Band with 1974 #1 hit Night Chicago Died / SUN 5-18-14 / Jai alai basket / Orphic hymn charmer / Tony-winningn actress Judith / Like some bands with only modest Western popularity / Canadian blockhead / She married Bobby on Sopranos

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Constructor: Joe DiPietro

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Oh, Who?" — words with long "O" sound in the middle are reimagined as some Irish person's name:

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: TOPEE (37D: Pith helmet) —
The pith helmet (also known as the safari helmetsun helmetTOPEEsola topee,salacot or topi) is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of cork or pith, typically pith from the sola, Aeschynomene aspera, an Indian swamp plant, or A. paludosa, or a similar plant. Designed to shade the wearer's head and face from the sun, pith helmets were often worn by people of European origin in the tropics, but have also been used in other contexts. (wikipedia)
• • •

Gonna keep this short because my reaction to this puzzle is wholly negative and I don't really want to dwell on it that much. The theme is corny and feels like it has been done a million times. It's one-note, in a way that made me dread each next answer. There was never any great word play, any great revelation. Just a grueling word/name torture-fest. Further, the theme was remarkably inconsistent, with about half of the clues/answers reorienting the meaning away from the base answer, and half not bothering to do this at all. WILL O'TREES, MAE O'CLINIC, JUNE O'ALASKA, PATTY O'FURNITURE—none of their clues yank you away from the milieu of the base answer, whereas the clues on answers like ANGIE O'GRAM and NATE O'SUMMIT at least try (however awkwardly). Further further, this is airing 2 months and 1 day late why? Why? No, seriously, why? Few puzzles scream "St. Patrick's Day" more than this one, and while I doubt the Irish would've been "honored" by this rather clunky offering, at least it would've made Some kind of sense. Odd editorial decision. I'd say "glaring editorial error," but I'm reserving that phrase for when I point out that ALAI is in the grid *and* (head-shakingly, dumbfoundingly) in the clue for CESTA (19D: Jai alai basket). Did you know Chou EN-LAI played Jai ALAI professionally? He didn't. I'm just making up facts to entertain myself now.

Oh, the fill. It was supercalifragilisticexpial-atrocious. Actually, I've probably seen worse, but not much worse. Just stunning that we're enduring Var. spellings of a word that's Already crosswordese (SAREEEEEE), and then apparently discovering vast new stores of crosswordese under Mt. Pith Helmet (TOPEE, which can also be spelled TOPI, or perhaps you want the full SOLA TOPEE; I hear pith helmets are making a comeback, so all these answers may prove useful). CARNAP!? I'm literally laughing at that answer. Are you holding the car for ransom??? [Steal, as a vehicle]. That clue is amazing. "Oh … as a vehicle. They must mean CARNAP," said no one. I just learned that Rudolf CARNAP was a person who lived once. A 20th-century German-born philosopher. Read about him here. My favorite answer in the grid was BIG IN JAPAN, but only because it reminded me of college.

Puzzle of the Week contenders included dueling gorgeous themelesses from sometime collaborators Brad Wilber (yesterday's NYT) and Doug Peterson (yesterday's Newsday Stumper). They are probably my favorite themeless constructors at the moment, so having two of their puzzles come out on the same day was like Cruciverbial Christmas for me. Friday's WSJ puzzle (by Pancho Harrison) was as good as it's been in a good long while—it featured a nifty little "Schrödinger"-type gimmick with PRO and CON occupying the same square (PROs for the Acrosses, CONs for the Downs) (read about it here). But the honors this week go to a truly clever, multi-layered theme puzzle by Ben Tausig called "Click Language." Won't give away the gimmick so you can solve it yourself (get it here) (or click here for .puz file) (read about it here). It's a wonderful theme with snazzy fill to boot. Go do it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


GILL I. 12:23 AM  

When I came back to the U.S. in the 70's, there were two things I most remember....eating a Big Mac and promptly getting sick and walking every Sunday through Central Park with the New York times tucked under my arm. My new found friend and I would find a shady tree to sit under and spend hours doing the puzzle. I loved the AHA and OOH moments that got me hooked on puzzles. I really miss them.
Recent Sunday's have been a bit tedious. I love puny, silly, make me laugh out loud Sunday crosswords and so far I can't seem to find them.
Although I really like Joe DiPietro, this puzzle made me groan. I felt like it was like seeing your best friend show up at a cocktail party wearing a striped blouse and a polka dot skirt...
And, by the way, If you order pastrami on anything other than rye, you surely must be an ALIEN.

jae 12:28 AM  

Liked this one more than Rex did.  Thought the puns were kinda cute.   Medium-tough for me. No real erasures except for spelling (e.g INGaMAR) but it took some staring to suss out some of the theme answers.

Weren't the Runaways BIG IN JAPAN?

retired_chemist 12:39 AM  

I fail to hate this enough, apparently. It wasn't pretty. I had it medium-challenging.

The theme was choppy - wanted JEAN O'TYPIst for example. But some of the fill was quite nice - ZAGAT, WEINSTEIN, SCREED, SORRELS, all the 10s (3/15/69/72D), and more.

Thanks, Mr. DiPietro.

Moly Shu 12:52 AM  

Vowed I would stop reading this blog if Alphaville didn't make an appearance. Almost as sure a bet as California Chrome was this afternoon. The highlight of my solve was wondering if @Rex would link that video once I got BIGINJAPAN. So..... Not much enjoyment. Liked HOSER and UTENSILS, not much else. Yea the CESTA/ALAI seemed to violate some unwritten code

George Barany 1:21 AM  

Just a quick visit. Several readers of this blog have written to thank me for posting free puzzles from time to time, so in this spirit may I offer Road to Appomattox, constructed with Brent Hartzell. Hope you enjoy it, even as you reflect on its historic theme.

RLZ 1:31 AM  

Agreed. Yucky puzzle. I thought the big problem was inconsistency in the theme. But it wasn’t, as per Rex, whether the clues reoriented “the meaning away from the base answer.” It’s that three of the answers, the more entertaining ones, involved a play on a single word (angie o’gram from angiogram, corey o’graph from choreograph, jean o’typing from genotyping) while five of the answers, none very entertaining, involved a play on two words in which the second word was entirely unchanged. At least it raises the odds that next Sunday will be better.

chefwen 2:36 AM  

Holy Mother of Whomever, it took me a long time to slog through this one. It wasn't because it was difficult, but dang it took the better part of the afternoon.

At 63A I wanted Paddy, which would be more Irish and a shout out to the Wonder Cat. Oh Well!

Cute puzzle Mr. DiPietro, Thanks!

JFC 2:56 AM  

@Rex, I think your problem is that you do the puzzle sober. Try downing some bourbon while working the puzzle. It's more enjoyable that way, regardless of how good or bad it is....


Unknown 3:54 AM  

Yesterday, May 17th, was Norway's national day. In fact it was the bicentennial of it's independence from Denmark. The city of Dublin was founded by the Vikings, and there was an allusion to the Norwegian parliament in 93-across. So while it may be a stretch, there was some form of a theme.

Unknown 6:11 AM  

@Brett Chappell - Uh...Yeah, sure. LOL.

I often think Rex is too picky about these puzzles. They aren't supposed to be great works of art, they are entertainment that come out every single day. But in this case I have to agree that this puzzle falls far short of the usual standards.

The one that did it for me was CARNAP. Carnap????, Really???? That is a travesty. I haven't been that disappointed in a clue/answer since sometime in the early or mid 2000's when Will let the clue LOUISVILLE LANDMARK get by him for the answer RUPP ARENA (Rupp Arena is in Lexington, 60 miles away).

While I did chuckle a bit on JEANOTYPING snd PATTYOFURNITURE, that was about it for this puzzle. The weight unit of GRAM isn't really all that associated with chemistry. It is just that, a unit of weight. And how does the color YELLOW really relate to being a painter? Both of those are so unspecific as to qualify as pathetic. GRAPH for algebra? Calculus would have been a better choice. Well, OK I agree BIG IN JAPAN is pretty good fill. At least it is fairly original.

Weakest Sunday puzzle in a while. CARNAP alone would have guaranteed that, but there was a lot more wrong with this one.

Billy 6:27 AM  

Glad everyone hated carnap as much as I did.

Leapfinger 6:30 AM  


Yup, thanks for the freebies.

I grew up in Canada, where I got an excellent education as close to free as never-mind, but we didn't spend a lot of time on American History. For that reason, I was in college before I realized the word was NOT AppotO'Max.

Sorry if that makes me a HOSER!

George Barany 7:04 AM  

@ Leapfinger. LMAO at the way you were able to draw a connection between the title of our puzzle and the theme of today's Joe DiPietro offering in the Sunday New York Times. Enough to get anyone's Irish up!

chefbea 7:22 AM  

Did not like the puzzle!! DNF. I agree - too tedious and no aha moments.

Gottal go toss the salad with my utensils!!

AnnieD 7:42 AM  

I never heard of topee, so I went to look it up on the internet, and back came a story, "Should men sit down to pee?" You just never know....

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

As an Irish (hic) American, I am (hic) appalled at these slights to my heritage (chug, hic).

r.alphbunker 8:04 AM  

Did the puzzle in the International NYT over the Atlantic yesterday and it was a pleasant diversion made all the more so because I worked on it with my wife. She is not a puzzle person but enjoys "helping" me do one when there is nothing else to do.

Why does an Irish-themed puzzle have to appear on St. Patrick's Day. Is that sort of like making an annual appearance in church on Easter?

CARNAP brought to mind the philosopher Rudolf Carnap who is quoted on the Internet as having said
"Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them, but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms."

To continue @Gill I. P.'s witty analogy: This puzzle was a ukulele in the Boston Symphony orchestra. I wonder what Isaac Stern thought of the ukulele. We all know that M&A is fond of it.

Glimmerglass 8:10 AM  

I love clever puns. Punning is an affliction I inherited from my father. These are not clever puns. A clever pun makes you groan. Most of these just make you shrug. ANGIE O'GRAM was okay to start, but they went downhill from there. WILL O'TREES is just stupid. PAddY O'FURNITURE is an old joke (and not a good pun when it was new). Some of the fill today was okay. I liked HOSER (though it's derivation is a bit off-color).

Loren Muse Smith 8:39 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 8:42 AM  

@Gill I.P. – sweet story. Sorry you couldn't keep the Big Mac down, that single most delicious thing on this planet!

I either have a horrible memory or I just missed the ones that have already done this, but
a) I found it quite hard to suss out on most of the themers
b) I got a kick out of trying to figure them out

But this was really tough for me, and I didn't finish owing to the northwest and mid-Atlantic areas. I put in "make" a salad and never considered anything else. Chaucer? Fugettaboutit. TOPEE, ALEE, SCREED, the meaning of "numismatist" (how 'bout the clue "like the hamburger that Loren's son grilled *perfectly* last night?"). In the nw, I couldn't get past thinking Anne O'Gram and never considered BIG IN JAPAN (which, as I've shared here, I was indeed, according to cheerfully helpful, observant passers-by: "My you have a large body!")

In addition, of the three long downs, only one went in fairly easily, PUT'ER THERE (still, though, for that short u sound, I kept wanting "putt'er" or "put'r"), so badly-needed traction in those areas escaped me.

I was thinking "shoots at" or "shoots on" – not SHOOTS UP, which didn't show up until late.

CARNAP – I still see stuff like this and often just think, "Hmm. Never heard *that* one." But I never think to question its status as a real thing (actually, though, from time to time in the parking lot waiting for a lacrosse practice to end, I've had some real doozies); I assume it's yet another phrase I need to learn.

Having said that, I have to point out that today I thought people would take issue with the greenpaintistic feeling of BIG IN JAPAN and TOSS A SALAD. They both feel like roll-your-owns to me. (But maybe that's ok for long non-themers?) "Green paint" and "roll-your-own" are two pieces of cruciverbalingo that I feel kinda intimidated to try out. My husband grew up in Raleigh, and his best friends were members of a rock band named The Connells, who, it was always said, were mildly successful here but actually pretty BIG IN EUROPE. And to prepare that first course, can't you MAKE A SOUP or STEAM THE MUSSELS?

SORRELS, roans, pintos, paints, palominos. Color me confused.

My yardstick for the worth of a Sunday is whether or not I bother to see the whole thing through. I tried my darndest this morning because I was fascinated with the manipulation of o-sound-final words into proper names in phrases. I didn't notice the inconsistencies, but I do see them now that Rex points them out. Fair enough. Because I've just spent a lot of time exploring this conceit (Phil O'Dough? Nah), I found a bit of an outlier in COREY O'GRAPH in that the original word has the only pivotal o which is really a schwa – the rest of them maintain their o sound much better. So I've decided that ruined the whole damned thing for me.

Hah! Just kidding! I liked this, liked the puns, and will continue to play O'Round with the theme in my head.

Elle54 9:18 AM  

I think this would have made more sense if the theme clues were"name of ...."

Mohair Sam 9:19 AM  

@JFC - Got a huge chuckle out of your post. We've done puzzles with a drink or two in us and they all seem wonderful. Unfortunately we finished this one sober.

Played medium for us with some resistance in SE, mainly because I insisted MEL ain't an Irish name. Finally jogged PAPERLACE out of memory and the rest fell quickly. Also lost time thinking Chaucer wrote "The Tale of the Clerk" which clearly wouldn't fit. Shut up all you English majors.

Remember the actress Louise Sorel? I have forever misspelled the horse color since first seeing her name.

I'm a texting neophyte - is the correct reaction to CARNAP omg or wtf?

Norm 10:29 AM  

Was amused at the start; bored by the time I finished. Rex's "word/name torture-fest" says it all. I really hope Merl has a good puzzle today.

Anonymous 10:35 AM  

Rex -- love the Alphaville reference -- it was the first thing I though of when I wrote in Big in Japan -- unfortunately, the video doesn't stand the test of time.

Carola 10:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 10:43 AM  

I see I'm in the minority - I thought this one was a stroke of goofy genius. JEAN O'TYPING and MAE O'CLINIC really made me laugh, and I was even glad to see PATTY O'FURNITURE as a flashback to my kids' grade school years ("What's green and stands out in the rain?"). Like @loren, I found the names difficult to figure out, especially ANGIE O'GRAM and WILL O'TREES (couldn't get the idea of hollow TREES out of my head) but fun to do. Anyway - zany in a way that really appealed to me.

Unknown 10:48 AM  

The puzzle could have been improved with better editing. It seemed a bit raw to me. BIGINJAPAN gets two thumbs up (the puzzle answer, not the dreadful Alphaville - ugh, ghastly). Other than that, I guess I look forward to next Sunday.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:55 AM  

OK for a quick puzzle on a Sunday when I should be doing other things.

Had always thought the answer to the joke was PADDY O'FURNITURE.

Two write-overs: 20 A, UNION before APIAN; and 66 D Tarsus before TARSAL -- but then, how does "Foot bone" clue an adjective rather than a noun?

Anonymous 10:56 AM  


Just a general question.

If the quality of puzzles was the same today as it was 8 years ago
(or, at least according to your general comments), do you think you
would have started this blog?

Hartley70 11:02 AM  

YUCK! Not my cup o' tea nor finger o' bourbon.

Ludyjynn 11:08 AM  

What Rex said. Period.

GLR 11:13 AM  

@LMS, your BIG IN JAPAN story reminded me of a story from a female Chinese-American friend. When she visited China for the first time, her host repeatedly referred to her as "oversize Chinese," mispronouncing the phrase "overseas Chinese," which is used to describe Chinese or people of Chinese descent living outside China. My friend found it amusing (only in retrospect).

Nancy 11:17 AM  

Irritated by puzzle, which seemed completely arbitrary, until I cottoned on to the pun groaners. Then it all fell into place and I ended up liking it a lot. None of the puns seemed "old" to me, as I'd never heard any of them before. And they not only gave me a chuckle or two; they actually helped me solve, albeit late in the game. Nice job, Mr. DiPietro. And, assuming you're the Joe DiPietro of musical book writing fame, please email me if you're looking for a new musical comedy project. My collaborator and I are alums of the Advanced BMI Workshop and are looking for a book writer for our projected musical comedy -- one that intends to skewer a genre that's all the rage right now. I can be reached at Do hope that I might hear from you. And thanks for this witty, enjoyable puzzle.

Unknown 11:53 AM  

A 3 hr slog, up hill at every turn. I ended with one google (PAPERLACE, and no, I've never of the group, the song, and I didn't even recognize the tune for "#1 hit" WTF?!?!) and 5 errors:

[Jack-in-the-pulpit, e.,] AbUd, figuring it was a flower

[Pear or quince] POdE, but I wanted POtE, short for COMPOTE

[Orphic hymn charmer] ObATO, from AbUd, above.

[Love letters?] SWAy, then SWAn, not getting SWAK at all. Lil' help, anyone? Oh, lemme guess: backing lyrics to ATEENAGERINLOVE?

[Chaucer work that invokes the book of Job, with "The"] CLERySTALE, then CLERnSTALE. CLERKSTALE seemed OK, but it would have forced me into SWAK, which made (and still makes) no sense. No doubt this was a gimme for Rex and the other Chaucer scholars here.

For some reason, the only O'Pun that clicked was PATTYOFURNITURE, that should have been PADDYOFURNITURE, after all.

Sigh. Bad week. 1 solve, 6 DNFs, including two blow outs, and 2 with multiple minor errors.

My plumbing is ERUCTing. Better get to that . . .

Blue Stater 11:57 AM  

Right on, Rex. The decline continues. I wonder if Jill Abramson's successor is onto it.

Your Secret Admirer 11:58 AM  

@Casco - Keep up the good work!

(Sealed With A Kiss)

AliasZ 12:01 PM  

I loved the silly wordplay today, some old (PATTY O'FURNITURE), some new, (COREY O'GRAPH) some groan-inducing (ANGIE O'GRAM), but most of them funny. MAE O'CLINIC and JEAN O'TYPING were my favorites, WILL O'TREE and MEL O'YELLOW less so, and JUNE O'ALASKA just did not work for me at all, SAREE to say. The key is not to take it so seriously. It is a SPOOF, a diversion, not a dissertation.

- CARNAP - What my kids did in the back seat on a long trip.
- "TOPEE or not TOPEE, that is the question."
- "Prepare the first course, say" should be TOSS A cookie.
- "TOO KILL a Mockingbird" - what a great movie.
- Fierstein before WEINSTEIN.

@Leapy, so nice to see you here.

I liked this one. TENKS, Joe Di.

John Child 12:07 PM  

Naticked at the botanical cross like @Casco Kid. ARUM and POME are both new words for me, and that's good. I found this pretty difficult - almost an hour. And per consensus, only a few of the theme entries tickled my funnybone.

optionsgeek 12:27 PM  

Can't think of a single reasonable way in which a chemist is involved in an angiogram. Angiography is a medical imaging technique that targets heart tissue. Yes, I suppose that chemistry is involved. But I think of half a dozen professions that I would associate with angiograms before I got to chemist, including the word the British use for pharmacist. Cardiologist, radiologist, surgeon, etc., are all better choices here than chemist.

r.alphbunker 12:41 PM  


It is probably a reference to the fact that grams are frequently used in chemistry.

From wikipedia
A Mole is a unit of measurement used in chemistry to express amounts of a chemical substance, defined as the amount of any substance that contains as many elementary entities (e.g., atoms, molecules, ions, electrons) as there are atoms in 12 grams of pure carbon-12, the isotope of carbon with relative atomic mass 12.

What comes to my mind with "green paint" is paint that does contain chemicals that could hurt the environment. Arguably answers that hurt the quality of an xword puzzle are not green. But perhaps you were thinking of something else.

mathguy 12:47 PM  

I liked it even though I agree with most of the criticisms. Some of the theme answers were clunky but I liked ANGIEOGRAM, COREYOGRAPH, PATTYOFURNITURE.

Happy to see Richard Egan in the puzzle. He was mentioned in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day. The long-abandoned movie theater on Geary street named The Alexandria is now a refuge for the homeless and the neighbors are calling on the city to do something about it. The article gave some of the history of the theater including the fact that one of the early attractions there was the handsome doorman, Richard Egan. He was a student at USF at the time. His brother was a Jesuit who somewhat later taught at USF.

mathguy 12:48 PM  

I liked it even though I agree with most of the criticisms. Some of the theme answers were clunky but I liked ANGIEOGRAM, COREYOGRAPH, PATTYOFURNITURE.

Happy to see Richard Egan in the puzzle. He was mentioned in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day. The long-abandoned movie theater on Geary street named The Alexandria is now a refuge for the homeless and the neighbors are calling on the city to do something about it. The article gave some of the history of the theater including the fact that one of the early attractions there was the handsome doorman, Richard Egan. He was a student at USF at the time. His brother was a Jesuit who somewhat later taught at USF.

Arlene 1:01 PM  

I really liked the theme answer puns - so this was a fun solve for me.
I have to say, though, that CARNAP would have been better clued with something about falling asleep at the wheel.
But having ALAI in a puzzle that also has jai alai as a clue is a surprising faux pas (i.e. FAIL)!

John O'Malley 1:06 PM  

My first theme answer - MEL O'YELLOW. Awful. Just horrible. First I assumed something was wrong... surely the theme wasn't that lame. Get it? Painter? Sometimes paint is yellow! Lame, lame, lame.

It didn't take long for that "Rex is going to hate this one" feeling to creep in. When I finished I had PUTITTHERE instead of PUTERTHERE and while I knew something was wrong (iPad app) I didn't bother to try to figure it out like I usually do. This puzzle didn't deserve the effort.

Mr. Benson 1:25 PM  

Should've put up a Tom Waits video instead of Alphaville.

Anyway, the puzzle. Found it to be an unpleasant slog.

jdv 1:30 PM  

Challenging w/one error. Would've finished in medium challenging time but spent 3-4 min tracking down a foolish error ERAdO/IdE. Puns are the hardest type of puzzle and the theme cluing made it that much harder. For ANGIEOGRAM, how are we suppose to glean GRAM from chemist; likewise for MELOYELLOW and artist? I ended up filling in most of the puns without looking at the clues.

Unknown 1:34 PM  

Having bothered to look it up, I see -- truly ironically -- that Jack-in-the-pulpit is indeed A bUd. There and I'd just convinced myself that it was A RUM in a flask under a cassock.

I play "irony" drinking games. When you hear it misused (as a false synonym for tragic, sarcastic, coincidental, etc.) you drink. When you use it right, everybody else drinks. @JohnChild, have ASWIG A'RUM.

Also, thanks @Secret Admirer, for the SWAK. Your post, like so many here, has counseled me to KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID. Got it!

Andrew Heinegg 1:45 PM  

It is not a good day for the NY Times crossword puzzle when the most entertaining moment of a pun-based puzzle comes from reading AnnieD's comment on googling the
answer 'topee'. I agree with the others that pun based puzzles should make you groan. The puns here are almost 'textbook' examples of meh. When I do a well- composed Sunday pun puzzle, I read the answers to my wife. Not today, there is just no zip to them.

Mark 2:00 PM  

I was happy to discern JEANNEOTYPE pretty early but later had to improve it.

If you are tired while driving, pull over safely before you CARNAP.

Leapfinger 2:10 PM  

@AliasZ -- Wow! Leapy, huh? TENKS, but don't encourage me!

I also married Harvey off to Diane Feinstein, and had a couple alternative ideas for CARNAP, one of them being Arlene's. Did that once myself, woke as I was drifting onto the median, scared the fooferaw out of me.

Also first tried SOD for [Yard filler] instead of ALE; thought Ould SOD a way cool tie-in to wrap up the O'verall them. Alas, not to be.

Still thinking about that pastrami ON RYE...

RnRGhost57 2:45 PM  

Michael is so cute when he throws a tantrum.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

I slog thru with pen and paper and always finish but not without google. But haven't ever said "well that's stupid" so many times.

Z 3:31 PM  

With the majority, here. I usually like puns, but this one didn't connect. Writeovers of note, my workers were UNIONized, but that answer turned out to be for the bees, and my yard was filled with sod before I picked up my glass.

Anyone else notice all the terminal prepositions? SHOOTS UP, NIP AT, AS TO, and my personal favorite, RERO OF

Kevin O'Connor 4:13 PM  

Found this one not a lot of fun. Got lost in the SE corner with MADE A SALAD.
Having an O' surname, I appreciate O' jokes only when the are funny and the only one that was funny - the first time - was PADDY O'FURNITURE.
Maybe better received top o'the morning on March 17.

ArtO 4:14 PM  

Some help, please".how do MIS open files?

Never heard of PAPERLACE. probably an age thing.

Bob Kerfuffle 4:20 PM  

@ArtO - You probably can't find the answer because you have MIS-FILED it. Not uncommon, but one of my least favorite crossword clue structures.

Leapfinger 4:52 PM  

Ditto PAPERLACE, ArtO', unless that signifies doilies. I have, however, heard of PAPERVIEW.

[Ir]regardless of how the puzzle did or didn't work for us, there's no reason not to wish Joe a spectacular birthday. ALVA great one, Joe, if I'd had the time, I'd have written you a POME.

SWAK, and TANKS for the Cote St. LUC!

Ellen S 4:52 PM  

I still don't understand ... Oh. The letters MIS can precede the word "Files." Well. That's about as close to brilliant as this puzzle got. I agree with the general disappointment.

GILL I. 4:56 PM  

I just finished @George Barany and Brent Hartzell's "Road to 'AppotO'Max'"...Hah! It was BLOODY good...Go to his site and download his puzzles. They are entertaining and you just might learn a thing or two.
@Leapfinger....That pastrami clue gave me the urge. I picked some up at our local Safeway and dropped by Panini's for some fresh baked RYE. The only problem is that the seeds get stuck in your teeth.

Snark On Somethin Yer Own Size 5:01 PM  

I liked this SunPuz just fine, JoeDP. Hang in there. Meanwhile, let's just serve this lil sucker up to @63, to "calm him down" a bit...

Stumpy Sunday Stumper Desperate Pangram Runtpuz, here:

har. Puz Picker Karma.

Unknown 5:22 PM  

@BobKerfuffle @Art @Ellen I rationalized MIS as "Management Information Systems." I like Bob's answer better, though

Steve J 5:26 PM  

@JFC: I did this last night after a few drinks. It didn't help. Still a complete slog with little to say in its favor.

r.alphbunker 5:56 PM  


The puzzle reminded me of Blake's "infinity in a grain of sand."

Had to google the Nigerian singer.

Had KMA for 12D initially (hey that's a pun!)

MMM for 11D

US, MS for 15A. I am expecting to see W sometime.

I could write a program to generate 1A type answers.

Could you send me a link describing how to create an xwordinfo puzzle?

ahimsa 6:00 PM  

As others have said, that PATTY O FURNITURE entry is a pretty old joke. But at least all the others were new to me. And I liked PAPER LACE (The Night Chicago Died), a band name that I didn't know I remembered until I managed to fill it in.

I started with fEINSTEIN at 26 Across. Somehow I mixed up politics (Dianne Feinstein) with show biz, Harvey WEINSTEIN). So I was confused by DRAfS for the longest time. :-)

Seeing TOPEE made me think of this song:

Yeah, pretty obscure song. It's from a very old Indian film. But, to my surprise, a snippet of it was played near the start of the movie Gravity. If you've seen that movie (well worth it, IMHO) then you might recognize it. Enjoy!

Leapfinger 6:03 PM  

@Gill I P: I sense you mock me with that 'AppotO'Max'. See if I let on when I figured out the word wasn't 'conspitious'...

Agree about the Barany site; a prolific goldmine.

And re the seeding issue, I figure teeth weren't a problem in early life, won't be a problem in late, by gum! Pastrami, it is.

Susierah 6:36 PM  

A rare Sunday for me when I just don't care that I'm not going to finish! It just was not fun enough to keep working away at it. My worst Sunday!

ahimsa 6:48 PM  

For @ArtO, and anyone else curious about that PAPER LACE song:

The Night Chicago Died

PS. In my last message I meant to say that one of the characters sang part of that Indian song in the movie Gravity (during the space walk). They didn't play the original version of the song.

Honeysmom 7:08 PM  

Again, Rex and his obsequious fans are too hard to please. I enjoyed today's puzzle, even more as someone of Irish heritage -- with a sense of humor. Lighten up, you guys!

M and A Help Desk 7:11 PM  

@r.alph (and @muse):
How to make a runtpuz:

1. Apply for mental exam at the V.A. Lotsa luck with that.
2. Get a copy of Across-Lite.
3. Build yer runtpuz on a 7x7 paper grid.
4. Go here:
5. Load .txt file that step #4 told U how to build into Across-Lite. Mix until lumpy.
6. Save results to a .puz file, from Across-Lite.
7. If U aren't a xwordinfo member, slip Jeff Chen a double sawbuck (every year or so).
8. If U are a member, go to Select "analyze your own puzzles here" (near bottom of page, appropriately). An "Analyze Yer Crappy Puz" page should appear.
9. Click on Choose File button. At this point, it is still not too late to turn back. Then give it name of yer .puz file. Mash the Analyze button.
10. If everything looks OK, and there are sufficient number of U's, go up top on this "Analyze view" page. Mash on "Click to reveal link". Copy the link it gives U.
11. Post link in blog comment.

"Well What Did U Expect for These Prices"

lawprof 7:37 PM  

Didn't get to this one until later in the pm. More or less picked up the theme early on, but found the punny answers to be on the clunky side for the most part. Hate to not like a NYT Sunday puzzle, but...

Don't quite see how JEANOTYPING is a secretary (should be ...typist); ANGIOGRAM doesn't relate particularly to a chemist; COREYOGRAPH, seems more dance- than algebra teacher-related; MELOYELLOW bears only the flimsiest relationship to a painter; JUNEOALASKA's connection to dogsled racing is what, exactly?

Yeah, I finished it, but it was a long slog, and the groaners didn't make up for it. So, why didn't I quit and just take a DNF? I'll be asking myself that question all evening.

Sorry, Mr. DiPietro. I tried to like it. Just couldn't make myself.

retired_chemist 7:48 PM  

Speaking as a chemist, I do not think we can be eponymous in any way with GRAM. Again a stretch in the theme, Also, I agreed above with lawprof in wanting JEAN O'TYPIst instead of JEAN O'TYPING.

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

From Noel Coward's "Mad Dogs and Englishmen":

It's such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see
That though the English are effete
They're quite impervious to heat
When the white man rides every native hides in glee
Because the simple creatures hope he
Will impale his solar topee on a tree

Suzy 8:00 PM  

For what it's worth at the end of the day-- I usually think Rex is way to hard on constructors, but not today-- this was a total slog, no fun at all. I did get through it, but with no joy.

David 8:34 PM  

Totally agree with Suzy - annoying, annoying puzzle

r.alphbunker 8:51 PM  


Thanks for the info.

I have written a program that let's me solve Across Lite .puz files and keeps track of every keystroke I enter. The program then analyzes the keystrokes to create a "movie" of how I solved the puzzle. All I have to do is add comments.

Unfortunately, the program requires a .puz file and xwordinfo converts the .puz you upload to a JSON format (e.g., for latest runtpuz:

I will modify my program to work with this format.

LaaneB 9:05 PM  

Hate to DNF a Sunday, but there it is, and I do agree with Rex that most of it was "clunky". But who am I to conclude that? I admire anyone who can get one of these things submitted and approved. Between this and the really tough acrostic, I'm feeling stupider than usual this evening. Thank goodness the Giants won and it's my wife's birthday.

Ludyjynn 9:15 PM  

Hey, there, @Honeysmom. I also happen to be Honey's mom: Honey is my blond, four-legged cockapoo child.

I am shaking my head in wonder at your characterization of me/others as "obsequious"; I've been called a lot of things in this life, but that word is NOT one of them! FYI, I disagree w/ Rex on a regular basis, but not today. He hit the nail on the head IMHO. Period.

M and Aloha 9:37 PM  

Not feelin the luv here, for this SunPuz.

Maybe the NYT should have a runtpuz included, below the 21x21 bigger than snot puz, just as a precaution.
Here's my carefully addled thinkin:

* Some people may not cotton to a particular bigpuz. Happens. But then they have to suffer thru a long solve, anyway. Sufferin is probably good for em, but maybe not for hours and hours.

* A runtpuz can be solved in minutes. One hour tops. Even if you're miserable, it's over nice and fast.

* A well made runtpuz is still mighty flexible. As past runtpuz solvers can attest, it can have up to 9-part themes. Rebuses. The circles. Quint stacks. Pangrams. Coveted double-?? clues, for desperation purposes. Smilin 007-U's. In short, all the old favorites.

* Runtpuzs do not disappoint. They are expected to be weak and runtlike. Sometimes M&A screws up, and people even like em. Ask Dan F., crossword champ. Or Benko, regional champ.

* Speakin of which, Dan F. will tell U that runtpuzs are excellent trainin, for winnin the ACPT. What would U prefer? The same old NYT regular puz theme and fill, or somethin that challenges all credubility? Dejavuosity -- or anarchy? High respect -- or warped thinkin?

But I digress...

Tita 10:06 PM  

@BobK,,,I confidently popped in PADDYO' too.
DNF'd with JEANOTYPIst, and the inability to come up with DAWNON.

Also like BobK, just right for a very busy Sunday. I got a big kick out of it!!

Had aZoReS before OZARKS.

And smiled at 55A nautical command...
I'm a daysailor, and have most of the appropriate lingo down.

After a few weeks teaching my french nieces to sail, along with other activities, they drew a thank you card for me, portraying the many fun things they did that summer.

A stick-figure sailboat, with stick-figure sailors, with me shouting "heartily!".

THanks Mr. DiPietro.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 PM  

@M&A - If 10 A or 4 D had been *real* words, I would have had it!

ZenMonkey 3:30 AM  

@Honeysmom: No one here who liked the puzzle has been denigrated. Why do you feel the need to insult those of us who didn't? My opinion is not wrong (they're subjective, right?) nor would my "lightening up" improve my experience with this puzzle in any way.

I nearly always enjoy puzzles at least a little more than Rex, but I'm 100% in agreement today. Like many here I found this an awkward, tedious slog. I groaned out loud at CARNAP and found the theme clues inconsistent and without wit or style. Those last two adjectives are what I expect from the NYT.

Fred Romagnolo 11:12 AM  

DNF; didn't know PAPERLACE. Only pun I couldn't figure was MELOYELLOW. I did like MAEOCLINIC & NATEOSUMMIT. Another loss here for PUTitTHERE. I also wanted "abide" for STAND. Lousy Fla. panhandle for me. @Ludyjynn: my first two were cockapoos, incredibly popular here in San Francisco in the '70's, really lovely breed. Give Honey a scratch behind the ears for me.

Fred Romagnolo 11:15 AM  

@zenmonkey: Damned handsome pic.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Another vote for YUCK!

Not enjoyable, not clever. The puns(?) were all based on a real first name and O'noun - not actual Irish names.

And I had to Google to finish SE.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

anybody else notice the juxtaposed FUC* in the center of the grid?

ZenMonkey 2:21 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo: Well thank you sir! That's Zen herself.

fotos4fun 7:25 AM  

I thought "coreyograph" should have been an Irish dance instructor .... Not an algebra teacher,. Don't know what choreography had to do with algebra ... Oh we'll

Ryan Hauck 11:37 AM  

I normally don't pass judgment on the crossword quality, but this one was just plain stupid. It was aggravating, not challenging, to finish.

spacecraft 12:36 PM  

No, not medium for me: challenging--and woulda been a DNF if I hadn't dredged up PAPERLACE from long-unused axons & dendrites to get a foothold in that brutal SE corner.

-->SALAD is not usually the first course. That we call the "appetizer."

-->What can open files? MIS?? Oh (GROAN!), a prefix!

-->Yard filler = ALE?? OK, I seem to recall a container being called a "yard," once. But when's the last time you heard anyone order a yard of ale? Right, never.

-->Then, amid all this intellectual stuff, like knowing that the preinstalled Iphone browser is called SAFARI or who the hell MIRO is, suddenly we regress to the Hillbillyan TOOKILL for "Got sick." Hey thar, Clem, what's wrong with yer cow? Aw, she done TOOK ILL last night.

Yeah, well I nearly TOOK ILL myself with this. I did like the theme and most of the entries; PATTYOFURNITURE was a hoot. But it seemed quite a slog. Sunday cluing didn't use to be so tough. Had to get restarted several times when the area I was working on petered out.

JOSEF von Sternberg? If you say so. TENKS crossing TANKS. Oh, and "Suddenly strike" does a horrible job of defining DAWNON. Different speeds.

That is all. I will fold my 9988. In the two-pair pond it's a whale, but in the ocean, not much.

Steve J 1:01 PM  

@spacecraft: There's a chain of beer-focused bar/restaurants primarily on the west coast called The Yard House. Their name originates from yards of beer. They actually stopped selling full yards due to the cost and liability posed by people breaking and/or trying to steal yardlong glassware, but I believe you can still order a half yard there.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

As I solvved this, the only fun I derived was knowing that when I was done, I could read Rex making fun of it. That sustained me.

rain forest 2:06 PM  

First thought: Joe DiPietro-@Rex will not like this. He dislikes the works of the Joes (DiPietro and Krozel).

Second thought: I will defend Joe's effort. It's what I do.

As I made my way down the grid, at ANGIEOGRAM, I was wondering what the theme might be, and at WILLOTREES, it *suddenly* dawned on me. Irish names, with the O' meaning 'of' (sort of). From that point on, I quite enjoyed the silly names, and the majority of the cluing and fill.

Sundays frequently feel like a slog to me, and this was no exception, but I was interested enough to forge on. The entire South section was good, in my opinion.

Thanks, Joe O'Pietro.

Full: 6's over 3's

connie in Seattle 4:26 PM  

It's a new one - omgwtf.

Dirigonzo 5:23 PM  

I made it all the way down to MELOYELLOW before I had any inkling as to what was going on, and as that came into view I said to myself, "Oh no, he di'nt" but of course oh yes, he did. I love puns so I headed north, piecing together the theme answers and pausing for a groan after each one. By the time I arrived back at the top o' the grid I had fixed all my early mistakes - union/APIAN was the last to fall. Looking at the finished puzzle it seems like there is a surfeit of Os in the non-theme fill, too - Maybe Mr. DiPietrO has a thing for them?

@Tita - "Heartily!" - Love it!

@connie in Seattle - "omgwtf" indeed!

Fives full - fold.

Anonymous 7:58 PM  

As my Irish Gramma would say,
"Gladys O'ver"!!!

Solving in Seattle 8:02 PM  

I had a similar experience to Rex with this puzzle. I was watching golf on tv on a rainy Seattle afternoon and groaning occasionally during the solve. Mrs SiS was reading and finally asked what the groans were about. I just said this was one silly puzzle but I finished it. PAPERLACE totally on crosses. JANICE crossing JOSEF was a Natick for me. Surprised @Spacy didn't throw flags.
PUTERTHERE, Joe, you did your best.

Fold on two pair.

Jerry K. 5:39 PM  

It appears quite few of you thought this puzzle had merit, as for me I found it a terrible start to my day.

Placing an "o" in the middle of an answer does not make it cute or pun to do.

All in all it was "O rotten " way to blow off my coffee and brandy.

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