White rapper with two #1 hits / SUN 7-7-13 / Neighbor of Dagwood in funnies / Mythical con man / John Belushi catchprase / God wounded by Diomedes in Iliad / Oldest desert in world / Siouan speaker / Old German duchy name

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Bonus Features" — central theme answer (revealer) is "BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE" (70A: Infomercial line ... with a hint to 10 answers in this puzzle); ten answers appear to dead-end before they are over, but then continue off at a right angle with the supplemental letter string "-MORE":

Theme answers:
  • 1D: President who was not elected (SOMEHOW NOT FORD!!!!) (FILL/MORE)
  • 6D: It's known for its big busts (MOUNT RUSH/MORE)
  • 22D: Second or tenth, in a way (SOPHO/MORE)
  • 10D: Bauxite, e.g. (ALUMINU/MORE)
  • 61A: Sun spot? (BALTI/MORE) [the "Sun" is the newspaper]
  • 65D: College near Philadelphia (SWARTH/MORE)
  • 67D: "Go on ..." ("TELL ME MORE...")
  • 108A: Minimalist's philosophy (LESS IS/MORE)
  • 110A: Dean Martin classic ("THAT'S A/MORE")
  • 106D: White rapper with two #1 hits (MACKLE/MORE)

Word of the Day: NAMIB (33D: Oldest desert in the world) —
The Namib is a coastal desert in southern Africa. The name Namib is of Nama origin and means "vast place". According to the broadest definition, the Namib stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) along the Atlantic coasts of Angola,Namibia, and South Africa, extending southward from the Carunjamba River in Angola, through Namibia and to the Olifants River in Western Cape, South Africa. The Namib's northernmost portion, which extends 450 kilometres (280 mi) from the Angola-Namibia border, is known as Moçâmedes Desert, while its southern portion approaches the neighboring Kalahari Desert. From the Atlantic coast eastward, the Namib gradually ascends in elevation, reaching up to 200 kilometres (120 mi) inland to the foot of the Great Escarpment. Annual precipitation ranges from 2 millimetres (0.079 in) in the most arid regions to 200 millimetres (7.9 in) at the escarpment, making the Namib the only true desert in southern Africa. Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for roughly 55-80 million years, the Namib is also the oldest desert in the world. (wikipedia)
• • •

I enjoyed this one. Weird to look at a grid and see dupes (i.e. two Across answers that read HMORE, two that read EMORE, etc.), but that's just an oddity, not a fault. The puzzle was fun to solve, and knowing the theme definitely helped / was relevant to the solving process. Theme clues could be very vague because you have the bonus knowledge that they will end in -MORE (once you grok the theme, that is). Lots of varied theme material in a very clean grid. Theme execution is a clever literalization of a common expression. Good stuff all around. The only thing that bugged me—and by "bugged me" I mean "gave me very slight pause" or "made me wonder about what rules of appropriateness exist in crosswords"—was the clue on MACKLEMORE [White rapper with two #1 hits]. It is true that white rappers are less common than black rappers, and therefore "white" does delimit things in a very efficient way, but ... there have been enough white rappers that I don't think of their whiteness as relevant anymore. I mean, EMINEM is in the puzzle (93A: "Love the Way You Lie" rapper), and when's the last time he was clued as [White rapper...]? Looking through the cruciverb.com database, it looks like the answer is "never" (except for one time where lyrics containing "white" are used). The reference to race in this context made me wonder about standards and relevance. Imagine a hypothetical clue for Neil DeGrasse Tyson that started [Black astronomer...]. Most people, I think, rightly, would be like "WTF? Really? How is his blackness relevant?" Not sure how decision gets made on when pointing to race is relevant and when it's gratuitous. Anyway, again, to be clear, not offended—just thinking about race, which I know is something folks don't often like to do, but I thought maybe I could do it in some pretty low-key, non-inflammatory context.

Did you get bogged down anywhere? I got stuck in what seems to me, in retrospect, like a really weird place. I could not parse UP TO NO GOOD (25A: Like a mischief-maker) to save my life, primarily because I couldn't get the stupid little downs DIP (11D: Highway caution) and AMT (12D: Something punched into an A.T.M.: Abbr.), despite having the first two letters of both (!?). Multi-word phrases can be killer that way (see yesterday's "ASYLUM"-related answer). Your brain wants to make letters into one unit. Maybe two. Above that, it doesn't consider going unless you firmly nudge it. Beyond that, the only other real high and tight fastball was ECOTAGE (34D: Environmental extremists' acts). Sounds like an art project made of leaves and seeds and twigs. Has this word been in the puzzle before? Seems outer-spaceish to me. Is "eco-terrorism" no longer a thing? Too many syllables?

  • 103A: John Belushi catchphrase ("BUT NO[oooooooooo]!"— I had slightly forgotten about this, and also had UTE at 104D: Siouan speaker (OTO), so I was headed toward something like "BUT TU?" (a variant of ET TU?).
["EMU," ha ha]
  • 126A: Mythical con man (LOKI) — good clue. The "mythical" gave it away for me.
  • 129A: God wounded by Diomedes in the "Iliad" (ARES) — I'd like to claim I remember this clearly, but the truth is four-letter fighting Greek god = ARES, probably.
  • 17D: ___ McGarry, chief of staff on "The West Wing" (LEO) — one of those shows that many of my peers watched religiously but I ... did not. Maybe I've seen one episode. It was fine. Didn't hate it. Just didn't watch it. I have heard LEO referred to enough that I should've got it easily. But didn't. Even after I had the L. And the E. :(
  • 39D: Neighbor of Dagwood, in the funnies (ELMO) — no idea, though I will say that I doubt "in the funnies" is necessary. Where else does Dagwood exist? Are there other, non-funnies Dagwoods?
  • 43D: Blog nuisances (TROLLS) — Ha ha. Ha. True. Ignore!
  • 59D: Retailer that sells grasshoppers as food (PETCO) — cute, if fairly transparent, clue.
  • 120D: Old German duchy name (SAXE) — only ever seen it in xwords. We call our dog "Duchy" all the time, though she spells it with a "t."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Luke 12:18 AM  

Amy@xwordfiend asked the same question re: Macklemore's race. As I commented there: I think that was to throw off solvers who had not yet filled in 93a nor figured out the theme. White rapper, looks like six letters = EMINEM.

chefwen 12:20 AM  

Caught on with LESS IS MORE, one of my favorite adages.

Had great fun with this one, which made up for my poor performance the last couple of days.

I had so many write-overs, it was ridiculous. 12D pin before AMT, 10A ripen/ADAPT, 83A braid/PLAIT, 36D honoree/TOASTEE, WAIT THERE'S MORE (I know, lame) but I had to do it first. 58A out do/ONE UP,90A sang/SUNG, and so it goes...

Loved the ECHO/OCHO crossing.

Great puzzle, kept me amused for a long time. Thanks Joe Fagliano!!!

Evan K. 2:06 AM  

This was a great puzzle. I look forward to a clever and classy grid when I see Joel's name.

Unknown 3:31 AM  

Any fellow solvers notice that 107 across was just plain wrong?

jae 3:47 AM  

This was tough for me mostly because I plopped in Ford for 1d and refused to let it go for a very long time.  I suspect I'm not alone on this. And, I had a bunch of other erasures (@chefwen--you hit several of them).  

Plus after getting through Fri. and Sat. unscathed I DNF.  I had CTs for the diamond weight (the 4 Cs?) and put in fORcEINTO for 87d to make it work with out checking the tense or the crosses.  Classic shot to the foot.

Liked it.   Tricky fun Sun. with some zip.  Made me smile.

jae 3:51 AM  

@John Vice -- Apparently I thought it was. Var. anyone?

Matty 5:52 AM  

The 'white' part of that clue made it easier to guess I suppose. Already had EMINEM in the grid and MACKLEMORE is the only other who comes (readily) to mind for me. Also this answer made me think there was a rebus at hand for a bit. Not until I got to SWARTHMORE where I already had the MORE in the grid did I catch on. Anyone else?

Bob Kerfuffle 6:10 AM  

Good puzzle!

Is there anyone who did not have FORD before FILL at 1 D?

Also, I had 90 A as SANG before SUNG, and at 39 D, HERB (Woodley) before ELMO.

And there you go, marshmallow lovers: 109 D, have another SMORE!

Anonymous 6:49 AM  

Never heard of Macklemore. Therefore had to guess the letter before the more and I wrote an A. Seems to me an unfair cross since there is only one chance to get it right. Worse than a Natick to me.

Anonymous 7:06 AM  

Ford, Sang, Herb, Pin, and more -- great puzzle and AHA is right on target!

Glimmerglass 7:08 AM  

Interesting degree of difficulty. Maybe "easy-challenging"? The theme made it easy. I caught on at MOUNT RUSHMORE. This gives one four letters for every "---" clue. But some of the rest was hard, more like a Thursday/Friday cluing. The combination was great fun.

Unknown 7:28 AM  

Easy-medium difficulty for me. Theme didn't do much for me. Just words/phrases ending in more, with the slight twist of the answers turning. But that resulted in a bunch of no-brainer *MORE answers. But I balance that with the superb fill and nice revealer and it's a good puzzle overall.

Ford also initially at 1D. When I caught on to the theme shortly after, it was an easy fix. I grew up a half block away from a FILLMORE Ave. Not many things named after him, and that's probably too many given his "accomplishments" as president.

Slight slowdown when Kim Jong Un didn’t fit at 113A ;-)

Also, can you cheat without trying to cheat? Had a repeat of SNL on in the background when I was doing the puz last night. In the opening credits they announced the musical guest was...MACKLEMORE! Had never heard of him, but he fit the theme (and he was white, as clued) so I went with it. Is there a word for that? Cheating or serendipity. Or both?

Rex Parker 7:44 AM  

The unchecked letter thing is a major design flaw, now that I think about it. I knew MACKLEMORE, but if you don't ... I mean, he's a rapper, so other vowels could possibly go there. Kind of unfair, it's true.


Milford 8:00 AM  

I had fun with this puzzle, great reveal phrase. Yes, it helped with the solve, but not annoyingly.

In truth I DNF because of MACKLaMORE (I guess I've been hearing his name incorrectly so far), but I love that he made the puzzle.

Hand up for FORD, until I went around filling in the MOREs. Loved that the MOREs took a variety of forms - stand alone, foreign, parsed words, etc.

Realized I couldn't spell LIMOUSINES (the U was a mystery to me). Also had ECOrAGE awhile, figuring maybe it was a thing? And MEWL is just a weird word.

So, a great puzzle. And I love Michael MOoRE's awesome cap.

Loren Muse Smith 8:03 AM  
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chefbea 8:06 AM  

Fun puzzle. Hand up for Ford, braid,pin at first tip I got to Less is more.

At first thought the revealer was going to be Buy one get one free but it was a letter short.

@John Vice..it is wrong ..Carat is for stones,Karat is for the purity of gold. I use to have a jewelry store!!

Unknown 8:22 AM  

@anon 6:49am - great point on the unchecked squares

MetaRex 8:36 AM  

The FORD FILLMORE misdirection is really nicely placed in the NW...v. nice job by Joel F.

On the unchecked E of MACKLEMORE:

Agree that that's a showstopping print flaw. Back in the day, ya really wanted to be able to do a pure solve.

But print ain't the world anymore. On my interface w/ the NYT site, guessing letters is no big deal...on MACKLEMORE I guessed A and got the incorrect signal, then guessed E and got the "Thank you for playing" thumbs-up.

So, yeah, the unchecked E is a prob. But IIWW I wouldn't ask Joel F to fix it...this puzz is way nice, and part of the constructor's cachet is being a mod constructor not a print-era guy.

Loren Muse Smith 8:49 AM  

Yep. Like everyone else, I had to erase “Ford.” And it was there that I had, as Joel predicted, my 125D moment.

ARENDT and ONAGER were my TOE-holds. Right. I think I dated an “Asian wild ass” once.

I’m with @glimmerglass – this was some tough cluing! But gettable. So many missteps. . .

sang before SUNG (morning, @jae)
braid before PLAIT
bawl before MEWL
morph before ADAPT off that P

But my most serious problem was “oh oh” instead of UH OH, causing me to keep kicking around a ridiculous “Moontrustmore.”

I really fell for the PETCO clue, and I used to have a PET tarantula! Bought crickets for her and everything. She was such a sweet, affectionate big hairy thing. I have no idea how I knew she was a she. Aren’t all spiders female?

87D – I had “stormed in,” delighted with the recent bleed-over.

When I got APLOMB and PARITY off just a couple of crosses, I felt really smart.

Two more UPs, and we’d have a 7UP.

Did you know that as a TOASTEE, you should not even touch your glass? (Straight from the Protocol School of Washington.)

Nice job, Joel. As usual!

joho 9:13 AM  


I got the theme too quick immediately after I whited out Ford and wrote in FILLMORE. But even so, that didn't stop the fun.
I went on to FILLMORE white squares with interesting answers.

I wonder if he thought of cluing LEO as a zodiac animal along with TORO the BULL?

I love that EMINEM and, the new to me, MACKLEMORE appear in the same puzzle but I totally agree about that unchecked square. In fact, I guessed the "E" but was just plain lucky there.

Very enjoyable Sunday romp, thank you, Joel Fagliano ... you left us looking for MORE!

jberg 9:15 AM  

I got MOUNT RUSH right away, but the crosses took me away from 60A, so I figured the theme meant to add MORE in your head to some answers. Then the first ____ clues led me to SMORE and AMORE, so I thought they'd all me actual words (more or less) with MORE in them. But I finally worked my way back to 60, and it all came clear. Easy after that, once I gave up BuNting for BANNERS in the gym. The E in MACKLEMORE was a pure guess, but I guessed right, so that was OK. Never noticed the KTS thing.

Until I got the theme, I was really stumped as I knew the desert was NAMIB but figured the sun spot must be mALTa.

On the race thing, it may depend on how familiar you are with rap. No one would clue someone as "white jazzman," but to those of us who don't follow rap I guess there's still an expectation that rappers are preponderantly black, so it didn't bother me. I never heard of this guy, and would be complaining a lot if I hadn't guessed it right.

Norm C. 9:21 AM  

The rapper at 106D did me in, too -- my only error. Never heard of him/her, and I thought a miner's aid (105A) was a TRAy (why not?), giving yACKLEMORE which I actually think makes a MUCH better name for a rapper.

Also, would it have killed the constructor to put a '?' in the clue for will-o'-the-wisp (128A)? That was my biggest slow-down.

Questinia 9:35 AM  

Not FORD but I was daft, yet lucky, guessing TAFT which stuck in my NW craw early.
Thought I would not finish until I got the gimmick but then it was stop and go. Enough challenges to not allow racing through.

Didn't know skipjacks were TUNAS, always knew them as boats.

Had BurstINTO for a while before BROKEINTO. KTS to me is purity of gold not weight of diamonds.

@RobC, also watching SNL with MACKLEMORE. I'd call it profiting from the occasion.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

"the unchecked E is a prob. But IIWW I wouldn't ask Joel F to fix it...this puzz is way nice, and part of the constructor's cachet is being a mod constructor not a print-era guy."

Considering the fact that the Across Lite online
puzzles have been around for over a decade and
half, I hardly think the young mod constructor vs the older
generation shtick is worth trotting out (yet again).

Aside from that, I'm not sure what difference it makes
to a solver in a print version or an Across Lite
version, a blank uncrossed letter is still a blank
uncrossed letter. Anyway, it was still a great
Sunday puzzle. Nice work Joel!


Rookie 10:19 AM  

Feeling much better after yesterday's fiasco. This was really fun!

jackj 10:21 AM  

I printed out the puzzle after returning from a full day shepherding houseguests around in 96° heat, saw FAMER would fit for one across and FORD would nicely fit the “not elected President” query.

But then I had not a clue what Joel’s dash, (connecting to FORD’s “D”), was looking for and I had no heart for another lengthy tussle with this tough constructor, so I decided to take a holiday from solving.

But, of course, crossword addicts need their fix and after a restorative bit, thanks to the A/C, it was back to the puzzle, diddling with the area in the bottom right where CLIOS was an easy entry, (which bumped an EMINEM** entry, only to have him reappear elsewhere), but GLEAM, SAXE and LATEX quickly filled in, as did OREO, KTS, KENYA and DESTROYER and lo and behold, what was sitting on the bottom was the dash revealer, MORE.

Tested the reveal by going back to select dash entries and confirmed BALTIMORE and SOPHOMORE, discovered my favorite theme answer ALUMINUMORE and noticed the center entry which was the oft heard infomercial come-on, BUTWAITTHERESMORE and decided that Joel’s puzzle was proving to be just a pussycat.

Lots of clever fill today, including the banned substance that was first thought to be DDT but was shanghaied in the puzzle by Timothy Leary’s favorite potion, LSD; RAG ON, WHO ME, IN OR OUT and UP TO NO GOOD were all nice, casual cluings, but “Gymnasium decorations” had me enter BUNTING and was disappointed to learn Joel was only looking for the more common BANNERS.

When wrapping things up at the last, the two best entries of the day popped up, the very devious, clever clue “Will-o’-the-wisp feature” for APOSTROPHE and the straight clue and answer for the rarely seen, marvelous, elegant word, APLOMB.

Thanks, Joel!

** Rule for rappers- Always get them from the crosses.

Unknown 10:25 AM  

I also found the clue for Macklemore to be, if not offensive exactly, kind of tone deaf. I genuinely wonder how the clue made it through. Since his song "Thrift Shop" has been a monster hit, why not use it in the clue somehow? I would think that that would be the one piece of information most likely to get someone unfamiliar with Macklemore to the right answer, since it's more likely that someone might have read/heard about that song than reading/hearing about a "white rapper with two #1 hits." Anyway.

The puzzle is fantastic. Clever theme with great theme answers. The eight non-theme long answers are all good. And the puzzle is almost completely garbage-free. It was a really enjoyable solve.

billocohoes 10:32 AM  

@chefbea - don't you mean 107A is correct? Clue is 'Gold units.' Merriam-Webster defines 'karat' as 'unit of fineness for gold.' The inside of my wedding band says '14K.'

Unknown 10:56 AM  

Like @loren, I noticed the UPs: LIT UP, CUT UP, SHUT UP, UP TO NO GOOD, ONE UP. Also the BUT WAIT and BUT NO. These are minor flaws in an otherwise fine and fun puzzle. Very clever for the first theme answer to tempt the solver to enter Ford! Any time I read that Rex responded the way I did makes me feel a teensy bit smarter :-)

Unknown 10:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zwhatever 11:04 AM  

Magazine version of puzzle clues 107A as "Gold units: Abbr."

Technically, every theme answer has an unchecked letter at the turn. The "I" in BALTIMORE is equally unchecked, for example.

First thought at 1D was Bush. I wrote Ford like everyone else, it seems.

Between Thrift Shop and Same Love I thought everyone had heard of MACKLEMORE and Ryan Lewis by now.

A fun Sunday, CAP'N.

JBURGS 11:07 AM  

Was stuck for a while convinced that Dagwood's neighbor should be Herb,making me feel like an onager. Have no knowledge of the hippety hop genre so was in the dark with Macklemore. Would have tried Vanilla Ice if not aware of the "more" theme.
I prefer White Chocolate. Do I need to worry that this implies something about me? Let the politically correct hand wringing begin.

Videos 11:14 AM  

Same Love

Thrift Shop

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Thought it was a particularly clever puzzle, but blew it by never getting the theme. Medium difficulty? What would be difficult? Oh, I forgot, in solverland there’s no such thing as a difficult crossword puzzle.

Actually, I found some of the comments more baffling than the puzzle:

Anon. 6:49 AM: “Seems to me an unfair cross since there is only one chance to get it right.”

Rex Parker: “The unchecked letter thing is a major design flaw, now that I think about it.”

MetaRex: “So, yeah, the unchecked E is a prob.”

Joho: “but I totally agree about that unchecked square. In fact, I guessed the "E" but was just plain lucky there.”

Jberg: “The E in MACKLEMORE was a pure guess, but I guessed right, so that was OK.”

Which square was “unchecked?” Was it the first square of 134a? How does it differ from all the other __MORE squares in this puzzle? Is there more than one chance to get any crossword puzzle square right? Somebody help me out here.

Questinia 11:17 AM  

Online version has it clued as Diamond wts.

Carola 11:24 AM  
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Carola 11:27 AM  

Very fun! Great theme idea and a treat to solve. I liked the "trickster" mini-theme (Mischief-maker, Prankster, LOKI), as I had no idea what was going on through the top half of the puzzle. Totally faked out - e.g., Ford, and for the big busts clue I briefly entertained pOrN-something. But at the midline I wrote the reveal right in and then was able to go back and finish MOUNT RUSHMORE and correct 1D to FILLMORE.

Like @Anonymous 6:49 I also wavered between an a and an E for MACKLEMORE and guessed wrong. So my third DNF in a row. @Rex - Thanks for your comment on this.

@Bob Kerfuffle - I briefly wondered if it was a S'MOREs theme!

@Milford - The OU standing by itself made it impossible for me to see LIMOUSINES for the longest time. I mean, they're LIMOs, not LIMOUs :)

@loren - When I had APL..., I thought, "Nope, can't be right, need a double P." The "reveal" of APLOMB was one of many nice AHA moments for me. Great word.

@Sandy K - From yesterday...thanks, that was fun! - and I finished :) PB is so ENDlessly inventive. I also got a kick out of how the END reveal fit with our sidekick talk.

jae 11:39 AM  

@billocohes & Z -- the 107 clue in AcrossLite is "Diamond wts." which are CTS. Nice to know my DNF was in part due to a bad clue (yes, I know, I still screwed up).

I realized this morning I also had MACKLaMORE so I DNF any way.

@MetaRex -- I print the puzzle out and solve on paper, but if you correct an error because AcrossLite gives you an "incorrect signal" that's still a DNF in my world.

@lms -- How did you know I had SANG first?

Ellen S 11:42 AM  

@billocohoes -- in what format is the clue for 107A "gold units"? That wouldn't even be an abbreviation, but more to the point, for all the rest of us (I'm using R.alph Bunker's app, don't know where it comes from) the clue is "diamond wts". And for that, KTS is wrong. (Though I found kts used to reference diamond weights in some online, eBay type sales where all the other words were also misspelled. Jewelry store sites and @chefbea know better.)

... While I've been failing to prove I'm not a robot, @Z answered my question, above. One puzzle, two clues. I wonder if there are other differences? And what does it mean? The puzzle went to print with the correct clue and some sharp-eyed editor "incorrected" it in time for it to be wrong online?

chefbea 11:45 AM  

@Billocohoes..in my version that I printed out from Xword info (as I do every day) it says Diamond wts. I see in my dead tree version it says..gold units abr.

Some how someone goofed!!!

Milford 11:47 AM  

Yes, the first square of 134A is unchecked, meaning there is no other clue crossing to help. The other squares in 134A have another down clue crossing them (e.g. GLEAM) that can help.

Plus, the theme of the puzzle, if figured out during the solve, let you know that the last letters in those clues were MORE. The first letter had to be figured out by the down clue.

Hope that helps.

Charley 11:59 AM  

Mewl and mage?

Milford 12:02 PM  

@Carola - yes, exactly! Is it possible I've never considered how to spell this?

Looking back at the theme, I wondered if every theme answer had a different letter preceding MORE. Answer is no, two share the EMORE, two share the HMORE. Still pretty diverse, tho'. And all vowels represented.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Re. my Anon 11:16 AM comment. Now I get it. The second chance is when you do the cross, and by “unchecked letter thing is a major design flaw,” Rex meant all the puzzle’s squares with no cross clues, not just the E in MACKLEMORE. Thanks, Milford.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Agree Macklemore was unfair with only one chance to get it right for thise of us not up on rap. Otherwise great puzzle. I gotung up on the same things as did others, and it still took a while before my AHA moment even after solving the infomercial line. Looking forward to Mr Fagliano's next.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;.......

Some of us oldsters know the word "mewl" from memorizing the 7 Ages of Man speech (As You Like It.)

Elmo is the little boy who disturbs Dagwood's naps (as opposed to Herb who borrows his tools.)

Like everyone else, I stalled at the start with Ford...but once I got to aluminum ore, I worked More and More quickly.

Great puzzle!

Sandy K 1:13 PM  

Loved this puzzle- loved the theme, loved the tricky cluing and misdirects, loved the FILL MORE!

Knew Mr. Fagliano was UP TO NO GOOD when I couldn't squeeze in MT RUSHMORE...THAT'S AMORE needs an APOSTROPHE too!

MORE faves were LESS IS MORE and MACKLEMORE- agree with Rex about the clue tho...

@Carola- same as you with LIMOUSINE...LIMOUS?? lol
PB ENDing- perfect!
Did the BEQ puzz. Hated to do it, but had to google Austin Powers's enemy to finish.

okanaganer 1:23 PM  

I, too, was stymied by the unchecked squares on both MACKLE/MORE and SWARTH/MORE. Not knowing either, I kept guessing possible letters with no happy pencil. Finally realized I had PEEKED instead of PEERED for 38D, creating "Battle of the YSEk" which sounded totally plausible.

It would have been really cool if each theme answer could have stood by itself without the MORE, but on the other hand answers like ALUMINU/MORE were pretty fun in their bendiness.

syndy 1:45 PM  

Would "cold-ass honkey" rapper be more better?My big AHA was APOSTROPHE-Joel got him some evil in there!Primo sunday puzzle!

Mr. Benson 2:07 PM  

My only question about this one was how the clue "Cussed" gives you MEAN (94D). Not knowing what an ONAGER is, that N was the last letter to fall for me. I only got it by going through the alphabet, finding only a couple of letters that would complete MEA_ as a word, and figuring "well, cussing is kind of a mean thing to do." There must be more that I'm not getting.

Paul Keller 2:23 PM  

I also got burned by the uncrossed portion of MACKLEMORE, but still loved this puzzle. Cracking the theme late in the solving process (I started out by writing SMORES all over the place) was a great moment.

Sandstress 2:42 PM  

Got the theme almost immediately on the MOUNTRUSHMORE fill (knew it couldn't be MOUNT RUSH, yesterday's Limbaugh clue notwithstanding! ) so a fun fill most of the way.

It was my ignorance of WWI history and/or European geography that did me in--I had PEEKED for 38D and never noticed my incorrect cross fill YSEK for 57A ("Battle of the __, 1914".) Caught it right away as soon as I got the "there are some incorrect cells in this puzzle" popup when I finished, but I agree with @jae--for me that's technically a DNF.

I use the NYT Crosswords App for iOS--is that the same as AcrossLite? It had the incorrect 107A ("Diamond wts." clue as well, which hung me up for a good while, but when the cross forced the K, I assumed karat must be one of those weird, only-in-crosswords variations.

Overall a very enjoyable and well-put-together puzzle. Thanks, Joe Fagliano!

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Was it possibly ECORAGE for 34 down? Get IRON is to fight?

Carola 3:45 PM  

@Sandy K - On BEQ... That was my last entry. I had the first and last letters and made a lucky guess.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

This is such a great puzzle!
Just because the puzzle was tough does not mean it has any flaws. Some of us should spend a little more time in psychotherapy working on essential narcissism.

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Hey' yoooze guys---
Just because you don't get it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it. Work hard on general fund of knowledge (GFK) and even harder on your unwarranted inflated positive self-regard.

Loved this puzzle!!!

Zed Z 4:38 PM  

Just because you're an anonymouse doesn't mean you're being ignored. It might just be the trollish nature of your comments.

Now I get RRNs in my captcha. Woo Hoo.

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

@Carola- Isn't it funny that we both were stuck on That answer?!
I never saw those movies- I'm just not erudite! haha

So you finished legit-ly and I had to (groan) google that one entry! Soooo close, but I count that as I DNF.

Have a good night! : )

Sandy K 5:14 PM  

Hey, I'm NOT ANONYMOUS!!! The above comment is ME! My wonderful computer screwed me up again...

Ray J 5:54 PM  

Greetings – First post for me after lurking on and off for a few months. I just saw The NYT subscription renewal charge on my Visa statement, so I guess I’m now a yearling in the world of XWP solving. Really enjoy the blog and all the commenters and have learned a lot from all y’all. Thanks!

Just wanted to let Mr. Fagliano know how much I enjoyed this puzzle – best Sunday in quite a while IMO.

I do wonder though, what would Bonnie Abbzug, Doc Sarvis and the rest of the gang think about ECOTAGE? I believe they already have a phrase and that ain’t it.

Ray J

JenCT 6:00 PM  

Yup, stuck with FORD for waaay too long.

Geologist hubby insisted that Bauxite was an ALUMINUM ORE; but it wouldn't fit! Oh, I get it... that was my aha moment.

Back from a week's vacation in VT, then on Sunday the 14th, I'll be training with my new service dog Justice! She's a yellow lab with a black chin, and she's very sweet - I think we'll make a great match.

I'll be sure to keep everyone posted...

jberg 6:13 PM  

@JenCT - I'm glad it's starting well with your new service dog! Best of luck.

chefbea 6:27 PM  

@Ray J welcome

@jen in Ct. good luck with your new doggie

joho 6:50 PM  

@JenCT ... so happy to hear you got Justice! Yes, do, please keep us posted.

Loren Muse Smith 7:49 PM  

I just spent the past four hours watching Gone With the Wind with my daughter. They just don’t make’em like that anymore!

@jae – oops – poor, uh, what’s that guy’s name? The one who fell for my five- presidents- not -buried on- US-soil joke? I never remember his name, and we were even in NYC together. The Invisible Man? (Hey – I always make the same mistakes you make anyway; you’re so smart.) Sorry, @Bob.

@JenCT – great picture! Please keep us updated. She looks like a Very. Good. Girl.

Hey, @Ray J- Yay! Stay and play, okay?

LaneB 8:02 PM  

An all-day sucker for me moving through this one at a glacial pace notwithstanding a bunch of Googling (ONAGER, MACKLEMORE, EMINEM--need to bone up on my rappers--LOUVRE and AVEO). I found the cluing difficult and at times maddening. Finally figured out the hyphen/NOSE connection and d94-Ed a lot. Often felt like a BIGDUMMY,too and had better SHUT UP now lest I become a TROLL. And is the singular of magi MAGE? Always thought it to be magus.
Remarkably clever puzzle!

chefwen 8:05 PM  

@JenCT - Congratulations on the newest member of your family. If you run into Ellen J. at NEADS while you're training, give her a big Aloha from me. Good Luck!

isapita - sounds very edible.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:06 PM  

@lms - Frankly, my dear . . . I'm flattered that you remember my schtick.


Delaware 8:54 PM  

Late as usual. Did it while watching my beloved Red Sox playing the Angels. Losing right now but it's early.
Loved the puzzle! Thought it was brilliant. Great cluing and great fun for a Sunday.

retired_chemist 9:31 PM  

late to the party - dog show today. Did the puzzle last night - medium-challenging.

Hand up for several potentially correct downs, absent knowing the theme. FORD, of course. ALUMINA (aluminum oxide) @ 10D, which strictly is incorrect but it's very close to being Bauxite. EMINEM @ 106D until I got 93A. So, spent a long time flailing with this mess.

Agree MACKLEMORE is a particularly distressing unchecked square, because if you're not into rap you probably never heard on him. I hadn't. But the problematic E seemed like the right spelling of the name, so I was OK. Those who used A have my sympathy. That was a bum rap.

Overall this was a very fun puzzle. Good cluing, little dreck. I said 125D about the 2/3 mark, since that's when I figured out how the theme worked.

Thanks, Mr. Fagliano.

Unknown 9:58 PM  

@Jen CT - good luck with the new dog!

August West 11:01 PM  

After getting destroyed by MAS's de Sade-ian torture chamber on Saturday, I had a great time going through this like a knife through goose liver pâté.

18:22 of smiles, happy head nods, and appreciation for a constructor with a sense of humor. By 125D, Joel is saying, "Yeah, I know it's good fun!"

Someone yesterday pointed out the distinction between a puzzle you may solve by use of intellect/deductive reasoning v. one you may solve only if you happen to have memorized certain obscure facts or arcane bits of information. Put another way: Saturday v. Today. The distinction in *enjoyment level* clearly tips in favor of the former.

Anonymous 11:50 PM  

I keep waiting for a constructor to clue SAXE with a Saturday-suitable "Victor of Fontenoy", referring to Marshal Saxe, the greatest French soldier before Napoleon and the victor of the Battle of Fontenoy (1745), the decisive engagement of the War of the Austrian Succession. Get out your history books!

Copy Editor 12:45 AM  

I had a hard time with this. Didn't figure out the theme until I tried MACKLEMORE and wondered why it didn't end. Also had Ford in 1D and could not figure out that corner. Once I came here and realized what the theme was, it wasn't bad. I didn't know ONAGER.

I drive an AVEO and love it. Sad to see it referred to as "former." I didn't know they'd stopped making them.

Off to Wikipedia to figure out how on earth FILLMORE was acceptable for that clue.

Tita 12:50 AM  

Hey everybody - anything happen while I've been gone?

Loved this puzzle - so clever, and really fun to solve, as @Rex says, the gimmick helped the solve.

Still reeling from being away for 2 weeks, but had to chime in after today's gem.

Side story on 128A - I was spelling my last name out for some clerk who clearly did not relish her job. "d, APOSTROPHE, A,N,D..."
"Hold on a sec, she said, audibly annoyed... "How do ya spell APOSTROPHE?".

Knew ALUMINUMORE from having visited Les Baux in Provence, the eponymous town where Bauxite was first discovered.

@LMS- you watched GWTW again? WHen I was in Italy, watching a dubbed Mammie, you were watching it with your daughter...!

@Jen - I was wondering how things were going - enjoy vacation, and best of luck with Justy...

AR Mirza 1:02 AM  

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Anonymous 8:05 AM  

Why do oldsters get so mad when they dont happen to know a legit pop culture reference?why is Macklemore a flaw but not That's Amore? Pay attention and you'll know Macklemore just like I know DeanMartin!!

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

On the Macklemore problem of whether the 134A cross could be "amore" is simply a matter of knowing Irish name-spelling conventions. You'll find phone books with pages and pages of "Macklemores" and "Mcklemores", but you'll practically never find a "Macklamore" or a McKlamore."

ileen 4:00 PM  

This one took a couple of passes, with hours of breaks between. Finally finished it on the train home last night, with some help from my boyfriend w/BALTIMORE & ENACT. The NE corner gave me the most trouble, but I'm so happy to have it be correct after learning I had one box wrong on Monday's puzzle.

Anonymous 5:55 AM  

This was the toughest Sunday of the year for me. Just finished it this morning.

The "white rapper" part of 106d was genius, as EMINEM is the "white rapper" foremost in the mind of most US solvers. Just like many wanted FORD for 1D, many likely wanted EMINEM for 106D. I thought MEAN was kind of weird, had no issue with KTS off of "Gold units: Abbr.", and loved many clues.

I love reading this blog and have never commented before. I have no problem with discussions of race--rather appreciate them most often--but I do find white people complaining about the presence of the adjective "white" (especially as its clearly there to mislead the solver) rather ridiculous, just as when I hear them complain about the n word (and many clearly don't even know the difference between the -a and -er endings), and just as when I hear anyone use variations of "it/he/she transcends race." Just wanted to get that out there.

Also, IMHO, this puzzle should've been labelled medium-challenging.

Looking forward to getting today's paper shortly and to a hopefully somewhat challenging Wednesday! And to reading all of your great comments later tonight!

spacecraft 12:24 PM  

Well, two things are obvious: one, that Mr. Fagliano was UPTONOGOOD when cluing this puzzle; and two, as such it belongs in the Saturday paper, 21x21 or no.

I will bet that 1,000 out of 1,000 solvers inked in FORD as a stone-cold "gimme." And that at least 998 of them also wrote in HERB for Dagwood's neighbor. This is a good clue for a Staurday puzzle ELMO; adding the word "kid" plunges it straight to Monday. Maybe for a Sunday outing, either the saint or the Muppet might have been fairer.

Classical quotes notwithstanding, babies do not MEWL, but they often baWL. Animals MEWL. Obviously, Mr. F. has it in for pen-wielding solvers. All these are clearly steering toward a pat answer, and that answer is wrong. OK, Joel, you got me. My grid is a hardly-legible mess. But it's done, and no thanks to a double dose of my bane--rappers--done with no errors. Yes, square 134 was for me the purset natick that ever came down the pike, and I just happened to guess E.

Almost every clue was Saturday-level, far too many to LIST (tick off?) here. (Yes, I've heard of ticking off items, but that's what I'm talking about: one naturally thinks of angering.) But--and BTW, did anyone notice that there are two BUTs in the grid? Yellow hankie?--one in particular might draw a flag: "Legend" for GIANT. There are real giants; they are victims of the disease gigantism, the most famous example being, excuse me--having been, Andre of pro wrestling fame.

A few entries bothered me: the plural of tuna is tuna. And TOASTEE? Really? Reminds me of the misuse of the -EE suffix as so wittily pointed out by the late, great Edwin Newman:
Q: Why couldn't they catch the escapee?
A: Because he was a fast runnee.

Ed, ya left us too soon.

So I managed to EKE out a solution...Geez, Joel, it must've hurt having to use that one!

BedfordBob 1:18 PM  

Hi all. I do the syndicated version . Do other folks post here after this version is published?

I have been doing the NYT puzzle for years but discovered this blog a few days ago. I love it!

It took me a couple of hours to solve it. I didn't get the theme until late and then it went pretty fast. Only error was I put an A in for the rapper. I only count it a DNF if I give up. If I miss some letters I figure it is just a little mistake.

Since I am 73 I have trouble with rappers but knew "That's Amore" in a flash.

Dirigonzo 1:49 PM  

While doing yesterday's puzzle in prime-time I confidently plunked "limosine" into the grid, not realizing until later that the answer was both misspelled and wrong, so I was glad today to be able to rectify (rexify?) the error by correctly spelling LIMOUSINE and having it be correct. (I think I can say with confidence that I am the only person in Rexville that will have any idea what what that comment means.)

@BedfordBob - There are a number of us who comment regularly here in Syndiland. @Spacecraft is a daily regular as am I, and others chime in with varying degrees of frequency. I hope you'll become a regular here, too.

Connie in seattle 2:25 PM  

Hi @bedford bob! I too am in syndiland but rarely post as my comments have almost always already been covered. I discovered this blog several years ago and check it every day after doing the puzzle. While solving, I often wonder "whoa, what will Rex say about that? What will Acme, M&A, Loren, Chef Bea have to say? Will Evil Doug show up?" Great fun & you'll learn a lot.

spacecraft 5:20 PM  

Welcome, @Bedford Bob, fellow 73-year-old! I used to think the same way about DNF--that it meant literally did not finish, as in left one or more blank squares. This blog, however, tends to raise solving standards the longer you're with it. Now, I forbid myself from using Google and must have every square correctly filled, else I count it as DNF. But the beauty is, you can set your own standards. Hope to add you to the team of regulars.

Syndi Solver 7:32 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle but agree on the unchecked squares issue for MACKLE/MORE. Actually, I think I'm even less familiar with SWARTH/MORE college than the rapper. Hey, don't judge! I'm on the west coast, majored in engineering, and know nothing about liberal arts colleges. :-)

Anyway, the name sounded a bit familiar, but somehow I thought it was spelled Swathmore (no R). So that took a long time. Luckily the unchecked letter was the H, not the R.

I even wondered a bit about young solvers who might not know "That's Amore" (THATSA/MORE). For me it was so obvious I actually was looking for it as one of the MORE answers. But it's a combo of English and Italian. If you've never heard the song would the A be confusing? Just curious.

I agree with others that once the trick was revealed (at MOUNTRUSH/MORE for me) then plugging MORE into all the clues with --- helped a lot. But some of the clues were pretty hard. So that evened it and it did not feel too easy for me.

My favorite writeover today was Embalm before ENTOMB for 51 D. (Treat like a pharaoh?) I don't know if that was an intentional misdirection but that's where my mind went.

I liked the reveal phrase a lot! Do recent advertisements still use is? Seems like I haven't heard it for a long time.

Kudos to Joel Fagliano for another great puzzle!

P.S. After the comments about white in the clue for Macklemore, and esp. the white chocolate comment by @JBURGS, I can't resist posting a link to this video by Hari Kondabolu - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-KSI5Z0I90. His chocolate jokes are pretty near the start of the routine. If you like this comedian then check out the TV show Totally Biased.

Dirigonzo 8:32 PM  

@Syndi Solver - I enjoyed your link (but I also enjoy white chocolate as a guilty pleasure). As to the clue, to me "white rapper" = Eminem so that's what I wrote in until he showed up elsewhere in the grid. Then I just had to let the crosses and the theme, plus a good guess, fill in MACKLEMORE.

Syndi Solver 8:41 PM  

@Dirigonzo, glad you liked the comedy routine! I thought my post would be too late for anyone to see it.

I think Hari Kondabolu is quite funny. I loved the end where he joked about how he's used to religious intolerance but anyone who can't understand a "basic grammar joke" has nothing in common with him. I thought crossword solvers, lovers of wordplay, would appreciate that joke if nothing else. :-)

Ginger 12:48 AM  

Boy did I struggle with the NW corner. Of course I put it Ford, but that didn't work with LITUP, so struggled some 'more'. Stubborn me just kept playing with it and AHA, the gimmick finally showed up.

Wondered about both BULL and TORO. Too much great fill to LIST, but my hat's off to Joel Fagliano. Took me most of the evening, but it was worth the effort.

@BedfordBob - Welcome to Syndiland, I'll look for your posts. We're a diverse group here, and glad to have you join the party.

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