Onetime HBO series set in New Orleans / TUE 8-8-17 / Great Expectations protagonist / Kleenex of cotton swabs

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Constructor: Dan Flanagan

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: no. / no. — clues all look like fractions that = 1 (i.e. one number over itself) but they all have different meanings...

Theme answers:
  • 17A: 4/4 (COMMON TIME)
  • 27A: 11/11 (VETERANS DAY) 
  • 44A: 20/20 (GREAT VISION)
  • 60A: 50/50 (EVEN STEVEN) 
Word of the Day: COMMON TIME (17A: 4/4) —
com·mon time
ˈkämən tīm/
noun
Music
noun: common time
  1. a rhythmic pattern in which there are four beats, especially four quarter notes, in a measure. This pattern occurs often in classical music and is the norm in rock, jazz, country, and bluegrass. (google)
• • •

Huh. OK, I like that the numbers involved go up. That's a nice feature. I'd never heard of COMMON TIME before—I was glad to see it was a thing, 'cause when I googled it I thought the answer just meant "common time signature," or "time signature one hears in a lot of songs." That is, I thought the answer was using "common" commonly, not specifically. But nope, COMMON TIME is a real, coherent thing. An actual term. Learning! But GREAT VISION ... yeah, that wasn't so great. For me. It's just an arbitrary term. COMMON TIME, specific term, VETERANS DAY, specific, GREAT VISION ... a subjective concept used here to describe vision that is commonly (!) considered very good. Swing, miss. EVEN STEVEN also feels like some cobbled together junk, i.e. it's a turn of phrase, a colloquialism. Too cutesy. So the first two themers work for me, the others feel jury-rigged for reasons of symmetry. Not nearly as precise. Thus, a letdown. I've done (much) worse Tuesday puzzles, for sure. But this one's just OK. Neither good nor bad. It hits and it misses.


Fill was also just OK. Some nice stuff, like NAMEDROP and QUICKSAND, but lots and lots of common (!!) stuff; you know, ECO ERES ADELE. Swing a cat and you'll hit a ton of it. ARAL AERO IOTA URSA PAAR ISTO UAE. On and on and on. SSN! The more I look at the grid, the less I like it. Lesson: stop looking! My only holdups today involved themers: COMMON TIME (because I didn't know what that was) and GREAT VISION (because that is not a specific thing, as we have been over). I also blanked (for seconds, which felt like minutes) on 39A: "Great Expectations" protagonist ... and I had -IP in place! I knew the answer, of course, but my brain tried to feed me the Dickens pseudonym (which I know only 'cause of crosswords), BOZ, and so the answer came out BIP, but ... I knew that wasn't right. So there was this weird giant pause right in the middle of my otherwise lightning-fast solve (just broke 3 minutes). So at least it went by quickly. Good for a Tuesday, but since that bar is so low, it's still just OK overall.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. TOE is in the grid, and [Tiptoe] is a clue (40A). A no(e)-no(e).

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

102 comments:

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

20/20 Vision is, by definition, average. It means that you see at 20 ft what an average person sees at 20 feet. 40/20 vision is great vision - you see at 40 feet with the same clarity what the average person sees at 20 feet. 20/40 vision is poor vision.

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

I felt pretty uncomfortable about the clue for DECATHLON. Shouldn't it read "Caitlyn Jenner" instead?

jae 12:18 AM  

Easy for me too and more or less what @Rex said. Not bad for a Tues., liked it.

jae 12:22 AM  

Also meant to congratulate Dan Flanagan on his debut.

George Barany 12:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
George Barany 12:28 AM  

Debut puzzle for @Dan Flanagan, so congratulations! Nice to have the numbers of the theme entries appear in the grid in numerical order. My personal favorite, 11/11.

Thanks for the palindromic hint on OTTO (62-Across), and for the relatively little used (only 6 times, out of nearly 200 Shortz era appearances) OMAR (33-Down) Vizquel. Can we assume that the clue for SARAH (15-Across) was not in the originally accepted puzzle? As for NARC (41-Across), I always thought that term referred to an undercover police officer, which strikes me as different from an informant -- if someone knows more about this, please enlighten!

P.S. to Anonymous at 12:08 AM -- back in 1976, the Olympic athlete who was celebrated on a Wheaties box was still known as Bruce.

Anonymous 12:28 AM  

The "sexy" person in that Beatles tune isn't a woman. It's actually referring to the Maharishi.

puzzlehoarder 12:58 AM  

Another drivel free early week puzzle. So far so good. The difficulty was indistinguishable from yesterday. This was done by tablet so hard to say exactly. PIP has not been hammered in yet. TREME also went in by the crosses. I don't even recall ads for that show. Figuring out the M of MELT was probably my biggest hurdle. Sharp as a marble. Another stupid thing, I always want to put an A between the H and the L of DECATHLON. Only the lack of squares stopped me.

clk 1:01 AM  

I did not know that PATENTs last 20 years.
I do not care that I didn't know some baseball player or the New Orleans TV show.

Graham 1:07 AM  

Anonymous at 12:07 AM, I think great vision used to be listed as 20/10, not 40/20? At least, that's how I remember. Nowadays I only get my diopter prescription -- -0.1 or whatever.

Mike in Mountain View 1:12 AM  

@George Barany: Agreed as to NARC, which is short for NARCotics officer, but the meaning broadened, perhaps through the verb "to NARC," meaning to inform on someone who has done something illegal. See http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/narc_2. The noun apparently now means anyone who informs authorities about another's illegal act.

Not that I would have any firsthand knowledge of the act of NARCing or the experience of being informed on by a NARC.

Larry Gilstrap 1:30 AM  

I liked it, for a Tuesday. I've read some of Carl Sagan's lectures and seen his Cosmos series, but was unfamiliar with the novel, so SETI was totally dependent on crosses. Same strategy with TREME, which rang a distant bell. Fair enough!

The etymology of some words is rooted in trade names. Zipper is one, I think. My grandmother kept her refrigerated items in a frigidaire. Hand me a facial tissue, please! Never quite figured out the recommended use for a cotton swab. Overheard dialog at Hamura Saimin in Lihue involving a grandpa and his grandson:

GP: What you want for drink?

Kid: I want coke.

GP: What kind coke you want?

Kid: I want Pepsi coke.

GP, to server: He want Pepsi coke.

In the desert, watching URSA Major rotating around Polaris is a nightly thing, all year long. Shakespeare's SONNET 116, soon appearing at a secular wedding near you, uses the image of that "ever-fixed mark" as a metaphor for the constancy of true love. Everybody knows the plays, but these dense poems are complex and studying them is worthwhile, and each is only 140 syllables.

Lying PRONE in yoga is called Makar Asana, or Crocodile. Flip over onto your belly, make a pillow with your hands, big toes touching, heels falling apart.

GILL I. 2:24 AM  

Nice, gentle Tuesday, Dan. ORC ORCA and all. Please don't tell me you've named a pup ROVER or that a two year old does the TODDLE. Maybe a PIP and a WADDLE...?
I'm hoping for GREAT VISION after Thursday when I have my eyeball lasered. I thought I was too young for cataract surgery. My 38 year old ophthalmologist told me that being subjected to sunlight and alcohol can bring on early onset eye problems. Yeah...I was drinking Mojitos in Cuba when I was 9.

Lee Coller 2:42 AM  

Went rapidly for me until I hit 49D/64A. Never heard of Treme, and the clue for "melt" was brutal. Had to run the alphabet twice.

Anonymous 2:51 AM  

Good choice Rex on 20/20 as the song of the day.


It's in common time, or 4/4! It fits two clues!

chefwen 2:58 AM  

Yup, bit it at 49D/67A. Had no idea on the HBO show and put in MD to finish 49D thinking some sort of doctor show. ''Twas wrong, oh well, every else was right. DNF on a Tuesday, Shoots!

chefwen 3:03 AM  

@Gil I - Good luck on the eye thing. Had mine done a few years ago, scary, but really no pain, lots to gain. As they say on the islands, No worries!

ACMEs 3:24 AM  

Gotta agree with anon @12:28 since SADIE is really about the maharishi, perhaps a better clue would have been "Sexy PERSON" since it's very much not a lady despite the she in the lyrics.

(Altho nowadays I've been involved in lots of conversations about folks choosing their personal pronouns, etc. I'm too old for that.)

But not too old to not love QUICKSAND!!! NAMEDROP!! ACMES!!?!

(valuable advice from my therapist: QTIP Quit Taking It Personally)

jae 3:31 AM  

@Gill - Hopefully they told you about the multi-focal high tech lens options. I can now read the disclaimer print without glasses.

Jeffrey 4:34 AM  

I though that NARC referred to the undercover drug cop, whereas nark with a "k" referred to an informant. As @Mike from Mountainview pointed out, it seems that the spelling with a "c" works for both now, at least in some dictionaries.

NotADoctorBut 5:24 AM  

@GilI, I have a friend who got high tech lens on one side and you can see it glint at you, like some action movie robot. Disconcerting. Ask Doogie.

Lens replacement means you will see the color blue again, which also means your whites and pastels will shift. Enjoy.

Um, but lasering your eyeball is normally to contour the lens (LASIK), not replace it. Do you know what you're having done?

Oh PS, LASER started life as an acronym, then morphed to a noun, then got verbed by the medical community. Great word.

Lewis 6:15 AM  

Clever theme -- if it's never been done before, Dan deserves credit for that! Good clues on a Tuesday for MELT and TOE, and I like the ring of TODDLE. Congrats on the debut, Dan!

I loved the HBO series Treme -- for the inspired and gorgeous music. The woman who played violin (Lucia Micarelli) is coming to perform in my town, and I'll be there.

ORCA/ORC -- two common crossword answers. Could have had more of same if there was an Ara to go with ARAL, an ere to go with ERES, and an Ott to go with OTTO.

QuasiMojo 6:57 AM  

The "Vision Thing" ruined it.

OTD 7:11 AM  

Now this is my kind of puzzle--good fill, good theme, well executed by a newcomer to NYT. Enjoyed it very much. Kudos.

kitshef 7:11 AM  

Two issues today: one mine, one not. COMMON TIME was a WoE, so it felt out of place against the other three themers. That’s on me.

But TREME? No. Bad enough we have to put up with dadblamed HBO clues from shows that at least have penetrated (slightly) into popular culture like Game of Thrones, but TREME would have been too obscure on a Saturday. On a Tuesday, it’s apocalyptically bad.

Glenn Patton 7:35 AM  

@Anonymous at 12:08, yes, the Bruce Jenner clue is an example of "deadnaming" and that's a no no, especially for trans people.

GHarris 7:42 AM  

I don't know about dictionary definitions but in the parlance the trade a CI (confidential informant) gives incriminating info to a Narc (drug enforcement officer).Puzzle was an easy solve for me.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

I liked it but was microagressed by the Sarah Huckabee Sanders clue. Not cool normalizing the Trump administration. Adios, off to my safe space.

Victor 8:02 AM  

SETI is also an acronym, "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence". For many years there's been a program crowd-sourcing the processing of data using personal computers at off times. It's called SETI@home. Anyone might be the person whose computer actually finds ET. See https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/sah_participate.php

DNF on a Tuesday also killed by the Treme/melt crossing and the tough melt clue.

chefbea 8:09 AM  

Never heard of Treme or Common time...but other than that enjoyed the puzzle

Two Ponies 8:20 AM  

For as long as I have been doing crosswords the Aral Sea has been disappearing. When will it be gone? I guess it will live forever in puzzles.

Jack and Anne, always a struggle to remember double A or double R.

Clue for melt was great.

Treme? Really?

@ACM, Long ago you told us about Q-Tip and I think of you every time I see it. Good advice.


John V 8:50 AM  

TREME/ERES cross is poor.

mmorgan 8:51 AM  

If you ever have a chance to see TREME, do!!! Amazing series, amazing performances, amazing music.

Enjoyed the puzzle and found it very easy, though those two points are unrelated.

Seth 8:57 AM  

Yeah, 20/20 is not "great" vision. That answer is flat wrong. Kind of a bummer, cause I liked this puzzle, and I wish they'd thought a bit more about the last two themers. But I can't think of better choices at the moment.

ArtO 8:59 AM  

Unaware of TREME. MELT clue Friday-ish. Otherwise, clever puzzle. Great debut. Too much criticism by OFL but what else is new.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

"I knew the answer, of course...". Yeah, of course.

Nancy 9:14 AM  

Other than the truly obscure TREME, a very easy puzzle that was perfectly pleasant. I liked the way THE was clued (9D) and also agree with others that MELT was tough, tricky and terrific for a Tuesday.

About Bruce Jenner: Shortly after he won the DECATHLON and was, therefore, arguably The Best Athlete in the World, he appeared at Central Park, tennis racket in hand. Someone pointed him out to me on a faraway back court. I watched as he pushed balls back across the net with a form that can only be described as execrable. He didn't really have any form, in fact. It was pretty obvious he had barely, if ever, swung a tennis racket in his life. This is The Best Athlete in the World? I thought to myself. Why, I could beat him! I continued to watch. He got to every single ball. He pushed every single ball back across the net. No matter how hard the ball was hit to him or how far away from it it was, he got every single ball back. Eventually and very grudgingly, I realized that no, I wouldn't beat him. Superior athleticism wins out every time. Even if you have no bloody idea what you're supposed to be doing on a tennis court. [Sigh]

Mark Rosenfield 9:21 AM  

As an optometrist, I can tell you that 20/20 is below average vision for a 75 year old patient. I would be very unhappy if I only had 20/20 vision. I am currently corrected to 20/10, and want to stay that way - but that's just me being picky.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

@GILL -- Good luck with your cataract surgery! As to age -- my brother had both eyes done last year, when I think he was 69. And he wasn't drinking mojitos in Cuba at age 9. But it sounds like you had a much jazzier Year Nine than he did. Or me either, for that matter. (Although my father did liked to say that I showed a liking for the taste of liquor from the time I was tall enough to reach the top of the table.) I know lots of people who've had cataract surgery and they all recovered quickly and are extremely pleased with the results. I wish the same for you.

katherine catmull 9:45 AM  

I'm with you on the vision thing (I used to have 20/10 vision, THAT was great) but you are too hard on EVEN STSVEN, which I liked because it so nicely echoed the X/X form of the clues.

Two Ponies 9:49 AM  

Looking back at this morning's review I was wondering if that really was written by Rex. The words Like, Nice(X2), Good, and Learning are all there. Hmmm. Where is our Rex and what have you done with him?

I have become accustomed to the rules of the NYT, most of which I agree with, so Toe as an answer and Tiptoe as a clue caught my eye as well. Other crosswords don't follow these guidelines and make me pause when solving other puzzles. It is a rule I think is valid.

For some reason I am amused by "swing a cat" although in the phrase I know the cat is dead. Still funny.

jberg 9:55 AM  

@Nancy, I know the feeling -- when I was about 14, some of my non-athletic friends and I took up tennis because no one else played it. We got to where we thought we were pretty good -- then some other friends, who were starters on the baseball and basketball teams, decided to play -- and were instantly better than any of us. I went back to pool and billiards.

I remember reading a feature about TREME (can't type the accent) before it came out, and regretting our lack of a TV. Now we finally have a Roku, and I decided to work my way through "The Wire" first, but I'm still working. Treme is next, honest.

I used to run SETI@home, feeling that I was doing my part -- I printed out all the little certificates for completing X number of hours, and taped them up in my office -- but nothing ever happened, and I finally decided it wasn't worth the energy expense of leaving my computers on all night.

Nothing much to say about the puzzle, though!

RooMonster 9:57 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with SE corner ERODing puz. TREME? Oof. Crossing the oddly clued ERES really sucked. DNF. After finding the M of MELT, which I agree in hindsight was a great clue, had to run the vowels for ERES. Of course, started with U instead of A, so four inserts instead of two to get E. Humph.

Puz theme good. After seeing first two, thought it would be odd numbers up by two, e.g. 13/13 next clue. Har. FANG clue kinda pissed me off, was looking for who/what actually bit Dracula to turn him into a vampire, not what he uses to bite others. SNEAKy.

Loved the Argyle SOCKS. My friends and I used to wear them in high school along with our Chuck Taylors. Every time I see them in stores, it gives me a chuckle.

Was thinking Humblebrag at first for NAMEDROP.

IS TO OTTO UP TO
RooMonster
DarrinV

Joseph Michael 9:58 AM  

Liked the simplicity of the theme and the GREAT bonuses of a dropping NAME DROP and sinking QUICKSAND. And, speaking of names, we also got two pallindromic ones thanks to OTTO and PIP.

My two-year old waddled before he TODDLED and my European auto was an Opal before it became an OPEL. Have HBO and watch it regularly but never even heard of TREME.

DECATHALON was another nice extra during the solve and @puzzlehoarder, you are not alone in your struggle with how to spell it. I had a heck of a time trying to squeeze my VISION of the word into not enough boxes.

Have to agree with the criticism of "GREAT" VISION and didn't think an ORC belonged in the same grid where an ORCA already resided.

But overall this was a fun puzzle for a Tuesday morning. Congrats, Dan, on your debut!

Tim Aurthur 10:21 AM  

Today is International Cat Day. So no cat swinging! Okay?

Ben 10:32 AM  

Game of Thrones has BEYOND penetrated into popular culture and the NYT runs a recap every Monday. Treme is a fantastic shoe by the man who created the Wire and is also the name of a neighborhood in New Orleans.

mathgent 10:52 AM  

Average Tuesday puzzle but outstanding comments. I learned what 20/20 means, the meanings of "narc," how athleticism trumps technique in sports. All this with no insults for our host.

I'm a little surprised at the reaction to Treme. The NYT Arts praised the show quite a lot. The acclaim led me to watch a couple of episodes.

Although most of us have little love of numbers, some of us must do the Kenken. I print up the crossword the night before and usually solve it before going to bed. Then I attempt the 8x8 Kenken in the morning. I work on it until either I complete it or I fail (coming to a square where no number can legally be entered). I don't go back to find my mistake. Until the last few weeks, I would solve it almost every morning. But over the last week or so, I've failed more often than I've succeeded. Are the puzzles getting harder or am I losing it?



kitshef 10:53 AM  

@GILL I - Best of luck with your eyes. I am pre-laser nerves was not the reason you posted so uncharacteristically early. My aunt had both eyes done and has never looked better.

JC66 11:14 AM  

Is it a coincidence that today is 8/8?

@ GILL

Had the procedure a couple of years ago and never looked back (sorry).

Seriously easy/peasy and glad I did.

Good luck.

old timer 11:16 AM  

Nark is British slang for to inform on. NARC is just wrong -- always means narcotics agent in this country.

Is there a rule against double cluing? Could you put in "HBO series or NOLA nabe"? Never been there but I have known for years where TREME is.

Good puzzle, and way easier than yesterday's I thought.

Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Congratz to Mr. Flanagan on his debut. THEME was cool. TREME was … well … a debut word. M&A don't receive the HBO, so his chances were 1/1000, on that entry.

Kinda liked how the themer numbers all had whole different angles of interpretation: musical time, date, vision measurement, and sharing ratio. Like @RP, also admired that they went from smallest to biggest.
Come to think on it … are there any other good examples of this "x/x" ilk? … Other than more of them dates?
2/2 = TRAINWHISTLE, I reckon ...

This was a pretty A-ok smooth puz, other than that weirdball SE finishin corner. I mean, look at that openin NW corner … fill is cleaner than snot. Gives a great first impression. But that there SE TREME-machine … kinda slams the door on yer fingers. It is just so … what *is* the word? … ah -- yes … desperate. LENTS? Couldn't U at least go with LENDS? Or was this whole SE corner eery-dealy done on purpose? Mayhaps Mr. Flanagan wants to include a solid partin jolt in there for us to remember him by, to sorta show us who's boss? Is that the way U roll, dude? har. Medium cool … but don't make M&A come down there …

Thanx for the fun with TREME and a cherry on top. Come around some more, so M&A can establish a pattern. [So far, M&A likes what he sees.]

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

Chris 11:36 AM  

I don't think TREME is as bad as many of you, although perhaps a bit tough for a Tuesday. It is, esp. since Katrina, a reasonably well-known neighborhood in NO. I would equate it to other known areas of big cities, the Castro in SF, the Flats in Cleveland, etc. You might or might not know it, but not crazy, IMO. The HBO show, which was widely written about, only adds.

Nice, but easy, puzzle--NYT says my fastest Tuesday, but I don't work by the clock.

fiddleneck 11:37 AM  

Veterans Day is always on a Monday. Armistice Day is always 11/11.

Carola 12:00 PM  

Themewise, I'm with @QuasiMojo 6:57 on this one.
And with @puzzlehoarder and @Joseph Michael on spelling: I stopped after DECAT when there clearly wasn't going to be enough room.
And with M&A on LENTS...as in, 'Several LENTS ago I started giving up ice-cream..."?
Liked the idea of PRIMEVAL QUICKSAND, kind of an alternative to primordial soup. Also FODDER, TODDLE, PUSHY, and (can't explain) SOCKS.

Mark Peters 12:12 PM  

This may be nit picking but Warhol's Marilyn was a silkscreen, not a painting.

Joe Bleaux 12:15 PM  

@Thomas808 (from yesterday). Re your question about the difference between flotsam and jetsam, the latter is floating stuff that's been thrown overboard, i.e., jettisoned. @Lewis. Lucia Micarelli! I envy your getting to see her. The gripes about TREME's obscurity are legit, but it's too bad so many people are unfamiliar with that stellar series, set in post-Katrina New Orleans. @Larry Gilstrap. The question "What kind of coke?" is as common as "Hot enough for you?" throughout the South, especially in rural areas, where *all* soft drinks are "Cokes" (but never, ever "pop" or "soda"). @Dan Flanagan. Fine Tuesday puzzle, and congrats on the debut.

GILL I. 12:48 PM  

Thanks, folks. The vote of confidence makes me feel a tad better.
I've had my fair share of surgeries but something about having someone go into my eyeball and remove a part of that thing that makes me see gives me the heebie jeebies.
@jae...yeah, I sat through that 30 minute video that shows all the great things laser can now do to improve your vision. My insurance doesn't cover the million dollar extras so I'm hoping for GREAT VISION on just the cataract removal.
@Nancy...xoxoxo

Z 12:49 PM  

Hmm, a couple of interesting philosophical questions today. If Sexy Sadie was inspired by the alleged misdeeds of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but then altered to hide that inspiration, is it still about him? My own take is once an artist puts a work out there the artist's intent becomes secondary to how the work is received. There is no way for a listener to get from the song itself to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, so the song is about him anymore.

As for not dead-naming Caitlyn Jenner, that's a tough ask. If she announces (and maybe she has and I missed it) that she wants her athletic accomplishments to be identified by "Caitlyn" I would agree that we should do so. But it's equally presumptuous to assume she wants or expects that. Absent specific knowledge to the contrary, I would err by using the name known at the time of the accomplishment. If I were editing the puzzle I'd try to avoid the issue and find a different way to clue DECATHLON.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

I have a quibble with LENTS. The clue was "Periods after Mardi Gras." The answer to that is not LENTS. It is LENT. There is only one Lent after Mardi Gras. There really isn't a plural of Mardi Gras, so I am not sure how you would correct the clue. I guess you could say "Periods after Carnivals in New Orleans," but that would be too idiomatic for most folks.




Teedmn 1:17 PM  

Like @Gill I, I considered waDDLE at 43A (good luck with the eyes!) but if haters gonna hate then toddlers gonna TODDLE.

I had to visualize the TREME title (TREMi?) - we get HBO but that series never quite gelled for us so I haven't seen more than an episode or so. I did go back and watch "The Wire" like @jberg, five years after it had finished, and I loved it even though I hate cop shows. I think season 3 was my favorite though season 4's theme song version was the best.

I see churches names Mt. OLIVEt everywhere so that gave my Parisian girlfriends a weird ending momentarily. And off PR at 39D, I put in PRe- (pre-cambrian, perhaps?) so I had to get my VISION checked at 44A.

A fine Tuesday and debut puzzle, so thank you, Dan Flanagan.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

@ GILL

If you are going the high- tech lens route, hopefully your surgeon has given you the option of the Symfony lens, approved by the FDA about a year ago. The Symfony is not a multifocal lens, but rather an extended range of focus lens. Since the Symfony has been in use, the multifocals have pretty much fallen out of favor, due to visual aberrations at night when looking at lights. The Symfony minimizes these aberrations. Virtually, everyone with the Symfony lens can read a newspaper without reading glasses. Well over 90% (myself included) can read a telephone book --remember them? If you opt for a standard lens (the ones that are paid for by Medicare), you will most likely need glasses for reading, and possibly for distance.
Good luck on your cataract surgery.

Noam D. Elkies 2:03 PM  

@JC66 8/8 was what I thought of too when I realized (solved Downs-only) what the theme would be.
Expected the last entry to be something like TODAY'S_DATE, though I now realize that Shortz would never have done that because it wouldn't work in syndication or reprints. Possibly it's just a happy coincidence: I see nothing about it on xwordinfo. Anyhow, mostly a good solving experience, and a creditable debut puzzle.

NDE

P.S. The initial and ultimate steps in this progression, 0/0 and ∞/∞, could both be used in a clue for L'HÔPITAL'S_RULE.

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

when referring to trans people at a time before they changed their pronouns or had gender reassignment surgery (or hormones, top surgery, etc) it is typical to use their prior names and pronouns. I have no experience with trans celebrities, but friends of mine who are trans or gender queer will say things like, "when I was (former name)" because at that time, even if they were uncomfortable with their gender, they were still using the pronouns and names given to them at birth.

Düdie 2:48 PM  

Nope, Bruce Jenner won. It's the name at the time which is referenced, not the current name.

GILL I. 3:37 PM  

@Anony 1:39...THANK YOU!
I've learned more here about options than at my eye doctor's. I know they probably do the surgery a la assembly line. Sorta like getting a colonoscopy. In and Out. Unfortunately, my insurance only covers the standard lens. I might look into the Symfony you suggested for the second eye....
For no one in particular and speaking of HBO and TREME. I finally began watching "Game of Thrones." I figured since every single character is a clue in the NYT puzzle, I might as well become acquainted. Didn't like the first episode but really got into the second one. Maybe it was the excellent Spanish Calatayud "Honoro Vera" I was drinking or maybe it's because I like dragons, but it does grow on you. After I finish, I'll go on to TREME....!

TCProf 3:53 PM  

I agree with the complaint about LENTS. It's like cluing 23a as "singular for Attorney General."

Glad to see OMAR Vizquel in the puzzle. One of my favorites from my 60 years rooting for the Indians.

Why didn't Rex complain about 40d. Really dated. I man, 16th - 17th century?

TCProf 3:54 PM  

"I mean," not "I man." Sounds like Tarzan.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

I didnt think it was so easy

jae 5:30 PM  

@Gill - I have no idea how much extra a high tech lens will run you. I know that my multifocal lenses were around 1.5K more each than my insurance covered. I also know that almost 10 years later I'm really glad I made the investment. Just not having to deal with glasses was worth the extra cost. The Symfony lens (@anon 1:39) sounds like a major upgrade in technology (I have the "halos at night" problem with my lenses). My Dr. told me that the tech had improved since my replacement but he didn't tell me specifics. To late for a do over, dang!

Re: Sun and Booze - I attributed my cataracts to years of playing golf without sun glasses followed by extended visits to the 19th hole.

Anonymous 5:55 PM  

The Symfony lenses I mentioned previously were $3000 apiece, out of pocket. Minor starbursts around bright lights at night, but not distracting or annoying at all. I don't need glasses for anything now. Well worth the 6 grand. I could be wrong, but I don't believe that they will implant a Symfony in only eye with another type of lens in the other.

Jennifer Freeman 6:40 PM  

Treme is better than Game of Thrones. It should be a classic. The story, the acting and the music were outstanding. If putting it in a Tuesday puzzle gets it some new watchers, I applaud.

Joe Dipinto 6:53 PM  

I think the Mardi Gras clue is fine. Mardi Gras is a single day; a period is a number of days or weeks or months. Would you clue "Advents" as "periods before Christmases"? It makes it sound like Christmas is the next period that follows Advent, rather than a single day.

I also think "Treme" is a perfectly fair Tuesday puzzle answer. I don't have HBO, but I was certainly aware of it when it was on; it was promoted quite heavily as I recall, and it ran for four seasons.

Neil Nathanson 6:56 PM  

Didn't know "SETI" so I was dependent on crosses, and wasn't sure whether it is "OPAL" or "OPEL," so, that was a problem!

Charles Flaster 7:24 PM  

Easy and agree about TREME.
Loved MELT.
Nice debut DF

Joe Dipinto 8:19 PM  

@mathgent 10:52 -- Do you mean the 6x6 KenKen? I do both KenKens every day, including the 5x5 and 7x7 on Sunday (well I never actually finished the 7x7 this past Sunday because I just didn't have time). I don't think they're getting harder in general, though, I'm sure you know, they do increase in difficulty through the week, same as the main puzzle. Interestingly, by Friday/Saturday, the 4x4 KenKen can be harder than the 6x6 one, because you have to almost see the entire solution to the 4x4 at one time rather than working through it.

AnonymIronic 8:54 PM  

Anybody who has specific medical or product advice for @Namcy needs to click on her name and give it to her privately in a way that identifies you and allows Nancy to respond. Otherwise how is she supposed to know the BrandName(TM) lens is not some piece of junk that makes Anonymous a ton of money for each one sold? Let's not engage in medical Amway-ism. Be upfront if you have info like that.

BarbieBarbie 8:59 PM  

@Joe, the 8x8 is online. 4x4 is never hard, too Sudoku-like for that. @mathgent, sorry, I've been off-grid (har) so am uncalibrated. I always find the 8x8 hard because the numbers are so teeny, but also because it's just hard. Love KenKen!

BarbieBarbie 9:05 PM  

@Joe: http://www.nytimes.com/ref/crosswords/kenken.html
Puzzle doesn't show up in all browsers, kind of primitive, I think you need one of the graphic plugins. But if you can see it, it's fun to try the 8x8.

Hartley70 1:58 AM  

@Gill I, you're going to do GREAT tomorrow! I'm echoing the troops when I tell you that everyone I know who's had the surgery has been so pleased with the result. The fancy bells and whistle lenses are a terrific option I'm sure, but consider how tried and true the standard lenses you're getting are and don't second guess yourself. There is something to be said for predictability. Don't worry about a thing.

Nice puzzle. Enjoyed it 24 hours ago.

Joe Dipinto 2:07 AM  

@Barbie -- Really?! I had no idea they put different KenKens online. I don't have a subscription to the online puzzles, so...that's weird to find out.

Nancy 9:37 AM  

(from yesterday, 8:54 p.m.) @Anonymlronic -- That was so thoughtful of you to offer me such wise advice about the cataract surgery, and to take to task the Anonymous poster posting anonymous (and possibly self-serving) advice on method. Only I'm not the one having the surgery. I think you meant your comment for @GILL I. I hope she read it. Good luck, GILL!

Matilda Morgan 7:41 PM  

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Matilda Morgan 7:48 PM  

Good day,
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sena nabila 11:39 PM  

nice
Walatra G Sea Jelly

Anonymous 1:34 AM  

@ AnonymIronic 8:54 P.M.

A simple 15 minute session with Mr.G. will validate anything that I cited. It was also so helpful that you misidentified the poster who I responded to. Whether I share the information publicly or privately is my business. A basic search will confirm that what I have in my own eyes is the latest and greatest technology available today. Oh, perhaps you are a Luddite. Everyone thanks you for your helpful contribution, AnonyMORONIC.

bintik 5:47 PM  

katabergambar97

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sandra cat 8:57 PM  

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Diana,LIW 8:33 PM  

Just commenting on yesterday's Evil Doug and Nancy discussion. See

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/304/heretics/

for a viewpoint very close to mine.

Lady Di

Burma Shave 8:35 AM  

ICONIC NAMEDROP

EVENSTEVEN knows THE COMMONTIME to KNEEL and pray
ISTO have such a SESSION well SPENT on VETERANSDAY.

--- SARAH ADELE "SADIE" PAAR

thefogman 9:00 AM  

Okay but not thrilling. A bit too easy even for a Tuesday. I agree with OFL this time.

rondo 11:03 AM  

Too bad "hindsight" doesn't fit THE symmetry, it's always 20/20. Otherwise I thought this was fine for a Tues-puz.

THE CENTRAL answer was a real PIP.

I guess yeah baby SARAH Palin is already not fresh enough, so we clue another GOP toadie. In her clued job for less than two months in syndie time, a coupla weeks when THE puz came out.


Low bar as mentioned above not really so low, IMHO. Tuesday A.M. well SPENT.

spacecraft 12:38 PM  

I don't usually mind bleedovers, but SSN? Really? I had quite a time with the Natick at 64; had to run the alphabet for _ELT twice after missing the significance of MELT the first time through. Brutal--and for a Tuesday, unconscionable, especially when the rest of the puzzle is duh!-easy.

I did learn things, though; one of them not from the grid but from OFL, about "COMMONTIME." Never suspected that was a real thing. Also, of course, that such a series as TREME ever existed. Of course, I don't pay for HBO. I pay too much as it is for TV that's 90% utter crap; I'm not about to add to THAT bill. NARC: I always thought he was the guy the informant informed. Seems strange to call the informant a NARC.

The theme is weird in that the unifying feature appears in the clues rather than in the puzzle. It works, sort of--as explained by OFL. Outside of the above-mentioned, and the appearance of both ORC and ORCA (wasn't one named after the other?), the fill was okay. Palin and her pea-brain just never did appeal to me: I'll take SARAH Jessica Parker for DOD. As a debut? I wouldn't burn my bridges yet, Dan. Par.

leftcoastTAM 1:48 PM  

Decent theme for Tuesday. Balked at GREATVISION. Thought it was a bit of ocular hyperbole [forgive me].

Liked DIRE straits. MELT for "start running" was good, too. Besides, it helped with HBO's TREME, which I didn't get into

Easy (and pretty simple) all around.

rain forest 3:25 PM  

@leftcoastTAM "ocular hyperbole" - har! Actually, in the crowd I hang around with, 20/20 *is* great vision.

Pretty decent Tuesday, the stepchild of the week's crossword puzzles, I thought. Never heard of TREME, but I might check it out. MELT gave me the title. Nice clue, by the way.

Even though it seems common, I've never met a dog named ROVER. I don't often name a DOD (yeah baby), but for a change of pace let me nominate ERIN Moriarty.

It's probably (clearly) me, but I don't much like ADELE. Her singing to my ears is akin to yelling, albeit on-tune yelling.

thefogman 5:37 PM  

For the DOD, may I suggest French ACTOR ADELE Exarchopoulos .
She makes my LOINS MELT and I wish she was mon AMIE. Is this GREATVISION or just succumbing to PRIMEVAL urges?

Diana,LIW 6:10 PM  

Had company all day. Natick at the place by the thing. Thought of MELT, and said nahhh...

Lady Di

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