Nickname for New York's Aqueduct Racetrack / TUE 1-5-16 / Reductive film trope for blonde / Little red animal in children's tale / Ancient dynastic ruler briefly

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Constructor: Jim Holland

Relative difficulty: Played way slower than normal for me ... not sure why

THEME: T- —familiar phrases have T- added to the front, creating low-grade wackiness:

Theme answers:
  • T-MOBILE HOME (16A: Major telecom's corporate headquarters?)
  • T-SQUARE ROOTS (26A: Early history of a drafting tool?)
  • T-BALL BEARING (42A: Demeanor during a kid's outdoor game?)
  • T-TOP BILLING (56A: Sending of invoices for removable car roofs?)
Word of the Day: EIGER (61A: Treacherous peak in the Alps) —
The Eiger is a 3,970-metre (13,020 ft) mountain of the Bernese Alps, overlooking Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland, just north of the main watershed and border with Valais. It is the easternmost peak of a ridge crest that extends across the Mönch to the Jungfrau at 4,158 m (13,642 ft), constituting one of the most emblematic sights of the Swiss Alps. While the northern side of the mountain rises more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, the southern side faces the large glaciers of the Jungfrau-Aletsch area, the most glaciated region in the Alps. The most notable feature of the Eiger is its 1,800-metre-high (5,900 ft) north face of rock and ice, named Eigerwand or Nordwand, which is the biggest north face in the Alps. This huge face towers the resort of Kleine Scheidegg at its base, on the homonymous pass connecting the two valleys. (wikipedia)
• • •

I guess this is the conclusion to yesterday's absurd PF puzzle. That is, it puts the "T" in PFFT.  I barely noticed the theme, which is probably good, because I don't think it's much worth noticing. It's slight, and it's thin. Where is the T-BONE CHINA or the T-CELL BLOCK or the T-REX RYAN or T-ZONE DEFENSE or T-PAIN AU CHOCOLAT (15!) etc.? If you're gonna go with a weak concept like this, you should go for greater theme density, and certainly go for much cleverer, much funnier clues. These didn't land At All. The most literal wackiness I've ever seen. Cluing is really, really, really important to puzzle enjoyment, and it can be the difference between a theme that works and theme that doesn't. It was like no one was really trying with these theme clues. This might've worked with a denser theme and with more Wednesday-difficulty theme cluing, something less painfully straightforward than what we get here.

Outside of ALLEGORY and LAST LEG and GOOD TO GO, there wasn't a lot of zip to this one. Cluing also seemed off in places. The [Room often next to a bedroom] is a bathroom. BATH is a shortening, "bedroom" is not, so, foul. BATH is informal real estate talk. BATH as a "room" slowed me down for sure, as did the "informally" in the lame LAME clue (2D: Not cool, informally). "Cool" is *already* informal. LAME parallels it perfectly. Why on earth do you add "informally" there? And who chooses BIG A (!?!?!) (52D: Nickname for New York's Aqueduct Racetrack) over RIGA. World capital beats "nickname" for some racetrack any day. Any. Day. AIRTO is an early contender for worst partial of the year. BIMBO isn't really redeemed by the semi-self-aware clue (43D: Reductive film trope for a blonde). MISNAME is what the person who chose "Y'all Qaeda" to describe those buffoonish Oregon terrorists did. "Y'all" is southern, not western. Obviously the superior name is "Vanilla ISIS." The angry white people with guns and a poor understanding of the Constitution are Vanilla ISIS. So much apter. The most humiliating thing I did while solving this puzzle was enter HUGH at 38D: Grant for moviemaking? And this after watching "His Girl Friday" (one of my favorite movies) Just Last Night. Ugh. I'm sorry, CARY.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

Slightly tougher than medium for me too. Minor spelling erasures was about it. Thought the theme was cute, liked it better than Rex did.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Axrually spinach is not particularly rich in IRON - that's an ancient urban myth.

Anonanon 12:55 AM  

Spinach is rich in iron, just not the type your body can absorb (easily). Besides, I don't trust any source from Austria.

Evan Jordan 2:00 AM  

Learned SABOT is a Dutch show. That was cool. "Clog" was the only Dutch shoe in my awareness until now.

Diana, LIW 3:26 AM  

Diana, LIW

Yeah - there's a reason why we all watched The Thin Man the other night (vs. about 700 other options).

Now we get His Girl Friday.



Snuff sed.

Diana, Lady in Waiting for Crosswords

Loren Muse Smith 4:46 AM  

I guess Jim T'd us all up to make the T Rex Parker joke, huh?

I agree that the themers evoke any LOLs, but they didn't make me angry, either. Rex – good call on T Bone China. I guess you could call some car washes T Bird BATHS.

In the car home from NC, I accidentally pronounced KOBE like the city in Japan. My son and husband were relentless. Sheesh. Last time I was teased so bad was when I asked a student if it was "musket-loading" season.

Speaking of muzzle-loading – "Type who might say 'the dog ate my homework'":

Newfie owner (My beloved Beverly Ann once ate most of my copy of Anna Karenina. Mercifully)
Wire-haired Dachshund owner (I knew one who ate an entire case of Moon Pies one afternoon)
"EIGER" owner (Black Lab who would eat any paper towel he could get ahold of)

Kept wanting REEDs for NILE. And then there it is up in REEDITS.

I also really resisted NBA STAR because of "star" in the clue for EGOS. I think either that isn't really a rule, or I'm just misunderstanding it.

Anyway... pretty much what @jae said.

Okie dokie… I'M OUT.

Charles Flaster 5:12 AM  

Thought it was easier than Rex and theme was decent but agree there were others to select from.
The BIG A brings back great college memories-- spent many an afternoon at the track after morning classes. Once I went to work this frivolity ceased very quickly. I think there is a mall there now.
CrosswordEASE-- CODA and INEZ.
ADEN makes a return appearance.
Thanks JH

Gregory Nuttle 5:57 AM  

That EIGER/BIGA cross was brutal for me. I never did parse Big A until visiting this here blog.

Brett Hendrickson 6:15 AM  

The cross of Eiger and Big A was pretty hard for a Tuesday.

George Barany 6:35 AM  

I started @Jim Holland's puzzle late last night, quickly figured out what was going on, got bored, put it on pause, and finished it first thing this morning. Total time on the clock, 9 minutes, which is pretty average for me, mid-week.

Thank you to @Rex for the review, which was both insightful and entertaining. Lovely point about PFFT, although for full consistency, maybe FT should have preceded each word, like FTDIXIECHICKS or FTORDINARYPEOPLE? I also cringed at BIMBO, and wonder whether it would have been fair to cross-reference NBASTAR with EGOS.

Thank you to @Jim, @Will, and/or @Joel for reminding us of the greatness of CARY Grant, for a timely reference to the transformational Broadway show "Hamilton," and for the optimistic editorial stance in the clue for 1-Across.

elitza 7:23 AM  

But, but, a Hamilton clue!

Z 7:39 AM  

Another G-Spot day. What IS the deal, Mr. Shortz. New Rule Don't know what consonant to use, pick G. @Gregory Nuttle - How long did you consider BI GA?

I suppose this puzzle had to appear on T-Uesday.

@Charles Flaster from yesterday - No worrries. In my little list of crossworld jargon "ese" is short while things I only know from having done crosswords are "LFC." Sometimes, like Europe's rivers, they are both. I've never seen a Judd Apatow movie, but I've seen him on talk shows and I think his movies tend to be fairly popular with the demographic between my sons and me.

A non-Austrian article on spinach and iron. Personally, I much prefer raw spinach. It's also good to cook in cast iron pots and pans if you need more iron in your diet.

GILL I. 7:46 AM  

I enjoy trying to figure out how @Rex might rate or (better yet) comment on any puzzle. Before I cottoned on to this here blog, I probably would have said this was a fun Tuesday puzzle. I liked the T idea because I've never seen it before. I also would have screamed bloody murder if I had to figure out T-PAIN AU CHOCOLAT...Now, however, I'm getting a tad more persnickety and demanding to know why OCS has anything to do with where future mil are trained.
BIMBO is a bread in my little corner of the world and why in the world did I think an EI(D)ER was a treacherous peak?...because I've never heard of BIGA?
I always get mixed up with LIAR and LUST. Aren't they both sins?
This was a Tuesday that had very little STINK in my little BATH of this world.

chefbea 8:30 AM  

Dissagree with Rex. Thought it was a great puzzle with all the T's. Got Cary Grant right away.
Love spinach!!

Hungry Mother 8:34 AM  

I sometimes stumble a bit on Tuesdays, but not today. EZ.

Numinous 8:39 AM  

I found this one much easier than @Rex. I thought the theme was sorta LAME but in a sorta cute way. I had ell before ARM which slowed me a little. When I realized it was wrong, I left it and went back and fixed it later. I read some of Don Juan just recently, like, in the past year, so INEZ just popped right into my head.

Better Late Than Never Dpt.: Thanks, Miss Annabel Breath-of-Fresh-Air for your lovely write-up yesterday, even if I don't agree with you about Family Guy and . Glad you're feeling better.

archaeoprof 8:41 AM  

"Monday, Monday" sang the Mamas and the Papas, "can't trust that day." But in CrossWorld, it's Tuesday you can't trust.
@Tita: thanks for your note yesterday. I've been hanging around, just didn't have much to say.

Ludyjynn 8:42 AM  

Rex, CARY Grant is my favorite movie icon. No one else comes close. Ironically, early in Hugh Grant's career, many film critics opined he was "the next Cary Grant." So you made an honest mistake.

The dog did not eat my homework, but...many moons ago, when I had just moved to MD to accept a high school teaching gig, I lived in a sparsely furnished APT. with a stray cat named KC. One day, I placed all of my students' term projects/journals in a large cardboard box on the dining room floor. To my horror, when I went to grade them, I discovered that KC had peed all over them! What was I to do? After the interminable wait for them to dry, I sprayed Lysol all over them and waited for them to dry again. Students began to ask when they'd get back their papers and I kept stalling. Finally, as I passed back their wrinkled, crinkly, smeared work to them, they looked aghast as I came clean and explained what had happened. They did not call me a LIAR, but laughed uproariously. Most of them disposed of their papers on the way out of class that day. KC lived to the ripe old age of 18. I never left anything on the floor again in all those years. She was one of a kind.

Writeovers: briefly had 'LA Laker' for NBA STAR, 'j'abot for SABOT and 'Thor' for TROY. Easily remedied.

First we saw "I FOLD"; now, IM OUT. Puts me in the mood for poker.

GAMUT; don't you love the sound of the word?

Thanks, JH and WS. I am now GOOD TO GO for the day.

Roo Monster 9:02 AM  

Hey All !
This fell into Easy for me. Went at it like a normal TuesPuz, that is, start slowly and proceed slowly, as Tuesdays are generally easy and I don't want to finish too fast. (What? all the solvers who go for speed gasped collectively!) Finished without one single writeover and zero mistakes. So must've been easy! Almost had my one letter DNF, but guessed correctly at the Natick CODA/COSI. Played Whack-A-Vowel and decided the O sounded the best.

The T(whatever) theme seemed decent to me. Fine for Tuesday. Light on dreck (BIGA, looking at you). No prob with partial AIR TO, though Ground to AIR is more common. Got yer OMIT and EMIT. Some nice words in here, ALLEGORY, THICKET, ROUST, HOOT.

So puz was GOOD TO GO, didn't LOL, but also didn't TUT. Didn't STINK, wasn't LAME. Ran the GAMUT from BIG A to INEZ!


Mohair Sam 9:02 AM  

That rare day when we found the puzzle much easier than OFL. I think if we were speed solvers we might have set our record today. Only hesitation was my misreading of Marital as Martial for a few seconds.

@LMS - So you posted at 4:46 in the ayem just to beat us all to the T-Rex Parker comment. Nice work, now get some sleep.

@Rex - "And who chooses BIG A (!?!?!) over RIGA?" A New York City newspaper, that's who. Most of us born within advertising range of Queens had the term "The Big A" burned into our brains at least a decade before we ever heard of Riga. And Hugh before CARY? For shame. You should be V-Chipped from TMC for a month.

Chuck McGregor 9:12 AM  

@LMS: LOL -- Simply coffee-snorting canine tales!! (Indeed, homonymic pun intended)

Oh! Martial ___. I know that! ARTS! Goes to grid. Oops. Squints at clue. Oh! Mar-i-tal___.

I have often used a T-SQUARE and often use SQUARE ROOTS. I used to do QC on BALL BEARING assemblies for Terrier missiles, which were SAMs, That means they headed in the opposite direction as 60a’s ASMs.

I have a slight issue with 31a. While it may be true for Hollywood types (have only met a couple-two-three), my experience with TOP BILLING “stars” in general has been different. For some reason I have always been bumping into famous people since an early age (I have a long list!). With very rare exceptions, they were among the nicer people I’ve chanced to meet and they were always glad to be treated as just “regular” people. It has been clear to me that trying to stroke their EGOS would have turned them off.

Just one example: Standing on stage during the morning set-up for a John Denver concert at a summer music pavilion, this guy walks on stage greets a few of the other people, sees me, and with a big friendly smile walks over, extends his hand, and shaking mine, warmly says, “Hi, I’m John Denver.” “I’m Chuck McGregor. Nice to meet you.” (I really wanted to say, “No s**t Sherlock, where’s your squad car?”) We had a short, “normal” chat (nice weather, cool venue, should be a fun concert, …) as if we were two guys who, say, just met while getting coffees at an office. We shook hands again and both went about our business(es?).

I’ve lived both in (couple of years – 43rd & 11th) and around NYC most of my life. I know the BIG A. I know of the EIGER (literally and “The EIGER Sanction” for starters). So why was I “comfortable” with BId-A (short or long “i?”) and a duck (that I often see here) as a “treacherous peak?” The NYT is telling me my perfect fill is less than so. Finally I do a puzzle check and just that “D” is wrong. EMITS a “D” for DUH!!

SENSE ALLEGORY (I read what you wrote there)

SNIPE AT NBA STAR (Of course, if he’s on the opposing team or doing a lousy job for yours)

ROUST EGOS (Fawn over Hollywood stars)

EGOS CAM (Hollywood stars as seen on TMZ)

MISNAME ITSY (Shoulda been Bitsy. Had a cat named Itsy-Bitsy – “Bitsy” or “The Bits” for short)

And the really lame:

OMIT SABOT (Go barefoot in Holland)

SABOT CODA (They’re finally going out of style)

Coining a new metric: my completion time (with the one cheat) averaged 12.9 seconds per clue.

I liked the puzzle (a bit of a HOOT, as it were) with some of its challenges. The theme? My mind GLAZEd over it like what @(T-)Rex said.


Charles Flaster 9:13 AM  

Thanks. Forgot to mention that I would include ETUI in today's EASE.

cwf 9:17 AM  

Felt stale, musty, LAME. Here are some words that rhyme with Cory.

Love @Rex's abuse of capitalization and punctuation for comedic affect. Also "Vanilla ISIS" == lol.

Chuck McGregor 9:39 AM  

Missed one:

[In the previous episode:
OMIT SABOT (Go barefoot in Holland)
SABOT CODA (They’re finally going out of style)]

OMIT SABOT CODA (They're coming back in style)


Anonymous 9:41 AM  

First comment, but not even about the crossword -

We watched His Girl Friday last night too. Usually we've passed out weeknights, so unusual for us. Cary Grant is fabulous. Not exactly a nice guy in the movie, but so debonair!

Nancy 9:55 AM  

Thought this was nifty for a Tuesday and wish all Tuesdays put up this much resistance. And I thought the theme was cute. Very cute, in fact. @GILL -- When you like a puzzle, don't come here, read Rex, and then decide you were wrong. Come here, read Rex, and then decide REX is wrong. Your first impression was correct: this IS a fun puzzle.

@lms -- Your T REX comment was very funny.

Tita 10:06 AM  

BIGA/EIGER was almost BIdA/EIdER. And I drive by it every time I go into the city. At the last moment, I realized it was not a 4 letter word and remembered hearing it called the Big A.
Now, I am all for NYT crosswords being parochial, because, well, because NY. BUt this 'twasnt Tuesday fare.

Anyhow, liked it. Liked clue for ITSY, hated MISNAME, loved Rex's example.
Thought SABOT is the French wooden shoe. TBIRDBATH!
@ludy...hilarious story.
@nancy and ACPT, I'll regale you with dogs-eating-things-they-shouldn't stories. Though not over dinner.

Thanks, Mr. Holland. (Hmmm...I guess you oughta know what a Dutch shoe is called.)

kozmikvoid 10:10 AM  

A few days ago someone here commented about the wordplay in cluing for the NYT. The commenter opined that the clues should be more straightforward as opposed to having to figure out how the clue should be interpreted. Well, ask and ye shall receive, and this is what you end up with. A boring, forgettable Tuesday. My guess is Rex struggled (and I assume "struggle" means longer than 4 minutes?) because of his barely noticing of the theme. Once I figured out what was going on (I couldn't agree more about the weakness of the theme clues), the puzzle was pretty much solved. Only pause was in the SE with the dreadful BIGA answer, but this was on the quicker side of Tuesday finishes for me.

Chuck McGregor 10:45 AM  

@kozmikvoid 10:10 AM noted:
"A few days ago...[a]...commenter opined that the clues should be more straightforward as opposed to having to figure out how the clue should be interpreted...." mean as in not understanding the word "puzzle?" The horror...

Bob Kerfuffle 10:49 AM  

I started this puzzle in something of a panic, having filled only the squares in the NW, which gave me 16 A starting with TMOB______. No way that can be part of any rational answer! Must be some kind of rebus! or scrambled letters! Heck, doesn't even work in reverse!

Didn't help that, skipping around the grid in my usual fashion, I had 42 A, "Demeanor during a kid's outdoor game?", as _ _ ALL _ _ _ _ _ _ _, and got hung up on the possibility of SMALL BALL PALL (disregarding that it didn't make sense, and also doesn't fit.)

Once the light dawned, thought it was a pretty good puzzle.

One w/o: 41 D, LAST LAP >> LAST LEG.

Z 10:53 AM  

@cwf - I learned a new word in this article" about #vanillaISIS. I must admit that the writer pretty much nailed my reaction as well. BTW - my new word is jamoke.

Nominees for Puzzle Constructor/Clue Writers: @Alias Z, @LMS, @Chuck McGregor, @M&A (?? clues only) We're all waiting on your collaboration to appear.

Hartley70 10:59 AM  

On the easy side for a Tuesday, surely, but I l was pleased with the theme. Yes, it was simple, but I've never seen it before so that bumps it way up the interest-o-meter for me! I didn't know SABOT or the BIGA but the crosses handed them over with no need for violence.

@Tita, I never knew I was passing the BIGA on a route to NYC. How are you getting there? I have horrible dog digestion stories too. Think a huge pot of homemade green Play-Doh made with cups of salt, happy ending included. Save me a seat please!

Lewis 11:13 AM  

I like column 6 with its three IAs in a row, and I like seeing those ROOTS under the THICKET. Never saw this theme before, so it has originality going for it. And answers that got my attention (in a good way) were PEKOE, GOODTOGO, GAMUT, LASTLY, and IMOUT. Not memorable, not boring, but enjoyable nonetheless. Truly, if I don't feel taken advantage of or bored by a puzzle, I almost always am grateful for it!

Joseph Michael 11:18 AM  

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who read the 1A clue as "martial." Could not figure out how to complete the phrase since "arts" didn't fit and was stumped for a moment by the concept of "martial bliss." Then I finally noticed my LAME mistake and all was right with the world.

Disagree completely with T-Rex about the puzzle. It was kind of a HOOT. Good theme well executed. Liked the fact that the T TOP themers work with and without the "T."

Andrew Heinegg 11:21 AM  

Well, I have begun to consider the idea that it might be more difficult to make an easy puzzle a good one than a tough to solve puzzle. With the easy puzzle, you are compelled to try to find words for answers that do not appear so frequently that they aggravate veteran solvers yet can be figured out by newbies. That issue gets magnified when you have a thematic easy puzzle, such as here. From my prospective, unless you are able to 'elevate' the puns enclosed in the theme to absolute groaners, it is not going to be puzzle worthy of note. I thought Mr. Holland made a pretty good stab at it but did not get there although I think he got closer than OFL thought.

Campesite 11:25 AM  

The cleverness of the clue on 31A "They're big among the STARS", is not worth the nbaSTAR dupe in the grid.

AliasZ 11:32 AM  

One entry is conspicuously missing today:

T-REX PARKER. Clue: "Valet directing dinosaur traffic on the back lot of Ye Olde Bedrock Theatre". Forget Rex Ryan. Rex Parker is way more relevant.

Spinach is way down at the bottom of the list of IRON-rich foods. Popeye ate spinach for its vitamin A content, not for the IRON.

You've got a lot of legs to go through until you get to the LAST LEG of a millipede. How do you count quickly the number of millipedes in your holding pen? Count their legs and divide by 1000.

Once a friend suggested that I visit a sex therapist, so I walked into a place with a sign above the door: "Marital Arts." I saw a large group of barefoot people dressed in white, performing strange rituals with chopping arm motions and leg kicks. I never figured out how that would enhance my marital BLISS.

Just for that, let's listen to the Coronation scene from Boris GOODTOGO.

Happy T-uesday, y'all.

Ellen S 11:41 AM  

I don't have high expectations for Tuesdays and this one met them and more (or less), as I started out just putting in answer after answer. I liked it a lot better once I hit the first themer.

@Ludy - great cat story. Good for a Tuesday, as anyone who owns a cat probably has a similar tail to tell. One set of cats I lived with used to pee in the central heating return grate, so the odor would be wafted throughout the house. Knitting basket was another favorite spot. But really nothing beats "The cat peed on your homework."

mac 11:43 AM  

Nice little Tuesday, with a sprinkling of -ese and some pretty words.

But, Mr. Holland, in Dutch a shoe is een schoen, a wooden shoe een klomp, and the French word for klomp is sabot.

Molson 12:15 PM  

"Obviously the superior name is "Vanilla ISIS."

Absolutely agree 100%.

Tita 12:20 PM  

@Hartley...Haha...I was just stopping in to mention that I am confusing my NY raceways...I was thinking of Yonkers Raceway, which you pass on the Cross County. Oh well, it still helped me to dust off BIGA. Certainly, that would be an odd route to take from New Rochelle or CT!

As to the dog stories, bring 'em on! Will you be there? And how about Westport tournament...I will definitely be there!'s an easy train ride from the BIGApple, and way lower key than Lolla...

cwf 12:30 PM  

@Z I love it! But I fear you have now condemned us all to eventually seeing this:

1. A clumsy loser who is incapable of doing normal human tasks.

Wednesday's Child 12:50 PM  

Have you read the GOODTOGO BIMBO BIO? Nor have I.

Carola 12:51 PM  

I laughed at the puzzle's finding a home for PFFT's dangling T and thought the theme idea was clever. Agree with @Rex, though, that the execution fell a little flat. I liked the rather poetic look at nature in the LEAS + THICKETS line and the cross of ACHE with PINED (the tree portion of which could be in the THICKET).

I had the most trouble with 1A: I could only think of "property" or "discord" and needed 4 of the 5 crosses to see BLISS. Hm.

old timer 1:16 PM  

I highly agree with OFL today. The puzzle was second-rate, with a bad choice of fill. A boring experience for me.

But I dd like the EIGER clue. Back when our kids were home, we took them to Europe and the favorite part of the trip was a couple of nights at a hotel on Lake Thun. The day after we arrived, we went to Interlaken, and took the train to Murren, and took the next train back to Lauterbrunnen, thence up to Kleine Scheidegg. We had a picnic among the wildflowers, staring at the Eiger, and watching the occasional avalanche. One of the most beautiful afternoons of my life. I highly recommend a visit.

Say, isn't LAME the capital of someplace?

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

An average Tuesday for me, time-wise, and I had fun with the theme. I was impressed with how many additional themers @Rex came up with and it is too bad some of them weren't chosen instead, though I found the ones in the grid relatively amusing. I'll second @Gill I at being glad T-PAIN AU CHOCOLAT was not one of them.

I had one writeover where I briefly had Grout for GLAZE (I was a bit ahead of myself on the tiling project) and I had to blush in embarrassment when I saw @elitza's reference to the Hamilton clue. I went back to the puzzle wondering where it was - ah, 13A. I quit reading that clue at ''major role' and with Burr, I was thinking of Raymond Burr. When AARON became apparent, my brain said "That sounds vaguely familiar" and continued on. Oops! Especially when you consider how much publicity that production has been given, it should have been a no-brainer, which it obviously was for me!

Anyway, thanks for a fun Tuesday, Jim Holland.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 1:58 PM  

@muse -- Primo dog stories. How is rat-poison-eatindog doin? I wanna say his name was TuckerEverlastin, but that may have just been the nickname I made up to try to remember his real name. But, anyhoo I digress.

T-thing phrases. Cute. Not as ambitious as PFFT-thing phrases, but let's get real, people. Since Jim Holland is pretty new, let's just review the T-Rex of Queensbury Rules of Constructioneerin:

* Avoid thin themes. Always have around six or seven themers, to be on the safe side. (Latest runtpuz had 11 themers, but that was a Thinness Emergency situation.).
* No pewits.
* Always have real solid fill. Cut number of themers down to four or three, if necessary, to insure sparklin pristine fill. Strong T-Rex exemplary puz rows: SURANABELARD. ATEATABOVOCAL.
* Consider 007 to be yer minimum U-count. Pare number of themers down to one or two, to achieve this, where necessary.
* Write interestin clues. Example: COSI = {Agree, along with another cocky Spaniard??}. Note that most of yer clues, epecially the double-?? ones, will get rewritten. (yo, @Z)
* Have real edgy, seldom seen words and phrases, like HOGCALLS. Dare to appear desperate, yet modernistic. Examples: VICTROLA.

M&A Help Desk.

Rabi Abonour 2:55 PM  

I thought this theme was perfectly cute. I'd need more on a Sunday, but this is totally acceptable on Tuesday. Less acceptable is that EIGER/BIG A crossing. I live in NYC and had no idea that the Aqueduct is called that. RIGA/RIO would have been an improvement.

Hamilton is amazing so I love that they shouted it out, but I feel like they could have done a more subtle job of getting it in there - ____ Burr is plenty on its own. I would have preferred something like "Alexander's foe in Hamilton'," but perhaps that's a little tough for a Tuesday?

Magpie 2:57 PM  

I guess no one bakes bread. Biga is a kind of starter: - would have been a better clue.

SchuylerSister 3:41 PM  

Poor old Aaron Burr. Once a VP of these United States, now simply a role in Hamilton.

AElle54 5:11 PM  

I just finished Sunday's puzzle and I just had to say, what a great puzzle! So interesting, fun and not too easy!

kitshef 5:53 PM  

Maybe because I'm still relatively new to daily Times puzzle solving, but I liked it. Felt fun and interesting, rather than lame or stale. Or maybe yesterday's sunny review by Annabel is still influencing my mood.

EIGER-INEZ-BIGA was unfair for a Tuesday, and I don't think SABOT belongs anywhere but Saturday, but the rest was, not BLISS, nor RAY of sunshine, but at least AIRy.

Oh, and BATH is fine by me for a room name.

beatrice 6:00 PM  

Another dog ate story or two - 1. Years ago my Cockapoo ate a fair portion of my complete SCORE of 'Messiah', on the day of rehearsal (of course). 2. Later he consumed an entire box of Valentine truffles, (OMITting the two or three already eaten) - he was fine.

Here are a couple of pieces which were named for syllables of the GAMUT, a not uncommon practice at one time.

Phaedrus 6:37 PM  

Vanilla ISIS literally made me laugh out loud. Hilarious!

Chuck McGregor 6:49 PM  

@cwf 12:30 PM

JAMOKE: A clumsy loser who is incapable of doing normal human tasks."

Come now. These guys (so far) have quite capably taken over a wildlife the middle of protest the "taking of the people's land and resources" (oh you mean that PUBLIC wildlife refuge? I don't get it either) the dead of winter....with (allegedly) thoughts of being martyrs.... did say "normal" human tasks. My bad.

Emily 8:31 PM  

This was slightly below average Tuesday time for me, but I can't forgive the dad-joke hokiness.

Warren Howie Hughes 9:18 PM  

"Heyyyy, SABOT!"

Unknown 10:40 PM  

Surely I can't be the only one to see the cross of eiger (ogre) and ogre?!

Anonymous 11:27 PM  

Chuck McGregor Note the name of the place Malheur, ie bad hour in literal, translation, catastrophe, disaster, trial or other arduous event in figurative translation. Good choice on the Jamoke's part.

John Hoffman 10:13 PM  

I'm late to the game this week, but I'll say that this was an excellent Tuesday puzzle for me. Agreed that the Eiger/Biga cross was bad construction.

rain forest 8:10 PM  

Wha' happened? Argh, or words to that effect.

I posted a comment yesterday which DID NOT APPEAR. I don't know if I did something goofy (possible), or if it got moderated out (highly irregular, I think).

The gist was that I don't have time to do the puzzle today, and so I explained that I had brought my poem, my bottle of Zinfandel, some beautiful canapes of bacon-wrapped scallops, and a tasteful noisemaker to the party for Burma Shave...yesterday. Since my comment disappeared, I offer those items today, and must celebrate in absentia--but I hope all you lovely people enjoy it all.

Way to go @Burma, and thank you @Ladi Di for rousing the troops to participate in this tribute.

Burma Shave (an ode. Possibly an epode.)

Each day as my coffee I guzzle
I’m girding my loins for the puzzle.
Spacey, Rondo, and Di
I sometimes defy,
But Sir BS, I never will muzzle.

‘Cuz his poems are always effectual,
Whether spoken, but mostly just textual.
His verses affirm
All the puzzling terms
In a way that is blatantly sexual.

Sometimes I do think he’s a knave,
And to sordid exploits he’s a slave,
But right here I submit
That I have to admit
Each day I just love Burma Shave.

Burma Shave 8:46 AM  


ALERT: I can’t QUIT hunting SNIPEAT night
my LUST for that LIL IMBO MELTS her on sight
and her LASTLEG ACHEs with BLISS when I lick it.


BS2 9:49 AM  

An anniversary typo - of course it was meant to be BIMBO.

Thanks @rainy for the triple limerick.

rondo 10:20 AM  

@D,LIW – thanks for organizing the syndies and others who may show up.
This can’t keep up with @rainforest, but here it is:

It Could Be Verse

We’ve had a year of verse from Burma Shave,
A verse a day (or more) is what he gave
On this forum by Rex
He’ll post innuendo of sex,
I hope he doesn’t learn to behave.

As for today it is not Tshirtweather in MN. Some PEKOE in a Tcup would be about right, then I’m GOODTOGO. This puz was no HOOT, but OK for Tuesday.

No question on MARG as the yeah baby today. We go all the way back to China Beach. No BIMBO she.

Sorry, I didn’t even bring chips, but the party isn’t over YET. I RON? IMOUT for the day.

spacecraft 11:15 AM  

Words beware! The letters are taking over! OMG! TNT! LOL! How long will it be till we're all talking in initials and acronyms? Today we actually have a THEME based on single-letter nonsense. NOT my cuppa PEKOE. And on (T-)TOP of it an item that has already become tired, so often does it appear. Come to think of it, I've never even seen a car with one of those. What the hell does the T- stand for, anyway? Tear along dotted line?

You might guess, this offering is NOT going to get the BIGA from me. despite some cool longer fill (GOODTOGO, ALLEGORY), this one should have been REEDITed, IMHO. SNIPEAT, really? SILTY?? As CARY said: "Get out." D-. TTYL.

leftcoastTAM 1:18 PM  

Tuesday easy theme and fill. SABOT an outlier. Writeovers: ROUST over ROUSe and LASTLEG over LASTLap.

@Burma Shave, congratulations again. I've been an amused and impressed fan all year.

BS2 1:53 PM  


I took a BATH with MISNAME
you have SOME SENSE of what I saw.
TUT, TUT, my EGO’S not LAME,
I was GOODTOGO in the foam,
I found my TBALLBEARING in that SPA.


Diana,LIW 2:59 PM  

Just dandy for a Tuesday. What else would they call the AAAAqueduct in the Big A? And when she told him she worked in the morning, he didn't crawl off to sleep in the BATHroom. Rouse before ROUST, my only writeover. Today, I was ALERT.

On to the Pahtee...

I think that I shall never see
An eppe, tho I’ve seen etuis
A Dollar Store is where they were
To hold your phone is what they’re fer

And every day
I see an ode
To a puz we solve
When we get the code

Some fake their way
Thru an alibi
I could not
Wouldn’t even try

But to our bard
We give a cheer
He BS’d thru
An entire year

Congratulations to your success!

@Rainy - wondered where you were yesterday. Oh, these scallops are delish. And the noisemakers are GOODTOGO.

Now for some party chit chat. I've already mentioned Lambo, the cat who ate a sofa. My other cat, Quincy, gets pica when he experiences separation anxiety. (Any time he's not attached to me.) Then he eats paper. I have, true fact, given back students' papers and had to explain, "the cat ate your paper" as they gaze at the bite marks in the corners.

Better be going. Now where's that glass slipper?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 8:16 PM  

After looking at this RP's review again, I have to say, "Aw, c'mon Rex, this is a Tuesday, after all".

Diana,LIW 9:21 PM  

Parting comments for this party. (yum - who brought the crab dip? yes!)

As for big egos and stars - I too thot this was a bad clue/answer. I've met a lotta "famous" folks, and they tend to be the most modest or like the folks next door.

Case in point. Mr. Waiting was talking with our neighbor today. This week is the AT&T Pro-Am golf tourn in Pebble Beach - lotsa pros and celebs. Neighbor has had several dinners with Bill Murray because BM's caddie is a local guy that Neighbor knows. At a party held at Caddies's house for one of Caddie's family, there was the usual "take a photo of these two, those two, all of us" etc. After a few minutes Bill M. piped in, "can I get in the picture?"

And...apparently altho he could easily stay at the Lodge at Pebble Beach for the tournament, he stays at a small PB motel. Don't think he's just saving $


Teedmn 10:02 PM  

Sorry I'm so late to the party. Congrats, Burma Shave, on a fine run of poesy, whether clean or not (and sometimes two in one day!)

I brought my box of Almaden Chardonnay, not because I'm cheap but because I consume in quantity. And some dark molasses ginger cookies I've been craving lately. Dig in, everybody.

Thanks, Diana, LIW, for organizing the fête. See you all again tomorrow, even if I don't chime in often.

Burma Shave 10:05 PM  

Thanks to any and all who read and/or post and have had any enjoyment or interest on this thing that I have done, and hope to continue to do, regarding xword puzzling and the possibilities that exist when confronted with limited words to use as fodder for a verse or two. I didn't think I'd make a year.

It might actually be harder to try a verse a day if all the words in our vocabulary were available. That leaves nothing (or everything) to try to connect. The imposed limit is an induced challenge and is often cause for concentration that might not otherwise occur. Maybe it's my own self-medication to prevent dementia, from which my elderly mother suffers.

Sure, some (maybe most) of the verse might be classified as prurient, but I think most of us have been in those places that I try to create at some point, or at least "get it", and I hope it helps us to remain there, even if not exactly the way it was. But I keep trying. I hope we all do.

Just in case you want to know, I DO solve the puzzle every day (more than 99% successfully, BTW) and don't just scan the solve to do this thing. I post before reading any comments, so it won't be tainted. You can’t imagine how I appreciate all of you who solve and post here. I can't name you all without missing someone, but you know who you are.

Thanks to OFL "Rex Parker" without whom this is not possible. Maybe I'll send in a substantial contribution, with a personal verse. Thank you Michael.

Diana,LIW 10:11 PM  


Could be verse

Still laffin;


Tita 12:06 AM  

Felicitations, Mr. Shave, and many thanks.

I've brought some savory madeleines, redolent with rosemary and parmesano reggiano.
And some cider that I've let turn to applejack.

I'm a much better cook than a poet, so I'll leave it at that. Hats off to the creative (and brave) folks who offered their odes.

Erin 2:19 AM  

That one was tougher for a Tuesday, but more enjoyable! I struggled with "snipe at" for some reason. The theme was fun :)

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