Jah worshiper / SUN 11-13-11 / Long Island county west of Suffolk / Candy company first flavor Pfefferminz / Roxy Music co-founder / New Sensation band 1988 / Former NBA star Spud

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Constructor: Jeremy Newton and Tony Orbach

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Either Way" — long palindromes

Word of the Day: YESLETS (95A: "We totally should!") —
Very small affirmatives.
• • •

 What a strange little (big) puzzle. I was about 10 seconds in, got the first palindrome, and thought "Well, this is going to be tedious." I mean, I had the gimmick, and I knew that I really only had to get half the crosses on the theme answers. They're palindromes, so every letter revealed actually buys you two. So I was facing what I assumed would be a giant chore, made somewhat less giant by the fact that it would be easy. But the puzzle surprised me a bit. First, the cluing was thorny in a way that made up for the easiness of the palindromic theme. Second, some of the theme answers were tough to see even knowing that they were palindromes (the last three in particular took some thought). Lastly, those (relatively) giant corners in the NE and SW allow for some pretty cool fill, like "SO LAST YEAR" and "WHAT A SHAME!" and (above all) "SUPER BAD" (8D: 1970 #1 R*B hit for James Brown).

In fact, the grid shape really makes this a tale of two puzzles. Lots of white space in the NE and SW (and, to a lesser extent, in the other corners) — making it hard to blow through those areas, and allowing for some very interesting fill — and then a heavily segmented grid in the middle. Nearly every answer in the middle third of the grid is 3-5 letters, making for a less interesting experience (though my favorite theme answer, SUP-PAR RAP BUS, is in there, which somewhat alleviated the tedium). DEROGATIVE is pretty out-of-the-language, especially to work well in these sprightly, humorous answers, so that was a downer, but otherwise, I ended up enjoying myself much more than I thought I would 10 seconds in.

Slow clap for DO PR (30D: Send out press releases, e.g.). I have huge admiration for this kind of make-#%@!-up-as-long-as-it-ends-up-sounding-right attitude. I just made up my own perfectly legitimate phrase in a puzzle I'm working on, and it completely transformed an icky corner into something verging on competent. It was possibly the most cool constructory move I've ever made—completely without the aid of software or references or anything. I just looked at the empty squares and started free-styling possible answers. Most terrible. And then—bam.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: Students err? (PUPILS SLIP UP)
  • 31A: Medusa killer takes his agent to court? (PERSEUS SUES REP)
  • 46A: Reinforced ice cream container? (BUTTRESSED DESSERT TUB)
  • 58A: Inferior tour vehicle for Snoop Dogg? (SUB-PAR RAP BUS)
  • 68A: Recollection from a winter tourist in Poland? (WARSAW WAS RAW)
  • 79A: Disparaging Argentine leader badly injured? (DEROGATIVE EVITA GORED)
  • 97A: One-on-one job for a ladies' man? (GIGOLO'S SOLO GIG)
  • 110A: "Son of Darius, please confirm my dog is male"? ("XERXES, SEX REX") — completely ridiculous, which, I suppose, is the point of ending with it.
  • 1A: Followers of William the Conqueror (NORMANS) — I botched a Norman Invasion clue very recently. Wasn't about to make the same embarrassing mistake twice.
  • 21A: Who said "Learn from the masses, and then teach them" (MAO) — this helped me change SERAPH (?) to JOSEPH (16D: Nativity figure).
  • 28A: "10" in a bikini (BEACH BABE) — this phrase sounds kind of made up, though familiar enough that I'll buy it. BEACH BUNNY sounds righter. I kept wanting BO DEREK to somehow fit here.
  • 52A: Kay of "Rich Man, Poor Man" (LENZ) — having seen her name somewhere in crosswords before allowed me not to get spooked when that "Z" dropped in there. 
  • 6D: Long Island county west of Suffolk (NASSAU) — which is also the name of the capital of the Bahamas.
  • 33D: Former N.B.A. star Spud (WEBB) — legendary short man. 5'7" Slam Dunk Contest champion.
  • 43D: Candy company whose first flavor was Pfefferminz (PEZ) — I guess you can't spell "Pfefferminz" without PEZ, so that makes sense.
  • 100D: "New Sensation" band, 1988 (INXS) — I took some band quiz on Sporcle just a couple days ago, and they were on it, so this one came quickly. It probably would've come quickly anyway. This album, "Kick," was ubiquitous during my freshman year of college. Kind of like UB40's "Labour of Love." Oh my god. Out of every damn dorm room. Including my own.
  • 111D: Roxy Music co-founder (ENO) — he was on Colbert just a couple days ago. Really interesting guy.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Brian Eno
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

  • 112D: A street drug, for short (XTC) — I'd heard it called E and X, but not XTC, which, like INXS and UB40, was a band that was popular when I was in college. Apparently, in the '80s, you just had to throw some letters and/or numbers together and you were in business, musically speaking.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


retired_chemist 12:39 AM  

Nice job, Tony and Jeremy. I thought the palindromes were interesting and fresh. Also nice writeup, Rex - YESLETS made me chuckle. Kinda like 15D BARBET - a small fishhook.

My street drug was PCP first. Or is that SO LAST YEAR?

Thanks all.

jae 1:23 AM  

Same thoughts as Rex. Got the theme, prepared for a slog, and was very pleasantly surprised. Clever amusing palindromes and some tough cluing and fill. Nice puzzle folks.

Clark 1:36 AM  

Semi-puzzle partner, Barcelona guy and I did this on skype. We had a blast. Who would have guessed that so many words contain wacky reversals? Xerxes sexing Rex; a gigolo sexing himself, it would seem; the doing of P(aul) R(udd), apparently. Sheesh. We were worn out by the end.

chefwen 1:36 AM  

What a fun way to fill a Saturday afternoon. Did it in fits and starts in between a plethora of Saturday chores. Had a bunch of write-overs lure before BAIT at 37A caused my biggest problem area. That gave me GO UNSung at 9D before GO UNSAID and Erin before EIRE. That was a fine mess I got myself into, and it took me until the end to finally get it unscrambled. The other problem area was the southeast where I finally had to break down and Google for the Darius kid. All those X'S almost done me in.

Favorite of the day was GIGOLOS SOLO GIG. WARSAW WAS RAW made me shiver. Husband is in Seattle for a 11/11/11 wedding, I opted to stay home and tend to the animals. It's 40 and raining there, who is the smart one in this family?

Greg Charles 2:22 AM  

OK, total = are? I'm not getting that.

I actually knew of Darius, but had to Google for Ada, OK. Interesting town, is it? I'll have to drop by sometime and pick up a magnet or a decorative spoon or something.

Clark 3:11 AM  

@Greg Charles -- Semi-puzzle partner, me, one dog, two cats—we total five. = We are five.

retired_chemist 5:45 AM  
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retired_chemist 5:46 AM  

Anybody want to count 29A ADA and 53A AHA as parts of the theme?

Anonymous 7:13 AM  

62D - ARE = Total?

Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

Nice Sunday puzzle! The palindromes were fresh and fun. Rex is correct that they made solving much easier: "Every letter buys you two." The only thing I didn't like about this puzzle is that it didn't take very long. Considering the enormous palindromes, I'm impressed that the fill was so good. There were very few clunkers (UGSOME, RPS, BEACH BABE) and a minimum of obscure names (LENZ). I only quibbled about one or two clues (an EPEE is not used in a duel, unless you want no one to win). Good job, Newton & Orbach. BTW, ARE is "total" as in "Two and two ARE four."

JenCT 7:46 AM  

Got the theme at PERSEUS SUES REP, and had fun from there. Really enjoyed this puzzle.


Fun puzzle; thanks Tony & Jeremy.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:20 AM  

Agreed, nice, easy puzz.

One very minor question:

In the printed version in the NYT Magazine, the clue for 13 D reads "Ones who gets things". Just a typo, or some deep meaning that I am missing?

exaudio 8:31 AM  

Loved the palindromes, it's amazing they could come up with so many clever ones.

Last square was Z in LENZ/PEZ. Could not think of a candy company with three letters, totally forgetting all the Pez dispensers of childhood.

evil doug 8:33 AM  

Now this is a shout-out I would have enjoyed:

"Son of Darius, please confirm the 31st Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe is male."


Shamik 9:17 AM  

@Greg Charles and @Anonymous 7:13 AM: ARE = Total as in "2 and 2 are 4"

Easy puzzle. Expected tedious when I guessed the theme early. And found it tedious. Especially detested UGSOME. Usually I like puzzles with Tony Orbach's name at the top. Not so much this one.

Total meh.

jberg 9:17 AM  

There's no K, right? Hard to be sure, with so many letters. I'm surprised @Rex didn't include that lack in his praise.

@Bob Kerfuffle, I had the same question. I think it must be a typo, "One ..." makes perfect sense.

I read the puzzle title, thought - 'could it be palindromes?' - but didn't figure any of them out until I got way down to 97A, GIGOLO'S SOLO GIG. After that, it was a snap. (I might have got it faster if I wasn't confusing Theseus with PERSEUS.)

@Anonymous 7:13AM, your question was answered while you were typing - scroll up about two comments, if you haven't yet.

@Retired_chemist - great definition! Actually a BARBET is a bird in the Capitonidae family

As Sundays go, this one was a lot of fun.

joho 9:23 AM  

Fantastic Sunday, Jeremy and Tony! EXceptionally fun theme, brilliant eXecution. You gotta love all those X's in XERXESSEXREX!

I had some writeovers at glUm before BLUE, ben before SUR, hUh before BUT adJ before OBJ and goahEaD before proceed.

Unlike @Rex, I thought DOPR was UGSOME.

Regardless, this is just what a Sunday puzzle should be ... thanks, guys!

Tobias Duncan 9:29 AM  

I just woke up from a disturbing dream about a girl I dated briefly this summer.In real life she is a bit of a hipster with tattoos and piercings. In this dream she was straight laced and (thanks to certain posters here)wore a very unflattering Hillary Clinton style pantsuit.

I am not pleased.
That is all

pauer 9:40 AM  
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pauer 9:45 AM  

Great job, fellas! It's not easy to come up with original palindromes, and the fill/clues in this were fresh, fresh, fresh. Enjoyed it a bunch.

Lindsay 9:54 AM  

I wasn't going to post today because I didn't have much to say about the puzzle, but if we're going to talk about dreams ....

I recently dreamed that all the contributers here were competing in a tournament. The puzzles had been distributed, and were face down in front of us wherever we ordinarily solve (for me on the dining room/computer table). We had to wait for a signal to turn the papers over and begin solving, but because we were scattered all over creation, we didn't know when the signal was. So eventually people got tired of waiting and wandered off to go about their lives, and no one ever turned their paper over or solved the puzzle. Just left them lying there and walked away.

davko 10:07 AM  

Immediately picked up on the theme, and the essential two-for-ones lightened the typical Sunday load and made for a relatively easy solve. My compliments on the cleverness necessary to dream up fresh palindromes of such length, despite the bit of contorting necessary to keep some of them perfectly mirrored.

Was derogative Evita gored by El Toro? Do beach babes wear micros? Has Eno ever played Emo? Couldn't help but pick up on these free associations -- whether intentional or not, they seemed to go perfectly with the fun, silly theme answers themselves.

Seik L. Elkies 10:17 AM  

Ironic for Xer to praise 12D:SO_LAST_YEAR and then rave about an entry clued as a 1970 hit: so last century! (And was it really "R*B" rather than "R&B"?)


JC66 10:22 AM  

I'm not a speed solver and I usually enjoy Sunday puzzles the most because of their length; but hand up for slog on this one.

UGSOME says it all for me.

Tita 10:39 AM  

Bob Kerfuffle...AcrossLite has it as "One who..."

Love palindromes, loved this puzzle.

Rex seems to be having a curmodgeonly week in general, KVETCHing over most of the puzzles.
(@evil doug...not even 110A could get him out of his funk...your hilarious take has me cleaning Irish steel cut oats from my laptop screen...)

Got PUPILSSLIPUP asap, PERSUEUS with no crosses, and XERXES pretty quickly, after suspending my disbelief that it could in fact be right...
(Knew that minor in the Classics would come in handy...)

Favorites: SUB-PAR RAP BUS, Lead's counterpart, They may be sore after a game...

Only other UGSOME clueing...
66A - Auntie EM, yes, but isn't it Aunt BEa??

Oh- also liked 41A - Foreign tender.

Well done, Mssrs Newton & Orbach!

JaxInL.A. 10:57 AM  

The coolest thing about these palindromes is that they are all based on single words. How long did Jeremy and Tony spend collecting words that can do that? Then finding pairs in lengths for symmetrical placement... I am so impressed with the constructing feat here that I can forgive the unbelievably obscure sports clue for WEBB and the they-can't-possibly-be-serious UGSOME.

Great fill! ETAGERES, EXPOSED TO, OPULENT (I love that word), and the tasteless but interesting GO POSTAL.

I made all of @joho's short fill errors, and feel just as positive about this puzzle as she does.

@Lindsay, your odd dream made me smile, as did @NDE's palindromic rendering of his name. @Tobias, I was counting on you to rant about Spud WEBB. And as long as we are randomly associating, my daughter is now 5'7" and I wouldn't call her a spud by any means!

Other randome thought: Does @Tita and everyone in CT have their power back, finally?

JaxInL.A. 11:02 AM  

Oh, and thanks, @Clark, for the PR explanation. I was a bit at a loss for why Rex popped in that pic of Paul Rudd. Not his most flattering shot, I have to say.

@dk has gotta love the U count on this one. Or is that @M&A?

Tita 11:15 AM  

Hey there Jax...
Yes- mentioned last Sunday that it came back 2 hours shy of a full week! Thx for asking...
The cleanup from the many trees that fell has our backs broken, and an above-PAR RAP BUS-sized pile of debris in the driveway.
Bright side - plenty of mulch for the garden! Who wants to come to a wood chipping party?

Forgot to mention the dream sequences here - most interesting!!

And you - are you back in the land of iPadding?

One more free association... stepson is a proud mail carrier...and such a sweet-tempered gentleman - could never GOPOSTAL!

David 11:18 AM  

I had very similar thoughts as Rex on this one. Got the them right at the top with PUPILSLIPUP and thought some of the adventure would be gone. Instead, those last few palindromes were pretty thorny, and all of them were quite creative and fun. Plus, there were many really outstanding and not overly easy long answers throughout the puzzle - esp. SOLASTYEAR, which took about 7 crosses to get.

UGSOME - Really????

syndy 11:35 AM  

Except for wanting "EUROTRASH" for 1 across I have huge love for this puzzle XERXESSEXREX made me laugh out loud.I have seen UGSOME before so I had no problem with that.EVITA took every cross and every doubled letter and created deep anticipation. THANK you MESSIEURS ORBACH and NEWTON!

Xerxes and Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Man, I'm impressed with the work it must have taken to construct this opus. Just coming up with all the appropriately-sized p-dromes musta been major. My hat's off to Newton and Orbach.

Fave theme answer: XERXESSEXREX. @31: as @evil-d intimates, beware of Persians bearin' lab tests.

Fave long fill: Tie between GOPOSTAL and GOUNSAID.

Fave short fill: DOPR. Thought we might have to resuscitate old #31 after that one -- but, NOPE. He let 'er pass.

Ticklish intersection: ETAG?RES/S?NTRA. Got it right. Had a really small "E" written in, tho.

Fave clue: The 110-Across one. I mean, wow...only in the NYTimes would you get a clue like that. thUmbsUp.

Jim 11:44 AM  


Anyone following basketball in the '80s would know Spud WEBB, even with a far less obvious clue.

Again, willfully weatherproofing one's brain of any sports data is not a badge of honor.

Anyway, I just wanted to write to say I really enjoyed your write-up today, Rex. And, you know what? I frequently really enjoy it. And I just figured I'd come out and say so, since I so often have other, smart-alecky things to say.

So, here's to you, Mr must-frustrate-his-wife-and-child-to-no-end-to-make-sure-the-post-is-up-by-midnight-or-his-ne'er-do-well-followers-will-kvetch-like-there's-no-tomorrow-while-still-being-funny-entertaining-illuminating-poignant-timely-about-such-dross-as-OOXTEPLERNON guy.

Tobias Duncan 11:46 AM  

@JaxInL.A. sorry to disappoint. I was gonna stay away from this one but truth be told, I have heard of this guy.I played quite a bit of two on two and pickup basketball in my youth.I had a pretty mean fade away jumper and because of my diminutive stature, my buddies would yell "Spud Webb from the outside" whenever I sank one from three point land.
I have just exhausted my entire reserve of sports jargon.
Now I must rest.

Mel Ott 11:47 AM  

Thx, @Jax, for pointing out that the palindromes are created from single words. That bit of clever construction helped me like the puzzle a little more. Just a little, tho. Answers like DOPR and UGSOME kept getting in the way.

@Rex: If you're saying something like DOPR made your puzzle better, I'll try my best to like it, but I dunno.

Campesite 12:14 PM  

I'm glad Rex pointed out the musical groove of this delightful puzzle. Here's another top tune from an artist in today's grid:

Umi Says

Masked and Anonymous III and out 12:20 PM  

@Ott: But surely you gotta, on some level or other, love DOPR. It's just so brilliant and desperate, all rolled into one. Puts up a fight, solving-wise, too. Couldn'ta admired it more, even if it had had a double-U in it.

@31: thUmbsUp to you, too , for appreciating it. Constructin' is making you wiser. Awful curious about your similar, alluded-to, escape fill entry now, tho.

Z 12:25 PM  

Was struggling in the SE until AXED gave me XERXES. Otherwise a pretty smooth ride.

ENO is a pretty interesting guy, and the a cappella Lean On Me with Eno, Stipe, and Colbert is cool.

600 12:39 PM  

Loved the puzzle. Even though I got the theme at PERSEUS (I too tried to make Theseus fit) it still took me a long time to finish. I'm not complaining, though--this puzzle was a good challenge, and I felt the thrill of victory for beating it.

Put "blue" where AQUA belonged, off that U. Shoulda known it was too easy. Malapop, right?

@Jax--I had not noticed the "one word" for a palindrome thing. Really cool. Thanks for pointing it out.

@Lindsay--That is one disturbing dream. And, @Tobias, yours wasn't undisturbing either. I might call both of them nightmares.

@Jim--I don't follow any sports at all. They never break my consciousness. That doesn't mean I'm "weatherproofing my brain." Still, I don't complain about sports clues. I'm just grateful for crosses. Sometimes I'll bet you are too, just on a different subject.

@Rex--Big laugh, out loud, at YESLETS. Thanks for that.

CoolPapaD 12:44 PM  

Loved puzzle.
Loved write-up.

Eleven days ago, 11-02-2011, was palindrome day, and this phenomenon won't recur for another 10,000 years!

Noam D. Elkies 12:54 PM  

I noticed a bit after my previous post that the theme is tighter than just "palindromes", but JaxInLA posted the additional feature first. So 58A's "subpar" must be one word, and in a 21x21 grid there cannot be any fully grid-spanning theme entries because 21 is odd.


P.S. @CPD: Actually 12-02-2021 will work the same way in only 10 years or so, and 2-10-2012 is practically around the corner. 11/11/11 still trumps them all, though.

John V 1:17 PM  

I was able to find time to do a Sunday puzzle and to post here on Sunday (first time). I mean, I LOVED this one! Count me as a palindrome fan. Former favorite: What car does the president of the palindrome society drive? A TOYOTA. (Source: Frank and Ernest cartoon.) New favorite: XERSESSEXREX! Yes, silly, but I'm happy to have silly on a Sunday.

I'd rate this as one of my top ten favorites! Great job, guys! Right on target for a Sunday/Thursday, medium.

Rube 1:18 PM  

This was a marvelously constructed puzzle... most impressive. Unfortunately, had UGSOrE so technically DNF. (Who's MOS Dre --UGSOME?) But what really impressed me was that there were 2 downs each crossing 3 theme answers at both the top and at the bottom. Got the theme answer at Perseus and having just finished a Teaching Company series on Mythology was not confused with Theseus. (Next year, probably will.) Somwhow, the Xerxes answer was a gimme.

Got the Warsaw answer from one W, the Gigolo answer from one G, and the Buttress from _TUB, but was trying to fit Peron in until a V gave me Evita.

Demi Moore fit beautifully for that "10" clue and slowed me down in the NE. Somehow had her confused with Bo Derek. Did you know Demi Moore was born in Roswell, New Mexico? I'm sure there's no story here.

A lot of good fill here. Never heard of GOPOSTAL -- the Urban Dictionary infers more violence than just "flip", such as shooting and killing fellow workers!

Had WornOUT before WANTOUT and ratS before NUTS. This section was the last to fall.


CoolPapaD 1:38 PM  

@NDE - I guess that's why you are where you are (and others are NOT)! Here's the link I got that from - I should have specified that it was eight-digit palindrome day, but, nonetheless, you are totally right - 12-02-2021 is only a decade away.


Maybe I'm missing something but I think you are correct. I guess one cannot believe all that they read online - shocking!

Sparky 1:45 PM  

Guessed palindromes from title. Took a while to figure each one out. First PUPILSSLIPUP. Tickled pink when I got one letter and was able to enter the mirror image. Thanks @Clark and Glimmerglass for explaining AND. I had a blank for DOPR. Shouldn't the clue have an abbreviation or something? Is there such a thing as a SCENE STORE? Why is a DENT a bit of progress? Afraid this was more of a slog for me than fun fun. Clever, though.

Love the robot dancer. Fun write up Rex.

archaeoprof 1:57 PM  

Liked it! @BobKerfuffle: looks like a typo to me too.

Final comment on the debate here last night: the CBS people were cool. Hardworking, fun, they engaged with the locals. The candidates, by contrast, travel in a bubble. They weren't ever really here.

600 2:03 PM  

@Sparky--I took it to mean that when you put a dent in a project, you make a bit of progress.

Tobias Duncan 2:32 PM  

@jim said "Again, willfully weatherproofing one's brain of any sports data is not a badge of honor."

I respectfully disagree. Professional sports is a scourge brought upon our people by radio and television.It is a virulent infection.You should feel the same pangs of guilt when penning sports trivia into the grid as you would if you just happened to know some obscure soap opera trivia.
It is no better.
It is information best purged from a well ordered mind.

Jumble Jim 2:40 PM  

Yesterday's JUMBLE.

Joe in Montreal 2:48 PM  

Liked it, love YESLETS.
I don't want to assume the clue to 13D was a mistake - "ones who gets things" so can someone explain it to me?

Lewis 2:54 PM  

I never heard of UGSOME before but I like it and will probably use it.

Lindsay, I think your dream means that we are going to have a long winter ahead...

Norm 3:09 PM  

I really liked the "classical" ones. Tried to think of more but the best I could come up with (and it's pretty bad, be forewarned) was "Mother dear, lop off a flower for this Greek hero" or "Mum, ax Ajax a mum" Gives me added appreciation for constructors who can actually come up with something funny. Nice puzzle.

jackj 3:18 PM  

In my puzzle, the PROCURER is "One who gets things". Perhaps the errant "s" clue is just a palindrome in denial.

The clever palindromes truly shine when they hint at sex as do GIGILOSSOLOGIG and XERXESSEXREX but having palindromes in a puzzle is also like getting a raft of two-for-one coupons which entitle the solver to free letters for half of the theme entries. No coupons wanted from this quarter; prefer my cluing neat.

But, the fill was really what made this puzzle a super challenge and hearty huzzahs to Jeremy and Tony for not letting the theme overwhelm the rest of the puzzle.

AUPAIR, BARBET, BEACHBABE, SOLASTYEAR, GOPOSTAL, well, enough or I'll be including most of the answers, (but I must add, I even liked DOPR and UGSOME).

A super Sunday from a pair of hip constructors.

ksquare 3:29 PM  

@Joe in Montreal: If I ask someone to buy something for me he gets it by procuring it. Granted there is a sexual allusion to PROCURER.
@Tita 10:39: Apparently you didn't watch the Andy Griffith Mayberry show where AUNT BEE took care of his son Opie.

Joe in Montreal 3:33 PM  

Hi ksquare: I get the word, it's the clue "Ones who gets things". Why the "oneS"?

quilter1 3:38 PM  

Started early today and got the trick, but had to leave and come back so finished minutes ago. 110A was my favorite theme answer. The theme answers had me giggling and my spouse groaning. Good stuff.

JenCT 3:49 PM  

@Tobias 2:32: I take it you're not watching the NFL games today???

RI Squasher 4:12 PM  

This was my fastest Sunday ever which means it took me a little less than 2 hours. Based on the title I figured it was going to be palindromes so I definitely took advantage of the "2 for 1".

I had ERO in DEROGATIVE and assumed it was going to be PERON.... but I couldn't make it work at the other end so I waited until I got LAPD (which I originally filled in with UCLA).

Maybe Rex thinks 110A is ridiculous because he has no interest in being sexed by someone named Xerxes. :)

Thanks to everyone for the advice yesterday on lightly writing in the answers I'm not sure about. Definitely came in handy today.

Martin 4:29 PM  

"Ones" is a typo. It was fixed early on (all online media are correct) but somehow slipped through in the Magazine. Stuff happens.

Joe in Montreal 4:33 PM  

tout s'explique alors! Thanks.

Kathy 4:36 PM  

I did it! A complete solve, and early, enthusiastic understanding of the theme. Some writeovers, but I'm kind of proud of making my way through them to the correct answers. My dearly departed solving partner LOVED palindromes, so I felt him right with me, laughing out loud at GIGOLOSSOLOGIG (he was a lifelong professional musician). Altogether a great crossword day. And thanks for the Brian Eno spot, Rex.

jackj 4:45 PM  

"U" Alert-

Be it dk or M & A or some other poster who rhapsodizes over the "U" counts in puzzles, be sure to download today's LA Times puzzle by Jeff Chen which is headlined, "Kewpies", (Q-P theme) and, where Q's are found, U's abound.

Masked and Anonymous II but actually now III 5:01 PM  

@jackj... Mucho thanx for the U Alert. Very good LATPuz. Jeff Chen is good at this stuff. M&A

Tita 5:05 PM  

@ksquare - another childhood certainty dashed!! I always thought she was Aunt BEa!

@RI squasher - there were a few examples of writeovers in the past 2 days that show that sometimes even the wrong answer can help...
Yesterday, Bra and BUN shared the B,
and today, had you writeen gLUm at 50D, you woulda had half the answer!!

Arlene 5:15 PM  

I just had to chime in that I really enjoyed solving this puzzle - got the theme right away with WARSAW - and loved putting in the palindrome letters even if it made it all a lot easier. It was fun and that's why I do these puzzles anyway.

Tita 5:21 PM  

I totally agree!!!!!!!
I was an avid baseball fan as a kid, back when everything was pure and genuine, but once Steinbrenner bought my team and the players, (and World Series wins again), it became a bore to me.
Not to dampen others' spirits - just pls don't take my taxes to build the next stadium... ;)

Hmmm...capcha is spagiti...I'm hungry!

I was still able to enjoy the story about Alvin Dark...probably cause that was back when all players and owners were genuine.
(What's the emoticon for tongue partially in cheek?)

Sportsman 5:41 PM  

I like Football, in fact I am watching it now. It is part of our culture, along with other sports, as is Reality TV. Get used to it. I'm sure the post was meant to elicit a response. I don't appreciate Ballet the way I should, but I do realize the amount of talent and persistence one must have to do what they do.

Sports Clues are valid. Well-ordered mind, indeed.

skua76 5:43 PM  

@jackj, thanks for the alert on the LAT QP puzzle, I just looked and yes it's sitting there on the floor in my local paper!

I got a VERY slow start on today's puzzle...jumped all over getting very few answers, and the theme seemed impenetrable, so when that happens I have to ignore the theme answers until I can get a toehold. Finally figured it out after getting 110A in the SE corner, and it was all very worthwhile.

Thanks Rex for doing what you do!

Juan Ones 6:11 PM  

I, Juan Ones, am the foremost procurer in Natick, Mass.

Stan 6:40 PM  

Goofy, amiable puzzle leads to goofy, amiable responses. Interesting.

Palindromes are like beachfront properties -- they're not making many more of them. So congrats, guys, on originality. I do recognize one (which I won't reveal) but by and large they seem quite new. Fun stuff.

Del Taco 7:45 PM  

palindromes were tough for me
especially Xerxes one
tough fill
took me 75 minutes
slow Sunday

mac 8:29 PM  

Very good Sunday! Hard to figure the difficulty rating because I had to do it during a studio sale - people disturbing me all the time. I also had to jump around for a bit, until I found the theme in "Perseus......". I thought the clues were toughish for a Sunday, so more enjoyable, and it seemed obvious to me that these guys did a very thorough job of getting a quality puzzle out.

I actually like the word ugsome, and love "dents" and "yes, let's".

Write-overs were iron/urge and adj/obj.

Favorite clue: "Son of Darius, please confirm my dog is male". Read it out loud to some friends, and they were.... flabbergasted.

Nice to finally see and hear Eno.

fergus 9:45 PM  

A fine accompaniment to the Niners-Giants game this afternoon. Too bad the Cryptic didn't work as well for the commercials during the second half. I give palindromes far more leeway for idiocy than anagrams ...

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

I'm a frequent visitor but never commented before. Couldn't resist commenting that procurer/s was I'm both puzzles today. BTW, loved the puzzle.

nurturing 12:47 PM  

@Tita: I used to think it was Aunt Bea, too, but it's not. Google it!

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

@fergus: agreed. palindromes rule; anagrams drool. and these ones weren't SUPER BAD.

Also in the Rule column: TMBG. Check out: I Palindrome I...then check out the rest

Puzzle was a bit of a slog at first but in the end i was able to see the beauty in UGSOME. finished the whole puzzle without using [Senor's search engine?]: EL GOOGLE... that's right misters Newton and Orbach...3 can play at this game...which reminds me...all this time spent on crosswords and i'm falling behind on the most recent xbox releases so i'm off to read my GAMER E-MAG

Dirigonzo 12:42 PM  

Back in syndi-land after attempting yesterday's puz in prime-time. Finally gave up on it at 10 this morning, and had this syndicated Sunday masterpiece done before noon. Most puzzle-solving fun in a long time, maybe ever.

We recently learned that in 2006 Rex Parker hated multi-word palindromes so I was surprised at his write-up today (a week ago - you know what I mean). I think he was overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the grid.

The more I see UGSOME in the comments above the more I like it.

Speaking of 2006, let's travel back to 11/20 and see what RP had to say:
- "Solving time: 6-ish (applet fritzed again)"
- "Just knowing that the tournament involves solving on the applet makes me slightly furious. Seems to be testing manual dexterity at least as much as solving ability. As other solvers have admitted recently at other sites, it takes me several minutes to fill in the grid when I have it pre-solved! (which I have done only for the sake of posting the puzzle here - who are the idiots who pre-solve the puzzle and then solve on the applet, so that everyone can see their manifestly fake time!?"
- "FLAP implies a quicker, harsher motion than SWAY, which is something a hammock does. Or palm trees. You FLAP your gums, or your wings - a flag might FLAP. SWAY seems far more soothing. I told you the problem was small. So I'm not a fan of FLAP. FLOP and FLIP are fine. As Meatloaf said, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."
- "Robert Howard would kick somebody's ass if he were alive to see his name associated with such ridiculous, ungrammatical nonsense. The only reason I haven't cancelled Red Sonja is because ... I want to have faith in the viability of a female hero. Oh, and she's hot."
- "Blanked on this. Had BOSSY and BESSY and god knows what else before I recalled this cow's name. Does Borden make anything besides condensed milk? Yes they do. And you can find out about Borden products at, I kid you not, elsie.com."
- @Orange offered this information which brought much relief to RP: "Don't know where you got the idea that the tournament involves the applet—it's strictly a paper-based competition. Though you may have the option to stay home and solve online that weekend, the prizes and the par-tay are reserved for the people who go to Stamford and are prepared to wield a sturdy pencil (I prefer EraserMate pens)."

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

I don't time myself, but this has to be my fastest Sunday ever. Suspected palindrome from the title. Confirmed at PUPILS SLIP UP. Raced through the other theme answers with just one (2) or two (4) or sometimes no (2 x 0) crosses. Fill was a piece of cake. Coffee never got cold.

No David Lee Roth video for GIGOLO'S SOLO GIG?

Would also have accepted this (speaking of AUNTS).

@ CoolPapaD 12:44 PM
Move to London and you'll get a palindromic date in just three months (on 21/02/2012)

And Rex: THANK you for Elke!

Anonymous 4:35 AM  

This was a tale of two puzzles, all right: everything else (easy) and then the SE (DNF!).
"Get back to" for RSVP? "Former J.F.K. line" for TWA?? LINE????
Impossible! What with my misspelling of ETAGERES (I had ETAGIERS), that was enough to throw me off the rails. I couldn't even work in anything using XERXES (which I KNEW!), because the phrase EXPOSE TO--horrible as it is--would not come. The SE is a mess, and it ruins an otherwise enjoyable (except for UGSOME: OMGyougottabekiddingme) puzzle.
Hand up for Bo Derek. In fact make that **** up!

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