Tailored wear imparting confidence / WED 11-9-16 / Playful response to zinger / Old French coin / Walk like tosspot

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Easy, I think, I don't know (3:28)

THEME: common verb phrases clued as if someone is talking to a pro sports "coach" and telling him to do something to his team

Theme answers:
  • COUNT THE STARS (20A: "Coach, make sure everyone's here" [N.H.L.])
  • BRING THE HEAT (25A: "Coach, get 'em to today's game" [N.B.A.])
  • COOL YOUR JETS (46A: "Coach, get thsoe guys a little ice water" [N.F.L.])
  • CATCH SOME RAYS (53A: "Coach, nab a few of those curfew violators" [M.L.B.]) 
Word of the Day: ISLIP (5A: Long Island airport site) —
Islip (/ˈslɪp/ EYE-slip) is one of ten towns in Suffolk County, New York (USA). Located on the South Shore of Long Island, the town population was 335,543 at the 2010 census. Within the Town of Islip is a smaller, unincorporated hamlet and census-designated place also named Islip. [...] Long Island MacArthur Airport and the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in the Town of Islip, are both in the hamlet of Ronkonkoma. A smaller rural airport known as Bayport Aerodrome also exists within the town used for antique aircraft. (wikipedia)
• • •

You'll pardon me if I just don't have it in me to write much tonight. It's very late, and it feels like the world is falling apart, and badly. I need to get some sleep. Rejuvenate. Maybe you understand. The puzzle was about average for the NYT of late. Fine. I don't really get who's speaking in the clues. Someone is coaching the "Coach?" It's odd. But you get one team from each major U.S. sports league, so that's something, I guess. What does COUNT THE STARS mean? When I google it in quotation marks, I get a wikipedia page: "Count the Stars was a four-piece pop punk band from Albany, New York that formed in 1995." I know BRING THE PAIN and BRING THE NOISE better than BRING THE HEAT, but I guess that's a phrase. The other two seems fine. Cultural frame of reference, decidedly old (though "OH, SNAP" is currentish), fill is creaky (though perhaps slightly less so than that of M and T this week). UIES STET CEE HST is really, truly, inexcusably dire for such a small corner. I remain baffled by the lack of care / craft. ASTR? Come on. That should be last-ditch. But like I said, no energy for this fight tonight.

I hope to be back tomorrow at something close to full strength. Thanks.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 1:58 AM  

@Rex, I admire your dedication to this blog by churning out a review despite the overwhelming events happening in the real world.

I too found @John Lieb's puzzle easy. To me, "bring the heat" might be what a catcher might say to a pitcher in baseball, yet the Heat is a basketball team.

How many teams, other than "Heat" are plurals not ending in "s"?

chefwen 2:14 AM  

Monday easy for me. Knew The HEAT and the JETS, did not know the RAYS or the STARS as sports teams, the RAYS sounded a little familiar, but I don't follow baseball or hockey closely. Didn't really need the teams as the phrases were fairly well known. Only one write over, SO AM I over SO do I.

Hope tomorrow's packs a little more punch. A nice tricky rebus would be fun.

Loren Muse Smith 2:21 AM  

I liked it and thought all the themers worked. Even COUNT THE STARS. My daughter and I used to say that all the time – "Let's count the stars as they come out." Gentler times.


I'm with you, Rex. No energy. I'm unspeakably ashamed.

Talk about stealing someone's THUNDER (there's one for you, @George). Sorry that you'll be upstaged today, John. Feels kinda like, "Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

puzzle hoarder 2:25 AM  

For whatever reason this was easier than yesterday. There were three entries for which I never even read the clue. One of them was ASTR. Not noticing something like that was a bonus.
I turned off NPR when they went to some prerecorded program. I'd rather get the news before going to bed but I no longer know how to turn a TV on by myself. I really don't care for this 21st century. When I wake up tomorrow it will be more that way than ever. What's that Shakespearean word we just learned? Oh yes, ABYSM.

Cassieopia 2:40 AM  

Rex is doing an invaluable public service by posting today - this is an oasis and I came here immediately and desperately for my sanity.

Super easy, nearly set a Tuesday PR on this one. For some reason, the themers felt sky-related and airy to me: STARS, RAYS (although I think the team name actually refers to aquatic life and not light), HEAT, JETS. Also ASTR was above STAR, ARTOO above JETS, and SPLASH above "catchsomerays" which maybe contributed to the airiness. It was a nice little puzzle. Thank you Mr Lieb!

Unknown 2:46 AM  

Though the theme was pretty clever. Don't remember anything else. Think my brain has gone numb and is refusing to form new memories. A shameful day.

@George - I can think of MAGIC, THUNDER, AVALANCHE. Technically WHITE SOX and RED SOX.

Hartley70 3:01 AM  

I am disconsolate. I wish I could sleep. I am a stranger in a strange land today. Thank you for the puzzle, John Lieb. It was a small distraction.

CDilly52 3:05 AM  

Thank you all for posting and @Rex for his perseverance. I barely remember solving so it must have been easy-ish. At least the exercise this morning was a welcome oasis of normalcy in a topsy turvey world.

Jeff Anderson 3:16 AM  

Thanks for being here Rex. I couldn't sleep so thought I would go ahead and start my morning routine way early. After solving the puzzle, which was thankfully easy, I came here not expecting a new post and there you were. So thanks again. It's good to know everything didn't vanish in the blink of an eye.

Larry Gilstrap 4:27 AM  

Don't badmouth old white guys! Stereotypes mislead perception. We're not all monsters. Some of are gurus, mentors, saints, etc. I'm not taking this personally, but...

How about that baseball season? I was glued to the post-season broadcasts, and I rarely watch sports on TV. I follow baseball on podcast sites like a pauper following the Stock Market. BTW, how is that doing? I digress, in the past, major league stadiums had huge areas of foul territory, so often one would see a catcher or infielder catch a POP UP. Now, rich people sit there, so not a common thing. Do they still call the infield fly rule? Oops! wrong blog.

The team names blended nicely into the themers. The Tampa Bay team began as the Devil Rays, but that didn't work with some folks, apparently. I just spent a few hours in a bar with a collection of friends. I will never forget the strange vibe. How about those Cubs? Liked the Cleveland team also, and that logo? Some people used to care about that sh*t. Pardon my French.

Now, when I recognize OH! SNAP: it's ok, it must be some element in a regional dialect that I've never experienced except in the puzzle. I need some stability in my life at this moment; when you see OH! SNAP, you are doing a crossword. Got it!

Muscato 4:41 AM  

Jeez - I almost matched your time - that never happens. Maybe I should do the puzzle on an hour's sleep through a miasma of wine, junk food, and misery more often.

Or maybe not.

Zwhatever 5:34 AM  

Old political adage: "Hate doesn't need a ground game."

Puzzle was Meh Squared. T.A.S, ASTR., and TRIG. in the NW announced mediocrity. I still haven't figured out what "RAYS" have to do with curfew violators. Not that I much care. I like the commentariat and I like Rex, but after the bath I took in the market overnight, one expense I may need to cut is the NYTX. It is regularly one of the least good puzzles I do these days.

Lewis 5:49 AM  

Shades of HST over Dewey.
BRER SCARE with the EVIL GLARE will be There
A night and future of UGGS
I feel NAIVE

Jeff Lewis 5:56 AM  

While this may or may not be the first day of the Trumpocalypse (should I trademark that?), I did finish the puzzle in less than half of my typical Wednesday time. A good omen. I'll take it.

'mericans in Paris 6:32 AM  

I'm just numb. OUCH.

Oscar 6:57 AM  

@CHAOS Go trump yourself.

RooMonster 7:02 AM  

Hey All !
Nice puz today. Seems more of a Tuesday variety, but still a nice, easy WedsPuz, probably Will put this on today because he knew everyone would be frazzled. Liked the Sports Team theme. Easy to infer even if you don't know sports. Agree with Rex on the OUCH SE corner. Never liked UIES (as a crossword answer). PONE always sounds like a dirty word to me!

I said yesterday, I'm an Independent. I don't mind Republicans or Democrats per se, but I do have to ask, "Trump was the best you had? OUCH!" Oh, Republicans got the House and Senate also. Hold on to your hats. :-)


Anonymous 7:05 AM  

All time best Wednesday! Little comfort for last night, and the total lack of sleep, but it's a start to a new day.

Dorothy Biggs 7:22 AM  

Chaos, sir, you are aptly named. You are Coyote or Loki or any number of other gods of mischief. America has been going for 240 years, we've survived a pretty nasty civil war. We've fallen into a bit of a rut, thinking somehow we were impervious to your wiles that you've inflicted on the rest of the world. Other countries have wars on their soil, people killed wholesale, despotic leaders that violently come and go leaving death and destruction in their wake, and lots of other terrible scenarios. And we here, guarded by two very large oceans and two pretty friendly nations to our south and north, thought that Chaos/Loki/Coyote would never do any of that here.

Oh you've certainly visited: 9/11, Ferguson, Sandy Hook, the NRA, even the religious right. But we never thought you'd come and make a home like you've done in other parts of the world.

But here you are...and you're posting on a little blog in the blogosphere, talking about "revenge" and using all the buzzwords that you've created to scare us all. Some of us didn't bite, but a lot of us did.

So welcome, Chaos. It was our mistake to think you'd never show up. It was our mistake to think, like many a Roman citizen, that our Pax Americana would last forever. But we now have to realize that life isn't a sure thing, there is nothing routine about it, and just as Rome came and went, surely what we've come to think of America will face a similar fate.

If nothing else, let us all realize that life is short, we are certainly going to die at some point, and nothing is guaranteed. Chaos is a brilliant teacher if you listen. He's been around since the dawn of humankind. And now he's come to America. We can fight him, but we will lose. He is here to teach us to value our lives as they are and not get comfortable with routine.

We don't have to like him, but there is no use in fighting him.

Oh, and the puzzle was a typical, routine Wednesday for whatever comfort that brings.

Alysia 7:35 AM  

Add me to the "I'm glad this is here" crew.

Over the weekend, I spent two twelve-hour days at a local jazz fest. The festival itself went for four days, but I had only so much free time. This was classic jazz (Ellington, Armstrong, Webb, Jelly Roll Morton, etc.) played by a combination of groups who were not only exceedingly talented, but felt strongly about what they were doing...about keeping this alive.

There were endless jokes about broken hips and knee replacement surgery. I watched folks hobble up to the dance floor with their canes. It was a lovely two days of joy.

I'm glad to have had that experience before waking up to today.

Oh, the puzzle....the puzzle was fine. I don't do well with sports outside of standard crosswordese that I've picked up over time, so I had concern I wouldn't be able to finish. Luckily, the phrases were common enough that my lack of coolness didn't cause much of a problem.

Zwhatever 7:59 AM  

@Chaos344 - Didn't read my post, eh? Assuming the planet and country survive (and both most likely will) Reality is going to spend the next few years biting "White America" in the ass. Fair warning, I'm looking forward to four years of "this is what you voted for."

chefbea 8:04 AM  

Fairly easy puzzle. Hand up for wanting pants suit...both here and elsewhere!!!

John Child 8:10 AM  

Please do not feed the political troll.

Leapfinger 8:15 AM  

No joke, @Loren, m'luv. I thought Newt the Gingrich as Sect'y of State was a bad joke, RudyGuiliani as Anything in the Cabinet even moreso; Bannon on the podium (or is it the lectern?) -- UGGS. Look how that joke turned TOP CEE turvy. I'm remembering how DONT STOP (thinking about tomorrow) felt in '92; it sure feels different tonight.

Kind of a nice touch to have UNITE JOYOUS around POWERpantSUIT in one corner. Kind of creepy to have EPIC ROT, EVIL, LUST and TOP POWERSUIT ITCH strewn around elsewhere in the grid. Yusta think I had some kind of grasp on the way of the world; guess I was NAIVE. Right now, I'm like the SW corner: REEL SCARED.

[Above was typed about 0300, but drifted off without sending. Things seem about the same in the morning's light. Still seems important  that the new normal has Rexblog  coming through asperusual. Thanks for that, @Rex et alii, and apologies to John Love.

Seems like today would be a fine time to brush up on old Heisenberg. I'd be happy to CEE a touch of BRER HST just about now.

Ah, hello Chaos, my old friend.... How timely.

MOM, just MOM.

kitshef 8:23 AM  

Liked the theme, and it played pretty easy here though I imagine if you don't do sports it could be a different story.

I'm really, really sick of constructors (or is it Will) thinking you can plop down a U and some random vowels/a y and clue it as a 180. UIE, UEY, UIY, UEE. Get rid of 'em all (and that goes for LOIEE, too, either as a left turn or an army rank).

@Rex is right, there is some crud in here, esp. in the SE, but there are also TROPE and ATRIA and COCA COLA, which are nice.

Anybody else try lion before DOGG?

mlm 8:26 AM  

I came here just for the UMA opprobrium. At 1D, no less!

I stayed for the morose faces. Chins up, people! As a radical independent, I look forward to living through my favorite [unsourced] Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

kitshef 8:38 AM  

Having read the comments:

To those shocked/depressed/stunned/upset by the election results, my heart goes out to you.

I tend to be a glass 3/4 full person, so I am grateful we didn't get a Cruz or a Bachmann. I also think there is room to believe that Trump will not govern as he campaigned - that he is vain enough to care not just about getting elected, but about what history books will say about him, and can move to the center just as easily as he moved to the right.

GILL I. 8:38 AM  

@NCA Pres: Turn up the volume...CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP.
Well, this will take the comical pressure off of Brexit.
I liked JOYOUS crossing OUCH.

Lewis 8:51 AM  

"When I despair, I remember that all throughout history, the way of truth and love has won, always." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Whirred Whacks 9:10 AM  

Well I guess that ROILY was indeed the word of the day yesterday.

MARTHA COAKLEY has lost her title as the worst candidate ever put up.

I'm a paid subscriber to the New York Times, Washington Post, and The New Yorker. If that's all I ever read, I never would've seen this coming. Fortunately my universe is larger than that.

Interesting times ahead!

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

For the sake of one thing, just one damned thing, making sense today, can someone please explain 53A to me? How does saying out past curfew translate to RAYS?

Don McBrien 9:16 AM  

we are fucked

Nancy 9:25 AM  

There was nothing in this puzzle to divert me from the anxiety and worry I'm feeling for the future of the country and, indeed, for very the future of the planet itself. I was going to pull together all the words in the puzzle that seem apt -- OUCH; SCARE; EVIL; ROT and UGGS -- but I knew perfectly well that others would beat me to it, and so they have.

@Hartley -- I didn't sleep much either. I'll call you, and we'll commiserate.

@Z -- Love your quote. Never heard it.

@Matt Mullins -- Love your quote. Have heard it and even use it occasionally. I may have to start using it more often.

@Lewis -- Love your quote, even though it feels a lot sunnier and more optimistic than I feel right now.

@kitshef (8:38 a.m.) -- From your mouth to God's ear. You've identified the one small ray of hope that exists right now and expressed it beautifully. And that's the small ray of hope that I've been trying to cling to as well. I also agree with your list of possible outcomes that would have been much worse. I find your comment the most soothing thing I've heard in the last 12 hours. Of course, there's not a hell of a lot of competition.

Teedmn 9:51 AM  

OH SNAP out of it, is what I'm telling myself but I can't get over the feeling that everything has gone SOUTH. Hence, this puzzle is not getting the proper attention that it undoubtedly deserves.

Thanks, @NCA President, for putting things into historical perspective.

I'm going to sit and nurse my COCA COLA (Tab, actually) and watch wild turkeys outside until I get enough energy to feel JOYOUS again.

I agree with @Rex that the clues for the theme entries were a bit weird, with that "Coach" thing in there.

Warren Howie Hughes 9:53 AM  

The Art of the REEL Deal!

G.Harris 9:54 AM  

When I read the list complied by Chaos, of all that Trump had to overcome, it drove home the realization that he has bested all that is good about our Country. Now we must pick up the pieces and build a better society.

jberg 9:57 AM  

@chaos, actually all the comments before yours did refer to the election. I guess you didn't read them before posting.

As for the puzzle -- crossing UIES with CEES was just a little too much for me.

jberg 9:58 AM  

Oh yeah, I forgot -- @George and @Martin, most of those names are not actually plurals, but collective nouns, which are technically singular. So the Red Sox are a team, but the HEAT is a team.

Leapfinger 10:10 AM  

@Matt Mullins 0826, as I heard it, that was an old Irish curse, spalpeen.

Brian 10:23 AM  

From "Count your lucky stars" which is exceedingly easy to do today –zero.

JFe 10:43 AM  

@chaos. You are deplorable.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

@Chaos SPOT ON! Poor Rex (and other Trump haters). He must be as heart broken as I am relieved and optimistic.

Malsdemare 10:53 AM  

@Nancy. Well said.

I have no more words today, just deep, deep sorrow.

old timer 10:54 AM  

Can the politics folks.

Kudos to OFL for managing to write the blog today. I think on a normal day he would have groused about having a Monday puzzle on a Wednesday. At least I found it that Easy.

Masked and Anonymous 11:05 AM  

To the GYPSY
That remains
She faces freedom
With a little fear
Well I have no fear
I have only love
And if I was a child
And the child was enough
Enough for me to love
Enough to love
She is dancing away from you now
She was just a wish
She was just a wish
And her memory is all that is left for you now
You see you're a GYPSY

Does seem like a mighty shockin result, today. Lots of nice U's, but that poor SE corner may have gotten
savagely over-U-twerked. This is a hard fact for M&A to swallow.

I have heard of COUNT YER LUCKY STARS, at least. Also DANCING WITH THE STARS, of course.

Anyhoo, thanx Mr. Lieb. We leave U now, with a SE corner with fewer "stars" to count …

52. "I used to ___, but things have changed" (Dylan song lyric)
60. Word with trump or hole
65. Big jug with sheep in it??
68. Spot
33. Suckers that get fired up for tree removal
48. Civic organization member
61. Toe-touching unit
62. Needing another vodka collins, let's say

Masked & Anonym007Us

Hey, easier now to get good pot, tho.

Mohair Sam 11:12 AM  

Well this sports fan liked the puzzle. I can see where someone who does not follow sports would be left totally confused. Played awfully easy for a Wednesday, didn't you think? Oh, your mind was elsewhere?

@Matt Mullins - I texted that quote to my son this morning (I know it as Chinese too). He's shocked by the rage he's seeing from his Facebook friends who supported Hillary (he didn't vote on the Presidential line).

@Chaos - Why the Hell did you have to say that shit? And @Z - If racism was the driving force in defeating the Democrat last night President Obama would have lost in a landslide in 2012. I thought your comment was out of line.

@Kitschef - Well said - I hope you're right. So far both Hillary and Trump (and President Obama) have reacted sensibly - let's hope a Harry Reid or Newt don't blow this up.

r.alphbunker 11:13 AM  

@kitshef(8:38AM) Well said. And nice solve.

Unfortunately Trump's POWER SUIT has not instilled confidence in me. Except for the election results this was a typical Wednesday for me. Details are here.

Aketi 11:15 AM  

@NCA President, stellar

@Chaos344, BRING on THE HEAT. I know that many are scared from the verbal and sometimes physical backlash against so many underprivileged groups We had another election when one person won the electoral college but not the popular vote and that didn't work out so well. I take heart in the face that there is a possibility that the beautiful warmth of 3 million POWER pant SUITERs who created a supportive environment which included diversity of many kinds including diversity of political backgrounds within a matter of a few weeks speaks volumes about the fact that there are people who are willing to fight for humanity and kindness. Unlike many of your posts, Chaos where you bandy about the term PC like a dark saber to bash opinions you don't like, I did not see taunting or labeling either before or after the election results were called.

Just as I don't curl up and give up when I lose in a sparring match, I go back and train harder and smarter, I'm not going to give up on these wonderful people who took the high road and created a place to fight hate with love I'm going to redouble my efforts..

I voted and I'm going to continue to vote. In six months my son will be able to vote as will many of his friends. They are wonderful, articulate, smart, inclusive deep thinkers. I am sorry they will have to clean up our messes but I do see a lot of hope in them. I'm chaperoning a Model UN session at Brown University, that my son organized as President of the Model UN at his high school. I'm looking forward to hanging out with thoughtful teens, many of whom are hard working daughters and sons of hard working immigrants who live in Queens.

Sadly having lived in lots of other countries so I was not shocked by the results so I'm not crying. I am redirecting my feelings into whatever constructive avenues I can find to make sure that all the of the constitution is respected, not just one amendment of it.

Joseph Michael 11:21 AM  

My sympathies to John Lieb for having his puzzle published on the day when crossword puzzles seem like the least important thing in the world.

But, as Scarlet said with her fist raised high. "Tomorrow is another day."

Pete 11:39 AM  

@Chaos - It's sad that you feel that legitimate concerns of Latinos and African Americans are something that had to be overcome. Women with college degrees, the LGBT community apparently also have no place in your universe. Sad too that you feel treating others with respect regardless of whether you disagree with them or don't understand them.

Hungry Mother 11:40 AM  

Easy Wednesday for me. I agree with the sentiment that the crosswords and blogs are safe havens from other worldly cares. It's nice to worry about solving word puzzles.

Tom 12:03 PM  

OUCH. Lots of NAIVE voters out there think the ROT that comes from Darnold T. Rump is going to make their world better.

Just goes to show you, you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but apparently you can fool enough of the people to elect a fool for president. @chaos is going to get what he deserves.

Unfortunately the rest of us are going to get dragged down that dark hole with him and the T. Rump whackos. Sad day for U.S.

AliasZ 12:05 PM  

I must have stumbled onto a political blog. Can anyone direct me to the correct URL for NYT crossword comments? It used to be http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/

Thank you.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

@AliasZ - No, the link you cited is the Pretentious Music Recommendation Blog

Tita 12:09 PM  

I'm going to try to restrain myself, and give the troll just this...

@Chaos - read much? I believe that every poster prior to you made reference to that elephant.
Is selective reading how you got yourself through this campaign?

(Yeah, you guys know I espouse starving the trolls, but then am unable to resist feeding them just a tiny bit.)

Puzzle? Sorry, Mr. Lieb - once I realized the theme was "just" sports teams, I switched off. I can't help but let my personal interests totally color my enjoyment of a puzzle.

Thanks, Rex.

AZPETE 12:36 PM  

"Be careful of what you wish for, you might get it."

Passing Shot 12:54 PM  

John Lieb (and Rex) -- thank you for the diversion.
To paraphrase Maya Angelou, "...but still, like air, WE'LL rise."

Anoa Bob 1:03 PM  

Hate to change the subject, but stuffing UMA, TAS & ASTR in the starting gate is a sure fire way to bring out my frowny face and cast a pall over the rest of the puzz.

Anon@9:13 tried and got no response, so I'll try again. The first three themers use clues that reflect the actual meaning of the team names, but what the heck is going on with the fourth. The Tampa Bay RAYS, as has been pointed out, are named for a marine animal, and the phrase "Catch some RAYS" refers to getting some sun. So how does the clue "...nab a few of those curfew violators" even relate to either of those meanings at all. Anybody?

On another note, the pale blue marble continues to spin through the unfathomable abysm of endless time and space, soon to be devoured by the very star that first gave it birth.

Cassieopia 1:13 PM  

@Anonymous: "No, the link you cited is the Pretentious Music Recommendation Blog" HAHAHAHAHA! Made my day, thank you!

Passing Shot 1:25 PM  

@Anoa Bob -- perhaps the clue for CATCH SOME RAYS could be re-worded as "Coach, you're looking a little pallid."?

Chip Hilton 1:28 PM  

@kitshef - What Nancy said. Thanks.

QuasiMojo 1:28 PM  

Thank you @Nancy for your gentleness and kindness. @Chaos, I'm surprised. I thought we were on the same team, and I don't mean politics.

Who wasn't tired last night? I felt like Annabel after an all-nighter before an exam. Woke up with a hangover.

This puzzle was dull and vapid. Please can't we do better? I know Shortz has a backlog but sometimes you got to cut your losses and start from scratch.

On to reality. Another day, another dolor.

Dan 1:31 PM  

I don't remember doing it either! I just connected to the app, and saw a filled-in grid. Must have been around 2 am.

Numinous 1:35 PM  

I don't follow hockey so COUNT THE STARS meant nothing to me at all. Gradually, the intent of the theme became clear. Cute idea I guess. I can even accept CATCH SOME RAYS but the SE was truely UGGSley. I have to agree that this feels more like a Tuesday puzzle. I finished in about half my average Wednesday time.

So, the "elephant" is in the room. Are we "Great Again" yet?

Thanks @Rex for being here today. Thanks to the rest of y'all too.

Nancy 1:36 PM  

At 12:01 p.m. today, just as soon as the sun was over the yardarm, I poured myself some vodka and waved the vermouth bottle over it. Now, mind you, there isn't any sun (The NYC sky is weeping appropriately today) and there isn't any yardarm (since I'm in my apartment and not on a sailboat) -- but what the hell? When @Hartley70 phoned me halfway through that first drink, I was actually almost in a good mood. (Desperate times call for desperate measures, that's what I say). Now on my second vodka martini, I say to all my friends here what I just said to @Hartley: Go pour yourself something strong and alcoholic; it's been a perfectly ghastly 16 hours and you deserve it! Who deserves it more than you? And maybe you'll even feel better. I hope so. Hic.

Hartley70 2:05 PM  

@Nancy, new subgroup forming: "Drunk Cruciverbalists". I've just elected YOU President! There will, however, be an insignificant dip in our solve time, accompanied by an enormous rise in our merriment. I nominate @Maldemare as VP because she badly needs her "spirits"!lifted.

Masked and Anonymous 2:24 PM  

@Anoa dude: I had a positive reaction to the UMA/UTAH part of the NW. TAS/ASTR was indeed a bit of icing on the desperation cake, however. The NW fill of course has other possibilities, but with a painful withdrawal of the grid-openin U, I fear. I was able to refill it, but it was just too painful to face, after already havin dropped two U's in the SE. [Sorta like losin WI, after already wavin bye-bye to NC.] But I'll give U a hint, at the bottom.

CATCHSOMERAYS seems like a primo team-endin themer phrase. I understood all the themers as actions for the coach to take, related to the sports team he/she coaches. The RAYS were originally called the DEVIL RAYS, but the DEVIL part got dropped, after 2008 or so. The new name was meant to primarily refer to a burst of (Florida) sunshine, instead of a fishy. So … ok, in that sense?


NW alternate-passage:

GILL I. 2:30 PM  

Is this blog great or what? Thank you people like @Nancy and @Hartley.
You've both restored my faith in booze in the afternoon, fog and the legalization of pot in California. Come on over....I've got some New Amsterdam in the freezer and I'll dig out the old bong and we can have a rip snorter.

jae 2:45 PM  

Yes easy.

Yes, did not sleep well if at all.

Yes, OK for a Wed.

Yes, thanks @Rex.

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

I tried the crispy M&Ms. I wouldn't call them wonderful.

Masked and Anonymous 3:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 3:09 PM  

Have been thinkin hard [which don't amount to much except lotsa gruntin, usually] about that CATCHSOMERAYS clue. The "nab … curfew violators" angle is ok, but CATCH sure seems like a good verb to associate with the baseball team subject, somehow…

{ "Coach, warm up some relief pitchers" [MLB] } might sorta work, altho I doubt the coach would ever do the catching for bullpen pitchers.

M&A Sports Desk


Anoa Bob 3:56 PM  

Day-um, M&A, U got me feeling dumb as a bag of dirt. I get the connection between the "nab" in the clue & CATCH in the themer. What still eludes the ol' anoadude, tho, is the connection between "curfew violators" in the clue & RAYS in the theme. The circles in my Venn diagram for "curfew violators" & RAYS don't even come close to each other, let alone overlap.

Maybe it's a case of trying to explain calculus to a cow. I'll just go back to chewing my cud.

Masked and Anonymous 4:18 PM  

@Anoa dude: har.

From Wikipedia, on subject of "curfew":
"In baseball, a time after which a game must end, or play be suspended. For example, in the American League the curfew rule for many years decreed that no inning could begin after 1 am local time."

But … M&A had double-dirt-bag dumbly thought "curfew violators" in the clue just meant that the RAY team members were out partyin all-night, when they were supposed to be ready for a ballgame the next day. And the coach was supposed to catch em, bein out too late (i.e., violatin his team curfew time to be in bed). Or somesuch.

Possible calculus for cows topics?: milk derivatives, and pasture limits.

M&A Outlaw Help Desk

thfenn 4:50 PM  

My best Wednesday ever, in terms of puzzle solving times. My worst Wednesday ever on multiple other fronts. It's taken me all day to try and fall back into the routine, this puzzle, the write-up, and the comments all helped. Thanks.

Aaron 5:09 PM  

A boring and brief respite from a nightmarish new world.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

Sorry, GWood

beatrice 7:06 PM  

What about The Jazz?

When I finished the puzzle, I immediately came here, hoping for a few expressions of dismay (disbelief/terror/horror), and some commiseration. What I found has been so much better and richer than I could have imagined or wished for. And wonderful to hear from readers who are usually silent.

@NCA President - absolutely brilliant.

@QuasiMojo - thanks(ish) for the quote, new to me.

And so, midst the fear and trembling, I present my Pretentious Music Recommendation of the day - the remarkable 'Earthquake Mass' of Antoine Brumel (1460-1512). And to up the Pretension Quotient, I'd like to add that the work is written for 12 separate voice-lines, rather than the usual 4 or 5 (denser textures, more complex sonorities, greater dramatic effect, etc.). One reviewer writes, 'if you want to be pleasantly, unforgettably “shaken”, just listen to this disc’s final eight minutes – the last part of the Agnus Dei.' If you don't wish to opt in to the full 40 minutes, you might like to listen to those final 8.

Missa Et ecce terrae motus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8sTnhvKx8o

Agnus Dei only https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcIT1sasCHg

CFXK 7:21 PM  

solved the puzzle 13 hours after i usually solve it.

A sad day for civilization. No, the saddest in the history of the United States. Lincoln led us through the civil war. Roosevelt led us through the depression and the Second World War. Kennedy found us at the edge of nuclear annihilation, and found a way forward. Trump will tweet the utter destruction of the planet on some random day at 3:30 am.

So post tour comments early.

Louisa 8:28 PM  

Wanted pantssuit not powersuit--

G'night all--

Dorothy Biggs 9:08 PM  

Anon @7:38pm:


Carola 9:29 PM  

Not understanding the connection between RAYS and curfew violators: just one more thing I don't understand.

@Aketi - Bravissima!

Anonymous 9:31 PM  

@NCA Prea
::WHOOSH::'d my vote didn't matter.
::WHOOSH::'d I paid better attention to the pulse of the country.
::WHOOSH::'d all the info out there didn't just go over my head.
::WHOOSH::---sounds like a toilet flushing.

Happy Pencil 9:48 PM  

@GWood: "I know the liberals don't adopt this attitude and have pointed out in the past how I believe they provoke these types of arguments, but we don't need to follow in kind."

You are kidding, right? Have you even been listening to what your candidate of choice has been saying for the past year and a half? You cannot possibly be so obtuse as to think that you have some claim to the moral high ground right after you cast your vote for a racist, sexist, hate-mongering serial abuser of women.

Sorry, but I had to get that off my chest. I'm not even American, but I feel sick for the future of your country -- and for the bleaker future we all now face.

Leapfinger 9:48 PM  

@Beatrice, loved your Pretension Quotient post. Since I won't have 40 minutes of untrammeled time till later tonight, I've only listened to the Agnus Dei for now, and thought it sublime, but then I'm a sucker for that a capella stuff. I see where Antoine "Beau" Brumel wrote the Missa for 12 voci, but I noticed there are only 10 singers for the Agnus Dei. I hope it wasn't tension took the others.

Malsdemare 9:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Happy Pencil 9:53 PM  

And I don't get the curfew violators clue either, unless it just means that someone who violates his curfew stays out all night (that is, until the rays of the morning sun appear)?

Tita 10:10 PM  

@anon @7:38... @NCAPres' -whoosh- was the sound of his post going right over your head. He eloquently were projected one man's comments (@Chaos) onto the mythical creatures that mankind has come up with over the ages to explain away the ills we visit upon ourselves with alarming regularity.

@Beatrice...love your PMR of the Day. Thank you...I've got that cued up, and am looking forward to be shaken.

Zwhatever 10:20 PM  

Thought I posted at 1:59, but it isn't in my email or here so either Rex nuked it or my fatigue caused a user error.

So first, my "old political adage" was intended as snark. One of the things that political pundits on the left have been droning on about for the past few months was how Clinton's ground game was so much better than Trump's. It was early and I was tired, so I omitted my usual warning. Apologies to anyone who thought it was an actual saying, and let us all pray that it never becomes an actual pearl of political wisdom.

Has anyone managed to explain how RAY works? I asked in the wee hours, @anonymous asked in the morning, and @anoa bob asked in the afternoon, but I don't see an answer.

Anonymous 10:22 PM  

Thanks Rex for not posting a lot of political diatribe. I come here for the comments on the puzzle not the political scene. I was disappointed with NCA President's hateful comments equating some groups with the radicals on 9/11. This attitude just foments more venom. Concerning the puzzle, I also did not think the clue on catching some rays made any sense.

Kathy 10:36 PM  

@Rex- Thank you for your blog. My happy morning ritual for over 3 years! I first was so excited to see @chefbea avatar. I'm not alone!! Heck, I remember @Nancy going to blue! So fun!
I've often disagreed with many of your reviews and issues. However, I've taken a lot to heart and respect you.

@Chaos- Thank you for your service and refreshing comments. It gets tiresome reading one sided liberals lately.

@GWood- Thank you thank you.

So when is Barbra Streisand leaving?

Malsdemare 10:41 PM  

I wrote this, deleted it, wrote it again, had it eaten by the ipad gods, and here I am again, nothing if not dogged. Chaos is from Greek mythology and is the origin, murky and messy, of darkness, night and maybe Earth, Love . . . The Greeks got a little vague here. @NCA Pres, I think, addressed her remarkable post to THAT Chaos, not the person whose post has disappeared from our blog. It's been a long, ugly election season, and we're all tired and cranky (and some of us, frightened and despairing). We are stupid, sometimes, and forgeting that there are undoubtedly people here who hold views that differ from ours, say vicious stuff; we think because we love crosswords, we agree on other things as well. Today has told us that's wrong. But we do like crosswords, we love bashing Will and Rex, we seek each other out for bad puns, good music, chemistry enlightenment, and complaints about pop culture/old people crap. I have unfriended more people than I can count on Facebook, but I want to keep coming here. Can we just figure out a way to be kind to one another?

I picked up my clarinet today after a long hiatus; so the election has that going for it . . . Or not.

I don't want to be VP of anything, eve if it does involve alcohol, although if someone can get Illinois to legalize pot, I might reconsider.

I still have a therapy dog; that's why I can write at 9:30 tonight.

Dear Mr. Shortz, could we please have a brain-frazzling, over-the-top, takes-us-forever-to-solve puzzle tomorrow?

Mike Rees 10:50 PM  

UIES? For real?

Whole puzzle ruined on one complete garbage word.

Calliope 11:28 PM  

ART CRITIC, O thou (or 'ye', if ye be more than one) who continueth to pound on @NCA Prez for that illuminating comment? If so, mine estimation is thou ART CRITIC of other than the literary genre, for it seemeth to mine eye obvious in the extreme that NCA Prez availeth himself of the TROPE known among the oi polloi as metaphor. That this wouldst be obvious in the extreme is the simple fact that the Chaos who maketh visitation on these boards is seldom (if ever) Loki.

Ere getting thine smalls into more of a bunch, mine recommendation wouldst be for thee to maketh visitation upon Mme. Malsdemare's comment [10:41pm] for confirmation and detail.

Mme Malsdemare, I see we are at odds about which facility NCAPrez would be entitled to use in the great state of North Carolina. I'm not sure whether mine opinion is based on anything more than that comments emanating therefrom sound to mine ear more like a guy voice. If NCAPrez prefers to be called Mister or Madame President, I suppose we will be informed in fullness of time.

Anonymous 1:22 AM  

@Happy Pencil
Sorry, just could resist getting this off my chest. At least you don't have to live in a country that is half deplorable and irredeemable according to the other candidate. Quite a nice compliment. GWood

Anokha 2:06 AM  

Thanks, Rex. The crossword -- and your analysis -- were a good distraction.

Ben Coe 2:59 AM  

Why are trump supporters still embarrassed to admit to who they really are? Your guy won, you would think you wouldn't still be shameful cowards about endorsing him.
Get used to the hate and anger from the left. We have had to listen to you whine about everything for the past 8 years and even threaten civil war if your candidate wasn't elected. I'm not about to roll over just because you think you're the majority now.

Ben Coe 3:33 AM  

Oh, and I wasn't at all surprised by the result. I was in Canada last month and my friends there seemed to believe it was ridiculous that he could even have a chance. I quoted Mencken, "No one ever lost money overestimating the stupidity of the American people."
Times like this, cynicism gets me by better than hope. As Imtold a woman a few weeks ago, "I absolutely believe that Trump is the leader that America deserves." I meant it in the worst possible way.

BC 3:34 AM  

Underestimating, and it was a paraphrase.

Anonymous 3:39 AM  

Well said, thank you for this

Chronic dnfer 9:03 AM  

Monday easy. Obama better pardon hilary before Rudy brings the heat.

Unknown 11:40 AM  

I like all the puzzles, and especially like the comments. To those of you who are decrying the Trump victory, you should have
come up with a better candidate. As a Trump supporter, all I'd like to say is "How Sweet it is."

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

What this election brings up again is how we have a system where the person who gets the most votes is not the candidate who wins the office as was the case in 2000. I apologize in advance (to no one since this is way past the posting time for this puzzle) but, the Trump supporters will not have to wait long before they realize the Donald will give them none of what he promised. The Donald has lived his entire life doing nothing for anyone but Donald. Now that he has been elected POTUS, he is going to completely change his ways. I bet.

Babs 8:29 PM  

Puzzles are all we have left. The puzzle of how we ended up with a president who has espoused such racist, misogynist and hateful ideas, who has defrauded poor and working class folks to enrich himself, who speaks lie after lie after lie and no one holds him accountable for his untruths. Our president-elect is immoral and deplorable. We will survive but it will not be easy. I work for a public employee union and will most likely be out of a job within the Trump four years, but I will continue to love and respect the fledging experiment of this fantastic country of ours. We are merely 240 years young, we have weathered horrible obstacles and tragedies but have persevered, and we will this time also.

I worked the crossword trying to infuse meaning in every clue. I was freed from the sadness momentarily, every distraction helped. Sorry if folks feel this is not the appropriate place for political comments, but did we just not solve that "all politics are local" and this blog is certainly our local community.

Burma Shave 10:32 AM  


It’s NAÏVE to COUNTTHESTARS on frozen days,


spacecraft 11:20 AM  

Has the "election" been ONLY a month ago? Seems longer; guess I'm NOT having fun. Oh well, yes, this is a pedestrian offering. Overly contrived theme; average density...should make for better overall fill. Best part of it is the two long downs. I'm beginning to think that constructors are trending toward zinger long downs--at the expense of short fill. "Bears" watching.

UMA again? I'm starting to feel like we're married. [In my dreams] No, today we'll bench her and {POWER}SUIT up the LUST-evoking MIRA Sorvino, a JOYOUS DOD who can really BRINGTHEHEAT. Par.

Pizza! Now I'm hungry.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

And here I thought these comments were about crossword puzzles....

rondo 12:43 PM  

Didn’t really see the Coach thing as necessary, but whatevs. No w/os today, unlike Mon and Tues. Those STARS, BTW, used to be the MN North STARS before the franchise moved to Dallas. Didn’t think OHSNAP was “currentish”, doesn’t that go back a long way?

A lot of gnashing of teeth from the past. I’m not happy about it, but we lived through 4 years of conservative total control during Dubya’s years in office. But then came the Great Recession. OUCH. Looks like I’ll need to work into my 70s. But ONLY until Amy Klobuchar becomes POTUS to clean up the mess.

Wasn’t BOSLEY the coordinator for Charlie’s Angels?

Yup, yeah baby MIRA Sorvino can BRINGTHEHEAT. Is a puz now required to include UMA?

The sky will not fall tomorrow. COOLYOURJETS.

Diana,LIW 2:03 PM  

I was absolutely certain Rex would jump all over the RAYS answer = curfew violators. Did not see a satisfactory answer in previous posts as to why RAYS = Curfew Violators.

Anyone? Anyone?

Wonder if 10D was supposed to be a shout out to the campaign? SOAP? Halloween accessory? Too many other possibilities.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, searching for store fronts

leftcoastTAM 3:10 PM  

I do follow sports generally, so the theme was fine.

Middle North required crosses for ISLIP/BOSCO/PHOEBE, but they shook out fairly easily. HALAL was new to me, and had to shake BOSELY out of old memory bank; crosses helped for those, too.

On the easy side of medium.

rondo 3:21 PM  

The RAYS are Tampa’s baseball team (formerly the Devil RAYS, as in the fish), so if the RAYS’ Coach nabs some team members who are violating the team hotel curfew, he will CATCHSOMERAYS.

Probably a bit convoluted, but in OFL’s post-election stupefaction, he just didn’t go to the usual lengths of ripping that sort of thing.

leftcoastTAM 3:28 PM  


My take on the RAYS clue FWIW: The RAYS aren't being singled out as curfew violators. It's just an imagined situation in which MLB players might stay out too late, perhaps doing things they shouldn't do, especially the night before a critical game. Makes theme answer CATCHSOMERAYS work.

Diana,LIW 5:08 PM  

R&L - That's the best I could come up with, too. But as Rex would say - No. Just no. Did not knock that one out of the ballpark.


leftcoastTAM 7:07 PM  

@spacecraft and @rondo:

Just suck it up--UMA is a goddess. She will, and should, be with us eternally.

rondo 7:53 PM  

@lefty - it's not in my nature to be stuck on ONLY one woman, even if it's UMA.

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