Grp in 1955 labor merger / TUE 4-10-18 / 1948 Triple Crown winner / Puppy Love hitmaker, 1960

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Easy (faster than yesterday)


THEME: In a pig'S EYE (OINK!) — all themers begin with same sound, spelled differently in each case:

Theme answers:
  • CYBERSPACE (17A: The online world)
  • SILENT NIGHT (26A: Song whose first verse ends "Sleep in heavenly peace")
  • SAYONARA (33A: Japanese farewell)
  • CITATION (46A: 1948 Triple Crown winner)
  • SCIENCE FAIR (52A: Big school event attended by parents)
  • PSYCHED OUT (63A: Undermined the confidence of)
Word of the Day: ATRI (42D: Longfellos's bell town) —
Atri (GreekἈδρία or ἈτρίαLatinAdriaAtriaHadria, or Hatria) is a comune in the Province of Teramo in the Abruzzo region of Italy. In 2001, it had a population of over 11,500. Atri is the setting of the poem, The Bell of Atri, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Its name is the origin of the name of the Emperor Hadrian. (wikipedia)
• • •

Head-snapping reversal from yesterday's puzzle—this one was not bad, but it skewed Way older, and, for me, a person who is increasingly old, way easier. Theme type is more common, fill more common. Maybe "established" is a better way to say it than "old." Although ... a 1960 "hitmaker" ... a 1955 labor merger ... a 1948 Triple Crown winner ... the PIPs ... the Stones ... John HERSEY ... TISH Addams ... I mean, its cultural center of gravity is pretty objectively "old" (note: I didn't say "bad"). It was almost embarrassingly how easily I filled in 85% of this grid, including stuff no non-solving human knows, like ATRI. Even though yesterday's puzzle took more effort, I enjoyed it more, mostly because I hadn't seen it all before. But honestly, this one, with the exception of ATRI, is absolutely solid. Concept is tight and well executed—I'm not wondering "Where's ___!?" or "Why did they use ___ instead!?" I don't think there are any stray "sigh" sounds out there that they missed. Uh oh, SAIGON? I'm sorry. I shouldn't have gone thinking about it, but I did, and there's SAIGON, SAIGON, S-S-S-S-SAIGON.


Tough to get a good themer for SAIGON, though. Maybe just SAIGON, VIETNAM? There is a band called SAIGON KICK. I can't recall any of their songs offhand, but I suddenly feel a deep yearning to hear them. [This one is either much more or much less depressing than "19," depending on how you look at it.]


I always confuse ATRI with ATLI because I Have Done Too Many Crosswords In My Life. ATLI is a figure from Norse mythology, "loosely based on Attila the Hun" (per wikipedia). You don't see either of these guys in puzzles much any more because, well, puzzles have gotten better. They can come in handy in a late-week puzzle with a demanding grid, but I'd rather not see either of them on a Tuesday. I decided to read Longfellow's "The Bell of Atri" just now (you can too; it's not that long). It's about an abused and neglected horse who brings communal justice down on her terrible miserly owner by ringing the bell at the center of town (which it does by pulling the bell rope with its teeth). The upshot of it seems to be that you should look out for those who have no voice, those whom the letter of the law fails to protect ("creatures dumb and unknown to the laws"). Don't ask me if I know any other horse poems because the answer ... is NAY (2D: "I vote no").


Those damned NE and SW corners were really hard to get into (by which I mean they connect to the rest of the grid only through the narrowest of passages). I had TAZA for the tea (TAZO is the tea; TAZA is the chocolate I eat almost daily). I blanked briefly on the SPACE of CYBERSPACE because, well, it's not 1996 anymore. I had ENNATE at first at 29D: Present at birth (INNATE) because my brain assumed some alt-crosswordy spelling. Had to leave the second letter of RIATA blank for a bit, as usual (it can be "E" or "I") (25D: Cowboy's lasso). Balked at SCAPES because yuck (49D: Scenic vistas, briefly). Garlic SCAPES are a thing. I'd prefer those in my grid, since no one actually calls vistas "SCAPES." That's all I've got to say on this one.
    SIgned, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    107 comments:

    Lewis 7:20 AM  

    Lots of answers struck my fancy: URBAN MYTH, SVELTE, SIM CITY, SAYONARA, GO IT ALONE, and COYOTE. I liked the SNUB/NAY cross as well as the clean grid. And the sub theme: SELA / SAYONARA / LARVA / AREA / ANKA / RIATA / LYRA / VITA / ANNA.

    Can you call a newspaper with very little editorial content an ADRAG?

    Loren Muse Smith 7:21 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 7:22 AM  

    This kind of theme always tickles me – just look at what a %$#@% our spelling system is. SILENT NIGHT was the first to fall (and I wasted time trying to come up with a sentence like Condemn business champagne hour whistles! Dumb.

    I think I cottoned to the trick after CYBER SPACE and SAYONARA. I lived in Japan for a bit, and I tell ya – I didn’t hear a lot of SAYONARAs. Heard a lot of another way to adios someone: osaki ni shitsturei shimasu (“I’m going to commit a rudeness before you do”). And speaking of juvenile snicker snickers, I prefer sai no onara.

    So when I was done it was impossible, of course, not to try to think of a combo not included. Rex - I thought of sythe (sic) and then noticed SYNOD. I had no idea that was pronounced with a short i. I would’ve said SIGH node or some such. Anyhoo, it’s scythe, and I dunno – could that be one not included, or are we just looking at the first two letters? I think since PSYCHED uses three letters, then my scythe could qualify as a different combo.

    Either way, I really, really enjoyed pondering all this. Right up my alley.

    kitshef 7:30 AM  

    Similar feelings to Rex's. Skewed old, in one case (HERSEY) too old for me. I was also forced to think about others and SAIGON was first to come. Also PSIONICS, SYED.

    Anonymous 7:34 AM  

    @Rex - re: a person who is increasingly old

    Well it's all right, even if you're old and grey
    Well it's all right, you still got something to say

    Songwriters: Robert Dylan / George Harrison / Jeffrey Lynne / Roy Kelton Orbison / Thomas Earl Petty

    Glimmerglass 7:41 AM  

    Good morning, @Rex. You were a bit behind your time today. SCAPES is short for landSCAPES, or seaSCAPES, but not SCAPEgraceS, like myself. I agree that this puzzle was much easier than yesterday’s. Too bad, I had more fun yesterday.

    chefbea 7:44 AM  

    Easy puzzle...never heard of Kirov

    GHarris 7:58 AM  

    Rex, need another sigh, how about winningest pitcher of all time for whom an annual award is named?

    David Stone 8:06 AM  

    I only knew KIROV from a puzzle I recently solved (was that a recent puzzle or just one I did from the archive on my app?). Hadn’t heard of ATRI. And Taza is the BEST chocolate! I miss their salt-and-pepper version. It’s off the market and impossible to find online.

    Two Ponies 8:15 AM  

    I've never seen a shooting star form an arc.
    If you need an Anna in your grid why choose Wintour? Who is that?
    This is a very nice puzzle overall but hanging around this blog has turned me into an insufferable nitpicker.
    The Rolling Stones are right.

    Anonymous 8:17 AM  

    @Z "State as fact something that isn’t and I’ll post a correction if no one beats me to it." Okay. It's KathArine Hepburn, not KathErine.

    robert ehrhardt 8:17 AM  

    72A = SYNOD

    Two Ponies 8:20 AM  

    P.S. Garlic scapes are new to me but I see they are real.

    Eric 8:20 AM  

    Maybe some left if this is 2018 post
    https://www.tazachocolate.com/blogs/news/88301891-back-by-popular-demand-salt-pepper-chocolate-mexicano-disc

    Anonymous 8:22 AM  

    Look at the picture of a baseball player.

    OldCarFudd 8:22 AM  

    I believe SAYONARA works only if you say it with an American accent: Sigh-yo-nah-rah. The Japanese say it more like sah-yaw-nah-rah. But an interesting puzzle nonetheless.

    mmorgan 8:24 AM  

    I often have a very difficult time getting on this constructor's wavelength, but this was Monday easy, like butter. I don't time myself, but this felt super-fast; and I do like a bit more crunch, but this was quite enjoyable. I thought it was a themeless until I got here. (Not the first time that's happened!)

    kitshef 8:28 AM  

    @Two Ponies - If you remember The Devil Wears Prada, the Meryl Streep character was based on Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue.

    @robert ehrhardt - SYNOD is pronounced 'sin-ud' - short 'i', so does not fit the pattern.

    rosebud 8:34 AM  

    I loved What a Drag it is getting old....on a cold Tuesday morning it was fun to have an easier puzzle and feel younger for a few minutes, and a song to hum as I get ready for work.

    QuasiMojo 8:40 AM  

    I didn't even know there was a theme until I got here. A bridge of SIGHS. I wouldn't call this one "A Great SCAPE" but it had its moments. Once I figured out SIM CITY I was "in like FLYNN."

    I can never be sure the "bell town" in question is going to be ATRI or ADANO. Today's was Longfellow's. But funnily enough, there was HERSEY in the grid later on. Coincidence?

    Was afraid we'd have SCIENTOLOGY in the grid, but SCIENCE FAIR is fair. Anyone else love the movie WEIRD SCIENCE?

    I have served as a DOCENT once, part of a tour of historic houses. People ask the silliest questions. "How much is this vase worth?" etc. They think it's Antique Roadshow.

    'merican in Paris 8:40 AM  

    Pretty much what @Rex said. But I solved it as a themeless. Didn't even see the theme until coming here.

    What threw me, and made it a DNF for me (oh, the shame!) was the NE corner. I was scratching my head over 10D ("Greek letter shaped like a cross"), and started with "chi". Clearly that wasn't going to work, so started doing the EENIE, meanie, miney, moe through the Greek alphabet. ZILCH. Because there was no way in Hades that I was going to guess 10A either, nor 16A (not being a tennis player), I finally looked it up. I assumed then the answer was TAU. But is a T really a cross? I know that some crucifixion crosses were in the shape of "Ts", but when somebody writes "in the shape of a cross", I expect something that looks more like "t" (but without that bend at the bottom to the right) or "X".

    Otherwise, I enjoyed the puzzle. Had to think at the crossing of RI_TA and S_YANORA. Would not have thrown in an A there had it not been for the puzzle.

    Liked the geometric cluing to 61A. PIP PIP, YAHOO!

    Z 8:47 AM  

    Technical DNF because I failed to consider beginning sounds as the theme. What @LMS said about $&*#)@=/& spelling. What Rex said about the cultural center of the puzzle. Heck, even the “modern” computer game is two years older than my 27 year-old son.

    @SusieQ late yesterday - Yah. I was intending to more rebut the off-handed dismissiveness of the movies than comment on the quip.

    @8:17 - Are you sure it’s not Catharyn?

    Jackie 8:53 AM  

    “If only I hed listened...” Hed? HED?!?!

    Nate 8:54 AM  

    This was easy enough that I don't remember filling in a good chunk of the puzzle because I guess I got the letters from other clues. Not too easy that I felt cheated, and I don't think it was even "Monday" easy, but still.

    A good theme and some really good answers here: SVELTE (which allowed another word to end in V and not be a Roman numeral!); DOCENT; ROSIN; SIM CITY; ZILCH; and SYNOD stood out. The only real negatives were the few crosswordese answers like AERIE and ATRI. That's the price you pay for unique answers, though, I know...

    It definitely skewed old, and that's probably what kept this from feeling Monday-easy for me. I have no idea who John HERSHEY is, Paul ANKA is really just a name I know, PIP (that's in my brain somewhere), and CITATION (horse racing itself is a decidedly old-timey thing, and to back to 1948... yeesh). All easily gettable from the crossing clues, though, so no real complaints from the resident young guy.

    Mohair Sam 8:54 AM  

    All these years I thought the Stones were saying "What A DRAG it is getting up". You learn something in the Times puzzle every day.

    HERSEY's "Hiroshima" should be required reading in every high school.

    Very nice Tuesday Mr. Arbesfeld, thanks.

    YaleND Dave 8:56 AM  

    Solid puzzle for a Tuesday. Totally agree on the SCAPES . . . as someone who has run 80+ miles a week since 2002, I've seen some pretty amazing vistas all over the world. I've never heard anyone refer to a gorgeous view as a "scape" . . . it's just not a real thing; only something that exists in the world of crosswords. So I'm sure when ENYA is on a hike and sees a gorgeous view, she pulls out her UKE and says to herself, EGADS!, the SCAPES out here are AONE!!

    Doug McVey 9:02 AM  

    Isn’t using part of the clue in the answer (opinion -> OPEDS) verboten? I wasted a few seconds trying to come up with some other answer (essays doesn’t fit? something else?) and had to use crosses to make sure it really was OPEDS.

    BocaBoy 9:02 AM  

    "Adin" and "Tazo" got me today. Don't know why, but I'm neither a tennis player or tea drinker. Ending up being medium difficulty for me!

    Ry 9:08 AM  

    There has to be a better way to clue 5A without using the word opinion. Kinda weird no?

    TomAz 9:08 AM  

    I don't know if it's coincidence or what, but under two of the themers we have an example of the same spelling (as the themer above it) pronounced with a short i: SIM CITY and SYNOD.

    @LMS & others: I sometimes wonder why there has not been a serious movement/effort/at least discussion about reforming English spelling. I come back to my theory that English has a certain logographic character to it. Not saying that it's actually become a logographic language, because that would be silly:
    weird spellings like "...ight" are pronounced consistently across many different words. Just that there is a certain logographic-iness involved in being able to suss out meaning from English spelling, sometimes. I suspect further that this may be why serious spelling reform would be doomed to failure: words would "look wrong" and that sense would persist for at least a generation.

    pabloinnh 9:13 AM  

    Well, @Quasi beat me to the Bridge of SIGHS title. Have to go with Plan B, One SIZE fits all.

    "What a drag it is getting old" is one way to look at it. Having just had another birthday (always thankful for that), I prefer Paul Simon's approach. This is the verse that he added to "The Boxer":

    Now the years are rolling by me, they are rocking evenly
    And I'm older than I once was, but younger than I'll be
    That's not unusual, nor is it strange
    After changes, after changes, we are more or less the same.

    "Younger than I'll be." I like that.

    Bob Mills 9:27 AM  

    Never got the theme, but finished it quickly anyway. Easy puzzle.

    Andrew 9:27 AM  

    DNF'd the top right corner because I put in CHI and ISPS instead of TAU and URLS and couldn't find the error.

    Roo Monster 9:36 AM  

    Hey All !
    Sigh. Har. :-)
    Actually not a sigh of a puz, pretty good straightforward ONE, although I didn't figure out the theme. I guess I'm a Need-A-Revealer-To-Grok-Theme type of solver. Addendum to that, @mmorgan 8:24, all NYT crosswords under Will from Sunday-Thursday are themed. Friday and Saturday are themeless.

    For clue "Whoopee!" wrote in _AHOO and waited on cross to see if it's a Y or W. Kind of like Mauna ___, write in final A, wait on crosses. Or K_B_B.

    Four K's, but for some reason felt like more. Weird when that happens. Speaking of weird, @QuasiMojo 8:40, "In your pursuit to be cool, you forgot one very important thing." "We forgot to hook up the doll!" "You forgot to hook up the doll." Yes, very fun movie. Whatever happened to the actor who played Wyatt?

    Is COYOTE ky-oh-tea, or ky-oat? EENIE meenie miney OINK. :-)

    AONE ZILCH (ZEROTH?)
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    Sir Hillary 9:36 AM  

    This was fine. I was hoping SIZEMATTERS would be the revealer.

    Anonymous 9:39 AM  

    OPED stands for Opposite (the) Editorial (page).

    Anonymous 9:40 AM  

    HE'D (HE HAD) no "I" in clue

    Matt Sorrell 9:46 AM  

    Isn’t the clue “If only ___ listened”? I put in We’d first and fot PSYCHED OUT by my mistake.

    Roo Monster 9:46 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Matt Sorrell 9:47 AM  

    I thought an Op-Ed was Opposite the Editor referring to its physical location in the editorial section.

    GILL I. 9:54 AM  

    Another meaty puzzle...and on hate fest Tuesday!
    I enjoyed this one; it had a lot of my favorite words. SVELTE ANGST and SNOOT to name a few. Also liked URBAN MYTH. Remember reading how eating a pack of Pop Rocks and drinking a six-pack of coca-cola killed John Gilchrist? Or, when I was a teen, "Killer In the Back Seat?" I always liked how each story got embellished. There was one about this girl who ratted her hair everyday and put tons of hairspray on it and never washed it and found a nest of baby tarantulas in her hair. You should've seen me tell that one.
    Caught on to the theme at CYBER and SILENT. SCIENCE clenched the deal. I feel sorry of ESL teachers.
    TAZO tea is pretty good she is EARL Grey. I think both of them contain LARAVA so, watch out.
    NEXT.

    mathgent 9:57 AM  

    One of the dullest I can remember.

    Some of us like number puzzles. For example, George Barany has told me that he does the 8x8 KenKen from the NYT webpage every day. Here is a fresh one from last Saturday's WSJ puzzle page.

    "Use the digits 1,2,3 and 4 once and only once to make a mathematical expression. You may use +,-, x, (division symbol), exponents, decimal points, parentheses. No roots, factorials, repeating decimals or other mathematical functions are permitted. What is the largest expression possible using these rules?"

    I've found a pretty big expression. I'll give the WSJ answer when they publish it this Saturday.

    Rita 10:04 AM  

    @Doug MVey - I asked that same question here about a similar clue a few weeks ago and learned that oped comes from “opposite the editorial” page.

    GILL I. 10:10 AM  

    Good gravy.....
    FOR ESL teachers
    SO is Earl Grey
    LARVA.
    Mr. Mac is in good form today. @Nancy, I told you he's a bit uppity!

    Anonymous 10:13 AM  

    For future reference - Tau (the Greek letter "t") is the actual name used to describe crosses that have a capital T shape (crossbar at the top of a vertical). Tau Cross, it's "a thing." It is used in liturgical arts to differentiate from other kinds of crosses, particularly the Latin Cross (the one that looks like a small t in a sans-serif font: crossbar partway down from the top of the vertical). FWIW.

    Hungry Mother 10:26 AM  

    Super fast. Surprised that there was a theme and still don’t know it.

    Tom 10:29 AM  

    Finished 20% faster than my average. Thanks for the link to The Longfellow poem. Never read it, but very enjoyable in a poetic justice kind of way.

    Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

    @ Roo, You didn't hit the wrong button. One of the "joys" of blog moderation is the Angst of waiting for your post to be published or censored.

    Re: Nancy's new computer, the biggest reason I did not replace my Mac with another one is that the new ones do not play CDs or DVDs. If I can't watch my Netflix then the machine is useless to me. Oh, but they will sell you a separate device! F**k that.

    Charles Flaster 10:59 AM  

    Very Monday easy.
    Much more straightforward than yesterday.
    CROSSWORDease—SYNOD and ATRI.
    As per Rex, good to remember ATLI, too.
    WOODY Allen implying ANGST is spot on.
    Thanks AA.

    ArtO 11:01 AM  

    The "skewing old" comment was totally predictable. Would have been disappointed not to find it. What was surprising is the generally favorable review...which doesn't usually happen when a puzzle is in the wheelhouse of old timers like me. Fastest solve of the year...not that I time myself other than "approximately."

    paperandpen 11:05 AM  

    miss saigon, the musical... loved the theme..

    Whatsername 11:14 AM  

    I don’t usually do Monday puzzles but this sure felt like one to me.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:16 AM  

    The Crossword of Sighs. Perfectly good TuesPuz fare. Thanx, Mr. Arbesfeld.

    8 themers, if U let short lil SYNOD and CIRCE play along. CIO gets staff weeject pick, for similar reasons.

    Don't recall a whole lot of friction, during this solvequest. Just kept coastin along, enjoyin the smoooth fillins. Maybe a slight nanosecond blip, when I tried to spell SAYONARA. Never lived in Japan like the wily @muse darlin did. M&A did get off a plane and walk around a little at the Tokyo Airport one time (in 1970 -- probably way before @muse's time). Do hold a 45 rpm with title "Sayonara", tho … so shoulda had some earthly idea.

    Caromin off of ATRI's clue: What would be a good answer for this clue? {Bell fellow's long town??} = … ?
    [I've got no answer, just the question.] Did Alexander Graham live in a town with a real long name?

    Is the ADRAG lyric from "Mother's Little Helper"? Good Stones tune, btw. Told yah … more questions than answers.

    fave crossword-word: ZILCH. [Pronounced SIGH-LCH? Questionable? … kinda thought so.]

    Masked & Anonymo3Us


    **gruntz**

    Joe Bleaux 11:17 AM  

    (The way I heard it, it's short for the page OPposite the EDitorial page. Makes sense.)

    Banana Diaquiri 11:24 AM  

    @Mohair Sam:
    HERSEY's "Hiroshima" should be required reading in every high school.

    well, he he, required reading in every white house.

    old timer 11:31 AM  

    Monday easy for me. 11 minutes pen on paper. Way faster than yesterday, which was a DRAG.

    And a delightful bunch of comments so far. How do you pronounce COYOTE? For us greenhorns, ky-oh-tee. For old time cowboys, KY-OTE

    Interesting to learn that the "more or less the same" verse to The Boxer was a Simonian add-on. More interesting to actually read the bell of ATRI poem. Thx, @Rex. And while I am saying nice things about OFL, can we go back to not using comment moderation? I can no longer see who posted just before me.

    Nancy 11:35 AM  

    This puzzle did absolutely nothing for me, but what with answers like CYBERSPACE, URLS, and YAHOO, along with other answers like ANGST, PSYCHED OUT and the EENIE of Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo, it gives me a chance to thank everyone who weighed in yesterday on what kind of computer I should buy. Thanks so much for your thoughtful suggestions. Some thoughts:

    I'm impressed by the fervor of Mac owners -- a fervor that doesn't seem matched by any of the PC owners, btw -- but I'm not going to switch. Such a drastic Change would be one more thing to have to Adjust To, and I'm not so good at Adjusting. Especially in the world of CYBERSPACE, but truthfully I'm not all that good at Change outside of CYBERSPACE either.

    Thanks to several people who professed such great confidence in my *Learning Curve* as I struggle to master a new technology. Flattering indeed, but I don't think any of you have ever seen my techie *Learning Curve*. It is a thing of surpassing ugliness -- a truly torturous ARC such as has never been viewed in Nature before or since.

    Many thanks to @GILL for her off-blog research late yesterday. She found a bricks and mortar store in NYC I've never even heard of and I shall call them.

    I'll keep y'all posted on my ultimate decision. I bet y'all can't hardly wait. Meanwhile, my 2008 Asus seems to be in finer fettle this morning than it was yesterday. Maybe its keys have stopped aching. Maybe it got a good night's sleep. Who knows? Meanwhile, thanks, everyone!

    Amelia 11:36 AM  

    WHY I LIKED THIS PUZZLE AND BLOG: I learned what Op-Ed stands for, which I'm embarrassed to say I should have known.

    WHY I DIDN'T LIKE THIS PUZZLE AND BLOG: There was a theme? How do you know there was a theme? I do this on the newspaper that comes to my door. There was no hint of a theme. Was there a hint on the Times site, on crossword puzzle blogs? In an email with the constructor? On your twitter feed? Cmon, let's play fair. There is no indication of a theme. The only way anyone would know that is if someone told them.

    Also, it's not Christmas and there are two Christmas clues. Also, it skewed old, and I'm old and I got all the answers and it's boring. The youngest clue was TAZO. And even Starbucks is old.

    As a complete aside, NY Times if you're reading this, you have an article in YOUR paper about NBA players collecting art, so stop with the do rags and rap already. There are other things that define a group of people.

    old timer 11:38 AM  

    OTOH with moderation turned on I have to look myself up on the previous day's comments and see who came after me. There were a ton of people yesterday.

    JC66 11:42 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Choco 11:48 AM  

    It is just a stone's throw away - https://www.tazachocolate.com/blogs/news/88301891-back-by-popular-demand-salt-pepper-chocolate-mexicano-disc

    jberg 11:54 AM  

    @QuasiMojo -- yeah, I thought linking HERSEY with ATRI, via Adano, was the best thing in the puzzle. Second best was getting in HED -- I don't think I've ever seen that in the puzzle before, though I guess I could have missed it.

    There are badlands in NDAK, too, only there national park is named "Theodore Roosevelt," so they are not as well known -- if you never drive through North Dakota, you probably haven't heard of them.

    Ok, the theme. First of all @Amelia has a good point -- we all know to look for a theme Monday through Thursday, but thre's no way a nes solver would learn that. I don't think I did until I started coming here.

    Second, I got the idea, but not all the theme answers, because a) I don't pronounce SAYONARA that way (I put in a long A), and b) for some reason, I wrongly say SIM CITY as symmetrical to CITATION. So I didn't count those two.

    Cy Young is not actually a new spelling of the theme sound, but @Loren did hide one in her avatar -- always worth clicking on it.

    As for Atli, let's bring him back! The story is very dramatic -- he kidnaps a woman, marries her, then kills her brother, whereupon she gets revenge by grinding up his (also her) children and feeding them to him. Benjamin Bagby has a recording of a musical version of the story.

    jberg 11:56 AM  

    @Loren from yesterday -- wow, you just dash those things off, don't you?

    Suzie Q 11:57 AM  

    @ Nancy, Maybe your computer knew you were threatening it with replacement. That tactic has worked with my house plants.
    It took me way too long to come up with Silent Night even though I could hear the melody of the clue loud and clear.
    That clue for scapes sure was awkward. Something like "End of sea or land" might have worked better.
    Do they still have science fairs? I sure hope so.

    Nancy 12:08 PM  

    @pabloinnh (9:13) and @old timer (11:31) -- What a wonderful Paul Simon lyric about aging that line from "The Boxer" is. Thanks for quoting it. But, then, I am blown away by just about every lyric Simon ever wrote.

    But I'm also blown away by Dylan's lyrics, and your CITATION of The Boxer reminded me of a Dylan line on aging that I like just as much and maybe more:

    I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

    Would I rather be "more or less the same" after all those changes, or would I prefer to be "younger"? Take a guess.

    These two wonderful lyrics made me curious, so I went to Google to find out which song had been written first. Turns out it was Dylan's. His in 1964; Simon's in 1969. Was Simon consciously or unconsciously influenced by Dylan's lyric? I don't know. Maybe.

    Joseph Michael 12:11 PM  

    I solved this in about one minute, 10 seconds of which was consumed by a yawn.

    Carola 12:27 PM  

    I stumbled right out of the gate with ShUn, but after that, I agree, it was easy. Got the theme after CYBER, SILENT, and CITATION; like @M&A, I suffer from SAYONARA ANGST - having misspelled it in an earlier puzzle, I depended on crosses for all of the vowels. Understanding the theme helped me get SCIENCE FAIR after there was no was Back-to-School Night was going to fit. I loved the (for me) joke of PSY as the last one - faked me out nicely with the SILENT P.

    JOHN X 12:38 PM  

    I was IN LIKE FLYNN with this puzzle.

    Roo Monster 12:40 PM  

    @Two Ponies 10:35
    Usually a little box pops up that says, "Your post will be visible after moderation" or something. But I hit a different thing that sent me to a different page, which usually sends my post into the ether. And I didn't see the note. I know y'all are riveted to what I have to say. :-P.

    @Amelia 11:36
    Read my previous post. @jberg 11:54 makes a good point. But now since you're here @Amelia, you'll know to look out for themes!

    RooMonster

    Teedmn 12:44 PM  

    Different ways to Sigh - a recognizable puzzle genre, and a welcome one here. After checking the theme answers to determine what that theme was, I went over them again, with my eye being caught by SIM CITY; as @TomAZ pointed out - it's right over SAYONARA. Before seeing SAYONARA, I thought, don't tell me it is pronounced SIM[e] CITY? Oh, not a theme answer, never mind.

    So I did a Ctrl-F to see if anyone else here had the same idea (didn't have time to read all the comments before posting) and was struck by how many SIMs turned up in the comments, most of which were in the word "similar" but also Paul SIMon (who's name goes along with the theme nicely) and @QuaSIMojo. So that was fun.

    An easy, dreck- and ANGST-free Tuesday puzzle, thanks, Alan Arbesfeld.

    puzzlehoarder 12:51 PM  

    A very easy puzzle in spite of several write overs. Because of AERIE I immediately changed FEST to FAIR. BLED did the same for SHUN/SNUB and COYOTE fixed ATTN/ATTY. For a second I considered CANINE for 31D and some form of a HERE rebus for 2D.

    I found that NE corner to be the one (albeit momentarily) confusing section of the puzzle. I blame this on TAZO crossing ZILCH. TAU and ADIN are crossword 101. Webster's has an excellent illustration of 20 different crosses. The Tau is about the only one that gets crossword use. FWIW the Maltese cross is not the cross that's on the Maltese flag.

    We just had KIROV and I discovered that's not the ballet companie's current name but it's a common holdover from the Soviet era.

    @lms, I liked your whole, I know Japanese but not the pronunciation of SYNOD thing.

    @ Two Ponies, r.e. your "whoever that is" on ANNA Wintour. Good one.

    @QuasiMojo, good catch on the HERSEY ATRI/ADANO connection. I confuse those two similar pieces of crosswordese too.

    The Op of OpEd stands for opposite? Iv'e probably looked that up before but have forgotten it.

    As for the term "he'd" being used as the entry HED, YUCK.

    Amelia 12:59 PM  

    I know there are themes. I don't need to come here to know that. But this wasn't a theme anyone would know, unless you knew something in advance, or you came here while you were doing the puzzle. After the fact is not helpful. I finished the puzzle quickly. Never for one moment did I feel there was a theme. And since the Times is playing around with things these days, maybe they decided not to have a theme today. (My logic.)

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Anoa Bob 1:00 PM  

    Like @OldCarFudd, I did not think SAYONARA fit the beginning "sigh" sound that the other themers have. I lived and worked in Japan for a couple of years and would pronounce it sah yo nah rah, with the first syllable rhyming with the Scroogean "bah".

    As for COYOTE, it comes from Mexican Spanish, by way of Nahuatl, and gets a ko YO tay pronunciation hereabouts in TexMex Land. Rhymes with peyote, pay YO tay.

    Is a UKE EENIE?

    pabloinnh 1:46 PM  

    @Nancy-Yep, know the Dylan quote too, it's from My Back Pages, something I play once in a while when I'm singing out, as we say.

    The difference to me is that Dylan is comparing what he has learned to what he thought he knew--when he was actually younger he thought he knew everything, so "older", but now he realizes that his certainties and assumptions came from lack of experience, and by admitting he really doesn't know everything, he's now "younger". Simon I take at his word--he's younger than he'll ever be. As are we all. I'm co-teaching a Simon and Garfunkel course right now and rediscovering a lot of his stuff, and he's really a remarkable lyricist.

    Dick Swart 1:47 PM  

    Yes, a cinch for old-timers/farts/ as-you-will. Saw T --- and almost wrote in TIPS until i checked. TIPS: a long-time English favorite.

    kitshef 2:03 PM  

    @mathgent - My first shot has 201 digits in it but I doubt it is the best.

    Anonymous 2:14 PM  

    They are based in St. Petersburg, pretty famous, at least in Russia.

    Anonymous 2:16 PM  

    Billy Joel - Goodnight Saigon. Could've gone with that.

    FrankStein 2:17 PM  

    Would have been cool to have the late SI NEWHOUSE along with the ANNA Wintour clue. Which reminds me, the movie "The Devil Wore Prada" may have been based on a book by someone who worked at Vogue, but Meryl Streep's performance o characterization bore little resemblance to its stylish editor, no doubt deliberately.

    sanfranman59 2:18 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. Your results may vary.

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

    Mon 4:52 4:18 1.13 80.8% Challenging
    Tue 4:25 5:37 0.79 7.3% Easy

    Smooth, quick solve. I fumbled with a couple of vowels in the RIATA, SIM CITY, SAYONARA section but there really was not much resistance here. I even knew the mythology answer for a change. I couldn't come up with HERSEY, but it's up there in my brain somewhere. SVELTE's a fun word. Plus, a Stones lyric and an Addams Family reference? Sweet spot for this Baby Boomer. Six themers on a Tuesday is pretty cool too, even if it's not the most exciting theme.

    mathgent 2:25 PM  

    @kitshef: Much bigger.

    Roo Monster 2:49 PM  

    @Amelia 12:59
    LOL. Stick with it. Sounds logical to me. :-)

    Roo

    Harryp 3:04 PM  

    I always took OPED to mean opinion of the editor.

    Doug 3:07 PM  

    Hey, Rex, you liked one! Heh heh. How about a clue if they had used SAIGON for a theme answer..."Sheen's first word in Apocalypse, Now."

    kitshef 3:31 PM  

    @mathgent - yeah, I quickly got to the point where Excel won't calculate numbers that big so I no longer know how many digits they are - I think in the low quintillions. Feel free to email me off blog for my current best guess.

    Mohair Sam 4:22 PM  

    @Susie Q (11:57) - Like the trickery idea with houseplants - thanks for the tip. "Grow or go", kinda like "publish or perish" in academia.

    @Banana Diaquiri (11:24) Amen to that.

    @Nancy & @Pabloinnh - Read a book a while back subtitled "Seven True Stories of Midlife Transitions". The Title? "The Oldest We've Ever Been" - similar take to Dylan and Simon, but from a different direction. Great read btw.

    Fs4569 4:33 PM  

    I get my NYT xword via the internet. I've read today's comments about a theme (@Amelia, @roo monster) and still don't know how to find it. Please help!

    Joe Dipinto 4:46 PM  

    #David Stone 8:02 -- KIROV was in the April 2nd Times puzzle.

    Robert A. Simon 4:53 PM  

    Okay. I've been holding onto this one: there is a fine line between "skewing too old" and "stuff you need to know if you claim to have any cultural literacy whatsoever." "Hiroshima" was so important, The New Yorker gave it the whole issue. (True.)

    AFL-CIO. A seminal moment in U.S. labor history. Hard to imagine any more important. I long for the day when unions had more power. Now, it's just rich guys getting richer on the backs of underpaid and non-benefited workers.

    A Rolling Stones song is never old. You just haven't heard it in a while.

    Citation is one of only 12 horses to have won the Triple Crown out of the four billion that have raced. You ought to know stuff like that.

    And yeah, I'll give Rex the Pips, only because they're puzzle fodder and nobody likes puzzle fodder.

    Bottom line: if it mattered or matters, it ain't old.

    JC66 5:36 PM  

    @Robert A. Simon

    Well said!

    Anonymous 5:50 PM  

    @fs4569 - the main blog by Rex Parker always does a good job of identifying the theme and listing the theme answers right at the top, including today. If you got to these comments, you probably went right by the theme listings.

    Stanley Hudson 5:50 PM  

    @Robert A. Simon said, "I've been holding onto this one: there is a fine line between 'skewing too old' and 'stuff you need to know if you claim to have any cultural literacy whatsoever.'"

    Amen brother.

    David in CA 6:33 PM  

    @Amelia : I, at least, prefer themes I have to "suss out". It is part of the fun of the early week puzzles. You say "But this wasn't a theme anyone would know, unless you knew something in advance", but don't you see from reading all the comments, not to mention Rex's writeup, that lots of people got it just fine. I'm usually slow on this, but this one I guessed from the 1st 2 themers and confirmed with #3.

    But - I don't understand the lack of comments on the fact that Rex seems to have been abducted by aliens and replaced by a nice person, or else is regressing to his former self from 10 years ago. e.g.:

    "...pretty objectively "old" (note: I didn't say "bad")." - Hello? How many puzzles has he ripped to shreds for being too "old"?
    "because, well, puzzles have gotten better." ...???!!! This is coming from the prime eviscerator himself? Somebody send this in to Will!

    Joe Dipinto 6:47 PM  

    @Robert A. Simon -- the PIPs certainly *do* matter. Without them how would we be able to sing along to "A supah-star, but he didn't get far" and "Woo-woo" in Midnight Train To Georgia?

    Roo Monster 7:33 PM  

    OK, long winded explanation on themes. If you don't care, or find me annoying(;-)) feel free to skip.

    @Fs4569 4:33
    In the NYT (other publications may vary), normally (7 or 8 out of 10) the longest across answers are the theme. That excludes Friday and Saturday. Occasionally, there are also Down themers, either with some Across ones, or all Downs, and again, are the longest answers in puz. Now, sometimes there are long Downs which aren't part of the theme. A lot of times, there is a Revealer clue that ties the longest answers together. Sometimes, like today, there isn't one. It's like @David in CA said, some of the fun is trying to guess, or "suss out" the theme. Themes also vary, todays was sounds. Sometimes it's initias, could be first words meaning similar, last words tying together, there's a bunch out there. Keep doing puzs and you'll get the hang of it!

    I didn't get todays theme either, BTW, but that's why we come here and read Rex!

    Rebel Roo

    Larry Gilstrap 7:44 PM  

    Nice puzzle, for a Tuesday. Never saw the theme, until I came here. Apparently, many ways to spell out that initial sound. So much for phonics.

    Anyone else hear the colloquial phrase: "If only HE'D a listened."? Definitely the way my mom would have phrased it.

    Living in the desert, meteors are a common sight shooting across a portion of the sky. I can't honestly say that their path is an ARC, at least of my perception.

    Welcome back AERIE; where have you been hiding lately?

    Beck's GO IT ALONE is a drum and base classic full of attitude, soon to appear at a juke box near me.

    Uncle Alvarez 8:01 PM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Larry Gilstrap 9:38 PM  

    Bass adds some BOTTOM, no joke.

    Anonymous 10:06 PM  

    Yesterday easy peasy. Today hard. Go figure.

    Z 10:33 PM  

    Regarding OP-EDS, I found the most informative discussion at the Wikipedia Talk Page. Personally, I tend to think of it as “the op-ed pages,” encompassing both the original “editorial page” and “opposite of the editorial page.” I just pulled out today’s NYT and page A24 has as a header “Opinion” with one “Editorial,” six “Letters,” and an opinion column by Paul Krugman. Page A25 has no header and four more opinion columns. In short, the Krugman column puts an OP-ED column on the Editorial page. I’d argue (hi @SusieQ) that even if OP-ED originally meant “opposite of the editorial page” in today’s usage it means “opinion pages.” Today’s NYT is exhibit 1.

    Suzie Q 10:38 PM  

    As promised @Z, you did some research before getting on your soapbox.
    Me, I usually just spout off with whatever comes to mind. :)

    Amelia 11:25 PM  

    @david in ca

    All the people here got the "theme" because REX TOLD US THE THEME. If no one said anything, would you have known that there were several long answers that had a "theme." I wouldn't have. And I guarantee you no one else would have, either. Are you under the impression that people read the comments before they read Rex?

    Joe Dipinto 11:51 PM  

    @Amelia -- I got the "theme" because I GOT THE THEME WHILE I WAS SOLVING THE PUZZLE. And so did just about everyone else here. Unless they weren't particularly caring about the theme, which is sometimes the case. And, I guarantee you, some people read the comments without reading Rex at all.

    Loren Muse Smith 11:55 PM  

    @Amelia - you're just winding us up, right? There's no way you can be serious.

    Mohair Sam 12:02 AM  

    @Loren - Holy cow girl! When do you sleep? My oldest sister slept 2 hours a night and when folks would ask her how she could stand being awake all that time she'd ask how they could waste all that time in bed?

    semioticus (shelbyl) 12:18 AM  

    This one actually started out fine, but the fill just got worse and worse as I kept solving. There are some inelegant three-letter answers like ERN and HED, but that's actually OK. But oh boy the longer answers are actually way worse: AONE ATRI SDAK TISH ADRAG AERIE RIATA... That's on top of all the ancient proper nouns. Woof.

    Cool theme for a Tuesday. Cool long entries with URBANMYTH and SIMCITY and TREETOP. But the rest is very sloppy -or maybe sloppiness is in the eye of the beholder.

    GRADE: C+, 2.95 stars.

    Z 5:51 AM  

    @Joe DiPinto - Hand up for not getting the theme and taking a technical DNF because of it (see my comment from 21 hours ago). I’ve noticed that it seems like some people read neither Rex nor the comments.

    @Susie Q - Yep. And I get to subtly (or not so subtly) jab at my “language changes” trope/point/theme/motif. Now, unlike @Muse it seems, it’s back to sleep for me.

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