Spiral-horned grazer / SUN 9-13-15 / 1991 breakup newsmaker / Loggers jamboree / 1985 instrumental hit beverly hills cop / Monopoly token replaced in 2013 / Nutrition bar introduced in 1960s / Malibu Simpsons parody doll /

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Constructor: Joe DiPietro

Relative difficulty: Medium (hard side of Medium, probably)

THEME: "To Put It Differently" — clues are all-caps phrases that the answers (familiar phrases) describe literally, e.g. [COMPLETE PLAN] => FINISH AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, because a word meaning FINISH (i.e. "Complete") comes AHEAD OF (in the sense of "prior to" or "before") a word meaning SCHEDULE (i.e. "plan")

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: KUDU (8A: Spiral-horned grazer) —
noun: kudu; plural noun: kudus; plural noun: kudu
  1. an African antelope that has a grayish or brownish coat with white vertical stripes, and a short bushy tail. The male has long spirally curved horns. (google)
• • •

Love the concept on this one. Literalization can be fun. My main issue is with the cluing. While all the theme answers are solid, real phrases that stand alone with no problem, the same can Not be said for the clues. Some, yes. But not even most, let alone all. Here is my rating of all the clues, based on their solidity as Actual Phrases:
So, as you can see, I have no real problem with 4/6 (i.e. 2/3) of these, but 1/3 are just green paint–random phrases that have no stand-alone value. MORE UNITED is just bananas. It's so massive an outlier, I can't believe it passed muster, cleared the bar, met the requirements, was this tall to ride the ride, etc. No way. So that sucks, but like I say, the parts that worked really worked. And the cluing difficulty on this puzzle was really amped up, which I also enjoyed. Themers were actually pretty easy to turn up, so the tougher cluing on the rest of the fill was much appreciated. By me. Passive voice!

[64D: "Beat it!"]

Fill-wise, things hold up pretty well. You can forgive a lot when the longer answers are as nice as I'M AN IDIOT and ACTIVE ROSTER. Probably would've redone that ROLEO / AXELF corner. "X" is not that worth it. Couple of other side-by-sides got a little ugly. INST/MAH. ALANA/NAGGY. I would also no-go KUDU if at all possible (it's a definitely a lesser member of the startlingly large antelope crosswordese lexicon...). A singular SCAD remains not a thing in my book, and EMAG is like smoking, in that it's technically legal but it's super bad for you, so just stop. But much more good than bad today, that's for sure.

["KUUUUUUDU ... you!"]

  • 114A: One in business? (SILENT I) — second time I've seen this answer in past couple days. Can't say I like it. The weirdest thing about "business," to me, is the pronunciation of the damn "u." Freaky.
  • 80A: Series of lows (MOOING) — great, great MOOING cluing
  • 98D: Conservative I.R.A. asset (T-NOTE) — I had T-BOND. Isn't that an exciting error!?
  • 47D: Carpentry fastener (T-NUT)T-NUT or T-NOTE, that is the question. Well, it's *a* question. 
  • 115A: Malibu ___ ("The Simpsons" parody doll) (STACY) — Yessssss. More like this.

  •  51D: Stressful work? (POESY) — as someone who teaches poetry (which is the actual word) all the time, please allow me to assert that a clue for POESY that doesn't somehow signal its, uh, fanciful archaicness from times of yore is at least partially dishonest.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. if you enjoy diagramless crosswords, or don't really know what those are and think they sound possibly interesting, then check out Brendan Emmett Quigley's Kickstarter campaign—30 diagramless crosswords delivered bi-weekly over the next year, for just $15. Click through to find out what diagramlesseseseses are all about. The campaign's already funded, so This Is Happening. Get on board.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:16 AM  

Medium- tough for me.  Even after I saw what was going on, sussing out the theme answers was not a piece of cake.  @Rex is right some of the theme clues seem a bit off, but if you read Xwordinfo, he and Jeff do not really agree on which ones.

I needed 92a STUN GUN to fix 42a where I had TAmERS.

I won't list the names for Sandoval I went through. 

For those of you keeping score Kathleen Turner (think Body Heat) was the voice of Malibu Stacy.

Tricky theme, not much dreck, a solid Sun. workout, liked it.

Jim M 12:20 AM  

Enjoyed this one. But my problem is with 'grand opening sales' -unless I'm misunderstanding the clue. If 'big' is 'grand' then 'deals'is 'opening sales'?

Anonymous 12:42 AM  

Oh Rex, you have to stay up on things if you want to sound sane when you review the puzzles. Clearly, Manchester United recently relocated to Morè France, and is now Morè United. No you say, that's nonsense? Bul&%^t - I just read it in an emag.

Music man 12:51 AM  

I agree pretty much with everything you said. I really liked the theme after I got it, and I had a blast with the cluing, though at times familiar words were clued in ways I had to look up the references to, i.e. ADAGES.

Oh and I love diagramless, possibly more than regular crosswords, so you know I helped fund that!

jp flanigan 1:07 AM  

Didn't get the theme until after I finished. Took me a while to get a foothold, not sure why. Ended up being about average difficulty for me. Biggest gaff was using STICKEM instead of PINETAR. Not sure what's wrong with KUDU...seem fair to me. It's a real, well-know African animal. No big though.

Trombone Tom 1:36 AM  

I often am more charitable in my evaluations of puzzles than OFL, but I think he nailed this one. I mean, MORE UNITED? C'mon, man!

I was thinking oryx or something until the crosses gave me KUDU. Also no clue about the 2000 Gere film until the crosses yielded DR._T.

Agree with @Rex about GO FIGURE; really great clue.

All in all an entertaining Sunday.

Meanwhile the West continues to burn; late reports of another fire (the third one) raging tonight in Lake County. Pray for rain and the safety of firefighters!

chefwen 2:56 AM  

I have mixed emotions about this one. The fill was easy enough, but the theme was confusing to say the least. First "I get it", then I don't, must have done that about three times. Finally accepted the fact that I'M AN IDIOT.

Tripped myself up at 85A by putting in DOOR framE. That whole area took a lot of tidying up before I got it right. Loved MUTTERS at 86A, something I accuse my husband of doing, he just says I'm going deaf. BAH! Can't decide if I like or dislike 42A TAMERS followed by STUN GUN 92A.

Kinda sorta liked it, kinda sorta didn't.


pmdm 6:35 AM  

Finished the puzzle without understanding the theme. At all. The title of the puzzle caused me to think that the theme would involve some kind of wordplay with the word "IT" and I never recovered. So I found no joy in the themed answers.

If some of you still don't quite understand the wordplay for a particular theme entry even after reading the write-up's explanation, try going to Wordplay for an alternate explanation. Put them together and you should get it.

Some of the readers of the write-up may be confused at the reference to ALL CAPS. I suspect the online version put the theme clues in ALL CAPS while the paper version put the theme clues in italics.

Lewis 6:53 AM  

@rex -- Petri's twitter is priceless!

I was in awe of the theme -- how did Joe come up with these? And there were so many terrific clues (RAN, COLAS, LPGA, ORBS, METEOR, FEMALE, MOOING, UMP, MAGI). Gritty cluing overall, which I like, but enough easy footholds to stoke my motivation, which I also like. I loved the answer IMANIDIOT. On a Sunday, it's usually easy to find nits -- NAGGY? HONER? "You no-good son of a..." can as easily be shouted as muttered, and while fire and wind can certainly be PERILs, so can EARTH (as in landslide, i.e.). But no matter, when overall the solve is so enjoyable. Terrific one, morning JOE.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:59 AM  

You want word play? Today we got word play!

Great puzzle, really made me think!

Unrelated to word play, the last letter I entered came at 69 A/D, where I had to wait for everything else to fill before deciding if it was MAOIST or TAOIST!

@Jim M - Re: big deals GRAND, for big, is OPENING for, or leading into, SALES, for deals.

August West 7:04 AM  

This thing filled itself in. Grins prompted by every themer, especially ONE AFTER ANOTHER, the positional "flip-flop" of its maligned clue More united.". Oryx for KUDU, and AXELF sucked, but else this was just on my wavelength and done in 16:23.

@Jim M. "Opening" in the sense of "coming before."

George Barany 7:16 AM  

Nice explanations, @Rex, pointing out several nuances that I had missed about @Joe DiPietro's 134-word creation [for the record, that's very low for a Sunday, hence upping the difficulty]. To @pmdm (and others?): I solved on-line last night with the New York Times subscription whatever-it's called (javlet??!) and the theme clues appeared in italics. Ditto with the hard-copy magazine version that landed on our doorstep this morning.

I also fell into the TAMERS trap, but when the M was changed to S, then TASERS works just fine and meshes with STUN_GUN [compare @jae with @chefwen]. KUDO and SPINES crossing UNO, as clued, and the AXELF corner, were bumps in an otherwise reasonably straightforward solving experience.

chefbea 7:52 AM  

Didn't understand the theme at all!! Now I sort of do (how's that for grammar ?) but I still don't get Grey Fox. How is that age before beauty???

Glimmerglass 8:06 AM  

Excellent puzzle, though I agree with Rex's few complaints. The Red Sox paid a lot of bamboo shoots to get Sandoval, and he's having a very non-MVP year, as are the Bosox. We're out of the post season and trying out a lot of exciting young players, and I wonder whether the Sox will unload him in the off season.

mathgent 8:08 AM  

Didn't like it very much. I thought the theme was pretty weak. I resented that I had to work pretty hard to fill in the big grid without much of a payoff.

Rex and Jeff Chen disagree on the quality of the clue "GO FIGURE." Rex thinks it's great and Jeff thinks that it is a stretch. I agree with Jeff. My favorite was "NEWSPAPER ROUTE."

Lately Rex has been criticizing puzzles that skew old. Today's could have been written a long time ago but Rex didn't seem to care. Even though I am ancient, I want the puzzle to be modern. That helps me keep up with the dizzying pace of the culture.

allan 8:23 AM  

I loved this. I really got slogged by having MAOIST at 69A. That made me want MIGHTY... going down. I finally heard @Rex's voice saying if an area doesn't work, take it out and start over. I did and flew through the rest of the puzzle. I had no problem with the cluing for the themers.

@Trombone Tom Absolutely praying for rain and safety of the brave individuals fighting the fires.

Zwhatever 8:41 AM  

KUDU joining my "startlingly large antelope crosswordese lexicon" one day after adding Ijssel to my startling large European River crosswordese lexicon was a bonus.

Agreed on the fill cluing. Lots of fun stuff there. Went all Kim Davis/Mike Huckabee on the "out" clue, so had to give myself a dope slap when UMP appeared. Also immediately noticed the lowercase t in "Star trek figures?" but was still thinking Deneb, Sirius, or Betelgeuse instead of Balthasar, Caspar, and Melchior. Having never heard of TIGER'S MILK, that M was the last letter in.

Sundays had gotten IFFY of late, making me wonder if I was going to give up doing them. The last two, though, have been more fun, less slog. More like these please.

Loren Muse Smith 9:05 AM  
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Teedmn 9:30 AM  

This was one of those 'chisel' type puzzles for me, where I chip away at the answers, little by little, surprised to find I managed to finish, although a DNF because my wire service was aPI and something speaking 'out' (doh) was an aMP. Rats.

TRUE what @Rex said about the clues being amped up (@chefwen, if you thought the fill was easy, you cannot say IM AN IDIOT :-) ). The ones @Lewis named plus the Dish name, Houses named after an old house (I had manORS for that one first) and what may unfold in a Japanese theater were all good. Like @jae, I had TAmER before TASER. Hampers, say for BINS was a nice misdirect for me.

Nice 65 minutes on a Sunday, thanks, JDP.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

"Seris of lows" could have been MINIMA, which makes it even more clever. I was so proud of myself for getting that one right away, and then when I saw what it really was, I laughed out loud. Great puzzle. BTW, the theme clues were not in all-caps in the print edition.

Loren Muse Smith 9:37 AM  

I agree that this was a tougher Sunday than I'm used to. The last two letters I filled in were the UN of UNO. Don't know why I kept thinking "spikes" and "spires." Sheesh.

First themer I got, pretty early, was AGE BEFORE BEAUTY. Huge smile when the trick hit me. I love these literal takes on phrases. I agree that "more united" isn't as solid a phrase as the others, but isn't there more wiggle room for clues? That clue/answer was my absolute favorite (hi, @August West), maybe because it took me more mental acrobatics to see how it worked.

A few errors:

"plank" for PANEL
"moo moo" before MOOING
"maze" before HAZE
"shark" before TROUT
"tamer" before TASER – hey, there, @jae. We're getting more and more united on our common goofs.
"ident" before POINT. Yeah, yeah. 40D and all that.

Thought someone would complain about the double TIME.

MOTIF, SERIF, SIFTS – nifty IFFY trio.

@Bob – I had "Daoist" before TAOIST. I always do that. Never considered "Maoist." "Maoist" is a more elegant mistake than "Daoist."

IT'S TIME feels ominous. Whatever it's time for has to be something you just don't want to do. Time to what? Time to grab the pooper scooper and head out back? Go in for your colonoscopy? Say goodbye to your son when you drop him off for college? It's time to face the music, buddy; that's what.

This theme is so beyond my abilities that I can't come up with another phrase. "Warn ahead of time?" ALARM CLOCK Nah.

So after I crashed and burned on playing around with the theme, I revisited the clue for SILENT I. How cool is that?

iSland, busIness, saLmon, Eureka, autumN, fasTen.

Loved this theme. I'm with @Bob - I like how it made me think.

Wm. C. 10:04 AM  

@Chefbea --

Re: Why "Gray Fox" => "Age Before Beauty"

Aged people often have gray hair. A "foxy lady" is beautiful.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

The proper cue for TAOIST should be Chuang Tsu or Chuang Tse (or some variant thereof). "Zhuangzi" is pinyin spelling, which elicits DAOIST for those who know the difference.

r.alphbunker 10:09 AM  

Puzzle report

I thought 103A {Star trek figures} MAGI was brilliant and Saturday-tough.
First of all I missed the significance of the lower case 't' in 'trek' so was thinking about the movie which made JEDI seem plausible. TIGERMILK ruined that giving MedI which, in desperation, I finished with. The light dawned when I was told that "ed" was wrong. Other clues like that made the puzzle tough for me.

joho 10:13 AM  

Today Joe DiPietro KIDSAROUND with us in the most.delightful way. Absolutely loved the originality of this concept which was supported by great clues and answers. There's no Sunday slogging here just big Sunday fun!

My favorite clue was "Star trek figures?" For MAGI. I was a little surprised to see GOFIGURE following so closely, though.

I am WAYBEHINDTHETIME'S Sunday crossword today, thank you Joe DiPietro & Will Shortz! More like this, please!

Mohair Sam 10:34 AM  

The rare day when we agree almost word for word with OFL, especially his theme ratings. Loved FORMFOLLOWINGFUNCTION clue. Still scratching head about ONEAFTERANOTHER. @Anon 12:42's explanation made about as much sense.

Found this one a medium Sunday, and enjoyed it on the whole - in spite of MORE UNITED. Didn't want to believe POESY without a pocketful in the clue (thank you @Rex for telling us why); lost a ton of time by using ESTb instead of ESTD - surprising how one little letter can screw up an entire section; not knowing AXELF and thinking ROLLEO had two L's made the NE take us forever. One kudo for the Unknown KUDU.

I'm probably the 50th to do this @Chefbea - think FOX as in foxy.

Poor old Rick Perry. Outside of Texas he's Charlie Brown, the Presidency is his football, and we're all Lucy. You guys shouldn't be picking on him.

Karen 10:36 AM  

I didn't have a proble with MORE UNITED = ONE AFTER ANOTHER. I figure ONE is a synonym for UNITED, which came AFTER ANOTHER, a synonym for MORE.

JC66 10:47 AM  
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ArtO 10:51 AM  

@chefbea..grey =. Age, fox = beauty (I think).

Pretty damn tough for me. A long, slow, put it down, pick it up slog. But, ultimately triumph.

H777 10:56 AM  

Age = gray. Fox(y) = beauty.

Tom 11:00 AM  

Chef bea, grey fox is literally age (grey) before beauty (fox)

I found that I solved several, and then understood the answer.

Mark Kleinschmidt 11:08 AM  

A word indicating age (gray) comes BEFORE a word indicating a really good looking person (fox)

jberg 11:09 AM  

@chefbea, "Gray" is is old, a "fox" is a beauty. Took me awhile, too.

One little thing I don't think @Rex mentioned is that in the top three themers the first word is before the second, while in the bottom three the second is after the first -- i.e., "ahead of," "before," "opening," vs. "behind," "after," and "following." So I had_______OTHER for 88A, thought the last word would have to be "together" (clued as "united,") and wasted far too much time trying to see how 86D could be anything but MOTIF. Then I got WAY BEHIND THE TIMES and it all became clear.

@Loren, as I'm writing this you've deleted one comment and not yet made another, but here's a linguistic question for you: Is the I in BUSINESS really silent? Or just elided? There's some kind of distinction, I think. The silent A is PEAK is one kind of silence, the I in business is something different.

My wife is highly critical of me because I don't say the first R in February (which she does). On the other hand, I was appalled when I first heard someone from Long Island say that her hair was getting "lenthy." So, everyone, do you or anyone you know pronounce that 'i,' however faintly?

Joseph Michael 11:20 AM  

Fun puzzle. I usally like literal themes and this one delivered, especially with NEWSPAPER ROUTE and GRAY FOX. Agree with Rex that some of the cluing, such as "More United," feels strained.

Have never heard of SOFT ARMOR so debated between MOFT/TAMER and ZOFT/TAZER and guessed wrong. Otherwise the solve was smooth and satisfying.

GeezerJackYale48 11:45 AM  

Pretty much agree with Rex except for one thing he said: "more like this" for Malibu Stacy! Ye gods, don't we already have way too much from The Simpsons as it is? I am starting to feel peculiar (instead of smug?) that I have never watched the darn show.

I also wonder if someone can tell me what 87 Down: Sport-ute means.

Norm 12:06 PM  

What I loved about this one was the relative dearth of pop culture clues. Just good old word play. And, I'll readily forgive the clunkiness of "more united" since I loved "go figure."

Norm 12:07 PM  

@GeezerJackYale48: your question will probably have been answered multiple times by the time this comment makes it through moderation, but SPORT-UTE = sport utility vehicle.

Mohair Sam 12:10 PM  

@jberg. Yes, now that you mention it, I do know a few people who softly use the "I" in business. I've imitated them intentionally when I've found people around me at work just spinning their wheels to look "busy". Nice catch!

Malsdemare 12:10 PM  

I found ONE AFTER ANOTHER just fine. You're more united that way than if you're scattering in all directions. Think of school kids lining up for recess.

No one has remarked ... Yet ... On Old Chicago UNO. Maybe things have change since Uno's closed here in Champaign, but it's the Old Chicago Grill and UNO's pizzaria, which is the best Chicago pizza, IMO. Ike Sewell cannot be happy here.

My hand's up for TAmER and aMP. But despite this taking forever, I loved it, never felt like IMANIDIOT, just chipped away until each tiny section filled itself. I too took the advice of just erasing a whole section and starting over.

It was 45 here last night. We had a summer with no 100+ temps and now 45 at night in mid-september. I've read that our midwest winter is expected to be mild. Frankly, I don't believe it. But I am sick at what's happening out west. Yes, asking the universe to protect our emergency personnel. It could be my daughter out there, making real time maps for the firefighters.

Sorry; Perry as Charlie Brown is tempting but no cigar. Charlie is SCADs nicer and maybe smarter (okay, that's a stretch) than Perry could ever be.

More jelly-making today!

RAD2626 12:15 PM  

Embarrassing to say I really like the theme but had no idea what it was until I got here. Finished the puzzle, got the happy pencil and still had no idea. Now that I know, very clever and no problem with "more united" which is a clever fit for the answer. Like others mAOIST first and some pain in SE. But time basically right on Sunday average. Really nice puzzle. Now off to nine hours of football which will catch me up on naps.

chefbea 12:17 PM  

Thanks every one for explaining!!!

AliasZ 12:18 PM  

This lovely, tougher-than-average Sunday puzzle with a wordplayful theme did wonders to erase the bad memories of a horrid Saturday.

My favorite theme entries and clues were the ones in which the nouns and adjectives were transformed into verbs or vice-versa: the two verbs in "Go figure" becoming two nouns in FORM FOLLOWING FUNCTION. My favorite: "Gray fox" in which the adjective "gray" becomes its verbal synonym "age" to get to AGE BEFORE BEAUTY.

The theme entries were probably not easy to come up with, it must have taken Joe Di a few days, if not weeks, to get the six excellent ones here. The only one I could come up with so far was "Team slump" for PRIDE BEFORE FALL, which is not that great.

The long down entries were all beyond reproach, my favorites being I'M AN IDIOT and ACTIVE ROSTER. Many of the clues were inspired (series of lows, one in business, airs from pairs, etc.), as were the entries ROTUND POESY, SERIF, MOTIF, AXELF, and the IFFY BARF.

PABLO Sorozábal Mariezcurrena (1897-1988) was a Basque-Spanish composer of symphonic music and zarzuelas. Here is a sample of his "Suite vasca" (Basque suite) of 1923.

Have a joyful Sunday the thirteenth, and Happy New Year.

RAD2626 12:21 PM  

Oh, and while I got TIGER'S MILK from the crosses, seemed a bit of a stretch.

old timer 12:22 PM  

I almost never get the trick, or conceit, or whatever you call it, behind these Sunday puzzles, especially ones like this that try to be "edgy", which is what I wrote in before IFFY. Just about threw down the (non-E) MAG in disgust more than once. But soldiered on, and as I finished found myself impressed with the clever misdirection in the cluing for words like MOOING and METEOR.

First word in: PABLO. Because I'm a huge Giants fan and thought Sr. Sandoval would be hard to replace. NOT!!! We have a great third-baseman who can hit, in Duffy. I hope by the end of the season he will be able to fire across the infield for an out at first base as well as PABLO did.

Writeovers: Maoists before TAOISTS. Spay before GELD. Fraction before the (much more amusing) FUNCTION.

"Business" did not have a silent i when it meant the state of being busy. That original sense has now been replaced by "busyness", and I don't think anyone includes even a schwa between "biz" and "ness".

Andrew Heinegg 12:24 PM  

Sport-ute is post-modern language for sport utility vehicle instead of suv. This was a banner day for the NYT crossword imhop. The puzzle was well-constructed, fun and a suitably difficult solve. Constructors need to pay attention to the work of the top constructors such as Mr. DiPietro. And they should likewise heed the critiques of Mr. P who, while he may draw the ire (please note appropriate crossword verbiage!) of bloggers, is especially insightful when reviewing expert constructors because those mavens have learned the basics and hone their craft as they go along. Thus, there is no need for him to explain why the puzzle went so far afield. Bravo to both of you.

Masked and Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Easy side of medium, but PuzEatinSpouse and I ganged up on it, each armed with a pencil, at the dining room table. Encountered very limited resistance. The pencils were flyin. Only got stabbed by a pencil point once, tho. [See blood at 92-A.]

Fun theme. Not sure that the clues are obliged to be above any kind of green paint line, as long as the answers are. Anyhoo, got nothin better to offer than "More united", for a clue there, unless we can go totally commando, with double-?? clues: {Third round??}.

KUDU - what a magnificent beast! (yo, @Z) Yessssss. More like this.
15 U's! har. And that's more like it.

Thanx, Joe and Shortzmeister.



NCA President 1:38 PM  

Is this the same Joe DiPietro who wrote the book for All Shook Up and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change? Because if it is, and he reads this, I just finished doing both of those shows in the past 6 months. I love them both. The piano stuff on I Love You is a blast to play, and All Shook Up is a very smart adaptation of some Shakespearean stories.

Again, if this is the same Joe DiPietro, then I guess we add him to Stephen Sondheim in musical theater/crossword puzzle constructors. Is there anyone else? Maybe JRB?

Anyway, I enjoyed the puzzle today. But I'm clearly enamored Joe's work and slightly surprised at the serendipity of seeing his name here.

Leapfinger 2:15 PM  

The Old Grey Fox, she ain't what she used to be, but she thought there was a plenty of MAGIck sprinkled through this grid. Henceforth, if ever I feel low, I'll try MOOING.

Nice analysis of the themers, @Alias. I didn't see that, only revelled in the cleverness of GO FIGURE, GREY FOX, the NYT self-referential. Just tried to come up with a Bon MOT IF I could:

(This might be useful for someone trying to make their way through Disneyland)
Queue, Peruse, Queue: READ BETWEEN THE LINES

A lovely non-sloggy Sunday, Joe DiP! Apples and honey, all y'all!

Ken Wurman 2:49 PM  

Brilliant theme! Once I got it, it was fun to solve.
Not sure what Rex's problem was with "more united", I thought it was similar to other clues.
Still not sure about "mooing" (yes,I did look it up).

nick 3:04 PM  

I solve on paper and today's Sunday magazine is all about college. The ad opposite the xword? It's for a stairlift for the elderly.

Anyway, kinda hard but mostly fun. Got naticked at kudu/uno.

Jisvan 3:38 PM  

The cattle were lowing in the field, but the point they were making was...moo-t. Love to read you guys, you know who you are. Brilliant. Carry on.

Leapfinger 4:05 PM  

Never mind that 'silent I' in business; why is that U a non-silent I??

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

@Kenneth Wurman: "Go figure", "Newspaper route", ... are all common phrases, "more united" not so much (by which I mean not at all). That's the issue.

L 4:25 PM  

I had DAOIST too. Thought I screwed up.

Chim cham 4:39 PM  

Mid-east side jammed me up around SOFT ARMOR. But had to smile when I saw how solid the answers were. For some reason I had way more trouble with yesterday's than this one, which was challenging but flowwwed so nicely.

old timer 4:49 PM  

"The cattle are lowing" I learned in kindergarten or first grade because I was in Catholic school and the nuns were very fond of the carol, "Away in a Manger". Good word for the sound they make, and if you want to know more, go to your local County Fair next summer. Always lots of cows lowing, along with big draft horses clip-clopping.

Norm 5:42 PM  

@ Kenneth Wurman: The other clues (except for "complete schedule") are real phrases (more or less). I don't think I've heard a reference to "big deals" as opposed to "big deal" but it was close; "newspaper route" is a real thing; and "go figure" was brilliant. But "more united" is just not something anyone would say as a standalone phrase. Okay, maybe we are "more united" than our opponents, but that's still really clunky. That was Rex's point, I think, and it's not invalid, but I think the theme was cool enough to get over that glitch.

Did anyone comment yet on how the top half all had leading into answers and the bottom half all had following answers? There's probably a better way to phrase that but I can't think of one. I thought this puzzle was elegant on many levels.

Brian W. Ogilvie 6:04 PM  

I'm not Rex, but my problem with "more united" is that you're either united or you're not. It's like "more pregnant."

I found this pretty fun. It's one of those that I stared at for a while without much progress, but then things fell fairly quickly. TROY, LPGA and USSR were the first ones I got. It took me a while to cotton onto the theme. SOFT ARMOR was tricky; I got SOFT quickly from the crosses, but initially had "shell" since my softshell jacket provides protection against the elements. Like others, I thought MinIma for MOOING even though I was already YAWNING my way through the last clues, but I'M AN IDIOT clued me in.

KUDU is no problem. Like Anonymous @ 10:07, Zhuangzi led me to hesitate between dAOIST and TAOIST, so I left the square blank, but the crosses that led me to TIGER'S MILK resolved the question.

JonnoHarris 6:15 PM  

Just a small technical point on 8 across - kudu are browsers rather than grazers!

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

The more united, the more we stand.

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

The phrase is " Silver Fox" like George Clooney.

Zwhatever 7:27 PM  

I'm usually more United than Man City, but this season I'm all Leicester City.

Teedmn 7:39 PM  

@Leapfinger, et al., it's just not any of our bizness.

Did anyone else see 26A and think of Gilligan's Island?

Harold Hecuba - "You call yourselves actors!?"
Gilligan - "I don't call myself an actor."
Harold Hecuba - "If I say you're an actor you're an actor!"
Gilligan - "Ok! I'm an actor!"
Harold Hecuba - "Believe me, you are no actor!

(from Wikipedia)

chefbea 7:44 PM  

@Nick No recipes either...and no ethicist

Karen 9:24 PM  

Ah, now I see that people were having problem with the phrasing of MORE UNITED, not with the solution. Agreed.

Elephant's Child 10:41 PM  

Whoa, @Brian WO (and associates)

Just to play impish advocate (something short of Devil's Advocate): My sweet sainted Mama used to say that there's no such thing as being a little pregnant, and I categorically agree that you're either pregnant or you aren't, but anyone who's been there will attest that 9 months is more pregnant than 3 months. In not strictly analogous fashion, it's possible to be strongly united, weakly united, or to be united for the sake of convenience. And the latter states of united are more likely to become untied.

I'm curious to see if we can have the Red States and the Blue States be MORE UNITED.

Jim M 7:38 AM  

Thanks, don't know why I couldn't see that!

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

I just tried to figure it out and gave up. The worse puzzle I've encountered in a long time.. and boring....

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Complete Plan should have been "Finish Right On Schedule", not ahead of. Complete is a verb, of course.
TNUT: Oh, yeah? 30 years of carpentry, from giant structure foundations to fine finish work, and I never heard of a TNUT? I think he made this one up


Burma Shave 11:18 AM  

Alleged comeback by Dorothy Parker when Clare Boothe Luce allowed Ms. Parker to enter a doorway first. Supposedly true.


With FORMFOLLOWINGFUNCTION, the retort is, “Pearls before swine.”

rondo 11:45 AM  

So the theme clues were more like a cryptic puz than your typical xword. That’s nothing to FROWNAT. I’m practically giddy about that, and now ready to start the Harper’s puzzle which I complete most every month (and was once a winner, when they had 3).

@spacey TNUT, AXELF, TNOTE, SILENTI, EMAG all just for you. But ESE not clued as RD.

HONER was one answer I could have done without.

I used to date a STACY, 6’ 2” and all of it INPLAY. Lotsa FEMALE there.

DYAN Cannon, a yeah baby for a long, long time.

ALANA De la Garza, a lawful and orderly yeah baby. I bought that issue of Maxim because of her.

So I finally “liked” a Sun-puz (he MUTTERS). About time after all the REST.

spacecraft 11:58 AM  

I dunno, guys, I'm really starting to worry. Is my brain burned out? This is the second day in a row for a BY FAR DNF. Here's my finished grid: the NW corner (go figure!) and a little section in the east wandering into the LANE/PODS/GIT area. That's all of it. That bar, TIGERSMILK? Ne. Vah. Heardofit. The theme? Absolutely beyond me. Had NO idea. And I know...it's not just something I missed--I could have wrestled with this for time without end and I'd never get it. I didn't even know whether that [totally unknown] work was MAOIST or TAOIST--and I had ALL BUT THE FIRST LETTER!

I do object to SCAD. There is never one SCAD. There are scads aplenty, but there is never one SCAD. That's absurd. Whether finished or not, I would always throw the flag on that one.

Thank God tomorrow's Monday.

AnonymousPVX 4:10 PM  

Seemed Friday tough to me and I really didn't care for the tough clueing.

A "meh" puzzle for me.

BS2 4:38 PM  


I’m INPLAY to EATAT ONEAFTERANOTHER married FEMALE’s home in town,
But IMANIDIOT if that SENORA’s a mother, it’s no good when there’s KIDSAROUND.


Phillip Blackerby 3:08 AM  

I started with BODYARMOR, which caused no end of problems. ROSTER came easy, but not tthe ACTIVE part. Got held up by the POESY/ROTUND cross. Several sux: SCAD (always plural), TNUT (not really a thing), HONER, SPORT-UTE. Figured out the theme answers, but not the theme.

Swagomatic 8:24 PM  

As a carpenter. Let me just say that I have NEVER used a t-nut.

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