Pygmalion's beloved / SUN 10-19-14 / Soprano Licia singer at Met for 26 years / Stew dish known in Thailand as suki / Pull classic internet prank on / Harry Peter Parker's college friend / Gucci competitor

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Constructor: David Phillips 

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Why Not?" — in familiar phrases, words w/ a terminal (or near-terminal) "Y" are changed to homophones that don't have "Y," creating all the wacky you'd ever want.

Theme answers:
  • TRUSTEE SIDEKICK (3D: Subordinate of a board chair?)
  • IDOLS OF THE KING (24A: Elvis's heroes?)
  • CLEAR THE WEIGH (37A: Embarrassed person's comment after getting off an electronic scale?)
  • SUNDAE BEST (49A: #1 item at Dairy Queen?)
  • SARI STATE (68A: Gujarat or Punjab, dresswise?)
  • CHAISE REBELLION (46D: "I've had enough of this patio furniture!," e.g.?)
  • DEVIL RAISE (85A: Wicked poker bet?)
  • GUISE AND DOLLS (94A: Two concerns of a secretive voodoo practicer?)
  • NO RIME OR REASON (112A: Lack of logic and a frosty coating?)
Word of the Day: RICKROLL (83A: Pull a classic Internet prank on) —
Rickrolling is an Internet meme involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up". The meme is a bait and switch; a person provides a hyperlink which is seemingly relevant to the topic at hand, but actually leads to Astley's video. The link can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true destination of the link without clicking. People led to the music video are said to have been rickrolled. Rickrolling has extended beyond web links to playing the video or song disruptively in other situations, including public places, such as a live appearance of Astley himself in the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The meme helped to revive Astley's career. (wikipedia)
• • •

Found this pretty unpalatable. First off, I didn't even see the "Y" thing at first. I just saw a bunch of Terrible homophone wackiness, so I just plowed through and tried to keep the wincing to a minimum. Even after having the "Y" angle pointed out to me, I don't think this is Sunday-worthy. Let's start with the wackiness, which often can't even be clued in a way (!) that makes the least bit of sense. [Lack of logic and a frosty coating?]?? What is that? The clue is nonsense, and not funny ha ha nonsense, but literally completely impossible-to-imagine nonsense. [Two concerns of a secretive voodoo practicer?] works, by comparison. The answer is still wacky, but at least it's a wackiness that can be got at via an almost normal-sounding question. SUNDAE BEST makes no sense syntactically as an answer to its clue, [#1 item at Dairy Queen?]. None. English isn't French—you can't just put the modifier after the noun and expect that to fly. Not in a self-standing phrase like this, you can't. Question requires "best sundae," of course. This is why you don't Touch wackiness unless you know what you are doing. "Wacky" doesn't mean "all rules and laws of grammar and sense are off!" Wacky only plays if you show some sense of awareness of and respect for the way English works. Speaking of, CLEAR THE WEIGH? That little number on the "electronic scale" is called a "weight." Of alllllllll the phrases one might come up with that have the word "WAY" in them, *this* is the one that makes the cut? I do not understand. Also, TRUSTEE requires a pronunciation change—this is a theme failing. It truly is. Your TRUSTEE answer is the answer you brainstorm and then throw out. That's how it's supposed to work, anyway. Kill your darlings.

SARI STATE is a good example of how wackiness oughta work. It's a pun that is also literally true. Unexpected answer, chuckle-worthy—spot-on work. But much of the rest of the theme is a wreck on either the front end (cluing) or the back end (answer). And the fill is … the fill. It's NYT-average (i.e. probably weaker than it should be, but passable).

Do SHE-CRABs taste different than he-crabs? And, follow-up: Are there such things as "he-crabs," or are those just "crabs"? Whatever the answers to those questions, SHE-CRAB was utterly new to me. See also Harry OSBORN (are there not more famous / actual human OSBORNs out there?). Also had no idea about ALBANESE, a very grid-friendly but not well-known and thus crutchy 8. GALATEA is another long name with favorable letter patterns. Maybe she's more famous than ALBANESE, maybe she's not. Not sure. Since she's ancient, probably. I'm giving +1 to RICKROLL, because I haven't thought of it in a long time; it's a great piece of Dumb Internet History. And I always love remembering SENDAK. But that's about all the love I've got to give today.

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


George Barany 12:32 AM  

@Rex, I found much of your analysis compelling and spot-on. However, allow me to throw a little love to the late Licia ALBANESE who passed away two months ago at the age of 105 (link is to her New York Times obituary). Also, I think that the ancient Greek Pygmalion myth is fair game for a puzzle, especially since it was the basis of a classic George Bernard Shaw play which Lerner and Loewe converted into the beloved musical "My Fair Lady" (slot GALATEA into the Eliza Doolittle role).

Whirred Whacks 12:59 AM  

I plodded through this. I usually like bad puns, but I didn't seem receptive to this particular lot.

RICKROLL made me smile (I assume the same is true for many of you). Question: who will be the first commenter to actually Rick Roll us with a Rick Roll link?

I met Maurice Sendak in the late 80s. Interesting guy, but he seemed very unhappy. Perhaps it was just a troubled period for him.

The second time in 10 days for SHARIF(S).

Martin 1:11 AM  

She-crabs (not surprisingly) have roe, unlike male crabs. (I don't know what else they're called.)

The roe is a garnish in she-crab soup, placed in the bowl before the soup is poured over. In many areas it's illegal to retain or sell females since a very few males is all it takes to allow many females to make new crabs. Many she-crab soup recipes allow for this contingency by suggesting a replacement garnish of hard-boiled egg yolk.

The meat of males and females taste pretty much the same.

The shes are easy to distinguish from the hes at a glance -- the bottom of a female blue crab looks like the Capitol dome while the bottom a male looks like the Washington Monument. Both are uncanny.

Martin 1:17 AM  

BTW, the technical term for a she-crab is a "sook" and for the male, "jimmy."

Here are their external parts.

Casco Kid 1:39 AM  

Not much fun. I solved it themeless for 90 minutes, then IDOLSOFTHEKING appeared and I fiigured "why not" meant "dumb puns because why not?" Oh, if you have to ask... (On third rereading of the puns, I see Rex's point regarding the Y-metamorphosis thing. Ugh. Useless. )

Beyond that, I finished the grid with copious errors in 2:15.

[First class] INoRO, or golden. Get it? I liked it fine.

[Cool and then some] fLoRAHIP. Flora makes any amount of hip hipper, no? Wacky, man!

[Left by plane] FLEWOff.

Plus a Natick at GALATiA/FiNDI. Can't say I've heard of either. praDa wasn't going to work, however hard I tried. After Prada, I was at the mercy of the crosses.

DEVaLRAISE/ETALIa was a frustrating WTF. So was INAPEf. DEVILRAISE, a low point for cluing and fill, demonstrates that theme was so weak I was satisfied to hazard my luck with seeming nonsense. Wacky is how wacky clues. WACKY MAN!

Pretty bad.

Remember Patrick Berry who gave us no choice but to find the one complete answer? Whatever happened to him?

Anonymous 2:13 AM  

Loved the Rickroll! My son was kicked out of class for the entire year when he set up his computer to rickroll the next user- and that was only three years ago when he was in seventh grade...

jae 2:25 AM  

Easy-medium for me too.

@Martin - Thanks for the SHECRAB info, I had no idea. When I traveled to the gulf coast for business it was Po'Boys, gumbo, and the world's best oysters.

@Casco - Me too for DEVaL at first.  I'm never sure if they want II or IA?

And thank you BEQ for introducing me to RICKROLL a few years back.

Liked this more than Rex did, but, as usual he makes some good points.

'mericans in Paris 2:50 AM  

ostly via WhatsApp with my wife while on the train to Hamburg.

Agree with Rex and Casco Kid. Lots of over-writes, got SHECRAB wrong, don't understand at least 10% of the answers.

Please, please somebody explain 112A. Is IN A PET a Britishisim? We had at first PuT out.

Did like the cluing on 31A, 80A, and 103A, though.

Anonymous 3:09 AM  


A whole new take on crabs and privates.

Weren't we done with crotches yesterday?

chefwen 3:21 AM  

We did it, we got it done, but neither of us enjoyed it. Sorry, David, but it didn't cut the muster. Wish I had something positive to say, but...

My hat is off to those who liked this one, I wish I did too.

Anonymous 3:24 AM  

A) @Rex: Galitea was female, not male; and 2) can anyone explain "IDOLSOFTHEKING" to me? I doan geddit. I mean, Elvis = The King, I get that; but what's being punned and what's the y-substitution? Thanks in advance; signed, Dense McThickhead.

jae 3:36 AM  

@'mericans - one of the definitions of pet is "a fit of peevishness, sulkiness, or anger."   Hence "IN A PET".

@Denise - Idylls of the King, published between 1859 and 1885, is a cycle of twelve narrative poems by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892; Poet Laureate from 1850) which retells the legend of King Arthur, his knights, his love for Guinevere and her tragic betrayal of him, and the rise and fall of Arthur's kingdom.

Moly Shu 3:46 AM  

@Anon3:24. Maybe idylls of the King? I think that's something, but not quite sure what. A book or poem or rap song, something. Yea, didn't like it much either except for DEIGNED, hi @LMS. And I liked the Bronski Beat video @Rex, that Jimmy Sometrville sure can sing. Not clicking on any links today lest I get RICKROLLed. I'm looking at you @Z and @GeorgeBarany.

On Borrowed Time 3:52 AM  

@casco-Was shouting out Mr. Berry's name on several occasions during this solve. I am reluctant to cry out "Natick" as I am certain some wisenheimer will smugly point out that it is only a Natick if you are ignorant of the answer. This, of course, would be missing the point. Patrick Berry would never, never, never cross obscure proper nouns. Nor would he cross semi-obscure proper nouns. I wonder if he has ever crossed perfectly obvious proper nouns. I find Mr. Berry"s puzzles much more challenging than this one, yet I can always finish a Berry without crossing my fingers, even if it takes me all day.

Moly Shu 3:56 AM  

Sorry Jimmy, I meant Somerville. Need some of yesterday's autocorrect,

John Child 5:54 AM  

Why Not? Well in this case because it wasn't much fun. I found some clues and most of the puny answers to be muddy. IDOLS didn't evoke Idylls, TRUSTEE made me think of trusted, not trusty. Some of the other puns were better, but I never saw the Y-to-E conceit.

A lot of clues were 'huh?,' and I said 'I hope it's not ___' many times. Mostly, though, it was. URGE and [Compel] aren't synonyms to me. What does GUISE have to do with voodoo? That the voodo spirits are disGUISEd as saints? Weak.

And I learned a few things too. Where I grew up getting ICED IN was common enough in winter, but the airport clue left me cold. Sure 'nuff, that's a thing that happens to airports. ULLMAN, TOLKIEN, INCUBUS, and UPSTART are all nice, but too little to save this one for me.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:45 AM  

I am a solver who truly enjoys puzzles in which "all rules and laws of grammar and sense are off!"

I enjoyed this puzzle.

My greatest problems were with two short answers. Only overnight did I figure out that the clue for 72 A, TAKE ONE, meant "Words on a sign posted next to free samples."

(I have no problem with CLEAR THE WEIGH! Since the comment is being made after using an electronic scale, we may presume that "the weigh" refers to the entire process, which these days likely entailed entering one's name, Social Security number, password, height and grade point average before getting the weight. It is all of that which is being cleared!)

And only reading Rex's blog did I discover that I had an error at 114 D and 117 A. With ENSNARE an absolute certainty (ENSNARL never entered my mind; my spell check doesn't like it either), I was stuck with OED instead of OLD, and I was ready to look in today's paper for a correction for the clue!

Otherwise, a clear write-over at 25 D, FLEW OFF before FLEW OUT, and a little mess at 109 A, tried to slip SCH... into Mr. Shultz's name.

Gill I. P. 7:00 AM  

Thank you Martin for that visual of a Jimmy crab's penis.....I might never eat crab cakes again!
I rather enjoyed this puzzle. You can give me puns any which way as long as they're not loose and I become a happy camper.
I do agree with @Rex though on the loopy cluing. "Wicked poker bet?" = DEVIL RAISE???? That was a NO RIME OR REASON for moi.
Some fresh stuff here (hi @jae - BEQ introduced me to RICK ROLL as well.) OEUVRE has me thinking EGG and UNITARD is just fun to say.
It's a Sunday....a decent INCUBUS HOT POT of a puzzle.

Danp 7:07 AM  

I don't think I had ever heard of the Shays Rebellion. I assumed 46D was some reference to Guevara, but there is no Y in Che.

AliasZ 7:49 AM  

Not uncharacteristically, GALATEA and ALBANESE were my first two entries, and ESAI. Compared to ESAI, GALATEA and ALBANESE were a breath of fresh air.

As for the theme, I tend to be less strict with punning than @Rex, although I do agree with some of his criticism. The key thing to accept with puns is the playfulness of it, and that logic and grammar goes out the window. Just go with the flaw [SIC].

I am grateful for being reminded of the Shays [CHAISE] REBELLION. It makes for compelling reading, and a good reminder of the trials and tribulations that led to George Washington becoming President. Should be on every American's required re-reading list.

- RESAVE: If you click "Save" repeatedly, nothing happens. You can move a document to a different folder or drive and save it as new there. Or you can REname it. RESAVE, not so much.
- Is TIVO still a thing?
- Who says ULTRAHIP? Can hyperHIP, überHIP, supremoHIP be far behind?
- ALLEGER is today's SOLER.
- From leoTARD we get UNITARD: this is what's called a reTARD.

There are so many musical possibilities today, it is hard to choose: Licia ALBENESE, REEK Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," ALICIA de Larrocha, the Gregorian chant "VENI creator spiritus," Marlon Brando trying to sing in GUISE AND DOLLS, Pablo de SARISTATE, etc. etc. But I think the opera Acis and GALATEA by G. F. Handel would be perfect for a quiet Sunday morn.

OldCarFudd 7:53 AM  

I didn't like it, either. Aside from the other comments, UNI as a standalone as well as a prefix, plus ONE-D, looked sloppy. But I don't think it's fair to pound on this young man for not being as good as Patrick Berry. Patrick is arguably the best creator Will has, and he has tons of experience. This young, bright fellow has just had his second puzzle printed. He has time to learn, and he will. I wonder how good Patrick Berry's second puzzle was.

chefbea 7:54 AM  

I'm with @Chefwen..did not like the puzzle

@Martin thanks for the lesson. I live in the south now and have never seen she crab soup on any menu.

Why is 85 across one of the themes? Never heard of devil raise...where is the y suppose to be.?

George Barany 8:14 AM  

@Chefbea: Devil rays. Also, at one point, the name of the major-league baseball franchise from Tampa Bay, Florida, until they were pressured to drop the "Devil" from their name.

@Moly Shu: Touché!

Loren Muse Smith 8:33 AM  

Well, for me, the title was a big help right off the bat. I figured it'd be a Lose the Y Trick. What adds to the idea is that there are no other Y's in the grid! Bravo, David.

I'm with @Bob – all bets are off when it comes to puns, though I see what Rex et allii are saying – none of them made me laugh out loud. Agreed, SARI STATE is the winner. I tell you, when I was at the club, Indian women would fret over linen colors for the ballroom, and the whole time I'm thinking, "Why bother?" The ballroom becomes this beautiful explosion of color as the women arrive, all in a SARI STATE.

LOANED - @Bob, look in your OED to see what year LOAN became a full-fledged verb. I certainly couldn't use LOAN that way in Mr. Parcel's English class in college.

@John Child - I love the word UPSTART, too. Hmmm. Startup upstart. . .breakout outbreak. . .

And, yeah, @Moly Shu – no BOO HISS here for the word DEIGNED. Also – I vote that we change the rule to "I before E except in receive and conceive, and deceive" and call it a day.

The word TENDRIL has an evil feel to it for me.

I got a kick out of the two "bodies/body of art" clues.

@Gill I.P. - So this SHE CRAB sidles into a bar wearing a UNITARD. . .

Starting on the 28th, I get to switch from teaching history and art to teaching only high school English. No more cramming stuff like the Treaty of Versailles, the Freedman's Bureau, and La Salle all weekend!

David – thanks for the workout. I agree with @OldCarFudd – all Sundays can't be a PB. Sheesh. (Hey, @Roo!)

Lewis 8:40 AM  

I'm with @aliasz on "go with the flaw" regarding puns. I liked SARISTATE, CHAISEREBELLION, and GUISEANDDOLLS; they were the ones that gave me a smile. There were a few clever clues as well. Otherwise it was just getting through to the end. Woke my brain up, and I'm thankful for that.

Jim Quinlan 8:52 AM  

Solved with a friend... we were put off by the title because WHY NOT makes it sound like just the Y should be missing from the base answers. Or the Y sound should be missing. But neither of those is true.

We team solved it in about 30 though, which is a new record, so there's that...

Never heard of IN A PET and I've never heard a KEG referred to as an ALE KEG

Also, we found it difficult to erase the LO in LOUVRE and replace it with OEUVRE...

Didn't hate it as much as Rex, but his assessment seemed pretty spot on.

Jim Quinlan 8:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 8:57 AM  

@Loren - I wish I had a real OED. The only one I have is a mistake in my grid!

However, My Merriam Webster has the following:

Usage Discussion of LOAN
The verb loan is one of the words English settlers brought to America and continued to use after it had died out in Britain. Its use was soon noticed by British visitors and somewhat later by the New England literati, who considered it a bit provincial. It was flatly declared wrong in 1870 by a popular commentator, who based his objection on etymology. A later scholar showed that the commentator was ignorant of Old English and thus unsound in his objection, but by then it was too late, as the condemnation had been picked up by many other commentators. Although a surprising number of critics still voice objections, loan is entirely standard as a verb. You should note that it is used only literally; lend is the verb used for figurative expressions, such as “lending a hand” or “lending enchantment.”

Oh, and for those who object to "ALLEGER" - I agree, everyone knows the proper word is "alligator."

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

@chefwen, I believe it's "cut the mustard."

NCA President 9:12 AM  

I did not hate it. CHAISEREBELLION and IDOLSOFTHEKING were lost on me since I didn't really know either of the Y-versions of the "puns."

Do homophones count as puns? Now I'm a bit there a pun rule somewhere that differentiates the two?

I long for the day when puzzle humor transcends puns and moves to irony. Heck, I'd be okay with a little sarcasm or satire. But puns seem to be the default "humor" of a puzzle. I suppose "word play" is best found in puns...but still, I'm becoming punned out.

Nothing more to be said about the grid, for me, than what Rex said. Lots of "wait, what?" for me today. Inconsistency leads to what I mentioned yesterday in my entry here...loss of trust between constructor and solver. If you're gong to get all whacky, you've got to do it in a way that we trust there will be a pay off. If we, as solvers, cease to believe in the answers, then we just end up dutifully filling in the blanks...which is not particularly fun.

Gary Martin 9:14 AM  

Cut the Mustard.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Somebody needs another vacation. Again, doesn't the NYT know that their ultimate goal is to please RP?

Twangster 9:21 AM  

Say what you want about this puzzle, but thanks to the sharifs clue I finally understand the lyrics to "Rock the Casbah." Only took 30+ years.

Muscato 9:27 AM  

I thought it was mostly harmless good fun, although CLEAR THE WEIGH was a stretch.

And call me judgy (which the kids tell me is the worst thing one can be in the world today), but people who are doing the New York Times Sunday puzzle ought to at least heard of Licia Albanese (a fixture of Manhattan life for six decades or more), "Idylls of the King" and Shay's Rebellion.

jberg 9:36 AM  

I liked it more than most of you. I liked the theme answers fine, despite any inconsistencies. (By the way, the one that @Rex likes, SARI STATE, also requires a change in pronunciation.) What I didn't like so much was all the cul de sacs, many of which were hard to get into unless you guessed the theme answer. I kept having to restart when I ran out of crosses to work from.

I got the theme early with IDOLS OF THE KING (my grandmother, RAISEd in a 'cards are the work of the DEVIL" family, played "Authors," where that was one of the cards.) It was still hard to see some of them, however.

Whoever asked about GUISE AND DOLLS -- the GUISE is what lets the praticer be "secretive."

Didn't like URGE, and questioned 94D, since many kids make models from Lego. But overall if was OK.

Sadly, I didn't realize until reading @Bob_Kerfuffle's comment that I had exactly the same error.

Lewis 9:39 AM  

Factoid: HOT POTS are pots of stock kept at the center of the table into which ingredients (such as thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood) are placed and cooked. Dipping sauce is placed on the side.

Quotoid: "Not all those who wander are lost." -- J. R. R. TOLKIEN

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

I am the great and powerfull rex. I decree that all NYT crossword puzzles are not up to my standards.

Z 10:16 AM  

My personal favorite is NO RIME OR REASON for its lack of logic and frosting. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. To suggest a pun doesn't work because it violates some rule is to not truly grok puns. The more rules a pun breaks but still allows the reader to see the source the better a pun is. By this standard, CLEAR THE WEIGH is one of the best of the lot today. And I relate to @Bob Kerfuffle's explanation of "THE WEIGH." Electronic bathroom scales are the perfect example of "just because you can doesn't mean you should."

Re: Puns vis à vis homophones - All puns are homophones but not all homophones are puns. For example, when one sees there/their/they're misused it is almost certainly mistake, not someone trying to be punny.

@LMS - But did you get to cover the CHAISE REBELLION?

Did anyone else see the anti-St. Louis Cardinals propaganda? To suggest that MOL INA is an INCUBUS is just wrong.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Yeah Rex seems to be on the rag again.

Leapfinger 10:35 AM  

@Gillie, that isn't Jimmie Crab's penis; it's his exoskeleton, which is just the outside bone. Had the first taste of SHECRAB soup in Savannah GA over 4 decades ago: Wonderful!
@Alias, Dang/DRAT, once again, U stole the UNI/re from this TARDie Leo, and just left me Ur-HIP, bec U R HIP!
I C oui have more objections from the punned-out pundits, so have mustered my resources.

First of all, I kept thinking of "No wise" as the title; seemed to work better for me. No need to crack wise, in that case. Sad that the theme started with a fail for Canadians, who pronounce it "Iddles of the King"; I guess that's true throughout the former Commonwealth. The theme entries all worked, 4 me; if I was out on a ledge about the theme, it was their cluing that was more limped than limpid.

Favourite entries (not the first!) were GALATEA, ALBANESE and the OEUVRE of SENDAK. @Muse: TENDRILS? I know! Same with ODOUL (ghoul?). Thanks for pointing to the bod/bodies of Art, which I missed, because football.

Definite in agreeing that the newbie deserves more chances, if just for the Fillip of the TOLKIEN/Rowling misdirect. It's too bad that some expected an Eiffel and ended up with nothing but a Pique.

No wise; check it out.

Nancy 10:41 AM  

Found it easy and cute. Two slight nits: 1)A difference in pronunciation between TRUST-y and trust-EE makes 3D a false homophone. 2) The clue for GUISE AND DOLLS seems forced to me and not completely on target. A better clue might have been: "Masks provided in the Barbies' package." And I hated RESAVE. Unless, of course, it's a legit computer term I simply never heard of. But a pleasant, if not difficult, Sunday puzzle.


As hard as you are on constructors, how do you get away with referring to Galatea as "he"?

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

It's nice to complete a Sunday puzzle in reasonable time, but this one was not interesting. The y-less punny phrases for the most part were weak; there was a feel all along that I'd seen this exercise in phrases done much better before.

Leapfinger 11:02 AM  

Found this in "Brain Droppings", excerpted from the diary of the great DEIGNish philosopher. Some of Søren Kierkegaard's thoughts on trolls:

There is a form of envy of which I frequently have seen examples, in which an individual tries to obtain something by bullying. If, for instance, I enter a place where many are gathered, it often happens that one or another right away takes up arms against me by beginning to laugh; presumably he feels that he is being a tool of public opinion. But lo and behold, if I then make a casual remark to him, that same person becomes infinitely pliable and obliging. Essentially it shows that he regards me as something great, maybe even greater than I am: but if he can't be admitted as a participant in my greatness, at least he will laugh at me. But as soon as he becomes a participant, as it were, he brags about my greatness.
That is what comes of living in a petty community.

Maruchka 11:02 AM  

A mixture of ahas! and major slog here. Clueing (not GLUING) promised intuitive solves, IDOLS OF THE KING being the first and a gimme. Several googles, 4 do-overs (Hi @'Americans for PUT OUT). I do like IN A PET better - is it British?

Fav of the day - TRUSTEE SIDEKICK. What you mean, 'we', white man? Runner-up - GUISE AND DOLLS.

@Moly Shu, @Gill - Jimmy Sommerville's voice has a spicy GEM tone. A clip from 'Orlando' (Sally Potter, dir.):

@Lewis - Thanks for the apt Tolkien quote.

Sigh. My heart's not in it today. Visiting an old, dear friend soon who's been diagnosed with leukemia. Seize the day, dear hearts.

operaman 11:05 AM  

Agree with the first commenter - Licia Albanese was a great figure in opera, who extended her impact on the art form by establishing a foundation to support young artists. I had the pleasure of meeting her once when she was in her 90's and a great figure she made indeed. Also, sorry but Galatea is not a "he" - think Eliza in My Fair Lady if we need a popular reminder.

JFC 11:07 AM  

@Rex, I loved your critique. Even more than I loved seeing ITLL (literally clued).

As for SHE CRAB soup, I suggest you take your family on a tour of Washington, DC. That's about 300 miles from your home. If you drive down I-95, you will pass through the great state of Maryland, originally founded by Catholics seeking sanctuary and now dedicated to bringing European liberal socialism to America. If you stop at any fine restaurant in Maryland or DC, you should see SHE CRAB soup on the menu. Back in the 80's the Embassy Row Hotel off DuPont Circle in DC listed SHE CRAB soup on their daily menu for lunch.

The one thing Martin forgot to mention is that female crabs generally run smaller than male crabs, though their meat tastes the same.

I know you generally only eat at diners that don't have jukes but you will never see SHE CRAB soup on their menus. If you find a diner with a juke, there's a better chance that SHE CRAB soup will be on the menu.


Andrew Morrison 11:08 AM  

Played easy, even though I am one of that sorry lot who have never heard of ALBANESE. Theme didn't really work for me. It was either over-edited (like yesterday's puzzle), or not edited enough. To wit, CHAISEREBELLION requires you to change th 'Y' (theme) and also the 'SH' (having nothing to do with the theme.)

quilter1 11:12 AM  

Did not know rickroll but got everything. Gimmes were Galatea, idols of the king and chaise rebellion. I like puns, too, but this was something of a slog nonetheless.

Martin 11:17 AM  

@Gillie and @Leapy,

Those portions of the shell are called the apron. Anyone who's cleaned a crab knows that they are hinged and flap open a little bit. (You begin cleaning a crab by snapping off the apron.) The apron opens in order to facilitate the passage of a sperm packet from jimmy to sook.

Oddly, that packet is stored for weeks or months. Blue crabs mate in brackish water early in the season but the females move to more saline parts of the bay much later and "spawn" by fertilizing their eggs with the stored sperm. Blue crab spawning is a ladies-only affair.

The entire "Capitol dome" is covered externally with fertilized eggs, which are carried for two weeks until they hatch. In this stage, the sally is called a "sponge." Possession of a sponge crab is a serious offense in Maryland.

Jalpuz 11:35 AM  

Idylls of the king...

Teedmn 11:38 AM  

Agreed with those who are not looking for logic in their puns. I was sure "NORIMEORREASON" would be disliked by many but I like the phrase so I gave it a pass.

Like @Casco, I had flew off, which made me think PET was also "off". I anticipated much ado here regarding the dupe of off but all for nothing. Finally the obvious ETALII led me to restructure that section successfully.

ALEKEG held me up, didn't know REDDIT, for shame, nor RICKROLL, though both are quite old in Internet years, which are about the same as dog years, as far as I can tell.
Wanted gris-gris in the voodoo clue but it wouldn't work with the theme. Not knowing ALBANESE (sorry @ muscato) or TCU made SHECRAB a double natick for me. Count me ignorant of the Shays Rebellion also, though Idylls of the King I knew.
@Twangster, lol
I liked the puzzle, thanks Mr. Phillips

Susan McConnell 11:42 AM  

Like @lms, I was pretty sure what I was in for from the title. However, even my smug self-righteousness at grokking the theme was not satisfying enough to make me enjoy this one. Rex nailed it. I feel kinda bad that I have never heard of nor experienced RICKROLLing.

Norm 11:46 AM  

@Z: On behalf of my beloved Giants, I give you high praise for spotting that devilish propaganda. Good one!

Liked this puzzle a lot. Don't see any reason the clues have to make sense. They're "better" in a way if they do, but if the answer makes me smile (as these did), I don't care if they don't.

Z 11:48 AM  

Crab Porn - very different from Porn Crabs.

old timer 11:52 AM  

Rex, I know how you feel. This puzzle was a *slog* and reminded me of how hard the Sunday puzzles seemed to me 20 years ago.

But I didn't mind the puns. I just was totally lost until I decided to work in the SW, where "no rime or reason' leapt out at me. That immediately gave me guise and dolls, and "idols of the king" in the NW. And chaise rebellion came as soon as I had the word chaise.

The last long down I got was trustee sidekick. I don't see the problem here. Sure there is a shift in stress, but the "ee" in "trustee" is pronounced with the same vowel sound as the "y" in "trusty". (My problem was coming up with "sidekick").

I suppose it helps that I was a history major and knew all about Shay's Rebellion. Probably an English major would know about Galatea. Well, an English major that was required to learn about the classic myths, anyway. They were required reading in my 9th grade class, but did not stick with me all that well.

Black eyed Susan 12:04 PM  

And now a word from the not-jaded-yet solvers. It was fun. Loved figuring out the wackiness. CHAISEREBELLION - come on now, that is clever. And I've certainly wanted to CLEARTHEWEIGH many a day. Glad to learn about RICKROLL - makes this oldie feel KINDA with it. (But since when is OLD discontinued?)
Plenty of solving satisfaction here. Thank you, David Phillips.

Mohair Sam 12:06 PM  

We finished this medium-for-us solve only because we guessed "E" correctly for good old GALATEA Doolittle, having never heard of FENDI. Since I know nothing about FENDI as Rex knew nothing about ALBANESE can I claim FENDI is a poor entry because it is "crutchy?"

Hand up with the crowd defending the clue for the late Ms. Albanese. I have never attended the Met (it is on my bucket list) and have no opera in my music library, but Licia ALBANESE was famous and a gimme here.

Seems like the overall take is negative on this puzzle. I liked it more than most - but did, like Rex, find a few of the puns either strained or just not funny. Loved CHAISSEREBELLION however, had us thinkng Guevera and trying to force a revolution.

RICKROLL a great entry. And there were several fun misdirection clues. Loved seeing DEIGNED in the crossword, use it all the time - wonderfully snooty word. So yes, we liked this more than most of you.

TDavis 12:09 PM  

One quibble: "Editor's "Take Out"" should be "dele". Stet means to leave in place.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

I got crabs from porn once.

Leapfinger 12:12 PM  

@Maruchka, so sorry about your news. I hear you!

Again, I say 'Iddles of the king'.

Dang, @Martin! You have no idea of the veritable slideshow you elicited in my imagination!. [Or do you?] Crabs doing the dirty? With teensy little airplanes on their aprons? 'Ladies-only affair': say no more! Ending with SpongeBob Squarepants and Mr. Crabby. Not sure why those Limulus images kept intervening, other than I've enjoyed watching them do the backstroke... I figure that bit about storing packets of [genetic] information would appeal to the geek in you.

What UNEARTH, made a bi-i-ig mistake with the Kierkegaard source: 'Brain PICKings', not 'Brain Droppings'. Maybe I need a new ALGOREithm: seem to be allege and no centre lately.

PS: Captcha is 'Getting layslo'

Ludyjynn 12:15 PM  

My favorite answer was SHECRAB. I have never seen the soup on any MD restaurant menu and thanks to @Martin, now I know why. I was only introduced to it driving back and forth to FL to escape Winter. Virginia's on King in Charleston, SC serves an awesome bowl of she crab (I coaxed the chef to send me the recipe!) and Monty's Raw Bar in Coconut Grove, near Miami, FL has Happy Hour priced stone crabs in season, plus she crab soup on the menu. Located at a marina, it is a beautiful, casual place to enjoy these delicacies.

Overall, puzzle was just okay. I also made the ENSNARL error. Oops! Got the theme quickly and for the most part, liked it. Agree w/ Rex that the fill was sub-par.

Crisp Fall day here. Taking the dog and heading out...

mathguy 12:25 PM  

Was stuck on the upper left until The Closer came up with BUTTED. Great clue on that one.

I liked it a lot. Good crunch, good variety of words, some of which I didn't know (REDDIT, RICKROLL,TEK,SHECRAB), some clever cluing. And I liked the the puns in the theme entries. @Z gives a good insight into the joy of a good pun.

@Jim Quinlan. I'm surprised that a veteran puzzle solver hasn't seen INAPET many times before.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Half-baked. I can't believe this passed the Sunday bar. Very disappointing. Better title: Why me?

Gill I. P. 12:37 PM  

@Martin...@Leapdedo stole my thunder but she said it far better than I could. Still, I share that same imaginative fantasy in my head and I'm back to not wanting crab cakes!
@Z....Rick Astley = Porn Crabs? I LOVE him!
@Loren....does that mean we will hear from you more often????
Hey Maruchka: Good thoughts flying your way....
David Phillips I still think this was a fun SUNDAE...Some more puns always welcome!

Trustee's Mom 12:40 PM  

I had a beloved dog named Trustee, pronounced Trusty. Why? I raised him for a service dog organization, and they allowed their big donors to name the puppies. His namer was a board member, so "Trustee", but we weren't gonna CALL him that! So he was my Trustee Sidekick for 12 years. But yeah, I might be the ONLY person who liked that one... (loved it actually. Memories...)
Gujarati women wear saris, but Punjabi women wear salwar kameez, not saris. Coulda picked almost any other Indian state and this would have made more sense.

Z 12:43 PM  

@TDavis - the clue was "Editor's 'undo'" - and that is what STET does - "undo my correction."

@Mohair Sam - I have to agree with Rex on the crutchiness of ALBANESE. Her primary career as a "leading artist" of the Met ended nearly 50 years ago. Add in that "Opera lovers" is a much smaller group than "Rap lovers" (despite the wishes of this group that the opposite were true) and her name risks Natickdom save for the fact that it has so many useful vowels. FENDI is less crutchy in that it is a currently active billion dollar enterprise (if Wikipedia is to be believed) - though it feels pretty crutchy to me, too.

@Norm - Good luck, although I'll be rooting for the Royals (as much as I can root for any wild card team to win).

@Moly Shu and @Susan McConnell - just for you I'll make the observation that my favorite version of the rickroll is the link that is potentially prurient, you know you shouldn't click on it, but you do anyway. Just saying.

@Lewis - My son got a tattoo (sigh). "Not all those who wander are lost". We'll be in your neck of the woods next week, doing a little vacation time in Black Mountain. Hmm, how many microbreweries can one visit in five days?

Carola 1:19 PM  

Even though I saw from the title that it was a disappearing Ys theme, I still found it a challenge to get some of them (GUISE, RAISE, CHAISE...what?, ???WEIGH), and I liked that. Overall, clever and fun, I thought, with NO RIME OR REASON and its clue priceless, in a beyond the pale sort of way.

For me, ALBANESE, GALATEA, OEUVRE, SHARIFS, UPSTART were the SUNDAE BEST. Like @jae and @Gill I.P, I thanked BEQ for RICKROLL. And I thank @Bob Kerfuffle for expanding on CLEAR THE WEIGH and for explaining TAKE ONE as well as why my "whatever " answer OED is wrong.

Steve J 1:55 PM  

I'm in the slog/meh/didn't like camp. I had no problem with the bulk of the puns/answers on their own. I had bigger problems with some of the cluing and a lot of dreck. (ALLEGER would have been the worst if it hadn't been for the spectacularly awful INA / PET. We get classic crosswordese, a hated cross-referenced clue and a horrible partial. I suppose we can give the constructor points for hitting the Crossword Crap Trifecta (TM).)

My biggest problem with this, however, was that the theme was not applied consistently using its own internal logic. Shays and CHAISE do not share a vowel sound (CHAISE is a closer rhyme with "says"). It also changes the spelling of the non-vowel parts of the word, which is not consistent with how the theme is applied elsewhere (with one other exception, the spelling modifications occur only on the vowel sound represented by the Y in the original word: way/WEIGH, rays/RAISE, guys/GUISE, etc.). The same problem exists with SARI STATE, where the non-Y vowel and consonant is changed. IDOLS/idylls also changes the consonant.

Too many compromises, both within the theme and within the fill, to make this one work as was clearly intended. I know the NYT has shifted to a trend of encouraging theme density for its own sake, and this is an example of how theme density can hamper a puzzle. Removing at least a couple of these would likely have improved things overall.

On Borrowed Time 2:07 PM  

@oldcarfudd-Point well taken on Patrick Berry. Didn't mean to "pound" on this young constructor and yes, PB is my all time favorite.

The wife reminded me that we were at Nordstrom's just last week, where I should have seen the FENDI logo splashed all over the store. Instead, I was sitting in a chair staring at the floor wondering when the shopping nightmare would be over. She also pointed out that on many occasions I had read "Where the Wild Things Are" to our girls when they were young. Thus, my reluctance to call a Natick.

Meanwhile, lets hope all young constructors study Mr. Berry on their quest to be the best. Good luck Mr Phillips.

Carola 2:13 PM  

@Steve J - On CHAISE and SARI - I think it depends on regional pronunciations. In my corner of Wisconsin, the usual pronunciation of "CHAISE longue" is "Shay's lounge," so an uprising of patio furniture here would fit the puzzle's answer perfectly. SARI maybe works for someplace out East?

Charley 3:13 PM  

The clue compel. The answer urge? No way to urge is to compel.

Steve J 3:19 PM  

@Carola: For SARI, I was referring to the spelling, but now that you mention it, I have heard some people pronounce "sorry" so that the first syllable rhymes with "sore"; I (mostly) pronounce it so it does rhyme with SARI. But the spelling change is inconsistent with all of the other answers.

And now that you mention it, I have heard CHAISE rhyme with "Shay's" in some dialects. To me, that just reinforces the shakiness of the theme.

Oxford Dictionaries 3:19 PM  

Synonyms for Compel

Elephant's Child 3:45 PM  

'Consistency is the hobgoblin of ___'?

'The wife'? Really??

EfFENDI, I'm kinda Prada FENDIng all the CRABby Jimmy Shoe fetishists with some Gucci goo! Man, alla Blahniks don't sound very Christian today!! (You have your choice of Dior and Louboutin.) While there Might be a point in noting there May be fewer opera lovers than rap fans, women are 50% of the population, so women's styles should be fair game.

ALL EGER Bikavér wines should be tried, at least once, chin, chin!

ASPIRE aWEIGH, Mr. Phillips! I enjoyed it, although clearly it was all between BOO HISS and SIZZLES

DrXWord 3:46 PM  

I did not like this one at all. Not only was the theme weak and poorly executed, as noted above, but what of the fill? Do no one else find it cringe-worthy?

ALE KEG Really?
TMS, RNS There ought to be a rule: no plurals of abbreviations! For "TMS", a perfectly fine clue would have been:" Technique for treating psych disorders."
ONE D Google this and all you'll find is hit after hit of the boy band, One Direction. Maybe the clue should have been referred to them?
ICED IN No...just, no.
I DONE Any one else tired of random sentence fragments?
MOL: Since when is this an acceptable abbreviation for molecule? It is the abbreviation for "Mole" and maybe that's what the constructor was going for, but then it applies not only to atoms. It could have been clued better: "12 gms of Carbon, e.g." Personally, I would have preferred: "Boardwalk Empire actress Gretchen."

LaneB 3:57 PM  

Lots of mistakes leading to big fat DNF. Hated the puns. Hated the puzzle. Bad start for a Sunday. Stick to the Acrostic!

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

@SteveJ: Shaky? Chez qui?

'... expected a Eiffel and ended up with a Pique'. Hah!

Offering up the Say Hey Kid, Willie Maize.

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

Too many mistakes here to list.

Lewis 4:18 PM  

@Z -- I think it will be perfect timing for some spectacular leaf looking. Black Mountain is truly less than a 20 minute drive from Asheville, and if you need any Asheville restaurant recommendations or other recommendations, just let me know!

wreck 4:28 PM  

One of the reasons I like to post early is the fact that my take on a puzzle is pretty much my own, unclouded by others. After reading everyone's comments today, I don't think my opinion changed much. I really did not like it. I like puns if they are truly clever, but not overly forced ones that you wouldn't hear in every day conversation. Today, there were too many of the "forced" ones.

RAD2626 5:11 PM  

GUISE AND DOLLS and its cluing made the entire puzzle for me. Thought some of the cluing like 1A, 121A and 41D was terrific. Had IDYLLS and RIME from crosses with no idea what they meant. Never heard of IN A PET either. Thought it was harder that most.

Ludyjynn 5:12 PM  

@Maruschka, I hope your visit was beneficial. Your carpe diem comment brought to mind one of my favorite adages: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift--that's why its called the present." Words to live by for all of us.

RnRGhost57 5:43 PM  

Bit of a drudge but I often find that to be the case on Sundays. David Phillips, keep at it--you clearly have the knack.

"Something must be done, or the fabric will fall." George Washington to John Jay, on Shays' Rebellion and weakness of Articles of Confederation

On Borrowed Time 6:19 PM  

Dang nab it. Can't call the wife "the wife" anymore.
Oh 21st century, you have left me in the dust.

Joe Dipinto 6:34 PM  

Galatea, a dude???!!! Whoa. Really?

(Maybe I should grow unaccustomed to this blog...) ;-)

Elephant's Child 6:53 PM  

@On Borrowed Time, Dagnabbit, if she's the Only Wife in the World to you, I won't blame you for a minnit if you say 'the wife' instead of 'my wife'. It was meant in the gentlest possible way, with absolutely no venom intended. 8-D

Here, allow me to dust you off!

JenCT 7:19 PM  

About CLEAR THE WEIGH - Okay, this is a stretch, but here goes: What if the clue was referencing an embarrassed person at a diet meeting, telling others to "Clear the way" because they're so ashamed at the number on the scale that they're going to haul ass out of there & hide their head in the sand? Or as in, a woman on a scooter with a service dog coming through so watch out or she might run over your feet? Not that I would know about that...

Also, RESAVE: I might save a Word document to my hard drive and close out of the program, but then I open it back up and RESAVE it, this time to my external hard drive. Technically, I clicked on the save button again, so I RESAVEd it.

I've been RICKROLLed - it's kind of funny! I thought about posting a link, but nahhh..

I like learning something new through this blog : SHE-CRABs, ALBANESE, GALATEA.

Needless to say, DNF for me.

Hard frost in CT tonight - bringing tender plants inside.

jae 7:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 7:33 PM  

@On Borrowed Time...

Next time you find yourself on the way to Nordies bring a book of tough crosswords with you. Peter Gordon was edited a few of these.

Chris 7:57 PM  

"GALATEA is another long name with favorable letter patterns. Maybe he's more famous than ALBANESE, maybe he's not. Not sure. Since he's ancient, probably."

"He" is a she.

On Borrowed Time 8:03 PM  

@Elephants Child-Much obliged for the dust off and at no point did I think you were being venomous.

Thanks for the recommendation @jae. The perfect solution for any shopping excursion. I suppose I will have to buy this online beforehand as there are no more book stores at the mall.

Oops, past my 3 and out.

Arlene 10:23 PM  

I'm late to the game here - was busy involved with a Walk4Hearing here in NJ -
I never heard of RICKROLL but was able to get it from the crosses. It still amazes me how out of touch I could be with modern lingo.
But I have eaten SHECRAB soup - in Savannah. Can't say I'd order it again - not worth the calories.

Joe Dipinto 10:29 PM  

Galatea a dude???!!! Woh. Really? Oh wow. (You're an English teacher, aren't you? Never heard of George Bernard Shaw?)

I've grown disaccustomed to this blog... ;-)

Anonymous 10:41 PM  

Disagree with Rex on "Sundae Best". In this case the answer is a homophone for "Sunday Best", or the outfit one wears to church. In such case one might argue that Best is not functioning as an adjective at all.

Also, found it a drag to use uni and unitard in the same puzzle.

Jim Quinlan 10:57 PM  

@mathguy Touche. I've never been IN A PET in my life, but I suppose I should know that phrase by now.

jae 11:16 PM  

Sheesh, that should be " Peter Gordon has edited...

Charles Flaster 11:25 PM  

Rex is very accurate today. This puzzle took me all over the place.
No "aha" answers.
Thanks DP.

Anonymous 11:58 PM  

I'm an applied mathematician with 40years of experience, and I have no idea what "oned" has to do with the x-, y-, and z-axis.

Z 12:07 AM  

@anon 11:58 - get ready for the head slap ... ONE - D ... as in each axis alone is one dimensional.

Anonymous 1:18 AM  


paulsfo 1:35 AM  

@John Child: I agree that compel absolutely doesn't mean URGE.

@AliasZ: I RESAVE all the time, because I've made another change that I don't want to lose.

Didn't love the theme answers and I agree about the Naticks. I *did* like the clues for BUTTED and INTRO.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Isn't history taught any more? Comments show an amazing lack of knowledge about Shays' Rebellion, and most comments don't know that the alleged ringleader was named Shays, so the apostrophe (if used at all) is in the wrong place.

LHS 888 2:02 PM  

So, it's 2 days later, and I finally finished Sunday's puzzle! Talk about your V for Vendetta!! Total working time around 2+ hours. I cottoned onto the theme pretty early, and it was a help in all but the case of DEVILRAISE. I got the "rays" part, but I couldn't figure out the DEVIL part for the longest time. I kept looking for something to do with the sun or manta rays. Hence, the SE below SARISTATE was the last to fall. When I entered the last letter in the grid (the I in DEVIL) no Mr. Happy Pencil for me!?! I found my error where @Bob Kerfuffle and others had trouble: ENSNARe/OeD. Corrected that and... tada!


Favorited words: BOOHISS, INCUBUS
Favorite proximity: HELL-SIZZLES

Thanks DP /WS for a really challenging puzzle that kept me occupied in my spare moments. (Sorta like an all-day sucker that lasts 3 days!)

rain forest 1:44 PM  

I found this one to be roughly medium and enjoyable. I liked the wacky puns and the mixture of straightforward and misdirecting cluing.

For me, a puzzle is a slog if I feel like giving up because it isn't any fun. That doesn't apply to this one.

And not only that, I've got
306 Even though there's no card worth 0 in Baccarat, this is a winner.

Dirigonzo 4:30 PM  

I couldn't seem to get a clean start anywhere so I stumbled around the grid solving sporadically until I finally figured out the gimmick with NORIMEORREASON, which actually made a certain amount of sense to my warped mind. In the end, the confluence of ALBANESE with SHECRAB and SENDAK did me in as I guessed wrong at each cross.

28251 - 9 the hard way.

Anonymous 5:31 PM  

I liked this puzzle. I thought the fact that there is no Y anywhere in the puzzle was impressive. Good for you, DP

spacecraft 6:59 PM  

I guess I'm just not ULTRAHIP. Way too much I didn't know; too modern for me. RICKROLL?? C'mon, man. No one over thirty has the slightest hope of knowing that.

Got locked up in the SW with fatal error ENSNARe. IMO, neither "snare" nor "snarl" needs an "en-" in front of it, but the latter simply never occurred. So OED is discontinued? I hope not.

And then you throw "sample text?" at me, and I get mired in trying to figure out some texting shorthand--well, hell, everything else is bent that way. No. It's the "text" you may see in front of samples: TAKEONE.

The whole thing just threw me for a loop; DNF--and DNL. Did. Not. Like.

Anne McDonough 8:20 AM  

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