Office restoration / SUN 10-15-17 / Bit from Sunshine Biscuits / Nozzles into blast furnaces / Cork popper / Ones holding down things?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Constructors: John Guzzetta & Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Slightly harder than average



THEME: “Wise Move” - Two-word base phrases whose first words each end in a Y with a long E sound; that sound has been moved to the end of the phrase. In other words, the “Y’s move”.

Theme answers:
  • GRAVE TRAINEES (23A: Interns at a cemetery?)
  • TWEET BIRDIES (38A: Take to social media following a good round of golf?)
  • DOG TREATIES (61A: Pacts between packs?)
  • STUD ROOMIES (73A: Ones sharing quarters at the most macho fraternity?)
  • SMART PANTIES (98A: Stylish underwear?)
  • GROCER STORIES (114A: Things swapped at a convention of supermarket owners?)
  • JUICE PARTIES (15D: Social gatherings where fruit drinks are served?)
  • COUNT FAIRIES (60D: Take attendance in a magical forest?)
Word of the Day: TUYERES (83A: Nozzles into blast furnaces) —
A tuyere or tuyère (French pronunciation:  [tɥijɛʁ]; English: /twiːˈjɛər/) is a tube, nozzle or pipe through which air is blown into a furnace or hearth.

Air or oxygen is injected into a hearth under pressure from bellows or a blowing engine or other devices. This causes the fire to be hotter in front of the blast than it would otherwise have been, enabling metals to be smelted or melted or made hot enough to be worked in a forge. This applies to any process where a blast is delivered under pressure to make a fire hotter. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Rex is off celebrating his wife’s birthday, so you have a guest post today. And I just got home from watching the (problematically named) Edmonton Eskimos beat the Toronto Argonauts in a thrilling CFL game, so you have a guest poster in an unusually good mood. Which is fortunate for this puzzle, because even though the theme is pretty stale, I ended up kind of liking it. There is one obvious problem — GRAVE TRAINEES and TWEET BIRDIES don’t really work as answers, because the base phrases (“gravy train” and “Tweety Bird”) are never pluralized. Actually, I guess there are two obvious problems, the other being that none of these are really LOL funny (104A: It doesn’t mean “lots of love”). They’re more like “mildly amused smile” funny. I liked JUICE PARTIES and SMART PANTIES, but mainly because the base phrases (“juicy parts” and “smarty pants”) are fun to say.

(Okay, three problems, because the clue for TWEET BIRDIES made me think of the current U.S. President and his dual obsessions with golf and Twitter, and making me think about Trump is an automatic strike. I’m tempted to make a joke about how he might TWEET BIRDIES, but if he golfs as badly as he negotiates with Congress, administers disaster relief, runs a health care system, hires staffers, responds to hate crimes, and generally avoids behaving like an enormous garbage mound masquerading as a human being, then he’s never had a birdie in his life.)


If you’re going to do this theme, I think you need really killer theme answers — otherwise, you run the risk of the solving process becoming tedious. But while these weren’t great, they weren’t terrible either. I’d call it a serviceable theme that never quite wore out its welcome (it helped that I jumped around a lot more than usual, and didn’t actually figure out the theme until halfway through solving).

There’s some unusually poor fill here, like TOMTIT (?), POTSY (?!?!), IN AS (37A: Lead-in to much), NEEDER (!!!), and the worst part of the entire puzzle: the stupidly esoteric TUYERES crossing the defunct five-letter acronym US RDA right on top of ADA crossing EARLE. That’s going to be a point of failure for some people. So the bad fill was really bad, but the good news is that there’s a lot of rather good fill — POWER NAP, AWAY GAME, MEDIA STORM, SCORSESE, GET MOVING, SOUR MASH, and so on. I’m willing to forgive a lot of short crud and even a few outright clunkers when there’s some fun long stuff to keep me entertained. The stacks of 7’s in the NE and SW corners were also good, including ONE TO GO (118A: “Just about done”) and NOSE JOB (11A: Bridge work?). However, I did raise an eyebrow at the clue for MAIN MAN (112A: Homie) given the NYT crossword’s iffy history on race. I thought some of the cluing was quite fun, and in many cases harder than I’m used to on Sundays. My favourites were the deceptive 19D: Drawn (EVEN STEVEN), 62D: Routine problem, for short (OCD), and 99D: Cork popper (TOY GUN). And it’s always nice to see the funniest comedian on television, Samantha BEE, referenced in the puzzle.


A few shorter points:
  • I’m an English teacher and I didn’t know that the plural of “iamb” was IAMBI (40D: Some feet), so that slowed me down a lot in getting the last themer.
  • 67D: Watches via Netflix, say for STREAMS — how unexpectedly modern!
  • I rarely drink, so I never knew that NO TIPS was a 87A: Policy at a wedding’s open bar, maybe. That seems kind of mean, actually!
  • Not sure why I like 103D: Like much mouthwash (MINTY) so much. Maybe it’s the alliteration.
  • STONE TOOL (33D: Paleolith) is a weak answer — very green painty.
  • Apologies for any weirdness in the formatting — today I learned that Blogger really doesn’t like it when you try to post with an IPAD.
That should do it. Not a perfect puzzle, but enough good fill and amusing clues to keep me entertained while figuring out a simple but acceptable theme.

Signed, Ben Johnston, Tutor of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Ben Johnston on Twitter.]

146 comments:

chance 2:08 AM  

Three cheers for naming the Twitter-in-chief exactly what he is: a mass of fetid garbage completely lacking empathy.

That out of the way, I'm no birder, but basic research makes me believe that a chickadee is a tit bird, but not in fact an example of a tomtit; they are different species. Wikipedia even notes than whoever named the tomtit was confused.

Speaking of confused, that theme confused me. The fill wasn't so bad, but I could not get my head around that theme for the longest time. As always, the details of my solve are on my blog.

Anyway, slow time for me. But then, I just enjoy the thrill of trying against me best time; I don't actually rush. I enjoyed this guest post. I noted the same clues that Ben did as amusing or clever.

Anonymous 3:03 AM  

Congratulations on what we have to assume is an absolutely stellar "record on race." And thank you I'm sure.

Fred C. Dobbs 3:32 AM  


TUYERES is a great word. It's a Saturday word for sure, and I've never heard of it before, but no matter. That's a solid crossword entry.

Ben, if you're going to devote an entire paragraph to a political screed at least make sure you don't contradict yourself in the middle of it, particularly if you're an English teacher. And Eskimos didn't stop you from going to the game so I guess it isn't that much of a problem now, is it.

Gravy Trains. Tweety Birds. You said these are never pluralized, yet if you look closely you'll see that I just pluralized them both. I did it by adding an "s" at the end. As an English teacher your book will have an answer key so you can probably find the explanation there.

Anonymous 3:32 AM  

Couldn't suss out TOMTIT, which made IDARESAY ungettable without the Y. Dang it.

TUYERES is definitely not in my wheelhouse, either.

jae 3:36 AM  

Slightly harder than average seems about right. I needed to stare at the OCD/COO cross for several nanoseconds (hi M&A) and I'm still not exactly sure about COO (chief operations officer?).

Ben did a fine job of capturing my take on this one, so...kind of liked it.

jae 3:40 AM  

...there was also a fair amount of staring at the TUYERES/GUM cross until I remember the Extra brand.

Anonymous 3:45 AM  

Finally a rhyme for grUYERE!

Theodore Stamos 4:33 AM  

Has anyone noticed how Trump has turned everyone into Trump? His critics resort to the same angry, unhinged rhetoric that he uses. Sad.

Thomaso808 4:41 AM  

A little more difficult than average and it took me me a while to get the theme, but that's good. Enjoyed it. I agree with Jeff Chen on giving this a POW.

TUYERES has got to be a WOE for everyone. I'm a mechanical engineer and worked with incinerator and furnace designs for years and I never heard of it. It must be a steel industry thing. I guess the constructors have a pretty deep database, but at least the crosses were fair.

I play guitar in an Irish band and today we were just working on the Steve EARLE song "Galway Girl". What a coincidence! 84D EARLE and 32A EARLS -- one eyebrow raised.

Our guest reviewer today starts with apologizing for the name of the football team he watched, then goes into a criticism of themer plurals, which leads to a rant about Trump based on TWEETBIRDIES, and finally reveals that he is an English teacher! Michael, you have found the perfect stand-in!

Congrats to constructors John and Michael for hitting for the cycle (getting a puzzle published on every day of a week) together!

evil doug 5:10 AM  

Echo chambers are boring, Ben. Why dilute your creative writing effort with a tedious paragraph dense with repeated clichés? Break free! Refresh! Everybody already gets it!

Arna D 5:27 AM  

I presume that "tuyeres" is what happens with almost instant word-searching capacity. I kept trying to figure out how "gas jets" might fit, but gave up on that pretty quickly.

'No tips' is standard policy for open bars at weddings, etc. because the assumption is that guests won't tip for something that is provide for 'free'.

Loren Muse Smith 6:01 AM  

I’m surprised at the lukewarm reception of this. I thought it was great. I *finally* got the trick with GROCER STORIES and settled in to enjoy each and every themer. DOG TREATIES, STUD ROOMIES, GRAVE TRAINEES… they all were good, if you ask me.

And the title is perfection. Y’s Move.

I always hesitate to use SLOTH as a noun that describes not only the person but the whole idea as well. I vote we write a letter and make the word slothery.

Only two erasures were “bib” for TIE as the thing held close to the chest and “iambs” for IAMBI. (Hi, Ben. Thanks for the write-up.)

@Fred C Dobbs - I assume you were just being funny, but I agree that to pluralize Tweety Bird and gravy train is odd. Just like having sexisms, furnitures, courages, funs… Sure, I just added an S to them but they still feel very off.

The field trip BUS RIDE reminded me of Mom’s story about her group from church, the Golden Disciples, who went to Pigeon Forge, TN for a trip. On the way home, they stopped at a rest area. Did their business, got back on the bus. About thirty minutes down the road, they noticed they were missing two women. Turns out said two women had gotten on the wrong bus at the rest area and were headed to the wrong state with the wrong group of seniors. And it had taken them quite a while to realize they were on the wrong bus. Oops. Now there’s a Doonesbury story waiting to happen.

John, Michael – very neat conceit. And so elegant that the last down entry (and my toe-hold) was “That’s all SHE wrote.”

Hungry Mother 6:36 AM  

Very tedious, but finished quite a bit faster than average for me on Sundays. I liked the theme, once I caught on.

E. Post 6:46 AM  

No tips = not mean. At the conclusion of the reception, the wedding host is supposed to tip for the guests (i.e., find out how many drinks were served and give an appropriate aggregate tip) or include an estimated tip in the agreed cost upfront.

Anonymous 7:18 AM  

Tuyeres must come from the French word for pipes which is quite similar. I wish bloggers like Ben would not waste their time insulting POTUS. We don't really come to this blog to read those screeds. But I had to laugh @Thomaso808 who said Ben is a perfect stand-in for Michael. How true, how true! Otherwise, it was a decent review and a decent puzzle.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

Man, what a sniveling snowflake.

chefbea 7:41 AM  

What a fun puzzle!!! Loved all the themes...they make sense both ways..before you move the Y to an IES...or EES

Of course loved grocery store!!! Where we buy all our food

Lewis 7:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 7:50 AM  

Interesting solve for me. I started out totally out of sync with the constructors' cluing, had a hard time putting anything in. Then, at some point, my mind shifted and got right on their wavelength, and the entire puzzle fell quickly. It was almost like learning a new language and very cool. Crosswords are fun, yes, but they can also take you to fascinating places in the mind.

Teedmn 8:16 AM  

This went pretty fast for a randomly-solved Sunday. I liked the theme - DOG TREATIES was fun to see, as was GRAVETRAINEES. I had a typo DNF, with a D in my grid where I wanted an O. I had forgotten that a Paleolith was a STONE TOOL and for a moment had a STONE idOL. I changed the i but not the d. It was UGLI.

I amused myself by imagining "an Amazon peril" was a misshipment. And that "Sounded sheepish" would end up as BAAAAED.

I thought the Missouri River might start in INDIANA. And I was quite sure, when my solution was deemed incorrect, that it would be at the GUM/TUYERES cross because I had no idea what an Extra product was, nor what kind of nozzles were in blast furnaces.

Has there ever been a wedding open bar that said NO TIPS? Not any that I've been to. I find tipping irritating - not because I don't want to give a contribution but because I seem incapable of ever having a bill denomination less than a $20. I swear I break a $20 and the next thing, all of the change is gone. My husband is always trying to pare down the thickness of his wallet by getting rid of a dozen $1 bills and I have nothing but $20s and quarters. Yes, a good problem to have, but it makes tipping a drag, having to get change from someone.

Some good clues: "One holding down things" for EIDERS, "Office restoration" for POWERNAP, "Place to cool one's jets" for HANGARS. PALATIAL and SPLURGE and ANIMUS were nice bonuses. And POTSY = hopscotch? I'd be interested in knowing where that (regionalism?) is used.

Thanks JG and MH.

notafanofnazifans 8:24 AM  

It ain't a screed to state the obvious. Thanks for the review, Ben -- and for triggering the handful of whiners who can't understand why most of the world doesn't give ignorance, incompetence, and old fashioned bigotry a daily pass.

Teedmn 8:28 AM  

@LMS, you make me LOL with the idea that those guilty of "sloth" were too lazy to finish writing SLOTHERY.

BarbieBarbie 8:34 AM  

POTSY as hopscotch is a WOE for me. Good to learn stuff. I liked this puzzle and like many I didn’t tumble to the theme until partway through, so that was fun. I agree about the stretch-plurals, though. And, a bit skeptical about IAMBI, since there’s no iambus.

My favorite part of this puzzle is Loren’s story about her mother’s church group. Too perfect!

Maruchka 8:38 AM  

So interesting here, too (hi @Lewis). While floundering to suss the constructors' vibes ('Now where are these guys from?' she sighed), me brain slowly and inexorably moved on to grasp the tricksy grammar and syntax.

Thanks, Messrs Guzzetta and Hawkins. Two fine puzzlers melding their chops.
Here's TU YERES!

Bob Pentland 8:41 AM  

I'm a metallurgical engineer who works in melting/melting furnaces and I've never heard of it either.

clk 8:49 AM  

GUM/TUYERES and USRDA/ADA absolutely killed me. I’ve never paid enough attention to the gum selections to notice there was one called Extra. Guess that’s my GROCERSTORY.
I’ve never heard it referred to as USRDA (just as RDA) so that answer took me way longer than necessary too.
I also disliked TOMTIT and POTSY and most of all, NEEDER.
But negativity aside, I enjoyed the theme. I don’t expect a crossword puzzle to make me LOL, so any answer that elicits a wry grin rather than an eye roll is a win in my book, and these all did. Nothing stale about it for me.

Tita A 8:59 AM  

It took me forever to figure out the theme... I had TWEETBIRDIES and JUICEPARTIES, but still didn't ge what was happening. Not until all the way down at GROCERSTORIES did the light bulb kind of slowly turn on and brighten.
Then I went, " Rex is great nana hate this mostly because of how long and convoluted the explanation of the theme will be."
Then I went "Hey...this is kinda fun!"

My favorite is DOGTREATIES. Dogs do not have problems with other dogs...we have lots of friends with dogs, and the can (and do) bring those pups with them everywhere. The dogs never have problems with other dogs.
You can be sure you'll rarely see any catTREATIES, though...

Thanks for a Sunday that made me work fr the hmmmm...aha moment, JG and MH.
And well designed be, Ben, for such a concise description of the theme.

Oh..@lms... great story re the bus ride... how did it get resolved?

Nancy 9:04 AM  

What a joy to solve! I'm going to say what I almost never say about a Sunday puzzle and neither do most of you: I am so sorry it's over. I found the solving experience to be like what they say about a certain potato chip: You can't eat just one. I started this late last night and wanted to go to bed, but I kept saying: just this one more section, just one more. I didn't leave myself much to do this morning -- and now it's finished. Sob.

It was both challenging and extremely amusing. There was no trivia; it was all wordplay. The theme answers are adorable and exceedingly well-clued. And it misled me and made me work. Here's where I almost crashed and burned, but didn't: hOmE IN ON before BORE IN ON (2D); EAton before EARLS (32A); TOp GUN before TOY GUN (99D); and of course IAMBs before IAMBI (40D). The wonderful DOG TREATIES straightened out IAMBI. I guessed at the TUYERES (wha???) and GUM cross: it had to be GUM, not GAM or GYM because it was clued as a "product", though I've never heard of "Extra GUM". If I listed all the theme answers I loved, I'd have to list them all. Best Sunday in a long time!

Nancy 9:24 AM  

@Loren (6:01) -- (btw, do you ever sleep?) You had "bib" before TIE (64D) and I had "rib" before TIE.

@Teedmn (8:16)-- No, I've never seen a NO TIPS sign at a wedding reception either. But the worst sign I ever saw at a wedding reception was when a very distant relative booked a quite tacky venue for hers. I was pretty young, don't remember how old, but I was at a table with my parents and a sign was on each of the tables: PATRONS WILL REFRAIN FROM HAMMERING ON THE PLATES WITH THEIR SILVERWARE. I would have long since forgotten about this, except that my father couldn't stop talking about it for days.

kitshef 9:28 AM  

My DNF was at InLETS/SDn. Couldn’t really see why InLETS would be bars, but never came back to think more about that area. SDS is one of three WoEs (just as it was last time, and just as it will be next time). The other two crossed: TUYERES/EARLE. Got that cross right, but …

Calling a BOA an Amazonian peril is alarmist/hyperbolic – unless you are a fish or a capybara. I’m pretty sure there are no documented cases of boas (including anacondas) attacking adult humans in the wild in the Amazon basin.

Coming to really hate OHHI. Appears way to often in puzzles.

Steve EARLE, it turns out, once had an album that hit number 19, so he has that going for him.

AWESOME Garbage video in Ben’s column.

clk 9:52 AM  

I actually know and like Steve Earle’s music but you’d think he was the definitive country rock guitarist for how often he appears here. Too bad Stevie Ray Vaughan doesn’t have a more crossword friendly name. Now there’s a guitarist worth remembering.

mmorgan 9:53 AM  

Agree it was slightly harder than most Sundays. I had several theme answers filled in and couldn't figure out the theme. It finally came to me with SMART PANTIES. Themers seemed pretty funny to me and there was some great cluing. Fortunately, TWEET BIRDIES did not make me think of what's his name.

John McKnight 10:10 AM  

all of the west part of the puzzle was not all that much fun for me, like none, and then there is the TOMTIT/IDARESAY/NEEDER/TUYERES part which is like Arizona: olden, not funny, out of touch, questionable, probably morally adrift, etc. did not like this.

GHarris 10:12 AM  

Got all the themers without ever grokking the theme. Should have paid more attention to the puzzle name. Tough but fun.

Aketi 10:16 AM  

@mmorgan, I have lots of friends who own BIRDIES so my image of their TWEETS is sweet. Currently one friend puts her budgies out on her deck and they love it. TWEETing like crazy to the wild BIRDIES. Not like some of the TWEET storms that get SO MEAN. I too got it at SMART PANTIES, which helped me go back and add the ROOMIES after the STUD.

Chance 10:19 AM  

@Nancy, excellent comments as usual.

dhdes 10:27 AM  

@notafanofnazifans, Exactly. I wanted to stand up and cheer at Ben's analysis. There's a point at which holding one's fire is an act of cowardice. And I love your handle.

Z 10:32 AM  

Back to Sloggy Sunday. The themers were not enough to distract me from the plethora of threes. Opening up with MBAs from MIT CAWing at me certainly didn’t get the puzzle started well. SMART PANTIES sound too much like a dystopian brainchild out of A.L.E.C. to be amusing. STUD ROOMIES is most sentient Americans dream prison for our Tweeter-in-Chief, Weinstein, serial monogamist Gingrich, Cosby, and all the sex criminals who worked at Fox News. Yeah, more growl inducing themers than smile inducing. And I agree more and more with Rex, don’t call attention to your crosswordese with precious cluing. The ABA/NBA clues are prime examples. These aren’t great answers, why are you highlighting their presence in the puzzle?

I do see why people might like this puzzle, but it takes a lot more these days to get a thumbs up from me.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

How rude. A guy lands a guest-hosting gig on a crossword puzzle blog and he uses the opportunity to come into our homes on a Sunday morning and spew his virtue-signaling nonsense about politics and political correctness in a most unpleasant way.

Ben Johnston — total fail. Please retreat to your safe space and re-emerge only after you’ve learned some manners.

Anonypuss 10:36 AM  

@notafanofnazifans says "it ain't a screed to state the obvious." Wrong. A screed is a "long speech or piece of writing, typically one regarded as tedious." What could be more tedious than the obvious?

This played too easy for me, despite not knowing tuyeres.

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Dan Steele 10:48 AM  

This was a rare Sunday where I read the title and surmised what the theme was likely to be. So I can't really identify with the difficulties some had sussing out the gimmick. I struggled with the NW corner for a long time after completing all the theme answers. I felt like I had really accomplished something when that corner finally fell. Good puzzle!

Alysia 10:56 AM  

@Loren - I came on here specifically to give a big thumbs up for ending with 117-down, but as usual, you beat me to it.

Alysia 11:02 AM  

STONE TOOL is very much NOT green painty. The Paleolithic Age is specifically the Stone Age, and implements from that period are intrinsically stone tools (literally by definition).

No green paint here.

Steve Reed 11:06 AM  

It's simply that the hosts provide the tips for the staff.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Once again, dougie raps on his keyboard and says nothing.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Then go find a different blog, snowflake @anon 7:18.

Two Ponies 11:15 AM  

You know Ben Johnson you can just fuck off.
I was enjoying my solve, wondering what the gang here had to say and you use this space to force your hateful garbage on me.
I haven't even read a single comment so I have no idea if anyone agrees with me.
Thanks for nothing you idiot.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

He didn't "Come into your home" precious snowflake anon @10:32. You chose to read a blog. You poor thing, were your feelings hurt?

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Looks like another delicate flower (@ two ponies) was triggered by words. Bless your heart.

QuasiMojo 11:20 AM  

I'm so glad that W. C. Fields didn't call Mae West "My Little TOMTIT"!

Alysia 11:20 AM  

Funny story (well, for me, anyway): my husband and I are watching Ken Burns' Vietnam War. I had the crazy notion it would be good to force my 16-year-old to sit through the entire thing with us (you know, that whole those-who-don't-know-the-past-are-doomed-to-repeat-it thing).

We just got to the part regarding the new left and Students for a Democratic Society. On the screen, the animation shortened this to SDS. I pointed and told my son, "Remember that one. It'll be in crosswords ALL THE TIME."

I got the usual eye roll and we continued on.

Hartley70 11:22 AM  

I took one look at this grid and said "Nooo!" When I see three letter words in profusion, chopping up the grid willy nilly, I just know I'm in for a squinty-eyed Sunday slog on my iPhone. And it was.

On the up side, the theme was cutsy, I finished a bit faster than usual and I learned a new word. I was left with a burning question: Does a Bessemer Converter have a TUYERE?

When my daughter was 9, she missed school one day and returned to find that the students had each chosen a topic for their first research paper. The topics had been drawn from a hat and her friends were researching Swan Lake, Walt Disney and The history of leprechauns. The only topic left in the hat for her was the Bessemer Converter. There were a lot of tears that night...from both of us.

Ben Sabol 11:30 AM  

Ravens do not CAW. Crows CAW. Ravens are mostly silent or make clicking noises or the occasional call. But they do not CAW.

Trombone Tom 11:31 AM  

I'm not a Trump fan but it is tiresome to come here for crossword comments and encounter political opinion instead.

Unlike for nearly all of you TUYERES was no problem for Trombone Tom, who majored in metallurgy. I had a summer job at a lead refinery on the Carquinez Strait and one of my duties was tending a blast furnace. Several times a day I had to go around and "punch the tuyeres" (use an iron rod to knock out slag that had built up around the air inlets to the furnace). It's certainly not a term anyone who had not worked around a blast furnace would be expected to know.

Other than for gratuitous political comments, this was a fair review. I enjoyed the puzzle and managed to work my way around it without any hiccups.

Alysia 11:31 AM  
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Nancy 11:39 AM  

Thanks, @Chance. How nice of you to say that!

Re: TOM TIT. It's a real bird, at least to the Brits. I had no trouble with it, due to the wonderful song from The Mikado, which begins:

"On a tree by a willow, a little tom tit..."

I can't embed it in blue for you, but if you type those words into YouTube, the song will pop right up. It turns out to be one of the most haunting and melancholy songs that G&S ever wrote. It's very simple and more than a little sentimental and it always makes me cry. Always. If you've never heard it, go listen.

Trombone Tom 11:40 AM  

@Hartley70, no, Bessemers inject air (oxygen) into the bottom of the converter. A blast furnace injects air (via the bustle pipe and tuyeres) into the mix of ore, coke, etc. that is passing down through the furnace. Bessemers are a spectacular sight with sparks flying in all directions.

BarbieBarbie 11:52 AM  

A blog is a diary open for others to read and sometimes open for comment. The blog’s owner, or designate, can write whatever they want to write, within the limits of the hosting site’s rules.if you don’t like what’s in the blog, you can ignore it, or join the conversation and comment on it, or call everyone names, or even get your own blog. What you can’t do is complain that its author felt free to write it, or demand that s/he refrain from addressing your own personal trigger-topics. That’s just stupid.

BarbieBarbie 11:52 AM  

@Nancy, thought it was a dickie-bird?

jberg 12:00 PM  

Like several who have commented already, I filled in several theme answers without understanding them -- I even thought that TWEET BIRDIES was wise in the sense that birdies would be an appropriate thing to tweet about -- until I got to GROCER STORIES, and it all made sense. After that, it was a fun puzzle, though indeed a bit of a slog.

I don't much like IAMBI, especially because we had IAMBS a day or two ago. According to dictionary.com, iamb was first used in the 19th century as a short form of iambus, and the plural of iambus is indeed IAMBI. But that's a stretch.

I also didn't much like the REDEAL/RETILE cross. But otherwise it's fine.

a TOMTIT is not an actual species, but a generic term, like 'seagull' that can apply so several species. So that's OK. I would have preferred a G&S clue, however.

Thanks for filling in, @Ben!

Alan_S. 12:07 PM  

Rex is out, so we get another know-it-all to review the puz? Seems unfair. I was really anxious to see Rex's often picayune review of what I thought was the best Sunday puz in quite a while. And this guy said he was in a good mood. I don't think I'd care to read his posts when he's in a bad one.

I found it to be medium/challenging until about 1/3 of the way through, when I sussed the theme, after which it became easy; kinda like what a Sunday puz should be. The theme answers were amusing and clever as was some of the clueing.

Inasmuch as I often agree with OFL about the declining quality of our beloved Sunday Puz I was looking forward to butting heads with him on this one.

Mohair Sam 12:19 PM  

I'm with @Nancy on this one. Thought it was an exceptional Sunday. Theme was clever. And I particularly liked the challenges that Ben Johnston found so off-putting. Speed solvers seem to resent anything that falls outside their comfort zone and slows them down - I consider it the most enjoyable part of any puzzle. A reminder of when crosswords were . . well . . puzzling.

Knew neither TUYERES nor EARLE, but the crossed "E" made sense if you ran the alphabet on the name and thought a little French on the across. POTSY rang a bell after it filled. TOMTIT filled easily, thank God - learned something there. Anybody else throw in Tic Tacs before RED HOTS? I'll memorize REI someday. USRDA was around forever and has been defunct for like 15 minutes, what the heck is Ben complaining about?

On the NOTIPS thing. Recently went to a very upscale wedding with no tips allowed. Attempted to tip, and a good friend told me that it was very rude because I'd be insinuating the host was a cheapo (see @Emily Post 6:46)). I know the guy, he isn't.

@Thomas808 (4:41) - You nailed it - Ben Johnston is the perfect sub for Rex in every way.

Guzzetta and Hawkins - You guys nailed it too - delightful Sunpuzz. Thanks.

Buggy Bunny 12:20 PM  

-- Gravy Trains. Tweety Birds.

well, NO. there is only *one* Fred C. Dobbs, and there is only one Tweety Bird and one Gravy Train. all are proper names.

Two Ponies 12:21 PM  

OK, so I lost my temper. So sue me.

Actually liked the puzzle. I've come to see the Sunday grids as a whole different animal than the weekly offerings and look at them quite differently. This one was fine.
Hopefully everyone now knows REI.
Cute clue for eiders. I'm a birder and wondered about tomtit.
Media storm crossing tars seemed appropriate.
Did not know the plural of iamb.
Extra is as crossworthy as Red Hots?
Coolest word in the clues was myrmeke, will have to look that up.
My dad always said "That's all she wrote."
First thought on Adventurer in Grouchland? Me!

Joe in Newfoundland 12:29 PM  

Rex has a subtlety about his bitching that is generally humorous. Suggestion - don't try to out-Rex Rex. Kvetching might be funny - virtue signalling isn't.
I had BOXER for BALER until I realized SNL hadn't yet appeared, and it had to be somewhere. I liked Court org. twice, and EARL and EARLE.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

My son's first grade class had to do a project on a bird, with each child choosing the bird he or she wanted to "research." My son came home and asked if he could do his project on the Great Tit. They had to write a little report, build a nest, and then go before the class and present. I imagined my little boy standing in front of the room saying, "My bird is the Great Tit." Neighbor confirmed my fears. Can't remember the alternative bird, but was happy he dodged the bullet.

Masked and Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Marvelous, and unusual, ring of weejects, on the grid perimeter (yo, @Hartley70). Nuts and desperate and nice.
Theme was pretty darn cool (yo, @muse). fave themer, with primo clue: DOGTREATIES. Dogs are the best.
Solvequest was pretty darn smooth, with minimal nanosecond carnage (yo, @jae).

staff weeject picks: ABA/NBA. Mainly, becuz they done mala-poopped m&e. Put ABA in where NBA went, at first.

har. Not sure @Two Ponies darlin enjoyed that there TWEETBIRDIES write-up paragraph all that much. Kinda see her point, tho.

Thanx, U 2 Wise Guys. Nice moves.

Masked & Anonymo9Us


**gruntz**

Alan_S. 12:32 PM  

P.S. I welcome Trump bashing wherever and whenever I see it. IMO there's not enough of it; he's still in office!!!

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

No one came into your home. You sought this out and now your feelings are hurt.

Dinacee 12:39 PM  

Nitpicky, but anyone else have an issue with Grave Trainees not having an "I" like roomies, treaties, birdies, panties and stories? Doesn't seem to be in keeping with the rest. Yes, the "Y" is what moves, but with the "I" in Wise, it bugs me a little.

RooMonster 12:44 PM  

Hey All !
STUD ROOMIE, need I say more? :-D.
Speaking of government stuff, wanted POLITICS for 71D!

Theme nice. Tweaked the ole brain a bit to see how it worked. Agree with lots of 3's, many Abbrs. 38 of those little bugger's. EEGS!

ARE SOMEANs from Somalia? (SMART PANTIES!)

TOMTIT ADMIRER - someone who really likes turkey breast? (TMI? I DARE SAY!)

CHEEZIT SPLURGE
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Fuck off. Sue me!

puzzlehoarder 12:51 PM  

Thank you to all who offered kind words yesterday regarding the killing of our friend. I've always sensed that the people who comment here are basically decent and yesterday that was affirmed. People here in the Chicago Waldorf community are dealing with this tragedy as best they can. Cynthia touched many people's lives.

I got about three hours sleep last night and I had to struggle to stay awake while solving today.

I had a single letter dnf with GEM at 79D. Originally I had GEL in that slot and it was supported by DIAL at 90A. Once I recognized MONTANA I realized 90A was the old AMFM trick. I saw that 79D was now GEM and didn't go back to check the clue. Reading the xwordinfo solution didn't alert me to the dnf because by then I'd forgotten all about GEM. TUYERE was the one bright light in this puzzle. That and I learned who Samantha BEE is. Mostly I slogged through this in a virtual stupor.

Stanley Hudson 1:01 PM  

I do like me some Steve EARLE. Lots of love LOL.

I loathe Trump, am a PC college prof, and proudly wear the SJW label. But there was something about this review that was, er, a bit precious.

old timer 1:15 PM  

I put up with OFL and his demented hatred of all things Trump because this is his blog. I put up with his sometmes inane complaints about a puzzle less, but can look forward to my fellow bloggers pointing that out before I can get here. I detest Ben Johnston today because he is an unhinged Trump hater *and* has idiotic complaints. Guest bloggers do need to learn some manners, I agree.

I thought this one was fairly tough, and it took me a while to get the trick. I certainly never heard of TUYERES and probably will never see the word again. The rest of the puzzle was fair, but I DARESAY needer was lame.

Oh, I see I had "geres" and CEO instead of GORES and COO. Should have figured that one out. The COO does run things in some companies. Oh well. I am always ready to see Steve EARLE. Love "Galway Girl" and most everything he writes and sings.

Graham 1:20 PM  

What’s problematic about the Argonauts?


Oh, wait... now I get it...

Tim Aurthur 1:20 PM  

Ravens don't CAW. But they say "nevermore" over and over.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Why is the “truth” “idiotic”?

Carola 1:39 PM  

I thought this was a TREAT of a Sunday. I caught on at TWEET BIRDIES and looked forward to trying to get the rest with as few crosses as possible. I loved the creativity of turning the lively "juicy parts" and "gravy train" into tamer teetotaling social gatherings and somber cemetery interns and transforming the everyday "doggy treats" and "county fairs" into whimsical canine pacts and attendance taking in fairydom. Not sure how often the STUD ROOMIES might actually hit the study rooms.

TUYERE joins BISTRE as ne'er-before-seen vocabulary. Interesting to read the comments of those who knew them through work or hobbies.

@Hartley 70 - the Bessemer Converter! Oy vey!

@puzzlehoarder, your news yesterday really affected me, perhaps because Chicago has always been a kind of second home town for me, where I've always felt safe. Your mentioning the Waldorf community prompted me to do a search. What a heartbreaking and senseless loss.

Aphid Larue 1:53 PM  

I have never been so keyed up.

Just saw my fair lady but wrote ketup to cross top gun anyway.

Dnf

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

Rex, Ben, Z., and company sound like a lot of fun to hang out with. They're triggered by the name of sports teams and are obsessed with Trump so much that a Sunday puzzle with zero references to the President still gets this Ben guy all hot and bothered. I'm not a Trump supporter either but jeez, give it a rest or seek help.

RAD2626 2:56 PM  

Me experience differed from many of the commenters. I got the theme with the first one I got to, GRAVE TRAINEES. But I made a horrid hash of the rest of the puzzle and as a result had a terribly slow - and unhappy time. Some of my beauties included SlOth, STONEager, sO AM I, CHEEtoh, RETowEl. Yes, the latter two were particularly dopey. On the other hand, I liked the theme a lot, with SMART PANTIES being my favorite. Hard to blame the constructors for my bad day.

Fred Romagnolo 2:57 PM  

TUYERES & GUM were my undoing, otherwise I cooled it. I agree with the comment on Gilbert and Sullivan's Tit Willow, one of the sweetest things in their whole canon. Ravens are larger than crows, and apparently one of the smartest non-human critters. There are a lot of them in my neighborhood atop telephone poles (Bernal Heights, San Francisco). I loved the comment that they don't say CAW, but rather "Nevermore."

OISK 2:58 PM  

DNF. I don't mind as obscure a term as tuyeres, but the clue for "gum" which made no sense to me, should have been plainer. Crossing Earle with that word added to my problem, although I guessed the "e" from crosswords past. Also didn't know Hamm's first name, kept thinking of Mia, but it is a perfectly fair clue..."jack" as in hijack, I guess, but I have never seen that word used alone that way, and here are better ways to clue "jack." Loved the theme answers, though.

I am sure there are many here who loathed Obama, but somehow managed not to reveal it on a crossword blog.

Fred Romagnolo 3:02 PM  

Should I have written Gilbert's and Sullivan's Tit Willow instead of Gilbert and Sullivan's? kinda reminiscent of RBIS.

Fred Romagnolo 3:04 PM  

@OISK is dead right on his Obama comment vis a vis crossword blogs.

Blue Stater 3:11 PM  

"Court org." = ABA twice in the same puzzle (123A and 90D)? Doesn't anybody edit this stuff? Oh wait....

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

@ Two Ponoes,

We all make mistakes. But your first post wasn't one of them.
I assume Mr, Johnson is trying to curry favor with Michael. I mean this was a classically SharpIan phillipic. It was coarse, Ill- considered and obnoxious. That rings most of the bells I associate with Mike'so commentary.


@Tita A (the always gracious) @ anonymous birder (at least once clueless)

A million years ago you posted about a sharp-shinned hawk lurking or hunting around your feeders. I suggested that it might be a cooper's hawk for various reasons. You were gracious and receptive. A third party butted in assuring you that the size difference between the species all but precluded any misidentification.

I tried to explain but was rudely contradicted by the unnamed birder. Fast forward those million years to Friday October 6th. I was at the Cape May hawk watch (the premiere watch on the east coast maybe the country) and witnessed the paid natural interpreter call out "SHARPIE" only to be corrected and told cooper'so by the other professional birder on the platform.
I've seen other, better, more famous by far, birders make the same mistake. We all have.
I have no idea which accipter was at your feeder. But I sure as hell know that the two species in question can be confused. By anyone!

And oh yeah, Ravens don't caw. They have a croaking cr-ukk, or maybe, brrrronk.
Not caw. That's one of the ways to quickly ID them from crows.

Kim 3:26 PM  

We had "no tips" at my daughter's wedding because we tipped the bartenders. We didn't need our guests to tip as well. The bartenders were tipped very well.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

I loathed Obama and his presidency and Hillary Clinton and her holier-than-thou attitude, BUT I would never call either of them piles of garbage in a public forum. The Left will never get over Trump's win, but the vile name-calling shows the lack of class that they complain about!!

As for the puzzle, I loved it depite the tomtits and tuyeres! The blog sub, not so much.

Dolgo 3:43 PM  

You all know how I hate whining. But TUYERES?

And hey! Stop with the politics already! We're trying to have fun here!

Joe Dipinto 4:02 PM  

A large slice of tedium, imo. Once I picked up the theme early with GROCER STORIES and SMART PANTIES, I kind of didn't feel like bothering with the rest of it but I continued on. I liked the clue for POWER NAP (Office restoration) but shouldn't it have taken a question mark? And NEEDER? NEEDER? I repeat, in case you didn't hear me: NEEDER? Are you kidding? That has to be the rock-bottom x-word answer in the history of x-words. I didn't mind TUYERES half as much as NEEDER.

clk 4:04 PM  

Made me wonder if it would be some kind of crazy rebus that could encompass “Nevermore” in 3 spaces.

Aketi 4:10 PM  

@Barbie Barbie, nicely written.

I liked that there were NESTS in the puzzle for the TWEET BIRDIES and the TOMTIT.

Do STOAT EAT PATE?

@OISK, that may be true, but others have actually made it blatantly obvious that they do loathe Obama. And at least one feels free to constantly comment on how women must behave in a fairly restricted manner or they couldn't possibly have a happy marriage. Those latter responses always cause me to chuckle and shake my head, because it reminds me of the antiquated notions in the Total Woman that was followed later by the Stepford Wives. People have amazing ways of creating happy relationships around the globe in diverse ways, just as they can fail too.

It's Rex's blog and he doesn't censor anything, at least not now. So I figure people are free to comment or not and read or not read as they choose. No one is forced to read the blog or the posts. But none of the political sniping on the blog actually does anything towards getting us closer to evidence informed policy that might actually leave the US in better shape for my son's generation. It just exposes the obvious - that we all have different opinions. Conversations in person often are much more fruitful in terms of building bridges of understanding than blogging. The devil is in the details and discussing those crucial details are not suited to the social media environment.

'mericans in Paris 4:17 PM  

We finished this puzzle in record time (for us); gave us time to do the Saturday puzzle in addition (which we liked). Like many others we did not grock the theme trick until halfway through. But we didn't really need to know the trick to finish. We had a few write-overs, but mostly our speed was determined by how fast we could write.

Despite all, however, we DNF. Stupidly, we just couldn't find the answer to 108A, so guessed KEmUP and TOmGUN. One of those cases, I guess where the brain stops thinking as it scrolls through that one crossing letter about hal-way through the alphabet. Clearly, a Y would have worked there.

Oh, well, at least we had a beautiful Indian Summer weekend here in Paris. Strange to think that there is a Class 1 hurricane (Ophelia) bearing down on Ireland just a few hundred kilometers to the southwest of us.

jae 4:20 PM  

@lms - I tried to email you but it bounced. Could you email me so I can make sure I've got the right address?

Tarheeled 4:52 PM  

Loren Muse - thanks for cluing me in on the title, "Y's Move". I never caught that. Your bus story reminded me of the time I took my Earth Science classes (9th graders) from NJ to the Museum of Natural History in NYC. At 4 PM sharp my bus was ready to head for home. I thought I'd do one last head count,and lo and behold, I had one kid too many. He was supposed to be going to Long Island.
I scanned every comment up to here. Why am I the only one who didn't know the Greek for "ant"? I googled that so had a dnf. Had I waited for the crosses, I would have got it in the end. Otherwise, 100% on a fun puzzle. Hey, Ben! This is a tough crowd! Mind yer manners! Good review, though!

xwordnut 4:53 PM  

Stay in Canada and stick your opinion of out president up your ass the imbecile you elected makes Trump look like a geniud

Joe Dipinto 4:53 PM  

Almost forgot: shout-out to @mathgent, thanks to whose posts last Sunday I can now do the Boxing Match puzzle! (x=36)

xwordnut 4:58 PM  

You sre so righy

xwordnut 5:05 PM  

You are 100% right

xwordnut 5:10 PM  

Nice job describing yourself in the first paragraph douche bag

Mohair Sam 5:14 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
mathgent 5:56 PM  

@Nancy knows that I seldom do the Sunday, so she emailed me this morning recommending that I do this one. So happy that she did. A gem.


Dr.Urth 6:16 PM  

I remembered my mother (NYC childhood in 1920s-1930s) calling it POTSY after I got most of the word through the crosses.

I also wished for a G&S (or Allan Sherman) clue for TOMTIT. Bird that opens Katisha's heart?

I don't mind the political remarks, but ad hominem attacks are unkind to the rest of us. Can we please keep this a civil space?

Anonymous 6:30 PM  


Oh Ben, please, please, tell everyone more about the president administering get health care. LOL.
you're an asshole, which of course, you knew. But what the funk? If you can spew venom, why not us?

Eric NC 6:34 PM  

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE cut out the political b.s. and opinions. I read this to get intelligent insight into the puzzle world not to read bloggers political views. Put them on your own blog we’re they belong and do not subject me to your waffle. It’s bad enough when RP does it because I have to read his comments.

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

One of the ironies of the NYT's impending demise is that it is highly dependent at the moment on the sale of actual physical newspapers by conservatives. For one, I'm actively working on Donald Trump's re election campaign. I'm looking forward to four more years of unwinding Obama. So, frankly, I'm not sure why a guest blogger feels the need to diss the greatest American president ever. Or the fans of the paper who continue to buy the pricey advertising and buy the papers that make it possible for these puzzles to keep coming.

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

There are actually people who send money to this site. P.T. Barnum was so right.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

And there are actually people who believe Anon 7:25 pm. Are you saying you're replacing your God Reagan with Trump? Wow. Just wow. Wonder how you'll feel when you lose your health care.

Robert Code 9:30 PM  

I liked Stud Roomies :-)

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

Anon 9:30, they are happy because some half-witted fool has given the White House seal of approval to all of their angry, xenophobic, racist hatred. Anyone who doesn't side against that -- or, Oisk, for shame, tries to compare Trump to Obama, as if dislike of the two comes from the same place -- is on the wrong side of history. If you want to align yourself with Two Ponies and her racist screeds about puzzles being "too black" and women belonging in kitchen, feel free. If you want to align yourself with the guy who can't even spell the word "genius," be my guest. That's the side you're on now, and we can all see clearly who is where. This is Vichy France versus the Resistance, and personally I hope people in the Resistance never shut up. Only a fool cannot see which side will win out in the end.

OISK 10:34 PM  

Anon 9:51. I did not compare Trump to Obama. I did not imply that the loathing comes from the same place, nor that Obama-hatred and Trump-hatred are equally justified. I " aligned myself" only with the large numbers of people here who would prefer that hatreds and accompanied vulgar epithets not appear here. And reported that as far as I could see, that Obamaphobes generally avoided attacking him on this site. I assume that we come here to share our love of wordplay and trivia, and to share information connected to it. Crosswords with friends, if you will. Politics divides, similar interests unite, so on this site blessed as it is with so many creative, erudite people, can't we avoid gratuitous insults, and focus on liking each other?

Unknown 10:39 PM  

DNF at the TUYERES / USRDA cross. Super frustrating! Also thought it was awful to have all the tgemers end in IES except one EES - made me doubt AHEM even though there was clearly nothing else it could be. Just a boring slog, honestly, I didn't like this one at all.

Shelby Glidden 10:55 PM  

Are they one and the same to you if you disagree?

Shelby Glidden 11:03 PM  

Hear, hear!!! Whatever happened to reaching across the aisle to do something constructive?

Shelby Glidden 11:08 PM  

Thank you, OISK! 😀

OISK 11:30 PM  

I send money every year. I visit almost every day, and enjoy the non-political comments of a very interesting and gifted group of people, so I support the site with a small contribution. Does that make me one of PT Barnum's suckers?

Anonymous 12:46 AM  

I long for the day when "MSU" is the answer to "Big 10 Powerhouse." Why does it always have to be OSU?

Hartley70 2:19 AM  

@Trombone Tom, oh if only we could have seen a Bessemer Converter in operation! The sparks might have made the subject more exciting. Alas, this was before the Internet changed our lives.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  


@Anon3:28 --

Re: "...piles of garbage in a public forum... :

I'm a lifelong Republican, and Hillary is the first major office Democrat that I ever voted for. (Actually didn't vote FOR her, voted AGAINST the alternative.) And boy, I was even more correct in that than I ever could have imagined!

In this public forum I'm happy to call The Donald a reeking pile of garbage,

I think I'll stay anon on this one ...

PeterThomas 8:39 AM  

Would someone help me understand why “extra product” = gum. It’s driving me nuts. Thanks.

Hartley70 8:58 AM  

Extra is a brand of chewing gum.

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Anonymous 2:16 PM  

This whole post, along with its comments, are what a crossword column would look like if it were published by Salon. Hilarious. Some of us just can't get Mr. Trump out of our heads, even for 60 seconds.

Anonymous 5:42 PM  

@Loren - I had "rib" for TIE and "iambs" for IAMBI so now I don't feel so dumb...

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Um... Trump has a three handicap. Sports Illustrated calls him the best golfer to ever live in White House. So perhaps he has had a birdie or two. Ignorance based criticisms don't really help your cred. Assuming you have any. (1...2...3... release the trolls)

spacecraft 12:24 PM  

I vanquished this thing, but it kicked and screamed every inch of the way. There were NO easy parts (EASE PARTIES?) at all. Almost threw in when I saw OHHI; I thought that clunker was put to rest. It is undead; someone please drive a stake through it! Then there's IAMBI: is she any relation to Bambi? W/o's at STONEidOL before TOOL, and TEAtax before ACT.

GETMOVING? Nah. Get a move on, that's what we say. 15-down, let's see...what is a "juicy part?" You mean, like, "Don't turn it off now, we're just coming to the juicy part!" a stretch, but OK I guess. IDARESAY nobody who hasn't worked there--and many who HAVE--is gonna come up with TUYERES. Study rooms...nah. They're halls. There's so much out-of-the language stuff here it's a wonder anybody solved it. MEDIA frenzy, sure. STORM? Heard of it, but far less common. And EDISON as an old label? Yikes! Also didn't like two RE-verbs emanating from sq. 35.

Fun fact that caused another writeover: it's not irON but NEON that's fifth most abundant. Who would have guessed? Not many DOD candidates to get the HOTS for, except for Ms. BEE; SHE will do.

This was an UGLI experience; felt more like work than my old job used to. Still, high triumph points: call it a par, despite the appearance of BIRDIES in the grid. You can't buy me off that cheap!

Burma Shave 12:29 PM  

EARL'S ONETOGO EASYNOW

IDARESAY I have some GIDDY STUDROOMIES
and EVENSTEVEN and EARLE SHE affects,
ASARULE SHE'll remove her SMARTPANTIES
and COO, "I have the HOTS for some SECS."

--- JACK "MAINMAN" MONTANA

rondo 12:50 PM  

Filled it in all around with the middle coming last due to only w/o at IAMBs. ASARULE I'm not an ADMIRER of the Sun-puz and I'm not sure this one helps with that. Mildly amusing is about right, sorta like the Jumble. Although the clue "horns in on" for GORES was funnier than if it had been "Tipper and AL".

Agree with those who are tired of the poli-chat, ASAMI. And some get SOMEAN.

Yeah baby only by default is Samantha BEE. Might ADMIRER if I had a chance to KISSER.

Wouldn't say this puz made me GIDDY, kinda BOREIN'ON some level.

Diana, LIW 1:47 PM  

I agree, @Rondo - enuf polichat.

The puzzle was kinda easy for me! I got the theme quickly and had a bit of fun coming up with the punny phrases. Had it 98% done.

But slIM instead of TRIM had me bamboozled.
Was looking for the county jail? Fact checked (dnf) and saw the error of my ways - all else filled in.

TUYERES didn't help...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

AnonymousPVX 4:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnonymousPVX 4:15 PM  

This was unenjoyable for me, what with NEEDER among others like TUYERES, a word even the engineer didn’t know. C’mon...

leftcoastTAM 7:09 PM  

Last letter in-- the U in the TUYERES/GUM cross. And that was it. A very satisfying Sunday solve, without assistance but requiring lots of persistence.

Ben Johnston's review is very good, covering the pros and cons, though I liked it more than he did. The theme was new to me, and it was fun sussing it out and putting it together with the Wise Move title.

POTSY and MAINMAN were the outliers.

Took up most of the afternoon, but surprisingly it was worth the time.

Anonymous 7:37 PM  

I was puzzled by the comments about 'gravy train' not being able to be written in the plural, then realized that some posters may not be aware that it's more than a dog food brand. Check out its definition and you'll see that the phrase has been in our language since the early 20th century...describes a cushy job where not much work is required.
Sample use: "The gravy trains ground to a halt when blah, blah, blah..." it's easy to imagine sentences....

rondo 7:47 PM  

@anon 7:37 - I had the exact thought re: gravy trains. Lotsa idioms in the language.

Diana, LIW 8:44 PM  

@R&A - moi aussi re le trains de la gravy ;-)

Lady Di

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

I run a large and popular blog on a topic Unrelated to politics. I have a strict no-politics rule for commenting.

The comments to this post are proof that's a good idea.

wcutler 3:54 PM  

I was going to comment on @Nancy's story about the banging on the plates with silverware - that it's always been done several times at wedding receptions I've gone to as a demand that the bride and groom kiss. (I never thought of myself and my friends/family as being really low class.) I can see that it could get on the nerves of the staff.

But then @Trombone Tom's description of banging on the tuyeres made me think those folks at the reception hall had nothing to complain about.

I figured out the gimmick right away from the title, so got to have fun guessing the answers. I look forward to doing the puzzle in bed till I fall asleep, and the goal used to be to finish it before the next one came out. Lately, I've been finishing on Sunday or Monday. This took me till Wednesday, so I got a bit more enjoyment from it. I don't really get ONE TO TO as "Just about done". Oh, I just got it! One minute more to go (till it's done). Not one sandwich "to go". Glad I commented on that!

Favourite all-time entry: POWERNAP for Office restoration.

Anonymous 10:01 PM  

Ben, we’re all SO proud of you for being offended by the name of a football team! Good job!!! Sniveling little...

Jackiet 8:57 AM  

Tuyeres was a mean and nasty clue for Sunday, it belongs i a Saturday puzzle.

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จารุวรรณ นําตาล 11:03 PM  

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Christine Whittington 10:25 AM  

I almost always finish the NYT puzzles (sometimes it takes me almost until the next puzzle), but I got hung up on gum/tuyeres. I totally spaced out the Extra brand and was fuming about "gum" until I read Ben's review and did a face slap. That almost made up for tuyeres, but this puzzles was still a DNF for me, until I looked up what blast furnace nozzle was called.

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