Maurice who painted Parisian street scenes / SUN 3-20-16 / Black white sneaker lingo / Regenerist brand / Streaming video giant / 1999 rom-com based on Pygmalion / jacet phrase on tombstones / Small-capped mushrooms / Hero of kid-lit's Phantom Tollbooth / Band with Ben Jerry's flavor named for it / Old Spanish kingdom

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Double-Crossed" — Note:

The word that's spelled out: REMAINDERS (because every letter in every theme answer is used exactly twice ... except one)

Theme answers:
  • HIPPOCRATIC OATH (27A: *Doctor's orders?)
  • "SHE'S ALL THAT" (38A: *199 rom-com based on Shaw's "Pygmalion")
  • LOS ALAMOS (42A: *Manhattan Project site)
  • BAR MEMBER (56A: *Lawyer)
  • PRIDE PARADE (58A: *Event with rainbow flags)
  • UNDER DURESS (70A: *Pressured)
  • SETS A DATE (73A: *Makes wedding plans)
  • MIAMI-DADE (86A: *County that includes much of Everglades National Park)
  • PRETTY PENNY (90A: *Tidy sum)
  • GOES UNDERGROUND (103A: *Hides out)
Word of the Day: ASTANA (32A: Capital of Kazakhstan) —
Astana [...] is the capital of Kazakhstan. It is located on the Ishim River in the north portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Region, though administrated separately from the region as a city with special status. The 2014 census reported a population of 835,153 within the city, making it the second-largest city in Kazakhstan. // Founded in 1830 as the settlement of Akmoly (Kazakh: Ақмолы) or Akmolinsky prikaz (Russian: Акмолинский приказ), it served as a defensive fortification for the Siberian Cossacks. In 1832, the settlement was granted a town status and renamed Akmolinsk (Russian: Акмолинск). On 20 March 1961, the city was renamed to Tselinograd (Russian: Целиноград) to mark the city's evolution as a cultural and administrative centre of the Virgin Lands Campaign. In 1992, it was renamed Akmola (Kazakh: Ақмола), the modified original name meaning "a white grave". On 10 December 1997, Akmola replaced Almaty to become the capital of Kazakhstan. On 6 May 1998, it was renamed Astana, which means "the capital" in Kazakh. // Astana is a planned city, such as Brasilia in Brazil, Canberra in Australia and Washington, D.C. in the United States. The master plan of Astana was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. As the seat of the Government of Kazakhstan, Astana is the site of the Parliament House, the Supreme Court, the Ak Orda Presidential Palace and numerous government departments and agencies. It is home to many futuristic buildings, hotels and skyscrapers. Astana is a centre for sport, having been set to host the Expo 2017. Astana also has extensive healthcare and education systems.
• • •

There is no doubt that this is a clever theme, but I didn't experience it at all while solving. I noted that there were starred clues, but there was no trickiness involved, they were all easy to get, and there was no apparent pattern. It wasn't til I was done (in under 10 minutes!?) that I noticed the "Note" there up next to the title. So I read it. And followed instructions. And found out what the deal was. Needless to say, this type of after-the-fact theme is not my favorite type. I want the reveal to hit me right between the eyes, mid-solve, and I want it to unfold like a continual revelation. Is that too much to ask!? Maybe. Following the Note's directions, crossing out the letters, etc., felt like performing an autopsy. There is a kind of aha moment that comes when you (finally) see what's going on, and the theme, to its credit, is flawlessly executed. And REMAINDERS is the mot juste, to be sure. It just feels like a kind of sad magic trick. "I finished your puzzle, and it was nice, and ... oh, there was something to it? Oh, OK, explain it to me. Oh, ha ha, wow. Good one." It has to be explained. The solver doesn't just Get it in the course of solving. Therefore, :(

As a bloated themeless, this one works quite well. It's a lot sassier and more interesting than most Sundays tend to be, and never drifts into the doldrums of cruddy boring fill. The long Downs are marvelous (SPEECH BUBBLES! NICOTINE PATCH!), and there are some neat up-to-date thing like MODS (short for "moderators") (47D: Chat room policers, informally) and APPLE / CEO / TIM Cook. I have seen MODS a few times lately as friends of mine have gleefully reported on the sad attempts of a certain disgraced crossword editor to erase information about himself on his wikipedia page. Let's just say the wikipedia MODS weren't amused.

The only trouble I had with this one was ASTANA, which I'm just never going to remember, and LLC / CARB (34D: Cousin of inc. / 45A: Engine part, briefly). I wanted LLB and LLD at first, and my knowledge of engines is not, uh, great. To me, a CARB is a starch thing, a bready pasta-y thing. Engines have "cams," right? That's the engine part I know. Anyway, that little intersection caused a hiccup. But otherwise, I sailed through this faster than I've sailed through any NYT Sunday in a long time. Sometimes I finish a puzzle so fast I simply don't notice the theme (this typically happens on Monday or Tuesday). But today, it wouldn't have mattered if I'd taken the time to smell the roses—the theme was invisible. I wish there's been a way to push the theme into view or to make it somehow more ... relevant to the solve.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. if this theme seems familiar ... Patrick Berry! (from Sep 2007) (may as well accidentally duplicate the best!) (I say the same thing about the theme, use the same visuals ... it's crossword Groundhog Day)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:13 AM  

I've been in communication with several of my friends, and have seen what was previously posted elsewhere. The consensus is that this @Joel Fagliano puzzle was well-made and played very easy. Certainly, @Rex's analysis taught a few things that I was unaware of, but let the discussion evolve without significant input from me (though I can't resist pointing to the very unusual ARIA clue).

Our Friends group has made a Supreme Effort to create a timely bipartisan political puzzle, and we hope you'll give it a try.

John Child 12:22 AM  

No note in my print edition of the International NYT, so this solved as a big, easy themeless. Ltd as an alternative for inc. is likely to be a common error. (Hand up) Maybe also UNDER threat too. (Other hand up)

Wow once I saw the note, and major props to Mr Fagliano for the idea and the very clean construction. But the theme that was basically invisible here. I think that it would have been about the same even if there had been a note.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

Well executed. But not the same puzzle as Patrick Berry in September of 07?

jae 1:20 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Got hung up in the NE with sIt Up before LIE UP and @Rex LLd before LLC.

Ambitious theme, pretty solid grid, liked it even though the pay off had a "Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine" vibe.

Carola 1:38 AM  

Ingenious. Each theme answer was its own delight - I was amazed at how many phrases the constructor came up with that consisted entirely of doubled letters except for one. Fun with words! In some, the doubling was perhaps not so difficult to come up with (PRIDE PARADE), but HIPPOCRATIC OATH? That one reached jaw-dropping level for me. I sketched in 10 spaces at the bottom of my page, and after a few letters were filled in, it was evident I was looking at REMAINDERS. All right, not the most exciting payoff, but nifty construction. The only blot, I felt, was the double UNDER.

Many treats in the Downs - besides those Rex mentioned, UTRILLO, CASTILE, FAULTLINES, CALCULATE, DOWNLOW, and FEARSOME, which I can never read without a smile, remembering the three-year-old, dinosaur-crazed son of a friend telling me very earnestly that "T-wex was a feawsome pwedatah."

Gaurawalla 2:37 AM  

There was a theme? I did not notice

Toltriaco 2:53 AM  

YET AGAIN... The international edition of the NYT screws up the theme. While it wrote "Double Cross", it failed to include the note on how to actually "solve" the puzzle. This is the third time in the past few weeks that similar editing errors have thrown cold water on my Sunday puzzle solving. I finish the puzzle but am left wondering what it was all about...

But I agree with Rex, this was an easy one. I had barrister for a while instead of bar member and LTD instead of LLC which made that section a challenge, but otherwise a quick one. "South Side" for okra made me smile...

chefwen 2:57 AM  

I feel exactly the same as Rex does. In my haste to print out the puzzle I didn't see "the note"', I NEVER see the damn note. So, I was in the dark as far as solving the trick, or theme as it were, until I arrived here. Oh well, such is life!

Wasn't too keen on OIL PAN as a car collector 98A but Puzzle Partner seemed fine with it, so...

Thought the puzzle was fine and fairly easy, just a little disappointed in the lack of a clever theme reveal. Gotta start looking for that note.

ZenMonkey 3:58 AM  

"After-the-fact theme" -- nice term for it. I feel the same way; I prefer one of those Berrys where each theme clue is a gem. I did find it enjoyable to solve, with so many longer, juicy answers and not a ton of annoying fill. As a feat of construction (after the fact), though, I find it quite impressive. I can live with not the most exciting solve when I appreciate the finished grid and trick so much. I enjoy how Fagliano's puzzles usually feel very of the moment especially in terms of cluing. If he is the heir apparent to Shortz, I could imagine a bit of a facelift for the NYT that might interest newer solvers who haven't memorized all the standard crosswordese.

Two favorites were UNION for "...going into labor" and the TIM/APPLE gag.

The only BWI I know is the airport. How is that a "Caribbean area, once" please?

Russell Davies 5:10 AM  

The International NYT published in London omitted the instruction concerning the starred clues, so the "Double Cross" title became meaningless and the puzzle indeed themeless. But who enjoys working out some laborious extra riddle anyway, once a puzzle is completed? I don't feel we missed much.

Trombone Tom 5:11 AM  

What @Rex said. Responding to the note "felt like performing an autopsy." HA I didn't have a clue about ASTANA, but the crosses saved me. Liked SPEECH BUBBLES and NICOTINE PATCH as long downs. ST PATS clued as "Green day?" held me up for a while. Oh, and OILPAN clued as "Car collector" ditto.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:28 AM  

Felt Medium to me. At various points I struggled, but I can't say why - the only w/o's I can see on the page are at 14 D, where working off the R of CREME I entered an A above, thinking the Robe-wearer of 14D would be a TSAR or a CZAR, and at 71D, UNLIT >> UPLIT.

At the end, I ignored the instructions to a slight extent, circling the non-repeating letters instead of crossing anything out. -- a much neater result.

Surprised Rex didn't mention that this gimmick has been done before, as Amy notes and I'm sure others will.

Loren Muse Smith 6:29 AM  

Man. I loved this and report that my experience absolutely doesn't match Rex's. Alert the presses. I like a reveal to hit me in the face mid-solve, too, but I also get a kick out of this after-the-fact revelation that is a slower build-up –

I blacken in the unused letters, R E M A I N… I see it slowly spelling out REMAINDERS, and the hit-me-in-the-face feeling comes on more like the beginning of "A Space Oddessy." When I blacken in the last RS, the music intro reaches its peak. Da da daaa.. daaaaa… daaaaaa…. DAAAAAAAA!!!!

Just a few hurdles to make this:

1. Find expressions that use all the letters twice except one. I'd give up right there and go lie down.
2. Make sure those extra letters spell a word that fits the theme.
3. Put entries in order to spell the word.
4. Oh, yeah, just one more little thing –ordered entries must be symmetrical. Seriously? So now that hard-won I in PRIDE PARADE has to match its N buddy in letter count??? Vaya con dios, buddy.

How the heck did Joel find these expressions, find enough so that he could pick and choose for letters and symmetry??? I'm incredibly impressed.

I really have never tried any of the metas out there, but I imagine this is a kind of meta. If the metas contain no heads-up – no note or title - other than the fact you know it's a meta, then fair enough on Rex's point that it needs an explanation. I'll still take this one. But it's not uncommon for Sundays to have a note (that I usually miss). I wonder, with the perfect title, if this would have worked without the note. I almost wish I hadn't seen it.

GROIN/GLUTE cross – cool.

"Phlegmatic" means STOIC? Hmm. Looks like it's a word that means something else. Guess it'snot.

I'm a world-class ELIDER, and my "somethin" is actually "sumpn."

I actually had a dnf because I put in a ridiculous "eco band" for EMO BAND. And I vaguely thought, "Who knew? What, they play on guitars fashioned out of discarded K-Cups? They cover Aretha's 'Respect' but change it to 'Recycle'"? Needless to say, I stayed flummoxed by the fact that "Tic" was a cook in charge of APPLE. JEAN AUEL from yesterday, no problem. But TIM Cook - shame on me.

Joel – terrific puzzle with its conceit and fill. There's nuttn I didn't like about this one.

pmdm 6:44 AM  

A humorless puzzle. That's not a problem if the puzzle contains stuff that catches your fancy. For me, this one did not. So for me, it was just a slog. I enjoyed today's acrostic puzzle, so I'm happy enough with today's magazine.

Elsewhere, it's pointed out that Patrick Berry used a similar theme in 2007 with the word "leftovers." I don't remember the puzzle and would not cry foul.

And based upon comments elsewhere, it seems Jeff Chen had a more than trivial role in the construction of the puzzle. Enough to have resulted in his being mentioned as a co-constructor in my opinion.

BigMistake 7:16 AM  

Any time Phish is an answer, there must be something right! That being said, was among my fastest Sundays ever, and I missed the theme entirely

imsdave 7:26 AM  

I chose to leave the body unmolested and let Rex do the autopsy for me. I enjoyed the solve and was impressed when I read about the gimmick.

Two quick notes - a business related LLx answer will always be LLC or LLP (Limited Liability Company/Partnership) and CARB as clued should have some indication of 'oldness' - fuel injection eclipsed that technology long ago.

Lewis 7:32 AM  

A beautiful construction for the reasons @muse mentioned, a very impressive stunt. Stunts are tricky. If the solve is unpleasurable, then the stunt comes off as bragging rights for the constructor, self serving. But if the solve has spark in its answers and motivation from quality cluing -- as this one does -- then the stunt is the icing on the cake. Many wonderful clues (OKRA, NURSED, HIPPOCRATICOATH, EQUATION) and answers (PRETTYPENNY, UPTOYOU, SPEECHBUBBLES and others Rex mentioned). This puzzle didn't fall easily in some areas, and there were seven answers not in my wheelhouse (which the crosses uncovered), but I never lost faith in Joel to keep this solvable. I don't care if this theme was done before (but if someone knows, I'd love to know how many answers here duplicated the answers from the previous puzzle(s), as if there was a lot of duplication, then this puzzle loses some luster), because it was so well done and felt fresh to me. I loved the title and am grateful for the solve -- thanks, Joel!

On another front... Yesterday, someone mentioned how civil the comments have become since they've become moderated, and that is the positive result. On the other side, @Nancy talked about "the morning cutoff" and how she sometimes hurries to get in before that. And there have been complaints, especially in the months after the change, from many others. I have noticed an increase of people from here who are now commenting on WordPlay as well (who didn't before), and a number of others who used to comment regularly but have dropped out. I think one reason the complaints have diminished is that people have lost the will to complain about the moderation because Rex has seemed adamant about keeping it. I for one greatly miss the spark that came from giving and getting immediate feedback on comments, on putting in a comment that gets published immediately instead of half-heartedly putting in a comment "after the morning cutoff" knowing it will hardly be viewed. I just don't understand why Rex doesn't revive publishing comments immediately, and periodically through the day, monitor them, and if there are bad comments, just strike them then. Then we have the best of both worlds. Why not try this, Rex?

chefbea 7:54 AM  

Almost finished this last night...but no aha moment. It was like a themeless puzzle
Of course I loved South side!!!!!

Glimmerglass 8:09 AM  

I usually agree with LMS, but not today. Rex is exactly right that finding the "theme" answer is like "peformng an autopsy." There is no challenge at all -- less than in a kiddy word-search. It was clearly a challenge for the *constructor*, but not for the solver. One can admire that the constructor found all those entries with double letters and only a single single letter, but that's fun (maybe) for other constructors, not for me. In the middle of "solving" the "theme," I was thinking, "And why am I doing this?"

Maruchka 8:40 AM  

Agree with @Rex,, that the construction is solid. There are some nice treats along the way. Long crosses helped fill the fill, perhaps a bit too quickly. I do enjoy larnin' (double ELIDE) new stuff (MODS) and sussing out multiple answer clues.

I'm just missing the PB style of AHA! moments lately. Sigh.

@Lewis - Good points. I too miss the spontaneity. Maybe @Rex could use some help from an elf or two.

@chefwen - It's so hard to locate an OIL PAN these days, or any other recognizable auto part.

Tom 8:58 AM  

Rex, you should ban 'carb' as an engine part, at least in modern car engine-based cluing. The last US car to have a carburetor was the 1989 Ford Festiva (I had one). Since 27 years have passed, it seems that 'antique engine part' might be more accurate as a clue. How time flies...

Lobster11 9:09 AM  

Sorry, but I just hate hate hate puzzles with "after-the-fact" themes. Hate hate hate them. I honestly don't care one iota how clever or difficult it was to pull off, nor how brilliant the execution might be. When I "finished" the actual puzzle, I didn't even both to slog through the "autopsy" to find the hidden word; I just came here to find out what it was.

The first "starred" answer I got was PRIDEPARADE, which seemed to me to clearly be missing the word "gay" at the front. This led me to guess that there was some kind of not-after-the-fact missing-word theme in addition to the "remainder" theme, which held me up at times when I came up with correct answers but was sure I was missing something. I was sorely disappointed when that turned out to not be the case.

I agree with @Lewis that posting comments here is far less fun and interesting under this moderation system. OFL has made it clear why he prefers to do it this way, and I understand, but I wonder if he is underestimating just how much moderation adversely affects everyone's experience.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

BWI = British West Indies.

Tita 9:23 AM  

I purposely avoid the notes, just like I squint my eyes over any in-puzzle reveal ers. I like to see if I can figgur it out on my own. (I don't even like to read the title.)

It took me about 5 minutes of staring to realize all the in-woes doublings...I kept looking at crosses with doubles...and there were some of those.

I did finally get a lightbulb that there were almost all repeated letters, but I knew there had to be more, since the note I hid was a long one. So I did not fully get the theme...nope....

Not my favorite type of theme, but, I do like the good stuff everyone pointed out, and as @lms points out, a bear to construct.
(I thought Rex would label this one as a more-interesting-for-the-constructor-than-the-solver puzzle.

Paul Johnson 9:23 AM  

What contrast: Bonnie RAITT and The Mods. A legend vs. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Nancy 9:41 AM  

I found this puzzle engrossing enough that, though I was cold, I couldn't be bothered to put it down while I got an extra layer of clothing. The fill was lively and colloquial: SPEECH BUBBLES; PRETTY PENNY; GOES UNDERGROUND; NICOTINE PATCH; FAULT LINES; UP TO YOU. Good clues for EQUATION; HIPPOCRATIC OATH; and OREO, for a change, though I've never heard it used in "sneaker lingo."

I completely forgot about the letter-crossing-out thing, and went to turn on the computer to come here. Then I realized I'd forgotten. I closed the cover on my laptop -- I find screens distracting when I'm doing something else -- and went back to cross out the repeated letters in HIPPOCRATIC OATH. I realized I had crossed out just about all the letters. "This is quite tedious and boring," I said to myself. (I hate tedious and boring.) So I decided not to cross out any more letters, opened up my laptop again, and learned what I'd missed. (Not much, I'd venture to say.) So an enjoyable puzzle, with an unnecessary, added on, after-the-fact Who Cares? theme. But no harm done; it was easy enough to ignore. So an enjoyable Sunday for me.

Kimberly 9:56 AM  

Ok, so I'll grant that the theme here was kind of clever to create, but that's not the same as being fun to solve. Sometimes what's enjoyable to the constructor will never translate to the user, who can only say "oh, that must have been fun for the constructor." This kind of construction is nothing more than a form of intellectual auto-eroticism, where the post-coital "was it good for you?" can only be asked of the mirror.

Basically, for the second week in a row, the Sunday "aha" moment was stolen and replaced with a rambling, unnecessary note. Hint I if your note or instructions require an entire paragraph, you have lost the plot.

The Sunday is ABOUT the aha moment. Figuring out the trick is the whole point. This is the type of puzzle that should be reserved for showing one's mother, so she can tell you what a clever little puzzle maker you are. It is not a NYC Sunday puzzle.

There is no joy in Mudville.

cwf 10:02 AM  

Nice to have a non-slog Sunday; this flowed nicely. But got to the end, which is when I always read the notes, and said to self, "Screw that. I'll just go read Rex's explanation."

Teedmn 10:05 AM  

I thought this puzzle was more workmanlike than effervescent but the construction was very impressive. The NW held me up for a while with "wraPs" instead of CREPE and Mount Rushmore being LIT UP rather than uPLIT made PUSH and SMILE hard to see in the SE sector.

Some nice words, DOLOR, ARDOR, DURESS, HAIKU.

I wondered if *Tidy Sum could have been PENNY PRETTY and clued as "Buckaroo Bonzai's love interest" but that's not only obscure, it's wrong. Google tells me the character's name was PENNY PRiddY which wouldn't fit the theme. So much for me trying to jazz up a puzzle with a timely 1984 movie reference.

Thanks, Joel Fagliano for a great puzzle.

And for another feat of construction, try @George Barany's timely Supreme Effort puzzle!

'mericans in Buenos Aires 10:22 AM  

We agree with the consensus, such as it is: an impressive feat in retrospect, but the solving experience is what matters most. And for us it (solving on a paper edition of the INYT) it was themeless. Started it in the airport before catching a flight to Madrid and finished on the airplane. No googles, but DNF because I had inserted DOWNLaW, and Mrs. 'mericans had written rUSH instead of PUSH. Had to guess at several crosses, but in the other cases we lucked out.

The Ohio area was the last to fall for us. We were thankful that the proper noun density was on the low side. Agree with Tom that CARB is a relic of the past; engines now use fuel injection.

Tim Aurthur 10:34 AM  

I agree with LMS that an "after-the-fact" theme can be seen as a meta with a giveaway. If this had been a contest, would people see it differently?

In any case, this was masterpiece of construction, up there IMO with the flags-colors puzzle a few years back. Bravo, Joe!

jberg 10:43 AM  

Yeah, it was easy -- or should have been easy. Only I was sure that the capital of Kazakhstan was AlmAty. Turns out it was -- until 1997, and ASTANA has only been called that since 1998 -- so I can't kick myself too hard. But that wrong answer, confirmed in both As by crosses, totally blocked me in the upper Midwest. I finally couldn't resist FEARSOME any longer, and got the rest of ASTANA completely from the crosses. My bad, though, I should stay up to date on my geography. Or my drinks. I haven't had a gIMlet since I was 16, and thought maybe they came in flutes.

Then, figuring out the theme after the fact, I missed one of those little tiny *s, and was looking at REMAINDES. I spent a couple of minutes trying to see how that last letter could be an R, but nope -- then finally did a new search of the clues, and saw that I'd missed PRETTY PENNY.

As @Loren points out, this thing is a marvel of construction, and worthy of admiration even if that part is not visible during the solve. And speaking of @Loren -- ROLF over your elision there. I had STaId before STOIC, myself.

@ZenMonkey, it's British West Indies -- not exactly an "area, once" since it's a bunch of islands, but close enough for crosswords.

Steve M 10:44 AM  

Speech bubbles.......hmmm

John McKnight 10:55 AM  

lol at INBAD and TOEPADS, and congrats to the poster who made the autopsy comparison - that feels exactly right.

duaneu 10:55 AM  


The clue says nothing about automobile engines. My lawn mower engine has a carburetor.

lg 11:06 AM  

Easy-medium for me, but a record time none the less. Had Ltd before LLC, heavY before TIPPY, and I had to hope that BWI was correct as I hadn't heard of that one. Took me a while to come up with HIPPOCRATICOATH but as soon as I did, every missing down fell into place nicely.

Relaxing Sunday puzzle that felt good to me!

Charles Flaster 11:06 AM  

Agree with Rex. Slogged through without the note. Numerous write overs eventually became a DNF.
Theme was very creative..
Thanks JF

Alan_S. 11:10 AM  

Usually, when I discover a clever and brilliantly constructed (aha) puzzle, I run to my wife (not a solver) to show her it's cleverness, and mine in completing it. Not this one. An apparently difficult and tedious construct with very little payoff.

AliasZ 11:24 AM  

A joke that needs to be explained is not a good joke -- good rule to remember for stand-up comics and puzzle constructors.

Nice themeless puzzle, I enjoyed solving it. The trick was so well hidden that it stayed hidden throughout, it never figured in my solving.

I am not much for reading titles or notes for puzzles. You shouldn't need to read notes to solve puzzles or understand tricks in them. I expect revealers to be embedded in the puzzle itself rather explained in extraneous notes. The only exception is that rare contest puzzle series, advertised well in advance, which requires that you solve five, six or seven of them to find and solve the meta hidden in them.

I still managed to appreciate Joel's (and Jeff's) hard work to come up with ten phrases containing each letter exactly twice, except for one, and arrange them in the proper order to spell out REMAINDERS. That was impressive. I appreciated it at least as much as the clever explanation of a poorly conceived or delivered joke.

Not remembering PB's identical theme from eight+ years ago made it immaterial.

Here is how Debussy envisioned multistory temples. The sound of a single piano is almost more descriptive than a high-resolution photo.

Norm 11:33 AM  

That's it? Pffft. Sound effect for balloon deflating. What a complete letdown.

Roo Monster 11:35 AM  

Hey All !
Hands up for an awesomely hard puz to construct. When I see Joel's name, I always think, "Humph, he gets his puzs in cause he's Will's ASST.", but after this puz, Wow! Not only did he come up with 10 themers, but they had to be symmetrical, with only two repeating letters (not three!) and one letter left over that spells another word! In order! And also having large swaths at 5-6-7D and 80-81-82D, each crossing two themers, and end up with little to no dreck! Unreal! So Joel, you've won me over to your constructioneering chops! Now I'll look forward to seeing your name.

I counted 18 U's. So I'm sure the M&A will be happy!

Needless to say, I liked this one. Tripped up in some spots. The ENOKIS 'shroom a WOE. Had LEAd and OtRA for LEAN OKRA. OtRA, thinking Spanish "other" for south side?, get it? Yea, me neither. :-) Funnier is I originally had "rear" there! ditto-ASAMI, lOWdown-DOWNLOW, that was a funny one! NEWeSt-NEWISH, UnLIT-UPLIT, lIPS-HIPS.

INBAD is bad! :-) But you're gonna get iffy fill in any puz, and with the end result of the awesomeness of this puz, not a single thing is bothersome. Especially in that section, as mentioned before, with all that space.



kitshef 11:35 AM  

Average Sunday, which alas means dull.

Hated the HOWI, ASAMI, IMO trio, and also UPLIT, SAUTEPAN, INBAD, and SIPPEDON.


ENOKIS a WoE but crosses all good.

Spend a long time trying to figure out how MILO was a Motorcyclist's invitation, before realizing my paper was smudged.

There is something to be said for the difficulty and creativity of the theme; I just wish it translated into difficulty and fun in the solve.

I agree with @Lewis that I miss the unmoderated era. However, we don't see what is being nixed. For all we know there could be a thousand obscenity-filled rants being a day that we are spared.

old timer 12:08 PM  

PRETTY smooth solve, except:

OKRA/ENOKI I know the names of most edible mushrooms, but forgot that one. Gotta say I did smile when, in running the alphabet, I got OKRA, a Southern side.

HIPS/ARIA. Why do HIPS not lie? Never heard the song, never heard of the ARIA hotel, though looking it up later, it seems like quite the place to spend a lot of money.

I'd be happy if OFL let unmoderated comments back in, because I basically am able to post at noon Eastern time. It can take hours for whatever I write to show up. But I'm OK with the current system as well.

Mohair Sam 12:11 PM  

Well you can tell which posters here have constructed puzzles. Those who are wowed by the theme appreciate the difficulty of finding words and phrases with all double letters and one single and then aligning them to spell REMAINDERS in your completed grid. Impressive indeed. The rest of us can't fully appreciate that and took this as a damned good themeless Sunday. Credit to Joel F. on two levels.

Several new-to-us nouns (i.e. IMING, ENOKIS, UTRILLO, HIC, HIPS as clued) made this one play medium/challenging here. Lots of enjoyable misdirect and aha cluing (OKRA, TIM and APPLE in particular). Have a son in the military who has been given 6 month rotations throughout the region so names like ASTANA are less and less obscure in this house. At 16d (Smith graduate) I got Paul Smith in my mind somehow and was looking for something in the forestry or culinary field - talk about lost.

Might have naticked on the H at HIC and PHISH except for a nephew whose band toured the northeast a few years back, often on the bill with a band which was a PHISH tribute band. We made the trek to his gigs when they were within shouting distance.

Looked up my standing in the ESPN NCAA pool. I'm in the 99th percentile! That's good. I'm also in 149,989th place (tied I assume). Not so hot.

Go 'Cuse.

Joseph Michael 12:17 PM  

Rex, I can't believe you're blaming the constructor because you failed to read the note which explains what to look for.

This was a great puzzle. During the solve, I enjoyed finding the remainders in the starred clues and figuring out the revealer.

Chaos344 12:33 PM  

Totally agree with Rex, Glimmerglass and Lobster11. I do appreciate the difficulty level of the construction, but speaking only for myself, it adds nothing to the puzzle. I read the note but paid no attention to it during the solve. In fact, I had no idea what the gimmick was until I came here. Sorry to say that the discovery held no WOW factor for me. The solve was pretty easy except for that ridiculous Natick minefield in the HADJ/JOSHUA block. Way to much PPP crap there. I'm sure Z will bring that up later. I finally sussed it out, but it required more luck than knowledge.

Also agree with what LEWIS and LOBSTER11 said about the moderation and posting issue. I've never done the puzzle in the evening, and I'm not about to start now. Nor, am I going to get up at the crack of dawn to insure that any comment I might wish to post makes the morning group. I do appreciate the freedom of speech that Rex allows, especially as compared to the inane level of priggishness and censorship at Wordplay. As someone who abhors "political correctness" in all its pernicious forms, I find it nice to have the option of employing an occasional profanity or bit of ribald humor. After all, a crisp double entendre is synonymous with Wordplay, is it not?

Having said that, this format most certainly dampens the badinage among posters. It's regrettable that something more conducive to continuity and interactive dialogue has yet to be achieved. Perhaps it will be in the future?

Molson 12:35 PM  

A couple mistakes made this one move towards Medium for me - SIT UP instead of LIE UP and BARRISTERS instead of BAR MEMBERS. Those were so obviously right to me that it took a long time to figure out why I couldn't get the crosses.

Keith Brumbaugh 1:23 PM  

Answers Tim Cook, CEO, and Pride Parade. Well done.

beatrice 1:38 PM  

Apparently this motet by Jacobus Vaet (c.1529-1567) is one of only two Renaissance musical works I could find written for Palm Sunday (the other being Byrd's 'Contumelias'). Vaet's relatively small body of work, his relatively early death (at 37), and his liberal use of dissonance seem to have combined to make him one of the now lesser known of the great composers of his day. In recent years two groups in particular have recorded many of his surviving compositions, including this one. It is in two parts, one per video. I can't be the first (!) to listen to them, since my gizmo is still out of commission. If anyone here does listen to them, I certainly hope they are glad they did.

Dick Swart 1:56 PM  

A fun Sunday! Interesting without the complicated reveal way after the fact.

For those tempted by the Astana reference:

Please note that Borat is not mentioned.

Chaos344 2:01 PM  

@Kimberly: Awesome comment lady! Your "auto-eroticism" analogy was "coffee through the nose" material. Poor Joel. In all fairness to him, it was a fine puzzle with some good fill and I didn't hate it. He simply fell short in thinking most would appreciate the difficulty of his construction effort. He failed to grasp how demanding experienced cruciverbalists can be when it comes to "gimmick" puzzles.

To take a page out of your book Kim, I would say this to Joel. "If you're going to ask me to invest that much time in foreplay,(WordPlay) you'd better be sure the effort results in either multiple orgasms or the male equivalent!" Just Sayin!

@duaneu: Spot on Sir! The clue never mentioned automobiles, it said engines. I know that the technophiles are adamant about propelling the Luddites forward at Warp speed! However,(in addition to your lawn mowers) there are leaf blowers, weed whackers, chain saws, log splitters and many other devices still using internal combustion engines that employ carburetors. Are we all in that much of a rush to embrace obsolescence? How about if someone in government makes the decision that you're obsolete? Hmmmm?

Meg Greer 2:24 PM  

The reason one incorporates one's business is to limit liability for the individual owners. The standard organizational structures are Incorporated, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and fairly new, Professional Corporation (PC). I liked the puzzle's unusual clues. Who knew that trending sneaker terms included OREO? OBTW. Barney's NY can't get anybody to buy a suit these days, but custom sneakers are flying off the shelf at $1,200 a pop.

Lewis 2:26 PM  

Someone mentioned that Jeff Chen helped with this puzzle. According to Joel's notes, Jeff wrote a program that found the answers in his (Jeff's) complete answer list that consist of answers made of all letter pairs with one non-pair letter left over. This gave Joel the bank of answers from which to make this puzzle. So for those who wondered how Joel came up with all these answers, there you go. Still, Joel said he tried for two months to come up with answers on his own before he asked for Jeff's help.

puzzle hoarder 2:32 PM  

Once again perfect solve that didn't seem worth the time compounded by seeing how easy others found it. This puzzle seemed tailor made to pick out every weakness I have. There were lots of little roadblocks and write overs.
Reading the comments gave me a chance to step back and recognize the craftsmanship that went into the puzzles' construction.

Hartley70 3:10 PM  

I like this puzzle on both levels. I solved as a themeless and thought the cluing was way above average for a Sunday. The themed answers and REMAINDERS were fabulous in an unusual way. I don't need to be the smartest person in the room and I sure wasn't this morning because the construction wowed me. My aha moment was more of an ahh in the appreciation of another's skill.

Norm 3:18 PM  

Patrick Berry's version of this theme had some attempts at humor in the answers. This one? Nah.

Anoa Bob 3:21 PM  

Nota bene for planners of the upcoming presidential visit to Cuba: It might be a tad undiplomatic, even indelicate, to use the phrase ¡Feliz ANO Nuevo! (85A) while you are there. Might make an interesting bumper sticker for a Cuban proctologist, though.

Master Melvin 3:26 PM  

@Duaneu: Right. The 2 HP outboard I use to propel my dink has a CARB. I know that because I have had to have it replaced twice in the last few years. Grrr.

DC Solution 4:07 PM  

British West Indies

Loren Muse Smith 4:15 PM  

Lewis – excellent suggestion. I know a lot of us are shaking our heads in the old "better watch out for what you wish for" way.

More often than not, someone says something (Lewis, like your addition of LINGERIE/RESURGE to that southeast corner yesterday – great!), and even though I'd like to post a reply to some people, I don't bother anymore because it will just get lost in the shuffle.

So anyway, while I'm here… I've been puzzling over the fact that I seem to be in the minority of those who enjoyed this puzzle during the solve as much as seeing REMAINDERS. Hmm. I think it was because I got a kick out of uncovering each of the ten in-the-language phrases that have exactly two occurrences of each letter save one. Like @Carola said – each was its own delight. Heck – I would've liked to see a list of themers separate from a puzzle just to marvel at these phrases. To say I'm a cheap date would imply that this puzzle comes up short, and I don't believe it does. I'm digging my heels in; this is one I'm going to remember for a long time. @Roo Monster, @Tim Arthur, and @Joseph Michael – I'll come stand over with you!

Leapfinger 4:45 PM  


Don't know if my comment didn't pass mustard or if it just went astray. All it had was some stuff about agreeing with @Lewis and @Lobster
about standing on TIPPY TOEPADS
about putting OKRA aside
about putting OIL in your SAUTE PAN, BUTTer if making CREPEs
about the AMPLE BUTT, GLUTE, GROIN and HIPS that would make for some FEARSOME fill in a UNION suit.

I didn't think any of that was either overly moist or constitutes a SALT on the senses.

One part is available for instant replay:
Hand up for no Note, so solved like an oversized themeless. Now it just feels like a (very) clever construction trick that took THE_ME out of the THEME. Since I'm of the mind that solvers should be participants in the theme, I made an effort to put me, myself, or I (or some of us) back in the themes.

HIP Pus-OCRATIC OATH: Promise to infect no total joint replacement
SHE SAiLL THAT: Guess it's the SLLoop John B
BARmy MEMBER: My lawyer's a brick shy of a load
PRIus DE PARADE: Econocar floats for better mileage
UNDERmine DURESS: Find a way to cope
SETS Awe DATE: Designates the Day of Astonishment (G'mar tov)
MIAMI DA DEus: Florida, for G-d and Country
PRE-weTTY PENNY: Mail clerk who licks first, seals later
GOES UNDER mineGROUND: Suboptimal way to handle a "mine"field, but if Joel F can use UNDER twice, I guess I can UNDERmine it twice.

Disappointment in the theme isn't a CRIME, Aaand I guess I can be PRAGUEmatic about it. Plus I sure liked that UTRILLO.
Does this pass, @Rex? It's UP TO YOU!

Hugh 5:29 PM  

Respected this one but did not like it. Just no fun for me at all to solve but appreciated the great feat of construction.

It felt a bit like being back in my Psychology Statistics class in grad school where the professor wrote the text book - I was very impressed with what it must have taken to master the subject and write the book, but did not enjoy one minute of being in class.

The NE was a wash for me, just could not get it going, that and having BARRISTER instead of BARMEMBER totally defeated me.

I liked most of the long downs (wish I had that Lawyer clue right - I did not have the "B" so missed SPEECHBUBBLES - clever)

Favorite was OKRA for South side? That made me smile while everything else was really a slog for me.

Big NOT like for UPLIT - 71D - Like Mount Rushmore at night. I just don't like the word, no good reason why. I had AGLOW for the longest time, I like that better even though it didn't fit the crosses.

Like Rex said, most of the starred answers were pretty straightforward and were not very exciting for me. And while I could not get the full solve of REMAINDERS (darn that Lawyer clue), it did not thrill me when I saw it here. Again, I remain impressed with what it took to create this one but this was one Sunday that seemed more fun for the constructor than for the solvers.

Have a great week all!

Billy 5:48 PM  

One of my motorcycles has TWO carbs, I went through hell taking them apart and cleaning them. Many two-wheelers still use carbs.

Chaos344 5:56 PM  

@Lewis: Yes! Jeff Chen's participation in the construction of this puzzle was mentioned in earlier posts, and it certainly seems that Jeff is entitled to a share of kudos for the theme fill, depending on which side of the like/dislike fence you fall. The majority of opprobrium about the theme in general seems to rest squarely on Joel's shoulders? After all, Jeff only developed the program that came up with Joel's entries, so don't blame the messenger, right?

@Beatrice: Beatrice was my great aunt's name. All of us kids called her Aunt Trix, or behind her back, Trixie! She could reproduce the "TSK" sound with her teeth and tongue at a decibel level capable of cracking plate glass windows! She was a spinster and obviously did not like children!

Found your post very interesting, viv-a-vis "the motet by Jacobus Vaet (c.1529-1567) is one of only two Renaissance musical works I could find written for Palm Sunday (the other being Byrd's 'Contumelias')."

Contumelious, an adjective defined as (of behavior) scornful and insulting or insolent, is one of my favorite words! Perhaps some of us have been a tad contumelious towards Joel today?

@oldtimer & Meg Greer: As I stated earlier, the whole HADJ/JOSHUA block was a total cluster fluck! HADJ as clued is arcane. All clues that ask the solver to remember what books come in what order regarding the old testament are total bullshit. They appear in puzzles far too often, but are fortunately solvable from the crosses.

WTF is "Sneaker Lingo"? This clue is way too ambiguous! Is "Sneaker Lingo" the province of teens, tweens, Hip Hopsters or Hipsters? I own four pairs of sneakers, two pairs of boots, and five pairs of dress shoes!

Does the clue refer to a specific make of sneaker? Converse All Stars? Keds? Does it refer to a police cruiser? Does it refer to a mixed race individual? All these questions were possibilities when I was younger! HIPS crossing ARIA? I don't think so! Not unless you live in Las Vegas or are a stone-ass gambler. Shakira? Oh Yeah, I know every word to every one of her songs, and so do all my Baby Boomer friends! HULU? Most older people will have a problem with that. How freakin cutesy do you wanna be here?

What's Black And White And Red All Over?
An embarrassed Zebra!

Get the point?

Z 7:50 PM  

I'm in the "ruined a good puzzle by explaining too much" camp. I feel like there are ways to present the trick that would make uncovering the duplicity more fun.

@Chaos344 - I'm in NOLA for a tourney (my team was seeded 9 out of 12, lost in the semis, so a good weekend) so no PPP until at least Tuesday. I really do need pen and newsprint to count up all the PPP.

@Lewis et al: 1. As I recall it was complaints to Rex's email about the nastiness that led to moderation. 2. The Commentariat is a small minority of Rex's readership. 3. Lots of people have left since I started commenting regularly, most of them before moderation. 4. Rex should ask himself one question, "What works best for me to keep this going?" I'm just happy that there's place everyday to talk about the puzzle with people smarter than me.

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

Accidentally copied? With "She's all that" and "Hippocratic Oath" appearing in the original? Seems unlikely..

Roo Monster 9:21 PM  

Aww, now I might go back to "Humph". Still a cleanly filled puz, though.


Z 9:23 PM  

@Chaos344 - Faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting, and Hadj (or Haj or Hajj). Except for that last one it's hard to distinguish between Islam and Catholicism on most days. Of course, I just read the clue as "four letter crosswordese related to Islam" so it was as clear as OREOs are black (brown? Your definition of "black" is too narrow).

M and A leftovers 9:53 PM  

Ah, to be 18 again...
U's: 18.
weejects: 18, again. faves: EYE. ANN. CNN. LLC. Spells YACC, theme-wise. Reminds me that I digress.

Cool to have a theme with Patrick Berry Immunity. Nice puz.

on the road at Mesa Verde.

Chronic dnfer 9:30 AM  

Dnf'd at barrister. Oh well. I chalk it io to a victory.

Meg Greer 1:23 PM  

Chao344 Take a peek at these sneakers on Barney's website.
$700, $800, $900! There's a consumer sector out there that we don't know about - with its own lingo. HOHO and JOSHUA just insisted upon OREO for black and white in any lingo. I then guessed HAAJ (The alternate spelling is actually HAJJ.), HIPS, HULU AND ARIA, later erasing the A for a D when looking at AEPTHS. Enjoy your week!

Ben Eggenberger 8:01 AM  

Very easy but enjoyed it thoroughly. I also had barrister for a while. Only hiccup. Very impressive construction!

Diana,LIW 10:16 PM  


Did you see my comments on 2/16? I mentioned the Landmark Center because it is the site of the upcoming tourney. Looks like a cool venue (similar to the Spokane County Courthouse.)

Anyway, there are direct flights from GEG to MSP, so I'm considering it. Sounds like other bloggers might be there, too. Think we could encourage the Synders?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting-for Crossword tournaments

spacecraft 11:52 AM  

DNF. I got everything north of LOSALAMOS--except the NE (can't sleep = "LIEUP?????)--and then it all petered out. Never saw SHESALLTHAT, so didn't know about the Shaw connection. When My Fair Lady wouldn't fit I was done.

What in the name of anything holy is a PRIDEPARADE????? Oh, you mean like, say, a gay-pride event? Is that what they call them? I have no idea.

How anybody can call this easy is beyond me. I suppose, if my life depended on it, I may have gotten it done with a lot of very hard work--but you know what? It's Easter, and I just plain didn't feel like working that hard. So I'm just going to LIEUP (?????) and relax. Happy egg-hunting, everyone!

rain forest 1:29 PM  

Pretty impressive construction with TEN themers all consisting of double letters except 1 which in conjunction with the others spells out what they are. That's a feat.

Overall, this was medium for me with only a few things I didn't know but could get from the crosses. The OKRA/DIAL/SALT section was a little sticky, and I didn't know the movie and LLC was slow in coming, but the note about the theme came to the rescue there.

I have to ask what a BSCHOOL is. Are there ASCHOOLs? CSCHOOLS? Or does the B mean Business? Sometimes Americana confuses me.

I liked this one.

Dave 1:52 PM  

Seemed a bit heavy on obscurities- aria, stoic, Astana, but still finished it. Agree the theme was not thrilling.

Burma Shave 1:54 PM  


Her ARDOR is as FEARSOME as krypton,

I thought, “It’s UPTOYOU to PUSH and to go FORIT,
to GETIN to the DEPTHS of those HIPS,
if you want INBAD, grab her AMPLE BUTT and adore it,

“And if SADIE SETSADATE for getting any,
or if SHESALLTHAT you want, FESS up and remember,
and she’ll still HOPON the GROIN of any BARMEMBER.”


rondo 2:44 PM  

All that for REMAINDERS? Worse than leftovers. And I had a really AMPLE inkfest over in that BARristER Ltd sItUP area.

@D,LIW – yes I saw your comments re: Landmark Center. It is a very nice place. I’ve only had occasion to be inside it once. It bounds Rice Park across from the downtown library and adjacent to the St. Paul Hotel on one side and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts on the other. Not sure how many folks might actually travel to fly-over country for a tourney. Close enough for me to drive. Didn’t notice (or don’t recall) the Spokane courthouse while passing through a couple years back.

Musical yeah babies today in bluesy Bonnie RAITT and hot country babe Lee ANN Womack. About either I could say, “SHESALLTHAT!”

I spent some time with ACOUPLE women from both MOLDOVA and CRIMEA during TRIPs to Odessa in the aughts. The second TRIP came back through PRAGUE. I paid a PRETTYENNY FORIT all. Worth it.

Well-constructed, but an uninteresting puz for me. Easter nap time on a cloudy, rainy day.

Diana,LIW 6:41 PM  

The very best thing about being in 4th grade here at PS 109 (Puz School) is that a puzzle like this takes HOURS for me, but eventually I get it. So each revealed answer brings a smile. Much more fun than finishing in minutes and not having those "aha" moments. Or "oho" moments. Only had one lookup - CESAR - and then I finished up in the NE. The theme was a secondary to me, and I had all the themers when the NE gave me fits, so the reveal would not have helped me out.

Agree with @LMS and @Lewis about the puzzle's construction. Agree with Rex that it's fun to have a reveal while solving and it's great when that helps you finish. However, it's not a "gotta have" for me. There are many ways to puzzle. This one made my morning - and part of my afternoon.

Thanks JF!

@Rondo - if you're at all curious, just Google "Spokane Count Courthouse" and I think you'll see the comparison.

Now, off to Easter din din at a wonderful restaurant (Fandango).

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for an EZ Monday ;-)

Diana,LIW 6:49 PM  

Oops - forgot two things.

@Spacey - a Pride Parade celebrates more than gay pride - thus the rainbow. I have those days when I want to quit rather than continue to slog away. Maybe I'm using slog incorrectly. But I've listened to the many commenters who say "don't give up," and that helped me enjoy this workout.

@Rainy - Yes, Wharton is a Business school. L School is, you guessed it, Law. But I agree, we 'mericans can be confusing. (See: USA, 2016 Pres. primaries)

Now I'm done.

Lady Di

Smart Khan 2:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.

my husband asked to pack out of the house with my kids and go because he wasn’t interested in me anymore. He said all the abusive words and said am not a good wife because I wasn’t working, instead I was wasting his money so contacted this Strong Healer a week ago after reading Miracles about his spell over the net I consulted this strong man for a love spell, crying not knowing what to do. he told me that he will cast a return lover spell that same day. It didn’t take time for my husband to call me apologizing and begging me to come home. The tender that i was waiting for was approved and he started telling me that am a good wife so I must forgive him for the bad things he had said. My husband asked me to look for any University of my choice and will take care of my fees. Am thanking (link sends e-mail), for the Faith and Trust he showed me his website:

Blogger 2:43 PM  

Order a professional Sparkling White Smiles Custom Teeth Whitening System online and SAVE BIG!
* Up to 10 shades whiter in days!
* Results Are Guaranteed.
* As good as your dentist, for a fraction of the cost.
* Same Teeth Whitening Gel as dentists use.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP