Fad teddy bear name of the 1980s / THU 8-9-18 / Metaphor for death in Eugene O'Neill play / 1922-91 initials / Tracy Marrow's stage name / Small relative of elephant bird

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Constructor: Patrick Merrell 

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (Medium for me, but I totally fell on my face right out of the gate ... I think it's somewhat easier than my time suggested) (5:53)


THEME: NO! — familiar phrases that start with "NO" are clued as if they are negative responses to question, i.e. you have to mentally supply a comma after the "NO"...

Theme answers:
  • NO, RHYME OR REASON (17A: Q: "Can I write both a poem and an essay?" A: "___")
  • NO, GREAT SHAKES (36A: Q: "Is that snack bar known for good burgers?" A: "___")
  • NO, MAN IS AN ISLAND (60A: Q: "Should you call that stopover between Liverpool and Belfast a peninsula?" A: "___")
Word of the Day: Teddy RUXPIN (37D: Fad teddy bear name of the 1980s) —
Teddy Ruxpin is an animatronic children's toy in the form of a talking bear. The bear's mouth and eyes moved while "reading" stories that were played on an audio tape cassette deck built into its back. It was created by Ken Forsse with later assistance by Larry Larsen and John Davies, and the first version of the toy was designed by the firm RKS Design. Later versions would use a digital cartridge in place of a cassette. At the peak of his popularity, Teddy Ruxpin became the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, and the 2006 version was awarded the 2006 Animated Interactive Plush Toy of the Year by Creative Child Magazine. A cartoon based on the characters debuted in 1986.
In 2018, it was announced that Alchemy and The Jim Henson Company will make a new Teddy Ruxpin TV series. The series will be animated in a digital puppetry form and will be aimed at preschoolers. (wikipedia) (emph mine what the hell???)
• • •

Q: "Did Courtney win her legal battle with her record label? A: "___" (NO, LOVE LOST!)
Q: "Should we play rap music for the male members of this retirement community?" A: "___" (NO, COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN!)
Q: "Wait ... is Julia in the car?!" A: "___" (NO, CHILD LEFT BEHIND!)

Etc.


I can't say that the theme was terribly enjoyable. The clues were contrived in a way that I didn't find funny. Essays don't directly evoke "reason" to me, there's no reason a snack bar should be good at burgers *or* shakes but not both, and who in the world would ask the question, "Is the *ISLE* of Man a peninsula?" The potential for humor is there, I guess, but with just three themers chosen (apparently) for their ability to fit in the grid neatly, there just wasn't enough zip or oomph or whatever it is that makes the crossword fun. After I pieced together the first themer, the others got increasingly easier, to the point where I wrote in NO MAN IS AN ISLAND with just the final handful of letters in place. Still, despite the easy-to-uncover theme, my time was not fast. This is largely because I literally (i.e. figuratively) fell down right out of the gate. 1A: Sounds of surrender (SIGHSmeant nothing to me (Me: "UNCLE...S?"), and then I dumbly wrote in ISIAH (?) at 14A: A patriarch of the Israelites (ISAACand then really truly screwed things up when I imagined 20A: Meet stick (BATON) might be a KABOB—I swear to you that I actually wrote this in, and yes, I see now that the clue does not say [Meat stick], thanks for pointing that out. So ... by my calculations, I basically gave myself a self-inflicted 1-minute time wound. Everything after that went much easier.


I did feel like I was flailing a lot, even if I was making steady progress. Pictionary rules? No idea, so NOUN was all from crosses. Hesitated on ALP because I figured the answer would be French, i.e. ALPE, which didn't fit (22D: Tour de France high point). No idea cars' names used to be on HUBCAPs. Hard to see both SKIN (35D: Exterior) and RUB (43D: Steak coating). Really truly sincerely right up until I solved this puzzle thought that the bear was called Teddy RUX*B*IN, ugh. REMORA is a word I barely know. How in the world would I know what night "77 Sunset Strip" was on (!??!?!)? And I put in LESS for SANS (67A: Lacking). Would've been nice to have some flashier fill given how scant the theme is, but the grid certainly isn't bad as is. It's OK. Just OK. If you enjoy the humor of the theme here, then it was probably enough. I would've liked more humor, and somewhat zingier fill. [SIGHS]


The Chronicle of Higher Education just published a profile of yours truly, with lots good background on the blog and on the state of Crossworddom in general. Give it a read. Thanks.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Here's a video interview of Erik Agard and Angela Halsted talking (pointedly but diplomatically) about how to construct good crossword puzzles.  Good stuff.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

142 comments:

Linda Vale 12:10 AM  

Yesterday, Rex claimed that MAMA was “heterosexist”. It got me thinking.
Mama —> Queen
Papa —> King
Surely, according to Rex, then the terms King and Queen are also heterosexist.
Yet, REX means KING!
Therefore, REX himself is heterosexist!
Imagine the self-loathing. Such a hypocrite...

Harryp 12:12 AM  

I really liked this Thursday puzzle, since it kept me changing fill every step of the way. My saving solves were 17Across, 36Across, and 60Across which went in almost immediately. With those three in place the rest was a cake walk. The only Theme answer that I hesitated with involved the Island of Man. I always thought it was the Island of Mann. Easy Thursday.

Trombone Tom 12:31 AM  

The theme tickled my funnybone, but the puzzle itself seems more appropriate for the early week. I WANT MY CRUNCH ON THURSDAY.

chris b 12:34 AM  

In the few months since I've signed up, this was by far my best Thursday time, coming in between my Mon and Tues averages. I mean, Rex still beat me but I'm pleased with myself. The theme answers practically solved themselves.

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

I am new to this site. No name yet, as I am not sure of my commitment level. Have some questions:
Does “Rex” actually create puzzles? Or just criticize others that do?
I have noticed that he seems to have a hatred for a Will Shortz. Any insight as to why?
Also, how many people actually read the incredibly long posts of some posters?

Just trying to get a feel for the group. Would appreciate any feedback and don’t worry about hurting my feelings. I can take

puzzlehoarder 1:17 AM  

I went through this puzzle in Wednesday time. The only theme entry I actually read the clue for was 17A. With it filled in I parsed it as NOR HYME OR REASON. My excuse is that the fill was going in at an early week rate and that was what I was actually thinking about.

PUZO, GOGH, LARA... this is Monday material. My only regret was misreading the 46D O'Neill clue as being for 48D. I wasted time wondering what metaphor for death is four letters and starts with a K? Otherwise the whole southern tier was a cake walk.

RUXPIN was the one outlier. The crosses we're in stone but it still looked wrong.

This was a Thursday with all the Thursday taken out.

TomAz 1:17 AM  

I found this puzzle enjoyable. As I have commented recently I usually enjoy this kind of goofiness in the xword. Wouldn't want it every day, mind you, but once or twice a week is fine. So maybe this one wasn't an A+ example, but it was fine.

Consider, though, the much ado about MAMA, yesterday, and contrast with the appearance of CIGS, today. I am a strong outspoken advocate for marriage equality, gender identity equality, employment and civil rights equality, and so on, and yet it never crossed my mind to object to MAMA. But CIGS and its relatives make me wince whenever it shows up. That's just me I guess.




Larry Gilstrap 1:28 AM  

Was this puzzle Thursday enough? Discuss.

Anybody else hear that fascinating story on NPR today about the museum in Camarillo, CA, that has all the bird eggs? The curator mentions the elephant bird egg that is as big as a watermelon. Strange coincidence it appears today in the puzzle, and hard to believe that an EMU is a small relative. The bird was nine feet tall and went extinct a millennium ago. Cause of extinction? Wait for it...human activity.

BANGER is acceptable as clued.

I often have time on my hands and hang out at the Auto Spa, sequestered deeply behind the Orange Curtain. Refill ice tea goes for $1.07. They have a lovely patio for those waiting for their shiny luxury vehicles to emerge from the cleansing process. My dingy Subaru sits forlornly over by the gas pumps while I peer at the beautiful cars and the sometimes beautiful people. Today, I saw a Tesla with gull-wing passenger doors. Why is that a thing? Can't remember the last time I saw a HUBCAP, thus correctly clued as once.

Two mundane themers and one profound one. John Donne's RHYME is full of REASON.

jp flanigan 2:33 AM  

I enjoyed this, my only nit to pick is that i've never heard anyone order a hard of soft TACO. It's the shell that is hard or soft (unless it's different elsewhere). In fact, I'd like a soft-shelled taco right now actually.

jae 2:55 AM  

Pretty easy for a Thurs. Cute and clever, liked it....more than @Rex did.

@Anon 1:06 -
(1) Rex has published puzzles in the NYT and other places.
(2) Hate is a bit harsh. IMHO Rex thinks the NYT could do a better job and is frustrated that it does not.
(3) Some.

chefwen 4:22 AM  

I thought it was extremely clever. Favorite was NO, GREAT SHAKES, that made me laugh. Liked it a lot.

At my age 10A rang a little too close to home. Oh well, whatcha gunna do, gravity always wins.

Only one write over edge before CUSP at 30D, that’s a first on a Thursday.

'MERICAn in Paris 4:51 AM  

A RARE event: NO hints, ruins, or errors today. And scored my fastest Thursday time ever, I think. Put me in a good MOOD.

I liked the fill for the most part, but I'm surprised OFL didn't mention the dual appearance of CAP in both HUBCAP and RECAP. I would have thought that would violate some rule. (Repeated prepositions, like UP, presumably are allowed.)

Like @Rex, I had to get a lot of the downs through crosses. But they were inferable. Never heard of RUXPIN, and doubt I'll see it again in a puzzle soon.

Some nice geographic references today, with a SERB stuck in the USSR and ARABS crossing AMERICA ... and vice-versa. (Oh, the symbolism of that!)

In the USA, my generation at least was taught at school that North and South AMERICA are two separate continents. Not so in France, and perhaps not in other European countries either. Here, people refer to it as one continent, "Les Amériques". On the other hand, I'm with Malcom X, who argued that Europe isn't a real continent, and should be treated as part of one coherent Eurasian landmass, including of course the whole of the former USSR.

Finally, there seems to be an interesting nano-theme in the New England area, starting with somebody being LASHED for some REASON, which in turn causes that person to become AROUSEd, and it all ending in a BEARHUG and a BANGER.

Loren Muse Smith 4:54 AM  

Hah! Full disclaimer – I have had the pleasure of meeting Patrick Merrell, and he’s an absolute peach. (Maybe orange – Go Heels, Patrick.) He was one of the first heavy-hitter constructors I met at my first ACPT; I was invited to sit down and play this app game with some guys, Patrick being among them. I was star-struck and all nervous and stuff. He was/is gracious and charming.

I love the way he plays with language. Today he asks us to revisit common phrases and take another look. That they’re not so “funny” as Rex says makes no difference to me. Just being startled to see the expression in a different light is enough to have me thinking about this all day, to do exactly what Rex did – think of other possibilities. (I loved NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND and NO LOVE LOST.

Q: Should I continue to eviscerate constructors, editors, et al?
A: No, more Mr. Nice Guy.


@Trombone Tom -this was really hard for me! Totally Thursday level. After a while, I had NOMORHY_ _... and was thinking the themers would be encoded with some trick.

I’ve been thinking about UP END a lot recently. Like something ended up up ended. Cool, right?

The clue for CRAB is brilliant. I also liked the clue for SOFA. I heard a story on This American Life about people who were finding spare change on the floor of the shower. I swear. Turns out the coins were sticking to their bodies while they slept and then falling off in the shower.

WIMPLE feels more playful and tongue in cheek than what it describes. Like a WIMPLE would be rather one of those starling fascinators that fancy British royalty wear. Nuns should wear something like a somberero.

Patrick – always a pleasure.

BarbieBarbie 6:16 AM  

Easy, sure, but not disappointing. Fun puzzle.
WIMPLE made me think of Sally Field. I knew REMORA from Jimmy Buffett, but I didn’t know how to spell it.
Anon @1:06, 3. Probably some people do. Some view them as hurdles to be cleared, like AA Milne poems. If you read these comments for awhile you can figure out who is likely to say something interesting. There’s one occasional commenter here I’d love to meet.

'MERICAn in Paris 6:17 AM  

Sorry to come back, but I'd punctuate the theme answers differently than did @Rex:

17A: Q: "Can I write both a poem and an essay?" A: "NO RHYME OR REASON" (i.e., with no punctuation).

36A: Q: "Is that snack bar known for good burgers?" A: "NO: GREAT SHAKES".

60A: Q: "Should you call that stopover between Liverpool and Belfast a peninsula?" A: "NO: MAN IS AN ISLAND".

For the latter two, I suppose a semi-colon would work also.

Lewis 6:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stanley Hudson 6:21 AM  

Easy for a Thursday but enjoyable.

Lewis 6:35 AM  

Let me begin by saying BANGER & WIMPLE sounds like a law firm.

What a fun and clever theme! I don't ever remember seeing it before. Could have been titled, "What a difference a comma makes". It was the kind of theme that made me try to guess the answers with hardly any letters filled in, and I did get the last two, to my joy. It's also the kind of theme that makes my brain look for more possibilities, to wit:

Will you agree with the ruling?
Does this game come with a spinner?
Are you unhurt?
Were you able to laugh it off?
Are you a real boy, Pinocchio?


NO, CONTEST
NO, DICE
NO, HARM DONE
NO, HARD FEELINGS
NO, STRINGS ATTACHED

Unknown 6:50 AM  

Anonymous @106– my wife and I ~~live~~ for the entries by Loren Muse Smith. And we miss George Barany.

Hungry Mother 6:58 AM  

Looking for a rebus for a while before I got the theme, then clear sailing. I watch “Morning Joe” on MSNBC instead of “Today”, so HODA remains a faint memory, excapt for her last name. Lots of fun and quick.

KRMunson 7:18 AM  

If you like fun with punctuation read “Eats shoots and leaves.” A humorous take on the importance of punctuation.

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

Anon 1:06 :

To say Sharp is obsessed with hatred for Will Shortz would be putting it mildly. The fact that the Chronicle piece on him doesn't even acknowledge this is an insult to their readers. Little wonder people are fed up with jive "reporting".

He has constructed a handful of puzzles, but mostly just hates.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

Has there been some kind of time shift that I missed? Yesterday we got a Monday puzzle, and today we get a Tuesday.

23D should be a themer. Possible clue: Is that a picture of the Chrysler Building from your trip to Manhattan?

Joe Welling 7:34 AM  

Interesting that few (or maybe none) of the offerings of alternative themers, intending to show how easy it is, are exactly 15 letters long.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

Mr. Hutz, will you take Bart's case on contingency?

No, money down!

FLAC 7:56 AM  

As Rex says in his interview, a good puzzle "makes your brain light up in weird ways." That's what this theme did for me. And - as other folks have pointed out - there are lots of theme possibilities.

Did you have squab for lunch? No, spring chicken.

@kitshef: Nice one on 23D.

Eric Rosenblum 8:03 AM  

I always thought Isle of Man was spelled “Mann.” That’s what I remember from school, but I looked it up after I finished and, alas, I was wrong. Overall, I liked this puzzle, but I enjoyed the alternate theme clueing from Rex more than the clueing in the actual puzzle. Happy Thursday!

Aketi 8:10 AM  

WIMPLE made me think of Sister Hieronema when I was in Peace Corps. She was probably in her late 50s or early 60s she served in the hospital clinic as a nurse. The road through down wasn’t paved and almost constant afternoon downpours added to the ruts and pumps in the hardpacked dirt road. Most of the traffic on the road was pedestrians and bicyclists. She woud fly down that road on moped at breakneck speed with her WIMPLE flapping. When a random rare land rover drove into town, walkers and bicyclists ignored them. When Sister Hieronma was on the road, they fled.

@Kitshef agreed.

Anyone else notice the ICE MAN ICE T combo?

I liked the MOOD inspired by BEAR HUGS and GREAT SHAKES. Much better than seeing yesterday’s controversy carried over to today as the first entry. Enough already.

In addition to the single U in HUG there are lots of primo entries for M&A: KUNG FU, CUT UP, UP END, CUSP, PUZO... probably missed a few.

I could have used some ICE T yesterday when I was in pursuit of Bike Angel points near Nancy’s favorite hangout in Central Park. Thirst got the better of me so I figured I’d stop by and pick up something t drink from the drink machine at the tennis courts and see if she was somewhere in the vicinity. I picked a drink called sparkling ICE that had zero calories but one of those horrid sweeteners that made my tongue curl back in horror and I didn’t find Nancy, but at least I rehydrated myself. CitiBike has developed an app that is more addictive than any game I’ve played on The XBOX. You get rewards for rearranging bikes from overfull stations to underfilled stationo. It’s pretty easy to rack up enough points to never have to pay for the bikes.



Shawn Vondran 8:13 AM  

Hi Anon and welcome. I came to this site about a year ago and had similar questions. To yours: Rex does not (currently) create puzzles. I too am often irked by his disregard for those actually creating; it’s much easier to criticize. He dislikes Will Shortz because he feels the NYT crossword falls short of being the best xword out there because of Shortz’s poor editorial leadership AND good constructors aren’t paid good money.

As for comments: if there is some interesting phrase (usually a non-PC) phrase, I tend to skim the comments for amusement. Sometimes I chime in if there is a music question since that’s my profession.

Suzie Q 8:14 AM  

Well, the themers were sorta funny but more because of the structure than the humor but I can live with it. I just was hoping for more of a challenge.
I knew remora right off as well as kiwi but I usually do well with animal clues.
I sure do remember car with names on the hubcap. The hubcaps were made of real metal then, not those flimsy plastic things they have now.
I have a vague memory of that toy mostly because I thought it was creepy. So it won the award for Animated Interactive Plush Toy of the Year? How much competition could there be in that VERY specific category?

pabloinnh 8:16 AM  

I thought this was good fun and was hoping that Rex would include the commas in the phrases, which make all the difference. Which reminded me--

A teacher at my high school had a wonderful t-shirt that read:

Let's eat, Grandma.
Let's eat Grandpa.

Commas save lives.


And of course there's always the wonderful "Eats Shoots and Leaves" book, which is chock full of good stuff.

GHarris 8:19 AM  

Always a good day when I get through a puzzle that has words I never knew eg. Remora, Ruxpin and ones I know only on the periphery eg.banger, Hoda without a single cheat.

Unknown 8:33 AM  

Nice write-up Rex. Had no idea your students didn't know who you were. Congrats.

Kale Lady 8:33 AM  

Eh NO GREAT SHAKES as far as I'm concerned. After yesterday's super-easy solve, followed by today's, I'm a bit CRABby. 6A made me feel really old: the USSR was such an inescapable presence during my childhood and early adulthood, it's startling to see its end date and realize that anyone under 30 has no memory of it at all (the additional middle-age FLAB doesn't help either).

mmorgan 8:34 AM  

I enjoyed this -- some clever cluing and pleasingly wacky themers. I especially liked NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. (Of course no one would ask if the Isle of Man is a peninsula, but it's the reworking of the familiar that makes it funny. And while we can all generate many more examples -- NO, PAIN NO GAIN! NO, REST FOR THE WEARY! -- the fact is that we did not come up with this idea.)

Strange solving experience for me -- the top and bottom and sides were all filled in but I had a large gaping hole in the middle for quite a while. But then I got HUBCAP and the rest just quickly fell.

QuasiMojo 8:38 AM  

It's a testament to this blog and the community that frequents it that the comments today are far more amusing than the actual puzzle. I found the themers contrived, as Rex has pointed out. But look at the responses! Both Rex and @LMS came up with better ones. And @Lewis, had the best ones. I loved his name for the law firm.

The corners of this grid gave me pause. SIGHS and OMENS portends a bad spell. Perhaps my good mood will be UPENDed. And SANS FLAB seemed directed to me personally. A goal, that is.

Here are my offerings:

Is Gypsy Rose Lee going the Full Monty? "No, strings attached."

Did the Generals go to prison? "No, time for Sergeants."

Is that your wife's nephew? "No, son of mine."

K Swayze 8:39 AM  

@Linda Vale 12:10am: while there are tons of families with mama + mama or papa + papa, so far there have been no nations with sovereign pairs of queen + queen or king + king. And I have to agree with Rex: while yesterday’s clue & answer were not egregiously heterosexist, they were certainly heteronormative or heterocentric. It’s always nice to avoid excluding huge swaths of society in ways that appear to blithely deny that they exist.

Nancy 8:49 AM  

SIGHS are not good "sounds of surrender" (1a). When surrendering, make sure the person/people you're surrendering to know exactly what you're doing. Highly recommended: "I SURRENDER!!!! I SURRENDER!!! DON'T SHOOT!!! DON'T SHOOT!!!

Also, please allow me to say IM IN, Patrick (52A), without accusing me of being a "conspirator". "Would you like to come with us for a lobster dinner, Nancy? All food and drinks paid for." I'M IN, say I. "May we invite you to take a Mediterranean cruise on our private yacht?" I'M IN, say I. No conspiracy!!! No conspiracy!!!

Believe it or not, I didn't get the whole comma thing before coming here. Now that it's been explained, the theme answers suddenly make sense and I like the puzzle a lot more than I did while working on it.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Yet you are here. A Vale of tears.

clk 9:01 AM  

I liked Rex’s options better than the ones in the puzzle but thought this was fine. My only objection is the false choice between good burgers and shakes.
Thanks, @BarbieBarbie for reminding me why I know REMORA. Yay, Jimmy Buffett.
I also mistakenly thought it was the Isle of Mann and was annoyed with the puzzle until sheepishly realizing I was the wrong one. So it goes.

Kodak Jenkins 9:05 AM  

too easy for a Thursday but very well-constructed! (My time came in between Tues/Wed). Often the clues to the fill seem cut and pasted from former puzzles. Many of today's clues were inventive and it was refreshing that someone took the time to write new ones. Thank you, Patrick Merrell.

The theme was cute.

Jim in Chicago 9:08 AM  

An easy Thursday for me, but an unusual solve pattern.

I figured out what was going on after throwing in "No man is an island" from a scattering of the downs. I thought "cute", and then filled in the bottom with no issue.

Then the same thing happened in the top, getting "No Rhyme or Reason" from the clue and then filling everything in.

Then it took me forever to get the middle, leaving me with two completely separated completed sections. I would have made the connection earlier based on Gogh, but I stubbornly wouldn't change GASCAP to HUBCAP.

I found "No great shakes" to be the hardest of the three themed answers to figure out, I had the NO but there was no single obvious answer, unlike the other two.

Wm. C. 9:14 AM  


The article on OFL that he pointed to in The Chronicle of Higher Education says that he is referred to on campus as "Professor Sharp." Interesting, since the University's English Department faculty list says his title is Lecturer.

Interesting, that, because of over 30 faculty listed, there are only two lecturers (the rest are some professorial title), and OFL has a PhD and years of experience.

I think we should complain to the Binghamton English Department!

'MERICAn in Paris 9:20 AM  

Kind of ironic that several people have cited Lynne Truss's book, but gotten the crucial punctuation in its title completely wrong! The full title is Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

That comma after "Eats" is part of the joke (courtesy of the Wikipedia page for the book):

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

"Why?" asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"Well, I'm a panda," he says. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

Nancy 9:25 AM  

@Aketi (8:10) -- I was nowhere near the park, much less the tennis courts, in yesterday's crushing humidity, hazy sunshine and polluted air. Nor will I be there today, which looks like more of the same. Kudos to you for biking in it -- don't know how you do it. Much as I crave exercise and the outdoors, I'll be staying home in A/C as long as this horrible-beyond-belief weather continues. God, I hate global warming!!!

Wm. C. 9:26 AM  


@'MericansinP4:51am --

Re: your post: "... here [in France], people refer to it [North and South America] as one continent, Les Ameriques."

Oops. As I recall from my days in France, "Les Ameriques" is plural in form, meaning more than one. ;-)

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Too bad the first comment is a RECAP of yesterday's ugliness!

michiganman 9:36 AM  

I do not read the long posts unless it's an interesting offer of information. The personal anecdotes are a bore.

Sarah Jeong 9:39 AM  

Yesterday we get the anachronistic and heterosexist pairing of MAMA with papa and today a reference to the Isle of MAN. When will these crusty old white guys die already and take their misogynistic ways with them!

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Gratuitous nit pick.

Crimson Devil 9:47 AM  

Re: punctuation, commas etc.
Lynne Truss’ Eats Shoots and Leaves is indeed excellent read. Her sequel Talk to the Hand: Utter Bloody Rudeness & Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door is just as good!

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Just stop it!

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

Good satire!

jberg 10:01 AM  

I thought the fill was interesting while solving, but looking back on it, it seems more ordinary. I did enjoy it, and the theme was great fun.

The toughest part for me was the Kill Bill clue -- I put in Karate, but then saw UNESCO, so figured it must be some form of judo, with an ending. But KIWI finally made me think of KUNG-FU.


Ok, class, you've finally done a good job singing mi. SO, FA...

TartanCalf 10:03 AM  

Yikes! I come here every morning to get away from such nonsense. Can't we just focus on the pleasure of a clever puzzle. I'm trying to come up with a brilliant line here with the answer, NO, PUN INTENDED. Any takers?

CDilly52 10:05 AM  

But some of the “veterans” have insight and humor. Don’t, for example skip @LorenMuseSmith. She makes me smile or laugh every day!

Mike Courteau 10:08 AM  

My only beef (Kobe?) with this puzzle is that I never associated the martial arts style, Kung Fu, with the Kill Bill movies. Maybe I don't remember them well enough, but the image on the movie poster showing Uma Thurman with a Samurai sword has always evoked images of Japanese culture and not Chinese culture, the latter of which I most closely associate with Kung Fu.

Doug Garr 10:09 AM  

I liked this puzzle because I always have trouble beginning on Thursday finishing anything. As for the 77 Sunset Strip reference, when I was a kid I watched it every Friday night. So that's certainly an age clue.

'MERICAn in Paris 10:11 AM  

@Wm. C. @9:26 AM --

As I recall from my days in France, "Les Ameriques" is plural in form, meaning more than one. ;-)

That may well be, but I just asked several of my French colleagues, and they assure me that, in France, Les Ameriques is taught as, and considered to be, one of six continents, albeit comprised of two sub-continents (hence the plural).

Ted Loment 10:17 AM  

What is CIGS, a new one for me?

Bob Mills 10:21 AM  

Didn't get TEDDY RUXPIN, otherwise 100%. For a Thursday, a mild theme. Looking forward to Friday's themeless.

Coelacanth 10:23 AM  

I protest against the crustacean-normative answer at 64A (CRAB). Such crossword entries exclude huge swaths of my society in ways that appear to blithely deny that we exist.

jb129 10:27 AM  

I liked it a lot & was over way too fast for me. Fun puzzle.

Suzie Q 10:32 AM  

@ Nancy, Sighs as a sound of surrender made me think of two ways to interpret it. One is the sound of a parent finally surrendering to the child's nagging and pleading. The other sigh is more fun in the "bodice-ripping" romance novel way.

I knew someone would pick up on the Isle of Man and run with it.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Am I the only one bothered by "ARE" (61D) clued as "Live"? I mean any form of is implies existence, but it doesn't imply life. So is there some connection here I'm missing? Oh, and Ted L., cigs is slang for cigarettes: the clue there is deliberately but I suppose cleverly misleading: "Camels, e.g. for short", referring of course to the famous brand of cigarettes, Camels.

CDilly52 10:35 AM  

1A made no sense to me at all, even after finishing the puzzle. My difficulty in finding a toehold in the NW slowed me to normal Thursday time. Would have been Monday-ish but for....So SO much to enjoy from the cleverness of the “neighborhood” today! Thank you all for the creative ideas. And to go along with 23D:

Are you in the building yet? NO, PARKING.
Do you plan to grill the ribs? NO, SMOKING.

Enjoyable day. Thank you all!

chris b 10:39 AM  

The theme answers remind me of a classic Simpsons bit:

https://youtu.be/5yuL6PcgSgM

Z 10:42 AM  

I liked this more than Rex, but less than @LMS. I blame whoever wrote the clues. Once again the NYTX pulls it punches on the clues. If you're going to go wacky then really go wacky. Tepid cluing is the bane of a puzzle like this.

@'mericans - Huh? NO RHYME OR REASON SANS a pause might be understood properly. But it might not. For clarity both a speaker and a writer need to pause or make a full stop. That means a comma, colon, or a period. As for the colon idea; you are not wrong but, since the usage of the colon to indicate an explanation is mostly reserved for formal writing these days, using it changes the voice being used.

Z 10:46 AM  

@Anon10:33 - I don't think you are missing anything. Be warned, this sort of clue for ARE will appear again. After awhile it becomes a mild itch as opposed to a full blown aggravation. TBF - a clue/answer pair doesn't have to work in every case, just one case.

Roo Monster 10:54 AM  

Hey All !
Gonna dio my toe in the NO pond...
Was that contract small? NO, BIG DEAL
Was that answer sufficient? NO, BUTS ABOUT IT
Are you sure it's impossible? NO, CAN DO
Are you cool with this? NO, HARD FEELINGS
Did you say you didn't want to hear about it? NO, NEWS IS GOOD NEWS
Har.

Puz was cool. Chuckled at the themers. Last one was the best. Nice unusual letter-placement words, like SCYTHE (six-letter word with only one vowel, surprised @LMS didn't pick up on that one), XBOX, GOGH.

Lots of B's today, 8 of 'em. Don't know why the ole brain sees these type things. We did get three F's! Nice.

help-PLEA, grad-ALUM, RUm/CAm-RUB/CAB. I remember TEDDY RUXPIN, creepy looking thing. Never had one, probably would've hidden it in the closet if I did. :-)

CRAB GARB
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

@anon 1:06
Someone above noted that hate doesn't really do justice to Mr. Sharp's animus toward Mr. Shortz. If anyone besides those two knows the origin of the problem, they aint talkin. But two things seem pretty clear: it's deeply personal w/ Sharp and the attacks are more frequent and nastier.
Mr. Sharp has a profound regard for identity politics these days--it wasn't much in evidence ten tears ago- and because much of that world ( including the Times) remains hostile to or at least dubious about those tenets, he criticizes the Times's approach to clues, themes and answers as out of step with current mores. I believe Mr. Sharp is sincere. reasonable people can disagree.
But Mr. Sharp abandons reason for ad hominem attack. And of course no matter how deeply ones hold an idea to be true, it's veracity remains independent of even sincerely held feelings.
The board is a pretty good place. A couple of blowhards, but a couple of gems. You'll peg each in no time. You probably already have. Welcome

Mme Laffargue 11:03 AM  

Ricain à Paris. Ooh la la. It is singular mes amis. L'Amérique. Back to school

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

"TBF - a clue/answer pair doesn't have to work in every case, just one case"

...kinda like how MAMA is just one case in which the clue "Papa's mate" works.

I admire your consistency, sir.

Hartley70 11:13 AM  

RUXPIN made me SIGH. Teddy is often referred to here as an example of fatherly devotion. When my son was 4, he wanted a Teddy RUXPIN above all else from Santa and went on about it every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It was incredibly popular and completely unavailable, and Amazon hadn’t been invented yet. My husband often reminds our son, a 35 year old dad himself, that he trudged through the streets of Manhattan on Christmas Eve, in the wind and rain and snow, to find and buy this treasure for him. Most of the time his story is that his loafer had a hole in the sole and his feet were frozen solid. The family gives a collective SIGH when he begins. That Teddy went the way of most old toys several years later and was never heard from again.

Interesting theme and a fast Thursday. SCYTHE is such a pretty word.

GILL I. 11:16 AM  

Very clever. When a puzzle gets you thinking of other possibilities, then you have my vote. @Rex, your NO, COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN made me laugh. Good one. But so are all of Patrick's. I don't think I've seen this done before.
Liked ICE MAN sitting on NO MAN. Learned two new words: RUX PIN and REMORA. Saw my favorite BANGER (although you can never just eat one) and learned that a KIWI is a relative of an elephant bird. Evidently bird people are trying to bring them back by using DNA. If they succeed, I hope they try the T Rex next.
Nancy: Psst, wanna help me steal all the "Bike Lane" signs in the park? Sure...IM IN !
I find money all the time but never in a SOFA. I remember finding a huge wallet on a supermarket floor. I didn't turn it in to management. My Dad told me once, If you find something that looks valuable, tell the store owner you found it and have the owner call you. That way, you know for sure the true owner will get it back and it won't be kept by someone less honest than you. It always works and you sometimes get a BEAR HUG.
Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes. Don't you just love the Sicilians?

JC66 11:22 AM  

Joe Welling said...

To repeat what @Joe Welling said above (7:34 AM):

Interesting that few (or maybe none) of the offerings of alternative themers, intending to show how easy it is, are exactly 15 letters long.
.

Masked and Anonymous 11:27 AM  

I feel bad cuz I can't think of another NO joke yet. Did feel good about all the M&A&M&A-filled comments in yesterday's blog, tho.

Fun puz. Theme idea maybe seemed a little straightforward, for a ThursPuz -- but was likable. Clues seemed nice and extra-feisty for a ThursPuz -- but were lickable.

staff weeject picks: DER & ETH. (Yo, @Dereth Veder)

Oooooh … got one! ...
Q: "Was the veterinarian able to help yer doggie?"
A: "NO; PET SALLOWED."

fave fillins: GARBANZO. GARB. CRAB. CAB. Whooops … accidentally stepped onto a word ladder, there. Try again ...
fave fillins: AIRTAXI. KUNGFU. BEARHUG. HUGCAP. TRUTHS. SCYTHE. [Would also accept TRU-ETHS & SCY-ETHES.]

Thanx, Mr. Merrell. Good to see U back, a little more often lately.

Masked & Anonymo9Us


biter:
**gruntz**


Cristi 11:30 AM  

“Rex Parker” is an intentionally funny name that summons up both the Golden Age of Hollywood and superhero aliases. The faux grandiosity and archaic quality is the joke, and the hyperbole of “king of crosswords” suggests a fair amount of humility and self awareness in the creator of this persona. It’s all FUN. Am I really explaining this? SIGH.

'MERICAn in Paris 11:32 AM  

@Mme Laffargue -- L'Amérique, as I've heard it often, is a synonym for the USA, as in "L'Amérique est dirigée par un marchand de tapis". But you are right, it is also short-hand for Le continent Américain. However, as explained here: "Le risque de confusion avec le nom du continent croît avec l’usage. Les francophones ont donc adopté la solution états-unienne de mettre le nom du continent au pluriel, d’où les Amériques."

Apologies to others for this off-topic string.

Norm 11:37 AM  

This was a wonderful puzzle. I like the twist on the phrases (Rex did not seem to understand the second one, since his "critique" totally missed the point), and the cluing for the fill was tricky enough for a Thursday.

Profe 11:38 AM  

Today's Chronicle article led me to your blog for the first time! So, that being said . . . Nothing wrong with a few "age" clues (77 Sunset Strip). Remora, yes, an unusual word, but that's what makes puzzles intriguing. I agree, though, that a bit more humor would have been appreciated.

Malsdemare 11:39 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
TJS 11:42 AM  

@Lewis, great entry today, esp. Pinnochio.
@LMS, just thought I would add to other commenters my admiration for your consistently witty and moderating contributions. Always helps to tone done the invective, my own included. Highest compliment is perhaps how noticeable your absence is when vacationing.
I think I average about .500 on predicting Rex' response to a puzzle. Always keeps me guessing, which is a good thing.

Banana Diaquiri 11:43 AM  

@clk:
My only objection is the false choice between good burgers and shakes.

it's not a choice, false or otherwise. to make the explanation more explicit than others have, here's the full answer:

NO the burgers aren't very good, but they have GREAT SHAKES.

Banana Diaquiri 11:47 AM  

@Hartley70:
SCYTHE is such a pretty word.

somebody famous, but I don't recall who, said that the prettiest word in the English language is syphilis.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

@Wm. C

You have wayyyyyy too much time on your hands. Seriously

TJS 11:53 AM  

I forgot to ask, what is the meaning of Rex' "emphasis mine, WTH?" Is it regarding Jim Henson or what?

Joseph Michael 12:12 PM  

Are you here to stay?
No, going back.

Was it the atmosphere that attracted you to this restaurant?
No, free lunch

Has my rap song hit number one yet on the charts?
No, Biggie.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Short for CIGARETTES.

Lewis 12:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 12:20 PM  

I mentioned earlier that I didn't get the whole comma thing until I came here. But I didn't explain exactly how I interpreted the theme answers. Or more accurately, misinterpreted the

I thought NO RHYME OR REASON meant "You're not allowed to write either a poem or an essay!" Seemed like a strange thing to be told by a teacher, a publisher, or anyone else.

I thought NO GREAT SHAKES was a warning that the place didn't have good milkshakes. As in: "Don't bother asking me about the burgers; you'll be so peeved by the lousy shakes that you're not going to set foot in the place anyway." Seemed like a completely non-responsive answer.

Whereas NO MAN IS AN ISLAND just made me go "Huh????"

Only when I understood the gimmick did I realize how much better the theme clues and answers were than I'd originally thought.

Barry Frain 12:23 PM  

@Coelecanth, don’t quit your day job bruh.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

A,E,I,O,U and sometimes Y as in Scythe, doubling your vowel count.

Aketi 12:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:31 PM  

She said :

Three things I like are dick jokes and not using commas.

Nate 12:32 PM  

This was a perfectly cromulent Thursday puzzle. The theme was clever and there were some solid words - SCYTHE definitely takes the prize.

My only complaint is that there just has to be a more equitable way to clue "FRI" than asking about the time slot of a shot that hasn't been on the air in 54 years. Fifty four!

Carola 12:33 PM  

NORH...?? Wha? Loved unveling what that was all about. Also loved NO, GREAT SHAKES. Too bad about the FLAB reminder.

I'm afraid I have to confess to comma misplacement on the third one: I understoood it (with Jamaican accent and a "whatever" shrug") as: NO MAN, IS AN ISLAND.

Thank you, @Rex and other commenters, for the additional laughs.

@puzzle hoarder: Same mistake here on that O'Neill clue!

@Anonymous 1:06: I read everybody. I figure, if I'm going to write, I gotta read.

Whatsername 12:35 PM  

I enjoyed this one, a clever theme which made me think and that's why I do crosswords. Nicely done Patrick Merrell. Oops! Sounds like I'm ordering a signature dish in a restaurant. What I meant to say was nicely done, Patrick Merrell.

@Crimson Devil: Thanks for the book recommendations. I plan to check out both of those titles.

@Lewis: BANGER and WIMPLE law firm made me laugh out loud. And your alternative suggestions are brilliant, especially Pinocchio.

@Anonymous at 01:06 - Welcome. I have been doing NYT puzzles for close to 20 years but still relatively new myself to this blog. I find it very entertaining and usually enlightening to read what others have to say. There are some solvers here with intellects far superior to mine, and occasionally the commentary is way above my pay grade. It's humbling, especially when I'm feeling pretty smart because I managed to finish a Thursday without a single cheat. I have my favorite bloggers who almost always have something interesting to say, but they shall remain nameless. Hopefully, you will return often and find out for yourself. As for your questions about Rex, yes he can be a pill but give him a chance. He will start to grow on you. Most days I agree with him and I find myself looking forward to his rants, often actually a bit disappointed when he's in a good mood. LOL. But whether he is criticizing or praising, his posts are unfailingly informative and worth a read.


Lewis 12:44 PM  

@Joe Welling (7:34) -- I was confused by your comment. I didn't see any indication from any of the several posters and even Rex that the intent of coming up with other theme-like answers was to show "how easy it is." What am I missing?

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Sigh. Regardless of whether you agree or not, you're missing the point. Rex wasn't saying that the terms mama and papa are by themselves heterosexist, it's that the clue was "Papa's mate" implying that papa always mates with mama and not other papas.

Teedmn 12:59 PM  

No "mentally" about it; I had to add a comma behind the NOs on my paper grid today. I abuse commas, adding far too many to my writing (along with parenthetical phrases). Having no commas in the grid unEARTHa'd some heretofore-unknown obsession of mine.

I had to fill in the first theme from the back - NORHY was making me nervous but the crosses all worked. And I totally agree with @puzzlehoarder on checking the crosses on RUXPIN, which is a total WOE for me.

But I filled in 60A with just NOMA in the grid and that one made me smile. As my sister-in-law would say, "Good humor!"

Pretty easy for a Thursday and not tricky enough but a very nice puzzle in my opinion. Thanks, Patrick Merrell.

Aketi 1:01 PM  

@Gill I, HAHA you would need a spray can of paint to obliterate the bike lanes since they’re painted on the roads and even then my Citibike app map outlines them in green. I do, however, bike slowly thanks to pedestrians who either text or wear earphones and wander into bike lanes against the lights. I actually saw one biker riding in the wrong direction in the bike lanes while texting. The Citibike is so heavy compared to most bikes that that biker would have lost if I’d foolishly decided to play chicken with him.

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Would have been nice to have found a way to insert No soap radio! into the puzzle.

JC66 1:24 PM  

@Lewis

I reposted @Joe Welling (7:34) comment. It's not unusual for you, @LMS and/or @M&A to come up with alternate theme suggestions. But, due the unusual high number of people coming up with alternative theme suggestions, I did get implication that posters thought it was easy.

Please note I haven't come up with even one.

Joe Bleaux 1:25 PM  

For the first (and probably last) time ever, I'm posting my comments without first reading Rex's critique or anything posted by other solvers. I'll keep it short. I've never breezed through a Thursday puzzle as quickly as I did this one by Patrick Merrell. A highlight of my Thursday is settling in for a good rebus, or some equally enjoyable challenge. And then I get ... this! What the hell? Do I feel a little ripped off? I do.
(And now, off to read what everyone else had to say ... )

emily 1:58 PM  

I often skim the posts, seldom respond. Have been doing the puzzle online for maybe 6 yrs or so. I actually solved today’s puzzle, probably my 1st Thursday ever. The long responses sometimes make my eyes roll, but I take what I can from them.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

I knew it instantly. You didn't. That seems equitable.

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

???????

Blue Stater 3:50 PM  

Congratulations on the Chronicle piece, Rex. I don't subscribe any more and so couldn't comment there, so I'll say here what I would have said there. Your blog is the only reason I haven't long since cancelled my subscription to the Times crossword, which continues to decline in accuracy and quality. But your commentary and the back-and-forth in the Comments section save the experience for me. Thank you (and everyone else; well, almost everyone else).

Banana Diaquiri 3:59 PM  

@(one of the)anon:
But few on this board are as smug [as Z] (There are some fruity exceptions).

you cut me to the quick, which isn't fair since I'm not of the cereal topping heritage. Grand Pappy came over on the Meriel, in a small leaky storm tossed boat, eventually making it to Key Largo in a really bad blow. all that 151 proof Cuban rum mixed with the tossing and turning of the little boat put him in a foggy place. so, he managed to mangle the family name a bit when he was processed by the Customs Man. Johnny Rocco still took him in. not a nice man, so Grand Pappy eventually made it North, where he mixed with others in the top shelf. steering clear of Boiler Maker and the like in the well. very low class.

Momma stressed, from my conception when that pure white shaft of stiff goodness plunged into that swirling eddy of desire in the Waring machine, that I should offer more to my sots, staring into my juicy bottom when all is nearly spent, than the likes of Boiler Maker. the Diaquiri clan will give honest, thoughtful, factual answers to the sot's pressing questions. "Why do we have an Orange President?" "Who really killed JR?" "Is Eli worth the cost?" "Will the Riemann Hypothesis ever be solved?" "Was Jung or Adler the worst thing to happen to analysis?" so many questions from so many venues of human curiosity. a broad education would be needed. and so it was. small New England prep school (the upper class do want their beverages), then Princeton, Institute for Advanced Study, something of a prodigy. those guys (mostly, they are) just love Diaquiris, all kinds without prejudice. but Banana was their favorite. guess watching the conception just overwhelmed them with desire. who knew?

and so it has gone for many decades. providing sweet intoxication and truthful answers to today's burning questions. you won't get that from Boiler Maker, just a descent into 19th century rot gut and hatred and alternative facts. think better of yourselves, and make better of yourselves. Banana Diaquiri is here to help.

Phaedrus 4:30 PM  

Did you order me a salad?

No soup for you!

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

Easily the best one offered up today on the Blog.

Shelby Glidden 5:49 PM  

@Anonymous 7:20 AM Will Anonymous 7:20 AM ever talk about the puzzle, itsel? No, waiting.

Joe 5:51 PM  

Congrats on the Chronicle profile, Rex/Michael! I enjoyed it. (This puzzle too.)

Shelby Glidden 6:01 PM  

@Anonymous 10:54 AM Can you talk about the puzzle instead of committing the same error of logic
you attribute to Mr. Sharp? No, can do.

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

Banana,
DTRL. By the way, you have the brackets and the parenthesis misplaced.

Whatsername 6:20 PM  

@Phaedrus - Excellent!

Anonymous 6:35 PM  

To Rex or whomever administers the comments section on the blog: on mobile, replies to an individual comment appear directly underneath the comment as a thread. However, in the web browser replies appear as just another comment not tied back to the original comment that was being replied to. Also, the "Reply" link appears for each comment on mobile but not in browser. Do you know why this is and can it be fixed? Thanks.

JC66 6:59 PM  

@Anon 6:35

I believe it's because that's the way the app/web sites are formatted. It isn't something the Rex blog controls or can adjust.

You'll notice that many of the (veteran) commenters here will indicate who they're responding to by using "@name of poster."

Some even quote the specific comment they're referring to.

Hpe this helps.

Savannah 8:07 PM  

I came here expecting Rex to say this was the easiest puzzle of all time, because for me to get a Thursday done in 17 minutes is NOT the norm. PR for me. Glad to see that maybe it just clicked for me today.

Ian Newbould 8:55 PM  

https://www.chronicle.com/article/What-s-a-9-Letter-Word-for/244208?cid=wcontentlist_hp_latest

Tyler Young 9:10 PM  

I finished with an error, believing that RUm could conceivably coat a steak and a CAm is a part of a pickup. Once I peeked here, I could see that's the RUB. I don't know if I'm on board with RUB as a "coating" since coverage is generally incomplete, but I should have known CAm was wrong. I was mislead a bit by my first idea for something in a line of pickups: Ram.

TAB2TAB 10:39 PM  

@ GILL I. Just wanted to thank you for the encouragement to create a user name, I was the "Anonymous" from 10:25 last night and that was actually my first post on Rex's blog. I discovered the blog (and have been lurking) for about a month now. Discovered NYT Crossword app about 6 months ago and finding myself hopelessly addicted. Hanging out here has been akin to watching an instant replay of a great sports moment from 100 different interesting angles. I'm glad I'm in good company and appreciate the welcome.

TAB2TAB

JC66 10:52 PM  

@TAB2TAB

Welcome!

Z 10:58 PM  

@TAB2TAB - Welcome.

@anon6:35 - What @JC66 said. I’ll add that blogger, the Google platform hosting this site, doesn’t appear to have been updated in any meaningful way in over a decade. The mobile version is newer so has a couple of different features (like the reply function). Perhaps Rex will someday transition to a more modern blog platform, but I wouldn’t count on it. Such transitions are major headaches.

@Christi11:30am - I know, right? I think you’re exactly right.

GILL I. 11:14 PM  

@TAB2TAB...YAY! And I love your moniker. Glad you didn't shorten it to "Sea To Shining Sea."
One day I will confess to my GILL I.
And your bridge? Looks like an Island out or near Charleston?

TAB2TAB 12:07 AM  

@GILL.I The photo is not Charleston (great guess) but a bridge near a village in Scotland named Aberlady. My husband is from Scotland, but the first city in the US he fell in love with was ...Charleston! Lots of great memories there. Since you already have me confessing, "TAB" stands for trans-atlantic-buddy, which was our nickname for each other when we had recently met but didn't have a graceful way to define a 5,000 mile long distance budding relationship. Like all great things worth waiting for, we ultimately got married 7 years later and now live in metro- Atlanta. So I dare you GILL I.... go ahead and confess :)

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

\bhow/b

Nancy 9:58 AM  

I was off the blog, last night, @TAB2TAB. Welcome.

XQQQME 4:45 PM  

You very funny.
My fav “What a difference a comma makes” is:
LET’S EAT, GRANDMA.
LET’S EAT GRANDMA.

Joe Welling 7:17 PM  

Sorry to be late responding....

Lewis said...
@Joe Welling (7:34) -- I was confused by your comment. I didn't see any indication from any of the several posters and even Rex that the intent of coming up with other theme-like answers was to show "how easy it is." What am I missing?


I think the key to the inference I drew is the "etc." following the list Rex posted. If that doesn't mean something like, "See how easy it is to come up with these," then what does it mean? He also said the only discernible criterion for picking the ones that made the puzzle was that they fit the 15 span.

rondo 8:59 AM  

NOGREATSHAKES sums it up. Unfunny theme. And wouldn’t the correct grammar be NO RHYME (N)OR REASON? At least it wasn’t a rebus. Maybe I’m just in a bad MOOD.

Another missed opportunity to clue HAHA as “Packer Clinton-Dix”.

One of the several purrrrrr-fect Catwoman portrayers was yeah baby EARTHA Kitt.

The fill was mostly OK, but I’ll still CRAB about the theme.

thefogman 10:01 AM  

It took me a little while to get the NO-punctuation gimmick. Sure it wasn't pants-pissingly funny, but it did make me chuckle a bit. No big snags and just one write-over this time - hObo before SOFA. I finished on the O in GOGH and PUZO after solving NOGREATSHAKES. Clever and fun so thank you Patrick Merrell.

Burma Shave 10:07 AM  

SCYTHE SANS SOFA

ISO LONGED for some PLEA SIN’,
yet to AROUSE LARA SIGHS what it takes,
but for NORHYMEORREASON,
the TRUTH”S to BANGER was NOGREATSHAKES.

--- ISAAC RUXPIN

spacecraft 10:46 AM  

36-across seems to be the most popular sum-up of this one. As themes go, I'd have to agree, but the fill is quite a bit cooler than average. While filling in RUXPIN on crosses, I thought, egad, could that be right? And yet in the back of my mind...then when I saw the WOD with the full "name" Teddy RUXPIN it triggered a synapse from somewhere. I still wonder, though, how the creators came up with that name.

I don't mind HUBCAP/RECAP, since the two CAPs have totally different meanings; ICET and ICEMAN, plus NOMANISANISLAND (which I wrote in without ANY crosses) might be a bit problematic. The ICEMAN must goeth, methinks.

Most of this was gimme-level, even with post-humpday clues. The dates for 6-across, for example, were a dead giveaway. But if you can pull off a GARBANZO seamlessly you get my thumbs up. DOD EARTHA is sure to AROUSE; honorable mention to HODA Kotb. Note: in today's Sun there's an in-depth interview with many-time sash wearer CHER, whom I only yesterday applauded for her DOD longevity. You go, girl! Birdie.

centralscrewtinizer 11:54 AM  

What @LMS concocted referring to OFL is brilliant, pointed, and generous.

Nigel Pottle 12:47 PM  

Colons are used when one is about to list several things so using them here is not appropriate. It would likely be better if the No were followed by a period, or an exclamation mark. I would prefer that punctuation to a comma too.

Nigel Pottle 12:48 PM  

And a semi colon is used to separate what could be two complete sentences in a single sentence, so since No can hardly be considered a sentence a semi-colon would again not be an appropriate punctuation.

Diana,LIW 3:27 PM  

@Rondo - No - I believe the 17 answer is an either or... "No - either rhyme or reason - do one thing, and do it well, dang it all!!" And we are having both summer and fall - I'm so confused. No - summer or fall!

I'm always relieved when Thursday proves not to be a rebus.

No SIGHS nor PLEAS from me over this one.
Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

PS I got to sit in a real DeLorean the other day. KewEel

rondo 3:40 PM  

I guess it depends how you parse it. I was thinking NO! and then a neither/nor

rondo 3:42 PM  

I probably didn't take time to consider the word "both".

rainforest 4:04 PM  

I enjoyed this one a bunch, solving while my gas fireplace was being serviced and speaking faux Rumanian with the service guy (I'm half Rumanian).

After getting the first two themers which I mis-parsed, the third themer acted as a revealer for me, and so I had a couple retroactive laughs.

Nice cluing throughout, and pretty good fill, IMO.

Sometimes I thought my Dad deliberately "lost" change in the SOFA when I was a kid.

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