Nixon aide Maurice / TUE 9-6-11 / Frilly neckwear / Ticket usable on more than one trip / Suffix with brigand / Cleveland Orchestra conductor George

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Constructor: Susan Gelfand

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: DOUBLE TIME (59A: Fast marching pace ... or a hint to 16- and 39- Across and 10- and 24-Down) — two-word phrases where each word can follow "TIME" in a familiar phrase:

  • TRAVEL CARD (16A: Ticket usable on more than one trip)
  • ZONE OUT (39A: Become oblivious to one's surroundings)
  • TRIAL PERIOD (10D: Interval in which something is tested)
  • SLOT MACHINE (24D: Las Vegas staple)

Word of the Day: Brigandine (45A: Suffix with brigand) —

A brigandine is a form of body armour from the Middle Ages. It is a cloth garment, generally canvas or leather, lined with small oblong steel plates riveted to the fabric. // The form of the brigandine is essentially the same as the civilian doublet, though it is commonly sleeveless. However, depictions of brigandine armour with sleeves are known. Many brigandines appear to have had larger, somewhat 'L-shaped' plates over the lungs. The rivets, or nails, attaching the plates to the fabric are often decorated, being gilt or of latten and often embossed with a design. // Modern flak jackets and ballistic vests are based on the same principle: a protective cloth vest containing metal plates. (wikipedia)

• • •

Not my favorite kind of puzzle, but pretty solid for what it is. With these "both words can precede / follow"-type puzzles, theme is utterly invisible and theme answers seem random until the reveal (in fact, usually I don't figure the theme out until after the grid is completed ... and figuring it out usually just provokes a shrug, at most). I got slowed down quite a bit on this one because there were so many things I just didn't know. Never heard of a "brigandine," for instance, or a TRAVEL CARD. JABOT has clearly crossed my path before, but if you'd asked me to define JABOT before I did this puzzle, I would not have been able to do it (22D: Frilly neckwear). Or, rather, I might have done it, but my definition would've been a fanciful guess. Maybe some kind of cheese or shoe. Throw in the fact that I re-re-reforgot who the hell this stupidly-named STANS guy is (25D: Nixon aide Maurice), and the fact that I thought the General in 34D: General ___, former maker of Jell-O and Sanka (FOODS) was a guy, and you can see why this didn't play as a typical Tuesday for me. Theme didn't thrill me and clues were out of my wheelhouse, but the puzzle's not defective. It's just fine.

  • 20A: When repeated, cry to a vampire ("DIE!") — a recycled clue that I wish would respond to its own cry.
  • 50A: Like maps, iguanas and rock walls (SCALED) — also, like some brigandines.
  • 8D: Raring to go (ARDENT)EAGER I buy as an answer to this clue. ARDENT, not so much.
  • 56D: "The Godfather" author (PUZO) — coincidentally, I started (re-)watching "Superman" (1978) today on Netflix. Amazing space-agey opening credits, during which I was mildly taken aback to find Mario PUZO's name zooming up at me in blue laser lights; I'd forgotten he (co-)wrote the script.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:16 AM  

After I finished, I stared at the reveal and theme answers for a while before the light went on. For some reason, as I was solving, I thought it was going about basketball!! I mean I'm no sports aficionado, but there was something about TRAVELing, and ZONE and I figure PERIOD, TIME, DOUBLE could all fit somehow... But SLOT MACHINE? It's amazing how hard it is to get rid of a rotten hypothesis.

I think my other hang up was not knowing what TRIAL TIME was... I had to look it up-there goes my sports reputation!

Still and all, I solved this puzzle rapidly (for me) and found myself grateful that it had real words and few crazy names. I'd say a good Tuesday..

PS. I wonder if BRIGANDINE and BRIGAND meaning highway robber, are related.

Tobias Duncan 12:20 AM  

Went fast through most of this but got hung up in the same section Rex did.
43d was timely for me as today I just the hard trowel plaster finish in my two new guest bedrooms.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

Easy as pie for me. Only hangup was BRIGANDINE. I wanted EER instead. Have to say I didn't even pay attention to the theme, though.

Detour 12:30 AM  

Thanks to Sparky yesterday and the image of Rex as Puck! Still brings a smile to this mortal.

syndy 12:42 AM  

@ FOODIE wiki sezs BRIGAND originaly meant a FOOT SOLDIER and yes the BRIGANDINE was the type of armor a FOOT SOLIER wore.even before he took to highway robbery.The puzzle was fine-but I wanted to spell it UKELELE,and I got hung up on 18 across-rims would not come -did not help that I had misspelled trial(did it again)Have trouble sometimes on downs that way

PK 12:46 AM  

Thought it was pretty solid *for a Tuesday* . . . ignored clue for suffix with brigand (first thought was "ier," but realized that there was an extraneous "n" and moved on, and crosses fixed it)

Is tableland a word? Shouldn't it be table land - two words?

Don't know dits or dahs, either. Dots and dashes, yes. Maybe I screwed that up. Printed it and solved on paper, so no happy pencil to let me know.

Considering how bizarro Tuesday puzzles were not that long ago - well within the reign of Rex of Crossworld - thought this was just fine.

andrea oncall michaels 3:25 AM  


I thought @foodie's take was more interesting than mine, so I'll second hers!

I loved the 50D "Like maps, iguana, and a rock wall" SCALED, I love those "what do these things have in common?" clues.

and it's sort of amazing that SLOT and MACHINE follow TIME! That's pretty elegant!!!!

Z 7:33 AM  

Solid. JABOT? Luckily all the crosses were there, although it took me a bit to get ALLY and ELITE making the A momentarily opaque.

Hand up for thinking some sorts of sports theme initially.

dk 7:41 AM  

Research buddy and partner in grad school was Linda Mesa, aka Beautiful Table.

Soba for SOYA was my Waterloo. The rest a fun solve. Clueless best describes my relationship to the theme but that is business as usual in dk land.

*** (3 sparkly things)

ps. Andrea's much hyped (by her) puzzle from yesterday is Cinema Paridisio.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

I liked the theme once I figured it out. Loved 50. Made me smile. Have to go look up dits and dahs.

Glimmerglass 8:16 AM  

Never saw the theme. The reveal got a big "Huh?" from me. Only after reading the other comments here did I finally catch on. (@ Foodie: It's "time trial," not "trial time.") Didn't matter; the long answers were pretty easy anyway. Really liked the clue for SCALED.

jesser 8:41 AM  

Loved Andrea's puzzle yesterday! This one was fun, too, although I needed Rex to explain the theme to me. D'oh!

Writeovers were TRAVELpass before TRAVEL CARD, UKeLELE before UKULELE (which still looks wrong)and EcO before EXO. All easily fixable.

That's all. Today is filled with meetings, so if I want to produce any actual work (and I do), then it all has to be produced in the next 2.5 hours. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

CoffeeLvr 8:42 AM  

The theme first escaped me, then underwhelmed me. But the puzzle itself was good. I liked the crunchy bits, even on Tuesday. I find Time TRAVEL and Time MACHINE a bit redundant.

Two bits of neck wear with JABOT and SCARF.


Anonymous 8:48 AM  

sorry, off-topic: is the NYT crossword forum still around? if not, is there a backup of the posts somewhere?

joho 8:53 AM  

When I finished I looked for more "timely" phrases and found AIRTIME and ONTIME ... of course TIME follows instead of leading.

My favorite answers crossed at DOOZY/MYOB.

Nice execution of the theme, thanks, Susan Gelfand!

Steve Jobs 8:56 AM  

@CoffeLvr - I don't think Time TRAVEL/MACHINE is necessarily redundant. The last product I worked on is a Time MACHINE which creates new time, with no time travel possible. Say you've got a deadline you can't meet, just use iTime for an extra hour or two in your, and yours alone, day. The concept was great, but as is my wont, I refused to put in an off-switch. The beta testers all are trapped in some strange time warp.

John V 9:10 AM  

Rate this one about a "10 mile-er": started it while passing through Old Greenwich, finished passing Mamaroneck, 10 miles on the railroad. So, a bit harder than most Tuesdays, about 8 minutes for me.

I sure do remember Maurice Stans, so no problem there. Wanted ASCOT for JABOT, URGE for COAX @ 66A, BABY for TALC @ 1A, SNAPUP for 49D. Good thing I know how to use the eraser. Small error spelling UKELELE, as I never saw/needed 48A clue. Like others, got done and didn't even think to look for the theme until I came here on my Droid.

Loved George SZELL, my WOTD.

I hear ya 9:26 AM  

Morse Code, when verbalized, uses dits and dahs.

SOS: ... --- ...

dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit

A lot easier to "speak" than dot & dash, and more closely duplicates the rhythm of the code.


John V 9:27 AM  

Re @acme LAT puzzle yesterday, my wife, who is a struggling/non-puzzler had good luck with most of it. I think she is intimidated by a puzzle when it is in the Times, but not when in the Norwalk (CT) Hour. So, a good "gateway" puzzle for her! Thanks, ACME.

retired_chemist 9:28 AM  

Meh. Didn't pay any attention to the theme. Didn't help the solve.

Knew JABOT from old crosswords. Was that what Seinfeld's poofy shirt had? Would it be proper to wear a JABOT and SABOTS to ACPT?

Clue for SCALED was the highlight - MYOB, also nice.

JC66 9:53 AM  

Today turned out to be a blast from the past for me. I went to high school in Mt. Vernon, NY (AB Davis '57) with both David Newman, a co-writer with Mario PUZO of Superman and a girl named Susan Gelfand (who may or may not be the constructor).

What a coincidence that @Rex mentioned Superman in his write-up the same day that Susan Gelfand is the constructor!

NYT Subscriber 9:55 AM  

8:45 anon: For some reason, all of the NY Times forums are currently unavailable, apparently due to an overload of access attempts.

slypett 9:57 AM  

pk: Is grassland a word? Yes. Was Flatland a word before Abbot coined it? No. Language is constantly in flux, continually being invented. I may not like some of what goes on nowadays: for example, the backformation of 'fundraise' (a verb) from 'fundraiser' (a noun). That really sets my teeth on edge.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 AM  

Somehow I was struck by the word ARDENT, seemingly a familiar word with very common letters, yet I don't recall seeing it very often (21 mentions in the Xword Info database.) Also, having UKULELE spelled out in full seemed a rarity (seven times in Xword Info.)

@I hear ya -- The way I learned Morse Code, we would have said "di-di-dit dah-dah-dah di-di-dit", where "di" is pronounced "dih".

Very good Tuesday puzz, fresh and just challenging enough.

jackj 10:14 AM  

Some interesting fill was overridden by a rather narcoleptic theme.

The triggered themes, such as "Time" ZONE or "Time" SLOT were mildly interesting but the answers which we had to first endure, like TRIALPERIOD for ""Interval in which something is tested", were hardly invigorating.

The best fill revolved around the jazzy "J's", JESTERS and, especially, JABOT. (That fancy bib fronting Ruth Bader Ginsburg's judicial robes is a JABOT so most everyone has seen one even if not knowing its name).

The ultimate turn-off for me was seeing the unfortunate use of ATTA at the very beginning of the puzzle. The clue for it was tame enough but seeing this answer is always a painful reminder of 9/11 and its ring-leader Mohammed ATTA.

The pain is heightened by the ubiquitous reminders that the 10th anniversary is less than a week away.

Bad choice, Will.

archaeoprof 10:20 AM  

Very fine Tuesday puzzle.

Nice list of names: Maurice STANS, KANYE West, Mario PUZO, OZZIE Smith, and EL GRECO.

Liked the two answers for the clue "Lollapalooza."

Thank you, Susan!

Rex Parker 10:21 AM  


That is a fantastic parody of someone making an astonishingly tenuous connection between the puzzle and real life.


Mel Ott 10:29 AM  

At 1A I really wanted someone's TUSH to be patted.

My reaction is similar to Rex's. It's like an easier themeless until you get to the reveal and say, "Oh. Okay."

Guessed right at the INE/KANYE Natick. Was thinking of the noun but I think that's spelled with an 'A' - BrigandAGE.

chefbea 10:33 AM  

Easy puzzle but had to come here to have the theme explained.

Two Ponies 10:36 AM  

My French is questionable at best but for 21A isn't there a "d'" in between those two words?
Puzzle was OK but no thriller.

Mel Ott 10:36 AM  

Also, Maurice STANS, in addition to being Nixon's Sec. of Treasury, was also treasurer and chief fundraiser of CREEP (Committee to Reelect the President). He was pilloried for raising what was considered an obscene amount - some $50 million, I think. The perception was that the corruption was driven by the money.

Today that would be considered chump change. Unfortunately.

Sfingi 10:50 AM  

Very fast puzzle, though not Rex-fast. Never noticed theme, though DOUBLE TIME was comprehensive and puzzle was done at my DOUBLE TIME.

Mini-themes Lollapalooza and "Raring to go" used twice as clues.

Had MillS before FOODS.

@Andrea & Glimmerglass - I also liked SCALED as a multiple homonym.

And glad to see UKULELE spelled out.

@Mel Ott - also, the Love of Money is no longer to be considered the Root of all Evil. And we learn so much about you and your marvelous career here.

JABOTs are those delicious triple lace things George Washington and the gang wore.

Rex - As an oldster, I never heard of the group, TIME, and since you guys no longer change the titles for when I hit on the pictures, that doesn't help - all it ever says is blogspot, now. So I had to research it. (Good thing I know who Homer Simpson is.) So, why don't you/youse relabel the pictures? is there a copyright problem?

evil doug 10:54 AM  

Mel's right. For 1A I was thinking about Dana Delany.

Huh. I believe I may continue to think about that for a while....


David 11:07 AM  

Puzzle was fun and solid, but I'm with Rex and others where a little bit is taken away when the reveal unfolds after I've finished. Not to say it wasn't clever, it was very clever...

THAT'S how you spell UKULELE?? If I hadn't written in EDU first I would have had a writeover. And I did have one, CAVITY for CANINE. My father worked for General Foods for 20+ years, so that was a gimme.

jackj 11:19 AM  

@Rex Parker,

It may be a "fantastic parody" and "astonishingly tenuous connection" to you; it is an unnecessary kick in the groin for many of us who are still pained by that dreadful memory.

quilter1 11:22 AM  

Easy and fast for me. I didn't get the theme but it wouldn't have helped or hindered. When JABOTs were in I always felt like a chicken wearing them.

phillytony 11:30 AM  

got through the whole thing without catching the theme. fill was pretty good and pretty easy, besides what people mentioned already

can someone explain the lollapalooza answers to me? i dont understand the connection altho i managed to fill them in

phillytony 11:43 AM  

oh also, you missed one of the best "hard times". baby huey:

MountainManZach 11:46 AM  

My best friend in undergrad had a squirrel who used to come into her apartment when she left the door open. She named him "Gerund," so when I first saw "Gerund's finish" I thought "TAIL," then immediately, "How does Will know about Gerund?!"

Banana Man 11:47 AM  

Was surprised to see so many odd-ball words, like TAMIL and JABOT and SZELL, on a Tuesday. They all sound like something out of Jabberwocky. Fortunately, all their crosses were pretty easy.

Fun solve. And big thanks, Rex, for explaining the theme to me. Outstanding clue for SCALED -- really caught one's eye.

DBGeezer 11:49 AM  

@two ponies 10:36,
When written, it is fait accompli. When spoken, the 't' is slightly sounded, which may be why you inferred the 'd'

retired_chemist 12:06 PM  

@ Two Ponies - no. Fait accompli is fine as is.

JenCT 12:21 PM  

Was stuck on the MESA/SERIO/ARDENT crosses for a while, and TAMIL was new to me.

Had INK before TAT.

Didn't get the theme while solving, either.

Sparky 12:40 PM  

Smooth sailing today. Had to figure out how to spell KANYE but SOYA helped. Couldn't see theme till I came here and read Rex. Don't like ONER. Have never heard anyone use that word. Like @quilter1 wore JABOTs. Thought I looked so dressy with one.

Thanks @Detour for the nod. Have a good day everyone. Pouring here; I think I'll clean the oven.

evil doug 12:45 PM  


"American", "United", "Boeing 767", "Boston", "boxcutter", "twin towers", "New York", "Pentagon", "let's roll", "Pennsylvania field", "beautiful September morning"---all of these will have adverse connotative meanings now to all of us who have painful memories of that day and what followed. Does that mean we should refuse to employ them in our routine use of the language?

And just because one of those terrorists shares the same four letters as a common slang phrase that has been in crosswords forever is reaching too far. I'm sensitive to your suffering---I was an airline pilot back then, so I felt impact of my own, personal and otherwise---but to walk on verbal eggshells to somehow try to avoid further pain is futile and even concessionary to that horrible, cowardly act. Time for us all to man- and woman-up, remember the past, celebrate today, and keep fighting for tomorrow.


mac 12:53 PM  

I had exactly the same experience as @foodie, including the basketball thought, and the wondering about brigand/brigandine. In this case, is the -ine in brigandine actually a suffix?

John V 1:00 PM  

@Evil Doug: As someone who was in Lower Manhattan on the morning of 9/11/2001, I echo your sentiments. Jack, I understand that pain is just what it is and defies reason. That said, we all must find a way to move on.

Two Ponies 1:03 PM  

@ DB Geezer, I think you're right.
I was hearing it in my head that way. To you and @ r_c Merci!

Well said Evil Doug.

Jane 1:27 PM  

Way easy puzzle for me- an amateur. Guess I was lucky to be familiar with most of the words. Didn't get the them, though.
Why don't crossword puzzles ever have the clues on the right side of the puzzle? I could have gone really fast on this one if they had been :)!

JenCT 1:34 PM  

@evil doug: well put.

Matthew G. 2:01 PM  

Didn't like this very much, but am glad others did. Just way too many clunky entries for my taste, and no interesting clues.

Can someone explain ONER? Even Googling hasn't helped me make sense of it.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Pretty solid puzzle although I wasn't a huge fan of the theme. A bit more trickier cluing then normal (for example, who the hell is Maurice STANS, as a 21 year old Canadian I have no idea who this was so Googling for me!) but I did like the fill overall.

However, I absolutely do not understand the cluing on DIE. Why vampires? Why not werewolves? Or aliens? Seems like very power cluing indeed.

GLR 2:16 PM  

Had no trouble solving this one in a pretty normal Tuesday time for me. Didn’t even think about the theme until I was done – got all the theme answers, including the reveal pretty easily from their clues and a couple crosses. After the fact, it took me a long time to understand the theme because, based on TRAVEL CARD, I got it into my head that TIME was supposed to go between the two words.

This puzzle got me wondering about the “purpose” of a theme, from a constructor’s perspective. As a solver, rebus type themes add a conceptual “twist” to the puzzle that creates a special challenge, but also might help me complete the puzzle if I figure it out soon enough. “Pun” themes add an element of humor to the puzzle (depending on how you feel about puns) and at least sometimes aid in solving. True “theme” puzzles – like the recent Beach Boys theme or the themes we sometimes see on a holiday or around a special event – don’t usually have much of an impact either way on solution difficulty, but I “get” why they were constructed. With themes like today’s I don’t quite understand the point – no impact on solution difficulty, no humor, no relationship to current events … So, for the constructors out there – what’s the point of this kind of theme?

John V 3:02 PM  

@Matthew G: ONER, clued Lollapalooza, means -- to me -- one of a kind. Read it as "ONE-ER"

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

In what way is EDU an "alternative" to .COM or .ORG? An "alternative" is something you can substitute, like rice instead of potatoes at dinner. But you can't just substitute .EDU for .COM either as a producer or as a consumer. As a producer, you can't have .EDU if you're not a school, and as a consumer, it substitution just won't work. Otherwise dullish, almost themeless puzzle.

sanfranman59 4:53 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Tue 7:59, 8:54, 0.90, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:38, 4:35, 1.01, 60%, Medium-Challenging

Matthew G. 5:44 PM  

@JohnV: Thanks. Then I guess "ONER" is just a slang term I've never heard anybody use. I suspected it was the answer, not the clue, that I didn't know, and so it was.

Where is it used? Is it British?

ksquare 8:07 PM  

UKULELE is two Hawaiian words meaning 'JUMPING FLEA', based on their impression of the guy who introduced the Uke to them. So they told me in Hawaii!

I can hear you 8:55 PM  

@Evil,@John V:
ATTA Boys !
Empathetic and engaging comments. Raises the bar on how to approach such an emotional issue.

was that so hard 10:32 PM  

oner [ˈwʌnə]
n Brit informal
1. a single continuous action (esp in the phrase down it in a oner)
2. an outstanding person or thing
3. a heavy blow
[from one]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

foodie 12:04 AM  

@Syndy, thank you! Very interesting!

@Glimmerglass, I knew that (not!). I guess it's hopeless with me and sports. Even after I look it up I screw it up.
I like your name, BTW. Reflective.

acme 12:40 AM  

If it exists on Netflix, queue "The Terrorist" a film in Tamil about the whole Tamil terrorist movement. One of the best (first) films I've ever seen. Poetic, beautiful, political, sad, relevant.
I got stuck thinking American Indian and had a smack-the-head moment. I'm quite dented by now.

SO pleased, thank you for sharing it with your wife and reporting back. It was in the LA Times bec it was sort of too movie-y for the NYT, I think. I like to submit my more pop cultural themes to the LA Times...even tho they pay so much less, it appears in my home paper (the SF Chronicle) as well, so that's something!

@GLR 2:16pm
I'm tempted to respond as to why constructors might construct this kind of theme, but don't know if you (or anyone else) is reading any more, as Rex has already posted tomorrow (before the puzzle has even been released to we's midnight for him, but we don't get the puzzle till 10pm PST and sometimes I come here to read the later in the day comments and accidentally see spoilers)
ANYWAY, suffice to say is the constructor thinks it's cool the way you can play with language and notices a pattern that this word can go with all these words, and I can take two of them and join them to make their own internal sense, isn't that cool!
And it IS, tho, clearly not for you!
Catch-22, we add a letter and everyone screams it's been done to death. We do a pun and people scream they hate puns...we do a rebus and are told it's too hard to fit something in a square...We do three themes and are told we need never ends!
Suffice to say it's one of many forms of puzzles and it's totally valid and interesting, tho maybe a tad humorless.
But take the example I gave in my first posting... You have the expression TIME SLOT and you have TIME MACHINE...and you can take the second halves and get SLOTMACHINE.
To someone (like me) that's exciting, in perhaps a geeky way, but exciting none the less.
SO, valid question...unthorough response but perhaps it sheds some light.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

On the internet, no one knows you're on the west coast. You can get the puzzle at 7pm PST.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Natick at 21a/11d. Could have guessed at the vowel but I went ahead and put an R there because I liked the way it looked. Especially when the entire row is read 20a>21a>19a.

Dirigonzo 5:41 PM  

A new feature for syndi-solvers: Highlights from RPDTNYT on this date 5 years ago.

-Rex, solving on paper, completed the (Wednesday) puzzle in 12:56.
-the Pantheon was opened up to 5 letter words so ESTES, ESSEN and DEION (Branch) could be included.
-There was one comment, by @Howard B.
-One clue reminded @Rex of Homer from "The Simpsons" (some things never change).
-@RP wrote: "I know that this singular, weird moment of helping my grandma solve a crossword puzzle was probably instrumental in my eventually becoming the world-wide puzzling phenomenon that I am today. So thanks, grandma, for the example, or the genetics, or whatever went in to it. I'm grateful. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is as folksy, homespun, and greeting card-esque as you will EVER see me, so I hope you enjoyed it."

Deb @ 7:13 PM  

@Dirigonzo - What fun! I didn't really have anything to say about the puzzle today, but had to pop in to tell you I love this new feature - keep 'em coming!

The puzzle was super easy, with nary a moment's pause (I never even saw the brigand clue), and only one write-over in UKeLELE (who knew?!). I missed the theme, but probably would have just yawned had I sat to look for it. That's not a complaint on my part: I enjoy a NYT crossword puzzle for the solving experience itself. The theme is just icing on the cake, and I almost alway scrape the icing off my cake anyway.

Now to go drag the Sunday puzzles out of the recycle bin since I did the LA Times puzzle but didn't even notice it was acme's!

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

Spacecraft here. @Foodie: it's not "trial time" but time trial(s), which I think is what all those left-turn yahoos do before the big race day to determine who sits on the pole, or something.
Good puzzle, mostly, with a tricky theme, but I too have never heard of a "TRAVELCARD." I did have a Eurailpass once; I guess you could call it that.
We've had this go-round about 9a
before. My take on it is that the more angst we DISPLAY about it the more those bastards win. We should all just refuse to give them the satisfaction.

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