Greek war goddess, Puccini piece, Adriatic resort, Actress Eleniak

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Constructor: Finn Vigeland

Relative difficulty: easy-medium-to-impossible, or, how quick do you catch on to rebuses?

THEME: "Condensation" — Seven pairs of crossing entries share a square that uses a dual interpretation of "WATER." In one direction, the word WATER is condensed into the square. In the other direction, the chemical notation for water is used (HHO, or, as it more commonly gets expressed, H2O).

Word of the Day: TARTINE (89D Open-faced sandwich topped with a fancy spread) — An open sandwich, also known as an open face/faced sandwich, Ulrich Sandwich, bread baser, or tartine, consists of a single slice of bread with one or more food items on top. (per wiki)
• • •
The ACPT is through the first day of preliminary puzzles. This is treedweller, filling in while our regular host vies for all the glory. After six puzzles, Rex Parker is in 41st place overall, 16th in the B division. He is separated from the B Finals by 325 points. That's kind of a lot, but this morning's round is traditionally a Sunday-sized puzzle with more points available, so maybe a comeback is still possible. You can do it, Rex!

I first got an inkling of the rebus at MOUTH HOLE, but no combination of letters seemed to belong together as a subset. I knew there was a HO here and HO there, but still couldn't make my guesses match the required number of letters/boxes. I finally caught the twist at BATTLE OF WATERLOO and filled things in pretty steadily after that. Final letter was the N of TARTINE/ENYO. I couldn't see a better guess, but got the "All squares filled" message instead of "Successful completion." I finally decided to admit defeat, asked for the solution, and saw that I'd only missed the rebus squares. Feel free to click on the link for the Wordplay blog's instructions on entering these answers properly, and if you found the magic combo of letters that gives Across Lite or the standalone ipad app satisfaction, please let us know in the comments.

Theme answers:

  • 1D Refuse to hand over WITHHOLD
  • 27A Subject of big 1970s headlines WATERGATE SCANDAL
  • 16D Ski mask feature MOUTHHOLE
  • 35A The second African-American, after Hattie McDaniel, to be nominated for an Oscar ETHEL WATERS
  • 14D Last possible moment ELEVENTH HOUR
  • 51D Where people are always changing? BATHHOUSE
  • 67A Best Picture inspired by a Pulitzer-winning series of newspaper articles ON THE WATERFRONT
  • 68D What an optimist has HIGH HOPES
    Sinatra's classic song High hopes by tb139
  • 85A Necklace decoration that's not from the sea FRESHWATER PEARL
  • 80D "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" song HEIGH HO
  •  102A Coastal structures countering erosion BREAKWATERS
  • 84D Prominent features of the theme from "StarWars" FRENCH HORNS ---Not sure I like this. I don't really hear FRENCH HORNS as much as trumpets and synthesizers.
  • 109A Historic event on June 18, 1815 BATTLE OF WATERLOO  
 Occasionally, someone new will find out I solve the NYT puzzle and ask why I like it. I get the biggest reactions when I talk about how I enjoy rebuses. To the uninitiated, it is appalling and unthinkable that sometimes you might need to enter more than one letter in a single square. But for me, and I think a lot of us, these are the days to look forward to. Having the double representation of water is a nice bonus. But, if tradition holds, the times people record on the applet will skew longer than usual. In fact, I just noticed the "puzzle info" in the ipad app calls it "nearly impossible." As a fan of the genre, I thought there were plenty of very gettable theme answers to alert us to the trick and allow the breakthrough for a fairly easy solve. This may just be the luckiest weekend of my life and all my first guesses turned out to be right. Anyway, my difficulty meter seems to be out of calibration recently. Go with what feels good to you.

I often find Sundays exhaust my interest before I get to the end, but this one came alive once I saw the rebus and I was a little surprised when I finished.


  • 4D Software for touch-up artists PHOTOSHOP — I was trying to get off the whole product placement thing, but this is two Adobe products in two days. It did get us WATERGATE, a currently impossible-in-the-real-world HOLY SEE and somewhat related TRIPTYCHS. You call this one.
  • 1A Direct descendant of the Mayflower Pilgrims, e.g. WASP — As in, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Not necessarily the 80s' metal band, W.A.S.P.
  • 49D N.Y.U. athlete VIOLET — My worldly wisdom does not extend this far. I was highly skeptical that a school's mascot would be the girl who turned into a giant blueberry in Willie Wonka's factory. Turns out, it's just the color. The mascot is a bobcat.
  • 97A Unilever soap brand LUX — [sigh.] I give up.
As always, I have been honored to take the reins here for a while, but I gotta tell ya, it's exhausting. Every day another freaking puzzle! If you enjoy reading Rex's commentary day in and day out, consider clicking the Donate button to the right of your screen. Believe me, he earns it.

I leave you with what is still my favorite ACPT video:

Signed, treedweller, on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Unknown 12:06 AM  

Loved. This. Puzzle! H2O/Water...sooo impressed by the creativity of this one. Got the theme from MOUTH2OLE and the title, paused for a minute and wondered "How many answers could they come up with that have a HHO combo?" Well, plenty! Pretty easy going, one of my faster Sundays, but definitely one of the most fun. Well done, Finn!

Anonymous 12:09 AM  

Um, that's Star Trek, not Star Wars, unless you're following in our illustrious leader's footsteps....

Elle54 12:11 AM  

This was really, really fun! I loved it. Wish I weren't done.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

The wordplay blog says to enter W not HHO or H2O in the rebus -- which seems inconsistent with past uses of the rebus. Oh well!

Nigel 12:34 AM  

I got the trick. Figured it out when I hit eleventhhour, but Across Lite informed me I was wrong - since it thought that I should enter the letter W. I had entered HHO - seems the program didn't like that. It took some time though, even though I knew it had to be ELEVENTHHOUR, I still had to figure out the other answers to finally get it all. I knew it the Snow White's dwarves sang Hi ho, hi ho, but had to google it to learn the correct spelling of Heigh and that's when I knew I was right, because I was pretty sure about BREAKWATER. However, it still took a longer time than I expected.

Nigel 12:38 AM  

An addendum to my post - I realize now that I really figured it out with FRESHWATERPEARL - when I saw that clue, combined with my need to have a BREAKWATER I knew I was on to something. After that it got easier - Battle of Waterloo (I had been thinking Battle of StLo, since stlo is so common.) No matter - I finished it.

Davis 12:39 AM  

Irritating. I lost about 4 minutes looking for an error; upon finding none, I changed all the rebuses from HHO to H2O, and still no dice. Thanks to Anon @12:18, I was able to get a successful submit by changing all the H2Os to Ws (this is on the iPad app). That's a big WTF—the app has this lovely "Rebus" feature, so why would I even think to enter Ws rather than rebuses? Especially when every other rebus puzzle actually accepts the rebus?

Still too annoyed with that technical issue to think clearly about the puzzle, but I'm pretty sure I really liked this one.

Greg Charles 1:00 AM  

Four minutes? That's not bad! All told, I lost 18 minutes checking for errors, changing H2O to HHO, and finally to W after reading Anon's comment. 31 minutes became 49. Heads better roll for this!

No, I'm just being colorful. W was a stupid thing to subject us to (where have I heard that before?) but it was a fun puzzle anyway.

Good luck Rex!

Ellen S 1:10 AM  

Treedweller, nice writeup, but as one of the anonymice pointed out, Start Trek isn't the same as Star Wars. Here's John Williams conducting the the Star Wars theme. Lotsa Frenchhhhhorns.

I found this a lot easier than yesterday by a factor of unimaginable (Thank you Finn!). I stumbled around until I got the rebus and then more or less sailed through until everything was filled in except the SW. Like @Nigel, I want the Snow White song to be "Hi Ho Hi Ho". After 6 rebuses it never occurred to me that here was another one. Not because there were so many, just because I'm dumb. So I cheated and found the "o" in HEIho was wrong, got the rebus, got BREAKWATER and almost finished. I wanted the sandwich to be sARdINE, but knew it was ATARI that created Pong, so, um, I put sARTINE. After my cataract surgery, I can't associate 20/20 with anything other than perfect vision. None so blind, eh?

I think Photoshop is now a regular verb, like kleenex. I photoshop things in SnagIt Editor. Well, kleenex is a noun, but you know what I mean.

Go get 'em Rex!

Rube 1:35 AM  

Had 5 wags on this one: TACET/RAMA (wanted piano), IDEST/TSR, PEAS/PTL, ENYO/TARTINE (2x). But I nailed them all.

Got the theme, like others, at MOUTHHOLE and knew I was going to enjoy this puzzle... I love a rebus.

Hesitated at VIOLET, but knowing that UC Santa Cruz is home of the banana slugs and UC Riverside athletes are calle the anteaters... what the hey. Probably should have known NYU are the bobcats... but didn't.

jae 1:42 AM  

Caught the theme almost immediately and just kept on going. So, easy for me.  No real erasures, but a WOE cross that I guessed right on: ENYO/TARTINE.  The SANO/ SCHOTT cross could be a problem if you don't know Marge and go with SANe.

Did it on paper so no iPad issues.  I apparently escaped some unpleasantness.

TRACERY was also a WOE.

Not real zippy but an easy breezy twisty rebus Sun.  I liked it.  And thanks for filling in treedweller!

Rube 1:45 AM  

BTW Treedweller, this is the Sunday puzzle.

Anonymous 3:03 AM  

THEME is largely STOLEN from one of the American Red Crosswords puzzles "Parting the Waters" by Lynn Lempel. That one had 5 answers with HHO in them, including two of the SAME answers as in this puzzle "HIGHHOPES" and "FRENCHHORNS", it also had an answer that was simply HHO and the clue indicated that it was the chemical composition of water or something found in the 5 longest answers. That puzzle did not have crossing answers that required "water" as part of the answer, nor did it use a rebus, the HHO took up 3 squares, still, it seems it should have been referenced/credited in the info section of today's puzzle.

chefwen 3:07 AM  

After doing the LA Times Friday puzzle, this one was Deja vu (all over again) I won't go into detail in case anyone wants to back track and do a really fun puzzle.

No Googles, few write-overs, I had a great time solving this one.

85A I had always heard as sweet H2o pearls, so that held me up for a while.

Thanks for a great Sunday solve Finn.

Bob O'Brien 3:08 AM  

Does anybody know what the correct rebus fill is for the Magmic NYTimes crossord app for ipad? HHO doesn't work... Neither does WATER... Or H... Or W...

webwinger 3:30 AM  

Pretty much plowed straight through this one; got the rebus quickly at WITHHOLD/WATERGATE and found it fairly easy going after that. Each rebus crossing was fun in its own way, I thought, and I generally applaud when, as here, A and D entries use the rebus differently. Particularly liked HEIGHHO—somehow the back of my mind recalled the quaint spelling. Really enjoyed the whole experience, and was really impressed by the construction. Theme was so engrossing I hardly noticed most of the fill, but there was a lot of good stuff (TRIPTYCHS, AIRBRUSHED, CATCHFIRE, BLUESKY, two crossing Irish counties); some bad (TAMLA, ENYO) that was easily gettable from crosses; a little bit of ugly (BAAED, DOESFOR), but that’s a mere QUIBBLE. Did seem like an exceptional number of “product placements”, maybe just because of sensitizing from recent discussion here. (Does BORAX count, @retiredchemist? PTL—not pleased to recall Tammy Faye.) Had the same problem as others getting software (MagMic for iPhone—man, are those Sunday squares tiny!) to accept rebuses; gave up after two unsuccessful strategies. All in all a superior Sunday experience. And go Rex!

Anonymous 4:09 AM  

Just a plain W worked for me on the Magmic app on my iPhone. I tried everything else first HHO H2O and even Water, none of those did it, but then reading the blog I tried a single W and it accepted the submission. Perhaps you have a typo elsewhere if it's not accepting that? Maybe it's different on a desktop or tablet app, anyway, worked on the iPhone. (I had trouble figuring out how to enter the rebus for the HOT corners with the Magmic app the other day too, this seems a new issue, never had problems with rebus before.)

Anonymous 6:58 AM  

Great puzzle! Really enjoyed theme. Got it at breakwater and sailed on. Would certainly have been a Sunday personal best time for me if not for wasted 8 mins trying to figure out what Magmic app wanted for a rebus. W worked on my iPhone app finally. Again, enjoyable write up Treedweller. Thanks

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

I had trouble at first because the real chemical symbol for water is H(OH). So I had to play around with it. Still a pretty good puzzle.

Glimmerglass 8:24 AM  

No technical problems -- I solve on paper. Caught on fairly early, but there was some arcane fill. I wonder if Finn V. is related to Gustav V.? There's a wonderful park in Oslo with hundreds of his sculptures. I thought it should have been called Vigelandland.

Rob C 8:59 AM  

Nice twist on the rebus with Water for the acrosses and HHO for the downs. Same experience as @Nigel. Picked up the rebus at ELEVENTH HOUR and struggled with the spelling of HI HO. About avg time for me.

And with 7 rebi (that's 14 theme answers!!), the fill was pretty darn good.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Entering just H works for Across Lite as well.

Unknown 9:14 AM  

Anonymous@3:03 AM, I and all the other people who have not completed all of the American Red Crosswords appreciate the spoiler. NOT!

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

Thanks for the w trick.,that did it for ipad...very easy but really fun

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Magmic IPhone app does work with 'W' for water/HHO/H2O. You might try erasing all content in the rebus squares and starting fresh. Have had this issue in the past where some vestige of prior input stays in the rebus square. In this case, make sure the square no longer thinks it is a rebus.

webwinger 9:27 AM  

Did find that W worked for rebus squares in the Magmic iPhone app. Was going to just forget about it, but the damn clock wouldn't stop ticking otherwise... Not pleased to be reminded of W, either!

I don' 9:31 AM  

Hey @TreeDweller - Did you notice you have a Start Trek video where it should have been a Star Wars video? Did you notice that on Thurs you had a picture of Andy Sipowitz where it should have been a picture of SLIVOWITZ?

Thoracic 9:46 AM  

Hey Idon&#39,
Did you notice that it's Star Trek, not Start Trek?

baja 9:47 AM  

Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Loved it! Stuck in a few places - but all water under the bridge

MetaRex 10:02 AM  

Looking forward to watching the ACPT finals in a few hours!

CrossWorld and CrossOver buzz ratings at Gulf of Bothnia

MetaRex 10:04 AM  

Sometimes Google fudging is fun...

A very pleasant fudging surprise

jackj 10:36 AM  

Sophisticated crosswords, like today’s Finn Vigeland creation, shine brightly and deservedly so.

Presenting a Rebuzzle that features seven theme entries (fourteen actually since the down answers forego the strict H2O usage of the across entries and only fit as HHO), and a total of nineteen words that have never before been used in a Shortz era puzzle and we have quite an accomplishment.

The gimmick became clear early on when one down needed to be WITHHOLD but there were two missing squares, WIT___LD but with ___GATESCANDAL being the corresponding entry, (and obviously being WATER, etc.), the HHO magically appeared and the rest of the theme answers became virtual “gimmes”, though fun and clever ones.

Favorite down (HHO) theme entries were ELEVENT(HHO)UR and HEIGH(HHO) while the best of the across, H2O entries, were ON THE (H2O)FRONT and ETHEL(H2O)S.

The sophistication I applauded was most evident in the fill, but right off the bat, with WASP, it was necessary to consider, even though it was clever, whether it could be deemed a pejorative or not, (decision, “not”).

Then, if we take Finn’s ROADSTER for a spin around the grid, we’ll find words like MOTIFS (Rockport, Mass. has a lobster shack in its harbor that has been painted so many times it is known in the art world as “MOTIF No. 1”), TRIPTYCHS (three panel paintings) and AIRBRUSHED (those beautiful playmates aren’t all perfect 10’s) are all sterling nods to the arts.

Not to be outdone, SAFEHARBOR and BLUESKY, MACHINEGUN and IHEARYA, REGALIA and EOLITH, QUIBBLE and TARTINE, STEUBEN and BIGWIG all chip in as excellent examples of more general wordplay.

(And can there be anything more timely than finding HOLYSEE in the puzzle as the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are gathered in Rome to select a new Pope?)

This is an exquisite piece of entertainment, fit for the most discriminating of Sunday solvers.

Thanks, Finn!

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

The W works in the Magmic app! Holy frick was I getting annoyed. The people at Magmic need a swift kick in the butt.

chefbea 11:00 AM  

Tough Sunday puzzle. Could not figure it out, so it was no fun. Did not savor it.

Looking forward to seeing the results and fotos of the tournament

retired_chemist 11:06 AM  

@ webwinger - BORAX is actually the common name for sodium tetraborate, so in a sense it is not a product placement. But "20 Mule Team BORAX" is a brand name, and the only one I know of. It is commonly just called BORAX so in a sense it is.

Same problem as others with getting Mr. Happy pencil to emerge because I filled in the rebus squares in AL as "WATER." Agree that most chemists writing the formula for water without a subscript (say, for example, typing on an old Smith-Corona) would write HOH instead of HHO, since the oxygen is central and both hydrogens are bonded to it. But this is a minor quibble: I found the rebus very clever and no harm done. Except for not being able to note an exact time due to the time (probably 5 minutes) spent trying to find my (non)errors, that is.

Fun new vocab: TARTINE, ENYO, TRACERY, TAMLA. Tired old crossowdese: OVATE, TAE, UMA, AHH. Oh well. Gotta expect some with as ambitious a grid as this.

last letter: Changing TRIPTYTHS to TRIPTYCHS. 55D was TNT, then TNN, then when I realized what 53A was, well, D'oh. AC = Anderson Cooper and somehow I didn't get that. I just thought it was some home improvement show.

Sorry to have seen STEUBEN go. Visited their works several times when we lived in upstate NY, and I started in the era when chemists actually did minor repairs on their Pyrex apparatus themselves.

Enough fresh fill to keep it interesting and a cute rebus - what more can one want? Thanks, Mr. Vigeland.

DocRoss 11:16 AM  

Verrrry easy. I think I'm still in the Magmic top ten! First time ever.

I did stop the clock to find out why HHO didn't work in the rebus squares. But I flew through this one.

My only real head scratcher was TARTINE. I tried a bunch of things there thinking it was wrong before moving on to check on the rebuses (that's almost like SUDSES from yesterday).

orangeblossomspecial 11:19 AM  

This puzzle was fun. I got suspicious at BREAKWATERS and ETHELWATERS when letters didn't fit. Once I got the rebus, everything fell into place.

A trumpeter in the Kay Kyser band was 12D ISH Kabibble.

9A 'When you wore a TULIP' was composed one hundred years ago.

Long before ABBA, Stonewall Jackson recorded 109A'WATERLOO'.

Sandy K 11:43 AM  

I love rebusus (rebi)? so this was a very fun solve!

Got the theme at ETHEL H2O S and loved how MOUT HHO LE filled right in!

All the H2O flowed smoothly and helped with other answers. I had HIG HHO PES of finishing til I got to TARTINE/ ENYO, but got it at the ELEVENT HHO UR!

Enjoyable Sunday, Mr. Vigeland.
Rootin' for ya', Rex!

Carola 11:59 AM  

A real Sunday treat to SAVOR! Great constructing feat matched by great fun in figuring it all out. I started in the NE and caught on to the theme there with ETHEL H2OS. Agog that HHO fits for the Downs!

LIked that there was FIRE/ FEU to go up against all that water. AIR/ SKY adds a third element, but I didn't spot any earth - too bad it wasn't a day for "sod" :)

Nice array of other H2O-related words, too: AQUATICS, HARBOR, ARMADA, LIDO (and the HOLY "SEE").

Z 12:15 PM  

I got the WATER half of the rebus at (WATER)GATE SCANDAL. When the down wasn't obvious I just left the (WATER) square blank and went on. I was about 60% done and still didn't get the (HHO)/(WATER) trick until WIT(HHO)LD finally occurred to me. That finally allowed me to finish up.

So, challenging to medium. That TARTINE/ENYO cross was my last letter as well. I also like the water related bonus answers tossed in, AQUATICS, SHAMU, SAFE HARBOR, BRINE.

For us paper solvers there is nothing to QUIBBLE about, just BLUE SKY and clear sailing.

jbsnadb 12:21 PM  

Two things kept me from successfully breaking the 20 min. mark on this puzzle.

One, was figuring out what my damn iPhone wanted me to put for the rebus. Started with H20 (after realizing the word "water" would not work for both across and down answers) then to HHO to finally reading the comments (I refuse to have a 2+ month completion streak end because the app is screwed up) about the "W."

The second, and Anon 8:10 already brought this up, was the fact that H20 is Hydrogen Hydroxide, and the answers should really be HOH.

joho 12:21 PM  

@chefwen, thanks for alerting me to the LA Times Friday puzzle which was indeed great, but I have to say it didn't dampen the brilliance and surprise of this puzzle one bit!

This is the Sunday of my dreams: a rebus cleverly done, fresh and totally fun.

Happily I guessed the correct N in TARTINE to also get ENYO right. I'm so used to ENYa is was actually nice to learn something new.

Can't wait to find out the final results of the tournament and am also hoping for pictures.

Thank you, Finn! And just a "J" short of a pangram, too!

joho 12:22 PM  

Oh, and Treedweller, loved your writeups: great job!

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Your video is of StarTrek, not Star Wars. The Star Trek theme uses no French horns, but the Star Wars the,e does.

MetaRex 1:14 PM  

Livebloggin' from the ACPT finals herehere

Unknown 1:26 PM  

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syndy 1:28 PM  

I was glad to finally find a home for AQUATICS after having to eject it yesterday for AQUARIA.The sw was my WATERLOO today as *HEARR*A ridiculously refused to resolve for me since I had ERIS and TARTINE was a major wth .Once I realized the holdup to the happy pencil just involved the rebi I punched the stop time button-If he doesn't want to dance forget him!

Milford 1:53 PM  

Fastest Sunday ever for me! I'm sure I am perhaps just improving my times overall, but I also think this was an easier puzzle.

Loved the theme, didn't even care that Magmic wouldn't accept HHO or H2O as the rebus. Like @retired chemist et al. my chemistry background made me want water to be H-O-H.

@Susan - I agree about no more spoilers for the Red Cross puzzles! C'mon people, not all of us have had a chance to do them.

OISK 1:54 PM  

Sailed through this one, and enjoyed it a lot! Always nice to follow a miserable Saturday with a smooth Sunday. Very fine puzzle, with only "tartine" being a guess. Thanks, Finn, now on to the acrostic! (nice day in Brooklyn to sit in the Sun and solve)

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

From an old person..
I remember Lux soap, but had no idea what the dungeons and dragons company was. Idest was unfamiliar too, so i was stuck.

Otherwise, super easy. I got the Rebus immediately from Watergate/withhold.

It all depends on what you know

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

I receive the paper version of the Times, and I am often amazed at the problems solving online when a puzzle includes a rebus. Some of you should write to the NY Times Public Advocate and ask her why the Times charges for a service that is so buggy. All of you should really inundate her with complaints. She is hired to monitor other types of problems, but if enough of you complain to her you might get the attention of someone who can correct the problem.

I am not surprised that, as far as the actual puzzle is concerned, the comments are so favorable. One of the better puzzles.

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

@Susan and @ Milford:
Really? You are upset about a potential spoiler more than outraged at potential plagiarism? One is perhaps a breach of etiquette, the other is a moral wrong.

Maybe standards in the crossword world are not what they are in the academic world, but stealing a significant idea, even if you alter it and enhance it some, is still plagiarizing, and not only morally wrong, but illegal as well. I can't prove it was stolen, but it seems a huge coincidence; since I was being somewhat accusatory I thought I should have the overlapping answers as some proof that it doesn't seem mere coincidence, since two answers are identical.

At worst I "spoiled" 3 answers and 1 clue from a book with well over 1,000 of those and that is more about donating to disaster relief than anything else; whereas the author of today's puzzle is getting lots of praise for the idea, when it seems likely it's not really his.

I don't understand some people's priorities.

As far as the reveals, none of them were going to be a surprise to anyone who did today's puzzle, and if you think they might have been because of different cluing for the two common answers, well, I didn't give away the clues to those answers, so, you can still be surprised; the clue I did give is the theme clue and easily the longest of all and really stands out, so, not much of a give away there either.

Again, you're complaining over bad manners when there's likely been a crime committed. Seriously?

Jeffrey Johnson 2:37 PM  

The puzzle was great, but using the MagMagic iPad app was a frustrating experience. The logical thing with the rebus was to enter HHO for the vertical, and think H2O as WATER for the horizontal.

It rejected the puzzle this way. I figured I must have a mistake and triple checked every cell.

Finally I started playing with the rebus as H2O, WATER, OHH, and other combos that seemed reasonable.

Some comments above have this info, but you need to use a single character W in the rebus cells. It fails with WATER or WW or anything but W.

What really makes this annoying is that the MagMagic support information says that in verfiying a puzzle, only the first letter is significant. If this were true, WATER oubght to have succeeded. Evidently they've botched this up so badly that you must not use a rebus for these cells. Only the single character will do. I did the puzzle in 1hr 15, which for me is pretty quick on Sunday. But by the time I finished playing around trying to get this verified I had over 2 hours on my clock! And I couldn't submit until late sunday morning, over 14 hours after I had completed the puzzle.

I was already thinking of dumping my MagMagic subscription and using the Across Lite iPad app. This is about enough to push me over the edge.

Did Across Lite handle this any better on the iPad?

Bird 2:53 PM  

Fantastic rebus puzzle. HHO and H2O. Two thumbs up. I did not know TRACERY or TARTINE and was skeptical on VIOLET so I thought I might not finish, but the crosses helped me out.

Thank you Finn!

I solve with pen on paper so no Tech issues.


Z 3:04 PM  

@Anonymouse2:21 - Given the timelines, it is highly unlikely that Mr. Vigeland and Ms. Lempel were even aware of the existence of the other's puzzle. On the other hand, there is no doubt that you stupidly put a spoiler out for lots of people who may not have gotten through the Red Cross puzzles. An apology would be accepted, silence preferred.

The Management 3:10 PM  

To the spoilers . . .

At the very least you should preface your post with "SPOILER ALERT" as is common practice on other puzzle blogs.

This way, we can skip over your comments and maybe go back to them later.

Thank you.

Ulrich 3:23 PM  

Again, I'm glad I'm solving on paper and found this enjoyably easy, and very clever.

@Z: I'm completely with you!

@SandyK: Since "rebus" is not a nominative (subject case), but the plural ablative (doesn't exist in English) of "res" (thing), meaning "with things" or "by means of things",
"rebi" is definitely not the plural. It's really "rebuses". Clearly, the term was coined at a time when more people had a working knowledge of Latin.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:40 PM  

(My mind is still spinning a bit, so I can't call up the correct reference, but a few years ago either Matt Gaffney or Brendan Quigley wrote a nice explanation of how similar answers and themes can appear in different crosswords published the same day or within a few days of each other. As @Z points out, plagiarism is highly unlikely.)

I was surprised that, although a few people have at least mentioned it, there was no great uproar over the word ENYO. Valid, of course, but a goddess I had never heard of, and I would imagine many others had not either.

Hate me if you must for the following, but if you need another little push to get to next year's ACPT, consider this (not bragging, just a true story): Between events, some of us who were unfamiliar with Enyo had a very nice chat between events with Finn Vigeland, the constructor. He acknowledged that it might be a minor stumble (which apparently it was) for some solvers, but he had given a lot of attention to that corner, tried several alternatives, but eventually came back to the form published today. And obviously, Will Shortz agreed with his choice.

My point being, it's great to do a Sunday Times crossword and then be able to discuss it face-to-face with the constructor. (Your experience may vary.)

Joseph B 4:06 PM  

Very nice puzzle. Picked up the theme only after I had CARBONATED_ filled in.

Despite my Catholic upbringing, I put in HIGHSEE for HOLYSEE, which made the NW a complete mystery. Finally had my aha moment when running through the alphabet on the incorrect _IRTS elicited nothing. (FORTS, as it turned out.)

Blew it on the SAN_/SCH_TT crossing, just as jae above predicted. Had put in SANE on my first run-through, and SCHETT seemed believable enough, especially since every other cross confirmed my (wrong) answer.

As Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much." Typical of a Sunday for me, sadly.

sanfranman59 4:13 PM  

Entering 'H' in the rebus squares works also. I don't understand why it didn't accept 'HHO' since that type of entry has been acceptable in previous rebus puzzles. Like others, I lost a couple of minutes trying to figure out if I had any of the fill wrong or if it wasn't accepting what I entered in the rebus squares. Other than that, it was a fun Sunday.

I'm sure that the online solve times are adversely affected by this, so the ratings I post will be skewed toward the challenging end of the scale.

Unknown 4:15 PM  

De-lurking to put in my 2c as a professional musician (and lame solver). The Star Wars theme most associated with the French horn is Luke's theme, the one that accompanies the shot of the two suns setting over the desert in Tattoine. There are like twelve people on the planet that can play the horn like that. I rewind every time :)

retired_chemist 4:48 PM  

@ Anonymous 2:21 - You could do nothing about the putative plagiarism today. Or probably ever. You could, however, and apparently did, spoil a puzzle for some readers of this blog. If you wanted to b***h about it you could have waited with no effect on any conceivable outcome from your b***hing until it wasn't a spoiler anymore.

Try to behave better next time. Think first.

Tita 5:08 PM  

Squinting my eyes while getting here, since I have not yet done Sunday...
Just to say ACPT was a blast, and I will soon post pics and the "Epic Wrong Answers" from the event.

Was great to see everyone!!!

fvigeland 5:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
fvigeland 5:19 PM  

I'm pleased to see that for the most part (technical glitches aside, and I don't have any control over that!), people seem to have been enjoying this one. It was great fun to see many of you solving it at ACPT this weekend. Congrats to everyone who participated!

Just want to point out this puzzle was conceived in 2010, and after constructing it on-and-off for two years, it was accepted in August 2012—before Hurricane Sandy even hit.

Happy solving to all!

mhpbohica 5:20 PM  

the W for rebus thing drove mad long into the night. Even re-solved puzzle on blackberry, which has worked once before when the IPad version choked on a rebus. Whoever figured out "W" and posted, thank you!!! What possessed you to try that; it is so totally illogica.

Sandy K 5:25 PM  

@Ulrich- A couple of commenters attempted to be humorous by using "rebi"- perhaps in the same spirit that some like to pluralize "anonymous" by writing "anonymice". It was just intended as a joke, which obviously fell flat. But thanks for the info on rebuses.

I'll go out on a limb again and say that @treedweller used a pic of Sipowitz as a play on SLIVOVITZ, a la our sardonic leader.

Anonymous 5:33 PM  

Don't understand the answer for 106 across.

Suzy 5:41 PM  

Nice write-up and very fun puzzle! I love the aha moment when the rebus finally dawns! BTW,
doesn't anyone work the puzzle in the actual NYT magazine?? You'd be surprised how much
else is in it, not to mention the Times itself!

Bob Kerfuffle 5:55 PM  

@Anonymous 5:33PM - " 'Cuz" is short for "because" as in "I did it 'cuz I wanted to."

Unknown 5:58 PM  

test - Ellen S encouraged/embarrassed me into setting up a profile with her post on Friday.

Anonymous 5:58 PM  

Thanks: I had "bobo" instead of "bozo" which is the Spanish word for a dolt or idiot.

chefbea 5:59 PM  

@Suzy I do the puzzle in the magazine. And read the whole sunday paper. I download the puzzles the rest of the week

GILL I. 6:00 PM  

I'm Late to this party but enjoyed it while it lasted.
Caught on pretty quickly at HHOGATE SCANDAL.
Lots of great words, lots of fun.
Was the ACPT this weekend?

Ulrich 6:11 PM  

@Sandy K: Sorry for not getting it--I hate it when that happens to me. I took the "?" as indication of a question you wanted answered and was apparently too happy to oblige...

Sfingi 6:18 PM  

I suspected a rebus early on. Then, was it Water, HO or HOO? Finally fell into place.

Had drop dead rather than TROU for a while.

I resemble that remark, WASP, but must say that it has been calculated that 1/8 of the US population is descended from the Mayflower Separatists, and many quite mixed. Probably the most prolific were John Howland and wife, Elizabeth Tilley. The had 10 kids, none of whom died youg, and 88 grandchildren. Howland was an indentured servant and carpenter - and my ancestor. To say directis redundant, by the by.

sanfranman59 6:36 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 6:15, 6:10, 1.01, 60%, Medium
Tue 9:30, 8:23, 1.13, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:43, 10:59, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium
Thu 17:31, 17:17, 1.01, 57%, Medium
Fri 24:05, 22:14, 1.08, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 26:15, 24:59, 1.05, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Sun 25:12, 29:29, 0.85, 23%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:47, 3:41, 1.03, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:33, 4:52, 1.14, 82%, Challenging
Wed 5:36, 6:22, 0.88, 18%, Easy
Thu 9:26, 9:56, 0.95, 34%, Easy-Medium
Fri 14:46, 12:33, 1.18, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 17:46, 14:38, 1.21, 88%, Challenging
Sun 20:34, 19:31, 1.05, 62%, Medium-Challenging

As I said earlier, I wouldn't put much credence in today's online solve time ratings. The nominal number of solvers who posted times (147 vs. an average of 238 since last July's subscription policy change) suggests that people had trouble figuring out how to enter the rebus square. As a result, the All Solvers rating is probably an underestimate of the puzzle's difficulty and the Top 100 rating is probably an overestimate. So let's call it a Medium Sunday.

Anonymous 6:47 PM  

The charge of plagarism is absurd. This puzzle has probably been sitting on Will's desk for over six months, well before Rex's American Red Crossword was conceived.

Alleging plagarism in print is libel.

LaneB 6:51 PM  

Got the WATER part of the rebus but far
Led when trying to insert H2O. The 2 fouls things up royally. Thus, logged a DNF unusual for a Sunday. And HEIGHO? Coulld not even find that spelling on Google! All in all the whole exercise pissed me off, so I do
D the Acrostic to repair my ego.
What does "rebus" mean?

Sandy K 6:52 PM  

@Ulrich- I totally see that the way I wrote it, it was ambiguous and I thank you for your kindness in answering what you thought was my question!

Sandy K

Unknown 7:05 PM  


A rebus is a square that contains a word or run of letters, instead of following the strict 1 letter per square rule. Like today's WATER or HHO.

Occasionally, a discussion flares up here that a true rebus can only be a picture representing something, and by strict definition, that's probably true. But what I said above is how it's commonly used in crossword puzzles.

mac 7:11 PM  

@Ulrich: I do that all the time, I take everything and everyone literally....

Can't believe I actually finished this fun puzzle after all the other puzzling we've done over the last few days!
I should have done it early this morning, I would not have had my one mistake in puzzle #7: instead of Hattie McDaniel I had Fattie.... Thankfully it did not make it into Tita's list!

It was a great puzzle weekend and I encourage everyone to make the effort to come next year!

Nameless 7:23 PM  

Great puzzle. Love the "double-rebus" with H2O going across and HHO going down. Ingenious. Some unknowns in the grid, but gettable from crosses - perfect.

OK, so I guess Rex will now be known as the 40th greatest solver ever? And be known by *40 now?

Congrats to all the solvers and I can't wait to see pics.

Ulrich 8:27 PM  

@mac, tita, Bob et al: I have been following your progress for the last two days, and I am greatly impressed (@mac: I was worried for a while bec of the missing score for one of the puzzles, but that got straightened out in the end). It's exactly because you did so well that can't convince myself to join you the next time around--I know someone has to be last, but I don't see why it has to be me!

Milford 8:32 PM  

I am still amused that I have my priorities so out of whack :)

Thank you @fvigeland for stopping by, sorry you felt you had to defend yourself. It was really a smooth, lovely puzzle!

mac 8:42 PM  

@Ulrich: we are the most carefree of them all because we have the best excuse: it's our second language. If there are any people behind us we are ahead. That's how I look at it. anyway... If I look at all!

treedweller 9:13 PM  

Boy, is my face red! There are two STAR XXXX movies? Sorry for the confusion.

@mac and @Ulrich (and @Tita et al.) Knowing how long it took me to get moderately proficient at the NYT puzzle, and knowing as many smart Americans as I do who would never even attempt it, I am endlessly amazed by those of you who solve it having learned English as a secondary language. Timers be damned! That's impressive.

Ulrich 9:24 PM  

@treedweller: Thank you. What's holding me back, actually (aside from a cognitive predisposition that I have come to believe is the most important facet and that I clearly do not have) is not so much the language, but the cultural (in the broadest sense of the term) background (American sports, old sitcoms, you name it). And not watching TV doesn't help, either!

Ulrich 9:25 PM  

@treedweller: Thank you. What's holding me back, actually (aside from a cognitive predisposition that I have come to believe is the most important facet and that I clearly do not have) is not so much the language, but the cultural (in the broadest sense of the term) background (American sports, old sitcoms, you name it). And not watching TV doesn't help, either!

Janet Falk 9:33 PM  

I LOVED this theme, on paper. Got it quickly at withhold. Husband, a biologist, took longer to pick up the theme.

nurturing 9:34 PM  

Loved this puzzle! Got the theme with the very first theme clue (that doesn't happen often!) and enjoyed looking for all the water/HHO answers after that.

I always do the puzzle in the printed magazine with my favorite puzzle pen. I wait for the paper to be delivered, then happily remove the blue plastic bag it comes in, and ferret out the magazine.

Then, a cup of coffee accompanies me and the mag upstairs, back to bed, where, on my lapdesk (that soft pillow-backed desk that's great for use in bed) I place the magazine, get out my glasses, and turn to the puzzle.

Smoothing the crease as I fold the magazine over to the right page, I note the name of the constructor and the title. Then, listening to classical music, I dig in!

Afterwards, and sometimes into the following day, I read the rest of the magazine, as does my husband (who does not participate in the doing of the puzzle).

There. This is my reply to the commenter who wondered whether anyone did the puzzle in the actual print magazine.

I do, and it starts off my week perfectly. :)

Miss Prim 9:40 PM  

@nurturing -

:>) Oh, dear, your description of doing the puzzle is so sensual! It stirs in me a fevered desire for a new Sunday magazine and a new puzzle! ;>)

Anonymous 10:38 PM  

In the list of theme clues, you didn't mention 51D - Bathhouse which linked into On the Waterfront.

A typical Guy 10:44 PM  

@Nurturing - My solve experience is somewhat akin, but significantly different, from yours.

I get my paper, remove the wrapping, get a cup of coffee and take it back to bed. So far, so similar.

I then first peruse the paper, hoping for a fashion insert, where look for the lady's underwear ads would be in glorious color. When I'm finished, I drink my coffee then do the puzzle.

Bird 11:22 PM  

Let's see . . .

I'm a guy who is married to a wonderful wife and a proud father of two wonderful sons. My Sunday mornings usually start out with a "good morning" to each person as we stir from our bedrooms. Then I make my way to the kitchen to make some coffee. As I wait for the coffee to be ready, I retrieve the paper from the driveway. I remove the paper from its protective sleeve, sort through the sections and locate the magazine. I take that and the coffee to the dining room table. There I sit and enjoy my coffee while I fill in the answers to the New York Times puzzle.

jberg 11:23 PM  

We're on vacation on Captiva, so I didn't get to this until the end of the day. Fortunately, it was easy enough to do while I cooked up some chicken. I got the theme with HHOGATE SCANDAL, and the rest was easy - the fill was already pretty easy, except for the diabolical "Dutch flower" - of course, I was racking (wracking?) my brain for a river there until I finally decided to try the obvious, and immediately got confirmation from our old friend UMA.

It's been a long day, time to turn in. Go Rex!

nurturing 11:37 PM  

Thanks for the responses to my description of Sunday puzzle day! They were such fun to read. :)

PatKS 11:44 PM  

Got it at title condensation-knew it was water related. Confirmed at withhold.

New words:
Tartine, tamla, eolith, tracery, sano? and who the heck is enyo?

Knew violet cuz I'm an NYU alum.

Fun and quick and on paper. Boo ipads made by suicidal slaves at Foxconn.

Good luck Rex- love you!!!

acme 12:07 AM  

Just wanted to chime in that I loved this and loved Young Finn even more...meeting him at the ACPT was one of the many highlights.
He's all of 20, smart, sweet, funny, charming, dimples to die for...and wished I had a daughter his age or he had a single father (neither the case... and cougar comments aside, I continue to be floored that someone his age can create something like this, but his third puzzle in the midterms yet!!!)

The plagiarism thing is upsetting of course. Obviously he submitted this over a year ago and prob poor Lynn Lempel (whom I had so hoped to meet as she had Puzzle One this year, plus we had our fifth annual women constructrix breakfast) but she was not there.
(Paula G and La Liz, Nancy Schuster and Helene Hovanec were at the ACPT but were absent due to official duties, but nice show of Amy "Orange" Reynaldo who organized it all, Carolyn Stewart, our own Puzzle Girl Angela Halsted Olson, (who had her solo debut this past few weeks), Deb Amlen who was her own delightful self and treated us to NYT pencils, young Aimee Lucido (who is really making a mark in the new outlets), The Karen Tracey and myself)

My guess is Lynn submitted her equally brilliant-great-minds-sometimes-think-alike puzzle, Will said "shame, I have one just like this in the pipeline" and when @Rex put out a call for puzzles for the Red Cross book, she decided that it would find a perfect home there...water theme, etc.

I did the same with a rejected puzzle I was told was solid and delightful and no problems but "no thank you" (!!???!!) so I was thrilled when included in the Red Cross book edited by Patrick B.

Finn should not have had to have one moment of "his day" spoiled by having to respond to ignorant insult... ("ignorant" in the literal sense not in the flame-throwing one). It is his day to bask in this fantasticness!!!!

@Bob K is right, it's extraordinary to have have the chance to discuss face-to-face with the constructors of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday puzzles who what where of the puzzle you just finished solving! (Not to mention the puzzles that were in the tournament itself)

How odd that "Tartine" is also called an Ulrich sandwich!!! We did miss him. And @Mac always had class and a Euro-flair to any event is such a warm presence. I would have hung with the @rex crowd more but their hangout seemed to be a bar, my least favorite venue (after a football stadium!)

Anyway, still high, exhausted, pleased with everything, but esp this puzzle, the only thing I had a chance to solve in the last 3 days!!!
I was blown away by it, but now realize two wrong squares TRACERy and SANe/SCHeTT. I knew SCHeTT sounded wrong but the alternative seemed to be SCHaTT and SCHitt so I let it be!

Anyway I'm a BIG FANN of FINN and this puzzle was FUNN!!!!

A typical Guy 12:56 AM  

@Nurturing - You do realize that I elided over the part where I pleasured myself as part of my Sunday morning ritual, right?

Unknown 8:23 AM  

Was hoping to see a change of heart update from the Anonymous plagiarism poster. Didn't see it, but so glad to read Andrea's recap, and her wonderful enthusiasm for Finn and the puzzle.

Tita 8:33 AM  

What a quandary... Bask in the very kind comments, or out myself...
Yes, technically, English is my second language. Yes, I did have to become naturalized to become a citizen, and therefore can never be President.
But I was born in this country, and started speaking English at a very early age, and in fact speak it better than my native Portuguese.
I always joke that I would like to enter a competition in the ESL category, as only then could I stand a chance.

@Ulrich - I am so glad that I did not know that anyone other than me (except for maybe puzzle Mom) were looking at my "progress".

The way I look at it, having come in at #502 last year, set me up for a HUGE improvement - I jumped 113 points!! Ha! See how much more joy I got out of that, then someone who went from say 17th to 15th place?

@Everyone - be there next year!

(btw - I don't think I got that much better in a year - I just think I honed my speed-solving strategy. Which basically is, forget the clock, just be right.)

Am expecting a houseful of French friends in a few hours - need to do the dusting!

Tita 8:36 AM  

Forgot to mention the puzzle!
May be up there as my favorite double-rebus puzzle ever! How mind-bendingly clever. Got it at [WATER]LOO.
I like to draw the object in the rebus square - after much thought, decided to draw a water droplet in each square.

Like @ret_chem, was sad when Steuben closed its doors.

Loved clue for CUZ, and the 20/20 - 20-20 pair.

Thank you Mr. V!

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Loved this puzzle. I never did figure out how to get my ipad app to accept my answers. Nevertheless, there was great satisfaction in solving most answers correctly on the first run through. Got it at freshwater pearls and eleventh hour. Clever and entertaining. As for spoilers vs plagiarism, frankly they're both bad and being upset at the one doesn't preclude being upset at the other. Come on, no one wants to read flamethrowers on this blog.

rain forest 7:32 PM  

Solving with pen on paper, so no prob with simply entering H2O. Left the square blank at the watergate/withhold cross, but when I got to carbonated water, I got it and went quickly after that. I was very fascinated by the therme and the way it was carried out. So seamless, smooth, elegant. I have to say that when such a feat is executed, I get a little testy when nitpickers have to point out that, OMG, there is some crosswordese in there! Here, I just didn't notice, so enjoyable was the solve. Well done!!

Dirigonzo 4:45 PM  

@rain forest - very well said indeed. IHEARYA!

PP and I caught on to the rebus at CARBONATEDH2O but it took a while longer to figure out how it worked in the crossword. It's both literally and figuratively true that we finally got it at the ELEVENTHHOUR. We finished with an error, i.e. IDsay instead of IDEST; we knew it was wrong after SAFEHARBOR appeared, we just forgot to go back and fix it.

deejay 1:50 AM  

In my high school chemistry class, water was H2O and HOH. HHO wasn't a term the teacher used.

J.aussiegirl 10:36 AM  

A wonderfully satisfying puzzle; absolutely the correct dose of "what is going on?", positive answers that have to be fit in to not enough squares, to that aha moment when the "hho" just has to cross with "water" - congratulations Finn V.

New to posting any blog although I have read this one fairly regularly since discovering the site a couple of years ago. I do the syndicated puzzle on paper of course and, since I retired, completing the puzzle and reading the blogs is my morning "office time" then I get the day going.

Dirigonzo 1:59 PM  

@J.aussiegirl - It's always nice to see new arrivals in our little corner of Rexville, and I hope you'll return often.

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