First anti-AIDS drug / TUE 10-28-14 / Golden Horde members / Company that owns Ferrari / Luck that's workin for ya / Old-time actress Hagen / That something in Arlen Mercer standard / Subject of massive statue in ancient Parthenon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: NBA (48A: Org. whose only members with non plural names appear at the ends of 17-, 25-, 41- and 56-Across)

Theme answers:
  • ALL THAT JAZZ (17A: Related add-ons, informally)
  • "DAYS OF THUNDER" (25A: Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman racing film)
  • OLD BLACK MAGIC (41A: "That" something in an Arlen/Mercer standard)
  • BEAT THE HEAT (56A: Keep cool in summer)
Word of the Day: "DAYS OF THUNDER" 
Days of Thunder is a 1990 American auto racing film released by Paramount Pictures, produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Tony Scott. The cast includes Tom CruiseNicole KidmanRobert DuvallRandy QuaidCary ElwesCaroline Williams, and Michael Rooker. The film also features appearances by real life NASCARracers, such as Rusty WallaceNeil Bonnett, and Harry Gant. Commentator Dr. Jerry Punch, of ESPN, has a cameo appearance, as does co-producer Don Simpson.
This is the first of three films to star both Cruise and Kidman (the other two being Far and Away and Eyes Wide Shut).
• • •

It's a very nice theme idea. Just right for a Tuesday. When I hit "N.B.A." I didn't really bother reading the whole clue, and didn't think the theme was very tight. Then, when I finished, I saw the unifying idea. Nice—not just some random NBA teams, but the only four that have non plural names. That gives the theme the coherence and tightness it needs. Found the clue on ALL THAT JAZZ actually a bit tough. I think the "add-ons" part threw me, as I think of the phrase meaning simply "all the related things"; the notion of adding on isn't really a part of it (though I think the clue's perfectly defensible). My only real issue with the theme is that OLD BLACK MAGIC is essentially a partial, a fact which necessitates the weird cluing, with the unexciting "That" in quotation marks at the beginning. OLD BLACK MAGIC just doesn't stand on its own very well. But overall, the theme is reasonably clever and reasonably well executed.

The fill is more troublesome. This is at least partially the result of the Highly segmented grid. Tons of black squares (40) creating tons of nooks and crannies composed mostly of 3s, 4s, and 5s, i.e. not the most exciting fill on the planet. But this puzzle's short stuff was pretty subpar, even by short stuff standards. In the same little section you have multiple icky answers: I WAS and OSE, GST and IMA, ALLA and ILIAC and OCHRES (plural) and ASTO, EERO TADA and LTYR (!). The ANDI / DVI crossing is particularly shabby. There's more, but why list it? Greater care in overall grid construction would've been nice. Also, I would've said SUBTROPICAL, not SUBTROPIC, but perhaps that's just me. Never lived anywhere where either adjective would apply.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Whirred Whacks 12:04 AM  

Still suffering a bit of post-Meta week hangover. The reveal brought to mind this old bit of playfulness:

Time flies like the wind and
Fruit flies like bananas.

Here's a 1978 video of comedian George Carlin discussing time

Steve J 12:04 AM  

Nice theme, with a revealer that was actually useful and actually helpful (rare on a Tuesday). Good theme answers, too. Liked the long downs, especially GILTTERATI and CATALYST. Good Tuesday.

wreck 12:09 AM  

Pretty decent Tuesday - no real complaints. Timely, as the NBA kicks off Tuesday!

jae 12:10 AM  

Tough Tues. for me.  Had GmT before GST which made 12d difficult.   Also needed 3 tries to spell SHTETL (wanted a C somewhere).

Very clever theme plus @Steve J some fine long downs.  Excellent Andrea!

wreck 12:11 AM  

Tips off ; )

George Barany 12:26 AM  

Kudos to @ACME for pulling off the puzzle's theme, which is related to this fun Sporcle quiz, and to @Rex for the generally positive review. Nice to see CATALYST in a puzzle, with a clue that even a chemist can love. Guess that THAT from ALL_THAT_JAZZ implies (that)_OLD_BLACK_MAGIC (linked to one of the funner versions, with others easily found on the internet).

Adam Silver 12:27 AM  

The "reveal" , if that is the correct term, in this puzzle is factually wrong. The Spurs in the San Antonio Spurs is not the plural of the noun spur, rather it is the third person present verb spurs, as in to goad on. This has been the case since the 2009/2010 basketball season.
In early 2009 David Stern received correspondence from P.E.T.A. complaining about the use of Spurs in the name of the team. Their position was that all equine activities other than feeding and petting horses are intrinsically evil. Compounding this evil is the use of spurs on horses to make them do things they ordinarily would not do. We, unlike other sports organizations, when we receive notice that we are offending part of our audience we do whatever is necessary to remedy the situation. In our case, it was some simple grammatical legerdemain. This change of interpretation has been in place since 2009, and thus the reveal should be "Org. with 4 of 5...". So successful was this change that San Antonio has built an entire campaign raising civic pride based on "San Antonio Spurs". San Antonio Spurs Innovation, San Antonio Spurs Progress. They are on billboards all over the city and surrounding environs. It is such a successful campaign that people forget the ignominy of "Don't Mess with Texas" which is only an anti-littering slogan.

Adam Silver
The National Basketball Association.

SenorLynn 12:31 AM  

Wouldn't MOJO be a great name for a sports team?

Zeke 12:39 AM  

@SenorLynn - you don't talk about your MOJO. You don't joke about your MOJO. And you certainly don't name your team MOJO.

Just ask Andy Roddick. When he was at the top of his game, a serious contender at the US Open, a viable threat to Sampras, American Express ran a series of ads about how Andy had his MOJO working. Andy lost in the second or third round. AMEX did a quick turn-around, and ran ads about how Andy had lost his MOJO.

Andy never came close to winning a major again. You don't joke about your MOJO.

chefwen 12:41 AM  

@SenorLynn - Or a cat/dog, love it, now I need another new kitty.

Speak of the Devil, were we not talking about our sweet ACME(s) just yesterday?

I always look at the constructor's name before starting the puzzle, not today and was totally surprised when I came to the blog. AHA, no wonder why I liked to so much.

My bad shark BIT me before it I took out the LOAN and for the life of me I couldn't remember how to spell SHTETL. That little SE corner was the last to fall.

Great Tuesday puzzle Andrea, thank you.

wreck 12:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefwen 12:44 AM  

it I took out a loan - try again sweetie.

Martin 12:50 AM  

One spurs with spurs, so the logo isn't a huge problem. But they need to not refer to "a Spur for life" but "a Spurrer for life." Good luck with making that stick.

Dean 1:22 AM  

What will it take to teach Americans that there is no such thing as Greenwich Standard Time? There is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), but nobody, absolutely nobody speaks of GST.

Martin 1:26 AM  


You might want to google Greenwich Sidereal Time. GST is used by astronomers to point telescopes. It's based on the actual period of rotation of the earth, which is not 24 hours.

Just because most of us don't set our clocks to GST doesn't mean it's not a thing.

RnRGhost57 1:59 AM  

Doesn't a rider "spur" a horse?

Very pleasant Tuesday puzz. Thanks Andrea.

Ellen S 3:38 AM  

I actually liked LTYR and at least there weren't any eels in the puzzle (thank you Andrea!!!!!). A lot of the rest of the short fill was, indeed, unchallenging. But it's only Tuesday.

I went to a memory class a couple of weeks ago, along with a bunch of other geezers who had recently misplaced their car keys. In addition to Sudoku, they recommended broccoli or kale or something (and I think fish turns out to be brain food after all, but haha I can't remember where I left the stack of materials they handed out -- but anyway, to finally get to the point, they said really easy crossword puzzles would not challenge the brain enough to keep it from decay. But I think the longer answers today and the theme provided some brain-grease, and who cares, it was fun to see another Acme puzzle.

(Article in the paper today says that chocolate improves memory -- oh, dear, chocolate or broccoli, such difficult choices.)

Moly Shu 4:13 AM  

Agree with @Ellen, I like LTYR. CATALYST and MOJO both good (excellent point @Zeke). Fun puzzle and just enough difficulty to keep it from being a pushover.

DAYSOFTHUNDER, terrible, Far and Away, terrible, Eyes Wide Shut, so good it made me forget the other two starred the same people.

@AdamSilver, stick to banning racist owners and fixing the draft lottery, please.

Thank you @AlphaCharlieMike, I'd suggest one using NHL teams, but, Wild and Lightning is pretty thin.

Moly Shu 4:21 AM  

Wait, Avalanche. Maybe not so thin after all. Hmmmmm.

Anonymous 4:58 AM  

@Moly Shu

It's a little known fact that Ducks, Flames, Jets, and Stars are actually third-person verbs...

Danp 5:30 AM  

Nobody says ZOWIE except people who think they're "NERDY".

mac 5:36 AM  

Medium Tuesday for me, partly because of the GMT problem and having "music" instead of "magic" for a while.

The most amazing thing to me is that Andrea made a sports themed puzzle!, even adding Ray!

GILL I. 6:56 AM  

I don't think you can get much better than this Tuesday puzzle... I mean there are some wonderful entries here - GLITTERATI being my favorite followed by CATALYST.
The cluing is fresh and doesn't feel like it's out of some has-been data base.
Sometimes I think that if Andrea won a Nobel for discovering the cure for insomnia, there would still be nit-pickers....LTYR notwithstanding!
AND, Andrea,....a sports theme!!!!!!!!!!

LHS 888 7:09 AM  

Hand up for GMT before GST. Never heard of a SHTETL. Wouldn't know one if it bit me, so needed every cross for that one. Proper nouns were all fairly crossed (Yay!), because I misspelled HAYEK as HAYaK until AERIE sorted that out.

Favorite clue: NERDY.
Thanks for a fun puzzle ACME / WS!

Nancy P. 7:22 AM  

Hey sexists--yes, a woman CAN make a sports-themed puzzle. And your dad might play the cello.

Dorothy Biggs 7:47 AM  

@Ellen S: I've also seen elsewhere that Xword puzzles (especially the NYT) do not count as brain challenging exercises that help brain function later in life (as opposed to say, learning a language or taking up a new hobby, etc).

The NYT, according to what I've read (and I would link it but I'm too lazy), is full of "tricks" that, once learned, make filling in the puzzle perfunctory.

It's funny too since Rex makes a huge thing out of the "dreck fill," and that is the very thing that researchers point to about the NYT puzzles. Once you learn all of the very common arcania present in the puzzles, it isn't all that hard to do. It only looks hard to an outsider because they don't know AROAR, or AZT, or TEL, or UTA, or EERO, or ATRA, or the names of baseball players/managers, operas/arias/composers, all manner of authors/poets/novels, or etc.

So much of the trivia that I know, I know from Xwords...and by now, doing an NYT is about 75% fill in the blank...even on Saturday once you wade through the cluing.

That said, I definitely fell for the GmT misdirect.

And apropos of nothing, of all the sports on the planet, the NBA could disappear tomorrow completely and I'd never miss it. College basketball is okay...professional basketball, ugh. I'd rather be strapped to a steel chair and forced to watch NASCAR races from the last 10 years than watch an NBA game.

Lewis 7:50 AM  

@nancyP -- it's not that the commenters were surprised that a woman made a sports themed puzzle; it's that Andrea did, Andrea, who, as best as I recall, was/is not fond of sports answers.

Thank you Rex for not piling on, which I felt like you've done in the past with Ms. Michaels.

I liked the clues for LOANS and AERIE, and plenty of words with pop -- ZOWIE, PSST, CATALYST, GLITTERATI, TADA, GAUDY, and one of my favorite words, LILT.

I like the balancing cross of BEATTHEHEAT and TAN, and there is the healing element of SPA, BATH, and TONIC. As Rex points out, there is some not-so-pretty fill, but overall, a very pleasing Tuesday solve.

Andrea, are you working on becoming the Queen of Tuesdays?

chefbea 7:56 AM  

What a great puzzle!!! Thank you Amiss Catalyst Mojo.

Thanks for the shout out at 56 down and I have an Ansel Adams , so that was easy.

Hand up for GMT

RAD2626 8:00 AM  

Really thought the four 10's were all great words and made the puzzle. All pretty unique usages and made all the 3's seem okay. (Not only no EEL but we have not seen the omnipresent SNL for a while). Did not like OCHRES or clue for TADA but minor nits. Technically a sloppy DNF for me as I wrote in HAYaK early and never corrected it when I filled AERIe. Nice puzzle with timely theme.

Lewis 8:01 AM  

Factoid: SHTETL is a Yiddish word (and the language of the shtetl was Yiddish); the Yiddish word for a larger city was "shtot", and for a village, "dorf".

Quotoid: "My wife Mary AND I have been married for forty-seven years and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce; murder, yes, but divorce, never." -- Jack Benny

Unknown 8:02 AM  

@Gill I.P. - My thought exactly....a sports-themed puzzle from @acme? What next, a rap and hip hop theme?

I enjoyed this. And good for Andrea for using her love of word play and experience naming things as a way to incorporate something she otherwise might avoid.

Tita 8:14 AM  

Had fun with this, even if it was a sports theme. Very funny, @Acme!!

Even more sports answers beyond hte theme, like ROY Campanella. There were plenty of women in the puzzle too, like ATHENA, FALCO, IMA (oops - I mean UNA), and TONYA.

Loved ZOWIE. Only ever heard it said by Tony Curtis' boyfriend in one of my favorite movies ever, Some Like It Hot.

Liked hte clue for OTIS too.

Andrea - thanks!

joho 8:20 AM  

@Yes @Lewis, I'd say Andrea qualifies for both Queen of Monday and Tuesday! (BTW, there's just a "Q" missing today.) Her trademark "scrabbly" grid is always fun to solve.

Andrea has worked her OLDBLACKMAGIC again with a lively theme and, as @Rex pointed out, made extremely tight with the NBA reveal.

Loved the contemporary clue for TOGETHER.

CATALYST and GLITTERATI are gorgeous!

I say, give the Queen her TIARA!

Nancy P 8:21 AM  

When's the last time anyone commented that they were surprised by the scope of clues in a constructor's puzzle? Never for a man, I suspect. Could we be any more condescending (Susan)? "Good for you!!??" Yes, the constructor is not only a woman, but a toddler too, apparently. Let's all give her a pat on the head.

Mohair Sam 8:22 AM  

Played tough for a Tuesday here, and we enjoyed - in spite of the annoying Sidereal feint at 11a. Not the first time for this; shouldn't Sidereal be a Thursday through Saturday answer?

Clever theme, and we loved GLITTERATI and CATALYST.

@Moly Shu and @Adam Silver - Do not reform the NBA draft, what will my Sixers' GM do if he has to play to win?

Informative post from @NCA President, and one that made a lot of sense. That is until he bashed my beloved NBA - hope he gets his NASCAR wish.

Tita 8:28 AM  

@Nancy P - if you knew Andrea, like we know Andrea, you would understand.
She constantly snipes at sports clues, and points out interesting use of female references.
That's why this particular puzzle plays so much better to me, at least. Because I "get" the inside joke she is making.
It is not at all condescending - it is acknowledging her supreme wordpllay.

BTW - I think that most of us making such comments are fellow girls...

So chillax, as Will would say.

Oh yeah - and 61A too, Andrea? wink wink.

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Zipped quickly through this until ALLA crossing TATARS. Never heard of either word. Guessed ALLO and TOTARS. Wrong.

AliasZ 8:34 AM  

The silliest thing I ever heard: naming a sports team with a verb. Who's next? I have a few ideas: has Detroit piston anyone lately? Brooklyn nets a healthy profit, New York knicks itself every time it shaves, Milwaukee bucks the trend, Toronto raptures the fans with a stellar game, Phoenix suns itself in tanning salons when overcast, Miami heats the oven prior to putting in the turkey, Memphis grizzles every time it loses, and the Philadelphia 76ers should be 86ed. ANDI could go on. Hi-yo, silver spurs!

Oh the puzzle was fine, I enjoyed it. Excellent theme and good, clean ACME fun, except OCHERS, ZOWIE, DVI, I WAS, I'M A, and few others. GLITTERATI was a special gift for the gridderati.

Let me celebrate this fun puzzle with the Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major by J. S. Bach in this sprightly, if a little rushed performance, for no other reason than the second movement (10:35) is the famous AERIE on the G string, and that the orchestra is pretty much TOGETHER for most of this live concert. Bach on a Tuesday morning will do good to the soul. Or any morning, noon or night.


Nancy P 8:35 AM  

Yeah, women can't be sexists. Just ask Sarah Palin. And I just LOVE the insider cliques on this blog. Oh, well WE KNOW Andrea, so we're special, and we can be as sexist and condescending as we like. Gimme a break.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

If that is true, please explain the team logo

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

BTW, the Spurs recently hired Becky Hammond as first female assistant coach in NBA.

all that glitters... 8:53 AM  

Did anyone else notice that GLITTERATI is featured prominently on today's opinion page? Native advertising for today's crossword?

pmdm 9:18 AM  

Methinks the "Silver" post is fake. As Anonymous 8:43 pointed out, the team logo seems to contradict the "Silver" post. Ah, gullibility is alive and well.

Z 9:20 AM  

I was wondering what was going to tie the themers together - I was thinking something movie related after the first three but the fourth didn't fit. NBA was quite the curveball from @ACME.

As for the fill criticism - What fill? The long answers are so good that I barely even noticed the short fill. DISCOUNTED GLITTERATI, ANSEL ADAMS, CATALYST, those downs are great and well worth whatever dreck there is.

As for GST - I had G-T and waited remembering our last discussion/fight over "sidereal" (@'MiP - I used the slash to indicate that for some it was a discussion and for some it was a fight, intending to indicate that it was either depending on one's perspective. Fair?).

As for brain health - take everything anyone tells you with a truckload of grains of salt. Most of the "experts" are misusing research to assert what they believed before. The key thing is to not get a degenerative brain disease and keep mentally active. It really doesn't matter what as long as the brain keeps working. That whole "we'll improve your short term memory" thing is crap.

@NancyP - @ACME was a longtime member of the commentariat and even sat in for Rex upon occasion in the wayback. Some here have even met her in the flesh at a crossword competition here or a lunch there. If being around long enough makes one an "insider" than, yeah, there are insidery cliques here. There are still a fair number of people who have been commenting longer than me. Here's the thing though, all it takes to become an "insider" is to come around most days, don't be mean to people, and occasionally make a worthwhile observation (or not).

Bird 9:22 AM  

@ACME- I enjoyed your puzzle a lot more than @Rex did. The theme was great (and as others here, was surprised it came from your desk) and I like the long downs. I did however stare at MESITROPIC for a second wondering if that is a thing.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

And that Washington football is actually a walking PSA about the dangers of sunburn.

jberg 9:24 AM  

This is a terrific puzzle, and @ACME's well-known disdain for sports clues is part of what makes it terrific -- she's showing us that she can do anything (including getting herself foreshadowed in the puzzle before her appearance). She's also showing that she can hold back from the pangram even if it's low-hanging fruit, despite her well-known love for pangrams. And then there's TONYA right in the center (another sports entry, FWIW), threatening to break your leg if you don't like it (though I doubt if Andrea really would).

@Nancy P, I wouldn't say insider cliques, but the commenters are something of a community, or try to be. Nothing wrong with that.

That said, I had an error. I never questioned GMT, didn't know the Springsteen lyric (never actually saw that clue, I figured it was my great aunt), and ended up with mEdITROPIC. I'd never heard of that, but figured it was a climate that was Mediterranean only warmer and with no seasons. Sigh.

@Adam Silver's comment has to be the funniest thing this month (at least)! I'm pretty sure someone is having us on there.

Sir Hillary 9:32 AM  

Now this is what a Tuesday theme should be. Very rare that I can solve an early week puzzle and not see the theme early in the process. Today I solved the whole thing and had no clue what was happening. Because I got NBA entirely from crosses, I never saw the reveal until a full review of the clues. Fabulous.

As much as I have enjoyed @Acme's commentary here and would love it if she were to return, it's puzzles like this one that truly make her special in my view.

@"Adam Silver" -- Big yuks from me!

@Nancy P (assuming the same person is writing all posts under that name) -- It's a bit naïve to make inflammatory accusations and not expect a reaction. To then dismiss that reaction, no matter how civil and well-reasoned it was...well, that's just arrogance.

chefbea 9:33 AM  

@Z or talk about beets!!!!

Z 9:36 AM  

A blast from the past. @Casco Kid - I call to your attention my comment. 2011 and I was googling to finish and easy-medium Thursday.

Mohair Sam 9:38 AM  

Cannot believe anyone took the Adam Silver comment seriously. Shows how nuts we've gone with PC.

RooMonster 9:56 AM  

Hey All !
Liked the puz, zipped through most of it quickly (there's the missing Q!), but have to cry NATICK at SHTETL/LTYR. As not being up on all things Broadway type plays, had to run the alphabet on the L, not even considering the L with the T for light year (Which I finally figured out as I was typing this :-P). Just sayin...

Nice to see an ACME puz, even though she had stopped posting before I came here. I believe I caught the tail end of her postings while I was still doing the syndicated version and then looking at those Rex blurbs. Anyway, haven't conversed or met her, but judging by the amount of love she gets from the people here, I'm betting she is real cool!

I do have a nit (Sorry ACME!!) and that is the segmented top & bottom parts of the grid. Maybe done to fit in NBA? Or JAZZ? But the double stack 10's in the downs are nice! So overall enjoyable Tuesday!

GAUDY NERDY (who talkin to me?) :-D

quilter1 10:00 AM  

Wow, I got up early and still am number 53. I enjoyed doing Andrea's puzzle as usual. Didn't get the theme as I don't follow pro BB, just college, but it is a good theme. I liked GLITTERATI, GUAVA and that OLD BLACK MAGIC (today's ear worm).
@Nancy P, Andrea is a kind, smart and funny woman and no one in this community would dream of condescending to her. She is admired and valued.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I find it interesting that the official San Antonio Spurs website makes no mention of this supposed redefining of the team name. I call bull$#!+

Bob Kerfuffle 10:38 AM  

First thing I noticed when I opened my paper to today's puzzle was ACME's name.

Second thing I noticed was those crazy almost completely enclosed sections top and bottom. Only when I sat down to read the blog did it hit me - those are nets at either end of the basketball court! Darrin/RooMonster - wouldn't you agree?)

(And, yes, I have had some meals and drinks with ACME at crossword tournaments, and I am completely enthralled by her.)

H-O-R-S-E 10:40 AM  

@Bob--nice call on the basketball hoops hidden in the puzzle!

Masked and Anonymo4Us 10:49 AM  

@BobK. yep. Or maybe the lanes or the three point lines. Or maybe a disintegrating missin Q. Or all that jazz. Good call.

@Acme, good puz. Treasure these rare occasions, when a weeject gets to be the theme revealer. The lil darlins normally get no respect. Thanx.


Carola 11:11 AM  

Snappy puzzle! How about that JAZZ-MOJO-ZOWIE-SEZ cluster in the upper "basket"? This is a stretch, but I also liked ANSEL ADAMS crossing OLD BLACK [and white MAGIC]. I held onto GmT for way too long, will try to remember sidereal for next time.

Thank you, @ACME - a refreshing TONIC of a puzzle.

Moly Shu 11:15 AM  

@MohairSam, I was going for the other kind of "fixing". You know, the one where the Knicks got Ewing, the Cavs got James, then Irving, the Hornets got Kobe cuz they knew he would be traded to the Lakers etc. etc. Conspiracy theorists unite!!!

Now I'm done.

GILL I. 11:16 AM  

@Nancy P: Sexists??? Moi??? I'm crushed.
@mac and @Susan, lets have lunch together sometime. I'll have my girl make a reservation.....

JenCT 11:19 AM  

I second, third, fourth, etc. all the glowing comments about @ACME, who's a terrific person.

Nice Tuesday puzzle.

Hi @mac, @Tita, et al.

Beautiful weather in CT!

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

When did we start calling it GST instead of GMT? GST isn't really a thing. Google "Greenwich Standard Time" and everything that comes up says GMT.

I had GMT and IDA giving me MEDITROPIC, which seemed totally acceptable since I had no idea on the Springsteen lyric.

RooMonster 11:45 AM  

@Mr Kerfuffle

Nice eye! I'll go with that!!


Ludyjynn 12:00 PM  

Very enjoyable outing, esp. the Downs. Our 'Downs only' solver should love this one. I solved it as a themeless, but appreciated the reveal at 48A after the fact.

@Lewis, Jack Benny used to also tell a story that the one time he was caught cheating on his wife, Mary, her response was to have him take her to a Rodeo Drive jewelry store, where she selected the nicest diamond ring for him to purchase for her. He claimed that cured him of the urge to stray! Jewelry is the reason for so many long, happy marriages, I guess!

Thanks, ACME and WS.

Martin 12:04 PM  

This isn't for Anon 11:34 because he doesn't seem to read posts, but for others who might be interested in sidereal time:

The earth rotates on its axis once every 23.9344696 hours. Normally, 24 hours is close enough and we make up the difference every four years or so, but if you've every tried to aim a telescope at a star you know that seconds count. So observatories have clocks set to "sidereal time" so their star location charts will work. Sidereal time advances 23.9344696 hours every day. The master for sidereal time is, not surprisingly, based at the Greenwich Observatory and is called Greenwich Sidereal Time or GST.

One hint that Will Shortz knows all this is that sometimes he clues GST (this is his 23rd use of the entry) as "Astron. clock setting" or the like. Another is that the clue includes "std." But sometimes he just likes to trap the unwary griper.

Yes, GST is crosswordese outside of astronomical circles. But it's the arcane entry that many solvers don't even know is arcane. I guess it's meta-crosswordese.

DigitalDan 12:06 PM  

Really wanted NIP for 26 down.

SPURS redef is the same kind of logic that led to the Stanford CARDINAL, also a name change to reduce offense. The student body wanted ROBBER BARONS. Oh, well.

DigitalDan 12:07 PM  

Sorry, make that 24 Down.

Dansah 12:35 PM  


Dansah 12:44 PM  

It's the color (hence singular), not the bird to avoid offending avians.

As longas we're randomly typing literature genres without context 12:44 PM  


Leapfinger 12:57 PM  

In the comments, I liked 'fellow girls [was that @NancyP?], but absolutely snorted for @Gilly's having 'my girl make a reservation'. I want in on that lunch!! Still, the best use of 'that' word is in the punchline: Gurrull? That dog would bite yew!!

The puzzle was sweet: caught on to the roundball, but missed the singularity, which makes it really really tight. Nice EXTRA touch: the NBA JAZZ is from UTA, right?

First thought the grid looked like Stitch [from Lilo &] dancing gangnam-style, but I now can see the b'ball court also. Points in the paint?

Many nice internal connections: ALL THAT JAZZ to the ROY Sscheider movie as well as to Chicago tune, as well as to ROY Campanella, who came out of the then Montreal ROYals, along with the great Jackie ROYbison.


Nice reminders of Cadbury's BLACKMAGIC Chocolates and Dorothy Sayers' GAUDY Night, imo the best of her Wimseys.

Anatomists might have a grouse about that ILIAC clue. Despite Rex's HUCKLE and traditional folk-songs, there ain't no such thing as a hipbone. The hip is a joint, an articulation between the femoral head and the acetabulum of the pelvis. The ILIAC bone is fused with the ischium and pubis; a pair of those, along with the sacrum, make up the pelvic girdle. So say DEM EXTRA NERDY Anatomists.

As Radar O'Reilly used to say, 'Ah, Bach!'. Today's theme would call for Carl Ditter von Ditterdorf...or perhap for von DitterSHTETL.

A ton o' fun on a Chooseday, ACMe! Buzz LTYR me when you get to Whensday.

Mr. Benson 1:12 PM  

Being from Seattle, I loathe the NBA and especially the THUNDER, so I found this one distasteful, but that's just me. Probably just fine for most people.

Arlene 1:40 PM  

Some lively comments here (understatement).

I had no idea this was about basketball until I saw NBA filled in from all the crosses.

Ohhh - all this fuss is about basketball?

This puzzle played like a surprise party for me!

Andrew Heinegg 1:50 PM  

Reasonably easy Tuesday and nice construction but, the blog today is way more fun than the puzzle itself. The 'post' from Adam Silver is terrific. If he did write it, the political correctness of it is laughable. Spurs are part of the 'uniform' of cowfolk in the West. Everyone from Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Annie Oakley and so on wore them. But, that is history. Spurs are no longer or rarely used (thank goodness). So, I take the name to be a a historical reference, no more. I have a lot of respect for many of the things tha PETA tries to accomplish but, I do not believe that having a picture of spurs as an icon fits as something that needs to be stopped. There have to be more important things to be addressed.

And I guarantee you there is a 'reason' to object to almost any team name. Let's take for an example the former Seattle Supersonics. Isn't the use of such aircraft seriously detrimental to the atmosphere and a major contributor to ozone depletion and climate change? The point remains that the name or symbol for a team is frequently a name or icon that one associates with the city, e.g., pistons for Detroit, etc. BUT! , it doesn't mean that the team, its owners, fans etc. 'agree' with everything associated with the name.

If it wasn't Mr. Silver, then that blogger has captured the 'aura' of the current NBA. The Sterling/Clippers mess is a recent example. It was not that Sterling (dementia aside) is/was not sexist, racist etc. but, for the other owners to pretend that they were appalled and surprised and would never, ever even contemplate such horrible ideas much less voice them is well, suspect.

Don't you all get amazed sometimes how far afield this blog gets from commenting on the puzzle itself? !

wreck 2:11 PM  

I posted a reply to "Mr. Silver" late last night. I had a few beers watching the Cowboys vs the "not-to-be-mentioned" team from Washington. Failing to see the satire at the moment, I asked him why then they still had a "horse spur" in their logo!?!. I actually went to bed, and awoke 2 hours later thinking that the post was silly and it was a joke! I got out of bed at 4am and actually went to my computer and deleted my own post!

Leapfinger 2:15 PM  

Love the PC-ness of 'cowfolk', Mr. Heineggen!

The NBA is fine, but those guys are just too good to make the mistakes that I live for, so college hoops are a dream for me. Shan't ever forget Chris Webber calling for the time-out that wasn't there, nor the Hoyas' pass to James Worthy as they drove down the court. The fact that my Heels capitalized on both plays may enter into that.

ACMe, sometimes constructors show up on these boards, you know? Here's an open invitation to reply to the replies!!!!

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

GST? While there is such a thing as Greenwich Sidereal Time, apparently you must be able to read Will Schortz's mind to know that it was the intended answer for 11-A. I eventually had to put it there because I knew there was no such thing as GEMITROPIC. But 12-D should really be SEMITROPICAL to be grammatically correct.

I haven't listened to WWV time signals lately, but my memory tells me that they used the term Universal Time Coordinated (or maybe the voice said Coordinated Universal Time -- I can't recall) instead of GMT.

Zeke 2:22 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg - Spurs are worn virtually whenever you ride, regardless of discipline. They are a communication tool, not a weapon nor a fashion statement. When one rides a horse, one of your main aids is the use of your leg, and specifically your heel, on the horses side. Unless you're way too small for the horse, your heel is naturally well away from the horses side. Hence you wear a spur, which is nothing more than an extension of your heel. The spur permits you to use your heel without completely moving your leg, which would disrupt your, hence the horses, balance.

The spur pictured in the San Antonio Spurs logo looks fearsome, but is in fact one of the gentlest spurs available. The pointed rowel rotates along the horses side, tickling his side rather than poking at it. When you want to tell the horse to take a bigger stride with his right hind leg, you tickle his right side, which just happens to be his right abductor, This naturally causes him to pull is right hind leg forward. It's the clearest, gentlest way of training the horse, and of getting the horse to do what he is supposed to do.

Martin 2:38 PM  

UTC is the same as GMT, only more precisely defined. The base standard is UT1, which is determined observationally using quasars as targets at "infinity" for long-baseline interferometry. Pretty cool. UTC is an approximation of UT1 that uses UT1 to set atomic clocks, which then keep time until a reset is ordered. Timekeeping has come a long way since Greenwich began.

As to mind-reading, I think SEMITROPIC pretty much determined what the crossing letter was.

Chip Hilton 2:47 PM  

Thanks for the Chicago video, Rex. Nice to see that Dr. Lilith Sternan Crane has dancing to fall back on should she run out of patients.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

@Zeke, I suppose you got that 'clearest, gentlest' bit straight from the horse's mouth? The same one, you know, where you were sawing on the reins...

Am also interested in hearing more about how those horse's abductors operate.

Steve J 4:21 PM  

Things I'm surprised/amazed/amused by today:

How many people think that the commissioner of the NBA would actually post commentary on a themed puzzle on a crossword blog (just minutes after the post was published, even), let alone relating an explanation that stretches credulity to an extreme degree.

How many people were tripped up by GST. That particular feint/crutch appears every few months and belongs alongside words such as esta/esto, Eva/Ava, kebab/kabob/kebob and others in terms of being dangerous to fill in all the way without checking crosses.

How many people declare something is definitely wrong without bothering to take 15 seconds to look said thing up.

AnonyVole 4:40 PM  

@Steve J, I'm surprised/amazed/ slightly depressed by how many people say they hate puns. But there it is.

I never meta bone I couldn't pick in less than 15 seconds.

wreck 4:41 PM  

@Steve J
Like I said, I had been drinking! ; )

sanfranman59 4:44 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 7:05, 7:50, 0.90, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Tue 4:56, 5:21, 0.92, 20%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 4:49 PM  

It would be nice if someone from the Commissioner's office could
verify that the post was indeed
not his. It could have been his ... who knows?

Zeke 4:52 PM  

@Anon 3:08 - You've obviously spent some time among cruel, ignorant buffoons riding horses. That saddens me.

Spurs, like any other tool, certainly can be used inappropriately. However, their inappropriate use doesn't define them, anymore than does using a hammer to break someone's hand defines a hammer. Any competent horseperson will confirm what I wrote.

Abductors are those muscles which the horse uses to pull their hind feet forward. To get a horse to step under themselves you stimulate their abductors, as the horse has a natural inclination to clench the body part being tickled. Put a baby on its back and tickle its belly and see what it does - it picks its knees (hocks) up. What you're doing when you use spurs properly is to take advantage of this natural reaction in the horse for training purposes.

Sure cruel, ignorant buffoons sometimes use spurs to kick the crap out of a horse. That's the fault of the people, not the tool.

My suggestion would be to spend less time among cruel, ignorant buffoons - it wears off on you.

Hartley70 4:57 PM  

@Leapy, if I may call you that. Yes yes YES to Dorothy Sayers and Gaudy night! I haven't thought of her in ages, but I read all the Wimsy books sitting in the main branch of the NY Public Library between sales calls for my first job out of college. Great fun! I was NOT a great salesperson!

@NancyP sexism is not a big issue here. I can't even tell the sex of most of the commentators...yourself excepted of course.

There has been serious "Acme Worship" going on the past year and I'm delighted to finally know who this mysterious stranger is and why she's the Homecoming Queen of the group. I love this Tuesday puzzle! It felt fresh and current and I know zippo about the NBA or it's teams. So nice to meet ya, Andrea!

Tim Frank 5:18 PM  

@Anon 4:49 As Senior VP, NBA Communications I can confirm that it was indeed Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner ,who posted the comment earlier today. In fact, he will be holding a press conference with broad network coverage, to discuss the start of the season, and the error in this puzzle, at 7:00PM this evening.

I don't know why anyone would find it difficult to believe that Mr Silver would follow a crossword blog. Because he's involved in sports, and they're all ignorant? The man's a lawyer. He can do crossword puzzles. As to why he would pick today to post a comment, well, today was the day that the puzzle was about the NBA, and the day it contained a factual error.

You can certainly believe everything he said, just as you can believe everything I just said. It's the internet, and people can't just go around making things up, just as they can't look up, on said internet, who is the Senior VP of Communications for the NBA and make a post using his name.

Tim Frank
Senior VP
NBA Communications.

ps David asked me to mention that he claims copywrite protection for San Antonio Spurs Progress and San Antonio Spurs Innovation. It's got to be worth a few bucks.

chefbea 5:26 PM  

Puns are the greatest...Just remember..Those who get too big for their pants will be exposed in the end.

mac 5:27 PM  

Yes, let's have lunch!

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

@Zeke, you misinterpreted of your own volition. I have, to the extent possible, avoided cruel and ignorant buffoons of all stripes. I do, however, read extensively.

Thanks for clarifying the action of horses' abductors. In human anatomy, abductors move limbs away from the midline axis [in the same plane as the body], so what I had been visualizing was something I've only seen in cartoons. What you describe in the equine would correspond to flexion in humans.

Mohair Sam 6:24 PM  

@Moly Shu - Point well taken. How come my Sixers are never on the winning side of those things?

Leapfinger 6:38 PM  

@Hartley70, of course you can call me Leapy; I've been called worse!

I've also read all of Sayers crime stories, I think, even the Eggs (not as good as the Wimseys). Her style of developing detective fiction apparently revolutionized it from the last-page 'everything suddenly resolves' that had been the existing format. She was also a translator, fluent in Greek and Latin, a classical scholar and theologian, ie, a pretty bright lady.

Each of her detective novels researched some topic, such as ringing changes, oil painting, or the British rail system --- so the reader learned learned something while being entertained. A pretty good twofer!

A quotoid from "Murder Must Advertise" shows her wit:

'How about truth in advertising?'

'Of course, there is some truth in advertising. There's yeast in bread, but you can't make bread with yeast alone. Truth in advertising ... is like leaven, which a woman hid in three measures of meal. It provides a suitable quantity of gas, with which to blow out a mass of crude misrepresentation into a form that the public can swallow.'

We'll have to reserve a bigger table for lunch, won't we?

Teedmn 8:02 PM  

A fine day of commentary! @Anon 9:22 was my fave with the slam on the Washington team (NFL). A lot of controversy here in MN whether they'll allow the name to be displayed. Sunburn indeed.

I wanted "the Golden Horde" to be a new type of TATeR.

I'm with @NCA President on the impact the NBA and NASCAR have on my life. The last time basketball was of interest is when my family was gathered around the radio when the hometown team went to State, mid to late '60s! Sorry @Mohair Sam.

OISK 8:15 PM  

Enjoyed puzzle - very fine Tuesday puzzle- for once I agree with the majority here. Never heard of "Outta Compton," nor "Ima long gond daddy in the USA." Love any reference to the Brooklyn Dodgers, the opera house reference, the Arlen song. A nice variety to the cluing, I think.

My comments on Patrick Blindauer's puzzles last week apparently annoyed him, or someone pretending to be him. But to clarify - I didn't criticize his skill, (awesome) nor the quality of his puzzles. I just said that what I see as an over reliance on product names annoyed me. Anyway, apologies if anything I wrote was taken the wrong way.

Charles Flaster 8:23 PM  

EZ in 6 minutes. Enjoyed NBA theme.
Enjoyed clue for OLD BLACK MAGIC.
Easy question is to name 2 MLB teams with no S plural. Must answer within 10 seconds.
Thanks ACM.

Z 8:51 PM  

My general apathy towards basketball is all due to my supervising teacher when I was doing my student teaching. He pointed out that it is the only sport where cheating, breaking the rules in order to gain an advantage, is intrinsic to how the game is played at all levels. A close game, you're behind and the other team has the ball - What does the coach do? Exactly, tells her players to foul. In no other sport is such willful violation of the rules blatantly coached and utilized. College basketball is worse than the NBA in this regard, but it is hard to enjoy a game where Hack-a-Shaq is a strategy.

@wreck - I got about 2/3rds of the way through it before my BS detector finally went off, and all I was drinking was coffee.

Anonymous 9:57 PM  

Thanks for the clarification Mr. Frank.
Here's to a great 2014-15 season!

Anonymous 11:16 PM  

So, how did Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk kill he giant?

He didn't, he didn't have to. Everyone knows that Giants choke all by themselves.

Larry 1:37 AM  

Rex failed too point out that the four team answers are arranged from west to east.

JenCT 11:12 AM  

@Zeke: Interesting learning about spurs; like I've said, LSNED! (Learn Something New Every Day)

Joe Dipinto 12:34 AM  

This has to be the most hilarious comments column I've read on this blog. Between the posts by supposed NBA executives and the pinheaded accusations of sexism, I haven't laughed so hard in weeks.

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

I can only repeat: ACME, we miss ya! You were a wecome break from certain curmudgeonly contributors with your upbeat blogs.

I agree with Cur. #1 that the theme is tight and well executed. As to the Spurs, Mr. Silver's (Silver Spurs? Sounds like a great old western!) argument is spurious. Even in its newly-created "context," to spur is to get someone--or some animal--to do what he otherwise wouldn't. The PETA nuts stand up for the animals; who's gonna stand up for us humans? A spur is a spur. Shall we erase the whole word from the vocabulary? Nonsense.

Onward to the fill, and also like OFL, I frown at the many crutches. Two of them, the RRN and PSST, were used only yesterday. They're especially unwelcome two days in a row. But LTYR is fine with this space enthusiast.

Now let's talk about making twin ten-letter downs work on both sides. Lovely! Have seen 26d's name--either first or last--plenty of times in xwords, but both names TOGETHER? That's a first. I think.

Just one thing: if you HAVE to have TONYA in your grid, MUST you give her center stage? B-.

140: NEXT!

rondo 1:27 PM  

Nice to see an ACME puzzle; miss her comments.
Agree that this was easy-ish - good for Tuesday.
Hand up for GmT. Isn't AZT when Arizona doesn't go to DST?
Agree with OFL re: SUBTROPICal.
Edie FALCO is still in the choir, but no longer a Soprano?
Salma HAYAK is quite the yeah baby. TONYA not so much; is she still a skater?
Does SIZE matter?
Had a jr. high English teacher last name FLORA.
Isn't SUD the singular of suds?
None of the teams mentioned were in the old ABA (39d).

790 - not GAUDY, could win

rondo 3:26 PM  

Sorry - HAYEK.
By the way, what DO you get when you cross Salma HAYEK with TONYA Harding (besides the middle of an x-word puz)? Katarina Witt? (she turns 49 tomorrow)

SharonAK 10:58 PM  

Though you may never see this post, coming 5 weeks later, I am moved to say how generous I found several of you were in explanations to Nancy P. After her third post, where she was determined to rant and couldn't grasp the first explanations, my thought was that she was best ignored.

@Alia Z. Loved your 8:34 post. That I was slow to get the first "verb" ( kept wanting you to add an s or ed) made me laugh very OL once I got it.

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