Rippled and lustrous / THU 8-25-16 / In a comfortable position / In a state of entanglement / Gymnastics position

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Constructor: Andrew Zhou

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: THE ROAD TO HELL—The road to hell is a PAVED ROAD, paved with GOOD INTENTIONS, and the road spans this crossword grid diagonally.  Hell is a single square rebus. Literally. Also ST BERNARD may be responsible for the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

 Theme answers:
  • PAVED ROAD (6A: What the circled squares in the puzzle symbolize) 
  • SEAS (HELL)/RAISE (HELL) (66A: Beach souvenir)/(49D: Cause a commotion), with the "Hell" getting rebus'd in the last box in the grid, and becoming the terminus of the PAVED ROAD
  • GOOD INTENTIONS (The circled letters; the pavement) 
  • ST BERNARD (65A: French abbot thought to have originated the saying depicted symbolically in this puzzle) 
Word of the Day: SLEEP SOFA (57A: Something pulled out before turning in)

• • •

Hi-- Lena here for a quick sub-in.  This is an awkward theme. See how awkward my theme description ended up being? Outside of the two longer theme entries being symmetrically placed in the grid, the sum of all the parts feels haphazard/clunky. I barely even realized that ST BERNARD was part of this puzzle's theme because when a clue starts with "French abbot" I immediately look for cross clues to bail me out and be done with it.

I didn't know (9D: Romanian composer George): ENESCU and the clue didn't even make me feel bad about since there's no "most famous/beloved/important" before "composer." In addition to being a great composer his surname is itself composed of great crossword letters. It took me a bit to get GREEN PEAS (18A: Goya or Del Monte product) because I was looking for "can" somewhere in the answer. Those companies don't produce peas, they produce canned/dried/frozen  peas. I had another production issue with (47A: Where many drafts are produced) BAR-- I get it, but "produced" is weird and ultimately doesn't make the clue witty/funny to me. Even if the answer was about cold air coming through a window, I wouldn't say "brrr this window is producing a draft." Why not go with "flow?" Drafts flow through windows and flow into glasses. Windows are made of glass... lots more opportunities for cleverness if you ditch the stuffy "produced." It's Thursday, go nuts.

I liked the conversational SNAP OUT OF IT (30A: "Focus!") right before HERE I GO (38A: Announcement after a deep breath)-- very cinematic. Also BE THERE (42D: "Show up... Or else!").

I got RONCO (15A: Brand with a trademark on the phrase"Set it and forget it") right away, but definitely didn't remember that the phrase referred to an in-home rotisserie! I thought it was an egg timer or something but no, it's a tricked out toaster oven that fits two (TWO!) chickens inside.

Perhaps RONCO is also responsible for the SLEEP SOFA (57A: Something pulled out before turning in)? The answer didn't give me any technical difficulties but I certainly hadn't heard that abbreviated form of sleeper sofa before.

Crossword staple SOD gets a clever clue here (21A: Soccer coverage?) and we get a better-than-average "first letter spelled out" clue for VEE with (8D: Village leader?). GITMO gets a pretty neutral clue, huh (39D: U.S. Base in Cuba, for short). While, sure, it's literally a base in Cuba, it's also a place where people are tortured and detained and *that* is what it's known for. Don't be coy.

<record screech> Oh wow, POGS (6D: 1990's fad)! I was the right age for POGS but the wrong kind of kid (the only time I was bullied to my face by my peers was when I asserted that Vivaldi is more talented than New Kids on the Block-- BAD MOVE, LENA). I definitely side-eyed POGS just like NKOTB-- they're just ugly pieces of cardboard. I was about to specify that I was referring to the POGS but:

The puzzle gets a B from me because it's the first day of college for many and you gotta set the bar high-- at least for the first few weeks. Gotta write a few SEE MEs. I really don't like the single rebus square move, the ST BERNARD trivia adds no fun, and while I do like the visual of seeing a road lead straight to hell the rest just isn't tight enough or challenging enough.

Signed, Lena Webb, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Oh No Jono! 6:40 AM  

Never remotely heard of s SLEEP SOFA before. Maybe it's a geographical thing; in Australia we'd call that a sofa bed.

Lewis 6:47 AM  

Wait... isn't it ENESCO? (Just kidding!)

Well, this is what I want from a puzzle. A creative concept and grid design; lovely, tough, and careful cluing, and a theme that hides itself for a good while. But mostly, it gives me what I hope for in the solving experience -- a state of rapt attention, not knowing what is coming next, the feeling of clawing through the squares, yet there being just enough light to give me the confidence that if I stick to it, I'll get it. High five, Andrew!

Hungry Mother 6:54 AM  

Easy Thursday, but fun to do. Just enough grit to make me mumble to myself.

Casimir 7:07 AM  

I liked it more than Lena, and I initially found the cluing tough for a Thursday. I don't remember what did it, but at some point it all just fell into place and felt easy. It's particularly interesting that Saint Bernard's memorial on the church calendar was just a few days ago.

Casimir 7:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitshef 7:09 AM  

A really, really hard puzzle. At least two minutes before I filled in my first squares (ARUBA). Took me longer than an average Sunday to finish.

For the second day in a row, a really, really good theme. I like it when I need the theme to finish, which was the case here. I may never have cracked the NW with WoEs like HOLLIS and MAISIE and “Set it and forget it” if I hadn’t been able to fill in the shaded squares.

In addition to those, never heard of an air cav, or an MFA, didn’t know the NASA or OSAKA slogan, and though I know we’ve seen MOIRE before, I don’t think it was ever clued like that, so needed every cross there. Also clung to StAyOnTOpIc for SNAPOUTOFIT for way too long.

Add MIMOSAs to the list of ‘how can anyone enjoy this?’ drinks, along with martinis and anything with grapefruit juice.

SOD and HAY symmetric - nice. NAM next to HERE I GO was interesting.

Anonymous 7:10 AM  

I loved this puzzle! I filled it in pretty methodically from NW to SE, and filled the "GOODINTENTIONS" squares with just half the crosses. Got the "HELL" rebus at the end and laughed.

Regarding GITMO: it has been a U.S. Navy base since the Spanish American War and will be a base for a long long time due to what you might call "very favorable lease conditions." It has only been a controversial prison for a tiny fraction of its history, which seems to correspond with the guest blogger's short knowledge of the world, which includes pogs and boy bands. If you served in the Atlantic Fleet throughout the 20th century you knew about GITMO, even if the general public had never heard of it. So yeah, it's a base.

(I guess I just have a different world experience than the general public. I got drunk at GITMO in 1983! That's how I'll always remember it! There! I said it!)

Nice review, although I liked the puzzle more than you did.

Passing Shot 7:15 AM  

For some reason, I never enjoy Andrew Zhou's puzzles. There's always something slightly "off," at least to my ear, in the clue-ing. Like Lena, I expected "can" to form part of the GREENPEAS answer. APER is a word found only in crossword puzzles. Have no idea whats POGS is/are and no inclination to look it up. Meh.

Glimmerglass 7:27 AM  

Good puzzle. Appropriately hard for a Thursday, and I struggled for a while in both the NE an SW. Needed the theme for PAVED ROAD, of course. @Rex would have hated GREEN PEAS! It may actually replace "green paint" as an arbitrary adj/noun non-thing.

Charles Flaster 8:03 AM  

No difficulty with the "solve"
PAVED ROAD nicely set up theme .
Lena's review seemed "C" worthy not B.
Liked cluing for CARD, UMPS, and SNAP OUT IF IT.
No CrosswordEASE.
Thanks AZ

Marcy 8:08 AM  

Granny, Grammy, maybe even Gramms - but Gramma is ridiculous! Pronounced like "grammar" without the last "r," it doesn't even sound right. Does anyone ever say "Gramma"???

Michael Hanko 8:16 AM  

In my family, we did as children.

Michael Hanko 8:23 AM  

It's not arbitrary here. "GREEN PEAS" is actually a vegetable name to distinguish a (sometimes less common) variety from "red cabbage" or "black radish". "Green lettuce" would be redundant; "green pepper" would not. I have a feeling that in "GREEN PEAS" it's not just the color being referenced, but the fresh as opposed to dried state in which they are prepared.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

I don't think GREENPEAS is random in the way that "green paint" is. There are field peas and there are garden peas. The former are dried; the latter, also called GREEN PEAS, are eaten fresh--historically from the garden, I would imagine.

@Marcy - Beg to differ. We would always pronouncd the phrase "grandma and grandpa" as roughly "gramma 'n' grampa." Individually, the final 'a' of either would sound more like the one in "father."

Generic Solver 8:32 AM  

With all the possible clues for the answer ONE, the best the the author could come up with was "_ World Trade Center"? That struck me as more questionable than GITMO.

TomAz 8:32 AM  

I have never, ever heard SLEEP SOFA. Sleeper sofa, or sofa bed, sure. When I google SLEEP SOFA I get "Showing results for sleeper sofa".

Meanwhile I have no problems with GRAMMA at all. Isn't that how all kids say it? There's even a Steven King story with that title.

Puzzle was thankfully light on names of movie/TV stars. I knew ROB REINER (not from the clue, though) but til now had never heard of MAISIE Williams.

had KEG for BAR for a long time, which made me have first KUWAIT and then KOSOVO for 47D. I wonder what it says about the world that we have so many choices for the six-letter locale of a 90s war.

chefbea 8:33 AM  

Wanted can in the answer to 18 across. DNF too tough for me although I use to have one of those Ronco Set it and forget it things. Used it all the time!!! Made great rotisserized chicken

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Gee, Lena, I'm sorry that you don't approve of Gitmo. A base used to avoid giving nice folks like Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his 9/11 buddies the protections of prisoners in the territorial USA. And geez, imagine this: using "torture" techniques like sleep deprivation and nudity to get information about other terrorists and plots. How nasty of us!

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

RONCO puts me in mind of Malcolm Gladwell's essay on founder RON Popiel, "The Pitchman." Do yourself a favor and look it up.

Tita A 8:50 AM  

Loved this puzzle!!!
Awkward, clunky? With all due respect, have you had your coffee yet?
Diagonal road runs across the puzzle, paved with GOODINTENTIONS, and that road leads down to rebus HELL?
With 2 symetrical revealers - author, and hint.
You're welcome.

Ok, a few not-so-hot answers being pointed out, but warranting a mere few months in need to go straight to HELL.

I think a one-letter rebus is whay unexpected and therefore way cool. It really got me, too, because I tossed in SHELL, and smiled at the punchline of having HELL there at the end, but then nothing else there made sense, and I lol' when I finally got it.

A really fantastic puzzle with plenty of fun and crunchiness and surprises. Thanks AZ!

Marcy 9:02 AM  

Maybe it's a regional thing. What part of the country were you & Gramma in?

evil doug 9:04 AM  

Just don't eat yellow pees....

Yeah, Lena, the anonymice have it right. I flew in and out of Gitmo several times in USAF during the 70s--fully briefed on and anticipating interception by serious communist fighters--and the fact that we maintained that military presence in Cuba's back yard through the cold war is a much more important fact than your personal political bias.

Marcy 9:08 AM  

Guess it's a regional thing & I've learned something. Thanks.

NCA President 9:13 AM  

I hadn't heard of a SLEEPSOFA either...probably because they don't exist.

I thought Goya did primarily beans...because that's basically all they carry of that brand in my local Kroger. When I got PEAS I tried to fit "black-eyed" in there. Nope.

I wanted timex for 15A (Set it and forget it), then maybe ROlex...but RONCO? I've heard the phrase and I've seen lots of RONCO commercials...I didn't put the two together even after I filled it in.

Weird how ARISE crosses RAISE. Both have similar meanings and they are anagrams of each other. Too close for comfort, IMO.

Ah, ENESCU I've missed you. For a while there he was in every puzzle and then disappeared. Now he's back. Why isn't Mahler in more puzzles? He has a perfectly fine xword name.

I got the theme from the HELL rebus. Once I got the descending shaded squares, it was pretty easy peasy.

QuasiMojo 9:16 AM  

E for Effort (if you have to grade these things and I do hope you guys stop!) This was a very easy Thursday for me. Enescu was the first answer to go in. And I got the gimmick almost immediately. Green Peas was a disappointment since Del Monte and Goya make some other much more colorful canned goods. Pineapple on your pizza, anyone? Satellite TV seemed like a lot of static without any real connection. But considering what he had to deal with in order to pave the puzzle with the gimmick and the alleged haloed author of the quote, I give the construction worker, I mean constructor, bonus points. Can't help but wonder, though, how many people ended up with kitchen fires after "forgetting" they set their Ronco rotisseries.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

Gorgeous. The "Aha" moment was sudden and intense and actually made me laugh. I wish I had really loved the puzzle, however, before the "Aha" moment. Instead, I struggled and suffered with the many, many things I didn't know: RONCO; MAISIE; HOLLIS; RAP DUOS; ST BERNARD. I didn't think I'd finish, but determination and stubbornness got me through to the end. I had GRANNY before GRAMMA (which I don't like at all; it's GRANDMA). At 7D I had MPG before APR. Some of the colloquial clues seemed odd. I don't say SNAP OUT OF IT when I what I mean is "Focus!" Nor do I say HERE I GO after a deep breath. In fact, I'm not sure under what circumstances I would say HERE I GO. Maybe before a high dive? Except that I don't high dive. Still, with all that said, that tiny little rebus HELL in the lower right corner makes up for absolutely everything. An inspired idea.

Blue Stater 9:22 AM  

It isn't often that I just give up and hit "Reveal" for a puzzle, but after I hit GRAMMA and ANODIC in Oregon-Washington I knew this hot mess wasn't for me. Who's editing this stuff again? Oh wait....

Stanley Hudson 9:26 AM  

Clever idea but puzzle overall a bit easy for a Thursday.

Hartley70 9:51 AM  

I'm with @Tita and @Lewis. This was an awesome puzzle! The theme was a complete delight and I was kept rapt anticipating where Andrew was taking us. The rebus at the end was the last to fall and I needed it to see the whole picture. I can't ask for a better aha moment than that.

I have a SLEEPSOFA and call it that. GRAMMA is good around here. I'd take any name I could get! The GREENPEAS I buy from Goya are always dried when I make pea soup. SNAPOUTOFIT and HEREIGO give the puzzle a nice colloquial feel. MAISIE Williams has become a star at a young age and how many actresses named MAISIE can you name? I think it was fair considering the popularity of GofT.

I can't think of a single complaint so Andrew gets an A+++ from me. Oh and he can skip a grade when school starts!

Laurence Katz 9:51 AM  

I grade it an A. Took me a little while to work out the SE corner, because I had "shell" before "seasHELL," which had the "hell" part but left me with a hanging "s" at the start, so I knew something was awry. Anyhow, a challenging, totally pleasing Thursday puzzle for me.

Mike Rees 10:10 AM  

Great puzzle today. While I prefer a little more in the rebus department on Thursdays, I thought this was just crunchy enough. Finished in medium time.

Took a long, LONG time to break into the SE because I had dropped in kuwait for 47D, and then keg for 47A, and took a while to break out of that double error.

Finished with an "almost there," which drives me absolutely nuts. Scoured the puzzle for a few minutes before finding my error: I had GREENPEAr crossed with "word from foreign language that must be inferred from location."

Liked the triple stacks, even "SLEEPSOFA," which may not be a word in common usage, but is definitely believable as a thing.

mathgent 10:10 AM  

I agree that there are some clunkers here. In addition to the ones above, I would add ANODIC. But the theme was excellent and beautifully executed.

I filled in GOODINTENTIONS early and spent the rest of the time looking for HELL somewhere. I didn't know HOLLIS or RONCO, so thought that HELL was hiding there for a while, but no. The last square I filled in was the rebus square holding the long-sought-for HELL. Eureka!

Innovative theme, crunchy, a little rebus action, big finish. I'm giving Mr. Zhou an A.

Unknown 10:10 AM  

Lena - I think you're over thinking BAR. It's just a place to get a beer, or where the bartender might produce a draft for you.

Tim Pierce 10:11 AM  

I'm led to understand that Chernobyl had a rich cultural history for centuries as an important site of Russian Judaism, too.

Chaos344 10:18 AM  

Great puzzle! Finished in about average Thursday time. I knew HELL had to be there someplace. Finally figured out the rebus after a minute or two.

I've had a Ronco "Set It And Forget It" rotisserie for over twenty years. It's the best thing I ever purchased from a TV commercial, and I use it constantly. I also have a Nuwave magnetic induction cook top. It's the second best thing I ever purchased from a TV pitch, and it too works like a charm. Throw in my twenty year old microwave/convection oven, and I hardly ever have to use GRAMMA'S beautiful 1953 mint green Chambers Deluxe range. That's fine, because the stove is the centerpiece of my kitchen and is also in mint condition. I prefer to use it as little as possible.

@Marcy: Sorry Marcy. Have to agree with anonymous on this one. Most people in my family always elide over the "D" in GRAMMA and GRAMPA. Maybe its a regional thing?

@Guest Host Lena: Tsk! Tsk! You poor,poor dear! Maybe Will should have put a trigger warning in front of the clue for 39D? Those who have lobbied for GITMO to be closed may have had GOOD INTENTIONS, but today's puzzle reminded us where that leads. The rest of us would love to know where the HELL those prisoners who have been released are now! Multiple reliable intelligence sources have confirmed that at least 30% of them are now back on the Jihad Express. I'd remember that if you have plans to travel abroad anytime soon. Those 30%, and their brethren, still want to separate your head from your shoulders. Ask the people of France who like to attend rock concerts or watch fireworks. I don't think you'll wanna be in Turkey for Thanksgiving either! Just Sayin!

Struggling 10:19 AM  

Elegant, fun and challenging. I liked this puzzle, and its internal logic a lot.

Alicia Stetson 10:20 AM  

Wow, two days in a row with answers that don't exist (TVTAPE, SLEEPSOFA) and far overly generous "grades" from our blogmasters. I'm pretty sure if Rex were here, he'd disqualify this piece of crap for creating a quote that doesn't exist. PAVEDROAD my ass.

Carola 10:20 AM  

I agree! (just-right toughness, very cute, well-done theme). First in for me was ARC, followed by what-the-heck-let's-try-GRAMMA; that got me GOOD, but not knowing MAISIE left me stranded. It took all the way to SATELLITE TV before I saw the entire phrase. And went straight to "Shell" - very fun to correct that to the one-square HELL. I thought it was cute that there was a RR crossing with the A-TRAIN. I also liked the cross of GOOD INTENTIONS and MEDDLES: why do I keep doing that?

GILL I. 10:20 AM  

HELL, my very last entry. I had no idea what was going on. Oh, OK, I see what's happening here. A big smile on this face. Clever me thinks and different from most Thursdays.
GREEN PEAS is a Jolly Green Giant thing. I buy lots of GOYA and I don't remember anything green. When I think of Goya, I think black beans and when I see Del Monte, I think pineapple.
HOLLIES POGS RONCO gave me the MAISIE's. I guess I should start to watch "Game of Thrones" because it seems like every week we have one of their actors in our puzzles. Does anybody know when "Better Call Saul" starts up again? Love that show.
GITMO, NAM, ARUBA, BOSNIA...Well, I've been to ARUBA.
I watched "Misery" twice. I just love Kathy Bates. I'm watching her now in "American Horror" and she's wearing a beard.....
Nice puzzle Sr. Zhou - SLEEP SOFA and all.

Michael Hanko 10:28 AM  


Z 10:38 AM  

Everyone (well, almost everyone) in education has GOOD INTENTIONS, so a good part of my time as an administrator was managing them. Give me a slightly cynical veteran teacher over a doe-eyed do-gooder out of college any day. And, yes, I did pull out this phrase once or twice as some well-meaning young staff member had their actions blow-up in their surprised face.

I liked the theme a lot, and I loved the single rebus square for HELL. I imagine that square as a pit, spiraling down into the abyss with no hope of salvation, sort of like GITMO in the 21st century.

@Evil Doug and @Anonymous 7:10 - Come on guys. ISIS and Al Qaeda are not the USSR and what the NeoCons sold us is un-American at best, war crimes at worst. The GITMO you knew no longer exists and Bush is going to be right there with Andrew Jackson in the history books. In no way does this devalue the service of our military during the cold war. It is an indictment of our civil leadership in a time of crisis. That is the only GITMO my kids will remember.

Alan Meckler 10:44 AM  

The problem, of course, with the current use Of GITMO (and those of you defending it), is that it makes it very hard for the USA to point fingers at the barbaric practices of other countries and groups who torture and otherwise abuse Americans around the world when we are guilty of the same abuses. When jihadists post videos of American soldiers being tortured, and we (rightly) cry foul, they just point to GITMO and say we're doing he same thing. Very difficult to argue that we are a shining example of ethics and morality for the world when we torture and imprison people indefinitely without a trial. While I agree that the people imprisoned there are likely to be some bad actors, there is ample evidence that the act of holding these 700 (now 60?) or so people has abetted the recruitment efforts of our enemies thousands of times more than that. It makes a mockery of the idea that we are a nation of laws. Furthermore, there is very clear evidence that we have captured and abused innocent people because of a mix-up of names and overzealous prosecutors. GITMO has clearly done more harm than good to our country, and in the end, it has served the purposes of our enemies and lessened our humanity.

demit 10:47 AM  

When you use Google to prove that a phrase (sleep sofa) doesn't exist, because it changes the phrase to something more common (sleeper sofa), try clicking on "Search instead for (sleep sofa)" and Google will display results showing that yes, even though you have never heard of it, the phrase exists & is used.

Leapfinger 10:52 AM  

What @Tita said.

Thought it most clever of that ST_BERNARD to have come up with a pithy observation that has survived so long so well. Most of the ones I know of just manage a deep, rumbly 'R-r-ruff'. One friend had a very large, very rambunctious ST_BERNARD that would get loose and wreak widespread havoc on the environment. He would not be contained. They finally resorted to putting him on a chain bolted to a garage support. Pulled the wall right off the garage, he did. That was one large puppy.

Did like the multi-partite theme, and liked how AZhou only gave us HELL at the very end.
Other HELLish attributions (some especially included for the SRS amongus):
If you're going through HELL, keep going
Go to Heaven for the climate, to HELL for the company
HELL is other people
To HELL and Back
HELLer in Pink Tights
HELLin' of Troy
What fresh HELL is this?

Had some mid-grid trouble trying to recall the John Deere city and decide between HAL/SAL/WAL, so I had WE'RE_A_GO for a while. PEAS were SWEET before GREEN.
Have heard of PiGS in a PoKE, but never yet of POGS in a PIKE.
Ditto ANODIC, but maybe we'll have AN_ODIC contribution from some inspired commenter.

O, U know I almost SNAPped OUT a FIT when I saw what was finally being retUrned to the 'beloved' Roumanian composer!


Made my day, U better believe.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

@Mr. Meckler --

And where, pray tell, is the evidence that we have used "torture" at Gitmo? (Unless you consider sleep deprivation, forced nudity, and the like torture.)

Joseph Michael 11:02 AM  

If we're grading puzzles, this one surely deserves an A. Creative, challenging, and current.

Took a while to reach the aha moment, but enjoyed it a lot when I got there.

SNAP OUT OF IT always reminds me of Cher in Moonstruck slapping Nick Cage in the face. I think she got an Oscar for that one.

HERE I GO works nicely centered on the road to HELL. Maybe the trip was due to all of those MIMOSAS and what happened afterward on the SLEEP SOFA.

JocastaGuyon 11:06 AM  

The road to HELL is paved with mansplainin'
That's what my GRAMMA used to tell me.
I need a DRAFT, stat. This round's on me, Lena.

Alan Meckler 11:06 AM  

According to the Geneva Conventions, to which the USA is a signatory, sleep deprivation is torture. Of course, anonymous, you can make up any definition you want.

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Thank you for service sir.

Leapfinger 11:12 AM  

@Michael Hanko, appreciate your mention of 'black radish', which I find quite lovely with its velvety black finish, though it does tend to get all over everything. something that daikon dwo not.

Funny that radish rose.

Paul Rippey 11:13 AM  

Yup. I think it might be a Southern thing. I was raised in Virginia and my family shared a house with my Gramma.

evil doug 11:16 AM  

Z: If that's the only Gitmo your kids will remember, then that's on you. My kids have learned about the cold war, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis--as well as what's happening there now. Interesting that Obama's first promise in office, to close it, hasn't happened. Guess he's learned what you guys haven't....

And Alan: If you can equate the treatment of Gitmo POWs with the treatment of ISIS victims, including rape and beheadings of women and children non-combatants, then I guess I don't need to waste my time.

I'm generally with McCain on this, against employing torture, though he and I apparently differ in our definition of what constitutes it. What I dealt with in my own survival/POW training doesn't sound much different than Gitmo for the vast majority of combatants held there.

Leapfinger 11:17 AM  

The SLEEP_SOFA was usually a "Castro", at least back in the day.

GITMO tie-in?

Guess that's my three for today.

Z 11:17 AM  

PEAS are so associated with GREEN that we have a color named after them, Pea Green. GREEN PEAS struck me as worse than GREEN PAINT because at least there are other color paints. Heck, even Snow Peas are green, not white.

@demit - In DuckDuckGo I don't usually get a "you meant this you idiot" message, I just get results for SLEEP SOFA. And guess what - every single hit for SLEEP SOFA I see is for someone selling SLEEPer SOFAs and sofa beds. It is the same thing Rex does, put in tags for likely search terms so that your website shows up. It would be fair to conjecture that a business will include common mistypings in their tags. This is not proof that SLEEP SOFA is not a thing, but that it generates hits is also not proof that it is a thing. Rather, businesses don't rely on proper spelling and word usage by their potential customers. Still, I agree that search results alone are not much proof of anything.

Quickie PPP
Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Nouns as a percentage of answers

Counting the diagonal as an answer I come up with 25/75, exactly 33%. The PPP is skewed heavily into the down answers, though, with 16 down PPP answers. The four PPP in the NW gave me trouble. From MOLINE to GITMO (24D to 39D) 8 of 11 answers are PPP, so I'm curious if the middle section will give any one trouble. It seems fairly crossed to me, but we'll see.

Reminder - I did like this puzzle a lot, this post is just covering what I thought were the less than good aspects of the puzzle.

evil doug 11:18 AM  
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Roo Monster 11:21 AM  

Hey All !
Well, this puz may have been PAVEd with GOOD INTENTIONS but the execution missed the mark. Who the HELL knows French Abbot ST BERNARD is the originator of that saying? And why is it in diagonally? Shouldn't it just be straight down in the grid?

Obviously, I didn't particularly like this puz. Off theme, bad fill. SLEEP SOFA? No one in History has said that. It's SLEEPER SOFA. No one says GREEN PEAS, they're just PEAS, we all know there isn't color varieties. Controversy over ENESCU/Enesco/Enesc(add your own letter) again. PIKE?? Gymnastics position? If you say so.

POGS and RONCO difficult to remember. LAYS IN another one with a silly clue. ARAB abd ONE also had odd clues. And SNAP OUT OF IT, although I do think that's actually a good answer, a four part partial usually gets Wills Seal of Disapproval. Guess it's fine if puz is likeable.

Hate being this negative, but sometimes all days aren't diamonds, or whatever that saying is...


The Clerk 11:21 AM  

Puzzle: A- (had BACKSLASH for PAVEDROAD first) liked that RAISE was vertical
Review: C-

jae 11:27 AM  
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jae 11:28 AM  

Medium-tough for me and I'm with the "liked it a lot" contingent. Me too @Nancy et. al. for MPG before APR and for wanting something to do with cans for the PEAS. I also needed the theme for the NW as HOLLIS and MAISIE were WOEs. In our house its GRAMMie. A fine Thurs.

Z 11:32 AM  

@ED - "Interesting that Obama's first promise in office, to close it, hasn't happened. Guess he's learned what you guys haven't...." That's one reading of why he failed. Or maybe the cowards on the Hill are afraid of what will happen if these prisoners are afforded their constitutional rights. If someone in power is trying to keep something out of sight it is never for a good reason. I'd be curious about your reaction to this guy. He's an interesting follow on Twitter.

Three and out - Especially since this is really not the place for a protracted debate about US foreign policy.

Alan Meckler 11:33 AM  

@evil doug, as usual you miss the point. It's not that I equate the two, it's that the world does. "Your torture is worse than ours" is not a great argument.

old timer 11:47 AM  

Most of the torture took place in Iraq, not Gitmo -- and I'm pretty sure the abuse of prisoners stopped when Obama came in. I think there is a special place in HELL for the politicians who refused to allow the hard core to be tried in Federal court, where for the most part they would have been convicted.

Meanwhile, Guantanamo continues to be a navy base as it has been for over a century. The prison is only a small part of it.

I found the puzzle very challenging, and needed help from Dr Google to complete the NW corner. After which I saw GOOD INTENTIONS and laughed. In the NE I was slowed by having put in "MPG" instead of APR. The clue was off, because APR is not often found in car ads. The car companies sometimes promote low interest rates, and if they do, APR must be mentioned. They almost always include a model's MPG though.

I got POGS only on crosses, and only when I decided the PEAS were GREEN and not something else. Personally, I like chick peas (garbanzos, pois chiches) better.

Joseph Welling 11:59 AM  

I really wanted 57A to be MURPHY BED because I'm sleeping on one 3-4 days each week nowadays.

old timer said:

" I think there is a special place in HELL for the politicians who refused to allow the hard core to be tried in Federal court, where for the most part they would have been convicted. "

I agree they should probably have been tried for any crimes they're accused of in civilian court, but I disagree that most of the Gitmo detainees would have been convicted. Most of them have been released without ever being charged.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Announcement after a deep breath IM-A-TRAN No deep breath anymore, said with sanctimonious pride. Eww.

jberg 12:11 PM  

All you folks, anonymous or not, beating up on Lena for her political opinions should go back and read what she actually wrote.She did not state a political opinion; she did suggest that another clue might have fit the times better. Of course, it's Thursday, so one could argue that more obscure is good. And remember, the puzzle is supposed to be solvable without a lot of specialized knowledge. A few weeks ago folks were complaining that ACCRA was too obscure; it's certainly more known than the military and diplomatic history of Guantanamo.

I started at 1A, working the acrosses, and didn't write anything in until 34A, OSAKA -- and I wasn't too sure of that. Then gradually everything worked itself out, especially after I gave up LAYS by, LAYS up, and RAPpers. (Oh, also Peoria -- should have known better, that's Caterpillar, not John Deere.)

I liked the theme a lot. The only slight drawback was that the rebus in 49D used HELL as itself; 66A, hiding it in SEASHELL, was much more elegant. But I can't think of another word ending in HELL that isn't some kind of SHELL, so I guess it's excusable.

Thanks for the writeup, Lena. Illegitimi non carborundum, or whatever the right Latin GRAMMAr is.

Col. Jessep 12:11 PM  

You can't handle the truth!

evil doug 12:14 PM  
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foxaroni 12:29 PM  

Flew through until the SW. I didn't see ROBREINER (was trying RON something, with 59D, Retreat, as END), and St. Bernard a complete unknown. Otherwise, loved the puzzle.

I had a St. Bernard years ago. Neighborhood kids would poke sticks through the mail slot in the front door, to hear him growl, bite and snap. So he learned to do the same with our mail. (Darn near ripped the slot door completely out.) The postal carrier was not happy. Had to give him away when he started growling when my infant son would climb over him. Sad.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

I'm "Anonymous 7:10 AM"

My comment about GITMO was meant to point out that Guantanamo Bay has been a U.S. Navy refueling and resupply base for over 100 years. The term GITMO is a great piece of Navy slang that is easily over 100 years old as well. Throughout the years Atlantic Fleet sailors would usually make a port call at Guantanamo; after 1959 it certainly took on a new flavor. In the 21st century, unfortunate events led to a small portion of the base to be used as a controversial prison, and the great Navy slang word GITMO became identified with the prison, rather than the base as a whole. I find that unfortunate, because it's a pretty cool place, based on my two days in port there in 1983.

To me, GITMO will always be the communist country where I got drunk on shore leave in 1983 at the height of the Cold War. I'm sad how that formerly inside-jargon word (which had nothing to do with prisons) has entered the public lexicon.

-my $0.02

Happy Pencil 12:36 PM  

As soon as I read Lena's review, I knew the cranky mansplainers would be out in full force. Sigh.

Just to add to the political stew, I sort of question the clue for SCUDS as Cold War missiles. Yes, yes, I looked them up and see that they have been around since the 1950s, but don't most people associate them with the Persian Gulf War (aka Bush the Elder's War)? I wouldn't really call that the Cold War. Seemed pretty hot to me, what with the burning oil wells and all.

I agree with the complaints about SLEEP SOFA and ANODIC, but also with the praise for SNAP OUT OF IT and HERE I GO. The B grade is probably what I would have given it as well. The theme was clever enough and helped me with the solve, but it also seemed kind of random (is it the anniversary of hell? or paved roads?). And overall, I was several minutes under my average time, which means the puzzle skewed easy for me.

Let's hope for a bit more bite (from the puzzle, that is) tomorrow. Cheers, all!

Masked and Anonymous 12:37 PM  

Weirdball puz. Also, awesome. thUmbsUp.

Ah, yes -- the looong diagonal gimmick. Diagonal themers, doing tricks in corners, and (newcomer) swirlboxes all portend one of M&A's fave aspects of the puz constructioneering game: desperation brewin'.
And, to frost the cinnamon roll: this bunch leads straight to Hell. Hell Rebus. (yo, @NCA Prez)


* SLEEPSOFA. Got one of em. Also, three SITCHAIRS. Right thar in our SATELLITETVTAPEROOM. (har)

* ANODIC. Hell, yes. Nice. Could make a dandy puztheme out of these pups: ALAMODIC. ZIPCODIC. MOTHERLODIC.

* MAISIE. Whenever I see "Game of Thrones" in a clue, I immediately just go do research on the clue, and get the answer. We can't afford no HBO's. Ain't HBOIC.

* GRAMMA. Many of y'all have complimented M&A on his excellent GRAMMA, in the past.

* ONA. Plural of ONUS or ONO, I think. Would be weeject of the day, if it weren't for the magnifico …

* FER. At least the clue avoided the French this time, and went for somethin M&A could understand.

* ENESCU. Properly accented by the luvly @Leapfinger.

* MOIRE. U want MOIRE? How'bout …

* The primo NE & SW weeject stacks. Featurin the ever-popular AGA, DES and SRS.

So, lots there to keep M&A amused, plus a real clever theme full of good intentions. Couple of cross-symbols in the grid layout, in honor of St. Bernard, whose road to his house was paved with dog poØh (yo, @muse).

Thanx, Mr. Zhou. Really liked this one.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Ralph 12:38 PM  

Today's Pickles cartoon begins with "What are you doing, Gramma?"

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Almost forgot: COLOSSI. Sweet.

@Lewis: U would probably really cotton to what lies behind the gruntz link, today. Just sayin.


Jamie C 1:10 PM  

A fitting editorial in the NYT today: A Stark Reminder of Guantánamo’s Sins

David Krost 1:14 PM  

Love how when the politics don't agree with the reviewer, it is "don't be coy". But when they give a "non-coy" clue that offends their ever-so-PC sensibilities, no matter how ridiculous or minuscule, it is "How dare you say that!".

BTW Lena, your comment "I was the right age for POGS but the wrong kind of kid..." could be taken as racist, or at least would be if I read into things the way you and Rex do.

Teedmn 1:32 PM  

Count me in for calling Grandma GRAMMA though that spelling makes me cringe (hi @Nancy).

And I join the many others who expected some black beans or garbanzos when looking at 18A. Del Monte does GREEN PEAS (I helped can them one HELLacious summer) but I only see beans from Goya in our local stores.

MAISIE went right in for me as a long time Game of Thrones watcher. And SLEEP SOFA did not run AFOUL of my internal radar. And I have to agree with @M&A that ANODIC seems rather spasmodic but it SCUDded in there right after ICBMS came out.

I really liked this puzzle and thought it clever APLENTY. Thanks, AZ.

nick 1:35 PM  

Liked this one a lot and don't mind that it takes a few sentences to describe the elegant theme. 'Green peas' feels green paint-y, and 'sleep sofa' doesn't feel like a thing, so I guess I'm doing what I accused @Rex of yesterday -- giving a pass to wtf moments because I enjoyed the theme so much.

Wednesday's Child 1:39 PM  

I think gramma is just grandma pronounced lazily. We hear it often here.

Penna Resident 1:59 PM  

15A must not have been an original clue since 20A is SET. i hope this was just a sloppy edit and not that this rule has been rescinded.

@Z chick peas are not green and the goya clue led me to enter that first since i have goya garbanzos in my cabinet. and the other goya cans are labeled "green peas".

Sarah Michaels 1:59 PM  

I think @Chaos344 and his cronies got lost on the internet. They thought they were posting comments on a Reddit alt-right comment board or perhaps, places where there were no terrorist attacks on American soil before Obama became president, where Obama invaded Afghanistan in 2001, where global warming is a hoax, where unemployment has been increasing for the past 5 years, and where the "real" polls show Trump with a lead... Bless their hearts.

Andrew Heinegg 2:00 PM  

Dear, Dear, Dear, this Gitmo business has everyone riled up. While I am torn on the subject, I am in agreement with those who are certain that verbal slights (yes, that is a Trump activity) or physical abuse of Islamic people will be used as a recruiting tool for whatever terrorist group you want to look at. The question to be answered, as I see it, is whether we can 'afford' to be concerned about recruitment in the effort to weaken/destroy the terrorist groups.

The problem with this is that, unless you fall into the camp of those who believe you can end terrorism by killing all the terrorists, you need to have some higher moral ground to 'walk' on. You are going to have to plan to try to convince people that it is not really Allah's plan to destroy anyone and everyone who is not a faithful member of their particular sect. Everyone should admit that it is tough choice that, no matter what is done, a lot of people are going to enraged with whatever path is chosen.

I agree with every single word of Ms. Lena's review although I think the B is on the generous side given some of the oddly clued answers like the bar 'producing' a beer.

Gramma Nazi 2:03 PM  

I'm with @Nancy on this one.

Tita A 2:08 PM  

Deep breaths, folks...

How long has it been since Rex gave us back our freedom??? A few weeks?

Since then we've already had a couple of incidents of personal insults, and today we are doing a great job of showing Rex why he needed to slap our hands and ground us for those many, woeful months.

Take it somewhere else!

(Yes, you're still keeping it quite civil, compared to so many other sites, but please remember those bad old days we bought upon ourselves.)

Penna Resident 2:08 PM  

of course i meant to type 40A not 20A.

@everyone: it might be fun to debate the definitions of words or if a phrase is common enough or an actress famous enough or if a certain "funnyman" is actually funny, but debating politics here is a waste of time and space.

Abbot Gregor Mendel (Austrian) 2:09 PM  

Some PEAS are GREEN, some PEAS are Yellow (Gracious thanks, @Mr. E. Douglas). PCness aside, I showed that these traits segregate.

My understanding is that GRAMMA is pronounced GramMAW, as in GramMAW sees yer coming. Pas mal, eh?

Mohair Sam 2:21 PM  

We failed today. We failed today because of the NE. We failed today because of MAISIE. We failed because we won't shell out $300 per year to watch "Game of Thrones" on HBO (there's nothing else worth watching on that network). I've read all five of George R.R. Martin's books and the bastard appears to have given up the books to concentrate on TV (although he denies same). Really pisses me off.

Anyhow, very clever puzzle. A couple of nits, yeah, but terrific theme forgives them - we never got the theme thanks to MAISIE (and maybe a little bit my clinging to Timex for "Set it and forget it". Interesting that New Yorker @Nancy never heard of HOLLIS, neither had this Long Island native whose sister lived for years in Queens. GREENPEAS is in no way green paint, not at all - we had chickPEAS for a while, there are lots of peas.

GITMO fine as clued, although I'm not bothered by Lena's gripe. Not going to chime in on the torture thing. BUT . . . On behalf of my family in New York City I thank those politicians who helped block the show trials of certain terrorists in Manhattan.

Wednesday's Child 2:21 PM  

When I print the puzzle I do so with light gray squares (ink saver). The descending road to hell was also in light gray. What? Took me a moment to see the diagonal road.

Liked the puzzle with the single rebus. Failed at ENESHU/AMH. Should have known.

I agree, there are better places for political discussions but it was almost unavoidable today.

Anyway, nice puzz Zhou.

Wednesday's Child 2:21 PM  

When I print the puzzle I do so with light gray squares (ink saver). The descending road to hell was also in light gray. What? Took me a moment to see the diagonal road.

Liked the puzzle with the single rebus. Failed at ENESHU/AMH. Should have known.

I agree, there are better places for political discussions but it was almost unavoidable today.

Anyway, nice puzz Zhou.

Andrew Heinegg 2:29 PM  

Dear, Dear, Dear, this Gitmo business has everyone riled up. While I am torn on the subject, I am in agreement with those who are certain that verbal slights (yes, that is a Trump activity) or physical abuse of Islamic people will be used as a recruiting tool for whatever terrorist group you want to look at. The question to be answered, as I see it, is whether we can 'afford' to be concerned about recruitment in the effort to weaken/destroy the terrorist groups.

The problem with this is that, unless you fall into the camp of those who believe you can end terrorism by killing all the terrorists, you need to have some higher moral ground to 'walk' on. You are going to have to plan to try to convince people that it is not really Allah's plan to destroy anyone and everyone who is not a faithful member of their particular sect. Everyone should admit that it is tough choice that, no matter what is done, a lot of people are going to enraged with whatever path is chosen.

I agree with every single word of Ms. Lena's review although I think the B is on the generous side given some of the oddly clued answers like the bar 'producing' a beer.

David W 2:37 PM  

Wow, such polarization from a crossword puzzle. I do these to relax guys.

Anyhow, I thought it was great. A hard go for me, almost a DNF, since I hadn't heard of MAISIE, HOLLIS, ENESCU, or MOLINE, and was saved by switching ICBMs to SCUDs. That amount of struggle made the reveal a nice moment.

That's what makes Thursdays interesting.

Great job!

p.s. MFA is an Fine Arts degree. As in, "Dr Stephen T. Colbert, DFA"

okanaganer 2:55 PM  

I had GET HERE for 42D. When there was no happy pencil, I changed it to BET HERE and thought "what a stupid answer".

Z 3:08 PM  

@Penna resident - Chick PEAS would have been a far better answer. You are, of course, correct that I was guilty of a little PEA hyperbole. I took a peek, all of our cans of chickpeas are labeled garbanzo beans, which is probably why it didn't occur to me. I hate it when too much knowledge slows my solve. Today a little ignorance saved me.

Larry Gilstrap 3:16 PM  

Ran off the puzzle in a hurry to go out, had a fun night, thank you very much, came home and set at this tricky Thursday saddled with more of a handicap than merely a few beers under my belt. My grid was devoid of any shaded squares. Aargh! When I realized this, my first reaction was Hey! I'm pretty good at these things so enjoy the challenge. My GOOD INTENTIONS steadily headed south. No problems with PAVED ROAD, GRAMMA, and SLEEP SOFA, but GREEN PEAS? But that whole GITMO bluster type thing better not become a daily feature of this comment section, or we're back to moderation. Remember what ST. BERNARD was thought to have said!

Lewis 3:23 PM  

@m&A -- I had no idea! Thank you for the recommendation.

kitshef 3:34 PM  

You'll have to scroll down a bit, but the seventh item on this page from Goya's website, is GREEN PEAS.

@Wednesday's Child. I feel your pain. Same thing happens to me every time shaded squares are used.

BarbaraB 3:54 PM  

One gripe: shouldn't the clue for 65 Across contain an abbreviation, since ST BERNARD is abbreviated? Such as " Fr. abbott..." Anyone agree?

Btw, sleep sofas are a thing here in NJ -- we had my visiting in-laws sleeping in ours for years!

George kernan 4:01 PM  

Yes. Service. Military. Kill poor people. Viet Nam. Korea. Iraq (excellent job, we're so much better off now) Reagan, Central American CIA death squads. Diego heil. Every rise in the 7th inning to sing "God bless Americs" or face arrest. Without your service at Gitmo we wouldn't have the freedoms we have today. Sen Bob Kerry thanks you as does Lt. William Calley. Let's increase the War departments budget. America Uber alles

Numinous 4:18 PM  

Sigh! Distressed a bit by the strife here. Oh well I reckon @Tita has the right of it.

@Oh No Jono, I've always called it something like a "SOFA Bed" too. I don't think I ever encountered one during the six years I lived in Oz but I had one as a ten ager in the US. It made me feel suave and sophisticated having my bedroom look like a living room.

I really really tried to figure out how to rebus black eyed PEAS into the five squares allotted. Obviously snow or snap wouldn't fit.

Like @Mohair, I utterly failed on this one too. There was just too much I didn't know or was unfamiliar with. I don't watch GoT, I don't know anyone who played with POGS, and I've never heard of HOLLIS. So, on the one hand I hated this puzzle, on the other, I have to admire the theme. As for a grade, I'd give it a B+ easily. Not an A 'cause on accounta some of it being a tad obscure. Me? I give me an F.

Martín Abresch 4:21 PM  

Good lord, the comment section today really is a dumpster fire.

I enjoyed the puzzle.

Chaos344 4:29 PM  

Martín Abresch:

Ask yourself this question Martin. Who's fault is that?

Nancy 4:29 PM  

@Mohair (2:21) -- I do apologize for HOLLIS. My knowledge of places in Queens is limited indeed and all I can think of, off the top of my head, are Astoria, Forest Hills, Jamaica, Bayside, Kew Gardens, Flushing and...well, that's about it, I'm afraid. It's said, probably with much truth, that New Yorkers are fairly ignorant about the whole midsection of the country. Well we native Manhattanites are even worse -- we're pretty ignorant about the outer boroughs. (Except for those who've transplanted themselves to gentrified Brooklyn in recent years, of course).

As for your last sentence -- all I can say is a heartfelt Amen!

Jared 4:56 PM  
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Jared 5:00 PM  

I can't remember anyone in my lifetime using the term "lays in" for storing something. Other than that, wasn't a bad puzzle.

Silly me for putting TAO for "Park Place?" thinking that the club Tao is on Park Avenue. Was thinking that if HOLLIS was in there all bets were off.

Took me a while to get that rebus but the road leading into it was nifty

evil doug 5:04 PM  

I love you, Tita, so I'm going to presume you're being tongue in cheek rather than succumbing to Stockholm Syndrome.

"Rex gave us back our freedom"? Oh, thank you, Massa. When he took the heavy-handed, post-when-I-feel-like-it, arbitrary censorship approach, I enjoyed the freedom of getting the hell out of here.

Yes, we got a little out there today. But that's on Lena, and Michael for selecting her. Still, there are a hundred posts instead of 50,and a wide variety of players. I'd say Michael is still coming out ahead. But if he decides to go back into the repressive mode? We're free to bail....

Chip Hilton 5:28 PM  

For those needing to breathe following the turmoil on here today, may I recommend ENESCU's Romanian Rhapsody No. 1. It's a gas.

Leapfinger 6:02 PM  

@Chaos, it isn't anyone's fault. It's a function of different individuals' having strongly held and (apparently) mutually exclusive views. Talking face to face, people can interject, take turns, might even listen and perhaps find points to cede and common ground from which to proceed. In this setting, each person is making their own case uninterrupted; nothing will modify if all that's reinforced are the starting POVs.

@Chip Hilton, thanks for stepping in with the Roumanian Rhapsody. Seems that @Alias took @Evil's advice and bailed for the day.

Pete 6:43 PM  

I love how a puzzle with a theme "The road to hell is pave with good intentions" merits people defending "just a little torture, if I think the people are bad". Irony, anyone? Beuller? Beuller?

jae 6:46 PM  

@Mohair - The Night Of, to name one, is excellent.

Chaos344 7:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RAD2626 7:45 PM  

I hesitate to actually go back and comedy on the puzzle, which I thought was very clever, creative, well clued and fun. While I agree with the generally easy comments, it gave me fits for two reasons. First, I had GOOD INTENTIONS early and knew the St. Bernard reference, but could not figure out where the HELL the road was since I had nicely substituted nAmEDROps for PAVED ROAD. Second, I had shell in the bottom corner with no rebus. Since HELL was the last four letters I figured good enuf. Other than that everything fell quickly.

Our whole family (Northeast US) called our grandmothers GRAMMA. Our grandchildren call my wife Granny Smith and me Bob. I am not sure that is progress.

As to the politics in today posts, having served in America's most reviled conflict, I have sympathy with all the posters. I take great pride in having served, despite hating what we were doing and have the highest regard and respect for anyone who serves his or her country. On the other hand, I would have joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War when I got back if I had more energy. It is hard to get it right given the complexities of the world and the justifiable concern about our personal and national safety.

Doing the NYT puzzle even on a bad day is a pleasant diversion from all of that, no?

Nancy 9:08 PM  

@Evil Doug(5:04) -- Your well-stated, entertaining comment just now ironically goes to show that @Tita was right and you're wrong. Because while your "freedom to bail" is all very well and good, it was the blog community that suffered when you exercised it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who mourned the loss of your iconoclastic voice and missed wondering what on earth you were going to say next. We lost so many terrifically engaging people -- @Mathgent; @Whirred Whacks (is he back now, or is he not back?); @Ralph Bunker -- if I had a memory like everyone else, I'd remember all of the posters who bailed during the monitoring of the blog. Those of us who hung on -- despite the real frustrations and irritations of the system (or lack thereof) -- did it, I think, to keep the blog and the relationships that it engenders going, hoping that eventually everything would return to the way it was. So perhaps you should thank Tita and all the rest of us for keeping your seat warm, as it were :)

Black eyed Susan 9:22 PM  

The sweetest sound to these ears: GRAMMA.

Tita A 9:37 PM  

ED - if I have you guessing, then my post was a wild success.
Tongue in cheek? Of course. My way of making my point.

@Nancy - very well said. Yes - this community is that good that some of us stuck it out in spite of Rex. It's his blog - we play by his rules or bail.
Though not all who left did so because of moderation.

BTW - where's Bob K?

(Now - I must sheepishly admit that I am enjoying the meta-discussion.)

GILL I. 9:47 PM  

@Nancy....Am I smiling now? "Keeping your seat warm"....priceless.

Leapfinger 9:50 PM  

@RAD2626, there's something most awfully nice about the confluence of Bobbing for Granny Smith [apples].

@Chaos, good that you proofread and corrected. While I think it's useful to sort out correlation from causality, I still think ascribing blame is the least useful application. If nothing else, it's usually possible to see the droll in the troll. Thank goodness there's still free will that can be exercised.

@Nancy, I'm not sure how long I want to keep thinking about @Evil's 'warm seat'.

Ars longa, y'all.

Sheryl 9:56 PM  

I loved this puzzle - don't agree at all with Lena's writeup. I thought the theme was delightful and clever - I laughed out loud when I got it. Well constructed, smart clues. Re the clue, "Where many drafts are produced"... That's far superior to "Where many drafts flow" because it allows the word "drafts" to be interpreted in more ways, makes the clue more open to misdirection.

I also did the Tuesday and Wednesday puzzles today (wasn't feeling well earlier this week). Tuesday's swirled ice cream puzzle was dreadful. Only CHOCOLATE is a flavor, and what's the point of a theme that does not help you solve the puzzle? Just bad.

Sheryl 10:05 PM  

P.S. I spend enough of my time debating politics on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. Crosswords are my vacation from all that reality. I have no desire to discuss it here. So I'm going to completely ignore that part of the discussion. :)

Giovanni Pagano 11:40 PM  

No discussion is complete without the term SJW being thrown around. Thanks to are God's Khaos and Cross for telling it like it is, whatever it may be?

Dr. Bunger 1:47 AM  

Why would anyone debate politics with anyone on any forum?

Clark 1:53 AM  

My Gramma, who lived in Minnesota, always had the most incredible homemade coffee cake and cinnamon rolls ready to serve. She was a very popular lady.

George Barany 7:58 AM  

Wow am I ever late to this party. Appreciate our guest blogger's point-of-view, thanks @Lena Webb; a different sort of puzzle from @Andrew Zhou; and the voluminous output from the commentariat.

Of course, count me among those thrilled to finally see ENESCU spelled the way George's parents intended -- I was still working the puzzle when I had already tracked down this YouTube recording.

ONE clue did stick out, and reminds us of Strong and True by @Elizabeth Gorski. If you haven't already done that puzzle, I recommend it highly, and you can follow up by reading these further notes by @Judith Dupré.

Burma Shave 10:14 AM  


I’ll SNAPOUTOFIT on the OPENRANGE, APLENTY and perhaps TOO well,
‘cause I’ll BETHERE where no ONE MEDDLES with ANY conventions.
So with NOFEAR and on ABET, HEREIGO, down that PAVEDROAD to HELL
where I’ll ARISE and GNASH my molars due to a LOT of GOODINTENTIONS.

this stream of unconsciousness brought to you by MIMOSAs at the BAR

spacecraft 11:56 AM  

I have one of those things, right here in the room where I'm typing. I call it a day bed, or a divan, or (old school) a davenport, or even--incorrectly--a futon. But I have never, EVER, heard it called a SLEEPSOFA. The first yellow hankie of the season flies: SLEEPSOFA is not a thing! Yes, I know it's a perfectly descriptive's just never used.

I agree with our guest blogger and others who say that of all the clues for ONE, a less painful one should have been used. Perhaps the constructor sought to include it in a sort of mini-theme, along with ARAB, SCUDS and GITMO. Paradoxically, these buzzwords remind us of the supposed road to heaven!

No medium here; this was a solid hour's hard work. It took embarrassingly long for me to get PAVEDROAD; I was thinking that the D in the middle (gimme DRNO) was in the wrong place for "road," or "down," or "descent," etc. Even played around with "devil" for a short while. Heard of POGS before, but it didn't occur. Interesting that POG is not actually a (lower case) word. Oh well, once I discovered that I can't even make a hula hoop stay up for a single rotation, I have ignored all fads since. The current one, a NOT-needed reprise of Pokemon, is particularly inexplicable.

Digression over. Naturally, I had the DUOS part of 11-down, but needed crosses for RAP. I will always need crosses for RAP, or any of its "artists." The car abbr. went through MPG and MPH before arriving at APR, which applies to any loan; singling out "car" was a major misdirection.

This was a very clever layout, with an extra little aha! in the last corner. The triumph factor for finishing a toughie is considerable; let's say a long gainer that lost yards for a downfield block in the back--but still a first down. For DOD, let's take the incomparable Cher, who yelled SNAPOUTOFIT! as she slapped Nic Cage in an iconic "Moonstruck" moment. HEREIGO to watch some non-SATELLITETV.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

This puzzle really brought out the lunatic fringe - really gives a peek into their diseased state.

RONdO 1:34 PM  

SNAPOUTOFIT you people with the GITMO rants. Naval base for 100+ years. Your sermonizing may have been with GOODINTENTIONS, but you come off as ignorami COLOSSI. Bad things happened in BOSNIA, where’s the outrage? Actually, keep it to yourself, it’s another place on a map as a xword answer. Bad things are purported to have happened in Eden, too, (if you believe that sorta stuff). Crossword fill folks.

Two problem areas, mPg/ePa/APR. I buy my cars with cash, so no APR needed. And APR is on any loan, not just cars. Had the correct ASSESS and changed to ASSail to accommodate Shell, which wasn’t quite right. Then I finally went to HELL in the corner and concluded the inkfest.

Never heard it called a SLEEPerSOFA. I think most folks in this neck of the woods would call that SLEEPSOFA a hide-a-bed or fold-out couch or maybe a SOFAbed that ONE LAYSIN.

If we could just combine RONCO with last week’s HONDO, I’d be in the puz.

By default MAISIE Wm.s sits on the yeah baby Throne today.

Swedes make yellow pea soup (Ärtsoppa) from what else, split yellow PEAS! It’s traditionally served on Thursdays. I’ve made it and it’s very tasty; ITLL warm you up. So GREENPEAS is not GREEN paint. Chick peas are beans, BTW.

I liked this puz a LOT. Many of the comments, not so much. Send me a STBERNARD with a cask of MIMOSAs. Sheesh.

Sailor 1:55 PM  

Second day in a row with a clever and entertaining puzzle. Yay! I've seen that quote wrongly attributed to Oscar Wilde so many times that it was a bit of a shock to see it correctly attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux.

Hand up for having a GRAMMA in Minnesota! She slept on our SLEEPSOFA whenever she came to visit, a term we used interchangeably with Hide-a-Bed.

I'm disappointed that the commentariat ran AFOUL of the politics of GITMO, and doubly disappointed that it was @Lena who started it with her review.

Don't get me wrong: I am disgusted with some of what has gone on in the military prison there in recent years. But I have a long memory, and for the entirety of it, NSGB has been an active US naval base, precisely as clued. I call that simply factual, not coy.

Tom Morehouse 2:34 PM  

Fun, clever, and tough enough for Thursday.

Great theme and execution. HELL RAISEd at the end of the PAVEDROAD certainly smoothed the solve, but there were a few potholes along the way: ICBMS before SCUDS, Peoria before MOLINE, and Kosovo before BOSNIA.

Didn't associate Goya with GREENPEAS, but Del Monte demanded them. Could have crashed at the intersecting MAISIE, RONCO, and HOLLIS in the NW, but fortuitously scraped through.

Lots of good fill as well.

Happy not to have run AFOUL of this fine puzzle by Andrew Zhou.

leftcoastTAM 2:38 PM  

Ahem..., Tom Morehouse is also known as leftcoastTAM.

Diana,LIW 3:30 PM  

Apparently Mr. Zhou went over to my wheelhouse, took inventory, cleared out some stuff, and then created a puzzle from what he didn't see there. So, after a few runs through the grid, I commenced to cheatin' in order to have fun with the "rest" of the puzzle. The puzzling parts, that is.

Greatly enjoyed the theme and the theme's references. And even tho I had "shell" in the last corner (and replaced it with SEAS), and knew we were on the road to HELL, and knew this had be a rebus - what can I say, I left that final square blank. Giant "doh!" here. It was as obvious as a clue like "put c a t in 1A."

I've heard SLEEP SOFA, but having lived in or spent time in almost all regions of the continental US, I'm not sure "where" it's a thing. Sounds a little back country. "Sure, y'all, come for a spell. I got one of them SLEEP SOFA thingies in the rec room. It's pretty comfy, too."

Now, off to Bill Butler to find out what in the world FiveThirtyEight datum is up to.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for my Wheelhouse stuff to come back

rain forest 3:47 PM  

Perhaps Lena wanted to RAISE HELL among the commentariat with her comment about the perfectly accurate clue for GITMO, and clearly, she succeeded. Pushed a few buttons there, she did. Quite disappointing that so many rose to the bait, to mix a metaphor. Some people just can't help themselves

(Long pause to quell the urge to provide the correct ASSESSment of the situation).

I thought this was a great puzzle on so many levels. I found it challenging even after making ENESCU my first entry (I'm half Rumanian). So many write-overs, and I almost threw in the towel, but then I got GNASH and things went a little more smoothly from there. I was sure that 30A was something to do with staying on TOpIC (is there a Masters of Performing Arts?), but then I would have to drop the U from ENESCU, and I wasn't about to do that. However, the diagonal was gradually revealed, and that gave PAVED ROAD right after.

There were other places where ink was squandered, but the aha! of HELL struck, and it was more or less a little clean-up after that. Well done, I say. Both for Mr. Zhou and me.

@Z - I seem to disagree with you at times, even though @M&A calls you a "magnificent bastard", and here's another of those. I too am a retired school administrator, and that experience leads me to state that I would prefer a young, bright-eyed teacher to a cynical veteran. To always see the best in people, to visualize all the good that can come from striving for the ideal, and to have the resilience to learn and adapt as they hit bumps in the road, serves education better than the view of "I've seen this before, and it ain't good". Some of the best teachers with whom I've worked always maintained their good intentions throughout their career, became wise, as opposed to cynical or jaded, and were beloved by students and colleagues alike.

RONdO 4:01 PM  

BTW - I worked out most of the NW corner to get as far as the GOOD___ thing and counted the squares to see if "vibrations" would fit. Which it would. Checked a couple of the shaded (in my paper) squares to see about it and that T was in the right place. Almost filled it in but figured that the symmetric clue would be of help. STBERNARD did not write GOODvibraTIONS, so that ended that. Brian Wilson is in town to celebrate 50 years of Pet Sounds, so that's where my head was at first.

Cynthia 12:45 PM  

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