Anthony's former partner in radio / TUE 2-24-15 / River that flows from Bernese Alps / Element between chromium iron on periodic table / Jay Garage car enthusiast's website / Destructive 2011 East Coast hurricane / Syllable repeated after fiddle / Resembling quiche

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Constructor: Elizabeth A. Long

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: [Shades of Grey?] — this is the clue for three completely nonsensical answers:

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: AMBULANT (38D: Able to walk) —
  1. (of a patient) able to walk around; not confined to bed. (google)
• • •

This is what we in the business call "Tuesday being Tuesday." Actually, I made that up, but that *is* what's happening. This puzzle lost me fast. Had me looking at it sideways before I ever left the NW, and was dead to me almost immediately thereafter—and that was *before* I got to the icky, ridiculous theme. Here's where I parted ways for good with this thing (I actually stopped to take a picture—this never happens on early-week puzzles, but my reaction was so certain and dramatic, I thought, "Why not capture the moment!?"):


It was bad enough when I had to change ENDOW (a reasonable word that people use) to ENDUE (ew), but then to have to see encounter its near-duplicate (UNDUE) so soon afterward? Ugh. When the next "word" I got was the loathsome, lazy DAN'L, I stopped caring right there. By the time I got the theme, I was just shaking my head wondering how this got accepted. Is it supposed to be topical? Ironic? You know EARL's not his first name, right? Right? I mean, the whole theme is broken, but at least LADY JANE'S BLINDS has "Jane" in it, to make a kind of sense. EARL'S SUNGLASSES!? Earl is a title, not a first name. I … why am I even explaining this? Fill is poor, theme is ridiculous and plays off of pop culture phenomenon that even smirking and irony can't redeem. If you wanna teehee (tehe?) over your socially acceptable fake-porn, go right ahead, but dear lord keep that crap out of my puzzle, please. The fact that I even have to hear about the existence of that stupid movie is enough. More than enough. This puzzle crosses YESES with ESSES. It's also got LENO'S (?) and ABU and ENA and both AROLL and ATIE, as well as AMBULANT (where a normal human would just use AMBULATORY). Come on. I've seen NYT rejects that look like Van Gogh next to this.


At a bare minimum, that central answer should've been JENNIFER'S BLINDS. You already have a titled person in one of your themers. Mix. It. Up.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Zeke 12:02 AM  

There's a man who lives a few farms down the road, Chet's his name, as sorry an example of the male of the species as exists. He's 100+ pounds overweight, with more hair on his back than on his head. At the VFW we have a running bet which will run out first: the teeth in his mouth, which fight a losing battle with chaw, or his toes, themselves fighting a losing battle with diabetes. Chet's monthly liquor bill would finance a vacation home in Tahiti, complete with first class airfare to and fro. We at the VFW local update our bets weekly on Saturday, between 5 & 6pm, as that is when Chet takes his weekly bath which, as he's fond of saying, he takes whether he needs it or not.
How does this relate to the puzzle? Well, I don't know the first thing about "50 Shades of Gray" other than it's basically about sex, but if this puzzle is an apt tribute to the book, then the book must be about sexual dread, the kind of dread Chet's wife feels every Friday night waiting for Chet's Viagra to kick in.

Anonymous 12:07 AM

Steve J 12:13 AM  

I don't get this at all. People with grey in their name, forming nonsensical answers with synonyms for shade. Yeah, and?

The one good thing about this puzzle is that we were subjected to only three shades of grey. Fifty would have been torturous. And not in a fun way. (Meanwhile, I expect better from the NYT than to indulge in this kind of lame bandwagoneering.)

Carola 12:13 AM  

Well, it was "different," as we say in Wisconsin. Kind of ZANE-y, envisioning EARL Grey in Victorian-AGE SHADES and LADY JANE Grey picking out window SHADES for her Tudor dwelling.

Nice that ZANE Grey is provided a HORSE and DAN'L BOONE his portrayer, FESS PARKER. INNOVATE and INCUBATOR made nice pair, too.

Whirred Whacks 12:25 AM  

I guess this was the "Grey Lady's" tribute to the books (and now film). Thankfully, there was no attempt to make it even hokier by having some of the squares were "greyed out."

Queenie 12:27 AM  

@Zeke What a perfect, and perfectly disturbing, picture you paint.

Hated this puzzle. Hate having 50 shades lurking around every damn corner. Rex, if you think you've had enough you should try being a middle-aged woman in a middle-class town. I'm guessing no one has actually *recommended* the book to you. I had to meditate a lot in order to have the equanimity not to choke on my tongue every time some soccer mom tittered about it in my ear. Yargh!!!!!

jae 12:35 AM  
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jae 12:36 AM  

Tough Tues. for me, more like an easy-medium Wed.   Got to go with Rex on this one though it is "topical." 

Not typical Tues. stuff: ENA, AARE, OPIE (as clued).

Tangential comment:  If you want to see Jamie Dornan (Grey) in something that is actually good I would recommend "The Fall"  currently streaming on Netflix and co-staring the excellent Gillian Anderson.

chefwen 12:46 AM  

Looking for a crazy, tricky, Tuesday and wound up with utter nonsense. Sorry Elizabeth, this one just didn't fly.. It tried to, but it just fell flat. Poor Jon said "I just don't get it". I tried to explain it and finally had to admit that I just didn't get it either. Oh well, on to Wednesday.

John Child 12:51 AM  

I'm surprised to note that this is the 15th appearance of ENDUE during the Shortz era and that there are another 40 occurrences prior to that. It first showed up in 1962: Let's offer it an early retirement option...

The International NYT edition I get had each word in the clues capitalised, like a book or film title, plus some other creative editing, e.g.,

[Anthony's Former Partner In Radio]
[Some R.s.v.p.'S]

I wondered if there was something "more" to the puzzle being signaled by this, but I see that the .puz and .pdf versions are normal.


I think you need a new hobby.

Moly Shu 2:48 AM  

This puzzle left a bad taste in my mouth. Wait, what?

Anonymous 3:01 AM  

Earl Grey tea & Lady Jane Grey tea!

Thomas808 3:46 AM  

I thought the puzzle was pretty good. Yes, the theme is based on an awful book/movie phenomenon that is currently plaguing our culture, but it is in fact a real phenomenon and the theme is a harmless play on the words "grey" and "shades". The fill is really not that strained other than ESSES/YESES and ENA/SKA. There was some good medium fill with MANGANESE, STOOLIE, SCULLERY and CALLACAB.

My only complaint is it was clued too easy. Finished in half the time of my normal Tues.

pfb 5:06 AM  

Only amusement for me here was that I had told someone that I thought 50 Shades of Grey was about window treatments for a mansion.

Loren Muse Smith 6:24 AM  

@Carola – great catch on the FESS/DAN'L pair.

My toe hold was MANGANESE because I've been playing Trivia Crack, and *all* the science questions deal with the periodic table. ;-)

I'm with those who noticed the YESES/ESSES cross. And the AGE /RAGE crossness I felt when a student recently pointed out that I'm old enough to be his grandmother.

I didn't even know ENDUE was a word. Hah! In the scullery, the duenna had to be subdued after she dug out the fondue pot that had been endued with undue rat poison residue due to a long overdue Orkin Guy visit. When she was at last ambulant, she opted to prepare a safer pie like dish instead.

Usually there is a word in the grid that sends me off into The Stares. I liked AMBULANT because it made me think about things like migrant and migratory. And then ambulance, somnambulism, and the drug Ambien (that, at closer inspection, is brilliant: feel bien in the am). And then flatulence - emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller. I wish I could take credit for that one.

I'm more with @Thomas 808. And I got a kick out of EARL'S SUNGLASSES; didn't even stop to consider that EARL wasn't his first name. Like Rex, I was looking for Jennifer, unabashed Dirty Dancing fan that I am!

This theme is indeed timely. @Queenie – I'm with you! Seems that every time I turn around I'm hearing about that book/movie. Fuddy duddy that I am, I don't think I'll check it out. Maybe I'm just being petulatory.

GILL I. 6:28 AM  

Oh, I don't know...I think y'all are being UNDUly harsh on this Tuesday puzzle.
SCULLERY brought a smile. We had one in a very old apartment we rented in Spain. After dinner, Maruja would loudly bang all the pots and pans in the 100 year old sink in the back of the kitchen until they were squeeky clean. We later used it for laundry. Do they still build these things these days?
Will NEVER EVER watch 50 shades of Grey. Misogynists tend to make me BLEEP my words. But, I love the EARLS tea and so does every one in Downton Abbey.
I give this a NOTA bene. It is a Tuesday after all....

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Wont see the movie.
Enjoyed the puzzle.
A quick run-through.
I am a robot

jberg 7:24 AM  

I liked the EARL'S SUNGLASSES OK-sure, it's his title, but you can say "those are the EARL'S SUNGLASSES". But ZANE'S LAMP COVERS? Has anyone ever said that?

And what's that stray SHADE doing there in the clue for 35A?

OTOH, I've no objection to a puzzle based on a currently popular movie. Even a movie I would not care to see on the IMAX

Confession: I put in Oise before AARE.

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade 7:29 AM  

Beats me why this got published.

Mohair Sam 7:37 AM  

The rare day here when I agree with every word of a Rex tear-down. I'd like to give a tip of the cap for the wonderful word SCULLERY, but we had to endure ENDUE to get there.

@Zeke - Thanks for the background on your buddy Chet - you actually made suffering through this puzzle worthwhile. We expect periodic Chet updates.

@Loren Muse - Petulatory! Loved it.

AnnieD 7:40 AM  

For once I agree with Rex...did not enjoy this one. The theme really was a reach.

However, I'll be sure to tell my friend, Earl, that he doesn't have a first name, but only a title.

Dorothy Biggs 7:40 AM  

I got ENDUE but realized I was actually thinking of "imbue."

I certainly agree with all the comments so far:

50 Shades of Grey is awful and is only popular because of the line it walks between taboo and passable soft porn...truly, there is a bunch of much better erotica out there both in book and on YouTube;

the redundancy of answers already pointed out is mystifying, somewhat akin to having a word search accidentally include all kinds of vulgar words...a symptom of sloppy oversight;

and the theme is okay as a unifying element, but it's inconsistent and again, sloppy.

Perhaps this puzzle's theme had a further layer...sadism.

Lewis 7:42 AM  
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Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

@Rex. "Come on. I've seen NYT rejects that look like Van Gogh next to this." I'll bet you $20 the rejects were yours.

Lewis 7:46 AM  

Oh, the idea is cute word-playing on a current phenomenon that many millions have seen and read. It's wordplay, not a comment on the book or movie. And as wordplay, we encourage silliness. With silliness you accept that EARL is a title, not really a name. This is merely a crossword puzzle, and we try to see it in the spirit of fun and brain workout.

This, for me, was both. I enjoyed this one. There are a few examples of ugly fill, yes, but not an UNDUE amount. And some spark in the answers: BLEEP, CALLACAB, STOOLIE, WOODSY, SCULLERY. It had a little more bite than the typical Tuesday, with some oblique cluing.

And (drum roll) this puzzle has 19 double letters, a record high since I started unnaccountably tracking it many months ago. So there's that.

Thank you Ms. Long, for starting my day off nicely!

Lewis 7:58 AM  

Factoid: In the first decade of the 21st century, the average American owned seven pairs of JEANS.

Quotoid: "I cook with WINE; sometimes I even add it to the food." -- W. C. Fields

LevitraLarry 8:00 AM  

Say what you want about the movie, I have not seen it and do not plan to. But my 48 year old upper middle class/soccer-mom wife went with a gaggle of her Zumba friends last Friday and came home a wound my clock like it hasnt been wound since we were teenagers in love. So if it takes a bad movie to spark a withered libido, well so be it - I'll be the beneficiary of that any time. ENDUE and DANL were terrible.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

This puzzle was godawful. Normally I enjoy just about everything and don't share most of Rex's complaints, but this puzzle was the worst one in recent memory and I agree with all of the above. DANL???

L 8:14 AM  

I'm enjoying the comments far more than this puzzle, thanks to Zeke and LevitraLarry.

Zwhatever 8:26 AM  

The line that made my wife guffaw yesterday was, "It's only sexy because he's a billionaire. If he were poor it would be a Criminal Minds episode" (Based on multiple friends recommendations ("the writing is so poor I couldn't finish it") neither of us have read it).

I rather enjoyed seeing LANCE BLASS in the puzzle. I imagine Chet playing this after the viagra kicks in (parenthetical clarification - IT"S A JOKE PEOPLE).

Not wishing to spend much time figuring out "Bill who?", I started with

This section made me consider the issue of whether my reaction was just because PB1 didn't author this puzzle. Har!

I like the theme a lot. Tuesday silliness is fine with me. Lots of fine training for new solvers, too. NOTA bene will return. AARE is a famous CrossRiver. OPIE isn't just Ron Howard. LANAI can be the island or a porch. Important stuff to know for future puzzles.

Zwhatever 8:28 AM  

I see blogger "fixed" my attempt to show the grid. Thanks Obama.

chefbea 8:29 AM  

Didn't understand the puzzle until I came here. But I still don't know who Lady Jane Grey is??

@Loren I too play trivia grand daughter got me into it. Lets play.

Snowing here in Wilmington so it's off to the scullery so I can spend the day cooking!!

evil doug 8:30 AM  

Well, Molly, your mom left a bad taste in my mouth.


AliasZ 8:34 AM  

It is not quite all that black-and-white. An innocent double-wordplay (both on the color GREY and on the word SHADES) theme in a Tuesday puzzle is no reason to sound the alarm for the collapse of Western Civilization as we know it. Elizabeth A. Long today pokes fun at the 49½ shades of silliness or whatever that phenomenon is called. Admittedly, it may fall a shade short of super clever, but all three themers are 15's (not that common), and have a sense of humor about them that may provide light amusement and elicit a gentle smirk, if not a complete smile, from an early-week-only solver. UNDUE over-analysis MITE be over the top, it is unfit for the subject matter -- it rarely is.

That much for defending the theme. The fill: MANGANESE (the language spoken in Mangania), INCUBATOR, AMBULANTory, dugSCULLERY, INNOVATErix and a few others are not your average Tuesday fare, and CALL A CAB was an out-and-out BLASS. PIE-LIKE was tart-esque, LENOS was less than IDEAL, and YESES/ESSES was a heavy cross to bear. I had no problem with DANL who appeared in the NYT 23 times before since 1962.

Overall, I thought the puzzle was ENDUEd with a WOODSY aroma that I quite enjoyed.

Oh, all of y'all, enjoy "O vos omnes" by Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548-1611)

Happy Tuesday.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Hey chefbea, do you have the google on your computer? Try entering "Lady Jane Grey" and maybe you'll find out who she is, rather than admitting your ignorance to a bunch of strangers on a blog comment board. Technology is pretty cool.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

50 Shades of Grey is not everyone's cup of tea!

Zwhatever 8:41 AM  

I see the periodic question has arisen again over the past few days.

Speed Solving examples on video.

I can't do a puzzle in under 6, I can't run a 40 yard dash in less than 6, I can't type more than 60 WPM. I don't presume people who can do these things are cheating.

Rhino 8:47 AM  

Zeke wins the Internet today!

RooMonster 8:48 AM  

Hey All !
ENDUE & UNDUE, ESSES & YESES, oh my! Started blazing through this puzzle, as got the fist six Acrosses! Thought, wow, this should be an easy-'un! Overall, it was. Got slowed down in the SE, however, WOODSY just wouldn't come to mind (although it's a cool word!) Also, NOTA was a WOE, ar least for me. I always though it was molta, or something like that.

I liked the punny answers to Shaded Greys! Had some nice fill, ZING, HOWL, WOODSY. INNOVATE. Hey, she made it in the NYT, good for her!

SEXED is funny, is it Had sex, or Teach sex? Har! ;-)


xyz 8:50 AM  

Absolutely world class! Incredible!

chefbea 8:50 AM  

@anon 8:36 I often ask my friends here for help and they usually have an answer for me. I am not ignorant and most of the recites are my friends... I actually know them personally!!!

r.alphbunker 9:03 AM  

This one put up more of a fight than most Tuesdays. The progression LETSIN-->ASKSIN-->SEESIN slowed me down in the NW as did ZING/GRAD in the SW. I'm with @Lewis on this one.

@Whirred Whacks

Why not have a special edition of your ball where each rhombus is a different shade of gray. You could call it the 30 shades of gray edition. BTW, I have added your ball as one of the prizes in the contest.

Anna 9:04 AM  

Earl Gray tea, Lady Gray tea and Zane Gray.
What's the matter with you,Rex?

Bill 9:05 AM  

One disappointment after another. Plopped in BEANE USMC ROAR at tha top. Skipped 14A (too many choices) and entered NCAA OPIE and ENDOW. Refused to believe DANL was a viable answer. When I finally got 20A I thought OH NO. I shoulda stopped there and done the kenken puzzles but for some reason I continued to torture myself.

BLINDS are not shades btw.

Unknown 9:12 AM  
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CFXK 9:24 AM  

I am surprised that the clue to 33A made it through the editing process. IDEAL refers to the perfect - that which exists only in the imagination. The "best possible" is what we settle for in reality, which always falls short of the ideal and is, by its very nature, less than perfect.

Norm C. 9:25 AM  

The only time I want to see AARE (or its AAR variant) in a puzzle is on National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Tita 9:25 AM  

Liked Rex's writeup much more than the puzzle today...

DANL was the least of my objections, though - DANL Malloy being my has come to seem like a real name...

dk 9:27 AM  

🌕 (one moon)

Chet here. Hi @Zeke if you wanna see this moon in all its PIELIKE glory stop by on Saturday about 5:30. You guys at the hall are such losers: I lost my mind first.

L. Ferlinghetti here. I wrote HOWL.

Mick and Keith here. We wrote and sang LADY JANE and at times we were nearly BLIND.

dk here. My alternate personalities sometimes take over. Read Three Faces of Eve for details. Always hate to SNUB a puzzle. We learned in ENA's movie that if you can't say anything nice….

I loved the clue for 59a.

Tita 9:29 AM  

@SteveJ - yesterday's link is far over any line, no matter how - I had no idea.
I'm plenty adventurous, doing things like pointing to items on a menu written entirely in Tagalog, then trying to guess what I've been served...
But I am pretty sure I would choose the Balut over that, even though it was the only thing I shunned while in the Philippines.

mathguy 9:43 AM  

When I first started doing the puzzle, before Shortz, ENA was often an entry. It was nice seeing her again.

@LevitraLarry: Thanks.

Aren't all Monday and Tuesday themes lame?

RnRGhost57 9:46 AM  

"DAN'L bene was a HEN"

Alex 9:50 AM  

I haven't read the books, won't see the movie, but I thought that the theme answers were kind of cute. I was surprised by endue and undue, and I wondered if there were going to be many "due" answers. Anyway.

OISK 10:03 AM  

Lady Jane Grey was a really tragic figure in English history, surprised she was unfamiliar to so many, (but then, I had never heard of "INXS" ...) and I have consumed Earl Grey, but prefer English Breakfast. I am grey enough to remember who Zane was, (actually read a baseball novel by him,) but it took me forever to come up with it. Mostly because I had "Rose" instead of "nose" (it smells a lot). I spent extra time staring at "endue" as well, so this was a slow Tuesday for me.

But unlike many here, I liked it!! Nice puzzle. Cute theme. No hip-hop, rock tunes, product names. I don't know what "Ska" is, but it is standard crosswordese . Sure the puzzle was not new and fresh, but I am more suited to old and stale...Seriously, thanks Ms. Long. Pay no attention to Rex. I seldom agree with him anyway.

Ludyjynn 10:04 AM  

I can't get ZZ Top's "Cheap SUNGLASSES" out of my head since I started this puzz.! There are far worse earworms, huh?

I read "The Story of O" in the '70s. Recall feeling simultaneously titillated and repulsed, mostly the latter. Haven't read or seen the current "Fifty Shades" phenom. since they seem like pale imitations and once was definitely enough. (Shades of Jackie Susann's classic "Once is Not Enough)! Speaking of porn, think Catherine the Great and a HORSE.

Like Rex, I found much of the fill quite weak, lacking ZING. Not my favorite OPUS. Other than the aforementioned innuendo, quite BLAH overall.

Onward to Wednesday.

Whirred Whacks 10:07 AM  

@r.alphbunker I would be happy to donate several BIg Balls of Whacks (one red and one 6-color) as runtz puzzle prizes. Please email directly with info and address.

@mathguy: I think we are both right about the word RHOMB. I don't think I encountered it in my preliminary research (high school level) into RHOMBI, but found it (as you suggested) in more specialized sources (some going back 3 centuries).

Leapfinger 10:39 AM  

Hello again, ANDRE!!

Why are we Peering at the SUNGLASSES with such a critical eye?
"Have you found all the Peers' SUNGLASSES?"
"Not quite, m'Lud. I've found the Duke's SUNGLASSES and those of the Marquis and all the Viscounts, but I can't seem to locate the EARL'S SUNGLASSES."

otoh, I submit that LAMPCOVERS conjures up something akin to a tea-cozy.

I've just finished reading some re-revised versions of LADY JANE Grey's history, but also remember the LADY JANE of Chatterley's Lover fame. The OFF-HUE passages were part of my early SEXED, and I didn't SEESIN init.

Liked seeing DAN'L Boone near FESS Parker, also USMC-EMCEE. Chortled at the ESSES, YESES for @AnoaBob's sake.
Enjoyed the NODS to the Great DANES.

Was unenAMORed of 23A clue; a quiche is PIELIKE the way Oreos are cookie-LIKE and the way any cake is cake-LIKE. Did not LIKE to BLEEP imbUE for ENDUE, and thought that giving advice to the party WINE-o is just so much BLAH BLAH. Much better to just CALL A CAB yourself, NO?

@Zeke, Viagra on Friday, bath on Saturday; do I have that right? Eeww. Mr. Chet must be 50 shades of Grey.
Haven't yet read all comments, so 'pologies if there are unacknowledged dupes.

We're getting another dose of 'wintry mix', so the advice is to stay off the roads. Again. If I can't be AMBULANT, I'll stay in and devise some INNOVATIVE SCULLduggERY.

Unknown 10:41 AM  

The commentariat is more entertaining than the puz. As usual. :) @Zeke, your vignette reminded me of Richard Russo's short story collection "The Whore's Child." Crisp, evocative, credible, dispassionate and scary-as-hell writing. Keep it up!

I found this one mostly easy. 19m clean. But the NW had lots to suss. ENDow, of course, kept the wrench in it for many minutes. SCULLERY began as ___pantRY. PIELIKE is pretty lame. Are we now on the look-out for [____ paint] GREENISH ? I saw the [Disney deer] clue a year ago, so didn't insist on doe. As long as what emerged looked like a cutesy name, it'd be fine.


Doug Garr 10:52 AM  

I'm probably the least picky poster on this site, but I have to agree with each and every gripe. This was a really terrible puzzle. I've actually liked harder puzzles much more, even when I could only solve half of them.

old timer 10:57 AM  

The only thing I *don't* agree with in Rex's writeup is is belief that EARLSSUNGLASSES is wrong. The Earls Grey are, after all, earls. "Lord's sunglasses" would be right. So today's answer is right.

It was an awful puzzle in every way. Will should never have taken it, and should at least have changed some clues to make them amusing. For instance, "picked chicks" might be a good clue for SEXED. ENDUE???? Not Tuesdayish at all, and almost not a word at all as far as I'm concerned.

Like many of you, I wrote down the time, saw that I knew most of the Acrosses up top, and was looking forward to finishing in under 8 minutes. 13 minutes later, I put down my nauseated pen.

Joseph Michael 11:20 AM  

Agree with @Lewis. Though I'm not a fan of the book or movie, I enjoyed the wordplay of the puzzle. No, it's not IDEAL but that's no reason to BLEEPIng SNUB IT. Liked all three SHADES of Grey and the bonus themer SEX ED.


mac 11:21 AM  

No problem with the theme, it's Tuesday and sort of cute and timely, with the film just out and all. Who knew Dakota was such a brat! Keep her off the red carpet.

I liked scullery, manganese and the also timely "snub", but I also noticed the esses and yesses, as well as the rogue shade. I think they forgot to edit this puzzle.

Leapfinger 11:25 AM  

@MolyS, @pfb: Funny!

@Loren: Not sure, are you showing us your buns? I counted 17 shades of brown

@Anna, I checked to confirm, and all your Grays are Greys. You were perhaps led astray by not being named Enne.

@Bill, blinds and shades are both de-lighting.

I WOODSY 50 Shades/Grey if Hell froze over...maybe. Read the book? Highly unlikely, and I doubt I'll be either deprived or depraved, in spite of the highly touted clock-winding potential. You see, I have a grandmother clock, and it a pendulum do.

Somehow, I've missed out saying that I enjoyed the solve, and that's the Long and the Shortz of it.

Benko 11:26 AM  

HOWL was written by Allen Ginsberg. But Ferlinghetti published it through City Lights.
One of the comments today reminded me of a quote by Sarah Silverman: "Some of the worst misogynists I know are women." Like the one who wrote 50 Shades, perhaps.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

This was the single worst NY Times puzzle I've ever done.

thursdaysd 11:30 AM  

@chefbea - snowing here in the Triangle too, so much for the weather forecast!

Lady Jane Grey should be familiar to followers of the Tudors. She was very briefly queen between Edward and Mary, subsequently executed.

Wendy the Snowperson 11:40 AM  

Already cranky because of the tons of snow we've gotten in the Boston area, I come to this puzzle which, yes, is a bad puzzle.
What the BLEEP is a LAMPCOVER, belonging to ZANE or anyone else? Now I'm even more cranky, and not just because it was -11 this morning.
Seriously, I OWN it was merely a PIELIKE puzzle, with no ZING to speak of. Looking forward to Wednesday's!
(ENDUE, UNDUE. Really?)

Bob Kerfuffle 11:58 AM  

@Thomas808 expressed my thoughts perfectly, eight hours ago!

Unknown 11:59 AM  

The old grey lady used to be fun and intelligent! Learned a lot when it was!

AliasZ 12:20 PM  

Speaking of AMOR, I came across this beautiful madrigal titled "Dura legge d'AMOR" by Luca Marenzio (1553-1599), based on a poem by Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca, 1304-1374), whcih roughly translates: the tough law of love. Unfortunately I couldn't find a good English translation, but you don't need to speak Italian to sense its beauty. The full text of the poem is included on the linked page.


Masked and Anonym007Us 12:26 PM  

This whole "Fifty Ways to Grey Yer Shades" excitement just ain't gettin it, for M&A. Maybe U are T-o-a-s-t on Twitter and Facebook, if U ain't seen the flick or read the book...?
Fortunately, I go the Cinnamon Roll on Plate route.

@muse: Puz-Eatin-Spouse just showed me a bday card she is about to send out. Front shows a Lab Dog peekin around a corner... caption: "It was the third meeting the cats had held this week, and Tucker was getting worried". Says she picked it out, cuz her friend has a Dog named Tucker. Five degrees of separation, darlin.

Now, to undigress...

fave weejects:
* ENA. Deers have short names. Doe. Buck. Makes it harder for crosswords to have a "deer crossing" theme... except in runtz.
* ABU. In that region, would they say "peek-a-bu"? I want to go to there.

Best Corner of Desperation: N Central. Love it, when a corner has too much Man-gan-ese.

"Fifty Grades of Shay"

Numinous 12:46 PM  

I liked seeing DANL in the puzzle. It was almost like seeing myself there. In the early '50s, a friend of my mother's (He owend a Nash in the pre-Rambler days) used to call me DAN'L or sometimes, by extension, Boone. I'm guessing this is the only way I'll ever be commemorated in a crossword.

Kudos to @jberg because you are brave enough to OWN (with "up") about entering Oise before the pirates' AARE.

I have to go along with @ Lewis, r.ralph, AliasZ, and Oisk, et al who didn't feel that this puzzle portends the end of Western civilization. I'll FESS (with "up") that I thought it was a bit of a FUDD but, ultimately not all THAT bad. After all, it SEES IN the general release of the film to which it refers.

I found this to be very easy, ENDow before ENDUE held me up momentarily in the NW but reading the Down clues cleared that up toot sweet. ZING, GRAD and SEX ED held me up in the SW for the finish. I had SEXEs thinking in single word terms before EDucation came to mind. I filled this in Across-wise only reading the Down clues for verification. PIE LIKE in its easiness.

Anoa Bob 1:02 PM  

I thought it was spelled GRAY.

Constructors NOTA bene: If you want to make it easier to fill the grid by using lots of S's, kinda spread them around, a few here, a few there. If you bundle them all up in one corner---YESES & ESSES---most everyone will notice your POCs. Hi @Leapy.

I'm with @Wendy, what the heck is a LAMP COVER?

PapaLeroux 1:14 PM  

Big sigh here. It always happens this way. Rex hates it. I like it. I hate it. Rex loves it.

Lewis 1:31 PM  

@leapy -- "Long and Shortz" -- good one!

Chip Hilton 1:38 PM  

@OISK -Wow, I remember Zane Grey's baseball novel, too. The hero was Chase, who had a mis-shaped eye and his confidant was a small, malformed batboy (Mitsu Maru, or something like that). We're talking something like 55 years ago, so I'm rather amazed it's buried in there in the deep recesses of my memory. Thanks.

The puzzle? Clever, timely idea. Execution, not so good.

allan 1:42 PM  

Agree with most. This puzzle does what the clue for 59 A does: Smells a lot.

3 funniest comments of the day @DAF 7:29, @Lewis 7:58 and @Z 8:26

@anon 8:36 Really???

Finally, I'm back to WWSR

Sarah in NYC 2:32 PM  

Rex is being unduly mean and grouchy, even for him! As lots of people have pointed out, the names are not random names, but instead refer to various famous greys. Earl totally works because not only is it a type of tea, but it is in fact a person. And then the second part of the answers refers to their various shades, or synonyms thereof.

I thought it was really fun. Also, manganese! That is a nice thing to have there.

Just b

M and Also 2:54 PM  

Today's puz was several shades of unusual. Always likin unusual. UnUsUalthUmbsUp.

Crossword puzs are sooooo neat. Like a box of chocolates...

Thanx, Elizabeth Long.

"Not To Be Confused with S&Ms. Or M&Ms."

** 50 s. o. f. gruntz **

LindaPRmaven 4:14 PM  

Re: Lady Jane Grey there's a pretty good film - "Lady Jane" (1986), early Helena Bonham-Carter, directed by Trevor Nunn (most famous to genl public for "Cats"). Lady Jane was a pawn in a plot by her parents to make her queen. Oh those Tudors.

RooMonster 4:16 PM  

Shouldn't that be 150 Shades of Runtz?
(gruntz not included!)


pfb 4:35 PM  

No plans on reading the books or seeing the film, which I hear is the new James Bondage movie.

JFC 5:08 PM  

Dear Rex,

I suggest you have some Southern comfort food at the Dan’l Boone Inn in Boone, NC (
Highly recommend the country ham with redeye gravy with whatever else you have. It should improve your disposition.


Airymom 5:44 PM  

I spend part of every summer working at a sleep away camp. The camp began in 1924 and some campers are fourth generation. Boys start going to the camp when they are in elementary school, and by high school, they are still campers, but in training to be a counselor. Rising seniors spend 8 weeks at camp as CIT's (counselors in training.) For most of these fellows, this is a summer they have dreamed about for years. The camaraderie is astonishing and the fun is unparalleled. For the rest of their lives they will identify themselves as CIT '14 or '89 or whatever year. This past summer, there were 50 CIT's and for fun, their theme was "50 Shades of Grey". Each CIT was nicknamed a shade of grey, like steel grey or silver grey. It was hilarious, uplifting and inventive. This puzzle was not.

Last Silver Grey Bullet 5:49 PM  

Actually, it was supposed to be "50 s. of d. gruntz".
But if M&A ever types anything perfect with this day-um nonkeyboard keyboard, it'll be quite a news bulletin.

But, hey -- thanx.


Teedmn 6:43 PM  

I have not read the book, nor do I plan on seeing the book but I have been enjoying the various ways people have been making fun of the phenomenon. A while back, I sent a birthday card depicting a horse in bed, fanning herself and reading "Fifty Shades of Hay". And my sister-in-law has been following a Twitter feed called Fifty Shades of Gran, funny stuff. So this puzzle is just one more way to laugh at the whole thing.

I liked WOODSY, INNOVATE, MANGANESE, STOOLIE, and found NOTA and ENDUE total WOEs though they did not stop me from finishing in regular Tuesday time. So is anyone going to OWN or FESS up to having read/SEE(SI)N the SEXED movie?

Thanks, Ms. Long, this puzzle was fun ( though for some reason, LAMP COVERS brought Ed Gein to mind).

Teedmn 6:46 PM  

It's true, I haven't seen the book either but I don't plan on seeing the MOVIE! Aak.

wreck 7:39 PM  

I don't know what all the fuss is about. It's another from a long line of Tuesday puzzles that are easy. Has anyone EVER had something nice to say about a Tuesday puzzle?? If so, it is far and away the exception. On to Wednesday.

Wood 11:17 PM  

If only we could save our vitriol for something worth the effort, like anti-vaxers or drone pilots.

Fill was weak, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the theme. Silly, yes. But topical, and punny. This outrage? I think it was the whisky.

Anonymous 11:29 PM  

Once again... Rex. Gets. It. Wrong.

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Leapfinger 6:45 AM  

Good to know that Natasha J has a friend.

'...this day-um nonkeyboard keyboard...'

Nonkey see, nonkey do.

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spacecraft 10:43 AM  

Will! Wake up! Somebody's fishing rejects out of your wastebasket and actually PUBLISHING them! Get back to work!

Wait...maybe this is an object lesson: how NOT to make a puzzle. Even so, the very nice MANGANESE INCUBATOR has slipped in. Sadly, though, that's not enough points to even approach a passing grade.

Elizabeth, sweetie: don't quit your day job.

Burma Shave 11:59 AM  


LANCE and BRER DANL AARE of similar minds,
they thought they MITE look through LADYJANESBLINDS.
NOTA word did they SPEAK
with a SCAN and a peek
they saw JANES sister IRENE
IDEAL LEGS were some of their finds.


rondo 12:21 PM  

CALLACAB I’m not AMBULANT, or ambulatory for that matter. Tho I did “walk” through this puz. Maybe not the vitriol of many above, but a lot of it just felt “OFF”. I get the “shades” and “Grey” things, and so it’s a double-up on the theme, but what Will SEESIN in it is questionable. But methinks there have been worse.

DMG 2:02 PM  

Not much to add about this effort. Only do-overs were the ENDow/ENDUE thing and rOar/HOWL. Only "guess" was the Z. Knew of ZANE, but I've never heard anyone cry ZING. Only know the expression "That was a ZINGer"-- but then, I lead a sheltered life.

Do you ever wonder what the Captcha elf is thinking as he spins and spins circles inside his box?

rain forest 4:03 PM  

I'm someone who has a very hard time trashing a puzzle in the NYT. Here in Vancouver, the Sun has a daily puzzle which I stopped doing long ago because they are just BAD. Today's NYT offering *is* a Van Gogh compared to any of the Sun's.

There's no point in talking about the book or movie here. Clearly, millions of people like both, and who am I to argue? I choose not to read the book or see the movie, but that doesn't make me superior in any way.

I enjoyed the puzzle, ENDUEd as it is with a quirky yet contemporary theme, and I'm kind of surprised at the reaction to DANL, the celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County. Perfectly fine fill.

Hey! 385=7 A winner, especially since no one else is playing.

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