Company whose name roughly means leave luck to heaven / THU 3-21-13 / Rose's guy on Broadway / McJob holder / First name in horror / Kutcher's character on That 70s Show

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: anagrams — two-word phrases where second word contains different arrangements of letters I, S, R, E, and F

Theme answers:
  • 51A: Certain lap dog (BICHON FRISÉ)
  • 17A: Undecorated type? (SANS SERIF)
  • 24A: Subjects of some park sign warnings (FOREST FIRES)
  • 34A: Some homeowner transactions when interest rates fall, informally (MORTGAGE REFIS)
  • 59A: Wok dishes (STIR FRIES) [I'm told this answer is the "revealer"]

Word of the Day: BICHON FRISÉ (51A: Certain lap dog) —
Bichon Frisé (/ˈbiʃɒn ˈfriz/ or /ˈbiʃɒn frɪˈz/French, meaning curly lap dog), is a small breed of dog of the Bichon type. They are popular pets, similar in appearance to but larger than the Maltese. (wikipedia)
• • •

A rather mediocre performance from me today. I probably shouldn't have done two puzzles right before this one. I think I was flagging. My main problem was I kept getting jammed by wrong answer. All over the place, starting at 1A: Side effect of steroid use (ACNE), where I had RAGE. I then got ENS and SHIN, but nothing else, so I stumbled around a bit and then moved on to the next section over, where I put in *another* wrong answer: TENSOR instead of FLEXOR (5D: Bending muscle). This wrong answer *also* got me a correct answer in the crosses, namely ERA, but again, no progress. Got ELF and nothing else. Why I never saw 7D: Oscar winner for "A Fish Called Wanda" (KLINE) on my first pass through this section, I have no idea. Would've been a gimme, and would've gotten me on the right track in a hurry. But no. So I rebooted again, this time in the NE. Now by this point, I think something tricky is going on: a rebus, perhaps, or something that would explain my traction failure. But then I get AHI, OTHER, and then used KELSO (16D: Kutcher's character on "That '70s Show") to change OH HECK to OH HELL (22A: "Crud!"). All of a sudden that section was done and I was baffled as to what the theme was. I would remain baffled until After I Had Finished The Puzzle. Anyway, more bad answers held me up. WES for LON (26A: First name in horror). OVATE for TERSE (40A: Elliptical, in a way), which made me put in IT IS to say..." (?), which yet again got me a correct answer in the cross: this time, NUI (46A: Rapa ___ (Easter Island)). Also, OPED instead of SPEC (41A: An article may be written on it). Stared at E-S for 33D: Bad marks and had absolutely no idea what that could be. God I hate written out letters (in this case, EFS). I've also never seen REFIS in plural form, and didn't know the theme, so ... yeah, it just wasn't a pleasant time. Puzzle seems fine—remedial theme (totally unexpected on a Thursday), but very smooth grid. Eight "?" clues is really my outer limit, a step or two beyond the point I start to find them grating. But none were bad in and of themselves (though I don't know why the idiom [Lays it on the line?] for BETS needed a "?" tacked on.

  • 5A: Handoff that isn't (FAKE) — I want to like this clue, but technically *anything* "that isn't" is a FAKE.
  • 56A: Rose's guy, on Broadway (ABIE) — this makes me appreciate how much the NYX has largely eliminated old school crosswordese. I can't hate ABIE anymore because I so rarely see him. He and ASTA just don't get as much work these days. 
  • 64A: Richard with the 1989 #1 hit "Right Here Waiting" (MARX) — Have I told you my theory of how pop music's nadir completely coincided with my time in college (1987-91). I once compiled a Lot of stats to prove it. There are some exceptions, but overall: a wasteland. 
  • 3D: Company whose name roughly means "leave luck to heaven" (NINTENDO) — with no indication of *what kind* of "company" was at issue, this clue was tough. 
  • 36D: McJob holder (GRUNT) — also tough. I think of GRUNT first and foremost as a verb. If I think of it as a noun, it's in relation to the Army. Since this answer intersected TERSE (which, as I say I had as OVATE, ugh), things were pretty rough in here for a bit.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Larry 12:13 AM  

All the same issues, but I added 12D to my stumbling blocks. LeBron is BETTER or BIGGER or FASTER or CLUTCHER or NOTAWHINER or NOTARAPIST. TALLER was the least of the comparatives.

jae 12:14 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Wanted ragE for 1a but never put it in as the downs didn't seem to work.  Other than me too for ovate and misspelling BICHON FRISE, which is a pretty zippy answer, no erasures and no WOEs although MARX was not familiar. 

Briefly thought it might be an NY rebus when SHINny didn't fit. 

Personal triumph:  I finally seemed to be able to remember the Japanese beer.     My only fear is I've forgotten something else.

OK Thurs.  A fair amount of zip...HIGHFIVE, CHAT ROOM, LIBIDO, OH HE'LL, KELSO..., but not a theme I would take the time to tell a non-puzzle friend about.

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Liked it. LOSER before GRUNT for "McJob".

Jeff Chen 12:17 AM  

It "stirs" FRIES? Anyone? Bueller?

(chirp chirp)


FearlessKim 12:26 AM  

The theme actually blew the whole thing wide open for me: got SANSSERIF and FORESTFIRES off the ending and starting EFS, respectively, suspected an anagram, tested the idea on the next long Across, and -- voila'! -- MORTGAGEREFIS. The puzzle kind of filled itself in from there.

Not crazy about the blocks of 3's in the NW and SE -- too many random abbrevs. for true love -- but I liked SCHEMA, LIBIDO, AXON (and its clue) and especially the shout-out to the incomparable John Coltrane, master of the TENORSAX. On Sunday I get to sing one of my favorite jazz tunes, Coltrane's "Naima," with the talented Dave Anderson. Any day spent with "Naima" is ok by me.

Ellen S 12:34 AM  

Never saw the theme until coming here. Most impressed that Rex can extract themes from what I thought were just plain puzzles.

Another MARX today, nice. Is that going to be a theme for the week, and no eels! (I made a late post to the Tuesday puzzle with a song featuring eels--do not listen to it. I think it's icky. I included it only for completeness.)

I also had ragE for 1A, and SANSSERIF and from there, nothing. Filled in everything else, even the basketball players, and returned to stare at the NE. Tried ACNE instead of ragE, which suggested CHATROOM, but nearly forever that got me nowhere. Finally I used the check function to prove CHATROOM and that gave me the confidence to fillin the rest. Funny how that works.

Some really clever clues, I thought. Especially liked OSIRIS for Underworld Boss.

Aurora Chatroom Mortgages 12:54 AM  

@Jeff, I hear ya!!!!
I was just gonna write in that there was indeed a theme reveal, that you "STIR" the "F-R-I-E-S", but you gotta admit that's a bit cryptic.

Loved that there were 5...
I thought it had a Tuesday theme made tough tough tough cluing-wise...
SPA/PEDI was the toughest for me....

Loved it tho.
I sorta made the same mistake where @rex did, tho I had tendOn instead.
Love when I correct to an X.

Assume the LeBron clue was to reflect the other Kobe BEEF, but seeing that guy's name not once but TWICE always makes me a bit sick, for the reasons @Larry spelled out.
(Plus I had HAth vs HAST)

I think the clue for FAKE was to fake us out with deKE. That's my non-sport's take.

I'm guessing ISAAK with a K and KELSO with an anything will be a tough cross.

And as a namer, I loved learning what NINTENDO means, I knew it must be something Asian, seems Asian names are more likely to evoke comparisons to heaven than American companies.

ANyway a really nice strong puzzle in the SCHEMA things!


Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:55 AM  

@Jeff-- If it makes you feel any better, I was all set to reveal yer bashful (but stirring) puz revealer, but you got here first. Patience, dude. Us NYTPuz solvers can come up with this stuff, if you give us over 17 minutes. har.

Can't feature many complaints about the fill in this one. EFS and ENS, maybe, but I didn't even blink, when sliding 'em in. And the whole sheebang comes with fries. Solvers with high LDLs might want to drink a glass of Cabernet and jog in place, while trying to digest the theme.

Had fun. Just glad SI-REF wasn't involved in the entertainment. This bunch has had enough SI-units for one week.

dmw 12:57 AM  

Got the entire puzzle, which is good for me for a Thursday, but had to use the check function to eliminate some mistakes.

So just how bad form is that?

acme 1:12 AM  

PS WOuld like to add constructionwise what a semimiracle it is when you have FIVE anagrams of a FIVE letter word, you are VERY restricted to what phrases you can use...
so that Jeff Chen found corresponding phrases with the right lengths is a minor miracle and should be appreciated, bec SANS SERIF 9 is the only phrase with is BISHON FRISE 11 and restricted REFIS possibilities.
SO to pull off 9. 11. 15. 11. 9 I think could impress constructors and solvers alike!

@M & A
Now that I know you are out there, pls write to me offline (wrote you late yesterday with my email), I want to run an idea by you...

Brendan McNamara 1:22 AM  

I really like the verticality of the grid, it flows very well. I didn't notice the theme, but that's because I got all the theme answers quickly. Very nice puzzle!

Evan 1:38 AM  

It took me until maybe 80% completion of the puzzle that I finally saw the theme -- or rather, pieced it together. I saw the anagrams, and that made it much easier to crack MORTGAGE REFIS, but I didn't get that one was supposed to STIR FRIES to make the other theme entries work. Normally I would have expected the NYT to add "... and a hint to this puzzle's theme" as a revealer clue, but it's kinda neat to let the solvers try and figure that out for themselves afterwards.

I'm not really a fan of the short ugly stuff (ATT, SRO, ANS, NUI, ABIE, ENS, EFS), but they were at least all gettable, and they're balanced out by good ones like CHAT ROOM, NINTENDO, HIGH FIVE, TENOR SAX, I PROMISE, and my obvious favorite, OH HELL.

The only other possible theme answer I could think of: Czech composer LUBOŠ FIŠER. Yeah, I know what you're all thinking -- he's too well-known, he's in crosswords all the time, it would be too easy to get him, etc. It's a terrible injustice that they left him out, but his piano concerto for two pianos is actually kinda cool, so take a listen to that while you try to think of other possible FRIES to STIR (as @acme suggests, it's almost impossible).

Fun True Fact #1: Richard MARX went to my high school many years before me. Fun True Fact #2: I've met him. His main piece of advice to us budding musicians was, if you like to compose music, just get to work and write it. Don't wait to compose that great song you've got kicking around in your head, otherwise someone else will.

(There's probably a lesson in there for us budding crossword constructors too....)

okanaganer 1:53 AM  

I was a bit shocked by 22 across, both the clue and the answer. That's just a riot!

Masked and Anonymous2 1:57 AM  

@acme: M&A is currently on the road. No gotta the email. Just motel computer's internet. And sometimes these motels even block out this site. Aside: what do some of these motels have against you, @40/41? Gotta be a story there. You ever been to Albuquerque?

Is your idea secretive, sorta like my secret identity?

acme 2:07 AM  

@M&A no hurry, just an idea to make a puzzle loosely based off the list you proffered yesterday

Anoa Bob 2:10 AM  

Sometimes old-school crosswordese can get you out of a jam. I had orB at 47A for "Highball?", thinking celestial body there. That bollixed up things until I remembered that old chestnut ABIE at 56A. Then LIBIDO and OSIRIS emerged to change orB to LOB.

Back in the bad old days I would often start a puzzle with a quick scan for tried-and-true crosswordese to get a toe hold here and there.

I didn't get the second layer of the theme, the STIR part, until Mr. Chen dropped by to gently nudge us in that direction. I like that the solver was left to ferret out that extra dimension, even though I missed it.

chefwen 2:38 AM  

M&A- You forgot the SODA with your fries.

Should have been timing myself, got through this one so quickly I thought "now what am I going to do?" One huge write-over was at 2D I had Ethernet before CHAT ROOM, hey, I'm a computer illiterate, what do I know? Sounded good to me at the time.

Worried about Friday!

Carola 3:10 AM  

Similar to @Rex - when I finished, I felt I'd made it harder than it needed to be. Went wrong with AttAckS, cAinE (butler for Bruce Wayne), OH HEck, HAth, and in thinking it was "SAN" SERIF. When I got MORTGAGE REFIS, I decided I could stop looking for a rebus and picked up a little speed. I didn't notice the anagrams until I filled in the last one, FIRES.

@Jeff Chen - This will probably make your hair FRISE, but I didn't even get the "stir" part from you post. I needed @acme to spell it out (thank you!). Absolutely great reveal - wish I'd seen it :)

@acme - Thanks also for pointing out the constructing feat. I'd appreciated the anagramming part but not the constraints of the theme entries.

jae 3:26 AM  

@Jeff -- STIR FRIES, of course, D'oh! Still not worth explaining to a non-puzzle person though. You got to have something that's either "I can't believe they did that" or "damn, that's clever/funny," e.g. last Wed.'s opera pun puzzle.

syndy 3:44 AM  

i MALAPOPPED ado into 23 across and had Rage at 1 across so I also had the rest of the puzzle buttoned up at stared at the nw quadrant in frustration.Themes need to leap out and bite me in the ankle(like an eel) or I don't see them-I did't.

Loren Muse Smith 5:45 AM  

I always like wordplay before anagrams, but I saw the theme early on and enjoyed this. Knowing the theme definitely helped.

@Acme – you called it. I guess I had a dnf with ISAAC/CELSO in the northeast.

Also – I’ve never been a Trekkie (sp?). Am I the only one who had “ets” for ENS? Unfortunately, that gave me “shit” for SHIN. SHIN is not a word I’m familiar with, so I just shrugged and came here to see my mistake. OH HELL.

“Orb” before LOB and like everyone else, “rage” and “ovate” before ACNE and TERSE.

Five combos. Cool, Jeff! Too bad “rife” isn’t a verb: Jeff Chen RIFES another great puzzle for us!

Jeffrey Johnson 6:34 AM  


I ended with SHIT for 13 across as well. Knew it had to be wrong, but had no idea what to put there. ETS was the only answer I could come up with for the cross.

I've watched a few Star Trek episodes, but I have no idea what ENS is an abbreviation for. Ensign perhaps? But why is that an extra? An extra suggests some fairly numerous non-recurring character to me. Extras fill in the crowd behind the actors. So the clue doesn't connect to an officer with a designated rank for me. Perhaps Ensigns are a dime a dozen on the Enterprise, or perhaps ENS means something else?

If the cross were an English word I knew I might have been able to complete this puzzle naturally. I've never heard SHIM or SHIN used as verbs before. I know shinny and shimmy. Does anyone really say "shin up that rope" or "shin up that cliff" or "shin up that wall"? Maybe in some parts of the world, but I've never read or heard it. I couldn't complete the puzzle rationally. I was reduced to guessing letters and asking the computer "amirite" over and over. The clue on 13 tainted an otherwise great puzzle. Or maybe it's just me.

I got Kevin Kline right away, but I forgot he spells his name that way. I had KLEIN, which led to trouble until it finally dawned on me. Loved TENORSAX of course. Lots of clever and enjoyable clues overall.

Danp 6:56 AM  

Ditto on the SHIT, Jeffery. Enjoyed the puzzle, but it may be the single worst theme I can imagine. You should get a special reward for figuring out what the long answers have in common. And have pity for those who care.

Elle54 7:06 AM  

Exactly what @Jeffrey Johnson said. What are ENS? I put EMS as a guess and also had to give up on that letter. Got the theme on REFIS and STIRFRIES so it helped to fill out the rest.
One other mistake: GRANT instead of GRUNT thinking a lowly job funded by a grant. Grunt makes a lot more sense.
"stir" that's funny!

Glimmerglass 7:38 AM  

@Rex: your puzzle was my puzzle. I made all the mistakes you did. (And one more: I misspelled cELSO and ISAAc. Never saw the theme until I got here. @Jeff: "STIR FRIES" is a great revealer. Good call.

MetaRex 7:45 AM  

Solved this puzz wondering, "Where's the reveal?" Does @Jeff Chen's explanation lead MR to raise his/its rating or lower it?

Reasoning if you want to call it that is at A reflexive reveal

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

Thanks, rex..I never saw the "theme" til u pointed out...just knew there were alot of "f"'s....did anyone have shim for shin? Don't u shimmy up a pole or tree?? Pretty easy when I put my f's to work :)....

evil doug 8:07 AM  

If one neither needs nor notices the theme, that's sort of a shame. I'll agree---twice!---with ACME: It's kind of a Tuesday level theme, and one can appreciate the difficulty of coming up with a fiver that can be scrambled five ways. If only I'd seen it. Print the puzzle earlier in the week, add '...or a clue to the long puzzle answers' to 59A, and you've got a winner.

But on difficulty, I'll disagree with Andrea and Rex. For a non-timer, I'm pretty sure that was a real quick and easy Thursday for me---especially since I'm operating on little sleep: Grandson #2 arrived at 3:00 this morning. All is well.

Michael: Yeah, there are lots of fakes---but it's such an inherent part of football+handoffs that it seems perfect there to me. But you're dead on when it comes to music of your college era.

Carola: I started with Caine, too. Also tried real hard to misspell John Cleese (Klees?) for Wanda.

Liked 'grunt' across 'terse'. 'High five' across 'forest fires' for an arsonist club salute. 'Humor' across (the other---y'know, Karl) 'Marx'. 'Beef' over 'stir fries'. 'Flexor' crossing 'axon'.

The best 'Kelso' is Wild Bill---Belushi---in '1941'.


joho 8:14 AM  

I have no time but have to chime in with my admiration for this one. Sutble theme -- as it doesn't scream out at you -- so smoooooothly done. Bravo, Jeff!

John V 8:19 AM  

STIRFRIES! Yes! Saw it and loved it. Loved that the revealer did not advertise itself as the revealer; you just had to suss it out. Loved BICHONFRISE, SANSERIF. Comment elsewhere about Jeff's kinda "verticality" being fun, e.g. HIGHFIVE, TENORSAX, NINTENDO, etc, signature Jeff Chen Downs, all good stuff.

NE was the hardest; had OHHECK and HATH initially. Mr. Eraserhead was my friend and then we were done!

So, a nice, themed, anagram Thursday which played Easy/Medium here. Thanks, Jeff!

jberg 8:44 AM  

I guessed the K right, but that was a tough cross. If 16D had been clued "famous racehorse" I'd have got it right away.

Other than that, the theme helped a lot - I saw it after the first 2, and that helped with each of the other 3. But I failed to notice the revealer, probably because I was blushing from 22A.

Yes, ENS is an Ensign, I think. The Enterprise is top-heavy with officers.

One write over, SCHEME/MERX before MARX. And one quibble: at 23A, "furor" does not mean IRE. Fury would, but a furor is our old friend "ado."

optionsgeek 8:47 AM  

I'm usually last to the party when it comes to identifying themes. But somehow this one came to me from the RIES from STIRFRIES. The rest of the theme answers fell immediately and this ended up being Easy Medium. Pretty unusual for a theme to help me so much in the solve, especially when fearless leader skipped right by it.

optionsgeek 8:56 AM  

In response to queries about ENS. In Star Trek, it became a bit of a joke that any new character on an away mission would be an Ensign, wear a red uniform shirt, and end up dead before the party returned to the ship. There was a reference to this overused plot device in the Star Trek-spoof Galaxy Quest.

lawprof 9:07 AM  

Never saw the theme (the anagram thing), so it was no help in the solve. As a result, today's puzzle was somewhat of a slog. So...I give myself a technical DNF because I had to come here to appreciate the constructor's challenge.

Three writeovers: SwordS/SABERS; SiDe/SODA; orB/LOB.

jackj 9:19 AM  

For an aggressive, clever constructor like Jeff Chen, putting forth a theme that simply rearranges FRIES into alternative spellings (STIRFRIES is the non-reveal reveal), must have felt like pretty tame stuff.

Mayhap that’s the price to pay for the chance to splash your trademark fill through the grid, with LIBIDO being the payoff pheromone that likely stirs a wordies most basic instincts (or something).

Rather than wonder whether Jeff missed any other ERIFS anagrams, it’s much more interesting to play with the fill than the theme:


I’ll stop, IPROMISE, since that abbreviated list clearly makes the point (and that’s just from the downs).

Cluing was pleasingly clever, too, “Climb using all four limbs” for SHIN; “One acting on impulse” for crossword staple AXON; SANSSERIF as “Undecorated type” was good, (the only theme entry foregoing a straightforward clue) and the double play of ”Jewel box?” for SAFE, paired with “Jewel boxes” for CDCASES can’t be ignored.

OHHELL, there’s more, but seeing how AHI flows into ASAHI or ADOS as the reverse of SODA or that ENS and EFS seem too cozy for comfort or when learning the Kobe twist thanks to Kobe BEEF v. Kobe Bryant, it all starts to get too clever for mere mortals and best to just say thanks to Jeff for a fun puzzle, whose theme was actually okay, just not “Chennish”.

'Billy 9:26 AM  

In my neck of the woods we "SHIMmy up a tree" rather than SHIN up a tree. Google has it a close call, but agrees with me.

Then again, in my neck of the woods we date siblings.

webwinger 9:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
webwinger 9:49 AM  

Nice piece of work, JC, and thanks for clarifying the reveal—now that I see it, I like it. Needed Google a few times (for MARX—no idea, and crosses weren't yielding; KLINE—shoulda known; BICHONFRISE—woulda got if I’d spotted the theme earlier). Like others, got hung up at SHIN/ENS. Don’t recall ever seeing this perfectly legit verb in print; “shinny” much more commonly spoken, which I too thought was “shimmy”. Like @lms didn’t (still don’t) get the Star Trek clue (ensign?), so couldn’t rule out “ems”, and briefly considered ETs as the down answer, but that would clearly have crossed the line…

Notsofast 10:01 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Kinda. Just wanted a little more bite.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:04 AM  

Wonderful Wednesday puzzle!

My first entry was ABIE, since on Thursday I am always cautious about longer entries which may be subject to word play, and thus my first theme entry was STIR FRIES, which quickly became obvious as the theme reveal.

Sadly for me, finished on paper with ISAAC/CELSO, and no amount of review would have tipped me off to my mistake.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

44 minutes. Any other hacks out there who don't care about time?
Had to google for spelling on asahi (I had ASAWI crossed with OHWELL) and KLINE (I had KLEIN which obviously wasn't working).
Everything else fell (slowly) into place. Ended up with one mistake - SHIM for SHIN.
Overall not a bad Thursday for me.

Rex Parker 10:20 AM  

Yeah, it's not as hard (relatively speaking) as my experience suggests. Hence "Medium" and not "Face Plant."

And @JC, if a tree falls in a crossword, is it really a "revealer?"


Unknown 10:21 AM  

Medium/Difficult for me. Saw and liked the theme, but didn't get the revealer until Jeff chimed in. Guess I'm one of the crickets.

Lots of fill to like as others have mentioned.

For 2D, I threw down THE CLOUD and got crosses at SHIN and LON - thought I was on my way to an easy Thurs, but not so. Took me a long time to correct.

Shouldn't 42D (Jewel Boxes) for CD CASES have a ? I think it refers to the singer, but is there another angle I'm missing?

Two MARXs in two days. Coming tomorrow: GUMMO

retired_chemist 10:31 AM  

Almost a Friday time, so challenging here. Organizing the eye clinic for our golden retriever club until late last night might have something to do with it.

Hand up for not seeing the theme until I go here. Or needing it.

DARN IT and OH HECK before OH HELL. OH WELL.... Figured a C in ISAA?/?ELSO was less likely than a K. Hand up for ADO @ 23A until 65A was clear.

The rest filled in straightforwardly if slowly.

Thanks, Mr. Chen.

Wikipedia 10:42 AM  

@Rob C -

A jewel CD case is the original compact disc case that has been used since the compact disc was first released in 1982. It is a three-piece plastic case, measuring 142 mm × 125 mm × 10 mm (5.59 in x 4.92 in x 0.39 in), a volume of 177.5 cm³, which usually contains a compact disc along with the liner notes and a back card. . . .
The jewel case is the standard case used by majority of manufacturers and it is the most common type of case found in record and movie stores. . . .

Origin of the name

According to Philips, the name reflects either the generally high quality of the case design compared to initial attempts, or its appearance. According to one publication, initial attempts at packaging CDs were unsatisfactory. When the new design, by Peter Doodson, was found to be "virtually perfect" it was dubbed the "jewel case". Another publication quotes Doodson describing that he "specified polished ribs as they pick up the light and shine" and states that the resulting appearance led to the name.

GILL I. 10:48 AM  

If I had to climb using all fours, I'd shit too.
This didn't really float my boat until I read @Aurora Chatroom and @Jeff. I went back and looked at everything and thought this deserves a HIGH FIVE.
I got the theme early on but didn't really appreciate the difficulty. So, before I BICH ON, I PROMISE not to be so PEDI.
Thanks Mr. Chen

Two Ponies 10:48 AM  

Enjoyed the solve but a technical DNF because the theme and revealer were too subtle for me.
Ens is ensign. The actor you've never seen before who dies during that episode.
@ Rex, Agree about the musical wasteland of that time.

Eric 10:55 AM  

Faster than usual for a Thursday. Didn't mind the theme as I'm a fan of anagrams. And it's always good to see typography getting some love (SANSSERIF).

I liked the crossing and cross-cluing of a rather prosaic answer (SPA) with its counterpart (PEDI). Good way to make boring fill seem mildly interesting.

12D (TALLER) made me snicker as I appreciate the rivalry between the two NBA stars. Hopefully Kobe isn't a crossword fan, because given his proclivity to feeling subordinate to fellow NBA superstars (see: Shaq/LeBron/MJ/anyone who MAY be better than him), this would likely annoy him.

55A (UNHURT) is a dumb word. It's passable, but as an OCD grammar nazi, this bothers me.

Anything that references Richard Marx (and makes me think about his amazing blown-out, frizzy hairdo) is a-ok in my book.

jae 11:03 AM  

@webwinger -- go back and read @optionsgeek's comment on ENS. It's exactly why Jeff's clue was pitch perfect.

Unknown 11:12 AM  

@ Wiki

Thanks - didn't know that, I'm not exactly a big music fan

JenCT 11:34 AM  

@Bob K: You do know it's Thursday, right?

Evan 11:38 AM  

@Two Ponies:

There's such a thing as a technical DNF? I'd say you finished even if you didn't understand the theme or revealer mid-solve. I mean, there were plenty of people at the ACPT who didn't understand the theme of the very first puzzle (including myself) but solved it perfectly anyway.

If you finished the puzzle, that's a finish in my book. Grid don't lie!

quilter1 11:41 AM  

Early shopping today so came to this late, but finished just fine. Some of the same mistakes as others (ovate) but straightened them out easily. I liked it but never, ever saw a theme--thought it was themeless.

Sparky 11:53 AM  

I am still working of the puzzle. The computer is okay. I'll be back.

Arby 11:54 AM  

As a counter yesterday's comment, I REALLY liked this puzzle. Even the short fill was nice.

I was fooled by "Western ____", which I felt HAD to be UNION (as I used to work for that company, back in the days of horse and buggy). I also was misled by "Classical ___", which I was sure was GAS, a piece I am trying to perfect on the guitar. TENORSAX was a welcome jazz-related clue to erase the bad taste of yesterday's NUJAZZ. Love seeing Trane and Miles in two consecutive puzzles!

I also had RAGE instead of ACNE. Tried OVATE and OVOID before the crosses showed me TERSE (which I still don't quite get).

Never even considered what the theme might be until I came to the blog. The theme answers are so good on their own, noticing the anagram just makes them better.

I even got Richard MARX (and I couldn't enumerate a single song of his)! Had to get ABIE solely on crosses, though.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:05 PM  

@JenCT - As I have said in the past, I really should remember to add an emoticon when I make a joke. Just my way of saying the puzzle was OK, but not what I am hoping for on a Thursday.

But seriously, 35 D, what did John Coltrane play? TEN or SAX? :>))

dk 12:53 PM  

Listening to Chris Isaak yesterday helped. Not being able to spell SANSSERIF did not.

Otherwise the puzzle was straightforward.

As was noted above I am happy that Rex and others can interpret the theme Rorshachs.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Thanks Jeff

Two Ponies 12:58 PM  

@ Evan, It's just a rule I set for myself. Even if my grid is correct, if I don't get the theme then I've missed the point of the puzzle and I've failed in my book.
No one else has to play by my rule.
My solving has evolved exponentially since I started living in Rexville.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Maybe it was just me, but I had a shocker when I put ETS in for 4 down and filled in the rest of the downs in that corner!!

chefbea 1:11 PM  

I did this puzzle while waiting at the doctor's office with my husband. Just got home. got the theme right away thinking it was just anagrams of F I R E S. Fun puzzle

Loren Muse Smith 1:42 PM  

@Gill I.P. - Funny, funny post! The whole thing!

@Two Ponies - I have that same "rule." On that oh-so-rare day (right) that I finish but don't see the theme, I feel like the puzzle defeated me somehow.

Joseph B 1:48 PM  

Was a quick Thursday for me (relative to my snail pace). Add me to the list of those who didn't spot the theme.

The puzzle felt a bit claustrophobic in the NW and SE, since these corners were fairly isolated from the rest of the puzzle. But all of the downs in the SE were generously clued, and since ACNE was a gimme (I was once on prednisone), I didn't need the long theme cross to solve these corners.

Got most of BICHONFRISE off the B, but I'm not much of a speller, so I was convinced there was a J and an E in there somewhere. Hade DEKE in for FAKE (not realizing DEKE is a single-player FAKE), so I was was trying to convince myself that DELTOR was some kind of muscle.

Never knew "elliptical" held the meaning TERSE. To me it evokes "roundabout," so pretty much the opposite.

Loved seeing LULL in a puzzle - I don't recall ever seeing it before. Such a weird word, for English - it strains the mouth to say it. Needed all the crosses except for the U, which was my last square.

Sandy K 1:53 PM  

Got a late start today. Enjoyed the comments.

I was able to finish without knowing the reveal- just knew it was a combo of those letters.

My detective skills are not great, so thanks to @Rex and @JC for revealing the reveal. (Sounds like Begin the Beguine- before your time.)

Now that I see it, I like it more.
Hand up for EtS- which was a no-no across, so ENS it became. Abbrev. for ENSign, I presume?

M and A shyly 1:56 PM  

@acme... Don't wait on me, darlin'. Just go ahead with yer puz idea. loren the muse smith, who came up with extra better list items than me anyhoo, could be a dynamite assistant for it. Just go for it, gals. Donate somethin to JenCTdog on my behalf, if the Shortzmeister buys it.

Me, I'm headed for Vegas. That BET entry got me all inspired.

mac 2:01 PM  

What theme?
@Loren: I stuck with the ETS. @Gill: LOL!

Anyone notice Monsanto fits nicely in 3D? I guess it means My Saint? That is weird in itself.

I saw no reason to change anything in 45D scheme and 64A Merx.

A write over at 19: I had Flynn for a while.

Very good Wednesday puzzle!

Acme 2:02 PM  

@two ponies
I'm with you! Even tho No one has to play by anyone else's rules... i think to finish a puzzle as @Evan says "perfectly" without noticing/understanding/appreciating the theme (or the reveal) is not fully finishing in some ways.
It's one of the reasons it's frustrating for me to make an easy puzzle for a tournament (or participate in a speed contest)... That's why I stick to handing out papers!

Others have already pointed out it's akin to a chef who watches folks gobble down their meal....or having sex vs making love!
Worse, the dismissiveness when folks miss it and then aggressively say "who cares?"
(i also love the idea of "living in rexville"!)

In any case it's a Thurs so the puzzle does work without circles or a reveal can have the aha moment or not... It certainly helped me get some of the theme answers.

@GIill I.P.
Funny!!!! I'm going to be laughing all day about you on all fours!
(I'm amused by how many folks kept the EtS given what it left the cross!)
Altho the whole ENSign being the sacrificial lamb in Star Trek shows is a bit of an inside joke...

@optionsgeek 8:56am,
you or perhaps hardcore Dan Feyer fans might be amused to learn that his (Dan's) brother was a child actor in "Galaxy Quest"!

Jeff Chen 2:19 PM  

@optionsgeek: exactly! There's a reason I never wear red.

Rex Parker 2:23 PM  

From Sunday's comments section:

"Dear Rex and the readers of this blog,

We at NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans were completely blown away by your generosity on behalf of Jen, who has been raising money to help pay for her new assistance dog. In less than 4 days Jen reached her goal! That has to be some kind of record and is in large part due to the overwhelming thoughtfulness of this community. We have about 80 people fundraising for assistance dogs at any given time, and we wish that even half of them had such an enthusiastic and generous group of people to rally around them as you have done for Jen.

And a very special thanks to Rex, for bringing Jen's efforts to the attention of this generous community.

With sincere admiration for all you've done for Jen,
Your friends at NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans"

JenCT 2:33 PM  

@Rex: I was just copying/pasting that to repost too!

I am eternally grateful to @Rex and to all the wonderful supporters in Rexville - thank you, from the bottom of my heart! You have all improved my life immeasurably.

Anonymous, but for a good reason 2:40 PM  

Score 1 for humanity. I can speak only for my measly $20, but if it's part of what's left over, give it to the next guy.

efrex 2:50 PM  

Yay, everyone who helped Jen out! What a great piece of news!

Okay, on to the puzzle. Didn't know BICHONFRISE from a hole in the wall, but was able to suss it out after figuring out the revealer. The SPA/PEDI cross made that section way too tough for too long, but it finally fell. Other than the ISAAK/KELSO cross, everything seems more than fair; no OHHELL moments fron this guy. Probably would've gotten SANSSERIF faster without the "?" in the clue, but it all worked out eventually. HIGHFIVE, Mr. Chen!

Evan 2:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bird 2:51 PM  

I thought this puzzle was OK, but the south killed me. No idea on 56A. Cross-referencing clues are a bother and these were misleading - I kept trying to determine a malady & treatment combo. Although 47D is good, I couldn’t get it. No idea on 48D.

Why is it SCHEMA and not SCHEME? Good thing I knew who Richard Marx is.

I guess McJob refers to a career at McDonalds?


@ED – Congratulations! And I love Belushi as Kelso. That whole movie is a blast.

@JenCT – Such a great story.

Evan 2:53 PM  


Sure, but I don't think "finishing" a puzzle and "fully understanding" the theme have to be tied together. It's possible to do both, and also to do one without the other. Besides, there are plenty of things one can notice about a puzzle long after you've solved it. Even if one has a delayed a-ha moment because they didn't grok the theme mid-solve, I think they can still say they finished it, and perhaps appreciated it after the fact.

This is just semantics, though. I say that all that we're asked to do with a crossword is get the answer right -- we don't have to show our work (thank goodness!). The latter is for all the fun and insightful comments here.

(A caveat: If there's a meta-puzzle, chances are good you really do have to understand the theme fully to finish it.)


Way to go, Rex and @JenCT!

Unknown 3:01 PM  


from wiki - McJob is slang for (any) low-paying, low-prestige job that requires few skills and offers very little chance of intracompany advancement....

not just at McDonalds

@JenCT - great news! Congrats!
@ others here - nice to be part of a group like this

Lewis 3:04 PM  

This puzzle felt fresh, and it felt young. The cluing was crunchy but that made the answers more satisfying to get. Pretty cool to get five anagrams from a five letter word, though there is a four letter word that will yield the same...

Milford 3:09 PM  

A speedy Thursday that somehow did not feel easy at all. Very scrabbly, kind of like yesterday.

Had the EmS/ SHIm mistake as others. SHIMmy seems like the correct word for how to get up a tree.

Got the anagram part of the puzzle but did miss the "reveal" at STIR FRIES - love it! Make them all the time. Easiest sweet &sour sauce for stir fry is:
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T cornstarch
Whisk together.

We always call the BICHON FRISE a bitchin' frizzy. Loved all of the words others mentioned, plus the misdirect on Butler = GABLE.

Lovely news about JenCT and the generosity of all. And congrats, E.D. on the grandbaby.

optionsgeek 3:36 PM  


Thanks for confirming my assertion about the origins for ENS. There exists a definite lack of references to quality science fiction in puzzledom. Think of all the great clueing that could be built around HHGG, to take but one example. Orion's double-header (ZAPHOD), Galactic must-have (TOWEL), etc.

Carola 3:49 PM  

@evil doug - Congratulations on your grandson!! Joy beyond measure. And, back to the mundane, I also tried to shoehorn cleese in there somehow.

@jberg - I stubbed my toe on "furor," too.

@Gill I.P. - Are you witty? ISLE say!

@JenCT - So happy to hear the good news!

Bird 4:23 PM  

@Rob C - Thanks for the info, I never heard that term before. We are an entertaining bunch, aren't we.

mac 4:25 PM  

@ED: congratulations on the new grandson!

chefbea 4:32 PM  

@All Rexites..glad we could all come together and help JenCt

ANON B 4:34 PM  

Aren't there enough acronyms in the cyberworld without you adding
another. All of a sudden The New York Times has gone from NYT to
NYX according to you. How cute.

sanfranman59 4:43 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Thu 13:37, 16:58, 0.80, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 8:11, 9:56, 0.82, 15%, Easy

Unknown 4:51 PM  

Finally got a few minutes to do this fun, and easy-for-a-Thursday puzzle. My only complaint is that, darn it, I DID see STIR FRIES as the revealer and wish Mr. Chen could have held off on chiming in. But who can blame him...since Rex didn't mention it initially it must have been fun to get to point it out :-)

chefwen 5:27 PM  

JenCT - Congratulations!

LaneB 5:29 PM  

Must have been a lot of words familiar to XWord veterans, e.g.SHIN [as used], AXON [still can't get this one], PEDISPA [an informal treatment??] and SCHEMA. IRE shows up a lot, [but meaning Furor?] and GRUNT for McJob holder [Patronizing crap.] Plenty of misses in the bottom third and felt the cluing was more obscure and precious than usual even for a Thursday. I'm OK Sunday through Wednesday, but find myself getting pissed and out of sorts trying to solve the balance-of-the-week puzzles. Slight OCD mandates I continue to try.

Sparky 5:42 PM  

Congrats Grandpa @ED.

Great News @JenCT. What a gang! Thanks to @Rex and also @Tita for telling us about it at ACPT.

Like @chefbea just thought
anagrams of FIRES. Got it when my BostON dog became a BICHONFRISE. Hand up for ado at 22A befor arriving at 65A.

Thanks Jeff Chen, it turned into a good Thursday after all.

Tita 5:50 PM  

Loved the AHA moment that ocurred only when I read @ACME's explanations of @Jeff Chen's revealer reveal.
Puzzle got much better after that.

@ED - congratulations!!

@Jen - I am amazed at how this virtual community pulled together in a most concrete way for one of our own.
@Rex - did you foresee anything like this when you first started the blog? Thanks again for building this place and for keeping it going.

chefbea 6:03 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefbea 6:04 PM  

@ LaneB You get a pedi (cure) at a spa

joho 6:43 PM  

I am so happy for @JenCT and Ollie and thankful to everybody here who contributed and especially to @Rex who gave us the opportunity to do something really good. I don't visit many blogs but I have to think that this one must be something special.

Anonymous 7:09 PM  

Funny! I was able to complete the puzzle correctly but for the wrong reason. I initially put in STIRFRIED and thought the theme was "playing with fire" (anagrams of FIRE). When I was stuck on BICHONFRISE because It didnt fit that pattern, it finally hit me that the anagrams were of FIRES and I corrected STIRFRIES and thought "Oh... that means the theme must be "playing with fires"! (Which didnt sound right but hey... What do I know--wordplay allows for poetic license doesnt it?). I'll still give myself credit for completing the puzzle even if i got there in a roundabout way-- is that OK Jeff?---Mike

Anoa Bob 7:43 PM  

Like several other commenters, I had SCHEME sharing the last "E" with MERX.

SCHEME is a more encompassing term while SCHEMA has an academic ring to it. Cognitive psychologists, for example, use it to refer to a mental construct/template one uses to interpret events.

Didn't know the MARX dude, so stayed with MERX. DNF

Took forever 7:55 PM  

So where is Rex's time? Is he ashamed to show it?

Nigel 8:07 PM  

This wasn't a quadrant puzzle for me - it was a halves puzzle. I should have jumped to the bottom first since when I got there, I was filling in madly. But the top eluded me - I had BULK for ACNE which hardly helped. Thought the answer to 22A should be OHHELL but wasn't quite sure it was kosher in crossword puzzles. Will F**K be far behind? Finally got KELSO from ISAAK - I was wracking my brain but the name wouldn't come - I've watched That 70's Show lots, but the only name I can ever remember is Donna and unlike Mr. Kutcher, I don't know her real hame. I didn't like SHIN - even though I got it from the SHI - it made sense then. I have finally realized I can solve for time directly on the NYT page so I'm looking forward to my Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday times. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are always a crap shoot for me. I can whip through one, or just stare at it for hours frustrated.

Thoracic 8:17 PM  

So right about the Hitchhikers Guide. Chock full'o interesting terms that I would know something about, instead of the highfalutin' opera/literature that makes me feel a little slow. Here's hoping

Carola 8:21 PM  

@Anoa Bob - In doing classroom teaching observations, I noticed that in recent years TAs' lesson plans began to include the step "activate SCHEMAta" before introducing a reading assignment to students in a foreign language class. I think that's where I first encountered the word

Z 9:54 PM  

NYX = NY Times Xword puzzle? That's how I read it.

@Sanfranman - Knowing I had another early morning meeting I decided to play against the clock. Unfortunately, my computer decided that Java was a security risk and blocked me from doing the puzzle online. Yet another factor to limit the number of solvers in your data set.

@Evil - Hoping Mom, Dad, and baby are doing well (and grandparents, too).

I could picture Clark GABLE but could only think of Cary Grant. I hate when that happens.

I liked the puzzle - got the theme revealer soon after noticing the anagrams at the end of FOREST FIRES and MORTGAGE REFIS. It definitely helped with FRISÉ and SANS SERIF, especially since I malapopped ADO at 23A and had ragE before ACNE.

Regarding 1987-1991 - Elvis Costello's Blood and Chocolate, King of America and Spike are all from the period. Great stuff. R.E.M. put out Document and Out of Time. Toad the Wet Sprocket and Uncle Tupelo were active. And Grunge was born in Seattle. It wasn't a total wasteland.

Ellen S 10:22 PM  

We bought Jen a service dog? wow. (or "Bow Wow") That's the answer for the people who don't like this blog because OFL is often Sharp with constructors. Hah, they shoulda seen @Evil before he got neutered or whatever happened to turn him nice.

Regarding finishing, there's no need to fight about it, but here's my personal, unqualified opinion ("unqualified" meaning, I got no credentials to have this opinion):
1) "finishing" is filling in the squares with the correct letters.
2) The enjoyment and appreciation of the puzzle is enhanced by getting the theme.
3) The enjoyment and appreciation of the puzzle is also enhanced by understanding why you filled in the fill with the letters you did. That is, "got it on crosses" means you don't know what the clue meant but filled in the correct letters.
4) If not getting the theme is a DNF, then so is "got it on crosses", in which case probably 90% of the people here never finish a puzzle, just based on all the comments claiming ignorance of this singer or that sports figure, WTFs, WOEs etc.

I'd say getting the theme and knowing the obscure proper names and geography references should be in the nature of extra credit. So putting in all the right letters gets you an "A", and getting the theme and obscure clues gets you an "A+". As Evan pointed out, that counts for nothing in the tournaments, but as I've said, I'm in awe of Rex's abillity to suss out themes where I see none.

Plus, or rather minus, of course there are demerits for googling, but in this non-competitive setting I hope MetaRex's survey results indicated that we don't have to be shot or thrown into the pit for it. It's like training wheels, guys, not a mortal sin!

Bird 10:36 PM  

@Z - Let's not forget U2 with The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, Depeche Mode with Music for the Masses and Violator, INXS with Kick and X. Lot's of other goodies on 92.7 WLIR in New York.

And all those 1-hit wonders. Plus a few 2-hit wonders as well.

Unknown 11:22 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

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

Mon 5:51, 6:10, 0.95, 25%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:20, 8:20, 1.00, 52%, Medium
Wed 10:16, 10:37, 0.97, 43%, Medium
Thu 13:38, 16:58, 0.80, 16%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:35, 3:41, 0.97, 29%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:06, 4:57, 1.03, 60%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:11, 6:16, 0.99, 44%, Medium
Thu 7:39, 9:56, 0.77, 11%, Easy

@Z ... Java stopped playing nice with browsers a few months ago. I always just click through those security warnings hoping that my virus and adware protection will keep me safe. I hope I'm not going to be sorry about that. Nothing gets between me and my crosswords! (at least not yet)

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

Had E.T.s for Star Trek extra, leaving me with SHIT for Climb using all four limbs. Convinced myself it was right.

Anonymous 5:29 AM  

thanks for share..

Spacecraft 11:33 AM  

Hand up for misspellings of KLein and ISAAc. The former was quickly fixed on crosses; the latter was a natick for this non-'70s Show viewer--but "CELSO" JDLR (just didn't look right). I went with the name of that marvelous horse--maybe the greatest racehorse who ever lived--KELSO.

Yes, Jeff, I "got it" with the STIRFRIES. Proud of myself, too, after having missed many OTHERs. But then, with your name attached I knew I should be looking for something clever.

"OHHELL" is the name of a card game I used to play with my family. You bid how many tricks you'll take--but the total bid must not equal the number of tricks to be had, thus someone on every deal will be saying...that. Nice memory jog there, thanks.

But OK now,you tell me: by what wormhole do you arrive at "TERSE" off "Elliptical, in a way?" In ANY way??? The only way I finished was by assuming that the "fine" 31d was ART. I looked at 40a for a while, scratching my head, checked all the OTHER downs, and finally put the finished puzzle down with a shrug. (No, I'm a dinosaur; I don't have a "happy pencil" thingy. I actually write on the newspaper. How quaint.)

Dirigonzo 3:50 PM  

It's a Thursday puzzle so I kept waiting for it to get hard but it never did - I hate it when that happens. For the first time in 2013(in my section of SynCity, anyway) sunny skies and balmy temperatures combined to permit solving on the deck "au naturel" so I was really wanting a puzzle that would put up some fight to extend the experience. I wanted to love this puzzle but alas, it was over too qickly so I guess I experienced premature adulation. That bad pun aside, I did love the clue for SRO (Packed letters?) and was proud to get Chris ISAAK with no crosses - but I would not call him a "Rocker"; he's more of a "crooner" a la Roy Orbison, in my opinion anyway. Ended up with OHwELL for "Crud!" at 22a - I never even considered OHHELL, and I can't believe there's a beer brand that I didn't know!

DMGrandma 4:31 PM  

Struggled a bit with this one, but finally replacing HIGHsign with HIGHFIVE let me decide ..REFIS must be right. Came here to check the A in SCHEMA and the K in ISSAK. And found I had guessed correctly both times! But then I learned that while I used to SHIm up trees, others SHIN. As for Star Trek, EnS sounded fine, once I'd eliminated EtS. So, a one
letter DNF. Did wonder if the younger crowd would have any idea about ABIE. He and his Rose predate WWII and often appeared in "olden" puzzles.

JenCT 7:25 PM  

@Spacecraft: From


Main Entry:
terse  [turs] Show IPA

Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: brief, short
Synonyms: abrupt, aphoristic, boiled down, breviloquent, brusque, clear-cut, clipped, close, compact, compendiary, compendious, concise, condensed, crisp, cryptic, curt, cut to the bone, ELLIPTICAL (capitalization is mine),epigrammatic, exact, gnomic, in a nutshell, incisive, laconic, lean, neat, pithy, pointed, precise, sententious, short and sweet, snappy, succinct, summary, taut, to the point, trenchant
Notes: use terse to characterize brevity or succinctness of expression in a person; concise is used to characterize this in a message
Antonyms: lengthy, long-winded, prolix, wordy

(This was a new one for me, too.)

Spacecraft 7:41 PM  

Thanks, @JenCT. I still don't see it, but if Mr. Roget says so, I guess it must be. Wonder if anybody can cite a quote where it's been used in that context.

P.S. I'd like to take a moment to applaud the firing of that horrible photographer of street addresses for the captcha. Whoever you are, dude (or dudette) get into another line of work.

And now for today's first word: [she blinded me with] science!

Solving in Seattle 8:05 PM  

I had EtS in 4D too. Forgot about SHINnying up trees as a kid. I liked the clue for 47D producing LIBIDO. I must be a wolf also. (Insert smiley face emoticon.)

I'll add my praises to Jeff Chin for this very slick puzzle, but I agree with those who think this was a little more like a Tue or Wed. @Diri, I had this done before I finished my Grapenuts, not au natural.

Dirigonzo 8:18 PM  

@JenCT - Since all the news we get here in SynCity is 5 weeks old I have to ask - have you found your perfect match for a service dog yet? I know the perfect dog is out there just waiting to be matched with you, so I hope you get together soon.

@SIS - I loved the LIBIDO clue too, but I think the comment about your Grapenuts is TMI.

@Spacecraft - I agree the disappearance of the address numbers from the captcha is a good thing but what's up with the easily legible common words in their stead? I suspect a trap.

JenCT 11:25 PM  

@Dirigonzo: Thanks for asking; no dog yet, but there are lots in training all the time. They think a certain yellow Lab might be a perfect fit for me, but she's still too young & won't be ready until late Summer/early Fall. I'm looking forward to meeting her!

Since you're 5 weeks behind, I'm sure you haven't seen my post from Sunday April 14th: my German Shepherd Duke unexpectedly had to be put down. :-(

Anonymous 1:30 AM  

"Elliptical, in a way" = using ellipses (...) to shorten up a phrase or make it TERSE

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