Inspector Clouseau's employer / SUN 8-20-17 / "A Navel" artist, 1923 / Wine-and-cassis drink / Third one's a harm? / Moaning Hogwarts ghost / From the top, to a musician / The first pope, to French speakers / Part of a locust tree / Baseball exec Bud / Hansen of a 2016 Broadway hit

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Constructor: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: Found In Your Inbox — Punny email subject lines that become more familiar phrases when preceded by RE-.

Theme answers:
  • [RE]QUEST FOR PROPOSAL (22A: Re: ___ (suitor's subject line))
  • [RE]TREAT IS NOT AN OPTION (29A: Re: ___ (stingy date's subject line))
  • [RE]VERSE COURSE (45A: Re: ___ (song lyricist's subject line))
  • [RE]ACTION TIME (65A: Re: ___ (film director's subject line))
  • [RE]AD ONLY FILE (69A: Re: ___ (sales agent's subject line ... with an attachment))
  • [RE]MOTE CONTROL (88A: Re: ___ (duster's subject line))
  • [RE]WARD FOR INFORMATION (104A: ___ (prison librarian's subject line))
  • [RE]ACHES FOR THE STARS (115A: ___ (celebrity physician's subject line))
Word of the Day: WORD (FAUVE) —
Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for "the wild beasts"), a loose group of early twentieth-century modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1900 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1904–1908, and had three exhibitions. The leaders of the movement were André Derain and Henri Matisse, whose members shared the use of intense color as a vehicle for describing light and space, and who redefined pure color and form as means of communicating the artist's emotional state.
• • •
I officiated a wedding for a lovely couple in Slippery Rock, PA, Saturday afternoon, just a couple of hours before tackling this puzzle, so I felt a weird kinship with it when encountering ALTAR (53A: Place to say 9-Down) paired with I DO (9D: See 53-Across).

Substitute crossword blogger Tyler here for Day 2 of 2, welcoming you to the Sunday puzzle, whether you're CROAT (10D: Dalmatian, e.g.) or SCOTTISH (14D: Like the people who invented golf), a resident of ASIA (54D: China setting) or an admirer of MAO (58A: World leader who proclaimed "Women hold up half the sky"). And I'm including if you're one of the 4.5 million OMANIS (62A: Dwellers on the Arabian Peninsula) or a citizen of OSLO (123A: European capital).



We'll start with the good stuff. VIDIOT (16D: Couch potato) was new to me. Since I couldn't find a toe-hold in the NNW (we'll come back to it), I didn't have SAVE yet (14A: Back up on disk) and needed to see most of IDIOT to intuit the portmanteau that was expected. I liked RAIL clued as (51D: Third one's a harm?). (If you're not previously familiar with the term "third rail", you may hear it again in discussions of political issues.)



I liked APERCUS (100A: Pithy observations) and GMC TRUCKS (78D: Sierras, e.g.). Also, we had IPOD NANO (86D: Apple product discontinued in 2017), where we usually just get one or the other. Then there's the topical EVAN (108A: Hansen of a 2016 Broadway hit), which hit won 6 of the 9 Tony Awards for which it was nominated this year.



There are a couple of family movie references, in ALDRIN (15D: Astronaut after whom Buzz Lightyear was named) and MYRTLE (63D: Moaning Hogwarts ghost). Well, and MONTY (68D: ___ Python), depending how early you're willing to introduce your kids to their oeuvre.



Now, I have two complaints about this puzzle. The first is musical. The correct abbreviation for the musical term Staccato is not STAC (31D: Short and detached, in music: Abbr.) but rather stacc. I could find a hundred examples in fairly short order to share with you, and in all the music I read studying percussion, piano, voice, conducting and ultimately getting my degree in musicology, I don't ever recall seeing it abbreviated with a single C. So, that's annoying. Here's just one example, from Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring:


The second is the NNW block. This whole SAKI (6A: H. H. Munro pseudonym) / KIR (8D: Wine-and-cassis drink) / ARP (7D: "A Navel" artist, 1923) / SURETE (6D: Inspector Clouseau's employer) / ST PIERRE (26A: The first pope, to French speakers) chain is ugly. I wonder if I would have liked it better if SAKI / I DO was instead SAKE / EDO? Or even cluing SAKI as an alternate spelling of Japanese wine? Maybe I'm just bitter that I still haven't memorized SAKI = H. H. Munro, whom I've never read, although I recognize it as crosswordese-that-I-should-know-by-now. It's just a lot of short, ugly stuff connected to some long, foreign stuff, and I didn't like it. Am I alone on this?

Bullets:
  • DA CAPO (74D: From the top, to a musician)Capo meaning, literally, head
  • THORN (49A: Part of a locust tree) — As opposed to roses
  • SELIG (85A: Baseball exec Bud) — Presided over the steroid era
  • AFRO (34A: Hairstyle rarely seen in the military) — A fresh clue on a common answer
  • AUTO (82D: Motorcade unit) — This felt fairly generic for the clue; or was I supposed to appreciate the misdirection to LIMO?
  • ON TOAST (97A: "Down," at a diner) — It's possible I'm not frequenting enough diners

Signed, Tyler Clark, Fan of CrossWorld

[Follow Tyler on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

82 comments:

Anonymous 12:46 AM  

Yes, the NNW corner was ugly. I felt like a lot of this puzzle was ugly. Even VIDIOT, one of the better words in this puzzle, wasn't clued well since that's not what that means, apparently.

But then there was TKOD (which in my mind should be TKO'eD) right above ESTS. KAL crossed with STAC. Are you some kind of ANUT instead of just NUT. Also not a fan of the alternate spelling of ShIVA.

I did like the clue on UNARM, though.

Joe Dipinto 12:55 AM  

Meh. The only themer I liked was TREAT IS NO OPTION. COURSE makes no particular sense in the answer to Re: song lyricist's subject line. A more appropriate clue would have been Re: poetry teacher's subject line. WARD FOR INFORMATION and ACHES FOR THE STARS simply don't work as clued (the former is a memo about the author's department? and wouldn't the latter be ACHES *OF* THE STARS to make any sense?). Also, I've never heard of CREAMY peanut butter. Maybe it's a thing but Smooth and Chunky are what I know. And AD ONLY FILE is...what???

Trombone Tom 12:58 AM  
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Trombone Tom 1:01 AM  

Another fair recap from @Tyler.

I have never understood how OFL and others can HATE certain words or sequences. I guess I just don't get that up close and personal with words (or crossword puzzles for that matter). Similarly I don't get the same sense of UGLY that @Tyler does here. Why is SURETE or SAKI ugly? I learned about Saki back in the 50's, but never read his essays. And surete is firmly embedded from those Pink Panther flicks.

Anyhow I was able to plod along and finish the puzzle without any real hiccups. I think the theme is cleverly done and quite REwarding both with and without the "re." With the possible exception of WARD FOR INORMATION which I thought fell flat.

Thank you, Ruth Bloomfield Margolin, for a pleasant and satisfying Sunday puzzle.

pmdm 1:10 AM  

Rightly or wrongly, Mr. Sharp has a fairly negative reputation of a complainer with somewhat narrow tastes, I would say the reputation stems not from his complaining (Jeff Chen also complains) but the vehemence of his writing style. It's been interesting reading the write-ups of those who have recently stood in for him who express disapproval less emphatically. Applause to all of you ( including you, Mr. Clark) on your entertaining write-ups. I say that without any malice towards Mr. Sharp, especially since this is his blog. But I enjoy the change of pace.

It took me an amazing long time to re-alize how the theme works. I AHA moment was enjoyable.

Mr. Clark, your comment about STAC and STACC somewhat floored me. As a classical music pianist, I've come across the abbreviation many times, but never paid that much attention so the error never registered in my head. From now on, whenever I see the abbreviation in a score, I am sure I will become distracted from the piece I am interpreting and think about your comment and this crossword puzzle. I can think of worse fates.) This is not the only technical error that Mr. Shortz passes on. At least twice clues claimed that H is not a note, but it is if you are using German notation. (Think of Bach's Mass in h moll.) I once emailed him about another technical error (not in the field of music) and he replied that the answer was "close enough." You should try to contact him (the NY Times provides contact information) about the STAC error and see what his response is. By the way, which side do you take in the Enesco/Enescu debate?

I hope most of you enjoyed the puzzle at least as much as I did. It's a bummer when you don't enjoy the Sunday puzzle because it seems you spend a lot of time on something you don't enjoy.

TokyoRacer 1:45 AM  

I highly recommend that you read Saki. Short stories that perfectly embody the term "black comedy." If you don't want to read them all, at least read his most famous one, Sredni Vashtar.

jae 2:13 AM  

Mostly easy for me. The SW corner took a tad more effort than the rest. I'm with @Trombone Tom's last two paragraphs. LIked it.

Johnny 2:44 AM  


I got DNF'd by three squares.

11D: _OSTA crossing 10A: C_IS
and
74D: DAC_ _O crossing 94A: _VA and 100A: A_ERCUS

I finally gave up and looked here and I never would have gotten them. Those aren't even words to me. I mean they are now but they weren't just a short time ago.

Anonymous 4:54 AM  

@Joe Dipinto said it all for me. Bad, just doesn't work and it felt uncomfortable.

Lewis 6:33 AM  

The puzzle gave me a terrific aha, and was neither a slog nor sail-through. It brought some delightful clues (CROAT, ULTRA, BASSES) and answers (VIDIOT, APERCUS, SLAKED). I echo @joe in that some of the theme answers/clues might have been better; I had the same thought that "poetry teacher's subject line" would have worked better with (RE)VERSECOURSE". I also think that OWES TO is redundant. But, at the end of the puzzle I was grateful for the mental calisthenics, the satisfaction of a Sunday success, some learning (relearning APERCU, i.e.), and crossword staple review (SAKI). Ruth's notes indicate that this took a lot of work to put together, and Ruth -- thank you for that and it paid off!

Here's a crossword-related theme clue/answer, though not as good as any of Ruth's, because the final phrase with the RE isn't really a common phrase. Nonetheless, some crossnerds might appreciate it:

Clue: RE: _____ (transportation director's subject line)
Answer: BUSES RUN MANY THURSDAYS

File as fog 6:42 AM  

Definitely on the easy side for me, despite the occasional Frenchness, but didn't finish especially quickly. NNW went in without any thought, maybe because I've been doing the NYTX since the Maleska era. Theme was easy to figure out too, but had problems with the only two answers that started with a vowel — brain was expecting consonants for some reason.

Loren Muse Smith 6:44 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 6:45 AM  

The themers are a little tighter after a second glance – not a one uses the prefix re to mean “do it again.” Well, maybe you could argue that REACTION kinda works that way. Anyway, I guess using such words is a given if you think about it, if you want your puns to be surprising and fun. And those re-less words in the phrases look amusing. Especially ACHES. That was my favorite. I liked this.

Hard to think of others possibilities. Some people may spell repeal as repeel, and there could be peel and place something or other, but I digress.

@Johnny - about that DACAPO/AVA cross. Toughie. I guessed right.

I’m with Tyler (thanks for filling in) about SAKI. I guessed right on the SAKI/ARP cross, too. But I had a dnf ‘cause I put in “aler” instead of “nler” for 71D and never recovered.

With _ R _ E _ E for 23D, I kept going French on myself and thinking “arrête.” Dumb. And if you thought that, you’re dumb, too.

(I whole-heartedly agree with @pmdm on being critical. It really is an art. There’s that quote about tact, that it’s the art of making a point without making an enemy. Jeff Chen is extremely discerning and discriminating, but he’s never derogatory or mean, never opines that the constructor is actively committed to joylessness. Most of the time, Rex makes good points, but the vitriol makes me feel uncomfortable. So, yes, it’s a bit of a breather when we get subs here.)

@Lewis – hah! Good rebus joke!

Ruth, the first one I got was ACHES FOR THE STARS, and I was really please to settle in to discover all the other ones. Nice job.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 6:54 AM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Joe 7:17 AM  

That KIR/SAKI crossing was absolutely brutal, and more importantly, impossible to infer.

Other than that, I thought the themers were pretty decent for a pun puzzle, which I normally dislike (almost) as much as Rex.

chefbea 7:41 AM  

Could not figure out the theme...so no luck with the puzzle

Think we'll have a DARK puzzle tomorrow??? We have our glasses and are ready!!!

Z 7:48 AM  

SAKI was in my 9th grade primer, so he never seems like ese to me. My memory could be faulty here, but I think he and O. Henry were used to teach irony. I don't think we used the term "black comedy" back then ("we" being heavily Dutch Reformed conservative West Michigan of the 1970's).

I found this more enjoyable than not. The issues with the themers is with a couple of the clues (personal trainer works better than doctor for ACHES FOR THE STARS for instance, spammer would be better for AD ONLY FILE), but I like them all well enough. The only thing that sucks the joy out of this is the 21x21 grid, which then leads to a plethora of three and four letter answers.

BTW - I don't read classical Greek, I just follow a classicist on Twitter, one with a penchant for finding timely quotes written a couple thousand years ago. I presume most of you knew, or at least assumed, that something showing up here in Greek was a copy and paste job, Apparently, though, not everyone.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

You are very much not alone. It was ugly, and painful. Spent most of the time saying 'ugh'. Only glimmer of fun was 'vidiot'.

Teedmn 8:36 AM  

Finding out that I'm a DOLT for thinking of "arrête for 6D (thanks, @LMS :-) ) was ONLY one of the pleasures I found in this puzzle. I got the theme at ACHES FOR THE STARS (I was a bottom starter today) but only after I had misinterpreted the theme at 69A. I hadn't filled in 42D yet and had put in an S at the end of it, having ignored the "or" in the 42D clue. So AsONLY FILE in my brain meant the theme was replacing the I sound in "for your eyes ONLY FILE".Ahem. When I figured out the theme involved the re:, it became [re]AsON LY FILE. Huh? BRAND finally set me straight and I was later able to use the theme to help the puzzle.

I agree that cluing 45A with a poetry reference would have been preferable but since POET was in the grid, it was probably nixed.

Nice Rebus themer, @Lewis.

APERCUS is a word I only see in crosswords and it always sneaks up on me. Only after staring at the CUS ending for a while and then filling in the P was I able to plop that in. The word and its definition just don't line up for me.

I briefly snagged on wanting "limO" at 82D for the motorcade unit even with _UTO looking me in the eye. Maybe DOLT is the right word for me today.

Thanks, RBM, for a fine Sunday solve.

mmorgan 8:37 AM  

Finished it, and kinda sorta enjoyed most of it, but could could could not figure out the theme until I got here. Oh... [RE]...! Ha! That makes it a lot better though I agree that lots of the themers don't work as standalones. But FAUVE is one of my favorite words and it was nice to start out the puzzle with it.

boomer54 8:45 AM  


Ciue: RE:___( mystery writer's book title )

Answer: D IS FOR DEADBEAT

'mericans in Paris 8:47 AM  

Meh. We weren't super enthusiastic about this one. For us the theme answers didn't work.But somehow we guessed an "A" for the S_KI-_RP crossing, so managed to get the whole puzzle right.

The puzzle started off well for us in the NW, with all the French clues and answers. Nice to see the name of our son (PIERRE) crossing one of his favorite Dr. Seuss characters: [the] LORAX.

However, I have never heard UNARM as a transitive verb. Seems it is archaic and (according to one grammar website) "survives mainly as the past participle, "UNARMed", meaning not carrying any weapons (particularly firearms)." It goes on to say that the standard term for taking someone's weapons is to disARM, which is the term I'm much more familiar with.

Also entered "smooth" before CREAMY, but I'd consider that answer fair. Mrs. 'mericans had entered "kiev" before OSLO, which caused us some delay in completing the SW.

Think I'll now go SLAKE my thirst with a KIR. YES? NO?

Tita A 8:56 AM  

Thank you Ms. Margolin... I liked discovering each themer, and it helped with the solve.
I did raise an eyebrow at the two outliers, whose pronunciation changes... I'm looking at you, Re: Ads and Re: Aches...

@Lewis...yes to your Re: try.

Glimmerglass 9:05 AM  

Saki (H.H. Monroe) wrote short stories -- rather grisly, macabre stories that appealed to my teenage sense of humor. Yes, they were often ironic, but they were definitely not essays. I thought the theme was quite good for a Sunday, though [re]VERSE COURSE doesn't work either as clued or as a common phrase. The rest are excellent. He and O. Henry (William Sidney Porter) were two of my father's (born 1899) favorites.

Maruchka 9:16 AM  

RE: Adjusting - from an early aversion. Could not see the forest while grumpily chipping away at the THORNy clueing. My AHA moment came waay too late.

Agree on the NNW. Perhaps, if begun in a different quad, it would not have been such a bear.

It seems sort of a crossword/jigsaw combo. Grab a piece, doesn't fit, try again, still no fit, get the right one, and it informs all around. Clever, after all.

Masses before BASSES. Doh. Would more accurately have been lumpen, anyway.

Favs of the day - SLAKED, FURL, clues for MOTE CONTROL and TREAT IS NOT AN OPTION.

Theme was challenging and ended on an up note. Thanks, Ms. Bloomfield Margolin. Or may I call you RBM?

Maruchka 9:25 AM  

BTW: Isn't the 10A/13D cross CHIS/SALOONS? Just noticed the grid is showing CHIB/BALOONS.

Maruchka 9:25 AM  

Oops. Never mind..

tbd88 9:37 AM  

I'm a professional musician and I know that I've seen "stac." once or twice, in the same score that also had "cres." instead of "cresc." and other things like that which irritated me at the time. But I definitely noticed it here and said "no, that's wrong." Some of the cluing was just awkward, and the puns are kind of "dad jokes," which I don't always mind, but they just got tired by the end.

bookmark 9:59 AM  

Saki is the pen name of H. H. Munro, a British writer often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker.
I taught his short stories "The Open Window" and "The Storyteller" many times to my high school English students to illustrate irony. Some of you might remember the last line of "The Open Window": "Romance at short notice was her specialty."

John McKnight 10:00 AM  

NNW smh. Also I recall LUMET and Stan Lee being together in the same puzzle recently (maybe last Sunday?). But overall a moderately enjoyable solve for me. Have a good day y'all.

Carola 10:04 AM  

For me, TREAT IS NOT AN OPTION made the whole thing worthwhile. I also smiled at the compulsive duster trying to achieve MOTE CONTROL; we're one of those sorry households where dust buffalo roam. And I laughed at EAT NO; it reminded me of @M&A'a inventory of desperation entries.

I learned CHI from the CHI rho christogram, so I did a double take when I looked back at the puzzle and saw CHI over ROW.

Birchbark 10:12 AM  

Outsmarted by crosswordese autopilot, went with MONTe reflexively, and figured PRICEe is yet another social media term I don't know.

But the day is young, and the puzzle is done. I'll walk in the woods and consider whether YES NO is really a simple question.

RooMonster 10:14 AM  

Hey All !
Clever theme, but agree with the folks who said some themers sounded off.

Did like overall, the N center my downfall, though. Didn't know HH's AKA, had dAnI (just threw a name out there), and CHIS wasn't ever gonna happen, so had trIS. (As in, tri's, threes).
Also, a further DNF at APERCUS, had AtEIcus, because had REAiM for REARM. Oh well.

Only two writeovers, though. ice-FOG, mountainS-GMCTRUCKS.

EEL ON TOAST
RooMonster
DarrinV

RooMonster 10:31 AM  

Oh, and nice to see MONTY Python in the puz! Along with Tyler's Parrot Sketch imbed! Good stuff. Cheese Shop is pretty funny also, I'm sure it's Googable.

RooMonster

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

Are there really fans of Mao?

Certainly not among the millions who died during his rule.

Travel Bum 10:47 AM  

Long time lurker, first time jumping into the deep end.

I really liked this puzzle once I caught on to the theme. Having recently returned from a week in NYC, where I saw both "Dear EVAN Hansen" and "OSLO", it brought back memories of some wonderful theatre. As far as the "Lyricist" vs "Poet" discussion goes, in my mind most all lyricists ARE poets, so the clue worked just fine for me.

David Stone 11:17 AM  

Hi, Tyler. I appreciate your stepping in for the usually cantankerous Rex, but for once, I missed his vitriol. This puzzle was terrible both for fill and awful punning. CHIS is terrible, made worse by crossing the obscure HOSTA.

EXERT ON? ORDS. A NUT (who uses the article in that phrase, really?). TKO'D isn't how it's usually written (tko'ed).


Why not cross OWED TO and DIVA instead of using the super obscure SIVA?

Then there are the terrible long answers. VERSE COURSE doesn't relate to the clue. What part of 'lyricist' suggests a course? TREAT IS NOT AN OPTION and AD ONLY FILE are incredibly forced. Some of the remainder were quite clever and even funny, but I didn't enjoy them because the solving experience was such a slog.

Chris 11:29 AM  

Pretty easy for me. Just checked the jar of Jif in the pantry (towards the back, as I am a crunchy kind of guy and sure enough it is CREAMY. Surprised some have not heard that. And HOSTAs I guess is regional? In the NE it is a very common landscape plant--basically the go-to for shady areas. Hardly "obscure."
Like a couple of others, I learned of SAKI from my dad, who would have turned 97 last week.
And count me on the love side of TREATISNOTANOPTION.

Joseph Michael 11:36 AM  

This was like a Sunday drive: pleasant and inconsequential. Liked the theme concept, but the execution failed to SLAKE my thirst for stimulating wordplay.

ACHES FOR THE STARS, for example, makes no sense. Why would a celebrity doc be promoting pain in an email?

The fill, however, was generally good -- I especially liked VIDIOT and APERCUS -- and there was some nice cluing, such as that for BASSES, which had me stumped for a while. I aldo liked the clues for ON TOAST and AFROS.

OSLO recently won the Pulitzer for Best Play. My copy just arrived from Amazon and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Craig Percy 11:41 AM  

Thought this was a fine puzzle. We all used to read Saki in 3rd or 4th grade. He's more than crosswordese. The puns were fine. No need to quibble. Thanks for the write up and for the puzz.

Charley 11:43 AM  

Never heard of apercus. But a thick coat of fog on a cold day? No.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

I had four potential Naticks. I guessed correctly on three of them: fauve/ester, saki/kir, chis/hosta. I guessed incorrectly on dacapo/apercus.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

been doing LA Times sunday books as fall asleep aid, and have gotten used to themers being in the title, so some form of IN was expected in the theme answer, or replaced in the theme answer by some other 2 letters, or (finally), or some other 2 other letters replaced by IN. taking a snip for the clue (admittedly the same snip) didn't seem fair.

jberg 12:01 PM  

HOSTA are not obscure, but hardly "Lilylike." They don't like sun and have fairly unimportant flowers.

Well, looking it up, I see that they were once placed in the liliaceae -- but no longer! And they're sometimes called "plantain lilies" apparently. So I'll accept it grudgingly.

VERSE COURSE didn't bother me; I think I was thinking that a course of verse was a line, in the same way that a row of bricks in a wall is a course. Silly, now that I look back on it.

I had two big problems with this one. First, I got QUEST and immediately added ION. That made me slow to accept SURETE, but the latter had to be it, so I worked out the rest of the crosses.

Then, when it comes to Setons, I always confuse the novelist with the saint, which somehow made me put in ANnA. The peanut butter fixed that one.

All told, I liked it better than most people seemed to have done.

"Are you moderate?" "Man, I'm ULTRA moderate!" (Fake quote.)

jberg 12:03 PM  

Almost forgot -- the last two days gave me a new theme idea, but I can only think of one example:

Tyrant deposed by drowning in an English river -- OUSTed in the Ouse.

Hartley70 12:21 PM  

I thought the theme was interesting enough, but the number of short answers became a bit of a slog for me. I started puzzling on the Sunday puzzle and stayed there for years, but now I find I usually enjoy it less than Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There is so much more wit in a daily during an average week.

I'm glad to read Lollapuzzoola was a success again for @Teedman, @mac, @BobK and @cameo TITA! I didn't see much pre-chatter about it on the blog this year. I presume it was a wild and crazy experience!

VIDIOT really tickled me. I can see multiple uses for that word.

APERCUS is new to me and rather awkward to use in regular conversation. I'm probably going to forget it, unlike VIDIOT.

Hartley70 12:27 PM  

@Chris, Hostas can be called "obscure" in CT even though they're planted everywhere. As soon as they poke their pretty leaves out of the earth, the deer eat them down to the nub. I remember fondly the days when I got to see their lovely flowers, but it's been a long time since the 80's.

Robert A. Simon 12:28 PM  

Wow! I am so impressed! Tyler can play "Rite of Spring" in the original Russian!

Other than that, I admired the theme, and I agree there was the occasional cute clue. Tyler cites well.

But overall, a rather tepid effort, especially coming after two lovely puzzles in a row.

Is two a streak?

CDilly52 1:20 PM  

This nearly did me in, but I made it. One fave for me was the restaurant clue for DOWN. It took me back to my short order cook days when, to make money to go to college and buy a new flute, I "womaned" the short order grill for breakfast and lunch at the student union at Illinois State U (go Redbirds). I learned restaurant lingo from the (to me) "ancient" cook-manager (he might have been 55-I now consider that young). surely someone has done a crossword theme with all the goofy restaurant jargon? It is fun: "Adam and Eve on a raft" anyone? (Poached eggs on toast)

So off to college I went at the U of Illinois to study flute, voice and music history. I agree with our leader this morning about "Stacc" vs STAC. Just wrong. And this, along with so many other spots made this plain hard (for me). As for the theme, it left me cold, even after I got the "re" connection. Because the "e" in "re" is pronounced "ray," the whole thing confounded me and was not terribly enjoyable.

However, I learned a new word: APERCUS. Learning is always good. I've been lurking lately and this community has given me a respite from a family illness crisis every day and I appreciate you all!

CDilly52 1:27 PM  

Yes, yes, YES!! One of the best last lines ever! Love HH and studied him at least thrice in K-12.

Hungry Mother 3:07 PM  

Also DNF on three squares. Knowing which squares were wrong didn't help either. Bad day.

Joe in Newfoundland 3:23 PM  

I liked this puzzle. Thank you RB Margolin.
A question for NYT style. 23 Down has an exclamation mark in the quotation, followed by a comma. I always thought (and was taught) that only one punctuation mark was necessary in such a case, hence '"Stop!" to a cop'
ps I am glad the "Captcha" thing has settled down. Was that the result of a Regal action?

abalani500 3:38 PM  

"Shiva" is the alternate spelling of Siva, or at least I grew up spelling it as Siva (and I am, in fact, from India)

Frayed Knot 3:57 PM  

DACAPO ... APERCUS ... ORDS ... VIDIOT ... SIVA ... STAC ... ???
Bunch of stuff here about which I had no idea

Unknown 5:07 PM  

Hi! First-time commenter here. Did anyone else notice 3 of today's clues & answers were identical or nearly identical to 3 of last week's?

TW (This Week)10A: XXX (Chis), LW (Last Week) 91D: Greek X (Chi);
TW 109A: Sidney who directed "12 Angry Men" (Lumet), LW 74D: Director of 1957's "12 Angry Men" (Lumet);
TW 83D: Lee of Marvel Comics (Stan), LW 52A: Lee of Marvel Comics (Stan)

Is this common?

BarbieBarbie 5:46 PM  

Thick coat of fog is what you get when the ground is cold and the air is warmer and there's air-temp water nearby and it's not windy. Generally a cool day but not a cold one. On the west coast the fog stays out at sea in winter and rolls in when it's spring or summer.

What Captcha thing? I'm still seeing them.

Stanley Hudson 5:59 PM  

@Anonymous 10:37, having spent some time in China, I can assure you there are fans of MAO. Similarly, there are fans of Stalin in Russia.

And we've been reminded recently that there remain fans of Jeff Davis.

Mohair Sam 6:21 PM  

@Stanley Hudson - Well said.

Nancy 8:39 PM  

Late getting here and I haven't read y'all yet. So I have no idea what anyone thought. As for me, I slogged my through this -- finishing it with no comprehension at all as to what was going on. None of the phrases made any sense to me. And then I thought: Let me at least try to figure this out before I check to see what the theme is. So I looked at all the answers, and, bingo, I saw it. There's a missing RE at the beginning of each phrase. Add the RE, and the phrases are familiar. And now I know. Why is there a RE? Search me? Was the puzzle more enjoyable in retrospect now that I've figured it out? I'd say it's more than a little too late. I didn't enjoy this much. Going to see what everyone else thinks.

kitshef 11:06 PM  

@Tyler Clark - do yourself a favor. Go find a copy of The Best of Saki and read it.

My entry was SAKI/SURETE. Different strokes and all that.

Average Sunday all around. Some irritants (I WANNA SEE and NLER - shudder) Some nice things (SAKI, MYRTLE). Overall, not a lot to excite the blood. Oh, except when I honestly thought we were going to get nAPpeR where CAPTOR eventually went.

Joe Bleaux 11:49 PM  

UNARM was unheard of by me, too. (A vote for your grammar site: Autocorrect immediately made "unarm" past tense,) Disarm and unhand, OK -- but not unarm.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Re:Sunday. Pissed off that YFL was away. Love when he goes into his scholarly, disingenuous rag on AFRO,especially so bcz he actually harbors his own bigotry.

Barry Higgins 11:12 AM  

The jar of Jud in my pantry says "Creamy".

Barry Higgins 11:14 AM  

The jar of JIF in my pantry says Creamy.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

You don't know the Greek letter "chi"?

Laurel 6:40 PM  

Re:Saki High school English teacher cemented that one in (these are "Laugh In" days) by saying "he may be HH Munro to you but he's Saki to me"

Unknown 9:42 PM  

Hello,
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http://tracygrilli.blogspot.com.tr
https://tracygrilli59.blogspot.com

Mike Pisano 11:15 PM  

I am SO glad you made clear the theme concept here... I finished the puzzle, but never did catch on to the "Re:" as being the lead-in to the answer... until now! And now (smacks head) they finally make sense! Thanks again.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

The newspaper we get (a week later than the NYT) has "Re:____" in each clue so maybe they heard your complaints and fixed it. Now we see it as, for example, "Re:Ward for Information".

bingo 9:21 PM  

VERSE CHORUS. CHORUS! CHORUS!

khollstein 9:35 AM  

I just finished it!

Burma Shave 11:12 AM  

YES/NO VERSECOURSE

IWANNASEE a LURID SCOTTISH mime
ASK, "CANITBE I'MHOT, is it ACTIONTIME?"

--- MONTY DACAPO

spacecraft 12:31 PM  

The theme today didn't really grab me, so it was something of a slog. The second one is pretty good. The last one is a gross outlier, not merely pronouncing "RE-" in front of the first word, but changing the sound completely. I see what's going on with this, but it's not my cuppa (in the AFTS. Ow!).

Not that I mind learning new things (FAUVE, HOSTA, etc.), but those all-cross fill-ins added to the slog. It works; the whole thing works, but it felt more like work than play doing it. A good puzzle makes you eager to uncover the next nugget; this one too often made me think, oh Lord, what now? UNARM? UTAHN? Must we? ASTO the longer fill, much of it was kinda cool: CANITBE the SCOTTISH VISITOR has an IPODNANO? I call it a mixed bag, and it shakes out to a par.

Another owie, TKOD, was very timely, as it applies to one Conor MacGregor. What WAS he thinking? PATRICIA Arquette does nicely as DOD. Looking forward to a better week (now that's setting the bar low!).

rondo 12:47 PM  

If I'd've known the Sunday Chicago Sun-Times had the NYT puz on a different page than their own puz I coulda done it last night. Easy enough, not very wacky. Last letter in was the P in the DACAPO/APERCUS cross, figuring it means from the "head" or top, YESNO?

Didn't read comments, anyone say NO to EATNO, YESNO, NOLOSE? Or EXERTON ONTOAST? Or UTA the UTAHN?

Yeah baby on PATRICIA Arquette, though Rosanna and Alexis just as much or more deserving.

Off for some birthday celebrating in the Windy City. Might step into a few SALOONS.

rain forest 1:39 PM  

After missing Mon.-Fri, today I finished Saturday's puzzle and today's. I'm a bit bleary from a long drive, but I enjoyed them both.

Yesterday's was hardly easy for me, but I managed to get it, and thought it was air-tight, as CC's puzzles tend to be. Lots of misdirects which took thought to unravel. Very good.

Today's was opaque until I got to VERSE COURSE and unintentionally sounded the 'Re' in my head, and voila, an aha moment. Nice one.

Mostly easy except for the centre South: APERCUS, DA CAPO, AVA, etc.

I'd say,overall a good weekend.

AnonymousPVX 4:32 PM  

Happy to finish, not a fan of gimmick puzzles, but this one wasn't so bad.

Diana,LIW 4:34 PM  

CANITBE that WS knew today was the day after the "big fight," and a TKO might be on our minds? I mean, even I heard about it.

Had two aha moments re the re, as others' have mentioned. Kinda cool.

Funny, I was in band and orchestra in high school from 8th to 12th grade, and I never ever (well, seldom) get those musical directives. And yet I can remember LUMET and SELIG.

Welcome back @Rainy, and glad you popped in, @Rondo.

Off to eat more camembert from TJ's - celebrating 50 years of providing wine, cheese, and of course, Nova.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Kolya Matteo 12:49 PM  

Creamy vs. crunchy is the standard peanut butter dichotomy for me. But yeah, "AD ONLY FILE" is a puzzler.

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Juanita Melanie 7:55 AM  

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