Military vehicle used for reconnaissance / TUE 12-26-17 / Ja Rule hit that includes lyric wash away your tears / Chalupa alternative

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Constructor: Peter Gordon

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: a quip — here's the note appended to the puzzle; it's a long quotation that doubles as the theme clue:

So ... A.J. JACOBS, despite having appeared as an answer in a NYT crossword puzzle, is, according to his brother-in-law, STILL A FIVE-LETTER / WORD STARTING WITH / "LOS" AND ENDING IN "ER"

[it is a bit weird to have "1-Down" here be part of the quote, but "1-Across" be an actual clue...]

Word of the Day: PIUS I (36D: Second-century pope) —
Pope Saint Pius I (died c. 155) is said to have been the Bishop of Rome from c. 140 to his death c. 154,[1] according to the Annuario Pontificio. His dates are listed as 142 or 146 to 157 or 161, respectively. [that is *some* opening paragraph ... quite a pope] (wikipedia)
• • •

Let me tell you, when you have a no-blurb-reading policy, 52-Across is a real adventure. I finished the puzzle in pretty normal Tuesday time (despite having no idea what was going on with any of the theme material), and I kept trying to parse LOSANDENDINGINER (taking out "ending," imagining there was something going on involving LOS ANgeles, etc.), to no avail. So I finally read the *long* blurb and ... ah. OK. It's a not-that-funny quip puzzle by someone I've never heard of (which, I guess, is fitting, since that's pretty much the joke). Seems mean to reabuse the guy, although ... I guess if you get this much crossword abuse, it eventually counts as glorification. Of a sort. I cannot say I liked this puzzle, but only because quip puzzles are almost never worth it, and usually involve gags that are at best cute. It's a fine grid, and managed to be Tuesday-easy despite a. being oversizd (16 wide), and b. having four essentially unclued themers in it. If you enjoyed the winky little self-referential thing, wonderful. Then the puzzle worked.

SCOUT CAR feels super made-up, but I'm sure it's not or it wouldn't be in here (62A: Military vehicle used for reconnaissance). ASANAS feels super made-up too, since ASANA is plural all on its own, but dictionaries are telling me that in *English* the plural is ASANAS, so there we are (48D: Yoga positions). PIUSI is almost certainly real, but definitely unfortunate (36D: Second-century pope), as are all random popes (i.e. the vast majority of popes—historically inconsequential but cruciverbally useful because their names can end in Is and Vs and Xs). It's to the NYT's credit that random popes have been down overall of late—or so it feels. NOONS is super-rough as a plural. MENACER is not a word anyone would use ... but since it's crossing CUR, why not cross-reference? Go all in. Commit to your word atrocity!

Today's constructor, Peter Gordon, is one of the two best crossword *editors* I know. Meticulous. Smart. Intolerant of garbage. Edits *in consultation* with the constructor, so the final product is one that everyone's happy with. Doesn't take 1 to 10 years to publish your work after it's been accepted. Ask anyone who's constructed for him. He's wonderful. I say this both because it's true and because a new season of his crossword—Fireball Crosswords—starts up on January 3. These are challenging weekly crosswords, mostly themed, made by the most talented constructors around. Along with American Values Crossword, this is the indie puzzle subscription you should definitely have. 45 puzzles for 27 bucks. Good stuff. Get it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Fun and funny. Best Tues. in a while. I also @Rex never heard of the guy but the wiki bio is pretty interesting.

John Morrison 12:22 AM  

Certain positions in yoga are a pain in the asana.

John Hoffman 12:24 AM  

I thought that this Tuesday puzzle was easier than yesterday’s. I must’ve just been on the wavelength of the constructor.

abalani500 12:33 AM  

The iPhone app does not include the entire blurb so the point of the puzzle is lost. Made the whole thing rather pointless.

Outside The Box 12:37 AM  

I had pretty much the same reaction Rex did:

LOSANDENDING . . . What???? Got it eventually, Decent Tuesday puzzle. A.J. who??

Moly Shu 12:47 AM  

I try to discover a little something to make me sweeter.....

2 days in a row with top notch links. Thx @Rex. I’m with @OTB, who?

Uncle Alvarez 1:09 AM  

“Good stuff. Get it.”

Just what your mother said last night.

Churlish Nabob 1:10 AM  

@Uncle Alvarez, that makes little to no sense whatsoever.

Uncle Alvarez 1:12 AM  

Hey Nabob, whatev TF “nabob” means, no one asked you, simpleton.

Jack the Lad 1:13 AM  

Happy Boxing Day everyone!!!!

Libtard Snowflake 1:15 AM  

Does anyone remember President Obama?

Larry Gilstrap 1:54 AM  

If I were to ask for help with a FIVE LETTER answer and I already had the LOS and the ER, I would expect the answer to be forthcoming. Minor point, for a Tuesday. A.J. JACOBS is the guy that wrote that book about living for a year in compliance with the restrictions expressed in the Bible. New Testament, not so difficult, but the Old Testament contains some prescribed behaviors that are much more bizarre than dietary restrictions. I remember hearing an interview where he describes building a hut in his apartment and some other challenging tasks. Haven't read it, but I assume he sucessfully avoids blasphemy.

Not many Presidents have the opportunity to appoint three Supreme Court Justices, for one reason or the other.

Eastern Orange County is rife with things named SANTIAGO, from the Peak, to the Canyon, the creek that flows through it, numerous schools, including a college, and a major thoroughfare.

G.I. Joe, Ass-Stomper of Pasty Russian 1:59 AM  

Who let you Rooskies in? Did you smell beets or something? Am I gonna have to kick your asses again?

Anonymous 2:49 AM  

The blurb not working in iOS made this almost impossible for me. Got most of it at a good speed, but the SW corner crushed me with some hard words (ASANAS, MENACER, ROSERED) and the broken themer.

Pretty frustrating when they publish something that doesn’t work in the app. Oh well.

Ghostface Puzzlah 3:00 AM  

The best part is that if you click through to the “Wordplay Blog”, you are welcomed with.... articles from 6 months ago.

Theodore Stamos 4:22 AM  

The blurb didn't work on my iphone. Not sure if that would have made much of a difference for me. I couldn't believe this was a Tuesday. Probably the first Tuesday ever that I couldn't finish. I'm hoping it's because of the partial blurb and not because of my declining faculties.

Lewis 5:37 AM  

Liked the anagrams at 13D and 14D.

Trudy Morgan-Cole 6:06 AM  

I also couldn't read the whole blurb in my app but got it anyway. Made more fun for me by the fact that I'm a huge AJ Jacobs fan. The highlight of my book blogging life was when I accused Jacobs (jokingly) of being responsible for starting the whole "I did some arbitrary crazy thing for a year and wrote a book about it" trend, which was over the top a few years ago, and he saw my post and commented on it. He's an rntertaining writer (not just of The Year of Living Biblically but several other books) and a good guy.

Z 7:16 AM  

Nothing like cognitive dissonance on Boxing Day. I love Peter Gordon (I do both his Fireball Puzzles and his Newsflash puzzle) but despise quote puzzles. So a quote puzzle Tuesday had two strikes before I even started. Still, this is definitely the best Tuesday quote puzzle I’ve ever solved.

The dearth of Random Popes mirrors a marked drop in RRNs in general. Does anyone miss clues like “Super Bowl in 5293”? Not I.

Hungry Mother 7:26 AM  

No blurb, but super quick. I knew that Wolfram was another name for Tungsten, so that helped. I don’t ever pay attention to puzzle constructors, so no help there. Lots of downs today for me.

Anonypuss 7:27 AM  

Best thing today: @Uncle Alvarez's comment about "Good stuff. Get it."


BarbieBarbie 7:36 AM  

The best part about this puzzle is the meta part: it’s a Tuesday. So, congratulations, AJ!
Yes, The Year of Living Biblically is very worth reading.
There were so many 7- and 8- letter words, all of them Tuesday-gettable, and then those three letter words in the middle made the puzzle flick along like a skipping stone (and weren’t junk). I enjoyed being mystified by the quote and having to go look up the explanation to grok the meaning. Good puzzle and more please!

QuasiMojo 7:51 AM  

I have no idea who A J Jacobs is. But I like the fact that he is not a SORE loser, even when placed next to an ABSCESS. Strange puzzle but I kind of liked it. I wonder if there was a pope named PIUS who was a ZERO.

chefbea 8:01 AM  

Never heard of AJ Jacobs...made no sense to me!!!!!

Michael Magee 8:03 AM  

I got the clue right away ... I have used that one myself many a time.

kitshef 8:04 AM  

A rare week when Tuesday plays easier than Monday. I guess because none of the themers were inferrable, the downs had to be extra-easy.

Only six more NOONS until 2018 ... doesn't sound right. NOONS are usually warmer than midnights. Nope. Maybe as modern slang for 'noonish'. When ya wanna chow? NOONS.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

The Year of Living Biblically was somewhat disappointing. I thought it would be very funny but only some parts of it were funny. Too ho-hum to suggest to others. I couldn't even remember the author's name when I saw it in this puzzle so obviously didn't make an impression. I thought the theme of this puzzle was rather silly.

Mohair Sam 8:26 AM  

On Monday and Tuesday around here I do the top half of the puzzle while Her Ladyship sleeps in (the whole "kept woman" thing you know), then she completes the bottom half upon arising. I sat here going nuts waiting for the punch line at 52 across. Pretty good. And don't we all have a brother-in-law just like that.

Clean puzzle, and certainly different - different is always good. And we're happy in this house for Mr. JACOBS promotion to Tuesday status - congrats AJ.

@kitshef - I Like your slangy NOONS suggestion, I suspect they'll be adopting it soon.

Two Ponies 8:45 AM  

Never heard of the author but I loved the joke.
I don't know if it works with non-crossword-junkies but I loved it.
Peter Gordon is a real pro and it showed today.

The premise of that book sounds potentially brutal. The Old Testament has some savage and scary moments.

Roo Monster 8:48 AM  

Hey All !
I picture AJ JABOCS taking this puz and shaking it in front of his brother-in-laws face and saying "Ha!" Also, good for him, as free press is always welcome. Maybe his books will get an uptick in sales.

Pretty cool how his quote ended up being able to split into three 16's. Nice fill with the constraint. Only 36 blocks on this oversize grid. Nice.

A good TuesPuz, easy-ish, but not insultingly so. Had no writeovers, which is always nice, although did want SATan for SATYR first, though didn't write it in. ROSE RED is Snow White's sister, eh? Interesting. Gonna Goog to see her other siblings. Is there a Black Onyx, Green Jade, Purple People Eater? :-)

So, nice job Peter, and AJ, enjoy your whole puz dedication.


Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Please explain how "AJJACOBS" is a five-letter word? how does it start with LOS and ends with ER? I just don't get it.

mathgent 8:52 AM  

I don't know why I liked it. The quote wasn't especially clever, there wasn't much sparkle to it (even compared to the average Tuesday), the cluing was ordinary. Maybe because Peter Gordon is such a pro.

Pete 9:02 AM  

@Anon 8:49 - I can't explain, as there is no explanation. If then man's name were AJLöSER, then the quote would make sense and it would be funny. But his isn't AJLöSER, so the quote wasn't funny an the puzzle was an epic fail, theme-wise.

Anon 9:05 AM  

AJJACOBS is not a five letter word, but LOSER is. He is a frequent guest on a couple of podcasts that I listen to, "Unorthodox", and "Tell me Something I don't know"

mmorgan 9:15 AM  

I read the blurb and still had trouble parsing LOSANDENDINGINER -- but when I did, it was a very pleasant moment.

DeeJay 9:19 AM  

If you don't like this puzzle, you shouldn't do puzzles.

Pet Monkey 9:21 AM  

@ Anon 8:49 If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.

GILL I. 9:30 AM  

I like Peter Gordon puzzles. He has a sense of humor and it shows. I remember he did an April Fool's one with a quote saying that the NYT would no longer be offering puzzles. A lot of people went ballistic. @Rex went on about how constructors were so poorly paid. Ties haven't changed much.
I immediately noticed @Lewis's ERECT/SECRET and was hoping for some more goodies. The closest I could find was his DEERE/EARED. No cigar.
Bring on all the Popes says I. And find some clues for NOONS. MENACER does look funny. Come to think of it there are some right here. SLEW FATAL BANAL SATYR and last but not least, TACO. A TACO isn't really like a Chalupa. An authentic Chalupa is shaped like a little boat, deep fried and then filled with all the goodies. the best ones you'll ever eat are in Oaxaca. The Absolute worst are from Taco Hell.
Must go look up AJ JACOBS. He sounds like a riot.

GILL I. 9:40 AM  

I got a new Mac Book Air for Christmas and it likes to change the words I type. We are still at the dating stage so he doesn't know me very well. Times haven't change much.....!

Stanley Hudson 9:40 AM  

Good thing for Jacobs that one of his married brothers didn’t die during the year of living Biblically.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

I like the fact that we finally got Obama paired with cur, arab menacer and loser. Its a good day.

Numinous 10:05 AM  

I have no idea who AJ JACOBS is but I think it would be good if more people lived “biblically”. At least according to Jesus. If nothing else, he set a pretty good example for people to follow. And that, to me, is what Christianity is all about. I once knew an atheist who described himself as “The Last Christian Gentleman.”

Happy Boxing Day, y’all. English mansions and houses had a “box room” where folks kept their empty luggage. In spite of all the various explanations of the Day (most of which are probably bogus) I always think of a day when people are packing for a journey. “Let’s all take a trip over New Years on a luxury liner like, oh, say, the Titanic?” That idea gives me a sinking feeling for sure.

I found this puzzle pretty easy in spite of not being able to read the blurb on my iPad. It didn’t even take all that many downs to figure out the sixteen letter rows. STILL A FIVE LETTER WORD that means you didn’t win. That’s a better description for my brother-in-law than than it resembles anything he might have said. STILL I enjoyed this puzzle though nothing else stands out for me.

Two Ponies 10:07 AM  

@GILL I., "dating stage"! Fantastic.

Suzie Q 10:11 AM  

Peter Gordon usually mops the floor with me but I like his puzzles and hope for the day when I can do his Fireball puzzles.
At least having him on a Tuesday gave me a chance and I did it!

Unknown 10:14 AM  

Sped through this but got killed in the SW corner. Maybe I'm just bitter, but this feels like some kind of inside joke and I don't like it in my puzzle :)

puzzlehoarder 10:15 AM  

I hope you all had a good Christmas. No chance of commenting the last two days. Today's theme was interesting. Everyone on the xwordinfo JACOB list is just as obscure. I stuck with the fill today as the theme entries were counter intuitive. Particularly 52A. The only point of confusion came from a lack of familiarity with ECIGS and changing the last letter of 12D from a T to an R and finally a W. That last change was in conjunction with changing 41D from URAL to IRAN.

I'm not sure when it happened but ASANAS has become as much of a reflex answer as ATOLLS.

My wife had a great idea for when we got together with her family for Christmas. Everyone wrapped a book they'd read and enjoyed and then we exchanged them as gifts.

Strawboy 10:17 AM  

Happy St. Stephens Day!

Carola 10:19 AM  

For me, the put-down of the quip was, well, kind of a downer. I see that AJ JACOBS gets top billing in 1A, but still, LOSER gets the last word and a longer entry. Okay, I'll let it go.

More interesting to me was the fact that tungsten, a WORD STARTING WITH "t" has the chemical symbol W. Thank you to @Hungry Mother for explaining that it refers to wolfram. I had to find out why. According to Wikipedia, "Wolfram" (or "volfram") is used in most European (especially Germanic and Slavic) languages, and is derived from the mineral wolframite, which is the origin of the chemical symbol W. The name "wolframite" is derived from German "wolf rahm" ("wolf soot" or "wolf cream"), the name given to tungsten by Johan Gottschalk Wallerius in 1747. This, in turn, derives from "lupi spuma", the name Georg Agricola used for the element in 1546, which translates into English as "wolf's froth", and is a reference to the large amounts of tin consumed by the mineral during its extraction," Wolf cream! A fine one to add to one's fun-with-words DATABASE.

Birchbark 10:28 AM  

It's -23 CELSIUS this morning.

Strove for some sort of llama for "Chalupa alternative" until the Boxing Day cobwebs cleared.

@Rex, "cruciverbally useful" is a descriptive gem. Beauty is truth, truth beauty.

Good laugh on the final revealer, where I'd been running the alphabet to get to ASANAS.

Knitwit 10:52 AM  

This was so much fun! After taking some time off from Fireball Crosswords-mainly because they were too “challenging” for me-I just subscribed! Happy New Year! 🎆🎊

Two Ponies 10:57 AM  

I just Googled A. J. Jacobs. I listened to two of his TED Talks.
Cool stuff. He also has a book about trying to follow all of the current medical advice called Drop Dead Healthy.
Funny and informative.
While describing himself he says he is Jewish like Olive Garden is Italian.

FrankStein 11:04 AM  

I would have preferred a J(ane) Jacobs clue and quote since she usually made sense and had something valuable to say.

JOHN X 11:06 AM  

Well as soon as I saw the partial blurb that was on the iPad version (you had to go to the website for the rest) I decided to do the puzzle "as is." I did okay until the end. I got the whole quote until the last line at 52A where it crossed at 48D.

A_ANAS? I had no idea. I had to run the alphabet to figure out the five letter word this guy still was. I tried LOnER, LOvER, LObER, LOgER (those last two made no sense AT ALL) until I finally thought LOSER? And *ding* I was done.

It was a DNF for me. I'm a loser, just like AJ Jacobs.

jberg 11:20 AM  

LAMER quote than usual, and I'd have liked to see a themer at 70A (or is this a reference to something that happens in one of A J JACOBS's books?), but the puzzle was OK.

As I understand it, each new Pope picks a name for himself based on someone he admires, so PIUS I must have been doing something right.

Best thing about the puzzle, though, was the subtle reference at 49A to all those poor folks who couldn't read the note.

Joseph Michael 11:26 AM  

Don't know AJ JACOBS, but enjoyed the puzzle anyway. Found the south a bit tricky, especially for a Tuesday. Had "data bank" before DATA BASE, "scoop car" before SCOUT CAR, and "pie pan" before PIE TIN.

Nice clue for ERASURE. Had me thinking about diacritical marks with exotic names. Also like looking at LOSANDENDINGINER as one word. Any definitions come to mind?

Not sure why tungsten gets a CAPITAL W or how MENACER rates as a word.

Thought the quote was kinda cute, though I'm not a big fan of quote puzzles. Overall a fun puzzle from an excellent constructor.

Bob Mills 11:44 AM  

Nice puzzle, but I didn't recognize A. J. Jacobs as a prominent writer. What has he/she done?

Dave OB 11:50 AM  

I use that app too, and I was wondering if I was missing something! Why on earth don’t they just include a way of accessing it? Anyway it meant that I back-solved the puzzle like Rex—took a little longer.

Masked and Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Different ... World's longest crossword clue. I liked AJ's bro-in-law's sense of humor and Peter Gordon's TuesPuz. I read that Peter Gordon blames his dog, for the puztheme. Good dog.

fave fillins: CAPITALW/INSPECT. GLUTE/SCOUTCAR. No precise idea why. I blame the dog. Ergo … staff weeject pick = CUR.

Speed solvers could, indeed, lose precious nanoseconds, just readin/digestin the blurb. On the other hand, seems like you'd lose a whole pile of em, ignorin the blurb, too. M&A read the blurb. The "1-Down" blurb reference confused the M&A, at first. [How was he an answer to APR?, etc.]

fave clue: The 67-A ERASURE one.
fave runt-roll to the east: PIUSS.
fave desperation moment: NOONS.

Thanx, Gordonmeister. 77 words; how odd.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Pile of crap puzzle that I managed to overcome moreso than solve.

WTF is AJ Jacobs? Not Tuesday fare, IMHO.

Crossing the obscure A?ANAS with part III of an otherwise dumb "quip" full of partial-word gibberish??? Didn't help that PIUS? could have had a couple different Roman endings.

katherine catmull 12:10 PM  

usually I oddly enjoy Rex's crankiness but today I have to protest, this was a damn delight. Finally figuring out what LOSANDENDINGINER meant was so pleasing. So many little grace notes in this one, like the two "Burmese and Persian" clues, "Perform in a play" near "playbill listing," etc. This was wonderful, even if I went over my Tuesday time due mostly to the sly tungsten clue.

Numinous 12:17 PM  

Just putting this out there: Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire around 313 or the early fourth century. The clue asks for a Pope from the second century. I seriously doubt that in the years that Christianity was persecuted and then struggling for recognition there could have been as many as V Pope Piuses let alone X. That answer is really only a matter of careful thought and some knowledge of history.

Joe Bleaux 12:21 PM  
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Barry Frain 12:28 PM  

Good god, people, the blurb/hint/explanatory note isn’t complicated. Does someone have to wipe your butt for you? How in the hell did you find your way to The NY Times in the first place? You make me tired.

Masked and Anonymous 12:29 PM  

fave weirdly hard-but-easy clue: The one inside the quip, for LOSER.
@RP: Agree with all U say about Peter Gordon as an editor, and about Fireball xwords. M&A always has to sign up for the New Fire Season.



teevoz 12:29 PM  


teevoz 12:31 PM  

You have to scroll down but avoid the explanations. Not good. I finally found it but I'm not sure how.

Charles kluepfel 12:55 PM  

never thought of LOsER; left in LOnER, having never heard of asanas.

Ellen S 1:01 PM  

The Puzzazz app reproduced the blurb perfectly. Available for iPhone and iPad. I’m not being paid for this recommendation, nor was I asked to make it, I’m just, well, puzzled why people still use the NYT app with all its flaws when Puzzazz works splendidly.

Regarding the puzzle itself, armed with the blurb I had a fun time solving it. No surprise that OFL didn’t like it but I was surprised that @Jeff Chen didn’t, and he usually works overtime finding the positive in everything. And it was one of my favorites in a while. Oh well. Reading through the list of A.J. Abrams titles, I wonder is he funny like Morgan Spurlock, or just, I dunno, has too much time on his hands?

Anoa Bob 1:14 PM  

I agree it feels like an inside joke and I am outside in the cold. Looked up JACOBS on and the alluded to NYT appearance was on SATYRday, March 8, 2014 in a David Steinberg puzzle where it was clued "A. J. ___, author of the best seller "The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World".

And, yeah, at six letters, not sure how it can be described as STILL A FIVE LETTER WORD....

Fs4569 1:16 PM  

"Year of Living Biblically" was one of best reads ever.Funny and informative.

Ellen S 1:32 PM  

@puzzlehoarder - my family has been doing the book exchange at Xmas (take that, Donald!) for years. There’s another part to it that makes it the most fun: the books are just put in a pile, anonymous on the outside (donor usually identified on the inside). The participants draw numbers. #1 picks a (wrapped) book from the pile. Opens it. Donor often explains about why it was enjoyable. Then #2 has their turn: they can either draw a wrapped book, or take that of #1. If the latter, #1 gets to draw again. On to #3: they can either pick a wrapped book or take that of #1 or #2. If a book changes hands three times, it is no longer stealable. At the very end, #1 gets to either keep the book they currently hold, or swap with someone else. I’ve gotten some interesting books that way. It’s low-stress, cheap and fun.

Calman Snoffelevich 1:32 PM  

I solved this on the iPhone (on the web, not using the app) and it showed all the info. Maybe get rid of the app?

BobL 1:34 PM  

@Anoa - the five letter word describes the six letter answer

Futilitarian 1:37 PM  

I got A.J. Jacobs right away because I knew the guy 23 years ago when we worked together on a small California newspaper and I was delighted to see this. :-) I thought the puzzle a hoot and I'm sure A.J. did too,. The point of course is that the Times is no longer abusing him but giving his due -- putting him in a Tuesday puzzle! That means he's no longer a loser. The Times once did a scathing review of one of his books, but actually gave him a chance to rebut the review in print! His rebuttal was hilarious,

Monty Boy 3:39 PM  

Just got a NYT subscription so I'm trying the comment part of the blog. Hope I can come up with pity, witty comments. I like Mon/Tues - easy so I can get confidence and a running start toward Sat.

Shrieking Harridan 3:46 PM  

Has Nancy done her daily whine yet?

Linda Bowles 3:48 PM  

WTF is “pity, witty comments”?

George Phipps 3:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unofficial Blog Cop 4:05 PM  

@SH, don’t feed the know-it-all.

'mericans in Paris 4:15 PM  

Late to the party. No. 1 (and only) son gave me a subscription to the on-line version of the NYT crossword, so on Christmas Day I started doing the puzzle on an iPad. Took awhile to get used to how to type in stuff without writing over letters I'd already entered. OK, not rocket science, but I have to be careful. Because I was teething on Monday, my time to do today's was about the same, even though I found it slightly tougher.

Solved the puzzle without seeing the blurb, and like several others the "s" in LOS ... ER was my last entry.

Anybody else do the Daily Mini (5 x 5 to 7 x 7) puzzles? Having done all of the last two weeks' worth, BAY AREA seems to be a popular answer lately!

JC66 4:54 PM  

@Linda Bowles

Maybe some one told @Monty Boy to get the "H" outa here.

Odd Sock 5:42 PM  

Really @ Linda Bowles, the poor guy gets a new subscription, tries it out, and has a typo on his first post. Is that any way to treat a new blogger? Obviously he meant pithy. Try not to be mean to the new kid.
Good one, JC66.

GILL I. 7:02 PM  

@Odd Sock. Thanks for making me spill my hot chocolate laced with rum.

JC66 7:22 PM  


Thanks. I think.

GILL I. 7:42 PM  

Oops @JC66.....You sly dog!

JC66 8:00 PM  


Not to worry, even though I drink scotch, I can relate.

Anonymous 9:34 PM  


nick strauss 9:40 PM  

Thought Avanas instead of Asanas, I guess I was thinking avatars... then you end up with LOVER, not LOSER. Santiago was the clincher.

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:46 AM  

If you're gonna do a quip puzzle, do it like this one. Yes, the fill has some unfortunate glue, but the corners are wide open with some bonus entries so the potentially stuffy part doesn't bother the solver that much. Given the inherent constraints on the puzzle, the fill does as good a job as it can -although that might not be saying much-. The theme entries are actually -relatably- funny, and not because I have been mentioned in an NYT puzzle, no, it's the other, five-letter part. But yes, I enjoyed this one. All I ask from a Tuesday puzzle is to put a couple of smiles on my face and not feel bad after the experience is over. This one definitely passed the test.

*"Snow White doesn't have a sister? WTF?" was my initial response but know I have learnt a nice bit of trivia! Thanks, Mr. Gordon.

*"Butt muscle" is a Christmas-related clue, I guess. We also had HAM yesterday! Most wonderful time of the year.

GRADE: B, 3.45 stars.

This comment has been removed by the author.
newspaperguy 7:47 PM  

I would recommend that people who have never heard of AJ Jacobs try visiting a book store. You learn all kinds of neat stuff there. And I'm with Rex-how provincial to use the English pluralization to get asanas. Whatever happened to good old Sanskrit?

Tarheeled 5:03 PM  

I never heard of A.J.Jacobs so googled him and watched half of a TED talk. Apparently, his brother-in-law was correct. Nice easy puzzle and enjoyable.

thefogman 9:57 AM  

I disagree with Grouchy McCrankypants. This was a terrific puzzle. I found it a bit challenging for a Tuesday. The evidence is in the ERASURES. Not many, but unusual for a Tuesday. Bonus: ANA Kendrick gets my two thumbs up.

Sloaka 11:34 AM  

This isn't a common phrase (at least that I've ever heard). So then, I'm not sure why I care if this dude's brother thinks it. So the theme is just weird.
The SW corner was tough. Never knew Snow White had a sister, never heard of ASANAS (the one time I took a yoga class), a TORERO is new to me, and my French is too rusty for LAMER. DNF...but the grade is mostly because the theme is weak. (which by the way...the app doesn't even display the entire can we get that fixed please?)

Grade: C

Aphid Larue 11:37 AM  

The lamp and the bell, by Edna st. Vincent Millay, is about Snow White and Rose Red. One of my father's favorites.

spacecraft 12:07 PM  

Before today I had my suspicions, but now the deal is sealed: OPL plays favorites. There is no way he is an impartial judge of crossword merit. "A fine grid??" "Intolerant of garbage?????????"

What do you call PIUSI? CTS? ONS? MENACER? (That's like "guider.") And how about CAPITALW? SEENIN? Come ON, man!

Mr. Gordon may be all that OFL says, but he clearly doesn't mind including some garbage in his own work. This was doable even without the "blurb" which my paper didn't print (never does). And since I've never heard of 1-across, filled in 100% by crosses, the blurb is at least true. This is, then, a quote + author puzzle; one step away from an acrostic. I'm in the large camp of those who do not like quote puzzles, and I surely didn't like this one. There isn't even a DOD, unless you pick one of the Obama women. Bah. Double bogey.

Burma Shave 12:57 PM  


ICRY when FATAL's not heard like I HEAR CANAL.


rondo 1:32 PM  

Not sure what to make of this puz. Yeah, it's filled in, and my paper has the blurb, but does anything RESONATE? No Sven with OLE either.

Took the missus to see ERASURE (see OFL's youtube link) a few years back. Andy Bell looked a little older, but was sounding very good for his AGE. I may have been the only straight guy in the house.

Have been to ODESSA twice. Recommended.

Back when Falcon Crest was hot, so was one-time frequent xword actress answer ANA Alicia. Yeah baby.

Lotsa threes and a quote about someone I don't recognize, yet filled in with relative EASE. Opinion? NADA. So TATA.

Diana, LIW 2:24 PM  

I'm a tad leery of quote puzzles, but don't "hate" them. I have stronger feelings about rebii.

Hardly remember doing this puzzle - so musta been pretty easy. Like the A of UAE.

The quote is kinda sad - poor AJ.

At least this week has been successful, so far.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 2:54 PM  

As @M&A would say, "Different is good". So say I.

I don't know AJ JACOBS, and maybe he is a LOSER, but no need to rub it in. Funny, though.

Just wondering: was the first PIUS known as PIUS I, or was that a retroactive moniker?
Ergo, if Bob became Pope, would he immediately be known as Pope Bob I? These kinds of musings pester me incessantly.

Fun facts: My last name is in the grid, and my Mom's maiden name is in the grid. Coincidence? I think not. Thus, I liked this puzzle.

Diana, LIW 3:42 PM  

@Rainy - I had the same musings about Pius I and/or Bob I. Oh dear, Donald I? Anywy, I searched the puzzle for possible last names. Lots of funny ones... Like, what if Mama was PAPA, and @Rainy was TATA?

Remember - everyone get your moonglasses on. Eclipse is early a.m. - between 3 and 5 depending on your locale.

Triple moon phenom and the State of the Union in one evening! Omen? Coincidence? You decide!

Or perhaps "OFL the First" will be mooning us. Stay tuned.

Lady Di

Tom M. 3:47 PM  

According to his brother-in-law, AJ JACOBS finally does lead off a Tuesday puzzle and therefore should NOt still be considered a LOS__ER, regardless of how many people are or are not familiar with him.

thefogman 6:22 PM  

@Diana,LIW: The moon events coinciding with the SOTUA are a sign. Lunacy!

Anonymous 1:50 AM  

And the theme being "loser" on the night of Trumps SOTU address, at least in syndiland.

Ps. @Rondo. Please stop with the yeah baby comments day after day after day.

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

I think the point has been missed by many of you. What a lovely gesture, and how awesome it must be for an obviously appreciative AJ Jacobs to have been both 1 down AND 1 across in the NYT crossword puzzle.

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