Broccoli-like vegetable / SUN 10-12-14 / French port just up coast from Boulogne / First steamship with planned circumnavigation of globe / Locale that Hillary made famous / Two-time role for Chris Hemsworth /

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Constructor: Pawel Fludzinski

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Inner Workings" — phrases that have follow pattern "___ in ___" are represented literally in the grid:

Theme answers:
  • COAL CANARY MINE (23A: Leading indicator?)
  • CANDY KID STORE (49A: One who's enthralled, metaphorically)
  • MILLION NOT YEARS (66A: Never)
  • TEA TEMPEST POT (84A: Much ado about nothing)
  • HAND GO TO HELL BASKET (97A: Deteriorate rapidly)
  • HAY NEEDLE STACK (112A: It's hard to find)
Word of the Day: ARGO (58A: First steamship with a planned circumnavigation of the globe) —
Argo was an iron screw steamer launched in 1853. She was the first steamship to intentionally circumnavigate the earth. (wikipedia)
• • •

This (NYT) puzzle is just a bigger version of this (NYT) puzzle, from 2011. Today's puzzle even has three of the same theme answers as the 2011 puzzle. This puzzle should never have been accepted, for this reason as well as several others—most notably that the 2011 version wasn't the first time this puzzle had been done, either (earliest example I could find was from the L.A. Times in 2003, which a basic database check of theme answers would've turned up). Also, once you get the theme, the whole solving experience becomes a bit of a snore, especially in a puzzle this big (the 2011 and 2003 versions were 15x15s, by comparison). It's unoriginal. It's a bit boring. The fill is average—not terrible, not noteworthy. Even the title is dull. The puzzle's failure really isn't the constructor's fault—he should've been told, "No thanks, I've already run a puzzle like this recently." But clearly that didn't happen. No one but no one should be shocked by this.

I think this will be one of those puzzles that people like insofar as they were able to do it, where normally they cannot. Perhaps someone finished a Sunday puzzle for the first time today. If this is the case for you, you should certainly congratulate yourself. It is a big deal, no matter the quality of the puzzle. I certainly couldn't tell you whether the first Sunday puzzle I solved was "good" or not. But I damn sure remember finishing (when, where, who with, etc.). So take whatever pleasure you can from this and pray for / hope for better Sundays to come. It's possible.

Yesterday I learned TRAVE. Today I learned SONDE (19D: Atmospheric probe).

I was fooled a couple of times today, most notably by the "Hillary" part of 45A: Locale that made Hillary famous (MT. EVEREST). I thought the clue was referring to our next president. I think that's what the clue wanted me to think. In that, at any rate, this puzzle was successful. I enjoyed remembering TIM Howard's performance in the World Cup this summer, and I enjoyed seeing RAPINI, as well as FAT CHANCE and TRIFECTA. That is the full extent of my enjoyment today.

Does the NRA endorse guns? Are they anti-NERF? I'm not sure what kind of joke that clue was going for. I'm also not sure how [24/7] = ANY TIME. "Come up and see me 24/7!" is not a phrase I can imagine someone's saying. "We're open 24/7" = "We're open *all the time*," not "... ANY TIME." But I'll stop the critique there, as this puzzle, as I've said, is D.O.A. and a critique is not really worthwhile. As I tell my writing students, "If you don't put any effort into writing your paper, I'm certainly not going to put any into grading it." Here's hoping we get something better than lukewarm leftovers next week.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Whirred Whacks 12:21 AM  

When Rex wishfully talks about "Hillary being our next president," I think he is being a:


(But it's his blog.)

Steve J 12:40 AM  

I don't remember the 2011 puzzle. All I know is that I enjoyed solving this one, even if was definitely on the easy side. The theme answers were all solid, real phrases that weren't morphed awkwardly to fit space, and fill was pretty clean. In addition to the Hillary clue (I also fell victim to the redirect), there was a nice clue for CLOTHES.

Any Sunday that's not a chore is a treat, and that's how this played for me.

jae 12:53 AM  

Yes, an easy Sun.  Only erasure was nan to ann before AMY.   I'm sure I did the 2111 puzzle but I too @Steve J have no memory of it.  I suspect this one will suffer the same fate.  And also @Steve J I fell for the Gap clue. 

Reasonable Sun. that's low on dreck.  It was OK.

Joe Dipinto 1:01 AM  

I was pretty sure I'd seen this gimmick done at least once before, but I didn't remember there being an actual duplication of answers.

I am in disbelief! - or: DISIBELIEF!

Hope For Better Sundays to Come 1:02 AM  

Challenge accepted!

Questinia 1:12 AM  

{{{{{{{The puzzle we've all done before }}}}}}}}}}}
------{{{{{{{{{{{{ But forgot }}}}}}}}}}}-------


Anonymous 2:07 AM  

Hope you feel better...

chefwen 2:30 AM  

Yup, did it, commented on it, didn't remember it. I'm pulling the age factor as an excuse, which is fine because I very much enjoyed this one as much as I did the 2011 puzzle according to my comments then.

I try not to think of the "other Hillary" too often, so wasn't misled at MT. EVEREST.

A fun Sunday puzzle that I breezed through, after I got the shtick.

'mericans in Paris 2:37 AM  

Easy puzzle for us, too. Not a particularly clever theme, but the fill was good. Imagine it took the constructor many hours to find so many normal words give the number of long thematic answers into which they had to interlink. The few obscure questions (54A: "Botanist Gray" and 58A: "First steamship with a planned circumnavigation of the globe") were at least crossed by words that did not result in Naticks. Liked the clues to 2D ("Like most graffiti, for short" -- ANON) and 37D ("What stripes and polka dots do" -- CLASH), but it took my wife to suss the latter one out. (They CLASH? Really?). Had an "aha!" moment with 45A ("Locale that made Hillary famous") -- Sir Edmund, not Rodham Clinton!

Didn't like 101D (“Gentle alarms”), the answer to which was BEEPS. When something BEEPS at me, I find it normally HARSH, not gentle.

Other gripe is 92A: “Top of the Eiffel Tower?”. It’s fair crosswordese to use “top” to mean “head covering”, but these days the most common hat to be seen on visitors to the Eiffel Tower is a baseball cap, most likely with the New York Yankees logo emblazoned on the front, AND most likely not an MLB-authorised version. One would probably have to wait several days (admittedly, less than a MILLION … YEARS) before espying a BERRET. You’d even be hard pressed to find anybody wearing one at ANYTIME in CALAIS. Definitely a DATED answer.

Time to go CHUG some coffee, so the only thing left to ADD is NANU NANU!

'mericans in Paris 2:41 AM  

Oops! I mean, BERET. Better have some more coffee.

evil doug 4:38 AM  

Ft. Marcy Park?


evil doug 5:32 AM  

At home baking cookies and having teas?

Standing by her man?


chefwen 5:46 AM  

@evil - Huh? You gonna share some of that stuff.

George Barany 5:52 AM  

Several have already commented on the apparent misdirection in the MT_EVEREST clue. This 2006 New York Times article settled, once and for all, the question of whether or not the parents of the one-time First Lady/Senator from New York/Secretary of State, born 1947, named her after the mountaineer who became famous in 1953. Simple logic about the timelines would argue that she was not, yet for quite a few years, this charming fiction was bandied about orally and in print.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:30 AM  

Two write-overs: 36 D, MYNAH before MACAW; and 83 D, SATIRIST before PARODIST.

chefbea 6:38 AM  

I too do not remember the other puzzles...will have to check them out.

Was a fun puzzle which I did last night and loved the Gap clue.

@Chefwen - I think Evil is referring to Hillary.

I was looking for...Pear a partridge tree!!

Chaneling Molly Ivins 6:58 AM  

Opening with the disclaimer that, as a Canadian citizen, I have no dog in this race. Aside from any personal opinion as to whether the Not-Sir Edmund would be a half-way decent President, would just make one simple observation. After a combined 24 years of Clinton-Bush-Obama, it seems (to me) that the last thing the US of A needs is another divisive head of state.

Good luck with rustling up some decent candidates, and try to get the $$$ out of the equation. Misdirection belongs in crosswords, not elections.

Enjoyed the puzzle, thought it simply elegant.

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

Favorite clue was The Gap!

Anonymous 7:29 AM  

The NRA never met a gun it didn't like

Moly Shu 7:52 AM  

Don't remember the 2011 version, but just checked and, yeah, I did it. Liked this one just fine. No problem with Sir Edmund. Learned RAPINII and SONDE. Enjoyed the clue for TRFECTA.

I kept looking for the game show that the Griswold's were on when they won the trip to Europe. POPIGKE. Yeah, I know, doesn't fit the theme. Oh well.

Z 7:58 AM  

Not remembering the previous puzzle (sharing that shortish memory thing with Shortz, apparently, he mentions when he remembered the other puzzle over at I liked this puzzle just fine. Themers are fun, fill seems relatively clean. Interesting that in the previous puzzle's comments one of the test solvers only realizes she had test-solved it after the constructor thanked her. Not quite sure why this theme is so unmemorable, but apparently it is.

politics with just a nonce of puzzle tie-in to follow:
@Evil - Benghazi? Really? As for her inevitability - the election is a long way away and the left is getting really tired of having to choose between extremist republicans and moderate republicans. With news that Mitt might try again, I wouldn't be all that surprised if the actual Dem is someone else. Nevertheless - I can't believe anyone got fooled by that clue. I plunked down MT.EVEREST without hesitation.

@Chaneling Molly Ivins - Ha. The last non-divisive US President left office in 1797, and even he had his detractors by the end. Anyone who thinks things get negative now should read about the negative campaigning of old. Did you know that Jefferson was a Jacobin who slept with his slaves and Adams was a fat, toothless, monarchist mad with power? And those are the kinder charges.

pmdm 8:24 AM  

Well, based on the comments I read before writing this comment,it would seem that the majority of solvers are unconcerned about the repeat of a crossword theme (I guess assuming a long enough interlude between puzzles) as long as the solving experience is a positive one. Indeed, that is as it should be. Arbitrary rules that forbid the publishing of an enjoyable puzzle are silly, to say the least. Today's puzzle for me was much more enjoyable than some original-theme puzzles that had horrific fill.

Mr. Shortz has admitted that he did not realize the theme duplication until after he had already accepted it for publication. In fact, he did not actually realize it - it was pointed out to him by another pre-publication solver. While I am a little surprised by this, it hardly bothers me. I see his job as one trying to select the most enjoyable of the puzzles that are submitted to him, and while this might not have been an outstanding puzzle I certainly enjoyed solving it as much or more than many of the puzzles.

Rules are made to be broken, the saying goes, and I for one am glad that on occasion Mr. Shortz breaks "rules" for the sake of publishing puzzles I find enjoyable. And with a smile on my face and a wink in my eye, fie on all of you who would deny me this pleasure for the sake of some arbitrary rule.

pmdm 8:26 AM  

I started writing my comments, was pulled away from the computer, then completed and published them at the same time Z was making the same comment. Sorry, Z, to seem like I am repeating what you just said.

Z 8:56 AM  

@pmdm - No need. Besides, I would put myself somewhere between you and Rex. If I had made the 2011 puzzle I'd be miffed. Not angry, just miffed. But do I really think it is Shortz's job to run every puzzle through a theme/seed answer check for possible plagiarism? No, I don't. Three years is a bit short for a reappearance, but shit happens. Now, if I thought it was intentional, that would be a different matter altogether. And I certainly understand the reaction of an English Prof, a job where the technology that facilitates plagiarism forces the institution to put in extreme measures to protect its integrity.

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

I'm probably the only one irritated by the fact that these are all Tarzanisms. Couldn't someone in the chain of puzzle command see that every one of them leaves out the word "a"? Who talks like this?

F.O.G. 9:07 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Some of the cluing was cleverly misleading. Especially liked "QB Johnny" for 6-letter "UNITAS" when the 7-letter "MANZIEL" wouldn't fit.

Arlene 9:13 AM  

I, too, don't care that the theme is a repeat - I must have done the 2011 version, but have no recollection of it.

I liked that I could fill in some of the theme answers without any crosses. So these are essentially riddles tucked inside a puzzle. That makes for a slightly different solve experience - just what I like on a Sunday.

SenorLynn 9:18 AM  

@Moly Shu APIGPOKE, but then it wouldn't be a Tarzanism, would it?
45 min. I seem to be nearing SanFranMan's median time for all solvers. Woo!
I don't get AMATI for 98D.

Davidph 9:32 AM  

AMATI was a famous Italian violin-making family. Second in fame to Stradivarious.

Mohair Sam 9:42 AM  

Another way to easy puzzle this week. What's up Will?

I'll join the group that didn't recognize the theme repeat, hence I was able to enjoy the solve. But would have liked it to fill up more of this lazy Sunday morning.

@F.O.G. - Manziel fits for UNITAS if you drop the "i", we learned this the hard way (our only write-over). And I've read "Johnny U", sheeze.

Did not fall for the Edmund Hillary feint, and can't figure how @Rex ties that to Jim Webb.

Speaking of Hillary misdirects. . . Clinton used to claim she was named after Sir Edmund, who climbed Mt. Everest when she was 4 years old. Her campaign corrected the claim eventually.

Ludyjynn 9:47 AM  

@SenorL, AMATI is a famous family of violin makers.

@BobK, ditto!

I don't recall the 2011 puzz., and enjoyed solving this one. Some very nice clueing: SEDERS, CADDIES, and others already noted.

RIP, Jan Hooks, who did a wonderful Hillary Clinton impression on SNL.

Thanks, PF and WS (despite the memory lapse).

NCA President 9:54 AM  

@pmdm: I agree that duplication is no reason to postpone publication if the puzzle is good enough. I have very few complaints about this puzzle in that maybe it was a little too easy for my taste, but there were no puns and just one rapper clue so all in all it was an enjoyable, if easy, solve.

Duplication happens all the time. There seems to be about 5 or 6 conceits that are used all the time in's conceit was one of them. I vaguely remember a doing a puzzle like this but heck, most puzzles I do in the NYT are vaguely familiar. It's why I do them...I like them. So on this count I think Rex is a little off base, he probably should put the axe back in the tool shed and take it out to grind when there's a better point to be made.

That said, I missed "Pig in a Poke," "Cat in the Hat," "Catcher in the Rye," "Man in the Moon," "Bug in a Rug," "Once in a Blue Moon," etc. In other words, maybe the key to repetition is to reinvigorate the themers? If, as Rex pointed out, 3 of the 4 were found in a previous puzzle, maybe it's time to come up with new and zesty (RIND-y?) themers.

As for the Hillary clue, she's been known for a long time now so I ruled some kind of "location" out immediately and turned to Sir Edmund. Trouble is, I thought he did something at the South Pole. Oops.

jberg 9:55 AM  

Leaving out the "a" fits the theme -- that's a CANARY you see there in the COAL MINE.

And, of course, I don't remember the theme. I'm surprised that I remember gettting the full ASA GRAY a week ago. The cluing was much easier this time.

So I liked it OK, though I think the cluing for 70A, "Play ___" falls into the "Green ____" category. And I didn't understand why 49A was 'metaphorically' but the other theme answers weren't.

As for 2D, is it true? I thought the whole idea of graffiti was to tag as many walls, train cars, or whatever as you could (at least, most graffiti). 'pseud' might be correct, but not 'anon.'

The biggest frustration, though, on this Columbus Day weekend, was the specification that the ARGO was the first steamship go go around the world intentionally. Am I the only person wondering about that earlier steamship that did it by accident? Or is that tidbit being saved up for a later puzzle?

Nancy 9:59 AM  

daysALLwork. But it should be a Monday, not a Sunday. Yawn.

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

Hey Rex, Too much carping these days. No? Also, nobody notes that the "follow pattern" is "in a", not "in".

Otherwise, love your stuff.

r.alphbunker 10:26 AM  

Did not mind the repetition. Classified it as a punning on position theme.

I took me a while to see the HARSH truth. Really wanted HAlf truth.

Recently learned that Teddy Roosevelt had a MACAW named Eli Yale.

chefbea 10:37 AM  

China bull shop

Casco Kid 10:39 AM  

This puz was a flashback -- a bad one for me. Everyone remember the relatively recent LOATEENAGERVE? Yeah. That one. So when, after two hours of thrashing, I picked up the trick at TEATEMPESTPOT, I groaned. That was a bad, bad unsolvable puzzle. This was just -- a puzzle. Am I getting better?

150 min. 3 errors. ARoO for ARGO. ShoE for SAGE. AhH for AAH. *shakes head* NE came last as preSERVE for CONSERVE blocked completion for a good 20 min. Oh well.

Nice plug for my grad school alma mater. Go UCSD Tritons. Fork 'em.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  


Let's skip the canary example because it's the most questionable one in the bunch. What I'm saying is, how hard is it to use the actual expression we say as the answer? We say "(he's like) a square peg in a round hole." Okay, so "a square peg" should literally be inside "a round hole," not just "square peg in round hole." Hence, the Tarzanish nature of it. I'll grant the omission of the introductory "a." That's optional. But we don't say "kid in candy store," "not in million years," "tempest in teapot," "go to hell in handbasket," or "needle in haystack."

All of them should be "(something) in a (something)," and "canary in a coal mine" does get 24,900 hits on google, but the version i've heard most, using "the" both times is "the canary in the coal mine," which gets 128,000 hits on google. So again, my question is, why can't the answers reflect the most common way we say things when, especially in this case, it's so easy to do?

Leapfinger 10:56 AM  

This never lifetime would I remember a puzzle from 3 years ago, unless it was like some PBlindauer special. It was the late day, too late for the fun sun, when this bright Sunday puzzle came along the nick just of time. Liked it enough to put my spring step and my song heart. All this happened in NC, of course, not the Heart Deep of Texas, yet I'm Blue Forever Jeans... even unto the jacket and overalls.

Fun right from the start, playing with the 9D 3-letter names, thought first of INA/NIA, and realized it was a 2-parter, needing to decide which of the pair would be the entry. As it turned out, the AMY/May pair could also hand off to Yma.

Besides the solid themers, respectable fill and a good smattering of clever clues, I like the cute touch of the TOAD *over* the HOLE. That could be made properly British by fitting it to the theme format: HOTOADLE.

Amid all the Hillary-T, I say only: Remember, UNITAS we stand.

Nice job, SPawelFludzki!!

Leapfinger 11:12 AM  

@r.alphbunker, Eli who? How MACAWber! If that's true, Teddy Roosevelt possibly made an error.

.”" In 1718 the school was renamed “Yale College” in gratitude to the Welsh merchant EliHU Yale, who had donated the proceeds from the sale of nine *bales of goods* together with 417 books and a portrait of King George I."

**Possibly a CASH CROP

noreen 11:12 AM  

The theme phrases all are based on a two word finish, e.g., coal mine, round hole, etc. So why all the fuss over using 'in a' or 'the?' The answer shows exactly that the 'canary' is in the 'coal mine' and the 'needle' is in the 'hay stack' and so forth. Agree?

Richard 11:19 AM  

Looks like I am in the minority, but I agree with Rex that Will should always check for overlap. As he said, it is very easy to do. Remember, it is not just that the theme is the same. There also are three theme answers that are the same. This certainly should not have been allowed and it should have been easily recognized by checking the database.

At least Will acknowledged this oversight.

Steve J 11:20 AM  

@Anon 10:51 a.m.: As I was doing the puzzle, I read all of these as ____ in a ____. At 23A, there's a COAL MINE in the puzzle, and there's a CANARY in it: CANARY in a COAL MINE.

Starting off all of the themers with A would have looked awkward, and it also would have made an already very easy puzzle that much easier.

@Z: Sally Hemings, were her opinion on anything to have mattered to the ruling class of the time, would have confirmed that at least half of that Jefferson claim was true.

And, yes, the next president, whoever that will be (I don't believe that Hillary is automatically the Democratic nominee), will be divisive. It's inevitable when the culture itself is very divided, and when there's also a lot of powerful and very monied interests vested in keeping it that way.

@jberg: The use of pseudonyms depends in large part on the intent of the graffiti. The graffiti that's more artistic and expressionistic is that way (think Banksy), but a huge amount of graffiti is gang tagging, intended to mark territory, communicate to the rest of the gang, communicate threats to rivals, etc. That's all done anonymously.

r.alphbunker 11:30 AM  


Check out the entry for Eli Yale at the Presidential Pet Museum

Any serious solver really should be familiar with this museum! :-)

Masked and How many was it oh yeah Anonymo9Us 11:45 AM  


Yeah, the dejavuosity of the IN gimmick hit me, as soon as the CANARY sang. "Oldie But Goodie", I shrugged, and moved on to enjoyin the solve. Figured @63 might mention it, but... day-um. Good mornin, sunshine.

Heck, I'd think contructioneers everywhere would take heart. The Shortzmeister can't rightly re-call the themes of puzs over 3-years old! Sorta like yer combined ahar and senior moments. THEMGOLDTHEREHILLS...

Peace on earth, good will toward recyclin.


'mericans in Paris 12:00 PM  

I blieve it sholuld be THEMGOLDTHARHILLS

AliasZ 12:03 PM  

The only reason to be concerned about theme repetition is if the constructor found an old issue of the NYT under a pile of junk in the corner of his messy apartment he had not cleaned in aeons, and in that 2011 issue of the Gray Lady found a puzzle with this theme and said to himself: "Self, what a great idea! Let me take this theme and enlarge it to 21x21, use two-and-a-half of the theme entries, add four-and-a-half more, clean up the fill a bit and send it in to Will Shortz. That doofus will never know... Ha, ha, ha!"

I am sure this is exactly what Pawel Fludzinski did. Don't you agree?

Other than the above scenario, there is no earthly reason to dislike today's puzzle or its theme, and no need to further OBSESS about it. Each puzzle should be judged on its own merit.

APTEST - What Reuters performs before publishing a story, making sure AP hasn't run it already.

REWON, REDYED, SOBE, AMAD, ATREE, and very few others were the only iffy entries I would HISSAT. Otherwise this puzzle struck me as exemplary for its fun and well executed theme and clean fill. True, after you saw the first small big fish pond, it was a day's all work to complete the remaining themers. Kudos to Pawel for coming up with this clever theme all on his own.

For my musical contributions, I offer you the last movement from Violin Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich, performed here by Viktoria Mullova and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kent NAGANO. And here lovely Viktoria performs the Violin Concerto in A MINOR by J. S. Bach.

Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend's wife for President!

M and Also 12:03 PM  

Occurs to M&A, after sittin in a lump, starin at the wall and droolin for a spell, that an all new theme coulda been had here, if the IN word were to be Centered in each themer.
Primo example:

har. Thousand bucks, here I come...


mathguy 12:11 PM  

Liked it. The cluing was difficult enough so that I needed to figure out the gimmick to solve it. And there were quite a few clever clues.

M and A Rides Again 12:32 PM  

@'mericans in Paris. Wow. Is THAR the French equivalent? I know more French than I figured on. Need THERE here, tho, to get my GOLD centered in THEMTHEGOLDREHILLS. Non-hillbilly on crack usage of convenience.

Got our replacement for blown-up credit card in the mail, so back on the road trip for a spell, soon. In case U are wonderin, still not headed for Vegas, Fairfield, or Paris.

Awr re-var,

PuzzleCraig 12:38 PM  

The XWordInfo writeup by the constructor notes that all of the theme answers are specifically "X in a Y", not "X in Y" and not "X in the Y". The gimmick seemed transparent to me, and I appreciated the consistency in its application.

I am more concerned by Shortz' not running the theme answers against a database prior to acceptance to avoid repeating the basic theme so soon.

Casco Kid 1:03 PM  

@M&A, Materiel for a runtblitz: DODODODOLLLLLLLL

Fred Romagnolo 1:25 PM  

@Masked: Macneil cites a phone-booth as the setting, instead of a windstorm. @SteveJ: DNA has its limitations: we can only be certain that it was male member of Jefferson's family, his nephew gets the most of the guesswork. Leapfinger: your contributions make it a necessity to keep up with this blog every day - you make me think, and always appreciate your great sense of humor; you're even more fun than the Evil one. I have not heard of RAPINI. Is the book at 121A Esther? I thought 59A would involve a sandwich! I agree with the comment about metaphor, they're all metaphors. My Brit friends think CALAIS is where the wogs begin at. (not PC) Seems to me that APSEs are there the other 6 days of the week, too. Chihuahuas give more of a yip than an ARF. I've got two mixed ones. Wondered why Putin hadn't awarded himself a LENIN Peace Prize, now I know. Surely 75D is an archaicism by now.

Fred Romagnolo 1:28 PM  

Hope we'll keep this blog free of presidential politics.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

That's interesting about what the intent was, but I'm looking at the execution. If the intent was "X in a Y," where is the freaking "a"? The execution is pretty obviously "X in Y." There is no "a." You can say all you want that it was fun to solve and I don't begrudge that to anyone, but this almost-but-quite sharpness in the simplest of ideas is annoying to those of us who want that sharpness. My response tp the constructor is, "Okay, I see what you meant, but that's not what you did."

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

@Chaneling Molly Ivins - bet Molly never wore Chanel, so Chaneling her would be interesting. As to the Canadian view of the US, there's lots of fodder in Canadian politics, as you've now got someone channeling Pierre Trudeau! We in the US just don't pay much attention, much to our loss.

Chaneling Molly Ivins 3:01 PM  

Hi, ANON 2:25, yep, Molly was a tall drink of water who preferred dungarees, but had enough style for Chanel. Maybe we ought to be paying more attention to Garry than Pierre, you think?

Best of luck to all of us!!

OISK 3:06 PM  

I echo @Romagnolo on keeping politics off the blog.

I don't care whether this has been done before, I enjoyed it. Anonymous @2:25 makes a valid point about the missing "a", but I guess I am not one of those who demands "Sharpness." Just a pleasant, interesting solve, some sharp wordplay, and not too much pop rock hip-hop, and I am happy. Never heard of Chris Rea, but it was easy from the crosses, and even I know that Snoop dog is a "rapper." So, good one, Pawel.

' 3:15 PM  

@M & A:

Here's a recent example, published on Saturday, from an American newspaper: "There's gold in them thar hills of Southwest Washington."

I did speak American before learning French.

'mericans in Paris 3:17 PM  

@M & A:

Here's a recent example, published on Saturday, from an American newspaper: "There's gold in them thar hills of Southwest Washington."

I did speak American before learning French.

'mericans in Paris 3:27 PM  

Origin of the phrase "There's gold in them thar hills":

"[I]n early 1849 ... the director of the Mint at Dahlonega, [Georgia,] Dr. M. F. Stephenson spoke from the steps of the mint building in a futile attempt to convince the miners to remain in Georgia to mine rather than to flock to California to chase what might be an impossible dream. “There’s gold in them thar hills, boys,” he shouted as he pointed at the hills surrounding Dahlonega."

Mark Twain used the phrase later in a novel that he co-authored with Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.

Steve J 3:37 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo: From what I've read (which isn't a lot, but enough to get a few different flavors and see where the consensus lies), there's little dispute left that Jefferson was the father of Hemings' children, including among many historians and biographers who previously disputed Jeffersons' paternity. As you noted, there's a definite link to the Jefferson male line (which rules out the nephew, who is related to Thomas Jefferson via his sister, and who therefore has different Y-chromosome DNA).

The DNA testing does leave open a possibility that a brother of Thomas Jefferson's could be the father. But there are problems with the candidate most often named - his brother Randolph - primarily in that his recorded visits to Monticello do not line up with when Hemings' children would have been conceived. Combine the DNA with things like who was present at Monticello when the children would have been conceived, contemporary accounts from people at Monticello and within the family, etc., and things point strongly to Thomas as the father.

Z 3:43 PM  

@anon in a funk - Sorry, but I have to disagree, the theme is tightly executed. In each instance you have a NOUN in a NOUN. The "a" before both nouns is implied in the ordering of the words just like the "in" is. Except in partials or phrases, "a" or "the" are always implied in crosswords, so their absence here is consistent.

More amazing to me are the problems in causes people. I was hoping for ATPOSITRONOM somewhere in that long definition, but no such luck.

JenCT 4:31 PM  

@Rex: "I think this will be one of those puzzles that people like insofar as they were able to do it, where normally they cannot." :-)

I also totally agree that it's not the constructor's fault.

@chefwen: LOL "I'm pulling the age factor as an excuse"

@pmdm: Good points.

Pleasant puzzle, even if it's been done before...

LaneB 5:19 PM  

No DNF. Slogged thru while watching NFL and awaiting Giants chance to shuffle those Cards. Go you Killer Ps: Panik, Posey, Pablo, Pence and Peavy!!!

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

That 'mericans in Paris is pretty funny! Kinda subtle for a blog comment, though.


Anonymous 7:03 PM  

to Z

Then at the least the constructor should have said the pattern is something like "an X in a Y," with both a's implied, but I still don't buy it. What TEATEMPESTPOT is literally showing - and that's what this idea is specifically about - is the "word" TEMPEST inside the "word" TEAPOT, or, to put it briefly, TEMPEST in TEAPOT. What I'm after is the perfectly literal version, which is not hard to do. THEAFACECROWD is literally "a face" IN "the crowd." SHEEPSAWOLFCLOTHING is literally "a wolf" IN "sheep's clothing." Anything short of this may be consistent in its own truncated way, but not an optimal rendering of the idea.

Muscato 7:16 PM  

Well, I feel vindicated, for as I worked (relatively quickly) through this one, I thought to myself how sure I was that Rex would hate it - not because of the echoed theme (my memory's far too poor for that), but because it felt so cosily old-fashioned. It called me back to the days (now nearly 40 years) ago when I would work the puzzle with my mother and grandmother, and so I liked it on a chilly October Sunday - and really, can one ask anything more?

old timer 7:16 PM  

I think I saw the same theme more than once in the Maleska era. And I don't see any reason not to re-use the theme.

But I'm with Rex here. It was too damn easy, and really quite boring once you got the trick. The fill did not sparkle, either (and I thought Mt Everest was a gimme, myself -- but then, I was alive and a regular newspaper reader when Hillary and Tenzing made the ascent (and Hillary earned his knightood IMO by *always* including his Sherpa friend in the glory).

I am beginning to hope, too, that we commentators are on the road to curing Rex of his habit of bitching and moaning when he doesn't know a word or a concept that lots of other solvers have known for years. Sonde? I did not know that myself, but I'm sure many did, and Rex took it like a man.

old timer 7:21 PM  

P.S. I think Rand Paul will be our next president. But if he is not nominated, it is going to be a Democrat, because I can't think of a single Republican that has any appeal across party lines, other than Paul. Whether that Democrat is Hillary Clinton, I don't know. But I'd happily vote for her husband if he could run again.

Z 8:08 PM  

@Anon writing to Z - Now I understand a little better the reason Magritte painted this.

@old timer - Wow. I don't think Paul can stand up to close inspection, but you never know. Otherwise, I agree with you. One thing is for certain, Rand Paul never slept with any slaves. @Steve J - As for Jefferson and Adams - that most of the charges (save "Jacobin" and "Monarchist") were true make them no less vicious. Seriously, The Real Housewives of Wherever have nothing on 19th century presidential campaigns (except for being in television).

TerryB 8:09 PM  

I THOUGHT this puzzle felt like deja vu all over again.

James O'keefe 8:26 PM  

I love Rex, but I think EVERY kid thinking about taking his courses should read his NYT stuff... Oh... go look on RateMy students all talk about how they love him, but what a bitch of a grader he is.. Rex, you are consistent, in all areas of life...

Jeffrey Dowling 8:28 PM  

I want to testify that my wife is back after a Divorce !!!

Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{} , Thanks.

chefbea 8:33 PM  

Who let the dogs out??????

James O'keefe 9:11 PM  

chefbea, Rex must be asleep... on the other hand, so the NYT puzzle blog has a nut case? Nice....

Leapfinger 9:50 PM  

@Z, so Vonnegut was copying Magritte?

In "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater", this old fisherman had his two sons out in the boat, and they're goggling at some girlie magazine, so he growls, "Hell, that ain't a girl! That's just a *picture* of a girl."

Shame, shame...

Anonymous 10:11 PM  

Does he want spellcaster to make harder puzzles? I'm all for that !! And Vonnegut doesn't know @!%$ about Vonnegut !!

RandPaul is a bigot 4:39 PM  

True, Rand Paul didn't sleep with any slaves. He would prefer, however, to reinstitute the institution of slavery if he could. He has come out very clearly against businesses being required to serve blacks if the owners don't happen to like blacks. And much worse. And yes, in America, he could be elected president.

LHS 888 9:05 PM  

In 2011 I was a Sunday-only solver, when I got my hands on the occasional International Herald Tribune, so I doubt I saw it before. I found this puzzle to be medium, until I tripped and fell in the NE for a DNF... fEATHER instead of LEATHER. Aaaargh!

Other write-overs:
Ann (nan) before AMY
AhH before AAH
boilED before REDYED
beach before LANAI
Wanted WHITEmeaT which showed me WHITEHAT

How I pulled WATUSI out of thin air I'll never know.
There were lots of others like that, including MTEVEREST and TOOTS.

Enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks PF / WS

paulsfo 12:06 AM  

ANON: as someone said, there's a HAY STACK in the grid, so you can look and see a NEEDLE in a" HAY STACK. It's often possible to read something in different ways (both possibly correct) but that doesn't mean that your unfortunate way of looking at it and saying to yourself "it's a needle in haystack" is correct, or is the only way to read it.

There actually is a type (not a brand, as far as i know) not endorsed by the NRA. I.E., so called "smart guns", which make it harder for someone else to shoot you with your gun.

Theme answers were way too easy; I didn't care if they'd been done before.

Loved the clue "Third person masculine?"

Mallard 1:25 PM  

I agree that it was easy, but I enjoyed it. I thought the cluing in several places sparkled.

spacecraft 1:34 PM  

RE RE RE RE RE RE RE RE spect, just a little bit... I can live with a RE or two, like accepting five or six plurals. Any more than that, the ol' flag begins to flutter, anxious to be free of its pocket. Especially with IREPEAT (!) in the grid.

It's actually refreshing--in a way--to see the old random direction clued as not between two of the constructor's favorite cities, but simply "Vane dir."

Well, not THAT refreshing.

Eastward, there's a committee meeting of ESTs: APTEST, EVEREST, TEST. Not the, um, best.

The central theme entry is missing "a" letter! No one says "Not in million tears;" this needs to be AMILLIONNOTYEARS.

So, what with the two TRIFECTAs (RE- and -EST), the ho-hum theme--complete with central mistake--and the RMK (random musical key), this RAWDEAL, obviously made INHASTE, MERITS a Peppermint Patty special: D-.

3438: OAKY (?)!

Anonymous 4:47 PM  

The Orange County Register (Calif.) publishes the NY Times Sunday Crossword a week later. This puzzle was printed with the first and last columns missing from the grid! That made it a bit curious at first until I caught on. Was this an accident or on purpose?

Dirigonzo 6:15 PM  

I clicked on the link to the earlier puzzle as provided by Rex, and yes, I did the earlier puzzle, yes, I commented on it, and yes, I forgot about it completely so no sense of deja vu spoiled my enjoyment of today's puzzle. It did seem a little too easy for a Sunday puzzle once the theme device was sniffed out, but as usual I added an extra level of difficulty with some imaginative wrong answers - who knew PARODIer wasn't a word? As to most of the criticisms leveled by the commentariat, I think 84 across sums it up nicely.

@Anony 4:47pm - there are several of us who solve the syndicated puzzle a week late (or 5 weeks late on weekdays) and come here to comment, and it seem mis-prints of one variety or another are a pretty common feature of our local papers - mine in articular has a habit of publishing the puzzle on the wrong day which really throws things out of whack for me. I think it's still better than solving on-line, though.

1935 - read 'em and weep, spacy.

Ed Grimley 7:39 PM  

Duplication doesn't connote duplicity!
But duplicity does run rampant in U S politics, I must say!

rain forest 7:42 PM  

Who cares if this is similar to a previous puzzle which no one remembers anyway? Really. I do not keep track of previous puzzles and whether I have or have not commented on them. Life's too short.

I enjoyed this one, and have to disagree with @Spacey, old chap, about the MILLION YEARS and other themers. I think the article "a" is consistently understood to be there in all of them, which is fine with me. I also that the fill was fine, and that there were some excellent clues. Nice one.

2102 come on, gimme another card

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

I liked it! Solvable and fun: left me as
Happy as a popigke

spacecraft 7:59 PM  

If I weep. @Diri, it's because I don't get the whole pot but have to settle for a chop. Look again; my digits added up to 9.

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