Fashion designer Miller / WED 12-14-16 / Patriarch of House Stark on Game of Thrones / Mexican civilization known for its colossal head sculptures / Dyeing technique / Nontext part of text / Ruiner of perfect report card / Still frame of Mickey

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Constructor: Alan DeLoriea

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (ultra-Easy but for a couple names)

THEME: [Something to follow] — that's the (apt) clue on five theme answers

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: Michael BENNET (8D: Colorado senator Michael) —
Michael Farrand Bennet (born November 28, 1964) is an American businessman, lawyer, and Democratic politician. He is the senior U.S. Senator from Colorado. He became a senator when Ken Salazar was appointed Secretary of the Interior. Bennet previously worked as managing director for the Anschutz Investment Company, chief of staff to then-Denver mayor (and current Colorado Governor) John Hickenlooper, and the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. (wikipedia)
• • •
SPECIAL MESSAGE for Solvers in Syndication (for the week of January 15-January 22, 2017)

Hello, solvers. A new year has begun, and that means it's time for my week-long, once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. Despite my regular grumbling about puzzle quality, constructor pay, and other things that should be better in the world of crosswords, I still love solving, I still love writing about puzzles, and I love love love the people I meet and interact with because of this blog. Well, most of them. Some I mute on Twitter, but mostly: there is love. The blog turned 10 in September, and despite the day-in, day-out nature of the job, I can't foresee stopping any time soon. The community of friends and fellow enthusiasts are all just too dear to me. You can expect me to be here every day, praising / yelling at the puzzle—independent and ad-free. Some people refuse to pay for what they can get for free. Others just don't have money to spare. All are welcome to read the blog—the site will always be open and free. But if you are able to express your appreciation monetarily, here are two options. First, a Paypal button (which you can also find in the blog sidebar):

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54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905

All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are "Cookery Postcards from Penguin"—beautifully designed covers of vintage cookbooks, with provocative titles like "Cookery For Men Only " (!) or "Good Meals from Tinned Foods" (!?). Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As I say in every thank-you card (and email), I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

A very basic theme type. There's really nothing bad or good about it. It just is. One clue, five times, five things fit that clue, done. I don't know when you'd follow a DOTTED LINE. Are you a pirate looking for treasure? I sign on DOTTED LINEs, I don't follow them. But everything else is right over the plate, and TWITTER FEED (here's mine!) is a nice stand-alone answer. Speaking of TWITTER FEED, WaPo crossword writer/editor had this to say on Twitter last night re: ONEB (25D: Ruiner of a perfect report card):

I will admit, that clue / answer pair made me cringe hard. Lots of different grades "ruin" perfect report cards. ONE B usually gets clued as a hypothetical apt. number, which is admittedly boring, but I think the goal here is not "Come up with hot new ONE B clue!" but rather, "Ugh, tear that out and start over." Constructor gets himself into trouble with themer positioning: O--B not a favorable letter combo. This is a good example of the "Don't call attention to your crap fill with a stupid clue" rule. Trying to think of a good example of an answer as arbitrary as today's ONE B clue. [Runners' award for a balk] => ONE BASE. Actually, that's much better. [Ingredient some brownie recipes] => ONE EGG. I mean, it's true enough, but ...

Fill on this one was passable, but I hated the way that the puzzle added difficulty: via proper nouns *only*. EDDARD, BENNET, NICOLE. Who? Everything else, Monday cake-walk. EDDARD was particularly ugh because EDWARD. I don't really object to the name's being in the grid—I object to having a puzzle that's 95% child's play and the rest minor names you can get only from crosses. Very, very uneven. I imagine a good number of you have never heard of ELIAS Sports Bureau (no, not *you*, *you* know Everything, but some of the others...) (51D: ___ Sports Bureau (official 58-Down provider for Major League Baseball)). These things happen. But they stand out grossly when there is no other resistance in the grid.

One last thing: the long Downs are colorful, but that clue on GOLD DIGGER is horrid (30D: One who wants a ring for bling?). The term is inherently sexist, but I don't think that puts it beyond the pale for crosswords, necessarily. The song of the same name was a Huge hit for Kanye West, so if nothing else, that clue is available. But wanting a ring? For "bling"? Lots and lots and lots of women want rings. And rings are inherently "bling." So literally nothing about that clue says GOLD DIGGER. The simple fact of wanting him to "put a ring on it" does not make a woman a GOLD DIGGER. Was the "ring/bling" rhyme just too ... rhymey to resist? Was it so shiny and irresistible that you didn't notice the clue made no sense? Apparently. Still, overall, this is a solid puzzle. Tried & true theme type (very low risk), with sensible and occasionally interesting fill (POP-UP BOOKS!). I've had worse Wednesdays.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS I wouldn't cross EMO / EMOJI, as "EMO" refers to same thing in both cases. Bad look.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 6:25 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 6:26 AM  

Hah. This one took me back to Shakey’s Pizza, where I’d sit and watch the screen with lyrics and follow that bouncing ball so I could sing along.

After I got DOTTED LINE and saw all the clues were the same, I got YELLOW BRICK ROAD off the D. Bet I’m not alone on that.

I liked that the sense of FOLLOW is different for, I dunno, four out of the fiver themers? Like Rex, I’m not sure what follow the DOTTED LINE means. TWITTER FEED is so in- your- face current right now. Yay that Alan pounced on that one. Guess it is in fact the first RODEO for some people right now.

Cool phrase, that. It’s not my first rodeo, buddy. But why rodeo How 'bout

It’s not my first…

. . .all-you-can-eat seafood buffet - where you head straight to the crab legs and steamed shrimp.

. . .substitute teaching job – where you put the rollie chairs and teacher’s stool in a closet and then hide all dry-erase markers and yardsticks. And Windex.

. . .high school lacrosse game in March – where you bring blankets, your -40°F LL Bean Parka, coffee, umbrella, foot-warmer inserts, poofy mittens, Russan hat with the fur and ear flaps…

. . .Subway lunch- where you go ahead and order the &%$# 12 inch because, well, you’ve learned and you’re just not concerned with your image any more.

. . .ACPT - where you get your spot in line for the Sunday final thirty minutes before the doors open so you can get a front-row seat so maybe you can make meaningful eye-contact with one of the rock star solvers on stage and I’m not making that up?

I figured the EMOJI/EMO cross would get a frownie face. Thoughts on the POP UP and CROP UP pair?

I liked seeing the different senses of FOLLOW. And I liked POP-UP BOOKS and snickering at a go-commando-istic thought for DEBRIEF. Enjoyable Wednesday.

Eric 6:39 AM  

Monday easy except for, @Rex comment about Elias. Took an alphabet run to finally parse "open ing act. Otherwise a breeze. Agree with MLS about duplicate "ups" and @Rex on EMO/EMOJI. Enjoyable but easy theme once dotted line was in. Used to do those puzzles as a kid following dotted lines but remember "connect the numbers" better.

Lewis 6:50 AM  
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Lewis 6:52 AM  

@rex -- Good points re DOTTED-LINE, and easy solve except for some unknown proper names.
@lms -- Great great post (re "it's not my first" and DEBRIEF), and I'll be the sacrificial lamb going after it (okay, two after it). Talk about something to follow!

This was a solid Wednesday for the most part, and kept the solving chops in shape for another day. I like the UBER, which means "above" in German, on top, countered by its symmetrical SHOT down. And, as your residential alphadoppeltotter, I must report that this puzzle has 20 double letters -- an unusually high number (20 and above) which we haven't seen on a 15 x 15 in many a moon.

Very nice NYT debut, Alan. Keep this up and you'll develop a nice following.

Charles Flaster 7:30 AM  

Liked this one and Rex is right on; especially ONE B( terribly arbitrary). How about a ridiculous clue like "What do boxer, rib, and combination all contain?" Of course -ONE B.
That aside I liked cluing for ALL, DEBRIEF, and IPODS.
Write over CROP UP for Come UP. For one Across I tried to fit Hoover into four squares.
BTW- you can follow a DOTTED LINE in a geometry diagram/proof.
Really liked the ideas behind all the follows.
Excellent debut!
Thanks AD

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Kinda liked it. I think of DOTTED LINEs on the floor, which you follow to get to meeting room ONE B. Or possibly TWO S.

If I were going to rage against something, it would be ULT.

EDO and IDO was cute.

Used to love POP UP BOOKS. Had a Dr. Dolittle one where you could flap the wings of the giant luna moth. Much cooler than anything the internet has to offer.

Andrew Goodridge 7:43 AM  

I'm not necessarily in love with ONEB, but the report card clung is far better than one based on baseball or an apartment number. In fact, I'm still bitter about getting ONEB my 2nd semester freshman year, which has bugged me for 15 years. Yet in all my life, I have not ever followed a DOTTED LINE.

r.alphbunker 7:49 AM  

Only two erasures. Put in TEE for [33A {Q neighbor} TAB]. Hey it didn't say next door neighbor.

Details are here.

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

Michael Sharp is tweeting "We're screwed". Dolly Parton and friends are raising millions for E. Tennessee fire victims.

Travis 8:08 AM  

EMOJI actually comes from the Japanese E (picture) + MOJI (letter), unrelated to English EMO.

Hungry Mother 8:27 AM  

Just a very easy Wednesday for me. I usually have to sweat a little, but I'm still wearing my sweater. I did use more downs than acrosses, but no problems.

Unknown 8:30 AM  

Nice to see a New York Times debut puzzle, two days in a row. Congratulations to @Alan DeLoriea!

@Rex review fun to read, and whoah, how about the first few comments ... @Loren Muse Smith, @Lewis, @Charles Flaster, @Travis ... high comedy and sharp insights.

Count me in the camp that knows the ELIAS Sports Bureau but is clueless about "Game of Thrones." Also, never quite sure of the difference between IPADS and IPODS, and between EDA and EDO. Time to get back to grading.

Hartley70 8:30 AM  

This is another perfectly worthy early week puzzle. I am happy to follow all of these across themers although the YELLOWBRICKROAD sounds like more fun than the dotted line. There's dancing with Bolger and cuddling with Lahr to consider.

As a GOT reader (c'mon George time's a wasting), EDDARD was a gimme. AX looks less painful with an E on the end. I'm a big fan of POP-UP cards. The BOOKS can be too much of a good thing.

To keep things interesting, I was pleased to learn MACROS as some sort of computer shortcuts. Following that logic, I should have been positively gleeful to see ELIAS and STAT appear from the crosses, but nope, not a chance there. There are some things I just don't need to know.

It was a quick bit of fun, but I enjoyed it none the less. Thanks Alan!

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Sometimes one is asked to follow, that is, cut along, the dotted line with a pair of scissors. Not sure GOLD DIGGERs *have* to be female. I'll add that I'm fairly certain, though not from personal experience, that it's a real phenomenon...even here in the future.

Nancy 8:36 AM  

What the hell are POP UP POOKS? And how do I extricate myself to get to POP UP BOOKS? It meant changing Q TIP to Q TAB (which I've never heard of) at 33A and it meant changing MICROS to MACROS (which I've also never heard of) at 27D. Fortunately I have heard of POP UP BOOKS. I actually heard about them way back in the day when the Corporate V.P and Editor in Chief of the Literary Guild left NYC to go to CA and work on POP UP BOOKS. It caused quite a bit of scuttlebutt at the water cooler back then. Today, it would be the subject of a TWITTER FEED.

I found this puzzle very enjoyable to work on and loved the fact that all the theme answers were so different. All of them went perfectly with the clue; none were forced. There was some crunch too -- at least for me. Nice job.

Mel Torme 8:37 AM  

I thought DOTTED LINES referred to those you see in two-column lists, so you can see who played Maid #2 in that seventies TV movie.

Knitwit 8:43 AM  

This was an easy one for me. I did think 33A was TIP for a brief moment. Laughed at 51D as my husband went to HS with one of the fellows who helped develop the company and always talks about what a sports statistical genius the guy was 40+ years ago.

Carl Van Doren 8:53 AM  

@Nancy, Q is next to TAB on a keyboard.

Z 8:58 AM  

Is GOLD DIGGER sexist? You decide.

Dorothy Biggs 8:58 AM  

For those of you just starting a family, here's an idea that's sure to be a big help to constructors. Name your next kid ONEB (or Noone or even Abzyga, if you're really daring and so inclined). The only catch is that they would have to be relatively famous at some point in their life, but it would sure help out the xword world. Forward thinking is all I'm saying.

EDDARD is a new one to me (I don't watch GOT). Having done a very little bit of Shakespeare, I've always been amazed at the number of "EDs" out there...Edwin, Edward, and Edgar. Is Ederle a first name too?

So since OKRA was in today's puzzle, that makes it ailoli's turn for tomorrow, then?

The proper names did slow me down, but none of them were Random Rap Names™ so there's that. ELIAS, though I've never heard anything than MLB associated with the MLB, was filled in completely by crosses. And ECHO helped open up OPENINGACT.

@LMS: Yes, the "UP" twins struck me as being just a bit inelegant. EMO/EMOJI crossing was a ? for me.

And one nit: A "low pair" should be deuces, no? Is the clue referring to cards? I'm having a hard time figuring in what other context a "low pair" would be TWOS. A clue that used "Terrible" would be clearer and certainly allow for a plural of the word two.

As I type the word "TWO" I'm struck at how ridiculous it looks. To all people everywhere learning how to speak English, on behalf of the English language, I apologize. It just isn't fair at all.

evil doug 9:05 AM  

Hey, Loren, speaking of debrief: "pantsing" and "depantsing" mean the same thing....

Nancy 9:05 AM  

And so it is, @Carl. Thanks!

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

I think @Rex must've been hard up for commentary today. Several of his points are --I dunno, how do I say this? -- off the mark.

There's not a thing wrong with "One B" as fill for "Ruiner of a good report card." Yeah, it's true that it could be "One C," but it's more likely that a near-straight-A student would miss with a B. Anyway, it could be any grade, just let the "feB" month tell the tale: Fe- clued as a month couldn't be anything else. Maybe OFL just wants to credit @Birnholz? Maybe I'm running on a bit too far on this point ...)

I agree with him on the names, and Elias -- hadda use crosses.

The screed on the "Gold Digger" clue (one who wants a ring for bling) takes the cake, though -- I can only chalk it up to a liberal northeast academic mindset. Yeah, it's sexist, but on a One-to-Ten sexism scale I wouldn't put it at the top, as his commentary does ("horrid"). "Literally nothing about that clue says GOLD DIGGER." Huh???!!!

Hmm-m-m, I think I'll stay anon on this ...

Suzy 9:20 AM  

Amusing Wednesday puzzle. Nicole Miller was a gimme, but Elias Stat?? Thought Golddigger was perfectly appropriate!

jberg 9:22 AM  

I tried to stretch GOlDEn rule before GOOD EXAMPLE, and had a BIG deal before the BIG SHOT, but otherwise really easy.

Sexist or not, I did like GOLD DIGGER crossing YELLOW BRICK ROAD.

@NCA President -- a lot of those old English (and Scandinavian) names are portmanteaus -- ED means prosperity, and the second part means different things. (I don't think DARD is real, though). There are similar sets of THEO- and ETHEL names, but somehow no one names a boy Ethelwulf anymore.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Any Seinfeld aficionado would know Nicole Miller right away. It's from the Wig Master. Elaine dates the clothing store guy with a ponytail Craig, who keeps promising her a Nicole Miller dress.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Gold digger makes an apt appearance since Kanye dropped in to see the pres-elect yesterday. I don't listen to any of his music so learned something new in the commentary here today. I never heard of "Elias" in the sports context. I always appreciate huge hospitals who paint solid (not dotted) lines on the floor so you can follow the red line to the x-ray department or the blue line to the ICU. Lines can be very helpful!

GILL I. 9:35 AM  

Judge Melian always says "You're not my first RODEO, you know." I never quite understood why she, of Cuban decent, would say that. I would have preferred "You're not my first lechon."
Nice Wed. puzzle Alan DeLoriea and nice name you've got there. Nothing bothered me not even ONE B nor the clue for GOLD DIGGER. Maybe I should watch Game of Thrones because the cast of that SAGA sure appears often.
I liked seeing OLMEC again but not OKRA. Did you know the Olmecs invented popcorn?
I love EMOJIs because I use them all the time and I enjoyed another memory of my very old T-Shirt that I BATIKed back in the stone age.

thfenn 9:48 AM  

I enjoyed thinking through the theme clues. Got YELLOWBRICKROAD from the Y in STYE. Following a dotted line didn't phase me - I do that all the time staring at organization charts and matrix management schemes. Going with OPENINGBID before OPENINGACT held me up in the SE. I don't tweet and don't follow any feeds so I suppose it's only fitting that theme answer fell into place last.

Never seen Game of Thrones, to the point where I had SHOWS before SAGAS. Much more familiar with ELIAS Sports Bureau, being a rotisserie baseball nut (along with loving the sport itself) but somehow having to say they are MLB's STAT provider didn't feel right. It was clued as "official ____ provider for Major League Baseball" - no indication an abbreviation was warranted. ELIAS is MLB's statistics provider, even if the clue had had MLB I would've wanted STATS. Am sure there are much more interesting things to beat up on in this one, but 58D was the one that bugged me.

Had SENT before SPAM and VIEW before SPOT, which held up POPUPBOOK until I got OKRA in there. Typing in RABII instead of RABBI left me wondering about that senator from Colorado too long. Too many proper names for my liking, but I enjoyed the theme, and some of the fill, and finished on my own, so overall, today gets a thumbs up.

chefbea 10:02 AM  

late to the game. No time to read all the posts...gotta make more xmas cookies.
OKRA again?????

Carola 10:18 AM  

I'll add my ECHO: Nice job! I liked pondering the various ways of following and considering how following a DOTTED LINE is different from following a ROAD. I'll also join the defenders of ONE B as a ruiner of a 4.0. Not sure about ONE DGE, though. Definitely extra credit for GOLD DIGGER and POP-UP BOOKS.

RooMonster 10:42 AM  

Hey All !
Follow... Me!
Follow... the bouncing ball.

Or don't, see if I care. :-)

EDDARD was a WOE, as GOT is unwatched at my abode, even though it seems like something I would like. But a GOLwDIGGER didn't ring any bells. So changed the w to a D.

SE corner was prickly. Had siri for ECHO and tres for ADIN bungling things up down there. Did straighten it out eventually.

Got yer RODEO for @M&A. Scrabbliness, only missing Q,V,Z. A SLANT, I PODS, T BONE, O RATE, A TOLL, E DAM, O NEB, AS SAM. :-P

'Nother debut. Congrats Alan.


QuasiMojo 10:48 AM  

No serious gold digger would settle for just a ring. This puzzle was a groan-fest. As someone who's never seen "Game of Thrones" I had a hard time finishing it. Who puts FWD in a subject line? Maybe I've been away from an office for far too long but I remember it differently. I couldn't imagine "one B" so I just let the grid answer that one. Pretty stupid. You may follow a bouncing ball but not a Dotted Line. I even thought maybe he means Dotted Lane, thinking it might be about driving. Or is it some dance class thing? A puzzle shouldn't make you scratch your head and sigh. It should ignite a light bulb over your head and make you feel good that you finished it. Not exhausted AND bored. I rate this one All F's.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

@Nancy, pop up books are super cool books (usually for children) where you turn the page and a paper figure "pops up." Some are quite elaborate works for art.

mathgent 11:11 AM  

Netflix envelopes have dotted lines. You tear on the dotted line when returning a DVD.

Lobster11 11:12 AM  

My only complaint about this one is that it was too easy for a Wednesday. And trust me, that's not because I'm a power-solver who is bored by anything shy of a challenging Saturday. There were only a couple of things I didn't know, and they were fairly crossed.

I teach at a university where the prospect of getting ONEB sends students into a panic, begging for some kind of work to do for extra credit to avoid such a horrific disaster. I dropped in that answer without crosses, so no complaints about that one from me.

I actually really liked the clue for GOLDDIGGER, which is someone who wants a ring "for bling" -- i.e., as something to show off, rather than as a symbol of love and commitment.

Joseph Michael 11:14 AM  

Congrats to Alan on his debut. Liked the theme,
especially YELLOW BRICK ROAD, even though it was a gimme, and TWITTER FEED, which not only highlights a different meaning for "follow" but is also timely in the Trumpacalypse.

Don't see anything inherently sexist about GOLD DIGGER since there are many men who would marry either a woman or another man for money.

Agree that a few less obscure names would have been nice, but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of the puzzle. Perhaps ONE B could have been clued as "Part of the clue for 14-Across."

Is it my imagination or is UBER starting to become crosswordese? Conjures up an image of ULEE'S UBER.

Hartley70 11:17 AM  

Ha! I see this got posted right below @George Barany. I meant to hurry George R.R Martin along, never the esteemed @George of Rexworld!

Masked and Anonymous 11:23 AM  

Pretty cool debut puz. ONEB has Michael Sharp Usage Immunity, btw. ONEB has a nice bouquet of brief desperation, without layin any major whupass on the solver. I say live and let live. [It ain't no PEWIT, afterall. Just a harmless b-ling.]

Had minor hitches, sussin out LARA NICOLE BENNET-EDDARD. (famed OOXTEPLERNON museum curate.) But ok to learn about new peeps, and new ELIAS STAT Bureaus, as long as I still get a fightin chance to finish, which I did; so … just keep em on comin, Mr. Deloriea.

Primo openin square letter, today. The first letter always sets the stage for yer whole RODEO, U know. Powerfully astute choice, by a debut constructioneer. Mucho admirablo.

Pretty sure GOLDDIGGERs of 1933 was an old pre-code b/w glitzflick that is now in one of them Library of Congress registry dealies. Just sayin. Not quite schlocky enough for M&A's film tastes, tho.

[Needin a Christmas fix? Follow the dotted line, for some real nice M&A gift ideas.]

Masked & Anonymo3Us
. <-- p.s. dotted line with oneb

Mohair Sam 11:24 AM  

All in all a very nice debut puzzle, congrats Alan DeLoriea.

This veteran solver had no problem at all with ONEB, thought the clue and answer were spot on. Cool RODEO clue, I never use the term - but love it when someone from the Southwest says it at just the right time. Did think the clue for GOLDDIGGER was a bit tortured, how about "Bogie in The Treasure of Sierra Madre"? No PC complaints, no confusion.

DOTTED LINEs are generally for tearing along. Speaking as we were yesterday of puns - anybody else remember Beany and Cecil's friend Tearalong the Dotted Lion?

EDDARD. Vaguely remembered from some distant past. Blasted "Game of Thrones" - I read all five of those books (suffered through every goddamned page of book four), loved the end of book five - Daenerys' butt saved by her really pissed off fire-breathing pet dragon (you had to be there I guess) - and now I've waited five years for book six. Found out Monday it'll be at least another year, at least. Writer George R.R. Martin got all full himself with this HBO stuff and just won't spend time on the book. Listen, I'm old - and writer George R. R. Martin is 68 and looks to weigh over 300 pounds. I ain't never gonna see Daenerys take her rightful place on the throne, never. Frustrating. (That's out, I feel better)

old timer 11:25 AM  

I bet I am not the only one who grinned at YELLOWBRICKROAD and immediately thought of Munchkins.

I was glad to see someone realize that EMOJI is a Japanese term, not based at all on the English "emotional". And I thought ONEB was excellent and in the language.

Anyone else have "come up" before CROPUP?

If you are a poker player you use TWOS far more often than "deuces". Your two pair might be kings and TWOS for instance. You can say "deuces" but I've seldom heard it, and never heard "treys", Bridge players use "deuce" almost always: "West led the deuce of hearts."

QuasiMojo 11:43 AM  

@oldtimer. I play poker regularly and we always say "deuces." Aces and Deuces. No one says Ones and Twos. And treys is quite common, at least in my circle of Hold'em friends and far too many casinos, alas.

Numinous 11:48 AM  

Do any of you not drive? @Rex? Every time you drive your car you will follow a DOTTED LINE. I've been mesmerized by that DOTTED LINE late at night more hundreds of times than I care to remember. Wanna make it scary? Do it in a semi. Believe me, you know when you veer.

EMO/EMOJI. I doon't know what EMOJI means in Japanese but I bet it has nothing to do with EMOtion. I'm not doubting you @Travis, I'm just saying I don't know. Okay, now I know, I looked it up and @Travis is absolutely correct according to wikipedia. The word means "pictograph". That it is similar to the word EMOticon is probably what confused @Rex. However, the relationship is purely coincidental. I think it's kinda cute to have EMO cross EMOJI at the M.

OKRA, OKRA. Is there an ECHO around here? Is OKRA competing with AIOLI? If it comes up tomorrow or Friday, will we have OKRA Win Three? See that, @NCA? I made a pun. Don't y'all dare laugh. How many of y'all are sophisticates from Hollywood who, when seeing a joke on TV or reading it in a script respond by saying, "That's funny?" Nobody dares laugh in Hollywood besides Craig Ferguson.

If BENNET is from Colorado, I guess he can't very well be a Surfer. I never follow TWITTER FEEDs. In fact, I hate TWITTER. It just seems so random to me and I don't have the energy to sort through all the miscellaneous crap that people seem to think is so important.

I was really disappointed in DEBRIEF in spite of @Loren's commando yearnings. I really wanted WATERBOARDS. That would have made a doozy of a splash in the Wed. NYTX.

GOLD DIGGER? I was married to one, once. Any doubts? She made off with the house, most of its contents and half my pension plan when we divorced. Thanks for the reminder @Alan Deloria.

Mohair Sam 11:56 AM  

@Numinous - Think I like your clue for GOLDDIGGER better than Alan's:
30D - Got the house, most of its contents and half my pension plan

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Can't figure out why some folks are in a dither over one b. A perfect report is ruined by one grade less than an a and figuring the student in question had all as for the rest of the grades, it would figure that one b would spoil the perfection.

Other than a overwhelming desire for a rhyming clue, I have no clue about the ring for being deal. Gold digger to me clearly evinces the type of person that engages in a relationship for the sole purpose of acquiring and/or using the wealth of the partner. Bling has almost nothing to do with it.

The issue I have with this puzzle aside from the gold digger is it is too easy save for the proper names, which easily fill in with crosses but, do you care when you got them? I didn't but, there should be some leeway for a first time constructor. Didn't like dotted line as a theme answer either.

Anoa Bob 12:29 PM  

ONEB got a new clue, so instead of the old name for Tokyo, how about Conductor de Waart for EDO?

OKRA, Mmmmmm, Mmm.

Alan DeLoriea 12:45 PM  

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the kind words! I read this blog and the comments almost every day, and I'm thankful for it. I'll gladly take "overall, this is a solid puzzle...I've had worse Wednesdays" even it does mean I miss out on the authentic Rex Parker hard pan experience.

For what it's worth, I clued GOLDDIGGER with "Sugar baby" and ONEB (which I am aware is bad fill) with "Seat nearest the cockpit, probably"

evil doug 12:48 PM  

Shoulda used your cockpit clue, Alan. Outstanding.

jae 1:07 PM  

Easy-medium for me too with the bottom tougher than the top. Did not know ELIAS or EDDARD, fortunately the crosses were fine.

Solid theme, not a lot of junk, liked it. Nice debut.

Re: Puns from yesterday. I am not a big fan of puns, but I love Pastis's strip "Pearls Before Swine". The puns are tortured and hilarious.

dick swart 1:10 PM  

One of my favorite neckties back in the day: a Nicole Miller crossword design.

Wore it until it wore out.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

Following the DOTTED LINE made sense to me - I pay the bills for our company and some bills come by email and are printed out on regular printer paper, thus not having a serrated section to rip off for inclusion with the payment. Some of those printed invoices have a dotted line with a tiny scissors icon to indicate you should cut at that point, following the DOTTED LINE.

I had trouble in the S Central and SE with NICOLE crossing LARA (you can infer the L from NICOLE but I've seen some weird names in puzzles so that makes me uncomfortable) and ASSAM crossing LARA.

And not knowing ELIAS, as @Rex surmised, or what they provide to MLB and mixing MLB in my head with the cross-referenced 52A/69A, I had BIG SHOw for the 52A/69A and was STAw (58D) ELIAS's last name? I stopped my clock at 10:11 and was going to leave the obvious error go when I decided, no, this time I'm going to figure it out. I checked all of the crosses for STAw multiple times and finally ran the alphabet to get STAT and, of course, the obvious BIG SHOT. No DNF but a tougher Wednesday than average (though not as bad as last Wednesday).

Congrats, ADL, on your debut. Nice puzzle.

Trombone Tom 2:01 PM  

Kudos to Alan DeLoriea for this first-time effort. I think OFL's review was pretty much spot on.

Hand up for Sent before SPAM. And I tried iMage before EMOJI.

@mohair sam, I, too, thought immediately of Tear Along the Dotted Lion.

As an Old Geezer I have never appreciated the purpose of Twitter so don't have a TWITTER FEED to follow. EDDARD is also not in my wheelhouse, but the crosses were fulfilling.

ghkozen 2:02 PM  

Strongly disagree with Rex on Eddard Stark. Absolutely great, contemporary answer. Rex constantly complains that grids aren't contemporary enough, but as soon as a writer includes an important character on one of the most popular and talked about shows on TV... he complains! I'm beginning to think he can't ever be pleased.

QuasiMojo 2:18 PM  

@Alan DeLoriea, thank you so much for chiming in. Your comments made me rethink the puzzle and I'm disappointed Will Shortz or his staff made those changes to your excellent clues. Good luck with your next effort. Looking forward to seeing it.

Z 2:29 PM  

@Alan DeLoriea - I like your ONE B clue better, too.

@jae - Pearls Before Swine is in my top three favorite strips of all-time along with Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side.

@NCA Prez - Even assuming something is done only ironically, so what? I wonder if the owner of PBR cares that the more than doubling of sales in a decade was the result of hipster irony?

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Game of Thrones is the new Harry Potter for me. I think I'll just go onto HBO's site and learn all of the names right now.

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Thanks for the input. That is a way better clue for Gold Digger than the lame bling one. Editors!

David 2:52 PM  

Today's WOD, Senator Michael BENNET, is one of my very first college friends and roommates at Wesleyan University. College was where I first discovered the NYT puzzle, and he would often say, "Ask me something!" while I was solving.

I'd love to ask him 8D today....

Teedmn 3:16 PM  

@Hartley70, @Mohair Sam, I'm with you totally on the GoT delay. GRRM's last book gap was 6 years so I guess I'm not surprised that it will be that long again by 2017. It reminds me of the series, "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan. The first 6 books came out within 4 years or so and the rest kept coming more slowly until he died and the last three books had to be finished by Brandan Sanderson. In the end, it took 23 years for the 14 books to be published.

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

Gold Digger is referring to someone who "digs" gold. IE, they like gold. Not sexist in tis context, Rex.

Mr. Benson 4:57 PM  

I like the cockpit clue, a lot. It would have even got me a good, sensible chuckle. I can't believe it got edited out. But maybe I'm taking the opposite of Rex's view: if it's admittedly not good fill, at least have some fun with it. Almost like a wink at the solvers.

Fun puzzle for me, and if this was a debut, Alan, I'm looking forward to more. I knew most of the proper names like BENNET (spelling and all) and NICOLE, so overall pretty easy for me.

Nancy 5:17 PM  

Just got home to read your comment, Alan DeLoriea. I agree with others on the blog that both your original clues are light years better than what ended up in the puzzle. Guess one needs to have an easy-going disposition to be a puzzle constructor. I would not have been a happy camper, had my clues been so compromised. Anyway, I didn't realize while solving that this was a debut effort. I found it unusually enjoyable and lively for an early week puzzle (to me, Wednesday almost always falls into that category) and if you read this blog regularly, you'll know I'm not always so complimentary. I hope you'll be supplying more puzzles in the future.

Chronic dnfer 5:53 PM  

Good puzz. No dnf. Yesterday either!

Chronic dnfer 5:57 PM  

I think one a is closer.

Gareth Bain 6:02 PM  

Evan walks the walk too. Solve his puzzle from last Sunday. With Sundays, it is far harder to avoid certain crutches. Evan does so with aplomb!

Still a fun early week theme. Somewhat evocative of Zhouqin's Tuesday LAT.

jae 6:45 PM  

@Z - I'd toss in "Doonesbury", ' "Bloom County" and "Dilbert" to start rounding out the top ten.

old timer 7:09 PM  

I really prefer the edited clue for ONEB, but I think I like the original clue for GOLDDIGGER better.

Hands up for thinking Pearls is the best comic strip these days, The artist used to draw it in a coffee house in my town, same town where Charles Schulz could be seen most every Sunday watching the little kids learning to ice skate.

Unknown 7:58 PM  

Fun fact: the "EMO" in EMOJI does not stem from emotion. EMOJI is a combination of two japanese words: "E" meaning picture and "MOJI" meaning letter.

OISK 9:18 PM  

Never heard of Nicole crossing unheard of Lara, nor Eddard, and know EMO only from puzzles. I got medicare long before I retd. But only one of these really bothered me. If one hasn't ever seen "Game of Thrones," then EDDAR_ is a problem. The down clue for FWD "Subject line abbreviation," means nothing to me. Forward, I guess. And FWD was the only appreciation I could think of that was FW _.

However, there is so much "tweet-speak" out there, that just about any three letters COULD be an abbreviation familiar to some...Someone ended a message today with IMFAO. I had to look it up. IMHO, the clue for FWD should have been clearer, given the impossibility of otherwise guessing the correct letter. Otherwise, nice puzzle!

Unknown 12:30 PM  

I liked Gold Digger. Someone who wants a ring "or bling" wants to marry for the jewels and other trinkets (bling) he or she will get as a result of marrying a wealthy person. Spot on, in my view.

Burma Shave 10:20 AM  


just SPOT the NOTE in her TWITTERFEED, in fact,
at an ORGY, what will CROPUP, she’ll NEED BIGger,
after poor NED DEBRIEFs for the OPENINGACT.


today’s stream of unconsciousness comes from down the YELLOWBRICKROAD

spacecraft 10:58 AM  

Oh no! This is a scary day for me: my thoughts are nearly congruent with OFL's! AAAUUGH!! When I solved DOTTEDLINE for "Something to follow" I thought, why clue it that way? Treasure map? Maze? You *sign on* that. But soon after, I realized that the clue WAS the theme, so the stretch was understandable.

And yeah, easy except for those few PPPs. To me, ELIAS is that mob boss from "Person of Interest," a series that started out with a good formula and then wrecked it, IMO.

I'm a bit less forgiving anent the fill, though. ETTE and RETD did not make for a promising start--and worse followed. Part of the problem is the central choppiness, slaved to the great gridspanner. Lots of little 3- and 4-letter "munchkins" to sing it. There's A DIN of unpleasing entries. I don't know who the NICOLE of the clue is, but I'll replace the surname with Kidman for the hands-down DOD.

What to do about ONEB. Let's say a new political party has formed, the Opportunity Party. Then if Cornhuskers elect a congressman from the new party, he'd be "So-and-so, O-NEB." Oh well. It's a shame; I really like that YELLOWBRICKROAD, but too much dreck. Bogey.

Diana,LIW 11:43 AM  

Agree with rex on which words (names) added some unknowns for many. Knew NICOLE, but don't know why I do.

Enjoyed the things to follow theme. Wasn't bothered by the fill. I jump around the puzzle, so I think that's why "dreck" doesn't stand out for me. Yet another good reason for solving slowly.

Basically, what Lewis said... I did notice on Monday that there were 16 double letters, some of them unusual ones.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Fun, very easy for the most part. Able to fill in all unknowns, but was totally mystified by "adin"... No comments about this, so obviously I am the only person in the world who has no idea what that is.

rondo 12:39 PM  

Fairly easy. ELIAS, gimme. EDDARD? Not a Thrones follower, so crosses. Another thing to follow, maybe?, – youanywhere – which would fit.

I’d ask you to follow my TWITTERFEED, if only I subscribed to that nonsense even one IOTA.

I like Al D’s original clues (esp. for ONEB) better, but editors edit, it’s what they do. Nice OPENINGACT, Alan.

@spacey beat me to NICOLE, so I looked up the unknown-to-me Ms. Miller. Might have recognized the name if I shopped at J.C. Penny or Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but she is a GOODEXAMPLE of who fits into the yeah baby category as does LARA Spencer, onetime PBS personality on Antiques Roadshow.

Easy enough puz that took only about nine minutes, ORATE.

rondo 12:52 PM  

@anon 121:34 - AD IN = Tennis term for "the advantage being scored by the server" (ad is short for advantage).
(ADIN = Also the English spelling for the Russian word for "one")

leftcoastTAM 1:32 PM  

Some clever cluing plus some crunch here.

I would sign on a DOTTED LINE but follow a dashed line to the X that marks the spot.

Wanted Tip before TAB, but needed the B for POPUPBOOKS. (Books? Don't think these were around when I was a kid; at least I never saw one.) NICOLE Miller's fashions are unknown to me, as are ELIA'S STAT. (Just one stat at a time?) EDDARD also unknown as I don't watch the much-watched "Game of Thrones".

There was more good stuff here to ADIN.

rain forest 2:39 PM  

You can follow your heart, your dreams, your instincts, and you probably should follow instructions, and while I usually do the latter, I do not and will not follow Game of Thrones. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't think that SAGA is for me.

I think that you do follow the DOTTED LINE when you cut out a sewing pattern or the top of a package of frozen blueberries. So there's that, and the other themers were spot-on, and different in a good way.

Relatively easy puzzle that kept up my interest - didn't notice much in the way of dreck. ONE B was OK by me, too.

Liked it.

leftcoastTAM 5:02 PM  

Today is another interesting (to me, at least) example of how so many intelligent people can read the same words or phrases and interpret them in so many different ways.

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