Judeo-Spanish / WED 5-6-15 / Processed bauxite / Longtime General Hospital actress / Peculiar sundial numeral / Hobo transporter / French legislative body

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: SEASONS (35A: Noted quartet) — circled letters spell out seasons …

Word of the Day: LADINO (44D: Judeo-Spanish) —
noun: Ladino; plural noun: Ladinos
  1. 1
    the language of some Sephardic Jews, especially formerly in Mediterranean countries. It is based on medieval Spanish, with an admixture of Hebrew, Greek, and Turkish words, and is written in modified Hebrew characters.
  2. 2
    a mestizo or Spanish-speaking white person in Central America. (google)
• • •

Wow. A decorative non-theme (seriously, there are no theme clues … just some circled words … so, as I say, decorative; insubstantial; no there there). And the fill was laughable in many parts. Not just iffy, but hilariously subpar. It's all Es and Ss in the middle and then ANNA LEE (?!) ALUMINA (lol) LADINO (…) in the corners. IIIIIIIIIIIII can't believe it's not b(e)tter. Whoo boy. Yeesh. The arbitrariness of TEN TONS, the ISH-ness of EEEE, the minimal HAIs, the abundant PLO(w)s, the IN SHAPE of IN ALL IN ESSENCE GET IN ON! IT'S IN like NIN! This is headshakingly amateurish. You can see how poorly planned and sloppy the execution is just by looking at LADINO. That is obscure fill. It is. It really is. And it's totally unnecessary. I *guarantee* you, if you are somehow a LADINO-lover, that that word was not not not not planned. That's accident fill. How do I know? Because the obvious "fix" is LATINO, but There Is A Reason LATINO can't go there, namely that would put TIE at 53A, and TIE is already in the grid at 10D: Reason for extra play (TIE GAME) (not sure why a duped TIE should bother someone who puts "IN" in the puzzle 5 (!!!!) times, but there you go). So LADINO is a sad attempt at salvage. Now, in corner already burdened with ATRIP and HAI and TAI and the weirdly iffy NOTATES, LADINO should've set off the "intolerable" alarm. Corner should've been redone. But it was Band-aided. IIII! EEEE! this was TEN TONS of baloney.

["I, I, I, I…"]

Honestly, the end. Since there's no theme to comment on, the end. I got nothing to work with here. See you tomorrow.

No, one more thing: a moment of silence, please, so we may reflect upon the fact that this grid has both EEEE and IIII in it. Surely that is some kind of record in Repeated Vowel Achievement. We are all witness.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


Zeke 12:10 AM  

Since when is Labor Day, the defacto intersection between summer and autumn, or as I and other human being likes to call it, fall, the apogee of the year? Something's got to be at the top, so why not winter to start the year off at the top, like the calendar does?

At least @lewis will like this one: iiii, eeee

aaron 12:25 AM  

It's saying something that the decidedly non-Wednesday SHIRR managed to escape mention in this post.

Steve J 12:27 AM  

Insufficient payoff for an extreme amount of dreck. No fun at all.

jae 12:43 AM  

Easy-medium for me with SW medium because of the WOE LADINO which along with @aaron  SHIRR is not typical Wed. fare. The rest was pretty easy.   Liked it better than Rex did,  but...IIII...EEEE...OOOOO....

andrew 1:14 AM  

EEE is lazy crosswordese - thought adding an extra E was a new low, until I got to the IIII (not an IV on a sundial?) Seriously need an IV of grain alcohol to blot out this mess. Could get so drunk I would call a Hispanic boy a LADINO or say after eating all my Ore-IDA, "NO TATES!?

ACH - GIT my GUNBELT and shoot - MEFIRST!

HAI/TAI/DIE - why? ISH - no RESPECT...

andrew 1:18 AM  

like Hayley Gold's concept of a French pet dinosaur on Flintstones -how the hell does she draw these up so fast? http://acrossanddown.net/?comic=tis-the-seasons#comment-38923

chefwen 2:04 AM  

I totally disagreed with Rex's write up yesterday, today, was a different story, I could relate to every criticism he threw out there. Beating a dead horse, EEEE and IIII, seriously?

Liked GUNBELT at 17A. LADINO from crosses only. No idea!

Onward to Thursday.

Anonymous 2:19 AM  

Ach! This was terrible. The EEEE and IIII ... Why not throw in OOOO for good measure? Vowel party!

John Child 4:36 AM  

A clever idea indeed. So was Monday's puzzle, and like that puzzle this one has very few theme squares. But Monday's puzzle used that lower level of constraint to advantage and had clean, interesting fill.

This was just about as hard as Minday's puzzle and quite a bit easier than yesterday's for me. I would have liked to have seen them in the other order.

GILL I. 4:39 AM  

YIIIIEEEEks....ITT was a bit KNOTTY for a Wed. I perhaps need a REFER to appreciate this?
Well, I do like the 4 seasons...Fall is my favorite but I'll AUTUMN it as well. I like SPRING too especially when I see my hydrangeas getting INSHAPE.
My favorite answer was DIALECT....I speak lots of different Spanish. Cuban is my favorite because no one can understand a word you're saying. Castilian, on the other hand, is just plain snobby. You better have a good dangly thingy in the back of your throat when you pronounce your J's and G's and you better damn well know when to lisp your Z's and C's....

Rug Crazy 5:43 AM  

Great post, Rex.
Lot's of dreck.

Ladino = small boy in Italy?

TaxGuy 6:25 AM  

For once I agree with Rex completely. LADINO. Really?

Anonymous 6:35 AM  

Why has no one mentioned the four SEASONS in the center? Weak for a theme, but has me humming Vivaldi.

Anonymous 6:43 AM  

I had one aha moment with this puzzle: it forced me to notice that all four seasons had six letters (considering autumn not fall). That's the best (only) good thing I can say about it.

- Jim C. In Maine

Unknown 6:45 AM  

I'm conflicted. On the one hand, EEEE and IIII. On the other, I think LADINO is perfectly fine. It's the Yiddish of half the Jews in the world. I knew it instantly. Also, it was my fastest Wednesday ever. I have a different knowledge base from Rex, I guess. Often, his Easy is my Challenging, and vice versa.

NickA 6:46 AM  

Maybe I am being thick, but could someone explain "Lena" to me? What does that have to do with backup horns?

Loren Muse Smith 6:57 AM  

When the EEEE fell, intersecting SUMMER and the IIII fell, intersecting WINTER in roughly the same spot, I thought Joe was maybe going to have some kind of “Summer ease” “Winterize” thing in store for us, and I couldn’t imagine what it could be.

When that didn’t pan out, I considered the anagramish STAIR step of REFER, FREES, FRERE section, still smelling a rat. This is Krozel, after all. But no – in the end it’s a theme with a dead-center revealer and twenty four squares that Joe has to make work not two ways but three while he orientates them into a perfectly symmetrical diamond. Cool. Also cool that the four seasons all have six letters. (HI, @Jim C in Maine)

When a puzzle is so roundly panned, I can’t help but do an honest gut check and question why I didn’t hate it, too. All the points about the fill are well-taken (although I really liked the EEEE and IIII. Go figure). But obviously I still enjoyed this one, resident schmaltzita that I am.

I guess the puzzle for me is a kind of morning devotional. It invariably gives me something about language to ponder for a while. Today it was ISH and NOTATES, two words that make you think about suffixes.

NOTATE, an apparent back-formation formed by lopping off the tion rather than the ation from notation? I don’t know enough about morphology to commentate further.

And ISH – clued as a suffix, but it’s a suffix that has graduated to full-blown word-dom. Yesterday in fifth period, I asked a student whether the computer lab was still pretty hot. He answered, “ISH.” Cool! I put it on the board and we played around with adding affixes: isher, ishest, ishation, ishen, and then, because we had just read an article in The New Yorker about the diaeresis, beïsh.

I never noticed the IN SIN – five of’em. Wow. I guess they can go stand over with IIII and EEEE. Maybe they appeal to me because of their in-your-face defiance. I got a kick out of this puzzle, Joe.

George Barany 6:59 AM  

@NickA, the clue refers to the singer LENA Horne. Perhaps when she was singing, the supporting band included trumpets = horns.

Mohair Sam 7:13 AM  

Only disagreement with @Rex today is on the difficulty level. Thought this one was Monday easy, and after completing it we predicted full-snark mode from Rex and got it.

Started filling in the NE and in minutes had AUTU and confidently filled in the circled seasons - everything filled quickly off that.

LADINO new to us, but every letter filled easily enough so no complaints. We know SHIRR for some reason, not sure why.

Disappointing Wednesday NYT puzz.

joho 7:39 AM  

Usually I read @Rex stony-faced when he slips deeper and deeper into a negative rant but today I actually chuckled as his diatribe became, to me, funnier and funnier!

Joe Krozel knows why the fill is compromised but he still felt the feat of including the four SEASONS in the grid in the way he did was worth it. So did Will. Obviously making this puzzle was a lot harder than it looks!

I guess the EEEE and IIII struck me as, "Wow, how'd he get away with that!?" more than ISH!

Oddly the answer that irked me more was AIRACES. Where is that green paint can?

When I finished I circled SEASONS, SUMMER, AUTUMN, WINTER and SPRING, admired my handiwork and wondered what's up for tomorrow.

Addie Pray 7:41 AM  

Saw the constructor and knew it would be a pan from Rex.

Joe K knows what he is doing, pushing the vowels to fit the Four Seasons.

An old comment from him:

"I can also sense when my puzzle fill is a little compromised to accommodate a puzzle concept because I might have had to reach deeper into my word list to produce the fill. There will also be critics who judge the puzzle on the weakest entries irrespective of what’s going on with the rest of the puzzle. This too is fair criticism because this is what is important for those solvers to enjoy the experience."

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

From yesterday: What the voters of New Jersey said when they learned that their governor was running for president: "Jesus Christie!"

Oscar 7:42 AM  

Shenk used this theme concept at an ACPT many moons ago. It was much better.

Don't quit your day job, JK.

Z 7:47 AM  

Thanks @LMS. I was having a hard time with a puzzle that had a RRN and a RCD and an & spelled out.

Now I'm wondering why your class didn't explore prefixes, subish, pre-ish, postish, abish, antish, oh the fun new slang you might unleash on the world.

Dorothy Biggs 8:13 AM  

Interesting contrast between Rex's take on the puzzle and JC's at xwordinfo...a tale of two personality types. Seriously, if you don't like Rex's critical and cynical nature, JC is nearly the exact opposite...he's almost Pollyanna-like in his reviews of puzzles. I'm finding that reading both post-solve is a good balance. Rex is Lennon to Chen's McCartney...or Becker to Fagan.

I found the puzzle on the easy side. Nothing much more to say on the EEEE/IIII thing. Chen sees it as a conversation piece...he is dead on there.

SHIRR is a word I've never seen and would have picked out as a non-word in a line up of possible words spelled weirdly. On the other hand, I knew LADINO...but I didn't know it involve jewry.

Is the STAIR/STEEPEN proximity a happy coincidence or intentional?

Finally, can someone tell me what the tipping point is for a direction to go from NE to ENE or NNE? Is NE a 45° angle between N and E and then the shades of ENE or NNE fall in between 0° and 44° and 46° and 90°? These directional clues are tiresome.

Dansah 8:14 AM  

Thought lahino was correct. Cross of Latino and Hebrew. Hie fit also. Sadly my family IS Jewish and Hispanic. Should have known this. Oy oye

Airymom 8:16 AM  

Back in 1973,as a senior in high school, I took the German Regents exam. I got 99%. No big surprise, my parents were born in Germany and although not "fluent" I grew up speaking the language. But, Mrs. Arvan, my wonderful teacher was tormented about that one question I got wrong and contacted the exam administrator. This is the question I messed up;

"Es schneit gewoehnlich im:
1. Winter, 2. Fruehling, 3. Sommer, 4. Herbst

(which means--"It usually snows during ..." winter, spring, summer, fall")

For some inexplicable reason (I understood the very easy question, I knew the seasons, I knew when it snows), probably just carelessness, I checked off 3. Sommer

No one could believe it. My father thought it was hilarious. From 1973 until 2010 (when he passed away) whenever we would talk about someone doing something that made no sense, he would shrug and say, "Es schneit gewoehnlich im Sommer".

We always roared with laughter. I miss that and this puzzle brought back that good memory.

So, even with a sub par puzzle, there is always something positive.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

I read the clue as "Home with backup horns" and was looking for something to do with a motor home.

Name that tune 8:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefbea 8:29 AM  

I thought the puzzle was GREAT!!! Very easy. Granted I did not know ladino..got it from the crosses. And I sew,so I knew shirr. ...Now it's time to go have some shirred eggs!!

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Wile I agree this puzzle sucked, and I agree that EEEE and IIII are unacceptable in any crossword on their own, and together in the same puzzle should have disqualified this piece of crap, what REALLY bothered me was how boring the clues were. There was almost nothing in this puzzle that wasn't a straightforward definition.

Boring plus terrible fill=pfft.

Name that tune 8:36 AM  

What's weird is that I decided to focus on perhaps the most fascinating and beautiful word in the puzzle, LADINO. A wonderful, flowing, interesting, and crossword-worthy word if ever there was one, and out of all the terribleness that is this puzzle, I chose THAT as my biggest bone to pick. Once again, the "my ignorance=bad fill" argument makes an appearance. It's my greatest hit.

If I say the puzzle sucks every day, then I am likely to be right about twice a week. Expressions about stopped clocks and blind pigs come to mind.
I nailed this one.

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

Anon @ 8:25: I too did the old confusing "rn" with "m" and read "Horne" as "Home". In certain fonts (like the nyt puzzle app) they are really hard to distinguish, so much so that there is a (great) word for the phenomenon: homoglyph!

RnRGhost57 8:44 AM  

I'm a goy who grew up in a very WASPy environment. But LADINO was not unfamiliar to me.

Michael Hanko 8:49 AM  

I learned the word LADINO at a NYC Gay Men's Chorus concert a couple of years back that included on the program the Hanukkah song "Ochos Kandelikas". The painful audience [forced] participation in this number has indelibly etched LADINO on my brain forever.

Continuing in this musical theme, my favorite aspect of this puzzle was entering the letters R-E-S-P-E-C-T into the grid in rhythm. That helped me enjoy my solve "just a little bit".

Zeke 8:57 AM  

Perhaps for the first time here, a true anecdote from me:

Re 15A: Years ago I had a horse with the barn name Texas. At local schooling shows in the jumpers the dress code was very relaxed, so I wore shirts with Don't Mess with Texas logos. Later, when I found out that Don't Mess with Texas was really the bumper sticker version of an anti-litter campaign in Texas I was much chagrined. Not that I'm for littering, but I might as well have been wearing Save the Blue-Bonnets iconography.

The macho/jingoistic crap came later. Not in me, in the phrase Don't Mess with Texas. Well, maybe me too.

Billy C 9:09 AM  

@Andrew at 1:18AM --

Re: How does Hayley Gold draw these up so fast?.

That has been my thought several times. She's a full-time student, up at midnight drawing nine panels. I dunno, does she do this every day?

Pretty impressive ...

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

@airymom - thanks for sharing a funny story - made me smile.

mac 9:14 AM  

Way too easy a Wednesday for me. I knew shirr and Ladino came through crosses, not any slow-down there.

I prefer JK on a Friday or Saturday.

lawprof 9:16 AM  

There's a convention among watchmakers that, when using Roman numerals on the face, the number 4 is depicted as IIII. I just assumed that this custom derived from sundials (as the clue for 47A suggested), so the answer didn't bother me much. Not so for EEEE, however. I'd always thought the widest shoe was EEE, but maybe I'm wrong about that.

The clue to 44D suggested Sephardic, which didn't fit, so LADINO fell right into place. Perfectly good crossword answer IMO.

AliasZ 9:21 AM  

How often does one see EEEE and IIII in the same puzzle? And five IN phrases, not to mention N-IN and ALUM-IN-A and LAD-IN-O? Of all the IN phrase today, my favorite was IT'S IN, the triumphant utterance of a first-timer upon his success, in answer to her question: "is it in yet?" That takes guts.

Joe Krozel has nothing if not guts. I could see Joe's mad-scientist grin as I was filling this seasonal puzzle, created no doubt as a SNUB directed at Rexdom. Did I enjoy it? I SHIRR did, precisely for that reason.

- IDA is missing the initial A.
- Why was it that I wanted to enter RUNTz instead of RUNTS?
- Joe can't spell the president's name. He gave it two shots with OMB/MBA then gave up.

With Mother's Day coming up, and inspired by ANNALEE, I thought it appropriate to tell you this story.

The grandmother of London-born William Henry PRATT (1887-1969), Eliza Julia Millard, née Edwards, had an older sister, Anna Harriet Emma Edwards (1831-1915). Anna was quite a woman. She married Thomas Leon Owens and became known as Anna Leonowens, a travel writer and educator, living an adventurous life that took her to Aden, Australia, Singapore, the US and to Canada, where she co-founded the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She also spent time in Siam (Thailand) where she was the royal governess for King Mongkut from 1862 to 1867. Her experiences there were fictionalized in Margaret Landon's 1944 best-selling novel "Anna and the King of Siam," the bases of the 1946 movie by the same title with Rex Harrison as King Mongkut and Irene Dunne as Anna, as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1951 hit musical "The King and I", the bases of the Yul Brynner / Deborah Kerr movie of 1956.

You may know Mr. PRATT better by his screen name, Boris Karloff, the monster in many Frankenstein FILMS, and grandnephew of Anna of the King of Siam.

But now I've got to run. Is Mai TAI on straight?

demit 9:25 AM  

@airymom, I liked your story too.

Andrea 9:32 AM  

@Airymom, that was hilarious!

For once I agree with Rex, even though I knew LADINO and this was one of the fastest Wednesdays I've done.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 9:32 AM  

Long diagonals like GNIRPS are pretty tough to put into a grid. And then, if U also go with a 72-word grid and add some central SEASONing, it's Addie Bar the Door, for us desperation fans. Really great, but too bad Joe couldn't also wedge in a good, sparklin pangram...

Could replace LADINO with ESKIMO. Scores STRIP and MOTATES, and only costs U a KIE and an EENA, which are desperater but shorter. Nothin a solid double-?? clue or two couldn't take care of.

Watched a gorgeous sunset on the Gulf of Mexico near Mobile last night. While a flock of pelicans hovered overhead. Peaceful and good. Put frettin about a little four-I-ed weeject into some proper perspective.


RooMonster 9:35 AM  

Hey All !
Hate to start out negatively, but, ugh. Always amazes me when a puz like this gets accepted by Will. Sure, theme is pretty neat, but 1)the SEASONS aren't in logical rotation, as in should be SPRING where SUMMER is, then SUMMER, etc. , and 2)way too much un-fill. Quad I's and E's. Really? And all the INs. I would've received a rejection from WS had I submitted this. Just sayin.

The grid is cool. Some fill good. Hands up for reading HoMe in clue, and had to run alphabet to get LENA and still no idea what that meant. LADINO a WOE, also. Came hear to see it was HoRNe. Oops.

Mixed emotions puz. Ok, but definitely coulda been better.


ArtO 9:38 AM  

Very easy and a great looking grid with a decent four seasons theme but must admit the criticism is warranted.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Despite LADINO and SHIRR (which I should have known, but didn't), I found this a ridiculously easy puzzle and one that was flat as a pancake. So I agree with all the usual suspects: Steve J., Mohair, NCA Pres, mac. After the great fun of yesterday's puzzle, I suppose it was too much to expect a winner today.

@joho -- It's not that I don't appreciate the difficulty involved in creating this four seasons grid, it's just that it adds nothing to the challenge of solving. For me, a good gimmick is one that ADDS challenge to a puzzle. This is a gimmick that removes challenge and makes an already very easy puzzle all that much easier. So I always feel like saying to the constructor: Why did you even bother? So much work for you. So little payoff for us.

Steve M 9:44 AM  

Liked it

Ludyjynn 9:45 AM  

I cannot dislike a puzzle that references Vivaldi's "Four SEASONS", LENA Horne, Woody GUTHRIE, Max ERNST and ANNALEE.

The only soap I ever watched was "General Hospital" because I needed to take a study break while preparing to take the MD Bar Exam. That 3:00 p.m. respite turned into an addiction to Luke and Laura, Robert and Anna and the Quartermaines, esp. the lovely Lila, played by Ms. Lee. Little known fact: she acted as one of the singing nuns in "The Sound of Music".

Woody Guthrie makes me also think of Pete Seeger, who did a great rendition of "This Land...", so even more happiness here.

INALL, a nice mid-week offering, vowels aside. Thanks, JK and WS.

quilter1 9:47 AM  

I didn't hate it and it was easy for me. Over too soon. I need another puzzle today.

chefbea 9:47 AM  

Just thought of another revealer that could have been used...Princess on the Howdy Doody show!!

pmdm 9:53 AM  

I agree totally with NCA President. Directional abbreviations in puzzles should be banished to hell. And the puzzle constructors who reply on them.

I would have liked to have seen this slue in the puzzle: "Sound heard when a move villain appears" [SSSS]. Or perhaps "Sound heard when eating wonderful apple pie" [MMMM]. Or: "Sound heard in a bedroom" [ZZZZ]. Or: Sound emanating from an angry person" [RRRR] (the leading G is not always sounded). Then 47A might have been clued "Disgusted comment describing an egocentric persons speech habits," linking it to 19A.

Poor Tchaikovsky. When you say The Seasons, everybody thinks of Vivaldi. Granted, Tchaikovsky's movements are months, not seasons. But why quibble?


And for an encore, The Seasons from Glazunov.


wreck 9:54 AM  

Finished without the "happy music" and struggled forever to find my error. Sure enough, I had LAtINO and never checked the Across clue. I didn't like LATINO either, but just figured I was "learning" something. An average Wednesday time, but the dreck was just too frequent to give this a thumbs-up.

aging soprano 9:58 AM  

Haha I knew LADINOand got SHIRR from the crosses.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  


That's a great PRATT and ANNA story, and well-told. Those connections have layers like an onion!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:34 AM  

OK puzzle by me.

So the cycle of the year goes on, and how can anyone say that it must "start" at any particular point?

As often happens here in the Garden State, we seem to have gone from ⓦⓘⓝⓣⓔⓡ to ⓢⓤⓜⓜⓔⓡ with hardly a day of ⓢⓟⓡⓘⓝⓖ!

Carola 10:43 AM  

Easy. I motored down the West coast (knew Ladino), saw SPRING and SUMMER, filled in AUTUMN and WINTER and that made the other half go fast, too.

So, various reasons for an "ACH!": over too soon; IIII, EEEE, etc. Also, UNRESTS? Maybe it should have been clued as a verb: "Gets up from the couch, perhaps?"

And so, I used my extra time to look for things to admire:
- the grid is nicely divided into quadrants, like the quarters of the year
- the quadrants are separated by T's (for "time").
- DIALECTS on parade: FRERE mirroring SENAT, MMES, LADINO, TAI over HAI, PRO TEM, GIT (nice under the Western GUN BELT), and the German trio ACH, DIE, ERNST.

@Lewis - In the "vowels at play" category, did you notice the EEEE FRERE EPEE stack?

George Barany 10:44 AM  

Many erudite comments regarding today's puzzle by @Joe Krozel. Ever since solving it, I had the nagging feeling that its enabling conceit, i.e., the fact that all four seasons can be spelled in 6 letters, had been exploited previously. A bit of googling led me to this review, by @Rex, of a rather amazing puzzle by @Severin T. Nelson that the New York Times ran just a shade over three years ago.

Several earlier commentators alluded to today's webcomic by @Hayley Gold. Here is a direct link.

Aketi 10:48 AM  

@airymom, great story

@lms, oddly I kinda liked the in your face EEEE and IIII too, but hoped for UUUU for M&E.

I felt like the last two days were a bit of a TRIP down memory lane with SWEET ADDIE reminding me of the fun my sibilings and I phad as kids pumping the pedals on the old player piano my parents inherited from great Aunt Effie's saloon. The valves leaked so we had to pedal extra fast to get the tempo right. "Sweet Adeline" and "Who's Sorry Now?" were our faves,

Today's puzzle brought back memories of my mom teaching me how to SHIRR on an equally antiquated but beautiful readle sewing machine also inherited from Great Aunt Effie. The most difficult outfits I ever made were Easter dresses with tripple shirred tulle sleeves for a 4-H contest. I'll never forget the judge who looked under my dress hem and found the one loose thread that I hadn't trimmed. She publicly berated me for my sloth without and gave the blue ribbon to a girl who sewed rick rack on a pocket handkerchief and trimmed all her loose threads.

Then of course, there is the sheer delight of theakaomagico memories of A AND E (or Mug) root beer floats during long hot summer drives through the Central Valley of California when air conditioning meant rolling down the window and sticking your head out as far as you could without eliciting the parental threat of "if you don't stick your head back in I'm going to pull over and leave you by the side of the road!"

As for LADINO, I have to thank my dh for always leaving radios on in every room tuned into NPR for my instafill. I must have absorbed that one by osmosis.

Alas the SNAILS did have to appear yet again, but at least there were no PEAS.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

@FUCHS "It's the Yiddish of half the Jews in the world." Nonsense. About 40% of the worldwide Jews are in in Israel, another 40% in the US. Per:

Spain isn't even listed in the top 15 countries. And the same source says there are just 12,000 Jews total in Spain. Toss in another 600 from Portugal.

Still I like the word and it made me do a bit of research.

Hartley70 10:52 AM  

Well, not everyone thinks of Vivaldi. I went low-brow, humming "Sherry Baby". I was bopping in the 60's, alternating R-E-S-P-E-C-T with Frankie Valli because I was doing the puzzle in semi-darkness and the circles were indistinguishable on my phone. I had to go back and find them in the light of day and boy are they faint.

So seeing as I missed the theme altogether, I'm giving myself a round of applause for a fast time with only one write over on the D in LADINO. I've only vaguely, sorta, maybe heard of it. I went with Latino and thought a lot of competitive sporty types go PFFT at a tie. You know who you are.

I did exactly the same thing in NY @Ludy. It was a necessary brain flush. She was the cutest little white haired peanut.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

LDL is NOT a type of cholesterol. It's a PROTEIN as in Low Density LipoPROTEIN. It does however carry cholesterol. And not to worry the whole freaking medical community is to blame for talking about "good cholesterol" aka HDL and bad, aka LDL. Very annoying, scientifically wrong, but here to stay. ARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!

Hartley70 11:05 AM  

@Aketi, great post and now I have to completely readjust my mental image of you. You GOBSMACK me on a regular basis!

old timer 11:07 AM  

Thanks, George Barany. I never see Across and Down unless someone provides a link. Now tell me, how to a create a nice blue link in this blog? What's the trick?

I liked the puzzle myself. And found it super-easy, so much so I wondered why it was not a Tuesday puzzle or even a Monday. You get one season, the others fall right into line, and doesn't everyone know LADINO when it is clued so directly? Evidently not, but I do, being a fan of European languages.

I thought IIII was fine, though I think I've seen it more often on grandfather clocks than sundials. I'm not sure EEEE is a real size, though.

The thing I learned: SHIRR involves cloth as well as eggs.

wreck 11:20 AM  

I don't know why he stopped at EEEE and IIII - could have added Bra size DDDD.

Ranter 11:33 AM  

I had no idea litter was the origin of DMWT. I always associated it with Ann Richards, the late great Governor.

Ranter 11:34 AM  


George Barany 11:34 AM  

Hi, @old timer,

I merely follow the instructions here, directly in the text box marked "Leave your comment"

I always preview before posting.

If I can do it, anyone can.

Joseph Michael 11:41 AM  

The fact that the circled squares spell out the four seasons is only a coincidence.

The theme is actually IN ACTION with the five themers: IN shape, it's IN, IN all, get IN on, and IN essence. Plus the four bonuses: ladINo, nIN, wINter, and sprINg.

Don't SNUB this puzzle. It's A TRIP. Smoke a little REFER and it will all become clear.

Penna Resident 11:43 AM  

i normally like krozels puzzles and because i believe the NYT should have a variety of types i rarely hate a puzzle. but by the time i got to EPEE i was convinced that will and joe got together to play a joke on rex. "you want something to complain about - here it is all in one place". really. almost every single word is pfft.

the only enjoyment here was writing in sUNBELT for a place to see that buckle.

Unknown 11:45 AM  

I agree with Lawprof that IIII is legit. It's been a convention for a long time.

I'm a lot less sure of EEEE. In fact, I'm not sure shoes are even sold in widths at all these days, much less using a system that goes up to EEEE.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

It's a puzzle people. It's not rocket science. Just chill and enjoy it for what it's worth. Or don't.

John Child 11:55 AM  

The measured width is assigned a letter (or combination of letters), which is taken from a table (indexed to length and width) or just assigned on an ad-hoc basis: Examples include (each starting with the narrowest width):
A, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE, EEEE, F, G (typical North American system; medium being D)

Wikipedia is not that hard to use...

Lewis 12:04 PM  

@aliasz -- terrific post
@carola -- I should have noticed that; thank you for bringing it to my attention! I usually look for things like that, but I think I was a bit blinded by the profusion of double letters.

Yes, counting EEEE and IIII each as two double letters, we had 18 double letters in this puzzle, near to the record. Anything above 15 is profuse. If you wonder why I so diligently track these, so do I. And so ends this report from your resident alphadoppeltotter.

There were some answers I liked: KNOTTY, SUAVE, ENLIVEN, INESSENCE. Not any clues I felt were noteworthy. There were some knotty areas for me, which I like. I don't know why Rex said there were no theme clues. There's that big fat SEASONS in the middle, and I liked the way the seasons go round in the grid, as they inevitably do in our lives.

I see some puzzles as trash -- boring and ugly. Very few of them are NYT puzzles, and certainly not this one, for me. I don't get bothered by as much as Rex does, but I'm grateful for his carping (when it's not judgmental) because I think he keeps Will and constructors on their toes.

Lewis 12:32 PM  

Factoid: Garden SNAILS have on the average 14,000 teeth.

Quotoid: There are two SEASONS in Scotland: June and Winter." -- Jim Connelly

Austin 12:34 PM  

I was just hoping for a youtube video of a song by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

jberg 12:43 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jberg 12:44 PM  

It's all been said, pretty much -- except @Loren, didn't your students tell you about this science fiction book?

Me too for the horne/home confusion. The NY times print font makes them look the same, too.

I have to go give an exam, so that's it for today!

Myuen88 1:09 PM  

And Idaho is NOT the Panhandle State

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

I don't have any technical requirements for puzzles. I just enjoy doing them and enjoyed this one. I thought the IIII and EEEE together were funny, some sort of joke from the constructor.

I readily admit that the posts where people are shitting their pants over the technical minutiae and violations of their self-imposed requirements are a lot more entertaining to read than mine.

Gary 1:17 PM  

I recently did a puzzle from the archive (July 30, 2009) that had all in one grid:

EEEE (Facility)
QQQQ (Signals)
TTTT (Razz)
IIII (Peer group?)
BBBB (Garden sights)
OOOO (Is behind)
GGGG (Man oh man!)
YYYY (Hip)

aging soprano 1:19 PM  

Slightly amused that the answer to 11D (spice up) was ENLIVEN and not SEASON.
Pretty easy for a Wed. Once I filled in SUMMERAUTUMNWINTERSPRING everything else sort of fell into place.
SHIRR didn't know SHIRR, but LADINO was a gimme. I have sung, taught and conducted so many songs in this language, and my father-in-law was from Turkey and spoke LADINO.
Apropos, ADDIE, often spelled Adi, is a Hebrew name meaning Jewel. Not over popular but common enough. I know several. No supermarket chain by that name here, though.
Has anyone mentioned the beautiful oratorio by Haydn, The SEASONS?

AliasZ 1:29 PM  

Speaking of SEASONS, this stunning Botticelli masterpiece came to my mind: Primavera (c.1482). It was also memorialized 445 years later by Ottorino Respighi (1927) in the first movement, "La primavera", of his Trittico Botticelliano.


DigitalDan 1:30 PM  

Thought it was easy; go figure.

What's wrong with ALUMINA?

dick swart 1:34 PM  

I thought this was a Monday. But a Monday take-off on forced crossword-ese. Kind of a parody by WNL.

I didn't notice the theme until I finished. Not bad. It was there.

'Shirr' was an outlier.


Anonymous 2:11 PM  


Colby 2:13 PM  

Worst puzzle of the year, IMO

Aketi 2:48 PM  

@Lewis, now you have add fodder for my brain to intensify my nightmares about SNAILS with the addition of teeth. SNAILS in the Dem Rep of Congo are double the size of French ESCARGOT.

@Wreck, as a lactation consultant I don't often ask what size bras women use. I have never heard of a quadruple D. I have seen a woman who thought her G size breasts would be larger than any I had worked with (they were only one third the size of the largest). So I just couldn't help myself and looked up the available sizes on Linda, the Bra Lady's site. She lists bra sizes from double A to N, but only As, Ds Fs, Fs, Hs, and Js are doubled. Only D's are tripled. Wikipedia does list quadruple Ds.

@Hartley70, it is Wednesday advanced sparring night tonight at Martial Arts and I'm not really feeling capable of SMACKing anyone or anything, let alone a GOB. While my eyeballs gloried in the (not quite SHOCKING) PINK of the abundant spring time crab apple blossoms surrounding the Central Park Reservoir, my sinuses did not. It did not help that my son bought some toxic can of spray paint from one of his friends to spray paint his sun glasses. He did climb out the window and spray paint on the fire escape so the apartment wouldn't be filled with fumes, but he left the window open. I'm panicking because my black belt test LOOMS large - only 31 days left. I will not be IN SHAPE if my allergies get the best of me. But I'd rather curl up into a ball and DIE right now than resume the STAIR running that I had started to up my cardio.

Just looked at the puzzle again and LADINO just morphed into L.A. DINO. Glad my son was not into the purple one for very long.

xyz 2:55 PM  

Done in pen without much fun

Norm C. 3:20 PM  

@chefbea - I confess to having had a crush on Princess Summerfall Winterspring.

I'm surprised that no one has suggested "Derisive term for one wearing glasses" as a clue for four-eyes. Maybe I missed it.

Ranter 3:21 PM  

Hiya Rex, I just PayPaled you either $10.00 or $1000 because your blog cracks me up. Thanks!

Z 3:34 PM  

@Lewis - wouldn't IIII count as three doubles? I1I2, I2I3, and I3I4? Likewise with EEEE.

I've decided that in the future I am going to refer to this as the Farmer Krozel Puzzle (EIEIEIEIO).

Wood 3:40 PM  

I was doubly flustered by that clue because on my phone "Horne" looked like "Home." Home with backup horns? I was looking for MOBILE. Only got it after guessing the L in LADINO. Then saw that LENA Horne might have backup horns in her band. Tricky clue.

Lewis 3:42 PM  

@Z -- I did think about that but I decided to count each letter just once, because that's how I do it in every other case. If there were three I's, therefore, it would count as one double. Hey, I'm making up rules as I go here! And I'm always open to suggestion...

Martel Moopsbane 4:01 PM  

IIII could also be part of the refrain from a classic mariachi band tune (more backup horns!).

longsufferingmetsfan 4:15 PM  

I usually enjoy Joe's work, but I totally agree with Rex, this was garbage.

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

IIII, Canta no llores!

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Hy way to go @Wood@1540--only the 10th person or so to mention this today!

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

Barany @ 11:34am--that was very meta.

mathguy 4:49 PM  

I printed up the puzzle on the computer here at our hotel in Savannah. The upper left read " edne day May O1."
The upper right read ". oe K o el/Edi ed by Ill S o. ". And there were similar gaps in all the clues.

I thought that there was a gimmick where we were supposed to fill in the gaps. I tried that for about an hour. I went back to the computer and saw that the Across Lite version of the puzzle had complete clues. Reading today's comments, I take it that no one else had the same problem.

If there were a store nearby that carried the print NYTimes, I would have picked one up. But no.

Rats. The first puzzle I've missed doing in years.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

@mathguy you had a much better experience trying to decipher nonsense code than the rest of us did doing this godawful puzzle.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

What happened to Casko Kid?

Clark 5:48 PM  

The 54th entryway to the coliseum in Rome: LIIII.

Nancy 6:52 PM  

I'm GOBSMACKED by what I learned from this blog on this meh puzzle day.

Snails have 14,000 teeth? I didn't know they had ANY teeth. Thanks @Lewis. Both your quotoids and factoids are always interesting and often enlightening.

@Aketi. The woman who wore a G-size bra was only one-third as busty as some of the women you've seen? Also, there's such a thing as a triple-J cup???? (The mind boggles). Also, your great aunt Effie ran a saloon, you make clothes by hand, and that's in addition to being a Martial Arts expert, speaking several zillion languages and having been in the Peace Corps? I would say you're the most interesting person on this blog, except @Hartley 70 seems to have said it first.

Which reminds me, at @Hartley 70, -- perhaps you should wait until the sun is at least 1 or 2 degrees over the horizon before attempting the puzzle. Or else turn on the lights.

@Bob Kerfuffle -- This year's Garden State spring was exactly the same as this year's Empire State spring. Which brings to mind this story:

A Californian is coming to NYC for 2 weeks in the spring and his friends say: "Please tell us what spring is like in New York. They're so lucky to have four seasons, which we don't, of course. And we've heard that spring is their most beautiful season and we envy you're being there."

The guy comes back from his 2- week vacation and reports: "Guys, you're absolutely right. Spring in NYC is fabulous. Everyone I met there said so. Unfortunately, I was shaving at the time, and I missed it."

old timer 7:28 PM  


href= "http: //www.hyperlinkcode.com/make-hyperlink.php/" Hyperlink Code

old timer 7:29 PM  

still did not work (no blue clickable stuff)

Not an Authenic Techie 7:54 PM  

@old timer - The big problem with teaching people to post links is that you can't show the actual process, because it gets translated by Blogger before it appears on screen. But the process is something like this:

Find the page to which you wish to link. Click on the address of the page and hit "Copy", i.e., Command C.

Then the formula is:

[left pointing caret]a href = "["Paste" or Command P] [right pointing caret] [the words you want to appear in blue] [left pointing caret]/a [right pointing caret]

Everything in [ ] must be added by you. And don't forget the first "a" after the first left pointing caret).

Not an Authenic Techie 7:58 PM  

@old timer - Oh, darn, I got it wrong the first time -- there has to be a quotation mark after the pasted link! This should be right:

The big problem with teaching people to post links is that you can't show the actual process, because it gets translated by Blogger before it appears on screen. But the process is something like this:

Find the page to which you wish to link. Click on the address of the page and hit "Copy", i.e., Command C.

Then the formula is:

[left pointing caret]a href = "["Paste" or Command P]" [right pointing caret] [the words you want to appear in blue] [left pointing caret]/a [right pointing caret]

Everything in [ ] must be added by you. And don't forget the first "a" after the first left pointing caret).

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

I guess you can't teach an old timer new tricks.

Try this:

Try this for hyperlinks

Pt the web site, http and all, inside the quotes. Put the text (what you want to call the link) where it says TEXT. Inclued everything and don't change the spacing.

Teedmn 8:16 PM  

This was about average for a Wednesday for me, so the easiest puzzle so far this week. A few write-overs: SlothS before SNAILS, GET INto before IN ON, KNarlY before KNOTTY (and yes, I realize that would have been Gnarly) and my favorite sUN BELT (@Penna Resident). I thought it was fine, even with the RRNs, big shoe sizes and over-abundance of INs.

I have SHIRRed some garments, smashed some SNAILS eating my friends' pear tree in Sweden, and attended plays at the GUTHRIE theater in Mpls. My high school team was the WILDCATS, I speak the Minnesota DIALECT and the A AND W was a favorite place to get a treat in the summer in my hometown. I'm hoping we are far enough into the SPRING SEASON that we won't have another FREES but it's best to wait until after Memorial to plant because the frost threat still LOOMS until then.

Thanks for the puzzle, Mr. Krozel, it deserves some RESPECT!

Not an Authenic Techie 8:18 PM  

Oh, damn!

Third time's the charm?

What I meant to say was "Command V". That's how you Paste, not Command P! So:

@old timer - Oh, darn, I got it wrong the first time -- there has to be a quotation mark after the pasted link! This should be right:

The big problem with teaching people to post links is that you can't show the actual process, because it gets translated by Blogger before it appears on screen. But the process is something like this:

Find the page to which you wish to link. Click on the address of the page and hit "Copy", i.e., Command C.

Then the formula is:

[left pointing caret]a href = "["Paste" or Command V]" [right pointing caret] [the words you want to appear in blue] [left pointing caret]/a [right pointing caret]

Everything in [ ] must be added by you. And don't forget the first "a" after the first left pointing caret).

mathguy 8:37 PM  

I complained earlier that my hotel's computer garbled the printout of the puzzle and I wasn't able to do the puzzle for the first time in years. It finally occurred to me that I could do it on my iPad. I did, even though I had trouble traveling the grid and the list of clues. My first time solving electronically. I think that there are apps that make solving smoother.

GILL I. 8:39 PM  

@old timer....Just make yourself a nice drink and follows @Z's link. Otherwise, you might go stark raving mad....

Z 8:45 PM  

@GIll IIII. - Not I, today.

GILL I. 9:45 PM  

Dang...I need a drink.

kitshef 11:35 PM  

Way easier than yesterday's puzzle - almost Monday level. Construction was no doubt difficult (Difficult? I wish it had been impossible), but ... why? I suppose for a constructor there is some joy in in a challenging construction, but I would hope the greater joy would be making a people happy.

Hand up for sUN BELT before GUN BELT.

Always makes me happy to have a GUTHRIE appear.

rondo 9:59 AM  

@Spacey – how about that RRN? And AANDW right on top of it. No RESPECT!
I think it’s all been said above, so no late hits from me, other than, Huh?

OFL claims that TENTONS is arbitrary, seems quite specific to me.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha is one of the great songs of our time. LENA had some pipes, too (and apparently horns). I too read Home.

I think I would have gone with Cousin ITT.

"Well, Luke, my friend, what about young ANNALEE?"
He said, "Do me a favor, son, won't you stay and keep ANNALEE company?" – The Band
Now, would that have been too obscure?

BTW – Buckwheat said this puz had NOTATES. If anyone gets that REFERence, let me know.

spacecraft 9:59 AM  

My question is: why did Will AGREETO publish this? I have never seen a sundial with IIII on it. Come to think of it, I haven't seen ANYTHING with IIII on it. Slang for a guy with glasses, maybe? And that right below...well, we won't mention that now.

With all the French in there, it's a wonder we weren't dealing with printemps, ete, etc. Other lowlights: bleedover: STAIR. RD: ENE. And how many UNRESTS can you have? EEEE!

GUTHRIE, RESPECT and WILDCAT are the only things that ENLIVEN this mess. This is an experienced constructor, so I'm at a loss why he didn't work on today's grid a little harder. You know, get it INSHAPE for publication. We're looking at a rough draft.

My biggest disappointments: that ITT wasn't clued as a cousin, and that OFL did not include Sade's "Smooth Operator." As to my old bugaboo, the [letter]AND[letter}, I have given up. It won't stop; I can see that now, so take me out of Room 101.

I love Big Brother.

Burma Shave 10:32 AM  


I asked ANNALEE if she would AGREETO GETITON.
“ILLTRY”, said that WILDCAT and it was UNRESTS ‘til dawn.
INALL it was ATRIP as she was INSHAPE, but not thin,
INESSENCE we were ENLIVENed, though some call ITSIN.


rondo 11:21 AM  

Hey @spacey - check our post times, and similarity of comments. Great minds, eh?

centralscrewtinizer 1:00 PM  

Agree with LMS and others who liked it. Diamond in the rough. Guess no one ever heard of Ladino clover or shirred eggs, which is how I knew the words. I have respect for Krozel and appreciate the quote given above.
Bunch of grumps here. Bet Rex is the kind of driver who likes to Lena onna da Horne.

rain forest 1:07 PM  

When I saw the EEEE, IIII, A AND W, UNRESTS, and a random direction, I knew we'd see a mind meld between @Spacey, and @Rex.

Like some commenters above, I saw this effort by Joe Krozel as a "thumbing his nose" gesture at OFL and other "purists". I'd like to think that is true, because I actually laughed in a couple places during the solve. He is a very talented constructor, and I think the theme here was elegant, and must have been hard to pull off.

Side note. Well I guess it is really a bottom note: When bauxite is purified, the product is aluminum oxide, commonly called ALUMINA. Oddly, if one produces 20,000 pounds of it, you've got TEN TONS.

DMG 3:43 PM  

Eventually worked things out, but had problems in the SE, where my KNarlLY crossed with generAl strike took awhile to unravel. Add that, and with no idea what Mug is ( was?), I watched AANDW appear letter by letter, pleased when I at last parsed it!

Love @Airymom,s story. but she's not alone! When I was in the 2nd grade we had some kind of a generalized test. And one of the questions asked about the temperature when it snows. I had never seen snow, but I remembered my parents saying something like "Funny how it warms up before it snows", so I smugly put in "warm" thinking I would have the only right answer! Ha! I still have almost no snow experience, but at least I'd give a better answer today-I think.

@Lewis: who on earth counted snail's teeth, and why? Love your facts and quotes!

Anonymous 4:42 PM  

I liked everything about the puzzle and disliked most of the negative comments. Thanks Rainforest for reading my mind. And thanks Joe K. for a damn good puzzle. I'll say it again: I've noticed when the Blogman Parker really rapes a puzzle so many of his sheep follow suit.

This puzzle was comfortable, easy to solve and quite clever. I dare most of the commenters to do as well.

The interesting commenters are those with fresh information on topics, words, personal stories, etc. Thanks to them, too.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Just too old to put up with pettiness).

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