Big name in retirement community development / TUE 5-17-16 / Company that invented newsreels / Beings in Bretagne / Obsolescent mobile device briefly

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Constructor: Paula Gamache

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tuesday*)

THEME: GO ON AHEAD (62A: "Don't wait for me to proceed" ... or what either part of the answer to each starred clue can do) — either part of the answer to each starred clue can GO ON A HEAD (i.e. precede the word "head"):

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Especially memorable, as a day (RED LETTER)
  • 21A: Campground amenity (HOT SHOWER)
  • 33A: Feature of a carpenter's level (AIR BUBBLE)
  • 44A: Beef alternative in many countries (HORSE MEAT)
  • 53A: Basic china color (BONE WHITE) 
Word of the Day: DEL WEBB (4D: Big name in retirement community development) —
Delbert Eugene "Del" Webb (May 17, 1899 – July 4, 1974, aged 75) was an American real estate developer and a co-owner of the New York Yankees baseball club. He is known for founding and developing the retirement community of Sun City, Arizona, and for many works of his firm, Del E. Webb Construction Company. (wikipedia)
• • •

I didn't understand (at first) or even think about the theme, even after I'd finished. I was too thrown off by the puzzle's apparent self-parody, and by the feeling that I was being trolled. The fill is quite stale (SRTAS, ETRES, ORNE, YSER, on and on) but that's not at all surprising— DEL WEBB, on the other hand ... that is an elephant that is in the room that is this puzzle, both because it appears to be the one really original answer in this puzzle, and because it is an answer that embodies every cliché about crosswords and the people who solve them. It is an obscurity that is going to be known almost exclusively by those in retirement communities. You want to be dated or dwell in the past, fine. Obsolescent mobile devices and quaint affirmatives, are one thing, but ... Who or what is DEL WEBB? Why ... seriously, why ... would you make the one moment of real originality in your puzzle be a "big name in retirement community development" when I can guarantee you that it will be the least known answer in the grid, By A Longshot? Why not make your originality snappy, original, interesting? ... it's baffling. DEL WEBB. It is the only thing anyone is likely to remember about this puzzle—a completely foreseeable issue. DEL WEBB? And on a *Tuesday* ... you got me, NYT. I concede, that is some RED LETTER trolling. DEL WEBB!—it's Dell Curry + Spud Webb ... in retirement community form! I mean, the very idea that there is any such thing as a "big name" in retirement community development is itself hilarious. If someone had walked up to you 24 hrs ago and said "hey, what's a big name in retirement community development?," you would've said "what?" because the question makes no sense. [You see what I mean about not even noticing the theme]

PATHE (6D: Company that invented newsreels) was also unknown to me (and apparently unknown to the NYT crossword for nigh on 13 years), so that also struck me as well beyond Tuesday-level fare, though less hilariously so. The theme ... it's a "both words can precede/follow X"-type theme, with the added bonus of a cleverish revealer. Feels like there are an awful lot of ___ HEADs that are essentially synonymous insults: meathead, bubblehead, bonehead, airhead. I have no idea what a horse head is beyond the literal head of a literal horse. Is that legit because of "Godfather"? There are, of course, infinite other words that can precede HEAD in a familiar phrase (give or take). No matter. Maybe you liked this puzzle or maybe you didn't, but you can't deny that DEL WEBB is in it, and that's what really matters.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Pete 12:35 AM  

Look, I'm old and live in a retirement community, hell even a DEL WEBB retirement community for all I know, but PATHE is only recognizable to me in real life by being treated to "how cute was it that people a long time ago got their news from PATHE news reels" reminiscing on the part of my forefathers. So yeah, PATHE was relevant around my grandfather's day.

Oh, and horse meat is something I like to be reminded of just before I go to bed - thanks. There's a town called Horseheads in NY, I believe I've been there. That's the only way head follows horse as a word/phrase I can come up with. I had a whole story written about camping at Horseheads Lake in Maine, but that was Moosehead Lake Maine, and Moose head is exactly as much a phrase as is horse head, or mouse head or butterfly head.

Finally, what the hell is a WHITE HEAD? A zit as opposed to a black-head - they're called zits. This couldn't be Alfred WHITEHEAD could it - if so, total geek mathematics reference, so I approve.

jae 12:42 AM  

Tough Tues.! PATHE was a WOE, plus stuff like IGOR, ORNE, YSER, RENE, AILEY, ALDO, @Rex DEL WEBB, not the typical early week fare. Oh, and @Z, they are all PPPs.

Liked it, nicely done familiar theme with some crunch, just not really a Tues.

Anonymous 12:45 AM  

"horse head" was very bad, but gloriously OK compared to the egregious "Del Webb" ... ta for the write-up Rex!

Del Webb is pure laziness by the constructor AND by Mr Shortz. Pitiful.

chefwen 1:03 AM  

Don't ask me how I knew DEL WEBB. After I filled in DEL the WEBB part just popped into my head. Must have heard a bunch of commercials when we lived in So Cal. "It's a DEL WEBB Community". My new word was ESTRUS which I'm sure I will forget shortly.

Cute theme, I enjoyed this one as I do all of Paula Gamache puzzles.

Hays 1:06 AM  

I didn't know Pathé specifically, but I did remember the name from a big release of historical film footage a couple years ago (maybe?). Turns out it was British Pathé, but that was enough to pull it from my brain. Other than that, this one played difficult for me, mostly because I put two answers in that turned out to be correct, but took them out when I had more faith in an incorrect one (this all in the North-Central). This shouldn't be enough to screw up a Tuesday, but somehow did. Still finished in a reasonable time, but frustrated and Del Webb definitely did not help.

Ellen S 1:48 AM  

Jeez. I'm old but I don't live in a retirement community nor am I looking for one to move to. Some of my friends, older still, live in assisted living complexes, but not Sun City or any other Del Webb development. And I am not a member of AARP, having quit in a huff a few years back when they supported the Medicare Prescription Drug Act ... anyway, that said, I have no more reason to be aware of Del Webb than a youngster like @Rex, yet I put it in instantly. The ads are ubiquitous. Hmm, ubiquitous in my local newspaper, in every newspaper. But I guess you maybe have to read a newspaper to have seen the ads. And the Del Webb retirement developments are also ubiquitous. The Sun City master-planned communities are not for my friends in assisted living facilities - they are master planned communities for "active" people 55 and older: golf, hiking and workouts, not bingo. He built four Sun Cities and since his death more have been built. But if that isn't reason enough to have heard of him, try this:

In 1946 and 1947, Jewish American New York mob boss Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel hired Webb as a construction foreman for the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. After boasting about his claim that he'd personally killed some men, Siegel once said to Webb, "Del, don't worry, we only kill each other.". -- Wikipedia

Go on, tell me you never heard of Bugsy Siegel.

Loren Muse Smith 4:35 AM  

Well heck. I almost didn't finish because of DEL WEBB/ALDO/SCOWS and SEABEES/LBO. I couldn't remember SCOW to save my life but finally guessed correctly there. ALDO, Alda, Aldi… didn't recall the guy's first name.

And, yeah, that DEL WEBB is rough. And my parents live in a retirement community. I'll have to ask them if the name is big, if show-offs try to casually throw the name around over their bridge games or in between Bingo rounds. (I'm not sneering at the lifestyle right now; Mom and Dad play bridge and Bingo every week and take both very seriously.) Marty and I looked at several Del Webb properties, but they all just seemed a bit vulgar in a nouveau riche way, if you get what I'm saying.

I didn't remember SEABEE, either, but that B there was a pretty safe bet.

I liked the themers, but I think I just say BONE for that color. BONE WHITE doesn't feel as in the language.

Serena bought a Gucci bag yesterday.
Oh yeah? What color"

I will remember this for DEL WEBB, but also for the weird way the revealer looks in the grid. GOON AHEAD! Proceed with caution!

I'm probably in the minority, but I never tire of these both-words-precede-a-word themes. They make me wanna scurry off and see what other possibilities are out there. Thanks, Paula, a BIG CHEESE in crossworld.

Anonymous 4:44 AM  

del webb is famous for other things bad clue not a bad name

Anonymous 4:57 AM  

Can we please, please let Mortimer SNERD rest in peace?

Jeff Anderson 5:55 AM  

I can't say I love this puzzle. It was blah. I also though Horse head was a bit of a stretch, but then I remembered after I finised solving. We have the Horsehead Nebula. Sigh. That puzzle was still meh.

kelen 6:15 AM  

have never....heard...of Del Webb. Nor do I WANT to know about Del Webb. Bah!

Lewis 6:46 AM  

I liked the clue for HAULS and the answers MADEHAY and SNERD (I always like this one). We should make up a word (like Natick) for when two answers are synonyms, such as today's OVEN/STOVE. There is a Boggle-style HAW to go with HEM (beginning with the H in BONEWHITE), as well as a Boggle-style TRAP to go with SPEED (beginning with the T in PARTY). Never heard of DELWEBB and probably once knew LBO but it was in that dark locked room today. Maybe I'm supposed to be accepting of those in "many countries" that eat horsemeat, but the thought just makes something go sour inside me.

But that was my only hesitation about this puzzle. I know with Paula's puzzles that I'm going to have to bear down and think, that I'm going to get serious, and that at the end I will have enjoyed the struggle. And so today. Tough for a Tuesday, but short of a Wednesday, and I felt like I threw my brain into a washing machine, gave it a whirl, and it came out brighter and cleaner for it.

Diywriter 7:23 AM  

Not sure Del Webb is all that obscure. I'm guessing many of us who have assisted elderly parents (or those who have visited elderly grandparents) have heard of him. A number of retirement communities around the country bear his name. I personally wouldn't want to live in one (pretty sterile, little contact with younger folk . . .), but many seniors love the places. Will be interested to see if many other crossword solvers know the name.

Glimmerglass 7:29 AM  

This struck me as a normal Tuesday-level of difficulty. Solving in order, the NW was easy. That left me with DELW for4D. "Big name in development"? That has to be developer DEL WEBB. The phrase "Del Webb townhouses" sticks in my mind. I didn't remember that he built Sun City, and I didn't associate him with retirement, but this was not nearly the outlier @Rex says it is. There were some things for@Rex to grumble about: WHITEhead is a bit gross (unless you're thinking of Alfred North). HORSEhead is kind of green paint (unless you mean the nebula). So those two answers are either outliers or icky. But I'm not @Rex, so I won't grumble about them.

M. David Hornbuckle 7:32 AM  

There's a Horse Head Nebula.

Not sure that helps.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Yep. Del Webb. Who would know that, indeed? And on a Tuesday. I can't remember the last time I had to Google on a Tuesday to finish.

Dorothy Biggs 7:36 AM  

Nope. Didn't like primarily because of the DELWEBB cluster f*@k in the NW. Hey, I'm all about challenges...and this puzzle didn't take me all that long to do...but without getting too deep here, I see these puzzles as an artform of sorts. To me, art has to communicate something...and that communication is built on relationship and trust. You first have to believe that the artist has something meaningful to say, then you have to trust the artist to communicate it in a way that is clear and precise. If the art falters on either point, you squander the moment. Context (in this case Tuesday) has a lot to do with how that message is communicated and perceived.

I know...a pretty fine point to be made and after all, this is just an everyday (literally), humble little NYT xword puzzle. But I mention all that about my philosophy of art to point out, in fairness, why I didn't like it.

That upper midwest was a mishmash of crapola. DELWEBB along with ALDO and ESTRUS and its neighbor PATHE are huge outliers to not only early week puzzles, but also within the puzzle itself (the rest of the puzzle was a "normal" Tuesday). It's for that reason that I would agree with Rex about the puzzle "trolling." It's provocative in a gratuitous way, apparently not to communicate anything meaningful, but just to get an emotional response. What other purpose could there be? Sitting there staring at the last two squares to fill (1A: BE--), I had lost all trust that A) this puzzle knew it was a Tuesday or B) whatever I wrote in there would have any kind of payoff at all. It didn't on both counts. So yeah, fail.

As for "HORSE head," I Googled it to find a definition that wasn't just about actual horse heads. I like the definition I found given by my favorite online dictionary, Urban...uh...Dictionary:

HORSEHEADs: A town in upstate New York, formed in 1835 as a giant middle finger to the neighboring city of Elmira; as emphasized by the town motto: "Fuck you, Elmira." Used in a sentence: "I moved to Horseheads becaused I was tired of getting robbed at gunpoint."

So essentially, this puzzle is the Elmira to the usual HORSE Heads of Tuesday NYT xword-dom. I feel like I was just robbed.

Gerald Harris 7:45 AM  

You know, it's good for the NYT to have balance over time, some puzzles skewed for the young, others for us geezers. It is equally imperative that younger people learn history as it is for the old to stay current.

Hungry Mother 7:54 AM  

Tough Tuesday for me. I thought I might DNF in the NE, but went for the theme reveal and finished slowly.

Z 8:01 AM  

I just asked my 80 year old father in law if he knew who DEL WEBB is. He does. Well, my dears, there you go. He has spent the past three days asking me questions about his new (and first) smart phone, ecstatic and amazed that he can use voice entry since he spent his entire professional life with a secretary doing his typing. Self same secretary carried out all the functions a PDA would, so he's never had one of those (or an IPOD). Yessiree Bob, you GO ON AHEAD, while I put on my ROBE, grab the MAH-jongg and I'll join you for the PATHE newsreels. Seriously, Rex was too kind, and I really like the reveal.

Oh, one more thing. Does "beings" actually work for ÊTRES?

SODA POP Culture, Product Names, and Proper Nouns Analysis

27/76, for 36%. And, yes, this skews very, very old. How old? Sarah ORNE Jewitt makes Mortimer SNERD & SARA Teasdale look contemporary old. I will say this, we have more than a token acknowledgement that there's more than one sex today, SARA and Sarah ORNE, OPRAH, SERENA, ANNA, all the SRTAS. I don't quite know what to make of the fact that ESTRUS is in the puzzle, too.

Wm. C. 8:09 AM  

OFL. REALLY didn't like Del Webb, I guess.

I had some difficulty getting there, staring at an ending BB for quite a while, and not yet getting Red Letter.

However, I HAVE heard of Del Webb as a retirement community developer, AND, as it turns out inDO live in a retirement community in SW Florida in the winter.

I don't know of any DW communities in SW FL, I think they are mainly in the Southwestern US.

orangeblossomspecial 8:10 AM  

A little-known number from the 20s: 'We'll MAKE HAY while the sun shines'

Freddy Fender's version of 'How much is that DOGGIE in the window?'

Johnny Mercer updated the lyrics to a hit from the early 1900s: 'GLOW worm'

"Tell ST PETER at the Golden Gate" is the punch line to 'Smoke smoke smoke that cigarette'

Lobster11 8:17 AM  

So if you're in the DELWEBB crowd you probably remember SNERD and PATHE, and also YSER, ORNE, and ETRES if you did crosswords in your youth. I don't know which crowd knows ALDO, RENE, ANNA, and SARA, but its not one of which I'm a member either. I'm torn between charitably calling this "out of my wheelhouse," versus (less charitably) "just plain God-awful," but either way it was not fun at all for me.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

At first for "spa amenity" I had LUBE :) :)

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

Airymom 8:27 AM  

Every morning, after my daughter leaves for high school, I eat breakfast and do the NYT puzzle. It's my early morning, alcohol-less happy hour (or half hour). Believe me, I need it. It's not pleasant being around a 17 year old girl who has to get up at 5:45 for school (yes, it's ridiculous to have high school start at 7:15)

"Del Webb" is everything you wrote it is and more. It reminds me of my Dad. My folks spent a month in Florida about 15 years ago when he was 88 and my mother was 79. They were considering becoming snowbirds. My Dad said "I'm not going back. It's for old people." "Well, Dad, you're 88, some people would classify you as old." "It's not a number, it's an attitude. I'm not spending my winters with a bunch of Del Webb guys. Do you know the only two things they talk about?--their prostates and the early bird dinner special. My prostate is not that interesting. We're staying in New York and going to museums, shows, lectures. We're going to keep our brains busy." He lived to 96, and my mom is going strong at 94.

As far as the rest of the puzzle, since I was eating breakfast, thinking about "whitehead" was gross.

Time to clean the house, happy hour is over!

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Sports Illustrated, May 16, 2016 issue, page 54, seventh paragraph of left hand column. Del Webb!

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

DELWEBB and PATHE were no problem, the latter being identified with old Our Gang movies but LEAS perplexed me because I read the clue as "gambling" rather than "gamboling." The less said about ESTRUS the better. Liked the puzzle overall but not the theme as GOONAHEAD does not equal in front of the word head.

GeezerJackYale48 8:36 AM  

Pete, I guess I'm a lot older than you, because I remember very distinctly the Pathe newsreels in the movies during the World War II years. They were pretty much the only graphic news we got of what was going on in the world, radio and newspapers being the only other media.

As for Del Webb, it may amuse Rex to categorize anyone who has ever heard of him as leftovers from the stone age, just as it often amazes me how many things Rex has never heard of.

L 8:36 AM  

Never heard of him. Ever. Never seen an ad, at least not here in NYC. This puzzle just bummed me out.

kitshef 8:40 AM  

Never heard of a 'DOGGY' bag. Now, a doggie bag, that's a real thing.

Also never heard of ORNE, ANNA (as clued), ALDO (Gucci), DELWEBB or RENE (Auberjonois). That's a lot of WoEs for any day, but on a Tuesday?

And I did know PATHE, SARA, ATLAS (as clued), SNERD, SEABEES, ESTRUS, IGOR, ESTE - things that new solvers maybe would not. So I think this skews way, way too hard for a Tuesday. And of course, all the difficulty is in the PPPs.

@Z - ETRES is legit as ETRE is a noun as well as a verb. It's still weak fill.

Phil 8:53 AM  

Being a part of the construction world, I heard of Del Webb but as a principal contractor during the 70s 80s Vegas building boom.

They kind of went dormant, maybe retiring so to speak to developer/manage.

jberg 9:00 AM  

YES'M, Y'SER, this one was a little tough, but the revealer made it worth it. Also, there's this for you HORSEhead doubters. When I first came to the Boston area, the MIT Faculty Club was known for serving HORSE MEAT. I don't think they do any more.

So I'm old, even though I still live in a big Victorian house, and I remember seeing PATHÉ flash across the screen many times. Growing up in a small town, we got our milk delivered in half-gallon cardboard containers with two of them held together by a plastic handle. If you brought 24 of those handles to the theater, you could get in for a movie. We drank a lot of milk, and I saw a lot of movies. (Sometimes I had to pay the 10 cents.) There was a PATHÉ every time, along with a serial, some cartoons, a follow-the-bouncing-ball sing-along, plus the feature (or two).

Despite all that, I think I knew DEL WEBB from the baseball connectiono -- that is, I knew him as an owner, but knew he was a builder the same way I knew that Lou Perini was. So that one wasn't that hard, or that bad.

And I loved SODA POP, brought back together again.

But ANNA Christie crossing somebody named Auberjonois? Pure plausibility-based guess.

Sarah ORNE Jewett had a revival a decade or so back, along with her friend Willa Cather, so it's not like she hasn't been read for a century -- but I guess she's not on the tip of everyone's tongue.

For me, hopes are DASHED but dreams are crushed. But maybe that's just me.

Annette 9:04 AM  

I couldn't put my finger on why I my gut reaction was negative. There were some clever answers, like....erm...never mind. What really sunk it was DELWEBB crossing ETRES. I admit my college French is rusty, but I've never heard ETRES (or etre) used as a noun. There's no reason for me to have blown through this so quickly with my store of stale answers, only to be stalled on the PATHE to this intersection.


Susan 9:09 AM  

Could it be DEL WEBB is a west coast/California name? I'm not retirement age and definitely don't live in a retirement community but I have heard of him. I also vaguely remember him as the plaintiff in a lawsuit where he built a Sun City downwind from a feedlot and then sued the feedlot because it, well, stunk. As I recall, he won but had to pay the feedlot for the loss of its business. I found the puzzle easy, no hiccups and no write overs.

chefbea 9:15 AM  

Hand up for not knowing Del Webb. Though puzzle - didn't like it.
Did like the clue for Napa!!!

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

The Del Webb clue kind of depends on your background. If you are an English professor you might not of heard of it, but if you were in the real estate development or orconstruction business or an investor in theses businesses the name is well known. A little obscure, but I did not think the clue deserved the rant Rex gave it

RooMonster 9:26 AM  

Hey All !
Out here in Las Vegas (regular city, not the Strip!) Del Webb is known, even if you're not living in said community because there are 2 (maybe 3) developments with his name on them. So there's that...

Very crunchy TuesPuz. I cry Shenanigans at the Triple Natick of ETRES/ESTRUS/PATHE. Yow. LBO a WOE, got from crosses. GO ON=GOON=DOOK! Of course spelled AXLE wrong at first. Potential Natick- IGOR/ORNE.

Writeovers, yoyo-BEAD, adaR-YSER, rRR-GRR, Oast-OVEN, spaS-LEAS (stab in the dark on that one), nAHS-BAHS.

Thinking should've been Wednesday puz. But a nice, kill a few brain cells puz. Liked clues for SPEED, IPOD. Didn't like clue on DETER. Thinking wrong tense, maybe. Deterrent would've been better clue. Just sayin...


Elle54 9:27 AM  

I didn't think Del Webb was obscure. Pathe, yes

skua76 9:28 AM  

Had trouble in the same areas mentioned by Rex, particularly in the north central, although I'm a construction guy old enough to know about Del Webb. Had a very hard time with the revealer...first trying to figure out what GOON AHEAD had to do with the theme entries, and then after parsing the first two words correctly, still didn't see how any of the entries related. I was thinking I was supposed to see things that GO ON AHEAD, perhaps like LEADER or DRUM MAJOR. But this veteran of the SEABEES will give Paula a good shout out for that word.

Nancy 9:34 AM  

I'm not going to complain about any Tuesday that makes me work this hard. I loved the unexpected challenge. I couldn't figure out the gimmick of the theme at all -- I was looking for GO or GO ON or GOON to go ahead of the answers. I was not looking for HEAD to go after the answers. But the advantage of being someone who solves many, many themed puzzles as themelesses is that when you get a puzzle where the theme might actually help you, and you can't figure it out, you can solve anyway.

I didn't think there were many gimmes in this puzzle. Starting at 1A, I pondered between KITE and YOYO, never once thinking of BEAD. BARS and EXEC straightened me out, but what to say about DEL WEBB? From the comments here, I think we can safely say that, while it may be a name in retirement community development, a "big" name it's not!

I don't go camping, so HOT SHOWER didn't come to me right away. When I got it, my first thought was "Well, I certainly HOPE so!" BTW, the funniest online video that was ever sent to me -- ever!!!!! -- was a song called "Jews Don't Camp." It's the version with a picture of what looks like multi-colored berries next to it. If you're Jewish, YOU CANNOT MISS THIS! If you're not Jewish, I think you'll really enjoy this, too. I'll pay it the highest compliment by saying I wish I'd written it.

I enjoyed this quite a lot for a Tuesday.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Del Webb is more of a regionalism than an ageist thing. Which is fine, since being out west, 90% of the NYT regionalisms leave my grasping (STATEN Island college?).

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Just a bad, unenjoyable, random puzzle with a halting, non-cohesive feel to it.

BEAD/DELWEBB could just as easily be BEAN/NELWEBB for all I (or just about anyone other than Del Webb's mother) knows. Pathetic.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

You have to admit that DEL WEBB was a smart man, all things considered. From Wikipedia, he made his chops building Japanese internment camps during WWII in the Arizona desert - put up cheap housing for unwanted people, put in a post office & a commissary, put a fence around it and BOOM! you've made a million bucks. How many people have the ability to take this experience, see no immediate use for it going forward, then think outside the box and figure out how to make a go of it. Not many, but good old Del did. He found a perpetually built in source of unwanted people, rebranded the barbed wire fencing to "gated community" and made a fortune.

Nik 9:45 AM  

For excellent birding, visit Horsehead Cliffs in Westmoreland State Park. Bonus views of the Potomac and the oft times untouched Northern Neck area. A little farther south in Northumberland County, there's not much to see in Horse Head (Heathsville, VA) except a sign and a building for rent. Said building has a wire horse head sculpture affixed to it. However, the local oysters are fantastic.

Hartley70 9:47 AM  

@Lewis, your last sentence today is wonderful.

DELWEBB was my only unknown today and I had him from the crosses. It didn't seem grossly unfair, certainly no worse than a player for the Cleveland Indians. I don't think DEL built anything in the Northeast, so he's not likely to appear in any local print ads.

The rest of the puzzle was above average Tuesday difficulty with a few unusual answers that made it interesting, like PATHE, ESTRUS, SEABEES, and HASBRO, which I passed every day when I walked home from junior high. Mr. Potato Head and GI Joe created a lot of jobs in our town.

HORSEHEADs, well I've been there, done that in upstate NY, and I'd pick Ithaca if I had a choice.

Speaking of HORSEHEADs, our outgoing First Selectman, as his last act in office, had black iron HORSEHEAD stanchions installed at nearly every corner crosswalk in our small town center. They strike us as insanely bizarre and make us laugh every time we go to buy groceries or a bottle of wine. I've yet to see anyone ride a horse to town in the 36 years I've lived here. We've wondered if his family member owned a HORSEHEAD factory and desperately needed business. One hitching post might have been quaint. Twenty within a few blocks smacks of corruption or a posse about to ride into town.

QuasiMojo 9:48 AM  

Why can't people just compose puzzles without these tortured themes? The Times puzzle each day is becoming like one of those "clever" crossword rags you buy in airports, then leave on the plane from sheer agony. One might sometime say, "Go on ahead," but it is hardly a catchphrase to build a puzzle around. Agree with Rex on Del Webb and Horse Head. And I would add "Yes'm" into the mix as an infelicitous stretch.

Unknown 9:49 AM  

Did writer - Del Webb communities "pretty sterile, little contact with younger folk...". Au contraire my friend. I live in a Del Webb community outside Philadelphia. We have a good number of residents under 55. It's an extremely active place, very generous in volunteering with local community organizations and schools, as well as women's shelters, and much more. Del Webb was sold to the Pulte company a number of years ago, who still use the name. For those of you who think it may be a bunch of old people sitting around doing nothing but waiting to die, you are 100% wrong.

Sheryl 9:52 AM  

I don't think YESM is a word, quaint or otherwise.

da kine 10:06 AM  

Ha! I came just to complain about Del Webb, especially since it is a total Natick where the cross could have been BEAN. ETRES and PATHE are absolute garbage. So are IGOR and ORNE. That played like a Thursday with especially bad fill for me.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Tuesday??? You gotta be kidding.

Damn, this is annoying! INDEED.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 10:08 AM  

Ageism, Rex, ageism! If I don't complain about rappers, you shouldn't complain about Del Webb ... He did do other things, but what is so bad about learning about retirement communities anyway? As I was once young, you will someday be of retirement age and such a community might be your best choice (not mine, probably will not be yours, but who knows?). Wm. C., there is a Del Webb community near Naples (SW Florida). I like Paula G puzzles.

John V 10:12 AM  

So, I did something on this Tuesday puzzle that I only use for very hard puzzles: I put it down for 15 minutes after which I finally got the North PATHE/IPOD /SARA pileup. Very difficult for a Tuesday. Got it okay, but needed the crosses, for sure

ArtO 10:20 AM  

Pretty crunchy for Tuesday. ..ESTRUS crossing ETRES. Knew DELWEBB as he was a co-owner of the NYYankees in the 1940's/50's. Age does sometimes come in handy.

SusanMontauk 10:24 AM  

I am 65, married to a man about to turn 80. Both my parents and in-laws were in their 90's when they died. I have never heard of Del Webb. That answer stunned me. Perhaps it is a regional thing--I live in New York.

I was also put off by the idea of using oreo cookies in a pie crust. Cookie wafer part, sure, but oreos have that creamy filling. Can you really do that? As a competent pie baker, I am repelled by the idea.

jackj 10:26 AM  

Del Webb??!! How dare anyone include such a person in a NYT crossword (or any crossword).

Who knows? Who cares? Aaargh!, DEL WEBB, a "big name" in retirement community development"? The name only shows 50,200,000 Google results for pete's sake!

Why insert "an answer that embodies every cliché about crosswords and the people who solve them." Crosswords should cater to the hip and the modern, the speed solvers, solving rapidly on their tablets not those old fogies with folded newspaper and no. 2 pencil (with B not a Uni-Ball pen to be found in the community).

Let's use clues that resonate with those who matter. Better to give us something deliciously au courant like "Gay rapper of note" cluing TORI FIXX rather than earning the slings and arrows of the evolved solvers who embrace modernity by using, gasp, DEL WEBB.

Jamie C 10:34 AM  

Today's New York Times crossword puzzle is brought to you be DEL WEBB retirement communities. DEL WEBB, where we separate you from as much of your money as possible before you die.*

*a promotional fee was paid to the New York Times on behalf of DEL WEBB for its inclusion in today's puzzle. If you are interested in having your company represented in future puzzles, please call 1-800-WSHORTZ.

Unknown 10:37 AM  

Comments are always entertaining. Just for the record, I knew both Del Webb and Pathé, and I'm in my 60s. But I also know a good deal about online jargon, rap music and the 90+ members of the Kardashian family. I have no problem with references considered to be dated, and I don't buy the "it was before my time" rationale. Knowledge is a funny thing. If you know something, it's easy; if you don't, it's hard. But hard doesn't mean you shouldn't use it. (I'm also getting crotchety as I get older.)

Nancy 10:49 AM  

@lms (from yesterday, 4:29 am) -- So, while I wait for Rex to post the next batch of today's comments, I was catching up on all the comments yesterday I didn't have a chance to read. I howled over your volleyball and softball stories. Funny how you get impressions of people on the blog that may turn out to be completely inaccurate. From your profile, what with the competitive arm wrestling and dog sledding, I have come to think of you as a real jock. Your post completely disabused me of that notion. Or maybe it's not you. Maybe it's just your neck of the woods. You DO seem to have an above-average number of professional female athletes in your midst. I think we would all fail to measure up in that sort of competition.

I, myself, played volleyball at Camp Pinecliffe, as a girl between the ages of 11 and 15. I thought our camp's rules were the real volleyball rules. (Why wouldn't they be, after all?) Each player got two successive hits: when the ball came to you, you set it up to yourself first, then hit it back over the net. In fact you were criticized for NOT setting the ball up to yourself first: "Now, Nancy, why did you just bang the ball back over the net? If you set it up to yourself first, you have so much more control. See how Jane is doing it?" Imagine my shock and utter surprise when I watched professional volleyball for the first time and realized that players were NOT allowed two hits at a time.

As in tennis, I had a really good serve in volleyball. But not much else. I'm short. So in the back row, I was moderately useful. In the middle row, I was sort of moderately useful. But in the front row, it was as though I wasn't there at all; the game went on completely over my head. Some of the taller, more athletic girls were spiking the ball from time to time, but I was not among them. I can't imagine what it would be like, Loren, to play against women who were once pros. Actually, I CAN imagine -- it would be dangerous.

Andrew Heinegg 11:06 AM  

I rarely disagree with OFL on something that he is as adamant about as he is on this Del Webb business. But, I must. The person Del Webb was a former owner of the N.Y. Yankees. While that might be unmemorable if it was another team in another part of the country, everything that was ever done concerning the N.Y. Yankees has been documented down to the last possible detail. And, it is not just since the age of media arrived that baseball people know the history of teams. Del Webb as Yankee owner is/was rarely ever mentioned without referencing his source of funds in owning the Yankees, the retirement communities. So, I don't think this is such an outlier that it should be so roundly panned especially given where the newspaper is headquartered.

I continue to enjoy Ms. Gamache's puzzles and I am pleased that she is appearing with greater frequency in the NYT. Of course, there are more crosswordese answers in this puzzle than you would like to see but, it is Tuesday and it is difficult to construct a Tuesday level of difficulty puzzle without some gimmes.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:11 AM  

Rex, Old Top, PATHE is passe to you, due mainly to the fact it was slightly before your time, therefore, we'll quite understandably grant you a pass-e on that! :-)

GILL I. 11:13 AM  

Well, reading @Rex followed by @Pete has given me my first smile of the day.
Gosh, I really enjoyed the puzzle. I didn't even notice the oldy moldyness of the thing.
I thought the Magnificent Suleiman - the one with the outrageously huge turban - was PERSIAN. That seriously mucked up that corner. Never heard of PATHE either and I though DISNEY was the Pictionary company. Had to re-group, take a breather, and finally get her done.
I'm pretty sure we've had GOON AHEAD before. I mean like @Rex said, lots of HEADS in this world. DELWEBB is all over the map - at least here in Sacramento. Even so, I had BEAN at 1A and thought, "how clever, Paula." You know, a string BEAN...! So, because I had to work hard to finish this puzzle and because I like MADEHAY AILEY, I'm giving this a thumbs up....

RAD2626 11:28 AM  

Surprised at the aggression toward poor DEL WEBB. Former owner of the NY Yankees and enormous real estate developer. While dated, more puzzle worthy than a lot of two bit current celebrities who are in the midst of their 15 seconds. @lms. His developments, while ubiquitous, are anything but nouveau riche.

Like @chefwen, ESTRUS a new word for me. And despite my defense of Mr. Webb, did not care for the puzzle for most of the other reasons cited.

old timer 11:32 AM  

Oh, this old timer had a normal Tuesday time. Better than normal, actually. It did help to see and hear ads for various DEL WEBB communities over the years, and PATHE was obvious. HORSEMEAT used to be popular in France and other countries. Still is, in Mongolia, I suppose. My best friend at school was the son of a renowned Harvard scientist, and he informed me, circa 1960, that HORSEMEAT was on the menu of the Harvard faculty club. Why? Because beef was rationed in WWII, so the club voted to add it to the menu, and many faculty members grew quite fond of it.

I think OFL makes a good point. Whether you are old or younger, if you solve the NYT puzzle every day, you are going to do a Tuesday puzzle with relatively little difficulty. Bur for newer solvers, a puzzle with answers that skew old will be quite hard, even on a Tuesday, for someone under 35 or 40. Still be relatively easy for someone 60 and above. Of course, since I am in the latter category, I didn't mind at all.

Martel Moopsbane 11:40 AM  

Could WHITE head refer to Gustave WHITEhead, first in powered flight (take that! you Wright brothers) and possibly an acquaintance of fellow Connecticut aviation pioneer IGOR Sikorsky?

What a tangled DEL WEBB that would be.

AliasZ 11:48 AM  

I would've liked the theme more if the first words were preceded but the second words were followed by HEAD, like so:


But then the revealer couldn't have been GOON AHEAD.

The PATHÉ Frères company logo and the distinctive rooster mascot was quite familiar to me as a regular TCM watcher. The cinema company PATHÉ Frères was started when the four brothers Pathé acquired the patents of the Lumière brothers in 1902. Record collectors also recognize the name on old recordings. In the early 20th century they were the largest gramophone record producers with offices world wide. This image is of a 78 issued in Hungary with detailed instructions printed on its sleeve, heavily sprinkled with spelling errors including but not limited to the name of the language itself: HONGORIS instead of Hongrois. Now that's quaint. I own many records with the "PATHÉ Marconi - EMI" logo on them, and a few with the original PATHÉ Frères rooster.

HORSE HEAD wouldn't have been my first choice, although the HORSEHEAD Nebula in the Orion constellation, a mere 1500 light years from earth, is truly breathtaking.

What ultimately killed this one for me was that it was bursting at the seams with proper names, some of which I knew, and some that I didn't -- on a Tuesday, no less. GRR!

Mohair Sam 11:52 AM  

This is a Tuesday with answers like PATHE and ESTRUS. Yet @Rex and many of you are blowing gaskets about DELWEBB? Wait just a sec here. It's a New York Newspaper, DEL WEBB owned the New York baseball team for years. Advertisements for his retirement communities have been ubiquitous on New York TV (and national TV to no small degree) for decades. If you hate the Yankees and don't watch television it's your problem. DELWEBB is a fine Tuesday answer to fine Tuesday clue in a fine New York Newspaper. Maybe DEL has a grandchild who might join the cast of "Game of Thrones" so he can become crossworthy.

I feel better, thanks.

Masked and Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Research shows that HORSE HEAD MASK is an internet meme. That's mostly what popped up first, when M&A Googled HORSE HEAD.

9 weejects today. 2 of them are real words: HEM & NET. The rest are abbrs., suffixes, and other weirdness: GRR, IST, LBO, MAH, SHO, ULT (fave), PDA. I wonder if this 2 of 9 ratio could suggest some sort of Desperation Index? Cloudin the issue: GRR, LBO, and PDA have the Patrick Berry Immunity.

Had vaguely heard of the DELWEBB name before. Debut word in the crossword, tho. Didn't know AILEY. Knew about PATHE. Pluralized French word ETRES made M&A shiver, a mite -- but Google translate translated "beings" into "etres", so … maybe ok.

Seemed more challengin than it probably was, due to alarmingly slo start, in the DELWEBB subdivision of the grid. Mostly pretty smooth sailin, for m&e.

Thanx, Ms. Gamache. Yesm.

(Horse-head) Masked & Anonymo2Us


Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Not a Del Webb head, me.

Jerry 12:20 PM  

I am under 25 and can usually do Tuesdays quite quickly. I got about half of the fill. I feel twice as old as I did yesterday.

Elephant's Child 12:20 PM  

@Pete, getting old, but still living at home, though old enough to remember DEL Shannon. Alfred North WHITEHEAD was a Runaway for me too.

OldCarFudd 12:32 PM  

In about 1970, Del Webb and Prudential Insurance entered into a joint venture to build condos, a golf course, and other upscale stuff in Hawaii. I don't believe it was one of Pru's better investments. Pru CEO Don MacNaughton told a management gathering that, at the onset of a joint venture, one partner has experience and the other has money. At the end, the partner that had the money has experience, and the partner that had experience has the money.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

SEABEE (Construction Battalion): Luther in "Tales of the South Pacific".

@Z, maybe ESTRUS is in there as a nod to them as thought this Construction Bordered on laying an Egg.

@Ellen, that was metoo, on "The World According to AARP"

Me, I spent some time looking for a nailhead under a tack...

L. Finger

Terry Boots 1:06 PM  

Jeez, I INSPECTED senior residential facilities before I retired, and I only figured it out from a sign I once saw while driving in California advertising "A Del Webb Community." Oh, and thanks for "horse meat" over my Rice Chex this morning.

puzzle hoarder 1:09 PM  

I was a bit surprised to see that the unusual looking revealer in this puzzle was not a debut. It turns out to have been a revealer in another puzzle by Steve Blais back on 4/19/13. His themers were phrases that ended with some form of hat. Mz Gamache kept the revealer in the same spot and used an adjustment of the same grid. This enhances my opinion of the puzzle which was high to begin with. This kind of reworking of a previous theme should be a category unto itself.
Before researching the clues/answers I was struck by the unusually high proportion of late week material it had worked into it. My take on the Del Webb entry is that it's just one of those fortuitous coincidences and shouldn't be read into.

Teedmn 1:12 PM  

I'm with @Loren Muse Smith on always ETRES up for a good "precede a word" theme. And her BIG CHEESE addition made me realize that you can also have Head CHEESE. Could be a theme there, words that precede and trail said word.

Otherwise, I'm with @Rex on the DEL who? side. And throwing "yo yo" at 1A and rushing to put in HOT w(ater) at 21A before stopping myself and Oast before OVEN earned this Tuesday's puzzle its tougher than average rating. I liked GRR as clued, YES'M indeed!

Thanks, Paula Gamache

Tom 1:24 PM  

Schizophrenic Tuesday. As soon as I wrote in SRTAS I knew which direction Rex's analysis would go. When I got AIRBUBBLE and saw the B ended the name of the retirement community, DEL WEBB immediately came to mind, as he built a structure at Market and 8th Streets in San Francisco across from the Orpheum Theater, a San Francisco landmark, where I have seen many a play and parked in the Del Webb parking lot.
But I digress. Easy solve thanks to crosses, as ORNE, ANNA, and ALDO were not familiar. Old, old answers seem too obscure for Tuesday, namely PATHE, SNERD and aforementioned DEL WEBB. Edgar Bergen has been gone for almost 40 years, but Mortimer SNERD lives on. Check out the Wikipedia exchange between Mortimer's buddy Charlie McCarthy and W. C. Fields:

Charlie's feud with W. C. Fields was a regular feature of the show.

W. C. Fields: "Well, if it isn't Charlie McCarthy, the woodpecker's pinup boy!"
Charlie: "Well, if it isn't W.C. Fields, the man who keeps Seagram's in business!"
W. C. Fields: "I love children. I can remember when, with my own little unsteady legs, I toddled from room to room."
Charlie: "When was that? Last night?"
W. C. Fields: "Quiet, Wormwood, or I'll whittle you into a venetian blind."
Charlie: "Ooh, that makes me shutter!"
W. C. Fields: "Tell me, Charles, is it true that your father was a gate-leg table?"
Charlie: "If it is, your father was under it."
W. C. Fields: "Why, you stunted spruce, I'll throw a Japanese beetle on you."
Charlie: "Why, you bar-fly you, I'll stick a wick in your mouth, and use you for an alcohol lamp!"
Charlie: "Pink elephants take aspirin to get rid of W. C. Fields."
W.C. Fields: "Step out of the sun Charles. You may come unglued."
Charlie: "Mind if I stand in the shade of your nose?"

At any rate, the easy answers (SPEED, SERENA, PARTY, NAPA, LEAS, etc.) kept me out of trouble for about eight minutes. What to do with the rest of my day…

Andrea 1:45 PM  

Almost every current French film or tv series, has the Pathé logo appearing before the film starts. That is good enough for me to recognize. (I had no idea it also pertained to old news-reels, though)

LaDusa 2:00 PM  

I neither live in a retirement community nor know anyone who does, but here in South Carolina DEL WEBB is a pretty major developer -- I drive past several of their billboards at least a few times a week. Maybe it's a north/south thing? I definitely never heard of them when I lived in NYC. But it went right down today as soon as I had the EL.

David Barton Harris 2:07 PM  

This crossword was designed by a Werther's Original®

Unknown 2:13 PM  

Having read no comments except @Rex -- As to the puzzle’s insults and being a New Englander, chowder-HEAD comes to my head, so to speak. Tough but fun solve.

Some Audio history re the iPod.
Sources usually say the iPod is directly descended from the Sony Walkman.

Info from Wiki:
The first Walkman prototype was built in 1978 so Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka could listen to operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips. The first Walkman was marketed in 1979 in Japan. However, the original idea for a portable stereo is credited to inventor Andreas Pavel called the Stereobelt. The first test of this device was in February 1972, the first patent for it filed in 1977.

A personal side or possibly the beginning note to this history.

Years ago I bought a Sony TC-100, a small, portable cassette recorder with a rechargeable battery and a nice case for easy carrying, with a built-in speaker weighing about that of an SLR camera. For a cassette recorder it was very expensive for the time. Most other, if not all, portable cassette recorders were cheaply designed for dictation and not at all hi-fi. If used for music the result was “telephone quality.” At best it’s what you get listening to call-on-hold music, usually worse. The performance of this Sony was unique in that it was actually “high-fidelity.” Again uniquely for that time, it had a “line” input in addition to the usual low quality microphone, the only input for typical dictation recorders. This allowed recording electrically yielding almost the same fidelity as hi-fi, reel-to-reel tape decks.

Sidebar: For news reporters in the field, its updated version with similar features and broadcast quality performance became a welcome change from their usually inconvenient, bulky reel-to-reel equipment. Almost half the microphones in this 1971 image are its distinct, rectangular ones. Bugliosi was the chief prosecutor of Manson.

I bought the Sony for one purpose: to record my records onto cassettes. Using it with a set of lightweight, hi-fi headphones I could walk around or be wherever and listen to my record collection with high-fidelity quality. Granted, it wasn’t stereo, but I had certainly wished it were at the time.

I mention all this because I did this in early 1968, a little over a year after the TC-100 was introduced. This was very early on in the cassette game. The first blank cassette tapes in the U.S. came in Aug 1964, with the first handful of pre-recorded music cassettes in 1966. Their use for music did not catch on until well into the 1970s and only in portable form after 1980 with the Walkman.

I can’t say whether any others may have tried this with this recorder at the time. If not, I don’t think I really invented anything, let alone could have patented it. Rather I had the idea to use a product uniquely ahead of its time in performance long before other products became widely available with similar performance for portable music. Like Pavel, I simply came up with it to "add a soundtrack to real life by allowing [me] to play high-fidelity music through headphones while participating in daily activities.” [Wiki]

The only thing that galls me to this day (albeit with a smile) is that I was walking around with a SONY, and, like Masaru Ibuka, if was for some of my opera music!


Chronic dnfer 2:14 PM  

Dnf'd at euros. Never heart of estrus which gave patho. Oh well. Of course I chalk this up as a victory. Could've been my fastest Tuesday ever.

Suzy 2:44 PM  

It strikes me that when I'm unfamiliar with current internet slang or rap groups or bad TV shows, things that are ovvious to Rex, I'm considered
a blithering idiot. But when Rex is unfamiliar with terms that are perfectly apparent to the over-50 crowd, he always blames it on the
constructor or Will!! Thanks, Paula, for an easy and dun Tuesday solve!!

Howard B 2:55 PM  

DEL WEBB = regional name in retirement communities. Feels to me like this is an equivalent of, say, a potato chip brand sold only in the Midwest, or a furniture store chain with locations in a couple of states. A wee bit too niche for my puzzle tastes. Crossings were fair though.
I was going to carp about PATHE, but it seems like a lot of people were familiar with that, so I have to chalk that one up to my ignorance :).

Lundy 4:00 PM  

I'm surprised at all the fuss over DELWEBB.He once made the cover of Time Magazine, and he owned the New York Yankees for 17 seasons, during which time they won 14 AL pennants, so he couldn't have been too obscure.

Anonymous 4:58 PM  

I'm from Arizona and knew Del Webb immediately. I didn't get the theme until I read it here.

old timer 5:25 PM  

"Yes'm" is a totally legit phrase, though it must date back to my grandparent's generation at least. It's what Tom Sawyer might have said to his Aunt Polly, and the black man-of-all-work might have said to her too, and what any number of forgotten schoolboys had to say to their (female) teachers, well into the 20th Century. I've read it many a time and I bet Dr. Google could prove that. Short for "Yes, Ma'am" which any well-bred person who, not a member of the Royal Family, is expected to to say to the Queen in answer to a question calling for an affirmative answer.

I was amazed to read that DEL WEBB was responsible for that atrocity at 8th & Market in San Francisco. Not a proud moment for him, or for the City.

ANON B 6:12 PM  

Pathe may be before your time
but not mine. But some of the modern things
are unfamiliar to me. When Prince died, I
said "Prince who?"

Mohair Sam 6:15 PM  

@Howard B - DEL WEBB has 50 communities in 20 states - from Michigan to Texas, from California to Connecticut. Hardly regional. Their marketing is national, and it really is endless. I'm betting @Rex has seen more than a few WEBB ads in print/billboards/TV and they've gone by him as white noise because he has no interest.

I'm an insomniac who first discovered the communities via half hour infomercials back around 1990. Never saw so many happy/healthy/young-looking oldsters in my life.

Palindromist 6:42 PM  

When the puzzles stop clung rappers I hav never heard of and other pop culture not in my keen, then they can stop,cluimg Del Webb, who REALLY was big in the retirement community business: one less than 10 miles from me in Texas. He was also a co-owner of the New York Yankees. It's called CROSSwords for a reason, folks. You may actually have to infer something from crosses. Not a big deal.i personally LIKE the idea of inferring things I don't know fro things I do.

kitshef 7:13 PM  

I either forgot to click submit, or my morning comment did not pass moderation. Rest assured, you did not miss much and I won't attempt to recreate it. However, I did respond to @Z that ETRE is a noun, as well as a verb, so ETRES, while terrible fill, is legitimate French.

Z 7:27 PM  

I believe it was Stephen Jay Gould who observed that the history of scientific discovery can be viewed as a succession of discoveries that knocked us off our self-perceived pedestal at the center of the universe. For all you DEL WEBB defenders let me point out a couple of things. First, roughly 7 billion people on the planet don't give a rats ptui about the Yankees, let alone who their owner may have been 52 years ago. Second, confirming Rex's criticism is not a very effective counter argument. Yes I'm old and how dare you point it out really isn't a very good look. Finally, please don't say Rex said things that he didn't say. There's lots of old stuff here, Sarah ORNE Jewett died 107 years ago for instance. There's also some relatively recent stuff. The issue is the old combined with the obscure combined with the xword cliché that makes DEL WEBB oh so special. DEL WEBB was a real estate developer of retirement communities! Not a poet. Not an artist. Not an athlete. Not an architect. If SNL were going to do a parody crossword DEL WEBB would be the central themer. If you don't see the humor in that you are taking yourself, and Rex, far far too seriously. And, BTW, we're not the center of the universe anymore.

Anonymous 7:28 PM  

Loved the writeup today.

Nancy 8:33 PM  

@kitshef (7:13 pm) -- No, your comment was not censored by Rex, and, no, you did not forget to press "send." Your comment mysteriously went bye-bye, along with my 9 am-ish first comment and everyone else's who posted between 8:10 am and 9:47 am. Take a look at the Big Gap, the Great Empty Space that exists in that time frame. This is the second time this has happened in the last 3 months. Each time, my comment has been among those that have disappeared. For some of us, the bread always falls with the buttered side down. For others, not so much.
But have our comments truly disappeared? Forever? Or are they in some separate section of cyberspace, a parallel digital universe, waiting to be rescued by a techie genius? Does the fault lie with the software? With the hardware? With Rex? Rex -- this is the sort of thing you would expect from technophobic, computer-challenged me. Not from tech-savvy you. Can you track down our comments and bring them back to the blog? Can
anyone? Sigh. I liked today's puzzle, btw.

Leapfinger 8:35 PM  

Given which sex experiences ESTRUS and which one doesn't, I'm of the mind it should be spelled ESTRESS.

Two thumbs up for Yo Yo MAH, DEL Shannon, Alvin AILEY and Alfred North WHITEHEAD. (Seems I may need to borrow a couple of thumbs.) Mustn't forget the 78 rpm PATHé records we had back when we lived in France.

Not sure whether adding an egg to your fish chowder would make you get fat, or whether John Wooden was ever at loggerheads with anyone. I liked how the recent CHANGE OF A HEAD DRESS turned up as TIARA, and how a nail HEAD could be UNDER A TACK.

**Breaking news: A customer at a Lowe's Home Improvement Center outside Charlotte NC was bitten by a copperHEAD lurking in one of the trees in their outdoor Gardening section.[Rumors that they were running a twofer special have not been substantiated.] I'm getting used to NC making headlines for crazy.

chefwen 9:20 PM  

@SusanMontauk - I use OREOS as the crust in my best seller, a Mango Cheesecake. They make a delicious addition to an already wonderful cheesecake.

We used to call my bosses wife HORSEface (not in front of her) because she had a really long face. Poor dear.

Lewis 9:41 PM  

jackj -- always good to hear from you, and give 'em hell!

Mohair Sam 10:13 PM  

@Z "And, BTW, we're not the center of the universe anymore." No shit? What's your point?

Anonymous 12:46 AM  

Blew through this at typical Tuesday speed. Did not know 65a or 66a but easy crosses did the trick.

Had horse meat for lunch in 1st or 2nd grade school while living overseas. No big deal, meat is meat.

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

Ok, enough with the backlash from all you pro-Del Webb people. I still say it's obscure for a Tuesday, to the large number of us under 80 years old and who (1) don't live in NY and (2) don't pull for or care about the Yankees and (3) don't live in the Southwest near any of his communities. The guy died in 1974 and he's not exactly a common topic of conversation for those of us fitting the above categories. As for the quality of fill, it's been said. Estrus on a Tuesday. SRTAS. Blah. But PATHE was easy because of all the French movies I am familiar with.

Tita 8:18 AM  

@rex...hilarious today! I love your DELWEBB rant.
HORSE[head] is a very big name in nebulae, however.

I too had never, ever, heard of DELWEBB. I got to the puzzle late, because I am traveling down south....driving from CT To FLA, stopping in fabulous places like OBX, visiting family.

It was my turn to drive for a bit. Just as we are crossing the GA/FLA border, what billboard catches my AYE... (man they have lots of billboards down here)...
A billboard for a DELWEBB retirement homes!
Synchronicity in the flesh.

Cute puzzle, but not a favorite.

xyz 3:33 PM  

DEL WEBB was a slam dunk. Near resort towns all over America. you guys just need to play more golf!

Norm 4:33 PM  

AVA, ARI, KESHA, SIMONE, and a crappy new clue for RHEA made this puzzle fail my personal "you have got to be kidding" test, but I still liked it okay.

Burma Shave 10:03 AM  


ANNA and SARA were TRASHY, they say, and in ESTRUS every NITE,
YES’M, with REDLETTER “A”s displayed, to SHO they’d PARTY ‘til light.
as those HORSEMEAT the PEONS in BEDS,
with no REST they MADEHAY, turning each SEABEES BONEWHITE.

this stream of unconsciousness sponsored by the DELWEBB STORE

spacecraft 10:39 AM  

An open LETTER to Our Fearless Leader: You know, dude, someday (God willing) YOU will be old. Your unabashed lambasting of retirement communities--one of which I proudly inhabit--is the height of disrespect. I fully expect you to issue an apology; it is certainly due. As to HORSEHEAD, that is the shape of--and therefore the name assigned to--one of the best-known nebulae. It is a nursery for billions of stars: so kind of a big deal. Gosh, I guess you DON'T know everything, do you?

To the puzzle. One thing I will agree to is that this baby does NOT belong in a Tuesday slot. M-C for the day is about right. I have to admit I did not cop to the commonality of all these themers right up until I worked out the reveal line. Then, of course--HEADslap! I like themes that are able to do this.

What I don't like is having to deal with ORNE, or the fact that Gucci's first name happens to be ALDO. On ANY day. Still, these WOEs were fairly enough crossed, so no real harm/foul. I can still hear that silly rooster, and the short fanfare that went with it as the camera turned from profile to HEAD-on to introduce the newsreel. Man, those were the days. You got a cartoon--and the previews didn't take any damn half-hour! Also, if you were lucky, you got a serial, which you knew would end in a cliffhanger scene so you'd absolutely HAVE to go to the next movie.

Okay, enough with the nostalgia. I will let EVITA and ANNA fight it out for DOD--or maybe give it to the constructor! (-tress? -trix?) Like her namesake Paula Cramer (now THERE's a yeah baby!), she shoots a birdie.

rondo 12:48 PM  

Sometimes I think half of the solvers/commenters seem older than me and the other half younger, so now I get to be MEAN. Har.
I got the DELWEBB and PATHE answers with no problem and I usually get the answers about the latest tech thing or pop singer or band like the the recent Imagine Dragons. Reason being is I paid attention to both history and current events as a youngster and still pay attention to what goes on. Seems that many of the younger folks haven’t the attention span or interest to pay attention to historical stuff and the older folks turn a blind eye to much of anything current. I liked 1957 Chevys, but they were better when they were new. And I know which Chevy’s a Bel Air and which is a Cruze (or Volt), but they’ve both gotta share the road. Whether a clue/answer skews young or old it’s fair game if it’s been public enough, now or then. Constructing a puzzle all fresh and new is no better than relying on all older stuff. If the solver can’t cover the spectrum, that’s his/her issue. The one thing about older stuff is that it was more in the common consciousness of those both young and old at the time, as compared to the splintered culture of today. A smaller percentage of people (solvers) will recognize a character on a third-rate cable show than those who knew who Beaver Cleaver was in the day. So how to keep a xword puz fresh? I haven’t an answer. But I will echo @spacey that OFL will grow older and I think his “fresh” answers of today will become the WOEs of tomorrow. And folks will wonder why Old Rex, living in a retirement community, thinks his opinion is relevant while telling the kids to get off his lawn. Rant over.

SERENA is not my type of yeah baby, but a tremendous athlete and savvy businesswoman. YES’M.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

One really fun, challenging (but totally fair) puzzle. More like these, please.

leftcoastTAM 1:22 PM  

Theme is just okay, and not consistently executed, I think. HORSE head is the odd one out. Bill Butler says it is another name for moonfish. Okay, but it seems pretty off-key here.

And much more objectionable than DELWEBB, which bent Rex so out of shape. This is a big-time real-estate and developer corporation. Oh yeah, it also markets to retired folks, but that shouldn't make the name seem so obscure here.

TRASHY seems a bit too snooty a term for "Low-end." Lots of people buy inexpensive stuff, within their financial reach, that is useful, functional, and not trashy.

That's my take on this one.

rain forest 3:34 PM  

Several tough subjects to ponder here.

*Should a puzzle ever delve into cultural history, thus favouring the young?
*Should a puzzle include material dealing with the young, the black, the female?
*If Del Webb (even I, a Canadian, know of his works) built hip, cool, modern condos for the hip and cool, would that be alright?
*Is a crossword puzzle an art form and a force for good? Discuss.
*Stephen Jay Gould.

If I ever had to approach a crossword puzzle with such questions buzzing in my head, I don't think I could attempt a solve. However, I approached THIS puzzle unencumbered by such thoughts, and finished it. While solving I enjoyed trying to determine what tied the themers together, never once pausing to wonder whether eating horse meat is better or worse than eating cow or chicken meat. GOON AHEAD applies somewhere in here.

Anyhoo, I like this one.

Diana,LIW 5:38 PM  

I had this almost completely, and EASILY, filled in, including the dreaded DELWEBB. Altho he was a WOE to me, the crosses made him happen.

Except for a little rectangle topped by squares 5, 6, and 7. Stared and stared. And my gut told me that if I gave in I'd be embarrassed. Took a break. Had coffee. Read the paper. Stared at rectangle. Walked around. Had lengthy discussion with Mr. W. Stared at rectangle. FINALLY, after an HOUR or so, humanIST came to mind. then IPOD. OREOS! OR f***ing EOS! Head slap of the year!

Anyway, completed the solve with no errors or help.

My grandfather worked for Levitt and Sons, builder/developer of many Levittowns. (The computer just red-lined Levittowns, like it didn't understand.) So I understand how someone with a knowledge of a community with many locations could think of it as ubiquitous. (I'm always surprised when someone says they never heard of Levittown.) And someone who never heard of DELWEBB could say huh? I think Rex was just saying huh? Nothing against retirement communities. Just a WOE. Like the Long Island town the other day. IMHO. BTW, I looked them up on the web and they are BEAUTIFUL - lots of nice amenities.

Enjoyed the theme, tho the head of the HORSE does seem, even if it refers to a galaxy far, far away, like an odd "fact" for a Tuesday. And the meat? Uh, no thanks.

YSER, YESM, I wasn't DETERed by my brain burp. Now I'll go git a sody pop.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 5:57 PM  

@rondo, your rant is a worthy one.

P.S. Regarding SERENA, she has a great female athlete's build, and I think she qualifies as a "yeah baby."

Sailor 9:29 PM  

I’m late to the party today, but a hand up, nevertheless, with those who are not yet retired, do not live in a retirement community, do not wish to, and yet knew DELWEBB immediately from both the ubiquitous advertisements and frequent coverage in the financial and legal news.

Ditto for PATHE, which shows up quite frequently in various PBS historical features.

Just goes to show, what is opaque to one person can be totally transparent to another, depending on one’s areas of interest.

On the other hand, Auberjonois who?

I’m firmly among the minority who thought this was Tuesday-easy. The theme seemed obscure, but the theme answers fell easily without recourse to the so-called revealer.

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