WEDNESDAY, Jun. 11, Daniel Kantor (GRID GREAT GRIER)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Relative difficulty: Super Easy

THEME: LIE-ABILITY (62A: What 17-, 23-, 37- and 51-Across may demonstrate?) - theme answers are commonly told lies

Despite its manifest cutsiness - what with the made-up word and all - I really liked this theme. WON'T HURT A BIT is jarring in its lack of an initial "THIS," but otherwise, the theme is very smooth. I DIDN'T DO IT is the catchphrase Bart Simpson accidentally invents during a Krusty the Klown skit in the episode "Bart Gets Famous" - the catchphrase propels him to superstardom before leaving him a laughable has-been shortly thereafter (this is a fantastic bit of self-reference on the part of "The Simpsons," as the show's own early fame was propelled by similar, stupid Bart catchphrases like "Ay Caramba!" and "Eat My Shorts!" and "Don't Have a Cow, Man!").

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Prankster's denial ("I didn't do it")
  • 23A: Doctor's assurance ("Won't hurt a bit")
  • 37A: Gift recipient's declaration ("Just what I wanted")
  • 51A: Debtor's avowal ("It's in the mail")

I finished this puzzle in just over four minutes, without really trying. Felt much more Tuesday than Wednesday, and was probably the easiest Wednesday I've done in recent memory. No misdirection, lots of gimmes. Check out the large volume of common crossword fill - just a sampling:

  • AIDA (2D: Opera set along the Nile)
  • SNERT (13D: Hagar's dog)
  • TARA (26A: Olympian Lipinksi)
  • AJA (30D: Steely Dan album of 1977)
  • EERO (35D: Architect Saarinen)
  • OTOE (67A: Siouan speaker) - WHOA ... "Siouan" has four consecutive vowels. Freaky.

One of the newest hot bits of crossword fill is WIFI (49D: Internet cafe offering). Like ALITO and OBAMA, it is sure to appear frequently for years to come. WHOA is about the last one you'd expect to pose a problem in this puzzle, and yet it's the only one that I had to make multiple passes at before I figured it out. This puzzle has KILN (14A: Where firings occur) and OAST (28D: Brewery fixture) (a rare oven twofer), and, just a few days after the 40th anniversary of the RFK assassination, ROSEY Grier (33A: Grid great Grier), who was just feet from Kennedy when it happened.

Le Rest:

  • 5A: Academy newcomer (plebe) - one of my least favorite words. It's like something you'd call a very nerdy extra terrestrial.
  • 10A: Shelter array (cots) - wanted DOGS
  • 21A: Dernier _____ (latest thing) (cri) - "CRI" literally means (not surprisingly, perhaps) "cry" or "shout"
  • 29A: Sled pullers (team) - nice little deke here, as you go looking for the terminal "S" that never arrives...
  • 31A: Bygone muscle car (GTO) - I do so love any clue that has "bygone" in it. A klassic krossword klue word.
  • 43A: Org. with an "edu" address (sch.) - one of my least favorite abbrs., yet I got it instantly today (doubted it, briefly, because of the whole WHOA issue, but stuck with it anyway). A SCH. is where DEES get you 1.0 (45A: They're worth 1.0)
  • 61A: Enterprise Klingon (Worf) - make me think fondly of my wife, who watched "TNG" back in the day (before I knew her). I've never actually seen her watch any "Star Trek" episode, but everything "TNG" makes me think of her anyway.
  • 8D: Mediterranean capital (Beirut) - sadly, I never associate this city with the Mediterranean, largely because the Mediterranean conjures up images of placidity and temperateness and abundance, while BEIRUT I know largely from war footage. In my mind, it is uniformly brown and in ruins.
  • 40A: Sub's weapon, perhaps (ICBM) - had the "C" and could think only of "ECHO" ... "Can you attack something with ECHOlocation technology ...?" No.
  • 63D: Writer Beattie (Ann) - I know her only by name, and only because I used to be such a huge Raymond Carver fan, and her name seemed to come up a lot whenever I read about him.
  • 64D: Restaurants competing with Mickey D's (BKs) - this is a horrible answer and a horribly written clue. "Restaurants" is in the proper plural, but "Mickey D's" ... is that supposed to be how your write the plural? Or is that a singular? And has anyone ever used the "word" "BKs" in a sentence? "We've opened five BKs in Uruguay this year!" Huh. Maybe.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS a reader picture of 15A:


ArtLvr 8:37 AM  

To me, a smooth, neat puzzle -- no Moet moments! There were places one could go wrong, of course: if the herb at 1A didn't leap to mind, one might think "mace" but SAGE soon came from the downs; if the clue at 10A was open to several ideas like "tins" for shelter array, COTS was also clear from crosses... If one thought "near" for close by, it had to be NIGH; steed stopper might have been "rein" but came out WHOA. Fabricated could have been "faked", yet crossed EYES made it FALSE, and "in pen" wasn't going to work with EIEIO, so IT WAS -- IN INK!

The longer theme phrases leaped out with only a few letters in place, and it was amazing to see a related word tucked in by each -- CRI on top of WON'T HURT A BIT, TABOO below I DIDN'T DO IT, JUST WHAT I WANTED crossed by TO DIE FOR, while IT'S IN THE MAIL and the punny LIE ABILITY sandwich the perfect answer FALSE! Superlatively clever...

Pairs here and there were pleasing too: SAGE and CINNAMON, GLIB and PAT, NLER and TEAM. KILN and OAST, and more hot spots BOSNIA and BEIRUT. Then there were GTO and AUTO, STAR with Latin relative ASTOR, ARS with a differently-clued ARI, TATA near a TARA which wasn't Scarlett's home, BOWS TO with SHRINE, EPOCH and AEONS, plus ENTIRE opposite our friend ET ALIA (and the rest of the things).

My new words for the day: AJA and WORF, and whew, the heat wave's broken. Most enjoyable construction and results, and that's the Truth -- thanks, Daniel Kantor!


pete1123 8:40 AM  

Does anyone else have a hard time keeping EERO Saarinen, ERNO Rubik, and ENZO Ferrari straight? When ever I encounter one of them, I put down the "E", mutter under my breath, and move on to the crosses.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

I have been solving the puzzle daily for six months or so. As a relative newcomer, I generally add only a few comments. Today, however, I have a very strong opinion about the puzzle, and am moved to comment further than is my norm.
Let me begin by writing that I did not have much trouble solving this puzzle. If anything, I feel that it is an easy Wednesday puzzle. My problems with this puzzle start with the theme answer. “LIE ABILITY.” Yeccchh. This is not a word. I assume that it’s meant to be two words. I also assume that it’s meant to be clever. Perhaps I shouldn’t assume so much.
Apart from the theme answer, I thought much of the fill was weak at best. EIEIO and NLER are disappointing fill for a NYT puzzle in my opinion. I also feel that there are too many gimmes for a Wed. puzzle. Hey, most of us love to see our friend SNERT, but when he’s included with Marissa TOMEI, ROSEY Grier, etc. much of the challenge leaves the puzzle.
As this is a forum for opinions, I wanted to share mine today. I just feel that this puzzle didn’t have much interest. I expect a little more of a challenge on a Wednesday. I also stick almost exclusively to the NYT because of the quality of the puzzles. Today, I feel a little let down.

Parshutr 8:44 AM  

Just boring. I've heard all the lies, and it wasn't JUST WHAT I WANTED this morning. I keyed in EENIE instead of EIEIO, but then ARI (not ben Canaan for a change) set me straight.
But I'm just grouchy today.

Unknown 8:46 AM  

Like Rex, this one was super easy for me and nary a stumble. I had to think a bit about how 1.0 = DEES, but I spent some time teaching and the quest for the perfect 4.0 came back to me. With grade inflation a D is the new F. AEONS looked odd at first and Orange's survey gave me ININK quickly. My last entry was EYES thinking it could have been exes.

Mr. Kanton is a fairly new constructor and his puzzles have been modern and fun. I enjoyed this one. At this point, MTWT are doable for me in the under ten minute mark. I am looking forward to the day I can say that about a Friday. Maybe it is psychological, but I haven't come close.

dk 9:04 AM  

JUSTWHATIWANTED and NIGH time as well: confirmation that the answer is ININK.

LIEABILITY is todays favorite. Agree with rex and phillysolver respectively and respectfully, that AEONS and BKS are wierd.

Now a question: I am researching the use of Second Life as a vehicle for fostering innovation and I would like your opinions and any experiences you have had in/with Second Life? Please respond via my email link on my blog. Rex said this was ok and I think that individuals who blog and do puzzles online will have insights others may not. And, I respect the opinions of those that post here.

Thank you in advance.

Orange 9:23 AM  

Rex, nobody's going to say "We've opened five BKs" if they're corporate. "Mickey D's" is a colloquial version of "McDonald's"—no plural. Imagine, if you will, a cohort of inebriated frat boys hankering for burgers in a town with multiple fast-food franchises. "Yo, we're going to Mickey D's. You want anything?" "Nah, I'm a BK man. Flame-broiled, dude!" (Or so I imagine. I don't actually know anyone who talks that way.)

I will grant you that BKS works way better as an abbreviation for books than the seldom-pluralized Burger Kings.

SethG 9:46 AM  

I finished in the same minute as Rex. Definitely for the first time ever--it was about a minute faster than I've ever done even a Tuesday. Though I'm still at the point where I need to get lucky and have everything fall into place--if I weren't so familiar with the I DIDN'T DO IT boy surely everything else would have been a skosh more difficult.

Anyway, other than finding it Monday-like I liked the puzzle and the theme, just don't have much to say about it.

Ladel 9:51 AM  


you are perfectly normal. I have been doing the NYT puzzle for a very long time and there are certain clue answers that I just block on...period. No analysis, no deep reflective, insight no aha, so that's my problem, I just never remember them, and if I were a bit more OCD I would write them down and keep them handy for ready reference, but I don't, I just don't care enough.

JannieB 10:00 AM  

Ok puzzle today - theme was okay but overall, it was too easy for a Wednesday. I'm off-line for a week. Planning to do some serious eating and wine tasting in San Francisco and Napa Valley. Rex, based on your recommendation, we're dining at Bix tomorrow night. Hope it's as good as you remember. Later!

alanrichard 10:16 AM  

I got Mary Astor immediately and the rest just flowed, maybe 10 minutes. The theme was quick although I never heard of LIEABILITY???? I couldn't fit explorer into 4 letters so I put down auto for Lasalle or DeSoto - which is a certain way to date show your age. Almost as good as telling what animal year you were born in according to the Chinese Calendar.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  


mine is 'Bergman role in Casablanca'. I can never remember if it is Ilsa, Ilse, Elsa, or Else? I put in the L and S and hope the other letters will come from the opposite direction.

archaeoprof 10:30 AM  

"LIEABILITY" made me smile, even though the rest of the puzzle didn't seem too hard. Don't think I've ever seen "CINNAMON" in a crossword before.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

As to BKs, there's a De La Soul song called "Bitties in the BK Lounge." My only stumble was INTACT for unbroken instead of ENTIRE. Got it from the crosses at N and T and felt good about it but then nothing else worked. Hate when that happens.

ArtLvr 10:38 AM  

p.s. Wishing for more of a challenge today? Try the one in the NY Sun by Patrick Blindauer...


Pythia 10:41 AM  

This was fun, if super easy. Lots of theme material -- a good thing. Lots of crosswordy fill which couldn't be rescued by the clues -- a bad thing, but the grid was constrained by the amount of theme material, so all is forgiven. LIE ABILITY --loved this groaner! -- was the last to appear and made it all worthwhile, especially after the big wince at WONT HURT A BIT. Learned one new factoid -- WORF.

Three for three this week. The stars must be in alignment.

Margaret 10:44 AM  

Easy, yes, but also fun for me. Like Rex, I had a small quibble with the inconsistency of the theme answers (some had a subject to the sentence, some didn't.)

The ICBM clue made me think of Bill Clinton working the Merle R. puzzle in "Wordplay."

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

I also breezed through this one - faster than Monday or Tuesday this week.

I do wonder sometimes how to judge whether the puzzles are getting easier or if I have done so many that it becomes second nature, so its only easier to me.

What would my time have been two years ago on this same puzzle?

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

The fast food experience has become a cultural phenomena. BK is spoofed here

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Agree completely that LIEABILITY was indeed a "groaner". I also have to say that if you are going to have an answer be your clue to the theme of the puzzle, shouldn't you have to make it a real word?

The only stumbling block for me was 45A "They're worth 1.0" (DEES) and the crossing 46D "List ender". I wanted to put ETCETERA (or ETC ETC), but that didn't fit/didn't work with crosses. I had never heard the phrase ET ALIA before. Also, couldn't come up with anything worth 1.0 besides DEGS (as in degrees, each worth 1 for a maximum of 360). DEES, as in the grade, just didn't come to me.

I thought it was a pretty easy puzzle for a Wednesday, but not too bad overall. It's hard to find fault with a puzzle that has WORF in the grid. :-)

Ronathan :-)

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

As I finished this one my first thought was "Boy, Rex is going to rip this one apart." Esp. with a pun to tie up the theme. I guess you're in a good mood today Rex.
Hawaiian also has four vowels in a row.
NYT sports page featured Moises Alou. As a non-baseball person I only know him from x-words and was surprised he was a current player.
I also have a special place in my brain for all of the E names. But that doesn't mean I always get them straight.
Judging from what I'm reading everyone must be in a good mood. I, however, was bored with such an easy puzzle. Maybe I'll get a proper a**-kicking tomorrow to prepare for Fri-Sat.
Two Ponies

Shamik 11:00 AM  

@jane doe: agree with you on loving LIEABILITY. It actually caused me to truly smile and not just inwardly smile. As for it not being a "real" word? Many times a theme has non-real word answers. It's just one more.

Got a little stuck on REIN vs. WHOA even though REIN fit nothing. And good to see TROUT. Since the husband is spending the summer working as a wrangler...guiding fisherman by seemed nicely familiar. Was 39 degrees at 8 a.m. and going up to 59 with snow expected in the high country for those who don't mind weather reports. BRRRRRR again.

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

@shamik Who's getting snow? After coming down from an atrocious 5-day heat wave here in DC, it's hard to imagine anybody having snow.

ronathan :-)

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

Easy-ish puzzle today for a novice solver like myself. I can see how it is notably easier if you know SNERT, EERO, and OTOE without blinking. On the plus side, this was the first time I was able to throw AJA in without hesitation! My crossword-fu is growing in power.

Like Rex, had a few seconds of trouble with WHOA, mostly because I had it spelled WOAH, which gave me a small brain fart when it came to SCH. Other than that, fairly easy and a cute, enjoyable theme.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

Yeah, nice and easy for a Wednesday, and not entirely free of misdirection: "one may trip on it" had me looking at L?D and briefly wondering how one might trip on a lid before realizing its a 6D:LSD trip.

Last week, ETHNIC CLEANSING; today, 8D:BEIRUT, 27A:BOSNIA clued as a war site, and 40D:ICBM...

Anonymous 10:59 beat me to Hawaiian. Other common examples are aqueous, queue, obsequious, onomatopoeia,
sequoia, and one can even find some less-common examples with more than four such as miaoued, with all five common vowels, and queueing. For more exotic specimens, TRY GOOGLING THIS; of the hits for "four consecutive vowels", this page is particularly impressive.


Shamik 12:00 PM  

@ronathan: NW Colorado

Pythia 12:01 PM  

ronathan and shamik:

Maybe I'm missing something, but ...

LIEABILITY -- one madeup word -- is not the intended expression of the pun. It needs to be parsed as two words -- LIE ABILITY -- which, of course, are two real words.

RodeoToad 12:11 PM  

The picture of Worf made me think of the ASCAP discussion yesterday. I think he's wearing one.

Ditto for me on not being able to keep my EERO's and ILSAs, et. alia, straight.

No problem with LIEABILITY except it would have been cooler if it had been a deeper pun--i.e., if all the clue answers had had a true liabilty aspect (I don't think "WONTHURTABIT" quite qualifies, though IDIDNTDOIT does.)

On a similar topic to words with lots of consecutive vowels, it occurred to me the other day that I couldn't think of a word with higher consonant-to-vowel ration than "strengths." Anybody got one?

Bill from NJ 12:30 PM  


All those 4 letter E guys: I enter E**O and let it go at that

No fun today. I do use time, but only as a benchmark. Phillysolver, I also use 10 minutes MTWT as a guide to progress but time is not what I strive for with these puzzles. What I enjoy is is the game of puzzling out the solution.

It has been a while since I failed to finish a Friday or Saturday but once the game is afoot, Time goes out the window.

Does this make me a bad guy?

I like the fact that Orange is out there for us, but I'm more in awe of her than in competition

PuzzleGirl 1:07 PM  

Fun, easy puzzle today. I don't have a problem with the four-letter-starting-with-E guys, but the four-letter rivers mess me up every freakin' time. I had NEAR for NIGH at first. And for some reason wanted crossed TOES instead of EYES. What the heck is That all about? I would have liked IRON Man to be clued as Cal Ripken instead of a comics hero. The LSD clue made me laugh. Gotta run -- I have a bunch of checks I need to put in the mail....

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

I think Sandy has good taste in TV shows.

Someday I will remember that AJA is a palindrome. I got the first half right today.

Spencer 1:50 PM  

A nit: I have visited many breweries, and I have never seen one with an OAST. MW Online defines oast as "a usually conical kiln used for drying hops, malt, or tobacco". Thus, a maltings might have an OAST and a hop grower might have an OAST, but the brewery (at least these days) buys its hops and malt already dried, and has no need of an OAST. Can we lose this clue, please? It's a gimme for me by now, but it still grates.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

I think I finished this one faster than Monday's. Too easy for a Wednesday, methinks.

Doug 2:30 PM  

Does anyone else frequently encounter convergences of Xword fill and real life? I get it all the time! I was doing the puzzle last night and watching Seinfeld, and when I got the TOMEI clue, George was fantasizing about Marisa Tomei and she popped onto the screen. Yesterday I was practicing some Clapton tunes and doing the puzzle for a break when ERIC Clapton pops up. I was meeting a few OTOE friends to build an OAST that's made up, but you get my drift.

George NYC 2:49 PM  

I mistakenly tuned to the Regis show this morning, and they had some kind of phone-in contest and the question was what 19tk film did Marisa Tomei win her oscar for...(Cousin Vinny)

chefbea 2:59 PM  

I agree that this was a super easy puzzle. Wanted white lies to be the answer but it just wouldn't fit. Lie ability was fine.

Thank goodness the heat wave is over. Think I will make a trout stuffed with sage. It's to die for

JC66 3:05 PM  


not to mentIon EIEIO (-:

JC66 3:09 PM  


From my Hangman days:

Abyss, rhythm

jae 3:09 PM  

Very easy. NEAR for NIGH was my only glitch. My problem was hesitating frequently because I thought the answers were too easy for a Wed.

You might want to add EERO's dad ELIEL (although not 4 letters) to the list of E names to tuck away. He shows up on occasion.

JC66 3:10 PM  

BTW, I obviously cheated a lot
at Hangman.

pks 3:56 PM  

Smooth-talking: glib
Too glib: pat

I thought "pat" meant somewhat glib rather than too glib.

imsdave1 4:03 PM  

@pks - that was the only clue in the puzzle I wasn't crazy about. I can imagine someone saying 'Isn't she glib', but not 'Isn't she pat' (unless you're talking about Julia Sweeney).

Joon 4:06 PM  

like others, i found this puzzle super-easy, but i think a lot of that was the convergence of these crossword specials, none of which i would have known a year ago:


plus the even equally crosswordy AEONS, AIDA, TOMEI, EERO, SERTA, EIEIO, and ETALIA (usually seen as just ALIA in the grid). anyway, with all those gimmes, there was simply no challenge to this puzzle; but for a newcomer i can imagine this being hard enough for a wednesday.

BT 4:19 PM  

Z = Fast Car = Ferrari (EEZO)
No = Rubiks Cube? No!! (EENO)
R is close to S (sarr.. (EERO)

jae 4:50 PM  

@bt -- I believe the Rubik's Cube guy is ERNO.

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

I'm no Rex and so... I love, love, love the word PLEBE (and plebeian)
I love the word MEW as well. I was thinking Arby's (YDS? What does that have to do with roast beef?)
I solve all my crosswords IN INK and therefore believe 66A should read ONLY way to solve a crossword, but that's just me and I'm young and ignorant...

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

Sux to be me.

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

Wade, if Polish and Czech can qualify I bet you would find your holy grail.

I'm sure that other Doug was pleased with 66A today, in reference to hockey puck Doug's synchronicity comment.

chefbea 6:09 PM  

@trout stuffed with sage who are you? that was my recipe!!!!

Anonymous 6:15 PM  

You weren't imagining it...according to the cruciverb database CINNAMON only used twice:
Robert Wolfe Sun Feb 3, 2002 (Sn?)
and by THE Brendan Emmett Quigley almost ten years ago in the NYT on Thurs, Nov 19, 1998.

Love that database!

I now feel compelled to check some of my entries against the database to make sure they are acceptable for a Monday.
Occasionally I will stumble upon something that hasn't been used before, but not bec it's inappropriate/unacceptable, it's simply never been used to my surprise.
e.g. I had MANDOLIN and was shocked it wasn't in there...
but, as with CINNAMON, prob more the odds are at 8 letters it's simply a longish entry so less likely to have come up.

I too cannot see ICBM without thinking Bill Clinton/Wordplay which is where I learned the word.

I do think, as Joon pointed out, the perceived easiness of this puzzle has more to do with our getting acclimated to words like AJA (new to me this year) or OTOE with an E
than to not deserving to be a Wed.

The theme seemed Monday-esque, but with five themed entries and a nice pun, I think that's what bumps it to a Tues or Wed...tho I've never been totally clear about that!

And Artlvr pointed out a ton of "pleasing pairs" that seemed quite clever.

I'm not just saying this as a Monday constructor, nor is this addressed to Rex (as obviously I'm addicted to this blog and it's all about the subtleties of the puzzle),
but I do believe this new-ish emphasis on solving speed does cause a lot of solvers to miss a lot of the subtler touches of a puzzle.

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

I suspect newbie crossworders salt away their (our) crosswordese in batches of words that they (we) somehow remember and respond to together. New words would have to "hang on" something in a memory, even (or especially) something made up for the occasion. Many comments here have constructed such images for those who check in (chefbea's menus, stories from real life, even simple repetition of new words, like NABE a while back). Ernes in aeries on crags, likewise; or today, Otoes making oasts, reinforced by KILN in the grid on the same day...

I know for a fact that I know more about AIDA from xwords than from anywhere else, a little jumble of images that seem to stick reliably together (and pleasantly enough that I might one day seek out the thing itself). Sports fill, though, almost always eludes me. Maybe if I remember it as "sports fill," not "trivia about sports figures and games about which I know nothing," I'll do better. OREL fits in that category I think, ditto "diamond data" and I believe I learned Mickey Mantel's # (seven) from a crossword. Maybe even TARA Lipinski? Brian somebody...oh but it's sketchy out there in sportsland.

Memory and creativity are amazing things--and what crosswords do with them is interesting too. At some level it seems to me the crosswords are "about" themselves, and how we play with them--which is one reason this blog is so great.

BTW: snow in Laramie, Wyo., today. 11th of June. Probably not the last.

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

I suspect newbie crossworders salt away their (our) crosswordese in batches of words that they (we) somehow remember and respond to together. New words would have to "hang on" something in a memory, even (or especially) something made up for the occasion. Many comments here have constructed such images for those who check in (chefbea's menus, stories from real life, even simple repetition of new words, like NABE a while back). Ernes in aeries on crags, likewise; or today, Otoes making oasts, reinforced by KILN in the grid on the same day...

I know for a fact that I know more about AIDA from xwords than from anywhere else, a little jumble of images that seem to stick reliably together (and pleasantly enough that I might one day seek out the thing itself). Sports fill, though, almost always eludes me. Maybe if I remember it as "sports fill," not "trivia about sports figures and games about which I know nothing," I'll do better. OREL fits in that category I think, ditto "diamond data" and I believe I learned Mickey Mantel's # (seven) from a crossword. Maybe even TARA Lipinski? Brian somebody...oh but it's sketchy out there in sportsland.

Memory and creativity are amazing things--and what crosswords do with them is interesting too. At some level it seems to me the crosswords are "about" themselves, and how we play with them--which is one reason this blog is so great.

BTW: snow in Laramie, Wyo., today. 11th of June. Probably not the last.

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

In ink? Damn posers!
Right, Rex?

Ballpoint, Ohio

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

On the theme of strange concentrations of vowels, can anyone name the English word with all 5 vowels in order (6 if you count"y")?

Anonymous 6:49 PM  

Evil Doug, only you have the power to save me from chefbea1. I shall swear my everlasting soul to you, Evil Doug.

imsdave1 6:50 PM  

@anon 6:40 - facetious(ly)?

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

There are two:

Sage Trout

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

"Right, like I'll ever stop drinking," he said facetiously and abstemiously.

Chip Ahoy 7:13 PM  

Lieability. HaHaHa. That makes me happy.

Anonymous 7:14 PM  

There are some phrases that show up in NYT crosswords which have all the vowels in order: HALF SERIOUSLY, GAME MISCONDUCT, LATE NIGHT HOUR, TAKE IT OUT, WANDERING SOUL, WATERING TROUGH.

Leon 7:17 PM  

Nice puzzle Mr.Kantor.

SNERT can also be found diagonally in the bottom middle section.

Anonymous 7:29 PM  

Now THAT's what I'm talking about...totally Where's Waldo/Where's SNERT moment!
Good eye!!!!!!!!!!

chefbea 7:43 PM  

@leon where is snert diagonally? cant see it. maybe i've had too much sage stuffed trout

fergus 8:08 PM  


If you're touring around San Francisco and the Napa Valley, I'm sure there are quite a few Rexians who could offer helpful suggestions.

In a sort of northern California way, I can offer a bit of guidance in a ecasual, circumstantial way. Meaning something like if you're at the Ferry Plaza and don't know whether to go to Oakland or Marin for a good dinner, that would depend on a bunch of hoc considerations. I'm a pretty keen geographer of the region.

chefbea 8:14 PM  

@leon never mind. I found the diagonal snert

Michael Chibnik 8:36 PM  

I thought the theme was fine and like lie ability. But this puzzle had way too much crosswordese for my taste. Here's a list: plebe, kiln, taboo, cri, gto, rosey, ars, dees, ari, otoe, aeons, aida, lsd, snert, aja, oast, btus, ots, eero, icbm, yds, serta, eieio

I know that people will disagree with me about some of use and understand that a certain amount of crosswordese is necessary of make a puzzle work and admire the ability of constructors and so forth. But still...

Doc John 9:34 PM  

Speaking of convergence/synchronicity- yesterday at the airport I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that looked just like the album cover of AJA (all black with just the red and white. I had that same t-shirt back when I was in college (Steely Dan fan that I am). Then AJA shows up in the puzzle today and to top it off, Rex puts a picture of the album cover in the blog (even though the word has shown up countless times without being featured so prominently).

The puzzle tripped me up some, though. I had "cadet" for PLEBE and "near" for NIGH and thus put in "AMX" for GTO (and thought the constructor was pretty cool at that point). Some others had the potential to trip up but I lucked out on the first try.

harley 9:54 PM  

love this blog - fantastic! my eleven year old son and i just finished the crossword with your help - a memorable bonding experience, we'll be back tomorrow! thanks and bravo for your cleverness!

Anonymous 10:06 PM  

My first Wednesday finish as a NYT newcomer. I'm kind of discouraged Rex found it to be one of the easiest "in recent memory" but happy nonetheless!

Anonymous 10:38 PM  

Oh, the horror! Oh, the humani--

foodie 11:57 PM  

Checking in late here, and having trouble keeping track of the trouts and Snerts... But I wanted to say to Rex that Beirut, when not being bombed, is totally beautiful. It has some of the best beaches in the world, and some amazing vegetation. The campus of the American University of Beirut (AUB) is lush and lovely, and you look out and there is the beautiful sea.. Near the center of campus, there is a fantastic banyan tree that rivals the ones you see in Hawaii. Kids love to swing from its hanging branches. Sadly, under that tree is a plaque in memory of a past president of AUB (Malcom Kerr) who was was murdered by terrorists... So, in the end, it is very sad, but the beauty makes it all the more poignant...

Anonymous 1:20 AM  

Syzygy is the best hangman word. No true vowels and only one of the hegemonic RSTLN quintet, plus a Z. If/when they guess Y and see the evenly spaced triumvirate, their expression is one of shock and awe.

Anonymous 1:21 AM  

Also crwths has an undefined consonant-to-vowel ratio, even if you count Y.

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