Gen follower / WED 2-17-16 / One alternative of sentry's challenge / Twister Sister frontman Snider / Dwight D Ice in Shower / Old hairdo for Diana Ross / Toggery / Realm of King Midas

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Constructor: Kyle Mahowald

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: cold people puns — famous names turned into winter-related puns (I think)

Theme answers:
  • EDWARD SNOWED IN (20A: Informant trapped after an icy storm?)
  • JODIE FROSTER (26A: Actress with an icy stare?)
  • CURT CHILLING (44A: Pitcher of ice?)
  • BARRY COLD WATER (52A: Next Republican nominee after Dwight D. Ice in Shower left office?)  (wording of the clue is very important here; Nixon was 1960 nominee, but DDE was still *in office* at that point.)
Word of the Day: "VEEP" (16A: HBO hit starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus) —
Veep is an American HBO political comedy television series, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, set in the office of Selina Meyer, a fictional Vice President, and subsequent President, of the United States. The series was created by Armando Iannucci, who created the British political comedy series The Thick of It, and also wrote and directed that series' film spin-off In the Loop (2009), all of which feature the same writing staff. [...] Veep has received critical acclaim and won several major awards. It has been nominated four years in a row for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, winning the award for its fourth season. Its second season won the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Comedy Series, and its third season won the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy. Louis-Dreyfus has won four consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award, two Critics' Choice Television Awards and one Television Critics Association Award for her performance. (wikipedia)
• • •

I imagine the constructor first noticed the Snowden / "SNOWED IN" pun, then tried to find way to build a puzzle around it, and this is the result. EDWARD SNOWED IN is interesting. It's kind of funny. The others are less so, on both counts. JODIE FROSTER doesn't even make sense. What's a "froster?" Someone who frosts cakes? No, that's not in keeping with the winter theme. Seriously, when would you use "froster" in relation to cold weather? Or at all? Weren't there better answers out there? No EDDIE BLIZZARD (or WOLF BLIZZARD, I guess, but that's pretty awful)? FRIGID BARDOT? SLEET ULRICH? CLAMMY DAVIS, JR. (I guess the puns are all last names, so those wouldn't be consistent)? LASSE HAILSTORM? JAKE CHILLING ALL? BUSTA RIMES? AARON BRRR? Pick one. There are probably (many) more. I don't think having some form of "ice" in all the clues works either, as "icy storms" rarely "snow" anyone "in." Also, Dwight D. Ice in Shower is so bad it's not even groanworthy. It's grotesque. This puzzle wants desperately to be cute, but hits the mark only with its first theme answer. After that, the whole thing comes apart quite a bit.

I blazed through the non-theme parts of this—cluing seemed very Monday—but I couldn't even understand the theme for the longest time. JODIE FROSTER took forever, even with most of the crosses, for reasons largely explained above (i.e. WTF?). What I like about the puzzle is that the longer Downs seem to have been chosen with care, and with an eye to novelty. Well, most of them, at any rate. THE REAL ME and NEW IN TOWN are both nice, and BAD WORD and PHRYGIA (41D: Realm of King Midas), bring a colloquial and classical quality to the grid, respectively. This is important, because the rest of the fill is kind of subpar (With so much 3- and 4-letter stuff, this isn't terribly surprising). I couldn't make any sense of EXOD. for way too long (22D: Gen. follower) (abbr. of "Exodus," in case that wasn't yet clear). Mostly the fill isn't cringeworthy so much as it's dull—of the OLLA / ATAD / APSE variety. Puzzle skewed old, but not painfully. I suspect plenty of people will find the icy puns enjoyable. I am just not one of those people. Probably because of my icy, icy heart. Oh well.
  • Phoebe Snow (10)
  • Edgar Winter (11)
  • Robert Frost (11)
  • Vanilla Ice (10)
There's a weak theme I just made up. It's all yours. You're welcome.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Chim cham 1:59 AM  

Aww, man! I thought this theme was great. No doubt they're groaners, but they go big guns for the eye rolls like it's an artform; and not only that, they crescendo as they go! Dwight D Ice in Shower... what a masterstroke!

chefwen 2:25 AM  

I'd still be wondering about EXOD if I hadn't read Rex's write up. Checked all the crosses and they seemed O.K. Imagined it has had something to do with GEN X or one of the generational things, Nope! AHA, a biblical book, it would have taken me way too long to make that connection.

I still have a problem with 13D Secret admirer = SPY? That seems to be a huge stretch, am I missing something?

JODIE FROSTER must be Jack's little sister before they shortened their name.

Would have had to rely on crosses to get CURT CHILLING, the sports nut in the house gave me that one. Thanks Jon!

jae 2:44 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Odd but enjoyable except for EXOD. Apparently it's cold on the East Coast.

navE before APSE which momentarily gave me svu which is not on CBS.

Some nice long downs, liked it more than Rex did.

Loren Muse Smith 4:06 AM  

Hey, Mr. Rex Parka – I immediately thought of Raymond, not Aaron, Brrr" post solve. And then Amy Polar and Phil Shivers. I agree that Wolf Blizzard would've been perfect.

Predictably, I didn't think too hard about how the themers work; change one letter in the last name (and add one for FROSTER) to get some cold play.
Cool. What's better is the impetus it will provide for people to come up with others. Rex, you've certainly led the charge with some excellent ones.

I have never had a TV ROOM – it's been either the "den" or the "family room." But I have a couple of friends who use that phrase, so fair enough. I like it for its vroom vroom VROOM.

I hesitate to ask for an explanation for a couple of clues because of the pile-on of answers, but, ok, here’s one: why is a SPY an "admirer?"

Had to erase "exer" early on and totally missed that it ended up EXOD. I probably would've been too dense to understand that one. Also – I bet I'm one of thousands who had to ditch "scar" for SCAB.

OLLA was the name of the wheel dog on a dog sled I drove for a year one week. The wheel dog is the strongest, stoutest work-horse-of-a-dog who brings up the rear, the one right in front of the sled. Her flatulence was epic. Heroic, even.

THE REAL ME and NEW IN TOWN were worth the price of admission. Thanks, Kyle.

Anonymous 5:35 AM  

Yup. EDWARD SNOWED-IN was so superior pun-wise, that I couldn't see JODIE FROSTER. EXer before EXOD, as in Gen X-er. TV ROOM sounds so quaint.

Brett Hendrickson 6:18 AM  

I thought the theme was cute, made me smile. Plus, I breezed through the puzzle creating significant wind chill.

I have a question: If you do the puzzle on one of the NYTimes's platforms, you can go on their site and see where you rank in terms of speed. I'm not that great--sometimes I can break into the top 500 at least until people in the West wake up and solve more quickly than I did. Everyday, however, there are a people who solve in fewer than 2 minutes, often the same people. Is this for real? To be honest, I'm not sure how this is possible since I can barely read the clues in that amount of time. How do people solve so quickly? Any speed demons out there who can tell us how you do it?

J Dubs 6:58 AM  

Very groanworthy on all but Snowed In. So much so that I felt I was solving a puzzle in one of those free papers you pick up at the supermarket.

Glimmerglass 7:45 AM  

A SPY admires secrets. I liked all the puns (but I like wordplay much more than @Rex). JODIE FROSTER makes sense as clued (icy stare). "I got frosted by that girl I tried to chat up." I filled that one in off just the JOD.

Little brown bear 7:45 AM  

Wasn't the nominee Nixon, not Goldwater, after DDE?

RooMonster 7:45 AM  

Hey All !
Expected Rex to tear this puz up more than he did. I thought it pretty corny, and not the good-corny-pun way. The theme Rex came up with at the end of his post is better.

The grid is nice, a couple of X's and V's thrown in for Scrabbliness. Put me in the SCAr-SCAB group. Also, teddy-KOALA. The long Downs were the best part of this one.

So, as you can see, it was A TAD disliked. But some fill was nice, HI HAT, ROXY. the SW corner, all E, L, M, O, P.

Hey, Will said yes...


GILL I. 7:50 AM  

EXOD is just awful. I guess we now can see DEUT or LEVIT and maybe an OBAD. If I didn't really like this puzzle as much as I did, I'd be screaming RAHM change your name to CHE.... By the way, his name means Mercy in Arabic. Lord have some mercy in Chicago.
BARRY COLDWATER was supremo in my book. I looked up FROSTER and the Urban Dictionary reference would probably make JODIE want to eat fava beans.
I also liked POLO BOLO and ETHEL ETHOS.
Is ALFA short for alfalfa?

Dorothy Biggs 7:57 AM  

Oh great. A pun puzzle.

I think the issue I have with puns is that people who do them (often) think everyone ought to find them when someone lets loose a barrage of puns, there's always this look that comes along with you're supposed to laugh or something. Maybe it's that kind of pathetic "you can laugh now" look that takes any joy out of it. As more a sarcasm guy, you just lay it out there and if people laugh, fine. If not, no biggie. And there always seems to be those people who insist puns are funny and claim that the only people who don't find them funny are somehow jealous because they can't do it. That mindset only makes them less funny to me.

BTW, humor is a funny thing (um...pun intended). Watch the next time you hear someone you don't like tell a funny joke. It's not funny. Everyone else thinks it's funny, and you'd laugh if anyone else told the joke. Humor has a way of being very situational and dependent on lots of things. Very few things are categorically funny on their own. Puns trigger that part of me that just can't get past that look...please laugh now... Maybe I just need to spin puns sarcastically...even ironically. Yep, humor is indeed a funny thing.

TL;DR: Puns are like knock knock jokes for adults. Yeah, I get it. Humor. Har har dee har har.

I had pandA for KOALA, DoH for DUH (a crosswordese trap), and snare for HIHAT (I had a 50/50 chance, right?)

My biggest hang up was at JODIEFROSTER. I kept thinking that it needed to be possessive for some reason...JODIE's something something STER. I also wanted EXer to follow Gen. So I took a long time to figure that one out.

My time definitely reflects a medium level...mostly because of that crossing.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

Maybe this has been touched on before, but for me the quality of any NYT puzzle automatically loses a full letter grade for using "AFRO."

It certainly seems to surface once a week or something like it. And then the cluing....Oh, the cluing. Always set up as "How (insert famous black person's name) used to do their hair." Har har har! Is there really nothing Diana Ross is better known for than having an afro at one stage in her life? Is that her signature achievement in the eyes of Will Shortz? How many times do outdated white people hairdos make an appearance in the puzzle?

Perhaps I am oversensitive but I feel ill seeing this answer come up so often with such lazy cluing.

leah712 8:10 AM  

Oh come on people, these were some quality puns. Dwight D Ice in Shower in the clue for Barry Coldwater? Excuse me, but that's very clever.

@Brett Hendrickson, I also wonder about those super-fast times on the NY Times site, as they seem like they would be impossible.

I also needed Rex to explain EXOD, although I got it from the crosses.

Nik 8:13 AM  

Ice in Shower would be BARRY COLD WATER indeed. This was the only theme with a double pun, so it made me smile. If a puzzle makes me smile, then I like it--even more so if the clue is groanworthy.

ArrBeeJay 8:30 AM  

In what way was Barry (C)oldwater the next Republican nominee after Ike left office? I don't get it, except it's in keeping with the theme. Thoughts?

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

This was a perfect Wednesday puzzle, IMO -- solvable but took some thinking. I liked the theme and don't care in the least that there is variation on how the answers parsed out. It was fun -- only unforgivable fill was "Exod" as others have pointed out. This is NOT a thing. I also didn't know "Phrygia" but got it with all the crosses so no harm done.

Maybe I'm just feeing unusually cheery for a mid-February day, as Boston emerges from record-breaking cold to balmy temps, but this puzzle hit the mark for a mid-week offering.

Z 8:33 AM  

@Brett Hendrickson - Google Dan Feyer Crossword and check out some videos. The link is not sub 2:00, but the puzzle was constructed by someone we all know and love (or love to hate in some cases).

I picture Mad's SPY vs. SPY, with the Black Spy admiring a Box labeled "Top Secret" before the box explodes in the next panel.

How to judge a pun? I'm sure some data geek somewhere, maybe at, has come up with a GAR measurement (that's Groans Above Replacement). Rex gave this only a GAR of -3 (+1 for SNOWED IN, -3 for the rest). I gave it a solid +5 with JODIE FROSTER keeping this from a perfect GAR. JODIE FROSTIER not being symmetrical is atoned for by the double groan-worthy Dwight D Ice In Shower.

blinker474 8:50 AM  

Very enjoyable solve. Never saw 'exod' but now that I do, agree that it's very lame. Rex suggests that there could have been better theme answers. Maybe so, but the ones in the puzzle were entertaining and apt, so why complain? Finally, I am joining the "why is a spy an admirer" club.

KarynLD 8:56 AM  

Ah, the penny just dropped on SPY for "secret admirer" - a spy is an admirer of secrets. That one has been bugging me all night!

Hartley70 9:06 AM  

I loved @lms's "Mr. Rex Parka" because that's how most CURTCHILLING fans would say OFL's name.

The theme worked for me. As said above, they were groaners, but they amused my tiny brain. Yes, the first was the best, but miraculously I knew CURTCHILLING right "off the bat" (groan) because blood and baseball so seldom go together that when they do, it's unforgettable. Oh and there was that nasty $75 million financial issue between his video game company and Little Rhody taxpayers that sticks in my mind. I think his name might be mud rather than CHILLING there.

Good Wednesday entertainment for me, Mr. Mahowald.

Lobster11 9:09 AM  

Sorry, Rex, but I'm with @Evan Jordan on this one. This puzzle raises (lowers) the art of bad punning to new heights (depths) in a way that deserves to be celebrated rather than pooh-poohed. Quibbling about the technical definition of FROSTER misses the point. I mean, "Dwight D. Ice in Shower"???!!!! Get it? Get it? ROFLMAO, as the kids say these days.

Unknown 9:26 AM  

Wasn't Nixon the next Republican nominee after Eisenhower?

chefbea 9:32 AM  

Fun chilling puzzle..Though I have never heard of Phrygia!!! Olla is olla is a stew pot, not a jar

jberg 9:34 AM  

I liked the puns, liked the puzzle. Only one sounds exactly like the real name, which bothered me at first, but they're worth it.

I already had TODD when I got to the GEN follower, and was asking myself if you could be GEN XeD. It was only after I got all the crosses that I caught on to the Bible thing.

@little brown bear, @ArrBeeJay-- Nixon got the GOP nomination in the summer of 1960, when Ice in Shower was still in office -- the first nomination after he left office was COLDWATER (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice). It's a very convoluted way of cluing it, presumably because the constructor couldn't think of a pun on Nixon (nor can I).

@Loren, " a dog sled I drove for a year one week??? Is that a typo, or some joke I'm not getting?

There is one glaring flaw in this puzzle, though: ERIC the Red. Look up that name in Wikipedia and it takes you to the ERIk the Red article.

jerry k 9:38 AM  

Yes, Nixon was the nominee after Eisenshower.

Teedmn 9:39 AM  

A well-seasoned theme for winter and I thought it was clever enough for Wednesday. I always like seeing GILA and hearing "heela" in my head. I thought the clue for 25A OXEN was clever and 28D for FOE as well. I was tempted to put in Tso's at 22D so when that filled in through crosses, I was just as glad.

HI HAT always makes me think of a snooty drummer on his/her "high horse.

CAST was hard to pull out of my T-Rex and GALL wasn't helping so that was my slippery spot on this puzzle. And is PHRYGIA (fridge-ia) a bonus themer?

Thanks, KM and WS.

ArtO 9:57 AM  

Pretty easy for Wed except for PHRYGIA and EXOD. I enjoyed the puns. Obviously have a higher threshold for them since I put up (barely) with some really awful ones from a friend who can't help himself and finds every other thought pun-able.

pmdm 9:58 AM  

I appreciate the type of wordplay in today's puzzle, so a thumbs up for the theme.

I do not appreciate proper names, product names and so on. Way too much of that for me today. So a thumbs down (way down) for the fill.

I suppose a .500 batting average is considered good.

With comments waiting in the queue until approved, one never knows if a particular piece of information has already been noted in the comments section. If this piece is waiting in the queue, forgive me for repeating it. I do try to avoid duplicating other people's insights.

If any of you would like to ask Mr. Shortz a question, find out how by going to today's WordBlog entry and read the Administrator's Note. I'm sure Mr. Shortz will not have time to answer every question, but I think it's wonderful that you have the opportunity of asking him about something that may be bothering you. Of course, you can always send him a question through his MY Times email address, and he does respond to those messages (from personal experience).

Kimberly 10:03 AM  

I think Rex is being too generous even with the SNOWEDIN answer for the theme. I groaned when I saw it. It's more like the answer to a bad riddle on a child's Popsicle stick.

My husband doesn't get crossword puzzles. At all. But every once in a while a puzzle has a theme or clues that are so clever I will risk his eye-rolls to show him. It has been a long time since he had to put up with my delighted "ha! Look at this!"

Maybe I'm just irritable because while the rest of the country is SNOWEDIN, I'm sitting in unbearably warm So Cal and I have a cold. February should not be this sunny.. If I'm sick everyone else should be cold and miserable, too.

(At least I'm replying the correct blog entry now. Sheesh).

Sir Hillary 10:10 AM  

Monday-easy for me, as the theme became obvious after EDWARDSNOWEDIN. Not a big fan of this one -- puns are just too iffy.

-- NW and SE corners. Good, solid, fun.
-- The six 7+ downs, All have some zip.
-- Finally, a beret-less clue for CHE.
-- Excellent clue for CURTCHILLING.
-- Fill is actually quite clean (some exceptions below).
-- My SCAr/SCAB write-over. One for the Schrodinger archive for sure.

Didn't like:
-- Force-feeding Dwight D. Ice in Shower into what therefore by necessity became an absurd clue on several levels.
-- EXOD. Uh, no.
-- Is OLLA a Wednesday word?
-- Clue for CAST is too much of a stretch IMO.
-- My Maam/MRSC write-over. I watched that show all the time as a kid. Bad miss.
-- @Rex missing the opportunity presented by 33D to provide a Quadrophenia link.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

So I'm trying to decide between MRS B/BURT CHILLING and MRS K/KURT CHILLING and it turns out to be MRS C/CURT CHILLING. But it's not a tournament, and thus, I Don't Really Care. Other than that, I thought this was both cute and easy. For me, the clue "Dwight D. Ice in Shower" leading to BARRY COLDWATER was worth the price of admission.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:19 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, but for reasons I can't quite pin down, I also found it Challenging ("for a Wednesday.")

Katzzz 10:21 AM  

Despite the wording, the Ice in Shower/Coldwater clue does not pass muster.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 10:22 AM  

Don't know about it skewing old ... I am old and I did solve it last night with relative ease, but it wasn't fun. I usually like puns. But not these. Did not enjoy.

Carola 10:39 AM  

Surpassingly goofy theme and clues - head-shakingly funny. I really liked it...despite a DNF (guessed MRS k x kURT). With the "icy" theme, NAKED now looks pretty shivery,cowering up there in the corner.

@Teedmn - Great catch on the fridge in Phrygia!

Z 10:47 AM  

@pmdm - I count the four themers, all puns on famous enough people from three different areas (politics, movies, sports) and then ARNIE, ALFA Romeo, VEEP, DEE, Mary Lincoln TODD, RAHM Emanuel, Michael CHE, TWIX, ELMO, JIM, ETHEL, MRS. C, CSI, and a few references in the clues. That's 17 out of 76, 22%. First, most of these are so common as to be ese, second, nothing seems to be even mildly unfairly crossed. Hardly too much in my opinion. I am curious, though. The Saturday puzzle got beat up by some for having far less pop culture than this one. Do others think this puzzle has too much pop culture?

@jberg - Since Muse is busy Musing for young minds let me offer that you may be missing the joke. The one week seemed like a year while Muse was driving sled.

@little brown bear, @ArrBeeJay, and @Jennifer Freeman - That convoluted clue got me for awhile, too. The lengths some people will go to in order to pun...

Joseph Michael 10:54 AM  

Had GEN. ELEC. before EXOD. But ugh either way.

Of the themers, liked EDWARD SNOWED IN best. The rest of the puns seemed pretty tortured, producing more of a grimace than a groan.

Some good fill, especially THE REAL ME, NEW IN TOWN, and ON A WHIM, but overall this was not much fun.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

@Anon 8:02 - Because there's no such thing as an AFRO? Because it's a term that white people invented to oppress non-white people? Because white people don't have any business referring to anything whatsoever having to do with non-white people? Because white people who say AFRO invariably want to put "blacks" back in chains? Would it be OK to reference the Ronettes' beehives because they were (I'm pretty sure) mixed race? I'd really like to know who you think is genuinely offended by the word AFRO, dear SJW. The word isn't over-sensitive, it's stupid.

old timer 11:29 AM  

I raced through the top half of the puzzle in record time, though EXOD (from crosses) made me think FROSTER could not possibly be right. Of course it was right, and perfectly fair, too. Gen., Exod., Deut., Num. -- all abbreviations you see in the notes to any Bible (can't recall if the missing one is Lev. or Levit.)

In the middle I wrote "nave" which slowed me down a lot. And could not come up with CURT CHILLING for a very long time. Which I needed to get PHRYGIA. Somehow I thought old Midas was from Crete.

I'll give this puzzle a B+ -- not an A because of some of the fill, and the fact that there were many even better puns the constructor could have come up with.

da kine 11:30 AM  

I usually disagree with Rex when he shits all over a puzzle but this one was reaaaaaaally bad. I can deal with puns (Merle did them all the time); I can deal with sketchy fill (otherwise I wouldn't bother with the NYT at all); I can deal with inconsistent theme answers, but when you put them all together, it makes a really bad puzzle. I didn't even have trouble solving this...I solved it in the speed I normally do for a Monday or Tuesday, but this was just terrible.

Put this in the bank of puzzles I shat on so the next time I defend a poor cruciverbalist against Rex' slings and arrows I get some credit for not being a softie.

Mark M. 11:32 AM  

Had JO_IE and kept trying to make Angelina Jolie work in there. EXOD had me to..was it EXER and TODD was wrong? Disappointing that Rex didn't use The Who's classis for music video, thought it was a given as I was solving and saw The Real Me.

Leapfinger 11:38 AM  


Fangs to you, some puns are just EXODental, and are born at their own insistence. Just remember that laughter is a gift, and not everyone's trying to be John Greenleaf Whittier than thou.

I enjoy seeing the parts of your comments that you label as puns. I guess it's a good thing we don't all like the same stuff, or that supply-demand curve would spiral out of control. Maybe the Emperor needs new DUDS.

Lewis 11:39 AM  

Part of the fun of a theme is figuring it out early and trying to figure out the other theme answers with few letters filled in. If it's supposed to be a funny theme but doesn't make you smile, then oh well, but there's still the fun of figuring out the other theme answers. Today's theme answers didn't give me laugh-out-louds, but I did have fun figuring out the theme answers with little to go by. I liked THEREALME and HIHAT. I would have liked some trickier cluing, but that Dwight D. Ice In Shower, that one I'm going to remember for a long time for it's silliness, and it's going to make some kids I know laugh as well.

Sinestro 11:40 AM  

On the Wordplay blog, the puzzle constructor confirmed that the theme stemmed from him thinking up EDWARD SNOWED IN.

G. Weissman 11:58 AM  

I couldn't agree more. Thank you for this extremely well put commentary on the bizarrely frequent appearance of AFRO in the NYT crossword.

Charles in Austin 12:06 PM  

@NCA President, I totally agree with you about humor being situational. There must be a kind of rapport between joker and jokee. If you dislike the joker you won't find his or her jokes funny.

Also, bosses tend not to find their underlings' attempts at humor funny.

Masked and Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Cold Play on a Winternesday!
@muse: re: {Secret admirer?} … A SPY admires people's secrets, and wants to steal them.
@Nixon: Sorry, but U were the GOP-Nom while Ike was still IN office. Also, U lost. But then U won. But then U had to quit on account of bad smells in the oval orifice. But, I digress …

@Sir Hillary: Nice Bullets! (Are U Bill Clinton?)

Let's do the rest, by the numbers ...

* 13 weejects, with fave weeject DUH.
* 3 DEE-heads, on DUH.
* 20 As, 23 Es, 11 Is, 16 Os, 5 Ys, 4 Us.
* 41 of 76 answers have Patrick Berry Immunity.
* 24 of 26 alphabetters were used.
* 2 cheater squares.
* 223 non-cheater squares.
* 38 black squares.
* 183 white squares.
* 4 green with desperation-envy squares (E-X-O-D)
* 16th puz by Mr. Mahowald. Thanx, dude. Don't chill, yet.
* 3 cinnamon rolls were harmed, in the (quick-ish) solve of this WintPuz.



* [bleep]
[OK. Enough is enough. Last one was so beyond-groan-worthy, it has been bleeped by the moderator.]

Greg 12:10 PM  

I started with SCAR for "evidence of injury", which led to RADWORD being "bleeped". I kept trying to think why "rad" words would be bleeped. Was this another part of pop culture I don't understand? Have they changed the definition of "rad"?

Hungry Mother 12:11 PM  

EZ Wednesday for me.

Unknown 12:16 PM  

This was really a two-faced puzzle -- I liked the theme and it had some interesting answers that people have already pointed out. The puns made me groan; even bad ones can still be interesting.


emmapaige 12:34 PM  

Regarding those sub 2:00 times for solving the puzzle: people have been known to solve the puzzle on paper first, then just type the answers in online.

CLB 12:51 PM  

Just popping in to say that I thought the theme was AWESOME!!! New and fresh and funny and, yes, delightfully stupid!

johnnymcguirk 1:04 PM  

Eisenhower left office in Jan. 1961. He was still in office for the 1960 elections, thus Goldwater was next GOP nominee.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Hated it

Mohair Sam 1:46 PM  

Well this one was murdering me until Mrs. Mohair finally got herself out of bed and said, "Midas is PHRYGIA and stew jar is OLLA so the skeleton is CAST. And it's EXOD not EXeD, and SCAR not SCAb. And he's JIM, not tIM. Idiot." DUH.

Disagree with the multitude of NEIGH sayers here, liked this one quite a bit. Disappointed that CHE wasn't clued with Guevera so we could have a complaint or two. I miss bolo ties, they were kinda cool.

@lms - Having read "Winterdance" your sentence "OLLA was the name of the wheel dog on a dog sled I drove for a year one week." made perfect sense to me. Your remark on her flatulence reminded of a humorist's (Thurber?) imaginary headline: Dog Fart Fells Family of Four.

@Hartley70 - on Shilling - Wasn't shocked to see a guy like him bilked by tech hustlers, happens too often. But for State of Rhode Island to put tax payers money at risk on a video game idea was outrageous. Governments are there to be swindled by Wall Street and Wall Street only.

Masked and Anonymous 1:47 PM  

@Nixon - And next time, pay more attention, so I don't have to repeat what @009 already said, in his themed remarks. Tape the proceedins, or some such.

While I'm here again, I should add that I really enjoyed the themers.
@009: FRIGID Bardot?!! -- I don't think that there gal got the memo.

How To Fix EXOD:

Plan A: Make it EPOS. This makes OXEN OPEN. But it also gets us TODS(?), so change TODS to RIDS. That gives U FIE, but then we also get ERHEL. Change it to EMAIL. But then we have either MIDS or MODS, so make it MUDS, cuz then y'all get that extra "U". Okay, great … except for CAE and APSI, of course. Change that CAE to CAN. And, and, OOooh… change APSI to APRI (April Fool's Day!) Except now U got CRI, because of the C in CAN, so make CRI the real crossword-popular URI. Another U! I'm telling yah, stick with M&A … Only thing is now we have UAN, where CAN was. No problemo, dude… Change UAN to UAR! huar! FUN becomes FUR. QED. Clue 'er up.

Plan B: Clue EXOD as {Too much time in divorce court??}

M&A Help Desk

MattG 1:52 PM  

All the themers were groanworthy, but Snowed In was also incongruous with the rest of them... it kept the exact sound of the real name, while the others didn't.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

@Brett Hendrickson: You print out the puzzle and solve it. Then you go to the web site and you simply type in the answers as fast as you can. But then your "best time" results are forever skewed.

puzzle hoarder 3:30 PM  

I'm not a themed puzzle fan. Any time the NYT wants to stop printing them I won't write in to complain. The puzzle had some interesting and even new entries but the fill made them obvious. The more difficult parts were sacrificed for the sake of some very corny puns. Like I said I'm not a theme fan.
It took a little work to remember that Richies' name was Cunningham. I never watched a single episode.
If there were word for old white people's hair(bald?) I'm sure you'd see it over and over. The bar is set pretty low. If you think seeing AFRO in the NYPT is racist you should see the illustration for it in my 89' Webster's, now that's racist! Ironically most of the illustrations are little works of art. This one just looks like a cartoon.

xyz 3:58 PM  

Puke on my shirt awful. Hated the puns, the clues, the crosswordese forcibly inserted. Ugh. I really lost interest.

Chronic dnfer 4:05 PM  

Scar before scab. I was sure the apse/Phrygia was going to be my snf. Instead I spelled gall Gaul never heard of an olla. Lucked out with hi hat. Could have been a lot worse. I chalk this one up as a victory.

Chronic dnfer 4:08 PM  

Agree exod was really bad. Just left it there wondering wtf.

Unknown 4:08 PM  

I thought this was a sort of “typical” crossword. No MOTIF(S) apPEAL that SAY(S) HI to the REAL ME. I have HEARD OF all the proper names (except PHRYGIA) so that was a help. In all I didn’t find any BAD WORDS,. i.e. none that ERODEd my solve.

However, there was this hidden theme from REAL-life,

The storm here last night was a full-on gale with gusts over 60 mph. No FROSTER, with just COLD WATER in the END, so didn’t leave us SNOWED IN. However the wind was headED toWARD one wall of the house where the paint (part of its EXODermis, so to speak) has been PEALling more than A TAD, no longer BINDing well.

ON A WHIM, I put on a HI HAT and went out into the YARD early this morning. There I did SPY a whole MESSY bunch of white chips sitting NAKED like ISLEs in the grass; a CHILLING sight.

Yup, the wind direction was such the rain was driven TWIXT paint and siding everywhere it was PEALing

So how was that wind down your way? By gosh, SHE was bad enough to blow AWAY the paint right off one side the house! Good thing though. Won’t have to strip as much this summer.

If you are a home owner you learn, sooner or later, that your #! FOE is WATER – by far


Chronic dnfer 4:11 PM  

Total foul on Barry Goldwater. He was the nominee in '64! It was Nixon in '60! AGAIN WTF!!!!

Z 5:51 PM  

@Mighty Masked One - I can't swear to it, but I don't recall the Nixon note being there when I read the blog this morning I suspect OFL amended the post once the confusion appeared repeatedly in the comments. @chronic dnfer - Are you just howling at the moon? The clue trickiness has been explained multiple times, now.

@Anon10:57 - Seems like you're a little defensive. Any reason? At least 8:02 acknowledges sensitivity. I have to agree with @anon8:02's "lazy cluing" assertion. Maybe if "Art Garfunkel's hair style" was ever used the plaint would ring less true. To be clear, it's not the appearance of the word, it's the lazy cluing that's a little problematic. Now, can we discuss JEWFRO?

@Sub two minute doubters - If I ever show up with a sub 2:00 time you can rest assured I cheated. Likewise if I run a sub 4:00 mile, dunk a basketball, or type 150 wpm. Just because I can't do any of these things doesn't mean that no one can, though.

Anonymous 7:25 PM  

I wish there was a "hot" puzzle.


Too soon?

kitshef 7:25 PM  

We used to waste time at work coming up with Laffy Taffy-style jokes on an assigned theme (e.g. for Hawaii: What do you call the Quiz Bowl audience on OAHU? Academia nuts. Why did Barbara Walters go to Hawaii? To get maui'ed). This puzzle reminded me of those days, and so was enjoyable.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

As an avid tennis player who has served her share of aces, I have never, EVER, heard anyone heard anyone use the term ACER. Pfft.

Alex 8:22 PM  

Breezed through the top 2/3. Feeling sort of smug. Then I ran into a lot of difficulty in the bottom of the puzzle. It took me a while. I quickly entered "norms" when "ethos" was required, which did NOT help. And I needed the crosses for Phrygia.
I thought that Rex was going to complain about the very dated "Mrs. C." I don't know how many solvers under (?) 50 know that. Or 45 to be generous.

JTHUrst 8:54 PM  

Being on the west coast I have been reluctant to comment on the puzzles because my comments appear long after prime time. So I decided to open my window and say, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I am going to comment and if only Rex sees it, so what.

Duh, I've heard of puzzles like this and they give me the twix. This was DNF for me because once I got to 52a I knew the answer had to be Dick Under Water (from Rex's clever reasoning I realize Barry was the next nominee). But I did not care. I could see the rest of the answers did not cohere with my 'Dick Under Water' but I did not GAS. Sometimes your own answer is so wonderfully correct that it is greater than the puzzle itself and all crosses are sucked into the black hole of your rightness. A "Dick Under Water' outweighs ice, wind and fire at least by a tad.

David in CA 10:18 PM  

Hey people, please at least read the blog before posting questions or claiming errors! (re. dear B. Coldwater)
Agree with thumbs down on EXOD, but was more put-off thinking it was EXER, since it is Generation X not Generation EX!
Still don't see SPY - they may seek out secrets, they may rejoice at discovering them, but they don't "admire" them.

I don't think CAST is right either - wouldn't it have to be plural? Or do they really cast an entire skeleton? My impression (from too many decades ago at the Nat. HIst in NYC) was they cast the individual bones and then assembled them into the skeleton.

Heffalump Kidd 10:58 PM  

It's a little late in the day to be a Nixon supporter, but if there are any lost souls who still think they found an error in the COLDWATER/Goldwater clue, do go back and read @Rex on that point.(Hint: check the Theme bullets section.)

For your penance, count how many commentors claimed the correct answer was Nixon, and how many explained why it was Goldwater.

Y'r welcome.

Ron Beasley 11:04 AM  

I'd still be puzzling about exod if not for the explanation, thanks as always!

spacecraft 11:04 AM  

I'm trying to justify EXOD (.) and I can't. That BADWORD receives the old spacecraft hankie. 2/3 of a word as its abbreviation? Absurd.

Didn't have mush trouble with this; got the oh-no-you-ditten puns (we could've done without the extraneous one in the clue for 52-across, though it does remind me of poor Phil Connors trying to shower on--horrors!--a Tuesday). Fill is mixed; good long, not so much short. Had some trouble parsing SAYSHI with the -SHI part in. All I could think of was sushi.

I will let MRSC pass because anything Fonzie-related gets an automatic pass. A-a-a-a-y. Nothing I haven't HEARDOF today except PHRYGIA; that unusual combination of letters should have appeared before in crosswords. I guess I did know it at one point, back when I was reading Bulfinch's Mythology as a fascinated preteen.

Not wanting to give this the cold shoulder, ONAWHIM I'll give it a C.

Burma Shave 11:49 AM  


ROXY was NEWINTOWN, have you HEARDOF the preacher’s daughter?
SHE SAYSHI, and SHE’s so BOUNCY, I can’t say a BADWORD about her.
ONAWHIM SHE PEALS off her DUDS, and NAKED is how I caught her,
I’m INAWE, now THEREALME needs a shower in BARRYCOLDWATER.


BS2 12:26 PM  


will JODIEFROSTER gin, but give BARRYCOLDWATER without?


rain forest 3:38 PM  

Appreciation of puns (no, that's not an oxymoron) depends on the eye (mind) of the beholder, or more usually, the beerholder. The ones I most enjoy are those that don't depend on an elaborate build-up, and come snappily in conversation.

The themers here are pretty good, given that they are answers to clues within a theme, and are quite mild, as puns go. The first one was great and got me in the mood to suss out the others. It's kind of neat to see a constructor have some fun.

I don't know if EXOD is awful or not, but it did give me an 'aha' moment since I had been trying to do something with Gen X, and then it dawned. I think @Spacey missed an opportunity--he could have said 2/3 of a word as an abbreviation is absu.

Brilliant first poem, @BS.

I liked this puzzle. It had PEP and was BOUNCY, and PHRYGIA is new to me, and the crosses were needed. THE REAL ME.

Diana,LIW 3:46 PM  

Hooray! A perfectly clean and perfect solve! At last!

Then I come here only to learn that Radwords are not censored. Well, BL*&^P!

But that didn't ruin my day, nor did this puzzle, which amused me no end. I love puns and kiddy jokes - I'm easily amused. Much more fun than a bunch of off-brand names or Arabic letters. Not that I'm STILLL BITTER! (You know who you are, Monday puzzle.)

The groanier the punnier, I say. Think Marx Brothers, folks. I laugh like ELMO.

Even as I filled in gen exer I noted to myself that "xer" is the spelling, and what was that little period doing in the clue? But if we can have TeeVee two days this week, I guess exer is next. Then got to Mary TODD Lincoln, and thought exed? Nah. A, E, I, OH! Bible books. Thought that was a brilliant misdirect. Made me smile. And Exod. is a valid abr. for the 2nd Biblical book in many bible versions and commentaries. So, upon instant replay, I'm taking back that foul flag, @Spacey!

Then there was Todi sitting there at 26 across. Todie Fields - some version thereof? (Tom was Huck's friend.) Got JODIE from the FROSTER.

I'm guessing Rex added that bit explaining the clue for COLDWATER after several commentators cried foul. At least I hope so. Clues must be read carefully, so a SPY can admire their secrets.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Used PC Distributor 7:07 AM  

Nice Blog Post !

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