Unnamed character in Camus's Stranger / SUN 5-20-18 / Filth covering pecans such / Mozart's Don Alfonso Leporello / Scottish accents / Backyard shindig informally

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Constructor: Will Nediger

Relative difficulty: Medium (?) (I've been drinking a little) (12:25)

THEME: "Rhymes, Schmymes"— two-word phrases where second word just replaces opening sounds of first word with SCHM-

Theme answers:
  • BOOZE SCHMOOZE (23A: Conversation over a few whiskeys?)
  • NUTS SCHMUTZ (38A: Filth covering pecans and such?)
  • DEER SCHMEAR (50A: Venison spread?)
  • NO SCHMO (67A: Hardly a dolt?)
  • DUCK SCHMUCK (83A: Avoid a jerk?)
  • QUIT SCHMIDT (90A: Break up with an "unbreakable" Ellie Kemper character?)
  • HALTS SCHMALTZ (111A: Puts a stop to sentimentality?)
Word of the Day: "The Island of Dr. MOREAU" (64D: H. G. Wells villain) —
The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. The text of the novel is the narration of Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man rescued by a passing boat who is left on the island home of Doctor Moreau, a mad scientist who creates human-like hybrid beings from animals via vivisection. The novel deals with a number of philosophical themes, including pain and cruelty, moral responsibility, human identity, and human interference with nature. Wells described it as "an exercise in youthful blasphemy".
The Island of Doctor Moreau is a classic of early science fiction and remains one of Wells's best-known books. The novel is the earliest depiction of the science fiction motif "uplift" in which a more advanced race intervenes in the evolution of an animal species in order to bring the latter to a higher level of intelligence. It has been adapted to film and other media on many occasions. (wikipedia)
• • •

Theme is pretty dang simple—you just have to take all the SCHM- words you can think of and work backwards. But that doesn't mean it wasn't at least mildly entertaining. It was. And it was also easy—very easy—to figure out theme answers. The puzzle-makers must have understood this and adjusted the rest of the puzzle accordingly, because OMG I was struggling to figure things out all over the place. Hardly any of this grid doesn't have ink on it (I print out and mark up the areas where I have difficulty or criticism). Let's start with 1A: Picnic annoyance (BUG BITE). That could've gone a thousand ways, and I needed most of the crosses to see it. I feel like some version of this (clue vague, crosses desperately needed) kept happening over and over and over. 70A: Virus fighters (TECHIES) (!?!?!)—I get that computers can have viruses and TECHIES (among infinite other things they do) might work to clear a computer of viruses, but yikes that connection was tenuous. 75A: Buds come in them (SIX PACKS)! Clever, but oy so much cross-needing. 33D: Dusted off, say (TIDY)! Oh, so it's not a verb, then? Thanks. BASE PAIR, hard (100A: DNA building block). SNIGLET, hard (and wtf pretending that it's an ordinary slang word as opposed to a slang word specifically created by Rich Hall specifically and solely for comedic gags invented by him and not seen or heard since the '80s) (114A: Term for a word that isn't [in] the dictionary, but maybe should be). I honestly felt like I was flying through this thing, but my time says "nope, average at best." Does alcohol make you overestimate your prowess. That might be what's going on here. The Manhattan I had with dinner is still working its magic...

One of the toughest areas for me was the intersection of 10D: Be a witness (LOOK ... ON?) and 31A: Moreover (TOO). When LOOK AT wouldn't work, other options all sounded wrong and seemed improbably. And "Moreover" means more (to me) than a simple too. Also, I would only use "Moreover" and the beginning of a sentence, where I would never use TOO. And then OOZE OUT ... I guess the OUT was the only thing that could work there, but that also too moreover was strange, somehow. Hey, NUTS SCHMUTZ doesn't rhyme, booooooo! SCROD is supposed to be a jokey past tense of SCREW? I don't get that at all. I mean, I am all for the insane joke clue, but ... what is the analogue here? All the -EW verbs I can think of are already past tense (e.g. DREW, FLEW, KNEW). SPEW SPOD? Nope. Seriously wtf are they thinking here? SCREWED ... is what sounds like the past tense of SCREW. What -OD past tense is there besides TROD? Whatever, this "joke" makes no sense. I like ambition, but the execution is a flop.

Best wrong answer today, by which I mean Worst wrong answer because it was both ridiculous and costly, is MR. HYDE for MOREAU (64D: H. G. Wells villain). DR. MOREAU woulda been nicer. Aren't BASSOS really BASSI? Yes, the answer is yes. Again, I ask, wtf? OK, though you probably can't tell, I thought this puzzle was better than your average NYT Sunday—it's a garbage day, so it's a low bar, but a thumbs up is a thumbs up so take it. Good day.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Seth 12:06 AM  

    NUTS SCHMUTZ really really bothered me. It's not a rhyme. At all. At ALL. How did it make it into the puzzle??? I am baffled.

    Z 12:15 AM  

    Harry Nilsson‽

    Oh, the puzzle? Not my cuppa.

    Moly Shu 12:32 AM  

    Two things really surprised me. First, while doing the puzzle, I thought @Rex is gonna hate this with a capital H. Second, @Z’s brevity.
    HEINIE and BOSOM in the same puzzle? Sure, why not?

    Anonymous 12:53 AM  

    NUTSSCHMUTZ could've rhymed if it was PUTSSCHMUTZ, which is easy to clue.

    Then you have two choices - hard clue for "LOOKOP" (maybe something like "what you'd say when you're about to tell off the fellow who started the message board thread") or you make a few quick changes: LOOKOP -> LOOKUP, then you either clue GROUD and DUO or GROUP and PUO

    newspaperguy 1:00 AM  

    Easy themes but I liked it. A Manhattan with dinner qualifies as drinking. Buddy, you would never survive as a newspaperman!

    Trombone Tom 1:01 AM  

    Is this regional? Nuts and schmutz totally rhymes for me.

    I thought the reward was a bit slight for the effort.

    Pretty straightforward except for in SPITE-->DESPITE and artIST-->CUBIST.

    Never heard of Rich Hall or SNIGLET. In fact I didn't believe the latter until I saw it here.

    BOOZESCHMOOZE I can relate to.

    RAD2626 1:48 AM  

    @Mollly Shu. Appropriately leading to HAD SEX.

    Anonymous 2:01 AM  

    I'm guessing the SCREW/SCROD rhyme they were referencing is SHOE/SHOD.

    'mericans in Paris 2:28 AM  

    I am cursed with an eye for detail. In both the paper version of the puzzle, in the International New York Times, and the iPad version, the clue for 110A was written as "Term for a word that isn't the dictionary, but maybe should be." Total blank for me.

    So then I asked Mrs. 'mericans to look at it. She read it aloud as "Term for a word that isn't in the dictionary, but maybe should be." I asked her to read it again. Same response.

    In any case, we had to get the answer (SNIGLET) from the crosses.

    We didn't struggle too much with this puzzle, but weren't super impressed with it either. Funny to see CASTRATO ("No, no, please ... AAA!") crossed with NUTS, which would have fit well with the theme of yesterday's themeless puzzle.

    But I won't BROOD about it. EVER. RELY. YESSIREE!

    Mothers' Day here in France, so have to STOPPER to go make Mrs. 'mericans a pancake breakfast.

    @chefwen: We hope you get to eat some fresh (but cooked) AHI today!

    jae 2:28 AM  

    Mostly medium but tough for me in the middle. @Z I think I have the vinyl version of that album. Cute, liked it.

    Harryp 2:35 AM  

    Winks at before WAVES AT, Morloch before MOREAU, Castrati/a before CASTRATO, tough puzzle for me.

    Loren Muse Smith 2:51 AM  

    Yiddish is just some fun, colorful language. I like this thing we do to dismiss something by Yiddishifying a little rhymed phrase, collusion schmollusion, Laurel schmaurel.

    Yeah - once you got the deal, the themers were pretty easy to infer. And I agree that the hardish cluing made up for that.

    Rex – your question, Does alcohol make you overestimate your prowess? had me pause. Uh. Helloooo? That’s alcohol’s main job. Reminds me of that joke that appears in lots of demographics – what’s the last thing a [redneck, Peruvian, rugby player] says before death? Here, hold my beer.

    Misspelled HEINIE as “heiney” early on. As I fixed it, I was thinking of my dog, Owen. I saw on a dog special that dogs, like humans, are either right- or left-pawed. You can determine this by watching them take a step from a stationary position, so I went out when he was on the deck to do some data-gathering. But of course he wouldn’t get up to take a step. He just contorted and began his HEINIElick maneuver. Then on to his BASE PAIR.

    HALT SCHMALTZ – 10 consonants, 2 vowels.

    Loved the clue for TEN.

    Yeah – SNIGLETS are straight out of the ‘80s, but I loved’em. The Washington Post Style Invitational had a contest a long time ago for people to come up with some snigletsome words and phrases. Among my favorites:

    *Cashtration : The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
    *Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
    *Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
    *Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.
    *Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
    *Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
    *Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
    *Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
    *Glibido: All talk and no action.
    *Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
    *Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

    I’ll add my own: Snuglet – wrestler’s singlet (Insert another BASE PAIR joke)

    Will - loved the clue for GOES. (“Says, informally”) We pretty much use am/is/are like for that now...

    He’s like, "I’m alive!" And I’m like, "Here, man - take your beer back."

    chefwen 2:59 AM  

    I was hoping Rex liked this one! Yeah, he did. I felt as if I were in New York at my Grandmothers 90th Birthday party with all my Jewish relatives. SCHMALTEZ’s and SCHMEARS and SCHMUCK’s flying all over the place. Oh, and a little SCHMEAR thrown in for the bagels. Good stuff.

    @‘mericans, Happy you made it home without incident, no cooked AHI tonight but we did UNCORK a couple bottles of vino.

    Robin 3:37 AM  

    Seemed like a relatively easy finish, but no! Spent nigh on 10 minutes tracking down a Natick. Which for me was the QUITSCHMIDT / EDAMAME crossing/ Supposed to be a D but I had written in a T.

    Anonymous 4:30 AM  

    SCREW, SCHMUCK, HAD SEX and sTRUMPet in the Cryptic Crossword - Wow!

    Anonymous 4:55 AM  

    In spite of a lot of "New Yorkese" at least some fun - the editor should not forget, that many (readers and) solvers of the INT are not fromNew York nor Americans .....!

    Anonymous 5:13 AM  

    Thank you, Anon 2:01! Plugging in the SCHM's made this easier. No Rich Hall clip?

    Marc Kwiatkowski 5:18 AM  
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    Anonymous 5:22 AM  

    Rich Hall apparently big in the UK nowadays. Surprising.

    Marc Kwiatkowski 5:29 AM  

    I'm pretty much in agreement here, tho I still got through it quickly. My main complaint is that this is the 3rd or 4th time that AHI has been clued as "sashimi". "Ahi" is Hawaiian for either yellowtail or bigeye tuna served raw, seared, broiled or marinated (i.e. poke). If you order ahi in a traditional sushi-ya you will be met with blank stares.

    Anonymous 5:30 AM  

    Dear Rex, Your commentary is always as much fun as the puzzle itself!
    Expats in NL

    Lewis 5:42 AM  
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    Lewis 5:44 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 5:45 AM  

    @moly -- I was wondering if the inclusion of HEINIE and BOSOM was the Gray Lady's version of T&A.

    My solving time indicated that this was, for me, easy schmeasy. I had to schmile because it made me feel schmart.

    John 6:34 AM  

    I really did not enjoy this puzzle. That is all.

    American Liberal Elite 6:48 AM  

    So the old joke. Traveler hails a cab in Boston, says to cabbie, "Can you take me someplace to get scrod?" Cabbie says, "Mister, I've been driving a cab in Boston for for 30 years and this is the first time anyone ever asked me that in the past perfect subjunctive!" Rim shot.

    BarbieBarbie 7:09 AM  

    @Seth, I think the pronunciation of SCHMUTZ must be regional. I’m with you- the “u” is said like the “oo” in “footsie-“ but I’ve mostly heard it used in the Midwest, where it comes from German and not Yiddish. So maybe that’s it.

    Easy puzzle and who credits HG Wells with Mr Hyde??

    Matthew G. 7:10 AM  

    I'm surprised at the lukewarm reception this is getting here. I thought this was an unusually strong NYT Sunday. The Sunday puzzle is consistently my least favorite of the week because you need an awfully entertaining theme to justify all that space -- and this was just such a delightful theme that it did just that. And the fact that the cluing on the fill was ramped up in difficulty was a good thing because it meant that the space in between theme answers wasn't just busy work.

    chefbea 7:15 AM  

    An easy fun Sunday puzzle...which I finished!!!

    File as fog 7:25 AM  

    I guess you’re thinking schmootz right? You can pronounce schmutz so that it rhymes with nuts. Well, I can, but perhaps because I’m from the U.K.

    Ann 8:04 AM  

    Screw -> Scrod? Haven’t you heard the stupid joke:

    A guy who has heard about a delicious fish called scrod, comes to Boston, hails a cab, and tells the driver: "Take me someplace where I can get scrod!" The cabbie says, "Sure thing, bud, but why are you using the subjunctive pluperfect?"

    RJ 8:22 AM  

    I went through this week with best times on all the puzzles...then this. I got the theme but some of the long phrases slowed me down. So many takes backs like changing castrati to castrato. Took me forever. And "techies"? No joy.

    There's also the issue of NUTS and SCHMUTZ which is pronounced like "footz" not "nuts".

    Thanks for the joke @American.

    smoss11 8:30 AM  

    I am surprised that no one has commented on the appearance of the word "schmuck" in the puzzle and that the NYTV permitted it's use. This word is quite vulgaright and obscene. I will avoid defining/translating the word here but you can Google it.

    Unknown 8:30 AM  

    Halts schmaltz? No! Does not rhyme. Schmaltz has an "ah" sound. As in "hot." I wanted to love this puzzle, but between schmutz and schmaltz it was just annoying.

    John McKnight 8:33 AM  

    Anyone who calls it a BARBQ is a cop

    Proud papa 8:54 AM  

    @everyone complaining about SPERMDONOR yesterday:

    As a new father whose son was conceived thanks to the generosity of a sperm donor, obtained through a sperm bank, I can assure you all that sperm donation means a little more than "jacking off" to my wife and I and all the other parents that have been blessed with children as a result.

    Nora Bensahel 9:02 AM  

    I can’t believe that I’m the first to complain about MIXCD. That is not a Thing. Mix *tape* is a thing, because back in the 80s, you could easily make one with a dual tape deck. But no one had a dual CD deck that included a burner. Now both are obsolescent, I’d imagine, replaced by Spotify playlists!

    Nancy 9:11 AM  

    Seemed very easy, but I DNF anyway. I had WAVES TO at 47D and it never occurred to me to change it to WAVES HI. So I had oNS for "connections" (as in: you connect the electricity by turning it ON, right?) and I had DO- for the professional fixer (61D) and TE-tIES for the virus fighters (70A). I sorta felt I should write something in, and I guessed the C correctly for DOC. (I don't think of a DOC as a professional *fixer*, but whatever.) Only now I had TECtIES for the virus fighters. You'd think that would have spurred me to see the HI in WAVES HI. Only it didn't.

    When a theme gives you the first three letters of the 2nd word in all the theme answers, it's making things too easy and too boring. And some of the rhymes that were eye rhymes but not ear rhymes (HALTS SCHMALTZ) bothered me, too. And it was too cutesy by half. And what, pray tell, is SNIGLET????? Not one of my Sunday faves.

    QuasiMojo 9:11 AM  

    Seriously, Rex, you've never seen those T-shirts that say "I GOT SCROD IN CAPE COD"?

    Fun puzzle. I enjoyed it and filled it all out in near record time with several write-overs (LOOK AT, LOOK TO, LOOK IN, LOOK BY, LOOK ON?...OLE!)

    But it's the ribald comments here today that really had me LOLing. @Lewis, @'Mericans @ LMS so far. Keep 'em coming.

    I thought of one myself: TATA SCHMATTA. (See-through T-shirts?)

    Teedmn 9:12 AM  

    NUTS SCHMUTZ, I tanked on this one. 15 minutes longer than a usual Sunday (granted, I'm solving amongst people talking and making breakfast but still) and I had to "mark wrong letters" at the very end. I'm just a SCHMO today, I guess.

    At 59A, I had "shed" for "Lose one's coat" and never, ever once questioned it. I had MOR_AU and thought that those Eloi-eating bad guys looked wrong. I WAVEd to and WAVEd at and stared and stared at the virus-fighting TECaIES and TECoIES and the tNS connections. HUMPH.

    But it was a fun theme. Took me a long time to finally fill in DEER SCHMEAR. I never really took advantage of the SCHM gimmes and didn't find them quite as obvious as @Rex.

    ENCROACHED, IMPEACHED, BUG BITE, BOGUS, RESCIND all fun to see. Crazy cluing in places, as @Rex points out, on UFOS and SKI BAGS and AUNT. I liked the clue for TEN (70D). Lots to like, thanks, Will Nediger.

    Nancy 9:29 AM  

    While I've never heard the term SNIGLET, @Loren's 2:51 a.m. list of famous SNIGLETs from some contest in WAPO back in the day is memorable -- and well worth the price of admission to the blog today. Every single coinage is inspired, and something I wish I'd thought of.

    @Teedmn (9:12) -- We hit the exact same snag today. I also thought of changing from WAVES TO to WAVES AT, but that solved precisely nothing. In fact, it would have made things even worse.

    lyle schlemiel 9:46 AM  

    SCHMIDT is a Yiddish word?

    jberg 9:48 AM  

    This was OK -- fun theme, rest of it a bit boring, but at least easy -- only What is SCHMIDT doing in there? Every other themer ends with a Yiddish word. Varying it would be nice, but you've got to do it more than once to make it a variation rather than an inconsistency -- at least, that's the usual way with crosswords. @Nancy, I had WAVES to as well, figured my connections were "orS" (conjunctions being connections, after all). So it was hard to see TECHIES until I had all the crosses.I did like seeing something other than Eloi/Morlock from H.G. Wells. OTOH, I don't think that CPAs keep books -- they audit the books that bookkeepers keep. Close enough for a crossword, maybe?

    And that's it for me. I've gotta go figure out where these MUSKS in the kitchen are coming from. Maybe my bag of ZESTS is starting to go bad?

    GILL I. 9:58 AM  

    Fun puzzle.
    Love me some yiddish. Add SCH to make our language colorful. Oedipus SCHmedipus. As long as he loves his mother.
    Love SNIGLETs as well although I forgot they were called that. The first one I really liked was CHEEDLE: That orange stuff left on your fingers after you eat Cheetos.
    Good day to play.

    jackj 10:02 AM  


    You say "tom-A-to", I say "tom-AH-to"; you say "schmootz", I say "Sch-muttz" (with much dictionary support, by the way).

    Hungry Mother 10:05 AM  

    Fun theme and easy, so it helped me to a relatively fast solve.

    Maruchka 10:10 AM  

    SCHMUTZ needs some lip and tongue action to properly pronounce. Written - who cares? NUTZ to yuz..

    Fun scheme! Many good references, too. One small cavil - clue for TIDY in past tense. Shouldn't it read 'Dust off'?

    Anyhoo, as my Brooklyn mother-in-law awfun sed, tanks Mr. Nediger.

    puzzlehoarder 10:20 AM  


    Anyone who doesn't think that last one rhymes is a SCHMUCK.

    Easy schmeasy puzzle.

    Dan Steele 10:22 AM  

    I guess you're right that cd's are becoming yet another thing of the past. But there was a pretty lengthy period when lots of us were burning MP3's to CD's for our pals.

    Maruchka 10:22 AM  

    @Quasi - Haha! One of my very favorite jokes, in brief: Man visiting Boston for the first time is advised to try the tasty local fish. He hails a cab at the airport and says to the cabby, 'Do you know where I can get a good scrod'? The cabby scratches his head and remarks, 'Furst time I've evah heard that asked in the past-pluperfect!'

    Dan Steele 10:30 AM  

    I remember sniglets. They weren't necessarily bad puns. A lot of them were things that just sounded right. One has stuck with me for decades. Whenever I am pushing that obstinate shopping cart, "motspur" comes rushing back to me. That uncooperative fourth wheel.

    I am another one who struggled with Moreau, because I really wanted it to be morlo(c)k. Oh, and just to be snarky, Rex does know who actually wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde right?

    Roo Monster 10:38 AM  

    Hey All !
    Well, the SCHM part of second word helped me in spots with the Downs. So that was good. I'm of the SCHMUTZ rhymes with NUTS group. Grew up in NE Pennsylvania, if that's why. Not the Boston SCREW-SCROD. I also like to think of myself as NO SCHMO.

    Some nice long Downs, WISECRACKS, ENCROACHED, IMPEACHED, and the sexy Zooey DESCHANEL. Alot of changing the two-letter add on, LOOKat-IN, WAVESto-at-HI. Other writeovers, IMAdeit-IMALIVE, boXCD-MIXCD, Bbque-BARBQ, eel-AHI, probably a few others I'm forgetting.

    Nit with BARBQ. We can now just abbr. however we want? BBQUE, BBARQ, BARBQ? Is that like UIE, UEY, UEE? HUMPH SCHMUMPH.


    JackB 10:51 AM  

    Great old joke. I always used “irregular past participle” for the verb form.

    Amelia 11:12 AM  

    I hated it. The obvious mis-rhyming, if you're sticking to yiddish.

    Halts doesn't rhyme with schmaltz. Never has, never will. Nuts doesn't rhyme with schmutz anywhere on the earth.

    And I'm surprised that only one of you seems to have done the puzzle in print. Because the typo made me crazy. Rex noted it with a bracket. But even he doesn't do it in print, so someone must have alerted him to it.

    Stoopid puzzle. It felt like someone who isn't familiar with the language constructed it, edited it and put it in a newspaper.

    JC66 11:12 AM  

    To this New York Jew, I agree that NUTS SCHMUTZ doesn't always rhyme (I've heard it both ways),HALT SCHMALTZ really doesn't rhyme.

    Warren Peace 11:15 AM  

    @Rex, On Thursday your time was off because you'd been napping. On Saturday, it was because you'd solved too soon after waking up. Today, it's because you've been drinking a little (not sure, but I think that last one's come up before).

    There are a couple of things that can be read into these explanation, and just making excuses because your time is off is the most innocuous one.

    The middle east killed my incentive. Castrato (a male soprano after surgery?) stumped me by crossing the well-known (sarcasm) British spelling of artifact.

    And thanks @Seth. I like the very handy word putz, but pairing it with nuts might've been a little much.

    nyc_lo 11:20 AM  

    Has anyone, anywhere invited someone to their BARBQ? I think not. BBQ, yes, but if you’re sticking the AR in there, you’re probably going with the E - UE too. And if not, why not? NOSCHMO had me stymied for a while, since it seemed too short for a themer, but that’s on me. And MOREAU took a while to come, too. Morlock and Martian were elbowing out the right answer in my brain, even though I knew they couldn’t fit. And I had even read the book in high school (cracking good read it was, too).

    GHarris 11:22 AM  

    Thought I had it done but found that I had fallen into the same hole as some others; waves to and edamame with a t (my bad since I see it spelled all the time on menus and on the packages my wife brings home to boil.)

    Anonymous 11:24 AM  

    I'm the last person in the world to be offended by the word "schmuck" but I'm also the last person who expected to see it in the NYT puzzle. I guess it's lost its power (not unlike how the overuse of the "F" word has made it nearly acceptable in polite company).

    old timer 11:38 AM  

    OK I am mystified. I've heard SCHMALTZ often and it always rhymes with HALTS. What am I missing here? (I did know that SCHMUTZ does not usually rhyme with NUTS back there in NYC, though to this Californian it normally would rhyme.

    Always nice to see 'merican and LMS here. One of the rare perks of being a latecomer to the blog on a Sunday morning.

    old timer 11:42 AM  

    If my children were young and doing the Sunday puzzle, I would not maybe have objected to a Yiddish word for anything, on the theory if they did not know the literal meaning it would be over their heads. OTOH to blatantly define "coupled" as HAD SEX just would not have been allowed back in the day.

    Joe in Newfoundland 11:54 AM  

    A bit of regionolatry going on. I thought they all rhymed.
    Maruchka you beat me to it! But I heard it was a lady visiting Boston who asked the police officer. He praised her for her use of the pluperfect subjunctive. I tried to find a way to save the clue by interpreting along the lines of the joke, but it didn't work. Sadly it implies that Mr Shortz has never heard it.

    FLAC 12:12 PM  

    "Bosom," "heinie," "creamery," "newcomer," "nuts," "screw" (and "scrod"), "ooze out," "castrato," "brood," "rod," "schmuck," "musks," and "had sex" (with "amore" in the the middle).

    As Marvin GAYE (who also sang "Let's Get It On," "I Want You," "You Sure Love to Ball," and "Sexual Healing") might say: "WHAT'S GOING ON here, Mr. Shortz? Are you paying attention?"

    Banana Diaquiri 12:16 PM  

    NUTS SCHMUTZ really really bothered me. It's not a rhyme. At all. At ALL.

    the English I grew up with it does.

    GreazyShorts 12:20 PM  

    Watched Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau last night on Amazon Prime. Great documentary about the shenanigans behind a terrible movie, and what could have been. Brando's Moreau is still the most insane portrayl ever, and apparently all because he could have cared less about the movie. It shows how the pusuit of profit trumps vision every time.

    Banana Diaquiri 12:28 PM  

    puzzlehoarder/10:20 wins the trifecta! hands on.

    Anonymous 12:28 PM  

    what is a waveshi and why did no one else comment on this? O

    Keith Brumbaugh 12:35 PM  

    Tipster crossing with impeached could be prophetic.

    Malsdemare 12:48 PM  

    I thought it was great! In my world of middle America, they all rhymed and had the bonus of resusitating good memories of Nathan Lane in "Birdcage," doing his SCHMEAR routine and CJ, in "West Wing" teasing the Rob Lowe character for his SCHMUTZy pants. I do agree that this was pushing the Grey Lady's boundaries, what with a SCHMUCK, a BOSUM, a HEINIE and HAD SEX. That's okay by me; livened up a greay morning.

    @LMS, thanks for the laugh-out-loud SNIGLETs. How you remember that stuff is beyond me. I was pretty sure I'd never get that California area with all the names. BASSOS saved me there; the B gave me BOGUS and BARBQ and the Q gave me QUITS. The rest just filled itself.

    Speaking of BASE PAIR: anyone remember Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" album cover? Look it up; I'll wait.

    Time to water some par hed trees.

    Alan_S. 12:54 PM  

    Is it me or is the NYT crossworld (Will) finally abandoning its prudish nature and embracing a little blue? C'mon we're all adults here; we can take it. Just think of how hilarious these things could be if a little less clean and a little more adult.

    Please don't judge me; I'm not the schmuck who had too much booze, started to schmooze, ripped off his APPAREL, HAD SEX in the LAUREL, thinking BOSOM and HEINIE, reminded me of Hermoine, running fingers through her hair as she stroked my BASE PAIR (thanks LMS).

    Okay, enough. Sorry I got carried away. Maybe we should leave it clean after all!

    White Rushin 1:00 PM  

    Apparently Shortz is the new HEF. He seems to be peddling porn lately. SPERM DONOR yesterday, HAD SEX today. Plus, all the peripheral words that @puzzlehoarder so expressly wrote.

    TubaDon 1:02 PM  

    SCROD jokes are a New England thing, Rex. Mis-spelled EDAMIME. And I can't believe the last thing I did was HAD SEX. (in the puzzle that is)

    Alan_S. 1:09 PM  

    It was the first four letters. Even easier, but not boring.

    clk 1:12 PM  

    I was interested to learn that NUTS SCHMUTZ doesn’t rhyme, since I’ve generally heard it as a rhyming pair. However, dictionary.com agrees with those who say it doesn’t rhyme and I can hear the difference.

    On the other hand, I’m trying really hard to understand how HALTS and SCHMALTZ don’t rhyme. To me they do and the dictionary.com audio pronunciation agrees. What alternative pronunciation of SCHMALTZ am I missing?

    Clearly, there are some regional pronunciation differences going on here. FWIW, I’m a Midwesterner who’s lived in California and the south but never spent much time in NYC.

    pcardout 1:44 PM  

    I had the same problem as you, Nancy. I thought about computer virus and biological virus but WAVESTO or WAVESAT are all I came up with. DOC was marginal too. I thought DON as in mafioso. Living in rural New Mexico now, seeing a lot of Yiddish should make me feel warm and fuzzy for my NY roots, but Schmutz, Schmo and Schmear are definitely on the uglier side of Yiddish. I did enjoy GROK though, as a nod to all of us old Heinlein fans https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/350.Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land, and it was interesting to learn that there were MIAMI Indians ... though nowhere near Florida, evidently.

    Alan_S. 1:46 PM  

    We're not back in the day.
    I'm kinda an old timer myself but my eyes are open.

    Amelia 1:55 PM  

    Schmaltz has a soft a sound. Clearly, the New York Jews are winning this argument!

    @Nancy. Same finish as you. Never got it. And thanks for the compliment the other day.

    IrishCream 2:38 PM  

    @Nora, I was in high school in the 90s and gave and received many mixes on CD. Upload to your computer (or take your chances with Napster) and then burn to your CD.

    Schmaltz and halts certainly rhyme to this New Yorker!

    Unknown 2:44 PM  

    Slightly longer than average Sunday time for this beginner (78 day streak!). Had two misspellings to fix after having filled the grid. BASSeS -> BASSOS and SpARE -> SNARE

    I still do not believe the times people get. (Avg Sunday is just under 2 hours)

    sanfranman59 3:10 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
    Wed 7:49 6:07 1.28 84.6% Challenging
    Thu 9:03 9:42 0.93 37.4% Easy-Medium
    Fri 13:31 13:01 1.04 57.4% Medium
    Sat 14:15 15:59 0.89 40.8% Medium
    Sun 19:00 20:59 0.91 40.4% Medium

    This probably should really be Easy-Medium as I botched a couple of entries that I wouldn't have if I'd been more careful.

    I had the correct RESIDENCE at 80A, but then overwrote the R with a B when I put BBQ at the end of 69D, even though I had no idea what the two spaces before that should be. Is BARBQ a legit shorthand anywhere but in crosswords? Thank goodness that we haven't seen it in the NYTX in six years.

    I completely messed up the middle with CASTRATe for 29D, WAVES at for 47D and a typo in RESPITE (61A). With all that, there was no chance of my seeing RESCIND (52D) or NO SCHMO (67A).

    I did enjoy the Yiddishy word play here, but it seems like DUCK SCHMUCK should have been "DUCK a SCHMUCK" from the clue. In what language does SCROD (46D) sound like the past tense of SCREW (46A)??? What the hell is a SNIGLET (114A)? I couldn't even understand the clue for that one ("Term for a word that isn't the dictionary"??).

    As an occasional chorister and a bass/basso, I'm here to tell you that basses is the plural of bass and BASSi is the plural of BASSO. Boo!

    What has become of the Gray Lady? SPERM DONOR yesterday, HAD SEX today (111D & 112D)? Plus HEINIE and BOSOM? It's getting awfully randy around here (with tongue firmly planted in cheek).

    My stupid stab of the day: KAshmir before KATRINA at 116A (subject of "When the Levees Broke"). After all, there have been some pretty devastating floods in Kashmir over the years, right?

    Roo Monster 3:12 PM  

    @Amelia 1:55
    So, you're saying SCHMALTZ is pronounced SH-MALE-TZ? I've only heard it as SH-MALT-Z.

    @Anon 12:28
    ?? Check the answer grid, because I think you have a wrong answer or two.


    Mike E 3:53 PM  

    Yep, agree with those who thought that nuts and halts were mis-rhymed. In my NYC world with Yiddish ancestors, schmutz only rhymes with puts, and schmaltz only rhymes with Taltz ((the plaque psoriasis drug - go to an online video ad to hear it pronounced. If somebody has an English word that works better, let me know. ) . Otherwise finished the whole thing slowly but surely despite being taken aback by the appearance of schmuck. Is that the first time it's ever appeared?

    Mike E 4:02 PM  

    I'm with the people who were bothered by SCHMUTZ and SCHMALTZ not rhyming. In my NYC experience and Yiddish ancestor background, schmutz only rhymes with puts, and schmaltz only rhymes with "Taltz" . (That's the psoriasis drug and you can go to an online video ad to hear the pronunciation. If somebody has an English word that works better, let me know.) . Otherwise, I finished the whole thing slowly but methodically, and surprised at the inclusion of SCHMUCK. Would that be a first time ever appearance?

    Anonymous 4:05 PM  

    Think of someone who says "hi" while waving.

    Nancy 4:09 PM  

    I love @Amelia's comment that the New York Jews are winning the HALTS/SCHMALTZ argument. She seemed to be right... until we got to self-described "New Yorker", @Irish Cream, at 2:38 p.m. But if he's not Jewish, even his being a NYer may not count :)

    FWIW, I pronounce HALTS with the vowel sound the same as "thought", "caught", "all", "cost" and "awning". I pronounce SCHMALTZ with the same vowel sound as "calm", "toddler", "modern", "rocket" and "common." I'm just wondering, @Irish Cream, if you're a Manhattanite? Because I don't think this is an ethnic variation at all; I think like most pronunciation disparities, it's entirely geographic-based.

    @Alan S, (1:09 p.m.) Yes. The first four letters. How stupid of me!

    Anonymous 4:15 PM  

    "Schmuck" is standard German for "treasure". A "Schmuckkammer" is a treasury. This can also be used like "Peter" and "dick", which are not necessarily obscene.

    Mike E 4:21 PM  

    OOPS, sorry for the rewrite. Thought I lost the first one.

    Anonymous 5:06 PM  

    Schmaltz sounds like Yanni. Halts sounds like Laurel.

    Amelia 5:39 PM  


    Schmaltz is pronounced ahhhhh.

    Nancy nailed it.

    Roo Monster 5:48 PM  

    @Anon 12:28
    Oops, you were correct. Sorry. It's WAVES HI.

    Oh. And GO KNIGHTS GO!!!!! Vegas Golden Knights on to the Stanley Cup!!!! WooHoo!!!!


    Micael Moroney 6:01 PM  

    How does parties = dos? What am I missing?

    Henry Wilson 6:03 PM  

    Where I come from - Natick, Maassachusetts - the screw-scrod joke has been around and familiar to everyone almost since the time I served as 18th Vice President of the United States. Though probably not as far back as when one of our native sons, a minuteman at Lexington-Concond, was one of the very first to be killed fighting for the independence of our nation in the Revolutionary War, but it had certainly been around for decades before favorite son and Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie dazzled the college football world.

    The fact that you ain't heard of it doesn't make it nonsense. It just means that you ain't heard of it. Don't blame the constructor for holes in your knowledge. It was a marvelous clue.

    Erin Hollander 7:08 PM  

    My grandmother only spoke Polish and Yiddish (not German) before coming to America and she most definitely pronounced it with the foot vowel sound. Maybe regional but I’m not sure where the divide is.

    Anonymous 9:17 PM  

    @Michael Moroney - a big party is a "do" - "we're having a do for the opera benefit on Saturday." So more than one, "dos" (rhymes with dues, not with doughs).

    SethC 9:45 PM  

    There is only one appropriate way to clue HAD SEX, and that is to reference Lonely Island. All other clues are sub-optimal.


    ClifDC 10:19 PM  

    The scrod is actually the past pluperfect subjunctive of screw according to a somewhat famous joke. In the joke a tourist gets into a Boston cab and asks the driver to take him somewhere he can get scrod. The cab driver asks him to repeat himself and after the tourist says the same thing, the cabbie started laughing hysterically. "What's so funny?"the tourist demands. The cabbie replies: "That's the first time I've ever heard anyone use the past pluperfect subjunctive!"

    kitshef 10:43 PM  

    DNF on AHe/EDeMAME. I feel like 75% of my DNFs are due to Japanese cooking. Crossing two Japanese cooking words ... no. Puzzle should have been rejected outright.

    TomAz 11:39 PM  

    @kitshef: Japanese cuisine is exquisite, when done right. You would do both your palate and your crosswordese a favor if you became acquainted with it.

    This whole 'it doesn't rhyme' surprises me. SCHMUTZ was a new word for me (is it related to 'smut'? not necessarily porn but in the sense of corn fungus?) but the others seemed natural. What do I know.

    Puzzle played easy for me, the theme was immediately gettable and the nonthemers not a big deal, mostly. I'M ALIVE.

    John Althouse Cohen 12:41 AM  

    "Halts" does rhyme with "schmaltz," or at least it's close enough. I don't know if the vowel in "schmaltz" should be as in "lot" or "thought," but anyone with the cot/caught merger wouldn't know the difference.

    "Nuts" doesn't rhyme with schmutz." "Schmutz" rhymes with "puts" (as we heard in the Seinfeld episode called "The Cartoon," where Jerry tells Sally Weaver (Kathy Griffin) she has a little "schmutz" on her, and Sally later misquotes this in a theatrical performance.

    I originally wrote BASSES for the Mozart characters, then realized that DES didn't make sense for "Parties," so I changed the Mozart fill to BASSOS. Since this caused me to get the win message in the app, I didn't need to think about whether DOS made sense. Here's some discussion of "do" as a synonym for party or bash. Seems pretty obscure.

    JC66 12:47 AM  

    @John Althouse Cohen

    FYI, the A in SCHMALTZ is pronounced like the A in AAH when the doctors asks you to say AAH.

    Meg Greer 8:01 AM  

    If you hung around Cambridge MA in the 70 and 80s, you might’ve seen a T-shirt that said “I got scrod last night at Legal Sea Foods“. Get it?

    kps 8:29 AM  

    Ugh! Not my style.

    clk 9:15 AM  

    How do you pronounce HALTS then?

    JC66 11:42 AM  

    Like I pronounce ALTernative.

    ghostoflectricity 12:13 PM  

    Wonder if this constructor even knows what "schmuck" means. Here's a hint: there are, in Yiddish, at least half a dozen common slang terms for the male sex/urinary organ. Also, since when is "wave(s) hi" a thing? I've MAYBE heard "wave hello" but never "wave(s/d) hi" and I'm almost 63. Awkward fill to say the least.

    Anonymous 1:04 PM  

    This is stupid beyond belief

    Yosef Schwarcz 3:43 PM  

    The correct transliteration of the Yiddish words are with Sh and not Sch which is German.

    Rube 10:57 AM  

    In more than 50 yrs of doing times puzzles I have never been so insulted, mortified and just angry. Nediger shouldn't be puzzling in areas he doesn't understand. Schmutz and nuts bear no rhyme scheme. Yiddish is Yiddish. Not English. He didn't identify that Yiddish answers were required.Schmuck means jewelry not jerk. Had sex? 15 year old solvers should not have that to deal with. Heinie? Come on. And why so much opera? Barbq? Bbq or barbecue not bar b q. Sniglet. Kcar.bassos. the whole thing was anger inducing from start to finish and also provided no intellectual challenge. I would like to see Nediger take a full time job doing tv guide puzzles going forward.

    RonL 11:11 AM  

    Also, schmuck! From Wikipedia: Schmuck, or shmuck, in American English is a pejorative term meaning one who is stupid or foolish, or an obnoxious, contemptible or detestable person. The word came into the English language from Yiddish (שמאָק, shmok), where it has similar pejorative meanings, but where its literal meaning is a vulgar term for a penis.[1]

    RonL 11:13 AM  

    Also, schmuck. From Wikipedia: Schmuck, or shmuck, in American English is a pejorative term meaning one who is stupid or foolish, or an obnoxious, contemptible or detestable person. The word came into the English language from Yiddish (שמאָק, shmok), where it has similar pejorative meanings, but where its literal meaning is a vulgar term for a penis.[1]

    Anonymous 5:08 PM  

    Deep breath, deep breath...
    Personally, I tend to save my high dungeon for matters that deserve it - such as those totally-frustrating Phillips screws when there are Robertsons available...

    Anonymous 10:12 AM  

    It is Aunt Bea not Aunt Bee. Who is Aunt May?

    Burma Shave 2:06 PM  


    but STOPPER ere you SCREW -
    ASK if she's HAD SEX with ARTEFACTS
    or you'll get NUTSSCHMUTZ, TOO.


    fakt chekker 2:18 PM  

    From IMDB. Not that they are always right:

    Widower Sheriff Andy Taylor, and his son Opie, live with Andy's AUNT Bee in Mayberry, North Carolina. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney Fife.

    rainforest 2:36 PM  

    There seem to be some nuances of pronunciation lurking around here, and they totally escape me. All the themers rhymed to my ear. In fact I had a neighbour named Frank SCHMUTZ, and he pronounced it to rhyme with NUTS. So there.

    Pretty easy puzzle, especially since the title gave the game away, and it was a fairly smooth solve throughout with some devilish cluing in places. The only place I slowed down was getting Zooey's last name. Maybe she's a DOD or a yeah baby, but I wouldn't know.

    For a big puzzle, there was very little dreck herein.

    rondo 3:56 PM  

    Thanks Rex for the Nillson SCHMillson link.
    The Americanized version of SCHMUTZ probably rhymes with "nuts", but even I was thinking "That doesn't rhyme". The German "smuts(ig)" for dirt(y) rhymes with "puts". So that's what I was thinking.

    Oh yes, Zooey DESCHANEL is today's yeah baby; she's been in that category for about 20 years.

    Easy SCHMeasy, in fact easy as ABC.

    Diana,LIW 5:21 PM  

    TECHIES schmechies! So close, and yet... As always, the actors eluded me.

    Lady Di

    P)S - BUT - I did get a lot of "homework" done this weekend - yeah me.

    spacecraft 5:55 PM  

    I instantly forgive all of OFL's SCHMUCK-iness: he posted a pic of hall-of-famer Michael Jack SCHMIDT, whose #20 I proudly wear.

    I don't know Yiddish well enough to determine the rhyming accuracy of 38-across, but all the theme entries were fun. No revealer needed. Some wonderful long fill, and very clean for a 21x21. Either DESCHANEL sibling is a first-class DOD. They make me think of the last word I finished today: 112-down. Eagle.

    AnonymousPVX 9:16 PM  

    Aunt May is Peter Parker’s aunt. Peter Parker is Spiderman.

    Anonymous 3:09 PM  

    Started with GAYE, filled in SE and got HALTSSCHAMLTZ in no time. After that I was able to work my way up to the top with very little trouble. Easiest Sunday I've worked in a while.

    Anonymous 9:18 PM  

    WTF is "Grok" for "understand?"

    strayling 8:05 PM  

    Heinlein, "Stranger in a Strange Land"

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