Blank portion of manuscript / TUE 7-14-15 / Carter-era FBI sting that inspired American Hustle / Aquanaut's workplace / Italian city on Adriatic / Surprising conversationalist of classic TV / Globetrotter's electrical device

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Constructor: Kevin Christian and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Challenging for a Tuesday (4:00)

THEME: SEUSS (54D: Author of the books quoted at 17-, 29-, 38-, 46- and 59-Across) —

Theme answers:
  • HORTON HEARS A WHO (17A: "Because, after all, / A person's a person, no matter how small")
  • THE LORAX (29A: "You're glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed!")
  • GREEN EGGS AND HAM (38A: "Would you eat them in a box? / Would you eat them with a fox?")
  • HOP ON POP (46A: "Red Ned Ted and Ed in bed")
  • IF I RAN THE CIRCUS (59A: "There's no other Showman / Who shows you a show with a Blindfolded Bowman!")
Word of the Day: LACUNA (15A: Blank portion of manuscript) —
noun: lacuna; plural noun: lacunae; plural noun: lacunas
  1. an unfilled space or interval; a gap.

    "the journal has filled a lacuna in Middle Eastern studies"
    • a missing portion in a book or manuscript.
    • Anatomy
      a cavity or depression, especially in bone. (google)
• • •
I didn't really care for this puzzle. It's just SEUSS titles. I guess the whole cluing approach is novel, with the quotes and all, but fundamentally it's just ... SEUSS titles. Symmetrical SEUSS titles. And not for any reason (I mean, not a tribute or anything). So I don't get it. Too vanilla, themewise. Also, I've never ever heard of "IF I RAN THE CIRCUS." And yet I have heard of "IF I RAN THE ZOO." How ... what ... I am confused. Hang on, looking these damned titles up... Well look at that. He did indeed write both. I have to believe "IF I RAN THE ZOO" is the more famous book (partly because it's the only one I've heard of, partly because google autoprediction says so):

So boo to both the overly straightforward theme and to having an outlier, fame-wise, for the final theme answer.

Also, huge boo to the clue on MALE EGO (20A: Easily bruised thing for half the world). First objection has to do with strangeness / difficulty / day-of-the-week issues. This answer, with this clue, crossing the nearly equally un-Tuesday and oddly clued TENT PEG (18D: Something driven at a campsite) ensured that despite my familiarity with all but one of the SEUSS titles, this puzzle ended up playing like a Wednesday rather than a Tuesday. MALE EGO is odd enough without the wannabe-clever Saturday-level clue. Secondly, that clue (esp. its tone) just really rubs me the wrong way, and I'm trying to figure out exactly why. I think the clue is, ironically, anti-feminist. It's winky and cutesy and stupidly totalizing ("half the world"???!). It's what I'd call Fake Feminism. Cosmo Feminism. It should be followed by "amirite, ladies?" and then another round of appletinis. Also, "MALE EGO" feels like a phrase whose currency peaked in 1978. It's not a very useful concept, because ... does it just mean "the ego of men," generally, or is it specifically (straight?) men's ego In Relation To Women, or what? The whole clue / answer pairing strikes me as at least mildly heterosexist. Not that gay men don't have egos, but ... as my (female) friend just said of this clue, it has a very "Me Tarzan, you Jane, me tough caveman but have fragile psyche at same time" implication to it. The sentence "Half the world's egos are easily bruised" is nonsense ... and thus so is the clue.

Lastly, BARI is totally removable crosswordese (64A: Italian city on the Adriatic). Yes, it's a place, that exists, in the world, but you could refill that corner So much better. I don't feel like this got the care and attention it needed in the non-theme fill. Did like "WE'VE MET" and "TOO GOOD" (which I think of more as an expression you use when someone hits a winner against you in tennis ... I assume this meaning also occurred to Brad, as he is a huge tennis fan; see 46D: Mandlikova of tennis).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Steve J 12:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whirred Whacks 12:08 AM  

Fun, straight-forward puzzle. The Seuss titles practically filled themselves in.

Very silly discussion of MALE EGO and its clue by Rex.

Steve J 12:08 AM  

I look forward to the upcoming puzzle about T (without the Mr.).

You can refer to actual people by just their surnames. It seems off-kilter and just wrong to do so with a pseudonym. The name's Dr Seuss, and shortening the name was definitely a blemish on an otherwise decent puzzle.

jae 12:39 AM  

Medium-tough for me. I'm with Rex, more like a Wed. 

Dr. Seuss titles clued with quotes: clever and refreshing.  Liked it.

Pretty smooth grid.  Liked it.

Seuss minus the Dr.: @Steve J makes a good point.

MALE EGO:  would rather have seen a mansplaining clue.

Better than the typical Tues. in my book.  Liked it.  Nice one guys. 

bewilbered 12:42 AM  

We tried [Bette Davis called it "elephantine"].

chefwen 12:46 AM  

I did very well for someone who never had kids and never had to read Dr. Seuss. Guess those titles are pretty much in the mainstream. Funniest moment was when Jon said "what's a MALEEGO, is that some type of fruit or Spanish for melon?" He almost fell out of his chair laughing when I clued him in on MALE EGO.

One wright over at 46D anNA before HANA. Can't keep my tennis stars in order.

chefwen 12:49 AM  

@chefbea - Got 64A easily because of your daughters Italian blog, which I love.

JFC 12:55 AM  

I don’t know where to begin. Rex does not like the puzzle because it’s a Dr. Seuss thing. I mean, who doesn’t like Dr. Seuss? Unlike Rex, I grew up with him in his first printings, so maybe I am biased. And here I thought Rex’s real complaint would be that there is no connection between today’s date and Dr. Seuss. What do I know? Obviously, nothing.

Here is what I’ve learned over the years. Monday and Tuesday puzzles are intentionally easy, probably to attract new solvers. So, the themes and the fill are necessarily going to be less than Friday or Saturday standards. So, I enjoyed this puzzle for what it was meant to be. It’s also cute with the theme and the titles, some more known than others, but that’s part of the package. I can’t agree it played more like a Wednesday, even though I did not know a couple of the titles. Dr. Seuss is part of the American landscape and anyone visiting this Blog should know him and his works, parent or not.


Music man 12:58 AM  

Tough for me too. Didn't really like this one, not sure why. Though it did inadvertently remind me of Sealab 2021, need to rewatch that.

And now I just lost the game

Andrea Ojeda 1:16 AM  

I can't believe how timely this puzzle is for me, since my daughter just performed Seussical the Musical this weekend (which is a musical made out of a lot of his books mashed together in a single story, very weird but strangely credible, and with super good, catchy songs). So, I don't care if it's a good one or not; I loved finding Horton right at the beginning, reminding me of the sweet tune he sings all throughout the play "...a person's a person, no matter how small". I recommend it thoroughly.

okanaganer 1:20 AM  

Agree with @JFC... Rex's objection to the Seuss theme just seems odd.

I know everyone loves a pedantic nitpicker, but I can't resist pointing this out: the clue to 47 down makes the mistake of confusing railings with handrails. A railing-- which typically prevents you from falling off something like a stair, deck or balcony-- may feature newel posts. A handrail-- which you grip with your hand to steady yourself, and is usually fastened to either a wall or a railing-- hardly ever does.

This mistake is so common, even perpetuates it. Bad internet!!

Ray Yuen 1:28 AM  

Oh the irony! Rex gripes about the sexism aspect and yet, tries to appeal to the women feminists whether it's sexist or not. I am male (and man) and I am very feminist--and I only find the clue moderately sexist. I find it much more sexist to think that all feminists are women.

MDMA 1:40 AM  

Per, every single one of the five Seuss titles has been used before in a NYT puzzle. Often multiple times. Surprising.

HOPO_POP crossing _EWELS is practically a Natick. Luckily an alphabet run leaves pretty much only N as a phonetically plausible possibility.

Rolling my eyes a lot harder than usual at Rex's verbose blathering about MALE EGO.

Moly Shu 1:44 AM  

Beyond easy, the SEUSS (minus the Dr. Hi @SteveJ) books just went right in and even with NEWELS and BARI and LACUNA, it was over in a flash. Always like seeing the word LURID, don't know why, just like it. And here I thought @Rex was being overly sensitive with his complaints about BIMBO, but he completely lost me with the MALEEGO rant. Jeez @Rex, chill out, it almost seems like you're trying to be offended. While I'm at it, exactly how is TENTPEG untuesday? It's the thing that holds a tent down, not exactly a sub-atomic particle or enzyme or butterfly genus. I liked it, but I like Dr. SEUSS

John V 1:50 AM  

Greetings from Manila.

I mean, this was just plain fun, very easy for this father who read all of the books to his children, so many years ago.

I solve puzzles because I find solving to be fun. Some others' mileage may vary. Thank you, Kevin and Brad.

Anonymous 2:21 AM  

@Steve J: Suessical the Musical refers to "Suess" (sans Dr.) many many times... FWIW. (Loved the first clue -- great song!)

Same "practically a Natick" as @MDMA.

chefwen 2:27 AM  

Write over seems to make more sense than wright over, and I was teasing Jon? Oh, the shame!

Elle54 2:41 AM  

I also don't care much for Seuss, except for the easy readers. Cat in the Hat, one Fish Two Fish, and the ABC book. I also like the Grinch.I really don't like Oh the Places You'll Go, which is oft quoted at graduation ceremonies .

JTHurst 3:02 AM  

Found it extremely entertaining when our Literature Maven (aka Rex) attempted to utilize the science of logical reasoning by inferring male ego to Cosmo feminism sprinkled with some hetero/gay nuances to arrive at his ergo moment "and thus so is the clue". His syllogistic reasoning requires a little honing. Regardless, he tried, which is more than most of us do, ala "The Porker".

Still it was funny.

Elaine2 3:27 AM  

@MDMA -- Hop on Pop is also a Dr. Seuss title -- no Natick there for me.

I thought this was fun. Google notwithstanding, I remembered If I Ran the Circus (said Gerald McGurkus...) before If I Ran the Zoo.

I was a little startled by the clueing on "Male Ego", but not quite as upset as Rex...

Anyway -- happy Tuesday.

Charles Flaster 5:22 AM  

Liked this Wednesdayish, themed puzzle.
Knew the titles with the 15's fitting perfectly.
Write over--POGO for leGO.
Liked cluing for ADAPTER, MR ED, and MALE EGO.
Thanks KC and BW.

Grammarian Librarian 6:20 AM  

Here's a thought about the timing of this Dr. Seuss puzzle: in exactly two weeks, What Pet Should Í Get?, a newly discovered, never-before-published Dr. Seuss book, hits the market. Could this be a response by the NYT puzzle team to an especially inventive publicity campaign for the book? (If so, I guess I'm playing right into it.)

Lewis 6:47 AM  

Rex, Rex, boo to you
This has UGH and GOO
And other fun too!

This IS a tribute puzzle, and Rex is always asking for a new angle on tribute puzzles, and here it is, giving fun quotes from fun books, rather than awards and place of birth and honors won.

Sparkling answers: NYMPHS, TENTPEG, LACUNA, LURID, WEVEMET, PRECIS, MALEEGO. Some witty cluing: MENSA, MRED, TENTPEG, MALEEGO (a DOOK with a clue that didn't bother me in the least). A mini theme: ANNA/ATTA/ABA. This puzzle has zip; doesn't feel mechanical in the least. Better than caffiene. (And, by the way, The LACUNA by Barbara Kingsolver is one terrific read.)

This is a terrific Tuesday
And this I know
Sir Christian and Wilbur
Oh the Places You'll Go!

Glimmerglass 7:03 AM  

The other 50% of the world also has an easily bruised ego. With few exceptions, everyone can easily feel disrespected, even -- I suspect-- Rex Parker. I still read Dr. Seuss, to (and with) small children at schools where I volunteer. He never gets old.

RAD2626 7:36 AM  

Lots of words and clues that were not typical early week: LACUNA, PRÉCIS, BARI, NEWELS (I had doWELS) first. Maybe attributable to Brad doing all end week themeless puzzles for the NYT to date and trying to make the puzzle Tuesday-ish without total success. Regardless of day, fun puzzle with a great and nostalgic theme. Had to get a couple of the titles from the crosses but the others were familiar. Had no problem with MALE EGO or the clue. There are still genders. We have not all yet become Pat from SNL. Maybe someday, but not yet.

Rex Porker 7:36 AM  

Ironically, in my whining about MALE EGO, I sort of support the truth of the clue and answer. My crocodile tears and truly tone deaf discussion show that my MALE EGO is indeed easily bruised, and that my understanding of feminism has many LACUNAe. Far be it from me to give the constructor the benefit of the doubt, and to understand that the clue was written firmly with tongue in cheek, because, yes, "the sentence "Half the world's egos are easily bruised" is, indeed, nonsense. It's a joke. If I hadn't been blinded by my fragile MALE EGO, maybe I would have gotten it.
The rest of my review is boilerplate: wrong day of the week, I hate tributes, bad fill, should be reworked, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

Rhino 7:37 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. From beginning to end it was just about perfect for me. I was a little disappointed Rex didn't like it, but then I got to read his delightfully ironic rant about MALE EGO and I remembered exactly why I read this blog every day.

dk 7:38 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

Walked/biked by Theodor Geisel's house everyday for 4 years while in Claremont.

Watched the Whos in Whoville many a xmas.

Read the books to my son.

And on birthday morns of my sibs we often ask if one might like Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast.

A joyful puzzle.

Rex is an excellent Grinch n'cest pas

Lewis 7:42 AM  

Factoid: The way they got MR. ED to move his mouth as if he were talking was to put peanut butter in his mouth.

Quotoid: "When at last we are sure, You've been properly pilled, Then a few paper forms, Must be properly filled. So that you and your heirs, May be properly billed." -- Dr. SEUSS (who also said, "You make 'em, I amuse 'em.")

Haiku Nerd 7:46 AM  


NCA President 7:49 AM  

The first part of Rex's entry today sounded like a Rex Porker entry...over the top surly and petty. Right out of the gate. It sort of reminds me of reading what some of the GOP candidates say vis a vis The Onion. Between Parker and Porker it's becoming increasingly hard to tell the difference.

Then, there's the supreme irony of a bruised MALEEGO ranting about the unacceptableness of the MALEEGO answer.

Could today's blog entry become any more absurd?

Absolutely nothing wrong with today's theme. I agree that some of the things were fairly challenging (LACUNA, PRECIS) for a Tuesday, but Tuesdays of late have been more and more surprisingly challenging. Certainly not late-week challenging, but neither was this one.

As for the IFIRANTHECIRCUS v. Zoo kerfuffle, CIRCUS was pretty obvious from where I was in the solve that "Zoo" never even occurred to me.

I would give today's puzzle an "easy" rating and Rex's blog entry a late-week DNF challenging.

joho 7:56 AM  

Well, as if a SEUSS filled puzzle wasn't fun enough Kevin and Brad threw in some singing OOMPA Loompas, too!

They started off with one of my all time favorites, HORTONHEARSAWHO, and just kept adding to the delightful memories from there.

Wonderful post today, @Lewis!

Wonderful puzzle, Kevin and Brad!

chefbea 7:57 AM  

Hand up for a tough puzzle for a Tuesday. Never heard of lacuna or emo bands. Of course knew 64 across as did @chefwen!!!

joho 8:04 AM  

Weren't fun enough?

Mohair Sam 8:11 AM  

I read IFIRANTHECIRCUS every night for at least a year to two different sons and have never heard of HOPONPOP, yet still loved this clever Tuesday puzzle - so there's one reason to laugh at @rex.

But the better reason is his ridiculous rant about MALEEGO. I simply took the clue to assume that all egos are frail and half the world is male. We've gotta get over seeing this PC devil in every sentence.

What the heck is an EMOBAND?

Nancy in PA (but moving today) 8:12 AM  

Apropos of MALEEGO (which I loved) I misread "no need for introductions" as "no need for instructions" and confidently wrote in WErEMEn. I like my clue and answer better.
When I was sworn into office in my previous small town I was told I could bring a book to use (family heirloom or some such) instead of the municipally-provided bible for the oath. I brought If I Ran the Circus.
My daughter also performed in a school production of Seussical. The first run of T-shirts said Suessical so they all got freebies. Love Seuss. Love the puzzle.

Z 8:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jberg 8:20 AM  

I enjoyed the theme, liked learning that Dr. SEUSS had a bunch of 15-letter titles on his books, and had a moment of joy with 25A, imagining those satyrs excavating NYMPHS from the rocks, before I realized I had the wrong meaning of quarries in mind.

However, I would have liked this tribute to an author better if Roald Dahl and Thomas Hardy weren't also brought in. A minor point, and one I would never have thought of before I stared to read this blog, but there it is. (Walt Kelly at 16A, but clued as something else.)

Nice pairing of foreign articles with DER and UNA.

@MDMA, do you know the story about the mafioso who brought his victim to the top of a cliff, pulled out a handgun, and demanded, "What'll it be? HOP Or POP?"

Z 8:21 AM  

I really liked that we also get other children's authors sprinkled throughout, Stieg, Dahl, and of course, MAO.

Speaking of MAO, I presumed the MALEEGO was some sort of SE Asian banana since half the world's population lives there. I guess I was sorta right.

I can't say I disagree with Rex on the MALE EGO clue. First, it's just the sort of over-generalization that is offensive. Second, I'm right with him on the faux feminist, "amirite" feel to it. If you can only make yourself feel good by bringing others down you have issues. Third, related to why it Is offensive, it's just not true.

Loved all the SEUSS. Mayhap it is living with a former children's librarian, but SEUSS sans Dr. sounds just fine to me.

AliasZ 8:21 AM  

Someone's MALE EGO apparently was indeed bruised, thus the entry/clue pair was more correct than not. I wonder if FEMALE INTUITION would have had the same effect.

When did BARI become bad fill? I didn't get the memo. Beautiful BARI is the capital of romantic Apulia, the perfect honeymoon destination. Would DOOK, ICET or JAYZ be better fill for this hip crowd?

Fun theme today that wasn't all the difficult to SEUSS out, and it wasn't TOO GOOD for novice solvers. Perhaps LACUNA is not a Tuesday entry, but the crosses were all fair. Loved BANGLE, SEALAB, NYMPHS, PRÉCIS, TENT PEG and NEWELS, but EMO BANDS did nothing for me, and I prefer pesto to MARINARA.

NEWELS are the central posts of spiral staircases, as well as the main posts supporting the handrail of a stair banister at the foot, on the landings and at the top of the stairs. I found nothing wrong with the clue. Remember the loose ball cap on the bottom newel post in "It's a Wonderful Life"?

Let's listen to some LACUNA and enjoy this beautiful day.

blinker474 8:23 AM  

I liked the puzzle a lot, and found the fill very good indeed. I don't understand the Rex rant about male ego, unless he does things like this for the sole purpose of arousing his audience, and giving them something to complain about. This does seem to be his shtick, and he's good at it.

I have fond memories of what would happen on the evenings when I read my four children "Hop on Pop".

Hartley70 8:24 AM  

Dr. Seuss and then a few years later Roald Dahl made bedtime fun in this household. It was great to be reminded of those days, even though HOPONPOP and IFIRANTHECIRCUS were a stretch to remember. That's why it's a Tuesday, not a Monday, and nowhere near a Wednesday or a Thursday.

I thought the fill was good. The MALEEGO rant is silly to me and I knew a Italian from BARI named Alberto who drove me from Milan to Como at what felt like 100mph without ever putting his hands on the wheel because he needed them to talk.

This was a memory lane puzzle that starts my day with a smile. Thanks, guys!

Knitwit 8:29 AM  

Loved this and breezed through--MALEEGO just a bad pun.

Sir Hillary 8:48 AM  

Puzzle's kinda boring, but Dr. SEUSS is a god, so it works for me.

@Rex's MALEEGO commentary is a new low for him. When you're actively looking for reasons to be offended, you're sure to find at least one.

mathguy 8:52 AM  

Nice puzzle. It brought up some words that needed fertilization (LACUNA, BARI, NEWEL, LURID). And I learned a couple of Dr. Seuss titles.

Why do we criticize a puzzle for being harder than the usual Tuesday? Isn't that what most of us want?

UBOAT reminded me of Dead Wake, the current bestseller about the sinking about The Lusitania. Lots of fascinating stuff there. Including what a complex weapon those torpedoes were.

Lucy 8:53 AM  

This was a very nice puzzle except for "emobands". Rex, I hope some day the NYT publishes a puzzle you like.

'mericans in Paris 8:55 AM  

Bastille Day in Paris, so no International New York Times today. Was curious what the theme was, however, so came here. Dr. SEUSS -- good one, that!

Clearly one could easily compose a story on the theme of IF I RAN THE CIRCUS. That circus would, of course, be a three-RANG one, with BANGLEs and bells dangling over each circle. It would need many a TENT PEG, a LOT of HAY (at least a TON a day), and some ALOE vera on hand to treat the AILing animals who singe themselves while jumping through fiery hoops.

To manage the CASTS of dozens I would need an EMCEE, and who better than MR. ED? From time to time, and on CUE, DER OOMPA band (definitely, no EMO BAND) would play ABA hits as comic relief. And, during the intermission, I'd invite THE LORAX to ORATE (a guaranteed way to send people off to buy over-priced refreshments).

Alas, IT'S probably TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

NOW, back to lunch, which involves, among other goodies, VINO, AIL and tomato and mozzarella (the kind one would find in BARI).

P.S., What on earth is the clue resulting in the answer HOP ON POP?!

Theodore Geisel 9:17 AM  

I was offended by all of the titles in this puzzle:

HORTON HEARS A WHO is offensive to the deaf community. It implies those who are hard of hearing can't change the world.

THE LORAX is a tale of radical environmentalism, and such things should not be taught to red-blooded 'merican children.

GREEN EGGS AND HAM is an insult to monochromatic vegans everywhere.

HOP ON POP encourages elder abuse.

IF I RAN THE CIRCUS glorifies animal abuse and has a decidedly anti-capitalist message.

I am going to write a strongly worded letter to Mr. Shortz.

quilter1 9:19 AM  

Nothing wrong with this puzzle. Fresh cluing, fun theme and all the titles were familiar and fondly remembered. I never even saw MALEEGO and if I had would probably have assumed it was an island. I think Rex put on his curmudgeon's hat when he wrote the blog. Unnecessary rant.

Loren Muse Smith 9:24 AM  

@joho – OOMPA - Hah! Don't forget LACUNA Matata from Lion King. ;-)

I get the objection to simply a list of something for a theme; wordplay is always something that floats my boat. However, to be reminded of Dr. Seuss was a joy this morning. IF I RAN THE CIRCUS is one of my all-time favorites. (I tried to fit Circus McGurkus or some spelling there for a bit.) And HORTON HEARS A WHO is great on so many levels.

The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
to come to the aid of their country!” he said.
“We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts!
So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”
Thus he spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top,
the lad cleared his throat and he shouted out, “Yopp!”

I was always delighted that the kid shouted the ridiculous word yopp.

I don't speak poetry – foot, stress, pentameter, etc, - but his work has to be a study of something involving spot-on stress placement.

"…The remarkable Foon
who eats sizzling hot pebbles that fall off the moon!
And the reason he likes them red hot, it appears,
Is he greatly enjoys blowing smoke from his ears."

"…And on stage number two
here is something quite new
From a country called Frumm
Comes this Drum-Tummied Snumm
Who can drum any tune
That you might care to hum.
(Doesn't hurt him a bit
"Cause his drum tummy's numb.)

The guy was a genius.

@okanaganer – interesting fact about NEWELS (which went right in likety-split). I didn't know this, but I would say that it's the bad dictionaries that perpetuate a word's usage that is evolving to mean something else. Dictionaries are starting to note that lay can mean lie. Though most note that it's a non-standard usage, I think it's only a matter of time before it becomes a full-fledged intransitive verb in the dictionaries. It already enjoys this status in every-day spoken language. Despite our best efforts, language changes, and dictionaries have to acquiesce.

TOO GOOD crossing GREEN EGGS AND HAM can't have been an accident. I really, really enjoyed this romp through memories of my childhood and of reading Dr. Seuss to my kids. @joho's post reflects my feelings exactly, including admiring what @Lewis said.

Ludyjynn 9:26 AM  

I am liking the recent trend toward trickier Tuesdays, i.e. LACUNA, PRECIS. Chuckled when RAHM crossed MALEEGO (sorry, Rex).

The MRED theme song, "A Horse is a horse, of course, of course..." is now earworming its way through my brain. Sounds a bit SEUSSian!

Very nice puzzle, KC, BW and WS.

Billy C 9:34 AM  

...And no one can talk to a horse, of course
That is, of course, unless the horse
Is the famous Mr. Ed.

(Sorry, couldn't help it. Now it's my ear worm too.)

Ellen S 9:34 AM  

@'mericans, @Rex's blog starts out (before the rant) with the themers and their clues. Each SEUSS title is invoked by a snippet therefrom. HOP ON POP is clued with "Red Ned Ted and Ed in bed".

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:54 AM  

In what sense is Mr. Ed 'Classic'?

old timer 9:58 AM  

Now wait a minute, Mr. Sox Fox! (By which you can tell, "Fox in Sox" was my favorite Dr Seuss book, followed by the two Cat in the Hat books, one of which has the best advice for any kid, old or young: "It's fun to have fun but you have to know how!"

We actually didn't have any of the referenced books that I recall, other than the famous GREENEGGSANDHAM. Probably the too-preachy LORAX too. But I'd heard of them all. The obscure ones did make the puzzle a little Wednesdayish, so it was important to have a few obvious answers such as BARI.

What is especially weird about this puzzle for me is that I had a recurring crossword puzzle dream last night -- only the puzzle partly filled in, no clues, and I kept thinking I would never get it solved, though it *was* (in my dream) a Tuesday puzz. Had the actual puzzle resembled the one in my dream I would be seriously confused.

It would be nice if a Frenchman won today's Tour stage, but I'm not expecting it.

Elephantine's Child 10:05 AM  

@bewilbered, Bette Davis was wrong. Given the explosiveness coupled with extreme thickness of skin (in certain areas), it's 'rhinocerine'.

I examined this under a loupe and you all created a gem.

'mericans in Paris 10:09 AM  

@Ellen S: oops, hadn't recognized HOP ON POP as a SEUSS book, so didn't think to check @Rex's notes.

Regarding OFL's rant, I'm still trying to figure out what kind of complex quotient "strangeness per difficulty per day-of-the-week" is.

Nancy 10:10 AM  

@Lewis -- Can't decide which I liked more --your factoid or your quotoid. Loved them both.

@Chefwen __ Your MALEEGO conversation with Jon is a howl. (That was my favorite clue, btw, one of the few that wasn't completely straightforward.)

What to say about this puzzle? With cleverer cluing, it would have been relatively nifty. But I just can't get excited about a puzzle so easy that I can do it while planning the grocery list. OTOH, I loved that the constructors quoted at length some of Dr. Seuss's delightful verse. That part of the cluing was whimsical; the rest dreary. I didn't know off the top of my head HOP ON POP or IF I RAN THE (what?). But it didn't matter; it all came in without a problem.

@Steve J -- I agree it should be DR SEUSS, not just SEUSS.

Carola 10:13 AM  

Did you solve it with a pen? Did you solve it with a hen? Nope, with a pencil and a cup of TEA. Delightful puzzle and comments! I was only a little sorry that my favorite, Fox in Sox, didn't make the cut.
I had some trouble with EMO BANDS, as my Italian article began as UNo, leading to EMO BoNDS, which I tried to justify with the idea of bonding with the audience through confessioinal lyrics. Tried but failed - thought it over and saw the A.

@Lewis, lovely post - and the follow-up about MR ED and peanut butter is a riot.

Roo Monster 10:13 AM  

Hey All !
Nice puz. Agree with OFL's rating. Got held up in the SW corner. Seuss book IF I RAN THE CIRCUS a new one on me. Heard of the others. Also in that SW, BARI a WOE, HANA a WOE, and SEA LAB and EMO BANDS were just not materializing. Spent I think more time on that corner than the rest of the puz!

Wanted eww for UGH, L_CUNA could've been any vowel. Liked clues for WEVE MET, NCO, CUE, MENSA, VINO. Odd clue for HIT AT.

Overall, I'd say,
A pleasure to play
Made you utter "Hey!
This is a Tuesday?"


pmdm 10:14 AM  

Starting with JFC, enough commentators have vented about today's write-up that I can't add anything meaningful. Perhaps I can add an observation that when the write-up goes on and on and on trying to make a point, the point in question is usually off base.
I dislike the twitter concept, but often when reading the write-up it feels like I'm reading something that is replacing sound logic with overwhelming verbosity.

While harder than usual for a Tuesday, I guess there is a reason it appeared on a Tuesday. It simply is too easy for a Wednesday. And too much of simple fill prevents it being considered for a Wednesday puzzle. Can't be a Wednesday puzzle, so has to be a Tuesday puzzle. These things happen every now and then.

Now back to watch them climb the final hill of today's Tour De France stage.




-didn't really care for
-it's just
-it's just...
-not for any reason
-I don't get it.
-Too vanilla
-I've never ever heard of
-I am confused
-only one I've heard of
-overly straightforward
-huge boo
-oddly clued
-odd enough
-really rubs me the wrong way
-Fake Feminism
-Cosmo Feminism
-currency peaked in 1978
-not very useful
-at least mildly heterosexist
-totally removable
-could refill so much better
-I don't feel like


Nancy 10:27 AM  

@old timer -- I just read your comment and came back to say: If you're having crossword puzzle anxiety dreams -- RECURRING anxiety dreams no less! -- maybe you need a short break from puzzledom. We'd all miss you a lot (I CERTAINLY would!) but there's your peace of mind to consider. I've had those kinds of dreams before starting a new job, say, or before college exams, but the day I have a crossword anxiety dream will be the day I hang up my pencil. Relax, old timer. There's absolutely NOTHING on the line when one does a puzzle. You'll still eat tomorrow, still have a roof over your head, and if you fail miserably on an early week puzzle, no one even need to know unless you decide to tell them. :)

AliasZ 10:52 AM  

MALEEGO is a type of cheese not dissimilar to manchego. It has a firm and compact consistency, a distinctive flavor -- well developed but not too strong, creamy with a slight piquancy and a buttery texture -- and it often contains small, unevenly-distributed air pockets. Manchego is from the La Mancha region of Spain whence Don Quixote also hails, while MALEEGO is from the Málaga (Andalusia) region, where the Malagueña originates.

[I made all this up as an excuse to insert another five-and-a-half minutes of LACUNA music.]

AliasZ 10:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
r.alphbunker 11:25 AM  

EMOBANDS went in last. Decided that HOPONPOP was more likely than HiPONPOP (a story about dad's hip replacement?)

Here is a list of all clues that are quotes that do not contain underscores. And here are the usual statistics

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

MAO should clue as "Murdered 75 million"
MALE EGO should clue as "Easily bruised thing for LESS THAN half the world" Women outnumber men.
Proudly didn't know EMO BAND.

Tita 11:36 AM  

@John V - ask your hosts about a restaurant in Makati where first you shop for your food - just like at the supermarket, with a shopping cart and shelves full of fresh produce, meats, and tanks full of wriggling sealife.
First you purchase your ingredients (going through checkout and paying), then the waiter brings you to your table, gets your drink order, then comes back with drinks and your shopping cart, and asks you how you would like each thing prepared.

Then you pay at the end of your meal for the preparation.

It was absolutely delicious, and an approach that really lets you get creative. Of course, the waiter can offer suggestions, and usually does, especially when the creature you've chosen is something very alien to you - which is very likely to happen there!

And if you find it, let me know the name - though maybe by now there are many like that!!

Joseph Michael 11:40 AM  

Sillier than usual Rex rant today. Come on, Rex. Get over yourself.

Puzzle seemed a bit difficult for a Tuesday. Liked the SEUSS tribute, though I wasn't familiar with all of the titles, such as HOP ON POP.

Liked EMO BANDS once I finally got it and the clue for TENT PEG. Thanks, guys, for a GOOD start to the day.

Pam 11:40 AM  

I enjoy any rare NYT puzzle that doesn't include the skin crawling words OGLE (there is one ogle-free puzzle about every two weeks) and ANAL, so liked this one despite having to contemplate (young, female) NYMPHS as satyrs' prey.

Thoroughly enjoyed the silly Dr Seuss theme, and the nice added bow to Dahl with OOMPA. I first had HOPONPOP as FOXINSOX, but quickly saw my error. Personally loved that the author made us work a little for the last Seuss--If I Ran the Zoo was so popular that IFIRANTHECIRCUS followed. We own both, but I definitely was confused at first that it wasn't "zoo."

This is only my second comment and am going to risk offending again. I think Rex's silly rant on MALEEGO proved any lighthearted point that the author might have been making. And retaliating with pseudo intellectual derision like "faux-feminism" and stereotypical put downs like "appletinis" gets more misogynist as it goes. Yes, "MALEEGO" means something specific, as any woman who has ever made more money than her boyfriend or spouse, or beaten him at a sport, can tell you--and now any reader of a crossword blog whose writer doesn't like women to make fun of men in even the most gentle way. Just imagine if we talked about men being somebody's sexual prey. (Trying to think of the clue for DONTDROPTHESOAP....)

Unusually fast Tuesday puzzle for me--was able to do most solely on Across.

Leapfinger 11:49 AM  

MALEEGO: Another golden opportunity for @Rex to go all Mission Statement on us. When Fate hands you MALEEGO, use MALEEGO gripes to make MALEEGO whine.

I thought this puzzle was TOO GOOD to be true from square one and ff. I was sidetracked to revel in some felicitous association so often that my solve-time was in the sub-cellar.

A small sample:
Leggo my MALEEGO
California has Santa ANA winds; MARIN County has MARIN ARA winds. Messy.
SEALABs are built up by crunches. Can you see it now? A SEAL with a 6-pack?
Wasn't Bathsheba's husband Uriah the HITAT?
Friday night in the dorm always had the RAS putin ontheRitz.
CUE STYX on the pub wall. Sounds damp.
Tall people get their CUE STYX from the high racks; short people get them from the LORAX. After taking a beating, thome folkth get them from the thORAX. When you tire of the game, take your CUES to the bORAX.
All those CUES led me to a POol stick instead of a POGO stick, but the POGO schtick was a great counterpoint to the SEUSSy cue.

Satyrs quarries: NYMPHS
Satyrs' queries: 'Nuffs?
Any ideas on how those Satyrs LURID those NYMPHS?

In recent years, the annual Hollerin' Contest at Spivey's Corners has seen competitors coming up with longer and longer hog-calls. This year, however, all the long-winded contestants lost out to a very brief hollerer. It was a clear case of Little Sooies TOO GOOD.

(Pretty cool to see the hog-hollerin' tied in with "ESP ESS de cochon", hien?)

Loved the fill and the Dr SEUSS-y Geiselschaft on account of:
Thing 1: Like the Smores, it was just GOOood
Thing 2: Probably the most fun Tuesday I've ever done.


Master Melvin 11:52 AM  

Delightful puzzle! I used to read Dr. Seuss to my boys who are now in their mid to late forties. After HOP ON POP they used to act it out. One of the joys of parenting, rolling around on the floor, romping with the kids.

C'mon, @Rex. If asked to name 2 Italian cities on the Adriatic, I would say Venice first and BARI second. (Well maybe Trieste?) It's just geography. If you don't know or care about geography, fine. BARI is easy to get from those extremely simple crosses.

And I have no idea what the incoherent rant about MALE EGO is all about.

Tita 11:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 11:55 AM  

I was a Who in a high school Christmas play. It was a catholic high school - what an odd show to choose! I guess they were trying to be hip.

@Lewis - that may be my favorite factoid you've published to-date!

Remember - Rex is often ironic.
(That doesn't explain away his CIRCUS/Zoo silliness - or does it...?
Though I think @Nancy in PA wins the irony contest today.

@AliasZ - didn't know about the spiral staircase NEWEL - thx!

Count me among those who loved the puzzle simply because Dr. SUESS!

My goddaughter uses TOOGOOD and TOO beautiful all the time - whenever something is more wonderful than she can possibly bear.

ALso liked the self-referential Mr. Ed, Mr. Wilber... thank you and Mr. Christian, I presume.

Bird 12:06 PM  

As opposed to Rex, I liked it even though I needed to guess 46A because that was my outlier and I do not know the tennis star the synonym for recap.

The title could have been M/POP ON P/TOP or almost any other combination.

Too bad the cat in the hat wasn't in the grid

Masked and Anonymous 12:30 PM  

har. Well, I kinda liked it. But whoa, I was gettin the vibe that the puz was Mexico and @009 was Donald Trump.

MALEEGO = {"Scram, Bruce's old lady!"}. Saves yah from loads of controversial static.

Choice weeject stacks, NE and SW.
fave weeject was (non-stacked) DER. Honrable mention to TES.
fave grida filla: ABA ANA UNA ATTA HANA OOMPA MARINARA. Couldya kinda feel the crescendo buildin, there?

fave column: ALOE HAN HANA. I want to go to there.
fave row: ABA LACUNA POGO. Ditto. Sounds like it would have a pretty lagoon or possums or somethin.

Puz had a respectable U-count of: 5. And a similar Seuss-count. Didn;t know the "POP" one or the "CIRCUS" one. Seem to recall a "CATHAT" one, tho...

Congrats to Mr. Wilber, on his very first themed NYTPuzzer.


**galaxy of gruntz**

OISK 12:39 PM  

Who objects to "ogle"? I ogle all the time. Was it Frank Loesser who wrote "Brother you can't go to jail for what you're thinking, or for the "WHOO" look in your eye..."

I keep track of how many puzzles I complete - no errors, no help - in a row. Seven weeks and three days - my all time best, ended today. A Tuesday!! Never had kids, too old for Dr. Seuss, and never heard of two of the titles. Got defeated by "Hop on pop," but also by forgetting "Newels" which I have seen in the puzzle before. So I had hopoppop. Had I carefully tried every letter, maybe I would have seen that "Hop on" made more sense. But I didn't. Very sad, all those successful Fridays and Saturdays, and it comes to this. Oh, appleseuss!

Appreciated nice comment from @leapfinger last Sunday. But couldn't share appreciation of this puzzle. Not what the doctor ordered, in my case...

Martel Moopsbane 12:50 PM  

A quibble: one must cross the River Styx to get to Hades, but it doesn't actually lead there in the upstream/downstream sense.

I was so hoping for oobleck today, but it was not to be.

Masked and Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Factoids: Dr. Seuss had a PhD in English lit. Seuss was actually his middle name. His first published work was: "The Pocket Book of Boners". M&A regretfully missed out on that one, when he was a lil weezler. Grew up on "In One Head and Out the Other" by Roger Price, as his mantra, instead.

In 1974 Dr. Seuss did a reboot of his first intriguin book's title, with:
"There's a Wocket in My Pocket!"

Dude was actually pretty day-um kinky. "The Foot Book" goes too far, however…

"Seuss Moose is Loose!"

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

Very easy for me. I've never been a big Seuss fan, but those easily dropped into place.

And apparently Rex's MALEEGO was too easily bruised by a harmless reference to an early feminist trope.

Too bad.

foxaroni 1:39 PM  

@r.alphbunker--thanks for the "quotes" list. As Arte Johnson used to say on "Laugh-In," ve-e-ery interestink.

@leapy--your "small sample" was a hoot! Especially the Marin-ara winds and the cue styx high racks/lorax.

I must confess, when I read the clue at 25A and glanced at my partial answer, I wondered if the satyrs'quarries were going to be NYMPHOS. (Apologies if any find that offensive.)

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

After yesterday's farce with the facebook garbage, this was a very fast and easy puzzle. I don't get how it could be considered challenging for a Tuesday. i actually put in "tentpeg" first. Back under five minutes after yesterday's after 9. Now, could tomorrow's puzzle be somewhere between the oddity of facebook and the obviousness of Dr. Suess?

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Easily confused thing for half the worlds population: FEMALEMIND. Fair play?
Seems comparable.
I think I'll stay anonymous on this one!

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

I love the nyt puzzles, too; they are not only challenging, but for me, FUN! Can't help but wonder by your blog entries if you miss that part.

Happy solving. Two ideas for you: 1). Try the London Sunday Times, and 2). Try constructing one yourself! (might give you a different perspective on appropriateness of clues.)

Thanks for sharing, Rex.


Leapfinger 2:40 PM  

@foxy, there was more, but a streak of mercy set in. Your cat and my Baxter should get together, but I'm afraid a Maine Coon [sic] would demolish a small lavender-point.

@OISK, very thoughtful of you to make sure I didn't miss that you didn't miss my reply, but I didn't. Too bad you didn't enjoy today as much as I, but different Chemistry, eh? One Seuss you might like better was specifically 'for obsolete children' (like us). Your ending to that infamous story truly was inspired, and today's 'appleseuss' isn't chopped liver, either. There's a lot to be said for a grand finale.

Best mis-read goes to @Nancy (still in PA?). If WE'rE MEn is good for needing 'no directions' as well as 'no instructions', you might be a long time getting out of Penna. Grrlsplain that.

@Pam, Soap-on-a-rope has probably saved quite a few from an unhappy end.

@Alias, smile and say Cheese! I was thinking of a wine and cheese party myself, but couldn't come up with the name, as Merengue kept getting in the way. You also gave me my 2nd new meaning for LACUNA today, and I have no haversian to making a little more space for a fine Cuban composer. Some of his music was definitely RHAMba-esque, so this all turned into quite a party.

As the lady upstairs said: Lacuna matata!

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

@M&A. Based on your posts, it should of been HOP ON TOP or even POP ON TOP. Very Judy. Blumeish.

grammar nazi 4:19 PM  

@Anon@3:10: "should of been"?! I would hope that is cringeworthy even to the grammar skeptics among us.

Z 5:10 PM  

@OISK - " Oh, appleseuss! " wins. Sorry about the streak coming to an end.

@anin2:28 - Truly. Ad hominem attacks all day, but not a single cogent counter-argument. At least the real @Evil Doug would have given me food for thought.

DIY 6:24 PM  

If you want food for thought, sometimes you have to do your own hunting-gathering.

grammar nazi 6:38 PM  

People find me off-putting in real life too. I'm not sure why, but it has always been hard for me to make friends. My mother breast-fed me until I was eight. Could there be a connection there?

Teedmn 8:13 PM  

@chefwen, loved your Jon's DOOK experience.

Am I overthinking Little Goody Two Shoes for Little Sooies TOO GOOD? I don't think I'm TOO GOOD at SEUSSing (yes, I stole that one) the deeper puns.

The only Dr. Seuss book in my childhood home was Yertle the Turtle (and other stories). It is a 15 count themer made for this puzzle and it could have upped @M&A's "U" count - definitely a missed opportunity there.

I really dislike the generalizations that divide us by gender (and race). I'm the navigator at my house and my husband just did some wonderful flower arrangements for a friend's funeral. I'm the one more likely to rip a package open only to then piece it together because I finally deign to read the directions. These readily accepted cliches are the kinds of things that I think lead to the ongoing under-representation of women in the sciences and top corporate positions. And yes, I know it is only a crossword puzzle and not to be taken seriously but I think we need to root out this kind of thinking right where it is HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT. (Rant over).

Thanks, KC and BW (me too for liking the MRED reference!)

Marlo Thomas 8:22 PM  

And you and me are fee to be you and me.

JFC 9:10 PM  

@grammar nazi, the road to recovery might begin with dropping "nazi" from your name.


old timer 9:41 PM  

In honor of @AliasZ, I offer a performance on what seems to be a very, very old harpsichord

ANON B 10:12 PM  

I know what a TA is. What
is an MA?

ANON B 10:14 PM  

It took me quite awhile to figure
out the new Capcha

JFC 10:23 PM  

People find me off-putting in real life too. I'm not sure why, but it has always been hard for me to make friends. My mother breast-fed me until I was eight. Could there be a connection there?

kitshef 11:31 PM  

I had 3 thoughts while solving. 1. Very easy. 2. HITAT doesn't really work for try to punch. 3. MALEEGO is both sexist and innacurate this - week's bimbo.

JFC 12:34 AM  

Whoever wrote:

JFC said...
People find me off-putting in real life too. I'm not sure why, but it has always been hard for me to make friends. My mother breast-fed me until I was eight. Could there be a connection there?

10:23 PM

Needs therapy.


Anonymous 10:24 PM  

For the guy who is a tournament level solver to say that "something driven at a campsite" is a hard clue for tent peg is baffling to me.

If the Grinch had not reformed himself, perhaps Rex would like this puzzle better.

spacecraft 11:22 AM  

Indeed, methinks OFL's 20-across has been bruised. Four whole minutes? Egad! Give. Me. A. Break.

Nothing describes today's offering better than "whimsy." It even carries over into the fill: OOMPA, and our old friend POGO Possum--he who said "WEVEMET the enemy and he is us!" A little whimsy never hurt anybody. I agree that today's feature guest was a genius, MENSA member or not. Cool puzz, though they maybe got a little lazy finishing up in the SE with TSPS/ESP/ESS. A-.

Signed, the South-going Zax. Definitely south. North too cold.

rondo 12:27 PM  

HOPONPOP was my daughter's favorite. And she would then do that.

MARLO, a 60's-70's whiskey-voiced yeah baby of sorts, yeah That Girl. Poor Donald, never getting any.

HANA, on a good day in her youth, if you're another girl.

Susanna Hoffs from the BANGLEs, however, yeah baby a LOT or a TON, I SAYSSO.

I've no prob with a SEUSS puz. Funny it contains NYMPHS. Back to vacation.

leftcoastTAM 5:25 PM  

Likely others have already said this, but about MALEEGOS methinks RP doth protest too much.

Correcting writeovers, all in the SE:


Bit of a stretch between clue and SAYSSO, I think.

The Forman Consultancy 7:47 PM  

As a member of the oldsters, I never followed any of the EMO BANDS. Seems like most had very low distribution. Oh well, I was following Heart, David Bowie, Devo, blah blah!

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP