Lady in Spenser's Faerie Queene / TUE 7-5-16 / Retroactively at law / Magic johnson's real first name

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Constructor: Jules Markey

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: TREASURE MAP (59A: Pirate's guide that's hinted at phonetically by the starts of 17-, 29- and 44-Across) — beginnings of theme answers phonetically make out "X MARKS THE SPOT" (EX / MARX / DESPOT-)

Theme answers:
  • EX POST FACTO (17A: Retroactively, at law)
  • MARX AND LENIN (29A: Red giants)
  • DESPOTICALLY (44A: How Ivan the Terrible ruled)
Bonus themers:
  • BUCCANEER (11D: Pirate)
  • OLD SEA DOG (35D: Pirate, informally)
Word of the Day: Ken STARR (50D: ___ Report (political  document of 1998))
Kenneth Winston "Ken" Starr (born July 21, 1946) is an American lawyer who has also been a federal judge and U.S. Solicitor General. He is the former President and Chancellor of Baylor University, and currently holds the Louise L. Morrison Chair of Constitutional Law at Baylor University Law School. He carried out a controversial investigation of members of the Clinton administration. [...] Starr served as the president and chancellor of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, from June 2010 until May 2016. On May 26, 2016, following an investigation into the mishandling of several sexual assaults at the school by Starr, Baylor University's Board of Regents announced that Starr's tenure as university president would end on May 31. The Regents said he would continue as Chancellor, but on June 1, Starr told ESPN that he would resign that position effective immediately. He continues in the Louise L. Morrison Chair of Constitutional Law in Baylor Law School. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Baylor College of Medicine. (wikipedia)
• • •

Yes, yes, we all see BROADS there, very cute (33A: Women, impolitely). I guess he wants us to know he doesn't have a tin ear after all. He knows exactly what he's doing. Good for him. If putting "impolite" things about women in your puzzles is what turns you on, then fly that flag, by all means.

["... without them what would little boys do?"]

Dumb pun stuff today, so if you're into that kind of stuff, hurray, and if not, pfft. This one does have this interesting bonus theme answer feature, with BUCCANEER and OLD SEA DOG in symmetrical down positions, as well as the ARRR at the end, and the fill doesn't suffer *too* much for all the theme-stuffing, so that's nice. After the MARX AND LENIN answer, I thought there was going to be a red stars green stars blue stars joke theme (mostly because [Red stars] seems like the kind of clue that should have a "?" after it—there are "red stars" in astronomy after all, aren't there? Or are they only known as "red giants"? [Correction: clue is actually [Red giants] and my brain impishly refused to read correctly, as is its occasional wont] Either way, I thought the theme clue was cute and that the theme might continue the cuteness. And then I thought DESPOTICALLY might be some kind of Tom Swifty joke I wasn't getting. And *then* I thought I was dealing with some kind of belated 4th of July theme wherein the puzzle mocked failed Russian systems of government (Communism, Tsarism, etc.). But none of that was right. Just first syllables, that's all that mattered. The OLD in OLD SEA DOG seems gratuitous ("sea dog" *means* "old or experienced sailor", but you gotta make your symmetry work somehow). Dictionary doesn't appear to give "sea dog" any specific connection to pirates, but maybe it's a horseshoes / hand grenades situation.

  • ON EMPTY (23D: Risky way for a car to be running) — took a long time to parse, especially since the answer appeared to start with ONE ... 
  • IRENA (27A: Lady in Spenser's "The Faerie Queene") — to give you an idea of how fast I'm scanning the clues sometimes, the first answer I wanted here was DIANA. Also, IRENA, twice in a week? That's some Maleskan regression, NYT. Come on, now.
  • REFLEX (6D: Involuntary action) — had REFL-, went with REFLUX.
  • YOLK'S (38A: "The ___ on you!" (classic gag line)) — this was the funniest thing in the puzzle, mostly because I read the word "classic" in a totally sarcastic voice

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 7:35 AM  

What happened to Lt Colonel in 48 ACROSS? Eg, there is an LTC between MAJ and COL.

Loren Muse Smith 7:38 AM  

Rex - I know, right? I filled in BROADS and almost just wanted to stay away from the blog today.

I've tried, and I just can't talk like a pirate. So I don't keep up with the day we're supposed to do it and hence figured today was that day. Seems it's not. (Hey – we've pretty much lost our resident Bostonian, @jackj, so I'll ask someone else who lives there – do y'all just forego the day, too?)

I liked how this one kept me guessing – got BUCCANEER and OLD SEA DOG and figured we had some themers running down. Thought, "Oh, man, those long acrosses are going to mess people up." Hah! How cool to finally see the EX MARX DESPOT. I laughed. I would have been okay with this without the two down themers, but I'm always impressed to see theme entries cross.

EX POST FACTO was a woe, but it was fairly crossed, so no prob. MARX AND LENIN…hmm. I usually write my reactions before reading other sites, but I had to go to XwordInfo to see if Jules had tried for "MARX brothers" first. Yup. He says, "I had trouble finding anything that would work with the MARX BROS. With the option of going to MARXANDLENIN available, I saw that the perfectly synonymous BUCCANEER did the trick."

ASPER looks funny in the grid. My husband was stung by a "wasper" (pronounced wawsper) yesterday. It's a Wirt County thing. So ASPER looks something like that, too. Maw-maw done run over one of'em aspers with the bush hog and kilt him. Right. She lost her scarab bracelet in the excitement.

Funny seeing ATTIC and SELLER sharing a grid.

I bet I'm not the only one who put in "arched" first for 5A. I guess it'd actually be "arced," right? I think we've visited and revisited that distinction.

PETREL went straight in, buddy, because I'm rereading Alfred Lansing's Endurance about Sir Ernest Shackleton and company's remarkable tale of survival. Those guys saw petrels every now and then when they weren't stuck in ice, soaking wet, and looking for a better ice floe to set up camp on. Sheesh.

I count around 68 squares devoted to theme material. Impressive, JM!

Wm. C. 7:39 AM  

Hey, @Rex -- just wondering, is it OK to put impolite things about men in the NYTXWP? Inquiring minds want to know.

BTW, good one on Reflux. Heh, heh ...

chefbea 8:03 AM  

Too tough for me. DNF too many things I didn't know

ArtO 8:10 AM  

Great write up. Fun puzzle. Started out easy but hit some crunch halfway down when couldn't remember BYRD.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Great puzzle, witty puns, lots of theme material including two symmetrically placed downs. In short, opposite of Rex's evaluation.


kitshef 8:22 AM  

Sometimes a single clue can make or break a puzzle. In this case, Red giants made the puzzle for me. Thought it was so clever and it unlocked the theme to boot.

Momentary fuzziness parsing ACE SIT - you sit for a test and you ace it?

In two-time HUGO winner Nancy Kress's novel Stinger, she spelled the name of NBA great Larry Bird as BYRD. Surprisingly, this got through every level of editing and proofreading and into the published book. When I pointed it out, she could not have been more graceful in acknowledging the error. Would that we could all accept such input with equanimity.

Vincent Lima 8:23 AM  

You have to believe "Women, impolitely" is Shortz' way of digging in. But if you're being that way, at least go with "Women, figuratively" to give full offense.

Never heard "YOLK'S ON YOU" before, and I mistyped MAdePAR instead of MAKEPAR, so it was only my absolute confidence in BYRD that saved the day.

msue 8:43 AM  

As a broad with a degree from Baylor, I feel like this puzzle poked me in the underbelly. No, I didn't like the qualifier 'impolitely' on 33A, but I liked it better than had the clue not implied that term isn't used in polite company (unless you codify it with a wink in the NYT.) The Ken Starr clue was fair game - no one would care a whit about it unless you were a principle subject in the Starr report OR if you happen to care about the ongoing Baylor mess, which hits very close to home for me. (I typed a bunch more but deleted it - you're welcome.)

Those clues partly made me mad, but also they make me recognize the strength of the puzzle. It engaged me on more than the word-play level. It tapped into real world issues that disturb me and make me think. All that on a Tuesday puzzle.

For the rest of the puzzle, I like the pirate theme, and enjoyed the longer entries, especially BUCCANEER and TREASUREMAP. Never heard of PETREL, so thank god for the crosses. I couldn't remember how to spell EARVIN.

RooMonster 8:43 AM  

Hey All !
Yar Matey! Tis a Pirate themed puz we get. Had to draw me sword and take some lunges at it. It fought back with some gusto. But in the end I ran it through!

Slightly tough for a TuesPuz. Had yumA for MESA for too long, messing up my E center area. Plus ONfumes for ONEMPTY not helping. Then had jOkes for YOLKS, paTIo fpr ATTIC, ltc for COL, and spelled CIAO as CaiO. So lots of writeovers, but in the end, I ACES IT and got it 100% correct! ARRR-Har-Har!

Pretty dreck-lite considering all the theme stuff. Mini stair step in the middle. DESPOTICALLY a new twisty looking word.

Overall, enjoyable puz, Jules Markey. I was INCLINES to like it. Won't make ye walk the plank, ya BUCCANEER!

ISLE SEA ya later.

GeezerJackYale48 8:46 AM  

Normally I jump all over Rex for being so over-the-top PC, but really: broads? That term needs to go away.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Not clear what Rex means by "[Red stars]" reference. Agree though that at this point, anything that can be clued "offensive" way to refer to a group of people should probably take a break from the NYT crossword for a while.

Some broad 9:07 AM  

The print version of the NYT has "red giants" for that clue, so apparently someone realized their mistake. "Red giants" is a thing. "Red stars," not so much--more like the infamous "green paint."

Z 9:08 AM  

Cute. Should have run on September 19.

Nice WOD. One wonders (well, I wonder), what Freud* would say about the likes of Hastert, Gingrich, and STARR. So much sexual insecurity used to screw the nation. Sad.

@Wm C - General rule, it is okay to punch up, but not okay to punch down. Another general rule, specifics (making fun of STARR for being a partisan hypocrite or Bill for philandering) are okay, BROADStrokes about groups that marginalize them are not.

@msue - From the looks of it (from a far distance) Baylor needs to clean house at the Board of Trustees level. Not an easy task, but it really looks like people in that group created the environment that allowed this mess to happen. My (tiny) alma mater is being rocked by a cheating scandal and I am not pleased. I can't imagine what a feels like to be a Baylor alum.

*As a parlor game, that is.

Glimmerglass 9:12 AM  

A woman I know writes a travel blog which she titles A Broad Abroad.There was a time when women used the term affectionately. Men, not so much. ARRR is a misspelling of proper pirate-talk. The expletive is properly spelled arrgh.

Z 9:20 AM  

@kitshef - I just saw your very late Saturday comment. Everyone who is anyone knows all the major Disney Aunts. Har. I must confess, I put our dear deer aunt right in. Chalk it up as a LFC. By a Pewit's Eyepit I bet you put it right in the next time she appears, too.

da kine 9:40 AM  

I thought a former Klansman being at 33D would provoke more of a reaction, but I guess not. This was a good grid. I breezed through it so I'm not sure where people found it difficult. I chuckled at the theme even though (or maybe because) it was corny. The only weird word for me was PETREL which I had never heard of but got pretty easily through the crosses.

JC66 9:44 AM  


The clue for 29A is RED GIANTS in Across Lite, as well.

George Barany 9:52 AM  

Thanks, @Jules Markey for this unusual puzzle, @Rex for an insightful and nuanced review, and the first round of the commentariat for a range of thoughtful and thought-provoking remarks. Time for me to add my several cents.

With Pirate Day being celebrated a few months ahead of schedule on the New York Times crossword pages, I had to scramble to find some suitable jokes (or YOLKS?). [Pro tip, I Googled with "joke" and the punchline to #3.]

The "red star" (singular, with a ?) joke was used back in 2007 to clue STALIN, of all monsters, so fair enough to use it again today for MARX_AND_LENIN.

As for BROADS, YouTube has the entire "Some Like It Hot" -- please fast forward to 2:03 and enjoy the brief dialogue between the mobsters and the two musicians, dressed in drag, who are on the lam. Alternatively, go to page 125 of the full screenplay. It's no accident that this 1959 Billy Wilder film routinely makes lists of the top comedies of all time.

Katzzz 9:55 AM  

Continuing to describe Etta James as a jazz singer is just dumb. Not entirely wrong because she could and did sing jazz at times. But not very often. She sang r&b and blues, as well as pop and rock. far, far more often than jazz. It's like calling Van Morrison a jazz singer. Yes, it's one of his capabilities, but it's not what he's about and it's not really what he does.

Tita 9:56 AM  

Roman "I" more Friday or Saturday clue.
I confidently and absurdly threw in -ten-.
It went like this - Roman numeral, 3 letters, ten. Thought, Only oldsters know Roman numerals anymore.
Second stupid mistake-
When it just wouldn't fit with crosses, I finally realized my first stupid mistake, so wanted to correct it to -one-.

The drawback with Enterprise car rentals is that you get the car with whatever amount of gas in the tank as when the last person brought it back.
Sometimes, it's ONEMPTY. First, you just want to hit the road, but ya gotta go to the nearest (not cheapest) gas station.
Then, ya gotta orchestrate the usage upon your return to not give them one extra drop then they gave you. I've done calculations worthy of planning Rosetta's rendezvous with that comet in order to not feel cheated.

Puzzle was cute. DESPOTICALLY was last themer in - I was wondering if 36A should be "THE" - you know, French for TEA, and expecting the last themer to also be one-word...wondering how you can come up with a homophone for SPOT.
That delayed me a little bit.

Thanks Mr. Markey.

Joseph Michael 10:22 AM  

Cute theme with lots of real estate. Made for a puzzle that is a little tougher than the usual Tuesday.

Had trouble coming up with EARL'S Court until I remembered that I had once stayed there. The Brits used to call it Kangaroo Court because a lot of Australians could be found there.

Never heard of the PETREL, so that's a new word learned, and didn't know that Magic was a cover for EARVIN. Cringed a bit at BROADS for all of the obvious reasons.

Bad memory: the STARR Report. A fifty million dollar witch hunt leading to nothing. Hmmm. Sounds kind of familiar...

GILL I. 10:37 AM  

Did anyone else have TOOTS for 33A?
I'm singing "I'm an Old Cow Hand, On the Rio Grand" for some very strange reason.
This was a durn good Tuesday and I'm liking DESPOTICALLY more and more. It's a bit like that word "conversate."
Happy day after the Fourth to you.

old timer 10:51 AM  

Unlike "dames", used with affection in the opening number of South Paciffic, I think "broads" always had a slightly pejorative connotation. A "broad" was not necessarily a lady of easy virtue, but probably would sleep with you if she was your regular girlfriend. And expect you to spend some money on her. So if women sometimes call themselves "broads" as in "A Broad Abroad" that's a good thing.

But really, the term dates back to the Damon Runyon era. Has anyone ever heard it used other than by Mafia types?

"red giants" was really the best clue I've seen in a while. I thought the puzzle was really quite Easy for a Tuesday, but I can see some folks being hung up by EARLS Court over Maureen OHARA.

RAD2626 10:54 AM  

Thought it was going to be a boring puzzle when it started for me with ETTA and NAAN but liked the theme a lot and Red Giants an inspired bit of cluing. Sure it would be the stars I can never remember. Cluing was hard for early in the week which makes us two for two in that column this week. Definitely AARGH. Just ask our parrot who yells it countless times a day. Nice lack of esoteric "popular" names.

Hungry Mother 11:14 AM  

Tough Tuesday for me, but made it through. BROADS surprised me and felt unnecessary.

jae 11:16 AM  

Medium for me too. No real problems, liked it. @Z To bad it couldn't run on talk like a pirate day.

Thank goodness for the crosses on EARVIN, would not have SPELT it that way.

I've seen DELA Soul somewhere recently, BEQ?

TiE before TEE.

Teedmn 11:17 AM  

When TREASURE MAP filled in, I thought "X marks the spot". Then, following the instructions, I found the phonetic version of that phrase and got quite a chuckle.

The funny show BROAD City, which was clued as a farce last week, uses the term BROAD rather BROADly and doesn't seem to offend. I've seen the show a couple of times and while it was clever and amusing, I did not feel compelled to watch more of it. As I'm typing this, I'm wondering why BROAD doesn't rhyme with ROAD or tOAD or gOAD or lOAD or wOAD. I can't think of any other OAD words that rhyme with BROAD - am I missing any?

I did circle the two Xes in the puzzle but did not find any TREASURE, ARRRgh. Thanks for the nice Tuesday, Jules Markey.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

This 52-year-old broad wonders when the term became so offensive!

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

@old timer: Don't forget that the "dames" in South Pacific are praised for being "broad where a broad should be broad."

There are many terms that were once normal and acceptable that are now seen as insensitive and pejorative, or worse. (The opposite is also true, as marginalized groups can appropriate previously derogatory terms (e.g., "queer"). The transient changes in social meanings do not erase previous historical meanings nor should we pretend they do (and I say this a very pro-PC person).

I also really like "Broad City."

And the puzzle... this is the first time I can remember in ages getting a (sorry) broad "Ah-ha!" smile on my face from the synergy of the theme and the revealer. Very well done!

Hartley70 11:41 AM  

After a busy long weekend, I just read yesterday's posts. Good grief! There were more fireworks than last night's colorful pyrotechnics display. For the record I did not write an offensive, therefore deleted, post to the adorable Annabel. College students of this generation will bring about exciting and beneficial social change just as we did with our Vietnam War protests. Each generation has it's own war to wage and Annabel, you do yours proud.

The puzzle was a delight. It elevated the usual Tuesday fare with some very welcome humor. The theme had me laughing and "Red Giants" was a complete surprise as I was mentally flipping through an astronomy text. Nice misdirect.

I got a DNF, however, on that one nasty little letter A in the SE. I had no idea on the rap trio and had never listened to a pirate voice his frustration. ARRR to that!

Masked and Anonymous 12:10 PM  

EX MARX DE SPOT … classic theme desperation. And all this from a dude named MARKey. thUmbsUp.

fave entry: ARRR. Made M&A immediately research when Talk Like A Pirate Day is*.
fave weeject: ATS. In the spirit of this puztheme, would recommend clue of: {"___ amore!"}.

And, of course, fave PEWIT-or-lose-it entry: PETREL.

@indie009/WHA: Yo! Nice bullets. Always an M&A fave.
@muse: yep. Seein BROADS in there today made my old chromo-zomes ache.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

* nope. It's on Sept. 19th.

Numinous 12:23 PM  

Tempest in a Teapot?
I can recall using the term BROADS in junior high school and thinking nothing of it. That was before (thank you, Kookie from 77 Sunset Strip And Maynerd G. Krebbs from Dobie Gillis) referring to them as chicks. All us cats did. At that age I had no idea to what that term might be referring. It wasn't until my mother, a former Marine, explained the term BAM*. Then I sorta got it but still found it amusing. Mom even seemed vaguely proud and not actually demeaned at all.

While on the topic of PC gender related issues, yesterday I came across this essay on Aeon, Gender is not a Spectrum.

Prior to solving this puzzle, I had no idea that there were pirates from Brooklyn. EX MARX DE SPOT. I had to chuckle. However I did know that piracy is rife in supermarkets at certain times of the year when thy charge a BUCCANEER for maze (corn). We have Robert Newton to thank for ARRR in his role as Long John Silver. The funny thing is, he doesn't say "ARRR" all that much in the original movie and I can't recall him ever saying it in the book.

This puzzle didn't give me any trouble at all though it did take me 12 seconds longer than my average time.

*"Broad Assed Marine"

jack 12:31 PM  

29A reminds me of the old joke inquiring about your political affiliation, "Yes, I'm a Marxist-Lennonist."

Kimberly 12:44 PM  

Yes, the BROADS was intentional, and maybe he thought it was tongue in cheek or an ironic admission, but it felt like they were holding up a giant middle finger to women. "Don't like it? Go cry, girlie." I guess they're saying this particular crossword will continue to be misogynistic, and hey, it's all in good fun, ladies, don't get your panties in a twist. Chicks. We're all too sensitive, right?

Unknown 12:56 PM  

Jim Webb said...
"What happened to Lt Colonel in 48 ACROSS? Eg, there is an LTC between MAJ and COL."

The clue just said "above" not "immediately above." A COL is above a MAJ, even though a LTC is in between.

Unknown 12:58 PM  

I loved DESPOT for "the spot." It summoned up the mental image of a pirate hailing maybe from the Jersey shore.

Unknown 1:02 PM  

I always thought of "broad," in modern usage anyway, as almost exclusively a word for self-aware attempts at noir -- one that hits my ear as nothing worse than corny. Whether it be "tough broads" or "dumb broads,” the impact of the phrase -- outside of establishing one's cheesiness -- comes from the adjective not the noun.

A quick internet search uncovers the charged origins that are clearly much alive to some here. To me, at least until now, they’ve long since faded.

One interesting tidbit from a source that seems credible, but you never know: "Before 1967, a track and field long jump was called a “broad jump”. However, due to “broad” being seen as an offensive term at this time, and the fact that women were competing in broad jumps, the term was changed to “long jump”.

Maxby 1:08 PM  

I love this blog, mostly because I have no friends that are into crosswords and it's great to read everyone's opinions, but this PC kick is killing it! It's a puzzle, and sometimes it's fun to see something a little offensive. I actually think BROAD is kind of cute and old-timey, nobody actually says it in the present day.

Check out the AV crossword if you want to get offended, it's wonderful.

Dick 1:12 PM  

Please, please, do not join the camp of those who would edit previously written pieces in various forms in the interest of making them PC. We are loosing the sense of language used by the originators to express their thought in their own words.

Mohair Sam 1:16 PM  

NAAN spelled the way it oughta be!

Liked the way the theme phoneticked, neato - but it should be ARRRgh down there at the bottom, no doubt. Anybody else boldly throw in MARXANDengels and find out they were out of space? They wrote the entire manifesto for goodness sake. How much does a pirate pay for corn? Sorry.

Based on his history as a young man I never cared for Senator BYRD.

@msue - Well said. Thank you.

Sheryl 1:19 PM  

I had OLDSEAleG for "Pirate, informally", which unfortunately fit with one for "Roman I" (also wrong) so I was baffled as to what the clue "Joe" could refer to until I finally used the "erase wrong answers" function in my software. Once I saw what I'd filled in wrong, I was able to solve the last few squares immediately. Blah.

Numinous 1:32 PM  

Back in the late 1980s, I bought a cassette tape, The Best off Chess Blues. It included the original version of Seventh Son by Willie Mabon (I had thought it was written by Mose Allison) and Baby What you Want Me to Do by ETTA James. I was deeply struck by the sound of her wailing in the breaks. I had listened to it multiple times when it finally occurred to me that her vocalization reminded me of Janis Joplin whom I'd not listened to in a very long time.Because of that similarity, I have to wonder who influenced whom. While ETTA isn't mentioned in the Wiki article on Janice, apparently they knew each other and ETTA felt that Janice had copied her style.

While she is always referred to as a jazz singer, ETTA, I believe, was more blues singer than anything else.

Larry Gilstrap 1:33 PM  

A few years back, I became an avid follower of The Moby Dick Big Read sponsored by the University of Plymouth. Each day someone would read a chapter from the novel. The list of readers featured actors, writers, artists, and other personalities, including Tilda Swinton, Nathaniel Philbrick, Tony Kushner, John Waters, Benedict Cumberbatch, and 130 others from, "Call me Ishmael..." to "Finis." I was enthralled for months. Except, for the chapters that featured Ahab's grand monologues, the reader, usually a mature, deep voiced male actor was determined to make this Nantucket Quaker sound like Long John Silver. "Hast seen the White Whale?" ARRR!, indeed.

Lorrie 1:44 PM  

Okay, I just don't get the theme ... what does "despot" have to do with a treasure map?

Charley 1:46 PM  

Does the path of a high school basketball shot differ from a college shot or a pro shot?

Ellen S 1:53 PM  

@Teedmn raises an interesting question about the pronunciation of BROAD. The only two cases I know of as a proper name, I think it rhymes with "road" "toad" etc.: Kaufman & Broad the housing developers, and a guy here in Sacramento, politically connected, name of Barry Broad. But the actor Jim Broadbent, doesn't he pronounce it "brawd" (If I can make autocorrect allow me the attempt at phonetic spelling)?

Anyway, I disliked seeing "BROAD" in the puzzle; again it seemed like Will is going to keep putting in those terms just to taunt us. If it weren't the latest in the long list, I wouldn't have even noticed. On the plus side, I was delighted by "Red Giants", but then I would be, wouldn't I?

Suzy 2:03 PM  

Easy puzzle for me-- amusing and very well done! Personally, I am not offended by the use of "broads.". It is a term that was once used to
describe a certain type of woman, seldom used any more outside of Mafia movies. But it is an historically correct usage. Why is everyone so
easily outraged these days?? BTW, Starr was a gimme. How unsurpsiing is it that a man who spent $70m+ on a political witch hunt should be
chosen to lead a school like Baylor? That yolk was on all of us!

Tim Pierce 2:44 PM  

Theme made me laugh out loud today. I enjoyed it quite a lot, even though I DNF at the PETREL/PLO crossing. Red giants is a terrific clue.

I find that I don't mind a clue like Women, impolitely for BROADS as much as I do some of the other stuff the NYT puzzle has been running recently. Acknowledging the problems with the word is part of the bargain (even if "impolitely" is understating the case).

@Lorrie: if you read out the first words of the theme clues, you get "EX MARX DESPOT", which is an awful pun on "X marks the spot."

Z 2:57 PM  

@Numinous - Interesting read. Unfortunately, the whole argument presented can be reduced to this, "This view of the nature of gender sits uneasily with those who experience gender as in some sense internal and innate, rather than as entirely socially constructed and externally imposed." Lots of true things make me uneasy (Lots of American voted for Donald Trump, for example), but that doesn't make them any less true. As for the rest, I'm not sure the author understands the implication of "spectrum." Hey, look, Red and Blue are on the same spectrum and yet are not the same thing. The author also uses a definition of "culture" that, while not uncommon, is inaccurate in my view. Culture isn't "forced" on us, we learn it. In that vein, I was amused by this article about when "pink" became the "girl color." I blame Saturday Morning Cartoons, personally.

@Charley - Clues sometimes include extraneous distractors. For instance, "Artist who released Discreet Music in 1975" is full of useless information when all the solver really needs is "three letter musician." Learning to "translate" such clues is part of becoming a better solver.

@Lorrie - "despot" become "de spot" which can be heard as a dialectical pronunciation of "the spot."

@M&A - Magnificent minds think alike - 'tho I raised your Pewit with an Eyepit. We'll see if anyone enters the fray with a DOOK GOAT.

Leapfinger 2:58 PM  

Anyone else see the piratical CAT OF NINE TAILS hiding in the grid?
Or know that TIMOR figures in the wake of the Mutiny on the Bounty?
Or that one of TIMOR's languages is Babar? That is so cool, I would love to know how to say something in Babar.

Interesting to see how many/few people with/without Y-chromosomes are/aren't on one side of the issue or another. Myself, I have no problem being broad-minded, although when I'm feeling frail I may skirt the issue.

Of course, today's rumpus will smooth out at some point, and the sun will come out TIMOR Oh.

Salut to @da kine -- I also thought PTSD had a lot of potential -- and other voices of reason. Y'all know who you are.

Welcome back to our #1 @Numinous, and cheers to @Gillfleur who nose what's what.

PS; That was plain Babar, not Babar Baranyi. Sorry, George.

Leapfinger 3:07 PM  

By the way, when the gauge needle is ON EMPTY, there can be as much as 80 miles left before you've totally run out of fumes. This figure has been ARRRived at by careful testing. But don't show up on my doorstep with your towtruck and empty gas-can.

Masked and Anonymous 3:37 PM  

@Z - yo & yep. Missed that magnificent beast of a PEWIT/EYEPIT reference of yers, on first scan-thrus.

Do pirates have R-chromo-zomes? … Do pewits and M&A have the shame-chromo-zomes? … Do fenders have F-chrome-zones?
day-um … So many sorta-scientific potential inquiries, so little time …

M&A Help Desk

p.s. GO AT crossed with DO OK = GO--whoooops... Never mind. @Z almost got m&e in trouble.

JD 3:41 PM  

Oh "women impolitely" caused a nanosecond of real fear, especially when that B went in first (not enough letters, whew). Big sigh of relief with broads since no one's called a woman a broad since the rat pack broke up. Hearing that word in old movies when I was growing up, I always thought it meant strong women in snappy clothes who were smarter than the cigarette smoking men around them (think Lauren Bacall). I really wanted to be a broad.

The Lavender Hill Broad 3:47 PM  

@Z, pink was a 'girl color' before TV was invented.

Nancy 4:31 PM  

EX MARX DE SPOT???!!! How adorable! I found the puzzle quite easy this a.m., but was too busy watching the women's quarterfinals on TV to go to the blog. Then I had several errands to run. So that now, looking at the blog belatedly, I see that once again I missed the theme. Didn't need it, of course, but it turns out to be the best part of the puzzle.

jberg 4:31 PM  

No one has mentioned the best thing in the puzzle- two first syllables, then the symmetry-breaking DESPOT, funny enough to justify its rulelessness. I just loved it!

And Ken Starr was a timely anticipation of today's FBI report.

jberg 4:42 PM  

More literal revealer, "Map showing where Saddam Hussein had buried himself."

George Barany 5:21 PM  

Here's a thought, this collaborative scientific research institute involving Harvard and MIT was established through the generosity of the BROADS, Eli and Edythe.

Z 5:29 PM  

@The Lavender Hill Broad - Hmm - TV was "invented" in the 1920's so your assertion is not accurate. Or maybe you think the Smithsonian just makes stuff up. I imagine that picture of Franklin Roosevelt would be quite scandalous today. Sort of amazing how culture changes, ain't it.

@M&A Help Desk - Naughty Naughty.

Anonymous 11:50 PM  

Sam Scott 1:02 It was broad jump when I was in HS ('66) and long jump when I was in college ('70). Though you might like the corroboration.

Dick 1:12 Editing to make things PC happens too often. A few years ago a teacher was reviewing a Regents Exam that asked students to identify the piece of work containing a passage. Turns out the passage as written was never in the work. The Regents Exam writer's altered the text to allay sensitivities. They promised to not do it again. I assume they no longer quote "offensive" passages from literary classics. Then again, those books are probably no longer assigned in high schools so such a question would be unfair.

laura R 12:12 AM  

Will could have used the movie with Liz Taylor and Debbie Reynolds (look it up on IMDb) made in the early 2000s called "These Old Broads." Problem solved!

LTB 8:22 AM  

"Broads" could have been used in a very clever and pleasing way in this puzzle. "The Broads" are a series of navigable rivers in parts of England. If you are familiar with the "Swallows and Amazons" books, you would know. This use of the word would fit the puzzle's theme nicely.

As a sailor, who read my son stories of boats and pirates, this puzzle was fun. I got treasure map right away and the "ex" in 17 across, so figured there had to be an "x marks the spot" somewhere. Call me cute, but I would have liked more pirate words like avast and ahoy.

Burma Shave 11:34 AM  


tattoo ART on ETTA’s auricles, I hear.
The OLDSEADOG GROVELed to see more,
but that BROAD’S charging a BUCCANEER.


spacecraft 12:57 PM  

I disagree with OFL on one point: the fill DOES suffer *too* much. I mean, come on now, KLO??? Really? ATS? UNS? NATL ATL? And what is an obscure STARR doing this early? This guy belongs to Friday, say, or Saturday. On Tuesday what's wrong with Bart or Ringo? Or even Brenda? OK, too old.

The theme is a groaner, and I just skipped reading all about BROADS. Yeah yeah. Here's something to legitimize the word:*

My doll is as dainty as a sparrow;
Her figure is something to applaud-ah;
Where she's narrow she's as narrow as an arrow,
And she's BROAD-ah where a BROAD-ah should be BahROhohohohoOAD-ah!

I didn't like it all that much, but I guess it's a par because of theme density.

*"Honey Bun," from South Pacific

leftcoastTAM 2:09 PM  

Lively, clever Tuesday by JM.

Clue/answer of the day: MARXANDLENIN.

Didn't remember, needed crosses: PETREL.

Don't think ever heard of: EARLS court, DELA Soul,
"The YOLKS on you." (Not partial to puns.) More amusing was EX MARX DESPOT....

Enjoyed this puzzle.

ARRR: My reaction to the STARR Report.

rondo 3:14 PM  

Calling it a groaner might be too kind, but nice to see @spacey MAKEPAR with it. I can hear an actor like, say, William Bendix talkin’ ‘bout BROADS, who might also be found in Al Bundy’s magazine Big UNS. Yeah, that’s how it’s SPELT. Isn’t SPELT some sort of grain? Can we just have a NAAN-REFLEX day about puzzle answers? ARRR.

Agree with others who point out ETTA James was more aligned with blue and R&B than jazz. Great voice no matter the genre. “At last . . .” On the NoEx soundtrack, BTW. From the episode where Rick gets hit by a satellite. Best. Show. Ever.

Just watched a Maureen OHARA / John Wayne flick last night. Yeah baby for her time.

@D,LIW, maybe your Delorean can fly around in time because it runs on PETREL??

ASPER usual, a Tues-puz is unpredictable. And the YOLKS on us. CIAO.

Diana,LIW 3:35 PM  

I was just about to figure out the revealer when Lambo the Wild One (my cat) flew through the room like a deLorean, launched off my lap to the sofa, and flew to the top of the curio. Where he knows he shouldn't go. So I had to get the Fire Department (Mr. Waiting) to rescue him from his perch.

By the time we were all back in our places with sunshiny faces, I forgot that I was looking for my puzzle TREASURE. Then came here and found out. It would have been twice as funny to suss it out myself.

Had to guess in a couple of places, so I finished correctly but wouldn't call it a "solve," more like good luck.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 4:47 PM  

I think I'll just throw up my hands... (Throws up hands. What exactly does that mean anyway?)

For the edification of a few: Gordon Lightfoot on "The Ghosts Of Cape Horn" - "Come on you old rustic OLD SEA DOGs". Great song, btw.

@Spacecraft - I searched and couldn't find a KLO in the puzzle. Did you inadvertently enter kETREL instead of PETREL?

Interesting article referred to by @Numinous. I think the point could have been made in, say, 500 words rather than the published 3800.

Liked the puzzle, especially the pun(s), and the theme in general. Good one.

rain forest (somewhere on the non-binary spectrum, tending to cis-)

Diana,LIW 7:14 PM  

@Rainy - I believe it originates from when you give up in war or to the police you put your hands up. (Put yer hands up parder!) Thus, when we throw up our hands we are giving up - or giving up to the task - you win!

@Rondo - it might run on PETRAL, but I'll never tell.

@Z - Eyepit. Must. Use. That. Today. "After the fight, his Eyepit was oozing."

Lady, Di

Z 7:21 PM  

@Diana, LIW - As you may have gathered from the context, Eyepit is a term I Learned From Crosswords.

Diana,LIW 7:26 PM  

Per @Ellen's comment on @Teedmn's pronunciation observation (Brawd vs. Brode) - Eli Broad of Kaufman & Broad recently opened a museum, free of charge, in LA called, wait for it, The Broad. (rhymes with road)


Diana, not a robot, but a lady

Bananafish 8:18 PM  

Five weeks later, and not one single solitary complaint about DJSETS, either from Rex or a reader? That was as GREENPAINTy and awful an answer as I have ever seen.

To the extent that a Google search shows that "DJ sets" might be a thing at all, it is as a set of equipment that a DJ uses to play music, NOT the music mixes at a nightclub. Those mixes are simply "sets".


Teedmn 8:27 PM  

@rondo, I guess I'll have to find the old NoEx episodes and watch them again - I can't remember the one you referenced, even after reading a full synopsis of it on the Internet. Though I may have come in on the series after season 2.

@rainforest, Gordon Lightfoot must like writing songs about OLD SEA DOGS; "Protocol" on the Summertime Dream album talks about them also!

spacecraft 9:20 PM  

@rainy: OMG I just discovered my DNF! I was thinking "kestrel" and never changed it. My bad. Well still, that just made it a tap-in par instead of a scrambling par. PLO: at least I've heard of that, though not for several decades. Patty and the Stockholm Syndrome. Yeesh.

Diana,LIW 9:51 PM  

Oh gosh. Thot I was done for the day. but...

@Spacey - re PLO - were you thinking SLO? (Symbionese Liberation Front) ala Patty Hearst?

PLO is mid-eastern org. It's late. We're all tired.

Diana, Waiting to Retire

rondo 10:22 PM  

@D,LIW - maybe it was ELO since you're Waiting (for the operator on the line) AND you're a Sweet Talkin' Woman. Slow down, don't know what I,m gonna do.
(Yeah, I do. Have another brew.)

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