Best-selling jogging advocate / SAT 5-7-11 / Bourgeouis to Brit / Blades of song film / Unlike opera Wozzeck / 1963 1996 treaty topic

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Easy


Word of the Day: TRAMMEL (38A: Restrain) —

  1. A shackle used to teach a horse to amble.
  2. Something that restricts activity, expression, or progress; a restraint.
  3. A vertically set fishing net of three layers, consisting of a finely meshed net between two nets of coarse mesh.
  4. An instrument for describing ellipses.
  5. An instrument for gauging and adjusting parts of a machine; a tram.
  6. An arrangement of links and a hook in a fireplace for raising and lowering a kettle.
tr.v., -meled, or -melled, -mel·ing, or -mel·ling, -mels, or -mels.
  1. To enmesh in or as if in a fishing net. See synonyms at hamper1.
  2. To hinder the activity or free movement of.

[Middle English tramale, a kind of net, from Old French tramail, from Late Latin trēmaculum : Latin trēs, three + Latin macula, mesh.] (

• • •

Took me almost twice as long as yesterday's puzzle ... which still puts it in the easy-for-a-Saturday puzzle. Might have set another record, but got held up a tad (A MITE?) in the NE, where TRAMMEL was not a word I knew, and LIESL (8D: Von Trapp girl who's "sixteen going on seventeen") was not a name I knew (though, to my credit, when I got that -SL ending, I persisted rather than scrapping it—first guess: GEISL), and I didn't know if I was dealing with LEVEL I or LEVEL A or maybe, in some odd twist, LEVEL 1 at 8A: Most convenient section of a parking garage, usually, so I sat back and waited for crosses. Also never heard of ANNA SUI (62A: Designer with the Night of Fancy fragrance) and took a while to remember NON-U (54D: Bourgeois, to a Brit) and wanted APIA instead of SUVA (49A: Main campus site of the University of the South Pacific) and had PASTE instead of BASTE (42D: Wallop) which left me with the odd PEAR SALAD at first (instead of BEAN SALAD) (42A: Barbecue side dish). Still, all these obstacles were minor, especially for a Saturday. 1A: Best-selling jogging advocate (JIM FIXX) was a gimme, and those are some pretty auspicious letters to start out with.

I liked the puzzle fine, but I won't remember it tomorrow. Nothing here really stands out. STRAP-ON could have stood out ... but not with that clue (35A: Like scuba tanks, typically).

  • 14A: Size of about 16 tennis courts (ONE ACRE) — got it easily enough, but the wording is weird. I thought the clue meant that there were about 16 tennis courts in the world that were that big. Those would be some big courts.
  • 15A: Green light for un hombre (SI SEÑOR) — never saw the clue, which is weird, considering I actually struggled a tiny bit in that section.
  • 16A: 1963 and 1996 treaty topic (TEST BAN) — seemed a very militaristic puzzle, with TEST BAN and H-BOMB and ARMS DEAL and ICBM and IRAQ and TRAUMA and LUTIST (just seeing if you're paying attention)
  • 33A: Unlike the opera "Wozzeck" (TONAL) — I like this clue. Actually, I just like the name "Wozzeck."
  • 22A: Olympic gold-medal pentathlete Lehtonen (EERO) — "How am I supposed to ... oh, it's just EERO."
  • 25D: They moved to St. Louis in '95 (L.A. RAMS) — Had the L- and -MS and couldn't come up with a sports team because I kept thinking "The Saint Louis ... what!? BLUES? CARDINALS?"
  • 32D: Deadly African tree-dwellers (MAMBAS) — my entree into the NE (from below). Couldn't get anything to cross it at first, so I doubted it a bit (A MITE!?), but eventually the answers came.
  • 34D: High-tech gadgetry suffix (-TRON) — Saturday clue. Any other day, and that's a movie title.
  • 48D: Blades of song and film (RUBEN) — BLAH-days. Before my time. Never heard him before, to my knowledge—but I kind of like this, esp. the set, and the band:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter or Tumblr]


Jim 12:23 AM  

NOT easy! Not that Saturdays ever are, but AL is not working for some reason so I had no (easy) opportunity to cheat, which I normally would have in such circumstances.

Instead, took an hour and 18 minutes, but I finished correctly, despite having no idea what XENO meant in this clue. Nor, while we're at it, did I think for a second the SE was correct, with NONU (?), ANNASUI and, worst of all, AVENUE. What the hell is that supposed to be? Completely out of place here and frustrating.

Like TRAMMEL, which I have only heard of in its negation (untrammeled as an adjective). Made it easier to swallow when the crosses looked like they were heading in that direction.

Good puzzle, good workout.

Anonymous 1:46 AM  

Rex - You are like Big Bad Leroy Brown (oh, wrong Croce).

Definitely easy for a Saturday but it was sufficient for my FIXX.

jae 2:08 AM  

Easy for me also. Only missteps were DARN for DANG and BILL for PILL. I'm with Rex on this one, solid but not particularly memorable.

chefwen 2:25 AM  

Medium/difficult for me, but it's a Saturday, par for the course. Spelled LIESL as Leisl, that did not help. 39A was cringe before QUAVER, that REALLY didn't help and we were enjoying a slaw SALAD before the BEAN one (I prefer slaw), and at 45D darn it before DANG IT. A fun Saturday.

andrea no-nu is good nu michaels 2:45 AM  

I thought it was fun, tho I don't get TAB = PILL, so I left it at MYObES. DANG IT!

@Chefwen, it's QUIVER (I had all variations of QUAKEd/s/r for a while)
and here is a "Sound of Music" mnemonic for LIESL's the other ESL right above her!

Long time to properly parse No Nu and In Ever.

I agree with @Rex strong militaristic subtheme of ARMSDEAL, TESTBAN, ICBM, HBOMB, IRAQ, LUTIST

Let the STRAPON jokes begin!

chefwen 3:27 AM  

@Andrea - I thought it was RAGGED UP like my renter who throws together a bunch of rags when he dresses up as "bad baby" for Halloween, complete with a pacifier and diapers. I wish I had I photo to post.

Desulotry CB-Talkin' Man 6:27 AM  

I remember the cover of Jim Fixx's book of running. It was just his lower legs, and the font was that font they used only in the late seventies/early eighties. I bet future archaeologists will learn how to date us by our fonts. I usually date stuff, too, just in case.

Fixx also published three books of puzzles.

He was 52 when he died, which is older than I remembered--I thought he was in his early forties. According to WIkipedia, there's a statute of him with a quote abotu him from "the people of Northeast Scotlad." I didn't know that the people of Northeast Scotland had a Fixx fixation or that they typically spoke with one voice on such matters.

I'm going out for my run now. Take it easy. Catch you on the flip-flop, good buddies.

Puzzled Girl 7:12 AM  

For 'they moved to St. Louis' I wanted to put 'The Sullivans' (my back-fence neighbors,) but then I thought, 'Wait. How does Tim Croce know these things?'

John 7:20 AM  

Easy? Liesl? Jim Fixx? Anna Sui? Inever? All of these were completely ungettable for me. I guess that's why I always struggle with Saturdays.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

How is a tab a PILL?

- Sam.

SethG 8:02 AM  

Pear Salad. And I had LEVEL G for a bit, 'cause that's what the elevator buttons say.

mitchs 8:08 AM  

AVENUE, SUVA, SUI made this one un-easy.

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

@Sam Tab is short for tablet, which is a PILL.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

"he dropped two TABS of acid and was gone for the night"

GLR 9:16 AM  

Finished in just under 30 minutes, with no errors – which surprised me because there were several unfamiliar words/names here: RIEN, NONU (I assume this is non-university?), EERO, ANNA SUI.

Liked cluing for MYOPES, STUD FEE, US MINT, DR SCHOLLS, and QUARTET. Not so much for ROUTING (thought sorting made more sense).

Nancy in PA 9:17 AM  

Hand up for MYObES. Also throwing 'nukes' in where HBOMB belonged held me up a lot. And had wASTE before BASTE. A very good workout for a Sat. morning! Especially liked DRSCHOLLS and the couple of Q's.

Lindsay 9:44 AM  

Not as easy as yesterday, but not a Saturday either. Writeovers at the aforementioned bILL >>> PILL & QUaVER >>> QUIVER. Not much else to say.

Have a good weekend everybody.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:53 AM  

SI, SENOR, a relatively easy puzzle. Was most surprised to see SI SENOR, not the most common entry (eight times in the NYT since 1993), because it came up in a puzz I did just yesterday. Improper to say which one, but I assume many Rexites did it -- 12D in that puzz.

joho 9:58 AM  

The missing W and Z were made up for the the 2 Q's and X's.

Wanting shIVER before QUIVER slowed me down in that section.

I made a stupid mistake so ended up with one square wrong, but I have to agree that this was pretty easy for Saturday.

@Rex, loved your LUTIST marching in the military band!

mac 10:19 AM  

Another odd late-week puzzle. Fun but a little on the easy side, except for just a few little words. Non-u is totally unknown to me. Anna Sui is not exactly a well-known designer, and I'm sort of into fashion.

Encomium? Ruben? Isn't it si si, senor?

Love hops on and stud fee, Dr. Scholls. Amazed that 16 tennis courts would fit on an acre.

I enjoyed this one, on with my day.

jackj 10:36 AM  

Another themeless of a disappointing Wednesday difficulty level.

Looking at the fill without reference to the clues, it seems like it is a decent challenge but look at the clues without the answers and they don't signal much head-banging thought is necessary.

For example, from JIMFIXX to ROKS to QUARTET to TESTBAN; then to HBOMB, DRSCHOLLS and USMINT, if you have any familiarity with Saturday trickery, these are gimmes.

I hope this isn't a deliberate dumbing down of the themeless puzzles by Will Shortz.

Tobias Duncan 10:36 AM  

Dang it Rex,i was reading along, got to LUTIST and homemade maple kefir nearly made it out of my nose.Still not sure why I think that is so funny.
Was so sure that st louis in 95 was misdirection to mean 1895 and some infulential family moving there, that I accepted the Laram family as just another name I had not heard of.

quilter1 10:44 AM  

I made all of the above mistakes, including dropping in bill for tab(let) and never looking back. Hesitated over DR SCHOLLS (can it be?), didn't like STRAP ON much and I think TRAMMEL is pretty rare. But a fair Saturday, though a medium rating from me.
Completely puzzle unrelated, we are being delighted by a family of goldfinches (Iowa state bird) which we have never had in our yard before. They are so bright in spring plumage, just magical to watch.

doberpin: doggie jewelry?

chefbea 10:47 AM  

Started off great as I knew Jim Fixx. His daughter was a good friend of my daughter when we lived in Greenwich, Ct - actually Riverside.

And of course I knew the LA Rams. They came to St. Louis after the Cardinals moved to Ariz.

Don't like wallop=baste...I never wallop my turkey

syndy 11:04 AM  

finished with BILL and by gum I'm gonna stick with it ! only knew 2 out of 5 names suspected the answer for 3 down but didn't like it one bit and was really hoping that rex would make 54 down the word of the day because it stumps me and I expect if it was explained it would piss me off. BUT I liked tonal crossing octave and I have trammel points in my tool box was thinking lamBASTE for 42d

treedweller 11:09 AM  

I had to google for ANNASUI. Didn't know SUVA, couldn't place bitumen, thus AVENUE was a mystery. Once I got the designer, it was done in seconds (of course, that google did give me three of the four missing letters, but still).

I have spent a lot of time in a lot of trees, and have even shared them with snakes a few times, but, fortunately, none of them were MAMBAS.

treedweller 11:11 AM  

oh, yeah, and I'm in the "WTF is a NONU?" camp.

As the great Mork said, NONU-NONU.

Tobias Duncan 11:32 AM  

@ treedweller I just asked some Brits on another forum and they said it stands for Non Upper class. The place I asked is not known for accuracy tho...

Ruben Blades is still good currency in the salsa scene, about the same level as Wilie Colon.The big song I remember was Plastico.

Mel Ott 11:39 AM  

Kind of medium Saturday for me. Sometimes I overthink these things and make them harder than they really are:

Even though there was no abbr. indicator in the clue for 1A, I was trying to decide between DR J FIXX and JAS. FIXX. Oh! It's just plain old JIM FIXX!

At 14A I wanted to throw down ONE ACRE, but I waited for some crosses because I thought it could also be HECTARE.

I needed William of Occam today.

Thanks, @Anon 8:59 for clearing up PILL = tab. I wanted MYOPES and BILL at the cross, but had to choose. Chose wrong.

Guessed right at the NONU/ANNASUI natick by going for the recognizable name ANNA.

PuzzleNut 11:41 AM  

Finished in a reasonably short time (for me), so not surprised by Rex's Easy rating. Sailed past the MYOPES/PILL crossing, but my personal Natick was the ANNASUI/NONU crossing. Guessed right, but definitely a guess. Parsing it as NON U helps a little, but still out of my wheelhouse.
Once I had SQUARISH, it was easy to fill in the remaining letters of QUaVER with misplaced confidence.
Liked MESSRS as I don't rcall ever seeing that before. Seems like a handy word for a constructor.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

NonU= non upper class

Masked and Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Personally, I find the concept of "non-U" downright horrifying.

GILL I. 12:15 PM  

I asked my Brit husband if NON U meant non-upper-class and he just stared at me, said "huh," then went back to reading the paper.
I really like this puzzle. Maybe because it was easier for me than yesterday's
Our cat Marmelade only ate Fancy Feast TUNA. He weighed 29 lbs. and was proud of it.

Anonymous 12:16 PM  

Know Anna Sui from cosmetics counters in Sephora. Isn't myopic a well known word to puzzlers?

Jim 12:18 PM  

Still no one offering an explanation for AVENUE? Bueller?

syndy 12:31 PM  

*explore every avenue-a line of approach. from french avenue-to approach

Non-U 12:32 PM  

@Jim -- Avenue = street. It's a "way in" to my neighborhood.

ksquare 1:06 PM  

MESSRS is French abbr. for MESSIUERS (Misters) comparable to MMES (Mesdames) for Ladies.

D_Blackwell 1:10 PM  

"Personally, I find the concept of "non-U" downright horrifying."

I didn't know NON-U either, but went cruising through my Unabridged Internet and it's pretty interesting actually. It seems to be a way of describing differences in dialect or language between classes (groups) of people; differences in speech and, by extension, word choice and such.

(It was a calculated guess. I might have found it much less interesting entry had I been wrong.)

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Long time lurker, first time commenter--shouldn't there be an abbreviation marker for messrs? And ICBM? Is there some rule about common abbreviations I don't know about?

Jim 1:30 PM  


Thanks. That's what I thought. Utterly ridiculous. I'm stupefied that that is in my puzzle.


A good rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected on '?' Clues, 'e.g.' Clues, and basically anything not garden-variety.

Hope that helps.

Alan 1:31 PM  

I was a stubbornly non-u teenager in England when the term was popularized by Nancy Mitford, more amused than annoyed by what soon became an ironic distinction. Word lovers will enjoy a column in The Independent (6/5/94) that included a wonderful series of linguistic markers for u and non-u.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

You're a smug jackass

Alan 1:44 PM  

I was disappointed not to find an explanation for the 2D answer IN EVER which I assumed to be some non-u teen variant on WHATEVER! Well I NEVER . doh, now I get it.

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

I think the ICBM abbreviation is signaled by the e.g. In the clue.

If a clue says "briefly" or "for short" it may also involve abbreviations as in TBA and Hbomb. I don't think about ? as cluing an abbreviation, but evidently it does here. But I agree that I would have expected some hint for messrs and even maybe for US in US mint. Also TV. There are lots of abbreviations today! Isn't telecom an abbreviation?

WesIsland 1:51 PM  

Did not understand "wallop" clue. Don't you "paste" someone, not "baste" them?

Bob Kerfuffle 1:59 PM  

@Anonymous, 1:17 - The day of the week matters. Answers which would be clearly labelled "abbr." on Monday will not necessarily be so on Saturday.


Definitions of baste on the Web:

cover with liquid before cooking; "baste a roast"
clobber: strike violently and repeatedly; "She clobbered the man who tried to attack her"

mac 2:07 PM  

@Alan: I must have read a similar article, about how the upper class uses different words for ordinary things than the working class people. Very subtle differences, but obvious to those who care about such things.

Tim C. 2:09 PM  

"e.g." (or "i.e." or "etc.") never signifies that an answer is an abbreviation, per se. If it's defined as a regular entry in the dictionary and not solely as an abbreviation (as ICBM is in my dictionary), then it's fair game to be clued without an abbreviation. Same with "TV" and "US" (the official government website's heading reads "U.S. Mint", so that's what it's known as most commonly). In the earlier-week puzzles in which ICBM has appeared, it has generally been clued with "for short" or "abbr.", but not such for the later-week puzzles.

Doc John 2:25 PM  

I love your comment about EERO, Rex.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

As The Bard may be taking today off:

Macbeth Act I, scene 7

If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly. If th' assassination
Could TRAMMEL up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease, success: that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all—here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'd jump the life to come.

Matthew G. 2:54 PM  

I did not find this easy -- it took me a good bit longer than many recent Saturdays. Never heard of ANNA SUI or EERO Lehtonen, and the words TRAMMEL and ENCOMIUM were simply missing from my vocabulary. I knew TRAMMEL only as the surname of multiple baseball people. Did Not Know that it was an Actual English Word with a Thing That It Means. Also new to me was NON-U, but reading up on that term is fascinating me today.

But I absolutely love this puzzle for 33-Across. When I saw that clue -- {Unlike the opera "Wozzeck"} -- I just stared and laughed. Last month, one of my co-workers brought all of us along with her to see Wozzeck at the Met, which she described as her favorite opera, and, well ... TONAL it is not. I liked it, but then, I majored in Russian and German literatures and take particular delight in the dark and discordant. I'm not sure what the others all thought. As my wife remarked to me later that night: "It wasn't just that it was depressing and entirely about poverty. It was depressing and entirely about poverty in German."

Matthew G. 2:57 PM  

I meant to add that I really wanted the answer for 33-Across to be HAPPY.

conomist 3:31 PM  

Am I the only person on this site who has no idea who Jim Fixx is? And that lack of knowledge killed me in the NW. The rest of the puzzle was a breeze, and then I hit NW, and screeched to a frustratingly DNF halt.

Fie on you, JIM FIXX!

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

JIM FIXX was in the right place at the right time during the boom of jogging/running in the 70s/early 80s. If you fit the NYT demographic he's a gimme, i.e., his name was common knowledge 30 years ago:)) If you are under 45 - 50 there is absolutely no reason to know who he is.

Martin 3:42 PM  

One way to remember the strict definition of "abbreviation," almost always signaled in a Shortz-edited clue, is to pretend English is not your first language.

You don't know "Thu." should be pronounced "Thursday" and you say "thoo." Wrong, funny foreigner! It's an abbreviation.

ICBM, or NASA, or CAPTCHA -- no problem, all the letters are there. Those are initialisms or acronyms and tend to be signaled only early in the week.

Never mind that some authorities say "NASA" is a word and therefore an acronym, while "ICBM" (pronounced letter-by-letter) is an abbreviation and therefore an initialism. None of them are abbreviations per Will Shortz. This avoids the inconvenient questions about examples, like IRA and FAQ, that get pronounced either way. And if these are the switch hitters of acronymia, what about the hermaphrodites, like "MS-DOS" or "jpeg"? Will Shortz does his best dealing with a dirty, messy language.

As has been noted, any abbreviation, like "e.g." or "etc.," and that is rarely seen in expansion, will not be an abbreviation signal in a clue.

David 3:44 PM  

NE and SE was easy, the whole left side was medium. Took forever to remember JIM FIXX - I had a memory of him when he passed away, and my being shocked that a man who wrote a best-seller on fitness would die of a heart attack. Till then, was perplexed trying to find a cross for XRAY, which I was pretty confident in keeping.

Also had BILL for PILL at first, and AT OR near for ON OR near.
I was thrilled to cruise through the right half - I have spent enough Saturdays just staring at clues for 5-10 minutes before catching any kind of a for me this is an easy-medium, I guess.

KarenSampsonHudson 3:49 PM  

Didn't see the a lot of the clues, as filled in the crosses on this one. Anna Sui? Never heard of her. Got a bit sidetracked putting "pull" for "tab;" also--MYOPES? Live and learn.

Anonymous 3:49 PM  

The SE= Natick City, Baby!!!!!

jberg 4:25 PM  

What are we coming to, with clues like 10D? I guess the parenthesis makes it OK...

DNF, I'm embarrassed to say - had HEAD for HELM, and astoundingly couldn't see NON U, even though I was familiar with it.

Although Nancy Mitford herself was very U, she meant the book HOW TO TALK U (co-authored with a couple of other people) as a satire, and it is hilarious. It was pretty popular in the US in the 1960s, so I think it's legitimate. She works some of the material into her novel THE PURSUIT OF LOVE, where the protagonist's curmudgeonly father complains that he can't see the point of sending girls to school if they are going to say things like "note paper."

Nancy's sister Jessica, who moved to the USA and becamse a Communist, wrote an equally hilarious pamphlet named HOW TO TALK L, a sendup of leftist jargon.

I didn't think I'd heard of JIM FIXX either, but once I got the FIXX I somehow knew it was JIM and not JOE.

I likes DANGIT after DADBLAST the other day; maybe ZOUNDS or GADZOOKS is coming!

Finally, LUTIST? As an early music type, I've seen lutenist and sometimes luthier, but never lutist. Is it real?

michael 6:48 PM  

One of the easiest Saturdays Ifor me) that I've ever done. Thursday level -- maybe. Enjoyed it nonetheless, and of course it helped that Jim Fixx was almost a gimme for me.

Not sure why a pill is a tab...

CrazyCat 9:27 PM  

I think I stopped jogging when JIM FIXX dropped dead.

Rubén Blades is not only a talented singer, but also became a popular politician in Panama. He is well educated and has a law degree. He also was in one of my most favorite "quirky" films, "The Milagro Beanfield War" directed by Robert Redford, filmed in Truchas, New Mexico. I'm pretty sure he's also won some Grammys.

fergus 10:51 PM  

Silly me, sticking with LYRIST and so failed to finish. Otherwise the JOTTED-down puzzle was way too free of overwrites.

cody.riggs 11:57 PM  

My favorite clue was the "Wozzeck" one. I'm not a big fan of aTONAL music, but nevertheless highly admire Alban Berg's masterpiece. Truly stunning, disturbing, ingenious music. The segue into the final act (with the out-of-tune "honky-tonk" piano) is brilliant. I want to see WOZZECK in the grid someday.

Portland, Ore.

cody.riggs 12:15 AM  

And yes, it probably helps to speak fluent German to enjoy Wozzeck (if "enjoy" is the right word for something so unsettling!

What, so lengthy discussions about the word ENCOMIUM? I like that word...

Love the quote @Matthew G

Lois 1:06 AM  

I remembered reading that Ruben Blades's last name is pronounced as in the English blades. I Googled it now and found that it's because he comes from an English-speaking island, but I didn't look further because it's late and everyone's doing the Sunday puzzle already.

pauer 9:25 AM  

JIMFIXX and ENCOMIUM were new to me, but I still liked the puzzle. I played Rolf in "The Sound of Music" while I was in high school, so LIESL was no problem, but I did have a problem with the way the Liesl in our production behaved on stage. She was from the world of opera, so she was constantly turning out to sing directly to the audience. I kept grabbing her hand to try to turn her so she'd be singing to me instead, but I didn't have much luck. This was also the production where every kid who didn't get cast as a von Trapp was put into a chorus that performed during the concert in Act II. They did three songs, as I recall, which went on for 15 minutes, then the local ballet company did a number. The von Trapps could've tunneled to safety.

BigSteve46 11:40 AM  

I think Rex's degree of difficulty ratings are becoming more and more subjective recently. In other words, if its easy for him, its "easy," without trying to estimate the difficulty level for people who don't dedicate a major portion of their lives to crossword puzzles. This to me, could in no way be considered "easy" even for a Saturday.

Kerry 12:23 PM  

My favorite wrong answer: "Big money maker" = USURER. That one screwed me up for a good while in the SW.

uncle moishy 11:47 PM  

Had HONEST for 28D (ignoring the fact that it gave me the nonsensical STRANON for 35A), which gave me TRAP for 47A, which made 40D an impossibility, which made me a DNF.

Been reading and enjoying you for several months now, Rex. Never felt compelled to comment until now, since someone usually has already made the comment I would've wanted to. Today was the exception.

Between yesterday's "phenomenally easy" and today's "easy", it's clear you're on a streak, Rex. Kind of like when a baseball player says he's "seeing the ball real well." Who knows? Maybe you'll go 56 puzzles in a row this way, which would make you the DiMaggio of xwords.

Anonymous 1:08 AM  

Words that, if you don't already know them, they are pretty much un-inferrable:


Additional words I happened to get right, by chance, but really don't understand:

FAT (I know the word, but what does it mean with this clue?)

So many multi-word entries made this so not easy. Rex, if you hadn't just known JIM FIXX -- there is nothing guessable about the last name "Fixx" -- how would have broken out that upper left?

Karl 3:51 PM  

Lucked out on the Anna Sui (who?) and NONU (what?) cross...solved it but found it tough...

Anonymous 12:07 AM  

@ anon 1:08...

One might react to being slighted by saying "well I NEVER!" You might respond the same way if someone mentioned that you looked A MITE fat (full around the waist.)

I remember seeing TRAMMEL with a non-baseball clue in a NYT crossword before . I didn't retain the definition but the knowledge that TRAMMEL was an actual word helped me eliminate TRAMpEL (which would have been a stretch even if it were spelled correctly).

Anonymous 7:23 PM  

RIEN is French for "zip". But though Corsica is a French province, it's a bad choice for this clue as the Corsican language is based on Italian. So NADA might have been a better answer. Also, OBE (out of body experience) would have been a better answer for 38D, Up in the air than TBA.

Lurking, Just Behind You 3:30 PM  

Syndi-late and I are very in tune when it comes to the musical selections. With an odd word like TRAMMEL in the puzzle today, I was really surprised when you did NOT trot this one out - ahhhh the 80's

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