Dweller in ancient Persepolis / THU 10-10-13 / 2002 Salma Hayek film or its title role / Peripheral basilica feature / Literary March / Self-titled platinum album of 1986 / Lycee attendee / Constellation next to Hercules

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Constructor: Jeffrey Wechsler

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: days of the week (rebus) — abbrevs. for days of week run in order across the middle; they are referred to in clues for two 15-letter theme answers:

Theme answers:
  • 3D: Common site for 36-Across (DESKTOP CALENDAR)
  • 10D: Common site for 36-Across (APPOINTMENT BOOK)

Word of the Day: Ed KOREN (12D: "The New Yorker" cartoonist Ed) —
Edward Benjamin "Ed" Koren (born 1935) is a writer and illustrator of children's books and political cartoons, most notably in The New Yorker.

• • •

An interesting puzzle. I have somewhat mixed feelings. The long theme answers are kind of dull, and I know I've seen days-of-the-week rebuses before, in some fashion, somewhere. But the clustering of all the days in one line there in the middle, mimicking the way they would be arranged in a DESKTOP CALENDAR or APPOINTMENT BOOK, is pretty neat. Also, the fill gets very interesting in places. Really love THUCYDIDES (37D: Athenian general who wrote "History of the Peloponnesian War") and "EASY VIRTUE" (even though I've never heard of the latter!) (6D: Noël Coward play). There's some odd and not-great stuff here and there, but overall I think the fill's pretty good.

The only thing "-Challenging" about the puzzle was the time it took me to pick up the calendar conceit in the middle there. After that, things evened right out. I had essentially circled the grid from NW to SE and was coming across the bottom when I got to 36D: Revered Chinese figure, which I had ending in -SEN. But SUN YAT-SEN didn't fit. But then I saw it *had* to be right. And instantly the rebus became obvious, and I was able to fill in all the days of the week (and their crosses), one after the other. This left only really the NW, where I had ---CALENDAR, and was unsure of the beginning. I blame LOS (16A: "Was ist ___?"). Entirely. That's a Spanish word to me. I had DAS in there. As many did. Cheap cluing work there. Also cheap—[Some keep waiting for them] (TIPS). The "keep" is absurd there. Makes absolutely no sense. You wait for tips. Wait tables. "Keep" is there only as a misdirection, but misdirections have to work at the literal level, and without some context in which one would normally *stop* waiting tables, that "keep" is idiotic. It was also hard to see ABE up there (though that clue, tough as it was, at least makes sense) (13A: Name that's one syllable in English, two syllables in Japanese).

Got started with some gimmes in the N, namely ERATO and NOSTRA and TIM (21A: Comic Meadows formerly of "S.N.L."). From there I finished up the top and started my clockwise journey around the grid. KOREN was a completely mystery and CREDO was very toughly clued (11D: Inscription on stained glass, maybe), so I was glad all the crosses were easy.

It only now occurs to me that "Thanksgiving" in [Thanksgiving song] has nothing to do with the American holiday. I was baffled by that one. I knew a PAEAN was a song of praise, but what it had to do with Turkey Day was Beyond me. [Peripheral basilica feature] sounded technical, so SIDE AISLE, when it (finally) came, was a bit of a banal surprise. Cute clue on DEAD BODY (40D: Nonspeaking role on "CSI"). I'm quite fond of UNDREAMED OF. Unusual. I wasn't sure the NYT allowed OCD because of the puzzle's general aversion to medical conditions (well, some major ones, anyway). But it looks like OCD has been in the puzzle once before—just once, two years ago. Seems like the kind of answer you'd see more often (43A: Repetitive inits.?).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Loren Muse Smith 6:33 AM  

Well heck. I love rebuses and just hate that I threw in the towel this morning. But with SUN YATSEN, EASY VIRTUE, and THUCYDIDES as part of the trick, I'm not sure I *ever* would have seen it. What a cool idea.

Because I committed to some kind of "_ _ w wiper," the northeast just never fell. I did get ODE, so there, Jeffrey. Hah! I never would have gotten REPRO, CREDO, or KOREN.

Lots of stuff in my wheelhouse, though – Rex - LOS was my toe-hold, literally my first entry. You're too young to remember the German song, Da Da Da? Was ist los mit dir, mein Schatz?

No trouble with most of the other foreign entries ELEVE, OSO, ABE, TAU. . .so aside from not seeing NOSTRA because of my "wiper" problem, no trouble with those. I never remember if it's "a one" or ONE A.

SKULL and DEAD BODY remind me that Halloween is just around the corner. We won't have any trick-or-treaters this year, and I'm ashamed to admit I'm relieved. I feel so fake and awkward answering the door to a bunch of children, "My, my! Look what we have here!" Little ones frighten me, and they can probably tell. I guess what's even more awkward is opening the door to OLDer ones with barely thought out, anemic costumes – those kids who are really too OLD to be out but are desperate for candy. Hey – I was one of them, too; anything for some Butterfingers. Blackened tooth, BIB overalls – good to go. "See you, Mom!" I bet I trick-or-treated until I was in 9th grade. Sheesh.

SWEETENED crossing WINE - I had a friend in high school whose mom added an entire thing of Sweetnlow to her glass of white WINE. I swear.

Wow. Two days in a row that I haven't come close to finishing. I'm starting to feel like a LOSER. Will, ARE WE DONE YET with these toughies?

I think I'll just SIDE AISLE on over now to my People magazine and tackle that puzzle.

@Idahoconnie from yesterday. Thanks so much. That means a lot to me. This place is the most important part of my day!

Jeffrey – excellent conceit, cool pair of 15's. Well done. May all your sauces be WINEY!

John Child 6:47 AM  

Really fun for me and plenty crunchy - Friday time here. OCD was the last to fall for me because it was clued like a plural. FRIsA looked weird and FRIDA a bit better, though unknown to me.

On Thursday if I fill in a corner pretty comfortably without a rebus showing, I assume it's not a rebus puzzle. What a nice UNDREAMED OF VARIATION!

I see that Mr Wechsler has had several puzzles published in the NYT before including one in April themed PRESTO CHANGEO. I remembered that as hard and fun too. Thanks for another great puzzle today!

MetaRex 7:17 AM  

Wow the middle is nice...didn't see SUN Yat Sen, got it w/ THUcydides, and then had an enjoyable dumbness moment...there's nothing in English that ends in TEU or TUE, right?!

DUST SWEEPER and UNDREAMED OF kinda sorta connect to the theme...add SKULL and ya can conjure up a still life w/ an old calendar on a dusty desk...

Gotta note the 4 x 3 boxes in the NW and SE...not fond of that as a rule, but the BIB OSO OLD KEY stack does facilitate a v. nice far S and far E w/ nary a POC...LYRA, LOSER (w/ the S of THUCYDIDES), KEY, DEAD BODY, and KOREN are way way better than the usual bottom and right side fill. It's worth making MetaRex a bit grumpy to make Anoa Bob happy...

Danp 7:22 AM  

My biggest head slapper was Zee. Couldn't even imagine Zed was wrong. That's what crossword puzzles do to you.

jberg 7:47 AM  

Thank God for THUCYDIDES! After SIDE AISLE, TAU (didn't the Trojans speak Trojan, rather than Greek? Or maybe not, the warring sides made speeches at each other all the time), and DUST SWEEPER (it's a dust MOP!),I was ready to go with S. YAT-SEN, which would have been a completely illegitimate answer (and less the clue had "in grade school" in it). But there was no getting around THUCYDIDES, so the dawn finally came.

Aside from the above-mentioned awkwardnesses, there was a lot to like -- REMAINS with DEAD BODY, LYRA and LIRA, and having the good sense to use IRK and not IRe. And the rebus, once got, was very nice.

Writeovers: Lie before LEMON, DESKTOP ComputeR before CALENDAR. I mean I had DESKTOP C and just wrote in omputer - what else could it be? Well, now I know.

It's an early day for me, so that's enough!

Doris 8:19 AM  

Didn't realize that ENYA has been around that long, as I get pop culture references only by osmosis (but I do get them!). Also sports references.

"Keep waiting" can be interpreted as that the waiter keeps at his job because of the tips. So it makes as much sense as a lot of other crossword clues. (Pete Wells in the NYT is dubious about the whole custom of tipping. Many think that a service charge, as frequently imposed in Europe and elsewhere, is a better idea.) And there's no tipping in Japan! But I digress....

Oh, yes—liked the puzzle. The Noël Coward play was also a 2008 film of the same title with Kristen Scott Thomas and Colin Firth. Didn't capture Coward's wit.

joho 8:36 AM  

I hate that I gave up before I totally got it. Too much to do (no excuse!).

I realized that the middle was the days of the week but I was just using the first letters: MTWTFSS. REMAINS is a correct answer for 15D, Doesn't leave. And, of course, so is REMAINSAT! I also convinced myself that Noel Coward's play was EASYVIew!

I confused the cartoonist gOREy with KOREN. I had gOREn.

You got me, Jeffrey Wechsler! But I love, love, love this puzzle! It's quite a feat any day of the week!

James F 8:44 AM  

Bellmen "keep waiting" when you don't think to TIP them after they've brought your luggage to your hotel room.

jae 9:28 AM  

Another tough one for me.  Finished in the N Central when PEDAL finally occurred to me and gave me PAEAN. Had trouble seeing DUST SWEEPER...DUST rag, mop, bunny, er...yes, SWEEPER not so much.  

WOEs:  KOREN, THUCYDIDES ... Almost DNF on the OCD cross, but remembered that I'm a bit that way myself (good morning Loren) after making sure that my rebus entries did not stray outside their squares. 

FRIDA TIPped me that something was going on but it still took a while to figure out what.

Liked this a lot.  Tricky and crunchy make for a fine Thurs.!  Nice one Jeffery!

Sentences_Never_Before_Seen_On_The_Internet.com 9:30 AM  

Congratulations: Really love THUCYDIDES (37D: Athenian general who wrote "History of the Peloponnesian War") made it to our Hall of Fame

mac 9:31 AM  

I didn't get it..... Probably because I had a glass of wine with lunch on the Plaza Real. Gave up too soon.

Flying back to the US tomorrow, to meals at very different times and a lot more vegetables! Fantastic holiday in Spain, though.

Chad Montgomery 9:42 AM  

I had to take this one to bed. Just couldn't sort out the center. Woke up this morning, rolled over, picked up the crossword, and saw the gimmick in about 30 seconds. I haven't had to do that in a long time, but it always amazes me that I see in seconds what I couldn't find in over an hour.

LIE and REMAINS fit the clues for LEMON and REMAIN AT. That was a big problem.

SUN YAT-SEN and THUCYDIDES I just don't know.

Wound up -1 with FRA / SUN YAT-fEN. Nooooooooo!

It's been a brutal week. Not looking forward to Friday, Saturday.

mathguy 9:59 AM  

Wonderful. I love rebuses to begin with and this one was beautifully done. Arguing with Rex, there was nothing medium about this baby. When sanfranguy gives his statistical analysis I'll bet it's 80 percentile or higher. Why difficult for me? Only 7 gimmes, 15 entries I didn't know , and three totally baffling clues. And yet I was able to get it without cheating. Although my wife gave me DEADBODY (great clue!). Made me feel good to solve it.

Z 10:01 AM  

I finally got it at the more prosaic ARE (WE D)ONE YET? Felt like Saturday to me for much of the solve.

Asia before ENYA, UNDREAMt OF wouldn't fit, MEDE is not in the knowledge base, daS before LOS, bcC before ENC, and I still don't get how PAEAN fits the clue.

DA DA DA indeed.

@joho - thinking bridge, eh?

chefbea 10:02 AM  

Had a tough time at first. Then when I saw appointment book...it all made sense.

Glad to see the Bee in there!!!

Unknown 10:08 AM  

I had SEASONS in the middle and refused to give up on that, even though SYATSEN looked funny. Very sorry I gave in and peeked. But this was fun.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Man, this one just ate me up. Had a real "Uh oh" moment on first read through, as in "Uh oh, there's no way I'm gonna finish this thing." Immediately saw there were several clues seeking answers I simply would not know (and would be entirely reliant on crosses to get), coupled with several devilishly vague clues that might be validly answered by any number of things (e.g., 1A, 1D).

Just started picking off short fill and the few gimmes I could find, which led to LE(MON), and awareness that a rebus was at work. Took me a long time to see that all rebus answers were part of 36A and, since I'd never heard of the Coward play or (THU)CYDIDES, and even longer to get that we were dealing with a linear run of the days of the week. That (finally) became clear with ARE(WED)ONE and REMAIN(SAT), which sped things up (a *very* relative term this day) a tad.

The "gimme" of Sego for ARUM, coupled with Coward's play, the clue misdirect for PAEAN and my ignorance that ABORIGINE means "Native," generally, and not specifically a people of Australia resulted in a lot of staring at the North.

Similarly, Midi (Do'h!) for MEDE and the oh-so-cute clue for the CSI role led to further forehead rubbing in the SE.

Finally did kill it, through sheer perserverence and logic, but it wound up being a 22+ minute slog. That is not to be equated with poor or unenjoyable, as I do relish a challenge, particularly one in which I learn some things along the way.

Looking back on the completed grid, I am impressed by the dearth of...shit, WINEY (groan) and REPRO being two notable exceptions. Very tough here, but a lot of fun. Great job, Jeff!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:12 AM  

Don't see that anyone had one of my write-overs: PSALM before PAEAN.

One of the first things I put in was "Was ist LOS?", but I couldn't support it right away, so I thought, "Naw, that's too German, must be "Was ist das?", changed it, and only later changed it back.

Count me as happy when the rebus emerged.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Anon 10:11 is August West. Work 'puter doesn't give me the option of "signing in."

Nancy 10:25 AM  

Couldn't figure out the Sun Yat Sen. Was it a rebus with a picture of a sun? Sun up to sun down? Sun rise to sun set? But the Across didn't fit. And anyway, that's not all the time there is. I solved by cheating on the Noel Coward play. I had EASY V---. But when I looked it up to find EASY VIRTUE, I had 2 letters too many. And then I saw it!!!!! TUE, which went with SUN!!!! And MON produced LEMON. And there it was! Great puzzle.

GILL I. 10:30 AM  

FRIDA gave it away for moi. Even so, this was a toughie.
My favorite entry was seeing Ed KOREN. I would buy "The New Yorker" just for the cartoons and he's very identifiable.
Some words that didn't sound real like UNDREAMED OF and WINEY and REMAINS AT. Had a heck of a time remembering that THUCY dude and MEDE looks just so wrong.
If a waiter (with raised eyebrows) asks me ARE WE DONE? he can keep waiting for his TIPS.
Dare I ask what ATT means for a football stat?

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

@loren muse smith:
Why you won't have any trick-or-treaters this year?

When I was of the age to knock on doors for candy on Halloween, my friends and I would say, 'Guess or give," meaning guess who we are or give us some candy. We were nice little children and not into performing nasty tricks, such as tossing eggs at cars.

Evan 10:33 AM  

This took me a while not just because of the rebus and all of the three-letter answers (30 of them, which is a lot of grunt work), but because I outsmarted myself from the get-go. After putting down NOSTRA and WII, I thought the trick was that certain letters got cut off from the theme answers, so I thought 25-Across was SCRIPTION -- i.e., TRANSCRIPTION with TRAN- cut off. What a terrible false a-ha moment that was, especially because six out of those nine letters were correct. I finally talked myself out of it when I got DUST SWEEPER.

I had the same pre-rebus trouble that @joho mentioned with REMAINS vs. REMAINS AT, as well as ALL DONE before ARE WE DONE. I also refused to write in APPOINTMENT BOOK for a long time because I couldn't count properly -- I had almost all of it (---OINTMENT BOOK, I think) but still didn't write in the answer because I thought I'd just end up with one P instead of two. A hand up for DAS as well.

UNDREAMED OF sounds kinda weird. UNHEARD OF, I know. The DREAM variety, not so much. SIDE AISLE is a little strange too -- I probably would have tried to get rid of those. Still, the puzzle had a good a-ha moment (when I eventually had the right one), so, fun overall.

@Gill I.P.

ATT = Attempt, either throwing a pass or kicking a field goal.

Evan 10:35 AM  

@Gill I.P.:

And it could also be a rushing ATTEMPT, now that I think about it.

August West 10:43 AM  

Man, this one just ate me up. Had a real "Uh oh" moment on first read through, as in, "Uh oh, there is no way I'm gonna finish this thing."

Immediately saw several clues seeking answers I simply would not know (and would be entirely reliant on crosses to get), and a host of devilishly vague clues that might be validly answered by any number of things (e.g., 1A, 1D).

Just started picking off short fill and the few gimmes I could find, which led to LE(MON) and awareness that a rebus was at work. Took a long time to realize that all rebus answers were part of 36A and, since I'd never heard of Coward's play or THUCYDIDES, even longer to see that we were dealing with a linear run of the days of the week. That (finally) became clear with ARE(WED)ONE and REMAIN(SAT), which sped things up (a *very* relative term this day) a tad.

The "gimme" of sego for ARUM, along with Coward and the clue misdirect for PAEAN resulted in a lot of staring at the great North. Never been happier to see good ol' ERATO.

My ignorance that ABORIGINE means "Native," generally, and not merely a people of Australia, led to further forehead rubbing in the NE.

Ground to a halt in the SE, too, with MiDi (D'oh!) for MEDE, OCTAD a "dunno", and the oh-so-cute clue for the CSI role thwarting progress for quite some time.

Ultimately did kill it, through sheer perserverence and logic, but it wound up being a 22+ minute slog. That is NOT to be construed as poor or unenjoyable, as I do relish a challenge, particularly one in which I learn some things along the way.

Looking back over the completed grid, I am impressed by the dearth of...shit, WINEY (groan) and REPRO being notable exceptions.

Very tough here, but a lot of fun. Great job, Jeff!

Ellen S 10:47 AM  

@lms I worry when the older trick-or-treaters come to my door dressed as gang members. Oh, wait--!

As for the puzzle, I knew it had to be Sun Yat-Sen, and from my expensive college education I knew it had to be Thucydides. And I knew Selma Hayek and starred in FRIDA, but couldn't figure out any three letter movie she had starred in. I was scratching my head for a long time before I saw the rebus. Very cute!

Sandy K 10:47 AM  

Realized it had to be rebus-y cuz SUN YAT-SEN and FRIDA had to be squeezed in somehow.

O SO SWEET, when the other CALENDAR days became apparent as they'd be seen on a DESKTOP CALENDAR and an APPOINTMENT BOOK!


Enjoyable THU puzz!

retired_chemist 10:48 AM  

Good Thursday. Agree medium-challenging.

Didn't have a lot of luck until the theme appeared. That happened at LEMON, and the weird crosses suddenly all made sense. Wanted (THU)CYDIDES from the start (read the book mentioned as a freshman, back when Western Civ, H11, was a requirement). Didn't see the rebus early on and an Athenian general that fit was driving me nuts.

If anyone knows who ASA Meadows is, tell me. That was my answer before TIM. But ASA doesn't Google as anyone important that I can find.

Hand up for DAS but also for seeing LOS when ABORIGINE appeared.

All good fun. Thanks, Mr. Wechsler.

Eustace Tilley 10:53 AM  

Nobody else had sOREl before KOREN? I guess the fact that
the clue used "Ed" should have been a tipoff, because Sorel
goes by "Edward", not "Ed". Still, it's odd that there are three
New Yorker cartoonists with the same first name, and
five-letter last names with ORE as the middle letters (Gorey
being the third, as @joho pointed out).

If I knew how to embed a link, I'd provide one to Sorel's
wonderful cover for the May 13, 1996 cover of The New
Yorker, which observed Mother's Day with a cartoon showing
Whistler's Mother glaring at a (presumably unringing)

John V 11:09 AM  

Wow. What a train wreck. Never got any where near close. On seeing the solution and the fill, kinda think that if Maleska wanted a rebus, this is what it would have looked like.


retired_chemist 11:26 AM  

@ Eustace Tilley re the New Yorker cartoonist - I had the K and N before the _ORE_, which precluded the alternatives. I only vaguely recalled him and had never heard of the alternatives.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

Hard, hard, hard. OCD was the very last one to go. I didn't know about either THUCYDIDES or SUN-YATSEN, and it took me forever to figure out the "abbreviated" rebus feature.

Now that I'm done, I liked it.

Thinking about putting Sweet-n-Low in your wine is grossing me out completely. Reminds me of the restaurant manager I used to work with who bought her chardonnay by the box -- by which I mean, in a box.


GILL I. 12:08 PM  

@Eustace Tilley:

Just for you Edward Sorel

Questinia 12:13 PM  

ERATO saved my crassword ass.

Liked OCD. Got the rebus at FRIDA.

VARIATION is a *result* of genetic processes (such as mutation, recombination, etc...) not a process itself. Terrible clue.

Other headscratchers: WINEY, cluing for AGOG. ABE~tricky. So close to common oBi... and sash is one syllable.

Comme les autres- knew LOS but put down daS anyway because LOS seemed very FRI-SAT. That made the NW last to fall.

Thought side aisle was beyond banal belief until I googled and saw it is indeed a technical term.

Admission of being deep-dish dumb-and-desperate: Put Lye before LEMON. Even knowing alkaline substances are bitter. And most people don't voluntarily taste lye.

Two Ponies 12:15 PM  

Well, this chump got stumped.
I had the long theme answers but in the center stopped short with only SMTWTFS. Too bad because this was very clever. The Chinese, Greek, and a film I never saw were just too much.

quilter1 12:24 PM  

Could not get going on this one, but I'm distracted by cleaning, cooking and baking for company tonight so I'll try again later.

dick S 12:29 PM  

Saw 'Lem(on)' in first minute ... kept looking for other 'on's. Much, much later, finally saw the Sun and daybreak.

GILL I. 12:33 PM  

@Evan..Merci (i'll probably forget it)
To be fair to our guest Ed Koren:
One of my favorite's

Doris 12:39 PM  

An afterthought: Seeing MEDE made me think of the immortal George S. Kaufman's "One man's Mede is another man's Persian." Among the many things I wish I could have said!

Numinous 1:03 PM  

Sgt. Schultz; hardly a week went by on Hogan's Heroes when Schultzy didn't walk into the barracks to discover some SKULLduggery and ask "Was ist los?" I heard him in my head instantly.

I'll confess to having to google for some of the answers. FRIDA was one. The only film Ms Hayek made in 2002 but I had no idea how to fit it in. I already had the DESK TOP CALENDAR and the APPOINTMENT BOOK but still wasn't getting it. I figured there had to be a rebus involved but where? THUCYDIDES did it for me. I filled it in from the top down and figured out UNDREAMEDOF (which I hated since I think it should be undreamt of). Then LOSER and ELEVE fell. Working back up, ENYA SWEETENED the IMF and my OCD self saw the gimmick.

When I google, I try to phrase my searches to avoid the results that point to crossword answers. I regard that as
outright cheating. I console myself with the notion that I'm trying to learn something new. I spent twenty minutes reading about THUCYDIDES. I find that the NYT Crossword often opens avenues of discovery that can occupy me for hours. In the past, according to my very intelligent mother, a person could acquire an overview of the sum of human knowledge. In this era of instant information, in my golden years, I find that my education is woefully incomplete. I welcome this opportunity to explore the unknown.

@ August West: When I lived in Australia, if they weren't being referred to by derogatory terms, they were called ABORIGINals. The only times I recall hearing ABORIGINE used have been in movies (possibly one very old movie) referring to Native Americans.

I chuckled gleefully as the DEADBODY revealed itself through the crosses.

I can't agree with Rex on the Medium-Challenging. I'm gonna call it Challenging; I'm not the fastest solver on the block, google or no, but I came in thousands ahead of where I usually do in the Magmic app. I believe there are many Magmicers out there still struggling with this beautiful toughie.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Where are you checking your stats, Rex? This is at least the fourth NYT appearance for OCD.

Masked and AnonymoUUUs 1:11 PM  

har. d.
Tough little sucker. Wanted REMAINS far too long. Also wanted -- but didn't want -- LEM for old sour taste breath, then eventually made an audible Doh sound and most of the midsection monkey business fell. Except for that Athenian general dude. Yike-ydides, dude! That war with the Pella pianists musta been waaay before my time. Lost valuable nanoseconds.

Fun ThurPuz workout. Liked the nonspeakin role on CSI. Even liked the Ancient Troy leader. OCD clue was kinda cruel, but that's good for yah. Lycee attendee sounds like someone who tracks bedbugs into the movie theater, but I'll even let that go. It's sorta neat and rhymey, like nectar detector. But that dern general with the Thu haircut and name change appointment was no help at all...

If we ever have a pet Pewit, we're namin it Thucydides.


I skip M-W 1:16 PM  

@Rex also saw rebus from Sun Yates Sen, already mystified why Thucydides wouldn't fit. I'm amazed people never heard of him before college. What is the world coming to? Also, das before Los, which kept W from falling
@Bob K had psalm before paean too,
Love Ed Koren's cartoons, though my first thought was Fisher.
Would have thought Frida was earlier than 2002. Good movie, even though Kahlo was such a cliche in 90's.
@ Evan, thanks, sort of for football term, get table from crosses
Excellent puzzle!

ahimsa 1:21 PM  

Thanks to Jeffrey Wechsler for a fun puzzle!

Like @Rex, I saw the rebus at (SUN) YAT SEN and that made it pretty easy. I did have to think for a minute since I had an S where SAT should go [ REMAINs instead of REMAIN(SAT)]. But then I figured it out from LE(MON).

Strangely it was the NW corner that was slower for me. Even though I already had the end, CALENDAR, the DESKTOP part was hard to see. And I also had daS before LOS for a long time.

I'm familiar with the phrase desk calendar but have not seen that longer form. I'm guessing it's a computer related term? I still use an old fashioned PDA (Palm TX) for my appointments so I don't even notice those calendars on the computer desktop much less the ones in cloud (google).

Samantha 1:37 PM  

I liked LIRA and LYRA...the latter being my daughter's name. :) Mine never makes it into crossword puzzles.

mathguy 1:38 PM  

@numinous. I Google in the same way you do, I think. If I'm pretty sure of an answer, I'll look it up to verify and/or to learn something about it. Sometimes I'm wrong and I'll get the correct entry. That spoils my sense of accomplishment when I'm done. But I've still learned something.

Rachel 1:48 PM  

Loved this one, got the rebus last thing when it just HAD to be Sun Yat Sen even when it couldn't be. Although I was kind of looking forward to checking out the new to be Salma Hayak biopic that WASN'T Frida.
Rex, I had no problem with "keep waiting for them" one keeps one's crappy waiting job because of the tips.

retired_chemist 2:04 PM  

What Rachel said about keeping waiting for tips. Spot on.

And then there was the veterinarian who specialized in circumcising circus animals, especially elephants. The pay was lousy but the tips were HUGE.

Anoa Bob 2:31 PM  

Thanx fer noticing MetaRex @7:17. This puzz has a low overall POC score, with the helper square S pluralizing 24D AG & 31A TIP being an exception. Is counting POCs a sign of OCD?

Lots of names in this one, like ABE, AMY, TIM, IAN, ENYA, LEANN, etc. Is counting names a sign of OCD?

We see "Schoolyard taunt" or "reply" type clues all the time, so I'm surprised that DEAD BODY didn't get clued something like "'Over my ___' (playground challenge)".

Lewis 2:33 PM  

Loved this puzzle so I'm only going to be whiney about WINEY. If it's a fancy sauce, it will be "wine infused", and if something reminds one of wine, it is "wine like".

I found the cluing to be difficult in general -- in a good way. Never heard of ARUM lily or the rapper.

ONEA crossing DEADBODY is a bit morbid.

Fun puzzle and good workout.

LaneB 2:36 PM  

I like rebuses when I recognize them. Today, however the A36 clue was too recondite for this octogenarian.. Never got out of the starting blocks and lost interest quickly for a DNF that was more like a DNET. A disappointing THU

Agog Credo Mocs 3:04 PM  

Had SUN, even drew in a picture and tried to find other SUN rebuses for a long time and thought the across was something like SUNday to SUNday or SUN up till SUNdown.

Didn't help that i thought what left a sour taste was LSD!

And EASY aces, plus REMAINS needs no AT.
So stumped for a long long time, but when it dawned on me (pun intended!) I was thrilled!

That finally helped me undo my Avid/AGOG mess wondering what kind of -TIP CALENDAR it was.
(ADS in my mind were DAS, District Attorneys, even tho I also had DAS in for LOS)

No trickortreaters here either but for opposite reason. You are out in the middle of nowhere and I live in an apt building midcity... Gals across hall have party I occasionally crash ( not intentionally...I thought I was invited, not knowing that a fb announcement did not equal a personal invite! My bad for not understanding the 20something nuances of being friended but not necessarily a friend. Ouch)

Weird all the New Yorker cartoonists with the -ORE-!
Will's table tennis buddy is the editor of the New Yorker cartoons... He should point that out to him!

dk 3:18 PM  

Why does Andrea look to me, just a minute need a line, for the drug references?

I had are we done, knew this was the day I dread (Rebus THU) and still this puzzle dusted my broom. Took forever and like my BFF Loren I consider quitting so I could get some work done. Alas tenacity and poor use of time (fifth grade report card U) compelled me to finish.

On to employment tasks.

🌟🌟 (2 stars) No fun.

Steve J 4:06 PM  

I did this this morning sitting in the Munich airport, waiting to fly home from two weeks of holiday, spent with German friends in France and, well, Germany. Where I speak the language reasonably competently. And yet I stubbornly held on to was ist DAS, not once thinking of LOS. That corner bogged me down something fierce.

Got the rebus with LEMON. Nice concept, but I have mixed feelings about themes where 75% of it essentially fills itself out once you pick it up.

Still six hours of flying to go, with a long wait at one of my most hated airports. The worst thing about traveling, by far, is the actual travel.

sanfranman59 4:09 PM  

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

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

Thu 21:23, 16:44, 1.28, 88%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 13:41, 9:30, 1.44, 90%, Challenging

joefrombrooklyn 4:17 PM  

Second really tough Thursday in a row. And just like last week's it's a really good idea that, in my opinion, is really hurt by the fill.

The downs intersecting the rebus are pretty diffficult. SUN YAT SEN, EASY VIRTUE, and THUCYDIDES are either you know it or you don't answers. ARE WE DONE is not easily intuitive. Worst of all is REMAINS AT. The clue is "doesn't leave" so REMAINS makes as much sense as REMAINS AT. This was the first one I got so I had no clue there was a rebus involved. I even figured out that it was the days of the week but it could just as easily be "S M T W T F S" as "Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat." It was only thanks to FRIDA that I figured it out. But, again, that's another you know it or you don't. LEMON works. Those down answers should have all been a lot closer to LEMON than THUCYDIDES.

After that there's a boatload of hard fill (PAEAN, ERATO, LOS, MEDE, ARUM). Plus lots of proper names (AMY, TIM, LYRA, IAN, EAZY, ENYA, LEANN, KOREN). And way too much 3 letter garbage (OSO, ERE, ENC, and so on).

Better cluing and fill would have helped this puzzle a lot. However, I still think the theme is clever and I was ultimately able to fill in most of the puzzle so I do give it some props. A potentially great puzzle dragged down to a B.

wreck 4:26 PM  

I'll chime in on the question of using Google. I agree with those who use it as a last resort and for "learning" purposes. I'm still relatively new to the game and am not trying to "compete" with the masters. I do the puzzles for MY enjoyment - when I get to the point it's not enjoyable, I will use google to get "un-stuck!" I am then better prepared to solve future puzzles.

Melodious Funk 4:40 PM  


I believe the quote may be, "Was its los mit Ihr," but it's been years. Dir I never hoid of.

Sfingi 4:44 PM  

Favorite clue:

My license plate is OCDOCD - suggested by my son.

Steve J 4:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 4:49 PM  

@Melodious Funk: "Ihr" in this case would indicate the informal plural "you"; "dir" is the informal singular (formal - singular or plural - would be "ihnen").

Melodious Funk 5:04 PM  

Ah SJ I stand corrected. I was never too informal with Deutsch.

The puzzle was the usual extraordinary wonder. Finished with a struggle, maybe an hour or more as the theme was obscure for quite a while.

There's so much intellect and cleverness involved in these beauties, I would wonder if any of these folks can actually make a living at it besides WS.

Reminds me of an oldie.

Man gets hit by a bus, lying in the pavement. Witness runs over to him, "Are you OK?" Pavement guy responds, "I make a living."

Loren Muse Smith 5:33 PM  

@Steve J and @MF – I took "dir" to be the dative case of "du" because of the preposition "mit," which takes the dative. But it's been a. long. time.

@M and A – loved the spectacle of a pet pewit named THUCYDIDES.

@Questinia and @jberg – your answers for LEMON at least were pretty good. I almost wrote in "lsd," thinking, "Wow. Who knew?"

gifcan 6:04 PM  

Feel bad that I quit early. Great puzzle.

Bird 6:33 PM  

Late to the parry, but would still like to add my 2 cents . . .

Nice theme, but I thought it was done already. On a Sunday? Alas, I did not finish. Drew a blank on 5D, didn’t know 6D and had INT at 7D.

NW was slow to fill in as I had DAS, but then SALIVATE magically appeared and a second later, LOS.

Alice’s Restaurant doesn’t fit at 4A.

I like 40D, but do not like WINEY? And how many rappers are we supposed to know?

chefwen 6:56 PM  

I also got the rebus with LE(MON)and quickly filled in the rest of the days. Even with SUN and THU in place I still had to consult my favorite uncle Google to get 36 and 37D, soooo a technical DNF, but I sure had fun

Carola 7:06 PM  

What a great puzzle, but OSO tough for me. First pass through all of the A's and D's yielded a smattering but nothing that gave me a real toehold. Had to go back and rassle each clue. Rejected PAEAN (definition) as well as LEMON, THUCYDIDES, and FRIDA (didn't fit). I did happen to know MEDES from childhood Bible readings mentioning "the MEDES and the Persians."

Finally had enough squares filled in that APPOINTMENT BOOK jumped out at me, and being able to write DESKTOP CALENDAR off a couple of letters in its partner column saved me: the crosses gave me YATSEN and then I saw the SUN and the rest. Fantastic.

Mette 8:55 PM  

Had a big blank in the middle with Che for Hayek's movie - wrong actress and off by 6 years, but at least it made ENYA impossible (@Doris). Finally Googled the Athenian general and it all fell into place.

@Numinous - before Google, I used to cheat and use reference books when they were at hand. Justified it because, like you, I would flip pages and get lost for hours in other topics.

@retired chemist - groan - but it reminds me that using those TIPS to isolate fibroblasts was tough due to contamination. Later, had the same problem with bovine nasal cartilage, which was not available in England because of Mad Cow disease - nose was too close to the brain.

Michael 9:52 PM  

I didn't get the theme until the end, but when I did it was very pleasing. An impressive construction!

OISK 11:54 PM  

Got the theme right away, but this was still brutally difficult for me. Another rapper to add to my list of "only in the Times puzzle" answers. But I finished. Never heard of Tim Meadows, Frida, Leann Rimes (but I think she has been in the puzzle) . However, I knew Thucydides cold - so the theme fell quickly. Had the most trouble with the football clue, oddly, (since I am a huge sports fan,) just didn't think of attempts...

JenCT 9:08 PM  

@sfingi 4:44: Have you seen this t-shirt?

I have CDO
(It's like OCD, but the letters are in order, as they should be)

spacecraft 12:27 PM  

I too wished I could fit SUNYATSEN into seven squares. Suspected some kind of rebus but didn't know what. Then much later, having snaked around from starting point SE thru NE to N, I hit upon EASYVIR (TUE) and it was all over. Once again, crosses took care of yet another rapper.

As I was filling in OSO and BIB, I laughingly wondered: could the nonspeaking CSI role be a DEADBODY? Although, as MEs on these shows often aver, the dead "speak volumes." I can just hear Ducky, for example, huffing at that definition. Yet it turned out, the phrase fit, and I had my foothold (no toe tag jokes, please).

I've heard of comic TIMs (Allen, Conway), and comic Meadows' (Jayne, Audrey--OK so they're sisters, but still). Never heard of comic TIM Meadows. One writeover: REMAINS was comfortable all by itself until the CLAENDAR required three letters for consistency.

For a puzzle that features a lot of non-theme long entries, this one was interesting. Appropriately tough for a THU and not very junky on the short fill, I'd say it shows promise for a name I don't recognize, so I'm assuming a debut. If not, sorry about that, chief. If so, I SALIVATE for the next one.

Solving in Seattle 2:05 PM  

A 180 from yesterdays CW-experience for me. Jeffery, this was FUN!

Allllmooost caught on to the mischief with 38D because I love Salma and was sure the answer was FRIDA, then looked next door and cracked the code with ThursdayCYDIDES. After that, SUNYATSEN fell. (Did you know both he and Chiang Kai-shek married into the wealthy Soong family? Yup, they knew where the real power was.)

SiS crackup of the day award goes to @Lewis 2:33 for pointing out that the crossing of ONEA & DEADBODY was kinda morbid.

Wonder if Ed KOREN was Muslim?

One blank square today at the intersection of 4A/5D: Natickville for me. Don't know my lilies or Thanksgiving songs.

DMG 3:30 PM  

Got the rebus because it had to be SUNYATSEN, but still ended up DNF. Didnt know the Athenian, anything about Selma Hayak, or platinum albums. And, they crossed the strangely. clued OCD! I got held up for a bit with DUSTSWEEPER. Does anyone really say that? Wouldn't that thing be a broom as opposed to a dust mop? Also, separating thanksgiving and Thanksgiving came a bit slowly as my papers are full of ads for the one with a capital T. Times are different out here in Syndieland!

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

To Hell with "Easy," Medium or "Challenging." This puzzle was just plain "HARD." I finished with the help of Google on 2 clues but can't say it was my favorite because of the time it took.
Ron Diego 1:30 PST

Dirigonzo 4:58 PM  

I knew neither (SUN)YATSEN or (FRI)DA, and REMAINS was working just fine for me, so it was a lo-o-ong time before ARE(WED)ONE finally showed me the rebus. It didn't help that the APPOINTMENTBOOK that I have right next to me lists days as Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat/Sun. I would call this a tough but fun THUrsday puzzle.

rain forest 7:45 PM  

Way late here, but I had to comment because I was able to finish this gem, in two sessions. I had "das" and "octet" in place as two "gimmes", while most of the upper half was completely opaque to me, the bottom half was fertile ground, which where I started in the second of my two attempts. I was sure of SUNYATSEN, LEMON, and FRIDA, when the light dawned.

So, I had to give up DAS and OCtet, and interestingly, my first thought for the CSI clue was "corpse".

I thought this was a super puzzle, and I haven't read many of the other comments, but I disagree completely with Rex about his assessment, particularly the "keep waiting..." clue. Of course--a person keeps waiting only because he/she can earn tips. Maybe the only iffy entry is WINEY, but I won't be whiney about that one cringer. Great puzzle and a nice theme.

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