Animal depicted in Edwin Landseer's Monarch of Glen / SUN 10-1-17 / Old sitcom character who was 229 years olf / Stripes mismatch traditionally / Rathecting wheel mechanism / Underbrush clearer

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Constructor: Robert Fisher

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "That's One Way to Put It" — euphemisms? I guess?

Theme answers:
  • TESTING GRAVITY (24A: Falling down)
  • AWARD FOR FAST DRIVING (32A: Speeding ticket)
  • BUDGET REINFORCEMENT (114A: Tax increase)
  • POST-RETIREMENT (130A: Dead) 
Word of the Day: OTTO I (118D: Holy Roman emperor called "the Great") —
Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (German: Otto der Große), was German king from 936 and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 962 until his death in 973.[b] He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda. // Otto inherited the Duchy of Saxony and the kingship of the Germans upon his father's death in 936. He continued his father's work of unifying all German tribes into a single kingdom and greatly expanded the king's powers at the expense of the aristocracy. Through strategic marriages and personal appointments, Otto installed members of his family in the kingdom's most important duchies. This reduced the various dukes, who had previously been co-equals with the king, to royal subjects under his authority. Otto transformed the Roman Catholic Church in Germany to strengthen royal authority and subjected its clergy to his personal control. // After putting down a brief civil war among the rebellious duchies, Otto defeated the Magyars at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955, thus ending the Hungarian invasions of Western Europe.[3] The victory against the pagan Magyars earned Otto a reputation as a savior of Christendom and secured his hold over the kingdom. By 961, Otto had conquered the Kingdom of Italy and extended his realm's borders to the north, east, and south. The patronage of Otto and his immediate successors facilitated a so-called "Ottonian Renaissance" of arts and architecture. Following the example of Charlemagne's coronation as "Emperor of the Romans" in 800, Otto was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 962 by Pope John XII in Rome. (wikipedia)
• • •

Stunning. Actually, I shouldn't be stunned anymore. I should've lost my capacity. It's should be stunning that a puzzle this dated, unfunny, and clunky could appear in the NYT, but it's sadly become pretty standard in the late Shortz reign (I hope it's "late"—it could very easily just be "middle," god help us all). Just six answers (despite an oversized 22-wide grid), and all of them non-phrases that are incredibly awkward, and not in the least funny. There are no such things as ... any of these things. These aren't phrases one utters in any context. It's like the constructor isn't quite sure how either English or humor works. It feels like a robot from another planet came up with these answers. Who tests gravity? ["CAREER SHIFT OPPORTUNITY"] gets 161 hits total on google. For reference ... that's terrible. ["BUDGET REINFORCEMENT"] only gets 3300. So ... not funny, not clever, not in-the-language. Not good. Is this some kind of weird October Fools! puzzle, where the theme is, like, horror, or something? It's the best defense I could think of.

And the fill does nothing to help matters. It's laden with weird abbrevs. and German and god knows what else. THE O!? (92D: Where to accent "Laotian"). Hilariously, it has crosswordese AMALIE (18D: Charlotte ___, Virgin Islands) and crosswordese ADELIE (107D: Antarctic penguin) in symmetrical positions, so I *almost* want to applaud that. Hardest part by far was the south, from ENJOIN (109D: Officially prohibit) to AM DIAL (112D: It goes up to about 1700), the latter of which was brutal (haven't thought about the AM DIAL since, let's say, 1980). Then JET (122A: Take off quickly) and LIT OUT (134A: Took off quickly) were both very hard to pick up and very close together. And of course the themers were zero help, being dumb nonsense phrases (see above). So that little southern patch, rough. The rest, not too hard. There should be a word for "easy but deeply unpleasant." Maybe a German word? Sunday puzzles have fallen into a disgraceful state. I'm astonished to learn that they are now my most-disliked day of the week. I did not know one could be "worse than Tuesday," but here we are. I think I'm done.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joe Dipinto 12:14 AM  

Just finished it. Easily the Worst.Puzzle.Ever. I mean, WTF? Really?

Chris Jones 1:18 AM  

Awful. That’s one way to put it.

allan 1:19 AM  

‘Economical with the truth’ was near impossible to suss out, especially crossed by ‘pawl’ and ‘hop up’. Just more drudgery. Make up phrases and hope someone finds them humorous. There used to be a joy in the NYT Sunday puzzle. Sadly, no more. I hope @rexparker is right and we are towards the end of the Shortz era.

Robin 1:38 AM  

One of those that you finish and go, "Meh."

ECONOMICAL_WITH_THE_TRUTH was the only one of the themes that I have heard in actual conversation.

Adam Siler 1:43 AM  

So, for 27 across, I had ENTR, as in entr-acte, giving me the crosses of "THEN" (Next)and "TEST" (Sample). I have no idea what SEHR is, or how THEE and TESH would fit the clues.

Mike in Mountain View 1:45 AM  

Unfortunately, I'm with Rex and Jeff Chen on this one.

On the bright side, CHEAPOS was very good, if not new (it's been in 10 previous Shortz era puzzles in either the plural or singular form).

Michelle Turner 2:17 AM  

I'm going to be a contrarian and say that I enjoyed it. As one who is currently undergoing a CAREER SHIFT OPPORTUNITY and being an optimist I appreciate the humor exhibited.

KlausK 2:33 AM  

This puzzle was just awful - not clever, not amusing, not interesting. Pretty much like the rest of the NYT these days.

Greg Charles 2:49 AM  

Agree with Robin that "economical with the truth" is a real phrase, but it's the only one of the themers that is. That actually made me wonder if I'd messed up on the others, and so was more annoying than consistently made-up phrases would have been.

Also, is it another Trump reference? No, I guess that would be, "unacquainted with the truth".

Loren Muse Smith 3:21 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 3:22 AM  

Ok. Let’s not get too worked up here. I have to admit that I came here expecting to see the added layer to the theme, the fun part. So, yeah, I was a bit crestfallen to find that these were just spins on expressions.

But then I started thinking about how we sugar-coat stuff. Here we have taxes, death, speeding ticket, lying, getting fired, face-planting – all icky things. Rex said it - the theme is euphemisms.

Fascinating that we’re always scrambling to use nicerish expression to describe something bad. Some of the ones I’ve noticed:

torture – enhanced interrogation
war – armed conflict
lots of our people are going to die – boots on the ground
big, uh, pleasantly plump lies – alternative facts
mistake – learning opportunity

There are certainly a bajillion others.

I’m reminded of a quip – I’ve reached my target weight, just not my target height. (Speaking of which, why has women’s has become a euphemism for “plus-size” in lots of stores?)

Short people have been called horizontally challenged. What could other bad things be? A mosquito could be a blood transport service. Roaches and rats could be your waste management system.

So I actually had a nice little reflection after the solve on our tendency to spin certain things in a good light. I’ll go stand over with @Michelle Turner.

jae 3:47 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Kinda liked some of the euphemisms, but the rest...@Robin mostly meh.

zevonfan 4:24 AM  

Absolutely dreadful - even compared to recent forgettable Sundays. Hope the New York Times gives Will Shortz a Career Shift Opportunity.

Mark 5:21 AM  

I agree with all of you. I found the puzzle somewhat difficult, which is the best thing I can say about it. I think Sunday's are trouble for the Times. Lots of people do them, but they only occur once a week, so they all have to be kind of average in difficulty. I think that makes it hard to put in interesting themes. Think of it in terms of days of the week. We often have fun Mondays and Thursdays can have some neat tricks that are challenging and interesting. But if you want to be in between it's harder and Tuesdays and Wednesdays reflect that difficulty. The Sunday puzzle always tries to be in that middle zone.

Hans M 5:27 AM  

Fully agree with the comment on the poor quality of the Sunday crossword of late.(At least the last year or so) The frustration justifies the invention of a Jaguar SKI (100 D).

Anonymous 5:29 AM  

I've been solving these things only since March. This felt like a middle of the road Sunday to me, both in difficulty and quality. I'm honestly a little skeptical of the claim that they once were better than this, though.

Anonymous 5:43 AM  

Will Shortz = Cool.

Mike Sharp = Ass.

'mericans in Paris 5:51 AM  

MAMA mia, so many GLUM people, so much CARPing!

We found the puzzle provided the right amount of resistance for a weekend -- AL DENTE might be one way to put it -- and appreciated that the fill was better than AVERAGE, and the cluing pretty good. We certainly wouldn't give it a FAIL.

The theme answers did not provide any AHA moments, but a few were new to us. I chuckled at the image of somebody having an embarrassing minor, standing up, brushing himself off, and saying, "Just TESTING GRAVITY".

I HAD A thought that being ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH (the first themer we filled in) hailed from the Nixon era. Wrong, it seems. According to the web site,, the phrase was brought into contemporary language by the former UK Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong, who used it during the Australian "Spycatcher" trial in 1986:

"Lawyer: What is the difference between a misleading impression and a lie?
Armstrong: A lie is a straight untruth.
Lawyer: What is a misleading impression - a sort of bent untruth?
Armstrong: As one person [Edmund Burke, in 1796] said, it is perhaps being 'economical with the truth'."

I'm also surprised that there are so many complaints over the German words. Makes a nice change from French, Hebrew, and Spanish. Haven't most people been exposed to movies about W.W. II, be it "The Longest Day", "Das Boot" (a film about U-BOATS), or "Saving Private Ryan"? "SEHR gut" and "Sprechen SIE Deutsch" are about the most basic German phrases one can think of. (OK, there is another, more recently heard at rallies in the 'States, but LET'S NOT mention it.)

Surprised that PAWL wasn't the word of the day: I'd never hear of it, though it was get-able from the crosses. ADELIE, on the other hand, is one of those penguins that anybody with an interest in those birds would have been familiar with.

All for now. This is the TAG END.

Z 6:49 AM  


Theodore Stamos 7:32 AM  

Had a couple of natick problems that added a few minutes to my solve: GAIA / GIDE and AMALIE / ILER. Other than that, pretty standard Sunday fare. I didn't hate it as much as everyone else. Thought POSTRETIREMENT was pretty funny.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

Awful awful
If nyt doesn’t get its act together their xword will wither away.
The xword in the WSJ and The Week are miles and miles better.
Hope the editor gets his career change opportunity soon!

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

O’Neal and anneal in the same grid?
The creator is a poet and he don’t know it

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

I wake up hating. I spend all day hating. I go to bed hating.

chefbea 7:46 AM  

Hand up for not liking the puzzle..DNF and not even any food!!!!

QuasiMojo 7:59 AM  

What a GLUM mess. I did not find POST RETIREMENT funny as a synonym for death. Depressing. I had a big fat DNF because I prefer my scallops SEATED. (I had AUTO for Corona, thinking it was a Toyota.) That gave me Google MOPS (I think that's not a bad idea... certainly better than Google Glass.) LMAO? Hardly.

Jan in the Pan 8:03 AM  

I had DEFYING GRAVITY for the first themer and thought it was going to be a show tunes/pun theme. Alas, it was not to be.

The clue for EFS was awful. Nobody spells the pronunciation of the letter F with one f.

I don’t always agree with Rex when he dislikes a puzzle but this time I think I may hate it even more than he does. Just unpleasant and not fun at all.

Eric NC 8:03 AM  

Agree with too easy. Took RP’s advice a while ago and subscribed to the WSJ who’s Saturday is better. Love this blog....the interesting word comments not the political rants.

Trombone Tom 8:10 AM  

No crunch. No zip. I do appreciate the effort that goes into creating any crossword and freely admit that I probably could not pull it off. Some are winners, some are losers, but this one is just meh.

The theme entries are indeed mildly amusing, but I have a bone to pick with the clue "Dead." Perhaps the constructor and editor were thinking of (POST)RETIREMENT in the sense of retiring for the night. If so, the clue might better read "Dead to the world." "Dead" just seems too cold and abrupt. Am I being too sensitive?

Maybe we're just let down after such a nice Saturday.

Sir Hillary 8:13 AM  

During my entire solve, all I could say to myself was, "WTF?" Not a good sign.

Just about the most dreadful and pointless NYT puzzle I can remember. What is the idea here -- that we live in a world of spinmeisters and advocacy masquerading as news? If so, there has to be a better way than this to get the idea across.

Even the crunch in this one, which I would usually relish on a Sunday, was for all the wrong reason -- obscure phrases, bad partials and crosswordese.

Sandy 8:22 AM  

Speaking scientifically, BLECH!

Even the title didn't get a smile out of me.

Birchbark 8:26 AM  

@Quasimojo, Google Mops is a great idea -- an app for dusting remote corners without having to look up from the phone.

Symmetrical AMALIE and ADELIE -- curious. Also, I sense an editorial bias against crop circles and alien autopsies. Maybe put a [?] at the end of the clue for 89D?

It's a good fall morning -- October. The cloudy sunrise made some good colors over the meadow during the solve, and I'm fine with the themers. Or maybe just haven't learned how to get mad at crossword puzzles.

Muscato 8:27 AM  

Always enjoy that little frisson, finishing a puzzle, when I think "Well, that's that - and Rex is really going to hate this one. Right on the nose on that front, I was, and I don't feel all that differently. Disappointing to suss out the gimmick from one themer and realize, immediately, that yes, it really is that lame and now you have to figure out all the others knowing that.

But came in well under average time, which I suppose is something...

Onward to a better week - and I do hope our host isn't serious with that last line!

Hungry Mother 8:31 AM  

I didn’t know that I knew PAWL, but I got it and then was done. A bit of a slog this morning; little joy.

Glimmerglass 8:38 AM  

Don't sugarcoat it, Rex. Tell us what you really think. I liked this better than you did. The euphemisms were not particularly funny, but they offered enough resistance to make the solving experience satisfying. I found that my mind was in sync with the constructor's, so the fill was mostly easy. Rex says it was dated, musty -- so guess that also describes me.

mmorgan 8:55 AM  

I had a reasonably pleasant solving experience (as I almost always do) and enjoyed things like AMDIAL, LMAO, DEICE, ALIBI, and others. The fact that the theme answers were not "in the language" is what (for me) made the puzzle more interesting and challenging; if they had all been familiar phrases, it would have been way too easy. Granted, they could have been funnier, but that's another issue. I knew, though, that Rex would hate it and my only question was how negative would he be. Under the circumstances, I thought he was rather restrained.

Michael 9:12 AM  

Wondering somewhat about "lit out" as answer to took off quickly clue. Never knew lit out implied haste or speed but simply took off for (He lit out for Australia). Have I been messing something in my 70+ years.?

More Whit 9:23 AM  

The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send soup back in a deli. Uncertain glances...what kind of story was George getting into here...much like this puzzle, which if it was like a golf ball twas definitely not a Titleist.

PG Bartlett 9:27 AM  

I first heard the phrase "economical with the truth" from a Brit about twenty years ago and thought it was hilarious. Some of the other theme phrases were pretty good too, even though I didn't laugh out loud.

So as always, I enjoyed the experience of solving. Relax, folks, it's just a puzzle.

Debra 9:37 AM  

After a period of adjustment, the Sunday puzzles by Evan Birnholz in the Washington Post are starting to be more fun than the nytimes puzzles.

Two Ponies 9:39 AM  

I guess I woke up on the right side of the bed. I was amused by testing gravity enough to stroll through the rest of the puzzle enjoying uncovering the theme answers.

@ LMS has some good examples of how PC-speak has crept into our language and I thought this puzzle was a jab at that kind of thinking.

The award for fast driving was my favorite. What a funny way to sugar coat an expensive mistake. "Look Mom! I got an award for fast driving!"

All of this reminds me of saying Fudge or Darn it.

Aketi 9:51 AM  
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Ellen S 9:51 AM  

I'm with the likers, but I'll go further: why should the theme phrases be commonly used, "in the language" ones? If they were, Rex would be complaining even more.

There might have been a first person who fell asleep at an inopportunie momen, and said "I was just resting my eyes." The proper response is not, "What are you talking about, nobody has ever said that." In @Loren's list of euphemisms, like "pre-owned cars", I don't think the car dealership rejected the idea because "pre-owned car" isn't a thing. Or if they did, they soon came around.

The themers may not be "things", but very little that actually is in our language started out as old. I thought the puzzle was fun.

Aketi 9:57 AM  

@LMS, haha, I'm vertically, not horizontally, challenged. I do much better than vertically endowed people on planes.

pmdm 9:57 AM  

I agree that the puzzle wasn't that good, but I do think it's not as bad as most of the comments would have you believe. At most, it made my shrug my shoulders and tell myself it's tie to get on with Ken Ken and the acrostic.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

"lit out" is awful

Blue Stater 10:03 AM  

Rex, the German word you're hunting for is "Scheisse." Here's hoping that this mess is not late WS, but maybe penultimate WS. Overthought and underedited.

Exubesq 10:20 AM  

Mr. Shortz, is that you?

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Sorry to hear so many of you didn't enjoy this. I found it terrific. Yes not all the answers are "in the language". But discovering the wry euphemisms was FUN. Thanks Mr Fisher.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

" It's like the constructor isn't quite sure how either English or humor works.

Teedmn 10:30 AM  

Euphemisms, hmmm. None of them strike me as being in the language except perhaps ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH, though it's STRETCHING THE TRUTH to say that's a common phrase.

And on any given night, are millions of people staring at the ceiling, wide awake because of a DRIP?? Really? I went around and around in that area because I had a DRug causing insomnia and that was a BUST in TRYing to suss out ALuB_ at 63D, in or out of court.

I liked the AMALIE/ADELIE symmetry. I really, really wanted BUST to be crossed by gUst but that went up in a PUFF of smoke. I laughed at 92D - THEO not clued as a van Gogh, neither the director NOR the artist's brother. I liked seeing MACHETE, DERIVES, AMDIAL. I'm happy to say that, to date, I have never received an AWARD FOR FAST DRIVING.

So this was a typical Sunday puzzle, not SEHR gut, but fine for 51 minutes of chasing around the cursor on my computer. Thanks, Mr. Fisher.

Maruchka 10:34 AM  

SEHR blah. Felt belabored, out of date, and purposefully obtuse. I do appreciate @LMS's and @'mericans' points, tho. Maybe if the clues were a bit sharper..?

@Quasimojo - Ha! I love the google MOPS idea. Get in the sync and clean my dashboard!

XKEs - loved them. As a teenager, friend and I would wave and bow whenever that Jag came by. Once, we were invited for a ride and did seat rotation on each other's lap (pre-seat belt days). Vroom!

Nancy 10:41 AM  

Thank you, @Ellen S. I thought I was losing my mind, what with absolutely everyone else today on the same page -- the page of hating this puzzle. I thought it was the best puzzle of the week (although it had absolutely nothing by way of competition.) For me, it was both the hardest and the most amusing. And I think it sums up the awful times we live in to a T.

I was delighted to see "Climbing Mount Everest, e.g." defined as an ORDEAL. I doubt the people who actually do such a silly thing would so define it, but I would. And by choosing to undergo such an unnecessary ORDEAL, I would very quickly be TESTING GRAVITY and find myself in POST RETIREMENT. So all I have to say is LET'S NOT.

I hope in the ca. 8 minutes it's taken me to write this comment, other people who actually enjoyed this puzzle will have chimed in. It can't just be Ellen S and me and the Anonymous person at 10:21 a.m. -- can it?

G. Weissman 10:41 AM  

The ILER - AMALIE natick says all we need to know. Anyone overseeing what makes it into print in the NYT crossword puzzle?

Christopher Smith 10:43 AM  

There were two German words. Two. Comprising seven squares between them. Oh, and one German ruler. Some Sundays there's so much French the puzzle might as well be in Le Monde, but we're pearl-clutching over two German words? Honestly.

Joseph Michael 10:46 AM  

Thank you @ Exubesq for giving me the one laugh I got out of this.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Because you're ignorant, it's a natick? Do we need to dumb these down?

Dan Steele 10:54 AM  

Not my favorite puzzle ever either. But I agree with the couple people who mentioned that there is no reason the theme answers have to be well known sayings. Why is that a rule? Because you expected it at one point? Since people apparently don't like euphemisms, let me put it this way – you were wrong! I was wrong when, for a brief moment, I thought all the theme answers ended in MENT. And thus must be some kind of pun on MEANT. That might be workable idea for a puzzle. So would it make sense if I came on here and trashed the constructor for not doing THAT puzzle? That's kind of how some of you sound.

clk 11:00 AM  

Are you unfamiliar with Huck Finn?

'mericans in Paris 11:09 AM  

@Nancy: there were others (like me) who liked the puzzle, too.

Carola 11:11 AM  

Me, too, with "Is that all there is?" being my reaction, as the themers started accreting. Tender heart that I am, I felt bad for the puzzle that it had missed the mark so badly and didn't seem to be aware of it. But, @Loren, I appreciate your reflections on those euphemisms; my "favorite" is when "problems" became "challenges." Otherwise I'm enjoying the variations on evisceration.

Re: the ADELIE-AMALIE pair - I was hoping for the same for PAWL and PEEN, but no, just a little right angle.

@Birchbark, your MoPS comment made me laugh.

The Ol' Sourdough 11:11 AM  

@Anonymous 10:02 AM - Thems fightin wurds, pard. Ye mebbe wanna LIT OUT a town whilst ye kin..

Bruce Levy 11:17 AM  

I kinda liked AM DIAL, but I agree with Rex that this was a joyless puzzle. No delight in it at all. An unpleasant slog.

Chance 11:19 AM  

I'm in rare agreement with King Grouch: these are not funny jokes. I complained about the same thing on my own crossword blog. Also, my own slowest time yet.

In fact, I only finished because I was doing it online and it tells you when the random letter you put in is right.

Does anyone else keep track of their times? I record mine on my blog.

mmorowitz 11:25 AM  

Usually I see Rex's point but I'm a little more forgiving. Not today. This was a turd. Worst puzzle that I can remember.

Nancy 11:35 AM  

Thank you, @'Mericans (11:09). While one swallow doesn't make a summer, it's better than a kick in the teeth.

Aha. My last sentence just gave me an idea. This week: euphemisms. How about mixed-up metaphors next Sunday? I'll supply the mixed-up metaphors if someone else will create the grid. George? Loren? Lewis? ACME? Anyone?

BarbieBarbie 11:47 AM  

Yeah, they're not particularly witty, but the euphemisms gave this puzzle its only real crunch precisely because they were not easily-guessed, in-the-language phrases. They got solved like the Acrostic: what are the possibilities, given the crosses, and what is starting to make sense now, and yep! got it. I have to agree I usually enjoy a cleverly-themed crossword more than I do an Acrostic, but I don't hate this puzzle, just wish it were less easy.

The puzzle I don't like is the Boxing Match one on the Acrostic page. BORRRing. Hope its tenure in the rotation is brief.

Ken R 11:52 AM  

Sadly, I actually agree with Rex this time. For far too long the NYT Sunday puzzle has played to the least common denominator and has become a boring fill-in exercise. I'm less critical of the answers forced into this theme than I am the absolute lack of resistance the Sunday puzzle provides. I recall as a child, albeit in the 1960's, an extremely educated (Lawyer/Nurse) couple, next door to me at the Jersey shore, working all week on their porch attempting to solve the Sunday NYT puzzle. They struggled every day for an hour or two and many times did not complete it by weeks end. These days the puzzle can be solved in under 30 minutes by far lesser minds. I harp on it when I post BUT the best puzzle out there is the Saturday Stumper in Newsday. I wish the NYT (and society as a whole) would STOP pandering to the masses and RATHER force the masses to raise their level and strive to greatness. The puzzle would far better as would we all.

nachty 11:53 AM  

This was so bad. So many dated proper nouns. Terrible cluing. Five-point rugby play for TRY, why? "Adjust with Photoshop, maybe" for TRIM? (meh) "Repeated cry at a dance class" for STEP? (Not any of my dance classes...) "Animal depicted in Edwin Landseer's Monarch of the Glen" for STAG? "Case of insomnia, maybe" for DRIP?

I also hated "climbing Mount Everest" for ORDEAL. Deal with traffic is an ordeal. Slogging through a 12-hour work day is an ordeal. Climbing Mount Everest? That's a feat.

The [for real!] at the end of the "Be Kind to Editors and Writers Mo." clue is just begging for criticism. If you have to add the [for real!], maybe consider a different clue.

None of those are fun. They're tricky or overly done just for the sake of it and it makes for terrible solving. Worst Sunday I've ever solved.

Molson 11:54 AM  

I'd like 15 minutes of my Sunday morning back, please. This was awful. It wasn't even amusingly awful; it was just there, taking up space.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack.

QuasiMojo 12:10 PM  

@Nancy, you always crack me up. I agreed with your comment about "museum-going" yesterday but was too shy to pipe up. And now I see we are unified in our dislike of unnecessary mountain-climbing, too.

Johnny 12:10 PM  

During the solve I the theme made little sense to me but it didn't slow me down. I went through the puzzle very methodically, even though I originally entered the same wrong wrong words/letters that others have noted.

The theme answers didn't make any sense until they were explained to me, and that was on Jeff Chen's site. Looked at in that context, they're not bad, but not really the stuff of puzzle themes. And Will's reported requirement that each theme situation become an increasingly worse event is highly unnecessary as well, particularly if the themers don't make much sense to start with.

So I enjoyed the puzzle, but the theme really didn't factor into my solve at all.

ALSO: We need more German in puzzles and less French, Spanish, and Italian. First, it is more closely related to English than all the others, and also I studied it for four years and I never get to use it. So let's get on this.

Tim Pierce 12:19 PM  

I usually find something to enjoy in the puzzle even when everyone else hates it, but there was just almost nothing to enjoy about this. It was not even easy for me. The density of the themers and the amount of crosswordese and just basically poorly clued answers made it a slog from beginning to end. I had more writeovers in this puzzle than any I can remember:


and the best of all, though I really only have myself to blame:


mmorgan 12:25 PM  

@Ken R -- very interesting point. Decades ago, the Sunday puzzle was something that took a week to do. During the week, people in my family would call each other (on a telephone) -- "I just got 25 down!" or "Do you have any letters for 38 across?" (Of course there was no Google, but there were some long stretches of browsing in the dictionary -- especially the pronouncing gazetteer.) Now I seem to do a Sunday in well under 30 minutes. But is that that the puzzles "got small" (pace, Nora Desmond), or that we've just gotten that much better at doing them? Maybe a bit of both? Interesting question...

Webster 12:35 PM  

Yes this puzzle sucked. My beef is not so much with the non-themers, which were awful, or the crappy fill, which was aplenty, but the complete lack of cleverness of the clueing. So many were just definitions. "Come before," "narrow body of water," etc. No creativity, no joy. Just lazy fucking construction.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Liz Phipps Soeiro hated this puzzle.

jberg 12:42 PM  

I'm with @Loren, @ellen S., @'mericans, @Nancy et al -- it was fun to think these out. I don't think they were supposed to be "in the language" (i.e., cliches), but things that people might say to hide their embarrassment at something that happened to them.

@QuasiMojo -- I love the idea of those seated scallops! Sort of reminds me of those oysters whose shoes were clean and neat.

@dk, Yeah, when Huck lit out for the territory he wasn't necessarily running - but I think that was supposed to be kind of humorous. A more everyday use is, "boy, he really LIT OUT of there!"

FWIW, my father, a small-town druggist, retired, selling his store, in his early 50s. Then about 8 years later, he got bored, and started a second, POST-RETIREMENT career as a hospital pharmacist. Still, it's kind of a funny, macabre joke as used here. And I do like the way that "post-ETA" also leads to LATE.

Thank god for Andre GIDE, who saved me from the equally valid GAeA.

newspaperguy 1:04 PM  

I once heard a story about a family that had a bit of a prig over for dinner. At one point he asked, 'Where, to use a euphemism, is the little boys' room?" From that point on, all members of the family referred to the toilet as the euphemism.

The Émigré 1:08 PM  

"Economical with the truth" is a mistranslation of the famous defense against the accusation of lying by Alan Clarke, a minister in the Thatcher government. He denied lying but admitted he had been "economical with the actualite" -- i.e. economical with the facts.

Malsdemare 1:12 PM  

Dammit, just lost my extremely erudite comment. Schade!

@Loren, Ellen, ‘mericans, others, I liked it! Why would we want tired old cliches in our puzzle when we can get creative with the language? It's been a while since I've gotten an AWARD FOR FAST DRIVING, but my hubby did get a CAREER SHIFT OPPORTUNITY, which turned out to be a bona fide opportunity. And my lovely agility dog has given me the chance to TEST GRAVITY. In fact, my plan for this lovely day is get outside and test it again on a hike.

Add to that the resurrection of my nicht SEHR gut Deutsch, a new, to me, penguin, a real aha moment when BOSC appeared on the horizon. Too much good stuff to bother with hating a puzzle that provided some lovely entertainment and a chance to connect with my fellow bloggers.

It does appear, sadly, that we will get a BUDGET REINFORCEMENT if the gov has its way, but it beats a POST RETIREMENT.

@Loren I am finishing "Glass Castle" and I understand why you'd want to introduce that book to your students. Seems perfect for them. I think "Animal Dreams" would work well, given this choice, though it's fiction. "The Education of Little Tree" is next.

And now, a hike.

Kimberly 1:35 PM  

They're not euphemisms, it's "spin." And while this particular crossword may not have the world's best fill, more and more often by your comments I'm starting to suspect that:

1. a lot of the world goes over your head
2. You kind of sense that's true, and
3. It pisses you off

'mericans in Paris 1:36 PM  

"Too much good stuff to bother with hating a puzzle that provided some lovely entertainment and a chance to connect with my fellow bloggers."

Beautifully put, @Malsdemare. Thanks for making my day.

GHarris 1:37 PM  

Count me among the positives. I do puzzles for the satisfaction of solving, not for aesthetics, humor or other intangibles. I satisfy those needs from other sources. So long as the crosses are fair and the answers not too obtuse I’m a happy camper.

prandolph 1:46 PM  

I'm with @Nancy, @Ellen, etal. ; enjoyed the puzzle, thought it was just the right level of difficulty.

fkdiver 1:55 PM  

Yup, awful non-themer with no saving graces.

On the bright side, Googling "Rex" now yields "Parker" before "Tillerson".

Mohair Sam 2:05 PM  

@Kimberly - "Spin" not euphemisms - you nailed it. The only joy in the puzzle for me was trying to figure out the themers. If they'd been "in the language" there'd have been no fun at all - and a far too easy puzzle. The exception being "ECONONICAL . . ." which goes way back.

thursdaysd 2:15 PM  

Well, you can add me to the ones who were OK with this puzzle. Usually I find Sunday puzzles a slog, but I finished this one with a smile.

ECONOMICAL WITH THE TRUTH is hardly obscure, and I certainly don't think that every phrase in a crossword needs to score high on Google. What a bizarre test. In fact, more interesting if they don't. (Not that I use Google, I prefer the privacy offered by duckduckgo.)

alexa shortbush 2:19 PM  

I understand about a bad puzzle every now and then...but did you know this puzzle pays the constructor 1G (or more depending)?

For this? Nononononononono.

Deborah Wess 2:38 PM  

Exactly! I thought it was easy, therefore I liked it. My only quibble is with TRIM. Get that at a barbershop; with photo editing software of any kind, one CROPS.

Andrew Goodridge 2:39 PM  

Is it just me, or is the NYT app super buggy on iOS 11? It keeps erasing letters that I’ve already entered.

alexa shortbush 2:40 PM  

If you are not a constructor you are probably not aware that

- this puzzle had 148 words and only six theme entries
- virtually no long interesting fill
- outdated/overused proper nouns (most likely) straight from a outdated word list

A puzzle like this should be much more cleanly filled, especially since the theme entries were essentially made up phrases that could be and probably were tweaked for purposes of gaining symmetry.

Your high and mighty-toned comments aside, this is why many commenters are upset.

If you haven’t been published/rejected than this may be over YOUR head.


Anoa Bob 2:47 PM  

Tough crowd!

Euphemisms in the wild often achieve their duplicitous goal by covering up and distracting us from the true nature of what they are describing. "Robber barons" become "job creators". Nuclear plant radiation is measured in "Sunshine units". By being so transparent, even ludicrously so, I'd like to think the themers here are more like spoofs or parodies of euphemisms than just euphemisms.

Maybe some solvers who didn't like this one will be more on the lookout and notice some spin doctors' work in the next days or weeks that they would not have noticed otherwise.

The puzzle went through four iterations before it was accepted, the last being a complete rebuild from scratch. So whatever the puzzle's weaknesses, they are not there because of a lack of time or effort on the constructor's part.

Glad that at least a handful of you guys like it. Seeing it get published warmed this old word-nerd, dabbler-in-crossword-construction's heart.

By the way, the original clue for 92D THEO was "26th President, to childhood pals".

CDilly52 2:47 PM  

Having some difficulty adjusting to new medication, I was certain that the insomnia had to be caused by a DRUG rather than a DRIP, and that alone slowed me down to a crawl. @LMS, I agree with your assessment regarding the tenor of our times and the trend toward supposedly "feel better" euphemisms. Overall a slow solve without the reward (or frisson) at the solve-which I eventually got by running and rerunning the alphabet. Not a banner Sunday for me.

sixtyni yogini 2:51 PM  

I thought the theme answers were great. Right in line with the times.... of "alternative" realities, making up euphemism that cover up unpleasant truths, and fake, distorted news. 😜😍😜 But was the rest fun and interesting? Not so much with the exception of a few clues.

BarbieBarbie 2:57 PM  

Check out what Tiny Dancer has tweeted now. Sorry, in times like these, every blog is a politics blog. Why is nobody checking on his mental health? Does he not know this stuff is real? Oh, I forgot, his gold-plated "shin splints" kept him from finding out.

sixtyni yogini 3:10 PM  

PS - since I like to guess how Rex will critique Sunday's puzzle, was surprised he didn't catch the euphemism-making and the ubiquitousness of it in our (political) culture today. The constructor had some subtle mocking gong on imo.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

Can someone please explain 67 across lmao? With its Natick crossing, pawl?

JC66 3:47 PM  

text speak for Laughed My Ass Off, less polite LOL.

Anonymous to Anonymous 3:49 PM  

LMAO = "laugh my ass off" (unless you are British, in which case it's "laugh my arse off")

I like LMS, Evil Doug, and a lot of the Regulars 3:59 PM  

So, in your humble opinion, "Alexa", only constructors are qualified to have valid opinions about the puzzle? Normal puzzle fans are less intelligent? Hey genius, check your post. Your command of the language is deplorable.

Chance 4:05 PM  

Why don't people on the computer use the computer to answer their questions??

There are Google and Bing and DuckDuckGo and many other options.

Thankful Puzzler 4:10 PM  

Hey, Anoa Bob, are you Robert Fisher? If so, thanks for taking us out of our comfort zone with long answers that aren't so easy that they're the first entries we pencil in. I'm so done with the obvious, and, like many others, appreciate a little grit. Thank you.

Malsdemare 4:35 PM  

@Anoa bob. Good on you, showing up and taking your (undeserved, in my opinion) licks. Thanks for a fun Sunday.

alexa shortbush 4:40 PM  

As long as the message was rec’d and understood its makeup hardly matters. Your “standard language” argument is just proof that you adhere to conventionalities and have little imagination IMO.

I didn’t say you didn’t have a valid opinion I was objecting to the “alot of the world goes over your head crap”.

And as a matter of fact my IQ is over genius level - that means nothing since that “standard” test is nothing but something made up by someone sometime in the past who wanted to prove something or more likely make a buck.

Thank you for responding.

alexa shortbush 4:43 PM  

Oh, and I was not the one throwing around insults. Your insinuation that I was was erroneous, YOU GENIUS!

alexa shortbush 4:45 PM  


alexa shortbush 4:47 PM  


Margaret 4:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarbieBarbie 4:53 PM  

Hey congratulations, @AnoaBob! Publication must be exciting. Hard for me to imagine even constructing successfully, let alone submitting, let alone getting accepted. What a day for you.
So-was the 45A clue yours? Inquiring minds want to know...

alexa shortbush 4:59 PM  

I would imagine so. ANOA is crosswordese at its finest. I reckon that name was chosen purposefully.

Just Google anoa and see.

Unofficial UBC 5:09 PM  

Reminder: comments on your phone appear in conversation-order, with Replies immediately following the original comment in the thread. To those reading in other formats, though, comments appear in temporal order. So, if you post a whole bunch of unreferenced short replies in a row (I'm looking at you @AS), you look sort of Tourette's-ish to anyone not using a phone app, and it's also hard to figure out your intent. Even tablet apps show time-ordered comments. Please remember to reference your replies, and it would be considerate if you have a lot to say just to string it all together in one well-referenced post.

Thank you.

Teedmn 5:28 PM  

@Anoa Bob, congrats on your 3rd NYTimes puzzle and your first Sunday puzzle. i will certainly be on the lookout for examples of spin in upcoming days.

alexa shortbush 5:42 PM  

It would also be considerate to not use “Tourette’s” in that way.

But I get your drift about how posts appear...of that I was not aware.

Unofficially, that is.

Margaret 5:52 PM  

Like Adam Siler I found the posted answer to 27 across, and the subsequent answers to 2 and 3 down baffling. SEHR is German for VERY. What does that have to do with the intermission at a play? Like Mr. Siler I think ENTR-ACTE is a good answer for that 1 down 27 across combo. Further, 2 down (next) becomes "then," and 3 down (sample) becomes "test', which make sense. Does no one else see this as the result of lousy editing?


Anonymous 5:58 PM  

Objective critique of crossword puzzles is one thing. (Though frankly it's a thing I didn't get because, after all, they're PUZZLES.)

But what's with the Will Shortz bashing?. Can someone fill me in on why a bunch of people who proclaim that they love and live for these puzzles are so critical of the guy who carries the torch for the medium?.

You are stupid 6:02 PM  

No they don't.

Malsdemare 6:16 PM  

@Margaret, my clue for SEHR was very: ger. What was yours?

We seem to be nicer when more people like the puzzle. Just sayin’.

alexa shortbush 6:28 PM  

Will has always been kind and fair to me in our correspondence. Whomever you are, you are right to denounce those who speak badly of him.

What I think the real problem is...looking forward to the puzzle and then getting that “uh-oh another one of these puzzles” feeling after less than a minute.

We puzzle lovers want new puzzle followers but at the same time want puzzles we enjoy to solve. Too little of the latter lately IMO.

Two Ponies 6:42 PM  

@ Anoa Bob, Thanks and congratulations. I'm one of the ones who enjoyed it. I also get a thrill when a constructor shows up. I know you have been written comments here for awhile so it is a double thrill to have you step from behind the curtain to take your bow. You're right about this being a tough crowd. Enjoy basking in your moment and thanks again.

Buggy Bunny 6:42 PM  

Decades ago, the Sunday puzzle was something that took a week to do.

it's been rather a while since I looked, but if anyone wants a truly diabolical crossword, check out the Real Sunday Times (of London). IIRC, it's almost all longs with few crosses.

GILL I. 7:16 PM  

It's late in the day and i wasn't going to post. I figure at the end of the day, pretty much everything I want to say has been hashed over.
Except...I'd be economical with the truth if I didn't pipe up and say I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. All the phrases reminded me of fuzzy, creative words that I would instantly groan at upon seeing in the press or being uttered by "double speak." Obama was great at this. My favorite was his constant use of "Overseas Contingency."
Now I get to see ones I never heard of which made me shout out with glee.
This puzzle felt fresh. No silly puns or the run-of-the-mill add or subtract a word. @Rex may have thought otherwise, but I'll join several of you and say this was the best Sunday puzzle I've done in a very long time.
AWARD FOR FAST DRIVING was my favorite. I've not heard it before but I'm going to use it on our son....
Good job Robert Fisher.

B Smithers 7:25 PM  

Am I the only solver that wanted to put in "burgal reinforcement" rather than "budget reinforcement"? Heh-heh. That's some good spin on tax increases. Just saying. Also would have preferred "a word for driving fast"

Agree the south was the biggest slog, but in general, found satisfaction in discovering the sarcastic tilt on euphemisms.

Adam Frank 7:26 PM  

2D: Pilgrims’ pronoun (THEE)
3D: Radio host John (TESH)
27A: Very: Ger. (SEHR)

I solved on paper, so unless they changed the clues for the electronic edition (I get my puzzle on Saturday) I’m not sure what the issue with these clues is.

I didn’t enjoy this puzzle very much. The themers we’re generally dumb, although I kind of liked POST RETIREMENT and had heard ECONOMICAL. Fill was stale and clunky. I agree with @Rex.

Tarheeled 8:39 PM  

I just kept plugging away until I got the whole thing. Minimal write overs. But, tedious!! I enjoyed it cuz I maxed it, but that's all.

Tarheeled 8:50 PM  

Forgot to mention. I ended with LMAO. 67 across. Stared at it and around it until the dime dropped (I guess it's a quarter now, but when was the last time any of you saw a pay phone). I'm not much into texting, so unfamiliar with a lot if these abbreviations.

1E4yearoldman 9:13 PM  

Ok, this time I agree with Rex - this one stank.

ANON B 9:48 PM  

Fortunately I don't look at puzzles as critically
as the rest of you. I doubt that I could construct
one and am in awe of anyone who can.

Nancy 9:58 PM  

It's always gratifying when one of "our" Rexites turns out to be the constructor. Congrats, @Anoa Bob. I thought it was a fun puzzle and a nifty satire and I wish you further success getting published in the future.

kitshef 10:36 PM  

Hmmm... my big objection was GAIA/GIDE, where I guessed correctly. However, crossing a word has two common spellings (GAIA and GAeA) with a foreign name, however worthy, antsed my picnic.

As I read it, Rex didn't get the theme. They weren't SUPPOSED to be 'in the language', they were supposed to take an existing trend and exaggerate it to humourous effect.

Jesse Boliver 11:15 PM  

As there wasn’t much humor in this puzzle, allow me to try to add some. When I had just the M of 102 down (Underbrush clearer) my brain immediately went to MANSCAPER!!! To my dismay it didn’t fit...

Anonymous 12:01 AM  

Message/warning to Will Shortz:
You need to stop gearing your puzzles to the hundreds of thousands of daily puzzlers, and start catering to the irrelevant, jealous MS,and those same 120 erudite blogees who visit this dude every day.Please advise the N.Y. Times.

Sian 1:15 AM  

Just wanted to say I enjoyed it.

Sian 1:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stickler 3:25 PM  

The quote was "economical with the verite" and was made by Kenneth Clarke (not Alan) who is currently 'Father of the House' (of Commons). His euphemism is common parlance in the UK.

Joy2u 6:43 PM  

I wasn't going to post a note, since it took me more than a day to finish it, but I just HAVE to say a couple of things:

DITTO @'mericans in Paris, @Glimmerglass, @mmorgan, @Two Ponies, @Ellen S, @Anonymous10:21 AM, @Nancy, @jberg, @Malsdemare, @GHarris, @prandolph, @thursdaysd, @Deborah Wess (and yes, one 'crops' with PS), @GILL I., @Sian

I wonder if anyone goes back to check the later entries in the 'comments' section.

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Anonymous 3:22 PM  

When the first themer showed its face above the miasma, I said, "Career shift?" Is that supposed to be funny? It only got worse.

Budget Reimbursement happens to fit where Budget Reinforcement was intended. Neither makes sense (I hold the wrong one makes more sense than the right), nor do any of the other themers, so it's not like you say, oh, that's obviously wrong. And the crosses, they just don't work from there on.

DNF. (and DNF - Did Not Fret - about it)

PS: GAIA crossing GIDE? Seriously? I mean, I happened to guess right, but, um, really?

Anonymous 10:37 PM  

I enjoyed it. There were two bad crosses for me: Iler/Amalie and Nacre/Anneal.
Not sure why all the griping. The long answers put a smile on my face.

Liz 6:04 AM  

Overall I did not enjoy this one, but I have to chime in on the first themer... I definitely say “testing gravity”. Then again, I’m terribly clumsy. Walls jump out at me and stairs move beneath my feet... or I am just testing gravity ;)

eddiesev51 7:56 AM  

im new at this ...the whole crossword commentary and timing of solve...but ill take a crack at anything took me 2 hrs 19 mins to solve , based on what I have read that's pretty slow...ill work on it . the puzzle itself was kinda boring, the constructor was too blasé in their choice of clues . seems like they couldn't be bothered to come up with the clever and infuriatingly puzzling clues that endear this crossword to me. I used to get a real sense of satisfaction when I solved a ny times sunday crossword. with this one I just got a sense of why did I bother?...I follow will shortz in his editorial and constructing work he does for the magazine of puzzles called simply..."Games" and I find for the most part his work is satisfying, but...lately I too have noticed a trend towards mediocrity in the sunday crossword...wonder why?...

Doug Sweet 5:29 PM  

In our newspaper, the Sunday puzzle shows up on Saturday, but a week later. Today, they somehow omitted the constructor's name AND the title, which is supposed to give you a clue – right? So, absent that information, this was even more challenging, although absolutely no more enjoyable. Dreary and frustrating are the adjectives that come to mind.

lodsf 11:36 PM  

Another one week later solver but I liked the puzzle. As some mentioned, I never thought that the themers were supposed to be "in the language" or even euphemisms ... just clever ways of rephrasing. I liked them all except POSTRETIREMENT -- too gruesome (or maybe too close for comfort!).
Never heard of PAWL (although that crossed for me) but the German word & radio host made this a DNF for me. Learning moments.

lodsf 11:54 PM  

And ... perhaps this is obsolete now ... but there used to be a (politely accepted) 3 post limit on this blog. Maybe others remember this, maybe not.

Burma Shave 11:49 AM  


would LUREIN this CORSETed demon,
the ACTS she DERIVES from some SEAMEN.


rondo 12:09 PM  

Ho-hum, but LETSNOT SNEERAT the whole puz, I've actually heard a coupla those phrases, especially the AWARDFORFASTDRIVING. My biggest complaint is OLE'S here with no Sven, and no hint of a yeah baby (maybe @spacey can find one), notwithstanding the random direction, Roman numeral pope and numerous abbr.s or LUREIN INLATE. Write-overs at PREcedE and FEteS.

Maybe we could take a JET SKI or UBOATS out on the RIVER and CANALS

Wouldn't say I HADA AHA moment anywhere. Maybe a kinda BUST, but not in the PITS. Ho-hum.

spacecraft 12:11 PM  

Oh c'mon, it wasn't THAT bad. Look at it with a little humor, comrade, as the Russian agent in "The Manchurian Candidate" said. Always with a little humor. Seen in that light, at least SOME of the themers should elicit a chuckle. TESTINGGRAVITY: har.

In a hurry today so I'll wrap this up. Let @rondo name the DOD. Fill has the usual suspects, but no real groaners. It's OK. Par.

P.S. And thank you, linkman, for finally waking up!

rondo 1:40 PM  

From the MAMAs and Papas, yeah baby MAMA Michelle Phillips?

rainforest 3:43 PM  

Well, I thought this puzzle was just fine, thank you very much. Not only the themers, some of which I'll use, but also the generally good fill and a number of excellent clues.

As always, I really cannot understand anger directed at a puzzle or its constructor, or its editor. I can understand anger directed at the blogger, because he deserved it, however.

Anyway, I enjoyed the solve and the challenge of working out the theme answers.

Diana,LIW 4:09 PM  

Rarely, quite rarely indeed, do I simply not finish a puzzle. Today was that rare day.

Not all the puzzle's fault. Here's a euphemism - what kind of Sunday morning did I have? Well, none of my teeth fell out.

The paper did not appear until noon. I managed to print out an online version in the morning (that only works with Sundays in my paper) - it was more itty bitty and teeny weeny than any old yellow polka dot bikini. Since my "massive" eye floaters impede my vision these days, doing this puzzle was a bit annoying. (More euph...)

I used to work with phone company employees who were undergoing CAREERSHIFTOPPORTUNITies.

I thought some of the euphemisms were fine, but they didn't make up for my solving difficulties. And even Lambo left my lap early. Hard to say how I'd feel under better circumstances.

@Rondo from yesterday - don't feel badly about being erased. You really wanted to get out of there after a while - your neighbors simply didn't want to work with you. They probably put tar on their roads.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the Sunday Paper

AnonymousPVX 4:45 PM  

GAIA crosses RIDE, not GIDE, not sure what’s up with that.

It looked to me that “career shift” is British, most on this side say “career change”.

I don’t usually care for this theme/gimmick stuff, today is a brilliant example of why.

Got the solve, but what a grind.

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Jordanmilo 11:06 PM  

Really the only thing fun about this puzzle was 34D ONEAL, because 34 was Shaquille O'Neal's number when he was a Laker.

wcutler 5:19 PM  

I liked this too, had fun guessing the theme answers because they were not in-the-language phrases, so I got to sort of create the spin.

I really liked AMDIAL.

And I liked SEHR, which I knew from a visit to the Hanns Kornell winery very many years ago: "... HANNS KORNELL THIRD GENERATION SEHR TROCKEN is a trademark and brand of HANNS KORNELL CHAMPAGNE CELLARS". From They told us it meant very dry, more dry than Brut. I never realized that it wasn't a term used by all wineries.

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

I never, ever, "don't finish", but I also don't claim to do these things in under 15 minutes. as this "Rex Parker" does. I think it's a lie. This one had absurdly obscure downs, along with the obscure crosses.
Again, I never fail on any puzzle, although it may take an hour. But these "crossword people", claiming to do them in minutes, I don't think it's true.

Gloucester de la Vegas 4:17 PM  

I'm afraid I have one follow-up comment, negative, and I don't like to be negative -- but to be more direct and clear, I think "Rex Parker" is a big part of the problem. He/she congratulates any puzzle found "easy", but then criticizes ones that are "too hard" for himself/herself. This one was filled with flaws...but if "Rex Parker" had been onto those flaws, it would have been great. But if the flaws defy himself/herself, then they're a problem.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

I am very late to this party, but if someone reads this could you please explain how "out in court"= alibi? I have parsed it from every angle I can think of and am still not getting it. (I had hoped I wasn't the only one, but didn't see anything about it in the other comments.)

Jordanmilo 10:41 AM  

An out is an excuse or a way out of something.

Rug Crazy 11:00 AM  

I got the same insures in the NW as Adam Siler. Both the NYT and Rex must be tripping
Entr Acte,
Them, Test

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