## Sunday, May 27, 2012

Constructor: BYRON WALDEN

Relative difficulty: Pretty difficult, if you ask me

THEME: STATE QUARTERS — Theme answers are U.S. states clued by what appears on their state quarters and placed in the grid with two or three letters per square. [Edited to add that the state names are divided into four parts, ie, quarters. I had a feeling I was missing something obvious in this theme!]

Hey, everybody. Rex is traveling today, so it's me, PuzzleGirl, here with your Sunday puzzle. And, oh my, that was … interesting. As some of you know, Doug Peterson and I typically use the "solve with a friend" option on the NYT website every week for the Sunday puzzle. I don't really like Sunday puzzles because they just feel too darn big, ya know? It starts to feel like a slog to me. So, this way, we get on the computer, one of us solves the acrosses, the other solves the downs, and we usually knock it out pretty quick. Didn't work exactly that smoothly this week though.

Byron was kind enough to make the rebus clear right from the beginning. Well, it was clear that there was some kind of rebus going on, but it was a little more difficult to get a grip on what exactly the deal was. Usually, Doug and I don't chat while we solve and we don't look at the other's clues. If, for example, I don't know a down answer, I wait for him to fill in crosses for me until I can get it. But I don't go reading the across clues in order to mentally fill the letters in myself. But on this puzzle, we ended up chatting quite a bit. And I don't know about Doug, but I found myself looking at across clues, but only to see if one of them was the clue for a state so I would know if my answer contained a rebus square.

So we were kind of going along feeling like we had an idea of how to tackle this one and then I got to PENNSYLVANIA, which uses three letters in each square instead of two and I thought I must be wrong, that it wasn't actually Pennsylvania. But indeed it was. The whole thing was pretty rough is what I'm saying. I assume those of you who sat down and solved this puzzle on paper didn't have the same issues.

• 10A: *Patriot Caesar Rodney on horseback (DELAWARE)
• 19A: *The Great Lakes (MICHIGAN)
• 27A: *Scissor-tailed flycatcher with wildflowers (OKLAHOMA)
• 59A: *Covered wagon next to Chimney Rock (NEBRASKA)
• 66A: *Rice stalks, a diamond and a mallard (ARKANSAS)
• 100A: *Statehouse dome (MARYLAND)
• 109A: *Abraham Lincoln (ILLINOIS)
• 112A: *Racehorse in front of the Federal Hill mansion (KENTUCKY)
• 46D: *"Commonwealth" statue and a keystone (PENNSYLVANIA)
• 69D: *Old Man of the Mountain rock formation (NEW HAMPSHIRE)
• 75D: *Lewis and Clark and the Gateway Arch (MISSOURI)

I hate to keep whining but one last problem I had was with the completed grid on the Times applet. We are all agreed that the applet sucks, right? Good. Well, when we finished the puzzle, it looked like this:

I can't even look at that grid and make sense of it because the applet doesn't "do" rebus squares. Luckily, Doug whipped up a jpg from his Crossword Compiler app and ta-da! Looking at That grid makes it look pretty damn awesome. I didn't even notice while solving that all the states are placed symmetrically in the grid. Nicely done, Byron!

I do feel like it would be wrong of me not to mention that some of the fill is pretty far out there. RIPENESS IS ALL is "much-quoted"? (44A: Much-quoted line from Edgar in "King Lear.") There are actually birds called LAUGHING FALCONS? (24A: Snake predators named for their calls.) People have heard of GEORGES DE LA TOUR? (101A: French Baroque artist who painted "The Fortune Teller.") And last but certainly not least: SNORKEL PARKA? (16D: Military jacket with a furry hood.) I must say I am ecstatic to find out that the coats I used to wear during the brutal winters in Fargo, North Dakota, are called SNORKEL PARKAs. I only wish I had known it at the time. (Please don't send me any nasty email about my GEORGES DE LA TOUR crack. I'm sure he's very well-known, left us a treasure trove of brilliant art, and was kind to his mother -- I'm just saying I've never heard of him and that undoubtedly says more about me than it does about him.)

Bullets (acrosses brought to you by Doug):
• 10A: *Patriot Caesar Rodney on horseback (DELAWARE) — I knew immediately that this was Delaware, because I've seen a ton of Delaware quarters. My friend's daughter was about 12 years old when the State Quarters program began, and she decided that the first quarter, Delaware, would be valuable someday. So she started saving Delaware quarters. And whenever I found one in change, I'd give it to her. Over the years, I bet I've given her at least \$25 in Delaware quarters. And I'm still giving them to her. I suspected it might be a scam to get free quarters, but she showed me her collection, and she's got over 400 of them in a box. I'm going to try to recoup some of my losses by telling her that I collect Montana quarters. Maybe she'll give me a few. I picked Montana because I grew up there, and more importantly, it's the only state quarter that features a skull. It matches my awesome belt buckle.
• 37A: Zales rival (KAY) — My first thought was Jared, because "It can only be Jared." That's the jewelry store founded by the guy from the Subway ads. I have my own version of the Subway diet. I walk to Subway for lunch, and then I don't eat anything because I hate Subway.
• 44A: Much-quoted line from Edgar in "King Lear" (RIPENESS IS ALL) — Or "Don't eat the green bananas." I know quite a few Shakespeare lines, but this one baffled me. I don't like the "much-quoted" part, because if you don't know it, you feel like a dope.
• 67A: Old comic book cowboy (RED RYDER) — You probably recognize the name from the Red Ryder BB Gun in "A Christmas Story."

• 101A: French Baroque artist who painted "The Fortune Teller" (GEORGES DE LA TOUR) — Which translates to "George of the Tour." I guess he was a pro golfer. Seriously, I have never heard of this guy. At least the clue didn't say "Well-known French Baroque painter..." I'm still smarting from that "Much-quoted" business.
• 106A: "Get Smart" robot (HYMIE) — Entry of the day! Man, I used to love "Get Smart." Hymie's a robot who was built by KAOS, but later decides to join CONTROL. He's named after his father and is "programmed for neatness." Speaking of "Get Smart," PuzzleGirl and I wrote this entire blog while in the Cone of Silence. Maybe that's why it took us seventeen hours.

Bullets (downs brought to you by PuzzleGirl):
• 7D: Father of the Blues (WC HANDY)
• 8D: Outgrowth from the base of a grass blade (LIGULE) — Can't imagine I'll ever need to know that but okay.
• 10D: Handlers of brats (DELIS) — Who wanted BABYSITTERS?
• 12D: Designer Vera (WANG) — PuzzleDaughter and her friends seem to be into Vera Bradley these days. Totally different Vera.
• 22D: Athletic awards since 1993 (ESPYS)
• 26D: Salts (ABLE SEAMEN) — I like the tricky clue, but I'm not 100% sure ABLE SEAMEN is really a thing. I mean, I'm sure there are SEAMEN who are quite ABLE, but it's not exactly what I would call "in the language." See also NURSERY MEN (76D: Greenhouse workers).
• 42D: E.M.T. application (CPR) — PuzzleKids and I enjoyed a street festival yesterday and had to spend a little bit of time at the First Aid station when PuzzleDaughter stubbed her toe pretty bad. I sorta felt like the EMTs were rolling their eyes at us, but honestly, I'm sure having them bandage her up calmed her down way more than I could have. Poor thing. When we got home she's all "Mom, will you wash the blood off my flip-flop?" Try not to be too jealous of my glamorous life.
• 49D: Do dos, say (CATER) — I was thinking more along the lines of hairstylists, so this was a nice tricky clue.
• 57D: Area that's frequently swept? (RADAR RANGE) — In my world, a RADAR RANGE is a microwave oven. (In my world, I spent much of my childhood in front of the TV watching game shows.)

• 86D: Move toward the middle (INDENT) — And just to be clear, when you move text toward the middle of the page, you use TABS and not SPACES, right? RIGHT?
• 96E: Like zombies (UNDEAD) — My first thought: "Dead." My second thought: "Waaait a minute …."
With any luck, Rex will be back tomorrow. But you'll probably see me again later this week.

Love, PuzzleGirl (and Doug)

Brian Cimmet

The iPad crosswords app (the one made by Stand Alone) also sucks at rebus puzzles. I was suck at the end, and had something wrong, do I asked the app to remove all my errors. It removed all the rebus squares as well, which was rather demoralizing.

In this day and age, can't anyone design a decent crossword app or applet?

jae

My problem with this one is that I kept trying to follow a rule  that was not really a rule.  My  wrong rule was eight letter states.  So, I had a long tough slog.  Ambitious and clever theme, but I predict a lot of Sunday morning solvers are going to exit this one early.  Tough end to a tough weekend.

Lots of treacherous crosses for me:

GODNUOV/LATOUR, CASUS/CCELL, GENERIS/MENE, everything crossing AWLS (A MIL is the clunker of the day).

I admired it but did not really like it.  I suspect puzzles like this are why ED skips Sunday (aside from the expense).  Nice write up PG!

Michaela

Is anyone using the magmic app and having trouble submitting this one? It does not seem to like the rebus squares very much, but I can't have it tell me what it thinks is incorrect without unlocking the puzzle, which I think would kill my streak. Yeah, #firstworldproblems...

jae

The iPad Crossword App by stand alone, Inc. is very rebus friendly.

Milford

Same problem with the Magmic app. It kept scrambling my rebus answers. Finally had to erase every rebus entry and refill them to get the app to submit successfully. Hope this helps.

foodie

OK, you guys, that was well and truly hilarious. Your write up that is...

I actually did not think the puzzle was hard. Once you guess the state, it makes things a lot easier. But I did have a couple of Naticks, so may be I'm just underestimating it.

Still, when I finished, I thought: "That was a long run for a short slide."

I'm shocked at myself, thinking in sports terms! But there you have it.

But the write up-- that was wonderful.

PS. The capcha dude needs to rethink his strategy. "England" is one of my terms...

Unknown

Same problem with magmic
Could not make it work

Brian Cimmet

@jae: the stand alone app is very friendly in terms of entering rebus letters. However, it also assumes all rebus squares are wrong, unless you do just first letters.

Seems odd to support rebus entries, but not rebus answers.

Michaela

Erasing all of the rebus answers and reentering them using the non-grid view finally worked. I shall not be held responsible for this 1-hour-plus time...!

Mike

An Able Seaman is a sailor with enough experience to have passed some sort of certification or tests relating to seamanship. In the old days it was also a rank in the Royal Navy.

Kristin

Oh nooooooo...I have magmic too and am going crazy looking for the "mistake". Plus you can't unlock for 24hrs thats when they publish the answers I think! Takes forever just to fill in all those squares the first time!

Anonymous

If you open a bank account in the UK, you are asked for your title. The list goes from Mr. all the way, if I recall correctly, to HRH. "Able Seaman" is one choice. (I really wanted to use "Lady", but had to settle for "Mrs.")
peri

evil doug

jae: Correctamundo.

I actually appreciate the double-twist with the title: Clues are from state quarters, and the answers divide the state names into quarters.

But just glancing at the rest of the clues/answers, it looks like the clever theme---and especially the remarkable feat of keeping it all symmetrical in the grid---came at a price.

Evil
Never on Sunday

JenCT

@jae: Same for me; I was convinced that all the states had to have 8 letters.

Sturggled through this, but gave up after solving about 50% of it - just too much work. Ended up solving the south end of the puzzle, but gave up on the north.

Loved INDENT, ERGOT. Had STOLON for LIGULE, ALABAMA for OKLAHOMA, many others.

Impressive puzzle, but too much work!

The Bard

King Lear > Act V, scene II

EDGAR: Away, old man; give me thy hand; away!
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta'en:
Give me thy hand; come on.

GLOUCESTER: No farther, sir; a man may rot even here.

EDGAR: What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither;
Ripeness is all: come on.

GLOUCESTER: And that's true too.

[Exeunt]
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Romeo and Juliet > Act I, scene I

ROMEO: Why, such is love's transgression.
Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast,
Which thou wilt propagate, to have it prest
With more of thine: this love that thou hast shown
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vex'd a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears:
What is it else? a madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet.
Farewell, my coz.

exaudio

Excellent write-up Puzzlegirl; I am glad Rex handed off his duty to an ABLEBLOGGER, and I'm glad you were a little miffed about the "much quoted" business that this English major didn't know either. I had totally forgotten about HYMIE the robot--as I recall he was insecure and needy, which was funny in a robot. I woke up my sleeping husband laughing over your translation of DELATOUR.

Howard B

You can enter a rebus in the Times applet, but it's a bit awkward. It supports up to 4 letters, and you must know how many letters to enter.
For 2 letters, type +xx (where xx is the 2-letter entry.
For 3 letters type ++xxx.
For 4 letters type +++xxxx.
So you have to type one + for every extra letter you want, then type your entry.

Yes, I know. But it works. :).

mskl99

I got killed by Pennsylvania. I knew it ended with nia, so Virginia was there for the longest time. When it became clear that 3 letter rebuses were allowed, I went for West Virginia! That bogged me down forever.
Very difficult for me due to stupid answers like snorkel parka and laughing falcon.
I knew Hymie was right, but I spelled it Jaime, forgetting that the creator was Mel Brooks, not Pedro Almodovar.
Not really enjoyable this week.

Sir Hillary

I really liked this one.

My youngest daughter has all the state quarters (mostly from me giving her the weekly change I accumulated from buying coffee and lunch in Manhattan) so I am pretty familiar with what's on them.

I thought the constructor's feat of "quartering" the states and placing them symmetrically was astonishing. Yes, there is some dodgy fill, but there always is on Sunday, and usually the themes and construction are not nearly as impressive.

I got the NYT Magazine on Saturday, and it took me the better part of the day to finish, in between games at a different daughter's field hockey tournament. I suspect the leisurely pace contributed to my enjoyment.

jberg

Nothing makes me gladder that I solve in the actual paper than these rebus days where everyone's complaining about their apps! That's not why I do it - more that I don't want to haul my computer out to the front porch, and the screen on my netbook is too small. But it's a nice bonus.

That said, I finished with an error - somehow thought that tennis guy must be named EbBERt, than changed it to EbBERs and EbBERG from crosses, so dismissed IDA as a possible Booth infavor of InA. Who knew?

Vera WANG showed me it was a rebus, and most of the states you can guess from what they have on their quarters - I mean you can guess region, and once you have a few crosses, that's enough. I never noticed until I came here that the theme entries were properly symmetcical, and that the two 12-letter states ran right down the center. Until I did, I was going to grouse about having mostly 2-letter rebuses with 2 threes, but that makes it OK for me.

I'd always heard the phrase "ABLE-bodied SEAMAN" - it was pre-ADA - but enough commenters seem to know this one, so I yield to experience. But TEALS 23A)? I grew up with duck hunters (well, I was a duck hunter for a few years, but such a terrible shot that I never actually got a duck), and as far as anything I ever heard, the plural of TEAL is TEAL.

As for old GEORGES DE LA TOUR, I'd never heard of him either until I rounded a corner in the Louvre one day and there he was. His specialty was dramatic candle-lit scenes. He was very good at that. But I would agree with obscure, though not as obscure as Ms. Booth or Mr. EDBERG for me. Or ENNIO Morricone - although I just checked Google, and he comes up higher than Errico, whom I have heard of, so I guess that's just me.

To sum up: very clevely constructed, in retrospect, but a long slog while solving.

Anonymous

The problem with Rex taking time off is obvious. In a 2-man law firm neither lawyer takes a vacation for fear the other will steal their clients. When a breath of fresh air like Puzzle Girl shows up it makes me wonder why Rex doesn't take off more often. PG can even write a negative review and make it sound its more her fault than the constructor. My only quibble is I don't care about ineffective apps since I work on a laptop or desktop. This puzzle reminds me of the North Koreans building a long-range missile. Very complicated with more a fizzle than a take-off. Clues with what's on those past-issued state quarters for states that are divided into 4 rebuses strikes me as a Rube Goldberg effort but the solving experience was more like the North Korean's launch.

Frank Lynch

Oddly I thought this was relatively easy, because I saw the rhebus quickly on Sanger & Wang. (I usually do the downs first, because those are the toeholds.) Trouble in the SW, but otherwise fun.

Coming up with Delaware on "wa" was a challenge.

Frank Lynch

Pennsylvania should have been a quick indicator that the states weren't all 8 letters.

Tuco Ramirez

I guess you can say that this puzzle

But , mostly good.

Smitty

@Doug, I remembered "Able Seaman Hornsby" from the pig Tony Curtis dressed in a pea coat in Operation Petticoat.
Great write up guys!
@Puzzlegirl your RIPENESS IS ALL comment made me laugh like a falcon on a python.

Oh and the puzzle? The timer stopped at 99:59 so I finished sometime after that.
What a shlepp!

wordie

@jberg and others, where is the Booth? I thought it was CLAIRE for 95D and 89A.

I am often amused by how hard it is for me to see the word "laugh" from just a few of the letters.

The clunker of the day for me was 28A. Strange cluing IMHO.

I liked the puzzle a lot, and finished with a couple errors due to naticks in the SW as others have noted. I guessed the states from the items listed in the rebus clues as I pay no attention to what is on coins, or bills for that matter, other than buffaloes and the like. I liked the clue for PHARAOH, even my husband didn't know that, and it's an interesting FUNFACT. I thought the puzzle was a little heavy on rap, but perhaps that's because I hate that genre and know none of the names except what I am forced to learn doing the NYT CW, except for EMINEM, who is ubiquitous. Love this blog group! I totally agree re the write-up, it had me guffawing several times, which is priceless.

Doug P

Howard - Thanks for the rebus tip on the applet! I just tried it. It's clunky, but it works.

Charles in Austin

I suggest googling Geoges de La Tour images. It's well worth the (negligible) trouble. See, for example, "The Newborn," which one of my personal favorites.

Incredible!

Tita

Suspected that ONE[LA]P was the answer at 2D, Vera [WA]NG confirmed it, and let me see DELAWRE. Finally gave in to PENNSYLVANIA also being quartered - I mean, Keystone State is on their license plates...

Liked that the states were quartered. THought this was going to be fun.
BUT...major DNF - really hard, weird clueing. REDRYDER, SKYLER, LISA, INA, EDBERG???
Not one, but 2 Rappers? Well, the 2 opera refs were gimmes, so I guess I can't complain.

Really ugly fill, as many of you have already said.
And yes, this was one puzzle where solving on paper would definitely have made it easier.

Anonymous

My app for my iMac is Across-Lite. At the square where I need to enter more than one letter, push Fn / Esc, and a little box opens. Type in the two (or three) letters, push Enter, and the letters appear in the square.

Tita

Puzzle also reminds me that the issuance of state3 quarters was a fabulous idea, but a missed opportunity.
I was gobsmacked that they were not issued within each state, by state! Would have been so much fun to look for far-off state coins in each handful of change that you got...and watch their progression around the country.
I lived in Germany when the Euro hit, and everybody was really into finding a coin from other countries!

Anonymous

Great puzzle! One of my favorites. But I still haven't been able to submit my 'correct' solution due to Magmic. I'm already miffed with them anyway, so this just adds to the irritation.

jackj

Sunday puzzles are usually moderate, punny interludes between Saturday struggles and Monday giggles but uber-constructor Byron Walden goes his own way and gives us a rebus which requires us to perform enough complicated bookkeeping so that when finished we feel like we have slogged through the official CPA exam.

But, when Byron upped the theme ante half way through the puzzle by going from double letter rebus entries to triple letter ones, (without any warning of course), when sorting out NEW HAM PSH IRE**, (PSH made for a delightful connection for the entry LAM(PSH)ADE), it was a moment of sheer pleasure for this solver and triggered instantaneous forgiveness for the puzzle’s complexities.

The logistical strictures necessary to complete this masterpiece certainly made some compromises necessary but, for this solver, the likes of HALAL, KARELIA and LIGULE were acceptable trade-offs for the greater good, (not to mention they were all doable via the crosses).

It is for certain that the problems associated with solving this puzzle are a mere nuisance as compared to the complications of constructing it. What a brilliant achievement by one of the best!

(So good that this participant will absolve Byron from the “sins” inflicted by him when funning us with SNORKELPARKA and RIPENESSISALL).

**(The “Old Man of the Mountain” rock formation, located in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, collapsed in 2003 and a non-profit group is currently working with the state to install an appropriate memorial to the fallen icon.)

Anonymous

Same problem with magmic, if there's an error I sure don't see it.
Tough puzzle, but very well constructed.

One of my capchas is "something", so maybe I am a robot ( like Hymie)

Couple of Naticks that were annoying, but the write-up made me feel much better. Doug - you made my day with your Subway diet!

Loren Muse Smith

I really liked this puzzle, but I, too, was caught up in looking for only states with eight letters. I kept smelling a rat at BAHAMIANS but the smell wasn’t strong enough to get me to think of three letters in a square.

My “aha” was with COLORADO, and I immediately appreciated the play on the word “quarters” – the coin and the fact that the spellings are divided into four parts. Wow.

@jberg – same experience in the Louvre! I was tired, grumpy, and wondering why I was missing the chip to ooh and aah over paintings when I rounded that same corner and saw St Joseph. I was utterly moved, gobsmacked, speechless.

r.alphbunker

This seemed like a Fireball puzzle to me. Awesome construction with people like Caesar Rodney in it.

I am using a program that I wrote to solve the puzzle. It only lets you enter the first letter of a rebus which made it tough going for this puzzle. At least I know who to complain to!

Norm

Challenging & entertaining. The 2-2-2-2 versus 3-3-3-3 rebus choice was confusing, but I guess there was no way around it -- and they are still quarters. A rebus is not a problem with AcrossLite, but I would probably have had a much easier time on paper with this one. Would have highlighted all the * entries so that I would know when to think trickery, since I didn't spot the symmetry until the very end. Should have suspected before then but didn't. Collecting those state quarters definitely paid off!!!

600

Absolutely the hardest puzzle I've ever done, and it had nothing to do with the rebus. I like rebuses. I was onto this one almost immediately. Unfortunately, like @jae and others, I was sure it was eight-letter state names divided into quarters (of two), so New Hampshire and Pennsylvania stayed hidden way, way too long. When I realized the symmetry of the rebus answers, I, like others, forgave those three-letter answers that I had originally seen as patently unfair. That Lear line as "much-quoted"? Now THAT was patently unfair.

@jackj--Well said! All of it, but especially the experience of "getting" the three-letter divisions. PSH did it for me too.

Is ANENT the word of the year for 2012?

Echoing @jae again: CASUS/CCELL, GENERIS/MENE, GOODUNOV/LATOUR. These crosses were rough, rough, rough.

Some other WTHs: SNORKEL PARKA? ELUDERS? LIGULES? Really?

None of that means I didn't enjoy this puzzle. It took me forever, twice my normal time for a Sunday, and parts of it seemed unfair (No one is complaining about INA CLAIRE???) but it was a challenge and there is nothing wrong with that.

And the write up made the two or so hours I spent sometimes slogging through absolutely worth it. Thanks for a great one, PG and Doug.

Puzzle Mom

I knew the states because here at PuzzleMom house we have collected two complete sets for PuzzleSon and PuzzleDaughter; but I solve the puzzle on line and I simple gave up knowing I couldn't hold all that info in my head while also trying to figure out all the other things I didn't know. Laughing Falcon, however: come visit PuzzleMom in Costa Rica. We'll show you a laughing falcon, or at least let you hear one. They are elusive, but loud. Nice write-up. Thanks.
And, speaking of Captcha, Have you all watched the TED lecture by the guy that invented it, Luis Von Ahn? Genius! I commend it to you.

Love, PuzzleMom

Blue Stater

Words fail me (in several senses). I've been doing (of late, trying to do) the NYT puzzles since about 1950. This one is, I really do think, the worst ever. Piling a rebus on top of an inconsistently realized gimmick on top of impossibly punny and misleading cluing, and all of this on a Sunday, is just unpardonable. This is not a crossword puzzle. It is a mess.

chefbea

Got the theme right away but still DNF. Never got Pennsylvania.

What a great feat of Byron's for putting this all together.

Happy weekend

Gerrythek

I liked the double theme a lot but the fill was awful. ay too many proper names and quotes.

lymank

Like many others, I felt unduly misled after cracking several 8- letter state names, thinking that would be the pattern for the whole puzzle. Took me quite a while to accept the possibility of 12-letter state names. Didn't pick up on "State Quarters" referring to coins at all, but rather to important landmarks in the state whose names would be divided up into four parts..
Some of the cluing really threw me, but in retrospect, I'm at peace with it. Except for one: ergot (90D)... Really??? That's a fungus that kills grain, long before it ever becomes cereal. "Too much milk" or "too much sugar" or....something else might be a cereal killer, but ergot?? I think that's pretty debatable..

Anonymous

I especially like that the two 12-letter states in the puzzle are also symmetrically placed.

lymank

I'm puzzled by the many comments about problems entering rebus answers. At the NYT site, I just hit shift-plus once to enter two letters, shift-plus twice for three, etc. The letters go in just fine. In Acrosslite, just hit the insert key and enter multiple letters into the square.
I don't think this is new information for anyone. Am I missing something?

Anonymous

I adored this puzzle. Just the right amount of difficulty and fun for a Sunday. Definitely one of my favourite so far this year.

Like others, I took a long time and was thrown by the 12-letter rebuses. But I did manage to finish without any errors.

I did this on paper, as I do all the current _NYT_ puzzles, but I do all others on Acrosslite.

I have a reasonable system for rebuses: I type an asterisk (which puts a circle in the square) and then type the first letter. Acrosslite accepts that as correct, and the circle reminds me that it's a rebus square.

Anonymous

@Michaela - I've got the same problem with the Magmic app. Can you explain what you mean by "non-grid view". Thx.

ANON B

The worst puzzle and write-up and comments I have ever seen.
I am not computer savvy as most of you seem to be, I just like to
do crossword puzzles.
I still don't understand the theme. Are the clues things that
are in the state or that are
associated with the state?
Is there one person out there who
associates "Scissor-tailed
flycatcher with wildflowers"
with anything other than a
misprint?
The only thing I will grant
is that Byron Walden has a Google mind.

Anonymous

lymank: A cereal is a grain, not just a name for a packaged product.

Blue Stater: What's inconsistently realized about dividing each state evenly into four parts?

Anonymous

ANON B: The clues are things that appear on the back of the appropriate state's quarter.

Puz put up a heckuva fight. Had to call in reinforcements (PuzKillingSpouse). The state quarters were pretty easy, but that long fill was somethin' else. LIGULE/WCHANDY/LAUGHINGsnakepredator/HALAL/SNORKELPARKA/FERS/it goes on and on...
Snort.

Fun puz. Kinda glad it's over. Too much fun can hurt a person.

jae

@lymank -- I think the rebus difficulties mention pertain to iPad or other tablet crossword apps not the the NYT site. I do Wed.-Sun.on paper so I don't have app based issues but apparently, according to Brian Cimmet, there are rebus recognition problems with the Crossword iPad app that I use for early week puzzles.

Apparently I'm the only one who thought "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and went with BADINOV at first as no one else has mentioned it. Admittedly, the " should have pointed me in another direction but I missed it at first in my small print AcrossLite printout.

ANON B

Doug in the writeup:
Why would your first thought for "Zales rival"be "Jared"?
Jared has four lettersand the
And what does that cute bit
about Subway have to do with anything?

Kate

In the column today, the displayed solution is not correct in one square.

In 46-Down, Pennsylvania should be quartered into (PEN)(NSY)(LVA)(NIA) or PNLN so that 56-Across will be solved as BRITTAN(NIA). The displayed solution shows PNLI.

Sparky

The title told the story. I have all 50 quarters in a nice coin book. Quit collecting with the territories and now the federal parks. Each answer had four squares.

WANG a gimmee and off to a good start. @jaf and others: I, too assumed all 8 letter states but figured the 12 with C0RNSYRUP, a most unfavored product.

I remember REDRYDER, laughed at LAMPSHADE, tripped up (again) at NLERS. A few spaces here and there but this was taking as long as Boris GODUNOV so I stopped.

Next week has got to be better than this week was. Enjoy the holiday but give some thought and thanks to absent friends.

Jenny

DNF, but still loved this puzzle. (I guessed correctly at several intersections, but had no idea about the corner of HYMIE and MAYPO.) I'm surprised so many people were thrown by PA and NH - I thought those were among the easier images (the keystone, the Old Man) to associate with a specific state.

Brookboy

Re entering multiple letters in a single square, with Across Lite all you need to do is select the square and press the Insert key. You can then type as many letters as you want, and then press Enter to actually enter them. I know this because when I opened the puzzle a tip appeared with that advice.

I really liked the puzzle for the most part. I knew the New Hampshire answer but I was stuck on two letters per square until I got the "lam[psh]ade" cross. Then it all started to fall into place.

Loved the witty review by PG as well.

600

@jae--No, you were not the only one who went with Badinov first. I LOVE Rocky and Bullwinkle and absolutely went there first. Seems like my solving experience echoed yours in many ways.

@Kate--You're right about the error, but the actual solution is at the top of the column and is correct. FWIW.

Been admiring the construction of this magnumb opus. Looks like a real hard dude to build. Sorta like Frankenstein's monster.

But I got bigger problems. Chipmunks. A whole monastery of munks has moved in on our yard. Anyone know how to get rid of these dang things? Hate to bring out the shotgun; chews up the lawn. Seems like the Shortzmeister used strobe lights to get rid of squirrels one time. But the neighbors might not approve of strobe lights, used out of doors.

syndy

@JAE sigh BADINOV was long my favorite answer!although I knew PENN, was the KEYSTONE state I wanted a "SERPENT'S tooth" too badly!liked the puzzle.but does having two commenters in one blog constitute a REBUS?

timbo44b

This was an excellent time consumer as I have to find something to fill up my day.
Figured out early that it was 8 letter states then - whamo - Pennsylvania popped up and I said, "Better add another 2 hours".
Still had to look up a ton of answers and then finally came here and was informed that the clues were what's on the backs of quarters! I don't look at coins nowadays, used to a lot when I collected them but sold my entire collection 12 years ago, another fiscal blunder on my part considering the price of gold and silver. Without getting political, ok just a bit, methinks I'll start buying precious metals the next time A Liberal gets elected.

Lewis

Great writeup by both of you -- funny and insightful.

Terrific puzzle -- tough clues, but fair, I thought. Just a tough solve. Much better than a typical boring Sunday slog. Bravo!

quilter1

Too much to do today but finally got the puzzle finished between getting some things prepared for tomorrow. My last tussle was also the PENNSYLVANIA entry. I knew that was correct but by the time I figured out how the letters were divided I had so many writeovers the page was black. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day.

Milford

I think she is referring to the option in the top left corner next to the Menu option that has "1a, 2a". This option allows you to just scroll through the clues as a list and fill them without the grid. Of course now Magmic won't even let me open that puzzle due to some error. Funny, because I've done many rebuses (rebi?) on Magmic and it's never freaked out like this.

Cindy

Didn't read all the comments so someone may have noticed this already but each state name was in 1/4s making them State "quarters" (groan)

Martin

@Milford,

AcrossLite is limited to 36 rebuses (it uses the letters and numerals to index them) but this puzzle needs 42. A special version of AcrossLite was able to create a .puz file that AL would accept but the non-standard rebus indexes seem to be too much for Magmic. This is what comes from envelope-pushing.

Eckless

This isn't an ad, but if you're using a Windows PC I suggest using Xword for solving: http://sourceforge.net/projects/wx-xword/ -- it also handles rebuses easily (hit the insert key). In my mind, it's "prettier" and "more user friendly" than Across Lite.

Re the puzzle, many props for the symmetric rebus answers, but as soon as I saw some of them, what popped into my head is "there's going to be some ugly fill"...it's better than I anticipated, but still some "LIGULES"?

miriam b

MANY years ago we attended a lecture during Parents' Weekend at Dartmouth. The prof discussed the fact that some believe The Fortune Teller is actually by someone other than Georges De La Tour. I'm about to Google that despite having too much else to do today.

Too many real words in captcha lately.

edmcan

Can't add too much to what everyone else said; finished, but up to my knees in letters! As a Canadian, I feel doubly disadvantaged.

I would also point out that some of the spelling is questionable. I think of 'Gudinov' not the way it was spelled here and I thought that 'Britannia' was considered part of Gaul by the Romans. Meh, what do I know?

Milford

@Martin - Thank you for the explanation! I actually wondered if it was unable to accept the fact that some cells had 2 letters while others had 3. But your reason makes better sense. Somehow I eventually got Magmic to accept it. Irritated that this tedious process took away some of the fun I had solving this puzzle, because it was indeed a great one.

froat

Puzzlegirl writes a good column but I need my Parker snarkiness on Sunday mornings!

geezerette

Thank you for the write-up, Puzzle Girl. I thought the puzzle was brilliant in theme and execution. I've never cast a glance at the images on the state quarters, so it was fun to try to figure them out from the clues. And I loved finding out that there are such things as laughing falcons and snorkel parkas - as well as learning about W.C. Handy - "St. Louis Blues"!

ArtO

Finished the puzzle last night (on paper, of course) since we get the magazine section along with some others a day early. Found it quite a slog. Enjoyed the many comments and will add a hand up for ABLE bodied SEAMEN and a stumble at thinking they were all eight letter states.

Many thanks for a fun write up.

Ω

This is a great puzzle dragged down by way too much dreck and odd cluing.

Nonauthoritarian > DEMOCRAT. Huh? DEMOCRAT ≠ Democratic
NLERS - Not even baseball fans like ALER or NLER. It even gets to cross HRS clued by baseball.
ELUDERS - sticking an R on doesn't mean it's in the language.
AIR RAID SIRENS - 1 pm on the first Saturday of the month we hear the tornado sirens being tested.
INA CLAIRE - I've been to Eau Claire.
There's more, but much of it has already been mentioned.

On a puzzle this size (30 letters and 7 black squares in the middle column) having great fill everywhere has to be nearly impossible. But it took me less than a minute to figure out the theme and then I spent too much time wading through the fill and very little time enjoying the theme.

joho

Busy day.

Byron: absolutely brilliant! Sundays don't get more difficult or better than this. Even when I got the rebus in OKLAHOMA I had plenty of trouble figuring out the rest. And those triple letter squares were devious and wonderful!

mac

Just yesterday I wondered if the new baby would cut into Byron's constructing time.

Nice to read the write-up by PG and Doug; they both have such distinctive voices.

Very good puzzle, where I picked up the theme almost immediately and still took too long. I had the most trouble in the "ripeness" and "I rent" area. No till/not ill looks odd in the grid.

Thank you so much for the "Radar Love"!! I loved George Kooymans.

Mike

I enjoyed the puzzle, but not the wonky magmic iPad app. I eventually got it to accept my solution, but not before the 24 hour submission period had ended. I finally unlocked the puzzle, ran check and most of the rebus squares had error marks. I deleted all the rebus squares and one regular square. Then I filled in the rebus squares very carefully. When a last I filled in the one regular square, it accepted the solution. Too much effort to get around the app given the effort to solve the puzzle itself.

lawprof

I hate to DNF a Sunday, but it happened today. (Saturdays I can live with and Fridays...ok...sometimes). But I was twice Naticked at H_MIE/MA_PO and __PENNESSISALL/ _ONAN/_RENT. Took a while to get the triple rebuses down the middle after the rest had been doubles. A tour de force construction, but a real slog for me.

Oscar

Byron has made some great puzzles, but this wasn't one of them.

Emily Post

@What Up Dog? said...

---

That's just rude, dude, and more than a little smug. You posted at 3:53 PM, by which time LOTS of people had noticed.

LR

@Z said...

Nonauthoritarian > DEMOCRAT. Huh? DEMOCRAT ≠ Democratic

---

Nonauthoritarian can be used as a noun ("That guy is a nonauthoritarian."), so this is OK.

JaxInL.A.

If the device weren't so expensive, I might have done some violence to the iPad out of frustration with the damn software that the NYT requires for a subscription.

Why does a big dog like the NYT put up with sloppy programming when it could commission a clever class of high schoolers to do better than Magmic?

This is not the first time a puzzle has been spoiled by faulty functioning, especially with rebus puzzles. I have written to Magmic about it, and included it in my review of the software at the App Store. They fail to fix this because they don't want to and because the Times doesn't insist that they do.

Seriously, with all of the amazing things happening in video games, they can't get this right?

Oh, Byron, this is my favorite Sunday for some months. I didn't mind the Sunday length (actually double the usual for me) because I enjoyed uncovering each new rebus, and because you had such Great entries, like LAUGHING FALCONS and SNORKEL PARKA.

Anonymous

i did not want baby sitters for handler of brats, wanted moms - also did not like shift from 2 letters per square to what felt like arbitrary shift to 3 per square. I like rebi that are consistent; virgnia did not work where I needed to put pennsylvania

Post Haste

@Emily Post 7:21pm - Do we really need posts commenting not on the puzzle, but only disparaging others' posts, even from people calling themselves Post? Do we not have better things to do? Apparently you don't, and neither do I.

treedweller

D

Ω

@LR - Sticking "non" in the front of a thing doesn't make something a thing, or a nonthing.

Tita

M&A...I can rent out my cats to you - they are accomplished mousers, volers, munkers, and occasionally star-nosed molers...

Take heart - their population explosions are cyclical - they follow bumper crops of acorns, which we had last year.

Octavian

Fantastic puzzle -- took me a long time to figure out what was going on, but in the end it was worth it.

Loved the "rule-breaking" of having a rebus in which some squares took 2 letters and some took 3.

Also enjoyed the rule-breaking involved in not having the long answers be the theme answers.

Combined with great fill like the laughing falcons, this was a masterpiece.

North Beach

Weird, but I had absolutely no problem with Magmic rebus squares. \$.02

Anonymous

This puzzle really took the cake for unfairness. First of all, switching from two-letter-per-box clues to three-letter-per-box clues. Give me a break. That is simply dirty pool with no justification, ever, whatsoever. Then "Ripeness is all" c/w "St. Ronan," and both are "widely known"? Perhaps among the most obscure and pretentious graduate-level English literature programs. "Snorkel parka" c/w with "Kan" (jeweler)? Now THERE'S an everyday, well-known set of terms! "Delatour" I vaguely remember, but he is hardly a household name in the world of art. This puzzle was shameful. I needed to check both "Ronan"/"ripeness" and "snorkel parka"/"kan" to solve it (I guessed both, and guessed right). This one really took the cake. Ick and double ick.

Anonymous

Whoops! "Kay" jeweler, not "Kan," and "ESPYs," not "ESPN" awards. I vaguely remember Kay jewelers, but, not being a giant sports fan, I didn't know what ESPN called its silly annual awards. Once again, give me a break! I also have my issues with using "Hymie" in a puzzle, after Rev. Jesse Jackson's infamous remark about New York being "hymietown" (i.e., city with lots of people of Jewish background). I know the creators of "Get Smart" never meant an anti-Semitic slur, but that doesn't mean others haven't used it for exactly that purpose. Once again, I HATED this puzzle.

Anonymous

Puzzle Girl: I read your commentary after writing my own (two quotes above). Actually, "De la Tour" translates as "of the tower" (as in La Tour D'Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower). Maybe he was from a family of people who were very tall or who lived in tall buildings or whatever was considered tall in 17th-18th century France.

KarenSampsonHudson

Enjoyed your write-up, puzzle girl. I did this one at midnight-into-Monday morning after a long day of "techie issues" on our android phones,and it seemed...burdensome. If I were fresher, I think I'd have enjoyed it!

mann

I love rebus puzzles like this, has anyone published abook of them? I am taking a week long bus trip and would love to bring some with.I already have the Sunday nyt crossword books, so need a different source. Thanks!

Catherine

I liked and admired this puzzle. I started out solving on paper and figured out right away that we were dealing with a rebus (Sanger and Wang). However based on those two names my idea for the rebus was that NG were going to share squares. It took me a while to sort that out. Then, I got the 8-letter state, divided by four, concept and all was well for a while. Somehow I found it hard to accept that THREE letters could also live in sin in the same square. Once I accepted that I was able to get the rest. Meanwhile, I just thought these were all on the state seals or something. It was a real forehead slapper when I finally grasped the double meaning of Quarters. I was thinking literally, like housing, like the letters sharing quarters or something. AcrossLIte also refused to accept rebus answers. So annoying! What it WILL accept is the first letter of the rebus set in that square. If you check it, it will admit that that is right. Still this is thin gruel when you want to actually put all the letters where they go.

Catherine

PS: I grew up in Minnesota, so I got SNORKELPARKA right off the bat.

Bill

Growing up in Grand Forks, ND, colder than Fargo, my brother had a snorkel parka, worn at the local air base. My mother didn't let me buy one. He also had an official Red Ryder BB gun to shoot me with. Able Bodied Seaman, or Alfred Bulltop Stormalong in story books.

Anonymous

Was there no analysis of difficulty for this masterpiece?

Anonymous

My favorite Get Smart joke:
Agent Hymie, do you drink?
Just a little oil now and then.
Do you smoke?
Only when I drink cheap oil.

Anonymous

NYT app for BlackBerry handles rebuses fairly well. I'm on a 9930 (i.e., small-ish screen perpetually in landscape view) and I can still navigate the puzzle fields with ease.

Anonymous

The Magmic on my older generation iTouch handles rebi just fine. I guess it does okay with rebuses too.

Sue McC

Fun and challenging, but ultimately DNF. Not that it was too tough...weekend activities meant I could only pick at it in small pockets of time. I got the theme,but after whittling away at it here and there over 3 days I just got kind of bored. Forced myself to do the Monday puzzle so I could start Tuesday fresh.

Brian

Interesting that all 8 letter and 12 letter State names were used except one each. VIRGINIA and WEST VIRGINIA. Yes, Sunday Cross, there is no Virginia.
Regards
Brian

Anonymous

I look forward to the Sunday puzzle all week and prefer to do it without apps or computer, dictionary etc. I like to push my brain not just fill things in. This is the first puzzle in years that I didn't finish and I still have a big headache. Like runway fashion I would never wear, I admire the creation of this puzzle but hate that it ruined my week.I agree with most of the posters and also think many of the clues were sucky. Vera Wang was the aha it's a rebus moment but I honestly thought there would only be a state abbreviation once in an answer until Bahamians. When I think of who painted the Fortune teller I think first of Caravaggio. I got democrat without the ic. But it did not make up for my disappointment in having to give in and give up and check this site.Boo.

Brian

Also interesting that all 11 of the 8 letter states are connected.

And the 10 by land can be driven through once each in one line. Arkansas-Oklahoma-Colorado-Nebraska-Missouri-Illinois-Kentucky-Virginia-Maryland-Delaware.

Michigan and Illinois are connected across Lake Michigan so no driving..

Anonymous

FWIW, I never have a problem entering rebus answers on Magmic. I'm surprised to hear that others do. I did figure out, though, that you can't let a rebus square be the last one ou enter before submitting because the "woud you like to submit" dialogue kicks off when you type the first letter of the rebus answer.

My only problem with Magmic is the app's frequent crashing at puzzle launch. Rebooting iPad always fixes that and lately it only happens once a week or so.

Donkos

Radar range is bogus cluing. A radar range was an old name for a microwave oven. So what is a a microwave oven swept with?

Also de la tour can be translated as "of the tower".

Anonymous

I saved this puzzle for today -- because I traveled from New York to London and thought I would kill a few hours on the plane working on the puzzle. Ha.

7 1/2 hours later! I thought this was hard. Luckily I had a map so I could list all the states - that helped.

notsofast

"dos" is a programmer language. It hung me up for a while. "maypo" and "hymie" was an unfortunate cross. I'd never heard of either. A fun, entertaining hour!

Anonymous

This puzzle rocked! I wish all Sundays were this clever!

rain forest

Syndi-Canadian here, so in addition to the general difficulty of the puzzle, there were too many gaps in my knowledge. I kind of admire the construction of this puzzle, but didn't really like the execution. One of the very few DNFs for me on a Sunday.

Dirigonzo

I'm glad I don't have to contend with computer issues while solving because the puzzle was complicated enough without them!

I had a pretty good idea what the theme was about just from the title si I kind of knew what the italicized (in my paper anyway) clues were getting at, I just didn't know how I was supposed to fill them in. It wasn't until I arrived in New Hampshire - which by the way is the only state that borders on Maine (until we make Canada a state, anyway) - that I recognized the literal "quarters" device. It still took a long time to work through the whole grid but it was well worth the time and effort.

I'll bet @SpaceCraft will have something to say about NLERS appearing in the grid.

All in all, a nice long diversion on a cold, wet day in my part of Syndiland.

I wonder what Rex would have had to say about the puzzle?

Dirigonzo

Just to satisfy my own curiosity I took a little side trip to Rex's fb page, and sure enough he solved the puzzle while he was on vacation, and he loved it! He finished with an error, though, and it turns out I made the same error - GODiNOV.

Sorry for the typos in my previous post (and any in this one) - not being able to "Preview" is a drag.

Connie in Seattle

My 1st three rebus answers were Ok la ho ma, De la wa re and Ma ry la nd.
I thought "Wow" - an additional gimmick is going to be that 3 of the 4 squares are also abbreviations of states.
Not to be, but a great puzzle.
(I also wanted Washington to be recognized at 12A).

Anonymous

This puzzle kicked my ass.

I picked up the Rebus early (ONE LAP) and figured "State Quarters" meant that one quarter of each word would be a two-letter state abbreviation (LA for Louisiana; also had MA at the end of SELMA).

Eventually I realized that the two-letter rebuses merely spelled a state name. Once I caught on to that I was off and running. I wrote down as many 8-letter state names as I could recall and that served me well until I got to the center, where "commonwealth" lured me to VI-RG-IN-IA in 46d, and I had nothing left for the symmetrical answer at 69d unless TENNESEE or MINESOTA were spelled the way I just spelled them...and I was pretty sure they weren't.

Wasn't until I got to where I needed LAMPSHADE and SIREN to fit when NEW-HAM-PSH-IRE came to me. Which bothered me at first, until I realized it was still broken into quarters, and that helped me get PEN-NSY-LVA-NIA where "keystone" dictated it should be.

Unfortunately, getting all the states did nothing to help me with some brutally obscure fill.

Yes, this puzzle kicked my ass.

Dirigonzo

@Connie in Seattle - "Wow" - that is an amazing observation. I never saw those other state abbreviations; and of course 12a was a shout out to Washington!

@Anony 6:48PM - it doesn't sound to me like the puzzle kicked your ass. Figuring out the theme is no mean task, and some of the non-theme fill was pretty obscure. Hey, even Rex finished with an error, so don't be so hard on yourself!

CYNTHIA

Reporting in from syndication land... Wow! This really kicked my butt but I thought it was so clever. The symmetry was outstanding, and I had no idea there were so many eight-letter states!

Cristinica

This one was really hard, but worth the effort! I still do mine on paper. Hearing about all the app problems others have reported here, I'm glad I'm a dinosaur.

State quarters: great title, great puzzle. I don't think it's cheating to use 8-letter and 12-letter state names, either, just unexpected!

This is my first port here, to proudly say I finished with no errors, but I did look up Georges de la Tour, so not perfect.

Love this blog!

Cristinica

post, not port. oops.

Dirigonzo

@Cynthia - nice of you to report in even after you got your butt kicked. That happens to all of us from time to time.

@Cristinica - "Port", "Post", it's all good. Nice to see you post here; and even Rex didn't know Georges de la Tour, so no shame there.

Grandpa Doodle

That was the worst Sunday puzzle I have ever seen!

Cristinica

Why, Grandpa Doodle?

Spacecraft

Surprised that @the bard contented himself with the two quoted passages, having nothing to say about the "often-" quoted-ness of RIPENESSISALL. Me? I NE! VA! HEARD of it! Nor have I heard of LAUGHINGFALCONS, HALAL or something called a "SNORKELPARKA." The image that last one calls up is quite...unusual. And that HORRID partial, ONCD, should be "burned" (sorry about that, chief!) along with NLERS (grrr!)

Needless to say, I needed Google help to finish that AWFUL NE. The rest of the puzzle, though doable, was already no picnic--and then this.

Tough enough was ferreting out the double-letter deals; then we have to switch to triples in the middle. Nor did we get any breaks in the cluing. "Nonauthoritarian" for DEMOCRAT? Wow. True enough, I suppose, but you play word association with a thousand people and won't get that answer once.

I also want to object to the clue for 85d. A LIEGE was a "lord," yes, but NOT a vassal. This clue was confusing at best.

Then there's ICONIFY. ICONIFY?? For real? And does this action lend the object "iconity?" There is entirely too much iconification going on around here.

All that said, one has to admire the lengths to which this constructor had to go, in order to come out with a grid like this. I'm just grateful for gimmes that gave me a toehold: SKYLER, who, along with Roz and Sen. Batson D. Belfry, left our comic pages all too soon, IMO; and MAYPO.

Solving in Seattle

Did this puz a day late, so here goes...

I liked this puzzle and I declare Byron as Lord of the Rebus. Really clever theme, and the quartering of the letters of the states was icing on the cake. Wasn't hard for me, but it took a couple of hours to work it out. Used the hell out of google to do it.

@Spacecraft, agree with you. I had iconize, then realized... ICONIFY? Is it really a word.

Can someone explain how (49D) "Do dos, say" becomes CATER?

To all you wondering, ELUDERS was legitimized by "W" as in "the evil eluders."

@LorenMS, "gobsmacked"?

Unknown

I was so frustrated, primarily because even after I struggled and settled on 8-letter states as the key I couldn't make the center go with Virginia. Of course, it's Virginia--Common,wealth and all. How I thought of Pennsylvania, I have no idea, but I did and my frustration and despair vanished and I ended up solving and loving the puzzle. By the way, here in the rural world, we get the Sunday puzzle one week late. It was a great puzzle.

Dirigonzo

@Solving in Seattle - it's a stretch but here's how I understant "Do dos": the "dos" refers to avents/parties/whatever as in, "We're having a big do at my house after the concert - wantto come?" And if it's a really big bash you might hire a caterer, who might say to her employees, "We've got a big do to do tomorrow night"; so they do dos - get it? I told you it's a stretch. And now I have a headache.

Provoking an invasion is my secret plan to become a Canadian without having to move to Canada - I figure I'll just bring them to me.

@Unknown 4:25PM - there are lots of us here who get the Sunday puzzle a week late (the daily puzzles are 5 weeks late) - we call ourselves syndilanders and would love to have you join us on a regular basis. It looks like you already have a Google account, so why not choose a name so we can recognize you when you make a comment?

Solving in Seattle

@Diri, clever plan. Maybe @Red Valarian and the other Canucks and I can revive the famous Pig War (the only victim was a pig that was accidently shot) with British Columbia and then immediately surrender Washington to Canada. It's all aboot the prettier national anthem.

Anonymous

So many cranky pants. 2 to 3 letter quarters is a breach of etiquette? It's not enough that the clues are commonwealth, keystone and old man in the mountain? (Hello? McFly?) I thought a LOT of the clues were obscure but don't you lot routinely do Fri and Sat? Yea, it was freaking hard but it was so cool. Is it not ok that some clues refer to stuff you don't know? I thought it was ok but I consider myself pretty new to this. I rate this puzzle: gem

Parker seals

It will take months to sole this puzzle for me.

Tita

@SiS...I know gobsmacked from my Irish in-laws and Roddy Doyle books. (my android's predictive text even knows it!)

Lol re the invasion topic...

Tita

@SiS...I know gobsmacked from my Irish in-laws and Roddy Doyle books. (my android's predictive text even knows it!)

Lol re the invasion topic...

Rick Shur

What is a D-back?

Prune

@Rick Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks are called the D-backs. As far as I can tell, the sportscasters are trying to save typing for the closed-captioning.

DNF this one. The various arcane long answers were a distinct problem, and I finally settled in the name-riddled SW with INGEST crossing EGBERG and ESNIO. At least I know LISA from living in Matt Groening's home area (Welcome to Portland, home of the California Raisins).

Other than the fistful of tortured answers, the puzzle was hard and fun for us.

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