Some atom smashers briefly / THU 6-16-16 / Lolita's workplace in song / Ancient Greek coin / 2016 Key Peele action comedy / Source of gravity / Source of gravy

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: DROP IT (29D:"Move on!" ... or how to decipher the 16 starred clues)  — just take "it" out of the clues. Then they (mostly) make sense.

Word of the Day: LINACS (40A: Some atom smashers, briefly) —
A linear particle accelerator (often shortened to linac) is a type of particle accelerator that greatly increases the kinetic energy of charged subatomic particles or ions by subjecting the charged particles to a series of oscillating electric potentials along a linear beamline; this method of particle acceleration was invented by Leó Szilárd. It was patented in 1928 by Rolf Widerøe, who also built the first operational device at the RWTH Aachen University in 1928, influenced by a publication of Gustav Ising. (wikipedia)
• • •

No time today, so very short write-up. This puzzle had its moments, but overall I found it tedious. The gimmick threw me for a bit (I'd just woken up), but once I got it, well, it was got. Look at * clue, remove "it," continue. Over and over. Weirdly, I got the theme by misreading 4D: *Stick it to as "Stick to it", cobbling together KEEP AT, not liking the "it" in the clue at all, and then realizing I'd misread it in the first place. The puzzle tried to make up for theme death, I think, by getting super cute with the clues, but too often that just came across as irritating. And why is this 16 squares tall? Oh, right, the "revealer"? Ugh. Today is (another) day when I really really wish the NYT had titles for the daily puzzles. It's ridiculous that it doesn't. It's like not naming your kids. The ERSTwhile (and far superior) NY Sun puzzles all had titles. All the indie puzzles have titles. Gives the puzzle identity and allows constructor flexibility NOT to put a dumb revealer in the grid. I was dropping "it" before I ever hit the revealer anyway, so it's not like the revealer *did* anything.

LINACS was new to me (40A: Some atom smashers), and I'm never ever going to remember it. Particle accelerator I've heard of, plural LINACS, no. But it's a thing, so I'll just deal. The most brutal clue in the puzzle (not a bad thing, though definitely a frustrating thing) was 23D: *Source of gravity, i.e. "source of gravy." Starting SINE-!?!? SINEW ... BONE? Wait, those are two different things. SINEW STEW? You not only have to drop the "it," you then have to understand that gravy is a ****ing metaphor for easy money. It's a job that requires little to no effort. A largely ceremonial but possibly lucrative post. A position without ("sine") care ("cure"). I have never heard of TONE ARM (is that just ... the arm ... on my turntable? ... Oh, I see; I just call it the "arm" as there is no need to distinguish between *kinds* of arms on a turntable because the turn table has just one arm; but I'm weird that way). So between LINACS (mystery), SINECURE (tough), TONE ARM, and my having written GET SET instead of GOT SET, I was not sure I was going to be able to finish my puzzle:

I could see GORGE, which is what I wanted, but then ... other boxes ... what do they do? But I figured it out. I'm guessing at least a small handful of people will have hear neither of LINACS nor of SINECURE and that will prove disastrous. Most folk probably worked it out.

Well, looks like write-up was normal-sized after all. So there.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 8:14 AM  

I like it every now and then when the clues are center stage. Terrific Thursday challenge. I finally had to suss out the reveal before I understood the conceit here. What a great way to use the phrase DROP IT. I hadn't noticed that the grid was an extra row taller, but I did like DROP IT. And I really liked that the clues – w/ and w/o the IT - weren't wacky, made-up phrases, the way they would have been if they had been the actual fill. I didn't find them irritating at all. No PROF SHARING, DOUBLE DIGS, or VISORS CENTER. That the clues looked normal really added to the challenge.

So I can imagine this exchange -

Interviewer: Mr. Politician, did you or did you not write an article about the 2nd amendment for your college paper?
Politician: Define article.

I actually had a dnf. Never heard of SINECURE or LINACS (hi, Rex), so even though I had CHALK for whatever the heck a snooker is, my "sinetore" mucked it all up. Ok. I just looked it up. Billiards. Ah me. I was actually picturing a little pigtailed snookerette playing hopscotch. Sheesh.

Last night my son and I watched Eddie the Eagle, and when they were speaking another language, I couldn't read the tiny red translations. Talk about your basic subtle subtitle…

Anyone notice that there is not one IT in the grid? And only one IT in the clues – the very last clue, but you really have to squint your eyes to see it.

Impressive amount of theme real estate, impressive symmetry, and *four* triple stacks. Wowser, Timothy. Really, really nice.

Ted 8:23 AM  

The most rewarding part of this puzzle was the D'oh Moment that came when I read your write-up and saw ERSTwhile. F'erst time I've ever made that connection, for which I am grateful. As for the puzzle, it was a pain in the butt.

Mark 8:26 AM  

I have to say I had a lot of trouble with the puzzle but I really liked it. It was trouble because, as you say, the clues were tricky and even the ones that had it removed were tricky after removing the it, for example "polite star" and pole star. Also I wasn't lucky enough to misread something in a helpful way.

Passing Shot 8:26 AM  

ARGOS/ARGOTS, ORE/OIE, surprised these made it through. Once I got the theme, things fell into place relatively quickly. Had sticK for CHALK for a while and wanted boNE--RE. That clue was a little too cute; on the other hand, I really liked the clues for ORDAIN and HIPNESS.

BigMistake 8:48 AM  

2x my normal Thursday speed. Half of that extra time was figuring out the theme (Bloody Mary was my nirvana moment), other half was just hard-ish fill (at least for me) for a Thursday

jberg 8:56 AM  

I didn't mind the revealer, but I disliked the starring of theme clues. It would have been a lot more fun to figure out the theme (almost said figure it out there, but that was too cute). I almost had it from the clues for ANAGRAM and ALDA, and would have been there if I had had to think about it more. But with the stars, as @Rex said, once you get one you've got them all.

Hardest parts, in order:

--replacing Jahweh with ADONAI

--realizing that the Pol(it) star was not some guy named Stanislaus

--changing KEEP on to KEEP AT

--realizing that you can put a P in front of ALIMONY and it would still fit the clue.

That's about it. Zero comments posted right now, so I'll come back later.

Audiophile 9:09 AM  

The NYT WordPlay comments link is broken (again) so I'm visiting. Rex is right: once you get the trick, you've got IT, but I still enjoyed the puzzle and clues simply because the initial feeling of confusion was SO strong. Cubit=TYRO? How is this possible?

Wanted HAUTEUR for 24A Cool air? and was disappointed to have to take it out.
Thought that 8A Southwestern spread might have been TAPENADE, but again, No.
Fave entry was Needle holder's TONE ARM....because Audiophiles R Us around here.

Charles Flaster 9:10 AM  

EXACTLY same thoughts as Rex.
Dropping IT was obvious but no idea about SINECURE, LINACS, or TONE ARM.
DNF at STEN-thought a plural was needed.
Liked cluing for SANTA CLAUS ( looking for an exotic dancer of some sort), ORDAIN, and loved BERLE (Tuesday night TV with Arnold Stang.)
Thanks TP

chefbea 9:10 AM  

Tough puzzle...DNF and I still do not understand what sinecure has to with money/gravy????

Molson 9:18 AM  

Same theme was done better, IMO, in this past weekend's Minnesota Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

Better fill, better themers, and a title (Forget about it).

Zwhatever 9:35 AM  

I recall another puzzle not all that long ago where the "theme" was something going on in the clues. I had the same gut reaction that I had on this one, less than positive. Stepping back, this is well done. I can appreciate the inspired cluing ("Britain's location" does tickle my funny bone), but I guess I'm enough of a fuddy-duddy that I prefer my tricks in the puzzles, not in the clues. This is purely an observation of taste, nothing objective or defensible about it.

On the more objective level, this is relatively low in PPP, with just 14 of 81 answers, a low 17%, having a Pop Culture/Product Name/Proper Noun component, and many of those being of the three letter initialism sort that are more -Ese than PPP (SSA, RCA, CBS, AIG). Of course, Alma-ATA is bound to be a WOE for many people, and I only got ERTE because the clue is recycled from not long ago. The puzzle felt on the easy-medium side to me, but I can see where it could be very challenging.

Only two writeovers, talon ->NESTS after I grokked the theme and I was thinking that "black winds" would be Omens.

Dorothy Biggs 9:37 AM  

Challenging. Had to Google several times. SINECURE, OBOL, KEANU, and LINACS...all brutal without Google.

The clues were awful. Just awful. Too many to mention but 36D Part of a long drive?, 43D The French?, 56A Put-down in an argument, 44A Target of a strip search? etc were among the biggest groaners for me. STEER is part of a long drive? WTF? The French = LES? Just, "The French." Is the ? supposed to excuse the crazy way that's contorted? And the LIAR clue was just tortured. Notice that most of those are ? clues. Speaking of...

Way too many clues with ?s today. If your theme is going to hinge on ?s, you probably shouldn't include them in other you're not even trying. You're just going out of your way to be cute. And I think I agree with Rex ih that those cutesy clues were a cover up.

And quite honestly, I don't get the theme. Are the clues supposed to mean something other than just random words that you extract "IT" from? What does 41D mean? How does ANAGRAM = Sue for use? or even Suite for use, for that matter.

Just terrible. I don't know how far a thumb can go down, but for me and this puzzle, it's all the way down.

Happy Pencil 9:49 AM  

I thought this was a challenging puzzle, and therefore satisfying once I'd finally wrestled it to the ground. I didn't luck into understanding the gimmick, so it took me much too long to see what was going on. And given how much of the puzzle is given over to the gimmick, that left me wandering around the edges for quite a while. But for me, it was a great "aha" moment when I finally figured it out, and everything fell into place relatively quickly from there. Still considerably above my average Thursday time, though.

Best clue: SANTA CLAUS for pole star. Brilliant!

DBlock 10:01 AM  

I too discovered the theme by reading the clues too quickly--celerity just registered as celery
I also presumed Lola was a nickname for Lolita
Anyhoo--a tough Thursday but I finished a huge project yesterday so was taking a lazy morning so enjoyed a little bit of challenge..
Hope this bodes well for the next few days

Lewis 10:09 AM  

This was a fight to the finish. First came figuring out the highly clever theme, which made things easier, but there was still devilish cluing, the kind I love (if it's fair): OBOES, LAP, ORDAIN, CIRCA, UMP, ANTE, TONEARM. Not knowing ATA/LINACS/KEANU made that section very difficult (after I sussed out KEANU, I figured there was a C before the K in the snooker answer, and that held me up greatly).

I do like TIE_TO crossing that backward TUG boat.

I clawed and gnashed, chipping away at the obstacles, in a state of high alertness. This is my favorite type of puzzle. Thank you, Sir Timothy.

kitshef 10:12 AM  

@NCA President - think cattle drive for your long drive.

Greg 10:17 AM  

I did actually know that SINECURE existed as a word, although I had no idea how make it into a "source of gravy" until I looked it up.

kitshef 10:27 AM  

I loved it. A real challenge, but all fair I thought.

My favorite puzzles are ones where you have to work hard, but you get there.

Had three blanks that took a while to figure out at the end: OBOL/LAP cross (OBOL??), ERTE/ANTE (great clue for ANTE), and LINACS/SINECURE. I can see that last one leading to a lot of DNFs

Got the theme at the Copa, COPACABANA.

AppLET before AMULET (figured it was some weird Movie APP I'd never heard of.

bswein99 10:27 AM  

This was the hardest Thursday puzzle for me in months, maybe years. "It" took me forever to get "it." Only when I realized that 52D HAD to be GLARE did it dawn on me. And only now did I figure out why 1/ (10A) was JAN, though I knew it had to be right.

Even once I got the gimmick, answers like SINECURE and SANTA CLAUS didn't come easy (though they are clever).

Glad to be done with this.

John V 10:29 AM  

Very challenging, even after sorting out the gimmick; some odd, trick fill, vid. SINECURE -- which I know but could not see. Crossing SINECURE with LINACS seems wrong.

Mohair Sam 10:32 AM  

Well that was different and a ton of fun. Medium/challenging for us, and since we lack old Rex's wit we had to suss DROPIT before we "got" the theme and started to roll. We were in great danger of falling into the natick trap at the nasty SINECURE / LINACS cross when one of the memory cells from down deep pulled up the CURE, I have no idea from where.

Loved the clue for ANAGRAM (Sue for use?). Remember seeing the movie title KEANU on Rotten Tomatoes and thinking "That's odd"; there's so often a yiddish/Jewish clue in the Times puzz - I need to change religion; worked two summers at Brookhaven Lab and never heard of LINACS (of course I rode on the back end of a garbage truck); COATI a new beast to me - but not to Lady M. She also wonders about ERGO, ARGOS, and ARGOTS sharing the same puzzle.

Anyhow, fun Thursday, nice change of pace - Thanks Timothy Polin.

oldbizmark 10:37 AM  

part of the small handful. DNF due to the "C" cross in sineCure and linaCs.

Otherwise, enjoyed the puzzle. Lots of fun cluing which made up for the easy revealer.

Carola 10:50 AM  

I reallly liked this puzzle. I was determined to avoid looking at the reveal until I figured out what was going on. Not easy, as every time I got a little traction, there was another of those starred clues to stymie me. I caught on at ?LARE, when I saw the visors in visitors. I should have gotten it earlier with the ANAGRAM clue, when I was annoyed by the "it" disconnect between "suite" and "use." Anyway, then it was fun to go back and get the rest - for me it was hardly tedious, more a delight to see how the words and meanings functioned with and without an "it." My favorite was SINECURE, followed by SANTA CLAUS. After-the-fact appreciation - the symmetrical arrangement of all those theme answers. Fab.

Trombone Tom 10:55 AM  

Challenging! Tricky cluing! Just my cup of tea. Took me quite a while to get started, but, of course, once I saw the revealer it all made sense. Took me a while to get away from literal gravy, but SINECURE finally fell. Thank you, Mr. Polin, for a good workout.

Hartley70 11:00 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle despite getting stuck at the same junction Rex found difficult. I pulled TONEARM out of the distant past, but LINACS wasn't hiding anywhere in my subconscious. I couldn't see SINECURE until I had the C from LINACS. I'm unfamiliar with ARGOTS but ANAGRAM tickled me and gave it to me.

The theme stumped me until MOPEAROUND made sense and then SANTACLAUS nailed it. This was a toughie, but a satisfying solve. Nicely done, Mr. Polin!

jae 11:06 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Got the theme clue early so it went pretty smoothly.

dAy before LAP and Puce before PLUM were my only erasures.

62a is a long way to go to get ALDA.

Cute very dense theme with some zip, liked it.

Happy Pencil 11:14 AM  

Cue the thirty postings explaining to @NCA President that the word "sue" is an anagram (mixing up) of the word "use."

old timer 11:28 AM  

I wrote in SANTA CLAUS, noted that PULL was a legit answer for "influence" and uttered these words, words I probably have not uttered since Freshman Year:

"Jesus Christmas Christ on a stick!"

It was that hard, and that amazingly satisfying to complete. Really one of the best Thursday solves I've ever done. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Polin.

Unlike OFL, I could not possibly have completed the solve, or for that matter half the puzzle, without the revealer. And I am eternally grateful to the fictional detective Rabbi Small, because that's how I know ADONAI.

A few explanations for those confused by this very toughly clued puzzle:

"The French" really is "the (plural) in French." Which is of course LES. We live in LES Etats-Unis, except for our 'mericans in Paris.

ORE is what strip miners (and many kinds of miners) search for.

"gravy" can mean "money" and especially money over and above what one is entitled to. A SINECURE is a job with a nice salary and few real responsibilities. In the old days, Britain had a number of such jobs, often given to members of Parliament who could contribute much in debate or committee work, but had no substantial source of income. In those days, MP's got no salary. Here in California, there are several jobs that are necessary, such as being a member of the Board that decides unemployment insurance appeals, that take only a few hours a month to perform, but are very well paid. They tend to go to retiring legislators as a reward for services to the party.

Two wrong answers that really slowed me down: "Puce" for PLUM and "love" before honor, instead of YOUR before honor. I was thinking of the words of the marriage service. But I always had TROI in the back of my mind, so when I got AROUND I was able to clean up that section.

GILL I. 11:30 AM  

@chefbea: T his will probably be the 30th response but I'm going to take a chance because I LOVED SINECURE. Gravy is like unexpected money and SINECURE is like a cushy job that pays you for not doing anything. Like most of our California legislatures.
I REALLY liked this puzzle ALOT. Boy did I have to work my arse off, but I felt it was worth it. I had to get DROP IT before I figured the theme out and once I did my happy feet flew all over the place re-reading the clues. The feeling of HIPNESS notwithstanding....
*Suite for use? was my favorite clue. @NCAPres, you probably know by now it's an ANAGRAM of Sue.
I would say my biggest head scratcher was getting TYRO and TROI. a cub is a tyro? I guess so.
GIMLET or BLOODY MARY...I like them both. AMULET for Mojo not so much. I thought Mojo was like having sex appeal. Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl....

Hungry Mother 11:38 AM  

Had to wait in a doctor's office, so had plenty of time to slog it out. Fun cluing.

Joseph Michael 11:43 AM  

Another toughie from Timothy Pollin.

Caught on to the theme, at last, but had SKIP IT as the revealer, so the center was a baffling mess at first. Also got pummeled by LINACS, SINECURE, and KEANU, resulting in a DNF.

In spite of all that, I enjoyed the puzzle. Liked having the theme embedded in the clues and thought the cluing was quite clever. I'm also impressed that, except for the revealer, IT does not appear anywhere in the grid.

Tim Pierce 11:46 AM  

The character in COPACABANA was Lola. Lolita was Nabokov's heroine. That made me grumpy. I'll accept some flexibility in the cluing and a bit of misdirection, but she's not identified as "Lolita" anywhere in the song. That's just wrong.

Daryl 12:14 PM  

Really liked the clues for SINECURE, SANTA CLAUS, and ANAGRAM. Also for ORDAIN.

I've actually never heard the tone arm be referred to as just the arm. But the DJs that I know can be sniffly like that.

RooMonster 12:26 PM  

Hey All !
An UGH puz today. Could not get started at all, so came here to get theme. Saw DROP IT and DOCKS, and figured out to drop "it" from the starred clues. Not a fan of odd "clue themes". Then, still couldn't get much of anything, so left puz half empty and threw in the towel. Maybe the ole brain took today off.

SINECURE is a definite WTF, higher than a WOE. OIE?????????? Right... And the ARGOS/ARGOTS pair, no. Just bad. TYRO is a Cub? WOE. How does AMULET=Mojo? It can provide a mojo-like feeling, I guess, but Mojo is from a person, not a thing. ORS as words of logic??? Balderdash! And Pol(it)e star, was looking for a stripper of some sort.

Not my cuppa today.

CHALK it up to an OBOL...

r.alphbunker 12:33 PM  

Loved it. My solution

Timothy Polin also monkeyed with the clues in this memorable Saturday puzzle
Aug 23, 2014

Rex Parker didn't particularly like that one either

Anoa Bob 12:37 PM  

I've seen SINECURE (not to be confused with CYNOSURE) in the wild, the last time in reference to a cushy job acquired through political connections.

Which came first? Clues with an IT added for which grid entries had to be fabricated and then filled and crossed? Or a pretty much themeless grid for which as many entries as possible were clued with the added IT? I guess I was looking for some rhyme or reason, some organizing principle for why some were IT and others weren't. The ole CRANIUM burned up a JOULE or two trying to figure that out.

I believe that for most audiophiles, myself included, TONEARM is considered one word (as is turntable) and if someone just called it an ARM, I would think that person is an audioTYRO.

In my grad school bar tending daze I made a few BLOODY MARYs but nary a GIMLET. No Gibsons either. Nor any drinks with a PLUM garnish.

OISK 1:32 PM  

The only "Lola" I could think of was from "Damn Yankees," and that did not help me. It took me a long time to figure "it" out, but I enjoyed the solve. It helped that I know the word "Sinecure," having never heard of LINACS, nor of a movie called "Keanu."

It feels good to battle with a tough puzzle, and ultimately conquer it. I really liked this one.

Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

RANCHeS/ADeNAI - Dropped m&e.
LINACS/KEANU/SINECURE - Kicked m&e while I was down.

COATIs eats tarantulas? I now like COATIs ALOT.

Clever, different theme idea. And, no IT's in the grid, so … check.
At first, those clues with the splats up front alarmed the M&A … worried that the *answers* might
be doin something flaky. Had to track down the revealer immediately, to settle mymy nerves.

Many feisty clues, in addition to the IT-clues. Played mighty tough overall, for M&A.

Thanx, Mr. Polin.

Masked & Anonym8Us


Suzy 1:40 PM  

I really dislike this sort of puzzle, one where you have gibberish until you get the conceit, then you have a Tuesday puzzle. It's ugly at first, then too easy. Hey, it's just like me, I guess I should like it more.

AZPETE 2:24 PM  

If u haven't already read Rex's write up, go back and do it now. Geesh!

msue 2:25 PM  

Argh. Too late for a comment that matters, but feel compelled to say how dismal this puzzle was for me. My solve time was a full twelve minutes longer than my average Thursday time, which is already slow enough. I won't embarrass myself by providing actual numbers lest I am forever banned from commenting. One source of error (not counting the margaritas earlier in the evening) was that I had DROPIN for the revealer. I set about trying to drop 'IN' from clues & answers, obviously to no avail. It was awful. Misery. Horrifying. Yikes.

G. Harris 3:20 PM  

Broke the theme early on but still could not finish without google. Didn't know Keanu or obol and what the h--- is an empath and troi?

beatrice 3:52 PM  

OBOES it is. Handel's Trio Sonato for 2 OBOES, 1 bassoon, and continuo.

And, just because this is an old favorite of mine, a Bach trio sonata for just one of them.

Jofried 4:11 PM  

I actually beat my average Thursday time on this one. The only place I really got stuck was the linacs and sinecure corner, and when I couldn't figure out anything else to go there I just filled in sinecure since I literally couldn't think of any other word that fit the letters I had. I was shocked when I got the happy screen saying I'd solved it. I'm terrible at the pop culture stuff and this puzzle was light on pop culture so that was good for me.

Malsdemare 4:23 PM  

What Carola said! This was fun, a battle until GLARE fell, that wondrous Ah Ha moment. And I knew SINECURE, which got me LINACS. Nice workout, TP.

mac 5:09 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, but it took me a while to figure it out. That was a real aha moment, and the rest fell into place very quickly. Very dense theme, good job.

Tom 5:26 PM  

Liked it. Got the theme at COPACABANA when I realized Lola worked there, then looked at all the starred clues and saw the "it" in every one. Liked the "aha" moments for long drive clue. Had SWING in there first, thinking about golf, but CRANIUM and BLOODYMARY (hmmm, is it too late for one?) gave me GIMLET (not too late for that! It's five somewhere).

Like LES, another aha. Knew SINECURE from reading an obscure note in Dante's Inferno, or maybe the Purgatorio.

Overall a tidy solve, although I couldn't help humming "Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl… Thanks a lot, Barry.

Get Over It 5:27 PM  

Linacs and Sinecure crossing is Bullsh*t. I'm surprised Will let it go for a Thursday. I don't mind learning new words but C'mon Man!

Tim Pierce 7:00 PM  

OK, and now my spouse The Other Ellen S. has pointed out 3D was a starred clue, and therefore "Lolita" - "it" = "Lola." I am hereby formally apologizing to Timothy Polin, if he's listening, and eating crow. I like it because it is bitter, and because it is my crow. Sigh.

Anonymous 7:32 PM  

Sorry, but as usual most of the posters here are not being truthful. Many of you had no idea how to solve this puzzle, including Jae

Drover 8:41 PM  

Cue one more explanation to NCA Prez about STEER. Watch many old Western movies? Remember those loooong cattle drives from Texas to Kansas? Who do you think was STEERing those drives? Lemme tell you, it wasn't a lot of bull.
Please say you were kidding about 'sue for use'... To bite or not to bite? Nah...

RooMonster 10:00 PM  

@Suzy 1:40 pm,
Holy Cow! That was the funniest damn thing I think I've ever read! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!


KevinDenelsbeck 10:33 PM  

I usually finish Thursday puzzles with just a minimum of fuss, but the upper left side just crushed me. Could not get rolling. Part of the problem was putting in OMENS for "Black winds", and part of it was thinking that the Lola was from the Kinks and not Mr. B. Manilow. And LINACS and SINECURE? Really? Really?

KandRFenton 11:14 PM  

Maybe because I'm new to crosswording, but I could not get a handle on this one, even after I keyed in the revealer. It never occurred to me that the puzzle was in the clues. I managed to suss out most of the puzzle by grinding it out...

Big fat Google DNF for me.

Anonymous 11:18 PM  

I learned about sinecure and featherbedding in high school social studies. Must admit that was in the mid 1960s. I use the word sinecure often since I live in Illinois and near Chicago. Featherbedding is simply the labor union equivalent term.

Anonymous 3:00 AM  

Sue is an anagram of use. Ok, but oh, brother. My thumb is pretty far down on this one, too, although I'm more inclined to call it tedious than terrible as I appreciated a few of the clues. But, yes, they were few.

I skip M-W 3:46 AM  

I can understand people not knowing Linac, but sinecure? That seems a required word to understand the world. As for me, I got my PhD at SLAC, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, though we never referred to the two-mile long accelerator as mere linac. And @BigMistake, I think you mean half your normal speed, not twice. Twice the time = half the speed. Not too hard a puzzle, but enjoyed it.

Dolgo 6:01 AM  

It WAS rather tedious, but actually kinda fun for a Thursday. All the liquor references reminded me of my drinking days.

RAD2626 8:10 AM  

I completely agree with the comment about titles adding to the enjoyment of the puzzle. While I do not always ember to look at the WSJ titles, when I do, I almost always smile. Think of all the great titles this puzzle could have had besides the revealed: "Give it a Rest", "No **It"and on and on.

Sheryl 7:51 PM  

I was moving right along in this puzzle until I got to the LINACS area. Not only had I never heard that word, but I also didn't know what "Snooker" was, which stymied me on the cross, I also temporarily forgot knowing the word SINECURE, though it did look familiar once I looked it up, and I didn't know the Key & Peele comedy. So I missed finishing by a few squares.

I knew something was off with the clues right away and went scanning for the revealer. Once I got that, I was able to do the rest of the puzzle.

I liked the trick and I enjoyed the tricky cleverness of many of the clues. It was a challenging puzzle, but fun (except for LINACS - what am I, a physicist?)

Burma Shave 9:42 AM  

I won't bore you re: a brand new Surface - fried,
or other tech challenges I have tried,
I tried so hard I nearly cried
new and old machines have died.

All at once:

Sunday syndi:

THENANNY was an INTROVERT, but IINSIST that she could
ENTICE a STUD until it hurt, to EARN a TRYST if she SAWWOOD.

sha ALSO HASTENS the rumor, with EASE her OPEN ROBE drops to the ground.

since ELSA'S OVULATION causes SOFT moans.

. . . ANDANOTHERTHING couldn't be PLAINER, I TIRE of this deal,

Today's will come later, time and technology willing.

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

No, there is no "medium" to this whatsoever. Not only Saturday-challenging, but IMO tournament-level challenging. Every clue is bent like a paper clip. How I finished it I still don't know. But I did.

What came closest to derailing me for good was zeroing in on SYRINGE for needle holder. That's a neat word; call to constructors: please produce a grid with SYRINGE in it. The breakthrough finally came with TMEN; that's when I saw TONEARM, a familiar term for me...of course I'm old enough to remember "record players."

There's ALOT I simply didn't know, such as OBOL, ADENAI and LINACS; this added to the difficulty. Really got a CRANIUM workout on this one. I do not share OFL's disdain of the theme. Perhaps I'd have thought less of it if the clues had been straightforward.

The DOD is without question the ravishing TROI. At the last Star Trek convention here I did a photo op with Marina Sirtis. Woo hoo! Yeah, I'm a fan.

The triumph factor in this one is huge. I have to give IT an eagle.

Longbeachlee 12:57 PM  

Lola's workplace in song; really? Can someone tell me where in song the Copacabana is identified as Lola's workplace?

kitshef 1:03 PM  

How I've missed the daily poem. Welcome back, @Burma Shave!

Sailor 1:47 PM  

This is just what I hope for in a Thursday puzzle. Satisfyingly devious, and maddning until the trick is grokked. I am big a fan of Mr. Polin’s puzzles, and this one is a terrific example of what I love about his style. Low PPP, very little crosswordese, very little trivia, just very clever cluing and interesting and entertaining answers. Pole star = SANTACLAUS ! Hilarious!

Like many others, I have never heard linear accelerators referred to as LINACS, but Google tells me it is a thing, so I guess somebody somewhere must use this term -- something to file away for future reference. I thought that was the weakest entry in the grid, and not coincidentally the last one I filled in. But overall, a really enjoyable and satisfying puzzle.

rain forest 4:04 PM  

Eagle it is, @Spacey. A very clever and memorable puzzle indeed. I loved the trickiness in the cluing, but the biggest trick (my bad) was the revealer-"move on"- which had me trying to figure out where or how to move "on". Stumped was I until I got GLARE, and then "it" hit me.

Regarding the LINEACS/SINECURE cross--I thought that was excellent. It was a triumphant moment for me to work out that the former was a contraction for "linear accelerators", and the latter was something that made sense and allowed me to stop trying to use SINEw-something.

TONEARM was a gimme, and my last letter was the "O" in ADONAI. Eventually, I reasoned that ADONAI is more God-like than ADeNAI.

Great puzzle!

leftcoastTAM 6:01 PM  

No, no, no, no. Not medium anything. This is a damn challenging Saturday puzzle. Many clues too clever by half and more than a few answers too elusive or obscure, for me at least.

The theme and revealer were relatively easy to flush out early enough to give me confidence that I could finish. False confidence.

After many alphabet runs, still couldn't figure out the SINECURE/LINACS/KEANU crossings. RANCHeS instead of RANCHOS didn't help matters, as it gave me ANDeNAI instead of ADONAI.

A very laborious, time consuming exercise that I hope not to face again any time soon, like tomorrow or Saturday for instance.

Now, need to relax with a glass of wine.

Burma Shave 7:05 PM  


her STYLE is to TEASE ALOT, and MYMY, her HIPNESS is for hire.


Sailor 9:22 PM  

@Longbeachlee -- Maybe you're too young to remember? It was a 1979 Grammy winner and gold record single for Barry Manilow: At the Copa

leftcoastTAM 10:36 PM  

Good to see you back on the blog.

kathy of the tower 2:41 AM  

I loved this. Rather a brain workout. I had PUCE before PLUM and ELOHIM before ADONAI. The clues were just a little bit twisted. I had to access different than usual departments of the organization of my

@longbeachlee; "Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl", working at
the Copa Cabana.

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

My Dad was a nuclear physicist. My sibbles and I grew up hearing about atom smashers. I was so tickled to have a use for that knowledge that I was practically giddy as I smugly wrote in, "CYCLOS," admittedly a bit of a stretch to abbreviate "cyclotron," a type of atom smasher that works differently from a particle accelerator. I stopped feeling so smug as I realized I was wrong. In my defense, actual physicists don't actually say, "linac" when talking about their neato machines.
I actually do know the word "sinecure," but how often does it come up? Never. It appeared in a book I read once and I remember looking it up. And never seeing it again until today.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Your colorful oath cracked me up, especially since this puzzle made me growl two of my own: "Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the donkey!" and "Judas priest on a pony!"

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