Moab's neighbor in Bible / WED 12-6-17 / Midwife to fairies in Shakespeare / Make bones about something

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Constructor: Clive Probert

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Ms — all clues start with "M." Every answer has at least one "M." Because .... "M"?

Theme answers:
  • all of them
Word of the Day: MNEME (3D: Muse of memory) —
In Greek mythology, Mneme /ˈnmi/ (Greek: Μνήμη Mnḗmē) was one of the three original (Boeotian) muses, along with her sisters Aoide and Melete before Arche and Thelxinoë were identified, increasing the number to five. Later, the Nine Olympian Muses were named. She was the muse of memory. (wikipedia)
• • •

Me, last night, upon solving this:

Upon waking, I stand by this. There is no point to this. There is no pleasure that results from this. Only bad things come from this, most notably tortured, terrible clues. Good clues are hard enough to write; when you insist they start with only one letter—especially when there are ZERO OTHER THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING IN YOUR PUZZLE—you are only spreading misery.

I knew something terrible was afoot when I ran into *&%^ing MNEME at 3D: Muse of memory. She's not even one of the damn nine muses. She's part of some "original" triad along with the equally "famous" AOIDE and MELETE, whom you of course see *all the time* (/sarcasm).

No doubt you found yourself at some point wondering "how does *that* clue fit *that* answer?" My worst case of this came when I encountered the clue on DEMUR (49D: Make bones about something). Nobody makes bones. They make no bones ... about something. And again, all this ridiculousness is happening with absolutely no payoff. There is no other point but the "M"s.

When the "best puzzle in the world" not only continues to pay constructors abysmally (while profiting enormously) but also perpetrates *this* nonsense, I retreat into the world of independent crosswords, where no one hates their solvers this much.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 7:50 AM  

I don't want to live in Mike's snarky world.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Could have used Trump and Scott Adams.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

I just worked the puzzle. Didn't notice the Ms. I know that seems unlikely, but it's true. Solved faster than my average for Wednesday. Nothing to get bent out of shape over.

chefbea 7:52 AM  

I'm the first...hater of the puzzle!!!!! Didn't realize all the clues started with an M. Did notice there were a lot of M's in the answer. Dumb puzzle!!!

Anonymous 7:52 AM  


JOHN X 7:52 AM  

Jeez Rex you take this stuff personally. I want to know what Will did to you. Something happened; did it involve a ping pong paddle? Somebody knows, let's hear it.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

Mike Pence.

Anonymous 7:54 AM  


Anonymous 7:55 AM  

Came here today just to see how much Rex hated this puzzle. Turns out - A LOT! No surprise. But I found it challenging and learned a couple of new things so even though I think the theme is rather odd I enjoyed the solving experience.

TomAz 7:58 AM  

So I'm solving this thing and I'm thinking: there sure are a lot of Ms. I didn't really worry about it too much, I figured I'd suss out the theme or pattern when I was done. "What's that? No theme or pattern? No rhyme or reason? Just Ms?" No I was sure there had to be some way to connect the Ms in the right order with the right colored pen and something would emerge. something wonderful, something beautiful.

I'm still waiting.

Anyway since Rex did not post any music video tie-in links, I offer this:

(not an endorsement).

Mimi M Momum 7:59 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle.

Ferdie Fussbudget 8:03 AM  

But is it art?

Stanley Hudson 8:06 AM  

A bit too easy, even for a Wednesday, but a pleasant solve.

I bet some primary care physician makes a lot of Money Managing Sharp’s blood pressure.

Z 8:07 AM  

Letter Play is not my cuppa. This is the epitome of Letter Play.


kitshef 8:18 AM  

The fill held up surprisingly well, given the rank theme. But rank that theme was. A prime example of admirable constructor effort not translating into solver entertainment.

Thomaso808 8:27 AM  

I liked it. It’s a stunt puzzle, people. Accept it for what it is. It’s not trying to be a normal puzzle. Embrace the difference! It’s got ACME. It’s got MOHAIR. And now I know where that damn word mnemonic comes from!

Yes, I liked it.

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

Gee, I dunno. I didn't find this puzzle challenging at all, but then I don't time myself. Things that didn't immediately fall came through with the crosses. Strikes me as an eminently fair puzzle.

C A 8:29 AM  

I loved it!

FrankStein 8:31 AM  

Mmm Mmm Good!

Rex, if we wanted to read your shrill tweets we would all go to Twitter. What is the point of reposting them here? Hmmmm?

Two Ponies 8:31 AM  

Here I am, skipping along, drinking my coffee, and noticing a lot of science, history, and math clues.
I was having fun learning things like why we use mnemonics to remember things and Mab was also a midwife. Cool stuff indeed.

Mum for Mothers Day, of course.

I never noticed the M's (love M & M's) until Rex pointed them out.
I wasn't sure that he and I had even done the same puzzle. Such a strong reaction from him surprised me. Even for a young/old grouch such as he is, this seemed like an overreaction to a puzzle I had fun solving.

I loved it.

Stuart Showalter 8:35 AM  

Agree w/ AnonyMous @7:52 — nothing to get bent out of shape over. But this is how @Rex (aka “Moaning Michael”?) gets his Mental yoga every day: venting his resentMents about Will and the NYT. A puzz Must be Mega MeMorable or he will heap Mountains of scorn on it. The only reason I coMe back here is to see what else he can whine about.

Mmm mmm good 8:42 AM  

Now Rex is bitching about capitalism too?

Irene 8:44 AM  

At least I learned something. I filled in ANGSTROM from the (difficult) crosses, then asked my husband if he had ever heard of it. He not only had, but knew what it meant.
For once I agree with Rex, especially about DEMUR/make bones.

mathgent 8:46 AM  

As Rex says, "Make bones of" is sort of like "ruth" and "feck." Known only in the negative. I like words (and expressions) like that.

I was going to say that I liked seeing MNEME and then I learned that she's not one of the Nine Muses. Cheap clue but I learned the etymology of "mnemonic."

As I was solving I was aware of all the M's and said to myself, "I'll bet that every answer has an M in it." But I didn't care enough to check. And I didn't notice that all the clues started with M.

It looks like today's comments will mostly be about how mean Rex us. If so, try to be witty. We've heard it all before.

As I'm writing this, @Lewis hasn't posted yet. I'm trying to imagine what positive things he can say about this misaster.

Suzie Q 8:47 AM  

I liked it and Rex hated it. Just another day at the blog.

Remember the character John Belushi used to play on SNL who used to spew and rant until he finally flipped out and spun out of his chair?
Rex is that guy today.

Pete 8:58 AM  

If this is the worst puzzle ever, it's only the worst because it duplicates the feat Mr. Probert achieved in August of 2010 where he made the same conceit for a puzzle with Bs instead of Ms. That puzzle was equally reviled, but at least is was orignal. It was followed a year later with a puzzle with Ts instead of Ms. Again, not well received.

Third times the charm? Maybe no.

mmorgan 9:01 AM  

I'm with those who never even noticed the Ms in the clues or the grid. Whatever that means!

Lindsay 9:02 AM  

OMG this is awful! I was solving downs only and not getting much of anywhere since there isn't any theme to tie the grid together. Just boatloads of "M"s. So I thought if I looked at the across clues there would be some explanation of why. But no. Just more "M"s.

Came here to see what I was missing.

Nothing, so it seems.

mathgent 9:02 AM  

MODULES are mathematical sets but that is an extremely general way to describe them. They are very specific sets usually encountered only in the graduate school curriculum. You have to know what a mathematical ring is to even define the term.

Sir Hillary 9:05 AM  


Mars's mountain made me merry.

Mostly made me mad/miserable.


Lewis 9:13 AM  

I solved, then thought, "Wait! What's the theme?" Found the ems in every word, then found out that every clue began with M, which completely went right by me.

What I like about a theme like this is that it makes the constructor come up with words and clues s/he wouldn't normally think of -- like how making a rhyming poem makes you come up with ideas that would have otherwise passed you by. That gives the puzzle a fresh feeling, when it works -- and I believe it did here. It felt strange and wonderful, different. I think stunts are okay -- admirable, even -- if the solve doesn't suffer for it, and while it apparently did for many, it didn't for me.

The six answers out of my wheelhouse were fairly crossed, and I love how the puzzle begins with EM at both 1A and 1D.

Lewis 9:15 AM  

@mathgent -- Imagine no longer!

ColoradoCog 9:22 AM  

I, too, totally missed the theme until I came here. I see there was an obvious opportunity at 28D to say “... and a hint to the theme of this puzzle.”

Wednesdays are my least favorite day of the puzzle week. Not easy enough to do as “only downs”, yet not providing enough challenge to be interesting in their own right. I just do them for the sake of streaks and stats, so I didn’t even notice that I didn’t notice a theme.

Nancy 9:23 AM  

Ugl pzl. Trse, trunctd, fl of abbrvs & shrt wds. Ddn lk.

Mr. Benson 9:28 AM  

A stunt puzzle is like prog rock: the creator is more interested in impressing you than entertaining you.

Manny Moe Michael Mitchell Menedez 9:30 AM  

Mmmmmmm, no!

Some very amusing tweets.

Note to constructors: solver's enjoyment before self-satisfaction for a construction feat.

Linda Vale 9:30 AM  

Rex Parker at an Art Museum...

The subject of this painting has been done before. Painting is horrible.
The frame of the next painting is too ornate. Painting is horrible.
The brush strokes on this painting are far too short. Painting sucks.
This next painting - Rex knows the artist. Masterpiece!!
Oh geez. This next painting is on an 18x25 canvas - not an 18x24. Therefore, it stinks.
The artist of the next painting signed his name in the corner, instead of the middle. Sucks!
The next painting is blue and not yellow. Rex likes blue. Masterpiece!!
The next painting looks like is painted in 1850. Too old. Sucks.
The next painting was obtained by the new curator of art at the museum. Rex hates the curator. Therefore, the painting sucks.
20000+ paintings in this museum. Rex expects no repetition of themes. How dare anyone come close to something done before. If it does, then it must be bad.

Mohair Sam 9:32 AM  

Brutal for us. MNEME and ANGSTROM both new here, along with EMMET - thankfully the crosses up there weren't too tough. Kind of agree with Rex (perhaps a tad less vociferous here), thought there were several Friday/Saturday clues this Wednesday just to make "M" gimmick work. But, unlike Rex, I found the DEMUR clue clever rather than off-putting. And can't ever hate a puzzle with MOHAIR.

David MAMET an immense talent. My favorites - "The Verdict", and the lesser known "House of Games".

@Susie Q - Speaking of SNL, Rex today reminded me of Ben Affleck as Keith Olbermann ranting about losing his bid for a condo because of his cat - Miss Precious Perfect. Poor Will Shortz being the condo president getting ripped on national TV.

His Radiance 9:36 AM  

Many people do crossword puzzles for entertainment, relaxation and occasional information.
Nòt for speed, and not for bragging.

Norm 9:39 AM  

Excellent comment, Pete@8:58

Deane 9:41 AM  

"Possibly the worst NYT I've ever solved"

Precisely how I felt

Roo Monster 9:43 AM  

Hey All !
@Sir Hillary beat me to an all M sentence or two. Nice one. Probably better than mine would've been anyway.

I also noticed all the M's as I was solving. Me:'Man, there sure are a lot of M's.' Then when I finished puz, Me: 'I wonder if there's at least one M in every word?' So I checked every word, and sure enough, an M in every word. Me: 'Is that it? Challenging to make, yes, but just M's?' Didn't notice each clue started with M. Not sure why that wasn't noticeable. But, that ratcheted the construction feat up for me, plus not having too much dreck with the M constraint. Nice one Clive!

Noticed MIA on top of IAM, and the third iteration AIM also. Agree that MANDM should've somehow been clued as a revealer. Otherwise, this is just a Themeless MPuz.

Liked seeing fellow Recites MOHAIR and ACME. Too bad MANDM couldn't be @MANDA!


the redanman 9:50 AM  

I didn't notice how bad it was, seemed usual NYT dross to me

Paco rules 9:51 AM  

I have to agree with Linda @9:30 AM. The evidence is clear, and overwhelming. Rex is a poopy head. Case closed.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

FWIW, I entirely missed the M thing too. Didn't notice it at all in the clues. Sort of noticed that there were a lot of Ms in the answers. Underwhelmed by them. Hated the puzzle. Have enjoyed many of the comments, though.

@Manny Moe Michael Mitchell Menendez (9:30) Would you happen to be @ACME by any chance?

Greg Stanton 10:18 AM  

Agree with the comment at 8:27 AM.

thursdaysd 10:21 AM  

Agree that this is another case of the constructor's ego outweighing the solver's experience.

After I solved it (with considerable doubt about DEMUR) it occurred to me that I hadn't seen a theme. Then I noticed all the Ms but missed that the clues also started with M. Massive "meh".

Roo Monster 10:28 AM  

Man, Many Made Much Muted Maladies, Mostly Making Mires Meaningless. My Meanderings Made Many Merry Moods. Message: More Monkey Musings, Make Minor Meanness. Mend Modern Miseries.

RooMonster (MooMonster?)

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Thank you, Lewis @ 9:13, for pointing out the Ems at 1A and 1D. Totally missed that slick point.

Paul Rippey 10:34 AM  

I foolishly enjoyed solving this, actually appreciated the constraint the constructor had placed himself under, and noticed again how constraints force creative solutions. Thankfully I came here and learned it was the worst puzzle ever! My soul feels cleansed.

Hungry Mother 10:36 AM  

@Mathgent: a little ring theory should be part of everyone’s education, shouldn’t it? Very fast solve for me today. I noticed all of the Ms and even thought about counting them when I was done. Then I noticed that every answer had an M. I never noticed the clues. It was a puzzle, not a trivia contest, and that’s why I do them.

Chris 10:37 AM  

Didn't notice the Ms in either clues or puzzle. Liked it OK--solved it fairly fast just going around clockwise.
Knew Mneme, since as part of a recent effort to memorized poems, did so with Mnemosyne by Trumbull Stickney. .I commend it to you.

jberg 10:38 AM  

Solved it, looked for the theme, noticed there was an M in every word, but didn't notice the thing with the clues. Still, I liked the long downs, ANGSTROM, METRONOME, ACADEMIES, MOMENTUM.

Better video, IMHO -- written out Um, but he's really singing MMM - Major Lance!

Warren Howie Hughes 10:41 AM  

"That's what Probert's Soup is...MMMMMM Good!"

Happy 10:42 AM  

Liked puzzle. Loved the the Rex Rant. Always makes me smile when I see creative new whines.

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

Poopy head?
Note to self: Try not to automatically hate a puzzle because you forgot the name of EMMA Woodhouse nor knew who EMMET Walsh is or who MNEME is or how MANN spells his name. All at the git got. UGH.
I'm thinking this one's filled with lots of M's. Oh, I see. DiM light bulb goes off at MADAM MAID DAME ACME. Lots of M's, M's everywhere - saved my bacon at SAMOS DEMUR.
The clues were plain awful. "The makers of cabinets and violins use it" quite possibly the worse (or is it worst?). Agree with @Rex on the DEMUR. Yikes.
Having vented my spleen, I'm going out on a liMb and say that I thought this was an interesting feat. It certainly could not have been easy to fit those M's in proper spots - I just wish I enjoyed the stunt. You know, I might have had the clues been better. I think the major problem was the cluing.
@Pete: Thanks for posting Probert's "B" puzzle. It made me read all the comments back then. I forgot how funny @Zeke was back in the day and how much I miss @Foodie, @JoHo, and so many more. I wonder if they still read the blog. Probably not.

cristiano valli 10:47 AM  

I guess I'll never agree with Rex, I like puzzles challenging enough to cover my breakfast [45ish min - that's why I hate mondays now], he gets mad when he goes over 4 minutes...

Didn't even notice the theme, as usual. Found this challenging in a good way. I don't understand the rant on Mneme: beside being easy to get with the crosses, "mnemo" is the suffix of any memory-related words in existence.

Joseph MMMichael 10:48 AM  

skcus elzzup siht

Unknown 10:49 AM  

Mneme as in mnemonics

johnny stocker 10:58 AM  

Ain't gonna lie. I didn't see the theme at all as I was doing it. I came here mainly to try to figure out what the hell it was. Faster than normal Wednesday for me as well (just under 7, I average around 8)

Anonymous 11:01 AM

Warren Howie Hughes 11:07 AM  

"MNEME'S are made of this" :-)

Tom Rowe 11:12 AM  

As a couple of early responders said, I did not notice the M thing at all. But I found the puzzle very easy, possibly my best Wed time yet. Too bad it came with a puzzle everyone seems to hate.

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

I think 28D is missing an "(or a hint to the clues and answers in this puzzle)".

It still would have been trash though.

Masked and Anonymous 11:25 AM  

"Worst NYT Puzzle Ever" is a valid concept, but not one that I care much about spendin time analyzin.

M&A had some fun solvin this WedPuz. Noticed the M-clues immediately, before readin clue #1. Snarfed a har out, when I hit the MANDM non-revealer revealer, at 28-Down. Somewhere near that point of snarfdom, finally noticed that each answer was gonna have an M in it, which then helped out a mite with the rest of the solvequest. [Did lose precious nanoseconds, pausin to think.] The filled-in grid made m&e grin, for a coupla reasons:

1. That grid full of M-Squad trainees is just plain funny to look at. 46 M's. Roughly 25% of all the non-shady squares in the day-um puz are M's. Somebody really likes them-selfs some M's. har

2. @RP is likely solvin this stunt-puppy, and will be a-commentin on it. MMMMajor trouble brewin. Could almost see the fumes a-risin, as I looked out our window to the east. har2

This musta been a kinda hard puz to construct. Congratz & Thanx on a great job seein it through to publication day, Mr. Probert. Final product has just that tinge of excitedly anticipated Ow de Speration that M&A luvs…

staff weeject pick: RMS. Themer. Plural abbreviation of inconvenience. Rodeo. Best in Show.

MNEME. Closest any muse comes to ENEMA.

SAMOS. Ionian League member. The clue & answer could've been all M's, and U couldn't have fooled M&A any more so.

ELEM. EDOM. UNUM. OREM. ATOM. Almost a sub-theme's-worth of these lil suckers. Luv it. The UM-onian League season's line-up. Primo.

Thanx again for the laughs, Mr. Probert.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

yo, @Roo. Yeahhh … An MANDA theme … Clues all start with M and end with A … All the answers have M **and** A in em … build m&e the runtpuz and I will come solve it, my son.

runt proposed by @Teedmn and that @Lewis has just plain gotta luv:

Buggy Bunny 11:27 AM  

I do it on paper in my local coffee establishment, so no innterTubes to flee to en route. just seemed kinda easy, but that's because I figured there'd be some connection to Australian Mother's Day; being as how it's on the bottom of the globe and late Spring is now. Well.... nope. May 13 downunder. just a pointless puzzle.

Nancy 11:32 AM  

So based on @GILL's response to @Pete's embedding of a previous "B" puzzle that's similar to this one, I went back in time (2010) to look at the comments. (I was doing puzzles back then, but I wasn't yet on the Rexblog.) Three things popped out at me:

Comments about a puzzle are only interesting if you've done the puzzle yourself. I probably had, but don't remember it any more, so the comments -- the good as well as the not-so-good -- were of no interest to me. With two exceptions:

Someone named @foodie (before my time) wrote: "I've never met anyone who truly loves numbers who is a bad person." What a lovely thought, yes?

And Tina Fey (in blue) was a commenter on the blog! There can't be two of them, right? I clicked on her, but she no longer comes up. (@foodie, however, still does.)

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

I kinda liked it. Hit a roadblock, try M...more often than not, it was right.

Sub-5 minutes, well below average for me; in fact, it fit right into the Midpoint between my average and best.

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Joy Behar was just handed a note saying she liked this puzzle. Audience clapped like trained seals.

Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Apparently, the set of things I know barely overlaps the set of things Rex knows. I thought this puzzle was super easy - and I never noticed the M clues.

So often, Rex will rate a puzzle 'easy' when it took me an hour!

And I never heard of mneme, but who could forget mnemonic devices? (So mn seemed believable.)

But I agree with rex on the Ho-Hum-ness. I like funny/clever puzzles by Wed., and making each clue begin with an M doesn't entertain the solver.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Micheal,Micheal, Micheal...don't be such an ano.

@Linda Vale (9:30) might be a little wordy, but she's right. If the constructor is a FOM (Friend of Mike) the review is kind. if not, both guns blazing. And @John X (7:52) is on to something. Was Mike's "perfect" (but aren't all of his, of course?) puzzle rejected by Will Shortz and the grudge lives on?

Imagine a conversation at Binghampton State University:

"Dude, I'm taking a class on comic books!"
"Whoa, bro, that should really jump start a great career!"
"yeah, I'm stoked!"
"Let me know how it goes"

"Dude, my "professor" hates every comic book I love. He just criticizes everything. Even Spiderman...but he said some guy he knows writes a great comic book"
"Bummer bro. Maybe drop it and take a video game class"
"yeah" (sigh)

NoaM D. Elkies 11:58 AM  

Naturally this shatters the old record for M's in a puzzle, 46 to 25 (the 16 Sep 2013 puzzle by Ed Sessa where each theme entry had four M's and, according to xword, the original submission also started each clue with M).

Naturally Rex didn't care for it. I did have fun with this one, having noticed both parts of the theme early enough to use the grid part in solving (only one wrong turn, Moab for the Utahn mini-metropolis 61A:OREM) and enjoy how the clues were contrived to start with M.

Not as remarkable as the many M's, but still unusual, is that there are quite a few more Down entries than Across, and apparently not for any thematic reason.

Next gimmick is to shatter the N-count record? This should be much easier; the current mark is only 26, set by Byron Walden's April Fool's puzzle back in 2004.


Two Ponies 11:59 AM  

@ Pete, Thanks for the link to the B puzzle.

@ GILL I, I also miss a lot of our old friends from back then.

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

Al Franken's going back to work.

Alpha-Data 12:06 PM  

A perfectly serviceable puzzle, if somewhat easy for a Wednesday. I don't understand all the hate it generated.

Hartley70 12:06 PM  

Ah, Rex should have linked to Hanson's ubiquitous smash hit MMMbop today. I know I was humming it while I solved.

The NW was a bear if you were like me and had heard the term ANGSTROM but had no clue what it meant, and if the only "muse" that comes to mind is LMS. "Blade Runner", didn't that star, Kurt Russell? Oops I mean Harrison Ford. I've got nuttin' else on that topic. I'm off to SAMOS now if my GPS is still working.

@Nancy, terrific first comment!

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

This was easier than usual for me - 7 minute solve, and I'm not especially good at these things (I tend to leave Friday and Saturday alone unless I have an abundance of time on my hands). I might have hated it if the M's lead to mangled cluing, but I thought most of them made sense.

David Schinnerer 12:16 PM  

I liked this puzzle. Had a little challenge, but finished with no problems. Perfect Wednesday. I, also, didn't notice the M thing nor care.

Actually, to a simpleton like myself, being able to do so many M's (or any letter) and make it work seems kinda impressive. I dunno, must take some doing, IMHO.

Someone posted previously to be creative with the Micheal bashing...Got nothing but unhappy he seems as a human.

BarbieBarbie 12:21 PM  

Easy puzzle. Of course I noticed the Ms. i came here to help myself figure out why so many of them run along diagonals, but nobody has commented on that. Can someone enlighten me?

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

I can't wait until Donald Trump gets impeached so Mike Pence can be President.

chefbea 12:24 PM  

I assumed Manny Moe Michael Mitchel Mendez was 16 across - Acme

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

I have never commented before but this puzzle was awful. My first thought when I finished was, "Rex is going to hate this puzzle."

Arpickett 12:30 PM  

Didn’t notice the whole “M” thing in the clues. Finished must faster tan my usual time. Wondering what that says about me.

Masked and Anonymous 12:31 PM  

M&A once constructed a 15x15 puz, where *every* answer letter was an E. Had a big black-square-built "E" in the center of the grid. Luvly. Had a nice N-S symmetry to it.

My clues didn't start with anything in particular. Sample clue: {Capital of Libya?} = EEE. [Triple-E. Tripoli.]
Came "this" close to submittin it to the Shortzmeister. That E-puz had a lot goin for it: Different. Weirdness. MonPuz moo-cow eazy-E to solve, once U had that critical E-har moment. Had [at the time] the vaunted "Worst NYTPuz Ever @RP Award" potential. rodEo.

Ran my E-puz thru Across-Lite, tho, to xwordinfo-analyze it. Total fart storm. Across-Lite thought the grid was full of errors, somehow for some vague reason. Tried everything except whatever would work, to fix it. Grew concerned. The Shortzmeister wasn't gonna buy it, if Across-Lite had itself an E-MNEMA, tryin to ingest it.

But, I reminisce. Still … I coulda been a contender.

Not very many double-M's in today's puz, @Lewis. Would count em, so to speak, and maybe find 4 or so -- but U no doubt have an efficient app set up to do the official countin with. Keep us posted.
Superb catch on the EM startups Across & Down, btw.


Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Number of democrat Senators calling for Franken to resign is now up to 10.

jb129 12:31 PM  

Anonymous - if this was a political blog, your comment would be welcome - otherwise........

I want Trump impeached too - but Pence is only SLIGHTLY better in that he's familiar with politics.

Anyway, I was stumped on 4 down ANGSTROM for the longest time.

Again, I wish the "Anonymous" naysayers would have the balls (yes, I'm repeating it again) to post as themselves instead of being cowards!

Have a great day everyone

ani 12:31 PM  

Nor I. Have you noticed that Rex is unraveling in a very Trumpian way?

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

@ani is onto something. Ole Rex and the Trumpster have a lot in common - both are grudge holders, narcissistic, insecure, filled with anger, thin skinned, borderline incoherent at times . . . and neither one can resist the urge to fly off on a tangent and rant and rave about the most insignificant things.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Constructor missed an opportunity to get Robbie Mook in the puzzle. He was Trump's biggest helper in getting elected.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Anon 12:31. Never mind your politics. Your use of the English language is atrocious. Democrat is a noun. Senator is a noun. A noun can't modify a noun. It's Democratic Senators, not "Democrat Senators." Unless you want me talking about "Republic Senators". You herewith betray your complete lack of education.

Anonymous 12:54 PM  

@Anon 12:21
Amen, brother! ANYbody has got to be better than T.Rump.

Keeping It Symbol 12:56 PM  

I really appreciate and enjoy the daily Rex Parker blog. I really do. But I can’t stand the politicization of this refuge - especially with the emotionallly unstable Michael venting, chortling and chastising everyone and everything. While there is a small joy in witnessing his floundering psychoanalytical breakdown but it gets tiring and has me heading for the door. Stay in your lane Rex. You’re really blowing it and risk the loss of your constituency. Critique the puzzle with fury but stay away from the politics and the brow beating.

Your puzzle blog is otherwise brilliant.

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

I enjoyed the backwardness of 49D's clue, "Make bones about something" but I DEMURred at entering DEMUR (I never did realize the total ubiquity of M's - only that they were plentiful). To me DEMUR meant "hesitate or show reluctance", not to protest. While my understanding of the word is part of the definition, protest and cavil and raise objections are also, so the clue is accurate but I didn't think it was. If I'd seen the "all answers have an M" part of the puzzle, I wouldn't have had any hesitation in plopping DEMUR in. So I learned something today.

MAR at 42A vs MARS at 63A. What, no MARred clued as "scarred" anywhere?

I have a beautiful, antique-looking METRONOME. But I think it is a bit off in its timing. It seems to take longer to tick than to tock. But it looks nice on my piano.

This puzzle was different. In the words of M&A, "different is good". Thanks, Clive Probert.

Roo Monster 1:04 PM  

Is your E Puz on runtpuz? I never go there, :-(, basically because I never think about it until I'm only on my phone and not at my desk top. I'm phone-solving-illiterPuz when it comes to doing a puz on my phone. It just doesn't seem to work.

Anyway, if not, it should be. I'll try to whip up a M & A runt if I can. :-)


Charles kluepfel 1:05 PM  

Clues were not hard. This Monday /Tuesday solver was able to complete this Wednesday puzzle - - a rarity.

Charles kluepfel 1:07 PM  

BTW, I didn't realize what the theme was. Just ignored it.

alexa shortbush 1:25 PM  

Anon 12:52

But I see you understood the intent of the poster. That message, however flawed according to you, accomplished its mission. Dismount your high horse.

Lewis 1:39 PM  

@m&a -- I did greatly like your runtpuz, but I could not crack what TPs are (I must have missed the post by T)-- help! Also, my doppeltotting app is my by-now well trained eyes...

Masked and Anonymous 1:53 PM  


@Roo--Unfortunately, that E-puz don't work as a runtpuz entry, either, as I recall.
Here is a picture of it, tho:

@Lewis: Explanation of "TPs" can be found here, if U know the mighty @R.alph's Down Home screen:

M&AlsoAgain and no more today.

boomer54 2:09 PM  

Better 4d clue ..." Misfit Harry in Novel ..."

Kevin Spacey 2:19 PM  

Young lads are mmmm mmmm good!

Enjoyed puzzle. Slow solve at 6:39...

Anoa Bob 2:24 PM  

I suspected a rebus early on when Mnemosyne was an ANGSTROM or two too long for 3D "Muse of memory". In Classic Greek Mythology she was not only that memorable muse, but also the mother of the better known (right?) nine muse sisters, of which Clio and Erato used to show up regularly in xwords. Not so much anymore.

Another olde timey grid filler we use to see along with the likes of Clio and Erato was Acer, the genus of the group of shrubs and tress more commonly known as MAPLEs.

Ivan PAVLOV in a recent grid is echoed nicely today by the appearance of the stimulus he actually used in his lab demonstrations of classical conditioning, the sound of a METRONOME. Yeah, I know, Pavlov's bell will continue to be the folklore version, facts be damned. It does have a better ring to it, so to speak.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 2:25 PM  

How about a puzzle featuring N-words???!!

Anonymous 2:29 PM  

In 6 days Alabama will elect a Republican pedophile to the United States Senate.

semioticus (shelbyl) 2:34 PM  

Mmmm... NOT toasty.

Fill: In a gimmick puzzle, it's hard to come up with a good fill. ELEM, AMT, NMEX, TAMA, OREM, RCMP... No bonus entries or anything (except for ANGSTROM). Was the fill sufficiently mediocre? Eh. It's also impressive to have 46 Ms in a puzzle, I guess. Apparently it's a record. 14/25

Theme/long answers: Not my cup of tea. I didn't even realize all the clues started with M until after solving it. MANDM was a cute quasi-revealer, so that deserves some credit. That being said, some clues felt forced. "Most direct" for IMMEDIATE, "Make bones about something" etc. Also, please let's not have two shitty themes in a row, NYT come the frak on. There are 365 days in 2017. 3/25

Clues: They all start with M [exclamation mark redacted] I mean, that will never fly. You will have redundancy, clumsiness etc. It's impossible to have a smooth set. I'm not gonna go through the list again but yeah, I could "make bones" about a solid bunch of them. 7/25

Pleasurability: To the puzzle's credit, it wasn't as frustrating while solving as it is retrospectively. It didn't lift my spirits at all but at least it didn't last long to finish. It could have been worse. 13/25

GRADE: D+, 2 stars.

P.S.: I wonder how many of these "Anonymous"es are the same person (There is a circumstantial way to find this out but I guess I'm the only one who's curious about it.)

kitshef 2:38 PM  

@M&A - other than the four cheater squares in the corners, looks like a perfectly acceptable puzzle.

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Actually an easy puzzle for me. Needed all the crosses for 3D and 49D however. Afterward, I realized where the term "mnemonic" came from.

Joe Bleaux 3:09 PM  

Hi, Mohair -- In case you missed my late reply to you in yesterday's comments, please check it for an explanation of (and apology for) my double CC punnery.

Warren Howie Hughes 3:47 PM  

Rex has met the MNEME, and this was it!!!

Blue Stater 4:10 PM  

A WS special. I've been saying this for 20 years, and nobody, at least nobody in a position to do something about it, listens. We deserve better than this. So does the NYT.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Minnesota could have been a clue too. The State of the latest hypocritical Democrat to resign in disgrace.

Mohair Sam 4:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
anotherbadhairday 4:35 PM  

All these political comments are annoying. Can the admin delete them? I read this blog to learn about the crossword puzzle. So much hate, even against the nice young student who recently wrote the blog. What is wrong with you people? And the Rex bashing? If you don’t like the blog don’t read it.

Mohair Sam 4:37 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - I absolutely got your double reference yesterday, loved it. My post was simply Kramer's next to last line from the episode.

@Masked & Anonymous - Loved the blow-by-blow of your E-puzz vs. AcrossLite. Oh to be a fly on the wall for that battle.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

If you count the days from today all the way through Christmas Day, skipping Saturdays and Sundays, you get 14 days

Same number of letters in MERRY CHRISTMAS

If tomorrow is all about E, then I bet I'm right

Uke Xensen 5:03 PM  

Wish I had noticed the theme -- it could have helped in the NW, where I had some trouble. Other than that, pretty easy,

Now that I see the theme I'm not crazy about it. Nothing to get worked up about though.

Shelby Glidden 5:15 PM  

@mathgent 8:46 AM i was breezing along toward "best time ever" (still 4x any record-setting pace) until i stumbled on demur (which is what a lot of people do to Rex, unnecessarily.) Rex's focus wan't Greek mythology in grad school but i did learn the mnemonic "my very excited mother just served us nine pies" (the order of the planets.) Now, if i can only remember the sentence...😬

Shelby Glidden 5:20 PM  

@Lewis 9:15 AM thanks for your cheerful and relevant additions 😀

Shelby Glidden 5:30 PM  

@David Schinnerer 12:16 PM welcome back 😀
p.s. i've followed Michael for ten years... he wasn't always unhappy 😬

Shelby Glidden 5:40 PM  

@semioticus (shelbyl) 2;34 PM you can be a tough grader... 🤔 p.s. It does seem like there's a lot of irrelevant anonymity in the same tone... solve on, Mr. Holmes 😀

Shelby Glidden 5:42 PM  

@anotherbadhairday 4:35 PM Amen!!!

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

Agreed. Puzzles, like reading, are a distraction from vagaries of life. I don't see how political comments and snarkiness have any place here.

Unknown 7:01 PM  

It wasn't that bad. Oddly I noticed a lot of Ms inn the fill but not at all in the clueing until I read Rex's post.

Outside The Box 7:13 PM  

Agree! Rex is going off the deep end.

Churlish Nabob 9:50 PM  

@anotherbadhairday, ram it bub

Adam Frank 10:35 PM  

I finished in near-record time, and thought to myself, “Huh, so now they’re putting a themeless in the paper on Wednesday.” I didn’t notice the Ms in either the answers or the clues until I read Rex’s blog. So I guess from a construction perspective it’s a failure, but overall I enjoyed the puzzle, which went quickly. I liked ANGSTROM and MOMENTUM.

a.corn 2:17 AM  

I hated this puzzle so much, after completing, I came here to bitch about it- but alas...had not been posted. I hated it so much I’m back to say just how much I hated it. GOLLY GEE that was awful!

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

Just browsing the comments today (didn't finish the puzzle til this morning (!)) and had to say thanks to @Linda Vale (9:30) for the best description of OFL ever.
We can always use a good chuckle these days!

-- CS

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

oops. Know.
three and out

warrenjay 7:13 PM  

Wow! I never dreamed that I'd actually encounter the worst puzzle ever! (per Rex) Yet enjoy solving it. Like Paul Schinnerer (his comment is far above) I didn't notice the all-M theme until Rex pointed it out. And, like Paul, I didn't care. This puzzle made me think, dredge up some information I thought I had long forgotten, and encouraged me to make some educated guesses, resulting in a clean solve. So, I liked it. Also liked the range of comments.

nick strauss 2:23 PM  

and another some time...I liked this one. Never saw the Angst in Angstrom before, making light of tragedy?

Sloaka 8:13 AM  

I noticed an increase in the letter M along the 28,34,37,40 diagonal. Then concluded that must be the "theme". The clues beginning with M then clicked in.

I'm reminded of Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: This puzzle creator was so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.

They shouldn't.

Grade: C-

spacecraft 10:22 AM  

I'm amazed. Maligners gonna malign; I METE the maker his due. It's gotta be close to impossible to pull this off, and it IS different, you must admit that. No problem here; didn't know MNEME per se but the inference was easy--and anyway the crosses were there. Much as I might like, I couldn't even make a medium rating: straight easy for me.

I'd still like to make mincemeat out of ampersandwiches, but this one was expected before the fact, so it didn't hurt so much. The long downs are marvelous. Sure, there's some tortuous maneuvering within the clues, but that just adds to the fun. Damsel of the morning is Naomi Campbell. Par minus one: birdie.

rondo 10:24 AM  

All that’s missing is the Model NAOMI Campbell’s Soup “MMM MMM Good” and Crash Test Dummies song “MMM MMM MMM MMM”. Then the day woulda been complete. But it’s gotta be the most “theme” dense puz ever. IAM outta here.

thefogman 11:22 AM  

I was asleep at the switch today and thus I DNF'd. I didn't notice any theme until I came here. I was totally blind to the M gimmick which explains why I had nODULES crossing OCCAn. That would not have happened if I opened my eyes and saw the M pattern. It's amazing how we can sometimes be oblivious to the obvious. My only other mistake was MANa/aREM. I never heard of OREM Utah, and guessed the wrong vowel ending for MANO. I did get DOMO right, even though I never heard of majordomo before today. I guess it was quite the feat to begin every clue with an M and inject M's in every answer. I give credit to Clive Probert for pulling it off. Too bad I missed out on all the fun.

Burma Shave 12:11 PM  


It SEAMs IMET a musical MAID,
with MOMENTUM the METRONOME played,


Diana, LIW 1:05 PM  

OCCAM/MAB got me, and tho I KNEW the brand AMANA, I didn't see NMEX. Must be the "massive" (eye doc's word) floater in my eye was in the way.

On to read others' comments...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 3:10 PM  

2 nice things today:

A clean pathology report on my recent colonoscopy. Does that pass the breakfast test?
Reading the comments about today's puzzle, ranging from "loved it" to "hated it". Gets the controversial vote, at least.

I only noticed that there were a lot of 'M's, and that every answer had at least one 'M'. The clue thing went right by me.

I admire the feat, liked seeing MNEME and ANGSTROM, enjoyed solving something different, and noted the basically dreck-less grid.

I will remember this puzzle.

Peter 3:15 PM  

Any bets rex would love an F word puzzle.

rondo 4:58 PM  

And honestly, can anyone see RCMP and not think of:

strayling 7:22 PM  

Really wanted TREET for 28 down (

Scott McLean 6:27 PM  

Noticed about halfway through that every answer had an M. “Meh,” I thought.

Then I continued to go about solving an otherwise uninteresting puzzle with some truly awful fill. ELEM over AMT over MAR? Mreally? I CAME, I MET, I AM? Ay, ay, ay!

Never even noticed that the clues all started with M. Didn’t care.

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