Nickname for baseball manager Terry Francona / WED 12-28-16 / Playfully obtuse, maybe / Guideline for freelancer for short / There might be spat about this

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: THE CARPENTERS (35A: Pop group suggested by 17-, 25-, 47- and 58-Across) — theme answers have tools related to carpentry in them:

Theme answers:
  • ELIJAH WOOD (17A: Player of Frodo in "The Lord of the Rings")
  • STUDS TERKEL (25A: "The Good War" Pulitzer Prize winner)
  • BRAD STEVENS (47A: Boston Celtics coach beginning in 2013)
  • MIKE HAMMER (58A: Detective whose first book was "I, the Jury")
Word of the Day: BRAD STEVENS (47A: Boston Celtics coach beginning in 2013) —
Bradley Kent "Brad" Stevens (born October 22, 1976) is an American professional basketball head coach for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. He was previously the head coach at Butler University in Indianapolis. A former basketball player, he grew up in Zionsville, Indiana, where he starred on the Zionsville Community High School basketball team, setting four school records. After high school, he attended DePauw University, where he played basketball and earned a degree in economics. He made the all-conference team multiple times and was a three-time Academic All-America nominee. // Stevens joined the Butler basketball program as a volunteer prior to the 2000–01 season after quitting his job at Eli Lilly and Company. He was promoted to a full-time assistant coaching position for the 2001–02 season. On April 4, 2007, he became the head coach after Todd Lickliter left to coach the Iowa Hawkeyes. In his first year, Stevens led Butler to 30 wins, becoming the third-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I history to have a 30-win season. // In 2010, his third year as head coach, Stevens broke the NCAA record for most wins in a coach's first three years, exceeding the previous record by eight. In the postseason, Stevens coached Butler to the first Final Four in school history. At 33 years old, Stevens became the second-youngest head coach to make a NCAA National Championship game, losing 61–59 to Duke. Shortly after the season ended, he signed a contract extension with Butler through the 2011–12 season. With the 2010–11 team making the Final Four, Stevens became the youngest coach to go to two Final Fours. Stevens coached the Bulldogs in their second consecutive national championship game on April 4, 2011, where the team lost to the Huskies of the University of Connecticut. (wikipedia)
• • •

At first I thought the theme was a little loose, but upon noticing that all the themers are people / names, I decided there's enough consistency to hold it all together conceptually. There's also symmetry in the placement of the carpentry-related word, i.e. 1st and 4th themers have it in the second word, 2nd and 3rd in the first. I knew all the names, so that put me on Easyish Street today. As always, with names, ignorance can have a high cost, just as knowledge can have a high pay-off, so if this played harder for you because you didn't know, say, BRAD STEVENS, I'm not surprised. STEVENS is probably the least well known of these names, at least where this crowd (i.e. you) are concerned. In today's general population, he's certainly more famous than STUDS TERKEL. Not sure how to compare his fame to that of MIKE HAMMER. HAMMER is an icon, but a bygone one; far far far far more important in his field than STEVENS is in his, but ... HAMMER doesn't get mentioned every day on ESPN these days, is what I'm saying.

The fill in this one made me laugh several times, because it seems so ... Quiglish. My favorite bit is "HOW R U?," which is the kind of answer you dial up when you are staring down a --W-U letter pattern and absolutely refuse to budge. If you were to swap out TERKEL and STEVENS, you'd have --W-A in that space, which seems at least moderately easier to fill (YOWZA?), but BEQ decided to just textspeak his way through that jam. "HOW R U?" I'm somewhere between skeptical and impressed, thanks for asking. I also liked VIKES and balked at the clue on SOO (33A: "Your point being ...?"), another "make the best of a bad situation" constructing moment. "[___ Canals]!? We don't need no stinking [___ Canals]!" (credit where credit is due: that ["Your point being ...?"] clue for SOO was (first?) used in the LAT two years ago—so it may not be completely original, but I like its colloquialism and anti-canality a lot).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS [There might be a spat about this] deserves applause for being the most vexing / cleverest clue in the puzzle

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 5:41 AM  

Nice work BEQ. Always a joy to see your name on NYT puzzles.

Moly Shu 6:30 AM  

Had and before SOO also agE before USE. Liked hiking signal and kapow! for HUT and WHAMMO. Leave it to @BEQ to get "beat (off)" in the NYT. My inner 13 year old is still laughing.

I am not a robot 6:39 AM  

Hmm. This took me back to middle school circa 1972. The Carpenters. Danced to them at the sock hop (that's what we called Friday night dances in the gym).

Beat (off) and Where you mught get rubbed the right way are interesting clues.

Spec and hora seem to show up regularly these days. I can barely recall a puzzle without one or both, although that might be an exaggeration.

But the stronger theme seems to be Argument...

There might be a spat about this!

Surely you can't mean!

Your point being?

Like I'm supposed to believe THAT!

Now I've heard everything.

Kapow (to the moon Alice!)

Skip it, I don't want to hear any of your excuses!

Look here, if you want to be loved, be loveable for Pete's sake! And while we're at it, who is this Pete guy!

Gasp! You cad!

Aw baby, I just want to be Close to You.

Forget it. Game over!


Lolcat Lisa 6:59 AM  

PLOTZ. That is all.

Z 7:23 AM  

PPP* themers always have the flaw Rex pointed out, if you know the pop culture it can be really easy, if you don't it can be really hard. BEQ balances this out by keeping the rest of the PPP relatively low. The entire puzzle comes in at 20 of 76, or 26%. Add to this that the themers are pretty well balanced over subject (A Hobbit, author, duo, NBA coach, and Noir detective) and time (two mid to late twentieth century, the 70's, the naughts, and current) and the PPP shouldn't be too much of an issue. If there is one imbalance, these seem to lean a little toward the testosterone enriched crowd. I half-expected a "happy ending" reference in the SPA clue.

A technical DNF here. I put down eHS, couldn't make sense of the down clue, then never looked back to fix it until the iPad honked at me. Otherwise, pretty standard Wednesday.

*PPP - Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. Experience suggests that when answers are anything over a third some group of solvers will have problems.

kitshef 7:27 AM  

An excess of post-Christmas 'cheer' led to blAMMO instead of WHAMMO, never corrected despite the nonsense it made of the crosses. Also by that time I was fed up with all the crap in the puzzle, SOO and IVE and HOWRU, etc. etc. I despise garbage disguised as vernacular.

Loved The Carpenters and could listen to that voice all day.

evil doug 7:51 AM  

Seems the NYT malaise has infected even BEQ. I expect a lot more from him. I guess his really creative stuff is issued elsewhere, and rather than toss this lesser effort away he knew the Times would welcome his refuse....

Passing Shot 8:10 AM  

Agree with @Z that this was a "boy puzzle." Neede every cross for BRAD STEVENS, and then was scratching my head because I have no idea what "brad" is with regard to carpentry. Have heard of Terry Francona but I'll be damned if I know (or care) what his nickname is. Had BOSCh fir BOSCS, but otherwose, no major hiccups other than being put off by the "boy" clues.

chefbea 8:11 AM  

Love the carpenters..loved the puzzle...especially the clue for shoe at 26 down!!!

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Ahem, there is an actual real error in the puzzle. The name of the group was Carpenters, not The Carpenters.
Do a Google image search for "the Beatles" and if look at the album art their name is "The Beatles".
Do a search for the "the Carpenters", and look at the album art, what do you see?

Mr. Picky

Dorothy Biggs 8:33 AM  

I got scared out of the gate with BOSCS..."Ah, so it's going to be one of those puzzles..."

But I was pleasantly surprised. I knew most of the names, a couple of them live in that part of my brain regularly accessed by xwords and nothing else. Those words/names just live there. Waiting. Bubbling around, evidently, in the cauldron of my mind with no connections to other things. It's like that drawer everyone has in their kitchen where weird stuff goes...those jewelers screw drivers, lint rollers, dead batteries you're afraid to throw away, rubberbands...and proper nouns you never use.

I liked VIKES...nice misdirection.

Beat (off)...was really the orgasmic high point for me, but it did make me wonder if WS thought WTH, why not? or is too naive himself to know what those two words next to each other might mean. There are a couple of clues in the puzzle that a 12 year old boy might find titter worthy...but Beat (off) is pretty blatant.

Haven't seen Mr. HAMMER in a puzzle in a while.

I'm a big fan of BEQ's and I love his humor. Probably not his best effort, but the guy is prolific, so I'm sure this was one of many that could've gone in this slot. It was good...certainly better than the average has become at the NYT.

@I am not a robot: Great catch on the cluing having an interesting overlay subtext. I wouldn't put it past BEQ to have engineered that intentionally.

Teedmn 8:47 AM  

As @Rex predicted, this took me a bit longer (for a Wednesday) due to BRAD STEVENS, who is not in my universe and never will be unless he becomes a common crossword inclusion. But his last name was easy enough to guess off the VIKES gimme so BEQ, I forgive you.

America's Cup competitor was YACm for a while because I'm much more likely to hesitate with UmS than UHS. I was worried that 32D was looking for a team name and I was glad to find it was a non-proper noun.

You're probably wondering where my DNF of the day was, don't worry, I'm getting to it. I thought many a hockey shot was SLoP. Really, half of the shots taken on goal aren't aimed, the player is just peppering the goalie, hoping to find a hole. And Terry Francona's nickname was TInO. Do you want to know what PonTERNS are in sewing? Well so do I. I Googled the word in case it meant anything and found some poor, lonely (only one follower) sap in a ROBLOX universe wearing a funky helm: PONTERNS. Maybe PonTERNS went on to do some dressmaking as a hobby but I'm sure you all are thinking "SAVE IT".

I'm going to PLOTZ now, right after thanking Mr. Quigley for a challenging (to me) Wednesday :-).

Tita 8:49 AM  

@NCAPres...between your kitchen drawer and @lms' basement box,you've got quite the collection going.

Gotta love PLOTZ...great word to say...really punctuates a sentence. Though I thought it meant to drop dead...not merely collapse.

I suppose you're is a testosterone-fete. Even the YACHTSMAN was invited...the CAD.

I wonder if we will have puzzled out all of the ALPen peaks before the year ends. And can ASPs be found there?

Cute little theme,some great words.

House guests just left...have barely enough time to change the sheets before the next crowd arrives this afternoon...I love holidays! (Not sarcasm...I really love playing at B&B)

thfenn 8:54 AM  

Agree it's testosterone enriched, somewhat argumentative, and, appropriately enough, titter worthy. @Z, thanks for the PPP explanation, been wondering what that was.

Enjoyed HERTZ along with VIKES. Got my wife something JPeterman calls the Slinky Fire Island Sweater, so SLINKIER was definitely fun.

I don't follow the NBA much anymore and stopped caring about the Celtics a ways back, but being a New Englander BRADSTEVENS was pretty much a gimme, just had no idea that a brad went along with wood, studs, and hammer for a carpentry theme (and it occurred to me that christmas still lingers a bit).

PLOTZ was new to me. Also had BOSCH before BOSCS. Thought of Nancy's post yesterday when I put in SIC before SIT and saw RABIES, so, @Nancy, hope things are better today.

I don't like fill like hey, soo, hah, uhs, or even gasp when it's clued like that. And when URI could also have been UMO, UNH, UVM, its still a little tough when those easy 3 letter answers require a cross. But all in all, I did a wednesday in less than half an hour all by myself, enjoyed some of the cluing, enjoyed some of the answers, and learned something, so, as I'll stop saying at some point, that makes this a good one in my book.

Charles Flaster 9:13 AM  

Very easy and liked the theme.
Creative cluing for SHOE and USE.
Finished second in trivia last night and there was a CARPENTERS song in the music round.
Thanks BEQ.

Unknown 9:13 AM  

I appreciate @Rex's explanation of some of the nuances of @BEQ's puzzle, which I did not find particularly challenging because in these parts, we know about VIKES (*). Also, I remembered when Butler burst on the national collegiate basketball scene, but it took a few of the crossing words to remind myself that their coach had since jumped to the pros.

One of the advantages of sleeping in is that a number of the points that occurred to me (from solving last night) have already appeared in earlier comments. Thus, let me just give a hearty "amen" to @thfenn, especially the last paragraph, with some bonus chuckles for @Teedmn's account of the misadventures around TInO. Also, kudos to @evil doug for articulating what surely several others must be thinking.

Unfinished business from yesterday--that type of puzzle is surprisingly difficult to construct well, yet is being phased out from the New York Times. According to the constructor's account elsewhere, it had been in the accepted queue for three years. I did cringe at JIHAD and the clue for HALF_GONE, ground that was amply covered by @Rex and/or the commentariat.

* Started the season 5-0 but will miss the NFL playoffs -- how often has that happened?

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Tries hard unsuccessfully to make the clues difficult. Easy puzzle. OK

Exubesq 9:16 AM  

My first thought for 10A was "vets" which depressed me so much I had to stop to collect myself. Thank goodness that was wrong but now I'm searching my psyche for an explanation. Also planning to get special treats for my two waiting for me at home.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

I thought I was going to PLOTZ when I saw CUJO, the dog I spent my awful, terrible, not very good Christmas with in this puzzle. Then I saw HAD A BITE! Then I saw BLEED! Then I saw RABIES! GASP! Was this some sort of DIM joke? I never thought you to be such a CAD, Brendan. Nor you, Will. Well, maybe if I hadn't been quite so COY about the details of my experience yesterday, you would have simply said HOW R U and left it at that.

But I LIT UP yesterday at all the kind comments on the blog and the supportive off-blog commiseration I got from friends I've made here. I thank you all. As for today's puzzle, I found it unusually hard for a Wednesday. I only managed to finish it when I at long last changed OVATE to OVOID at 7D. I liked the challenge.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

@Rex --

Re: theme fills have TOOLs related to carpentry ...

Sorry to be a nit-picker, but while a HAMMER is a tool, WOOD, BRAD, and STUDS are materials.

SOO ... ITEMS (or some such) related to carpentry would be a correct alternative.

jberg 9:45 AM  

I live in Boston, but didn't know BRAD STEVENS, because sports. But the crosses helped on that one. And though I've read, at most, two Mickey Spillane books starring MIKE HAMMER, somehow that name stuck. So pretty easy, once OVOID corrected Uvm, and SIT corrected urNS.

I did admire that Z in the corner.

Greg 9:56 AM  

Being from the upper Midwest, SOO will always be a railroad line.

GILL I. 10:02 AM  

@Nancy...You forgot TEAR AWAY!!!
Well, I kinda agree with @evil. BEQ's puzzle are usually a lot more zippier and this felt a bit tepid. I still liked it especially some of the "boy" cluing. HAH.
I do a lot of his puzzles so clues like: "there might be a spat about this" are typical misdirects. SHOE! I also expected some Spanish and only got a measly AVEC.
SOO I guess there is no SPUD STERKEL? The football players I know like to say HUp (I think)... So a technical foul.
PATTERNS and SPOOLED look good together and PLOTZ is just fun to say.

Churlish Nabob 10:06 AM  

But . . . can I do it till I need glasses?

Wm. C. 10:09 AM  

I too am a native Bostonian, but I'm in Florida for most of the basketball season, and not much of a basketball fan these days, so only vaguely remembered Brad Stevens' name.

As a youngster I did play school basketball. Once our Junior HS team got to play a 15-minute running-clock game on the parquet in the old Boston Garden in the late '50's (oops, I'm dating myself...) against one of a neighboring town. I'm not gonna brag ... OK, maybe just a little ... but I scored 8 of our team's 14-8 winning points, including a falling-away 15-foot buzzer-beating jumper. Swish!

Those were the golden days of Celts' b-ball, something like 10 straight NBA titles. Notably, this was the highest scoring pro basketball game at the time, something like a 175-145 Celts victory. The game has changed since ...

The high point for me was that afterwards we got to go into the Celts' dressing room five minutes before they came out. I got autographs
from an assembly of all-time greats ... Cousy, Sharman, Heinsohn, the Jones's and "Jungle Jim" Luscutoff, the team Enforcer. Most impressive to me was standing beside the towering 6-10 Bill Russell.

Hungry Mother 10:11 AM  

Fastest Wednesday in a long time for me. Somehow, I switched to the downs at just the right moments. I liked the theme, but it only helped for MIKEHAMMER, which I would have gotten quickly anyway.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:12 AM  

Dropped BOSCS in without a cross, thought it was going to be a walk in the park. But too much PPP. Eventually guessed THE CARPENTERS, of whom I have actually heard, madre up some names from the random letters I'd gotten. And I was more or less done. Except for having eSE causing decrease in value (valuese isn't as valuable as real value?) and lAnTERNs aiding dressmakers.

Tim Pierce 10:12 AM  

Fun puzzle. Some classic Quiglisms in the clues, like 5D: Where you might get rubbed the right way. 26D: There might be a spat about this made me burst out laughing. And I'm very impressed that he got the NYT to go along with 34D: Beat (off). ISWYDT, BEQ.

I have to admit I am not fond of the clue for SOO. If you want a contemporary non-canal themed clue, go with "Broadway star Philippa". There, you can have that one for free.

Stanley Hudson 10:13 AM  

@Nancy, didn't read yesterday's blog--very glad you're okay.

r.alphbunker 10:18 AM  

Had BEQ used to resolve _ _ W_U we would have had ROWPU which appears to be an acronym for Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit or perhaps some committee that @LMS has to deal with.

I am amazed at how prolific BEQ is. The Monday puzzle at his site was the 914th published there. Another prolific constructor is our own M&A. At last count there are 818 runt puzzles at It will be interesting to see who makes 1000 first.

I found today's puzzle easy probably because of the aforementioned 914 puzzles. Details are here.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Tnx to OFL for posting the Carpenters' song. Brings back sweet memories.

It was a terrible shame that Karen Carpenter died so young, a huge talent, gone far too early ...

QuasiMojo 10:40 AM  

I am one of those who have never heard of Brad Stevens. But I definitely remember Studs Terkel. His books are still read. Never heard of Plotz but I enjoyed imagining the sound one makes doing it. I had ALAMO before Hertz. And a few other self-inflicted mistakes but overall this was an agreeable puzzle. I remember when the Carpenters first appeared on the scene. They were the antidote to all the rock n' roll that was overtaking the pop music scene. Some of us actually longed for melodies and harmony back then instead of people like Janis Joplin yelling their heads off. The Carpenters seemed so squeaky clean. So innocent and pure. Such a promising future... But isn't life ironic? Karen had a life almost as troubled as Janis's. Perception is never reality.

Unknown 10:42 AM  

Damn it's nice to do a themed puzzle with lively fill. Loved WHAMMO and PLOTZ in the SE. Love TEAR-AWAY and SLINKIER.

Didn't know BRAD STEVENS but had no problem getting him from the crosses.

I remember MIKE HAMMER from the '80s tv show with Stacy Keach. It was my mother's favorite show for a while there. Don't remember much except the saxophone playing "Harlem Nocturne" as the theme.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Another "boy puzzle" like Passing Shot said. Filled with sports clues and theme is men's names and carpentry. Just rename this the NYT men's Sports Puzzle.

Hartley70 10:46 AM  

This was a tougher than average Wednesday for me because the names did not come easily. At one point, I could see STUart, BRAD and MIKE and the last names could have been absolutely anything. TITO was unguessable from the clue also. Boys! What's wrong with Connie or Rise Stevens? How about Evan Rachel Wood?

I kept "catamaran" for a long time before YACHTSMAN. I don't mind complaining that I miss the beauty of those single hulled twelve meters. Speed isn't everything. Tactics can be.

ASPS began as "vets" and that made me sad too, @Exubesq, and brought back the memories of four miserable days I would rather forget.

Rabies wasn't cheerful either. I've had the shot series twice. Dogs are my great love, bats and raccoons not so much.

@Nancy, it's quite wonderful how accommodating the last two days' puzzle entries have been to your Christmas tale of woe. I was think "how thoughtful" of Will.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:12 AM  

BEQ simply Nailed it in, as per usual!

puzzle hoarder 11:12 AM  

I don't follow sports or listen to country music so MCBRIDE and BRADSTEVENS were unknowns. Even with that raising the difficulty level like anything else which didn't come to mind immediately the crosses made it easy to work around.
They call them VIKES? Figures.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:13 AM  

The PLOTZ thicken!

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Not as satisfying as other BEQ puzzles I've done. Some of the long names meant nothing to me. Too much trivia for a Wednesday and not enough clever cluing. Rex went too easy on it.

Carola 11:44 AM  

Cute theme. Medium for me...didn't know BRAD STEVENS, and it took me a while to see STUDS TERKEL and MIKE HAMMER. Until I read the comments, I hadn't seen how guy-centric the puzzle is, but then URI and IRA jumped out at me. At least the CAD gets a SLAP.

old timer 12:14 PM  

The prolific BEQ probably was trying to make a Wednesday puzzle. Which explains why it wasn't as clever as some of his work: It had to be solvable by the kind of person who can almost never complete a Friday or Saturday puzzle. Never heard of the BB coach guy, and had a hard time remembering MIKEHAMMER. But it was certainly acceptable,

Seems to me "beat off" was the phrase in use when I was 13, but it wasn't long before it was replaced by "jack off". Nowadays if you write that someone beat off a rabid dog or an attacker, you don't even think of the slang meaning.

Joseph Michael 12:23 PM  

[Surely you can't mean...!]

Whether intentional or accidental, this puzzle and its clues are full of double entendres which my inner teenage boy couldn't help but notice.

In ADDITION to beating (off) and getting rubbed the right way, we have WOOD, ERECT, and SPOOLED. I was going to add pumping station, hesitating sounds, and PLOTZ to the mix, but decided that this would be taking it too far.

Masked and Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Soo …

VIKES is a stone-cold NYTimes all-time debut word? Inconceivable.

BRADSTEVENS and HOWRU, also debuts. Conceivable.

Had a little mess-up, at HUp/SpUDSTERKEL. That SPUD themer completely concealed the theme, until I got the revealer and all the other themers. Even then … ain't a STUD kinda a subcategory of WOOD, makin one of em maybe an outlier? Cute theme idea, anyhoo. Next time consider TAMINAILGUN, or somesuch, tho.

Fillins of perfection: SAVEIT, PLOTZ. SOO. WHAMMO. Soo … SE is yer big winner.
staff weeject pick: UHS. [Close to bein an anagram of HUp.]

Thanx for the fun, BEQ. Quiet, exquisite desperation; primo. thUmbsUp.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


I am not a robot 12:29 PM  

@old timer, apparently both are out now and just to quote fewer than half of them from the dictionary of urban slang we have, "jerkin'the gherkin, looping the mule, manual override, pocket pinball, polishing the rocket, pounding your flounder, pumping the python, roping the pony, spanking the monkey, teasing the weasel, walking the dog, whipping the willy, wonking your cronker, yanking the crank."

Who could even guess?

Wileyfex 12:30 PM  

You beat me to it. Materials not tools. Tx

thfenn 12:31 PM  

@George Barany, thanks for the comment, and the question, in answer to which I'll offer the following:

The Vikings are the 6th NFL team since 1990 to go 5-0 and miss the playoffs (and sadly are the first team to do it twice). The list includes:

1993 Saints
2003 Vikings
2009 Giants
2009 Broncos
2015 Falcons
2016 Vikings

I suppose if you want to go farther back into times with a different playoff structure, you'd have to count the 1967 Baltimore Colts, who were 11-0-2 heading into the last game of the season, lost, and missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker to the Los Angeles Rams. While I'm on the Colts, in 1968 they were 13-1 during the regular season, and then (rather famously) lost the Super Bowl to "Broadway" Joe Namath and the Jets (in a game that to this day makes it hard for this Patriots fan to really hate NY - I was 10 at the time and that season basically made me a fan of the game). Both those Colts teams were coached by Don Shula, who went on to lead the 1972 Dolphins to the NFL's only perfect season (17-0).

Charles Flaster 12:33 PM  

Former Knick fan here but I loved Heinsohn--nickname was ACK-ACK.
He is a great basketball analyst.

Wileyfex 12:35 PM  

Thought it was an easy Wednesday. Wood, then Studs gave away 35A. I liked ovoid crossing Ovid.

cwf 12:45 PM  

Another nice puzzle from BEQ. Here's a recent brief interview with him on @KBAndersen's show Studio 360. Yes that's a cryptic puzzle at the top, not a crossword.

Here's a favorite Carpenters cover too!.

RooMonster 12:48 PM  

Hey All !
SOO is a Railroad name, SOO Lines, maybe I'm the only one in thw whole entire world that knows that? (Yep, just me!)

Puz was okay, but not a BEQ type puz. Maybe an older offering? Had ELIJA WOODs gumming things up in the NECenter for a bit. Haven't read everyone yet, so maybe answered, the ole brain can't quite get the SHOE clue. Anyone want to give ma a DOH moment?

HAD AS BITE next to DINED. I WIN above DATE, he EYED.


Unknown 12:49 PM  

Thanks, @thfenn for the football reminiscences. Within experimental error, we seem to be the same demographic ... in addition to being in sync on our responses to today's BEQ puzzle. Leading up to Super Bowl III, Joe Namath was a neighbor of ours on the upper East side of Manhattan, albeit he had a swanky penthouse apartment while we were on the third floor, above a bar called "The Jet Set." Happy to exchange additional reminiscences off-Rex, but for one sampling, search for "Namath" on this web page.

@Nancy, glad you're able to laugh about your recent ordeal.

@Wm. C, love your basketball reminiscences. Us Knicks fans (hi, @Charles Flaster) have nothing but respect for the Boston Celtics, past and present.

JC66 1:00 PM  

@Roo Monster

Think of Spats as apparel

JC66 1:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Hilton 1:09 PM  

@Wm. C. - I, too, got a kick out of your tale. I recently thought of that Celts team and their rivalry with the great St. Louis Hawks of Petit, Hagan, and Lovellette when considering how the current NBA is so top heavy with the Warriors and Cavs. The Celtics also went through periods where it was them and the 76ers and later, of course, the Lakers. So, it's cyclical, just happens to feature the Celtics quite often. Like @George Barany, I rooted Knicks and felt my share of heartache while they were trying to take down those Boston behemoths.

Fun puzzle. I actually put an exclamation point next to clue 26D. to honor its cleverness.

JC66 1:11 PM  

@George Barany & @ thfenn

Re: Super Bowl III, ever consider that Pete Rosell put in the fix in order to give the fledgling AFL instant parity with the long established NFL?

Yeh, I'm a long time Giants fan.

jae 1:19 PM  

This was my third BEQ today after the Boston Globe Sunday and his regular Monday. Unlike the other two, this one was easy.

I loved THE CARPENTERS, Karen's voice was ethereal. A sad ending.

ELIJAH WOOD's latest series is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, based on books by Douglas Adams. It's on BBC America and it's bizarrely delightful.

Pretty good Wed., liked it.

Leapfinger 1:24 PM  

@Rex, I thought you were touting SOO for its anti-caRnality. Marching to a different dumber, I am.

High expectations all met, bec BEQ. Fine COY-MEADic value all the way from BOSCS BLEED (the juicy ones do) to PLOTZ HERTZ.

Couple of minor hiccups in an o/w SmOOth solve: By overlooking the parentheses, tried to go on with GOON before [GASP]. Having HUP before HUT yielded SPUDS, which tied in nicely with the recent Potato NEWS.

Result was a slow transition fro NW --> NE, where I almost SPOOLED my coffee, all unsuspecting that Francona's nickname ended in O. On a good day (which this was), I might call that hokey hockey bit a slipshod SLAP shot. Odd how the PATTERNS of Ps and SPs enhance the words' funny-factor. I s'pose it's the spit, UH, take.

Hope nobody was ofFENDed by the ofF ENDing placement of FEND in the MidEast. Heaven foreFEND that FENDerBenders be used to deFEND efFENDis' right to FENDis. What with my being obviously 'in FEND bibulous', our revels now are FENDed.

*MCBRIDE: At a wedding under the Golden Arches, the one in white
*'Spat' isn't quite a SHOE-in, during months with an R in them
*EYE-catching cross of OVID x OVOID. Seems maybe that now even the humble OVO requires an ID. Would that need to be a Foto OVO ID? Maybe a teensy OVO driver's license ID? Required for driving Egg Crates, fer shirr.

Re the theme: What with the alternating positions of first/surnames, I thought BEQ plumb nailed it, fo'chizzl. With MIKE HAMMER, he had a HIT, a most palpable HIT. Saw that he didn't try anything foolish like RASPutin, though something rather plane like Colonel SANDERS wouldn't have been too tacky. As I scrolled over every lath [T-]square of the grid, I tried my level best but saw no way BEQ could hatch it any better. WOOD-be plyers of the cruciverbal construction arts can have no better advise than to clamp onto BEQ as their rule model. I wonder what router he uses.

[sigh] Wish we had a STUDS_TERKEL for our time.

Larry Gilstrap 1:26 PM  

Trying to mine some comments out of this Wednesday effort, I clamped on SLINKy over WHAM-o, but a little research proved fruitless. How cool would that have been?

I knew MIKE and STUDS, had heard of ELIJAH, but not BRAD, for what that's worth. It all came together smoothly enough with no need to PLOTZ, which is also new to me.

I use texting quite often and have found it a very efficient way to communicate and share photos. I find texts to be surprisingly warm and personal in many instances. I guess text message lingo is here to stay in the puzzle. "im ok" with it, HOW R U?

I assume any constructor who would clue FEND as he did in 34A, has never taught Eighth Grade. Unless the terminology has changed, that would have destroyed decorum for many long awkward minutes.

One nit: not a big fan of those pluralized voiced place holders, uhms, ers, UHS, etc. Sure I hear them, but would I ever write them?

Lurker Librarian 2:18 PM  

@Larry, if a speaker uses too many "uhms," I stop paying attention. Although I concede that in the formal feedback on said speaker, I would probably say "said uhm too often," so point taken.

@Nancy, glad you're feeling better today, and sorry to hear of your CUJO-themed holiday. I hope you recover quickly!

Agree with those who found this one of BEQ's weaker efforts, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Numinous 2:21 PM  

This BEQ seems to have everything from B to Z (except for Q and X).

Could we say that Ars Amatoria and Amores are OVOID? @Leapy, loved your MCBRIDE.

We jumped on our kids for using textspeak like HOW R U saying it was illiterate and ignorant. We told them if we ever caught them using it we'd confiscate their phones etc.. That was when they were barely in high school. Now, in their twenties, they won't continue conversations with people who do that and they find that, generally, people who do that are illiterate and ignorant.

I liked this puzzle but found it easy for a BEQ and a Wednesday. I liked the SPATS clue especially, calling to mind old movies with Edward G. Robinson.

Doc John 2:31 PM  

Not one shout out to the great Jack SOO of Barney Miller fame! Geez!
Actually a dnf for me today because I insisted that STUDS' last name was Turkel. I guess I was thinking of Urkel.

Neil Nathanson 2:36 PM  

Has there been an entry in this blog about the SUPERMEGA puzzle? I'm a regular reader and wanted to see what Rex and others thought about it after we (whole family worked it together) finally finished. If not, I will remark in Rex inspired rant-speak: "how can a blog hold itself out as the definitive commentary on the NYT crossword puzzle, and not even comment on the most spectacular crossword event in NYT history?"

Tita 2:52 PM  

@I am not a robot - we used to call the deli down the street the Pocket Pool Deli, on accounta the guy behind the counter. He would be leaning against the counter behind him with his hands shoved into the waistband of his sweatpants.

We never bought anything that wasn't in a sealed container.

imo BEQ needed the beat (off), ERECT, and SLINKIER lethal injection providers to offset BOSCS at 1A. "Buy me a bushel of BOSCS, honey, will ya? That is, unless you see some goodlooking anjous.

Z 3:36 PM  

@Doc John - I read your comment and suddenly my coffee tasted awful.

@jberg - {blush}

@anonymous 9:27 - A valid point, but I could argue that a tool is something people use to do work and all the materials in the puzzle are used to do work by a carpenter. Yeah, a bit of a stretch. Sorta like saying water and ice aren't the same thing (cf late comments on yesterday's puzzle).

@Evil Doug and @George Barany - Whatever else we may think about the NYTX, it still has an extensive solver base. I believe (though I don't actually know) a solver base larger, maybe even an order of magnitude or two larger, than any independent puzzle site. If I'm an indie constructor I want top notch work to appear at the NYTX to attract more solvers to my independent puzzles. (I should mention that when I've suggested this to actual independent constructors they disagreed vehemently)

@thefenn - You're welcome. There's a story behind me being the PPP counter that I'll tell again in the not too distant future. Wheelhouse vs. outhouse and my being erroneously certain figure in the tale.

Leapfinger 3:45 PM  

@Gill (from yesterblog): I care about your Caesar salad. I'm on my way over, so make plenty!! PS: This Neanderthaler thought anchovies are born, live and die in a can; please splain.

@Phil Plait (ditto yesterblog), Thoroughly enjoyed your link, although as far as not being dicks is concerned, the best I can aim for is not being Dorothea Dicks. It's a fine concept to try and show people their mind's prison has an open door, but not easy if they've spent years installing bars. For sure, it doesn't pay to kick away someone's crutch and expect the person to walk. Give me a little time and I'll mix in a few more metaphors.

Yup, hesitation word-ladder: ERS EHS UHS UMS. Did I miss any others?

My stroll down memory lane started with YACHTSMAN today. My little Mum would say that with some genteel Teutonic throat-clearing worked into the middle... yACKHhhtsman. And PLOTZ is a bursting or explosion rather than a collapse, so you could say that the clue was subject to mis-direction. Gay AVEC Michiganer.

Agree about the strong taste of Guy. Hard to stay SLINKIER around the holiday foodfests. Wondering if TEARAWAY and SLINKIER are in the male-oriented category. (Sorry, @MartinAb, I couldn't help helping myself to that)

Why say VIKES? You've saved yourself one syllable or two letters, and traded a gentle final ZZZ sound for a hard hissy SSS. Not to mention the potential for "We VI KINGS of Orient R".

@jberg, that Z in the corner was indeed a magnificent beast.

Maybe I shouldn't have said anything about ofFENDing in the Middle East: the talking heads are busy PLOTZing all over TVland.

@Numi, glad you liked. I just did your 1/16 cryptic and left a comment. For some reason, your email is resistant to blandishment.

@Tita, Anjou yourself, it's later than you think.

Happy Pencil 4:32 PM  

The absolute and wonderful high point of this puzzle is the clue for SHOE. But beyond that, I have to agree with those who've said this is not BEQ's best effort. Lots of partials, abbreviations, and other ugly fill: IS INTO, IRE, SOO, UHS, HAH, IRA, NAH, IVE. Yuck! And I thought both HOWRU and VIKES were groan-worthy (although I admit to being the furthest thing from a football fan).

I think a lot of this stuff would have been much more harshly called out by Rex if it came from another constructor. It would be really interesting if he started reviewing the puzzles blind (that is, without knowing who made them). I can't help feeling this puzzle would have been less warmly received if he'd had no idea who constructed it.

evil doug 4:49 PM  


"If I'm an indie constructor I want top notch work to appear at the NYTX to attract more solvers to my independent puzzles."

1.This isn't 'top-notch work', not by a constructor as brilliant as BEQ.

2.Many constructors would sell out to get a NYTX byline--to lower their standards to reach that large base you mention and gain the rep of being published here. I don't think BEQ falls into that category. He's got nothing left to prove, and I don't think he needs any more NYT exposure to draw attention to his work elsewhere.

3. Wednesday puzzles are a curious creature, nestled between basic-solver Tuesdays and challenging-trick Thursdays. This puzzle backslides, while I prefer Wednesday crosswords that prime me for a good test by leaning into Thursday toughness. If I'm as good as BEQ, I'd submit only Th-Fr-Sa puzzles to the Times.

Z 5:14 PM  

@Evil Doug - I think we are mostly in agreement. I'm saying that a newish solver who is finally getting comfortable solving late week puzzles isn't going to be enticed by today's offering to get over to I agree that BEQ has nothing to prove, but I bet he has bills to pay. So, if you are right and he's sending Will stuff that he doesn't think is good enough for his own site, I think his strategy is off. When an indie gets the NYT platform they want people saying "more like these please."

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

I'm with Mr. Picky. While everybody calls them "The Carpenters", they really intended that their "band" be called simply "Carpenters":

GILL I. 6:18 PM  

@Leapster. I came across as an anchovy snob, didn't I?....Let me put it this way...Popeye probably eats them out of a can. The best anchovies in the world come from the Bay of Biscay in Spain. They do can them but the canned ones tend to have more little bones and they don't keep as well in the fridge and besides, those tend to be the icky ones used on pizzas. The best (Ortiz in my opinion) are packed in olive oil and a jar. You can look at them and they practically talk to you. Store any leftover for ever in the fridge.
Buy sardines in a can! and eat fruit!

Outside The Box 11:42 PM  

To the moron who didn't like my criticism of those who didn't know who Edmund Gwen was: So how about Studs Turkel and Mike Hammer? Icons, both real and fictional from the long ago past. Or did you begin your education online in e-school?

Unknown 5:09 PM  


CDilly52 10:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Burma Shave 11:30 AM  


THECARPENTERS have SPECs they USE in some conditions,
CAD drawings and SET PATTERNS to LIMIT indecision,
but if BRADSTEVENS could


BS2 12:03 PM  

Remember the DATE. A week from tomorrow will make two years.

spacecraft 12:44 PM  

If you SKIPped the blog of @I am not a robot, go back and read it; every line is hilarious! Hand up for not knowing the last word across; for me the PLOTZ thickened. I like BEQ puzzles because they dtrive to USE language that is...actually USED. People SAY UHS and "HAH!" and "HEY!" and "SO...O?" And they really text "HOWRU?" And often HADABITE. WHAMMO!

DOD is Martina MCBRIDE--also a way to resolve a MCB bloc. Enough to--nope, I'm not gonna go there. Let's just say we couldn't find a SLINKIER candidate. Oh, it HERTZ when I laugh! Birdie.

rondo 12:56 PM  

IVE got a run of non-write-over days going. Found this one quite easy, finishing with (and without) a PLOTZ.

THECARPENTERS could really sing, but a bit to MOR for me.

Don’t know exactly where to go with that FEND off clue. With ERECT also in the puz? NAH. Just like when coach Denny Green left the VIKES, you’ll find me on the high road.

About a dozen years ago I COYly snuck into a Martina MCBRIDE sound check, occurring hours before her concert was to go on, and found a place to SIT. Listened to a whole SET before security shooed me away. She looked even SLINKIER in casual wear than in stage clothes. Yeah baby.

Hope to make more non-w/o ADDITIONS this week, but it could end tomorrow, WHAMMO! Or PLOTZ.

Torb 1:58 PM  

Quickly filled in the puz. Greatly disappointed at the lazy garbage fill. Hut, soo, hah, nah, howru, and the goofy plotz. Certainly, BEQ is capable of creating a puzzle w less jargon.

Diana,LIW 2:06 PM  

A long-time TERKEL fan here, so getting a dnf by spelling his name incorrectly was a double WHAMMO! And TITO was TIny - whatever.

The rest was easy and BEQ friendly.

Now - important stuff is at hand. Shall we have the annual open-house party for BS's 2-year poetic run? Maybe someone will bring MEAD. I can take the deLorean to Futureland and invite the early solvers.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the party

leftcoastTAM 2:20 PM  

Before reading any of the above:

Rating: Easy-medium.

Word of the Day: PLOTZ.

Lesser known theme name: BRAD STEVENS.

Lesser known non-theme name: TITO

Relatively crunchy: SE corner.


Torb 4:57 PM  

Quickly filled in the puz. Greatly disappointed at the lazy garbage fill. Hut, soo, hah, nah, howru, and the goofy plotz. Certainly, BEQ is capable of creating a puzzle w less jargon.

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