Reggae persona for noted rapper / WED 1-31-18 / Some wonderful times in Nebraska / Sort of person heavily into eyeliner / Lead-in to mensch / Vitamin brand with hypen between its last two letters

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Constructor: Josh Radnor and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium (theme pretty challenging / fill pretty easy)


THEME: PREMEDITATED (50A: Calculated ... or a punny hint to 18-, 24-, 32- and 44-Across) — regular phrases have the meditation chant sound "OM" added to the beginning of them, creating wacky phrases:

Theme answers:
  • OMAHA MOMENTS (18A: Some wonderful times in Nebraska?)
  • O'MALLEY CATS (24A: Good name for politico Martin's jazz band?)
  • OMEN VOGUE (32A: Portentous fashion magazine?) 
  • OMITS NO JOKE (44A: Makes an unabridged humor book?)
Word of the Day: En Vogue (See 32A) —
En Vogue is an American R&B/Pop vocal group whose original lineup consisted of singers Terry EllisDawn RobinsonCindy Herron, and Maxine Jones. Formed in Oakland, California in 1989, En Vogue reached number two on the US Hot 100 with the single "Hold On", which was taken from their 1990 debut album Born To Sing. The group's 1992 follow-up album Funky Divas reached the top 10 in both the US and UK, and included their second US number two hit "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", plus the US top 10 hits "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" and "Free Your Mind". (wikipedia)
• • •

I was really distracted by the little yellow "Note" icon on my puzzle:


These notes often have some extra bit of information about what's happening in the puzzle, what to look for, etc., and I don't read them. I don't want help. I just want to solve the puzzle. But there's always that nagging feeling, as I'm solving, that the note is gonna be *necessary* to comprehending what's going on, so when I get hung up, anywhere, I eye that little yellow rectangle resentfully, like, "this better not be *you*." And I had that feeling several times today, as none of themers would budge. I was cleaning up on the west side of the grid, but I couldn't find my way across to the east because themers were giving me no help *and* the only way to get from west to east is via the themers (those passageways are tiny!). OMAHA [stop]. O'MALLEY ? [stop]. Eventually hopped the center line and did the short Downs that ran through VOGUE, and got OMEN VOGUE (?) but somehow still didn't notice the three "OM"s. In fact, I never saw the pattern until I hit the revealer, and then something weird happened, something good that's supposed to happen all the time but rarely does. Well, two things. A. I had an honest-to-god (non-OM) aha moment at the revealer, and B. it made all my earlier frustration melt away into something like admiration. It's a good theme.


Grid is weirdly crammed with olde-tymey crossword names—LEN, LOM, ERMA, and ... hey, it's ENYA. Haven't seen her yet this year. Welcome back.




But otherwise, the grid is pretty clean. Almost all my struggle with this puzzle came with trying to comprehend the themers. Otherwise, nothing too hard here. Wanted UBER (actually 49A) for AVIS (9A: Company that acquired Zipcar in 2013) and OCTOPUS for OCTOPOD (47A: Multi-armed mollusk). Both O'MALLEY CATS and OMITS NO JOKE were super-hard to parse in part because of the very good but absolutely brutal clue on COVET (28D: Extremely fancy?). I had to get it down to -OVET before I could see what was going on. "Fancy" as a verb! So irritating! But approval must be granted! Grudgingly granted! Good day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

127 comments:

Lewis 6:37 AM  

(Note: I shall be away for a week at a family gathering.)

Lots of little moments in this puzzle for me. Smiles at SNIVEL, a word I love, and the clue for SIMMERED. A mind that keeps seeing 13A as DR. ONE SON. A lovely aha at figuring out that the courts for NET JUDGES were tennis courts, then seeing the abutting tennis term LOB. Then the rush of having POM march forth from my brain, despite having never ever thought about this product. The gestalt of such moments was a huge warm fuzzy for this puzzle.

Mr. B 6:40 AM  

I know TV judges (i.e Judy or Wapner)...but - the hell - didn't know they were on the net too.
So my OMAHAMOMENT came when I realized the clue referred to tennis - duh!

Learned EUGENE Onegin. Liked seeing Don SIEGEL...although I prefer his earlier SF crime drama -
The Lineup (1958) over Dirty Harry. The Shootist (1976) was pretty good too!

I know I've seen 39A - EPISTLES (for Letters) somewhere recently and put that straight in...which helped fill in the bottom SE nicely. Finished below my average WEDS time...so thankyouverymuch
Mr. Radner & Mr. Chen. Nice to see that Rex liked it too.

JJ 6:51 AM  

I loved the cleverness required to come up with OMITSNOJOKE. Great wordplay throughout. Lots of little smiles while solving.

Hungry Mother 7:01 AM  

Played slow until I got the theme. Lots of trivia made me frown.

Sue Noble 7:01 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Irishman in Chinatown 7:03 AM  

Crosswordese implies that the person is otherwise obscure. Little known people like “Erma” Franklin and “Isao” Aoki are crosswordese. International stars like Enya are not.

Sue Noble 7:04 AM  


Great puzzle--kept me engaged until the very end. The delicious irony is that my morning routine is to work on the puzzle for a little bit to wake up my brain and then go meditate for half hour. Never made it to the cushion today because I couldn't disengage from the puzzle and the revealer was the last to fall.
Didn't understand "net judges" until comments here.

Two Ponies 7:04 AM  

Good Aha for me as well.
Omits no joke was the best.

Namaste.

phil phil 7:11 AM  

Liked that Ohm made it. Wanted it to fit the 5 letter spot somehow so the symbol was an aha moment.

John McEnroe 7:13 AM  

@mr B.: Ha ha

Odd Sock 7:16 AM  

Over at Wordplay lasses are being picked on for being paired with lads. Not inclusive enough! Somebody call the PC Police!

Snoop Lion crossing perp is hilarious.

crackblind 7:18 AM  

I can't believe no one mentioned that this was co-written by Josh Radnor, who, as Ted Mosby, fawned all over Will Shortz in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

Yet another celebrity constructor I’ve never heard of. Sorry about that, Mr. Radnor. I loved your puzzle, though.

Really dig the theme, and the fill. So much better than yesterday’s puzzle - though easier.

It's so irritating that Rex has to trash any puzzle by Jeff Chen. Why can't he just fairly evaluate the puzzles, rather than letting his personal vendettas take over the column? Oh ... wait ... never mind.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

Fill was not easy for a Wednesday, REX, especially with the healthy dose of obscurish trivia.

Your AHA moment was my aha moment.

Harryp 7:31 AM  

Sussed out the fact that Snoopdogg had morphed into Snooplion. We saw MINIOREOS in a puzzle not to long ago, so that helped immensely with the midwest solve. Good puzzle in normal solve time, but didn't grok the theme until coming here.

QuasiMojo 7:33 AM  

UM, I thought this one was pretty terrible. People find these puns funny? They are "extremely" forced. Some of them don't make any sense (at least to me.)

AHA MOMENTS are not "wonderful" because the wondering ceases the moment you get the AHA. The moment has passed. It's OFFSTAGE. Oh, unless you mean the constructor is so witty that you are filled with wonder? Well, not in this case.

OM EN VOGUE? The magazine is VOGUE so you have that weird EN floating around for no reason.

So CATS are jazz players? Where I come from they are hipsters or dead Beatniks.

IT'S NO JOKE? what on earth is that? I know NO JOKE. But what's IT'S got to do with IT?

PRE-MEDITATED makes me think of MURDER, of course. Which is exactly what this puzzle was. Not because it was difficult. It wasn't. But because it was a killjoy.

Sorry, Grumpy Quasi is back.

P.S. GREAT quote from Shakespeare yesterday @Nancy. Thank you.

Birchbark 7:33 AM  

OMAHA MOMENTS = nice descriptor of low key euphoria. Bonus OMEGA.

And a second "aha" moment reading @kitshef, double-checking, and realizing that @Rex's effusive praise is directed at a Jeff Chen co-constructed puzzle. Perhaps one day our people will learn to live in peace, as Captain Kirk says to the Romulan captain.

Yes, a 2018 ENYA siting in a puzzle with ERIN. But still no AMEN HOTEP.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

Maybe if Debbie Wasserman Schultz hadn't rigged the primary, O'Malley would be POTUS now and we wouldn't have so many sniveling snowflakes like Snoop Lion.

Oldfatbasterd 8:02 AM  

@Anonymous 7:46, maybe if you went out and died the world would be a better place.

Andrew Rosen 8:03 AM  

Apart from men vogue (I think it should be men’s vogue?). I enjoyed this puzzle - great Wednesday, just tricky enough.

John Child 8:08 AM  

The constructor notes make this seem mostly a Jeff Chen puzzle. He came up with the theme and made the grid. “Josh helped figure out what the best options for each corner might be” by choosing one of two or three possible fills for each.

A tough Wednesday by the numbers - nearly my average Thursday time. I agree with @Lewis on SNIVEL and I liked EPISTLES and IVANHOE. Agree completely that the theme was opaque for a long time. Pleasantly crunchy puzzle!

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

En Vogue is a music magazine.

Stuart Showalter 8:22 AM  

Totally uncalled-for! Perhaps we need an interNET JUDGE for comments like these two.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Sorry, I have some real anger issues. Need to cut back on my Colbert watching.

Sir Hillary 8:53 AM  

Very nice Wednesday fare. [OM]G, @Rex didn't trash a Chen puzzle.

TRAD is terrible, but I wasn't bothered by any of the other fill.

Seems like MINIOREOs are branded as Oreo Minis as often as not.

Can someone explain the OMEGA themer to me? What does ega mean?

Shout-out to my late grandfather, who was raised in OMro, WI.


kitshef 8:55 AM  

En Vogue is an R&B group - as in the featured video in Rex's review. The have an odd kind of semi-fame for having three songs go to #2 on the hot 100, but never having a #1. Only Creedence had more (5) ... making En Vogue #2 in that category (tied with Earth Wind and Fire).

Moly Shu 9:00 AM  

@Kitshef, I had the same thought re: @Rex hating everything @JeffChen. As I read the write up, I wondered if OFL somehow didn’t notice the constructor. Then I got to the “Grudgingly granted”, and realized he knew. Maybe we all can get along after all.

Runins before BRUSHES and oneaday before EMERGENCE both didn’t fit and SIEGEL was a woe. Other than that, fairly easy.

@IrishmanInChinatown, I submit that Brian ENO and Yoko ONO are more famous than ENYA, but that doesn’t make their names any less crosswordese-y. #nomoreENYA.

Mohair Sam 9:10 AM  

This ties Elayne Boosler's effort for best celebrity puzzle, nice work Chen and Radnor. Played challenging for us mainly because we didn't know a lot of the PPP.

"Extremely fancy? = COVET" a classic. Great aha moments at NET JUDGES (we had entered "recorders" as a gimme - made the SE mighty tough) and NESS. Clever clue for SIMMERED. Great themers all the way through, but we cracked up over OMITSNOJOKE and have no idea why.

@Kitshef - Nice catch on Parker/Chen. Another conspiracy theory bites the dust.

Speaking of conspiracy theories - @anon (7:46) knows full well that Jim Webb would have been President if the Dem primaries weren't rigged. I'd have voted for him if he'd survived until the PA primary - so that's six votes (I'm a registered Democrat, it's like Chicago around here).

Note to all constructors - We know five movie directors 1. Lee (Ang and Spike). 2. Spielberg. 3. Frank Capra. 4. Akira Kurasawa (have watched "Seven Samuri" about 50 times). Kindly drop all others off your Jeff Chen Word List. Thank you.

Anna 9:12 AM  

This puzzle is made even more pleasurable when one knows a bit about Mr. Radnor’s spirituality and life philosophy. My favorite of all the celebrity co-constructed puzzles!

mathgent 9:14 AM  

We're easily amused today, aren't we? I'm with @Quasi (7:33) in not seeing much here.

As @Sir Hillary (8:53) notes: having OMEGA as a non-theme entry is an error. Rex usually fumes at these lapses.

@Irishman (7:03): I like your definition of crosswordese. ENYA qualifies for me. I thought that I may have seen her on a Public Television special years ago, but I just read that she doesnt perform in public.

Wm. C. 9:15 AM  


A very unenjoyable Wednesday for me. Sad, because Wednesday is normally one of my favorite NYT Xword days.

Started off fast, slapping "offstage" right in, but ...

So-o-o much i've never heard of ... Lom, Snooplion, VirginEMI, Eugene, Siegel, Ran, ...

And the theme? So-o-o obscure! Sorry, I don't do yoga, or whatever the heck requires "Oms."

Ble-c-c-c-h-h-h!!!

(Oh, and did I mention: I didn't like this very much.)



Anonymous 9:33 AM  

The symbol for resistance in electric circuits is the Greek letter omega. The “om” at the start of the word is, perhaps, a play on the whole theme. At least that’s the way I saw it! Actually found too many trivia tidbits in this puzzle, especially in the mid-west section. Those downs and crosses outlasted the aha moments during the solve. But I didn’t snivel at all, regardless!

Phil Calbi 9:35 AM  

This was a weird one because I managed to complete it without ever understanding the theme. Even after I finished it I didn’t know what it was. It was until I read Rex’s explanation here that I got it.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Whatever happened to SNOOP DOGGY DOGG who then, I think, became just plain old SNOOP DOG? When did he become a LION? Or is this a different SNOOP entirely? Rappers are hard enough to keep track of when they don't change their names. (Although if my name were SNOOP DOGGY DOGG, I'd change it too. Just not to SNOOP LION.)

Thanks, all, for making it clear that EN VOGUE is a magazine in its own right. All I'd ever heard of was VOGUE.

A little learning is a dangerous thing. Since the only time in tennis that you need a NET JUDGE is when he's calling a let serve, I had LET JUDGES at 31D. Couldn't figure out why LESS is an "untouchable leader." Finally corrected.

I'm with Quasi and mathgent -- NESS here than meets the eye.

Nancy 9:42 AM  

@jberg -- I sent you the Shakespeare quote you were looking for late yesterday. (I also sent you some thanks, along with additional thanks to many others.) Quasi read my Bard quote and mentions it today -- thanks Quasi -- but I don't know if you saw it, @jberg.

Z 9:52 AM  

Once again the celebrity puzzles does far better than I feared. I think there’s been one stinker in the bunch. This one pleases in both theme and some of the fine cluing. @mathgent - OMEGA is definitely an Easter Egg. As pointed out by @phil phil, OMEGA is the symbol for Ohm. So, rather than a faulty OM inclusion in a non-themer, this is a pleasant extra AHA MOMENT.

@kitshef7:22 - your last graf made me smile.

@IrishmanInChinatown - I’m with @MolyShu. ONO is several times more famous than ENYA and she is still ese. OREOs? Dr. DRE? (trust me, maybe not as famous in crossword circles but a music industry guy with an estimated net worth of $740 million is hugely famous). What makes ese ese is that their useful letters lead them to appear in puzzles far more often than comparably famous people. Hence we see ONO weekly and Lennon yearly.

@MolyShu - I suspect that not only did he know who the constructors were but is also aware of the constant over-psychoanalyzing that happens in the comments section. I’m thinking that “grudgingly granted” was accompanied by a mental middle finger. At least, it would have been if I were Rex.

QuasiMojo 9:55 AM  

Yo, @mathgent and @Nancy, thanks for feelin' my pain. I must admit after reading the comments that I suspect my displeasure today has more to do with my "skewing old" since I have never heard of En Vogue magazine, nor the phrase "It's no joke" which google assures me is a real thing. And EEK! am I slow on the uptake! I had no idea this was a "celebrity" crossword! I've never heard of Mr. Radnor nor the show for which he is "famous." I just assumed it was two hardworking dudes ekeing out another puzzle for a lousy 300 smackers.

Which reminds me, yesterday Rex said we should all know the director PEELE because he is all over the place or in the news a lot or some unfair rationalization. I disagree (even though I did know who he is.) For people who don't watch movies or stopped going to them since they became so awful lately, we are not expected to follow the Oscars or read reviews of movies we have no intention of seeing or go to cocktail parties (or college classes) or water coolers where they are discussed ad nauseam. Granted, I don't expect everyone who does the NYT puzzle to know who Racine or Jessye Norman is either. It's the balance that matters. That way you can avoid Naticks like the one with ELWES/PEELE.

Sarah C 9:57 AM  

I really enjoyed today's puzzle. SNOOPLION came to me almost immediately (I knew it was one of SNOOP Dogg's many sobriquets, although not that it was his reggae persona). As someone who is starting to meditate regularly, I picked up the OM thing pretty quickly, so PREMEDITATED was a gimme, and also gave me a chuckle. I really enjoyed the theme clues, especially OMALLEYCATS -- for some reason I see Martin at the bass. NESS/NETJUDGE stumped me until the end (oh! that kind of Untouchable!). Fill ranges from ok (ORE, EKE, TRAD) to a bit more than ok (POM, PERP). And welcome back ENYA -- it's not a NYT crossword if I don't get an "Orinoco Flow" earworm at least once a week.

Carola 9:59 AM  

I loved it - thought it was creative and witty. I liked how the OM-AHA MOMENTS included not only wonderful times in Nebraska but also the personal one when all became clear. I agree with others that OM-ITS NO JOKE is especially good.

No idea about SNOOP LION, SIEGEL or OMALLEY, but EUGENE Onegin vies with A Masked Ball for my favorite opera. Had fun writing in SNIVEL.

GILL I. 10:04 AM  

I wonder if LEN knows LOM or POM.
Cute enough but really nothing I'd write home about. Well, maybe I'd ask someone if they ever watched Kurosawa's RAN or who OMALLEY might be or who was Aretha's sister and does anyone in the family take EMERGENC and do tell me.... why is SNOOP changing his name AGAIN.
Bathtub GIN is NO JOKE. My grandmother drank it. FOR FRO.
Loved the "How I met Your Mother" series and Josh Radnor. I thought he was perfect for the part. He has an innocent look about him and now I can well imagine him chanting his OHM's.
Good one @Kitshef. When I saw Jeff's name as co-constructor I was wondering what treat we might be in for......TRAD

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

@Moly: I respectfully disagree. I think otherwise famous people (Eno, Ono, Orr, Ott, etc.) are fine as long as not done to death. Enya rates. From Wikipedia: “She has sold over 26.5 million albums in the United States alone according to Nielsen Soundscan, making her one of the best-selling artists in the country.[1] She has won four Grammy Awards and placed five consecutive albums at top ten on the US Billboard 200.

Enya has achieved worldwide record sales of more than 80 million, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.[2]

Obviously, the letter value is of paramount importance, but we need to think in terms of relative value. I’d argue that Enya’s is higher than Eno’s or Ono’s, who is famous because of who she married.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Would crosswordese used in a crossword be crosswordese?

Roo Monster 10:15 AM  

Hey All !
L'OM! (Like L'chaum. :-) )
Also POM, OMEGA. Thinking it would've been smoother if no other OMs except the themers. OM well...

OK puz, puns on the low end of the Snicker Scale. Kind of a funky grid, too. Weird clue for MODEL. IDI Amin is getting lots of play. Surprised Rex or others aren't up in arms. Almost OCTOPODes! UBER clued as Not the ride-share. Cool clue for VINES. Just some random ramblings about puz. :-)

SPORT NESS
RooMonster
DarrinV

Stanley Hudson 10:16 AM  

Nice to see OFL not hating on Jeff Chen—if grudgingly so.

chefbea 10:20 AM  

did not get it at all!!!!!

Uncle Alvarez 10:22 AM  

Hey Oldfatbasterd, why don’t you suck it, asswipe?

Lewis 10:24 AM  

I believe that minor OMs, such as the non-theme-related OM in OMEGA (48D), are known as "omelets".

Robert A. Simon 10:31 AM  

Everyone has already applauded the inventive cluing and cleverness throughout. I just wanted to say I can't remember a more enjoyable puzzle.

I also thought Rex's review was spot-on. Overall, a great (and increasingly rare) day in crossword puzzle land.

Brian Clutter 10:43 AM  

I still don't understand NESS for Untouchable leader (31D). Can someone explain this clue for me please?

QuasiMojo 10:45 AM  

@Lewis, lol. Touché!

Joseph Michael 10:49 AM  

I couldn't help but RESIST a puzzle with so many proper nouns.

Managed to solve it after thinking that there was no way I could. But can't say I had much fun along the way.

Figured out early on that the themers each start with OM but it wasn't until later that I had the AHA MOMENT that each themer was also a thing without the pre-OM and that kinda made the theme more interesting.

Trying to get the "Octomom" out of my head after completing 47A.

Favorite entry: SNIVEL.
Least favorite clue: HIT IT!

David 10:49 AM  

Very grudgingly granted. Still "covet" would be "extreme fancy" and not "extremely fancy" even as a verb. Yesterday I said to my wife as we walked off the ferry, "I really liked today's puzzle; kalamata, lexicon, epochal, urban sprawl. No oreo or oboe."

My favorite part of today was the fro/for juxtaposition. The OM left me cold, even though it was clever.

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:58 AM  

I actually LOLed when I figured out the theme. İt wasn't lie a chuckle, I had an unforced laughter for ~4 seconds. Brilliant. A good, or at least uncommon pun is a rare sight in NYT Puzzle, and boy, this one delivers it.

With such a constraining theme, it's probably very hard not to use crossword glue, and boy, this one has some classis: TRAD, NESS, ERMA, ERIN, ENYA and a lot of 3-letter answers. Yet the grid feels very clean. Why? Because SNOOPLION, OFFSTAGE, TDPASSES, MINIOREO, ANIMUS, PINATA... The longer answers are all great. Perfect reward for all the unfortunately necessary crap from Crosswordistan.

"Kept on the down-low?" and "Symbol for the resistance?" were the good clues. Not sure "Extremely fancy? needed a question mark, but also a good one.

Overall, one of the best collaboration puzzles. How I Met Your Mother stars have produced two of the best collabs so far. I wonder if Jason Segel or Alyson Hannigan are into crosswords, they have great potential.

GRADE: A-, 4.1 stars.

Kristy, Mom at large 11:06 AM  

Congrats Josh Radnor and Jeff Chen on a fun puzzle! Quite an inventive theme and snappy fill. The difficulty was spot-on for a Wednesday. Good job!

Martha Stewart 11:13 AM  

For all those decrying Snoop Dogg / SNOOPLION entry and why the hell should they know a (is there a preferred font for disgust? If so, what is it, and does blogger support it?) rapper, you should I count Snoop among my best friends. He's unfailingly gracious, and our TV show Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, dedicated to fine food, fine wine, fine design and cultured living is a big hit.

Sure, the dressing rooms need constant airing out, and you can't let him cook too long by himself or everything comes out over-baked (if you get my drift), but you won't meet a finer man anywhere. If only hanging with him in public didn't violate my parole!

Chip Hilton 11:37 AM  

Geez, I’m stupid. I slapped in PREMEDIcATED without bothering to read the clue after getting most of the letters from crosses and just left it there, despite having caST as the answer for ‘try’ (I thought of fishing) and aMERGENC for the vitamin brand. I told myself that there had to be some pharmaceutical connection to OM. What a buffoon.

I enjoyed the puzzle. I thought there was some neat resistance for a Wednesday. And, yes, the clue for COVET was superb. Am I the only one getting sick of ORE?

Anyway, well done, Josh and Jeff.

Masked and Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Sorta like a "How I Met Yer OM-there" puz.
And, to any conspiracy theorists out there: MODEL is "LED OM" backwards.

Great construction, with extra 8-stacks and weeject stacks in the NW and SE. With all the themers sorta omooshed-up in the middle, also get 4 nice bonus weeject stacks, in that area. staff weeject picks: LOM and POM.

Disappointinly, not as much desperation as U'd think this grid layout might normally entail. The celeb co-constructioneer was clearly a good influence. About all M&A had to desperately hang onto was SER. [EMERGEN-C was new to m&e, but that's ok. Gave the grid some freshness.]

Thanx, Mr. Chen and Mr. Radnor.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

boomer54 11:43 AM  



MADE AN ACROSTIC FOR A FRIEND WITH THE CLUE FOR ... COVETS ...BEING ...

WANTS TWO DOG DOCS ...

Joe Bleaux 11:55 AM  

OMG!

old timer 11:55 AM  

My downfall: immediately writing in "PGA" for tour group. Left me hanging for a good five minutes. And I could not figure out EPISTLES. Finally I realized that VOGUE could be there. and changed PGA to USO. The rest filled in easily though

Though a DNF as it turns out since I had "Dieges" instead of SIEGEL. Note that "modes" is better than MODEL for that clue.

Matthew G. 12:02 PM  

As crackblind correctly points out, today's celebrity co-author Josh Radnor played noted fictional crossword lover Ted Mosby, the "I" in "How I Met Your Mother."

Not only did Ted famously meet Will Shortz in one episode, his love of crosswords was sprinkled throughout the show's nine seasons. He apparently liked the hard ones--in one episode, Ted complains about how busy he was one Saturday and mentions to his future children, "You know how much I hate being interrupted on a Saturday -- that's Dad's crossword day."

Ted was also a noted for reaching really far to make a pun, so that fits too.

And as you've probably guessed--one of my favorite shows.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

You, @Andrew Rosen, are a fucking moron. It's En Vogue, not men vogue.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Dems should be proud of the leadership skills of Pelosi and should make every effort to elect more just like her.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Um @Brian you could Google "Ness untouchable" and see what you come up with. Or you could make yourself look like an idiot.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

@Old Uncle Alvarez, don’t you mean liposuction it?

jb129 12:13 PM  

FINALLY finished but still don't get the "OM" thing...

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

@David: so incredibly wrong.

Kimberly 12:34 PM  

Really smiled at this theme. Loved everything except “hit it,” because the answer to that should be a synonym of hitting something (“punch”), or a word/phrase with the same alternative meaning, like “scram” or “skedaddle.” PINATA is not a “hit it,” it’s sonething that is hit. The difference is significant.

Loved Rex’s write up of his aha moment. Knowing he’s not usually a themer fan it was wonderful to see him getting a kick out of one.

Monty Boy 12:46 PM  

I liked this one a lot, but I'm a puny guy. That and I finished without a Google to get the singers/directors/obscure (for me) names.

@Brian Cutler - Elliot Ness was the lead T-man in old TV show, the Untouchables, hence untouchable leader. (I'm trying to help, not Troll).

As a math teacher, my favorite is 38 Down: An integer has no point (decimal). Had to get most of the crosses to have the aha (and ha, ha) moment.

Dick Swart 1:02 PM  

A great Wednesday! Same here on _ovet ... terrific clue!

tea73 1:03 PM  

For once I saw the theme right away and plunked down those OMs everywhere which helped the solve. I watched How I met your Mother for many, many seasons, but gave up before the Mother finally appeared. I don't remember Ted being a crossword fanatic. Maybe that was in the later seasons.

Liked this one. Stupidly put in EPISodE instead of EPISTLE, but eventually got that sorted out. Great clue for NESS, but I was too stupid to see it. Oh well!

Bagelboy 1:13 PM  

Good Wednesday. I got the theme early and ended up with a way shorter than average Wednesday time. Highlights i liked OMEGA especially

Teedmn 1:14 PM  

Another "harder than usual for the day of the week" puzzle today. I didn't make many missteps (claSHES with the law before BRUSHES) but my experience was similar to @Rex's except I did see the OM's (thanks @Lewis for breaking the eggs for the OMelets!) Too bad they didn't help much.

Hardest to get for me was the revealer from P__MEDI______. All that letter pattern suggested to me was PriME DIrective, which didn't fit. Not knowing LEN or SIEGEL held up the SW for a while. RECRUIT finally gave me the AHA MOMENT. (TRAD is also the Swedish word for "tree" although you need an umlaut above the A).

This puzzle, IT'S NO JOKE. Thanks, Josh and Jeff.

Suzie Q 1:20 PM  

@ Monty Boy, You don't have to be runt to like this, most of us did and we're regular sized!
Just kidding, your typo just cracked me up, sorry.

No idea who the co-constructor is but that didn't detract from the fun.

Mark N 1:36 PM  

I thought this one was delightful. As others have said, the COVETS clue is an all-timer

Aketi 1:45 PM  
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Aketi 1:48 PM  
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Aketi 1:50 PM  

@Monty Boy I liked the clue for interger too.

There are eight Os in the theme answers. Does that make them and OCTOsquOD?

I confess, I’m not really into OMing my way through life. Chanting sounds more like DRONIng to me. Rather than calming me, It makes me fidgety. So no PRE or Post MEDITATiON on my daily to do list.

@Nancy, When I was a tween, one of my former babysitters got divorced fairly quickly after her son was born. Her son was named a Ronald at birth after his father, but she started renaming him every time she switched boyfriends: starting modestly with Ronnie. I’ve I was just old enough to babysit her son and IT was NO JOKE trying to keep up with the name changes, She started innocuously enough with Ronnie, then Romney, then progressing to Romaine at which point I gave up on her name changes and called him Ron. I felt bad for the kid and now I think she could have learned a little moderation from George Foreman.

SNOOP Dogg/LION seems to have outdone her. You could almost fill a small crossword puzzle with the variations that included Snoop Doggy Dogg, Bigg Snoop Dogg, Uncle Snoop, Snoopzilla, DJ Snoopadelic, Doggfather, yet it doesn’t look like he’s ever spelled dog Dawg like the bounty hunter nor has he attempted to add Downward Facing into the mix.

Mike Rees 2:03 PM  

I filled in the revealer but didn’t get the theme until I finished the first theme entry. So, my “aha moment” actually happened at OMAHAMOMENTS.

Made my day.

Scott Moffett 2:17 PM  

How is SER an answer for that clue? I got it by everything around it but still don't understand it. Or EKE.

puzzlehoarder 2:42 PM  

@ Kimberly, your criticism of the PINATA clue was almost a perfect explanation of it. When you wrote "it's something that is hit" you're already using the word "it" to refer to the PINATA. It's not much of a stretch to see how this could be boiled down to "Hit it" in crossword speak. Generally the more terse and cryptic a clue is the better it is. In this case the clue is just telling you that what you're looking for is something that is hit.

TomAz 2:46 PM  

I liked this puzzle. I clued into the OM thing before the revealer so no great revelation but it was still fun.

My one major hiccup that slowed me down was I put in boSS instead of NESS and kept it there for a good long while. All sorts of hilarity ensued.

Dropped in SNOOPLION without a pause. But I had no idea about LEN and SIEGEL and maybe a few others.

I believe the clue to INTEGER is technically incorrect. A digit with a decimal point followed by nothing but zeros is still an integer.

Matt 2:46 PM  

DNF at 20a - confidently wrote in PimP walk

I can't be the only one that did that

Rob 3:06 PM  

@Scott Moffett 2:17: SER is the infinitive verb in Spanish meaning "to be," in the permanent sense (versus estar, which has different usage). I don't speak more than a few words of French but as far as I know être is the same en français.

Puzzle was fine, but I've never really seen née on a wedding invitation. Is that really a thing?

Mohair Sam 3:15 PM  
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Mohair Sam 3:17 PM  

@Nancy - As I said here once before, rappers like change their name every five years or so to keep current (source: retired NBA great Jalen Rose, who knows pretty much everything). Snoop's many names indicate only that he is getting old.

The good news is that perhaps the most famous of all, JAY-Z, has been kind to cruciverbalists. He never changes his letters, just messes with the hyphen and caps: Jay-Z for years, then Jay Z in 2013, and finally JAY-Z last year. Interestingly, his new album prints his name as JAY:Z - stay tuned.

Bob Mills 3:27 PM  

Solved it, but I still don't know what "OM" has to do with premeditation. Some kind of cool street talk?

mathgent 3:32 PM  

The Bay Bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland and the rest of the East Bay cities. It is a perpetual bottleneck during the commutes. I just read this morning that Herb Caen once called it The Car-Strangled Spanner.

Z 3:40 PM  

@Brian Clutter - Eliot Ness will appear again soon in a puzzle near you.

@anon10:04am - So, if I follow your logic to it’s reasonable conclusion, Madonna (with album sales approaching 200,000,000) should appear in puzzles 2.5 times as often as ENYA. I appreciate your love for ENYA but her musical worth has nothing to do with whether or not her name is crosswordese.

@Scott Moffett - SER conjugated.

Regarding complaints of there being excessive proper names, a quick perusal suggests that the PPP in this is a relatively low 25%. Sorry, you can complain about the PPP being in your outhouse, but complaints about it being excessive are not supported.

@Lewis - Omelette, gentille omelette,
Omelette, je te méditerai. ... or something like that.

Z 3:44 PM  
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JC66 3:44 PM  

Each day, @Rex takes great care in explaining the puzzle's theme (if there is one). I wonder how frustrated it makes him feel to constantly read comments that indicate the commenter didn't read or understand his post.

Z 3:45 PM  

@Bob Mills - OM is the sound one might focus on while meditating. The themes takes OM and puts it before common phrases so the phrases now have “pre” meditation.

Nancy 3:46 PM  

@Mohair (3:17)-- Thanks for your very interesting SNOOP-whatever-his-last-name-is-right-now insights, but it's @Aketi (1:50) whose post is the real eye-OPENER. OMG, it's even worse than I thought! All those names!!!! I had no idea. A plea to the NYT Puzzle Gods: Please don't use any of the lesser-known ones in future puzzles. Okay? Do we have a deal?

@Bob Mills (3:27)-- (Has someone beaten me to this while I was typing?). OM is the most famous meditation mantra in the world. It's what you chant while trying to empty your mind of everything. (Though it certainly never worked for me.) So pre-meditation: You put an OM before whatever the answer is.

JC66 3:47 PM  

or previous comments.

JC66 3:48 PM  

not you @Z & @Nancy. We were posting at the same time.

foxaroni 4:08 PM  

Found this to be Thursday difficult. I knew the "old" stuff ( Len Cariou, Eugene Onegin, Herbert Lom). And I'm a punny guy, too (omelette, Car-Strangled Spanner), but I never figured out the puzzle puns. I didn't think they were that cute, to be honest. And the clue for "covet" was grammatically incorrect. Not one of my favorite puzzles. Lots of other good fill, though, so thanks Josh and Jeff.

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

Every day I thank God for Snoop Lion.

Melanija Knavs 4:29 PM  

Every day I thank God for Stormy Daniels.

sanfranman59 4:36 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:50 4:13 1.15 80.9% Challenging
Tue 5:40 5:44 0.99 44.0% Medium
Wed 6:43 5:54 1.14 74.5% Medium-Challenging

I'm in a real crossword slump. I submitted with a mistake again today. I don't know SNOOP LION and at first entered SNOOP dogg, then entered MINt OREO for 30A because I didn't read the first word of the clue and didn't notice the mess I had in 4D. SNOOPLtON ... doh!

Aketi 4:37 PM  

Hahaha, @ Nancy, I shall plead to the OM Gods to spare us from all the Snoop variations in crossword puzzles.

@Lewis, have a good time with your family and now I will be humming (not OMming) the song with the earworm of the lyrics that @Z rewrote. Its one syllable too many but turning the "ter" before the "ai" into a little trill kinda works.


Anonymous 4:44 PM  

"I was really distracted by the little yellow "Note" icon on my puzzle:"

What is this "note" thing? I've never seen it. Thanks.

joebloggs 5:08 PM  

Not everyone knows who Elliot Ness was. This forum should be a safe place to post questions in order to gain a better understanding and in turn become a better crossword solver and if possible, more knowledgeable in general. Not sure why there is any need to denigrate others here. Brian Clutter if you haven’t googled it Elliot Ness (a G or government man) was the lead character on The Untouchables. No biggie

Aketi 5:10 PM  

@Quasi, yes cats are jazz players at least on Pinterest.

Anonymous 5:31 PM  

@Z 3:40—You can’t be that stupid. Reread the part about relative value. Enya , Ono, Eno etc. are unique, vowel friendly short answers and therefore useful to crossword constructors. Nothing funnier than a haughty idiot.

TomAz 6:11 PM  

@joebloggs: "Not sure why there is any need to denigrate others here." Agreed wholeheartedly, but when you consider the state of the national dialogue right now, is it a surprise?

sanfranman59 6:33 PM  

I'm sure this has been suggested before out here, but I've learned that if folks who post on message boards simply ignore trolls, they eventually get bored and go elsewhere. I sure don't get it, but their raison d'être is to be disruptive and rile others up. Please don't feed the trolls.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

I was ready for Rex to bash this one, but no! I'm not a big fan of a theme that doesn't reveal itself until you completely finish the puzzle (I mean completely - even getting the CONGRATULATIONS! jingle), go back to the fished puzzle, stare are it for a bit, and then mutter "oh, I get it." This was a pretty easy fill, and decided not to be distracted by trying to suss out the theme. I didn't read any comments so maybe its been said already, but back in my TM days, OM (or whatever other mantra one used) was used DURING meditation, so the "premeditation" hint was confusing to me. Only when I looked at all the theme answers as a completed group did I "get it." Being from Maryland helped with OMALLEY, who incidentally is quite a good musician .

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

@sanfranman -- Think what you're saying is a *common wisdom* view that's just plain wrong. No evidence at all to support it.

jberg 7:47 PM  

I'm getting here very late, but a couple of points are worth making:

First, on the EN thing, people troubled by it are not parsing the answer corretly. I think the confusion is that there once was a real magazine called Men's Vogue, so we want to read the clue that way -- but really it's either OMEN VOGUE, which fits the clue, or it's OM EN VOGUE, the OM plus a familiar phrase. Either way, the EN gets used..

As suggested by th eclue, SNOOP Dogg is a rapper in the same way that Rex Parker is a crossword blogger. When the person who plays Snoop Dogg decided to perform some reggae, he did in the name of a different persona, SNOOP LION (presumably named in honor of the Lion of Judah, the late Haile Selassie), just as when the person who plays Rex Parker published "Reading Chaucer's 'Manly man': The Trouble with Masculinity in the Monk's Prologue and Tale," he did so in the name of Michael D. Sharp.

@Nancy, thanks for the heads up. My usual procedure is to come here, read the comments and post something as soon as is practicable after I finish solving. Then I go back and look at the previous day's comments to see if anything interesting came up after I posted (or, if I'm pressed for time, I at least search for my ID). Today I actually went back earlier, because I'd been tipped off by @Quasi. Thanks!

@Evil Doug seems to have abandoned us, or he might suggest another meaning for "But do not dull thy palm with entertainment..."

David in CA 8:17 PM  

@david: Would you say "Boy, do I extreme fancy my neighbor's wife!"?
Clue is the correct verb form for covet/fancy.

Joe Dipinto 9:02 PM  

@Rob 3:06 -- The clue for née says wedding announcement, i.e. an after-the-nuptials posting, such as appears in the NY times Sunday Styles section.

Anonymous 9:44 PM  

I met Ted Mosby at Maclarens once. He was a jerk.

Peter Meidlinger 11:08 PM  

I thought it might refer to hockey judges. Wrong?

Anonymous 11:58 PM  

Every day I thank God for niggardly pussy hats.

Nancy 12:29 AM  

Every day I thank God that even though I’m over 70 I don’t have to wear adult diapers.

a.corn 12:30 AM  

Thank you...I hattttttted this puzzle! I can on here at 10:30 last night to bitch about it, but not up yet. I think other than some of what you mentioned (specifically EN VOGUE), the SE as a whole was garbage; you keep the heat on low to SIMMER not down-low, the important stat for QBs is their passer rating, TDPASSES against what? A game? A season? A career? Number of interceptions? Number of attempts? Garbage. Definitely don’t consider EMERGENC a vitamin brand. And NEE may have been common thirty fuckin years ago, but it sure as shit ain’t common now! But what I realllllllly couldn’t get over was that people typically chant OM throughout a meditation practice (beginning as well as end), it’s not just a word someone says before meditating. So, I call shenanigans on the whole damn thing. That and pun puzzles typically give me more of an omughhhhhmoment than an AHA MOMENT, which is exactly what happened here. Also wanted uber for AVIS, but VINES took it down, and ANIMUS confirmed it. Was fun to see it pop back up for some German philosophy.

Nancy 12:31 AM  

I will admit to occasional light spotting.

Oldfatbasterd 12:32 AM  

@a.corn, no one gives a shit at this late hour.

BBPDX 2:57 AM  

Agree that this should be a “safe place” to post questions without fear of bullying or debasement. Any one with ad hominem comments will immediately be sent to debasement.

BBPDX 3:01 AM  

Really???

spacecraft 11:22 AM  

PREMEDITATED: har! Good one. The theme SIMMERED in my brain to and FRO FOR a while, then: EMERGEN-see!

Tough in the west, where I inferred OMALLEYCATS late after uncovering the trick, and flat-out guessing MINIOREO. ____walk had me stymied for some time before I remembered PERP from a previous puzzle, having never encountered that expression outside of crosswords. The downs? Total unknowns, all four in the word PERP. SNOOPLION, really? If you say so. Any relation to the Dogg?

By and large, it's a good grid, if you can overlook EKE and TRAD (the latter, at least, has originality). A few LASSES to vie for DOD: ENYA ERIN ERMA--but right next to ENYA is GOTH, and who doesn't think of our resident NCIS lab GOTH Abby? Pauley Perrette, you win the sash today. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 12:04 PM  

Third time during this past week for getting the entire puzzle 'cept the theme understandification part. Sheesh. Musta been watching HGTV whilst solving - yeah, that's the problem right there.

Even so - I thought the themers were kinda cute. Not as cute as Mr. W, with his Clint Eastwood eyes and Jack Nicholson eyebrows, but cute nonetheless.

Diana, blah blah blah

Burma Shave 1:43 PM  

POM POM TEST MODEL

Peyton had a YEN FOR OMAHAMOMENTS
ERE he RAN plays FOR TDPASSES,
but OFFSTAGE he DRONESON to foment
such SPORT in SORORITY LASSES.

--- EUGENE SIEGEL, MBA

leftcoastTAM 2:34 PM  

The theme is challenging, and much of the fill is not easy. (Don't know anything about Josh Radner, but Jeff Chen is a familiar xword xpert.)

Got the clever OM/PREMEDITATED gimmick, but the puns remained pretty elusive.

Made major mistake sticking blindly with LOVES instead of COVET for "extremely fancy", which messed up the crossing ALLEYlATS(?) and IsSNOJOKE(!).

Dumb.

rondo 3:18 PM  

In the words of the late Dick Enberg, “OM my!” Interesting little concept, but still overpopulated with threes.

Another ERIN gets the yeah baby today. ERIN Burnett. Or ENYA, the where-you-been- girl.

IT crash expert coming to fix my ‘puter. Gotta go.

leftcoastTAM 7:43 PM  

I take some comfort in seeing that Rex found the clue for COVET "absolutely brutal".

Anonymous 11:19 PM  

Solved it without hints but 3 separate letters in 3 different clues were incorrect. Covet came to be but at first it seemed wrong. Eventually stuck with it because it worked. Had Emma instead of Erma. Omarlett instead of Omalett. And Aport instead of Sport.


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