Designer Marc / TUE 5-28-13 / Growing Pains co-star Alan / Roman encyclopedist who died after Vesuvius / Big name in power tools / G in EGBDF / Biblical book once combined with Nehemiah / Like apparel donned in deck halls / Nahuatl speaker /

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Constructor: Dan Feyer

Relative difficulty: Medium (maybe slightly more difficult than the normal Tuesday)

THEME: Recycling Binge — -GE is added to ends of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: Alan THICKE (46D: "Growing Pains" co-star Alan) —
Alan Thicke (born Alan Willis Jeffery; March 1, 1947) is a Canadian actor, comedian, songwriter, and game and talk show host. He is best known for his role as Jason Seaver, the patriarch on the ABC television series Growing Pains. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, look, it's 4-time American Crossword Puzzle Tournament Champion Dan Feyer, a man who can solve brutal puzzle in times that most people would (literally) not believe, and he's made a very solvable (not to mention delightful) Tuesday puzzle. Simple gimmick leads to genuinely amusing and clever theme answers, all in a grid that is both clean and interesting. I didn't have any problems solving it, but as soon as my wife said "well I'm going to have to make an educated guess at one square," I knew exactly what square she was talking about: THICKE / ECKO. She wanted to put "C" there, and I was like "What? Why would you do that?" and she said "OK, then it's 'K', I don't know ... you know how it is with *names* ..." And I do. Alan THICKE hasn't really been heard from since "Growing Pains," but in the '80s he was pretty famous both for that show and his failed late-night talk show. My favorite part of the solve today was hitting the *second* "Growing Pains" clue (47D: "Growing Pains" family name = SEAVER). I loved that show as a kid, both because it was pretty funny and because I had a thing for Joanna Kearns. Yes, as a teenager, my tastes ran more to sitcom moms than supermodels. In my defense, she was hot. Meanwhile, Alan THICKE's son is now a successful R&B singer.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Garbage scow that docked with Mir? (SPACE BARGE)
  • 20A: Swapping out Sheen for Rose? (CHARLIE CHANGE)
  • 35A: Boy Scout's reward for karate expertise? (BREAKING BADGE)
  • 54A: Caveman's injury after discovering fire? (ORIGINAL SINGE)
  • 59A: Feeling when one's voodoo doll is poked? (EVIL TWINGE)
Had to think here and there about a few answers. Stumped by 14A: Extra Dry brand (ARRID) because I figured it had to be a beer (or BREWSKI). "Starting with A ... ASAHI?" No. Not even close. I don't think of HEPCATs wearing ZOOT suits (21D: Cool one, once + 16A: Kind of suit worn by a 21-Down). I associate the suits more with a black/latino subculture in the '40s, whereas I associate HEPCATs with beatniks of the '50s. I'm sure there's some overlap, but that clue didn't quite work for me. ECKO (62A: Designer Marc) and SKIL (6A: Big name in power tools) are potentially tough, as brand names go—I don't think of them as very mainstream; I mean, not OREO-mainstream, anyway. Took me forever to parse I BLEW IT (34D: "My goof!"). Took me a second to remember there had once been a Chuck ROBB (23D: Former Virginia senator Chuck).

That is all.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Glimmerglass 7:31 AM  

Good morning, Rex. Oversleep today?

Anonymous 7:31 AM  

Sorry, but that Thicke/Ecko was a Natwick cross to me. Otherwise, okay, though a bit tough for a Tuesday.

Loren Muse Smith 7:35 AM  

Rex - "Recycling Binge - good one!

I didn’t know Dan constructed – and then I looked and saw he was Andrea’s partner on that cool Sunday “puzzle envy” one!

Bravo, Dan! Any time Crossword Compiler suggests grids that stack themers like this one, I just WANDER off to stare out of the living room window or maybe to take a nap and just revisit the whole theme idea later.

Here’s the funny thing. With SPACE BARGE, I thought the theme was going to be inserting a B and an R (SPACE AGE - get it?)

Liked the “cold one” and “cool one, once” clues. Also HAI and HIE. HI, Mom.

WANDER and I ROAM. . . ;-)

EAT INGEST SLOP. My poor family. I’m a SKILless INEPT cook.

How ‘bout those pronouns?! WII, EWE, SHE. . .YUL forgive me – I’m procrastinating - *still* doing a ton of laundry. It. Never. Ends.

Thanks, Dan. I’ll say it before @Gill I.P. can – this was PLINY GOOD for me!

Sarah 7:36 AM  

Too much random garbage. WII/TOPGUN/GMC/EZRA only things I would put most people knowing, along with crosswordese stalwarts ERGO, STYE and TSAR. At least 5 Naticks, possibly more.

It's just a garbage unfair puzzle, what else can I say?

Z 7:41 AM  

A little toughness here and there, but doable. Another potential sticking point was my last letter in, the E in HIE/SEAVER. A couple of writeovers today, my gaze was SToneY at first, and I wanted black belt badge but it was too long. SKIL didn't pop out until I got off of Stihl, and I was also stuck on the vegetable juice version of V-8, making ENGINE hard to see.

PLINY and THICKE in one puzzle. Music by KIRI Te Kanawa and LISA Simpson. HAI HIE Mr. Feyer, a nice puzzle.

Rob C 7:43 AM  

Fun theme - usually one we see a bit later in the week. All of the core phrases were widely known and the resulting nonsense/clue combos were solid and worth a chuckle. I would imaginge a theme like this might throw a beginner solver for a loop - even as solid as they are.

Very good fill too.

When Rex mentioned his wife's one square guess, I would have bet on the K in SKIL and KIRI. In fact, Stihl is a brand of chainsaws. I heard STIL, spelling notwithstanding, calling me for 6A, but held out and thought of SKIL. Vaguely recall hearing the KIRI singer, but music is not my thing.

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

SKIL: Obscure power tool brand CROSSWORDESE
ESTS: Poor abbreviation
ARRID: Extra dry brand? CROSSWORDESE
EINE: Foreign word
ZOOT: Suit worn by a HEPCAT say what?

How about the downs?

MAS: Foreign word
ARP: Dadaist Hans (who the hell is a Dadaist?) CROSSWORDESE
ORACULAR: Weird adjective
RICHIE: Richie Havens, died only a month ago, insensitive much?

Could go on and on about all the entries from Nowhereville. Wouldn't be surprised if fewer people complete this puzzle than other Tuesday puzzle in the NYT.

Don't know whose wheelhouse includeds Dadaists and Jungian archetypes, but it certainly ain't me.

Oscar 7:49 AM  

Sarah, your attitude is disgusting and uncalled for. Stick to word searches.


Skil v. Stihl

Sarah 8:00 AM  

No, it's completely called for. Things like SOONYI and YUL are not household names, let alone the rest of it.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Perfectly fine Tuesday, for me, except for the SKIL / KIRI cross. Too bad!

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Terrific puzzle. Love that KIRI TE KANAWA is MAORI

Suzy 8:18 AM  

@ Sarah. Touchy touchy this morning? It's not supposed to be easy-peasy! I'd never heard of Thicke
or Lisa Toon, but now I have. Surely everyone remembers the scandal with SoonYi. Theme entries
were very clever-- thank you Dan Feyer!

WA 8:18 AM  

Indeed a clever puzzle if not a bit difficult for a Tuesday. I particularly liked original singe. I am sure Growing Pains was popular with someone.

What is the respectful amount of time after one should wait after he is 6 Down Under?

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

" Sarah. Touchy touchy this morning?"

And last night in Amy's forum. She called Dan's
Puzzle "disgusting".


joho 8:29 AM  

Clever theme! Wow, and a rave review by @Rex, that's a welcome plus right there!

I do think this is more a Wednesday, though.

ORACULAR? Acutally it's a word that makes me laugh.

Loved IBLEWIT and was happy I didn't.

Thanks, Dan!

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

I liked it. It appeared to be harder than it was. Everything fell into place with the crosses with the exception of ecko/Thicke - a Natick for me. Enjoyed brewski, oracular (Yes, the ending is legit), gardenia & Pliny.

Teresa in Detroit

ycnan 8:34 AM  

Looked hard at first with so many Proper names, but really cute and doable. I thought it was more appropriately a Thursday

ycnan 8:35 AM  

Looked hard at first with so many Proper names, but really cute and doable. I thought it was more appropriately a Thursday

ycnan 8:36 AM  

Looked hard at first with so many Proper names, but really cute and doable. I thought it was more appropriately a Thursday

jberg 8:36 AM  

Yup, I went with the C, figuring that guy must have designed my shoes. I should watch TV more.

After CHARLIE CHANGE, I was looking for alliteration, which kept me from seeing the theme answers until ORIGINAL SINGE. Still pretty easy, though. And not one, but two Dadaists! Got to like that.

Now I'm getting out of here before the BREWSKIng flame war SINGEs me.

Tita 8:39 AM  

DNF with AN A in English.

Mostly liked what y'all liked.
Thought BREAKINGBADGE was the least clever...

Liked the sums together.
Seemed a bit like 2 puzzles - Monday-level clues for SALT and ICE, but misdirected for obscure LISA.

Like GARDENIA in the grid.
And clue for GAY was novel.

OK - I have nothing clever to say today, so I'll stop. You're welcome.

Thanks, Dan.

jackj 8:48 AM  

My, My! Tuesdays are supposed to be a wanting mess, not intelligent, cleverly themed, entertaining pleasures like this superb offering from uber-solver Dan Feyer.

There’s a General Electric anapestic treat floating around somewhere in this puzzle but when you can find the likes of CHARLIECHAN(GE) clued as “Swapping out Sheen for Rose?” or “Caveman’s injury after discovering fire?” for ORIGINALSIN(GE), who needs an anapestic anything, just enjoy the humor laced profundities and be grateful for such a marvelous theme.

Dan didn’t shirk his responsibility for fill equal to his theme, with proof positive on every line from BRUISE to BREWSKI to IBLEWIT; or the chuckle triggered by having Woody’s lady, SOONYI, linked to PLINY the Elder, (and the thought of Woody having an ultra-Plinian eruption as a result) and the 1940’s fashion favored by fops of all stripes, the ZOOT suit, uniform of the HEPCAT and scourge of those wearing the other uniform, the military one.

Mnemonics can make for interesting entries and the search for “The “G” in EGBDF” has us looking for GOOD, as in “Every GOOD Boy Deserves Fudge” (or “Every GOOD Boy Does Fine”) but after meeting this mnemonic clue at the end of such a special puzzle I so wanted it’s “G” to be GRID, representing, of course, “Exceptional GRID By Dan Feyer”.

I can’t remember a better Tuesday level puzzle, (even allowing for ORACULAR, ECKO, SKIL and the unnecessary tip-toeing around GAY).

Thanks, Dan!

retired_chemist 8:54 AM  

LISA obscure? LISA Simpson? Nope, that's fine.

As is the rest of the puzzle. ECKO and SEAVER were not in my wheelhouse, but most of the rest of the large number of proper nouns were. And crosses were fair, so nobody should complain (too much) about them.

Stumped momentarily @ 38D trying to make something 6 letters for V-8 Juice. DUH.

Medium hard but enjoyable. Thanks, Mr. Feyer.

Woody Allen's divorce lawyer 9:00 AM  

@All of today's posters - I have the pleasure of introducing you to Sarah, Dan Feyer's ex-wife. ;-)

Milford 9:04 AM  

Amazingly this solved rather fast for a Tursday for me. Got the theme quickly, and the pop culture was apparently stored safely in my brain. If people were unfamiliar with "Growing Pains" it could definitely slow them up.

I enjoyed the wordplay. BREAKING BADGE in the center - yay! But I think ORIGINAL SINGE is the best answer. The one small outlier, I felt, was CHARLIE CHANGE, because the pronunciation is different.

@Suzy - just a note, in case it helps in later puzzles, the LISA Toon is actually LISA Simpson from "The Simpsons".

@Sarah - you obviously got frustrated by this puzzle. Hey, I've DNFed on a Monday - it happens. I would never call a puzzle "disgusting", though. Heck I didn't even complain that much when Mr. Mytzlplk was in a puzzle. It's just a puzzle. Some people, like myself, loved it. No biggie.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Since when did Woody Allen's wife become famous?

Sarah 9:20 AM  

8 Natick crossings minimum.

@Milford You seem to think I have some sort of bias against a puzzle just because I solve it.

Heck, I could have known all this obscure trivia, and I still would come to the same conclusion: It's a shoddy pile of trash.

Has absolutely nothing to do with me. YOU MUST HAVE FAIR CROSSINGS.

If you'd like to prove to me how JEAN ARP and MAORI are not obscure people, go do a survey. Doubt even 1 in 3 people know who the hell they are.

Nancy in PA 9:21 AM  

I smiled as I wrote in STEELY because at least one article about Dan's multiple wins called him Steely Dan. This puzzle is a winner too. Easy but in no way boring.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

How much did General Electric have to pay to get a total of four product placements, and did it cost extra to get them in theme answers?

Gareth Bain 9:31 AM  

Sigh. Don't feed the trolls. Oh well.

Maybe I live in another world (oh wait) but I'm willing to guess that the percentage of adults who know who the Maori are is around 97%? It's like not knowing who the Apache are or the Aborigines (sort of dislike that term) or the Bedouin. Now the Ainu, that's a fairly obscure group of people...

Milford 9:32 AM  

OK, I give up. I didn't personally have eight Naticks. Next?

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Anyone eles suprised by Rex's post? I thought for sure he'd gut the guy. I mean all the theme answers end the same. Sure I get the puns, but they end up being nonsensical phrases--just the kind of thing Rex is always carping about. Then I read rex's post. All became clear. the constructor is a friend and it's hugs and kisses, and brilliance. I don't know if sarah's right in calling the puzzle disgusting, but rex's nauseating double standards are.

r.alphbunker 9:37 AM  

This was an intelligent puzzle that kept my interest throughout. I loved ORIGINALSINGE and learned that ECKO was a last name.

If the following is off-topic please forgive me.

I am visiting England and just finished a cryptic puzzle! It took me at least five hours and reminded me of the first time that I finished a Saturday NYT puzzle which took about the same amount of time.

Each answer has two clues and I have convinced myself that all answers except one satisfy both the precise clue and the cryptic one.

The clue that has baffled me is {Employee retiring soon? Measure how long 8 takes.} The answer I have is TIMESPRINT which seems to satisfy the second clue because Googling revealed that there is an exercise program called Sprint 8. But what does that have to do with an employee retiring soon? Is it because they want the time to pass quickly?

It brings to mind a sentiment often expressed by soldiers who were about to get released from the Army: "I'm so short that I can dangle my legs over the edge of a dime"

It appears that I have to wait until Thursday to see the solution so if anyone can help me out before then please do so.

Z 9:42 AM  

@Sarah - I think you're in the minority here. MAORI are a pretty well known ethnic group, ARP is pretty standard crossword fare. Not a Natick. ECKO/THICKE? I saw someone with ECKO splayed across their shirt just yesterday. KIRI/SKIL? Two very different areas of knowledge and for me SKIL or STIHL was the only debate. I've no idea what the other 5 night be, but there is a difference between challenging and unfair.

@Milford - "Tursday?" A perfect typo.

Rex Parker 9:44 AM  

What @Gareth said.

Lisa Toon! Awesome.


chefbea 9:51 AM  

Thought it was a great puzzle.

Love the Simpsons so I knew Lisa right off the bat.

Puzzle husband has every tool imaginable so I also knew Skil.

Just got @anonymous 9:30. Good one!!!

Milford 9:51 AM  

@Z - ha ha. Yeah, I saw my typo. I never know if it's good form to go back and correct it or if no one really cares.

I guess it could refer to the puzzle running on a Tuesday but being Thursday- difficult? Or perhaps others today read it as Turdsday.

Sean Dobbin 9:55 AM  

@Anon 9:34:

I, too, believe @Rex occasionally (and unintenionally) takes it easy on his homies. But not today. This is a legitimately great puzzle, I'd say.

Pete 9:59 AM  

SKIL makes a complete line of power hand tools. If you've ever been in a hardware store you've probably seen a display of their battery powered tools within 20 feet of the check out counter. SKIL is such a major/historical maufacture of such that a hand held circular saws, which probably 50% of households have, are commonly as SKIL saws, regardless of their manufacturer. Saying SKIL is not know is only slightly less ridiculous than saying FORMICA is unknown.

SOONYI became famous during that two year period where her and Woody's relationship was in the network news on a major basis. I'd defend Alan THICKE because the show was a major network hit for 8 years, but he's Canadian, so I'll leave him to the wolves. ECKO,to me, is a typo for (or a cheap knockoff of) EKCO, the kitchenware items.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Worst clue I can remember, and while Rex gives it a mild tut tut, or tsk tsk, or maybe tisk tisk, I give ZOOT for kind of suit worn by a hepcat a resounding pffffffffft!

Paul Keller 10:03 AM  

Definitely harder than an average Tuesday, but why not? Where is the joy in filling out a crossword where you know all the answers? In my opinion, the ego-booster Mondays and Tuesdays are a tradition that should be scrapped.

Lots of random complaints that make little sense.

I missed two crossing. SOONYI-PLINY I missed because of a lifetime of paying too little attention to spelling. THICKE-ECKO got me too.

Tough crossing are annoying to me if there is nothing meaty, clever, or funny in the rest of puzzle. I was not annoyed.

Loren Muse Smith 10:04 AM  

Yep – @Gareth said it. Ainu MAORI easily, SOONYI (@Pete, check), YUL (love the guy), ECKO/THICKE cross – No. Problem. At. All. SKIL (I’ve bragged here that I made a dado with a SKIL saw once). . .

@Milford – I had zero Naticks; this was, for me, and easy Tuesday. I noticed your Tursday, too! Hah!

@Mitzie – I don’t know. I seem to remember a few times where he panned a puzzle, and I knew he was friends with the constructor. But if you’re right, I’ll pray that he takes it easy on me here sometime soon. (I hope.)

pmdm 10:06 AM  

A bit testy some of us are today.

Some proper names are considered easy even though to most non-solvers the names are obscure. But take Jean Arp, Yul Brynner and the Maori as examples. They are frequently found in crosswords. After solving crosswords for a while, they become embedded in one's brain. Crossword editors understand this process and consider those answers not obscure because of their frequency of appearance. After a while, they become "gimmies."

Two examples. I don't think I've ever seen a movie starring silent film actress Naldi. But she's turned up so many times in crosswords that I know her first name is Nita. Likewise, I've never watched The Simpsons cartoon show (perhaps the only person in the United States that hasn't) but I know all the characters (Apu, Stu, Lisa, Bart and so on) because of their frequent appearances in crosswords.

I am not fond of proper names and foreign words. Some puzzles have so many of these I throw up my arms and yell "No mas." Today's puzzle is not uncriticizable. I am unhappy with 62A crossing 46D. But many of the Sarah is complaining about I believe are quite common in crosswords.

How would one provide evidence (proof) supporting my observation? I think there are tools one could use that scan past puzzles and output the frequency of words found in the puzzles. I am not familiar with those tools and don't have the time to do the research. But I would be interested in learning how many times Arp, Yul, and Maori (for three examples) appeared in the Times crosswords is, say, the last decade.

My advice to Sarah would be this. Plod on like I did when I first stated solving crossword puzzles. After a while what seemed obscure (I never heard of a film dog by the name of Asta since I never saw The Thin Man) becomes trivial. Until then, complain all you want about disliking a puzzle, but expect contradicting comments if you call an answer obscure that appears fairly often in the puzzles.

Pete 10:07 AM  

"I, too, believe @Rex occasionally (and unintenionally) takes it easy on his homies."????????

Did you read yesterday's post? Rex took Doug's puzzle to task, and Doug's a pretty good friend of his.

This favoritism assertion is tired crap.

Speaking of crap, I love living in the woods. Just yesterday I got to watch a doe taking care of her hour-old fawn. Today I got to watch a squirrel dragging his ass on my lawn, using it as toilet paper.

Kim 10:25 AM  

If you're going to bitch about a very cute, Tuesday-easy NYT X-word, then I suggest you put it down and go back to your X-box. Some of us enjoy a challenge, or better yet, a chance to learn something.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Took Doug's puzzle to task? Hmm. I think you meant he took Doug task. Or maybe you mean he was very critical of Doug's puzzzle. But one doesnt take things to task, only people.

As for my assertion that Rex plays favorites, I stand by it. Glad to see at least another sees it too.

Bill C 10:30 AM  

I found SKIL/KIRI to be a first-class Natick, completely unfamiliar, uninferable words.

Of course, I thought THICKE was an absolute gimme and had I ever seen ECKO I would have known the spelling, making Rex's introductory paragraph quite a surprise.

Sarah 10:33 AM  


You're right, I do enjoy a challenge.

But the challenge I prefer is not learning 5000 trash words that no one ever uses.

Sarah 10:34 AM  

The comment that a word should not be considered a Natick because it's a obscure word that just happens to show up in crosswords often is ridiculous.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Thanks to Jae on Monday for the explanation of level of difficulty.

With so many common names, this was a W (see how I use what I learn!).

Two Ponies 10:45 AM  

I loved this one! The theme answers were funny so well done Dan.
Never saw Growing Pains but the crosses were fair.
If I remember correctly Kiri Te Kanawa has a role in next season's Downton Abbey.
I see we have some new posters today. Let's play nice.

quilter1 10:56 AM  

I have a couple of pre-WWII photos of my dad in his zoot suit playing his alto sax. So young, so handsome.

The puzzle was indeed delightful and crunchy enough, yet easy enough to solve fairly quickly. Thanks, Mr. Feyer.

jackj 11:00 AM  

Tough crowd!

But, as is often said, "Let's look at the facts".

Uses in major crosswords as compiled by Cruciverb for the period 1993 to date:

MAORI- 114 appearances

YUL- 83 appearances

ARP- 206 appearances

Some recognizable names for comparisons:

OYL (as in Popeye's Olive)- 123 appearances

OBAMA- 92 appearances

Make of the info what you will.

GLR 11:16 AM  

I suspect that @Sarah is right when she claims not 1 in 3 people (I'll assume she's thinking of the U.S.) are familiar with the Maori or with Arp. But I also suspect that if you constructed a puzzle with that criterion for answers, it would be incredibly boring. Actually, now that I think about it, that is the sort of puzzle that I usually find in my local newspaper - and the reason I rarely bother to solve that puzzle.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Fun, enjoyable puzzle. Only mistake was backing off a quick "ab"ORIGINAL SINge entry. Keep 'em coming Dan!

GILL I. 11:28 AM  

Hey, leave @Sarah alone. She didn't say "disgusting" on this blog but someone ratted her out. A lot of people say "hate" all the time and I hate when they do it.
Well, this puzzle didn't make me sing. I didn't have a problem solving but I think 20 proper nouns is way to much for a "Turday." Hey @Milford, at least you didn't type in Turdsday.!!!
MAORI/KIRI made me smile and GARDENIA's give me an EVIL TWINGE.
I think they are giving out Palme DOR's just about now. All the TOP GUNs on parade...

Carola 11:33 AM  

Lots of fun, theme- and otherwise. I really got a kick out of ORIGINAL SIN(GE), with EVIL TWIN(GE) right behind. Saw SPACE BAR(GE) at the start and sailed happily along until I ran aground at THIC_E/EC_O. I wrote C,H,K, and L in the margin but didn't know which to choose, so left the square blank.

@Anonymous 8:09 - Yes, KIRI + MAORI was the icing on the cake,

@pmdm - I'm the only other person who's never watched The Simpsons.

@r.alphbunker - I really struggle with cryptics and have no light to SHED on your clue, alas. But I thought you might enjoy this one, from Saturday's cryptic in the Wall Street Journal: "Mount McKinley's original bears used newly invented handle." 9 letters. I had the word but went to bed last night totally flummoxed about how it fit the clue. Woke up this morning and saw it. I'll post the answer later in case you'd like to mull a bit.

Oscar 11:37 AM  

I love trash.

Sean Dobbin 11:38 AM  


*Occasionally* and *unintentionally* - not *always* and *because he's a jerk*.

Just something I feel like I've noticed, no big deal, I might be wrong.

(I would hardly say yesterday's puzzle was "taken to task," btw. This is taking a puzzle to task:

Sarah 11:46 AM  

Less than 1 in 4 people know who the Maori are. 99% confident. I can prove it.

I'd like to reiterate that I have no problem with MAORI being in a crossword. But it can't cross other obscure words like ARP. That's all there is to it.

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

As a strictly legal matter, "ideas" cannot be intellectual property. They have to be reduced to a tangible form to be legally protected as intellectual property, such as an invention disclosed in a patent or a work of art that is protected by copyright. Still I thought it was a good puzzle.

Eliza Doolittle 11:54 AM  

What the hell is wrong with ARP? I had one playing at my wedding.

Kurt Goedel 11:59 AM  

@Sara - If you can prove that fewer than 1 in 4 people know who the MAORI are you really should be 100% confident. If you're really only 99% confident, you can't prove it. If you and prove you're 99% confident, so what?

Maori-Kate Olsen 12:01 PM  

>Less than 1 in 4 people know who the Maori are. 99% confident. I can prove it.

Now this has got me curious. What will you do? Ask 4 random people on the street? Commission a Gallup Poll?

mac 12:06 PM  

Delightful, crunchy Tuesday puzzle to me. No Naticks here, although there were plenty of names I did not know. Crosses helped me out every time.

I had to laugh when I wrote in Lisa! I liked Breaking Badge, pretty current.

Arp and Ernst, Maori and Kiri, something for everyone. Now I have to check out Ecko's work, somehow he slipped by me.

Sarah 12:09 PM  

It's impossible to prove anything 100%. If we could prove anything 100%, we would know the results of the U.S. election before it ever began.

I have proven that there's a 99% chance of less than 1 in 4 people knowing who the Maori are. Simple statistics. If I surveyed more people, I could get a more narrow view of what percentage of people know who the Maori are, but since it proves it's crosswordese, I see no reason to continue.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Only an inept schlemiel (an inept person in Yiddish slang) would confuse "schlimazel" (or schlemazel, the innocent and hapless victim of a schlemiel's ineptitude) would confuse the two words. Mr. Feyer, see 34-down.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Loved the puzzle, really loved the theme answers, typical Tuesday for me (maybe a bit easier, but then again, SoonYi and Yul are household names in my household. Any word remotely approaching a Natick was easily gettable through crosses -- no speed bumps anywhere for me. Delightful. (Glad I don't respond to these things like Sarah...)

Sandy K 12:21 PM  

Thought it was more Wednesday than Tuesday, but I really liked the theme, and the answers were clever.

True, it was a tiny bit off, but my fave was CHARLIE CHANGE- I used to love the old CHARLIE CHAN movies tho I was in the prenatal stage at the time...

Didn't know SKIL and ECKO, but to me they were gettable. But I can see where some may feel they were Natick material.

Put me in the never-watched-The Simpsons-yet-know-the characters-category.

Too bad that some are feeling an EVIL TWINGE today. Puzzles should be fun. And if not, it's only a puzzle.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Briefly had 'tio' for Spanish uncle, though it was a quick fix because, well, MAORI is such a gimme, at least here at Mensa.

Ran into my own Natick with EINE and KIRI Te Kanawa, a Maori herself, who happens to be the kind of crosswordese that just won't ever stick. I blame only myself.

Otherwise my favorite early weeker in a long time. Hat tip to the masterful ORIGINAL SINGE

Kurt Goedel 1:20 PM  

Nothing is proveable? Hell, I proved that there are more true things in arithematic than any reasonable explication of arithmatic can prove to be true.

If by proof you mean an example, I have two proofs. Not one of 5 people in my local Chinese restaurant knew the MAORI. I'm also guessing they didn't understand what I said, but that's irrelevant. So, no one knows the MAORI. 9 of 10 in my office knew the MAORI, so 90% know the MAORI. or 60% know the MAORI. Damn, now I can't even remember what I proved.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Were these actual surveys or are you just trying to prove a point?

Bird 1:41 PM  

Fun theme, but I couldn’t finish. 22A was a total blank, never (well it’s been a long while) heard of 3D and didn’t know the song for 32A. I did guess correctly at 30A and 11D (to me, this coulda been E or I).

LaneB 1:50 PM  

Lots of vertical answers susceptible to googling making the rest of the fill relativEly speedy. Didn't have time to avoid using google somewhat. A decent Tuesday.,

Lewis 2:09 PM  

My only cruch was the SW corner, and it didn't last too long. I liked having ANIMA in there -- haven't thought about Jung in quite a while. Has anyone ever said or read ORACULAR? Not I. (But it was inferrable.)

Sarah, keep contributing to this blog. It is always good to have a new voice in the mix...

Lewis 2:09 PM  

Oops -- crunch.

Lewis 2:11 PM  

Dan -- keep 'em coming! This was intelligent and, to echo Rex, delightful.

Three and out.

Anoa Bob 2:16 PM  

I can see how some solvers would be put off by a HAI HIE TAI CHI here and a KIRI DOR ECKO ABA there. But the constructor is by no means INEPT.

In spite of not usually cottoning to add/subtract/rearrange letters to change normal names/phrases to wacky ones---the results often strike me as just silly or nonsensical---I enjoyed this puzz. It had an intelligent vibe to it, what with two Dadaist and a Jungian archetype thrown in.

Given it's neighbors SOONYI & TOP GUN, I wanted to see STEELY clued as "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's ___ Dan".

Yesterday PERFUNCTORY and today ORACULAR! Be still my beating word-nerd heart!

I owe you a cold BREWSKI for this one Mr. Feyer.

Tita 2:19 PM  

@pmdm and @carola - I'm the other other person who has never seen the Simpsons.

I admit was surprised that OFL didn't harp on CHAN/GE sound CHAN/GE, or the "Cute but been done a million times..." add a sound thingie.

But since I am easy to please when it comes to puzzles, I stand by finding this fun to solve.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:20 PM  

Fine puzzle.

@r.alphbunker _ I seem to recall that cryptic puzzles often have uncrossed letters. Since I can't make any sense of the word you are trying to parse, could you indicate which letters are confirmed by crosses and which might be open to change? (Not that I am likely to figure it out anyway!)

Tita 2:27 PM  

Wow - that's a back-handed compliment if ever I wrote one...
Hey Dan - your puzzle stands on its own merit.

And btw, I liked the Tursdayish feel.
For example, I knew about Pliny back in my Classics minor days, forgot about his death, was reminded of it in a recent PBS show about Pompeii.
And hand up for knowing KIRI, but not knowing she was MAORI - that kicks the puzzle up another level.

3 and out.

Carola 2:47 PM  

@Tita - Forgot to say earlier that I also had "AN A" in English for a while. That was when I also had, 2 rows above it, _ _ UIS_ and for the clue "Result of a fall, maybe" I wrote in sqUISh. Erasing ensued.

@r.alphbunker - Parsing that cryptic clue I mentioned above: Mount - pony + McKinley's original m "bearing" used newly (anagram) = pseudonym.

syndy 2:59 PM  

I think it bears repeating-DO NOY FEED THE TROLLS! Gorgeous lush puzzle! I knew nothing about Growing Pains;never saw it-still had no trouble!Cab Calloway was a hepcat-the hepcat-he wore a zootsuit frequently,He wrote the Hepsters dictionary.QED 16 across is correct! so there!

jae 3:10 PM  

Medium-tough for me. Liked the Dada and Growing Pains mini themes and the General Electric over all theme. Not sure I liked ORACULAR, sounds made up. 35a got me wondering about Walter White's fate this August.

@Tita -- I also had AnA, but I knew ROBB. Did not know ECKO or SEAVER, however. Seems like some recent Tues. have had more late week stuff than usual, e.g. last week's YSER, ASCH, YAZOO...

Nice one Dan, liked it.

Rob C 3:15 PM  

The following are definitions from the Amer Heritage dictionary:

zoot suit - Slang - A man's suit popular during the early 1940s, characterized by full-legged, tight-cuffed trousers and a long coat with wide lapels and heavily padded, wide shoulders.

hep·cat - Slang - A performer or devotee of swing and jazz, especially during the 1940s.

16A clue is right on the money.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

try "shorttimer"

sanfranman59 3:32 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)

Tue 8:43, 8:09, 1.07, 68%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:32, 4:52, 1.14, 81%, Challenging

Pete 3:41 PM  

I'm still trying to think of an instance where one would swap out CHARLIE Sheen for CHARLIE Rose. They seem to have complimentary skill-sets, and I use skill-sets in the broadest of terms for Mr. Sheen.

Benkk 3:42 PM  

@Rex--Actually,"Asahi" for "Extra Dry brand" was right on the money. Asahi bottles all have the words "Extra Dry" printed on the labels.
@Anonymous--Dadaists and Jungian archetypes are in MY wheelhouse! In fact, I have a photo of myself standing in front of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, where Dadaism was founded. Pretty much all postmodernism owes its existence to Dada, so it's plenty important.
This puzzle was smooth solving! Finished in 3 minutes.
Lots of people use the words in this puzzle. educated people...

Pete 3:43 PM  

That would be complementary. I'm sure they could compliment someone with equal facility.

retired_chemist 4:16 PM  

@ Anoa Bob - I too wanted STEELY clued as Dan. But we niggled over David Steinberg's self-referential answer Saturday, so perhaps Dan is problematic today.

Sarah - granted this puzzle had more proper names than usual. I will bet that SanFranMan59's report of times for today will find it something like medium-challenging, but by no means "over the top." It is a fair challenge of the vocabulary/cultural knowledge of a lot of solvers. Keep at it and you will soon "get it." If that bugs you, there are (as GLR implied) quite a few puzzles available at the level you prefer.

Unknown 4:19 PM  

I liked it, and found it Tuesday-appropriate. Hand up for MAORI not being a stretch for anyone who's been solving puzzles for any length of time. No sense getting your panties in a bunch -you'll probably never forget it now!

Anyhoo...only problem I had with it is that I don't like when the same action (e.g., add GE) is applied to every theme answer. It's just too much of a gimme and takes away something, in my opinion.

Random observation 4:58 PM  

It seems to me that if you have no interest in learning words that no one ever uses, you should probably not be doing crosswords. Sudoku perhaps, or chess, or cow tipping???

Masked and Anonymo3Us 5:43 PM  

Stuff I didn't happen to know:
Stuff I knew, but wasn't quite sure how to spell:
SOONYI (but I can spell MIAFARROW)

Everything else was rock solid, here. 98.6% sure.
GE plug-ins. Hard theme not to like. Someone needs to get that one poor chick an adapter. Progress is our most important product.

Wonder how long it took Dan to solve this one. I'll bet it'd take him longer, if Bob Klahn had rewrote all the clues. (See WaPo Puz, for proof)


Z 5:51 PM  

I don't think expressing an opinion strongly makes one a troll. Doing so anonymously, yes, but if just expressing it strongly is the criteria a whole lot of us need a bridge to hang out under.

chefwen 6:01 PM  

Only difficulties I had were spelling SOON YI with an E instead of an I PLeNY looked fine to me, and I did have to change my DoH to DUH. Other than those two little blips no problemo!

John in Philly 6:10 PM  

hardest Tuesday in a long time, but finished after talking it out with my sister. Funny, I had a thing for Kirk Cameron, until he decided to hate gay people, so Growing Pains has mixed memories....

Sarah 6:12 PM  

Medium-challenging, not surprised.

Challenging for those top 100 solvers, also not surprised.

It's quite obvious that even the top 100 solvers don't know this stuff, else it be just 50 gimmes

Sfingi 6:14 PM  

Found out from the Colonial Cookbook that moose is a Natick Indian word indicating the strips of bark they nibble off trees.

No Naticks today for me.


Took 2 clues to get the theme. Otherwise, Tuesday.

ORACULAR spectacular. ORACULAR urchin. Oracular hammer.

Joe The Juggler 6:25 PM  

I guess the only thing I thought was missing was a significance to -GE.

General Electric?


Unknown 6:47 PM  

@Sarah - I'm thinking you're not a troll so here goes

"It's quite obvious that even the top 100 solvers don't know this stuff" - not true, see SanFranMan's explanation of the scoring, but this generally means that it may have taken the top solvers a half of a second longer than an average Tues. to get each answer - so not exactly "don't know this stuff" territory

Your comment that this puzzle was garbage and unfair, and your alleged comment that the puzzle was disgusting evoked a lot of negative comments because the posters on this blog typically appreciate the art of constructing and solving and have a lot of experience doing so. So to say what you said 1) doesn't ring true to most of us based on our experience and 2) reflects (whether intended or not) a disdain for the puzzles we enjoy. There are many times when a lot of us don't enjoy a puzzle and say so in no uncertain terms, but don't consider it garbage either.

Anyway, welcome. Hope you post again-the more opinions the better in my view. And a little perspective and balance will go a long way.

Also, a 3-post max is usually adhered to by each poster.

John V 7:00 PM  

Fun. Hard. THICKE/ECKO Natick at C/K; inappropriate crossing for a Tuesday, IMHO. Pop culture and ECKO, as in WTF ECKO? Sorry. I'm just THICKE tonight; Tuesday travel day, so no chance to do the puzzle last night, taps at 9:30.

JMH 8:47 PM  

lloved it. Easy. Know tons about Maori, Arp, shocked people don't. Did not know seaver but figured it out. I'm not real fast but this stuff seemed like important parts of culture.
First time posting after long time reading,. Just couldn't take surrealist and Maori slander.

mac 9:26 PM  

Welcome, JMH.

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:00, 6:12, 0.97, 33%, Easy-Medium
Tue 8:36, 8:09, 1.05, 67%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:50, 3:49, 1.01, 50%, Medium
Tue 5:10, 4:52, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Nigel 10:33 PM  

Let's see - to solve the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle you need to know a little about art history, music (including classical - used broadly, popular, rock, every decade from 1920 on, musicians performers opera), science, anthropology, world history, too much American history (if you're Canadian, lol), movies - actors and animals, old and new, fashion, physics. popular culture, science, religion, television - so I fail to see how this puzzle failed. It was a lovely puzzle, finished it in 10 minutes which actually felt a little slow so maybe it had some Wednesday about it - but I had no naticks - everything was quite easy actually but somewhat entertaining - got the theme with CHARLIECHANGE. love EVILTWINGE and ORIGINALSINGE. I know nothing about the musical Avenue Q but still had no problem guessing ANA. Really liked ENGINE for V-8, didn't know Canyon trucks but put in GMC anywas. See, crossword puzzles are not always gimmes but you have to have a brain full of stuff to do them well. I think my brain still has room too, because even this 62 year old knows a few of the newer musicians around. This was a classic puzzle in my estimation.

Nigel 10:38 PM  

Whoops, not so smart after all - just noticed that the Avenue Q answer is ABA not ANA - well - add that to my brainpan for next time.

i am not anonymous. just really shy. 10:43 PM  

[tween wow] - Lisa Toon - i am sooo LOLing (theres a new 6letter verb for constructors michael doesnt like).

sorry, all you false natick-callers, but todays real natick was HIE and a name of someone noone should ever know.

but hey, what do i know - i own a stihl chainsaw but i wrote STIL (even tho i own a skil circular saw). guess i need to stop thinking about fairies and focus more on my woodcutting.

Davis 10:48 PM  

I got a slow-for-me time on this Tuesday puzzle, but I was also slightly drunk at the time. So there's that.

Really liked the theme though, and no complaints about the fill. I initially went for ECcO, but I remembered Alan THICKE so I was quick to correct.

Nice puzzle!

ileen 4:07 PM  

Loved it - finished in one subway ride 42nd-86th, good time for a Tuesday for me.

Breaking Bad is my favorite show - can't wait for it to come back this summer.

NM Robin 10:45 AM  

I found this puzzle to be challenging. I took me forever to finish but I finally did it. It is still a great puzzle.

I have never watched "Growing Pains" or "The Simpsons" but still was able to get LISA, SEAVER and THICKE from crosses.

I did not know MAORI until I started doing the NYT crossword puzzles. Now, I can put it in the puzzles almost immediately. You learn a ton of stuff from the puzzles and especially this blog.

I still can't compete timewise with the rest but I am now usually able to complete M-W and 75% of T-S puzzles.

spacecraft 11:34 AM  

Yay! At last! I clicked on "Syndicated" and whaddya know: it's here!! WTG, those responsible. Now let's see if we can keep it going.

On to the puzz. @anon 9:34: if you expected OFL to trash today's submission, then I'm afraid you don't know much about what makes a good grid. Of course the theme answers are "nonsensical," or to use his usual word, "wacky." But the root sayings--SPACE BAR, etc.--are not. That's the fun of it. But more importantly, look at the fill. A maximum of solid, fresh entries: HEPCAT, AZTEC crossing ZURICH, GARDENIA--and how can you not love BREWSKI and IBLEWIT? A minimum of dreck. Sadly, one of these, ABA, caused me to have a one-square DNF. I had no idea about the song--or the musical it was in--so I too put in AnA, then forgot to recheck the down clue. I decided it was someone I didn't know, and thought it was reasonable for someone to be known by first name + initial, as in ROn B. But this in no way prevents me from issuing kudos for one of the best-constructed puzzles I've seen.

And now, with this ridiculous tiff about the MAORI: please, no MAS!

DMGrandma 1:50 PM  

Enjoyed this one. Only hang up was thinking the Rose in sports was Pete. Then decided they just meant swapping out Sheen for him and went on. Sometimes a "wrong" can make a "right". Also, even after it filled from the crosses, it took me forever to parse ABA! I need help!

See the Captchas are back to numbers. At least this one is readable! ........Well, I thought they were, but I failed!

Dirigonzo 2:16 PM  

OK, I know that PLato was a Greek, not Roman, philosopher who lived around 400BC and he was no where near Vesuvius when it erupted in 79AD, but I didn't let those historical facts deter me from writing him in at 30a. The crosses straightened most of the mess out except for SOONYa Allen. OWS and that's "That's all SHE wrote".

Solving in Seattle 2:32 PM  

@Sarah, you sure stirred up a hornets nest. Good for you!

@Rex, very clever "Recycling Binge."

Natick for me at EChO/THIChE, otherwise really enjoyed this "Tursday" first puzzle of Mr. Feyer.

Loved seeing Kurt Goedel (1:20) show up. Reminded me of one of my favorite reads: "Goedel Escher Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter.

And check out the Escherian Stairwell at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Four minutes well spent watching this one.

capcha: sonaeco 0. What the guy with the earphones said to the sub captain?

Syndi Solver 5:52 PM  

Wow, it's strange to find out there was such a brouhaha over this puzzle back when it was published. It seemed so uncontroversial to me.

This was a bit harder than most Tuesdays. When I was solving it I thought, hmmm, this feels more like a Wednesday. And I noticed a couple of crosses where someone might get stuck. But saying that MAORI is too hard or obscure? Perhaps that person is brand new to NY Times puzzles? I just can't figure out Sarah's rant otherwise.

I had lots of fun with this puzzle in spite of not knowing anything about the TV show Growing Pains. I had to get THICKE (familiar after the fact, wasn't there a "Thicke of the Night" show?) and SEAVER (completely unknown, but it looked like a real name) from the crosses. Luckily, they were gettable for me. (although I sometimes mix up the bakeware company, Ekco, with the artist/designer)

All theme entries were cute by my favorite was ORIGINAL SINGE. (Rex's Recycling Binge is not bad, either!) I also loved "I BLEW IT" and BREWSKI. So, kudos to Dan Feyer!

I do agree with one minor criticism about using schlimazel in the clue for 51 Down. A couple of online dictionaries seem to support the INEPT meaning for schlimazel. But I think my Yiddish speaking friends would say that a schlimazel is mostly unlucky. It's the schlemeil who is INEPT or clumsy.

Syndi Solver 6:01 PM  

@spacecraft, I'm also glad the syndicated button is working again. It makes things easier. When the button's not working then I go to the "Blog Archive" menu -- column going down the right side of the page. The number 0528 is printed above today's syndicated puzzle so I go to the link for May 28, 2013. It takes longer but it works.

RE: ABA (reference to the "Avenue Q" musical), the only reason I knew that answer today is because I missed it in a previous puzzle. :-)

Ginger 10:07 PM  

The things we learn doing puzzles. I've enjoyed hearing KIRI te Kanawa many times, but today I learned she's part MAORI. Never watched the Simpsons, or Growing Pains either, but knew LISA probably from cws and THICK from late night shows. As to the Charlies, I'll take Rose any day!

The theme answers were chuckle inducing. I'm impressed how Dan seamlessly wove them in.

Now, time for a BREWSKI and a little KIRI as accompianment!

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