Adriatic peninsula shared by Italy Slovenia Croatia / THU 2-12-15 / British PM during Seven Years War / Part of Rimbaud's oeuvre / World Heritage site that's more than 4000 years old / 1998 BP acquisition

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Constructor: Jules P. Markey

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: CORNERSTONE (36A: Where one might find a date … with a hint to this puzzle's theme)— rebus puzzle with "STONE" in every [… wait for it …] corner.

Theme answers:
Extra theme answers
  • INSCRIPTION (30A: Writing on a 36-Across)
  • TIME CAPSULE (43A: Something found behind a 36-Across)
Word of the Day: ISTRIA (44D: Adriatic peninsula shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia) —
Istria (/ˈɪstriə/CroatianSloveneIstraItalianIstriaIstriotEîstriaGermanIstrien), formerly Histria (Latin), is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner. It is shared by three countries: CroatiaSlovenia, and Italy (wikipedia)

• • •

While I can't find a CORNERSTONE puzzle in the cruciverb database, the CORNER-type theme is old, old hat. There's a CORNERLOT puzzle in the NYT a few years back, with "HOUSE" in every corner (that was pretty good). There's a New York Sun puzzle from a while back (god I miss that puzzle…) that used FOUR CORNERS as its revealer and put the two-letter postal codes of the states involved (UT, CO, NM, AZ) in all the corners. So, it's been done, often, and usually more interestingly than this. This incarnation of the corner-theme is just too basic. The revealer gives away too much. "So … I just put 'STONE' in every corner? … OK." The attempt to liven it up with bonus theme answers only adds excessive pressure to the grid, which (not surprisingly) buckles. Repeatedly. The fill is good in places, but deeply unpleasant in others. OSA CRIT ISTRIA / TOPE POEME / TER SIMI SAMI LIENOR ISH / ET ALII ITO. Lots of ugly groupings. Long Downs look pretty great, but they aren't nearly enough. Dullish theme and subpar fill keep this one from passing.

I also didn't know CORNERSTONEs were so intimately associated with TIME CAPSULEs. This is a phenomenon of which I was unaware (though piecing together the answer wasn't hard at all). What else was I unaware of? ISTRIA's existence, for one. I have a hard time being happy learning new things when those things are so obviously desperation fill. Will try to be grateful for the new geographical knowledge, but it's not going to be easy. No idea what "Idiotest" is, either, so GSN was slow in coming (24A: Cable channel that has "Idiotest," for short). Not amusing that there is not one but two channels in the puzzle (see also TBS at 9D). There oughta be a limit. Thought LAC was MER, but didn't have too much wrong-answer trouble, otherwise.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Anonymous 12:06 AM  

    When did having two widely different television channels in the same puzzle become a problem?

    Just feels like Rex wants to find any way possible to complain about a puzzle. Sure, the theme isn't entirely original, but it's still original (although I have thought about making a puzzle with this exact theme before).

    JFC 12:11 AM  

    Rex should really crow tonight. He has his Blog up and running before Wordplay, which is normally scheduled to be up and running two hours before his.

    Steve J 12:25 AM  

    Thought the theme was fine, although the biggest problem with a theme like this is that too much just gets essentially autofilled once you figure out one instance of the conceit.

    The rest of the puzzle, I had a hard time warming to. There was some nice misdirection - like the clues for ZIP CODES and EMOTICON - but a lot of clues just felt off to me. Don't know if that was me not being on the right wavelength or if it was an issue with how they were written. And definitely some strained fill took some shine off of the good bits.

    I would not count ISTRIA as remotely desperate fill. It's a pretty well-known region to those who pay a bit of attention to geography. It's certainly convenient fill, given its plethora of common letters, but convenient and desperate are not synonymous.

    wreck 12:29 AM  

    Easy-medium for me. After you figured out the "STONE" rebus in one corner, you pretty much have the puzzle solved by placing "STONE" in each corner. This was probably the quickest I have ever sniffed out the rebus. It wasn't bad, but there wasn't much to it.

    Unknown 12:33 AM  

    Medium-challenging, made medium by a relatively easily gotten rebus. 28 min. no errors, and for a few brief shining moments (11:39 until 11:44) my time was on Wordplay's top 500 leader board. There were 1200 solvers at that hour. Perhaps my place was buoyed by a bevy of DNFs. I mean: GSN/WINESAP was a tough cross, especially if you've never watched said network or munched on said apple.

    Touch-and-go throughout. tEal for [Turquoise, e.g.] (before I got the trick) slowed me down in the NE. And like @Rex, mer for LAC. Add to that napa for SIMI. Clues for TER, PITT, SAMI, SIS, EMOTICON, MATING put those entries just beyond reach for the first few passes. For that matter LIENOR, USS, ZIPCODES, EMOTICON emerged very slowly. This puzzle had enough abstraction that it could easily have broken the other way -- like last Friday's debacle. But today, the gods were smiling at nearly all of my guesses.

    What made the puzzle solvable was the relatively easy trick. That gave me 8 trustworthy entries around the edges, and I was able to parlay those into successful fill throughout. Last entry was the S in GSN/WINSAP. Second day in a row I got lucky on a 26:1 shot. (On Wednesday, it was CWT/CATT cross that was 26:1.)

    [Top card?] RIOT became clear on third pass in the post-solve. That's a tough clue!

    jae 12:33 AM  

    Mostly easy except for SE.  My first thought for 44d was GRIstas in GRIST Mill, but apparently that's the output from a GRIND STONE. Doh!  I also had some trouble sussing LIENOR and I'd forgotten SAMI. 

    I've seen ISTRIA very recently and took the time to check my Oxford Atlas of the World to see exactly where it is ( its on the NE side of Italy). In the atlas its ISTRA with no I just like Rex's map.  Wiki OTOH has ISTRIA??

    A bit too easy for a Thurs. as I doubt my GRIst error will be widely repeated.  Not bad, not great, a mild liked it.

    Whirred Whacks 12:40 AM  

    Fun puzzle, fun solve.

    Would've been fun to have had MICK JAGGER as an answer!

    As would I.F. STONE (a real newsman, not one of those fancy newsreaders on network TV).

    Wood 1:01 AM  

    Got stuck in the SE, finally Sussex but Naticked on TER/I ME MINE. I assume that's three words?

    Wood 1:01 AM  


    Anonymous 1:04 AM  

    While PITT was the obvious answer, he wasn't actually the Prime Minister during the 7 years war.

    George Barany 1:47 AM  

    @Rex's post and @Hayley Gold's webcomic about @Jules Markey's Thursday rebus puzzle both posted at 11 p.m. CST. Lovely perspectives from both, including precedents to similar themes from the past.

    okanaganer 2:22 AM  

    Visiting Croatia in 1987, I asked my hosts (who had been kindly speaking heavily accented English for my benefit) how they had enjoyed their travels to Israel. Turned out they had actually been saying Istria.

    For 8 down I tried FREE ARMS. Sounds a little more noble, eh?

    GILL I. 6:15 AM  

    When I figure out a Thur. gimmick my feet want to do the happy dance. Well, I figured it out and my feet weren't happy. Maybe it was the GSN NOS ARI ITO or maybe the OSA APE SIS TER that made me want to sit this one out.
    Bring back the tango....

    Anonymous 6:50 AM  

    "I also didn't know CORNERSTONEs were so intimately associated with TIME CAPSULEs. This is a phenomenon of which I was unaware. . . ."

    Didn't you say the same thing twice there?

    Moly Shu 6:53 AM  

    Mostly easy due to the STONES, except for the ISTRIA CRIT area. @Ste. Jae, I had GRIsts for a while before I got the trick. Learned an apple and a peninsula, can't be sure I'll remember them though.

    Glimmerglass 7:36 AM  

    The SAMI people are the reindeer herders I learned about in school as Lapps. Turns out (I learned on a trip to Norway), that "lapp" means "rags." So Lapps means "people who dress in rags, poor people." The SAMI find Lapp an insulting pejorative. In Norway, the SAMI are an important minority. They have recently been allowed to study their own language in school. There is even a SAMI language TV station.

    It's the Pitts 7:37 AM  

    Have to agree with @anonymous 1:04 am

    William Pitt 'The Elder', 1st Earl of Chatham , was Whig Prime Minister from 1766 to 1768

    1756 – 1763 Seven Years' War (or French-Indian war)

    List of Briish Prime Ministers for the period:

    William Cavendish Duke of Devonshire Whig 1756 to 1757

    Thomas Pelham-Holles 1st Duke of Newcastle Whig 1754 to 1756, 1757 to 1762

    John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute Tory 1762 to 1763

    Pitt did have a hand in the war but not as Prime Minister:

    Yet continued defeats at France’s hands appeared to support his opinions, and Lord Newcastle’s government fell. Under the Duke of Devonshire, Pitt directed the war as Secretary of State. He used only British troops, he enlarged the Navy and he made friendly overtures towards Prussia.

    In 1757 Lord Newcastle returned as Prime Minister in a coalition which saw Pitt keep his position as Secretary of State. The government was a successful one, though it saw Pitt dismissed for a period of 5 months before being reinstated.

    During Lord Newcastle’s premiership, Pitt made some of his greatest achievements in the area of foreign policy. He appreciated the relationship between war and trading success and chose his military campaigns to increase national trade. Conquering India, Canada, the West Indies and West Africa were all immensely beneficial to Britain’s merchants.

    Dorothy Biggs 7:51 AM  

    PITT/TOPE was the holdup for me. Reading through the comments I now feel bad that somehow I'm supposed to know off hand who Pitt is/was. No clue. Some relatively obscure (to Americans) 18th century British P. M.? And TOPE? Toke, yes. Tope, unless it's spelled taupe, no. So I just ran the alphabet in the PI-T spot until I got the happy little jingle.

    Otherwise agree that the theme gave too much away. Thought maybe the STONEs in the corner would be different kinds of stones. But no, just STONE. This made it really easy.

    In fact, I was way ahead of schedule until PITT/TOPE. ISTRIA/CRIT wasn't too far behind in slowing me up, but I basically guessed on the R based on what other letter could possibly go in there. I considered an H as an alternative...luckily I didn't have to go there.

    As for TIMECAPSULE, isn't that what goes in corner stones so when you tear down a building you can open it up and see what was going on at the time? Where else do people bury them?

    Teedmn 7:51 AM  

    I got the trick at GEM/STONE/MASON and it was pretty easy from there. I was slowed down just a bit in the SE, partially self-inflicted since I misread the clue for 65A as a "stinging" family and having the S from ISH, thought it might be tSetse. This was soon cleared up. Also in that corner thought I ME MINE might be IMagINE but couldn't IMagINE why George Harrison would have used a John Lennon song as the title of his memoir.

    Nice puzzle, Jules P Markey.

    Anonymous 7:52 AM  

    Yes, a day late again, but an apropos comment seemingly everyday. Regime change? Really? Is that putz actually bucking for WS's job? The regime change us actually needed at the head of this blog! Like rotate all the days

    Mohair Sam 8:08 AM  

    Fun, fairly easy Thursday.

    Had TOkE for TOPE for a little while. Anybody else?

    Why do I think that @Rex would have seen ISTRIA as fresh fill if it had been the name of a super hero(ine)? Surprised he has that hole in his geography knowledge - it's been in the news lately.

    Didn't like the EMOTICON clue at all, not totally accurate.

    Remembered SAMI from an episode of a British nature series called "Survival" from the late '60's. Amazing what the brain can retain, not see in nearly fifty years and pull out. But don't ask me what I had for dinner last night.

    Numinous 8:16 AM  

    @Casco, you beat me by a minute, congratulations. It seems I've been dragging my feet on T-S puzzles so it's going to be a while before the app accurately reflects my average times.

    I really liked the nautical mini-theme with the USS Consttution's spanker and JIB set AFT and at the bow sailing the ATLANTIC on a NEAP tide. I also liked how Dot to Ditto's SIS_TER crossed a black square. WS may have missed a better clue there (or maybe not).

    I can recall a time when getting STONEd on a Thursday meant no classes for me that day. Given the generation many of us are from, Free Speech Movement and all that, I wonder how many others had similar experiences in that distant freewheeling past. Go on, y'all can admit it now with no shame.

    Enjoyed this puzzle. I thought it was going to be tougher on the first pass but everything fell into place with SIS TERly (relative) ease as I proggressed. Having created a puzzle or two, it seems to me that some fill IS desperate. So what? If a half decent puzzle comes out of it, it's all good. I thought this one was all good.

    chefbea 8:23 AM  

    Figured it was going to be a pre-Valentine's day puzzle...where to find a date!! Lots of yummy things..Lava cake, demi glace.. Of course put STL instead of ARI at first. Don't understand lienor....just got it!!

    Was great that Will Treece came by late yesterday...two Wills are better than one

    chefbea 8:25 AM  

    actually he said..where there are two Wills there are two ways

    Unknown 8:40 AM  

    @mohair sam. I certainly considered TOkE, but that particilar suss was _OPE. When PITT finally appeared (the Younger? the Older?) I revisited POEME, but it was a lot more likely than TOkE. Did you know Dewey Cheatem & Howe used to refer DWIs to Tipple & Tope? (Do you like how I made that a question to avoid facts-not-in-evidence objection?)(There seems to be a Aussie package store by that name.)

    Had morseCOde had the same length as EMOTICON, I'd have been in trouble.

    @Whirred Turnover a brilliant Izzy{Stone} and your find a {STONE}Phillips crawling underneath.

    jberg 9:03 AM  

    @chefbea, me too for wanting STL, though the crosses had ruled it out before I got there. A sign of age in my case, (though surely not in yours.)

    I got the rebus from the NGE in STONEHENGE, but wasn't brilliant enough to guess the revealer from that. Still, pretty easy, maybe too much so. And while I liked the sail sub-stheme, I still don't see why 31D rates a question mark, nor the mixup of Biblical history with actual history at 66A. I can't imagine Noah's building that ark with only stone tools! And, as has been said, parentheses are a big part of EMOTICONs, so that was another sloppy clue.

    But WINESAP! You know you have done a lot of puzzles when cluing an actual apple as an apple seems like a misdirection.

    I didn't know where ISTRIA was, but I did know there was an Istria, so that was ok; and fortunately, while I certainly knew that there were elder and younger PITTs, I didn't know their dates, which apparently made that one easier.

    Anonymous 9:07 AM  

    Pitt the Elder was.

    joho 9:07 AM  

    I have to agree that this was the easiest rebus to get in a while. Looks like we all just threw those STONES into the corners pretty quickly.

    I did have mer before LAC like @Rex and stl before ARI like @chefbea and a malapop at 32D with step before TONE. 6D STEPON corrected that misstep.

    So not the tussle I crave on a Thursday but enjoyable just the same. Speaking of which I learned SAMI. And ISTRIA.

    Thanks, Jules!

    Unknown 9:23 AM  

    @Numinous Medians are so much more usefal than means. I've become a convert to order statistics and use them in my day job. Had the app implemented order statistics, you'd have a daily percentile, which would update itself with every submission. Wild outliers, or even a few short hot/cold streaks, would not have any effect on the accuracy and utility of the percentile report. To get that message to Will, do I have to embed it in a crossword?

    mathguy 9:26 AM  

    I agree with @wreck. All rebuses are welcome, but this one was weak.

    Isn't the clue for EMOTICONS just plain wrong? Even the originals had parentheses.

    Had trouble in SE because I didn't know the Beatles song.

    Anonymous 9:30 AM  

    According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Pitt was the "virtual prime minister" (the term did not come into use until later) from 1756 to 1761, and he was definitely the head of the British government during the Seven Years War.

    Zwhatever 9:37 AM  

    Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice. My list of favorite peninsula:
    The Upper Peninsula
    The Mitten
    The Thumb

    I thought it was a fun Thursday. The GEM(Stone) and ZALES in the NE had me pondering a Valentines theme, but this works fine. The fill seems fine to me, too. USS Constitution immediately beneath the 2nd amendment clued FIREARMS is a nice touch.

    In case you're wondering, the solution in the paper is for the version printed, not the version that was online yesterday.

    Zwhatever 9:46 AM  

    BTW - I hate it when people yell "wrong" are wrong. Seriously, don't assume Wikipedia is the final word on a subject.

    mac 9:56 AM  

    It was over way too fast, because I remembered too much after seeing this puzzle solved at the final in Westport. Still a nice Thursday, though.

    I wonder from which language LAPP for rags comes. Have to do a little research.

    Nancy 9:58 AM  

    Agree with Steve J, wreck, Casco, Moly, mathguy -- the revealer made it too easy. Didn't see STONEWALLS/STONEHENGE at first; I had STALLS for 1A, which didn't seem right, but didn't know how to fix it. Then I remembered that WINE-something-or-other was an apple, saw the W, and said "Aha". Once I had those first 2 rebusae and found the revealer, I, too, sprinted through the puzzle, putting STONE in all the corners. Enjoyable, but not a real challenge.

    Tita 10:00 AM  

    @Z - no love for the IBERIAN?

    Being an uncharacteristic speed solver at Westport, I welcomed the gimme of the CORNER STONEs.
    Those helped offset the WOEs around ARI (what? They named a football team the Cardinals, then put them in a whole other state???)...
    Hesitated on JIB - I was looking for something attached *only* at the bow - a JIB is attached to the mast and the bow.

    @Glimmer - thanks for the insight on SAMI - learning that was worth the price of admission...

    Thanks for the Thursday rebus Mr, Markey - I liked it fine.
    (Though I do agree with the others about the oddity of the Antediluvian clue.)

    The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh 10:07 AM  

    The list of British Prime Ministers from Gov.UK does not include Pitt for the Seven Years War period. Virtual and War Prime Minister do not count. Take a look at previous cluing for examples of ways to do it: Pitt.

    Clue was wrong.

    John V 10:11 AM  

    Final puz at Westport. Andy Kravitz won with a time of 8:13, on the white board. IIRC, he got the rebus almost immediately from the reveal and immediately filled the corners.

    pmdm 10:14 AM  

    Yes, we have seen the corner rebus before. And I would predict we will see it again. I have no problem with that. Four weekdays each week we encounter a theme in the puzzle, usually obvious because of longer answers that appear symmetrically. So I'm really not sure calling them "old hat" says anything you can't say about non-rebus theme puzzles. Not that I disagree with the description. It's just that most puzzles have a certain amount of "old hatness" about them. I don't see how this is avoidable, which makes me all the more grateful for a truly inventive puzzle.

    A number of commentators seem to gripe on a daily basis about the griping in the main write-up. (This suggests one could aim their gripes back at them.) Some people have high demands. They rarely change their mindset (in my experience). But I have noticed that since about the beginning of this year the high demands on puzzle construction discussed in the write-up do not include the vitriol once so common in the write-ups. I used to frequently wince at some of the vehement condemnations in the write-ups. That isn't happening recently. If a person has high demands, I can't criticize the person for expressing them, especially in the person's own blog. But if they are expressed civilly and not personally, that's fine by me. But it seems to me that sometimes the gripping about the gripping is getting a bit too personal and needs to be lightened but.

    In honor of the song in today's puzzle, here's a link to a Beatles' song that is linked to a piece by J. S. Bach.

    Did you here the link? It occurs at about 2:53 of the song. As an aside, there are three quotes in the song, the first with trumpets, the second with strings (Greensleeves) and the third with saxophones (of a Jazz piece whose name I forget). What is interesting is that the background ostinato has four beats to the measure and the quotes have three beats to the measure. For what it's worth.

    RnRGhost57 10:36 AM  

    Pitt and Pittsburgh

    4 Stones: Mick Keef Woody Charlie

    Nancy 10:38 AM  

    Reading these comments, I just learned that this puzzle was part of the final in a puzzle competition in Westport,. It makes me think that maybe it wouldn't be completely laughable for me to enter one of these. I couldn't win, of course -- I'm much too slow and don't enjoy attempting to rush through anything in life, from eating to walking to reading to crosswords -- but maybe I could be at what one of you, in an earlier comment, called "the turtle table." I don't drive; are there any competitions in NYC, preferably in Manhattan?

    bwalker 10:38 AM  

    @Casco Kid -- well done dodging the PITTfalls I went into headlong. It took me more than two hours, but...

    I got the rebus for the first time ever! So many rewrites: balkan before ISTRIA, blue before GEMSTONE, sEMI before DEMI, adresses (sic) before ZIP CODES, and OSbOrn before OSMOND. Somewhere in all the mess I misspelled ATLANToC/PoTT, and it took several times going through the clues before "d'oh" was "I" again.

    And I got the rebus for the first time ever! My streak is alive at five! As if I'd been hit in the head with a GEMSTONE, what had seemed near impossible just fell together. I loved it, no matter the time. Liked PITT the elder, WINESAP, NITROCAR, EMPERORS, LIENOR, IMEMINE, ET ALII.

    Norm C. 10:39 AM  

    Double-standard alert!

    Earlier this week we had a complete section of a puzzle rewritten because the word TOO appeared twice (crossing).

    Today we have the word STONE appearing *five* times (including the reveal). Putting four of the STONEs in as a rebus makes it OK? Well, it seems so.

    Gracie H 10:42 AM  

    Happy to see a rebus for a change. Liked the long theme answers. I agree that the shorter fill is sub-par. And it seems lately we're seeing a lot of 6-letter entries consisting of a 4-letter verb plus 2-letter preposition, such as MOVESTO, HITSAT, STEPON. I'd prefer more interesting single word answers when possible.

    RooMonster 10:44 AM  

    Hey All !
    DNF on that ridiculous SW corner! Apparently the only one who found said corner impossible. Lit CRIT?? ISTRIA? TOUCH STONE as clued? Holy moly!

    Rest of puz was pretty good, easy-mediumish. Before figuring out theme, had ATOz for ATOM, and along with the Z's in ZALES and ZOO, thought something was going on with those Z's. Alas, not. Got the theme, after ATOM/_MASON. Said, hmm, might be STONE. Actually had INSCRPITION before/helping me get CORNERSTONE.

    Wanted bearARMS for FIREARMS, also wanted WIi-something for WINESAP, too many Apple products saturating the brain! GSA and GSN. NEAT and NEAP. LIENOR is odd looking. LIENee? LIENer? Whatevs, as the kids say these days...


    Gracie H 10:44 AM  

    I mean MOVETO

    Unknown 10:52 AM  

    PITT clue was fine. "Prime Minister" is both a title and a task list. No one else held the title; PITT held the task list. As for "what counts," well, heh, heh -- how can I break it to you? -- um, if it is in-the-language somewhere, it counts. It is common in crosswords to use both clues and entries that don't represent the spot-on definitions of words. Archaic and/or regional slang are OK. General misconceptions are fine. Outright wronghoods pass muster. The moon is not made of GREENCHEESE, but proverbs about the moon are. Billy Martin was a five-time manager of the NY Yankees. But he could be clued as [5x Yankee coach]. Would Fish object to that? Fish seems to be.

    Perhaps this is The-Fish-That-Saved-Pittsburgh's first puzzle ever. Well, welcome to the world, young fry! I'm only a few months ahead of you!

    AliasZ 11:00 AM  

    I was getting slowly STONEd as I was solving this puzzle. No, I'm just kidding -- I was STONE-cold sober throughout. I SIMI-SAMIed my way through it with relative ease, so I would call it an easyISH TERsday puzzle. I loved the four STONErs anchoring the puzzle.

    Aren't ARS and ART the same?
    Aren't ARS and ASS the same?

    I enjoyed the puzzle because it did not have a kidney STONE or gallSTONE in it.

    ISTRIA has a rough and often gruesome history, especially at the end of WWII when ethnically and politically motivated atrocities were the order of the day.

    But that is not why I came here.

    Since I recently covered the ARS Nova / ARS Antiqua subject, today I would like to talk about Ukrainian-born pianist and teacher Heinrich Neuhaus (1888-1964) [no relation to the chocolatier Neuhaus*] who taught a new generation of the world's best pianists, like Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels ET ALII. His pedagogic book The ART of Piano Playing (1958) is regarded as one of the most authoritative and most widely used treatments on the subject. He was a second cousin of, and in his artistic development greatly influenced by, Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937), who himself was tutored by Heinrich's father, Gustav Neuhaus. When the Germans approached Moscow in 1941, Heinrich Neuhaus was imprisoned as a "German spy" [shades of similar actions in the USA at the time] but released eight months later under pressure from Dmitri Shostakovich, Emil Gilels ET ALII. Here he plays Two POÈMEs, Op. 32 by Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915).

    *HINT for those who are still looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift.

    Moly Shu 11:01 AM  

    @Roo, as I've told @Ste. Jae in the past, my coworkers insist on using adjectives other than 'holy' when describing me. Most of them less than flattering. I appreciate the kind thought. The SW killed me too.

    Leapfinger 11:02 AM  

    Didn't we just recently have a comment about ARS Nova and ARS Antiqua? That was helpful in the nautical corner.

    Did not catch the rebus right away. Went off on my own private tangent, and thought 1A would be a rebus with SWALL[OW]S, the OW somehow feeding into STEPON. Got that cleared up in the NE, but had forgotten it by puzzle's end, which made solving the SW tricky. My late-night brain must have gone AWOL; I have no other excuse for that, or for my geography gaffes, RHONE and IBERIA. Saw that more info was needed to sort out Napa vs SIMI, but fell into the LIENee/ LIENOR trap.

    The SIS_TER was enough of a NEAT PARE to reconcile me to seeing TER instead of 'tid' yet again. Rimbaud's POEME reminded me of his "Fleurs du Mal"; I bought my copy (illustrated with woodcuts) when I was in college, during my Françoise Sagan phase. Was pleased to confirm there is such a thing as ZOO ART.

    Think that tonight I'll try to make like the chefs, @wen and @bea; how does gnocchi & chicken sound, with DEMI-glace, some GRINDS of pepper and a HINT of SAGE? Yup, there's where a RHONE would be better than RHINE.

    Thanks for the interlude, Mr. Markey. I AMO'ed your CO.

    nunya 11:02 AM  

    completely agree...

    nunya 11:04 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Tita 11:04 AM Lollapuzoola...happens in midtown in the summer.
    I've only been once, but it is a fun event.
    As with Westport, it is meant as much, if not moreso, for "the rest of us" to meet and be able to talk crosswords without the usual bored stares that we often get from our own family/friends.
    Of course, the handful of folks who do have a chance at winning are awesome, and it's fun to hobnob with them too.
    (fwiw, the Westport train station is not far from the library)

    I am the opposite of a speed solver, and can only hope to win in "best Handwriting - Pencil", but have never even gotten that distinction. (Some technicality that to qualify, all your solves have to actually be *correct*...)
    (I am the 382nd best solver in the world, as per my most recent acpt ranking!!!!)

    btw, in the wiki article on the SAMI people, there is a photo of a SAMI ETUI.

    Mr. Benson 11:07 AM  

    95% easy, 5% staring at a few blank spaces or answers that I just refused to accept as valid. ISTRIA-CRIT and TOPE-POEME are horrid, as is the vague cluing for things like RISE and NOS. And I agree that the "bonus" theme answers seem forced and aren't worth it for the abysmal fill they necessitate.

    Anoa Bob 11:12 AM  

    Had STALLS for the longest at 1-Across. That caused me to get STONEd later than most of you folks. (A quick glance through the records shows it was actually Oct., 1967, so I probably beat most of y'all to it.)

    Tried funnyCAR at first, this kind, not this kind.

    Thought the second amendment was about the right to bear ARMS; didn't remember it specifying the FIRE part. Is that like carrying a torch along with a pitchfork when you storm the castle?

    When I see those B-2 Stealth bomber silhouettes on the mid-east and -west coasts, I know an eleven-letter central spanner has gone down. My brief yet unremarkable stint at constructioneering taught me that an eleven in that spot necessitates those big globs of black squares at each end to make the rest of the grid work. Plus you know there's gonna be a pile-up of three's throughout the rest of the grid, to wit, ARS, ARI, ISH, ITO, TER, ET ALII. So if you're a fledgling xword builder, go for a 15, 13, 9 or even a 7 letter entry in that central slot. They're much easier to build around than an 11 letter one.

    Carola 11:20 AM  

    Yikes, I spent solving the puzzle in a TIME CAPSULE: "Oh, I can see why they ran a rebus puzzle on a Wednesday, because this is too easy for a Thursday." Thank you, commenters above, for reorienting me to TIME.

    So, easy, but I thought it was very good. Loved the various STONES, especially TOUCHSTONE. Liked the GEMSTONE, ZALES, RHINESTONE trio.

    Help from previous puzzles: ARS, I ME MINE.

    chefbea 11:24 AM  

    @Leapfinger..What time is dinner??

    Generic Solver 11:26 AM  

    Dunno, I found this one really boring. The corner "STONE"s were not difficult to catch on to, and upon getting the theme-related answers CORNERSTONE and TIME CAPSULE, I thought to myself, "yeah, more boring facts, so, that's as good as it gets here?"

    Anonymous 11:26 AM  

    The head of the House Commons from 1756-1757 and 1757-1761 was Pitt the Elder. The title of PM was not on common use at the time. The Seven Years War 1754-1763.

    Joseph Michael 11:38 AM  

    Enjoyed it. Got the theme early on and the rest fell easily enough.

    Had CORES before CARES and ORONO before AMOCO.

    Liked EMOTICON and ZIP CODES and the eight STONEs. Have been to ISTRIA so no problem there.

    Wish Rex's daily rant wasn't always so negative. Maybe he's jealous that George Harrison got the title I, ME, MINE.

    Zwhatever 11:39 AM  

    @Tita - Definitely above Italian, now that you mention it. I think of the Uffizi as more @Alias Z and the Prado as more @Z. I've never been to Portugal, unfortunately. Son #1 studied in Cáceres, which is pretty close.

    @Fish - You do see the issue with "Virtual and War Prime Minister do not count (as Prime Ministers)" don't you? I fear you are one of those unfortunate souls who don't realize that hot dogs and tacos are sandwiches. To misquote a great philosopher, a difference which makes no difference is no difference, especially in crosswords.

    Anonymous 11:44 AM  

    Wow, rex. Could you be any more of a 22-down? Your reviews continue to reveal your ignorance, and your arrogance. Ugly combination. How many times need it be said: just because you don't know something (see TIMECAPSULE, ISTRIA) does not make it "bad fill," "desperate," or "obscure."

    Ludyjynn 11:49 AM  

    Despite some subpar fill and a technical DNF in the SE quad: TER??? IMEMINE???, I liked this rebus. Got the trick at STONEHENGE, which brought back a flood of memories of my travels throughout England. We had been driving in the middle of the countryside, nothing around for miles, and there it was, RISing out of the gathering dusk, cows mooing in the background. In those days ('70s), there was no fencing or security, you literally parked along the road and walked right up to the amazing site, wondering at its construction. We had the whole place to ourselves.

    Also, turquoise is one of my favorite GEMSTONEs. Doesn't that gorgeous color make you think of the waters around Bermuda? On this dreary day, a pleasant idea.

    @Numinous, I'll reference to your getting STONEd and missing Th. classes remark, I can go one better. My Freshman year at the University of Vermont, I was attending a history lecture on main campus in one of the old buildings. The hall had raked, tiered seating for c. 100 people, but there were c. 25 of us in class. I was seated toward the front and as the prof. droned on, began to note the distinctive smell of marijuana smoke! At first, I thought I must be imagining it, but when I turned around, could see the smoke wafting toward me from the back of the room! Believe it or not, the prof. said nothing; either he was oblivious or didn't give a damn! This went on every time we met for the duration of the term. The '70s, in retrospect, really were wondrous years.

    Thanks, JPM and WS. Insert EMOTICON nere.

    Leapfinger 11:57 AM  

    @chefbea, if you hop on I-40 at 4:00, we'll start dinner when youget here. (You do drive 80, don't you?)

    A huge Thank You to @Z for the recent link to the Asimov-Ciardi book; the peek inside from Amazon was mouth-watering good. It had all the wit, sarcasm, irony and elegant turn of phrase that anybody could want. Thanks also to all the shaggy-dog aficionados who livened the day; I also have trouble straining Koala tea.

    M and A Standards Desk (2Us) 12:12 PM  

    A treasure trove of puztheme suggestions, in today's grid...
    {Snowbird Laplander who winters in Sonoma Valley wine country?} = DEMISIMISAMI.
    $300 bucks in the bank, dude.

    @63 does occasionally raise a valid point. Today, he proposes a limit on channels, per puz. Spot on, mon amigo.
    Other limits, that are long overdue (let's restrict this to 15x15 grids, for simpleton's sake)...

    1. Upper limit on U's. Proposal: 50. (I know, compromise is a bitch.)
    2. Upper limit on corners: 3. Just to spice things up, say.
    3. Upper limit on Pewits: .000025.
    4. Upper limit on French words: .0000125.
    5. Upper limit on CRITs crossin ISTRIAs: the Universal has now already been reached.
    6. Upper limit on weejects: well, that's plumb ridiculous.
    7. Upper limit on proper names: I think Crossword Fiend has already figured this one out. As I recall, it's in the lower teens. Thanx to her, for that valuable service call.
    8. Upper limit on plurals of convenience: Anoa no limits, right now...
    9. Upper limit on EELs: As many as can be hidden in one ELLEN's worth.
    10. Upper limit on RRN's: MIX.

    Fun, put-up-a-fight solve, for m&e. Just luv it, when I flop around in the openin NW corner forever...


    old timer 12:18 PM  

    Too easy for a Thursday. The first STONE left me guessing, but it soon became obvious that all four corners were made of STONE. That made the rest of it a snap.

    I knew Harrison had a song that began with I, me. Did not remember that was the title of his book.

    All the same, I thought Rex would appreciate the puzzle, which I thought was very well done, Turns out he's never heard of Istria. Therefore the puzzle is crap. He might have carped about the clue for "zoo". Even with the ?, I can't accept that a ZOO is where the wiled things are. It's where they aren't.

    As for Pitt, by a convention that only became set in STONE after his time, the Prime Minister holds the office of First Lord of the Treasury, though his brief does not include running the Treasury. He leads the Cabinet and for the last 50 years has always also been the leader of the House of Commons and spokesperson for the Government there. Pitt, during most of the Seven Years' War, led the cabinet even though Newcastle was First Lord. So for all intents and purposes, Pitt was P.M.

    Don McBrien 12:18 PM  

    Theme was easy, but really struggled with some of the fill on this one. Made it through, but guessed WINECAP for 2D. Never heard of the 24A channel or show.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:34 PM  

    Was hoping for "semi" to complete the SIMI/SAMI trifecta, but it was not to be.

    Weirdly, I knew ISTRIA from watching Lidia Bastianich on PBS. That's where her family came from.

    Masked and Anonymo2Us 12:36 PM  

    Autocorrect flameout correction, in Upper Limit #5:
    "... the Universal-all-time-limit has now already been reached."

    My apologies, btw, to anyone whose favor limit was omitted due to space constraints. I know there are a few of U out there. Opera fans. Rap fans. Deflated football fans. Scrabble-twerkin/pangram fans...

    My apologies to all those fans that I plumb forgot about, mainly due to my cinnamon roll is gettin old. Bye.


    nick 12:37 PM  

    Hi and Lois?? Are these NYT puzzles sdeliberately for senior citizens or are the editors just trolling us?

    Martel Moopsbane 12:42 PM  

    Hi and Lois isn't so bad. True senior citizen comics would be antiques like Dondi, Joe Palooka, and Smokey Stover.

    Notary sojac!

    Nancy 12:44 PM  

    Thanks, Tita. I'll check it out. Maybe I'll see you in midtown in the summer at "the rest of us" table.

    Lewis 12:48 PM  

    I wanted "swills" for "Take the fifth?"

    Kind of a nice ladder progression -- AFT ART ARI ARS ASS USS. One third of the many three letter words have S in the middle.

    After figuring out the rebus, as many have noted, the puzzle became much easier. Some of the cluing was tough for me, though. Also, I didn't know ISTRIA, POEME, and CRIT. I like the looks of WINESAP and enjoyed the clue for LIENOR.

    People complain about the puzzles, but the NYT puzzles are easily several cuts above average, IMO.

    Chip Hilton 1:03 PM  

    @Martel - And Pogo, too. I got most of this, but a few spots had me beaten. I did get LIENOR but must say that I dislike words that show up only in crosswords. I'm looking forward to opening a TIMECAPSULE in 2026. It's at my old teaching post and, in 1976, I put in a plastic ruler to show the upcoming transition from inches to centimeters. Yeah, that went far . . .

    beatrice 1:07 PM  

    Two centuries after the flourishing of ARS NOVA, Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594) wrote this sublime piece for the future Holy Roman EMPEROR(S) Maximilian II on the occasion of his ascension to the throne of Bohemia (1562).

    chefbea 1:26 PM  

    @Martel..also Nancy and Sluggo

    Lewis 1:56 PM  

    Factoid: The first ZALES store (1924) instituted a credit plan whereby customers could pay "a penny down and a dollar a week".

    Quotoid: "ZOO: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings." -- Evan Esar

    Fred Romagnolo 2:05 PM  

    To include the upstart, and super-mawky, Dondi with the venerable and truly classic Palooka and Stover is an outrage. We senior citizens are sensitive to our memories. How about the "Little King" and, of course, "Lalapalooza." @Leapfinger: gasp! you surely didn't mean RED Rhone with chicken? @Z: the San Francisco peninsula? @Ludyjynn: it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life to visit Stonehenge on a dark and stormy day (as part of a tour). I'm with the Pitt for P.M. crowd; "for all intents and purposes" works with crosswords. I still don't get either the clue or the answer to 25 A; "most slush pile responses." The big ISTRIAn problem in 1953 was "how much goes to ex-fascist Italy and how much to now communist Yugoslavia?"

    Martel Moopsbane 2:22 PM  

    @Fred Romagnolo:

    My humble apologies. May I offer the uber-manly Steve Roper (and his pal Mike Nomad) in substitution for the admittedly super-mawky Dondi?

    TERrible 2:46 PM  

    I am a physician. I have written and looked at thousands of prescriptions. Not a single one has ever had the word TER. We write "t.i.d." all the time for "3 times per day," and the t stands for TER, but nobody, ever, has written TER to mean "3x" anywhere except in a crossword puzzle.

    pfb 2:50 PM  

    Got run over by the NITROCAR; otherwise not bad, but pretty easy once you got the theme.

    Zwhatever 3:19 PM  

    @Fred Romagnolo - As a life long Tiger fan I am bound to put the San Francisco peninsula somewhere south of ISTRIA on my list of favorite peninsulas. Any peninsula that allows wild Panda's to play third base should be enisled. Not that I'm bitter.

    Melodious Funk 5:25 PM  

    @Moops and @FredR:

    Major Hoople!

    Post No Bills.

    chefbea 5:43 PM  

    @leapfinger I sent you an e-mail. never got an answer

    M and Also 6:05 PM  

    @Primo old comics...
    * Krazy Kat - George Herriman.
    * Flash Gordon - Alex Raymond.
    * Far Side - Gary Larson.
    * Gahan Wilson cartoons (Playboy).
    * Chas Addams cartoons (New Yorker).
    * Fritz the Cat - Robert Crumb.

    ... plus several already mentioned.

    They are all big heroes of mine. Used to draw cartoons for the college newspaper, when I was a young student M&A. (pre my PhD in maskwear)


    john towle 6:11 PM  

    Stayman winesap apples grow in great profusion at the confluence of Delaware, Maryland, & Pennsylvania. If you ever have the opportunity to. sample juice from same during the fall season, don't pass it up. They make wonderful apple butter as well. Yum.



    Fred Romagnolo 7:44 PM  

    @M and Also said: only Krazy Kat and Flash Gordon fit the super-senior classification; and I don't think single panel cartoonists are even part of the argument. And Robert Crumb is dirty!, not for my grandchildren! @Melodious funk: right on! @Z: take solace, our Panda is gone; forgive us!

    kitshef 10:05 PM  

    Difficulty level just right for a Thursday, hard but gettable. I liked the rebus, but then I have not been puzzling as long as most so it felt new to me.

    I did a couple of clues: "What am I TO you", the lamest example of the worst type of clue, the made-up quote, that I've seen. And top card for RIOT does not work for me. Card, OK. Top card, no.

    I think it would be funny if 50A had been clued as "Costa Rican peninsula", to infuriate everyone with the ISTRIA/OSA cross.

    Oh, and HITS AT??? Pathetic.

    Leapfinger 3:14 AM  

    @the Komix Krowd
    With @MeloFunk, thinking of Katzenjammer Kids and (fap!) Major Hoople. Also Jiggs & Maggie. As a kid, suffered confusion about gender assignment of Mammy Yokum (breasts and a pipe?) but no such confusion about Steve Canyon's Dragon Lady. Abandoned Rex Morgan MD and Mary Worth, because nothing ever seemed to happen there. Chester Gould: what medication was he on?
    Dick Tracy and some of the above may not be sufficiently antediluvian, but it wasn't till the late 40s that I arrived on these shores.
    (I notice everyone avoided Little Orphan Plague like the Annie, but I liked Daddy Warbuck's Asp.)

    Leapfinger 3:27 AM  

    lol, 'never' is longer than 5.5 hours; it's even longer than 15.5 hours!
    My 'pologies! Was late getting home and hadn't checked that account. Watch that space!

    Unknown 3:39 AM  

    This is my testimonial on how Chief Priest Amros of brought back my lover within 24hours, I came across Chief Priest Amros email address through my search few days ago, so i emailed him about my condition and how my lover left me. He told me it would take him only 24 hours to get my ex back to me, after he did his spell for me my ex called me after 24 hours begging me for forgiveness and forget about the past and is ready to make it up for lost time. contact Chief Priest Amros now via or reach him on his quick contact +2347060458342

    spacecraft 9:34 AM  

    "It was a stone groove, m'man!"

    What can I say, I love the classics. Today, as I'm puttering around the NW, I suddenly see that Stonehenge and stonewall work, so right away the whole CORNERSTONE thing is a giveaway. What remained was the fill *gag*.

    Before leaving the NW we already have two partials, HITSAT (ugh!) and the slightly less awkward STEPON. That, I told myself, had better be all of those. [Add to @M&A's upper limit list: Number of partials: 2.0.] Alas, as soon as I MOVETO the NE, the limit is exceeded. And for added insult, the constructor (or editor?) chooses to forgo famous judges and skaters in favor of turning ITO into yet another partial! (Oh, also actors: Robert ITO as the sidekick lab guy on QUINCY)

    There is some "delicious" stuff here; I loves me a good, juicy WINESAP. The STONE rebus is clever but a tad too accessible for a Thursday. Shoulda been yesterday's. Failing eyesight gave me pause in the SE; I read the 61a clue as the number 83. What's so special, I wondered, about a prime number--and a year in which, as far as I could figure out, nothing interesting ever happened? It took almost every cross to see NIACIN, and that it was B3, not 83. I can't go with a grade of B-anything, though. No POEME today. C. Hey, that's a vitamin too!

    rondo 10:16 AM  

    I’m really STONEd dude. This puz was not STONE Free. But where’s Sharon STONE?? All-time yeah baby.

    Easy enough to figure the rebus and like many posts above some of the fill questionable to baddish. But not to cry over, there’s been worse, I think.

    Never forget the road trip out west c. 1975 when RHINESTONE Cowboy was on every radio station, no matter the station format, because of the cross-over appeal. Got really tired of it after about the 100th time.

    Did not like NITROCAR. I’ve attended drag races. There are funny cars and top fuel and super stock and the others; I’ve never heard one of ‘em called a NITROCAR. Nevah.

    I’ll not say more about the rebus – it just legitimizes it.

    Burma Shave 11:32 AM  


    DEMI and Sharon ART quite a PARE,
    Let me ATOM, they set the MATING TONE.
    I MOVETO UTTER as one who CARES,
    “You pinch Moore’s ASS, I’ll go CORNER and TOUCHSTONE”.


    BS2 11:35 AM  

    Alternate ending GRINDSTONE

    eastsacgirl 2:55 PM  

    Once I got it out of my mind that DATE was not in the "hook up" fashion it fell pretty quick.

    Rex, surprised you didn't know time capsules were entombed in cornerstones. They just opened one recently from the 70's and found a bunch of old video games.

    ecanarensis 3:17 PM  

    @george barany,
    If you hadn't published the link to hayley gold's site I still wouldn't know that the Firefox logo is....a fire fox. Never noticed, just thought it was a nifty, fire-ISH looking design. I can't imagine not seeing it now that I do. now I feel sorta stupid... Oh well, not the first time that's happened when I come here.
    thanks for the link. I've been meaning to check her out

    DMG 4:27 PM  

    I found this one Thursdayish in spots- made several successful guesses, but failed at the ISTA-I/C-IT cross. No surprise, geography facts just seem reluctant to stay with me, unless I've been there and done that. One of my guesses was ARI-finally decided the STL guys had moved, but really don't understand the "top card" = RIOT connection, but I seem to be alone there.

    packerbacker 5:19 PM  

    @DMG - a "card" being a funny person, the top, or best one would be a laugh RIOT.

    leftcoastTAM 9:05 PM  

    For those few who may have had a similar experience: my last fills were ISTRIA and IMEMINE. And, oh yes, FIREARMS which corrected bearARMS.

    Anonymous 12:07 AM  

    @TERrible: Agree, "TER" does not exist in prescriptions. Perhaps a better clue for TER, "Good end for a gangsta?"

    martins 3:26 AM  

    Welcome to ( New-World Vampire Kingdom). Do you want to be a
    vampire,still in human,having talented brain turning to a vampire in a good posture in ten mines time to a human again, with out delaying in a good human posture. A world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk, this is an opportunity to have the human vampire virus to perform in a good posture.if you are interested contact us on

      © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

    Back to TOP