Japanese mushroom / THU 11-8-18 / Notable feature of North Dakota and Texas / Format that preceded Blu-Ray / Bottle cap type

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: GO WEST, YOUNG MAN (37A: Horace Greeley's advice, as followed by 17-, 25-, 50- and 60-Across?) — theme answers all end in LAD, which has been transposed to the beginning of the clue (the lad moved west...get it?)

Theme answers:
  • [LAD]POWERBAL (17A: Many a hit by Def Leppard) 
  • [LAD]ARMORC (25A: Like medieval knights)
  • [LAD]TACOSA (50A: Meal served in an edible bowl)
  • [LAD]SUPERBOW (60A: Famously expensive commercial)

Word of the Day: DECOCT (13D) —
Decoction is a method of extraction by boiling herbal or plant material to dissolve the chemicals of the material, which may include stems, roots, bark and rhizomes. Decoction involves first mashing the plant material to allow for maximum dissolution, and then boiling in water to extract oils, volatile organic compounds and other various chemical substances. Decoction can be used to make herbal teas, leaf teas, coffees, tinctures and similar solutions. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Hello everyone, Rex is unavailable, which means it's time for two bright-eyed rookie guest bloggers to fill in for today. We're two Northwestern students (Megan Beach and Tristan Jung) who need to tag team puzzles to get them done efficiently, but that means you get double the variety in your blog post! We prioritized this blog post over homework. What a FIESTA we had doing this puzzle instead.

Megan: While running through the acrosses, I put in TACOSALAD right away, but quickly realized something funny was going on with the theme and deleted it. Tristan got GO WEST YOUNG MAN but we still didn't figure out the LAD gimmick until we were well over halfway through. Once that happened, it was relatively smooth sailing.

Tristan: Well, I knew the quote, but I confused Horace Mann (the public education guy) with Horace Greeley (noted newspaperman and presidential candidate) the whole time. Not IDEAL. I had some trouble with the southwest corner and the FLINGS/I AM ALI/EDITOR crosses. For one, I inexplicably couldn't think of the first two words of the boxing documentary despite getting NATO and SIR without much trouble. Not a huge Def Leppard fan, but POWER BALLAD was easy to get once we determined the quote.

Megan: Yeah, this seemed like a lot of theme answers that led to some awkward fill - SSS (47A: sound of a leak) is just bad. Not a fan. ENE (57A: ending with polypropyl-) is a little technical, but, whatever. #MeTOO is at least topical. Also, what is up with IN PHASE? According to Google, it's a thing, but it really threw me – I think we got that answer almost entirely via crosses. Overall, I did enjoy the puzzle, even with a hokey theme.

Tristan: There were some easy gets for NFL fans with VIKES and BREES, but those might've been hard if you don't watch sports. I appreciated Sam's theme for what it was doing and the historical context. I went to summer camp on the old compound of Horace Greeley's 1842 utopian colony in Pennsylvania, and I later went west for college, so I clearly am living his legacy.

  • DVDVIDEO — Has anyone ever called it this...ever? 
  • AIGHT — I (Megan) loved this clue. I think it's funny and just weird enough, and I actually use it in my texts more frequently than I'd like to admit.
  • OMG/WAY — omg no way i had no idea people under the age of 25 use funky abbreviations and condense words. we should put them in every crossword to keep things fresh and hip (Tristan, who didn't like it as much)
  • LEVIN — Ira Levin is a top three literary Levin, just behind the one from Anna Karenina.

Megan Beach and Tristan Jung, Crossworld's Newest Court Chroniclers

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

[Follow Tristan Jung on Twitter and his blog]

[Follow Megan Beach on Twitter]


Azzurro 1:25 AM  

This doesn’t work. I get the LAD gimmick, but POWERBAL isn’t a thing, nor is ARMORC, TACOSA, or SUPERBOW.

chefwen 1:26 AM  

Had no idea what was going on for what seemed to be a very long time, finally got GO WEST YOUNG MAN and had my AHA moment with taco sa LAD. Went ahead and filled in my other misplaced LAD’s and we were home free.

Super fun puzzle, two thumbs up.

Brookboy 1:57 AM  

Beach & Jung - sounds like a cross between a singing duo and an accounting firm. Or perhaps a travel agency that provides counseling.

Now that the cheap jokes (if you can even call them that) are out of the way, on to the puzzle. I was stymied. Needed all the crosses, and even then couldn’t figure it out. The revealer didn’t reveal much for me. I had to come here to have my hand held and be walked through the logic. A detective I ain’t.

It seems like one of those puzzles that is more a monument to the art and challenge of creating a puzzle than it is a joy to solve. Or maybe it’s just me. I will say, though, that it was remarkably free from dreck.

I also want to say that I very much enjoyed your review, B&Y. Please revisit again soon.

chefwen 2:14 AM  

Forgot to say, thanks for filling in Megan and Tristan, enjoyed your write up.

jae 2:24 AM  

Medium. Just about right for a Thurs. Like @chefwen I got the theme about 2/3 into the solve. Clever and reasonably smooth, liked it!

Larry Gilstrap 2:55 AM  

OFL tweets for a sub and gets this review in response? I would volunteer, but would need a month lead-time. Good job, kids! Can I say that? Of course I can.

When I first became aware of Horace Greeley's imperative, I was inspired, but since I had already been born in California. I felt stymied. I have a dear friend who always calls me LAD, a bit inaccurately, so the themers emerged organically.

But, after that epiphany, some of the fill seemed ragged. AIGHT and NOOB? OMG, no WAY does our esteemed globe-trotting EDITOR throw that lingo around in written or spoken conversation. Or, perhaps I'm just JADED.

Not quite sure about 36D. A school yr. begins on TUES? I must be missing the obvious. Many of my years teaching began on a Thurs. My assumption was that if we had to start on a Mon. facing five full days of instruction, the students would have rebelled and the teachers would all have resigned EN MASSE.

I was thrilled to be invited to my neighbor's Citizenship FIESTA last Sat. night. Yes, a FIESTA with a LADTACOSA, among other delicacies. In tribute, oddly, we sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" followed by the National Anthem, sung as sincerely as I have ever done it.

Loren Muse Smith 3:03 AM  

Megan and Tristan – thanks for pinch-hitting. Enjoyed your comments.

Now this is a Thursday puzzle. It took me forever to get the trick. Sure – I smelled a rat almost right out of the gate, but I was going rebus. Like our guest bloggers, LADTACOSA finally broke it open for me. And then I allowed myself to read the reveal.

Perfect. Perfect reveal, perfect execution. There aren’t many synonyms for YOUNG MAN, so left with LAD to work with, Sam didn’t have many _ _LAD possibilities.

Had no idea that JADED could mean “lacking joie-de-vivre.” Huh. I always use it more to mean cynical, seen-it-all, disenchanted. So, yeah, your joie could get sucked out of your vivre, but still. I wouldn’t have clued it this way.

Didn’t know POWER BALLAD. I was considering “lower” ballad. Like ballads that are kinda sub-IDEAL or some such. I looked into it, and it turns out that a power ballad is not a ballad about having power but rather a ballad that has some loud, showy parts:

They're either sentimental ballads with occasional shifts into overdrive or loud rockers slowed and quieted by romantic yearning, depending on how you look at it. At any rate, power ballads seamlessly combine elements of hard rock (guitar solos, strong vocals and theatricality) with a trend toward acoustic guitars, keyboards, reduced aggression, and subdued riffage.

I was thinking about googling subdued riffage, but I kinda like leaving it to my imagination.

That Zin? Oh, I got aromas of dried glop, coati blood, smoked sedge, and sweaty but attractive Libyan leather notes. Full-bodied and leggy but with a subdued riffage finish. Just let it breathe first, and you’ll be fine.


Man, I’m feeling off. Maybe I need to eat more subdued riffage, I dunno.

Sam – a most excellent offering and novel Thursday trick. Ladimsog you made this one! Stay east, young man.

Harryp 4:35 AM  

It took a while to make sense of the Theme, but not too bad for a Thursday. 2Down DEA had me for a while as did the clue for 1Across. Good job Mr. Ezersky.

Anonymous 6:03 AM  

I liked it but did not think it was easy. Had to look up DECOCT, I AM ALI and the teams in the NFL East, among other things. Did get the gimmicks and the quote. What you are looking for in a Thursday, IMO.

Lewis 6:14 AM  

M&T -- Fun and smart review.
LMS -- Classic post from start to finish. This is why you need to collect what you've written, pick out plums like your italic paragraph (you probably already have enough), and publish!

I looked at the grid and it looked like a theme/reveal Thursday, not a rebus. I knew the quote and figured the theme answers were going to simply be answers going backward. But no, it was much better than that.

For me, this had so much of what I like in doing a puzzle. A smile and "Aha!" at getting the theme (at the edible bowl meal), quality clues that are like mini-puzzles in themselves and that provide a rush when you crack them, a scrubbed clean grid, and a clever theme that makes you nod with respect. This is a sterling offering by one with an obvious knack (talent) for making crosswords. Sam, lad, please do play it again and again.

Lljones 7:14 AM  

43D: Item in a claw machine...

It took me a while to figure out what this clue meant (tho I had the answer). Is that what people call those thingies?

Joe R. 7:18 AM  

This felt really hard to me while I was doing it. I got ALL, LEVIN, and ENOKI in the NW, then nothing. Breezed through the NE (except the second C in DECOCT), then ground to a halt again. Ended up getting a few words all over, and then allowed myself to look at the revealer. That was an instant get for me, and things finally started to open up. The rest still felt like a slog, but when I was done, I came in a minute and a half below average! I guess I'm getting better at this, even my bad days are better than my old good days.

@Larry Gilstrap, in many states, school begins the day after Labor Day, hence a Tuesday.

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

School begins right after Labour Day in many places.

kitshef 7:22 AM  

SE corner was tough. VERNE Troyer? ANIMA? And went through rangy and lanky before getting to leggy.

Foolishly went with COYPU before COATI. I think I just saw South American and didn’t get to the ‘forest’ part of the clue.

IM IT??? No. There are "you're it" and "not it". There is no "I'm it".

Normally the three-letter words are where grids show the strain. Today, it was the five-letter words. The aforementioned ANIMA and VERNE, plus AND SO, DABBA, ENOKI, BOSSA, and most absurdly A’IGHT.

DVD VIDEO has it’s own Wikipedia page, so there’s that.

Amy Yanni 7:26 AM  

Loved the quote/theme and the duo blog post as well. Also cottoned on at taco salad. And also learned decoct & power ballad. Good start to the day.

Brian Grover 7:30 AM  

I don’t think this is an easy puzzle, but very much enjoyed it. More fun than the NYT usually sanctions. :)

michiganman 7:30 AM  

I was frustrated early and couldn't gain purchase anywhere. Finally got going and happened across the revealer. Then SUPERBOWLAD came to mind for 60A and, like @Lewis I played with going backwards (westward).
The fog slowly cleared and it turned out to be a satisfying solve. Very happy to figure out a Thursday.

Shawangunk Solver 7:33 AM  

I usually need a hint with Thursdays. This fell in easily: the quote a gimme & then all those weird LADs gave up the trick nicely. Couldn’t get AIGHT for the longest time- laughed out loud when I realized what it was. Easy for a Thursday.

Ann 7:45 AM  

Nice work, kids! Good commentary.

Hungry Mother 7:49 AM  

DNF with EtOKI/LEVIt cross. Bad proof-reading, as is common for me.

QuasiMojo 7:55 AM  

Reading your write-up, dear dynamic duo (and welcome!), I’m surprised you rated this one Easy. Sounds like you struggled as hard as the rest of us, or at least me. I love the sound of DECOCT; reminds me of Farkakte, which was my first thought for the clue “screwy”. I wonder if Rex would have gotten all bent out of shape over the theme, though. Manifest Destiny is hardly PC these days, considering the results. Plus the quote by Greeley is, well, you know... androcentric. Just sayin’... :)

mmorgan 7:57 AM  

I got the revealer ar 37A immediately with no crosses and, like @Lewis, I assumed the theme answers would be going backwards -- i.e., to the West -- i.e., right to left. Nope. Took me forever to get out of my rut.

Great review, you two -- come by again sometime!

Joseph Smith 8:11 AM  

In all my years of writing and debugging computer code, I have yet to come across “NOR” as a negative operation in computer logic. I’ve used “NOT”, “AND” and “OR”, but never “NOR”, so I ended up brooding over whatever on earth LADPOWETBAL could mean until I got to the themer (which was a gift, having taken the SAT at Horace Greely High in Chappaqua, NY). Otherwise fun especially for a Thursday.

Wm. C. 8:20 AM  

Hated it, hated it HATED it!

Finished it finally, with all the crosses, still didn't understand the theme until I came here. Wasted a lot of time, feeling frustrated continuously.


Am I clear enough?

Walk Away Renee 8:33 AM  

Still don’t get AIGHT..?

Cassieopia 8:47 AM  

What an utterly delightful write-up today, thank you both! I adore joint solving. My sister and I have spent some very happy times together doing just that.

I really liked the puzzle. Initially I was looking for theme answers that had the W-E-S-T removed ("go, west!") but then 17A and 50A both had "LAD..." in the first three squares so I thought, oh, something to do with Los Angeles? Los Angeles Department of Police? So I filled in LAD for the rest of the themers, but *still* didn't get LAD=Young Man until TACOSALAD (or, LADTACOSA).

The SE corner did me in, what with LankY before LEGGY, not knowing Drew BREES, and totally lost on AIGHT. (I still don't understand AIGHT.) So I gave up in that corner for a technical DNF, but had a great time getting there.

My favorited clue/solution? 1A. Nicely done.

Nancy 8:56 AM  

Thought this would be easy. I filled in the revealer before I got to any of the theme answers and said to myself: Aha, now I won't have to struggle with any of the theme answers. They will all run right-to-left.

And once I get an idee fixe, it really bakes in. Plus the fact that I didn't know any of the futzed-up answers before they got futzed up. Didn't know POWER BALLAD. Didn't know that a TACO SALAD comes in an edible bowl. Didn't know that ARMOR CLAD would be the answer to the medieval knights clue; I was looking for some kind of synonym for chivalrous. So when I had the weird-looking fill-ins, even when some of them were correct, I couldn't interpret them. They all looked like gobbledygook to me. And so, defeated, I came here. Came here to uncover quite a clever trick, actually.

I have an extremely logical mind, but am no good at thinking outside the box. That's why so many people have said that I should have been a lawyer, but no one has ever said that I should have been an inventor. Kudos to those of you who got the trick. And kudos to Sam Ezersky for thinking it up.

Mike Herlihy 9:11 AM  

@LMS - you're killing me with your "That Zin..." mashup! :-)

Dr. Haber 9:20 AM  

Did anyone else think 17a was Power Ball Ad?

Carola 9:31 AM  

Agree on "easy" - once the reveal went in. Before that though, I was definitely ADDLEd (@Cassieopia, I agree about that clue), and, well, for a bit after that as well, as I first tried the spell-it-all-backwards trick. Soon, though, I saw how the LAD had gone WEST in 17A, and the other theme answers went right in.
Didn't know: anything about Def Leppard, the phrases DVD VIDEO and OIL BASIN, VERNE, what the heck AIGHT is all about.
Had to correct: NOt, TWIST-off.
Liked: DECOCT, including learning what it actually means; ACTED BIG.

Thank you, Beach & Jung!

Sir Hillary 9:34 AM  

Great write-up from the NOOBs!

The puzzle -- meh. OK, take four phrases that end in LAD, move LAD to the front to make nonsense words, no clever cluing, nothing. All so a cool phrase could be used as a revealer? Felt to me like a layer was missing. Would have been better had "lad" been running back-to-front -- i.e., literally going west. Scandalous, medallion, Ida Lupino, etc.

One highlight -- awesome clue for OPEC.

AIGHT cracked me up. Had Rex been blogging, we would have gotten a dog-whistle rant about cultural appropriation.

GILL I. 9:40 AM  

Well....Dunce me. I got GO WEST YOUNG MAN before figuring out the theme. So what did I do? I thought everything was pointing west to LA as in everything and everybody thinks of LA as the only thing on the West Coast. I've lived in California too long. LAD never crossed my mind. No matter. When I finally got to LADTACOSA, a huge smile and an AHA came out of this TACO SALAD gal's mouth.
I loved this puzzle. Thought it was clever as hell. This is my favorite Thursday this year. My only OMG/WAY were the two proper names I had to look up before I could finish. Didn't know BREES nor VERNE. Dang. I so hate proper names that stymie the juices.
Thanks Megan and Tristan (such lovely names). I'm glad you filled in for @Rex. I enjoyed this romp so much, I was afraid it would be trashed.

Tom Regan 9:50 AM  

Nice commentary. The guest bloggers, particularly the young ones, tend to have much more joie de vivre than the jaded curmudgeon who usually blogs here.

Crimson Devil 9:50 AM  

Combo-contraction of alright.

Suzie Q 9:55 AM  

I got the quote without any crosses but the gimmick took much longer.
The arm for needles really had me scratching my head. I was thinking of the needle on a stereo that plays vinyl but that's a tone arm so that's a no go. Then I was thinking needles, arms...tattoos? No again.
Did like Acted Big and OPEC as clued.
Everybody's asking, including me, what is Aight?

EarlyRetired 9:56 AM  

I'll start right off with my biggest nit: AIGHT is NOT alright! And should never, never be used in a crossword. Seems like we are breeding out the ability to write in full words and sentences. I can understand where NYT xword wants to stay 'fresh' and appeal to new generations, but if you have to resort to that, tear out the corner and start over. Shame on Will for letting that one in. Also am not sure about Megan's take on OMG/WAY: "I had no idea people UNDER the age of 25 use funky abbreviations"? In my world it's <25ers that text almost exclusively in abbreviations. Other than that, got the gimmick pretty quick, even though POWER BALLADS are not the first thing that comes to mind with Def Leppard. Played pretty easy with our time under our average by a good amount. Not too much crosswordese but wasn't a fan of ANDSO. Seemed weak as an expresseion. Not a fan of NOOB either, but, OMG, I guess it's obvious we aren't from the generation that uses OMG, NOR have we played video games since the last Space Invaders was taken out of the arcade area at the bowling alley. Other than that, found the fill nicely refreshing with GLOP and STAID; JUTS and PIETY. Some words we haven't seen too often. We were going to rate it above average for enjoyability... right until we got to AIGHT. Thanks for filling in B & J.

Kelly Meyersfield 10:03 AM  


ghthree 10:09 AM  

Two observations:
1: How can one pronounce AIGHT so that it sounds like "Sounds Good?" Doesn't it rhyme with STRAIGHT? The fact that Megan uses it in texts doesn't help, since texts are meant to be read, not heard.

2: Yesterday, several people complained about the Tower of Pisa leaning in the "wrong" direction (West, instead of South). But that assumes that the crossword grid is a map.

When I'm sitting at my wife's computer (which faces East), the tower on the grid leans to the left (North). Sitting at my own computer, it leans closer to South. Why were people so fussy about direction yesterday, while today, they automatically assume West is to the left?

Actually, Pisa, Italy doesn't have the only Leaning Tower. There's also one in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. We have admired the view from the top at least twice and never bothered about which way it leaned. We have visited the one in Italy just once (didn't go up; it was closed). We never knew, nor cared about which way it leaned.

Z 10:10 AM  

Hand up for getting the theme at (LAD) TACO SAL. Nifty. Two writeovers, ENOKa to ENOKI and ACTED Bad to ACTED BIG. Otherwise pretty easy solve, especially when you can pop in the first three letters of the other themers.

@Muse has already won the comments, so your daily Elvis Costello and not really a (LAD) POWER BAL but a funny cover.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

@ghthree - in case you were asking a serious question instead of simply being a Rexite:

Ellen S 10:36 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle and the guest blog post. Speaking of OMG, my aged contemporaries all use LOL in texts (those who can figure out how to text ... on a smartphone .... where all you have to do is type) and emails. My 25-year-old granddaughter has always used “haha”. Moral of the story: if you want to be hip, stop trying to be hip, AIGHT?

Flying Pediatrician 10:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Hey, there, "aight" kinda rhymes with "white" - which y'all prove yourselves to be today!

kitshef 10:39 AM  

@ghthree - it is pronounced sort of like ah-ITE, so rhymes with blight.

ghthree 10:43 AM  

@Joseph Smith:
In my years of writing and debugging (and documenting) computer code, I have encountered AND gates and OR gates. The former has a TRUE output if and only if both inputs are true. The output of the latter is true if and only if at least one of the inputs is true.

I have also encountered NAND gates and NOR gates. The negated versions of AND and OR.

And don't get me started on negative logic (TRUE is a more electrically negative voltage) versus positive logic (TRUE is an more electrically positive voltage). The editor of one of my books insisted that only positive logic was legitimate. We almost came to blows over this.

Fortunately, just before press time, our company came out with a negative logic machine. Realizing that all schematics would have to be re-drawn to accommodate the change, he agreed that negative logic was acceptable.

BTW, like Sir Hillary, I loved the clue for OPEC.

Karl Grouch 10:50 AM  

Puzzle-wise I tend to agree with Sir Hillary.
Content-wise I take today's exercise more as a tribute to Horace Greeley, this autistic figure of American history, a universalist,abolitionist, utopian socialist of a publisher (the NYT at least owes him that) and "failed" politician.
Also, I'd like to point out that Spaceship Earth, before becoming a disney attraction used to be conception of the world we all should know the existence of. Adlai Stevenson, (another political "failure") addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 1965 said:
"We travel together, passengers on a little space ship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave—to the ancient enemies of man—half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all."
I also recommend Kenneth E. Boulding's " The Economics of the Coming Space Ship Earth" in which he advocates the transition from "cowboy economy" to "spaceman economy".

David 10:51 AM  

Hello out there in Whitelandia! "A'ight" is a elision of "all right" (as in "sounds good") which arose in Black communities some time ago and has worked its way into your world (or not) through Hip Hop, movies, and TV. As anon points out above, it happily (for today) rhymes with "white", not "straight". Heavens to Betsy! It must be excised from the puzzle!!! Not.

Roo Monster 11:06 AM  

Hey All !
Mixed feelings. Although the theme was kinda nifty, some of the fill wasn't worth it. AIGHT, e.g. @ghthree, as @Crimson Devil 9:50 said, it's a contraction of 'alright' pronounced like 'eight' but basically with a silent A. Or, you can separate the pronunciation as A'IGHT, which defeats the purpose of shortening it in the first place. Whichever, bad fill.

LAID IN is way ODDly clued. Who knew North Dakota had an OIL BASIN? SSSSSSS.... No. DECOCT is obscure, too. IN PHASE. Just too much TOO, IMHO. OMG.

Guess what? To whomsoever tracks the Egyptian Gods (of course I forgot, shot memory and all that), we finally got AMEN RA! Is this the first time this year?

'Nother (keeping with the A'IGHT-ness) 16 wide grid, in case you missed it. Cool idea, but seems could've been cleaner fill. Two cents...


John Hoffman 11:23 AM  

I don’t understand DEA. Is it the “arm” of the government dealing with drug injections? That seems far-fetched.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

Thanks, David. One of the fun things of doing crossword puzzles is to learn something new, not just accessing stuff I already am aware of. re theme: As an old baseball fan, the familiar Greeley quote and all the LADs made me think at first this was going to be an homage to the Dodgers; scoreboard LAD, who "went west" from Brooklyn 60 years ago! Nope!

Tim Aurthur 11:39 AM  

For a moment I wondered how Def Leppard wrote the music for Powerball ads, and how they came to be hits.

OISK 12:19 PM  

Awful. Perhaps once in 6 months I just give up, but this was one of those. WAY and OMG? I have no idea, and because I had SLAM instead of SLAP, I had no shot at the Super Bowl ad. Didn't know Verne Troyer either. Power ballad?? I got it, but ??? Never had a taco salad either, but I guess that one is fair.

OMG means "no way"?? I guess, maybe...but next to each other in the same area as Verne?

No way.

jb129 12:20 PM  

Got "go west young man" & finally got the theme, but it wasn't satisfying for me. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

I thought of it as the DEA taking needles, along with drugs, away from dealers.

Masked and Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Cool theme idea. fave themer was LAD SUPER BOW, cuz it still looks like a maybe viable phrase [an "IN-PHASE phrase", if U will]. LAD SUPER BOW sounds like an archery rating for a young William Tell, say.

Hey, lookee at all U get, with this primo puz …
1. 16x15 grid. More for yer money.
2. GLOP. Any grid with GLOP in it is hard not to luv.
3. LAD ARM ORC. Secondmost fave themer. All solid words, even tho a dash limited on makin sense.
4. ROOMTEMP & TWISTTOP. fave fillins.
5. DVD-VIDEO. Learned somethin, here. Thought the V in DVD was already yer "VIDEO" part. [Actually, it is … but DVD-VIDEO is an official in-phase phrase, anyhoo.]
6. Superb weejects [ssstaff pick: SSS].

Desperate-soundin/lookin/smellin moment: AIGHT. M&A is a NOOB to this out-phase phrase. honorable mention to ACTEDBIG [Better clued as: {What Tom Hanks did in a 1988 film??} ].

Thanx for the fun, Sam EZ lad. [Took @Muse's advice, and leaned east, like the tower of pisaitaly.]

Masked & AnonymoUUs


OffTheGrid 12:33 PM  

DNF here. I blame it on the BOSSA Nova.

BarbieBarbie 12:45 PM  

Joining the chorus of fans of AIGHT and refuting the idea of "cultural appropriation" because that means an assumption that the NYT "home culture" is... what... a bunch of middle-aged white males?? Nevair.

@David, "Whitelandia..." HAR!

Personally I think Rex's rant would have been about including crystal METH in the puzzle. Not only a nudge nudge wink wink to drug abuse but also truncated slang, un-clued as such. But that's just me.

I got so snarled-up by today's trickery that I went way past my average time and then came here to see the puzzle described as Easy. SO deflating. Here's how bad it was: I noticed the LAD missing from ARMORCLAD and I also noticed that other chunks were missing from the backs of the other themers-- then I noticed that those chunks were each grafted onto the front of the previous themer... and I was all done and thinking about why a circuitous path like that would be described as Going West and I NEVER SAW that they were all LAD until I came here! So, finished the puzzle, but still counting a giant mental DNF. [crimson face]

Great writeup, BTW

Joe Bleaux 12:50 PM  

AH ITE ("All right")

AH I TEN ("All right, then")

Harryp 12:53 PM  

@Dr.Haber 9:20, I also parsed it as POWERBALL AD,and wondered why they had to sell people on buying multi-million dollar tickets!

Unknown 12:54 PM  

These heavy-lids were delighted with your bushy-eyed commentary. Please visit again. N

Bagelboy 12:58 PM  

Nice idea. Mixed on the fill. hated LAIDIN. tough in the SE, with VERNE, ANIMA, OMG/WAY.

Roo Monster 1:02 PM  

Grew up in PA, where school always started on the first Wednesday following Labor Day. Awesome when the 1st of September started on Tuesday, because Labor Day would be on the 7th, giving an extra week to the inevitable!

Here in Nevada, school this year started August 13! Yowza! What a gip of a whole month!

Adults always say "These arethe best years of your life" when you're in school. I can see the point of that somewhat, but I'd rather be out myself.


Hoboken Mike 1:06 PM  

Of course there's an I'm it. It's what everybody tries to say first after someone says let's play tag

Teedmn 1:20 PM  

Like @Nancy, after getting the revealer, I was expecting the theme answers to go right to left, or at least part of the answer. When LADARMORC went in, I was wondering if CROMRADAL (think "comrade") meant fraternal, as knights might be(?) but after espying ARMOR, I figured out the theme which helped in the rest of the solve.

And like @kitshef, I don't think anyone ever says "I'M IT". Who wants to volunteer to be it? And if someone is stupid enough to ask, "Who's it?" you aren't going to answer, "I'M IT", you're going to tag the idiot while they're standing there all ADDLEd.

Anyone else, off the LAD of 60A, think LADpolitica? It would have fit, if I had been foolish enough to SLAP it in.

AIGHT. I had to look it up to see what it represented. While I often marvel that I can hear someone say "'ow know" for "I don't know" and understand what they're saying, I can't imagine ever saying "all right" without an R sound. As a texting shortcut, I can (sigh) see it but in spoken English? Uh-uh.

Sam Ezersky is a talented and creative constructor. I did raise my eyebrows at the 62D and 63D cross-reference pair, which struck me as strained but otherwise this was a nice Thursday puzzle.

And I really like the clue for OPEC, "Grp. that's well-financed".

Doc John 1:28 PM  

Nice writeup today!
In following up on an earlier comment: to be clear about NOR- it is valid computer code and evaluates to true only when both items being evaluated are false. Pretty much the opposite of AND.
My only real nit with the puzzle was DVD VIDEO, as has also been pointed out above.

Matthew G. 1:42 PM  

Liked the puzzle. If you do a quick Google Images search for “dvd video logo,” you’ll see a logo you’ll probably recognize unless you’re so young that you only remember Blu-Rays. Definitely a thing, a brand, even if the V was redundant.

Things that threw me: never heard the expression “in phase”; where I come from kids rushed to say “Not it” when tag was played, and nobody would say “I’m it”; and finally I think of a TACO SALAD as a salad with pieces of taco broken up and mixed in with the lettuce, but served in an ordinary non-edible bowl. But those are all personal quirks causing slowdowns on my part. Loved the puzzle and theme.

Anonymous 2:43 PM  

the blog author is brilliant

L 3:04 PM  

The theme answers make zero sense. This is terrible. I figured them out easily but assumed I was off...since the answers make no sense. DECOCT is just wrong on so many levels.

Gerry Kahle 3:43 PM  

Doesn’t the “V” in DVD stand for “video”?

Davis 4:22 PM  

The ‘V’ in “DVD” originally stood for “versatile”, not “video”. For a brief while you could occasionally find music recordings in the DVD-audio format—I think that typically got you a 5.1-channel audio version of an album. (I actually owned a DVD-audio version of a Flaming Lips album at one point.)

Rainbow 4:25 PM  

From Collins dictionary:

A DVD is a disc on which a film or music is recorded. DVD discs are similar to compact discs but hold a lot more information. DVD is an abbreviation for 'digital video disc' or 'digital versatile disc'.

Blue Stater 6:50 PM  

Unspeakably bad.

JD1863 8:00 PM  

loved it

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

Greeley did not originate this quote.

DigitalDan 8:36 PM  

"IN PHASE" is a term extracted from physics or electrical/mechanical engineering, where it's a super-common technical term.

Shawn Vondran 10:00 PM  

Proud NU Faculty member here reading your blog entry! Go Cats!

Paul Plotnick 8:12 AM  

1. Got the theme - finally, and finished.
2. Aight? Please - no more of this.
3. I'm it? Not it.
Usually don't like gimmicky puzzles - I'm a VERY senior citizen - maybe the oldest one on this board? But I don't want to go back to the days of Three-Toed Sloth and Cuckoopint.

Walk Away Renee 1:32 PM  


OlyL 2:29 PM  

Because I had “Lanky” at 69 across, I thought 39 down might be be “Acted Yin”. Sorted out my mistake with ladsuperBow. Then looked up Yin and Yang only to discover that Yin is the feminine. Won’t make that mistake again.....

Unknown 5:49 PM  

Wouldn't that be awight?

Burma Shave 9:44 AM  


For your FLINGS, ALL LEGGY gals are IDEAL,
for a YOUNGMAN or NOOB TOO be rocked,
ANDSO you HAD better get LAIDIN the deal,


spacecraft 11:33 AM  

I didn't like it. Themes where the completed grid contains strings of letters that don't make sense AS WRITTEN are not my favorite. It took a long time to see that LADTACOSA meant anything. Once I got the "McGuffin," it WENT from too hard to too easy.

BTW, WENT was almost my undoing. Never hears the term power ballad; to me that seems self-contradictory. Aren't ballads supposed to be...well, not "powerful?" Anyway, the problem was caused by having LAID up instead of IN. So I had _EPT. KEPT or WEPT? POKER or POWER? But took one's turn can't be WEPT...I stared at this thing for some minutes before catching that goof at 23 across. Damn Japanese mushrooms.

There were some leaks in the fill, too: SSS! Searching for a DOD, I had to go with IAMALI MacGraw. Bogey.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Megan and Tristan completely failed to explain the gimmick with any kind of coherence. Hey, we're not all Mensa types who can read your thoughts. It's not enough to simply reveal the answer if the answer is already a jumble.

crabby 12:18 PM  

@anon 11:51 - "theme answers all end in LAD, which has been transposed to the beginning of the clue (the lad moved west...get it?)"

What more do you want?

Diana, LIW 2:28 PM  

Yeah I got the "trick," but I wouldn't call it a "theme. Agree with @Spacey's first paragraph for my general review.

Lady Di

rondo 3:47 PM  

Choppy solve, got the revealer then HAD enough fill to get the SUPERBOWLAD, finished in nanoseconds after that.

Shout out to the VIKES, who more or less suck this year.

Some of the “personalities” on the local sports talk station use that AIGHT thing from time to time. I thought they had stolen it from the legendary Herb Carneal who *always* said it (AIGHT folks . . .) when returning to the mike in the 7th inning to finish Twins games. That dates back to the 1960s.

LaVERNE Andrews, one of the Sisters, from Minnesota. Singing yeah baby.

Advice from Mae herself: “GOWESTYOUNGMAN.”

rainforest 4:13 PM  

I have to say this was an excellent puzzle except for AIGHT (ugh). That entry chewed up 40% of my precious nanoseconds - @M&A.

I got the first three themers without really understanding the "theme". I didn't see anything going West until LADTACOSA when it finally hit me that LAD (young man) went West. A true Aha moment. Every other answer was just fine with me except, again, AIGHT which was not AIGHT. No one speaks that way unless their mouth is full of GLOP. Long, long time accepting that one. VERNE was a guess, but it unlocked the SE for me.

Good theme, excellent theme revealer, and nice construction...except for AIGHT.

Tom M. 5:43 PM  

Is every SUPERBOWLAD "famously expensive"? Would never have guessed that Def Leppard"s many hits were POWERBALLADs. Isn't that an oxymoron?

This puzzle AIGHT my lunch.

thefogman 6:01 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 9:11 PM  

It took a while but I got it. I feel like I've seen this gimmick somewhere before. Had to use a DABBA correction fluid or two in a few spots. Doesn't matter. I enjoyed it. Thank you Sam!

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