Soybean snack / THU 5-12-16 / Greek colonnade / Sucker holder / World music's King Sunny / Courier Myriad / Ampersand follower

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Constructor: James Tuttle

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Second verse, enclosed in the first — two-word phrases where letters of second word can be found (in non-consecutive order) inside the first. Circles indicate the letters in the second word:

Theme answers:
  • MARATHON (17A: 1976 Dustin Hoffman thriller)
  • WRESTLING (22A: Stage for Hulk Hogan)
  • TRANSPARENT (34A: What 3M's Scotch is a brand of)
  • ESTIMATED (51A: Arrival or departure approximation)
  • ABSTRACT (57A: Rothko's field)
Word of the Day: Bitter ALOES (53D: Bitter ___ (purgative medicine)) —
Aloe ferox (known as the Cape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe and Tap Aloe), is a species of arborescent aloe indigenous to southern Africa. It is one of several Aloe species used to make bitter aloes, a purgative medication, and also yields a non-bitter gel that can be used in cosmetics. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was not bad, but it felt familiar, like a puzzle I might've done fairly recently. The fill did *not* feel very recent, and was rough in ways you can all see quite clearly, so I won't rehash it (much). The themers all do what they're supposed to. There's a cleverness there. There just something lacking—a punch, a snap, a zing. The themers dutifully follow a pattern; none of them is that interesting or impressive. ESTIMATED TIME is a teeny bit weak as a stand-alone phrase, but it didn't bother me much. This puzzle just ... was. I like DECREPIT very much as a word (2D: In bad shape). I like EDAMAME very much as a food (27A: Soybean snack). So some delight there. But between the vanilla theme and the reddi-wip (i.e. I'll pass) fill, I was mostly glad not to have struggled much, and just to be done with it.

Time was very fast today. Well under 5. I fell into one pretty bad pit—fittingly, the pit was TORTURE (instead of the milder TORMENT). Elsewhere, that [___it!] style of clue that I do not like at all made it very hard to see DRUM SET (30D: Beat it!). Then even when I got the gist of the clue, I wanted DRUM KIT. Also had [----ERS market] at 43A and wanted SELLERS (after BUYERS wouldn't fit). It is FARMERS. Dum duh dum dum dum dum Dum. I wish this puzzle had just said NOE to ALOES and SRTAS hanging out by the STOA with RST (whoever that is). SE is a bit of a wreck all around. But honestly I didn't wince or groan that much. It was all very typical stuff. I do wish typical were better, but here we are.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


John Child 12:09 AM  

What a great idea for a theme! But there were too many occasions when I thought, "I hope the answer isn't ... Oh dear, it is." I loved ADVERSE, DECREPIT, TENTACLE, TORMENT, and GENOME though.

Very easy for Thursday except for the triple proper noun intersection of AMANDA clued as a 40 year old song by an obscure band, ADELIE, and ALANA. I don't think that combination would be fair even on a Saturday.

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

Me at 37D "Sucker Holder" - TE_T_CLE Testicle!?

Charles Flaster 12:26 AM  

Agree very much with Rex but I liked it a bit more.
TRANSPARENT was the only themer needed to solve.
Favorite clue was for AGE.
Almost naticked at AMANDA/SNOCAT but ALOES helped a lot.
How could a puzzle with the Hulkster be bad?
Thanks JT

thursdaysd 12:42 AM  

Well that was disappointing. I expect a bit more of a fight on a Thursday. Got the theme early, and there was really nothing of interest.

jae 12:42 AM  

Easy for me to. I may just be lazy, but @Rex pretty much said it, nothing much to add.

Had EMTS before TOWS and Against before ADVERSE.

LIked it, but I prefer a bit more crunch on Thurs.

madchickenlittle 1:05 AM  

I didn't like this at all. Dry. I still don't get why Doremi is clued with cabbage.

Just no.

Alby 1:41 AM  

I see SIMON Cowell has become mononymous. Name strikes terror into hopefuls everywhere. Thought Buddhist monks wore saffron robes, not ORANGE ones. ADVERSE is clued as if it were "averse," methinks. Boo to TETS. Can't pluralize any old non-English word just by adding an S to it.

George Barany 4:25 AM  

I am, as so often happens, in awe of @Rex for describing @James Tuttle's puzzle as "easy," yet so much of his review resonates with my own experience. Given how little of my solve was locked in at the 5-minute mark, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly all the theme answers filled in once I got the "aha" moment of figuring out what was going on (see next paragraph). But even so, there was a lot of head shaking and breath holding (see a later paragraph) until the chimes went off from the on-line app indicating a completely correct solution. ESTIMATED_TIME, a fairly normal (by my standards) Wednesday-get-home-dead-tired-but-too-wound-up-to-go-to-sleep.

MARATHON_MAN is one of those movies that, once seen, is never forgotten. While I vaguely remember @Dustin Hoffman, the memorable performance is @Sir Laurence Olivier saying "Is it safe?" -- click here but be prepared to shudder. So with some certainty as to the answer, the question was how to fit this into the grid since there clearly weren't enough squares. Rebus: considered, then abandoned. Hey, remember @David Kahn's gimmick on a Sunday just about two months ago [click here for @Rex's review of that one]?

For sure, the cluing was ratcheted up to compensate for the fact that just about all of the answer words/phrases had been used previously in New York Times puzzles. Hard clues for SON, UNE, ONE, ADE, DIE, AGE. Hard (but delightful) clues for GENOME, DRUMSET, and SEACOW. Out-of-my-wheelhouse clues for AMANDA and ALANA (which two happen to cross), as well as PRISM. Unable to fathom why NOE was clued for some random geographical location rather than for the nuclear Overhauser effect in NMR. Winceable fill like SERER, NSW, RST, and plural SRTAS, TETS, and ALOES [bless the spell-check program that comes with this browser, trying to change the first word of this sentence to "winnable"]. You get the idea ...

There have been numerous discussions on this forum of green paint. This is as good a time as any to share this science news report that I stumbled across recently. While meant to be taken seriously, I hope it brings a smile to some of you.

Loren Muse Smith 4:36 AM  

Ok. First off, I really smiled when I got ABSTRACT ART. These cannibalistic-kind of phrases are really, really cool. And the first word works as an valid entry on its own – so no SANFORD AND or LAY DOWN THE in the bunch. If I've seen this trick before, I can't remember.

I had a dnf because I didn't remember ADELIE. So my Boston #1 hit was the ridiculous "Amenra." This came between their debut "Nephthys" and the critically acclaimed "Wadj-wer." Sheesh.

I also really struggled with ADVERSE. Wanted "averse." Just poked around google, and I guess they're really close. I lost interest in mastering the difference.

Rex – agree on DECREPIT.

I was thumbing through a Talbot's catalog yesterday vaguely thinking that I've never owned a SWEATER SET. I swear. Yesterday after I got the mail.

James – nifty puzzle here. I really enjoyed it and will chew on this trick all day.

Trombone Tom 7:01 AM  

I agree with @Rex. The puzzle had a clever theme, but it was too TRANSPARENT.

Living near SF most of my life, NOE was a cinch. DRUM came easily and the SET was clear as soon as ABSTRACT was in place.

I, too, like EDAMAME.

Enjoyable, but way on the easy side for a Thursday.

tegel 7:26 AM  

Easiest Thurs in a while for me. Didn't even see the revealer until ABSTRACT (after getting WRESTLING and MARATHON. I prefer clues with a play on words over ones requiring knowledge of obscure trivia, and thought this puzzle struck a good balance. The lack of clever or LOL clues made this one a bit bland, but I still liked it (probably because it is rare for me to blast through a Thurs :-).

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

Disappointing review. Nothing original at all -- just old familiar gripes recycled. No zip to the observations. Nothing clever. No witty put-downs. I kept feeling that I'd read this blog many times before.

Hungry Mother 7:36 AM  

Fast for me, but not easy. Some WAGs in the SE carried me through.

jberg 7:41 AM  

Yeah, and SERER. But I liked CATO sitting on the STOA with his fellow Stoics. And however one may dislike RST and SRTAS, it was nice to see them as a pair of parallel pillars holding up the puzzle.

I got all the way down to ABSTRACT before finally catching on to the theme, after that it was fairly easy.

What do you get when you mix Promise with Fleischman's? An OLEO OLIO!

And the next superhero saga? ASP vs. EEL!

(Except there really is an Asp -- one of Daddy Warbuck's henchmen; is there also really an Eel I'm not aware of?)

All for now!

Carola 7:47 AM  

Easy, except for the NE: I didn't know the Dustin Hoffman movie, and I'm weak on crossword flowers other than the oxeye, so that corner took me a while to finish. On the other hand, seeing the theme early helped me get ESTIMATED TIME quickly and ABSTRACT ART with no crosses.

I liked FARMERS crossing SEA COW, imagining docile herds of them in the ocean, and enjoyed envisioning the little known Antarctic SNO CAT hanging around with the ADELIE penguins.

Lobster11 7:57 AM  

I'm pretty much with OFL on this: Theme was satisfactory, but not exciting; cluing was clever, though occasionally too much so by half; there was a lot to like, but there was also a lot to, well, not. Also agree that SE was the worst: ALANA and ADELIE crossing ALOES was pretty unpleasant.

I'll just add that I don't like SERER any more than I liked INANER the other day. There are some words that just do not want to be turned into a comparative form by adding -r or -er,
and these are two of them. Technically acceptable, but just please don't.

Lewis 8:01 AM  

I liked the answers EDAMAME,SEACOW, and DECREPIT, and the clue for TOENAIL, and I loved the TRANSPARENT/PANE cross, but what I'll remember most about this puzzle, besides the aha at discovering the theme and the satisfying struggle in the south, was this: There is only ONE double letter in the puzzle!

Inexplicably, I track double letters in puzzles, and this could have been only the second puzzle in NYT history without any double letters, it came so close! What I truly admire, though, is that James could have changed that ESS at the bottom to ESD if he wanted, but ESD is easily a lesser answer (than ESS) -- it is, apparently, one of the books of the Apocrypha -- but James sidestepped puzzle history and went with the better answer (which was also clued nicely). Bravo for that, James, going for quality over glory! If that's what you truly did, that is a sincere bravo.

Of course, chances are best that James (and Will) had no idea about, or interest in, the double letter count. And that's okay too.

kitshef 8:27 AM  

Hard for me with a very messy looking paper. AgainSt before ADVERSE, DEformed before DECREPIT, uvea before IRIS, DRUMkiT before DRUMSET, put in the end of 57A as ArT before I had the theme, Sleigh and Sledge before SNOCAT, cresS before ALOES, AMeliA before AMANDA, and in general hard cluing throughout.

I expect some grousing about ALANA/AMANDA/ALOES/ADELIE leading to DNFs.

Is there any word inaner than SERER? Hand up for TETS as poor, although if all your Christmases can be white, why can't all your TETS be peach?

But overall it was pleasant enough and I enjoyed the theme. Just ... hard.

Dorothy Biggs 9:01 AM  

I am with @madchickenlittle: how does DOREMI = cabbage? Is paper money called DOREMI now?

I wasn't all that happy with the way ACE and ONE were cross clued along with the DOREMI crossing. Waaaaay too much work to guess. That spot right there took as long to get as it took for Rex to do the whole puzzle. So, yeah...doremi and a fasollati to you as well. #%$#@%

And SERER. I think these comparatives are getting worser. And stupider.

I didn't care for the clue to TOENAIL (Filing target)...if you file your toenails, you have too much time on your hands. But I guess I kinda liked the clue to DRUMSET (Beat it!)...though only kinda.

GeezerJackYale48 9:01 AM  

I don't get what is Mexican about "dahlia".

Hartley70 9:02 AM  

Nice puzzle, wrong day. If this was a Tuesday or Wednesday we'd be much happier. It only measured up to a Thursday in the SE for me. ADELIE crossing AMANDA and NOE above ALANA made for a nice struggle. So, I would say good job to James, but WS needs to step it up.

@Leapy, what do you think? Are James and Nancy related? In the words of Bravo's Ramona, "It's Tuttle Time!"

Lewis 9:09 AM  

@kitshef -- "Is there any word inaner than SERER?" That made me laugh out loud.

Françoise Brasier 9:28 AM  

Ciné is French abbreviation for movie theater. Film is same word in French and English.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  


HOW is it that box 1 is not the BLACK box in the upper right hand corner - 1 across fill "T A T E" is not the solution to one across clue

WHY can't a BLACK BOX have a number ?

Vincent Lima 9:53 AM  

The theme was blah. Did not enjoy. Surprised at the positive (for @Rex) review -- though I'll grant that the long downs like DECREPIT were nice. Agree with @George Barany that MARATHON_MAN is an unforgettable movie. I did not click on the link because I want to be able to sleep tonight!

Nancy 9:55 AM  

I hated everything about this puzzle. The theme seemed completely mindless -- and on a Thursday, a complete disappointment. The non-proper name answers were much too easy and clued much too flatly (with the notable exception of TOENAIL). And the PPP answers seemed obscure to me, and there seemed to be too many of them. (Maybe someone will tell me what TMZ is.) And then, just one day after INANER, we have SERER, which makes INANER look like Shakespearean usage. Just awful, and absolutely no fun to work on at all.

chefbea 9:57 AM  

fun easy puzzle. will read everything to our NARFE meeting

Z 10:03 AM  

@John Child - LOL at "obscure." I guarantee that as I type this there is a Boston song playing on a classic rock station in at least 25 of the 50 states.

Nevertheless, I know not one title of a Boston song. Change that, I know most of the titles when I see them, but try my hardest not to think of Boston so don't remember that the titles are related to the group. More than a Feeling? Could just as easily be Peter Frampton. Amanda? Is that the Little River Band? Don't Look Back could be The James Gang. All this to say that even though I could surely say it like a man and make you understand the lyrics to AMANDA there was no way I was coming up with it in that corner.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

If you aint got the Do Re Mi, then calfornia is not for you. Woody Guthrie

Mike Rees 10:08 AM  

According to Urban Dictionary, do-re-mi is a "dated" slang term for money.

That's pretty much all I have to say on this one.

John Child 10:16 AM  

Saffron as a dye produces a color most people would call orange (ish). But monks' robes vary widely among the major traditions and in different countries. Maroon is common in Tibet and Nepal; gray and brown in Japan; and orange or yellow in Southeast Asia.

More than you wanted to know:

Wm. C. 10:29 AM  

@MadChick, @NCAPrez --

Yep, DoReMi and Cabbage are slang for money. I assume DoReMi grew out of the slang "Dough." Cabbage, of course, is Green Stuff.

kitshef 10:59 AM  

@GeezerJackYale48 - Dahlias come from Mexico.

@madchickenlittle and @NCA President - In 50s movies people use Do Re Me as slang for money. It's a play off of 'dough' for money. I can picture Jerry Lewis saying it, but no idea what movie. Maybe original Nutty professor?

Joseph Michael 10:59 AM  

This great theme made for a fun solve and was a welcome change from earlier puzzles this week. Love the idea that there is a MAN in MARATHON and a RING in WRESTLING.

Had AGAINST before ADVERSE and ANGUISH before TORMENT, but both were EASELy fixed thanks to the crosses.

But, as I looked back over the grid, I did have to wonder: who is ED AMAME?

John V 11:09 AM  

Thought the SE was challenging, with ADLIE crossing AMANDA.

x 11:09 AM  

The theme was not provided as a clue in the paper NYT. So those here who got one, if any, should say so. Otherwise we can only assume you are smarter than we are.

Mind you, I finished this in my usual time for a Thursday, about eleven seconds. Ho hum.

Anoa Bob 11:13 AM  

Do Re Mi

Bookin' the Cooks 11:23 AM  

This one was fairly easy for me as I could relate to more of the clues and answers. Cabbage and DoReMi are very old-fashioned euphemisms for cash, and while their common usage predates me I do remember hearing the terms as a child, probably while watching old black & white movies on our black & white TV set.

I got hung up on the Boston hit and the penguin clue, and it took a while for SEACOW to hit me but it eventually did.

SERER was easy, a word I learned long ago doing the NYT crossword puzzle. And I do file my toe nails after cutting them! I don't want holes in the toes of my socks.

Yes, the DAHLIA, like the poinsettia, is native to Mexico. :)

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

47. Thurman of "Kill Bill" could have read, appropriately for this puzzle "(Given) name within Thurman : UMA thUrMAn. Better still because she seems to be in every freaking puzzle : That actress who's given name is in her name.

Woody Guthrie 11:23 AM  

"If you ain't got that do re mi"

GILL I. 11:28 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. It seems that I usually do when I like the 1A and 1D answers.
We are probably the last people on earth to finally get Netflix and I couch potatoed through the entire Mad Men series. I had a bit of a alcohol and tobacky withdrawal when the series ended thanks to Don Draper and the entire cast, but now we're on to my favorite Breaking Bad with Walter and his "Ice." Hmmmmm.
Any kind of penguin in a puzzle is fine by me. Great name - ADELIE - for those incredible creatures. I can watch the Emperors all day, as well.
Nothing tripped my up today. DO RE MI has appeared as Cabbage in a few other puzzles - though I prefer Moolah.
Oh, do people really file their TOE NAILs? I just clip the Suckers.

old timer 11:35 AM  

Used to live in NOE Valley, so that one was easy. And I would have finished the puzzle if I had gotten the theme, because the theme would have made MARATHON Man obvious. And TRANSPARENT tape.

Gotta run to the dentist. But I did want to recommend the song AMANDA by the late Jim Ringer. YouTube it, you'll like it.

Masked and Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Twice the U's of the WedPuz. This seemed like one of them Wed-ThursPuz level themes: kinda teeterin right on the cusp, if U will. But, primo theme idea. I cen DEG et, NOE matter where U perk et.

Corner squares once again cross over to The Dark Side. Can't say I blame em -- those look like mighty feisty corners to fill.
Shoot, when U got yer five themers, and yer 74-worder grid, it's time for … Desper-sper-ation Nation! (yo, @SERER)

EDAMAME was news to m&e. Hard to beat a good soybean snack, [smack] tho, I [smack] reckon. [Please pardon my cinnamon roll snack-smacking.]

NSW rides again! Would make it fave weeject of the day, but sorta hate to encourage it. I personally have noe problemos with: ALOES, SRTAS, STOA or even RST. They just made life easier for my solvequest, which was pretty smooth, especially since I luckily got MARATHON+innerMAN, off almost noething.

Thanx, Mr. Tuttle TLU. (Too Little U's) fUn stUf.

Masked & Anonymo2Us

biter of all biters.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

@NCA - s/h/b too much time on your feet.

Martel Moopsbane 11:51 AM  

DOREMI = money (as in "dough" re-mi). Woody Guthrie captured it well.

Bruno89 11:53 AM  

A slang and somewhat dated term for money
Yesterday I somehow got lucky enough to find do-re-mi on the floor

Joe 11:59 AM  

I'm going to copy that and paste it every day.

@NCA & madchick
Archaic (like, 1930's gangster movie archaic) slang for money, probably originated from "dough" and got embellished.

Joe Bleaux 12:17 PM  

Inaner ... Hu hu! Me, too, on SERER.
PS -- You enlightened me on WOE. Is a quick explanation of "green paint" too much to ask? One day, I won't be a worrisome tyro.

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

@John Child's experience in the SE completely explains why today's puzzle took me almost twice as long as yesterday's. While it's true that I took a hiatus from listening to popular music in the 80's in order to explore the 50‘s and 60’s, I still didn't think I could be totally ignorant of a #1 Boston hit but checking it out on YouTube showed me that AMANDA had slipped under my radar, and listening to it did not cause me to regret that - rather meh (I'm such a music snob :-).)

Against before ADVERSE and seeing the 19A clue as "more dessertlike" had their share in the ESTIMATED TIME I lost also. My crosswordese reflex had me writing in OLeO before I could stop myself and uvea before IRIS is one of my ALIBIS also. But it is ACUTE theme, so thanks, Mr. Tuttle.

puzzle hoarder 1:21 PM  

I did this on my Kindle last night so it's hard for me to personally rate it's difficulty. Using a device is still a big slow down. Redoing it on paper this morning took eight and a half minutes so I still found some of the clues puzzling a second time around.
I haven't had time to look up all the clues but it's clear some effort has been put into the shorter acrosses. The clues for AGE and PRISM are pretty unique and the one for ADE is an out and out debut.
I've been meaning to bring this up before and I may
have but anyone who solves puzzles should have a Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. My 1989 edition has a wonderful illustration of three Adelie penguin waddling down page 56. There are also illustrations for a number of other animals that have puzzled commentors in the past such as COATI, AGOUTI and ONAGER. I sometimes think this is how constructors find them.
While Boston may be a dated band I wouldn't call them obscure. Their debut major label album "Boston" was 17x platinum which I think is still the record. This has a lot to do with the peak of the baby boom being in the 18-24 y/o range when it was released.

David 1:33 PM  

Help pls! Doremi for Cabbage? I don't get it either.

Sheryl 1:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheryl 2:18 PM  

I enjoyed the theme and cluing (e.g. "It's responsible for controlling a pupil"). There were too many obscure (for me) proper names, some crossing, and I had to google a few to get unstuck. Except for that, I finished without cheating in 55 minutes. That includes time I spent gazing at flowers in the park, chatting with the gardener, eating a croissant, and drinking coffee.

I'm astounded at the times Rex reports. Even if I were fully focused, I could never finish that fast, and it would stress me out to try. Sometimes I do the puzzle intermittently while watching the news. It calms me down. (I had a nightmare last night about Trump.)

Greg 2:29 PM  


Unknown 3:08 PM  

NCA President said...
"I am with @madchickenlittle: how does DOREMI = cabbage? Is paper money called DOREMI now?"

Yes. . . as long as by "now" you mean, "for a very long time."

Unknown 3:12 PM  

Also, DOREMI, is likely a variant of "dough" meaning money.

GeezerJackYale48 said...
"I don't get what is Mexican about "dahlia"."

Dahlias came from Mexico.

JD 3:45 PM  

Mad Chicken, Do Re Mi (the "do" like dough) sound and cabbage are slang for money.

Pdxrains 3:45 PM  

Can someone explain to me how "Cabbage" is a clue for doremi (do-re-mi??)??? Wtf?

Idran 4:40 PM  

@GeezerJackYale48: Dahlias are originally native to Mexico, and they're the Mexican national flower.

AliasZ 4:49 PM  

Nice theme. I especially liked (A)BST(R)AC(T). I honestly do not remember a similar theme before, but that may be just me.

The NOE-ALANA-ADELIE-AMANDA corner threw me as well, although NOE came entirely from fair crosses. Also ONE and UNE raised an eyebrow, as did RST and ANET. Who knew that the tiny commune of ANET in northern France (pop. 2,600+) had such a beautiful church and chateau built in the 16th century?

SERER was a different matter altogether. Would it have fared better if it were "West-African ethnoreligious group and their language"? I doubt it. The only thing I could think of when I saw SERER was MiSERERe by Gregorio Allegri (c.1582-1652)

Unknown 5:02 PM  

The AMANdA/AdELIE crossing was a WOE for me, though I guess there aren't many other options for that square other than D. Never can remember the States of Australia, even though we just had the NSW abbreviation this week. Didn't see the theme until almost done. Learned that monks wear orange, didn't know NOE, and had no idea there were such things as Bitter Aloes. I'm impressed that solvers find this type of puzzle easy and can finish in under 5 minutes.

madchickenlittle 6:15 PM  

Ok. So 25 years before I was even a possibility. No wonder I had no clue.

madchickenlittle 6:17 PM  

Eh, I will grant it *was* a long time ago a slang term for money. But it hasn't been such for years.

Blah. Fie on the constructor.

kitshef 6:27 PM  

@Joe Bleax - Green Paint is shorthand for an answer that pairs an adjective and a noun that do not, when paired, make a common standalone phrase. So, Red Ink would be OK, because we use that to mean losses on a financial statement. Slow Burn, High Horse, all OK. But 'Green Paint' has no standalone meaning. The other example @Rex uses is Tall Woman. Sure, there are women who are tall, but 'Tall Woman' is not a common phrase.

Having said all that, we (collectively) sometimes use it to indicate anything that is not a 'real' thing, ignoring the technical adjective/noun pairing guideline.

Chaos344 6:46 PM  

Pretty much agree with Rex. Didn't see the gimmick until I was almost done, so it didn't affect my solve. Puzzle was on the easy side for a Thursday, but people are going to moan about the SE quadrant.

@Anonymous 12:20AM Whoa! You'd never get away with that at Wordplay my friend. LOL. Those Emus would peck the living shit out of you! Your post reminded me of the old riddle:

How do you tell if your girlfriend is ticklish?

@madchickenlittle: With all due respect, DOREMI has been used in crossword puzzles forever. In the cruciverbalist world, it goes right along with CABBAGE, MOOLA, MOOLAH and many others. What do all these words have in common? With the exception of CABBAGE, they all have as many or more vowels than consonants. People who aspire to become expert puzzlers have to understand that constant. Many words used in puzzles on a regular basis, are not chosen because of their obscurity or difficulty. They are used because of vowel count or arrangement.Think ADELIE. Six letters, four vowels! If you're really interested in becoming an elite solver, A crossword puzzle dictionary is still a good investment. Many times, its easier that using a search engine. Hope this answers your question.

@LMS: LMAO! AMENRA? That's "coffee through the nose" funny! I can understand that you thought 56A might have been ELANA, but if you were Naticked at 62A, a very short alphabet run would have given you AMENDA. At that point, you should have had your DOH! moment. AMANDA is a pretty comment name!

I'm beginning to think that you don't give a rat's ass weather you DNF or not? So many times you've commented that you DNF'ed because you had an entry that you knew couldn't possibly be right, and yet you went with it anyway? There is so much divergence, vis-a-vis how people on this blog view a DNF. I'd rather have a root canal than a DNF, but that's probably due to my Taurean nature.

So, SWEATER SETS is a real thing that you've never owned? I'll admit to never having heard of them either, but knowing your fiendish affinity for our furry four-legged friends, I thought you might be referring to SWEATER PUPPIES? I know what they are! Don't ever change Loren. This blog would never be the same without you!

@ George Barany: LOL! Surely you jest? Nuclear Overhauser Effect? I loves me some extreme Saturday Tim Croce bullshit cluing, but your suggestion might be just a tad over the top? I do agree that NOE is a tough clue for anyone not familiar with the San Francisco Bay area. For those unfamiliar with the district, its pronounced NO-E! Once again, crosswordese junk fill with one consonant and two vowels.

@Carola: Good catch on FARMERS crossing SEACOW. I didn't really like the clue for SEACOW much. I understand that Mr. Tuttle or Mr. Shortz might have been looking for Thursday level difficulty, but behemoth is too much of a stretch to use when describing a SEACOW. An aquatic behemoth would be more like a whale shark, sperm or blue whale. I would have clued the entry as aquatic bovine, but that might have been a more Tuesday type clue? Just sayin?

Hartley70 7:02 PM  

@puzzlehoarder, enthused by your endorsement of Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the Adelie penguin appearing inside, I reached for my trusty copy. Alas, the Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary has no photos at all and no mention of the Adelie penguin. Perhaps the sad fact that the entire cover fell away from the book as I picked it up, may indicate that the Adelie, and perhaps the Antarctic, had yet to be discovered when I went to school.

Bookin' the Cooks 7:06 PM  

LOL! I'm with you on Boston. Didn't hate them or anything, just was never into them.

Bookin' the Cooks 7:12 PM  

I agree! Every home should have a dictionary, imho. But I try not to resort to using it or Google while solving crossword puzzles unless I'm seriously stumped and solving nearby words isn't giving it up.

Bookin' the Cooks 7:16 PM  

You're not alone, I also solve the puzzle to relax. Sometimes I try to complete it as quickly as possible, but other times I've fallen asleep (I solve it on my iPhone) only to wake up hours later, which really screws up my time score.

So sorry about your nightmare...No one should have to experience that!

Z 7:25 PM  

@Joe Bleaux, @kitshef does a nice job of explaining, but if you're curious check out this blog post.

@Chaos344 - re:DNFs - Yep, a wide range of normal here. I've gone from "any way I get it done is okay" to "If I look anything up its a DNF." Not quite to the "Ill be damned before I look anything up" stage, but getting close. The only thing I find annoying are people jealous of others abilities. Being irked by Rex's solve times is like being irked at Max's 20 Ks against the Tigers. I wish he'd done it against someone else (and for us) but it was an amazing thing to watch.

Bookin' the Cooks 7:27 PM  

Ya gotta file them suckers after you clip them, otherwise you'll risk getting holes in your socks and your bed partner needing to apply bandaids on their legs. 8-(

Larry 7:48 PM  

Yawn. I figured out the gimmick and just didn't care enough to finish it.

Chaos344 9:01 PM  

@Z: Re: DNF's, Amen to that my brotha! My personal goal is to have less than one a month. So far, I'm close to being on track for 2016. First true DNF of this year was the KIDORY/KABUL/BADU debacle. After that, there was a RAGE QUIT on the Thursday where I finished the whole puzzle except for the four clues that read ??. Then, since I solve in AcrossLite, there were three puzzles where I had to do an alphabet run to get MHP. Since I'm a purist, an alphabet run is still a DNF, albeit the least egregious of all types.

I'm not really too bugged by people who appear to be jealous of solve times. First of all, I don't believe half the people who claim they can solve a puzzle faster than I could even type in the answers if I was copying them off a completed grid. I know there are a few who can, but they are all in the top 01% of ACTP solvers. I only try and speed solve Monday through Wednesday. Thursday is gimmick day which I generally hate. I keep the clock on for weekend puzzles, but don't really try to speed solve.

Max threw a masterpiece! I watched the whole game and was actually rooting for the 21st K until JMART made it 3-2 in the ninth. Then I was hoping to tie it or win it. We really should have resigned Max. Look at all the money we wasted on Upton and Pelfrey. Oh well, that's baseball.

Anonymous 9:07 PM  


Nancy 9:44 PM  

@Hartley 70 (7:02 p.m.) -- I chuckled mightily over your very funny comment about your Webster's Collegiate Dictionary; then wondered what MY edition would -- or would not -- have to say about the Adelie penguin. My edition doesn't have a number; it's simply called "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary." It was my mother's and I took it after she passed away. I just looked at the frontispiece: it was published in 1979. Well, I suppose that in 1979 it WAS new. Anyway, it falls squarely between your Webster's and puzzlehoarder's Webster's -- that is it includes the Adelie penguin, but it doesn't have an illustration of one. Nor is it falling apart. It's my Hammond World Atlas from 1971, which was also originally my mother's, that is falling apart -- to the extent that it's almost unusable. It's also completely out of date. I consider it my much-deserved punishment whenever I cheat on geographic clues. My mother must also have cheated more on geography than any other puzzle category. The Webster's is almost in mint condition.

Anonymous 11:16 PM  

Sheryl 1:50 PM The bouncer will bar you from a bar based on being under age. Hence age is a bar barrier sometimes.

captwitting 4:24 AM  

How is "SAE" an "encl. to an editor"?

Phil 4:28 AM  

If I've done as many puzzles as Rex i would be more cynaical, but i found a lot to like here.

Unfortunately misspelling of REeD and thinking SAE immediately but without any idea what it had to do with editor and blanking out of the cross _DELIE was DNF

But liked more than Rex in wrestling, alibis, irris.

Many Buddhist monks wear red.

Has serer ever in the history of the universe been used??

Wm. C. 8:44 AM  


SAE => Self-Addressed Envelope. (For returning rejected manuscripts).

A bit confusing, because I think the term is usually Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE).

Hartley70 8:50 AM  

Self-addressed enclosed envelope

Hartley70 9:04 AM  

@Nancy, I feel as if a eulogy of some kind is due my 1965 edition. It has given good service in the last 51 years and the cover had become just a bit threadbare, but I had imagined us joined in definitive lockstep until the end. I was shocked to see my old friend come completely unglued.

Bookin' the Cooks 10:21 AM  

SAE stands for Self Addressed Envelope. A variation of that is what I'm more used to seeing: SASE, which is Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.

If you're a writer or an artist submitting your work to a magazine editor for consideration, instructions often advise that you include a SASE if you want your original submission returned to you.

Joe Bleaux 12:42 PM  

Aha! Thank you for enlightening (and indulging) me!

Diana,LIW 11:24 PM  

Tower Kathy

Hey, what were you wearing at the tourney on Sat? Where were you sitting. Did you by any chance find a yellow/orange "mechanical" pencil?

9Probably unlikely, but could be very funny.)


Burma Shave 8:46 AM  


AMANDA is ACUTE girl, a FARMERS daughter if you CARE,
with no EGOISM in her GENOME, she FINDS NOE ALIBIS to a dare.
Her FAÇADE was SEDATE, not like ONE to TORMENT or to hurt,


rondo 9:29 AM  

Words within words is a nice little concept; certainly better than a whole word in ONE square. Two problems for me that some above mentioned – AgainSt and TORture – but I found my IDEALS and then saw TETS.

First bought that PRISMatic music on 8-track, then LP album, and finally CD. Only other triple format was Allman Bros @ Fillmore (LP, cassette, CD). Still remember where the Pink Floyd tracks would change in mid-tune. Doobydoobydoo.

Hulk Hogan got his start in the WRESTLING RING right here in MN on Vern Gagne’s All-Star WRESTLING. So did a bunch of other ALIST characters who moved on to a bigger RING.

Frequent yeah baby UMA makes another appearance, but ALANA de la Garza wins out today. Yes I bought that issue of Maxim, yeah baby. I’m so TRANSPARENT. Wonder if she’s looking for AMANDA Huggenkiss?

About 20 years ago I had an ACE. Hole-in-ONE on the 6th at my local course. League night. Expensive, but worth it.

SAE will always be the Society of Automotive Engineers to me. They set the standards for your motor oil.

ETIMATED TIME – 20 minutes. That’s why I’m not yet a competitor, only the 001MNspectator solver in the state.

spacecraft 11:08 AM  

Rough spots? Yeah, like the ascent of Everest has some "rough spots." SERER??? Are you kidding me? That's one spot rough enough to snap my axle. WHERE IS THE EDITING? My God, letter strings, the ultimate crutch? I can't fault EDAMAME just because it's a WOE to me; apparently it's a real food. Me? I can't relate to the words "soybean" and "snack" being used together. I know one thing: it must be capitalized, because it's not a real word. EDAMAME. Thanks, I'll pass.

The theme feels "I could do this all day"-ish. Just one, e.g.: The African Queen = BOgArT. I'm surprised OFL didn't more actively dislike this one; his standards are usually a lot stiffer than mine, and I score it a second consecutive double-bogey.

Longbeachlee 1:47 PM  

@chaos344, alphabet run is a dnf? Really? Take it easy on yourself man, you'll live longer, not to mention improving the lives of those around you.

leftcoastTAM 3:25 PM  

Easy? No.

Found the Southeast on the tough side. ALANA, ADELIE, TOENAIL, TENTACLE, the latter two with their, uh, interesting clues. Mss before SAE didn't help either.

Elsewhere, EDAMAME?

Got the trick at ABSTRACT ART. MARATHON MAN was the last of those to go.

Overall, tough but fair, but I had to persevere to finish it.

rain forest 3:53 PM  

@Spacey - LOL (and I don't often say that) at "The African Queen = BOgArT". Stll laughing.

Well, surprise, I liked this one. I think that incorporating two consecutive words within one which is a stand-alone word is kinda neat. The SE corner was fun to gradually work out. Otherwise, easy-medium, and not much else to say.

Ha, @Rondo, I've had two holes in one, but my best (luckiest) shot ever was a 220 yard 4-wood on a par four for an eagle. Still remember that one.

Diana,LIW 4:33 PM  

I thought the circles were going to spell out a sentence, like "drink more Ovaltine." Once I had enuf filled to start sussing out the words, the TAPE showed up and made the TRANSPARENT answer make sense. Then I could suss out MARATHON man, and the NE filled in.

The SE Naticked me, tho, for today's DNF.

Kathy - haven't seen much Harry P movies - just bits on a plane flight - but I do believe the Landmark building could remind one of that magical school for Hogwarts.

Cat on lap requires brief post today.

Oh, yes @Sailor - it was funny seeing my shoutout to Futureland yesterday.


Unknown 5:23 PM  

Cabbage is a slang word for money....likewise for do re mi

Unknown 5:23 PM  

Cabbage is a slang word for well as as do re mi.

Sailor 9:37 PM  

From Buddhanet: "Saffron and ochre are the most prevalent colours today." Some shades of ochre tend toward orange, but most do not. So a few Buddhist monks might wear a color that some people would call orange, but so do some college students, some residents of Northern Ireland, and lots of other miscellaneous categories one could think of. A totally meaningless clue.

kathy of the tower 12:19 AM  

The puzzle was soso. I like the tricky Thursdays.

@Diana, I was wearing a cream or rather ecru print blouse and jeans. I sat in the second row at the far left table as you faced the front. I didn't find an orange mechanical pencil. Good to hear you made it home safely. I might just try again next year.

Blogger 2:19 PM  


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