Viracocha worshiper / SUN 9-9-12 / Rescuer of Mowgli in Jungle Book / 1972 Jack Lemmon comedy / Mount Narodnaya's locale / Pinocchio keepsake / Potsdam attendee / Cheap cigar in slang / Mythical figure in Vermeer's Art of Painting / Co-explorer of 1804 / Decorative Valentine's Day gift / Oenophile's specification / Pride Lands queen

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Constructor: Kevin G. Der

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: "Circling the Job Listings" — all theme answers open with an ellipsis + "and [the next theme answer:" and then feature a phrase from an imagined job description, one that might apply (usually in play-on-words fashion) to both this theme answer and the next theme answer.

Word of the Day: ARMET (99D: Medieval helmet) —
Armet (in HungarianCsőrsisak "peaked helmet") is the name of a type of helmet developed in the 15th century, most likely in ItalyFranceSpain and Hungary. It was distinguished by being the first helmet of its era to completely enclose the head while being compact and light enough to move with the wearer. The typical armet consisted of four pieces: the skull, the two hinged cheek pieces which lock at the front, and the visor. A multi-part reinforcement for the bottom half of the face, known as a wrapper, was sometimes added, and its straps attached to a metal disc at the base of the skull piece called a rondel. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle was as annoying to solve as it is to try to describe. Interlocking job descriptions. "This phrase could refer to this job or the next job ... that you haven't gotten to yet." There are several reasons why this isn't pleasurable from a solving angle. First, whatever connection you're supposed to see or get is always ahead of you (assuming you solve from the top down, which is not uncustomary). And even if it's not, it's always at least partially somewhere else. So there's not an "aha" with each theme answer. There's more a kind of grinding "... oh ... OK," and that's only *if* you bother to stop, with each theme answer and look at both its own clue *and* the one that came before, which is just a Lot of stop / look / relook / see. Too fussy. Further, there's not enough of a humor payoff. Nothing is very funny. I can see that it took a lot of thought to put this together, but there's no payoff on my end. It's only now that I'm done that, should I care to, I can go back and, in order, look at the clues and answers and appreciate the overlap. The disconnect between moment of successful answer and moment of sufficient appreciation is only exacerbated by the fact that this puzzle is deliberately clued in a very, very difficult manner. 50% tougher than your average Sunday. So now the theme is annoying *and* I'm really having to struggle to pick it up. Struggle is Great when payoff is ... something. Here, I didn't think it was. So this is very well constructed, for what it is. I just didn't appreciate what it was. Not a horrific experience. Just not very entertaining.
Theme answers:
  • 23A: ... and 33-Across: "must wear gloves in the field" (BASEBALL PLAYER)
  • 33A: ... and 50-Across: "experienced in conducting surveys for sites"(ARCHAEOLOGIST)
  • 50A: ... and 62-Across: "may be tasked with generating impressions" (ONLINE MARKETER)
  • 62A: ... and 69-Across: "excellent filing skills required" (METALWORKER)
  • 69A: ... and 86-Across: "focused on improving circulation" (LIBRARY PAGE) — I had honestly never heard this term. SENATE PAGE, yes, but not LIBRARY PAGE. I couldn't understand (at first) why part of a book was an acceptable theme answer ...
  • 86A: ... and 96-Across: "willing to open chests and work on vessels" (CARDIAC SURGEON)
  • 96A: ... and 112-Across: "strong, disciplined hands a must" (PIRATE CAPTAIN)
  • 112A: ... and 23-Across: "should be comfortable sitting on the bench" (CONCERT PIANIST)
Trouble right off the bat with [Japanese bowlful]. UDON? MISO? Nope, SOBA. Also, no idea re: NALA (19D: Pride Lands queen) or BOB FLY (5D: Fishing line equipment). SPAT for RIFT (42A: Friends' feud). HAW is a [Shout from a field]? Is that a shout to a donkey?  Ugh. Biggest sticking point for me, however, was over in the east, where NEON LAMP (12D: It might say "ATM Here") meets PAH (41A: "Hogwash!"). Neither one felt right to me. I don't think of a NEON SIGN as a LAMP. Couldn't commit to it. And the last time I said PAH was ... there, just now. Had COSMONAUT instead of COSMIC RAY (44A: Space traveler?), so, yeah, just a train wreck there for a while. Everywhere else was just thorny. Never got a good flow going. If the theme had been satisfying, I would not have minded this at all. But it wasn't. So I did.

  • 18A: Big fairy (OBERON) — I think he's "big" as in "famous" (and as in "powerful," i.e. king of the fairies).
  • 22A: Cheap cigar, in slang (EL ROPO) — xwords have forced me to learn my cigar terminology. It has also forced me, much against my will, to learn the names of the stupid characters on stupid "Desperate Housewives." This show should immediately be placed in the crossword clue dustbin (where "Ally McBeal" now resides thanks to my vociferousness).
  • 39A: Groucho's real name (JULIUS) — news to me. Also Caesar's real name. Also [All-Pro defensive end Peppers]. Etc.
  • 54A: Potsdam attendee (STALIN) — at one point, when I had just the "L," I wanted this to be ATTLEE. This is crosswordbrain.
  • 56A: Viracocha worshiper (INCA) — there should be a word for "insane-looking clue with totally ordinary / familiar answer." "Viracocha" is my first candidate.
  • 65A: Mythical figure represented in Vermeer's "The Art of Painting" (CLIO) — Hmm. Thought she was the muse of history. And Advertising. Interesting.
  • 105A: Walsh with three golds in beach volleyball (KERRI) — weird, I think, that this unusual spelling can have, as a valid clue, (at least) two different U.S. gold medalists.
  • 107A: Rescuer of Mowgli in "The Jungle Book" (KA'A) — I wrote in KIM. This seemed totally unimpeachable to me.
  • 119A: 1972 Jack Lemmon comedy ("AVANTI") — uh ... wow. What? I'm guessing this was not, how you say, a "hit."
  • 36D: What the French once called "la Belle Rivière" (OHIO) — right in the middle of my train-wreck section. I think I had OISE at first.
  • 40D: Mount Narodnaya's locale (URALS) — total Viracocha.
  • 43D: "Dance at Bougival" painter (RENOIR) — this is where the word "boogie" comes from. Or so I want to believe.
  • 46D: Co-explorer of 1804 (CLARK) — I was so distracted by the odd word "co-explorer" that this one actually, embarrassingly, took me a while.
  • 49D: Oenophile's specification (YEAR) — oddly, this clue was transparent to me. You can make YEAR much tougher if that's what you're after.
  • 84D: Player of TV's Det. Tutuola (ICE-T) — I learned this from PuzzleGirl. I think she clued ICE-T this way in a puzzle we wrote together once.
  • 85D: Decorative Valentine's Day gift (LOVE KNOT) — I assume this is some form of jewelry? I know the term only from "Hot You're Cool," the opening song on General Public's 1984 album "... all the rage."
  • 113D: "Pinocchio" keepsake (CEL) — super-confusing. I thought perhaps there was some "keepsake" in the movie that I wasn't remembering. Pah!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:06 AM  

My take on this mirrors Rex's.  This was what ever's the opposite of breezy.  Dang, what a lot of work for a Sun.  Very clever theme, but, as Rex pointed out, clued more like a Sat.  starting with 1a. 

Tough clue highlights...36d OHIO, 26a ARI, 58a ANNA, 84d ICET, 119a AVANTI, 40d URALS, 57d ALBA, ...

Erasure highlights: orBS for LOBS (I thought ORBS was pretty clever), spat for RIFT, TUrnTO for TUNETO.




Don't get me wrong, this was a fine puzzle.  I just like my Sundays funnier and breezier. 

Pete 12:19 AM  

Well, at least I'm not too stupid to bother going on living another day, which is what I thought when I gave up on this puzzle half way through:

"So, the theme is some contrived sentence which can, by the thinnest of margins, describe two jobs. In sequence? - No, there's got to be more to it than that, but I'm just too stupid to see it."

If the clue for 13D, Antiquity once, had yielded NOW as an answer I would have forgiven all in this puzzle. It didn't, so I won't.

syndy 12:53 AM  

"but the landlord's black eyed daughter,Bess the landlord's daughter plaiting a dark red love knot, into her long black hair." Not that I'm nitpicking but I object to Shylock clued as "stingy" and I remember Ka's trying to eat Mowgli and Balou recuing him! and let us dicuss SAGETEA yuck! Talltree indeed! more like fuzzytree.PAH!

Anonymous 1:48 AM  

Bah on "pah." Apparently a word though not in Websters except as a scientific abbreviation. I prefer "hah!" crossing "oohs."

But I thought the theme was very much fun, even though the puzzle was hard.

Charles in Austin 2:01 AM  

Annoying to speed-solvers, I'm sure, but not to me.

I googled my way through quite a few tough spots and had a heckuva time.

Loved it.

dk 2:33 AM  

Greetings from Paris. Solving via the global edition and drinking espresso just like Ste. Croix Falls.

Off to Marseille in a few.

3 stars. Nice Sunday

chefwen 2:41 AM  

I'm with you @Pete, wanted to give up but I'm too damn stubborn. Half way through I said "I'm not having fun, this is nuts" but I persevered and did end up finishing but it was not an enjoyable experience.

The Northeast was my last to fill. ODERED? NEON LAMP?

Sorry Kevin, this one did not pass muster. Too much work with little payoff.

chefwen 2:50 AM  

@dk - Try the Brasserie de I'lsle Saint Louis, it's one of our favorite spots for sipping wine or bier, people watching and doing the NYT puzzle in the International Herald Tribune.

Anoa Bob 3:32 AM  

When I read the clue for 2D "Skyscraper support" and saw it was four letters, I thought "Oh no, not I BAR again".

I BAR in xwords has been a source of vexation for me. I've been interested in construction (houses, bridges, skyscrapers, ships, airplanes, you name it) since I was a kid and I've never seen an I BAR. I beam, sure. I BAR, no.

The letter designation comes from the appearance of the construction piece when viewed end-on. Bars used in construction are either circular, square, or maybe rectangular. There are no letter shaped bars that I know of.

I need help here. It has reached the point where I BAR in a puzzle---it happens a lot---sours the solving experience for me.

Please, someone show me a picture of an I BAR. I want to see the real deal, not the words I BAR on some internet site, but an actual I BAR itself.

Otherwise, I think we should be honest and clue I BAR along the lines of "Watering hole for egotists", or "Construction piece used in crossword puzzles."

construction guy 4:30 AM  

Best I could do on short notice.

I Bar

YontifSadie 6:44 AM  

No enjoyment here. Even after googling a dozen clues I still(!) had 2 dozen open boxes. The only clue that made me smile was 6D.

Brookboy 7:02 AM  

Rex says, " the fact that this puzzle is deliberately clued in a very, very difficult manner...", but gives the puzzle a Medium-Challenging rating. What part of the puzzle was Medium?

I thought the theme was both interesting and challenging, and I remain impressed that someone could come up with that kind of construction.

Never heard of PAH (41A), came up with PAp instead, leaving me to wonder why the French bothered to name a place now called OpIO (36D). Duh!

And I still don't get the Pinocchio clue. I got the correct answer because of the crosses, but I have no idea what the clue means.

I thought a Cheap cigar (22A) was a stogie, then couldn't get that word out of my mind. Had to get most of the crosses to finally nail that clue.

Got JULIUS, STALIN, URALS, CLARK all right away, and that helped a lot.

Good, tough puzzle that required a lot of thought.

Because I struggled with this puzzle for far longer than usual, I did get a sense of satisfaction (and relief) when I finished it. The relief was because there were moments when I thought I'd never finish it.

Sue McC 7:35 AM  

I agree 100% with Charles in Austin @2:01.... I love a tough Sunday, and this _was_ tough. I had particular trouble with LIBRARYPAGE and it's crosses. I thought the cluing was really funny in places,and really hard in others. It was not a puzzle to break any speed records, but it was very satisfying when (eventually) solved. And hurray, no DACE appearance.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:37 AM  

100% in agreement with Rex today.

@Brookboy - A CEL is a single frame from a movie.

imsdave 8:00 AM  

If this was Saturday, I would have enjoyed this struggle. It isn't and I didn't. Funny how your 'day of the week' mindset can affect your solving experience.

Unknown 8:57 AM  

More fun reading Rex's comments! Totally no fun.

Loren Muse Smith 9:08 AM  

Whenever I really, really struggle with a puzzle, I’m always resigned to my deep down belief/fear that I in fact cannot hang with the people here. So I’m grateful for all the honesty today and yesterday about how hard the puzzles were. Today’s kicked my AGHAS.

“. . .that this puzzle is deliberately clued in a very, very difficult manner. 50% tougher than your average Sunday.” Thanks, Rex! Music to my eyes!

“[All-Pro defensive end Peppers].” UNC alum.

Highlights – the double clues for Japanese bowls, dessert wines, and divides. Also liked the clues for NUANCE and OGLE. LOBS and ARCS for balls – nice.

@Syndy – thanks for reminding me of The electrifying Highwayman!

@SueMcC – “And hurray, no DACE appearance.” Right. But back-to-back Desperate Housewives’ names! I’ve never seen one episode, and I brag about that not from a sanctimonious place; I’m always dismayed after a workout on the spin bike or treadmill, having watched an entire hour of the even more vapid Real Housewives of. . . Wherever. Just when I’ve weaned myself off People and Us. . .

I think the theme answers and their cluing were terrifically clever, and I agree with @jae – this is a fine puzzle. Just way too hard for me.

The best part – the very last across – END IT. That can’t be serendipity?!

Nickyboy 9:12 AM  

I agree with all the comments above. And this is a nit picky complaint for me,but being an enormous Beatles fan, I must point out that Abbey Road is NOT a "street" is a road. You know, that's why it isn't called Abbey Boulevard or Avenue. It's Abbey Road. Sorry. Personal rant over.

Smitty 9:14 AM  


I liked my answers better

BAH for PAH (hands up)
HOTEL for CYCLE (4 seasons)
CAW for HAW (what in a field goes "haw"?)


There was something non-intuitive about the fill. Couldn't seem to get a foothold anywhere.

no joy

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Just annoying is all I can say. The cluing as Rex remarked seemed to be purposely obtuse. Lots of obscure stuff I've never heard of. UGH
I might add that the stupid words one has to try and read are unreadable.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Horrible puzzle. No doubt the guy had a giant encyclopedia in front of him to come up with the lame crosses and even lamer cluing. Stopped about 10% of the way through because sometimes, there's just no point in trying to match wits with someone who clearly thinks he's smarter than you ever will be.

Love, Ted

joho 10:09 AM  

I agree with @Rex's write up. I had to force myself to finish which isn't exactly the Sunday morning mindset I'm looking for.

I had NEONsign, NEONLogo and finally NEONLAMP. Huh???

Living near Cincinnati it was nice to learn that the OHIO is "What the French once called "la Belle Riviere."

I thought "Pinocchio's keepsake should have been a leg.

Jeff510 10:12 AM  

No fun here. More annoying than the Capcha I have to type to post.

Jeremy Mercer 10:18 AM  

@DK - I've been based in Marseille for 10 years. Here's some contact info if you run into any problems down here : /

Also, if you're interested in bouillabaisse, I have a 'bonne adresse' - idyllic setting, great food, reasonable prices.

JC66 10:19 AM  

Toughest Sunday for me in ages. The cluing was definitely Saturdayish, but, unlike @imsdave, this doesn't bother me. I enjoyed the challenge.

@rex & @ Smitty

Per wikipedia: Gee and HAW are voice commands used to tell a draft horse to turn right or left when pulling a plow or other farm equipment.

chefbea 10:24 AM  

Terrible Sunday puzzle. Googled a lot and then gave up and came here. No fun!!!

Zwhatever 10:31 AM  

@Pete - I totally agree regarding "now."

@construction guy - I'm with @ANOA BOB and that picture is of I-beams.

Besides being a Big Fairy, OBERON is one of the biggest selling craft beers from Michigan. It was originally called Solsun, but the brewery got flack from El Sol's brewers.

@Nickyboy - STREET is a generic term for roads and avenues and such. So it is correct, unlike, say, using an OREO COOKIE for a crust instead of the crumbs.

I'm pretty sure a LIBRARY PAGE is concerned with reshelving returned books, and so would more likely be focused on reducing circulation.

@LMS - if you finds your AGHAS can you see if mine are there, too? This puzzled kicked mine so far I can't seem to locate them.

I am now keeping track of captcha attempts.


jberg 10:38 AM  

Never heard of a BOBFLY - and now that I've looked it up, I can say that you don't attach it to your "fishing line," but to your leader. So I went with t-BAR, and decided that Elvis song must have been issued as a "STd Ep," and finishe dwith an error.

I almost DNF at all, as I only got ODORED, which led me to EL ROPO and NEWTON, while waiting for my computer to boot up - I'd already surrendered in my mind, but thought I'd take one last look.

The theme did help me, I'd never have got it otherwise -- but I didn't get the theme until CARDIAC SURGEON, so it was slow going. Not helped by my reading "greatest" as "greater" in the clue for 43A, and so rejecting RAREST 5 or 6 times before I noticed my error.

I liked it more than Rex, but if it had taken me 10 minutes more I wouldn't have. Sunday's a day of rest, after all!

Whoever asked, a LIBRARY PAGE gets the book you want from the stacks for you. Only a few libraries, e.g. the Library of Congress, still use this system, meant to protect their RAREST books from being pilfered--or even worse, put back on the shelves in the wrong place.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Yikes this was ugly(literally, my grid is a mess).

jackj 11:00 AM  

Will and Kevin succumbed to the influence of the crossword bogeyman and adopted a cluing attitude for today’s puzzle that loyal Shortzians should consider repugnant and which, annoyingly, gave us naught but a long, tedious, unsatisfying slog; an ODORED disappointment. There was not a problem in completing it, only regret that there was so little enjoyment or inspiration in doing so.

This is particularly unfortunate since Kevin Der gave us one of the best Sunday puzzles to ever appear in the NY Times on January 30, 2011, with his Chinese Zodiac offering, but unfortunately, the puzzle he gave us today is a far cry from that Hall of Fame beauty.

I suppose it could have been worse; we could have had a school of DACE nibbling on our BOBFLY (or something).

jae 11:23 AM  

@jberg -- That was me and thanks.

Norm 11:39 AM  

Congress has pages ... or did. I seem to recall the program got phased out because lecherous congress folks couldn't keep their hands off the young 'uns. Libraries have librarians and (in our courthouse at least) library technicians. Not PAGE[s]. Agree with 90% or so of the above. Never could get in the flow. Clues were accurate in hindsight but so vague as to be unhelpful most of the time until you had half the answer via crosses. Such a struggle. Think I'll go visit Merl and hope he's funny today.

Evan 11:40 AM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one who got beat up by this one. I couldn't tell if I was slow because it was late and I was worn out, or if it genuinely was much harder than your average Sunday -- probably a little of both.

So I was relieved to finish, even though I ended with a mistake. It's a funny mistake, though. I figured that the herbalist's drink was SAkE TEA, and that Shylock was therefore STINkY. I just looked up on Google that there is such a thing as green tea sake, so my guess wasn't completely unreasonable. As for STINkY, well, I've never read "The Merchant Of Venice," and let's face it, he probably ODORED somewhat. There weren't any bath scenes in that play, were there?

Loren Muse Smith 11:53 AM  

@JC66 – Thanks on the gee and HAW explanation. I forgot that those commands are for draft horses, too. I was just thinking that HAW was a variant of “caw.”

@jberg – Thanks for the info on LIBRARY PAGE. I never knew.

Did anyone else cling to “rancid” before ODORED?

Rough morning – first the puzzle struggle, then I catch the last bit of Rudy and start crying the minute the captain turns in his jersey so Rudy can dress out. Then MY LADY CALC/NEWTON whiz daughter, SAGE, wiped the board with me in a chess game that I certainly ODORED up. OOPS.

Glimmerglass 11:53 AM  

There are apparently two kinds of puzzle solvers. Those who agree with Rex that this unusually hard Sunday puzzle was "annoying" and "not entertaining." This is more than half of the commenters above. Myself and some of the others, we thought it was really hard, more like a Friday or even a Saturday, and very entertaining. Gosh it was hard -- and that's a good thing. I had two wrong guesses: SOBe and eRI. But that's a pretty good score for me on such a difficult (and long) puzzle. I wish every Sunday NYT puzzle were this challenging.

joho 11:59 AM  

How cool is this blog that @dk and @Jeremy Mercer can meet up in Marseille!

Carola 12:14 PM  

Well, I'm in the "loved it" group - found it to be the RAREST of Sunday puzzles - very, very clever theme and tricky enough to keep it interesting through the whole solve. When I first saw that the theme involved clues referencing other clues, I was ready to CRY "DESIGN FLAW," but I was WRONG - a great CYCLE of answers.

Loved the "big fairy" and "famous lawmaker clues" but had to hold my nose for ODORED and object to STINGY for Shylock, who has no reason to forgive Antonio the loan.

@loren - Also thought it was terrific that the "last" answer is END IT.

@syndy - Thanks for the lovely "Highwayman" quote.

Sir Hillary 12:18 PM  

I didn't mind this one at all. Yes, it was tough for a Sunday, but Sunday puzzles should vary in difficultly, no? I liked the theme -- no, there was no great humor, but I liked linking the answers together. In fact, being forced to move around the puzzle helped me solve it, as certain sections proved really hard without the theme answers to open them up. ANKLET for ARMLET held me up a bit, but that was my only writeover -- for everything else, I just had to be patient, and eventually it came.

Alice in SF 12:19 PM  

I was a library page back in the stone age and commanded a salary which was wonderful for a 14 year old--25 cents an hour. My job was reshelving books which had been returned. In the early 80's our son also was a library and earned over $5/hour; I was green with envy.

alice in SF 12:23 PM  

Whoops--son was a library page. Gee, proving I'm not a robot is darn hard.

obertb 12:24 PM  

Love Vira Cocha. Hope to see her again soon.

RAB 12:41 PM  

Library Pages are the kids who return books to their places in the stacks. Perhaps in closed-stack libraries they fetch books from the stacks. I guess they do improve circulation and file, but like the bulk of the puzzle, as Rex has said and jackj stated, "a long, tedious, unsatisfying slog." Not what I want on a beautiful Sunday morning, when I'm trying to achieve the complacencies of the peignoir. Rex's helpful "OLD SCORES" fixed my "END SCORES" to allow my LETO and change ICON to IDOL, and that's how I finished it. Usually if I get stuck I set the puzzle aside and toy with it until I finish, but this one was just tiresome and I welcomed the help so I didn't have to think about it any more.

Anoa Bob 12:53 PM  

Thanks for trying construction guy@4:30, but as Z@10:31 says, those are I beams in the picture, not I BARs. (Are you really a construction guy?)

There is an IBAR river.

cheeseguy101 12:59 PM  

Rex was way to kind in his write up of this miserable puzzle. Absolutely no entertainment value at all.

Sue McC 1:17 PM  

@loren, Right about Desperate Housewives! I don't/didn't watch it and the only way I got EDIE is that someone mentioned it in the comments here yesterday!

Kudos to Carola for pointing out that the last answer was END IT!

jae 1:31 PM  

@Sue McC -- That was me and you're welcome.

syndy 1:37 PM  

I have been in heavy construction since 1980. It is my understand ing that BEAM and BAR are not fully interchangeable but differ by size and function. an I beam is a load bearer and an I bar is a reinforcer-not easy to distinguish in a photo! there maybe some slop inthe middle but then function tops form.

notsofast 2:54 PM  

A truly horrible puzzle. "BOBFLY' and 'NEONLAMP' ?
Give me a freakin" break! Just a hateful mess!

Masked and Never Met a Library Page 2:57 PM  

Har. Good mornin', sunshines...
Well, several points occur to me. Sure I'll forget half of 'em, so will try to hurry:

1. Brilliant theme. First clue is a tongue-in-cheek job description, and second one is a more starightforward one for the last one. Hard --I would've said impossible-- to do, with 8 rolling job descriptions. I stand in awe, and while I'm up, Standing thUmbsUp. (But LIBRARYPAGE must go.)

2. @Glimmerglass: same moment of truth as U, at ?RI crossing SOB?. Guessed right. Man, what an evil 1-Down. snort.
Better SOBA clue: "___ story (tell tales of woe)"

3. @Anoa Bob: Har! Xword construction piece = IBAR = thUmbsUp. May start callin' you Ibar Bob!

4. Totally agree with 31 and others that the cluing was noticeably ... what could one say ... unneighborly, perhaps? SunPuz always has some sneaky, brain-constipating clues. But it also has a few more can-of-corn gimmes, to keep things movin' along. Not many cans, today.

5. I had lots of fun. Maybe an hour or two more of fun than I'd prefer. Like having sex with the entire Dallas Cowboy cheerleader contingent. (har. sorta.)

R B 3:29 PM  

Add me to the Rex agreers on this one, except that I found its obscure clues not just annoying but rather depressing.

Also, if this crossword puzzle is "medium-challenging," what would a difficult one be like (assuming that for solvers here there could ever be such a thing)? Would the clues be printed backwards in, say, Nepali (नेपाली)?

Lewis 3:54 PM  

I'm in the "liked it" camp.

So, which is worse -- Googling or clicking on "reveal word"? Also, if they're equal, why Google?

hazel 4:12 PM  

Too irritating to finish. Dont like a sunday struggle with lots of fill. Sundays (for me) are about tussling with the theme.

Recorded as a DNC.

Eleveniss 4:40 PM  

Being a Disney fan, the only two clues I was sure of were the ones taken from Lion King (Pride Lands queen--Nala, Simba's gal pal) and Kaa from the Jungle Book. When I couldn't get the Pinocchio clue, I whooped Pah! and went to Rex's site. NEVER would have gotten two thirds of the clues. Guess I spent too much time watchIng Disney toons!!

jae 4:44 PM  

@Lewis -- Googling involves more cognitive effort than clicking on reveal. Plus, actively processing what you find on google increases the likelyhood that you will be able to recall the same information later.

Milford 5:07 PM  

@jae - I agree.

Wow, three days of tough puzzles have left me exhausted. Wish I'd liked this Sunday challenge better, but I'm in the camp of those that found it ultimately a slog.

All that I thought has been mentioned already. I, like @Z, think of OBERON as that wonderful craft beer from Kalamazoo. I still have a few left in my fridge, but sadly their summer season near the end.

Favorite clue and answer: Lab order=STAY. I had STAt forever, but I admit that STAY is much better.

rini6 5:12 PM  

Without google there would have been no chance in ...that I'd have finished that. I liked the play on words. What else is a Sunday puzzle for?

mitchs 5:28 PM  

I loved it. Tough. Fair though. Getting pretty tired of the whiners on this blog who feel that expanding on Rex's educated but still subjective views makes for intelligent criticism. Rex can pan a puzzle. All you others who call a well thought out and really toughly clued puzzle like this one "horrible" or whatever should just shut the hell up.

JC66 6:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 6:07 PM  


See 110D in today's Reagle puzzle.


Anonymous 7:05 PM  

Please mitchs, calm down. This is just the latest of countless times that Rex's write up provides far more rewards than puzzle attempt or solve. I would like to agree with 100% of Rex comments today, but would substitute "Impossible" for "Medium-Challenging." I actually snorted when I first saw that. Not the first time I have had this reaction to one of Rex's ratings. Normally would not post something as common as this (for me, and I am sure many others), but could not let your harsh remark go without comment

Isabella de Pesto 7:06 PM  

"A truly horrible puzzle. "BOBFLY' and 'NEONLAMP' ?
Give me a freakin" break! Just a hateful mess!"

I second that remark. I love challenge. I don't like obscurantism.

Duck S 7:09 PM  

Too depressingly hard and obscure for a Sunday when one might be looking for a fun tussle and a cup of coffee.

Sandy K 7:10 PM  

I'm in the liked some of it camp.
No DESIGNFLAW in CYCLE of theme answers.

Some ONEOFAKIND cluing, eg 6D, 89A, 117A, 85D and 83A!

On SIDE B- for Bah! eg SOBU, PAH, CIRRI, HAW, KAA and SUPE- I have a Super and no one has ever called him the SUPE!!

mac 8:12 PM  

Good theme, but in the end it was too tough for a Sunday, which already is too big.... I finally gave up in the El Ropo section.

Isn't it amazing that the French had such a sweet name for Ohio?

I had dipper and sinker at bobfly, and it was tough choosing between Mason, Dixon, Lewis and Clark.

So many Japanese bowlfulls to choose from as well.

New York and its weather were beautiful today, I'm happy. And on Wednesday the puzzle chicks are meeting up in Danbury!!

Chaspark 8:22 PM  

I agree with Rex...shocked he didn't mention Abbey Road clue..."STREET"??? Ridiculous

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

I was a LIBRARY PAGE at the Bellevue Avenue branch of the Montclair Public Library in New Jersey in 1972. They payed me $1.50 an hour and mostly called me "boy",

chefbea 8:38 PM  

Sorry I don't live in Ct. Would have gone to the chick meeting.

carson 8:50 PM  

Spot on Rex. Spot on.

R B 9:04 PM  

@ 6:07 PM Anonymous: Thanks. Some of the clues for this one were awful, as others have noted, and it takes the fun out of it.

Lewis 9:13 PM  

@jae -- thanks! Great answer!

JFC 10:25 PM  

I do not agree agree with Rex. He was too kind. This is the worst fucking puzzle I ever encountered. But not as bad as his captchas.


michael 11:45 PM  

A rare week in which I though Sunday's puzzle was harder than Saturday.s. I solved Saturday but did not finish this one because of the library page area.

Clueless in Texas 11:47 PM  

Someone please explain to me how KAA is the rescuer? Doesn't he try to smother Mowgli, but Baloo saves him?

OISK 11:52 PM  

Just one more unhappy solver. I did finish it, but was not amused. Bobfly? KAA? Liked last across clue and not much else. As others have added, "Pah." (no reflection on the inventiveness of the constructor, however, just not my cup of cha. (what I wrote instead of "Nan" at first, because I thought it was spelled "naan")

Westcoast 12:27 AM  

Dear Clueless in Texas @11:47, in the original Rudyard Kipling book, Kaa is not Mowgli's antagonist. He saves him. Disney movie(s) gave Kaa a nastier role..."trust in me...." who can forget those hypnotizing spirals emanating from Kaa's eyes?

Rube 12:50 AM  

Bah, humbug. An uninteresting slog.

Davis 2:30 AM  

Put me in the "enjoyed the puzzle" camp. I thought the theme was fun and clever, and I found the puzzle to hit the sweet spot of difficulty for me — it was a challenge, but I still finished with a solid time.

Looking at Rex's write-ups for yesterday and today, I am reminded of how much of a personal thing the difficulty level really is. Yesterday's puzzle completely mopped the floor with me (I had to Google several answers), and the entries that Rex just popped out I struggled with for far too long. On the flip side, some of his WTFs for today were ones that I just popped out.

Smitty 9:34 AM  

@JC66 Thanks for that - I would never have associated Gee and Haw with field horses - only idita
rod dogs - but you're right - thanks!

Liz Slater 2:30 PM  

My thought exactly, which is why I gave up on this puzzle.

Clueless in Texas 3:37 PM  

Leave it to Disney to turn it around.


nurturing 7:41 AM  

Good Grief! So many haters!

I enjoyed doing the puzzle - it lasted all day,so it made my Monday!

I knew it would be challenging because Crossword Kathy said so on Facebook and I couldn't avoid reading her status because it came up in my newsfeed. (One week, she even gave away an answer before my puzzle, and by that I mean my Sunday NYT, even arrived!) I hate THAT!

So, warned of a challenge, I rose to it and, happily, finally finished it without googling, which is something I seldom need to do any more. Thanks, Kevin!

(Living in the boondocks, our NYT comes bundled with the Monday Globe and Mail, since the Globe doesn't publish on Sundays. I LIVE for Monday mornings and often meet the newspaper carrier in my driveway after rejoicing upon seeing her little car round the bend on our street - and by that I mean "Crescent".)

Glen Merritt 11:13 AM  

Glad to see so many other folks had a hard/unpleasant time with this puzzle. Sunday morning was definitely clouded with a fierce hangover, but that's normal and still allows me to finish most puzzles in 90 minutes.

I finally gave in and used Google way too many times this morning to count this as completed. Bah humbug!!!

Anonymous 5:50 PM  

Admittedly I'd never heard of Library Page until my daughter recently got hired as one. She shelves, shelves, and shelves some more, but hey, she loves the library and gets paid, what's not to love?

Oscar 5:14 AM  

OK, I only returned to the puzzle a week late, largely because of the frustrations Rex and others had.

But LIBRAY PAGE was easy, because decades ago I was one, at the Hoover Institute for War and Peace at Stanford. Reason as described by jberg, and paid something like Anonymous @8:32.

But, RAB, I definitely did not improve circulation, as quite often, when either re-shelving or finding a book, I'd be distracted by intriguing volumes from the World War II archives . . . and only hours later would remember that I had a job to do . . .

BTW, per joho, did @DK and @Jeremy Mercer ever connect in Marseille, et qu'est-ce que la bonne adresse pour la bouillabasse ?

Spacecraft 10:45 AM  

DN--by a long shot--F. Tons of stuff completely foreign to me:

Virachoa worshipper
Vermeer's mythical figure
Shinto temple entrance
Pride Lands queen
Mount N-[whatever]'s locale
"Dance at B-[whatever]" painter
on and on.

BOBFLY (or is it BOB FLY?) I Googled both: NOTHING! There is NOT ONE ENTRY in Google for this! One says "We found Bob Flies--" but that's some guy named Bob Flies. Now folks, I realize my education is not the best, and there may appear in puzzles things of which I've never heard; I accept that. But if GOOGLE never heard of it, then buddy, you should not use it in your grid. I had BOB___ from the top 3 lines (about as far down as I got!), so I figured, BOBber, maybe. But the across clues clearly pointed to FLOE and GULAG...BOBFLE? BOBFLY? But my search turned up nothing, so I figured I had to be wrong, somewhere. Add to that the 26 square, a pure natick for me, and I resigned.

Since I started doing these, This has to be the toughest one ever. How anybody can modify "challenging" with "medium-" is beyond me. Try "extremely."

rain forest 2:04 PM  

No love here: "odored"?, "bobfly"? "pah"? and others. I challenge anyone to admit they have used the term "neon lamp". On the other hand, despite some of the difficult cluing on the fill, the theme (clues and answers were great). Each answer had two clues for it, and so the result was I had to get all the theme answers in order to get the rest of the fill, unusual for a Sunday. Finished, admired it, but didn't love it.

Nan 8:32 PM  

I was a library page in college, in the rare books and manuscripts library. Half the time I increased circulation and the other I took staples out of collections that had yet to be cataloged.

The main thing I learned from this puzzle was that I need/want to reread some Kipling.

Dirigonzo 3:30 PM  

It's been a long time since I had to sleep on a Sunday puzzle before getting it done but this beauty from Kevin G. (is there another one?) Der put an end to that streak! I was glad to come here and read Rex's write-up and learn that the cluing was as hard as it seemed to me. I put it down last night with the SW corner in a shambles and the two theme answers down there still to be discovered. A fresh look today gave me the insight I needed to replace nova with IDOL as the Superstar, and that gave me OLDCASES as the Settled matters and the rest fell into place from the crosses. It took a very long time to accept RBIMAN but, alas, it could be nothing else so in it went. My completed grid ain't pretty but it's right with no googling, and I feel pretty good about that.

My Labs just laugh at me when I tell them to STAY.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Wow, glad I'm not the only one who thought this was rough. SAGETEA and ODORED were bad enough, but RBIMAN made me want to rip up the paper in tiny pieces.

anonyrat 5:54 AM  

To summarize ... this totally sucked. Glad to see I'm not the only one who thought so. I would have rated it f***ing impossible. I'm just amazed I finished with only three wrong squares - all in the first entry! So, apparently, we're not just expected to know "hits" that really weren't, now we're supposed to know the B sides of 60 year old records? When the majority of the population doesn't even know what a "record" is (unless you're talking criminal)?
Will "viracocha" replace "Natick" now?
@Z 10:31 AM - My favorite beer is Lik Sun - not because it's so good (although it is pretty decent), but because I'm a strong believer in truth in advertising. (Because if you pronounce it correctly, it's not "like sun," it's "leak soon.")
@Lewis 3:54 PM - guess if I was a total cheater, I might have liked it too. Do you also like shooting fish in a barrel?
@Eleveniss 4:40 PM - Thank you for saving me the trouble of Googling WTF "Pride Lands" is. Had no idea what that referred to. Thought maybe it was a gay pride reference.
@mitchs 5:28 PM - Who are you? Don't recall any previous post by you. "Toughly clued?" As previously pointed out, a lot of these clues were B.S.
@JFC 10:25 PM - Thanks for telling it like it is.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

If you use Google, you have crossed the line. The puzzle wins if you have to Google anything.

Googling a puzzle answer is surrender.

Might as well just stop working it at that point.

I stopped on this puzzle about 90 per cent through. Just felt fatigue looking at it.

Bad clues, odd answers, no fun, no reward. El Ropo? Maybe I should have spent my formative years smoking tobacco.

Melody 3:59 PM  

So glad it wasn't just me...
Sunday puzzles are supposed to be
fun, this one just made me was not
on any level.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

I was delighted to see Kaa from the Jungle Book because in the wretched movie he is reimagined as a villain.

Anonymous 4:27 AM  

thanks for sharing.

ruthiebook 1:18 PM  

I put this away, only to find it still impossible weeks later. Had to read Rex's solve just to finish it -- and now I realize it was just as aggravating after I found out all the answers.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

It is April 28, 2014! and I just finished this puzzle. Figured out the theme years before I figured out the answers.
I don't look up answers until I'm done, and then only because they aren't familiar. Lots of those today. Also agree that it was not an "aha" puzzle, but an "oh, brother" puzzle.

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