Singer Green with multiple Grammys / THU 9-1-11 / Auto slogan beginning in 2000 / Negotiations of 1977-79 / Never finished only abandoned Paul Valery

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Double Double — Five answers are phrases wherein a word is doubled (e.g. "Pizza Pizza!"). Instead of being written out completely, the phrase doubles up on itself, such that each square contains pairs of every letter in the repeated word. These double-letters work for all the Down crosses.

Word of the Day: POMONA College (46A: Southern California college) —

Pomona College is a private, residential, liberal arts college in Claremont, California. Founded in 1887 in Pomona, California by a group of Congregationalists, the college moved to Claremont in 1889 to the site of a hotel, retaining its name. The school enrolls 1,548 students. // The founding member of the Claremont Colleges, Pomona is a non-sectarian, coeducational school. Its founders strove to create "a college of the New England type". In order to reach this goal, the board of trustees included graduates of Williams, Dartmouth, Colby and Yale. Since 1925, the Claremont Colleges, which have grown to include five undergraduate and two graduate institutions, have provided Pomona's student body with the resources of a larger university while preserving the closeness of a small college. (wikipedia)

• • •

Nice way to start the new month. There are very few things about this puzzle that I did not like. At the outset, I had that creepy feeling you sometimes get when you're able to solve chunks of the grid but completely unable to make sense of others. The "something's going on and I don't know what it is, dammit" feeling. The NW, in particular, was killing me. Solved stuff to the east and south of it, but couldn't do anything with that tiny little corner. S---PMINES meant nothing to me at first (17A: Eco-unfriendly coal sources). SWAMP MINES??? Had to abandon it and wander off. Ran into the theme the way a pedestrian smart-phone user might run into street sign or telephone pole or other human being. Out of frustration, I just went with BASH (10A: Blowout) (could've been, I don't know, FETE or GALA or something) and then tried SNOB and then got ULNA and somewhere in here I figured out how [Auto slogan beginning in 2000] could be "ZOOM ZOOM," which I'd wanted from the moment I first read the clue. SNOB became SNOOT and then in went ALOOF and I was off. Puzzle was much easier thereafter. Finally figured out STRIP MINES and then (for once!) knowing the theme helped me get POOHx2 and the NW went out like a lamb.

EEXXCCUUSSEESS across the middle is really incredible, especially considering all the crosses work so well, and two of them are quite long. Also wonderful that there are so many interesting longer answers: STRIP MINES, THIS END UP, FALSE GODS. Even REGIFTS made me happy—that's a nice clue: 21A: Acts frugally around the holidays, say. The criticisms I have are minor. A REACH — that indef. article just hurts me. It really does. That's a partial trying to pretend it's not a partial. Also, BABY DIAPER? No possessive? Is this in contradistinction to ADULT DIAPER? Because BABY DIAPER (62A: It may be hard to change) feels like BABY MAMA, which is slang (as well as a Tina Fey / Amy Pohler movie). Feels awkward to me. But otherwise, I got nothing. I love this puzzle. Really inventive.

Theme answers:
  • 14A: Deprecate (POOH POOH)
  • 19A: Auto slogan beginning in 2000 ("ZOOM ZOOM")
  • 41A: "Stop avoiding responsibility!" ("EXCUSES, EXCUSES!")
  • 61A: Looney Tunes sound (BEEP BEEP)
  • 70A: Pacific capital (PAGO PAGO)
Except for figuring out the theme, the only trouble I had involved names, and it didn't last long. At first I thought the HAMMS (13D: Twin gymnasts Paul and Morgan) were the HAHNS. I knew they had the same name as a famous woman, but I went with violinist Hilary HAHN over soccer star Mia HAMM. I also didn't know ACHESON (56A: Secretary of State between Marshall and Dulles). But then I did. It was weird. Had the -SON and thought, "ugh, bygone Secretaries of State." But then the God of Crosswords Gone By smote me upside the head, and ACHESON came to me as if out of nowhere. Probably didn't need him, since I got BEEP BEEP pretty easily and could work out all the Downs in that section from there, but it was nice to know my brain has mysterious hidden powers that occasionally turn on.

  • 45A: It's never finished, only abandoned, per Paul Valéry (POEM) — notice: not A POEM. Just: POEM. I studied French POEMs at a southern California college, once upon a time. Then I switched to English because my French, even after 7 years, just sucked.
  • 23A: Deep Blue's opponent in chess (KASPAROV) — one name that did not confound me. Got it off the "-AR-," mostly because KASPAROV is one of the quite small number of chess players I can name, and he fit.
  • 25D: Negotiations of 1977-79 (SALT II) — another answer (again, like ACHESON, from American history) that just wasn't there ... and then was. It's not uncommon in crosswords because of it convenient / unusual "II" ending combined with other, common letters.
  • 26D: Ad Council output, for short (PSA) — Public Service Announcement. These generally involve the sanctimonious pointing out of the obvious. "Thanks, David Schwimmer! I *will* read to my kids!"
  • 65D: Onetime name in late-night TV (PAAR) — Oh man, just realized I *really* misread this. Somehow the clue registered as "One-named name in late-night TV." After CONAN, I was at a loss. Considered JIMMY because of the two "M"s ... Still didn't fit.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Pete 12:18 AM  

It's hard to like something that whupped my butt quite as much as this puzzle did (outside of a BDSM sense), but I found this to be an extraordinary puzzle. Just wish I had a longer attention span so that I could have figured it out.

retired_chemist 12:27 AM  

Very good! Challenging until I got the gimmick, medium thereafter. Tried to double letters as required, but that didn't make sense at first because i didn't do it for a whole word. Until E(XX)ON MOBIL, LOSES SL(EE)P, and VAC(UU)MS UP fairly demanded EXCUSES EXCUSES @ 41A. And then it got much easier. Fixed SAN'A @ 70A (Not Pacific,but who knew?) and got E(GG)O in, which I had wanted from the start.

Knew ACHESON, HA(MM)S, same thinking as Rex for KASPAROV. STRIP MINES was a gimme for this WV boy.

Very little crappy fill, and all in all one of best in a while IMO. Congratulations and thanks,Mr. Fagliano.

Clark 12:36 AM  

I love Thursdays. Seemed like there were letters doubling up somehow. ALOOF, PAAR. ZOOM ZOOM was the first to fall. Then it was clear sailing.

I feel like I'm back in the saddle with this puzzle. Thanks, Mr. Fagliano!

PK 12:46 AM  

Whoa! Wicked, weird puzzle. I loved it. Zoom Zoom is where I figured it out, although I was very suspicious at Pooh Pooh. What's not to love? Ok, I didn't know Acheson, and didn't have it the back brain recesses either as Rex did. No clue, but it fell in there anyway. Yum-yum!

Tobias Duncan 12:58 AM  

I think I am finally getting the hang of rebuses!

I have been without TV for so long I have no idea who's cars go zoom zoom.

I dont think I have enjoyed a rebus this much before.

I hope SanFranMan comes back.

Greg 1:14 AM  

It took me several minutes to just get a toehold. I started to wonder if I'd get anything, but I found some stuff I knew in the south, figured out the rebus from Paar, and was off. 37 minutes ... not going to break any records, but good for me for Thursday!

The New Girl 1:34 AM  

Loved loved this puzzle. For once I figured out the rebus early on. I was so proud of myself that I kept slowly ticking my way through the grid. Needed help with the governmental names ACHESON and DIANNE, but everything eventually came together. REGIFTS? FALSEGODS? Love! Love! We do have the duplicate of A in AREACH and ABITOF, but it's worth it! Okay, that's enough exclamation points! Theme, fill and cluing all great. Bravo, bravo!

Gordon 1:55 AM  

Really liked this puzzle. Theme was confusing as hell until it popped out. Then it was a breeze. I was looking for additional theme answers in the W and E, but no luck. Brilliant construction.

My only complaint is that all but two of the double-letters are within words. Only OH HI and GUESS SO have the double letter spanning both words. Extra annoying b/c guess already has a double letter.

syndy 2:09 AM  

Yup figured out early had us a rebus going! and a whole lot of double letters but (like most)finally got it at PAAR/PPAAGGOO.SSOO COOL! Had the same thought at BABY DIAPER as REX-and had some kind of MINE till the end.but JOEL is not a FALSE GOD no sirree-he's the real deal.and he did not fool me with the AB OVO thingie.

Michaela 2:16 AM  

Me likey rebus puzzles, as soon as I figure out that there is a rebus involved, of course.

Quibble: I've always heard the Roadrunner sound as "Meep meep." I see that Google has far more results for the B version.

chefwen 2:46 AM  

Caught on early with MOOT at 2D and OH HI at 4D and was off and running until I got to the middle EXCUSES wasn't going to show me the way and 57D CEELO was totally foreign. It took a long time to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I'm hanging onto the challenging rating. Like @Clark, love Thursday puzzles and love rebus puzzles, this one was a little hard on the old girl.

Off to the mainland tomorrow for a little state hopping celebrating our BIG 40th anniversary. Am hopeful to keep up with you all.

Anonymous 2:49 AM  

Major problem with this puzzle: the Road Runner absolutely DOES NOT say "beep beep".
I'm not even sure it's entirely spellable---there is an "m", and "ee" sound. There is no final consonant. Don't know how to spell the way the "ee" sound is at the same time cut off and accented.

jae 2:52 AM  

Great tricky Thurs.! Like PK I got it at ZOOMZOOM. After that it was pretty easy, although SEE for GET at 20a slowed the process. Rex's description of the feeling before you "get it" is spot on and, I had it. Plus, what he said is exactly how I got ACHESON.

aannddrreeaa ccaarrllaa mmiicchhaaeellss 4:47 AM  

loved loved it it!!!!

Just did a double double theme for Lollapuzzoola (including zoom zoom) but to put them in the SAME square NEVER EVER would have occurred to me!!! FUN FUN!

one tiny nit...I would not have had the double M in the very first word (AMMO). Had it been ELMO or ALPO
(EPPS/LOOT/MOOR or APPS/LOOT/POOR) you would have avoided starting with a double letter that wasn't part of the brilliant rebus.

(Again also for the double SS in 71A TOSS and slightly less so for 9D LOSESSL(EE)P)

And with others, AREACH was A REACH. (Or these nits ARE ACH, nothing to LOSEs SLEEP over!)

Loved the freshness of CEELO, as it virtually and literally cancels OLDE :)

Is MRI MRT's Father-in-law?

And of course BEEP BEEP evokes ACME, so gotta love that!

That EEXXCCUUSSEESS across the middle will be memorable for a long time to come. Lovely!

Modesty Blasé 4:53 AM  

Brilliant construction.
Most fun I've had doing a puzzle in a long while.
Loved the Kermit THE Frog quote.

Anonymous 6:44 AM  

But what about BLING BLING?

Z 7:13 AM  

Ditto on the "something is going on here" feeling. I got all the way to PAGO PAGO before I got it. Great Fun. On paper, I have the doubled letters on top of each other so that all the downs are spelled correctly. Very cool. Also really liked the theme hint at 13D.

I detect a social science motif, too, with Geography (PAGO PAGO, STEPPES), Political Science (DIANNE of the SENATE, ACHESON, SALT II, pro TEM) and Religion (FALSEGODS, ABBOT, EXCUSES EXCUSES) all making an appearance.

@Tobias - it is Mazdas that "ZOOM ZOOM."

r.alphbunker 7:43 AM  

A perfect Thursday puzzle. PAR told me that letters had to be doubled going down. A nice aha when I realized that the entire across word was also doubled.

DEPRECATEd is a word known to computer programmers. It is a term used to indicate that a particular software feature has been superceded and should not be used.

Glimmerglass 7:43 AM  

Lovely puzzle! I smelled a rat with EX[X]ON and VACU[U]M, but it still took a while to see that it was *all* the letters in the crosses. After that, ZOOM^2, etc., were pretty easy. Good fill, but I thought OHHI was ABITOF AREACH.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

This puzzle was so creative! I loved it! I don't recall ever seeing one like it prior to now. IMO, the fill was not forced and the clues were fresh. I rate this as one of the best!

Matthew G. 7:59 AM  

Fantastic puzzle! Couldn't make sense of the NW when I started, then noticed the very easy clues for DIANNE and SENATE in the list and used those as my foothold instead, so I picked up the theme in the SW at PPAAGGOO. Got the theme early and finished with an Easy-Medium Thursday time.

But count me among those who fault this otherwise excellent puzzle for misquoting the Road Runner's famous line as BEEP BEEP. It's MEEP MEEP, as both listening to the cartoons and research will reveal. The higher number of Google hits for BEEP BEEP is likely a result of common (and understandable) error.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

Hated it. Understood it but hated it. No fun. Felt like simple showing off.

Accelerati Incredibilus 8:22 AM  

If you're on the highway and Road Runner goes beep beep.
Just step aside or might end up in a heap.
Road Runner, Road Runner runs on the road all day.
Even the coyote can't make him change his ways.

Road Runner, the coyote's after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you're through.
Road Runner, the coyote's after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you're through.

That coyote is really a crazy clown,
When will he learn he can never mow him down?
Poor little Road Runner never bothers anyone,
Just runnin' down the road's his idea of having fun.

David 8:38 AM  

Magnificent....I had a real tough time with it. Mainly because I misled myself with thinking THISENDUP was THISSIDEUP, so I'm thinking some kind of directional quirk for UP (and DOWN) again. But nope. Then I reached for the double letter theme that Andrea mentioned, because I just knew that VACUUMUP, TEEPEES, and LOSESSLEEP had to be in there somewhere! I was close to giving up, and then the SE saved me with PAAR and ROOT. That gave me PAGOPAGO and I was rolling. Still had huge trouble in the NW, as I had SCRAPMINES (confusing it with SCRAPIRON)

joho 8:44 AM  

This is truly an amazing feat of construction ... practically a perfect puzzle. I got the rebus at ZZOOOOMM and took off from there.

The one tiny thing that sounded wrong in my head was UP at the end the crossing THISENDUP/VACUUMUP ... but those two phrases and so wonderful, who cares? Absolutely love the theme answers as they so active except for PPAAGGOO. EEXXCCUUSSEESS gets the prize for best answer ever!!!

Thank you, Joel, you really really hit it out of the park with this one!

SethG 8:49 AM  

Got it from LOSES SL(EE)P. This was very well done, though that upper left was killer.

If anyone's bored, the last coupla times people argued about meep vs beep can be found here.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

Hated it, hated it, hated it. This is not a crossword puzzle. I feel not only tricked, but cheated.

Jim 8:58 AM  

Probably my favorite rebus puzzle yet (liked the christmas tree Sunday puzzle last year, but as I noted, it was fatally flawed and so takes 2nd place).

Great stuff all around, so will contain my comments to small flaws:

I am pretty darn sure Roadrunner was quoted, at times, as saying "MEEP MEEP". I seem to remember some kind of hand placard or something that he held, or maybe the coyote held. Any researvcher in the crowd who could uncover this could solve this definitively. In any case, it may be a 'beep'ing sound, but no one could possibly argue he 'says' BEEP BEEP. He certainly does not.

Also, crossing THISENDUP with VACUUMUP is unfortunate.

GGRREEAATT puzzle, though. A 9.6 fo' sho'.

jesser 9:13 AM  

After four days sidelined and medicated with a wicked summer cold, this was one hell of a welcome back to puzzles puzzle!

I searched the grid for a place to start and landed in the far SE, where ROOT was the clear answer at 67D, which gave me the rebus and got me off and running. Only writeover was BeePING before BUZZING at 10D. Last letter in the grid was the B in ABOVO. I wanted AnOVO, but 5D convinced me to stay the course.

The double EXCUSES across the center just floored me. Brilliant all around, but THAT was incredible!

And now, somewhat but not fully weaned off the Alka-Seltzer Plus (PLOP PLOP, FIZZ FIZZ!) brain fog, I have much catching up to do here at work.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

GLR 9:16 AM  

Got suspicious about a rebus after wanting LOSESSLEEP, BUZZING, and EXXONMOBIL, but not being able to fit them in. So I started inserting the double letters, but had a hard time seeing what was going on because I wanted Jack PArr instead of PAAR.

I disagree with Rex on A REACH - unlike POEM, I think this needs the A to take on the connotation referenced in the clue.

Tobias Duncan 9:17 AM  

It may be pronounced Meep but it is spelled Beep.The roadrunner has a speech impediment.

evil doug 9:18 AM  

From wikipedia: "The In-N-Out menu consists of three burger varieties: hamburger, cheeseburger, and "Double-Double" (double meat/double cheese)."

And this is just for the moron who doesn't appreciate my Seinfeld scripts:


Elaine: Oh, is that a label maker?

Jerry: Yes it is. I got it as a gift, it's a Label Baby Junior.

Elaine: Love the Label Baby, baby. You know those things make great gifts, I just got one of those for Tim Whatley for Christmas.

Jerry: Tim Whatley?

Elaine: Yeah. Who sent you that one?

Jerry: One Tim Whatley!

Elaine. No, my Tim Whatley?

Jerry: The same, he sent it as a thank you for my Super Bowl tickets.

Elaine: I think this is the same one I gave him. He recycled this gift. He's a regifter!



DESievers 9:21 AM  

The "BEEP BEEP" answer as justification for posting one of the worst Donna Summer performances I've ever seen? That, Rex, is what might be called 'a reach.' She doesn't look particularly good, doesn't sound particularly good, and looks even more bored than I felt while watching ... add to that a bunch of uninspired backup musicians playing lifeless music and some horrible backup singers, and you have one of the worst performances by someone with one of the best set of pipes I've ever heard. Donna has really hit some highs, but this isn't one of them. Or, as Wile E. Coyote might have said (and did, in pop images of olde): "BEEP BEEP YER ASS!"

Gill I. P. 9:28 AM  

When I finally was able to finish the puzzle, I just stared at it for about an hour and thought how in the world did he do that?
There is not one single crap fill that I can find - and I looked...
A BABY DIAPER is when you buy the extra small size for your 10 lb little sumo wrestler.
Didn't the MEEP MEEP vs BEEP BEEP hit the air waves some time ago?
Well, this puzzle had my brain cells churning and they all said "thank you, thank you - we're still alive."
En hora buena Mr. Fagliano

treedweller 9:31 AM  

hear, hear!

my heart goes boom, boom!

encore, encore!

Norm 9:47 AM  

Author! Author!

Great puzzle!

MountainManZach 9:52 AM  

Finally decided to get a Blogger account, so we can start telling the anonymous Zachs apart.

Really, REALLY liked it. Thought it would be a DNF early on, I too had several double letter suspicions, and was a little irritated, because, been there, done that (e.g. Gaffney's puzzle a few weeks back). Was pleasantly surprised, and one of the few times I really wished I solved on paper. This will really look pretty if you stack the double letters vertically, so someone please post a picture!

@Rex, Bishop Allen? I will never doubt your musical taste again. Everyone, grooveshark the album The Broken String. I know there are at least a few nerds out there who will go nuts for an opening track of a pop album being about the Battle of Hampton Roads.

Tim 10:01 AM  

That there is some grade A construction. Well played, Joel.

TM 10:18 AM  

I loved this one. Very creative, couldn't finish without a little help, I should have been more patient. (I know EXCUSES EXCUSES :-) ) Over all this was a fun puzzle. I liked the GET and REGIFTS combo :-)

PuzzleNut 10:21 AM  

Back from summer vacation in the mountains of NM and finally ready to rejoin this wonderful blog.
Add me to the folks that loved this puzzle. Everything Rex said and then some.
My only twinge was, like @Jim, the VACUUMUP, THISENDUP cross. But that was offset by the joy I felt after I assumed there was no way that the UU in EXCUSES could ever work. Once I had the VACUUM, I was truly impressed. I can't possibly think of another fill with the UU, especially one as clean as this.
I've been following this blog long enough to know that Thursday is often the rebus day, and that helped a lot. Seemed like a lot of good answers weren't fitting and I immediately thought that a rebus was a possibility, which made the solving experience much, much easier.
Is there any rule for LOGON versus LOGIN? I like LOGON better, but I'm usually wrong.

JC66 10:34 AM  


BTW, I loved this puzzle.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Rabbit, Rabbit!

Mike Rees 10:38 AM  

I suspected a rebus from the very beginning, wanted MOOT for "some points". I let it go til the SE and knew it. One of the very few rebuses I've ever figured out on my own. Made my day :)

Two Ponies 10:42 AM  

Funny how we all caught on to the rebus at different places. For me it was steppes.
This on certainly raises the bar on rebus puzzles. How do you top this?
Like @Z, I solve on paper and stacked the double letters so it reads much better.
My only Huh? was that of all of the qualities of sandpaper tan was the answer? Oh, I also have no idea who Ceelo is. Is that one of those shortened names like JLo?

MountainManZach 10:47 AM  

Cee-Lo is most famous right now for this song. WARNING: cuss words. He's also half of Gnarls Barkley, responsible for this song. WARNING: amazingness.

Noam DD. Elkies 10:59 AM  

Verry neat (nee-to?) Thursday theme. Got it from 21A:REGIFTS → 11D:AL[OO]F, after wondering earlier if I misremembered 13D:HA[MM]S because of Mia (unrelated, it seems) or was supposed to enter HAMM. Yes, somewhat inelegant to have so many ordinary double letters in the grid, especially right off the bat in 1A:AMMO, which would as well be ALPO (l[oo]t / p[oo]r); cf. last week's
MGWCC #168where much care was taken to have absolutely no doubles outside the theme.


P.S. @Anon 8:51 — you mean "hated it, hated it". This is not a tripling puzzle.

miriam b 11:08 AM  

Rabbit, rabbit to all. Happy September.

I didn't recognize the source of the KERMIT quote at first, and the only name that came to mind at that stage was Fermat! Had a good laugh at my own expense.

The rebus was fiendshly clever, a real tour de force. I choose not to nitpick the two UPs, which I see as equivalent to the purposeful mistake in an Amish quilt.

nanpilla 11:16 AM  

Loved this puzzle! The
across the middle was fantastic. I do it on paper, and it does look amazing. Agree it would have been even better with no other doubled letters in the grid, but I realize that is probably asking too much.

Having a dressage clue was just the icing on the cake. Just got out my dressage whip, and hoping to get back in the saddle soon. Little Fendi is now three weeks with no orthopedic boots, and I've seen him cantering in the pasture, so I know he's feeling fine. In the meantime, been doing a lot of bicycle riding, just to keep the saddle muscles ready!

slypett 11:33 AM  

I'm an unnaturally born contrarian. As such, I feel it's my duty to say THIS IS A FREAKIN' GREAT PUZZLE! I had so much fun. One aha moment followed the next. I always knew life could be like this!

The Month That Was... 11:34 AM  

Generally I am proud, NAE arrogant and smug, that I do not own a TV...

This is the epitome of gimmicks that make the constructor smile but work against the spirit of the enterprise.

Came here and felt stupid. That is all, thank you very much.

Totally tepid, at best.

I am not buying street piano no matter how many examples are given.

SAC fly still fills me with rage.

Boring puzzle that sent me off on tangents to amuse myself.
Such as trying to fit "raving rude egomanic" where rap fit.

Mensans are not super smart, you only have to be one in fifty, I'll wager that most of the regulars here would easily qualify.

I know Ms. Graf and she hates being called Steffi.

not crazy about hetero/straight.

i liked it! no rap/hip-hop 'stars,' and as mentioned earlier, no sports.

If I wanted to do math puzzles I'd do sudoku.

I'm sure I had every letter in this grid filled in correctly at some point.

I"D rather have a word from shakespear than a rap artiste anyday

It's a fricking crossword puzzle. Lighten up

Finally, thank you for the LL Cool J! I love him on NCIS:LA but can't say I ever heard his music before. Really enjoyed it.

I hate having to share my country with baseball.

I have to say that when I saw the byline I thought the puzzle would really hand me a good time; but I came away a tad disappointed.

Its the college and professional sports that I do not approve of.

We laud and adore people who have done nothing to deserve it while fascinating individuals who are winning a better future for all of us go unnoticed and are branded as boring.

If I have to abide with, say, rap stars then you have to know the roles of Oklahoma! That's just the way it is.

Christmas music is unbearable to me unless its hundreds of years old.

Painful fill made this not worth the price of admission. Sorry.
I see the young whipper-snappers are crying foul again.

Lojman 11:39 AM  

Loved it - great, clever rebus. Sorry to the anonymous hater who felt cheated. Welcome to puzzling.

Sadly, took a DNF as I had A nOVO for AB OVO, which I'd never heard of. I'm familiar with 'de novo', which means nearly the exact same thing as AB OVO, wondered if 'a novo' was a variant thereof. Had 'did you sEe that?' at 20a, another PsA at 18d, and my 6d wad a garbled mess. Oh well.

Still didn't erase the joy of this spectacular puzzle. Bravo!

600 11:42 AM  

I love this puzzle! It took me almost twice as long as my average for a Thursday, but who cares? I can't even count the number of aha moments today, and I loved every one of them.

I saw some double letters early with BUZZING and ALOOF, but it wasn't until PAGO PAGO that the full genius of this crossword revealed itself. Even then, EXCUSES EXCUSES was a while coming, but oh how lovely when it fell!

Like Rex, the last to fall was the NW. Once I got STRIP MINE (which should have been a gimme for this mountain dweller), MOOT fell, then POOH POOH revealed itself and all was well.

One question I hope someone can answer for me: I just don't get why off is LESS. If someone else has asked and answered, I apologize. I am so excited by this puzzle I haven't read the comments yet. Off to do just that. I HAD to write my own excitement first!

No BS 11:42 AM  

Two learning curves today as I had to do it online for the first time. Took a ridiculous amount of time (an hour) but got 'er done. Brilliant puzzle, of course. AcrossLite? not so much.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:49 AM  

What a truly marvelous puzzle!

If the ORYX Awards were still being given . . . this puzz would be first choice for a DIK-DIK!

@600 - Most people would charge $28 for an answer, but I can get it for you for 10% off, or 10% less.

John V 11:50 AM  

DNF. Knew it was a rebus, got much/most of the fill, but never picked up on the rebus approach. Sorta blah reaction to the idea; not sure I see the point. Why doubled letters? Why not tripled?

(Steps out of CrankyPants)

600 11:59 AM  

Oh, I see! Thank you, Bob Kerfuffle!

JaxInL.A. 12:12 PM  

My only frown with this puzzle, as @Gordon, @acme and others noted, is that the non-theme double letters kept throwing me off. Otherwise I found everything but the NW corner surprisingly smooth and easy.

I usually have to work much harder on a Thursday. Thank heavens for the occasional wavelength synchronicity.

Banana Man 12:14 PM  

One of the best brainbusters in many moons. Started out suspicious, when I just knew, knew that 4 down had to, had to (in some mangled/twisted way) be OHHI. Kept it in mind, and it, of course, paid dividends.

Best clue had to, had to be the one for Kermit. Holders of reservations and brief look inside were also quite inspired. Very entertaining.

Bravo and thanks, Mr. Fagliano. You must have been pretty excited about this one, when you submitted it. A real winner.

Clark 12:15 PM  

@anon 2:49 am -- It's not nice to make fun of the roadrunner's speech impediment.

Two Ponies 12:16 PM  

@ The Month That Was,
I think this is the second time you've given us a recap of the comments and I enjoy it. It's fun trying to remember the puzzles that match the comments.
You must have a lot of free time.

OISK 12:26 PM  

Took me about twice as long as on most Thursdays, but I loved it. There is that "aha" moment, when it suddenly all fits, just when I was about to give up! Only clue that remains a mystery to me is Ceelo. Who the heck is Ceelo Green? But that's OK. I don't mind an obscure (to me) pop reference here and there. What I do mind is an entire puzzle built around pop references. (like yesterday's Beach Boys bummer).

This was a wonderful, brilliant, creative puzzle. Thanks Mr. Collins!

Tobias Duncan 12:30 PM  

@ The Month That Was
Too damn funny!this one is giving me the giggles. Who said it?
"I'm sure I had every letter in this grid filled in correctly at some point."

I hope you keep this up!

syndy 12:36 PM  

@ MOUNTAINMANZACK welcome in and thanx for the ceelo! I've never enjoyed ANGLO-SAXON in my song lyrics so much !imo if ACHOO is acceptible than BBEEPP flies.

Gill I. P. 1:37 PM  

@The Month That Was:
That was almost (well, actually it was) as brilliant as today's crossword - and you can quote me...:)

archaeoprof 1:37 PM  

Extraordinary puzzle! Didn't get it until PAGO, but still loved every challenging minute of it.

TimJim 1:42 PM  

Wunnerful, wunnerful!

Here's a soulful Roadrunner:

foodie 1:50 PM  

Very elegant, and for me, very difficult.

If you care about an approximation of the puzzle difficulty:

My Quick and Dirty Index agrees with Rex and puts this as Medium Challenging, but near the edge of Challenging.

Looking at the median score so far, and using as guideline some criteria that SanFranMan shared a few months ago, this would be rated as Challenging by those standards, but at the low end.

So, right at the border between Medium Challenging and Challenging.

efrex 1:52 PM  

"Medium-Challenging?!" Geez, Louise: this thing nearly wrung me out to dry. Am I ever glad that I've switched to pencil for Thursday puzzles...

Figured out the possibility of a double-letter rebus with ALOOF, but just couldn't see how they all fit. Didn't help that after I figured out EEXXCCUUSSEESS, I didn't understand the "double word" until "BEEP." NW was the last to fall.

Like Rex, dug up ACHESON out of some brain-crevice that I didn't know existed. Remembered CEELO Green's performance on "Colbert" but thought he spelled his name "Celo," which really didn't help matters in the SW. Tons of false starts, but a satisfying marathon workout.

Quite a stunning piece of construction, Mr. Fagliano!

jackj 2:14 PM  

What a wonderful bit of genius from Joel Fagliano!

As others have noted, the EEXXCCUUSSEESS answer may indeed be one of the best ever to be put in a NY Times Thursday grid.

The theory that says a monkey banging at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will eventually reproduce the complete works of William Shakespeare, is more likely to happen before most of us, (well, at least me), could ever hope to produce a puzzle of this stature.

What a humbling thought; and what a puzzle!!

fergus 2:28 PM  

Bora Bora
Tsk Tsk
Walla Walla
Duran Duran

Lots more, I'm sure

Nancy 2:29 PM  

Caught on at EXXON MOBIL/CCED, then saw that this time TEPEES (which I always thought should be spelled TEEPEES) was in fact spelled TEEPEES. This combo gave me EEXXCCUUSSEESS. Now PAAR and ALOOF could be put where I'd wanted them from the outset. Looked for where the symmetry was to complete the puzzle, at this point, easily.
I loved this a lot and came to this site to see if everyone loved it as much as I did. I was sure they would. And they did. More of these, please. More! More!

Mel Ott 2:32 PM  

Late today - post-hurricane boat stuff.

This is one of the greatest puzzles of all time!

I saw the double O's in the NW and NE and wondered if we had some kind of James Bond rebus. Like many others I caught on at ZOOM ZOOM, and the rest of the solving experience was a delight. Lots of "Aha's".

I think history will treat Mr. Acheson kindly. He was one of the architects of the Policy of Containment that was vindicated when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Did I mention that this is a great puzzle?

chefbea 2:33 PM  

What a great puzzle.!!!! Knew it was a rebus but took a while to figure it out.

Of course I loved 67Down.

Gotta go and make some berry berry sherbet.

Zak 2:50 PM  

Fun, easy puzzle. No Beach Boys.


Anonymous 3:15 PM  

Rex went to Pomona College

william e emba 3:37 PM  

Considering that some of the episodes were titled "BEEP BEEP", "To BEEP or Not to BEEP", "BEEP Prepared", "Little Bo BEEP", "Just Plane BEEP", I'd say BEEP BEEP is the official Looney Tunes spelling. Checkmate, as KASPAROV might say.

Come on, people. English spelling isn't pronunciation! Not even for onomatopoeia. Why, we also have PAGO PAGO in the grid, which is pronounced "Pahngo-Pahngo". What's the big deal?

I in fact did not get the rebus--I was highly suspicious, of course--until I reached the SE, wanted PAGO PAGO, saw I had only four squares and was deeply annoyed. But then I got the BABY DIAPER and TROT, and all four downs appeared instantly.

I had missd an opportunity to get the rebus when I filled in--one letter per box--LOSESLEEP, missing an obligatory S.

POMONA was an odd gimme (once I had a few crosses). I only know of it because that's where one of the Thomas Pynchon webpages is hosted. (That, and RP has namedropped it once in awhile.)

evil doug 3:41 PM  

I can't help myself....

Jerry: (Looking toward beach) Oh this is interesting.

Elaine: What?

Jerry: Jane's topless. (They all look)

Kramer: Yo yo ma.

Jerry: Boutros Boutros, golly!

Look at the bright side. I only have one post left (unless you include my citation by "The Month That Was").


Crosscan 3:47 PM  

As I wrote on Dec 8, 2008, and repeated on April 21, 2009:

Now we can have a deep discussion over MEEP MEEP vs BEEP BEEP. I am in the MEEP crowd, although I correctly entered BEEP as, after all, this is the New York Times. There are standards to uphold.

Can we agree that Wile E Coyote went SPLAT frequently.

Stan 3:55 PM  

Very interesting puzzling experience. Saw that Exxon-Mobil wouldn't fit right away, but something like an hour elapsed before I returned to it with new knowledge.

Kudos, Joel! Big kudos! Except kudos aren't plural, any more than rebus. But you know what I mean.

mitchs 4:05 PM  

Keep 'em coming, Evil!

M07S 4:06 PM  

A most excellent puzzle. Odd that nobody commented on the juxtaposition of DIANNE Feinstein and SENATE. Crazy good.

Howard B 4:16 PM  

Today's random haiku:
Odd quirky theme makes
word aficionado
very very pleased.

Anonymous 4:35 PM  

C'mon, no protest over 62A un-pc cluing? "HARD" to change? Isn't parenting a privelege, not a chore? And hey, someone (happily) did it for you...

hazel 5:50 PM  

fantastic puzzle!

and also meta-post @The Month that Was. Keep em coming. There's enough silliness for you to easily become The Week that Was.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

Can I complain that "PAR" was used twice? Once, in its pure state (it beats a bogey) and once in its rebus state (name in late night)? They both read PAR on my iPhone, and that bugs me.

ArtO 6:16 PM  

Just adding my vote to all the huzzahs. A very satisfying solve. Somehow I can handle Thursday's -- especially the rebuses -- but Fridays and Saturday's are most often DNFs.

CoffeeLvr 6:16 PM  

Loved it.

mac 6:35 PM  

Brilliant puzzle! And look how great a write-up and commenting it produced!

Got the rebus quite early because of zoom zoom, just about the only car ad I know (because the first one, with the little boy, was filmed in Rotterdam, with the singing brige).

Excuses, excuses is brilliant. I just loved this whole thing. Just sorry I had to do it online. Feeling a little guilty about living it up in powerful NY while my husband is languishing with a little radio in CT..... Still no power or cable there.

@Month..... I enjoy your posts! Now where is SanFranMan??

michael 6:52 PM  

dnf -- just didn't get the gimmick. Knew it had something to with double letters - steppes, exxon, etc,but never figured it out. Loses sleep was driving me crazy. Oh, well --probably good to fail sometimes.

CFXK 6:55 PM  

LOVED this puzzle. The construction is amazing in so many obvious, not so obvious and incredibly subtle ways -- clever, smart & creative without being self-conscious. AND, it was fun/challenging to solve. You don't always get such a wonderful balance (complementarity) of technical beauty and solving enjoyment, but this one really hit the sweet spot.

Sparky 7:02 PM  

Had that old rebus feeling but couldn't find them. Filled in PAAR first and still no go. Picked at the grid here, picked there and then they all started to fall, ZOOMZOOM, BEEPBEEP and finally, EXCUSESEXSCUSES. Never got POOHPOOH because I spell that phoo phoo. Ah well. Thinking oases for dates before PALMTREE. One person's FALSEGOD is another's be careful of my sacred object.

Really enjoyed chewing the eraser over this. Thanks Joel Fagliano. Thanks @The Month That Was; keep it up. Actually looking forward to Friday with added confidence.

skua76 8:34 PM  

I too enjoyed it. An interesting experience, I'm traveling with no printer, so I did this with Across Lite. Amazed that after entering all of those double letters, the happy pencil came up! Beep Beep is fine with me. But I forgot CeeLo. Thanks Joel!

aromoff 9:15 PM  

I don't usually comment - but I loved this puzzle. Figured out the gimmick when Exxon didn't fit. I don't always finish puzzles, but I finished this one. GREAT feeling!

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

@Gill I.P.: No crap fill? What then is LADEN crossing BABY DIAPER? :P

Was lucky to get the theme from wanting EXXON and TEEPEES and CCED: EEXXCCUUSSEESS!!

Huzzah, Huzzah!

Stan 10:34 PM  

Roadrunner -- Jonathan Richman (b. 1951, Natick, MA) and the Modern Lovers

Pretty much the best song ever, at least for a Massachusetts kid.

When I was in Big Bend National Park (Texas) I liked seeing both coyotes and roadrunners.

cody.riggs 12:36 AM  

Ok, folks, you computer solvers don't seem to have gotten the gist of this puzzle at all. Rex's finished grid doesn't make sense, really (but I admire that it didn't bug y'all.)

The VERY FIRST thing I inked in on this puzzle was:


with each letter ON TOP of the other. The downs then read completely normally. Doesn't this look a lot better than ZZOOOOMM ?!

I know some of you are beholden to Across Lite, but it has its obvious limits.

Very fast Thursday for me, since the first thing I thought of for the auto slogan was the above (and I suspected POOH
POOH before that)

Much better paper solve.

GE Portland

cody.riggs 12:50 AM  

I forgot to add, this puzzle was awesome. Yes,
is probably one of the best answers ever in the grid.

Beep-beep is correct. Linguists can confirm that the M-B distinction in language is so slight as to be indistinguishable, especially if the mouth of the person is not seen...this subtlety relies mostly on context.

Glad to see, after reading all the commentary, that others wrote the letters vertically stacked. Looks much better.


luisa massim 2:05 AM  

Great puzzle! I think "baby diaper" is correct, as in "after the storm there was a great need for bottled water, canned foods and baby diapers."

brendal 3:02 PM  

hated it. how many letters can we cram into a square. is there a limit?

Philip Sandifer 10:54 PM  

I love the idea of this, but... well, first of all, I think that corners like the NW and SE should be auto-rejects without extreme extenuating circumstances. Pockets that only one answer crosses into are just bad construction.

But to then put two theme answers in the pockets? UGH.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

The puzzle is incorrect. 59 down, to be correct, should have been 10 to the negative ninth power. 10 to the ninth is giga.

Red Valerian 1:45 PM  

Put me in the LOVED IT LOVED IT camp! Brilliant idea and brilliant execution.

@Anonymous 1:13 pm, it is 10 to the negative ninth power in my syndi-print version. Actually, it's just "10-9: Prefix," but that indicates (it seems to me) that the clue lost its superscript.

captcha=mogles. The roadrunner dispute mogles the bind.

DocArtie 1:55 PM  

So no-one's going to call Natick on Acheson/Ceelo cross. I debated between C vs. T and guessed correctly. Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle with typical Thursday multi-letter entries done in a new way.
Oh, also didn't like 10-9. If the superscript showed correctly it would have made more sense.

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

Started with the CA clues...DIANNE, SENATE, POMONA. Then pretty much worked my way around the midsection, suspecting a rebus with LOSES SLEEP, confirming it with EXXON MOBIL and immediately getting EXCUSES EXCUSES. Big smile; a rebus that only affects the downward crosses.

61 was my final square, as ABBOT gave me BEEP BEEP over MEEP MEEP. Pretty sure I've seen MEEPMEEP in a crossword before.

Loved AMMO as a hint to the rebus. POOH POOH and BABY DIAPER (and Gill I.P. said there was "no crap fill"!) would have spoiled my breakfast if the hairball our cat left on the carpet hadn't already done that.

My only complaint is that California was on the wrong coast.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

@ Stan - I'll see your Natick, MA and raise you one Staveley, Derbyshire.

Mighty Nisden 3:50 PM  

This was the closest I have ever come to finishing a Thursday! I loved it. Figured out the rebus at PAGO PAGO and went off from there.

@DocArtie - I agree with your nat on the ACHESON/CEELO cross. That is the only square I missed. Guessed that it was a T.

Still my favorite puzzle ever!

Pippin 3:58 PM  

Brilliant puzzle! Tho' I got the rebus fairly early I DDIIDD NNOOTT FFIINNIISSHH. Too many references I DDIIDD NNOOTT KKNNOOWW.

Red Valerian 4:26 PM  

The beep/meep debate reminds me of the McGurk effect, though of course we never see the Roadrunner's lips move, and it's not the beep/feep debate, but the effect is super cool:

Here's my attempt to embed the link, but I'm not always successful:
<A HREF=">McGurk Effect</A>

If you're pressed for time, start at the end of the first minute.

Red Valerian 4:31 PM  

McGurk Effect

Left out a quotation mark. Not that this is guaranteed to work, but it looks better in preview.

Love the clip, @Anonymous 3:33pm.

Deb @ 6:25 PM  

Once again, I didn't fully appreciate this puzzle until I came here. I figured out the rebus early on, but because the first ones I filled in were PPOOOOHH and ZZOOOOMM, answers that seemed to work singly (and I had them written that way instead of stacked), I thought it was just a rather inelegant doubling of letters.

Doh! Brilliant puzzle. I was DNF only because of AREACH. I just couldn't fess out the C.

Deb @ 6:27 PM  

... I also couldn't suss it out.

Dirigonzo 7:18 PM  

Writing is synditime, this puzzle cleared out the inter-generational squabbling that has been rampant here like a cold-front rolls down from Canada and clears the last vestiges of summer out of New England. Only the Beep/Meep dust-up provided any controversy among prime-timers today and that was pretty minor. Apparently a great puzzle transcends our diferences.

I, like others who commented here, could not have hoped to finish this puzzle without the skills I learned on this blog - thanks Rex and Rexites, one and all!

@No BS - I realize that I am 5 weeks late but I did not see an answer to your question as to how Off = LESS, so I'll try. Think shopping, as in the sale price is 10% off/10% LESS. Maybe if you get email notifications, you'l see this.

inaeci - if this were a word it would be in the puzzle at least once a week.

Dirigonzo 7:31 PM  

Oops - @No BS didn't ask the question, @600 did. Sorry for the confusion.

Oops 7:34 PM  

and kerfuffle answered the question seven minutes after it was asked

Eastsacgirl 8:41 PM  

Unklike Rex, got the NW corner within a couple minutes so got the rebus right away. Took a little bit but only had one letter wrong (T for C in Acheson). Loved the whole puzzle except for AREACH & LAMER. Was glad to see the medium/challenging rating as I through this one pretty fast for a Thursday.

Anonymous 11:08 PM  

As late in this as it is, I can't resist the way I thought of Roadrunner's _eep _eep, years ago as a kid: Before honking, he was thinking "HMMMM"--- as in what does Wily have up around this bend. thus the contraction, M'beep M'beep. Stupid, I know, but it made the scenes even more fun. Many good feelings associated with those brilliant cels. Great puzzle, too!

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

Spacecraft here: cool puzz. Started with the gimme STRIPMINES; how could that not be evident from the clue? Really puzzled by the 3-letter entry for "Funny running into you here." Thought, thought...
it'd be nice if the downs were fours, then I could put MOOT and MOOR...oh wait! And the light came on. From there I knew what went into the other three corners--and then noticed 37d. You don't suppose
they'd do THAT, do you? But yes! Wow, that must have been hard to come up with. (up with which to come??) Brilliant, with only a few minor defects--most already noted. The double-UP endings for 27d and 48a look clumsy, but all in all great fun. Just had to change LOGON to LOGIN, but finished with no help.

wadower: a guy who lost his wahf.

Longbeachlee 1:34 AM  

You're all wrong, except nanpilla. What I'm saying is, it isn't, as an example eexxccuusseess. It's
That is in the solution boxes the double letters should be one above the other so the double across-es read double, and the double letters in the downs read as double letters.
A nit? I don't think so.

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