Resort island in Firthy of Clyde / SUN 2-7-16 / Orthoodox jewish honorific / Charlie Chan portrayer Warner / Legendary Washington hostess / Luna's Greek counterpart / Southern constellation that holds second-brightest star in night sky

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Adding Insult" — "DIS" is added to familiar phrases, creating wacky blah blah you know the drill:

Theme answers:
  • DISCREDIT CARDS (22A: Damage a St. Louis team's reputation?)
  • TABLE OF DISCONTENTS (29A: Ones giving the waiter a hard time?)
  • DISPLAYS FOR A FOOL (48A: Harlequin exhibitions?)
  • DISBAND ON THE RUN (63A: Flee in separate directions?)
  • ELLA DISENCHANTED (86A: Result of the Queen of Scat's backup group messing up?)
  • CAMEO DISAPPEARANCE (101A: Jewel heist outcome?)
  • DISBAR AND GRILL (113A: Question harshly after not allowing to practice?)
Word of the Day: CARINA (24A: Southern constellation that holds the second-brightest star in the night sky) —
Carina /kəˈrnə/ is a constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for the keel of a ship, and it was formerly part of the larger constellation of Argo Navis (the ship Argo) until that constellation was divided into three pieces, the other two being Puppis (the poop deck), and Vela (the sails of the ship). (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle is unimaginably bad. Despite the fact that I criticize puzzles, even good ones, every day, all the time, it is actually very rare that I outright Hate a puzzle—that I resent the time it took me to solve it (let alone the time it takes me to write about it). So I'm not gonna waste too much time writing about this one. Let's just say that "Adding Insult" is about right. There are so many HURTERS (what the actual...!?) in this puzzle, it's hard to know where to begin. So I'll begin with the theme, which is tired, lazy, dated hackery of the first order. After I got the first themer (DISCREDIT CARDS, ugh), I said out loud (though no one was around to hear me), "Oh, no, this isn't just gonna be a bunch of DIS answers, is it?" I cannot—I mean canNot—believe this passed muster. First, I've seen variations on this exact theme before. Second, who cares? Why? There is nothing funny or interesting or clever about the resulting "wacky" phrases? Zero. Just add DIS ... over and over and over and over Why? So "Ella Enchanted" becomes "ELLA DISENCHANTED"!? That's it? Dear lord above, that registers like a 0.1 on the Wordplay Scale. Half the time DIS- is just used as a negative prefix. So "cameo appearance" becomes [drum roll] CAMEO DISAPPEARANCE! Get it!? Me either.

And the fill ... I can't believe I'm saying this, I can't believe it's physically possible, but ... it's worse. It's in even worse shape than the sad, hobbling, hackneyed theme. I circled all the semi-to-very objectionable answers on my grid, and it's just an inky mess now. It was like one of those All-Star games where they bring back the old-timers, only instead of people you want to see like Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax, it's ABOU Ben Adhem and Perle MESTA and Mme. de STAEL and Warner OLAND (riding an ELAND). There's LOEWE on IWO. A SOR ON RYE. There's SELENE crossing DE SICA in what will surely be a Natick for someone (SELENA / DA SICA looks totally acceptable). OTOH, there's ULNAR A DUE (because it takes two to ULNAR). There's something I've never seen before called CARINA. The puzzle is sincerely asking me to believe that you can pluralize FM (!?) (37A: Most NPR stations). And then the coup de grace: NOT crossing NOT in the NE. Seriously. That actually happened. In short, this is the most inexcusably bad Sunday puzzle I've seen in ages. From top to bottom, stem to stern, APEAK to PAIUTE. Gooood night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:09 AM  

Medium-tough for me but I'm still running a slight fever, so...?

Biggest problem was TABLE OF mal...mIS..DISCONTENTS. This was before I realized that all the prefixes were DIS.

The North Central section was pretty dicey. A crossword only actor, a Greek goddess, a WOE French city, a WOE (or maybe crossword only) resort island, and a director you should know but maybe forgot?

Rex makes some good points.

Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Aida and Adia.

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

I saw the constructor name and just said to myself, "I'm not going to be on this guy's wavelength. Why bother?" And then I took the time to enjoy my evening instead. BEINNEEDOF this puzzle you ... be not. Just looking at this grid is making me wince: OSE HURTERS ADIA AEON IWO URSA RIME SORry I'm not SORry REDOAK PAIUTE. I don't understand half the entries I'm seeing in this grid. MDXC PUERILE DES APEAK ABOU ELAND ALIT CARINA MER DESICA BABAS. Statistical chance could create a more coherent grid than this. IHOPENOT ... ORNOT. LOEWE ENDOR ADUE ULNAR LAIRD holy @#)* I have better things to do than acknowledge this trainwreck.

Tim Gillam 12:32 AM  

And to further complain, we get both AIDA and ADIA. An opera is ok I guess, but I'm really questioning how much of a hit the latter was to still be running around in puzzles 19 years after release. The top Google hit for "adia" is the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Da Bears 1:02 AM  

Rex, I know you often criticize this constructor for puzzles that seem dated but in this instance I have to agree. I boring slog with bad fill everywhere. It wasn't clean. It wasn't smooth. And it wasn't funny.

Triggerfinger 1:44 AM  

One big bore. Growing to hate Sunday puzzles. Ugh!

Gerrythek 2:36 AM  

Usually I discount Rex's carping as crossword insider stuff. I just take the challenge and enjoy solving. But this Sunday? It really is atrocious. This is the worst Sunday in decades of solving.

Unknown 2:59 AM  

Thank you, Rex. I actually considered abandoning this puzzle.

Suffix with elephant (INE). Sugar suffix (OSE). Ending with idiom or axiom (ATIC). Excuse me, sir...



PAIUTE. SELENE. CARINA. ULNAR. URSA. ARIAL. No, seriously. Could you stop it, please?.

FMS. FLA. SOR. DES. MDXC. Cut it out.

STROM. MESTA. LOEWE. DE SICA. STAEL. Are you trying to make me cry?

THREE STAR. TOO OLD. AREA MAP. OPEN LINE. I REFUSE. BE IN NEED OF. You are trying to make me cry.


'mericans back in Paris 3:56 AM  

Ugh, what a slog! But it was (almost) worth bearing the tedium as the FEE of admission to read and appreciate @Rex's gem of a rant.

DIS puzzle constructor has PLAYED us for A FOOL. Count us among the DISCONTENTS; we weren't ENCHANTED. Had to SLEEP ON it before we finished the puzzle this morning; the southeast was the last to fall. (For the Winter Olympics we first had Oslo, then Asia, and only after PELLETS did we get ALPS: a head SLAT moment.)

Hands up for being Naticked in the SELENE-OLAND-DESICA region, and also at the crossing of AEON with ENDOR. (By the way, in case some of you missed it, the International New York Times ran an article the other day about a Microsoft effort to locate future data centers under the sea. The code name for the effort is Project Natick.)

Questions, questions, questions. Is ADIA a song in AIDA? When YEATS performed cartwheels did he go END O'R END? Will we get another puzzle like this one next week? I HOPE NOT. I REFUSE to even consider the possibility. SO SAD.

Stupefying Jones 6:35 AM  

I guess you tooold Mr. Arbesfeld, Rex.
I only knew Carina because that's what my son, the astrophysicist (yeah, I'm bragging) named his cat.
Greeting from New Orleans! Happy Mardi Gras to all!

Bob Kerfuffle 6:39 AM  

DIS one didn't seem so bad to me. After all, the application of DIS in each case changes the meaning of one of the words in the base phrase (in CAMEO DISAPPEARANCE, it is the CAMEO whose meaning and part of speech changes from noun to adjective; in all others it is the meaning of the word to which the DIS has been appended.)

Had a very nice day at the Westport Library Crossword Tournament yesterday, getting together with old friends @mac, @imsdave, @John V, @Tita, Andy Kravis and others, including the day's top prize winner, Glen Ryan. An almost-overflow crowd did three NYT puzzles and were entertained by Will Shortz. Then our group enjoyed @mac's hospitality and had dinner.

And I earned the highest honor I ever will at a tournament - a certificate for having had a clean solve on all puzzles. Whoop!

Loren Muse Smith 6:47 AM  

Hey, Rex, don't sugarcoat it.

Yep – you do criticize puzzles, even good ones, every day, all the time. You certainly shoot from the hip, and your reviews never fail to teach me something. Many times it's something like, Oh. So I was supposed to scowl at the IWO/LOEWE cross, at STAEL, at OTOH, that all went in so easily? Hmm. Didn't notice those. But often it's a validation, like my Natick today at "Selena/Dasica" and my guess at the PAIUTE/APEAK cross. And my feeling of, Oh, ouch. Really? when HURTERS fell.

I guess a huge part of the reaction of a solver is past solving experiences, so that I've Seen This So Many Times feeling doesn't wash over me as much. A quick search of the most obvious one, DISCOUT DRACULA affirms you're right; this theme's been done. But either I have a mind like a steel colander, or I just don't have a bajillion solves under my belt. Whatever the case, I don't remember a trick like this and, hence, got a kick out of it.

"There is nothing funny or interesting or clever about the resulting "wacky" phrases?" Predictably, I disagree. TABLE OF DISCONTENTS immediately evoked a picture of unhappy people at a restaurant. Been there, seen that; I thought it was funny. DISCREDIT CARDS made me smile. DISPLAYS FOR A FOOL, CAMEO DISAPPEARANCES, DISBAR AND GRILL… I found them amusing and interesting. And, predictably again, I couldn't help but stare out the window and think of others. DISMISS MANNERS= Correct someone's grammar on this blog, DISCLOSE THE GAP= Smile, Mr. Strahan!

Some goofs:

"Keats" for YEATS
"baird" for LAIRD
"onion" for BACON (A. Gain.)
"optic" before ULNAR
"gawp" for STARE. ;-)

I could just, well, hug the phrase TOOOLD.

Having cleaned many a guinea pig cage, I can attest that those PELLETS remain remarkably unchanged.

Alan – I'm glad this theme was recycled so I could enjoy it, too. I'll be kicking this around all day. People magazine table of contents? = DISH IT LIST. Should editors lay to rest themes just because they've been used before? Put me in the I HOPE NOT camp.

Ted Cole 7:07 AM  

101 Down?

Sarah 7:10 AM  

Phew. I don't always see eye to eye with you, but this puzzle was inarguably the worst I've seen in years. It's just one big, black and white bummer.

Lewis 7:24 AM  

This was a good workout for my solving chops -- not one of those edgy puzzles, not with a high degree of spark, but tricky enough to keep the brain well engaged and interested. Kind of like doing pull-ups; it's a lot of effort while doing, but you're grateful afterward, revived. Thank you for that, Alan.

I liked the answers HOTHOUSE, PUERILE, and SCREENOUT. I think the puzzle would have been a bit more elegant if the only DIS's were in the theme answers, but there's that one in DISH. The cluing was more vague than wordplay-tricky (I would have liked more of the latter). But mainly I had to figure things out with effort from beginning to end, and like the exercise I just mentioned above, it was uplifting.

chefbea 7:33 AM  

I finally got the theme last night but it was still no fun. Got most of it but then went to bed...lots to do today


BTW congrats to @Tita for doing so well at the Westport event!!!

pmdm 7:43 AM  

I actually enjoyed the word play. As pointed out at XInfo, the "DIS" theme has been used before. The puzzle didn't seem to me to have more than the usual umber of clues I dislike, so I give it a thumbs up. I'm surprised there wasn't a puzzle celebrating the 50th Superbowl, but that's OK. I'm not much of a football fan, and would have done terrible with the theme clues.

By the way, the Times actually published two crosswords today. The other one is attached to a story in the Sunday Review section and it uses clues that appeared in the Times since 1942. Makes for kind of interesting reading, so if you can access the whole paper, you might enjoy taking a look.

Hungry Mother 7:43 AM  

Had to go to the red letters to get 3 out of place guesses.

Dorothy Biggs 8:19 AM  

Agree with TriggerFinger: I'm beginning to not like Sunday puzzles. Too long for so little payoff. They're just...long.

I had the dreaded natick at the SELENa/DaSICA crossing. Looked through the entire puzzle until I saw that SELENE could be spelled with an E, making DESICA equally plausible. It didn't look wrong, I just changed that letter and ::poof:: happy jingle. I don't think DES and DESICA should be in the same puzzle...but that could just be me.

I also had malCONTENTS...because that's closer to what I call them. Malcontents to me are discontented. I could be wrong, but "discontent" to me is an adjectival noun describing the feeling that a malcontent has. A malcontent has discontent. Of course, the more I think about either one, the less meaning either has.

I also had "mercury" as the 1950's car ornamental decoration. A singular TAILFIN is neither ornamental nor a decoration. It was a distinctive feature, to be sure, but not what was clued.

Had greenALE before IRISHALE.

Pete 8:21 AM  

When I realized that TABLEOFMALCONTENTS was wrong, that it was all DIS this, DIS that I wept a little.

Ryan 8:26 AM  

There was enough obscurity sprinkled throughout the grid that I never got into a good rhythm. A few of the themers were cute, but save me a seat at the TABLE OF DISCONTENTS.

George Barany 8:28 AM  

I get it, @Rex ... you didn't like @Alan Arbesfeld's puzzle. It does have an unusually low (134 words) word-count, for a Sunday.

Thanks, @pmdm, for recommending a second puzzle. May I add to that a third ... Eliminating the Competition. The contest closes tomorrow at midnight PST, and winners are eligible for numerous fun prizes!

Jon Alexander 8:33 AM  

Two words....consummatory anhedonia

Rex was right, just awful

Unknown 9:04 AM  

And I knew Sharpe would "dis" this by just reading the byline on Friday night. Told my wife. But why is another matter.

F.O.G. 9:15 AM  

In the minority here. Loved this! DISBAND ON THE RUN and DISBAR AND GRILL were my favorite themers. Naticked a couple of times but experimented and finally got the Smiling Pencil.

Now it's onto the NYT Acrostic.

billocohoes 9:29 AM  

'mericans, given the level of fill today, your question should be "Is ADIA an ARIA in AIDA?" (which was my first attempt on that fill)

Jim 9:30 AM  

I did not SIMPly DISlike this puzzle, I hated it with every part of my body. Too many awful fills to mention. Didn't mind the theme but the rest was unbelievably bad.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

I really did not think this was so terrible -- found it a pleasant solve. Yes, disliked some of the fill, but liked puerile, screenshot, mixed media, etc.
Thanks, Alan Arbesfeld.

Z 9:55 AM  

I like the whiny teenager look of TOOOLD, as in "I TOOOLD you so."

@ Ted Cole - United States Marine CORPS.

Ya gotta love a puzzle that throws a random MDXC AT YA.

Teedmn 10:04 AM  

I was sure my DNF was going to be the SW with APEAK-PAIUTE but SErENa got me, like so many others. oniON got my BACON, but was fixed (Hi @LMS) and tree farm went in with no crosses and had to turn into HOT HOUSE. I noted the Natick-friendly top center right away and finally had to DISBAND ON THE RUN to the bottom and solve from there.

I found TABLE OF DISCONTENTS and CAMEO DISAPPEARANCE worth a smile or two but BE IN NEED OF was reminiscent of one of yesterday's NW answers, not a THREE STAR entry by any means. Wouldn't you just say NEED? HURTERS NEED to HURT? It HURT something here, I must say. But mostly I TOOOLD around this puzzle and let the DIS's help me fill in the fill. And PROBOSCIS and PUERILE were good words to see. My original 'edENLIkE' for OPEN LINE was one of those head shakers that might make sense in a dream. It's true, a lot of fill was STAEL and could be seen AS NAP on an old carpet and might be SHAWN-inducing but as @'mericans in Paris put it, you had to do the puzzle to get the full @Rex experience.

So thanks AA for the NEURAL workout.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

I don't always agree with Rex, but did this time. The worst NYT puzzle I've encountered. Way too obscure. No fun.

Maruchka 10:08 AM  

Hmm. So HURTERS hurt and haters hate? A bit PUERILE. And so went the puzzle.

But - I didn't hate it! Maybe it's due to slipping into loving being TOO OLD. Where my TAIL FINs at?

Fav of the day - YEATS. Ah, there's a lovely man of letters. I will arise and go now...

jberg 10:15 AM  

I mostly due Sundays so that I can come here and read about them, so I didn't mind this one so much. I'd have liked it a lot better, though, if the insult words varied -- pan, slag, etc. (I'm not doing the work to think of any answers, just suggesting the possibility).

But hey, people, pay attention! Within the last week we had LUNA clued as the Roman Selene, to 20A shouldn't have been all that hard.

I've heard of sailors going aloft, but APEAK? Well, by gum -- just looked it up, it refers to the verticality of the anchor cable. Crosswords are so educational!

Hardest thing for me was confusing the Isle of ARRAN with the Aran Islands, beloved of playwrights. Since I knew the latter were off to the West of Ireland, I held off on putting in ARRAN until the crosses gave me no choice.

But the real questions, re: @Rex's WOD write-up -- how do you divide a constellation?

Hartley70 10:17 AM  

Sometimes on a Sunday I look at that teensy crossword grid on my phone and groan. This was one of those times. It was a lot of squinting for minimal payoff.

The theme wasn't the problem for me. It wasn't immediately obvious and I had to struggle a bit to get DISBANDONTHERUN and ELLADISENCHANTED. @Ludyjynn and I were bound to like DISBARANDGRILL. It kept my interest while I was solving.

The fill did me in. There was no sparkle, and I was brought up short at one point. HURTERS has to be the lamest answer imaginable. Wait, maybe "booboomaker" is worse. WAWA was amusing yesterday. This is just sad. If I was Alan Arbesfeld, I'd blame that one on Will.

dmw 10:36 AM  

For me, Loren Muse Smith says it all. Thank you, Loren.

Nancy 10:38 AM  

I found it quite easy and pretty lame. Sometimes these punny Sundays are funny, but I didn't crack a smile over this one. Disappointing.

Tita 10:39 AM  

I did think this puzzle was ATAD unremarkable, then felt worst about reading Rex, then felt better about it reading @LMS.

I attributed my "meh" reaction to having just done 4 puzzles in rapid succession surrounded by 125+ other puzzle nuts - a VERY hard act to follow!!

It started off with great promise - TADA is what I say to Venus and Marzipan as I bring them their bowls full of TUNAROLL TAILFIN MEAT. And TAILFIN is great word, conjuring up great images.

I never understood folks who dislike Sundays in general because they're too long. I love puzzles - and while bigger isn't necessarily better every day, Sunday is a day you can loll around for longer and enjoy.
Yesterday, someone asked Will what is the largest puzzle ever...he had two examples - one was 111x111 grid, and another, a puzzle constructing marathon that he participated in many years ago in Czechoslovakia - it was longer than a football field.

Westport was great fun - wonderful hospitality, great conversation (not only about puzzles, even!!).
And while yes, for the first time I got the coveted "all 3 puzzles perfect" award, like @Bob K, and a few others from Rexville, there were so many of us that qualified that they had to rush off to print up more certificates!!

BTW - I think you're all in for a great week of puzzles...
They were quite clever. (M-Th).
I say "I think", because I am not a speed solver, so in trying to be yesterday, I missed any nuance - I could barely catch the theme. So I look forward to waltzing through each one in my own good time as they appear this week.

Thanks, @Will, for a great day.
And thanks, Mr, Arbesfeld.

Anne 10:39 AM  

In the minority here. Totally enjoyable. What's awful is reading all the kvetching, whining complaints from everyone, as if this puzzle is a world peace disturber. It's a puzzle, folks, move on or do better.

Unknown 10:39 AM  

@nyt @willshortz are you fucking kidding me? with this bullshit? what the fuck.

Unknown 10:42 AM  

i want to fight alan arbesfeld and anonymous ^^^. at the same time, idgaf.

Steve M 10:51 AM  

Lighten up please-old fashioned but not awful

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Just wanted to note there are no "adopters" on Amazon, only "adopters," When you google "adopter," it comes up as "adapter." At the dictionary it's also "adapter," with "adaptor."

Given that it crosses with "ose," if he really wanted "adoptor," he could have clued it as someone who adopts a child, or alternatively used "ese" for the cross.

All perfectly awful fills still.

Carola 10:53 AM  

Huh. I kind of liked it. Like @Loren, I thought some of the DIS-es were funny, especially the TABLE OF DISCONTENTS and DISBAR AND GRILL: that one hit the mark for me in the "inspired and zany" category.

About the creaky crosswordese fill - I have to admit I see @Rex's point, but I really didn't notice it so much when I was solving. I was just happy I knew the answers. (my reacation to ADIA: "Hah! You're back - So it was worthwhile learning you from crosswords.").

Unknown 10:54 AM  

Abaft, abeam, okay.
APEAK, a-what? Oy vay!

Frank 10:58 AM  

Not to pile on and get called for unnecessary rudeness this puzzle was the pits and just needs to be DISregarded hate to say it but of late the LA Times(not today's) and the new guy at the Wash Post have been more challenging on Sunday oh well on to the sudoku.

Dave C 11:00 AM  

Pretty much got the theme off the title, and when I saw "St. Louis team's" in the first themer, almost plucked down DISSING THE BLUES without looking to see if it would fit (it would not have).

AliasZ 11:01 AM  

@Rex, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel. Sadly, today I mostly agree. The difference is, instead of making me angry, I actually found it amusing in its disheveled tawdriness. It started with AIDA and its palindrome, and it went downhill from there.

Jim Horne at xwordinfo presents three previous occurrences of this exact theme, dating from 2006, 2008 and 2009, one of them titled "Word Display", but also notes that some themes are rich enough to invite occasional recycling. Is a seven-year absence not long enough?

I liked PROBOSCIS, and that there was only one arbitrary Roman numeral. For ADAPTOR I had ADAPTER at first, and I wondered what made Alan go with the wrong spelling. The correct spelling would have changed OSE to ESE.

I also liked SCREEN OUT, MIXED MEDIA, but O,CARINA, ARRAN, SHAWN and a few others were unknown. I remembered OLAND, and of course I knew Vittorio DE SICA as a director and leading figure of the Italian neorealist movement, alongside Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini et al. You may also remember his Oscar-winning "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1970).

As an actor, DE SICA was memorable in "A Farewell to Arms" for which he was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting role (1957), "It Started in Naples" (1960) with Clark Gable and Sophia Loren, "The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders" (1965) with Kim Novak and Angela Lansbury, "The Shoes of the Fisherman" (1968) with Anthony Quinn and Laurence Olivier, etc.

Let me close with this jaunty, sparkling and lovely Concertino da CAMERA for Alto Sax and 11 Instruments by Jacques Ibert (1890-1962). If you don't know the piece, you may just fall in love with it.

weingolb 11:09 AM  

I don't think SELENE/DESICA is so bad. It's a morpheme-informed switch, subbing the E for the A. Anyone with basic linguistic skills can suss it when the happy pencil doesn't appear at first.

Much stronger scent of Natick at AEON/ENDOR and ARRAN/OLAND. Wild guesses there.

Frank 11:19 AM  

In keeping with the day I don't want to pile on and be called for unnecessary rudeness I am sorry but this puzzle needed to be DISregarded
Lately the LATimes (not today's) has been more challenging on Sunday. The new guy replacing Mr Reagle on Sunday in the Wash Post also deserves a look.
On to the sudoku

Norm 11:25 AM  

Oh, pooh, there have been many worse puzzles than this one. It would have been nice to mix it up a but and not have everything be DIS-this and DIS-that, but the theme answers made me smile, so it was a pleasant 15 minutes or so. Don't think Rex's extreme criticism was warranted.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Rex, don't hold back. Tell us what you really think.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Why fuss that somebody might not know how to spell Selene? How valid is that as a critique? I didn't know Carina, but that doesn't invalidate the puzzle-- only makes me depend on the crosses.

Andrew Heinegg 11:35 AM  

While I am compelled to agree with the assessment that there were far too many trivial and recycled crosswordese answers here, the puzzle was 'saved' for me by the groaner puns. However, it was on the tedious side throughout.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

Ted Cole, 101 down, the word 'corps' is a member, or part of, the "U.S. Marine Corps"

kitshef 11:40 AM  

For unimportant reasons, I had to print this puzzle off. In doing so, I somehow selected a setting that did not print the black squares, which added a (small) extra level of interest to an otherwise dull puzzle.

I actually think each themer, taken on its own, is fine and in some cases amusing. The issue is that all the themers are basically the same, so instead of getting DIS added to one, SNUB to another, IGNORE to a third, etc., we just get DIS, DIS, DIS.

Disagree with @Rex on SELENE - Greek and Roman gods are fair game.

Finished, but got slightly lucky with a few guesses in potential Natick areas: SW APE_K/P_IUTE, and the N Central complex of ARRA_/_LA_D/D_ME_/_ESICA.

Suzy 11:45 AM  

Thank you @pmdm-- I might have missed that, surprized Rex did!! Quite a fun puzzle!

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

As usual. You dis any solvers older than thirty, who know about Oland, Selene, elands, Yeats, De Sica, Strom, Stael, et al. I am DISenchanted, Rex, with the way you dis puzzles that draw on facts we oldies store in our brains.

Alan_S. 11:47 AM  

I think Will, sometimes, throws a piece of crap like this at us on a Sunday in order that we might appreciate the mediocre ones we usually get. And the great ones? Those are becoming fewer and farther apart. I'm not entirely sure why I still look forward to doing them every Saturday, but I still do. Old habits die hard!

blinker474 11:48 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. It was tough, for me, but very satisfying to solve as the theme answers were a treat. So, thank you Messrs. Arbesfeld and Shortz for a pleasant diversion.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Likewise did not think it so bad...had VAGUS for type of nerve for a while that is more a type as opposed to a location...

Unknown 11:53 AM  

@Rex: “it's just an inky mess now.”

He should see my grid!! At least 3 dozen letters are all but unreadable, with many more on the edge of that. I thought my ballpoint might run out of ink.

So many answers that were “???” that others have noted. I’ll just point to my least favorite: APEAK? As a sailor I’ll take “aloft” any day. I have always said it and have always heard it. If I did say APEAK to a fellow sailor I’d probably get a blank STARE. Hey! How about going APEAK and untanglin' that halyard.” “How about goin’ where?” Ugh.

OTOH. there is one lovely answer that was a shout out to a favorite T-shirt which I’ve mentioned a couple of times, but happy to see it in 13 D:

“The answer is BACON. What was the question?”

Love BACON cheeseburgers (sparingly) and BLTs (not so sparingly). But I digress…

…from what I confess, was this puzzle causing some distress. I was not impressed with the mess or the many a guess I made. Before I lose my zest, it’s time to get dressed, ready to make an egress and breast the cold. I need to press on to assess and address the once largess of food, lest I run fresh out of the rest of what I possess.

I MEAN, maybe I’ll be blessed and finesse with success a SALE on some things!

(Would have Loved to use the sorta palindromic rhyming of “Bessemer process,” but just not a lot of ways I could work that in.)


Anonymous 11:54 AM  

Theme notwithstanding I didn't think this was so bad...had VAGUS instead of ULNAR for while as it was.more a nerve type actually than a nerve location...

Alan_S. 11:56 AM  

Exactly! And far more amusing than this puzzle! Nice recap.

Blue Stater 12:05 PM  

Yup. Stinkerissimo. It'll be nice to get our Sundays back.

Chaos344 12:10 PM  

Anything I could say about this puzzle has already been said. Tired theme, terrible fill.

@DaBears: Hope you're feeling better John. I do my puzzles in the morning. I see that you did the puzzle while watching the debate. I watched a movie instead. I knew the debate would devolve into a shouting contest, so I opted for lighter fare. First one I've missed, but I've pretty much already picked my candidate. Enjoy the game!

@LMS: You've done it again lady! My laugh of the day will surely be DISH IT LIST, with honorable mention to DISCLOSE THE GAP. I've spent my whole life trying to disclose the gap! Of course there is always the possibility that Leapy could post something to displace your current status? She's a filly who likes to come from behind and run down the leaders late in the race!

Re: your late comment yesterday, I'd love to hear the story of the dog named DAMMIT. Speaking of dogs, I guess you could say that this puzzle is causing a severe DIS-TEMPER TANTRUM? It's OK that you weren't "feeling the burn" most of us are. Your explanation for being in the minority wasn't necessary. This isn't Wordplay. You don't have to prove your "gentility cred" by agreeing with all the regulars. Speaking of which, I've noticed that you seem to have chosen Rex's as your blog of choice. I haven't seen you post on Wordplay in ages. Aside from the fact that it is very time consuming to post on multiple blogs,(unless you just Cut and Paste like some cross-posters), I think you may have realized that this is where you belong? Are you a NASCAR Nellie or a Wimbledon Wussy? Lol. Hey, you dog sled right? I'll bet you just love to get down and dirty don'tcha?

I know that's what it came down to for me. Pretentiousness aside, it was fun to hang out with the ultra erudite intellectuals at WordPlay. I really like some posters over there and I did learn a lot. Yet after awhile, and especially when I realized that my cruciverbalist skills were at least as good, I no longer felt the need for their validation. Lets face it, 80 to 90% of the comments on WordPlay come from a handful of posters. I think Da Bears (JFC) would jump ship and be a regular here if not for his Avatar game. Also, he loves the running badinage with Martin. It also seems Leapy is showing up here more regularly which is a huge plus for this blog!

All in all, I'll take Rex over Wordplay any day. The continuity issue of posting in a moderated forum notwithstanding, having the latitude of true uncensored speech is worth it. We don't need no stinkin Emus!

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

You can allow the most obscene responses as long as they mesh with your dislike for the constructor (always) and for Will Shortz. I get it. Your blog

Z 12:22 PM  

Every puzzle and Super Bowl deserve a theme song, so in honor of today, a little Cash.

@pmd. - thanks. I sometimes skip the Sunday Review section. A puzzle for everyone who ever complains about a foreign language entry.

@anon10:52 - The correct puzzle answer is ADAPTOR.

@jberg - And why would you break up a constellation?

Leonard Penth-Garnell 12:32 PM  

A mildly pleasant mediocrity.

Kimberly 12:33 PM  

I was afraid maybe I was just in a cranky mood and just DISliked this puzzle because I had a TUDE. Happy to find I wasn't alone. What a waste of coffee time. It would have been more fun watching the endless debate rehashes on tv.

Energy A. Gabor 12:42 PM  

I'll admit I did like TABLE OF DISCONTENT, but it more than canceled out by HURTERS.

@George Barany: Thank God you are back! I was afraid that something untoward might have happened to you. We need our eminence grise!

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

That is so incorrect. The word in Ghetto speak, according to my friend Akisha, who should know is 'diss'

as in, "Why you be dissin' me?"

Suzy 1:12 PM  

Keep on Pounding!!!

RooMonster 1:19 PM  

Hey All !
Sometimes I wonder how the minds of Will and Joel work. From everyone who knows or met Will, I hear how he is a great guy. He must be, if everyone says so. I never met the man myself, but I lean towards not liking him on the basis that he seems to approve puzzles from established constructors that shouldn't be OKed, like this one, for example. Not to beat a dead horse (but apparently I am...), I've submitted quite a few puzs that have all been rejected. Granted, some of the early ones weren't really the greatest, yes, I'll admit that, but my last few have been pretty decent. Of course, all constructors like their own puzs, but a good chunk of mine don't have this large amount of dreck. Think I have two more awaiting, a 15x and a 21x, fully expecting to get rejection e-mails. /rant *grabs a tissue* :-) (Is that a violin I hear?)

Positives about this SunPuz, low block count, low word count, some of the themers are actually pretty good. The DISCREDIT CARDS can actually be parsed two ways, the clued meaning, and also to DIS CREDIT CARDS (as in disrespect). Neat, huh? I thought all the themers would be double meanings, but no to avail. Had a massive writeover area with two big wrong'uns at first. Had DISPLAYintRAFfic (??!) for DISPLAYSTHEFOOL and ImEanno for IREFUSE, causing all sorts of havoc and brain wrenching. Add that to having HOspital for HOTHOUSE, and Shame for SOSAD made me almost run out of ink writing over them all. More wrong way Roos were thru for ATYA, ion for FEE, MultiMEDIA for MIXED, optioNOUR for SCREENOUT, oniON for BACON, and CoRoNA for CARINA (think beer much?) Criminy. But did finish, and still with two wrong Acrosses, DatED (DOMED), sUrE (TUDE). At least I got all the writeovers right.

I do agree with the high dreckness. Was laughing to myself thinking that after it was so difficult to suss everything out, would come here to see Rex say something like, "This was the easiest SunPuz I've done in 23 years! Took me 9 minutes." :-) But thankfully he called it Medium!

I actually knew PAIUTE from living in Las Vegas, as their Tribal Land has a golf course that I take people to. Out of the city, mind you. Yea for me! :-)


Lobster11 1:20 PM  

I'm going to join the (small) minority on one point: As @Loren Muse Smith so eloquently stated, it doesn't bother me at all that the theme is similar to one that's been used before. For one, I probably will not have previously seen it, given that I've only been solving regularly for a little more than a year. For another, even if a theme is similar to a previous one, it can still be enjoyable if executed well.

That said, even with my limited experience this theme felt hackneyed, as if I'd seen it a dozen times before. When I saw that it consisted merely of adding DIS to a familiar phrase, I had the same reaction as Rex: "That's it?!" And when I saw that in most cases the DIS- functioned simply as a negating prefix, I was even more disappointed. And then there's the abominable fill, as well documented by Rex and others -- most colorfully by @Martín Abresch.

I also share the sentiment of those who say they are beginning to sour on Sunday puzzles generally. My suggestion to them is to do what I do: Print it out and solve on paper at a leisurely pace. If you don't worry about time, you can do a little now and a little later -- and even spread it out over a few days if need be. Maybe keep it in the bathroom....

old timer 1:34 PM  

DNF, I guess, because I refused to call that traveler's convenience and ADAPTOR. Though I initially wrote in OSE.

I think the concept was fine and the themers, if a little lame, were good. So I did not hate the puzzle. Just the fill. Ugh! Overused stuff like OSE and URSA. NOT crossing NOT. The wretched SOR, an imaginary abbreviation for sorority. Impossible names like OLAND and CARINA. And the totally wretched BEINNEEDOF (retch!).

Writeovers: "Aloft" before APEAK, "poplar" before REDOAK. I did like PAIUTE. That tribe has a casino in Bishop, California, not far from the Nevada border. Because they have a reservation there, one mile square. Highway 395 runs along the northern and eastern borders of the rez. When Bishop became more than a dot on the map the PAIUTEs were forced to move, to make way for the expanding town.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

Sometimes Rex is unfair.

This is not one of those times.

Greg 1:52 PM  

Fie fie fie. The list of bad is too long, so here is the worst imho. MDXC - hey, random Roman numerals! ADUE clued as "together in music". A Due means "for two". You could have A Tre or A Quattro. Terrible clue. And finally, the DESICA/OLAND/ARRAN/SELENE clump. A geography/history quiz masquerading as a word puzzle. Just ick.

nick 1:56 PM  

Wow. No beauty and no joy. Just a long, boring, natick-y (SELENE/OLAND/ARRAN) slog. Felt like I was getting trolled by the nyt.

paculino 2:01 PM  

Liked it

Norm 2:51 PM  

Anonymous@11:45 put it very nicely: "As usual. You [Rex] dis any solvers older than thirty, who know about Oland, Selene, elands, Yeats, De Sica, Strom, Stael, et al. I am DISenchanted, Rex, with the way you dis puzzles that draw on facts we oldies store in our brains."

puzzle hoarder 3:03 PM  

I'm with the minority who actually enjoyed this puzzle. That's saying something as I don't generally enjoy Sundays. I got the theme as soon as I filled in the NW. Some of the themers were easy to get and helped move the puzzle along and others required a little work. The fill was the same way. I only do the NYPT so if I've seen it before that's where I've seen it. The naticks some people ran into should have been prevented by more attention to the less common examples. I came away with a clean grid but I thought APEAK was new (nope 4/28/12). That's the fun thing about hoarding it's like hiding your own Easter eggs. Maybe that's part of the problem for Rex it's become too much like work.
While I can't cite them SELENE and PAIUTE have either been in puzzles recently or came up in the clues or comments. If something is common enough knowledge to me I don't make a note of it.
CARINA is completely new to me. My Webster's Collegiate doesn't even include it. I have no notes for DESICA so that's new as well. Entries like that provided things to work around throughout the puzzle. Sure I had to break out the magnifying glass to see how many times I've seen ADIA but the latest for me was 2/6/14. That's enough time to be unsure of those middle letters. It's like seeing an old friend.
Thanks to AA and WS for the workout.

Chaos344 3:22 PM  


Borrowing the opening lines of the theme song from Erich Segal's Love Story, Where Do I Begin---? Much more to work with here, now that we have 66 comments.

Seems like Rex and those of us who call him OFL, have ruffled a few feathers over at Wordplay? So far, we Rexite's have been referred to as his "Greek chorus." One poster seems to think that Wordplay is "a positive alternative to another venue whose leader spews venom." In her defense, she admits to having a Pollyanna approach to crossword puzzles. Of course several other members of the sisterhood joined in to support her. Fine!

Having said all that, I realize it's not actually fair to compare the Wordplay blog with Rex Parker Does The New York Times. IMHO, Rex Parker is a true critic, while Deb Amlen is more akin to a paid cheerleader. I have nothing personal against Deb, but lets be honest. Der frau wouldn't say scheisse, if she had a mouthful. I actually believe that she has a "content clause" in her contract that expressly prohibits her from criticizing constructors or Will Shortz? I could be wrong!

Look at it this way. Crossword puzzle constructors have no inherent right to be put on a pedestal. In the grand scheme of things, they only provide us with fleeting moments of diversion. Do we not rip apart our presidents and members of congress whose body of work has a much more serious impact on our lives? Do we not pass judgment on the artistic merit of thespians, authors and artists? Do we not castigate the opinion of pundits and columnists with whom we disagree? Are we to hold constructors to lesser scrutiny? As a community, we roundly crucified the submission of Tim Croce for an early work, where it was patently obvious that he constructed a vanity puzzle simply to prove he could embarrass the best cruciverbalists in the world. On the other hand, we have followed and praised the growth of other young constructors like David Steinberg and Evan Birnholz who have continued to step up their game. We give credit where credit is due.

Alan Arbesfeld is not entitled to a pass for substandard work, but I'd be more inclined to cut Alan some slack for indolence than Will for allowing such poor fill to pass muster. Will is the final arbiter, and as such, he is ultimately responsible for the quality of the end product. Just Sayin!

Unknown 3:31 PM  

Amazing to read! In one day, the TUDE of the bloggiariat goes, numerically speaking, from praising with faint damn to damning with faint praise. (I was going to continue with “even ADDING INSULT to injury,” but decided otherwise.)

@Gregory Schmidt 1:52 PM: You hit what was my 2nd worst answer. A DUE? Besides being numerically arbitrary, I usually see it meaning two instruments/voices are to play/sing in unison. Normally and “generically” as clued, “tutti” is when they two or more are to play/sing “together.”

In ‘DIS’ joke amongst some audio and musical folks (maybe others). You might hear it as: Where does 'dis' go?......Well DISco here and DISco there, usually said in rhythm with a disco-like finger pointing dance. Yah, it’s as lame as it sounds, even if you were/are there. Yet, always seems to get a smile or laugh.

I say ADiUE to all DIS

Rabi Abonour 3:41 PM  

There's a part of me that likes old-school bad NYT wordplay, and theme density was high enough that I found the theme acceptable. But the fill really is comically bad. FMS is one of the worst crossword answers I've ever seen.

dick swart 3:45 PM  

As I carried my printed-out puzzle to the table for tea and a chocolate croissant, I realized I had practically finished the NW in my head and saw the 'dis' gimmick. I didn't think that all the insults would be 'dis'. I didn't think the fill would be such a musty bag of crosswordiana.

I can live with the 'dis'. It had its distracting moments of a Sunday morning. But the fill was disgusting in the use of the four letter words.

GILL I. 3:45 PM  

I'm glad I don't personally know Alan Arbesfeld or a member of his family because if I did, I'd tell them I'm sad at some of these comments. Yumpin yimminy...what's with all the hate? There are lots of puzzles I don't like but I don't spit pumpkin seeds or spittle out of my mouth and mop up the mess with the puzzle.
I usually find several words in the Sunday Times that make me wince but I didn't find any here. Well, maybe the NOT/NOT bothered me a little, but that's really about it.
I DID smile at the answers and I DON'T care if this theme had been done seven years ago. Just look at all the Mondays and tell me that every single one is unique....
Hey Wesporter's. Congrats to those certificate WINNERs. Sounds like you had mucho fun. Any chance of pictures?
We're about to go to the neighbors for what he deems is the most fun thing on TV in the whole world. I only like SuperBowl when the 49ers are up to bat....but I made the required deviled eggs, so I will put on my happy face and hope the Panthers win because I love North and South Carolina and I think Colorado is too damn cold....

Masked and Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Finally got 'er done.
har. @009 got real SOR about FMS.

The Arbesfeldmeister sure took on a HOTHOUSE of grid fill-challenge, here. I mean, day-um -- only 134 words and 66 b.s.'s. Normal bar is set at: 140 words and much more b.s. So… admirable gutz, to battle thru comin up with fill for this puppy. [But see NE Corner bullet, below]

Usage Immunity Corner: (please, no wagering)

* ATYA. M&A's fave desperate entry, in this whole grid. It has 'TUDE. Also, has Nobody UI (Usage Immunity). M&A will see to correctin this oversight, real soon …
* MDXC. Has Patrick Berry UI. With almost the same clue. Nice. It's so random. And Roman.
* APEAK. Has Michael Sharp UI. Better clue: {Simian sound??}

This just in: Adding Insult: "Summer McJob". (yo, @Z: hope this is subtle enough to not be a spoiler)

THREESTAR puz bullets: (yo, @CrosswordFiend)

* PROBOSCIS. fave fillin. Re-learned how to spell this neat word. Really wanted a -US ending, here.
* HURTERS. Man. This is gettin a lotta bad press, today. The Goat Hurters League of North America is re-thinkin their Super Bowl ad, as we speak …
* NE Corner: Gotta admit, NEeds a rewrite. (SE is an honorary runner-up, in this dept., since it contains an MS UI. har) Would be a heckuva uphill fight, constructioneerin-wise tho. M&A suggests slappin an extra b.s. [Black Square, btw] in the SE and NE corners, somewhere, and then havin another go at it.

Thanx, A.A. Liked yer last Fireball, btw.
Happy Super Sunday, all U nice folks!

Go Broncs. [Local fave choke-n-puke bistro owner, who bets heavily on sports, says he will have to raise his prices quite a bit, if Carolina loses. Bro-in-law and I immediately have a comeback prepped-up for him, if them Panthers pull it out: "Good to hear yer menu prices will be goin way down!"]

Masked and Anonymo10Us


Nancy 3:58 PM  

I did the puzzle at home today, as per usual, but I brought the Sunday Review (among other sections) to the park. And there I found a puzzle based on foreign word clues and answers, as they have appeared over the decades -- long before WS. I didn't think the puzzle was all that great, to tell the truth, nor did I think it was especially hard, but it was interesting to see what sorts of things have been done over the years. I came home to see if anyone had already mentioned it...and of course someone had. (@pmdm (7:33am). For those of you who object to foreign words and phrases in the puzzle, take a look, You'll see that it used to be worse.

I was surprised at the vitriol leveled against today's puzzle. It's hardly a masterpiece, but does it really deserve all this animosity? With all the problems and miseries of the world today, IT'S JUST A BLOODY PUZZLE, PEOPLE

Dolgo 4:15 PM  

I agree with 'most everybody. TERRIBLE! Makes me not want to do Sunday puzzles ever again. It's no fun just filling in blanks. There have to be at least a few challenges.

Tita 4:25 PM  

Thanks, @chefbea...
Lots of others were on the podium with Bob K and me...
And both Bob and I had the further honor of having our names mispronounced.

Chaos344 5:28 PM  

O.K. I don't usually make three posts here, but my chores are done and I'm just killing time before "Da Game!" Also, as is my wont on weekends, I've already had several libations. Bear that in mind before assessing anything I write after this:

@Martín Abresch@ 3:56 AM: Great post! LMAO.

@Jonathan Alexander: "Consummatory Anhedonia" Priceless!

@Anonymous Maruchka: Don't denigrate or apologize for "puerile" humor. It's not a legitimate "Scarlet Letter" that the PC crowd can hang around your neck. To some, it brings back memories of a simpler and more honest time when the PC culture and SJW didn't run rampant over free speech.

@John McKnight: That's What I'm Talking About! I feel your DIS-Pleasure! Was your response over the top? Would I have attacked this puzzle with the same level of profanity and disdain? Perhaps not, but it is so gratifying to know that I could have used the ultimate adjectives if I had chosen to do so! Hail REX and free speech!

@Brett Chappell: All common terms for a sailor or someone who has been in the Navy. We haven't even got to "atrip" yet!

@Frank 10:58 Am: Evan Birnholz has been getting better of late at the Washington Post. His first efforts were really poor, but apparently he has learned that you don't fill Merl Reagle's shoes over night? Initially, it appears he wasn't getting enough help from the puzzle editor, but things seem to be looking up? In fairness, I haven't done his current puzzle.

@AliasZ 11:01 AM: Love the word proboscis! Learned it at an early age and have never forgotten it. There used to be a children's "model" called Cootie. Totally un-PC now, but it was like Mr. Potato Head. It was a "Cootie" that had a body, six legs, eyes, and per the box, a "proboscis"! Some things, you never forget.

@ weingolb: Everyone needs to get over those potential Naticks! Either you know it/them, or you don't! If you don't Google it and read about it, you'll never remember it. Stop whining!

Suzy said @ 1:12 PM:

"Keep on pounding?" Who or what were you referring to?

@Roo Monster and Lobster11: Generally love your comments. We can all agree to disagree on certain things, right?

Leapfinger 6:01 PM  

Per wordreference/forum, 3 different dictionaries and wiki:
A device or inanimate object that adapts one thing to another is either ADAPTOR or ADAPTeR;
the person who adapts a written work or musical composition for a different mode of presentation is only acceptable spelled as anADAPTeR.
Similar to how the Barber of Seville is a Distresser.

DISgustibus non est disputandum, eh? Some may find this Sunpuzz DISturban, but I can only fit one bee in my bonnet on the day we're manning all stations. Pretty exciting to be coming into a CAM_ERA with a New Ton of tricks. I don't anticipate amazing disgrace, but disappoint of contention is inevitable, no matter how you discount your blessings. Only hours distill game time, and a good thing -- distension is killing me.

Disarms and the Manning, I sing? Ha! Discourse of action will only get you so far, and after tonight there'll be a return to dissemblance of normality.

Maybe I'm overdoing it? I s'pose when you're stuck with a one-trick pony, it might be hard to discover your ass.

Dolgo 6:05 PM  

PS. Only two people mentioned the puzzle on p. 7 in the review section today (did I miss somebody?). It was great fun, even if it was too easy. It suggested how impoverished the cluing is in crosswords these days!

Unknown 6:12 PM  

A director (i've never heard of) of a movie (i've never heard of) from 1948 and the name of the movie wasn't even correct when I checked on IMDB:

Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Director: Vittorio De Sica

xyz 6:39 PM  

I was so appalled I could not finish the SE, I just couldn't care.

Da Bears 9:06 PM  

Chaos, good to hear from you. I wrote two blistering comments, one for Amy and the other for Deb, but decided they weren't worth it. Actually one was deleted by accident and I said screw it. Martin had the best comment but he posed it as something that Wordplay doesn't accept.

Ellen S 11:35 PM  

Even @Jeff Chen didn't like it. Of course, he's such a nice guy, tolerant, upbeat, optimistic, and so forth, that his criticism seems always couched in the gentlest of terms. So "...doesn't feel very funny to me" -- them is strong words indeed.

Leapfinger 12:06 AM  

@Danielle Reeber, once a Ponti time, people actually knew Italian film directors, even if they Fellini the habit because they couldn't get enough of Sophia (the other Loren) and La Ekberg.

I'm not sure how extensive your research into the De Sica clue was, but the first line on the Wiki page about that film reads: Bicycle Thieves (Italian: Ladri di biciclette; originally titled The Bicycle Thief in the United States)[3] is a 1948 film directed by Vittorio De Sica.

Just in case you think I'm an inDIScriminate apologist for Italian movies, the one film I ever walked out on was Fellini's Satyricon --- just a dreadful movie, especially if you'd read the book.

Tita 12:45 AM  

@Gill...very well said about the reactions today.
Yes, I get very amped by an awesome puzzle, but I just don't expend that much energy on hate. As @Nancy said, it's a puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:20 AM  

@Tita - Reading your comments, I realize I may have unintentionally come across as boastful in my account of Westport. (I thought the "Whoop!" was the equivalent of a smiley face.) Perhaps it would help to show what I wrote at the runtpuz blog:

The good people of Westport never had anything to worry about from my attendance:

The good news for me is that for only the second time ever (the first time having been two years ago, my only other appearance at Westport) I actually won something at a Crossword Tournament: A certificate, signed by Will Shortz himself and in person, testifying that I had completed all the puzzles with a clean solve. The Dump-Cold-Water-On-My-Good-News factor: So many participants won that same certificate that the event organizers had to have Will S. talk an extra 20 minutes while they printed up more of them!

Lobster11 8:21 AM  

@Chaos344: Yes, of course we can agree to disagree. If we all agreed on everything, this would get very boring very fast, no?

'mericans in Paris 9:10 AM  

@Leapy. You are too funny for words! When you disembarked on your discourse, I knew I could distrust you to disgrace these pages with the best puns dissever. Dismember of the Rexworld community is in complete disaccord with you. May you continue to dissolve crossword puzzles with disease.

Hugh 10:41 AM  

Did not hate the theme as much as some, especially OFL. TO BE IN NEED of an easyish, straightforward Sunday again? Yes, I think I'm still in that mindset, much the same as last week when I finished a Sunday for the first time in a month. And yes, this type of thing has been done before but that does not bother me as much as it does Rex.

The fill however, not my cuppa. I have never been critical of a puzzle as I have too much respect for the effort it takes to create a good one, and I always figure that if I think the fill is bad, it's simply because it's full of things I should know but don't. This time, however, I'm a little more inclined to think that maybe this wasn't the best - the whole SW - from IRISHHALE on down escaped me - (other than OPENLINE and SKATES - the cluing of which I actually liked a bit), but mostly bad, uninteresting stuff.

While there were no AHA moments or laugh out loads (not even close), I did have a little fun sussing out the themers - DISBARANDGRILL was the first to fall, though admittedly it took a little while, the rest came relatively quickly (except for CAMEODISAPPEARANCE, that had me stuck). It was enough for me to get a sufficient amount of enjoyment out of it which is what I look for in a Sunday.

Had MASCOT for 13A (Dugout figure) for the longest time, I kept is as ADAPTOR and ORNOT crossed with it. After that the NE fell quickly. But a big DNF due to the SW.

All in all OK for me.

Have a great week all!

Amelia 2:22 PM  

I couldn't agree with Rex more.

When you consider the new competition (WSJ, Buzzfeed, etc) you'd think the Times would up its game. This was embarrassing and I know what he means about the time wasted. It reminded me of the day I decided to stop doing the Sunday Crossword Puzzle about 10 years ago. (While still doing the varieties) I said enough. Waste of my time. Then I came back and for the most part, it's been okay, but I'm tempted to stop again. This was an insult to my intelligence. Anyway, I often disagree with Rex. Today, I'm with him 100 percent.

Anonymous 8:51 PM  

Found the puzzle closer to Easy than Medium, but I did get Naticked by Selene/DeSica. (As Rex predicted for some, I had Selena/DaSica). For those out there more familiar than I with the unwritten rules of crosswords, can I grade myself at 100% if the only error is one letter in a Natick cross?

rain forest 4:34 PM  

I am not among those who do any puzzles other than the NYT's one. Even if I did, I really don't think I would compare those others as though in some sort of competition. The idea of crossword puzzles competing repels me.

In addition, if a puzzle's theme is similar to a previous one, I would never remember it, so every puzzle is new to me. Isn't that special?

Furthermore, I don't circle, point out or mention the various words termed "crosswordese" that some people find joy in doing (I assume they find joy, otherwise why bother?). They may be closet HURTERS.

Lastly, I see no point in the constant disparaging of the crossword editor of the NYT who I think does a fine job. It seems weird to maintain the blog if day after day the message is negative, unless the point is finding joy (see above).

I enjoyed doing this puzzle, and found the themers to be clever and amusing. So sue me.

rain forest 4:37 PM  

@Anonymous 8:51. Though I don't fancy myself an expert in these things, by all means give yourself a 100%

spacecraft 11:16 AM  

Better make that a class-action suit, because I liked it too. IMEAN, I'm not thrilled, but nowhere near OFL's DISsing. For a change I actually started in the NW (!). Of course, I had a leg up, since as a native Pennsylvanian who spent lots of time in State College (my son went there), ALTOONA was a flat gimme.

So I came whipping out of the corner thinking I'd put this away in short order. Funny, there were only two choices for NPR stations--and I picked the wrong one! My columns had to travel from Greek to ROMan to--at last--DOMED. I top my burgers with oniON, so a snag in the NE as well. Bacon belongs on the breakfast plate, IMHO. One outstanding exception: the BLT.

So who knew the Ewoks shared their world with Saul's witch? And what, pray tell, is "ELLA ENCHANTED?" An album title? Did I mention how horrible I am at album titles? I love the lady, but my SUM total of album title knowledge is maybe THREE or four--and they're all Beatles.

And the fill? Sorry, but I just don't see all that much garbage. Yes, there's the ugly RRN, and the truly awkward phrase BEINNEEDOF, but small potatoes for a Sunday grid. I think OFL needs to take a nap and get up again. B.

Burma Shave 12:24 PM  


give dis TUNAROLL and dance tu DISBANDONTHERUN,


rondo 1:10 PM  

DIS puz? I didn’t hate it as much as OFL, nor like it as much as some, and I generally scorn Thursday and Sunday gimmicks. IMEAN to say that this was an acceptable Sun-puz, even FOR me.

Often enough there is a FrenchDISconnection that has me howling at foreign words, not much more than DES today.

AEON was a gimme as I am such a fan of FEMALE ACTRESS yeah baby Charlize that I even watch her less than stellar efforts.

The ADREP said, “Put your ADHERE in the BULLETIN for a great RATE.” IREFUSEd.

Will NYT Sunday puzzless get worse? IHOPENOT. This one was OK and not one to SCREENOUT, but maybe by now I’ve gotten USEDTO them. ORNOT.Lemme SLEEPON it.

leftcoastTAM 3:17 PM  

Normally don't do the Sunday puzzle because of the extra time it takes, especially as I like a leisurely pace in pen and ink.

The result, like today, is usually a lot of back-pedaling and a blotchy array of writeovers. Still, I find it satisfying enough when I finish with all in order, despite the slow pace.

I liked the theme and its entries, which made the whole thing doable. Some clever stuff there.

The NE was the last to go. CARINA was an outlier, onion before BACON, thought THREESTAR was not a top rating, and YEATS needed the BATBOY cross.

Okay, time to move on.

AnonymousPVX 3:50 PM  

Tough clueing, some really arcane answers, but still I didn't despise it as much as others seemed to. It was a hard one to solve, though. And it took a while.

Diana,LIW 4:07 PM  

I was doomed by DOMED. My paper printed the answer puzzle just below the grid, and not upside-down as usual. I glanced at an article and saw DOMED, which doomed me to a DNF.

But, in the long run, that may have made my solving experience a lot happier than OFL, as I didn't mind looking up the many WOEs that were in store for me. And I liked the DIS themers.

I have a new game I play while solving - will Rex call the answers wacky? Today, I just knew he would. And that, of course, is never a good thing.

Guess I kinda like wacky. Yeah, me and 'ole Wacky go way back - since jr high school.

Loved LMS' "mind like a steel colander" - gotta remember that one.

Now, to go see if this constructor is in any of my puzzle books...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Cathy 6:46 PM  

I didn't have a bad TUDE today. Had some fun aha moments.

DISBAR AND GRILL. What a great name! I would go there for an IRISH ALE. Doubt they'd serve TUNA ROLLs. Doubt any lawyers would go. I wonder if there's one in ALTOONA.

Diana,LIW 9:22 PM  

Small Crossworld...

I went to my Tuesday Omnibus (editor, W.S.) to look for more Alan Arbesfeld puzzles - just to see if I could suss a pattern in them. Found a few, however, when I first opened the book I found a puzzle with the clue, "vertically, to a sailor." The constructor? Michael Sharp! Answer - APEAK. So I got to use my new-found knowledge of sailor's lingua immediately! What are the chances? Twas a fun solve, too.


SharonAK 4:19 PM  

I liked this puzzle. Thought the theme answers amusing, a couple I maybe actually chuckled at. Didn't find a lot to love in the fill but not a lot hate either. And like several commenters, don't remember the theme having been used many times.

Thanks, Alan A. for a fun Sunday puzzle.

wcutler 1:50 PM  

I think the problem is that fill like "fms" feels insulting. It's not a word. It's clearly been used instead of reworking the puzzle to get a real word, and while there are FM stations, there are not FMs. So it makes people grumpy to see stuff like that.

I liked the DIS theme - they all made me smile.

Wilbur Charles 8:19 PM  

I like to do the nytimes xword(a week late like some others because frankly I'm can't do them. Then somehow on the next days try they dall together
Had an unwordly experience of hearing a "puerile" argument and had an eureka moment. But alas I had stuck NET in where SUM had to be and blew MIXED. Had a choice of X, V or C ... SIMP is a new one.
These naticks are an oldsters salvation. I knew a Warner Oland fan but still had trouble coming up with that name. Something missing upstairs.

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