Rabbi Meir who served in Knesset / WED 3-28-18 / Red snapper at sushi restaurant / Ballplayer Rich who started ended his 15-year career as Giant / Soprano Licia who performed hundreds of times at Met / Figs on Stanford-Binet test / Leopold's 1924 co-defendant

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Constructor: Peter Gordon

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: TEE (59D: End of each word in 17-, 27-, 43- and 54-Across — as well as every clue (and that's a fact!)) — just what it says

Theme answers:
  • GREAT SALT DESERT (17A: Part of Iran that can get quite hot)
  • SAT BOLT UPRIGHT (27A: Sudenly showed interest)
  • KEPT QUIET ABOUT (43A: Didn't speak of, as a touchy subject)
  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST (54A: "Finally, though as important ...")
Word of the Day: Meir KAHANE  (43D: Rabbi Meir who served in the Knesset) —
Meir David HaKohen Kahane (Hebrewמאיר דוד כהנא‬) (/kəˈhɑːnə/; August 1, 1932 – November 5, 1990) was an American-Israeli ordained Orthodox rabbi, writer, and ultra-nationalist politician who served one term in the Israeli Knesset. His work is influential on most modern Jewish militant and far right-wing political groups. (wikipedia)
• • •

Two issues here. One, I don't really get the appeal of the TEE thing. The themers all ending in TEE is mildly interesting, but ... making all the clues end in TEE just results in tortured cluing. No one is humming along with their solving going "wow, look at how all these clues end in TEE—nice!" It's not even an amazing revelation at the end. More, "Oh *that's* why I had so much trouble interpreting the clues." There needed to be a better way to make this one Extra—to take it from the not-terribly-interesting all-words-in-themers-end-in-TEE thing to the Next Level. The clue gimmick doesn't really do it. Seems like an afterthought to make the puzzle seem (rather than actually be) layered and complex.

[Such are the cluing pleasures of the final TEE gimmick]

So the blahness of the "T" thing is one issue. The next is the proper noun assault. Peter sells an app called Celebrity (see here), a guess-the-name game that he will 100% without a doubt all the time try to rope people into playing at every crossword tournament he attends. He probably does this in real life, in random places, like the dentist's office or subway platforms, for all I know. The game is fun, but that's not the point. The point is: The Dude Knows His Famous Names. And his Sorta Famous Names. Famousish Names. I wonder if this is why he doesn't blink at putting so many marginally famous names in a Wednesday grid. I absolutely did not know three of these names—complete blank stare territory. And two other names (SLOAN Wilson, Rich AURILIA) I knew only because of my particular hobbies / passions (collecting vintage paperbacks and watching baseball, respectively). ADELEH (which I only *just* learned is actually ADELE space H.!), ALBANESE, and especially KAHANE were painful, letter-by-letter, cross-by-cross pick-ups. Brutal. Ugh. I've watched two Truffaut films just this month, but "The Story of ADELE H." ... Adele Ouch, not on my radar. There are a lot more proper nouns in the grid, but most of them seem pretty mainstream. I have never heard of the GREAT SALT DESERT (lake yes, desert no), but at least that was inferrable, unlike KAHANE, dear lord. OMG, I totally forgot about LIL MO, another laughable "???" (20A: Popular early 2000s R&B artist). The TEE gimmick also seems to have forced a NED I didn't know (9D: Nascar Hall-of-Famer Jarrett). So the theme was just there and the spate of iffily "famous" names made this kind of an unpleasant solve.



Maybe a snappy revealer or title (which I really wish weekday puzzles had) could've salvaged the theme; that meager TEE there at the end thuds more than it pops. I don't know. I'm just gonna try to file ADELEH KAHANE and ALBANESE away for future recognition purposes and move on.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

150 comments:

Robin 1:26 AM  

Not thatI hated this, but I pretty much neared Naticked on the intersection of MEL and LILMO. I guess that's punishment for those of who a) don't listen to hip-hop/rap, and b) don't give a ... about cookie show

On the other hand ADELEH and especially KERMIT were right in my wheelhouse, go figure.

Calman Snoffelevich 1:26 AM  

I noticed that the themers had lots of Ts, although it is weird that the first three are three-word phrases, while the last one has four words. If Rex hadn't pointed it out it is likely that I wouldn't have noticed that all the clues end in T. It's not that interesting, but I do like it when the theme is subtle enought that I miss it completely.

TomAz 1:27 AM  

Dreck. Utter dreck. For the reasons Rex talks about. This puzzle is B- and C-list celebrity worship. (unprintable mutterings of disgust).

Ando 1:39 AM  

I thought the proper noun crosses were pretty bad. I lucked into getting them all right, but ASON (ok I guess that's not a proper noun, but part of a quote in some diacritical-laden language with which I'm unfamiliar) and NEGEV, and ADELE H with LIL MO, and who the hell is ALBANESE?

Ando 1:40 AM  

Eh? All comments must be approved by the blog author now? Or is it just because my last comment included h-e-double-toothpicks?

Ando 1:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melrose 1:43 AM  

Pretty tough for a Wednesday! Can't believe that I remembered Kahane, a gimme for me, but that was pretty remote.

Harryp 1:45 AM  

I counted 13 proper names, and may have missed some. This was a proper namefest, or infestation in my estimation. Still under average Wednesday time, but I may have to invest in a People Magazine subscription in order to stay current. Oh the Horror!

JOHN X 1:48 AM  

Well this was pretty easy. I knew all the names, even ADELEH which I've never seen but I've heard of. Meir KAHANE I knew of because he was always on edgy talk shows in the '80s talking about killing all the Arabs (two can play at that game!) and other such stuff. Never knew he got elected to anything. I even knew LILMO and NED Jarrett, because R&B and NASCAR just go together like beans and cornbread.

I guess I'd be pretty good at this dude's game but I ain't paying for it so we may never know.

Carola 2:36 AM  

I had the same reaction as @Rex to the theme and to seemingly running into a proper name around every corner. I also thought that some of them were quite recherché for a Wednesday, and I'll be interested in hearing others' reactions. I was helped by having LOTS of years and loving opera: I remembered reading about Meir KAHANE, seeing The Story of ADELE H. when it came out (on the insistence of a friend who had a huge crush on Isabelle Adjani), and encountering references to the fabled Licia ALBANESE in issue after issue of Opera News. SLOAN and AURELIA needed nudges from crosses to fully emerge from dimmer recesses.

TAG UP is nice alongside the baseball player, with the pitcher's ARM nearby.

jae 2:38 AM  

Medium-tough for me too and pretty much exactly what @Rex said.

chefwen 2:55 AM  

DNF with one measly square remaining empty, the LIL MO, ADELE H crossing. Running the alphabet couldn’t even help me. Maybe had LIL MO been tagged a rapper. Nah, probably not.

SCALE MODEL was new to me also, model ship, model plane, model car, but scale model???

Got to 59D and thought THAT’S IT, SERIOUSLY?

John Hoffman 2:56 AM  

I’m usually not critical of the puzzles, but I thought this puzzle had too many persons’ names. I think it’s not good construction.

Anonymous 2:57 AM  

We all come to the NYT crossword for different reasons, and I would guess that we each have several reasons. A Monday puzzle makes seasoned vets feel good about ourselves, especially when we get a fast time, puzzling through a Thursday rebus just feels like a 2 by 4 across the head, defeat at the hands of an inscrutable Saturday makes us want to come back to try again cause we believe we can't really be that stupid. But the common theme that runs throughout is that we want to grow intellectually, and that is what this varied democracy of puzzle creators are doing day in and day out. Having started doing the puzzles from the 90's online, I get stumped a whole lot more than now. That is the evolution of this puzzle, a long and winding beak of the finch. I think we need to thank these wacky werd nerds for giving their best to us every time. And it may not be your exact cup of tea every time, but damn if they aren't a hell of an intellectual diversion, for 5-555 minutes every day. I reread the first week of rex's blog back from 2006 and I see the evolution in the beak of his finch. Is it standard operating procedure to be more critical as you become more experienced, in my line of work I can pick apart others work, but I am just relieved, that I don't have to do it. So to all you constructors out there, I appreciate all the time and effort you put into these dalliances keep it up, try harder and you know when you have gotten better, we all do, and to rex, reread some of your early work, and try and refind that joy in discovering new things.
PS I am pretty sure some of these words were learned from the NYT crossword ��

Michael Campbell 3:05 AM  

A SNARE is not a net, it is a snare! Parts of a drum kit?

Charles Flaster 3:22 AM  

Thought the “T” a last letter in each clue is creative.
AURILIA opened up the whole puzzle for me.
Thanks PG

sanfranman59 3:32 AM  

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. Your results may vary.

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

Mon 4:41 4:15 1.10 77.2% Medium-Challenging
Tue 6:22 5:31 1.15 77.9% Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:47 6:00 1.46 95.3% Very Challenging

This seems like a Friday that was edited down to a Wednesday, but without taking all of the Friday out of it. A lot of it was read-clue/enter-answer. But there were a lot more personal show-stoppers than I'm accustomed to on Wednesday: SLOAN (19A), LIL MO (20A), ASON (21D), KAHANE (43D), PORTES (45D), TAI (56D), ALBANESE (36D). I also completely blanked on RBG.

A few write-overs: hEnson before KERMIT (12D), nov before APR (2D ... I can never remember which is standard time and which daylight savings), SeinES before SNARES (50A).

I loved the mini-baseball theme, but I simply can't believe that I misspelled Rich AURILIA's name and submitted with AUReLIA/GeG at 34A/23D. I'm a lifelong baseball fanatic and lived through all of Richie's years here in SF. I have to believe there will be a lot of grousing about this answer in CrossWorld (not to mention the overall number of sports-related entries).

I haven't mentioned the theme yet, but only because it's not worth mentioning other than to say that it was clearly a formula for some tortured cluing.

Mike in Mountain View 3:35 AM  

@chefwen: SCALE MODEL, as in, the model is not life-size but is proportionate to life size, i.e., to scale.

Loren Muse Smith 3:58 AM  

Rex – I disagree. For some reason, I did not notice “tortured cluing” as I solved. At all. I did notice the proper name fest, but they must have been crossed fairly for me because I really didn’t have a lot of trouble with this.

Ok. One exception, and one that dealt me the dnf: RBG/BPOE. I forgot to go back and guess the letter.

I’m quick to forgive the ALBANESE, KAHANE, and other glue en route to uncovering the theme. Today’s was fun. I don’t care that T is a common letter; I really like the KEPT QUIET ABOUT until they didn’t keep quiet about… and we SAT BOLT UPRIGHT.

And the only T’s Peter invited to his little T party were in the themers. Nice. CAN’T BEAT THAT

“White” elephant before ASIAN.

ABOUT THAT ACPT – once again, it was a hoot. We welcomed our own @Randall Clark into our posse of Rexites, and it was terrific getting to know him.

AT GREAT COST - we had a lockdown at school yesterday because a guy who had threatened to come back with his gun (and was I think expelled) disappeared from his home, and no one knew where he was. Hey. DON’T SWEAT IT, right? Wrong. Scary times.

Why DOORNAIL? Is that any deader than an upholstery tack? A six-inch replica of the Statue of Liberty? A wooden spoon? And is the doornail that big one that fits down through the hinge? The one you take out so you can take the door off so you can get a big table through, the one that your dad asked about over the phone as you and your daughter were trying to unscrew all twelve screws to take all the &^%$ hinges out of the wood and then felt dumb that you didn’t see that? Is that the doornail? I googled it, and I don’t think that’s it.

Peter – I’ll remember this one for a while. Nice job.

'merican in Paris 4:15 AM  

Not to be ANAL about it, FOLKS, but my experience of doing this puzzle, which was a royal DNF for me, was like taking a test with 95% simple algebra problems, and 5% differential equations. Completed all but three squares in half my usual Wednesday time and then came to a screeching halt. No way I was going to get all the proper names bunching up at MEL, LImMO, ADEmEH and NoOOBE, kEArN, ALBArESE.

Fortunately, I was able to pull BPOE from the deep recesses of my memory, and guess correctly at the crossing of KAHANE and FARO, and work out SLOAN and ANSARI.

I was, however, somebody who thought to himself after changing SINa to SINE and getting TEE for 59D: "Wow, look at how all the clues end in TEE. Nice!" I think I may have even SAT BOLT UPRIGHT.

Strong Latin-language undercurrent in this puzzle, with ADELE H., AGUE, A SON, ELLE, FARO (a late 17th-century French gambling card game), PORTES, SINE (qua non) and TORO.

Best cluing, in my opinion: "___ elephant" for ASIAN.

'merican in Paris 4:26 AM  

@LMS. See this explanation from World Wide Words:

William and Mary Morris, in The Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, quote a correspondent who points out that it could come from a standard term in carpentry. If you hammer a nail through a piece of timber and then flatten the end over on the inside so it can’t be removed again (a technique called clinching), the nail is said to be dead, because you can’t use it again. Doornails would very probably have been subjected to this treatment to give extra strength in the years before screws were available. So they were dead because they’d been clinched. It sounds plausible, but whether it’s right or not we will probably never know.

They add that"almost certainly the euphony has caused the phrase to survive longer than ... alternatives", such as "dead as a herring" or "dead as a stone".

Two Ponies 6:14 AM  

This was like a silly joke.
So a Nascar driver, a soprano, a ball player, and a rabbi walk into a bar.....

Glimmerglass 6:43 AM  

I understand @Rex’s critique — he makes sense, but I agree with LMS that the clueing didn’t seem driven by the T-gimmick. I find an excess of famousish proper nouns annoying, but luckily the puzzle is a CROSSword, not a trivia game, and so I was able to survive.

Anonymous 6:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kitshef 6:50 AM  

Hard to decide what to complain about first today:
- The thin, weak theme?
- KEPT QUIET ABOUT as a featured entry?
- The absurd number of obscure entries for any day, let alone a Wednesday? For me, that’s SLOAN, LIL MO, KAHANE, TAI, NED, and ALBANESE. But there are another half-dozen that I happened to know but that are still pretty sketchy.
- That 1D and 2D are RBG and APR, and they cross BPOE?
- SESS?

Andrew 6:51 AM  

Blurgh. I was on track for a record Wednesday time but I DNF'd due to the crosses in the NE corner. Had to get every single cross for KAHANE, AURILIA, ALBANESE, and NEGEV, too.

kitshef 7:02 AM  

"I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade." - Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol

Damfino 7:15 AM  

What do you call puzzles constructed for other constructors’ amusement, rather than solvers” amusement? I need a word for that. Clues all end in T ... wow. Makes solving so much more .... ?

Birchbark 7:19 AM  

AURILIA, you think so? This played to inference-driven solving -- finished a little faster than a typical Wednesday but recognize only a few of the proper nouns.

There's no W in ASSAIL. Think about it. Instead of fighting, we're that close to drinking holiday nog if only we'd take a moment to consider other points of view.

Suzie Q 7:20 AM  

I hope Peter G. enjoyed writing this because then at least one of us had fun.
Rex called the clues tortured and that seems about right.
Not too long ago someone here recommended Man in the Gray Flannel Suit in the movie form. Thanks for that but it sure didn't help me today.
I've pretty much given up on Thursdays. We'll see.

wgh 7:37 AM  

Ugh. Way too hard for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 7:43 AM  

I remember when the nyt puzzle was a clever, challenging diversion.
Now, it more often than not reminds me of the old TV Guide puzzles. I'm just not a fan of a boatload of gratuitously obscure folks' names.

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Faster than normal Wednesday, but not enjoyable.

Nolaist 7:48 AM  

Mel was the cook on the Sitcom Alice not a cooking show. You still might not give a ....

QuasiMojo 8:02 AM  

Considering that "Adele H." was Victor Hugo's daughter, who suffered from schizophrenia, I am surprised that a professor of literature has never heard of the story about her, based on her journals, or the film based on her tragic life by Francois Truffaut.

ThaT said, I found today's offering just a Tad Too sTraighTforward. It felt more like a laTe nighT exercise to sTave off boredom aT the local Trivia NighT. Please someone at the nyT, please spill the T about how this got accepted and the magnificently adroiT puzzle I sent in a while back was rejected. lol.

@Loren, I enjoyed your clever puzzle yesterday in the other paper. You had a similar theme, but on both ends. Very nice. You even had a nod to Eric Agard in it, or at least his hard-to-miss hair-do. I see it was a hit over at Crossword Fiend.





Bagelboy 8:09 AM  

I knew KAHANE easy, and MEL. everything else filled nicely other than the cross of TAI- NIOBE, which i got by trial and error. I did not find challenging for a Wednesday.

michiganman 8:13 AM  

OK puzzle, not at all unpleasant but for 47D (A***). This is one of my least favorite words, not what I want to see while enjoying coffee and crossword. It should be relegated to use in medical contexts only.

Mohair Sam 8:24 AM  

Liked the puzz more than most here - guessed correctly in two locations to avoid being naticked - but I figured it was PPP I ought to know.

"MEL's Diner" was not a cooking show @Robin. Kiss my grits.

Any and all of you ALBANESE complainers who had no problem with LILMO can also do some grit kissing. Opera buffs and anyone who grew up in the New York area in the '50s and '60s will know the name, she was a huge star then and is legend now. We get tons of rappers, why not one Met soprano?

Saw LEANN live about a year ago, the girl can sing. Rich AURILIA played shortstop because he had a great ARM.

@Anon (2:57) - Well said.

@Lauren - My Pop would drive a few nails straight in when he built or repaired something, then he'd measure and level again, and then "deaden" a few nails (see @'mericans description) to keep things tighter, he taught me the term. It just made tons of sense to deaden nails in a door frame, it's going to take a beating.

Nancy in West Texas 8:28 AM  

I thought this skewed old. I finished it in half my usual time. Guess that makes me old!

Not the most fun puzzle and I’m not one-tenth as picky as Rex.

Phil Calbi 8:29 AM  

Rex,
Thanks for explaining why there were so many proper nouns here. Good inside information from the world of crosswords there.
I got Aziz Ansari through pure inference, never knowing that ‘Observe and Report’ is a movie. I actually assumed all the way through that it must be a political show on a CNN type network. Wasn’t till seeing your write up that I learned otherwise. It seems lately that they’ve been using these middling movies, ones that gross between about $10 million to $20 million, as clues. In all cases, you’re either one of the 3 million people who have seen the film or your not.

Phil

EdTech@mjbha 8:42 AM  

I guess it depends on your demographic. KAHANE was a gimme for me.

puzzlehoarder 8:44 AM  

Other than the initial confusion over ELKS/BPOE I was surprised at how easy the puzzle was. This is the "Fireball" puzzle guy and while some the names were obscure the crossings made almost all of them obvious.

I said almost all of them because I spent over a minute figuring out the LILMO/ADELEH crossing to finish. I finally realized it was LIL MO and ADELE H. Sometimes you just have to figure out where to break these things.

Negev Nadal 8:47 AM  

Thank you Anon@2:57. I agree.

This puzz - super easy. Proper name thing not a prob cause I got em on the crosses. There've been puzzles (especially recently) that Ive just walked away from and then come here find them rated easy and everyone a yes on the rating. Then the opposite happens. A lot.

Wish I could figure it out. In any case, loved the themers, fun!

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

John X: Kahane did not call for killing the Arabs, but advocated expelling them to Jordan. For this, he was expelled by the Knesset.

Junief 8:53 AM  

On what sitcom does this Mel cook? Thanks.

Z 8:55 AM  

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of puzzle answers. Anything over 33% will be problematic for some subset of solvers

28 of 72, 39%

So high enough to cause some problems but not the most PPP we’ve seen.

ASIAN
BPOE
GREAT SALT DESERT
SLOAN
LIL MO
ANSARI
AAA
NEGEV
NADAL
LOGO*
O’HARE
LEANN
NIOBE
ELLE

RBG
APR.
NED
ADELE H
KERMIT
ELTON
MEL
AURILIA
IAN
ALBANESE
KAHANE
FOLKS*
LOEB
SNL

*PPP Clues
—————

Lots of PPP I was clueless about and yet none of it gave me trouble. Biggest slowdown was the middle L in LIL MO, but what else is LI-MO going to be. FARO/KAHANE looks troubled, too, unless you do too many crosswords and have seen FARO too often before. I see Rex’s point about the “tortured” cluing, but it just didn’t come into play for me. For example, no idea who NED Jarrett is, but three letter guy’s name starting with N is pretty easy to suss out. No clue on how to spell AURILIA, but every cross was fair. I look at my finished grid and there is not a single write-over. Easy Wednesday here.

Stanley Hudson 8:58 AM  

Seemed okay for a Wednesday, although granted the proper name count was high.

A little disappointing to learn that Peter Gordon hawks his app at xword tourneys. That’s like going to your high school reunion and one of your old classmates who now sells insurance is handing out his business cards.

Both the print and film versions of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit are worth checking out.

FWIW, I really dislike this form of comment moderation.

Linda Vale 9:09 AM  

I rarely use the word dreck. My thoughts immediately after completing this abomination. Too funny.

pmdm 9:10 AM  

I agree very much about what LMS said about the clues. I never thought there was anything unusual about them until I read the revealer. But when I read that Mr. Gordan imposed two additional restraints on himself (each clue had to end in a different word and the only Ts in the grid reflect the theme) I was more impressed by the theme.

On the other hand, the execution was abysmal. I thought the puzzle deserved much harsher criticism than voiced by Mr. Sharp. What bothers me seems to have also bothered many other solvers: the proper names in the grid and the great number of them. OK, I imagine some solvers love this type of puzzle, and they deserve to be satisfied now and then. But complain I will.

Jeff from CT 9:12 AM  

Thank you for writing this! What a great sentiment!

Matthew G. 9:15 AM  

Never heard of either LILMO or ADELEH, and so Naticked. I’m usually a Peter Gordon fan but this one was too random and arbitrary for my taste.

Wm. C. 9:26 AM  


@TwoPonies from Monday --

Re: Your question whether I ever know what "Aotomatic Weapons" are: Please Google that term and you'll learn that the term is "conventionally used by firearm enthusiasts to describe fully automatic firearms."



RJ 9:34 AM  

One of the reasons I love reading this blog is seeing which words and phrase stump people and which others find easy. Even though I only knew 2 proper names today, LEANN and KERMIT, the rest came through fill. This was another day when the theme didn't mean much and I should have solved on paper instead of searching for typos when the puzzle was finished.

I found today's puzzle easy but only because of luck with certain parts of the fill and ease of filling in the long acrosses. I didn't know ASON, LILMO, AURALIA, NEGEV, KAHANE, or ALBANESE.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Opportunities galore to Natick on unfairly crossing PPP, especially in the NortheasT. I Naticked on just about all of iT. Add to that a puzzle with awkward cluing that turns graceful phrases into ones with a most peculiar twisT. (Like my last sentence, get thaT?) All this to accomplish what no solver was salivating for the constructor to construcT. Not a single solver on the planeT. PG may consider it a real feaT. I don'T. And, were it not for 59D, I never would have noticed iT. You, neither -- am I righT? Not much about this puzzle that I didn't detesT.

Carolynne 9:36 AM  

Ugh. Proper nouns killed me.

Jay 9:36 AM  

Very difficult because the constructor chose to populate the puzzle with a mind-numbing number of obscure names.

For Rex and those who had never heard of Kahane, a few words are in order. Kahane was regarded, by many though not all as the Jewish equivalent of David Duke. Attaching the term "rabbi" to his name is an insult to the term 'rabbi'. Brooklyn born, he moved to Israel in 1971. He was elected to the Israeli parliament (Knesset) in 1984, but in 1988 he was banned for being a 'racist' candidate. Some of his followers were convicted in acts of domestic terrorism. For his part, he was convicted for conspiracy to manufacture explosives and received a 5-year suspended sentence. He was assassinated in 1990 in Manhattan by an Arab terrorist.

mathgent 9:37 AM  

I thought that Rex's comment today was brilliant. Funny snd he hit the nail right on the head.

Today, Jeff Chen wrote that there are three qualities that make an excellent crossword. Color, smoothness, and density. I think that I know what he means by color, what I call sparkle. I take smoothness to mean Patrick Berry-like. Does density mean that there are lots of long entries?

a jazz listener's thoughts 9:38 AM  

Ironically I found this puzzle easy and obvious. Filled in the themers very quickly without many letters. Not very exciting but also not a challenge. It was a Monday at best

Hungry Mother 9:42 AM  

Several wags, but faster than normal. Too, too many names for my taste.

David Balaban 9:45 AM  

Arid and nonsensical, but fun to solve even though it took a time. Answers had to be seduced.
.

ArtO 9:46 AM  

While there were a number of names that I needed crosses on the only one to finally stump me was LILMO and ADELEH. A definite antic. Other than that, Rich AURIELIA is certainly a relative obscurity despite his 15 year career but was gettable with crosses. Did not grok the theme and thanks to Rex for that...but what an amazing bit of construction to get all the clues to end in T!!

Was surprised to see the rating as, other than the few obscurities, I thought it played relatively easy.

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

@Nancy...lookie here! All the glorious PPP's missing from yesterday's grand puzzle got shoved over here. And for its efforts, it gets the loud UGH treatment.
I kinda liked the puzzle in a tortuous way. "a chacon son gout" (this is the correct way. Who changed it around? @'mericans...am I wrong?). I will say of today's puzzle "de gustibus non est disputandum." So there!
I've been doing lots of puzzles and am familiar with Peter Gordon's fiendish love of names of people that few have heard of. I knew most but not all, and the ones I didn't know gave me a DNF. LILMO KAHANE AURILIA were not fun. The TEE as the reveal was a huge disappointment. @Rex is right. Here we have some pretty neat themes like LAST BUT NOT LEAST and its getting all cozy at the end with a lousy TEE?
I still don't know how to pronounce AGUE.

Two Ponies 10:16 AM  

@ Wm C 9:26, I do not need to google it but you may need to read it. The key word is "fully". That describes a machine gun. The problem is that the media uses the term "semi-automatic" as if they are the same thing. Until you figure out what you claim to know so much about kindly stop bothering me.

WTR 10:19 AM  

Thanks, my sentiments exactly.

Patricia Markert 10:21 AM  

I agree completely. The puzzle is a game I want to enjoy not competitive work to see how quickly I can breeze through it. (The story of Adele H is one of Truffaut’s finest. )

Sir Hillary 10:25 AM  

The proper nouns were a bit much, even though I remembered Rich AURILIA and Meir KAHANE.

I didn't even notice the T thing while solving. Far from being tortured, the clues (say, for the ANSARI film and the RIMES song) just seemed to be a bit more obscure due to it being a Wednesday.

So all in all, I liked it, although it raises a question...If a stunt goes unnoticed until after it is explained, is it really a stunt?

Gretchen 10:27 AM  

Another puzzle too easy for its day of the week like yesterday's. I thought the theme was interesting, and it helped me figure out some downs. Finished quickly with one square left empty...21.

Gretchen 10:28 AM  

Thanks for your comment. I thought it was easy too.

gruffed 10:32 AM  

Quite doable notwithstanding the plethora of proper nouns, all inferable from crosses. And having all the clues ending in "t" is a clever aspect of the puzzle. So easy to criticize after the fact, but I suspect not so easy to construct and clue. Hats off to PG.

Z 10:32 AM  

@Mohair Sam - What about those of us who know neither LIL MO nor ALBANESE?

All this PPP whining is making me like the puzzle more. Yes, it is high, in the zone where it will cause some problems. But you all are acting as if it’s at 45 or 50% and unfairly crossed. We have two 15s and two 14s. If you can’t suss out GREAT SALT DESERT from a few crosses you might want to try a different pastime The other three are in the language phrases. This gives the solver anchors in every section of the puzzle including two letters for most of the longer downs. I understand complaints about naticks. But plants like “abysmal,” “mind-numbing,” “abomination,” or “gratuitously obscure” get my schadenfreude bone all atingle.

BTW it is chacun À SON goût, roughly meaning everyone has their own taste. Always a good thing to remember.

BBTW
Did you know John Paul Stevens was appointed by Gerald Ford, a Republican president from ultra conservative West Michigan? Ford was proud of his appointment, having chosen Stevens because of his character and integrity.

Hartley70 10:44 AM  

I generally find the more proper names, the easier the puzzle. Not today, since I only knew KERMIT and LEANN, ELTON and NADAL as I began. KAHANE came to me after a bit, but everyone else, especially ball players not named Ott are a loss. Nevertheless, I got everyone from crosses and my time was average for a Wednesday.

I liked this puzzle. I met some new folks. (Is it Wilson Sloan or Sloan Wilson?) NED, apologies, but I've forgotten you already.

I think Peter Gordon's "Celebrity" app sounds interesting. I need something to replace "Guess My Word". I can't find it anymore and I suppose Joon got tired of thinking of new words every day. Thanks to someone here who directed me to it several years ago and thanks to Joon Pahk for the amusement. If it ever returns, please give me a holler!

Wm. C. 10:52 AM  


@TwoPonies --

Re your "kindly stop bothering me" pose. You may recall that at the end of your pro-gun-ownership and Pro-NRA post on Monday, you invited response by ending with "...let the games begin."

So I responded, pointing out the net damage caused my handgun ownership, as well as the NRA's virtual ownership of congress, pre-empting the will of the strong majority of Americans to have some reasonable restrictions placed on handguns.

I wouldn't be surprised if you were also against the busloads of patriotic and articulate American students who traveled to Washington to take a stand on this issue.

Now, @TP, kindly stop bothering me. ;-)

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

@ Z and @ Gill, BOTH versions are well attested in French speech and writing, there is NO "correct version":
Chacun à son goût = each person HAS his own tastes
A chacun son goût = TO each person (according to) his own taste

In a way, the double adage embodies its own meaning.

GHarris 11:01 AM  

This puzzle was schizophrenic, mostly easy but way hard in the area of obscure names.Got all of them right,from crosses and a couple of lucky guesses, except for a single letter (the first “a” in Ansari crossing the gout quote) which was my ultimate undoing.

Aketi 11:05 AM  

Good thing our ingeniously evil cat Charlie is cute or he might have been deader than a DOORNAIL today. I don’t know how he did it, but he knocked over a paint cat that I thought I had hammered shut. Clearly I didn’t do a good enough job because it leaked all over the cardboard I put on the floor and managed to ooze through a slit in the cardboard. Charlie’s stuffed dog was right next to the paint. Unlike the floor, there was not a drop of paint on the stuffed dog.

@Anonymous, thanks for the explanation of how to clinch a nail. I think I need to figure out how to clinch a cat without causing harm. I briefly considered duct tapining him to the wall but he’d probably claw me to death in the removal process.

Is using a sledge hammer to tamp down the paint can lid considered sledging? Clearly I need to put more muscle into it,

I cleaned up the mess and came back after finishing the crossword puzzle and the stuffed dog was right next to the paint cans again. Why?

'merican in Paris 11:07 AM  

@GILL I. and Z:

Write you are, @Gill, at least in France. I looked at those four squares and thought to myself, "Huh? Obviously SON belongs there, but what else?" I finally through in an "À", and that seemed to work.

@Z is right, apparently, if one uses it in the way that it has been adapted to 'merica. Here's the explanation from ThoughtCo.:

Interestingly, English speakers use this expression considerably more than the French, though it has been slightly twisted into "chacun à son goût" (literally, "each one to his taste") or "chacun a son goût" ("each one has his taste"). The correct French expression, however, is (à) chacun son goût.

jb129 11:08 AM  

I don't like when I check Rex's rating on a puzzle, but I did it today & when I saw he said "Medium-Challenging, I thought this will be a tough one for me. But I must've been in PG's head because it wasn't & I finished sooner than I thought & enjoyed it.

anon 11:11 AM  

Preach! And oh by the way: Peter Gordon is one of the greatest constructors alive.

Z 11:11 AM  

@Anon10:53 - Thanks. I feel the need to point out that I was busy writing when @Gill I was posting and was replying to all the “ASON” posts as if ASON was a single French word.

jb129 11:14 AM  

BTW - I agree with Anonymous @ 2:57 am.

Joseph Michael 11:15 AM  

This puzzle may have suited the constructor to a TEE, but it left me cold with a WTF was that?

The themers and the clues all end with one of the most common letters in the English alohabet? Really? That's all, FOLKS?

I might have just accepted this as a themeless, but the onslaught of proper nouns was way too annoying. Like so many TSE TSE flies ruining a picnic that wasn't very good to begin with.

Low point for me was NADAL crossing ALBANESE, though by that point I had already lost all hope of ever liking this puzzle.

Not my cup of T.

'merican in Paris 11:17 AM  

Cripes, my English is going down the tubes. That should have been Right you are ... and threw.

Z 11:42 AM  

By By By The Way - AVCX puzzle this week - WOWSER.

Mark N 11:42 AM  

Brutal west / southwest for me. Not my favorite for the week so far.

Lewis 11:52 AM  

@anon. 2:57 -- Hear hear!

I've read all 84 comments that are posted and not one person has claimed to have figured out the "all clues end with t" part before finishing the puzzle. That tells me that Peter did an outstanding job with his cluing gimmick and that it wasn't so tortured as to arouse notice. I also noticed what LMS has also noticed, that the only tees in the puzzle are in the theme answers -- good piece of constructing.

I had only one Natick: ADELE H / LIL MO. But as I ran the alphabet, the L easily made the most sense. I plopped it in and moved on.

It's not easy to come up with in-the-language phrases in which each word ends with T, at least not for me, and that plus the cluing angle put this puzzle in the better-than-normal category -- gave me a nice wow after reading the reveal. Thank you, Peter!

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:53 AM  

Today's fill makes me feel like I was unnecessarily harsh on yesterday's fill. What a garbage week so far. I don't think this puzzle deserves elaborate and nuanced commentary. Geez.

GRADE: C-, 2.15 stars.

Mots Croisés 11:55 AM  

@'merican in Paris, I trust your knowledge of contemporary French slang or idiom, but I doubt that the variation you cite has been twisted into "Chacun à son goût" by people in the States. We might use this phrase often but it was in use a long time ago in other countries. As you no doubt know, Johann Strauss, Jr. used it in 1874 in the aria by Prince Orlofsky in "Die Fledermaus," so I can't imagine that the librettist imagined a count who would have prided himself on his fluency in French yet have used an expression that had been twisted overseas by Americans.

Malsdemare 11:56 AM  

By now everyone can assume I missed the theme, such as it was, entirely. And that's because I never saw the clue for 59D. I just motored along, like the little engine that could, filling in acrosses and downs as needed, thus getting AURILIA, ADELEH, ANSARI, KEHANE et al, with little trouble. I did take a minute at the end to look at the themers and wonder just what they had in common. To my very inexperienced mind, ending each themer in a T doesn't seem like much of a feat, certainly not what I'd notice. But I surely didn't see the terminal T on the clues. And that IS quite a feat. So kudos to our constructor.

My husband builds scale models of sailing ships. These suckers are huge, three feet long or more, two-three feet tall. He buys what are euphemistically called "kits," basically a box of variously sized wood, a lot of brass hardware, spools of "thread," and ten-twelve sheets of plans, usually in Italian. He then sits in front of the TV for months on end, laboriously sanding, shaping, bending, and glueing wood, tediously creating ratlines and coils of line, raising masts, installing brightwork and weaponry, and, sometimes, finally adding sail, either furled or flying. They are maybe the most impressive accomplishments you can imagine. The problem starts when we have to display them. We have FIVE of these monsters in the house, each in a 4’ x 3’ by 1’ case. I love that he has this spectacular hobby; just wish like hell more of our friends and relatives wanted one of these behemoths in THEIR homes.


Amelia 12:04 PM  

@QuasiMojo beat me to the obvious, painfully obvious, fact that a professor of literature should not be unaware of the portrayal of the daughter of Victor Hugo in a Truffaut film.* This was not a medium to challenging crossword. The proper names weren't all that difficult, if you follow culture or world news or baseball. The revealer was ridiculous. I'll give you that.

*I was just out of college when the film came out. My parents went to see it, and the next day sent me a check. I guess they were appalled at Hugo's lack of interest in his ailing daughter. (I wasn't ailing. I guess I just needed a helping hand.)

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

One of the greatest lyric sopranos of the 20th century, that’s who

Trombone Tom 12:15 PM  

Unlike some of you I really enjoyed Peter Gordon's puzzle and found it generally easy, except for that accursed LIL MO/ADELE H near-Natick. I came to a screeching halt and ran the alphabet in desperation. LIL MO sounded reasonable and I went with it, in spite of not knowing the Truffaut movie.

As a long-time Giants fan AURILIA (which I originally misspelled AurElia) was a gimmee. It also helped that the 14's and 15's seemed to fill themselves in with only a few crosses.

And as a one-time model train enthusiast I can attest that scale model is common usage to all modelers.

old timer 12:17 PM  

ADELE H is something I might be expected to know. But the crossing of LIL and MEL was a classic Natick for me. It resulted in a DNF and an angry solver. I was impressed with the fact that each clue ended in a t, and don't think it interfered with the solve. Doubly impressed that each word of the themers ended with t. Trebly impressed to learn here that those themers contained the only t's in the grid.

(Btw the trick was set forth in one of the clues, and knowing that helped with one of the themers).

But I still call Foul on the multiple Natick opportunities.

P.S. Thanks 'mericans for the chacun a son gout explanation.

TJS 12:22 PM  

Does anyone else think there is more going on behind the scenes with Rex' reviews than meets the eye ? I'm pretty sure he commented recently that he never pays attention to themes while doing the puzzle, only when analyzing after the fact. So what is "tortuous" about the cluing for "Sat bolt upright" Kept Quiet about, or Last but not least" ? All are recognizable phrases in the language.
I enjoyed this puzzle, especially for a Wednesday, which has been way to easy lately for my taste. Kahane is easily the most well-known / notorious Rabbi in modern Israeli politics. Anyone who sees "Li at the beginning of a rappers name should automatically throw in the second L. And Adele H, is one of those favorite moments for me when I realize I know something I had no memory of knowing, after just seeing a letter or two.

Banana Diaquiri 12:26 PM  

there is a story in today's NYT about the ACPT, and said something I hadn't known about this (all?) tournament (puzzles/contstructors): everybody gets the same grid, but "tougher" clues up the totem pole. what's the accepted balance between obscure/Natick answers and deceptive clues?

Surphart 12:34 PM  

Who killed David Kahane?

Nate 12:36 PM  

Wednesday is my favorite crossword puzzle day. The puzzle is usually challenging enough that I have to really think about parts of it, but still solvable, so it's rewarding to finish.

This might have been my least favorite Wednesday I've ever seen, and it was absolutely because of an abundance of WHO? celebrities and WHAT? proper nouns, coupled with some hated foreign language clues. These were also the sort of words that were nearly unguessable.

BPOE - what?
NEGEV (what) crossing with ASON (??)
ADELH (huh?) crossing with LIL MO (I was a teenager in the early 90's, and this was a massive WHO?)
KAHANE - who?
NIOBE (what) crossing with TAI (the hell?)
ALBANESE (is that a name? Only got because of the crosses)

Thankfully I'm a baseball fan so Rich AURILIA wasn't a problem, but even that seems unfair. Who's next, Mark GRUDZIELANEK?

ANSARI is the only Aziz that I'm familiar with, so that was a gimme, but that cluing was awful. Observe and Report is a terrible movie and I didn't even remember he was in it. He's waaaaay down the IMDB page. How in the world was that the clue?

I'm sorry to be so salty, but this thing annoyed me so much.

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Patoot-T's!
Crosswort puz!
Back for-T!
T-rumps!

Tough little pup … Lost valuable nanoseconds navigatin all the names, but somehow kepT iT togetherT.
Also, pretty wide-open grid, with only 72 words.

staff weeject pick: No contest. IAL. As in PresidentIAL rump. [T-rump sub-revealer, as I see the Gordonmeister himself mentioned, at xwordinfo.chen.]

Hey -- Brilliant way to keep the Shortzmeister crew from messin around very much with yer clues! Does however open up a whole new category for Crosswort Analysis: Clue Desperation!
LeT's do iT:

* Grand prize goes to the 59-D revealer, which harlariously ends with "(and that's a fact!)" Gotta admit, M&A took an early sneak peek at the revealer, so was on to the trick pretty quick.
* Only one 1-word clue, at 31-A. Unless U count { ___ elephant} at 5-A.
* Lotsa extremely wordy clues, that almost hold entire conversations, before wrappin things up. Example: 36-D's {Soprano Licia, who, did you know, between taking any showers, performed hundreds of times at the Met}.
* 37-D's "…dead beyond doubt" clue-ender was primo TMI.
* Several "…, as …" clue enders, to try to keep the conversation goin until U hit a "T-wort". Example: 43-A's {Didn't speak of, as a touchy subject}.
* Long historical background info, such as 23-D's {Ballplayer Rich who started and ended his 15-year career as a Giant}.
* 21-D's {Chacun ___ gout}. Wanted EET, to get the French for "Checkin it out".
* I wonder if a clue like {Salt ___ } was trotted out for 10-A, but they just hadta finally draw the desperation line, at this point?

Anyhoo … fun & different WedPuz, sooo …
Thanx, Mr. Gordon.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

jberg 12:46 PM  

I didn't notice the no-other-Ts-in-the-grid thing until @Loren pointed it out -- that really does add another layer to the puzzle, which I liked enough before. That said, it was a DNF for me -- no idea about LIL MO or MEL, and less idea than that about ADELE H. I guessed it might have been The Story of A DEATH, probably influenced by the Garcia work -- so when I guessed MEL correctly, I left the A there from death, even though 26A has said a big NEIN to that.

As for Meier KAHANE, I remembered lots of things about him -- he was already creepy before he went to Israel, as founder of the vigilanted group Jewish Defense League. The only thing I didn't remember was that his name was not KoHANE. I'd have recognized FARO as a game if I'd run the alphabet, but I didn't.

These claims that @Rex should know something because he teaches literature are getting ridiculous. I was a professor of political science for 42 years, and I can assure you that there are thousands of political figures I've never heard about, and many more I've heard about but don't know that there was a movie about them. Give it a rest, I'd say.

Finally, I'm worried that the debated about this French saying is getting out of hand -- let's stick to something less controversial, like banning assault weapons.

Kimberly 1:00 PM  

That was painful.

Kimberly 1:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick Butler 1:06 PM  

Maybe I missed it in others’ comments, but what did “(and that’s a fact!)” contribute in the revealer? I wondered if it meant something that would make this exceedingly blah theme more interesting. Guess not.

Totally agreed wit Rex today on the bland theme and the excessive use of obscure proper names — though I did know KAHANE.

GILL I. 1:08 PM  

@'mericans....quelle horreur....!
Mr. MacBook thinks he's my husband. He's always finishing my sentences or correcting something that doesn't need correcting. I wish I could shut him up.
@jberg...While we're on the subject ...Honi soit qui Mal y pense. Fini...;-)

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

I think the crossing of MEL-ADELE H-LILMO could have been just a LIL MO obscure, don't you think? I guessed right but only after my alphabet run and a hard scowl at the offending answers.

(SLOAN, AURILIA, KAHANE and ALBANESE also qualify for that designation for me.)

The gimmick was fine, the phrases chosen were nice and most of this was easy but I still finished in 11 minutes so I'll agree with @Rex's rating of Medium-Challenging.

Gotta love the clue for the beyond-doubt dead DOORNAIL and the Notorious RBG (long may she live!).

Thanks, Peter Gordon.

TJS 1:19 PM  

Anyone else get the "Faro" crossing "Kahane" irony ? Say them as one word.

Kitty 1:30 PM  

My French teacher says the expression Is ' Chacun son goût
NOT 'Chacun a son goût'
Une erreur peut-être!!!

Chip Hilton 1:31 PM  

Tough, thanks to some pretty obscure (to me) proper nouns. Rich AURILIA was a nice player, but NYT worthy? I dunno. SLOAN Wilson? Paging Mr. Maleska! With all that, I was able to get everything through crosses except for the N in ASON and NEGEV.

A baseball-heavy puzzle with Opening Day so close made me smile.

The clues all ending in T? Meh.
T’s only occurring in the theme answers? Very cool.

Joe Bleaux 1:32 PM  

Yeah, and if you want trout, fish in a stream, not a LAKE (where the bass are). But hey ... despite the godawful PPPs, it was more than an OK puzzle for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

Interesting reading some objections to Kahane - he represented all that Israel stands for. How can you object to Trump, um, I mean, Kahane, when he represents the national mood so well?

tea73 2:06 PM  

I saw L'Histoire de ADELEH many eons ago, but did not recognize it even though I filled it in with acrosses. Agree that this is the lamest theme ever. Ends in T? And oh the clues do too. So what? Agree SNAREs have wires or nooses not nets. I didn't know LIL MO or MEL but the L was easy to guess - there was a period there where lots of rappers were LIL something or other.

Roo Monster 2:08 PM  

@Banana 12:26
Beside too much PPP, a puzzle is only as hard as it's clues. You can take the same puz and definitely ramp up the difficult-ness with tougher clues.
If you happen to remember Games Magazine (is that still published?) they had their 'Worlds Most Ornery Crossword', which contained an Easy set of clues, and a Hard set of clues.
Example of easy-tough clue: ___ split (Monday-ish), They come in a bunch (Thu-Fri-ish), African import (Saturday-ish). I'm sure others have better examples! Bit you can see what I'm sayin.

RooMonster

Bob Mills 2:10 PM  

LILMO--ADELEH cross is atrocious. Otherwise a nice puzzle, on the easy side for Wednesday.

Amelia 2:16 PM  

@jberg. Yes, we can give it a rest. Or you can ignore it. I vote for the latter. Your mileage may vary.

Blue Stater 2:21 PM  

*Terrible* triple Natick in the NE (MEL, ADELEH, LILMO). Otherwise meh as per OFL. I expect better, but I've been doing so in vain for many years....

gloriosky 2:33 PM  

My experience exactly with RBG/BPOE. Not sure if would have guessed right, either.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

No time to read the above comments. Count me in with those who thought this puzzle was yucky----to many obscure names of people I don't care about and will not memorize as they won't likely appear again. The conceit with the "tee" was a very thin one and for once I totally agree with Rex that this puzzle didn't cut the mustard.

CashPo' 2:55 PM  

I'm surprised no one has pointed out the mistake in 3D. "Goes stag" does not mean to attend an event "without an escort." The guy going to a stag party IS technically the "escort" as in escorting a female date to a party or a dinner. Men do not have escorts, per se. That is why it is a stag event, he's left the person he is escorting home. It's a guys only night.

PaBear 3:08 PM  

Meh fill and two unnecessary natiks. "LILMO" and "ADELEH", and the horrible "ASON" and "ANSARI". Not much fun for one who doesn't use aids.

JC66 3:25 PM  

@Lewis

I agree with @Sir Hillary "If a stunt goes unnoticed until after it is explained, is it really a stunt?

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

If @Two Ponies and @ Wm.C. can dredge up yesterday's posts, I'll have a go.

@Z,
You've got the reason behind the establishment clause exactly wrong. 100%. The clause exists to protect religions from the government, NOT the other way around. Your claim is a perversion of( at this point) some long standing. Nevertheless, it is in grave error. And telling. It's part of the push to minimize and in not a few cases, criminalize, religion in the U.S.
In any event, few serious Constitutional scholars concur with your analysis. High school teachers and empty suits on TV, well, you're right, they agree with your take.

sanfranman59 4:01 PM  

Pardon the OT post, but I've only just discovered this about Blogger. I've always read the comments on a computer and have been confused why some comments are clearly replies to a previous comment, but it's impossible to tell which comment. For the first time, I looked at the comments section on my Android phone today and see that the interface there is set up so you can see when a message is specifically a reply to another message. Does anyone know if I can get it to work that way on a computer screen? It sure would make some comments easier to understand.

Hartley70 4:20 PM  

@Teedman, I'd love to go to lunch with RBG. Think we could convince her?

@Malsdemare, My future husband was building a scale model of a sailing ship when we met. It certainly was evidence of a long term commitment, an ability to concentrate on one thing, and a steady hand! I'd like to see a picture of your husband's work.

Lewis 4:29 PM  

@jc66 -- Often I agree that a post-solve reveal doesn't do anything for the solver, but sometimes, like today for me, it adds to the experience. When I read the reveal, then looked at the clues all ending in tees, I thought, "Dang. I should have seen that! You got me this time, Peter. Good one!" and it added to my solving experience.

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

The Kahane clue made my day. I have his photo on my wall, his name on my vanity plate and his books on my shelf. I felt like the Aaron Burr freak in the milk ad.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

@Anonymous 3:50 wow! you are achieving the impossible, making me rise in defense of Z!
Each colony / nascent state was mired deeply in legally-enforced and endorsed religion (slight adjustments for PA and RI) - the franchise (right to vote) was tied to active membership in and participation in the established church of the colony, along with other factors, for a primary example - the founding fathers put the separation clause into the constitution to protect the nation from religion, because the various religions endorsed in the various states were incompatible with each other. It is an ignorant, dishonest, Reaganesque (okay, tautology there) reading of history to claim the opposite.

Joe Dipinto 5:02 PM  

@Banana Diaquiri -- that's only true for the final puzzle of the tournament, wherein only the top three finishers in each of three divisions (A,B,C) compete. All three divisions get the same puzzle but group C gets the easiest set of clues, group A gets the hardest, and group B's are in-between.

For the first seven puzzles all tournament participants get the same grid with the same set of clues.

JC66 5:10 PM  

@Lewis

Different strokes...

BTW, I really enjoy your weekly Best Clues list.

Joe Dipinto 5:14 PM  

I liked it. I saw The Story Of ADELE H when it first came out. Kind of a lot of proper names, I guess, but I didn't really notice that while I was solving. Licia Albanese died a few years ago at age 105!

Joe Dipinto 5:56 PM  

@Patrick Butler 1:06 -- it would seem the raison d'etre for (and that's a fact!) was that every clue had to end with the letter "t".

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

@Anonymous 3:50. Agnostics and atheists don't want to "minimize" or "criminalize" religion. Agnostics and atheists don't give a rat's behind about what religious people believe, how they pray or how often. Agnostics and atheists just want to be left alone NOT to believe. All the bloodshed, all the killing, all the torture, all the wars are the result of fervently religious people trying to get other people to believe what they believe. Put a gun to my head and ask me to swear fealty to the god of any religion at all, couldn't care less which one, and I'll swear it. If there's no such god, what difference can it possibly make? Agnostics and atheists are supremely tolerant because we just don't give a damn about any of it. We are no threat to you, and for you to feel threatened by secular society is ridiculous.

retired guy 6:50 PM  

As for 21D, Flanders and Swann used the phrase in a song about seduction (except they pronounced "gout" as an English, rather than a French, word):

Have some madeira, m'dear
It's really much nicer than beer
I don't care for sherry, one cannot drink stout
And port is a wine I can well do without
It's simply a case of chacun a son gout
Have some madeira, m'dear

Honeysmom 6:58 PM  

A bit harder than most Wednesdays, but doable for me without Googling, except never heard of Faro and wasn't sure of the first a in Kahane. BTW, who cares about timing? It's more fun to have an Aha moment even hours later. Some of you guys seem really driven. There's enough pressure in real life. Give yourselves a break.

I'm with Anonymous who commented at 2:59AM. (God bless you!) Let's appreciate the pleasure the constructors give us, not nit pick ad nauseum. Clever theme, couldn't be easy to have all clues end in T.

Joe 7:06 PM  

Way too many obscure names to be fun, agreed. But you really should see “Adele H”, Rex. It’s one of Truffaut’s finest, and I think maybe the debut of Isabelle Huppert.

Azzurro 7:09 PM  

Love the love for Rich AURILIA. Go Giants!

Anonymous 8:08 PM  

@ANON 5:57, AND 4:51,

I invite you to reread @Z's post. And mine.

Anon 4:41, your history is fine,but your logic is lacking.
That there were favored sects in the colonies is precisely why the establishment clause was adopted. It was to protect minorities who otherwise would have been powerless.

Anon 5:57
Your history is not as as sound. But your logic equally weak as your erstwhile ally. Surely, you dont know my ideology. You should consider refraining from ascribing one to me. But vastly more important, you failed to address the issue. No one is trying to indoctrinate you, much less hold a gun to your head. Your cartoonish take on religion may satisfy your amen corner, but it lacks anything resembling truth.
May I suggest you recognize facts as they lay regardless of your biases?

Im tired. I'll bust out the Federalist Papers tonight, or tomorrow, and post what the old guys argued for. (Which, for the record, may not be what I'd argue for.)

BarbieBarbie 8:52 PM  

@GilI, honey, your silk stockings are falling down— Dorothy Parker, right?

Semper ubi sub ubi.

Proper nouns, sure, most of them in the lore but all of them crossed fairly. That said, though, they sap the life out of a puzzle. You know them, can guess them, or don’t know them. There’s no Aha potential. Crosswords should be fun, and remembering names isn’t that much fun. This was a constructor’s puzzle. On to tomorrow.

Mark 9:01 PM  

I was Naticked by the proper names. I knew Adele H, or at least it rang a bell, but who is Mel? I had to guess that L because L’il Mo sounded like a rapper’s name. Then I had no idea about BPOE and don’t kniw RBG. So who is Mel and who is RBG?

Anonymous 5:57 9:04 PM  

@Anon 8:08, also Anon 3:50. To quote your 3:50 post: "It's part of the push to minimize and in not a few cases, criminalize religion in the US." Surely I DO know your ideology, sir. It could not be clearer. You feel *aggrieved* as a religious person for no reason whatever. I imagine you're someone who actually believes that there's a "War on Christmas" afoot. Meaning of course that you watched Bill O'Reilly...religiously.

GILL I. 10:27 PM  

@Barbie B.....Uh Oh...Is my slip showing?
"I'd rather have a bottle In front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Vivre......

Banana Diaquiri 10:37 PM  

@retired guy:

I have The Limeliters version. how about you?

Alex Wright 11:33 PM  

Observe And Report was a hilarious movie. I give it a firm recommendation.

Joe Dipinto 12:08 AM  

@Mark 9:01 -- MEL was the proprietor of Mel's Diner on the 70's-80's sitcom "Alice" (waitress Flo: "Mel? Kiss mah GRITS!"). RBG is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Mark 9:04 AM  

Thanks, I never watched other hardly heard of "Alice"

laura Giles 5:26 PM  

El Sair Nosed(?spelling)

Jim 9:04 PM  

Chacun a son gout, Rex. Chill. Maybe you need a vacation. This is not a daily contest for me; it is a daily experience in growth. I enjoy them all, even those on which I stumble.

Burma Shave 10:27 AM  

ALT-AGUE

FOLKS, he SATBOLTUPRIGHT, a SINE of an ANAL scare,
yet MEL KEPTQUIETABOUT LOSING LOTS O’HARE.

--- ANSARI “AAA” AURELIA ALBANESE

spacecraft 11:12 AM  

Got this done, and in short(z) enough time to rate it easy-medium, but didn't like it. I mean, Rich AURELIA was a ballplayer, to be sure, but hardly hall-of-fame fit. And that guy from the Knesset! Oh, and the opera soloist. What a fright!

DOD LEANN Rimes is a sure bet. I did notice the theme words all ended in T, but not the clues until seeing OFL's post. I agree that gimmick serves only to contort. And yes, every sentence in THIS post ends in--wait for it--T!

Bogeyt.

rondo 12:36 PM  

Well AISLE be ASON of a gout. TEEs all over. Huh. Dang near filled in B.I.G. for 1d until I saw the Supreme Court part. Notorious B.I.G. was probably better known than LILMO, but she wasn’t a problem since there’s all kinds of LI’L people in the “music” world, Wayne, Kim, MO, etc. Almost out-foxed myself, first having nbA giving me a “jump” start.

Doesn’t take much KAHANEs to name yeah baby LEANN Rimes. Seems like she’s been around forever, but that’ll happen when you start out at age 13.

LASTBUTNOTLEAST, I wouldn’t give this puz a NEIN.

Diana,LIW 1:26 PM  

For once I totally agree with @Rex - TEE? Meh. Names? Meh.

Got the puzzle - totally to a T. So?
This is a game, yes, but not a puzzle. A puzzle you can work out. A game tests what you KNOW. So NO from me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords with actual words that you actually work out with actual word play

leftcoastTAM 1:57 PM  

PreTTy T-easy Today.

NoT loTs of exciTmenT here, buT quiTe consisTenT ThroughouT. Will aT leasT give it ThaT.

STared aT NW crossing of RBG/BPOE and NE crossing of ADELEH/LILMO for a Time.

TaTa, all.

rainforest 2:22 PM  

Sure, this was a proper name fest, but it went pretty smoothly around here, in some cases because the crossed provided sufficient help.

I "knew" that BPOE was correct (benevolent and protective...) but I really wondered about RBG. Red, Blue, Green? Nah. Only later did I realize, though I didn't check, that it must be Ruth Bader Ginsberg (sp?). Canadians don't know from Supreme court justices. I guess she's been around long enough for her name to sink in.

Anyway, I was OK with this one.

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