Beer brand owned by Pabst / 5-1-13 / Trek ending in Mecca / Chekhovian sister of Masha Irina / J'adore fragrance maker

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: LEI / DAY (39A: With 41-Across, annual May 1 celebration) — circled squares form a kind of ring, in which LEI is spelled out repeatedly. Two other theme answers are stuck in the NE and SW corners, respectively:
  • 9A: Word heard on 39-/41-Across (ALOHA)
  • 70A: Performances on 39-/41-Across (HULAS)
Word of the Day: PIELS (31D: Beer brand owned by Pabst) —
Piels Beer, aka Piel Bros. Beer and Piel's Beer, is a regional lager beer, originally brewed in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York, at 315 Liberty Avenue. Piels, in its present incarnation, is generally regarded as an inexpensive beer. (wikipedia)
• • •

I'm legitimately mystified as to how a puzzle this poorly filled gets published. It's laughable. I stopped *three* answers in, at the ALOU / ALIA crossing, and thought "Oh boy, this does not bode well ..." And it didn't. Never mind that *all* the theme material is itself crosswordese—I guess it's LEI / DAY (did not know that), and there's a ring in the puzzle, sort of LEI-shaped, so ... fine. It's a dull theme, but you can have it. And yet why in the world are we subjected to so much manifest garbage? Lots and lots and lots of tired material, and then a bunch of stuff you should never see except in emergencies. SERIE? (25D: Something watched on télévision) FELID!?!!?! (34A: Member of the cat family) No idea what the hell PIELS is. YEOWS (pl?) crossing YIPE? APLOT crossing AFLOW (?) in close proximity to AGLARE? YALEU? Then there's the south. I mean, EEO next to IER? The whole grid just reeks of not caring. One of my good crossword friends (who also Hates bad fill) thinks last Tuesday's was much worse, and while that puzzle was indeed not good, I disagree. That one had some howlers, but the theme was more interesting, and there was less garbage overall. Also, this puzzle, unlike last week's, is ... let's just say "not a debut."

I am finishing up my 17th-century Lit course next week, so I have a certain fondness for JAMES II (4D: King replaced by William and Mary). FILMDOM is not bad, and it's hard to hate LUMMOX (58A: Clodhopper), which is a great word. BE AN ANGEL is kind of an interesting phrase, and LOVERLY is cute. Oh god, I just noticed EELERS (51D: Fishers with pots) and now the very tenuous good-feelings spell has been broken. Sorry. I got nothing left to say about this puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

BEAN ANGEL, BEAN ANGLE, O Would you be mine...

jae 12:11 AM  

Medium for me too.   All female constructors so far this week.  Maybe Will is trying to balance the recent long male run.  

Never heard of LEI DAY either and I'm with Rex on the fill, but the ring of LEIs is kinda campy.  I took this as a tongue-in-cheek homage to a classic piece of crosswordese so I liked it more than Rex did. 

Also never heard of PIELS and FELID.  No real erasures, just a letter here and there.

Saved by the theme cross:  AMALIE/ESSAI  I might have stuck with ESSAy even though I've seen AMALIE before.

dmw 12:13 AM  

Like Rex, I was equally horrified by the fill. The only thing that was worse was that I knew all of it.

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

Yeah, pretty rough fill overall, but I did like the theme a little more than Rex. I hope if I ever get a puzzle published that it will be received more favorably here though =P

dmw 12:16 AM  

And I used to drink Piels beer as an underage kid growing up in Yonkers. It was really cheap stuff.

okanaganer 12:16 AM  

When I hit the fourth product name in about the first minute I felt like just forgetting the puzzle: DIOR, PURELL, AFLAC all occur in the first column. Plus the dumb abbr.'s..."Institute, eg: Abbr." = SCH... ick. Had DUMMOX instead of LUMMOX for a bit.

It might have been mildly interesting if the constructor could have formed the letters L E I with the black squares?...

retired_chemist 12:54 AM  

This seemed easy but when I first looked at the timer it was past 7 minutes. At that point it felt like about 2:30. So maybe it was harder than it felt.

Had Jessica ALBA for 18A - at least I have heard of her. BIEL, no. With PROA for 5A and NO, NO for 15A, Minnesota was a disaster for a while.

Otherwise it was generally smooth sailing. However, Rex is right about the fill.

Z 1:04 AM  

Yesterday's "go right to the honeymoon?" Becomes today LEI DAY.

What is worse? SSTS crossing PSSTS or EELERS? FELID!

I wanted to ogle OLGA but it didn't work.

@Tita - in case you missed it, the clearer word can be entered as 42, the curvy word is the captcha.

long suffering mets fan 1:17 AM  

Off nyt topic, but a heads up for fellow puzzle afficianados

Saturdays LA times by Brad Wilber and last weeks WSJ by Alice Long - Double Crossers, were both fun and challenging

Well, its May 1st and it looks like the Mets are done already. For the 26th year in a row - WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR

Enjoy the puzzles - peace and out

JFC 1:17 AM  

Rex said, "So why in the world are we subjected to so much manifest garbage."

Shouldn't that have a "?" at the end?

Other than that, I enjoyed the commentary. And then I wondered what Rex had against Paula....


Ellen S 1:23 AM  

@Z I can't wait to try out your captcha tip!

As for the puzzle, well, I never heard of PIELS. After I looked it up, I still never heard of it. Before that, I had YElpS for 32D, and never having heard of PIELS some of that was blank; so 48 Across, Running, was AF_Op. I didn't even care by then, wanted to put in "AFoOp," which looked like a nice word to invent. "I saw some EELs in the puzzle and took off, all afoop in my haste to escape them."

Okay, here goes the captcha.

John Hoffman 1:26 AM  

Too much obscure stuff here. Editor probably thought that, with all the circled square give-aways, that the weird stuff was within limits.

I'll just say: Ouch.

chefwen 2:32 AM  

@Ellen S - Try some smoked eel on top of a sushi roll, you might change your mind. Delish!

Of course I loved this one. Tomorrow on my way into town I will see a hundred Lei stands selling them, homemade. Big day here. What you won't see, is me doing the hula. Count your blessings.

Aloha Clair Meals 2:55 AM  

LEI DAY ...who knew? Seems rather inventive!

I read right to left, so for me it was LIE LIE LIE LIE


Clark 3:10 AM  

So the puzzle was on the weak side, but I hardly noticed it because I was thinking of Chefwen and remembering fondly my visit to Hawaii.

JenCT 3:48 AM  

I'm with @dmw: PIELS was a cheap beer for underage drinking.

It was a regional lager brewed in Brooklyn, NY. If you're not familiar with it, you're not missing anything, trust me.

JenCT 3:53 AM  

Oh, and @Z and @ retired_chemist from yesterday: Thanks for the captcha tip! Yes, you can enter anything for the vertical word, but the curvy word is the actual captcha.

syndy 4:10 AM  

Yes for LIE LIE LIE! YIPE! not LOVERLY-a answer AHNO.

Acme 4:35 AM  


Gareth Bain 4:42 AM  

Horrendously subpar fill? Indubitably. But to claim "not caring" and "not demanding" is grossly inaccurate. Putting that many squares in a circular arrangement is a lot more constraining that it seems, no matter what letters you use... I learned that the hard way with a rejected SALMONRUN puzzle with salmon running diagonally upstream...

Loren Muse Smith 6:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bluesman 6:47 AM  

May first is also Law day, and if you go around the circle clockwise, it spells lie over and over. Circle of lies?

Anonymous 7:04 AM  

Piel's beer was very well known in New York in the '50s because of its TV advertising campaign featuring the voices of Bob and Ray coming from the cartoon characters Bert and Harry Piel. As the popularity of the ads increased, Piel's would buy space in the Daily News on the TV page to let us know when the ads would run.

Anonymous 7:13 AM  

Easy, except that I too am celebrating Law Day, begun by Charles Rhyme, a fascinating legal mind who self-published his autobiography some years ago. He was a long-time friend to Richard Nixon and defended Rosemary Woods (Rex, hope you're not too young to know that name!) The photos included in the book looked like Zelig. He's in a photo of all the major political figures of the twentieth century, both foreign and domestic. He died in his 90s, drowned in a swimming pool. What a way to go.

mac 7:16 AM  

My favorite moment was when I finally saw "be an angel".

Paula always sticks in some French, which helps me a lot. Felid was new to me, seriously considered putting an X in Ivan's last name. Expressions like Yipe and Yeows always give me a hard time, both in meaning and spelling.

Sees after seems a little odd, isn't it "looks after" or "sees to".

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

Law Day was begun by Charles Rhyne. Spell-check preferred Rhyme.

OTD 7:26 AM  

Agree with Rex. What else can be said? Did like BEANANGEL, LUMMOX, LOVERLY, but the rest of the fill was about a "blah."

Loren Muse Smith 7:35 AM  

I really thought this was a *huge* purposeful misdirect, as I immediately put in “May” DAY and clung to it until the LEIs started falling. I was going for the May Pole vibe and wondering how that was going to pan out in the circles. I loved doing that ribbon dance pole thing in elementary school in Chattanooga. Good times.

ASS and LUMMOX, YIPE/YEOWS – nice pairs.


Bleedover from Monday – BIEL’S PIELS?

Gotta go feed my NEEDY FELID.

GILL I. 7:46 AM  

Lots of A words considering the theme was all LEI.
Not my favorite PG. It felt like something she might have put together on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
SERIE is also Spanish and I thought really, how many people are going to get that?

Unknown 7:49 AM  

About medium Wed. for me. What everyone else said about the fill. Initially thought mayDAY also.

I agree with Gareth about Rex's "not caring" comment. It may not be great fill, but to introduce the idea that the constructor doesn't care is baseless and therefore not a valid criticism.

Anyone notice the picture of Paula Gamache on that a LEI she's wearing on her head? Conspiracy?

ZenMonkey 7:50 AM  

I went in prepared -- thank you, Rex -- but YIPE/YEOWS still gave me a conniption.

jberg 8:15 AM  

When I was a young radical, we used to march with red flags on May DAY, so I wanted that, but "May" was in the clue, so no dice. (Now I'm an old radical, too lazy to march). But until I got ALOHA and HULA, I never thought of LEI DAY, so put me down in the "circle of LIEs" column.

So - lots of theme squares, (a plus), though the particular letters led to things like BIEL and PIELS. Also lovely EELs, or rather those who bring us the delicious things. (I was so disappointed when the EE_ a couple days ago turned out to be EEG). But AFLOW? No.

Also, wondering about how one decides to put make the circle read counterclockwise? Do you try it the other way first, and then redo the whole puzzle when you can't make that work? Or is there some reason for it having to do with Hawai'i or LEI DAY?

Hey, I'm back to numbers!

joho 8:17 AM  




ILLPAY, BEANANGEL and LUMMOX are LOVERLY (these seem to be this puzzle's favorite words).

When I first saw the grid I thought ring around the rosy! I liked being surprised that LEI DAY exists and really enjoyed the ring of LEIS and the bonus words: ALOHA, HULA.

I'm not sure if this is a "wink wink" to crosswordese or not, but in the end, crosswordese and all, I enjoyed this a lot more than @Rex!

(@Gareth Bain: SALMONRUN puzzle with salmon running diagonally upstream... now that's something I would have liked to see!)

jackj 8:31 AM  

About as much fun as wallowing in a vat of tepid poi, strumming this Hawaiian holiday’s official song, “May Day is LEI DAY in Hawaii”, on a hopelessly out of tune ukulele (tuned to Acme’s “My dog has lice”), hoping to entice Bloody Mary’s slightly obese cousin, Banana Split, to jump in and wreath me with a welcoming LEI made of PIELS pop-tops instead of wildly shaking her booty while performing a hot-blooded HULA meant to charm hapless Haoles, (in town seeking Polynesian nirvana, known locally as AMALIE YALEU), into willingly showering her with Western Union money orders.

Will, to paraphrase Johnny Paycheck, you should have taken this puzzle and spiked it.


Unknown 8:38 AM  

Not my all. Nasty fill with nasty clues. Would like to make a joke about having a good lei, but just can't. Glad it's over. Sorry!

MetaRex 8:41 AM  

I got grumpy in the E when I couldn't come up w/ PIELS and had A PLAN and YELPS instead of A PLOT and YEOWS.

Two parts today...first, the standard solving story and reax...LEI LIE LAW MAY DAY

Second, my line on whether this should have been returned for more work...Send Lei Day Back to the Shop? The MR Verdict

John V 8:44 AM  

Whenever I see Pabst, I always trot out this tired bit:

There once was a lass named Anheuser
Who swore that no man could surprise her.
But Pabst took a chance
Found Schlitz in her pants
And now she is sadder


Carola 9:24 AM  

I'm in the "like circles" camp, and when I saw Paula Gamache's name, I went in with high hopes. At the end, I didn't exactly SCOWl, but I've liked other puzzles of hers much more than this one. The theme seemed a little thin to me, despite the number of circles, and after EELERS and YALEU my look at the grid was A GLARE.

Caught on to the theme with ALOHA and a few circles filled in, so went ahead and completed the ring of LEIs. Had trouble with which JAMES it was and got faked out by the "Gray head," which I was sure was GEE, as in "You can't fool me this time." On the bright side, I do like LOVERLY connecting ALOHA with the LEI.

lawprof 9:34 AM  

On the other hand...this was one in which picking up the theme was essential to (my)completing the puzzle. The entire Middle Atlantic (the YIPE, ELO, AFLOW, PIELS,YEOWS mess) would never have fallen for me but for the upside-down LEI that gave me a toehold. So, although much of the fill may have been whatever-everyone-else-is-sayin', this worked for me because the theme was so much a part of the solve.

Matthew G. 9:38 AM  

Rex has on the whole been too negative lately, but this? There was nothing about this puzzle that I liked.

Please. Lighter themes and better fill, Will.

chefbea 9:40 AM  

@John V..that was great!!

Wanted May Day from the beginning and was trying to figure out where the May pole was. Finally figured it out.

What foods do we eat on Lei Day...@Chefwen

M Leddy 9:50 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Leddy 9:53 AM  

I think Piels might have had better commercials than beer, with Bob and Ray as Harry and Bert, the Piels brothers.

Is anyone else bugged by 40-Down, ESSAI? If the clue ("Montaigne work") has no French, is a French word a legit answer?

JFe 9:57 AM  

Colt45 for this girl in Yonkers

baja 10:03 AM  

Not usually as hard on puzzles as Rex but really didn't like this one. Half a point for the Lei's and Lei Day - kinda cute.

John V 10:14 AM  

Oh yes. Initially had MERDE for 25D. Anyone else?

NYer 10:16 AM  

Can someone please xplain "lee" for "gray head"?

evil doug 10:17 AM  

"Horrendously subpar fill? Indubitably. But to claim "not caring" and "not demanding" is grossly inaccurate. Putting that many squares in a circular arrangement is a lot more constraining that it seems, no matter what letters you use."

Precisely. So don't do it.

This constructor decided her egotistical trick was more important than creative and original fill, and she's paying the price. Perhaps, based on today's comments, future creators will realize that a momentary 'ooooh' from the puzzling community over a useless gimmick isn't worth the lousy aftertaste left in its wake.


Unknown 10:21 AM  

@NYer - Lee as in RE Lee, the Confederate (gray) army head.

Melodious Funk 10:29 AM  



Made my day, thanks.

Notsofast 10:31 AM  

Wow. Just wow. Nearly every word was a stunner. But not in a good way. This could have been a first attempt by an ESL student. Sorry.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Why are you blaming the constructor, evil doug?

Clearly the editors of the NYT thought this puzzle was good enough for print. If my crosswordese-stacked puzzle is going to be printed, then I have almost no incentive to make it better. I get paid either way.

Sandy K 10:39 AM  

Wanted to put in May DAY, but May is in the clue, so had to say 'UH NO...' to that.

Had a feeling this puzz would not be ANOINTED by Rex. And there would be plenty of YEOWS and YIPES at the fill, esp the A- words...

But I kinda liked the ring of LEIs plus HULAS and ALOHA.

BIEL'S PIELS Good one @LMS !
@JohnV- Funny!

NYER 10:39 AM  

@Rob. Oh yes, I see it now. thanks!

Eric 10:48 AM  

@Loren: BIEL’S PIELS? Genius.

Best Crossing: LUMMOX / FILMDOM. Both excellent, fun-to-slowly-pronounce words. As an amateur etymologist, I love the the M progression in FILMDOM...the "dom" suffix in particular is a personal favorite.

Biggest Confusion: Isn't the ACLU concerned with 14th Amendment Rights? Civil Liberties and such? I understand how the Free Speech can tie in here...but, I don't know...I would have clued 56D differently.

Worst Crossing: YIPE / YEOWS. Two reasons: a) Isn't the term YIPE(s)? Or better yet, "yikes?" b) Beside the fact that YEOW is weak in general, to pluralize it makes it even worse.

Random: Every time I see the word "Sawbucks," I'm reminded of that Jimmy Fallon commercial (for Capital One?) where he imitates a cowboy with a crappy southern accent, saying that he'll save some "sawbucks." Now that'll be in my head all day.


Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Since LEI is itself bad fill, any chance that this was supposed to be a bad-fill theme? LEI Day? It almost felt like a collection of the worst or the worst. Someone would have to actually be trying to make it that bad, right?

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I find it unfortunate that in the 120+ times ELO has appeared in the NYT crossword, it's NEVER been used to refer to the chess rating system, which comes 2nd in Google (the band doesn't even make the top 4).

For that reason, I'm giving this .5 stars out of 5. Would have gladly raised it by half a star if ELO had been clued differently, but alas...

astroman 11:07 AM  

Amen, Rex

AliasZ 11:30 AM  

Rex, I am fLUMMOXed by your scathing review.

I seem to remember a Michael Sharp puzzle not that long ago with the dull theme of STALE, STEEL, STYLE, STOLE, STOOL vowel run and lots of garbage fill, 25 of them threes, that included sparklers like AMT, LPS, DDT, FGS, MSU, NSA, STN, MEOWS (plural), and my favorite: EYEING. I wonder if the constructor for that one just didn't care either.

Compared to that, I enjoyed Paula's LEI theme today a lot more. She knows how to LEI back (or clockwise, LIE back) and relax. Junk fill, schmunk fill.

Happy LEI DAY to all.

jodj 11:51 AM  

I read the circle clockwise as well, but thought lie meant to be horizontal and not to tell untruths. So rather than a circle of lies, I thought the theme was to lie around, which is what I wish I was doing on Lei Day

jae 11:53 AM  

The more I think about this one the more I'm convinced @anon 10:53 that it has to be a joke. I mean its Paula Gamache after all. This much dreck has to be deliberate.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:15 PM  

I stumbled around a lot, including starting with LAW DAY, but I blame all my difficulties on the fact that there was a house fire two blocks away. All those emergency vehicles can be so distracting.

Dan 12:19 PM  

I have to back up Gareth here. Fixed diagonal letters make a puzzle *exponentially* harder to fill cleanly. And there are a crapload of fixed diagonal letters in this design.

Absolutely, the grid could have been better, but not by much. Rex's comments are usually at least fair, but today he comes across as simply ignorant.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:35 PM  

Had me thinkin French atoll day for quite a bit (circle of ILEs). But strongly preferred gettin LEI-ed. With Jessica BIEL on top and Princess LEIA underneath. LOVERLY.

First comment today was primo. Anonymousvdude, tho. So some purists won't get to see it. By the Beanguins, no?

Some top-notch weeject material today:
1. SCH - German librarian's admonition.
2. EEO - Old MacDonald's refrain, when not wishing to be a 65-Down-er.
3. IER - E-go-maniac? (at 65-Down)

Honorable mention to UHNO, a nice debut grunt. Like.

Fairly easy puz, once I got over wanting BILLET for 5-Down. The circles really helped with the solve. Happy LEIDAY, y'all. Never had anyone wish me that, before.

Benko 1:10 PM  

I don't hate FELID as much as some. Seems fair--after all, I've seen canid in tons of puzzles, and it's an interesting word. Could be worse.
Never heard of PIELS either--and I run a beer-reviewing website and have tasted literally thousands of beers.

Bird 1:42 PM  

First, let me say that when I saw the constructor’s name I got a little excited because I love Paula’s puzzles. The circles were also intriguing. Then I solved the puzzle and was left a little disappointed. I didn’t like the reverse LEI sequence of the circles (we read left-to-right), but I guess it was more difficult to construct around that scheme. And nothing to love within the fill, especially YALE U (does anyone say that?), SERIE, AFLOW and AGLARE. Does anyone ask where the BATH (w/o ROOM) is when they need to use the facilities? SUBLET is a noun?

PAPER before EVENS at 19A.

@John V - LOL

Happy Humpday!

John V 1:51 PM  

I thought everyone would want to know that the staff in my regular deli in Albany are all wearing leis today. Aloha, Albany!

Three and out.

Beavis and Butthead 2:10 PM  

@Bird - Don't you mean Happy Get Leied Day?

Snicker, snort.

Lewis 3:05 PM  

@gareth -- I agree completely. Rex spilled over. I'm guessing Lynn tried hard to please.

I found the puzzle to be fairly easy, except for SERIE, YEOWS, AFLOW, and ALEVEL. I guessed right on three of them. Also Naticked at AMALIE/ESSAI -- I thought as clued, 40D could be ESSAY, and I've never heard of Charlotte AMALIE.

I liked BEANANGEL, LUMMOX, the clue for XMAS, and I always like how HADJ looks.

This for me was not a puzzle to remember, but I never had the feeling that the constructor didn't care.

I still think the best crossword experience of the last few years was Patrick Berry's metapuzzle week. That. Was. Amazing.

M and A also 3:06 PM  

p.s. Today's WaPo puz shares tons of dejavuosity with a 2010 NYT puz by Michael Sharp.

Don't recall an official ruling from Ellen on whether EELERS are as bad as EELS, in a puz. I do get the drift on how 4-Oh would vote. Also, could PIELS be a beer made from eels? Is there an EEL DAY? [Post-research note: YES there is! It falls on May 5th, this year! har. I can already visualize the circled squares, snaking thru this Saturday's puz...]

On a higher note: Today's puz was different and fun. That's 90% of the battle, IMO. Sometimes you just gotta run these things up the pole, and see who salutes 'em. Highfivers, here, Paula & Shortzmeister.

Long Island Solver 3:14 PM  

The clue for 38A is not appropriate for a Wednesday puzzle.

And what the hell is OLEIC acid?

I too, had PIELS at a young age. Part time jobs after school & on weekends didn't pay much 30 years ago.

re: captchas - Where are the vertical words? Mine are both horizontal though one is wavy.

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

Guess Rex has different criteria than mere mortals; I liked the puzzle but then again who am I? Just a poor Piels pounder (sob).

JenCT 4:02 PM  

@Long Island Solver: I meant vertical, as in straight - as opposed to curvy.

Piels Beer


Long Island Solver 4:20 PM  

@JenCT - Ohhhhh. Ok.

retired_chemist 5:17 PM  

Re: And what the hell is OLEIC acid?

An 18 carbon straight-chain monounsaturated fatty acid.

@ Benko - if you drink beers worth reviewing, PIELS will be well below your radar. On the order of Genesee or Lone Star IMO. A LONG time since I have seen it, since I don't think it is distributed in Texas.

chefwen 5:18 PM  

@chefbea - Kalua Pork, Teri Chicken and overly mayonnaised Potato Mac Salad. Hold the Poi! In other words, nothing remotely good or good for you.

sanfranman59 5:56 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)

Wed 11:41, 10:07, 1.15, 85%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:35, 5:59, 1.27, 95%, Challenging

Bungerting Baloner 6:02 PM  

"Lei Day" was immediately obvious seeing that I live in Hawaii :)

But that was not enough to make it a good puzzle. I didn't like all the obscure fill either.

triggerfinger 6:02 PM  

I thought for sure the revealer would be an "atoll" for the ring of iles or however you say atoll in French.

chefbea 6:15 PM  

@chefwen Potato/macaroni salad?????

Anonymous 6:32 PM  

I thought it was "circle of lies"!

Z 6:52 PM  

For those who insist that this is a good puzzle:

This puzzle is like a Bruce Rondon fastball. Twenty-one year old Rondon came in today and threw a 101 MPH fastball. That is a remarkable feat. Rondon threw to a batter hitting .144 (this batting average isn't just bad, this is "here's your ticket, have a nice life" bad). The hitter turned the 101 MPH fastball into a triple. The announcer immediately made the point that Rondon needs to learn the art of pitching. The batter ended up scoring and Rondon's team lost the game.

Circles of LEIs, pangrams, rebus puzzles, quad 15s, they are all like that 101 MPH, great if you can do it, but it takes more than that singular feat to win the ball game. FELID, AGLARE, A PLOT, YALE U, A FLOW, AMALIE, ... where's the manager because this pitcher needs to be pulled from the game.

Jeff 7:01 PM  

Piels made a name for themselves way back when they hired the (then) barely known team of Bob and Ray to do their radio spots.

JFC 7:53 PM  

You know what annoys me? No, of course not. Some might say, "Everything!" Well, I post a comment about Rex's sloppy editing and he later changes the text and does not thank me. That is annoying. Actually, that is the only thing that annoys me. Otherwise, I am a very happy person....


PS. Rex's captchas also annoy me.

Dick S 7:55 PM  

What makes a puzzle interesting to me: Overtones ... this on James II:

In the reign of James the Second,
It was generally reckoned
As a rather serious crime
To marry two wives at a time.

Trial by Jury


chefwen 8:03 PM  

@chefbea - Yup, you heard me right, they do a lot of carb loading here. The stuff is gross.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

Thought it was Law Day and the ring was "LIELIELIE" not "LEILEILEI". But whatever

Anonymous 9:07 PM  

Ack! "Do Ya" left me clueless, so 43D ELl seemed ok crossing YElpS, producing, quite poetically, AFLOp to a DNF.

jerry k 9:33 PM  

Heard of Piels (Real Draft) but not A Level, so we're even.

sanfranman59 10:04 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 6:28, 6:14, 1.04, 73%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 6:35, 8:09, 0.81, 3%, Easy (5th lowest ratio of 178 Tuesdays)
Wed 11:36, 10:07, 1.15, 83%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:59, 3:44, 1.07, 82%, Challenging
Tue 4:08, 4:47, 0.86, 8%, Easy
Wed 7:18, 5:59, 1.22, 93%, Challenging

Tita 10:48 PM  

@Z - thanks - every nano-second counts these very busy days, so being able to continue with my '42's will help. And thanks to @Bob K, or was it teh inviible man, for pointing it out a day or 2 ago too...

YIPES - Never knew there was a LEI DAY. YEOWS! (I love those entries...)

@JohnV - groan!

Streaking through the puzzles these days, and through Rexville.
Much more fun to be able to savor.

Ellen S 12:01 AM  

@M and A, I get to make an official ruling on whether EELERS are as bad as EELS? Ooooh. Hmmm, EELERS catch EELS, so, maybe they're good, but they're just as trite, so, no, they're bad.

Actually I was beginning to miss the critters. Hadn't seen any in a puzzle for a couple of weeks. Looking forward to celebrating EEL Day with all the people in Ely for whom A Level is a gimme even if they couldn't pass.

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 2:12 PM  

If its been said already, sorry, but a)I've never heard of Piels beer, which is odd and humiliating. Never once.
b) I disagree w/ HADJ. I've never once seen it spelled like that. I think the most accepted sp. is HAJJ, or HAAJ, and sometimes HAJ, but NOT HADJ.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:27 PM  

@BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) --

Here's an address to add to your bookmarks --

Type in HADJ vs HAJJ and find that your choice is three times more popular on Google - but HADJ still has half a million hits, which makes it, shall we say, plausible.

spacecraft 11:10 AM  

YIPE and YEOWS! This is Paula Gamache?? Hard to believe. I mean, just the theme execution, with all those LEIs plus the corner bonuses, is kinda neat--but at what price? All that's been mentioned--and this: who SEESAFTER anything? No one. It's looks after, as in my favorite film, North By Northwest:

MAID: The guests are here.
VAN DAM: Look after them.

It's okay, Paula, you'll bounce back. We all have bad days.

Red Valerian 1:54 PM  

DNF because my "Gray head?" was gEE, making the duck company AFgAC. Which is a stupid name, but so is AFLAC.

Can't work up the energy to hate this one as much as so many others here. Like BEAN ANGEL. (thanks, first poster)

Red Valerian 1:58 PM  

Tried putting just the squiggly captcha and a "2" for the straight one, and it worked--thanks!

What's the point of having a captcha that doesn't matter? I'm going to try this one without putting in anything for the second one. If this posts, I succeeded!

DMGrandma 3:25 PM  

A lot of strange words here, but oddly, the one I took longest to decode was SEESAFTER. The meaning I took from the clue was something like "is apt to" as in "He tends to be late". I am always amazed at how many meanings seemingly simple English words can have, and the problems that arise from getting stuck on the wrong one. In the long run, I toyed with YipeS and YOWLS, but finally remembered a three letter music group is likely to be ELO. This stuck me with PIELS which was a totally "hope it's right", Must be another back east brand?

In all, I think thIs was another case of the creator being wedded to the theme and using whatever could be Googled-up for the fill. That seems to happen sometimes, but it leaves this ordinary soul floundering in a morass of "can that be right?". On to tomorrow!

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

I thought it was me this morning and that is why I'm here. Normally Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I can sail through. I have only finished TWO Thursday puzzles since 1994. Today I was lost and when I am lost, this is where I come! Thanks!

Dirigonzo 4:11 PM  

Some look at the circles and see LEI, others see LIE. I see ELI Coming - Eli's comin'
Eli's comin' (Eli's a-comin')
Well you better hide your heart, your loving heart
Eli's a-comin' and the cards say... a broken heart
Eli's comin', hide your heart, girl
Eli's comin', hide your heart, girl
Girl, Eli's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Eli's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Eli's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Eli's comin', hide your heart, girl (hide it)
You better, better hide your heart
Eli's comin', better walk
Walk but you'll never get away
No, you'll never get away from the burnin' a-heartache
I walked to Apollo by the bay
Everywhere I go though, Eli's a-comin' (she walked but she never got
Eli's a-comin' (she walked but she never got away)
Eli's a-comin' and he's comin' to git ya (she walked but... she walked
Get down on your knees (she walked but she never got away)
Eli's comin' (hide it, hide it, hide it)
Girl, Eli's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Eli's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Eli's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Eli's comin', hide your heart, girl (hide it)
You better, better hide your heart
Eli's comin', better walk
Walk but you'll never get away
No, you'll never get away from the burnin' a-heartache
I walked to Apollo by the bay
Everywhere I go though, Eli's a-comin' (she walked but she'll never get
Eli's a-comin' (she walked but she'll never get away)
Eli's a-comin' and he's comin' to git ya (she walked but... she walked
Get down on your knees (she walked but she'll never get away)
Get down on your knees
No-no, no-no
Lord, I said no-no, no-no, no-no
(hide it) She can
(hide it) hide it
(hide it) You better
(hide it) Somebody
(hide it) You got t'
(hide it) Oh, my
(hide it) Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh.

Red Valerian 5:08 PM  

Wow @Diri--that's super creepy! (the lyrics AND the fact that you posted them ;-)

Solving in Seattle 5:33 PM  

Strange day in Rexville.

I'd just like to say I am a little in awe of @Rex, who day after day solves the NYT CW puzz, discerns the theme, critiques the construction, the clueing, and makes pithy comments about it all. Then wraps it up with music and other germain images.

Every day!

And this without the benefit of reading what ~100 other bright people have discovered or uncovered about the constructor's secret cache of cleverness. By the time (when I have time) I read what everyone else has to post, most of the time @Rex has beat them to it.

Re: today's puzz that many have panned, I tend to side with the few who think this was a deliberate SNLish approach by a very good constructor to spoof all of us with verbal dross. And, irrespective of my ALOHA for our 50th state, and that I love spending time there each year, the circle of LEIs is too corny to have been taken seriously.

@Diri, I'm one of those people who never really analyzes rock lyrics, and after your posting of Eli's Coming I know why.

Capcha: impres scallmo. Sucking up to a new Sesame Street charactor?

AquilaAquilegia 8:09 PM  

Have to agree with you, @SiS... people so seldom pick up on irony. Especially smart people, sometimes. I mean, come on, a puzzle with HADJ (whatever spelling), ALIA, ADIA, LEER, LEIA, ODER, ADO -- jeeze, everywhere I look there's more crosswordese. Plus the ring of LEIs. I can't say I was thrilled with, say, SERIE either, but you gotta put up with some stuff in life.
Oh, jeeze -- ELO, ERA, YALEU (and the ELIs in the ring), EEO....

Solving in Seattle 8:19 PM  

Good one @AquilaA, picking up on the hidden "eli" with the YALEU. I'd missed that one. It only gets better as we delve.

spacecraft 8:55 PM  

@SiS: I hadn't thought about it as a spoof. "So bad it's good?" Takes me back to the essay question on my English 101 college final:

"Critique 'At Her Window.' Give detailed reasons for your assessment."

"At Her Window" was an excessively foppish, dribbling piece of verbal vomit. It was the worst example of poetry imaginable.

Or was it? If this guy wanted to parody foppishness, he did a brilliant job! So I guess it was either very, very bad--or very, very good. With the PG signature, I think I'll opt for the latter.

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