Confectionery brand with logo designed by Salvador Dali / TUE 11-11-14 / Town with Yiddish speakers / Powdered lunch product from Lipton / Steep slope around rampart / Digital device used to access Netflix Hulu

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Challenging (like, off the charts for a Tuesday)

THEME: DOUBLE UP (60A: Share a single bed … or a hidden feature of 17-, 23-, 36- and 50-Across) — letter sequence "UP" appears twice in each theme answer:

Theme answers:
  • CUP-A-SOUP (17A: Powdered lunch product from Lipton)
  • SUPER DUPER (23A: Just marvelous)
  • SUPPORT GROUPS (36A: Alcoholics Anonymous and others)
  • CHUPA CHUPS (50A: Confectionery brand with a logo designed by Salvador Dali) 

Word of the Day: CHUPA CHUPS 
Chupa Chups (/ˈtʃʌpətʃʌps/; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃupaˈtʃups]) is a popular brand of lollipop and other confectionery sold in over 150 countries around the world. The brand was founded by Enric Bernat in 1958, and is currently owned by the Italian multinational corporation Perfetti Van Melle. The name of the brand comes from the Spanish verb chupar, meaning "to suck". (Wikipedia)
• • •

CHUPA CHUPS are "sold in over 150 countries around the world," you say? Is one of those countries the U.S., 'cause … what the hell? I'm not saying no one has ever heard of these, but I am saying that every other answer in this puzzle is eleventy times more famous than that answer. Literally 110 times as many people will have heard of CUP-A-SOUP, is what I'm saying. I not only needed every cross to get CHUPA CHUPS, I didn't believe the crosses when I got them. The bit about Dali is interesting trivia, but does Squat in terms of helping the solver. Since I had ECHT for ACHT (54A: Eight, to Dieter), and [Hors d'oeuvres toppings] just made no sense, I was in real danger, briefly, of not getting CHUPA CHUPS at all. PATÉS in the plural is not something I've seen, and certainly not something I'd've clued that way (vaguely). Between that and the legit-tough NW (the somehow non-O-containing CUP-A-SOUP, the absurd attempted cuteness on the clue for SOO, the word ESCARP (!), and the odd specificity of APPLE TV), this was my slowest Tuesday ever. Slowest in the last five years, at any rate. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but not by much. TUNA OIL clued as [Good source of omega-3 fatty acids]?? TUNA seems like a good answer to that clue. TUNA OIL sounds like the crap in the can you pour out.

The theme is just fine, and the fill is largely interesting, but I have no idea what this is doing on a Tuesday, and the CHUPA CHUPS thing … I just can't get around it. I have never seen that brand. I have never heard of that brand. I like candy. I am nearly 45 years old. Clues were all over the map. Innocuous AFTER DARK gets ridiculous murder mystery clue [Under the cloak of night]. And SOO, ugh. Talk about swinging and missing. SOO = SOO Canals or Jack SOO and that is it. You're going to need a lot more "O"s if you want me to believe your answer is a rough equivalent of 14A: "Your point being…?" Actually, you can add a million "O"s—won't matter. That clue's just wrong. The answer is SO. Maybe ["ANYway …"] would work, but again, you'd need at least one more "O." And how is SPLOSH the [Quiet sound of water on the side of a pail, say]? Water makes no sound on the side of a pail unless the pail is on its side and the water is dripping onto it, in which case the sound is not SPLOSH. However, if we are going to stipulate that water in a pail somehow makes a sound against the side of said pail, then first just how big is this pail that its water is making sounds?, and second that sound is a SLOSH, at best. The "P" implies an impact that is absent in pail water. Now SPLISH and SPLASH are certified water sounds (established in the 1958 case of Bobby Darin v. Bathtub). I have no idea what SPLOSH is.

It's a shame that the rogue theme answer and clunk-tacular moments like ESCARP / SOO had to drag this one down. It really does have some delightful parts, from "LOVE CHILD" to LOUIS C.K. But the decent grid and decent theme end up being victims of some bad cluing and very bad scheduling. This should've been a Wednesday, or else drastically reclued.

Also, KEN-KEN is not popular (42A: When repeated, a popular puzzle). Just stop.

 Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


john 12:06 AM  

I live in a Latino neighborhood in San Francisco and Chupa Chups are sold in all of the bodegas so I was really familiar with them but found most of this puzzle difficult as hell and "tuna oil"?!? "Tuna" or "fish oil" but NOT "tuna oil".

Steve J 12:09 AM  

Thought this was SUPER-DUPER. Some great fill, like FIASCO, CUP-A-SOUP and the aforementioned SUPER-DUPER. Some great clues, like for TOUPEE. An enjoyable, contemporary feel with UBER (as a cab company) and LOUIS CK. And the rare Tuesday theme that left me guessing until I got to the revealer.

Yes, there are a few problems. SOO is not soooo; it's "sue" in different letters. LOUIS CK crossing MACULA was probably tough for many on a Tuesday. TLC belittles the skill and training nurses provide. But, for me, they weren't enough to outweigh a strong theme and strong fill.

Meanwhile, I found this easy to easy-medium. Like Rex, I like candy, and I'm nearly 45. Unlike him, I've heard of CHUPA CHUPS. It took me a few crosses, but I had no problem filling it at all. It'll be interesting to see how the difficulty level trends for others.

Zeke 12:10 AM  

You have no idea what SPLOSH means? Just google it, I dare you. Enter SPLOSH in the google search text box & click the Google Search button. Then click on every returned page.

When you're done, send your letters to Will.Shortz@NYTIMES.COM

wreck 12:20 AM  

Just a little longer than a normal Tuesday, but a very nice puzzle. Like most (I'm guessing), I've never heard of CHUPACHUPS and had guessed CHIPACHIPS until I got the reveal. There were some head scratchers, but the crosses were pretty fair.

jae 12:20 AM  

Pretty much what Rex said. This was more like a medium Wed. for me...tough puzzle.   I mean a European river, a moon of Neptune,  GASSED for Pooped,  SHTETL, what ever CHUPA CHUPS is, a German number, some contact lens brand I'd never heard of...and then @Steve J there's splosh .  None of this seems like Tues. level stuff.  Last week's was tough too so maybe Tues. is the new Wed.?

Liked the puzzle,  just not on a Tues.

Elaine2 12:28 AM  

odd -- I found it pretty easy. Even the weird items I'd never heard of didn't get in the way much, because all the crosses worked.

Oh, and I googled "splosh." All that weird stuff is there, but the FIRST thing is a definition, "make a soft splashing sound as one moves." Not too bad....

Franciscus van Munster 12:28 AM  

Like SUPPORT GROUPS, CHUPA CHUPS was one of the answers I put in straight away, without any crosses. To be fair, I'm European and lived in Spain for three years. So that helped

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

Soo, Zeke, SPLOSH has a fetish meaning too? Seems that a lot of solvers online complain that the NYT is not as progressive nor as provocative as many of the newer indie crosswords. You here you go: SPLOSH (and it's in the NYT)! ... enjoy ;)


Whirred Whacks 12:35 AM  

I'm no wiz, but reading Rex's review of this puzzle made me feel like one (one of those rare times). I moved through this faster than my usual Tuesday.

I liked SUPER DUPER as an answer. It's something I say all the time when people ask me: "How ya doin'?" HUNKY DORY is another of my common replies.

APP STORE was an answer yesterday, and APPLE TV was one today. I imagine an answer tomorrow will be BUY APPLE STOCK. (Apple had a market cap of $638 billion as of market close on Monday.)

Thanks for your service to all of you who are veterans.

Z 12:37 AM  

Just don't Google SPLOSH at work.

On the harder side, but not extremely so. CHUPA CHUPa seemed likely but SOUSA fixed that. Likewise, SPLaSH was fixed by DOUBLE UP. Otherwise, no real issues.

Anyone else notice the fifty shades meta? ONAN in KNOTS,...

Billy 12:46 AM  

Am with you on TUNA OIL??????!!!!!
I've NEVER heard of such a thing. It's fish oil plain and simple, or nothing.
Let's not get into "soo"
Life's tough, but you do get judged on your puzzle's worst parts, and, unfortunately, this one had some duesy worst parts.

chefwen 1:02 AM  

Didn't think it was too difficult. CHUPA CHUPS on crosses only, which were all fair, never heard of LOUIS CK, again with the crosses. GASSED I would think "all gassed up and ready to go", pooped I would equate with "out of gas". TUNA OIL was just downright weird.

@jae - Sorry I hit on your link for SPLOSH. TMI! I wanted sploosh there which has been in one of my favorite comic strips lately.

I like a Tuesday that makes me think vs. auto fill. Thanks James Mulhern.

chefwen 1:05 AM  

I just Googled SPLOOSH, erase my second to last comment, it's just as bad as SPLOSH, maybe worse.

RnRGhost57 1:10 AM  

Poor Michael, bless his heart (southernism meaning insult is following). Over-educated Mr. Dense.
Nothing really too arcane here.

RnRGhost57 1:11 AM  

Bless his heart.

Anonymous 1:26 AM  

TUNA OIL, and lots of it. Found in few seconds on that Google thingy.


Martin 2:26 AM  

There are actually two kinds of tuna oil sold. MAS posted a link to a picture of lots of the ickier kind, used by the liter for chumming. It's meant to smell -- the fishier the better -- so as to attract other fish.

The other kind of tuna oil is sold in pill form. It's the tuna oil that others have commented is never called tuna oil, always fish oil. It's probably what the clue had in mind. We don't worry about making chum heart-healthy when fishing, as a rule.

Anonymous 4:10 AM  

Personally, I'm more of an AHI OIL kinda guy ;)


Leapfinger 5:08 AM  

They say the further own the food chain, the safer the fish OIL, because less mercury accuulation. SOO, I think it best to bea sardine oil kinda gal.

My favorite OIL story goes back to an early 70s Dick Cavett show, when massage was a big thing. Some hapless guest was expounding thereon, and had brought in a small bottle of Kama Sutra oil for demonstration purposes. Cavett took one look at the bottle and asked 'How many Kama Sutras do you have to squeeze to get that much oil?"

Amy 5:12 AM  

Probably my fastest Tuesday ever. I am usually on Rex's wavelength in terms of difficulty, but today no. Breezed through it.

GILL I. 6:07 AM  

@Leapy: The answer is TOUPEE.
@Rex....Funniest comment in SOO long. I'm still rubbing my sides!
Well, this was different and I really enjoyed it. CHUPA CHUPS was ESSE for moi. I just want to know why Dali lent his name to such sucky suck lollipops...
Fun and different for this Tuesday. I just hope the newbies didn't give up and run away screaming MAD.

LHS 888 6:17 AM  

Mark me down for finding this puz easy-ish. I worked my way steadily through the clues with only a few pauses to check the crosses which were fair enough for me. I knew CHUPACHUPS. (Tried 'em. Don't care for 'em.) The resistance for me was in the SE where I had no idea about LOUISCK or UBER (as clued). A reasonable guess on the crossing U and Mr. Happy Pencil appeared.

Hand up for SOO = ??? and GASSED as clued is strange.
If SHTETL hadn't been in a recent puz it would have been a WOE.

I enjoyed the theme and the puzzle in general.

noone 7:20 AM  

One of the easiest puzzles ever for me. Didn't have to Google anything, many answers flowed from the crosses and SOO I didn't even look at half the clues.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

Had the same experience as Rex. Needed all the crosses for CHUPACHUPS and still did not believe it was right.

The rest of the puzzle was about right for a Tuesday.

RAD2626 7:59 AM  

Also agree that it was not as hard as Rex' write up would suggest. Was at a hotel in Lisbon last year and they had CHUPA CHUPS in a bowl at the front desk. The couple we were with knew the Dali connection. The lollipops were terrible....and of course I could not remember the name but the revealer plus TLC made them gettable. And of corse Dali is rumored to have sired a LOVE CHILD, in it's own way another DOUBLE UP.

mathguy 8:02 AM  

Agree with the criticisms of SOO and SPLOSH. We bought some CHUPACHUPS in Barcelona a couple of years ago but didn't remember them until I saw Rex's picture.

How can Rex say that Kenkens are not popular when they are printed in the NYT every day with additional puzzles on their website?

mathguy 8:05 AM  

I forgot to mention that I liked the puzzle very much.

I Naticked on the V in ACUVUE and APPLETV.

John V 8:09 AM  

Typical Tuesday here, but did stare at CHUPSCHUPS in wide wonder.

Charles Flaster 8:15 AM  

EZ even for a Tuesday.Expected a Veterans Day theme or maybe a trick about 11/11.
There were answers not usually seen but were some fun words like FIASCO, PLATEAU and ESCARP.
Enjoyed clues for GASSED, INSEAM and INKPAD.
CrosswordEASE---OISE, ERE, URDU.
Will use UBER this Thanksgiving in NYC(very convenient).
Thanks JM.

Leapfinger 8:20 AM  

@mathguy, didn't Natick on that V, just createda POC. APPLETS. oops.

@Gilly, the question is TOUPEE or not TOUPEE. It can't get much bladder than this, but renally, I refuse to travel any further down the urinary tract with you.

COPPER 7 prevents a LOVE CHILD, right? [I'll bet $$ that's the first IUD pun in xwp history.]

Aha. PLATEAU's Republic in ATHENS. Cute.

Jp 8:20 AM  

Agree with Rex on this. Very difficult Tueday.. So many unfamiliar terms that I did not bother to try to finish. It.

Not-quite-quotidian Dad 8:31 AM  

that last line is gold. Ken Ken is truly not popular.

AliasZ 8:33 AM  

CHUPA CHUPS? I would've preferred one of the following DOUBLE-UP themers instead:

puppet troupe: traveling kiddie show
quintuplet pups: five new boxers
Dupré pupil: organist/composer Jehan Alain (1911-1940), for one
interrupted nuptials: result of a migraine, perhaps
voluptuous Uppsalan: Viveca Lindfors, for one
corrupt yuppie: Wall Street swindler
marsupial stupor: what a koala is in after some heavy drinking
ruptured uppendix: [does this look right to you?]
group shtup - nevermind...

Otherwise a fun, easy-peasy puzzle, cod liver oil aside.

Did you know that LOUIS C.K.'s name actually is LOUIS Székely? Did you care?
Do those unfortunate to suffer from MACULA degeneration eventually become imMACULAte?

So many questions, so little time... Gotta run.

Have a great Tuesday.

chefbea 8:34 AM  

Yes..too tough for a Tuesday..or any day. did not know chupachups, Louisck (how do you pronounce his name? And gassed for pooped??? And can you buy tuna oil???


Mohair Sam 8:34 AM  

Very tough Tuesday for us, surprised we didn't natick - although we framinghamed in a couple of places. Revealer saved us from CHUPACHUhS and ShLOSH.

Never liked lollipops, never gave them to my kids / we stream with a Sony blu-ray / don't wear contacts / don't speak Yiddish / don't know Sam RAIMI or LOUIS C.K. / don't know made up water sounds / don't know how many "O"s in an extended so. Also don't know how we completed this puzzle.

I like puzzles that give me a hard time with clever clues, this one gave me a hard time with new-to-me nouns. Not as much fun. A couple of arbitrary sounds bugged me too (SOO, SPLOSH). But did like the double-up theme with its revealer.

Slashes make written communication possible, don't you think?

Hartley70 8:42 AM  

I agree with most of what Rex said, but I did find this puzzle SUPER DUPER topical. I'm working my way through LOUISCK episodes on Netflix. Just this weekend I got a lesson on UBER usage. Less than a week ago I got an APPLETV for my birthday. I love RAIMI and the CHUPACHUPS are clearly so cool I won't run into them for another week.

pmdm 8:43 AM  

Mathguy: Ken Ken is not only printed by the Times, but right next to the crossword, making it incredibly easy for paper solvers.

RnRGhost57: Over-educated? Don't know. I know a number of brilliant people. With many of them, if they don't get something in a millisecond, they proclaim it to be either incredibly arcane or absurdly difficult. Or something like that. I don't want to be insulting, but perhaps some of that attitude unconsciously creeps into some of the write-ups. Then again, sometimes it can be just the wording. Deb Amlen had some similar issues with today's puzzle, but expressed in a different style that seems less hard-edged.

As I fill in the puzzle, I circle the number of any clue whose answer I have no idea if it's correct. In other words, all answers I would never be able to get without crosses. Today I circled 7 numbers. Many more than normal for a Tuesday. Harder than normal? Yes. But it posed no problem for me to finish. It seemed to me to be too easy for a Wednesday. I vote that Mr Shortz accurately rated this puzzle to be a Tuesday puzzle.

By the way, this week's themed puzzles were all used in the fourth annual Arlington Puzzle Festival, so that may account for an odd difficulty level.

Z 8:45 AM  

@Gill I.P. - I was curious about the Dali thing. I found several logo sites that discussed Dali doing the design over coffee with the owner. He also seemed to have gotten a few pesetas for the design. However, the text on these sites were all strangely similar, almost as if it all comes from a single source, a corporate PR person maybe.

Clearly some of you don't watch too much sports on TV. GASSED is a fairly common description of a player late in a game who is giving all she has but "has nothing left in the tank."

@mathguy - Rex has mentioned his disdain for number puzzles in the past. I translated the comment to "I don't like kenken puzzles." My local paper carries three crosswords, sudoku, kenken, kakuro, Word Warp, a jumble crossword, a jumble, More or Less, Number Cruncher, and a word search. Everything but the crosswords are logic puzzles (well- I don't know that a word search is a puzzle at all). I presume the Freep carries all those puzzles because people enjoy solving them.

Questinia 8:49 AM  

Everybody knows SPLOSH is the accusative form of SPLISH in the onomatopoeic bath of life.

Arlene 9:04 AM  

Here's a rundown of what seems to be the core arguments:
I solved this quickly - in average Tuesday time.
I never heard of CHUPACHUPS.
I, too, thought APPLETS - didn't really check 6D.
Winced at SOO - seemed like a real stretch for a Tuesday.
Didn't know RAIMI or LOUISCK - but filled them in anyway.
GASSED is still a shocking word, especially below SHTETL - too close to reality for me.
So, I'm usually a positive person - but I really did not love this puzzle - thought it could have been edited better.

OISK 9:05 AM  

I don't care for product references, so "powdered lunch product…" annoyed me right away. At least I have heard of Cupasoup. In the same area was the brand name of a digital device. AppleTV. Not familiar with it, but makes sense from the clue. I have probably heard of "Uber" as a cab service, but didn't remember it. Would have preferred a clue like "It's over in Berlin." Never heard of Raimi or LouisCK. But as others observed, Chupachups?? If I hadn't discovered the up up theme, I might not have gotten that. Very tough for a Tuesday, for me. However, "Triton" was a gimmee. It is such a perfect name for a moon of Neptune. Just like Phobos for a moon of Mars. (fear circling the god of war)

Unknown 9:15 AM  

Lots of suss for a Tuesday, but clean solve in 19. Theme revealer put both Ps in CHUPACHUPS.

Last entry was APPLET-_/ACU_UE. I guessed right with V, and wondered what APPLET-V was supposed to be for a good 5 minutes. ;)

Steve M 9:20 AM  


Ludyjynn 9:29 AM  

You've got to admit, whether you agree or disagree w/ Rex's critiques, he does one hell of a job. Today, especially, he cracked me UP w/ his on-point bewilderment re the inclusion of CHUPACHUPS and designation of it as word of the day. BTW, my sentiments exactly. Unlike Rex, I liked ESCARP, which brings to my mind the climactic scene in the opera, "Tosca".

Had 'in the dark' before AFTERDARK, which caused momentary problems in the NE.

Agree w/ @Hartley70 about how topical this puzz. is and how that was my primary thought as I solved.
Some beautiful words for any day: PLATEAU, FIASCO. ELIDE, TOUPEE, MAITAI, SOUSA, MACULA, HAIKU (curiously they all end in a vowel!)

SOOOOOO...thanks JM and WS, SPLOSH aside.

DJ 9:37 AM  

Also, Brownies cannot earn merit badges. You have to be a Girl Scout to earn a merit badge and wear a sash.

joho 9:49 AM  

Loved the SUPERDUPER reveal which led me to seeing the theme which was invisible up to that point. so a nice aha moment.

I like learning new things from puzzles and CHUPACHUPS are that. Plus it's fun to say.

My only nit is SOO.

CUP-A-SOUP is Quick-A-Licious!

jberg 10:02 AM  

I guess the sound water makes against the side of the pail is while you are carrying it from the well back to your campsite, house, or wherever; otherwise I'm pretty much with @Rex on this one. I would have gone with CHUPA-CHULA except for the revealer, which made me realize I needed two UPs and also gave me the U for SOUSA.

I never heard anything but ESCARPment, including tour guides to old castles, but live and learn.

I see someone else has already made the joke on 53A, so I guess I'll just ELIDE ("skip") on out of here.

quilter1 10:03 AM  

Medium for me. Once I got the reveal I was able to fill in the lollipop, though they are unknown to me. UBER just came to my metro area amid screams from the cab companies. Early reports are that they have too small a number of drivers to provide reliable day and night service, but that applications are still being taken.

Liked ESCARP, FIASCO, MAITAI, PLATEAU. I am in the early stages of MACULAr degeneration so that was easy. Enjoyable puzzle. 10:08 AM  

Puzzle # 2 from the Arlington (VA) puzzle festival this past weekend. When I was done, I stared at Chupa Chups for a few seconds before handing in my puzzle as I had never heard of it. In the hallway I did an informal poll of my fellow solvers, I found 1 person out of about 10 that had heard of it. But the crosses were all fair. Finished in a normal time (for me), about 8:45.

Zeke 10:09 AM  

@MAS - You misinterpreted my objection to SPLOSH. I'm certainly not against fetishism, it's the waste of food that offends me. Millions of children across the country grow up in houses that can't afford even 3 ounces of chocolate pudding for desert. Using 2-3 gallons of chocolate pudding for sexual pleasure just seems offensive in this light.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

As a paper solver who does the puzzle while eating breakfast, I can't usually tell the differences among Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday, but today's puzzle did seem more difficult than most.

But my first glance at the empty grid and 1 D brought to mind (as it did for @jberg) ESCARPment, and all of the unfamiliar words and odd clues resolved easily from crosses. (OK, had CUP-O-SOUP at first, and 7 D as YIP before YAP, but a couple of pen strokes makes an O an A and an I an A. So I finished with a very clean-looking grid.)

As The Fifth Dimension sang, UP UP and Away."

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

KENKEN is not popular. End of story.

And I'm not surprised. The so-called "easy" KENKEN puzzles I've solved have been rather difficult. Unlike the children's Sudoku book I got some 12 years ago, which had 50 puzzles that I finished in a single weekend.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

I don't think Rex's rant was remotely warranted. Came across as whiny. Keep the analysis objective and far less personal.

Bird 10:49 AM  

Ugh! Yes, same rants as Rex and company. DNF at 50A (never heard of) & 52D (mind went blank). 46A & 48D took a few seconds to run thru the alphabet as neither was quick to pull out of the hat.

RooMonster 10:56 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with the More-Difficult-TuesPuz crowd, although I actually zipped through it rather quick. No speed record, mind you, but what I thought to be fair crosses, and some things I have heard of, such as ACUVUE. Which gave me the APPLETV, before figuring on an S. Did have INCi in first, thinking it was some var. of the plural Incan. Also in the south, had oCHT for ACHT, but after PoTES, and no Finish Screen, changed to PATES, but still no Finish, which is where I found the A for INCA. Still reading??

Hands UP for the not hearing of CHUPACHUPS crowd. But got the revealer, and was able to get it from there. Also, SHTETL just never looks correct, and I onlt know it from X-words.

SOO could also be: Freight Train Company.

Happy Veterans Day! To All, past and present.


Unknown 10:58 AM  

Typical Tues time for me. I had no clue about the Dali candy. It could have been any string of random letters. KENKEN? No clue here either, but didn't need a clue thanks again to crosses. I will also agree wth RP regarding the oil. Cod Liver Oil. Fish Oil. But not TUNAOIL. I don't care if that's where they get it from, one doesn't go to the store and buy it labeled as such. Well, you might, gentle reader. But I don't.

Still and all, no killer crosses or Naticks IMHO, so not really a demanding puzzle. But CHUPADUPALUPA or whatever that is could easily have been a WOE with tougher crosses.

Masked and Anonymo11Us 11:06 AM  


old timer 11:38 AM  

Tuesday! The day I get to write the time down before doing the puzzle, hoping for 8 minutes or under. Took me 20 minutes, and there were several moments I thought I would not complete the puzzle at all. Rex is (in this case) right on the money. Way too hard for a Tuesday or, for that matter, a Wednesday.

Never seen chupachups ever. But I have heard of Louis CK, which is good because otherwise my score would have been DNF. I thouht the director was RAIMS, so I needed that K to finally see INKPAD.

BTW, I thought that Patrick Berry puzzle on Friday was not only a perfect example of how to craft a puzzle, it was, perhaps as a result, the easiest Friday puzzle I've seen in a long time. For some reason, I find it easy to meld my mind with Berry's. Unlike with Mulhern.

Leapfinger 11:41 AM  

@CascoK, guess APPLETVI would have taken you 6 minutes?

Dang, never did post my REEL puzzle comment:

ACHTung, @Rex! SLOSH couldn't be more wrong! Slosh absolutely implies a back-and-forth component, while 'splash' and all its vowelish variants are associated only with unidirectional downward movement. SOO, there's an inescapable descriptive inconsistency in terminology. Clearly, to the vector go the spoils.

For my part, in trying to make that water sound as soft as possible, I reduced 'splash' to SPLISH; sans doute, this will also prove to have some inSUPPORTable secondary meaning in the wide world of Google. Seems our lexicon is being highjacked, one word at a time. SOOn it won't be safe to speak in polite society...

Even with a roadmap, it's possible to pick the wrong route; I thought the theme was heading for Something to do with SOUP'S UP or UPS (Fed Ex?), was completely taken aback by what I thought would be CHUPACHUPA. Soo, more ups and downs than I usually Tues.

Last TIRADE on 36D: I was a Brownie in a number of church groups, and I remember all my merit badges being on my left sleeve (stripes on the right). MAI TAI had my kelpie pin and my belt had a carabiner clip and lanyard; I don't remember no stinkin' SASH.

Note to @DJ: Canadian Brownies do merit badges; maybe it's a Guides/Scouts difference.)

Full disclosure: these days, MAI TAI sometimes is a DOUBLE UP, and frankly, I'd be more comfortable 34D.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Stop hating on Chupa Chups! 50 across has to rank as the most obscure clue I have ever encountered which was a gimme for me. I love Chupa Chups, and I just happened to have read the Wikipedia article about them a few years ago, from which I learned of the Dali connection.

Otherwise, I really though this was pretty easy, even for a Tuesday.

evil doug 11:49 AM

Is that a chupachup, or are you just happy to see me?

Jisvan 11:54 AM  

It was a cool and windy 200 mile bike event with 50 miles to go, when a chilly rain began to fall. As the slurry of road dust and cold water thrown up by my rear wheel began to soak through my spandex shorts, there, up ahead, I saw the traffic cones and the white pop-up tent: Yes! It was a rest stop! And they were serving...CUPASOUP!!!
Just thought I should share that memory for the processed food doubters. Time and place for everything!

This was easy and fun for me. I like some crunch in a Tuesday. And I love this blog! Rex is okay, but his readers are SUPERDUPER!

Dorothy Biggs 12:12 PM  

Rex, when you keep track of your times like you do, you're going to have slow ones and fast ones...the very nature of keeping times means that you will have a "fastest" one and a "slowest" one. While your extreme times may not change regularly, they do change. So today is the new slowest had to happen eventually, right? Some day, maybe 10 years from now, you'll get a new slowest time. Those extremes are set in concrete, Tuesday's times are going to move around a bit.

I liked the Archer clip, btw.

14A, as clued, should have been "And..." (with an ellipsis, of course).

RAIMI, CHUPACHUPS, and ESCARP seemed very un-Tuesday-like.

ONAN, at least to me, is a Biblical name of note...known for :ahem: some rather personal stuff.

I like the almost self-referential shout out to WS and his KEN-ken puzzles. I don't like them, personally.

Overall, the puzzle wasn't the hardest I've done on a Tuesday, but then I have no way of objectively saying so. It didn't take me very long (like a Friday, say), so yeah, just like another "challenging" day at the xword office.

GeorgeG 12:12 PM  

One of the funniest Rex rants I can ever remember! Thank you!

Elephant's Child 12:13 PM  

LOUIS C.K. has an exclusive release of "Tig Notaro: Live", set at Largo, on his website. I heard it on NPR several months ago, and think it's worth a listen. The link is embedded at the end of this article.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Rex, @RooMonster, @jae

Anyone half-serious about NYT crosswords should spend a couple of days picking up basic "French 101", "German 101", "Spanish 101", "Italian 101" vocabulary. Truly basic, as in a few dozen words, for the latter three, and maybe a little more in-depth for French.

Once you do that, those clues are absolute gimmes. In the tougher end-of-week puzzles, sometimes they're the only way to get traction.

I'm stunned that a pro like Rex would be temporarily stumped by ACHT.

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

This was an easy one for me too. Lots of modern fill - stuff you can figure out if you know pop culture without having to think back a dozen years.

CHUPA CHUPS was a gimme for me. I sold them in high school for a fundraiser. If I remember correctly the stick was hollow and had a notch in it, so when you were done with the lollypop it made a pretty good dog whistle.

Like others, I did get stuck on SPLOSH, RAIMI and SHTETL. And MACULA was a complete guess. I knew the term was "macular degeneration" and dropped it in off the first a and the l.

In general though, pretty easy. A lot of the other tough answers were gettable from straightforward crosses.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

We all know that "Sploosh Splesh" was recorded by his cousin Tommy Darin in 1959.

RooMonster 12:54 PM  

Getting all those guides, at least for me, would be a waste of money. I suffer from what I like to call Chronic Short-Term Memory Loss. I would just forget what I have read!

(Lucky when I remember my name! )

Anoa Bob 12:58 PM  

Liked FIASCO & HAIKU. Never heard of CHUPACHUPS. Have heard the Spanish verb CHUPAr used, but not in a confectionery sense.

One of the most challenging aspects of selecting theme entries for a puzz is getting ones with matching, symmetrical letter counts. If you're using five themers, the middle one must have an odd-number letter count. Today's grid shows a little trick to get around that pesky restriction. SUPPORT GROUP fits the theme nicely, but only has 12 letters. What to do? POC to the rescue. See how easy that is. And no one will notice. Well, almost no one.

Unknown 1:06 PM  

I hate to revel in another man's pain, but Rex you have made my day. As much as I hate it when it takes me forever and you declare it easy, it has has the opposite effect when I breeze through and you declare it challenging. My puzzles are measured in glasses of wine--Saturdays require a designated driver-- but this was one glass for me. No buzz at all. Thanks, Rex.

Carola 1:11 PM  

Definitely a harder than usual Tuesday for me, with more "must confirm with crosses" entries than I'd normally have: ESCARP, ACUVUE, HAIKU, LOVE CHILD, not to mention CHUPA CHUPS, which were SOO beyond my KEN..... Which I liked. As @chefwen said, nice to have a non-autofill Tuesday puzzle.

@Arlene - I hadn't noticed GASSED below STETL (and next to CHAR). Maybe the constructor could have considered MSs x sASSED.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

I'm out of practice, and I didn't actually have a hard time with this one; more "medium" than "challenging," perhaps even on the "easy" side apart from a few missteps (the general disagreement regarding SOO is something that stumped me for a while, too). I've never heard of APPLE TV but I'm not an Apple product user. Does anyone even say IN ESSE? I'd accept IN ESSENCE, but even in academia, unnecessary Latin is an outlier. Never heard of Sam RAIMI, or TUNA OIL apart from the fishing/chum sense. Agreed that the SHTETL and GASSED cross is more than uncomfortable, and I'd never heard GASSED used in that context ("used up," "out of energy"). If you "gas" your car, aren't you ready to go?

Anyway. Now I want a CHUPACHUPS . . . haven't had one in years. I got that clue right away.

mac 1:39 PM  

Medium Tuesday to me, with a little crunch here and there. The SE was the last, with the ink pad and Louis C.K. especially.

Hey, there is another Dutch person on the blog, welcome!

chasklu 1:49 PM  

only problem : In ESSE??

I do kenken 7 days a week;crossword only Monday Tuesday.

Doug Garr 3:03 PM  

If I didn't have an hour wait in the doctor's office, I might never have finished this puzzle. I thought it was really hard and so I agree wholeheartedly with Rex's analysis.

jae 3:06 PM  

@Anon 12:35 - Good advice. I did just that about 8 years ago when I started getting serious about crosswords. My comment was more about whether or not ACHT is an appropriate Tuesday level answer. Seems more late week to me.

Teedmn 5:19 PM  

I had YiP before YAP. And I was sure that Neptune's moon wouldn't be TRITON because that's the Saturn moon where the aliens in Heinlein's "The Puppetmasters" came from. But TRITON kept being shown as correct, and I said " humph". Only to Google to find Saturn's moon and source of said aliens is Titan, my bad.

I made a frowny face at TLC for nurses' care and didn't know RAIMI but was pleased at getting CHUPACHUPS from looking at the theme answers before seeing the revealer (never heard of them but if it isn't chocolate, it doesn't meet the definition of candy at my house).

Thanks everyone for pointing out the online meaning if SPLOSH - my education for the day. Thanks, Mr. Mulhern, for the more challenging Tuesday.

rex dreck 5:24 PM  

Rex has become a caricature of himself. His write-ups have devolved into a predictable splish-SPLOSH of whiney crap.
Thus puzzle was nicely balanced between Monday easy and Wednesday average clues. I appreciate that I learned some things (SPLOSH and CHUPACHUPS) and I am nowhere near cocky enough to imply that if there is a word or two I don't know then the puzzle is poorly constructed.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

Well, I for one, really enjoy KenKen. As an engineer, KenKen speaks to me in my language and doesn't ask me to recall the names of B-movie actors who are only notable because of their crosswordy names!

It's one of the primary reasons I get the NY Times delivered.

rondo 7:12 PM  

I wish I had a newspaper that carried kenken. When I go on vacation it's cool too see what other folks get for daily puzzles. Yes, I solve on paper in syndi-land, but today being a holiday I thought I'd get into real time for a bit.
BTW we syndies have a modified baccarat game going five weeks later. There's a bunch of us!
@dk send me an email, maybe time for another beer?

Ken 7:34 PM  

I did this on the train ride home
and thought, when I got home Rex would have rated this way too easy. Certainly not challenging, even for a Tuesday. I literally zoomed through the quadrants with the easy "super duper" facilitating the solve. Is it possible I might be the 62nd best Crossword solver in the world? I SERIOUSLY doubt it..LOL I salute the veterans also !!

Dave 8:49 PM  

Fwiw, I went through this fairly quickly. Some of the fill seemed forced, but for whatever reason, not hard at all!

Anonymous 9:09 PM  

I like doing the ken-ken on fen-phen.

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

Take a pill.

Anonymous 11:34 PM  

Your write-up was hilarious - thanks for cheering me up from an off day.

Virginia 12:32 AM  

This one was fun and not too difficult for me -- I was able to fill in all the mystery answers with crosses. SPLOSH is obviously a gentle splashing sound, as when sloshing water hits the side of a bucket. But the SASH clue is definitely incorrect. My daughter was a Brownie, and she did earn badges of some sort, but they were affixed to a vest. You don't get your SASH until you enter Juniors, in fourth grade.

--Virginia, long-ago Girl Scout whose mom may still have her SASH in storage somewhere.

'Nother Anon 4:33 AM  

@ken-ken fen-phen fan

What are you, Thin King? You gone get pulm o'numerary high pretenshun.

Lois 10:41 AM  

I'd like to add my vote in favor of kenkens. I love them, and did them every day before I started doing crosswords regularly. I'm no mathematician, but I get a kick from solving a logic puzzle, and the puzzles also give me a brush-up on baby arithmetic skills.

They might not be as well known as crosswords, but a lot of people do them.

I did find that when I started doing crosswords, my skill at kenkens fell off a bit. There's only so much effort that I can make in one day. I also once knew how to do basic sudokus, but I can't do them any more either. One needs practice to keep up with a different kind of puzzle.

I enjoyed today's puzzle despite the tough clues and answers, because the crosses were good. Too bad about "gassed" and "shtetl"; that should be fixed for republication, as has been suggested elsewhere. I don't know about the naughty bits ("splosh" and "chupa chup"), if naughtiness was meant. I think maybe "splosh" was unfortunate, as there doesn't seem to be much of a conventional use of the word.

xyz 4:11 PM  


Unknown 8:16 AM  

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spacecraft 1:07 PM  

All right, everything is not on the--wait for it--up and up. I'm in OFL's camp today; in fact, DNF for those damn APPLETs. I've heard of Apple, of course, and TV--but not APPLETV. Other never-heard-ofs:

-->50a. And 98% of the rest of us.

-->double KEN?? Popular?????

-->LOUISCK. Thought this had to be wrong, but didn't know how to fix it. Expected DNF, but here, not above.

-->SPLOSH. This has got to be pure poetic--or crossword constructic--license.

-->GASSED meaning tired. Must be a regional thing.

Have-heard-ofs but mighty pithy for a Tuesday: ESCARP, SHTETL, MACULA. Bottom line: challenging.

But not in a good way. "Share a single bed"?? You might call that doubling up; I'd call it something else. Relax, censors, I'm stopping there. Seems as though Mr. Mulhern really had to reach for those theme answers. He reached SOO far he fell off the ladder. F.

194. I think I need a support group.

rondo 1:31 PM  

TLC, MSG, DEC, AOL, ANA, REP, EST, NCO, ETC. . . . And those aren't even the 3 letter fills that make real words.
I'd go into a TIRADE, but I think my point is made.

394 = 7 OKAY

DMG 1:55 PM  

When I got ESCARP early on, I figured, rightly it turns out, that this one would be a bit challenging. For the silly sounding lollipops I added a question mark in the margin. But it turned out right. However, missed the V up top and the comic's C. Kick myself for not getting MACULA, but I think by that time I was just SOO confused! Mañana! Hey spellcheck added the tilde for me!

2159 = 8 Better than yesterday!

leftcoastTAM 4:26 PM  

Like just about everybody, SOO left me cold, and I've always thought GASSED meant the opposite of pooped. Got them anyway with mostly easy crosses. This is a Wednesday puzzle for sure.

rain forest 6:01 PM  

Not really caring what day of the week the puzzle is published, I just flat out enjoyed this one. LOUIS CK is hilarious. My girlfriend has an APPLE TV to interface with her computer, and wears ACUVUE contacts.
Soo, I went through this pretty quickly and enjoyably, and would feel the same way if it were published on a Wednesday or any other day.

Rex was funny today which ameliorated his supercilious negativity about certain entries. I'd have more to say, but I'm gassed after all this keyboard work.

319 Not there yet, gimme a 5.

Waxy in Montreal 10:34 PM  

Yeah, @space's comment sums up my take on this puzzle so I need say no more. Time for a CUPASOUP which I really enjoy - perhaps will DOUBLEUP with some CHUPACHUPS which INESSE I've never heard of, even though the late and great Senor Dali is a fav artist of mine.

9350: Like @DMG, ein ACHT!

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Where is the blogger who posts the avg times today? Need him or her to settle the argument about difficulty.

My personal theory is that nearly every person who regularly solves Friday and Saturday puzzles, will find all other puzzles easy or at least always say so.

I am a Thursday-best-case kind of person, and believe me THIS PUZZLE WAS OFF THE CHARTS HARD! Hollywood director Sam Raimi, Confectionary brand chupachups, stand up comedian louisck, town with Yiddish speakers shtetl, in name the worst offenders.

In defense of Rex (who needs no defense), I think he tries to see past his own difficulty, to the actual construction quality of the puzzle, ie not always operating in the ego mode. I think he is spot on with this one, and am continuing to wonder about the quality of the NYTimes editing.

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