Wild banana / SUN 4-15-12 / Italian holiday / Small-runway aircraft briefly / Saverin who co-founded Facebook / Rafael to friends / Shalom * hebrew greeting / Palais Garnier star / Some buggy drivers / Silence indicator / Implement with spatula-like blade

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Constructor: Kevin G. Der

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

[Click to enlarge]

THEME: TITANIC (56D: [See blurb])— Blurb: "When this puzzle is finished, 12 special squares, along with the circled squares, will create an image of 56-Down. The 12 squares corresponding to the "reflection" of the special squares, when read clockwise from top left, will spell an alternative name for 56-Down." — twelve "special squares" are rebus squares with FE (symbol for "Iron") in them. The "reflection" squares, when read per the instructions, spell out "SHIP OF DREAMS"

Word of the Day: PAPAW (70D: Wild banana) —
  1. A deciduous tree (Asimina triloba) of the eastern and southeast United States, having flowers with three sepals, three petals, and numerous stamens and fleshy, edible fruit.
  2. The fruit of this tree.
  3. See papaya.
[Ultimately from Spanish and obsolete Portuguese papaya, papaya; see papaya.]

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/pawpaw#ixzz1s4Jcx5WB
• • •


I will start by saying what is self-evident: this is an architectural marvel. So many layers, so much complexity. A real constructing feat. But I can't say I had a good time solving it. The theme was so demanding that, of course, fill got compromised. Everywhere. Badly. I can't list it all, but ouch. I don't have anything else to say. The puzzle is amazing—and memorable, in a way that most Sundays, esp. recent Sundays, have not been—so I'll take that, I guess. But the fill I had to endure (not once, not twice, but Constantly) was just deflating. I was slumped over this one by the end, enduring it rather than enjoying it.

Doesn't help that I really, really disliked this movie, and its cloying soundtrack.

Theme answers:
  • 33A: Iconic line shouted in "56-Down" ("I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD") — this is the point (at WORLD, actually), where I first understood the subject of the puzzle. Before that, I assumed (given the rectangular shape of the grid, and the title) that football was involved.
  • 29A: Where 56-Down embarked (SOUTHAMPTON) — this feels familiar. Didn't we already have a TITANIC puzzle this year? Or maybe there was one in another publication? 
  • 35A: With 37-Across, #1 song from "56-Down" ("MY HEART / WILL GO ON")

  • 125A: "56-Down" co-star (WINSLET)
  • 128A: "56-Down" co-star (DICAPRIO)
  • 141A: Record-tying achievement for "56-Down" (ELEVEN ACADEMY AWARDS)
  • 152A: 56-Down, e.g. (LUXURY LINER)
  • 5A: Anjou relatives (BOSCS) — there's an odd-looking plural. This was one of the first answers I got. I started badly/slowly. You can see why. Didn't know the theme, didn't know there were rebus squares, and then even the straightforward stuff was like BALT and ALLOK and EASER (?!). 
  • 24A: Peace Nobelist Root (ELIHU) — gimme! Grateful for this one, even though I'd rather never see this odd name again. I always feel oddly guilty when I'm struggling and then get a gimme like this. Feels like the puzzle is patronizing me. "Here ya go, slugger."
  • 43A: Italian holiday (FESTA) — I assume this is just the Italian word for "holiday," 'cause I got no idea what FESTA is if it's a proper noun. And crossed with STOL (44D: Small-runway aircraft, briefly)? If I didn't do a lot of crosswords, I'd've been screwed right there. 
  • 64A: Rafael, to friends (RAFE) — so ... the first, second, third, and fifth letters, then? OK ...
  • 78A: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum site (SANTA FE) — TAOS didn't fit. Then neither did SANTA FE ... picked up the rebus at LIFESPAN and things got a lot easier after that.

  • 53D: Saverin who co-founded Facebook (EDUARDO) — I've booted his name before. And I booted it again today. &%(*%ing POUFFE!? Man ... so many hurty answers.
  • 54D: Shield bearer, typically (LEFT ARM) — by far my favorite clue / answer in the grid. Frustrating, but then I got it, and it seemed perfect. An oasis in a Great Answer desert.
  • 92D: "Shalom ___" (Hebrew greeting) (ALEICHEM) — needed every cross and flat-out guessed at the "I" in AIRE (119A: Yorkshire river)
  • 128D: Palais Garnier star (DIVA) — I assume this Palais Garnier place is a famous opera house. . . yes, in Paris. To me, Garnier is a hair car company with annoying ads. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS SYNDICATED READERS—I'm supposed to be on the CBS News tonight (Apr. 22) at 6pm (or check local listings) [UPDATE: just got official word—the piece is, in fact, airing tonight] [UPDATE: just got MORE official word that it is not, in fact, airing tonight] [I give up—just know that some Sunday in the near (or distant) future, CBS News will air a story about crosswords, featuring me. Maybe by Christmas?]


jae 12:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orange 12:12 AM  

Dang, I forgot AGN and SGS when I was listing painful fill. Oops, I did it agn. Don't remember what SGS was clued as.

The previous Titanic theme was in the NYT, 3/11/12.

Noam D. Elkies 12:14 AM  

Wow. Yes, a boundary-straining puzzle, somewhat too ambitious in packing in the theme answers on top of the architectural designs, and thus coming close to, well, sinking under its own weight... I did make it across, though only barely. 92D:ALEICHEM, that I knew (though I considered also ALEYCHEM); "Sholem [=Shalom] Aleichem" was the pen name of the most famous writer of Yiddish-language literature, including the Fiddler on the Roof stories. (That entry completes a trifecta with 27A:MENORAH and 92A:ADONAI — funny, this puzzle didn't look Jewish). But even after reading the note, finding the rebus (at 45A:[Fe]IN), and marking all the mirror squares, I couldn't see the A of 103D:LIAISES, even though it's *double* crossed by the theme — because I didn't know "ship of dreams", and circled the wrong square to get SHIP OF DRE?A". Finally asked a word list for LI?ISES and saw the light. Whew!

Thank you, Kevin (and Will Shortz and Rex),

jae 12:14 AM  

I tend to be a tad anal,  so when I start something I finish it.  I regretted that trait today.  My dislike of the movie carried over to this puzzle and my heart did not want to go on.  Plus stuff like AGN, EASER, SGS, DA-FE (as a partial).... not good.  I also have no desire to figure out the "reflection" deal.   Tough slog that I should have passed on.  

Noam D. Elkies 12:15 AM  

[SHIP OF DRE?AS, that is — I did have the final S.]

Steve 12:20 AM  

An architectural and engineering marvel that sank like a ton of bricks in its maiden voyage? Irony?

The only thing that made this puzzle less than mind-bogglingly painful was, after finishing it, watching Gotye on SNL. I wanted to just b-slap that boy so badly the puzzle seemed good by comparison.

foodie 12:21 AM  

Yes, amazing construction! My favorite part is the design of the grid, which looks both like a ship AND and iron, and goes well with the Fe symbol and the Gridiron hint! And the idea of a reflection in this watery theme is terrific. Add NOAH in the middle and Shalom ALEICHEM and it says Adios in so many ways!

I must have read the notepad 6 times before I figured out where I needed to look to spell out the "SHIP of DREAMS"-- the reflection of the rebus squares! (another stroke of genius, DREAMS in the reflection!).I don't know why it was so hard... I guess because there are circles, then rebus squares, then their reflection!

I agree that there was some unfortunate fill, and having never seen that movie did not help. But overall, truly memorable! Kudos to Kevin.

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

Thought this was reasonably good for a Sunday, especially the wide format - never seen that before. Caught on to the theme at SOUTHHAMPTON and the rebus at LATEFEES.

While not a big fan of the movie, I did visit the Titanic artifact exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit last weekend and came away both impressed and humbled by the opulence and tragedy of it all.

Lots of moving parts in today's puzzle, and I'm willing to forgive some of the painful fill in exchange for some extra tricks with the shape.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

Rex, you were more kind to this puzzle than I expected.

Steve, after i did the puzzle my wife made me watch Gotye on SNL and she wants me to download it for her iPod. And she knows I can't stand that song. So I read your comment to her and we LOCAO. Thanks. You made my evening.

Anonymous 12:56 AM  

PS. Forgot to add my ID at 12:30 and so I will add that I liked the puzzle but not as much as the constructor's effort probably sought, admired the layers but on the whole think it was forced, beginning with the shape of the grid and ending with all the tinkertoy gimmickry. This was a case where the theme killed (NPI)the puzzle as much as it made it....


Charles 1:24 AM  

The Titanic of the depths of the unconscious (not the one on the surface) does indeed haunt our dreams.


retired_chemist 1:25 AM  


I do not like gimmicky puzzles for starters, and when they (perhaps inevitably) contain crummy fill it sets my teeth on edge. The ever-popular C TEAM? POUF(Fe)? AGN as an abbreviation for AGAIN? OTO again? SO twenty years ago.

High point was parsing the song,"My Heart, Will Goon."

Jakarta Dan 2:30 AM  

Really much more of a constructor's puzzle than one for the solvers. Quite an accomplishment to cram all that theme in, but not fun to solve, due to boring cluing and cruddy fill.

Best answer was definitely ED ASNER, who was so memorable as Pepe the wine steward in "Titanic."

Best regards,

chefwen 3:22 AM  

Too, too much. This one made my head throb. Knew the theme right away after our discussion on Clara Barton a couple of days ago. Got the FE's with LATE (fe) ES, hate those. Had the roughest time in the southeast, now that I am looking at it, I have no idea why. Guess I was just totally worn out by that time.

Loved toddlers coddlers.

treeeetop 5:05 AM  

I'm one of the few that loved this, apparently. My only problem was putting the main theme answer in 57 instead of 56, then being baffled by all the crosses. Once I found my mistake, I was the king of the world!

Loren Muse Smith 5:12 AM  

Wow. I finished this and didn’t get the circles. Never saw “the notepad,” so it was only this morning that I saw what the circles were.

Where to begin. . . Started to smell that Rebus Rat at FEIN, LIFESPANS, STAFFED, but refused for way too long to think rebus; how could a puzzle with this grid, this girth, and circles be a rebus to boot?? (It didn’t help that I hadn’t looked at the puzzle’s title, I was so gobsmacked by the grid.)

This is really just too big to talk about individual fills, but. . . Yap for YAK and norTHAMPTON messed me up for a while. Of course, I loved NOAM, FISHKNIFE, (I own 40 FISHKNIves because I need them for my “Dine Like a Diplomat” seminar, and no country clubs or hotels have them) and of course, I questioned my puzzle obsession as I confidently filled in URAL.

Loved the cluing for OVER, MIL, SKILLETS, IDSAY, and YEAR.

Dad – I’ll always remember you salting your PABST Blue Ribbon on the weekends when you were grilling our Saturday chicken or Sunday steak. I think the “FBI” came on on Sundays, and I remember you and mom would always ask me (I was still in a high chair – how mean and hateful of you) “Loren, can you say “Efrem Zimbalist Jr?” (His dad was a master in STR.)

Broken? 6:44 AM  

Hi Puzzlers,
Every time that I try to open this puzzle, it crashes my Across Lite. I've downloaded it a few times (both in Safari and Firefox) and my Across Lite opens up other NYTimes puzzles, just fine. I use a Mac and have the latest version of Across Lite: 2.11 (2115).
Advice, please?

r.alphbunker 7:10 AM  

Did not see note until I finished. Thought that the rebus was a comment on the salvage value of the remains of the Titanic. Even after realizing that the circled squares were the funnels I still tried to figure out what the letters that were circled had to do with the Titanic.

Here is my whimsical attempt to make the letters mean something. They are an anagram of an acronym of a telegram sent from the Titanic:

Indestructible Floating Luxury. Titanic! Ocean Iceberg. Remember Irony.

And, of course, the rebus has a nice connection to irony. Wouldn't it have been great if Tina Fey had been cast instead of Cate Winslet?

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Rex was too kind. Medium, not medium-challenging, plus I hated it and thought it was overwrought. The directions were confusing. And yes, my heart will "goon."

Bob Kerfuffle 7:47 AM  

Really, really wanted to like this puzzle . . .

Finished on paper with one wrong letter, "W" instead of "U" at the crossing of EDUARDO and POUFFE (huh?).

And I just failed to decipher "Ship of Dreams."

retired_chemist 8:22 AM  

@ Broken? 6:44 0

If you are using Lion you need AL 2.2.1. Free from the NYT puzzle page under the head: MAC OS LION USERS. The puzzle worked fine for me with it.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

This puzzle was almost as preposterous as the movie. Will Shortz has to get over the whole "take two letters from word A,invert them and stick them sideways on word B, to form a new phrase meaning something else" puzzle obsession. Puzzles like this are just plain over-constructed and have no aesthetic or intellectual appeal. By the time I am finished, I don't even care how the gimmick works out.

joho 8:44 AM  

Seems to me if you didn't like the movie MYHEARTWILLGOON and the other TITANIC related theme answers hit a SOURNOTE.

I liked the movie as well as a lot of others including those who voted for ELEVENACADEMYAWARDS.

I think Kevin deserves a standing O for the construction which is truly mind boggling. OK, some fill is affected negatively but, come on, this is something to marvel at! Just as THESHIPOFDREAMS was before it hit the ICEBERG.

POUFFE was one of my favorite answers.

Congratulations, Kevin!

Broken? 8:46 AM  

Retired Chemist, I'm running Snow Leopard. Like I said, this has never happened before and it still opens other NYT puzzles. Just not today's!
It's very strange... even stranger that I seem to be the only one having any such problem.

jberg 8:49 AM  

Pretty much all been said - brilliant feat to construct, long slog to solve. I didn't think I'd have the patience to find the reflector squares, but then I got stuck in the SW, and saw that the alternate title was -HIP OF DREA--, which did help.

Only, what's with this Chiwere-speaking stuff? Last week it was the IOWAS, today the OTO (aka Otoe, Otoh) - are they the same? Or is Chiwere on the level of Slavic, with many variants?

Also, notice that Mr. Der pub in MEH near the end (140D) - maybe he was feeling the strain himself!

Glimmerglass 8:50 AM  

@broken? Try opening the puzzle as a PDF in Adobe Reader. Hated the movie, but I liked this puzzle a lot better than Rex did. Some of the cluing struck me as Saturday-hard (66A, 92D/92A, 132A). There was some bad fill, yes, but there was also some very good fill. I didn't mind CTEAM or SGS. Once I caught on to the rebus, it went pretty smoothly. The "picture" wasn't so great, and the "reflection" was less than wonderful. I unscrambled the letters to get SHIP OF DREAMS, but I don't see how that's a "reflection." SHIP O is plain, but then SMDF AER? On balance, I think this was the best Sunday puzzle in a long time.

Smitty 8:54 AM  

Long, painful, drawn out, and in annoying letterbox format... Just like the movie.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Lynn sez "UGH~!"

Tita 9:03 AM  

@Loren - thought of you at FISHKNIF[E], since you're the only other person I know that owns them (that I am not related to...)
(But they are NOT "spatula-shaped". Harrumph)

I feared a football theme, was relieved that it wasn't, but then was annoyed that it was just a big fat product placement for the movie. Really, Will? This was woeful.

1st time I have been so bored/annoyed by a puzzle that I didn't want to finish it, but like @jae, I went on.

EASER, YRS Truly, AGN, BALT... mindless searching for the 'reflections', oh - the circled letters have no meaning.

Also hated the schmaltzy movie, didn't know the song, how many awards they gave each other...

I do admire the construction feat, and since I can't possibly be SO totally negative, here are my favs...
A bit of chiding: TSK; Now you speak: OVER; Cower: QUAIL; Dear person: JOHN.

And in the movie, I DID like the special effects and how he conveyed the horror.

JoshS 9:05 AM  

You know, I really was hoping for an Abraham Lincoln puzzle: today is the (147th) anniversary of his death. How many Titanic puzzles do we need, really?

Jp 9:17 AM  

Enough of this Titanic stuff already. Yes Rex there was one other Titanic puzzle recently. Superb construction sometimes takes away from pleasure.

zach 9:18 AM  

Where are the "reflection" squares? I don't see it.

Sir Hillary 9:31 AM  

I opened the NY Times Magazine and became tired just looking at that massive grid. Even though I couldn't figure out what "special squares" meant, I assumed it had to be a rebus. Then I looked over all the clues referencing 56D and figured out the central theme and five or six of the theme answers. Given that the NYT just had a Sunday Titanic theme a month ago, I declined to fill in anything and went on my way. I could tell it would be no fun.

Judging from the comments here, I am not regretting my decision.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Anonymous 8:22: I'm with you.

Z 9:36 AM  


I drew the boat on my puzzle. Looks more like a hat.

Wreck Sparker 9:52 AM  

I love themed puzzles, especially clever ones, but this was truly an OMG, WTF puzzle. Circles that spell nothing, "special" squares, reflections, and artwork. Sheesh. Try as I might, I do not see an image of the Titanic. Is there a blog that shows a connect-the-dots image of this?

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

zach: You would think that someone writing about this puzzle would mention the reflection squares. Nope. I got the image of the ship by connecting the fe's, and from the start I assumed the grey squares were stacks, but even when you've finished the fill "ship of dreams" doesn't exactly pop out at you, and there's no mention here of how the reflection works, as if it's too easy to bother with. This is a first for me: not finding the solution to the puzzle on this site.

Wreck Sparker 10:02 AM  

Never mind about the connect-the-dots request. I finally got a passable rendition of it.

Matthew G. 10:21 AM  

Took one look at the grid and then at the date, and immediately decided I was going to skip this puzzle. Read Rex's review and knew I had made the right call. I skip the NYT Sunday puzzle a third of the time anyway -- I'm a 15x15 guy through and through, and I figured even one of my favorite constructors (which would include today's) would have to resort to pretty dull fill with a grid like this.

I love the NYT puzzle Monday through Saturday. But my go-to puzzle on Sundays has become the Washington Post Puzzler.

Lois 10:22 AM  

Glimmerglass: The instructions say to go clockwise starting left for SHIP OF DREAMS, and it works. It's a little confusing because the reflected image is so narrow.

I enjoyed the puzzle quite a bit, but I liked Smitty's comment about the puzzle being in letterbox format.

mac 10:38 AM  

This was a lot of work, and it would have been a little easier if I had had a Pentel 0,7 at hand....
Still can't find the "of dreams" part. "I'm the king of the world" reminds me of the acceptance speech of Cameron only, never saw the film. The 3D version is playing in Castricum, NL, and my sister and niece are going this evening.

It was odd working with the elongated shapes of the boxes, I kept thinking an answer would be too long across, or too short down.

archaeoprof 10:39 AM  

Medium-challenging at least, for sure.

The sinking of TITANIC vividly embodies the ancient Greek concept of hubris.

Watching that movie I became convinced that Leonardo DiCaprio is a woman. He could be Michelle Pfeiffer's little sister.

evil doug 10:42 AM  

I see dead people. Or maybe a swastika.

Top Gun bad guys? Not MiGs. They used painted Northrup F-5 Tiger II's---a combat version of the T-38 Talon I trained on in my last six months as a student pilot in the AF---and one of the airplanes the Navy used as a MiG simulator in actual Top Gun training.


jackj 10:46 AM  

This puzzle must have been a logistical nightmare for Kevin Der to construct.

Love it or hate it, it would be unseemly not to respect Kevin’s genius in conceiving and constructing this lollapalooza of a puzzle, a Gorski on steroids, if you will. Like a crossword version of a Matryoshka doll, (the Russian nesting doll that features objects within objects), it is an extraordinary presentation.

Remembering that precise crossword concoctions like this often entail cluing compromises, I was still as taken with the fill as with the theme and am impressed that there was no scrimping on the clues. There were wonderful entries like POUFFE, ”Auto” DA FE, MENORAH, ALEICHEM, LEFTARM, LIAISES and SOURNOTE with some charming little entries like VHS, cluing “Winner of a 1970’s – ‘80’s war” (that war was waged by VHS against the Beta format in videotape).

Another interesting little bit was AGN, cluing, “Once more: Abbr.” for AGN (AGaiN) which seems a horrid stretch until one learns that it was used one other time in a Times puzzle, back on Dec. 27, 2009 when Liz Gorski made it the center entry for her champagne glass sketch which celebrated the New Year, (using the same clue), so, it seems pre-cleared for use here. (It could have been worse, (even though AGN is legitimate as “again” in short wave transmissions), the better known AGN stands for Active Galactic Nucleus).

One final bit of praise for another little gem at the very end of the puzzle, “Setting for some wrestling”, MUD. Always leave them laughing, eh, Kevin?

Thank you, Kevin Der for this large helping of brilliance you have served us.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Can someone please tell me where the 12letters in the phrase "ship of dreams" actually are?

Mel Ott 11:01 AM  

Ambitious consruction. Perhaps overly ambitious. Constructor's hubris?

I had to read the blurb about 5 times before I figgered it out.

Still don't get the connection between the TITANIC and the rebus of the chemical name for Iron. Why Iron? The ship was made of iron? Probably steel, no? Anybody make a connection that I'm missing?

Just realized the puzzle is more about the movie than the ocean liner.

Lois 11:07 AM  

Other United Nations employees and retirees should love seeing the abbreviation SGs, as I did. We hardly ever say Secretaries-General. I guess that's a somewhat limited group, though.

Blue Stater 11:08 AM  


spinsker 11:10 AM  

I really enjoyed the multi-challenges in this puzzle and a lot of the cluing, especially "winner of a 1970s-80s war" crossed with "Golfs, e.g., briefly.".

Questions I still don't get: what is auto "da fe?". Also what is "ski-Doos?" and also don't understand "Stoli" answer. Anyone care to explain please?

Norm 11:21 AM  

@Spinster: your questions will probably be answered by another before I make it through the captcha, but "auto da fe" is a public penance by or punishment of heretics. Think Spanish Inquisition. Ski-Doos are a brand of those motorized thingies that zoom across the snow and make an annoying amount of noise (editorial comment). I didn't see Stoli in the grid, but it's usually a brand of vodka. And, why or why did I waste so much time on this puzzle. Bleh. Count me a thumbs down.

GILL I. 11:22 AM  

Oh my, such hatred for The Titanic movie...Dare I say I really enjoyed it?
Just like this puzzle, I guess you either hate it or not. I'm in the not.
I never got the note but just looking at the format I knew we might be in for a treat. Got the rebus at SANTA FE and then scrambled back to find all of my "empty" boxes of fe's.
I kept squinting at the grid looking for a champagne glass or two and wondered what the crosses in the middle might mean. Although I never saw SHIP OF DREAMS, I wish I had. Yes, ambitious and maybe a bit over the top...but I liked that this made me work super hard and not be too bothered by the god-awful short fill. I bet we see AGN real soon.
PAPAWS is a great word. We had a big black half-siamese FELIS? with that name.
Also, did I mention I love Celine and that song MY HEART WILL GO ON?

Norm 11:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jakarta Dan 11:22 AM  

@zach, et. al., the reflection is the reflection of the ship in the water, using the horizontal midpoint starting at 75A as the waterline.

Surprised that no one has yet mentioned Mr. Der threw in a pangram, too. Equally surprised that in this kitchen sink construction, the letters in the stacks don't do anything, although it looks like he may have started out to get an anagram for "life raft" but couldn't make it work out.


Lois 11:22 AM  

Anonymous at 11:01 AM: You find all the boxes with Fe in them, and then look for the matching boxes in mirror reflection in the bottom half of the grid. Circle all of them. Then starting with the circle matching the Fe in FishkniFE, the "S" in "VHS", which is the top left circle of the reflection, go clockwise throughout the narrow horizontal oval.

Mel Ott at 11:01 AM: See pannonica in the comments on the Diary of a Crossword Fiend website for a discussion of the iron instead of steel used in the Titanic.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:22 AM  

@Anonymous 11:01 - To find the "Ship of Dreams" letters: For each of the 12 "FE" rebus entries, all of which are above the center line of the puzzle, or the "waterline" if you will, find the space as far below the center line, which would be as if an image were being reflected on a calm water surface. You will get all the letters needed, but you must read them clockwise starting at the "S" in block 89, which is a bit tricky as someone noted above, because the "circle" is 31 spaces long and only four spaces high.

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

auto da fe = public ceremony or penance by or punishment of heretics

Ski-Doos are a brand of those things that zoom across the snow

Stoli = brand of vodka

Bob Kerfuffle 11:36 AM  

@spinsker - I don't find STOLI in the grid, except as a possible answer to 31 A, "Stress reliever". Perhaps you mean 44 D, STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) for ""Small-runway aircraft, briefly".

(Confidentially, if you have access to a computer, it is extremely easy to type, e.g., "define: auto da fe" or whatever in the Google search bar and get an instant answer.)

orangeblossomspecial 11:46 AM  

For those of you who aren't old enough to remember Bill Cosby as a stand-up comedian, here's his take on God speaking to 84A NOAH.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Hypothetically speaking, mind you, would someone please explain to me why a person who does not do the NYT Sunday puzzle and, in particular, did not do this puzzle after merely looking at the blank grid, would post a comment on this blog gloating about how much smarter they are than the rest of us poor saps in steerage because they did not do this puzzle? And to kick hypothetical sand in our bloodshot eyes, strained from trying to find the “reflections” in this puzzle, further gloat about doing some other puzzle, as though we should all do the other puzzle, read Rex’s comment to assure ourselves we made the right decision and comment on Rex’s blog about how great the other puzzle is?

@ED – Thanks (really). I always wondered what those MIGs were in Top Gun. It is one of those pieces of trivia that gnaws at you until you can’t stand it anymore, like the name of that song from Titanic….

Norm 11:59 AM  

hahahaha, orangeblossomspecial, thanks for that memory. My dad (RIP) had that routine on a reel-to-reel when he came back from a tour of duty with the Marines in Japan, and it cracked me up every time. Especially, "Uh, what's a cubit?" And, the exquisite timing on ".... Riiiiiiight." (I think that's how it should be spelled.) Oh, and the puzzle, two thumbs down. Okay, effort points for marvel of construction, but no fun to solve.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

I just went straight to 56 down and filled in Titanic just to see if it would fit. It did, and my presumption was never rebutted.

With yaP and sKs (South Koreans) I was content with "I'm the PinK of the world." I figured it was some early 20th century expression. After struggling with DA-FE which still mystifies me, I realized that an error lie elsewhere. So, I turned back to PinK, changed it to KinG and completed a remarkable solving experience.

Lindsay 12:10 PM  

Good thing I don't solve for times, as I had to keep pausing to catch my breath after filling in fill like AGN. A couple of blanks and one error (AaRE) which I can't be motivated to care about.

No one else fell into the "tuffet" trap at 76A? It beats POUFFE all to hell, and works with the rebus to boot.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

This is a puzzle that was more enjoyable to bask in than to solve. I caught on to the theme and filled in all the theme answers within two minutes. The fill -- particularly the small fill -- was atrocious. I just quit after solving the top. A feat of construction in many ways, but just not my cup of tea.

Plus, this is the second Titanic crossword we've had this year! How many times can we learn Southampton? Unfortunately, this just wasn't worth my time to solve. But kudos for putting this together.

Lawprof 12:36 PM  

This was clearly a "different strokes/folks" kind of a puzzle; either you loved it or you hated it. (Same for the movie). Put me in the first category. So many layers of complexity -- a constructor's tour de force. Sometimes those aren't much fun for the solvers. (Like a Paganini scherzo: mind-bending virtuosity, but hard on the ears).

This one worked for me, but then so did the movie, which, incidentally, my wife and I went to yesterday afternoon (the new 3-D release). When we got home we discovered that "A Night to Remember" (the 1958 version) was on TCM. So we've pigged out on Titania this weekend. I think I'm done with shipwreck disasters for the next century.

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

What do they mean by "reflection" squares??

evil doug 12:45 PM  

Enough Titanic. Let's talk some more about Top Gun. If you're ever in San Diego, head down to Kansas City BBQ, right next to the Seaport Village trolley stop. That's where they filmed the 'sleazy bar scenes' from the movie. The owner shrewdly arranged for lots of movie memorabilia in exchange. They had a kitchen fire some years back, but I think they were able to salvage a lot of the stuff they'd collected over the years.


jae 1:03 PM  

Just don't eat there. Phil's BBQ over on Sports Arena Blvd. is much better.

evil doug 1:09 PM  

Oh, well, if you want to eat BBQ, don't go to San Diego at all. Get the burnt ends at Jack Stack in Kansas City.

Great WWI museum there, too. Where shall we tangentialize next?


chefbea 1:20 PM  

Did not like the puzzle. Got most of the Titanic fill but never figured out the rebus.

House guests finally gone but they did try to help with yesterday's and today's puzzle.

Mz.D 1:53 PM  

Reading these responses reminds me of an item from the MMPI the gist of which is whether the test-taker prefers Abraham Lincoln or George Washington....Did you like Titanic?Did you like Dances with Wolves?Unfortunately my enjoyment of the Sunday puzzle is theme driven and I hated Titanic.I was unwilling to fill Leonardo DeCaprio's first or last name into yet another grid.I did admire the construction.If you don't "get" this,imagine filling out answer after answer regarding a food you find repugnant....

Tita 2:05 PM  

@MzD...point well taken...
I bet none of us really enjoyed writing in "BLOATERS" a while back.

And for a different example, I am much happier writing PALIN into the grid when it is clued as that guy from Monte Python than you-know-who...

@spinsker...you're right about that VWS clue - really clever. A VW Rabbit GTi, the year they went to fuel injection, was my first new car. The most fun for the dollar ever.

Can't wait to hear from @acme and learn more about the genius that was this puzzle.
as I read all your comments, my biggest 'gripe left standing' is that it commemorates a movie, not the actual ship. (Even if I liekd the movie, I would feel this way.)

Beawr 2:19 PM  

Well, seeing that it was the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster, and there were four "smokestacks" I knew the theme before I picked up my pen. The FE for Iron was clever - the first time - then too easy. The puzzle just got to be tedious.... it was, what? 50% larger than the normal Sunday Crossword? I got things to do man......

I also did not like the 1997 movie and try to avoid the soundtrack as I would avoid open sewage.

I do have to agree though, the puzzle creator gets props for the construction...still, I just sort of plodded through it.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

I LOVE when they use (essentially) the same theme for the Sunday puzzle twice in six weeks! So inventive!

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

After completing this puzzle I said to my husband,
Then he had a rebus where FE=iron
AND he had reflecting squares that spell out "SHIP OF DREAMS".

"Big deal!" he replied, "Only way I'd be impressed is if you could connect the dots and make a PICTURE!"

Thanks, Kevin G. Der! We're impressed!!

Rube 2:38 PM  

As most everyone agrees, this is a mind boggling creation, but a slog nonetheless.

Had the bottom pretty much finished when I re-attacked the north and found the rebus at (FE)IN. By this time I was bored and just wanted to finish so did some Googles to hurry up the process... pop culture things like OJAYS, EMO and NORAH.

Like @Rex said, ELIHU was a gimme -- sadly -- a SOp. (No, that was SOU, another writeover.) My last letter was the A in auto DA FE -- filled in with a groan, as last letters often are.

chefbea 3:07 PM  

Where is "Ship of dreams" spelled out.??? Can't see it

KRMunson 3:08 PM  

Way too much going on in this puzzle to enjoy its construction elegance.I agree with everybody else - no fun to slog through with the Fe's, the junk fill, the circles, the strange "reflection" gimmick (that I never did get), etc. Give me a solid Sunday anytime with humor and misdirection - much more fun!

quilter1 3:27 PM  

The note made my head hurt, but I soldiered on. Picked up the rebus at Santa Fe because I *know* that is where that museum is--I've been there. I said to self, a rebus, too? Most of the same complaints/praise as others, and, yes I did try tuffet as it fit the FE rebus. POUFE sounds like something different than a footstool.

Masked and Anonymous 3:28 PM  

Wanted something to be spelled by the letters coming out of the smoke stacks. Topmost 4 said letters spell out S-O-S-S, and last S starts an "SOS" string, so kinda close enough, for conspiracy theorist work.

AUTO-DA-FE passes my ratty little dictionary test, so fair game. But I didn't get it -- nor did I get ?DONAI/?LE?CHEM/A?RE. So, I went down with the

"Titanic" (1997) was an OK flick, IMO. Not in 31's 1987 wheelhouse, tho. But "Evil Dead II" (1987) was much better, so he's got that to look forward to...

Lewis 3:41 PM  

The construction of this puzzle MUST be amazing, because usually when the fill tends toward rotten because of an impressive puzzle design, the commenters dismiss the construction with a wag of the finger. But today there is great acknowledgement of the construction along with complaining about the fill.

I was one who neither loved nor hated the puzzle. I didn't detest the awkward fill and there was much in the puzzle that had sparkle, then again, I didn't have energy at the end to make the picture and look for the reflection.

Sigh. Am I getting better at the captchas? They seem to be easier to read.

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

on reflection: find the horizontal center line of the puzzle. Fold top over bottom half. Then the mirrored squares will be on top of the squares that spell out the alternative. Rebuses are not my cup of tea. Mid way through i considered canceling my on line subscription!

Rex Parker 4:07 PM  

Stunned that people don't know what to make of "reflection squares." As the blurb makes clear, the 12 "special squares" (those with FE in them) have 12 "corresponding" "reflection" squares. The special squares clearly make up the outline of the ship. Assume the ship is floating in water (and that water level is the exact middle of the grid, on which the ship sits), then imagine the FE squares "reflected" in the "water."

'll admit it's not a pleasurable endeavor, but it took me exactly no time to figure out. Circled the "corresponding" letters and followed instructions.


Anonymous 4:13 PM  

It took this guy 100 years to construct this puzzle, and you don't like it??

chefbea 4:32 PM  

I feel reallllly stupid!!! Have circled all the corresponding letters and still don't see it??? Am I the only one??

Cheerio 4:38 PM  

I really liked many of tthe answers and the layers of puzzles, but regret how much of my Sunday went to this! Some new to me crosswordese is Aire and STOL. Have never heard of auto- de- fe or pouffe or Elihu Root or Emo Philips. All are interesting to some degree. Well maybe I do recall Root from some older puzzle. Chiwere is now something I will remember. My greatest humble pie moment was having no association for Ginnie May.

chefbea 4:40 PM  

Never mind. Went to word play and saw it drawn out!!!

Cheerio 4:42 PM  

@chefbea The S is from sour note , the H is from Norah, the I is from Adonai, the P is from basepay, the O is from tremor , the f is from def, the d is from acid, ....

Masked and Anonymous 4:58 PM  

Titanically pretty graphic explanation of the puz (including the dreaded reflections part) is here: trickme.wordpress.com/graphic

Drawn by Patrick Merrell. Unfortunately, missing the S-O-S smoke stack emissions.

Airymom 5:07 PM  

15 years ago, my husband and I were the last ones in our crowd to see "Titanic". Halfway through, I (uncharacteristically) called out "drown already, I can't take it!"

Yesterday my daughter went with her best friend and her mother to see "Titanic-3D". The other mother felt she owed me because I had taken them to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks--chipwrecked" and the last "Twilight" movie. When they got home, my friend looked like she just had a root canal.

So, nonwithstanding that I think this was phenomenal as far as construction, there was too much "junk". It was a real challenge, which I like on Sundays. BUT....let's just drown all this Titanic stuff, once and for all!

Loren Muse Smith 5:10 PM  

I think @jackj is spot on the money, and we can add a third category to the "loved it" and "hated it" pair.

I didn't love it, as I'm not a Titanic fan and because, like so many are saying, it was SO BIG. Hand up for gutting it out and finishing the same way I had to sit at the table and eat every last Brussels sprout.

BUT. . .this is truly an architectural tour de force and one that will be talked about forever.

Put me in the "utterly impressed" group.

Leo 5:46 PM  

Nice try

Masked and Anonymous the third 5:52 PM  

Am confused what @loren didn't love, because it was SO BIG. The Titanic? The puz? The movie? Something from column D? Not her fault; am easily confused.

Do worry that she is preparing her Brussel sprouts all wrong, tho. They can be quite tasty, or quite gruesome, depending on the prep work. For best results:

1. Cut crud off stalky end. Do little cross-cut slits on the remainder of stalk end. Wash 'em off.
2. Cook in glass pot with a little water and a lid.
3. Wait for most of water to disappear. Work a puz, if needed. Then take pot off heat and dump rest of water out in sink. Be careful.
4. Put butter and ground pepper in pot with sprouts. Stir around until butter melts.
5. Get ready for some real good eatin'. Mm-mm.

Bird 5:57 PM  

What's with all the garbage fill?! Sorry Kevin. I got about 1/2 way through and decided to quit and try the variety puzzle, which is a great diagramless by Paula Gamache.

Emeril 6:02 PM  

@M&A: Perfect preparation work, although I recommend you try mixing in a squeeze of lemon, with the unsalted butter and fresh ground pepper. BAM!

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

I thought it was a fine puzzle... Not too hard and very very clever. Thanks to Kevin and Will... Keep up the good work and don't let the grouches get you down. The puzzle was fun, fair, and a real treat. Sydney

Loren Muse Smith 6:12 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous the third

Fair enough. I actually solved it Saturday night before 9pm - it was up pretty early. I had so much else to do that I was impatient to finish and it just went on and on. . .and I couldn't make myself stop and go do something else.

So you actually like Brussels sprouts? I did some poking around into what place names are capitalized for food and drink: swiss cheese, but Turkish coffee, and the like. The general consensus was that the more common and accepted the food, the more likely the place would not be capitalized. One grammarian hoped that Brussels sprouts would forever be capitalized.

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

The ship's reflection was the reason why I included an A in liAises. Otherwise, I was at a loss.

On another note, I was surprised to see Menorah clued as a "holiday decoration." I suppose that a simulacrum is a holiday decoration, but not the thing itself.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  

I work my puzzles on an iPad. I have never had trouble until today when, each time I hit "submit," I am told there are errors in the puzzle.
I checked mine against Mr. Parker's, and I see no difference. ??????
There goes my streak.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

Now, if this had been a 31x31 puzzle with the Titanic rotated 45 degrees clockwise, depicting its actual sinking, I would have been impressed as hell. What we got was a picture of the ship on 4/14/12, not 4/15/12.

Sparky 7:03 PM  

Jumped right to 56D and figured out theme. Finished the top half except for POUFFE. Caught on to the FEs with AutoDAFE and SantaFE. But since the FEs were jumping up and down to me I thought they represented the ice bergs, the ship being outlined by black squares in the grid as seen from above.

Managed very little of the bottom and had to go visit my mother-in- law's grave and then lunch with my sister-in-law, a lovely person. Sunday outing. When we came home I gave it another 15 minutes and just chucked it.

Thus go the days of our lives.

pk 7:21 PM  

Oh, Y'all Kids! This was just not a crossword puzzle. Or not *just* a crossword puzzle.

Printed it out last night (circle version) and got the rebus at fishknife in the NW. Oh, boy, we've got Iron in our Grid! Quit.

Took it up again in the magazine (shaded square)version this a.m. Allotted myself 30 minutes to finish, which I did (not including extra-solve bonuses).

Felt like delivering a baby to finish.

@M&A3 - I hate Brussels sprouts, too. Pretty much hated the movie in question, as well.

Anonymous 7:28 PM  

Candide--"What a day, what a day, for an auto-de-fe." (Auto dA fe is Portuguese.)

Z 7:28 PM  

Trim the Brussel Sprouts. Toss in olive oil with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400° oven for 35-40 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice. Hmmmm Hmmmm good.

retired_chemist 7:35 PM  

Knew what the reflection meant. Did not care enough to bother with it.

JenCT 7:38 PM  

Meh. Worked on this off & on most of the day.

@Tita: I was really hoping it would be about football; then @Tobias would complain, I would ace it, etc. etc.

David Edelstein, movie critic of New York Magazine, really disliked the original TITANIC but had lots of praise for the 3-D version.

Onto a new week.

chefbea 7:39 PM  

@masked and anonymous3 just finished dinner. Had left over cheicken and made brussel sprouts to go along with.
Steamed with a bit of butter and lemon juice. yummm

Joe in Montreal 8:47 PM  

clever enough I suppose. Pity a puzzle about the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship got hijacked by a puzzle about a movie. When I figured it out and saw "Grid Iron" I thought of "Remember the Titans" and that left me wishing the puzzle-maker had had a classical education.

C Varrick 9:35 PM  

Man, the sheer tonnage of what's wrong with this puzzle is what sinks it. Most of all, why is this puzzle about the movie, when today's date, April 15, is the 100th anniversary of the actual sinking? I liked the movie quite a lot, but the emphasis on James Cameron's film strikes me as totally misplaced.

Seems like a lot of choices were made at the conceptual stage that should have been rethought completely or jettisoned. Many of the "ultra-clever" features of this "amazingly constructed" puzzle could not be found by many of the solvers on this list, so I can only imagine what the vast majority of solvers are going to think.

One example - why the emphasis on iron, even in the title? How is "Grid Iron" an appropriate title for a puzzle about the Titanic? Just recently there have been revelations about the ship's iron rivets, but the ship was made of steel. All ocean liners at that time were made of steel, so what's the point of so much stress on the word iron?

So many of the other problems have already been touched on, so I'll just leave it at that. An ambitious puzzle, yes, but one whose impact is (pardon the puns) too muddy and too far below the surface.

skua76 10:36 PM  

A slog, but I persevered. Agree with all the comments about complexity and poor fill. No problem seeing the "reflection" except I was missing the first letter of the phrase since I had no idea about DA FE. Did I say it was a slog...a long slog, I actually considered quitting but...I persevered to come here hoping that Rex wouldn't say it was easy. Whew.

I had no problem LOADING the puzzle with the latest Across Lite for Mac Lion, but I had to waste some paper to coax my printer to put out the entire puzzle without cutting off the sides (I always print the Sunday puzzle on 2 pages so I have large squares for rebuses or whatever.

Never bothered to see the movie. Read "A Night to Remember" while growing up, that was enough.

LR 3:32 AM  

Surprising that none of the 109 comments thus far has mentioned yet another small tidbit in the marvelous construction: the ICEBERG at 60D hitting the side of the ship. Wow!

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

It took longer to solve than it took for the ship to sink! Clever puzzle tho.

Anonymous 10:21 PM  

Short and simple...I hated this puzzle. I have nothing more to say...

nurturing 3:21 AM  

Yes, LR! 'Iceberg' going down right next to 'lifespan'! Mega bravos, Kevin!

nurturing 3:25 AM  

...not to mention "Titanic" next to "At a halt" reading like a wireless message.

john 4:48 PM  

I am probably the last one to comment on this puzzle but after reading all the negativity, I feel I must. I thought it was a wonderful puzzle and I have been doing the Sunday ones for about 30 years, going back to Mr. Maleska. I got the theme fairly early by guessing 56D. My copy did not have any circles so the "fe"s had to found, which made it more interesting. The reflection was a BRIGHT idea. Dr. Fill would be "lost at sea". Did anyone notice the ship sailing direction? Kudos to Mr. Der

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

The only thing I loved about this puzzle was learning the verb form of "quail" which was the answer for the clue "cower",124D.

Spacecraft 1:36 PM  

In syndi there was no blurb, so just four pairs of darkened squares--whose letters I tried every which way to make sense of. I finally gave up and concluded that they simply represented the four smokestacks. After reading Rex's explanation, I just went: "HUH?" Reflection? I still don't understand.

Not that the constructor--or Mr. Shortz--would ever WANT me to understand more than five clues in the whole mess! Wow! Our old friend from yesterday DESADE must have written these! Mean and nasty at every turn; FAR too many to even begin listing. Yeah, I managed to finish--with one naticked mistake, at 16. No clue either across or down on that one; I guessed DmOS/mUFI. Thought maybe the latter was an alternate spelling of "mufti," which fits the clue perfectly.

You guys need to unscrew your meanness valve a quarter turn or so. Geez!

Dirigonzo 3:01 PM  

I had most of the theme answers and "special squares" filled in when I found myself "dead in the water", so to speak. As an act of desperation I went in search of the "reflection" and circled those letters in hopes of filling in a blank or two. I, mistakenly as it turned out, put a circle in box 77 and when I figured out where I had gone wrong I noticed that the erroneous circle looked like an "O" which was the correct letter to complete OTO/POUFFE! It wasn't the end of my struggles but it did inspire me to keep going.

connie in seattle 6:14 PM  

A shout out to fellow Seattle Times solvers - pretty cool that we got two rebusus (rebi?) today, no? Now go out and enjoy that sunshine!!

connie in seattle 6:17 PM  

Oops, I meant "rebuses", but I think I'll just go with rebi.

DMGrandma 7:26 PM  

Unlike @Spacecraft, this Syndi got the blurb, read it and said something like "You've got to be kidding!" In general, I agree with those who found this puzzle to be reaching for more than I cared to struggle over. Didn't care to see the movie, but I suppose that would have helped. As it was DCTF. Monday, anyone?

Spacecraft 8:40 PM  

A rare second appearance for me. Like the movie, or hate it--but if you take your significant other to this movie, and you don't "get over," (as we used to say in the Service) that night...well, you ain't NEVER gettin' over. And I STILL, even after all the explanations, am totally lost in this reflection thing.

Just one instance of the brutal cluing: "suffix for 'luck'." IEST? That's the default suffix for every regular superlative of every English adjective in the deck! What's so special about "luck?" How can you clue IEST that way?

NO ONE else naticked at 16? Amazing.

Dirigonzo 10:01 PM  

@Spacecraft - a rare second appearance, indeed. And just incase you might make a third, let me say that I agree wholeheartedly about luckIEST. Maybe we can call that clue the "yuckIEST"? And I admit to a lucky guess at 16, so fair enough complaint as far as I am concerned.

I'd try to explain the reflection thing but I know I could do no better than what has already been offered, so I guess you either get it or you don't.

I was in the service (a long time ago) but never heard the phrase "get over" in any way other than "get over it". But I see what you mean about the movie.

@DMG - Yes, on to Monday!

Spacecraft 12:18 AM  

@diri: (hitting my head with the heel of my hand) OK, now I see it. You have to start in the middle and...well, anyway. I do see it. Looks more like a [loaded] oil tanker than a cruise ship, but yeah. And TYVM for the other kind remarks. On, as you said, to Monday! -30-

Ginger 1:07 AM  

My paper has only the week-day puzzles, so I usually miss Sunday. Today I picked up a different one so I could spend the rest of the day, and the evening on this colossus. It was an impressive slog. I liked it, and I hated it too. Of course I DNF, but I came close. Got the theme when I read the clue at 29A and the rebus at Santa Fe. Could not see DAFE or POUFFE, POUFFE??.

As for the '97 movie. It was like the puzzle, too long, and too much junk fill, but impressive nevertheless. the special affects were pretty good, did you know they filmed the water scenes off Baja?

I'd much rather talk about Top Gun. Interesting info about the MIGs from @evil. Also, Art Scholl, a renowned stunt pilot, was killed doing a flat spin during the filming. The movie was dedicated to him.

Solving in Seattle 2:15 PM  

As @Connie in Seattle pointed out, yesterday (Sunday) was 72 and the mountain was out, so I was on the golf course. My comments a day late.

@Masked and Anonymous the third, I will have to try your Brussel Sprout recipe. Sounds good.

Boooorrred with Titanic stuff. Didn't see the movie, either. Solved the puzzle this morning quickly because my wife, an interior designer, put me on to POUFFE, thus I caught on to the Fe rebus right away. Confirmed with SANTAFe. Love O"Keeffe's work.

One favorite expression from the disaster: "That's like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic after the collision."

@Spacecraft, got the DSOS/SUFI cross only because of the fascinating Robert Maxwell death. He had been (bogusly) awarded the DSO.

To paraphrase Sgt. Schultz, I see no ship. I see no reflection. I know nothing. I think I've failed that IQ test.

Capcha: statura. Posture of a Roman goddess?

Lola505 3:51 PM  

Wasn't going to post about Sunday puzzles anymore since @Dirigonzo pointed out to me I'm truly last to the party, receiving this puzzle a week later than the rest of you, even those in syndiland. At the risk of "talking to myself", however, post I must.

I am not a "Titanic" fan myself either (didn't Celine build an entire career on "My Heart Will Go On", ad mortem?), but I must compliment your amazing puzzle's construction, Kevin Der! I LOVED this one, from the [very fresh] rectangular grid to the four smokestacks to the iron-symbol (3 lines, only!) hull. It probably was originally published on or nearer the anniversary of the ship's sinking, even more àpropos.

I truly had FUN with this one, and it was not a struggle to solve.

Dirigonzo 4:55 PM  

@Lola505 - any puzzle you enjoy (and some you don't) is worthy of a comment no matter when you solve it, and now that email updates are back many will read what you have to say. Having FUN is what it's all about (for me, at least).

Lola505 5:39 PM  

@Dirigonzo, you are so right, and fun is what I had with (my) puzzle today!

Anonymous 1:18 PM  


sofa king 6:09 AM  

Such complainers, some of you. Type 1: expert solver who doesn't like the fill or the cluing. Type 2: I don't understand the theme.

My download always has its correctly shaded squares, or circles, and it includes the instructions and the title. I solve on paper with pen. I write softly where I'm not sure. I circle my naticks to check on Rex's blog. I do all the Sunday puzzles at my leisure.

Today's puzzle was definitely tough. At 50 minutes, I put in coniFErs and FElis. Oh, okay, 'iron' rebus. Finally, I can draw the ship. Where is this mysterious reflection of a ship? (r u type2) I use the reflection to get a few more letters in 'ship of dreams'. Another 50 minutes of 'slogging' and I'm done.

Always enjoy the solve. Always impressed with the construction. Always read the blog and the comments. My only complaint is the complainers. Not really, I just wanted to comment about the complainers.

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