Tycho Brahe contemporary / THU 11-1-18 / River past Orsk Orenburg / Idiom meaning guaranteed / Bond Girl in 2006's Casino Royale

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Constructor: Matt Ginsberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:10)

[note, there should be "OI" in the square at the end of GALILEO—not sure why the software didn't know that]

THEME: flim-flam — theme answers are two-word phrases where the two words are only one letter apart; instead of appearing as two words, the answer appears as one word, and where the one letter is different, both the letter from the first word and the letter from the second word technically work as answers in the down. Thus:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Sound of little feet = P(I/A)TTER ("pitter patter") w/ SLIT or SLAT(2D: Louver feature) 
  • 22A: *Tycho Brahe contemporary = GALILE(O/I) ("Galileo Galilei") w/ LET ON or LET IN (13D: Admitted)
  • 33A: *Mr. Moneybags = (F/C)AT ("fat cat") w/ FLAW or CLAW (33D: Scratch, say)
  • 37A: *Branded candy with multicolored beans = (J/B)ELLY ("Jelly Belly") w/ JET or BET (37D: Take a flier) 
  • 40A: *Woman's young lover, in slang (B/T)OY ("boy toy") w/ BLOB or BLOT (26D: Ink stain, e.g.)
  • CH(I/A)TTER ("chitter chatter") w/ MICRO or MACRO (48D: Prefix with economics)
  • AS GO(O/L)D ("as good as gold") w/ GOOP or GLOP (55D: Sticky stuff)
Word of the Day: MARE (60A: Sea of Tranquility, e.g.) —
The lunar maria /ˈmɑːriə/ (singular: mare /ˈmɑːr/) are large, dark, basaltic plains on Earth's Moon, formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. They were dubbed mariaLatin for "seas", by early astronomers who mistook them for actual seas They are less reflective than the "highlands" as a result of their iron-rich composition, and hence appear dark to the naked eye. The maria cover about 16% of the lunar surface, mostly on the side visible from Earth. The few maria on the far side are much smaller, residing mostly in very large craters. The traditional nomenclature for the Moon also includes one oceanus (ocean), as well as features with the names lacus (lake), palus (marsh), and sinus (bay). The last three are smaller than maria, but have the same nature and characteristics. (wikipedia)
• • •

At first this looked like a kind of puzzle I've seen before. I mean, it *is* the kind of puzzle I've seen before—the "either letter works" or "Schrödinger"-type puzzle—but I'm not sure I've seen the Acrosses work in quite this way before. Weird that it's both letters in the Across (one in first word of the answer, the other in the second) but either/or in the Down. This was what kept me from seeing the theme *at all* at first. I could see there were asterisked clues, but I didn't know why they were asterisked, and in the (several) cases where one word alone worked perfectly well in the Across (PATTER, GALILEO, CHATTER), that was the letter I went with in the Down, so the whole idea of there being *two* letters that worked ... escaped me. Now I could see that it needed to be JELLY BELLY and BOY TOY, but for those, I just thought the first word was being left off for some reason, and a later revealer (where is the revealer?) would tell me what was going on. I finished with SLAT, LET ON, CLAW, BET, BLOT, MACRO and GLOP and no clear idea of what had happened. I just knew that the software didn't give me a Happy Pencil. Which seems unfair, as none of my answers were wrong. Anyway, I went poking. It was only MICRO / MACRO that was bugging me. Then I thought, "oh, CHITTER CHATTER..." Then I saw the whole gimmick. It's a fine gimmick, it's just that PATTER GALILEO and CHATTER worked fine on their own as answers to their clues, so seeing continuity among the asterisked clues (esp. without a title / revealer) wasn't easy. The aha moment came very very late (post-puzzle) and was muted for that reason.

Not much of genuine difficulty today, though there were some slow spots. Speaking of spots: ADS. That clue is so corny, I kind of like it (7A: Them's the breaks!). I had a hard time getting the D-cross, DOGGEREL, because I wasn't sure if the "writing" on the "greeting card" came in the card, or if the sender wrote it herself. I guess DOGGEREL works either way (it's just ragged-ass, often comic, verse). I wrote in OREL for URAL because I don't know ... four-letter Russian things? ... (10A: River past Orsk and Orenburg). What even is OREL besides a Hershiser. Ah, a Russian city on the Oka River. Good to know, even though I've already forgotten it. I don't know Britishisms that well, but ROTTER somehow came to me ... only it came as RUTTER, which, you know ... it felt apt. I don't know Bond Girls because no one should know Bond Girls (except maybe Ursula Andress) and I would be Thrilled if there were no more damned Bond Girls in crosswords ever again. The very phrase is gross. Also, EVA GREEN has been in a lot of stuff, including "Penny Dreadful," for which she got a Golden Globe nomination, so ... come on. Only other place I struggled was with POLO, and that's just because I read the clue as [Explorer whose name is a *port*]. Me: "POL-...???! Is POLE a port? Did he explore the ... North ... POLE?"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 5:36 AM  

Such a cute puzzle! Very much enjoyed the theme.

Anonymous 5:48 AM  

GALILEO GALILEI is missing from the theme answer list.

barryevans 6:24 AM  

Just brilliant!

Lewis 6:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:33 AM  

Wow, this was a brilliant puzzle! Sometimes, brilliant puzzles aren't much fun to solve, and the constructor comes across as showing off. But this one, to me at least, was great fun.

The puzzle is brilliant because the theme is original (something never quite done this way before) and making a Schrodinger puzzle is, IMO, very hard to do, and Matt pulled it off smoothly and with aplomb. It was fun due to clever cluing (ESTATE, PLOW, ADS, COLLEGE), the aha at getting the theme, and at trying to crack theme answers once the theme was figured out.

I also learned MARE and the phrase "take a flier", two pieces of knowledge I believe are keep-worthy.

So I'm awed and I've been entertained and enriched. My world is brighter and better. Thank you so much for this, Matt!

JB in VT 6:38 AM  

Huh. I put in the first letter of each, intending to circle back to figure out the funny business...but I got the victory message without any double entry letters. Then I needed a good 10 minute WTF dim-witted stare before the penny finally dropped. Pretty clever but it had nothing to do with my solving experience.

P. 6:56 AM  

It was 15 years ago, but maybe this is the similar idea Rex was thinking of: https://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=8/21/2003

Katy 6:58 AM  

Interestingly, the app gave me the congratulations even though I never figured out the theme. It seems to have accepted my ignorance and given me a pass for one right answer per themer. Only a BPLUS effort on my part.

John Hnedak 7:05 AM  

Very enjoyable puzzle with only one flaw, and that's "mare." Mare is just latin for sea, and the Sea of Tranquility is also Mare Tranquilitatem, presumably it's original name. So there no stand alone "mare," like, "what's that mare over there called?" Otherwise, great.

I, too, missed Galileo Galilei. It is harder to find asterisked clues in Accross Lite. I thought there was one in the upper right, couldn't find it, and then in the end forgot about it.

jberg 7:18 AM  

Total failure on my part. I blame duos at 35D— just couldn’t believe it was wrong, and it blocked everything. Gah!

DeeJay 7:21 AM  

Solving on an Android, I got the "Congratulations " but had only one letter in the rebus squares.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

Great theme, lots of themers, challenging puzzle, and some tasty long downs (PILLAGER, APTITUDE, DOGGEREL). In the running for puzzle of the year.

RavTom 7:49 AM  

It was fun to do with pen and paper, too.

QuasiMojo 7:56 AM  

The four-letter Russian thing Rex is always ARAL or URAL, c’mon!

This was a marvel to behold but I could not accept LET ON as “admitted” unless it’s a bus or a plane, I guess. So I gave up there and came here to find out why it would work. And I see I was just being lazy. Late Halloween shenanigans to blame. Hehe.

I also had DAD for moneybags, because well my own was, to me. Lol. That gave me DRAW for Scratch in Scratch Pad. Got stuck there too.

Never heard of Jelly Belly (are those the ones Reagan kept on his desk in the Oval Office?

I’m in awe of the construction. Bravo!

mmorgan 8:00 AM  

What @Lewis said *and* what @Jberg said -- duos led to disaster!

Hungry Mother 8:17 AM  

Very cool theme. I was a little slowed by calls to Comcast and one of my doctors, but I got there.

Amy Yanni 8:19 AM  

May the rest of November be as entertaining and clever!

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

I was not on the same wavelength as the author. Hardest Thursday for all my recorded times and was Sunday level difficulty. I figured out the theme quickly but just found the fill uninspiring and dull. There is only one good Schrödinger puzzle and that's the famous one. Every other one has sucked. Not a fan here.

pabloinnh 8:45 AM  

It's not often I feel more clever than OFL but have to say I got the theme immediately at PITTER/PATTER SLIT/SLAT, which made the rest of the puzzle that much easier. Still a couple of -ese terms I need to learn, ERTE being one of them. Never was big on designers.

Also didn't know EVAGREEN and assumed it was a take on a New England pronunciation of EVERGREEN. I know those Bond girls had some weird names, so why not?

Terrific Thursday. Congrats to MG.

Bob Mills 9:01 AM  

Brilliant puzzle. I'm proud to have finished it and caught the trick.

Bryce 9:04 AM  

This was fun, but I was fully convinced the website app was broken and not accepting some form of the Schrodinger answers. I had to sleep on it until I realized in the morning that the cross of SLAPIN/TIELESS was supposed to be SLAPON/TOELESS. Both of these seem totally legit to me as alternate answers (add to in haste = slap in, like sandals = tieless).

FrankStein 9:05 AM  

Erté was born in Russia as Romain de Tirtoff. So “one-named French designer” is a demi-vérité.

John Morrison 9:07 AM  

I didn't love the theme.

Suzie Q 9:16 AM  

Fun, fun, fun.
Nice clues for Polo and plow.
Hectored and doggerel are words you don't see every day.
For a minute I couldn't remember who Tycho Brahe was and I was afraid we had a Star Wars character.
We sure get a lot of mileage from The Thin Man. Four letters? Hmm. Could be Nick, Nora, or Asta.
Mr. Ginsberg is a pro and his experience shows.

Z 9:16 AM  

I think the cat is dead. This is definitely impressive, but I didn’t grok the full thing until coming here. Nifty and mostly crud free. B PLUS is too low, I give it an A Minus.

Two minor things bugged me. First, ENRON Field is still the Astro’s home, it just has a different name these days (Minute Maid Park). Their former home was The Astrodome. That didn’t slow me down, but both eyebrows were arched as I filled that in. The second is RETAGS. Whether Facebook or sale price is the clue, the whole RE part is an unnecessary contrivance. The first time it appeared it was ugh worthy. The ughiness is increasing exponentially.

The last two puzzles I’ve done, in two different venues, have had “Bond girl” clues. The other was less sexist since the answer was a character, not an actor, but I’m pretty much with Rex here. Bond girl clues are symptomatic of the whole boy clubbiness in crossword editing.

Finally, from yesterday, I commented last night, but not everyone will have followed up. Apologies for not being clearer. It was the editors who said one thing that later turned out to be untrue. Whether this was due to changed circumstances, an ill-considered “white lie,” or just standard operating procedure, what boggles my mind is the artlessness of the whole thing. I see why a different meaning could be taken, but that wasn’t my intent.

Austenlover 9:22 AM  

I just assumed the answer was the second word of each phrase, so I filled in PATTER, BELLY, GALILEI, etc., and got the happy pencil when I was done. Never figured out the rebus thing, which is sad because I love a good rebus.

Gretchen 9:39 AM  

Very clever theme! Lots of fun this morning. Thanks, Matt.

GILL I. 9:52 AM  

Maybe you're thinking of the J.Farrell puzzle that ran on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1996 predicting the winner of the election. Will Shortz said it was one of the best puzzles ever. I had to look up the date because I actually remembered the puzzle but didn't remember when it came out. I learned all about Schrodinger and his cat.
This was cool beans. I knew I was in for an either/or but dang, I searched hi/low for a revealer. I had to finish the puzzle to really see and appreciate the conceit. The puzzle wasn't that hard for me but after I finished, I kept thinking how difficult it must have been to construct.
I see that I didn't earn a B PLUS. My 10D remained A PLANE rather than UP LINK. I won't bore you on how I can't spell GAL[a]leo/lei. Ooof. No matter, it didn't take away from my enjoyment.
I always wondered how the Spaniards managed to wrangle a PEPE from a Jose. I dated a PEPE for many year and I asked him to splain. He couldn't.
The only little wince came from HECTORED. Would one say "he HECTORED me to death" ? and who is this Hector and why was he so bossy. Ah, the English language - all sorts of Schrodingeresque.
I like your 1a clue for ESTATE, Matt G. Thanks for the fun.

Normal Norm 10:07 AM  

Cool rebus for our Thursday. As good as gold was the hardest one.
Is a male feminist a meminist? Whatever you call it Rex is one.
Slamming the iconic Bond girls is par for the course. Hard to believe I know, but some men still like to look at sexy women.
He did use a feminine pronoun to describe his writer of greeting cards but but but that's sexist to assume only women send greeting cards. Shame on you.
I'm disappointed he missed his chance to rant about 25A. Don't you think women also have courage? C'mon Rex, you don't get stuff like that handed to you on a platter every day.

Whatsername 10:12 AM  

I found this easier than the usual Thursday and finished more quickly than normal. I realized there was a theme because of the asterisked clues but had to come here to find out what it was, so kind of underwhelmed at that point. Can’t help but wonder if I am the only one who thought Sea Of Tranquility was the name of a horse. If not, it would should be.

Roo Monster 10:13 AM  

Hey All !
I think the ole brain took leave of me today. I did figure out the Rebus/Schrödinger thing, but got stuck in three separate places in puz. As in totally stuck, reading and rereading clues, staring at white spaces, with absolutely nothing coming to mind. Had to cheat (as in literally come here and look directly at the fill) in N Center, SW and SE corners. Yikes.

Never heard of HECTORED in SW, pIniOn for TIEROD mucking up the SE, and that ADS clue, plus DOGGEREL unfresh in the mind, confounding the N Center. So a miserable fail and large DNF here.

Theme was good, though. And that I did figure out. So brain not totally dead!

Funny misread on 44D, Girl in the farm. Har. Had EWE, then SOW, until read clue correctly.

Really UNMANned me today.


GILL I. 10:14 AM  

If you want to do J. Farrell's 1996 puzzle, go to Google and type in Schrodinger puzzle. It will send you to Deb Amlen's site. She leads you to the puzzle so that you can open it. Something extra for everybody to help get over the sugar rush......

Nancy 10:30 AM  

Wonderful puzzle in which I wasn't at all sure what was going on. And I also had to cheat to finish the SW. Once I looked up SAMOA, this impossible section filled right in.

So now, what was the BOY (which should have been BOY TOY) thing all about? (All the other theme answers had sailed right past me, with the exception of JELLY something-or-other, of which I'd never heard. But PATTER, CHATTER and GALILEI had seemed just fine to me. And I'd forgotten to look back at AS GOOD and CAT, which I'd forgotten all about while being stuck in the SW.)

I re-read the entire grid. "I'm not going to Rex until I figure this out," thought I. And so I did. My "Aha Moment" was after-the-fact, but it was a Biggie. "Wow, this is great!" I thought. Kudos, Matt. These must be the hardest puzzles in the world to construct and they're also ones with a real pay-off for the solver. I suppose I was a bit of a SCHMO to take so long to see what was going on and I certainly was a SCHMO for having to cheat. But what a terrific puzzle!

johnny stocker 10:32 AM  

Interestingly, I had a mistake that kinda ties into the theme that it took me absolutely forever to find. I had TIELESS/SLAPIN at 5Dx14A, which actually both also work as answers (although the real answers are clearly more real things)

Painful Paul 10:38 AM  

Where I’m from an 83 is a B. 87-89 is a B-Plus. Maybe that varies from state to state and school district to school district.

GAR 10:46 AM  

Like Bryce, I also had "slap in/tieless" rather than "slapon/toeless" at 14 Across. I think this could/should have been another theme answer. I also had a bit of a hiccup with Across Lite. When I didn't get Mr. Happy Pencil, I checked my grid against Rex's. It was the exact same (except I had both letters at the end of Galileo/i). I then ran a Check All Letters and it said that the "a" in square 58 was wrong. I deleted then reentered the "a" and Mr. Happy Pencil appeared. Strange.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

I had to look it up but it was Jelly Belly that was Reagan's favorite brand. Evidently you can still buy them in presidential jars.

Nancy 11:03 AM  

I didn't know there was such a thing as "Puzzle of the Year." But if there is, let me echo @kitshef and say that this puzzle really deserves that accolade.

pabloinnh 11:07 AM  

Hola @GILL I-There's a wonderful origin story for "Pepe" as a nickname for Jose. Since Jose was the husband of Maria but not the father of Jesus he was referred to as the "padre putativo", initials PP, pronounced of course in Spanish as "Pepe", and there you have it.

On the other hand some say it's the Spanish form of Beppe, which is the Italian short form of Giuseppe. I like the PP idea myself. Of course I always liked Paco for Francisco too which leads to Frank Franco, who deserved all the ridicule we can invent.

Nancy 11:11 AM  

I just read the constructor's note on Wordplay. Will changed many, if not most, of his clues, evidently. Matt's original clue for 60A was "What Mrs. Ed would be." I love that!

CaliMarie 11:12 AM  

When I was in college we didn’t have plus grades. An 89 was just a B. Those hurt!

Moly Shu 11:18 AM  

Got it at B/TOY and BLOB/T. Cool concept. Mostly liked it, could have done without UNMAN and MARE, the latter is a female horse, only. Well, in my parimutuel existence anyway.
Say what you will about @Z. I’m not going to bash him or defend him, I’ll only tell you what I know to be true. He pays his debts and he doesn’t complain about it. The fireball is delicious btw.

@Roo, heading your way today for a week of nonstop gambling. Please keep the weather nice and the In-N-Out open late. Maybe I’ll run into you.

Mike Rees 11:20 AM  

This landed in expert-level challenging territory for me, I was sure I wouldn't finish. Critical errors early on slowed the solve tremendously. I had OPENTOE for 5D, NOLOSE for 29A, HOLY for 28D, AWAKE for 47D, SOCIO for 48D (those two combined left me sctatching my head for 5-6 minutes in the SW). Also, to my knowledge CHITTER/CHATTER isn't a thing. Chitchat, sure. Adding the extra letters for some obscure variance on the word just for the sake of symmetry ruined this one for me. Finished it Joyless.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Let me guess without looking - Rex has a problem with "unman."

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Yet another horrendous "rebus" puzzle and this one worse than most. One of the reasons I enjoy crosswords is their fixed structure; not only does this one use two letters in one square, they have to be read sequentially to make sense. Sorry, to my mind, this is just one big cheat. The rules say one letter per square, and the answers have to read properly across and down. I hated this, can't you tell?

Carola 11:47 AM  

A fun one. I never gave a second thought to PATTER, until I got to JELLY BELLY (I love how the BELLY is right in the middle of the grid), and went back to add its PITTER. Favorite: AS GOOD AS GOLD. But - DNF due to having TOY from crosses and never looking at the clue. Very NEATO construction.

So much else to like - even, or maybe especially, the bad EGGs - the ROTTER and PILLAGER, he or she who HECTORED. Also loved DOGGEREL. GALILEO GALILEI over UNMAN reminded me of his being forced by the Church to recant his heliocentric theory.

Banana Diaquiri 11:58 AM  

GALILEO GALILEI over UNMAN reminded me of his being forced by the Church to recant his heliocentric theory.

OK, I'll pile on... just go read Lewis's "The Fifth Risk" to see anti-science and corruption playing out in real time here in the USofA.

jb129 12:06 PM  

I knew it was "rebus Thursday" but I didn't it - wish I had.

Marc 12:07 PM  

Solved it without ever fully realizing theme. Thought it may be a rhyming issue (FAT CAT, JELLY BELLY BELLY, BOY TOY), but that did not work with GALILEO or PATTER. Just continued to work until getting hung up in the SW with ROTTER, MARE and HECTORED not knowing if it was MiCRO or MaCRO. Did it online and was also surprised to see it say Congratulations even though I did not have a single Rebus. Only place I noticed during solving was FLAW or CLAW could work but then, because I was still thinking it was some kind of rhyming theme at that time, had CLAW and CAT. So I don't think a Rebus was necessary to complete the puzzle as much as it was just saying "Hey, two answers will work here!"

Roo Monster 12:22 PM  

Just give the money you've set aside for gambling to me. Either way you'll probably lose it! 😀
Seriously, good luck, have fun. Maybe we can grab a drink or something while you're here, and I can give you my Chess Schrödinger puz. Submitted it, but rejected by WS, first because he said the corners were too closed off, and Why Chess? was his other kvetch.


RAD2626 12:25 PM  

Terrific puzzle. Very clever. Enormous fun. PEERS IN could have fit as PEEpS or PEEkS but across word did not of course work. Got gimmick with JELLY BELLY and marveled thereafter.

Agree with @Z that ENRON Field clue is slightly off but no problem.

Ando 12:29 PM  

That's funny, I got through the whole thing without realizing that both letters worked in the downs. Brilliant trick, totally lost on me.

Masked and Anonymous 12:55 PM  

Extra-puzzlin puz. Pulls yer brains out and stomps on em. Different, which I almost always like.

Kinda figured out the theme mcguffin in stages. Decided eventually that the puz wanted JELLYBELLY at 37-A, so wrote in a "JB" in the first square. Wasn't quite sure at that point how to handle the 37-D answer, if the Downs were doin the same kind of reuse of letters … BOBJOB? BJ-ET? Confused the M&A. BLOB/BLOT at 26-D eventually cleared that part up. Lost precious nanoseconds, tho.

Some great fillins [EGGPLANT. PILLAGER. APTITUDE. HECTORED. SPRANG. ETC.] and a dash of great desperation [UNMAN. RETAGS. TENACE.]

staff weeject pick: B-J ET. Primo weeject themer meat.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Ginsberg.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

p.s. Day-um! Had 111 trick-or-treaters, last night. Lost precious mega-candy.

Teedmn 1:07 PM  

As I filled in PATTER, I said to myself, PITTER PATTER. 51A was subvocalized CHITTER CHATTER. 40A was BOY TOY. By this time, I had circled the * clues so I knew where something was supposed to be happening. But I finished up and wondered if the alt letters not in the grid was supposed to spell something out. IICBILB not anagramming to anything...oh, MICRO economics works at 48D as well as MACRO.

So I got the theme. I just had to figure out in 37A and 22A where the Schrodinger letter was. Am I the only person on Earth (and probably the Moon's MAREs) who didn't know GALILEO's full name? Since only the J of JELLY could change in the downs, that had to be BELLY but like @Lewis, I didn't know the phrase, "Take a flier" as meaning take a RISK or BET. And the same struggle went on in 22A, where only LET ON lent itself to changing, hence GALILEI. This wasn't helped by my not recognizing the Tycho Brahe name. Could that be a rapper? So there's another rapper named GALILEO GALILEI? I am so ignorant sometimes, sheesh. Brahe is now looking familiar as past crossword fill, dumb, dumb, dumb.

Still, not a bad solving time for a Thursday at 10:32. Some interesting clues and a fun theme add up to fun for me. Though, per Matt Ginsberg's comments at xwordinfo re: alt clues for 60A and 61A, I'm quite sure I would have had no problem with MARE = "What Mrs. Ed would be", is "Tiller operator's drink" = TEA a reference to the Cat Stevens album "Tea for the Tillerman" or is this yet another blank spot in my knowledge base?

jae 1:19 PM  

My experience was very similar to @Rex's. Gotta like a double Schrodinger rebus.

BarbieBarbie 1:22 PM  

@Banana, thanks for the reminder-- been meaning to get the Lewis book. One of those ones that will take me forever to read because I'll be avoiding it. My consumption of escapist fiction will go way up until I get Fifth Risk done.
This puzzle took almost TWICE my normal time!! I got the rebus idea right away, but for some reason decided it should be the second word every time, and didn't get the Schroedinger aspect til coming here [red face]. I kept questioning myself on CHITTERCHATTER, because CHITCHAT, so I thought I was making it up. And I could NOT retrieve ASGOODASGOLD because even though that is definitely the phrase, I always shorten it to GOODASGOLD. So an entire quadrant remained white for a long, long time. Also, put me in the DUO camp. A really witty misdirect-- DUOS being ese and TWOS not so much.
I love this puzzle. Is it a coincidence that it runs around election time? Anyway, there's always an election somewhere, so: more, please.

Malsdemare 1:46 PM  

Well, of course I missed the Schrodinger part but I finished in good time and enjoyed the romp. I just figured you mentally applied the first part of the pair, entering the second. Largely that's because I had LETIN, so it had to be GALILEI. Yup, my bad, but still good.

To whomever provided the date for the 1996 election Schrodinger, merci! I've heard of it multiple times, and so I accessed it in the Times archive. That was fun!

Thank you Matt!

Anonymous 2:01 PM  


splain? Is that a little bit insensitive? stereotyping Spanish accents? Hmm...

JOHN X 2:06 PM  

This puzzle was great! I caught the theme early, particularly with a bunch of down answers that could be spelled two ways. I didn't even use the rebus feature, and I got a congratulations screen.

And then this review is awesome too, especially when Rex achieves MaximumRexness and goes off on Bond Girls! And then Z echoes in with the same! Ha ha ha! You two need to get laid.

JC66 2:13 PM  



OffTheGrid 2:23 PM  

Question re: 38D, Bond girl in 2006's "Casino Royale", Since Bond is a character, shouldn't the answer be a character and not the actress? It wouldn't work in the puzzle but is this a clueing glitch? BTW the character is Vesper Lynd. Thanks in advance for any comments.

QuasiMojo 2:27 PM  

@Gill, The Valley of Gwangi is on TCM again today. :)

Z 3:03 PM  

@OffTheGrid - “Bond girl” is a thing all on its own, so no glitch. You’re right about the usual parallelism between clues and answers, but if you google “Bond girl” you will find all kinds of information basically independent of the movies. Articles like “Who will be the next Bond girl?”

@John X - Hmmm, I don’t kiss and tell, but you might be surprised to discover that treating women with respect is better than those ads in the back of Playboy.

@Moly Shu - Long time. You’re not suggesting that you haven’t finished it yet?

Moly Shu 3:26 PM  

@Roo, 100% I want that puzz. Shoot me an email, and we’ll make it work.
Why chess? Why not? Har

@Z, mostly just lurk now, OFL sets me off and I try to utilize discretion. Burn on the inside. And no, it’s long gone as is its cousin. Shoulda said ‘was’

JOHN X 3:59 PM  

Best Bond Girl ever? Jill St. John! (though her character is kind of lame)

Best Bond Girl character ever? Pussy Galore! (did you even have to ask?)

Rainbow 4:30 PM  

I still can't believe they did that. P(ussy)G(alore) rating, say.

GILL I. 5:05 PM  

@pablo11:07. A loooong time ago I heard about the "padre putativo"....(sounds awful, doesn't it?), so I knew about the PP. The Beppe from Giuseppe is a new one. I like the putativo story better. (You had to know him!).
@Quasi 2:27...Yay. Let me know when you spot see me !!!!. I actually have a very worn VCR tape of "Gwangi" and believe it or not, we still own a VCR deck..... Thanks for the heads up. I think most of the people in that movie are dead now. cept me ... ;-)

Jules 6:24 PM  

I try not to comment on this site, but I feel I must to clarify something concerning yesterday's puzzle. I believe it was my puzzle that the editors were referring to when they told Bruce that they had a puzzle in mind For Halloween 2018. So his puzzle that ran in the L.A. Times yesterday was passed over, but when they recieved his "CRYPT" puzzle they wisely moved my puzzle to October 30th instead. Will Shortz I believe is owed an apology. I don't comment on this site for what I find to be its nit-picking and incivility. Great puzzle Bruce see you at the ACPT.

Z 9:06 PM  

Thanks @Jules.

Sunnyvale solver 10:45 PM  

Great puzzle.
Small complaint : Marco POLO was a traveler and merchant, but not an explorer.

John Hoffman 3:31 AM  

Impossible for me! I could’ve spent the rest of my life looking at this puzzle, but never would’ve guessed that more than one letter goes into a square. I really don’t belong here.


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rondo 10:35 AM  

Thank you JOHN X (and others) - @Rex and @Z need to reel it in on LOADS of subjects including Bond girls. Those guys are so far to the left of center that I want them to get off my side; they're the type ruining it for the rest of us. Check the current issue of the Atlantic re: the "sex recession". Bond girls have been a real thing since 1962. I've seen the last 23 in theaters (wasn't "old enough" for the first 3) and will continue to do so until I drop. And EVAGREEN? Yeah baby.

Fine puz with those letters by the TWOS.

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

Hear hear, @rondo! All Bond girls are by definition DOD-worthy, and today's is no exception. EVA, looks like you have the GREEN light.

I too wondered at first: where's the reveal clue? What's going to explain the *s? As I was laboring in the NW, it came to me: PITTER PATTER SLIT SLAT. Acrosses need both; downs need either. OK, if that's your trick so be it. This helped greatly elsewhere--but the puzzle STILL was Thursday-hard. LOADS of "?"-type clues to make the old brain do jumping jacks. Medium-challenging. Plenty of meat and potatoes for this meal.

In fact, I got stuck in the north on account of ASP/EPIC. Certainly made sense...but I had to give it up. Them's the breaks for ADS. Wow. That's a Saturday clue, that one. As in commercial breaks. I get it, but it nearly derailed me.

END-ing up in the SW, the theme entry was strange to me. I know chitchat, but never heard it with the -TER endings. Figuring it all out resulted in considerable triumph points. EGGPLANT is a color? If you say so. Anyway, birdie.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

I'm pretty sure that a man can also have a boy toy.

Burma Shave 12:01 PM  


CHITTER CHATTER over TEA makes one duller,
to get AHEAD, LETON that you’re bold,
and show that LADY you’ve APTITUDE with color:


thefogman 1:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 2:09 PM  

There's no need to be namby pamby here - so PITTER PATTER let's get at 'er:
This one is ASGOOD ASGOLD. I just loved this puzzle. Nice work Matt Ginsberg!

Diana, LIW 3:08 PM  

My kinda boy toy? A kitty who sleeps on my shoulder. Good boy! Bond girls - not so much. Saw a few in high school, but lost interest in that genre. To each!!

I gotta admire this rebussie puzzle - got it, mostly, and knew a rebi/bum was lurking.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 4:08 PM  

On the easy side after finding a foothold and getting the gimmick. Both took a while, and was glad to have the asterisks in the absence of a revealer.

Pretty much left the Bond movie scene post-Connery, so didn't know EVAGREEN. Cary ELWES was another unknown, and wanted AstA (took a flier on that one) before NORA (Myrna Loy, a favorite). Must apologize to each of these fair ladies.

A good puzzle, but as GOOD AS GOLD? Not so sure.

rainforest 4:18 PM  

Not "easy" - anything here, at least the bottom half. A lot of the difficulty was self-inflicted as I slammed down "minutia" for "small" talk resulting in a full stop and LOADS of ink-festering. Took a loooong time.

Re the theme: I of course noticed that it could be PITTER or PATTER, and entered the latter because of SLAT. GALILEO went right in, but later while dealing with me "minutia" disaster, I actually "saw" the adage as AS GOOD AS GOLD since it made no sense without both letters being used. That caused me to go back to previous themers and note the choices, check the crosses, and finally saw GALILEO/I. F/CAT followed shortly after.

Sort of an odd theme unless you consider AS GOOD AS GOLD to be a revealer. Anyway, quite a feat for the constructor even if it ate up my morning.

leftcoastTAM 4:21 PM  

Oops! Cary is a gentleman.

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