Ray Charles hit of 1963 / THU 5-22-14 / Taxonomic suffix / Whence word robot / Starbuck's orderer / 2008 TARP recipient / Leopold's partner in crime /

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Constructor: Adam G. Perl

Relative difficulty: Easy (for me … looks like Medium-ish for others)

THEME: After all... — phrases with "after" in them are represented in the grid literally, with the pre-"after" part following the post-"after" part:

Theme answers:
  • PILL MORNING (for "morning after pill") (24A: Plan B, e.g.)
  • ANOTHER ONE THING (for "one thing after another") (31A: A seemingly endless series)
  • C I BEFORE E EXCEPT (for "I before E except after C) (41A: Rule contradicted by science?) (my favorite because of how insane it looks) (also, good clue)
  • READING BURN (for "burn after reading") (50A: Note to a spy, say)
Word of the Day: BÊTE / NOIRE (13D: With 62-Across, dreaded one) —
(bĕt nwär'
One that is particularly disliked or that is to be avoided: "Tax shelters had long been the bête noire of reformers" (Irwin Ross).

[French : bête, beast + noire, black.]

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/b-te-noire#ixzz32PJ7MFwS
• • •

I worked with Adam Perl briefly early this year at a crossword tournament in Ithaca to benefit Tompkins Learning Partners. Very nice guy. Made all the tournament puzzle himself, the toughest of which was a brutal tour de force. He should publish it. But anyway, about this puzzle—I liked it. Played very easy for me. Not sure exactly when I picked up the theme, but once I did, all those themers went down quickly. For sheer loopiness, I love CIBEFOREEEXCEPT the best of them all. I know I have said in the past that I don't like nonsense in my grids, but I don't take this as nonsense—it's just a different manner of representing the answer-phrase. And not only do I like PILL MORNING as an answer, I like that it appears in the grid at all. The NYT xword has a history of being squeamish about both bodily functions as well as matters controversial, and this answer is a twofer. Nice to see this normally conservative medium being both current and (however moderately) bold.

Fill here is conservative but clean. Completely inoffensive, with some snazzy bits here and there. ACE HIGH, CON GAME, and DOWN PAT all have a nice, GRIFTery snap to them. I think OTE (33D: Taxonomic suffix) is the only answer that really gets my gote. With that exception, the grid has been nicely crafted to remove all real junk. Very surprised to see the times at the NYT site coming in normal or even slightly higher-than-normal, as this presented virtually no resistance to me. Where is the difficulty? What am I missing? What did I manage to luckily avoid?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Billy 12:06 AM  

What did you miss? Well, the clues were just so clever, to a beginner, yet obvious once you see them -- group of red states, sugar substitute, etc.
This is how crosswords should be.

jae 12:08 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Cute theme which I caught early so it was a pretty smooth solve.  My only hang up was Green acRes which took some time to unsnarl. 

There were a lot more names today including both spellings of NEAL/NEIL.

Clever theme, reasonable fill, liked it.

wreck 12:12 AM  

I really liked this one. I was tripped up by the word BEFORE in the long "IBEFORE..." answer. I already parsed AFTER as the missing word, so I was trying to figure it out as a revealer or possibly BEFORE would appear in the bottom themers. Once I got that - it was fairly simple for me. I finished in pretty medium overall time.

syndy 12:17 AM  

Went down pretty easy with just a swick on the palate-what was plan A? but leaving aside the cutsyness of rape- the puzzle was a little easy for thursday but tres amusant

Questinia 12:24 AM  

This puzzle would have been easier had I remembered the rule ~ ISAO is Aoki spelled sideways sort of except with an "S" in there somewhere, probably the second letter.

Moly Shu 12:27 AM  

Easy medium here, too. I thought a lot of the cluing was very straightforward for a Thursday. My solve consisted of one simple problem. " I know PARC is correct, I know ANTI is correct, I know LOEB is correct, and I know EDASNER is correct. What kind of word starts CIBE? Oh wait, it's Thursday, let me look for a trick"
I found the trick at PILLMORNING like @Rex, and the rest just seemed to flow.

Didn't like BETE and BETTE, lukewarm on the AREA/ORAL/ELLE corner, but really liked the clues for HORSE and NANNY.

Very good Thursday, maybe a touch too easy.

Steve J 12:51 AM  

Nice theme. I do like that it's not just one word that's after the "after" part of the phrases. And while I found 41A clunky at first (and the last thing to fall), looking at it after, I like that it was always something after the first word of the answer.

This played a little tougher for me than everyone else so far. Had a hard time getting the bottom-center and NE to start filling in, for whatever reason. Couldn't see BETE NOIRE for a very long time, but once I got that, those two sections came together well. (Like @Moly Shu, I didn't like seeing both BETE and BETTE.)

In Crossworld, only one actor is in the movie Up. Just like Peter Fonda has only starred in Ulee's Gold.

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

Attention, Attention!

Rexy is in the tank for Perl.

That is all.

Back to your positions. (Which for Rexy would evidently be on a rug supine facing Mr. Perl.)


Leapfinger 12:55 AM  


JTHUrst 1:00 AM  

Sometimes it flows and sometimes not. DNF. Could not get started. Completed the North section and got 'pill morning' and never saw a trend. Did not understand it even 'after' Rex's explanation. Where was the cue for 'after'? I believe this puzzle will have widely varied solve times.

Some great clues but my only question is. Is Adam Perl the son of Ron Perl who directed the autobiographical film Malcolm X and was writer on Spike Lee's film?

Anoa Bob 1:18 AM  

Yeah, that CIBE.... was AGONY until the "after" part of the theme finally dawned on me.

Got QUID straightaway. Been watching "Wheeler Dealers" on Velocity Channel. British, you know.

With HIT ME, ACE HIGH, CON GAME, & GRIFT in the grid, could one INFER that there is a sub-theme?

Still not sure how 36D NAPE is a "Pickup spot?".


ZenMonkey 1:35 AM  

@Anoa Bob: Mama cats pick up their kittens by the nape of their neck.

Agree about CIBE, but it was that clue which twigged me to the trick. Lots of little chuckles. A fun Thursday.

Unknown 1:38 AM  

Brutally hard. Started googling after an hour. Stopped googling pretty quickly since there wasn't much to google. I needed 10 cheats to complete the grid.

HITME. I figured the 21 word reference was so the famous characterization of the ERA, except that the ERA was 24 words not 21. My bad.

I was pretty sure Anna Paquin was the youngest oscar winner (Nope!) , so I was looking at a rebus with QU, maybe.

Brand producers were IcONS, and the red states ref kept me thinking of Bible Belt.

Long intro was Nia. That's a consequence of the anomie I had started to feel. Finally when BETE NOIRE clicked, I filled in BETTy.
OPEN WIrE. Didn't HOuSE, M.D., eat bag lunches?

I did not get the theme even after checking the answers. There was no revealer clue. So. Anyway. You got me good. Congratulations.

Remember LOTEENAGERVE? This played as impossibly hard as that one.

Hats off to the rest of you who saw the trick and made it look so easy.

RnRGhost57 1:50 AM  

Yes yes yes.

John Child 1:51 AM  
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John Child 1:53 AM  

This went down pretty quickly, but I finished with an error at NELLs and ELs. Not having any idea, I went with a name I recognized.

I agree with Rex that today gibberish in the grid was redeemed by its cleverness.

Mark 1:58 AM  

I used to get stuck, sometimes completely, on tricky Thursdays all the time, but have been doing pretty well on them recently. This one felt vaguely backwards and twisted, especially as BURN started to appear. My intuition kept sniffing, and all the AFTER tricks kind of fell simultaneously. When I used to be amazed at how easily these puzzles made sense to the best solvers, I never imagined that I would make this much progress. Inspired by Rex's facility (how does he finish so quickly when he makes all the mistakes that he admits?) and that of a few others, I can't wait for each day's offering.

Anoa Bob 2:01 AM  

Thanks ZenMonkey. Would never have made that connection, but clever in retrospect.

Maybe a missed opportunity, but with BETE NOIRE & BETTE already there, why not find a spot in the grid for NOIR?


chefwen 3:11 AM  

I loved this one. Got it pretty early on with PILL/MORNING. Kept mentioning to Jon how clever this puzzle was. He spent the day flying from Boston to L.A., L.A. to Honolulu, Honolulu to Lihue. I kept getting "the look" All I want to do is eat and go to bed. Enough about the puzzle already.

Anyway, I had fun and he is now ten toes up and sawing logs.

Great one Adam G. Perl, most fun I've had on a Thursday in quite a few weeks.

Five 8's with 9 kickers, let somebody top that.

Jisvan 3:18 AM  

Liked the trick. It's rare when I get one and even more rare when I get it in time to help the solve. This is my 113th Magmic submission sans interruption AND I am 113th in the "streak" feature. What are the odds of that? (Leaving for vacation to the land of Spotty Wifi soon, so will no doubt go back to 5,000th or so.) Really enjoy this forum!
PS: I am really gullible. Just tried using 43 as the captcha, and it did not work. So that was a joke, right?

jae 3:50 AM  

@Benko -  Re: Rock vs. Rock n' Roll from yesterday  -  I think our misunderstanding is generational.  By the time what I thought of as "rock and roll" was  being sliced and diced into subcategories I was listening to oldies stations.  In the words of the  Piano Man (who is very close to my age)  "It's still rock and roll to me."

Charles Flaster 6:00 AM  

Loved whole puzzle.Definitely a medium for me.41 A helped me finish.Did not like Ote and guessed on Neil/Mail crossing.
Very similar to yesterday but even more enjoyable.

Susierah 6:21 AM  

Finally finished in 46 minutes but had to google to get parc. I kept trying pope instead. But, I was just staring at gobbledygook. Reading burn was my first long across, but what the what! I never saw the "after" until I came here. So sorry I missed out on the fun. I should have tried a little harder to get the theme.

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

I resisted iten because we already had tenam. No one else bothered by two tens in the same puzzle?

Mohair Sam 7:35 AM  

Lots of fun with this one, played medium for us because my wife saw the gimme at 41a (Rule contradicted by science?) immediately and we spent half our solve time trying to find the rebus. Finally got the aha moment after much fill, and the rest fell quickly.

Disagree with Rex on Plan B. Nothing edgy there. And I like that the NYT crossword is stodgy - one of the few things in life I can do or watch with young family members without worrying about off-color or sexual references.

Glimmerglass 7:35 AM  

Easy medium for me (usually a bad thing), but this was a fun puzzle anyway. Nice job, Mr. Perl. I think this was easy because the hard clues were blended nicely with easier ones.

mathguy 8:31 AM  

I agree with Glimmerglass that there was the right ratio of very difficult clues/entries and quite straight-forward ones. It gives you enough cross letters to help figure out the difficult entries. But it was still quite challenging for me. I got "morning after pill" late and even knowing the gimmick had to sweat to get the other three long ones. I'm in awe of the clue for the spelling entry. I also learned something. I've seen bête noire a million times but didn't know specifically what it meant until I just looked it up.

Unknown 8:35 AM  

Easy-, I suppose, 25% faster than avg. CIBEF looked odd, and I couldn't figure out what science had to do with it. Then it all came together. Very solid puzzle. Made for a fun Thurs am. Time to start working....

joho 8:37 AM  

MYOWNHEARTAPUZZLE! Loved, loved, loved it!

Great start with QUID/QEII. Thought it would be a pangram but even though it's not, very scrabbly throughout the grid.

The only thing I wasn't crazy about besides OTE (Hi, @Rex!) was TENAM/ ITEN but none of that put a dent in my enthusiasm for this puzzle.

@Moly Shu, I thought BETE mirroring BETTE was a cute touch!

I'll bet (another BET!) Goldie HAWN would make a great ROXIE!

Fun, Fun Thursday will all the bells and whistles ... thank you, Adam Perl!

Sir Hillary 8:40 AM  

15 minutes, extraordinarily fast for me -- felt more like a early-weeker. Most of the non-theme entries fell easily, so the theme became apparent almost completely through crossings. Cute theme, too.

Sometimes punny "?" clues annoy me, but they were great today. The clues for ISAW, HORSE, AXON, USSR and NAPE all made me smile. The clue for NEER made me laugh out loud. And the clue for CIBEFOREEEXCEPT is the winner of them all.

One question...can someone tell me what RUR is? Is it a language? I could obviously Google it and find out for myself, but the responses here are always more interesting!

evil doug 8:49 AM  



evil doug 8:56 AM  


Ludyjynn 8:58 AM  

The theme HITME very early at 41Across, making this an easy-medium solve for me. Once ISAW the big picture, even the tougher clues were gettable (or INFERrable) via crosses, e.g., the Ray Charles "hit", which I do not recall, even after listening to the song which Rex generously provided.

@Cascokid, it sounds like this puzzle was AGONY for you, causing you to be in a SNIT. Trust me, if you keep plugging away, you will find, as if by magic, the answers reveal themselves. A year ago, before I came here, I would probably not have finished it, or at the least, found it challenging, a real BETE NOIRE.
You will get there; it just takes time.

INALL, I loved this offering. Thanks, AGP and WS. And thanks to Rex and all of you for helping me continue to improve.

Arlene 9:01 AM  

This was a good Thursday experience - at first, I can't get into it and panicked that I wouldn't be able to do it. Then I filled in the SE - and then I got the theme when I filled in EXCEPT. And finished after that (had to look up ISAO - never remember how to spell that!)

BUT - all the while I was thinking that these great clues are too hard for a novice solver. So when I see the big shots here saying it's easy - that's bravado that comes with experience.

And only one song in this puzzle - hope this trend continues!

Matthew A. Harmer 9:01 AM  

11+ for me, which is about double what I'd do on a Monday. I loved the cluing and the lack of junk in the puzzle (except XTRA--which I can forgive--OTE, and OBI, my most-hated word).

Cluing was beautiful in some places; 10A: "Starbucks orderer" was my personal favourite. Thursday puzzles are growing on me, it seems, with the exception of the multiple-letter-square types.

Anyway, I emailed a .pdf of this puzzle to my mother, since she only gets the syndicated.

Zwhatever 9:06 AM  

Having never considerd Helen Mirren to look anything like a luxury liner, the NW gave me fits, even with CrossGolfer ISAO being a gimme. I, too, was in the Bible Belt, until I refilled my coffee mug, sat back down, and did the ol' dope slap. Still, -UI- suggested rUIn to me. Finally grokked DOWN PAT, then IRONS, the QEII/QUID. I probably spent as much time stymied in that corner as I did on the rest of the puzzle.

Loved the theme. I had all of the back ends filled from crosses before I saw it, then filled them all in at once. Great Aha! moment.

@Jisvan - no joke. Just make sure you know which is the image and which is the captcha. Right now I have a picture of the word "are" and then a contorted "gonvida". I will enter 101010 gonvida and you will see this (101010 is 42 in base two)

Questinia 9:08 AM  

@ Sir Hillary, RUR is a 1920's science fiction play about how the word RUR becomes crosswordese eighty years in the future.
Some of that is true.

Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  

@Questina - Oh, that was good. Thanks for the chuckle.

Carola 9:27 AM  

Over too sooooon! Seeing the MORNING-after PILL early made the other themers easy to get, and with those long Acrosses in place, the Downs came fast. I thought there was a very nice array of "afters."

Looking again at the theme answers to see if they make sense as phrases as they stand.... PILL MORNING - well, that describes all of my mornings. ANOTHER ONE THING reminds me of my son when he was little, asking for more of something - he had the concept of "another one" and thought you needed that phrase for what you wanted, as in "another one cookie." I'm not sure how you'd acquire a READING BURN....

John V 9:29 AM  

Very clever, but never even came close. Good puzzle, bad solver. S'bout it.

Cheerio 9:29 AM  

I agree with first comment above (@billy). This would have been hard if you were new to some of the clueing misdirects that the NYT makes repeated use of. For example, I SAW.

Because I have grown used to such misdirects, I loved this puzzle and found it to be on the easy side for a Thursday. But mainly I loved it for the same reason that Rex did, namely the awesome CIBEFOREXCEPT. There is also a smooth quality. To my puzzle PALATE, it has a subtle flavor of the great Berry. All good.

Unknown 9:39 AM  
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dk 9:39 AM  

OO (2 Moons)

Never got traction on this one. Theme fill felt odd except for BURN...... Same Mirren is not a boat who once may have been a ship comment.

Must just be road weary from driving on ITEN.

Greetings from Austin, back to WI this weekend.

chefbea 9:46 AM  

Didn't get this at all!!!! Couldn't figure it out. Had there been a revealer.....

oh well.

Unknown 9:47 AM  

@ludyjynn it is funny what we just know. 12 in Alaska was a gimme, in part because we spent 10 days along the Denali-to-Homer corridor 2 years ago, and because they are numbered memorably: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 98. Why 98? you as. It is an E-W highway in northern Alaska, probably built with DoT funds, so an "Interstate" and confident that there would be no more northerly such highway.

I actually had all of CIBEFOREEEXCEPT, READINGBURN and PILLMORNING but figured they had to be wrong, so I took the most dubious crosses. CyBER... was more probable because Science was in the clue and we already had RUR in the puzzle.

Clues I couldn't fill: AHAB clue was very good, and it beat me. I followed the misdirect toward customers, drive-thrus, register operators, internet ordering. I wracked my brains hard there. ISAW makes sense, in retrospect, but I was focussing on roads, bridges, hills, fountains, pines even, of Rome. Even with IS_W staring me in the face. This would have been a gimme in Latin!

The same confidence that allowed me to jump to INFER, GRIFT, FADE, NÉE, MAIL, ITEN, RTES also led me to commit to IcONS. USSR was just not going to come.

I can see how this is an excellent puzzle. I was a lot closer than my 90 minutes and 15 google/cheat score would suggest. But not getting the trick was the Big Fail, and ultimately undid a confident solve.

Where from here? The philosophical question: how do I find my blind spots and peer into them? In a similar vein, how do I pull myself up by my bootstraps? Can't really be done, can it? Time for zen reflection on this and all the other more pressing blind spots on life.

Hartley70 9:55 AM  

I got morning after pill right off the bat and so the theme was obvious until I hit cibeforeeexcept and it was a brick wall I just couldn't get over. The other snag for me was the Helen Mirren role. Still and all a Thursday is always good fun and this was a very good Thursday!

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Despite my 35+ years of puzzling solving experience I still find many of the Thursday ones above my pay grade.
This one lived up to its tricky reputation. I never saw the gimmick until I came to this site. PILL MORNING did not make any sense and neither did ANOTHER ONE THING. Googling did not help much. Finally the CIBE.. sequence made me realize there was a trick.
So I promptly gave up.
Difficult to be awed by a theme that I never any chance of solving.
But still I can marvel at the some of the clever cluing and marvel at the brain circuits of some of the more mentally agile solvers.
I am humbled.

Dorothy Biggs 10:12 AM  

This was medium for me until I figured out the theme, then it was easy...and almost like *poof* easy. I started to suspect a rebus early on (it's Thursday, y'all), but couldn't quite get it. When I got ANOTHERONETHING it was my gestalt moment and the rest of the thing laid down nicely.

The SNIT/AIG crossing was kinda weird...I don't often (ok, ever) use "pet" like that and the I in AIG was a complete guess.

Haven't drank Snapple ever because of their advertising on a certain very conservative radio personalty's show. Hey, I got my scruples. So is MANGO like a Snapple thing?

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Loved "waiting, for the impatient" aka AGONY, as I can relate. Still I've said "dawdlers never wait". So maybe an alternative clue is "what dawdlers inflect".

@Rex "conservative" is in the eye of the beholder and not something the NYTimes knows a thing about (not even the puzzle section). Mort Sahl famously quipped his "right was your left". Perspective is everything.

AliasZ 10:14 AM  




- ISAW ISAO Aoki play golf exactly never.
- That Caesarean section should be "vidi." I don't think Caesar spoke English.
- BÊTE ≠ BETTE as in Davis.

But we expect Thursday clues to take some liberties. I liked it.

Here is Martha Argerich displaying some dazzling pyrotechnics in Jeux d'EAU by Maurice Ravel.

A while seeya.

pmdm 10:23 AM  

"Where is the difficulty? What am I missing? What did I manage to luckily avoid?"

I suspect that many solvers, myself included, did not pick up the theme early on. In fact, I never picked the theme up until after I completed the puzzle. Perhaps the high times reflect the increased difficulty of finishing this puzzle without the help of understanding what the theme is, since without that knowledge there seems to be no rhyme or reason among the apparently nonsensical answers.

Steve J 10:26 AM  

@JTHurst: The clue for "after" is in the positioning of the words. In 24A, the word MORNING comes after the word PILL. The puzzle assumes you know all of the theme phrases and thus will have the aha moment of "oh, MORNING after PILL!".

@Anon 6.59 a.m.: I hadn't noticed the dual TENs, but yeah, that's a bit odd and ungainly.

@Sir Hillary. @Questinia's explanation is much better than my dry one: R.U.R. is a 1920s Czech play that gave us the word robot.

@Casco Kid: Where to from here? Just keep plugging away. Look at how much you got correct from the things you just dropped in. That's a big part of being able to do the more-challenging puzzles.

A couple suggestions: Don't give up on what seems to be gibberish in probable theme-answer locations on Thursdays. Thursday (and, to a lesser extent, Sunday) are the days where such gibberish is likely to pop up.

And when you do drop things in quickly, don't be afraid to give them up if things aren't working. We all latch onto things too hard from time to time, but that seems to be your current BETE NOIRE. In the NE, I had both EDIT and AGING early, but I couldn't get that corner to come together. So I dropped them to see if they'd come back with some other crosses, or if I was just wrong. You have to do a fair amount of that in late-week puzzles, or else you get hopelessly stuck.

Unknown 10:38 AM  

RURschach test: I see a cyborg in the grid art.

Nancy 10:44 AM  

A delicious puzzle. A delightful puzzle. Like Joho, I loved, loved, loved it. Like Carola, I thought it was over too soon. Like chefwen, I had the theme at PILLMORNING. Unlike chefbea, I was happy there WASN'T a revealer, because then it would have been too easy. (We do seem to have a lot of chefs at this site, don't we. Maybe someone would like to cook for me?:) I'm a solver who always looks forward to Thursdays and this was a great one. Like everyone else, CIBE was the main challenge for me...but what an aha moment it was when I realized that its clue was not about science qua science, but rather about how science is spelled. Brilliant clueing, just brilliant!

schmuzz 10:51 AM  

i got the theme but still didn't get the puzzle correct-
i couldn't give up NINNY goat and so couldn't see INALL...i concentrated too hard on _AG

and i'm with aliasZ - i had VENI
VICI VIDI before leaving them for ISAW

love coming here and reading your write ups....

Leapfinger 10:53 AM  

@dk: Driving on ITEN_you were road-weary
@Hillary/Quest: Such crewelT. Rosser's Universal Robots. Check it out.
@Carola: How READING BURN? On the beach, good book, ran out of sunscreen

My own heart_a puzzle. Time_time, I had that glow_warm. More than a fashion_I enjoyed it, and effects_there were no lingering. Math_in the, pictures_I wish I had some before and.
In the dark_L.

@evil doug: Oy

chefbea 10:53 AM  

@Nancy - I would love to cook for you. Do you like beets??? Maybe you live close by. and I could deliver aka. meals on wheels!!!

CMD 10:54 AM  

@rex- you often talk about theme consistency. For example, when the theme is a short word hidden inside a longer word or words you don't like it if some answers have the shorter word spanning across two words but some have it fully contained in just one. Using that logic, the theme answers in this puzzle seem inconsistent to me. The first and last are two word phrases with "after" in the middle. The others are multiple words. Do you
not see this as inconsistent?

Jisvan 11:10 AM  

Thanks @Z, base two, ooooh....
Work-see ya, commentariat!

Leapfinger 11:17 AM  

Dang, there's a lot of profiteering going on while a comment is being typed! Only one PERL? Zhido?
Can't have too many chefs in the soup; maybe an Editor-in-Chef could clear up 'schmuzz' vs 'schmutz' for me.

HORSE with no SHOOS today.

GILL I. 11:33 AM  

OK...What kind of friggin brilliant mind comes up with this type of crossword??? Really...
HIT ME with the PILL MORNING as I Huh all the way to CIBEFOREEEXCEPT and bong my head a few times after "getting IT" and smiling all the way to READINGBURN.
Can you get any better than this Thursday? Give me all the RUR/OTE/UTE/RTE/TAU's in the world if you can come up with a beauty like this......!

gregg 11:42 AM  
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mac 11:46 AM  

Excellent Thursday, with especially clever clues. I have to admit that I rushed over here before figuring out the theme....

I think Bob Kerfuffle is going to enjoy this one.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:00 PM  

@evil, @AliasZ - har.
TIMETIME? (yo, Cyndi)

@dk - Austin is superb. My fave place to visit. Tips...
best breakfast: The Omeletry (Tarantino filmed part of a movie there, one time)
best lunch: Le Madeline
best place for old 45 rpms: Antione's.
(Correct spellins may vary.)
best supper: this Indian restaurant that I can't remember the name of. It's just a few blocks from the Cinnabuns place, tho.


Primo puz. I know, I know, I like most every puz, but I liked this one quite a bit xtra. thUrsthUmbsUp.

Nick 12:20 PM  

I thought one of the rules of construction was that all puzzle answers had to be unique words, so I got hung up on the TENam/iTEN repetition. That's kosher?

This one was not in my wheelhouse so no fun for me, but upon reading Rex and comments I can appreciate if not enjoy.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  


Awesome additional theme element you noticed re: the grid art.

Picking up on things like that bodes well for the kind of out-of-the-box thinking you need for xwords in general, and late-week puzzles in particular.


hawkins 12:26 PM  

@joho (and anyone else who enjoyed Monday's puzzle) - you'll be happy to know I just got an acceptance letter for a Wednesday puzzle!

RAD2626 12:28 PM  

Since I never got the theme this was a hard day. Started in North Central which was a breeze but wanted Ezra/Eliz for the 1's which ISAO blew out of the water. Downhill from there.

chefbea 12:29 PM  

@ Leapfinger..I think you meant broth

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

Well maybe not a 'theme' element, since it relates to a non-theme answer, but an additional flourish to the puzzle that i would be suprised was not intentional.


M and Also 12:54 PM  

@dk - har! Reremembered it! Way to go, M&A Brain.
Taj Palace.

Also, you oughta try Threadgill's one time. Quite a dining experience. Definitely do the one just across the creek from downtown. Turkey and dressin dindin is primo.

Almost forgot: Antipasto cuisine = Cinnabuns.

fave clue: "Starbuck's orderer" = AHAB. Runnerup: "One acting on impulse?" = AXON.

fave weeject: AIG. Good thing it's a co. name, or the clue would hafta get a bit desperate. I.E., "Chaicks haitch from it??". Honrable mention: RURUTENEEOTE.

fave buddin runtpuz constructioneer: @muse. (Am I ridin her too hard, on this? Thought so.)


Ludyjynn 1:11 PM  

@Cascokid, @SteveJ(10:26 AM), has provided you w/ sage advice, esp. his comments in the last paragraph. I would add, try to think like a lawyer. We were trained to argue alternatively; that is, if the judge wasn't buying our spiel, try another approach to get the desired result. Remind yourself, if the first puzz. response is a dead end, give it up and try something else! But keep plugging along. In this puzz., I kept thinking 2Down had to be a politically conservative Southern state UNTIL I cleared my brain and saw the alternative 'Red', as in USSR.

You probably know the old joke:

Q: How do I get to Carnegie Hall?
A: Practice, practice, practice!

You can do the hard ones, and you will.

Chip Hilton 1:18 PM  

Put me in the Thumb's Up column. I put stars in front of six clues to denote their cleverness and could've added more. The theme was a hoot and my solving led to a backward solution for CIBEetc. So the trick was especially pleasant to discover.

For me, a perfect Thursday puzzle.

Leapfinger 1:45 PM  

@chefbea -- lol, nope, although at one time my name did be roth

(my vision is going fuzzy proving i'm not one of RUR's)

joho 1:50 PM  

Congrats, @Hawkins! I'll be looking for it!

Last Silver Bull Woot 1:57 PM  

So here's the thing. Some strugglin runtpuz authors may not be able to get by that runtpuz text file layout, that U input to Across-Fright.

They just need an example. Like this:

KIDDIE POOL THEMELESS #M-1 "The Crown aMUSEr of Runtpuzs"

LMS, say

Shurely U Jest



Mark ;

Yada yada nada

Yada yada tada

Across clues, one per line, go where "Yada yada nada" is.
Down clues, where "Yada yada tada" is.
OK, Patrick Berry. No more excuses, now.

Oh, wait. Some delicate runtpuz fledglings may panic, tryin to clue up some of the more desperate answers (runtpuz trademark) , such as:
WZY. Simplicity itself: "Fuzzy Wuzzy, on scoreboards".
WSA. No sweat: "Circular saw (var.)"
GIW. Keep the theme in mind, and you'll do fine, here. Day-um! Use as a revealer!
NBW. Can do: "Helmsman's SBE opposite."


Need to take that x outa TITLEx>. (Blogger thought it was an HTML tag.)
Will save explainers on and BURP for the advanced class.

Not A Spellcaster -- Honest! 2:07 PM  


All the tags in the textfile example that start with (less-than-sign) and end with (greater-than-sign) went plumb nuts.

"Substitute teachers: Always a flight risk"

Carola 2:08 PM  

@Leapfinger 10:53 - I can see it, I mean, feel it, happening!

Outlaw Verbose M and A Help Desk 2:28 PM  

KIDDIE POOL KROSSWORD #M-1 "The Crown aMUSEr of Runtpuzs"
LMS, say
Shurely U Jest
Mark ;
Yada yada nada
Yada yada tada

Except change all the { and } marks to those sucky marks that shall not be mentioned in blogger comments.

And then same xtra remarks, as for last aborted attempt.
Sorry for all this xtra confusion.

"Well, That Was All Clear to Follow"

evil doug 2:38 PM  

I don't know, M&A, but perhaps this would be an appropriate time for you to lose the bumpkin malarkey and speak fucking English?


Leapfinger 2:41 PM  

@Carola 2:06

Fits with REDSCARE, doesn't it? Beaches aren't the only place to worry about. On one climbing trip somewhere between Jasper and Banff, I laid down prone on the grass for lunch. Well, I wasn't exactly wearing shorts; in the time it took to eat a sandwich @ elevation 10,000, I had two pink smiles right where they did me the least good.

Slathers of zinc oxide/Desitin sometimes a necessity. Sour cream helps, in a pinch...

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

@evil: Or just get lost, all together?

DAW-GUN 2:49 PM  

Easy (easy-medium?) for me (until the dnf end). Really liked this one. Like @Rex said, the fill was unoffensive and the cluing was fun. I really like the theme and may actually have been smiling right up until I double-naticked and dnf with RUR, OTE, and UTE. Blech, left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth because of that, but otherwise a fun puzzle.

Zwhatever 2:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 2:57 PM  

Nah, I don't want him (her?) to 'get lost'. He's obviously a bright guy, very entertaining, and--if you're willing to dig through the pile of shit to find the pony--there are valuable nuggets to be harvested.

Apparently he's such an important celebrity that he needs to protect his identity---but after a while even that conceit starts to reek of a certain prima donna-nence....

I love you, M&A, truly---but the schtick is growing tiresome....

You didn't ask for my opinion, so I'll give it to you....

Leapfinger 3:07 PM  

2:41, cont'd

Of course, that latter constitutes EATINGBURN rather than READINGBURN; that, in and of itself, could result in some serious gastric inflammation, as it were.

Don't mind me. Now I'm just talking to myself. Should watch that tendency: like the manufacture of kitchen work surfaces, it can be counter-productive.

[Does Rex ever outright ban anyone from this site?]

Benko 3:11 PM  

@jae: Probably true. Though I thought of that Billy Joel quote, too!
@m&a: Mmm, cheese omeletry.

Benko 3:25 PM  

Based on what he's told us, @m&a was at last year's ACPT, is from the southern region (seems to be from Texas), and is probably in his 60s, given his various statements. So there's about 10 people he might be, according to the ACPT website. Which one, M&A? Pull the mask off!

Fred Romagnolo 3:29 PM  

@Sir Hillary: in addition to preceding remarks: it's Rossom's Universal Robots, a firm name of the robot manufacturers, the word is derived from the Slavic root for "work"; the playwright is Karl Kapek, a Czech; it's a hell of a good play, well worth reading. @Casco, I too flirted with "cyber". @anon 10:13: you are so right about the NYT. @Alias Z: but the clue was in English, "vedi" would have had to have a Latin clue. I first cottoned onto the gimmick with "burn after reading"; I can't praise this one enough, so damned many great clues

Lewis 3:42 PM  

Tough for me -- some tricky clues I didn't get right away, and not knowing HAWN, ROXIE, and NOONE slowed me down.

I loved the tricky cluing and the liked the theme. Good puzzle!

jae 4:39 PM  

@Casco - After I graduated from the Book of 100 Incredibly Easy Crosswords (not the actual title) and was about half way through wearing out my first crossword dictionary I discovered and series of puzzle books by Peter Gordon compiled from the now defunct New York Sun. There is one for each weekday and they get more difficult as the week progresses. The authors are the same ones that you see in the NYT. I recommend you buy the Wed. and Thurs. books and just keep working them. You will get better and the puzzles are excellent.

Anonymous 5:39 PM  


My 2cents from someone not too far from where you are/were --

I'm not sure what platform you use to solve on (I use Magmic for ipad)-- I make big use of the "Pencil" feature until I'm 99% sure I have each square correct, only then do I use the "pen" to darken letters I'm sure of.

** side note to Magmic users -- it looks like they are about to completely overhaul the whole app!

retired_chemist 6:07 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 6:09 PM  

Did this at midnight after a long day. Non-puzzle wife said she was sure I was going to have a really slow time, as tired as I was. She was right.

I entered my last square and was astounded that Mr. Happy Pencil appeared. At this point I understood NOTHING of the theme. I thought there must be a rebus in there somewhere and Mr. H.P. was triggering on the first letter of the rebus. Stared for a while, and saw the gimmick. Not the most satisfying solve but I'll take it.

Saw 1D and immediately thought eliz. Felt vindicated when QEII emerged but also a bit dense that I didn't see that variant until three of the letters were in.

AHAB - super clue.

Good fill, nice cluing. Well done.

Thanks, Mr. Perl.

LaneB 6:15 PM  

Too cUte for me and never did see the "theme". NAPE=Pickup spot?; SNIT=pet?; MORNINGAFTER pill= Plan B? Just don't see it. Then there's RUR, OTE and NÉE lumped together. I'd even read Rossum's Universal RobotS many years ago and still failed to make the connection. How many out there ever saw this play dating back to the 30sor 40s? NÉE as "formerly" barely makes it, too.
AH we'll . Just grousing after yet another mid- week DNF.

crossvine 7:23 PM  

I really loved this and it was surprisingly easy for me. I say surprisingly because I'm not an expert solver like so many of you.

I was bothered by BETTE/BETE. When I saw that I thought this breaks some rule. But all in all, a really fun time.

JFC 7:31 PM  

Today’s critique by Rex is an example of why I have sometimes little interest in what he says. Once he started with saying what a great guy Adam Perl is, I don’t care what he says about the puzzle. Rex often cites Amy to support his harsh comments about a puzzle. Well, today Amy was so-so about this one. As a result I am left with the thought that Rex’s positive review – in the wake of a series of negative reviews – reflects more his affinity toward the constructor than his critical analysis.

Notwithstanding, I agree with Rex about the puzzle and think Amy had a bad hair day.


Qosmonaut 10:29 PM  

Basically, the key to getting Rex to rate your puzzle as strong and interesting is to meet him and get him to like you. Like most people on the blogosphere, he seems to find it much easier to bash anonymous strangers than known individuals. Case in point, today's puzzle vs. yesterday's. Today's was easy -- I agree with him on that. I also loved the theme answers, as they were cute and clever. But the rest of the fill was pedestrian and banal. Yesterday's puzzle was more challenging, and the fill mostly sharp and new. Also, ARMCO was a legit company of influence for 80 years -- it's only fault is that Rex hadn't heard of it (neither had I), and that Rex hadn't met the puzzlemaker.

mac 10:37 PM  

@Benko: that was funny!

OISK 10:52 PM  

Finished it. No errors. I found it very difficult, as I did not see the theme until I was about three quarters done. Even then, never heard of "RUR", and was not 100 % sure that Utah was in the PAC , so that was the last thing I put in. My first thought for a taxonomic suffix was actually "Dae". ( Homidae, formidae, etc.)

Good, creative puzzle that played more like a Friday for me. Nice job!

Zwhatever 11:26 PM  

And people say Rex is harsh.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Where is Friday Rex? Too many ZZ's?

BigSteveSF 5:48 PM  

Liked it.
I'm working on Weds/Thurs after Mon/Tues for a long. (My uncle says I can't talk to him until I try Fridays.)

Had some nice mis-direction on clues.
Quick celeb story in ACME's absence.
When we were dating, my now-wife Marg. told me a story.
She was travelling on busy and after work went to a bar/restaurant for dinner.
They was a movie shooting in town.
(Filming JFK in New Orleans)
The next table over was Kevin Costner & Ed Asner.
The waiter brought over some wine and said it was from the table over there.
She politely waved thanks.
She was feeling good until the waiter announced it was from :
"Mr. Asner"

iburahmadijawatimur 11:44 PM  

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Anonymous 1:31 PM  

As other said, like an early-week NYT puzzle -- lots of gimmees and straightforward clues. I actually solved it completely without ever grasping the Thursday theme! Just looked like gibberish to me, couldn't get it at all. Still, the gimmicky theme can't outweigh the prevalence of gimmees. A minority opinion for me, a disappointing puzzle.

spacecraft 12:25 PM  

Hard for me until the gigantic AHA! moment when I realized that "PILLMORNING," virtually all of which went in on crosses, only made sense if it's read "morning after pill." Then the whole CIB__ thing made sense; it's a rule contradicted by the WORD "science," not by science itself. Clever, these Thursdayans.

I kinda frown at the clue for 57a. Waiting, for the impatient, may be difficult, but it is hardly AGONY. Before you start bandying that word about, you should know what AGONY is. It's a very great deal more than having to wait. Five yards for hyperbole.

Ray Charles "hit" of 1963? NOONE? However it's parsed, I never heard that one. We really need to define "hit" a bit better, methinks.

UTah is in the PAC-12? NOT Mountain West? They realign so often these days, it's hard to keep up. The Big Ten is now, like, 13 or something. Sheesh.

Sans those nits, I thought this one was interesting. The cardplayer in me relished HITME and ACEHIGH, and the "Sting" fan in me loved GRIFT and CONGAME.

ecanarensis 1:27 PM  

@SirHillary, I'm sure you've googled it by now (we in the hinterlands get the NYT Xword til very delayed), but the real explanation of what RUR is, is: a 1920 play by Czeck playwright Karel Capek (no can do the proper accents) called "R.U.R., or Rossum's Universal Robots." Capek coined the word from an older Slavonic term, no doubt having no idea where it'd end up. We SF geeks just love to see it pop up in unexpected places.

btw, I have a turtle named Sir Edmund due to his astonishing climbing ability. Aren't you thrilled?

LongBeachLee 3:06 PM  

Act in haste, repent in leisure. Case in point; "read and burn". I even wrote oba over obi

Dirigonzo 3:25 PM  

I briefly toyed with the thought that "Starbuck's orderer" might be AnAkin (even though I have no idea if it is factually correct), thereby signaling a rebus of some kind; the AHAB sailed into view and I had to move on, clueless as usual. I finally sniffed out the real theme at READINGBURN and the jig, so to speak, was up. Melon before MANGO, inG before AIG, both easily resolved. Other than the theme my biggest "aha" moment was the QUID/QEII cross - loved that. ACEHIGH makes me miss our friendly little poker games of yore. Here's "No One" by Ray Charles, dedicated to @spacy. It peaked at #21, so "Hit" depends on how you define the term - I'm good with anything in the top 40.

Solving in Seattle 4:16 PM  

I haven't read the real timers' posts for awhile (mainly time reasons) but I did skim through today. ED may be a bit crusty, but Land O Goshen he's almost always right on the money with his opinions.

41A was a real head scratcher for me until I snapped to the "after" trick with READINGBURN.

uh, @Spacy, Pac 10 became Pac 12 in 2011.

@Waxy, you were half right about the USA Portugal game. I guess that point put the USA into the next round despite losing one nil to Deutchland. Hopefully, the team can sink their teeth into the next game against world power Belgium.

@Diri, lets invent a new game with the numbers the capcha gives us. Maybe something like Baccarat. Add up your numbers and the total closest to nine wins. Example: 1479 equals 21, or 3.
My number today is 153, which just happens to add up to 9.

Any other thoughts, Syndies?

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

A mighty struggle! Got the "after" idea, which helped, but couldn't understand the "science" clue. Got the solution, thought sure it was "ringer" where the BEFORE was trying to tell me something, and was chagrined when the CIB thing was explained. Should have looked more closely at the "science" part of the clue! Other hold up came when ...BURN let me know that my Green Giant wouldn't fly. That whole section finally fell,but only with a ton of write-overs"

@Spacecraft. If you ever had to wait anywhere with my husband, you'd understand that waiting can indeed be AGONY.

DMG 5:01 PM  

Struggled a bit with this one. With tEn for "beauty" and RepLy for "comeback" it took a bit of jiggling and jogging to sort out the NE, but eventually got there. Did have to hope ACS was correct and tut-tutted at BEWIG, but otherwise enjoyed this one. As for the puns, actually they helped me a bit, and they were certainly nothing compared to the groaners my husband keeps lobbing out there. So, hey, a good Wednesday!

DMG 5:12 PM  

Interesting!! I was, unwittingly, the Anonymous at 4:52PM. I signed it, honest I did. But why the genie decided to repost yesterday's comment is anyone's guess.

@SIS, my first Captcha was 179, or, 8, the present one is 129 which only equates to 3. Should have quit while I was ahead? Now this thing which spelled Captcha for me is telling me it's spelled incorrectly. Time for a cup of tea and a lie down!

Dirigonzo 5:19 PM  

@SiS - I never played Baccarat so I tried to read up on it; the more I read the more confused I got. But your rules sound pretty simple: add up the digits in the capcha and the total closest to 9 wins, yes? So my 6426 adds up to 18, which I can add together to get the coveted 9? Sounds like fun - I'm in!

@DMG - ummm, you know it's Thursday, right?

Waxy in Montreal 8:16 PM  

@Diri, Team USA, despite their loss today, were much, much better than I was with this puzzle. Massive DNF - but bring on soccerless Friday - maybe fewer distractions will help...

Even my captcha only adds to 3!

rain forest 2:13 AM  

Usually love M&A, but today he was a little full of himself. Sometimes do not love Evil, but today he might have been spot on.

Re captcha: I was going to suggest 3-card Monte, but today I have 4 numbers, 4851, which gives me 9 in Baccarat, so I'm in.

The puzzle was not bad at all.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  


Evil is usually spot on but I was pretty disappointed that he let Rex get away with calling the NYT x-word "conservative". I would agree - conservative next to BEQ's Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll Crosswords...

@syndy - I don't think Plan B is about as much about helping women who have been raped as much as it is about helping those that fuck like animals without considering the consequences...


BlogMonitor 10:04 AM  


Please consider washing your mouth out with soap immediately or. as a Plan B, cease and desist from posting to this family blog. You may also wish to seek professional help for your apparent anger management issues.

Thank you.


saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada MBAH KABOIRENG yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama MBAH KABOIRENG dan dengan senang hati MBAH KABOIRENG mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi MBAH KABOIRENG semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi MBAH KABOIRENG DI 082=322=212=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinga dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama MBAH KABOIRENG KLIK TOGEL JITU DISINI

saya mengucapkan banyak terimakasih kepada MBAH KABOIRENG yang telah menolong saya dalam kesulitan,ini tidak pernah terfikirkan dari benak saya kalau nomor yang saya pasang bisa tembus dan ALHAMDULILLAH kini saya sekeluarga sudah bisa melunasi semua hutang2 kami,sebenarnya saya bukan penggemar togel tapi apa boleh buat kondisi yang tidak memunkinkan dan akhirnya saya minta tolong sama MBAH KABOIRENG dan dengan senang hati MBAH KABOIRENG mau membantu saya..,ALHAMDULIL LAH nomor yang dikasi MBAH KABOIRENG semuanya bener2 terbukti tembus dan baru kali ini saya menemukan dukun yang jujur,jangan anda takut untuk menhubungiya jika anda ingin mendapatkan nomor yang betul2 tembus seperti saya,silahkan hubungi MBAH KABOIRENG DI 082=322=212=111 ingat kesempat tidak akan datang untuk yang kedua kalinga dan perlu anda ketahui kalau banyak dukun yang tercantum dalam internet,itu jangan dipercaya kalau bukan nama MBAH KABOIRENG KLIK TOGEL JITU DISINI

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