Cartoonist Bushmiller who created Nancy / THU 6-11-15 / Classic 1944 Otto Preminger film noir / Model of Blues Brothers Bluesmobile

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Constructor: Lewis E. Rothlein

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: HIDDEN GEM (34D: Well-kept secret … or a hint to the answer to each starred clue) — the letter string "GEM" is "HIDDEN" inside five theme answers

Theme answers:
  • "INDULGE ME" (1D: *"If I may…")
  • LARGE MOUTH (18A: *Kind of bass)
  • DODGE MONACO (24A: *Model of the Blues Brothers' Bluesmobile)
  • GRUDGE MATCH (43A: *Opportunity for revenge)
  • IMAGE MAKER (52A: *Publicist, e.g.)
Word of the Day: GARDEN City, Long Island (26A) —
Garden City is a village in the town of Hempstead in central Nassau CountyNew York, in the United States. It was founded by multi-millionaire Alexander Turney Stewart in 1869, and is located on Long Island, to the east of New York City, 18.5 miles (29.8 km) from midtown Manhattan, and just south of the town of North Hempstead. A very small section of the village is in North Hempstead.
As of the 2010 census, the population of the incorporated village was 22,371.
The Garden City name is applied to several other unincorporated, nearby jurisdictions. In the region, hamlets such as Garden City SouthGarden City Park and East Garden City are adjacent to the incorporated village of Garden City, but are not themselves part of it. Roosevelt Field, the shopping center built on the former airfield from which Charles Lindbergh took off on his landmark 1927 transatlantic flight, is located in East Garden City.
Part of Hofstra University's campus is located in Garden City. (wikipedia)
• • •

I liked this one OK, but man it was over fast. There was a while there where I was cutting through this thing like it was Monday—from the NE right down through the middle to the SW I got every answer I looked at immediately. Not nearly Thursdayish enough, cluing-wise. The theme type is also standard—not the kind of thing I'm used to seeing on Thursday (typically the twisty / tricky day). I've seen this done a million ways. I did one once called "Inside Dope" where THC was "hidden" inside the themers. I have nothing against this theme type. Just feels more T/W to me. There was absolutely nothing unusual today. The envelopes all remained unpushed. And yet I enjoyed the five minutes I spent doing it. I think this is because a few of the themers are simply entertaining in their own right. "INDULGE ME…" is original, colloquial, nice. I don't think I've ever heard of a DODGE MONACO, but I enjoyed remembering "The Blues Brothers" (one of the first R-rated movies my parents took me to see, along with "Bustin' Loose" and "The World According to Garp"). GRUDGE MATCH is the big winner of the day—a fantastic answer I can't remember seeing before. Most of the fill was just average, with a few unfortunate moments, but the long stuff is good, and when the long stuff is good, the mediocre short stuff can't do much to ruin the party.

There were very few points of resistance. I had to think about 1A: "___ pass" for a bit. After getting LPS at 4D: Audiophile's collection, I went with "WE'LL pass." As in, "You guys wanna go contra-dancing with us?" "Uh, no. WE'LL pass." But that wasn't it. NEAP made that clear. Once I changed WE'LL to IT'LL, whole NW was done fast. I didn't rocket out of there because GARDEN City is meaningless to anyone outside NYC (i.e. me), and even with GARD- I wasn't sure. Also, I had BIOS at first for 21D: They may have kings as subjects (ODES). But CEDE was a gimme (5A: Turn over), and I got all the crossing Downs and then just Took Off. Once I changed EMOJI (!?) to ECARD (ick) at 6D: Gift with a GIF, maybe, I didn't miss a single answer until way down at 39D: Take (ANGLE), which proved so inscrutable to me that I just ended up solving around it. I get it now, but that is one ambiguous clue for ANGLE. I also had some issues with the equally ambiguous clue 43D: Beef (GRIPE). Confuse there was exacerbated by feeling 58A: Union busters? might be AXES and 55A: One getting the message? might be MAGE (can a MAGE be a seer or a medium?). After that slight delay, I rocketed across the bottom of the grid right down to the SE corner, where GEM actually didn't come quickly. Had to work it from crosses. But that was it. Too easy and straightforward, but pleasant enough.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    dmw 12:08 AM  

    Nice puzzle. Surprised Rex didn't complain about fill like ITLL and especially the cross ASKER with AROW. And I can't remember the last time I referred to my wife as a BEDMATE.

    Anonymous 12:13 AM  

    Bad NW. Southwest hike destination (35A) = MESA, lame! Garden City, LI may be known to locals, but not elsewhere in the world.

    Otherwise, meh puzzle.

    Steve O. 12:15 AM  

    Garden City is meaningless to everyone in NYC also (except for Jesse...)

    wreck 12:16 AM  

    Nice debut, Lewis!! I liked it as well -- not the quickest Thursday for me like some, it was harder than a Wednesday though.

    Carola 12:24 AM  

    Unable to get any of the first several Across answers, I said BAH to that area and went looking for friendlier territory. D'OR and I'VE ushered me into the SE corner, so I had the reveal before any of the other theme answers. Knowing that I had to set GEMs in place definitely helped me get the theme answers more quickly. Nice array of theme phrases (and cross of GRIPE and GRUDGE), but I agree with @Rex that the puzzle seemed more suited to an earlier day of the week.

    jae 12:39 AM  

    Top half easy-medium, bottom half easy for me.

    Had ___Gel for the bath beads when I got CEDE which gave me CALGON.  Apparently the brand name is still around although it has been decades since I've seen a commercial.

    Zippy theme answers, some nice long downs, only a few clunkers...ASKERS, UL, WAHS...liked it, but I'm with Rex and @Carola this could have been switched with yesterday's.

    Moly Shu 1:08 AM  

    @Ste, Jae, good call on the switch with yesterday. Got the GEM early, and then sailed through the puzzle. GRUDGEMATCH was a big winner. Probably going to catch a beating tomorrow ( hopefully ).

    chefwen 1:09 AM  

    CALGON, take me away!

    Puzzle was early week easy except for the NW where I put in Tarot cArd at 2D and was reluctant to take it out. Finally forced to when nothing else was going to work DUH!

    Puzzle was good, but I had more fun yesterday.

    George Barany 2:40 AM  

    Factoid: Today's GEM of a New York Times puzzle, by @Lewis Rothlein, is a debut. Sussing out the theme definitely helped complete the solve.

    Congratulations, @Lewis!

    jae 4:11 AM  

    From @George's. post I can only assume that this is the debut of "our" Lewis. Congratulations, nicely done, and I think you called the day placement correctly on Xwordinfo no matter what Will did with the cluing.

    Thomaso808 5:16 AM  

    Quotoid: The creation of a thousand forests is in one ACORN - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    Here's to many more GEMs, Lewis!

    Maybe today you can take a well-deserved day off from your Factoid and Quotoid duty.

    My simple criterion for the difficulty of a puzzle is whether 1) I can create a critical mass of systematically solving the answers from NW to SE, or 2) I have to abandon that approach and start filling in likely answers going through the acrosses and downs in order. This puzzle fell into the latter for me, which makes it ok for a Thurs. The nine letter vertical three stacks in the corners were fresh, the fill was good, and the the answers all had the GEM split across two words. Really good!

    Danield 7:13 AM  

    Hey Lewis-- great job! I'll leave it to others to opine on which day of the week this should have been featured (perhaps agree it should have been very late on a Wednesday :-). As you often say, this was an enjoyable solve and brought many smiles to my face. Congratulations.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:15 AM  

    Heck, yeah, this is our @Lewis! Our gentle, positive, NC-dwelling, yoga-doing PPP guy. Congratulations on your debut!

    Agreed that it was kind of a surprise for a Thursday; Lewis told me he had been aiming for an earlier day of the week and yes we're friends off blog and yes I'm crowing that I know the constructor and yes I'm Little Miss Lah Di Dah Big Shot. What he didn't tell me about was the two beautiful 9 triple stacks he pulled off – both themers – in the corners (Hi, Thomaso808). Sheesh, man. I'm impressed! INDULGE ME, TEA LEAVES, LAY TO REST… Stacked? And then, boom, BARRISTER, ALLEVIATE, HIDDEN GEM…. Stacked? Had to be a big challenge making those so smooth. Nary a cringe moment anywhere, Lewis. Good job!

    Lawyers, spouses of lawyers, parents of lawyers… let us now pause here to thank our lucky stars that in this country they don't wear those wigs. Seriously?? How can you be all ACERB and clever, impressing the jury when you’re standing under what looks like a ridiculous big mound of cotton candy?

    I don't have the beef with Will that Rex has, and I certainly don't know how Will decides to place which puzzle on which day. However, I have to say that the team involved in the cluing – the constructor, Will, Joel, et al do this with such a deft hand that every single week I'm amazed, amazed (I don't throw that word around casually) at how gradually the puzzles get harder. It's remarkable, in my opinion. The difficulty level for me today was most assuredly a Thursday.

    So this was way harder for me than some of you. I think I finally started with I'VE. Then maybe I put "lion" in for OGRE, considered "wide" MOUTH BASS, counted letters, and moved on.

    @Carola – I liked GRIPE crossing GRUDGE MATCH, TOO. And REMAX crossing RESALE.

    The entry USAGE makes me think of one of the first scuffles I got in here - how I didn’t think it was really a “linguistic” word but rather a “grammar” word. Hey – arguments about language make my day, so I can't complain.

    I’ll raise @Thomaso808’s quotoid with a factoid – this grid has three college mascots: LEO (Univ. of North Alabama), ERNIE (Bridgewater), and STAG (Scripps)

    There's another hidden gem in this puzzle: the old MAORI ADAGE about never having a LARGE MOUTH BASS as a BEDMATE. (And I mean never. Once? There was this time in Innsbruck?...)

    Off to administer my final to my most trying period. Talk about your teenage monsters…

    Lewis, you devil, you. You’re good! Can’t wait for more from you. Bring’em on!

    Unknown 7:26 AM  

    I solved this one without errors or googles in 46 min. Medium here. I felt lucky with a lot of long-shot guesses hitting the mark, starting with ITLL, LEO snd GARDEN.

    fORte before WORLD
    peArlS for ADAGES was my anchor in the SW.
    trump for REMAX was a typical guess, just one that missed.
    PAGE turned out to be right eventhough I considered it unlikely.
    EXES are union busters? How? They are evidence of a busted union, sure.
    taos for MESA because Taos is a destination and Mesa really is not.

    The theme saved me today, and it took a while to appear.
    All in all, it was a nice wrassle. Good for you, @Lewis!

    Name that tune 7:37 AM  

    I can't believe I left out the most important aspect of today's puzzle: DARRIN! I usually despise "dated" answers, but not when it comes to anything having to do with "Bewitched!" As a little boy, I would come home from school and rush to turn on the (black and white) TV to catch my favorite show. I have the hots for Samatha, and DARRIN, and even Tabitha (come on, I was just a boy!), so whenever any of them show up in a puzzle, it's a good puzzle.
    Otherwise, I couldn't really think of much bad to say about this one, except, of course, that it was too easy (pretty much every puzzle is super-easy for me) for a Thursday (which is really saying nothing bad about the puzzle), which is my way to take a dig at Will Shortz, which I try to do one way or another every day.

    Lewis 7:44 AM  

    Thank you, so many of you, for your kind words. My main hope in making a puzzle is that (as @danield mentioned) it’s an enjoyable solve, and I hope it was.

    I will take “pleasant enough” and “I liked this one OK” and “I enjoyed the five minutes I spent doing it” any time from Mr. Rex.

    I had this pegged for a Wednesday, but Will thought differently. Maybe because Saturday and yesterday were atypically gimmicky, he thought a gimmicky Thursday would be overkill. I have to tell you, I don’t know how Will does this 365 a year (echoing you, @loren). He patiently oversaw two revisions (allowing me to do all the work myself, which is a gift), then worked to fine tune the cluing where needed. I never had the feeling that this was part of an assembly line.

    Probably one more set of comments later, and @thomas, I’m guessing there will be a factoid/quotoid as well, which is a labor of love.

    evil doug 7:45 AM  

    Well done, Lewis. Proud of you.


    Name that tune 7:47 AM  

    @Loren Muse Smith:
    I am very sorry to hear about your dysmenorrhea. I hope whatever you administer can help, and, if it's your final, I hope menopause is better for you than it's been for my wife.


    joho 7:47 AM  

    Hey, Lewis! I'm been patiently waiting for your name to appear up at the top and was so excited to see it when I printed out the puzzle at ten last night! Congratulations on your debut! I'm certain after seeing this that it won't be your last published puzzle, either.

    I'm in the "easy" camp and was actually surprised that this ran on a Thursday. I think maybe it was because of how smoothly you filled a difficult grid -- those corners are Thursday worthy for sure, but you made them early-week easy ... which couldn't have been easy for you to do.

    My favorite answer was definitely GRUDGEMATCH ... which is something I doubt you could ever have with anybody.

    Great job! This is a GEM of a puzzle and your talent for construction will never be HIDDEN again!

    Lewis 7:48 AM  

    Oh, one more thing. Jeff Chen's comments on Xword are terrific, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the puzzle in his calm and intelligent manner.

    Jim Walker 8:09 AM  

    This is a beautifully constructed and entertaining puzzle. My congratulations to @lewis.

    Anonymous 8:13 AM  

    @evil doug (evil)---too brutal!!!!

    RAD2626 8:20 AM  

    Lewis: Congratulations. Terrific puzzle. Theme answers were all great. Good for you.

    Got HIDDEN GEM early so knew the theme but where to put the GEM in SW still took time given the two long themers there. Clue for TEA LEAVES was phenomenal. Made me laugh.

    chefbea 8:22 AM  

    Fun puzzle though I had to google a few things. Congrats to you @Lewis..I'll make you a great dinner - either Beef or Bass with a side of beets of course

    AliasZ 8:24 AM  

    Very cool Lewis, congrats! But I bet you would give anything for the opportunity to get rid of ITLL, DEREG and ASKER, and to reclue Palm D'OR as Le coq D'OR or Karin DOR from the Hitchcock GEM, "Topaz."

    It was fun searching for each HIDDEN GEM in the phrases, but to be honest, I would have preferred if they were SAGOPALM or DAVIDMAMETHYSTERICS, a PHONYXRAY, a ROOFTOPAZALEA bush, or the BEGGARNETWORK infesting the NYC subway system. Just SCRUBYOURFLOOR, it's filthy. Sorry I couldn't work sapphire into a phrase.

    Favorite entries: BARRISTER and LAY TO REST, which is what I am doing with this comment now.

    Enjoy your Thursday.

    Bob Kerfuffle 8:36 AM  

    Congratulations, Lewis!

    Fine puzzle (but, sorry, really should have appeared Tuesday or Wednesday, not under your control.)

    Rhino 8:43 AM  

    Looks like I'm in the minority but I found it hard. I finished, but just barely, and after almost giving up several times.

    But I liked it a lot. And last night my ten-year-old got a two-run RBI single to take the lead in the last inning. He's not a particularly gifted athlete, so it was one of those great moments that youth baseball offers.

    So it's a good day.

    Sir Hillary 8:50 AM  

    I enjoyed this one, albeit agree with @Rex that it was more suitable for earlier in the week.

    Congrats to you, @Lewis! From a sheer construction perspective, I can't help but notice that the NE and SW theme pairs are basically one on top of the other, with nine crosses running through them. Was that as difficult to navigate as I imagine it to be? Because the results are pretty damn seamless. Also, the stacked nines in the NW and SE give those corners a Fri/Sat themeless feel. Quite impressive.

    Haiku Nerd 8:53 AM  


    Anonymous 9:03 AM  

    Isn't HIDDENGEM a treasure, I.e. not plural?

    dk 9:09 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕🌕 (4 mOOOOns)

    Nicely done @Lewis.

    In Saint Petersburg FLA - go to the Dali Museum. Then go to St. Petes' Beach and stay at the Don Cesar. I would tell you to eat at the Black Palm but, alas it has closed.

    LOL moment was realizing it was a fish (bass) and not an instrument (bass), as a result @Lewis I have called Dr. Brave and let us just say your future is in the balance. I await a GRUDGEMATCH.

    @Loren, Ha! I have held Acme's hand.

    To get ANTS out of your pants do you call a Myrmecoproctologist….. inquiring minds need to know.

    Note to Mr. Porker learn when to use which and when to use that. Which one? That one!

    Anonymous 9:09 AM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle mostly because it showed me what better (faster) solvers must feel like. I sped through it, pausing only at GARDEN (for Texans like me, a better clue would have been "that dead area in the back yard".) If it had been placed earlier in the week, which apparently is what the constructor intended, I would only have praise for the fresh clues and answers. Impressive debut, even with the Thursday placement.

    Dorothy Biggs 9:27 AM  

    I liked this puzzle. The NW was challenging until I figured out where the HIDDENGEM went...which I got from MESA as a shot in the dark. I put the M in, filled in the GE above and hoped for the best. Being from the midwest and having no real geographical connection to the NYC area, I knew GARDEN City. (Makes me wonder what else I know). From there it sorta fell into place.

    Overall, I would concur with Rex that this was easy for a Thursday.

    JC mentioned that WS's only requirement for a Thursday is that it is harder than a Wednesday. Interesting...since I've come to associate Thursdays with the added layer of a trickeration or two. Meh, whatever.

    I liked DODGEMONACO (of course they would drive that kind of car) and both the SE and NW corners (once I got the NW).

    My only nit to pick is BEDMATE. There is something "f@$#% buddy" about's too shallow to describe a spouse and too intimate to describe a roommate. It's someone that, you know, share a bed with...solely.

    Did not know TAEBO was a portmanteau.

    Hartley70 9:28 AM  

    @Lewis! You sly devil! This was a great surprise of a Thursday and your byline is the "reveal" of the week, better than a rebus. You did a nifty job and made me worry that I wasn't going to get a decent foothold at the start, but like the best Thursdays it was ultimately a satisfying finish. Congrats! And thanks for revealing yet another side of your interesting fact-loaded mind.

    Generic Solver 9:32 AM  

    Seeing the late and legendary bassist "Duck" Dunn in the Blues Brothers clip in Rex's writeup was all I needed to put a smile on my face this morning.

    RnRGhost57 9:33 AM  

    @Lewis, congrats on a fine debut. Keep 'em coming.

    Z 9:34 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Lewis 9:35 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Z 9:37 AM  

    @Lewis - "I think this is because a few of the themers are simply entertaining in their own right." and "GRUDGE MATCH is the big winner of the day—a fantastic answer I can't remember seeing before." I've been hanging out here for awhile and I can say with some confidence that this is one of the best reviews for a debut that I've seen from Rex.

    This was not Monday easy for me. DODGE MO--C- was a WOE (wanted MOnarCH but wouldn't fit). we"LL and lEAP made the NW tough. And then getting ESTEEMS but writing ESTEEMe made undoing ActoR tougher than it needed to be. Queen of eHoBA anyone?

    The corner triple stacks are great. I would have gone with Wednesday as well, but the triple nines mean that the NW and SE are very segregated from the rest of the puzzle, upping the difficulty if you don't know, for example, GARDEN City, so I can see why it's Thursday.

    Lewis 9:39 AM  

    Factoid: A Japanese based company sells a laser turntable, which eliminates wear and tear on LP’S by using a laser to read the disc optically without physical contact from a needle (it costs $14,000-$18,000).

    Quotoid: “There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.” -- Salvador DALI

    One more comment later, responding to posts, but I have to say that ever the trickster, @loren has embedded at least five GEMs in her post...

    quilter1 9:43 AM  

    Wonderful debut. I liked everything. Solved leisurly as always, but steadily with few bumps. GARDEN City was a mystery to this Iowan, but a stare at crosses made it clear. Thanks, Lewis.

    grammar nazi 9:46 AM  

    @dk: While his (or her) writing may be a tad lame, Porker's usage (hat tip, LMS) of "which" and "that" in his post is perfectly correct.

    mathguy 9:52 AM  

    I'm with @Thomas808: Not easy. I needed The Closer for SIN and STAG. Also not easy for Bill Butler -- 21 minutes.

    What a kick to have one of us getting published and to have him comment on it. I went gem hunting on @Loren's post, but could only find "bring 'em on."

    This was one of the few themers where the theme helped. I got the top rather quickly but stalled below. So I looked at LARGEMOUTH and DODGEMONACO and noticed the embedded GEMOs. I looked for places to put those letters in the two long entries underneath.

    Billy C 9:56 AM  

    Math guy --

    I got only two GEMs, other than the "hidden gem" citation, which I assume doesn't count. Yours and teenaGE Monsters.

    Archie Leach 9:58 AM  

    Best looking BARRISTER ever:

    Archie Leach

    Billy C 9:59 AM  

    Aha, there it is ... " indulGE Me."

    Horace S. Patoot 10:03 AM  

    I hike quite a bit out here in the Arizona southwest, and I can only remember once having a MESA as a destination, and even then it was about climbing it and then climbing back down. Or if he meant the city of Mesa, AZ, well, that would be like "hiking" from one suburb to another, i.e. walking around town in street clothes. What does he think we're up to out here?

    Anonymous 10:19 AM  

    Congrats Lewis!
    Look forward for many more GEMs!

    Questinia 10:27 AM  

    Entered at CALGON. Am I right girls?!

    Like @ chefwen had Tarot card which I changed to Tarotarot because I knew Tarot had to be in there, also had lEAP instead of neap, so NW was last to fall with INDULGE ME.... loved that answer.

    Broad spectrum cluing and fill. Lovely.

    Non, mais Louis! I found this Berry-like smooth and what a pleasure to see another alum of this site with a debut as good as this!

    Like a sunset banana daquiri with @ Gil. So I rate this: @dk @dk @dk @dk.

    Arlene 10:28 AM  

    A Thursday completed with no googling - feels good! The NW was the last to fall. Got the theme from the reveal, and inserted the GEMs - interesting way to solve. And yes, I knew GARDEN City.

    Howard F 10:30 AM  

    I had TABLETURE for TEALEAVES. Which I think would've been a cool answer, but I realize isn't even a word. I knew something was wrong, because I was stuck... Put PLASM for PRISM (duh?!). Anyone else run into similar problems?

    Carola 10:31 AM  

    Whoa, @Lewis! I never suspected! Congratulations!

    RooMonster 10:33 AM  

    Hey All !
    Well, nice one @Lewis! Jealous here! Although technically I did make the puzzle!
    Got the NE first and easily, with of course knowing 22A, and also knowing the Bluesmobile. Would have taken a minute or two for the car name, but last month here in Las Vegas we had a car show, primarily for the 30th anniversary of "Back To The Future", (came out in 1985) but also featured the DODGE MONACO Bluesmobile, as it is the 40th anniversary of that movie (came out in 1975.) So that was a cool start!

    The rest of the puz was mediumish. Got hung up in a couple of spots. After LEO and EST, filled in Let Me as the end of 1D! Took a bit to suss out that corner. Once I got the revealer, knew 1D was part of the theme, so changed it and figured it out! Also hung up In the middle S, having Sodom and ooh for SHEBA/AHA. And ovoiD first for WORLD didn't help. Finally decided that MAKER had to be correct, which got me ASKER, then SAGS, then MCGRAW, then WAHS, then my ovoiD became WORLD, Whew!

    Liked it, Lewis. I took a break from submitting puzs, going to jump back on the tracks and try again. You've inspired me!

    ODES and EVENS

    jackj 10:48 AM  

    Who knew that lurking in the mind of this gentleman of a poster was a GEM of a puzzle, one to tickle the fancy of all who solve?

    Congratulations, Lewis!!

    Ludyjynn 10:52 AM  

    Very little to GRIPE about, @Lewis. For me, this fell medium, and perfectly fine for a Thursday. That NW triple stack went in last, despite GARDEN being a gimme.

    Loved seeing "Laura" in the grid, my favorite film noir flick, w/ Dana Andrews nearly jumping out of his skin, lusting after Gene Tierney. Will say no more, if by some chance anyone out there hasn't seen this classic.

    LARGEMOUTH bass reminds me of those fish on a plaque that talked and flapped around, and were all the rage a few years back.

    Congrats to you, @Lewis. AND to more puzzles coming down the pike in the DAYS ahead.

    Masked and AnonymoUUUs 11:04 AM  

    @Lewis: Congrats, U clever cruciverbalist, U. Gemoid!

    Fairly easy solve, because the theme didn't mess with U the way a lot of ThursPuzs will. As other crossword admirers have pointed out, the nine stacks and a bit of sneaky cluing is what gave it a little tinge of feistiness. There were just enough personal gimmes scattered about to keep old M&A marchin steadily to the coast: NEAP/LPS,ULT,LEO,EST in the NW. CEDE/CALGON in the N. ACORNS,OPTIC in NE. ERNIE/AND up the gut. ESTEEMS/PRISM rollin into the SW, altho the Antfear/mysterious "Take" cluing kept me at bay there, the longest.
    AHA/SHEBA opened up the S. HIDDENGEM was a given, by the time I got to the SE. rodeo. Nice. Fun. No bitter aftertaste, @009-wise. thUmbsUp.

    Six themers. Gadzooks. Yon @Lewis hath a lean and ambitious look. This puppy could not have been easy to construct. U suffered. That's good for U. Speakin of U's... three? Only three true hidden gems? har.

    U-saGE M&a


    Elaina 11:10 AM  

    Am I the only person who follows this blog that attended Adelphi University? That made Garden City a gimme.

    Anonymous 11:19 AM  

    Alternate clue for LAURA: "Ashley on a bed?"

    old timer 11:22 AM  

    Not being the Ninth Fasted Puzzle Solver on Earth, I thought the difficulty was Thursdayish myself. I kind of hate ACERB, don't want to believe it is a proper word, ao that was the last part of the puzzle to solve. It did give me BEDMATE which I should have figured out without crosses, but didn't. I also had "leap for NEAP for a while.

    Unlike most of you, I had to "leap" around a bit, and ended up finding HIDDENGEM. That really made it easy to find the rest of the themers, including DODGEMONACO and LARGEMOUTH.

    CALGON is a familiar name. My stepfather was the first person I knew with a dishwasher, and IIRC, the soap we used was Calgonite. Or maybe just CALGON.

    Congrats to Lewis for a superb debut.

    Andrew Heinegg 11:33 AM  

    I did not put together that Lewis Rothlein is the ever interesting provider of quotoid/factoid which is one part of the blog that I always look forward to. I say this because, as I was working the puzzle, which was more medium than easy for me, I kept thinking what a fun puzzle. Not surprisingly, a factoid (Maori as an official language of New Zealand, where my uncle lived for many years) was included. Bravo!

    Joseph Michael 11:38 AM  

    Fun puzzle. Especially liked DODGE MONACO (which I got only from the crosses) and GRUDGE MATCH as well as the three downs INDULGE ME, TEA LEAVES, and LAY TO REST which kind of tell a story. Congrats, @Lewis, on your NYT debut. It sparkles.

    Zeke 11:40 AM  

    I personally would have skipped the asterisks for the theme clues, on a Thursday. I'd be curious to know if they were Lewis's idea or Will's.
    Overall an outstanding, if a tad easy, Thursday.

    Nancy 11:42 AM  

    I'm so, so glad I read the comments first to find out that Lewis is OUR @Lewis! As I've said here before, many times, I am in awe of those who can construct a puzzle. Compared with that, solving is a breeze. And I think this blog is enough of a community that we all would think of any regular commenter here as OURS.

    Agree that this should have run Tuesday or Wednesday, but that's what you intended it for (@grammar nazi, please no correction from you!), so the wrong day of the week is not your fault. Loved the cluing for TEA LEAVES, ODES and EXES and thought that the clue for ASKER (which might just as well have been ActoR) was nicely ambiguous.

    Hope to see many more puzzles from you, Lewis! Congratulations on this one.

    grammar nazi 11:48 AM  

    Sorry to disappoint, @Nancy, but you seem to already know that the "it for" should have been left out of that sentence entirely. Grammar can be easy and fun!

    Nancy 12:14 PM  

    I've just returned from Jeff Chen's comments on this puzzle, and his remarks make me realize more than ever how the great the gap between solvers and constructors really is. Jeff says that "puzzle flow" could have been made smoother by shifting the block after EVENS to the left and the block after MESA to the right. I HAVE NO BLOODY IDEA WHAT ON EARTH HE IS TALKING ABOUT! See for yourselves:

    @grammar nazi: It's the REAL you, isn't it?! No ersatz, wannabe, poseur "grammar nazi" could have solved the ending-a-sentence-with-a-preposition dilemma so elegantly. Welcome back! I've missed you.

    The Angel City Kid 12:23 PM  

    With the two major sports series finals going on now I wanted game I at 30a but 30d prism fixed that quick.

    Elephant's Child 12:27 PM  

    @CascoK, Hah! I thought of Trump for the clue about the wig-bearing BARRISTERS!

    @AliasZ, outstanding! Sapphire would be a bugbear; could try for in res media Mondegreen

    Gotta make like anylon and run.

    mathguy 12:30 PM  

    I forgot to mention above how much I enjoyed the solving. I had double Thursday fun because the LAT puzzle is also terrific. It's by Danny Reichert, whom I seem to remember as a NYT constructor. A devilishly-clever theme. It's available free on the LAT website.

    @Lewis. Do you have some others in the pipeline?

    Anonymous 12:31 PM  

    My considered opinon is that Lewis R is even better a constructor than he is a commenter. And he's a demmed good commenter.

    GILL I. 12:35 PM  

    @Lewis, I hope you will PARTI all day long!
    What a NEAP puzzle...and I thought it was Thursday perfect. Hey, you also brought out our friend @jackj. Where are you? I miss your posts.
    A million congratulations to you. Do you prefer Yoga over teaching?
    @dk, Ha! I've hugged ACME...!
    I hope we see more of your work - maybe a Friday or Saturday?

    Anonymous 12:42 PM  

    Definitely Thu-level for me, fairly easy east of the Big Muddy, but had a lot of trouble back-filling NW & SW. I used to live in GARDEN city, and still did not get it right away.

    Anyone have return- instead of GRUDGE-? That really slowed me to a crawl. Also Det instead of DNA for cold case solver.

    The G in GARDEN really helped uncovering my last precious stone.

    Congrats to you @Lewis.


    Danield 12:55 PM  

    @anonymous 12:42---hand up here. Kept trying to make return match work until I realized 43D had to be gripe, then grudge jumped out at me.

    Loren Muse Smith 12:59 PM  

    Ok, @dk and @Gill – I’ll raise you one. I happen to know that the Evil Doug at 7:45am is the real deal - Lewis, that is a huge compliment!

    And the one at 7:47am is a wannabe. But boy oh boy I sure tee’d myself up for the imposter. Never occurred to me that anyone would go there; that’s not what I intended it for. The real Evil sure wouldn’t have. I know this because we’re friends, AND he’ll kill me for saying this, but off blog he’s charming, appropriate, considerate, and proper. And a good listener.

    Miss Lah Di Dah Big Shot Friend of Evil Doug

    PS –
    @jackj – where the heck have you been?? I always read your posts with my inner Bahston accent.

    @Nancy – I’ve never met a preposition I wouldn’t end a sentence with.

    Benko 1:05 PM  

    Congratulations Lewis! Nice puzzle.

    Mette 1:26 PM  

    @Lewis - enjoyed your debut. Keep 'em coming.

    Charles Flaster 1:38 PM  

    EZ Monday but very enjoyable.
    Agree with Rex today.
    Liked Kluing for ASIDE and PAGE.
    Congratulations LER on your debut and hoping there are many more.

    Warren Sapp 1:41 PM  

    When the Buccaneers drafted their new defensive end, they sure made a good SAPP HIRE.

    Anonymous 1:51 PM  

    Neither one of the previous commenters was the real evil doug--no picture!

    Mohair Sam 1:55 PM  

    @Lewis - Way to go! Terrific debut - hope you have more in the pipeline. Heartiest congrats.

    Played medium for us. Partly because we thought Tarotcard was a gimme, and Sodom. Born and raised in Patchogue, Long Island and needed four letters to see GARDEN City. Sheeze.

    Loved the clue for DODGEMONACO, what else would they drive?

    Oddly, a guessed ANTS was the word that opened the bottom of the puzzle for us and finished things off.

    Keep up the good work Lewis, and don't get haughty and give up on your quotoids and factoids. We count on 'em every day.

    RooMonster 2:01 PM  

    @Nancy 12:14
    What he was talkin bout :-) was if you were to change the diagonal black squares, the ones after EVENS and MESA, to go the opposite diagonal, in other words, you'd end up with EVEN and MESAs, it would open up the sectioned off NW and SE. Of course, the answers would have to change also, pretty much requiring totally new fill. And to be symmetrical, the black squares before DALI and WORLD would need to switch. Make sense, or are you now more confused? :-P


    r.alphbunker 2:05 PM  

    Are you aware of this:

    Had ANnex for {Take} instead of ANGLE.

    Did you get any puzzles rejected?

    Anonymous 2:07 PM  

    Rex: Nobody cares how many minutes it takes you to do it.

    Billy C 2:27 PM  

    @GN --

    Re: " seem to already know..."

    Tsk, tsk, tsk ... Splitting an infinitive is something up with which I cannot put. ;-)

    grammar nazi 3:29 PM  

    @Billy C,
    You are clearly a neophyte. It is a very common mistake among poseurs who purport to know grammar to wantonly criticize the split infinitive. In fact, such behavior pretty much identifies the perpetrator of such malarkey as a poseur. People who truly know grammar know that no accepted English grammar text, anywhere, says that splitting infinitives is taboo. If I were less genteel (or, apparently, like Annabel, gentile), one might suppose I'd like to gratuitously sock you in the nose.

    Anonymous 3:31 PM  

    Anon@ 2:07: While you may not care about Rex's time, I am absolutely certain your statement is false.

    Fred Romagnolo 3:33 PM  

    I've been praising of "our" Lewis before, so all I need do now is say "you're beautiful." Factoid: LER used to be a crossword answer clued as "Celtic sea god." I am (as usual) with @mathguy; top half easy, but troubles below. I, too, got hung up on return MATCH, and wanted "taps" for WAHS. But I made it, no references. Again, I love you, Lewis (or LER). Not one single disparaging ANONYMOUS today; if nothing else, that makes Lewis unique!

    Nancy 3:36 PM  

    @Roo (2:01)-- MORE confused (say I, sheepishly), but you must be the absolute sweetest Monster in the world for trying to explain it to me. :)

    Fred Romagnolo 3:37 PM  

    @G Nazi: he didn't say it was taboo, he said he couldn't put up with it; that's his right, a concept Nazi's don't comprehend. Go, Billy C!

    Lewis 3:57 PM  

    Well, a big thank you to the good wishes and kind comments from so many of you. You have made my five seconds of fame spectacular! Regarding specific posts:

    @sirhillary – I tried numerous ways to place the horizontal theme answers, and, illogically, this turned out to be the easiest way for me, though it wasn’t easy.
    @jackJ – So good to hear from you! Will you kindly start posting again?
    @zeke – My idea. I thought about leaving them out but with both across and down themers I thought it would make the puzzle less confusing.
    @mathguy – I do have more on the way, sent in but not replied on, and am working on one that is driving me nuts but still worth doing, IMO.
    @gillI – I like yoga and teaching equally. I had to decide between the two because I was teaching yoga and teaching school and it was too much. Went with yoga, opened a studio.
    @anon1:51 – No, that first post was the real Evil.
    @r.alph – Ha! Never heard of Hidden Gem Yoga studio! Rejected puzzles, oh yeah. This was my tenth send.

    Billy C 4:00 PM  

    @GN --

    True, there is some ambiguity on the issue of whether splinting an infinitive is ungrammatical.

    However, the Columbia [University] Guide to Standard American English, generally regarded as the preeminent authority on these issues, advises a policy " ... of avoiding the path of split infinitives when they are not necessary, especially when you are uncertain of your readers' expectations and sensitivities..."

    Now as THE self-proclaimed GN, I'm certain that you would not want to harm your admiring readers' expectations and sensitivities in the matter of correct usage, would you?

    By the way, The Free Dictionary defines "poseur" as "One who affects a particular attribute, attitude, or identity to impress or influence others." Hm-m-mmm, now I wonder who on this board comes most readily to mind when we think of this definition? Beuller? Beuller?


    BC 4:06 PM  

    er-r-r, darned spell checker. That was "splitting," obviously ..

    Tita 4:24 PM  

    Played tough for me - esp NW...
    Was wondering how to make I'LL fit at 1A, cdS or LPS, fall or NEAP, and how do I pout 9to5 in the grid...
    Plenty of vague clues had me going - pearlS before ADAGES, fAKER/modEl/actoR before ASKER...

    But the real killer was 2D...I was thinking some kind of pAgES... Tortuously wound my way round to TEAL EAVES... huh????

    I definitely needed the reveal to finish this puzzle. It was a really fun workout.

    @AliasZ - I had the same thought - in a Sunday puzzle, would be fun to search for actual GEMS. That's me - I can think of great ideas once someone plops a great one right in front of me. Come up with it on my own>
    Well, you haven't seen my byline on any puzzles lately...

    That scene from Blues Brothers when they come screaming up to the sidewalk, slam on the brakes, jump out of the DODGEMONACO, and slam the doors is one of my favorite all time movie scenes.
    I have felt like that after many road trips...and so has my car.

    All-in-all, @Lewis - a great debut - heartfelt congratulations and envy are being sent your way.

    grammar nazi 4:32 PM  

    @ Billy C: There is no ambiguity. Everyone with any expertise, including the authority you cite, agrees that splitting infinitives is a question of style, not a question of grammar.

    Your Pal Billy 4:46 PM  

    @GN --

    Splitting one's infinitives a question of style? OK, let's go to the Oxford Dictionaries, which " ... on balance consider it a weak style and advise against its use..."

    But OK, you aren't a "Style Nazi" poseur. ;-)

    Back to you ...

    Elwood 5:45 PM  

    @Roo - There must have been a typo on the placard on the Dodge Monaco you saw in Vegas because The Blues Brothers movie came out in 1980. It was based on a long running SNL skit. SNL, BTW premiered in Oct. 1975.

    Teedmn 6:15 PM  

    When I printed the puzzle out this morning and saw the byline, I wondered if it was 'our' Lewis. Glad to see it was; congrats on the debut. And if I counted them correctly, there were 7 double letters for our resident alphadoppeltotter. I would have expected more - that is a rather low count!

    I got I'VE and EST first and had to skip around to get started. Accidentally put in EhHNO and wondered what kind of quarters CAPH (caliphates?) had but I saw my error in time.

    But the NW turned it into a GRUDGE MATCH as I missed the star on 1D so happily put in HERE LET ME, with a HALL pass (missed the quotes on that one), Moab for MESA and "lab" for DNA. Got ticked and started solving in AcrossLite to use the check button. Wasn't I surprised to see all that wrongness?

    So Thursday hard for me but lots of fun and I feel smug that ANGLE for "take" didn't faze me in the slightest.

    RooMonster 6:56 PM  

    @Elwood 5:45, aw, fiddlesticks! You are right, of course, since you are on a mission from God! Bad blunder on my part.


    Aunt GEMima 7:04 PM  

    To the not-as-young-as-he-used-to-be @dk:
    Ha! The Myrmecoproctologist won't get rid of the ANTS in your pANTS; he'll just finger them. 'Minds me of this one Homo sapient proctologist I knew: a Big fellow with hands to match. His patients lovingly called him "Old Banana-fingers".

    Leapfinger 7:51 PM  

    ASIDE from mentions of @Lewis' entries:
    BrinG 'EM on
    TeenaGE Monsters
    a big challenGE Making
    never a crinGE Moment
    arguments about languaGE Make my day
    colleGE Mascots
    USAGE Makes me think

    And don't forget the shape-shifting avatar:
    StaGE Mom

    As you can see, the GEMs are scattered all about, in no particular arrangement. And all this, mind you, before 0730. Yowza, Ms Muse!

    ps. I always like seeing LEO,because I am. EVEN ODDS that @Lewis is a GEMini?

    Anonymous 8:50 PM  

    This whole day was a huGE Mistake.

    Nancy 9:10 PM  

    @Loren-- Your own hidden GEMS were so well hidden that just about everyone here failed to see them. Even after the stunt had been pointed out -- and I went back for a second look -- I missed picking up all but two of them. So, evidently, did @mathguy and @Billy C. (Did anyone else even look?) Only @Leapfinger seems to have had the required eagle eye. Anyway, a very smooth, subtle job.

    Indypuzzler 9:34 PM  

    Because of what you said about "no bloody idea" ( I could relate to that big time ) I read Jeff Chen's comment and I figured out what he meant (kinda maybe) applied to ME! The deal is that the placement of the black squares totally isolated portions of the puzzle. In my case, I was able to easily get all of the puzzle EXCEPT pretty much all of the NW real gimmes for me (I resisted NEAP) even with N and P) and Garden City an unknown. So moving the black square or squares would have allowed an opening for a word or words from below in SW to come up into NW which would aid the solver. At least I THINK that is his point.
    Congrats @Lewis! I still think this was a great puzzle even though the NW "territory" gave me fits.

    Mary Wideau 10:23 PM  

    I must say I'VE reaped great enjoyment from today's exchanges between @Grammar N and @Billy C, although I, personally, limit my wanton criticisms to Chinese restaurants. I may be turning into a linguistic worrywart: while I have no trouble with a punch being gratuitous, I'm in a quandary trying to imagine how I would punch gratuitously. If it's anything like pay-per-view shadow-boxing, 'spar for the course.

    Good timing to bring back the genteel Gentile thingy on the day of the GEM theme. Funny, but from my vantage point, @Billy C sure doesn't look Jewelish.

    Z 10:35 PM  

    @Mary Wideau - Wanton Wonton criticisms are welcome here, if not at your local Chinese cuisine specialist.

    From Pharoah to Ferris 11:04 PM  


    It's that Gentile poseur Beuller again.

    jberg 12:18 AM  

    Nice puzzle, congratulations @lewis.

    I can't remember which one, but I used to belong to a book club where the books were shipped from GARDEN CITY, so that one was easier for me than for most.

    @dmw, maybe that's a little TMI about you and your wife.

    Proud Mamma 8:39 AM  

    I am not an expert here. So my persoective is from that angle. I rarely attempt friday. Recently though, with perseverance, i have been able to solve Thursday if i walk away and come back to it later. This one was impossible. I looked up fact answers (Bushmiller) and still couldnt completely fill. NW finally beat me and i came here for answers.
    That said, i enjoyed the theme.

    Unknown 12:55 PM  

    I am here to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for over 9 years and we had two kids. thing were going well with us and we where always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treated me and the kids. later that month he did not come back home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted traditional spell hospital for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he casted on him that make him come back to me. my family and i are now happy again. Thank you Dr. Aluta for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay. He cast spells for different purposes like
    (1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) if you always have bad dreams.
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women/men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.
    (7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
    (8) If you need financial assistance.
    (9) Herbal care
    (10) is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery
    Contact him today on:

    jual cialis 4:21 PM  

    Bad NW. Southwest hike destination (35A) = MESA, lame! Garden City, LI may be known to locals, but not elsewhere in the world.

    Otherwise, meh puzzle.

    spacecraft 11:39 AM  

    "It's got a cop engine, cop brakes and cop shocks. Is it the Bluesmobile, or what?" I'll trade ya four fried chickens and a Coke.

    Other than misspelling DARReN, I got everything pretty smoothly, sort of. The grid pinches off the NW and SE with only convoluted entry, and so for a while I despaired of a foothold in the former. I missed entirely the fact that 1-down was starred (!) and actually never realized it was a theme answer till I read the lead blog. What -DEN City in NJ...the GARDEN state? Hmmm. OK, let's try GARDEN. Duh! That LAY the NW TO REST. Getting into the SE was easier, with the obvious BARRISTER.

    OFL mentions confusion with take = ANGLE--then he lets it drop with no explanation! Somebody 'splain take = ANGLE. I mean, it had to be ANTS or ARTS, and ARGLE makes no sense. ANGLE doesn't either, but at least it's a word.

    I call it medium; I think the clues are tougher than OFL does. I look forward to @BS's use of BEDMATE. B+.

    Burma Shave 12:05 PM  


    My HIDDENGEM is no Queen of SHEBA, AND I just ASKER to ALLEVIATE
    high ball pressure, so INDULGEME while I LAYTOREST my LARGEMOUTH BEDMATE.


    rondo 12:42 PM  

    @ spacey – on the take/ANGLE thing. It’s something like “What’s your opinion, or point of view (take/ANGLE) on that subject.” That might be a little clunky, but my best off the cuff.

    Had the same misspelling in DARReN, but also gameI as the series starter. Guess that’s the ballplayer in me. So there’s a little mess on the grid for me.

    Queen of Sheba, a biblical yeah baby. Quite the DALI.

    Would’ve preferred Tug or Tim MCGRAW, but the sports and musician GRIPErs would have their BAHs and WAHS over that.

    Any Thursday puz that doesn’t have 3 to 5 letters jammed into one square is OK by me.

    Anonymous 2:13 PM  

    This was one of the very few times I completed a Thursday without having to look something up. All fell in place and, I hate to do it, but I have to agree with Pex Rarker that this was an Easy one. Five minutes seems "stretching it a little."

    Will the auto industry ever run out names? Monte Carlo, Dodge Dart, HenryJ, Bel Air, Chrysler Royale, Zephyr, Packard Clipper, etc., etc.

    Ron Diego = Pen name. (I wouldn't want anyone to know who the real world-famous and humble person that I am).

    DMG 5:10 PM  

    Anyone else having robot problems. The last couple of days the robot has offered me no chance to post. Late last night there was a chance, but it seemed silly to post a comment when most have already done the new puzzle. On the other hand, there is no opportunity to post again today, so will save this and see if things open up,again at some time. I feel lonely out here.

    Meantime, enjoyed today's puzzle. Getting GEM did help with a couple of the answers. Nice to know that our Factoid guy does such nice work.

    Z 5:23 PM  

    @DMG - something worked.

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