1934 Chemistry Nobelist Harold / THU 7-16-15 / Brigante 1993 Pacino role / Kirk first actor to play Superman on screen 1948 / Entreaty to Rapunzel / Sitcom nickname of Wally's bro

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: HAIR / TODAY / GONE / TOMORROW — a puzzle about the removal of unwanted hair, i.e. a spa WAX treatment (59D: Spa treatment hinted at by the ends of 17-, 27-, 44- and 55-Across)

Theme answers:
  • "LET DOWN YOUR HAIR" (17A: Entreaty to Rapunzel)
  • "PSYCHOLOGY TODAY" (27A: Magazine whose website has a "Find a Therapist" feature)
  • "THE THRILL IS GONE" (44A: 1970 B.B. King hit)
  • "I'LL DO IT TOMORROW" (55A: Procrastinator's promise)
Word of the Day: BIRETTA (40D: Cardinal's cap) —
noun: biretta; plural noun: birettas; noun: beretta; plural noun: berettas
  1. a square cap with three flat projections on top, worn by Roman Catholic clergymen. (google)
• • •

This has been a rough week of puzzles, and today's puzzle does nothing to reverse the trend. I know you can see the trouble. You. Yes you. Or do you not? Do you really look at this and think "Great Thursday! Just what I want my NYT Thursday to be?" If that's your reaction to this puzzle, we are simply very different people. I can live with that. My main concern now, though, is that the problems here are so obvious (to most) that my walking you through them will seem condescending and unnecessary. But let's start with the plusses (the YESSES, if you will ... god that answer hurts even to look at. My computer is angrily red-lining it as we speak...). So, plus: the themers are all 15s. They are varying degrees of solid, but all over the solid threshold. For me, this thematic structural element is the puzzle's one high point. Now, reasonable minds can differ on cornball puns from a million years ago (so ... you can see where I fall in the discussion). But some people are delighted by them. "Ho ho," they say. Or so I imagine. "'HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW.' Delightful!" Now me, if I have to endure a pun puzzle, I'd like it to involve a pun that doesn't feel as old as the hills, but ... your tastes may vary.

[from the episode entitled ... "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow"]

[from the episode entitled ... "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow"]
[Then there's this ...]

But then there's the fact (yes, fact) that this puzzle is just lazily filled. It's got some decent entries (predictably, in the longer Downs), but it's also got some desperately bad stuff and an overall depressing air of neglect. The fill, guys, the fill. Come on. Can I not get a witness today? Today of all days? Are you really gonna stand and defend ENOW and UREY (!?!?!). There's just too much suboptimal going on. NOES and YESSES (omg I still can't look at it!). ALYN!?! Partial names like CLEEF and BRIGGS. Then there's ROY and ROI (actually, that made me laugh, probably unintentionally, but I'll take it). The grim-and-grimmer cross of SPIT AT and -IANA (!?!*$^%#).

 My mama done TOL me there'd be days like this, but not so many in a row.

I had no idea what the theme was til the end, which is probably the intended and common solving experience. You discover the pun phrase and chuckle. Ta da! So that happened. Minus the chuckling, it happened. This puzzle was neither as clever nor as difficult as I expect a Thursday to be, so some of my resentment toward this puzzle has to do with its appearing today instead of yesterday. But only some. As I was solving, I thought there was something going on with longer answers and adjacent shorter answers ... hear me out: see how HAIR sits right on top of GROOMED? And PSYCHOLOGY sits right underneath CRAZIES?? Weird coincidence, right? Anyway, couldn't make BEAV relate to THRILL no matter how hard I tried (well, not without some pretty terrible and frankly lewd stretching, anyway ...), so I just waited for that WAX revealer to clue me in. The only challenging part of the puzzle was B-VITAMIN. I got the B- and wrote in BUILDING (38D: Part of a complex).

Just so you can see / remember what delightful, clever, well-crafted theme puzzles look like, please please do Aimee Lucido's American Values Club Crossword this week ("Massive Change"). (You should already be a subscriber, but you can buy puzzles a la carte too). It renewed my faith in the simple joys of crossword-solving, as well as my belief that NYT puzzles can be much better than they have been of late.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


JJ 12:03 AM  

Why constructors shoot for 72 words in a themed puzzle when 78 is the maximum always puzzle me. The fill problems that Rex points out could have easily been fixed with an addition 2 or 3 black squares and a higher word count. You don't get paid for going under 72! And solvers certainly don't appreciate the toughness of working with a 72 word grid if it turns out like this.

jae 12:06 AM  

Mostly easy for me with a few exceptions.  (1) the BIRETTA/ALYN cross.  I guessed right only because  ALYN sounded like a made up 1940s Hollywood last name (just checked - real name John Feggo Jr.). (2)  the AAMES, IANA area partly because they were both WOEs, partly because I was iffy on TIARAS and the spelling of ISAIAH, and partly because it took me a while to suss the "sticking" clue. 

So, after yesterday's animated discussion it comes down to "does the theme trump stuff like...TOL, ALYN, IANA, ZOA, ELL... for me?"   Yes, yes it does.  Thought this was genuinely funny.  Liked it.  I agree with Rex about too easy for Thurs. and the fill, but it was still a fun solve.

JFC 12:12 AM  

@Rex, I feel your pain. I really do. I sense your desire not to be so over the top as you have been but still frustrated by what you see as a less than acceptable puzzle for the NYT. I get it. But I look at these puzzles differently from you, because I only feel whether it was enjoyable for me or not to solve. Tonight I agree with you, maybe for different reasons. The puzzle was not up to what I expect from a Thursday.


paulsfo 12:12 AM  

i hated the theme, mainly because (first time ever, and probably the last time) i immediately filled in all four theme answers with no crosses. Too easy AND too boring.

Pete 12:15 AM  

Me, getting the theme: If it's here today, gone tomorrow then it's waning, not waxing.
Me, getting the theme, take 2: Oh great, at toiletry theme - reminds me, I've got to go and differentiate my nose hair from my mustache - should I shave, tweez or bleach? Discuss.
Me, getting the theme, take 3: Is 40A an easter-egg?

Moly Shu 12:17 AM  

Pretty easy, the first and last theme answers went in without any crosses. That really aids a solve. IANA ? Gotta agree with @Rex, right up there with OES. Personal natick. BIRETT?/?LYN. Never heard of either so it was whack-a-vowel. Kind of like TOL, like the clue for ALIMONY, and really like ANNEALS, just one of those words I enjoy. Foist, lurid, deign, germane, don't know why, I just like the way they all look and sound. I'm a strange bird, I know.

Steve J 12:23 AM  

Ridiculously easy. Remarkably blah.

MDMA 12:31 AM  

One of the easiest and fastest Thursdays, but still "died on the beach" with BIRETT_ and _LYN as a Natick. The obvious letter was A, but then I started thinking about O, and... outsmarted myself. DNF.

ZERO STAR sounds wrong until you interpret it as an adjective, as in zero-star rating, two-time loser, three-piece suit, four-wheel drive, Five Man Electrical Band, and six-string guitar.

Got B VITAMIN from the first letter alone, feeling smug about that. UREY was a personal science gimme.

Google Ngrams says "yeses" is much more common than "yesses". Apropos of nothing, "yeses" and "theses" are eye rhymes.

Overwrites: DOnate for DO GOOD. Wig for WAX, after seeing the HAIR TODAY GONE TOMORROW lines light up in the iPad app when the cursor is at 59D, and not actually reading the clue.

chefwen 12:33 AM  

@Thomaso area code 808 (sorry, I can't remember how to exactly spell your name) I thought the saying was HAIR TODAY GONE TO MAUAI. Right?

Well, I liked it.

Someone asked, on a different blog, how to get rid of muscle cramps, I responded VITIMIN B complex 38D. Funny how that works.

wreck 12:34 AM  

I would agree it was easy and blah. I thought Rex would jump on TWO GIGS - probably the biggest "green paint" entry seen in awhile. I can accept that the puzzles this week have been somewhat below par ( in most constructor's eyes), but by the same token, last week's puzzles were pretty good on the whole. I just don't see that the NYT puzzles have been so terribly bad as of late as Rex professes.

chefwen 12:38 AM  

Let's try MAUI - sheesh!

JFC 12:49 AM  

@Chefwen, if I were where you are I would like anything. But I'm in Chicago and the summer this year sucks. The Oak Street beach on Lake Michigan is not exactly Waikiki beach. As a result I sometimes agree with Rex.


Anonymous 1:06 AM  

Can't say much about a Thursday puzzle in which I fill in all the long themers to start. Blech.


MDMA 1:21 AM  

@wreck, good point about TWO GIGS.

Missed video tie-in opportunity: The Crazies (1973) trailer (a bit gory). This is how they used to do voiceovers for trailers, Reefer Madness style, before the Don LaFontaine "in a world..." paradigm took over.

Anoa Bob 1:32 AM  

If you take four fifteen-letter themers and put them in a grid that has an unusually low number of black squares/blocks for a themed puzzle, 33, (typically themed puzzles have 38 or more blocks), then I think it's inevitable that some of the fill will be severely compromised. Today's puzzle illustrates that amply.

The other side of the coin is that the extra white space of a low block count grid opens things up for some good non-theme fill, especially longer downs. DEWDROPS, ZEROSTAR, BVITAMIN & ALIMONY are nice but are somewhat offset by TWOGIGS, DOGOOD, & YESSES (POC plus POC enabler!).

I think the solvers' overall impression of the puzzle will come down to how they like the theme, and that many will agree with @chefwen and like the puzzle. I thought it was an interesting puzzle with a solid theme, but with some missed opportunities in medium-long to long down areas.

DrLee77 1:56 AM  

I've been a years long reader of this blog and tried to comment once before, but me name was inappropriately translated as Darlene. I agree that OFL has been all over the place as of late, but I tend to agree about todays solve. I agree witrh @Chefwen and liked it for the same reasons. I also think @Anoa Bob nailed it as above. Shout out
@MDMA for Harold UREY as a science gimme. Embarassed as a physician at having _VITAMIN before getting B-complex. I enjoyed filling in 3 of four theme answers immediately + WAX. It took a minute or 2 before B.B, King song came to me. Thanks to @REX and all you Rexites for giving me much enjoyment over years.

Music man 2:08 AM  

Sure, the theme is solid, but when I wait around all week for those crazy Thursday themes I love and don't get one, I get a little disappointed. I want to be tricked a little, have to figure something out. This was more of an early-week theme, though I found it tough enough for a Thursday. I don't have as a complete set of crosswordese as some other solvers.

Hopefully tomorrow and sat redeem mom-thurs.

Music man 2:10 AM  

"It" being the puzzle not the theme, obv.

And mon-thurs, obv

Music man 2:12 AM  

Hahaha you may be onto something there. It's right there in the middle isn't it, for all to see.

JTHurst 2:14 AM  

Rex, I agree with you, when the weight of the fill drivel overwhelms the theme and long down answers, it makes for a itchy puzzle. But the humour of this puzzle and some of the allusions were cute. I would have loved to see, instead of groomed as an answer, an answer with brained right below hair. The puzzle smacks of a therapists couch and maybe Will S. allowed it to clue Rex to get professional help on his puzzle diatribes.

The Myers-Briggs question brought back memories of my taking a test to determine if I was adequate to become an insurance salesman. It was so blatantly rigged to discover my streak of greed, larceny, and selling ethics that I went over the top and answered, "Give me the money" on every question. I got the job and lasted two years and have forgotten everything about insurance sales except the Myers-Briggs test.

I do not understand the zero star. I am sure math guy 'may' agree with me but zero is a null state. Unless the constructor is relating zero star to nothing. If it is rated even a minuscule amount it is not zero. Therefore, if zero star is no rating, neither negative or positive, then I can understand the answer. No stars does not equate to zero stars.

JTHurst 2:19 AM  

Oh, I forgot. Are there any other words ending in 'es' which are then pluralized by adding 'ses'?

I get a lot of words like guess, less, mess, etc which you just add 'es' to pluralize.

Thomaso808 5:39 AM  

@Chefwen why would anyone go to MAUI when there is KAUAI?

I liked the puz just fine, rolling along thinking it was too easy for a Thursday until I hit some snags in the south.

ENOW was clued for the archaic word for "enough" but following recent trends it could have been clued "This very moment in cyberspace".

Thomaso808 5:46 AM  

ECOLI, sorry I can't think of an e-clue, but it's still cool that the e-words are side by side.

dk 7:18 AM  


Z 7:36 AM  

@Pete12:15 - The NYTX is staid, so it has to be something PG stuck in there.

Crunchy for all the wrong reasons, BIRETTA, ALYN, ENOW, CLEEF, IANA. Still, I did the "well-constructed theme puzzle" Rex referenced and don't see much to differentiate the two. That other puzzle has some very tired three and four letter answers, it's got trivia like the other Ephron, a Mayflower person, Roman emperor trivia, and an Orwell clue only to be loved by HS English teachers. Then there's the theme... I don't want to give too much away, but definitely a "fine if you like that sort of thing" theme. The results were too forced by one and a half for my taste. I did like some of the crap fill cluing, so there's that.

In short, I generally agree with Rex about today's puzzle if you turn it down about three notches. I think the AVCX is about the same quality today.

The English Avocado 7:44 AM  

The best thing about Mr. Parker's crossword-puzzle curmudgeon-ry, for me, is that, at least for one aspect of my life, someone is more irritated by a situation than I am. There's great solace in that.

Charles Flaster 7:45 AM  

Very EZ theme , perfect for a Wednesday. I expect a tricky, rebus type for Thursday.
Liked cluing for ALIMONY and BEAV.
"The BEAV" has given us three icons of Americana--Eddie( Haskell), Lumpy (Rutherford) and June ( Cleaver).
UREY is good CrosswordEASE.
Other than that point I agree with OFL.
Who was Superman's voice on radio? He emceed a popular oldies quiz show.
No Googling allowed.
Thanks PG.

Glimmerglass 7:50 AM  

Not a great Thursday puzzle, I agree. I never did see the "theme," though I'd heard the old joke. Mostly easy for me, but I stumbled on CARET, despite having worked as a copy editor. The problem wax with IANA. IANA refers to the collection, not the collector. I had IANt, which blocked me from CARET.

Name that tune 7:52 AM  

This is not easy for me. Getting up the energy to rant every night is exhausting, then I'm so angry at Will, the constructor, the New York Times, and the world that I can't sleep. Then I'm grumpy all day, which just sets me up to be angrier at the next puzzle. I'm contemplating suing the Times for damaging my mental health, but they probably don't have much money these days...
What's sad about all of this is that I miss a lot of good things in even so-so puzzles. ALIMONY?! That's gold. Why can't I just appreciate the little things?

RAD2626 7:54 AM  

Agree with the criticisms. Theme answers were fine, although theme itself was silly, stale and not really funny. ILIE, ENOW, IANA etc. annoying but not as annoying in my view as TWO and ZERO which were just total plug modifiers. Not a lot of fun.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

I think of a MINX more as a SEXKITTEN than a BIMBO.

RAD2626 7:57 AM  

@Charles Flaster. Mr. Beat the Clock.

Dorothy Biggs 7:58 AM  

INTP checking in.

This puzzle was ridiculously easy for me...like Monday easy. Every single one of the themers went in with no crosses. I just filled them in. Sure, I doubted them because they were so easy but it didn't take long before I could see they were right. From there is was oddly fill in the blank. And by "oddly" I mean I kept waiting for a shoe, any shoe, to drop. Thursdays are tricky at a meta level. This was just about as straight ahead as you can get. Am I missing something?

It's nice that Rex has resorted to attacking us solvers now...it's as though he's spent most of his critiques for the puzzles and now he's on to attacking us for even doing them. Huh. Maybe Rex DOES read these comments and when someone likes a puzzle his computer turns red. I dunno. But his tirade reminds me of when you get too loud in a musical piece that you have no where else to go dynamically...so you try to make it "louder" by taking another angle...maybe get softer, maybe slow down, etc...but once you're spent, you've got nowhere else to go. If tomorrow's puzzle is bad, look for yet a new way to say how bad it is. He may start attacking paper and ink because how dare they exist to create such drivel!

That said, and really to his point, this puzzle wasn't good.

And, at the risk of sounding Rex-like, i HATE letter clues almost as bad as puns. "July third." ELL. OMFG. hELL is right.

I also think a poor review is ZEROSTARs...plural. You got your 5 stars, your 4 stars, and even a 1 star (singular), but ZERO STARs. None out of 5. You could say the movie didn't even get a star, but it would still be zero stars. Maybe @grammar nazi can confirm...?

Ludyjynn 8:05 AM  

An odd combination of easy v. obscure, lovely v. dreadful clueing.

On Thursday, do we really need "(jeweler)" to get the fill in the blank CLEEF?

On the other hand, I still don't get ELL for 41D or SOLO for 46D. Anyone?

I ADORE the PSAS and ALIMONY clues.

NOES...seriously?! OUCH!

Hand up for guessing right at the BIRETTA/ALYN sinkhole.

Overall, that Rex(ROI) DUDE really knows what he's talking about! I ECHO most of his sentiments today.

Ludyjynn 8:09 AM  

@NCAPrez, Thanks; I finally understand ELL after reading your post, but what about SOLO? I just filled them from crosses.

joho 8:12 AM  

I agree with @NCA about ZEROSTARs. I agree with @DrLee (nice to hear from you!)who agreed with @Chefwen and @Anoa Bob. And, yes, yes, (that's two YESSES) I agreed with @Rex today.

This is on me, I simply didn't think theme is funny. Also I missed my tricky Thursday. I expect some kind of shenanigans today and didn't get any.

I DNF with AAMaS because I spelled it CARaT. Nobody's fault but mine. I was going to complain about AAMaS under IANA but can't.

@Rex, I like your spotting CRAZIES over PSYCHOLOGY and HAIR over GROOMED and I do believe BEAV is also pretty close to GONE. Now that's funny!

grammar nazi 8:13 AM  

I'd say, "That restaurant was given a ZERO-STAR rating in the review I read," so in that sense the clue and answer work. I agree that the alternative, namely "I give the restaurant ZERO STARs," is plural.

Here's Eater.com: "New York Times critic Pete Wells uses the word "awful" a half-dozen times in his ZERO-STAR takedown of Michel Richard's opulent NYC restaurant inside the New York Palace Hotel."

Dorothy Biggs 8:13 AM  

@Ludyjynn: If you are without help (helpless) you are going SOLO.

Unknown 8:14 AM  

@NCA President - I don't know if it is grammatically correct or not, but "A zero-star review" is certainly a thing.

Like many others, I found this puzzle very easy until suddenly it wasn't. Naticked at ENOW/ANNEALS and BIRETTA/ALYN. Plus, I was sure AAMES was Eames and that screwed everything up for awhile.

Dorothy Biggs 8:16 AM  

@grammar nazi: I should have known. Restaurants and hotels get four-star ratings all the time. It's that damned hyphen missing in the puzzle...

chefbea 8:18 AM  

Got Hair today gone tomorrow right away but had some trouble with the rest and had to google a bit. Wasn't a bad puzzle but we haven't had a rebus in a while!!
@DrLee welcome

Ludyjynn 8:20 AM  

@NCAPrez, Can you hear me groaning where you are?! Add SOLO to the 'dreadful' column. Thanks again for your help.

Sir Hillary 8:24 AM  

I solve on paper, and aside from filling in the grid, I do two other things:
-- Circle clues that I enjoy.
-- List crappy short fill above the grid.

Today, I had one for the former (42D, a stunner to be sure) and five for the latter (and that was restraining myself). That is a very poor ratio.

ENOW said.

Loren Muse Smith 8:25 AM  

I must be one of the few who didn't promptly fill in the four 15's. I usually dispatch whatever fill-in-the-blanks I can and go from there, so this played much harder for me than it should have.

Some early goofs: "oof" for OUCH, "nice" for RICH, "Psalms" for ISAIAH, "my lord" for BY NAME (this was right after I got ENOW and was just feeling all old-fashioned), and "flit" for DART.

ANNEALS was a WOE for me. What a weird-looking verb. CARLITO was one I've never seen. And DO GOOD is one O short of a palindrome. Cool.

When I worked at a gourmet food store in NC, the accountant's name was a spunky woman named BRIGGS. She tol me a funny story about potty-training her daughter. The family called the child's pull-ups "panties," and once while BRIGGS was leaning over a table of clearance sweaters at the mall, her daughter pulled up BRIGGS' skirt and announced to the crowd, "Look, my mommy doesn't have to wear panties!"

Rex you wrote, "I know you can see the trouble. You. Yes you. Or do you not? Do you really look at this and think 'Great Thursday! Just what I want my NYT Thursday to be?'" Yeah, I saw the trouble throughout – ALYN, BIRETTA, UREY (sorry, @MDMA and @DrLee77), IANA, ZOA, YESSES, TOL, AAMES, CLEEF, NOES, ENOW. . . – sometimes I just don't notice a plethora of iffy entries because I'm so focused on the theme, but today I did take note somehow. I'm among those who filled the entire grid and had the late aha moment. "Are you really gonna stand and defend ENOW and UREY (!?!?!)" – no, I'm not going to try to defend them, but I will say that, surprise surprise, I enjoyed most of this as I finally saw the pun.

@NCA President – funny, I never feel like Rex is attacking me, his solving soul mate opposite. I did count myself among those he was speaking to, but it felt more like incredulity than disdain. Also – the clue for ELL is one of my favorite kinds of clues. I'm waiting for ELL's clue to be "fifth of Absolut?"

@Lewis, if I may, a quote by Seinfeld - “What I don't understand is how women can pour hot WAX on their bodies, let it dry, then rip out every single hair by its root and still be scared of spiders.”

Califonjer 8:28 AM  

Not a regular commenter here either, but a regular Rex Reader and NYT solver. Found this puzzle easy except for a self-inflicted wound in the SE. Tomorrow is one of those double letter words I always spell wrong. The fact that I spelled it tommorow held me up until I heard my inner Sister Mary Helen say: "That's points off for spelling, young man." This was a disappointing Thursday for me. I like my Thursday to have a trick that you need to work out, such as a rebus or some other ploy, before you can fully solve the puzzle. Does anyone remember a puzzle some years ago where you had to break a code to fill in the long answers? It was a brilliant piece of construction, and I felt like a genius solving it.

GeezerJackYale48 8:37 AM  

Picky picky. I guess if your waking day is consumed by crosswordism, you get grumpy when every creation is not a masterpiece. This puzzle is not. But it entertained me for a while, and that's what I want from it. Thanks, NYT.

r.alphbunker 8:40 AM  

Any puzzle with grid spanning answers brings me pleasure. Grids like this has happened 2,953 times in the Shortz era. Details are here

The usual analysis is here

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

I thought the clues for ODING and DTS could have been linked somehow, given their proximity...

haiku nerd 8:43 AM  


Anonymous 8:54 AM  

@GeezerJack: Maybe Rex is picky, pricky, and prickly?

Dshawmaine 8:56 AM  

I had to ponder the July third clue and answer for an embarrassingly long time, even with @NCAPrez's observation, before the lightbulb went on - the third letter of July is an ELL -- that's pretty bleeping awful, especially when a *real word* clue could have been used. Also agree with Rex and others on YESSES and NOES (no, no, no!) - the latter eliciting an audible groan when I filled it in. I was okay with the pun theme though - made me feel like a pro, zipping through a Thursday like that (until I hit the IANA/CARET section where, out of boredom at the 40 minute mark, I cried OUCH, THE THRILL IS GONE, and DNFed).

Leapfinger 9:02 AM  

Only stallions are GROOMED; mares are Brided. I Bridle at the thought.

By the same token, I'm advokating for ARGENT to make way for ARLady. C'est politesse.

Liked ENOW for the clue "Stoppeth it!". Even better, liked that @dick swart mentioning his 'pain au chocolat' (yum, bien sur) was immediately followed by Gamache.
Gotta be kismet.

@chefwen, thnx for 'Hair today, gone to Maui'. Apparently I haven't collected all the old chestnuts.

Me, I don't. WAX floored me.

GeezerJackYale48 9:04 AM  

Uh yes, Anonymous, you might say that. I on the other hand would certainly not. (I didn't think of it!)

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

I made sure to subscribe to the NYT to enjoy the crossword puzzles. That fantasy is now replaced by numerous stodgy pointless puzzles. One more week, and I'll cancel. No fun!

L 9:23 AM  

Nice to meet you, my fellow INTP.

L 9:27 AM  

I expected more Myers-Briggs results on this thread. Or perhaps crossword fiends are not the corporate types?

RooMonster 9:32 AM  

Hey All !
Add me to the group who thought this was a good Wednesday puzzle. Also add me to the looking-for-a-trick group. Disappointing ThursPuz. The four 15's were kinda nice, some of the fill was kinda nice, some of the fill was utter crap! Some of the clues seemed too easy for a Thursday. So a mixed bag of a puz today. Some might say THE THRILL IS GONE. :-)

Kind of a triple Natick in that S center, with BIRETTA/TONI/ALYN.

Was easy for Thursday, no cheats, not even any writeovers! If I can get through a ThursPuz without any writeovers, it falls into the easy category. Agree with all on horrible YESSES and NOES. Does the nose NOES? No. One YES, two YESSES. One NO, two NOES, one CRAZY, two CRAZIES. Crazy! Also, DOGOOD almost a DOOK.


Anonymous 9:37 AM  

The DOGOOD trees are beautiful this summer, no?

Carola 9:41 AM  

I'm with Rex today, with the pun an ancient, bearded groaner that should have been WAXed. I felt it was risky to include ZERO-STAR as a potential self-rating in a puzzle with a theme this lame on a day when many of us so eagerly anticipate a brain-wrenching rebus.

pmdm 9:43 AM  

As far as today's difficulty level goes, if you were comfortable with the proper nouns in the puzzle, it would certainly be easy. If not, the puzzle would not be easy.

NCA President (and others): I do not have mobile online access, so I stand corrected about the deletion of posts. When I first began checking out this blog (which I don't do faithfully every day, so I missed previous banter about this topic), the blog master not infrequently posted a response to a comment. No longer. So I do believe you are correct.

JTHurst: Zero is an integer, just like +5 or -5. You don't necessarily have to interpret it as null. You can interpret integers as the amount of displacement from the point of origin. Think of a rating system where any positive integer from 1 to 10 indicates how much you like something, and any negative integer from 1 to 10 indicates how much you dislike something, Then a 0 would not be a null reaction: it would be an indication of an indifferent response, not no response. I could go on, but I prefer not to beat a dead horse.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

@pndm: Beating a dead horse is better than GROOMing one...

Nancy 9:47 AM  

I couldn't wait for this puzzle to be over. And on Rebus Day, yet! My nomination for Worst Thursday Ever. It's like Will was saying: You people want to trash me when I've done nothing to deserve it? You say I choose bad puzzles? Let me show you what bad actually looks like! And a hand up here -- way up -- for ZERO STARs. As I was filling in this awful answer, I was thinking: Are you kidding me?

I'm too bored with this puzzle to even read everyone's comments about it. Sorry.

Hartley70 9:48 AM  

I have no quarrel with the puzzle except a rebus was missing though I kept looking. The kick today is the comments! @Pete and @Musicman, funny! DEWDROP pleased me though, as did ALIMONY. @NCAPresident, I always read your generally serious posts, but today you killed it! There's a classic LMS bit of Reader's Digest humor, good clean fun, and a Seinfeld bit is always appreciated. @Anonymous at 7:57 you devil, don't go there, but I got a laugh! @Ludy's beating her head against the wall. @JFC is getting along with Rex this morning and all's right with the world.

@DrLee, welcome!

haiku too 9:50 AM  


Cheerio 10:01 AM  

I just took your advice Rex to sign up for American Values Club crossword. I paid the $18 for the year subscription and then got an email from Paypal saying the account was on automatic renewal. I certainly did not request automatic renewal. I canceled easily enough through PayPal, but I would not have known I had signed up for this if PayPal had not sent me an email to point it out. I think that if you are going to recommend this website to your readers, you might note this unpleasant feature.

Charles Flaster 10:12 AM  

Very accurate!!!

jberg 10:27 AM  

Sorry, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed getting the themers from one letter (except for THE THRILL IS GONE, blocked at first by SPIT on); I enjoyed GIRD and SLED, even. I even enjoyed having YESSES crossing NOES.

The trouble was, it should have been Tuesday.

old timer 10:32 AM  

This puzzle made me angry, too. Not always for OFL's reasons. I don't mind Partials, myself. What made me angry was that the 15ers were (a) not related to each other and (b) not amusing or clever, except for LETDOWNYOURHAIR. Three more like that, it would have been a good puzzle, or had least have had the makings of a good puzzle.

I hate the whole concept of things like ELL for July third. And then you end up with obscurities like UREY and ALYN, there only because a bad idea and bad layout forced bad fill. Maybe, maybe OK on a Saturday. Not on a Thursday.

I miss the rebus or similar wordplay on a Thursday, too.

Pam 10:48 AM  

Yes, Rex. You're right. Painfully obvious, boring fill. I love filling a fifteen off the bat, but getting four so on the nose without needing a single cross took the sport out of it. (Maybe I would have enjoyed the puzzle more if WAX hadn't been the fifth answer I completed--it was all downhill from there.). Bad clues for worse fill on the rest. When BVITAMIN makes me smile, it's been a lackluster puzzle! Particularly disappointing for a Thursday.

Lewis 10:51 AM  

@ludy -- Your first sentence nailed it
@geezer -- Good post!

OUCH sounds like it belongs with the theme.

I did like the clues for SLED, ALIMONY, SOLO, and ELL (with you there @loren, and your Seinfeld quote was terrific!). I like the ironic crossing of ADORE and ZEROSTAR. And I do like seeing CAL where it belongs on the West Coast and that SOLO is so low. I don't understand IANA as a collector's term. Also -- and this is a nit -- waxing is more hair-today-gone-today than tomorrow.

The only puzzles I don't like are those that are both too easy and too boring. That has never happened for me in a NYT Thursday, and it cetainly didn't happen today.

mathguy 10:53 AM  

I almost felt like Rex was talking to me, like he knew that I liked the puzzle and he wanted to explain how low-brow my taste is. Rex is rarely so aggressive. I guess he really hated the puzzle.

ZEROSTAR didn't sound right but I wasn't thinking of it as an adjective.

I can't think of a word where IANA is the suffix.

To my taste, there were only four junky entries. IANA, ONE (from a partial), TWOGIGS, DOGOOD. I don't mind proper nouns I don't know: ELYN, ELLA, UREY, AAMES. But on the bright side, I liked ZELIG, ENOW, BRIGGS, BEAV, CARLITO, ARGENT, ISAIAH, DEWDROPS, ZEROSTAR. And I thought that the theme was well-executed.

Rex was complaining about the puzzle not being current and he used the phrase "old as the hills."

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

@mathguy: It is a New York Times crossword puzzle. Therefore "he really hated" it.

MetroGnome 10:59 AM  

This is probably a long shot, but it looked to me as if someone really wanted the B.B. King tribute in there (he died on May 14, which might be just about when this puzzle was first constructed), and so the entire puzzle evolved out of that one clue. Probably not how construction works in the "real world," but seems feasible to me.

AliasZ 11:02 AM  

I am an avid collector of AmericanIANA, LuisianaIANA, IndianaIANA, GuianaIANA, Princess DianaIANA and sweets (dulcIANA).

I like Paula Gamache and respect her work too much to express my honest opinion about this puzzle. But O DING, I was ready to SPIT AT BEAV, ALYN, BIRETTA, AAMES, BRIGGS and ILIE Nastase. There were more NOES than YESSES in this one. The HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW theme was so unfunny, I half expected to see "chemo" as a revealer, with sincere apologies to those who had to go through it. Thank God for DEWDROPS, said this ant. [Can you imagine if I told you how I really felt?]

By the way, dulCIANA, as the name suggests, is a sweet-sounding organ stop, as well as the Italian name for the Renaissance woodwind instrument, dulcian. Watered by spittle through the ages has caused the dulcian to grow into a full-size modern bassoon.

Ataúlfo ARGENTa (1913-1958) was a superbly talented Spanish conductor and pianist. He suffered from life-long tuberculosis symptoms, but his untimely death at age 45 was attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Here he conducts one of the Ten Basque Melodies (Diez malodías vascas) by Jesús Guridi (1886-1961).

There are so many IANA musical possibilities, it is very hard to choose: Tchaikovsky's MozartIANA, Malipiero's VivaldIANA, Dallapiccola's TartinIANA, Casella's and Nathan Milstein's PaganinIANA, and most famously, Heitor Villa-Lobos's BachIANAs Brsileiras, but I must go with Respighi's RossinIANA.

Have a cheerful Thursday.

Masked and Anonymous 11:05 AM  

fave entry: ALYN. Wouldn't expect anyone much else to like it, but I am a big cliffhanger serial fan, and Kirk ALYN did two Superman serial gigs, back in the late 30s or early 40s. Second one was vs. Atomic Man, or somesuch. Fun stuff, but slightly wonky special effects, since whenever they wanted to show a flying Superman, they used desperate-lookin cartoon animation.

Kinda like today's puz -- which mostly was fun stuff, but then cartoon-level desperation set in now and then, kinda wonkyin-up the spirit of the whole thing. And I usually appreciate some choice desperation sweaty-beads around the edges, but this maybe was a dash too drenched, even for M&A. har: "iANA and the iKing"! har2: "Ask not for whom the desperation tolls -- it TOLs for U!"

Knew CARLITO from the "Carilto's Way" flick, so didn't get hammered too bad by the name game, today.
Didn't know AAMES or BRIGGS, but the crosses kept me cruisin past them.

Wasn't Bud Collier the dude who did radio Superman? Some sorta name like that, I'm pretty sure. Would almost bet @009's house on it.

Nice weeject stax in the NW/SE corners. fave weeject: WAX. Scrabbly, and gets to participate in the theme reveal.

Real unusual, for a ThursPuz to have a theme reveal. Can see why folks would rather see this puz show up on a Wednesday. Bet it showed up here because of the roughish names & fill. Bet it wasn't just because of the 72-word count, as have seen that happen even on MonPuzs. Would almost bet @009's car on it.

2 paltry lil U's. What can M&A say? U today, gone tomorrow…

Thanx and good to see U back, Ms. Gamache.

Masked and AnonymoUUs
"Flyin Off into a Cartoony Sunset"

**gruntz with steps!**

datageneral 11:06 AM  

This is Ben Tausig, editor of the American Values Club. We have no intention of being deceptive about the recurring option. It is automatically checked on the sign up page, but we mean for it to be highly visible and obvious to the user that it is an option they should choose or not in the process of checking out.

I personally apologize that the option wasn't clear for you, and will review it immediately to make sure people are not confused.

I will very happily give you a complimentary subscription as an apology in the meantime.

Joseph Michael 11:16 AM  

I'm in the camp of those who liked the puz, just thought it was run on the wrong day.

Don't think it's a coincidence that BEAV sits near the middle. Liked the theme-related TRIM and GROOMED and the "punch line" OUCH.

ZERO STAR is correct since it was clued as an adjective.

r.alphbunker 11:21 AM  

@Ben Tausig

The way to be sure that people are not confused is to not make auto renewal the default option.

Horace S. Patoot 11:24 AM  

I'm sorry. "Stoppeth it!" is terribly grating to one who grew up with the old King James. "Stoppeth" is the older equivalent of "stops", as in "he, she, or it stops."

Carola 11:28 AM  

@mathguy - One example: VictorIANA - collectibles from the Victorian era.

Tita 11:47 AM  

Lotta inuendo in this puzzle, Ms. Gamache!
Not sure it passes my breakfast test, knowing first-hand of what Mr. Seinfeld quips.

@lms - I always try to avoid the revealers, as sussing the theme is a big part of the puzzle for me, so I did not see it immediately either.

I like all the really stellar clues that y'all have pointed out already, even while being disappointed to lose my Thursday trickiness, rebus or otherwise.
Really great comments/stories today!

@Pete - can you elaborate on *why* a higher word count would fix the problems? I like to construct vicariously through those wiser than me, and have learned lots via comments like these, but I am not seeing the cause-and-effect here. Sorry to be so xwordense.

Welcome DrLee and the other recent newcomers!

Thanks, Ms. Gamache.

Pete 11:52 AM  

@Tita - It was @JJ who made a learned, though apparently not fully explained, comment on the word count issue. I made a BEAV[er]/waxing joke. Big difference.

Lewis 11:53 AM  

Factoid: Iowa -- the only state that begins with two vowels -- is home to the National Hobo Convention, which has taken place every year since 1900 in the town of Britt. The event includes a Hobo King and Hobo Queen coronation, and a Hobo Sunday Outdoor Church service.

Quotoid: "In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate." -- Toni Morrison

mac 12:17 PM  

I have to agree with a lot of the comments, not a good Thursday.

Donate for do good slowed me down. I did like the clues for ell, alimony and enow, though.

As usual there is some French in a Gamache puzzle.

Bronxdoc 12:28 PM  

Love your factoids and quotoids. Thnx.

JaimeB 12:46 PM  

A biretta is a clerical hat that can be worn by any Roman Catholic clergyman, albeit in different collars according to their hierarchical rank. (cardinals get red birettas.) Even some Anglican clergy wear birettas. For that the reason, the clue "Cardinal's hat" was poorly chosen if "biretta" was the intended answer.. The hat specifically reserved for the use of cardinals is a broad brimmed red with elaborate hanging tassels, called a galero (or galerum in Latin). Study up on your ecclesiastical haberdashery before framing your clues!

Anonymous 12:47 PM  

I collect Polly's. Does that mean I'm into Pollyanna?

nick 12:54 PM  

This was so dreary, I quit in the middle. Are there so few good constructors with solid skills and contemporary sensibilities (Eight is Enough? What the heck is that and why am I supposed to know??) that the nyt is forced to use puzzles like this? The prolonged disregard for quality comes across as something like contempt for its audience.

rich people problems 1:31 PM  

Oh woe is me.
I have time to leisurely wake up and do a crossword puzzle on the couch in my large, safe apartment while drinking free-range, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee with the dog on my lap. This puzzle wasn't perfect.

My life is hard.

Masked and Anonymous 1:35 PM  

Ok. So, the Superman serials were actually in 1948 and 1950. They just seemed crustier/ancienter than that. Swhat U get, for believin anything an anonymoUUs dude in a mask who can't spell anonymous right might say. And the bad guy in the second serial was called Atom Man. And radio Superman dude was Bud Collyer.

This poor lil ThursPuz ain't getting very much respect. Raises M&A hackles, to fight for the underdog. Let's tick off some of the many plusses:

* Only 72 words. So even if U didn't like some of the words, it's all over faster.
* 4 15-letter themers. Primo opportunity, for Wheel of Fortune long message solvers.
* Kinda eazy-e, just like @009 points out. May not be a plus for Dan Feyer, but sure is for M&A. Makes him feel like hot stuff, bringin in the NYTPuz in less than twenty.
* BEAV. Better clue, tho = {Wood chew-er with its tail chewed off?}
* ZEROSTAR. Bold. Invites retributional puz rating snarks.
* DEWDROPS. How many "…WDR…" words are U gonna ever see, U tawdry jaw-droppin screwdrivers?
* TWOGIGS. Would have preferred clue = {Binary appearances??}, tho.
* SPITAT. BYNAME. Could almost do a cross-ref clue, here? Kinda like @009, in his refs to the Shortzmeister?
* RESERVE. Nice, non-confrontational letters. And a V. Shows… reserve.
* ALIMONY. BVITAMIN. BIRETTA. MINX. CRAZIES. DUDE. GROOMED. These all have a GOOD DO on em. (Yeah, BIRETTA is a close call, after another reading the @Borrazas comment.)
* ZELIG. My all-time-fave Woody Allen flick. It's actually a schlock movie! This dude Zelig actually semi-morphs into people he comes in close contact with. One time he stands next to a jackass, and starts to look like Donald Trump.

"Always Walk on the Sunny Side of the Cleef"

chefbea 1:37 PM  

I collect bands...therefore I'm a bandana!!

Fred Romagnolo 1:52 PM  

ALYN, AAMES, ELLA, and BRIGGS were fairly obscure, but they didn't cross, so no natick. ALIMONY was well-clued. I liked it. My biggest hang-up is unidentified abbreviations. It probably rates on the Wednesday level, but there's only one Wednesday a week! As a child, I thought "here today, gone tamale" was hilarious. And ROY Disney's 1st name gives us the 1st 3 colors of the rainbow.

OISK 1:53 PM  

Typical. 7 weeks of perfect solutions, and then two DNF this week, and it isn't even Friday yet. Add me to the Biretta - Alyn failures. I had Birette. Never heard of Alyn. Also never heard of Aames, I assume that Beav is the "Leave it..." show I have never watched. Disney's nephew?? Who is Lorde? (first name Ella) Knew Van Cleef though. I once wandered in there to buy my wife a birthday gift. I thought I was in Bergdorf, which actually adjoins Van Cleef. To quote the birthday card I composed for my wife

"I asked the man 'How much are these?' The salesman answered ' sixteen G's.'
I didn't buy them, I confess, which doesn't mean I love you less..."

(Earrings. 16,000 dollars. Really!)

Didn't like this puzzle at all, though.

mathguy 1:55 PM  

Patrick Berry sighting!

I just finished the Berry variety puzzle on the WSJ puzzle website from July 10. I started it yesterday. Another work of art by the master.

I had to print up three copies of the grid to complete it because the squares are too small to comfortably accommodate cross outs. If you do it, be prepared to get dizzy because you have to switch between across and down clues often.

MDMA 1:59 PM  

@Ben Tausig,

I've never bothered with American Values and similar because there's a lot more friction just getting the puzzles. With NYT, there's a custom iPad app that makes puzzles directly available daily, and you just pay the annual subscription one time via Apple. At 10 PM or 6 PM sharp Eastern time, the puzzle is there and you just start solving. Couldn't be simpler.

All the others, it seems you have to navigate through webpages and payment systems and e-mails and downloading, and then getting it into Puzzazz or whatever. I could do it if motivated, but it's 2015. Why can't you guys just make it frictionless and built-in like NYT does? I opened the Puzzazz app once and it looked like they're just trying to sell e-books, not even a mention about the better-known daily or weekly indie puzzles in the app or in the FAQs.

Fred Romagnolo 2:36 PM  

Re yesterday's puzzle; not the top row, but the t-o-p row. Get it?

JFC 2:41 PM  

Poor Paula has not fared well with Rex in his critiques of her puzzles.

December 2013: Pretty bad. Just because you manage to shove eight theme answers in there doesn't mean it was worth it.

November 2013: Not good. *** I've seen this thing before a million times *** and this one isn't done particularly well.

October 2013: Dull theme, decent (if unexciting) fill. Seems like an olde-timey theme.

July 2013: What an almost-timely puzzle! If you love Roman numerals, have I got a puzzle for you. This one!

May 2013: I'm legitimately mystified as to how a puzzle this poorly filled gets published. It's laughable. (My favorite.)


Anonymous 3:08 PM  

I hate puzzles that rely on popular culture as much as I hate puzzles that rely on social media knowledge. (I'm still in my 12 step program after that one) But Woody Allen title role? 1999 drama? Willie from eight is enough? Wally's bro's nickname? blue Dahlia star? Blank brigante? actor who played superman? This isn't fill--this is mindless trivia. Please--bring back the rivers in asia!

AliasZ 3:29 PM  

I ADORE tattoo parlor collectibles called TatIANA.

GlorIANA can be: the protagonist of Edmund Spenser's The Fairie Queene, the nickname of Elizabeth I (after the Spenser poem), the opera by Benjamin Britten, a moth, or the name of the royal barge.

I couldn't pass up Rossini's "L'italiana in Algeri" and PoincIANA. I'll leave the "Siciliana" from Mascagni's "CavallerIANA RusticIANA" for another day.

dick swart 3:49 PM  

A nice Wednesday on the wrong day. I liked that I didn't get it until the reveal. It is why I like to start at the top and work my way down.

And a very pleasant memory jog with 'Psychology Today'. Working with T George Harris at their small office in Del Mar in the early 70's. We were putting together a day/dated cover story/ABC special that even had a game to go with it. Lots of fun. I believe the show producer was Lester Cooper, who later did the Emmy winning 'Make a Wish' children's series.

The memory jogs are one of the things I like about xwords.

Steve J 4:40 PM  

@rich people problems: And time to construct and attack straw men, too!

@MDMA: I subscribe to the AVC puzzle, and it downloads automatically into my iPad crosswords all (from Standalone, if I remember correctly). I entered my AVC login credentials once, and the puzzle automatically downloads whenever it's available. Same thing with various other puzzles, and you can also import any .puz files you save to Dropbox (and maybe other cloud storage apps; I haven't checked for a while). Pretty easy to work with, overall.

Z 5:21 PM  

@MDMA - Uh, that's a lot of programming. I get my puzzle emailed to me every week. Works fine with Across Lite on my computers and Puzzazz on my iPad. I can also do indies, BEQ and Devils Crosswords, easily on either Mac or iPad. I know the guys behind PuzzAzz follow Rex, maybe they'd have some idea how much programming it would take to streamline.

@Ben Tausig - I'd like to complain and get a free subscription, too. Let's see..., Oh - AVCX doesn't play well with Crux even though Crux says it does....

jae 6:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lady Beaverbrook Camadiana 6:13 PM  

I think there was someone else who figured the third of July was the EVE of the Fourth. Wot the 'ELL.

Considering the aarcane AAMES, SPITAT could have paralleled with SPITAAT, so that those who opted for SPITON could have hit it with SPITOON.

Hope everyone's caught up on their IANAs. I collect memorabilia on Maria Schell's brother, so let me know if you come across any MaximilianIANA
Found there's more good stuff on the U-tube, with ATAulfa ARGENTa playing the pIANA.

@mac mentioned the French in the puzzle, so I looked to see if the grid DART had an accompanying ANION or ONION hiding somewhere. It was in The Onion that I discovered:


Which leads me to suggest being careful what-all y'all say about that centerpiece. Some BEAVers are very sensitive. And some of them bite.

jae 6:14 PM  

@MDMA - @Steve J is correct! With a one time set up the Stand Alone Inc.iPad app will automatically send you the NYT, BEQ, AVCX, Matt Gaffney, Jonesin...and a bunch of others if you select them.

6:11 PM

Some snarky jerk on the internet 7:29 PM  

@BenTausig I'm also confused by the internet and hate checking and/or unchecking boxes. Now who do I talk to for my free subscription?

Leapfinger 7:41 PM  

@DrLee, I'm sorry you were mistaken for Darlene. If I put my title down, people mistake me for someone's Dad.

@Lewis, excellent choices today, but I still worry that Mr Ed really didn't like bein given peanut butter.

Enjoyed the take on the flowering DOGOOD, but they're long past blooming in NC.

I asked Gamache "Who gives TWO figs
If what we get for them are GIGS?
ZERO STARs will be called
By those who are bald
For implying they ought to wear wigs!
(I'm sure Mrs Oisk deserves 16G earrings)

Teedmn 8:27 PM  

I had some serious wrongness in that IANA area. Several were the same as @LMS' with pSAlms and nICe and a similar mY dear. This last ONE was enabled by my having nAdo (as in 'aficionado', not 'sharknado', eye rhyme alert). This made the gimme of the 44A themer not quite gimmeed. THE THRILL wasn't just GONE, it was never there!

And I put in BEAV, but seeing BV in 38D made me pull BEAV faster than Punxsutawney Phil pulls in his head at the sight of his shadow. (I considered BEve, was glad I HADN'T GONE there.)

I had the possibility of choosing incorrectly at BIRETTA/ALYN but didn't so I did do this puzzle correctly, albeit not in record time.

Even otter than the Onion's take on BEAVers is this one:

BEAVers Hate The Sound Of Running Water

I didn't hate this puzzle, found it enjoyable. Thanks, PG

kitshef 8:42 PM  

"Finished" in probably a record time for a Thursday, but then sat and stared at symmetrically-positioned answers that seemed impossible: CARET and OmING. After a long, long, time, changed AmORE/OmING to ADORE/ODING, and all was well with one side.

I still don't understand why a caret is a sticking point. Or rather, I have an idea but if correct, it makes this one of the worst clues I can recall in NYT. Thanks to @Glimmerglass's reference to being a copy editor, I'm supposing it means 'a pointy symbol used to indicate you need to stick something here', or possibly 'a symbol indicating the point at which you need to stick something'. In either case, just a terrible clue.

But I left it in as all the crosses were solid, only to have a DNF anyway due to BIRETTo/oLYN, a Natick if ever a wever a Natick there was.

kitshef 8:55 PM  

@JTHurst: Gas is sometimes pluralized as gasses, thus adding -ses. As with YESSES, though, the one-s version is preferred (in all my dictionaries, at least).

Tita 10:10 PM  

@Pete - right you are... I must have still been reeling from the fits of laughter after having read said comment of yours!!

@OISK - love your poem...what, pray tell, was Ms. OISK's reaction - and, what did she receive instead?

Z 10:39 PM  

For the Grammar Nazi in all of us.

Nancy 11:01 PM  

@OISK -- At around 7:30 tonight, I had typed in your name and was about to tell you how much I loved, loved, loved your birthday verse to Mrs. OISK. As I was typing, the phone rang. It turned out to be another delightful person on this blog whom I'd never spoken to, and we chatted for 2 hours. Then I at last ate dinner (after 10 p.m.!)and finally got back here to finish writing my comment to you. But I see Tita got here first, in praise of your poem. I didn't know you wrote light verse. I can see why you love WS Gilbert so much and why you know his patter songs by heart. You and I will have to have a light verse "slam" someday. :)

It's so late now, I'm wondering if you'll even see this.

Dulce de leche 11:29 PM  

I'm surprised that Ms Aketi wasn't here to inform us that Rapunzel was a breastfeeding mother, so the first the theme should have been LET DOWN YOUR MILK.

Ah, the uncertainty in a lactation specialist's life: MILK TODAY, GONE TOMORROW.

OISK 11:31 PM  

The whole poem, since some of my friends seem interested:

I walked Manhattan, tired and weary, seeking something for my dearie
I went to stores - a slew of them, to try to find the perfect gem

And then I saw, while passing by, a perfect piece, a butterfly.
A pair of earrings, diamond bright, and one was pink, and one was white.

These items almost no one sells, except perhaps, Van Cleef, Arpels.
I bravely asked "How much are these?" The salesman told me "sixteen G's"

I passed them up I must confess, which doesn't mean I love you less
What's true today was always true, the finest gem I know is you.

...But since it is your special day, I bought you something anyway!

(I actually found some very nice earrings at Bergdorf)

Cheerio 10:40 AM  

@Ben Tausig. Thanks for the offer, but no worries about the free subscription offer. I'd just as soon support your effort, but I agree with the person above - I don't think automatic renewal should be the default. People want to spend as little time as possible signing up for things, and don't want to have to worry about stuff like that. Your website is already pretty minimal (a bit of a scary thing to the person about to pay for something).

spacecraft 11:52 AM  

Well, I'm not quite ready to say THETHRILLISGONE, but it's thinning out fast when the gridspanners plunk themselves down. I mean, c'mon: "Entreaty to Rapunzel?" DUH! This puzzle felt spotty to me: good here bad there; easy there tough here. Hand up for taking a while to parse BVITAMIN. Oh, those stray single letters (grrr)! Saved in the western section by remembering the only Willie actor I knew, AAMES--but it wasn't from that show! It was from a drama co-starring Sada Thompson; I forget the name just now but recall it was very good.

I really wish DOGOOD had been clued "Pseudonym referred to in the line 'The key in Silence is revealed.'" Can't help it; I love treasure hunts in general, and "National Treasure" in particular.

Though some cluing curves were pitched, I basically hit this one out of the park. Okay, a double against the wall. Easy with a dash (corrected to DART) of medium. As for CARLITO, it would have been fun to give the clue "He had a way about him." The Brigante DUDE? Never heard of him.

Interesting that the King of blues, B.B., should be featured along with a word from the quintessential blues song:

My mama done TOL me, when I was in knee-pants,
My mama done TOL me "Son,
A woman'll sweet-talk, and give you the big eye,
But when the sweet-talkin's done
A woman's a two-face, a worrisome thing who'll leave you to sing
The blues in the night."

What a cry. Digression over. Give P.G. a C. I expect better from her.

P.S. @Cathy: Wasn't it nice of the Sun to print yesterday's grid? TOO LATE!

Anonymous 1:30 PM  


rondo 1:34 PM  

Probably the first time I've filled all the gridspanners first, then the rest.

The band at Blue Chicago last night did a credible job on THETHRILLISGONE. Stayed up til 3 AM with many MALT beverages, vacation is killing me, need my BVITAMINs.

I like @spacey's CARLITO clue.

Way EZ puz.

joan60601 2:54 PM  

I don't get 41 Down. Can someone explain?

Anonymous 3:18 PM  

I declare this a stinky puzzle. I did it but with too many look-ups for the proper nouns. Aames, Briggs, Ella, Alyn, and Carlito. Since Spacecraft didn't give it a rating, I'll rate it C Minus. I wish the constructors would forget about pop names and stick to Inventors, Historical, Classical Musicians, Old time Authors, Artists, etc. Did everyone but me watch Eight is Enough, or see the first Superman movie, and who the hell is Ella Lorde? (Probably a "yea baby" for Rondo).

I send two Wedgies to Mr. Gamache. Yeow!

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where all the street lights glow in the dark).

leftcoastTAM 4:29 PM  

I liked outing the theme answers and revealer, and obscure fill as usual (but not Fri and Sat) was secured with crosses--except for the AAMES/CARET cross where I went for "a" instead of the required E.

Sure, "Hair today gone tomorrow" is a worn-out quippy pun, but I thought it was used to good advantage here.

Looking for a rebus next week.

Cardinal Spellman 6:42 PM  

@joan60601, the third letter of JULY is L, spelled ELL.

spacecraft 7:11 PM  

@joan60601: The "third" letter of "July" is L, hence ELL. I know, I know, I wrinkle my nose at those too.

@Ron Diego: You missed. "Give P.G. a C." I was a shade more charitable and omitted the minus. Also, I hope "Mr." Gamache shares at least one of "his" wedgies with Paula.

spacecraft 7:18 PM  

P.P.S. Tha Aames series was "Family," cancelled after only two seasons (75-'76). Go figure. Then again, STTOS lasted only three. Guess the moguls don't know everything.

Torb 7:34 PM  

Goodies fill ever but filled it in without much ado. Pretty easy.

rondo 8:28 PM  

@joan60601 - the third letter of July is "l" or ell, made wacky by the ? mark.

@ Ron Diego - Lorde (stage name) is a now 18 year old singer from New Zealand, monster hit last year with "Royals". Her real name is apparently ELLA something. Not a particular yeah baby, but quite a singer, IMHO.

Looks like back to Blue Chicago tonight for another evening of the blues - different band most nights. THETHRILLISnotGONE for me.

Texas Syndyland Solver 10:56 PM  

I too love your factoids. Sometimes I'm too busy to read the comments but I always look for your posts.

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