Centaur who was killed by Hercules / THU 9-14-17 / Burrowing South Amercain rodent / Jesse who pitched in record 1252 major league games

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Constructor: John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: DIASTEMA (52A: Formal term for the gap suggested by 17/18-, 35/37- and 54/57-Across) — it means a gap between the teeth; each theme answer has a "gap" in the middle of the word TOOTH (which is embedded in each answer):

Theme answers:
  • TOOT / HIS OWN HORN (17A: With 18-Across, what a boastful guy might do)
  • DO UNTO / OTHERS (35A: With 37-Across, start of an ethical rule)
  • SPREAD TOO / THIN (54A: With 57-Across, overextended) 
Word of the Day: DIASTEMA
  1. a gap between the teeth, in particular.
    • Zoology
      a space separating teeth of different functions, especially that between the biting teeth (incisors and canines) and grinding teeth (premolars and molars) in rodents and ungulates.
      noun: diastema; plural noun: diastemata
    • a gap between a person's two upper front teeth. (google)
• • •

This is a good idea poorly executed. Two very major problems. First, the revealer ... how do I say this? ... To have your revealer be a hyper-obscure term (I'm sorry, "Formal term") is maybe not the greatest idea if you have any intention of having the solver's experience result in a final "AHA! Ooh! Satisfying!" Or if you want your solver to understand your puzzle *at all* without the aid of a dictionary. So this ended with all the pleasure of ... googling the answer. Only then did see what was going on in the themers—which brings me to the second major problem. Maybe you can see this for yourself. Just look at the way the theme is played out, visually. Now consider what DIASTEMA means. See a problem? If the ****ing ridiculous obscurantist nightmare term you're using as a revealer means "space between teeth" then that damned space better come between some damned teeth. But no. We just get busted, cracked teeth. I looked up a word for this? No. No thanks.

Only trouble in this grid is gonna come from the revealer and (surprise!) proper nouns. I happen to know DUMONT but many under 70 won't, and let's hope they're football fans because that "M" crosses MADDEN (27A: ___ NFL (video game franchise)). OROSCO will be very familiar to older (i.e. roughly my age and older) baseball fans, particularly '86 Mets fans. But a whole cross-section of solverdom will need ever cross there. NESSUS is bonkers, in that I teach stuff that he's mentioned in and even I forgot his damned name (44D: Centaur who was killed by Hercules). Personally, I died at the SHYEST/RYDELL crossing. I had an "I" there. Put it there because I thought that was how you spelled SHIEST. And then left it in for RIDELL. It's not that I didn't know the name of the "Grease" high school. I've seen the movie a billion times. But once that "I" went in, RYDELL wasn't gonna knock it out. It's a pretty bad cross, since SHIEST is acceptable and RYDELL is a proper noun. But whatever. It's fine. My bad.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go tie up a single LOOSE END (2D: Something to tie up).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Melrose 12:08 AM  

Finished it and thought it was easy for a Thursday, but didn't understand the theme until I red Rex's post. Cute!

jae 12:11 AM  

Easy in some places and tough in others. West maybe easier than East?


I too @Rex et. al. had to look up DIASTEMA to realize that this was a crossword tribute to Alfred E. Neuman. I wonder if that counts as an @lms DNF?

Anyway, delightful with some crunch. Liked it.

Unknown 12:20 AM  

ugh. seed pearls? and i still do not believe shiest is spelled with a y. kudos though for stevie nicks.

Robert 12:35 AM  

Nothing about NUTRIA/DIASTEMA? Without knowing either offhand that A could've been almost any vowel so a proper Natick over here. It's not even the proper name for the animal.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

Got caught on shiest/Ridell, too. That was my only blunder today. Cute theme and learned a word. Bonus!

Dawn 12:41 AM  

DNF without Googling RYDELL and NESSUS. Had DoMONT because of not checking the across carefully enough. Agree with @Rex about a single LOOSE END. Erased that thinking no way is this right, before plopping it back in. If I pretend I didn't resort to Google, finished in half my regular time. Cute theme...

George Barany 12:44 AM  

Nice review, @Rex, of @John Guzzeta's puzzle. Glad to be able to calibrate my age, since I didn't know DUMONT but had no problem with MADDEN (from when he was still coaching the Raiders, pre-video franchise), OROSCO (remember the iconic photograph of him throwing his glove in the air after the final out of the '86 World Series?), or RYDELL (an early date was to the original "Grease" when it was still SRO on Broadway).

My personal Natick was with the rodent (29-Down) crossing the unusually positioned and undeducible reveal (52-Across)--though by then I had noticed that TOOTH was broken up in various ways.

There sure were a lot of past tenses in the puzzle. Nevertheless, I do hope our friend @ACME will have CHIMED in before too long.

tkincher 1:08 AM  

NUTRIA clued as "South American" threw me. I mean, technically they are but they've been all over the globe for 50+ years. And, I haven't seen Grease and would have also sworn by SHIEST with an I.

If they had found a way to fit in "gap tooth" instead of DIASTEMA...yeah.

Larry Gilstrap 1:22 AM  

The theme should slowly reveal itself, sometimes with the aid of a clever revealer. Today was a solve, sort of, followed by a CSI. Not my favorite solving experience. Maybe, I'm not clever enough by half and I feel as innocent as a lamb. Terry Thomas, Madonna, and Mortimer Snerd walk into a bar. The punch line must reference DIASTEMA.

Prof. Barany confesses to a Natick crossing that is different from my two. I share one with OFL. That's not good feedback. Sure, sh*t happens, but, three puzzle guys squawking about unfair crosses is not a good thing. George doesn't really squawk; such a gracious man.

My Mom used the phrase "Blow HIS OWN HORN." No question there was contempt implied. She told me to be modest, because I had a lot to modest about. Still do.

John MADDEN was a PE coach at San Diego State before he became a lieutenant to Don Coryell, and the rest is history. Now there is an Alpha-male.

puzzlehoarder 1:27 AM  

This was a great puzzle for me. It was reminiscent of the late week 90s puzzles I enjoy doing. It's hard to believe it's by one of the constructors of last Saturday's cakewalk. Entries like NESSUS, DUMONT, RYDELL and DIASTEMA are like a welcome blast from the past. I wish I could say I came away with a clean grid on it but I misread the tense of the 20A clue and put in SUES. 21D was an unkown unkown but I have to admit SUMONT did not look right to me. What topped that mistake was putting in ERDU at 62A. It's crossword 101. I've entered it correctly dozens of times. I hate it when a puzzle I like comes along and I screw it up like this. Generally puzzles are self correcting but today the unkowns happened to dovetail with a couple of weird mistakes. What was even stranger was after solving I checked my puzzle against the XWORD site version line by line to be sure it was correct and I didn't spot the mistakes until I checked out the clue list. As far as the theme goes I was expecting DIASTEMA to be something grammatical. Just because the word TOOTH is there doesn't mean I'm going to see it.

Marty Van B 1:52 AM  

Spot on write up today. You must have been looking over my shoulder as I flew through the majority of the puzzle and got hung up on obscurish proper nouns and a revealer that was a total unknown. The revealer as clued did make hesitant to throw answers in the theme rolls. It made think there was a rebus word in the gaps, but it turns out that a gap is just a gap.

Trombone Tom 1:58 AM  

I finished. I looked up DIASTEMA on Google. Only then did I go back and realize there really was a **TOOTH** in each theme answer.

A fairly easy puzzle for a Thursday, but then I am in the 70+-year-old cohort and remember seeing references to the DUMONT network at some past time.

Pretty much what @Rex said. I learned a new word, which I no doubt won't remember by tomorrow. Didn't get that "Aha!" feeling.

Johnny 3:42 AM  

I had finished everything except for two mysterious blanks: 29A NUTRI_ and 44D _ESSUS. I said oh what the hell and put in an "A" and an "N" and lo and behold it said Congratulations but I finished this purely by luck because I guessed right.

Whatever happened to rebus puzzles? I can't remember the last one.

Anonymous 3:55 AM  

Not to be that guy but the phrases "Tie up some loose ends" and "Tie up a loose end" are both used regularly. Also I have tied up a single lace before on a shoe.

I agree about the theme and some of those obscure names. Madden NFL is known to all geeks under 35 so I feel like that it's payback for the others.

Anonymous 3:57 AM  

@Johnny 3:42 AM

There was one two weeks ago. A Thursday I want to say? Something with offices.

Lee Glickstein 4:00 AM  

So much wrong with this puzzle, but DUMONT brought up a lovely old memory that made it all worthwhile. The Honeymooners on that "Forgotten Network" was filmed in front of a live audience in NYC and I was in that audience at age 12 in 1956 for the "Mama Loves Mambo" episode where Alice and Trixie are taking lessons from a smooth Latin dance teacher who moved in next door, and Ralph goes insanely jealous. I vividly remember the live action of the dancing happening in front of my eyes. I see that the complete episode is on YouTube. I'll watch it tomorrow.

Loren Muse Smith 4:10 AM  

Ok. Sure. I “finished” with a dnf (I, too, spelled it “shiest.” Looks stupid typed here, I have to say.) And, @jae – it was a triple dnf because I was thinking it was just TOOT being split up. Never noticed the H.

I didn’t have to look up DIASTEMA because I knew Rex would have done all the leg work. I did look up how to say it, though - die uh STEEM uh. I would have gone die ASS tuh muh. And while you’re writing this down, go ahead and add that the plural is diastemata (or diastemas for the non-show-offy types.) @Z – Herculean effort not to make that other plural joke.

I totally see Rex’s point about the gap and that it comes between teeth, but it’s funny that the phrase is gap-toothed. (Hi, @tkincher) So that it was just one tooth didn’t bother me. The whole thing didn’t bother me. It was a little WAH Wah wah at the end to learn the reveal’s meaning after the fact, but cool to learn a new word. That gap that appears right below the philtrum. Huh. Who knew?

I liked the clue for REVEILLE and noticed its TAPs counterpart. Also liked SLIMNESS crossing THIN.

@puzzlehoarder – I was thinking DIASTEMA felt grammaresque, too.

@Larry - I’m reminded of the adage He who tooteth his own horn, that same shall not be tooted. Very hard to live by since it seems to be human nature for most of us to try to let people know how great, smart, clever, blah blah… we are. We just have to figure out how to toot our own horn without blowing it. (I saw a book once with that title.)

I’m glad to have learned a new word and liked seeing the TOOTH get all divided up.

Rachel 4:11 AM  

SHiEST/RiDELL got me too- I finally resorted to "check puzzle," because I couldn't figure out where I'd gone wrong. I'm going to resent that Y for a while- to me it felt messy vs tricky, and it was an annoying way to end up with a broken streak.

Thomaso808 4:59 AM  

I got the DIASTEMA /NUTRIA cross with a total guess on the common A, but then DNF on eRDU / NESSeS. I guess if @puzzlehoarder got the same DNF, I can live with that.

I also had a @JAE / @LMS DNF with no "GET a clue" to the true theme. Did not see that gap at all. Did not look up the revealer. Just went to @Rex for enlightenment.

Seems like there were a lot of booby traps in this one - a very dangerous grid. I liked it!

It speaks volumes that Jeff Chen's write-up on Xwordinfo, as of now (maybe he'll fix it), seems to say that SHIEST / RIDDEL is correct, even though the solution grid below the write-up correctly shows SHYEST / RYDELL.

Oh, John Guzzetta, what mischief you have created in the crossworld!

BarbieBarbie 5:19 AM  

I didn't know the revealer, but got it from the crosses. Didn't get the meaning until I came here. No Naticks here. Of course it's the nature of a Natick that it obviously falls into that "too obscure" category for the person applying the label, but not for someone who has less trouble. Good example of implicit bias.

This is an unusual case because I was neutral about this puzzle (agree medium/easy) until I came to Rex's blog and saw @JohnG's selfie. So great! Now I love this puzzle, for its hidden meaning. Good smile to start off the day. Thanks!

Thomas 5:28 AM  

I liked this puzzle, but that's in large part because the gaps in the TOOTHy themers brought back a childhood memory. The word DIASTEMA was familiar to me as my parents used it when trying to obscure their conversations about my younger brother's gap-tooth smile whenever he was in earshot. The formal term became unnecessary in our house when he was about 10 years old. He broke his front teeth while roughhousing (with a little help from me), after which the dentist closed the gap, thereby also eliminating what my brother considered to be his only deformity.

Orthodontists have all but eliminated the need for the term DIASTEMA outside their offices, except for those too poor to afford to see one. I am past retirement age, and for one am glad to have the daily NYT Crossword jog my memory with this kind of infrequently encountered vocabulary, as it so often does. After solving I Googled DIASTEMA and then "Gap-TOOTH", as that's the term I've usually heard and used (or "Gap-toothed"). It seems to me that the puzzle is literally accurate in depicting that term.
It shows the word TOOTH with a black square gap.
So today, I had the pleasure of remembering the voices and intelligence of my now deceased parents, and picturing the boyish grin of my now elderly brother for the first time years.

Aketi 5:53 AM  

@lms, glad I wasn't the only one who saw the TOOT and not the TOOTh.

I got DIASTEMA thinking of DIASTEsis, the gap in the abdominus recti muscles that can spread when you are pregnant. The fitness class for pregnant women I went to when I was expecting my son was all about pulling your belly button in to tighten up those muscles. I think all it did was make my son kick harder. It has to be the second most boring exercise anyone ever invented.

I should have been able to get that the theme was the gap between TeeTH because of my work with babies. I often notice the tight upper labial frenum (a membrane underneath your upper lip) that can make it harder for babies to open wide when feeding, hat can cause the TeeTH to spread apart when the come in, and can make it uncomfortable to brush the upper TeeTH. Snipping or lasering a tight labial frenum during infancy can often improve feeding and prevent the need for orthodonture. Of course there are some cultures who find the gap between the TeeTH to be a sign of beauty,

Aketi 5:56 AM  

MADDEN would have been easy for my son to get because of the video game, so I think that clue would be doable for younger solvers

BarbieBarbie 6:14 AM  

Yeah, @Aketi, that's a tough one. There are also cultures that are ashamed of that membrane because it's connected to their ethnicity. I find that very sad. I wonder if "we're worried about latching-on" is ever used as a euphemism for " we want cosmetic surgery.."

Lewis 6:28 AM  

Did not know DUMONT, RYDELL, DIASTEMA, SEEDPEARLS, NESSUS, and NUTRIA. They are involved in three crosses, and this proved fatal for me, causing some lookup. I did have a lovely aha after looking the reveal up, and realizing that it was TOOTH with the gap, not the TOOT that I was seeing (as some have already mentioned here).

I'm thinking that had I known the above words except for DIASTEMA and seen that it was TOOTH being gapped rather than TOOT, I would have figured out the meaning of "diastema" with a huge flood of an "aha!". I'm sure that was John's and Will's intent, and I just fell short.

Nonetheless, I had a blast figuring out so much of this difficult (for me) puzzle that I'm leaving it on wonderful terms. Not only a great workout for the solving chops, but I love the concept of a puzzle in which the solver has to mind the gap!

evil doug 7:00 AM  

Bobby Rydell? One of the great 50s pop stars. "We Got Love", baby!


Ipswitch: Ms. Benes, the hat you charged to the company was sable; this is

Elaine: Well, that's a kind of sable.

Ipswitch: No, its a kind of rat.

Elaine: That's a rat hat?

Ipswitch: And a poorly made one, even by rat hat standards.

Bradford Findell 7:12 AM  
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Bradford Findell 7:15 AM  

DNF because many Naticks. Guessed DIASToMA, and wasn't sure about RYDeLL, so had ReVoI_LE for "Rising notes?" Did anyone ELSE [!] have trouble realizing that "Dots in la mer" meant "Dots in une carte de la mer"?

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Okay, that worked for me. I had no idea what was going on at the time, but the post-solve analysis was fun. Exact same process as for Rex, but I got the aha from it that he lamented the lack of.

NESSUS was a WoE. Tried the unlikely NEStor, but URDU bailed me out.

Does sumthing wrong is one of those trying-too-hard clues.

Cassieopia 7:23 AM  

Anyone else remember Fagan as the cHIEF of the pickpocket gang, thus yielding the perfectly acceptable looking DIAScEMA?

@Gill - thx for correction, I did indeed not know the difference between la bamba and la bomba.

Hungry Mother 7:25 AM  

"Shiest" for me, too. DOH!

Two Ponies 7:26 AM  

No matter how I spelled "reveille" it didn't look right.
Misadds is an ugly word but I liked the clue.
How long did it take to realize it was birds who were twittering?
Not too long for someone who doesn't even have a cell phone.
I missed my Aha moment but was it worth it to learn diastema? No.
Thursdays are my favorite days for puzzles. I want some fun dammit.

It would be worth it to buy a nutria hat just so I could say Rat Hat!

Rita Flynn 7:28 AM  

Both SHIEST and SHYEST are acceptable. From the site English Language and Usage: "What Merriam-Webster is saying by including the comparatives shyer, shyest, shier and shiest is simply that these are words; it's not implying that more shy and most shy are ungrammatical. If you look at their definition of polite, it gives politer and politest and makes no mention of more polite and most polite, even though these latter forms are used quite a bit more often. (See Google Ngram.)

The same is true with shy; more shy and most shy are used fairly frequently and are not ungrammatical. Similarly, Merriam-Webster includes both the shyer and shier spellings because they are both fairly common, and neither can be said to be wrong."

Unknown 7:41 AM  

Very pleased to see the wife of bath. Thought of her immediately.

Unknown 7:42 AM  

Also, I'm with Rex on the tooth/teeth thing.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

Amazingly, I made it all the way through medical school without hearing about diastema. I suppose you have to go to dentistry school for that one. The spellchecker doesn't recognize it either. I suppose some people may say more shy or most shy but it sounds grammatically wrong to me. This puzzle was not very much fun.

Elle54 8:02 AM  

I think a diastema is cute ( see Rachel, the most recent bachelorette, and one of her guys, Peter.) My husband has one so we have used the term a lot! I never saw "tooth" in the answers so I thought, "oh, diastema must be any kind of gap!." Hahaha

Dan M 8:03 AM  

Had the same RiDELL/SHiEST problem. Noticed the TOOTH gaps before I got to the revealer, so it was more of an "oh, that's what that's called" than a "what the heck is the theme" moment... and frankly nobody calls it a "teeth gap." It's a "tooth gap". Not exactly perfect language but definitely in the vernacular. I thought this one was pretty tough.

Arlene 8:12 AM  

I knew DUMONT. Oy!

chefbea 8:14 AM  

Never saw all the tooths. Never heard of diastema!!! Finished the puzzle but didn't get it!!!

mathgent 8:33 AM  

Rex said what I was thinking. The point of the puzzle was to be introduced to DIASTEMA. Big deal.

I was in a Starbucks yesterday and there was a cakepop in the pastry selection. Remember when that word was in the puzzle recently and many of us (including me) said that they hadn't heard of them? They didn't seem to be running out of them.

I rage, rage against the dying of the rebus.

QuasiMojo 8:34 AM  

My problem was having FETE instead of FEST and couldn't figure out SLIM NEST. I thought it must be some new lingo. Eventually I caught on and fixed it and got the final bell sound. Phew!

I am always confused about SHYEST and SHIEST just as I am about DRIER vs DRYER. I guess I was taught in grade school that the Y is usually turned into an I. But I guess we was learnt wrong.

Wm. C. 8:47 AM  

My only connection to Dumont was in my undergrad EE lab course where we used Dumont oscilloscopes. These were instruments with CRT displays used to show electrical waveforms.

Interestingly (for me) when I googled Dumont to confirm this, I see that he was a Rensselaer grad, which is where I did my undergrad work.

Puzzle: Bad, too much uninferable fill. Shame again, @Shortz!

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

This was in my wheelhouse because I am old enough for our family's first TV to have been a Dumont and I was sitting in the upper deck of Shea Stadium when Jesse Orosco threw his glove in the air after recording the final out of the 1986 World Series (although I didn't see it live because I looked down to write a "K" on my scorecard).

Joe Welling 8:55 AM  

I think Loren got the theme right--it's not about a gap between teeth, but it's about a gap in the word tooth which is a rebus (in the general, non-crossword meaning of the term) for "gap tooth."

Blue Stater 8:59 AM  

Yup, ugly. My experience almost exactly paralleled Rex's. I do remember the Dumont TV network, but not a single show that was on it, which may well be why there is no longer a Dumont TV network....

If I wanted to epitomize What Has Gone Wrong with the NYT crossword puzzles, DIASTEMA would be it.

Nancy 9:07 AM  

ALAS, we have no rebus today, but @mathgent's droll and delightful way of lamenting that fact (8:33) almost makes up for it. And I did enjoy this puzzle on its own terms, even though I didn't get the theme until coming here. Partly because I didn't know DIASTEMA and partly because I kept seeing TOOT, not TOOTH as having the gap. Pretty dumb. My last letter in was the S in SEED PEARLS (58A), and I first ran the alphabet to make sure I wasn't missing something. Because to me, there are only PEARLS. When I saw NESSUS (44D), I wondered if he/she/it was related to Nessie. Anyway, some nice cluing, a cute theme, and a little bit of crunch. Enjoyable, but not the challenge I look for on Thursday.

RooMonster 9:14 AM  

Hey All !
Count me in at only seeing TOOT and wondering why the first themer wasn't broken up. Then getting the odd "revealer", which in my case revealed nothing, and throwing up my arms in disgust as to not having a clue about the theme. And some obscure answers, DUMONT(?), NUTRIA, NESSUS, led to my DNF. That U in CENSURED was an O, than an E. Should've went with @M&A's adage, When in doubt, go with U.

So not getting theme, and some obscure answers, made this a not fun puz for me. I was ROBS!


Anonymous 9:15 AM  

This played easy for two reasons: my father was a dentist and had a DIASTEMA. I also call a cleaning a prophy (short for prophylaxis). If anyone ever clues, "Formal dental cleaning, for short," I'm golden.

Tita A 9:26 AM  

My orthodontist had one. SEm's like a real liability in that profession.

I must agree with Rex today. Naticks galore.
And yes, the gap is between TeeTH. Even if you might say Gap-TOOTHEd, you would never say that if the poor soul's TOOTH itself had a gap.

Oh...TOOT here, too. The sad thing is that I actually dropped in DAISporA for a good long time. I guess I figured the TOOTs were being dispersed across the grid...

@mathgent...I'm with you re: rebus.

Cool to learn the etymology of ALAS.

Nancy 9:27 AM  

Ah. Loren and Aketi also saw TOOT, not TOOTH. I feel better.

Now realize I had SHIEST/RIDELL, too, along with too many other people to cite here. But I'm not calling it a DNF. I consider this puzzle solved. Evidently, Jeff Chen did too. Yes?

@Quasi -- I also had FETE before FEST. But SET at 61D (SEE was so obviously wrong), straightened me out.

I was initially stumped by DUMONT, remembering it only after it came in. That memory is very vague, very fuzzy, but I think it was on Channel 5, now Fox.

Tita A 9:27 AM  

...*Seems* like...

Sir Hillary 9:41 AM  

I'm with @Rex -- interesting idea, poor execution. Including asymmetrical themers.

Most interesting word for me was URDU because...Just last light I saw "The Big Sick". When one of the characters meets women at the bar, he writes their name in Urdu on a cocktail napkin and presents it to them as a sort of pick-up line. When I saw this clue, I said to myself, "This couldn't possibly be Urdu, could it?" Sure enough!

@George Barany -- I will always associate Jesse OROSCO with that final out in 1986. I have never seen a video angle that shows his glove actually landing. I like to think it is floating up there among the space junk. Thanks for jogging my memory!

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Lauren Hutton

Yvonne 10:02 AM  

No problem with DIASTEMA, thanks to comparative anatomy training, but the MADDEN/DUMONT cross did me in.

Here's some fun DIASTEMA trivia:

The "canine diastema" is a gap adjacent to the canine tooth. Its purpose is to accommodate the protruding canine of the opposing jaw. The trait is shared by dogs, apes, and other animals with protruding canines. Normal human dentition lacks the canine diastema, but it is present in cats (the feline canine diastema). It is a useful marker for paleontologists seeking to distinguish ape fossils from those of early human ancestors.

You're welcome!


Hartley70 10:19 AM  

Lauren Hutton made a long and successful career in modeling out of her DIASTEMA. She graced the covers of all the major fashion magazines with her distinctive smile. Those were the good old days before Photoshop had created human perfection.

Of course that memory didn't give me the dental term and like @Cassiopea, I tried DIASporA first. Then, like @Tita, I tried cHIEF before THIEF. NESSUS came from crosses and I'm either to young to remember the DUMONT network or it didn't broadcast in all markets. Either way, there was lots of stuff to learn here today and I enjoyed the challenge.

@Mathgent, I'm singing Carole King's "Anticipation" to you in my head. The elusive rebus is like a glass bottle of ketchup, waiting, waiting....

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

For a guy with a PhD, Rex is remarkably ignorant. Diastema is hardly a rare word. In fact, another raging asshole, David Letterman used the term on many occasions. So does Michael Strahan. And of course, the Wife of Bath was famously gap-toothed. I remember when Lauren Hutton was all the rage and I first heard the word. It trended again a few years ago.

Anyway, you're a pouty bitch Rex. Here's an article if you're curious.


CY 10:24 AM  

SH?EST/??DELL/NUT?I?/DI?STEMA got me this week. For me, it was an unfair set of crossings: shyest/shiest has two acceptable spellings, as Rex pointed out. Rydell is a proper noun—a fairly well known one, I suppose, but not to me. NUTRIA and DIASTEMA, while both common nouns, are fairly uncommon ones. Without knowing any of this stuff, I don't see a reasonable path towards figuring out my 3 missing letters.

QuasiMojo 10:29 AM  

Margaret Dumont had her own TV station? :) @ Nancy, wasn't Channel 5, Metromedia?

Terry Thomas and Robert Morse are my fave diastemics. :)

Stanley Hudson 10:30 AM  

Too easy for a Thursday but a clever concept.

Late 70s-early 80s I occasionally enjoyed a TOOT for the snoot.

Churlish Nabob 10:32 AM  

Carly Simon sang "Anticipation," not Carole King.

Mohair Sam 10:37 AM  
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Nancy 10:45 AM  

So Anon 9:15 and Tita (9:26) had, respectively, a dentist and an orthodontist with a DIASTEMA. Hmmm. And my first dermatologist had a some sort of facial skin condition that created red blotches. Not disfiguring, but certainly less than desirable. Do you think doctors with a certain problem seek out a related field so they can prevent such suffering in others?

My now-retired gynacologist's last name was Cherry. I would have thought that he might have picked a different speciality. When Nora Ephron's last memoir came out, I discovered she had gone to him, too. Sure wish I'd run into her there: she's one of those rare celebrities I would have really, really liked to have known. Or even spoken to in passing.

Just last week, my friend Steve told me that there used to be two proctologists in NY with a joint medical practice. Their names? Dr. Hand and Dr. Finger. It sounds like an extremely sophomoric locker-room joke, but Steve swears it's absolutely true.

Mohair Sam 10:49 AM  

Ashamed - dnf'd on the "Y" in Bobby RYDELL. I take small consolation in having company in OFL, but he's a generation behind and can be forgiven.

How can you have such a great idea and not work in names like Letterman or Louis Armstrong or Isabella Rossellini and on and on?

Finally learned how to spell REVEILLE today, although I woke up to it about 1,000 times. "Twitter site" a clever clue. Agree with all this was a naticky Thursday - a trap for everybody. Didn't know Jesse OROSCO had the record.

@Lee Glickstein (4:00) - Honeymooners? Hah! I was once in Howdy Doody's Peanut Gallery. Howdy, Buffalo Bob, Princess Summerfallwinterspring, freakin' Clarabell, the works. Beat that.

"Buy a DUMONT television,
DUMONT television,
DUMONT television set,
it's the finest creation,
and the best combination
of sight and sound made yet."

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Used to be a urologist in Toledo, Ohio named Dick Tapper. True story.

Mohair Sam 10:55 AM  

@Quasi - Until 1956 channel 5 in New York was Dumont Television.

Aketi 11:02 AM  

@Mathgent, I too appreciate the rage.
@Hartley70, if feels more like someone poured cement into the ketchup bottle and hoping For it to drip out before it hardens in the bottle.

@barbiebarbie, I don't think enough parents and pediatricians are aware of the potential for a tight labial frenulum for latch on difficulty to be used as an excuse for cosmetic surgery. It's only in the last decade that a very small group of dentists and ENTs who work with babies have paid much attention to it. It's usually only done for functional reasons. Snipping is not nearly as expensive as lasering and both of those are orders of magnitude far less expensive than braces. So if I were a CEO of an insurance company that covered dental and took a long range view on costs, it would make more sense to cover the procedure in infancy. Not that I expect the insurance industry to be rationale about anything other than short term profits.

Joseph Michael 11:05 AM  

DIASTEMA sounds like a stomach ailment. But that doesn't matter because my Chief Fagin yielded the diagnosis DIASCEMA (hello, @Cassieopia) which sounds more like an eye problem.

Had a nice aha realizing that the word TOOTH was hidden in the themers, but overall this seemed awfully easy for a Thursday and I agree with the comments that a gap in the word TEETH would have been more appropriate, as in CLIMATE ETHICS.

Liked NEST clued as a Twitter site and REVEILLE clued as rising notes.

Overall a fun puzzle with a weak punch.

Paul Rippey 11:22 AM  

I was singing Summer Nights and pounding it out on the piano a couple years ago when my daughter pointed out that the line "did she put up a fight?" treated date rape more casually than I normally would have.

Otherwise I agree with everything @rex said, except I enjoyed puzzle and guessed right enough to be very fast, for me.

Hartley70 11:37 AM  

Of course, @Churlish Nabob, I'm blaming it on a senior moment. Lord knows I listened to that album enough!

Amelia 11:51 AM  

Puzzle was feh or meh, depending on which crossword puzzle answer you like. Finished without seeing the theme, which is not unusual.

Anyone else have a problem with two FESTs in the puzzle? Or am I being too particular?

phil phil 11:56 AM  

This had zero junk fill. That should have been mentioned by Rex in spite of the themer problem. Makes his whole review suspect.

I liked it but I have to say I only got the aha after seeing Rex's explanation.

At first themer DOUNTO OTHERS. i figured the answer was another term for an ellipse. But kind of didn't fit the other answers so I almost looked it up.

I had to return to CENSoRED to get finish

old timer 12:18 PM  

I am old enough to remember the DUMONT network and the once ubiquitous John MADDEN. Yet I put in "Dupont" and "Masden". DNF for sure. I was able to change "Fete" and "slimnest" to FETE and SLIMNESS though.

I vaguely think DUMONT was originally a radio network, As a TV network it was doomed from the start, Only the largest cities had as many as seven VHF stations -- in LA where I grew up they were 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. In a large part of the country people could only get three or four stations over the air. So there was not room for four network stations, plus (in many areas) a PBS station. And as I recall the higher VHF stations from 10 to 13 had sparser coverage than the ones at the bottom of the dial. So DUMONT had little chance of building a broad nationwide audience.

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Sorta had the theme figured out at TOOT(gap)HISOWNHORN, after a deft sneaky-peek at the 52-A clue. But don't recall ever hearin of DIASTEMA before, so learned somethin new, there. Guessed right, on the RIDELL vs. RYDELL dilemma.

Most of the remaining solvequest also zoomed along mighty grease-like, for a ThursPuz. Nanosecond usage peaked a few times, in the OROSCO, NESSUS and DIASTEMA zones -- but nuthin overwhelmin.

Like @RP said, mighta been a slightly better puz, if it had had some TEETH to it. TOOTH did get a different gap placement each time, sooo … nice. Maybe there ain't as good a list of symmetric theme gappers to be had, with TEETH? Probably it.

staff weeject pick: DWI. And his two duck brothers, HWI & LWI. Honrable mention to EEO, whose O tends to move around at times, for some reason.

Liked the little swirly URDU symbols in the newsprint version of 62-A's clue. One (maybe even 2?) of em looks a little like a lopsided U. Primo lingo, that Urdu.

Thanx, Mr. Guzzetta.

Masked & Anonym007Us

biter with tooth gap:

oldactor 12:42 PM  

@Nancy: My urologist is Dr. Finger.

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Auto-correct re-correction: "Guessed ryght", not "Guessed right" -- cuz that woulda been all wroing.


@Roo -- yep, rUle to live by.

Alpha-Data 12:59 PM  

Not one of my recent favorites. I was annoyed with "intros" as the answer to "They're often made at icebreakers" - what happened to the convention of abbreviating your clue if the answer is an abbreviation?

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

All you groupthink snowflakes - Take the red pill.

JC66 1:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 1:07 PM  


When I was newly married to my 1st wife, she worked as a nurse at Mt. Sinai and her gynecologist was Dr. Cherry and we used to joke that he should get partner named Dr. Finger (works there, too , @olddoctor).

toothdoc 1:17 PM  

I am a dentist solving the puzzle in between patients at my office and have a small diastema myself and I still didn't get the revealer until I read OFL's explanation. I was thinking some obscure grammatical/phonetic term. This is a major fail as a revealing clue - absolutely incorrect to split a "tooth" and call it a diastema.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

A possible 4 way DNF was averted - I kept it to two, and not the two I thought I would have. CENSoRED is so on me but RiDELL vs RYDELL? When SHIEST is a perfectly good variation? Even those people who have seen the play/movie (which I haven't), why would you necessarily know how the school name was spelled? And then remember it? My friends once told me they cured their daughter of whining by recording her when she was doing it and then playing it back to her. Today I was at my whinyest (and no, that is NOT how it is spelled!!) and had to do a mental shake to get off that soundtrack.

I at first had @LMS's TOOTs circled but when I read the revealer clue (yeah, I read it for once) and saw that 17A/18A meant a gap was bridged, I expanded my circles to TOOTH. Still didn't help me spell DIASTEMA but a vague sense that NUTRIA was correct did help.

I loved the clue for MISADDS. "Does sumthing wrong?" just tickles my fancy.

I have no reason, after this solve to TOOT my OWN HORN. Apparently my intellect is just SPREAD TOO THIN today. But thanks, John Guzzetta, for the workout.

Bob Mills 1:30 PM  

Dr. Paine...a dentist. Dr. Goldfinger...an Israeli gynecologist. Dr.Pyles...a proctologist. Dr. Shue...a podiatrist. Suggestions welcome.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  


you sound like a douche. Let me know which state you're licensed in. I'll be sure to stay away.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

@Paul Rippey,

Sorry to hear about your low-IQ daughter. Good luck with that.

Cleared2Land 2:11 PM  

@Anonymous (both 1:44 and 1:49). I'm assuming that you are one and the same, since the cowardice and pettiness in both posts are nearly identical. If you want to be an asshat and insult people at least have the stones to do it under a name that we can all see and respond to. You're like the idiot who gives a road rage finger to someone, and then when they catch up to you at the stop light you stare down, too afraid to make eye contact.

Unknown 2:14 PM  

Wasn't Nessus killed by Heracles not Hercules?

Anonymous 2:18 PM  


Don't be silly. You're not using a name. Are you a feckless piece of shite? Maybe. Or maybe yo; like me, prize your privacy.

Note, that I took issue with Rippey saying the lyrics were rapey. That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the song. If you or he, or his slow-witted daughter don't see that, too damn bad.

As for the good dentist. He was being too literal in his interpretation of the puzzle. In my estimation, he deserved the snark. If DDS doesn't like it, he can say so. I'll consider an apology to him
But You? Who are you? what standing do you have in the matter. Keep your fat snout out of things that aren't your concern.
I say you're a wussy. Prove me wrong big mouth.

Dick Swart 2:19 PM  

A fun puzzle. At 83, I remember Dumont.

Interesting clues for long downs with a diastema:

2-45 Hair stylist?
3-46 Met mother's expectations?
4-32 Ordered Thai?
7-41 Flubbed haberdashery inventory?
9-53 Cary prepares for movie with Grace
10-38 "Time to get up, Fatty!" in silents

Geophany 2:41 PM  

Seems like a Monday puzzle with a few trip strips nailed on

jberg 3:03 PM  

I failed to solve this while spending the day in the Emergency Dept, so maybe there's some excuse. I had DUpONT and CHIMEs,giving me "pAsDEN". I even thought of MADDEN, but figured this must be a competitor. Also poST and never noticed it.

I was also one of the TOOT crowd, and with no idea what a DIASTEMA was. It did sound grammatical, or maybe like a figure of speech. Figured @Loren would know all about it

As for the ED, I'm ok. Just got the CT scan report.

Cleared2Land 3:20 PM  

@anonymous (2:18) I'm not going to get into a ridiculous back and forth with you so this will be my last comment to you. It's not your "privacy" you are worried about, we all have a level of privacy here. You want to be able to make your childish, petty insults in a variety of posts without a name attached so that nobody can be sure if it's just you, or several different people posting. You are a coward.
I did notice your comment to Rippey. He was simply relaying a back and forth with his daughter. It was not a "fundamental misunderstanding" of anything. It was an anecdote.
And as for your "snark", keep it to yourself. It's not entertaining, you should be embarrassed for yourself. Coward.

Joe Bleaux 3:27 PM  

"We Got Love"? How'd that get by me. Thanks. ("Wild One" I remember well.)

Sandy 3:37 PM  

Help-- why does get come before a clue?

Anonymous 3:38 PM  


You dunce. You've replied to me twice. Not signing my posts is no impediment to you. QED
As for Rippey, again, you misunderstand his post as well. Of course he was relaying an anecdote. In this particular anecdote, his daughter made a risible claim. Specifically, that Summer Loving goes easy on date rape. That is a misunderstanding of the song, and the play.

As for calling me a coward... . I invite you to call me that me to my face. I see you are in St. Pete. How about a meet and greet at Desoto state park. Tell me when.

Joe Bleaux 3:39 PM  

If you didn't make that jingle up, your remembering it is impressive!

Nancy 3:41 PM  

@JC66 (1:07)-- Wonder if your first wife and I ever sat side by side in his office? There couldn't have been two Mt. Sinai gynecologists named Dr. Cherry, right? His first name was Sheldon, right? And perhaps your first wife sat side by side with Nora Ephron, even though I, ALAS, didn't have such good fortune.

Joe Bleaux 3:44 PM  

No suggestion, just a fact: My oral surgeon missed his calling as a barber. He's Dr. Harry Shaver.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

@Sandy If you "get a clue" about this answer, you will realize why "get" comes before "a clue". Otherwise, you will continue to walk around cluelessly. Some people need to not only "get a clue" but also "get a life".

JC66 4:25 PM  


Yep, Sheldon it was.

I'll bet he had a bunch of beautiful women as patients.

Norm 4:42 PM  

@ Sandy : I assumed "get a clue" a la "get a life" and "get a room" although I think the idiom is usually "hasn't got a clue." If I'm wrong, I'm sure anonymous@2:18 will let me know with his usual level of maturity.

OISK 5:32 PM  

Finished and enjoyed it, although I didn't see the teeth. Nutria with Diastema was a tough cross for me, but enjoyed learning the two terms. Had heard of Rydell, but had no idea he had anything to do with Grease. Nessus and seed pearls was tough as well. Easy? Not for me.

The Personality and Individual Differences journal 6:18 PM  

" ...trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling. Thus, cyber trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism."

Joe Dipinto 6:55 PM  

@Hartley70 & @Churlish Nabob -- Carole King did, however, sing "It's Too Late", which is sort of the antithesis of "Anticipation" in a way.

Anonymous 7:12 PM  

Barbara here. OMG! Not easy medium for me. Never heard of diastema or diastemata. Good genes as far as teeth go I guess. Cheers!

Anita Fiorillo 7:47 PM  

@Paul Rippey - Uganda 2005? Guess we weren't all there together long enough to know we both loved puzzles. Alex is headed back there for some project this fall.

Anita Fiorillo 7:49 PM  

@Nancy - never ran across Dr. Cherry at Mt. Sinai - guess I was supporting a different group of docs! But it's a great name for a GYN

Mark 9:08 PM  

Thursday's are supposed to have themes and be hard to solve. It did and it was, so even the Theme wasn't very complicated, I liked it.

Chance 9:39 PM  

Wow, Rex is grouchy! I know the word DIASTEMA and don't think it's particularly esoteric and obscure, so I thought this was a fun, clever theme.

BarbieBarbie 9:39 PM  

Used to see a dentist called Dr. Buck. He was in practice with his brothers. We used to call it the Buck Tooth Place.
@toothdoc, you're being too literal. It isn't a gap in a tooth. It's "gap-tooth." Pretty clever, really.
@Quasi, hey, I had the same notion about Margaret Dumont. Guess nobody here watched Marx Brothers movies. Their loss!
Thanks yet again, @Evil.

chance 9:43 PM  

Also, people have never heard of a NUTRIA? Really? And even if you don't know NESSUS, why isn't "Twitter site" obviously NEST if you have _EST?

Anonymous 10:34 PM  

Check out Rex'so twitter feed.
A couple of days ago he railed against people who told stories where they were the hero or superior moral agent. Fair enough. Except, today he told a story where..,yeah, he was the hero.
I ask the blog: Is this not douchinews in a am nutshell?

Thomas 12:37 AM  

""Get a clue" is a polite way to say "Wise up, dummy"

Thomas 12:56 AM  

Heracles and Hercules are usually interchangeable. Heracles is his Greek name and Hercules is what the Romans called him. Nessus appears in both Greek and Roman mythology and is killed in both versions by Heracles/Hercules. So the clue is probably okay. I do prefer the Greek names for since they're the originals. But I'm not Italian.

Ando 7:21 PM  

Hahaha.. I forgot to look up DIASTEMA at the end, and went through the puzzle thinking it had something to do with a break in a TOOT. No, I had no idea what that meant, but forgot about it until reading this writeup. I agree that there's no point to a "hint to solving these other answers" which absolutely no one knows, so will not be a hint to solving anything.

I don't have a problem with OROSCO since while Jesse might be an old-timer it's a longevity baseball reference, and those are almost always obscure. I was just happy it was a name I knew and not someone from the dead ball era.

rondo 12:07 AM  

@wcutler - I posted this late last night, too,
I see your comments every day, or at least the next day. And others do, too, including Diana LIW and some real-timers. Know it for a fact.

Burma Shave 10:36 AM  


now he'll TOOT HISOWNHORN, ALAS it's all he can GET.


rondo 11:19 AM  

DNF. SHiEST like many OTHERS. Used to wear a RiDELL football helmet, so that looked OK to me. Everything ELSE filled in, even NESSUS.

I don't recall playing REVEILLE, but I played TAPs many times including at a friend's brother's funeral, one of the last guys killed in Nam. That is not how one wants to TOOT HISOWNHORN.

Who can forget the actress in all those Marx Brothers flicks - Margaret DUMONT?

It doesn't take an EXPERT to name STEVIE Nicks a yeah baby.

So, one wrong letter will AMOUNTTO a DNF, but at least not an ink FEST.

thefogman 11:25 AM  

I tend not to read OFL's comments before posting but I did notice he called this one easy-medium. For ordinary mortals, like myself, this one was relatively challenging even for a Thursday. I did reach for the dictionary to confirm DIASTEMA was correct. The toughest part was the NW corner. I had growinTO for far too long before I finally clued into AMOUNTTO. I caught onto the theme right from the get go but it was still tough sledding until the bitter end. But I did it. It was an okay puzzle I suppose. The DIASTEMA theme was fine, but aside from that there wasn't much to sink one's teeth into. It was a bit like a trip to the dentist. Painful at times, and you're relieved when it's finally over.

Diana, LIW 11:36 AM  

@WCutler - @Rondo speaks the truth - many Synders and some Futurelanders check out the last comments of the previous day. And we appreciate the effort you put into your comments!

Unlike @Lewis, had I noticed the hidden TOOTH, I still wouldn't have grokked the meaning of the dastardly DIASTEMA. And I['m no dummy. (TOOT TOOT)

Of course I guessed DuPont - who wouldn't? I was about 5 when they went out of business, but the name DUMMOND rings no bells, tho I can hear and see the other channels logos. And had chimes, not CHIMED. Oh I messed up big time.

Off to read more coments. Where are @Rainy and @Lefty ad Kathy of the Tower?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 11:42 AM  


must proofread

Lady Di

thefogman 11:51 AM  

@WCutler, @DLIW and @rondo - I too check out the previous day's late entries by the Syndies. They are not like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with nobody to hear them fall...

spacecraft 12:32 PM  

I assumed RYDELL because who couldn't resist naming a fictional school in a fifties musical after a fifties singer: Bobby RYDELL? Though I do agree that the SHiEST/SHYEST problem is ambiguous. Also recognize the helmet, used widely in the NFC.

I remember clearly the first time I saw DOD STEVIE: it was on a MTV concert show. A middle-aged man came out onto the bare stage, stood up to the mike and said simply, "Ladies and gentlemen, MY daughter, STEVIE Nicks!" And she came out in this fringy costume...I was in love--and have been ever since. Take a bow, sweetheart.

I had some trouble getting footholds in the western half, because I couldn't commit to blow vs. TOOT, and the theme trick kept eluding me. I thought some common letter or thread had to go INTO the "gap." Michael Strahan, ex-NFCer, this puzzle is for you.

I finally got the pattern with SPREADTOO/THIN, but the revealer, for me as well as virtually all non-DDS solvers, had to go in on crosses. OK as a Thing Learned that I Didn't Know Before, but as a theme revealer...kinda sucks. I do like a lot of the longer downs, so despite some rough shorter fill, I give this a par. (NO grid with STEVIE in it can POSSIBLY go over par!)

leftcoastTAM 1:38 PM  

Fairly easy = fair but not altogether easy.

Didn't find it easy when i got to the NUTRIs/DIsSTEMA cross. Welcome to Natick.

SUREDO know NUTRIA but not today. DIASTEMA is a new one.

DUMONT stirred up old memories of snowy gray TV screens.

Head scratchers as clued: GET and MISADDS.

Tom Morehouse 7:09 PM  

@Lady Di--Yes, where is rainy?

leftcoasTAM 8:01 PM  

@Oops, I mean from @leftcoastTAM. (Too much Chardonnay, I guess.)

wcutler 5:49 PM  

First, I appreciate the comments from rondo, Diana and Fogman, though this time I'm probably pushing it, as it's yesterday's puzzle for me already.

I did get the dUPONT/pADDON cross wrong, but a natick for me seems to be mine alone, though I guessed it right. I can never remember if the field is a lee or a LEA (I guess lee must refer to wind, and I usually guess that as lea), and didn't know if DIASTEMe was a word, but I went with the A. I didn't see gap-tooth entries, so yet again am really appreciating this blog.

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