Coin to pay for passage across River Styx / SUN 5-31-15 / Anti-revolutionary of 1776 / Seasonal linguine topper / Choco Klondike treat / Park opened in 1964 / Chocolate mint brand with peaks in its logo / Hematophagous creature

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Constructor: Tom McCoy

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Making Projections" — theme answers "project" one letter above and below, and when you read the "projected" letters clockwise, starting with the top center letter, the letters spell out "SORE THUMB."

Theme answers:
  • [S]HARKFIN (9D: Seafood soup base)
  • [O]LD FAITHFUL (12D: Attraction that operates under its own steam?)
  • [R]ADIO ANTENNA (15D: Catcher of some waves)
  • SUNSHINE STAT[E] (59D: Words below a orange on a license plate)
  • VAMPIRE BA[T] (72D: Hematophagous creature)
  • OCEAN TRENC[H] (67D: Mariana, e.g.)
  • DROP-DOWN MEN[U] (62D: It might contain a list of postal abbreviations)
  • [M]OUNT MCKINLEY (4D: Peak that's known as "The Great One")
  • [B]EAN SPROUT (6D: Crisp bit in a stir-fry)
Word of the Day: OBOL (36D: Coin to pay for passage across the River Styx) —
Charon's obol is an allusive term for the coin placed in or on the mouth[1]of a dead person before burial. Greek and Latin literary sources specify the coin as an obol, and explain it as a payment or bribe for Charon, the ferryman who conveyed souls across the river that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. Archaeological examples of these coins, of various denominations in practice, have been called "the most famous grave goods from antiquity." (wikipedia)
• • •

Hard to assess this puzzle adequately, as I did it very late, after a very full day of crossword tournamenting (about which more next week, when I have time to do it justice—short version: astonishingly good, especially for an inaugural run. Oh, and Joon Pahk won.). We were out to dinner at the world's slowest restaurant (my friend Finn timed my wine order: 55 minutes … to pour and deliver a glass of wine … but I digress), so Erin pulled out her phone and started looking at the puzzle and told us the title and we guessed the trick pretty quickly, without doing much of the grid. Then we went back to eating and drinking. Actually, we probably went back to waiting. Once I got my wine, I didn't really care. It was a gorgeous night in D.C. and we were eating out on the deck and the tournament had been really inspiring and impressive in everywhere, so Bring My Flatbread Pizza Whenever, Lady. I'm good.

[Crossword blogger Amy Reynaldo, giving attitude and taking home hardware]

I should say that we got the premise early, but not the Big Reveal, which I'd say is the one thing about this puzzle that is special—playing, as it does, on the expression "to stick out like a sore thumb." But the easy-to-grok premise and easy-to-solve themers made the solve less-than-scintillating. The cluing was pretty tough, though (in a good way), so at least the puzzle put up a reasonable Sunday-fight. I didn't have many interesting *moments* while solving, though I do have some disparate observations, and here they are:

  • OBOL! — I remembered this. As you know, when you don't know something, and then you learn it from crosswords, and then you remember it in a subsequent crossword, you feel a huge onrush of victory in your veins. 
  • EKE BY! — The longer I look at this, the more ridiculous it seems. You eke out or you scrape by. EKE BY can eke on by, as far as I'm concerned. 
  • HELENA! — crossword constructor Doug Peterson was born there. Also, HELENA is the name of the best character on "Orphan Black." So there's some double-trivia for you.
  • MOREL! — I did not know these were "seasonal." (19D: Seasonal linguine topper)
  • REORGS! — this answer can also eke on by.
  • SUH-WEET! — far and away the greatest thing in this grid. I was sort of psyched when I thought the answer was going to be "SWEEEET!" But "SUH-WEET" is DEF. better.

I think I'm done for the evening. Gonna see a game at Camden Yards tomorrow (if it doesn't get rained out) and then trek home. Annabel has the Monday tomorrow, so I'll see all y'all on Tuesday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS here is a link to my wife's public (Facebook) album of photos from Saturday's Indie 500 Crossword Tournament, in case you're interested.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


MDMA 1:22 AM  

The missing external square at RANCHER should have corresponded to the blank space between the words in SORE THUMB. Instead we have SORET HUMB. As it is, the lack of symmetry sticks out like a... thing.

OBOL = woe, but the crosses are straightforward, since GOT ON is more logical for boarding than GOT iN.

Why is NOVA a bagel topper? ANDES + NOVA would have been a Natick if not for the giveaway "peak" clue for the former.

Anonymous 1:22 AM  

Thought I should point out that all the top theme entries 'stick up' so to speak - antenna, mt McKinley, etc, while the bottom theme answers dangle down -- Florida, Bats, drop down menus. Added an extra layer of goodness to a good Sunday puzzle.

jae 1:25 AM  

Medium for me too. Just about right for a Sun. with an amusing twist.  Liked it.

Thought at first the theme answers might turn right or left because the R in 15a ARF completed RADIO ANTENNA, but no. 

@Anon - Nice catch! Extra layer of goodness indeed!

DebinSac 1:27 AM  

The Wordplay blog points out that the theme answers on top stick up and the ones on bottom hang down. I hadn't noticed that. I always like puzzles where letters extend out from the grid, the "sore thumb" part made me smile, and this one was, I thought, more challenging than most Sundays because of the cluing, so.... A very enjoyable way to end the day! (I was REALLY slow to figure out the gimmick, though. I kept looking for a rebus where the letters had something to do with projections.)

Thomas 1:30 AM  

Nova lox. My mom loved bagels this way.

Thomas 1:34 AM  

I had this done in record time for me but didn't get the bell on my SMARTPHONE until I finally changed cOARSENS to HOARSENS. Liked it!

chefwen 2:37 AM  

Zipped through this one in record time, even set it down to make it last into cocktail hour. Ran into a major roadblock at the hoarseness//decried/ mapleleafs area. Had so much whiteout in that area I have no idea what my original answers were, just know they weren't right.

Loved the TWEAK TWEET crossing.

Pawed at reminded me of my Pretty, little, bitty, kitty, Rice, cutest thing ever invented.

George Barany 2:46 AM  

Sounds like you, @Rex, had (and are continuing to have) a blast in our nation's capital, and congratulations to everyone, organizers and participants alike, at the inaugural Indie 500 tournament. Many familiar names on the leaderboard.

A quick reminder that two weeks from today, it's Saint Paul's turn. Click here for information about the June 14 Minnesota tournament. @Victor Barocas has done a bang-up job bringing together an all-star roster of constructors with local connections, including @C.C. Burnikel, @Johana Fenimore (@joho on this blog), @Andrea Carla Michaels (@ACME who grew up in the Twin Cities), @Tom Pepper, and @Amy Reynaldo (crossword fiend who went to school at Carleton), among others.

As for @Tom McCoy's Sunday offering, SORE_THUMB was a nice payoff to a better-than-average theme buttressed by particularly tough cluing. I stared at SUHWEET (45-across), not believing it could be right. I was glad to see that the the number of ATOMs (60-down) in glucose were counted correctly, and got a chuckle out of the clue for PROFIT (34-across).

@Hayley Gold chose this puzzle for her webcomic of the week; I thought her take was fabulous, and hope that many of you agree.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation for the numerous positive comments yesterday about Up to Z Challenge: Some Beautiful Minds. Reverting to our Hungarian roots, @AliasZ, @Leapfinger, and I had a lot of fun responding to an interesting post by regular @Rexite @Z. To me, that puzzle represents a microcosm of what's so great about this blog, and the dynamic virtual community of funny, educated, passionate, and opinionated individuals it has brought together.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:28 AM  

Nice puzzle.

With all the thematic action on the edges, it was good to have that thick band of mostly six- and seven-letter entries running up the middle.

On the Tournament front: It has come to my attention that just ten months from tomorrow, April 1, 2, and 3, 2016, will be the next ACPT. (No April Fooling!) Mark your calendar!

Lewis 6:36 AM  

Lots of nice cluing: ALBUM, PROFIT, PILOT, OLDFAITHFUL, LEI. Did not like HOARSENS or CDE, but two out of a zillion is easily forgiven. At first it just seemed like a good workman-like solve, but then I thought there must be more to the theme, so I started anagramming the out-of-box letters. SORETHUMB definitely ups the quality, and the turning-up north theme answers, and going-down south answers sealed the deal. Terrific puzzle.

Rex, when you're in a good mood, your reviews shine. You must have been in an extraordinary mood to put up with such slow restaurant service.

George Barany 6:53 AM  

@Lewis: I solved the puzzle on hard copy, and the instructions specifically stated: "When this puzzle is completed, an apt phrase can be found by starting at the top central letter and reading clockwise." (For all I know, an Across Lite version might have had a Notepad with instructions.) Thus, you made the solve a tad tougher on yourself by looking for (yet successfully finding!) an anagram of the out-of-box letters.

pmdm 7:12 AM  

For whatever reason, today's theme underwhelmed me. Perhaps I think it is a very easy theme to bring off. But it really doesn't matter, since it didn't alter my solving experience. I liked today's acrostic better, which is a totally different ball of wax.

imsdave 7:55 AM  

getBY is also a much more reasonable expression than EKEBY (and fits).

As is usually the case, our acceptance of crossword entries has much to do with our life experiences. I've been a computer programmer for over thirty years for three major insurance companies. During that time I have been REORGed at least ten times. After the third one, I figured out that the primary purpose was to shift all the managers into new positions to ensure that none of them ever had to assume responsibility for their past failures.

Unknown 8:09 AM  

I know this eminent crowd knows everything there is to know about words, even more than Mr. Google.

Why is it always MAPLELEAFS? Why not "leaves?"

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Don't know what it going on, but this is two weeks in a row in which the Sunday theme barely kept my attention. Puzzles like this that leave you with something at the end as a final answer don't hold much appeal for me. I couldn't even figure out what "SORE THUMB" was supposed to signify; I cared even less.

Loren Muse Smith 8:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 8:46 AM  

Loved the concept and trick. I struggled with this one in the end. Caught the TOM FOOLERY (Thank God no one is taking him to task for that entry! I'm lookin' at you, PILOT @evil! (By the way, has not posted here for months – y'all are being duped.)

And hi again, @ims dave! And @Tita! They're baaaack! Two such beloved members of this circle; jerks really should, I agree, @Tita, learn how to use the down arrow to skip our comments. I take my hat off to you, old friend. Good advice.

@Michael Fuchs – I wondered the same thing.

Early goofs:

"credit" for PROFIT
"duxelle" for MOREL. Right.
"ibex" for ORYX
"mal" for BEL
"twinkies" for TRANSFAT. Well, I thought it but didn't write it in.

Here's a SUHWEET TWEET that Gareth Bain shared a few weeks ago - "The fact that there is a stairway to heaven but a highway to hell tells you a lot about the anticipated traffic."

My favorite entry was SUHWEET, too, and I winced, knowing that Rex would probably hate it and then I would feel kinda self-conscious and predictable defending it.

I always feel scared when I defend things other people hate because I don't have a lot of Confrontation Cojones. I actually feel scared anytime I take a stand on stuff other than grid entries – nastiness, for example. I'm trying to grow a thicker skin, but this blog is the highlight of my day and it's obviously a bright spot for others, too. So when some hematophagous people pee all over the enthusiasm, the side stories, the links to Barany's puzzles this one's for you, @Billy C; I'll draw your f/ire today, the joy, the people who post more than three comments (hi, @Nancy – I'll read ten comments from you any day rather than see one comment from a boil on the butt of this community), my feelings run from hurt to crushed.

I understand that some of you now are going to tell me to call a wah-mbulance (to which I would want to tell you to call a flatulance – foul, hot air and all that), and I refuse to respond publically; enough people have left this place because of the nastiness. I will, though, invite you for the umpteenth time to come out from behind your anonymity and email me so that we can possibly have a heart-to-heart, and then you can explain to me why you're so disgusted by what people write and feel compelled to be so mean.

Great fun, Tom. I'm off to take some Motrin because my back hurts, and I'm in a bad mood. Can ya tell?

Mohair Sam 9:13 AM  

Thought this was a nice puzzle, although very much on the easy side - one of our fastest Sunday's ever.

Like @Thomas we had cELENA for HELENA for a while, even though HELENA is my Mom's name. Didn't know Montana had had a gold rush, thought it was silver up there.

Although the "Commander's Coin" shows possible different definitions on-line, a family member who received one was told by the General who handed it to him with a wink that it would "Get him across the River Styx." His local Commander then told him the story of the Spartans and the OBOL. I like that tie back to ancient times better than what we are getting here.

Lewis 9:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 9:15 AM  

Michael Fuchs asked:

"Why is it always MAPLELEAFS? Why not "leaves?""

Wikipedia says that because regiment the team was named for (The Maple Leaf Regiment) is a proper noun, the plural Leafs is proper (I presume to preserve the original proper noun).

Another take: the Canadian symbol is the "Maple Leaf" and not "Maple Leaves." If the team was referred to as Leaves it would sound like each player is a different leaf, when in fact,they are each *the* Maple Leaf.

But I don't know.

I find good logic behind the unusual verb "fly" in "fly out" in baseball (which derives from the noun "fly" in "pop fly") where the past tense is, very correctly, "flied out" and not "flew out."

But language works by convention, and that convention doesn't always follow logical rules.

Maruchka 9:27 AM  

Never heard of EKE BY. Squeak by, yes. A British/Canadian flavour? (COLOURS, MAPLE LEAFS, TORY, KELVINS, TOMFOOLERY, e.g.)

Finished with no googles, tho plenty of head scratches along the way.

@MDMA - Also called 'novy'. Leaner, less salty smoked salmon. A revelation from the first bite, with cream cheese and onion on a poppy seed bagel - yum.

@Aketi - I truly enjoy your digressions. Please don't stop on Messrs. Grumpy Pants account.

Aketi 9:35 AM  

@lewis, particularly enjoyed you posts yesterday and today. I much prefer thinking about snails hibernating, or perhaps sautéed with MORELs. I know that they are not hematophagous, but the notion oppr their teeth reminds me of leeches,

'mericans in Paris 9:40 AM  

The further adventures of Matt Esquare, Private Eye

in "MOREL Turpitude"

I was sitting in Takes the Tops, a downtown restaurant that seemed to target people on a lacto-OVO-pescetarian, TRANSFAT-free diet. Most people thought the name somehow related to beet greens and the like, but actually it was a consequence of the owner having ordered a sign that was too wide for the available space. It's full name, Takes the Top Spot, required reading backwards after getting to the end.

Facing me across the table was the enormous bulk of I. MACASNER -- his first name was Ian, but everyone called him IMAC -- a RANCHER who owned a vast spread of pastured down in the SUNSHINE STATE. It was so big that he built himself an ultra-light aircraft just to keep an eye on things. An experienced PILOT, he'd been doing some fly-fishing in the Upper Peninsular.

We looked around for menus, but couldn't find any. The waiter approached our table. "Hi! My name's OBOL, and I'm your waiter for this afternoon. Could I interest you in one of our specials?"

"The last time I was here I thought you said your name was Eno."

The waiter shrugged. "Do you really think I'd tell customers my real name? I choose a new one each day. Kinda Styx in the mind, n'est pas?"

I let that one pass. The waiter moved over to the window AND pulled down an IKEa black-out roller blind. The menu items had been cleverly etched so that the outdoor light illuminated them from behind. "We call it our DROP-DOWN MENU," he said, obviously amused. We put in our orders AND when we finished the waiter let the blind roll back up, which it did with a resounding SNAP!

"So, what kind of TOMFOOLERY have you been up to lately, HOMIE?," IMAC asked.

"I'm not sure where to begin," I sighed. "My new lady friend has VANISHED, an old friend was recently brutally murdered, AND I have a SORE THUMB from filling in a 23 x 23 crossword puzzle last week."

IMAC regarded me for several seconds. "IT'S NO WONDER your look like a VAMPIRE BAT that just crawled out of a TOMB. Sounds like you need some time to RELAX."

"I'd like to, but I'm on the trail of some RABID, MAPLE-LEAF-wearing terrorists. Supposed to have snuck into the country in an ice canoe. RUMOURS have it that they may be in possession of a crude ATOM bomb, one from the fifties that failed to detonate and ended up in some OCEAN TRENCH not far from Tahiti."

We WERE interrupted by the sound of a TIMER going off in the kitchen, shortly followed by the waiter carrying our plates. IMAC had ordered bagel with NOVA lox, AND I had ordered the BEAN-SPROUT TACO topped with MOREL mushrooms. The AROMA was earthy.

(continued below)

Nancy 9:40 AM  

Absolutely loved this puzzle -- it's TOMFOOLERY and it's SUHWEETness. Didn't find it as easy as some other solvers here, since I was thrown off by PART I instead of PILOT at 10D; by LEONE instead of KRONA at 28A; and by COARSENS instead of HOARSENS at 66A (Hi, @Thomas.) Eventually, I figured out that there was no capital city anywhere called CELENA and corrected. But PROFIT at 34A was clued so deviously that I didn't see it. So, until I finally cottoned onto the trick, giving me (S)HARKFIN where it was most sorely needed, the entire top middle of the puzzle was sadly AMOK.

I loved the drollness of SORE THUMB as a payoff. It was delightful. This makes 4 puzzles in a row -- Thur, Fri, Sat & today -- that I've really, really enjoyed. Wonderful week!

@Loren -- Thanks for your really nice words. It's people like you who keep me coming back here day after day and who make me feel that this is a real community, virtual though it may be.

'mericans in Paris 9:41 AM  

(continued from above)

IMAC pointed at my plate and said, "Did you know that there have already been 16 cases of MOREL poisonings in Michigan this month alone? Usually a case of amateurs mistaking false MOREL for the real thing. Can really make you sick as a dog. Echar las PAPAS, as it WERE."

I put my fork down and pushed the dish aside. "I'm not hungry anymore." My face scrunched up into a MOUE.

"Mind if I eat them?," asked IMAC.

"I thought you said they might be poisonous."

"NO, I never said these particular ones WERE poisonous. In any case, I have a CAST-iron stomach."

I let him have the plate anyway, AND took a swig from my INDIA pale ALE. While IMAC was LAPping UP, I surreptitiously pulled out my SMART PHONE and glanced at it. It was a RELIC that dated from the IRON AGE, but at least its battery didn't need recharging every four hours. There was a TWEET from HELENA, one of Maria's many Greek cousins. I handed over my phone to IMAC. "What do you make of this?"

He stared at the screen and frowned. "Looks like some kind of code: IOU RTE NFL ALT ONT ENS DEF. An anagram, perhaps?" He thought for a moment. "ROUTE ONE-L DEFLATION?"

"Probably means that she got a flat tire."

"So, why didn't she just SAY SO?"

"The whole family's kind of strange that way. Maria, my lady friend, is a part-time crossword constructor, for example. I think they come from a long line of SOLONS."

"Well, what say we hit the ROAD and give your friend a hand?"

I sent a message back to HELENA to let her know we were on our way, AND then put my SMART PHONE in HIBERNATION mode. IMAC left a big pile of TWOS on the table, but when he got up to EXIT he nearly knocked over a FLUTE of champagne at the next table as he tried to SKORT around it.

"Let's hope she doesn't need a TOW IN," he said as we headed out the door.

Whirred Whacks 9:51 AM  

A year ago, I was a competent Monday-Wednesday solver. Occasionally, I'd solve a Thursday-Saturday puzzle, but I usually didn't have the patience to find or create the footholds necessary to get going.

On June 1, 2014 I got the new NYT Crossword Puzzle for my iPad, and I made the following commitment:

"I will complete every NYT crossword for the next year (until May 31, 2015)."

This commitment would force me to become patient and persevere in my solving. And along the way, I'd develop much more confidence in my crossword self-developed heuristics.

I can report that I've been successful: I have finished every puzzle over the past year (June 1, 2014-May 31, 2015). I noticed that I started getting better within three-four weeks, and my solve times descended. I also became a lot more confident with Thursdays and Fridays. By the middle of last July, I was contributing my $0.02 to this blog. Along the way, I benefitted from your xword-solving tips and advice.

Of course, my definition of a DNF is probably different than some of yours. If necessary, I allow myself a Google or three on Friday and Saturday after twenty minutes (especially if the answer is rap-music related). Also, if I fill in the whole grid and the "happy solve music" doesn't play, then I know I have an err (or more). I then look for possible mistakes, and then correct them until the music plays. That is not a DNF in my book! (Although, I appreciate that for many of you it is.) I solve the puzzles for my own enjoyment, and doubt that I'll ever enter a tournament.

One thing I won't do is use the "check letter" or "check word" features on the iPad app.

There were quite a few times I felt like skipping a day or quitting part way through a puzzle for lack of footholds. But because I made a commitment to do it every day, I forced myself to push on. The practice paid off!

My Monday times are usually under 10 minutes; Tuesday-Wednesday 12-16 minute range; curiously, my Thursdays take a little longer than my Fridays 30+ min.; and Saturdays a bit longer.

I can also report that I slogged through 53 Sunday puzzles in the past year. It became the puzzle day I disliked the most because it brought me the least amount of satisfaction (for the time involved). Now that my year commitment is up, I don't plan to do the Sunday puzzle any longer. Yeah!

Indeed, I plan to try some other sources: free-lance constructors, WSJ, LA Times, and others.

-- My favorite week of the past year was the Patrick Blindauer TEMPUS FUGIT meta week last October.
-- My favorite answers in the past year were: SHTUP and DOOK.
-- My favorite Sunday (yes, there were a few) was Jeremy Newton's "UPSIDES" on March 22, 2015.
-- And my favorite constructor is Patrick Berry.

In summary, I'm still a hack as a crossword puzzle solver (compared to many of you), but I have a lot more confidence and trust in my own abilities and intuitions -- and that makes an enormous difference in putting the letters in the boxes!

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

MDMA, you could put "NOVA" and "bagel" in google and see what transpires. Or open the comments today with a really dumb question.

'mericans in Paris 10:04 AM  

With the others who liked this puzzle, too. AND, for the first time in a long time, Rex's reviews seems in line with most of the people commenting here.

Had several write-overs, and struggled in the middle diagonal region, but eventually sussed it out with no Googles.

Hadn't noticed the added cleverness of the up- and down-themed words that project out the top and bottom until I came here. Very nice.

Struggled to do much with the words in this puzzle, though. A few about food, but few that could be used to convey a noire atmosphere.

For those who haven't caught up on all the Matt Esquare episodes, they can be found in the Comments sections of the following Sunday Rex Parker blogs:

15 February 2015

22 February 2015

1 March 2015

8 March 2015

5 April 2015

12 April 2015

26 April 2015

17 May 2015

Cool and rainy day here in Paris!

AliasZ 10:09 AM  

My favorite aspect of the theme was to discover that all the protruding letters at the top belonged to phrases whose meanings suggested "upward" and the ones at the bottom, "downward." True, I did not notice this feature until well after I finished the puzzle and took a good look at the completed grid again. Very clever, Tom SORE THUMB. Some TOMFOOLERY indeed. And you thought we wouldn't catch this self-referential tidbit? Hah!

To @Michael Fuchs' question re: MAPLELEAFS vs. maple leaves, I would add: why SEMIANNUAL but biennial?

I wish I had more time to expound on the many good things I noticed and liked in this excellent puzzle, but I have to go finish my IRONAGE. Before I go though, check out this treasure: the closing movement of the FLUTE concerto by Jacques Ibert, played here live by none other than Jean-Pierre Rampal, who did more for the popularization of the champagne FLUTE than anyone else in history. The concerto is so full of COLOURS, humour and a contagious joie de vivre that I betcha you'll want to listen to the complete work.

Enjoy your Sunday.

'mericans in Paris 10:09 AM  

I don't understand. Why don't my links to previous Rex blogs work? I write them in the same way as links to other URLs, and those work.

Aketi 10:14 AM  

@whirred whacks, awesome perseverance! I am trying to undo the damage that occurred when I discovered the word checker. You've given me a new motivation to reduce my word checking,

@Tita, from yesterday thank you.

@anonymi du jour 5:58 pm from yesterday, completely understand you respectful request. We all react differently to ichy things we have experienced, witnessed, or heard. In light of your experiences, I will refrain or at least tone scatological or effluvial references. Should I forget and TMI you again feel free to remind me with the code word snails so I know which anonymi you are.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

@Alias Z (10:09)-- Your eagle-eye has added immeasurably to my appreciation of this puzzle. I completely missed the "upward" meanings of the top protrusions and the "downward" meanings of the bottom ones. I also missed the TOMFOOLERY self-reference to the constructor. Well done, @Alias Z! And terrifically well done, Tom MCoy! Should we call you Tom Terrific or The Real McCoy?

mathguy 10:19 AM  

Just OK, in my book.

Yesterday's LATimes puzzle was by Barry Silk. Much harder than the NYT Saturday and more fun, I thought. It prompted a number of questions. Since Mr. Silk also contributes here, do constructors submit the same puzzle to more than one publisher? Do publishers accept or reject a submission quickly? Is payment made upon acceptance or publication? Do constructors go to the publisher who pays the most, or are there other considerations? Does NYT still pay the most?

Maruchka 10:22 AM  

@'mericans - TEACH! First paragraph is SUHWEET - reminds me of Hammett. AND, as I'm currently in the market for blackout shades, will WANDA over to IKEa. Merci.

One of them durn Canadians 10:22 AM  

@Michael Fuchs, why MAPLE LEAFS?
For the same reason that the offspring of Lord and Lady Foote are not referred to as "all the little Feete".

Or, if you prefer, what @Jos. Welling said.

(Fuchs, du hast die Ganz gestohlen,
Gib sie wieder her!)

Ludyjynn 10:32 AM  

@MDMA and @Maruchka, don't forget the capers w/ your NOVA, cream cheese, onion, and tomato on your everything bagel. I'm getting hungry just typing this! It's Sunday; can you please hold the snark, @Anon. 9:56?

Hand up for disliking EKEBY. Esp. disliked HOARSENS. But there was a lot to like in every quad making for a SUHWEET solve. Liked Jolly RANCHER next to Mike and IKE.

Funny how FLUTE showed up after all the recent blog comments about champagne.

@Whirred, I, too, have come a long way in solving Sun-Sat puzzles in the past year courtesy of patience, commitment and this blog. Unlike you, I find most Sundays a great diversion and will continue them. I multi-task and watch CBS "Sunday Morning", drink my coffee and host a lapcat, while completing the puzz. A great start to the week. Today was no exception.

Thanks, TM and WS.

chefbea 10:37 AM  

Too tough for me even after googling a lot. Got some of the sticking out letters but couldn't make sense of them. Not a fun puzzle

Teedmn 10:37 AM  

Very nice puzzle, thanks Tom McCoy!

Though I had my moments. First one was after I had printed out the puzzle last night, noting the constructor's name. I was having so much fun catching up with all things NY Times Xword after my exile in no cell coverage land that I thought I'd check Hayley Gold's site to see if I had missed any of her creations. I forgot that someone had mentioned that she posts the night before so I was two panels in before I realized she was describing today's puzzle. Ack! I saw enough that I knew the themers protruded so not too much foreknowledge but that was a downer, my own fault.

My Montana section is a black mess - I was mixing up Vonnegut's title with one I saw a thousand times on my mom's shelf, "Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon", so I tried to fit Moony in for WANDA. Thought of daiKo_n as a soup base before remembering I needed a protrusion. Juneau went in first for HELENA and after fixing that, cOARSENS and eNE left me scratching my head for a while.

Worst of all was not reading the note. I had put RANCHERo in as a themer and tried to get an anagram from MBSORETOHU. Thinking of "projections" I got ROOM (watching movies?) so THE BUS ROOM? Hmmmm. When I did the puzz in AcrossLite and the yellow note came up, I got my error. That will TEACH me!

Great write up, @Rex, congrats @Whirred Whacks on a successful puzz año, @LMS, hope you feel better and don't you dare ever leave us due to the TOMFOOLERY of some; we missed you too much during your earlier hiatus. And thanks again @mericans for the Matt Esquare. (Whew, sorry for the prolixity).

Elephant's Child 10:53 AM  

Your take on REORGS was perfect, much appreciated.

So. Is it all that IRONAGE you do that makes you so smooth? I really dug your bubbly champagne FLUTE-y link, and have plans to go on a RampAGE with Rampal before that sun-and-yardarm thingy happens.

By the way, the Dug FLUTE-y reference above played for the BC Lions and the Calgary Stampeders, who -- despite being Canadian teams -- pluralize their names in the usual way.

DJG 10:56 AM  

Pretty good puzzle today. I haven't done a Sunday in a while, and it felt good to tackle the big grid again.

I second Rex's notion that the Indie 500 was an excellent tournament. It was my first one, and if anybody is interested in my experience as a tyro, I put up a few posts about it at my blog:

Damon G.

Benko 11:09 AM  

@LMS--It's an inherent downside to open forums on the internet. Most others are actually far worse. Just look at it this way--better to meet a prick on the internet than in real life.
Now for that Z/Barany puzzle!

Lewis 11:16 AM  

Factoid: Among the creatures that undergo HIBERNATION are snails. They burrow underground, withdraw into their shell, seal their door with a chalky, slimy excretion that hardens and locks in essential moisture, and a small air hole allows oxygen to enter, but still keeps predators out.

Quotoid: "Civilization began the first time an angry person CAST a word instead of a rock." -- Sigmund Freud

Benko 11:18 AM  

Liked EOHIPPUS the best, the little "dawn horse."

Lewis 11:22 AM  

@WW -- Congratulations on your year of living cruciverbally! I wanted to say that I felt just like you did about the Sunday puzzles, but stuck with them, and am glad I did. They go quicker and are more satisfying now -- worth it for me. Maybe stick with them one more year?

MDMA 11:26 AM  

Some people were looking for anagrams for the protruding letters. Anagrams of SORE THUMB include:

sumo berth, somber hut, strobe hum, rebus moth, brute mosh, best humor, thumb rose, emu throbs, other bums, turbo mesh, burst home, bus mother, be mush rot, rum be shot, be thou Mrs., oh Ms. Brute, Ms. Hot Rube, oh best rum, to her bums, rubs me hot

Anonymous @9:56 : Sob. Me hurt.

Unknown 11:28 AM  

Thanks, @Jos. Welling and @...dum Canadians! Now I know why it was the little Footes under my feet.

And I hardly sprachen English, much less deutsch, so I had to cheat with Google. Yes, I will give it all back again. As soon as I find it. My place is a mess, I'm afraid.

Billy C 11:29 AM  

@LMS --

So you've now joined The Good Professor's tribe, I see. This kind of thing makes my feelings run from hurt to crushed. ;-)

I keep asking this but neither the Prof nor his tribe members have yet answered: Why can't he just have Rex put a link to his work, there on the right side of the RexPage with the other constructors? Is he somehow more special? Would y'all like it if ALL those constructors put self-promotion in this blog space? Enquiring minds want to know.

Sorry if you think that my intent is to "pee on" you. I enjoy your commentary very much, as I know do many others. I'm just making a suggestion that puzzle links are more appropriately posted elsewhere, visible and accessible to all.

Anoa Bob 11:31 AM  

@mathguy, I'm a big Barry Silk fan. He has about a jillion puzzles published. They are called "Silkies" because, yeah, they are very smooth. I can count mine on my fingers and toes and still have a few digits left over. Based on that small sample, I'll give your questions a shot.

Constructors submit a puzzle to only one editor at a time, a very basic rule in submitting any kind of document to an editor for possible publication, methinks.

Acceptance/rejection lag time for the NYT and LAT has usually been 2-4 months for me, but heavy hitters, like Mr. Silk, may see faster turnaround times. CHE submissions got faster replies, a week or so. I haven't submitted there to the new editor, but I'd guess it's still about the same.

Payment is made by the NYT & LAT during the month in which the puzzle is published, not when it is accepted.

I doubt that money is a consideration for most constructors when deciding where to submit a puzzle. Maybe for a handful of the heavy hitters, but I just go where I think I have the best chance of getting the thrill of acceptance and the ego boost of seeing my byline in a national publication. I think it's the agony and ignominy of the many rejections that makes the rare acceptance soooo SUH-WEET!

Billy C 11:36 AM  


Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@Michael Fuchs: be glad your family name isn't Fücks. One of the leading members of Germany's Green Party is one Ralf Fücks. I learned about him first many years ago, reading an academic paper by another environmentalist who, in an attempt to bolster his argument, started off one of his paragraphs, "Fücks himself, ... ."

Unknown 11:39 AM  

Yikes! I stole a goose! And I'm being threatened for it! And told to eat a mouse!

This is a tough crowd....

MDMA 11:42 AM  

He must rob, metro hubs...

I could go on, but at this point you're probably saying: Shut 'em, bro.

Bill C 11:45 AM  

@LMS --

So I see that you've joined The Good Professor's tribe. Oh, well, my feelings are running from hurt to crushed. ;-)

I'm not trying to pee on you. Just trying once more to suggest that The Good Professor's work should be made visible and accessible to all via a link on the right side of the RexPage with the other constructors. Would you prefer that all these constructors post on this blog with every new ones of their work?

Z 12:01 PM  

@BC - you can email your request to Rex himself and stop bothering the rest of us. Please and thank you.

@imsdave - The word "purpose" suggests conscious intent. I think that is giving organizations and managers too much credit. I'd ascribe a much more Pavlovian impetus, behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated. Whenever I hear some pol suggest that public education should be more like business I always want to shout, "Are you Crazy?"

Caused myself some issues by not reading the title and getting (R)ADIO ANTENNA first. Since ARF has that missing R to the right I was trying to have that first, and later last, letter to the right or left. That doesn't work..

Joseph Michael 12:01 PM  

SUHWEET puzzle.

Liked the theme a lot, especially when I discovered (after coming here) that the projections go upward at the top and downward at the bottom.

My only gripes are EKE BY (never heard "eke" with anything but "out") and the cluing for HOARSENS which seems way off (in a bad way).

Otherwise there is a lot to love in the fill, from HIBERNATION crossing VAMPIRE BAT to SHARK FIN, DROP DOWN MENU, and TOMMcCoyFOOLERY.

Bill C 12:06 PM  


Thanks for your kind sentiment and suggestion. Sorry if my posts bother you; kinda like how Professor Barany's self-promotion bothers me. I tell ya what: When he and his compadres stop bothering me with his self-promotion here, I'll stop bothering you with my complaints here.

As to emailing Rex a request, I don't see how that eliminates posts on this blog, unless you're suggesting that he play the policeman -- which I doubt would interest him much.

Alan_S. 12:19 PM  

Just figured out why Matthew SuhWEET's "Girlfriend" is featured here. Nice tribute Rex, and for those not familiar with it "Girlfriend" is Sweet's 1991 masterpiece album that single-handedly defined alternative rock music in its heyday! Classic from beginning to end.

Oh, and the puzzle was pretty good too.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

NOVA is clearly colloquial. I've eaten as many lox and bagels in my life as anyone and never heard of NOVA lox. And, yes, we do have Jewish delis in the Midwest.

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

In the Midwest we certainly know that morels are seasonal. If you think you've found a morel in the fall, DONT EAT IT!

old timer 12:49 PM  

Nova is certainly a common descriptor for lox in New York. I thought it simply meant the salmon was from Nova Scotia, but Wikipedia says it now refers to a milder brining technique that leaves the lox with a less salty taste. You may notice the difference if you get your lox from a deli that imports lox from NYC versus lox prepared elsewhere.

I loved solving this puzzle and finally finding SORE THUMB spelled out on the outskirts top and bottom. Though I am a DNF as I did not get SUHWEET at all -- finally just put down "record" (wrong) and left it at that. REWORD should have come to mind.

The "U" in thumb gave me DROPDOWNMENU. After I stopped laughing hysterically at the clever answer, I realized that with ANDES, I had solved the puzzle -- except for the DNF (see above). Somehow I had already come up with ITSNOWONDER and PAWEDAT, without the crosses that proved me right. TOMFOOLERY I got right away, and if they ever revive that theater production of Tom Lehrer songs, I recommend you go.

I had all sorts of fish before SHARKFIN. Which is illegal now in California, I think.

Now I'm going to reread the 'mericans in Paris posts and probably laugh just as hard the second time around.

Ludyjynn 1:07 PM  

@Anon. 12:23, think NOVA as in Nova Scotia, the Canadian province where the fish are caught, wet cured and cold smoked. Belly lox is heavily brined and tastes very salty. Although East Coasters use the terms nova, novy and lox interchangeably, deli folks will ask you to be specific to make sure the customer is happy. Best bet is to ask for a sample. If you don't believe me, check out the Zabar's website for details about smoked fish sold by this NYC emporium of deli delights. (They also sell the capers, cream cheese and bagels.)

Just returned from playing in the garden. Sun is out and it's hot and steamy. Hope the weather holds for Rex's foray to Camden Yards tonight. Go Os!

F.O.G. 1:07 PM  

Never heard of OBOL but GOT (ON) it with the crosses. Thought at the time that this coin had "Word of the Day" potential, and Rex agreed.

Loved this. Couldn't figure out "Sleep mode" because I had deci-mEL and OnXY when my 90-minute TIMER buzzed.

At first had gradS for "June honorees" -- went to PoPeS but that didn't make sense -- then I remembered that I have a special Sunday coming up soon.

Clever cluing throughout. Thank you Mr. McCoy.

Arlene 1:11 PM  

I also thought there would be symmetry in the sticking out phrase - so put in RANCHERO for 81D - and that meant the phrase was SORE TOHUMB. Not so good.
I also had some slow going around HOARSENS - but eventually got that.
And SUHWEET. I even checked if I was spelling KNEEL correctly!
And never saw OBOL - got it through the crosses.

This is my kind of Sunday puzzle - challenging but doable - with a little extra fun thrown in.

jberg 1:28 PM  

Congratulations, @Whirred! Quite a feat! (Or should it be footes?)

I didn't notice the bit about the top protrusions being things that stick up, and the bottom ones things that hang down. I guess that compensates for the missing protrusion at the end of RANCHER, which had been bugging me. So I'll take it.

Minor GNAT to pick -- I always think of a RELIC as being a piece of bone, strand of hair, or vial of blood -- though it could be a little piece of a garment -- and most of those are not artifacts (93A). I got the answer though, so that's OK.

Fun puzzle, overall.

Indypuzzler 1:35 PM  

@anonymous 12:33p, I know that morel hunting is serious biz in Indiana in April and the conditions necessary to grow them seem mystical, ie my father used to "hunt" and I remember him saying to look for large fallen trees that are rotting. The prices now are phenomenal which makes me think that someone should come up with the conditions necessary for year round affordable enjoyment!

Masked and Anonymo9Us 1:48 PM  

Like others, assumed some part of that RANCHER needed to stick out. Figured on either an O or an S. Worse, I also had DROPDOWNLIS-->T, for quite a while. Finally looked real hard at the S-O-R-E-T-burp-H-etc. progression, and figured out the punchline, which helped me successfully complete this nifty SunPuz.

It was a real McCoy fun time. Anyone who can spell SWEET with a U is major A-Ok with m&e.


mathguy 2:21 PM  

@Anoa Bob: Thanks. I see that one of your works has appeared in USA TODAY. Is their stipend comparable to NYT? I subscribe, but don't do the puzzle there. I'll try a couple this week. Thanks again.

Warren Howie Hughes 2:32 PM  

Good day, Rex Parkerites, My name is Warren Howie Hughes, and I'm a pariah!
I'm a pariah,in that I've been banished from the Land of Wordplay and am looking for a safe haven where I may continue to submit comments that pertain to the NYT's XWDP's for the rest of my natural days...would you mind terribly if I join you here amid your highly select society? AliasZ, I'm hoping will vouch for my character?

M and A 2:36 PM  

Amy is lookin good, in that blog pic.

Top waiter's reasons why it takes @63 forever to get served a glass of wine...

* We prefer to serve no wine before its time. (Approx. Feb 2017, for what he ordered)
* Persons using aliases rarely stick around long enough to tip
* Dude gave my one NYTPuz a real bad review
* Was stuck in kitchen tryin to figure out what MBSORUHOTE meant, in the SunPuz
* Needed to wash off feet, after stompin on the grapes
* Too preoccupied checkin out that Amy girl
* Thought the drunk guy had said "I want moreslow wine"
* Tryin to come up with just the right fill
* Had a bet on how long it would take him to pass out, from the six glasses he'd already guzzled
* Thought he said he just wanted "to whine"

"Yer Remote Indie 500 Reporter"

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

Encouraged by the poster who did every puzzle for a year. Now that I'm retired, I often can finish Sunday on Sunday. To each her own triumph.

Tita 3:04 PM  

@jberg - agree on RELIC, especially having seen so may of them last month. In tracing a circuitous route across France, we found ourselves in many major pilgrimage stops on the route to Santiago de Compostela. Relics were what got your town on the map. The bishop of Auch stole the relic of St. Foy and brought it to Conques (or vice versa).

Congrats, @Anoa - I'll look for it - thanks @mathguy.

@Nancy - I agree completely with @lms.

@WW - well done!

@Billy C - I was pretty dismayed and bored when I came back to Rexville to see so much of the same tedium. At least our friends @Aketi, @Nancy, @lms, and others who can be a bit verbose and/or flagrant in their self-promotion of completely free stuff are DIFFERENT every time.
You, on the other hand, are monstrously predictable.
(When you write about the puzzle, you're quite readable!)

Speaking about the puzzle, I was really underwhelmed during it. Did that have anything to do with my being incapable of figuring the gimmick?! Coming here made me much more impressed - it is a cool idea. Congrats Mr. McCoy.
(Liked clue for COLOURS.)

P.S. @lms - I see what you did;

Anoa Bob 3:15 PM  

@mathguy, had three in the USA Today but sometime around 2010 I got an email from the puzzle editor Timothy Parker saying he had enough puzzles in the queue so that he would not be accepting any more submissions until further notice. Maybe a year or so later, not having heard anything more, I submitted another puzzle, but never got a reply.

After that the USA puzzles seemed to me to take a downturn in quality (sour grapes?), and I stopped solving them and never submitted any more puzzles. I notice that USA Today no longer even lists the Publisher Specifications at BTW, a summary sheet there shows the current pay rates.

Billy C 3:22 PM  

@Tita --

Welcome back.

And sheesh, I thought consistency was a virtue.

RAD2626 3:33 PM  

@jberg. You are confusing RELIC with Jimmie Rodgers "Honeycomb" - a hank o' hair and a piece o' bone makes a walkin talking honeycomb.

Late post since I apparently found the puzzle harder than everyone else in the world. Took forever to fix all the mistakes but liked the gimmick in the end

wreck 4:01 PM  

I found this one on the simpler side, but have to admit I didn't see the trick until I came here. These puzzles that contain a letter "outside" the grid are much harder to see on an IPad.

Nancy 4:29 PM  

I'm pretty sure @Ludyjynn has it exactly right: the difference between lox and smoked salmon is not where the fish is from but how it's cured. Nova Scotia salmon is a variety of smoked salmon, i.e. smoke cured, but so is Eastern salmon, Atlantic salmon and many others. I grew up eating smoked salmon and it's always been one of my favorite treats in the whole wide world. Lox, wherever it's from, is salt-cured and, for me, unbearably salty AND with a perfectly ghastly texture to boot.
Growing up, I always heard the terms used interchangeably and thought it was just a question of idiom. (As in, people who call pot roast "pot roast" and people who call it "brisket.") Never realized they were entirely different things. Then, one day, someone offered me a bagel and lox. Except, in this instance, it really WAS lox. I, who eat just about everything, couldn't get it down. And I have never confused the two again. So now, I always give the deli guy the third degree: "This is smoked salmon, not lox, right?"

A brief note to all my favorite people here. Please don't say anything between now and midnight that is at all stimulating, colorful, amusing or thought-provoking, since I might be tempted to respond to it. And I'm not ALLOWED to respond to it! This is my 3rd post today, you see. And even if I weren't keeping count, there's someone here on this blog who surely is.

wreck 4:35 PM  

For Billy C

I think Rex asked several years ago that we keep the posts to 3 a day. I don't think he ever asked that we don't post links that some might enjoy.

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

@indypuzzler, 1:35: Some wild mushrooms refuse to be cultivated, and some, such as morels, can be very difficult about it. That's what makes mushrooms so special - if they grew year-round in everyone's backyards, there would be no magic in the hunt!

Z 5:32 PM  

The three posts a day thing is a very good rule when you find yourself in one of our picayune discussions. It helps arrest the descent into trollery one finds elsewhere on the web.

@BC - What @Tita said. Got any good pilot stories to tell? BTW - as you probably realized I was being a wee bit disingenuous since I already knew that GB has Rex's explicit permission. Mayhap someday this section will be overrun with people promoting products for themselves and I will rue that I ever criticisized you. I read there's a spell for that.

@Masked - I'm guessing "Bad Review."

Looking at Vox and ran across mention of The Great Vowel Movement (map 6). Synchronicity.

Hartley70 5:35 PM  

I must have eaten an out of season morel last night. Not a great day but I finished the puzzle in usual time and enjoyed the upward and downward projections. I probably would have wasted time rebus-hunting had my online version not provided the "projection" hint. Really didn't like HOARSENS and OBOL because they were just blind guesses, but they are minor complaints in comparison to a great theme on several levels. Loved the TOMFOOLERY!

Personally, I agree with @Loren's post wholeheartedly and I enjoy reading the comments of all the posters who make them in a kind spirit. I don't count the number of people's posts and I'm usually tickled to hear stories that reveal a bit of personal history behind the avatar. Haters gotta hate, but I wish they'd do it somewhere else.

Fred Romagnolo 5:36 PM  

Consistency is a virtue, but a vendetta isn't. When I saw EOHIPPUS in the blog, my first thought was the guy who murdered his father and married his mother. I'm with the EKE BY and HOARSENS detractors, but I really liked the agony of finishing this one (no references!). I was going crazy trying to figure out the MOUNT MCKINLEY rebus until SHARKFIN made things clear. I didn't know about NOVA salmon, but this blog tells me it is well-known in New York. For MAPLE LEAFS think the MAPLE LEAF forever, that should do it. I've never been sure about HOMIE - somebody from the same nabe or same sex? I always assumed the spelling would be SaWEET, but I can see where the UH is better. Nobody's ( not nobodies) mentioned it but "Somebody" ELSES is pretty lame. Anecdote: when Rampal died I commiserated with one of me gifted students who was a flautist (fluteist); she'd never heard of him!

joho 5:37 PM  

Hey, Tom McCoy, your cruciverbalist talent and creativity stuck out like a SORE THUMB today ... Bravo! Fun, fun solve with the finessed ups and downs plus the unexpected out-of-the-box bonus phrase. Perfect Sunday in my opinion.

@WW, I used only do Sundays until I got turned on to all the days of the week. Now I can't imagine missing any one of them, especially Sunday!

@Loren Muse Smith, you have the best intentions and the best heart but there are some things you just cannot change. But I sure appreciate your trying!

Fred Romagnolo 5:42 PM  

@Nancy: here's no. 2

Fred Romagnolo 5:42 PM  

@Nancy: now - 3!

Fred Romagnolo 5:43 PM  


Colby 7:18 PM  

Is the grid supposed to form a picture of a sore thumb?

GILL I. 7:58 PM  

@Loren...Sheesh almost brought a tier to my eye...Eres un pedazo de chocolate!
@Tita. Have you been hiding out in la belle France?
@Fred R...Dang, it's a good thing I have a spittoon on the left side of the floor near my computer. I know what you mean about that horsey father, mother stuff. @joho, I cut my teeth on the Sunday NYT....I can't bring myself not to solve them even when they drive me nuts (like today's)...There is something about a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa (Hi @Harley) on a Sunday eaten with a couple of sunny side up fried eggs and some bacon, to make the experience of finishing a BIG puzzle with words like COARSENS, ELSES, EKE BY and MOUE (how do you pronounce that one?) a must do....
HOMIE sounds kinda racist...(just kidding)
@Nancy I'll post your bail!

Ludyjynn 8:14 PM  

@Nancy, I just realized my posts make it sound like I have a fish fetish what w/ my comments about koi purses, my backyard pond denizens and now... NOVA! Oy!

This is my 3rd and I'm out, so like you, I am now officially mute til tomorrow.

kitshef 8:46 PM  

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. SUHWEET does not belong in any crossword, anywhere, ever.

EKEBY and ELSES are just ordinary bad fill. SUHWEET is something much worse - bringing nonsense into our grids under the pretense of being current. Puh-leez, no more of this [expletive withheld].

The shame of it is, for me it spoiled a puzzle that should have been a delight. Love the concept, especially the meta 'up and down' aspect. MOUNTMCKINLEY, BEANSPROUT, OLDFAITHFUL, RADIOANTENNA, SUNSHINESTATE, OCEANTRENCH (especially as clued), DROPDOWNMENU, TOMFOLLOERY -- all these are gold. Only quibble, as has been pointed out, is the misplaced 'space' in the presentation of SORETHUMB.

But I can never forgtive SUHWEET.

Mohair Sam 9:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 9:22 PM  

@kitshef - Point well taken on SUHWEET, I agree.

@lms and @Nancy. I say again - Don't let the bastards get you down. Keep doin' what you do.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:11 AM  

This MONXWDP offering, courtesy of our OPAL David Woolf, was a groovy 1960's LOVEIN, that I was completely SOLd on, even before I completely solved it!

Warren Howie Hughes 12:13 AM  

Sorry! I'm a tad too early with my submitted comment for the MONXWDP being I'm new here on Rex's blog.

Wood 1:22 AM  

I was impressed by the very open grid today. That long ladder of crossing 6's and 7's from SW to NE seems like a real feat. And thanks to those who pointed out the extra theme ingredient relating to the direction the theme answers sick out! Very cool!

Leapfinger 3:01 AM  

What @kitshef said. Many might see it as new and hip, but I looked at it and thought "What the Shuh-hell kind of Shuh-hitt is this?"

@Gillster, the ROUES has that accent thingy atop the E, which makes it roo-ehs, but the MOUE has a bare-nekkid E, so it just sounds like a plain-vanilla MOO-cow.

@Nancy and @LMS, just consider it a compliment. Kind of backhand, it's true, but some people don't have much of a forehand.

Saw no note and forgot to read the title, but HA,HA,HA, I caught step 1 of the theme right away, took way longer to find the start of the message, and then I thought the RANCHER_ space was in the right spot, so Boo,me. Had to learn here about the sequestering of sticking-up vs hanging-down entries, which is just the cherry on top: muito elegante! Thought HOARSENS ought to be raspy rather than harsh, but that's just a small grouse. (For SUHWEET, I'll just close my eyes and think of England.)

INDIA PILLS ALE ... something seems off.

Years ago, I ran into KVonnegut in the bar next door after a performance of "Happy Birthday, W-J", so IT'S NO WANDA I enjoyed that entry. Also liked the LEAFS and assorted Canadiana.

Think that TOM FOOLERY is a HOMIE of Sean ConnERY? Long as they steer clear of Peter RABID, eh?

This puzzle was not only SECTSy, but intelligent. COLOUR me happy

paulsfo 4:03 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith -- I'm not anonymous, and i don't consider myself a hater or a troll, but there are some things about some puzzles, or clues, or comments, which I don't like. Therefore, I say them.
I don't like, or really understand, assholes (trolls) who are just trying to start trouble. However, I also don't understand polyannaishness (yes, i'm sure that's not in any dictionary). And I also dislike self-promoters, such as George Barany, taking advantage of a non-commercial space.
As for "three and out" it makes for a more readable comments section and i think it's a good and polite thing to follow it, most of the time.

Loren Muse Smith 7:22 AM  

Hey, paulsfo – I don’t consider you anonymous at all, and I appreciate your comment.

I feel stupid for my petulant tirade yesterday. I try so hard not to feed the trolls, but when I read that that guy had told @Nancy to “shut the fuck up” something snapped in me. The “three and out” rule is fine. But if someone exceeds it, there’s no need to be so unbelievably nasty.

I have no issue with anyone pointing out things in the puzzle they don’t like. I do have an issue with people who hide behind their anonymity and take nasty pot-shots at people, pot shots that have nothing to do with the puzzle.

I think what started this whole downward spiral for me with regard to the anonymice was Grammar Nazi. Publicly chastising someone for an incorrect apostrophe or wrong its just infuriates me. I can imagine this guy sitting next to you at a dinner and announcing to the entire table that you’ve just buttered your bread the wrong way or used the wrong fork. Or I can see him getting the karaoke microphone and telling everyone at the party that you have a pretty obvious panty line. I’ve asked him/her to email me so we can have an honest discussion, but I guess this person isn’t interested.

On Barany - if I remember correctly, George tried to get Rex to add his link over to the right where the others are. I don’t understand how sharing a link to another puzzle comes across as self-promotion. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

Your point about not understanding my pollyannaishness is well taken. I constantly struggle with what I write and often wince myself at my stalwart gushiness. I’ve never said this, but so, so many times when I’m scrolling back to remind myself what someone else has posted, I scroll past my own comment with the same speed and discomfort I would have fast-forwarding through the part of a video clip that I appear in. I usually second-guess myself and decide what I wrote was silly, predictable, and sugary. But the truth is, I do find delight in every puzzle and feel comfortable focusing only on what pleases me rather than what, if anything, displeases me. I yam what I yam.

Anyhoo… I’m going to try to ignore the guys whose sole purpose is to get a reaction. They’re “beneath contempt” as a new friend recently emailed me.

Thanks again for your note.

Billy C 8:09 AM  

@LMS --

I know it won't surprise you that I agree entirely with @paulsfo's dislike of The Good Professor's frequent (mis)appropriation of this non-commercial space to promote his handiwork. The reason that it's SELF-promotion is that it's his OWN work!

Anyway, I admire your introspective post. I'd hate to have to do an honest self-appraisal on my own posts. ;-)

Loren Muse Smith 9:55 AM  

Billy - I thought a lot of the puzzles George shares are other people's puzzles, mine included. Does he really share only his?

Billy C 10:27 AM  

@lms --

Now that you ask, I think he has posted links to others' puzzles, but most, I believe are his or those he co-authored.

To be fair, he does post other material that I enjoy. For example, links to Hayley Gold's cartoon commentary on the day's NYTXWPuz that he particularly enjoys. BTW, I'm consistently amazed at the inventiveness of her work, and also about how fast she can get it online. A very talented lady ..

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

It's a proper noun/name of the NHL team.

paulsfo 3:10 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith: I apologize for using "pollyannaishness". I have a very different natural inclination (and I test software for a living, so my reflexive negativity actually earns me a living) but don't worry about *your* usual reaction to things. :)

BTW, at various jobs I've told friends that "I had to give my boss the Popeye speech today." In other words, "I yam what I yam so, if the good parts outweigh the bad parts, you should be happy and settle for that. The odds of my personality changing are *extremely* low." ;)

Tita 4:00 PM  

So, some of you've never looked at the links Mr. Barany posts? Then how can you complain?

And does promoting a non-commercial site on a non-commercial site cancel out the non-promotional nature of both sites? Does it deplete the ozone layer? Is it like crossing the streams?
(If you bothered to look, you would see George's site is also non-commercial...)

Consistency and tedium are different, btw.

And BillyC - thanks for the welcome back. How about you refrain from the bashing for a bit - so I can lose the reflex to use that down-arrow key on your posts, and read what are usually illuminating/funny/critical (in the puzzle-sense of that word) posts of yours...

Off to catch up with Mon and Tue puzzles.

Apologies to everyone for my part in continuing this particular tedium.

paulsfo 4:15 PM  

@Tita: self-promotion is self-promotion, in my opinion, and I dislike it. George can make a blog to advertise himself and, if people choose to read his blog, more power to him. What he's doing now is spamming us.

BTW, speaking of 'refraining from bashing', you do realize that that's what you're doing, too, right?

three (I think) and out.

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

Tita --

Hm-m-m-m ... How do I say this?

Oh, yeah ...

Va te faire foutre!

Tita 9:43 PM  

Ha ha - @paul - indeed I do...! The difference is, you see, that I am on the side of right!! ;)

Burma Shave 9:29 AM  




rondo 10:18 AM  

I may join @WW on not doing the Sunday puz anymore. Nail on the head as far as enjoyment vs. time spent. As often as not I am unsatisfied at the end of a Sun-puz – last week a perfect example and today not really there either, though the long stuff was generally pretty good. But the time factor, especially with summer here, Summer’s too short in MN to spend an hour or thereabouts on something possibly unfun. We’ll see.

MAPLELEAFS DEFEATS; haven’t there been way too many in recent years?

Nice shout out to the Swedish KRONA (plural kronor). Linneaus is on the 100 kronor note, worth about 12 bucks.

Might check out Barany's tourney next week, not far from my workplace.

OT @ work today, gotta get to it.

spacecraft 12:14 PM  

Thanks, @Maruchka, for the explanation on NOVA. Of all the ways to clue that, "Bagel topper" was certainly the meanest. I don't know; any more the Sunday clues seem to be trying to out-Saturday Saturday.

Case in point: PILLS. The clue sounds like the PILLS themselves are labeled (which many are, but with pharmaceutical codes, NOT days of the week). Of course, it's the container that is so labeled. But that's not how the clue reads.

In a reversal of my norm, I started in the NW (!) but petered out quickly, not knowing MOREL, or what 4-down was that started with OU... Started again with ANDES and ATOM, but having NO HOPE of getting NOVA as clued, washed out there as well. Tried a third time with SENSEI/SLATS, and this time took hold. Then: uh-oh, not enough room for VAMPIREBA(T). Rebus? No, the acrosses were fine. But soon after, I encountered the same trouble with SUNSHINESTAT(E). Again, no discernable rebus. Those extra letters just dangled...wait a sec. Bats hang down. Florida, to us top-north map readers, dangles. Was I on to something? As it turned out, it was only the "sub-"theme noticed by @anon. above. But this helped me tremendously in that bear of a SW. Had problems after misremembering Tim AllEn as the "Elf" actor. DROPDOWNMENU fixed that, and also helped with the elusive hockey team. How narrow-minded I am, that I could only think of patriotic symbols of the good ol' USA. There ARE other countries out there, idiot, and our good neighbor to the north is one of them.

I was really expecting the message to be "Think outside the box," but SORE THUMB is shorter, and every bit as apropos. I too noted with admiration that the top theme entries all project upwards. This had to be amazingly difficult to pull off. I have said before: Tom is the real McCoy. A-.

But geez, "Bagel topper??" If it tastes really good, would it be a superNOVA?? Or did they make Chevy NOVAs so cheap they used bagels for tires? Iyiyi! RELAX those clues a quarter turn, willya?

AnonymousPVX 3:18 PM  

I have no problem with REORGS as an answer for the clue.

A company I worked for transferred me into a new division. That division had a REORG every three to four months while I was in that group, a total of 5 REORGS in 18 months. I then retired and from what I have heard they continue. Think I'm happy that I am (blissfully) retired now?

rain forest 3:53 PM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, once I overcame my ham-fisted attempts to figure out what the "note" meant. Thought I was clever to see that the R of ARF was to be used to spell out RADIO ANTENNA, and then spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get an O in the pillbox to start OLD FAITHFUL. I finally saw what was up when I laboriously got the NW and MOUNT-something was going in there. So, once I figured out that the letters projected up, the whole North went down fast.

The rest of the puzzle was pretty smooth with some clever cluing thrown in for good measure. Many very satisfying clue/answer combos, and the realization that not only the letters, but also the answers, project up/down where appropriate was brilliant combined with the SORE THUMB sticking out thing that he did there.

More fun than most Sunday puzzles.

rondo 7:44 PM  

The Mpls Tribune (which I solved in today) showed the regular grid. When I got home from work and looked at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which was laying wet in the driveway (at last), they showed extra rows for the stickers out. Interesting difference.

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