Popular Bach piece for lute / WED 2-24-16 / College benefactor Yale / Politico lampooned by Fey / Football legend Amos Alonzo / Apple originally marketed to schools / Central figure in Mussorgsky opera / Property recipient in law

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Constructor: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: SUBMERGES (37A: Goes underwater ... or a hint to the answers on the perimeter of this puzzle) — answers on the perimeter are real words that don't fit the clue unless you mentally supply the prefix "SUB-"

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: BOURRÉE (32A: Popular Bach piece for the lute) —
Bourrée in E minor is a popular lute piece, the fifth movement from Suite in E minor for Lute, BWV 996 (BC L166) written by Johann Sebastian Bach. This piece is arguably one of the most famous pieces among guitarists. // A bourrée was a type of dance that originated in France with quick duple meter and an upbeat. Though the bourrée was popular as a social dance and shown in theatrical ballets during the reign of Louis XIV of France, the Bourrée in E minor was not intended for dancing. Nonetheless, some of the elements of the dance are incorporated in the piece. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was pretty painful. I don't think I even understand the theme. That is, I don't get the "merges" part of SUBMERGES. My friend Jesse just suggested "You merge sub with the word in the grid, I guess." Uh ... what? Is that right? I thought maybe (Maybe) the idea was that the SUB edges MERGE into each other ... at the corners ... but that doesn't make sense either, so I guess Jesse's right? The idea of mentally supplying a prefix is being framed as a "merge"? Dreadful. That revealer is borderline incoherent. And why are the answers on the margins, then? What does that have to do with "SUBMERGES"? Baffling. And the fill, man oh man. ENBANC over BOURRÉE pretty much says it all, but LSTS crossing ELIHU says a little more, and then EMAC (!) ESSENES STAGG ouch ouch ouch. Ouch. 2/3 of the parts of M.I.T. in abbrev. form ... I don't understand this puzzle or what it thinks it's doing or what its idea of "entertainment" is. Honestly, one of the grid doctors or Shortz himself had an Obligation to tear out that entire NE corner, from BOURRÉE up (at a minimum) and redo it. 'Cause it's a disaster as is.

Couldn't pick a CITRON out of a line-up. Looks like ENRAPT just means ... RAPT (47D: Totally absorbed), so that was weird. Had LEOTARD instead of UNITARD (11D: Acrobat's wear). Had WAWA / LISA for ECHO / EMAC, and was happier. I'm sorry, I'm still stuck on the very existence of BOURRÉE in this puzzle. Look at that clue. It's got "popular" and "lute" in it. Those words have nothing to do with each other. They shouldn't be allowed anywhere near each other. Popular ... among lutists? Lutenists or whatever they're called? Louts? We are badly, perhaps fatally, stretching the meaning of the word "popular" here. And to have the obscure Frenchism sitting under ENBANC, that's a pont trop loin, mes amis. I asked some of my friends to say nice things about this puzzle, since I appear to be incapable. Lena: "it's [an] impressively open grid for a weds. and honestly I think the theme is neat" (though when pressed she agreed that the revealer didn't make much sense). Patrick: "I liked the clue for ENO" (25A: Composer of music "as ignorable as it is interesting"). I don't know who's being quoted there, but yes, fun clue, and with crosswordese like ENO, a new clue is always welcome. OK, that's enough. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:28 AM  

Medium Wed. for me. Kinda caught the theme when sublet wouldn't work for 1d. Then I saw the revealer (which made sense to me) and the rest went pretty smoothly. The toughest area was the BOURREE/STAGG/ NAT GEO/ EN BANC crosses. Those would be tough on a Sat. let alone a Wed.

@rex - me too for Lisa/ wawa at first.

Xwordinfo talks about how difficult a puzzle like this is to construct and I'm glad Ms. Margolin stuck with it. I thought it was very clever. Liked it much more than Rex did.

Cato Rosenbaum 12:52 AM  

Oh, you didn't even mention the worst of it. SUB is necessary SUBLETTER . And the 2 in H_2O is not a script, it's a SUBSCRIPT (not even a SCRIPTSUB). But none of the other downs need SUB. Why not SUBTKOS? SUBENRAPT? SUBULT? SUBDIP? This whole thing was a mess and painful. By far my highest Wednesday time and maybe the least enjoyable puzzle that I was able to complete in a while.

Anonymous 12:52 AM  

According to wikipedia, Brian Eno actually said that quote.

Lee Coller 12:54 AM  

I really liked this puzzle, merging "sub" with all the answers around the border, and being actual words without the "sub" was nice. Emac was a real groaner (forced by the theme), but aside from that I didn't see anything I really objected to. I thought en banc was fine, but that may be because I enjoy reading Supreme Court opinions (and I'm not even a lawyer).

kozmikvoid 1:24 AM  

I guess I just had a different experience solving this than Rex. I got to 37A, saw "goes underwater," and put in submerges, I stopped there, read some of the perimeter clues and their crosses, and filled in the whole border. The rest was easy.

The theme is pretty straightforward: "Sub" merges with a common word to answer the clue. It's not a great theme by any means, but it certainly isn't confusing or unclear what is happening.

It would've been easy enough to make the clues wacky "?" descriptions that included the common words. Like adding "written in cursive" somewhere in the clue to 45D. That probably would've made the theme better, but I'm pretty sure most people here saw what was going on.

I probably just got lucky seeing the theme within 30 seconds of solving, but this was far below typical Wednesday time for me (7 and change). If you go back and fill in the perimeter answers right away, the interior falls quickly. I didn't know ENBANC, BOURREE or ESSENES, but the crosses were straightforward enough.

Really enjoyed Rex's note on the oxymoronic "popular lutists" clue. Also want to point out that we still haven't seen a themeless Wednesday this year. And Rex's theory of female constructors building themed puzzles continues to receive validation with the current double-header.

Whitey 1:33 AM  

A tricky puzzle like this is more suitable for a Thursday, I should think.

madchickenlittle 2:10 AM  

I thought it was a rebus :(

Unknown 2:23 AM  

SUBSIDES seems a more apt revealer than SUBMERGES.

I like the NW (except for EMAC). I MEAN IT, MACH ONE, RING IN, TEA HOUSE—these are all nice entries.

The rest of the puzzle was painful. STAGG, EN BANC, BOURREE, ESSENES, ALIENEE? Hit me over the head with a fruit cake already.

chefwen 2:35 AM  

It all came together when I read the clue for 37A. AHA, that's why suburb and sublease didn't fit, it all makes sense now. Went ahead and wrote little "subs" around the puzzle.

LeoTARD had to be fixed and I much prefer Wasabi nuts over PEAS, another fix.

BOUREE was a "I've never in my life heard that word" and had to be filled with the down clues, which (thank you very much) were pretty easy. I think ASANA has finally sunk in.

Great puzzle. Did we get Thursday's puzzle a day early?

Ellen S 4:23 AM  

As an alumna of The University of Chicago, I was pleased to see that my expensive education was worth something, STAGG being a gimme. I didn't find anything wrong with ENRAPT either. Sounded perfectly fine to me. But then, I hang out with people who use "louche" in conversation. Here's to the Old Man, the best coach in this land...

krayolakris 4:53 AM  


Jim Walker 5:58 AM  

I liked the puzzle a lot. The main meaning of merge is to put together, as in "we are merging our bank accounts". In the puzzle we are asked to merge the peripheral entries with sub. I don't get OFL's problem.

Gyno E. Barrage 6:25 AM  

Today's haiku:

Not in my wheelhouse
Theme incomprehensible
Better tomorrow?

Ruth 6:44 AM  

I suppose Jethro Tull is "too old to be cool" but a very often-played track from their first album is this very "Bourree" played on flute by Ian Anderson.

Loren Muse Smith 6:44 AM  

Rex – me, too, for "leotard" first, but I was not able to sit and glare at BOURREE with you because I had "tds" for ADS and never thought to check that. So I was just not gonna get this mysterious B _ TSIL place that natives call it. Before I even reached that point, though, I had a mess with "Natty G" for NAT GEO.

Best part of your write up was the "lute" and "popular" not being allowed to appear in the same sentence. Man. The game of coming up with pairs like this could be really fun. "Birthday cake" and "Uzi," "rainbow" and "toilet paper" …

And I also paused about the reveal, first thinking that the DUES/STANCE, SIDE/MARINE parts merge with each other, but the URBAN and TRACT islands kept interfering. So, like Jesse, I finally fit the reveal by realizing that the perimeter words can be merged with SUB. Nothing dreadful there for me.

Very early on, I was seeing the sextet of three down black squares as little "subs," but obviously had to abandon that since half of'em come after the word. I kept checking the top of the grid to make sure it said "Wednesday" and not "Thursday."

Liked SNOB crossing TEAHOUSE, a cross that I know I'm reading too much into. Still, I'm intimidated by tea connoisseurs. Loose tea with all its paraphernalia and the Heat-the-Filtered-Water-to-Almost-A-Boil rules make me feel dumb and unsophisticated. I do know to offer BRITS milk instead of cream. So there’s that.

I paused at ENRAPT, too, but I wasn’t all mad and stuff. I just sat and considered, again, those pairs with the superfluous prefix. Bone/debone, thaw/unthaw… Any puzzle usually offers a springboard for me to wander off into some kind of linguistic reverie. Besides, I just checked, and ENRAPT has some heavy-hitter immunity in the NYT. (BOURREE…not so much.)

I really enjoyed noticing that LIME, LETTER, TRACT, STANCE, DUES, and SIDE on their own are so far removed from their merged-with-sub versions. I can’t join what will probably lots of people playing around with SUB because I just couldn’t come up with anything subtle enough.

Firmly in the Theme eclipses the Fill camp, I liked this, especially messing around with the parsing of SUBMERGE. Ruth, I SALAAM you and your ability to pull off a perimeter word puzzle.

Unknown 7:06 AM  

3d Speed of sound = MACH ONE????? Seriously!!! AGAIN?????????????


A MACH # is a ratio. It has no “dimension.” That means you cannot measure it. A “speed” is something you can measure.

Here’s what MACH is. (non-geeks please skip to #2).

1. You measure the speed of an object as if moving over the ground, say a plane. Then you calculate the speed of sound at the altitude of that object, primarily from the temperature and how “thick” the air is (it’s density)

Divide the first number by the second and you get the object’s “MACH number”. It tells you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the speed of the plane OR the speed of sound. It ONLY tells you if an object is going faster or slower that whatever the speed of sound is in its environment. PERIOD!!

2. Too geeky?? Here is a perfect way you can (guarantee) understand it ---

This is IDENTICAL to percent: %. In fact a MACH number IS a percentage, just with a different name. If someone says 90% of all birds are able to fly (made that # up) how many birds is it that can fly or how many birds cannot fly? Thought so! You can’t answer that. Well you can’t answer the question what is the speed of sound from a MACH number.

Just the like the percentage of birds, a “MACH” number is one number divided by another. In this case it is the speed of one thing divided by the speed of another. You can’t tell the speed of either from just knowing the result. Ergo MACH ONE is never, ever the "speed of sound."

See? I knew you’d get it.

I believe this is my second post
For the exact same mistake.
Should I write WS a note
For him to get this straight?

(Wrote that mostly as a sentence and realized it could also be a poem.)


GILL I. 7:20 AM  

Quelle surprise, @Rex....No! not a disaster as all. This was tres fabulous. The lovely BOUREE tucked underneath ENBANC is such a nice surprise. Even my CITRON would SALAAM you and hope you look at this as different and for goodness sake, the SUB MERGES just like it said...on the perimeter!
Did anyone else have RAISIN for that god-awful fruitcake fruit?
Best Wednesday in ages. I really thought this puzzle was LIME. I'll take more of these Ruth Bloomfield Margolin....

Lobster11 7:23 AM  

"Painful" pretty much sums it up for me. I did about 2/3 of it -- roughly, the parts that were in English -- and then didn't both trying to finish.

Love @Martín Abresch's suggestion that "SUBSIDES seems a more apt revealer than SUBMERGES."

Hungry Mother 7:47 AM  

Hard for me but also fast for a Wednesday. I caught the theme very early which got me on my way quickly. The Bach thingie was new.

Norm 7:49 AM  

Cranky Rex Wednesday, I guess. This was a perfectly good theme and revealer, but some of the fill was indeed crap.

Unknown 7:57 AM  

This puzzle was definitely SUBPAR!!

The English Avocado 7:58 AM  

I got ENBANC, perhaps because I went to law school, and BOUREE, because I listen to Bach. A CITRON is a citrus fruit that's a little larger than a tangerine and more commonly found in Europe. I agree that the splitting of the MIT stuff was painful, but no more so than Rex's Random Capitalizing of Words, as if he were a Founding Father. Maybe he just needs to *know more.* Watch this comment get deleted.

Glimmerglass 8:01 AM  

I found the [sub] entries in the perimeter easy as pie. Some of the fill was hard, but given all those easy perimeters, quite doable. The only one that gave me trouble was BOURREE, and I think there's a dancer's term that is something like that (pas de bourree?). In retrospect, I discover that the edges were easy because I was ignorantly conflating two other words: VERGE (edge) and MARGE (old form of margin). So I foolishly thought that the noun MERGE must mean "edge or margin." So my ignorance made this puzzle easy-medium, quite appropriate for a Wednesday. I wonder if the constructor and editors made the same error I did?

George 8:11 AM  

You're the best, Rex!! A painful New Order song to go with a painful puzzle!!!

Unknown 8:18 AM  

Yes! Subsides would be much better.

Cassieopia 8:21 AM  

After a stellar Monday and Tuesday, today was a DNF as I got torpedoed by the upper right corner: BOURREE, ENBANC, and ESSENES. A sub-standard Wednesday for me.

ArtO 8:24 AM  

I could handle the SUB revealer but the truly awful fill as defined by @Rex was just too much.

pmdm 8:29 AM  

I thought the theme was simple enough to figure out and sensible. Unless you overcomplicate it. I actually though the puzzle was easier than most Wednesday puzzles. Maybe I'm just having a better than average day.

A problem with BOURREE??? The lute pretty much fell out of favor after the Baroque period of music. Many of the composition of that era strung together sequences of the popular dances of the day. Minuets, gigues and so on. The bourree was a popular dance, and it found its way into many of the suites written at the time. Anyone who listens to the music of J. S. Bach would be familiar with the dance, especially one who listens to the cello suites. [Hint] Now perhaps the passepied is a more obscure baroque dance. But the bourree? Sorry, I disagree.

three of clubs 8:32 AM  

Perhaps the revealer means that the sub submerges.

r.alphbunker 8:44 AM  

I loved the puzzle. There was nothing SUBpar about it.

I am not sure why the review was so negative other than to attract attention a la Trump.

First of all a meaning of merge is to combine or cause to combine to form a single entity.

Second, SUBMERGE is a hint not a precise description. It was a good hint because it made me see the theme.

Third, All of the SUB answers are word in their own right.

Dorothy Biggs 8:44 AM  

Like @madchickenlittle, I wondered if this puzzle had some Thursday trickeration in it. No rebus, but still seems Thursday-like to me.

To @kozmikvoid's point, once I figured out the conceit, it was easy. Nothing really tricky about the themers at all. Just words with "sub" in them.

As for the popularity of lute music, just because it ain't popular to you doesn't mean it ain't popular somewhere. I've endured many an author, rapper, painter, or actor-come-lately in these puzzles who were supposed to be "no-brainers," so a piece that lutenists play regularly can exist just as well.

Flute player = flautist; Lute player = lutenist. Because English! I'm half joking...since flautist comes from the Italian "flautista," while lute has no such parallel word. You're welcome for that little tidbit.

@Chuck McGregor/Yeager: Thanks for the informative post about MACH. I think that "MACHONE" is just a popular way for people (lutenists or otherwise) to say that something has reached the speed of sound. Back in the day I was living near SAC AFB we would hear sonic booms all the time. That's when I learned the term "Mach One" described, in shorthand evidently, how fast those jets were going.

Hartley70 8:58 AM  

I am not feeling the pain here. The theme made perfect sense to me and I liked it.

Of course, I'd never heard of STAGG. That's to be expected, but BOURREE is a term every little girl in ballet class learns early on. It was easy once you saw the B and the REE. Put tights on your kids and improve their vocabulary!

Lawyers know ENBANC. Hi @LudyJynn. I hear you lurking.

I'm not sure what the problem is with EMAC. It's an apple for the teacher...and the students. I was more intrigued by @Ellen's "louche" which was living deep in my memory bank. I had to scrabble around in the dark to find it.

All in all a nice Wednesday, Ruth. Thanks for the fun.

Jamie C 8:59 AM  

Somebody beat me to it, but I'll include the link. Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson's rendition of Bach's BOURREE is nothing short of masterful. There are several versions on YouTube, but this is my favorite. Absolutely mesmerizing:

Jethro Tull Bourree

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

@ChuckMcGregor: Thank you for an explanation of MACH. I never really thought about the word before, but everything you said makes sense. I'll memorize that and use it in some future conversation with my wonderful, brilliant, geeky husband, who seems to have our household market cornered on physics and math. Seriously, that explanation is one glorious outcome of this dreadful puzzle. Love it! Thank you.

Wm Martin 9:18 AM  

Nice relaxing rainy Wednesday AM puzzle. I've always liked the puzzles with the theme related to the words on the margin. I thought Rex was way too hard on this one.

Wm. C. 9:18 AM  

Hands up on bouree, made worse by including "popular" in the clue.

OFL is way overboard in his protests about the "submerge" theme, IMO. Made perfect sense to me. And it IS "submerge;" "subside" would be a pont troop loin.

The overwrought complaint about "Mach One" is T, T, T, TMI on the issue. If a vehicle's Mach Number is 1.0, it's going at the speed of sound (at that altitude, TMI on my part). Get a life, Chuck -- I mean this in the kindest possible way. ;-)

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

What a week I'm having.

M - 17 secs over average, 91 over best
T - 78 secs over average, 208 over best
W - 23 secs over average, 209 over best

Haven't seen a stretch like this in a while. Praying for an easy(-ier) Thurs.

chefbea 9:27 AM  

Couldn't finish the puzzle though I did understand the theme. Don't have time to read all the comments because I have to get ready for my house guest who arrives tomorrow...my foodie daughter from Rome will be visiting..So I might not stop by here for several days...have to show her Wilmington and eat lots of southern food

Aqualung 9:29 AM  

Loved it.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

It may just be me, but my preferred "Superbowl highlights" are OTs, not ADs. Most definitely not ADs! But chacun a son gout.

I really enjoyed this puzzle and I got the trick in the first corner: (SUB)LIME and (SUB)LETTER. But then I kept forgetting, asking myself: How can the USS Nautilus be a MARINE? I am so absent-minded. But a lovely puzzle, and I hope it doesn't mean we won't get a rebus tomorrow, too.

thfenn 9:47 AM  

I enjoyed this one. Was basically at a complete loss until stumbling across the revealer, and then everything fell into place fine, which I still think makes it all 'fun'. Never saw that particular take on SALAAM (a respectful bow), and didn't know ASANA was a Yoga posture, so learned something there. Have always understood MACHONE to be 'the speed of sound' so was OK with the clue/answer but appreciate being further educated on that now as well. Wouldn't have gotten BOURREE without the crosses, but also love that Jethro Tull piece (just didn't remember that's what it was named).

Fargo 9:51 AM  

If my Mach meter says that I'm at Mach one, then I know that I'm flying at the speed of sound in the medium in which I'm flying -- as a physicist, you are technically correct about a Mach no. being a ratio. As a pilot, it is a convenient indication of an important speed that is normalized for the conditions of flight. I have no problem with it.

Z 9:58 AM  

@three of clubs - Yes. I think the reveal works both ways, making it better than the also creative "subsides."

@Cato Rosenbaum - Methinks you missed the word "perimeter" in the reveal.

@anon12:52 - Thanks. Did you know that better written Wiki entries link to sources? The quote is at the end.

EMAC is getting a lot of hate. The clue seemed a little off to me (was it ever marketed to anyone other than schools?) but it was definitely a big thing in the early years of Job taking Apple from needing a loan from Microsoft to a company now fighting the jackboots at the FBI.

@LMS - Your tea snobs barely even qualify. I've been in one tea merchant that has recommended water temps and steep times for each variety of tea they sell. I thought craft beer drinkers were getting bad. We've got nuthin on these folk.

@Chuck McGregor - Either you ignored me the last time this came up or you disagree. Still, the clue is fine. All speeds are ratios. And, yes, MACH ONE does tell me something about a plane's speed. It tells me that the plane is going at 100% of the speed of sound. Also, it has a dimension. If the speed of sound is 768 MPH and the Jet is going MACH ONE the plane is traveling at 768 MPH. That the ground speed of MACH ONE varies doesn't mean it doesn't measure ground speed. All it means is that, for its purpose it's easier to use, like saying "one liter" instead of saying "one cubic decimeter."

Greg 10:00 AM  

Yikes. First Wednesday in a long time that I couldn't finish, thanks to the clump involving STAGG, BOUREE, ENBANC, and ESSENES. On a Wednesday? Thanks for the trivia lesson. Guess I need a lot more years of solving for those to be "gimmees".

Ian Anderson 10:03 AM  

If Rex had been hipper he would have made the Jethro Tull BOURREE (even though they spell it with only one "R") the video of the day. I enjoyed this if mostly for the hour I just wasted watching old JT videos from back in the day.

Proud Mamma 10:07 AM  

Again disagree with Rex. I assume I am way less experienced than most here. Often can't finish Thursfay w/o google search. This was quick.

Liked the sub theme, although I was confused when sub didnt work for 10d.

Had saga for gest until i saw kitt. What the heck is gest? Apparently a tale of adventure. No other errors. Hardest was stagg/bouree/en banc. Resisted gnu because stagg seemed unlikely.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:18 AM  

Great puzzle, IMHO.

Easy enough once I got the gimmick, but enough bite to the interior to keep it from being too easy.

jrstocker 10:19 AM  

I agree that the NE was a problem, and unfortunately that's where I ended it. Up to that point, I liked it quite a bit. Root words that merge with the prefix 'Sub'. SUBMERGES. I was ok with that.

blinker474 10:22 AM  

I really, really, truly do not understand Rex; not at all. Solving the puzzle was not difficult. "submerge" perfectly describes what's going on here. How can he not readily grasp that?? And why the perpetual griping about the fill. Fill will always be there, and will always be less than ideal. We all know that, and we all (except for Rex), accept that.

Okay, that's it for me.

mac 10:23 AM  

Not a smooth solve for me, and it took a while before I got the theme, although the puzzle was almost completely filled in. Of course some of the answers made no sense at all.

Citron is candied lemon rind, which you use in fruit cakes and other baked goods. Just looked for my package of angelica, but my husband must have tossed it.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

This week is confused re the order of difficulty. This is definitely a thurs. Stagg, Bourne, citron,subscript tripped me up altho I recognized theme early on.challenging!

jcj 10:25 AM  

Plus, when a subMARINE SUBMERGES, the "sub" disappears from view.

Malsdemare 10:32 AM  

@chuckmacgregor, that was gorgeous. Thanks for the physics lesson.

ENRAPT was fine, having used the word myself on occasion. BRASIL took forever since I too had tDS. Loved SALAAM. What bugs me about this puzzle, along with BOURREE, ENBANC, and the rest, is that I treated this as a rebus on my iPad app, filling in SUB where necessary. Nope, didn't get the congratulations I so richly deserved.

I too think this was Thursday's puzzle.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Smarmy comments, as usual. Tone it down.

Malsdemare 10:41 AM  

@ Jamie C, that was SUBLIME,

Joseph Michael 10:44 AM  

The theme makes sense to me and I like that the themers work both with and without the "sub."

Must have been a bear to find fill that would flow to and from the perimeters. Thought this was handled successfully in all but the NE, which is a small disaster.

DNF thanks to STAGG, BOURREE, and EN BLANC, but enjoyed the rest of it. Nice to have a challenging Wednesday for a change.

kitshef 10:59 AM  

I'll risk being on of many to respond to @Cato Rosenbaum - it is only the words around the edges of the puzzle that take SUB.

Hand up for STAGG being a gimme for a U of Chicago attendee.

I note that the Wikipedia excerpt chosen to explain BOURREE begins "... a popular lute piece", which seems to support the clue as written quite well.

ENBloC before ENBANC, quickly changed when I put in leoTARD, itself quickly replaced by UNITARD. SALute before SALAAM.

I agree with @Glimmerglass that the very easy nature of the perimeter made this overall easy, despite some tricky words inside. And the revealer made sense to me - you MERGE sub with tract to get subtract.

old timer 11:03 AM  

I am shocked that @AliasZ has not shown up to offer us some popular bourrees from J.S. Bach or others. Glad to listen to a little of the Jethro T piece but I prefer the rare old stuff.

As happens way too often, OFL has gone way out of his way to trash a very good puzzle, mainly because he does not know a bourree when he hears it, and is mad at himself for not immediately figuring out the revealer and what to do with it. Probably like everyone, I started in the NW corner and after discarding "airy" as an entry started to run the alphabet trying to find a s-letter word ending in ETTER that could mean "subtenant". Fortunately the middle of the puzzle was as easy as it should be on a Wednesday, crosses made SUBMERGES obvious, and it was equally obvious that each word on the perimeter needed a SUB in front of it. The rest of the puzzle became a snap, except in the SW corner, where SCRIPT was not obvious. Fortunately I knew the song with INME, had eaten the Wasabi PEAS at Bishop, CA's finest (and only) Japanese restaurant, and unlike some people, knew immediately that CITRONs belong in fruitcakes.

So I came here expecting a little love for the puzzle from @Rex. I thought it was clever and well done. And educational for those who may not know that PISA is on the Arno, nor that a full court of appeals sits EN BANC. Quaintly, the California Supreme Court's opinions always begin with the EN BANC notation, even though no one now alive ever saw that court issue an opinion with less than the full 7 justices (if one is absent, a Court of Appeal judge is appointed to fill in, unlike the U.S. Supreme Court).

I do always have trouble with GNU, because if you go on safari in most parts of Africa, the tasty (to lions) animal is called a wildebeest. It was GNUs to me when I discovered the two were the same beast.

cwf 11:06 AM  

@Anonymous 12:52 AM is correct. It's from the liner notes for Music for Airports.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:13 AM  

The lute was the original pop instrument in the 15th and 16th centuries, more popular than the virginals, or perhaps even than the clavichord. And this isn't the TV guide puzzle, it's the New York Times puzzle, all New York Times readers read Shakespeare at some point in their lives, at least. I liked that this puz had a lot of words in it, rather than obscure proper names. Not bad at all.

Unknown 11:15 AM  

Not to belabor the point (as he belabors it anyway...plus other stuff) —

Just to add to my previous post, one could say that, at MACH ONE, something is going "as fast as" or "at" the speed of sound BUT that doesn't equate to it being the "Speed of sound."

Or as @NCA President 8:44 AM also correctly put it, MACH ONE is a way to “say that something has reached the speed of sound,” whatever that speed might be.

So, what IS the speed of sound? Better yet, what are the slowest and fastest speeds that sound can travel?

In stuff called “aerogels,” the speed of sound can be as low as 155 mph. So, if a race car (and even some “regular” cars) moving in that stuff, it could easily hit, say, MACH ONE or 155 mph. On the other hand, the speed of sound in the densest neutron star (and there are sound waves in them) can max out at the speed of light which is about 670,000,000 (670 million) mph. If it did, the light would be travelling at MACH ONE. Thus the speed of something moving at MACH ONE, i.e. AT the speed of sound, could be traveling at a speed anywhere between 155 mph and 670,000,000 mph.

Still on the subject of “sound,” in the 1980s I was involved (audio-wise) with a performance of Mahler’s 8th symphony at Ravinia, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s summer home. Diva KIRI Te Kanawa was the principle soprano soloist. (Name dropping to follow) By chance, a friend of mine showed up to attend the concert. He was the late Howard Scott, the producer for Glenn Gould’s seminal recording “The Goldberg Variations.” I invited him up to hear the concert from sound booth (used to “mix” the sound for the audience on the lawn outside the Ravinia’s music pavilion). He very readily agreed. At one point during the performance, when all of the 175 or so musicians and the 300-voice or so chorus (a combo of three) were all playing/singing, KIRI tilted her head back and hit these beautiful notes that literally soared over this entire ensemble. Howard and I looked at each other, our mouths open in wonderment with the hair on the back of our necks standing fully up! What a voice!! As a performer, she was great to work with.

For those who don’t know, this symphony has been nick-named “Symphony for a Thousand” because of the very large ensemble for which it was scored. I asked the conductor (James Levine) after the concert if he knew how many musicians there actually were. He said, “I really don’t know. Maggie (Margret Hills, the then Chicago Symphony’s choral director) brought in a few ringers at the last minute.”

A few days before this concert, a well-known organ company was installing an “electronic pipe organ” for the performance. I got a call from Ravinia‘s production manager who was panicked at all the loudspeakers they had lined up against the upstage wall would overwhelm the orchestra. I told her not to worry. They could hook up ALL the loudspeakers they wanted. Jimmy (maestro Levine) would balance the organ’s volume with the orchestra.

During the first rehearsal with this “beast,” the organist hit his first notes. Levine stopped things and told him to turn it down. This happened some three times before he was satisfied with its volume level. During this, the organ company’s personnel had broad grins at those first notes that gradually turned sour as the organ sound receded into being just another one among the mass of the other sounds. Watching them, my expressions went the exactly opposite direction, as in, guess what guys? your organ is not the “star.” (evil heh heh!)


G. Weissman 11:16 AM  

That's the third ENO sighting for 2016. By the way, an underlying theme is not a SUBTEXT. The cluer seems unaware of what that word actually means.

Nancy no longer in PA 11:24 AM  

I too left the puzzle happily hearing the Jethro Tull Bourree in my head. Liked it for other reasons too. But as I've said before, I like them all.

RooMonster 11:25 AM  

Hey All !
I believe the theme reveal means the SUBs are SUBMERGEd. As in they are below, out of sight, not "MERGing". IN ME Humble Opinion.

Nice that all the themers are real words sans SUB.

For UNITARD, only wrote in TARD at the end, waiting to see if UNI or leo. I do that with the Mauna ___ clue when that pops up also. Write in the __A and wait on crosses. Saves on writeovers!

Speaking of writeovers, had tDS till the end, when finally figured out BRASIL, and said, "Ooooohh, ADS, ya got me!" Also, outS-UMPS, artHOUSE-TEAHOUSE, iMAC-EMAC. Yet, still a DNF with a G at BOURRgE/ESSENgE.

Always remember MensREA from the movie See No Evil, Hear No Evil, with Richard Pryor as a blind guy and Gene Wilder as a deaf guy. The scene when Wilders character sees the lips of the person who says they had MensREA for the crime, then turns his back, and Wilder goes, well, wild thinking it's a disease of some kind. Funny stuff!

Seems Mr, Shortz has ramped up this weeks puz offerings. Tomorrow is gonna work the ole brain, I believe.

STAGG could've been clued for their chili. Good stuff if you've never tried it.

Is an ALIENEE one who gets Alienated? Or a rider in a UFO?
And why do alot of words beginning with U have an A only in front and not an AN? Like UFO. An UFO sounds strange. An ukulele. Odd, eh? M&A?

SUBFRAME -Alternate revealer?

Chaos344 11:26 AM  

Definitely a "wheelhouse" Wednesday for me. A "Sub" 10 minute run to MHP is somewhat below my average. Filled in all the Across clue answers from 45 to 66 almost as fast as I could type. When I saw the Nautilus,(SS-571) at 49D, I immediately realized the "Sub" theme. My boat,(USS.Cobbler SS-344)) often shared the same pier with her at the submarine base in New London, Connecticut. The theme reveal allowed me to fill all the perimeter answers expediently. The rest of the puzzle imploded easily from there.

Had to erase CHERRY for CITRON
Had to erase CURTSY for SALAAM (That's when I saw the Nautilus clue)
Had to erase WANE for SIDE after the theme reveal
Didn't know BOURREE, but it filled in completely from the crosses.
Learned ENBANC years ago from a puzzle. I never forgot it, and I typed it in without even blinking.

Very nice puzzle Ms. Margolin!

Z 11:28 AM  

PPP Analysis

29% (22/76)

Twinings clue
You've Got A Friend IN ME
KIRI (Diva? Really?)
Mussorgsky clue

Aaron Riccio 11:30 AM  

Sorry, but STAGG stacked on ENBANC stacked on BOURREE crossing ESSENES is far from "fair" on a Wednesday. The rest of the puzzle could've been perfect, and I'd still have dinged it. (You've also got BRASIL in there and NAT GEO.)

Why go through the trouble of all that side-construction if you're going to leave an entire quadrant so unpolished?

Geochem 11:31 AM  

I enjoyed it! Had a couple of ridiculous moments thinking the clues had not been numbered correctly until I twigged the theme (which like some others noted, made sense to me)... When I disagree with Rex's write-up so strongly it's interesting to go back, re-read, and think about the things he noticed that I didn't. Still, wouldn't mind seeing more from this constructor!

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Apparently Rex got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and everything strikes him as wrong. I found today's puzzle easier than I expected. The theme made perfect sense to me but I thought it made the puzzle almost too easy.

Lewis 11:38 AM  

I think the reveal was just right -- the SUB MERGES with the perimeter words, and having that reveal in the middle made the theme quicker to catch than if it was on the bottom, and like others here, as soon as I grokked the theme, the entire perimeter filled in quickly. I liked RINGIN, MACHONE, TEAHOUSE, and ESSENES (has anyone here ever had Essene bread?? Yum!). I like that the perimeter words could stand on their own. These good things outweighed the negative to me.

Expect some negative in puzzles. Try to make one, or fifty, and you will see that it is hard to keep some negatives out of a puzzle, and rare is the puzzle without them. Rarer if you're bent on finding them.

The puzzle does have a down SIDE (I am meaning this literally) and I see that BERN is by the SEA, although it really isn't; nonetheless I'm still feeling the BERN. Overall, I submit that my solve was substantially pleasurable.

AZPETE 11:42 AM  

Nor do I. Liked this puz. If Rex had shortz's job all we would ever get would be a buzzfeed puz or a blank space.

Andrew Heinegg 11:43 AM  

I knew Rex wouldn't like this but did not see that rant coming. My take on the sub prefix is that you can figure it out but, it is not very executed when, in order to make it work, you have to come up with answers like emac. I mean, c'mon. And, certain words should never be allowed to make their way into Wednesday or later in the week crosswords,e.g., abs, spa and LSTS. Use them on Monday or Tuesday, if you must. Anyway, coming to the blog today was well worth the time to see and hear Ian Anderson masterfully play the Bouree on his flute. He's a weird guy but a brilliant musician whom I saw in concert many years ago and was astounded by his performance.

AliasZ 12:03 PM  

I find that the key to crossword themes and their revealers is to not overthink them. "SUB" MERGES with entries on the grid's perimeter. It made total sense to me.

The subsequent sussing out the subject, although done at subsonic speed, subjectively took substantially less time than ordering a SUBMARINE sandwich at a Subway drive-through in a Subaru. Not to be subversive, but the puzzle was soon subjugated into a subservient status and a submissive posture, and I didn't even suffer a subdural hematoma.

Here is the lovely "Prelude and BOURRÉE" from the Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996 by J.S. Bach.

Lutenists play the luten, flautists play the flaut.


TokyoRacer 12:03 PM  

Tale of adventure. Is that supposed to refer to Beau Geste? Which has an "e" on the end...

Anoa Bob 12:15 PM  

I don't think SUBSIDES would work well as a revealer since SIDE is one of the themers already at 69A. Plus the SUB MERGES with entries on the sides as well as on the top and bottom.

@Chuck, you're reasoning shows some right stuff, and is well-taken, but one could counter-argue that any given specific measure, say 342.2 meters per second, might or might not be the speed of sound, depending on the density of the medium through which it passes, while MACH ONE is always the speed of sound, regardless of the density of the medium through which it travels.

Too bad SONIC wasn't one of the peripheral themers.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

I was stuck thinking it must be a rebus, with "SUB*" in the appropriate squares. Went to bed in despair; :) :) woke up with the idea to try just taking out the "SUB" -- and that was all there was to it!

But in the solution this theme made absolutely no sense to me.

Indypuzzler 12:27 PM  

Thank you Ruth and Jamie C for the Tull/Anderson Bourree link! As for me...Jethro Tull WAS cool, and now is CLASSIC cool. I had just gotten to the point where I thought I could predict a Rex panning when I saw today's write up. Seems reasonable and clever to "merge" sub with a stand alone word. I admit I don't like SUBLETTER" but I'm not sure it's justified, I tend to think "lessor/lessee" but that is a law school remnant and the term sublet is common. I'm not sure I understand the objection to Bourree. Since I didn't study music I usually will look for a YouTube link after I find an "unfamiliar" composition in a puzzle....surprise...I always have heard the piece and I just don't know it's name because that's not my thang.

Chip Hilton 12:57 PM  

Sorry, Rex. I liked it and found the revealer to be quite fair. BOURREE came quickly to this lover of Bach and anything I couldn't get on its own (EMAC, ENBANC, ASANA, ESSENES) came easily through crosses. I liked the clue for UMPS, as it forced me to think a bit. And Boola, Boola, for good old ELIHU, whose final U ensures that we get to see him a lot here.

Well done, Ms. Margolin!

Masked and Anonymous 1:01 PM  

har. Well, good mornin, @009/Sunshine. Couldn't pick a CITRON out of a lineup of what? Four Citroens, a Citron, and a lemon? M&A's gotta admit, tho -- nothin says "SUBMERGE" like a bunch of themers RINGIN' the outer surface of yer grid. [SUB-SIDES woulda indeed been a better revealer, other than it has one of them even-numbered word lengths. How'bout SUB-SIDING, maybe?]

This little Ruth Bloomfield gal sure took on a mess of cats to herd, with these all-edgy themers. And the east-west edges are only two words each, which makes a bunch of 6.7-ish long corner wordstacks tangle with all yer themers. Fer instance: LETTER/IMEANIT/MACHONE, with the starts of IMEANIT/MACHONE dictated by LIME. Whoa. M&A therego anticipates the sweet taste of utter fill desperation mixed with citrons …

* EMAC. Sounds like a mating of IMAC and EMAG. Get a room, folks. No PDAs.
* STAGG. Has M&A-knew-it immunity. There is actually an annual STAGG Bowl football game. (No dates allowed.)
* LE BOUIRRIERRE. French soundin. Learned somethin gnu. Again. Nice maskin of its anatomy, with NATGEO, BRASIL, ENBANC and ESSENES. One good thing to come out of BOUREEREE is the @muse "in the same sentence" challenge, which will revenantly be dealt with separately…
* ALIENEE. Victim of one of them UFO-abduction enemas. Or M&A, while solvequestin the SW (Roswell-esque) zone.
* SASHIMI/KIRI. Learned more stuff. And learned to never have a clue in a runtpuz that reads {Diva ___ Te Kanawa}. Star Wars reference?
* PALIN. Liked that she was near-submerged, in the grid. She could see the submerged edge, from her house.
* ASANI. Yogart position, evidently. Short for "Ass on Knee". Now U know. Stick with The M&A Help Desk.

(m)Use in the Same Sentence Challenge:

1. The Sabra's BIRTHDAY CAKE had a cool picture of an UZI iced into its SUB-merged top surface frosting.
2. The RAINBOW girls threatened to TOILET-PAPER M&A's tree, if he didn't buy the SUB-standard cinnamon rolls that they were peddling.
3. BURIEREE is a POPULAR SUB-harmonic piece for the LUTE.
[More, please.]

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Martel Moopsbane 1:01 PM  

I had LETToR for 1D, and thought it was OK, since "lessor" means landlord. That gave me oNO for 25A, which also looked right.

On reconsideration, I think Yoko fits the "ignorable" part of the clue but fails the "interesting" part.

Joe Bleaux 1:06 PM  

Whiny time: Other groaners in this tedious puzzle have been addressed, but ... Was anyone else put off by GASSER as the answer to "Thigh-slapper"?

Masked and Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Almost forgot to thank Ms. Margolin, for a real different, fun WedPuz solvequest. It was feisty but SUB-merciless.
Standin O, for attemptin this wildass feat. Could not have done better, myself.
fave weeject: ULT.
Gonna have to count 10 extra U's, for whatever kinda SUB-verse-ive stuff was goin on, on them edgers.
15 U's! [MasterfUll! Honorary I Fink U Freaky Award territory!]

"Woulda Solved It Faster -- But Had a Cake Hangover"

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

Hand up for knowing BOURREE due to being a huge Jethro Tull fan, though the title on their album is spelled BOURÉE rather than with two R's. This puzzle was a tough Wednesday, definitely edging into Thursday territory for me. I SALAAM the constructor for shaking up the week with a twist on the usual themes.

Since the SUB at 1A and 1D went both ways, I was a bit bewildered to find that not being the case at 10A and 13D but I can't think of any words ending in SUB. (Though perhaps one could say at the deli that they wanted a SIDE SUB).

EN BANC immediately brought to mind that fact that there will only be an octet attending at EN BANC sessions of the Supreme Court, at least for the nonce. And I was certainly out to SEA trying to figure out the sextet of UMPS; it wasn't "games",or "players". And I went with SUBMERsES as the revealer at first with "saga" in place of GEST but Eartha KITT got me back on (sub)TRACT.

Thanks, Ms. Margolin.

Masked and Anonymous 1:33 PM  

@Roo - Somebody told m&e that U were now scheduled to get yerself published in this here rodeo. Is this troo?! [If so, read on.] Congrats! Had one published, a while back. It's quite an experience. It's sorta like one of them showin up for yer doctoral thesis oral presentation in the nude dreams, or somesuch. Break a leg!

Also, I got me a great new Trump campaign slogan, that all GOP-pers should adopt:
"UNITARD we stand, together we fall!"

"SUB-Surfacing, Again"

Unknown 1:35 PM  

I know ENBANC only from a previous NYT crossword; I think it was complained about on the blog.

I'm glad someone else mentioned Jethro Tull; that's the only way I knew the word BOUREE.

The biggest headscratcher for me was ALIENEE. I have never heard or seen that word in my life; dictionary.com labels it a "dated word". It looks like something from the X-Files.

puzzle hoarder 1:50 PM  

I'm seeing a pattern here. Every time @Rex comes across a theme he doesn't or won't understand he goes to lengths to show that it's the puzzle that's being dense.
My one nit to pick is that the first use of "sub" is the only one which works in two directions. I just left that first square blank until I got down to the reveal. The word LETTER in and of itself relates to the 1D clue. LIME by itself makes no sense in relation to the 1A clue. I at first assumed that the "subs" would be four letter rebuses. The fourth letter would be the first or last letter of the two corresponding answers. Since I solve in pencil it wasn't hard to write them in. It didn't take long to figure out the real pattern.
Other than the M.I.T. repetition I didn't find the fill any worse than a lot of much cornier puzzles. The "sub" appearing asymetriccally threw me off at times. Finishing was also delayed by SALUTE/SALAAM and NATURE/NATGEO write overs. The latter was especially confusing due to a lack of familiarity with 28A and 32A. Sometimes ignorance can be a good thing. I can't nit pick about lutes and mach one will always be the speed of whatever jet that just broke the sound barrier. See how great ignorance can be. The puzzles' theme is "sub" merged with something else.
This is a theme I liked. Atta girl RBM.

Kate 2:01 PM  

Yes, the Jethro Tull Bourree made it famous again, but I thought you would have embedded this vid from Pick of Destiny which starts off with Jack Black riffing on the Bourree. https://youtu.be/NsPFvqguawU

Mohair Sam 2:05 PM  

Jeez @Rex. The syllable "SUB" MERGES with each word on the perimeter of this puzzle to form the answer to the appropriate clue. Seems like a legitimate revealer to me, and a fine theme too.

Had planned to rip into OFL for his review, but his rant about the clue for BOURREE ("It's got "popular" and "lute" in it. Those words have nothing to do with each other. . . . . . .") got me laughing so hard they brightened an up to now miserable and rainy day. All is forgiven.

Many years ago a zoo out west held a contest to name two new GNUs it had obtained, something to get the public interested. The winning names? Weather and Sports. It was reported as fact on a local news station, so I think it was a true story, but you never know.

I know CITRON and fruitcake, but had no idea the twain had met. ENBANC over BOURREE was Saturday stuff in this house, especially when we were determined that TDS belonged in the Super Bowl, BRASIL or no BRASIL. Just finished reading "Galileo's Daughter" so PISA a gimme, otherwise NE would have crashed us. Learned today that SALAAM had a bow component.

Anybody else think that Will Shortz' calendar is a day off this week?

dick swart 2:08 PM  

Wow, Rex! When you don't get it, its the constructors fault? Hmmmm ...

'Bouree', 'enbanc' may be a reach, but obtainable. The revealer gave it away nicely for the addition of 'sub' to the side words. I think you are over thinking 'merge' and ranting at the constructor because you didn't get it.

Suzy 2:27 PM  

I totally agreewith @Gill 1-- easy, enjoyable, well-designed puzzle. Seems to me that when a puzzle isn't in his 'wheelhouse,' Rex blames the
puzzle rather than the wheelhouse!

Mohair Sam 3:05 PM  

@Lewis 11:38 - Perfectly put.

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

@mac citron is NOT "candied lemon rind" --- as found in fruitcake it is candied citron. Citron is one of the four primeval citrus fruits, from which four all that we know today were bred.

xyz 3:24 PM  

More difficult than expected, some really sub-xyz fill so I generally agreed with the RexKing. Entertaining rant!

RooMonster 4:04 PM  

Hmm... @M&A, do you have a mole at the NYT? I hope it's true, but haven't seen anything in the ole e-mail yet. Hope I wasn't harsh on your puz when it ran!
And your first post today still has me laughing. I want to be as clever as yoU when I grow up!


Chronic dnfer 4:35 PM  

What Rex said. Caught onto the sub thing which was helpful. Dnf'd at bourrie and essenis. Guessed at salaam kitt and artoo. Not a star wars fan. Had citrus for too long. Not sure what a citron is. My gf loves fruit cake and we get one every year from her mother. It's made by the monks in Tennessee. Delicious!

Leapfinger 5:16 PM  

What fun to get traction by SUBtraction!

What with the looming threat of tornadoes, I'm all for having subterfuge instead of centrifuge. It's a good day when Judge Lance subIto and his subaltern Rosa dress in subfusc for their prime mission to subjugate subhuman subculture. Incidentally, it's also the only way to subdue the subtle (hi, lms) Subaru-mediated pain of subxiphoid subluxation.

Which unaccountably segues into the now-classic motto for Yale-trained orthopods: "Sublux et Veritas"

I'm impressed that the one car included in the grid is not a SUBaru, but the French CITRON. This speaks to Ms Margolin's versatility, and is probably due to her appreciation of hydropneumatic subspensions. OTOH, I was mildly surprised at the absence of 'fairy cakes' and 'spotted dick', essene in BRIT TEAHOUSES everywhere.

It's just lucky that Ruth Margolin and I both decided to re-SUBscribe, cuz I really like this SUBversion.

Jim 5:19 PM  

No issue with the theme - was clever enough even if I basically solved it without getting the idea. The fill was pure dreck. Rex's comment about Lute and popular sums it up very well. But there was so much more that was terrible. Too many proper names that were more obscure than a Thursday.

Merle 5:28 PM  

The "sub" begins at the top line and bottom line of the across clues. The top line across words and the bottom line across words all begin with "sub", which gets added to the other fill. One down picks up the "sub" as well, as does 13 down, completing the corners.At the bottom line, the "sub" travels upward, so that 45 down and 49 down also begin with "sub", again completing the corners. The "sub" begins the word. Call it "merges with" if you like.

One down subletter (a subtenant), One across sublime,5 across suburban, 10 across subdues, 11 down substance.

Working up from the bottom, 45 down is subscript, which is what the 2 in H2O is -- hey, my laptop won't give me a subscript for 2. Then, moving straight across, bottom line, 67 across subtext, 68 across subtract, 69 across subside, and moving upward from there, 49 across submarine. We all live in a yellow submarine, apparently.

I found today's puzzle easy-peasy, just a regular puzzle. So often I come to this blog, because Rex always solves everything, and I sometimes am totally stumped by too many contemporary pop culture clues and answers. I am 73 years old, and I like all the classic and classical clues and answers. If too much is not in my wheelhouse, and not enough is, I think my crossword salad days are done and gone. There was one itsy-bitsy bit of fill today I didn't get -- I had the sta of 22 across, then a blank, then the g of 23 down gnu. I know zip about sports, never heard of Stagg. I had the nat of 9 down, thought it should be nature, as in Nature channel, never heard of Natgeo as a channel. Figured out the en of 28 across en banc, had the banc, but the e of the en didn't fit nature, and natgeo didn't occur to me, since I never heard of it. One little problem in an otherwise easy-peasy enjoyable romp.

I greatly enjoy Rex's commentary on a puzzle. Rex is da bomb. (How's that for totally outdated slang? Would da bomb ever appear in a contemporary crossword? I doubt it....

Z 5:53 PM  

If you were following Rex on Twitter last night you might have noticed other constructors agreeing with him about the theme (and some allusions to the difficulty of filling a perimeter theme). I like this theme more than Rex, but if you think it is "just Rex being Rex" you'd be wrong.

@Chuck McG - @Anoa Bob said it much better than I. And you said it so well that others think you're right. Sigh.

@Gregory Schmidt & @Aaron Riccio - Agreed. Scarily, the constructor says she got help in the NE. Yikes! My PPP Analysis suggests this is nearing the "uh oh" zone with proper nouns and pop culture.
BTW -,This is her third puzzle, all Wednesday's, although she was Ruth B. For her earlier puzzles.

@kitshef - That the clue looks like it was lifted from Wiki makes it even worse to me. There's a dozen people here who would have written a better clue. I'm with OFL on this one.

@Prof Weissman - "underlying" is a tricky word. Could be "primary" or could be "not readily apparent." I'm thinking it works.

@Joe Bleaux - GASSER sounds like something out of the 30's. Better than a clue out of the 40's, but not as good as not being here at all.

sasses 6:37 PM  

Enjoyed hearing about your backstage experience with some of my musical heroes.

David Storrs 6:37 PM  

I'm not as good as most of you, so maybe lucky that I started right at 37A which solved the four corners in a flash. I don't see a problem with Emacs, which just ten years ago was a big Apple effort, or En Banc, which is frequently in newspaper articles about court cases, or Stagg, who invented football - nothing wrong with those words.

David Storrs 6:41 PM  

To be fair, I was thinking corners for the eight SUB clues, and finally reread 37A to see "perimeter" to get Suburban and Subtract, but that was my fault and not Margolin's. I like this puzzle much more than the old kind with arcane dictionary words.

Anoa Bob 6:56 PM  

Hey @Roo, a week ago your post ended with the following stand-alone, separate paragraph sentence: "Hey, Will said yes...". I took that to mean he said yes to a puzzle submission & gave you a "congrats" the next day. Guess I misread it. Maybe that's M&A's source, directly or indirectly.

old timer 7:30 PM  

Here it is 7:22 PM New York time, so maybe this won't be published, but I trust OFL will read it.

I know, I can be a little harsh, or at least abrupt with @Rex when he disses a puzzle I really liked. But I just looked at the comments on Deb Amlen's piece @Wordplay. Now Deb has no choice but to be nice to every construct her -- that's her job. But the comments to her little column can be all over the map, and I have to say, I truly respect the regulars in this blog, who are on average 1000% smarter (I know, some of you comment there as well as here),

And so here I am to say, even if I disagree old buddy @Rex (or young buddy, really) I really appreciate your taking the time every single day to give us your thoughts and provide a forum to such great people.

One of whom, I called out earlier, @AliasZ, regretting he hadn't posted in the first round. He did now, and I just loved the BOURREE performance. Thanks today and thanks always, my friend.

David in CA 7:32 PM  

OMG what totally unjustified ranting by Rex and others on the theme/reveal here! It was perfect. Merge=combine, adn you combine SUB with the grid letters to get the answers, and for goodness sake the clue for 37A says it is a HINT!!!

Great puzzle! So the "trick" came on Wednesday rather than Thursday this week - is that such a bigdeal? I think it has happened before and I don't think Will or anyone promises only Thursday will be a non-standard puzzle.

Elephant's Child 10:22 PM  

@M. le Danois, j'entendrai ce 'Lute Suite' tout de suite

@M. &Anonymous, Diva ___Te Kenawa: not Star Wars, Maori. Earns a special mention in the Horatio Alger Hiss Collection with Hara Kiri Te Kenawa. Oh btw, if those 4 Citroens were yellow, you'd have to admit things could get challenging.

@Mme. EllenS, 'louche', really? Colour me impressed! I've only come across that in print. Perhaps you can throw in a 'nubile' or two for me. Similar, but different, and equally evocative.

Four primeval citrus fruits? Now, there's a fascinoma! I'm pretty sure I found one in the back of my refrigerator once -- EOCITRON, maybe.

Suborned again.

Anonymous 11:20 PM  

Mohair Sam, I looked up the Gnus and found that Weather and Sports had progeny News and Bulletin at the Topeka Zoo.


Chim cham 12:31 AM  

Wow. Kudos to anyone who enjoyed this or found it approachable. What a headache. 70% of it easy enough - but jeeze, the rest (as outlined perfectly by Mr. Parker) was 'bout to give me a tumor.

Diana,LIW 12:51 AM  

@RedV from yesterday. - Loved your Busnaps! Totally agree!!!


Burma Shave 12:28 PM  


Just SUBTRACT the SUBSCRIPT from the SUBTEXT and then,
SEA, those ARTOO I’m ENRAPT with, neither SUBDUES any urges.

this stream of unconsciousness brought to you from the yellow SUBMARINE

BS2 12:44 PM  

BTW - if you missed it:

Diana,LIW 1:17 PM  

I sometimes try to solve the perimeter prior to the rest of the puzzle. Imagine my confusion. Going inland a tad, I got some of the edges, and "how in the world is SIDE becoming less intense? And LIME? Huh? Didn't see the revealer until 3/4 way through. It sure would have helped.

It also would have helped if we knew this was a THURSDAY PUZZLE. one day ahead all week! Then I'd be looking for help from the revealer when this rebussy stuff started to happen. I mean LETTER could possibly be a SUBLETTER. I guess. But I have sublet apts, and that sub was always there.

Needless to say - dnf. Would have been a lot more fun if I had solved it properly - by knowing the Big Kahoona Klue. I think SUB and MERGES is the perfect combo.

The prospect of Thursday is a little scary right now.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for tomorrow's trick

spacecraft 2:19 PM  

Great theme and execution; I don't know why anyone has a problem with it. Once I had the idea it helped a good deal with the solve. Turned what might have been a medium-challenging into an easy-medium.

No, my problem is with one word in one clue: "often" as in "Talent show judge, often." There's a group, or PANEL, of judges, so he/she will ALWAYS be a PANELIST, unless there's a show where only one person does the judging. I have not seen such a show, unless you count The Apprentice, where God was the judge. Oh, sorry, it was only The Donald. Well, HE thinks he's...nevermind. The SUBSTANCE of my argument is that "often" should have been deleted from the clue.

Fill is a little bumpy; BOURREE a total WOE, but none too painful. B.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

I enjoyed it. Those "subs" on the margins were nice, especially, as has beenmentioned, because they are all real words on their own. The clue was just confirmation for me by the time I got to it. Unlike most, I got BOURREE because I'm a big Leo Kottke fan. I was also quite pleased with myself for remembering KIRI Te Kanawa, without any crosses. ENBANC, ENRAPT, no problem for me. I, too, had leoTARD first, and TECH in the wrong corner, thanks to wawa. When the NW was forming nicely around TECH, and I wanted ESSENES, I knew tech inthe NE was wrong. UNITARD fixed things nicely. Me, I only got STAGG in the crosses, and ALIENEE mostly in the crosses. It was fun, and not very hard.

rondo 4:16 PM  

Figured out the SUB thing long before the revealer. Interesting way to go about it and don’t see anything wrong with the idea. Except it’s a day early for such stuff. No write-overs again, but tougher than some, and that ENBANC BOUREE pileup was tough to cross.

Couldn’t we have had a MASS to finish off the entire school. I went to both MIT and Harvard, but that was a lot to take in in one day.

Recalled ALIENEE from my law school days. And some semi-recent filings at the county courthouse.

The south and east has a host of yeah babies. Fabulously talented KIRI Te Kanawa was a staple on the morning program on MPR before they dumped the format Garrison Keillor started and went to 89.3 The Current’s format. Cat Woman yeah baby Eartha Kitt looked great in her UNITARD. Then there’s “Our governor is hotter than yours” Sarah PALIN who grudgingly gets yeah baby status.

Window inventory = PANELIST?

Could do without a gimmick tomorrow. As they said to me in Azerbaijan – SALAAM.

rondo 4:53 PM  

Having finally read the other posts, I think @Chuck Mc explained exactly why MACHONE IS the speed of sound, in any medium, as clued. So why is he claiming the clue is wrong???? Because his Mustang MACHONE won't go that fast??

rondo 5:28 PM  

Last thing - I used to kinda follow a band called The Subdudes. Saw their "farewell" performance at the Cabooze twenty years ago (first date of what became a 10 year relationship). They had a minor hit with "All the Time in the World". You can youtube it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bzu2utwhlSM
I think at some point they re-formed, at least to go on a bit of a tour, maybe more.

rondo 5:36 PM  

Subdudes better link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_FpMSIBGZQ

D. Bruce Brown 5:45 PM  

I just thought somebody put salt in Rex's coffee in the morning. BThis is a perfectly wonderful Wednesday puzzle. Never mind that I'm doing it 6 weeks later--I still enjoyed it.

Cathy 12:05 AM  

I liked the SUBMERGE theme. Worked nicely in my opinion.

CITRON as a fruit? We'll blow me down. I thought it was an essence for vodka. Citrus and Ron. Huh?

@rondo- The subdudes. Thanks for the lead. Like em. Kinda like Little Feat.

Dixie chicken:)

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