Second-largest city in Vermont / SUN 6-25-17 / Petroleum byproduct used to make synthetic rubber / Island south of Cyclades / Brenda's twin on Beverly Hills 90210 / Where Sanyo Panasonic are headquartered / Tech company founder Michael

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Constructor: Jacob Stulberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: "Cropped" — various crops (!) are "shortened" (into two-letter-per-square chunks) inside the theme answers, with the revealer (VEGETABLE SHORTENING) explaining the gimmick (107A: Canful in a cupboard ... or a hint to parts of six answers in this puzzle):

Theme answers:
  • ASIAN LONG-HORNED (BEET)LE (27A: Tree-damaging pest accidentally introduced to the U.S. in 1996)
  • FOUR (CORN)ERS (44A: Southwest tourist destination)
  • (KALE)IDOSCOPIC (48A: Having a variegated, changing pattern)
  • NATIONAL AR(CHIVES) (68A: Constitution holder)
  • SYMP(TOMATO)LOGY (90A: MCAT subject)
  • COSM(O KRA)MER (93A: "Seinfeld" character)
Word of the Day: Tommy HAAS (56D: Tennis great Tommy) —
Thomas Mario "Tommy" Haas (born 3 April 1978) is a German professional tennis player. He has competed on the ATP Tour since 1996. After breaking into the world top 100 in 1997, and reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No. 2 in May 2002, Haas's career was interrupted by injuries: he has twice dropped out of the world rankings due to being unable to play for twelve months.[1] His first period of injury saw him miss the whole of the 2003 season, and he did not return to the world's top 10 until 2007. He also missed over a year's tennis between February 2010 and June 2011, but has since returned to play on the tour. He returned to World No. 11 in 2013 after reaching the quarterfinals at the French Open for the first time in his career. // Haas has reached the semifinals of the Australian Open three times, and Wimbledon once. He is among a few players to have reached the quarterfinal stage of each of the Grand Slams. He has won 15 career titles in singles, including one Masters tournament(Stuttgart) in 2001, and has a silver medal from the 2000 Summer Olympics. (wikipedia)
• • •

I vaguely remember when shortening came in a can (I'm remembering largish cans of Crisco in the pantry when I was a kid). When I've used it lately, it's come in sticks ... so getting that revealer was a bit tricky. But otherwise, no problems here. At least, not after the gimmick became clear, which didn't take too long. Often with puzzles like this, once you grok the theme, the hunting down of the remaining answers really isn't that much fun, but today I quite liked the vegetable hunt. I had no idea what vegetables were coming up, and at least half the time, they showed up in bonkers (i.e. really unusual) answers like ASIAN LONG-HORNED (BEET)LE (!) and SYMP(TOMATO)LOGY (!). I think a tomato is technically a fruit, but we'll leave that debate to ones pickier than I (you know who you are). Only two things really made me wince, and that was due entirely to their cluing. First, cutesy clues on OBESE now strike me as kind of awful (121A: Like those who really have guts?). Not *offensive* awful, just ... somewhat yucky. Would you tell an OBESE person, "Hey, you're a real *gutsy* person! ... huh? Huh? Get it!?" Probably not. And then there's the clue on NIGEL (22A: British politician Farage). F*** that guy. You wanna *kill* the entertainment, destroy the joy, put that guy in your puzzle. It's like finding mouse poop in your ... well, anywhere. It's mouse poop, basically. There is no other IDI, no other AMIN, but there are sure as f*** other NIGELs, so spare me that racist ********@#$%. Thanks for listening.


I have seen Tommy HAAS in the puzzle several times of late, and since clues keep calling him "great" I imagined he was from the distant past, but no. He's younger than I am by almost a decade. And has never won a major. So ... "great"? Remember, this is a world that contains Serena Williams, so ... "great"? He's clearly very good at tennis. But I feel slightly less bad about not recognizing his name now.

Bullets:
  • 73A: Second-largest city in Vermont (ESSEX) — this is the first I've heard of it. Name recognition has a pretty precipitous drop-off there after Burlington. I was like "... STOWE?"
  • 9D: Often-doubled cry at a play (AUTHOR) — had the "AU-" and wrote in "AUTEUR!" because if the Italians get "Bravo!" then the French should have something ... though I guess they already have "Encore!" 
  • 12D: Former Haitian president Préval (RENÉ) — I somehow mostly remembered this guy's name today. Trivia has a way of Not sticking to my brain, so it's always nice when something takes, or begins to.
  • 29D: Where Sanyo and Panasonic are headquartered (OSA(KA)) — four squares, and I had the "S" ... so I tentatively wrote in ASIA even as I side-eyed the front end of 27-Across...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

125 comments:

Canon Chasuble 12:09 AM  

In so many ways this puzzle makes up for all the horrors of the last two months, and I feel that sanity has been restored to Sunday. I thought Mr. Stulberg's effort was clever, challenging, and witty. In spite of half-a-dozen (96A, 91D & 105D being the worst) false starts, this puzzle was truly satisfying. And I learned so much from it: That Essex, Vermont has been promoted from a town to a city (the usual difference being political structure), that "unction" can be used as a noun as well as a verb, and that the word "symptomatology" really exists. I also learned that my two least favorite veggies, Kale and Okra, are puzzle-worthy, even though, to me, they are hardly taste-worthy. Saturday, when I did this puzzle, was St John's Day, so keeping me company was the 3rd Act of Wagner's masterpiece "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg", which is set on St John's Day. A perfect day, a perfect opera, a perfect puzzle.

Trombone Tom 12:14 AM  

Fell into the revealer early on, shortly after ONS(ET)S convinced me I was dealing with a rebus. That made the rest easy, but like OFL said, enjoyable.

Not familiar with NIGEL Farage, so can't share @Rex's strong condemnation.

The only place I got sidetracked was putting neoPRENE before ISOPRENE.

Never heard of and likely won't remember SYMPTOMATOLOGY.

A moderately easy and fun Sunday.

pmdm 12:47 AM  

I am very much in agreement with the proper noun assessment. It didn't put that much of a dent in my puzzle solving fun.

Of course, a tomato is a fruit as well as a "culinary vegetable." I cry foul.

Jacob is a classical music fan, and I think all of this puzzle so far had an entry from the classical music world. I wonder if the original clue for 56D was "Musicologist Karl" and rejected by Mr. Shortz. Too bad, since while he was alive Mr. Haas was ubiquitous on classical music radio stations

If Farage sends you into a rage, why not Gotti who probably had more people killed. I shudder. See, listen I do. Your welcome.

Have a nice week.

Robin 1:49 AM  

Had the D and TOR for loan shark and wrote preDaTOR. I think may answer is better than what it turned out to be.

Moly Shu 1:51 AM  

There's the @Rex I know. Accepting of others unless their political views differ from his. Then it's all F*** that guy. Tolerance eh? Well at least I got a XTC video out of it.
That AARE,ALC, ROT area was brutal for me because I had no idea what SYMPTOMwhatever is. Still don't.

jae 2:17 AM  

Easy-medium works for me. Nice Sun., liked it. And thanks @Canon for reminding me that it's St. John's day. When I was a kid that day in June was when my parents celebrated my birthday (the j in jae is for John) because I was born very close to Christmas and they wanted to separate the two equally important events.

Horace S. Patoot 2:28 AM  

I don't believe there would ever be any questions on SYMPTOMATOLOGY on the MCAT (medical College Admissions Test). SYMPTOMATOLOGY is something they will teach you after you successfully demonstrate mastery of basic sciences and humanities on the MCAT.

chefwen 2:54 AM  

Cooking tip for the day. Add coconut oil to the pan when cooking KALE, it makes it easier to scrape into the trash. I shared that tip on Facebook, many have thanked me.

Got the trick with TRENCHcoAT and FOUR cornERS, the rest of the time was spent searching for the others veggies. Very cute puzzle, liked it. EASY doesn't fit into my rating, took me forever to figure out the TOMATO, gotta go with medium.

Greg Charles 3:03 AM  

If tomato is fruit, then so is okra. Corn is a grain. Are grains vegetables or fruit, or ja separate category? Kale though, that's definitely a vegetable.

Brian B 3:21 AM  

Tomatoes (and corn) are not animal or mineral, ergo ... the term doesn't have a strict definition, and toms and corn are both commonly treated as vegetables, so no problem there.

'mericans in Paris 3:43 AM  

We were almost done with the puzzle before we noticed the vegetables, and then espied OK RA and thought, "Oh! Cool!". By the way, if people are going to argue about botanical classifications here, then I would point out that OKRA is also a fruit. But this is about culinary uses. Mrs. 'mericans cavil was that CHIVES are herbs, not vegetables. Sheesh.

Seeing NIGEL Farage in the puzzle didn't bother me. But I did think immediately of "Making Plans for NIGEL". Glad to see that @Rex did, too. I learned something new, today, however. Apparently it wasn't a song about NIGEL Lawson, who only became Margret Thatcher's Chancellor of the Exchequer (analogous to the U.S. Treasury Secretary, except much more powerful and better known to the general public) four years after the song was released in 1979, though he did serve as Financial Secretary to the Treasury in that year. I had a generally positive view of young NIGEL at the time, but since then he's become a leading climate-change skeptic and was also a major supporter of Brexit -- get this: from the comfort of his country manor house in southern France! (an area also known colloquially as "Le MIDI").

Learned also about ESSEX, which Wikipedia lists as a "town", not a "city". Such distinctions matter in the north-east. Even more confusing, embedded in that same town is the substantial village of ESSEX jUNCTION, which is what shows up in our Rand-McNally Atlas, not ESSEX full stop. Hey Bernie, if you're reading this (I'm pretty sure he's one of those anonymice who likes to talk about snowflakes), what's your view on this urgent question? ("Let me say this about that ... ")

SO SO, the bottom line is that we enjoyed this weekend's puz. Some great juxtapositions, too, like AT SEA ... AVAST, DETOX ... STONED (a couple of rows above POT), OBESE ... NUDE, and GOTTI crossing [the] MOB.

Well done, Mr. Stulberg!

evil doug 4:52 AM  

NIGEL Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...

Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?

Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.

Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?

Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

Marty DiBergi: I don't know.

Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.

Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?

Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

Thomaso808 4:54 AM  

Fun puzzle. I love rebus puzzles because of the extra layer of trickery.

@Robin same for me on pREDaTOR. That "loan shark" clue was clearly an intentional misdirection.

Easy to medium for me except DNF because I had MInI crossing BRANnON. I never watched 90210 so Brannon vs. Brandon was a guess and miniskirt is way more likely than midiskirt. Autocorrect tries very hard to not even let me type midiskirt -- go ahead, try it. To me, if it's not a miniskirt, it's just a skirt. No midi needed. Where a MIDI is in fact needed is if you want to digitally record some music, in which case you need a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) device.

Anonymous 5:23 AM  

They're not CROPPED. They're condensed. Shortening still comes in a can!

Lewis 6:18 AM  

@rex -- hand up for ASIA.

@mericans -- I saw that GOTTI/MOB and STONED near POT. I also liked NICE and EASY side by side, POLAR near TRENCHCOAT, TSA crossing SNARL, OVER and EASY (making me think of eggs, then eggplant, then MAROON), and HAAS brought avocado to mind.

This was vegan and crunchy, like celery, and the crunch was welcome and savory.

Loren Muse Smith 6:31 AM  

Thanks for the pleasant write-up, Rex. I enjoyed this, too, and was expecting you to be all upset that OKRA is the only one that spans two words or that CHIVES is the only plural.

Trying to decide if a tomato or an avocado is a fruit or vegetable probably depends on your perspective. These little flaps we have here on picky things – whether D♯ and E♭ are the same thing, the vague baseball rules…. So I roll my eyes at these arguments but jump right in and run my mouth ad nauseam if we’re arguing if the up in look up is a preposition or a particle. My nit-picky little things are the correct ones to argue about.

Rex – you’re “noted” comment makes me add that word to my list of clue vocabulary that signals I won’t know the answer. It feels like a sneaky little ploy to validate the name. “Noted” Ibsen character – Torvald. Right.

Took me forever to see VILLANOVA because I had “Juicy” for my grapes. So there was a “yak” on Michigan’s flag, and for the “starts” clue, I had “jumps.” I always say ‘NOVA anyway. That’s the way to let people know I’m cool and follow basketball. YELLing FOUR CORNERS at the screen during the big dance at the end of the came just seals the deal. Sometimes I just put up my hand with four fingers a la Dean Smith and act like I’m doing it sub-consciously ‘cause I’m so into the game and it just happens automatically. I try not to glance around to see if people are admiring me. But they are.

In the same vein, I used to tell the waiter or wine store guy that I liked TANNIC reds even though I really didn’t understand the word. But I thought it made me sound worldly and sophisticated. I choked down a lot of pucker-inducing crap.

@’mericans and @Lewis - both STONED and POT cross TOOK A REST.

The NISSAN Leaf? Wow – no idea there was a car with that name. Wonder if their next one will be the Tendril. (Makes you revisit 24A. The Ford ROOT.)

I imagine that things take a turn for the worse for med students when they start studying SYMPTOMATOLOGY. You can probably pretty much convince yourself you have anything if you put your mind to it. Heck, for me, just googling some symptom scares the bejeezus out of me. I’m retaining fluid and have a swollen abdomen, so I have liver disease. I don’t consider that I’m suddenly drinking a ton water but still polishing off a tub of Ben and Jerry’s every Saturday and every Sunday. The Tonight Dough is for Saturday and Chocolate Therapy is for Sunday. They’re indescribably delicious.

Fun puzzle. I really like the title. And seeing OKRA in Cosmo Kramer was a terrific find.

RAD2626 6:32 AM  

Agree with all the positive comments so far. Also got the gimmick with ONSETS although it took awhile staring at ILSA. Tried to remember the newlywed's name in the casino since she is the only other woman in Casablanca thinking ILSA was wrong. Also had OS and only four letters so blithely typed in OSlo. Really? Sanyo? Tres imbecile. Final mistake was making the loan shark a CRiminal off just the R.

@pmdm. Karl Haas was a delight. I made our kids listen to a tape of his show The Bells on a car trip and they still complain about it thirty years later. But they remember it.

pmdm 6:46 AM  

RAD2626: Yes, he was a delight even if his tastes in interpretation were old-fashioned. He was a panelist on the program Music at First Hearing once and it seemed the other two panelists were ganging up against him, disputing his critique of the three new recordings they listened to. They were so bad to him I don't think he ever appeared on the program again. Even though the currently broadcast Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin is a similar program that retains the same subject for a whole week (and occasionally multiple weeks), somehow it seemed Haas covered more ground. McGlaughlin also included Rachmaninoff's The Bells on a program, but the program was hardly as charming as the one done by Haas. If only Haas didn't massage the tempo to Beethoven's theme music like it was written the late 19th century.

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

Ah, the tolerant left. Mind your horse's neck.

Aketi 7:24 AM  

@Horace S Patoot, I took the MCATs at the end of my sophomore year before deciding I loved molecular biology and didn't want to become a doctor. You nailed it. There was NO SYMPTOMATOLOGY on the test I took. did a quick google search and found that psycology and sociology may have been added. I don't remember those on the test. This clue is just playing wrong.


Physics
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Biochemistry
Biology
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Psychology
Sociology

QuasiMojo 7:31 AM  

Didn't Congress decide that a tomato was a fruit? At least for tariff reasons?

I did not grok the theme until I came here. The online version said "Cribbed" so I did not even think of the vegetable idea even with the shortening answer (which I still use in cans, btw).

I don't like having to type two letters into one box even with the ESC option on the computer. It just is a messy proposition. Slogarama.

I did enjoy NO PROBLEMO, ESSEX, DETOX and seeing GOTTI next to OBESE.

chefbea 7:41 AM  

What a yummy puzzle...especially since it started out with BEET!!! and since we are getting picky with vegetables...isn't chive an herb??

Got the theme right away...I always have a small can of crisco in the cupboard!!

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

I didn't like this one at all. Guess I wasn't in the mood for rebuses today! And I agree with Anonymous who said, "These vegetables aren't cropped, they're condensed." Ugh. Oh well! Enjoy your Sunday!

kitshef 7:44 AM  

Lovely. SYMP(TOMATO)LOGY alone was worth the price of admission.

First in was emerald ash borer -- oops, too short. Then hemlock wooly adelgid – which fit perfectly (but only because I left an ‘l’ out of woolly). But AGUE had to be correct, so that came out and in went ASIAN LONGHORN beetLE, which fit perfectly, and lasted a long time even though it made my Hatian President ‘RENb’. Much, much later, after FOUR(CO)(RN)ERS had given me the theme, (BE)LTS finally gave me the right pest
.
Lots of nice little touches today: ASIAN right above YEN, SCARE over YELLS, MOB crossing GOTTI, NISSAN/SAKE, TERM over S(enio)RS, and of course a RABBIT(T) to eat all them veggies.

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

Today's hint for a happy life: Don't overthink the vegetables. Good write-up, Rex.

Lobster11 8:21 AM  

I almost didn't do today's puzzle, as I've found Sunday puzzles to be such a slog for so long that recently I have seriously considered, every week, skipping Sunday entirely. I'm sure glad I didn't choose this week to quit, as I found this clever and fun.

John McKnight 8:30 AM  

I liked it except for SYMTOMATOLOGY which I disliked a great deal. I did another publication's crossword this past week because tbh the past few weeks at NYT have been treacherous, but no, these are still the best ones in print. And hopefully today signals a return to the fun crosswords I love.

Vermonter 8:33 AM  

Most assuredly, ESSEX is not a city in Vermont. I live in the state and puzzled over this one. Should have been a gimme. Barre (fourth largest) would fit, but South Burlington (second largest) would not. There are so many other ways to clue ESSEX (think Elizabethan) that this should have been caught by WS.

Steve Reed 9:00 AM  

GOAT

Generic Solver 9:02 AM  

Sunday size + rebus = tedious

Rob 9:08 AM  

Good puzzle. I usually like rebuses because they make me feel smart when I figure them out. The first 4 veggies I found were 4 letters, so I was surprised that the other two weren't consistent. I had a lot of fun entering COSM(O K)(RA)MER.

I guess these are "shortened" vegetables because they take up fewer squares than they normally would; that's not how I would have interpreted that revealer if I hadn't figured out the gimmick before getting there. Ah well, fair enough I guess.

This new version of the web app seems to have removed the Shift+letters shortcut for rebuses, which is a bit annoying, in addition to resetting my preferences.

kitshef 9:18 AM  

@Vermonter is technically correct - the best kind of correct. ESSEX is a town, not a city. Vermont has only nine cities. Better clue would have been the largest town in Vermont.

Mary Perry 9:24 AM  

I dnf. Easy-medium? Not for me.

Teedmn 9:27 AM  

Rebuses are hard to see when solving online if you don't go to the trouble of using the Rebus function. My last theme entry was the ASIAN LONGHORNED [BE][ET]LE, obscured because I had eNSueS for "starts" (excuse me?) and I couldn't think of any BEue vegetables. And then there's the Swiss river - I had AyRE, and then AiRE before I realized that vodka or gin could be ALCohols. Technical DNF because I hit the Check Solution button before fixing that one.

I should have seen the theme NO PROBLEMO when 10D didn't make sense but I had to get the reveal entry and COSM[OK][RA]MER before it SLUNK into my brain.

Writeover of the day - "branch" as a leaf producer before NISSAN (I'd rather have a Tesla but Leafs are pretty cool electric cars. I signed up to get emails about the electric vehicle market - after my Prius dies, I WILL go electric!)

Like @kitshef, I started 27A with the "emerald ash borer". It's so sad to see the ash trees dying off seeing as they were planted to replace the elms that died in the 70's from Dutch Elm disease.

@Loren's observation about symptoms is so true. I made the mistake of asking for a Symptoms and Diagnoses book for Christmas one year. I've somehow survived many a deadly disease, without treatment or even a doctor's appointment. It's great if you like to SCARE yourself.

The "Cropped" title is such great wordplay with VEGETABLE SHORTENING - nice job, Jacob!

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

My BFF lives in Essez Junction and I still didn't get the answer at first. Essex is NOT a city, it's a town.

Mohair Sam 9:37 AM  

Best Sunday puzzle in a long time. Great job Jacob Stulberg, thanks.

@Rex's political rant reminded me of all the hate spewing from the left these days (and I'm a formerly proud Democrat) and took the fun out of the blog for me today.

Lewis 9:39 AM  

@teedm -- The Leaf is a terrific car, so clean, and it gives such a zippy ride. It needs no gas or oil, I just plug it in the regular wall socket in the garage a couple of times a week. I thought electric cars would ride like golf carts, but the Leaf is as much fun to drive as my last car, a Mini. But -- we have another car (a Prius) for long trips. The Leaf has a range of about 95 miles. So it is a city/town car, and in that role, it shines.

Dragoncat 9:50 AM  

When you can put "symptomatologie" into a puzzle and have it fit the theme, I think you have a winner. Enjoyed much.

Annette 9:51 AM  

After well over an hour's slog, DNF on BRANDON/MIDI (Brannon/Mini, which seems perfectly plausible). Loved the theme, but not a pleasurable time spent.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Moly Shu said...
There's the @Rex I know. Accepting of others unless their political views differ from his. Then it's all F*** that guy. Tolerance eh? Well at least I got a XTC video out of it.

While we're debating what's a vegetable or fruit, let's ask whether the Nigel song is a video or an audible.

Dave Zanko 9:56 AM  

Actually, the decision was that a tomato is a veggie for tariff reasons.

In practice, a tomato is biologically a fruit, but culinarily a vegetable. Ditto with okra (which is mostly used for seasoning).

Corn is a grain, which is the seed itself, not the fleshy part around it as a fruit would be. That said, sweet corn has a mutation that prevents the sugars from linking into complex starches as they're supposed to (and do in field corn), making it soft and sweet for use as a vegetable.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Rex's mouse poop comment made me crack up because it instantly recalled a quote from the reformation theologian Martin Luther:
Man findet immer Mäusdreck unter dem Pfeffer
One will always find mouse poop mixed with the pepper
which was his way of explaining those who claimed the name Christian but didn't act kindly.
500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation this year.

Dave Zanko 9:57 AM  

It's the second-largest municipality, although it is a town, not a city.

mathgent 9:59 AM  

I agree that Tommy Haas shouldn't be called "great" because he hasn't won a Grand Slam, but he is in the elite group of players one step down. He won an ATP Masters tournament in 2002. These tournaments are roughly equivalent to Grand Slams because all the best players compete in them. And he was #2 in the world at about that time.

I've seen him play many times. I particularly remember two five-setters he won at the US Open. I loved his stylish one-handed backhand.

He's still playing sporadically. He's had a couple of good wins in the past few months. He is also the tennis director for Larry Ellison's tournament at Indian Wells.

John Ogrady 10:01 AM  

Another unhinged political rant and meaningless use of the "r" word.

Keep it up and Democrats will continue to lose.

Nancy 10:05 AM  

I'm SPENT. I need to go back to bed. No, change that. I need a long vacation. This is one of the toughest puzzles I've ever done. Easy/medium, Rex? Oh come on -- give me a break.

I didn't figure out the gimmick of this fiendishly clever puzzle until I had slogged my way 2/3 of the way through, and only then did I grasp its brilliance. Up until then, I had no idea where the rebus letters went, or even more important, why. And I was having a perfectly ghastly time -- not enjoying a single minute of it. Because everywhere I went, I had to deal with not only the very difficult trick, but also a slew of answers based on arcane knowledge I didn't have: from the car (what else?) to the girl singer to Brenda's twin to the guy singer to the game for the very young to the medical subject to the Vermont city to the Seaworld performer...need I go on? I can't deal with both a fiendish theme AND arcane knowledge answers in the same puzzle, and I almost threw it across the room at one stage. But I'm glad I hung on and solved it -- it really is pretty genius, actually. Wish I could also say I loved it...but I didn't.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Per Wikipedia, Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that, under U.S. customs regulations, the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit.

puzzlehoarder 10:22 AM  

This was a good Sunday. Thinking it was LONGHORN, as opposed to the correct LONGHORNED, slowed down the discovery of the theme. Even with the theme figured out it was still more work than usual. Much of the problem was fighting to stay awake. Thank you @lms for that charming video in your comments yesterday. My wife enjoyed it too. Thank you @Nancy for recommending it.

Elle54 10:26 AM  

Wow such an extreme reaction to Farange. I doubt anyone on the right had a reaction to The Obama name yesterday. I digress... Great , fun puzzle!

Elle54 10:28 AM  

@chefwen haha! Yes, the garbage is where kale belongs!

jberg 10:32 AM  

Nice misdirect with the title, which made me think I was looking for theme answers that were CROPPED off at one or both ends. This left me with a lot of blank spaces, wondering how it all worked, until I finally got down to the revealer. It all went right in after that, even if I didn't know CRAMER's first name or who BRANDON was. And I always remember that woman as ILSe.

@Loren I think CHIVES deserve an exception, although I'm having a lot of fun imagining myself walking into a restaurant, ordering the grilled salmon, and asking the waiter to "put a CHIVE in it." Also, I did seriously consider yaK, but it was just too weird to put in. I needed NIGEL to make me see ELK. As far as I know, there are none of those in Michigan either, unless they're on Isle Royale.

@Canon, try slicking those OKRA pods thin and cooking them fast and spicy. I love 'em like that.

Maruchka 10:41 AM  

First thought was letter circles (? see 44A), not 2 in square. Fumbled along, got stuck and grumpy, decided to wait for @Rex and cheat. CO/RN made all the difference.

For the OK/RA challenged, I once more recommend Talk o' Texas.. Not much to say about the you-know-what (@chefwen - LOL) but that a Russian restaurant nearby makes a killer cold KA/LE soup.

So my quibble is - highlight the damn squares and/or theme up the grid just a bit more. Please.

Fav of the day - UNCTION. Had UNguent, then realized 'salve' could be a verb. As a little catechism girl, my favorite mystery was the sacraments. I wanted to do all of them, especially Extreme UNCTION. And it was so disappointing when I found out that girls didn't receive Holy Orders. No sacrament? No Sister. Salve Regina, you old SPENT men.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

To all the trolls and those who are annoyed at Rex for the Nigel rant - it's OK to hate hate. Seriously. There is no requirement that one tolerate people who go out of their way to hurt, denigrate, demean, exclude and bully other people, particularly when they do so primarily to promote their own political fortunes.

I am not required to tolerate people who call my wife (a PhD in molecular biology who is helping cure cancer) the worst of what Mexico has to offer and my brother in law a rapist and criminal. That's not tolerance. That is enabling.

Also free speech works both ways. I will defend to the death Trump's / Farage's right to be intolerant a$$holes in their speech and comments. But I have the right to point that out. And when those kind of comments turn into policies that break apart families, leave people without healthcare, encourage cyber crimes by foreign powers, pollute the world and promote violence, people have the absolute right, the obligation really, to oppose them.

Plus it is Rex's blog. He can write what he wants.

Thought the puzzle was great. Much fun. Tricky in places, but solvable. Medium was about right. Best Sunday puzzle in a while. And I love my Nissan Leaf. Then I got my morning spoiled by all the defenders of hate and false equivalency bashing on Rex.

Hungry Mother 11:16 AM  

I love puzzles of this ilk. Very fun solve. Had "preditor" for a while until I looked atr the perp. Also had "unguent" for a while.

MichaelT 11:27 AM  

Could have been worse, Rex. Could have been "British Politician Corbin". Now there's a British politician who makes the skin crawl.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

Vaguely heard of this Nigel fellow but he's apparently a prominent person and therefore eligible. Same goes for James Hodgkinson and the rest of the alt-lefties.

Anonymous 11:54 AM  

@Moly Shu

My intro to Nigel Farage was this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpYIKF1wuyE&list=PL8JttaK4Km_ESBhClqrRvNasKWtf3zSHE&index=11

No matter your politics, he is not a nice man.

Stanley Hudson 12:05 PM  

This was quite a fun Sunday puzzle. Thank you, JS.

@Rex, the XTC video is much appreciated. That band helped me get through grad school in the 1980s.

@Maruchka (from yesterday), the old resort at Richardson Springs has been taken over by a conservative Christian outfit. They allow the general public to tour the place once a year or so.

@Michael T, think you mean "Corbyn," not "Corbin."

#Resist

Beadola 12:21 PM  

If you find seeds, (or the reproductive part), it's a fruit. All fruits and vegetables are further separated into different kinds. Corn is actually a dry fruit, or grain. Also not technically a vegetable, but I actually don't care.
I usually don't enjoy Sundays that much, but today, I enjoyed it, so was glad to find others did also.

Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Fun and a bit tricky. Whenever there are 14 or so rebus squares lurkin in the grid, you're never quite sure how many letters a lot of the Down answers are gonna be. Sooo … it's like navigatin a minefield, only not quite as grim. More like navigatin a weird haunted house, where one of them Three Stooges can jump out of a secret panel at any time and splatz U with a pie. (Make mine banana cream, btw.)

@RP: Primo write-ups, lately. Really enjoy the bullets.

Accidentally caught onto the theme pretty early, as NE corner was where I first got "in" solid. At first with ELK/SNUCK(soon to become SLUNK), and AGUE and ILSA. ONSETS soon had to be right, and the rebus alert light flicked on. Soon, figured 27-A to end with BEETLE, but didn't know of its exact asianness. Or longness. Or horniness. CROPPED is a cute, double en-tender puztitle.

M&A seems to recall that one kinda short answer was extremely desperate-lookin, but darned if I can refind it, now. Sooo … ok. But IOU one, Mr. Stulberg.

staff weeject pick: ALC-ohol. har. Maybe that was the IOU? Seems like it was even better ...

Thanx, Mr. Stulberg. Fun SunPuz. M&A is now officially vedged out, for the day. And left to wonder and dream: if any vegetables with a U in em coulda been a contender…?

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

I'm a tennis junkie. If I hadn't already had the H, I probably would have wracked my brain trying to think of a "great" tennis player named Tommy. Instead, I assume the cluer was clueless.

Maruchka 12:33 PM  

@StanleyH - Thanks. My grandfather drank much stinky spring water there, topped off with chocolate bars and tobacco. Oddly, the old motel near the Tuolumne summer camp we also always went to became a Con-Christian conclave. Lord, is it I?

Two Ponies 12:36 PM  

@ evil doug, That's my favorite bit from Spinal Tap. It still makes me laugh.
@ chefwen, Your cooking tip on kale made me laugh too. My feelings exactly.

Wm. C. 12:47 PM  

Ole @Rexy really went on a rant today. But sheesh, if he really wanted to sound off against racism, why no comment on Cosmo Kramer, who went on an extended rant after being heckled at a comedy club performance by some blacks, shouting the "N-Word" at them many times.

Ever since then, this comes to mind whenever he comes up.

MichaelT 12:55 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 1:11 PM  

Yes! Yes!

ICU KEYCARD. My work here is done.

[p.s. Never did find anything else short and desperate. ISOPRENE is long-ish and hard to digest, tho.]

Happy Sunday, all U smarties.

M&Also

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

In the wine world, tannic acid is never really referred to as a wine component. Tannin, yes, but tannic acid, no. Acids of note in wine are tartaric, malic, citric, and lactic.

Lindsay Sturm 1:25 PM  

BRANNON and BRANDON are both names, and MINI and MIDI are both skirts. I didn't know the name and chose wrong :(

RooMonster 1:26 PM  

Hey All !
Well, most of the North part of my puz looks like a Rorschach Test. Holy ASIAN LONG HORNED BEETLEs! All the Rebi in one small area wreaked havoc on the surrounding fill. Like many, had aSia for OSAKA, and you betcha for NO PROBLEMO, giving me big PROBLEMOs there. Then got SOSO, SO then thought of RABBITT when he was one brain cell away from never being heard of again. Which got me ___HOR for the Doubled Cry. Har. Imagination runs wild... Plus leaf for ROOT and healS for CLOGS, and that whole section hurt the ole brain. But I eventually got it all correct. Last section was actually NW corner. Weary clue held me up, along with wanting scar for NALA.

Cute gimmick, caught it at TO-MA-TO, after having rosE for MAUVE. Saw NEXTTO, then lightbulb, then went back and fixed FOUR CORNER to a Rebi and an S on the end.

Is SLUNK a word? Obscure. Had SnUcK there forever, and ONSet, further mucking up and inking over in that section. NOOIL is iffy, also. And a DOOK!

Still a DNF after all that, with ArnE as my Swiss River. Argh! Forgot about that damn AARE. UNCTION a cool word.

OBESE NUDE SCARE
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Many minutes later I am still laughing at chefwen's cooking tip of the day.

Unknown 2:03 PM  

Who ever heard of CHIVES in a can?

Jamie C 2:08 PM  

It's simple people, at least biologically speaking: An edible root, stem, or leaf is a vegetable. Anything else, regardless of an act of congress (or the supreme court) is a fruit. This includes Rex Parker.

brainman53 2:26 PM  

The word "symptomatology" does not exist. It is an abomination of the English language, a pretentious neologism spawned by physicians who thought they sounded smarter than the rest. As third year medical students in our internal medicine rotation, we had weekly Chairman's lectures. The very first thing he taught us was to never, ever use the word symptomology unless we wished to refer to "the study of symptoms". Otherwise, the word does not exist.

Anyway, when I took the MCATs, approximately 127 years ago, symptomatology was not on the test, as an undergraduate would not be expected to have knowledge of clinical medicine. That's why there are medical school and residency.

As I am already on an English language rant, there is yet another nails on chalkboard word, which is "normalcy". The word is "normality". From what I have read, the word was originally a malaprop, coined by an apparently semi-literate Warren G. Harding in his presidential election speeches ("...a return to normalcy...").

After fact-checking the normalcy rant, there may have well use of it as early as the mid-19th century. However, I prefer my version.

Suzy 2:38 PM  

It's been said before, but thank you, Mr. Stulberg, for a very nice puzzle. Those veggies were just crunch enough for a Sunday
afternoon on the front porch. Got it with Four Corners, one of my favorite, if desolate, places, but it still packed plenty of punch.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

Very few players make it to the quarters and semis of any major tennis tournaments so HAAS was great. That means at that time he was either the 4th or 8th best tennis player in the world.

CDilly52 4:05 PM  

Was absolutely certain we had a rebus at FOURCORNERS and KALEIDOSCOPIC but I had some trouble getting the vegetable thing because of SYMPTOMATOLOGY (didn't believe it). Shows you what I know! Proper names gave me some (OK, lots of) trouble-ended up guessing correctly.

Finally, though, the revealer did what it should. The "light bulb" went on and I took way too long rearranging my rebus squares and changing my misppelled words until success!

VEGETABLE SHORTENING made me smile. My Grandmother, who hooked me on cooking and crosswords used the right fat for the right purpose-always. Only lard for pie crust and only Crisco for her crispy, candy cane cookies at Christmas. Butter for biscuits and shortcakes, etc. lots to learn about kitchen chemistry and lots of the lore had to do with fats. I do not think Grans knew the word emulsion, but I am certain she understood the concept precisely. Her baked goods were always perfection.

I once went to the grocery for Crisco and came back with generic VEGETABLE SHORTENING, thinking I was adhering to one of her mantras: a penny saved....oops. Should have listened to the other adage about there often being no substitute when quality is a primary consideration. How is a kid to know? During my trip back to the store I had an opportunity to dwell on Gran's various (and many) rules and "isms" and concluded that she was at all times just doing the best she could under all facts and circumstances.

Those many, many life lessons learned from my Gran have served me well. To this good day (and yes, it now comes in sticks) I make those same cookies with Crisco-no substitutes. People rave about them, and every year I think they are certainly excellent, but not perfect. Still striving to live up to her high standards in everything and missing her stories, her teaching and most of all her love.

She often put the puzzle down for a bit when she was stuck. Each weekday when I got home from school, I would go to the side of "her chair" to see if she finished the NYT yet
and was always thrilled when there were a few squares left. That meant she and I would work it together AFTER I helped her get dinner ready for the family. Occasionally, she would suddenly clap her hands, wipe them on her apron and hurry into the living room to drop in an answer that had just popped into her head. That was "a light bulb moment" - not to be ignored - lest she forget. "Strike while the iron is hot," she would say, "because at my age you don't know how many moments you have left." She never wasted anything, most particularly time.

Always happy doing puzzles and particularly so when they evoke good memories and provide a real "light bulb moment" for me.

Passing Shot 4:45 PM  

Rebuses. I hate rebuses. DNF. Best thing about today's puzzle was reading the lovely comment by @CDilly52 directly above.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

Just the usual pain in the neck puzzle that makes me use the rebus button on my iPhone. I always know these because I spend 5 minutes scratching my head about it and then get a rapid fill once the gimmick is revealed. Also A) there is no such thing as symptomatology and B) it certainly isn't on the MCAT, which a test of basic science "Bio", which would have been an appropriate answer, physics, chemistry and writing (why?) to evaluate proficiency in basic science not a test of medical education, which undergrads haven't studied yet. I suppose " Step II of the USMLE " is too obscure. Obviously I am a physician...

Deborah Wess 4:52 PM  

LOL. I was trying g to g it "sheister"

Deborah Wess 4:53 PM  

Agreed!

Deborah Wess 4:54 PM  

But mainly, chives are an herb!!! Really the outlier of the group!

Deborah Wess 4:58 PM  

As an avid pie maker, I drive to Costco in my Nissan Leaf to buy Crisco in big cans. But regular and small cans on the shelf of any supermarket, in addition to new-fangled sticks.

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

Symptomatology is not on the MCAT.

Joe Bleaux 5:20 PM  

Thanks, Mr. Stulberg (and Mr. Shortz), for an intelligent, nicely clued, fun puzzle. More so than recent Sunday offerings, it lives up to the NYT's reputation. Following solid Thursday and Friday puzzles, might it signal an overall course correction? @Robin, I agree that PREDATOR outshines CREDITOR for "Loan shark." @RooMonster, hand up on SNUCK for SLUNK. (And is DOOK an acronym? I saw it as an answer in a recent puzzle -- LA Times, I think -- for the clue "Make lots of money," or something similar.) @Anonymous (10:56), nice rant.

Mohair Sam 5:28 PM  

@Deborah Wess - Crisco is the best (yes @Rex, it's still out there) I use it when I make pizza on the pizza pans I've had for over thirty years - the stuff does not flavor the dough, nothing sticks, and it protects the pan. Perfection. Just like my pizza.

@Anonymous (10:56) - You said "It's OK to hate hate". No it's not. Hate consumes the hater, no matter how justified it may seem.

pcardout 5:32 PM  

I really liked the veggie theme. Because the title was "cropped" and the vegetables were "shortened" I tried leaving letters out of the various veggie crossings. This left me with a nearly complete, but wrong, grid. I missed that it was a rebus until I asked for help... Still quite cute.

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

Call me anything, I mean anything. Rapist, child molester, suicide bomber, or perjurer just don't call me a racist. There is nothing worse.

Palette Station 5:37 PM  

Liked the MOB GOTTI cross

Anonymous 5:39 PM  

Don't worry about not getting essex right away! I straight up LIVE in Essex and it took me a while to get it, because nobody would ever call this a city!

kitshef 5:50 PM  

I wonder if there may be an OKRA/KALE divide to rival dog person/cat person. I love KALE and believe that OKRA is a cruel joke being played on us.

JC66 5:57 PM  

@CDilly52

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

RooMonster 6:08 PM  

Hey, does anyone know if SYMPTOMATOLOGY is on the MCAT?


:-P

RooMonster

Anonymous 6:53 PM  

At least we know alt-left vitriol from snowflakes doesn't lead to violence.

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

Agree totally. I took the test long ago. That topic is not until medical school itself. But the tomato gave it away.

Scott Sciortino 8:28 PM  

As a Vermonter in NYC for the last decade, the only five letter city had to be Barre. A no brainer that took me a while to repair. Essex is a suburb of Burlington. It's where the malls get built that Burlington won't allow. It's like Paramus NJ: a mall city.

Also, who says "chive"? I say chives, and this an herb, and a perennial; not a vegetable at all. Them. Never said, "I'm going to go pick a chive for this meal." I'd go down and rip out a bunch.

Tomato I can let slide, but not chive.

Amy 8:40 PM  

a real missed opportunity not to clue the Rabbitt answer as Peter, noted absconder of vegetables...

Mohair Sam 8:44 PM  

@CDilly52 - Great story. Wonderful Grandmother.

@chefwen - forgot to mention - Cooking tip of the year - I'll pass it along and claim it for my own.

GHarris 9:05 PM  

Needed to Google for Brandon and Rabbitt. Otherwise worked it all out and enjoyed the exercise.

Anonymous 9:18 PM  

Don't like two letters in one box. Just seems wrong.

Anonymous 9:25 PM  

Life is too short to be outraged by anyone's name mentioned in the NYT crossword. If someone is famous or infamous, I think their name can be used in a crossword. Let's stop all this nonsense about how putting someone's name in the blog normalizes them. It is so tiresome. Rex needs to leave politics out of his blog and learn to control his anger. Puzzle was fun! As a former Southerner, okra is a great vegetable when fried. I loved eating a mess of okra growing up!

Nancy 10:01 PM  

@CDilly52 -- You may not see this since I'm posting so late, but I also loved your grandmother story. She sounds really wonderful. And I envy you all that home-made baking. Yum.

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

Maybe I read "The Godfather" too my times, but a Capo, by definition, is not a Don

Aketi 11:05 PM  

@Mohair Sam, what about peas? I can tolerate KALE as long as it's not too often, and I can stomach OKRA when it's in certain soups, but I truly detest peas with a passion. FYI, I think it's a fallacy to think that any political party is exempt from having extremists who express hateful rhetoric dating back to the foundations of governmental systems. Labeling groups really doesn't lead to fruitful (as opposed to VEGETAtive) dialogue on specific issues.

dennis gallagher 1:40 AM  

I would submit that Jay Haas (and his son Bill) will be remembered as a superior golfer in this country for a lot longer than Tommy will be remembered as a superior tennis player in his homeland. If the clue had been superior German tennis player I'd have had no quibble. As for Essex, how about "Marine recording stars of 1963 with The" for their hit "Easier Said Than Done?"

Hartley70 3:30 AM  

I'm solving in Vermont, and my first answer was Barre, even though I knew it was wrong and wanted it to be Rutland. I went with Essex, mentally adding Junction, and wailing "Why?"

I abhor KALE and adore @chefwen's recipe. I plan to steal it, although I threw my jar of coconut oil out with the KALE. My can of CRISCO is sacrosanct.

I had a great time with this puzzle despite the next day, middle of the night solve. It was a terrific rebus Sunday.

I also really enjoyed @CDilly dallying with her grandmother's talents. Mine used CRISCO in her pies and I can still taste them if I close my eyes.

Rita 11:19 AM  

Tomatoes seem to get all the attention for being a fruit. There are many other (apparently less sexy) culinary vegetables that are also botanically fruits. We've got okra in this puzzle, as folks have already pointed out. Others include peppers, eggplants, cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini, and all the other squash.

Lili 12:10 PM  

Symptomatology is not a subject that undergraduates would have studied before taking the MCAT in order to be admitted to medical school, so they wouldn't be tested on it. That's a subject for people who have already entered med school.

Win Gruening 12:33 PM  

@Scott Sciortino - you said: Also, who says "chive"? I say chives, and this an herb, and a perennial; not a vegetable at all. Them. Never said, "I'm going to go pick a chive for this meal." I'd go down and rip out a bunch.

Hey, the theme answer included the word "chives" I guess you missed the cross "cables" too!

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Weird that folks who question the wisdom of FORCING people to pay for the care of others are considered 'heartless."

Do you understand the ramifications of FORCE? Nigel Farage does.

vidalstat 6:14 PM  

Didn't readallthe comments, but didanyone else have a problem with the app? After swearing that the answer was four corners, I checked the word with app and it was corrected to "four corers" really made it difficult to grok the theme

vidalstat 6:15 PM  

Didn't readallthe comments, but didanyone else have a problem with the app? After swearing that the answer was four corners, I checked the word with app and it was corrected to "four corers" really made it difficult to grok the theme

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

"And then there's the clue on NIGEL (22A: British politician Farage). F*** that guy. You wanna *kill* the entertainment, destroy the joy, put that guy in your puzzle."

Now you know how I feel after 9-ish years of finding OBAMA in the puzzle squares...

Laurence Katz 3:51 PM  

I make a yummy sour cream and chive dip.
Now a chive is not a vegetable. But it is an edible plant. Like the other rebus answers. No where does the puzzle specify that the rebus answers are veggies.

pat sanchez 1:53 PM  

Liked the puzzle but stubbornly had long HAIRed beetle for a while.When I think of Essex, I think of stopping for lunch on the way to Salem, MA whenever I visit up there. Totally forgot Eddie Rabbit too. I agree with you Rex- Farage is a POS.

rondo 10:11 AM  

Oh boy. One rebus square after another. That's a long way to go for a few VEGETABLEs. But to find a TOMATO in one of them is kinda impressive. The BEET and the KALE showed up at about the same time so the rest was just weeding through the garden.

I think father and son golfers Jay and Bill HAAS are more recognizable.

@spacey - always nice to see someone else who appreciates No Ex, Best TV show ever. The writing was superb. So was the music. Years ago I bought the entire series (obviously taped from the Hallmark channel) on VHS which had the original music; the DVD sets do not due to rights issues. Also bought a coupla original cast/crew jackets on ebay. Have also been to Roslyn, WA where it was filmed. The Brick is an authentic saloon. Fantastic to have swilled a few there.

Nice nod to the MN state bird. the LOON.

Country sanger and yeeah baby LEANN Rimes gets the nod today.

Rebus or not, rather easy-PEASy. Well, that coulda been another answer.

Burma Shave 11:41 AM  

LOON SCARE

The SYMPTOMOLOGY's rote, you'll LEARN if you MEET the dude
don't ASKFOR a VOTE, that NAVE ACTS and LIVES to be lewd,
under his TRENCHCOAT, goodnees SAKE, COSMOKRAMER is NUDE.

--- ILSA ILYA ENYA

spacecraft 12:19 PM  

@LMS: Whaddya mean, "CHIVES is the only plural?" Have you ever eaten--or even SEEN--one chive? Anyway, after clomping onto the rebusiness at CORN and getting stalled in the middle of the grid, I suddenly realized that the last six letters of NATIONALARCHIVES provided a veggie, and that was a huge help. Cluing throughout was solver-unfriendly, and WOEs were plentiful. I never heard of that NIGEL character, and by the comments I didn't miss much.

Couple of inkfests: my GPS display changed from RTE to RTS to, at last, STS; but the big fooler was the 7-letter salve starting with UN-. Why, that's UNguent, of course! Alas, they don't LEGeSLATE in the House. And what kind of abbr. is "ALC?" New one on me. That area very nearly caused a DNF, but I pulled it out with the help of some UNCTION. Plus, I LEARN that "Codswallop" means ROT. Whatever. Thank the crossword gods that the good old AARE flowed past me a few times while doing these.

So, easy-medium? Hardly (see what I did there?). There's some really off-the-wall stuff here, but any grid with TREKKIE in it gets a thumbs-up from this CORNER. Having momentarily forgotten about LEANN, I looked up AGNES and found Animal Planet's Wilczynski, who promptly became my DOD. Birdie.

BS2 12:27 PM  

MOOT CHANT

NIGEL's MAROONED ATSEA and reflects,
"NEXTTO nothing is as NICE ESSEX."

--- NORA-LEANN

AnonymousPVX 1:26 PM  

The absolute worst of the hated "gimmick" puzzle. Strained clueing coupled with the double letter entries in the grid = an unloved puzzle.....and I got the solve.

Geez, this was a bad one.

Diana,LIW 2:18 PM  

Agree with @Spacey's easy-medium HARDly. I was proud to get the rebussy thing early on. Then found 4 of the 6 garden lurkers. Then - dnf. Too many woes, mostly sports related (how unusual!)

OTOH - I always enjoy the misdirecting clues, so this had a bunch of fun ahas. Took forever to notice House work had a capitol (sic).

Cheer before CHANT. CLOGS would be hard to run in. However, yesterday I heard a story about a Pride Parade event that had men running in high heels on cobblestone streets. Now that would bea treat.

Wanted driLLS for the cheerleader's practice.

Agree with @Rex on gutsy. There are two people (brother and sister?) who work out at my gym who weigh at least 500 lbs.(each). I always think they have COURAGE because I'm sure they've heard many such ham-handed (which I think is different than INEPT) remarks. And they're sweet folks, always with a smile. There's a Finnish word for "intestinal fortitude" - sisu. That's what I think of when I see them.

@Rainy - thanks for the absolutely algebraic way you sussed out a word (which I shan't mention and spoil) late yesterday.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the TOMATOs of my New Jersey youth

rain forest 2:49 PM  

Re CHIVES. First of all, I agree with @Spacey, it is CHIVES, not the singular. "Please sir, I'd like a CHIVE." Nope. Secondly, CHIVES are as herbal as onions, leeks, and garlic. You can write that down.

I'm not the hugest rebus fan, but I really enjoyed this one. The rebus possibility cropped up with the ASIAN bug clue where starts had to be ONSETS, and it looked like some sort of BEETLE was coming into view. It was the FOUR (CO)(RN)ers answer that made me go back and work out what kind of BEETLE was lurking.

There was a plethora of nice answers throughout the grid, and I think they've all been mentioned.

Town or city? Fruit or vegetable? These quandaries will continue ad infinitum, delighting the nit-pickers, but I won't enter the fray. Chives not being an herb is an exception.

Nice Sunday.

leftcoastTAM 4:59 PM  

Revealer came early, but took a while the ROOT out the themers. Their symmetrical placement was very helpful.

Last to go was rant-man COSMOKRAMER. All of the other themers were good ones.

Old debate: TOMATO, a vegetable or a fruit? Technically a fruit, but typically considered and used as a vegetable, right? The point is MOOT.

Had army before ACLU. Can't remember hearing the slogan, and thought it had more of a military ring to it.

Enjoyable solve after getting to the theme. Nice work, JS.

Diana,LIW 7:49 PM  

@Lefty and @Rainy from yesterday (Sat.) regarding "rules of engagement" for solving. Yes - I do believe many solvers have various limits/allowances for "help" in a solve. Mine are "tournament" rules - no outside help and finish what you can. And, while I call myself a crossword middle schooler, I am really an infant - about 3 yrs old. So when I write about a solve, and acknowledge assistance of any kind, well...what toddler doesn't get some kind of help now and then? But I always call same a dnf. Anything but a cool, clean, unassisted solve is a dnf in my baby book.

Diana, Waiting to put my thumb back in my mouth

leftcoastTAM 8:26 PM  

@ rain forest: From yesterday:

I do think some solvers cheat and don't think that they do, given their understanding of the game. Others also knowingly cheat, and say so or not. We don't have one set of standards that all know or accept or comply to. This makes it difficult to determine who's who in the solving game and where we rank.

There's a lot of ego involved here. I see it in many comments. In my own case, I care when I DNF because it's a blow, even if slight and ultimately meaningless, to my ego. It's one of my human failings. I do not mean at all to insinuate that you are a cheater.

rain forest 11:55 PM  

@leftcoastTAM, @Lady Di - Until I discovered this blog (sometime in 2009) I didn't know that there was a "competitive" component, or that there people who could finish a crossword in less than 3 minutes, or that people solved them on computer or iPad. Never occurred to me, because of the manner in which I approach these things: newspaper, pen, inadequate brain.

I admit that it has become important to me to actually finish a solve 100% correct, and I increasingly don't like that I get upset, like you, @lefty, I don't. I think I have to fight that tendency.

Also, I will sometimes take a long time to finish a puzzle just because I want to FINISH it. Ego? I don't know.

@Lady Di - you say you are a "middle school" solver. Well, I might be at a junior high level, but with a certain amount of doggedness thrown in. I think that @Spacey is similar. @Rondo is somewhat more facile in his solving ability, I think. @Burma Shave is in another galaxy, bless him.

We do these things because we enjoy them, because we admire the talent of the constructors, and because we like sharing our experiences. There are no "rules of engagement" for me. I just like doing the puzzle and talking to your guys/gals. I suppose I should add LMS, M&A, George Barany, and a few others, but I don't get to "talk" with them.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP