Late NPR newsman / TUE 4-10-12 / Physician Sir William / Adorn with jewels / Red-eyed birds / Railway encircling city / Bruce of Sherlock Holmes films

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Constructor: Gregory Philip Butler

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: ROLE REVERSAL (51A: Plot device used in "Freaky Friday" ... or a hint to the interior of 20-, 26- or 42-Across) — ROLE can be found reversed (i.e. as "ELOR") in three answers

Word of the Day: BLOATER (22A: Smoked herring) —
Bloaters are a type of whole cold-smoked herring. Bloaters are "salted and lightly smoked without gutting, giving a characteristic slightly gamey flavor" and are particularly associated with Great YarmouthEngland. Popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the food is now described as rare. Bloaters are sometimes called as Yarmouth bloater, or, jokingly, as a Yarmouth capontwo-eyed steak, or Billingsgate pheasant (after the Billingsgate Fish Marketin London). (wikipedia)
• • •

If you have a halfway decent theme idea (and I think this one qualifies), why oh why (oh why) would you design a grid that is so massively flawed that no one will remember or appreciate what you've tried to do? First, this theme needs at least one more "ELOR" phrase to feel worth it. There must be other phrases that work, and it's not like a 15x15 grid can't accommodate 5 (total) theme answers. But this is a minor quibble. The main quibble, the big Q, is what the hell is going on with the fill. Let's start with the only part of the puzzle that most people are going to remember: the BLOATER / SCHORR crossing. BLOATER!?!?! The second I had that in my grid, I would no longer have that in my grid bec. a. it's ugly and b. it's obscure. Redesign the grid. You've got a bunch of less-than-optimal stuff over there anyway; tear it down. SATIABLE!?!? Tear. It. Down. Even worse than BLOATER is crossing it with SCHORR (6D: Late NPR Newsman). First, it's some northeasternliberalelitist Bull*&$% to clue him without even a first name? On a Tuesday? Second, to cross him with BLOATER? Even if I knew SCHORR (and I knew it ... by sound ... 'cause he was on the *radio* ... you know, the R in NPR ...) there's no reason I know that it's two Rs at the end. I definitely considered BLOATEE / SCHOER. Silly, you say? Silly? Have you met BLOATER? Look at BLOATER and tell me BLOATEE is silly. Look at POOLER (!?!?!) (5D: Car ___) and tell me BLOATEE is silly. The entire NW quadrant of this puzzle is an utter disaster. The rest is just adequate-to-unfortunate.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Longtime Nicaraguan president (DANIEL ORTEGA)
  • 26A: Instrument that's played by turning a crank (BARREL ORGAN)
  • 42A: Citrus fruit originally grown in Brazil (NAVEL ORANGE)
I honestly can't believe this was accepted as is. "Great theme idea, inadequate fill. Revise and resubmit"—how hard was that? (It wasn't)

I like the part where TOS crosses RST. Genius.

I've heard of a beltway, and a waistline, but not a BELTLINE (36D: Railway encircling a city).

Now if you'll excuse me, OSLER and I are going to go BEGEM some VIREOS (48D: Physician Sir William) + 36A: Adorn with jewels + 43D: Red-eyed birds). Oh, that OSLER—he's A REAL POOLER with the BARREL ORGAN, I say. PSHAW! Etc.

A crosswording friend of mine just posted the following to the Facebook thread (that I opened when I first finished this puzzle and wanted to vent): "It's a 72-word themed puzzle; whoop-de-doo. The word limit is 78; if your fill is this bad, you should be using all of that." Why did I write anything tonight? I should've just let that quotation stand in for my whole write-up.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:07 AM  

Why the hatred towards BLOATERS? Me, I love my seafood soaked in salty water, guts and all, then smoked. You take their guts out before you brine then smoke them, what have you got left? Smoked Herring? Any fool could eat that!

jae 12:08 AM  

Tough Tues.!!  BLOATER, NIGEL, OSLER, KDLANG, VIREOS, ALLA... more Wed. or Thurs.  Pretty smooth grid except for RST.  I like what Andrea said about yesterday about beginning solvers.  Mon. and Tues. should be accessible for them.  This wasn't. 

And @ syndy from yesterday:  I'm not sure I understand your comment but the reason I went with NORSE at ffirst was that somewhere I thought I'd seen the ffricken word ffjord spelled with two ffricken ffs.  This, of course, turned out to be in ffricken correct.

Yours truly,
Anon 2;02.

Anonymous 12:33 AM  

Come on Rex! Surely you of all people can see why SCHORR was not clued with his first name.

(Hint 20-Across)

foodie 12:34 AM  

Rex, that was hilarious! And quintessentially Rex!

I agree that the theme idea was very nice, and that some the fill was too hard for Tuesday, but I felt everything was gettable from crosses, and so was not too annoyed by it.

I liked EFFEMINATE, but it, along with OHIO VALLEY were missed opportunities for more theme answers.

And yes, I have some serious doubts about BLOATERs-- I mean as a dish.

santafefran 12:36 AM  

Well, I'm FONDA KD LANG and CLINT and pleased to be watching all the Dicken's NOVELS on PBS but not much else to love here.

retired_chemist 12:38 AM  

Found it easy but agree some of the fill is less than stellar. BEGEM? Really?

Tobias Duncan 12:41 AM  

Horrible for sure but Daniel Schorr was a HUGE part of NPR.When he died they ran tributes and mourned him for weeks.I am pretty sure I am to the right of Rex politically and I loved him.
I loved WAVEFORM and expected Rex to dislike it. I had no idea he would go after SCHORR.This puzzle was crappy enough to put anyone in a foul mood though.

Tobias Duncan 12:48 AM  

So looking at the the grid there seems to be two diagonal arrows going in opposite directions.Is that part of the theme?

foodie 12:55 AM  

@Tobias Duncan, wow, now that you point them out, I can readily see them! Very apt!

Come on, lots of cool stuff about this puzzle, WAVEFORM and it's clue included.

pk 1:03 AM  

Channeling Bruno on DWTS - ooh, Rex, you are so passionate about the puzzle!

I went pft, pft, at 1A and 5A, but KNEW that 10A was Knew, and worked clockwise from there the rest of the way around the puzz.

No, I've never been to Enid, but I've been to Oklahoma.

Alot is not a word. A barrel organ is not a thing. Not in my world anyway.

58A evoked "Coming into Los Angeles....bringing in a couple of keys...." If I knew how to link it, I would, but sadly, I do not.

As for the smoked herring, be brave, y'all kids. Go ahead and have a taste.

Anonymous 1:37 AM  

Teat. How is it that nobody mentioned teat?

Rube 2:08 AM  

Normally I don't complai too much about the fill, but have to agree with @Rex about BLOATER and POOLER. SCHORR is, OTOH, IMO, perfectly acceptable< (not that I knew anything about him and had to get it from crosses). OSLER and ALLA also were way beyond Tuesday level... to the point where I had to make a WAG on the L crossing.

However, my real nit is with calling the "Purple People Eater" an ogre. Just because he has one eye and one horn does not make him ogreish. After all, he does like short shorts, tequila, and now plays in a rock and roll band. Let's be a little more PC and say he's an E.T. or maybe visage-ly challenged.

Rube 2:13 AM  

Normally I don't complain too much about the fill, but have to agree with @Rex about BLOATER and POOLER. SCHORR is, OTOH, IMO, perfectly acceptable< (not that I knew anything about him and had to get it from crosses). OSLER and ALLA also were way beyond Tuesday level... to the point where I had to make a WAG on the L crossing.

However, my real nit is with calling the "Purple People Eater" an ogre. Just because he has one eye and one horn does not make him ogreish. After all, he does like short shorts, tequila, and now plays in a rock and roll band. Let's be a little more PC and say he's an E.T. or maybe visage-ly challenged.

retired_chemist 3:34 AM  

I have actually been to Enid. Pretty much what you would expect.

JaxInL.A. 3:38 AM  


I did have the great pleasure to meet Daniel Schorr in the 1990s when I interned for Nina Totenberg one summer in law school. He was charming and sharp as a tack. And she was great.

Area Darla Mrofevaws 3:40 AM  

Yes, ROLE/ELOR is a very cool theme!
So why not have one or two more...that OHIOVALLEY/EFFEMINATE fill left room for theme...
Tho four is hard and enough, but those 10s threw me off.

I'd have cottoned to it earlier if I haven't misspelled NAVaL for the umpteenth time.

There was something about the cluing that felt like it was translated from another language thru one of those google translation sites.
AREA/AREAL, RANDB, YESNO might have been reason enough to try for something less ugly than BLOATER.

Knowing DARLA made me feel 103 years old.

Acme ps 3:47 AM  

Synchronicity! Solved while watching taped DWTS and Melissa Gilbert (with enough plastic surgery that is making her look on the path to Joan Rivers) danced to a song called "Conquest" with some lyric about "Role reversal"!!!!!

JenCT 3:49 AM  

Yes, tough for a Tuesday.

@Rex: funny writeup.

Actually knew VIREOS.

PSHAW gets me every time - I don't think of it as "Nuts," but more like "forget it."

The eggs are peeping...

chefwen 3:53 AM  

Pretty sure I do not want to dine on anything named a BLOATER, sounds like it's waaay past the expiration date.

Pretty easy puzzle, a few things I didn't know like OHIO VALLEY and BARREL ORGAN, but as @foodie said, all easy attainable through the crosses.

Love saying PSHAW, it's so old fashionedsy. Speaking of old fashioned, also love NIGEL Bruce.

chefwen 4:35 AM  

How about EASILY attainable, that sounds so much better.

dk 5:48 AM  

*(1 Star) even TEAT could not succor this BLOATER

The Bard 7:00 AM  

Romeo and Juliet > Act I, scene III

LADY CAPULET: Marry, that 'marry' is the very theme
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?

JULIET: It is an honour that I dream not of.

Nurse: An honour! were not I thine only nurse,
I would say thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat.

Gareth Bain 7:20 AM  

BLOATER was a gimme (there has to be someone!) but the number of unnatural inflections is astonishing: 36A; 4-, 5-, 38-, 31D! So I'm still with the majority here... (and I've got a puzzle - not NYT though - later this week so I suppose I should be extra obsequious!)

Glimmerglass 7:29 AM  

I agree with Rex and most of the comments above. This was a really ugly puzzle (though only medium difficulty). SATIABLE is one of those words that exists only in the negative, insatiable. Will we see COUTH as an answer soon?

Z 7:37 AM  

@Tobias Duncan - Something to like about puzzle.

Between wanting DANIEL noriEGA and BRONCo - I was looking for a rebus for awhile. I can't keep all those South American dictators straight, apparently. At least I'm not the guy managing in Miami having to explain a positive comment about Castro.

SethG 8:08 AM  

There really isn't another good option with the same xEL ORx split. JEWEL ORCHID is closest. If you let the split wander you can get THE LORD'S PRAYER or QUICHE LORRAINE, but there's no good xELO Rx for symmetry. With no split, you can throw in BACHELOR PARTY or something.

That fill was dreadful.

Sue McC 8:15 AM  

Easy enough, though BLOATER, BEGEM, and POOLER are ugly. And I agree with others that OHIOVALLEY and EFFEMINATE were lost opportunities for another couple theme answers.

John V 8:18 AM  

Agree the fill was challenging/Maleska-ish for a Tuesday. May I add to @Rex's list BBALL and RANDB. Ugh. I liked OHIOVALLEY, EFFENINATE, WAVEFORM. Liked the theme; needed the reveal to see it, again a bit more challenging than a usual Tuesday.

Hey! What is a usual Tuesday, anyway? Sort of prepubescent, gangly, gawky, not Monday any more but not yet grown up enough to be Wednesday? Kudos to Mr. Butler for giving us a different look on what many think to commonly be the inchoate day of the week.

Suzy 8:36 AM  

For pk: a barrel organ is a hurdy-gurdy.
Go to

Pooler was the worst!
And can anyone imagine Gen. McAuliffe shouting Pshaw?

Tita 8:38 AM  
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joho 8:38 AM  

BLOATER pretty much says it all.

I think it's too bad this puzzle wasn't put back in the oven to allow the theme and the fill to fully bake.

Tita 8:40 AM  

Since I agree with Rex and everyone else today about how not so great this was overall, let me say what I loved about it:

Reverse redirect- "Site for a diet of worms?" of course had us smarties (at least me) wondering what 4-letter German word would fit...
"Creepy-sounding lake name" - great clue for an overused place.

That's about it I guess...well, maybe learning that NAVELORANGES come from Brasil, and being reminded that they are NAVELs not NAVaLs because of that belly-button they've got.

Arto 8:42 AM  

@glimmerglass used the one word most aptly describing this puzzle ...UGLY, ' nuff said.

jackj 8:50 AM  

Gregory Philip Butler makes his debut and asks us what DANIELORTEGA, BARRELORGAN and NAVELORANGE have in common and the answer seems to be that they qualify as just another funky Tuesday mishmash dubbed ROLEREVERSAL, (ELOR inserts; that's it).

Theme aside, (such as it is), the inclusion of lengthy, unusual faux theme entries like OHIOVALLEY, WAVEFORM, BELTLINE and OVERRATE sprinkled importantly around the puzzle makes the constructor and his editor parties to the building of a regrettable grid of confusion.

The range of the fill, from BLOATER to BEGEM and SCHORR to OSLER, then KDLANG to ELGAR and DARLA to DALAI, et al, was so uncalled for on a Tuesday that the puzzle floated, unattended into a full-blown identity crisis.

A variety of interestingly clued entries is normally a good thing but when an inexperienced constructor seems intent on impressing the folks with his cleverness, the result is not applause for the constructor but terminal disappointment for the solver.

Relax, Mr. Butler, take a mulligan and give it another go.

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

This was a disaster, as in just waiting to happen. Yuch Flowerlady9

jberg 8:53 AM  

I liked two things about this puzzle. First, only yesterday I demanded that future ERNEs be clued as other than "sea eagle," and here it is! "Shoreline flyer" - pure genius! (Next week: "Marine raptor.")

Second, for decades I've been reading English novels in which schoolboys feast on BLOATERs, bangers, and toast at tea-time. I always knew what toast was, and learned about bangers last year - but had no idea about BLOATER until today. My life is complete!

Like @ACME (or is it ADME now? Guess she didn't want to go with CORRODE), I had NAVaL ORANGE at first. So named because they hold up better on long sea voyages, and are tastier than limes.

Really fun writeup today, @Rex, I think you outdid yourself.

jesser 9:05 AM  

There is something beautiful about R AND B, and kd lang's rendition of 'Hallelujah' is mesmerizing.

I was pretty pissed off about BLOATER until I got to VEGA, and then I had memories of The Worst Car I Ever Owned Ever, and BLOATERS went by the wayside, and the General Motors Corporation can take a flying suck at my ass to this day.

The most EFFEMINATE guy I know is named Jim. I would not want to BEGEM. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The last letter to fall was the OSLER/ALLA L. Lucky guess.

I love blackjack, so ACETEN almost made up for the vehicular disaster at 40A. But not quite. No, not even close.

AnnieD 9:13 AM  

I found this puzzle to be more easy than medium. Perhaps because the closest it got to sports references was OVALS and BBALL. To me, SCHORR was a lot less obscure than most of the sports characters. I had Tampa before Ocala, wanted Noriega not Ortega (didn't he invent the taco sauce??) I wanted something like the Rust Belt instead of the Ohio Valley. Never heard of BLOATERS and almost sorry I have now...blecch...but no naticks, so very doable.

I knew VIREOS right away because when I was first trying to identify that bird with a most lovely song, I had them confused with VEERYS...they sound almost like pan pipes.

Veery Song

Always a pleasure to hear on my walks in the woods.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

You lost me at "begem." looks short for "beg them." no soup for this puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 9:19 AM  

I always struggle with proper nouns and can never spell DALAI. I always want an "h" there.

@Z - I had "manuel" for DANIEL, and that messed me up for a while. Also, wanting BRONCo, I started to smell a BLOATER, er, rat, and was thinking rebus.

Before WAVEFORM fell, all I had was ALLEY, and that parsing was my most serious set back. Was looking for some kid of weather phenomenon there.

Hand up for wincing at BEGEM and wanting a couple more theme answers.

Just finished watching “Space Cowboys,” and somehow I was happy that CLINT was clued as a director and not an actor.

quilter1 9:33 AM  

Loved the write-up although I'm not well versed enough in construction to do such critique myself. I could see all of Rex's points and agree that there could have been two more theme answers. BLOATERs sound disgusting and I've eaten some pretty exotic foods, such as pre-white man Inuit food. I do rate the puzzle easy though.

Just saw off our son, DIL, her mom and our grands, age 8,5 and 1, after a great five day visit. Today my house is very quiet. And sticky.

chefbea 9:46 AM  

Agree with everyone. Tough for a Tuesday.

Kept picturing an organ grinder with a monkey. Thanks for reminding me of hurdy gurdy

@Acme did you see Melissa Gilbert hit her head doing her dance. Read this morning that she was rushed to the hospital with a mild concussion and whip lash.

Lewis 9:58 AM  
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Lewis 9:59 AM  
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Ozzie G 10:05 AM  

Did I mention that I love DANIEL ORTEGA almost as much as I do Fidel Castro? It's not like I'm in enough trouble, so I figured I'd pile on

Lindsay 10:15 AM  

Agree with everyone else. And BLOATER/SCHORR is the worst. NYT newsmen like Matt Bai and Gail Collins strike me as fair game because their work appears in the very same paper as the puzzle. But NPR? Give me a break.

Not crazy about the clue for 54A. I'm female, but if you called me EFFEMINATE I'd haul off and wack you ;~)

archaeoprof 10:17 AM  

What @JohnV said. It's Tuesday in CrossWorld...

Two Ponies 10:27 AM  

Leave it to the Brits to leave the guts in, name it a bloater, and eat it. Of course, they also have a dish called spotted dick. There, doesn't that make bloater sound better?

Tita 10:36 AM  

@auilter1 - I never knew the Inuit ate pre-white men...
In spite of tha tsobering thought, I am ROTFL re: tha state of your house post visit. I was expecting - quiet...
@TwoPonies...thanks for making me feel better about one disgusting comestible by mentioning one even more so...

Lewis 10:43 AM  

Rex, your writeup had me laughing out loud, culminating in that priceless paragraph opposite the Jem logo.

Gregory, the main criticism is too much out-of-the-language words. Let this make you better. This crowd can be nitpicky, but also loves to send out praise. Stick with it!

Mighty Nisden 11:02 AM  

I also had trouble last night with the Play Against the Clock feature, but thanks to @sanfranman I found out it's a firefox issue. Work fine with IE.

Hand up for nORiEGA and had no idea that ORTEGA could have such a normal first name. Tried to fit a long fidel as his first name somehow.

@loren I'll have to admit I put in an H in three places for DALAI until I got it right. Let's see if I can remember it next time.

Tough Tues and could not finish with the BLOATER SCHORR crossing. Bleh.

quilter1 11:53 AM  

@Tita: so delicious.

Masked and Anonymous 11:57 AM  

(Debut) puz author says (at WordPlay blog) that substantial rewrite was required, before acceptance. Would have almost been worth having the original version published, just to see @#31*!'s reaction to that. [Good mornin', sunburn!] Har.

Funky fill didn't really bother me much. BEGEM has been used once before, back in 1994, so it is an oldie but goodie. BLOATER is a fresh fishie, tho; found it an interesting addition to my "Outdoor Fisherman" vocab. Both are in my ratty little dictionary -- so, fair game, but Tough in a TuesPuz.

They really really missed an opportunity on the 2-D (AREAL) clue: "Like 14-Across". Would have brought the house down.

@Butler dude: Don't let this snarling pack discourage you. I found this puz remarkably entertaining. Try using some of the less common vowels sometime, and you may soon get a thUmbsUp outta me. For now, I'll just say, "the butler did it."

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

For those complaining about SATIABLE/BLOATER, there was an easy refill fix using PITIABLE/SWEATER.

Give the top corner a try with those!

Mel Ott 12:49 PM  

I like herring a lot, but if you offered me BLOATERS for lunch I think I would pass.

@Z: Daniel Ortega is a democratically elected leftist whose positions have evolved over the years to a kind of democratic socialism. Our country seems to prefer right wing militaristic dictators to democratically elected leftists like Mr. Ortega. But it is unfair to call him a dictator.

Tinbeni 12:50 PM  

RAYS & BBALL made my day.

Azbert 1:00 PM  

Rex, you were exceptionally bilious today. And your petty political mini-rant about NPR/Schorr was objectionable. Nice that you have your coterie of simpering sycophants to bolster your ego. But I thought the puzzle was just fine, Mr. Butler.

JenCT 1:05 PM  

No EFFEMINATE DIVA would order BLOATER as a meal. Heck, no woman I know wants anything to do with BLOAT.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Not that bad for Tuesday except for that awful NW corner, which did the saving grace of the "diet of worms" clue. Some newish clues and answers, I thought: Ohiovalley; effeminate; barrelorgan; kilo instead of dose; nice clue for Lake Erie; btw it's a one-eyed, one horn, flying purple people-eater. And what the hell, teat is thrown in to make you take a second look.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Why any constructor who is not a friend of Rex and not a masochist would come here to read reviews of their NYT puzzle is beyond my imagination. I guess this one goes down as okay theme and lousy execution. I believe Schorr was on Nixon's enemies list, as Ozzie is now on the Miami Cuban community enemies list. Others can bloviate about BLOATER. This was just fine for a Tuesday and just as fine for a debut by a new constructor....


Anonymous 1:47 PM  


In agreement with your clever and concise summation of this puzzle.

How does the solver enjoy the theme if you don't even see it till the reveal?

PS- I knew DARLA and I'm not old.

Bird 1:50 PM  

And the pleasant start to the week comes crashing to the ground, which is too bad because this is a great theme. Maybe someone will build a Sunday puzzle with more theme answers. Aside from the whole rant about BLOATER (I do enjoy smoked herring though, with Akvavit) . . .

Bad points:
• POOLER? Is that a legit word? Google says no. First 5 pages are all results for city names, hotels (probably named after the city) and names of people. Carpooler? Yes.
• AREA crossing AREAL?!
• BEGEM?! Why do constructors insist on using BE-noun verbs?
• Where’s the last o in BRONCo?
Good points:
• Clues for 17A and 63A
• CLINT is one of the best directors and actors of all time

I love the Little Rascals episode when Alfalfa joins the He-Man Women Haters Club:
Buckwheat: [delivering Alfalfa's letter to Darla] "Dear Darla, I hate your stinking guts. You make me vomit."

@Ozzei G - LOL

Darla 1:54 PM  

BLOATERS and Alfalfa make me vomit

IMDb 1:57 PM  

Unforgiven (1992)

The town of Big Whisky is full of normal people trying to lead quiet lives. Cowboys try to make a living. Sheriff 'Little Bill' tries to build a house and keep a heavy-handed order. The town whores just try to get by.Then a couple of cowboys cut up a whore. Unsatisfied with Bill's justice, the prostitutes put a bounty on the cowboys. The bounty attracts a young gun billing himself as 'The Schofield Kid', and aging killer William Munny. Munny reformed for his young wife, and has been raising crops and two children in peace. But his wife is gone. Farm life is hard. And Munny is no good at it. So he calls his old partner Ned, saddles his ornery nag, and rides off to kill one more time, blurring the lines between heroism and villainy, man and myth.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Although I'm quite loath to quote her
Our DARLA was ready to order.
(She was dining with SCHORR
at a table outdoors)
"I guess I'll just go with the BLOATER."

oren muse 2:24 PM  

I was a little surprised that Rex called this one medium challenging. Of course it was hard for me, but usually the ones he calls anything but easy I can’t get anywhere with.

Again, Gregory knew my weakness –RANDB, KDLANG?? I guess because I’m not up on more recent music, my age allowed me to put down PSHAW with no trouble.

I was surprised to see milkmaids still have jobs given that my (embarrassing) electronic milking device eTEAT from a while back might be in use.

ANON B 2:26 PM  


I get the feeling that a large number of commenters are constructors. That's why there are so many complaints about the grid
which I never notice or understand.
Near the end you executed one of my pet peeves:"..when I first
finished..". When did you finish it for the second time?
A more common form is "first started"
One last thing. What is so great
about RST crossing TOS?

Masked and Anonymous 2:32 PM  

@Bird: POOLER is in my ratty little dictionary, as one who pools. Like a pooler of ideas or gains (or cars?), I reckon.

Darla Hood went on to do some singing, in her post-gang years. Have heard a record by her. Didn't make my alfalfa sprout.

mac 2:33 PM  

There has to be a reason they call it a bloater.

Easy puzzle with some words I KNEW Rex was going to hate.

@Jen CT: wish I could hear that!

Wood 2:40 PM  

Agree about the fill, but I set a new Tuesday record with this, so it can't have been that bad. Being "not in the language" but gettable, is better than just being obnoxiously obscure... And I would say most of today's gaffes are the former.

Bird 2:52 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous - OK. Maybe your ratty little dictionary should be scanned to Google's archive?

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

@anonymous 2:12pm

Hope ED likes your ANONYMOUS LIMERICK more than he liked my attempt at poems!

GILL I. 3:27 PM  

I thought Rex displayed his usual coruscating humor in this puzzles write-up. I learned that word while reading an article about Jean Luc Melenchon and evidently one of his saving graces is that he is known for his "coruscating" speech...
I just didn't think this puzzle felt at all like a Tuesday. I didn't mind some words I never heard of (BLOATER, POOLER, OSLER) it just felt like it was trying too hard and, well, slipped on some OLEO.
I find it very difficult to criticize a newly published NYT crossword. I'm sure Will has his reasons but dang, I too felt it needed some tweaking.
It's so much easier to dislike tried and true constructors than those trying to get a heavy foot in the door. I'd like to BEGEM Mr. Butler so, I will look forward to future publications.
@Mel Ott. Oh, I don't know: Ortega's candidacey was illegal and many say that his re-election in 2011 was one big fat fraud. He leads his country through dictatorship so, I would say @Z was pretty much on the money.

Acme 3:48 PM  

Someone just told me yesterday about some New Yorker essay made up entirely of words like COUTH, RUTH, SATIABLE, WHELM and the like, haven't found it yet but it sounds interesting.

Tho i do not like literally UNconstructive criticism, i do hope general dislike will force the new constructor's attention to what was missing and make for better future puzzles instead of it appearing that it's just piling on of "simpering sychophants" or whatever that mean guy called us!

For example, even tho BLOATER is a real thing, that kind of ugliness conjures up images that throws the sweetness of solving a puzzle with a super clever theme off the track...or whatever a less-mixed metaphor would be!

Sparky 4:01 PM  

Hurdy Gurdy didn't fit, dose before KILO. @Loren and Mighty Nisden, tried an H in DALAI. There are a couple of words I can't seem to remember how to spell.

Did not like RST and BEGEM. Good clues for ERIE and NEST. NIGEL Bruc, Dr. Watson a gimmee for me. @Tita: PSHAW, KNEW NAVELORANGEs had belly buttons but thought they were found first in California.

@JenCT. Waiting for the chicks pics.

Tobias Duncan 4:12 PM  

BLOATER pissed me off this morning but it has grown on me all day. I like that its a bit gross and kind of edgy. It is also wonderfully descriptive. You really get the idea from just the name.
No one besides Foodie sees the arrows? they really look to me like refresh arrows or swap this for that arrows. I cant believe they are just a coincidence.

Tita 4:25 PM  

Need to add a little more love here, as I am sure Mr. Butler is taking this in the spirit it was intended...

I liked how the Diet of worms is what one may use to catch BLOATERS up in that corner...

Thanks Mr. Butler - there is indeed more to like than to the arrows! That can't be a concidence.

Tita 4:27 PM capcha was "hensface"!!
Maybe capcha is really an oracle, and we should listen more closely...

(I didn't know they peeped prior to hatching...)

Anonymous 4:36 PM  

Andrea, try this:,5753,-1304,00.html.

sanfranman59 4:45 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

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

Tue 8:59, 8:52, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:45, 4:35, 1.01, 61%, Medium-Challenging

JenCT 4:48 PM  

@mac, @Sparky & @Tita: yes, hearing Peep! from an unbroken eggshell is pretty amusing. Two are out so far, 4 to go? Will post pics tomorrow.

Acme 5:34 PM  

@4:36 thank you!,5753,-1304,00.html
Also, the gal who came in third at the St Paul nontourney, Amy Ketterling is on Jeopardy! Tonight!

santafefran 6:08 PM  

@Tobias, great observation about the arrows and I agree that they are probably not a coincidence.

Oh, and being a sometime birdwatcher, I did like VIREOS.

chefbea 6:18 PM  

@acme - go Amy!!! We watch every night. Will Root for her

chefbea 7:57 PM  

Boy...Amy did great!!!

Z 7:58 PM  

@Mel Ott and @ Gill I.P. - I could get all defensive and point out that even Hitler once won an election - so "democratically elected" and "dictator" do intersect on the Venn Diagram. However, dictators don't normally allow the peaceful transfer of power to the opposition, so that would disqualify Mr. Ortega from the "Dictator" circle.

As to winning office through less than pure elections - I wouldn't call George II a dictator either. So I have to admit that @Mel Ott is right on this one. Although, given the history of Central and South American politics there is always a chance that Daniel O. could still prove me right.

michael 8:05 PM  

I don't like bloater and begem, but the complaints about Daniel Schorr don't impress me. He was very well known before he went on NPR. A lot better known than Edd Roush (who was in the puzzle the other day) and lots of pop culture references that Rex thinks are just fine. (Simpsons characters, 1980s pop singers, for example). A lot better known than Darla...

GILL I. 8:28 PM  

@Z. I always enjoy reading your posts; I picture a bit of a twinkle in your eye.
True, Ortega took over sans the typical coup attached to the word "dictator," however his "autocrat" rule does, in my opinion, a dictator make.
I know, you say tomato I say...
Central and Latin American politics is a dichotomy. Good to discuss over a terrific Lodi Zinfandel.

Mac & Midge 9:02 PM  

I too PSHAWed at POOLER and BLOATER, and though I groaned at BEGEM, I'm humming "Begin the Beguine" to myself, and planning on blasting the Clash's Sandinista! later, in honor of DANIEL ORTEGA.

Fastest time ever for us on a Tuesday: smooth sailing, no banana-finger, slow-down typos.

Z 9:18 PM  

@Gill I.P. - my favorite quote is "La vie est une tragédie pour celui qui sent, et une comédie pour celui qui pense," a quote I found in the magazine Heavy Metal a few years ago. Some days I'm a thinker and some days I'm a feeler.

Daniel Schorr who?? 11:35 PM  

@michael - It all depends in what world you live in. Me, I never heard of Mr. Schorr or Mr. Roush. Darla and all the other pop culture icons are a LOT more famous to the majority of us.

sanfranman59 1:31 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 6:16, 6:49, 0.92, 17%, Easy
Tue 8:59, 8:52, 1.01, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:40, 0.91, 12%, Easy
Tue 4:36, 4:35, 1.00, 58%, Medium

xyz 7:25 AM  

Didn't get to this until late last evening for a number of reasons, wish I'd lost my print out of A-Lite. YUK does not begin to describe. The ugly BEGEM thrown in for what? Sheer laziness?

For a Tuesday puzzle, this was pure garbage in the "Upper Rocky Mountain" region that Rex ragged upon. Paying California State Income Tax was more fun when I had to.

A Tuesday with BLOATER crossed by SATIABLE and "ER" ending CAR ______ as POOLER is cause to be an embarrassed puzzle creator; Will gets a special razzie for approving this steaming mess.

It's Tuesday, it's supposed to be fun, not a Barium Enema (That's a medical test surely to be a badly clued fill-in-the blank in a future NYT Monday puzzle at this rate).

There's a point where clever, devious and cute are crossed to reach the plain bad - today should be in Wiki as a perfect example.

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

So can we assume you didn't like it?

Spacecraft 12:06 PM  

Awful fill. Among those sins that should be regarded as cardinal:
RST--and all alphabetic strings
ENID: way overused, and rigidly uni-cluable (cf. BRAC)
BEGEM: not even a word!
RANDB--and all acronyms with the stupid "AND" written out!! UGH!!!
BBALL: well, maybe just a venal sin
SATIABLE: does anybody ever say that? If so, I'd be whelmed. Or at least gruntled.
ALOT of substandard stuff; AREAL headache.

Plus, got my Central American dictators mixed up and went with nORiEGA--until the 5d started, nope, that's not it!

I kind of like EFFEMINATE right under ROLEREVERSAL...

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

Bloater sounds very unappetizing, but it filled in with pooler. I'm not very experienced at these puzzles but found this one easy besides that. However, I had EWER for 60 across for the longest time, having a milkmaid holding a TEAT seemed unlikely to me, given the Sunday morning rules. Now a milkman, okay, then at least one is not thinking of the milkmaid herself and, oh my . . .

Dirigonzo 3:05 PM  

Well now I guess we know what the blog equivalent of "drawn and quartered" (which you may remember from a while back) looks like, and it ain't pretty.

In kind of a solving ROLEREVERSAL, I had two of the theme answers filled in and saw "ELOR" before I completed 51a, so that helped me get the reveal (I don't know much about plot devices and I never saw "Freaky Friday", so I needed the help). Everything else fell neatly into place, except I had the golfer at 28d concerned about par before LIE so the center of the grid took a little extra time.

@Anony 1:07PM, I'm having a hard time getting that image of the milkmaid out of my head.

Sharon AK 3:58 PM  

@Tobias I saw the arrows once they were pointed out here. Absoutely look like a graphic of the theme. Very impressed

rain forest 4:48 PM  

So, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?
Boy, not a lot of love for poor Mr. Gregory, or at least his puzzle, or at least Will Shortz' version of the puzzle.

When Rex says the grid is horrible, does he mean the grid with all the white and black spaces before anything is entered, or is he referring to the fill in the grid? I never know.

For me, only the "bloater/Schorr" crossing was a stumper. As a West Coast Canadian, I don't know from Daniel Schorr, and I just guessed the extra r, which worked. I can't get worked up about a puzzle unless something is just plain wrong. Thanks Greg. On to Wednesday.
BTW, @Dirigonzo--thanks. Always like your graciousness amongst we syndi-cats.

Anonymous 8:23 PM  

For those who wondered where the "O" of BRONCO went - the actual Rodeo event is called Saddle BRONC.

Hardwood 9:00 PM  

Thanks to whomever cleared up R and B for me. I finished the puzzle and couldn't see it even though I knew the other words were correct. I also always try to fit an h in Dalai.

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