky guess at the W. Is there someone actually named worf?

evil doug 4:26 AM  

Constructors, here's a helpful tip: If you're ever in a tight spot where only a nonsense word will fill the void in your grid, look no further than rap singers or Star Trek characters....

Thomaso808 4:31 AM  

Great puzzle. I love baseball -- played it, coached it, follow it to this day. In my ill-spent youth I read many, many comic books produced by 51D Stan "The Man" Lee but I knew that moniker really belonged to the Hall of Fame Cardinal Stan Musial, the real Stan The Man. Hidden bonus with 32D FOUL plus the out-in-the-open 38A RBIS. I grew up listening to Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges on the radio, filling out scorecards with Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Davenport, and the famous spitballer Gaylord Perry.

@philphil I agree AUTRY qualifies.

I spent many years teaching high school physics and filled in my schedule with trigonometry or calculus, all to juniors and seniors. But for summer school I always got to teach PREALGEBRA to the incoming freshmen. What a delight! The energy level was off the charts! Pre-algebra is all about just trying to fill in the gaps, so for the most part the students already knew the material. But the contrast between seniors who had already settled into their pecking order versus incoming freshmen who were just starting to realize there was one was really an adventure!

Loren Muse Smith 5:06 AM  

@philphil – I didn’t know about AUTRY being baseball related, but like @Thomaso808, I did notice FOUL, RBIS, and STAN Musial. And Pete ROSE. And FLY.

Liked the clue for NOSE. Sneeze, sniffle, snore. Also snout, snort, sniff. (And for me, sneer, snoop, snarl, snub, snob, snicker all feel like the nose is brought in on the action a little bit: sneer - your lip goes up to meet your crinkled nose, snoop – you sniff around for dirt, snarl – your nose is all crinkled up, menacing, snub/snob – your nose is up in the air, snicker – your laugh comes out of your nose a little bit.) I dunno. Maybe this SN Onomatopoeia Theory is valid, maybe itsnot.

@ Mark Barrett - I swear I almost misspelled FOUL as the stupid bird and not the thing that snells bad.

First entry – confident – was “Puss’n” for KINKY. Speaking of which, cool to have KINKY and SPANK in the grid (Hey, @Larry). I mean, SPANKing is KINKY 101, right? PREKINKY.

And every month I say that little poem, but I say “has” instead of HATH. You can also figure out if June has 30 or 31 days with your knuckles. It’s a nifty little trick.

I had no idea GYRE was a real word. Hah. I thought it was a Jabberwocky nonsense word. Cool. So does a tyre gyre in England?

Favorite clue was the one for SUIT. Wardrobe advice to lawyers – if you’re arguing a big lawsuit, suits suit the occasion better than sport coats.

I was gonna make a snarky comment about our resident gadflies, but I realize I’m guilty of the same thing from many others’ perspective. I’m dialing it back.

Cassieopia 6:01 AM  

Rex's critique is spot-on. Doing this puzzle (and it was more of a "do" and less of a "solve") was like wandering into Cheers where everyone knew your name. I was, like, hello ACAI, hello SOL, oh look there's GYRE, NAAN, and IKEA sitting in the corner.

@evildoug's helpful tip for constructors made me laugh, although I for one was delighted to find WORF instead of the usual TROI. The man who played Worf, Michael Dorn, is quite the renaissance man and besides being a great actor, is a very accomplished pilot. Trivia for a Tuesday!

BarbieBarbie 6:08 AM  

ROSE GOLD is definitely current, but not fresh or new. Big fad in the 80s-90s to use three colors of gold in jewelry. White, yellow, rose. 20-30 years ago.

This puzzle could have been so cool if there had been a Down with an orphan K just past each strike. And maybe a big backwards K in the grid. I say this as a non-constructor...

As long as someone referenced yesterday's puzzle, I have a beef with Sunday's which was not well-surfaced in the comments:
I needed to cut a zigzag edge so I PUNK the fabric
I was noodling a ragtime on the piano and I PLUNK one out
I had to stop the water flowing in the hose so I KUNK it
There was a great YouTube video so I LUNK to it
I got a fly in my eye so I WUNK

C'mon.. SLUNK... Really? Should have been clued with some "makes English teachers cringe" modifying stuff.

Lewis 6:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:26 AM  

Got to know this puzzle on a first name basis: STAN, DIRK, NORA, SOL, BILL, ANDY, ESAI.
FOUL is a non-theme strike.

Riddle: Which answer is something the Man of Steel wears? (No, not SUIT.)

Hungry Mother 6:43 AM  

Very easy, althought I did many downs on my way through. I guess PREALGEBRA is a fancy way of saying "Arithmetic." Maybe the unk nowns are represented by 'w's. I found that some students are put off by the 'x' in [ 2x = 4 ], so I would ask them to think of it as a blank.

Mr. Bogarde 6:54 AM  

Would you have preferred: British junior naval officer's dagger, Wednesday, March 19, 1952 ?

Dirk Werner Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks is the trending "Dirk."

Glimmerglass 6:54 AM  

ROSE GOLD is a real thing but "not interesting"? Why not? Logically, then, something is "not interesting" to @Rex if it is new to him. Stuff he doesn't know is boring? He already knows everything worth knowing? What are you, fifteen years old?

Anonymous 7:02 AM  

I think rose gold is a beautiful choice for a wedding ring and really looks good on some people. Worf is not obscure. I knew the answer even though I never watched the series. I think it has appeared in crosswords from time to time. Never really got the theme while doing the puzzle.

QuasiMojo 7:14 AM  

In my grogginess I put in WHIG instead of SUIT for court attire.

This seemed like a typical Tuesday NYT puzzle to me. I did it and had few complaints. I'm sort of shocked by the level of SPEW in Rex's critique.

WHIFF OF SCANDAL was pretty good. The rest was OKAY. Call it a NAAN event.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

Third themer doesn’t work for me (should be strikeout not strike).

Completely disagree with Rex about the fill – it was consistently entertaining with GADFLY, PREALGEBRA, HALFLIFE, LARGESSE.

Looking forward to doing the bonus HP puzzle.

Alternate clue for 48A: Why human’s can’t fly - GOD OWNS WINGING.

Hartley70 7:27 AM  

No idea what the theme was doing today. WHIFF is the action of a WHIFFER, the inhaler my asthmatic husband uses on occasion. FAN is a person or an out-moded air conditioner.

But ROSEGOLD is another matter. Take a stroll through Cartier sometime. Their use of ROSEGOLD in tri-color classics is iconic.

Mary Perry 7:33 AM  


Anonymous 7:50 AM  

had RHINO instead of HIPPO which messed me up

GHarris 8:01 AM  

Once I changed rich to real (19a) I was done. Enjoyed it a lot more than did Rex.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

Spew that hate brother, spew that hate.

chefbea 8:10 AM  

Thought fan was someone who enjoys something...a fan of baseball. Love Warhol and rose gold!!!

Two Ponies 8:10 AM  

Placing Ikea as clued in the same puzzle with anal doesn't pass my breakfast test

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Ugh should I have gone outside and 'grammed the rainbow tonight instead of napping and watching Silicon Valley

Nate 8:30 AM  

Cluing DIRK with Nowitzki would have easily saved that clue. Maybe it would have been one too many proper nouns in a section (ARTIE and AUTRIE already there)? I don't know, but I think it's much more Tuesday-appropriate.

I actually got DNF'd by the Sinn FEIN/ESAI Morales crossing. I just straight up forgot the guy's name, and couldn't tell you if if party was Sinn Fein or Sinn Fain. Ugh. I think if you're new to crosswords, that's a clear Natick. Mehhh.

One last complaint - didn't we have SEGO in a puzzle like a month ago? And everyone groaned at it then?

Anyways... other than some sketchy fill, I did like most of the longer clues. LARGESSE, HALF LIFE, and UNDERWORLD especially. Good words with good cluing. Hey, I might just play some Half-Life tonight.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Rose gold is a super popular trend in both jewelry and in hair colors so got that immediately. Naticked at WBA and WORF. And what is a SEGO? First google result is a band with under 5,000 likes on Facebook, not a flower.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

@Lewis - I'll bite.

oldbizmark 8:50 AM  

DNF due to the "G" in SE[]O/WA[] cross. I am sure they are both regulars for long time CW solvers but I never heard of either. Not a natick, I know, but close. Otherwise, a bit harder than an easy for me but fair for a Tuesday. Other than the SE[]O/WA[] cross I enjoyed the fill.

As an aside, is the street sign post part of the street sign? And, does a business with a parked car on the side of it count as a picture with a car? I never seem to know what the computer wants me to click on.

chefbea 9:00 AM  

Sego lily

SouthsideJohnny 9:00 AM  

Is there such a thing as a HIPPO tank (or a Rhino tank for that matter) ? A cage, perhaps. A fenced in open field would be even better.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

@old biz - yes and yes.

Tita A 9:03 AM  

ROSEGOLD used to be called Russian gold. Rex's oddball comment about it being boring got me thinking about the term, so wiki'd, then ngrammed it.
So it was popular in Russia at turn of last century. Made me think that the Cold War had something to do with its name change. Yup...look at the ngram viewer for the term... usage drops dramatically in the 50s.
Marketers to the rescue! I wonder if it was the same guys who changed spider crab to king crab. Couldn't give away those oversized bugs with the former name.

I'm in the camp of liking it, having no problem with Strike as verb. Not memorable, some bad fill, but hey, it's Tuesday! And it takes a truly awful puzzle to make me mad about solving it.

Yes, I needed to guess at the W, having never heard of WORF. There's a tron too, right? I was a Trekkie once, but care not a lick for the "new" generation.

Loren Muse Smith 9:04 AM  

@Lewis - It could be two answers: large ess (42A LARGESSE) or l'ess (23A LESS) if you wanna go all French on us. Hah!

So here's my riddle - which answer is a part of a ship that you hope is there to treat some unexpected trauma?

kitshef 9:15 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny - hippos spend their days in water, so their enclosures will always feature a pool and often a tank.

@Loren Muse Smith - AFTER

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Rally wanted 32-Across ("One who really brings out the crowds") to be PRIDE PARADE.

jackj 9:28 AM  


PORT, lots of PORT.

Unknown 9:31 AM  

I was thinking the same thjng

Lewis 9:32 AM  

@loren -- Good one!
@all -- I'm going on a little trip, be back this weekend.

Churlish Nabob 9:33 AM  

Does anyone remember Enos Slaughter?

Norm 9:35 AM  

Thanks to Finn for his retake on Monday's puzzle with a much, much better use of the circles.

Masked and Anonymous 9:53 AM  

WHIFF is strike one.
FAN is strike two. (Mighta wanted to save it for last (third one down).)
STRIKE is strike three.
Sooo … U go down the puzzle, swingin. KKKinda cool.

staff weeject pick: EMO. Only 6 to choose from, tho.

Safe & fun travels, @Lewis.

Thanx, Mr. Guzzetta.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Joseph Michael 9:53 AM  

The riddles in the comments are more entertaining than the puzzle. Thanks, @lewis and @lms. Here's mine:

A cooler than cool place for letters?

GILL I. 9:57 AM  

I always want my 1A to sing. When it doesn't, I want my 1D to at least make me smile. I didn't CROON ET AL.
@Rex is so right on the OLDE feeling. Everywhere. Boring.
Kanye and Kim get way too much mention in the NYT puzzles. BOO. Why not clue Spanish year for being annoyingly focused.
ARTIE AUTRY both dead. Nobody is an OAKIE anymore.
Baseball puts me to sleep.

Loren Muse Smith 10:01 AM  

@Joseph Michael - good one! I got it finally but won't say it 'cause looking for it is so fun. For the few of us who are playing. I imagine someone soon will chime in and whine about our little game. @Lewis' little game. He stirs up trouble and then leaves town.

RooMonster 10:02 AM  

Hey All !
I like the F love this puz has! Like @M&A's "U's get no respect" for vowels, F's hardly get respect for consonants. But this puz has 8 of them!
Don't look at me that way... :-)

Liked puz overall. WHIFF and FAN seem OKAY as substitute words for STRIKEs. Not thinking of any others that would work well.

Haven't read anyone yet, but I'm sure someone picked up the KINKY/SPANK cross. With TANGY!


Nancy 10:04 AM  

Thought this was one of the better Tuesdays. Some challenging and/or colorful cluing for SUIT; CHAOS; ANAL; IKEA. Some lively fill: GADFLY; PREALGEBRA; LARGESSE; WHIFF OF SCANDAL. And I learned for the first time of ROSEGOLD. So entertaining that I didn't take the time to even think about the theme until after I finished it. Then I, too, thought that STRIKE was not quite right, that it would have to be STRIKE AT, and that even that would be awkward. But it didn't really matter because the solving process was fun.

I never had PREALGEBRA. I only had ALGEBRA in 9th grade -- which I absolutely loved. I loved turning complicated word puzzles into easy-to-solve equations. I'm wondering, though, exactly what a student would be taught in PREALGEBRA. @Mathgent?

Nancy 10:06 AM  

@GILL (9:57) -- You've always wanted the SHAH of Iran to sing???

Z 10:11 AM  

Finn's hate constructed puzzle is way way better than yesterday's offering IMO.

Today's puzzle went quickly and made no thematic sense to me for at least a three count. The theme set doesn't work as a set, though. A WHIFF is a swing and miss. A STRIKE can be a swing and miss or a called STRIKE. Both are single pitches. When a batter FANs they are out, it happens after three STRIKEs or WHIFFs. It's not really a part of the same set of terms. Thematic Fail.

@mathgent and @Anoa Bob - Ah, careful or you'll get me ranting. There has been a definite push to drive math concepts down to earlier and earlier grades. So much so that you can find algebraic concepts being introduced as early as third grade. There's nothing developmentally wrong with this except for the tendency of adults to "reward" the most mathematically adept with the "opportunity" to give up summer vacation for a math class. Separately, @Anoa Bob, at least "PRE-ALGEBRA" has some basis in math. There are some underlying concepts which are distinct from what is generally considered Algebra. There is no such thing, however, as "seventh grade math." While the origin of the term is innocuous (the mathematical concepts we teach in our course for 7th graders) what it turns into is a tool for parents and kids to compare and sort. I'll stop now before this turns into a treatise.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

@ Churlish Nabob

I remember Enos Slaughter. A real prick. Took pride in spiking Jackie Robinson. Yeah, old country was a great guy. Why you chose to ask about that pos, I'll never know.


Surprised you're unfamiliar with gyre as a real word. And in fact, you may have seen it but not recall. It's in the first line of Yeats's (vastly over-rused and incredibly poorly understood) poem "The Second Coming:
Turning turning in the widening gyre.....What creature slouches towards Bethlehem to be born"

jb129 10:25 AM  

Very easy - so I guess tomorrow will be medium/challenging...

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:31 AM  

I was taught the month rhyme in grammar school. but when I learned the same rhyme in German in High School I thought its poetics were so much better I promptly forgot the English one.
Dreissig Tage had November,
April, Juni und September.
Februar hat viermal sieben,
alle die noch uebrig blieben
haben ein und dreissig.

ArtO 10:33 AM  

Surprised at the scorn heaped on this puzzle...as @Nancy expected some love for WHIFFOFSCANDAL, ROSEGOLD. Liked the theme and take note of the related baseball references, as pointed out earlier, scattered through the grid. I guess some of us old timers like the sport and are willing to accept the OLDE fill since much "newer" fill is often out of our wheelhouse (a good baseball term for a pitch that is just where the batter wanted it and is therefore driven out of the ballpark).

jberg 10:40 AM  

Here's the second stanza of Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade:"

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Using a partial quotation, in quotation marks, to clue OURS is just horrible. Very gettable, since theirs is too long, but horrible, as is the gratuitous "is" in the clue.

OK, got that off my chest! Aside from that:

*Is a state of CHAOS always bad?
*Rex wasn't saying that AUTRY was obscure, he was saying the opposite -- so common as to be trite. I didn't mind it myself, just looking for accuracy here.
*@Anoa Bob, ANAL may not be current psychology, but it's certainly current pop psychology, which is more relevant for a puzzle.

I thought the theme was better than Rex did, but then I don't love baseball as much as he does, either.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

I get so annoyed with 34D whenever I see it because it is a common misquotation. Tennyson never said "Ours is not to reason why" but over the years, I guess the misquotation has become common enough to be in all these crosswords.

AZPETE 10:45 AM  

Thx for the Carlin clip. Spot on.

AZPETE 10:57 AM  

Knew the guitar thingy as "riff", but wrote in "rift". Thus a DNF. Didn't bother to go back and check it once I figured out the theme. Also can never remember Morales' first name!

Tita A 11:02 AM  

@Greater Fall River...thanks for the German mnemonic. They definitely win February...

Fun fact if you ever wondered why September, October, November, and December are not the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th months of our calendar, google

derivation of month names in English

Nancy 11:16 AM  

@jberg (10:40) and @Anon 10:43: I deserve to have all my poetry books confiscated for a year -- that's how chagrined I am for not picking up the misquote of Tennyson -- Tennyson who happens to be my all-time FAN FAVORITE. It's not that I don't know the quote's wrong; it's that I simply didn't notice. Inexcusable! The OURS is bad enough, but the superfluous "is" is far more egregious. Listen to the musicality of "Theirs not to reason why" and then hear the music go thud when you add the "is". Whether it's "Theirs is not to reason why" or "Ours is not to reason why", same thing. Thud。 My 阿pologies,Lord Alfred。

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

I've been a HS teacher for many years. Prealgebra is a real class. That's what it is called.
Rose gold is also a real and common thing. Just watch any jewelry show on QVC and you'll see it.

mathgent 11:27 AM  

@Nancy: I'm guessing that schools don't offer PREALGEBRA anymore. When I was teaching, it was a course for students who weren't selected to take algebra in the grade where the better math students were taking it. It was an algebra course which covered the basic topics of the full course but not all the topics. And covered them more slowly. These students were expected to take the full course the next year.

G. Weissman 11:30 AM  

I did this puzzle without sensing any theme and still find it pretty lacking theme-wise.

Mr. Benson 11:58 AM  

Just did Finn Vigeland's puzzle. Really easy when you already know the theme, but just looking at it, it's very impressive that he could do that. And there's almost no dreck, except, you know, at 68A.

Lewis 11:58 AM  

@Joseph -- Good one!

RnRGhost 12:36 PM  

Does anyone remember Country Dick Montana?

RooMonster 12:55 PM  

@Tita A 11:02
I did question that at one point, so I looked it up and found out the last four used to be 7,8,9,10. But the ego-maniac Caesar intervened. (And then his son.) Giving us todays calendar. Very bizarre how you can just add whole months like that. Did we adjust our thinking to match the extra year-time, or did we realize we were short changing ourselves all that time? There is a section of time (going from memory here, so Goog it because I'm sure I'm not accurate) when someone had to add (or was it subtract?) years to get seasons, etc. to line up. That's where leap years came from. Fun facts.


RooMonster 1:00 PM  

Looked it up, it was only 11 days, not years. Har.
But interesting to research.


Anonymous 1:03 PM  

I'm more focused on investing than I am spewing vitriolic hate. I guess that's why I'm a multi millionaire, and infinitely more happy.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

In the recent movie "Paris Can Wait" there is a mention of a Rose Gold Rolex - I won't quote the reference to avoid being a spoiler but I will mention that one of those can run you 25-35$K.

Joe Bleaux 1:07 PM  

@ Loren Muse Smith, I'm still searching for your ship's part (although I *think* I have it), but I got @Joseph Michael's letter place. (Hint for old rockers: Steppenwolf would stomp that answer.)

Joe Bleaux 1:09 PM  

As an afterthought: I just got yours too, LMS. Now for Lewis's super-challenge ...

scotgordon 1:14 PM  

Fanning means like a fan , something striking only air.

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

ROSE GOLD - I got a new phone for Christmas last year and after nearly dropping the skinny, slippery thing every time I picked it up, I decided I needed a case. Not finding one I liked in any local stores, I went online. I just wanted something black and plain but the only one I found in a style I liked came in ROSEGOLD. I thought I was really cutting edge but it seems like I'm a few years behind. Hey, that's more cutting edge, style-wise, than I usually am!

And ROSEGOLD is also one of the colors Black Hills Gold jewelry comes in. My mother, a very stylish person, used to turn her NOSE up at BHG until she became the manager of a store that specialized in the stuff. Suddenly I was getting bracelets, earrings, necklaces made from it. It is really very pretty.

I like the way GYRE is SWINGING off of 46A.

And for those who didn't like seeing WORF, Mr. Guzzetta explains over at xwordinfo that it was originally baRF crossing BRA. I see he still slunk in BRA at 11D.

Thanks, JG, for a fine Tuesday puzzle.

AZPETE 1:25 PM  

Finn's puz is way fantastic. ZAP!

kitshef 1:49 PM  

I seem to be in he minority, but I was not so fond of Finn's puzzle and liked yesterday's better. Some of that is undoubtedly due to losing the surprise factor, but also there is some atrocious fill in the puzzle (e.g. 2D (SO terrible), 5D, 10D, 63D) and at least two tortured clues (43A, 36D).

Marge 2:18 PM  

What is DNF?

JC66 2:22 PM  

Did Not Finish

Johnny Vagabond 2:41 PM  

Did not finish

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

CNN reports this is a crappy puzzle.

Aketi 2:51 PM  

@Mathgent and other math commenters, I'm pretty sure my son had PREALGEBRA in seventh grade and algebra in eighth. Whatever they taught him in eighth grade was not sufficient to enable him to take honors math. But he did just fine in high school math anyway.

I had to take the spring green cover off my iPhone and the TOMATO red cover off my iPad to figure out which was ROSE GOLD. My son borrows my iDevices often enough that I never leave them uncovered. His iPhone has so many cracks that he had to duct tape it over the open circuitry.

Finn Vigeland 2:59 PM  

@kitshef: I wrote my puzzle in a fit of rage after solving yesterday's disheartening puzzle, more as an exercise to show that yesterday's theme could have been done far better with little effort. Wouldn't be hard to redo the NW and NE corners. But I'm not sure what to say if a few words like TRE and a perfectly reasonable, if unTimesian, clue on SIA bother you more than GHIJK(!), ASNEAT, BLEST, ETH, AHOT, AGAS, EFFS, IDNO, IER and the inclusion of an actor who has nothing to do with a book's anniversary.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

I'm a snowflake.

Naryana Gora 3:05 PM  

My first algebra class was in grade 9 and listed as Algebra 0.5. We called it what it really was, bonehead math. I shouldn't admit this. I was really much better at English.

This puzzle was very easy, still I dnf'd with ARNe and ESAu.

Larry Gilstrap 3:08 PM  

@LMS - Snuggling while snoozing is the gateway KINKY.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

Finn "hate constructed" his puzzle. A tormented soul.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

@Finn Vigeland.

We get it. You didn't care for yesterday's puzzle. Why pick on Kitschef? he's entitled to his opinion. I happen to share it.
By the way, you could use an editor. That last sentence of yours is areal doozy. Maybe Will Shortz can help you out.

(Signed) not a smug douche

Anoa Bob 4:20 PM  

@jberg, I 'spect you're right. It's there in pop culture. I guess it's fun to get away with calling someone ANAL by making it sound as though one is part of the psychological cognoscenti, even though the opposite is true.

Given that grid-fill friendly sequence of letters, I'm sure we will see it again. Of the 31 times it has appeared in the Shortz era, xwordinfo.com tells me, it has been clued 30 times with a straight-out-of-the-1880's Freudian twist. The one exception was a Joe Krozel puzzle where it was clued "Chem. assay". I would clue it "Type of chem. or geom." Yeah, I know. Boring. Not likely to happen.

Think I'll go preheat some water for my afternoon tea. Hooooo. [long,doleful sigh]

kitshef 4:39 PM  

@Finn - Wish we could go off blog to discuss, but as is - I think in my head 2D was was equivalent to yesterday's letter string - not a word, not a phrase, just letters.

Different solvers value different things and are irritated by different things - you hit a lot of my personal hot buttons (overly long clues, sound made into word, pluralized proper name).

And I have no doubt that you would have made a cleaner puzzle with more time, and I probably would have enjoyed that more. But I'm also on record as enjoying yesterday's theme, so for me you were fixing a problem that did not exist.

Two Ponies 6:11 PM  

The author of yesterday's puzzle has a rather impressive resume.
Perhaps that slanted my opinion in his favor. At least show some respect for your elders. I enjoyed the pleasant diversion of that puzzle.

BarbieBarbie 7:09 PM  

@Anoa; "Think I'll go preheat some water for my afternoon tea. Hooooo. [long,doleful sigh]"
So was that Hooooolong tea?

old timer old timer 7:49 PM  

Not a bad puzzle but Tuesdays are usually the ones OFL has the most room to complain about.

I can explain about those Roman months. In the old days, March was the first month of the year. In fact, in the English tradition it still was, though as I recall the legal year in Britain the legal year began on Lady Day, March 25.the first of the Quarter Days (the others were Midsummer Day (June 24), Michaelmas (Sept 25) and Christmas.) Rents were due on the Quarter Days, and ffrom Jan 1 to March 25, dates were given according to both the Julian Calendar, which started Jan 1, and the Roman/English calendar, for Lady Day was New Year's Day,

If March was the first month for the Romans, then July was month 5, August Month 6, and September Month 7 (Latin for 7 being septem). December was month 10 of course,but because the Romans also thought of Jan 1 as New Year's day, they moved on to January and February rather than months 11 and 12.

True that Julius Caesar was awarded July, and his cousin Augustus insisted the next month should be his.

Finn Vigeland 8:47 PM  

@kitshef - always happy to go off blog to discuss! I like to know what ticks solvers off; it's what makes me a better constructor. If you ever want to chat, drop me a line at my first initial, last name at gmail. Unlike the anons around 4 p.m., I like to engage in constructive criticism! ;)

@Two Ponies - he does have an impressive resume. That doesn't make it an impressive puzzle.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

I want a smoothie!

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

FI need Vineland,
Go have your bromance some place else.
Your puzzle was inferior to Greer's.
Get over it. And yourself.

Thomaso808 9:32 PM  

@Finn I thoroughly enjoyed your puzzle, especially the pattern of the circles. Maybe a little tough for a Monday, and more time and some editing would have given it a polish, but 90 minutes? I am impressed!

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Burma Shave 9:12 AM  


at the KINKY UNDERWORLD wingding.
She OPTS for ANAL, she USEd to savor it,


rondo 10:06 AM  

Hah! Right after Finn and anon finish their spat we get a spellcaster offering to fix their broken relationship. Wonder what kind of UNDERWORLD GOIN’ ons that would take.

Well, if one wants to pick nits, you can STRIKE out without SWINGING by just looking at that third one. But they were all close enough for me. In our softball league you can also GODOWNSWINGING by hitting a FOUL ball on your third STRIKE. Speeds up the game but not much chance for RBIS.

Isn’t there CHAOS and unrest in 49-51d WEST NAPA STAN?

And the NOLE GADFLY did GYRE and gimble in the AUTRY SEGO . . .

There ARNO write-overs so I guess it’s OKAY.

spacecraft 10:55 AM  

This one has special meaning for me. As a Phillies FAN, I identify with the theme; the hapless Phils reside in the basement, some 24 or so games out of first, so they must WHIFF a lot. But every year--well, for the past three and again this year--my son flies out here (Vegas) and we go on a road trip to see our team play on the WEST coast. This puzzle appears on the very eve of his arrival--and the kicker is: his name is ANDY!

Speaking of, I know she spells her name Andie, but that's close enough for the ultra-beautiful McDowell to become DOD.

The actual puzzle itself? I have to say I had a few problems. The term PREALGEBRA made no sense to me; either the subject is algebra or it isn't. And in the same nightmarish corner, I never heard of the term SOL as a Martian day--and I follow astronomy, hence my username. I almost DNF on account of that stupid corner. Also, hand up among many for ignorance of ROSEGOLD. In on crosses, period.

The rest of it was quite OKAY, and as I said, the theme "hit home." A sentimental birdie.

thefogman 11:08 AM  

Why bother with a theme which is so bland and boring? It's like yesterday's mashed potatoes.

leftcoastTAM 2:41 PM  

Not a puzzle GADFLY today. Theme, themers, and revealer were fine. An Xword is not a literary essay. It's often a "close-enough" set of clues and entries. Shouldn't get all ANAL about it.

Best words: LARGESSE and KINKY. ROSEGOLD might qualify, but never heard of it.

A little off-beat, but OKAY: PACA, SOL.

Write-over of the day: Wit before WAG.

And that's the ol' ball game.

rain forest 3:01 PM  

I like yesterday's mashed potatoes, if there's leftover gravy. Thus, I liked this puzzle, regardless of how minutely one would like to analyze the theme. WHIFF, FAN, STRIKE are all related, and the revealer tells us what happens as a result. No confusion for me. With some pain I recall my last at-bat in Little League in our Victoria and District playoff. Last inning, two out, two men on, down by one run, I worked the count to 3-2, fouled off 8 pitches (one of them a liner just foul by a foot down the left field line, and then...WHIFF/FAN/STRIKE...THREE. Still hurts.

A favourite saying I posted on my wall when I was a middle school principal was: "First there is confusion, then there is CHAOS, then comes lunch".

I loved the link to George Carlin's rant on the use of "pre-". And by the way isn't PREALGEBRA just arithmetic?

Diana,LIW 3:25 PM  

Seems @Rex came home from middle school PREALGEBRA with head lice - he certainly is picking at those nits.

Well I, for one, am thoroughly familiar with ROSEGOLD, WORF (come on! ever hear of r2d2, ET, Spock? WORF is up there), HATH. ANAL, as clued, is in current vocab (most folks won't be thinking Freud, just as we still "dial" a phone - it's a common phrase). ACAI is a current food fad. ELAI is an actor in a show still airing new episodes. Had to look up SOL to see if it referred to solar or s*** out of luck, which I would be if I spent a day on Mars. Learned a new epee name. SEGO is in the puzzle at least once a month - how could anyone miss it? So is STAN Lee.

Loved the commenter's riddles today. Anyone for an alien Gore? Commercials at Boston's airport? A real cool Catholic leader? A sweater letter?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana,LIW 3:31 PM  

I don't mean to imply that knowing or not knowing these terms is good or bad - just that they really are out there. I had to guess the I in ELAI, but I still thought he was a fair-game answer.

And, yes, Carlin's rant on Pre was pre-priceless.

Lady Di

longbeachlee 3:36 PM  

Nit-pick time. I think "dnf" should mean left a square blank, and "one mistake" mean a wrong guess in a natick e.g.

Diana,LIW 8:39 PM  

No takers on my riddles, eh?


thefogman 11:33 PM  


Alien Gore: ETAL
Commercials at Boston airport: ADSLOGAN
A real cool Catholic leader: HIPPO (?)
A sweater letter: ?

thefogman 11:57 PM  

Riddle me this:

Sound of disappointment

Diana,LIW 10:28 AM  

The sweater? Cardi O

Disappointment - no ra?

Lady, Di

thefogman 10:54 AM  

Cardi O. Yes, of course!

I thought it might be LARGESSE like a large S which is really a medium, but alas that one was already taken by the Superman crowd.

As for Sound of dissapointment - ACAI


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