Steer closer to wind / SUN 8-30-15 / Figure in Jewish folklore / Emoji holder / Comedian Daniel musician Peter / Michael Sheen's character in Twilight / Checked online reviews of modern-style / Ambient music innovator Brian / Emulate Isocrates

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Constructor: Lee Taylor

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Conflicting Advice" — adages that are clued via adages that say the opposite, i.e. ["this adage, but ..."] and then the answer is THIS OTHER ADAGE THAT CONTRADICTS THE ADAGE IN THE CLUE. Yes, I swear this is the theme.

Theme answers:
  • OPPOSITES ATTRACT (3D: "Birds of a feather flock together, but ...")
  • FOOLS SELDOM DIFFER (6D: "Great minds think alike, but ...")
  • TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN (34D: "Slow and steady wins the race, but ...")
  • IGNORANCE IS BLISS (38D: "Knowledge is power, but ...")
  • LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP (24A: "He who hesitates is lost, but ...")
  • CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN (111A: "You can't judge a book by its cover, but ...")
Word of the Day: LOLO Soetoro, stepfather of Barack Obama (51A) —
Lolo Soetoro, also known as Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo or Mangundikardjo (EYD: Lolo Sutoro) (Javanese: [ˈlɒlɒ suːˈtɒrɒː]; January 2, 1935 − March 2, 1987), was the Indonesian step-father of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States . // In his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Obama described Soetoro as well-mannered, even-tempered, and easy with people; he wrote of the struggles he felt Soetoro had to deal with after his return to Indonesia from Hawaii. He described his stepfather as following "a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths." In a 2007 article, Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Kim Barker reported that Soetoro "was much more of a free spirit than a devout Muslim, according to former friends and neighbors." (wikipedia)
• • •

This just doesn't work. Not at the theme level, and definitely not at the fill level. It is mildly interesting that there exist this many adages that conflict one another, and that you can arrange them symmetrically in the grid, but I'm not sure the existence of such is a strong enough base on which to build and Entire Sunday Crossword Puzzle. They layout of the themers is probably the most interesting thing about this puzzle—highly unusual majority-Down set-up reverses the standard way of doing things, which I'm all for. Mix it up. But there's just nothing in the grid to overcome the dullness of the theme. No interest. No fun. No humor.

And this is a grid that has clearly been hand-filled without the apparent aid of any software—I am very supportive of the idea of novices hand-filling grids to get a sense of how they work, how they don't work, what the challenges are in filling them, etc., but that's for the learning stage. Not the prime-time stage. Grids *need* to be much, much more polished than this, and the cold truth is that the only people who can completely hand-fill grids to modern standards, with no digital assistance, are super-experienced pros. People who have 15+ years experience doing this stuff. People who learned to make puzzles in the pre-software era and then *upped their game* when the digital age forced their hands. (Most constructors I know work without computer assistance initially, but then rely on software to help them see the variety of what's possible, fill-wise, much faster and more completely than the human brain can; if you're at all confused about this process, I highly recommend Matt Gaffney's book Gridlock). This grid has been segmented like crazy in a way that increases drastically the amount of short stuff, and then the grid is loaded with "I've seen it before so it must be acceptable"-type fill. ADREM and ABO and ARA and SST and two -AE ending words and on and on. Only TOSHES is truly ridiculous, but the cumulative weight of uninteresting fill really causes this thing to drag. Here's the point at which I sighed because I realized I still had a long way to go and just didn't care any more:

Oooh, look, you can see the error that would eventually come back to haunt me. Had CHEF 44D: One on staff? because Barack Obama's stepfather was a giant ???? to me (and because, honestly, LOHO seemed like something that this puzzle would have in it ... I mean, it's got TOSHES, for &$%'s sake!). Also, there is a famous LOLO, which I figured would've been used if the answer was actually going to be LOLO:

But to be clear, I checked out on this puzzle Well before the end (when I realized I had an error). The DIPSO ARCED APORT because the AMAH would FAIN something something ADREM. It's brutal. My favorite part was right here, at 41A: Half-and-half, maybe—because I couldn't fathom any answer except one answer, which was the wrong answer, but it made me laugh anyway:

I mean ... a BUTT is kind of "Half-and-half," especially if you tack "maybe" on the end there. Like, there's one half ... and then there's the other half ... leading to the complete BUTT. Made sense to me. One last thing: If I check Yelp, I'm Yelping? Do I have that right? Just *checking* means I'm Yelping? That seems off. Yelp me out here. (40D: Checked online reviews of, modern-style => YELPED)

I'll be on the radio today (WMNF, Tampa), on the show "Life Elsewhere," talking about the late and also great Merl Reagle. You can catch it live at noon here, or in an archived version, which I'll post whenever it becomes available. (UPDATE: Here's an archived version—Listen Now) (my segment starts near top of the show, around 1:20 mark...)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. the theme has been done before, and in the Shortz era. It was Jan. 3, 1999, too long ago for most solvers to notice (or care). Still ...

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


tire meg 12:12 AM  

not for nothing, but hasn't this theme been done before

Anonymous 1:12 AM  

I had the exact same CHEF / CLEF error. It was the last thing I changed before I got the iPad music. in retrospect I still think CHEF is a better answer for that clue. And like Rex I had no idea about the cross.

paulsfo 1:16 AM  

I'm a little confused by Rex's column, the part about getting errors on two easy words. Note that I'm not anywhere near his skill level, but CLEF is easy and MUTT is obvious once it comes to mind (clever clue).

The 6D answer does *not* contradict its clue; that theme answer is just bad.

Is AARE such common crosswordese that its cross with ARO is not a Natick? It was for me.

I'm in my 60s, so I was surprised to find that there was a fortune 100 company (HESS) which i'd never heard of, even though it apparently has both real and toy trucks. I also wasn't familiar with "CORP limit" signs, though I figured that one out. I guess both are more East Coast things.

chefwen 1:22 AM  

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Rex. I didn't check out but, I too, lost interest half way through. I'll blame that horrid Packer I was watching. AAARGH! @Carola - when did you quit watching?

Now that I look over finished product, it's not as bad as I thought it was. Must have been my foul mood. I did like 111A CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN.

Music man 1:49 AM  

You're too funny.

I didn't have as much a problem with the theme as you did, but I'm coming off a very rough week in Camden, so perhaps anything remotely funny is good enough for me (I found the contradicting adages pretty humorous). Still, I was left with some blank squares, stuff I just don't know. It's fun looking at your grid partially solved. The stuff you struggle on is easy to me, but your gimmes are completely foreign to me.


AT A RUN?!??!?!?!? REALLY?? Are you serious?!?! Wtf is that ish?

TOSHES?!?! Man, I wish I could legalize it, but I'm not a fan of Daniel TOSH.

At least there was a music theory clue in there. Playing a B FLAT instrument pays off sometimes. Well, actually it's a C instrument, but the fundamental is B FLAT, go figure.

Anyone else out there able to play double-pedal Bb's on a large bore tenor?

jae 2:04 AM  

Medium for me.  The gestalt for me was more positive than @Rex's more detailed oriented take. Thought the theme was interesting, not bad for a debut, so, liked it.  Plus, music was my first thought for "staff". 

Did not know ARO (not a Twilight fan) and had to change the I to O to have my empty stomach make sense.

I know they are crosswordese, but it's nice to see AMAH and OGEE every now and then. 

At Xwordinfo the author says BOBOS was one of her favorite entries.  Can't seem find it ?

Davis 2:24 AM  

No comment from Rex on the MAN dupe in the themers?

Thomaso808 4:05 AM  

This was the kind of Sunday puzzle I like. I thought the theme was brilliant -- six common adages with six opposite common adages that all fit symmetrically in a grid. Amazing! Entertaining!

Also what I liked is the rest of the puzzle was not too difficult, resulting in an overall low Sunday solve time (for me) of about 50 minutes.

But DNF because of AARE crossing ARO (had to google), which I think truly qualifies as a legitimate Natick, i.e., obscure geographical reference crossing an obscure proper name.

Again, theme was fun and drudgery was minimal, so good puzzle!

Danp 5:04 AM  

I loved the theme.

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

Agreed. Horrible Sunday. A DNF for me because of TESHES/TOSHES, and I don't care what the cross was at this point.


Bob Kerfuffle 6:31 AM  

Of all the theme sayings, the only one I have never heard in my entire life is at 6D, "Great minds think alike, but ..." FOOLS SELDOM DIFFER. Yet one of my favorite lines, which I have used in comments before (I did not originate it!) is, "Great minds think alike, and so do ours!"

r.alphbunker 6:36 AM  

Puzzle report. I have added a list of bagel clues (clues that have a hole in the caused by ___).

This was an amazing puzzle! It is hard to believe that all those sayings were able to be arranged symmetrically in the grid and furthermore two pairs of sayings intersect in the grid! Prior to this the only conflicting advice that I was aware of was out of sight, out of mind and absence makes the heart grow fonder. I look forward to more in the comments.

I will remember this theme long after I have forgotten the likes of AMAH, FAIN and ADREM.

@Lee Tayor, congratulations on a wonderful debut!

Rex Parker 6:51 AM  

Thanks, @Tire meg. I'll ask around.

Good to see you again.


pmdm 7:06 AM  

The theme worked. Perfectly. You like this type of theme or you don't. But even if you don't, the theme works just fine.

Kind of insulting to state that new puzzle creators require software to create a good puzzle. No, no no. You need patience and obsessiveness. You need to be a good self-critic. It may be easier when using software, and faster. But so long as you don't give in and submit your creation before it is ready, you can do it. (As simple as they seem, it took Beethoven a lot of sweat to compose his piano solo BAGATELLEs.) Unfortunately, I do agree that this puzzle could have used a little more revision. It might have been revised four times (according to the constructor), but perhaps a few more could have made it even better.

Somewhat good enough, but not great.

Lewis 7:14 AM  

I loved this theme. Well known adages that conflict point to the reality that there are so many gray areas in life where contradicting ideas can both be seen as true. The theme made me smile (as life often does), and was deeper than the usual wordplay because it left the box of the puzzle. Then there is the technical issue of finding well known adages that worked, and even having them cross twice. This was a wow theme for me, more than worthy of a Sunday puzzle.

I haven't heard of one of the theme answers (FOOLSSELDOMDIFFER), and if this is the case with many people, then this answer was a faulty tower, so to speak. But the other five theme answers were so solid, this didn't dampen my delight at the theme, and on the plus side, it gave some crunch to my solve.

I counted 12 fill answers that were crosswordese/ugly, too many in my book, even in a puzzle with 138 answers, but because I was so won over by the theme, I glossed right over the bad fill. There was some good cluing (SABOT, ACNE, UMP, MUTT) and good answers (LIKEN, FATFARM, TBONES, MINT as clued). I've never heard of LUFF, and I don't remember seeing a CORP Limit sign, and don't understand what that means.

Overall, I'm really glad I did this one, and very grateful for it. Thanks for this debut, Lee (with help from Will/Joel)!

chefbea 7:54 AM  

Found the puzzle no fun and boring. Never heard of fools seldom differ.

Mohair Sam 8:04 AM  

I liked this one because of the theme and in spite of @Rex's complaints - all of which are valid. Very clever idea. Whenever someone lays an adage on me I enjoy laying a contradictory one right back on them, so this was going to be a hit with me from the start. And yes @tire meg, it does seem like it has been done before.

Hand up with @Kerfuffle on never having heard FOOLSNEVERDIFFER. Shouldn't the LOLO clue have been saved for a particularly tough Saturday? And AARE/ARO crossing a natick-in-waiting for all but native Swiss, teenage girls, and crossword addicts.

As a non-constructor it was interesting to learn from @rex the use of software to polish puzzles, not just to build them. This particular puzzle could have used that polishing for sure.

That said, the theme conquered all and we really enjoyed.

r.alphbunker 8:10 AM

Turn the other cheek and an eye for an eye
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you and nice guys finish last
The bigger the better and good things come in small packages
Two's company but three's a crowd and the more the merrier
The squeaky wheel gets the grease and silence is golden

Clothes make the man
Look before you leap

I cannot imagine how this slight overlap could in any way detract from someone's enjoyment of the puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 8:27 AM  

Once I was having a devil of a time filling a grid, and this really nice South African veterinarian suggested I rotate the grid 90 degrees so that the long downs became long acrosses and boom – much easier. (Of course said 15x puzzle was rejected. Sigh. So I'm always magnanimously impressed with a Sunday debut and wildly, childishly jealous. Lee Taylor – honestly, I offer heartfelt congratulations. Enjoy your day and milk it for all it's worth!) Anyway, I don't know if there was some grid-rotating here that resulted in all the long downs, but it's funny on a Sunday how a majority of down themers can make me suspect their downness has to do with the theme.

A couple of early missteps:

"deux" for DOUX. Toujours.
"accept" for ACCESS.
"bearded" for TIBETAN
"sniff" for TRY ON because I had just read an article on service dogs alerting for FITs.

@Music man - ATARUN looks like the name of a girl in some EUR country. Gudrun, you and Atarun put your sabots under the bench and come finish your torte. Jetzt! Aunt Elke will be home from dem Regimentedresortplatz any minute, and, well, you remember what happened last time there was some leftover torte in the house.

I take Rex's comments on a puzzle as his honest thoughts on his reactions; obviously, our experiences/tastes vary, and today my feelings differ enormously. I saw the gimmick, the trick that shines a spotlight on a cool quirk of our existence – "Knowledge is power, but IGNORANCE IS BLISS. I had never noticed these opposing aphorisms and was really, really pleased to have all these laid out for me. How had I missed these? (I was telling my husband how much I liked this theme, and he asserts that on more than one occasion he has noticed dueling truisms and wanted me to tell everyone.) @r.alph -the only two that I had thought about before were

Practice what you preach and Do as I say not as I do – two go-to sayings for parents depending on whether you're caught polishing off the rest of the box of ice cream sandwiches while standing over the sink or piously having a joyless sugar-free Jell-O after dinner. (Orange is the best, but still.)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and Out of sight, out of mind two go-to sayings depending on how much you like that boyfriend who just left for the University of Rochester to study optics when Dale H finally shows you some interest or wondering why Rochester optics guy hasn't called recently.

One of our greatest talents as a flawed people is that You Can Rationalize Anything, and if you give me a minute, I'll find an adage to back me up here while I supersize my McDonald's meal, while I inhale my Big Mac and stuff in six fries with every bite (the perfect balance; I've tweaked this). Hey, The Bigger the Better, buddy. Good Things do not Come in Small Packages, not right now.

RAD2626 8:54 AM  

I agree with the criticism of the fill but liked the theme and thought it was clever and did work just fine. Was not familiar with DIPSO but googled it and found there was even a 2012 movie by that title. Made hash of the center fill for a while in part because I went with east instead of ASIA.

Haste makes waste but the early bird gets the worm.

Blue State 9:17 AM  

I liked this puzzle. It was challenging, even once I got the theme, but interestingly so, unlike too many of the Sundays of recent years. I'd like to see more like this, even though many of Rex's critical points seem well taken.

Maruchka 9:19 AM  

OK, taking back some of my original take. It's more cleverly constructed than I'd thought while slog-solving. And, there were several cocktails last EVE...

Glad I read the comments before commenting, especially @r.alph's. I miss more wordplay, though. Bothersome. The plentitude of Fs is fun. 'Nuff said.

Wm. C. 9:22 AM  

I'd say that four are conflicting or inconsistent:
Slow and steady wins, but Time waits for no man ...
Look before, but He who hesitates ...
Clothes make, but You can't judge ...
Opposites attract, and Birds of a feather flock

And the other two are complementary:
Knowledge is power, and Ignorance is bliss
Fools seldom differ, and Great minds think alike

But what do I know?

Nancy 9:25 AM  

I'm with @Lewis, @Thomas 808, @Mohair, @Ralph B. and everyone else who found this extremely enjoyable to solve. It's rare that I like a puzzle that's this easy; normally I want more challenge. But this is a thought-provoking puzzle in its own way, as you try to decide which of the opposing aphorisms you agree most with, since you can't possibly agree with both, can you? But of course you can. And maybe I haven't done as many puzzles as some others here, but I didn't find the theme familiar at all. I've seen many puzzles with common sayings in them; I've seen many puzzles with puns on common sayings in them. But I've never seen a puzzle with opposing sayings in them. Lots of fun. Over too quickly (which is, appropriately, the precise opposite of what I usually say on Sundays.)

Anne Lindley 10:11 AM  

I just started doing the Sunday crossword again after a ten year gap. I enjoy the new sociability that the internet makes possible. I've only been following Rex for a few weeks but I feel I hear his voice in my head, questioning some of the lamer clues with raised eyebrows,

YELPING ? people don't say "yelping" to mean looking up a review. FATFARM? I haven't heard that pejorative since the 1970s. RETESTS? No-one, but no-one, ever said "My prof is cool, she offers retests a lot."

I still think fondly of a NYT puzzle in the 1980s that incorporated nonword characters like & and @.

Horace S. Patoot 10:32 AM  

"Great minds think alike, but ..." and " FOOLS SELDOM DIFFER" are not incompatible ideas -- they are corollaries of "Birds of a feather flock together".

Norm 10:39 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle even though it was way too easy. The adages are so familiar that some filled themselves in based on the clue, and none required more than three or four letters. BOAR was my final entry. Wanted BEER (Head of an inn?) for a while but the down had to be BLASE so TESH (isn't there a musician of some sort with that name?) became TOSH. That was about the only place that gave me any trouble.

Ellen S 10:41 AM  

Put me in the "I liked it category". Dunno if we're great minds or fools, but we had more fun with the puzzle.

I couldn't halp staring at 97D, "Rooting Interest". Been watching a lot of Australian and New Zealand television programs lately, and to the Antipodeans, "rooting" is not a term you use in polite conversation. I don't know what the answer could have been if "rooting" had meant "screwing" (OPPOSITE SEX? SAME SEX? ANY PORT IN A STORM?) but I don't understand the actual answer, either. You STAKE a sapling until the roots grow in, but the stake doesn't care one way or another. The person planting the tree has an interest in letting the roots grow, but is that interest a STAKE? That would be true of anything in which you have an interest or STAKE in the outcome, wouldn't it? In that sense, it could be an answer to my first interpretation.

I didn't know Barack Obama's stepfather or most of the other proper nouns but they were gettable from crosses.

Malsdemare 10:42 AM  

I finished it and after yesterday, that felt good. I agree that "fools seldom differ" doesn't seem to contradict "Great minds . . ." And I pick a nit with LUFF. If your sails are LUFFing, they've lost the wind and are flapping like mad, something that will get you hooted out of the cool sailors' club pretty quickly. If you steer close to the wind, you're on a beat, or close-hauled; if you steer too close to the wind, like right into it, you LUFF. Sailors don't do that deliberately unless they want to raise or lower sails. Your sailing lesson for the day. You're welcome.

I managed to guess correctly at TOSHES; LOLO was another lucky shotdespite having read "Dreams of My Father." I smiled at MUTT, CLEF, SABOT, glared at ADREM, groaned at BOAR. Yeah, I get it, but that head could have been bull, bear, deer, any four letter trophy animal. Or did I miss something?

But if that's a debut, I'm pretty impressed. I could never manage anything even close to this effort, so thanks, Lee.

AliasZ 10:45 AM  

Things I didn't know: FAIN, LUFF, LOLO, SUFIS, COLON as clued, and CORP Limit. From Wikipedia: "...The term corporate limits is a legal name that refers to the boundaries of municipal corporations." Apparently it is widely used in Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, and who knows how many other states.

I knew Constitution Hall, but I didn't know it was built by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1929. It is located at 1776 D Street NW, Washington DC, and I am sure its address is not a coincidence. It was the home of the National Symphony Orchestra from its foundation in 1931 until 1971 when the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opened. The first music director of the NSO was Hans Kindler, then came Howard Mitchell, Antal Doráti, Mstislav Rostropovich, et ALIASES.

Anyway, who cares what I knew or didn't? I am always grateful when I learn new words, facts and concepts, even when the source is a crossword puzzle.

I loved the theme. Very funny, Lee Taylor. It amazes me that anyone would remember a 1999 crossword with the same theme, in which two of today's entries were actually repeated. It is an odd coincidence that the constructor of that 1999 puzzle, Randolph Ross, also made his NYT debut with a Sunday puzzle eight years earlier.

Let's hear what violinist Jaime Laredo and the NSO under Howard Mitchell sounded like in DAR Constitution Hall.

Steve J 10:45 AM  

I found the theme to be as dull as dirt, and there was little else in the puzzle to liven things up. Sure, there was BAGATELLE and - well, just BAGATELLE. This was the sloggiest of Sunday slogs. .

Teedmn 10:48 AM  

This puzzle started slow for me because the title, 'Conflicting Advice' left me conflicted. I got it in my head the aphorisms were going to be tweaked by a letter or rebus and so I hesitated at filling in 24A (Could it be "cook before you leap"? silly Sunday brain asked). And at 39D, silly Sunday brain wanted another vowel in TEHRAN, a variation along the lines of TEHeRAN and having these two ideas conflicting with reality (and having not a clue on what a CORP limit was) slowed me down. Once I bowed to the inevitable conclusion that, no, you just put the common (or not so common in the case of FOOLS SELDOM DIFFER) phrase in, it was fine. Except for the DNF at TeSHES. Yes, I know who Peter Tosh is and my husband used to watch TOSH 2.0 but my inn had a BeAR head on the wall along with the BeARskin rug in front of the fireplace and that was that.

I liked having a choice of ex-Mrs, Trumps and still having the final A a gimme. I like that INANITY is a single S away from INSANITY ("One more Plural of Convenience and I'm going to go mad" said the fed-up solver to the constructor). All my toy trucks (my brother's actually) had Tonka on them. And I picture @LMS's girl child ATARUN scampering in the non-existent atmosphere of Pluto rather than merely a trip across the pond.

Billets-DOUX to MS. Taylor on her debut puzzle.

Virginia Lady 10:54 AM  

I guess corporate limits might be a East Coast term, familiar to me, but I was surprised there was no indication in the clue that it was an abbreviation.

I am still reeling and incredibly sad, that I finished my last Merl Reagle puzzle. My favorite part of the weekend has been picking up the Washington Post & the New York Times from my driveway and sitting down with my coffee and pencil and doing my two favorite puzzles.

It amazes me that Merl could come up with great puzzles week after week while the New York Times used many constructors. I don't think my weekends will be the same, sadly.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Ah more OBAMA fawning... LOLO aka Love Obama Love Obama... repeat. LOLOLOLOLOLOLO...aahhhhhh!!!!!

Ludyjynn 11:02 AM  


Other than one writeover, 'Alou' before OMAR, this was a walk in the park (hi, @Nancy). Never heard of DIPSO, but it was fairly crossed.

The theme enhanced the solve for me.

Off to brunch at a local CAFE. Thanks, LT and WS.

Leapfinger 11:07 AM  

Weren't MUTT and CLEF a couple of old comic-strip characters?

I'm not nearly as BLASE as @Rex about xwps in general, and furthermore got me a private kick out of LOOK_BEFORE_YOU_LEAP_finger, so I would FAIN give this baby a much lower INANITY score overall. I also remember back in college days (the time for deep thoughts, coming up with the concept of the tension that derives from the simultaneous truth of polar opposites, so this theme just speaks to the appreciation of duality that has remained with me as a mental footprint of that idea. Just about now (if anyone is still reading), I can pretty well imagine a number of mumbled "WHAT?"s.

Liked seeing the VAS turn into a DUCT. (Why a DUCT?) Enjoyed the POKER-STAKE and the GROWL-PROWL. (All three resident cats go on a LAP PROWL periodically.) Also saw the TESH/TOSH possibility, and say pish-TOSH to Teshes compared to TOSHES. Thought the AUDIO (but not OPERA) with CELLO-CLEF-BFLAT a billet-DOUX to the ALIASES in the room.

There are a number of clue subtleties to EXTOL, but they'll have to wait till later.

Thought this a worthy Sunday and an excellent debut, Ms. Lee!

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Yes, I use the verb "yelping" for looking at reviews. As in, "where should we go for dinner?" "shall we yelp it?", so I had no problem with that clue/answer.

Malsdemare 11:11 AM  

Re: yesterday's COMMA discussion: I'm about to head into the back forty with my trusty chainsaw and start chipping a hell of a lot of forest debris. And I'm wearing my second favorite t-shirt. "Let's eat Gramma. Let's eat, Gramma. Commas save lives."

My fave? "You don't scare me; I was taught by nuns."

Jes' sittin' here, LUFFin' away . . .

Carola 11:21 AM  

Easy and a pleasant diversion (not supposed to sound like FAINt praise). I enjoyed the theme and some fake-out clues (SABOT, MUTT).

I noticed some entries that relate to WHAT might send you to the FAT FARM: GULP, ATE, SAVOR, CAFES, TORTE, FETAS, OREO, T-BONES...and that GROWL in your stomach.

I was also struck by the SLAVE - STILETTO stack, given the "dominatrix" clue. And STILETTO over CLOTHES MAKE THE woMAN - I don't wear them, not because I'm not a SLAVE to fashion, but because I don't want to break an ankle. FLATs for me.

@chefwen - I avoided that agony by being at the UW Field House watching the Badger women's volleyball team win in 3. At the break, I did see a TV monitor with 25-0 - yikes!

jberg 11:33 AM  

I guess it was 51 years ago when I took a sociology course from Alex Inkeles, who began by defending the claim that sociological findings were scientific and worthwhile. He pointed out that there will always be those who, after you do a lot of data collection and correlation, would remark sneeringly, "so you've proved that BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER." Of course, if you had found something else, they would just as sneeringly have pointed out that OPPOSITES ATTRACT.

So that put me in a receptive frame of mind for this theme. It was awfully easy, though -- once you had a letter or two, you could just come up with some proverbs and see if they fit.

Checking Yelp is not yelping, and if you sail closer to the wind, you are not LUFFing -- though your sails may be doing so if you point too close. Close enough for crosswords? I don't know.

I finished with an error, the red square in @Rex's grid -- I went with ChEF (not as good an answer, but I didn't think of CLEF), and had no idea about Obama's stepfather. Plus I had BEaCH before BENCH, seemingly confirmed by Here AND There.

Still, it had SEX!

jberg 11:35 AM  

@maruchka, thanks for clarifying the "Clementine" thing yesterday. Now can someone tell me what kind of 'broadsides' are TBONES?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:56 AM  

@jberg -- What's at *steak* in a T-BONE.

PuzzleCraig 12:05 PM  

I erred at *TESHES/*BEAR vs. TOSHES/BOAR. I don't think a bear's head makes all that much less sense at an inn than a boar's head. While I recognize Daniel Tosh in retrospect, I only saw a few minutes of his show once, back when I had a TV service subscription, and I didn't find it funny or memorable. Peter Tosh is unknown to me.

Not a good crossing.

Lewis 12:09 PM  

@teedmn -- great post!
@jberg -- When one car plows into the side of another, it is called a TBONE.
@leapy -- Nah, it was MUTT and LUFF.

Carola 12:11 PM  

@Malsdemare - It's from Shakespeare -Sir John Falstaff and Prince Hal hang out at the BOAR's Head Inn in Eastcheap.

Nancy 12:12 PM  

So I realize now that I had one wrong letter: BeAR instead of BOAR, because I don't know the TeSHES from the TOSHES. (Nor do I care.) Still, I was happier 5 minutes ago because IGNORANCE IS BLISS.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Broadside and TBone are both used when one car hits another perpendicularly (& in the passenger zone.)

Early minivans didn't require car-strength reinforced passenger doors (because they were vans) with many sad results.

Usually happens because some impatient idiot ran a red light.

RooMonster 12:24 PM  

Hey All !
Rex, LOL at your bUTT analogy!!
Put me in the like column for this puz. Not loved it, but OK. Agree with thw WOE of FOOLS SELDOM DIFFER. Heard of all the others. Also agree on the bad MAN themer cross. There are some wonky words in here too, DIPSO, FAIN, LUFF, DOUX, ADREM,. We get a GROWL and PROWL. Bit on the flipside, some good words, FATFARM, BLASE, EXTOL, FACADE. Mixed clues, liked the reference to FoxTrot, great comic.

Funky block pattern! Looks like goal posts, maybe shoulda been a football theme?

Only two writeovers, 1A Gag->GOO, 117A, wRiTE->ORATE. Also finished with 3 wrong letters, 5 wrong answers. Had AreA for ASIA, IrELand (!) for ICELAND.


Joseph Michael 12:27 PM  

One man's garbage is another man's gold. Wasn't doing crosswords in 1999, so the duplication of theme wasn't an issue for me.

Thumbs up for contradictory truisms. Made the puzzle easier than usual, but thought provoking. Also enjoyed a lot of the cluing, such as "Head of an inn" for BOAR and "Handles" for ALIASES.

So a nice start to Sunday. Congrats, Lee, on your debut. But also had the question about BOBOS which you said was one of your favorite entries not in the puzzle!

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Law has a similar phenomenon: conflicting canons of statutory construction, as Karl Llewellyn pointed out in 1950. Cynics ("legal realists") suppose that judges decide which way they want to rule, then find the canon that fits that outcome.

Off-topic, but I'll take this puzzle as an opportunity to quote my brother: You can lead a horse to birds of a feather, but you can't make him laugh last.

joho 12:38 PM  

Timing is everything, right? I logged on today just before noon to read @Rex's blog and see his link to his radio broadcast ... what a wonderful surprise and interesting interview! Michael, your tribute to Merl was beautiful ... intelligent and humorous. Just like Merl would have liked it. Very well done. I feel lucky to have caught it. Thank you.

Congratulations to Lee Taylor, too! I loved that you saw that opposites exist in common adages ... good eye .... good ear? Your concept kept my interest until the end. Thank you!

mathgentt 1:07 PM  

What @Nancy said. I'll follow this gal anywhere.

@Malsdemare (1:11): Great t-shirt lines!

nick 1:21 PM  

Solving meh clues in order to write a series of cliches is not my idea of what The World's Best Crossword should be on a Sunday. (But I like learning from @Rex that the constructor went old-school and didn't use software.) (Still a boring puzzle, tho.)

JTHurst 2:11 PM  

"She who must be obeyed" does not allow me the bandwidth to do a Sunday puzzle on Sunday. So I muddle it throughout the week. But I do read the comments for the chance of some trenchant wit to brighten my day.

Well the Muse @LMS befuddled me with her seven MacDonald fry maximal satisfaction hypothesis. I realized I normally pull a three or four fry tandem grab unless I am dunking them in Catsup (or for you Easterners, Ketchup) where I usually eat only one, dunking it twice in the Heinz's brew. She even mentioned that this was a fact stated on the WWW. Now I will have to tinker with my grab and this could affect my enjoyment time per upsize fry. Oh the travails of trying to achieve maximal enjoyment

Masked and Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Always a double-day-um hoot, to:
A) Solve a NYT SunPuz that I thoroughly enjoy, throughout (doesn't happen too often).
B) Thoroughly enjoy learnin from @009 why I shoulda been appalled (happens more often).

This kind of wild mood swings might tend to sorta alarm a rookie constructioneer like Lee Taylor. So, a few comments, just for her …

1. Congrats! U do realize that makin daily 15x15 puzs is a lot easier, right? Heckuva way to debut.

2. I don't use no stinkin computer-filled grid software, either. Someday they'll probably invent software to write a novel for U, too ... so what? I prefer the author's own words, in either case.

3. Eight U's is a perfectly acceptable SunPuz count. That's about average. Never hurts to raise the bar next time, of course. (Them day-um high-priced grid-fillin programs don't have no "maximize U count", btw.)

4. Super great grid layout. Especially like the primo goalposts. PLUS, only a total cranky pants would not like anything with four + signs. Think positive!

5. Don't know about whether yer theme had some dejavuosity, but "Lee Taylor" sure sounds like a name that's been used before, somewhere. Better watch that, in the future.

6. Standin O for yer opening and closing weeject stacks! What a magnifico show of wespect for the little guy. U are lightyears ahead of some constructioneers, on this. Keep up the good work. And do one of them 15x15-ers now, just to get yer nerve back.

7. Admired GROWL/PROWL. And FATFARM. RETESTS showed a nice touch of desperation; let em know yer human. Good employment of -AE words. Hard to beat a good ICELAND VOLCANO. @009? He specializes in HOGCALLS.

8. Amazin clues! Was proud to get {word with light or horse} offa nothin. {Half-and half, maybe} was the best of all. Did U do that one? Someday they'll probably have a program that'll write the clues, but it can't top these.

@009: Good mornin, sunshine. Real excited, to hear that U are crossin back over into the construction-zone. U are actually real good at it, and need to do that SatPuz, to complete yer rinse cycle. Besides, there are lots of new constructioneers that are anxious to critique yer work …


** uncomputerized gruntz **

chefwen 3:09 PM  

@Bob K. -I've always been fond of "Similar minds think alike"'.
@Norm - Speaking of which, BeeR was my head at the Inn first, which I thought very clever, until it was not.
@Carola - You are smarter than I, shoulda found a diversion.

Norm 3:33 PM  

@Malsdemare: Isn't luffing a way of coming to a stop into the wind in order to pick up an overboard sailor? I doubt that would get you laughed at -- much less kicked out of the sailing club.

Octavian 4:41 PM  

great debut puzzle -- brave to the constructor.

fun, entertaining, fast and the theme yields many existential issues about the human tendency to reduce complex issues to cliches.

if the constructor feels badly about her misguided mistreatment by the dyspeptic blogger, she should recognize that what goes around comes around, every cloud has a silver lining and time heals all wounds.

MetroGnome 5:07 PM  

Wouldn't quite fit the theme, but I kept thinking of that great line from the Johnnie Taylor song "Big-Head Hundreds": "Love makes the world go 'round / But money grease[s] the wheels!" (Lyrics written by Frederick Knight, if I'm not mistaken.)

Old timer 5:13 PM  

I am in remote Clackamas SE of Portland and maybe the early bird gets the worm here but not the Sunday Times. Did get a copy at 1:00 pm so late to the party. Having old sayings on my mind did make me like the theme, and I found the puzzle a little tough all the same. I wanted TOSH all along having seen him on Comedy Central.

I too knew I had seen a very similar puzzle in the past. There were some weak parts of the construction but all in all a very good maiden effort . My only write over: beer for BOAR. Been to England offer enough to know inns and pubs were often called the BOAR's Head and seldom if ever Bear's Head. I don't think there are any bears in England outside of a zoo. If so they are rare unlike here in the USA.

Arlene 5:55 PM  

I don't think anyone has mentioned it, but the DAR Constitution Hall's claim to infamy was in not allowing Marian Anderson to sing there in 1939, because of race. I just looked it up, and there are conflicting accounts of just what happened - but for me to see this crossword clue and immediately associate it with this DAR/Constitution Hall incident is quite telling. She was subsequently allowed to perform at the hall.

Oh - and I got TECHES instead of TOSHES - because to me BEAR or BOAR - I thought Bear Mountain Inn.

Malsdemare 5:55 PM  

@norm, yup, that's how you stop, but you don't come closer to the wind, you hit it between the eyes, pull in sheets, maybe drop the jib overboard to body lift yer guy back into the boat Luffing just a tad off the wind isn't good for sails or sheets, tackle, etc.

And I know I'm being persnickity, but I don't know rappers or pop culture, my geography stinks, so it feels good to know something!

Honeysmom 7:13 PM  

Easy schmeasy? You've got to be kidding!

Tom 8:22 PM  

Sadly, there didn't seem to be any interest in a themer with "woman" in it...

Mike 10:34 PM  

Fools seldom differ is tacked on primarily British usage.

I enjoyed it because I tried to get the long answers using as few crossing letters as possible. I think there's a place for harder and easier Sunday puzzles.

Hartley70 12:34 AM  

You gave a wonderful tribute to your friend Merl today, @Rex. Thanks for the link.

Today's puzzle was totally enjoyable. I had two small errors, fair for FAIN and beer for BOAR. I think beer would have been a better answer for that clue.

I liked the adages and they were like the chutes in "Chutes and Ladders" giving you a zippy ride down the row because they were so familiar. I thought it was a novel theme, and the lack of difficulty didn't spoil the fun.

Leapfinger 2:26 AM  

@old timer, I luff the idea of there being a town called Clackamas. Anywhere.
I went with BOAR on account of BOAR's Head deli meats, which could be served at inns, and it worked. Thus do xwps make pragmatists of us all.

@Octavian's list of adages reminds me of the Ogden Nash poem about the fellow MacLeod who always saw the bright side of every situation, to the point it drove everyone distracted and his wife finally rammed a silver tea-tray down his throat.

'And he smiled from the ground where they found him reclining,
"I'm just a MacLeod with a silver lining!"'

Wasn't it an odd idea to think clouds had linings, period?

Frank 5:32 PM  

Norm and Maldesmare: yes, steering into the wind to stop suddenly for recovering a man overboard is a meaning of luff. But in old sailing parlance, luff (or luff up) meant heading into the wind to stop quickly for any reason, such as to avoid a collision or running aground.

Anonymous 2:24 AM  

Am I the only person who doesn't understand 71A "Like pop-ups" = "arced"? I got it via the crosses but it makes no sense to me.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:17 AM  

@Anonymous, 2:24 AM - Although, as has been previously discussed on the blog, every batted baseball follows an arced path, a pop fly or pop-up goes high and not very far, making an unmistakable arc.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

@ 2:24 AM anonymous - a pop-up in baseball is arced.

spacecraft 12:04 PM  

Again no @Rex Porker--and on a day when we really need him. OK, once again I will don his mantle:

"Hi folks, I'm ba-ack. I know you missed seeing Curmudgeon Central here, so I'll lose no time Sharp-ening my STILETTO. I will grudgingly mention the feat of interlocking 16- and 17-letter entries--six of them--by passing them off as dull. Then I will GROWL at the few fill items that bother me; never mind how tough it is to keep inferior fill out of a 21x21. Oh, and please don't Latinize plurals at me; I don't like it. No reason; my default position is "don't like." Now, aren't you guys happy to see the old nay-sayer back where he belongs?"

I too find it amusing that there are so many gems of conflicting advice. The one I was looking for, the one I was most familiar with, I never found:

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but..."
OUTOFSIGHTOUTOFMIND. 'Course, that's 19, so no go in this grid. Maybe OUTASIGHTOUTAMIND. No? Well, I tried.

The more common saying for 34-down includes "and tide," but what's there is fine. 6-down was a new one on me. Also we have the double -MAN ending--and crossing each other; not sure if that's 100% kosher. But overall I liked it. Easy-medium (deleted from yesterday's!). It would have been straight easy but for the west section with those Mystical Muslims. With SU- to start I naturally filled in SUnni. That took a while to get rid of.

When I first saw the grid I thought it was going to be a football-related theme, with those two goalposts, but "You can't judge a book..." etc. B-.

rondo 1:06 PM  

Rain today, so time to do this puz – wrote this in the margin before finishing – ARA ARO AARE AURORAE RAY REY and MAN crossing MAN in two themers. So this puz was far from perfect.

I figured that Ole was SVEN’s cousin, but LARS will do nicely as it was gramps’ name.

They tossed a TBONE to @spacey with a random key in BFLAT. At least no random directionAE or Roman numeralAE.

TERI Hatcher, a spectacular and real Houswives yeah baby (weren’t they all?); ELKE Sommer, a one-time yeah baby; LEA Michele, a talented yeah baby wannabe, IMHO.

I had a contrarian friend back in the 1970s who proclaimed Peter TOSH was better than Bob Marley (and yesterday’s WAILERS), I think just to look like a pseudo-expert on reggae. Wonder what he’d say today. IGNORANCEISBLISS.

Enough nattering from this NABOB. Not a great puz, but not exactly INANITY either. And it’s raining.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

@rondo – you forgot IVANA Trump, or maybe not? And maybe Olivia d’ABO?

Take a look at the line starting with 82a – ARA FAIN LUFF EUR – not a good answer in that bunch.

Thumbs down for MAN x-ing MAN, was it mentioned above?

There are ETHOS in the following verse. TIMEWAITSFORNOMAN who joins the POKER game, and OPPOSITESATTRACT, SOFAR the SEXes aren’t the same, but LOOKBEFOREYOULEAP, LOOSE women aren’t to BLAME, because FOOLSSELDOMDIFFER once they become a SLAVE to SHAME.

In the N, VERDE crossing OPERA was humorous, if not correct. In the S, POKER crossing STAKE was appropriate, and TERI can come across anything in any puzzle.

SE corner – EVE’S TEXT = “Madam, I’m Adam.”

AnonymousPVX 4:00 PM  

It's 9/6/15, we get it a week later.

I have no idea why Rex dumped on this puzzle. I found it humorous and fun. I thought it a typical Sunday puzzle even if it was a bit easy.

paleolith 7:36 PM  

"Under capitalism, man exploits man.
Under communism, it's the reverse."

I too enjoyed it despite a few bits of ugliness. Better ratio on average than the real world ...

"Fat farm" is mentioned in Uncle Bonsai's "Another Fat Song", aka "Liposuction". ... but then, that song is from the 1980s ...


Anonymous 12:24 PM  

I may be wrong, but haven't I seen Ms. Sommers name spelled with an "I" ie. Ilke? Although I guess either would work.

paleolith 5:26 PM  

Nope, always been Elke Sommer. (No S on the end of her last name, either.) Perhaps you've got her crossed with Ilsa Lund ...

Blogger 10:10 AM  

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