Tenor Carreras / TUE 8-17-15 / Kyle Terminator hero / Slave woman in Uncle Tom's Cabin / Rapper born Shawn Corey Carter / First computer company to run ad during Super Bowl

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Constructor: Bill Thompson

Relative difficulty: took me longer than a typical Tuesday

THEME: MIDDLE EAST —letter string "EAST" appears in the dead middle of five answers:

Theme answers:
  • GONE ASTRAY (17A: *Left the flock)
  • STAGE A STRIKE (23A: *Walk out)
  • YEASTY (37A: *Like baking dough)
  • FEASTS (39A: *Sumptuous spreads)
  • ADELE ASTAIRE (48A: *Half of a brother/sister dance duo)
Word of the Day: YAWP (1A: Complain loudly) —
noun: yawp; plural noun: yawps
  1. 1.
    a harsh or hoarse cry or yelp.
    • North American
      foolish or noisy talk.
verb: yawp; 3rd person present: yawps; past tense: yawped; past participle: yawped; gerund or present participle: yawping
  1. 1.
    shout or exclaim hoarsely.
    • North American
      talk foolishly or noisily.
• • •

The quaintness continues. I feel like this onslaught of bygone-ish-style crosswords must be meant to enure you, to steel you, to make you resigned to The Way Puzzles Are, by gum! You are getting sleepy, Sleepy! ESPNSTATPATESTEREESE! Harrumph. Again, there was much sighing-while-solving. The theme has in its favor a certain literalness. EAST really is right in the damn MIDDLE of those phrases and words. I also have to give props to the truly high-end Scrabble-f*$%ing there in the west. Squeezed the "J" and "Z" in there near the "K" and got out with no bad fill to speak of (I don't consider OREO bad—common, but not bad). Also, I think I said "that's pretty good" at PERSEUS and ... that might be it, actually. ISEEDEESETASIKEA! PAPASALETA! I'll stop doing that now. After PERSEUS and FOUL TIP, it's mostly just archaisms and foreignisms and over-over-familiar short fill, except when it's not over-over-familiar and instead is straining only half-successfully for some kind of zing (see the NW corner). YAWP WANG APGAR sounds like a supervillain.

I know SUGARPEAs as "sugar snap peas" (10D: Legume with an edible pod). I think. Here's a scene that just took place in my house. Dialogue is recorded here verbatim.
Me, to my wife, who it turns out was almost asleep until I shouted at her from my home office. "Honey, are you asleep?"

"What? ... yes."


"What is it?"

"I have a vegetable*-related question."

"Go ahead."

"Is a sugar snap pea a thing?"


"Then what's a SUGAR PEA?"

".......... never heard of it." 
End scene. Some of the rest of this fill also felt wonky, like SAYEST (which I wanted to be SAYETH) and ATAHALT (which I wanted to be AT AN END). [Everything one can do] seems overly broad for SKILL SET, which always (to me) implies skills *in a specific arena* [looks at puzzle to see if ARENA is in there ... let's see ... ATARI ... ALETA ... nope, surprisingly, this grid is ARENA-free!]. STAGE A STRIKE feels pretty forced. The other themers are fine. Still, this is yet another in a string of puzzles that would put any novice and/or under-60 solver right off. Where is the balance? The quality control? All the progress that the NYT crossword made in the '90s—breaking with a fuddy-duddy, stuck-in-the-past tradition—feels like it's slowly being walked back. A retreat into past standards as opposed to a bold adaptation to the world as it is. Things are in danger of getting cozy, is what I'm saying. Staid and cozy.

This Slate article with the unsubtle title "The New York Times 'Mini' Crossword Is an Utter Disgrace to the NYT Crossword Brand" came out yesterday, and while I don't agree with the basic premise (and never even solved a "Mini" until today), I was happy to be quoted at length, from last Tuesday's blog, discussing the very real rut that the non-'Mini' / grown-up / actual NYT crossword is in.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*[I know, it's really "legume," but I said "vegetable" and I'm nothing if not faithful to the historical record ...]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

Tough Tues. for me.  

Had to correct STArt  A to STAGE A..

Wanted ord before CTA.
Had Amnio before the eponymous APGAR.

@Rex AT An end before A HALT

FOUL poP before TIP

FREI and JOSE (as clued) were WOEs. 

Also @Rex SAYEth before EST.

ALETA, SEALE, GAEA, WANG, APGAR, JAYZ...all seem tough for an early week puzzle.

That said, there 's nothing wrong with some crunch on a Tues., liked it.

chefwen 12:44 AM  

A fine puzzle which I was flying through until I got to the AMORE/DR T/ESTADO section (there I go with my crazy slashes) for some odd reason AMORE just wasn't entering into my mind. Don't remember DR. T and I had everything in 42D except the O. THAT'S a mess, THAT'S a mile??? GEEZ, THAT'S AMORE. DOH! Had SAYEth in out and in again until I finally realized that was just not going to work and changed my th to ST. YALP gave me pause, but I went with it anyway.

Getting 59A early on helped a lot.

Steve J 1:27 AM  

YAWn would have been much more fitting at 1A. Meh theme. Meh - or worse - fill. Meh cluing, even by low Tuesday standards. It even says TIRED right in the puzzle. Give it credit for truth in advertising.

George Barany 1:53 AM  

@Rex, wonderful review. I love that you chose a Four Tops clip, but is the focus on "Sugar Pie" in the lyrics vs. SUGAR_PEA in @Bill Thompson's puzzle, or is it "Can't help myself?" instead?

The PACMAN clue was fabulous, and brought back memories of much time wasted in the '80s [for that matter, the even more addictive TETRIS would also fit the six-letter slot, but I am not aware of any reason why that game should be subject to a maximum score].

John Hoffman 2:01 AM  

I did not enjoy this puzzle. Weird fill.

Loren Muse Smith 4:17 AM  

Rex – SUGAR PEA didn't make me pause. I'm pretty sure recently I asked my daughter whether something at the store was a snow pea or a SUGAR PEA.

Point well taken, though, on some of the fill. I thought the northwest was rough, but with that final I and K for 11D and 12D…

The cross that did me in was YAWP/WANG. I guessed "yalp/Lang." Ah me.

I liked the theme with its utter literalness (redundant?) and the fact that the EAST is broken up among words (nary an Eastwood in the bunch).

And speaking of redundant – YEASTY FEASTS. I sure miss my fresh bread. Been making spelt bread for the family, but it's just not the same.

"Informal identification" IT'S ME. I Hate it when people use this phrase to identify themselves when they call. Like I can recognize the voice. Well, I usually can't at first and have a little panic while being all,"Hey! How's it going?!" and desperately listening for voice clues. Sayest thy &^% name, how 'bout it?

Sneaking the word EAST in phrases like this floats my boat, so the theme outshines all the SEALE ESTE ETAS. I'm going to put these on the board today and see which students can see the trick. Perfect bellringer, so thanks, Bill!

evil doug 6:21 AM  

You go out on strike. You stage a play.

Billy C 7:32 AM  

@evil: Here's a headline from The Times in May: "Eiffel Tower Workers STAGE A STRIKE to Protest Pickpockets." I guess their editors feel differently than you do.

Zeke 7:34 AM  

Tough Tuesday. Held up at CARP for YAWP and ZONES out for ZONKS out. Finished, but very slow.

The Rhino 7:37 AM  

That 'E' though! ANTE/ESTE? Of course I had ANTi/ESTi. Didn't everyone? Big ol' humiliating Tuesday DNF.

Charles Flaster 7:38 AM  

Liked it better than Rex.
DNF due to APGAR but remainder was very straightforward.
Liked cluing for IMPASSE.
CrosswordEASE--GAEA, UTNE and A POP.
Thanks BT
Trivia contest tonight!!--pour moi.

L 7:46 AM  

I'm with you on sugar pea. No one says that.

Glimmerglass 7:50 AM  

I got beat in the NW. No complaints. WANG, now defunct, had dropped from my memory bytes. I wanted DELL, but nothing worked with that. Didn't know APGAR; I (after the fact) remember it very dimly. No help there. YAWP is pefectly fine ("I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world" -- Whitman), if perhaps a little out of place in a Tuesday, but I was sure there isn't a computer company beginning with W. But I have, as I said, no complaints. Remember? For me, harder is better. The rest of the puzzle seemed appropriately Tuesdayish. Some hard things crossed fairly and an easy theme.

John V 7:55 AM  

No like YAWP. Ugly corner.

RAD2626 7:58 AM  

I rarely dislike any puzzle since they all provide some aha moment along the way - even the easiest. But I really disliked this puzzle a lot. Theme was strained in its answers to get to the MIDDLE EAST. Lots of partials, esoterica, weird clues. Just no fun at all. Interesting fact re WANG although the Apple ad was more noteworthy. Probably my only takeaway from today's puzzle.

P.S. I like the mini-puzzles. Like a warmup scale before playing the piano. Try to do it on my iPad in less than 45 seconds. Have never broken :30.

joho 8:00 AM  

@Rex, I also writeth SAYEth.

I liked the baseballiness of AFLY (ball) crossing FOULTIP.

YEASTY FEASTS is fun! Are fun?

Where was wedding dress designer Vera WANG when you heeded her?

APGAR was only possible by crosses.

I liked finding the MIDDLEEAST.

What SAYEth, SAYEST you?

Aketi 8:05 AM  

@lms, I knew you'd find a little joy in a puzzle that made me feel like I had ZONed out when I got stuck with a SeILLSET. I didn't pay attention to the MIDDLE EAST theme. Still, you usually extract a lot more joy from the puzzles,

I got the WANG because my dh is such a Luddite that he still had one in 1998. It took a lot of persuasion on my part to convince him to junk it for an iMac, I actually saw one of the first prototypes for a word processor in 1978 when one of my college friend's parents gave us a tour in the Xerox research facility. Given my typing skills (HARDYHARHAR), I wanted to take their word processor home with me right then and there, I had pissed off my roommate by dripping WIte Out all over her electric typewriter. Xerox was also were working on digitalizing signatures and music. Essentially we saw the prototypes of what would eventually evolve into the iPod and Garage Band.

I think this puzzle is more suited to my dh --- if he did crossword puzzles. My dh still buys Wite Out, even though he can't really find a use for it.

YAWP just seemed wrong.

evil doug 8:08 AM  

Well, it's the French. They probably do stage a strike. Sort of like they stage a war, instead of wage one....

joho 8:20 AM  

needed her

NeilD 8:26 AM  

I think the stringing together of long sequences of small fill entries unfairly makes them seem more obscure. Usually I agree with you on that point but the small fill today I found mostly fine. Overall quaint but enjoyable

Dorothy Biggs 8:30 AM  

I've started to do more "other" puzzles and I'm catching on to Rex's beef with the NYT. He is far more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of puzzleness and so his reviews/criticisms are far more specific. Me, I just notice a difference. I've mentioned it as a "personality" thing before. If the puzzle were a person, would it be the kind of person you'd like to have a beer with? or a glass of wine? or a cup of coffee?

Gradually I'm seeing that if the NYT puzzle were a person, we'd nod casually to each other on our way to work since we see each other every day on the subway. S/He'd be a comforting presence and I would notice if s/he was sick that day or otherwise missing. But other than that...we might exchange a few words about the weather or last night's game (which s/he wouldn't have watched) and I'd decide that we'd probably just not hit it off.

I read the article on xwordinfo where WS talks about cluing. Very interesting read if you haven't read it already. But he changes a lot of clues that I think are fine the way they are. And maybe the thing isn't that, as Rex sometimes asserts, WS is asleep at the wheel and lets things slide. Maybe it's that he over edits...so much that the personality of the constructor becomes so homogeneous that there isn't a personality to be found any more.

Which is why I wouldn't want to have a beer with this puzzle. It's just not interesting enough.

Lewis 8:30 AM  

Tuesdayish theme was fine by me and it was even echoed in other answers -- you'll find the letters of EAST in four (HASTIME, ESTADOS, SAYEST, and ETAS). I liked the tricky clue for YOGA, and the answers PERSEUS, IMPASSE, AENEID, and SKILLET (its first use in the NYT). I like that the word EAST is east in the puzzle. I remembered APGAR, which I haven't thought of in probably 30 years. Not a wow puzzle, just a workmanlike Tuesday, which is okay by me.

That Miami golf resort DORAL was named by combining the names of its original owners Alfred and Dorris Kasket. It was bought in 2011 by The Donald and is now called Trump National Doral Miami.

Lewis 8:37 AM  

Regarding DORAL, that should be Kaskel, not Kasket.

mac 8:43 AM  

Hand up for "sayeth". Medium to tough Tuesday, I liked it.

Yawp is a word I've never used, made Wang hard to see. The legume I call sugar snaps.

Love impasse, skillset and at a halt. A good time!

pmdm 8:49 AM  

Anyone notice the meta-meaning of 36D - the Italian word means east in Spanish, perhaps an intentional wink at the theme.

Since Monday and Tuesday puzzles are supposed to be easy for beginners, it's pretty much of a prerequisite to include some "over-over-familiar" fill. If that's not your cup of tea, OK. But that's just the nature of early week puzzles. For me, this puzzle hardly put me to sleep.

Interesting fact about Pac Man. For whatever reason, I never got into Pac Man but loved playing Ms. Pac Man. Anyway, if you are interested in what really goes wrong to end the game, there is a sub-routine in the program that instructs the game which fruit to draw based on the value of a number that keeps decrementing. When it reaches zero, it is supposed to reset itself to the original number, but at the ominous screen the reset process misbehaves, resulting in an excess number of fruit invading the screen. Information for those of you who have trouble falling asleep.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Anyone thinking the NW corner was some sort of trainwreck, especially for a Tuesday, clearly doesn't understand or appreciate high-end construction.

Signed, Yawp Wang Apgar

Mohair Sam 9:02 AM  

Will SAYEth that we wentASTRAY for quite a while until we sussed the theme here. Tough Tuesday for us. Enjoyed it in spite of the creakiness pointed out by @Rex (poor old JAYZ alone in the West trying to pull this thing into the 21st century). Thought the theme was smoothly executed however.

We absolutely hate all Prince Valiant clues. Mrs. Sam never read the funny papers as a kid, and I limited myself to Peanuts and Smokey Stover.

Chuckled at @Rex's SUGARPEA conversation, had a similar one at this table with the exact same result: No.

@Evil Doug - I've heard and read the term "STAGEd A STRIKE" used in the news frequently.

bwalker 9:12 AM  

Thou sayest, saith I. Spoken, "sayeth thou," the two th's are awkward.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

As a gardener who has studied many a seed catalog and has grown both Sugar Snap Peas and snow peas, I agree with Rex about the wrongness of SUGAR PEA.

Ludyjynn 9:24 AM  

Strange Tuesday. Did not PLEASE me very much as I solved due to some ugly words, esp. YAWP, SUGARPEA and ATAHALT. Who says that?

I kinda LOST interest midway, but finished just for the hell of it. Looking for AMORE, found none to speak of.

Sorry, BT and WS. Not my cuppa.

chefbea 9:28 AM  

Tough puzzle. DNF. Never heard of yawp or apgar (have to google that one). Made a cool cucumber salad for dinner last night with my new toy - VEGGETTI. Loved the clue for 67 across

Wm. C. 9:29 AM  

WANG is just one of the many defunct computer manufacturers in the west-of-Boston landscape. Add Digital Equipment (the first, and the employer of most founders of the others), then Data General, Prime, Ardent, Stratus, Apollo, Alliant -- and several others that I've forgotten.

Wang is still remembered daily by many Route-495 commuters, as they pass by the two huge towers that dominate the mostly-rural landscape along that beltway. They are now rented by a passel of smaller firms.

Tita 9:32 AM  

Mr. Thompson, you had me at 3D.
My first "real job" was at WANG. What a hoot that place was! You can imagine the atmosphere - mid-eighties, pre-PC (Political Correctness, and Personal Computer)...
Innovative company, innovative leader. "In Search of Excellence" featured An Wang - a Chinese immigrant, who invented a revolutionary memory component.
Too bad his kids were idiots and ran that company into the ground.

But I digress...
We had annual "Be a Dick Day", where your colleagues would nominate you for inclusion in the club.

WANG UK and AU begged for the name of the customer service group to be changed from WANGCare, since for them it was pronounced "WANKER".

When a friend quit, her co-workers hired a male stripper to impersonate one of her customers - he came to the office saying that his WANG was down, and she was the only one who could get it up. This was NOT sexual harrassment - this is how system users talked.
"The WANG is down - call customer support" was usually how it went.
At GE, my account, you would hear announcements - "The Wang is down." Once it is fixed, another solemn announcement - "The Wang is up."

Oh - was there a puzzle today? Yes - I liked finally seeing PERSEUS, a week after watching his eponymous meteor shower.

But aren't FREI/free false friends? FREI means available. Free is Costenloss (without cost). Where is @Ulrich when we need him?
(Since my Italian UNO MOMENTO gaffe last week, I am afraid to gaffe again.)

Plenty of mythology, with Medusa, AENEID and that horse, GAEA (never know how to spell her name), and the MAZE at Minos.

Thanks Mr. Thompson for a trip down memory lane.
And hey - if anyone wants more jokes on the WANG theme, just shoot me a note - I got a million of 'em!

bwalker 9:32 AM  

My seed catalogs call them sugar snap peas, but Google goes to sugar pea on the first page of hits. I thought it was odd.

@LMS, Clint wouldn't make the cut as a themer, but his son Kyle Eastwood is a MIDDLE EASTerner.

I thoroughly enjoyed today's tough puzzle, though I had to go through it three times to catch ASTAIRn/AnNEID. I feared blowing the streak on a Tuesday, but it's alive.

quilter1 9:37 AM  

Having worked in maternity for 25 years APGAR was a gimme. But DNF due to DRT. Not a Gere fan and don't see many movies anyway. Good crunchy Tuesday. I enjoyed it.

jberg 9:38 AM  

Struck out because cArP seemed so right for 1A. I agree with @glimmerglass that it's a fine word, I just don't think Walt Whitman was complaining there. Also APGAR--definitely NOT for this over-60, whose experience with newborns was nearly 40 years ago. So I imagined a "Spear" test and some unknown company called Rane.

Other than that, I liked it.

Dshawmaine 9:41 AM  

What @Steve J said, plus I hear SUGAR PEAS all the time up here in Maine, and my friend visiting from NC says the same. To me, SUGAR snap PEAS is too much of a mouthful.

GeezerJackYale48 9:54 AM  

Yawp! And yawp again. Also, bah humbug, while I am at it.

Unknown 9:56 AM  

Prince Valiant? There's a dusty old cartooon for you! I hated it even when I was a regular consumer of the funny pages, back in my misspent youth. An appropriate clue for this musty puzzle.

Sir Hillary 10:09 AM  

Good revealer, which ultimately saved this one for me. Agree that the fill was slightly obscure (for a Tuesday) and quite musty (for any day). Still, it was all inferable. No harm done.

Speaking of which...I get that the NYT mini is beyond easy, but if ever there were a victimless "crime" this is it. That Slate writer needs to get over herself, but quick.

Nancy 10:15 AM  

Many of the same writeovers as Zeke, Rex and joho. CARP before YAWP; ZONES before ZONKS; SAYETH before SAYEST. Also, very briefly, AENEAS before AENEID. Never heard of ALETA. Liked SKILLSET and the clue for it. Played somewhat harder for me than most Tuesdays and therefore I liked it.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

You gotta be kidding me? WHO is choosing this krapp?

YAWP? NEVER heard the word before.

APGAR? NEVER heard of that either.

On a Tuesday??? This puzzle sucks.

Prince Valiant? That hasn't been relevant since the 60s.

I stopped doing this in the top third.

Ellen S 10:27 AM  

I didn't remember WANG at all, and APGAR or Apgar only dimly. Interesting to learn that it is an eponym as well as an acronym. (Is that correct? I mean, is an eponym both the thing named after someone, *and* the someone after whom the thing is named?) Anyway, I liked Monday better but this was okay. I don't mean that in a "meh" sort of way. I mean, a) finished it; b) without wincing. Maybe if I did more puzzles from other sources I'd have higher standards, but I prefer enjoying them.

Ellen S 10:27 AM  

I didn't remember WANG at all, and APGAR or Apgar only dimly. Interesting to learn that it is an eponym as well as an acronym. (Is that correct? I mean, is an eponym both the thing named after someone, *and* the someone after whom the thing is named?) Anyway, I liked Monday better but this was okay. I don't mean that in a "meh" sort of way. I mean, a) finished it; b) without wincing. Maybe if I did more puzzles from other sources I'd have higher standards, but I prefer enjoying them.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle, thought it was a solid theme for a Tuesday.

One nit, however, at the clue for 39 D, "Without cost: Ger." In my admittedly limited experience, the formal answer for that would be KOSTENLOS, and much more commonly, GRATIS. FREI, I believe, signals "available" rather than "no cost" in most uses. German speakers, please correct me!

bwalker 10:48 AM  

To clarify what I posted earlier, -est and -eth are verb endings. English is a Germanic language, and you can see the form in how German conjugates verbs today. Ich sage: I say(th), du sagst: thou sayest, er/sie/es sagt: he/she/it sayeth. Possibly, "saith"and "sayeth" are interchangeable until spelling was more regular.

Joseph Michael 10:48 AM  

I would like to TAKE A STAND and make AT LEAST ONE comment about this puzzle: it made me want to YAWP.

Too many obscure answers for a Tuesday, such as the long forgotten celebrities GAEA WANG and ALETA APGAR.

i think I need to do some YOGA and read the AENEID. Or maybe I'll just go to IKEA .

Jerry Seinfeld 11:01 AM  

Jerry: Hello?

Sophie: Hey. IT'S ME

Jerry: Elaine?

Sophie: No, IT'S ME

Jerry: George??

Sophie: Jerry, it's Sophie. I can't believe you don't recognize my voice.

Tita 11:04 AM  

@Wm C - there are 3 of those towers... Dr. Wang built them one at a time, on an as-needed basis, as the company was growing like gangbusters. I have a "collectible" mug that shows only the two towers.
He only owned 2 suites. Did I mention his sons were idiots?
Rte 128 was once known as Silicon Alley.

Don't forget the Wang Theater in Boston.

And @Bob K - I stand korrekted - again. Karelessness made me write costenloss.

dk 11:05 AM  

🌕 ( 1 moon)

A bunch of words used in ways I never would.

Mike D 11:12 AM  

Anon 10:16: "It was too hard for me, so it was a bad puzzle." A common theme around here.

Ludyjynn 11:21 AM  

@Tita, your commentary about WANG made up for the puzzle itself; thanks for your memories; LOL here.

oldbizmark 11:24 AM  

YAWP! DNF. Hated this puzzle.

Molson 11:25 AM  

The question that I asked myself today when solving this, which I think is very relevant not just to today but to the NYT puzzle on the whole:

Would I give this puzzle to a new crossword solver as an example of a fun puzzle to bring them in to the hobby? Would this puzzle make me want to subscribe to the NYT puzzle?

The answer to both of these today would be a resounding no. This puzzle would do nothing to bring someone new to the hobby.

Mohair Sam 11:25 AM  

Forgot to mention the old WANG bond pricing machines of the 1970's which changed the laborious task of calculating bond yields and prices to a lark when you could "WANG-out" a price at a desired yield instantly. Did all the niggly interest calculations too. Time-saving and god-awfully expensive little machine - but every bond trader had to have one.

Hartley70 11:41 AM  

I found this Tuesday on the very easy side. Even when I was sure an answer was wrong, like YEASTY, it was right.

I could see APGAR might be obscure, unless you once were waiting anxiously to hear a newborn's score. At that moment it was the most important number in the world.

Knowing Prince Valiant's main squeeze may indeed be evidence of a "moribund" existence. But the early boomers are still kicking it socially and economically, so don't bury us yet.

I always do the mini. It's like a warm-up for the main event, a practice swing. It's quick and intentionally easy, and I don't find it insulting at all. Thanks Joel for showing up every day.

@Tita, loved your WANG schtick! @NCAPresident, that was an interesting point of view. I may start giving puzzles the beer test.

Bronxdoc 11:49 AM  

No everyone didn't, because anti means against and ante means before. Also D'este is the name of an Italian noble family from Este, located in the north east of Italy. Maybe you were thinking of the wine producing Asti family.

evil doug 11:56 AM  

Sure, it's perfectly legitimate. I can only tell you as a member of the strike preparedness committee and author of our "Strike 101" guide serving 10,000 pilots who tended to think of themselves as an association instead of a labor union, we spoke of *executing* a strike. To "stage" a strike sounded weak, fake and gentle. Most of us came out of the military, so we wanted to prep them like it was a combat operation.

pmdm 12:03 PM  

Note to Ellen S: Wang is named after Charles Wang, who is current owner of the New York Islanders. At least around NYC he has been in the news due to the Islanders, so shame on hockey fans like myself who blanked out on the name of the computer.

Masked and Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Any puz that has both GAEA and APGAR can't be all bad. YAWP and SAYEST pave the way for YAWPEST, in an upcomin FriPuz. Liked this one a lot. It gave me a rise; twas YEASTY.

Now, I'd hafta grant … that NW corner has very little Patrick Berry Usage Immunity goin for it, even tho it does use The magic word, at 4-D. For those who didn't want any YAWP or APGAR across their WANG, just go ahead and re-solve using the following, and yer WANG should feel much better, by mid afternoon, if you leave it alone, til then …

1. Reindeer dude
14. ___ Doug
20. See 2-Down

1. Great tune by ZZ Top, in 1984
2. Do a pinky 20-Across
3. Captain Kirk portrayer Chris

Four U's and a POC finale.

M&A has a soft spot in his heart, for Mini-Puzs.

Liked the clue for weeject PAT. fave weeject = GOO.



Nancy 12:07 PM  

@Tita (9:32) -- What a hilarious inside look at the world of first generation computers and the WANG co. I had never heard of a WANG before, but it's now emblazoned indelibly on my mind. And a question to @Aketi, whose "dh" loved the WANG. Does "dh" stand for darling husband? And if not, then what?

Masked and Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Almost forgot to mention …
Today's fave weeject winner was a real close call. But in the end, GOO was judged to be stronger than DRT.

M&A 2


@ACME yesterday: har!

old timer 12:13 PM  

I'm going to write first, then read the comments later. This puzzle took me 26 minutes, when 9-10 is normal for me on a Tuesday. It was tough for many reasons. First, like OFL, I had "sayeth" for SAYEST. Why? Because these days no one knows how to conjugate the second-person singular. Bill Thompson, it seams, does know, and if I had trusted him that would have saved me from one major rewrite. Second, a lot of potential Naticks out there. JOSE Carreras crossed with JAYZ. I've never heard of the tenor. And could not get JAYZ as clued, though when I had -AYZ it was pretty obvious. I don't know Kyle REESE from Adam. But I did confidently write "stale" for TIRED, even though FOULTIP was obvious.

What I should have done -- what we all should have done, I think, was to start by finding the revealer. Easily done, too, since the clues in the SE were pretty easy. At that point, all my stumbling blocks would have vanished once I had GONEASTRAY.

I cannot join in OFL's criticism. The puzzle was tough, but fair, and there was very little stale fill. No, it did not sparkle with Now words or phrases. But the puzzle will be just as fun and challenging 10 years from now as it is today, and there is something to be said for that.

Benko 12:31 PM  

@bob: That's definitely true in Dutch (Gratis for "without cost") and I assume it is the same in German.
@pmdm: I also skipped Pac Man and went straight to his Ms.
SUGAR PEA is ok by this guy, even if sugar snap pea is also used.

thfenn 12:47 PM  

ILOSE and ALENA got me ATAHALT with ANAHALE. Halted there for a long time. Was also sure Weasel was STOAT, and laboured over staging a strite - SNEAKy!
At first I ZONKed, but I just couldn't get to SKILLSET from SKI, so then ZONEd out.

Enjoyed ATARI, WANG, APGAR, and SEALE, but maybe that's because I'm a little tired and stale as well.

Lots of points for EAST truly being in the middle. Enjoyed this one, was hard for me, but I thought it was fun.

Martel Moopsbane 1:06 PM  

@M&A,you are not supposed to use the L-word as the answer for "reindeer dude" as it is now considered un-PC. Kind of like using the R-word to describe the DC pro football team, I reckon.

nick 1:11 PM  

I don't understand Will Shorts' continuing devotion to dreariness and mediocrity in the nyt crossword. The rest of his newspaper works to become modern and stay relevant -- why not here?

Tita 1:13 PM  

@pmdm - NOT the same WANG!!!!
An Wang founded Wang Laboratories (among many other accomplishments).

Charles Wang, erstwhile owner of the Islanders, co-founded Computer Associates.
I'm in the software business - I have had to amend contracts when doing deals with clients to say "if your company gets bought by Computer Associates, this contract is null and void."
When indicted for massive fraud, he threw his successor under the bus - that schlub went to jail - Charles Wang never did.

Kudos to Mr. Thompson for choosing not to elevate this crook by a NYTX shout-out. An (or Vera) are much more deserving...

Annette 1:36 PM  

Read the Slate piece yesterday, was thrilled to see Rex's quote. Didn't agree with her rant, though. First, it's NOT easier to solve on an IPad .... I wish I had a print version! And she misses the point of the Mini...she should use it as a physical warm-up. Even when I know all the answers I still can't break 30 seconds.

With luck, she'll recognize how horrible today's Maxi puzzle is.

@NCA President your relationship analogy is perfection. Come November when my crossword subscription is up, I wonder if I'll care enough to pay $40 to see it on a daily basis (and spend the money instead on some good craft brews.)

mathgent 1:40 PM  

On Jeff Chen's blog, the constructor says that 3,333,360 is the maximum score in PACMAN because the game's registers can't go beyond 256. I don't see the connection between that number and 256. If you divide it by 256 twice you get something around 50. And 3,333,360 seems pretty random. It's the product of 2 to the fourth, 3, 5, 17, 19, and 43.

Thanks @Tita. It seems that there isn't a lot of fun in the modern workplace.

@NCA President: I feel that the personality of a puzzle comes from the choice of entries, not so much from the cluing.

@Ellen S: Nice observation that APGAR is an eponym/acronym. In looking up the definition, it seems that it was a struggle to make it an eponym. The G stands for "grimace" which is supposed the represent the infant's ability to react to a stimulus or something like that.

With the possible exception of "Exercise discipline" for YOGA, there wasn't a single example of wordplay in any of the clues. A little bit of crunch in NW, but not much fun for us.

Steve J 1:49 PM  

@Bob K: You're correct on "frei": It means available, unoccupied, etc. It also means free as in the sense of freedom. But it doesn't mean without cost. At least in contemporary German. I was corrected on that when I lived over there.

@benko and @pmdm: Add me to the list of those who favored Ms Pac-Man. I liked it better because the mazes varied.

Charley 2:12 PM  

There is no such thing as a sugar pea. Period.

Norm 2:33 PM  

Different memories for different folks. I can still remember my daughter's [passing, whew] APGAR test in April 1991. I can remember when staff attorneys got WANG terminals to replace their typewriters. And, Prince Valiant and ALETA are still going strong. I don't believe she has aged in the last 30 years. Still not much personality to the puzzle. That was an interesting observation. (NCA President? I don't feel like scrolling back up to look.)

OISK 3:13 PM  

Ugh! Once again, after three weeks of successful solves Thurs to Sun. I get beaten on a Tuesday. Never knew there was a Wang computer, ( product names. Hate em) Never heard of APGAR, and did not know Yawp was a word. All of that together, on a Tuesday??? It would be awful on a Saturday, but at least I could understand the difficulty. Yawp??? APGAR??? Phooey. ( I had yalp, perhaps a variation of "yelp" and Lane, with APEAR. )

Boo. Hiss.

(note - because I often post late in the day, I didn't respond to the "com-pewter" pun Saturday. But I liked it. )

Norm 3:39 PM  

Peas, courtesy of Cornell University: http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene9697.html


Natticus 4:24 PM  

I had problems with the NE and SW corners. ALUMS is not a word and users should be executed on site. Graduates are ALUMNI or, if all women, ALUMNAE. Add that to the fact that I don't care for golf or the DORAL resort, and am not familiar with the works of Leon URIS. In the opposite corner, I got SEALE just by merit of filling in all the crosses. Annoying puzzle.

IT'S ME! 4:32 PM  

Jerry: Hello?

Sophie: Hey. IT'S ME.

Jerry: Elaine?

Sophie: No, IT'S ME.

Jerry: George??

Sophie: Jerry, it's Sophie. I can't believe you don't recognize my voice.

Jerry: Oh, I knew it was you, I was joking. I'm a comedian.


Jerry: I hear things. Hey, so Sophie gave me the "It's me" on the phone today.

Elaine: "It's me?" Isn't it a little premature?

Jerry: I thought so.

Elaine: Hah. She's not a "me". I'm a "me".

George: I'm against all "it's me"s. So self-absorbed and egotistical, it's
like those hip musicians with their complicated shoes!

Aketi 5:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ludyjynn 5:24 PM  

Here is Ina Garten's easy and delicious recipe for sautéed sugar SNAP peas:

makes 6 servings

1&1/2 lbs. fresh sugar SNAP peas
1 tbsp. good olive oil
3/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1&1/2 tsp. kosher salt
sea salt for serving

l. Remove and discard stem end and string from each pod
2. heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat
3. add peas, salt & pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes til peas are crisp but tender
4. place in serving bowl and sprinkle sea salt on top


Anonymous 5:37 PM  

@Mathgent - re: The comment about PACMAN & 255. The constructor said that the 255 restriction was on the number of levels allowed ( the #levels was one byte). This would only indirectly effect the maximum score.

Nebraska doug 6:40 PM  

APGAR does not belong in a Tuesday puzzle!

Teedmn 7:01 PM  

Tough one for me today, about double my usual Tuesday time. I was having so much trouble that I started thinking, "Tuesday rebus?"

Fave writeover was knEAdY for YEASTY (hadn't seen the revealer at that point) and it worked with my Idtag for 32D too. I was Trite before TIRED and of course, cArP. I was about to DNF with YArP when suddenly YAWP made more sense. And I nearly cONKed out before I looked more closely at JAYc and realized it was not clued as "Leadership training organization member, for short".

I'm not much of a Richard Gere fan (though I liked him in 'Runaway Bride' and 'Chicago') and DR T is probably the worst of his movies, though I do like how Helen Hunt gives the good DR his comeuppance. I liked ANTE as clued other than poker, liked the misdirection of Stopped not a verb clue, and thought the theme, if dated, was well executed.

Thanks, BT

kitshef 9:25 PM  

Way hard for a Tuesday. Things went wrong from the start with cArP before yelP before YAWP, and there was lots of trouble in the NE with SweetPEA before SUGARPEA.

I think the def. for SKILLSET is consistent with common usage, but I cannot take the clue for YOGA. It's like cluing 'human' as 'something that smells'. A nose is just a tiny part of a human, just as exercises are a tiny part of YOGA.

Generally didn't mind the fill, other than UTNE. But have to agree the cluing was dull.

Neonatal I.C.U. 1:27 AM  

APGAR. Sheesh. Evaluated twice within minutes of emerging onto the STAGE of Life, and ITOnly is the start of being judged for the rest of your life.

+wordphan 3:10 AM  

Back in the late '70's, my sister dated a salesman who worked for Wang. I remember he sported a button, "Let me show you my Wang." I'm not making this up.

spacecraft 12:33 PM  

What OFL said, mostly, except for admiring the Scrabble-ness of JAYZ, one of the two rappers I've been FORCED, through crosswords, to recognize (the other one is NAS). And the theme, a letter string repeated inside familiar names or phrases (well...STAGE a strike? That feels like we're gonna pretend to walk out, but we're hoping management won't call our bluff!), is ho-hum at best. I did appreciate the help it gave me finding a few downs, so maybe that's why this got bumped up to a Tuesday. But filling it out was WOEful.

The only WANG I ever HEARD of is Vera. Bobby SEALE? I missed class that day. I had ZONeS out instead of ZONKS, but SKILLSET straightened me out. BTW, I agree that it's NOT "Everything one can do," but rather a particular group of skills focused on the job at hand. Sports use this phrase; a receiver's SKILL SET, for example, would include speed, leaping ability, etc. without regard to whether he can also play the piano or fix a car. Bad clue.

So overall, did I like it? Let's say, if a Berry is Beauty, then this is the bEAST. I give it an F; that's the lEAST I can do.

rondo 1:53 PM  

So we get all the xwordese in one puzzle. Went looking for ETUI and EPEE, but didn’t find them. Diasappointment.

I’ve HEARD of SweetPEAS, but not SUGARPEAs. But I didn’t dare go with the former, esp w/ Mr. UTNE there.

APGAR will always be the village inside Glacier Park, on Lake MacDonald, for me. Wonderful place to vacation. Don’t recall it as a test, ‘ceptin’ puz-wise.

Still think ELIZA is better clued as “musician Gilkyson”, a yeah baby of the boomer type. Everyone should check her out, and her music. 2004 and 2015 Grammy nominated. Great stuff here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uluecFJ8yI

Last two Tuesdays were too staid. Not much there there.

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