Onetime lover of Riker on Star Trek TNG / THU 7-2-15 / Father of Erebus Nyx in Greek myth / Soba alternative / James Merritt pioneering lithographer / Protein constituent informally / Depression common during childhood

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (only because of one corner; otherwise Easy-Medium)

THEME: INVISIBLE INK (67A: What six of this puzzle's clues have been written with?) — theme clues are single letters, to which you must add "-INK" to get the full clue; ERGO:

Theme answers:
  • ECCENTRICITY (18A: K) [i.e. Kink]
  • FOUNDER (12D: S) [i.e. Sink]
  • SPLIT SECOND (30A: W) [i.e. Wink]
  • MEDIUM RARE (38A: P) [i.e. Pink]
  • STOOL PIGEON (53A: F) [i.e. Fink]
  • CONNECT (45D: L) [i.e. Link]
Word of the Day: ETYMA (11D: Root words) —
plural noun: etyma
  1. a word or morpheme from which a later word is derived. (google)
• • •

This concept is nice. Grid is oversized (16 wide) and still crammed to the gills with theme material. Perhaps too crammed—fill gets pretty strained at times. But core concept is solid and clever. Two things were weird for me about this solving experience. First, I took a ridiculous, circuitous route through the grid at the beginning, getting real traction nowhere, but somehow managing to proceed by crosses until I'd nearly traversed the whole grid. Second, I got stuck in one of the narrow-exit corners. Can you guess which one? Hint: the SW. It's the SW. I got stuck there. Those corners were much tougher than the rest of the puzzle. Corners that are mostly cut off and barely accessible can get very dicey. Since I moved into the NE from the front ends of some Across answers, I was able to get that corner under control without too much trouble. But backing my way into the SW proved much, much tougher. But let's start with that weird opening:

Look at that nonsense. I'm all over hell and gone. It's not like I didn't *try* to dig into various sections as I moved through them. It's just that I got thwarted, and so kept moving. You can see what thwarted me up top—two wrong answers (PAL for MAC, STEMS for (yuck) ETYMA). Anyway, the meandering you see above is decidedly not normal. But it had this weird, serendipitous upside, which is that the SE was the first corner I really nailed, and that just happened to be the corner that held the key to the whole theme. Thus, very shortly after the CHAOS you see above, I had this:

I was not yet aware that there were two more theme clues lurking in the tinier corners. Anyway, getting the theme revealer opened things right up. And not much later I tried to enter the SW. And failed. Well, mostly failed. I got UH OH and GANG WAR (though I was unsure of the latter). But even with -US ending I couldn't remember GENUS (haven't played Trivial Pursuit in a quarter century). Clues for both MUGGING (43D: Slice of ham?) and I HEAR YA (44D: "Tell me about it!") were opaque. Didn't know who DeWitt Clinton was, so NYC stayed hidden. Got IRE, but it didn't help. Know far, far too many 3-letter synonyms for [Roscoe] (most notably ROD and GUN), so GAT wasn't obvious. It took, finally, just guessing MIC at 43A: Word after open or hot to move things along. Thought I was done, but I'd left a square blank back at IVES / SLIT. So that's where I finished.

Did anyone else have GO UNDER for [S[ink]] at first?
Did anyone expect something much, much more interesting than ECCENTRICITY for [K[ink]]?
No? OK. That's fine.

Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


wreck 12:10 AM  

To me, this was exactly what a Thursday should be! I rambled all along the grid (much like Rex) and didn't see the trick until well after I should have. I had at least three of the themers before it hit me like a ton of bricks what was going on. Sure, there were a couple of iffy answers, but all in all, a fun solve. I had makeME before DAREME for way too long which slowed me down as well.

jae 12:11 AM  

Very tough Thurs. for me.  FOUNDEREd a bit at the top so tried the bottom to see if I could uncover the reveal.  That worked and I finished, but even after getting the conceit it was still tough.  Lots of tricky/tough clues...e.g. ANNO, SWISS, MUGGING...

WOEs: IRIDIC.  Thank goodness for crossword staple ARARAT.  Also DR MARIO.  I've been getting (and missing) a lot of Mario Bros. questions in Trivia Crack lately.  Almost makes me regret never playing the Nintendo game.

In the high-end crosswordese category we have ORISON and AEOLIAN. 

Gotta love a tricky crunchy Thurs.!  Nice one Tim!

George Barany 12:20 AM  

This puzzle by @Tim Polin was excellent. @Hayley Gold seems to think so too, in her highly entertaining webcomic of the week. Happy upcoming holiday weekend to all!

Moly Shu 12:36 AM  

Really good Thursday IMHO. My problem was the NW. Had LIANA, NULL, LIAM and ECCENTRICITY, but also had pal for ACE because, well, I already had MAC, so pal had to be right. Took everything out except for the themer, and tried minOS. No help. Then tried TiES which was wrong but got me SPLIT. Saw HICCUPS and back in went LIANA, NULL and LIAM and I was done. I had the revealer before I had any complete theme answer which helped a lot. I misread the clue for SWISS as deli section, and thought why have I never seen the muenster/bleu/havarti sections at my local deli? Dopeslap when I went back over it. Liked LOZENGE and the clue for RENT. Agree with @Jae, if not for xwords, I'd have no clue about AEOLIAN or ORISON.

Trombone Tom 12:47 AM  

Great puzzle. Puzzle itself on the easy side for a Thursday. Finished the entire grid without getting the theme. Sat there looking at it for a good ten minutes before it started to SINK in. One hold-up was trying to stay with ExCEN way too long.

John Child 1:04 AM  

Gotta love The Housemartins, so Rex's comment gets thumbs up from me. The puzzle too! I haven't been so thoroughly destroyed by a puzzle in a while. MAKE ME led to MUMP which was weird, and LATE going down just confused the issue. So I never got ECCENTRICITY (lovely word) and thus 1-, 2-, and 3-Down all stayed hidden.

And below that {Slice of ham?} never turned into MUGGING, and {Roscoe} was __T. I would have got {Gunsel's piece}... Tough clueing for me: below decks instead of in the wheelhouse.

Haley Gold's comic is fun: go see. And get me a couple of CUPS of HI-C while you're up.

Anonymous 1:21 AM  

Found the fill harder than the usual Thursday. Not the most enjoyable solve but the clever gimmick elevates the appraisal.

Anoa Bob 2:26 AM  

I already had INVISIBLEINK in the grid but only after a second reading of its clue did I realize that it had to do with the themers' clues, not the themers (ECCENTRICITY, et alia) themselves. Then the light came on. Cognitive dissonance dissipated.

I'm a sailor and have several, well-worn books on rigging and knot tying (I do a periodic workshop at our sailing club called "Why Knot?") and the only place I've seen 31D TYE(S) is in xword puzzles. Ain't complaining. I've seen it enough times that it's a gimme and, as it did today, will give me an easy foothold when I'm starting a new section of the grid.


Music man 2:38 AM  

Dnf the vast majority of this one, only responding to say that yes, I also had GO UNDER and for some reason misread the number for "pink" and wrote in UNDERCOOKED, close I guess? INVISIBLE INK was maybe my third answer placed and still couldn't make much leeway, oh well, some just don't fit your personal knowledge base

MDMA 4:19 AM  

This was tougher than usual because it required solving the revealer to make progress in much of the rest of the puzzle. Other times the revealer is often just an afterthought, especially in early-week puzzles.

Knowing liane and ├ęolien helped, these are relatively common words in French. I wasn't familiar with LIANA as crosswordese English until now. ARARAT was a geography wheelhouse gimme.

Overwrites include "thErapy" for CLEANSE, and "fEat" for DEED, which led me think maybe "Surf" was a "beach blanket". Tried "pal" for each of the two "Buddy" clues. ACE in this meaning is new to me.

"Frank refusal" was iffy, I don't think this term has been used for Germans since Charlemagne. "Roscoe" as an old slang term for handgun was new to me. Likewise for TYES, which is so obscure that has no entry for "tye", although Wiktionary does. ETYMA as plural of "etymon" was tough but fair.

Like Rex, I found the SW took the longest. I never played Trivial Pursuit, so I always thought there was a "Genius" edition, not "Genus". But NYC was a gimme, because what other clued-American city can you think of that has a 3-letter abbreviation? I was even more confident because a certain Clinton correctional facility has been in the news a lot lately, so I figured Clinton County in upstate New York was named for this guy... but it turns out it was named for George Clinton, vice-president under Jefferson and Madison.

MDMA 4:53 AM informs us that INVISIBLEINK was used just once before, in 1986 in the Maleska era.

The clue was "Ping shears". Huh??

bikini snivel
I sink evil bin

John Child 4:57 AM  

TYE is in some dictionaries with a nautical definition:

2. (Naut.) A chain or rope, one end of which passes through the mast, and is made fast to the center of a yard; the other end is attached to a tackle, by means of which the yard is hoisted or lowered. (Webster's 1913 edition)

I agree completely that no boat I've ever sailed had TYES though.

Loren Muse Smith 7:21 AM  

I'm with @John Child – this one destroyed me, too. I just couldn't crack the northwest and due north. I, too, had "pal" and "stems" and never considered anything else. I never would have gotten ETYMA. Ever. Like, @Wreck, and @John, I had "make me," and couldn't see past that, either.

I saw the trick pretty early with STOOL PIGEON and INVISIBLE INK, but it didn't help me dispatch that top part. Sheesh.

@John Child again – liked your CUPS of HI C. Makes me think of yesterday's C CUPS. Boy, you can parse the heck out of HICCUPS, right? HI, C CUPS. Where have you been all my life?

ENROL and PLEB just look like words that aren't quite finished, don’t they? Like when the guy who made up English was almost done with those two words, his wife called for him to take out the garbage and he just never finished them. coinus interruptus. (W W)

I liked this trick – fresh idea. It could have been really hard if he had gone with actual words instead of letters:

"sty" – SMELLY
"sports dr" GATORADE

In playing around with it, I see the real challenge is coming up with answers that constitute viable grid entries; a clue like "pest" cannot have as its answer LEAST WELL DONE or a clue like "bled," can't have as its answer LOST ONE'S NERVE.

If I've ever seen the words AEOLIAN, ORISON, IRIDIC, fasces, or caravansary, I've completely forgotten them. When I see "wind blown," I think of hair, but I just googled how to use AEOLIAN in a sentence, and it seems it's often used with rocks and such on the ground. So dunes are AEOLIAN SAND? And I googled "caravansary." They're INNs in a desert. Marvin, don't make me stay at another caravansary that's all aeolian and stuff; I still have sand in my mouth from last night.

So, tail between my legs, I admit defeat. I thought it a fine puzzle, though, and am going to do my darnedest to use AEOLIAN next week when I'm in Maine. Hope to post, but if not, SO LONG for a week or so!

Lewis 7:44 AM  
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Lewis 7:45 AM  

@loren -- coinus interruptus followed by a double wink -- Hah!

Cluing was oh so crunchy but not mean, and the theme clever. Terrific clues for NEIN, REAREND, SAND, TUNER, SNEAKER. But there were several words I never heard of, so this was tough to solve. My aha moment came late, and even then it took a pause to see what FOUNDER had to do with Sink. As with @rex, the SW was the last to fall for me. There's an interesting cross with REAREND.

Memorable puzzle, Timothy. Gave me a GANGWAR. Just my kind of puzzle.

rorosen 7:46 AM  

Is today Saturday?

Rex Porker 7:53 AM  

I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth.

If the best I can do for this wonderful, clever, challenging, and satisfying Thursday puzzle is "Perhaps too crammed—fill gets pretty strained at times. But core concept is solid and clever," then my joy at doing puzzles is simply gone. Ciao. Arrivederci. SO LONG. I am phoning it in. I mean, even the "strained" fill is mostly original and interestingly clued, and the worst I can point out is ETYMA?!

I mean, it's great that I can detail my solving experience for you in a strange, almost robotic, emotionless voice, but if I can't find pleasure in this lovely puzzle, perhaps I should put my pen (or tablet, or whatever) down for a week and try to locate my joy.

Lucinda Williams "Joy"

Rhino 7:57 AM  

Wow. That was impossible for me. Partly because of the puzzle and partly because my brain apparently isn't working today. TROI and DRMARIO should have been gimmes but they wouldn't come. I didn't understand the theme until reading the blog.

I've had a good run of Thursday's for a month or so but I had to cheat filthy to finish today. Thank God it's over, now I can go fail at much more important things.

r.alphbunker 8:04 AM  

I loved this puzzle. The theme is so simple yet was mysterious for so long. Got INVISIBLEINK around the 6 minute mark. Used it to fill in the crossing downs and then the penny dropped and {F} STOOLPIGEON went in. What fun!

FWIW, here is a list of all puzzles that contain one-letter clues which have appeared in the Shortz era.
One letter clues
Matt Gaffney takes the crown with 7 with today's puzzle coming in second with 6.

Here are the other theme answers of that puzzle
12. Ping shears : INVISIBLEINK (PINKing shears)
24. Iron countries : DROPCURTAIN (Iron CURTAIN countries)
26. Upon a time : ONCEREMOVED (ONCE upon a time)
57. Tailless horse : FORGOTTENMAN (Tailless horseMAN)
70. "A Mess to Garcia" : AGELESSPROSE (A MessAGE to Garcia)
6. Three square a day : TAKEOUTMEALS (Three square MEALS a day)
145. "Beyond the Blue" : LOSTHORIZON (Beyond the Blue HORIZON)
147. Bobo : MISSINGLINK (BoboLINK)
41. "Kong" : STRIKEOUTKING (KING Kong)
47. "Your own business!" : ABSENCEOFMIND (MIND your own business)

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

My experience was much likeRex's. I correctly solved most of the puzzle (except for the SW) without understanding the revealer, which til then didn't reveal anything to me. I solved the theme answers by getting most of the crosses and then thinking of a word or phase that might complete the space. This led me to ETYMA, which I didn't know but figured it might have something to do with etymology. I was still buffaloed by the revealer. FOUNDER is a word, but why S? Stuck in the SW, I spent several minutes with the revealer. When the light finally dawned, I was able to see CONNECT with only one or two crosses, and the SW finally fell. For me, this was an excellent solving experience and then kind of thing I hope for from the NYT.

grammar nazi 8:11 AM  

@Rhino: Why do you (and many others here) insist on pluralizing days of the week with apostrophes? Do you just miss me? "I've had a good run of Thursdays." It's that simple.

These might help (but I doubt it):

The Apostrophe Protection Society

How to use an apostrophe

dk 8:13 AM  

­čččîĽ (3 mOOOns)

Grumble… I hate trick puzzles but this one is, err, well…. good

Oddly the reveal was filled before the theme answers. As always happens I never figured out the conceit but I soldered on. Thought ENROL had 2 Ls so tried all kinds of stuff. And never saw the Star Treks with TROI: I am told she had some sort of LOVING attraction.

For those not in the know the Erie Canal is known as Clinton's ditch.

Happy Fourth for those disappearing today for some sun and 5d.

Generic Solver 8:40 AM  

I liked the fact that this time the revealer clue was not just an afterthought, but an essential part of solving the puzzle.

FWIW, AEOLIAN is a common term in music, The Aeolian Mode is the sixth of the diatonic modes, basically the major scale, but starting on the sixth degree, so A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A in the key of C, often used over minor chords, in fact it is the same as the natural minor scale. All the modes are apparently named for regions in ancient Greece. (this is from my own knowledge of jazz improvisation, not Google).

joho 8:43 AM  

What a lovely puzzle!

I hate it when I fill in every square correctly (OK, I had FOUNDEd/dOD because FOUNDEd is a word and I hadn't figured out the missing INK and dOD is a real thing)and still don't have a clue to what's going on. Then I love it when I realize the trick. Well done, Timothy Polin, really brilliant!

Lewis 8:49 AM  

Factoid: The top per capita TEA drinking country is the United Arab Emirates, followed by Morocco, then Ireland. Britain comes in 7th, and the U.S. 69th. After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world.

Quotoid: "If Sunday is the Lord's day, then Saturday belongs to the Devil. It is the only night of the week when he gives out Free passes to the LATE show at the Too Much Fun Club." -- Hunter S. Thompson

Haiku Nerd 8:54 AM  


Z 8:58 AM  

Failed where everyone else did. Fun puzzle.

@Grammar Nazi - love the Oatmeal link. I don't know what it is about days of the week that makes it seem like they need that apostrophe. I do it, too, even thought I know it's wrong.

PRISONER LOVING on top of each other while ROD crosses REAR END. I guess that's one way to avoid a GANG WAR.

Z 8:59 AM  


NCA President 9:00 AM  

i had the same problem as Rex in the SW. Please can someone tell me how MUGGING is a "slice of ham?" Is it "mugging" as in "mugging for the camera" and so you're a ham? If so, ugh and double ugh. If so, that becomes the new fig. 1 illustration of gratuitously opaque cluing.

I don't care for the MIC spelling of "mike." Yeah, I know...MICrophone...but just because you shorten the word into a reasonable sounding word, a perfectly well spelled word at that, doesn't mean you have to keep the abbreviated version as the spelling. MIC looks like it ought to be pronounced "mick." I get googles well, yada yada yada. I just like mike better.

I know old people with DIMPLEs.

I did like the theme...took a while for it to "S" in. Get it? sINK in? Invisi---...? Aw, nevermind.

Lewis 9:04 AM  

So, on another front, I'm looking at the 18 presidential candidates, and looking for the one who a crossword constructor would like to use regularly in puzzles while that person is in office.

For me, I wouldn't want one too Scrabbly, I'd want it to have at least five letters but not more than seven, and I'd want it rife with easy-to-connect with letters. Hmmm, looking at the candidates: Chafee, Clinton, O'Malley, Sanders, Christie, Bush, Carson, Cruz, Florina, Graham, Huckabee, Jindal, Pataki, Paul, Perry, Trump, Rubio, and Santorum -- I say -- SANDERS for president!

John Child 9:28 AM  

Bravo @Lewis. Finally a way to choose without crossing anyone's red lines!

Andrew Heinegg 9:55 AM  

Lewis, you are the most entertaining blogger on this site. No one else is even close. And, without vitriol, no less;

Hartley70 10:26 AM  

Kudos to @Lewis today! Could we form a PAC? It doesnt hurt that Bernie is such a cutie and a NYC boy, himself.

@RexPorker, xo for Lucinda this morning! I love her and she hit the nail on the head for me.

I feel conflicted today. Am I an idiot or a genius? Don't answer that. It's too easy. I never understood the gimmick, but I managed to solve the puzzle without clues for the theme answers. Slowly. Kicking myself the whole time because I just couldn't see it, ha! And I had INVISIBLEINK early on.

Steve M 10:41 AM  


Nancy 10:47 AM  

So very, very hard and so very, very wonderful! I finally solved and I'm feeling like an absolute genius. Am in complete agreement with MDMA: what makes it great is that you cannot solve without getting -- and understanding -- the revealer. I had both GANG WAR and MEDIUM RARE without a clue as to what the answers meant. Only when STOOL PIGEON started to reveal itself did I realize what was going on with
F(ink). Without that, SPLIT SECOND, ECCENTRICITY and FOUNDER would have been ungettable for me.

Writeovers: PRAYER before ORISON; ACIDIC before IRIDIC; STALKER before SNEAKER. In a puzzle this hard, you can't afford any wrong answers you think you're sure of. I'm thankful for SO LONG which led me away from PRAYER and for ARARAT, which led me away from ACIDIC.

@Lewis calls this a "memorable" puzzle. I heartily agree.

pmdm 11:01 AM  

NCA President, I don't need to tell you what you already know: yes, you're interpretation of "mugging" is correct. It certainly tripped me up. I had OHOH instead of UHOH which lead me to believe 43D was HOG _____ so I put in HOGRIND and just could not correct that corner. Since I also didn't understand the theme (even after filling in all the theme answers except 45D, I had to give up. Bah. Even so, I'd say the puzzle was a very good Thursday puzzle.

Mr. Benson 11:03 AM  

I also struggled in the SW, mainly because I had "AIR" for 43A (Word after open or hot), and was convinced of its correctness for a long time, in part because I could see that the "I" in the middle supported what looked like a first-person statement (44D, "Tell me about it!"). And the "I" was in fact correct, but my answer was still wrong. I finally erased it, tried CONNECT as a Hail Mary answer at 45D, saw MIC from there, and was done soon after.

mathguy 11:04 AM  

I think that @Rex Porker is right. Rex has lost the joy of solving, Occupational hazard, I guess.

By the time I saw the gimmick, I had everything except SW. It didn't help that I had AIR for "Word after open or hot."

I needed TROI. I'm amazed that I remember it from puzzling since I didn't watch Star Trek.

Definitely not easy. Bill Butler usually does a Thursday in less than 20 minutes, Today it took him 29.

I finished just before going to sleep last night. I was so thrilled that I dreamt about it.

Arlene 11:04 AM  

I needed the revealer to get the theme - and also rambled around the puzzle as others have reported. I needed to Google for ANDRE and that sort of got things going. I was thinking pinking shears so MEDIUM RARE took a while to emerge. I was surprised I actually finished this! YAY!

old timer 11:04 AM  

This was a perfect Thursday puzzle, the kind where Getting the Trick can make all the difference *and* where there are all sorts of answers that you knew, but didn't know you knew. Example: TROI, DRMARIO, and (as clued) AEOLIAN. Maybe LOZENGE too. I used to like the kind you take for a sore throat, but in the last 50 or 60 years I have more often seen the word as a term used in heraldry.

ANDRE was my first answer to go in, along with NEIN and ROD and eventually SEMINAR, so I had FOUNDER early, but with no clue why it was right. Wanted DIMPLE, too, but its crosses did not come to mind, so for a time DIMPLE was unINKed. Where I finally got traction was in the very corner that stymied OFL for a while. IRE. GAT, NYC (though I wondered, could it be ALB?). Gave me IHEARYA. Add the obvious INTERVAL, ANNO and IPO, and the revealer appeared. Up until then, I was wondering if those letters stood for chemical elements.

After I filled everything in, I had "essai" for ESSAY. I had a vague memory of seeing the word spelled that way in some old book I looked at years ago, and of course knew that "essai" is French for "attempt" or "try", used as nouns.

A first-rate puzzle. And if Rex's praise was less than fulsome, that's the way he's been lately. Last time Rex went overboard with praise, the inevitable Mr. Porker skewered him good.

aging soprano 11:08 AM  

You probably still have SAND in your mouth from the beach blankets they gave you for covers.
Oh Loren, your comments are so funny. I threw in the towel on this one early on, but came in just to read what y'all had to say. Glad to know I wasn't the only one who gave up.

Nancy 11:08 AM  

@Lewis: Be careful of choosing a Prez based on crossword puzzle serviceability. One constructor might be looking for a longish name with a lot of commonly used letters and then we get SANDERS. But what if the constructor needs a short name with a good vowel to consonant ratio? Then we wind up with, heaven forfend, PAUL!!!

@Hartley -- Agree that Bernie SANDERS has a lot of terrific qualities. But "such a cutie"????? Really?

AliasZ 11:09 AM  
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mathguy 11:11 AM  

@Mr Benson: You beat me by a minute.

@Nancy: As is often the case, your take is identical to mine. But you express it much more neatly.

aging soprano 11:11 AM  

FWIW what does that have to do with windblown?

AliasZ 11:14 AM  

I solved this one like a themeless, although I knew the single-letter clues must be hiding something. I finally made the connection at L: CONNECT. Oh, that's the missing L-INK! Very clever, Timothy. Enjoyed it tremendously.

Favorite theme entry: ECCENTRICITY, non-theme entries: ├ćOLIAN INTERVAL. Least liked: IRIDIC, ENROL, ETYMA and TYES.

A little New York City history -- all those not interested are welcome to skip it:

├ćOLIAN reminds me of ├ćOLIAN Hall on 42nd Street across from Bryant Park, alternate home of the orchestra called the New York Symphony Society. The FOUNDER of the orchestra was Leopold Damrosch (1878) upon whose death in 1885 his son, Walter Damrosch took over as its principal conductor. It was the Symphony Society for whom Andrew Carnegie built the hall named after him, whose opening concert in 1891 was conducted by Walter Damrosch and Tchaikovsky. The Symphony Society was a fierce rival of the older Philharmonic Symphony Society, with whom it merged in 1928 to form the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, eventually renamed the New York Philharmonic that we all know and love(?) today.

The ├ćOLIAN Hall featured concerts given by the most important musicians of the day, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, Ferruccio Busoni, Guiomar Novaes, and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, as well as Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. It was on Paul Whiteman's request that Gershwin composed his Rhapsody in Blue, which "...premiered in an afternoon concert on February 12, 1924, held by Paul Whiteman and his band Palais Royal Orchestra, entitled An Experiment in Modern Music, which took place in Aeolian Hall in New York City.[...]

The Rhapsody was performed by Whiteman's band, with an added section of string players, and George Gershwin on piano. [...] The opening clarinet glissando came into being during rehearsal when as a joke on Gershwin, Ross Gorman (Whiteman's virtuoso clarinettist) played the opening measure with a noticeable glissando, adding what he considered a humorous touch to the passage. Reacting favorably to Gorman's whimsy, Gershwin asked him to perform the opening measure that way at the concert and to add as much of a 'wail' as possible." (Wikipedia)

The once-famous ├ćOLIAN Hall, home of classical music lovers and highbrows, today houses the SUNY College of Optometry, but you need a good pair of glasses to find it.


The Rhapsody in Blue presented here is in its original orchestration for jazz band by Ferde Grof├ę, with Ross Gorman playing the clarinet and George Gershwin on the piano. It is an acoustical recording made the same year it premiered. You may notice some cuts in the piece, perhaps necessitated by the time limitations of one 12-inch 78rpm record.


aging soprano 11:22 AM  

I considered SOLONG but thought Seeyou would be a better answer for Arrivederci.

aging soprano 11:36 AM  

Alias, very interesting indeed. Reminded me that I have been following the Tchaikovsky competition on Were you aware that the entire competition and all of its rounds is still available free online. Many talented, young pianists, violinists, cellists and singers, and, among others, Russian composers. The winners concert still to be streamed live.

aging soprano 11:37 AM  
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Joseph Michael 11:42 AM  

Must be on the same wave length as Timothy Polin today. Got the theme almost immediately and so much of the puzzle seemed easy.

But then there were those words I didn't know, such as IRIDIC, AEOLIAN, FOUNDER, and ORISON and the tricky cluing in the SW so, in the end, it did feel like a Thursday. A good one in spite of the snags along the way.

Favorite answer: SNEAKER

The Great Brain 11:43 AM  

I got the revealer early, but I took it a little too literally--I couldn't remember what I needed to develop invisible ink, so I poured lemon juice onto my ipad screen. When that didn't work, I used a match to heat up the screen. The clues didn't materialize before my eyes, and I now have burn marks on my melted screen and I couldn't finish the puzzle. I'm suing Will Shortz and the New York Times.

mac 11:45 AM  

Great Thursday puzzle, but I too dnf, because of the NE and the SW. Especially the last was tough, with mic, mugging and gang war.

Still a lovely time and an unusual solve!

Molson 11:46 AM  

I found this puzzle very, very hard. I didn't get the theme until late (should have looked for the revealer and tried to get it earlier), and the SW was just awful for me. I had GENUS and NYC. No idea on IRE or GAT. Couldn't think of a Bear HUG, only could think "cub" but that didn't look right at all. But by far the biggest issue was having "bar" as the word following open or hot. Finally got IHEARYA which made me change "bar" to "air." Which didn't help things at all and led to another few minutes of staring fruitlessly.

Slowest Thursday ever.

Masked and Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Holy ThursPuz, Batman. Seven themers. 7-stacks in all four corners. 6 U's. Weeject stacks in the NE & SW. Pure Luvly construction. thUmbsUp.

Only a few answers that mighta been clued with "ST", in keepin with the clever theme (yo, @AliasZ). Their well-earned bullets:

* TYES. Ropes used by desperate sailors.
* DES. Clue seems to be some sorta inside French joke. May-urd.
* IRIDIC. Like Ir, on the atomic scoreboard. Debutt word. (that's M&A's try at an inside French joke)
* UDON. Always an M&A-pleaser, when the "alternative" cited in the clue is also a mystery word. Sorta like a self-contained nat-tick.
* ORISON. Sang "Only the B Lonely". Also, "No B Dooby". Ah, hell -- let's go for the trifecta: also "Lue Ayou". Shoulda quit at two? Thought so.
* ETYMA. Speaks to m&e. Says "I am Root". Anagrams to MATEY, which is an actual word, I think. But I digress.
* MIC MAC. Co-founderers of today's Golden Weeject Slipper. Honrable mention to co-buddy ACE.
* AEOLIAN. Somethin disrespectful about usin all the vowels but one, to cobble this thing together. Etyma-word is Aeolus, tho. So, ok.

fave AR- AR- word: ARARAT.

Fun solve. Thanx, Mr. Polin. U do good work.


Nancy 11:58 AM  

@mathguy -- What a lovely thing to say. Thank you so much. But I do think that being so excited about a puzzle that you actually dream about it is a wonderfully vivid and colorful statement! I certainly couldn't improve on that.

Carola 11:59 AM  

InGENioUS! The theme remained INVISIBLE to me even after I had the grid completed - I just couldn't CONNECT the reveal with the clues or the answes, until one of those "the brain works in mysterious ways" moments when CHAOS suddenly became clarity. I'd already been LOVING the puzzle though - super theme answers plus the lovely AEOLIAN and ORISON and bouncy HICCUPS, DARE ME, UH-OH.

Thank you, Timothy Polin - this was a terrific challenge for me with a delightful pay-off.

Tita 12:05 PM  

I'm thoroughly black and blue this morning...

Saturday-level clues left me with a nearly empty grid after a few passes. Sure of only LIANA, FDR, and UMA, I erased FDR and put in goUNDER.
Thought of ROD, but had axe for a while at 37d. And I only knew that because I worked at a company based in Latina, Italy, originally called Littorio, after Fascio littorio. It was founded by Mussolini when he drained the Pontine marshes. It was my researching that city that I learned the origin of the word "Fascism".

I knew that element #77 is iridium because I was selling software to the eponymous company started by Motorola in the 90s...their vision was to launch 77 geosynchronous communications satellites to provide complete global coverage.
They only got funding for 66 - and they decided "Dysprosium" would be a lousy name for a company, so they stuck with the now-irrelevant Iridium.

But I couldn't believe that IRIDIC was a word.

That is, a really clever, fun, tough Thursday. Even though it was a DNF - I ended with ESSAi/TiES. (ESSAi is French for endeavor...and sailors wear bolo TiES.)

Thanks Mr. Polin!

Tita 12:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jberg 12:17 PM  

I got it, but it was slow. Three, maybe four of the theme answers by the @George_Barany method, i.e., get enough crosses to see what word it might be. Then the first one I got was FOUNDERS, and despite Hayley Gold's promise not to have any spoilers in her email announcement, said announcement referred to a holiday BBQ, so I decided it was THOSE founders, and was looking for related answers. I had no idea about the single-letter clues, though -- and when I finally saw the revealer, I assumed at first that the single letter was just the first letter of the clue, the rest of which had vanished. (Now there would be a tough puzzle!)

My solving experience was vastly different form @Rex's -- I could never get very far with the crosses, due to the preponderance of theme answers, so I'd fill in a 3-row swath of the puzzle and have to restart with an uncrossed clue. The SW was OK for me -- I was so happy to see IRE finally used, correctly, as a noun -- got GAT from the G (I wanted 'emoting' before MUGGING, didn't put either in because I had 'air' before MIC, but it had to be a G there), and knew Clinton was from New York state so it had to be either NYC or Alb. NW was harder, as I didn't think of CHAOS for the longest time.

@LMS, try AEOLIAN harp, or AEOLIAN-Skinner organ. I never knew it was a mode, though -- kind of odd, as all the other modes I can think of are named for regions of greater Greece, but @gs is right on that.

I'd say this was one of those puzzles I didn't enjoy until I got the revealer figured out, but then slowly came to like a lot more.

Mette 12:19 PM  

A lovely puzzle. Definitely needed the hint. Felt like Sat. cluing. Got stuck in so many places. Let me join the chorus of all who enjoy the posts of @Lewis.

Thanks for a fun Thursday TP and WS.

Tita 12:20 PM  

@MDMA - p[ink]ing shears are scissors that cut a zig-zag pattern through fabric. Very useful to keep the fabric from fraying while you are sewing it into a wonderful frock.

@Nazi - you HAVE heard the one about the bank clerk who asked me, as I spelled my name, "D as in Delta, apostrophe, A as in Apple..." - "Hold on - how do you spell "Apostrophe?"
(I've only told it here about 300 times...)

Was with my cousin DIMPLES yesterday. She's in her 60s. And still has them.

wreck 12:29 PM  

Most DIMPLES are essentially a birth defect. I'm waiting for the PC crowd to express the outrage it so deservedly merits. ;)

Charles Flaster 12:39 PM  

LOVED this one and it was a big DNF even though I had all themers except STOOL PIGEON.
Had INdelIBLE for INVISIBLE , leading to my downfall.
Great job T P. Gonna miss LMS.

Warren Howie Hughes 12:50 PM  

"I SINK, therefore I FOUNDER"

Roo Monster 12:50 PM  

Hey All !
Impressed with youse who figured out this disaster. I rated it a 7 on the Impossible Scale. Holy cow, obtuse cluing and odd answers to the missing "ink" clues, just made for a nightmare. Threw in the towel with many white squares taunting me. Officially an Ouch.


Ludyjynn 12:51 PM  

On a scale of very easy through challenging, this puzzle was IMPOSSIBLE for me. I FOUNDERed despite multiple attempts. Finally, I concluded, "I'm dead" (my answer was 'shit' for 51A, BTW).

As @CascoKid would say, I'm back in Rex's kindergarden class. Hopefully, its just a temporary HICCUP.

@Hartley, the countdown is nearly over...

Thanks for putting me in my place, TP and WS.

Warren Howie Hughes 1:03 PM  

UHOH! AMINO big hurry, but IVES this uneasy feeling we all got inDEED REARENDed, with this tremendously out-of the-NORM THURXWDP, compliments of it's frightfully clever FOUNDER, Timothy Polin!

AliasZ 1:19 PM  

@Howie my friend, good to see you. Say "hey" to Librarose.

johnny stocker 1:20 PM  

This one was a monster for me. I had to put it away for a couple hours and come back to it. Got the revealer pretty quick, but I really fought with the NE and SE and ended up with a Saturday-esque time. A sloooooow Saturday-esque time.

Steve J 1:26 PM  

I can't recall the last time I was so badly out of sync with a puzzle. My mind frequently would not go in the same direction as the clues (e.g., "Slice of ham?" for MUGGING - even after filling in the answer, it took me what felt like minutes to get it). I dooked on REAREND (me: "What the hell is "arend"?). Words I didn't know - ETYMA, AEOLIAN, ORISON (I want a B in there) - that kept me from unlocking some sections of the puzzle. Add in taking forever to realize that the INVISIBLE INK applied to the clues, not the answers, and I FOUNDERed (and floundered) badly. Just one of those days where the puzzle brain doesn't work, I guess.

Nice theme, with some really great answers.

OISK 1:38 PM  

Finished it!! Took me over an hour, because I was very slow to "ink in" the trick. I love a puzzle that goes from impossible to solvable, and really liked this one. I still dislike product clues, and "Dr. Mario" held me up for a long time, thought the clue for "Nein" was a bit obscure, even for a Thursday. But despite minor quibbles, I give this puzzle a big "Ja!" Last bits to go in for me were "Mic" ( is that a word now? To me it is an abbreviation...) and ace, cleanse, (great clue) and chaos with AAcells. I was looking for some type of "card" for the digital camera; none of my cameras take AA cells, but of course many do. Don't like "Ace" for "Buddy" either, but I guess it is slangily used that way. Very fine Thursday puzzle, all the same.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

I hate it when I have to cheat.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Loved it!

Aketi 2:13 PM  

43 minutes solve time and I found it delightful. Everyone should have a little joy in their life. The best part of my job is when the babies I work with fatten up enough to develop DIMPLEs. Simply adorable.

@rexporker -thx for the link to the song
@Lewis -loved the Hunter S Thompson quote
@Haiku Nerd -you outdid yourself today
@Tita -still retain my childish love of pinking shears and have added to my collection with scissors that make scallops
@Nancy & Lewis ROFL over the presidential pics
@Harley, I have always considered myself to be in the preK class

@wreck, ;) back at you. Since I work with postpartum parents, I always have to be incredibly careful with my choice of words but it sometimes becomes quite the chore. Even something as suggesting a bottle called the "Special Needs" feeder requires a preamble about how wonderful and perfect their baby is in order to avoid an avalanche of tears. Unease is not the same as "should be censored". The meaning of a word is often so driven by context that I can't see how a word can be judged in isolation. Sometimes the "euphemisms" that we adopt to be polite then become so overused that the euphemism then becomes politically incorrect.

Aketi 2:25 PM  

Even more happy happy joy joy today - Blogger gave me a trash bin so I can edit myself even if it makes any photo I put up look extremely fuzzy.

@M@A, I've been meaning to ask,
Y U? Y not Y?

I'm fascinated by your obsession with U.

Warren Howie Hughes 2:40 PM  

Thanks, AliasZ! I must say it's really good to be seen and heard, anywhere in Cyberspace,of late!
Rex's Place is apparently the one and only Place for me!

Masked and Anonymous 3:04 PM  

@Aketi darlin: U's are the Rodney Dangerfield of vowels. They get no respect, in crossword puzzle usage. And yet, they still only get a 1-point Scrabble score, so no big incentive for constructioneers to pack em into their grids. Today's NYTPuz, for example:
E = 26
A = 20
I = 18
O = 16
U = 6. (Note who came out distant last.)

And 6 is a pretty darn good U-count. Average is 4. Of course, this was a 16x15 off-center grid jobber, so that can make all the counts fractionally higher.

M&A fearlessly roots for the underdog. Plus, us solvers get more unusual words with more U-usage, since they are so rarely seen in grids. QED.

Y's are kinda cool. Feisty hybrid letter. They do get a little more respect, tho, with that there 4-point Scrabble score.
Words with both U's and Y's are probably extra neat. PICAYUNE. YURTS. FUZZYWUZZY. yep. toldyah.

Thanx for yer interest.
M and A Help Desk.

Hartley70 3:11 PM  

Aketi! I see you! What a cutie you are!!! Even cuter than Bernie, Nancy :-)

Hartley70 3:14 PM  

@Ludy, tick tock, tick tock...

Aketi 3:24 PM  

M&A, U can call me Darlin' anytime. I like those who fight for the underdog!

Fred Romagnolo 3:49 PM  

@Nazi: Here's my thought - they aren't using the 's as a plural, they mean it to mean "Thursday's puzzle." @Hartley: you're the only one (at least to admit it) besides me who never got the gimmick, but finished anyway! @Nancy: see, it can be done! Sir Arthur Sullivan expressed exasperation with W.S. Gilbert for using too many "LOZENGE" plots, whereby something is solved by a gimmick, or magic pill. Alias Z: couldn't get more than about 5 minutes on one side of a 78RPM disc.

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

I just may hurl.

Nancy 4:27 PM  

@Aketi: Hartley is right: you ARE cute! Much cuter than Bernie SANDERS, I agree. Now I know whom to look for if you ever do make it to Central Park. Which I hope you do, sometime soon. If I were/had a martial arts black belt (which is the right terminology?), I wouldn't be afraid to put my photo online either. If I knew how, that is. Which I don't. Also @Aketi -- what does ROFL stand for? I have no idea.

@Ludy -- Must go now.. I hear the sound of a clock ticking...

Aketi 4:32 PM  

@Fred - I'll admit to it too, but I did enjoy the gimmick after the fact.

@Hartley70 - thx for the complIment. Kinda felt like I had to prove I wasn't a man. I still remember the line from Aliens when Vasquez is asked if she's ever been mistaken for a man and her come back to the guy who asked was "No, have you?"

mathguy 4:32 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo: I'm impressed that you got it without knowing the gimmick. That means that you must have gotten nearly all the crossing entries intersecting the six entries without your knowing the clue. Good job!

JFC 5:01 PM  

@Howie, welcome to the Dark Side....


Warren Howie Hughes 5:22 PM  

JFC, Having kept me pretty much in the dark over on WP for the last 6 weeks,I may be fairly accustomed to it by now!?

Casco Kid 6:13 PM  

A Shutdown Thursday here. Principally, I was stymied by my regular foe: abundant wrongness, which is always a product of vague cluing and either too much or not enough creativity. Several clues for words I know were downright dubious. Lots of entries were just way outside my lexicon LIANA, ETYMO, GAT, IRIDIC.) When everything has to be gotten from crosses, there is just no puzzle solve.

So: Unsolvable, ungoogleable. I started googling at 30 minutes. Finished googling at an hour without the trick. Most of my crosses on the revealer were wrong, but they prevented me from entering SINGLELETTER, which perhaps was good. Well, it was immaterial.

I called my expert solver buddy, who helped me uncover FOUNDER, which I identified as clueable by S-INK. "They you have it!" he said. With that info I was still stuck on the revealer as I had too many wrong crosses. Later, in a second phone call, he helped with through that, and they with all of the wrongness blocking the other themers. I was sure Kink ENTANGLEMENT was right!

I don't understand the clue for AMINO or ESSAY or GAT. I don't know GENUS edition of Trivial Pursuit. I was never going to see UHOH.

I could have spent a year on a a deserted island and I would not have solved this puzzle. It was harder than the hardest Saturday we've had recently.

air for MIC
tryto for ESSAY
bAttery for AACELLS
EntaNglement for ECCENTRICITY. Fit for length and gave me false hope all across NW and North.

pAl for MAC
pAl for ACE
prayer for ORISON
scot then dAnE for LATE
ENter for ENROL
AirborN for AEOLIAN
died, born, rest, wife for ANNO
Nono, Nons for NEIN
sES for dES (guessing at French is generally a bad idea, but the cross wasn't there to help)

Some WTFs
[Buddy] ACE??? Not really.
GENUS Trivial Pursuit ????
LIANA??? Wha?
TYES??? I'm aware of sheets and lines and (more generally) battens.
ETYMA??? OK, I get it, but not well enough to be part of the solve.
[Hit back?] REAREND ???
[Protein constituent, informally] AMINO. No. Residue, side chain, moiety, yes. I honestly thought it was going to be AACID or THING.
ENROL with one 'L'??? Wow. Not in my little world.

Impressive that so many of you sussed this puzzle.

Casco Kid 6:19 PM  

Final time: 2:20, with a lot of clue-by-clue commentary from someone who had solved the puzzle. He called it a hard puzzle. He had two blotches.

Casco Kid 6:27 PM  

@Ludyjynn The nice thing about Rex's kindergarten: if you run the alphabet you get a GOLDSTAR, not a TSKTSK. And no trolls allowed. And lots of OREOS. :)

grammar nazi 6:41 PM  

@Fred @3:49: You are not the first to make this suggestion. I do try to give commenters here the benefit of the doubt. I ignore obvious typos, and I try to give the sentence its best possible reading. No matter how I try, "the last three Thursday's" doesn't work. As a singular, it works: "Thursday's puzzle was great." But for the last three? There has to be a plural there somewhere, and a possessive needs something to possess, so it would have to be "the last three Thursday's puzzles," which doesn't work. They'd say "the last three Thursday puzzles." At the very least, it needs an "of." Maybe the plural possessive "the last three Thursdays' puzzles," (since we're talking about multiple Thursdays), shortened to "the last three Thursdays'" has a stronger argument. I still don't think it is grammatically correct because of the missing "of", it still sounds awkward, and the apostrophe is not helping the grammar or the meaning at all. I tried to come up with an analogy using a more conventional possessive. "The last three Susan's parties..." shortened to "the last three Susan's" or some such. I failed. One would need an "of" there ("the last three of Susan's..."). Maybe one of the geniuses who comments here can find a way that this construction makes sense, but until then, it seems to me that "Thursdays" is short for "Thursday puzzles" and should be pluralized "Thursdays."

@Tita@12:20: Hilarious.

Lydia 7:58 PM  

Trying to solve this made me hate everything, but I think I at least learned some things out of it.

It seemed very crossword-esoteric in some corners and verging on completely inscrutable in others. And some of the clues just struck me as inaccurate. I stared at 'I'm dead' for five minutes before I agreed with it. At one point I thought 'arrivederci' and 'caravansary' were made up and the theme was going to be about adding random nonsense suffixes to the ends of actual words.


Teedmn 8:20 PM  

First solve, on paper, 43 minutes and still missing squares in the sTeMA/ECCENTRICIze area. So I started my AcrossLite solve and when I got to my trouble area, had the aha on DIMPLE and ECCENTRICITY and got the Happy Pencil Theme Song. Still completely clueless on the theme. I read the first sentence or so of Wordplay where Deb Amlen mentions missing things in clues, walked across the kitchen and Wham, got the trick. So wow, Timothy Polin, great puzzle, thanks for the workout!

I solved this in the most desultory manner possible, totally AEOLIAN across the grid. Hand up for pRayer first but most of my INK blots were in the UHOH/HUG (took out HUG for rUG for a while) and REAR END (didn't know 'fasces' so first REActeD and then tried REAgENt).

@grammar nazi, I think you should at least consider that the autocorrect function may be responsible for some of the apostrophe issues. I've had it make plurals possessive when I had no intention of doing so myself. Sometimes I catch the SNEAKER and sometimes I just look ignorant.

@Aketi, I already knew what you looked like, because your HOT FUDGE revealer of a few weeks ago allowed me to Google you. Nice article in the Huff Post - recognized your writing style.

Billy C 8:49 PM  

@Nazi, Sir --

Oh, how you do reun on.

rorosen 9:16 PM  

casco, you are so delightfully honest in your accounts even when you fail!! I thought this one was more difficult than a typical Saturdaze (that is my bait for Grammar guy)

Fred Romagnolo 10:14 PM  

@mathguy: I'm still ashamed that I didn't see what was right in front of my face. @Nazi: consider yourself in select company when @Billy C criticizes you; He's usually nipping at Professor Barany's rear end.

GPO 11:52 PM  


I finished this stupid, stupid puzzle and I STILL DIDN'T HAVE ANY IDEA what the hell the theme was.

I also had a very hard time on most of the rest of it.

That was agonizing but I am proud that I got through it despite my total blindness to the theme.

I wish I was smarter though.

Anonymous 3:20 AM  

Super yum - very satisfying to see Mr Happy Pencil! NW was the tough part for me. Was moving slow-slow-slowly until the revealer actually revealed it for me -- what a novel concept! Simply a great puzzle.

evil doug 4:21 AM  

" I do try to give commenters here the benefit of the doubt."

Why do you people grant this self-righteous piece of shit any legitimacy whatsoever?  

Generic Solver 8:31 AM  

@aging soprano - Aeolus = Greek God of the winds. So rhe region Aeolia was named for the god and the scale was named for the region. There's the connection of how it relates to windblown.

weingolb 12:10 PM  

A humbling puzzle because it was so advanced that it presented more things that I did not know than things I did.

Answers and references that totally stumped me: FOUNDER, Erebus, Nyx, LIANA, Yerevan, fasces, roscoe, TROI, DRMARIO, ETYMA, ORISON, caravansary, IRIDIC, O'Flaherty, IVES.

Add to that the extra-playful cluing, the need for the revealer, and then the need to solve the revealer once you see it.... Wow.

DAREME is green paint in this context, no? I hear DAREMETO, because that's how it's said, or is that just on the playground and grown men say DAREME? DOYOUDAREME?

Stephen 11:22 PM  

This puzzle left me thinking I should not be a puzzler. Wow did I flunk this one. Friday's puzzle was much easier (note I am a day late commenting about Thursday). The theme never made it past my poor flummoxed brain door.
buddy=ACE? huh?
buddy=MAC? double huh?
endeavor=ESSAY? wha?
"I'm dead" is not a bijective clue for UHOH.
Roscoe is a what? GAT is a what? Am I living in the same century as this puzzle constructor?
ectoplasm=OOZE? hello? no.
PLEB is an abbreviation in my world.
hot MIC too obscure for me ever to guess.
I'm a sailor and I have never ever heard of TYES; where do you get this stuff?
CARAVANSARY? ORISON? Is there some evil dictionary of obsolete words lurking somewhere just for crossword makers to plumb for stumpers?

I did enjoy several things: studio fee, family feud, professional pitchman.
DIMPLE was cute, albeit not securely clued.
The theme was impressive, but my failure to see it was depressive.

Overall, it looks like life has not prepared me for Timothy Polin.
I'm going to lick my wounds and try to forget I ever encountered this.

Freddy Murcks 1:10 PM  

This is one of those puzzles that simply pissed me off. Couldn't figure out the theme and eventually gave up. Hiding the key to the theme in a clue for the southeast corner seems a little rude. I can understand having to cherry pick on the harder days of the week, but a Thursday should be solvable more-or-less linearly.

kitshef 9:41 PM  

Solving was a beautiful experience. I had maybe 60% of the puzzle filled in (albeit with some errors) and three themers and still had no idea what was going on. I was on the verge of giving up a couple of times, and I'm sure a set a personal record for overwrites (including emotING to MUGGery to hoGGING to MUGGING and GANGWAR to GANGhit and back again.

First key turned out to be taking out emotING and re-thinking that corner. When GENUS hit me I started to get going a bit. The second key was SWISS. Had S---S for a long, long time and was convinced SOLONG had to be wrong. When SWISS finally came to me, it confirmed SOLONG and that in turn confirmed a bunch of 'maybe's I had cluttering up the place, and finally got me enough letters in the revealer to guess it -- at which point the remaining themers and rest of the puzzle fell like leaves right up to SEND/UDON cross, which was basically a guess. Well, SEND seemed right, but UDON seemed so ridiculous I was sure something had to be wrong. However, all the other crosses appeared unimpeachable. So I left the absurd UDON in place, and by golly it is correct. Rare to have a clue and answer both as WoEs.

I expected a lot of rage against DAREME and AACELLS, but the former got just a little guff an the latter escaped unscathed by @Rex or reader. DAREME is worse than green paint - it's banana paint; the words simply do not belong together without other words for contect. Plus, it needs the clue to be in quotes. AACELLS is not quite as bad, but has anyone every heard someone use that term? AA batteries, yes. A cells, yes. AA cells, no.

Roscoe? Wikipedia doesn't even acknowledge its existence.

spacecraft 11:08 AM  

DNF. Never did figure out what was going on, and hats off to those who did. My only two entries--what does this say about me--are the two "yeah babies," as @rondo calls them: UMA and TROI. Especially the latter, with whom I have scheduled a photo op at the Creations convention here tomorrow!

Couldn't get enough of the revealer line to suss it out; even if I did, I don't know if I could have made the leap to all theme words being definitions of 4-letter words ending in -INK. I'd try another BS poem, but with these two it would surely go too far. INC.

rondo 12:48 PM  

@spacey – you nailed it on both yeah babies!! Would be LOVING to see a photo of you and the fetching counselor. Give her a pinch on the REAREND for me. Or a squeeze around the waist. I’ve heard she’s AEOLIAN!

Big fat DNF for me today. Not a whole lot more than the aforementioned yeah babies. Somehow got the top 1/3 or so filled but didn’t get the joke, since I had no INVISIBLEINK. Actually took a nap between tries, that’s how interesting I found it.

So that must be the IVES who worked with Courier? My brain wasn’t working there.

Would’ve had a better chance with____ Tools for SNAPON. Maybe Will should seek sponsorships when those things occur!?

Can’t get the IMAGE of @spacey and Deanna TROI outta my head. SOLONG.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Thank goodness for Mr. Webster. It took me far too long to finish this one but I did. After minor surgery yesterday I'm not supposed to do anything for 48 hrs so I had the time for research. This was definitely Challenging, no doubt about it. Even after putting in Invisibleink it took a while to sink in.

I must say, after all these years of doing puzzles this was all new to me. Thank you Mr. Polin for the mental workout. My little grey cells worked overtime and I almost gave up several times.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where only the dirty birds fly at night).

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

I hope all the Thursday rebus fans are happy. As I am not a Thursday fan, I am unhappy. Yes, an impressive construct, but to me, too many of the clues/answers were Saturday tough plus. And then there’s a game going on, with the reveal too hard to suss because of not getting themers on the way there. Because the rebus was in the clues, not the grid.

“Endeavor” does not immediately bring to mind ESSAY. Even this LATE it does not. IRIDIC? Most days OFL would SEND his full wrath down on that one. And ORISON and AEOLIAN? If those aren’t Saturday answers I don’t know my EMU from my UMA. Good thing Yma wasn’t here.

Speaking of UMA or Counselor TROI consider that, my ECCENTRICITY is simple, DAREME for a SPLITSECOND to defend. I just looked for the DIMPLE, and FOUNDER LOVING REAREND. That was STOOLPIGEON by the well known NORM AEOLIAN. There’s an IMAGE you won’t soon CLEANSE away. BTW what’s a UDON??

Not to say there aren’t good(ish) things mixed into the CHAOS. Like the batteries; today they’re not just AAS, but AACELLS. I learned that a GAT is a Roscoe? Wha? And that there used to be a video game DRMARIO? And it’s “classic”? I vaguely remember Donkey Kong, but whatevs. But TYES? NEIN.

Even through the HICCUPS this was OK, but it was more like OOZE than sparkle.

rondo 1:56 PM  

BTW - re: INN - I have been to an actual "caravansary" [sic] in Azerbaijan. To describe it as merely an INN is akin to calling the Empire State Building another office building.
It was a semi-open air building/plaza with food cooked within your view, live musicians and dancers, a pillowed sort of private lounging booth so you can feed your date grapes (or vice-versa) while you're making out, private rooms behind that for further recreation. I've yet to see that at an INN.
INN would have been better clued as "where Larry, Darryl and Darryl hung out". Not as "caravansary".

Burma Shave 2:07 PM  

UHOH!I have a feeling this will become INVISIBLEINK. ERGO to this ESSAY I say SOLONG, though it is so short.


My ECCENTRICITY is simple,
DAREME for a SPLITSECOND to defend.
I just looked for the DIMPLE,


Anonymous 2:07 AM  

hated this puzzle. Too many clues were major stretches, foreign words all over the place, not getting the theme made it brutal, took literally twice as long as my usual Friday or Saturday times.

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