Actress Donovan of Clueless / TUE 10-21-14 / Kristoff's reindeer in Frozen / Rho tau linkup / What Apple's Project Purple became / Big chargers in Africa

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: [TIME] — that's the clue for three long answers; the answers are all definitions of TIME.

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Diane REHM (1D: Talk show host Diane of 31-Down) —
Diane Rehm (/ˈrm/; born Diane Aed on September 21, 1936) is an American public radio talk show host. Her program, The Diane Rehm Show, is distributed nationally and internationally by National Public Radio. It is produced at WAMU, which is licensed to American University in Washington, D.C. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well this I liked much, much less. First, it's not a Tuesday by a long shot. My time was way more Wednesdayish. But much (much) more annoyingly, it's a theme type that I find dreadful, and the fill is inexplicable in places. Knowing that we are building toward a meta makes me inclined to reserve judgment a bit, but as a stand-alone puzzle, this felt quite off. MARATHONER'S STAT demonstrates how tortured these answers-as-clues can be. It's 15 letters, yes, but I had most of them and still couldn't make any sense of it. TIME is a Lot of people's "STAT." This identical clue for every theme answer / clue as answer/answer as clue gimmick is an ancient theme type, and the resulting answers are certainly below par for the form. Then there's the fill. Now most of it is OK, but the Scrabble-f***ing in the NW is particularly egregious. I gotta believe those Xs up top (in both the NW and NE) are part of the meta, because otherwise … ugh. I had to run the alphabet at I-HALL (4D: Promising beginning?). Crossing ELISA (!?!?!) with REHM on a Tuesday is nuts. I vaguely know REHM, but was not at all certain of spelling, and ELISA?—no hope. And you've got the lowly / crosswordesey ELIA up there too, with even more crosswordesey (and plural!) ALOUS near by? None of it makes any sense—except, again, as part of some as-yet unseeable meta.

All the cross-referencing (two to NPR alone) increased the unpleasantness. I do have faith that the meta will be impressive, but so far I'm missing having solid, entertaining puzzles that are great in their own right. Not that the NYT gives me great puzzles on a regular basis, but at least with everyday puzzles I'm not left wondering if seemingly weak spots are weak for some unseen reason. Bottom half of the puzzle is stronger than the top, but by that point I'd somewhat given up on the puzzle. Even if I enjoyed this theme type (and I don't), I just don't think this is a great example of the form.

So far we have two puzzles about time. I therefore assume that the meta will have nothing to do with time. We shall (!) see.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Jim Quinlan 12:19 AM  

Confession: I was totally Rickrolled by @Whirred Wacks yesterday.

I didn't want to confess this because the link led us to believe that he had a hunch as to this week's meta... and I didn't want to be that guy who "cheated."

To be honest, I was just plain curious as to where the link would lead (like there was some private Wikileaks-ish site in Crossworld I didn't know about) and planned to X out of the page as soon as I saw it.


Genuinely Rickrolled.

Is anyone else willing to confess this?

Yesterday was almost a record solve for me, and so was today (20 seconds shy... but my girlfriend called me during the solve... and I ignored the call... which I confessed to her later... but I think the internal debate over whether or not I should answer it cost me 5 seconds).

A very rare two-day-in-a-row disagreement with Rex re: difficulty. I

liked the NPR references because I eat a lot of hummus. Which is NPR-ish.

Meta obviously has to do with the planetary system. Duh.

jae 12:29 AM  

Holy (fill in expletive here), this was a tough Tues.  for me and that's not including the time I took to literally flip a coin (a nickel in case anyone's interested).   It came up heads which led to REHM/ELISA which turned out to be right.   So I lucked out and finished.  I've seen Clueless at least twice and have no memory of ELISA or her character.

Liked the puzzle more than Rex did except for the above cross or maybe it's just me and REHM is widely known?  Seemed smoother than yesterday's. 

Jim Quinlan 12:34 AM  

@jae I think Diane REHM is puzzle-worthy. She's been on NPR forever... her voice is unmistakeable (I don't know a polite way to say that she sounds as if she's 137 years old). While her show's not as "hip" as This American Life or Wait Wait... it's a worthy noon-day listen.

Anonymous 12:55 AM  

Worthy, yes. Needing unimpeachable crosses? Double yes. That cross made this a DNF Tuesday, and I won't be alone.

Steve J 12:58 AM  

Found this dull as dirt. I hope the meta doesn't come at the expense of having good puzzles day to day.

@Jim Quinlan: Perfect description of Diane REHM's voice. However, that's due to a neurological disorder that affects voice quality. It's to her credit that, in a medium that depends on voice, she's a strong enough interviewer that she still has a regular radio show. (Although I haven't heard her for years; none of the NPR stations I've listened to regularly in the last dozen years or so has carried her show.)

r.alphbunker 1:06 AM  

Puzzle was fine.

I am curious why the answers aren't scrambled as they often are for contest puzzle. Since this is the case I don't see how @RP is doing anything wrong posting the answers.

People have complained that the prizes aren't substantial enough.

To remedy this I have dashed off a web app that lets you enter your guess of what the meta is anytime during this week. The first person to guess correctly will get a book or something else that has to be delivered by snail mail. The only thing that I am worried about is that the NYT legal department won't like it. Any lawyers out there have an opinion about this?

Whirred Whacks 1:07 AM  

Liked this. I guess I'm getting swept up in "Blindauer Meta Mania."

Here are the Chambers Brothers with their take on Today's Theme . (Brought back a lot memories.)

I ran into Gary Antonchick today at swim practice. He's the guy who does the NumberPlay column on the Sunday NYT Word Play page. Here's a link to his column this past Sunday on Martin Gardner. . Anyway, I told him about Blindauer's six-puzzle Meta crossword challenge, and how almost everyone on Rex's blog was amped up about it. He thought that was really cool, and that he'd check it out. Who knows, maybe Gary will do a six-part NumberPlay Meta challenge!

@Jim Quinlan. I thought that was a fun textbook example of RickRolling. I also thought it was fair to do because RICKROLL was answer only just this past week. Glad you enjoyed it!

Ellen S 1:11 AM  

I thought it was easy, also, though maybe tough for a Tuesday -- still, easier than usual for me. However, I DNF because although I guessed correctly on ELISA/REHM crossing (never heard of either), I somehow ended with TOM SAWcER for 36/44 D. I will claim Puzzazz put in a random letter there and I didn't notice. BTW, Puzzazz always displays the puzzles the way they are in the print version, unless the print version is erroneous. At least so I gather from the comments -- I haven't seen a live NYT in about two years. But the notes are always shown, and weird grid structures like unchecked squares and such, are always rendered faithfully. Further, when you're done, if it's a rebus or other visual theme, there is an option to reveal the hidden picture or whatever. It sings a nice little chime when one completes the puzzle correctly, and emits a rude blare when (as today), I finish with an error.

It doesn't give me the extra puzzles people keep talking about when they use the NYT app, but on the other hand, it doesn't reject correct answers or hide important information like notes. My real only complaint about it is that when I use the "handwriting option" I still haven't quite convinced it to recognize my letter "A", always takes me a couple of tries. It's too bad "A" is such a common letter. Anyway, I'm just sayin', I find Puzzazz a quite convenient way to do the puzzles.

R.alph Bunker's web-based solving app was also good. It didn't recognize letters, just let me write whatever I wanted. At the end (or before if I wanted to cheat) it would display what I had scrawled every place there should have been a letter "A", "B", etc. So I could see if I had scribbled a "C" where there should have been a "Y", for instance. Then I'd have to look at all the C's in the grid find the wrong one. I only stopped using it because it stopped working -- some cookies thing which couldn't be corrected on the iPad.

Sorry to bore you all with this, but people so often complain about the way their solving apps (don't) work, I wanted to say, I find Puzzazz a good option. (It also has a built-in keyboard for those who would rather type than scribble.)

RnRGhost57 1:40 AM  

Pretty easy, for a Tuesday, a Weld, a gone with the wind, in the afternoon, is never ending, or whatever.

On pins 'n' needles to see what the meta twill be.

jae 1:57 AM  

@Jim Quinlan - Like I said, it could just be me.  If the radio isn't playing classic rock and roll I'm not listening.   I'm sure she is crossword worthy but OTOH it's Tuesday and that was a pretty tough Tuesday  cross.

Moly Shu 2:05 AM  

Easy here also, but like @Rex and @SteveJ, don't much care for the first two parts of the meta. REQ,EVE/AVA, ADO/APU yuck.

I also couldn't get the puzzles without first upgrading the NYT's app. Sorry @Casco, couldn't wait, had to do the meta. Now I'm kinda wishing I had waited.

chefwen 2:24 AM  

Amped up difficulty from yesterday while solving. After finishing thought "that was pretty easy after all". After I got WHAT PRISONERS DO the others fell without hesitation. Beat the knickers off of Jon time wise. HAH! Turn around is fair play.

A little nervous about tomorrow's puzzle, but looking forward to it.

Danp 5:36 AM  

When I saw the TIME clues, I thought the answers were going to be a series of short words associated with TIME like last, hard, high, etc. Those, I hate. This was fine.

I didn't like the crossing palindromes, though. I frequently have to go through the alphabet to find a letter that makes sense, but this process doesn't enhance the experience. Why force it?

LHS 888 6:04 AM  

I would have rated this puzzle easy-medium except for the big honkin' Natick at aLISHA/RaHM. Other error at REeD/FReJOLES which I didn't notice until I used the check function. Grrr. DNF aside, I really liked this puzzle.

Favorite clue: GONER
Favorite words: NAVYSEAL, SMOTE
Least favorite word: ALOUS

On to Wednesday!

LHS 888 6:05 AM  
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mac 6:19 AM  

Easy-medium to me. A guess at the Elisa/Rehm cross, otherwise smooth sailing.

Not the most sparkling of puzzles, but I hope the meta will make it worth it.

DrXWord 6:52 AM  

Disagree with rex 2 days straight. Theme fine, fill very good except one Natick in NW.

Lewis 7:40 AM  
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Lewis 7:42 AM  

I like ANAL near ENDS, and there is another palindromic woman's name (ADA), which, I suppose could have been grouped with the others.

No problem with MARATHONERSSTAT, and to so many marathoners, time is The Stat (I was one for many years). To me it's not a "green paint" type clue. There are only so many stats a marathoner is interested in, and none of them are arbitrary.

I would have rated the puzzle as easy-medium, as not particularly memorable, but one that in a nice blue collar way, gave me my c-word fix.

RAD2626 7:48 AM  

Liked puzzle but had the same issue as Rex only worse. Was down to 1 letter in the entire puzzle the "R" in MA_ATHONERSSTAT/MIG_ATOR and took five minutes before I plugged in the R and still did not know what the heck the down word was or how to pronounce it to make it a word or phrase. Should not take five minutes to go through the alphabet for one stinking letter. Hope the day gets a little snappier.

Dorothy Biggs 7:49 AM  

First, this was, for me, not any more difficult than a normal semi-challenging Tuesday. Kinda normal, actually.

Second, I'm already tired of seeing the word meta and we have 4 more days of the "contest." Can't wait to read more about the meta!


I listen to NPR regularly and don't recall hearing the name REHM. I've heard of Nora Raum. Linda Wurthheimer. Lakshme Sing. Krista Tippett. Terry Gross. Korva Coleman. Sylvia Poggioli. Neda Ulaby. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson. Dina Temple-Raston. Michele Norris. And a host of other hosts...but not Rehm. What show does she do?

I look forward to reading the word meta much more in the coming days!

viva la META!

Unknown 7:54 AM  

Seemed perfectly Tuesday-ish to me. I don't get the Scrabble-f{}#king claim in the NW...sheesh if you can't use certain letters without being bitched at what's a constructor to do? And in my opinion, the term Scrabble-f}#king has pretty much run it's course. It no longer reads as witty, funny, or edgy, just whiny.

EVE/AVA was weak. Nice to see Diane REHM. My local NPR station doesn't carry her but I can use the TuneIn Radio app on my phone to get Boston's station which does carry her.

joho 7:55 AM  

I always expect the theme answers to be well known and "in the language." These were not. These are sentences which certainly describe kinds of TIME but that's it. I am sure there's a reason having to do with the meta, however, and am still highly anticipating tomorrow and every other day this week.

Lewis 7:56 AM  

Factoid: All employers in SWEDEN are required to provide free massage to their employees, and, on another front, Sweden is the world's 3rd largest exporter of music after the United States and United Kingdom.

Quotoid: "Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ENDS and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it." -- John Lennon

LHS 888 7:59 AM  

@NCA President - absolutely with you Diana REHM. I'm a daily (morning, evening, weekends) NPR listener, and I don't recall ever hearing her name...

JohnV 8:13 AM  

Guessed RAHM for 1D, so fininished with that error. Agree pretty tough for a Tuesday, but liked MIGRATOR (not a Tuesday word, IMHO), liked UMWED for single (ditto), don't recall seeing ANAL in the Times puzzle. NW tough, to be sure, but I thought the fill to be fine.

Leapfinger 8:15 AM  

Once again, I'm with @JimQuin, except I was going to say she only sounds 96 years old. On radio, you can't tell how to spell REHM (Reem/Ream/Rheim?). No idea how 'widely-known' she is, but her show is frequently on when I'm out driving. Yup, my radio's set to NPR. Either way, the clue had me think if Diane SAWYER, not REHM.

btw, @Rex, sehms there are NPR entries you missed: NATL [without the Public Radio] and REIDa Roo, the kid-literacy mascot.

ELISA TEST? I liked that, along with the palindromic she-names and the arid IRAN clue. Face it, I liked it all, I just enjoy this constructor blindly.

A REGALE happens when the storm doubles back, right?

SAURy to hear of YORE ANAL TIEUP, DUDE! I understand that's WHAT PRISONERS DO. At least you aren't at ALOUS ENDS.

Monday's score: Rickroll 2, LF 0
Curiosity rickrolls

Have to go iron some wrinkles in Time.

Mike Warner 8:15 AM  

It's a day that ends with "y," so I guess @rex is unhappy with the puzzle. "It was so hard for me my time was like a Wednesday." Humblebrag much?
Great puzzle, even if it makes the meta completely obvious after yesterday's. Clever.

Sir Hillary 8:16 AM  

REHM/ELISA is a brutal cross on a Saturday, much less a Tuesday. Hope the meta payoff is good...

Mohair Sam 8:19 AM  

Played like a medium-tough Wednesday for us. What @Rex said to the letter (right down to the REHM/ELISA comment - vaguely knew REHM but couldn't spell, and never heard of ELISA). Luckily we sussed right on "E" rather than "a".

@Lewis - Sweden may be third because of the ubiquitous ABBA!

@Jim Quinlan - You deserved the rickroll, and tip of the cap to @Whirred for setting the trap. And not so bad that you ignored your (soon-to-be-ex) girlfriend's call to finish the puzzle, but insane that you told her.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

If Blindauer's name wasn't on this puzzled, it would be getting savaged. The meta really needs to deliver after a poor effort like this.

jberg 8:34 AM  

Here in Boston, we've got two NPR affiliates. One carries Diane REHM's program, cleverly named "The Diane Rehm Show," the other carries Tom Ashbrook in On Point at the same time -- so it depends on which station you listen to. I've heard her enough to that I knew the name, and the only question was REeM or REHM. Guessed right, fortunately.

But why is no one screaming about the clue for Jonas SALK? Wikipedia, at least confirms that he was a virologist (as you'd expect from someone who developed a polio vaccine), not a bacteriologist.

I already had the first E when I got to the crossing palindromes, so that was easy enough. And today's anagram at least used all the letters. So all in all, not that challenging.

Charles Flaster 8:37 AM  

Usually enjoy PB puzzles but not this one.
After 6 minutes had all but upper left..
Cluing was strange to moi.
Promising needs to be promise especially for a Tuesday. Now we have another reference to NPR which is much more obscure.
If you know the NPR answer you AINT GONNA know the Clueless answer. Best I can say about MIGRATOR is that the clue is a Friday aha moment for me.
So this was a big DNF for me but I thank PB for his effort.
Forgot to mention that Rex's review was perfect.

chefbea 8:39 AM  

I agree - tough for a tues. Don't listen to NPR so did not know those answers...had to google. Loved the clue answers..Which reminds me..we have to go to Time Warner today!!

Unknown 8:42 AM  

A tougher Tuesday, which is fine. I hate the early-in-the-week puzzles that are gone in a flash. Good guess on ELISE got me the previously-unknown-to-me REHM. Not a radio listener, sorry.

My meta guess:

Hardy har har! (Tongue in cheek people, not trying to spoil the fun.)

Unknown 8:42 AM  

My wife's middle name is Alisa, so I had no chance at that cross.

prop 8:49 AM  

Easy Tuesday for me.

Diane REHM is well enough known even if you don't listen to NPR.

It's neither a bad puzzle nor too hard for Tuesday, despite Rex's trouble/complaints

AliasZ 8:53 AM  

This PBII is ALOUSe for giving us that ELISA|REHM Natick. Having no idea who Diane of the NPR was, I wanted ROHM at first because I know Elisabeth RÖHM. But OLISA? No, no, no. Come on people, how many feminine names _LISA are there? Alisa (maybe), Ilisa, Olisa, Ulisa, Ylisa? I confidently put in ELISA because it's a common feminine name, and I had a vague memory of Elisa DONOVAN, even though I had absolutely no recollection of ever hearing, or hearing of, Ms. REHM. Not a Natick for me, but I certainly feel empathy towards those for whom this was the first crossword puzzle ever.

SELES is also a woman's palindromic name.

Since we were rickrolled yesterday, let me Rolling Stone you:

Now you always say
That you want to be free,
But you'll come running back,
You'll come running back,
You'll come running back to me.
Oh, TIME is on my side, yes it is,
TIME is on my side, yes it is.

Speaking of HIGH-C, let's see how Jussi Björling manages.


prop 8:55 AM  


I had the same question with regard to bacteriologist vs. virologist.

Obviously Salk is best known for his polio vaccine. Polio is a virus. However, read the Wikipedia page more closely, including the references, and you will see that at the time he created the polio vaccine, he was a Research Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Leapfinger 8:57 AM  

HIGH MARX also for SVEN: Golly, that was good!

@EllenS, sometimes I feel like a CHAT PRISONER myself.

Dang, @MolyShu, you hated what I liked best! Much ADO/APU About Nothing? First TIME I liked a Simpsons clue. And the femme-names: EVA/AVA came quickly, then RAN showed which way they aligned.

@NCA_Prez: Heavy Meta-l

@Lewis, sometimes an ANAL TIEUP is the preferred treatment for 'roids; that usually ENDS pain, aka DOLE-or.

No question, this UNWED NANA is looking forward to the week ahead: how will the Pauer Ranger SWEDEN the pot tomorrow?

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Diane Rehm is NOT the host of NPR's Fresh Air. The host of Fresh Air is Terry Gross.

r.alphbunker 9:09 AM  


An upside down capital V usually produces an A for me. If you ever want to replace that iPad please let me know. I would be willing to buy it so I can see what is going on with the app. I still use it occasionally on my Android phone to while away queue time.

The light of day made me reconsider the meta guessing web app I posted about earlier. Like Linus Pauling said, "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas" and that wasn't one of them. That applies in solving crossword puzzles also.

Anonager 9:16 AM  

'Seasonal traveler' was SNOWBIRD before it was MIGRATOR. Which reminds me: Save the Monarchs!! Was it @Z linked the article about the RoundUp resistance that's killing the milkweed the Monarch butterflies need?

@AliasZ, I noticed SELES the same way.

HUM VEE for Victory as the meta nears.

(captcha: giubba?)

dk 9:17 AM  
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Z 9:19 AM  

As far as I know neither WDET nor WGVU ever carried Ms. Rehm's show. Of course, if it was on at noon I would not have been listening. Maybe if I'd flipped an actual nickel I wouldn't have a single letter DNF. It has been awhile since I did a timed Tuesday, but it seems like 9 minutes for easy to 13 for challenging. This came in at 15+, so definitely Wednesdayish here.

Bill Nye gets complaints but none for the Nevadan Boogeyman? Well, it's still early.

Faux Meta Speculation Time

YOUR ANAL TIE UP ENDS DOLE suggests a political sex scandal meta. SMOTE TREK is a reference to an alternative TIME line in the JJ Abrams TrekkieVerse. Add in yesterday's HAIR LAPSE CORPSE and the LSD reference, DAYTRIPPER, and the answer is obvious. 42.

dk 9:23 AM  
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Anonymous 9:30 AM  

*YORE* ANAL TIEUP. Get it right.


dk 9:32 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)
Well I had fun!TIME

GILL I. 9:33 AM  

@Z from yesterday...I gotta make you understand....We know the game.
Oh, the puzzle...a bit meh for moi. I agree with @Rex that as a stand-alone, this wasn't entertaining and far too hard for a Tuesday. I also thought that there were too many names for this day of the week. I did like EVA/AVA though...
@Ellen S: TOM SAWCER?? Have you been dipping in the FRIJOLES again?
@Jim Q...Yes, yes. I got snookered but good.
Let the contest begin. I just noticed MARATHONERS SQUEEK.

Ludyjynn 9:36 AM  

What @Mac said, word for word.

@Lewis, you piqued my curiosity about Swedish music exports and I was stunned by the depth of talent and influence I found at Wikipedia. Very interesting. Thanks, DUDE.

@Leapy, my fave clue/answer was also APU, followed closely by MIGRATOR. Esp. apt this time of year.

Thanks, PB and WS.

Hartley70 9:40 AM  

@MolyShu and @Casco Is there a benefit to waiting? I still can't get the puzzle. Idiot that I am I've forgotten my NYT password and they're not sending me the link to reset it even though I've asked politely about a zillion times. Sorry to bring up nuts and bolts but this is an especially frustrating week to be left out of the fun.

quilter1 9:41 AM  

Pretty easy in my book. Guess I'm easy to please because I don't share any of @Rex's objections. Did not save yesterday's so probably won't get whatever Saturday brings, but OK with that. I just like puzzles of any kind.

mathguy 9:52 AM  

I presume that this will be the first NYT meta. I've been doing the puzzle for years and don't remember having seen one before. Since this is the only puzzle I do, I'm looking forward to learning what a meta is like.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

JMO-- the "new" ipad (after several improvements) is absolutely fine now. In fact, I think it is now much better than the old magmic app. Magmic now has their own stand alone crossword app that is supposed to be "similar" to the NYT crosswords. They are going to charge the old price of $17.99/year for their new version.

As for the puzzle, it did take a little longer than a usual Tuesday and I fell in the same trap as many here with the REHM/ELISA cross and I had a write over for the AVA/EVE cross -- I tried to talk myself into an ADA/EDE pairing!

Leapfinger 10:11 AM  

@Hartley70, phone NYT at their 800 number. I've had some crazy-bad problems crop up since the latest revamp, and was able to fix everything that wasn't a systemic feature if I spoke to a live person instead of emailing.

If it turns into a relay MARATHION, ask the HelpDesk person to connect you directly to the TechPerson.

Best of Luck.

Billy Fear 10:19 AM  

Are there really people who read the New York Times who don't listen to NPR? Sacre bleu!

quilter1 10:19 AM  

Thanks to those explaining what meta is. I think I've got it now.

Arlene 10:59 AM  

I'm in the RAHM/ALISA camp - I guess because I only listen to NPR occasionally. But, hey - deaf people listening to the radio is even more impressive than completing a NY Times puzzle! (Click my name for more about that if you haven't already.)

I'm clipping and saving these puzzles - reminds me of when one of the Sunday puzzles turned into a paper plane.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 11:20 AM  

Well, it's gettin pretty obvious, meta-wise...
* MonPuz was about units of time, with a bonus CEN weeject.
* TuesPuz was about different meanings of TIME (didn't get deep enough into the time=space=gravity= cinnamon rolls continuum inner linkage, for my tastes, tho).
* Title of both puzs: "A Sign of the Times".
* There are a lot of A's and L's in both puzs.

Clearly, this meta is all about the L.A. Times.

R?HM/?LISA was last grid letter to be dealt with, for M et A. Went with U, for semi-mental reasons.

Remember: The Shortzmeister says there is part of a hidden meta message stuffed into each puz. Today's likely candidate msg part: REGALE EVE, DUDE (column #14) (5-1 odds).

weejects anonymous: AVA/EVE threesome with SVEN.

M et A
"YORE ANAL TIEUP Headquarters" (row #13)

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

People have mentioned Diane Rehm's voice. I looked her up on google. Apparently she suffers a condition called spasmodic dysphonia. She talks about it in a you tube video.

I'm going underground for this one 11:40 AM  

YORE ANAL TIEUP suggests everyone ought to pucker up, right?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:52 AM  

@mathguy, 9:52 -- No, this is not the first NYT meta. Here is a review of a previous meta suite by Patrick Berry.

Sophronia Woods 12:02 PM  

How could you people not know Diane Rehm? Why, I've been listening to her for over 30 years, ever since my husband and I moved back to NYC from Boca. My eldest, who had taken over the lease on our rent controlled apartment died of old age, none of the grandkids wanted it, so rather than loose it we moved back. Since Mel died, I've sat in my living room with my cats, and we listen to Diane Rehm every day. Well, there was this one period when my radio broke and my great-grandchildren bought me one of these new-fangled FM radios. She's not on FM, only on AM here in NYC, so I missed a week or so until they managed to find me an AM radio. I guess if you have one of those fancy schmancy FM radios, or have jobs, or something to do during the day, you may not have heard of her. But, for us 105y0 shut-ins, she's a doll.

She also wrote a lovely book, "Life with Maxie". Maxie was her dog. I read it to the cats, they like being read to, but because it was about a dog, they really didn't care for it. Mittens and Buttons hated it, Snuggles and Kisses were just bored. I don't know what Puss or Precious or Beautiful thought of it, they never came out of the bedroom. Anyway, I liked - she really loved Maxie. The book got reviews on Amazon such as these:

Waste of Time
The book was overpriced as it is nothing but several pages that say, in effect, I love Maxie. No narrative, no insights, just drivel.

I loved it though.

foxaroni 12:51 PM  

Hard (for a Tuesday) puzzle. Stll dreading the meta. Go Royals!

(By the way, @M&A, what do you call a group of Ulysses? A Ulissa, of course.)

Leapfinger 12:51 PM  


I like Car Talk better. And Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. And Splendid Table, Lake Woebegone and ... you name it.

Where did you say that rent-controlled apartment is located??

oldbizmark 12:52 PM  

ship sandwich. DNF. had RaHM/aLISA cross. hated this puzzle.

M et Also 1:05 PM  

@63: yo! Yesterday, HUARTE. Today, HUMVEE. I'm bumpin up yer HUARTE conspiracy theory odds down to 30-1.
HUARTE is HUE with ART in it. HUMVEE is HUE with MVE in it. Well, that makes pretty good nonsense, to m&e.

Maybe they are fixin to line up the I's and V's and X 's to make a grandfather clockface? This would align with @63's X conspiracy theory. That one X is sure in a bad spot, tho, at about 2 o'clock. So, that argument makes pretty good nonsense, too.

Thanx to @r.alph, something about me has been immoralized in a Haley Gold cartoon. Made my day.
(Apologies to the no plugs folks, but at least it ain't a rickroller.)

M et A

Carola 1:18 PM  

Agree with @Rex about the puzzle overall and the singularly dull theme answers. Hoping for a fab payoff when all is revealed.

The MIGRATOR - MARATHONER cross was nice, recalling the fantastic flights of some birds and insects. As an ex-teacher of German, OPER says "opera" to me, so I liked its placement beneath MARX ("A Night at the ....") and near HIGH C, especially after having heard Anna Nebrebko blaze through Lady Macbeth. Man!

Our Wisconsin NPR station has never carried Diane REHM, but a friend out East is a big fan, so that wasn't a problem for me. However, I had to correct DIoramas and SQUawK.

Carola 1:19 PM  


Elephant's Child 1:25 PM  

That's great, M&A/r.alph. BienvenUe to the Big Time!

Did I understand HaleyG to say they could take back the AST but not the 1/2 AST?

mathguy 1:27 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle: Thanks. I wonder how I could have missed a whole week of puzzles. I might have been on vacation or in a hospital bed.

r.alphbunker 1:44 PM  

I gave M & A the wrong spelling of the cartoonist. Her name is Hayley Gold. I first learned of her work when George Barany posted a link to her Across and Down site which features her commentary on crosswords in cartoon format.

And @M & A, have you ever thought of the significance of the title of the Rick Astley song that inspired rickrolling. It is "Never gonna give you up." (Italics mine)

Sophronia Woods 1:49 PM  

@Leapfinger - I've only ever heard any of those shows that one week I was stuck with the FM radio. They don't put them on the AM station here. I think they put the really modern shows on FM, things like Car Talk & Lake Woebegone. I am sure it's an effort to match the modernity of the content with the modernity of the media. Wait, Wait don't Tell Me was just horrible. A bunch of smart alecks showing off.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

@r.alphbunker - I first heard of Hayley Gold one of the half dozen times Rex mentioned her here.

LaneB 2:01 PM  

Also think this was relatively tough for a Tuesday, but I managed to get through it despite some of the clunky fill.

And for some of us rookies: What is a "meta"?

Hartley70 2:09 PM  

@Leapfinger and Wreck Thanks I'm IN! And wow BLUE!! I don't like to sound tight, but I didn't want to pay $40 when I was still using up my $17 subscription which is good until next June. I'm obviously among the last solvers to knuckle under to the new regime, and so I remain true to my childhood observation that "change is bad".

Doug Garr 2:15 PM  

Wow. I'm a mediocre solver compared to you guys and I had Mon. Tues. at easy, easy. What gives? this just means that by the end of the week I won't have a clue as to any of the clues.

Hartley70 2:16 PM  

@Leapfinger you're in luck. Sophronia is a widow. I think rent controlled apartments have to stay in the family.

Hartley70 2:28 PM  

@DougGarr I just did Mon/Tue and unfortunately I don't think your brain has just grown another lobe. These were very easy but I'm hoping that I'll need a seatbelt by the end of the week.

Sondra 2:30 PM  

Diane Rehm suffers from spasmodic dysphonia

RooMonster 2:47 PM  

Hey All !
@NCA Pres : Meta-Meta-Meta-Meta-Meta-Meta-Meta-Meta :-P

Was med-hardish here. Only had one writeover, however, put in REduX for REMIX. Apparently the only one...

Interesting all the theories about, you know, and am looking forward to the, you know, reveal. Been close to pangrams both days, maybe, you know! ? Of course, yesterday FENDI, today, PRADA. Hmmmmm

SALKing away

Jet City Gambler 3:07 PM  

Maybe Rex should include a description of what a meta puzzle is in his posts this week.

In modern parlance, “meta” refers to elements that are outside the box, or outside the traditional confines of a particular medium. For example, House of Cards is sometimes referred to as “meta” because Frank often speaks directly to the audience.

For a meta puzzle, it means there’s an overall puzzle spanning the entire week, and it’s our job to figure it out. It could have something to do with the clues, or the answers, or the grids (most likely all three). So, for example (just spitballin’ here) if you stacked up all six grids on top of each other at the end of the week, the remaining letters might spell out a word or phrase. Or perhaps the unused letters for each day’s grid might spell out the answer. It could be anything – as the first two themes had to do with time, perhaps it’s a clock or sundial. Or maybe that’s just a red herring.

Your best bet is to keep the solved grids from all six days and then see how the Sunday puzzle ties them all together and try to discover the puzzle within a puzzle.

jae 3:42 PM  

@sophronia - brilliant, just brilliant!

sanfranman59 3:51 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)

Tue 9:19, 7:54, 1.18, 88%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 6:51, 5:22, 1.28, 97%, Challenging


Jim Quinlan 4:35 PM  

@Sondra et. al. Thanks! I had no idea. I've always enjoyed Diane Rehm's interviews and topics, but I just assumed she was really old.

@Sophronia Really enjoyed reading your comment

Martin 5:22 PM  


The meta only applies to Monday through Saturday. Sunday is standalone again.

And while we're at it, a meta is a puzzle within a puzzle. Most metas are something to discover in a single puzzle after you've completed the fill. This week of puzzles with a meta for the whole group is unusual.

Joe Dipinto 6:12 PM  

@Anon 9:05: the Rehm clue doesn't say she's the host of "Fresh Air", it says she's on NPR.

Not familiar with her myself, nor with "actress Donovan". Alisa/Rahm seemed more plausible. Otherwise I have no squeaks about the puzz.

Anonymous 7:12 PM  

@Joe Dipinto,

Yep, because Rahm Emanuel.

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

The Diane Rehm show is the Diane Rehm show on NPR. "Fresh Air" is hosted by Terry gros. Can't believe no one noticed this.

Joe Dipinto 7:55 PM  

@Anon 7:45- the clue for NPR states that it airs a program called "Fresh Air". The clue for Diane Rehm states that she has a talk show on NPR. It does not state that her talk show is "Fresh Air". Ergo, there is nothing to notice.

Billy 8:44 PM  

Please please please stop with the *for a ___-day* whenever a puzzle takes a minute longer to do. It really sounds as if you feel some overwhelming need to make clear that it's not really challenging for you.

Thanks XOX

Anonymous 8:50 PM  


What you fail to realize is that each day of the week IS assigned an average solve time and it gets progressively more challenging each day. (See regular poster "sanfranman59" for an explanation.) People giving their own solve time averages for the day is a very valid assessment/critique of the puzzle.

Teedmn 8:55 PM  

Like @Lewis, MARATHONERSSTAT fell pretty easily. Once I did one, I became intensely interested in people's times so that didn't seem like a green paint clue to me.

Hands up for saving the MIGRATORY monarchs; the south end of my yard is set aside for the milkweed. And I'll admit to the rickroll with @JimQ and @ Gill. A week ago I'd never heard the term and now I've joined the ranks of the victims.

Started on a bad foot with cover at 1A but XACTO put a stop to that fast enough. Hadn't heard of Diane REHM but made the ELISA guess and the happy pencil was happy. I look forward to the meta with trepidation. I'm good enough to do the crosswords but I'm sure I'll be coming here to get the denouement. Til Saturday...

Z 9:09 PM  

@Billy - Gotta make you understand that the more common complaint is,"How could you call this puzzle challenging?" on a Monday? Find more at Rex's FAQ page.

Virginia 9:18 PM  

First we got Patrick Blindauer's rage-inducing "change of heart" puzzle published on 9/11. Now an entire week's worth of puzzles with a meta contest and some kind of prize at the end. Has Will Shortz declared Blindauer the King of the Gimmick? I'm not sure I like him enough to want to do a whole week of his puzzles. And I agree with Rex that both puzzles so far were harder than normal for the day, which makes me worry about my ability to complete Thursday and Friday.

Still, I will admit that the Pippi Longstocking clue made me happy. Maybe all hope isn't lost just yet.

wreck 9:31 PM  


I hadn't read Rex's FAQ page in a long while. It's been updated! Some new things there we could all learn from.

Nancy 10:20 PM  

Didn't enjoy either today's or yesterday's and would have stopped early except for the meta-puzzle thing. Thought I HAD to solve or I wouldn't have any chance to win later in the week, because I was sure Rex would have been asked not to give the answers to anything this week. So I not only solved, but I saved both puzzles (I solve on paper.) Imagine my surprise to see that Rex has given the solutions and that no one has to solve anything on his/her own. Anyone can try and guess the meta answer without doing the preliminary work. A strange situation, wouldn't you say?

GILL I. 10:21 PM  

@Virginia....Hey, please post on Saturday and let us know what you think....
We don't get these too often but, by golly, they bring out lots of Gnu fun people.
@Z: Do you ever sleep?

Z 10:52 PM  

@Gill I.P. - A full commitment's what I'm thinking of
You wouldn't get this from any other guy.

Actually, we're doing a little traveling in NC (in @Lewis' neck of the woods) so solve early then catch up with the blog late. We took a beautiful hike in the Graveyard Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The waterfalls were wonderful, the weather outstanding, and the colors enough to make a painter ask, "why bother?" Still, there's always enough time for rolling Rick.

@Nancy - ever hear of the honor system? Seriously, why would anyone cheat themselves out of the joy of coming up with the answer in their own?

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

@Leapy, I enjoy all those programs, also. However, my NPR station in flyover country no longer carries Splendid Table or Wait, Wait ...also the Irish music show that I have forgotten the name of. Does that still air anywhere? I'm guessing I didn't pledge enough. I agree with @ Billy Fear regarding Diane Rehm. I'm stunned so many never heard of her.

Farmer's Wife

rondo 12:52 PM  

Did not seem challenging to me. Easy enough but quite dull - maybe lackluster is a good word. Looks like my Halloween meta theory ENDS. Always like ADA better when clued as Nabakov novel, which could be XRATED. Love when haeritage shows up with SWEDEN.

151 - not terrible

spacecraft 1:00 PM  

Day 2 of metaweek, and the TIMEs they are a-changing. I agree with OFL: the clue-as-entry/entry-as-clue format isn't my favorite, mostly (and especially today!) because the entries are so arbitrary. The only one of the three easy for me to see was PARTNEROFWARNER. The others were tough to parse, working as I did from east to west. "ONERSSTAT??" How was I to make sense of that? "ONERSDO" was no better.

Wait a minute...maybe I'm onto something: here's GONERS. Hmmm.

I delayed my TREK into the NW; like most of the rest of us who are not safely ensconced in a Manhattan rent-control with four cats, I had no idea who 1d OR 14a were, so knew the natick was coming. It seemed a choice between A and E (oh God! I actually typed that!). Luckily I picked E, and all was done.

Medium, maybe a tad toward challenging-for-a-Tuesday. Today's X-xings were both better that that thing yesterday, plus I liked the use of the J, both ways. Fill-wise, I see improvement. B.

Had to pass by two totally gray bars before coming to 732. But what if the first one had been a 9?

DMG 1:54 PM  

Tuesdayish for me, except in the NW! Just no idea of the proper names, and thought a song variation would be something like a parody. Also no idea about APA?OW Judd. End result of all my ignorance was no clue about the time wanted in 20A. Maybe some kind of SeAT??? Beginning to wonder if it's worth saving these things for a week!

Hey @Spacecraft, I got a scrambled redeal of your hand 237!

leftcoastTAM 4:30 PM  

Challenging Tuesday for me. Naticked at REHM/RaHM-ELISA/aLISA. I'm getting a bit apprehensive about the meta.

Z 4:54 PM  

@leftcoastTAM - apprehensive? It's just a puzzle. Some real-timers got it early. Some never got it. At least one got the meta even though he botched the Saturday puzzle. My advice is to enjoy. After you get it make sure to read the comments. Some mighty fine sharing went on (and whining, too, but hey).

rain forest 5:41 PM  

Guessed wrong at the REHM/ELISA crossing, so DNF. I know a woman named Alisa. Oh, well. I found this more challenging than yesterday's, and as @Spacey pointed out, 20A was purely arbitrary and so required almost all the crosses. Otherwise, pretty enjoyable.

Definitely unconcerned about the meta. Hard to get excited when all the real-timers have found out 5 weeks ago.

Question: In my paper, 44A was left blank. The crosses suggest the answer is SIGMA. Anyone know what this means?

666 Oops! A winner, but a bad omen

Dirigonzo 6:42 PM  

Well, I see I am in good company on the RaHM/aLISA cross so I don't feel so bad about that. The crosswords eventually produced FRIJOLES, which bears no resemblance to whatever I had put in there.

@rainy - my paper left the clue for 44a blank, too. I'm guessing the original clue was the Greek letter and it didn't translate well when they sent the file to the syndicate? Or maybe we're just missing something.

1263 - well at least I didn't get the number of the Beast.

KariSeattle 6:55 PM  

Tough for me but no googles!
Woohoooo! Now for a fail-safe recipe for yeast rolls: Chef Bea?

Waxy in Montreal 8:18 PM  

Count my paper in the blank clue for SIGMA camp as well. According to a number of other blogs, the primetime clue was "Rho-tau linkup" (written like that) so still a bit of a mystery why the syndicate was short-changed.

Had the same problems as others in the NE with the REHN/ELISA cross as well as with HIGHC and XACTO. Else not too difficult though MARATHONERSSTAT was a bit of a stretch.

337 - ISHALL STRIVE for better... Congrats @rain.

Longbeachlee 9:45 PM  

There seems to be an assumption among the posters who largely found this easy that everyone listens to NPR, but the body of solvers found it challenging. May I conclude that the majority of posters are NPR listeners, but most people are not.

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