John who won 1964 Heisman Trophy / MON 10-20-14 / Gulager of McQ / Time leading up to Easter / Jean of Bombshell / Nonkosher sandwiches / Political conventiongoer

Monday, October 20, 2014

Constructor: Patrick Blindauer

Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning slightly toward the Challenging side of the Monday spectrum)

THEME: time keeps on slipping slipping slipping … — actually, that's a terrible description. What's really happening is that as the theme answers progress, the unit of time that is a part of each answer gets larger.

Theme answers:
  • SPLIT SECOND (17A: Instant)
  • MINUTE RICE (26A: Product that competes with Uncle Ben's)
  • THE WITCHING HOUR (35A: Midnight)
  • "DAY TRIPPER" (50A: 1965 Beatles hit that begins "Got a good reason for taking the easy way out")
  • PASSION WEEK (58A: Time leading up to Easter)
Puzzle Note: 

Word of the Day: John HUARTE (29A: John who won the 1964 Heisman Trophy) —
John Gregory Huarte (born April 6, 1944) is a former American football quarterback and the 1964 Heisman Trophy winner. // […] Huarte played college football for the University of Notre Dame. During his sophomore and junior seasons, he averaged only a few minutes per game due to injuries and the Irish went 5-5 and 2-7, respectively. As a senior, however, he became the starting quarterback as the Irish won all but one game during the 1964 season, in which he was selected as an All-American and won the Heisman Trophy. By the end of the season, Huarte threw for 2,062 yards with only 205 passes, an average of over ten yards per pass attempt, many to receiver Jack Snow. (wikipedia)
• • •

Obviously I have no idea how this whole "meta-challenge" is going to turn out, but I can tell you right now that if I knew this puzzle, by itself, was a meta, the first place I'd look for answers (assuming the longer answers didn't make the meta plain right away) is in and around HUARTE. That is an Insane answer for a Monday. I've never heard of him, and a sports answer I've never heard of On A Monday is bonkers. Suspiciously bonkers. But metas tend to involve puzzles' longer answers, so … who knows what Saturday's puzzle will require us to do to solve this week's meta. But I'm just letting you know, HUARTE—I see you. I'm putting you on notice.

So, taken on its own merits as a self-standing puzzle, this is OK. Theme feels old, which is to say it feels like a theme I've seen before, possibly multiple times. Not with these exact theme answers of course. But I'm pretty sure the time unit thing has been done. At least we get a couple of good longer answers out of it: PASSION WEEK, which sounds like a fantastic ratings-grabber for a Christian game show; and THE WITCHING HOUR, which ties in nicely with the Halloween season. Some of the shorter fill is actually interesting / exciting today. See TAX TIP (interesting) and HARLOW (exciting). Most of the rest of the fill is unremarkable. I'm excited to see where this whole meta thing goes. But on its own, as Mondays go, this is about a C. Maybe a C+.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Whirred Whacks 12:02 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. It zipped along and had good fill.

When I saw "1964 Heisman winner," I relied on my boyhood college football knowledge and immediately wrote in Notre Dame's HUARTE (who was a surprise winner of the trophy).

You can see HUARTE in action in this 3' Video of 1964 Notre Dame vs Navy football game.

Interestingly enough, the 1963 Heisman winner, Navy's Roger Staubach, is also featured in this video. The college game was a lot slower 50 years ago.

This puzzle had another mention of science entertainer Bill NYE (twice in five days!).

Shout out to Joel Fagliano. His "Mini" was especially good today. ("The Mini" comes daily with my NYT iOS app.)

jae 12:06 AM  

Medium for me too.  As Rex observes it's odd to have a WOE on Mon., but John HUARTE did not ring a bell for me either.   CLU Gulager OTOH I remember from a '60s TV series about Billy the Kid. 

Solid Mon. with some nice theme entries, liked it!

Carola 12:09 AM  

The SPAN of time seems an apt theme to start a special WEEK for those with a PASSION for crosswords. Nice array of theme answers, I thought, especially THE WITCHING HOUR.
CORPSE and CRYPTS seemed rather graphic complements to PASSION WEEK, along with supporting ACTORs: SERAPHS and the LORD (up in the SKY?). Not sure how I feel about the bonus theme answers CEN[tury] that links SECOND and MINUTE (deep? mysteries of time?) and the decade's TEN that closes the grid.

I found it on the easy side, except for HUARTE x OUCH - hadn't heard of him and was at a loss for how to respond to an insult. Had to wait for crosses. Speaking of which, random cross: SCALP x HAIR.

Steve J 12:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 12:16 AM  

Decent, workmanlike puzzle. Liked the theme and theme answers. However, the cluing seemed absurdly easy - even by Monday standards - in many places (e.g., 7D, 42A, 68A).

Nothing much stood out, other than MINUTE RICE. As in, "Wow, MINUTE RICE still exists?" I haven't seen nor heard mention of the stuff since c. 1987.

Unknown 12:16 AM  

I'm excited to see what this week brings.. . LOVE Blindauer and his creativity.

Disagree with Rex.. got this in *almost* a record solve (nearly naticked at the ERICH/CLU crossing)

Been a while since I was this amped for the rest of the week.

I really hope he gets some people angry with him.

When a puzzle says Blindauer, I'm excited. When a week says Blindauer... well, I might have to call in to work

Today's was TIMELY to say the least.

Zeke 12:21 AM  

OK? Did you look at the first two rows of the puzzle? Or the last two? It's like someone put good words in a Veg o Matic and out popped BRO MGM TSP, with its down counterparts APP MOO AOK...
I realize this is all serving a greater purpose, but damn, that was a tough pill to swallow.

Z 12:21 AM  

Exact same time as last week, but it included 20 seconds correcting AsTOR - duh. Lots of answers I never saw in the south as all the downs were gimmes. I'm going with easy even with the WTFs at HUARTE and CLU.

SERAPHS CORPSE LORD PASSION WEEK? Um, wow. Or is CORPSE LORD some Walking Dead allusion? Let's go with that since it is October. Yesterday MOL INA was an INCUBUS, now we are getting all zombiefied.

Zeke 12:22 AM  

Ok, maybe a bitter pill. I'd accuse myself of mixing metaphors, but I've no idea where the 'tough' came from. So, it wasn't a mixed metaphor, it was just nonsense.

Leapfinger 1:12 AM  

I'm 100% with @Jim Quinlan.

Was going to say more, but after seeing his incredible shrinking chair video, I'm speechless; gonna have to sit a while.

chefwen 1:31 AM  

I'm with @Leapy and Jim Q on this one. One of the easiest Mondays ever, Jon even beat me time wise which is only the second or third time, first was an ACME Monday, which he bragged about for a week. Last letter in was the U in HUARTE/OUCH.

Really liked it Patrick, looking forward to the rest of the week.

chefwen 1:34 AM  

@Carola - The game was a little easier on the old ticker than last weeks, no?

mac 5:25 AM  

I needed every cross for Huarte, of course....

Easy - medium Monday, but all during the solve the meta was on my mind. Added excitement. I'm sure Patrick will wow us again.

Lewis 5:47 AM  

Lightning fast for me, pulled HUARTE out of my 10th grade brain (my dad was a big sports fan), that was an easier answer for me than APU. The puzzle felt like it was made with confidence, as though the constructor was actually in control, rather than under the thumb of the puzzle itself.

I like the perpendicular neighbors GNUS/WEEK, a magazine I'd like to see. And a backward hello to ofl (XER).

I'm excited about the week-long meta, but there are big shoes to fill, because the last time we had one it was that unforgettable Patrick Berry week.

Lewis 6:04 AM  

Factoid: The MGM lion was created by company publicist Howard Dietz based on his alma mater's (Columbia University) mascot, and Dietz also selected the motto , Ars Gratia Artis (art for art's sake). One of MGM's big stars in the 1930s was Jean HARLOW.

Quotoid: "When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas." -- Jean HARLOW

Lewis 6:34 AM  

By the way, to Rex and all, please don't give your stabs at what you think the meta is about -- I want to try to figure it out myself!

Elle54 6:44 AM  

C'mon NYT! Twenty $40 subscriptions is the prize for the meta? They should give 100 of them . That seems extremely cheap to me, especially after the price hike for the online puzzle!

Wayne 7:07 AM  

Agree with @Quinlan. CLU/ERICH is an absurd Natick for a Monday. Otherwise solid puzzle. Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Jack Snow 8:03 AM  

50th Anniversary of John Gregory Huarte's Heisman.

Bad call this past weekend.

AliasZ 8:07 AM  

Three things stand out for me in today's puzzle:

- Large number of threes (I counted 33) of which about half could have been eliminated by a competent constructor like PB II by simply removing a few black squares.
- Two symmetrical entries at 3D and 39D running up to the midterm elections in two weeks.
- THE WITCHING HOUR, perhaps followed by grid spanners in each of this week's puzzles, culminating in a revealer on Saturday that will tie them all up neatly into a snazzy Halloween bow.

Other than that, I've got nothing.

I hate stupid contests, but enjoy the challenge. Twenty subscriptions? Puzzle books? Calendars? A signed portrait of Will Shortz? Cheap, cheap, cheap (sounds like a brood of newly hatched chicks). Who cares? I enjoyed the puzzle anyway.

And to show it, here is the Overture to the CREOLE "Faust", Op. 9 by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983). [The title on the YouTube page is incorrect.]

joho 8:09 AM  

This was a time LAPSE puzzle that went from a SECOND to a WEEK in a flash!

HUARTE was Monday easy due to Monday crosses. With O-CH in place it had to be an U, right?

I am so looking forward to all of Patrick's puzzles this week and expect us all to be in for a great "time!"

Sir Hillary 8:09 AM  

John HUARTE won his Heisman before I was born, but he was a no-brainer for me because he graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, which is where I grew up. Another Heisman winner, Matt Leinart, also graduated from there.

I have to think that HUARTE, CLU/ERICH and the 3-letter choppiness at the top and bottom are all in service of the bigger picture. We'll see...

Anyone else chuckle at "Critic Rex"?

jberg 8:11 AM  

Since no one has poined out "Critic Rex" in the clues, I guess everyone got 41D entirely from crosses. HUARTE, on the other hand, I was able to guess from HUAR_E. I had graduated from Wisconsin the spring before, and was losing my interest in football already by the 1964 season, I guess.

Yeah, lots of bad short fill, but hard to avoid that when you've got all those 3X3 boxes on the top and bottom.

I agree with @Lewis, though, so I can say no more.

joho 8:12 AM  

I also liked TAXTIP next to PURSES.

Dorothy Biggs 8:19 AM  

Pretty normal easy peasy Monday.

A couple of nits to pick just because I have a couple of extra minutes:

A "Sis's sibling" could be another sis. Just sayin'.

My usual serving of sugar can be measured in TSPs, but it's easier to measure in tbsps.

I thought the plural of a SERAPH is seraphim.

I think the "official" WITCHINGHOUR is 3:30am. Can anyone confirm this? I think as our culture stays up later, the witching hours get later...or something like that.

Bill NYE getting some love. Again.

@Jack Snow: when a game comes down to one call on the second to the last play of the game, you can almost always point back to a number of other times in a game when the team made some mistakes that put them in that position in the first place. No coach, player, or even fan should believe for a second that an outcome of a game can be decided by a single call. I'm no FSU fan, to be sure, but they won they game fair and square. I'm no fan of ND either and any ND fan should readily admit they've had their fair share of "lucky" calls in their history. My advice to ND: play your football in the ACC, already. Your "independent" status is hardly fair either. There are 4 spots for the 5 major conferences...and you expect that one of the slots is yours because you play whoever you want? And you complain about a call here and there? Ugh. (Source: my in-law side of the family are ND grads)

One last thing, I am going to go on record here as saying I don't really care about the meta-contest...but I'm hoping the quality of the grids don't suffer in order to shoe-horn a bunch puzzles into some large scale puzzle. HUARTE doesn't bode well for the remainder of the week...

RooMonster 8:19 AM  

Hey All !
Well, Hello, it's a PB2 week!

Liled the theme, advancing time... also liked that, as @Carola pointed out, the two extra little time pieces, CEN and TEN. Interesting grid, the swath of blackness in the middle. Also, I see we have a CROTCH load of 3's! 33 of 'em! Someone asked the other day (bad memory over here) how many threes are too many, well, here's your answer! Then again, maybe that's part of the. Meta dohickey??

I do like the not-too-much-dreckness, especially with the plethora of 3's. Have CLU from a clue, meta?? :-)


GILL I. 8:35 AM  

Fun Monday, easy Monday, elegant like a black sleeveless simple dress at a cocktail party. LET the party begin!

Unknown 8:47 AM  

Easy for me. I had a vague awareness of a football player named HUARTE. Before my time, but I used to pay attention to the Heisman and its history when I was a kid. No more. Got ERICH by virtue of it being a common name in Germany, otherwise that + CLU would have been a WOE.

I never notice the themes on Monday. This one slipped right past me.

Unknown 8:51 AM  

Aside from HUARTE, this was easy peasy. I've started solving on the NYT does one see the note? I learned about it from Rex's blog.

As @Carola pointed out, I like that Patrick managed to reference "decade" in the last clue.

L 8:57 AM  

Can someone please explain 62D, Ken? Thanks.

Leapfinger 9:01 AM  

Loved the cryptic formula for the ACTOR CLUe!

For reasons unknown, this was the week I decided to try an Across-only Monday solve. Besides the four rows of 3s, I only had 7 correct entries; I hung fire on 31A (wanting SERAPHim) and had BODIES instead of CORPSE. I take THAT as empirical evidence of a challenging Monday.

Had a go at looking for contest CLUes, and noticed:
*Time units alternate between start and end of theme entries;
*HAIR crosses SCALP (Hi @Carola!), but shouldn't SCALP be horizontal, HAIR standing up?
*GAS is high, which is fine for Helium, but not for CO2;
*INA ROW is INAcolumn;
*MIDLER is not in the MIDdle, TAXTIP isn't at the TIPtop and HARLOW isn't all THAT LOW;
*OREGON's in the SE and TENN's too far North;
*CORPSE is too far from CRYPT;
*PASSIONWEEK isn't in October;
*ENSURE LITE is an oxymoron;
*TRIPPER's coming a DAY late after ALGORE;
*There's MINUTER ICE at both Poles.

Provisional conclusion: Things are not where they ought to be, so Position will be a Factor.

Apologies to @Lewis, and a kudo for the GNUS WEEK!!

Monday, Monday! I'm feeling left OUCH, and suffering from a LAPSE of Luxury.

TENN-Q to PBlindauer, this will be a fun WEEK. Everyone
have a great day.

Hey stop ruining the contest! 9:03 AM  

Hey, I know. Rex could be considerate enough not to publish filled-in grids for a week. That way, everyone could do the contest on his or her own and it would be fair. But no, Rex's ego is too massive to not criticize, brag, show off, condescend, and whine for a whole week, so I guess he'll ruin the contest for everyone with access to the internet.
HEY REX--STOP BEING A DICK! Might as well tell rice to stop being white.

Generic Solver 9:10 AM  

It's funny how people in my age group (myself included) can be unhappy about seeing a clue about Rap music that may as well be a clue about some Charleston Era musician, but when the shoe's on the other foot, younger solvers are miffed by a clue about a Heisman Trophy winner from the '60s.

So Huarte was right in my wheelhouse. He was drafted by the Jets the same year they took Namath (1965) and guess who won the job? Huarte was actually the third-stringer for his one season with the Jets.

chefbea 9:11 AM  

Easy puzzle though I never heard of the football player. Anyone wonder if the purses were Fendis??

I have a stupid question...what is a meta challenge???

Anonymous 9:12 AM  

This is one of the easiest Monday puzzles I have completed in a long time. I don't time myself (that would definitely lessen my enjoyment). Instead I start in NE corner and only fill connecting clues, i.e., no jumping around. HUARTE was a gimme (I remember HUARTE to Snow as the QB to End touchdown combo); also easy were Beatles' question and PASSIONWEEK. I guess that growing up Catholic in the 1960's really came in handy. The fill was a breeze, maybe too easy.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

Yeah I agree that Rex should maybe skip the blog this week. The contest is only fair if nobody cheats, and the blog is basically one big cheat.

PuzzleMom 9:31 AM  

Both Puzzle Mom and Puzzle Dad completed this puzzle error free and in record time. He (former sports writer/editor, he) knew Huarte, she got it from the crosses. When the senior Puzzle people set records, it's NOT a "medium - leaning toward challenging." Can't figure out what anyone would find challenging here.

Ludyjynn 9:31 AM  

Speaking of MINUTERICE, @SteveJ, I subsisted on it for several days last year when a nasty stomach virus raged through town. Microwaveable, easy prep., which when you feel crummy, is the way to go.

Typical easy Monday. Waiting for the other shoe to drop as the WEEK progresses. Please, no hints, people!

I know my response to an insult would be to silently utter an oath, as opposed to saying OUCH. But controlled myself, w/ the help of ACTOR crossing.

Thanks, PB and WS. Looking forward to the rest.

JC66 9:34 AM  

@ Hey stop ruining the contest! said...

Hey, If someone wants to cheat, there are many other ways to access the puzzle's solution. Even if the NY Times doesn't print today's puzzle's solution tomorrow, one can always go to Amy's blog or access Across Lite and hit "Reveal."

Whirred Whacks 9:46 AM  

Like many of you (especially @Lewis), I'm pumped about the META-CONTEST. As the week progresses, will the competitive members of this forum turn it into an episode of "Survivor" or "Lord of the Flies"? Time will tell.

Speaking of time, here's my initial hunch for
The Solution to the Patrick Blindauer Meta Puzzle

Good luck everyone!

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Good one, @WWhacks!

Denise 9:53 AM  

Totally missed the theme, again, by solving the downs. That made the puzzle pretty easy for me. After stopping by here, I am now looking forward to the rest of the week. But, I'll stick with my down clues and hope for the best.

I got it quickly 9:58 AM  

I solved the Meta already - I win!. May I please ask for a subscription to the AV puzzle rather than the NYTimes? I mean, I should get something of actual value for solving the Meta this quickly, no?

Answer: Based on Rex's hint, I focused on HUARTE. Break it down to HU/ARTE - ARTE is French for art. Hu is Hugium, giving you hug. Art hugs = Art appreciation!

Where can I pick up my swag?

Z 10:03 AM  

@Lewis - I get what you're saying but If any of the guesses today have anything to do with the actual meta challenge I'll be shocked (and it ain't much of a puzzle). Half the fun for me will be to see how deep the rabbit holes will be we all fall down into.

@Whiners - Hey, here's an idea - don't read the blogs this week. That way the challenge won't be ruined and you won't publicly demonstrate that Pee Wee Hermanism, "I know you are but what am I." Or you could protest the way @Lewis did, calmly and without name-calling (like that will happen).

As for the prizes - it's going to be a drawing amongst winners - odds of winning will vary. But hey, if it makes you feel any better, I promise I won't enter.

@chefbea - a meta puzzle is a puzzle about the puzzles. The note with the puzzle says to keep this week's puzzle because there will be a meta puzzle at the end of the week.

quilter1 10:07 AM  

Very easy Monday for me. I'm with @chefbea in not really knowing what a meta is. I looked it up once and was not enlightened by the explanation. But I am looking forward to the week as I always enjoy Patrick's puzzles under any circumstances.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:11 AM  

Is M&A still travelling? I hope he has a chance to comment on this puzzle, as there will never be more of a "moo-cow answer" than 7 D!

Arlene 10:14 AM  

I got HUARTE (from the crosses) and I never get anything related to sports - so this really isn't a big deal, folks.
As for the big prizes for winning the Meta challenge - reminds me of the joke -

First prize is one on-line subscription to the NYT crosswords.
Second prize is two on-line subscriptions.

AliasZ 10:15 AM  


As to your hunch about the contest answer:

God only knows, God makes his plan,
The information's unavailable to the mortal man.
We work our jobs collect our pay,
Believe we're gliding down the highway
When in fact we're rickrolling away.

Rickrolling away, rickrolling away,
You know the nearer your destination,
The more you're rickrolling away...

Davidph 10:17 AM  

@Susan -- to see the note, touch the little i symbol on the top row.

Google 10:18 AM  

@L, 8:57 AM -

noun: ken's range of knowledge or sight.
"such determination is beyond my ken"
synonyms: knowledge, awareness, perception, vision, understanding, grasp, comprehension, realization, appreciation, consciousness
"their conversation was beyond my ken"

ScottishNorthern English
verb: ken; 3rd person present: kens; past tense: kenned; past participle: kenned; past tense: kent; past participle: kent; gerund or present participle: kenning

1. know.
"d'ye ken anyone who can boast of that?"

Steve J 10:40 AM  

@Hey stop ruining the contest!: I know few things give you pleasure more than bitching about Rex most every day, but today's "complaint" is your lamest one yet.

One, if it's a good meta - and given Blindauer's record for trickery, odds are it will be - you can have been provided every solved puzzle and still not easily get the answer to the final question that will mark the contest. Having filled-in grids is of no benefit other than saving you the time of having done the puzzles.

Two, the solutions to the daily grids are everywhere. Hey, look, there's one here. And there's another one here. I found half a dozen other sites that post solutions daily. I also can find the solution in the NYT's own crossword app, where all I have to do is click "reveal puzzle". Same thing with people who solve it via the .puz file the NYT makes available for download for solving on desktop computers or through the NYT's web app on their site.

And unless they break decades of history and don't run today's solution in tomorrow's paper, the NYT themselves are "ruining" the puzzle. I'm sure you'll be posting over at Wordplay to complain about Will Shortz and his massive ego, too.

Oh, and rice isn't naturally white unless you process the crap out of it.

Steve J 10:48 AM  

@chefbea and @quilter1: The idea of a meta puzzle is that there's a puzzle about the puzzle. Usually, this means there's a question to answer at the end, and the answer is hidden within the original puzzle. These puzzles often have some common thread running through theme answers that isn't immediately apparent, there might be some sort of hidden code (such as the Braille puzzle run about a year ago in the NYT), etc. The way this week's puzzle run is set up, it looks like in order to solve Saturday's puzzle, you'll have to figure out things that are related to the M-F puzzles.

Hope that clears it up.

Elephant's Child 10:50 AM  

@quilter1, what you looked up may have been statistical meta-analysis, in which studies with different statistical designs are combined and analysed in such a way that it's valid to combine them. However, in a general sense, a meta is an X about X; as @Z said, a puzzle about puzzles, a song about songs, a poem about poems, and so forth.

I was remembering a contest puzzle that had a filled enclosed box in the center, and the challenge was to find the lock and key that would open the box. In that case, it didn't matter if the solution was known; it was still a challenge to suss out the key and lock. However, the fact that xwordinfo isn't displaying solution grids this week suggests that the PB meta might be different, and that OFL could be running a spoiler. Don't care, though; I'd rather have the blog.

@AliasZ, I'm impressed you knew the lyrics to "Slip Slidin' Aweigh".

Noam D. Elkies 11:10 AM  

Of all the things in this puzzle it's 38D:HARLOW that excites you? YAWN (Yet Another Who-cares? Name).

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

'D'ye KEN John Peel with his coat so gay?
D'ye KEN John Peel at the break o' day?
D'ye KEN John Peel when he's far, far away
With his hounds and his horn in the morning?

This song was Gravely written and Cowardly rewritten to celebrate Scottish Huntsman John Peel, who apparently was born in 1776. Wiki indicates a helluva lot more than that is known about him.

RooMonster 11:22 AM  

Wow! Reading a bit much into the meta today? Or just too much coffee?


chefbea 11:32 AM  

Thanks everyone for the explanations of a meta puzzle. I thought maybe meta stood for " May Each Thing Advance" !!!

Carola 11:46 AM  

@chefwen - For sure! Love all those Lambeau Leaps :)

Dorothy Biggs 12:05 PM  

hey, just a thought, but if we collectively solved the meta puzzle, maybe we could all share the winnings?

the prize is $1 million, right?

Andrew Heinegg 12:10 PM  

Nice factoid; Without having ever bothered to look it up, I speculated it had to do with the N.Y. library lions.

foxaroni 12:24 PM  

Easy puzzle. Dreading the meta. Go Royals!

r.alphbunker 12:34 PM  

In a show of solidarity with @Z I am not going to enter the contest either!

The following might be of interest to some people:

A professor of Classics and Classical archaeology, Stephen Glass, who regularly taught a class in Classical mythology posted the following to

In the final exam, I always included, just for fun, a series of what I liked to call "crossword puzzle" references, among which was always a series of English words derived from Classical myth and religion. Wordsmith readers might want to try this sampler:


It's interesting to note that the English language is not very decisive about whether to capitalize adjectives derived from mythological proper names. Procrustean and Sisyphean, for example, are usually capitalized, while junoesque, protean, and bacchanalian are not.

Martel Moopsbane 12:44 PM  

@r.alphbunker, your list put me in a Halcion daze.

Martel Moopsbane 12:52 PM  

@leapfinger, perhaps the connection between PASSIONWEEK and October is akin to the connection between the March-brewed beer that is served at Oktoberfest?

Hartley70 1:05 PM  

I keep getting "There was an error downloading the puzzle. Please try again later" on my NYT iphone app. Anyone else having trouble?

LHS 888 1:09 PM  

Downs-only Report: Medium Challenging. Official DNF due to ERICa. Without looking at the across clue "aES" seemed like it might be reasonalble. When I finished the grid and didn't get Mr. Happy Pencil, I glanced at 69A, and the obvious answer was HES. Drat!

I figured out the theme by looking at how the grid was shaping up and used them to suss out some of the more difficult down answers. OUCH was the last word in the grid given T-GA had to be TOGA, and H-ARTE had to be HUARTE.

oil > GAS
Sermon > SPEECH
cYc (crazy guess) > EYc > EYE

I really enjoyed the challenge. Thanks PB2 / WS!

ANON B 1:20 PM  

1) As usual, the comments on HUARTE are way overdone.If
you never heard of him, so what?
Now you can't say that again.
2)What is a meta puzzle? I looked up 'Meta" and it didn't help.

Gerrythek 1:21 PM  

I knew HUARTE instantly. I remember how excited I was when the Jets drafted him. WOW! The Jets got the Heismann winner! Then, puzzling to some, they went and drafted another quarterback, some kid from Alabama named Joe Namath.

Masked et Anonym007Us 2:00 PM  

I dunno, @63...
I give odds of HUARTE figurin into the meta deal at about 50-1.
Given the upcomin holiday, I would give the 35-A entry about a 5-2 shot, in that same dept.

For the Royals winning the series, I'd say they are a 6-5 favorite, due mostly to home field advantage. On the down side, M&A is rooting for them, which is usually sorta the kiss of death.

Day-um, @BobK. Now there's yer rodeo, in the moo cow clue business, all right. I think I used that exact 7-D clue once, a while back in my E-Z Runtpuz (tm) -- the one where the theme revealer was WELL,DUH, and almost every clue was moo-cow easy.

Glad to read that @muse gets to switch over to teachin English soon. 4-1 odds she holds a protractor-burnin party, on her back patio.

fave clue: {Apt anagram of CO-STAR - S}. Has it all. Anagrams, math, movies. Not totally clear on the "aptness" of the removin the S part, but probably am overthinkin it -- or maybe we have just entered the M et A Zone... (9-1 odds, there)

M et A

p.s. They turned off the "Analyze" puz button at xwordinfo, so I'm unable to confirm my U-count, this week. The Solver program is workin wonky, also, so I'm callin a moratorium on M&A runtz production, until stuff gets back to shipshape.

M et Also 2:13 PM  

Ooh. Ooh. Almost forgot...

Really really rare puz feature, today: Double stacked, weeject spanners, in top two and bottom two rows. This could also figure into the meta deal (11-1 odds).

"At Odds with Reality Since 2008"

r.alphbunker 2:28 PM  

M & A

Wow! You're back. Your posts are like incantations to the gods of creativity. I always feel more creative after reading them.

Even though I am not very good at posting odds, I will venture that the odds that the recent change at has something to do with the metapuzzle are 14-1. What do you think?

RooMonster 2:39 PM  

@At odds with reality

True, and ... har.

M&A twistin me brain since 2014.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

I too am getting that error message @Hartley70! So frustrating, any help would be greatly appreciated.

Bonnie in O Little Town of Bellingham

john towle 3:05 PM  

Seraph has two plurals, seraphim (Hebrew transliteration) & seraphs (Hebrew translation) So both are correct. Wikipedia has a very comprehensive account of the etymology of the word.



Anonymous 4:48 PM  

I was convinced it was a rebus when I couldn't get "PARKER" to fit in 41D.

Anonymous 5:23 PM  

Interesting logic--"There's lots of ways to cheat on a NYTimes crossword, so it's no big deal if Rex enables cheating." Anyone else see the logic? The arrogance of Rex's cut members comes close to that of the great one himself. White is right.

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

Too bad Evil Doug didn't drop by tell old stories about when he flew MOO USAIR. Coward.

Anonymous 5:39 PM  

How is Rex "enabling cheating"????
He is simply reviewing the puzzle like quite a few others. Only one's self can cheat. That is solely up to you and your own conscience.

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

Well some people would consider giving the answers away for a quiz to be cheating. Yes, even though it's someone else's choice to use those answers. Not the readers of this blog I guess. Great combination of white privilege, loose moral standards, and raw ego. I guess a blog commentariat that is generally supportive of science deniers has no problem with lax ethics.

Mr. Benson 6:34 PM  

I don't need the prize for this contest to be big, but I wish it were something I can show off to my friends if I win -- a book, a paperweight, whatever. Wasn't the prize for the Patrick Berry/Julius Caesar contest a few years back something tangible?

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

An illustrated calendar, I think. Ashen and Noir?

Not sure I agree. Most Americans already have too much stuff.

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

Hi all. I've never commented on this site before. I've gotta say, I think someone who respected puzzles and constructors would refrain from publishing answers and hints when there is a week-long contest going on. Just my 2 cents.

Z 10:04 PM  

Do I hear a Troll?

GILL I. 10:13 PM  

@Z...You're breaking my heart!

Z 10:21 PM  

What? Did I post the wrong link?

Hartley70 10:25 PM  

@Anonymous at 3:03pm Bonnie I think I know what's wrong. Are you and I both still using the Magmic NYT crossword app? I never upgraded to the NYT wholly owned app after they ended their contract with Magmic because so many readers hated the new version. Maybe today was D-day for old Magmic users because I can't download the Tuesday puzzle either. And I can't get the NYT to recognize my subscription that isn't up for renewal until next June. Grrrr! Does this ring a bell with you?

Joe Dipinto 10:27 PM  

I don't understand the (mostly Anonymous) objections to Rex, or anyone else, publishing the correct solution to each puzzle this week. In order to tackle the meta-challenge, you will HAVE to have already completed each weekday puzzle - correctly - and then follow whatever instructions are given with Saturday's puzzle. Duh.

Ellen S 10:43 PM  

@John Towle, thanks for the reassurance about SERAPHim. When I was in 6th grade (before the 10 Commandments) we had an English unit on prefixes, suffixes and roots - it was life-changing, and in a good way. One thing we learned was that Seraph and Cherub were Hebrew words, pluralized with "im". But I guess they are fully naturalized now. Oh, well.

As for all these anonymice accusing @Rex of cheating, or even racism by displaying the answers to the day's puzzle in his blog, as he has done each day for ... how many years? I am, what can I say? I'm puzzled! I found this blog in the first place, while looking up answers while solving the syndicated puzzles. I never would have accused the blog of cheating. Rather, look in the mirror.

If Rex has somehow given something away in his speculation about what the Meta-puzzle would hang on, or if the others here who have likewise speculated have likewise given something away, somehow, something I don't understand anyway (possibly because it's just idle speculation?), I'm with @Wreck -- if you don't want to know the answers, don't come here til you've solved the puzzle. Or ... don't come here at all!!!

Z 11:13 PM  

@Ellen S - I had written much the same, then decided there was no use trying to reason with anonytrolls.

@Gill I.P. - You know the rules and so do I...

Way over three and out

Leapfinger 4:34 AM  


See comments 10:48, 10:50 a.m. for some info about meta puzzles

Anonager 7:19 AM  

Way to go, @Ellen!

spacecraft 11:30 AM  

As part of a larger puzzle, this might have some merit; on its own...not so much. A plethora of threes make for some dismal fill. Yes, TAXTIP is cool, but if I have to pay for it with XER, the price is high.

The obvious "week-theme" is to continue with ever longer time periods, possibly including EPOCH, but that seems like fodder for no further than Wedensday. No, it's something else. Certainly that presents the only challenge herein; I don't get why we didn't receive an "easy" rating from OFL. Off his feed, is he?

As it stands, this one is C-. Like my 562, not very good.

DMG 12:40 PM  

As noted by many above, an easy enough puzzle. Any possible hang-ups ("name that tune" and some sports guy) filled themselves from the crosses. Now to see how this fits into the weekly progression, and whether I can hang onto the daily solutions until Saturday!

Aha! 135

rondo 2:06 PM  

I presume that since we are 5 weeks late to the game that THEWITCHINGHOUR will have something to do with Halloween. And no, I haven't looked ahead. Most exciting thing about this one was yeah baby HARLOW, with appearances also by OTERI and MIDLER. Dang near gimme on HUARTE while REX and the younger crowd complain. I've been to ODESSA in the former USSR twice - they got some crazy little women there . . .

416 OUCH

rain forest 3:47 PM  

Well, I never meta puzzle I didn't like (at least in the NYT), and this is no exception. Pretty easy though, not even hinting at "medium".

So this is the start of meta week. I doubt I'll be interested other than solving the daily puzzles, as I usually do.

The cornucopia of 3's didn't bother me at all, and in fact if a constructor can cram so many of them in there with very little dreck, that is a feat.

52619 Lotta cards-little joy.

Dirigonzo 4:48 PM  

I thought SERAPHS and CRYPTS were interesting words to see in a Monday grid, and "The Divine One" Bette MIDLER" is welcome any day of the week. DELEGATE/OPPONENT/TYRANT/SPEECH looks like a political commentary mini-theme.

6728- let's see, 13 plus 10, carry the two - oh, never mind.

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