Pachacuti's people / WED 4-2-14 / Actress Dash of Clueless / Jewelry designer Peretti / So-called potted physician / Challenger's announcement at pickup game / Singer Smith of punk music / Beast in documentary Blackfish

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Constructor: David Levinson Wilk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: that's out of — wacky ("?"-style) clues are not wacky at all, but literal; while it appears that the phrase "out of" in the clues starts an idiomatic phrase, it's really a cue for you to make the answer (clued by the first part of the clue) OUT OF the words that follow, i.e. anagram the phrase following "out of" to get an answer to the first part of the clue. [Breathe] Thus:

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Weapon part that's out of this world? = weapon part that is made out of the letters in "this world" = SWORD HILT
  • 11D: Drenched gangsters who are out of the woods? (SHOOT DEW)
  • 41A: Attack on a Mideast land that's out of thin air? ("HI, TRAIN!")
  • 40D: Military laundry that's out of harm's way? (WARY HAMS)
  • 66A: Fisherman's feat that's out of character? (RACE CHART)
Word of the Day: ECOTONE (10D: Environmental transition area) —
An ecotone is a transition area between two biomes. It is where two communities meet and integrate. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland ecosystems). An ecotone may appear on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities across a broad area, or it may manifest itself as a sharp boundary line.
The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension. (wikipedia)
• • •

Was worried I'd forgotten how to not like a puzzle, but it's like falling off a bike or log or one of those: no sweat. Cute idea (literalizing idioms that begin "out of…"),  but the answers are nonsense. IRAN HIT is nonsense. WET HOODS is nonsense. There was no joy in getting these. There was especially no joy because I had no idea what was going on until I was finished. My "aha" moment was more of a "hmmm maybe if I could go back in time and somehow know this *while* solving I might've felt differently about this puzzle but I really doubt it" moment. The grid looks great, otherwise (except for that MCLI / ITA / AGR part). ECOTONE's a crutch, but I GOT NEXT is killer, and who doesn't love ARMPIT? Sexy.

"NOW A TRY A IT ON!" — things a horrible caricature of an Italian tailor might say!?

I had S-A and -UR for a long time (i.e. seconds, but still). Lichtenstein's locale is, undoubtedly, EURope, and yet somehow that feels a bit like having the clue [Kentucky's locale] for NORTH AMERICA. But SEAs have "swells" so I figured it out. I like the groupings of people in the NW and SE corners. LESTER Holt and STACEY Dash are an unlikely double date—romantic comedy waiting  to happen—and I love the image of sad Kirk COBAIN and sad DOOBIE Brothers sadly standing on the street, staring at DISCOS that won't let them in because they aren't dressed right. It's possible Men AT WORK are there too.


Many thanks to Matt, Ben, Angela, Doug, The Klein Sisters, and Andy for keeping things going while I was gone. I'm most grateful. Now to sleep, which I haven't done in … let's see, today, then 16 hours transit time from CA including red-eye flight, then yesterday, carry the one … [falls asleep calculating]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


wreck 12:11 AM  

Absolutely hate nonsensical answers - even if they are anagrams. Never saw the theme until I read the blogs.
I cannot read the captchas anymore until I refresh for a series of numbers!

Steve J 12:12 AM  

Didn't get the theme as I was solving this. Didn't get the theme after I solved it, stared at it, and tried to figure out what was going on. Read a description of the theme, and still didn't get it. Reread the description, and finally it dawned on me.

Ordinarily, this would be my problem. But Jeff Chen didn't get it. Rex didn't get it. I suspect the vast majority of people didn't get it until it was spelled out. Or later. That's a problem.

Really liked I GOT NEXT, JOHN MUIR, a really nice clue for DISCOS, both YEOWS (even with the forced plural) and WAHOO!, ORIGAMI, and TEDDY crossing his cousin FDR. Didn't like many partials, what seemed like a ton of prepositions (ON, AT, OFF, TO, PAST), AGR. Oh, and the theme. Or non-theme. Or whatever it was.

okanaganer 12:17 AM  

Didn't have a clue what the theme was until I read Rex.
Understand the explanation but...doesn't do a da**ed thing for me.

jae 12:34 AM  

Easy for me which was good because I too didn't figure out what was going on until after I finished.  Very clever with quite a bit of zip...COBAIN crossing DOOBIE,  TEDDY, YAHOO, RIC clued without using The Cars, PATTI, ELSA clued without Born Free...  And, unlike Rex, I thought the wacky phrases were amusing.

No erasures and only STACEY as clued was a WOE.  The only people I remember from that movie off the top of my head are Alicia Silverstone and the late Brittany Murphy.  Liked it.  Fun Wed. Mr. Wilk.

JTHurst 12:36 AM  

After two days of fun we get this puzzle. I bludgeoned the answers forth, slowly, agonizingly, and with many erasures. I never saw the cue until Rex pointed it out. Without any crosses I inked in 'tell truth' for 66a, which I then had to erase as the crosses disproved it and that's the way the puzzle went. I am sure everyone will have more to say on this.

I almost naticked at the cross of Elsa and Lester but reasoned the 'l' as the most logical response but finally double naticked in the SW corner with nsfw and tests and wahoo. I just do not know the cutesy twitter talk language. So I assumed 'nsny' was good. I think nests is a viable answer for 68a and yahoo for 71a is a more legitimate answer as wahoo generally refers to the winged elm, an especially tasty fish caught in the Caribbean, the Nebraska city which is the home office for the originations of David Letterman's Top Ten Lists, University of Virginia nickname where the fans go wahoo-wa!!, or archaically, the bellow from the back of a bucking bronco by a blustering bronc buster busily busting the bronco. BOOHOO

thursdaysd 12:41 AM  

I love anagrams and figured the theme out quite early, but then I grew up doing English cryptics. That SW corner, on the other hand, took a while.

Lee Coller 1:29 AM  

Hated this puzzle. Never got the theme. Who says "I got next"?

Too many proper names in SE.

Casco Kid 1:33 AM  

Smooth solve, google-free and fast enough that I afforded myself 2 extra minutes to double check before submitting. Miraculously, no errors, so I'm confused by Rex's difficulty score. Played easy for me.

I did detect the anagrams in the post mortem. ARMYWASH [Military laundry that's out of harm's] was the giveaway as harm->army got me thinking about letter rearrangement.

jae 1:37 AM  

@JTHurst -- After reading your post I realized I made the same error (I do the puz on paper so I get no Happy Pencil feedback). I stopped working over a decade ago and I don't text so NSFY didn't set off any alarms. Dang! I hate to DNF on Wed.

David Krost 1:54 AM  

While I also thought the theme and nonsense answers were weak, I actually didn't have much trouble with this one. What I am not understanding is Rex's alternate anagrams. He gives sword hilt for 17A which was the real answer, but then gives "shoot dew", "hi, train", "wary hams", and "race chart" which weren't. What am I missing? What are those there for?

Moly Shu 2:04 AM  

Mid-solve, I did what @Rex did at the end of his write up. Fell asleep. That sums up my reaction to this puzzle. Got the anagram play at SWORDHILT which was the first theme entry to go in, then got increasingly frustrated (sleepy) as I continued. When I awoke, the grid was 3/4 full and I finished quickly. Really liked the clue for DENIM.

@LeeColler, go to any rec center or outdoor basketball court where there are more than 11 players, and you'll hear " I GOT NEXT " more times than you can count. That phrase also seems to start many arguments.

John V 3:32 AM  

Greeting from Albany at 3:30. When insomnia hits in hotel room, do puzzle. On Across Lite. Which I still hate.

I was okay with the anagrams, which I got and did see their pattern. I was looking for a cryptic outcome, but it turned out to simpler. Guessed EGR for 22D, as I had now idea about ITA.

Okay, not over the top, more meh than not.

Lets see if I GOT NEXT to sleep. Grrr.

chefwen 3:37 AM  

Maybe if I look at it again in the morning, right now I'm just not getting it. Might have something to do with the amount of wine ingested at the neighbors dinner party. Will report back!

evil doug 3:49 AM  

[JFC: I responded to your comment late yesterday, if you're interested.]

Questinia 3:53 AM  

I usually never see a theme but got this one immediately with SWORD HILT and so found the puzzle easy. Thought the nonsensical theme answers were not so fun but realized there are probably constraints in finding anagrams from "out of..." idioms.
It's a worthy attempt and a successful puzzle in some ways but maybe more for the constructor than the solver.
So, rather than a Schrodinger puzzle this one was more like a Heisenberg uncertainty one for me. Not certain what to think of it.

Walter White 4:06 AM  

Say my name....

Questinia 4:37 AM  

... maybe your best course... is to tread lightly.

Danp 5:31 AM  

@jae - it doesn't matter when you stopped working. If you know NSFW, you either do a lot of xwords or porn.

Milford 7:50 AM  

Well I'm feeling amazing because I did catch on to the theme at about the halfway mark. I was staring at SWORD HILT trying to make sense of it when it IRAN HIT me.

My oldest kid just watched the "Blackfish" movie and now she has made me want to see it.

Loved the shaving clue for ARMPIT, it sounds so dainty.

I had pantY (ew) before TEDDY, and titlE before PURSE, but otherwise it filled in rather quickly. NE corner took a little work because I didn't know either POTOK or ACELA.

FWIW, NSFW is usually because of profanity, at least the stuff getting sent to me. I don't have a whole lot of porn being forwarded to me.

@Questina - I am the danger!

Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

DNF but that's okay. NSFW was new to me. Not [something] For Work. Suitable? Safe? I never worked in an office, and I don' text (and there's nothing wrong with YAHOO as 71A, and the Y could be for "you"). No problem. That stuff happens. The puzzle was otherwise very easy. Anagrams are common in cryptic crosswords. I caught on with SWORD HILT.

NCA President 8:02 AM  

Didn't the NYT used to do Puns and Anagrams puzzles frequently? As goofy as those were, I enjoyed doing them. It was because of those puzzles that I instantly picked up on the theme today.

I guess the "nonsense" part of the solve is overlooked because of the process of figuring it out...because in "the woods" there exists "WET HOODS." boom. I'll never look at the woods the same way now.

Mohair Sam 8:18 AM  

We worked from the bottom up on this one and didn't get the theme until WETHOODS. Played medium-challenging here too, and got the devil "W" at 71A only because NSFy would translate to "No Soup For You" - I'm betting the FW is "For Work."

Spent much of my youth playing three-on-three hoops so loved "IGOTNEXT" - almost as much as I disliked IRANHIT.

Loved @Rex's anagrams - point well-taken. Looking at the completed puzzle I'm not sure why we didn't enjoy the solve. Cluing isn't bad at all, and most of the anagrams are just fine, the theme is clever - but IRANHIT, jeez. Can one terrible answer ruin the solving experience?

I thought DADE was, well, DADE - actually hesitated to enter it because of "familiarly". What don't I know (no wisecracks please)?

Gill I. P. 8:22 AM  

I finished this up lickety-split not really knowing what the gimmick was. But I was intent on not head slapping like yesterday. I stared at IRAN HIT and looked at the clue again and said THIN AIR...!!! I was so happy with myself.
I always enjoy anagrams - they make you really unscramble the brain cells...So, I had fun.
@Questinia: Are you being sheer?

joho 8:33 AM  

I didn't figure out the theme until RARECATCH where I could easily see CHARACTER. Then I went back to the top and questioned how SWORDHILT is a weapon. It's hard to get a handle on that definition.

ECOTONE and IGOTNEXT were new to me, but I always like learning new words from puzzles.

I also have never seen NSFW therefore DNF with yAHOO (Hi, @Glimmerglass!) When I shout "Whoopee!" I'm definitely yelling yAHOO!!!

I always find anagrams interesting so this puzzle was interesting to me.

jberg 8:50 AM  

Bad fill, fun anagrams -- I got the theme fairly early with WET HOODS, which let me to back to see the SWORD part was the HILT. And I liked having the ACELA in the NE (should have been a D, though) and Kurt COBAIN in Seattle.

I almost made the yAHOO error -- never seen NSFW, but I couldn't think of anything NSFy or NSny could stand for, and suddenly 'work' popped up in my head.

@Rex, welcome back! My favorite thing in thisblog is when you make some silly joke and someone demands an explanation for what you mean.

@Mohair, sometime in the mid 20th century, but later than MMLI, the city of Miami and Dade County, which it was in, were merged into a single governmental unit, renamed "Miami DADE." (Maybe with a hyphen, I'm not sure). So DADE is now its nickname.

We've got sOWA (South of Washington Street) here in Boston, but I can't think of a NOWA anywhere. Must be one, though.

I don't understand this whole @Questinia thing, guess I'll go back and look for it, and Doug, yesterday.

AliasZ 8:54 AM  

Interesting puzzle today by Mr. Invalid Linked Vows. The light bulb over my head turned on at 66A: a RARE CATCH for this character indeed.

@Rex, those were funny alternates of the theme entries, I got a chuckle or two. But then, I enjoy anagrams, I am a FAN FOR life.

As I looked around the completed grid, I realized that almost every entry can be anagrammed into silly (or not so silly) words or phrases if you RE-DICE them. Try it, it's SUPER making a silk PURSE out of a sow's ear. Just ASK POET. As YE SOW, so shall ye reap. SHEAR a sheep and make CORDS from the wool. If you are ENRAGED and ANGERED, throw a GRENADE, build TWO ARKs, try to only stub your TOE ONCE, IMPART some knowledge and GO OIL that hinge. If essayist Sir Francis had written a memoir, he would have titled it I BACON.

I'll stop now. Happy Wednesday.

Z 9:01 AM  

I got the theme at SWORD HILT. As for the the wacky answers, I like them fine. Anagrams, fairly clean fill, an ORIGAMI DOOBIE (I usually rolled mine, but a swan DOOBIE would have been... the greatest thing in the world ever), what's not to like? Well, the RRN.

@Evil - I didn't get the generality of your post, either. I see your point now. My own advice to creators everywhere is to be thankful that someone cares enough to write about your creation. A negative review may feel awful, but it is still better than being ignored.

Evan 9:03 AM  

The weird thing is, even though I too had to look over the finished grid to figure out the theme, I actually thought one of those theme entries was a real phrase: ARMY WASH. I swear I had some reaction to it that was like, "Oh yeah, I've heard of that!"

I've been on an anagram kick lately, too, so this puzzle seemed right in my wheelhouse. Just yesterday I posted on Facebook what I figured could be my crossword constructor pseudonym: HERB LANZINOV or LEBRON VAZHIN, though I love Andy Kravis's suggestions of BLAZE VINHORN and HAZEL VON BRIN.

dk 9:10 AM  

O (1 Moon)

As Ena would say: If you can not say anything nice, do not say anything at all.

dk 9:12 AM  

E.D. Is back now if only Acme......

Denise D Hammond, CGFM-Retired 9:20 AM  

Thanks for pointing out the theme. Didn't think the puzzle was that difficult, but had no idea what any of those theme answers meant.

Ludyjynn 9:20 AM  

Meh or emh or hem or ehm. Whatever.

Bird 9:31 AM  

Meh. Clever idea, but WET HOODS was the only themes that put a smile on my face. The others are lame. The fill could have been livelier as well.

DNF because I had YAHOO and didn't go back to check 59D.

Wade 9:31 AM  

Ken Burns's brother is also a documentarianizer? For some reason I can't name, and I probably should be ashamed, that bugs me. It always bugs me when you find out somebody who's famous for something has a sibling who does the same thing and isn't famous. Because, what, do you think Ric just COINCIDENTALLY also had a knack for documentaries? Do you think the Burns brothers used to play with their toy soldiers and narrate the whole thing in old timey voices and move real slowly into each other's focus? I don't. No, Ric is a copycat, I bet. I bet he always copied Ken. He probably also has bowlcut hair and a trunk full of Nina Totenburg tote bags. I finished with a wrong letter--MAE for MAO, because Mae West said some pretty off the wall stuff, according to the internet, and because I GET Next makes as much sense as I GOT Next to me.

Sir Hillary 9:32 AM  

This puzzle was definitely not from SH*TWORLD (NSFW) but it wasn't that great. Got the theme right away, but using nonsense phrases as anagrams is not so impressive, as @Rex demonstrated.

@Rex's tailor quote shows that there were too many partials, but otherwise the fill was good. I like the 4x6 NW and SE corners, and old-school JOHNMUIR juxtaposes nicely with newish IGOTNEXT.

Zeke 9:35 AM  

@Wade - I GOT NEXT is only heard in pool halls and basketball courts, places where correct grammar is avoided at all costs lest one appear to be an intellectual snob. Hence, I GOT NEXT is the phrase used.

chefbea 9:35 AM  

Didn't get the theme at all. Had a few naticks. What does NSFW stand for???

OISK 9:37 AM  

This was ugly. It also broke my 4 week long winning (no DNF) streak as I also had NSFY and Yahoo. This was an impossible Natick, and should never have passed editorial muster. What the hell is "NSFW", and why would I ever have heard of it? And isn't Yahoo just as good an answer as Wahoo? The SE had two pop references I have never heard of next to each other Stacey and Lester, with Elsa (Peretti) crossing them. I got it, but bah. For some reason I have heard of Kurt Cobain, although I didn't know he had reached Nirvana, which I have learned (from this blog) is a rock group. But annoying fills and awful Naticks aside - I got the theme immediately - anagrams of the clue - but the answers really weak. Rare catch? Who says that? Iran hit , army wash, - nothing to even smile at. And after yesterday's gem, this is such a downer. NSFNYT !

Norm 9:41 AM  

Got the theme at SWORDHILT and found this a very easy and amusing puzzle, How can not like WETHOODS? Yes, they were absurd, That's why they were funny.

retired_chemist 9:43 AM  

Medium-challenging according to my time, but easy based on the puzzle itself. Hand up for falling for the non-literal interpretations of the theme clues and finding them to be some real head-scratchers. Finally just went ahead and filled the theme answers from crosses, looking for a revealer clue that of course wasn't there, got a correct solve, and STILL couldn't see the gimmick. Came here and ...... D'oh!

The division between easy and challenging today seems to be how fast you saw the gimmick. Fair enough - different strokes etc. Had I seen the theme I would be rating this puzzle very high. As it is, just good.

I got NSFW easily despite not either working or doing porn. Lots of stuff on Facebook says "Warning - NSFW." So I had Googled it months ago to find out what it meant and that came in useful today. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Thanks, Mr. Wilk.

ps can any of you tell me why the numerical captchas are any use at all in stopping spambots? They seem trivial to read automatically.

Sir Hillary 9:44 AM  

@Evan - I know middle initials are a crutch, but if Barry C. Silk can use one, why couldn't ALVIN H. BRONZE?

Arlene 9:46 AM  

I had YAHOO, too - thought that was correct since I've never texted NSFW - ever! And I'm a PUNS and ANAGRAMS puzzle lover - they used to appear regularly in the Sunday Magazine, but hardly ever anymore. Had no idea what the theme was here - and got lazy knowing I could just log into this blog.

I'm having more problems with the Capchas than the puzzle!

quilter1 9:48 AM  

The puzzle wouldn't print out entirely and so I had to solve online, which I hate--clues too small and grid too big for my bifocals. Plus the nonsense answers were vexing. Let's have vexing in a puzzle.

ArtO 9:52 AM  

I'm with @jae on NSFY for NSFW for the same reasons -- I.e. Don't text and retired 11 years ago.

Did not get the theme until coming here. Did not like the puzzle until coming here for theme exposition.

Casco Kid 9:54 AM  

IGOTNEXT in the arcade/pool hall world is not so much spoken as gestured -- by putting quarters on the table or pinball machine just over the coin slot. Anyone remember that? Anyone still do that? Does anything cost a quarter anymore?

Questinia 9:57 AM  

@Gil I.P. @ Milford , No! I am the one who knocks!

The only reason I know NSFW is because I've seen it on the Huffington Post site referring to articles or videos which may be considered too risqué for viewing at work.

@ dk, isn't ACME the name of something to help with E.D?

wreck 10:02 AM  


I think what makes the numerical captchas "unreadable" is the image of the number..
You can't "copy and paste"

Bob Kerfuffle 10:38 AM  

Really, really puzzled over SWORD HILT, but then caught on to the gimmick with WET HOODS; smooth sailing and a lot of fun after that.

Glad to have seen ECOTONE in a crossword before. Can't claim it is in my vocabulary, but looked familiar as it began to emerge.

One write-over, 69 A, Cameo stone, had OPAL before ONYX.

If I were looking for a nit to pick, it would be at 7 D, Mid 12th-century year - MCLI. Surely A.D. 1151 is more of an early 12th-century year than mid-century.

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

I filled the grid correctly but never got the theme so a DNF in my book. Somehow I don't care.
The theme answers are ridiculous.
Sword hilt and rare catch are real things but wet hoods and army wash are gibberish. Besides that, even if I had gotten the "joke" anagrams make my head hurt.
Welcome back Rex. Very funny write up.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:48 AM  

Some idiot, using my name, and my computer, wrote that 1151 was not a mid-century year. Apparently what he was thinking was that 1151 was an early mid-millennium year. Clearly it is about as close to mid-century as you can get. My apologies that this ridiculous statement appeared!

lawprof 11:11 AM  

Two errors. The first is, IMHO, entirely excusable (NSFy/yAHOO crossing) because of my unfamiliarity with texting shorthand (LOL), and the obviously correct synonym for Whoopee (wahoo being a fish).

The second is more problematic. I naticked at the ECOzONE/zHEE crossing. On the one hand, "thee" is an obvious wedding pronoun, but a transition "area" seemed to be some sort of "zone," so I opted for the latter thinking that "zhee" might be an obscure variant. Silly me.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

This puzzle was a piece out of this.

JTHurst 11:20 AM  

I thought I did this puzzle but after reading @Questinia's 3:53 post I am unsure.

retired_chemist 11:23 AM  

@ Bob K - LOL! Been there done that.....

Evan 11:38 AM  

@Sir Hillary:

No reason at all middle initials couldn't work. ALVIN H. BRONZE is brilliant.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

NSFW = not safe for work

Carola 11:56 AM  

Got the idea with ARMY WASH, and that helped me with RARE CATCH. Neat idea, but the theme answers didn't strike me as particularly funny. IRAN HIT?

I got more smiles out of some of the little stacks: JUMP, ORCA!, SEA PURSE, NIPS AT RARE CATCH. Even ARMPIT YEOWS (memory of contact dermatitis episode - sorry, hope everybody's finished breakfast).

@Evan - Your possible alter egos made my morning. You could use all of them depending on how you're feeling at the moment.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:11 PM  

Enjoyed it. When I got SWORDHILT, I reflected on what its clue's endin -? might be gettin at. Lost valuable macroseconds, but bingoed the anagram gimmick. So then the time investment paid off, bigtime. Finished in a time that nipped at Dan F.'s tail.

I like anagram themes, even tho U see em quite a bit. Rebuses, anagrams, letter alterations, and the circles -- those seem to be meat and potato subjects, in gridland. Probably some other mainstays that I didn't digress long enough to think of. Oh... yeah... words that follow or precede, of course.

Would be cool to have a puz, where every answer is an anagram, no matter how desperate. Examples, that could have been salvaged from today's gid:

* Postal ref. that's out of FDR.
* Breakfast in bed gosunder that's out of try a.
* Regret that's out of Eur.

See? Desperate! Solid gold stuff.

Yo. Welcome back, Parker. As always, fun watchin U fall off yer bike.


Mohair Sam 12:13 PM  

@jberg - thank you sir.

Lewis 12:30 PM  

Oh it would have been cool if the theme answers were funny, but they didn't have to be, as the joke (or trick) was the play on "out of". That's good enough for a theme for me.

I looked up NSFY, and apparently it can stand for "not suitable for you", or "no soup for you" which is what the Soup Nazi would say on Seinfeld. So 59 down could have been clued "Inappropriate" and the southwest corner square could have been a W/Y rebus for a mini Shrodinger. Oh, I'm not serious here.

One thing that made this puzzle interesting is that there are ten answers that are more than one word, not counting the theme answers of JOHNMUIR.

Anoa Bob 1:17 PM  

A yell is YAHOO. WAHOO is a fish.

Or maybe a familiar face in Cleveland.

JenCT 1:25 PM  

@Questinia: God, I miss Breaking Bad!!!

This puzzle worked my brain so much, I had to take a nap in the middle of solving...

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Jump for stalled? Hmm. Maybe. But it's thin. All a jump a jump does is provide electricity; that may well help start a car, but it won't a car from from stalling.
Typically you jump something that's dead ( or very close to dead. By definition, stalling means stopping a running engine. Runing engines don't need jumps.
The phyiscal world once agin baffles Mr. Shortz and Mr. Parker.

M and Also 1:39 PM  

Today's crumhorn of erratas:
* Well, my solvin time coulda nipped at Dan F.'s tail, if he was an extra-long seismosaurus. So I dropped an exaggerogram.
* Forgot about my own runtpuz #112, which was all anagrammed answers, except for one revealer.
* grid, not gid. This is a mistypogram.
* "fun" is possibly an inappropriate word, for watchin some poor nice guy fall off his bike. A dude could injure his log, after all. So, unpc-ogram, there. Shoulda said something more political, like "interesting" or "eyepit-iful".

This whole digression was brought to U by an M&A stalling, rather than workin on his income taxes...

M & Aintdeductible

Mark 1:51 PM  

The trouble with knowing that an anagram is the answer is that then all you have to do is rearrange letters, not think of clever answers. When I couldn't figure out what clever pun was hidden in WET HOODS, and when I realized that it was an anagram instead of a clever pun, the other themes fell like a simple chore instead of a joyful puzzle.

Fred Romagnolo 1:56 PM  

Yahoo(d) so DNF; with a protest. Refuse to feel guilty. I don't object to pornography, but I don't work in an office, so I couldn't come across it. I avoid facebook as much as possible, but my son uses it, and because he's a professor in the UC system he's not likely to use those letters. Try a Little Tenderness was a relief to this old-timer. I generally got a kick out of the theme answers. I think equating Mae West with Mao was inspired.

LaneB 1:58 PM  

Found today's fairly easy and had delays caused by RHEAS, SIEGES and STREETS. IRANHIT a bit awkward leaving the center as the only slow area. Naturally, since I didn't have to take a DNF, I liked the puzzle and Mr. WIlk.

Kurdt Cobain 2:02 PM  

I did experiment with different spellings of my name, but Kirk was not one of them, Mr Parker.

Dude must have seen a copy of an unreleased song i wrote that started "Was an IRANHIT,... with a SWORDHILT". I couldnt get RARECATCH to rhyme with ARMYWASH without sounding like I was from Chicago, so I ditched it.

Despite the shoutouts, including ARMPIT, which I assume refers to Courtney, I did not like this one.

Phil 2:11 PM  

Had RARETRUTH until caught the theme.

But dnf on yahoo as well. Only way i can fault myself for that miss is afterward in doubt i asked why not clue in the real yahoo somehow.

I can't imagine Rex actually knew NSFW. Does he lie a little??

ahimsa 3:04 PM  

I got the theme while solving, most likely because I'm more of a snail's pace solver vs. a speed solver. I'm sure getting the theme made me like it more than others. IRAN HIT was a bit nonsensical but the others were fine with me. So I enjoyed it!

ECOTONE was a new word. And I've never heard I GOT NEXT. I always like learning new stuff.

@David Krost, I think @Rex was just being silly with his alternate anagrams. Maybe I have a weird sense of humor but they made me laugh ("Hi, train!").

@Danp, I learned the NSFW acronym not from crosswords or porn but by reading blog posts about sensitive topics, e.g., posts about rape culture or sexual harassment.

By the way, do they really put NSFW warnings on porn sites? Why? Wouldn't a person looking for porn already know that it is NSFW?

@Anoa Bob, re: your link, I was glad that WAHOO was clued as a yell, not the mascot. It may be regional (southern? western?) but I recognize WAHOO as a yell. Yahoo makes me think of Swift and Gulliver's Travels, and then the web site, before I ever think of a yell.

foxaroni 3:39 PM  

DNF, due to already-extensively-commented-on Y/Wahoo/NSFy/w.

Thought more of you would hammer on 51A/52D/53D--a jewelry designer I've never heard of, with an NBC anchor I've never seen and an actress in a TV show?/movie? I've never watched. Talk about Naticks! Okay, I was correct in my guesses, but still....

Welcome back, Rex.

foxaroni 3:53 PM  

A co-worker of mine sent his girlfriend, who worked in the campus HR office in a different building, an email. The subject line said something about "funny video." In the message body he said the audio was very low, so she should crank up the volume on her speakers. She did.

When she clicked on the link, the speakers blared out "HEY EVERYBODY! COME LOOK AT THIS PORN I FOUND ON THE WEB!"

He, ahem, had not labeled it NSFW.

They broke up shortly thereafter. She got married and moved to Springfield, MO. He's unemployed and living in Las Vegas.

sanfranman59 4:38 PM  

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

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

Wed 11:12, 10:19, 1.09, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 7:10, 6:17, 1.14, 84%, Challenging

jae 4:49 PM  

@JenCT - If you get HBO or have access to the HBOGo web site the 8 episode True Detective mini-series could help fill the BB void (if you haven't already seen it.)

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

No joy. After getting about half of the nonsense answers, it dawned on me that anagramming was in order -- which I dislike even more than rebuses. So the rest of the nonsense answers came easily, except that some of the stuff that wasn't supposed to be nonsense was . . . nonsense. Surely we can do better.

mac 5:37 PM  

Just found out I had a mistake. Yahoo is me.

Not a great amount of fun, but pretty good in hindsight.

Thank you, @Wade and @Questinia.

Last Silver Bull Woot 5:41 PM  

Crumhorn of erratas, continued: day-um. Gave the extra-desperate anagram clues ass-backwards, in my first message's list. Wrong again and gettin worse, M&A breath.

Did finish fillin out the income taxes, tho. Difficulty rating: Medium-Challenging.

So, let's celebrate, with a pre-Easter runtpuz:

Might be the last runtpuz, for a little while... Judgin from the tax calculations outcome, may need to lie low, for a spell... (As always, no refunds.)


JenCT 5:43 PM  

@jae - Thanks, I'll check it out.

@Questinia, @Gill I.P. and @Milford - oops - didn't mean to be a spoiler - that's what I get for not reading the blog everyday!

Z 5:59 PM  

I am amazed at how many people didn't know NSFW. I remember an Andy Ihnatko column in MacWorld circa 1995 where he claimed that it would take no more than six clicks from any web page in the world to end up at a porn site. I believe this to still be true. Add in all the merely inappropriate sites you can run into and the NSFW warning seems as common as LOL (many NSFW sites are intended to generate LOLs). I guess this just proves once again that there is a wide range of normal.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:18 PM  

@M&A - Another fabulous puzzle; indeed, maybe the best, such a clever and tight theme. Just under ten minutes, save that I had to use the "reveal incorrect letters" a few times. (Why are yours the only puzzles I time myself on? Because I can't open them without the clock starting!)

(Never have a problem with my taxes - I let my brother-in-law do them!)

Thanks again.

LDP 8:52 PM  

I may be late to the disco, but does anyone else hate the changes they've made to the "Play for Fun" way to solve? Also, for some reason, I can't get the pdfs to print right since they made the change. All the numbers on the left side of the page get cut off. Grrrr...a

Ann Heil 8:57 PM  

I got the theme pretty quickly, at WETHOODS, thanks to all those times doing the other puzzle in the NYT. Got a DNF at the NSFW/WAHOO crossing, since I went with YAHOO. I've been on the Internet before it was called the Internet and haven't run across NSFW. Guess no one sends that sort of stuff to me.

Questinia 9:10 PM  

@Jen Ct, my star my perfect silence WW.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

12th century spans 1100 - 1199, so mid century is about as close as you can be to 1150.

Anonymous 9:31 PM  

I visit alot of porn sites.
I also spend alot of time on sites that have links to porn sites.
I am fluent at texting from picking up Japanese teenagers back in the late 90s.
I have never in my life seen NSFW until today.

Please understand my desire to post as Anonymous.

Z 9:45 PM  

Isao Aoki has a companion in the sports world. Nori (short for Norichika) Aoki plays outfield for the Kansas City Royals. How long until we see Nori in a puzzle? He played six years for the Yakult Swallows in Japan before playing in Milwaukee and now Kansas City. All of us who aren't Royal fans hope he never makes an all-star game, which seems to be the level of fame necessary to become cross-worthy.

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 6:04, 6:12, 0.98, 38%, Easy-Medium
Tue 9:09, 8:32, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 10:57, 10:19, 1.06, 69%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:02, 3:58, 1.02, 56%, Medium
Tue 5:39, 5:11, 1.09, 72%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:51, 6:17, 1.09, 75%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 10:38 PM  

Oh piddle, this carping is unpleasant -- great puzzle, enjoyed a lot, theme was fab!

Kordtney 3:22 AM  

@Kurdt... love you so much, it makes me NSFW.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

shit puzzle

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Isn't there some sort of editor? Anon. @1:32pm ought not to have been seen.

Waxy in Montreal 12:28 PM  

Fun theme spoiled by very disappointing fill. Never heard of NSFW so YAHOO and Not Safe For You SEEM equally valid. Got I GOT NEXT and ECOTONE from their crosses but likewise not in my lexicon. And just who refers to ALOE a potted physician?

And if ARMPIT is ok as breakfast fare these days, I then have an alternative answer for 41A (Out of thin air): HAIR NIT. YEOW(s)!

spacecraft 12:29 PM  

Talk about from the sublime to the ridiculous. After yesterday's gem, you expect me to wade through this nonsense? I won't do it. Halfway through I just quit; this piece of [think: the candy bar in "Caddyshack"'s pool] was simply not worth any more of my time.

What'd you do, Will, take a day off? Or were you THAT desperate?

Tomorrow is another day. Yeesh, even the poker hand is crap.

Solving in Seattle 12:58 PM  

Not much exciting here. Good concept for a puzzle but it didn't have the follow through. I did enjoy the DOOBs, though. Fav in the 70s.

@Waxy, is your hockey team getting Montreal excited?

Capcha: damwandl seest. Wasn't this a Harry Potter spell?

rain forest 1:46 PM  

As the comments suggest, there's horses for courses. I liked this course, getting the anagram deal at WETHOODS. Sure, the "wacky" phrases were variably funny, but they *were* anagrams, always fun to figure out.

I thought the fill was OK-certainly we've seen much worse. The proper name pile-up in the SE appeared naticky, but all were inferable. Flipped a coin for NSFY and NSFW.

DMG 2:57 PM  

Gor the anagram thing somewhere along the way. That helped with a couple of seemingly senseless answers. But I couldn't fight my way out of Natickville in the SE. So many names I has no idea about. Did change yAHOO to WAHOO, as Not Suitable For Work seemed to fit the clue. Only this Grandmother thought the reference was to inappropriate clothing! Been out of "the scene" too long, I guess.

I enjoy @Sis interpretation of his Captchas, and am impressed that he can read them. The ones I get always contain symbols I can't begin to decipher. So, I draw a hand. This time three 6's, two 4's.

Waxy in Montreal 4:10 PM  

@SiS, CH fever catching on bigtime and spreading rapidly as they now appear to have a half-decent chance of taking out the big, bad Bruins (sorry, @Diri), especially after last night's win. Reminds me of the support your Seahawks picked up as they basically became (North) America's team leading up to the 2014 Super Bowl.

So repeat after me: GO HABS GO!!!!

Dirigonzo 4:44 PM  

Anagrammy fun - I love anagrams! I figured out the gimmick early on and that made the rest of the themers a snap. It's too bad some critics can't SEEPAST one ot rwo dicey answers to find the fun in a puzzle. I guess it would be a RARECATCH to see them out of "character".

@Waxy - my hockey fan friends assure me there is nothing to worry about, the Bruins are just trying to keep things interesting; something to do with TV revenue, I suspect.

Two pair and I'm out.

strayling 7:20 PM  

Oh dear. This is the type of puzzle which gives anagrams a bad rep.

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