Bouillon brand name / WED 10-19-16 / Twosome on TMZ / Great Lakes canal name / Dish baked in imu / Cagey debater's tactic / Liberal disiparagingly

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Constructor: Tom Pepper

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: PROVOCATION (36A: Apt title for this puzzle) — words starting with "PRO-" are clued as if "PRO" meant "professional" (i.e. wackily)

Theme answers:
  • PROTESTER (16A: SAT administrator, by trade?)
  • PROCURER (25A: Doctor, by trade?)
  • PROPOSER (48A: Model, by trade?)
  • PROFILERS (57A: Manicurists and tax preparers, by trade?)
Word of the Day: IAN / ANDERSON (41A: With 10-Down, lead vocalist and flutist for rock's Jethro Tull) —
Ian Scott Anderson, MBE (born 10 August 1947) is a Scottish-born musician, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work as the lead vocalist, flautist and acoustic guitarist of British rock band Jethro Tull. Anderson plays several other musical instruments, including keyboards, bass guitar, bouzouki, balalaika, saxophone, harmonica, and a variety of whistles. His solo work began with the 1983 album Walk into Light, and since then he released another five works, including the sequel to the Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick (1972) in 2012, entitled Thick as a Brick 2. (wikipedia)
• • •

The low end is not nearly as low today—only ORA and LIS, and possibly SOO and HROSS, would I try desperately to eliminate were I the constructor. But the theme remains pretty dang blah. The gimmick is highly repetitive and the comic pay off is highly mild. Theme feels 30+ years old. Quaint, satisfactory, faint grin-inducing. The "by trade?" bit in the themer clues is odd / confusing. I get why it's there—to signal the fact that alleged jobs are involved, to give the clues a uniform look, to signal the wackiness. But with "by trade" in the clues, the PRO- actually becomes redundant. If you are doing something "by trade" you are by definition a PRO. And yet you gotta clue the "PRO" part somehow ... actually you don't. Puzzle might've been a hair's breadth harder, but it played on easy side, so I think you can just have the "?" do all the wacky work and leave the "by trade" bit off entirely. Maybe that takes it to Thursday territory? Dunno. I just found the "by trade" part confusing rather than clarifying.

Only speed bumps in the entire puzzle involved cross-references: EYE clued to POTATO and especially IAN clued to ANDERSON (for me, the toughest answer to get, despite my having vaguely heard of him). Oh, I also really got held up trying to understand 21A: Game one. I took it as "one who is game," i.e. "one who is OPEN to ... anything." So even filling in the first part of the answer didn't disabuse me of this misinterpretation. Turned out to refer to the first game in a series of games, i.e. the OPENER. Of course. I loved YOU'RE ON! This puzzle is in desperate need of more non-moribund stuff like that. I might've turned LUSHES and LEFTY into HUSHES and HEFTY, if only to avoid the needless "disparaging," but half that "disparaging" could've been avoided by just cluing LEFTY a different way (51D: Liberal, disparagingly). I'm not offended. Just seems weird to steer *into* disparaging. But in this election season, maybe not so weird. More typical.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 6:52 AM  

I disagree. This theme was anything but pretty dang blah. What a great idea! I love being shown a common word, chopped up and reparsed, presented for a second look. My first themer was PROFILERS, and after seeing the word and wondering what the heck, and then *seeing* the word – terrific aha moment. So simple, so fun.

Tom elevated himself ICER of the Cake status with the reveal. Wow, wow. This could've been really good with just the themers as clued. That reveal just shot this one into superstardom.

RAZE – I have a senior who joked that she remembers this word because its homophone is its antonym. I was secretly jealous that I had never noticed this. So yesterday we were talking about Yorkshire Pudding, and she said she might not be able to abide it when she heard that you start out with a quarter cup of beef fat. I said, "It's not that much fat. Would it really be that off-putting?" She started laughing, and it took me a minute to understand that I had made a very unintended pun. And I was wildly, childishly jealous that she got there before I did.

I had to erase two Y's – "Yvonne" and "lys" – as usuyl.

Possible clue of the year – MOSES 35D who had a major, ahem, "part" in the Bible. Maybe he stood there and commanded, "O PART, Red Sea!"

Before I started attending the ACPT, I gobbled up any post here on the blog by someone who knew the constructor. Heck – I still do. I love getting a little more info about these people. Now that I attend the tournament, I can tell you that Tom is someone I look forward to seeing every year. He's an amiable fellow and a swell guy. A mensch. I know he's a good friend of our @George Barany, so I'll go stand over by George to take some of this inexplicable, juvenile, tired, predictable fire for stating that I know the constructor.

So I imagine @Anoa Bob et al noticed the plural PROFILERS. I tell you, if Tom had decided to ditch the whole idea because he had to add that S to get symmetry, it would have been a real shame. This one's a beaut and one I'll remember for a long time.

George Barany 7:13 AM  

YES! What a delightful EYE OPENER to start my morning ... on the main page, OFL aka @Rex with grudging praise, followed immediately by the first comment, from the incomparable @Loren Muse Smith.

Full disclosure, @Tom Pepper is a Minnesota friend (more specifically, he works in EAGAN and lives in EDINA).

We have a surfeit of the ANDERSON surname in these parts, so the Jethro Tull cross-referenced clue threw me just a bit. Also, I would have clued LEFTY for any of a variety of Hall-of-Fame southpaws (Grove, Carlton). Still, count me in the rave column.

In closing, allow me to be a PROmoter for another of @Tom's themed puzzles, a Goldy Oldie. More later today ...

John Child 7:37 AM  

IAN ANDERSON was a wicked (for all those years spent in Boston) gimme, and I was off. Other than having no idea what TMZ might be, it was smooth as ... um ... Pepper. Loved YOU'RE ON, HELP ME, and TINKER, though I might have clued the occupation instead, being older than dirt.

@Loren's ANDERSON anagrams to "Ace Snoop or Nerd?" Anyone want to work on a public figures anagram puzzle with me?

NCA President 7:45 AM  

"Highly mild?" LOL. Reminds me of "very unique." Just...doesn'

I thought the last word of the SSB was "braaaaaaave." I could be wrong, but that's the way I've sung it for years.

KAYO, EVONNE, SOO, OPART (clued as a plural), ECRU (as clued..."Beige-ish?" I thought ecru was actually beige), and ANDERSON (never can remember O or E on that name)...all were my snags, albeit slight ones, that added up to a tougher than usual party today.

I thought the theme was adequate, but I guess I'm not a big fan of themes that use the same letters...PRO...since it just seems to add too much to the "just fill in the blank" quality.

Didn't we just have "amo" a couple of days ago? Maybe we'll get amas in the next day or two...

Overall, not a bad Wednesday.

chefbea 7:46 AM  

Fun easy puzzle. Lots of goodies...knorr, cheese, mint. Hand up for loving the clue for Moses

Glimmerglass 7:47 AM  

I agree with the first three comments, and not with @Rex. Although the puzzle was easy enough to hve been a Tuesday, it was fun to,solve. Does anyone else think Rex is setting an impossibly high standard for the constructors? "Not perfect" does not mean "not good."

RP 7:50 AM  

I liked the theme a lot. Not wacky (no need to be)...just clever. I never would have thought to parse those words that way. The Crossword Fiend's blogger liked it and the reader ratings are at 4/5 so far. Why so negative Rex?

Brendan Hill 7:51 AM  

As someone from Hawaii, I know that poi is generally not baked in an imu. Pig is.

Kim Scudera 8:05 AM  

@Rex -- my favorite thing was the photo of PRO Bono :D

Yourane Greenbag 8:19 AM  

@George Barany:

Are you from Minnesota!!?? And you have a friend from Minnesota!!??

Wow!! That is really something!

I wish we knew more about you. What do you do for a living? I don't think we know that either.

pmdm 8:20 AM  

Mr. Hill, you make a good point. The clue should have been written "sometimes baked in an imu" or something like that. Mr. Shortz would probably defend the clue as correct since it is sometimes true. I find many of the clues to similarly misleading. Just the other day a clue referred to a winner as one who receives the most votes. Al Gore would probably disagree. But a clue needs to be accurate just some of the time for it to be acceptable. Irritating to me.

I enjoyed the puzzle. Interesting that one commentator thinks this is the Puzzle of the Week (go to XWordInfo) and another thinks the theme is blah. Sometimes I get the feeling the review reveals more about the reviewer than the thing reviewed. (That's not in any way a criticism.)

kitshef 8:25 AM  

Medium-challenging, and quite enjoyable. ANDERSON/SOO crossing looks like trouble. Never heard the word ‘cremains’ before, and I can’t imagine it being used in real life, as it sounds disrespectful … like saying “sorry your wife kicked the bucket”.

Enjoyable for me as the theme did tickle me. Perhaps the benefit of being pretty dang blah, highly mild (??), and quaint.

The Oxen of the Sun 8:26 AM  

KAYO was ridiculous. Surprised to not see it on blast here.

John Child 8:27 AM  

Just a reminder to all: Please Do Not Feed the Troll.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Worth it for the Goolagong alone...

Ted 8:41 AM  

Medium-Challenging here, especially for a Wednesday. This felt more Friday to me. KAYO? Padua? Impute? Evonne? Soo? And the good old Anderson (Ian) and I'm not even out of the top yet. Lots of questions with too many possible answers to make a solid start anywhere, I was bouncing all over the grid filling it in piecemeal. The theme saved me, finally.

Mohair Sam 8:42 AM  
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RAD2626 8:49 AM  

Thought this was a very good puzzle and enjoyable throughout. Put in PROpOsiTION for the revealer when I got to it which would also work so that slowed me down. Also had muTe for ACTS but ICER took care of that pretty quickly.

I would have clued LEFTY, "Clayton Kershaw but not Jake Arietta" to add some currency to the grid but there seemed to be a fair number of political clues and answers perhaps befitting the season.

Really enjoyed this and think rating is on the button.

Tita A 8:53 AM  

I'm over there with @lms and @GeorgeB about this puzzle and my friend Mr. Pepper.
Me and The King of Monday's go way back.

I hide the constructor name till I'm done. I had to wait all the way till PROPOSER to finally wrestle the theme into my brain...then ran back northwards to fill in the rest. The theme definitely helped me with the solve.

Though I do wonder about Tom... He seems to have an obsession with underwear (see 56D), or is it with lack thereof (see my favorite puzzle of his a while back)?

And thank you so much for the shoutout to my occasional avatar at 33A. Only those who know us best know that the Marz of Venus and Marz is actually short for ALMOND. Oops...I mean Marzipan.

Jeff Chen's PotW. So far I agree. I too love this kind of repurposing of words. Another "wish Ida thought of that" trick.
Thanks Tom!

Hartley70 8:53 AM  

I think the theme is terrific. I started with PROFILERS and marveled at how simple and unique it is in my somewhat limited solving experience. Great idea, Tom!

EVONNE was my favorite answer for the nostalgia award. I found this a tad easier than yesterday so I would have switched the publication dates.

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

I smiled at beige-ish.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Today's wordplay off of PRO reminds me of my own idea for a themed puzzle - my seed entry would be a clue something like 'retired pest control specialist' for EXTERMINATOR.

Liked the puzzle, and like @LMS I got the gimmick at PROFILERS, even though that did lead to immediately placing 4 other PROs.

Old enough to remember Miss Goolagong, but also like @LMS, 1A was a non-sensical ITyM for a bit until the E clicked in my head.

My feeling re OFL cranky tendencies is that people would be better off just giving their own take on the puzzle on HIS blog, instead of being cranky about his crankiness.


Z 8:58 AM  

I might suggest that if the administrator is a PRO TESTER then the taker is a PRO TESTEE, but I wouldn't want to be a dick about it.

@LMS - Is that a MINI ANDERSON Cooper? Of course it is.

LEFTY is disparaging? To whom? I find the clue insulting, not the term. Hey, here's disparaging: The Left has to be right because the Right never is. Seriously, the trolls I block on Twitter never use a term as benign as LEFTY. They usually start with "Libtard" and sink from there. Of course, on Twitter you can just block them and let them wander around in their own nasty little echo chamber while the adults have actual discussions and disagreements. Speaking of which, @John Child - Is subtweeting allowed?

Tita A 8:59 AM  

And thanks for teaching me that SOO is Canal.

Nancy 9:00 AM  

This is SOO SOO good! A playful, imaginative puzzle that "brings a smile" to my face. Before I even get to the theme, how 'bout that clue for MOSES (35D)! And SPEC (15D). And CHEESE (45D). Then we come to the theme clues and answers -- every one of which is terrific. And the revealer? Fabulous. This is what I look for in a crossword -- a puzzle that celebrates the variety of wordplay that's possible in our language and runs giddily with it. Well done!

ArtO 9:03 AM  

Like others, I had to turn Y to E for Evonne. While did not know IAN ANDERSON thought this was easy and smooth enough to be a tough Tuesday or medium Wednesday. Enjoyed it and figured OFL would criticize the PRO giveaways after solving the first few.

aging soprano 9:12 AM  

I agree with Loren and others. I thought the theme and the revealer clever and even chuckle inducing. The repetition of PRO----ER did cause the puzzle to be easy for a Wed, which is probably why I enjoyed it SOO much.

aging soprano 9:12 AM  

I agree with Loren and others. I thought the theme and the revealer clever and even chuckle inducing. The repetition of PRO----ER did cause the puzzle to be easy for a Wed, which is probably why I enjoyed it SOO much.

Jethro Tull 9:13 AM  

Ian Anderson is a fucking genius, and you should have heard of him. Just watch:

Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Entertaining puzzle today. Nice, straightforward snappy theme, and grid ("snappy" is my way of saying: breezy, fun).

Somebody asked a few posts back:

"Didn't we just have "amo" a couple of days ago? Maybe we'll get amas in the next day or two.."

I dunno about amas, but you will get "a MAS" crossword on Friday... or so I've heard... for some reason.


ArtO 9:41 AM  

A senior moment this morning, thinking it was Thursday and why was the puzzle so easy!!

Thought for today 9:47 AM  

@Yourany Greenbag -- When George wakes up tomorrow, he'll still be in Minnesota. When you wake up tomorrow, you'll still be a complete and utter jerk.

GILL I. 9:53 AM  

The reveal was brilliant and the clue for MOSES was brilliant as well.
I really thought OFL would enjoy this one; so far my guesses have all been wrong...YES.
I don't think I could be a fair critic for anything - well, maybe food. But a puzzle is so darn hard to create and be good and be funny and tickle your fancy. This one did all of those things and it was clever to boot! I wonder where to boot comes from?
Anyway, I'm more like a Jonathan Gold . He loves food, he's a critic, he tries rat hole eateries and even if he doesn't really like a food, he's gentle with his critique.
@Hartley...I just noticed your new avatar. Adorable! I just may change mine as well...

Charles Flaster 10:00 AM  

Very easy and able to get last two themers with a few crosses and without reading the clue.
Did like theme and at beginning I was expecting Pro bono before I knew what was happening.
OPENER was clued by a creative misdirect.
Learned "imu" today.
Thanks TP

mathgent 10:08 AM  

After I finished the puzzle last night, I read Jeff Chen's blog. There, the constructor complimented Will Shortz for writing the clue "Person who had a major part in the Bible?" for MOSES. In solving, I had thought that it was a silly clue. I went to bed still thinking that way but it stuck in my head. When I woke up a few hours later, I thought about it again. Oh, Red Sea. A time-release Aha? Or not such a great clue? Or was I just being dumb?

Like most of us (excluding Rex), I liked the theme. But not much else. A few clunkers like the clue for ERRORS. Some junk like ORA. Twenty Terrible Twos. Only a couple of cute clues.

It falls a little short of B level for me. C plus.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

I'm a novice and still working up to Wednesday puzzles. I was delighted to finish thanks to the theme that PROvided a nice start and made me laugh. Enjoyed the cute sense of humor throughout, especially Moses. I'm listening to Jethro Tull as I write this. Thanks for the flashback and the puzzle.

QuasiMojo 10:16 AM  

Monday easy. And Monday boring. But OKAY (even with KAYO). There used to be a wonderful "pulp" paperback bookstore in San Francisco called Kayo Books. I'm too lazy to google it now. If it is still there, by all means, visit it or order from it online. Back when I still ate PEZ, I saw Jethro Tull live at MSG (no, not the Chinese food thing). Madison Square Garden. "Passion Play" tour. The "opener" was a film of a ballerina in a tutu, ending with a live one jumping through the screen. Kind of an acid trip version of Op Art. EDGY and very loud. Hence, my lack today of a working "eardrum." Or was it Motley eCRU?

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

SO annoying I didn't bother to finish it.

Mohair Sam 10:21 AM  

Well, unlike so many of you, I don't know Tom Pepper - but I still loved his puzzle and its theme. Rex is a sourpuss, and he's dead wrong this morning.

Played medium/challenging for us probably because we didn't know IAN ANDERSON, what an "imu" is, link Galileo only with Pisa and Florence, and had IMPUnE for IMPUTE forever (what does a nINKER do?).

Clue for MOSES a classic. But I'm a little grumpy about KAYO. LEFTY? Righty? Disparaging? Nah. KNORR a gimme for this wannabe chef.

Surprised I'm the first to remind y'all that Ginger Rogers may have been LED by Fred Astaire, but she had to do everything he did in high heels and backwards.

jberg 10:22 AM  

Toughest part was figuring why MOSE was clued with a ?, since he does have a major part in said book. Then it dawned on me.

I'm originally from Wisconsin (even better than Minnesota), so SOO was a gimme. For those whom it puzzled, it's the phonetic pronunciation of SAULT Ste. Marie.

Two Za, requiring 4 clues, only one of which was a real word. That's a small negative.

As for the theme, I'm with @Loren RT al.

Mohair Sam 10:26 AM  

@Thought for Today - Please read @John Child 8:27 AM. Thanks.

Steve Reed 10:42 AM  

Anyone else have to start at "o'er the land of the freeeeeee" before getting BRAVE?

jae 10:50 AM  
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jae 10:52 AM  

Easy for me. Fun theme, not much dreck, but the fill is a bit bland. Liked it.

Joseph Michael 10:57 AM  

Clever theme. Great revealer. Super easy solve.
Would have liked a little more challenge on a Wednesday, but enjoyed it overall and thus have to disagree with Rex's negative comments.

Roo Monster 11:09 AM  

Hey All !
@MAS 9:27, I'm jealous! Another puz in. Tell me the secret of a Yes submission.

Liked todays offering. But NE did me in. Couldn't gwt PROdUcER out of the ole brain and had nary an inkling as to the City Galileo taught. Floundered on SPEC also, as havind a D in the across sunk it. So in a bit of frustration, left two blank squares in18A. ICK.

The answer KAYO meaning KOed is terrible. ACK. Change the O to an E to get much much better KAYE/ERA. Gets rid of parrial OR A also.

Overall a cool theme, some nice fill, was looking for pangram after getting the V's and Z's, but no luck.


old timer 11:45 AM  

If this puzzle had run on Monday, it would have been the best Monday puzzle in eons. It played almost Monday fast for me. But I knew SOO. Why SOO? Well, you see, there is a fall or rapids on the river that connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron. It is called Sault Ste-Marie. Sault means "jump" or [water] "fall" in French and is pronounced "so." But American settlers pronounced it "SOO". And when our forebears decided there should be a way for ships, especially carrying iron ore from the Mesabi to cross from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, they built the SOO Canal to let the ships drop down to Huron.

I can't for the life of me understand what is wrong with KAYO. That's always been the way "K.O." (knock out in boxing) has been spelled as a word. Also the nickname for one of the Hallinan boys in San Francisco, a feisty lawyer like his father Vince, who surprisingly was elected D.A. towards the end of his career.

Wednesday's Child 11:53 AM  

Lovely puzzle.

Jethro Tull is the tightest band I've ever heard.

Ob la di ob la da life goes on BRA!

Lovely puzzle.

Wednesday's Child 11:53 AM  

Lovely puzzle.

Jethro Tull is the tightest band I've ever heard.

Ob la di ob la da life goes on BRA!

Lovely puzzle.

Numinous 11:54 AM  

Whenever I sing along with the Star Spangled Banner at Turner Field I always sing it ". . . And the home of the BRAVEs".

I may have been mistaken yesterday commenting that my averages may be meeting reality. Today was 12+ under my average time. I wouldn't call this Easy-Medium, I'd call it downright Easy. I figured out the theme at 16A. I had considered PROctor but reading the down clues set me straight. After that I sort of knew what was coming. I like these word-reimagined puzzles too.

I appreciate @Rex's criticism today and most days. I don't agree today but I know that criticism is an English professor's job just as it is as a philosophy professor's job. Sometimes when OFL likes a puzzle and finds nothing to criticize I worry that he is lying down on the job. There is always a nit to pick, no puzzle is perfect. As was pointed out above, even if a puzzle isn't perfect it isn't necessarily bad. Thinking it over, I actually enjoy seeing where @Rex finds fault and comparing his views with mine. For the most part I just accept a puzzle the way it is but from time to time there are things that I notice that don't ring true. They don't bother me a lot but still, I like to "compare notes".

Crossword puzzles are over a hundred years old. How many thousands of puzzles do you imagine have been written? If any one paper had been publishing one daily since the first puzzle that would be 36,500 puzzles at least. Multiply that by the number of papers publishing crosswords and that is a lot of puzzles. Now, how many gimmicks and tricks, cutesy themes, and clever clues can there be? It speaks well for our language that we can still create crosswords with any degree of freshness at all. It is a good thing that we have a @Rex to hold puzzles up to the highest possible standards of construction. It's a learning experience for us all.

@Beatrice, my little dog is a Chiweenie, a hybrid between a chihuahua and a dachshund. The AKC doesn't recognize them as a breed but many other organizations that focus on hybrids do. This morning I'm noticing a tendency for one of her "radar" ears to droop a la a normal dacshund's, I'm wondering if that's an age thing. When we got her, her name was Empress, We dropped that but in the interest of keeping a sound she would know, her name became Imp. Truely, she is. Tongue in cheek, I sometimes call her PITA.

Masked and Anonymous 11:58 AM  

Primo WedPuz.

(Had a longer comment, that I tried enterin 3 times. Always seemed to take, then dis-appeared.)


Honeysmom 12:02 PM  

Rex sets impossibly high standards period! Takes the fun out of solving for me. Enjoyed this pretty easy Wednesday a lot!

Joe Bleaux 12:03 PM  

@QuasiMojo -- Yup, and yup, on your Monday-easy comments. @Rex -- Agree on "Game one." The "o" should've been capped, as in Day One or Number One.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Oh, Rex, poo -- this was a really fun and really clever puzzle. I guess the fact that you didn't lacerate it means you kinda liked it.

Thank you Tom Pepper for a very enjoyable solve. I had many words filled in but none of the themers and was confused even when I got PROPOSER, which eventually gave me a very pleasant AHA moment.

Nifty puzzle!

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Something a journalist may work on TRUMPHITPIECE didn't fit

Liberal disparagingly: how is LEFTY (or RIGHTY) disparaging?? It's a DIRECTION. I'll grant COMMY might be disparaging. But not really because liberals have embraced them. eg. Castro, Chavez, Che, Mao... Speaking of liberals, why not this clue and answer. "Liberal by trade" PROSTATE. AND it neatly describes the location of the their heads, as in up your ass. Ben Tausig would have LOVED the sexual allusion

One more: Cagey (liberal) debater's tactic ADVANCEQUESTIONS Bernie can relate.

Masked and Anonymous 12:17 PM  

My longer Rexsite comment stuck ok, at @r.alph's website.
Just sayin.


Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Correction to longer comment that didn't stick its landin, here:
Come to think of it, @RP doesn't really get upset over ECRU … he just gets bored by it. (Got
my @RP-reactions mixed up, there.)


Z 1:02 PM  

Hey - Just seeing what happens if I post the Masked One's post:

Airtight theme, with clever revealer. Actually, there don't seem to be a lot of good themer leftovers (lefties), here. Maybe PRO-MISER? Or if U want to get desperate, maybe PRO-FITCENTER?
The starts of the themers do become mighty predictable, but it's only 3 letters-worth, and it's only a WedPuz, so … ok.

Fill was too smooth for school. Even the weejects were pretty well-behaved. For staff weeject pick, I am PRO-ORA. Smooth fill really cuts down on my comment bullets, unfortunately.

Usually ECRU makes @RP go ape-sh*t, so I suspect he had more respect for this WedPuz than he chooses to display in public.

Only weak moment: A cross-referenced semi-obscure name of a band member. IAN + ANDERSON is totally obscure to m&e, but evidently well-known to other solvers. That's the way it goes, with names.

PANORAMA anagrams to PRO-AMANA, btw. Comments are even startin to sound desperate? Thought so. I'm outta here…

Thanx, Mr. Pepper. Primo work. Appreciate the U-respect.

Masked & Anonym007Us

foxaroni 1:12 PM  

Unfortunately, quite a few clueless Kansas City Chiefs fans end the Star Spangled Banner with "...and the home of the CHIEFS." Despite many pleas, the practice continues. Sigh.

Regarding the Latin conjugation of "to love," I wrote in AMAS. Not sure why. So I couldn't figure out what a PIVOs was. I thought it must be a debater word.

If the clue is "Waltz ending?" and the answer is ZEE, that must mean the full word is WALTZZEE. That can't be right.

foxaroni 1:14 PM  

P.S. Loved the puzzle. Thanks, TP.

Leapfinger 1:17 PM  

I thought the puzzle was going to be Provocative at first.

On the one hand: 'In 1972, EVONNE Goolagong played in a segregated South African tournament. To spare her the discrimination experienced by non-whites, the South African authorities classified her as an honorary white. [wiki]

On the other hand, it seems that PRO'fessors may be 'Sinners*, by avocation'.

On yet a 3rd hand, had a giggle with DEARIE ERRORS -- shades of Londonderry airs, y'know.

If I may bang the EARDRUM slowly, I'll note that the 'PIVOT shift' is a maneuver that demonstrates laxity and instability... Traditionally, this relates to the knee, but is not entirely inapplicable to the cagey debater.

IAN ANDERSON is top seed for Jethro Tull. I'll send him a birthday card, if he remembers to send me one. IAN = John in the North of the Isles, SOOoo...
John ANDERSON, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thagither,
And many a fine day, John,
We had with ane anither

No puzzle is complete without a healthy nit, and today I pick the wording in the LED clue: 'Was like' requires LEADING; LED would need something on the order of 'Did as...'

Finished with a little amateur playing around:
PROmoter: Eyesore, by trade
PROstater: Urology lecturer, by trade
PROlonger: Yearner, by trade
PROpagander: Father Goose mimic, by trade
PROlapser: Sitter, by trade

ESAU in EDEN LEFT no time to monkey around with PRO Simeon.

Neither EWE KNORR EYE could coin A VERSE or find ECRU Motley enough to URN the EDGYMINT YOUR EON USES UP. SOOooo... Thanks, Tom! You made this Peppery but LUSHES, not a trace of DRIVEL.

Masked and Anonymous 1:19 PM  

@Z - Thanx! The Blorg likes U be(a)st. (No doubt becuz U are a magnificent beast.)

Outlaw M&A

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

IAN ANDERSON - a household word for me - I only have all of the Jethro Tull albums, at least the first 20 (did not get the Christmas album of 2003). Best song ever, Sossity YOU'RE A Woman.

I can vouch for Tom Pepper being a really nice guy - I was able to talk to him at the MN Crossword Tourney in June. He made, in my opinion, the toughest of the three puzzles for my amateur category, unlike today's which was a pussycat. Though today I did choose the wrong verb tense for 9A and started with KO'ED (which I was glad to find was wrong).

Looking at 16A, I had the PRO and could not think of the word for an SAT administrator (PROctor, hi @Numinous), which in the end worked out just as well.

It's always fun to look at words differently, which is what this puzzle did for me, as well as @LMS. Right now, I'm looking at REW RAP and USESUP, fun.

Thanks, Tom, for a lively Wednesday that still fell into my average Wed. time.

Carola 1:28 PM  

I'm with @Loren et. al. in admiring the nifty idea and clever word play; I thought the reveal and the PROFILERS were really inspired. Also liked IMPUTE, TORRID, TINKER, DRIVEL (sort of interesting that it intersects the "debate" entry; we shall see).

POI next to AVERSE describes me (texture issue).

One do-over: KOed; yeah, I know, but I was feeling smart by recognizing "Put down" as past tense.

I was curious to know whether the University of PADUA is the oldest in Europe and discovered that it's not: according to Wikipedia, it was founded in 1222 when a group of students and professors left Bologna, wanting more academic freedom. Besides Galileo, other luminaries who taught there include Copernicus, Harvey, Vesalius...and Casanova (whom Wikipedia identifies as "traveller, author, and seducer").

Elephant's Child 1:31 PM  

@kitshef, your cremains reaction of 'sorry your wife kicked the bucket' reminded me:

Brit 1: Sorry to hear you buried your wife.
Brit 2: Had to, old chap. Dead, you know.

Z 1:33 PM  

@Outlaw M&A - I think the Blorg is secretly controlled by a HAL 9000. I sometimes wonder why OFL doesn't go to a more modern host like WordPress, but I suspect the hassle would be significant.

bv1955 1:34 PM

Entertaining post in the New Yorker today.
"Cause and Effect" from her completion of the NYT crossword today??

Leapfinger 2:12 PM  

@Rex, Point: a trade is not the same as a PROfession. P'raps that helped to confuse ewe. Then there's PRO vs con, PRO vs anti, PRO vs amateur...Soo, layers. That's what I like.

@QuasiM, tickled that you also saw the Motley ECRU.

re the Saulty SOO: There are canals, sure (the Welland and Rideau, I think) but there are ships in the Great Lakes to large to traverse them to the mighty St. Lawrence. These ships, which will never go down to the sea again, are called 'lakers', and the Edmund Fitzgerald of Gordon Lightfoot fame was one of them.

foxaroni 2:27 PM  

Shouldn't that be "Motl ECRU?"

Leapfinger 2:47 PM  

Dang serifs, @foxy. I had to squint to decide between 'motl' and 'moti'. I think MOTLE CRU is workable, but decided to keep the E in ECRU. Because CRUE.

Playing to perception.

UncleJohnC 4:12 PM  

I can't look at the word KAYO without thinking that it's pig latin for okay.

Mohair Sam 5:34 PM  

@Roo Monster - We both know the secret of a Yes submission: Build puzzles like MAS - can't wait for Friday (hope it's multiple stacks).

@Elephant's Child (1:31) - Your Brit joke is proof that brevity is the soul of wit. Can't stop chuckling.

Bill L. 5:51 PM  

@UncleJohnC - I think that would be ayokay, aok?

Hartley70 9:38 PM  

Thanks, @Gill I. Rubin has always viewed the dishwasher as a snack machine. Recently he inadvertently pulled out the lower rack and it crashed on the floor. For the moment he thinks the dishwasher is a means of canine execution.

And I say go for it and go wild with that avatar, girlfriend!

Anonymous 9:55 PM  

"MAS - can't wait for Friday (hope it's multiple stacks"

First: sorry... this is really a day for Tom's puzzle, not mine. But if it wasn't for the "a mas" comment, earlier, I wouldn't have said anything.

Second: if you're interested, it does have multiple stacks, but not in a typical "quad" fashion. I'm think some will like it, others not so much. But, whatever the reactions, at the very least I hope there are lively comments... both pro and con... or should I say: con and pro?

However regardless of crosswords, I'm seriously much more concerned about the US election. Whether people like my puzzle or not, is pretty insignificant compared to everything else happening right now (and I seriously mean that).



Roo Monster 10:53 PM  

@Mohair, loved the advice!!


Anonymous 11:23 PM  

Wish they discussed how much money was spent to deport Elian Gonzalez.

AnonyAlso 12:09 AM  

@Anony(11:23), good point. That's been the American way of late, hasn't it? To take the story of a single individual and blow it up into something yuge. Maybe in three weeks, we can turn about, and shrink the story of an overblown individual back down to size.

spacecraft 11:33 AM  

I can only surmise that Will had the weekly lineup in his hand--and a gust of wind scattered them to the ground. And hoo boy,did he pick them up in the wrong order! This puzzle was as smooth and easy as yesterday's was rough and tough. THIS is the Tuesday one!

It's like Port-o-San went in and cleaned the space out. Makes it a little more pleasanter to go in there and use it. (Yeah, I know; TCM just aired it, and I'm a sucker for it every time)

The DOD title is hotly--even TORRIDly--contested today, with two no-doubt-about-it hotties in Barbars EDEN and Loni ANDERSON. Still, I feel that these ladies will have many opportunities going forward. The sash today goes to the Aboriginal who made good: EVONNE. You go girl!

Good theme, better than average fill: what's not to like? Birdie.

Longbeachlee 12:23 PM  

I' say at least medium for a Wednesday. Let's not forget the difficulty is for the puzzle's day of the week

Burma Shave 12:32 PM  


The BRAVEs PITCHER is a LEFTY who throws EWE a RISER for fun,
But if YOUREON third due to ERRORS EWE won’t score an URNed run.


leftcoastTAM 2:02 PM  

Rex saw the theme as stale if not DRIVEL. I saw it otherwise, as entertaining wordplay, but I'm no PRO like Rex.

DIP and DEPP make for a good twosome, but I wouldn't know IAN ANDERSON from Sven Svensson without the crosses.

Not EDGY, but lots of fun.

Diana,LIW 2:42 PM  

I'm in the PRO-poozle crowd today. But I love puns and wordplay. Rex has stated he isn't in the pun lovers camp, so doesn't surprise me he wasn't jumping for joy. And I knew he'd dislike the "pro" repetition. Which did add to the ease. MOSES ad CHEESE were like the puzzle bonuses.

Took Latin I in high school, but I'm never sure which of the AMAT, amor, AMFM words I'm supposed to fill in.

Lots of 45-down for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 3:04 PM  

I have no PROVOCATION to call this puz a bad one. Kinda average I thought. Finished without ERRORS so not too tough.

IAN ANDERSON a gimme, I was a reasonable Tull fan back in the day. Locomotive Breath is quite the song. Even the Styx cover version. TORRID!

Beatles lyric triples an answer: HELPME, HELPME, HELPME-e-e, ooooh.

Had an original PONG game by Atari. Hooked up to the B/W TV. Wow.

Tennis star and yeah baby EVONNE Goolagong had her own clothing line as I recall. Maye the gals would say KEANU is a yeah baby?

I am the all-time winningest PITCHER for my current softball team. Also the all-time losingest. The team has existed only five years and of +/- 75 games I have missed 3 games due to vacations. Was a winning ORA losing PITCHER for all the others since the OPENER.

Decent puz, but seemed like a lot of 3 letter answers before it was OVER.

rondo 3:41 PM  

Hah - just realized we've got @LEFTY today for @leftcoastTAM like @RAINY earlier his week. @DIANA a coupla times in the recent past, @TEED once, seem to remember an @SPACY and/or SPACEY and a coupla RONs and a @RONDO w/in the past year. Also a spelled out @ZEE today. Everyone shows up sooner or later?

rain forest 3:50 PM  

I liked this one for all the reasons mentioned above by those who also liked it. Not all that EDGY, but clever theme-wise and revealer-wise, and bereft-of dreck-wise.

Ah, PIVOT. The word de jour of election commentators, along with "granular". PIVOT has replaced "ignore the question and instead answer an unasked one". Unfortunately, it bestows a certain wily intention on the PIVOTer, rather than a blatant disregard for straight talk, or else a sleazy way to avoid trying to answer because it might be embarrassing.

Speaking of the election, it is weird that here in Syndiland we already know the result, while the real-timers are still dreading the outcome. Looking forward to how they react.

leftcoastTAM 5:31 PM  

@rondo--as the PEOTUS would say, any mention, positive or negative, is good for the brand. And might reinforce the morale for our end-of-the-line group.

@rain forest--It's good to be ahead of the real-timers for a change, isn't it? Another boost to group morale.

leftcoastTAM 7:45 PM  

@rain forest--that is, we're ahead of the real-timers' previous posts, which may be better than nothing.

Diana,LIW 9:06 PM  

@Lefty, @Rainy, @Rondo, @Spacey, @Longbeach, @allsynders!!!

We are always ahead of the Futurelanders. Y'all just don't get the space/time continuum. C'mon for a ride in the deLorean. Do not despair. Even the Bible says that "the first shall be last, and the last, first."

Consulted MOSES, who confirmed it I stone.

DLIW (you know who)

leftcoastTAM 9:25 PM  

@kitshef 8:25 AM, real time--

Hard to believe that "cremains" is an unknown word to you. You must be on the young side of old. As a person of a certain age, I regularly get junk mail offering special rates for pre-planning (sic) cremation services. Of course, they are counter-productive, even though I'm for that way of ending up. You'll eventually get them, too.

P.S. Of course, I don't expect that kitshef will ever see this post.

kathy of the tower 1:38 AM  

I love my Syndielanders home, I think of all of you as my friends.

Reading the regular posters election comments from the past when we know the outcome is strange. You're right Diana, kind of time travelly.

Did you know there are dedicated PEZ collectors? They call themselves PEZ-heads. I met some one weekend at a motel I was staying at. They were having a swap meet or convention or whatever it was.

I enjoyed the puzzle, clever wordplay. Seemed fairly easy.

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