Ewbank 1969 Super Bowl-winning coach / TUE 5-15-18 / Kitchnware brand with hyphenated name / Music genre for Tokyo teens / Sitting position in yoga / 1959 film set in Dogpatch USA

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Constructor: Garry Trudeau and Ross Trudeau

Relative difficulty: played easy for me, but I don't know why; seems to be playing hardish for others (for a Tuesday) (3:16)

THEME: STAND-UP COMICS (33A: Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook ... or a literal hint to the answers to the eight starred clues) — answers are all titles of comic *strips* that are going Down (so ... standing up):

Theme answers:
  • TIGER (2D: *Feline in a zoo)
  • LIL ABNER (25D: *1959 film set in Dogpatch, U.S.A.)
  • BABY BLUES (14D: *Dreamy eyes, informally)
  • OPUS (49D: *Magnum ___)
  • POGO (7D: *Bounce on a stick)
  • DICK TRACY (28D: *Detective who wore a two-way radio)
  • GARFIELD (23D: *President between Hayes and Arthur)
  • MUTTS (46D: *Mongrels)
Word of the Day: "TIGER" (2D: *Feline in a zoo)
Tiger was an American comic strip created by cartoonist Bud Blake. It ran from May 3, 1965 until the spring of 2003. [...] Tiger followed a gag-a-day format and was designed to appeal to both adults and children. It centered on a scrappy group of school-aged kids in an unidentified, middle-class neighborhood. Parents and teachers were occasionally referred to, but no adult was ever pictured. Tiger was told from a child's perspective and retained its innocent kids' eye world view from beginning to end. (wikipedia)
• • •

As I was solving this, it felt a little rough, a little clunky, but I finished pretty quickly and hadn't quite taken it all in yet. Then I took a good look at the theme and thought, "Oh, yeah ... it's rough." Then I glanced at Twitter, where normally mild-mannered folks were ripping this thing apart, so ... there are problems. Here are a few of them. I'm gonna start with the theme, which is conceptually OK. Comic titles in the Downs. But for this to Work work, all the titles—not some; all—need to be clued as something other than the comic. See, for instance, the clues on TIGER, BABY BLUES, OPUS; do *not* see, for instance, the clues on LIL ABNER and DICK TRACY, which are impossible to clue without reference to their comics-ness. LOL at the idea that anyone thinks of LIL ABNER as a "film." Not sure why they didn't bother to try to hide DICK TRACY via filmdom too, but they didn't. At any rate, the other answers can all be masked but those cannot, so the theme (as executed here) fails. It just does. It does because if you'd had the whole thing just be titles of famous comic strips, running Down ... that's just boring. And dumb. What's interesting is masking them. But you can't really redirect the meaning on two of your big themers, and so: thud. But wait, there's more (problems).

"TIGER"? Like ... what? What is that? I am reading about it and I see that it was fairly widely circulated, even in my lifetime, but whatever it was, it Dis Ap Peared from the face of the earth a while back and has never been heard from again. It is the opposite of iconic. It has no afterlife. Zero. No one is going to do that reboot. Was there not some other five-letter comic strip that would've worked better? And "OPUS"? That is a stretch. Everyone knows OPUS as the penguin in "Bloom County," but far far fewer know that he was the titular star of his own comic strip. Probably because it was Sunday-only, and ran for just five years (in the mid-'00s). I'm not knocking it, per se, but it just doesn't rate compared to the other, much more recognizable titles you've got here. Why not replace it with ZITS, say? And, look, PEANUTS (7), BLONDIE (7), both clueable in non-comics ways! Sigh. Look, I think for this theme to work, you have to ditch DICK TRACY, LIL ABNER, TIGER, and OPUS (so, half your themers) and replace them with familiar strips whose names are maskable (i.e. clueable in non-comics ways). Then, your theme works. Here, no, it doesn't.

But that's just the theme. The fill ... EEK*. Not sure where to start, so I'll just dive in. WEEB!? Oy, that is the crosswordesiest of names. Absurd. I wrote in SHEB because I had the "B" and thought, "Oh, what's that ridiculous name I know only from crosswords? Oh, right, SHEB!" But it's WEEB. That one's gonna destroy people. REWELD? I keep laughing every time I look at REWELD. I guess you can RE- anything, so sure, weld, why not? RECLIMB, RECARVE, REDANCE, REWELD. T-FAL? Needed every cross for that. Another crosswordese thing I've seen before but couldn't remember. You've got "eyes in the clue for BABY BLUES but then EYED in the puzzle (DOE-EYED). Slight foul. Also, speaking of eyes: SEEST (unslight foul) (as opposed to OPUS—an unslight fowl). The most absurd thing in the grid isn't just ORANG (which is always mildly absurd). It's ORANG being neighbors with ORANG...ES. What the ...? Why would you do that?? Knock knock who's there ORANG ORANG who ORANG you glad ORANGES isn't also in this grid oh wait it is Nevermind. I mean, ORANGES!? It's a fine word, but now it looks like a French plural of ORANG. There's lots of other little crosswordese infelicities and foreignisms, but I'll leave those be. As with yesterday's, this one needed a Lot more polish. I like DRIVE-INS. I also like how DO OR DIE looks like "DOOR—DIE!" But I don't understand most of the choices that went into making this. I'm just glad I was (improbably) on the puzzle's wavelength, so my dislike wasn't also compounded by solving frustration (a toxic combo).
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    *(note: actually, this may be the only time in my long history of solving where I enjoyed seeing EEK—seemed appropriate)

    PS ASANA is *any* position in yoga. No idea what that clue thinks it's doing (45D: Sitting position in yoga)

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    three of clubs 8:05 AM  

    A puzzle isn't truly finished until I have read the blog. Thanks!

    kitshef 8:12 AM  

    Favorite thing was being reminded of POTATOe. What a waste it is to lose one's mind or not to have a mind.

    Like the IDEAL MAN/MEAN GIRL pairing. We all know couples like that, yes?

    Theme did not work for me at all. You don’t get to clue some deceptively and some straightforwardly.

    Fill was middling, featuring the ATILT/SEEST pairing of ‘words no one says’.

    Cluing was demon dull.

    Overall, it was a Tuesday.

    Glimmerglass 8:14 AM  

    Good morning, Rex. About time you got up. The comedians stand up; the strips, not so much. The puzzle, even less.

    michiganman 8:20 AM  

    I solve xwords but am not a constructor or analyst. I learn a wee bit from Rex and others about construction issues. I did not notice the cluing problems today, for instance. I thought the puzzle was easy, mostly. I knew WEEB. Had tRANsAMS and piEEYED so had to clean that up. OK solving experience but wouldn't call it fun.

    Debra 8:24 AM  

    Easy, fun Tuesday

    chefbea 8:26 AM  

    Finished this puzzle in record time and came here at 7:30 am...the blog wasn't up yet...why so late??

    fun puzzle

    QuasiMojo 8:33 AM  

    This was a COMIC STRIP theme that felt like watching Phyllis Diller taking off her clothes. Gawd-awful.

    I've never heard of half of these comic strips (which, I admit, is my problem; I never cared for them) but I mention it because I never realized there was a comic strip theme coming down until I read Rex's write-up. I just thought this was another of those dreary celebrity crosswords the NYT is foisting on us wherein some much-loved star who might have "a way with words" gets to plug his own work and career. The fact that all the celebrity puzzles are about the field in which the celeb works makes it all seem like a publicity stunt to me. And usually a very boring one. Today was a mega case in point.

    My dictionary tells me that ORANG is short for "orangutan" but it is never clued that way in the NYT. And whoever uses this expression? Fans of bad Clint Eastwood movies?

    JPOP, AP BIO, I GIVE, WEEB, FRO, REWELD (!) etc. Whoever thought of those, please STAND DOWN.

    clk 8:39 AM  

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention celebrity constructor Garry Trudeau. I haven’t followed Doonesbury (or any other comic strip in years since I stopped getting a paper paper), but I thought it was brilliant back in the day. That made this puzzle all the more disappointing. I would have expected a lot more sparkle from him.

    Warren 8:42 AM  

    Wow, Gary Trudeau working with his son while Jane Pauley's spirit hovers in the background? And with a comics theme from the Paper That Never Ran Them? What's not to love!

    Trolley, argot, do or die, aspic. Even those words have comic possibilities. Buono. I loved it!

    Jim Graves 8:46 AM  

    If you are a Jets fan of a certain age, Weeb is a gimme.

    Lewis 8:47 AM  

    Before filling in my first square, I was disposed to enjoy this puzzle because I WORSHIP Doonesbury, but, as it turns out, even if this had been made by someone else, it made for an splendid sprint for me. I noticed the things Rex mentioned, but, as I said, this was co-made by the creator of Doonesbury, and did I mention I worship this strip?

    The construction is ambitious, with a more than 60 theme-related squares, and four theme answers crossing the reveal. I'm sure that placed restrictions on what strips could be included as theme answers.

    We have a lovely dook in DOORDIE, and for your word search of the day, can you find the Boggle-style expletive that crosses the reveal?

    Garry, you (among a few others) are a stalwart in helping me hold my balance during wobbly times. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Clueless 8:55 AM  

    Wonder why no direct reference to Doonesbury in the puzzle itself

    GILL I. 8:57 AM  

    I immediately saw that Garry Trudeau was co authoring the puzzle and was delighted. I'm bummed that neither Zonker or Roland appeared with a steady supply of recreational drugs. Thudpucker would have made my day.
    BABY BLUES was my favorite...well, MUTTS is cute as well. Come to think of it I kinda like the AFLAC DUCK sitting over in the corner wanting to be included.
    Poor Dan Quayle. Do you suppose his name should have been spelled quail? The look on the little boys face when he said there should be an E at the end of POTA TOE.
    Just remember.....Be Best.

    Wm. C. 8:58 AM  

    I had no problem with WEEB Ewbank. As a matter of fact, when I first picked up the puzzle, my eye happened to catch the clue and dropped WEEB right in at the start.

    Overall, though, played quite hard for me for a Tuesday. Totally messed up the top with: No idea on JPOP, Idiom for ARGOT, Bueno for BUONO, Tomato for Potato. I knew it had to be JURIS Doctor, so that put the lie to my bad fill, but couldn't see POGO as either a comic strip or to Bounce On A Stick.

    I had AGAVE right away, but TRANSAM at the bottom kept me away from GARFIELD, Wanted Apple for ASPIC, and thought Mousey should be the spelling for MOUSY (which seems like a very contrived fill), and these together with the aforesaid TransAm hid the GRIST Mill from me.

    Usually Tuesday isn't hard enough for me, so I welcome a harder-than-normal Tuesday. But this one was an odd mix of very easy, except for the small central areas at the top and bottom, which --as per the comments above-- were just too remote.

    Opus Rulz 9:13 AM  

    Lewis, your confirmation bias is showing. It's okay to worship Doonesbury and Mr. Trudeau...but that has nothing to do with his ability to make a puzzle, (or WS to edit it). It was bad for all the things that Rex mentioned. That's okay...it just goes to show that creating puzzles isn't easy no matter how witty/acclaimed the constructor might be.

    So, thank you for your optimism, but a critique isn't a personal referendum on one's greater work. This puzzle was bad. If you think otherwise, you were pre-disposed to think otherwise. Confirmation bias is a thing these days we should all recognize and NOT embrace.

    I, too, thought it would be a good puzzle because, Trudeau! Not one Trudeau, but two! How bad can it be? Well, bad. Back to the old drawing board...

    Bob Mills 9:15 AM  

    I too found the puzzle easy. I knew Garfield was president after Hayes, and also that Garfield was a cartoon character, so the theme wasn't hard to pick up. Never heard of "IMBD," though. Got it from the crosses.

    Z 9:18 AM  

    A little known or remembered fact is that Rex only commits to getting the blog up by 9 a.m.

    Liked it more than Rex, but agree this is among the one or two celebrity puzzles that wasn’t polished to a high sheen. I had a couple of vowel issues corrected by the crosses otherwise no write-overs. Since OPUS is a character in BLOOM COUNTY I thought TIGER referred to Hobbes. I do not remember ever seeing that strip.

    AP BIO is timely as ‘tis the season of AP tests. My HS team has been taking various and asundry tests all month it seems. They won their game last night. The best part was that one of our worst players (not a sports guy, little field sense, still mastering most of the basic skills as a senior) had an outstanding game. Caused multiple turnovers, had two great catches, and had the whole sideline cheering for him on the last point. So cool to see.

    @JC66 yesterday - Did you know Will is a celebrity and nothing has been stopping celebrities from submitting puzzles?

    Just to be clear, that “only” has an intended subtext of “it's amazing that this blog is here for us every day so don’t be snarky if it’s posted a little later than usual.”

    Linda Vale 9:26 AM  

    Error in 32A: There is no such thing as a philanthropic FUND to be set up. The entities that are ‘set up’ are trusts, foundations, etc. these entities are funded by assets (funds).

    mathgent 9:29 AM  

    Garry Trudeau is a genius and I was thrilled to solve a crossword he and his son created.

    J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! 9:40 AM  

    Hey - I'm a Jets fan, do or die. The Jets, the only team whose fans are proud of the fact that they can spell their team name. J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! Seriously, we can do that all day. I knew WEEB. See, our Jets had a good year, once. A long time ago. We won the Superbowl, Joe Namath made his fame and fortune. A bunch of guys probably got free drinks for life by wearing a Superbowl Ring to a bar. In 1969. You could probably do that yourself, get a fake Superbowl Ring for the 1969 season and say you were a J-E-T Jet! Jet! Jet! and some moron Jet fan would buy you a drink. At any bar in Queens. You probably don't even have to give the name of an actual J-E-T- Jet! Jet! Jet! You could just say you are Michael Sharp and you were the 6th DB who only played in the nickel-defense when two other DBs were literally crippled, and yeah, life's been hard since then but you're doing OK now, thanks for mentioning how I look, but you really, really could use a beer and a shot. Three seconds later, there's your beer and a shot.

    Every subsequent year we've contented ourselves 8 weeks a year as we can amass 30-40k fans in one place and, with uncanny unanimity, spell our team name. As we pride ourselves on our intellect we try to not reflect that it's there painted on the ground, on every damned seat, on every smooth vertical surface in sight, on the back of the guy standing in front of you, it's constantly in your face. No - we choose to believe we can spell it on our own, from memory.

    I speak for all of us (I know because they asked me to speak for all of us, as I'm the only one who can actually do a Tuesday NYT Crossword Puzzle and that only because I found the reveal button) in saying that WEEB isn't an obscurity. Not to those of use whose entire sense of self is built on our team winning the Superbowl almost 50 years ago. J-E-T-S Jets!

    jberg 9:47 AM  

    Didn't know the strip TIGER, and LI'L ABNER was just an answer, but I got the theme with POGO. I didn't mind the obscure ones, but I agree with Rex that DICK TRACY should have been replaced, and LIL ABNER either clued as "inventor of baseball, as a lad" (not really true, I know, but good enough for crosswords) or left out -- or clued as a rapper, maybe?

    But still, 8 is a lot of themers, so I've got to admire that. I didn't mind it nearly as much as Rex. He's right about ASANA, though, that was weird. And I had trouble with DRIVEINS, because a) I thought all blood vessels were wet, and b) when you're at a drive-in, you're not really al fresco; you're inside your car.

    This wasn't really a fault, but the theme could have been taken to another level if the names of the comic strips started at the bottom and read upward -- they they would literally be STAND-UIP, rather than drop-down comics.

    Some other nice touches 00 I GIVE / A GAVE; EEG / EEK.

    @QuasiMojo, I think what you are complaining about is a feature, not a bug -- commenters have complained when a celeb puzzle is not enough about the celeb's field of celebness.

    OTOH, so many other ways to clue SOTO.

    Writeovers: Askew before ATILT, MixeS before MUTTS.

    Nit 9:48 AM  

    You can't weld with a blowtorch, not hot enough.

    Roo Monster 9:58 AM  

    Hey All !
    As a fan of lots-of-theme puzs, I liked this. Put me in the group who haven't heard of TIGER. Strange, as it ran for so long, and I was an avid comics guy.

    The fill was iffy in spots, but the constraints in the grid had to do with that. So it balances out. Plus, not easy to fill those large NE/SW corners cleanly with all the theme.

    No SNAP, ACNE, EEL, ASS, RRNs today. It does have me in French, RUE. Har. DOORDIE a fun DOOK. Even has M&A's RUNT(Z)S.

    ORANG ORANGES, a new JPOP band?

    Sir Hillary 9:59 AM  

    This is probably the only work authored by Garry Trudeau that I didn't absolutely love. Puzzle falls a bit short, for the reasons @Rex mentioned, although his complaints about WEEB and ORANG/ORANGES are absurd.

    However, the puzzle did remind me of my childhood, reading every comic strip in both the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register.
    -- I'm old enough to remember the Sunday comics as the sole source of color in the entire newspaper, so an IRATE cartoon character was only red-faced once a week.
    -- "Peanuts" got top billing in both of my newspapers, with "Andy Capp" just below.
    -- I was a big fan of "B.C.", "The Wizard of Id" (both penned or co-penned by Johnny Hart) and especially "Broom Hilda".
    -- I'm sure their were earlier ones, but the first single-panel I can remember was "Herman", which I loved. Later, "The Far Side" became the funniest strip ever IMO.
    -- Why did soap-opera strips like "Mary Worth" and "Rex Morgan, M.D." have everyone speaking with exclamation points? "You're watching TV!" "Yes! Walter Cronkite!"

    Not a great puzzle, but a great trip down memory lane, so thanks to the Trudeaus. Please tell Jane I'll see her on Sunday morning.

    Jets Fan 10:01 AM  

    Rex wrote “everyone knows Opus as the Penguin in Bloom County.” Maybe everyone he hangs out with knows Opus but not me. I’d never heard of him or Bloom County for that matter. Everyone I hang out with knows Weeb Ewbank was Jets’ Super Bowl winning coach. I guess we all have our own pockets of knowledge. That said, I agree that it was a poor puzzle and the theme didn’t work for the reasons he articulated. Credit should still be given to the Trudeaus though. I think the reason this celebrity puzzle isn’t up to snuff is because the others all had pros helping them out. These guys didn’t, apparently.

    cristiano valli 10:04 AM  

    I guess it's something I miss because I didn't grow up in the USA, but could someone explain me I give/uncle?

    Tom 10:09 AM  

    Not that hard. Typical Toosday time. Only nitpick is that a blowtorch is not technically used to weld. It sweats pipes together using solder or puts a nice crust on your creme brulee, but an acetylene torch or a tig are true "REWELDers."
    You're welcome for the lesson.

    Anonymous 10:13 AM  

    So if someone doesn't agree with you that the puzzle is bad it's because they are "pre-disposed to think otherwise"? You're embracing your ego bias.

    GILL I. 10:16 AM  

    @Linda Vale. Every heard of a philanthropist setting up a college FUND?
    @Nit. Every see a goldsmith welding with a blowtorch?
    @Cristiano. Welcome to the USofA amigo. When someone has you by the pelotas and squeezing real hard and you've had enough, you yell UNCLE and if that person is nice, they stop squeezing.....

    Anonymous 10:22 AM  

    @cristiano valli

    Say 'uncle'!" is a North American expression demanding that the opponent in a contest submits. The response "Uncle!" is equivalent to "I give up" and indicates submission.

    Nancy 10:43 AM  

    When I had I GIVE at 16A, I was expecting an "UP" rebus in the black squares. That seemed to be confirmed, sort of, by the theme answer STAND UP COMICS. But no such luck. I GIVE stands alone as the answer to "Uncle!" -- and it's ridiculous. If you said "I GIVE" to me without the UP, I would not stop hitting the tennis ball or running the race or whatever. If I stopped at all, it would be to hold out my hand and wait for the present you're about to give me.

    Re: FRO (15A) -- I can speak from experience. Every coif imaginable gets "squished by headphones". Not just a FRO. If you want to keep your coif coiffed, don't wear headphones.

    This was a bit pop culture-y for me, but I didn't mind it. It put up more resistance than most Tuesdays and I liked that.

    Carola 10:46 AM  

    An undiscriminating solver, I enjoyed this trip through the funnies, as my dad used to call them. Bonus points for the parallel conveyances TROLLEYS and GRAND AMS, the lovely BABY BLUES and DOE-EYED, MUTTS x RUNTS, SERENADE.

    Anonymous 10:46 AM  

    IMDB - Internet Movie Database

    Johnny Bohnen 10:53 AM  

    I read Tiger for years as a child. I don't recall ever laughing.

    Anonymous 10:56 AM  

    "up" has no bearing. Uncle and IGIVE are statements of surrender to stop whatever stress or pain one is undergoing at the moment. I also don't get your references to tennis and presents.

    Nancy 11:13 AM  

    @Lewis (8:47) -- Your DOOK today may have been DOORDIE. Mine was LILA BNER.

    Like @Lewis and @mathgent, I liked Doonesbury too. Problem is that far lesser examples of comic strips are the ones embedded in this puzzle. Like @Quasi, I'm not at all a fan of comic strips, with Peanuts as well as Doonesbury as huge exceptions. The answers weren't hard, though -- read 'em or not, all the strips mentioned here are in the Zeitgeist (Hi, @Z).

    From yesterday -- I've spent extensive time with both @Aketi and @Teedmn and I can vouch for the truth of @Aketi's words. They sure are "camels" -- both of them. I find it...extraordinary, actually.

    Anonymous 11:17 AM  

    Thanks for citing "funnies". That's the term we used back when DICKTRACY was one of my Fav's. Other oldies - Dondi, Smilin' Jack, Nancy.

    Warren and No Peace 11:19 AM  

    @Lewis, I agree that the puzzle was a good time, although I'm a little afraid to comment because that well known arbiter of puzzle excellence @Opus Rulz begs to differ.

    Maybe I was just predisposed to having fun because I thought I was having fun.

    Mohair Sam 11:38 AM  

    @All you Jets fans lionizing WEEB for the 1969 Super Bowl win: WEEB was also the winning coach in the 1958 NFL Championship game, still referred to as the "Greatest Game Ever Played". So yeah, nothing obscure about WEEB - probably a better known name than baseball's Walter Alston who OFL would have plunked down in any Tuesday puzzle with a smile.

    Wow, dare I say on this forum that I don't WORSHIP Garry Trudeau? But he's sharp-witted for sure, and when I saw his name I expected a great celebrity puzz. Maybe expectations are the problem - the theme was clever and appropriate, and who can't love the AFLAC DUCK in a puzzle? But I'll agree with Rex that the inconsistency in the theme cluing was clumsy. That said, I enjoyed this Tuesday outing.

    The only cartoon I ever read regularly was "Smokey Stover" - but I'm not shocked that he missed the Trudeau cut. Maybe next time.

    Boosler and Maddow remain the best celebrity constructors, In my humble (and honest) opinion.

    Malsdemare 11:47 AM  

    I sort of agree with Rex this morning. The inconsistancy of the clueing and some of the fill made this a little less fun than usual. But I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, lying on the floor of the study, fighting with my sisters over who got the funnies first; as fourth, I always lost, but that didn't stop me from whining and arguing. None of the ones the Trudeaus name were particularly enjoyable; I was more a Blondie, Dennis the Menace, Peanuts, Family Circus kid. And the best of all, starting in the 80s? was Bloom County.

    In case you don't know, Breathed resurrected Bloom County about two years ago, posting a new strip, and occasionally an old one, on most days on his Facebook page. If you're on FB, follow him. The strips are funny, poignant, ribald, sacriligious, sly. He pokes fun at everything, and his ability to have a strip out almost to the minute after Trump tweets some inanity is uncanny. He's definitely untethered, and the results will make you cry, laugh, rage "against the dying light."

    So thank you Trudeaus (Trudeaux?) for triggering fond memories.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:59 AM  

    All righty then. Nine themers, includin the revealer. The four longest themers all cross the revealer. The revealer is 13-long and placed in the center row, which has thereby invoked the themeless jaws of shady squares bookends --- which give the grid an overall themeless look, with looong stacks in each grid corner and only 72 words. Voila … delightful flights of fancy desperation have just gotta ensue.

    * EEK. staff weeject pick, due to its strong cartoon ties. Primo weeject stacks in the NE and SW, btw.
    * JPOP. Debut word. Tough to get, in that JURIS/APBIO/BABYBLUE/BUONO area of M&A blindspots.
    * STACEY & WEEB. Would make a neat comic strip name.
    * REWELD. har. @RP has already sufficiently splatzed snark all over this puppy.
    * SEEST. Nice end-of-grid finisher. SEEST and ESTES must surely hold the record for construction-friendly end letters. Well, maybe TSETSE-TESTS would be a contender, too.

    Actually, that's not too bad, considerin the herculean task at hand here. I had no big prob with ORANGES & ORANG, since they are different specieses, and didn't cross one another. TFAL is a brand found in our kitchen, so no unusual surprise there.

    Sorta liked the IDEALMAN/MEANGIRL symmetric pair. Also GRANDAMS/TROLLEYS. Plus the IGIVE/IRATE pairin, in a sorta I-SEEST-YOU way. Best not leave out RUNTS/MUTTS, I reckon.

    Extraordinary TuesPuz constructioneerin collusion. Thanx for the buono/ono fun, Trudeau & Trudeau.

    Masked & Anonymo6Us


    al wander 12:04 PM  

    How could anyone not remember weeb, Asia joe Namath time and place

    Tim Aurthur 12:08 PM  

    Anyone who needs a laugh can Google "Jubilation T. Cornpone" and watch the clip from the movie LIL ABNER. It's timely in a way, with all that's going on around statues commemorating the Confederacy.

    puzzlehoarder 12:13 PM  

    I was never a fan of Doonesbury so the celebity name meant nothing to me. By the time I read the revealer clue there were enough theme entries in place to figure out the theme. I'm familiar with who Dave Chappelle is the other COMIC not so much.

    With the J in place JPOP was not hard to infer as we've had KPOP before. WEEB was an unkown but the crosses were easy. I got more puzzling out of this than the usual Tuesday.

    As far as the blowtorch issue is concerned I consider it to be a generic term which can refer to either a propane or an oxy-acetylene torch.

    Joseph Michael 12:24 PM  

    I'm a FAN of Gary Trudeau, especially now that I know he helped bring a crossword constructor into the world, but I have to agree with most of Rex's assessment of the puzzle, especially his comments about the undisguised LIL ABNER and DICK TRACY clues.

    The fun was also diluted by the fact that I have never heard of half the comic strips included. AFLAC DUCK felt like it wanted to be a themer, but I guess that selling insurance just didn't qualify.

    @Lewis, my inner teenage boy would like to thank you for pointing out the Boggled dirty word.

    J. Walter Baxter 12:27 PM  

    As the CEO of a large corporation, I had my staff complete this puzzle in short order with no mistakes at all. I study populist forums like this to glean the vagaries of the market (poetically known as the "hoi polloi") and gather useful insights from the mindless errors of the huddled masses. You plebes never let me down. We had a media position in syndicated strips at one time, although I never quite got the point of them.

    Nate 12:40 PM  

    This might be one of the oldest crosswords I can remember. I mean, the very premise is dated. I mean no offense to Gary Trudeau, but his medium is about as dated as it gets.

    So, this played really, really hard for me. I have some of this stuff swimming around in my fishbowl of memories, but TIGER, BABY BLUES, DICK TRACY (didn't even remember that was a comic), POGO, MUTTS, OPUS... I have never seen those things in my life. I'd hazard a guess that most people my age (early 30's) were swimming in the dark on this one. GARFIELD is fair game, of course.

    I was also really slowed down by the LIL ABNER/WEEB (???) crossing. I finally remembered that LIL ABNER was a thing, and given its historical significance I'll give this one a pass and just chalk it up to the fact that when the comic last ran, I was... well, -11 years old. As in I would not be born for another 11 years.

    Linda Vale 12:43 PM  

    Gill: there are trusts, foundations, charitable corporations. When setting these up with the IRS, you can call these whatever you want. I could set up a trust called “The Linda Vale is right fund”. I could name it anything. But it technically is NOT a ‘fund’. Perhaps you can give me an example of a fund.

    Anonymous 12:53 PM  

    ORANG ORANGES may refer to a political leader

    QuasiMojo 1:03 PM  

    @Nancy, count me among the camels, too, I guess. I have a horror of people traipsing around with water bottles and those vacuum-message looking contraptions nowadays. I could quote what WC Fields said about water, but this is a family blog. Actually I prefer to think of myself as a not-so-prickly cactus.

    Kimberly 1:08 PM  

    The fact that this was done by the Trudeaus makes the theme wonderful. Period. Any klunkiness is immediately forgiven.

    Once again Rex declares those things unfamiliar to him to be obscure. Sigh. He’s way too young to be that crotchety.

    I’m sorry so many people disliked this. Was it the best ever? Of course not. But considering the constructors I think it was awesome.

    Teedmn 1:10 PM  

    Consistency, thou art a jewel and all that, but I didn't find the same fault with the theme clues as @Rex did. (But I did find an interesting discussion from 1888 in the NYTimes about the origin of the Consistency phrase. Thank goodness crosswords were eventually invented so we could argue about these things outside of the paper.)

    I think REWELD is just fine for fill, though I'll go along with @Tom 10:09's objection about the clue. Many's the time that some cheap spot weld has cracked apart on some article or other of mine, thus needing a spot of REWELDing. Too bad I don't know how to do it. It's more likely to be repaired with a hose clamp or tie-wrap at my house.

    I liked seeing PED Xing - with the ___ Xing clue, I was expecting some Chinese tie-in.

    I used to own T-FAL pans but we have switched to copper-bottomed stainless - love those things.

    Thanks, Garry and Ross, for the comics theme; I thought it was easy and fun.

    JC66 1:20 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    JC66 1:24 PM  

    Here's a list of celebrity co-constructors . Where would Will fall on this list (if he made it)?

    BTW, I don't believe I've seen a puzzle constructed solo by any one of them since; in the Times or elsewhere.

    JC66 1:25 PM  

    @Z The above was meant for you.

    Charley 1:54 PM  

    No FAN of the NY JETS should have any problem with WEEB.

    GILL I. 2:14 PM  

    @Linda Vale... I really don't know........sheesh.
    "A philanthropist might set one up." Answer: FUND.
    Dictionary: FUND: Noun: A kitty, collection, reserve, pool, purse....etc.
    Why can't a philanthropist (a person who gives generous donations of money to good causes) not be able to set up a FUND of any kind? Name it what she pleases. It's still a FUND. What does the IRS have to do with it?
    I prefer POTATOES.

    Suzie Q 2:16 PM  

    When I saw Rex's posting of Mutts all I could think of, quite happily, was "little pink sock." At least I think that's the comic strip. A precious inside joke for cat people.

    This wasn't the best celebrity puzzle we've seen but Hey, it's Tuesday.

    Azzurro 2:36 PM  

    I was excited when I saw Garry Trudeau on the byline, and I liked the puzzle. It had a few clunkers, but overall it was a very pleasant Tuesday.

    I used to love Bloom County, and, while I haven't always kept up with later iterations, I knew Opus had his own gig for a while. Growing up on the West Coast, I did not know Weeb.

    @GILL I., I agree that a Zonker reference would have put it over the top.

    Ross Trudeau had some nice comments on the NYT blog:
    Two Augusts ago, having spent a couple years rejecting all of my attempts at crossword construction, Will [Shortz, The Times’s crossword editor] ran clues referencing my dad or his cartoon strip on back-to-back days. Feeling thoroughly trolled, and despairing that dad’s long shadow extended even into crossworld, I set about taking revenge in the form of a comics-themed puzzle that would conspicuously omit any reference to Doonesbury.

    It is a bitter irony that I couldn’t wrangle the theme … until dad stepped in and made the interlock work (and wrote our clues). I'd feel really bitter, but he's also the best man that I know. So I only feel sort of bitter.

    Oh, and while a political cartoonist should be no stranger to vigorous internet blowback, I don’t think dad is remotely prepared for the Category 5 ORANG/ORANGES etymological Twitterstorm that’s brewing.


    Anonymous 2:39 PM  

    Or a Baltimore Colts fan.

    Linda Vale 2:58 PM  

    @Gill...unfortunately, the IRS has a big part in philanthropy. There are many tax considerations and the laws are clear about the many philanthropic entities. I am currently a trustee of six charitable entities - trusts and foundations. Been doing it for years. Many forms to fill out to comply with tax laws. Otherwise the irs considers donations as gifts - and there are limits and laws on gifts. Bottom line is when these entities are ‘set up’ there is no such thing as a FUND. Therefore, the puzzle is in error.

    Banana Diaquiri 3:47 PM  

    for those dissing newspaper comics: it's tough to be irreverent when you've got a BatSh!t President. used to be the snarky could make fun of those in undeserved High Places, but we're so far past MAGA...

    Banana Diaquiri 3:51 PM  

    @Linda Vale:
    Otherwise the irs considers donations as gifts - and there are limits and laws on gifts.

    oh! so Trump's charities should be declared illegal????? :)

    Lewis 3:58 PM  
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    Hungry Mother 4:26 PM  

    I enjoyed this very easy Tuesday offering. I never look at the constructor and don’t care much about the theme unless I need to. My time was fast for me and I found the puzzle as crunchy as I expect on Tuesday.

    sanfranman59 4:59 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 3:46 4:24 0.86 10.3% Easy
    Tue 5:24 5:26 1.00 48.1% Medium

    A fun Tuesday puzzle in spite of not knowing three of the COMICS (TIGER, BABY BLUES and MUTTS). Lots of theme material and a nice reflection on today's celeb constructor and his son. I probably should have had an Easy-Medium solve time. For no good reason, I had trouble getting started in the NW. After that, I pretty much rolled through the solve. Not many winces other than perhaps DJED and REWELD. I found APBIO tough to see.

    retired guy 5:19 PM  

    Just for the sake of balance, it is worth remembering that it was Al Gore who said that our national motto, e pluribus unum, meant "out of one, many." That seems like a more important blooper than misspelling potato, although you would never know it from the pop culture.

    Monty Boy 5:29 PM  

    Didn't post the first time, so here goes again. Forgive the repeat if it happens.
    About a year ago Gary Trudeau published a collection of Trump comics titled "Yuge" appropriately. Starts in September 1987 and goes to April 2016. It's clear GT has pegged DT very well. Trump hasn't changed or learned anything in 30 years. Good thing he doesn't read or he might be offended. Oh wait, that won't happen.

    Anonymous 5:43 PM  

    If DOORDIE and LILABNER are DOOKs, I guess I don't understand. DOOR DIE? What does that mean?
    LILA BNER? What does that mean? Seems like trying too hard.

    IrishCream 8:00 PM  

    What about...all the annual funds at every college and university?

    Anonymous 8:00 PM  

    The answer for schlemiel is just wrong right? I mean I've always heard the phrase that the schlemiel is the one who spills the soup and the schlemozzle is the one it lands on. Isn't a schlemiel more of a klutz than a jerk?

    IrishCream 8:04 PM  

    @LindaVale I’m no trustee, but I’m a fundraiser. For annual funds. Very much a thing. Not endowments or foundations, but current-use funds, spent in their entirety for their designated purposes each fiscal year.

    Harryp 8:44 PM  

    Lots of stuff I didn't know, JPOP, IMBD, WEEB, TFAL, but I trusted the crosses and finished in Monday time. I would never have gotten half of the Theme answers knowing the Theme, but a fun solve anyway THX, family Treaudeau.

    Jr-Brogger 10:53 PM  

    New to the game, on the learning curve at the moment...

    Nancy 11:05 PM  

    @Anon 5:43 -- "Trying too hard" to see a DOOK? That would be sort of like trying too hard to slice your tee shot into the adjoining fairway. A DOOK is a mistake -- inadvertently perceiving a word incorrectly. It's not something you try to do. I saw LILA BNER today before I saw LIL ABNER. I didn't have to try -- it happened quite naturally. And, no, LILA BNER makes no sense at all and is quite silly. That's the whole point.

    Anonymous 8:44 AM  

    I do the puzzles in the paper so I know I'm waaaaay late to this party but I agree with Kimberly, if Rex isn't aware of it then it's a horrible clue.

    Yes, Tiger, as Rex points out, "Dis Ap Peared from the face of the earth never to be heard from again" but so has Pope Leo, most of the silent film stars, former world leaders and currencies, countries which no longer exist, authors, one hit wonders and way too many phrases no longer in vogue that show up as crossword answers all the time. Just sayin'...

    Burma Shave 9:23 AM  


    Even DICKTRACY isn’t the IDEALMAN to choose,
    HAY, it ATEAWAYAT the poor guy
    of that MEANGIRL, then at her DOORDIEs.


    rondo 10:03 AM  

    So if you don’t know if you like the puz the solution is to turn to Twitter? The ultimate source of all true things? C’mon, who would do that? Oh yeah, the Prez. Anyway, at LEAST I had no write-overs on this weakish effort. Probably kinda weak due to 8 themers. Thing is, I knew ‘em all, iconic or not. Even TIGER, which existed most of my life and ran in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Some of the others ran only in the enemy paper (Mpls Star-Tribune) so I saw them less frequently.

    Seems OFL has given up commenting on the ‘FRO. Good.

    Not sure if IDEALMAN is an improvement on last week’s IDEAMAN.

    Clueless’ STACEY Dash a definite yeah baby.

    I don’t know if IGIVE this thumbs up or down. Surely will not consult Twitter, nothing there is helpful to ADD.

    spacecraft 10:49 AM  

    I pretty much echo OFL's thoughts on the theme. I can't remember TIGER, OPUS--or even MUTTS. And yes, 25 and 28 just can't get away from their COMIC-ness. Inelegant. So too was I struck by the ORANG/ORANGES thing; it seemed at least a pseudo-violation.

    The fill has its own problems: one that OFL didn't mention is the tortuous reach of APBIO. That should have been surgically removed, like a SYST. While we're at it, SEEST is about the dumbest crutch I've seen. Clearly, the Trudeaus are not accomplished constructors, but at least they gave us an AFLACDUCK SERENADE.

    I second the nomination of STACEY Dash for DOD--and move the nominations be closed. One symmetry pair not mentioned by #M&A: TROLLEYS and GRANDAMS. Bogey.

    thefogman 11:03 AM  

    Gary Trudeau was onto Donald Trump long before anyone else was. And Trump hated him for that. Trump called him a "jerk" and a "total loser". But Gary will soon have the last laugh when Trumpty Dumpty has a great fall...


    Not a perfect puzzle, but challenging and entertaining. Rex is being a bit picky. I thought this one was much better than the average Tuesday offering.

    thefogman 11:11 AM  

    EDIT - Sorry. That's Garry, not Gary, Trudeau.

    William Heyman 2:01 PM  

    I'm eighty years old and read "Potatoe" and "Tomatoe" and even "Ye Olde Sweete Shoppe," so It's an old-fashioned style that no one uses, but I can understand where it comes from. Maybe the extra "ees" got sent to the front as part of the war effort in WWII, and never returned home.

    leftcoastTAM 2:35 PM  

    Nice work by the Trudeaus. Easy in the West, toughened up in the East for aneasy-medium Tuesday.

    Noteworthy feature: DOOKs in the NE corner: DOEEYED and DOORDIE.

    Some STANDUPCOMICS I wasn't award of: TIGER (Peline?), MUTTS, OPUS, while LILABNER and DICKTRACY virtually jumped out of their cels.

    Not just nice, but fun, too.

    Diana,LIW 6:23 PM  

    The best part of the paper - the comics. (Then...the crossword). "Rhymes with Orange" is a bonus strip!

    And who could fault that DUCK? AFLAC! Makes you wanna bring on the gecko.

    Typical Tuesday for me. But then, I never say "Wah, wah, wah - it took me more than 3 minutes..." Nothing today prompted me to say "IGIVE."

    Considered (long, long ago) starting a home shopping service called "Run Around Sue," complete with appropriate answering machine message. "People let me set you wise, Sue runs...out for all your supplies"

    @Spacey from yesterday - I didn't give Kimmy a sex change on purpose - I'm really that dumb when it comes to rappers. I've heard the name, but...

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and pop cultured AP courses

    leftcoastTAM 7:25 PM  

    Way up above -- I miss LMS.

    Valorie Ruffner 2:56 PM  

    Can't wait to try a few of these at our super bowl party this year! Thanks for the ideas!

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