Some native Nigerians / WED 6-21-17 / Insect made of paper / Pitchfork-wielding assemblage / Covered with sludge / Hip-hop pal / Component not found on digital watch

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (easy theme, but the fill / cluing ... MUCKY)


THEME: BUTTERFLY (35A: Word that must be added to 1-, 8-, 65- and 66-Across to make sense [with a visual hint in the grid] — put "BUTTERFLY" before the corner Acrosses. I guess those four black double-L formations are visual representations of the insect in question:

Theme answers:
  • ORIGAMI (1A: Insect made of paper)
  • MADAME (8A: Puccini opera)
  • SOCIAL (65A: One going from party to party)
  • MONARCH (66A: Orange, black and white flutterer) 
Word of the Day: IBOS (54A: Some native Nigerians)
The Igbo people (English: /ˈɪɡb/; erroneously Ibo, formerly also Iboe, Ebo, Eboe, Eboans, Heebo; natively Ṇ́dị́ Ìgbò [ìɡ͡bò][citation needed]) are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. Geographically, the Igbo homeland is divided into two unequal sections by the Niger River – an eastern (which is the larger of the two) and a western section. The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. (wikipedia) (emph. mine)
• • •


I knew as soon as I opened this that the black squares were gonna be some element in the theme, but lord knows what. I saw a bunch of "L"s. Then moths kissing. Shrug. Once I got that central element, then the puzzle got very easy (all of the themers, transparent), but there was enough rough / odd fill and iffy cluing to make the puzzle somewhat harder, overall, than an average Wednesday. The theme just doesn't come off very well. The visual is a little weak, and the four corner answers are ... I don't know, not much of a revelation. ORIGAMI feels like a stretch. Butterfly isn't a shape I readily associate with that art form (unlike, say, the crane). And it's just a paper version of the "insect" in the MONARCH clue, so there's not a lot of variety. I guess there aren't that many words that can precede "BUTTERFLY" comfortably. Maybe that's a sign. Sometimes you have to a let an intriguing idea go instead of forcing it.



Speaking of forcing it, ENDWAYS! AT ONE GO! These are awkward, uncurrent phrases. IBOS is old-school crosswordese (and now apparently very much the non-preferred term—IGBOS is gonna be harder to shoehorn into grids). If you're gonna use ITGUY, then your clue should indicate gender. [PC problem solver] has nothing "guy" about it. [Hip-hop pal] is jarring. The "pal" part really ... doesn't nail it. Something tonally off-sounding. Very MUCKY (btw, wtf?). The entire center area could be soooo much cleaner, without that much effort. ON DATES was awkward, UHS was awkward, RAINHAT is always awkward, RAYOVAC ... is a brand, but one I never see. ICE COLD is a great answer, but I wasn't a big fan of the clue (17A: Phase in beer ads). Clue on MACK was just fine (19A: Vehicle company with a bulldog logo), but I botched it bad: four letters, starting in "M" — I went with MINI. In my defense, well, this ad, for starters:



Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

126 comments:

Anokha 1:05 AM  

I had IGBO, which made the fill difficult (and frustrating!). Also, what's cooler than being cool? ICE COLD. P.s., did you mean to link to Rihanna and Lisa Loeb? (Although I'd take Lisa Loeb's puzzle over this!)

Unofficial Blog Cop 1:27 AM  

@Rex said "put BUTTERFLY before the corner Acrosses". Probably should put it after, but what do I know, I'm unofficial. Other than that, your doing a great job @Rex, and thanks for paying attention.

Unofficial Blog Cop 1:31 AM  

You're. See, unofficial.

Unofficial Blog Cop 1:50 AM  

And of course I'm an Asshole.

Mike in Mountain View 2:17 AM  

Had never heard of CATAN, which fortunately had gettable crosses and therefore did not leave me with a serious case of the UHS. I'm guessing I'm not alone in my ignorance. But Wikipedia tells me that more than 22 million copies of this game have been sold, and that not all of those are in the 29 language other than English in which it has been published. (It has been published in English, too, is what I meant to say.) When did it GO VIRAL?

Enjoyed the puzzle more than Rex did.

Robin 2:20 AM  

For those doing the puzzle via the Time website, yeah they made some changes tonight. Noting serious, but just a little disorienting.

Finished a few seconds slower than my average Wed time due to figuring something out in the SW. I have no idea what CATAN is, but that's what all the crosses gave me for 52D.

Rex complained about the ITGUY, but I thought that the cluing for ENDWAYS and AREA was particularly weak.

phil phil 2:21 AM  

MADAMa Butterfly, give the 14 year old Italian speaking abandoned Japanese girl some respect.

Roberta Weiner 2:38 AM  

In the middle of re-reading Americanah so it had to be Igbo. Other than that, super easy and hopefully a cure for insomnia

Atonego Catan Mucky 2:47 AM  

I had redpEncil for ANSWERKEY, does that make me old school?
Funny that ANSWERKEY is in the same place as AKEY from yesterday!

I always appreciate that Bruce Haight tries to make a picture and play with new ideas.

I didn't get the Pole worker's/TOYS clue till the fifth reading! What Polish people? Poles like Tinker Toys? just didn't get it till my OHO
OHO OHO moment! I blame being a Christmas-deprived Jewess.

Larry Gilstrap 3:03 AM  

I had a hunch OFL would pick away at this one, even before I began my solve. I must be psychic.

Anybody remember the guy in syndie-land who made the suggestive posts using fill from the puzzle? Is he still doing that? He's going to have fun with this one. Don't forget the batteries.

This Wednesday effort was as good, or better than I deserve. Four different words that precede BUTTERFLY and some more than tolerable grid art. I think an IT Girl is different than an I T GUY, not to say that tech skills are gender specific.

CDilly52 3:09 AM  

I am obviously not what my husband would call a "visual learner" because even after blasting through the puzzle on record Wednesday time and after throwing in MADAMa first and then searching for her BUTTERFLY, I just could not see "butterflies" in the grid. Oh well. Generally the theme was clunky simply because the answers are fragmented and unrelated (other than the BUTTERFLY) and (to me) oddly or incorrectly.

That said I had a lickety-split, enjoyable Wednesday.

travis 3:36 AM  

Settlers of Catan. I played it in college which was almost 20 years ago at this point so it has been around.

I bombed on RAYOVAC on both the Y and the O.

jae 3:43 AM  

Easy-medium for me. @Mike CATAN was a WOE and HAVLA was a feint memory...hence medium. Got the BUTTERFLY part early...hence easy.

@phil phli - One of the mid '90's Saturday puzzles I've been slowly working through had MADAMa as the correct answer for that clue. I needed my eraser.

Isn't there a SImpson's version of "In-a-gadda-da-vida"?

I thought this was kinda cute, liked it.

Thomaso808 4:14 AM  

Easy-medium for me, too. No ? clues. All very straightforward and gettable. Might have played better switched with yesterday's Tuesday. No crosswordese or dreck, so good construction.

@Chefwen, constructor Bruce Haight on Xwordinfo says he's in Princeville playing with the nenes -- track him down and feed him dinner!

@LMS from yesterday, how about an auto body shop guy = dentist?

evil doug 4:25 AM  

"If you're gonna use ITGUY, then your clue should indicate gender."

I think women have gender-appropriated "GUY" for their own use. Naturally, I resent that....

Way too many shortish answers for Wednesday due to the ridiculous alleged butterfly shapes screwing up the grid.

Loren Muse Smith 4:42 AM  

First of all, good morning, @JenCT, our resident butterfly enthusiast.

@Larry – I know, right? Funny how you can be the IT GUY or the I.T. GUY but maybe not both. Although, our school’s I.T. GUY is immediately the IT GUY when he fixes my computer quickly and completely. Hi, Andy.

Rex – I laughed at your RAIN HAT quip. I guess you’re right – always just a bit awkward.

Liked the symmetry of HOT LINE and ICE COLD. And now that I look at it, DISROBE and GO VIRAL. Well, yeah.

At restaurants, I like looking around and invading people’s privacy mentally. You can always tell the ones ON DATES because they actually talk to each other.

“I gots it!” before I HAVE IT! Ok – not really, but much to Mom’s dismay, I use “got” for HAVE.

“Pitchfork-wielding assemblage” – well MOB is event planner speak for Mother of Bride. Honestly, it was the mothers who most often stood at the threshold of being Very Difficult. Hah. MOBzillas.

@Thomaso808 – good one. (And I have an dentist appointment today at 2:40. I’d rather be cornered by an Amway salesman than sit in that chair.) My daughter just graduated with a B.S. in molecular biology. So she’s a cellist.)

Bruce - I think the grid art looks just like four whimsical little butterflies. Sweet. I liked ICE COLD, HOT LINE, ANSWER KEY, and RAIN HAT. (And the MAYS and AARON pair.)

Oh, and a heads-up – I read on FB (Thanks, Deb) that you can be fined up to 50,000 dollars for harassing a nene. Just leave’em the hell alone, ok?

Thomaso808 4:49 AM  

My 24 year old daughter and her friends kick my butt on Settlers of Catan every time. Grrr!

Anonymous 6:09 AM  

Dems 0-5 in special elections, despite 24 million sent to GA from Hollywood elites. Another great candidate. Dude didn't even live in the district he was running for. Just sit back and watch 'em self destruct.

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

The grid was pretty to look at, and I liked how BUTTERFLY was set in the middle. It distracted from the extremely subpar fill. I had to run the alphabet for RAYOVAC/LOY to finish the puzzle, which, um, it's Wednesday. I never have to do that on Wednesday. I wish more constructors understood that solvers get more pleasure from the contents of the grid than its appearance.

To be honest, though, I was just pleased that DAWG was not clued with some variant of 'homie'.

Lewis 6:27 AM  

@rex -- I thought ORIGAMI (butterfly) was a stretch too, even green paintish, but then saw that "orgami butterfly" (in quotes) garnered 1.3 million hits.

This one flew by, as it were. Maybe Will thought the cluing should be easy, especially in the NW and SE, which are essentially islands. I love how crosswords increase my knowledge. I looked butterflies up after this, and did you know:

* Some butterflies can fly faster than horses run?
* Monarch butterflies travel some 2-2.5 thousand miles to find warmer weather, as many do between the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico (making the same length trip again in the Spring).
* Butterfly wings are actually clear. The designs and color come from reflections on the tiny scales covering them.

Anonymous 6:31 AM  

"ICE COLD is a great answer, but I wasn't a big fan of the clue (17A: Phase in beer ads)."

Maybe you'd be a little less pissy if you read the clue correctly. "Phrase". Not "phase".

But why ruin a good rant.

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

Cute puzzle, straightforward with a little challenge. Enjoyed it!

Anonymous 6:45 AM  

@jae did you mean HALVA for HAVLA ? I have eaten many of these https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halva#India

Z 6:46 AM  

CATAN is huge, widely well-regarded, and over 20 years old. There is at least one version downstairs in the stack of board games. My sons and their friends have been playing since at least high school.

In my version the butterflies are gray, not black. The biggest issue is that the butterflies chop up the center causing way too much short fill.

Hungry Mother 6:51 AM  

Very easy for me for mid-week. I got the theme immediately and used a lot of downs to finish up. I found the Mini much tougher today.

Ken Aaron 7:05 AM  

Perhaps the greatest NYT puzzle ever. Though I may be biased. Sincerely, Kenneth (45D) Aaron (58A)

kitshef 7:16 AM  

That 'visual hint' in the grid does not impress.

I thought the IT GUY was Rex Bell.

Nice Wednesday. Some stuff I didn’t know but learned from crosses without too much straining.

Willie MAYS is Barry Bonds’s godfather.

prandolph 7:19 AM  

Easy puzzle for me, cute theme. Nice to have both Mays and Aaron in there. Would have nice to have Ali also, as in "float like a butterfly..."

prandolph 7:21 AM  

"would have been nice"

Aketi 7:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 7:26 AM  

Ah the trivial things in life. Patting myself on the back for remembering RAYOVAC knowing perfectly well that so many other things have disappeared from my memory banks.

@Rex, clearly you were not the parent that helped your offspring with the ORIGAMI projects. I was that parent. Yes BUTTERFLies. We even did dinosaurs thanks to the Christmas tree and the American Museum of Natural History which was covered in ORIGAMI decorations.

@Evil Doug, hahaha, can't help myself. You know that the perfect come back to that one iwould be to say "GET OVER IT", but I wouldn't want to RUB IT IN. "Dude" has been appropriated as well, at least by the Gen X, Y and Zs. Feel free to gender appropriate "broad", "dame", "ho" etc. Thanks to thinking about you, I cannot now unsee what is dangling down from the MADAME.

Two Ponies 7:36 AM  

The visual effect never clicked for me since I was looking for one big butterfly not four little ones.
Lengthwise sounds OK but endways is jarring.
At 26A using merch to indicate an abbreviation is really ugly.
Catan? Formally or informally we've never met.
Old cartoon Deputy Dawg would be my pal of choice.

I guess monarchs are having trouble so I planted milkweeds in my garden this year.

QuasiMojo 7:37 AM  

What do you get when you cross Peter Lorre with Renata Tebaldi? "M. Butterfly"

No real quibbles here today. I liked it. But then I love lepitdoptery. The Butterfly Effect was cute but could have been enlarged upon. Agree about Monarch being slightly redundant after insect.

I doubt the constructor had "butterflies" in his stomach awaiting Rex's review.

Fun to see "Gores" Tricky "Dick" and "dawg." Not sure the baseball clues were apt, but easy to get. Is there some butterfly term in baseball I don't know about?

I'm up in the near wilderness on a river near Canada right now and the LOONS are everywhere. Music to my EAR.

RAD2626 7:41 AM  

I liked this puzzle quite a bit and even liked the visuals. Thought it was easy probably because it skewed old: LOY, AARON, MAYS, OPRAH, KGB; very old ABE; and ridiculously old EVE. Cannot imagine ABE all that happy being paired with Tricky DICK. Had same stumbling blocks as others. Liked TOY clue. Not many CDS being sold these days -mostly tees and posters.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

Would "green paint" clued in the context of the crossword industry be "green paint?"

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Silly dems - hate is not a strategy for success.

chefbea 8:01 AM  

Tough puzzle. DNF In my print out version the butterflies were gray...maybe that's been said...too many posts to read this early. Will read them when I get back from Curves

Amy 8:05 AM  

Newspaper version of puzzle has butterfly shapes set off in gray with black outline.

Kendall 8:12 AM  

As a young ITGUY this puzzle went from very easy to almost not possible in the NE corner. The crossings with DICK, ATONEGO, ENDWAYS, and MADAME were very close to just not happening at all. I'm assuming DICK must be Richard Nixon, though I didn't realize he had a nickname. ENDWAYS seems fine I've just never heard it used before. ATONEGO doesn't look correct to me and I've read it at least 30 times now. My brain refused to let INONEGO be erased despite that also not looking sensible. These probably all would have dropped had I known more about opera, though. I know Puccini was responsible for La boheme and Tosca but I'd never heard of MADAME Butterfly and was certain the Italian here was MADAMa. Oh well.

Anonymous 8:14 AM  

I have asked my neighbor not to DISROBE so I don't have to see his "presidential nickname".

wgh 8:33 AM  

I thought the fill was quite good actually

Johnny 8:34 AM  


I originally had ikE and jaCK for the presidential nicknames. That slowed me down a bit. I still finished well above average time, and I never saw the theme until near the end.

Hartley70 8:39 AM  

This played quite easy, although I enjoyed the constructor's attention to the sweet visual detail. It's obvious how accomplished he is when you consider all the theme elements, regardless of the appropriateness of the day. The little black butterflies, the placement of the themers in the shape of a butterfly insure that I would like this elegant puzzle at any time during the week.

Myrna LOY was a favorite of mine when I was a kid watching the "Million Dollar Movie" in b&w on a tiny screen at midnight when my parents thought I was asleep. Years later I sat near her on a small plane going to Bermuda. She looked terrific although she was no spring chicken by then. I followed my better instincts and refrained from gushing. Bermuda was so proper at the time, one wanted to behave.

RAYOVAC felt fresh and CATAN so fresh that I haven't encountered it yet.

Churlish Nabob 9:04 AM  

In college I slept with so many women that I was sometimes called "slut" and "whore" even though I'm a male guy, though not an ITGUY.

Nancy 9:06 AM  

Like kitshef (7:16), I was underwhelmed with the visuals (which I didn't even notice until I figured out the theme.) This is how a computer might represent BUTTERFLIES. It's not how Van Gogh would represent BUTTERFLIES.

That aside, I liked the puzzle. I found it somewhat crunchy in the NW for a Wednesday and even more crunchy in the NE. All of the South, however, was pretty easy. I thought that 8D could just as well have been yUCKY or gUCKY. I wanted either I TECH or IT PRO instead of IT GUY -- it also bothered me that the gender wasn't hinted at in the clue. No junk at all, except for two very well known baseball players from my childhood. I watched baseball back then and I knew all the players, which is no longer the case. For those who weren't lucky enough to have seen him play, MAYS was the greatest player who ever lived. Yes, I'm NY Giants-fan-biased, but even so...

@ACME (2:47 a.m.)-- "Atonego Catan Mucky" is your funniest moniker of all time. I actually burst out laughing when I saw it.

Aketi 9:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 9:14 AM  

Blogger Aketi said...
@Kendall, see @Quasimojo 7:37 and scroll down for the full nickname that is a gimme for us old geezers.

@A ton ego cat an mucky
Thanks to that tricky insertion into MADAME and DISROBE, I veered in an entirely different direction with the "poles" and then steered myself back into the G rating meaning of TOYS and poleworkers.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

LOL IT guy. Rex is so precious.

Sir Hillary 9:17 AM  

Here is what I liked about this puzzle:
-- Imagining 44D as AerOtIC, which could be an adjective for the mile-high club.

Here is what I didn't like about this puzzle:
-- The theme. Lighter than a BUTTERFLY but nowhere near as pretty or interesting.
-- ONDATES, ATONEGO, ENDWAYS, IHAVEIT. One awkward entry is OK, but this many long ones?
-- Clues for AREA, DAWG, ABE/DICK, HALS.
-- The "fun factor" of the solve -- i.e., none.
-- Pretty much everything else. Snoozer.

Not for me.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

@Z
Please explain again what the Republican have to do win elections.

Love and kisses.


K. Handel

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

This puzzle took me a few minutes longer than normal, but I had to pause in the middle to squeeze off a prodigious deuce.

Aketi 9:24 AM  

Just noticed that ICE COLD is running across the former President.

Celtic Woman 9:31 AM  

A beautiful day to watch the sunrise on this solstice morning.
I feel the pull of my pagan ancestors and share their joy.

Mohair Sam 9:36 AM  

We kinda liked it. Yeah, the cluing got a little off here and there, but nothing crosses didn't solve, and nothing really weird - and the whole BUTTERFLY thing was nifty.

What's Rex's problem with RAYOVAC? AT ONE GO is very British, but it's fine. We say ENDWise in this house, and we know we're wrong every time we say it. NANOBOT, how current can an answer get? Did a heroine ever survive a Puccini opera?

I frequently take walks in the park along Little Lehigh Creek, right behind the MACK Truck Museum. The curator there tells us that the Bulldog logo resulted from the 2,000 MACK AC utility trucks used by the British in World War I. The vehicle was strong and tenacious, much like an English bulldog, and the shape of its hood resembled the animal too. British soldiers made the connection between dog and truck and started referring to the AC model as the Bulldog MACK. The name stuck, and a few years later MACK adopted the bulldog as its logo.

Handel & Greatful 9:41 AM  

@Anonymous 9:21 AM

Laughing my Ossoff!

jberg 9:41 AM  

@kitshef, nice one! I was trying to think of a Clara Bow joke, but yours was so much better.

@Aketi, I had much the same idea about the pole worker, but fortunately the crosses made it clear.

In the paper, the combination of having the butterfly squares in gray and the theme answer locations specified in the revealer just made this one too easy.

I started trying to think of better clues for ANTED. Lifted six times one's own weight? Subjected oneself to the hive mind? Spit formic acid?

Small nit: Legal Aid lawyers are on salary. PRO BONO lawyers work for a firm that lets them contribute some of their time to a good cause.

pmdm 9:53 AM  

Mr. Haight's comments on the problems associated with selecting the four theme entries interested me. As did his revelation that Peter Collins helped him with the selecting the entries. If you read his comments on XWordInfo, as was pointed out above, you get to see the constructor standing with a pair of NENEs who are apparently no longer rare. I did not see any years ago when visited the state, so after seeing them so often in crossword puzzle I'm happy to actually see them in the real world.

Tita A 10:03 AM  

Well, I've driven a MINI for 14 years, and yea, their mascot is a bulldog. It's not in their logo, so I thought the clue was a bit off.
Can't say I'm a fan of the breed. Aside from being bulldog-ugly, they can't breathe and they can't give birth. A poster pup for over-breeding gone bad.
(Apologies to all of you who own one...)

I immediately thought of our @JenCT too, @lms. In fact, here is a link to a video of a MONARCH emerging from a chrysalis in my backyard. (Scroll down to hte 2nd post)
(I still am amazed that she knew which one of her chrysalises was going to emerge, right on cue, after the 2 hour drive inside a Big Gulp cup!)
http://crucimetrics.blogspot.com/2012/09/metamorphosis-and-lunch.html
. . . @Lewis - great info!
Come on, everyone - how can you not love a puzzle with BUTTERFLies flitting about it?
By the way, have you ever noticed how awesome the word BUTTERFLY is? It just trips off the tongue. In fact, that holds true across so many languages.
Borboletta (Po), Papillon (Fr), Farfalla (It), Schmetterling (De)...

This puzzle made me happy.

(Hi, @Teedmn - been way busy and disorganized lately...!)

Todd Gak 10:12 AM  

As soon as I filled it in, I knew we'd see Rex asking for his fainting couch.

So sadly predictable.

howard a. brenner 10:14 AM  

Long ago. A well designed fun game

RooMonster 10:14 AM  

Ken Aaron 7:05, got a chuckle out of your post.

Took me a second or two to see the "full" BUTTERFLY of the black squares. Thought they were eight individual ones. Har. Four with full wings. Ah.

Did like the overall puz. Bruce Haight always has a trick of some sort up his sleeve. Fill was decent, if you consider the constraints.

@ANTED MADAME CHAIN, actually just read your late post yesterday, fun story! Do you now purposely ruin your luggage when it gets old? :-)

Two funny stacks, read at own risk!
MADAME, RUB IT IN, ICE COLD.
HOTLINE? I HAVE IT, MONARCH.
Har.

FAB LOONS
RooMonster
DarrinV

AZPETE 10:21 AM  

My thought exactly. Google it.

GHarris 10:27 AM  

I got halva because the crosses compelled it but I always thought it was Halavah. Anyone else?

Cassieopia 10:45 AM  

Fast Wednesday for me, clocking in at 12 minutes on a hand-held device, well below my Wednesday average. Someone on this site (maybe even Rex?) once mentioned a rule of thumb: if 1A is easy, the rest of the puzzle is bound to be easy, too. Sure enough, 1A popped immediately - very satisfying.

Got hung up a little in the middle with redpEncil (waving to @2:47am) and had PROrata for PROBONO (what was I thinking?) which slowed me down a bit in the SW.

However, I'm a fan of phrases in crosswords, it always delights me when a phrase that pops into my mind is the one the crossword constructor is cluing, so lots of joy for me in this puzzle:
- AT ONE GO
- IN STORE
- I HAVE IT
- GO VIRAL
- RUB IT IN

I for one adored the digital butterflies, and the way the four themers outlined a butterfly's wings borders. Now, if Mr. Haight could have made BUTTERFLY vertical to mimic the body, my Wednesday would have been complete.

Very nice and fun puzzle, liked it a lot.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Why didn't the voters in Georgia listen to Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano yesterday? They know best!

old timer 11:01 AM  

Liked this one a lot, and it was pretty easy. My only criticism is HALVA. Never seen it spelled without an h at the end.

BTW since MISSISSIPPIDELTA is on my screen right now, I wonder if anyone mentioned yesterday that that river has two DELTAs -- the outlet into the Gulf of Mexico, and the DELTA in a more northerly part of MISSISSIPPI that is where the Blues come from.

Tim Aurthur 11:08 AM  

Would anyone ever say ON DATES? "Half the people in the audience were on dates." ? I don't think so. "ON a date." Our language has a problem with plurals. If a company sends out a memo about a retreat that encourages everyone to, "Please bring your spouses," is it accusing its employees of practicing polygamy?

TomAz 11:11 AM  

UHS? Ugh.

Breezed through this, well below average time, but groaned on some of the answers.

evil doug 11:19 AM  

Tim,

I have a Polygamy Porter t-shirt from Wasatch Beers in Utah, emblazoned:

"Why Have Just One?"
and
"Bring Some Home to the Wives!"

GILL I. 11:21 AM  

Cute puzzle in a BUTTERFLY way. Sure was easy. Filled in my four BUTTERFLies and then went on my merry way to fill in the rest of the puzzle. Doing it that way, kinda takes the fun of solving...:(
@Tita...You forgot the Spanish mariposa. I think you're right about the names given - even in foreign languages.
@ACME - from late yesterday. Loved your AVION story from yesterday. Yes, if you are polite, it's amazing what an airline might do for you. I used to be the last ditch department when some poor soul had a nightmare flight and wanted some compensation. If you came in screaming or demanding, you got a polite smile and "I'll see what we can do." Which meant, I'll get to you LAST. If you came in with a reasonable voice and a calm demeanor, you'd get a swift response and if you were really nice, we'd upgrade to first or give out vouchers for further upgrades. The list of things we'd do for our passengers was incredible. It goes without saying that if you are a reasonable nice person, you will get the honey.
A wonderful read is Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior." It's beautifully written and will delight all MONARCH lovers. It might also convince you to plant Milkweed.
No Brit worth his shilling would ever order an ICE COLD beer....Cheers.

Joseph Michael 11:31 AM  

Had trouble for a while in the NE, but liked the puzzle overall and disagree with most of Rex's nits.

Thought the themers were well selected, but would like to add that one of those butterflies could have been a "stroke."

I HALVA bit of a problem with RAYOVAC, CATAN, and IBOS, which I have never heard of, but thought most of the fill was solid and especially liked IT GUY, GO VIRAL, RUB IT IN, and NANOBOT.

The grid art is cute but would have totally escaped me if it had not been pointed out here.

A less bloody way to clue GORES might have been "Al and Tipper."

GILL I. 11:40 AM  

Wow....After my comment, I went outside to finish my coffee on the patio and a bunch of butterflies started flitting about. I'm not making this up. I don't know what species they are although they have the same coloring as the MONARCH. We get Monarch's here but you can only see them in October....
I wonder if I should by a lottery ticket.

Gareth Bain 11:48 AM  

What's wrong with MUCKY??? Seems like... a word? "My dog's eyes are mucky and he's not eating..." "Oh, dear the distemper test is positive." Variations on that theme are a daily occurence for me...

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

My conscience is clear - I've got a "Resist" bumper sticker.

Larry 12:07 PM  

I can never guess what's going to please or irritate Rex. I thought he would like this especially for some clever fill. But I'm a novice.

ITGUY was a character on SNL played by Jimmy Fallon. And its a standard slang I've found among office workers even if the person filling the role is a woman (but rare). I think Rex's irritation comes from his academic PC background.

Liked the 3 Presidential nicknames which on the 3 letter one I went straight to Crossword World's favorite president and put in IKE. However MUCKY has to be a typo on the clue. Unless McKinley's lodge brothers had some nickname that I'm not aware of.

Anoa Bob 12:10 PM  

We used to drive all over Mexico back in the 90's. On one trip, going up from the low to the high desert through twisty, turny ravines and CUESTAS, we came upon a massive swarm of MONARCH BUTTERFLYs in migration. It was one of those experiences that leaves what used to be called a "flashbulb memory", like a bright, clear picture indelibly etched into the memory blanks. Quite an experience.

So maybe that played a role in my reaction to this puzz. At first I was in the unimpressed crowd by what OFL called four different BUTTERFLY shapes in the grid. Then sometime during the night, in a fade in-fade out dream state, I saw the whole grid as one big MONARCH BUTTERFLY! Good catch @Roo. @Cassieopia, the BUTTERFLY's body is horizontal, and it is flying east or west. And those four contiguous block areas are markings on the wings!

I don't know if that was the constructor's intent, but the grid does have a whiff of a Rorschach Ink Blot Test to it, and the essence of that device is that it leaves room for interpretation. Even though black square so-called grid art almost never works for me, this one clicked.

By the way, the Rorschach Test never passed the validity and reliability test as a personality measure, and fell out of mainstream use well over half a century ago. It still has some artistic merits, meideates, and makes for a fun party game---just don't take it too seriously!

RUB IT IN ICE COLD across a DICK? I'm checking the NAY column on that one.

mathgent 12:12 PM  

Mr. Haight is a talented constructor. From the comments today, it seems that few of us thought much of his "computer" butterflies. Putting them in almost certainly took away from his usual high quality work. I would say that it wasn't worth it.

Larry 12:14 PM  

Having looked it up, Jimmy Fallon played Nick Burns Computer Guy. However IT guy is a meme on google.

Bruce Haight 12:29 PM  

@pmdm
Thanks for the shoutout on my nene pic over at Xwordinfo! I used the word nenes in my blurb there and Will Shortz wrote to tell me the plural of nene is nene... how embarrassing! If the butterflies were orange or if I could have drawn little "bodies" between the wings it would have helped- sometimes gridart requires a little imagination, and squinting...

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

PEACOCK BUTTERFLY is also real pretty, but ORIGAMI BUTTERFLY gets more Google flits. Also, them block-carved grid butterflies do seem to favor the ORIGAMI ones, in appearance.

Fill was harlariously fun. Like for @RP, the theme part became obvious almost from the ATONEGO.

CATAN+HALVA area required extra nano-secs of attention during our solvequest. The rest of the fill was pretty eazy-E to get. Several moo-cow friendly clues interspersed thru-out, kept things movin along. Had heard of both RAYOVAC and IBOS, so no problemo there. Most intriguin clue: {Covered with sludge}; ATONEGO reaction: CAKED or maybe CAKEY. staff weeject pick: UHS.

This WedPuz had the feisty near-themeless grid look: 74 words, big maw-open corners. Looks like a complicated constructioneerin chore, to bring it to market. Thanx to Collins dude, for the assist.

As per Mr. Haight's comments off-blog, ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY [by Bob Somethin] was a cool 60s flit song that woulda looked primo paired up musically somehow in the puz with IRON BUTTERFLY.
SMASHED BUTTERFLY mighta been a possible themer contender, too … A dash (or maybe windshield) too grim? Yeah. Thought so.

Lasta but not leatsa ... liked how the puz snuck in LOY and DAWG, as their lasta-minute ASTA substitute. Strategical.

Thanx, Mr. Haight. U really really need to collab with someone named Ashbury, some day...

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

Cassieopia 12:42 PM  

@anoabob - you made my day by pointing out that the butterfly is horizontal; the puzzle has gone from "great" to "amazing" in my book! Thank you :)

TomAz 12:54 PM  

I know we don't usually comment on the mini in here.. I usually enjoy them but I thought today's was particularly bad. If you didn't know Gal Gadot or Chuck Lorre you were Naticked out of the whole puzzle.

aging soprano 1:03 PM  

It has been a really long time since I have perused the comments, and I am enjoying every minute, even laughing out loud. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

I also found this puzzle Tuesday easy, and was irritated by Madame instead of Madama. In my International NYT my clue reads a "phrase" in a beer ad. Also HALVA should actually be written CHALVA. The first letter is a guttural "ch" like in the German "ach".

@Mohai Sam, in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi the heroine lives happily ever after; the dead guy is there from the beginning of the opera. That's in return for your fascinating MACK Truck info. I never met anyone who lived by a MACK museum.

@Casseopia, if you just rotate the grid the revealer will be vertical, instead of ENDWAYS? The revealer was so easy to get that I didn't even pay attention to the little GUYs flittering across the puzzle.

And last but not least, @lms. Loren. At first I read the posts without noticing who wrote them. But yours was so funny that I immediately checked out who posted it and wasn't the least surprised that it was you. Your clever observances are one of the reasons I read this blog.

Two Ponies 1:18 PM  

@ GILL I.,
A Viceroy butterfly might be your Monarch look-alike.

I had a similarly pleasant experience with SAS when I missed a flight by nanoseconds.

jessica cohn 1:22 PM  

Why include hip hop language ? Dawg ? Really ? Why is this of any value to know except to complete a puzzle.

Also IT guy is sexist.

Erin Hollander 1:33 PM  

I'm still a relative beginner, but I finished this at well below my average Wednesday time. Also fun to see my hometown in here! I grew up in SIMI Valley, so my childhood was positively brimming with field trips to the Ronald Reagan Library. Politics aside, it is a beautiful place with some really cool exhibits.

Oddly enough, that's two Ventura County cities (OJAI was last week) in the space of one week, I believe.

jb129 1:37 PM  

Embarrassed to say I struggled with "IT GUY" and didn't know Catan, but worked it out & liked it.

Teedmn 1:37 PM  

I skipped over the two top themers to my first delighted entry of NANOBOT. (1A Paper insects, are we talking "wasps"?) Back when the technology was merely speculation, I read several doomsday science fiction books about NANO-tech run amok. Less a cancer analogy than perhaps an auto-immune disease.

But this theme is about BUTTERFLies, which I love. I greatly appreciated the grid papillons and didn't find the cluing odd at all.

I was more into @Mohair Sam's ENDWise for 13D but ENDWAYS was fine. It brought back a memory of trying to explain to my Swedish friend what the phrase (or is that phase, a la @Rex?) "Couldn't get a word in edgewise" meant. I ended up using a coin as an example of something with an edge. I suppose I could have used a SHIM instead.

Thanks, Bruce Haight, it was FAB.

GILL I. 2:02 PM  

@Two Ponies...I had to look up the image but yes...The Viceroy tis.
Thanks.

Tita A 2:41 PM  

@Anoa, @Cassieopia...thanks for pointing out the full butterfly - yes - flying east<>west, wiht BUTTERFLY as the body.

@Gill - how could I forget Mariposa...
Thanks. You made me look at the How to Say Butterfly in different languages
page to make sure I hadn't missed any others...

Danish - Sommerflugl (summer flier?)
Dutch - Vlinder
Romanian - Fluture (sounds like flutterer?)

And speaking of MINIs, anyone heard from @joho lately?

Blackeyedsusan 2:51 PM  

Easy for me. I may have turned the corner from beginner to intermediate. It took five years. I started piano lessons five years ago as well, and haven't turned that corner yet. Maybe I need to read a piano blog!

I just read a "Fancy Nancy" book (a charming series) to my two year old granddaughter every day for a week (Two year olds love repetition. If I were still visiting, I'd still be reading it). Fancy Nancy is dogsitting for a papillon, which she kindly informs the reader is pronounced pappy-yawn. She doesn't MUCKY up the tale with the reason for that name for the breed, but it's because it has butterfly shaped ears. Very cute.

Margaret L Skrobola 3:09 PM  

Been playing Catan board games for years. Lots of really great variations. My grandkids (24 of them) love it. Great for family time!!

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Yesterday was further repudiation of the arrogance of the last eight years, but let's restrain from stabbing any horses in the neck.

Joseph Jakuta 3:26 PM  

Given that BUTTERFLY was added, couldn't they have just added it to the end of two clues and use BUTTERFLY KNIVES and BUTTERFLY STROKE. Far better than that ORIGAMI and MONARCH junk.

I also like the idea of throwing IRON in the middle or something.

Mohair Sam 3:48 PM  

@aging soprano - LOL, So old Giacomo finally let one survive. I've only seen three Puccini operas (BUTTERFLY, Tosca, and La boheme), so the girl dies young theme was pretty well established in my mind.

The MACK truck museum, btw, is the next best thing to living next to a dinosaur museum as far as grandkids are concerned.

Nancy 4:35 PM  

Wow. I'm feeling profound Nature Envy right now. It begins with @Quasi at 7:37 a.m., immersed in "near wilderness" on a river near Canada, listening to the sound of LOONS. (I've never heard the sound of a LOON. I know I'd absolutely love the sound if I ever heard it.) Sigh. Next, we have @Mohair (9:36) strolling along Little Lehigh Creek. I Googled Little Lehigh Creek and looked at photos. It looks even more beautiful than Central Park. Google it, people and see what I mean. Sigh. And finally we have @Celtic Woman (9:31) watching "the sunrise on this solstice morning" and feeling "the joy of her pagan ancestors." Sigh again. (Where are you, btw, @Celtic Woman? In an Irish glen? Amid the Scottish heather?) Sigh. All of the above escapes sound quite, quite wonderful.

Music Man 4:56 PM  

Why aren't we madder at 8a? That's not the name of the opera.

JC66 6:09 PM  

@Nancy

No need to envy me, but I just got back from a trip to Fairway.

Anonymous 7:54 PM  

A Trump supporter referencing arrogance in the previous administration? Hilarious!!

Anoa Bob 8:17 PM  

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Joni Mitchell

Anonymous 8:34 PM  

@Anon 7:54
Registered Democrat here. The press was in love with Mr. Obama and even they acknowledged he was smug and suoercilious. Come on, the sobriquet "No drama Obama"was a nod to his above it all attitude.
Trump may be worse. He may be Satan himself, but he's not more arrogant than Mr. Obama.

Anonymous 8:34 PM  

Tom Perez. Gittin' 'r' done!

BarbieBarbie 9:01 PM  

Extremely disappointed to discover that tapping on Anonymous doesn't collapse all the A-mous comments. Only the one you tap. What's the point? Wish this blog had a Swpie Left feature. Maybe the IT GUY can help.

Oh, and the puzzle was easy, and I only saw the one big diagonal butterfly until you GUYs pointed out the little ones.

Kenneth Jost 9:07 PM  

SWAK? Totally unknown to me. Anyone else?

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

@JC66, I envy your glistening penis.

Anonymous 9:36 PM  

Trolls plant messages whether you like it or not, like a low grade infection. Everyone who comes here sees their propaganda. They are here evev when not fed. Better to address a negative message by neutralizing, not hiding. I like the tapping to collapse option, but itis not enough.

chefwen 10:11 PM  

@Kenneth Jost - Sealed With A Kiss.

Vicki 11:42 PM  

I bristled at ITGUY because I was an ITWOMAN for many years. But I thought the puzzle was pretty easy. Ray-O-Vac had a factory down at the end of our street until about 10 years ago, and their headquarters are still here in Wisconsin.

Anonymous 5:51 AM  

OK, well in that case: won't solar panels on a border wall make it "pay for itself" by putting a bunch of coal miners out of work? How far behind the door was Trump standing when the brains were passed out?

Unknown 8:35 AM  

A butterfly that is faster than a horse? Cool. Gotta look that one up. Thanks!

Bruce's "little" brother

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Space Is Deep 8:23 PM  

Finished, but only because of easy crosses. CATAN and HALVA, side by side was rough. Never heard of either of them.

Burma Shave 10:19 AM  

PROBONO MADAME

Hey, MACK, put on your “RAINHAT”,
ONDATES, MAY’S got a lot INSTORE.
DAWG, SHE’ll DISROBE just like that,
but you KNEW SHE’s just a (SOCIAL BUTTERFLY).

--- DICK ENDWAYS

centralscrewtinizer 11:26 AM  

Loons mate for life. Their call is usually described as mournful sounding.

For Nancy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ENNzjy8QjU

thefogman 11:43 AM  

MUddY before MUCKY and ASWERers before ASWERKEY. I had no clue what IBOS and CATAN were but they were both solved by easy crosses.I agree with OFL that the attempt to put ORIGAMI BUTTERFLY into the fold of the other three solid themers was paper thin at best.

leftcoastTAM 12:26 PM  

Not an inspired puzzle. Expected more given Monday's and Tuesday's zippiness.

Pretty obvious theme and revealer, presumably bolstered by odds and ends of less-obvious fill like ITGUY, ENDWAYS, CHATAN, HALVA.

Just seems a bit weak and tired, but that's just my opinion. Maybe anticipated too much for today.

Diana,LIW 12:37 PM  

I woke up this morning thinking it was Thursday. Took the Thursday pill out of my weekly pill container. The roofer, who was supposed to begin their job tomorrow, showed up today, keeping my delusion going. Planned for my afternoon (Thursday) MD visit. Opened the puzzle, saw the grid, and thought "oh dear, a dastardly fiendish Thursday puzzle ala the one recently from D Steinberg where you add clues together?" Looked again and saw - butterflies. Really.

Proceeded to solve and thought "is today really Tuesday? It's so smooth and easy." Proceeded from the bottom, groked the theme, and like @Lewis, flew through it.

Part of the year I live near a butterfly sanctuary. Love 'em flying about my yard, going to lunch and doing a little shopping before going back and nestling in the butterfly grove.

Didn't see that BH was the constructor until I came here. There are 2 kinds of BH puzzles - the ones I get and the ones I don't. Got this one likety split.

SWAK

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 12:42 PM  

Must. Read. clues. Carefully. Not the phase/phrase problem, the plural ONDATES was at first singular ONADATE. Inkfest ensued. And the popular ikE for ABE as well as oddly spelled ATONcee for ATONEGO. All fixed in the end with spilled green ink.

The missus has HALVA around all the time. Gimme. And tasty.

@centralscrewtinizer – no wonder LOONS are mournful

@thefogman – I see what you did there with the paper thin description. Good one.

Some folks must never step foot in Menard’s or any other such CHAIN where you can’t miss the RAYOVAC display.

Mini Hall of Fame AREA there with both MAYS and AARON. Watched Hank break the HR record on TV, saw Bobby Bonds tie AARON’s record in person in San Diego, thousands of asterisk placards were raised at that game.

Going old school today with yeah baby Myrna LOY. Asta was one lucky dog.

I’LL not dis this puz, let’s see what tricks are INSTORE tomorrow, then I might RUBITIN.

leftcoastTAM 6:37 PM  

@rondo--
Wouldn't an asterisk be associated with Barry Bonds instead of Bobby Bonds? Or was it a case of "like father, like son"?

rain forest 7:09 PM  

Easy puzzle with a relatively transparent theme, just like BUTTERFLY wings, and pretty interesting fill, in my opinion.

I usually do the puzzle AT ONE GO.

Right you are @lefty, re the asterisk for Barry, not Bobby.

@Burma Shave - see the reference to your oeuvre from @Larry Gilstrap? You're famous.

spacecraft 8:46 PM  

To the ITGUY in charge of the syndi-link: WAKE UP already! You've been stuck on Saturday all week!

Diana,LIW 9:04 PM  

Thanks, @Spacey - I agree!

Lady Di

Diana,LIW 9:09 PM  

@Rainy - I'm sure you're right about @Larry G and BS.

Lady Di

Anonymous 1:20 AM  

Solved it without any hints and only major error. Had Swag not Dwag because I thought it was CST for Central Standard Time. Three days in a row without hints.


Mark

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