Gershwin musical of 1928 / SUN 1-24-10 / Han's hon / Valve in some fireplaces / Astronomer who lost part of his nose in duel / Heroin slangily

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Constructors: David Kwong and Kevan Choset

Relative difficulty: Easy

THIS GRID IS VERIFIED 100% CORRECT — please read my note to "Print Solvers" just beneath the grid — it explains the reason for the discrepancy between the on-line and print versions of today's puzzle...

See what the (empty) grid looks like in the print edition HERE

***[Print solvers: You have a different far SW corner — one that duplicates a word from elsewhere in the grid. That duplication was caught too late for the print edition, but was fixed for the online edition]***

THEME: "Abridged Edition" — fold the puzzle when you're done (a la the pictures at the end of MAD MAGAZINE — 83A: Publication founded in 1952 featuring artwork that does the same thing as this puzzle) to get other things that are folded, namely:
  • LAUNDRY (presumably excluding BED SHEETS)
Folding instructions are included as answers in the puzzle — 7D: With 14-Down, what to do on the dotted lines to reveal six hidden things that have something in common with this puzzle:


Those instructions were not transparent to me. It's just not clear what "lined up" means. The A and the B have to be made adjacent to one another (i.e. lined up *next* to each other) in the top row *and* in the bottom row. If you were lucky enough to solve the puzzle in print, then you had handy little dotted lines to indicate where the folds would have to go for the theme answer to reveal themselves. Without those ... whatever, I've read "MAD" before, so I knew how to fold it. I'm just averse to a. instructions as answers (about the least sizzling fill one can imagine) and b. convoluted instructions as answers. This is an immensely clever puzzle that was just OK to solve. Six things that are revealed through folding reveal themselves only after you are already done. So nothing really... comes together during the solve. Just fill out the oversized grid and then do the parlor trick. Luckily it's a nice enough grid. Pretty open. Some interesting answers. Nothing to write home about. I had a very stupid error – went with ÉTAGE at 59D: Tour de France stage (étape) and didn't even blink at the resulting AGT cross. I might've blinked if I'd Read The Damned Clue — 79A: Quick on the uptake (apt). Bah!

Word of the Day: James FLORIO (21A: Former New Jersey governor James) —
James Joseph "Jim" Florio (born August 29, 1937) is a Democratic politician who served as the 49th Governor of New Jersey from 1990 to 1994, the first Italian American to hold the position. He also served as a member of the United States House of Representatives for 15 years between 1975 and 1990. (wikipedia)
• • •

I think novelty grids are cute, but as one of tens of thousands of people who *pay* to subscribe to the puzzle on-line, I'm getting a little tired of puzzles in formats that the applet and solving software can't accommodate. Second one this week. I'm told something else is coming on Monday. Make the software more sophisticated, give me a prorated refund, or cut it out.

I don't have much to say about this. It was super duper easy. One noteworthy thing — the SE corner was just weird. Not bad. Just odd. Look at the clues. 131D: Astronomer who lost part of his nose in a duel (Brahe). 132D: Animal with four toes on its front feet and three toes on its back feet (tapir). Long clues with odd details. I got both easily, but for some reason found these successive Downs something akin to a mini freak show. Creepy — as opposed to ugly, which is what EBERT'S crossing NERO'S at the damned "S" is.

  • 1A: Letter-shaped woodworking tool (C-clamp) — flat-out gimme. A not uncommon answer. Not much out there in six letters that starts "CC-"
  • 11A: Inuit word for "house" (iglu) — once made a puzzle (forthcoming in a book) with this word in it. It filled me with shame. It was the one hideous flaw I just couldn't fix.
  • 32A: Only person to win Emmys for acting, writing and directing (Alda) — actually surprised there aren't more names on this list. I assume he got these all for "M*A*S*H" ... yes, although he also won an Emmy (acting) for "The West Wing"
  • 72A: Heroin, slangily (scag) — read this as "heroine" and thought "well *that's* not a nice name..."
  • 118A: Hanukkah serving (latke) — which raises the question:
  • 122A: 1950 Asimov classic (I, Robot) — and, with "MIB" (5D: 1997 Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones blockbuster, for short), another piece of the Will Smith corpus.
  • 4D: Some early New Yorker cartoons (Arnos) — more names with "S" on the end! I second-guessed this, figuring I'd confused the cartoonist with the river that flooded in the '60s. But not, his name is indeed ARNO. Peter ARNO.
  • 18D: Football Hall-of-Fame coach Greasy (Neale) — like EDA LE SHAN (86D: Eda who wrote "When Your Child Drives You Crazy"), a name I learned from crosswords.
  • 19D: Writers Bagnold and Blyton (Enids) — name + S times .. what are we up to now, four?
  • 48D: Valve in some fireplaces (gas tap) — perhaps the hardest part of the puzzle for me. Not hard, actually, just ... not a word I've heard before, and thus not an answer I trusted very strongly.
  • 50D: Han's hon (Leia) — Brendan Quigley turned me on to this 70 minute (!?) film critiquing "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" — there are oddly disturbing components to it, but overall it's pretty genius, and often LOL funny.
[Part 1 of 7 ... see the whole thing here]
  • 117D: Gershwin musical of 1928 ("Rosalie") — should have brought this up when I was discussing the odd SE corner. Never (or barely) heard of this. Needed nearly every cross, and just educatedly guessed the "S" (figured it wasn't "ROTALIE").
  • 124D: Skipjack and yellowfin (tunas) — for the ENIDS. They love TUNAS.
And now your Tweets of the Week, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:
  • @annaface The last 30 seconds of "Community" were AWESOME. Crossword puzzle ftw!
  • @grievance Finished my first ever Saturday NYT crossword. No Googling, no cheating! Would it be wrong to start drinking to celebrate?
  • @plannerben Is waiting for the Saturday crossword the way a puma awaits a sick antelope.
  • @heardatsbux "What's the active ingredient in marijuana? PCP?" -old man working on a crossword puzzle.
  • @le_ponch Doing the crossword. A clue is Haberdasher's rackful. Thanks to ICarly I know what haberdasher's carry. Haha
  • @EricTheActor Want interview in the NYTimes for using my FAKE name in the crossword puzzle. Using the word Midget is racist and someone should be fired!
  • @bukkhead Can I tell you something? It's really hard to do a crossword puzzle while listening to Frank Zappa's "In France." Just sayin.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


retired_chemist 12:16 AM  

Took me 3 minutes of checking to decide I actually had 7D correct. I didn't count that in my solve time. I couldn't parse ....SOAANDBARE.... readily, so I checked ALL the crosses several times. Then the light dawned...

A fun puzzle, although quite easy. Just time consuming because of the size. I well remember folding the MAD MAGAZINE pages...

lit.doc 12:27 AM  

‘Bout 11:30 CST, I’m at a dead stop with a red clock and SEN_ at 152A (last word of directions is ROU_), and Rex hasn’t posted yet, so just a brief postmortem.

“Atta boy!” to self at 14:20 when I saw the clue clue at 83A and instantly remembered Mad Magazine’s back fold-up flaps. Am now looking at six things that fold up. Got this far with only a few googles, and couldn’t have come close six months ago. Progress can be way ugly.

Warts. OOMO at first. Doesn’t help to know the answer if you can’t *spell* it! FAREWELL before SWAN SONG (close, but…), SUIS (as in “sui generis”, I guess) before SUCH. GUEVARA before HIDALGO, and COUNT before COMTE (reflex is to whine “no French cue”, but…).

If 139A wasn’t a gimme, I commend to your attention Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est [Pro Patria Mori]”. One time learning at its best.

Best of Show goes to 1D “B, essentially”. I’ll be curious to see how opaque this one was to non-musicians.

More after Rex posts.

Back at 11:15 CST. @Rex THANK YOU for posting so early!

OK, so I shoulda seen ENOW instead of ENOU (grad school, where are you when I most need you?). But—someone please help me out here, as google has failed me—WTF is SENS an abbrev. for? (I soooo hate when I have to ask questions like this, as the obviousness of the answer is always in direct proportion to the magnitude of my puzzlement.)

retired_chemist 12:30 AM  

SENS <= SENATORS, of which there are 100 (a century)

lit.doc 12:54 AM  

@retired_chemist, thank you so much. Seriously. Makes sens now. Of a sort. But, somehow, I can't even summon up a heartfelt Doh.

@Rex, thanks for the clips, most especially that hysterical Star Wars critique. I don't often comment on your embeds, but only because I usually post during the day and the school district's Big Brother filters block them.

Noam D. Elkies 1:01 AM  

Lovely concept and generally lovely supersized puzzle — thanks to David and Kevan [sic] and Will! Certainly no complaints about the purported lack of difficulty, nor about the origamization (it's the online subscribers who will have to print out the grid and literally cut it out :-), but I do wonder how come the print version I solved had the same answer for 67A and 135A. I could hardly believe it, but despite the crazy-looking OAA in 7D the duplication was undeniable. (124A and 135A were NAP and ALOE; alternative fixes are NAN/ALEA (as in iacta est), NAP/ALAE, and even NAP/ALOU, and xwordinfo confirms the new crosses ASTA, USTA, PAWER.) What was that all about? Along the same lines, the clue for 140D is clever, but should "red in the face" be in a clue when its usual meaning 104A:BEETRED (heh heh, he said "beet") is in the grid?

I like the clues for 7A:FONT, 30A:REDSEA, 45A:ORIGIN, 85A:ALPES (simple but nice, and also where the crossing 59D:ÉTAPEs are found — and there's yet more unusual French in 111A:COMTE), and for the Downs 11D: ITSELF, 12D:GROVES, 116D:BRR, 143D:CHI. (Hm, these clues start with "Times" and end with "X".) Not so happy with the clue for 1D:CFLAT— it's clever and concise, but one almost never writes C♭unless it's essentially different from a B despite the enharmonic coincidence. [An exception that comes to mind is harp music.] Led astray by 112D, guessing MILESWIM from the initial M; now I see that this is 1.4 miles short.

I don't mind 11A:IGLU, which apparently Rex deems ugli; we must tolerate even uglier short entries like 5D:MIB and 131A:BTEN. A different kind of ugliness is 128A:TERA — this is not a complaint but a remark that the prefix originates with the Greek for "monster", as in teratoma and teratogen.


P.S. The captcha I had to reproduce for "word verification" is "allis". Are we going to have crosswordese captchas from now on? 1:07 AM  

I thought this puzzle was quite difficult. Maybe because I am too old (74) to know about such things as Baio,scag, & any sports reference such as Ichiro and deke. What is deke anyway? But I think Rex Parker may have gotten that dreaded southeast corner wrong. A tot tender to me, a grandmother, means NANA. 124 across makes more sense as a NAP. Annd 126 down is POWER, aka motor-driven. Which makes 135 across a second ALOE (the first is 67 across). Hmmm?

Grandma Trish

retired_chemist 1:09 AM  

@ NDE - 67A - ALOE, 135A - ULEE. I don't see your problem.

Noam D. Elkies 1:37 AM  

@retired_chemist: see's post, or the NYTimes crossword blog. Evidently there was more than one version of this puzzle, and the one I (and Grandma Trish) had the double-ALOE bug. I see that the version Rex showed has a different SW corner (and presumably clues to match). The alternative corners I suggested were what I came up with before going to the blog.


P.S. To the same 151A:DEKE is an abbreviation for "decoy", and I don't think I've seen it outside of crosswords; and it's the SW corner that has the offending ALOE, not the SE that Rex remarked on.

P.P.S. "allis" must have been a coincidence: I now have a "toffem" captcha.

Betsy 2:42 AM  

But there is something created by the fold! The horizontal words come together to make a list of things that are folded:

I thought this was really clever, but I too wish there was a way to accommodate those of us that solve online.

retired_chemist 3:00 AM  

@ NDE - mystery explained. The version I had was the same as Rex's and the one on Orange's blog. Didn't check further....

batiza 3:03 AM  

Charlie: Peter said you blew a really big game once.

Gordon Bombay: Yeah, well, Peter's right. It was the last game of the state finals. We were tied - in the end of the third period. I get a penalty shot. I go in, I triple deke. I fake the goalie right out of his pads. The puck's headed in, and then... Clang! Hits the post. We lost in overtime. A quarter of an inch this way and it would have gone in. A quarter of an inch, Charlie.

Charlie: Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and you'd have missed completely.

Gordon Bombay: I never thought of it that way.

Ellen 3:08 AM  

The ALOE dup was caught too late for print, but was fixed for the online versions.

This took me 13:40 (paper) so not so easy, even for a 23. Maybe I can blame the slow time on worrying about how the heck we were going to produce this for online.

lit.doc 3:37 AM  

@Betsy, I solve online when possible. Checking Rex's blog when the puzzle has a cautionary heads-up as did this one is usefull--he's really on top of this stuff. Also useful is hardcopy. I printed the blank grid when Rex posted it, which put me on my guard, and then, when I had the grid mostly filled in, I printed again, which made the Mad Magazine/circled squares device visible.

Blackhawk 3:37 AM  

Ingenious puzzle, lot of fun to solve. Started slow but gathered speed and flew through the bottom half. Tons of proper names that were right up my cultural alley (Ichiro, Brahe, Eberts, Baio, Aretha, Xbox) made it easier than usual.

The fact that all the answers are things that are folded is beyond clever. Hall of fame material.
Bravo to the constructors.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:25 AM  

Amazing construction. Bravo!

One write-over: Working from the R in EBERTS, put in LEMUR before TAPIR (no knowledge of biology helped there.)

I did the paper version with the duplication of ALOE, and before coming to the blog I thought it might be a shout-out to a TV series with elerments in common with MAD MAGAZINE, 'Allo! 'Allo!

chefbea 8:07 AM  

What a great puzzle!!! and I didn't realize that all the answers are folded things . Thanks @Betsy!!

kept checking and rechecking aloe. Couldn't believe it was in the puzzle twice.

Couldn't figure out the A and B thing either. Almost turned red as a beet!!!

JannieB 8:45 AM  

I just don't care for post-solve themes. This puzzle, while a nice feat of construction, was a slog to solve for me. Wasn't a lot of fun, the circles made it difficult to see, and didn't seem to relate to one another. The fill was easy enough, just boring.

HudsonHawk 8:53 AM  

I finished with ROTALIE and didn't even notice until Rex mentioned it.

I folded the puzzle as instructed, but the KenKen became impossible to solve...

Ulrich 9:17 AM  

I had the print version and figured out the folding instructions before I was done, and they helped in finishing the SW corner--what 4-letter word can go before CHANNEL and PAPER? Best of all, the aptly placed ORIGAMI appeared in the abridged version.

Clever as the puzzle is, it leaves me not quite convinced: The clues do not work for the abbreviated words--or is laundry really served at Hanukkah? Or, conversely, the words outside the shaded (circled in the online version) rows are not abbreviated. I know, I know, satisfying these constraints is in all likelihood impossible, but still, one is allowed to dream...

I also know, pace Glitch, that it's boring to show one's captcha, but mine is "inpolito"--eerie after my rant!

Betsy the midwife 9:30 AM  

I usually do the Sunday puzzle on Saturday morning when the paper gets delivered. That is a boon of living in NYC. Puzzle was fun, I knew exactly what to do with Mad Magazine. The double ALOE, I thought ooh someone missed something. Now will go solve the other SW corner. Another two for one puzzle day for me.

MikeM 9:35 AM  

I prefer to solve the hard copy version, kind of old fashioned that way. I thought this construction was brilliant. I folded the puzzle early and did not see what the "Bridged" words had in common. Once I was done ..."AHA"... quite cool. Congratulations to the constructors. This is one of the best Sundays in a long time, Hall of Fame.

Smitty 10:11 AM  

@JannieB said it all. It was like Rex's star wars video -Special effects without much depth.

bigsteve46 10:11 AM  

I look at this as the type of puzzle that give crosswords and their devotees a bad name: loaded with 3 & 4 letter abbreviations and obscure (crosswordese) references. I am a 60+ puzzle aficionado, trying to interest my 22 y.o. daughter/architect-student in the fun of xwords. Puzzles like this will send back to soduku!

Dave in California 10:30 AM  

I liked that it was big, and figured the "busywork" would pay off with a really clever end result...and was a little disappointed that the new words that were spelled out didn't actually relate back to the clues. (Am I missing something?) And I KNOW my wife will be pissed that the endpiece of the magazine (I do the print version) is now missing. Who publishes a tear-out puzzle and puts an article on the other side of the page?

dk 10:32 AM  

err, in my dead tree version 124A is NAP and 124D is NANAS, although a tap may be a quick refresher and who knows tunas may be great tot tenders.

Same SE comments as our SOCIALCHAIR. Had damper for GASTAP, but I am old school.

Good recovering from a cold puzzle. I have many fond memories of MADMAGAZINE. We were not allowed to purchase it as mater and pater felt it would kill brain cells. They were right, but it was a great read. I still remember the Furd Foul Car and the extra terrestrial urinals. A shout out to the usual gang of idiots.

oh yes and 58A should have been.... darn Acme
doesn't fit.

LOL puzzle moment looking at the last letter in 97A and saying to myself, darn, I thought it was xbox, I never heard of boxx... doh. Sneezed and laughed at the same time scaring the daylights out of the stepcat.

*** (3 Stars)

d(usually does not like Sunday puzzles)k

Aleman 10:38 AM  

146a , after folding, is the name of Ichiro's younger brother who throws up every time he strikes out.

Smitty 10:39 AM  

@Rex, part 2 was even better...thanks! (Phantom menace review)

travis 10:39 AM  

Can someone explain the dotted lines to me? You don't actually fold on them. Why isn't the left dotted line between the 4th/5th columns?

retired_chemist 10:48 AM  

@ Dave in CA - re "Who publishes a tear-out puzzle and puts an article on the other side of the page?"

That's what scanners/copy machines are for. Has always kept peace around here....

Unknown 10:51 AM  

Off the top of my head, CCLEFS come to mind for another CC???? entry. That or a truly terrible Roman numeral.

Agreed that it was an easy solve. Very clever concept, with a number of nice "young person" bits of fill. XBOX and ICHIRO come to mind.

chefbea 11:06 AM  

@Dave in California The puzzle had to be on a Recto page so we could fold on the dotted lines

@Travis - I folded my puzzle on the afforementioned dotted lines

Doug 11:07 AM  

@TTaylor: If you listen to a hockey game, you might hear the announcer say something like "And he DEKEs the goalie." It's the move in which the player uses a head fake or body fake to move the goalie to one side.

My kids still get Mad, although it's now published very infrequently due to low circ.

Jim H 11:18 AM  

Figured out the concept when I noticed ORIGAMI, with AMI to the right of the dotted line, then went searching for a MAD Magazine reference (hello 83A). Even so, the double-ALOE, one of them crossing ...SAANDBARE..., threw me.

148A: I have seen both ENOU and ENOW; with RO_S at the end, I was pretty confident about the U. I think that, for the first time, I appreciate OUGH endings in English...

PlantieBea 11:19 AM  

I was a MAD MAG fan as a kid, so I knew what to do with the folding--the product and answers were fun to see. I had problems with the tippy top NW corner; not knowing FLORIO, CLARO, and the movie TOYS put CFLAT out of reach. Favorite answer: definitely ORIGAMI.

Agree with Rex. Wouldn't it be nice if AcrossLite could accomodate essentials like dotted lines and missing corners?

Meg 11:22 AM  

Like Ret. Chem I couldn't parse SOAANDBARE. And ALOE twice was VERY confusing. TUNAS are tot tenders?? Then I saw Rex's note in red. 2 different SW corners. How often does that happen?

I loved MAD Magazine, so the trick was obvious pretty early. Initially I thought I'd be cutting on the dotted lines. Personally, I thought it was a very clever twist!

No complaints about the fill and kudos to David and Kevan.

imsdave 11:24 AM  

I applaud the constructors on their ingenuity. Not so much for the overall effect. A long slog with a mediocre payoff, IMOO.

mary 11:52 AM  

the online version gives you the wrong folding places. I figured out the idea quickly once I solved mad magazine - but had to play with folding a printed out version to get lawnchair, etc.

the broken lines were at different columns in print edition!!

ArtLvr 11:59 AM  

I learned DEKE here from Rex sometime in the past year! I agreed that the puzzle was easy-ish, but I found an error this a.m. in the SE -- had ROSEALEE and thus ECHIRO. Drat.

The folding I tried to do in my head last night after the online solve didn't work, as I was matching the A in CCLAMP to the A in STRAIT, B in TBONE to the B in EBERTS. They lined up fine but closed up the imaginary piece of paper, so I went to bed...Also, I wish somebody had already explained the MIB blockbuster today, since I don't feel like googling.

The twitter-bit about the marijuana ingredient was timely, as discussion of decriminalizing the weed needs more attention. Author Howard Campbell notes that the world would be better off that way, especially in places like Afghanistan and Mexico. His book, The Drug War Zone, details the carnage in the latter -- 14,000 people murdered in the last three years plus escalated torture and kidnappings as drug cartels vie for control in areas like Juarez.


("awarip" is my entree word/captcha? -- Whew!)

chefbea 12:16 PM  

@artLvr MIB=Men in Black

Elaine 12:55 PM  

I print up the AcrossLite puzzle from my online puzzle subscription and solve it....which meant this was very tiny, plus the dotted lines did not match up...and I failed to parse "so A and B are"....and, and STREP instead of STAPH, SHAG instead of SCAG (what do I know about heroin? only that we should be using for terminal cancer pts as GB does)...and the whole thing felt not worth the struggle. Bleah. and Meh. and my captcha is "bleedabl"--which I think fits perfectly!

slypett 1:13 PM  

It finally happened: The monster ate my post. It was quite a nice one, if I remember correctly. Not woser, but pleasing. Alas!

jae 1:25 PM  

I too loved Mad Magazine but side with JannieB, Elaine, et. al. on the puzzle. Pretty ho-hum. Oh, and I misspelled TAPIR (TAPER) and blew an error free week. Maybe next week?

eric 1:32 PM  

Thanks Rex. Drove me nuts on the print version as I just knew there would not be two identical answers "aloe". Wasted time on trying to figure out alternatives. Agree with the online versions (I only do Sundays in print). Cut out the stuff that has no meaning online.
Thanks for the write up.

Stan 1:45 PM  

Hmmm, the dotted lines are correct in the version that Rex linked to (following squares 10 and 15, as in the newspaper).

For me, filling in the grid was uninspiring (reminded me of *those other* crossword puzzles in countless Sunday papers -- not good, not bad, logical enough) followed by a great reveal at the end: First "Oh it's like Mad magazine!" and second "Oh, they're all things that fold!!"

So, overall a thumbs up.

Loved the Levis song, which I'd heard during the holidays on NPR.

CoolPapaD 1:45 PM  

May I call a Naticky area at BTEN / BRAHE. Unless one knew the noseless stargazer, he could have been ARAHE, IRAHE, GRAHE, or ORAHE.

I am not a cigar buff, and thought Gov. FIORIO sounded good.

I was rather blown away by the construction, but I ruined a $750 flat screen monitor by trying to fold it. And your wife got mad because you had to tear a page out of the Sunday Magazine....?

Noam D. Elkies 2:08 PM  

@Pete: I don't know if it would be legitimate to cross CCLEFS with CFLATS (because the C is reused). I'd have no problem with CCLVII; there's also CCOYAS (certain Incan women) but that's Fri/Sat fare. Retired_chemist might approve of something like CCL2H2, though the formula for dichloromethane is usually written with H before Cl.


My captcha is relatedo 2:29 PM  

Maybe instead of eliminating "stuff" that doesn't work "online", short changing dead tree solvers (we pay too), perhaps they find a way to pay for a better version of software --- perhaps adding ads and extra fees?

But thank you for offering to cut my enjoyment to ease your periodic frustration.

Oh, and @CoolPapaD,

Only B goes with TEN

Van55 2:34 PM  

Although I admire the gimmick and the difficulty that must have been involved in executing it, it was just to gimmicky for my taste.

Easy solve for med.

Didn't much care for the ARNOS/ARLO crossing.

joho 2:38 PM  

Anybody else keep reading 55A "Cross swords?" as Cross words?

Puzzle was done in no time but bad folding instructions resulted in no folding. Had to come here to get it. Nice!

I'm with @PlantieBea, ORIGAMI is the best theme reveal.

@chefbea, saw you at 104A.

Nice work, David and Kevan!

George NYC 3:06 PM  

Some years ago, I visited the actual Mad editorial offices (on Madison Avenue of all places). It was everything one would hope for: rumpled staff, old desks, clutter, a helium blimp bumping around the ceiling. Stacks of old Mads on the floor. The whole place was about the size of a suburban living room.

Clark 3:11 PM  

The moment I saw the grid I knew this was going to be a MAD puzzle. And that gave me ...CHAIR and ...PAPER.

@nde -- It's hard for me to imagine a Canadian describing hockey play without the word ‘DEKE’ coming up.

@mary -- The online edition told you where to fold with respect to column number not clue number. Possibly confusing but correct.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

Enjoyed this a lot.

The word MINX- 77D-always, always, always makes me think of Animal House, when Otter goes to pick up Fawn, who was killed in a kiln accident: "She's dead? Did she put you up to this? That minx.." I've never heard it anywhere else.

@Joho- I read it that way too

@CoolPapa D- did you not fold it on the hinge?

edmcan 3:23 PM  

Agree with everyone, but am I the only one who found all the circles really distracting? :-(

Elaine 3:24 PM  

@Stan the Rutabaga

I am looking at my NYTimes Sun., Jan 24th, abridged edition, and it says there should be dotted lines between the 11th and 12th, and 18th and 19th columns. Doesn't work. I don't visit Rex until I finish or give up. To get all of the material onto one page, this type is very small even for a Sunday... I think a little more effort was called for on the part of the webmaster.

@Aleman, 10:38
Your comment is my absolute favorite, with the possible exception of

with the problematic folded monitor!
Thanks for cheering me up, guys!

pacouten--beaked animal with three toes on each foot

alice in SF 3:29 PM  

I lost interest three quarters of the way through; had to consult Rex and finally decided I didn't want to figure out the folding. My mind is definitely not on crosswords today when the Jets are playing the Colts right now and some delicious tennis to be seen later on in the day.

fikink 3:39 PM  

"Just fill out the oversized grid and then do the parlor trick." Indeed.

A heroine named SCAG! Worth the read, Rex. LOL!

But most of all thanks - and to you, too, BEQ - for pointing me to The Phantom Menace Review.

retired_chemist 3:50 PM  

@ NDE - CH2Cl2 is usual - CCl2H2 would be understood.

@ CoolPapaD - ROFL re folding the monitor. Also, as has been pointed out, _TEN in Bingo requires the B, and Tycho Brahe is not obscure IMO.

Tycho was an outstanding observational astronomer, and the field owes him a lot for this. Johannes Kepler was his assistant. Kepler's formulation of his two laws of planetary motion was based in large part on the analysis of Tycho's data for the orbit of Mars. This was an astronomical milestone and the foundation for Newton's laws of motion.

The captcha I started with was wayosci - fitting.

foodie 3:54 PM  

@Ulrich, I like how you always have high(er) expectations.

When I showed the completed folded puzzle to my husband, he said: "But it doesn't create a cool picture!"... That would have been pretty amazing...

I was happy to see Steven J. Gould in the grid. I knew him and my daughter took biology classes from him at NYU... A most interesting and challenging thinker.

One of my favorite articles is one that he wrote on a more personal matter called: "The Median is not the Message". In 1982, he was told he had a serious cancer and the median life expectancy was 8 months. He lived for 20 years past that, and the article discusses how such statistics can be misleading:

PS.@SanFranMan, as you know, I greatly appreciate your tracking the median solve times for the puzzles! I'm wary of statistics only when it's a matter of life and death.

dk 3:59 PM  

@dave in Ca, RE: Lost end-piece

Let your wife know that as a former Maine Kayak Guide, and then and current volunteer Wilderness Rescue person that it is people like the Shells who keep people like me busy. Unfortunately, they sometimes are the cause of a rescuers demise and they often get their foolhardy exploits published.

Apologize for the rant.

chefwen 4:15 PM  

Thought it was very easy, too easy for a Sunday, but the end product really paid off. Very clever, indeed. I really messed myself up by being too clever and putting in Poland for 139 A, thinking that they were talking about Roman Polanski, I was so proud, DOH!

It would have been better had they just circled the first and last letters of the folded answers, all those circles made me wacky.

@dk - I'm not understanding your rant, was it about the article that got torn out?

fikink 4:24 PM  

@dk, I appreciated your rant if only because I read the end piece and focused on those hunting illegally. Many a wounded deer has died running home to our timber for sanctuary while being pursued by clods shooting from their pickups.
We are the ones who dispatch the carcasses.
Spring be swift!

Glitch 4:29 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glitch 4:29 PM  


Count columns, don't go by clue numbers, and the world will once again be right.


CoolPapaD 4:41 PM  

@ retired_chemist and My captcha is relatedo I guess I totally forgot how BINGO is played - I was under the assumption that a random letter (ie B, I, N, G, or O) and random number were each pulled from drums at each turn... thinking about this for a second should have made me realize that a game, under my rules, would take longer than the average life expectancy of the players!

@foodie - As a student, I had the pleasure of seeing Stephen J. Gould speak at the (if I remember correctly) Society for Neuroscience meeting in Miami (or else San Diego) in the mid-90s. It was one of the most captivating lectures I've ever attended - what an amazing mind!

pks 4:53 PM  

Did the print version have circles in it? Or were the circles just on the on-line version?

retired_chemist 5:10 PM  

@ CoolPapaD - I have played Bingo once in my adult life and followed your rule (random number with each letter) at first. I didn't win anything (quelle surprise). It did, however, teach me the hint I used for 131A. Also that I am not playing Bingo ever again.

mac 5:20 PM  

Well, I managed to fold the page without ripping it out.

It was a Sunday. I also knew it had something to do with the Mad Mag gimmick when I saw the dotted line, and it helped me out with news channel and school paper.

Had dragnet instead of dragger, and lemur for tapir, but no other write-overs. I thought the fill was pretty good. Spent way too much time trying to figure out why "aloe" was in the puzzle twice...

I almost like it when I have to repeat the word verification. Purvar!

turdscen 5:42 PM  


The print edition had shaded squares.

Elaine 5:57 PM  

Thanks....d'oh!!! And to think: I used to be smart! (At least I did not try to fold my monitor...wink!)

Tycho Brahe always took the time to put on his robes in preparation for observing the heavenly bodies. I didn't know about his nose--ouch--but got him off the __AHE. I like his example of ritual preparation for intensive work.

chefbea 6:12 PM  

AW...poor jets!!!!!

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

confused for months, why does every solution have a clue in grey and one letter in blue?

hazel 6:38 PM  

@Anon 6:22 - its a secret code for fighting zombies - or maybe vampires - i forgot. hope you've been keeping track of the letters, though. Maybe FAQ can help.

Thought the puzzle was busy looking (D for grid elegance), very easy (C+ for Sunday challenge), and pretty clever (A for innovation). I was wowed only by middle school memories of Mad Magazine - cool story @NYC George.

Ulrich 6:43 PM  

@foodie: Thank you--it's the architect in me that tries to follow the implications of structural ideas to the end...

...and in response to a remark made before: I found this puzzle very architectural: a central axis about which something happens, a zoned design, folding as a 3d effect...

JenCT 6:51 PM  

Anyone else have FLEA or TICK for 13d? I've never referred to my dog's pests as LICE. That held me up for a while.

Poor Jets - oh well, it was a good game.

foodie 6:59 PM  

@CoolPapaD-- I went to that Gould Lecture! I think it was in 1994. Small world.

@Alice in SF, who were you rooting for? Are you sad or happy?

chefbea 7:36 PM  

@JenCt I had flea at first

retired_chemist 7:43 PM  

Apparently, dogs can get lice. I did not know that. We have never seen it AFAIK.

ArtLvr 8:05 PM  

@ ChefBea -- Thanks for elucidating the MIB! I didn't get the MAD reference either, until comments above explained it...

@ foodie and CoolPapaD -- I'm glad you added more about GOULD. I saw him somewhere too, really fascinating. Super to hear that he had those extra years and wrote about it.

@ JenCT -- I agree that dogs/lice wasn't a good combo. This should have been cats, since it's always a toss-up whether my long-haired calico companion Minou will get through the summer without incurring any infestation!


p.s. Wouldn't you know -- the Word is Uncur.

ArtLvr 8:12 PM  

Oops, I meant fleas, not lice.

@ ret-chem, thanks for the link (I think). Not nice, whateveer the nits!


Word is now Hopha.

chefbea 8:35 PM  

Just got a good word Stspinge...St. Spinge...maybe the Saint of spinge. I'll have to look that up

lit.doc 8:38 PM  

Half time, second game. Don't care which team wins, but I gotta root for Old Guys who have the stuff to still be in the game.

@Rex, thanks again for being on top of all this print v. online stuff. Heading for the Across Lite NYT as soon as I post this.

@JenCT, hell yeah. FLEA, then TICK, then WTFS. My wife and I had two to three Irish Wolfhounds for all of our time together, and if a dog could get *any* sort of infestation, Tejas would be the place. No lice to report.

@CoolPapaD, the key strategy is data back-up! Print out your puzzle, and only *then* fold up your monitor. (Best LOL moment of the day, thanks.)

chefbea 8:38 PM  

Wouldn't you know...Spinge is an Italian donut!!! so here is the recipe

mac 10:17 PM  

@Artlvr: fantastic, the uncur: cat!

michael 10:50 PM  

I understood the gimmick from reading Mad and appreciate the puzzle's ingenuity. But it was a real slog filling in lots and lots of Monday-Tuesday level answers to get to what didn't seem all that amusing theme combo answers. And I do the print version and was puzzled by the double "aloes." Also -- elision/omission seems a bit odd just because they both end "sion." But I guess there are of clue/answer combos in which both end with "ing" or "ed."

acme 12:46 AM  

floodover: ARNOs

HudsonHawk 1:01 AM  

@dk, I went back and read the article in the NYT Magazine from/about the Shells. I appreciate your rant, as well as what you do. Strange that she found the need to use so many subtle ways to demean the kind folks that saved their lives.

Anonymous 1:27 AM  

How do you remove a comment?

lit.doc 3:10 AM  

@Anon 1:27, go to and create your online self. No cost, save the effort of honest self-representation. This will give you an avatar, like my Jabberwock, and you (but nobody else) will see a trashcan icon at the end of your posts. Click on it, and you can toss your comments back into the bit bucket.

Scarlet-O 5:59 AM  

I started this online and it made me want to commit hara kari with a dull butterknife, it was just too massive and I was blankdrawn on a bunch of clues... Then got the paper delivered this morning and figured out the parlor trick, hehe, and it was actually pretty helpful, gave me that A in 1A, and LAWN and ORIGIN, actually. But yeah it just a test of stamina really.

Scarlet-O 6:06 AM  

Also, Star Wars. Again. Again. I know it from the crosswords and the zeitgeist. LEIA and EWOK... But I've never even seen the movie, or heard much ENO or ENYA or ELO, I think the pop culture references need a makeover.

Stan 10:01 AM  

Off-topic alert.

@dk and @HudsonHawk: Just backing up your articulate comments on the endpaper piece. After I cool down, my wife and I will be writing to the Times.

Okay, back to puzzles!

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

124 D--Tunas?
I had nanas, making 124 A nap, not tan.
I have 135 A as Aloe and 126 D as power.

Sue 9:32 PM  

Syndication land here ... Rex, when I completed the grid, I couldn't wait to get to your blog to see what you had to say about the duplication of answers! You'd think there was enough time to fix the error for publication one week later, wouldn't you?

Anonymous 9:54 PM  

Or even 2 weeks in our case in N.Mex.

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