Cheap 1980s car imports / TUE 2-2-16 / Genius's head / Paul 1993 World Series MVP / 1960s Angela Davis do

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (significantly slower than normal) (4:08)

THEME: sky horizon sea ... stuffHORIZON is in the middle and then above the HORIZON is a FLOCK OF BIRDS and a PLANE in the SKY and below is a SCHOOL OF FISH and some CORAL in the SEA

Word of the Day: YUGOS (8D: Cheap 1980s car imports) —
The Zastava Koral (Serbian Cyrillic: Застава Корал, pronounced [ˈzâːstaʋa ˈkǒraːl]), also known as the Yugo (pronounced [ˈjûɡo]), is a supermini built by the Yugoslav/Serbian Zastava corporation. It was designed in Italy under the name Fiat 144 as a variant of the Fiat 127. The first Yugo 45 was handmade on 2 October 1978 as a Fiat 127, under license from Fiat, with a modified body style. The Zastava Koral was sold with an updated design, priced at about 350,000 dinars (3,500 euros; 4,300 U.S. dollars), until 11 November 2008, when production stopped with a final number of 794,428 cars. The Yugo entered the United States by means of Malcolm Bricklin, who wanted to introduce a simple, low-cost car to that market. In total, 141,651 cars were sold in the United States from 1985 to 1992, with the most American units sold in a year peaking at 48,812 in 1987. Sales in 1992 were only 1,412 cars. Like the Lada, they were a common sight on the urban landscape in the cities and towns of Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the late 1990s. The Yugo is still a common sight in Serbia; however, they are very rare in other ex-Yugoslav republics, particularly in Slovenia and Croatia. (wikipedia)
• • •

Short write-up today because I got sucked into watching election coverage (stupid stupid stupid why why why) and now I'm tired. Also, what to say about this puzzle? Well, it was much slower-going than normal for me (anything over 4 minutes is slow for me on Tuesdays). I attribute this to many things. First, the cross-referencing bonanza, starting at 1-Across and continuing throughout all the theme answers. There's nothing in the cluing that indicates directly what any of the theme answers are, so you have to get answers via crosses and then proceed by inference. Both SKY and SEA are clued via [Blue expanse]. I went with SEA up top, setting up the first of many erasures (see also FLOCK OF GEESE). So there was that. Then there was SOFT G (ironically, hard), and TMC (which ... ugh, The Movie Channel? Really? No one watches that, least of all "cinephiles") and wide open NE / SW corners and MACH who-knows-what and who-knows-what-TEST and a "Happy Days" quote not clued as a "Happy Days" quote but clued instead if it is actual viable non-dated slang ("SIT ON IT"). So, yeah, not Hard in an absolute sense. But slow going.

The theme doesn't actually make sense, as clued. See especially 57A: Group found below the 37-Across. I don't "find" anything "below the HORIZON." That's absurd. I can "find" things only above it, as I am a human being with human being-type eyeballs. "Hey, I found a SCHOOL OF FISH!" "Where!?" "Below the HORIZON!" "....?" "You know, near the CORAL?" ".............?" And CORAL? Talk about arbitrary? SHARK? WHALE? ARIEL? So many other things Under the Sea. I don't know. This seems pretty rough / loose. Fill is also weak throughout. I'll spare you the full list, but I WERE LA VIE, plural NYETS and YUGOS, and OMANI ORONO SSR etc etc all give you a good sense of the scope of the problem. "NO CUTS!" was pretty cool. The rest, I don't know. Just seemed ragged and off. Gotta go listen to Bernie talk now. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Happy 75th birthday to the man who bought "Night Shift" on Laser Disc in 1982 and thus changed my life forever.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:28 AM  

In other news from 1996 (which this puzzle seems to be from), Bob Dole won the Iowa Caucuses with 26% of the vote, followed by Pat Buchanan and Lamar Alexander.

jae 12:32 AM  

Tough Tues. for me too. I suspect I'm not the only one who tried Tcm and meow before TMC and CHEX. That plus SOFT G, MACH one, the cross referencing, and the WOE MOLITOR amped up the difficulty level. Or, what Rex said.

Clever, liked it more than Rex did.

kozmikvoid 12:38 AM  

Hooray for me. Less than a minute away from Rex, and it was done on the phone app. I'm guessing it is 100% attributable to my going with SKY first. I didn't even see NYETS or YUGOS; got them from the crosses. HST yesterday (again missing the Hunter Thompson clue), HTS today. Pretty unimpressive start to the week so far. Here's to hoping for the first themeless Wednesday of 2016.

aaron 1:20 AM  

What the hell is TMC? It's TCM. Turner Classic Movies. Look:

chefwen 1:29 AM  

Of course I had SEA in first which I had to change when eOOKS and aUGOS made absolutely no sense.

Had a mini crush on PAUL MOLITOR when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers, the cutie pie. I used to call him Precious Paulie. We had tickets right behind the Brewers dugout so I got to see him up close and personal. Sigh...

Messed up by not carefully reading the clue for 68A and just slapped down WERE a and had to change it to I WERE after things again were not working out.

Just whipped up my version of CHEX MIX this A.M., so that was fun. Husband leaves the empty container open on the kitchen island, I guess that's my cue.

Fun puzzle, liked it.

Unknown 2:35 AM  

Sometimes 78 words is worth a picture.

I thought this was a fun Tuesday puzzle with a cute theme. I wonder what other paintings or pictures could be depicted in crosswords? Perhaps Raphael's "School of Athens" with ARISTOTLE going down and PLATO going up. Perhaps "Persistence of Memory" with, in several places, the word WATCH starting across and then turning down. I'm not sure how to represent a Picasso, which is unfortunate. Cubism and crosswords (squarism?) seem a natural fit.

The most interesting feature is this puzzle was the HORIZON that extends across the middle row. It forces a lot of short answers in the NW and SE, but it also gives us those blocks in the NE and SW. I really like four 7-letter words in the SW: HIPSTER, TRACHEA, Amelia EARHART, and SIT ON IT.

There was something especially charming about the parallel of FLOCK OF BIRDS and SCHOOL OF FISH.

I sometimes eat CHEX mix while watching NETFLIX.

Chick COREA's "Now He Sings, Now He Sobs" is a great album. I haven't pulled it out in a few years. Let me find it...

OIL CAN will always remind me of Boyd.

I bet that the MOLITOR/ORONO crossing will trip up a few people (he said smugly, having known both answers).

Anonymous 3:50 AM  

Perhaps a flock of seagulls, BOBBLing in the water, in the near distance and from the right vantage point, can be said to be below the HORIZON. Flying FISH similarly? But otherwise OFL makes good and interesting point, IMO. The existence of a HORIZON seems to presuppose an above-the-surface field of vision. Lotsa Russian and/or Cold War stuff. Two hidden CORA's.

Loren Muse Smith 4:44 AM  

Rex – I totally accept the meaning of "found" here. Don't we use it as a loose synonym to "situated" or "located?"

What a treat to see a new kind of theme. I liked this. Off the L (still hadn't committed to "lav" or LOO), I was sure it'd be "cloud," but NETFLIXed that.

Toughest part was the TMC ("amc," anyone?), MOLITOR, EAGLET section.

I liked the periphery themers of EAGLET and EEL. And PONDS crossing the SCHOOL.

And look at those wide-open corners in the northeast and southwest. Two quadruple seven stacks. On a Tuesday. Cool.

I've been tasked with monitoring the lunch line now and keeping kids from cutting, so NO CUTS is timely. Thing is, I grew up calling it "breaking in line," so the CUT thing is one I'm learning to get my mouth around. I tell you, with a long line, someone jumping unfairly ahead can bring out the BRAWL in anyone.

Fresh, fun, fine Tuesday.

jack reeves 6:58 AM  

"find" means "encounter". If you were to ride a submersible down below the waves you would certainly encounter a school of fish.

Kevin 7:01 AM  

1996 seems too current for this puzzle! I got real stuck on the cross of MOLITOR (who?) and ORONO (where?) Probably standard fare for those more experienced than I am, but a pretty rough cross for a casual player looking for a good puzzle on a Tuesday.

crackblind 7:17 AM  

Seriously, TMC on this puzzle! I'd initially answered it as "TCM" because it was that obvious until I realized 32 Across had to be CHEX, instead of "meow," mix (side note, curse you BBC for pulling Doctor Who off of NETFLIX!!!). The only other option for 24 down was "AMC" which made TOILER impossible to get.

TMC for cinephile?!?!?!? C'mon! Next you're gonna clue "CINEMAX" without referencing skin!

Rex Parker 7:20 AM  

I see the lawyers are out in force on this one. Arguing that there are fish in the sea is a nice touch.

The next time a scuba diver refers to herself as "below the horizon," you'll let me know.

HORIZON is a perfectly natural point of reference for things in the SKY. It is not for things in the SEA. The SEA might form the HORIZON, but we never talk about what's "below" a HORIZON (except in the sense of "beyond"). Mines, for instance, are not "below the HORIZON"—they are underground.

I can "find" things above the HORIZON because I can use the HORIZON as a point of reference. No one ever used the HORIZON as a point of reference for CORAL. There's the HORIZON, there are the birds. There's the HORIZON, there is the PLANE. There's the HORIZON ... where is the damned CORAL?


Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Hand up for Tcm instead of TMC (23D). Agree on all points re: The Movie Channel. What then cost me time was thinking that 32A: __ Mix was (quite plausibly) MEOW instead of CHEX.

When will I ever (if at all) master the distinction between A-tests, N-tests, H-tests,...(39A)?

Below average time (sub-5) but by no means easy.

GILL I. 7:32 AM  

I'm not sure, but I probably do watch TMC even though I'm more of a TCM person and Paul cOLITOR and mHEX mix sound perfectly fine to my ears.
Well, as Tuesdays go, I found this here puzzle rather oldy moldy fun. Just look, we have Chick COREA who's only in his 70's. EARHART who is lost at SEA and my absolute favorite Edith Piaf and her La Vie en Rose.
Does PONDS still exist? My mom would slather that on her face every night. It was hard to find in Havana so when dad would take a little jaunt to Miami, he'd bring back jars of the stuff. I tried it but I hated the smell - especially on my pillow.
I rather enjoyed this concept and the images it conjured. Think of sitting on a beach somewhere, say Bali, and watching the sun go down. The BIRDS flying into the sunset and as the sun goes down over the HORIZON, the FISH and the EEL fishing around the CORAL in the Deep Blue SEA.

Rika 7:50 AM  

Paul Molitor was 1983 World Series MVP - NOT 1993.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

A female scuba diver would be below the HeRIZON. I think the theme cluing is problematic but doesn't rise to the level of absurdity. A HORIZON is a visual phenomena, and one generally doesn't see fish that are beneath the surface from above it. But I can imagine a scenario where I was pointing out a particular bird, say, that was flying near the surface in the near distance to a friend while we [avoids gendered pronoun] were on a high cliff next to the water's edge. "No," say I, "look *below* the HORIZON, you idiot." It's all about sight lines.

Doug Garr 8:11 AM  

I feel like an idiot. I got MOLITOR right after ILE and NETFLIX so I'm probably the only one who put in AMC for 23-down. Agree with all those who guessed TCM. Rex is right; no cinephile watches TMC. So TOILER was the last word I filled in. The theme of the puzzle I got with crosses.

Hungry Mother 8:13 AM  

Pretty easy, but a bother with the cross-referencing and green paint.

Generic Solver 8:22 AM  

@aaron 1:20 AM: It's "The Movie Channel", not "Turner Classic Movies". Just because Google doesn't give away the answer doesn't make it a bad answer, in fact in some ways that makes it a better answer.

chefbea 8:23 AM  

What a great puzzle. Loved it!!! Watch TMC all the time...want to see all the great old movies. Usually eat some edam while watching...or some chez mix.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Amateur pilot here. "Beyond the horizon" and "below the horizon" are both used when discussing radar. The Boeing E-3 Sentry (known as the AWACS) uses BTH (beyond-the-horizon) to detect ships at sea when the radar beam is directed below the horizon.

I've seen an AWACS land in el Paso TX. The disc on the top, known as a rotodome, is 30' in diameter, 6' at the center, and is 11' above the fuselage. It's a lot bigger in person!

Speaking of el Paso and airplanes, check out the NASA "Guppy" on the internet. One of them is based there and they fly it once every 3 months to keep it airworthy. The front opens on a hinge to load it. Very impressive design.

Loved the comment about lawyers. Immediately thought of "lawyering up." And agree with Rex about mines not being "under the horizon." Too true.


Hartley70 8:26 AM  

I found this quite a basic puzzle with no stumbling blocks because I knew ORONO, if not the baseball player. I'm not too worried about the literal interpretation of fish portrayed as below the horizon. Think of it as a painting in the primitive style, the Grandma Moses of crossword imagery. Viewed in that way, I found it a pretty little Tuesday picture. Now, may I please have a rebus?

Unknown 8:27 AM  

A very rare case where I thought this easier than @Rex. However my legit, no-cheat solving time was many times slower, but I don’t speed solve, so…..

RAPIDLY >> MACH TWO (Yes, that would be rapid)

“MACH” is not a “speed of sound” as is often assumed. For example, the “MACH Number” for a plane is its speed divided by the speed of sound at its altitude. If its speed matches the speed of sound at its altitude you get MACH 1. Thus, higher numbers simply mean “something” is travelling at a speed higher (super) than that of sound (sonic), whatever the latter’s speed is for wherever the object is. A MACH Number does not tell you the actual speed (like miles per hour) of anything. For the math-minded it is a dimensionless number.

While it’s easy to figure out a plane’s speed, the speed of sound is another matter. The Internet yields over a dozen different values/formulas for the speed of sound. This is a prime example of “it must be true. I saw it on the internet.” They are all stated as “fact,” however all are wrong except one. Note that some of those “facts” about the speed of sound are from seemingly reputable sources, i.e. college/university sites. This is straight-forward physics folks so why such “factual” diversity? Well, it’s simply typical for information I invariably find about sound and audio: a lot of junk science out there.

Not to be a Donnie Downer, but I have a story about 15a. I was at my high school girlfriend’s home one evening. Her grandmother was visiting and went to bed in a guest room off the living room. I decided to play the piano (don’t recall why). After a time she called to my girlfriend to ask me to play “La Vie en Rose,” her favorite song. I didn’t know it from the title but was relayed a few of the opening notes from her grandmother. Somehow I did know the song and managed to play it for her as my last song. The next morning I got a call that she had passed away during the night.

Amy 8:30 AM  

living near the ocean, i can tell you, this was a breeze for me, a sea breeze even. i look out every day and see the sky, the horizon and the ocean below. and yes, school of fish and coral are "found" in the sea, as in they are things that exist in the sea, and sometimes wash up on the beach or jump above the sea and show themselves, or are reeled in on rods. first time ever i had an easier time than rex. and probably the last time too. and a flock of gulls might have been more precise, but flock of birds works just fine as well.

Rex Parker 8:33 AM  

Jeez, commenters, two seconds on google...

Paul MOLITOR, MVP, 1993


Proud Mamma 8:44 AM  

Agreed. Surprised Rex didnt like it. Lived the theme!! Really clever. Not hard either, and I'm a slow poke.

Lobster11 8:53 AM  

I don't care what the lawyers say: I thought this was an unusually clever and fun puzzle for a Tuesday. Played easy for me, as I guessed the theme before filling in a single entry. Loved the multiple layers of symmetry -- PLANE/CORAL, SEA/SKY, FLOCKOFBIRDS/SCHOOLOFFISH -- with HORIZON exactly where it belonged. (Too bad it isn't a 15-letter word!) The one minor blemish was the appearance of the partner-less EEL "found" below the horizon.

kitshef 8:55 AM  

Liked it, especially the physical arrangement of the themers. Also thought it was easy, even for a Tuesday, in part because once you have a couple of themers the rest practically fill themselves in. SCHOOLOFFISH off the I, and HORIXON and SEA off nothing at all.

Agree with @Rex that Oh, shut up for SITONIT is poor, but really, was it going to be anything other than MACHTWO? MACHONE would be 'sonic' not 'supersonic', and MACHSIX or MACHTEN would be arbitrary. MACHTWO is a thing, and makes sense.

One overwrite, which I think I have done, oh, a million times before, kOREA before COREA. Every stinkin' time:(

RooMonster 9:16 AM  

Hey All !
Happy Groundhog Day! In case you haven't heard, Phil didn't see his shadow! Early Spring!

Well I thought this was a very cool puz! The HORIZON splitting the puz, with BIRDS in the SKY, and FISH in the SEA. Really wanted cloud for PLANE, but Downs uncooperative. Lav for LOO first, further throwing off the bizarre looking ___FTG, but then the ole brain wrapped itself around SOFT G. Know MOLITOR from when I was a young'un collecting baseball cards. One year (not sure which, 80,s) his card was very hard to find.

Liked the open 7's corners. Managed to get the S first, the little NW corner holding me up in the N. Relatively dreck free considering the restraints. Why the ORONO complainers, as seen that several times now in the NYTXW. KOOKS is kooky to see!

O MAN I liked it.

jberg 9:45 AM  

I knew ORONO -- standard crosswordese, but I knew it even before, being a New Englander and all. MOLITOR, not so much -- I had AMC and aaH, saw that aaILER couldn't be right, so changed the A to B -- bMC could be a real channel, for all I know, and baILERs certainly work in fields. Alas!

As for the HORIZON-- sure, usually when you say "below the horizon" you mean something like what happens to a ship as it sails away from shore. But if you think of, say, a painting, the sky is above, the sea below. PLANE and CORAL are actually clued as in the sky and sea, respectively, so it's only the birds and the fish that are at all problematic. They're fine with me, basically on the theory that this is a crossword and we all got it. But I can see the argument for greater elegance in the NYT.

Unknown 9:46 AM  

TMC is "The Movie Channel"

Bob Kerfuffle 9:51 AM  

OK for a Tuesday, I liked it overall, despite possible technical difficulties.

Hand up for 6 A, SEA >> SKY.

And I had circled the block with 23, 24, 25 Down: Possible alphabet soup for cable channels; "How delightful" - OOH, AAH, AHH, etc?; TOILER as a "Field worker"? - true, but how non-specific can you get?; and MOLITOR - may be correct and legit, but outside my field of knowledge.

Nancy 9:54 AM  

I sort of agree with Rex that the HORIZON is not a verbal term that's used when referring to the sea and the things that are in it. And I also agree with @Hartley that, when you think of this puzzle as a visual representation, HORIZON works. And I also don't really care. The grid of this puzzle was perfectly fine, but the cluing was so humdrum and obvious that this was a complete yawn for me.

Tita 10:00 AM  

Fun idea!
I have no problem with "finding" schools of fish below the horizon. Yeah, I know, in IOWA, the horizon does not incorporate any SEA, but since 3/4s of the earth's surface is. So take that, Ted Cruz.

Rex - are you objecting to only being able to find things that your eyes can see from where you stand?
"Where do we find supermassive black holes?" "At the center of most super-massive galaxies."
"Where do we find DNA?" "DNA can be found inside the nucleus of every cell, apart from red blood cells."
"Where do we find hippies?" "On Haight-Ashbury."

And, SCHOOLOFFISH mirrors oprfectly the FLOCKOFBIRDS.

ANyway, liked it, except for the mid-west, where I had a massive Tuesday DNF/Natick mashup.
Knew TCM, knew IFC, but forgot their is a TMC. aaH seems much more apt, and TOILER was such an incredibly arbitrary answer that I just sat there staring at _AILER until I had to get to work and cheated. On a Tuesday!

Thanks, Mr. Collins, in spite of that callous disregard of my ego..

Baudrillard 10:10 AM  

I create my own hyper-reality: Molitor was MVP IN 1493.

AliasZ 10:15 AM  

What concerns me most is not what is above or below, but beyond the blue horizon.

Tita 10:17 AM  

MOLITOR was an impossible name to suss, by the way, even if you already have _ _LITOR.

@Martin - didn't someone do a "Persistence of Memory" puzzle?
18 letters - would have to be a Sunday.

@Rex...when I was standing in knee-deep, crystal-clear Carribean water and dropped the box of frozen peas that a local told me I should feed to the fish, the resulting feeding frenzy, that included my kneecaps and toes, was one of those "below-the-horizon" events that I won't easily forget.
Hmm...pretty lame counter-argument. Yes, I totally see your point and agree, but as @Carola said here once, I'm a cheap puzzle date.
Thank above-the-horizon heavens that you are here to be tough on puzzles when its merited. Otherwise we'd all be over at Wordplay.

Wow @Gill - didn't notice EARHEART going down into the SEA!

Sir Hillary 10:20 AM  

Easiest Tuesday in ages for me. Yes, the theme is pretty thin, but OFL is so OTT with his criticism it's hilarious. I'll give a shout-out to those gorgeous NE and SW corners, which are quite un-Tuesday-like.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:27 AM  

This is the third or fourth time in the last week or two that I ENDED in the NW. Since I started with 68A jumping out at me the places of sea and sky all came out obvious for me. But STARTING in the NW used to be my norm. Are those crazy constructors doing something to muck that up these days?

And isn't oit OKEY DOKEY?

Joseph Michael 10:46 AM  

This is quite an elegant puzzle. I think I'll hang it on the wall over my sofa.

James Morison 10:47 AM  

Well I'm here at the North Pole Environmental Observatory, and as such I have a different take on the Birds/Coral/Fish/Horizon conundrum. You know what I see above the horizon? Bubka. Nada. Zilch. Never anything but blue sky or a whiteout, definately no birds. You know what I see below the horizon? Bubka. Nada. Zilch. When I'm back at my family home in Nebraska, I've got your birds in the horizon, but below it? I know there's dirt there, but that's it. Not a fish to be found/seen/encountered. No coral for hundreds of miles.

TOCraig 11:29 AM  

Enjoyed this very much. Not sure what the complaints are about. Esp. Rex's. Nice puzzle.

mac 11:38 AM  

Easy puzzle, maybe because I guessed sky on top. Very fast, except for the TMC/Molitor crossing, that was a guess. A flock of birds (started with geese) and a school of fish are nice together.

I looked it up: there is TMC, AHC, AMC, TCM and TLC on my listing. I guess it was a lucky guess. I really dislike acronyms.

@Chuck McGregor: that's a sweet story.

Z 11:41 AM  

I thought the theme was very elegant for a Tuesday. I would have like better if 1A and 71a had not been clued thematically. I always like discovering Easter egg style answers rather than having it pointed out to me.

@Rex8:33 - Even worse, 1983 was Phillies v Orioles. Harvey's Wallbangers were 1982 World Series losers. As for the HORIZON question, I like @Martin Arbesch's painting observation.

Side note, I use DuckDuckGo as my default search engine, which doesn't allow me to copy the results page link to embed, so I went to Google. I HATE the new look of the results page in Google (on iPad). Not an improvement, not worth embedding.

What I learned form quickly scanning the results on DuckDuckGo for "below the horizon": Lots of books are called "Below the Horizon." Dawn is defined as when the sun is six degrees below the horizon. Astrology seems to care about things below the horizon. Six degrees below the horizon is used a lot for various purposes. Every image seemed to be SKY and SEA, whether it was a picture or painting.

@LMS - Agreed on "found."

ORONO, Maine's Edina. Other O words to know, Orem, Oren, Oman(i), Onan, Oleg Cassini. I feel like I'm missing a couple. Thankfully Nabisco does give its Oreo variations Roman Numerals.

Andrew Heinegg 11:51 AM  

Or not, 1983 was Rick Dempsey. Sorry.

Masked & Anonymo2Us 11:58 AM  

Primo theme! BRAWL in the SKY. SEA RATTY. Wanted FLOCKOFPEWIT, tho.

U caucus-teaser count:
SKY: 1
SEA: 1.
HORIZON: zip. (Has supended its campaign, in mid air)
Winner: Ted Cruz. Dude has 6 Iowa delegates. Nothin can stop him, now ...

Thanx for the nice puz, Collins dude.


** meta-gruntz**

old timer 12:03 PM  

I was so tempted to make the baseball player MOLITOv, but that could not be right. Got it with the RARE cross, and of course ORONO. Anyone who solves every day knows of ORONO.

I was not the least bit tempted to put the SEA where the SKY belongs. Two reasons: (1) the obvious YUGO, and (2) the convention among puzzle constructors that SKY belongs at the top, if something below the SKY is coming at the bottom. Of course "Chick of jazz" could only be COREA, just as a three-letter "chick magnet" can only be a hen.

Still, the puzzle played a little slow for a Tuesday, because of all that cross-referencing.

And yes, the puzzle did seem a little 1950's in concept, which is why I thought of Comrade Molotov.

Andrew Heinegg 12:05 PM  

Rex's comment that no one watches TMC reminds me of the old yogism that 'no one goes to Elaine's anymore, it's too crowded'. I think that TCM viewings are doing just fine. I know my wife and I watch it a lot because, in our opinion, so many of the current cinema offerings are pure escapism (not that does not have its place) or dragged down with simply untenable plots. I liked this a lot better than RP and some bloggers. Coral is visible in the sea from above the water and, as clued, made it seem to me that the constructor was cluing it as an inanimate object as opposed to the group clue for the flock of birds. Oddly enough, the one answer RP praises the no cuts was one that I had not heard expressed in that verbiage. Ce' la vie.

Diana,LIW 12:08 PM  

Happy Groundhog Day. No shadow. Winter is over.

Carry on.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

M and A also 12:12 PM  

@muse: Some teacher made me monitor fellow classmates in the restroom, one time. I was dubbed
Monitor Lizard by my peers. Sucked. Cherry bombed thrones ensued. Was then quickly voted out of
office. Politics; not for everybody.


Anoa Bob 12:18 PM  

Reading Martín Abresch's comment @2:35 made me wonder if the constructor is a fan of this

work by M.C. ESCHER

I have a couple of M.C. Escher tee shirts. Does that make me a HIPSTER? Or just one of the KOOKS?

ORONO comes up all the time. It's not only the home of the University of Maine, it's also a grid-fill-friendly alternating sequence of common-as-dirt vowels & consonants. You can bet a garage full of YUGOS that it will make another xword appearance soon in a puzzle near you.

Wileyfex 1:11 PM  

Mines are also found in the sea, Rex.

Elephant's Child 1:21 PM  

@Anon 7:57 -- If that female scuba diver happened to also be a Lady of the Night, she could be back under the HO-RIZON instead of the HeRIZON.

@Rex, that's exactly how we learned to do it in Kindergarten: light blue SKY above, dark blue SEA below. Then you got to paste on all the cut-out clouds and BIRDS and FISH and CORAL. Don't you remember your first childhood? Your Mom probably stuck them up on your refrigerator door.

Huntington's COREA

Teedmn 1:32 PM  

My face cream, PONDS and the current MN Twins manager Paul MOLITOR helped make this Monday-easy for me. Of course I plopped Sea in the first blue expanse I saw, and I had to double my MACH speed to TWO but that's it for hitches.

TOILER may seem random to @Rex, but if he had ever spent time bean-walking the bean fields in mid-summer heat, he would know that no other word really describes it. I don't think that is something people do anymore since the advent of Roundup, but it was a good lesson to learn back in the day for me, a pampered "town kid".

A few OOHs in this one were MOSAIC, TRACHEA, AVARICE and KOOKS. Thanks, PC (initials at 1D?) for a pleasant Tuesday.

Chronic dnfer 2:02 PM  

Rex. I have news for you. If I didn't dnf it isn't medium challenging. Even for a Tuesday. It did take me about an hour but I Sussex out every clue. Even remembered how to spell Earhart.

Elephant's Child 2:13 PM  

@Anon 7:57 -- If that female scuba diver happened to also be a Lady of the Night, she could be back under the HO-RIZON instead of the HeRIZON.

@Rex, that's exactly how we learned to do it in Kindergarten: light blue SKY above, dark blue SEA below. Then you got to paste on all the cut-out clouds and BIRDS and FISH and CORAL. Don't you remember your first childhood? Your Mom probably stuck them up on your refrigerator door.

Huntington's COREA

mac 2:19 PM  

@Anoa Bob: good catch, that! And a beautiful drawing. Love Escher.

I'll be in Holland next week, where I often go to the beach to enjoy the beautiful view of the sky, the horizon and the North Sea. No coral in sight, but windmills on the horizon, far far away.

Z 2:22 PM  

With 17,576* possible three letter initialisms in the alphabet (btw - neither TMC nor TCM are acronyms) why do two cable networks specializing in movies have to be so similar?

@LMS - One lesson from animal behavior studies is that animals act differently when they know they are being watched. My prediction is that there would be fewer problems in the lunch line if there wasn't an adult standing around. An uptick the first week, dealing with a bully or two, and then relative order.

Form instead of from doesn't bother me, but a missing "n't" making it look like I want Oreo XIX is irksome.

@JM and @JM pose the eternal question, what is the difference between snark and snide?

@Anoa Bob - I keep thinking that @Martin Abresch had something specific in mind, but I can't think of what. Simplistic searching yields a bunch of Dogs Playing Poker level of kitschy coral and sky scenes. It did not occur to me to think Escher.

I have to believe that MOLITOR winning the WSMVP with the Blue Jays has the same effect on Brewer fans as Jack Morris's Game 7 gem in 1991 has on Tiger fans. Second best pitching performance in the World Series** ever, so Yeah Jack, but a little piece of your heart hates that he did it for the Twinkies. I can understand wishing that it was 1983 not 1993.

*26 cubed, right?
** After Larsen's perfect game. Anyone who thinks Schilling is in the discussion probably can't tell the difference between ketchup and blood.

Crossworder 2:38 PM  

@Rex, can you finish the story about the disk and the 75th birthday person who had such an effect on you? You can't leave us with just this hint!

Leapfinger 2:51 PM  

I liked this conceptual representation. I've been in SCHOOL on-and-OFFISH most of my life, and have been expected to accept ample amounts of what was much less believable.

Fell for the LOO/LAV controversy, and also the LOONS/KOOKS, though LOONS mightn't get that high. MOLITOR was an unknown, but minded me of Polydor, so I faked it out. Quite a jolt to sea EARHART in the drink: I thought somehow that was still up in the air. All I know is, if I WERE AT ONE with the CORAL, that would take quite atoll.

Here's a tip: Don't put all your PONDS in ONE SEA.

What else I learned today: AVARICE is not the love-child of AVA Gardner and Tim RICE. AVA was born not far from where I live now, but Sir Tim was born in Shardeloes, near Amersham, Buckinghamshire, which sounds much classier than Smithfield. Forty years ago, I was driving down I-70 when I passed a billboard: Welcome to Smithfield, home of the Ku Klux Klan. As Dylan said, The times, they do be changin'...

OPALS AFIRE in a phosphorescent SEA? A picture-pretty Tuesday, sez I.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

I am very glad I checked in here today: yes, it was hard for Tuesday! Yesterday evening I solved it while watching TV; but still: 10 minutes flat, when I looked a the timer. I had the sense going through it that it was dragging, but ascribed that to keeping one eye on "Lost Girl" (guilty pleasure). I just stumbled often.

Unknown 3:26 PM  

@Tita - I'm relatively new to crosswords, so my personal memory of past themes is not worth consulting. I just searched for a "Persistence of Memory" themed puzzle via Cruciverb and XWords. I couldn't find anything.

puzzle hoarder 5:34 PM  

Well it happened again. I just spent a great deal of time pecking a comment in on my phone only to touch the wrong thing and see it all disappear.
Today's solve was a little slow. Read 1Ds' clue as Window , singular.for a long time. That slowed down the NW corner. The section just south was a problem too. I didn't know the baseball player. OOH could be AAH. I'm glad a couple of people mentioned MEOW MIX. The 32A clue made me think of something starting with M but all I could come up with was METRO and that doesn't even fit. On top of all this today I found out that I've been entering TMC and. TCM for years without realizing that they're two separate things. It just made for a little extra fun.

Joe 6:08 PM  

For 20 Across, at one point, I had F--CKOF . . . Flock of birds was not the first phrase that came to my mind.

Teedmn 7:18 PM  

@Leapfinger, thanks for bringing to mind the fact that lOOnS can be "found" both above and below the HORIZON. And since I often hear them flying overhead in the summer, they can get pretty SKY high.

Diana,LIW 7:39 PM  

@Crossworder 2:38 - I have been working hard to graduate from Crossword third grade, so I have been solving in some older NYT crossword puzzle books. After a solve, I like to go look at an old Rex review - fun to see how his voice/views have changed and developed over the years. Here's 2007 on this date:

The fellow in question, Dr. Rex Sr., is his dad. Isn't that sweet? I never saw "Night Shift" so I don't know its imprint on Rex's humor. I'm only guessing here, but my own love of Ferris Bueller, Office Space, and Airplane might be examples of a "universal" love of adolescent male humor. (I'm a LOL - little old lady - but the humor still comes thru.)

Happy birthday, Dad of Rex! (Belated, because, know why)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting (as always) for Crosswords

Nancy 10:40 PM  

@Anoa Bob (12:18) -- What a beautiful drawing. It's really perfect for this puzzle.

Tita 12:28 AM  

@Anoa - thanks so much for that Escher drawing. I had forgotten about it, and it is indeed perfect for this puzzle!
I've always loved him too - a genius that successfully embraced art and technology.

Burma Shave 8:40 AM  


If a FLOCKOFBIRDS would wish not to SYNC on PONDS, I am guessin’,
they’d go to a SCHOOLOFFISH to SEA about swimmin’ LESSENS.


BS2 9:17 AM  


IRAISE my OILCAN in the morning,
to THANK that WILDCAT I’ve got eyes on.
YOU will be AFIRE I am warning,


spacecraft 11:44 AM  

I've never heard of TMC. I have AMC, and of course that no-ad Godsend TCM (hey, if THEY can do it, why can't others?), but TMC?? Not on MY cable. This was my only writeover, only because "AOILER" makes no sense. Had there been no other problems, this might have skated without a flag...but most of the short fill is RATTY enough to draw the hankie.

Here comes the letter brigade! SOFTG--come to think of it, that one's a penalty all by itself. HTEST isn't far behind, and we still have IRAISE and IWERE (ugh!) to wade through. Plus, I do NOT share OFL's liking for NOCUTS. That's not even in the language. People never say that; they say the clue, or something similar.

On to clue inaccuracy: ATONE does NOT mean "Request forgiveness for." It doesn't even mean "request for forgiveness," which phrase makes a little more sense. ATONE is an action meant to elicit forgiveness. That's not the same as a request. Very poor clue. As to the missing MOLITOR decade, it didn't register with me. Have I mentioned how terrible I am at timelines?

Now, what did I LIKE? I thought the theme and execution were fine; had no confusion as to the SKY being on top and the SEA below; that's the position! At first I thought 1-across was cLoud, so SKY followed naturally. Gad, those YUGOS were ugly, weren't they? I also liked the quad 7-stacks in the NE and SW, especially that "Happy Days" catchphrase SITONIT. "Aaaaay!" Too bad the fill was so yucky. The possible Clue of the Month is buried in this morass: "Things spotted [!] in a casino." Overall I can't give this more than a C-.

leftcoastTAM 2:18 PM  

I thought this one was a first-rate theme puzzle. A picturesque theme with many apt theme words suggesting several stories consisting of acrosses and downs.

Among them, EARHART apparently lost at SEA, and her PLANE last seen flying toward the HORIZON. Much later the HTEST, maybe seen from just below the horizon obliterating an ILE just above.

These two are not happy stories, but they are well told by Peter Collins.

rondo 2:45 PM  

Above average for Tuesday, I’d say. Two write-overs in gLOB and aMC. The latter probably because I haven’t had cable for years now, and I don’t see it on the HORIZON.

CZAR, SSR, NYETS – Russia has overtaken the French, who still have ILE and LAVIE.

MOLITOR a gimme as @teedMN points out he is the manager of the Twins. Old joke around here is that the local paper always seemed to think his first name was “St. Paul native”.

Another baseball item. If I recall, OILCAN Boyd was called that because he was never far from a can of beer, for which a slangy term is/was OILCAN.

Amelia EARHART must get the yeah baby today since the only other Chick in the puz isn’t.

And YOU ladies, YOU know who YOU are, I want to hear YOU all saying, “O-RON-O, THANK YOU!”

Time to go, I gotta FLEA.

Diana,LIW 3:37 PM  

I thought it was pretty easy. I don't time myself, but I never had a moment where I had to stop and stare blankly. Maybe Rex was in a tizzy because of too much political nonsense. And by now (in futureland) he will know that it only gets worse. Plumbing new depths, way below the HORIZON.

My two proudest moments: I put in S at #6, but let the crosses tell me if it was SKY or SEA. And I knew ORONO from other puzzles. Ha! So I could suss out MOLITOR, after I changd TCM to TMC. TCM is one of the few channels I watch on anything like a regular basis - check its schedule daily.

Didn't see this mentioned - to me, G as in George (or genius) is soft G. G as in Gear is hard. G as in Sing is silent. So I don't agree with OFL on that matter. Gee.

Didn't notice Peter Collins until I finished. I often seem to be on his wavelength, so maybe that's why it seemed easy. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm ready to graduate to 4th grade! LA VIE est bella!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 3:37 PM  

What a surprisingly nice puzzle. I'd say easy-medium, and clearly @Rex is just plain wrong. We have the SKY up there, above the horizon; we have the SEA down there, below the horizon. The birds are in the sky, the fish are in the sea. That's where they are found, whether you scuba dive or not. There is no inference that you must be seeing them sitting on your high horse and gazing at the horizon.

44D had to be either MACH TWO or MACH TEN because the clue referenced "supersonic" speed. The crosses decided. Baseball/Blue Jays fan here, so MOLITOR, one of the finest hitting third basemen ever to play the game, was a gimme, and I do love CHEX mix (make sure to include garlic).

I was AT ONE with the constructor on this puzzle, and agree with those who found elegance.

Cathy 6:11 PM  

OOH!! I had aah for 24 down like @jberg. Ended up slamming in BBC for bailer bolitor. Knew it wasn't right but refused to leave empty squares on a Tuesday. Yea, I'm a KOOK.

I dunno know about the theme.. Made me think of a kids book. OOH! Lookie at the birdies in the sky and the fishies in the sea. Would of been cute if Charlie was around. And I'm with REX with found below the HORIZON. Wow, did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed today?

Egotistic nemo- MEMO.

@Diana,LIW from yesterday. So cool about your powwow. And American Beauty? Still one of my favorite CDs. Ripple.

O-RON-O! That will be stuck in my head forever:)

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