Green Day drummer / SUN 7-3-16 / SNL cast member 1985-90 / Beryl bornite / Recently retired Laker great to fans / Online finance firm

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Shunned" — ordinary phrases have "shun" sound added to the end, creating wacky phrases, which are wackily clued, "?"-style:

Theme answers:
  • TRICKY DICTION (25A: What's involved in a tongue twister?)
  • DIRT PORTION (32A: Very, very top of the earth's crust?)
  • SPACE JUNCTION (4D: The cantina in "Star Wars," e.g.?)
  • STRAW MANSION (49A: First home of the three rich little pigs?)
  • SWEET 'N' LOTION (87A: Two things the candy lover took to the beach?)
  • BASE TENSION (105A: What an overbearing sergeant causes?)
  • BONUS TRACTION (116A: What improved tire tread produces?)
  • COLLAR STATION (59D: Where they sell accessories at a pet shop?)
Word of the Day: ROSSANO Brazzi (93D: "South Pacific" star ___ Brazzi) —
Rossano Brazzi (18 September 1916 – 24 December 1994) was an Italian actor. // He was propelled to international fame with his role in the English-language film Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), followed by the leading male role in David Lean's Summertime (1955), opposite Katharine Hepburn. In 1958, he played the lead as Frenchman Emile De Becque in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. His other notable English-language films include The Barefoot Contessa (1954), The Story of Esther Costello (1957), Count Your Blessings (1959),The Light in the Piazza (1962), and The Italian Job (1969). (wikipedia)
• • •

Found this sluggish and clunky. Super-basic and super-olde-fashionede in its theme type—a simple add-a-sound—and the results did not hit as much as they missed or just sat there. Also, the fill was too often overly common / familiar stuff (EENIE and ELANDs and UNAS and what not), and its cultural center of gravity was somewhere in the '90s, painfully so at times. MEL C, TRE COOL, and NORA DUNN ... that's about as up-to-date as this thing gets. It's a reasonably well-constructed puzzle, but both the theme type and the fill don't feel appropriate to a 21st-century puzzle, let alone The 21st-century puzzle (if you believe the NYT's own hype). There were some minor problems with the theme too: something about the POOR-to-POR transition at 32A feels mildly off to my ears ("poor" and "pore" are not homophones to me), and SWEET 'N' LOTION is massively awkward. I might take lotion to the beach, but I would not take sweet. *Sweets*, sure, yes, that is what one would take if one like candy. But just "sweet" is blargh. If you are indeed a "candy lover," no Way you're taking just one "sweet." So in the singular, and without the indefinite article before it, it just doesn't work.

Too much reliance on hackneyed fill from another language and/or another era. I knew things weren't going to be great when I opened with ADESTE. I don't know ... the whole thing smelled like it had been in mothballs. IN SCALE???? (98D: Proportionate) Not TO SCALE??? That was so odd. Not as odd as AISLED (ugh), but odd. ALBEN? Ha, if you say so. That whole eastern patch was the roughest for me by far, and the last part I filled in. Collar stays are not ... things I know about, so figuring out COLLAR STATION took a long, long time. I assume collar stays are like ... cufflinks for your shirt's neck region? Maybe if I went to see "Peer GYNT" more often I would wear fancy shirts and know that term. As it is, I just flailed around over there until all the answers settled into place. Wouldn't have minded flailing if I thought there was some kind of payoff, but there just wasn't much of one today.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:15 AM  

this might be the worst sunday puzzle i have solved in 30 years...just a horror show: one example is IN SCALE

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

Perhaps someone can tell me if I'm off base here but shouldn't the clue for CHATROOM be "Something you might have a handle IN" rather than ON? Seems to me this was a misconceived misdirection because it's simply wrong.

If you reply please address me as Waifer so I can find your comment easily. Thanks and Happy 4th everyone.


Trombone Tom 12:25 AM  

What @Rex said. This one was more work than pleasure. First of all the theme of SION/TION didn't have much pop. And the fill was not very exciting.

Had DISc before DISK but TIMESINK quickly sank that. Otherwise everything fell into place with rapidity.

CINERAMA brought back some memories of stomach-churning roller coaster views. Did not remember MELC and had no clue about NORADUNN since I didn't watch much SNL in the 80's, but crosses gave those up.

I did appreciate ANODYNES and POPUPS, but even though I am usually a fan of Mr. Donaldson's puzzles, I thought this one was a big meh!

jae 12:30 AM  

Easy-medium for me with two iffy crosses: ENDY/ADESTE made me question my carol knowledge and SAYERS/UNE might have been UNA if not for UNAS at 117d.

Toughest section was the Mideast as it took a while to remember SCHILLING although I do know what COLLAR STAYS @Rex are.

Solid Sun., liked it, but Rex has a point.

Unknown 12:43 AM  

128 Spine part. I believe it should be disc. If it's referring to a vertebrate it should be with a C, not a K.

chefwen 12:50 AM  

Unlike Rex I am easily pleased and thought this was semi easy, fast and fun. Ended up with one wrong letter. My SNL viewing days were pretty much over in the early 80's (yeah, I know, I'm old) so I didn't know NORA DUNN and I didn't know ODS bodkins, slapped an M in there for MUNN. Thus, my incorrect square, RATS!

Of course, favorite of the day TRICKY DICTION. Gotta love that one.

George Barany 1:13 AM  

For today's 138-word puzzle, @Sam Donaldson has come up with eight theme entries (six horizontal, two vertical) that are new to the database. Otherwise, the only debut words are PTSD, PRETTYING, and TRECOOL (too tired to work out how that last one is parsed).

I'm glad that ODS wasn't clued as an abbreviation for overdoses, but the clue used didn't really help when crossed with the name of an SNL cast member from an era when I had other priorities. I did enjoy a flashback to ENDY Chávez, and what's not to like about ABSCISSA, CHATROOM, and TIMESINK? ROLAND Emmerich is back with a sequel to the blockbuster "Independence Day" movie from twenty years ago, and there are nods to sports figures in the news with ALI, KOBE, and SCHILLING. Finally, I am taking the liberty to preempt @AliasZ with Grieg's familiar Peer GYNT suite.

Off-topic, RIP @ELIE_WIESEL, Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace laureate, whose full name appeared in the New York Times puzzle less than two weeks ago. His eloquent pleas, so full of humanity, to never forget the horrors of the Holocaust, are particularly relevant in today's turbulent political climate.

Dean 2:09 AM  

And NEPAL is not the only country with a non-rectangular flag. Switzerland and the Vatican come immediately to mind.

charlesr55 2:15 AM  

I agree. 39 across? 89 down? Please explain. Thanks. Happy July 4th!

OISK 2:18 AM  

I had trouble with the NE due to poor pronunciation. That is, I had for 32 across Di_TPortion. I could not come up with something to come before "Por," (which rhymes with "For.") It took a while until my stubborn brain widened out to "OH! Por, rhyming with lure!"

I do get a one box DNF though. How is "cat" a subject of many an internet meme. I guess I don't get to see those memes. I do see lots of stuff about weight loss, so I picked "fat." That gave me NRF instead of NRC, ( I know what that stands for, but I was happy with my fat, so I never considered it.)

NRC is a pretty familiar abbreviation, though; I have had a tough three solving days.

Ellen S 2:29 AM  

Now I really feel old. Alben Barkley was a gimme. I wasn't yet ten years old when Truman left office (Oh, @Rex, you do recognize Truman, right?); that was a long time ago. COLLAR STAys are a lot more recent -- listen up, professor, they were (most recently), stiff little pieces of plastic (probably whalebone earlier), that kept the edges of a shirt collar from turning up. Shirts had these things long after I started using an automatic washer and dryer, instead of pounding clothes on the rocks in the river, and hanging them from a clothesline. So, well into the modern era.

Unknown 4:12 AM  

Why does PORNO not get a reprimand? I’m genuinely struggling to comprehend where PC-ness draws the line…

Anonymous 4:30 AM  

CHATROOM/CHITROOM. Anyone with military experience knows about chitrooms, and how they must be handled to sign out tools. Crossed with a proper noun no one knows about, this was a natick.

Other than that, very enjoyable puzzle!


'mericans in Paris 5:52 AM  

Pretty much agree with @Rex this time, especially the stretch of DIRTPORTION. We had to get most of the down crosses before that one appeared. Agree also about the 90s feeling, with a throwback to the 50s-60s with BEAV.

For us, it was easy across most of the terrain, except in the extreme northwest and the far east.

In the northwest we didn't know the proper names asked for in 3D, 6D (why clue as "Expos/Mets" rather than "Expos & Mets"?), and 22A. We guessed correctly, but could just as easily gotten it wrong.

In the Far East we eventually gave up and had to google TRECOOL and ALBEN. Had "flatBED" for the longest time in answer to 62D (Kind of truck). It didn't help that SCHILLING was one of the crosses also.

Not much more to say, other than "meh". And happy 4th of July weekend to all! (Unfortunately, I have to work tomorrow.)

Leapfinger 7:10 AM  

Fuhgeddabahtit, @Rex. The only thing I agree with is that IN SCALE should've been 'TO' SCALE.

My take:
There's nothing like an interesting start to predispose toward the whole puzzle; while the ELLISion of OILexPANsion was a harbinger of things to come, it was TRICKY_DICTION that sealed the deal for me. AORTA say that NO RADUNN and no ENDY of SCHILLINGs and pence were going to nickel and dime me out of my pleasure. We've ALBEN there, haven't we?

I think the 'staging' of Peer GYNT was an inspired combination, and ANO-DYNE is a lovely portmanteau that beats Panacea hollow. Take ANTIDOTE, for example: there's something that just turns you against loving it. Elsewhere, it looks asif that T-BONE could be a Thigh-BONE AWA SHIN BONE (aka Tibia). On the other hand, I couldn't decipher TRECOOL: tres cool? I couldn't see how that fits the clue. Anybody?

The theme concept so begAISLED me and there are so many possibilities that we can simply decline past imperfections and eschew all obvious sources such as DESERT, SECRET or anything ERECT. A short list follows, none of it for attribution.

*STRAWMAN in a cornfield: CROW'S CAUTION
*Collected displays of sandpaper history: FRICTION MUSEUM
....(which also hosts meetings of the Emory Board)
*Reduced version of NPR's "Car Talk": FRICK AND FRACTION
*Where James Brown might meet Jimi Hendrix and Chaka Khan: PSYCHEDELIC FUNCTION
*Basic need for Wilderness Survival: FORREST GUMPTION
*K9 Lassie mediates Middle Eastern disputes: BORDER COLLISION
*Limited time for prayer: AMEN-RATION

I think most of us have heard about the 3 kitties on the French boat that capsized: Un, deux, trois, quatre cinq? The story was repeated so often that finally they put out a "Un, deux, trois cats sanction".

SamuelD, thanks for the ride on your A.I. SLED. Your initials are the only thing in the puzzle that are SAD.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

AnaL before AWOL.

Loren Muse Smith 7:22 AM  

I almost had a dnf because of "tube" top for TANK TOP and "swamped" for AWASH IN. Finally shaking out of my stupid suit, I saw RARE. Sheesh. And that's how I eat steak, too. Before cleaning up that corner, I kept wanting the handle on some kind of "broom" for 119A. And before sorting out the northwest, I kept wondering what phrase could end in "Dick." The only thing I kept going back to was something I put in my husband's lunch one April Fool's.

Rex – I'm among the regular Y'ALL SAYERS, so my "poor" and "por" totally rhyme. (And here's something odd about my TRICKY DICTION – my "poem" pretty much rhymes with "coin." It just might be a Chattanooga thing.)

I agree on the one-sweet deal. I cannot imagine Ever eating just one piece of candy. Ever. After lunch, as is my wont, I dive into our really ugly cookie jar of two pigs on a motorcycle and I'm not making that up, grab seven miniature Hershey Dark Chocolate bars or six miniature Reese's Cups, unwrap them all up front for more efficient maw insertion, and then mow through them boom. *However*, when I got SWEET'N LOTION, I really liked the way it looked.

I like the startling effect of how far apart the words before and after being "shunned" are. This kind of leap is the best. Junk to JUNTION, stay to STATION, (Rex, my husband has a bajillion collar stays), Dick to DICTION… Good stuff. If Madoff gets out of jail and draws any kind of retirement, it could be a PIG PENSION

Funny to see PAMPERS under ASS.

Clue for ESS was tough for me. I know I'm in the minority of those who like the more literal clues like "mushy middle" or "a fifth of Stoli."

All in all, a fine Sunday puzzle. Thanks, SD.

chefbea 7:31 AM  

Knew ION was added to each answer that had another meaning. Never heard of some of them...did know Tricky Dick and sweet'n low, and straw man

was no fun and DNF

Glimmerglass 8:13 AM  

Didn't see IXNAY. As a long-time speaker of pig-latin, I should have! Boo me. That would have given me TIX (I was thinking "what are TIs?) and GYNT (I went with rather lame GeNT), and, worst of all, the very lame Scottish Is NAe! This should have been a medium Sunday puzzle for me instead of a DNF. However, I liked it much better than @Rex did.

AliasZ 8:43 AM  

The plethora of proper names sucked the oxygen, and that SWEET [singular] sensation, out of this puzzle for me. Never mind the POR/poor/pour trichotomy. I counted some twenty-six names, not including TED, MAS [Hi, Martin A-S], brand names and geography. Oof!

True, some were not clued as such, but a JOEY is a Joey, no matter how you clue it, and IAN would have been better off being Ian than -ian. The D in NORADUNN/ODS was a pure Natick, it could have been B, G, N, and who knows what else. The only reason TRECOOL[???] wasn't a Natick was that the crossing names were pretty obvious: NOR. and NEPAL. Why in heaven's name clue NOR as an abbr. for yet another proper name?

Then there is LIL' KIM.
Is MELC short for Melchior? Funny name for a spice girl.

Thank goodness planes, supermarkets and theaters are AISLED IN SCALE. Good luck pushing your shopping cart through an airplane aisle.

Repetitive prepositions in partials have become commonplace now: AWASH IN, IN SCALE, ON A ROPE, RAIN ON and RAT ON. Is this a good thing? RATON could've been clued as: "Subway tracks denizen: Sp."

Favorite words: ABSCISSA and ANNULI. Not much else excited me about this puzzle.

Let's hear something by ROLAND de Lassus (Orlando di Lasso).

Happy Fourth weekend!

Hartley70 8:49 AM  

Oh ODS bodkins and ABSCISSA! What the devil are you trying to say? Tell it to ALBEN. He speaks gibberish.

Props for having a horizontal and vertical theme. It was Sunday appropriate and I appreciated the theme density. No one likes a skimpy theme, unless you're @Lobster and hoping for a themeless! I suppose it rates a medium difficulty because the long answers are a bit random, so harder to suss out. COLLARSTATION is the most egregious to me but SWEETNLOTION isn't far behind. I wish the entire theme answers had more zip. TRICKYDICTION is more like it!

I'm regretfully going to have to give this a B minus. There's room for improvement.

George Barany 9:23 AM  

Nice round of early comments about today's New York Times puzzle, which I solved last night.

I just finished today's Washington Post "Sunday Challenge", which is by 121-Down (as per today's New York Times numbering). This puzzle (I mean the "Sunday Challenge") is a regular 15x, and won't take experienced solvers nearly as much time as a 21x. But once done, don't go away ... see if you can find a secret message in the puzzle.

Absolutely amazing construction feat, and what an appropriate message on behalf of this community.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

I've done a little more than half of it, figured out the gimmick, and am not having such a wonderful time. seems like a glorified trivia fest, and the gimmick is very ho-hum. At 10 a.m., there are two semi-final tennis matches being played at the tennis courts -- some sort of regional Open tournament of a really high level -- some of the seeded players are in the top 1000 in the world. An unusual event there, and so I'm off to the park much earlier than usual. I haven't read YALL yet, as I'll probably finish the puzzle tonight. Or not.

Sheik Yerbouti 9:26 AM  

I actually thought Rex was somewhat kind today, given his usual perspective. Yet again on a Sunday, I quit half way through -- not because it was too hard, but because it was too dumb/boring. I got the theme, didn't find it particularly interesting, and the fill was painful. Why bother. The NYT Sundays have been slipping this year.

Train guy 9:47 AM  

We model railroaders typically say IN SCALE rather than to scale, which sounds stilted. It's either in scale or out of scale. Logical.

Unknown 10:04 AM  

lol this was a garbage puzzle

Ken Wurman 10:08 AM  

Not the worst way to spend a holiday weekend. I will never forget Endy Chavez's catch in the 7th game of the Mets vs Cardinals playoffs Unfortunately the Mets lost..

QuasiMojo 10:36 AM  

No Fun-ction.

RooMonster 10:39 AM  

Hey All !
Ambitious theme, although slightly fell short. DIRT PORTION, e.g. I kept thinking, "What the heck is a DIRT PORe?" Theme actually helped on SPACE JUNCTION, though, had SPACE fUNCTION/fOal there, but said SPACE funk doesn't sound right. Ah, SPACE JUNk! JOEY! Got it.

NE corner has too many partials. AND SO DO I, NOT UP TO IT, ON A ROPE. Also PORNO by itself is a bit ick-ish, but clued in the kitchy way it was? Blech.

CINERAMA a WOE. That corner tough with REBECCA and ROSSANO, and ANODYNES.

Overall, missed the point a tad. Enjoyed solving, but wasn't quite was I like for a SunPuz. YALL might think differently...


Teedmn 10:52 AM  

NeC at 27D gave me DIeT PORTION for a long time. Me murmuring DiET POR, DiET POR, and wracking my brain as to why the crust would be anyone's DiET PORTION of the pie, let alone relating it to earth - well, you get the idea of how my Sunday morning solve was going.

Trying to relate tAkETENSION to a sergeant didn't go any better. I didn't actually put tAkE in the grid but it was a rut my BONUS TRACTION couldn't get me out of.

I found some of the PPP tough going (TRE COOL, SCHILLING, ROSSANO, etc.) but I liked it over all. Thanks, S.A.D.

jberg 11:06 AM  

ANODYNE, a word I had never previously encountered, knocked me out of the Wisconsin state spelling championship when I was 10 or 11, so it was an old friend today. Otherwise, this was a little exasperating. There are plenty of CAT viral videos, but that's not what a meme is. And I thought UNE and UNAS in the same puzzle was stretching things. And BONUS TRACTION was just weird -- I don't know what it is, and don't know what a Bonus Track is either.

If AISLED is puzzleworthy, ENAISLED can't be too far behind!

I wanted Hayek to be Selma, and Barkley to be Alban, but the crosses fixed that. And if anyone can come up with a real life use of ORBITAL as clued, I'll be very surprised. satellites have orbital velocity, but their paths are elliptical (which doesn't fit).

Poor and pore sound just alike in my diction.

Jaundiced 11:18 AM  

This past week, in a nutshell:



Jaundiced 11:19 AM  


dhdes 11:39 AM  

If not for the fact that no one who lives in the vicinity of Red Sox Nation can forget that bloody sock, the middle east of the grid would have been impossible for me. I must say I am sorry to be reminded of him, as he is no post-baseball hero.

Mohair Sam 11:45 AM  

Yeah, I'm always happy when I see Samuel A. Donaldson's byline - but I gotta agree with @Rex today. Especially on the singular SWEET. Even LOREN, who loves everything in Cruciverbia, had a hard time with that.

Had to do several educated guesses to avoid a DNF today, but we hit on them all - yes, Sam preferred the "C" in JUNCTION to the "K" in JUNK (we don't know from nothin' on the Spice Girls), She is "D"unn, and the Native Americans are not Z"A"NIS - I've just begun a book about the Comanche Empire and the Comanches have not yet subjugated nor slaughtered the ZUNI so I'm not aware of the tribe as yet. I am now aware, however, that Trump better hope like hell that Elizabeth Warren's 1/32 or so is not Comanche.

Collar stays, a tenured college professor writes here that he has never heard of the things - guess he doesn't need them for work, lucky guy. If that shirt you keep for certain weddings and all funerals isn't button down @Rex chances are you have them - check it out.

ENDY Chavez spent a few minutes as a Phillie before he went to the Mets. In his first start I was sitting in the right field seats when a fly was lofted to deep center and I watched as ENDY casually drifted to the spot where the ball would come down, waited, and comfortably snared it. A more natural outfielder I've never seen.

I'm guessing TRECOOL in not a real modest guy.

Leapfinger 11:45 AM  

@Tara Kellogg, quite right! My many years hanging with the Ortho docs also had me wanting DISC, but I knew it had to be TIMESINK because TIMESYNC would make no sense at all. Went ahead and googled it and found a number of reputable sources do go with 'intervertebral DISKs.

As a parallel, I think that sometimes the garden-variety ABSCISSA could be spelled ABSKISSA, since some people are ABS KISSAs as well as TUSHY KISSAs.

@Hartley, as you may be guessing, I'm inordinately fond of ABSCISSA. After all these years, I still sort them out as Opposite and Adjacent. Still works for that HypoTENSION use.

Seems that I'm easier to amuse than Y'ALL. Good thing that doesn't worry me.

JD 11:45 AM  

It was a mixed bag for me. I convinced myself that Ava was the only possible answer to 'if you hit me' and so I dnf with taiv (yes, my inner bully snickers). I mean, it COULD be a thing she said to Frank.

Carola 11:56 AM  

Well, I loved it. I thought TRICKY DICTION, STRAW MANSION, and DIRT PORTION were so inspired that I was willing to overlook the not-as-good-ness of the rest.

Gaurawalla 12:14 PM  

Squares are rectangles.

Joseph Michael 12:17 PM  

Liked TRICKY DICTION and the clue for INDENTS, but not much else about this puzzle stood out as particularly new or exciting.

Had the most trouble with 32A. Since I had NEC for 27D, I ended up with DIET PORTION, which made sense -- except that It didn't fit the clue or the theme.

Though EENIE was a choosing word, not a "counting" word. And I don't think I've ever heard something run down described as DUMPIER. But maybe that's how I felt after finishing this puzzle.

Maruchka 12:22 PM  

I'm in the slog camp, sorry to say. Squish, squish. Unusual for a SAD puzzle. I appreciate the 'Getting it on with a celebrity?' ANS: thro(w)-back-ion conceit; alas, meh.

Is 'collar stat' a cop thing? And I vote for DISc, too.

Many do-overs and unknown PPP DNFs. 'Nuff said.

Favs of the day - @Leapy''s MAD theorizing and @Nancy's prioritizing. LOLs.

A Glorious 4th to all!

Hartley70 12:41 PM  

@Leapy, wowza! Here goes.....

(in a system of coordinates) the x -coordinate, the distance from a point to the vertical or y -axis measured parallel to the horizontal or x -axis.

I'm thinking hyperTENSION as I try to deal with that. ALBEN, where are you?

skua76 12:44 PM  

I'm pretty much with Rex today. After realizing I could fill in all of the ION's, I still decided to finish the puzzle. The last to fall was COLLAR STATION...I kept thinking it was COLLAR SecTION referring to some sort of religious order. Not until I got IXNAY and GYNT did I see the correct answer, and I never even considered "collar stay"...having spent a fair amount of time in northern Illinois where some of the outlying suburbs are sometimes called "collar states."

More Whit 12:45 PM  

Good morning (or good afternoon as the case may be) and happy, safe 4th of July to all. Next to Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday: good food, summer weather (hopefully) and a day to celebrate freedom and the red, white and blue. As for the puzzle, I'm not an anatomy aficionado but spinal discs are discs not disks. Some clever clues but in aggregate not memorable. On a side note, I just finished reading 1776 by David McCullough ... great book btw, and apparently had the wind blown in a different direction along the Hudson and East Rivers during a crucial stretch of time that year, General George Washington and his army would've been defeated in all likelihood and the USA would not have been least not anywhere near the time we struggled to be a free nation. Luck or divine Providence no one can say, but we could use a little of both right our ship of state gets buffeted by winds of a different kind. I hope we will be as worthy as all the women and men who came before us and gave the last full measure of devotion to preserve our freedom. Time will tell.

Greg 12:57 PM  

I wear a lot of dress shirts for work, so collar stays are definitely something with which I'm familiar.

Anonymous 1:25 PM  


puzzle hoarder 2:00 PM  

Waste of a perfectly good morning and a reminder of why I never used to do Sunday puzzles. I don't care for themes and this one was especially lame and forced. DIRTPORTION doesn't work by spelling or pronunciation. Worst of all we're the multiple dnfs from things I ought to know that have slipped through the cracks. ENDY has only appeared once before but this is ADESTE's 48th and the second in just this year. REBECCA has received a fraction of that use but it's an Academy Award winner. Somehow I've've never heard of it. The SW corner was the worst. I actually had to cheat to change PANORAMA to CINERAMA and complete the puzzle. One more mistake was UNA for UNE. Who's ever been named SAYAR? This was my worst showing on a puzzle and the least enjoyable in a long time. I beginning to suspect there really is a god of political correctness.

Numinous 2:08 PM  

An Idle Ramble on a Mediocre Puzzle
TIMESyINc, without any real reflection, looked just fine to me. That may have something to do with my having been a film editor. SyNc is something I dealt with every day of my working life and it was by no means a synch (er cinch). Which brings me to another thought. The CH sound in Welch and Scottish is not a synonym for the K sound in English. When both languages are spoken properly the H sound can be clearly heard after the C. Another problem I have is how to finish up DIS_. C? K? I never know. Usually, in puzzles, I rely on the cross to solve that dilemma but today, either looked appropriate to me. Okay, so what could TIME SyNc actually be? Maybe something between owners of a TIME Share condo or possibly the coordination of several people's watches. But I didn't think that deeply. TIME waster probably fits the clue better.

Yesterday's puzzle was a bit more satisfying. With all the possibilities, after it was filled in to make sense Mr. Happy Pencil appeared. Themeless puzzles often seem that way to me. The only possible letter that can be in any square gets there and voila. This puzzle left me with the feelin, "So, now what can I do for amusement?"

May the Fourth be with you!

RAD2626 2:32 PM  

Not my favorite Sunday or Donaldson puzzle but entirely acceptable imo. Had STick MANSION so that really messed me up for awhile. I remembered the song lyric "They built their house with twigs..." so it made sense to me. Also did not know either the Spanish some or the New Mexicans who were actually pretty old Mexicans so that section was a struggle. Also wanted to make AWA SHIN a themer and as always stared at ATOB forever before I parsed it correctly. Otherwise all pretty smooth.

Julie Gomoll 2:40 PM  

Waifer: handle = name

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Well, I usually find Rex overly picky, but I have to agree with today's criticisms.

Dirt poor is not dirt por. Sweets are not called sweet. And Mel C and Nora Dunn are pop clues - from 20

years ago.

I also agree there was no fun to the long answers.

Y'r #1 Fan 3:10 PM  

@Numi, I've been bereft.

Glimmerglass 3:31 PM  

Todays NYT Cryptic Crossword is really fun.

Rabi Abonour 3:41 PM  

I might just be nostalgic, but I very much enjoy this theme type when executed well. In this case I agree that DIRT PORTION is awkward and SWEET N LOTION just straight up doesn't work. But otherwise, I thought this was a fine, if decidedly outdated, puzzle.

Dragoncat 4:12 PM  

I'm surprised no one was put off by Mel C vs Mel B, which is what I started with and was sticking to for the longest....

xyz 6:14 PM  

Both are used by orthopedic doctors, fwiw

xyz 6:17 PM  

Several very clunky spots as Rex touched on, but despite that relatively easy for a Sunday because the trick was so very easy. DIRTPORTION made no sense until I came here. *ugh²*

Anonymous 6:35 PM  

I usually like this constructor, so maybe the problem was the editing, but multiple naticks and bad cluing.

OISK 7:16 PM  

I am still puzzled by the uncool "cat." Does that refer to the mammal? Or is it "conservatives against Trump"? from whom I have never seen a meme? Bad either way.

beatrice 7:51 PM  

@Numinous - it's always nice to see you here.

For me the mix of crosswordese, plethora of PPP(?), clever/difficult clueing, and down-right off clueing was jarring. Throw in that I don't like puns as a rule and that even glancing at tortured clueing makes my entire being hurt - yikes. Mr. D. states that Will et al. 'spruced up' many of the clues - double yikes. And one wonders why a not really timely puzzle written less than a year ago was rushed through. Sigh.

Well, I was inspired by AliasZ, who posted two different pieces (here and at Wordplay) by one of my musical deities. The puzzle yielded a suggestion - the hymn to Mary 'Ave maris stella' - 'Hail STAR of the Sea'. Of the many musical settings of the text are works by both Lassus and his contemporary and friend Jacobus Vaet.

Hartley70 2:47 AM  

@Numinous, I mentioned your name Friday and here you appear. I'll have to do that more often!

Unknown 3:30 AM  

This was fun! Afternoon patty-melt and a pint (or two) at the diner worthy, apparently.

The "botkin" clue had me stumbling because I was at first drawn to V. Nabokov's pseudonym in Pale Fire as well as Shakespeare's "bare bodkin" -- so I gave up on that square.

I thought DIETPORTION instead of DIRTPORTION because, I thought it'd be like just having the top of the cake and not the whole thing. Just skim off the top, yeah? Anyway, minus a square there.

And then there was my BONUSFRICTION for BONUSTRACTION based on the fact that the crosses were both acronyms that I had only vaguely heard of. NEC: National Energy Council? Seemed reasonable at the time.

Everything else was cool, though although KOBE is not known as that "to hist fans" -- that's just his name.

Do people still get POPUPS? Oof.

Unknown 5:56 AM  

Apparently: [G']Ods botkin: intimating the wrath of the Lord's dagger and cruel wit. An interjection or mild explicative.


[via -- this cartoon must be too clever me for because I don't get it. . .]

Z 9:58 AM  

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names and Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle

43/138 for 31%
Nearing the line but squeaking under. I thought it would be over 33%, but that's probably due to my struggles in the REBECCA/ROSSANO/CINERAMA section. If you look at that 8x7 corner, 27 of the 52 letters are PPP in at least one direction. A recipe for naticks.

@Numinous - I'm glad I came back a day late to see your comment. It's good to hear from you.

@GB - TRE COOL (as in très cool)

@Waifer - if you select "Name/URL" Blogger will let you type in whatever nom de blog you would like.

@David Phillips - No one took a stab at answering your question, so I guess I'll give it a go. If something is demeaning to a group of people or arbitrarily segregates them then one is being insulting. Yesterday's issue is that the clue fundamentally misunderstands the novel and in so doing articulates the notion that the victim caused her own abuse. It is a common misunderstanding, but one would expect the NYT to have at least a Wikipedia level understanding of a 20th century classic. Neither PORNO nor it's clue does anything like this. I suppose some Victorian minded people might find the mention of sex discomfiting, but, for me, that is a very different situation. I feel like I'm just skimming the surface, here, so I hope this helps more than muddies.

Posting a day late - busy Sunday and a multiple DNF, so just finished not finishing after doing Monday's puzzle.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Gosh @Z, I was about to go into withdrawal without my daily dose of PPP reports. Thanks for the rescue.

Will go the @Anony route cuz I don't want you to waste time hating me personally.

Thomas Jefferson 2:43 PM  

As always, nice writeup, Annabel.

I agree with the others who say you should learn the difference between "sex" and "gender."

One's "Sex" refers to: male, if sperm-bearing; and, female, if egg-bearing.

In the past fifty years, "gender" has evolved to become much more a social and/or personal construct. In other word, you get to pick 'em!

Just hoping you're not spending $65K on a "Gender Studies" degree at Wellesley!

Happy 4th!

Unknown 8:40 PM  

Minerals and ores are not the same. Beryl is a mineral

kitshef 11:17 PM  

I seem to be the contrarian this weekend. Hated Saturday, liked today a lot. Well, any puzzle with TRE COOL gets extra credit, but throw in ABSCISSA and Oh my stars and garters!

I also liked the theme and though all the themers except for STRAWMANSION were beautifully executed.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

How, exactly, does the AORTA "help get the blood flowing"? The blood flows thorough it, but it's doesn't actually help. The heart helps, the left ventricle helps, the left atrium helps, even the mitral and aortic valves sort of help. The aorta doesn't help.

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

When Rex wrote, "'poor' and 'pore' are not homophones," what was he thinking? Of course they're homophones. The first two syllables of DIRTPORTION and "dirt poor" sound exactly the same.

David Stone 2:59 PM  

Fascinating to read the difference between your comments, Rex, and Amy Reynaldo's. She (and most of her commenters) found the puzzle to be pretty cute. Like you, my wife and I hated it. It really was awful in all the ways you describe.

rain forest 11:51 PM  

This (challenging) puzzle was partially in my wheelhouse, and partially somewhere in steerage. 6 write-overs in the South - well one was because I put the answer in the wrong place - and a few more elsewhere. Because I didn't know Green Day's drummer, that whole middle East section took forever, several times almost causing me to take out AISLED.

I'm not quite DIRT POR, but not far away, however, that was the toughest themer for me to suss out. Didn't it used to be NEC?

Mostly fun, but that East section made it a slog.

G8rAna 10:06 AM  

Her name is MelB as in Mel Brown. Where did that C come from?

kitshef 11:22 AM  

@Gr8Ana - you are thinking of Scary Spice (Mel B). Sporty Spice is Mel C (Chisholm). And no, I'm not proud of knowing this. My only excuse is living in London at the time where they were simply unavoidable.

Burma Shave 11:30 AM  


and cost YALL a SCHILLING to leave


rondo 12:07 PM  

Well there’s most of an hour I WONT ever get back. Mostly agree with OFL today which is RARE. Especially re: toSCALE which is the only way I’ve ever used it, as in engineering drawings. And I never know whether it’s DISc or DISK, so I just DIS_ it.

I guess we'll be stuck with the likes of LIL Kim and LIL Wayne since LIL Abner and Diamond LIL skew too old. If you ever get near Ingomar, MT, you must stop at the historic Jersey LILly bar. You'll not forget it.

Any Spice Girl will RATE a yeah baby as does MEL C, and of course SALMA Hayek. To prevent each of them from being a VICTIM of Lyme’s disease I’d check them both for TIX.

LOTSA ONs and INs with ONAROPE RATON RAINON AWASHIN and INSCALE. That SW corner was AWASHIN PPP and the ANSwers barely OOZED into place. Good thing it was RAINingON eastern MN this A.M. the way this was such a protracTION. IXNAY, no MAS.

spacecraft 1:53 PM  

I had a load of WOEs today; this took me forever to get through. I had everything in 4-down except the obvious C...but MELC??? What kind of name is THAT? Did they want to call her "Milk?" I see coming here that there's a SPACE between the MEL and the C. Who knew?? I certainly didn't.

Then there was the dropped O in 32-across. All the other theme phrases work, but this is the outlier. You can't just decide to do that. Not without incurring a penalty. Sorry, it doesn't work. Needs to be ripped out.

Some of the cluing...I mean, "Unable to make a mess?" Okay, so if the guy's AWOL, he can't make (attend) the next mess (meal). I guess I get it, but come ON, man! How tough do you want to make this?

The theme was so-so, the fill ranging from great to terrible to just plain weird. It was a chore, like using a BROOM, something you might have a handle on and that held me up even longer. Bogey.

leftcoastTAM 3:27 PM  

Have to conclude that Sunday puzzles generally should be shunned as TIMESINKS, the fun not INSCALE to the effort to do them. Too typically, as this one, they are little more than slogs.

AnonymousPVX 5:19 PM  

No problem with the 90's names. I thought we were supposed to remember this stuff, or learn it.

Tough but doable. A bit harder than medium but that'll do, I guess. Happy to finish it.

Diana,LIW 8:19 PM  

Got back last night (1 am) from a "3 perfect days" mini-vaca in San Francisco, so I'm late for everything today.

My Saturday paper is still a wet, mushy mess that our housesitter found somewhere in front of our house, so I may never do that one.

I'm so often surprised at the strength of commenter's reactions - LOVED it, HATED it. REally? Tis a puz!

So. Was a bit annoyed with the PPP. However, why is anything from the last 5 years favored over tried and true cultural knowns? Is it, as Cher's mom said in "Moonstruck," because men don't want to realize they are going to die? And Rex is trying to be 18 years old again?

I enjoyed solving the themers and the puzzle in general.

How many of you could construct this?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Phillip Blackerby 4:05 PM  

I move back to Arizona in early Fall 2001,so knew SCHILLING right away. This puz, like some Internet surfing, is a TIME SucK. Kitchen SINK, heat SINK, SINK hole... maybe... but not TIME SINK.

Phillip Blackerby 4:20 PM  

Mélanie Brown, "Scary Spice," is known as Mel B. Melanie Chisholm, "Sporty Spice," was know as Mel C.

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