LGBT activist Savage / THU 6-21-18 / DC comics hero with magic ring / Path in hit 1939 film / Salad items picked at midpoint of their maturity / Villainous army in 1968 Beatles film / v ohio landmark case barring illegally obtained evidence from being used in court

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Constructor: Milo Beckman and David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium



THEME: Pride Flag — Different rows of the crossword have answers that are missing an initial color—supply the color (literally) and you get the Pride Flag

Theme answers:
  • RED (EYES, CARPET, BARON)
  • ORANGE (MEN, TREE, BITTERS)
  • YELLOW (PEPPERS, BRICK ROAD)
  • GREEN (BAY PACKER, LANTERN)
  • BLUE (MEANIES, LAWS, HEN)
  • PURPLE (PROSE, HEARTS, RAIN)
Word of the Day: ICC (24D: Old transportaiton agcy.) —
The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was a regulatory agency in the United States created by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. The agency's original purpose was to regulate railroads (and later trucking) to ensure fair rates, to eliminate rate discrimination, and to regulate other aspects of common carriers, including interstate bus lines and telephone companies. Congress expanded ICC authority to regulate other modes of commerce beginning in 1906. The agency was abolished in 1995, and its remaining functions were transferred to the Surface Transportation Board.
The Commission's five members were appointed by the President with the consent of the United States Senate. This was the first independent agency (or so-called Fourth Branch). (wikipedia)
• • •

I spent more time coloring the grid than I did solving the puzzle, but had a good time doing both. I didn't actually grasp that it was a Pride Flag until I was done and thought, "Oh, a rainbow ... flag ... and it's Pride Month! Oh, yeah, that's nice." The gimmick is easy to pick up, and most of the color answers are (then) very easy to get, except for a couple. I had no idea what kind of PEPPERS I was dealing with (there are so many colors), and I totally forgot that LAWS even was a theme answer, and so got a bit bogged down right there trying to figure out what [Shopping restrictions] could possibly be in four letters. Only when I was done with the puzzle did I finally see that it was (BLUE) LAWS. Weird that there was no revealer, though cluing ERA as [The Gay Nineties, e.g.] was pretty clever, and there were a couple of explicitly LGBT clues. Most of the fill was solid, and the very worst of the fill was a direct result of the stringency of the theme—ICC and SAK both have their first and last letters fixed by theme answers, and so it's not terribly surprising that that's where the grid strains a little. But emphasis on "little." Overall, as I say, it holds up well. It's a charming and timely puzzle.


 Picked this one up early with (ORANGE)MEN, then got nearby (RED)EYES, and quickly understood that this was a pattern that was going to continue (though I had no idea at that point what colors were coming, or where). Only a few spots gave me trouble. ICC was bad (never heard of it). USO clue didn't mean anything to me, and still ... doesn't (4D: What gets the show on the road, for short?). Is it that USO shows travel... to where troops are? It seems a pretty forced "?" clue. Beyond that, though, I had USE for PLY (unexciting) (32D: Wield), and had never heard of a PASTORATE (11D: Minister's office). Even with PASTOR- in place, I didn't know where that word was going. I assume the clue means "office" in the sense of a job, not a physical space [looking it up] ... yes. Also can refer to a body of pastors. Beyond that, there was no real resistance today. I don't really know Den HAAG, but I've seen it before, and crosses were easy (though I guess if you didn't know Delaware's mascot was the (BLUE)HEN, you might've gotten into trouble with that "H" cross. I can imagine a mascot named BLUE BEN. BLUE KEN, less so. Oh, I also had trouble with 47D: Home to every M.L.B. club whose name starts with "A" (AL WEST). True for team names: A's, Angels, Astros. But the only "A" I could picture in mind (despite being a very avid baseball fan) was the "A" on the cap of the Atlanta Braves ... who play in the NL EAST. I should probably mention that ALORS is very hard if you have no French (51D: Then: Fr.). Very, very. Crosses seem gettable, but who knows? I was lucky enough to get ALORS immediately, but it could easily cause some solvers to spin out. I hope not, though. It's the kind of puzzle that people should be able to take pride ... in solving.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

119 comments:

jae 12:17 AM  

Finished OK but the Standalone iPad app did not take rebus entries for the colors and I’m reluctant to use color markers on my iPad...so, I didn’t get the grid look the puzzle was trying to achieve. Plus, I didn’t realize it was the Pride Flag until I read Jeff’s comments at Xwordinfo (he didn’t either).

Liked it a bunch!

Clark 12:30 AM  

That was fun.

If you saw the movie Quiz Show then you have heard of the Interstate Commerce Commission. (And if you went to law school you might have even noticed it.)

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

sorry but i thought the puz was lame. the colors only come on when you finish the puzzle. so what? another trick, another gimmick.

for a thursday puzzle, not enough of the clues were good/hard/interesting. i think the rexster cut is some slack since it's in his personal world-view wheelhouse. now if milo and david had been women, and the puzzle had been edited by, say, michelle obama, then no doubt "priapism" would have been the word of the day.

for me, it failed a modern version of the "RCA test." The quality didn't go in before the colors came on.

Jeff Lewis 12:48 AM  

Umm, I got all three clues on the orange row without realizing they were on the orange row. Guess I thought they were referring to Syracuse players prior to Title IX or something. But there it was.

Jyqm 12:49 AM  

Rex, I’m certain you know the city by its English name: The Hague.

Z 12:49 AM  

I got the color thing, but not the Pride Flag element. Nice. That’s also a lot of theme material, every other row. Impressive that the fill is this clean given the constraints.

Finished in 10:32, which seems to be pretty medium. But I also solved post playing and then two bars, so probably more easy.

***Wednesday Spoiler Alert**
Seriously people. Go to some fireworks store off the nearest interstate. Buy some firecrackers with long wicks. Light them. Hurry to a safe distance. Then watch what happens. That movement you see the firecracker do as it pops is an arc. If your firecrackers don’t arc you’ve been swindled.

ZenMonkey 12:56 AM  

Enjoyed this a lot, but was too zonked to connect the dots from "interesting grid shape" to an actual Pride flag. Very nice.

@Clark, thank you for reminding me why the ICC sounded so familiar. Wonderful movie, aside from Rob Morrow's accent.

Sue T. 1:01 AM  

I solve on nytimes.com and the rainbow-flag colors popped up when I correctly solved the puzzle, which was a pretty delightful gimmick and something I've never seen before. I suspect I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I'd done it in the newspaper and had to color it in myself (which I doubt I would've done... not even sure I own a box of crayons).

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

Your really never heard of a Bob Hope’s USO tours in Vietnam? Or in Apocalypse Now?

puzzlehoarder 1:31 AM  

I understood that the theme was the rainbow flag prior to finishing (almost.) There was about an extra five minutes for me to change AVIAN to ASIAN so I could make sense of 11D. It gave me time to look around. Prior to that I was convinced that 11A was either TERI or GERI neither of which was helping with 11D.

That wasn't the only name giving me fits. MAPP at least is a debut. I couldn't understand the clue for PROSE because I never mentally added PURPLE like I did for HEARTS and RAIN. I don't pay that much attention to themes but I did notice the Stonewall Inn being in the puzzle.

The one name that got me was GRU. I went with DRU making for a truly SAD entry at 26A. What kills me is that when I saw SAG in the solution I knew exactly what it was.

Maxine Nerdström 1:43 AM  

it was fun how the colors popped out in the app once you had all the answers entered! i had a lot of trouble getting PASTORATE because _ERI Gilpin could have been a lot of letters. i had AvIAN flu, and ICC/CIO was a mystery to me. i spent so long staring at _AVT_RATE and feeling dumb.

despite some tough crossings i think this one is really unique and impressive. but then i usually like the puzzle more than Rex :)

sanfranman59 1:50 AM  

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

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

Mon 3:43 4:30 0.83 6.2% Easy
Tue 4:37 5:26 0.85 18.0% Easy
Wed 6:46 6:39 1.02 58.4% Medium
Thu 10:48 9:47 1.10 66.7% Medium-Challenging

Will's throwing more odd-sized grids than usual at us lately. A very creative theme, but where's indigo? ROYGBIV, right? Every color in the spectrum, except I.

My write-overs were Eoe before EEO at 9D (I never seem to get that initialism right), Taro before TREE at 22A (I thought maybe Tropicana was a south seas island I hadn't heard of and this was before I totally understood the hidden colors applied to each answer in the row), rTe before ETA at 50A (plausible), geNS before INNS at 14D (silly).

MAPP vs Ohio (53D) was totally impossible, at least for me, but the crosses were very straight-forward. The same goes for ALORS (51D), except the crosses weren't quite as straight-forward and not knowing this one did slow me down. There's ICC also (24D ... what's that? ... oh, Interstate Commerce Commission ... of course). Good stuff overall and lots of theme squares.

Doh! Now that I've read Rex's review, I know that the theme is the Pride Flag. Now I'm even more impressed and understand why the grid is 17x13. But now I wonder why the flag doesn't have an indigo stripe. It's ROYGBP. Hmm.

Mark 2:11 AM  

Easiest Thursday ever, and for someone who knew PERI instead of Teri, it would have been even easier.

Larry Gilstrap 2:17 AM  

Delightful surprise that the colors match the flag. Well done! Was there some special graphic surprise for non-paper solvers or did OFL supply the coloration? When it crawled out of the printer, the grid appeared to be very choppy for a late-week puzzle, but it is Thursday, somewhere. I knew it had to be the Green BAY PACKERS, so I broke through.

The ambiguity of clues using dying and lying should continue. BATIK is a cool fabric pattern, but bearing false witness is a no-no. Call them out!

AUDIS may be luxury cars somewhere, but I'm often ensconced behind the ORANGE Curtain, and shiny EURO cars are a dime a dozen. Ever seen the valet lot at a trendy Newport Beach bistro?

I've been known to OGLE, sorry. Well, don't blame my advancing age, started when I was about twelve.

Huge TV event was the Bob Hope Holiday USO Tour shows. My phone tells me his tour was a 50 year tradition, from 1941 until 1990. That's a career. Raquel Welch, Lola Falana, Ann Margaret, and Les Brown and his Band of Renown, among legions of performers, played in far-flung locales. I've heard Bob was a bit of a pill, according to my Palm Springs' sources.

More about me, I once was on a bike trip around Holland. Three Americans in the whole lot. Every night we slept on our canal boat and every day we set off to find the boat in its new location. I remember the Italian Laura who liked me, but the language barrier... We rode through Den HAAG about lunch time. Feeling weary, I saw a classic old hotel and decided to stop and have some refreshment. I parked my bike, strode in, bought the International Herald Tribune at the shop, sat down in the bar, ordered a Coke, and solved the NYT puzzle. Summer of 2001, before the EURO and 9/11. The puzzle had a weak theme or a sloppy rebus or tortured fill, I forget. But, I will always remember that day.



Unknown 2:26 AM  

I didn't get it even though on the way home from dinner I commented on San Francisco's city hall which is done up in rainbow colors for Pride Week. Great theme, great execution, not such a great solver.

Marc 2:48 AM  

Easy. Figured out color theme on the first 3 red clues (Eyes, Carpet, Baron) and was only slowed down because I never saw a clue to the theme before finishing and wondered if this was going to be some gimmick where some of the words were outside the grid. Tried to make GNLS fit for Stonewall and others because I did not know PERI but realized it was INNS before seeing the pretty colors pop up at the end. Still did not recognize the Gay Pride flag as theme as opposed to rainbow, colors or crayons, etc. until I came here, but then my screen flashes Congratulations a nanosecond after completion.

AlexP 4:27 AM  

I use the Apple iTunes NYT Crossword Puzzle app to solve and I did not get the colors that others have mentioned. Is there a setting I need to have in in the app? Or are the colors only available if you solve online (and not using the NYT puzzle app)?

Loren Muse Smith 5:28 AM  

Man oh man oh man is this cool. Like @Larry, I caught on to the color deal pretty early. But since my first two were BAY PACKERS and MEN, I was thinking some kind of “color outside the lines” theme. As I found more and more all over the place, I circled them (pencil/paper and all that) and was just tickled pink every time I noticed another one.

It was only at the end that I saw the rows were all the same color. But I, too, missed the pride flag aspect. Bad on me. (@puzzlehoarder – good on you!)

I noticed the SCARER/CAR PET cross. I read yesterday that as a woman was driving, a snake slithered out of one of the ac vents and went under her seat. I’m not afraid of snakes, but I think I’d want some kind of a heads-up from the snake first. Maybe see the little forked tongue peeking out, testing the waters. Lissssten. Don’t get all upsssset. I’m’a jussst get out of all thissss dasssshboard wiring and ssssstuff and hang out under your sssseat for a bit. That’ssss ok? I think I’d be ok with it, I really do.

Now if it were a rat, I’d never recover. Even a roach would be worse. Snakes are dignified and clean. Rats and roaches are assholes.

I did notice, as Rex points out, the subtle references to the theme in some of the clues:

71D “pride” - ok, it refers to accepting a perceived flaw, so hmm.
9D and 38D - “L.G.B.T”
58D “prefix with discrimination” (answer ANTI)

Liked the clue for EMIL. I grew up with a guy, Mulp Ognam, in Chattanooga. Right. Doncha love those FB feeds where you create your porn star name by taking two things? Like the name of your first pet and the street where you grew up. I’m Pompey Ozark. Probably not a big box draw. Remind me to tell my daughter to name her cat Stormy when she gets to Fort Collins for vet school. Stormy Brethren. That’s better.

I almost had a dnf ‘cause I wanted “pastorage” for PASTORATE. I never noticed that the suffix ATE can mean a place where someone lives. But there is emirate. PASTORATE is just one G (ahem, spot) away from PASTORGATE. Oops. Can we call the cages where the NENEs are enjoying their boarding school summer camp experience alienates?

Milo, David – I’m going to figure out how to show this grid to some of my LGBT friends on FB. They’ll be thrilled. I was, too. Good work, you two.

Lewis 6:18 AM  

I'm sure Milo will earn his stripes with time, but hasn't David become one of those Hall of Fame constructors whose puzzles you just can't wait to do?

This must have taken much work to construct, coming up with all those "color" answers of lengths to fit the grid, and pretty cleanly filling in a grid in which six of 13 rows are completely filled in with theme material.

The solve got much easier after figuring out the color thing, and I was going to make some sort of quip about naming the puzzle "Rainbow Coalition", then I thought, "Wait a minute -- ROY G BIV!" And I saw that the colors fit that pattern, except for indigo (violet being purple and all), which I forgave because besides "Indigo Girls", what is there? I did think it resembled the gay pride flag, but that's as far as it went, because I've never analyzed the order of colors on that flag.

Anyway, this was a lot of fun, and DAVID and MILO, you both get STARS (and I wish I could color that word).

QuasiMojo 6:41 AM  

I’m no flag waver, but I do feel some Pride I’m finishing this one, even if I’m black and white. Well done. The theme here actually helped me solve the puzzle as I was totally stuck on the NE until Red-Eyes came Thru.

Only quibble is that The Wizard of Oz was not exactly a hit film. In fact it was a minor disappointment at the box office when it came out in 1939. It was only much later when it appeared on television that it evolved into a timeless standard and FAN favorite.

michiganman 6:50 AM  

I'm going on another anti "?" rant. It shouldn't bother me but it's awful. Case in point, 10D-"Grp. called in when things go off the rails?" NTSB. Totally straightforward clue/answer. Train goes off rails. National Transportation Safety Board responds. Why the friggin' "?" Is there a constructor on the forum willing to explain why this is done?

Rod Mann 7:09 AM  

Interesting that a leftist rag like the NYT puts in what the communist Rex calls a ‘pride flag’.I saw it as the colors of the visible spectrum less indigo with purple taking the place of violet.
But I’m a Conservative and my thoughts turn to scientific facts, not PC identity flags.
Would have been a nice Wednesday effort, way too easy for a Thursday.

Hungry Mother 7:13 AM  

Very fast for me today as I saw that some entries had a missing color. I didn’t need to see the entire theme, although I had a few wags to guide me.

kitshef 7:17 AM  

Things looked very, very ugly early on with EEO and NTSB two of my first three entries, followed one word later by SCARER.

Happy to say, things got much, much better after that. Those are probably the three worst answers in the grid. I just happened to hit them all up front.

I certainly never made the pride flag connection and (like several others, it appears) was just thinking rainbow, so was surprised INDIGO was not worked in … girls, snake(s), bunting(s) …

Great puzzle.

J. Daniels 7:35 AM  

I remember fondly the days with the ICC regulated interstate travel (trains,buses and planes): my 16yo self could legally order a cocktail on a plane since the the interior of the transport was not bound by any state laws, and the federal government had no drinking age law. Those were the days...

Lewis 7:46 AM  

@michiganman -- My take is if the clue read "Grp. called in when trains go off the rails" it would have been totally straightforward, but because it was a play on "things going off the rails", which has a much wider meaning, the editors thought a question mark was warranted. They are more liberal on Fridays and Saturdays, though, and that question mark may not have showed up on one of those days.

Reasonablewoman 7:58 AM  

I am a liberal who believes in science (how can you not?). I am also a humanist. Does conservatism mean lack of concern for humans and their diversity and their rights? I want to think not.

Small Town Blogger 7:59 AM  

I think a “?” Is used when the most obvious use of a phrase in the clue is not the actual intent. So for instance, “off the rails” is a common expression usually meaning a project or some other effort has gone awry in some way rather than the literal meaning of “off the rails” as in a train derailment. At least that’s how I always treated it (I’m not a puzzle constructor)!

HumanBean 8:02 AM  

I play on the app on my iPhone, and the colors didn’t show up at all. So I had no idea what the theme was until I read this blog! The only time I had a thought regarding colors was on the clue, “Some cross-country flights”. Otherwise I just assumed the constructor wanted brief answers. Knowing the color theme makes the puzzle much better, lol!

Jim Lemire 8:04 AM  

Well, guess I’ll repeat my complaint from yesterday...no revealer? I didn’t get the pride flag until reading it here. I just thought it was the rainbow - ROYGBV.

I was stuck on a few before realizing the color names were missing. BRICK ROAD got it going for me. Then everything fell into place (though I had to infer MEANIES as I am not a Beatles fan. I also hesitated a moment with AL WEST when I forgot the Astros were in the American Lesgue now. I actually thought the puzzle was wrong for a moment. Hubris.

Wasn’t a fan of SCARER. Who uses that term? But that’s minor.

One of my faster times for Thursday. Could have been even faster if I had seen the theme sooner.

John Child 8:05 AM  

I have kvetched before about theme trumping fill, but today it did So very happily. Great idea and pretty clean, considering. Thought at first I was supposed to write color names outside the grid, then saw the rows. Better maybe with a revealer, but where could it go? The Stonewall, Dan Savage, and LGBT clues were pretty good hints. Orange TREE maybe an Anita Bryant reference too?

And the puzzle pleased he junior constructor in me too, since it had to have been a proverbial bear to make. Thumbs and toes up here.

QuasiMojo 8:05 AM  

I meant to write “in black and white” not “I’m.” Lol

FLAC 8:12 AM  

"ICC is checkin' on down the line.
I'm a little overweight and my log book's way behind.
But nothin' bothers me tonight;
I can dodge those scales all right.
Six days on the road and I'm a-gonna make it home tonight."

mmorgan 8:14 AM  

I knew ICC because... I just did.

I did the puzzle in several shifts so I kept forgetting about the colors even when I had finished it ... Till I got here and saw the colored-in version. Wow! Very nice!!!

Mary Ambridge 8:17 AM  

Yellow PEPPERS are at full maturity. If the author is thinking they are green peppers turning to red, there is no yellow stage.

Charles Flaster 8:18 AM  

Easy and enjoyable. Quite a construction accomplishment.
Caught theme at BAY PACKERS and the other colors flowed right along.
Thanks MB and DS.

Hartley70 8:21 AM  

Now that I've read the comments I'm most disappointed that my grid didn't burst into colors. @AlexP 4:27am, you're not alone.I too purchased my NYT crossword app at the ITunes Store.

Despite that disappointment, I thought this was a terrific theme that was smack dab in my wheelhouse so I felt smart to boot. I got the missing color idea when I entered Snoopy's BARON. I'm not sure what a blue MEANIE is but it sounds familiar, something like my personality when my blood sugar is too low.

That smart feeling went away when I read this was the rainbow flag. I think the visual would have helped. It was still a fast and fun Thursday.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

I could care less that it is a pride flag. Actually, I think the majority of this country are not celebrating pride month, believe it or not. I think just having the colors of the rainbow in the grid was great with quite a number of theme answers. The colors of the rainbow have been done before so it is not a new theme at all. However, I don't think there were so many theme answers in previous puzzles.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

My ipad app turned the grid colorful when I finished the puzzle, which apparently didn’t happen for everyone. Any way it was a fun reveal for that reason,

GHarris 8:30 AM  

Really great that Rex has finally given me license to take pride in my solving a puzzle. Found much to enjoy today.

Isaac Newton 8:34 AM  

Looks like the colors of the spectrum. I’m not sure about this pride thing you all are yapping about but whatever, easy Thursday.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

@MI-man Read the ? as em dash "literally!"

Nancy 8:44 AM  

Loved it! I saw RED CARPET and RED BARON immediately and assumed that everything would be RED.

At YELLOW BRICK ROAD I realized that there would also be a YELLOW.

SAc instead of SAK at 33D (Oh, no, please tell me they don't spell it that way!) kept me from seeing GREEN BAY PACKER. That's because I had BAYPA-cER.

Before I had figured out the theme, I was wondering how PROSE could be the answer to 67A.

A puzzle that was puzzling until I'd figured out the trick. Which is exactly as it should be. Great fun!

Ted 9:00 AM  

Brutally hard if you didn't figure out the theme.

I caught on early that there seemed to be colors implied on some of the answers, but it wasn't obvious to me WHICH. So I had a ton of trouble with my Acrosses.

No revealer, and rough cluing. Even if I'd been given the colors outright, BLUE MEANIES, BLUE LAWS, and BLUE HENS are hardly common knowledge. Hell, I took a few courses at Syracuse, and I don't even remember the ORANGE MEN.

PURPLE HEARTS are indeed military decorations, but they aren't to denote heroes. Those who earn them may WELL be heroic, but they're given out for injuries... not for any particular acts. I know several people with these medals, and the stories of how they each got them aren't terribly heroic (though they're all great guys).

Sir Hillary 9:00 AM  

This was enjoyable, if way too easy for a Thursday. I figured something was up when [RED]EYES wouldn't fit, but I bogged down in the NW and went searching for some footholds. That lead me down to the bottom, where the [PURPLE] row was super easy. From there, I filled in each rainbow row as much as I could. After that, it was a snap...mostly.

Lots of LGBT-related cluing, as many have noted. My fave was Stonewall and others for INNS. The Gay Nineties, e.g. didn't even register while I was solving, but that's an even better one.

Since AvIAN flu is a thing, that's a nasty clue.

I'm guessing many people here are comfortable enough with Beatles arcana to know the [BLUE]MEANIES, but while I'm super-familiar with their music, their films...not so much. And "landmark case" minutia...not at all. So from a purely objective standpoint, that MEANIES/MAPP cross is very poor. Just about any consonant could go in that square.

Finally, while I love [ORANGE]BITTERS, I don't think of them as an ingredient in a classic gin martini. Gin, vermouth and a garnish (olive or lemon peel) -- what else do you need? Drink a few of those and, as "The Flintstones" song goes, you'll have a gay old time.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

iPhone NYT app user here and definitely got the colors as soon as I completed the grid. Go to settings and turn on “Show Overlays”

Normal Norm 9:06 AM  

Somebody really really wanted this puzzle to run. Otherwise why would you put up with such crap fill.
LBGT LGBT LGBT Okay already. We get it. You're gay and you're proud.
Now, can we all just get on with our lives without having to hear about your sex life? I don't want to hear about it.
Pretty funny that Emil is a fruit!

Isandxan 9:06 AM  

@Rod Mann - "but I'm a conservative and my thoughts turn to scientific facts" - thank you! That may be the funniest thing I will read all day! It certainly made my morning.

Fun puzzle. Figured out the missing color piece on the red row, but didn't put them together to see it was the pride flag. This one is probably the definition of a well-constructed tribute puzzle, though maybe a little easy for a Thursday. Other than THE t/g/PERI and Ap/v/SIAN corner.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

I thought it was ROYGBV not ROYGBP

Wow 9:19 AM  

@Rod Mann 7:09
See, that's why Liberals don't like Conservatives. You think because people have feelings for others who aren't exactly like them, they are communists. Reality check: YOU (Reps.) are the Communists. You blindly follow anything Republican. You can't see past your own biases. Closed mind. If something doesn't fit your narrow thinking, then it's wrong. Trump separates families, you support it. You don't care, those kids are illegal. God forbid it'd happen to you. Now Trump is reversing course and keeping families together. You'll come up with some rational that now he's right. "Oh, sure, families should stay together." If Trump told you to jump off a bridge, you'd do it.
And how did "Conservative" end up describing the Republican Party anyway? Your Party supports guns, freedom to do whatever you want, government out of my personal space. Sounds like liberal things to me.
Now, I know you will fire back with a comment or eight, but I won't respond. Not a chicken, just don't want a political war here.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

ROYGBIV

Celtic Woman 9:29 AM  

You have all month to run your Pride Puzzle and you choose today?
I am hurt and offended that the major Pagan holiday is being snubbed.
Happy Solstice to all of you anyway.

TJS 9:32 AM  

So we have atleast 24 three letter answers, (I may have missed a few) and everyone thinks the puzzle is great because it celebrates gay pride. But a puzzle with a few references to guns is widely criticised as offensive and tone-deaf. Sheesh... Are we rating on social approval or construction skill ?

Stuart Showalter 9:32 AM  

How cool is this!! A cool puz and a calm, cool and collected review. Bravo to Milo and David, and the same to OFL.

@shelbyglidden - does that meet with your approval? (Not that I give a fig whether you approve.)

Drew 9:38 AM  

Didn't get the pride flag until after I was done. I got the color scheme early on with "BAYPACKERS" but it took a while to notice the color extended across the row... it seemed random at first.

Thursday puzzles are always my favorite.

Warren Peace 9:39 AM  

The greatest Wednesday-level-difficulty puzzle in history. And the colors were awesome!

Nancy 9:42 AM  

I gather some people have puzzle apps that burst into color (Sue T, Maxine N) and some have puzzle apps that didn't burst into color (Hartley, Alex P, Human Bean). My newspaper didn't burst into color either, but then I never expected it to. Still, watching a puzzle burst into color must have been cool.

I've seen the "fair-hiring initials" written two different ways: EEO as in Equal Employment Opportunity and EOE as in Equal Opportunity Employer. Wouldn't you know that I wrote it in wrong at first and had to change it.

ArtO 9:43 AM  

Kudos for a semi-challenging puzzle with great theme. Very clever and timely. Did not realize it was Pride Month.

Cato Rosenbaum 9:46 AM  

Wow, Stuart, I didn’t realize you could say anything nice about Rex after he (I presume) slammed a puzzle you once made and have held a grudge ever since.

pmdm 10:15 AM  

TJS just beat me to it. There are probably many sections of the USA in which people who love firearms but hate gays etc. as immoral take offense at running this puzzle. It would be nice if people (especially you, Mr. Sharp) cease from complaining about taking offense at various crossword entries. The world would be a better place.

P.S. Regrading this topic, I happen to agree with what Pope Francis has said. But I can't fathom why anyone would be "proud" of being straight, gay, transgender or whatever. You are what you are. There are things that just are. If you are a Mozart, yes, you can be proud of your musical talents. But to be proud of your sexual preference? That's not pride, that's egotism. So feel I.

I enjoyed the puzzle but I'm disappointed to learn that, since I solve the paper version, I missed the treat (not gimmick) those who electronically solve earned (or at least, most who solved the puzzle, according to the comments. I vote for the NY Times giving those who correctly solved their puzzles at the Times site but received no treat a year's free extension on their subscriptions. Email Shotz and demand it. (You might as well try.)

Joseph Michael 10:19 AM  

Fantastic puzzle!

Caught on right away to the missing reds in the second row and thought the theme had something to do with getting the red out, as in a Visine commercial.

Then got confused when other missing colors started coming into play. Thought OFF ONE’S GAME was a revealer of some kind since the colors were OFF the grid.

Didn’t see the rainbow until I was nearly finished. The icing on the cake was realizing that the 17 x 13 shape was a flag and that the theme was the rainbow flag.

It’s a great day to be gay. Thanks, Milo and David.

Masked and Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Primo color-theme idea. Almost half the grid is themers! Desperation -- sweet desperation --ensues.
[fave: SCARER.]

ARIES/ARISE anagrams. Sweet.

staff weeject pick: ICC. Honrable mention to GRO & GRU.
Nice weeject stacks, in the E and W central zones. Nice weeject-woews, too boot [rows #5 and #9].

Learned new stuff off the longball fillins: AP-SPANISH & PAST-ORATE.

Didn't quite get the LGBTROYGBP(V) flag part of the theme, until I got to the blog. Throwin a revealer into this squished, theme-enriched grid woulda been mission impossible, tho.

Nice job, MB & DS. Thanx for the fun solvequest. SCARER … har-er.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

TJS 10:36 AM  

Who's a "homophobe" ? Someone who questions the rating systems of people critiquing crossword puzzles ? Must be something I'm missing. Or maybe some people just can't wait to throw personal insults around.

Glenn Patton 10:42 AM  

Where does the "orange bitters" in a classic gin martini come from? A classic gin martini is gin and dry vermouth, garnished with an olive, period.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

This is extremely clever, adding the color element. Nice job!

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

I also wondered about peppers. If we're talking Bell, which are most commonly sold when green, but also when yellow and red, the color does indeed correspond to maturity. (Per Wikipedia.)

And in the spirit of confounding a few prejudices, I'm a gay conservative who would never consider Savage to be my advocate.

oldbizmark 10:55 AM  

good concept but WAY too easy for a thursday.

Maxine Nerdström 11:17 AM  

you may need to update your app! the most recent update noted some changes with displaying puzzles with unique features.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

@Glenn - I realize you may be playing the doctrinaire, but a lot of gin martini recipes allow for the addition of a dash of orange or angostura bitters. Fun fact: way back in the day, bitters was the defining ingredient in a cocktail. Any concoction sans bitters was merely a sling. (If I'm remembering my History of Cocktails correctly.) The popularity of cocktails rose during Prohibition from attempts to mask the taste of inferior booze.

Lewis 11:20 AM  

Remember Johanna, who used to comment here? She comments on WordPlay now and made the repeat-worthy point that the Yellow BRICK ROAD answer, of course, referred to The Wizard Of Oz, and that that movie's signature song is "Over The Rainbow".

Bob Mills 11:23 AM  

Nice puzzle. But "ORANGEBITTERS" as ingredients in a classic martini? Not a chance. I challenge anyone to go into a bar and ask for a classic martini. You'll get gin and dry vermouth with an olive.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

A cocktail with orange BITTERS is not a classic martini. Old Fashioned, manhattan, ok.

J 11:41 AM  

Haven't read thru all the comments, so maybe someone already mentioned it, but the grid is not square, but rectangle shaped -- a flag. I noticed that right away but still thought the puzzle had a ROYGBIV theme.

Banana Diaquiri 11:44 AM  

the only stall was that the 'missing' word was RED, the first one, and was *the* missing word. didn't associate with Gay Pride, at all. just spectrum, once multiple colors was obvious. and I'm an Effete New Englander who grew up with BLUE LAWS. stores couldn't open at all on Sunday, much less sell booze. civilization has collapsed since.

Z 11:44 AM  

Maybe I’m wrong, but i see the nom de blog “Rod Mann” and immediately assume satire was the intent.

In case you app users missed this from @anon9:02 - iPhone NYT app user here and definitely got the colors as soon as I completed the grid. Go to settings and turn on “Show Overlays”

@TJS - The more theme material in a puzzle the more constrained the remaining fill is. Since this puzzle has theme material in every other row and the short fill is relatively clean this is objectively an impressive construction. Contrast this with the Gordon puzzle earlier this week with five widely separated theme answers. Even with the grid spanning down themer the non-themers were not as constrained.

@pmdm - Pause to consider that “coming out of the closet” is still a thing. The reason we celebrate Pride Month is to undo the damage done by a society that shames people for their sexuality.

Banana Diaquiri 11:50 AM  

@anon/11:18
The popularity of cocktails rose during Prohibition from attempts to mask the taste of inferior booze.

for those with cable/sat, Smithsonian is running a multi-part on Prohibition, and the connection to crime. also on the quality of the unregulated stuff that got used. inferior puts it mildly. this was the time the Feds ordained that industrial ethanol be "denatured". not widely informed, and lots o folks went legs up as a result. another example of a zealot fringe sending the country into an abyss.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Is it OK to have M"L"B in the clue and A"L" West in the answer when both Ls stand for the same word?

Seems a bit less than kosher to me ...

Z 11:57 AM  

Classic Gin Martini Recipe - It took me precious nanoseconds to find this. I do wish people would ask uncle google before proclaiming their ignorance to the world. Also, the word “classic” in the clue is this flashing neon sign, sort of like a “?,” that something in the clue is at work that may not be how we typically think of something.

kitshef 12:18 PM  

Back when martinis were drinkable, they were about 1/3 vermouth and had orange bitters. Nowadays, they are 95% gin, most often have an olive, and are terrible.

GILL I. 12:32 PM  

Waking up late in glorious Auburn. Started the puzzle after pouring myself the latte from heaven.
OK...Start off with MPG EEO NTSB then some AYE SAG GRU ICC and thought I won't like this. AHA. got my first row of colors at Red EYES. Cool! Thought they'd all be red something or other. PEPPERS and YELLOW BRICK ROAD...hmmm must be yellow. By the way @Mary A 8:17...MOST peppers start out green, gradually turn yellow and the final stage is red. So, the yellow stage is midpoint.
Went back up to find another color ... this is turning into a fun puzzle. Saw MEN TREE and BITTERS. There IS a classic gin martini with Orange BITTERS...It's called a Sloe Gin Cocktail.
On to finish off the colors. Last entry was Blue MEANIES. Had to ask my husband. Also had to ask him what @Anony 12:34 meant by "priapism." That one had me laughing. Husband said he knew that word because he once saw it on a personalized license plate. I guess DMV people have never had that problem....or maybe he hasn't as well.
I'm sad that you have to only be in AP SPANISH to read Cervantes. Why not good ole literature for everyone. You can read Cervantes in English ya know.
Don't understand EURO skeptic and don't ask me to Google it. @Nancy from, yesterday 9:05 AM. Thanks for my morning amusement....you never disappoint !!
@Larry G...Good story about the HAAG. I, too, remember my first NYT puzzle abroad but it wasn't anything as exotic as yours. I was visiting my sister in Spain. She lives outside of Madrid in a small town and they have a ton of cafes and bars and tapas joints but nary a Herald Tribune. I made fast friends with the bar locals (hard not to do when you visit once a day) so I was talking to the "mesero" and telling him how much I missed doing my NYT crossword. He told me had something for me and to come back later. I did and he handed me a very used and very old Eugene Maleska crossword puzzle Book. He told me he was trying to learn English and was told this was the best way!!!! There were about 2 puzzles semi done and he said he had to cheat because he didn't understand any of the cluing. I remember telling him to commit to EEL (anguila) and he should do fine...
Getting back to the puzzle....Didn't know it was the "Pride" flag colors. Thought it was the rainbow; don't really care much because this was a fun puzzle once I got going.
Arntcha glad NENE wasn't clued as the dying Hawaiian bird?

Trombone Tom 12:52 PM  

A very impressive construction from Milo and David. Perhaps on the easy side for a Thursday, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Got the colors right off the bat, but as with many of you missed the Pride connection (despite the fact that many landmarks in the City have been lit up with special colors).

Have to side with those whose classic martinis are sans bitters (unless you are working from an Angostura recipe).

AZPETE 12:56 PM  

Wow a “conservative” whose thoughts turn to facts. Don’t u mean “alternative” facts?

Banana Diaquiri 1:03 PM  

it could be worse. those who trace their existence back to Ireland (and lots more who fake it) can be found wearing shirts emblazoned with "Kiss Me I'm Irish". y'all ready for "Kiss Me I'm Gay"????

Unknown 1:05 PM  

Doesn’t the Washington Times have a puzzle you could do?

Chip Hilton 1:05 PM  

Surprised that so many folks got the colors but not the Pride flag aspect until late in the game. As soon as I saw the same color appear more than once in the same row, boom! I saw a flag. Not aware if I need to come out . . .

Good old sports nicknames, Syracuse and Delaware to the rescue. If I were ever on Jeopardy, and the category offered me a Daily Double, I’d bet the ranch. And probably come a-cropper.

@pmdm: What Z said, precisely.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

@Mills - and a funny look.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

testing

Roo Monster 1:23 PM  

Hey All !
I thought it was a Lucky Charms theme
RED Balloons
ORANGE Stars
YELLOW Moons
GREEN Clovers
BLUE Diamonds
PURPLE Horseshoes
Har. (Your Lucky Charms era may vary in color/shape.)

Had a funny writeover. I DO for AYE. You know, Mate's consent, at the altar? Why not? :-) Fixed that, along with PEaPodS before figuring out the theme. Confess to not seeing the Orange row. I thought that both MEN and TREE by themselves was odd, but OK. Finally figured out the Colors were not in the themers at Red BARON, cause who else is Snoopy's foe? Linus? Didn't do online today, so no colorful explosion when I finished. Did have a DNF when I finished, though, had geNS for INNS, sERg for PERI, AvIAN/sAvTORATE. Even after changing the e to N from BARON, never relooked at 14D. :-(

But I just OWNedIT! Admitted my AFOUL. Not gonna HYDE it. Am I BITTERs? POSH!

So an enjoyable solve. Wrote the colors on the left of grid, so at least I have that.
F Watch: Three today.
EEO, add two I's: EIEIO
EYES almost symmetrical with OGLE
REIN RAIN - SAG SAK
FEE fi FEW FAN
ICC CEE
Just some Random Nonsense observations.

ILL SCARER
RooMonster
DarrinV




Z 1:47 PM  

Going overtime here - When I solve the NYTX on my iPad I use PuzzAzz, which has been superior to the NYT’s puzzle app in my experience. I never saw the colors appear, so finally went back and noticed I had not clicked on the “Show Explanations” button. I did so and the flag appeared, but better than Rex’s image because the answers were still there in a white font. I do wish I had sat and pondered the colors a little longer before reading Rex’s post. I do, however, prefer that the flag colors didn’t just appear when I finished the grid. To me, that’s just a little to much of a spoiler, not even giving the solver a chance to see the trick for themselves.

@Roo - Your I DO writeover does pose a question. Does either usage warrant a “?”? Is either a more common usage meaning the other should be getting the hint? I had the E in place, so avoided the misstep, but if I hadn’t I may well have gone with I DO as well. I would not be at all surprised if we see this clue again soon for I DO.

@anon1:22 - Did you pass?

Lindsay 1:47 PM  

Heard myself adding the colors in my head as I solved it, but thought it was something off on the part of the constructors. Should have known better. But it was a delighted 'aha!' when I saw his colored version. SO clever, as well as timely. Thanks for the head smack, everyone!

foxaroni 2:10 PM  

Like many of you, got the "colors" part, but didn't get the Pride flag meta-theme until coming here.

Other puzzles have used the "AP (something-or-another)" clue/answer. Being a midwesterner (Go Jayhawks!), the whole AP thing is completely foreign to me. I think it refers to "advanced placement", maybe?

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was in high school, we had no advanced placement classes. If we wanted to learn more French or Latin, say, we enrolled in French II or Latin II. My Latin II teacher, Miss Leatherberry (real name!), was chagrined, I'm sure, to see me in her Latin II class, since I was such a lousy Latin I pupil. She was a marvelous teacher. I wish I could try it again and really apply myself, for a change.

Enjoyed the puzzle very much. Thanks, MB & DS.

Monty Boy 2:38 PM  

I liked this one a lot. I saw RED in the CARPET and BARON, but didn't connect with spectrum colors until BAYPACKERS. I didn't get the flag part until comments here. Kinda clever!

We have a dish set in four colors, red, yellow, green, blue. I can't put the dishes away with out putting them in the right order. That may be a bit Sheldony (from Big Bang Theory).

Banana Diaquiri 2:48 PM  

foxaroni:
we had no advanced placement classes

see, there is a difference between Fly Over Empty States and the Effete Eastern States. there were multiple AP classes when I was in HS in the 1960s. disdain for education is the main thing which separates the Coasts from Fly Over. well, and C&W music which also disdains education. :):) there's a reason Trump's base is really only about 20% of the country. the so-called Freedom Caucus is still about that much of the Republican House. no majority, no mandate, just grind the frail under the heel. I feel better.

governors/legislatures which choose to dis-educate the kids perpetuates white grievance and entitlement: "we're the blood and soil, so we deserve more even if we can't tie our shoes!" I feel even better.

pmdm 2:52 PM  

It is possible for two people to agree on something even when they express themselves differently. I think Z and I are in agreement but express the agreement in very different ways, especially if the subject involves emotions, religion, politics and complexity. When talking about sexuality, you have at least three of those four factors. So what was I getting at?

I am a musician, meaning I have an extremely common talent. I don't at all feel proud to have such a common talent. To the extent that I have extraordinary talents in some aspects of the field (maybe composition) is something appropriate for me to be proud of. Considering the number of people I know (and am friends with) who are gay, I would venture to believe being gay is quite common. Perhaps non-gays outnumber gays by a landslide, but enough people are gay to justify calling gay people common (with no bad connotation intended).

Injustice is abd has been, alas, always part of our world. Blacks were once enslaved and now treated more harshly by law enforcement officers than whites. Orientals were treated horribly on the West Coast during WWII. Maybe because of words in the bible, gay people have been treated badly. (But remember, even the devil can quote the bible to his advantage.) Undoubtedly, such treatment can result in a feeling of shame in the ostracized groups. My point is this: people is those groups should in no way feel any shame in being in those groups. That does not translate to "people in those groups should be proud of being in those groups." Excessive pride (however you define that) is a deadly sin; competition begot by pride can have disastrous consequences.

It would be most helpful to correct our society (in my opinion) if people were to proclaim who they are not with pride (which can be interpreted as proclaiming superiority, but without a hint of shame (which should be totally absent). Fly the flags, not with pride but without shame.

That is an overly simplistic statement of my thoughts. What is important is this: agree on the problem and agree on what you set as your goal.

Does anyone remember BARrON 3:23 PM  

@pmdm, I agree with you. Thank you for your input.

Barre-Barr

BARON- crickets

#Boycott Sony

Valkhorn 3:24 PM  

Harvey Milk designed the flag. The original idea was a rainbow but he settled on six colors similar to a rainbow because it was a more unique flag. It's a common misconception that the pride flag is a rainbow :)

Z 4:18 PM  

@pmdm - I’m about to split some hairs, but I do think there is also a significant point of divergence. Hair-splitting - There’s a difference between being proud and having excessive pride (hubris). For example, I took pride in throwing two no look passes last week, destroying the defensive set and leading directly to scores. It would be hubris to think I could get away with making those throws this Saturday in a tournament game. So my hair-splitting is that pride is okay, but excessive pride is not. The point of significant divergence - That isn’t the same type of “pride” as is being celebrated in Pride Month. The “pride” I think you’re discussing is pride in achievement. The “pride” of Pride Month is the refusal to be ashamed. The pride I feel over making those throws is not the same thing as my pride in my Spanish-Dutch heritage. Pride Month is closer to the latter. I agree that being LGBTQ is not an “achievement” for which people should be getting an award. But I also think they have every right to be proud of who they are, and will happily join in celebrating their humanity. If I’m understanding you correctly, for you their humanity has never been in doubt. If only this were true globally we wouldn’t need a Pride Month.

Okay - That’s 2 over my limit so I’m out for the day.

Jayhawk but not hayseed 4:18 PM  

@foxaroni: I graduated from a Kansas high school 47 years ago. We had AP tests.

William Lovas 4:34 PM  

Yeah, it’s a little tough to pick up on the theme without a real revealer, but I love how it forces you to stretch your idea of what a theme can even be! That’s the real quality — when it all comes together at the end, that’s just icing :)

Junief 4:36 PM  

Interesting that your Conservative President is anti-science.

Mohair Sam 4:47 PM  

@Z - So I Googled "Classic gin martini" as you suggested. I spent more than the few nanoseconds you put in. I looked at the first six entries, one did mention "orange or Angestora" BITTERS as optional - none other even suggested any kind of BITTERS. Not every user gets the same responses when Googling.

The classic gin martini, btw, would be that made by Steve McQueen in "Love With the Proper Stranger" - he simply poured the gin into a cold glass, stuck a stirring stick down the throat of a vermouth bottle, and stirred the gin with it. Anything McQueen did is officially classic - therefore you have your classic gin martini without the aid of Googling.

kingyeti1 4:52 PM  

Any reason OFL chose this puzzle to stop posting his (IMO made-up) solve times?

Joanne 5:01 PM  

@Does anyone remember Barron?

I too remember when Barre was in the puzzle and Rex chided over Roseanne Barr. I was surprised (not surprised) Rex didn't acknowledge Barron.

@Z- I don't usually agree with you, but you do have a valid point.

I just don't understand why I MUST accept gay pride or I'll be labeled a bigot. I would have preferred the puzzle to be about just a rainbow. Just like the puzzle with guns. They were just guns.

Kimberly 5:02 PM  

I loved this. Loved the theme, loved the execution. First real Thursday puzzle in a very long time.

Aketi 5:42 PM  

Enjoyed finding the colors in this puzzle and discovering the flag.
@ Roo the Lucky Charms was icing on the cake.

A year ago, I went out to our usual Saturday morning breakfast after secret fight club and the usual mini biscotti that came with my cappuccino was replaced with a petit four in the rainbow colors.

David 5:48 PM  

Been a while since I commented here, so just chiming in to say I loved this whole idea. I had a hunch that Rex would take issue with some of the fill, as the theme required some dicey stuff, but I'm glad that for him and so many others, those were taken as a worthwhile compromise for such a clever and uplifting puzzle, which I gather from today's column is how the constructors felt about it as well. Took a few smacks of my iPad to make the colors show up, but using today's puzzle to show off the app's new capabilities to add some flair to a grid was just a cherry on top.

Can't wait to see what clever uses of the app folks come up with next, and kudos/thanks to today's constructors---will remember this puzzle and show off the colorful grid to folks for a long time!

Hartley70 9:44 PM  

Nope, thanks for the suggestion @anon and Z, but I updated the app, made sure show overlay was on, filled in the grid once more and no color.

PGregory Springer 10:39 PM  

The only downside of this charming puzzle was coming here to realize how many people still harbor negativity toward gay people.

Maxine Nerdström 11:08 PM  

“a friend of Dorothy” is also a euphemism for a gay man, though obviously that’s a bit dated. a whole lot of theme relevant material!

Maxine Nerdström 11:13 PM  

alas, reading The Comments so often reveals downsides to me... :(((((

Martha 7:15 AM  

Does anyone here solve the puzzle in the actual paper? I do. I did the whole puzzle and never even realized there even was a theme . Sort of annoying .

John Hoffman 8:05 AM  

I'm a gay guy and I appreciate the nod to this weekend's gay pride parades in NYC, San Fran and elsewhere!

dan 5:33 PM  

I think it's ironic that the EEO reference is to helping LGBT people, given that the US lacks a federal-level gat rights law, and that the current administration has rolled back some LGBT protections.

Also, I am in Madrid now, and every sign that talks about how many years a business has been in business ("45 años de servicios") has me chuckling. You're a bad man, Rex Parker.

Stuart Showalter 9:13 AM  

I’ve never made a puzzle, so your presumption — although not unreasonable — is wrong

Vincent Foti 5:23 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vincent Foti 5:28 PM  

There are many cocktails you can put orange bitters in. A classic gin martini IS NOT ONE OF THEM. This clue was very disappointing.

Martha 5:50 PM  

I completely agree. That cocktail error pissed me off too.

Vincent Foti 8:56 PM  

Orange bitters are not an ingredient in a classic martini. Not a good clue.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

The Stonewall Inn is another theme addition.

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