1909 Matisse masterpiece / THU 4-7-16 / Big-picture approach to patient care / Onetime debater with Joe Biden / Golden galloper / Big name in foam-based weaponry / Quaker state city subject to lake effect snow

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "SAY HELLO TO MY / LITTLE FRIEND" (27A: With 48-Across, memorable Al Pacino movie line ... or a hint for this puzzle's theme) — "PAL" is squeezed into 6 boxes around the grid, thus "PAL" is a "little" friend that you encounter (or say "hello" to) 6 times.

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: ILENE Graff (22A: Actress Graff) —
Ilene Susan Graff (born February 28, 1949) is an American actress and singer. [...] Graff's television work includes Barnaby Jones, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Three's Company, Lewis & Clark, and St. Elsewhere. From 1985 until 1990, she played what is possibly her best known role, Marsha Owens, the wife of Bob Uecker's character, George, in the sitcom Mr. Belvedere. (wikipedia)
• • •

There's a very good idea at the heart of this puzzle. I really like the revealer. It really elevates what could otherwise have been a pretty ordinary rebus puzzle. Convenient that the (very famous) quotation broke into symmetrical parts! My only problem with the theme was that I got the entire revealer the instant I looked at the clue. Way way way Way too easy. You can't just hand me 24 squares on a Thursday. And by "me" I mean "surely a ton of people." I was lucky that by the time I got down to the revealer, I had already discovered a "PAL" square in the NW, so the quotation provided a nice little aha. But after that it was just a PAL hunt. Tougher clue on revealer would've made this theme even nicer, but it's pretty good as is. My only real hang-up came right off the bat, when I put PAUL RYAN right into the grid at 1A: Onetime debater with Joe Biden. That happened, right? Anyway, it's a nice little trap, but emphasis on "little." Got out easily, and never stumbled again except a little bit while getting into and out of the BEER TENT (64A: Oktoberfest venue). The BEER TENT is used to it, I'm sure.

The fill, though, hoo boy. That's another story. Yesterday's puzzle had a smattering of charming, old-school crosswordese. This one has more than a smattering of far less charming stuff. ALAE EIEIO are only fun if you run them together, making a kind of extended nonsense sound. On their own, not great. ABAS makes me want to say "À BAS, À BAS!" You know, 'cause "À BAS" means "down with"? ERIEPA remains my least favorite (and by far the most ubiquitous) "city+state code" answer. I remember the first time I saw it I thought it was one word. "Where the hell is AIR'-EE-EPP'-PA," I wondered. Then there's the highly awkward "city comma cross-referenced state" thing going on with LEHI (where?) UTAH (oh, there). An the less said ANENT ILENE, the better. And that's just the clearly suboptimal stuff. Your LAIC and LO-RES and ARA and ordinary filler like that, I can let slide. It's too bad that this thing is fleshed out so weakly. There are some winners here and there (most notably FACE PALM, PALATIAL, and PLAYBOY). But otherwise, a rough ride.

I'll put together a little ACPT recap by week's end. For now, here's one of my proudest moments of the tournament: seeing my two Binghamton University students there, geeking out as spectators (and future competitors), and then seeing them again in this picture at the NYT's "Wordplay" blog.

And one more moment—rolling around on the Marriott ballroom floor with my friend Jen's service dog, Emmy. (It's OK—Emmy was officially off duty):


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS [Brady bunch, in headlines] is a nice clue for PATS. (For the sports-challenged, PATS are the New England Patriots, and "Brady" is Tom Brady, their quarterback.)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:19 AM  

Mostly easy except for SW where I (1) first filled in PALMA before remembering it was DE PALMA, (2) had trouble parsing LO RES, and (3) took a while to see PLAYBOY.

I'm among the "surely a ton of people" who knows the quote and I caught the rebus with PALIN so, like I said, mostly easy.

Haven't see ANENT in a while. It's another one of the words I learned when I started doing Xwords.

A BAS was a WOE as was SAM SMITH, so that cross was bit of a guess.

Liked the zippy theme

Clark 12:21 AM  

Yay! It's about time we got a rebus. And well hidden it was with the Paul Ryan deke.

Not so easy for those of us who didn't know the quote. Having to get that filled in by crosses made this a very satisfying Thursday puzzle. LORES and INTEL only made sense to me after the fact.

(I'm still trying to work out the indirect Harry Potter connection.)

ZenMonkey 2:17 AM  

I take exception to Rex taking exception with ILENE, it being my middle name and thus a PERFECTLY GOOD bit of fill. ;-)

Since I knew it was SARAH PALIN, that gave away the type of puzzle, and once I got the first PAL, the revealer gave me a good laugh. The genius bit for me, worth some weak fill, was having DEPALMA himself in there. That's class.

puzzle hoarder 3:52 AM  

I started this puzzle much the way @Rex did. Within 6 minutes I had filled in the NW corner filled in the two reveals and was branching off of them. This looked to be an easy solve. However the bottom corners gave me some trouble. It was no big deal but the
NE corner was another story. I changed INSOLES to INSERTS and just stopped cold. Maybe it's just a fluke on my part but filling in this corner must have accounted for half of what became a 47 minute solve time. Logic finally clicked in when I realized there's no two letter thing that comes from Australia. Once I had 9D the rest fell in place with a little work. I have no use for OH SNAP. While calculating the difficulty I saw it's been used eight times before most recently by Jeff Chen himself. I ought to be familiar with it but it's just one of those phrases I wish would go away. Today's rating of. 38.85 is a big step up from yesterday's 51.25. If like me you're disappointed to see an easy rating take heart because the numbers say otherwise. I saw all the ese it had but how many people are familiar with LA DANSE . SAM SMITH is a debut entry and some people may have never heard of him.
Overall this was the most fun I've had with a Thursday in a while.

George Barany 5:59 AM  

The downside of taking a few days away for combination business/pleasure is trying to catch up again on the home front. So this is my first chance to post here since returning from the east coast, but let me assure my friends from this community that I've been following what you've had to say, and it was so nice to see quite a few of you in person in NYC and Stamford.

@Rex's writeup today is terrific, and I have little to add other than to say, what's not to like about a user-friendly acronym for "Peptide Amide Linker"? The clue called out in @Rex's p.s. has been used before; see 32-Down (and for good measure, 32-Across!) in Rex Sports.

One more thing, several of you have asked about the 2016 Minnesota Crossword Puzzle Tournament. It will be held on Sunday, June 12, 2016, and more information can be found here.

Lobster11 6:38 AM  

Mostly with OFL on this one. I liked the revealer better than he because it didn't fall in my lap quite as easily as it did his, but I hated the fill even more than he did. REGS/ARA/HET running side-by-side-by-side? Yuk. I finished only by successfully guessing my way out of Naticks at ILENE/ANENT and ABAS/SAMSMITH. I don't like having to guess.

Loren Muse Smith 6:52 AM  

I've never seen Scarface, so the reveal didn't jump out at me as quickly. I got the LITTLE FRIEND part, quickly enough, but I sure didn't just slap the whole quote down snicker snack.

I never tire of rebuses, and this one floats my boat on several counts:

*rebus squares are non-symmetrical.
*excellent reveal
*DEPALMA has a rebus square. Oh. My. Gosh. I wonder if John realized this after he saw that the quote divided evenly, an unexpected little treasure he discovered that had him jumping up and down on the sofa.

SPIES ON crosses INTEL. Cool.

And I know lots of people scoff at EIEIO, but it’s so entrenched in our language, I always get a kick out of it.

ERIE PA and the fact that at first glance looks like a word makes me wonder… it’d be fun if there were some real places like

Marina, Delaware
Swan, Kentucky
Hero, Indiana

What you make in a photo booth – “utter fool of yourself” didn’t fit. My go-to pose involves reaching into my mouth, grabbing both cheeks and pulling forward and out at the same time. You can see the full set of my teeth à la those wind-up toy chomping teeth. Classy.

Early mistakes:

“beer hall” for BEER TENT
“anthem” for RAP ALBUM
“newer” for NICER
“dance” for DANSE. Sheesh. A BAS went right in, but I misspell DANSE.

SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND - ONCE in San Francisco, I watched Tootsie in an almost-empty theater. So in this deserted place, a guy came in and sat one seat down from me. Because my bags were in the seat between us, I kinda was side-eying that way, on guard. Turns out his agenda was not to swipe my bags… you get the picture. I sat there and watched the entire movie, my eyes glued to the screen. I was too stunned and afraid to do anything else. When I got up to leave, he stayed seated, and, happily, I ran into a police officer in the lobby. I told on him, and the last I saw, the officer was heading in to look for him.

@Chuck McGregor from yesterday - I'd be mighty obliged!

Thursday rebus right across the plate. Nice job, John.

AliasZ 7:49 AM  

This was a PALpably friendly puzzle, not a bit unPALatable with PALs all over the place. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a PAL. It was meant to be solved under a BEER TENT.

@Rex, lovely pix with Emmy. Anyone who can PAL around with a dog like that can't be an apPALing human being, like Vlad the imPALer.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

Face palm? Really? I'd call it a head slap.
If you don't know the quote--as I didn't--this is a lot harder than Rex said.

jberg 7:51 AM  

I outsmarted myself on this one -- or rather, my brain failed to recall that baseball's minor leagues go AAA, AA, A. Consequently, A BALL didn't seem right for the 'bottom' of the minors, leading me to throw my sense of French grammar overboard and put in "Le DANSE."

Not having a TV, I always misremember the channel in question as T(he) M)ovie) C(hannel). I think I've been there before -- but this time the crosses were too solid, so I left the correct answer in.

NONO two days in a row! Would three be taboo?

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

The PDF version of the puzzle on the NYTimes site is TOMORROW'S puzzle by Patrick Berry. . .seriously?!?!?!

RooMonster 8:05 AM  

Hey All !
First answer I got was revealer! Thinking this would be an easy puz after that, but turned out to still put up a fight. After first run-through, (I solve by starting at 1A, go through all the Across in order, then all the Downs in otder, then haphazardly around grid where I have letters)(TMI?) only had a few answers. Did know that there'd be a PAL rebus. Didn't think it'd be MAC or BUD or even FRIEND. Which helped me start the theme with NEPAL. Thinking they'd all be symmetrical, I went to 27D/36A, and got PALLS/SEPAL (thank goodness, cause SEPAL a WOE.) Eventually realized they weren't symmetrical.

Got the middle first (of course, thanks to revealer), then NE fell, even though HOLISM is a huh?. Got SE, NW, SW.

But OH SNAP! Still got a DNF with spelling REGATTAS wrong (REGgaTAS) and having LeDANSE/eBALL. Hey, eBALL seems more bottom of the minors than ABALL, no?

Overall, liked it. A PAL in every corner. Is that like a chicken in every pot? EIEIO...


Glimmerglass 8:18 AM  

Easy except for the S E. I'd never heard of the city or the prophet or the record winner. Didn't remember where Shaq went to college. Lots of guesses. The "easiest" guess was UTAH. I played with BEERTown, but SNIT seemed more reasonable than twIT, so -TENT and UTAH. SMITH is a common last name (?). So the last guess was LSU and LEHI. The rebus was easy.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

There's so much I didn't like, it's hard to remember what did work for me, namely, the theme + revealer overall, several of the theme answers (FACEPALM crossing APPALACHIA was where I found the theme), the fact that De Palma worked as a themer, the Palin-Paul Ryan distractor.

But, ugh, the fill really got to me. There's an acceptable level of crosswordese that this puzzle shot way past. ANENT? wtf?!? Also, that LEHI / LSU cross is terrible. If you don't know LDS stuff or a random city in Utah or remember what school Shaq went to 20+ years ago, pick a letter and go on with your day. Blech.

Proud Mamma 8:32 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Proud Mamma 8:40 AM  

Easy? Hardest Thursday ever. Gave up even after I googled answers. Even after I solved hint to theme. Sometimes Rex's mediums are my easys. Am I alone?

Sir Hillary 8:42 AM  

Can't argue with @Rex's criticism of the fill, but the theme was fun and well-executed. Top marks for including DE[PAL]MA among the themers, but maybe I would have clued him using a different movie.

Tim Pierce 8:54 AM  

Not quite that easy for me, despite getting the quote very early with only a handful of letters. See, with NE- for 41A: Ambitious climbers' mecca and -ED for 42D: Evidenced fear, in a way I got the idea that the rebus might be HI -- "Nehi" sounding like one of those rock canyon hiking regions in Nevada or Utah, and HIED being a way to express fear. No, it's not very good, but when you're looking at a potential rebus and "in a way" clues, you'll latch on to anything.

So that kept me looking for HI for a long time elsewhere in the puzzle. Even when I got the PAL cross at DE(PAL)MA / RA(PAL)BUM, I thought the rebus might be a blend of "HI" and "PAL", and wouldn't that be a cute little theme?

Anyway, that tripped me up early and made it slow going for a long time. That, plus the PAULRYAN feint (very well played), INSoleS for INSERTS, and facES for POSES, gave me a lot of headaches.

I call a Natick at 30D: 2000 N.B.A. M.V.P. with the Lakers and 45A: Ivanovic of women’s tennis. With ONE-L filled in I was able to guess that 30D was Shaq, but I'll be damned if I know whether his last name is spelled ONEAL or ONEIL, and not knowing a blessed thing about tennis, either ANA or ANI sounds plausible for 45A.

Anon: if they had the PDF for tomorrow's puzzle posted, they fixed it pretty quickly, because I printed out the PDF a few minutes after you posted and got the right one.

Jamie C 9:07 AM  

Hand up for PAULRYAN at 1a. It seems I have managed to block completely the fact that SARAHPALIN was once one step away from being one heartbeat away from the presidency. Hard to believe I could forget her--she is the most grounded, well-spoken, wholesome, family-oriented politician our country has seen in a generation, if not in history. I mean, just read this instant classic from her Trump endorsement speech:

"Thank a vet, and know that the United States military deserves a commander-in-chief that our country passionately, and will never apologize for this country."

Makes Jefferson and Lincoln look like toddlers.

And now I need a drink.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

Re: Emma - For those new to the blog, "Jen in CT" was a long-time contributer to the comments here, a friend of the blog as well as of Rex. When Jen needed an assistance dog, Rex posted a link to her fundraiser, and the (rather hefty) fee for the dog was raised in record time.

That's the backstory on Emma, but mostly I'm glad that Jen is still out and about. Best wishes Jen ( though you could write once in a while ).

Steve M 9:22 AM  

Yest was better.......

Z 9:36 AM  

When Paul Rean* wouldn't work (how typical), the rebus was obvious. (PAL)ATIAL took me down to the "big reveal" and, even though I've never seen Scarface (@Clark - Harry has a Scar on his Face)(If I want to watch violence I'll just turn on the news or the NFL), that quote is very well known. Hence, I'm 30 seconds in and the theme is essentially done.

Still, the puzzle felt fairly typical for a Thursday, with almost all of its crunchiness coming from its high level of PPP (well, and ALAE ANENT)

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product names, and Proper nouns as a percentage of answers. 33% or more and complaints will ensue.
30/76, 39% (counting the reveal as one answer). An * indicates the PPP is from the clue.



*If you never did the 1/23/2013 puzzle I suggest solving it first before reliving that day's blog

Tita 9:38 AM  

How can you not love the EIEIO clue?!

I had ABAt le Roi...Butcher the king...for a good long while.
I must've been channeling the French nickname for W.. During his reign, we were living in Germany, and learned the word for Butcher in several languages. (They were referring of course to W's record execution rate while governor of Texas.)

Oops - just found an error. I had SARA[PAL]LIN, and wondered woe "LATIAL" could be. I had LAvIsh in there for too long.

Sister-in-law was the 88th caller, and won 4 tickets to the Yankees, so we're off to sit in the cold wet rain while watching not much of anything happen before our eyes.
Wanting to avoid $17 hot dogs and $8 bottles of water, I read on the Yankee website that you can bring your own food...
However, apples, oranges, and such MUST be SLICEd into wedges...!
What an odd requirement, I thought. And must the carrots be julienned, or would a chiffonade do...??
My brother had to tell me that's so that you can't throw the apple at the ref's head!!!!!!!!!

It's been a while since I've been to a ball game.

Thank Mr. Lieb for a fun rebus!

DJG 9:41 AM  

The rebus aspect is pretty well done, but kinda stale. It seems like we've been getting a deluge of standard rebus puzzles of late. (In fact, I've heard that WS has stopped accepting them for a while.)

A nice twist to this one would have been to use different "friends." There are lots of possibilities: BRO, BUD, DOG, HOMES, CHUM, CONFIDANT... Alright maybe not the last one, but you get my point. It would have made solving much less tedious.

cwf 9:41 AM  

@Anonymous @7:57: thanks for giving me something to look forward to after this fairly ugly puzzle. Got the revealer with only the Y.

Oh, and @Anonymous 7:49: it's enough of a thing to have its own Wikipedia page.

Nancy 9:45 AM  

Easy, except where it wasn't -- namely the SW. I didn't know the director, so I missed the rebus at 54D and had DEMME instead of DE(PAL)MA. I wouldn't have known what Kanye's "Yeezus" was if I fell over it and would someone PLEASE explain MED at 63D to me. (Maybe Rex already has; I'll go back and look).

In addition to the huge Natick, I had BEER HALL before BEER TENT (never heard of a BEER TENT). I did have fun trying to guess (before I got there) what the end of SAY HELLO TO MY... was going to be. Would it be MISSING PAL? KIDNAPPED PAL? VANISHED PAL? Oh, no, wait. It's FRIEND, not PAL. And it's not missing at all. It's just...very small. MY LITTLE FRIEND. Oh. (I never heard of this movie either, btw.)

I liked most of this puzzle. If I find out that MED was fair at 63D, which might have made the SW possible for me, I guess I'll say I liked all of it, despite Kanye and the Atari thing. But right now, I'm not wild about that section.

Hartley70 9:45 AM  

I had to scootch around this puzzle for a long while to get a toehold because I'm not a Pacino fan, can't recall if I've seen the movie though I know it's a classic, didn't know who directed and never heard the quote. Add the rebus and that makes for a great Thursday!

@puzzlehoarder, 41 minutes of glorious angst here. I feel sorry for those 3 minute solvers. I could make a tootsie roll pop last a really long time too.

Thank goodness for RIEND, I guessed the F which led to PAL and the rest is ancient history.

Emmy is adorable. An Emmy cuddle would be worth the price of admission to the ACPT.

Mohair Sam 9:58 AM  

FREDOIALWAYS KNEWITWASYOU fits perfectly. And if you forgot that it actually flows "I always knew it was you, Fredo" you might put have Pacino's famous "Godfather" line in there (as did I) and turn this "easy" for @Rex puzzle into a super-challenging monster. The clue at 54D eventually woke me up, along with Mrs. M's insisting that it had to be AHI

Hand up with the Ryan/PALIN confusion crew - nice fake.

Nice Thursday puzzle too.

Nancy 9:58 AM  

Re: Rex's pictures of Emmy. AWWWWWW. AWWWWWW. AWWWWWW. Be still, my heart. I'm in love.

Nope, Rex did not explain 63D: MED. Someone else? Please?

@Carola (from yesterday): Your 3:13 p.m. comment gave me such a little chuckle. No, wait. I'M not Norwegian Lutheran. Your comment gave me a really BIG chuckle. Funny -- and actually quite interesting, too.

Chaos344 10:01 AM  

Really liked this puzzle! Rex and jae nailed the critique.

Like Scarface, I have some "little friends" as well. That phrase went in immediately, SARAH followed quickly off the downs, and there was the rebus PAL. After that, it was off to the races!

Totally agree with AliasZ. The pictures of Rex with Emmy are the best part of today's blog. A yellow Lab was the love of my life. His name? CHAOS of course! He would have loved Emmy. Truly man's best friend, especially the part about unconditional love. Don't believe in that? Try this little experiment. Lock your wife and your dog in the garage for two hours! When you come back home, which one is really happy to see you?

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Easy???? I found this impossible even when I got the rebus. Didn't note it was a quote and thought it a movie title. Don't know where the quote is from...l'll Google it.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:23 AM  

Fun puzzle; enjoyed the reveal. (Never saw the movie, but the quote is part of the language now.)


Tita 10:36 AM  

Rex - great pics of you and the puppy.
Folks - look closely at her bandanna (made by @Jen) - in the grid it says JUDGE. So in fact, she WAS working that weekend.
Though she seemed more interested in judging character than puzzle grids. She is obviously very good at that!

(A couple more pics of Emmy if you click my profile - I think...)

John V 10:42 AM  

Done in by a film reference, yet again. Clever rebus, way outside my wheelhouse

Unknown 10:48 AM  

Early on, I figured out from SARAH and coal country I was in rebus trouble. Figured out it was PAL, but didn’t get the Pacino quotation until much later to get the point. It was a tough go with the PALs scattered around, but I least figured had one would appear in each corner for starters.

Doing it on line, I had to do reveals where I thought the each PAL would go and got all but one correctly. Having gotten nowhere in the SW, I finally guessed at where the PAL should go to get traction. It was wrong and, because I had to do it with a reveal, this unfortunately gave me the D in 52a. An unintentional cheat but making it an official DNF.

Aside from that woe, I had a grand time with my almost-solve. I loved the eclectic range of answers

In the SW, hi def, lo def, hi res, lo res – had to be one of those, expecting it would be one of the “hi”s in this day and age. I don’t do video games. I figured out long ago (c. 1980) from a look-alike Pacman game what incredible time wasters and BP raisers they would be. With only a few, one-off exceptions (i.e playing some game once), I let that whole world pass me by (or did I pass by it?) So, Atari 2600? All I know is there are Ataris and X-Boxes (maybe others). I guess they compete. I have never used either. While I normally have keen interest in most technology, I have less than any interest in gaming technology.

There is one exception of general interest. It seems obvious to me that gaming play would develop certain skills needed to operate some of today’s military machines. What comes to mind is tracking and prioritizing multiple pieces of ever changing information on a video display with fast eye-hand coordination to deal with this information, particularly that which poses threats of some kind.

OVEREASY PALOMINO – Didn’t Trigger used to do this trick, like falling over to play dead?

SAY HELLO TO MY NUN. Sure, why not?

SARAH PALIN again? OH SNAP! The thought of a Trump-Palin ticket crossed (with “up”) my mind. What’s scary is she seems a good match to and for what Trump’s campaign strategy seems to have been so far. (My dyslexic self used to pronounce that, tragically, as stragedy.)

I BE TILENE (Not really. But if I were, my name would be in this puzzle.)


Chaos344 11:10 AM  


Upon further perusal, I noticed that OFL is wearing the "Ye Olde English D." Could OFL be a Tiger lover, or is he just trying to mimic Tom Sellick of Magnum P.I. fame? Inquiring minds want to know, right Z?

Lewis 11:26 AM  

With @Rex chapter and verse on this one.

I'm not sure of that backward EROS crossing SARAHPALIN. Oh, and I know BEERTENTs well, having played in the Army band in Germany for my service stint.

Learned HOLISM and ABAS, and loved the clues for EIEIO and PATS. After I figured PAL out I thought the other rebi would be other short words for friend (like BUB) and my brain started freezing (a thaw soon followed). The cluing was off my wavelength, and so when I finished each area it was a victory. I'm not familiar with the movie line revealer, but saw it after only a few letters were filled in. Overall this was a battle, an enjoyable battle, ultimately fair. Because I had to work my brain so hard, I think I left the puzzle a little smarter.

GILL I. 12:02 PM  

@loren...PeeWee Herman? I met his companion in a theater in London.
I didn't like this puzzle very much. I got the PAL and all that FRIEND bit but two answers really threw me off. The first was OH SNAP as a response to a verbal slam. I wanted my answer to be PISS OFF - badly. The other is PLAYBOY for dallying sort. I always thought dallying meant to loiter. I know I'm probably wrong.
Could not remember a lot of the names. I see anything Kanye West and Yeezus, I get all HET up.
Liked the concept because I love me any rebus, YEST I do. Just not this one.

Trombone Tom 12:19 PM  

Pretty easy except for a couple of stumbles. INSoleS for INSERTS and BEERhall for BEERTENT.

PAL was exposed early on by SARAHPALIN and I got the movie quote with just a few letters, even though I didn't remember it from "Scarface."

Liked the way PAL was hidden in RAPALBUM.

I thought it was a well-executed theme.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

I'm getting better at Thursdays little by little, but yeah, I also got the revealer instantly. My time was much faster than normal for a Thursday because the whole thing felt more like a Tuesday with all those squares filled in and the rebus squares so easy to find at that point.

Carola 12:32 PM  

Well, I can quote Old Macdonald's EIEIO but not Al Pacino, so I had to work at the reveal. The rebus itself was the easy part, as I quickly spotted SARAH PALIN. Nice theme answers! PALATIAL, PALOMINO, APPALACHIA. Learned from crosswords: OH SNAP, FACE PALM, LO RES.

kitshef 12:57 PM  

Not easy here. Ran into the same trouble as @puzzle hoarder. Tried ServES before SLICES, halER and sanER before NICER, facES before POSES, tried to make a(pal)oosa fit (knowing the spelling was wrong).

Knowing there was likely to be a rebus in that section, but not knowing where, made it very tough. (PAL)omino was the aha! that broke it open.

So, I loved it. Because I love it when you get that aha! Crappy fill aside, I got a fun rebus and a fight.

Am I the only one who has never heard of ARA? ARA, LEHI, ILENE were all WoEs.

Fell for Paul Ryan trap. Quickly figured out it had to be a rebus but not the form. That had to wait for SE(PAL). And at one point I seriously considered that RAPBUM might be some new slang.

BiERhaus before BEERTENT. (PAL)ES before (PAL)LS.

Should 39D clue (bond yield) indicate informally, or for short?

OVEREASY is my go-to egg style. Drooling just thinking about them.

Masked and Anonymous 1:21 PM  

3 U's. [Say hello to my lil friends!]

[snort] har

Meanin of EIEIO research reveals:
* Early version had it as: Ohio-i-o.
* Another version had it as: he-hi-he-hi-ho.
* There's an operating system where EIEIO is the error message for "computer bought the farm".

Almost worked the PB1 FriPuz, but got suspicious, becuz it looked like a themeless.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Masked and Anonymous 1:25 PM  

@still009: No ACPT essay handed in yet, but primo doggie pics, so … ok. (Is that there the dog that ate yer computer charger?) Also, good lookin students; U must teach at a class place. [Too deep? Thought so.]


Leapfinger 1:29 PM  

Hey, @Chuck McG, having just recently spent an unconscionable amount of time trying to find shots of Pumpkin REGATTAS, the "crews' control" slipped in nice as you please. [The pumpkin boat pix are there, but shy and ephemeral; you have to lie in wait for them.]

Caught the rebus at 1A, only because I remember Sarah immediately and didn't go a step further to think of PAuL. There was nothing I didn't like about the theme, and furthermore thought it well-suited for SAYing HELLO TO some animal FRIENDs, what with PALOMINO and ApPALoosa. Going a step further would open the door to APPALACHIA_PETS and maybe PALINDROMEDARIES. Most people hate writing letters anyway, so why not have PET_PALS instead of PEN_PALS?

Had my Naticky moment @ Sq59, where I was kinda hoping for NEHI, but went with the L because of Lehigh U. Another case of right for the wrong reason.

Didn't mind the rest of the fill, though the last time I saw ANENT was probably in "Silmarillion". When EIEIO is clued that cleverly, I'm delighted to give it a pass.

We just had le ROI, didn't we? "À BAS le roi"might mean "Down with the King", but I thought "À BAS la reine" meant it's really pouring outside.

Well done, Liebling!!

Unknown 1:29 PM  

I got the revealer very early. I expected themes to be varied: PAL, MAC, BUD, etc. In fact, since Palin famously accused Obama of "pallin' around with terrorists," I expected to see "little friends" associated with each answer. When it turned out they were all PAL, the puzzle solved almost too easily.

Teedmn 1:30 PM  

Another tough one today. Does Will think that after the ACPT, everyone will be in such good solving shape that he can serve all the hard ones up that have been sitting in the queue?

Yeah, fell for the vice pres candidate error, especially since NYSE worked for both. 15A helped me dig out of that fairly fast so the rebus came into play quickly. And the quote was a gimme but I needed the help. I can never remember the Latin wing so ALAr hurt guessing ISABEL and SPIEd made an emperor _ _ TUd. When I reread 37A and got SPIES ON, I was able to untwist that little section. But ANENT crossing ILENE made the NE a bear to get. And my Dad often used to call someone a PAL-A-MINO (pronounced with a long I) so I was speculating that 10D was going to be a medical exam of some sort since I had HaL_ _ M. I think ANENT finally reared its ugly head in my brain and that cleared the way to the finale.

Nice work, John Lieb!

Jim 1:30 PM  

Awful puzzle filled with fill that should never be used. ANENT apparently has not been used as a word since the 1900s. HET up? Seriously -- who ever says that. You don't "make" poses - you do them. Then we have shortened non-words to further annoy REGS, YEST, etc. EIEIO is valid if you are 5 -- no adult ever uses it.

Revealer is cute I guess. Except Pacino is referring to his gun and killing people. Hardly a PAL. Something quite different. Surely there is a better "little friend" clue somewhere.

Proud Mamma 1:31 PM  


Joe Bleaux 1:36 PM  

Fun Thursday puzzle, Mr. Lieb. The fill's a little clunky in spots, but what the hey? (And bonus points for DePALma.)

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Am I missing something on 24D - They may be conceived around Halloween / LEOS. If that's a horoscope clue, its a couple of months off.

Tom 1:57 PM  

Another deke: [Howard] Hawks fits in 54D: Scarface director.

Hungry Mother 4:04 PM  

Pretty stupid error today. I had PALAN instead of PALIN in the NW. I have to watch an hour of her speeches on You'Tube to atone.

old lady Sheila 4:16 PM  

My computer refused to accept the "pal". It would not allow it even when I called for reveal.
Anyone else?


Clark 4:16 PM  

Thank you @Z for the Harry Potter connection. Doh! [and Face palm]

John Lieb 4:27 PM  

@Loren -- Yes, I discovered DEPALMA was the director after I came up with the theme...no jumping on the sofa, but there was a fist pump or two :)

Chronic dnfer 4:31 PM  

It was not easy. Dnf. And I cheated.

kitshef 4:33 PM  

@Nancy: Let me be the thirteenth of twenty-nine to says 'scrip' is short for prescription, and MED is short for medicine, as in "Uncle Roger is off his meds again".

@Anon at 1:53. If you are conceived at the end of October, you would be born, typically, nine months later, at the end of July. And thus be a Leo.

Which oddly I had for 4D for a while, when I was still working on the pAulryaN assumption, thinking altar must be the name of a star.

jae 4:53 PM  

@Nancy - Scrip is medical jargon for prescription which are used to prescribe medications or MEDs for short. The subject of a scrip would therefore be a MED.

@Anon 1:53 - A baby conceived at the end of Oct. would be born around the end of July. LEOs are born between July 23 and Aug 22.

OISK 5:02 PM  

Some explanations (that will probably be duplicated). Scrips are prescriptions, hence their subject "MED" for medicine. Someone conceived at Halloween will be born in late July, hence Leos.

I hit a bunch of near-Naticks, but guessed them all correctly. LSU over MSU, because Lehi just sounded better. Never heard of Sam Smith, and certainly did not know what "Yeezus" is, The central quote is completely unfamiliar as well, so I can't say I really enjoyed this one. "Oh, snap"?? I have heard students say this, but not "in response to a verbal slam," generally more like "Darn it." I guess I am WAY behind on current slang...( but you knew that...)

Mohair Sam 5:04 PM  

@Nancy, In the health world, scrip is short for perscription, hence med is correct. (From Lady Mohair, his Lordship rests)

puzzle hoarder 5:35 PM  

@Nancy, I haven't seen a response to your question yet so I'll try to answer. I read 63D's clue as shorthand for prescription and the answer MED as shorthand for medication. I'm a paramedic as well as a firefighter and we commonly called the drugs we carry meds. I've also worked in clinics and hospitals and am familiar with the phrase "Get a doc to write a scrip."

Nancy 6:09 PM  

@Chaos 344 (10:01)-- I just love the unconditional love test you propose! And I also love the fact that your yellow lab's name was CHAOS. You don't have a photo, by any chance, do you? Although, right now, I only have eyes for Emmy. (Sounds like a song, doesn't it?)

Norm 6:28 PM  

@Tita A : Bring a rubber band to hold your sliced-into-wedges apple together, but you'll still get tossed out for throwing it. :)

Z 10:04 PM  

@Chaos344 - OFL is, indeed, a Tiger fan. His opening night Tweets reflected my feelings of our "revamped" bullpen. Still, 2-0 is 2-0. Now the damn Yankees and light snow for the Home Opener party.

JenCT 11:32 PM  

@Anon 9:17: You're right, and here I am writing. :-)

I took a looooooong absence from doing the puzzles, due to various complications: MS relapse, a fall that broke my (dominant side) shoulder, another MS relapse, the death of my mother-in-law, a major house remodel, the death of my father-in-law, arthroscopic shoulder surgery, etc., etc.

Some of you may remember the incredibly generous blog post that Rex did, which, combined with the extreme generosity of Rex's readers, raised all of the money for me to get Oliver, the black Lab service dog, . After having him for one week, though, I gave him back, much to the dismay of my husband & son. The dog & I just didn't have a "connection."
But about 4 months later, Emmy became available, and the rest is history! Thanks for all the Emmy love - she's a real sweetheart, a very loyal service dog, and a big joker. She helps me out a lot around the house and especially out in public, where she's a total ice breaker - she helps me make friends wherever we go. I have a 2-minute video on YouTube, showing the things she does for me: https://youtu.be/0dQD3vLJL7w
It was so fun to see Rex & Emmy cuddling at the ACPT Final - they both seemed to enjoy it so much.

(Oh, about Oliver: When I gave him back, I told the head trainer that I thought he might do better with a male owner; I just got that feeling when observing his interactions with other people. The trainer assured me that the dogs are trained to be paired with either sex. One day, I heard that the Boston news channel was doing a story on Assistance animals, so I taped it. They profiled different types of service animals: a horse, a monkey, and a dog. The dog was a black Lab from NEADS and had paired up with an Iraq veteran with PTSD. You guessed it, the dog was Oliver, and both he and his new owner seem very happy.)

I'll do a writeup about the ACPT also; I'll post it to my blog in the next few days. Thanks for letting me post my long story, Rex! (Hi Marion, Loren, Karen, Bob, Dave, Andrea, Tita etc.!)

Nancy 11:49 PM  

Thanks to all who answered my MED question. I seem to be alone here, but I've never heard or read "scrip" for prescription, only Rx. I always thought scrip was some sort of substitute money used at a fair or bazaar. So I've learned something. I've also never heard MED used in the singular, other than in referring to a MED student. I've heard the expression: "Don't forget to take your MEDS", but never "Don't forget to take your MED." (Even if the person in question only takes one type of medication.) So I can't say I think this is a great clue, but I'll bow to the wisdom of the commentariat.

Unknown 6:25 AM  

How do you make little PALs in the boxes? I just used Ps and it graded me out.

Sonia S 10:51 AM  

On the website, use shift and then type the letters. If you already have something entered in the grid, erase it first.

Anonymous 10:14 PM  


Too much sports stuff crossing with other esoteric stuff.

PATS / ANA [Ivanovic]

And a medical prescription is a script, not a SCRIP.

Diana,LIW 11:20 PM  


Pls see yesterday re WHope - I hope. Did comment - late.

Lady Di

Burma Shave 8:31 AM  


ONCE SARAHPALIN rolled OVEREASY, ALAE open for ABALL with no end,


rondo 9:06 AM  

Yeezus indeed! Hand up for pAulryaN, and then OHStoP and INSoleS. Talk about an inkfest, but yeah baby SARAHPALIN was the easiest because she was all alone there. The other two being tied together made the NE a real mess. The rest went pretty easy.

I went to both Harvard and MIT, but it’s a lot to take in on one day.

Don’t need to read sports complaints when Shaq’s name comes up. NONO! Mr. ONEAL is one of the most recognizable athletes ever. That you can’t spell is on you.

Speaking of sport, yeah baby ANA Ivanovic may not have done POSES for PLAYBOY, but her SI POSES were terrific.

@D,LIW, agree so much, awful clue could easily have been avoided. Cluing the play and/or film would have given perspective. Tony, Pulitzer, and Academy Awards as evidence could have made the answer go OVEREASY.

Stuffing a whole word like PAL into one square is, again, not my favorite type of puz, but having done a RAFT of them, I take what comes along. Find me a BEERTENT.

BS2 10:00 AM  


OHSNAP, you’re like to be SLAYED.
IBET there’s NUN who OBEYS ya,
NONO, they’ll INSURE you be daid.


spacecraft 10:46 AM  

My natick was not with the second A of ANA; it was with the first. All five vowels make a perfectly good word when INSERTed into P_TS. I had no idea what was meant by "Brady bunch" until I read OFL's explanation. I have no love for the PATS, and so it didn't occur to me. The A was a pure guess, based on the likelihood of ANA over other choices. Whew!

One must admit the reveal in this puzzle is a FACEPALM. It would have been funnier if we didn't know what the "LITTLE FRIEND" was, or how it was about to "SAY HELLO." I grabbed onto it when I was puzzling over the #42 square. Say, NEPAL and PALED would fit: we got us a rebus! The quote, already in, now made perfect sense. Whereupon I rushed back up to the NW for the now-gimme SARAHPALIN.

Cute though that Alaskan may be, I won't have her as my DOD. I've neither seen nor heard of the tennis chick, but I'll take her anyway.

"Dallying sort" confused me; I thought it was some kind of time-waster. BEER TENT? Not when I was there. They are permanent structures; I would've called them barns. Huge! And a lot of fun.

I don't understand OHSNAP; saw it before in xwords so I know it...but it sounds terminally stupid. You will never hear me say it.

Theme and revealer: middle of the fairway. Fill: in the deep rough. Hole: not too hard. Result: par.

rain forest 1:41 PM  

Good puzzle that was easy nowhere for me. Threw down PAUL RYAN and INSOLES right off, so there's that. The only place I've heard/seen OH SNAP is on my computer when it loses the server. Otherwise, no one says that, in Canada.

I didn't know the quote, to the extent that I had the first part, and FRIEND in the second part, and I still didn't know what the adjective was, an I've actually seen Scarface. There's that, too.

So, much effort was required to repair the first mistakes and to suss out the omission. I already had PAL in the two upper areas, so things went a little more smoothly in the lower section. I've only recently become aware of SAM SMITH and that pretty well finished off the puzzle.

I thought NICER had a "green paint" feel to it, but ANENT and EIEIO seemed like old FRIENDs.

@Diana,LIW @leftcoastTAM @rondo - I don't want to argue, really, but there are three aspects to the "white hope" thing. One, of course is the phrase itself, which has odious connotations if one chooses to discern them. Another is the hypersensitivity some have whenever they read/hear such phrases. This varies, but in my opinion doesn't necessarily reflect upon the moral sensibilities of whomever uses the phrase. I mean that. The third aspect is the inclusion of such a phrase in a crossword puzzle where we might encounter Idi Amin, McCarthy, Nazi, ISIS, Assad, Poutin, etc. As xword answers they are neutral grid fillers. A crossword puzzle is not literature, nor a statement of beliefs or opinions. It is a bunch of words and phrases. Clearly, one may react negatively when they appear, but I just don't see it as necessary to point out how one does react. Personally, I hate to ever see SARAH PALIN in a puzzle, but I shrug when entering her venerated name.

leftcoastTAM 2:07 PM  

Got the PAL gimmick at SARAHPALIN because Paul Ryan didn't work. Pacino's line was good but didn't help as much.

After that, it was a matter of finding where the PALs went, and they were revealed by crosses and the PAL words themselves.

Fun to do.

leftcoastTAM 2:13 PM  

@Lady Di:

See last comments yesterday's puzzle, 1:59 a.m.


Diana,LIW 4:46 PM  

I see we're back to last week's "Hard is the new Easy!"

If constructors can cheat (put more than one letter in a square) well so can I. But even looking up some of the unknowns didn't help, and I had a dnf.

Had Vive instead of ABAS at first 'cause I didn't read the parenthetical part of the clue. Har. And tried ryetoast from the diner. Palmslap for OHSNAP - figured PalPals were some kind of Ugg boot from the Aussies.

Speaking of toast from the diner, how does Rex stay so slender? He's endlessly talking about having a beer, cocktail, pie, cookies, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snax. Maybe it's the hat - helps him work off calories. Me? Gym five times a week and watch every bite that comes toward my mouth. Even have a separate kitchen for the man cave so hublet can have his cookies and ice cream.

Back in the days when I played at tennis I never learned the terminology for hitting the ball. I just desperately ran for the ball when my fiendishly difficult adversary (the practice wall) hit another one out of my reach. The wall always won.

Yes, of course Paul Ryan. Totally forgot Sarah - now she's like an ear worm.

Had the little creature 70% solved, but then hit the proverbial wall of non-Knowledge. So off to Cheatersville.

Oh, yes, I wanted to make "faces" in the photo booth. Don't you?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Sarah (and others) to "gay avec"

leftcoastTAM 7:11 PM  


You're wicked.

leftcoastTAM 7:35 PM  

@rain forest:

I appreciate your response, but I think the use of any such racist terms--like this one, especially given its woeful clue in the puzzle--reflects more their users' moral insensibilities rather than their moral sensibilities.

Diana,LIW 8:07 PM  


I sincerely thank you for keeping the HOPE dialogue going. I rarely have a problem with clues/answers, and agree that many, many comments and reactions are too "sensitive." But, of course, it's also all about opinions.

As a member of a group who adopted a pejorative as a name (Friends "quaked" before God by their critics, and they said, ok, we're Quakers) I'm pretty cool with language fluidity. I remember when "black" was a nasty form of "colored," until "black power and black is beautiful" emerged in the 60's. People can take back their own "labels."

Still mulling hope, as I strain brain to think of an apt example. I never heard anyone I know referring to a "popular" "savior" of any sort as a "white, or great white, hope."

That said, it's:

Answer (whitehope) - no problem, fine phrase in a crossword. Yes, it's a known phrase.

Clue - 100% problem - elevates answer to something aspirational. Indicates this is a good thing. Baaaaad.

Rough try for an example - Like calling:


(clue) "gung- ho young protectors of the homeland"

As I said, rough try

Diana, Mulling, and waiting for mulled thoughts

rain forest 11:58 PM  

@Diana,LiW @leftcoastTAM - As you can tell, I have a thickish skin, and basically just want to solve my daily NYT puzzle as well as I can. Maybe it's the answer; maybe it's the clue; it seems that certain words that may have a reference to black life (but only in the minds of white folks) raise the ire of a certain percentage of the commentariat.

"Afro" has been such a word. OFL has waxed apoplectic whenever it appears, and I just don't understand his dudgeon, high, low, or manufactured. I don't know, I just believe that the lexicon has been enriched by such words. Hell, back in the day I had my hair permed so I could have an afro (three times!). There was no sense on my part that it had anything to do with the hair of blacks. I just wanted to look like Gordon Lightfoot, har.

Now, "(great) white hope" might be a different animal. If you focus on the word "white", perhaps it is unacceptable. However, as a counter example, when I was teaching Chemistry in a large secondary school, the principal hired a woman who he actually said would be "the great white hope" for the Physics department. At the time we had two hard-edged male teachers in that department, and the enrollment in Physics was declining yearly. When she came in, everything changed, one of the old guys left for another school, and Physics enrollment increased dramatically. No one in this scenario was black, brown or any other colour. The meaning of his appellation was clear, as were the results of her hiring. OK, I'm a Canadian, as you can tell from some of my spelling, and the acceptance of different races is much more of a given here. Maybe that's where I'm coming from.

As I said yesterday, I don't want to argue. I want all Syndies to get along, and I just want to do my daily puzzle. However, if called upon, I will engage.

Love you guys.

leftcoastTAM 8:33 PM  


I think you put your finger on it.

Your experience in Canada has been different from ours in the U.S. with racial/ethnic contention and conflict. That may be why we may seem oversensitive to the use of racially-tinged language. Unfortunately, the problem has been exacerbated here during the current political campaign and election season.

Thank you for your thoughtful responses.

J Howard 6:27 PM  

Interesting that I got the PATS answer by linking it to the Clive Bundy family; self-described Patriots who defy the BLM and occupied the Oregon wilderness reserve. Any way you get there, a correct answer is a correct answer.

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