Tennis world since 1968 / SUN 9-24-17 / St Louis Arch / Det Tutuola / Where Spartacus was from / Financial insititution whose parent is Canadian / Salinger title name / Rice-a- / Hydroxyl compound / Resort near Snowbird / Shepherd Moons singer / Oscar-winning foreign film of 2005 set in South Africa / Walter Dodgers owner / Writer of the Gnat and the Bull / Sister of Helios / Art Cleveland Browns owner

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Easy (19:00 exactly)



THEME: "State Lines" — Phrases are reinterpreted as if two-letter words were state abbreviations.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: "Try not to miss Bangor and Lewiston"? CATCH ME (Maine) IF YOU CAN
  • 34A: 2:00 in New York vis-à-vis St. Louis? ONE MO (Missouri) TIME
  • 50A: Whistler from two Eastern states? MA (Massachusetts) AND PA (Pennsylvania) KETTLE
  • 68A: "We shouldn't sell our Fort Wayne home"? LET'S KEEP THIS IN (Indiana) HOUSE
  • 86A: "Sooner this, Sooner that ... can't you talk about any other subject? EVERYTHING'S OK (Oklahoma)
  •  100A: Deal another blackjack card to a young woman from Salem? HIT OR (Oregon) MISS
  • 117A: Midwest state secedes and will join the United Kingdom? OH (Ohio) TO BE IN ENGLAND
Word of the Day: EDH (5D: Icelandic letter) —
Eth (/ɛð/, uppercase: Ð, lowercase: ð; also spelled edh or eð) is a letter used in Old English, Middle English, Icelandic, Faroese (in which it is called edd), and Elfdalian. It was also used in Scandinavia during the Middle Ages but was subsequently replaced with dh and later d. It is often transliterated as d (and d- is rarely used as a mnemonic). The lowercase version has been adopted to represent a voiced dental fricative in the International Phonetic Alphabet. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Given my extensive familiarity with the Icelandic alphabet, I confidently typed in ETH, and was stymied in the NW until finishing the puzzle. Actually, I LIED (105D: Fabulist's confession) -- I don't know any Icelandic. We've seen many, many state abbreviation themes, and this is a reasonably unique twist. Had a chuckle at LET'S KEEP THIS IN HOUSE and OH TO BE IN ENGLAND. MA AND PA KETTLE and ONE MO TIME seemed a bit of a stretch. There are a few missed opportunities with this one -- how about YOU CAN CALL ME AL (Mobile nickname?), or CO OPERATION (Legal weed business?), or DOOGIE HOWSER MD (Neal Patrick Harris dramedy set in Baltimore?), or KY JELLY (Homemade strawberry preserves from Louisville?). But overall, it MADE SENSE (47D: Added up), even if it was not necessarily TOP HOLE (52D: First-rate, in British slang). While we're making WACKO (12D: Nutsy) jokes about states, why isn't MO's motto "Missouri Loves Company"?

Gonna bring you barley, carrots and pertaters

So... my understanding is that repeated three-letter strings are awkward but often unavoidable, but that constructors should be STEERED (124A: Directed) away from repeated four-letter strings. That's why I had a bit of a 119D: "Who'da thunk it?!" (GEE) moment to see both MOAN (43A: Haunted house sound) and MOANA (95A: Big 2016 film set in Polynesia). I appreciated that AA MEETING (42D: Part of a recovery effort) and IN REHAB (65D: Getting help getting clean) were clued without cutesy jokes about addiction. EWE ELK EEL ETE EPI, EERO EDGE ESME ETUI.

Bullets:
  • 125A: Having braids (TRESSED) — I don't think that's a thing. It's been used before, but, no. I'm sTRESSED just looking at it.
  • 108D: Jeff ___, leader of the Electric Light Orchestra (LYNNE) — For once, ELO gets to be a clue instead of an answer.
  • 28A: Kind of torch on "Survivor" (TIKI) — So remember how this photo went viral on the internets after those Nazi assholes marched in Charlottesville and carried TIKI© Brand torches while spewing racist crap? Turns out that even though the manufacturer of TIKI© Brand torches did indeed issue a statement denouncing the use of their product for racist crap by Nazi assholes, this particular sign regarding the use of TIKI© Brand torches for racist crap by Nazi assholes was actually a stunt by a Funny or Die writer.
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Laura on Twitter]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

109 comments:

pmdm79 12:35 AM  

Excellent write-up. Not all of Mr. Sharp's puzzles spew negativity. Note that, all you anonymous whiners.

Thought it was a fun puzzle myself.

Does gasoline make arson go or does it help arson occur? THe clue is a little too clever for my taste.

Time to attack the diagramless.

jae 1:00 AM  

Yes, easy. The only place I got hung up was the NE corner where I put in ONE o'clock before ONE MO TIME (failure to carefully read the clue) and greek worked with the K.

Cute, liked it.

Hartley70 1:06 AM  

It felt a bit workmanlike to plod through this Sunday puzzle, but now that I'm finished I can look back and appreciate the state abbreviation themers. OHTOBEINENGLAND and CATCHMEIFYOUCAN being my two favorites. They are kind of cute, and all the themers had more zip than the usual state themed gimmick.

Boy are those sport team owners ridiculous for me. The Irish O'MALLEY was easier than MODELL to get from the crosses. Al MICHAELS was a gimme only because we watch local NYC stations. His name has been in my consciousness for so long he must have started his career there. I can hear his voice but I have no idea what he's talking about.

I knew THRACE because several years ago I watched the STARZ limited series "Spartacus". It definitely wasn't G or even PG, but they sure brought the tale to life. I didn't nod off, that's for sure!

I had to get LYNNE from the crosses and went smack when I realized what ELO is. I've filled it in before, but had not made the connection, TOPHOLE was new to me and I read a ton of British fiction. It's a pleasure to learn something new while passing the time with a puzzle.

Trombone Tom 1:09 AM  

@Laura nailed it with her review. Nothing too crunchy about this Sunday puzzle from Alan A. but it was interesting and enjoyable.

My last entry was what I consider by far the best themer, ONE MO' TIME.

Theodore Stamos 2:25 AM  

I liked the puzzle...but: I've lived in England for 15 years now and have never heard of TOPHOLE. I guess you learn something new every day. Anyway, I hope everyone has a TOPHOLE Sunday!

GHarris 3:03 AM  

Got it done and enjoyed doing so though it took me a lot longer than it did Laura

Johnny 3:34 AM  


Best trade in sports history:

Al MICHAELS for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

or I guess it's the strangest trade

BarbieBarbie 6:08 AM  

Yeah, I think TOPHOLE is only a British expression in Wodehouse. And, TRESSED has a bad clue, since it only means "has a hairstyle," making it a sort of inverted green paint example. But I'm just bitter because PLAITED has the same number of letters and does mean braided.
Overall this was light and fun and I agree that ONE MO TIME was easily the best.
Also, "Missouri loves company" would be great on the license plates. Laura is a genius.

Hungry Mother 6:35 AM  

Fast one for me today.

Two Ponies 7:03 AM  

Quite surprised to see my home town Ft. Wayne in the grid.
Beyond that I didn't see much that was interesting.
Oh, there was the clue for 24D.
Phrase from a prostitute to a john?

Muscato 7:10 AM  

PLAITED in lieu of TRESSED threw me off for a while, and I never welcome OPEN ERA, but on the whole a fine Sunday with a minor but definite chuckle factor and - particularly appreciated - a final time that made up for my disastrous Thursday and Friday this week...

Loren Muse Smith 7:15 AM  

First of all, thanks, Laura, for both your reasonable write-up and for your theme suggestions. I’m more of a potty-humor person, but your KY Jelly tickled me. (And more acceptable than my “kinky sex.”)

This is tighter than I thought at first glance. The state abbreviation is a word in its own right in the original phrase and just becomes the state. In other words, no word containing the abbreviation is parsed unexpectedly. So my “kinky sex” doesn’t follow the pattern since the KY is not a word in its own right.

I am glad that no one is complaining about CALLS IN or IN REHAB; both could be themers, but they wouldn’t be wacky. That’s what I was kinda expecting this morning – a lot of whining about the other state abbreviations in the grid. (FWIW – JA MA, ROT OR, and RENT AL don’t work.)

WITH MAYO – last week I filled a little mayo jar with plain Greek yoghurt and stood in the hall between classes eating it with a spoon. I tell you, the reaction was magnificent. Kids were horrified. I’d deadpan, What. They didn’t make salads today, and I was starving. I dug this out of the teachers’ lounge fridge. It’s food, isn’t it? No biggie. Someone said it could be pudding and asked to smell it. Knowing she’d get a yoghurty note, I said, Sure – but I think it’s going bad, so it’ll probably smell a little off. She sniffed and then gagged. I took another huge bite. Sold it.

If you’re using THAT to refer to something physical near you (and not like That’s a lie or That’s a funny story), you really do have to point, as the clue says. If you’re talking to someone and say something like I love that couch over there but you don’t gesture toward it, you just maintain eye contact, the person will start to think you’re a lunatic. Or you’re making a pass at them. Or there’s a bug starting to crawl down their face. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.

Thanks for the pleasant diversion, Alan. My favorite was CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Good advice. I love Maine. Love Mainers.

pmdm 7:22 AM  

Gee, I have to take back what I said. This is the first write-up I've read since my cross country trip and I did not realize Laura wrote the review. I should have realized was up since the write-up is more positive that the write-up composed by Jeff Chen. My face is red. Serves me write for composing comments in the wee hours of the morning.

Aketi 7:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 7:32 AM  

@pmdm, no need for a red face. Every now and again OFL does seem to drink some happy juice and surprise us, just not this time. I think we're conditioned to look for Annabelle as a sub on Mondays but not o look for subs as much on other days.

@Hartley70, I was guiltily thinking that I was the only one who sunk so low as to binge watch Spartacus with its over the top special effects that offered up a different angle on slicing every week. You are reaffirming my vision of you flying down the road on a red motorcycle, this time in gladiator gear. The other THRACE I learned was Cara THRACE aka Starbuck from binge watching the, not quite as dark, Battlestar Galactica.

I got TRESSED easily because the verb tresser in French literally means to braid or to plait. That was the only word I learned in French for hair when I was in Peace Corps. So when I went to a hair salon in Belgium where I had to use my French, I was at a loss to explain what I wanted and had to point at pictures. It ended in a hair disaster that ultimately required cutting my hair very short when I got home to the US.

chefbea 7:47 AM  

Fairly easy Sunday puzzle. Of course I knew 2 across...Im from the Gateway city and I actually saw the arch being built...from my father's office ...a long time ago. My brother, who was in the carpeting business supplied the carpet for the lookout part...what a view!!!

Lewis 8:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maeve McFadden 8:14 AM  

Did you realize 111A designed 8A?

'mericans in Paris 8:14 AM  

Hiya LADS (and lassies)! Been travelling a lot over the last month. Have done most of the puzzles, but sometimes days later.

Was expecting a tirade from @Rex, so was surorised by the gentle language until I got to the bottom and saw the comments came from Laura. Nice write-up, LB!

We found this puzzle overall OK, but the WACKO theme answers only mildly amusing; a bit HIT OR MISS. I suppose it would make a good GATEWAY puzzle for beginners, however.

Almost Naticked in the Miami area (apologies for the mixed geographical metaphor) with "Jeff ___, leader of the Electric Light Orchestra" crossing "Grammy-winning singer of 'Shepherd Moons'". Guessed a letter "Y" and also that the answer to 109D was LADED. (Has anybody ever heard that used? I've only encountered LADEn.)

Main grumble is ATTIRE in answer to the clue "Duds" (45A). ISN'T it some rule that the degree of informality of the answer must match the informality of the clue?

I was too young to pay attention to who was the manager of the Dodgers when Walter O'MALLEY moved them from Brooklyn to L.A. But now that I have learned his name, it shall forever in my mind live in infamy.

@LMS: Thanks for the nice sentiments about Mainers! (I was born in Bangor.)

Lewis 8:19 AM  

@lms -- Loved the mayo prank!

Best part for me were the theme answers, each accompanied by a little ha-ha. I thought this puzzle demonstrated how having done puzzles for a long time makes doing them easier. There were at least a dozen crosswordese answers that I dropped right in, that I would have been totally AT SEA with if I were just starting out on crosswords.

Re EDH, I will not go out and learn world alphabets, thank you. TOPHOLE, which I've never heard or seen before, sounds to me like slang for a follicle. I liked POSED AS next to ON STAGE, and the cross of IN REHAB and LET'S KEEP THIS IN HOUSE.

"I predict that a Northwest state will disappear." -- TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Glimmerglass 8:26 AM  

@LMS. I also loved the mayo prank. I love mayonaise, so I could eat mayo out of a yogurt cup, except no one would know it was a prank. My daughter-in-law and some assorted grandchildren filled a pastry shell with mayo instead of custard for me as a joke. I ate it without comment, which they found funnier than if I'd reacted with surprise. As a desert, it tasted fine to me, a bit different, but nicely sweet.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

An anonymous whiner whining about anonymous whiners? Irony?

chefbea 8:31 AM  

@Maeve McFadden - I should have said that!!!

'mericans in Paris 8:49 AM  

Actually, this puzzle could have been made a bit more difficult by using the two-letter codes for countries rather than states. Here's a selection.

AD -- Andorra
AM -- Armenia
AS -- American Samoa
AT -- Austria
AW -- Aruba
AX -- Åland Islands
BE -- Belgium
BO -- Bolivia
BY -- Belarus
CD -- Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
DO -- Dominican Republic
IM -- Isle of Man
IN -- India
IS -- Iceland
IT -- Italy
MA -- Morocco
ME -- Montenegro
MO -- Macao
NO -- Norway
PA -- Panama
SO -- Somalia
TO -- Tonga
US -- United States
YE -- Yemen, Rep.


Some examples:

"Slogan for a Scandinavian tourist office?" -- JUST SAY NO

"Slogan for a South Pacific tourist office?" -- THE GO TO PLACE

"Tourist trap in Aden?" -- YE OLDE SHOPPE

"Soldier's remark on hearing of his next deployment?" -- SAY IT AIN'T SO

"American diplomat's plea to her counterpart?" -- GIVE US A CHANCE

Just sayin'.

mmorgan 8:53 AM  

I often have a difficult time getting on this constructor's wave length (for whatever reason), but this one went down smoothly and I laughed out loud for five minutes at OH TO BE IN ENGLAND -- which has to be the funniest crossword answer I've ever seen. Thanks for a fun puzzle!

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

pmdm79

Why so smug about anonymous posters? You're anonymous, too. Follow Rex's fearless example and post your real name, email, and home address, and then you have some basis for needling anonymous posts.

Nancy 9:16 AM  

Breezy, amusing, imaginative, and much fun to solve. The theme entries were great, and the fill, while not terribly hard, was interesting enough to hold the attention and require thinking. It solved quickly and enjoyably, never once feeling long or sloggy. Really nice job.

Based on what's happening in the country right now, I don't blame OH at all (17A.) Maybe we in NY will be next?

@Loren (7:15) -- I'm quite sure I never had a teacher who was anything like you. Your classes must be a real hoot.

More Whit 9:24 AM  

Cheerio one and all. This puzzle wasn't bloody tophole, but it was OK as I solved it sooner rather than later this Sunday. It was nice to have a small diversion from our current anti-science, facts don't matter, racist xenophobic journey down the path to Hades, so well lit by our "bright light" leaders.

John McKnight 9:39 AM  

I just wasn’t able to get into a rhythm with this. It would stall and then large chunks would all fall at once. It had a lot of classics in the fill and a little too much emphasis on northeastern and midwestern culture for me. I’m glad y’all liked it though!

Teedmn 10:00 AM  

Nice theme! I got it at HIT OR MISS. Ironically, since I was using the randomization feature on @r.alphbunker's program, that's exactly how my solve went also.

I like this puzzle, I really do, but that doesn't mitigate my bitterness over the far NE: SHAMUS? Really? ONE MO TIME? Google tells me it's a musical from the 1920s, what?

And then there's 1A. The clue seems tortured. "Tennis world"?

104A Take from the top = SKIM, funny. That filled in from crosses - I was looking for a four letter word meaning "do again". Anew? Redo?

I thought the 70s were "mild", not WARM. I actED AS rather than POSED. I loved the answer dREadED for "having braids" at 125A except it was TRESSED. (So a bald person is DIS-TRESSED?)

Things like OTRAVEZ and TOPHOLE were WOEs whereas I'M BROKE and ETUI and PAST LIVES were no brainers. And then the ahas of EGGSHELLS and AAMEETING (is AA a self-reference by the constructor?). Two sports team owners seems over the top. I guess EVERYTHING'S OK but this puzzle gave me a workout I wasn't expecting.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Laura: Your fearless leader is gonna be pissed. He disses this constructor every time out.
Great land on mayo. Out loud laugh.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Cluing on 1A was poor. The "tennis world" is not itself an "era". The tennis world EXISTS IN an era, as much as it existed in the previous era and will exist in the next era.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Laura: Your fearless leader is gonna be pissed. He disses this constructor every time out.
Great LMS on mayo. Out loud laugh.

QuasiMojo 10:27 AM  

Loved it except for "Everything's OK".

Chance 10:29 AM  

@Anonymous 10L12 AM, no, I doubted the clue too, but -- as I wrote in my own crossword blog, check it out --- it turns out "Open Era" is definitely a phrase much in use. Google it yourself.

I liked this puzzle a lot! Thanks to my dad for showing me Ma and Pa Kettle at an early age. Now that's a fairly esoteric reference!

Sunday Cruiser 10:46 AM  

@ More Whit 9:24,
We almost had a day on the blog without off topic political snarking to spoil our lovely Sunday solve but nooo
you just HAD to ruin it. Buzz off.

Knitwit 10:48 AM  

NW was my downfall. Starting with VEIGHT for 6D. Otherwise, I liked it!

RooMonster 10:49 AM  

Hey All !
Getting angry at these NW corners kicking my butt! Got the whole puz done, with only two writeovers, ONEhOurMo-ONEMOTIME, ShARp-SMART. Also spelled ANiaS wrong at first. But puz was relatively easy, except when I epically failed in that NW. Strange clue on OPEN ERA, EDH a WOE, and THRACE also a WOE. Had actEDAS, further throwing me off. Finally resorted to cheating, and Googed for OOCIT, as was thinking ithACa for THRACE, giving me __CII for 1D. Ugh.

Did like theme. The state abbrs. actually used as words in the themers, but meaning the state. In other words, the themers were phrases themselves when read straight, HIT OR MISS, but also made sense with the clue when read with the state name, HIT OREGON MISS. Tres cool.

Liked Laura's writeup. Funny she pointed out the dreck. It's a SunPuz, there will be dreck. But I don't think it's that bad. It's small enough not to take away from the theme. Says MEA. :-)

SPARE ATTIRE (WITH MAYO)
RooMonster
DarrinV

Mohair Sam 11:10 AM  

Had @John McKnight's experience - never found a rhythm. We'd stall, then guess one longish answer (GATEWAY, i.e.) and a whole section would fill, then we'd stall again. No complaints though.

@Loren - Neat story, but I'd prefer straight MAYO to straight plain yogurt any day of the week. And I bet I'm not alone - c'mon guys.

@pmdm - I read your post and cracked up. Oh my, pmdm's in for some crap. Cheer up - we all put our feet firmly in our mouth from time to time. Well, all except me of course - I've never made an eror on the blog.

RooMonster 11:17 AM  

@Mohair 11:10
Har. Nice one. :-)

Roo

Joseph Michael 11:18 AM  

This puzzle was OK.

Favorite themers were ONE MO TIME and OH TO BE IN ENGLAND.

Got sTRESSED in the NE because I was sure that 34A was "one o'clock" and 19D was "Greek." It's a crying SHAMUS it took me so long to figure out where I went wrong.

Perhaps my favorite moment in this puzzle experience was reading Laura's suggestion for a MO motto: "Missouri Loves Company"

Stuartwm 11:19 AM  

To begin with, never in my life have I ever been asked if I wanted mayo on my BLT. Who makes a BLT without it?

And 96A "Cab alternative" = "zin". Do even wine snobs use these abbreviations? I have never heard of them.

Nancy 11:32 AM  

@Mohair -- I, too, would much prefer straight MAYO to yogurt. There are very few foods I hate or won't eat, but yogurt is at the very top of my list. Along with buttermilk and goat cheese. All three taste spoiled to me. This coming from a passionate cheese lover and certified milkaholic.

robber 11:36 AM  

Meh........all right i suppose but wasn't crazy about it. Seems some answers also had more than one state, i.e. 117A had IN although not used here and was used in 68A for eg.
And 15A for ARSON? come on.....So i didn't think the clueing was enjoyable at all across the board.
But hey they can't all be great and for once i was on the same page as rex with an EASY
See you Thursday

Dawn 11:39 AM  

My husband gags at the mere thought of mayo ...something about the texture, I think.

Guess I'm in the minority...found the theme and fill dull. But it was a fast solve.

Teedmn 11:50 AM  

All this talk about BLTs WITH MAYO has sent me on a nostalgia trip: My Dad doesn't like mayo so Mom would make BLTs on generously buttered toast. I think this enhanced the three main flavors with the tomato providing the "sauce". Yummy, no MAYO needed.

More Whit 12:02 PM  

Latest divisive barrage from POTUS hard to ignore, even for a day. Angry at the damage being done. But it was off topic, no doubt. Fairly certain nobody's solve was spoiled or ruined by a post-solve comment.

Carola 12:02 PM  

For me, Alan Arbesfeld's name at the top of a Sunday puzzle means hope for a delightfully zany theme, mingled with memories of past letdowns. I thought this one was inspired, with OH TO BE IN ENGLAND the worthy exclamation point at the end. Wish I'd understood ONE MO TIME: my "Stylish" was "ShARp," and since pD BANK made as much sense to me as any other letter combination, I didn't consider how to change it. Otherwise, my having no trouble coming up with Art MODELL made me realize how deeply the NFL was imprinted on me in my tender years growing up in a Packer-centric home.

@Laura, thanks for the write-up.

GILL I. 12:06 PM  

@Stuartwm....Me too! I thought how in the world would someone eat a BLT without MAYO? Butter? Dijon? I'm in the lover of MAYO camp and have been known to take a spoon to some Best Foods. My dad's favorite sandwich was gobs of MAYO, thinly sliced red onions on white bread...and I thought he hated sliced white bread!
This was enjoyable. So glad we had @Laura today. Yes, @Rex would have started in at ETUI me thinks...our long lost friend. I finally looked up its pronunciation. I always said EH TU EE but it's AY TWEE. See? There you have it.
OH TO BE IN ENGLAND OTRA VEZ OLDE CHERI, that would be TOP HOLE.
I say Cab and ZIN all the time. If you ever go to LODI try their ZINs... just don't go parachute jumping.
SHAMUS numerology: "They may overindulge in toxicants, sex or gambling." Name him Sean instead.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

"Pretty sure THAT is a "'demonstrative adjective,"' SHE PRONOUNced ...

Resident millenial 12:10 PM  

As I didn't know TALIA Shire, in the SW corner I had HaCKS for "Hardly sophisticates" and aNy DAY for "Tomorrow", which both fit their clues reasonably well. That left an entirely reasonable TyLIA Shire and a DNF. Drat.

puzzlehoarder 12:23 PM  

This was an average Sunday solve. The only areas that caused me problems were the NW and NE corners.

In the NW I had the ACTEDAS/POSEDAS write over supported by an ATTAR/ESTER one. JAMA was too strong to change the J but it took a little thinking to expand the "engine" category to come up with RAMJET. @Hartley and Aketi, I binge watched that show too.

The NE took a little more time to iron out. I put ENSCONCED in for 15D. I obviously left a letter out I just don't remember which. There was a CLARE/CLAIR write over as well as a SHARP/SMART one. The hardest part was just accepting MO as part of 34A. That phrase is painfully dated. I find it almost as grating as Din-o-Mite

thursdaysd 12:32 PM  

I grew up in England in the 50s and 60s and never, ever, heard TOPHOLE. Perhaps it showed up in some bad period novels, but calling it "British slang" as if it were current is just plain wrong. Not that this is the first time Shortz et al have got a British clue wrong. He needs a better fact checker or to limit himself to things he actually knows about.

The Émigré 12:35 PM  

Top hole is badly clued. It is not British slang. It is archaic upper-crust English slang last heard (unironically) at Queen Victoria's jubilee.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

@Teedmn, living in north Texas, I entered COOL for 'in the 70's. Honestly did. It's been in the mid to upper 90's here all month.

Masked and Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Nice, basic theme -- yieldin a pretty easy & fun solvequest.

staff weeject pick: EDH. Has a primo desperate feel to it. Sorta like spellin yer state abbrevs with an H at the end. Examples: OHH. MEH.

@mericans in Paris: Nice ISO-country scoreboard themers. Next up: Atomic scoreboard symbols. Example: HECANTKEEPITUPFORLONG. Clue could maybe be zeppelin-related, or somesuch.

Thanx, Mr. Arbesfeld. And congratz on yer SunPuz #25. AGBUSINESS.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

vostradamus 1:08 PM  

I was hoping someone would elucidate zin. No oenophile I know uses these terms.

Sunday Cruiser 1:17 PM  

@ More Whit 12:02,
I clearly stated that you ruined my jolly mood and yet you dismiss me as "nobody"? What a pompous ass. More Whit? How about Half Whit?

Churlish Nabob 1:41 PM  

@Sunday Cruiser, instead of berating Whit, how bout you eat shit?

Churlish Nabob 1:55 PM  

@vomitdramus 1:08, I hear them all the time.

Unknown 2:00 PM  

Fun, easy Sunday. The clue for 32A BRIS was too slack for my taste--the ritual is performed specifically at eight days of age, not on just any "newborn".

Alan_S. 2:27 PM  

Commenters spewing barbs at each other like 1st graders. Almost as ridiculous as Rex's tirades. I usually come here for the comments rather than the recap, but the childish banter is becoming tedious.

I thought the puz was okay. Better than the average Sunday lately but nothing to run to my wife and say "look honey, how clever this is".

Found it mostly easy; my only difficulty coming in the south central where I can never seem to remember that architect's first name (Eero?c'mon), insisted on the Spanish siete instead of the italian sette and was not familiar with the phrase "oh to be in England", but isobar and base hit bailed me out to avoid a dnf.

Curious: Are LMS and Nancy an item?

Trombone Tom 2:44 PM  

The wine snobs break me up. As a winegrower of Cab in the Napa Valley I can also appreciate a good ZIN, say with a juicy hamburger. You hear these abbreviated terms in the trade all the time.

G. Weissman 2:44 PM  

State postal abbreviations -- endless minutes of fun

Joe Dipinto 3:05 PM  

I liked the themer answers, but I don't see why their clues needed the question-mark treatment. Unnecessary, imo.

Don't recall ever seeing KRILL before, but it weirdly also turned up in today's diagramless puzzle.

Joe Dipinto 3:19 PM  

Also, if the puzzle title STATE LINES is supposed to mean that each answer is a "line" spoken about a "state", the themer clues should all have been written thusly -- i.e. as quotations. Only three out of seven are. (Otherwise, I don't know what the title means.)

old timer 3:19 PM  

It was a slog, but a doable slog. I liked the previous Sunday puzzle a whole lot more.

"Oh to be in England now that April's here. Browning I think but Robert or Elizabeth?

mathgent 3:36 PM  

On page 6 of The Book Review in today's NYT is a mention of a book titled "A Charm of Goldfinches: And Other Wild Gatherings". It contains some lesser known collective nouns for animals. A cloud of bats. An ostentation of peacocks. A trip of rabbits. A down of hares. A mob of emus. A obstinacy of buffalo.

Coming soon to a crossword near you.

Mohair Sam 3:42 PM  

@mathgent - Good stuff

@old timer - Twas Robert:

"OH, to be in England now that April ’s there
And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough 5
In England—now!"

If you've ever lived through the dreariness of an English winter you appreciate why he loved April so.

Joe Dipinto 3:58 PM  

@mathgent 3:36

Ooh, I like those. Let's come up with some.

An indifference of cats
A splatter of pigeons
A far-right-lane of snails

Nancy 4:54 PM  

Collective terms for animals: What's great about the blog comments today is that the real terms (thanks, @mathgent, 3:36,!) are almost as funny as the made-up terms (thanks, @Joe DiPinto, 3:58!) I would love to see Joe's coinages go into the lexicon, my favorite being: An indifference of cats. (I'm a dog person, in case no one's already figured that out.) Wonderful blog today, Alan__S's truly peculiar query notwithstanding.

Hartley70 5:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Dipinto 5:28 PM  

@Nancy -- I grew up with dogs and cats, and love both, but as an adult in an NY apartment I only ever had cats: two, over the same period of time -- a calico that lived to be 20+ years and a creamsicle tabby that lived to almost 19. The (female) calico was anything but indifferent; she was a enthusiastic talker and jockeyed for my attention constantly. The (male) creamsicle guy was less forthcoming (but also friendly) -- I think that was because he was the second arrival and he was pissed off that he couldn't make my apartment *his* exclusive territory.

I still miss them both. But lest anyone think "indifference" was meant as an insult, every cat lover/owner knows that they will do exactly what they feel like whenever they want, owner be damned. So I thought "indifference" would be appropriate.

Hartley70 5:31 PM  

@Nancy, I'm right with you. I can't bear yogurt, buttermilk or goat cheese and I'm sure kefir would join the list if I gave it a chance. There's a nasty sour aftertaste to them. @Loren's a martyr to the joke in my book, but the prank is so delicious that I might have choked down the yogurt myself. Now, I'll take double mayo on that BLT, please.

@mathgent, If I ever come across a cloud of bats, don't fuss, just bury me right where I fall.

@Aketi, Oh Sister! #teamadama all the way. Why did it have to end?

Bill T. 5:49 PM  

I think Rex would be all over the inconsistency his suggested theme entry YOU CAN CALL ME AL -- ME is a State abbreviation. But agree there are a lot of possibilities here.

RooMonster 6:25 PM  

A dickery of trolls.
A buffoon of politicians.
:-P

RooMonster

Larry Gilstrap 6:25 PM  

A lazy afternoon solve al fresco results in a very late post. I boxed this thing around like a cat with a pill bug, but Sundays are often that way. Hard to stay focused on such a beautiful early fall day in the desert. ESTER/atTaR didn't help in the NW and CLAre/greek made a mare's nest of the NE. Everybody else knew TSOTSI? Really?

LA born and bred, so no problem with Mr. O'MALLEY, and his son Peter succeeded him, so the team was in the family for a long time. EaGLE Rock is more than a little east of LAX, so that didn't feel right, while, of course, INGLEWOOD is correct.

Did someone say whale food? One of the most poetic chapters in MOBY-DICK is Chapter 58 "Brit." It begins with a description of the right whale "mowing" through the green fields of KRILL-like organisms on the surface of the Pacific. Baleen whales are some of the largest animals to have ever existed on this planet, yet they sustain their huge bulk by feeding upon micro-organisms. The sperm whale, on the other hand is a toothed whale and feeds primarily on the giant squid.

Some classroom teachers live on a diet of mayonnaise; that's how rumors get started.

Ellen S 6:34 PM  

I'm late finishing it but wanted to get it on record, I thought this puzzle was 84-Down.

jberg 7:45 PM  

I finished solving just before I had to go out, and just now got back, so it's all been said. the MODELL/MOANA cross was a sheer guess based on what gave plausible-sounding names, but the rest was OK.

@Nancy, @Loren, yeah that was a weird comment. I think it was supposed to be a joke, but I can't figure it out.

All I can say is:

Natick stalker = MA, HE'S MAKING EYES AT ME.

But it doesn't quite work grammatically.

Teedmn 8:29 PM  

@Hartley70, as someone who loves goat cheese and eats yogurt daily, I draw the line at kefir. Just don't go there.

And I laughed out loud at your cloud of bats remark, knowing the back story on that one.

kitshef 8:35 PM  

Less than a week ago, in response to a question by Lewis, I mentioned that generally a solver has formed their opinion of a puzzle early on, and so if you have some bad fill towards the end, when they are just mopping up, it won't be as memorable.

Today's puzzle made me re-think that. I was 85% of the way done, thinking this was a pleasant-for-a-Sunday puzzle and kinda digging it, when I hit ONEMOTIME and boom, like finding a roach near the bottom of your stack of mu-shu pork pancakes. Not only does it ruin the remainder of the meal, it has a retroactive effect on everything you ate up to that point.

Kim Jamul 9:45 PM  

Same folks use Zin as say Cab. Just gentle nicknames from the tasting rooms. "I like the light-styled Cab." "The Late-Harvest Zin was excellent." Probably not language for upscale dining though!

Joe Bleaux 11:22 PM  

OK, that did it. @Dawm's husband ain't the only one. I'm outta here.

The Clerk 8:55 AM  

OPENERA, RAMJET, EDH should've been redone. Rest of the meal was fun, but the first bite was too bitter.

Bob Mills 2:46 PM  

Good puzzle, but easy for Sunday. I finished it, but only after realizing that a pitted fruit was a NECTARINE, not a TANGERINE.

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

Not relating to this puzzle or comments but will someone please explain how OFL = Rex

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

I thought the exact same thing about the ELO clue. That was worth a chuckle.

The Clerk 3:45 PM  

Our Fearless Leader

Rony @ catbird 11:36 PM  

Yes!!

Julie Stivers 2:05 PM  

Good to have you back 'mericans

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ChrisB 8:07 PM  

This was the one answer I didn't get. As a white wine drinker.... Thank you!

ChrisB 8:10 PM  

😂😂

ChrisB 8:12 PM  

Robert.

ChrisB 8:14 PM  

Agreed! Guess you all have guessed that I spent a lot of years in England. This was the clue that gave me the rest of the puzzle.

ChrisB 8:21 PM  

Unlike most of you, it takes me a week to do a NYT Sunday puzzzle. But, when I finally finish and come here, I love all the comments. Thank you.

Army42 5:51 PM  

@ ChrisB:

Great comment. I was like that some years ago.....but gradually diminished it down to a few hours. Never in the same league as the whizzes, but probably get more pleasure out of the puzzle than them. :)

spacecraft 11:56 AM  

When the rating was "easy, exactly 19:00," I knew it wasn't OFL. He'd never admit to a double digit solve time, ever. For me it was easy-ish, maybe medium in the east central. Why I didn't get MIX sooner is a mystery. But overall, bot too bad. Not that much to complain about fill-wise; theme ho-hum but well executed.

This was somewhere between a slog and a delight. It was a puzzle. I did it. It was OK. See where I'm going with this? DOD is TALIA "Yo Adrian!" Shire. She's OK too. Oh yeah: par.

Burma Shave 12:16 PM  

OOPS, I'LL SHAMUS BEAU

CHERI, ILIED THAT EVERYTHING'SOK,
I'MBROKE, in DEBT, and can't SPARE a dime,
it's HITORMISS what ISHALL do INADAY
so CATCHMEIFYOUCAN, make me MOAN ONEMOTIME.

--- SIBYL OTRAVEZ

rondo 1:26 PM  

Mildly amusing state abbr. puz. Caught on at ONEMOTIME. Haven't read comments yet, but someone must've mentioned CALLSIN INREHAB, BASEHIT HITORMISS, ILIED ISHALL IMBROKE, as today's host mentioned MOAN MOANA. I don't care that much, esp in a big grid, but OFL has me seeing those things.

Gs for gimmes written in the margins for MICHAELS MODELL OMALLEY and LYNNE. Sports and music trivia = wheelhouse.

OLE'S in the grid. Still no Sven.

Two yeah baby clues circled for ENYA and TALIA, both frequent fliers, take your pick,

Better than some recent Sundays, once things MADESENSE.

AnonymousPVX 2:47 PM  

Not one of my favorites for sure, I hated the gimmick/theme and thought much of the clueing and answers arcane and far fetched. Actually had the puzzle nearly solved, was working out the last of the NE when I just got sick and tired of it. So I put it down, and left it. Not fun, which I think is the worst offense.

Diana,LIW 3:08 PM  

No paper yet - at noon! And one of my (temporary) crowns fell off this morning. October isn't going well...

Lady Di

rainforest 4:06 PM  

Solid, unsloggy, and amusing Sunday puzzle.

I agree it was easy, but I did spend some time in the NE until I remembered my grandfather used to sat TOP HOLE (man, that was long ago). Never found out the origin of it, though.

Admirable lack of dreck in the big puzzle, and some excellent clues. Btw, I think OPEN ERA, since the clue emphasized since 1968, is the correct description of the tennis world.

All in all, I liked it.

Diana,LIW 6:01 PM  

Easyish, except I royally messed up the NW.

Of course I loved the punny use of state abbrs. Lots of smiles today, especially since I visited my dentist at 8:30 (Sun!) to have my temp crown replaced. Paper showed up about 1 pm.

@BS from yesterday - thought I asked you about a book some years ago? Are you up to 1,000?

Now, off to read the news.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting, Waiting

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