One-named singer of You Gotta Be / THU 4-16-15 / Phillips-Van Heusen subsidiary / Domain of Thor

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Constructor: Joe Krozel and Peter Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: YOU GO YOUR WAY / ENIM OG LL'I DNA (i.e. "and I'll go mine")— Across answers in top half of the grid go the normal way, while in the bottom half they go BACKWARD (33A: How the Across answers appear in the broom half of this puzzle); also DRAWKCAB (38A: How the Across answers appear in the top half of this puzzle vis-a-vis the bottom)

Word of the Day: "MARTHA" (25D: Onetime daytime talk show) —
Martha, also known as The Martha Stewart Show, is an American variety talk show that is hosted by Martha Stewart. The series premiered on September 11, 2005, in syndication until it was picked up by the Hallmark Channel in September 2010 as part of a larger deal that turned over most of the cable network's daytime schedule to shows from Stewart's production company, MSLO Productions. […] The series' production company came to a consensus with Hallmark to end Martha due to the rising costs. The last episode was shot on April 24, 2012, with it airing on May 11, 2012. […] Each episode includes several segments related to cookingcraftsgardeninginterior design, and other topics related to arts and crafts. The program also features celebrity guests. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not much of a theme—I've seen the backward answer gimmick at least a few times before (here's one), and with a more compelling hook—but being forced to think backward adds a nice wrinkle to the solve, so while it's not great work, it's a decent diversion. Not sure why the fill is as weak as it is. This is not exactly a demanding grid. It's no harder to fill a puzzle backward than forward; the conceit exerts no extra pressure on the grid. So you really have just four themers—the other stuff should be *tight* with that little restriction. But what we have here is adequate to something slightly south of that. Longer Downs are decent. But I really shouldn't be looking at RATA EDUC LITE stack, or ATTA ENDAT ESSE LBOS [ARTSET] [THETAB] [DEES] [DEJA] AGAPE DES'REE. Grid should have more zing. But after Tuesday's puzzle, everything looks dreamy, so I'm sufficiently content with what I got today.

I'm pretty sure this puzzle sets a record for the Longest Dupe ever allowed in an NYX puzzle. But I guess if you run the same word BACKWARD, it magically becomes a different word. Or maybe only when you run BACKWARD BACKWARD. And then tap your heels three times and say "Candyman Beetlejuice Redrum." Further, I don't know this "revealer" with an "AND" in it. I'm sure it's valid. But the "AND" seems optional. I'm discussing this only because I had to think about how to make "I'LL GO MINE" fit into a spot three squares too big for it. Hiccup. You've got your troubles, [and] I've got mine. You take the high road, [and] I'll take the low road. You be me for a while, [and] I'll be you.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    Mark Trevor Smith 12:03 AM  

    Easiest Thursday ever.

    jae 12:08 AM  

    Yes, pretty easy for a Thurs.  No erasures, no WOEs, and the only staring involved spelling stuff BACKWARD before committing it to paper.

    Other than a couple of nice long downs this one was kinda bland.  As Rex noted, it's been done. 

    Brian B 12:12 AM  

    I've only ever heard the theme phrase with the "AND" in it. Here's Groucho Marx employing it in Animal Crackers (1930):

    "Tell me, Captain Spaulding, you’ve been quite a traveler. What do you think about South America? I’m going there soon, you know."

    "Is that so? Where are you going?"


    "Well, you go Uruguay, and I’ll go mine."

    Robert Zimmerman 12:12 AM  

    You say you love me
    And you’re thinkin’ of me
    But you know you could be wrong
    You say you told me
    That you wanna hold me
    But you know you’re not that strong
    I just can’t do what I done before
    I just can’t beg you anymore
    I’m gonna let you pass
    And I’ll go last
    Then time will tell just who fell
    And who’s been left behind
    When you go your way and I go mine

    Anonymous 12:12 AM  

    Anyone else notice that acerbic was clued as "Sharp," perhaps as in Michael Sharp?

    wreck 12:14 AM  

    It was pretty easy, but like Jae, it slowed me down thinking backwards and even slower doing it on the iPad.
    I kinda enjoyed it - it was a nice change of pace!

    Steve J 12:17 AM  

    The BACKWARD/DRAWKCAB pairing made this too easy by giving away the trick too early.

    Pretty bland overall. I can't point to any fill or clues that made me smile or have an aha moment. Once you figure out the trick - again, too easily - you just fill things in. Would have liked something zippier than just being a quarter backwards,

    Jim Walker 12:26 AM  

    The only mildly interesting aspect was that the border line had three words that are the same backwards and forwards. Otherwise way too easy for Thursday. Just a fill-in-the-blanks.

    Zeke 12:44 AM  

    I can't tell you how much I like typing things in backwards. It's a pleasure, a fun way to relax after a hectic day, when all of my world is going crazy. Sure, I ranted all evening about various things, small slights to major problems, but all that vanished when I got the chance, at last, to sit down in front of my puzzle and enter half of it backwards. That really took the edge off. The act of filling words in backwards has the effect of having the world make a little more sense, made my natural way of being fit the world like a glove, whereas before I was at odds with it. Yeah, it sure was fun. Almost as fun as the time I punched my house (not put my fist through some drywall, but punched the damned house) and shattered my hand. Those 8 weeks I had my right hand in a cast were almost as fun as this. I got to write with my left hand, try to tie my shoes with only one, my off, hand. Man, that was one glorious 8 weeks. This puzzle makes me want to recreate that experience, perhaps even to take it to the next level. Maybe I'll go outside and smash one side of my head against my house. I'm thinking I'll smash the left side of my brain against the wall. Perhaps with the logic side of my brain not functioning I can understand how anyone thinks making us enter answers in a puzzle backwards makes any damned sense.

    RT Gilly 1:19 AM  

    I feel much the same about this puzzle as I do about gay pride parades. Every year at Pride time the old timers grumble around and say "is it really worth it? Why bother any more?" Then you go to the parade and see all the first timers who have never before been around that many people who accept and celebrate them for who they are. And you remember your first and you smile,

    As a somewhat veteran solver, I did this puzzle and shrugged and at first nitpicked. Then I got to watch the somewhat new to puzzles solver one seat over struggle, then revel in the out of left field theme, and finally celebrate the happy pencil congrats.

    So end the end, good day all around.

    Moly Shu 1:21 AM  

    I also found it somewhat easy. I still can't figure out why the bottom half was much easier than the top. Should've been more difficult. Got the trick at AJED, cuz I had DEJA and the J was in the wrong place for JOE, so I thought to myself " maybe it's backward" and that was it. Liked it.

    @Rex, Beastie Boys, followed by the Replacements? You're on a serious roll. Keep it up, please.

    KFC 1:25 AM  

    @Zeke -- Thanks, I needed that.

    mathguy 1:26 AM  

    @Jim Walker sums up my feelings exactly.

    Thomaso808 1:40 AM  

    Ah, here was the true BILATERAL SYMMETRY I was yearning for yesterday, with ESSE, MOM, and ATTA. Not top half nor bottom half, so each had to read the same going either way.

    I agree too easy for a Thursday, but my brain did get a bit of a workout trying to visualize the words backwards. I was a nice change.

    Also, echoes of Tuesday with TARSI again.

    @chefbea and @John Child your musing yesterday about the record number of comments got me thinking of one day in particular that is blazed in my memory. I don't know if it's the record, but I checked and on September 11, 2014 there were 242 comments. That firestorm was prompted by the infamous Patrick Blindauer "Change of Heart" puzzle that was by far the most aggravating puzzle I have ever not finished. I still remember my comment that day was "Stupid, stupid, stupid! Grrr!" To his credit, Mr. Blindauer himself chimed in toward the end of the day and said something like, "So I take it I shouldn't make any more puzzles like this one?"

    NYer 1:43 AM  

    I'm not as jaded as @Rex or some of the veterans here, so I liked it. Chacun a son gout, I guess.

    John Child 2:18 AM  

    I agree with the group sentiment, but I liked this best of the week so far, despite being easy. I'm surprised that @Zeke enjoyed it so much. [wink]

    chefwen 2:22 AM  

    @Zeke Have you ever considered therapy? If not, I suggest you do. Banging your head on hard objects is not the way to go, think football players. No good can come of it. Besides, it hurts!!!

    Puzzle was fine, but not the the Thursday rebus I was craving.. C'mon guys, give me my fix.

    Loren Muse Smith 4:35 AM  

    @Thomaso808, @Jim Walker – exactly! That middle line across reads either way. Very nice touch, but necessary, I guess, right?

    So I'm assuming that PETER did the top and JOE did the bottom? I kept wondering if they tried JOE at 58D, but then I guess it should have been at 54D?

    The hardest part for me was the THE in THE TAB, but then I saw MARTHA and let go of "end on" or "end by" for END AT. Oh, and LBOS was a big woe.

    It took me a while to understand that BACKWARD here where I live (hey, @Roo) means "shy" and not weird. And they always say BACKWARD and not "backwards."

    Off to give a vocab test to some tenth graders. "Ashen" is one of the words. Maybe I'll show'em the grid afterwards and see what they think about ASHY. Switching out those letters doesn't always work, does it? Waxen – waxy, silken – silky, oaken – oaky – fine. But graven – gravy, laden – lady – not so much.

    I don't always need a rebus on Thursdays. I liked this and was pleased to finish it so quickly. Good one, PETER! JOE – hguone nuf!

    GILL I. 4:36 AM  

    Good gravy....THIS was a perfectly fine, fun Thursday puzzle. ESSE, MOM, ATTA right bad in the middle!
    I'm not sure where I was when the light blub came on, but when it did, I cruised to the shinif.
    Aren't we getting snobby lately? I've been doing a snot of puzzles and I don't recall one as fun as this in a long emit..... Maybe it's the vodka martinis I had before dinner....

    pfb 5:27 AM  

    I enjoyed the puzzle and it may have been a little easy for a Thursday--if you got the theme early on.

    Nit Picker 5:34 AM  

    FYI, an LBO is not a merger (23-Across). It should be clued "Some corporate transactions". All you do in an LBO is leverage the balance sheet and buy the company. Almost always, there isn't a merger involved.

    Danp 5:59 AM  

    Doing this puzzle on a computer made me want to put my face between @Zeke's fist and the house.

    dk 7:05 AM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    What @zeke wrote except imagine two sprained thumbs and a need to unzip one's trousers.... nuff said on that.

    Thursday stunts!

    Greetings from Baltimore and exit 9. Off to the Cryptology Museum at lunch.

    dk 7:08 AM  

    Cryptologic as my office mate reminds me.

    jberg 7:59 AM  

    I've had a crazy schedule this week, and somehow sat down to this puzzle thinking it was Wednesday. That didn't really slow me down, but made me feel a little out of sorts when I saw the gimmick. Actually, though, I think it would be good to mix up the days a little.

    As someone said, if you work down from the top, the very first backward entry you come to is the revealer, which makes the rest pretty easy. I think the constructors didn't realize the point @Rex made, viz., that it's no harder to get a backward answer than a normal one -- so they deliberately made the bottom acrosses a little easier than they should have. Probably even NEMEY has now been top news long enough that everyone knows it.

    I had two difficulties: 1) putting in BATrab before at 41A and EtAg at 56A and hanging on to them too long, and 2) very vague cluing in the top--PRO bono or PRO RATA? National Endowment for the Arts or National EDUC Association? Plus seeing ASHY and PTA right away but thinking they couldn't be right -- the first because it's awful, the second because around here the have partents' nights, not open houses (but then they're PTos, not PTAs--go figure).

    But that middle line was great (I think @Rex must have missed it, since 2/3ds of it makes his 'bad fill' list). Now off to Google (or rather, Duck Duck Go) to find out who Dr. MOM is.

    r.alphbunker 8:00 AM  
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    Glimmerglass 8:01 AM  

    @anonymous 12:12

    A blogger of Times cruciverbic
    Whose speed was superceleric.
    Made an error -- a beut!
    He thought Sharp meant "acute"
    But alas he was only "acerbic"

    Name that tune 8:03 AM  

    This theme was done in a puzzle in the Gazeta de Antwerpen in February 1982. It was either the 5th or the 7th (it wasn't the 6th--that was the day that paper had a theme that had been done in the Saigon Times Daily in October of 1977, so I remember it well.) Constructors really need to do some better research before using a theme in a puzzle. If they do, they will find that every theme has been done before and they should therefore give up the idea of constructing a puzzle with a theme altogether.
    In addition, rather than doing a little homework, I will criticize the inclusion of the word AND in the phrase, even though it is clear from even a cursory google search that the AND is used more often than not in this expression. But I never let the facts get in the way of a good rant. I'll also completely ignore the brilliance of the bilateral symmetry of the middle row of the puzzle.
    I'm pretty sure I've never said this about a puzzle before, so I'll say it about today's: It was a tired theme, a poorly constructed grid, and some really awful fill. This constructor is lucky I used my favorite word of praise at all for this puzzle: "adequate." But of course I can't end on such a positive note, so I'll add "to something south of that."

    r.alphbunker 8:05 AM  

    Is the bottom of the grid filled with backwords?

    If you don't like writing backwards then you may not like the Marching Bands puzzles that BEQ recently funded with a Kickstarter campaign.

    joho 8:09 AM  

    It seems to me that @Rex has become jaded over the years to the point that practically no puzzle is new enough or good enough.

    On the other hand, Will Shortz is still tickled and appreciative of the creativity that goes into making a puzzle such as today's by PETER and JOE -- thanks for pointing that out, @Loren! Even after editing all these years he can still appreciate a trick even if it has been done before.

    So you can either do this and grouse that ITSABREEZE, been done, too boring or you can DIVEIN and marvel at this Thusday creation and have some fun. Seems today most are in the first camp, I'm firmly in the second.

    I guess in a nutshell, I could just as easily say YOUGOYOURWAYENIMMOGLLIDNA!

    Lewis 8:14 AM  
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    Mohair Sam 8:17 AM  

    From Buddy Holly:

    Now you go your way AND I'll go mine
    Now and forever 'til the end of time
    And I'll find somebody new and baby
    We'll say we're through
    And you won't matter anymore.

    It's AND @Rex, there can be no doubt, no argument.

    Every time Mrs. Sam suggests we go in different directions in a store or anywhere else I sing the above - it drives her crazy, but made this puzzle delightful for me - although waaaaay too easy for a Thursday.

    Rex is right, backwards entries do not make the clues more difficult - no need for such easy clues down south.

    Loved the palindromes balancing the middle, btw.

    AliasZ 8:17 AM  
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    Lewis 8:18 AM  

    I loved the reveal -- YOU GO YOUR WAY [AND I'LL GO MINE]. I pictured the top half of the puzzle exiting to the right and the bottom half to the left.

    I don't see a problem that this was done before. It is a theme genre, like a rebus puzzle, so why can't it be repeated?

    I liked [ARTSET] and [THETAB], and don't believe it should go on a bad fill list. I also liked ONUS crossing [OPUS] and the ASPIRIN/[YEMEN} cross -- those two seem to go together well these days. And while I enjoyed the clues for [THETAB] and BELL, I thought the cluing was too easy overall for Thursday.

    But the yays easily outweighed the nays for me on this one.

    Dorothy Biggs 8:19 AM  

    I was going to post this entire comment backwards, but for @Zeke's benefit, I'll keep it in the right direction.

    I agree with RT Gilley that this is a puzzle for those folks who are relatively new to solving, but who are just now getting the hang of it enough to solve puzzles with conceits like this. Ah, I remember those days. When I'd get a puzzle like this I'd stand up, spike the newspaper, and do an end zone dance like I had just scored a TD in the Super Bowl. I'm sure I sometimes even deserved a flag for over-celebration.

    Maybe the solution is for the NYT to come up with two puzzles a day...a newbie puzzle and a veteran solver puzzle. I mean seriously, when you do these puzzles so often, not much is surprising any more. So Rex can't possibly slight the puzzle for being done before. Is there anything that, by now, hasn't been done before? And to reminisce that the conceits that have been done before are somehow better is really pretty subjective...and I know Rex tries to keep his critiques as objective as possible...right?

    Aw, never mind.

    I enjoyed the puzzle for what it was. Typing in words backwardly (<-- spellcheck is okay with that word...heh) is something I'd expect from a Thursday, woo hoo.

    On to the weekend!

    Aketi 8:20 AM  

    @Zeke, I'm also inviting you to the next Buddy Day at my dojo. It is much more fun to dodge a punch to the head with a BOB and weave than to deliberately try to smash it against the wall. You also can perfect your LEFT JAB's against a willing target that won't damage your hand if you manage to hit it.

    @Nancy you are still invited. There is a Dojo on the east side.

    Last night, the advanced MMA class went back to basics. We pretty much did variations off the LEFTJAB. None of which involved a RIGHTHOOK. We did some right cross's. THey added a new trick - shoulder bump's, not CHEST BUMP's. They were so much more amusing than trying to hit a stationary wall Zeke!!

    As for the puzzle, I got fed up when DEJA didn't work and shoved the iPad under the bed so Charlie the cat wouldn't knock it off the night stand. When I woke up in the morning I was able to figure it out and finish it as quickly backwards as I did forwards (which isn't saying much since I type very slowly with three fingers on the iPad.

    grammar nazi 8:22 AM  

    Oh @Nancy,
    Even after we had our little chat about you walking around with your you-know-what flapping in the breeze, you had to go and take it one step farther, didn't you?

    chefbea 8:22 AM  

    What a great puzzle!! Loved it. Had trouble with my name AEB backwards.

    Of course knew DUKE!!! and pie and Pam. Did you know that Pam is an excellent substitute for much cheaper!!

    Dorothy Biggs 8:24 AM  

    I forgot...I have no idea what Rex is thinking or where he's been, but the phrase "You go your way and I'll go mine" has always, for me, included the "and." Always. Even if I abbreviate it, I throw a "-n-" in there. Taking the and out of all the phrases he mentions diminishes the meaning or adds a huffiness to it that makes it kinda sound rude.

    Ah well, Rex can go his way, [and] I'll go mine.

    AliasZ 8:25 AM  
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    AliasZ 8:28 AM  

    .nuf astol saw siht, yoB

    True, the double srelaever made it easier than the usual rebus-y Thursday, but I found it more relaxing to turn all the words DRAWKCAB in my head and then type them left-to-right, rather than figuring out how to set my keyboard to the Hebrew or Arabic mode. It only had to be done in the bottom half of the grid, and only the acrosses. That's 17 out of the 76, or about 22.37% of all the entries in this puzzle.

    Oh, the pain!

    As a bonus, we have ESSE, MOM and ATTA, plus BOB in the center of the grid which can be typed in either direction.

    Too bad some of us old timers are so set in our ways, our brain screams and goes into convulsions in an uncontrollable temper tantrum when forced to go in a direction opposite to the way it was trained. Leonardo da Vinci's mirror writing comes to mind, but we cannot all be geniuses, can we?

    It would have been even more interesting if the bottom-half acrosses were clued as normal left-to-right entries. No problem with WAR and SEED, but here are a few suggestions for the rest: DRAWKCAB -- Sketch a taxi in Kalamazoo; AEB -- Modern car safety system, for short; TESTRA -- Electric razor brand (Tesla+Atra); ENIMOGLLIDNA -- Javanese mollusk genus; ENAL -- Peeless colony; TSEN -- Sun Ya_-___, founding father of the Republic of China (1912); IKAHK -- Apple product for the organically challenged. And so on.

    Very clever, PETER and JOE, I enjoyed it very much. To show my appreciation, let me provide a toll or two of an alarm BELL in the Choral Symphony "Колокола" (kolokola - the BELLs), Op. 35, by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1913).

    Happy Thursday.

    mac 8:29 AM  

    Very easy, indeed, when you look for the reveal early on. The toll clue held me up, nice one.

    Still fun to solve, thorough theme but not enough crunch for a Thursday.

    Chris Christie 8:36 AM  

    Of course, if one is is Fort Lee, NJ, a ENAL is not always "one of several at a toll plaza."

    Jim Quinlan 8:37 AM  

    ...siht tuoba sleef izaN rammarG woh rednow I .drawkcab tnemmoc a retne ot eno tsrif eht m'I eveileb t'nac I

    Name that tune 8:40 AM  

    After all of my years flying in 'nam, I became attracted to ASIAN LITE LEGS.


    RnRGhost57 8:41 AM  

    Any Rex-rant with a 'Mats video is o.k. by me.

    Anonymous 8:43 AM  

    Zeke says what my 2-year-old would if he had better language skills.

    Phaedrus 9:08 AM  

    Porker, themeless puzzles have also been done many times before, so constructors shouldn't do those either. What do you suggest?!?

    I also remember that Saigon puzzle from Oct 1977. I paricularly enjoyed the 5-down answer in it.

    Unknown 9:10 AM  

    FWIW, the title of the Dylan song quoted earlier is "Most likely YOU GO YOUR WAY (AND I'LL GO MINE)" which has the "AND" as well as the quirky lack of parallel in having the present tense on the first verb, but the future on the second.

    pmdm 9:11 AM  

    The difficulty level of today's puzzle felt to me between that of Tuesday and Wednesday, but I don't care. I enjoyed the puzzle for what it was.

    Gee, AliasZ, I thought for sure you would give for today's musical example a link to a musical palindrome. (In a musical palindrome, halfway through the piece the notes you just played are played in reverse order.) In his Musical Offering, Bach composed some canon palindromes. Here;'s a link to a Haydn musical palindrome. (Actually two, since both the minuet and its trio are separate palindromes.)

    I would have preferred a link to the second movement of Robert Simpson's Second Symphony, but I don't think that movement has been posted on You Tube.

    I fell in love with Poe's poem The Bells when I was in the 8th grade. I enjoyed the rhythm so much I even set it to music myself (a bit more upbeat than Rachmaninoff's version). The Rachmaninoff is a masterpiece that deserves more concert performances than it gets, but alas, a lot of the original rhythm of the poem is lost in the Russian translation.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:15 AM  

    As I made my first entry at 1 A, I wondered if, as sometimes happens, this puzzle would be tied in with a musical opening on Broadway this week, "Finding Neverland." According to a doubtlessly apocryphal story, when asked how his literary works were faring, J. M. Barrie replied, "Some peter out, while others pan out."

    @Nit Picker - In crossword terms, a cat eating a mouse could be referred to as a "merger."

    RooMonster 9:19 AM  

    Hey All !
    @Jim Q, @NCAPres, I, too, was all fired up about posting backwards, but after thinking on it for a bit, decided not to! It was fun reading your post, though, @Jim!

    Before getting the emeht (sorry, couldn't resist!) I had DEJA in un-backward, and ART kit for ARTSET also written in forward. Had DUKE for 51D, but said to myself, "Self, everything in the bottom is backwards, so I need to change that to EKUD." Well, I did, and then when the sessorc (:-P ) didn't work, realized that only the Across answers were reversed. So a few writeovers down there, as I do the puz in ink (yes, Danger is my middle name!), I now have dark letters from thrice writing!

    Only two other writeovers, Aetna-> AFLAC, bono-> RATA.

    I do dig the middle backward/forward words. I think BOB threw me off with the backward Down thing. Overall, cool puz, they managed to get both their names in! PETER as clued was funny! Wonder if they got a laugh out of it.

    TEST RA= True or False quiz for God of Sun?
    (Was he the Sun God?)

    Lewis 9:25 AM  

    Factoid: The wet bottom molasses PIE, Shoo-fly pie, was used to distract flies from the kitchen.

    Quotoid: "A committee is an animal with four back LEGS." -- John le Carre

    Bird 9:34 AM  

    I liked the puzzle today. I don't do 15 (or whatever number he does) every day and I don't (care to) remember puzzles after a week so this was fresh.

    Didn't get the BACKWARDDRAWKCAB theme right away so it was no wonder the bottom half was mostly empty. After that it was easy. I too, liked how the palindromes in the middle row created a neutral zone.

    Only nit for me is THE TAB because I don't say/hear "THE". It's usually "my" or "your".

    1820 Stone Colonial House 9:36 AM  

    Pretty easy. Got hung up for a bit on 25D. I had the MAR but tried to get a lot of other things to fit because I didn't know Martha had lost her show and that she was now "onetime." When did that happen? I hope she is okay.

    RAD2626 9:39 AM  

    I thought the puzzle was well done for solvers of all vintages, I thought the middle line was very clever, I thought (perish the thought) that the fill was fine, and I am very surprised at the level of condescension throughout the board today. Must be a universal bad biorhythm day.

    Anonymous 9:55 AM  

    Anyone else for "zero" hour instead of WATT hour? I suppose the hyphen should have clued me in. I guess grammar really does matter...

    Name that tune 10:02 AM  

    You make an excellent point. All of the good puzzles have been done; it's probably not worth even trying to create any new ones.
    Ah yes, I remember 5 down as well. They just don't write 'em like that any more.

    Steve M 10:10 AM  

    What Zeke sed

    Z 10:17 AM  

    After a long run of timely morning delivery, today's paper didn't hit my stoop until I finally gave up and started solving on the computer. I don't type backwardly (or forwardly very well (see what you did @LMS)) so I had to visualize the backword and peck it in reverse.

    A fine example of this genre. As @RT Gilly said, I enjoyed this type of puzzle the first time I did one, and appreciate that newer solvers will be more entertained than I.*

    @LMS - I don't know about others, but a laden lady is fine by me.

    *As discussed lately, whether or not you think this is grammatically correct, you're wrong. Why? English.

    grammar nazi 10:31 AM  

    @Z, thank you for your support of the English language. Was your final sentence supposed to be nonsensical?

    Bark 10:37 AM  

    Yesterday, I was challenged to find a citation for the word “criteria” defined as a singular noun, and to share it in these comments. I used Google’s “Book search”, I typed in phrases (in quotes) such as “this criteria” and other search words. My search turned up a great many examples of “criteria” being used as a singular, and not just in dictionary-use, but in all kinds of books, including those published by Oxford, Yale, Harvard, and others. Anyone can do this kind of search. I won’t share the results, because I don’t want to accept such a challenge — in the spirit of “do your own darn research.” So, if you’re in favor of using the word (in English) either way — plural or singular — you’re well supported and in very good company. The point is: There’s no reason to get into a “I’m right and you’re wrong!” quarrel, or use scorn, or tell people that they’re “butchering the language” just because they have a different opinion. Which usage of the word will ultimately win out a hundred years from now? Who knows. However, the English language has historically almost always evolved in the direction of simplicity.

    Sir Hillary 10:37 AM  

    Considering this is my first NYT solve in almost two weeks, I was happy for it to be easy. The theme, while not too original, was certainly enjoyable -- seeing BACKWARD backward (and DRAWKCAB backward) was fun. Like many, I really liked the middle row of palindromes -- for some reason, that small piece of elegance was my favorite part of the whole puzzle.

    Sure, BATEHT and TESTRA and EDUC et al aren't very good fill, but today they didn't bother me.

    OK, I gotta get KROWOT. :)

    RooMonster 10:39 AM  

    Ok, here's a bad attempt at a palindromic sentence: (clears throat)
    Ha! A hoot! Newer use! We sure went Ooh! Aah!

    I shall now duck the thrown eggs!


    Whirred Whacks 10:40 AM  

    Fun, enjoyable puzzle.

    The "reverse theme" reminds me of the following bit from an anonymous comedian in 1980 (often attributed to George Carlin):

    "Life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death, a great reward.

    "I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work.

    "You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school.

    "You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as a gleam in somebody's eye!"

    Nancy 10:42 AM  

    So there I was, zipping along, thinking how really, really easy this was for a Thursday trick puzzle and how the revealers gave away the entire show at the outset. And then, confidently, I wrote down MONTEL instead of MARTHA for 25D and there went my entire Middle East. This one wrong answer kept me from getting the backwards-written ART SET and THE TAB -- both of which became immediately apparent once I corrected to MARTHA. But it took forever to see it. The only thing worse than a wrong answer is a wrong answer that you're absolutely certain is correct. I guess I don't watch enough daytime TV.

    At any rate, an easy puzzle became harder for me than it had any right to be. And I thought it was cute, sort of, and enjoyed it, kind of, although it wasn't the great joy that other more challenging Thursdays are.

    OISK 10:50 AM  

    Desree?? Took me forever to get that, because I didn't see that "Be a" was below the reverse line. Never heard of the singer Desree, nor the name! Had a few erasures, jab for bob, (don't understand "Dr. Mom") and had Yemen forward at first. I admire the skill of the constructors, and just noticed that the three answers in the middle are palindromes...that's clever too. Didn't like some of the fill (tarsi, Lan, Pam,) but overall, a good Thursday puzzle.

    grammar nazi 10:51 AM  

    @Bark: You seem to have willfully misinterpreted the challenge. There is a difference between "examples" and "definitions." There are myriad, dare I say infinite, examples of people, like you, who butcher the English language. You apparently failed in your quest to find a dictionary that defines "criteria" as singular. If you had, I suspect you would have cited it. But you are correct: many people use English incorrectly. In your mind, examples of incorrect usage may prove that it is not incorrect usage. This is terrible logic, but I suppose it shouldn't surprise us that you are prone to such foibles. Please, if it makes you happy, feel free to define any word any way you wish.

    Anonymous 10:54 AM  

    I suppose that is better than throwing the duck eggs!

    Sir Hillary 11:10 AM  

    @Roo - Superbly done. In fact...

    Roo post on Rex? Er, not so poor!

    Carola 11:27 AM  

    Easy, yeah, but so nicely done. I liked how PETER and JOE are each going their own WAY - Across and Down and that we have their parting phrases ADIOS and SEE YA LATER. Also liked BELL + RING-LET :)

    Andrew Heinegg 11:29 AM  

    I can only imagine having your cleverness and insights. Sigh.

    Joseph Michael 11:30 AM  

    Got the theme early on, so this BECAME easy as PIE, especially for a Thursday.

    Don't mind that there have been backwards themes before. So what? The theme phrase justified it. Also like the palindromic center row where the words go both YOUR WAY and MINE.

    Kind of like the strange language that appears in the bottom half of the grid. Motto for the day: RUOCS IKAHK NEMEY.

    old timer 11:31 AM  

    I'd say "data" is often used as a singular noun; "criteria" almost never. That's because anyone with enough education to actually use "criteria" learned long ago it is a plural. So, you always see "the criteria are" but very often see "the data is" In fact, it now seems over-nice to correct it to "the data are", unless you are using the singular "datum" in the same paragraph.

    I thought the puzzle was delightful. I got BACKWARD right away, because PAM ACERBIC WEEK were all next to one another. Of course I then put down BATRAB for 41A, which turned out to be wrong.

    I did not solve the puzzle quickly, though. That's because I've never heard of DESREE and did not quickly guess ITSABREEZE. Gotta say, PETER and JOE fooled me with "Cream, for instance". I thought the fill was mostly excellent. My one nit to pick is, I don't think of ONUS as a "stigma" It is not, IMO, among the stigmata. It simply is another word for "burden".

    Z 11:40 AM  

    @grammar nazi - If "criteria" is intended as a singular by the writer and is understood by the reader to be singular it is correct. That is how language works. There is some fascinating evolution going on here. In the original Greek "criteria" would be plural. Of course, "criteria" is already "misspelt" because the Greek equivalent of the "C" sound in "criteria" would be a "K," rendering any discussion of correct usage mostly academic.

    What @Bark has found is that literate sources already commonly use "criteria" as a singular. "Criterion" might be the preferred singular in formal writing, but "criteria" is apparently quickly replacing it. If I were to hypothesize as to why "criterion" is falling out of favor I would hazard that criteria rarely exist alone so the formal singular is rarely seen. We have other words in the language where the singular and plural are spelt identically, so we have no particular linguistic/grammatical barrier to using "criteria" as both. Heaven forfend that "criterias" becomes acceptable, but Heaven has never been good at stopping the evolution of language (a lesson that reading the Canterbury Tales in the original taught me well).

    Finally, let me suggest that your sense of humor too often gets buried by word choices that make you seem more interested in insulting, not illuminating. I've been in more than one passionate discussion in these comments and most here exhibit an ability to disagree without being disagreeable, a worthy goal for all in a civil society.

    Anonymous 12:01 PM  

    Artest? Shouldnt it be artist?

    Masked and Anonym007Us 12:04 PM  

    A&M feels ylgnorts both syaw about siht one. Luved that if these two feisty constructioneers were going to gang up on us, they at least both signed their work. (Mom did the dmz.)

    fave weeject: AEB. Honrable mention to MOM.

    Nice conclusion to week of stunts, unless of course FriPuz is an even wildassier stuntpuz. Anyhoo, thUmbsUp to this puz. And thUmbsUp to the week.


    ** gruntz **

    Casual Observer 12:09 PM  

    So @grammar nazi, "infinite" now means a really large but explicitly finite number?

    Z 12:23 PM  

    @anon12:01 - TES TRA, AKA an ART SET.

    @mobile posters - While your fancy second decade of the 21st century devices show "replies" correctly, Blogger is older tech and doesn't. This means that a comment like @Andrew Heinegg11:29's comment looks like a reply to @Carola11:27. If you want your reply to make sense you have to reference to whom you are replying. (I know. I know. I KNOW. I just can't "to who.")

    Bob Kerfuffle 12:29 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Bob Kerfuffle 12:33 PM  

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Some of today's discussion reminds me that recently I was proofreading a brochure for a computer conference. The author of a session synopsis had written, "Social media is . . ." I wanted to change it to "Social media are . . ." but The Boss over-ruled me. To today's educators (the attendees of the conference) social media is.

    My challenge, therefore, is to use "medias" correctly in a sentence. (Yes, I have an answer in mind, and no, you may not use any apostrophes, colons, dashes, etc .)

    [Darn comma got out of place first time!]

    nick 12:34 PM  

    clunky and dull. Not the start one longs for in the thurs/fri/sat swing of puzzles.

    Anonymous 12:39 PM  

    @Bob K I hate reading, so when approaching a book I most often take the in medias res approach - I get to the punch line quicker.

    Hah! You forgot to prohibit Latin.

    RooMonster 12:48 PM  

    Last one, I swear!

    @Sir Hillary
    Dear Sir, bedone! To vote, no debris read!

    *With bedone=outwitting* :-)


    John V 12:54 PM  

    Took me a bit to suss out the conceit, then the bottom was easy. Expected more crunch seeing Joe K's by-line. Enjoyed it, once I got the hang.

    Bob Kerfuffle 1:05 PM  

    @Anonymous 12:39 -- I didn't forget to prohibit Latin! You have correctly given my intended answer.

    Anoa Bob 1:12 PM  

    With ESSE & ATTA on the edges and MOM & BOB crossing in the center, I think today's puzz has more actual BILATERAL SYMMETRY than yesterday's.

    I almost always admire and enjoy puzzles by either Joe or Peter, but when I got through with this one, I recalled a cogent critique that our intrepid, universally-loved leader made some time ago: It took two people to make this?!

    Anonymous 1:25 PM  

    May we please stop using "butcher" as a pejorative? A good butcher is an artisan, presenting a perfected version of a rather ungainly raw product to their customers. Do you like it when you get a pair of filets from the supermarket, only to get home and find that one is 1/2" thicker than the other so that they're impossible to prepare properly as a pair? A butcher wouldn't do that. When you buy a set of chicken thighs, are they all of the same size so they will be cooked equivalently? A butcher make sure they are.

    Anonymous 2:14 PM  

    I don't understand SEED/DEES, 62 Across. Maybe someone could explain?

    Anonymous 2:23 PM  

    The letter D is the first and last letter of the word Discord.

    Anonymous 2:32 PM  

    Anon @ 1:25: I guess whether "butcher is a positive or a negative depends on the context: "The Cleveland Torso Murderer (also known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run) was an unidentified serial killer who killed and dismembered at least 12 victims in the Cleveland area in the 1930s." I doubt the nickname was a compliment.

    grammar nazi 2:38 PM  

    Well done casual observer @ 12:09 pm. You caught me using hyperbole! Glad somebody is paying attention.

    Anon 1:25 3:14 PM  

    @grammar nazi - Perhaps you should look up hyperbole as well as infinite. Hyperbole is an exaggeration, not an out and out mistake, say between the finite and infinite. You could have said "dare I say trillions", and that would have been hyperbole, but you didn't.

    No, despite your denials, you just wrote a simple sentence using language as we all understand it, warts and all. I've no problem with that, but you sure as hell seem to.

    Anonymous 3:27 PM  


    grammar nazi 3:28 PM  

    Anon@ 3:14: You would recognize "trillions" as an exaggeration but not infinite? Now you're just being daft for your own amusement. (I do suspect you are often in need of amusing yourself.)

    grammar nazi 3:45 PM  

    So if I said "I waited an eternity for the bus yesterday," you would claim that I don't know the meaning of the word "eternity?" I should instead have said, "I waited trillions of years for the bus yesterday," and then you'd recognize the hyperbole inherent in the statement? It seems you are the one unfamiliar with the meaning of "hyperbole."

    brave knight 3:53 PM  


    Anon 3:14 4:13 PM  

    @grammar nazi - There's a huge difference between degree and type. Trillions is a number, a very high number. It differs by degree from the number of people who've butchered the English language. Infinite isn't a number. They differ by type. You don't achieve hyperbole by substituting one type for another, you do it by inflating or deflating degree.

    But, as I at least hinted at, my whole point was ridiculous, just an example of the ridiculous posts you make each and ever day. In truth, your use of infinity was fine in conversation, what we're doing here. This is, its fine unless you're a ridiculous harridan who's notion of what's proper or not resides in a 40yo dictionary and a 50yo grammar. Writing "Thursday's" is perfectly ok. There are literally thousands of citations in edited publications which use that particular construct - correcting someone for doing so is asinine. Or railing against criteria in the singular, when its use in topline, edited sources has been attested to. It's not in your dictionary yet.

    Don McBrien 4:24 PM  

    Urban Dictionary defines Internet Troll as follows:

    "An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion."

    I can tell you from experience that engaging an Internet Troll is like pouring gas on fire. It's what they want and what keeps them coming back. The only way to make them go away is to ignore them.

    Don't Feed the Trolls!

    M and Also 4:29 PM  

    @Anoa Bob: We have even seen a puz constructed by a committee, a few times, as I recall. Somethin like Caleb Madison & his crossword constructioneerin night class?


    chefbea 4:32 PM  

    @Anon 223..DiscorD has a dee on the left and on the right

    Ludyjynn 4:41 PM  

    "GOYOURownWAY" from Fleetwood Mac's 1976 Rumours album has been my earworm (not earwig) since I solved this puzz. SUPO by Lindsey Buckingham was about his tempestuous relationship w/ band member Stevie Nicks. Song and album BECAME hugely successful.

    Thanks, JK and PC for an EASY-medium outing.

    grammar nazi 5:06 PM  

    Anon@ 4:13: Your logic fails completely. I do see you ignored my post regarding "eternity." You have good reason to ignore it, as it destroys the point you are so lamely trying to make. It's fine if you failed to recognize my use of hyperbole, and it's fine if you thought my hyperbole was inauspicious. It's clear that you willfully took my use of "infinite" literally to make a point. What makes you look asinine is that you embarrassingly seem to need to cling to the belief that the meaning of what I wrote depends on whether I used the word "trillion" or the word "infinite." That is nonsensical, and it is prima facie false. If I come home late and I say, "I waited forever for the bus," or if I say "I waited a trillion years for the bus," both statements demonstrate hyperbole and they convey exactly the same meaning. Anyone who answered, " Well, obviously you didn't wait forever for the bus, because you're here," as you seem to be responding to my statement above, is an ass.

    brothers grimm 5:15 PM  

    Troll fight!

    zack 5:21 PM  

    grammar nazi, you are kind of a jerk, but your observations about language are hard to argue with (hard with which to argue?!). It seems the tables have turned, and you are now the one who has his or her own troll to feed.

    GILL I. 5:31 PM  

    Troll fight....! God, this is really funny. Seriously funny. I need another vodka martini!

    Wood 6:02 PM  

    I disagree with Rex's statement "it's no harder to fill a puzzle backward than forward." It is harder, because you can't use standard grid-filling software, which assumes left-to-right spelling for across entries. That, together with the lovely palindromic entries on the center line (which increase the theme answers to 7 and add more constraint because three 5 of the 7 on are on consecutive lines), make this puzzle a feat to be reckoned with.

    Anonymous 6:36 PM  

    @Wood, you make an excellent point. However, this is rex's blog, and not only does he never admit to being wrong, but also he has many foot soldiers on this board who will defend him no matter how pig-headed he is.

    KFC 6:36 PM  

    ...and this is what happens when the 3 comment rule is ignored. Douche baggery reigns free. is sort of amusing though...

    Eat more chicken, now boneless!

    Anonymous 6:42 PM  

    Don't you see the strain running thru sharp's
    "rock bottom" shit?
    Here here for Rex Porker!

    Teedmn 6:59 PM  

    I filled in 20A and since the clue referenced 49A, I ran right down there and filled the rest of the phrase in - frontward, since I hadn't seen the revealers yet. And NOAM was a gimme and since the n's had BILATERAL SYMMETRY in the phrase, I was baffled for a while as to why the bottom wasn't filling in properly. Either DUKE or CALMEST showed me that deciding I'LL GO MINE was the wrong way to go!

    My favorite clue was for DEES . Thanks, Misters Krozel and Collins (that just looks wrong, but I figured Mr.'s would look even more wrong).

    grammar nazi 7:25 PM  

    Is my work never done here? Anon @6:42: It's "hear, hear," not "here here."

    Benko 7:43 PM  

    Eight posts in one day might be a new record for this site. Time to find a new hobby.

    Benko 8:11 PM  

    Hey I can post lots of comments too. That's the thing about an unmonitored site. You never know who is posting under what name.

    Benko 8:24 PM  

    Maybe I'll try to beat the record!

    Anonymous 9:00 PM  

    Actually knew that, but thanx. You're obviously as creative as Wrecks.

    Hartley70 10:29 PM  

    Note to self: do the puzzle earlier so you're spared the troll fight and the endless "criteria" discussion. Tardiness comes with it's own punishment, I suppose.

    Thanks Joe and Peter. I'm firmly in the "enjoyed this" camp. It wasn't a struggle. It was just a fun romp and I thought it was a fine Thursday.

    Nonnel Nhoj 11:23 PM  

    I buried Paul

    Unknown 1:40 AM  

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    KFC 1:57 AM  

    Wow - 120 comments. Unfortunately way too many of them are from douche bags. Three and out.

    Eat more chicken now boneless.

    Leapfinger 10:33 AM  

    @Anony 0534, please take your LBOS off the table.

    @Zeke, thanks for reminding me of the many boxer's fxs I've casted. There's always a good backstory, but yours was a showtopper.

    Reminding us of Leonardo da Vinci was [as always] in genious.

    Would like to keep the grammar pot a-simmer by pointing out that for at least a couple of centuries, "ain't" was considered completely correct [if casual] usage. On both sides of the Atlantic. As @Bark sez, Do yer own darn research.

    Such a fun puzzle! Once again, we have proof that the most interesting things happen where opposites interface.

    So many Christian subdivisions and sects! Most of them preaching "YOU GOY OUR WAY!"...[or else what?]
    For my part, I'LL GO MINE s'more cruciverbal gold from PETER&JOE.

    the norwegian blue 10:48 AM  

    My iPhone NYT puzzle app automatically switched to reverse fill, right to left, in the bottom half

    Leapfinger 11:38 AM  

    What @Hartley said.

    @Gilly, your Poisonous and Evil Rubbish is good for some belly laffs.

    ps to @KFC: Douche baggery is good, but Ibelieve the preferred term is douche baggage.

    spacecraft 10:26 AM  

    What, no love for Fleetwood Mac's "You Can Go Your Own Way?" I thought I'd be seeing that clip for sure, @Rex.

    I got up a bit earlier than usual today, so maybe the old gray cells were still not ready to DIVEIN, but after the first half hour all I had written was DUKE and NOAM. (I do not follow basketball, but Coach K's boys can hardly be avoided. I'd rather list the years they DIDN'T win than those they did. I'm so tired of them.)

    I suspected the actual layout, but could not get "Dr.___." If I was right about the backward thing, the middle line had to be all palindromic, and I ran the alphabet to no avail. What in the WORLD is "Dr. MOM??????" They must mean that, in the eyes of a small child, "Dr. Mom" is the one who fixes the owie. But in the language? I don't THINK so. That is a bad, bad, BAD clue, and I'm flagging it. I almost didn't solve this thing on account of that silly little NON-clue. Horrible! "Mr.___" would not have been much better, but at least there you have a film title to hang on. I need an ASPIRIN.

    Once I screwed up my courage and allowed MOM in, the rest fell: ITSABREEZE.

    Finally, while I'm in the sour mood, why oh why would you make MARTHA your WOD?? Better it shoulda been IKAHK, which is roughly what noise I make when I hear her name. And now, why not ENDAT Another Awkward Partial? D.

    rondo 12:08 PM  

    I can recall BACKWARD answers in a grid before. At least it’s not 3 or 4 letters in a square.
    But LBOS? Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot??

    Daughter’s name as one DRAWKCAB answer, so I liked that one.

    Thought the two-way middle line was a good maneuver.

    Gotta go, SEEYALATER.

    Burma Shave 1:49 PM  


    That cute little ASIAN girl was so PETITE,
    her hair done in RINGLETs and her LEGS looking neat.
    I UNDID her OBIE and the VIEW was so sweet,
    ITSABREEZE when the deed is so EASY to complete.


    rain forest 4:24 PM  

    @rondo - I think LBO means "leveraged buyout".

    I enjoyed this solve and appreciated the execution of the theme. At first, because I don't always read well, I thought that only the theme entries were being reversed. Once I realized that all the bottom half acrosses were BACKWARD, the solve came quickly.

    The palindromic middle row crossed in the middle by BOB was a nice touch. My ex-wife always called herself Dr. Mom whenever she tended to some kid injury, so that went right in.

    Good one.

    DMG 4:35 PM  

    Took a bit to catch on, but then things worked out. Did have to drop spat for FEUD, but that's about it. Missed that the middle words were palindromes, glad someone pointed it out.

    @Spacecraft: Dr MOM comes from the TV ad world where a family's miseries were cured by MOM showing up,with a panacea- cough syrup,or some such!

    Anonymous 8:34 PM  


    leftcoastTAM 8:39 PM  

    I'm with @grammar nazi.

    Word distinctions serve a purpose: they make communications clearer and more precise. Today, another example: "criteria" as singular instead of "criterion." It's another of my grammatical bête-noires. Please, let's not degrade the language further than we're ultimately forced to through repeated misuse.

    As for today's puzzle, the tests seem to be: Did you enjoy it or not? Was it too easy or not? Yes, I enjoyed it, because it took a bit of mental flexibility to see and fill in answers sdrawkcab. And, for that reason ysae oot ton saw ti.

    Le Internets 6:32 AM  

    bête noire
    ˌbāt ˈnwär,ˌbet/
    noun: bête noire; plural noun: ***bêtes noires***

    leftcoastTAM 4:44 PM  

    @Le Internets (Ha!)

    Oops. Ouch.

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