Bottom-feeding fish known formally as morwong / TUE 12-20-16 / Muchacho's sweetie / French royal line / Synagogue singers / Eww inducer / Cocktail usually served with orange slice cherry

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: ON THE ROCKS (56A: How this puzzle's three drinks have been served?) — themers all have liquor names in them, then underneath those names, in circled squares each time, there are the letters ICE...

Theme answers:
  • SCOTCH TAPE (17A: Clear adhesive)
  • HOUSE OF BOURBON (28A: French royal line)
  • TEQUILA SUNRISE (43A: Cocktail usually served with an orange slice and a cherry)
Word of the Day: SEA CARP (9D: Bottom-feeding fish known formally as the morwong) —
Morwongs (also called butterfish, fingerfins, jackassfish, snappers, and moki) are perciform fishes comprising the family Cheilodactylidae. they are found in subtropical oceans in the Southern Hemisphere. // Morwong is also used as a name for several unrelated fish found in Australian waters, such as the painted sweetlips, Diagramma pictum. (the word "carp" appears nowhere in the "morwong" wikipedia entry, just to be clear) (wikipedia)
• • •

First of all, easyish. 20 seconds or so easier than yesterday's. Second of all, fatally flawed at the thematic level. D.O.A. One of the answers is not like the others, and it's a dealbreaker. SCOTCH ... used non-alcoholically. BOURBON ... used non-alcoholically. TEQUILA ... not only used alcoholically, but clued as a damn cocktail, which totally interferes with the whole "ooh, look, it's over ICE now" thing. The ICE is supposed to pull the word out of its answer and into a liquor context. That's the magic. If the word is already in a liquor context, no magic. This is especially jarring when the other two themers are playing by the rules, doing their jobs, being good soldiers. Maybe if the clue had gone with the Gibson/Pfeiffer movie, things would've been better, but I think you just need a third themer like GIN RUMMY or the like, where the liquor word is used in a non-liquor context.

The grid, however, is really quite good. Lots of long, cool words (I'm partial to OBSEQUIOUS—as a word, not as a thing one should be). I think BLOT UP is ridiculous (you just BLOT a spill), but really even the medium-length fill in this one is solid-to-sparkly. HILLEL CANTORS NO-LOOK ... all fine. SEA CARP was by far the hardest thing to come up with (morwong!?). Good ole SNERT, faithful SNERT. Always there to help out (27D: Hägar the Horrible's dog). I keep reading MEWED as ME, WED? [Incredulous question from a bachelor?]. EPHEMERA is a really pretty word. It is late and I need to sleep now. I just had gin ON THE ROCKS and it was great. COTTON GIN! See, there's another. RUM TUM TUGGER. CATCHER IN THE RYE! PA RUM PUM PUM PUM (14) actually gives you a simple switch-out, as it's the same length as TEQUILA SUNRISE! Come on, the answers are out there!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Good think they got this in to print before the inauguration. That clue on 7D is not gonna be true for much longer.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Medium for me and exactly what @Rex said. Liked it except for the theme glitch.

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

ccool blog, bro! you're so much cooler than all the other puzzle people. keep being cool! you're superior!,,,,,

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

53D is going to be quaint as well. USDA. Part of the president-elect's tax plan that whooshed by everyone during the election as it was lost in the fine print is to gut food safety enforcement.

Unknown 12:34 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 12:46 AM  

@Timothy Polin is a young yet experienced constructor, and I suspect one who is quite at home at HILLEL, or maybe hobnobbing with CANTORS. @Rex's review was thought-provoking, to say the least, and I'm looking forward to the various reactions it will elicit.

Unfinished business from yesterday ... so many wonderful comments inspired by the "you can't fool me, they're ain't no sanity clause" theme (here's looking at you, @Loren Muse Smith and @Leapfinger, for two).

I often open too many windows on my browser (Chrome) and when a particular one crashes, I get an "Aw, Snap!' (something went wrong while displaying this message)" message. Note "Aw" rather than OH ... but maybe that's just me.

I did get my grades in earlier today, so please join @Chris Adams and me in Giving T.Hanks for the Holidays, and, if you still have the time and inclination, try Steppin' Out from our friend @John Child.

Moly Shu 12:47 AM  

Agree with OFL about the theme problems, but it did give us AMPHIBIOUS, OBSEQUIOUS and my personal fave, SLUICE. So, I'll give it a "@Jae liked it".
As for the EPA comment (as well as all his anti-Trump comments and tweets), I hope @Rex can keep this up for 4 or 8 more years. It never fails to entertain me. Of course, I'm easily amused.

John Child 1:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Child 1:24 AM  

Spot on comments today from @Rex: lovely vocabulary, perfect Tuesday puzzle, one elephantine flaw.

___ Andronicus was obvious, but ___ Libs drove me nuts. Do Mad Libs still exist? I know some young teens and near-teens who would probably love them.

Larry Gilstrap 1:29 AM  

I sensed that OFL would freak about the theme inconsistency, and he did. Trying to one up his fussiness, I thought that a TEQUILA SUNRISE might be a blended drink, incorrectly. I like sitting at a bar watching the action, but avoid getting stuck next to the blender. Those things can be awfully noisy. Sometimes sitting by the glass washing sinks can be visually delightful; I've said too much.

I used MAD LIBS in the classroom as a Friday fun time with the kids, I mean as a tool to reinforce parts of speech. I had fun, anyway.

I see DEPP gets clued from a popular movie called "Sleepy Hollow." Might I suggest spending some time with America's First Great Writer, Washington Irving. Sure, you think you read him as a kid, but probably not the real thing. Try the Christmas stories about his visit to Bracebridge Hall in the 1820's. Holly, ivy, yule log, boar's head, and Master Simon will get you into the spirit.

I like my GATEAU with ICE cream. Joyeux Noel!

chefwen 1:50 AM  

Medium/tough for me. A few words were pretty far out of the "easy Tuesday" category and took some thoughtful spelling. However, I really enjoyed it. Any puzzle that has this much good booze in it, is A OK in my book. Never have had a TEQUILA SUNRISE, I'll have to try one next time I'm out on a TOOT with the girls.

I'm a little tired of all the anti Trump rants too. Neither of the candidates would have made it onto my list of favorites, but my outlook is Give the man a chance, if Hillary had gotten in I would have said the same thing, Give the woman a chance! THEN we can talk.

Ellen S 2:03 AM  

Hi, all -- I'm glad to finally get here in time to comment (i.e., before the next puzzle comes out). @George Barany, I liked your and MAS's Friday, and CC's Saturday, but I didn't finish Sunday, though I read the comments and saw all the high praise for the grid. I was just perishing of boredom filling in the answers. I liked yesterday and today much better, and I am not usually a fan of Mondays and Tuesdays.

Just one CARP about today's puzzle, and that's 4D, Pilgrimage destinations. Plural MECCAS?? I mean, I've heard that Muslims are offended by casually turning Islam's most holy city into a synonym for "attractive spot," but that's kind of in the same category (for me) as people who go nuts about the use of "Xmas" as a shorthand for Christmas, claiming the "X" is a code for "x-ing" out Christ. They get awfully excited, some of them, but that's not my complaint here. There aren't a lot of equivalently taboo things for us atheists. Misplaced apostrophes might do it. Or -- pluralized cities. MECCAS is like having a clue, "Swiss ski resorts" and the answer is "Zermatts." Or, "Nation's Capital" and the answer is "Washingtons, DC."

Just saying. i didn't even spot the ice cubes in today's puzzle, so maybe I'm the one that's tone deaf. I was pleased that I remembered SNERT.

Anoa Bob 2:10 AM  

Yeah, having TEQUILA, clued as a drink, joining SCOTCH & BOURBON, clued as other-than drinks, seems like a blatant disregard for theme consistency 101. I'm curious how that passed editorial muster.

Another aspect of the theme which sounded off key to this ex-bartender's ear was that no one would order a TEQUILA SUNRISE "ON THE ROCKS". That would be used to specify which of several options one wanted for a shot of liquor, such as "straight up/neat" "with a water back" or "ON THE ROCKS". So the TEQUILA themer was a double outlier for me.

On the other hand, some sparkling vocabulary more than made up for the thematic infelicities in my mind. It doesn't get much better than EPHEMERA & OBSEQUIOUS. That's good stuff. Throw in an AMPHIBIOUS SLUICE and I won't even carp about the SEA CARP.

Anyone remember Tattoo excitedly yelling to Mr. ROARKE "Da plane, da plane!"?

Rudy Toombs 2:33 AM  

"One BOURBON, one SCOTCH, and one beer..." You're gonna reference George Thorogood? Not so fast!

Loren Muse Smith 3:12 AM  

I tried “morwong” first for 9D and then remembered the email I got that it’s a SEA CARP now. Love me some Conchiglie alla Morwongi Milanese. Do we even eat carp? There are carp the size of small refrigerators in one of our ponds. You can always see them floating around near the surface, doing their daily carp activities. Probably just a lot of bickering about who floats where.

Like everyone else, I was disappointed that the third liquor wasn’t disguised, but it was just a small thing. I still really liked this trick. IMAGINE DRAGONS would fit there, but to embed the other two liquors you get meh entries. PERRY ELLIS and CEREMONIAL DRUM … I’ll take TEQUILA SUNRISE and the others for sure.

I liked the clue for 62A. Hard not to sit and think about stuff you have in boxes in the basement. Fondu set, letters from Tommy R, Kubb set from Sweden, Nancy Drew books, Ronco Veg-O-Matic I just had to have…

I’ve shared this before, but I can’t see the word AMPHIBIOUS without thinking of this quote:

Left hand, right hand, it doesn't matter. I'm amphibious -- Former North Carolina State basketball player Charles Shackleford. (Valvano said the following week that in the NBA Charles would earn enough money to buy himself a big aquarium to live in.)

First thought for 44D the bad road-trip car was “sedan.” That 10-hour drive from Chattanooga to Newton NC to Myrtle Beach in the two-door Caprice was a descent into hell. So much better in the ole Kingswood Estate station wagon. Hah. Memories. After my sisters and I got in the car- a full 30 minutes before we left - in order to stake out “my spot don’t touch anything or I’m telling Mom,” we would stop at the same Shoney’s for breakfast every year, and I ordered blueberry pancakes and hot tea. We very rarely had pancakes growing up, let alone blueberry ones. And for a southern kid used to only ice tea, getting my own little pitcher of hot water and a tea bag made me feel like a movie star. I slipped effortlessly into Haughty Arrogant mode.

Funnily enough, with just the right letters in place (_ UIC _ _ E) my first thought for the 40D “____ Squad” was “quickie.” Wonder what kind of movie that would be. The Quickie Squad - We own the broom closet.

Tim – the TEQUILA issue was just a small thing for me. And with OBSEQUIOUS, SLUICE, RENEGE ON, AMPHIBIOUS, EPHEMERA… I’ll take it. Good one.

Unknown 4:54 AM  

It really is too bad about TEQUILA SUNRISE because the rest of the grid is so much fun.

OBSEQUIOUS is a fun word to speak out loud. In that way it reminds me of last Friday's COPACETIC. I've had conversations with friends about fun-to-say words, and each of these has been brought up on more than one occasion. I'm partial to the sound of kerfuffle and skedaddle (especially as part of "skit, scoot, and skedaddle"). I have several friends who are enamored of the sound of spoon.

Love the quotation clue for EMMA [Title heroine who says "I would much rather have been merry than wise"]. I'd choose Emma Woodhouse over Elizabeth Bennet as Austen's best heroine: Emma has some real flaws and can be downright unlikeable, which makes her far more interesting. It's been a while since I read Northanger Abbey, but I remember loving the imaginative Catherine Morland. Man, I recall enjoying the heck out of Northanger—until I noticed that I was 20 pages from the end and that there was not enough space for Austen to wrap up the story.

I've been privately debating this, but I think that, yes, I believe in the following principle: a crossword puzzle should use, either in a clue or in an answer, one inscrutable word. There must be one and only one such word: indiscriminate multiplication of the inscrutable transmogrifies language into a cloying, babbling nonsense. That single word, drawn from the depths of the language, reminds each of us solvers that there are more words in heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in each of our vocabularies. Every crossword puzzle should use a word like morwong.

@LMS - Good catch on the excellent clue for FUSE [Item in a box in the basement]. That clue sure got the imagination working.

I enjoyed the clues for SAIL [Something controlled by rigging], PUTT [Get the ball rolling?], and PAST [Word repeated in "What's ___ is ___"]. I'm not sure whether I love or hate the clue for TETE [Marie Antoinette lost hers in la Révolution françoise].

Anonymous 5:58 AM  

What? No outrage over Caesar's comment? I think he said veni, vidi, vici. Unless his message was for the foreign (English speaking) press. Physically impossible, of course, since the earliest form of English is Old English or Anglo-Saxon (c. 550–1066 CE) and Caesar was long dead by then.


Anonymous 6:14 AM  

There's The Greatest Generation, then there's Generation Rex. Thank goodness we're not a nation of cocktail sipping, hand wringing, bubble dwelling, pajama wearing ****ies. President Donald J Trump. C'mon snowflakes, get used to it.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

There were 10 beauteous answers (many of which have already been mentioned) that I don't see often in puzzles and made the whole solve perk up for me. Six of them were horizontal, making this a true ROWMANCE.

I liked that in the rows above SCOTCH_TAPE there are 3Ms, and that the theme answers are literally on ICE.

Afterward, I could look and see that theme inconsistency, but I was so elated by the puzzle's vocabulary, it didn't bring me down at all. It just didn't bother me, and I love when a puzzle does that!

I have tons of family coming in for the coming week, and will not have time to join this commentariat that I love, but I'll be back in the middle of next week. Happy holidays!

rorosen 6:44 AM  

Excellent words, Martin! I am now going to download Emma!

kitshef 6:54 AM  

Liked a lot about this puzzle and was not bothered by the theme inconsistency. What did bother me was getting to the reveal and looking back up to see what the 'rocks' would be, only to find them all identical, and all ICE.

I was hoping for a trio like 'stone, boulder, pebble', or 'quartz, schist, gneiss', or 'igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary' (now that would have been a puzzle!).

At one point I wondered if all the themers would have two Us, and thought the theme might be 'double u'.

Some WoEs, all well crossed. Really a well-done puzzle, other than that repeating 'ice' thing.

smalltowndoc 7:03 AM  

Hated all the Proper nouns. i mean, who ever heard of "TITUS Andronicus"?. Or Johnny DEPP? (Sarcastic tongue firmly planted in cheek).

@John Child: after reading your comment, I went to the App Store on my iPad and, believe it or not, there are at least five Mad Lib apps, including Adult Mad Libs!

I may be a robot 7:20 AM  

I'm amazed that morwong had nothing to do with Harry Potter, Star Wars, or the eternally popular eloi. The puzzle had a shot at greatness that ended right before sunrise. And is tequila ever served on the rocks? Blech

Z 7:23 AM  

In ultimate there are these players with lots of ability, great skills, but who don't quite get the game, yet. Masters teams (i.e. teams with older, slower players) will often school these teams at tourneys. Masters teams' game is sometimes less flashy, our skills may not be quite as good anymore as the young guys. But we get the game. we will execute, we will not blow a game because we ignore the basics. This puzzle is those young teams. Lots of flash, tons of talent, but Wow, fails at the most basic level of the game.

@Martin Abresch - I like your inscrutable word principle.

@Rex - Regarding SEA CARP, true, but if you google SEA CARP, the wiki article redirects to the morwongs page.

@chefwen - No, thank you.

Emolument, get used to hearing it.

r.alphbunker 7:47 AM  

Loved the vocabulary in this puzzle. The theme was an afterthought. Remove the circles and change the clue for ONTHEROCKS and let @Lewis notice the placements of ICE in the grid.

I "noticed" that there are 27 Ts in the grid. Does that make me a teetotaler?

Over at we call unscrutable words "noise". How about this clue for OTT. {Giant player whose grandmother never saw a baseball game}. This one is probably unprovable.

Details are here

TomAz 7:54 AM  

The comments on the theme inconsistency, while certainly accurate, don't go far enough.

"On the rocks" means a liquor poured over ice cubes. No one drinks tequila "on the rocks". A mixed drink is not "on the rocks". And of course a TEQUILASUNRISE is a mixed drink.

But the worst part is conjuring up an old Eagles song.

Dorothy Biggs 8:01 AM  

Yes, TEQUILA is the inelegant outlier. Seriously, someone was asleep at the wheel on that one.

I also agree with Anon @5:58AM, aka Zippy that ICAME is lame. A clue like that needs to be made very obvious that the quote will be in English. That phrase is so common to xwords in the Latin, that having it in English needs a special clue. Much like how TETE was clued...make it obvious. I also thought HOUSEOFBOURBON so simply delivered in ENGLISH in a puzzle where you had GATEAU and TETE seemed also inelegant. Are we doing French or not? Are we doing foreign languages or not? UNA and CHICA want to know too.

CANTORS can also be Catholic, Episcopalian, and/or Lutheran.

I guess it's "NEAT-O" that in a puzzle with ONTHEROCKS as it's theme, you also have BOURBON being served [nearly] "neat." But I think I'm being too generous there.

Apart from the big grown up words, the puzzle staggered around like it was drunk...speaking French, Spanish, English, not Latin, bumping into itself all over the place and at the end just saying, "Fu*k it, just gimme a TEQUILASUNRISE on ICE."

Go home, puzzle. You're drunk.

Lewis 8:02 AM  

@ralph -- Teetotaler -- Har!

The Oxen of the Sun 8:03 AM  

HILLEL crossing ELS wasn't too fun to work with.

Lobster11 8:20 AM  

I thought this was pretty tough for a Tuesday, but I liked it because it was consistently so. One of my pet peeves is a Tuesday puzzle that plays like an easy Monday except for the addition of a handful of super-hard entries -- as if that "averages out" to Tuesday-level difficulty.

@Ellen S: I dislike artificial plurals as much as the next guy, but I'm giving a pass on MECCAS because I think the word (maybe with a lower-case m?) is in common use in a loose, metaphorical sense: e.g., someone's "mecca" could be a favorite vacation spot (or crossword tournament, perhaps?)

chefbea 8:21 AM  

Found this to be harder than yesterday, because of the long downs. I like my scotch on the rocks with a splash of water!!! Guess we are getting lots of spices...yesterday and today. Love rich cake!!

Rug Crazy 8:22 AM  

Don't like Meccas as a plural.

chefbea 8:23 AM  

Meant to say earlier...I started the mega puzzle from Sundays puzzle section...It's not something you can do while waiting at the doctors office!!! I have it on the dining room table all laid out.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

One of the hardest Tuesdays I can remember.

Hungry Mother 8:30 AM  

Played a bit tough for me, more like what I expect a Wednesday to be. I found yesterday's far easier and faster to solve.

jackj 8:32 AM  

So, maybe the carping, (“morwonging”?), is overwrought?

The Eagles recorded a song called Tequila Sunrise for their Desperado album, but Don Henley had this to say about the song:

“I believe that was a Glenn title. I think he was ambivalent about it because he thought that it was a bit too obvious or too much of a cliché because of the drink that was so popular then. I said, 'No-Look at it from a different point of view. You've been drinking straight tequila all night and the sun is coming up!' It turned out to be a really great song.”

Old Lady 8:42 AM  

Count me as a member of Generation Rex. Give the guy a chance started and ended with his selection of cabinet members. Haven't had a drink in 35 years and may start now. Should it be SCOTCH, BOURBON, or TEQUILA?

L 8:49 AM  

I often don't get caught up in nitpicking the theme, but I also agree with OFL on this one. Tequila sunrise just killed it.
I thought it was challenging for a Tues - lots of good, long downs, words I had to take a moment to spell correctly. That rarely happens on a Tuesday.

thfenn 8:50 AM  

Agree completely with the theme issues noted, including the fact that it'd never occur to me to have Tequila on the rocks. Like NCA, thought it was pretty neato having NEAT and BOURBON connect. @Z, great analogy. Also enjoyed all the fill already noted. Didn't know ROARKE or ENOS and don't associate TLC with Spas (in fact, that feels sort of gross - TLC is what I enjoy getting from someone I care about, and vice versa, a spa is where I'd go pretty much only if TLC wasn't enough to do the trick (no reference to Loren's quickie squad, but laughing now thinking about it...). The whole South slowed me down because I couldn't get passed thinking of booming in terms of, I suppose, the stock market, rather than noise (though I suspect the booming stock market is a bunch of noise). A good deal tougher for me than yesterday's, but lots of fun.

Wm. C. 8:54 AM  

Kinda mean to put PUTT across the grid from (Ernie) ELS.

Reminds us of his (in)famous six-putt on the very first green at this year's Masters Tournament. Fifteen minutes into the year's first Major, and he's outta it!

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Rex, you should really stop indulging your need to express dissatisfaction with Trump. This is a crossword blog, there are plenty of other places for political diatribes. I would have thought that the ridiculous comment-fest that resulted from your last stab at political commentary would have persuaded you of the wisdom of leaving your blog as a politics-free zone.

jberg 9:03 AM  

I wanted "not the election" at 9A, but it wouldn't fit.

Aside from that, I think it's all been said -- MECCAS and TEQUILA were serious flaws in an otherwise fine puzzle. Maybe LEFTS, too, at least as clued.

Well, what's DONE is DONE. Oh, wait...

GILL I. 9:04 AM  

@Old Lady...I would go with that's easy on the tongue - Cutty Sark maybe.
Well, everything I was going to say about foreign words and I CAME and the Clue for TEQUILA SUNRISE has pretty much been said. I so wanted @Rex's Pfeiffer and Gibson title movie. But...a TEQUILA SUNRISE is definitely served over ICE. The cloying sweetness of the grenadine and orange juice and sugar is a bit too much for me. I'll take a good Margarita, gracias.
As mention, there are some wonderful words here. FLESH out was hard for me because I wasn't sure how to spell HILLEL. Like PINTO/LEMON..
Curious if Timothy had clued 43A like it is or if Will changed it.

RooMonster 9:15 AM  

Hey All !
This puz had some teeth. Guess it needed that to munch on the ICE. I also liked the unusual words in the Downs. Tres cool. (Har, that was for @NCAPres:-) ) SLUICE crossing OBSEQUIOUS, wow. Made the ole brain sit up and take notice.

Side rant - It boggles said brain that there are people out there (mostly Reps, but others as well) who don't believe climate change/warming is happening. These normally smart people are ignoramus idiotic dunderheads when it comes to this. Where do you think all the car/semi/bus/diesel fumes go? All the factory emissions? Even cow emissions? You think they just go into the air and dissipate? No! They get trapped in Earths atmosphere causing an imbalance in said atmosphere. I guess once the IceCaps melt, and we end up like in the movie 2012, then they'll say, "Humph, I guess it was real."



oldbizmark 9:17 AM  

i found found this to be difficult, perhaps because of the theme glitch? i had many write-overs and tequila sunrise gave me fits. never had one and i was stuck on making "old fashioned" fit or having it be something french... for some reason. either way, not a whole lot of fun for me. just happy to have finished.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Much more medium than easy here. Didn't help that I threw in 1D - 'What's done is done', without even checking crosses.

I'm with @kitshef, and was hoping for something more than ICE from the revealer, and @TomAZ and others that 43A was more of an epic fail due to it never being served over ICE than the way it was clued.

Loved the long downs.

@Anoa Bob - good old schlock-TV mental image (Da plane, boss, da plane).


RAD2626 9:22 AM  

I am clearly out of the mainstream today. I liked the puzzle a lot and did not notice that one of the themers was not like the other. Maybe because I am not a constructor. In fact, had you asked me cold which one was different, I would have said BOURBON because it came at the end. Actually thought having the ICE under the liquor part of the answers was elegant. Good puzzle with lots of -as noted - fun fill.

Also out of step because I found southeast very hard. Had trouble last night and attributed it to being tired and too much wine (thankfully not on the rocks). But had trouble this am also. Did not remember ROARKE (Just Tattoo), ENOS or know ECRU. Was stuck with NO LOOK and USDA for longer than I would like on any day let alone Tuesday.

Kim Scudera 9:37 AM  

@Anon 6:14 et al: don't make the mistake of misinterpreting our white-hot outrage and to-the-core revulsion for "hand-wringing", or whatever dismissive insult-du-jour you've decided on for today's daily trolling. The PEOTUS is a con artist, a fascist-leaning kleptocrat, and a fool, and there are no more chances to be given.

As to the puzzle, well done, but TEQUILASUNRISE should have been changed, or balanced with another themer, as per Rex. If we care about something -- say, democracy, or the puzzle -- we've gotta stand up and fight for what's right.


Tita 9:38 AM  

Did no one else note the LEFTS crossing LIBS? I really hate when my crossword puzzle makes political statements.

I loved Mad LIBS growing up. We had a bunch of go-to nouns that my older sister and brother used. Like 5-year light bulb, and earwax bubble. Oh how we would roll on the floor clutching our stomachs, doubled over in laughter.
@smalltown doc - there's an adult version??!! I mean - how limited of an imagination can one have to not be able to make regular Mad Libs an Adult version?

@Ellen S - lol to your rant on XMAS/MECCAS. Wow - I never knew there was a conspiracy theory about the use of XMAS. I always hated it just because it's lazy. Just like I hate writing THRU - I mean - how much longer does it take to write it right?

Didn't notice the outlier TEQUILA. But from a critical perspective, shouldn't have been allowed. From an enjoyment perspective, didn't bother me.

I have several boxes in the basement marked "Garage sale". They are filled with things that didn't sell in the last 3 or 4 garage sales.
Then there are the boxes that are filled with random stuff - that I know I'm gonna need. I always find the last thing that I unsuccessfully looked for when looking for some current thing. Ho ho - there's that underwater flower stem cutting device that I wanted to give Steve for his birthday but couldn't find in January! Now where is that wooden bread-kneading trough that I bought at the flea market in Heidelberg that I put the Indian corn display in at Thanksgiving?

Fun Tuesday, Mr. Polin!

QuasiMojo 9:40 AM  

I'll take (a) Manhattan over a Tequila Sunrise anytime. This puzzle was "small beer" even for a Tuesday. I've started to do the Cryptic Crosswords at the Guardian website. Prickly and challenging. Something you can really sink your teeth into. And entertaining, which is something the NYT puzzles of late have not been.

Mohair Sam 9:46 AM  

@r.alphbunker - "Teetotaler" - a beauty! Can't believe you counted them.

Fun puzzle, learned to spell OBSEQUIOUS today, didn't know about the second U. I had absolutely no problem with inconsistency of the themers, the ICE was under the liquor only - I never even noticed the "problem" until I got here and Rex and you guys ranted. Did think BLOT UP and RENEGE ON were kinda clumsy however. But the other long downs were ridiculously cool, so who can complain?

@Martin A - Total disagreement on the EMMA/Elizabeth thing. Total.

Cassieopia 9:47 AM  

I really, really liked this puzzle! AMPHIBIOUS, EPHEMERA, GATEAU, EPIPEN, the misdirect on OAR (had key first for what fits into a lock)...I was just delighted with the entire thing. I can overlook TEQUILASUNRISE (what I noticed was that I have never heard anyone order "a tequila sunrise on the rocks") because of the lovely OBSEQUIOUS.

Here's my tequila sunrise story: in college, I was a waitress and during graduation, a family of 4 was seated at one of my tables. The young woman at the end of the table was wearing a beautiful dress in honor of her special celebration. They ordered tequila sunrises, which are gorgeous drinks when done and red, and ours were served in very tall narrow glasses. Well, when I brought the precarious load of 4 drinks to the table and leaned over to start placing them, the entire tray spilled into that young lady's lap! What is amazing about that story is that the family was so gracious about the accident and, to my surprise, even left me a decent tip. It was an act of grace and kindness that stays with me to this day.

Tita 9:50 AM  

Climate change / schlimate change...not the argument to have. Who cares if man's activities are responsible for climate change or not??!
[Segue to @Roo's "Where do you think..." rant.]
Come on, @dunderheads! Even if you deny that climate change is happening, or that we are responsible, it's not a good idea to pollute. Period.
Stop all this inane arguing, and then, stop polluting.

Because it's ugly. And messy. And makes water taste bad. And turns the blue sky brown. And makes my throat hurt.
What's wrong with everyone?!

(Sorry @all - @Roo made me do it...)

Pete 10:08 AM  

My thought on 7D was that, in the near future, they have to start paying attention to the tense in EPA clues.

As for "Give Trump a Chance", he had it, and he blew it. He picked an anti-environmentalist for the EPA, an anti-workers rights candidate for Labor, an anti-anything but fossil fuel candidate for Energy, an anti civil-rights candidate for Attorney General.

wgh 10:16 AM  

I must be a crossword nerd because I thought the same thing when I got to TEQUILASUNRISE.

Happy Pencil 10:23 AM  

Good review by Rex, fairly describing the major issue with this puzzle but not discounting the many, many great things about it. I do agree with the commentator who pointed out that what Caesar said was "Veni," not "I CAME." That especially bothered me given that Marie Antoinette lost her TETE, not her head. (@Martin, put me in the camp of loving that clue.)

But overall, a great puzzle. I'm liking this constructor's work more all the time.

I do have to shake my head at those commentators who think they get to dictate what Rex talks about on his own blog. As has been pointed out many, many times before, no one is forcing you to come here. (And by the way, what an impassioned defence of freedom of expression. "Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.")

Nancy 10:24 AM  

I love it when an early week puzzle makes me work. This was much more challenging than the average mindless Tuesday, with a delightful, well executed theme aimed right between my eyebrows (hic) and the bonus of long, interesting, unusual non-theme answers to boot: EPHEMERA; OBSEQUIOUS; AMPHIBIOUS. You don't see those in just any old puzzle, do you? While I had no solving problems, I was engaged throughout and found it consistently enjoyable.

Malsdemare 10:25 AM  

I have got to take a minute after I do a puzzle to see if there's something else to note besides the fact that I've filled in all the squares. But NOOOO! I get that last letter in and scurry here to see what REX and ya'll have to say. So then I learn, to my embarrassment, that the booze was over ICE! And I managed to miss a genuinely fun aha moment which probably would have ameliorated somewhat my own wincing at the TEQUILASUNRISE outlier. When will I learn?

Lots of fun comments today but the award thus far goes to NCA Pres. "Go home, puzzle. You're drunk." Terrific!

I was going to bitch about all the ten-dollar words that I knew but thought were too hard for a Tuesday; for a moment, forgot this is an adult puzzle and since the crosses were fair, the words -- OBSEQUIOUS, SLUICE, AMPHIBIOUS, -- were excellent. Good thing I'm not the blogger; you would all hate me.

Hat's off to you, @Tita. Just don't. Period.

Joseph Michael 10:43 AM  

Rex, right on review for today's puzzle. Had many of the same thoughts during the solve, including the ME WED tangent. My only point of disagreement was the difficulty level which, for me, felt like a difficult Wednesday.

With the word "Trump" being pronounced nearly every minute in the news, it's hard not to filter everything through the new world order. Rex's cpmment about the EPA is an apt example.

Nancy 10:53 AM  

To all the wonderful cautionary comments today about the possibly EPHEMERAl future of 7D, may I add that 1D offers an equally cautionary warning. Its clue is "What's past is PAST." But we must never forget Faulkner's timeless words: "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past."

Leapfinger 10:54 AM  

As the sage HILLEL PUTT itt, 'If I am not PRO ME, who will be PRO ME? And if I am only PRO ME, what am I? And if not now, when?' Which just goes to show words are EPHEMERA, but not all that EPHEMERA[L]. Tradition has it that HILLEL (the Elder) lived from 110 BC till 10 AD (bis hundert und tzwantzig!) and look how well he holds up! 'If not now, when?', indeed. FLESH it out yourselves, LIBS. If you have a NO-LOOK SCENE, what have you?

The theme is kinda NEAT-O but pretty AMPHIBIbulOUS for a morning solve, and it's probably apparent I was borderline snockered (schnookered?) long before I fetched up ON THE ROCKS. Some people just get all spacey-philosophical when exposed to a PINT O' hard liquor, and if there's one thing I'll get, TRUSS me, 'SLUICE.

SEACARP: What one might do at the Louvre
OBSEQUIOUS: What a grammar-challenged couple might say when they (ahem!) get pregnant.
I also thought THRICE was thwheat.

I'm Polin with the group that thought the theme quite nICE, but the WIT of the Downs was TITUS Canby.

Now I have some spills to BLOT UP.

Crane Poole 10:54 AM  

Strict ichthyologists who object to the usage of "sea carp" are MORWONGERS.

old timer 10:57 AM  

I thought it was very hard for a Tuesday and my time proved it. Did not help that I wrote in "obsequient" before OBSEQUIOUS.

I was really disappointed that the constructor could not get "winter solstICE" into the puzzle. The Sun has now gone just as fur as it can go (South, that is).

Colby 11:00 AM  

Longer than my average Tuesday time by a minute or so.

are all harder than your typical Tuesdays. Played more like a Wednesday for me.

r.alphbunker 11:00 AM  

Yesterday @kitshef posted that it would nice to have a place to talk about the Puzzle Mania puzzles. I have created a simple blog to allow this.


Obviously, you visit it only if you have done all the puzzles that you want to do because the comments may contains spoilers.

Leapfinger 11:04 AM  

@George, your CANTOR link CAN'T. Your Sanity Clase is as good as ever.

@Ellen, so sorry. Not much you can do with a remembered SNERT.

@Crane Poole, upon reflection, now you're just being koi.

I am not a robot 11:15 AM  

@Nancy, or as the immortal Carrie Fisher said, "Nothing's ever really over. It's only over there."

howardk 11:20 AM  

surprised that no one mentioned Sunday Times super mega puzzle...print edition

Hartley70 11:25 AM  

Dig out that fondue pot! We do every winter and when the power goes out in a snowstorm, well you still have Christmas dinner. The upside is that the men in this family make the fondue. The down side is that Gruyere is running at $17.00/lb. I don't think Velveeta is an option with the Swiss relatives.

As usual, I don't see the circles, so ICE was a pleasant surprise when I got here. This was a good theme for Tuesday, even with the consistency flaw. The vocabulary was above average. I enjoyed it.

@Martin and @Mohair, men who discuss Austin for fun are very attractive.... Trump fans not so much. I agree with @Pete. He's had his chance and he's already blown it.

abalani500 11:42 AM  

I enjoy reading this blog for its review of the NYT crossword and the many intelligent comments made by the author and the readers. The crossword and this blog are nice daily distractions from the world. But I have noticed an increasing number of political comments (including one today from Rex). While I don't necessarily disagree can't we leave that kind of commentary to the political blogs? They subvert the point of having a distraction from life.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Three terrorist attacks yesterday. The response from the leader of the free world: "Fore!"

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Perhaps because I am midway through grading 42 Macbeth essays, I assumed 1D was "done." Easy enough to fix, and plenty of time to get back to grading.

Unknown 11:58 AM  

@Leapfinger, thanks for the alert re CANTOR can't.

I hope the link works now. Back-story which we can pursue off-Rex.

Tita 12:15 PM  

@Hartley...we have TWO (count 'em - 2) fondue pots in that box in the basement. One electric, gotten with S&H Green Stamps (or were they blue) in the 70s, and one, sterno, bought in France in the 00s.
Whenever any one in our circle returns from Europe, there will be a parcel of comté, beaufort, appenzeller.
So convivial and delicious. Until the pot shatters and you have melty cheese all over the fine lace tablecloth - I mean, the Walmart plastic gingham tablecloth.

And I second the lols to @r.alph and @NCA Pres.

Carola 12:27 PM  

Agree with @Rex about the theme, agree with everybody on the super Downs. I noticed that POP was not over ICE.

John 12:28 PM  

I've seen his cabinet selections. He's already had his chance. You go, Rex!

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

The good news is Obama says he plans to advise and coach democrat candidates after leaving office. This from the guy who saw over 1000 dem seats flipped to Republican the last eight years.

Doc John 12:43 PM  

Just wondering- did anyone else try "Let them eat cake" for 28A? I mean, it sure was a French royal line!

Greg 12:44 PM  

Just gonna echo the opinion that "tequila" is an outlier with this theme. I tended bar for years, and I don't remember anyone ever ordering their tequila "on the rocks". Straight up, with lime and salt - yes. Mixed into any number of cocktails - yes (even just tequila and tonic). But not over ice in a highball glass, as one orders scotch or bourbon. A better choice would have been another whiskey, like RYE. or even the word WHISKEY.

Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 12:52 PM  

ICE circles! Signs of an alien visitation, if only to pick up a sacka cheap booze.

TEQUILASUNRISE clued as the flick title woulda slid right on past m&e, as far as bein an outlier themer. Whether it still was one, or not.

SEACARP! Sorta like the opposite of a snappy AYEAYESIR. U'd be morwong than wight to call it a debut word, tho. SEACARP was used once before, back in a 1994 NYTPuz. yep … them was 22 good years. [M&A luvs that autocorrect changes morwong to "morning", btw.]

fave weeject: ELF. Like a nice, little sprig of hollyday decoration, there in the corner.

Excellent fill! Double-digit U's! Merry ChristmUs! Thanx, Polinmeister.

Masked & Anonym10Us


Passing Shot 12:54 PM  

This played harder than a usual Tuesday, and yet my time was much faster than average, so perhaps there's something to @Lobster11's point about it being "consistently" challenging.

Agree with all the other CARPers regarding TEQUILASUNRISE. @NCA President: "Go Home, puzzle. You're drunk." Ha! Love it!

@Old lady: for Scotch -- Bunnahabain, Balvenie, Johnny Walker Black. For Bourbon: Elijah Craig, Four Roses. Tequila: just don't.

Passing Shot 12:57 PM  

And as for political discussions, Rex can do whatever the hell he wants with HIS BLOG. It's his world, he just graciously allows us to visit.

r.alphbunker 12:57 PM  

Liam Neeson has also played Santa

GILL I. 1:05 PM  

@Hartley & @Tita: No basement for us; our fondue pot lives in a closet and every year that baby comes out for Christmas Eve. No cheese either. We're a beef fondue kinda family. Tenderloin and a million sauces. I wish the loin costs as much as the cheese!
I know...go home, I'm drunk.

evil doug 1:11 PM  

Pussy move, Michael, selectively censoring me on the discussion you yourself initiated. I see a lot of other posts sharing your opinion still here. Can't handle mine, huh?

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

TEQUILA SUNRISE is a great song and I wish it had been the clue for 43A, which would have slightly mitigated @Rex's legitimate (in my opinion) gripe about this puzzle. (Otherwise, I really liked it). The band I was in once tried working out the chord changes for that song. It's fairly intricate and the bridge goes to a nice place and there's a lot of great harmony going on.

But what's DONE is DONE, or at leasat if I had had my druthers. I had to SCOTCH TAPE over my black ink in that area, along with my EPHEMERAl Epistles. In the end, 20 seconds over my Tuesday average, I CAME, I saw, I conquered and without blowing a FUSE.

I was a bit "tre(m)bly" at 20A, thinking it was musically related to the treble clef and it took more than a THRICE to see the RICH ODOR in the NW due to the "done" answer of 1D.

Thanks, Timothy Polin, for a non-LEMON of a Tuesday puzzle.

Foamfollower 1:31 PM  

Correct on two counts.
Morwongs are not Morlocks and tequila is best served straight out of the freezer, no ice save on the bottle. Anejo, por favor.

Numinous 1:40 PM  

Given the clue for 42D, shouldn't the Ford PINTO have been offered in a two-toned version ala the 1950s?

Once again and again and again we are offered the ELOI. But who can forget Weena played by they beautiful Yvette Mimieux? I had a look at her entry in and wow! She got to kiss and cuddle with so many of the Hollywood Dream Boats of the day that some of y'all ladies here are apt go go all GREEN paint with jealousy. At least that's my take on it.

TEQUILA SUNRISE bothered me at first but as I thought about it, the liquors were part of two word phrases and the liquors themselves were on "the rocks" so that, at least, was consistent.

I found this T. Polin effort a tad easier than average for a Tuesday. The longer downs were easy enough to get with crosses that I don't think anyone with a good vocabulary should have any trouble at all. I just cant CARP about this.

I once ate CARP in a Chinese restaurant. It was wonderful. Our hostess, the mother of my debate partner, was a lawyer who dealt with immigration issues for the Los Angeles Chinese community. None of the dishes we were served, except, perhaps, for the rice, was on the menu. Just goes to show that you need to know what to ask for in a Chinese restaurant and be popular with the owner to get the really good food.

Jennifer H 1:48 PM  

An additional feature to the theme: there are three instances of ICE, which means this puzzle features ICE CUBED!

So there's an extra level of pun-tastic delight. (I expected that to be the revealer initially.)

Happy Pencil 2:17 PM  

@Jennifer H, great catch! I missed that entirely!

Chronic dnfer 2:22 PM  

No was this easy. I would say challenging for a Tuesday. Took forever. Lots of words I don't know. Hillel. Cantors. Sluice. Eloi. And snert. No dnf though so maybe it was easy although it took forever. No idea what a mad lib is although I think there are a lot of them on this blog. Merry Christmas and happpy Chanukah.

OISK 2:43 PM  

@CranePoole....That was just great. It was a "wish I'd thought of that" moment.

Liked the puzzle, although I was very slightly annoyed by the plural "Meccas." Cute theme, well done, and the inconsistency didn't bother me at all - I didn't even notice it.

TomAz 3:16 PM  

I find it interesting the Trump supporters on here are all "Anonymous". They feel the shame.

thfenn 4:02 PM  

@old lady (and @passing shot) we could have quite a discussion on what to start drinking. To the recommendations noted, I would add Lagavulin (for the scotch) and Noah's Creek (for the bourbon) - among others, there are many good ones to try. And try this: Pour a shot of Lagavulin neat. Have a sip. Add two drops of water (literally, dip your finger in a glass of water and let two small drops roll off into the scotch). Have another sip. Not saying the second sip will be better, just saying the difference always surprises.

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

Anyone getting tired of winning? My portfolio's going through the roof.

Masked and Anonymous 4:17 PM  

@Jennifer: har. ICECUBED. Primo. See also: TRIPPEDONTHEICE.

@RP: PARUMPUMPUMPUM. har, cubed. See also: TV-O.D. KARDASHIAN (14). Too wobbly? thought so.


Malsdemare 4:24 PM  

Totally unrelated question. Does anyone have a yummy, easy cheese fondue recipe? Fondue at Christmas sounds delightful. You can email me off blog if you'd like.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

@DocJohn12:43 --

Your correct "French Royal Line" would be: "Qu'ils Mangent le [50a]." ;-)

Airymom 4:59 PM  

My favorite Hillel quote: in a world without mensches, be a mensch. My late husband and I used that quote in our "parents' speech" at my son's Bar Mitzvah. He was very active in Hillel as a college student, and now is studying to be a Cantor in New York, so this puzzle was a winner with me.

Asked my daughter (h.s. senior) if she knew what "obsequious" means. You should have seen the "look" I got. I forgot that since she got one college acceptance (hopefully more on the way) she truly doesn't need SAT coaching.

Best wishes to everyone for a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Healthy New Year!

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

I just solved the puzzle on-line, and the clue for 43A was changed. The clue in the puzzle I solved read: "1988 crime thriller starring Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer". I was surprised when I read the blog after solving that this wasn't the original clue.

Nancy 5:38 PM  

I've waited more than two years to make this gentle request of everyone here. I was hoping it would never be necessary to make it at all. Instead,I've tried to lead by example, always citing the posting time of anyone whose comment I'm referring to or praising -- trying to make it as easy as possible for any of you to find it easily, if you're so inclined. Now, today, more than one person referred to Crane Poole. I've searched high and I've searched low, and I can't find Crane Poole. Maybe I'd agree that his post was a "wish I'd thought of that" moment, and maybe I wouldn't. But it looks like I'll never know. So frustrating! My feeling: if a blogger here is worth citing then s/he's worth making it effortless to track down. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Unknown 5:41 PM  

@r.alphbunker - I'd have to see how "noise" gets used. To me, it connotes extraneous information. For instance, your clue for OTT divides into the signal [Giant player] and the noise [whose grandmother never saw a baseball game]. Today's clue for SEA CARP also divided into signal [Bottom-feeding fish] and noise [known formally as the morwong]. I would reason that inscrutable words (which by definition provide no help to the solver) are a subset of noise. All inscrutable words are noise, but not all noise consists of inscrutable words.

Unknown 5:47 PM  

@Nancy - Crane Poole is at 10:54am. I'll try to remember to post times in the future. One tip comes to mind: your browser should have a FIND option in the EDIT menu, and you can use this to search this web page for things like "Crane." Much easier than scrolling.

Malsdemare 5:59 PM  

@ anon 5:34. I just checked on a different device That is too bizarre! I wonder if that was a deliberate change, or case where an error was made in the original. The device I used for my solve still says "cocktail...."

Nancy 6:08 PM  

@Martin A (5:47 p.m.) -- It's so thoughtful of you to find Crane Poole for me. I went, I read his comment, and I agree that it's pretty nifty. While I'm at it, Martin, I should say that you're one of my favorite commenters here. I read you unfailingly -- not true of everyone, I assure you -- and you can trust that anytime I cite you, I'll make sure your comment is easy to find. But you're suggesting I use the FIND option???? In the EDIT menu??? MOI??? I would need a private lesson from a tech expert to learn how to do that. Unfortunately, scrolling is just about all this Luddite/technophobe is good for. Sigh.

Anonymous 6:48 PM  

Confirming that 43A in hard-copy newspaper this morning, as well as solved last night on-line, read "Cocktail usually served with orange slice and a cherry." The same clue currently reads, on-line, as "1988 crime thriller starring Mel Gibson and Michelle Pfeiffer." I suspect that such changes are quite rare, but it would be interesting if someone with more direct access to the inner workings could shed some light on this.

JamieP 7:18 PM  

New to this message board. From Elmira and heading home for the holidays in a few days. Like @AnoaBob an ex-bartender. I always tried to invent a drink called a Tequila Mockingbird, but it always tasted terrible. Perhaps it was the experience I had with tequila on my 21st birthday. A story for another time. Cheers!

RooMonster 8:24 PM  

@Nancy 6:08 pm
LOL! "find option???? In the Edit menu??? Moi???" Great stuff!

And I hope I'm not one you skip over, even though lately I have been getting my panties in a bunch political-wise. I'll try to tone it down! :-)


JC66 8:50 PM  

@Martín Abresch

your patience/tactfulness should be applauded (along with your posts).

r.alphbunker 8:55 PM  


In Iowa we have a saying "If you can type you can find." Try this when looking at the comments page.

If you are using a Mac, hold down the Command key which is just to the left of the space bar and press the F key. A small box will probably appear and you can type what you are looking for into it and hit enter. If you can type capital letters (which requires holding down the Shift key while typing the letter) you can do this.

If you are using a PC it is even easier. Just press the F3 key which is above the 3 on your keyboard.

JC66 9:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:40 PM  

May there be a special place in pun heaven reserved for you for this one!

Anonymous 10:55 PM  

OK, if you have children and you find out that a registered sex offender has moved in next door and your reaction is: 'let's have the children go out any time because this guy has been released from prison, he must be okay', then you are the kind of person that wants to give Trump a chance. Not me.

Nancy 11:40 PM  

@r.alph bunker(8:55) --Thank you! One of those things no one can possibly know without being told. But I did as you suggested: I hit F3 and typed in Crane Poole and every time Crane Poole's name appeared it was highlighted in bright yellow. Quite remarkable, it was. But here's the problem: I still had to scroll to find the highlighted name; it wasn't as though the screen jumped to it automatically. Or maybe there's a second step I don't know that will make the screen go directly to the right place? Because you said this is a better method than scrolling, I then have to believe that scrolling can be avoided if you know all the steps. Is that true?

Anonymous 12:40 AM  

@Nancy look at the top of your screen or window to see a list of drop down windows: File, Edit, etc. Click on Edit, then Find. What happens next depends on the browser you are using. Fill in the search term and it should jump to the first occurrence. That same place may have find next or find again to locate the subsequent occurrences. I believe you are using a Windows computer and most likely Explorer as your browser. I am using neither so I cannot be more specific on how the options are displayed.

Ellen S 12:43 AM  

@nancy, after you type in your search words, there should be a box or bar where it appears, with "next" and "previous" or left/right arrows, or brackets, so you can jump from one highlighted answer to the next. Lots of references to Crane Poole means in this case there will be lots of jumps. But here's something extra frustrating: I know how to do that search-on-page, and tried it, to get to Crane's post (which is hilarious, I agree), but the search found and highlighted ONLY THE REFERENCES, NOT THE ORIGINAL POST. Weird. Even if there are extra blanks or something in the name as posted, or the references, they should be searched as separate words and so blanks wouldn't matter.

Regarding politics -- I'm glad this is @Rex's blog and not some TRUMPeter's. And that you all are here. @Evil Doug, whatever you said that got squelched, I'm sorry, but it's Rex's blog. I'm sure you know that the First Amendment doesn't require him to permit all opinions. He isn't the government. The government, alas, will now be in the tiny hands of a man who will attempt to abridge all our freedoms, Constitution be damned.

Cassieopia 1:35 AM  

@jennifer h it's a day later and I'm still chuckling about ice cubed. Extraordinarily great find.

andrea chiu 8:46 PM  

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Burma Shave 11:50 AM  


The FATES were OBSEQUIOUS to tempt me with FLESH,
that EPHEMERAl SCENE is so devious, it’s SUICIDE to obsess.
So POINTA finger at me to LOCATE the RICH ODOR of SPICE,
EMMA’s LAP is TITUS can be, and ICAME there THRICE.


spacecraft 12:58 PM  

Wow. Hard to believe. Only a couple of people mentioned 1-down: "What's done is done. Oh wait..." and "What's done is done, if I had my druthers." Me? That thing came within an eyelash of DNFing me! Of COURSE it's "What's done is done." If you poll 10,000 people to fill those blanks with the same word, 10,000 of them will say "Done." NOBODY says "What's PAST is PAST." NOBODY. This is the single worst clue so far this year, and it's two strokes for out-of-bounds. With DONE inked in--CONFIDENTLY, I might add, I couldn't make any sense out of the whole NW, and after seeing stuff like "morwong" (understandably red-lined by my spell-checker, are you freaking kidding me?) and that campus org. that you have to be in to know, I was just about to wad the thing up and trash it.

Know what saved me? those silly circles. I thought, just for chucks, let's see what's going on with them--which is when I quickly saw they were all ICE (shouldn't the circles have been, uh, squares? A box inside a box--like a BOGEY! on a SCORECARD) "cubes." Then I read the revealer clue and dawn broke. 17A has to be SCOTCH...etc. Thus was "done" crowbarred out of 1-down.

One name is available for DOD: EMMA. I'm sure there are others, but I'll go with Samms. In my dreams. I do agree that the TEQUILA entry falls flat by actually being a drink, and that you just BLOT something, forget the UP. Also not loved: POINTA, and the somewhat off-center definition of EPHEMERA. Pamphlets and postcards? I guess, in a way, but that's certainly not how I would clue the word. It's a shame there are so many defects in this one; it has some really nice longer fill, and the first two themers are very good. But even a good shot won't save par from an OB. Bogey.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

From Syndication Land:

My first thought when I got to 43 across was, "Why not clue this with the movie?" It would have been such a quick fix!

Anyway...I hope Rex will again make this a politics-free blog. I really enjoy reading people's feelings about the PUZZLE!

leftcoastTAM 1:05 PM  

Lots of cool (not NEATO, please) stuff here to go along with the ICEs. Sure, different uses of the themers (TAPE and BOURBON vs. SUNRISE, ala Rex), but what the hey. They'll do just fine for what are usually low expectation Tuesdays. This one exceeded.

Adding to the crunchiness of the dual ROCKS-ICE theme are SEACARP (formally "murwong"? Who knew?) and GUTEAU to go along with the French mini-theme.

Good -IOUS long downs.

Does RENEGE really need the attached ON?

Good one, IMO.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Challenging to work, rewarding to solve. Great puzzle - more of a Wednesday level.

(Note: I have determined recently that one needs to be Jewish, fluent in French, and a tennis player to work the puzzles. Or at least it helps....)

Diana,LIW 2:00 PM  

Interesting. The online version of my home paper had 43A as y'all saw, but the archive version, sent to me by a secret source, had the tequila movie. And, yes, the movie was a better clue, as my aha moment when I got the revealer was "Oh, I didn't see that!"

So. I thought it was crunchy for a Tuesday, but not a difficult solve when using all clues and the revealer. The ICE helped me.

And yes, we need to know several languages (thought I'd need Latin for ICAME), every sport and sportster, gods and goddesses, movies, all musical genres, kids' games and books and movies, and the middle name of dead presidents.

The long downs were great - not OBSUQUIOUS or Odorous. A blast from the PAST here in Syndieland.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, but the electrician made it today

Diana,LIW 2:03 PM  

Just tryin' to give M&A another U in OBSEQUIOUS, I guess.

Diana, Waiting for Spellcheck

rondo 2:04 PM  

Hand up for what’s done is done, creating my only little inkfest. Like OFL, noticed that TEQUILASUNRISE was clued as a drink and immediately thought of the movie. Shoulda coulda.

At least one other commenter noticed that LIBS and LEFTS share the same L.

Glad to see LOU clued for the late Mr. Reed. Longtime fan.

@spacey is correct that EMMA holds the yeah baby hope, but I’ll go with Stone or Watson or Roberts or Thompson or . . .

Liked the long and longish downs and the puz in general, but there’s that cluing flaw which someone shoulda got RID of.

rain forest 3:56 PM  

I liked this puzzle! I agree with Spacey re 1D, but PRO was already in (girlfriend has one), as was AID, and I knew it was correct , so PAST had to wait until I got the crosses.

The theme inconsistency didn't bother me, but cluing it with either the movie or the song might have been better.

As many have noted, lovely vocabulary display, and learning about the morwong was fun.

Mad LIBS was my last entry, and I still don't know what it/they are. I must look it up.

For yesterday's puzzle, I had thought of a couple of additions, but forgot to put them in, so, for the odd person who comes here after me:

toemance foot fetish
gomance a case of diarrhea

There ya go.

rondo 4:34 PM  

I don't remember what all was covered:
homance - Pretty Woman genre
nomance - asexual state

Blogger 12:34 AM  

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