Crumbly cheese similar to feta / WED 12-13-17 / Iron compound found in steel / Unconventional soccer kick / Storied gift bearers

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Constructor: Benjamin Kramer

Relative difficulty: Challenging


THEME: MAKE AN ENTRANCE (55A: Arrive with fanfare ... or what the circled squares do?) — circled squares are verbs that at least vaguely describe what someone "making an entrance" ... does*:

***
*UPDATE (2:24pm EST): I did not understand this theme at all. Apparently you're supposed to understand "ENTRANCE" as a verb, and all the circled words are synonyms of "ENTRANCE," despite the fact that "MAKE AN enTRANCE (v.)" makes no ****ing sense at all; anyway, the write-up below was written when I did not fully grasp the theme, though most of what I have to say still stands...
***

Theme answers:
  • FRENCH ANTILLES (18A: Island group near Dominica)
  • DRIVE THROUGH (31A: Option at many a fast-food restaurant)
  • SIDE LIGHTING (40A: Producer of horizontal shadows) 
Word of the Day: TOE POKE (60A: Unconventional soccer kick) —
toe-poke (plural toe-pokes)
  1. (soccer) A hard kick to a football with the toe end of the boot. (wiktionary)
• • •
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY, 17, 2018: A MESSAGE FOR THOSE SOLVING IN SYNDICATION (i.e. the majority of my readers):

Hello, from the present (that is, today; actual today, and not one-week-ago or five-weeks-ago-on-weekdays today, like usual)! It's January, which means it's time for my once-a-year, week-long pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. To be clear—there are no major expenses involved in writing a blog. There's just my time. A lot of it. Every day (well, usually night), solving, writing, hunting down pictures and videos of various degrees of relevance and usefulness, chatting with folks and answering puzzle questions via email and social media, gathering and disseminating crossword-related information of various kinds, etc. It's a second job. My making this pitch means I'm all in for another calendar year of puzzle revelry with all y'all. I'm excited about the year. I've got my own crossword construction project I want to get off the ground, and I'm hoping to take a more active role (along with some crossword friends) in recruiting and mentoring new and aspiring constructors. But the bulk of my work will be the same as ever: I'll be here with a new post every single day. Solve, write, repeat. Despite my occasional (or, OK, maybe frequent) consternation with the State of The Puzzle, the crossword community continues to give me great joy, and I'm proud to run an independent, ad-free blog where people can find someone to commiserate with, someone to yell at, or, you know, someone who'll just give them the damn answers. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

Second, a mailing address:

Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are "Women In Science"—Rachel Ignotofsky's beautiful cartoon portraits of women scientists from antiquity to the present. I've heard of a few of these women (mostly crossword names like ADA Lovelace, Marie CURIE, MAE Jemison) but most of these names are entirely new to me, so I'm excited to learn about them as I write my thank-you notes. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

• • •

It's hard for me to pay any attention to this truly bad puzzle, both because it is truly bad and because Make Alabama Great For Once! Woo hoo! But back to the puzzle, yikes. Let me count the ways. First, the grid is inexplicable. Why is the word count so low? 70 words!?! The fill is sooo bad, why not at least try to make it smoother by taking the tremendous load off those NW / SE corners?! Or just build an entirely different grid. Honestly, this isn't just baffling, it's infuriating. Even if you thought this theme was good (it's not, more on that in a sec), *tell this constructor how to make a more viable grid*! Do your damn job, ugh. This is so disturbing, professionally. Best puzzle in the world? Grrrrr. So FERRITE (16A: Iron compound found in steel) and SIRENE (3D: Crumbly cheese similar to feta) and TOEPOKE—am I supposed to be *happy* with that? And -OTIC, ffs!?!?! It's mind-boggling. Almost, but not quite, as mind-boggling as cluing ORE as [Old Swedish coins]. Is it December April Fools Day? I have no idea what's happening.

[BREAD] [7D: "Cabbage"]

The theme is stupid because MAKE AN ENTRANCE means none of the things in the circled squares, and those circles do not actually MAKE AN ENTRANCE—i.e. they are a fundamental part of the words that they are in. It would've been .... something? ... if you had actually *added* those circled squares into a pre-existing word or phrase and somehow gotten another (wacky?) word or phrase. Then "entrance" would've made at least *some* sense. But they are just *found* in the answers they appear in. They don't "enter." Again, how is no one noticing this? I really dig NFLLOGO as an answer (10D: Imagine on the middle of a Super Bowl field)—it's insane-looking. The rest: shred.

OK, back to enjoying a rare night of hopefulness. Bye all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

137 comments:

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

They mean “entrance” as in “captivate”, hence RIVET, ENCHANT, and DELIGHT

Ellen S 12:36 AM  

You tell ‘I’m @Anon 12:25. I think our Rex and Jeff Chen did two different puzzles. I did the one Jeff did — I loved it. Took me a while to figure out the captivate-versus-doorway thing, but I got there.

As to old Swedish coins: It’s my understanding that Sweden is in the European Union. hence they don’t use their, well, old currency and coins. It’s sorta how it works, isn’t it?

Thank you, Dr. Kramer. Keep up the good work. (Maybe my friends will start sending crosswords instead of holiday letters. That would be such fun.)

Ellen S 12:37 AM  

Oops, thanks autocorrect. I meant, You tell ‘im — not you tell I’m. Sheesh.

Graham 12:52 AM  

Make an enTRANCE, is what we were to make of that? As in, the verb? I mean, I sort of saw that’s where we were going, but it feels clunky.

Mike in Mountain View 1:14 AM  

I'm with @Graham. I got the theme, but it did feel clunky. For the reasons @Rex noted, this felt like it was challenging. But my time was about average for a Wednesday, possibly because of the low word count.

TAXFREE, DRIEDOUT, and GO KAPUT were fun.

Liked it more than Rex did, but not as much as I usually do.

Robin 1:16 AM  

Still have no idea what the theme is about. Can explain it in small, one-syllable words.

If it wasn't go the theme, I might say I liked it. A reasonably low amount of three-letter garbage and some off-beat clueing.

Finished in over average time as I spent a coupe minutes tracking down a couple bad letters.

Robin 1:17 AM  

Per my previous, "...can someone explain..."?

Clark 1:18 AM  

The one "ora" coin stopped being recognized as a valid coin in Sweden in 1972. Sweden has not adopted the Euro. Its currency is the "krona."

Sam 1:34 AM  
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Mr. Fitch 2:26 AM  

Given that “make an enTRANCE” is not grammatically correct, it’s a weak thing to hang your theme on. Just three examples at asymmetrical positions in the grid isn’t formally interesting, either.

JOHN X 2:32 AM  

Hey I thought this was great!

My favorite answer was FERRITE. I'd like to see more answers in the grid about steel, steelmaking, steel fabrication, and other steel related processes and techniques. In fact, the theme could be that every single answer is about steel. I think that would make a very good puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 4:40 AM  

Yeah – kinda hard to parse the reveal, MAKE A [synonym for the verb ENTRANCE] – but I’ll take it. I just never tire of seeing words hidden between words.

I agree this was tough. I actually had a dnf ‘cause I never went back to guess whether it was a TOE POKE or a TOE pike.

Was confidently filling in “Greater” ANTILLES and ran out of squares. Erased it and wrote in “Lesser.” Oops.

Another themer possibility – STRETCH ARMSTRONG. If you’re old enough to remember the toy.

I loved the bottom last two acrosses that felt kind of like they applied here. A SUITOR who’s trying to EFFUSE charm.

GAS BOMB. I had to talk to Nurse Trudi yesterday ‘cause I have a freshman who’s discovered he can fart on command. This, in a class that’s predominantly boys, causes a magnificent disruption. I can’t figure out how to handle it because I feel like any reaction on my part is a reward. I’ve decided I’m going to ask him out in the hall and say that even though he seems to be enjoying himself, it must be embarrassing and that I’ve arranged for him to talk with the nurse to sort this out. Maybe review his diet. Whatever. Just. Leave. My. Room.

Most of the time I forget to go back and read Jeff Chen, which is a shame because he’s not a Melanie Wilkes like me and is so deft at pointing out negatives diplomatically. I’ll certainly read him today because I did like this, wobbly reveal and all.

Ben – congrats on your debut. You’re going to have a fun day.

BarbieBarbie 5:40 AM  

I liked this too, snd I especially liked the reveal, because it took several seconds of staring before my brain went “oh! enTRANCE, not ENtrance!” which is especially tricky since the second syllable is pronounced differently. Oh my, I am no good at this part, but it’s with a short “a” and not a schwa? Rhymes with dance, not with punts. @Robin, does that help? “She stared at the handsome prince, entranced.” Like that.
There were some really nice longish words here. AVIATOR and ASCENDS, sort of pared. GASBOMB and SUITORS, which is hilarious (sorry @LMS, I don’t have to teach them).
Took a bit longer than my average. I liked the chewiness. Thanks Doc!

a.corn 5:56 AM  
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Anonymous 6:02 AM  

Sorry I'm not enTRANCED with comic books. Alabama great for once? Nothing elitist about that.

Lewis 6:24 AM  
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Lewis 6:35 AM  

I learned SIRENE, TOEPOKE, and "spud puppy", and am grateful for that. The current Jeopardy champ, who is a very good player, said that when, as a child, she asked her dad how she could one day get on the show, he told her, "Learn three things every day". I just did.

I do like Benjamin's original reveal (as he mentions in his notes) so much better: HIDDEN ENTRANCE. Perfect! I found the puzzle's current reveal confusing. But I did like GO KAPUT, and the sound of the word WAYLAY, and furthermore, I found that the puzzle echoes what following the Alabama election last night did for me: RIVET and DELIGHT.

Congratulations on the debut, Benjamin, and may this be a springboard to many more!

QuasiMojo 6:41 AM  

TV Debaters worry about "gaffes"? Why, because they are being televised? I would think any debater would worry about them. In fact, anyone would be worried about making one. Silly opening to a rather tortured puzzle. Gas Bomb is hardly an entrancing entrance, too!

I can't believe Rex didn't grok the theme and perhaps he is just pulling our legs. Or maybe he is pretending to be one of those people Charles Barkley referred to so winningly. You know, those CABBAGE heads he was talking about. Rex is giggling as we take him up on it.

Anonymous 6:47 AM  

Anon @ 6:02. Exactly why Rex is the epitome of the New England-intolerant-blue blood. He rails against against any “you name it”-shaming that is the cause du jour. Fat-shaming... bad. Slut-shaming... bad. Gender-shaming... bad. And I agree with all that. No one should be shamed.

But in Rex’s world, South-shaming, redneck-shaming, Alabama-shaming is all fair game. In the 198 years since Alabama was admitted to the Union, nothing good has ever come out of there, until now. The greatest achievement in Alabama’s history is they didn’t elect a guy that Professor Sharp doesn’t like. Way to go Alabama!

I guess he figures all the Alabamans (Albamians?) are doing the word-search and not the high-falootin’ New York Times Crossword.

mathgent 7:03 AM  

Jeff Chen didn't fully understand the theme at first. Neither did I. I just thought that the theme was one word "entering" another. And that is enough to provide a little help to the solver regardless of whether the three words are synonyms. So the theme was more clever than I thought it was but so what.

It was just an average Wednesday for me.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

I would have liked "hidden entrance" much better because it makes more sense. The hidden words are all synonyms of the verb enTRANCE, but can't say that I was entranced by the puzzle. It was not as bad as Rex makes it out to be, though. I could not get hardly any of the acrosses on the first pass. Like LMS I also was looking for greater and lesser antilles, but twas not to be.

kitshef 7:36 AM  

Not much fun (and that's being generous) - but at least it was easy. Though lesserANTILLES (yo @LMS) messed me up for a while.

How could Rex possibly miss that the theme is en-TRANCE, not EN-trance?

I like TOE POKE.

An odd day when I didn’t like the puzzle, Rex hated it, but I disagree with most of his writeup.

Whenever I’m driving and see a ‘Hidden Entrance’ sign, I always wait to be beguiled.

Birchbark 7:41 AM  

The Bread album cover looks like something a few friends might chip in on from a sidewalk vendor.

I can't say I'm a FERRITE fanatic at the @JohnX level, but I like it in the same puzzle as the novelly clued ORE (is there a slash through the O on that one?). @Loren, I progressed similarly through PiKE/POKE and ANTILLES.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

What a night! Thank you, Alabama!

chefbea 7:57 AM  

Hated the puzzle. Have never, EVER heard of sirene cheese...and I love my cheese. Will have to ask at the cheese shop if they have any!!!

Karma Chameleon 7:58 AM  
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ghthree 8:11 AM  

Rex seems to have misread the clue to 10D: It's "Image" rather than "Imagine." That makes it seem less insane. Ironically, Rex digs the apparent insanity! Weird.

Like Rex, I rejoice in the Democratic victory in Alabama. But I resent the suggestion that nothing else good has come out of that state since it joined the union. My mother-in-law was born and raised in Bessemer. A good-hearted person without a racist bone in her body.

When I read the clue for 63 across, I knew there was an appropriate six-letter word, but I just couldn't think of it. Looking back, I remember it: AMBUSH. Later, when I actually had some context, I was glad I hadn't put it in. It would have slowed me down considerably.

I grew up in a Chicago suburb. MINOSO was a gimme. I remember the story (perhaps apocryphal) about a rookie sportscaster who commented on one of his achievements; "Atta girl, Minnie!"

Two Ponies 8:21 AM  

I was having a fairly good time until I saw "side lighting" then the whole thing went "kaput".
Pike or poke? Not knowing the baseball player, I went for pike. Poke sounded too American for soccer.
I did learn a new cheese and the full name of El Cid so all was not lost.

Ferrite reminded me of a recent conversation with the man smoothing our bumpy driveway with a big piece of heavy equipment. A particular annoyance is a rock right where you must drive on this narrow lane. Could you please move that stone? No maam, that's a leverite. Crossword brain immediately recognizes the -ite as a mineral ore so I fell right into the line I was being fed.
What's a leverite?
That's a rock too big to move so you leave 'er right where it is.
I got a chuckle from that and he was so glad to use his joke.

@ LMS, I think your idea about feigning genuine concern about the young man's GI problem may be just what is needed to take the "wind" out of his sails.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

". . . a rare night of hopefulness." Sheesh, what a snowflake.

evil doug 8:34 AM  
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evil doug 8:35 AM  

You don't ever want A TOE POKE to MAKE AN ENTRANCE in your GAS BOMB DRIVE THROUGH....

"For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country."
~Michelle Obama

"For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of Alabama."
~Michael

Jj 8:49 AM  

Sometimes Rex can be such an Aleck Head

Two Ponies 8:50 AM  

I really wonder about the future of male/female relationships in light of the Alabama race and daily news events in general.
Young women are being taught to punish men for being attracted to them. They may enjoy the power it gives them...for now.
Young men may decide that building a relationship with a woman is not worth the risk. Who could blame them?

If I had money to invest I would put it into android sex dolls.

COIXT RECORDS 8:55 AM  

The ends of the two words in each answer join together to form (or "make") an enTRANCE synonym. It's rather elegant wordplay. Pouty Parker doesn't seem to understand this?

ArtO 9:08 AM  

Tough Wednesday. SIRENE, FERRITE, GAFFE blocked the NW. At least TOEPOKE and LIA could be groked by crosses.

TomAz 9:10 AM  

@Two Ponies: For your sake I hope that was sly parody and not an earnest statement.

This was a weird puzzle for me. Found the NW impenetrable, checked to make sure it was in fact Wednesday. The rest of the puzzle fell in fairly straightforward and then back to the NW.. which still wouldn't budge. Greater, Lesser, wrong. Netherlands, didn't fit. And I wasn't getting GAFFE off that clue so I had nothing pointing me to FRENCH. ugh.

BARNARD I probably should have known, but didn't. FERRITE? SIRENE? no thank you.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

I missed the entire en-TRANCE/EN-trance play on words, too. Thanks, Loren. Now I get the theme, but as @mathgent says, so what?

I happily AVERTed the whole drug scene, so LSD (34D) was one big Huh? I didn't know DIAZ (44A), so until I realized that it was SIDE LIGHTING and not wIDE LIGHTING that produces horizontal shadows (40A), I was stuck in that area. I also had NRa instead of NRC (my bad) at 26A, so who was aHRIS? Or maybe the Swedish coin wasn't ORE after all. And then there was my misspelling of SUITeRS at 64A (another my bad), giving me MINOSe instead of MINOSO at 47D. If I'd remembered his last name, I would have corrected, but I thought it was MINOSA and I knew SUITARS was wrong, so I never did correct. I guessed at TOE POKE, but I was aware (like someone else on the blog, I forget who) that it might have been TOE PiKE.

Like Chef Bea, I thought I knew my cheeses. What, oh, what is SIRENE???? And who are "Buzz Lightyear and Woody" who seem to be owned by someone named ANDY? A meh theme, and a puzzle that was quite tough for a Wednesday, but not in a way destined to ENCHANT, RIVET or DELIGHT.

John Fischer 9:27 AM  

I wrote a book on cheese. Never even *seen* the word sirene before. That is all.

Charles Flaster 9:32 AM  

Easy but DNF at ORE/ CHRIS. Never heard of either.
Liked the theme and the colored squares in the print edition made it easier to suss.
Nice debut and thanks BK

Roo Monster 9:40 AM  

Hey All !
SIRENE cheese? Who, wha? Never heard of it. I don't think it's even in The Cheese Shop Sketch , so that should tell something!

Puz was kinda odd, didn't grok the enTRANCE-ness. Kept thinking how do the themers make an ENtrance?

Had my one letter DNF again :-( at MINOSe/SUITeRS. CRY! Did actually like the openness of the grid. Light dreck, cool clue for M AND M'S. How about - Person who writes billions of runt clues? M AND A. Har.

DRIED OUT TATER TOT
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

I played soccer as about as high a level as a woman could in the 90s. Toe pokes are definitely a thing. When a little kid first tries kicking a soccer ball their instinct is to kick it with his or her toes. As players get more skilled they'll ride anyone hard for kicking the ball with their toes. It shows a lack of skill. BUT as you get better and better the toe poke has some utility - in fact an intentional toe poke, particularly to score a goal, can be a means of heaping extra humilitation on your opponent. It's maybe somewhat parallel to throwing shade. Like, not only am I going to score on you but I'm going to score on you with my toe.

Also: this puzzle was not fun for me either. I had "evert" for "avert" and spent way too long staring at ge_bomb.

chefbea 9:49 AM  

Sirene or known as "white brine sirene" is a type of brined cheese made in the Balkans, especially popular in Croatia, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Montenegro and also in Israel

So there you have it!!!

Suzie Q 9:49 AM  

Billions of M and M's? With a B?
That is a lot of chocolate!!

Red Baron, Crappy frozen pizza wouldn't fit.

Gotta look up that cheese. Now I'm hungry.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Unfortunately, Tom, I fear she meant every word.

Suzie Q 9:52 AM  

Oh, "that" Bulgarian cheese. Silly me.

Z 9:52 AM  

Hidden Entrance works. Make an Entrance does not.

There is some awful fill here, and if I could construct a puzzle I'd avoid putting an ampersandwich/POC in my top line. But the treys aren't too bad (I'll ignore Jr.'s junior) and there isn't a lot to complain about in the south. In fact, WAYLAY|SUITORS is better than many a bottom line and even manages a 7-6 vowel-consonant ratio. That's nice.

Hey, Alabama managed not to elect a racist, homophobic, theocratic, ephebophiliac Republican even though a majority of white people still voted for him and people are going to be offended when this embarrassment is pointed out? Well, I guess I'm sorry for your loss and hope you find somewhere to safely live.

R.I.P. Pat DiNizio

Missy 9:55 AM  

Do you sincerely think that exposing yourself is an appropriate way to show attraction? Hurray for all the girls/women who say no. They gain a lot more power that way!

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Move to Alabama and then tell me what you think

Missy 9:58 AM  

Do you sincerely think that exposing yourself is an appropriate way to show attraction? Hurray for all the girls/women who say no. They gain a lot more power that way!

Amie Devero 10:02 AM  

I didn't even notice there was a theme until reading Rex's review. Hated the cluing. Never heard of half the words (same ones Rex mentions) and got them through crosses... then left them there on faith. Im shocked they're real words. It was a relief to finish but not very satisfying or fun.

Anonymous 10:19 AM  

Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.

GILL I. 10:30 AM  

I just loved this puzzle. I enjoyed the work-out. When I finally got M AND MS I kept thinking the cluing for that candy is going the way the clue for OREOS is going. How many ways?
I so would have preferred HIDDEN than MAKE AN. I think the theme would have been clearer. Even so, this was different and I learned all about the TOE POKE.
What fun words, today. Being reminded of El Cid DIAZ. @chefbea...maybe you've heard of Bulgarian Feta? I think that's the name that may be more familiar. Try saying ADAMANCY. Is it pronounced ADAM ANCY?
Had the same mistake as @Nancy with Captain America's aHRIS. Love the ending with ASCENDS WAYLAY EFFUSED SUITORS. What's not to love about the puzzle?
I think @Rex really DID NOT get the theme and maybe that's why he didn't like it. No matter, I enjoyed it Benjamin Kramer. It's a good thing you had MEG in your puzzle or @REX might have been whiny about not including a female....;-)

evil doug 10:34 AM  

Does anyone remember due process?

The accusations against the moron in Alabama seem *likely* undeniable. But in many other cases on campus and elsewhere there are plenty of reasons to include lawyers, facing one's accusers, reasonable doubt, discernment between rape and lesser crimes (or was it flirting?). I highly recommend finding the essay "The Warlock Hunt" by Claire Berlinski--no 'rape apologist', she--and learn about the slippery slope on which American justice finds itself....

"It now takes only one accusation to destroy a man’s life. Just one for him to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion, overnight costing him his livelihood and social respectability. We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity. The punishment for sexual harassment is so grave that clearly this crime—like any other serious crime—requires an unambiguous definition. We have nothing of the sort."
~Claire Berlinski

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

@evil doug, honey. you cray cray and always have been. Everything you wrote only applies to queers and democrats. All Roypublicans and DJTs are exempt and you know it. You cray bae.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

For the love of Mike, would someone teach her how to Google?

Anon 10:44 AM  

hard for me. MIGRANTS for VAGRANTS. HOWE for HYDE, the O in SUITORS. All took a while to work through

Rob 10:46 AM  

Tough puzzle, but I liked it, though a couple of these words are a bit of a stretch. Not fond of GAS BOMB as an answer, for example. This was one of those where it came together slowly for me as I pieced it together, which I usually enjoy.

Stanley Hudson 10:48 AM  

This was a tough Wednesday but I enjoyed it. HIDDEN ENTRANCE would have been a better revealer.

@Z, I hadn’t heard about DiNizio so appreciate your tribute. Saw the Smithereens in the early 1990s and they put on one hell of a show.

Cleared2Land 10:48 AM  

@ Two Ponies: Your statement that "Young women are being taught to punish men for being attracted to them" has to be the most ignorant thing I've ever read on the subject of sexual harassment. How about this instead: Young men are being taught that sexually harassing a woman is not an acceptable way to display attraction, affection or display dominance.

G. Weissman 10:50 AM  

I take your overall point, but would point out that in every case that comes to mind there are multiple accusers, and never “only one accusation.” Add to that the very many decades in which one or many female accusers have been silenced or knew they would not be heard, and the fact that this is still the case in many quarters. For example, read the op-ed “When Judges Prey on Clerks” in today’s NYT.

Churlish Nabob 10:51 AM  

Women have finally had enough and snowflakes like E D mewl like kittens.

G. Weissman 10:53 AM  

I agree w Rex that FERRITE, SIRENE, and TOEKICK are crap answers, especially w the first two forming a natick.

Masked and Anonymous 11:09 AM  

yep. Finally got it. Make a verb word in each gray-area that means the same as the verb "entrance". Phwew. Need to go pour coolant water on head now, to avoid China syndrome of the cerebral core.

70-word WedPuz debut meat, with a brain-twisty theme. Now, that's different. I kinda like different. This puppy tried hard to change my mind on that, tho. This thing was tough as nails on toast to solve. Lost precious nanoseconds on SIRINE/FERRITE/FRENCHANTILLES.

staff weeject pick: LIA. Better clue: {Telle of a whoppe??}. Honrable mention to the crosser-weeject packagin of III. Gets top points for desperation. Speakin of which …

Ow de Speration Highlights:
* OTIC. Primo. That'll teach this new constructor to festoon his themed grid with FriPuz corners.
* TOEPOKE. Nuthin rings desperate like yer obscure soccer terms. Will tolerate an OLE now and them, tho.
* III. This actually is sorta ok, but just looks so extra desperate, crossin the staff weeject pick. Sooo … in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But, on the bright side, that's about it; the rest of the fillins were pretty respectable, for a 70-word themefest. faves: GASBOMB [Always good to get yer "bomb" entries out of the way, early on]. TAXFREE. WAYLAY. NFLLOGOKAPUT. EZEKIEL. TATERTOT [Also had the most entrancin clue].

Thanx and congratz, Mr. Kramer. Pretty far-out puztrip. May we call U "Cosmo", for shortz?

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. FRENCHANTILLES? Ahar! aka French West Indies. Interestin SIDELIGHT.


has pics:
**gruntz**

Beauty Queen in a Bathing Suit 11:11 AM  

He looked at me! Where's my lawyer!?!

John Child 11:11 AM  

Saturday time here, and only partially gruntled by the theme. Thanks though to @Z for a new word.

Our pal George Barany has a new granddaughter - many congrats to him and his daughter and son-in-law!

Joseph Michael 11:13 AM  

FERRITE crossing SIRENE would be unkind on any day, but is downright cruel on a Wednesday.

However, this is only the constructor's second puzzle and it does offer some DELIGHTful stuff as well. And it's a NYT debut. So congrats, Benjamin.

Liked the play on ENTRANCE and the "hidden" themers. (Shading them is like putting spotlights on them.) Also liked TATER TOT, NFL LOGO, GO KAPUT, WAYLAY, VAGRANTS, and the $5 word ADAMANCY (which is what Eve said about her mate after she told him about the serpent).

Took a while to realize that MANDMS wasn't one word and that municipal bond income is TAX FREE not taxable.

Things I could have done without: III, LIA, AMA, ADA, etc. Don't like that S at end of SEEDS or the missing letters before OTIC.

But now at least I know what a TOE POKE is. It must PACK quite a force when a cowpoke does one.

Masked and Anonymous 11:17 AM  

yep. Finally got it. Make a verb word in each gray-area that means the same as the verb "entrance". Phwew. Need to go pour coolant water on head now, to avoid China syndrome of the cerebral core.

70-word WedPuz debut meat, with a brain-twisty theme. Now, that's different. I kinda like different. This puppy tried hard to change my mind on that, tho. This thing was tough as nails on toast to solve. Lost precious nanoseconds on SIRINE/FERRITE/FRENCHANTILLES.

staff weeject pick: LIA. Better clue: {Telle of a whoppe??}. Honrable mention to the crosser-weeject packagin of III. Gets top points for desperation. Speakin of which …

Ow de Speration Highlights:
* OTIC. Primo. That'll teach this new constructor to festoon his themed grid with FriPuz corners.
* TOEPOKE. Nuthin rings desperate like yer obscure soccer terms. Will tolerate an OLE now and them, tho.
* III. This actually is sorta ok, but just looks so extra desperate, crossin the staff weeject pick. Sooo … in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But, on the bright side, that's about it; the rest of the fillins were pretty respectable, for a 70-word themefest. faves: GASBOMB [Always good to get yer "bomb" entries out of the way, early on]. TAXFREE. WAYLAY. NFLLOGOKAPUT. EZEKIEL. TATERTOT [Also had the most entrancin clue].

Thanx and congratz, Mr. Kramer. Pretty far-out puztrip. May we call U "Cosmo", for shortz?

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. FRENCHANTILLES? Ahar! aka French West Indies. Interestin SIDELIGHT.

jberg 11:25 AM  

Thank God for Barnard! Blanking on SIRENE and OTIC I was beginning to think that the shaded squares were some kind of trick, where the answer veered left, or right, or bounced on its head for a while. But BARNARD worked literally, so that saved me from a deep, deep rabbit hole.

Speaking of which, as I read the websearchresults, SIRENE seems pretty much to be feta but in another language and made a few miles north, rather than being similar to it. But I may be missing some fine points (something about a lactose-tolerant bacteria in there).

Like @Rex, parsing entrance as enTRANCE never occurred to me, since as many have pointed out, the latter makes no sense with MAKE AN. "Hidden entrance" would have been so much better. Did Will Shortz change it?Or the constructor?

My grandfather's family was from Alabama (though he got out as soon as he could), and it has many good qualities -- but when a state's unofficial slogan is "Thank God for Mississippi," you know they've got problems. Looks like the Alabama voters are starting to see that.

jb129 11:32 AM  

This puzzle was not fun.

BTW - can we stick to the puzzles, which is what I thought this blog was about, & not politics?

Surely you can find other blogs that will welcome your opinions.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

To the anonymous Google fanatic at 10:39. Don't know why you're always pushing people to Google. It seems you make these comments almost every day. This is a site for solving, not Googling. When you're Googling, you're *not solving*. If Googling is your greatest accomplishment, you belong on a different website.

What's the world coming to when Evil Doug, of all people, is the one being accused of being a *snowflake*?

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:38 AM  

Not bad, but weak.

Fill: First things first. I grew up in a country where soccer is the #1 sport by far. I'm an avid sports blogger/columnist/podcaster, title dependent on which sport we're talking about. So allow me to say this: JUST WHAT THE FRAK IS A TOE POKE? That might be the most absurd thing I have ever heard in my life. No wonder USMNT failed to qualify for the World Cup. Smh.

Now that it is out of my system (who am I kidding, it's not), I'll go back to the fill overall. Meh. I appreciate the effort here, there are a lot of unusual 6+ letter words so it should feel fresh, but it doesn't. It feels like I'm in an exotic grocery store with great looking produce, and when I actually taste them they are the blandest. Again, I appreciate the effort but that is as high a praise I can effuse.

Theme/long answers: This is a pun that someone makes in a social gathering and then immediately follows up what he said by "Get it?" Yeah, dude, we got it, and the reason we didn't laugh was because it was lame.

Clues: Look, if you inevitably have ORE in your puzzle, at least clue it differently. That I think is cool, unlike Rex. The rest of the clues were OK -but I'm still infuriated by "unconventional soccer kick." As someone who's unfamiliar with baseball (if you don't grow up watching it, it's really hard to get into as much as I have tried), I was delighted to learn about Minoso's feat.

Pleasurability: When a Monday theme is lame, it's actually OK. But this one makes you work, and then gives you a lame present. That's just disappointing. This is definitely not a bad puzzle, but how much pleasure did I get out of the experience? *Makes Larry David face* Eh.

GRADE: C+, 2.8/5 stars.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Looking back at this, it looks like a hard Wednesday, but I had a well below average time. I was also unimpressed by the theme, though I understood it before I had all the themers. This puzzle was just pretty bland food my taste.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

I had "oses" for the ending of 5-down ('suffix with psych') and that slowed me down a bit, especially since I couldn't come up with French Antilles. My mind just kept wanting to put in Dutch Antilles and was wondering what the 'extra' square was for. I finally got it when I got Gaffe for 1-down.
Speaking of gaffe, how 'bout the one Steve Bannon made re the election last night??! Everyone's going crazy, wondering how Doug Jones managed to win. It's easy; he won the same way Hillary did: he got more votes. It's called democracy.

Who ever heard of sirene cheese? My iPad auto-correct wouldn't even let me type it in just now...

Hate to sign in using any of the options so I went for Anonymous. But it's M. Emrich

Benjamin Kramer 11:56 AM  

Ben the puzzle-maker here. Thanks for all the criticism, both constructive and otherwise. I love reading Rex's blog each day and I knew he'd hate this puzzle, so no hard feelings, though his schtick is becoming a bit late-Idol Simon Cowell-like. In fact, right when it was accepted he went on a rant against SIRENE in another puzzle. I clued it as "Ariel, in Arles" and was never aware of the cheese definition. I thought at least the "siren" cognate would offer a clue to solvers. I also think the crossing with FERRITE is tenuous, but that's at least inferable from the Latin.

As somebody who watches a lot of soccer and is still stinging from the US Men's Team meltdown, I blithely assumed TOEPOKE was more widely known. I clued ORE with a reference to Settlers of Catan, so I learned about both defunct Swedish coins and Bulgarian cheese from the puzzle too.

This theme obviously has problems and would play much better with a HIDDEN ENTRANCE revealer. I thought that's what the editors would say, but they accepted it so who am I to argue? A theme is too opaque if seasoned puzzle commentators cannot grok it on first pass, no matter how much celebratory whiskey they drank.

Thanks again for the commentary. I'm happy to have shared the NYT pages with some optimistic headlines for once.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Yeah it's like people won't even accept child molestation these days! Ok, maybe white republicans are ok with it, but really, what is this country coming to?!

Lewis 12:04 PM  

@twoponies -- Hah! Thanks for the leverite story.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

Even Doug: an apologist for rapists and child molesters. Is anyone surprised?

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

Truly kind of you to explain but if Rex doesn't understand something, it's automatically bad and he's *unhappy* and needs to spread the ill-will. He's hard-wired for complaint. Happy holidays!

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Neil Gorsuch.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

No need to move there, I lived in Alabama for years, what are you talking about? I think there are ignorant, dismissive, self-centered, holier-than-thou clods everywhere, in relatively similar proportions.

Two Ponies 12:18 PM  

If any of you here are truly interested in the topic of the day I followed @ evil doug's suggestion and read Claire Berlinski's excellent essay. It is long so if you don't have a long attention span you might not make it through it. This woman makes so many rational points and has so many quotable segments that you may come away with some genuine reasons to reflect on our current society.
Thanks @ ED.

Also thanks to Mr. Kramer for stopping by. Wonderful comments.

Three and out.

old timer 12:20 PM  

SIRENE is unfair period. FRENCH Antilles is never used. At least I've never seen it. Other than that, an excellent solve for me.

Thanks, @Z, for calling Moore an ephebophiliac. Ephebophile is what he was, not a pedophile. Pedophiles are attracted to children who have not gone through puberty. Ephebophiles are attracted to boys or girls who have reached puberty but who are far too young for them -- you are in fact quite normal if you are yourself in your young to mid teens and are attracted to someone close to your age. I suppose most people reading this can remember that 14-year-old they lusted over when they were in school. But for a grown man to make out with a 16- or 17-year-old is abnormal and a sign of mental illness.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

@jb 11:32—-Mike Sharp chose to make the discussion about politics. Take it up with him. Glad Roy Moore won’t be in the Senate too, and good riddance to Al Franken if he ever decides to leave. I think he was waiting for the Alabama election results and if Moore had won he would have stayed.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

I get my news from Facebook, thank you very much.

Masked and Anonymous 12:30 PM  

p.s.
@Cosmo the Constructioneer: Thanx again ... for droppin by with yer great comment. M&A's advice: Always come to @RP's blog wearin an extra-thick skin. Chain mail and armor platepants works real good.
yep … blog write-up can sometimes channel pretty Simon Cowell-esque. I think the dude behind the Rex-mask is ok, tho.

N-correction for first M&A comment: "Will tolerate an OLE now and theN, tho."

And Big Congratz to 50% or so of Alabamans, give or take. Primo Royject.

Peace on Earth, good will toward NYTPuzs.

M&Also


**gruntz**

Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

p.p.s.s.

On the first Day of Christmas, my true luv gave to m&e …

A SIRENE in a FERRITE tree.

[har … this'll be Fun…]

M&A III

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Hey Anon 11:38, to quote Meghan McCain: “Suck it.”

Foldyfish 1:02 PM  

This puzzle blows. That is all. Go about your business.

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

I can't wait until Mr. Kramer (thanks for stopping by!) gets his first Saturday themeless published - I'll be working on it for days. I found this to be extraordinarily difficult for a Wednesday - too many WOES (SIRENE, LIA, CHRIS, MINOSO, MEG, DIAZ) and some of my own GAFFEs.

First off, thinking of Richard Nixon and putting "sweat" in at 1D. That only lasted as long as it took to get down to ETNA, but still.

Having D_I_ET_ROUGH, I was wondering if there was some sort of fast food buffet tROUGH I hadn't heard of. Sheesh.

_OKA_UT had me making up words (cOKAnUT = "die") until I got POKEd in the head.

25D's copy was MIMeo long enough that I despaired of ever figuring out how "o_Y" was an exclamation. o_Y vey.

So I was WAYLaid by this but in a very fun way. My two triumphs, knowing ORE and having no trouble sussing out the theme as enTRANCE instead of ENtrance, helped.

Congrats Ben on the debut!

mathgent 1:33 PM  

I just finished today's WSJ by Morton J. Mendelson. Highly recommended.

Georgia 1:36 PM  

Pardon my ignorance, but where do I find constructor notes? Thanks.

Malsdemare 1:37 PM  

@JohnX. If an entire puzzle were devoted to steel, my husband would do it, and in record time. You cannot take the steel out of a steelman.

Loved seeing Minnie Minoso in the grid. Back when I was itty bitty and my daddy was still alive (he died when I was 11), he called me Minnie the Moocher. When my daughter asked me what my grands should call me, I chose Mimi (diminutive sometimes for Mary). Later, I regretted not choosing Minnie. Such a warm fuzzy memory.

I'm another Melanie Wilkes (hi, lms) so I liked the puzzle, but I agree, hidden ENTRANCE would have been much better. Btw, @lms, I think you've got the perfect plan for your talented freshman. Lord, I'd be an awful HS teacher. However, i will recount that one blessedly windy day on top of Acoma mesa in New Mexico, my two oldest sisters, both then in their 70s, had a farting contest. An audible one. Intentional. Their three younger sisters were alternately amazed, amused, and embarrassed. Mostly amused.

I don't think one charge can take down/ruin a man. What we're seeing is multiple, reputable, vetted accusations. As for the incipient demise of flirting (R.I.P.), one easy test for whether you've blundered is to pay attention to your target's reaction. If it's anything other than welcoming, apologize. File away as a lesson learned.

I finished this pretty quickly, guessed at TOEPOKE, but had a typo at URiL, so dnf. Sad!!

JC66 1:40 PM  

@Georgia

Go to

https://www.nytimes.com/crosswords

and click on "READ ABOUT TODAY'S PUZZLE ON WORDPLAY."

evil doug 1:52 PM  

Mals,

Dozens of college men would disagree with you. Under Obama's edict to lower the standard for guilt, panels made up of administrators and even other students rule--the excused isn't entitled to a lawyer, and doesn't enjoy the right to even face his accuser. What about the Duke lacrosse team? Or the Virginia fraternity that the bogus claims in Rolling Stone laid waste to? There's nothing worse than rape and sexual abuse - - but false/unsubstantiated claims run neck and neck, and undermine the many legitimate accusations.

geoff 2:00 PM  

Everything that is, and is not energy, is chemical. Therefor we might be certain that the following could be chemical weapons: clubs, arrows, rocks, gunpowder... you get the idea.

Odd Sock 2:01 PM  

Even a little knowledge of Latin should have made ferrite easy.

Malsdemare 2:10 PM  

@Evil. You’re right. Schools are tying themselves in knots these days trying to figure out how to be fair to all sides. But compared to the number of women who’ve come forward in the #metoo campaign, the number of false accusations is pretty small. There are far, far more instances of women not reporting harrassment and worse than there are false charges. Some, not all, of the problem stems from the trials in social media before stories can be vetted. I don’t know how to fix it, but I surely don’t want to go back to the days when all charges were immediately disbelieved, dismissed, or discounted with “locker room talk” or “boys will be boys.” I think a policy of believe, investigate, and preserve privacy as much as possible would be a useful start.

Sorry, fellow bloggers, for being off topic.

puzzlehoarder 2:21 PM  

Good puzzle. I can't get the computer to publish my comments. The I'm not a robot test portion won't function properly.

Priscilla Howe 2:23 PM  

Sirene. Сирене. I couldn't believe it, even though I speak Bulgarian and it's the most common cheese of that country. When I heard the happy music, my first thought was, "Ooh, they're all going to hate this!" And other than that fun-for-me-only word, I did not like this puzzle.

David Schinnerer 2:25 PM  

With apologies to Ben who was gracious enough to give his time to give some insight on this puzzle...I couldn't wait to be done with this one.

I LOVE doing crosswords...whether I'm on my couch, waiting at the car wash, the vet, etc. I feel I am one of the group of more forgiving solvers here, but this one didn't float my boat.

But, as always, I truly appreciate people like Ben giving me this entertainment that I so look forward to each day. More, please...

evil doug 2:41 PM  

"I mean, if there's 10 people that have been accused and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, seems better to get rid of all 10 people."
Congressman Jared Polis (D, Colorado)

Dale Mabry 2:43 PM  

I found this blog in October and was impressed by the mostly intelligent, witty and coherent comments, which is so rare online these days. It also seems like a family here; many of you obviously know each other well.

I would just like the political commentators to realize that your remarks will be read over the lifetime of this blog. I say this because I currently have a book of puzzles from 2008 and I find that the political comments from back then are either mysterious or pointless to a person reading them today. In 5 or 10 years no one will know what today's "Alabama" comments refer to.

I guess I'm suggesting that you find a topic-specific blog elsewhere so that if a person wants to read about Jones vs. Moore ten years from now, he will find them in those specific locations.

Your comments will be well-preserved then!

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

I was stuck with mustard, carbide and osis/oses for quite a while. Had to read all the comments to figure out the word mandms. Didn't get the sports minutiae but they're hazards of the hole.

Nancy 3:06 PM  

@puzzlehoarder (2:21) -- A few years ago, when I was tearing out my hair with major I-am-not-a-robot snags, someone on the blog, I forget who, said that if I got myself a "blue" name, I could skip that entire aspect of posting completely. And either that same person or, later, a different person, explained how I could go about it. I, of course, as per usual, remember nothing: not who told me and not how I went about putting my name in blue. But I did it, and I've never looked back. You absolutely never have to click on "I am not a robot" nor deal with a Captcha, when your name is in blue. I have a vague feeling that perhaps I was helped by already having a Gmail email account, but I'm not entirely sure. Can whoever helped me now help @puzzlehoarder? Thanks!

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Jill in Portland agrees with Rex!! AS I do most of the time. Goofy, not fun puzzle or thought provoking!!!

Lewis 4:00 PM  

@georgia -- Also, xwordinfo.com, which has constructor comments with the puzzle (as well as Jeff Chen's).

Slow Motion 4:09 PM  

@Evil Doug, you quote Jared Polis’s bizarre and reprehensible opinion as if he represents the views of your typical Democrat. He most certainly does not. He bought his way into office with his personal fortune and is now loathed by most of his constituents and by his fellow representatives. Just because you can find one idiot who said something that proves your point doesn’t mean your point is valid.

David Schinnerer 4:20 PM  

Who is Jeff Chen??

Pete 4:45 PM  

@Evil Doug - Sure, Jared Polis a jerk, but where were you when the issues was Muslims & Skittles? You know, given that some Muslims may want to hurt us so lets keep them all out because they're just Muslims anyway and why bother figuring out who is the one in a million who is actually bad when we can just keep them all out because we don't want them here? Where was your outrage at that?

And yes, every time the status quo undergoes a quantum shift the pendulum swings too far the other way, and there's nothing worse than the whining of the privileged when they loose that privilege. So yes, some men are unfairly accused, which is wrong, absolutely. You pointed out all the widely documented cases in the past 5 years and came up with about a dozen college students. Want to take a guess how many women have been abused during that time, women who were never believed, women who just gave up trying? It's one in a million men being falsely accused compared to two in ten women being abused. So yes, we've got to get this right, but going on about the 1/1,000,000 as compared to 2/10 is absurd.

Mohair Sam 5:06 PM  

@Benjamin Kramer - No need to apologize for TOEPOKE. Rex is always bitching about the puzzle skewing old and stale, and soccer (in the USA, at least) is hot - check your TV on Saturday or Sunday mornings. It's just not OFL's new thing so he's gotta moan, it's what he does. Onward Spurs.

And thanks for stopping by - we love it when our constructor honors us with AN ENTRANCE.

semioticus (shelbyl) 5:15 PM  

Getting political is becoming the norm on this blog (I mean, ~90% of it is due to Anonymous trolls, but hey), so let me actually drop something of positive value.

To people who are confused about "false rape accusations," I strongly, strongly recommend this ProPublica story. This was the best piece of journalism I read in 2015, by far. It's a really long piece, but it's really enlightening for someone who hasn't got the slightest clue about what women go through and how they feel when these sorts of things happen to them, i.e. almost all men.

semioticus (shelbyl) 5:17 PM  

Sorry, I will briefly follow up on my previous comment. It's definitely not an easy piece to go through, so be ready/careful.

Hungry Mother 5:26 PM  

Something happened to my earlier post, around 8:20am. Anyway, I had spaNsHANTILLES for a while, until I noticed the error. This puzzle reminded me of my earlier solving years, when Wednesday puzzles were often right on my borders of solvability. Very lovely puzzle today. BTW, I really don’t care about any of your political comments, so shut up.

nick strauss 6:06 PM  

French Antilles yeah.

Doc John 6:09 PM  

Did TOE POKE make anyone else think of this?

Anonymous 6:27 PM  

I have noticed that it is usually Rex who sets the stage and essentially gives the green light for hot topics. When he sticks to the puzzle the flock tends to follow. So for all of the folks who moan about the blog getting hijacked and say to go elsewhere I say They are the ones who need to leave.

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Doug groped me. It was some years ago and we were sharing a ride in a ski lift gondola in Squaw Valley, California. I was 64 but looked 62, and believe you me it was a damn good 62. Dirk was dressed in a tie-dye snow suit with a Santa Claus cap on, and I asked him if I could see his ski poles. He held one pole out and as I was stroking it (to test its mettle) Doogie groped me, then said that if I protested he would make the gondola wildly rock back and forth. I'm afraid of heights, so I took another swig of vodka from the antique Austrian snifter I was carrying and said, "OK then, do your worst!" Donald did and then for the rest of the ride we smoked menthols and killed the snifter's contents.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 7:24 PM  

My god.

Anonymous 7:38 PM  

Yeah, well, Rex groped me. We were at a pulp fiction conference and we met while attending a break-out session that focused on the hard-boiled detective genre. After the session we repaired to the hotel bar but decided it had too much class, so Rick and I headed to an Irish pub a few blocks away. After we drank most of a bottle of Bushmills (neat of course), we headed through an alleyway to go back to the hotel. Roger asked me if I would sleep with him, and when I hesitated he backhanded me several times. That of course aroused me. We retired to Rodrigo's room where for most of the night we intermingled long bouts of love-making with room service delivery (mostly steak, eggs, and home fries). I carried his baby to term and now the bastard owes me child support.

BarbieBarbie 7:57 PM  

Pete @4:45, wow. You have it so right. You share a name with a close relative of mine, so I’m going to pretend I know you. Thanks.

Anon from Accounting @ 7:08 and 7:38, you need an editor— your attempts at humor are kind of lame these days.

Outside The Box 8:47 PM  

Got the “theme,”but at the same time I said, “This is not a theme. It is a dumb excuse for a theme.”

In fact, pretty dumb puzzle all around.

Lewis 10:00 PM  

@david -- Jeff Chen is a constructor and editor of the Xword Info site ( xwordinfo.com ), and comments on every NYT puzzle on that site.

laura R 12:05 AM  

It's really "you tell 'em," because "'em" is short for "them."

laura R 12:07 AM  

Agreed with Rex. I just did this puzzle, and I abhorred it. Nothing fun in it. Nothing felt current. Theme was nonsensical. Bleh. But, like Rex said, Alabama!!

laura R 12:07 AM  

Yes! I wish that was the answer instead!

Don from Accounting 1:41 AM  

@BarbieBarbie 7:57PM

Hey those dumb posts aren't mine!

Blue Stater 9:34 AM  

To my considerable surprise, I got this puzzle; usually, as the week wears on and the puzzles decay into word-games that aren't crossword puzzles and rely increasingly on non-words and factual errors, I have to consult the various cheat-blogs. I still don't get how "MAKE AN ENTRANCE" can have "Entrance" as a verb, but I managed to get it anyway by ignoring the "theme," as I nearly always do. I agree with OFL's general assessment, though.

Luisa Ryan 12:45 PM  

My name is Luisa Ryan from Germany, me and my husband had been married for 10 years and we have 3 lovely kids, my husband was always busy with work but when ever it is weekend he always take me and our kids out for dinner and sometime we went shopping together because the kids like to buy things, our family was happy until my husband went on a business trip when he came back he started acting strange he didn't have time for me and the kids anymore, last month he told me that he is tired of our marriage that he want a divorce at first I thought he was joking until he packed out of the house leaving me and the kids alone I was heartbroken I couldn't eat for some days I cried and cried and the kid was always asking for their dad i lied to them saying he went on a business trip I couldn't take it anymore I decided to search on how to get him back I came across Dr Great email I didn't want to email him at first but knowing am losing my husband I emailed him and explained my problem to him, he replied my mail and told me he will help me but I should give him sometime to consult the gods after sometime he told me that the spell was done. 28 hours later my husband came back begging for forgiveness and I forgive him now my marriage is save, all thanks to Dr Great for saving it. If your husband or wife left you and you want him or her back the right man to bring him or her back is Dr Great he is a good man he is a messager send by God to help us in time of problems he can put a stop to your problem email him at infinitylovespell@gmail.com

rondo 10:14 AM  

Cheeses! The lesserANTILLES held up the NW for waaaay too long, long enough for that R in SIRENE to be the last hole filled. Inkfest to get FRENCH in there seeing as Dutch didn’t quite fit. Clear sailing otherwise.

Interesting way to clue a RRN. Thurston Howell __ may be next!? That candy ampersandwich is getting a bit tiresome.

Anyone beside me ever read ADA? A tough read IMHO.

Definitely a MN thing, when I was a youngster AXEL’S Treehouse was a very popular kid’s TV show. The actor portraying AXEL Torgeson – Clellan Card – with the “dumb Swede” accent was in high demand for personal appearances. I remember him filling up our gym and drawing a huge crowd at the local parade. Funny what passes for entertainment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgsNSNobaVc

Despite a DIAZ and a MEG, GEENA Davis will always get a yeah baby.

Not one of te great puzzles, but it had me puzzled with a *lesser* GAFFE.

Sloaka 10:42 AM  

This one is terrible. Wow. Making an entrance? Seriously??

Grade: F

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

You knew the ol' spacecraft was not going to like this one, with 8-across in such a marquee position. This is two days in a row...I'm starting to take it personally. If there's an ampersandwich in tomorrow's...well, I like to follow the Fleming train of thought: first time, happenstance; second time, coincidence; third time, enemy action.

This was not nearly the only thing to bring down my ire. If you have to resort to a SIRENE and a LIA crossing the IIIs, you're in trouble. I did understand the "other" meaning of ENTRANCE, but still found the theme and revealer line weak. As the builder himself admits, HIDDEN would make much better sense. The clue for ORE is unnecessary, for a Wednesday. I must admit I didn't realize the significance of TOEPOKE; I thought, "duh, isn't that how you kick a ball??" In American football, I should have recalled, kickers nowadays never use their toe but rather the side of the foot.

Anyway, despite the shoutout to my son, who is enviously positioned right next to my heartthrob and DOD GEENA, this one's a clunker. Woulda been a double-bogey but for those two names; just bogey.

Burma Shave 11:44 AM  

TAXFREE SOD

MEG’s SUITORS are VAGRANTS who HYDE in a tent,
they can’t MAKEANENTRANCE with no BREAD to pay RENT.

--- EZEKIEL “TOEPOKE” MINOSO


Really, it was a spellcaster in my captcha

thefogman 12:18 PM  

Rex is right on this one. It did not ENCHANT, RIVET, DELIGHT or ENTRANCE in the slightlest. My paper did not have any circled or shaded squares so that didn't help - but that's not Benjamin Kramer's fault. In spite of that, I managed to solve. Will Shortz goofed when he gave the green light to this one. He should have GAFFEd it and clubbed it to death.

Diana, LIW 1:00 PM  

"Casting a Spell"

A Synder called Rainy was stunned by
A verse that made him say "Oh my...
I saw a rhyme penned
By DoRon or B.S. and
I wondered - who's being a sly guy?"

Diana, Poultry in Motion

rainforest 2:05 PM  

@Lady Di - excellent! you must admit, something sneaky has been perpetrated.

(a) I found the puzzle weird.
(b) There were no shaded squares in my version.

Therefore, (c) I moved blindly through this, eventually solving it as a themeless, which for me it was. Maybe this supports my plaint: does there *have* to be a theme?

Like with many others, lesser ANTILLES held me up for a long time.

Yes to GEENA Davis, and I do like me some Romanian SIRENE, since I am half Romanian. I liked the puzzle despite the weirdness and shaded squares absence.

thefogman 5:51 PM  

Does anyone remember the Nov. 17/17 puzzle where one of the answer to 28D (Pen name) was ERASERMATE? I bought a three pack of these and they are indeed eraseable pens. This is not a plug. I have no shares in Papermate. But these pens will save me a ton of cash on whiteout correction tape.

Anonymous 11:49 PM  

Don't eat too much cheese, or your GASBOMBs might set off the SIRENE

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