Port city at one terminus of Appian Way / WED 1-11-17 / Farmworker in Millet painting / Inflation adjusted econ stat / Infomercial pioneer

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: DNA — a single (?) strand of repeated letters "DNA" runs in a vaguely helical shape down the middle of the grid.

Theme answers:
  • WATSON (47D: Co-discoverer of the contents of the circled letters)
  • CRICK (4D: Co-discoverer of the contents of the circled letters)
  • DOUBLE / HELIX (11D: With 55-Down, form of the contents of the circled letters)
Word of the Day: BRINDISI (36D: Port city at one terminus of the Appian Way) —
Brindisi (Italian pronunciation: [ˈbrindizi]; in the local dialect: Brìnnisi; Latin: Brundisium) is a city in the region of Apulia in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Historically, the city has played an important role in trade and culture, due to its strategic position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port on the Adriatic Sea. The city remains a major port for trade with Greece and the Middle East. Brindisi's most flourishing industries include agriculture, chemical works, and the generation of electricity. (wikipedia)
• • •
SPECIAL MESSAGE for the week of January 8-January 15, 2017

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Now on to the puzzle!

---------------------------

Look, it's either DOUBLE / HELIX or it's not, and this isn't. Double, that is. You can't put DOUBLE / HELIX in your grid and then offer up a DNA strand that, while passably helical, is not in any way double. So the theme is D.O.A. It's a no. Doesn't work. Start over. Further, just putting CRICK & WATSON and DOUBLE and HELIX in the grid isn't very interesting. Add in a lot of cringe-worthy fill (MDLI over ROIS, for example) and you get a phenomenally mediocre Wednesday. I mean, LIBBER / ERO!?!? Gag. Seriously, was there no way to make that NE corner even minimally presentable? The worst part of this puzzle, however, was the BRINDISI / REAL GNP crossing. I've never heard of BRINDISI. It has 88K people—why on god's green should I have heard of it? Consider that ANCONA (another Italian city I've never heard of) has *408K*, and you can see how (comparatively) insignificant BRINDISI is. It's a jumble of letters. Fine, you're desperate, put it in your puzzle I guess ... but make sure the crosses are fair. Are you sure? Real sure? Because if I go to Google and type [real g], *this* is what happens:


That's because the infinitely more common concept / phrase is REAL GDP, not REAL GNP (52A: Inflation-adjusted econ. stat). And so you cross your obscure Italian town with an economic concept precisely at a fundamentally unguessable letter: Congratulations. Thousands upon thousands of people will screw this up, not because your puzzle was clever, or fiendish, or whatever you'd like to believe it to be, but because it was poorly constructed. Obscure towns are tolerable only if all crosses are fair. One of these crosses wasn't. The end.


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

136 comments:

jae 12:06 AM  

Medium for me too. Got the theme with CRICK and filled in the DNA circles, but I still struggled in places. ANGLIA and BRINDISI were WOEs, plus I had imo before BTW and asiA before CUBA.

Interesting theme, liked it.

And, if you have problems with the double part of Peter's helix, here is what he said at Xwordinfo:
I'm sure a few people out there will look at D-N-As winding down the grid and say "Hey, that's a single helix, not a DOUBLE/HELIX!". To them, I'd like to respond with a quote from The Dude in "The Big Lebowski".
"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

Whirred Whacks 12:18 AM  

BRINDISI was a snap.

2,000 years ago, it was known as BRUNDISIUM, a very important Roman port. It was the stepping off port to head to Greece and points east.

Whenever Pompey, Crassus, Juilius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Marc Antony, or Octavian had some business to settle in Greece, they'd head out from Rome on the Via Appia over to its terminus at Brundisium and sail from there.

Z 12:19 AM  

Yep, even Collins is obviously a little embarrassed by this one.

Here, do this one. No FISA warrants were issued in the creation of this puzzle.

Former Teen Idol 12:20 AM  

Sailed through the whole thing and didn't even really notice the circled theme after the first DNA. Just nailed everything.

And then got a fat DNF because of BRIdDISI and REALGdP.

Carola 12:51 AM  

I thought it was an elegant puzzle; very nifty how WATSON-CRICK and DOUBLE-HELIX so nicely double each other in the grid. I enjoyed tracing the DNA helix (SKEIN-like?) to see what entities were linked...an ARACHNID, a GLEANER, ENID Blyton, Carmen MCRAE, and, of course, DAD. I liked how the strand was bracketed by DEEP IDEA.

I had vague notions of BRINDISI as a city but was a little uncertain, as I know the word from opera, where it's a drinking song...so smiled at its grid pairing here with PILSNERS.

RNADNAMD 1:20 AM  

As a practicing clinical geneticist I am disheartened by the assertion that Watson&Crick discovered DNA. What they discovered was its structure with the help of Rosalind Franklin's x-ray crystallography. Why isn't she in the puzzle?

I am disappointed that the editor and the constructor clued this inaccurately. It was Avery, Mccarty & Macleod who dicovered that DNA carried genetic information. DNA had been known about for some time, but its simple chemical make-up was not thought to lend itself to carrying heritable information.

chefwen 2:00 AM  

STUrdY before STUBBY at 22A, imo before BTW at 45 A, said no before I SAY SO at 13D. Much wite out was sacrificed for this puzzle. Was almost ready to accept a DNF when my walking world atlas of a husband saved the day by knowing BRINDISI and ANGLIA. he lives to travel and research destinations.

I have a big brother who used to be in advertising, he had two HUGE kitties, one named RONCO and the other Popeil. He also has a photograph of himself and Colonial Sanders (one of his bigger accounts) shaking hands while the Colonial is holding up a drumstick. Pretty classic.

Martín Abresch 2:16 AM  

Awful, awful puzzle.

Here are all the good things that I could find in the puzzle. CUBA [Historic 2016 Obama destination], ARACHNID [Scorpion, for one], DIVINE [What "to forgive" is], MR. CUB [Ernie Banks, to fans], END [One may be bitter], AARP [Org. whose magazine was once called Modern Maturity]. and BRUTAL [Like winters in Antartica]. I guess NOT A SOUL and PILSNERS are decent answers, too.

On the actively bad side. A trio of partials (Rent-A-COP, Ad-LIBBER, and Mop & GLO). A prefix (ENDO-morphic) and a suffix (Ranch-ERO). A commercial prefix (SANI). A Roman date (MDLI). Lesser-known geography (BRINDISI and East ANGLIA). An economic statistic (REAL GNP). Dull proper names (RONCO, Carmen MCRAE, ALTON Brown, ENID Blyton, TASS). Spanish (BAÑOS) and German (NACHT). The clue for WED [Enter an altared state?]. Foreign currency (ROIS). The word ACNED. Having A-ONE two clues ahead of ONES.

I knew BRINDISI thanks to Ticket to Ride: Europe. Great board game. Easy to learn; good mix of luck and strategy; takes about one hour. Highly recommended. But BRINDISI is still a horrid bit of fill.

I might have had some sympathy for the single-DNA-zig-zag as a theme answer if the New York Times hadn't published other crosswords that displayed actual double helices. The notes at XWordInfo point to an Elizabeth Gorski Sunday effort from 2002 and a Joel Fagliano Tuesday from 2015.

@RNADNAMD (1:20 AM) - Hear, hear! The clue for WATSON and CRICK is sloppy at best and wrong at worst. Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod, and Maclyn McCarty isolated deoxyribonucleic acid as the material that contained genetic information in 1943. Watson and Crick suggested DNA's double-helix structure in 1953.

Kathy 2:19 AM  

Whew. I agree with @rex on the double/helix. And Brindisi? Really? I googled hoping to find maybe a hidden treasure. Nada.
I'm quite sure there will be comments about Obamas final speech. May I start by saying it's time for him TOGO. I found him to be the most racist president in my life time. And no, I'm not eight years old.

jedlevine 2:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jedlevine 2:28 AM  

Well, I *almost* completed a Wednesday. That would have been an accomplishment, as I am a novice solver. It was especially satisfying because after about 10 minutes, I was thinking, okay, so I'm about as far as I'm gonna get with this thing, and then little by little, words started dropping into place. And I felt MUCH better after reading Rex's writeup because that is exactly where I got tripped up the most: the BRINDISI CROSS; I was sure it was GDP.

The DOUBLE HELIX reveal helped me get a lot of the crosses. But then I was racking my brain to remember the names of the DNA discoverers. I had __ R I C _ , and for some reason, had ERICH in there for a while. I couldn't get 1A because I never heard of RONCO (maybe I'm too young? Although at 52 I recently became an AARP member so maybe I'm not that young. Then again, at least I haven't been a member long enough to receive issues of MODERN MATURITY). And lord knows what a (24A) SKEIN is. I guess if you do enough crossword puzzles and/or are a prolific knitter, you would know.

I liked the redirecting clue of "spotted at the prom" for ACNED, but not sure that "acne" can be used as a verb. Just sounds weird. "Wow, that kid is really acned". It also took me a long time to get "DECEASE" for the clue "death". A parts of speech thing again, I guess.

Finally, Carmen McRae I knew right away since I am a musician.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qnyaZQELxk

Mike in Mountain View 2:31 AM  

Have to agree with @RNADNAMD: the flub regarding the cluing of Watson and Crick is an epic fail.

A double helix might be difficult, especially if it had CG bonds (AT bonds should be comparatively easy).

REALGNP/BRINDISI crossing didn't bother me, though. BRINDISI seemed much more likely than BRIDDISI.

Larry Gilstrap 2:37 AM  

I love when OFL trashes a midweek puzzle. Yes, that BRINDISI cross was not bueno. I'm no speed solver, but I just now figured out ACNED and that neighborhood after months of staring. I was trying to shoe in CANKERED, but figured it wouldn't have passed the breakfast test especially when this puzzle was submitted in 2003, which is when I bought my Subaru.

How I threw in BRUTAL from the clue 45D amazes even me.

I had a spit in a tube DNA test done. I learned something about myself that I will never forget. $100?, deal.

My yoga practice has taught me to love Indian classical music. I've seen few Bollywood films, but listening to one RAGA after another is therapeutic. Heads up: L.A Phil features Anoushka Shankar with conductor Zubin Mehta, from crossword fame, at Disney Hall this weekend. See you at the Sunday matinee.

Anonymous 2:52 AM  

Your compliants, Michael, are valid but not noteworthy, IMO (which I initally had for the eventually correct BTW). BRINDISI was a gimme, but I've lived in Europe. It was a fine puzzle.

Anonymous 2:53 AM  

Sorry,

Cheers,
Brennan

Anoa Bob 2:59 AM  

I was thrown off by seeing DNA repeated in the zig-zag pattern. When I got CRICK at 4 down and saw the snaking pattern of circles, I expected to see the letters ACGT in those circles, for the bases that hold together the two strands that make up the double helix of the DNA molecule. I googled to make sure I remembered the letters correctly, but was pretty sure that it wasn't DNA itself that spiraled around.

I think it was an ambitious effort, but that the structure of the DNA molecule is too complex to capture in a crossword puzzle grid.

Anonymous 4:00 AM  

I had little trouble with BRINDISI. Wanted to put in BRUNDISI, but that's because I have read some Roman history.

I started solving in the NE, and the first sign that this puzzle was not so hot was that MRCUB crossed with CUBA. Yuck, too many common letters. And count me among those who were slightly disgusted with giving WATSON and CRICK all the credit for DNA structure.

Oh well, solved it faster than the mess that was the Tuesday puzzle.

Zach C 5:24 AM  

Are you kidding me? This is the forum you want to weave your political opinion into. At least get creative in doing so. What a joke you are, desperate for one final jab, and a very weak jab at that.

Trudy Morgan-Cole 5:26 AM  

I think BRINDISI is only a gimme if you have vivid memories of waiting for the ferry there with dozens of other unwashed young backpackers, in the golden days of one's youth. It's more well known as a place to pass through than a place to be.

Also agree with the Ticket to Ride endorsement.

Cristi 5:39 AM  

Couldn't the opera term have been cleverly clued with the geographical location? I just knew that a "brindisi" is a drinking song and it must've come from somewhere. I'm terrible with text-speak acronyms (that have become obsolete with voice recognition and auto-fill)--must we still use them in puzzles? LMFAO still has its uses though. "Spray paint"="mar"? What would Banksy spray to that?

Questinia 6:03 AM  

I love any puzzle with a science slant in it. Even if DNA is more like RNA and Watson and Crick as @RNADNAMD pointed out discovered the helical nature of DNA not its contents.

But I acted like, @ jae, a *BIg Lebowski Histone*, influencing the strands with my own and evidently the constructor's epigenetic meaning, making the puzzle true-esque. I mean, I can kind of see adenine within and around the helix (but I can see no uracil). Good enough for me. It's double by inference and confirmation bias.

I only have vivid memories of not having gone to BRINDISI, @Trudy Morgan-Cole, because it seemed like my "Let's Go Europe" funneled everyone to that spot...unwashed.

Eric 6:07 AM  

Saw the author was Peter Collins when I printed this out and expected one of his usually well crafted efforts. Finished in record time for a Wednesday for me but was very disappointed as per all I'd @Rex's comments with the addition of the B starting off banks almost being a Natick for me.
Yes I print and solve on paper to give me a coffee break away from my computer desk
@rex check is in the mail - really. Whether I agree with your opinions or not the blog and the comments are always entertaining.

Eric 6:09 AM  

Darn spell chech "banos" not banks had to try to correct three times before it was accepted

Anonymous 6:21 AM  

Rex is spot on about the GDP/GNP fiasco, and Kathy 2:19 is spot on too. This was a golden opportunity by someone who really could have helped heal the racial division in this country, and he not only squandered it, but further divided us. Truly tragic.

Arlene 6:53 AM  

I actually knew Brindisi because it's in The Geographical Poem (Fugue) by Ernst Toch - it's a Spoken Chorus, a unique art form originated in the 1930's, that I studied many years ago. Google it - it's worth knowing about.

Lewis 7:00 AM  

@questinia -- I'm with you; that zig-zagging DNA down the grid was enough of a suggestion for me.

It's a tribute puzzle to a well-known molecule, and I found the solving experience to be solid, with enjoyable clues for DEEP and FOOTSTEP, and some answers I resonated with: ONTHEGO, NOTASOUL, and AIRDATE. Solving level was just right for Wednesday. I misspelled DIVINE as "Devine" at first because Andy Devine remains rooted in my brain's DNA. For those who like to do word searches (and I'll pass, thank you!), there are a couple of Boggle-style RNAs to balance the theme. And that IDOL/DAD cross would have been lovely on Father's Day.

The puzzle woke up some detritus that lay dormant in my memory, with the aforementioned Andy Devine, then STUBBY Kaye, and Gordon and Sheila MCRAE. Maybe the theme for me should have been that AARP.

George Barany 7:16 AM  

Today's puzzle by @Peter Collins, along with @Rex's overall take and the numerous well-thought-through comments on a range of topics, inspired me to find this YouTube link to the BRINDISI from Verdi's "La Traviata."

I'm an alumnus of The Rockefeller University, site of the famous Avery-MacLeod-McCarty experiment, and have talked to both Maclyn McCarty and Jim Watson on numerous occasions ... will gladly communicate about this off-Rex.

I am not a robot 7:22 AM  

@Arlene, that's wonderful fun! Haven't used the phrase wonderful fun before but it's accurate for that little experience.

So, Brindisi...struggled in that corner because of it, but all is forgiven.




JB 7:28 AM  

A skein is not a ball.

kitshef 7:35 AM  

Hand way, way, way up for lousy clue for WATSON and CRICK. DNA was discovered, named, and identified as important in heredity before WATSON and CRICK identified the form of the molecule.

Forty years ago, everyone would have put in GNP without a thought. GDP was an afterthought - important only to economy nerds. We started hearing about GDP a lot in the 90s.

Agree with pretty much all the complaints so far, but for me the worst thing besides WATSON/CRICK was I SAY SO.

I am not a robot 7:42 AM  

I would like to acknowledge @RNADNAMD's point about Roslindale Franklin. What he's saying has been widely publicized in newspapers, magazines, and on NPR so the puzzle felt rather outdated.

Irene 7:56 AM  

Help me out: Why is it "ones place"? It is because of the crosses, of course, but what is it about "ones" that automatically slips in before "place"?

Hungry Mother 8:10 AM  

Played very fast for a Wednesday for me. I stumbled into the correct mystery letter and caught the theme right away.

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

A SKEIN is not a ball. It's a twist.

Could you make a double helix if you started with DEED?

Jill Sullivan 8:26 AM  

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the totally incorrect clue for ROIS. The plural of Louis is Louises? Maybe if you're four years old. ACNED is bad. Ad-LIBBER is bad. ONES place is beyond bad. I don't post very often but this puzzle was really not good.

evil doug 8:31 AM  

I kid you not: flew my C-130 from RAF Mildenhall in East ANGLIA to BRINDISI. After troops offloaded the cargo and booked, we couldn't get the damn airplane to power up. Nobody on the field to call. The flight engineer said he thought he could hot-wire the aux power unit--"But it might catch fire". I said a quiet prayer, he made that baby light off without conflagration, and we got the hell out of there....

Happy Pencil 8:31 AM  

Sometimes your life experience helps you -- anyone who has ever backpacked across Europe will know Sleazy Brindisi right away. And sometimes your lack of knowledge helps you -- I've never heard of or thought about real GNP versus real GDP, so I had no cause to stumble there.

I do totally agree with the commenter who pointed out that Rosalind Franklin should have been in the puzzle. Her contributions continue to be dismissed -- and this is a woman who literally gave her life for science. Shame.

And a word of advice: Those wanting to defend Trump by attacking Obama should probably avoid using the word "golden" for the time being.

kitshef 8:34 AM  

@Irene - in a number such as 314, the three is in the 'hundreds place', the one is in the 'tens place', and the four is in the 'ones place'.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Didn't love this puzzle but I knew BRINDISI.

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

I, me, mine. 75 self referrals last night. Get ready for the era of we, us, ours. Bring on the Dream Team.

Roo Monster 8:54 AM  

Hey All !
Turned out to be an easy WedsPuz. Actually had no writeovers. Rare for me. Didn't mind the theme. If you bend the ole brain you can make the middle zig-zag look helix-like. Just imagine it as 3D, and you'll get the DOUBLE HELIX. I'm not that into who discovered what when it comes to DNA, or RNA, so the names didn't bother me.

Better ONES clue: Dollar Dollar Bills, Yo! Weird clue for TOM. Also weird clue for ERA. ACNED a non-word. Thought about imo also for BTW. Mother and Grandmother used to knit. Seen many SKEINs of yarn.

@Maked ONE, 5 G's, 1 F! :-)

ODD-ERO
RooMonster
DarrinV


Lobster11 9:00 AM  

I'm with OFL on pretty much everything with one exception: I'm much less bothered about the fact that the "helix" represented visually in the puzzle isn't "double." A bit inelegant, perhaps, but to my mind hardly fatal.

Unsurprisingly, my last square was at the BRINDISI/REALGNP cross. I figured it had to be either N or D, but it was pretty much a coin flip. I happened to guess right, but I take no pride or pleasure in that. I hate guessing.

Nancy 9:06 AM  

I'm no science expert, but even I said to myself after finishing the puzzle and looking at the grid: Oh, there's the HELIX -- but aren't there supposed to be two of them? I even had sort of a vague picture in my mind what the two of them were supposed to look like.

It didn't bother me while solving, because I didn't notice the DNAs at all, They were just annoying little circles to be ignored, same as always. After finishing, though, I had to admit that it was a pretty neat job of construction -- even with one HELIX missing in action. I knew what was coming, sort of, when CRICK came in in the NW, but I didn't race ahead to put in any other theme answers. I just solved the thing from west to east and from north to south as I always do whenever possible. It wasn't too hard, but it wasn't too easy either. RONCO at 1A, which I've never heard of, made it initially look like the puzzle would be harder than it was. I enjoyed it -- despite "18 Louises" (talk about your plurals of convenience!) and ACNED (really?). Fine for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Came here to say this. I'm a computational biologist and was frustrated by both these lapses.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Sailed through this puzzle. I don't know why I know BRINDISI, but I do. My biggest criticism is that the circled squares should have held the nucleotides that form the helix. ATCG

NCA President 9:11 AM  

Not enough time to read through the comments so far...so apologies for repetitions.

ACNED and DECEASE? The blogger spell check hates both of those words...because they're terrible, that's why. And GLEANER?...while blogger spell check's okay with that word, it's still terrible.

I do not know why, but I know BRINIDISI. Seriously, I have no idea. OTOH, I've seen INRI hundreds of times in puzzles, and still can't ever remember it.

My major problems were MCRAE, ENID, MRCUB, and my insistence that a light beam bender is a prism...never mind that the answer is 3 letters. I wanted prism, dammit.

The clue for LIBBER is awful too. "Ad..." and we're supposed to get LIBBER from that? And "Spray-paint, say" = MAR?

Rex's use of the word "fiendish" is perfect...there was a kind of attitude this puzzle had that appeared self-satisfied with its contrivances. I could almost literally hear it snigger to itself (off in a corner of the room), "Teehee, they'll never get this one!" Well, I got it, I got every one of them, but there were many I didn't like. Many.

The best parts: ARACHNID, SKEIN, and the fact that "DOUBLE HELIX" reminded me of one of my favorite songs, Aja, by Steely Dan:

Double helix in the sky tonight, throw out the hardware, let's do it right.
Aja, when all my dime dancin' is through, I run to yooooooou....

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is some serious sh*t...and started my day off wonderfully.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

I am worried about higher education in this country when a college professor, no matter what field he specializes in, has never heard of Brindisi.

Z 9:15 AM  

BRINDISI hasn't been crossworthy since 427 C.E. Okay, maybe that's a little hyperbole, but only a little. It's the other, less important end of the Via Appia, which went out of use around 427 C.E. BRINDISI wasn't even the original end of the Via Appia, the last stretch being added ~50 year after the initial construction, nor the name of the town at the time. All of this might have been forgivable, but if you haven't flown into the town or are up on Roman History or into Opera or into Ticket to Ride:Europe the puzzle reduces you to flipping a coin between REAL GNP and REAL GDP. Interesting thing about that. Wikipedia has an article about REAL GDP, but look what turns up when you search for REAL GNP. Of course, it is a thing, but apparently not important enough of thing for someone to create a wikipage about, unlike say, Treebeard.*

Peter Collins does better work than this on a routine basis. Maybe it's confirmation bias, but I read his comments over at xwordinfo and interpreted them as showing a degree of self-awareness about the general weakness of this puzzle.


@Happy Pencil - Did you do the puzzle I linked to? You might be amused.










*I'm going to guess that at some point a REAL GNP Wiki article will get added. It is a thing and a fairly important thing.

Cassieopia 9:16 AM  

Also got the theme very, very quickly and filled in the DNAs near the beginning of the solve. Magically avoided the BRINDISI/REALGNP pothole through pure unadulterated luck. Well under my average Wednesday, so "easy".

Worst clue: Ball of yarn. SKEIN is "...a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted.." or even "...a flock of wild geese or swans in flight, typically in a V-shaped formation..." IT IS NOT A BALL. I don't usually yell, but that really bugged me.

Best clue: ARACHNID.

chefbea 9:17 AM  

too tough for me

Cassieopia 9:20 AM  

@NCA President: the Millet painting referenced in the clue is actually titled "The Gleaners"; it's a fairly well-known painting so I thought GLEANER was a fair if not downright elegant entry.

Tita A 9:22 AM  

@Jill...I had the same reaction to "LOUISES". Overall, it seems like sloppy editing this time around.
MAR? Well, if you grab a can and spray paint a 1956 bathtub Porsche, you might MAR it.

A SKEIN of yarn can be ball-shaped, so no foul there.

Odd choice to take what could have been another scienceyanswer and clue it for the cartoon character PLUTO.
Of all the celebrity chefs, ALTON Brown is one that I can stomach in small doses. He uses "science", though the way he has to dumb it down to make it accceptable is a bit cringe-inducing.

Maybe that's what's happening here? I did not know the story behind the discovery of DNA, so am happy to learn a tiny bit more about it.

VIAL, IDEA, and GOTIT may be subthemers.

Thought GLEANER was junk fill, but am delighted to learn that it is a thing. They come in after the Reapers are done reaping. They get to pick over and gather whatever small stuff is left in the fields.
And the painting, which I had to google to realize I had seen it at the Musée d'Orsay, is very well-known.
From wiki:
"The painting is famous for featuring in a sympathetic way what were then the lowest ranks of rural society; this was received poorly by the French upper classes.". La plus ça change..."


Cliff Guthrie 9:22 AM  

What's wrong with me? I could only see "Toy" boy and girl in 32 down, and wondered who the heck has a name like YCRAE?

Hartley70 9:25 AM  

This is not a bad puzzle, at all. I imagine the full and complete DNA experience desired by the commentariat would be better suited to the Sunday grid....or I could just redo my junior high science project for you. This was the Dark Ages so it was very cutting edge and my DOUBLE HELIX was 3 feet tall. On second thought, you should just email Professor Barany for the correct info.

I don't know how I knew BRINDISI, but I saw ISI and it was.

pauer 9:29 AM  

That xing is BRUTAL, for sure. Best I could find for the NE is:
ADHD
BOAR
FURY
ABLE
BLES
*EMT
DRYEST is not great, but I feel like just about anything is preferable to a 4-letter Roman numeral.

Tita A 9:40 AM  

@Z - hold on just a sec... While I'm sure your ire is tongue-in-cheek...
The Via Appia remains in use to this day. If you drive South out of Rome and follow the coast, you will often see signs indicating that you are on it. I drove backroads from Latina to Terracina (one of the original stops), and you are on not just the new highway form of it, but in many place, the actual road.


The only thing I'll grant you is that BRINDISI, if it's famous at all, is famous as a place that you get the hell out of.

Full disclosure - I DNFd with BRIdDISI - I never even remotely heard of it.

Malsdemare 9:40 AM  

I think this CoQ10 I take must be doing something. Nothing else accounts for knowing Carmen MCRAE or BRINDISI. Or CRICK and WATSON for that matter, although I needed some crosses for them. I knew REX would be unhappy with the random Roman numerals, and ERO made me wince too. I liked ARACHNID and, for some reason, INRI. That one reminded me of being in Catholic school,and having to put JMJ at the top of every paper I turned in.

This puzzle was fine; the problem was with me. I awoke at 6:30 to the sound of heavy machinery moving earth or rocks or something 100 feet from my bedroom. We have an unfortunate house going up between us and our view of the Sangamon River, and while I've been trying to be gracious about it because I feel pretty fortunate to live where I do, heavy machinery at 6:30 is just wrong. So I came to the puzzle hoping for @billy c's GOLDEN to SHOWER word ladder. I imagine it would have been a gargantuan task to have made the DNA strands actual DOUBLE HELIXes, but that would have been a joy to solve, even with . . .erm . . ERO.

On to read the comments.

NCA President 9:42 AM  

@Cassieopia: I didn't know the painting was called that, so point taken. But I believe it was earlier this week or just a few days ago there was a puzzle that made a couple of verbs into nouns but just adding -er. So I was only responding that, here yet again, was another of those. In an artistic setting, "Gleaners" is appropriate and indeed elegant. But the confounded practice of constructors turning verbs to nouns by adding -er is not. I'll give this one a pass.

BTW, and apropos of nothing, Rex should've changed his tagline today only with, "Rex Parker, Roi of CrossWorld.

Sam B 9:54 AM  

Brindisi was an easy guess given a few crosses. I knew the city from the drinking song. (Maybe would have been a better clue.) GDP/GNP, if one doesn't make a plausible city name you'd try the other wouldn't you? My big problem was "18 Louises" crossing MrCub. If you want a French word (rois) for your answer the clue HAS TO BE IN FRENCH. In English at a big stretch you might pluralize "Louis" with "Louises" but in French "Louises" can only be the plural of "Louise." And I can assure you there were not 18 "rois" named "Louise." I hate a clue that punishes a person for having knowledge.

abalani500 10:05 AM  

Sadly, I have seen way too many political opinions posted on this blog (usually with a far more liberal leaning). I agree that a crossword blog should stick to talking about the crossword, and comments (be they pro- or anti- the current or incoming administration) be left to other sites.

Alex 10:14 AM  

I didn't know BRINDISI, but REALGNP was a reasonable guess (vs GDP) because of the oddness of Briddisi. That doesn't look particularly Italian. I was thinking that Italian doesn't have many "dd" words, but on second thought it does. So never mind on that. The SW was by far the toughest part of the puzzle for me, but I didn't think it rant-worthy.
I would have liked to have seen Rosalind Franklin in the puzzle, but I was just grateful that the clue for LIBBER wasn't women's.
Kathy 2:19, you're an ass.
Evil Doug 8:31, you're a god.

r.alphbunker 10:27 AM  

I think ONES place refers to being put in ONES place. BRINDISI/BANOS gave me pause. Never thought of GDP for GNP. Details are here.

abalani500 10:30 AM  

One of my fastest Wednesdays ever. Had REALGdP first but immediately knew BRINDISI so no issues there. Anyone who has ever backpacked in Europe will have likely taken the ferry from BRINDISI to Greece en route to Athens. The clue for ROIS was horrible. Easy enough but can you really pluralize proper nouns with an "es"? And can we please dispense with the Roman numeral answers. They add nothing other than an easy out for the constructor.

GILL I. 10:40 AM  

Well, I saw Peter Collins name and said to myself - even before starting the puzzle - @Rex will hate it. I've yet to see a glowing report on any of his puzzles.
I'm a dunce when it comes to things like DNA and RNA or just about anything sciency so I didn't get CRICK because I don't know RONCO so I didn't GOT IT. But after reading some of the comments on how wrong this whole thing is I Googled "Discoverers of DNA" and I got this: WATSON and CRICK discover chemical structure of DNA Feb. 28, 1953. So what am I missing?
Anyway, I rather enjoyed the romp. It'll be memorable because Collins puzzles always stir up the pot.
@Lewis...I too had DEVINE. My memory shot over to "Waking Ned DEVINE" which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I could not get the E out of my head.
@Happy Pencil...Sleazy Brindisi...Hah! It's actually a very pretty town....smelly backpackers or not...:-)
I'll take a CUBA LIBBER please with a squeeze of lime.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

I think it helps to be over 50. GNP immediately came to mind. I don't know what GDP is, so will have to look it up. As a science major, the theme answers came easily after I got helix. It was a good challenge for a Wednesday.

da kine 11:04 AM  

I thought anyone with a classical education would know Brundisium (now Brindisi). It's pretty important in Roman history.

Also, are we just normalizing TASS now? Since when is that propaganda "news"?

Rita 11:06 AM  

Came here because I had more fun with this puzzle than I have had in weeks. This was one of the puzzles that made me think, "These people are so clever." Maybe those of you who can construct your own puzzles never have that particular sense of delight. I expected to see laments about Rosalind Franklin's absence, but it never occurred to me to be bothered by the single helix.

Doug 11:07 AM  

Aside from all the sniveling, I'm with the commenter that mentioned Rosalind Franklin. She should have been the big reveal. Would have been fun trying to clue it in this context.

Joseph Michael 11:09 AM  

GOT IT immediately with CRICK, automatically filled in the twisting DNA helix, and then hunted for the WATSON. So this was mostly easy. Didn't care that there is only one helix.

Hand up for BRINDISI as a gimme (having sailed in and out of it). Most difficult spot in the grid for me was ANGLIA crossing SANI (having not sailed in or out of either).

Never heard of RONCO but got it quickly from the crosses. Ditto for ENID and ALTON.

Oddest looking entries: LIBBER and TENACE.

Seems to be a lot of LISPing lately in the grid.



Liked the clues for ACNED and WED

GHarris 11:18 AM  

Was undone by two letters. Didn't know Ronco so ended up with Frick which seems a more likely name than Crick. Also had sano for sani. Otherwise worked it out and enjoyed doing so.

BBA 11:19 AM  

The credit ought to go to Crick, Franklin, Watson, and Wilkins. Those lengths are lousy for a theme, though. Science is an iterative process, standing on the shoulders of giants and all that.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Bingo. The only one I missed was that GDP cross. Switched out GNP/DP multiple times before settling on GDP, only because it *looked* better...

Aslan Lyons 11:31 AM  

I would have got Brindisi if it had been clued as "opera toast".

Masked and Anonymous 11:35 AM  

yep. BANOS/BRINDISI/REALGDP area got pretty tense. Somehow, M&A guessed it all correctly.

Actually, this WedPuz had lots of "fresh" vocab, throughout. "Fresh" can be a kinda double-helix-edged sword, tho. "Fresh" stuff can consist of sev categories:

1. Cool stuff that U don't see in every other grid. Examples: PILSNERS. ARACHNID. STUBBY. ONTHEGOTOGO. NOTASOUL. MRCUB.
2. Weird stuff that U don't see in every other grid. Examples: REALGDP. BRINDISI. BANOS.
3. Obscure stuff. Examples: ALTON Brown. ENID Blyton. East ANGLIA. [BRINDISI barely escapes obscurity, by havin Apian Way terminus Usage Immunity.]
4. Desperados. Example: The poster child pick for this category = ACNED. har. Luv this lil puppy. Could be worse, afterall: BEACNED. REBEACNED. ISAYSOREBEACNED. etc. Other nice examples: MDLI. ACOP. SANI-ENDO (AONE ONES one of the two prefixes woulda been maybe ok). TENACE. LIBBER. ERO [fave weeject].

The theme was just fine by m&e. U kinda have double D-N-A's in there: one D in the square part and one D in the circle part, for instance. Not educated enough on genetics to know what the CRICK & WATSON helix cats discovered, exactly. M&A is easy to fool, but hard to bepewit.

Thanx, Mr. Collins. Always enjoyable to have a multiple genes-drop type puztheme!

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

This puzzle should have circled in dark 1,2,22,14,12,13,54 and 44 - to honor Rosalind (Franklin) the dark lady of DNA

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

I thought this puzzle seemed kinda easy?
But then again, I've been to Brendisi!

Masked and Anonymous 11:49 AM  

p.s.
REALGNP, not REALGDP. All the thoroughly-interestin Comment Gallery discussion got me even more confused than normal.

p.p.s.s
Oddly, my first grid entry was PLUTO. That Mickey Mouse clue just caught my eye, when I first looked pan-o-ramically at the whole page-o-puz.

M&Also

jberg 11:50 AM  

Gee, one learns so much here. What I learned today was that many people don't know about RONCO, maker of so many informercial-sold products. I don't even watch TV (well, now I do, but via commercial-free Roku), and I got it right off. That, plus getting CRICK quickly and so being able to fill in all 15 of the circled squares, made this one pretty easy.

I, too, wanted some reference to Rosalind Franklin -- could even have been in the clues. But here's the thing -- crosswords are based on everyday knowledge (or, in the language of 1066 AND ALL THAT, things that are "memorable"). (You know, like BRINDISI.) One will find many, many examples of clues that are actually incorrect, but that still point to the right answer. Get used to it, I'd say.

As many remarked, back in MMDLIX, we heard about GNP much more often than GDP. So no problem there.

@Evil Doug, I'd consider that an unfair advantage. You should add 30 seconds to your time as a handicap.

puzzle hoarder 12:01 PM  

I'm amazed to find BRINDISI is in the Geographical Names section of my Webster's. That alone would make it cross worthy. It was my one dnf as I am unfamiliar with it. I went with REALGAP at 52A so I really missed the boat on that one. While it's quite famous I've never really read much about the Appian Way. I know I've seen a clue similar to the one for 36D before and sure enough it was for OSTIA. It's at the mouth of the Tiber and is the actual port for Rome. These little tidbits are what keep the early week puzzles interesting.

Madeleine Sann 12:15 PM  

A BALL OF YARN is not a SKEIN! One needs to roll a skein, either manually or with a ball winder and swift, to MAKE a ball of yarn from a skein! Not the same at all or we knitters and spinners would have easy lives.

old timer 12:27 PM  

OFL is always angry when he does not know something. In this case, BRINDISI and REALGNP, The latter AI knew from a long ago Econ 1 class, ACNED is awful, though. at least in prose, I can imagine a poem with the phrase ACNED face. And yes, ROIS needed to be clued "18 Louis".

East ANGLIA is in my wheelhouse, though.

I am not a robot 12:30 PM  

@jberg, I don't entirely disagree with you, but this puzzle has a lot of factually incorrect information, and what is common knowledge is already so misunderstood or just incorrect. So, might have been better to leave this one off the table.

Michelle Turner 12:30 PM  

Ratibor! Und der fluss Mississippi. I performed that with my choir in school. What fun! Thanks for reminding me about it.

Michelle Turner 12:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 1:05 PM  

I fell into a small crossword-ese trap at 6A, putting in eEly there before DIVINE provided a way to grasp the slippery DEEP. Otherwise most of my problems were the usual. I avoided a DNF with a last minute change of GdP to GNP, liking BRINDISI better than BRIdDISI.

Although I got a CRICK in my neck, trying to make my HELIX a double, I liked this Peter Collins puzzle.

Unknown 1:22 PM  

Menotti wrote a one-act opera called The Death Of The Bishop of BRINDISI. The Bishop, dying, recalls the time that he blessed one of the Children's Crusades, knowing even as he did so that he was condemning thousands of children to a terrible fate (he was right; some of them died in a shipwreck; others taken to Persia and sold into slavery). "I blessed them to their doom", he sings, while a childrens' chorus shows what happened in flashback. Check it out on YouTube - it's seriously moving. So yeah. BRINDISI.

Glad to be headed to warm Cali soon - maybe I'll find a pickup game of TENACE with my ACNED son and his DAD.

Carol in VT
(Seriously tho' - who tf ever says DECEASE?)

Jon Roberts 1:26 PM  

Agreed. And anyone who travels by ship from Italy to Greece (including legions of backpackers in the 60s) knows Brindisi. Overall, the puzzle seemed obvious and predictable.

Anonymous 1:41 PM  

Watson &Crick did not Discover DNA. They deduced its structure from Rosalind Franklin's images.

Mohair Sam 1:48 PM  

@Evil Doug - Spent a year in the '60s living in a first floor flat in the Old Vicarage in Mildenhall. What a wonderful little town. Loved East Anglia.

Happy Pencil 2:07 PM  

Great bonus puzzle, @Z. Thanks for pointing it out! I had at least six little check marks -- my way of indicating clever clues -- in addition to the themers. I won't point them out here, in case others want to give it a go, but suffice it to say, it's definitely worth some time during your afternoon coffee break. If you missed Z's original post with the link, it's way back at the top of the comments at 12:19 a.m.

Do you do a lot of independent puzzles, Z? I generally only do the American Values Club, which I started subscribing to after Rex highlighted that great candy cane Christmas puzzle from a few (two?) years back.

Andrew Heinegg 2:29 PM  

Sometimes just reading through this blog can be a bit of a mini educational opportunity. Never heard of Rosalind Franklin but, I am not as science aware as I ought to be. Wikipedia has some interesting tidbits about her including some indicia that she did not get along with a number of her 'bosses' at the various labs she worked at. But, maybe the most interesting part was how Watson, when given the Nobel prize, suggested that Franklin and Wilkins should have been given the Nobel for Chemistry. Watson got it for physiology or medicine and it is noted the Nobel Committee does not give out awards posthumously.

As many others have noted, this was a weak effort from the normally reliable Mr. Collins. Everyone is entitled to an off day.

Great story, evil Doug; Guess it is one of those life travails where if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger, huh?

Crane Poole 2:29 PM  

OK, there's Louise Lasser, Louise Brooks, Louise Beavers, Tina Louise and Lake Louise. Will return when I identify 13 more.

Had Crick & Watson made their discovery in BRINDISI... now that would have demanded a huge 'Never mind' from our internal Emily Litellas. Such was not the case. Unhappy over this one. Let me count the ways.

Tita A 3:06 PM  

Hi @Michelle...
This platform doesn't handle replies in-line very well...
It doesn't always keep the reply under the associated comment.

So we just do it this way...

@Madeleine...I have a few skeins in my stash that are ball-shaped. They are usually the more expensive yarns made from cashmere/merino/silk hand-dyed by himalayan sherpas.

If there are multiple posts, you can say @Z @ 2:32pm.

Welcome.

mathgent 3:28 PM  

I saw Carmen McRae perform many times in San Francisco. She had her biggest success in the 80s but she still continued to come through in the 90s. She had an intriguing singing style. The Wikipedia article said that her phrasing was "behind the beat." I remember her as a classy performer singing classic jazz ballads with great meaning, as if she lived through all that sorrow. I just dug up her Decca CD issued in 1992. It has I'll Remember April, How Little We Know, Just One of Those Things.

evil doug 3:32 PM  

Mohair--great little village. We'd rotate our squadron there for two months and fly in support of NATO operations all over Europe. Sadly, I believe we've pulled out of a lot of those quaint English air bases....

evil doug 3:35 PM  

jberg,

"@Evil Doug, I'd consider that an unfair advantage. You should add 30 seconds to your time as a handicap."

Time? Hah. I'm in it for the relaxed pleasure....

Martín Abresch 3:59 PM  

I just got the clue for ROIS [18 Louises]. French kings, of course. I solved that one from the crosses and just assumed it had something to do with French currency. D'oh!

Mordechai Beizer 5:10 PM  

I too thought BRINDISI was a gimme. @Trudy Morgan-Cole, don't forget the "running of the backpackers" as everyone tries to get from the train station to the ferry terminal in the really short interval between the train's arrival and the ferry's departure.

Z 5:35 PM  

@Gill I. - It's hard to find Rex raving about anyone without the initials PB, but this counts I think. I went through quite a few Collins reviews, lots of panning of the fill, several themes Rex liked, a few that weren't his cuppa but weren't really panned. BTW @everyone - If you click on the constructor's name at the end of the blog your page will refresh to posts about that constructors previous puzzles.

@Happy Pencil - I do the NYTX everyday. I do the AVCX when it comes out. I subscribe to CrosSynergy and solve them in bunches when I have time (I can usually knock off a week's worth in relatively short order). One of my iPad apps automatically downloads the BEQ, Glutton for Pun, and a bunch of other ones. BEQ still takes me longer than most other puzzles most of the time, so I have to have some free time. If there is an unfinished puzzle in my app queue it will be a BEQ. The Freep also carries the LAT and Newsday puzzles, but I only do those if the byline is someone I know puts out good puzzles. I used to do the LAT everyday but I'm not Rex fast and there is only so much time in a day for puzzles. Still, I do 20 - 25 puzzles most weeks. As for Agard's gem today, I actually saw him mention that he posted it on Twitter last night. Given the length of time between the salacious elements breaking and the posting of the puzzle, one can only be amusedly amazed.

@Tita A - What you were traveling on shares a name with the Via Appia Antica* and some stretches, but is hardly the same road. The Romans were remarkable engineers, but they didn't build for automobile traffic. Roman history is fascinating, when the Colosseum was built the Via Appia was already older the U.S. is today. I certainly understand why Italians would want to harken back to the Roman glory.








*Before you go thinking I'm some sort of dabbler in Roman history, I remember some but really very little but like to google stuff before I go spouting off about being uncrossworthy. BTW - BRINDISI is still uncrossworthy IMHO.

Jofried 6:11 PM  

Better than the puzzle was reading here all about BRINDISI, which I've absolutely never heard of...though I liked the puzzle because I love all science themes. I too was sad about Rosalind Franklin. I now teach Chemistry but when I taught Biology I always told my students about her.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

Brindisi was a gimme for anyone who is well travelled beyond the USA. So its time to donate to Rex. Then maybe he can travel to Brindisi, a wonderful destination.

Paul 6:59 PM  

I don't love the way the theme played out, but I'm looking forward to showing the puzzle to my science teacher friend. We have precious little in common in our areas of expertise (English...Science). ACNED is just icky, as a condition and as crossword fill.

Exubesq 7:36 PM  

I was one of those! - in 1980, but still.

Exubesq 7:45 PM  

Consider yourself showered with praise for that one.

phil phil 8:16 PM  

Had REALGaP ya know trade gap maybe.
Anyway i got it fixed when my wife knew and actually rode the ferry from Brindisi to Corfu back in her youth.

Tita A 8:30 PM  

@Z - so if they repair some potholes on I95, or repave Rte. 7, do those become different roads?

Sure - the parts of the road that are now highways are unrecognizable as their origins, but as a road engineer will tell you, the surveying, grading, etc. are all part of what make it a road.

And some pieces of it are, in fact, as intact as can be confirmed. Those parts are no longer open to traffic.

Also, in Mérida*, Spain, I drove over the Puente Romano. In a car. 60 arches over the Guadiana River. Begun in 25 BC, it was pedestrianized in 1991.
Have some of the stones been replaced? I hope so.

Thanks for the excuse to look up more about the stunning city of Mérida.

And above all, thanks for all the great backpacking across Europe nostalgia! Back when people could write books called Italy on $5 a Day.








*Ditto on your asterisk. Even though I took a minor in The Classics. And as I admitted before, BRINDISI was not even in a remote cobwebbed recess. So I agree with your argument against crossworthiness.

Happy Pencil 9:31 PM  

@Z: A p-erfect p-uzzle for a p-erfect day. Thanks again!

Howard B 9:40 PM  

People, BRINDISI appears to be a bit polarizing in that many feel it is obvious and should be known by anyone with an 'education'.
For myself, I'm reasonably educated; not extensively traveled but I have done some travel and a litte hosteling in Europe (and at least read plenty of travel guides elsewhere). I have a fair vocabulary although my world history is weak.
Now that said, I recognize the significance of this town, but I had never, ever heard of it. I removed the crossing through educated guessing.
So I can see where many would know this, but I offer the possibility that a somewhat reasonable person and experienced solver would not know this.
Therefore, I believe it's rather suboptimal fill here.

Finally, I always enjoy learning in a puzzle. So its inclusion adds to our knowledge, which can't be a bad thing.

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

RIP Buzzfeed

jedlevine 9:52 PM  

People, can we PLEASE not use this site for political commentary and keep it about puzzles? Isn't there enough of that stuff out there? Don't need it here as well. And I think it is particularly cowardly to do it anonymously.

Anonymous 10:11 PM  

The Dems should give it up on Jeff Sessions. Vote him in in 98-02. That way when they oppose we Tillerson and Mnuchin they will have more credibility. McConnell's going to go nuclear anyway there will be no filibuster. I think Mnuchin should be the target- Goldman Sachs, Indy bank. He's dirty. Forget about Pruitt they won't lay a globe on him.

Anonymous 10:15 PM  

a globe nor a glove, probably, for those who would mock typos

Anonymous 10:26 PM  

good riddance Buzzfeed

Fountains of Golden Fluids 11:04 PM  

Strong Ancient Rome flavor to today's puzzle.

Carter Revard 11:30 PM  

Aw c'mon, Rex, stop going from cranky to crankier. And since my wife and I had many exciting times in Brindisi, on the way to or back from Greece (the ferry to/from Corfu), it's a shock to hear that you are such an ignoramus as not to know the town (especially with its ties to opera and music). She also enjoyed scholarly conferences and gatherings there. You should get out of Binghamton and into Italy now and then, as we two academics managed to do--might put some sprezzatura into your commentaries, which nonetheless have for a long time been most enjoyable readings whenever a puzzle has been tough.

I first got interested in crosswords while at Oxford 1952-54, when I used to slip over from Merton College to the Sunday snogs with women at St. Hilda's, where they judged their suitors by how fast they could do the Sunday Times puzzles. I still recall one clue from them days that I managed to solve before a competitor from Balliol could get it: "smash a pal's hat up and leave it on the road," the answer of course being ASPHALT.

johnnymcguirk 11:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katherine H 6:44 AM  

@Cartwright, erm, Carter

There's no such word as 'vard'. 'Revard' even less so.

Nice one with ASPHALT, though, and I've always loved the name Balliol. Almost as much as the name Dame Honor B. Fell, she who headed up Strangeways when Rosalind Franklin was at King's College.

emchen 12:35 PM  

i came here to express my annoyance at rosalind franklin (anyone ever see the play "photograph 51"? i liked it quite a bit) not being in the puzzle, and i'm very glad to see i wasn't the only one.

Carter Revard 9:27 PM  

Katherin H--You must go to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, so you can be spitballed by dozens of Revards for your outrageous denial of their existence: I was born there in that Osage Agency town and graduated from a one-room school on the Reservation east of Pawhuska. --As for Bloody Balliol, my wife and I were taken along to lunch there one day by Christopher Hill, then Master of Balliol--I think this was in the late 1970s, but memory hazes. We had faithfully attended his lectures on Milton, and he admired very much her scholarly essays, books, and editions. He had (being a very
democratic fellow, reputedly a "card-carrying Communist" according to another Oxonian friend of ours, Daphne, whose husband was a Classics tutor at Merton College, "reformed" their dining arrangements so that dons and students shared a cafeteria arrangement; don't know whether later Masters have since relegated students to their low tables and elevated dons to a High Table again.

Anonymous 11:25 PM  

Poor Maurice Wilkins, author of The Third Man of the Double Helix. Frequently overlooked despite sharing 1962 the Nobel Prize with Watson and Crick, except in the crystallography community. (I did a post-doc with one of his former graduate students at Princeton in the 1970s.)

Unknown 7:21 PM  

No one is going to read this comment because I'm two days late, but I couldn't finish this %&^*'ing Wednesday puzzle online - I tried both BRIDDISI and BRINDISI, but neither stopped the clock, because I had ad-LIBBED crossing ranch-EDO. Yes, ranchero is more common than ranchedo, but I am sure I have used ad-libbed many times, and never once used ad-libber conversationally or otherwise. And there are at least two American cities named Ranchedo, which is less esoteric than Brindisi for a puzzle in an American newspaper, IMO. I agree with Rex's rant 100%. *$*%&'ing *$(*%.

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

The clue for 45-down should have read "Like the fill in this puzzle." I mean, I had the whole enchilada of a "theme" I'm the first minute. One look at the circled structure and a 5-letter discoverer starting with C? Done. This gives me four downs plus a bunch of D's, N's and A's in the middle. From here should be a piece of cake.

Aiee! But the clues! "Lead-in to boy OR GIRL" (emphasis mine)??????? TOMgirl??????????????????????????????? No. Can't be. 100% rejected. Resubmit, leaving out those last two clue words. There is no such thing. And, well, as long as you're resubmitting...oh, where to start? AIRDATE is a date. "Broadcast time"--note the word "time"--is NOT a DATE. It is a time of day WITHIN that DATE. Ya folla? Then there's all the initialese, all the foreignese, and all the commercialese. Here's a new product: SANI-GLO. Makes you want to go right out and buy it, no?

This is a hyperextension of yesterday's problem. FAR too ambitious a theme, paid for by some absolutely ungodly fill. This does not work. What's the matter, Will, have you run out of pink slips? Send this garbage back for a redo! What should have been easy-peasy wound up on the other side of medium. This grid should have experienced DECEASE(?). W and C's Nobel-winning achievement save it to a DOUBLE-bogey, avoiding "other."

Burma Shave 11:31 AM  

DRONE DAD GOTIT, BTW

NOTASOUL so DIVINE usually AGREESTO get NACHT up (in trouble),
so if ONES IDOL ENABLES you, you’re ONTHEGO on the DOUBLE.
ISAYSO let my IDEA be seen
TOGO AFEW with the queen,
at the BRUTAL END toss me in the CRICK, or DEEP into the rubble.

--- ALTON “STUBBY” MCRAE

BS2 11:39 AM  

Sometimes those ODD answers aren't so good for verse either.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

Pick,pick,pick. This was a lot of fun to solve, and a rewarding challenge. The most commented on clues/fill were easily solved by working on the surrounding words. More like this, please.

Diana,LIW 12:36 PM  

Enjoyment and frustration. Parallel universes in this puzzle.

Kept checking to see if it really was a P Collins.

ACNED? I mean, I get it, but did anyone ever say that? And, yes, I had a dnf at the Natick GNP. I've been to Italy, but not the BRINDISI area, so...

My grandmother had a Millet print that was along the GLEANERS line, and when I saw the painting it had a familiar ring.

Liked it more than many, but also agree with (in a toned down way) @Spacey's nits re TOMgirl and DATE not being "time." SANI-GLO - har!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

RONdO 12:41 PM  

I dunno. I didn’t have much trouble with BRINDISI, and being a port at the end of the Via Appia it seems to be much more historic than Duluth, MN which is a port at one end of the St. Lawrence Seaway. BRINDISI and Duluth have almost the exact same population, yet there would probably be no complaints re: Duluth as an answer since it is in the U.S. BRINDISI also has a nicer climate. I might need TOGO there.

I suppose that since the ERA the clue/answer can’t be women’s LIBBER, which must be the more common use. Clue it as a 60s/70s thing. No worse than the spate of Trump clues of late. But I don’t want to get into all that stuff too DEEP.

I guess Carmen MCRAE can be the yeah baby today. Never heard of ENID Blyton. ENID, Oklahoma and Hal MCRAE are more familiar to me.

One letter away from RONdO, but then we would have another foreign word with the Swedish DRICK, the imperative form of drink. Speaking of which, it seems like time for AFEW PILSNERS.

Teedmn 1:03 PM  

Har, @Diana, if it's never used, is it the opposite of hACNED?

leftcoastTAM 1:54 PM  

DNA, its structure and discoverers made this easy. BRINDISI could have been a problem but crosses exposed it.

ONE'S place? SANI? GLEANER? ENID Blyton? RONCO? Okay, helped by crosses again.

Nice theme and all, but could have had a bit more crunch.

rain forest 2:19 PM  

There was some fill I just knew that @Rex would go off on, and of course, only a single "helix" (although the reference to the double is there), but I wouldn't have predicted such a vehement objection to BRINDISI, which I think is an important port as well as a terminus of the Appian Way.

Of course WATSON and CRICK didn't discover DNA-they put together its structure from chemical principles and a facility with molecular models, following a suggestion of a helical formation by Linus Pauling.

All this to say that even with ACNED (hey, isn't "pimpled" a word?) this wasn't such a bad effort, even if it seemed that Mr. Collins kind of dashed this off. I had fun solving it, *and* it has the EXPOS in there, a team I still miss up here.

rondo 5:37 PM  

@lefty - re: ONES, I think @kitshef above explained it the way I thought of it. As in grade school math, to the left of the decimal there is the ONES place, the tens place, the hundreds place, etc.
Anyway, that's what I thought it referred to. Not a great clue.

Diana,LIW 6:12 PM  

@Teed - I like that hACNED phrase.

Speaking of which, @Rondo and @Lefty - I thought it referred to "knowing ONE"S place." Altho the mathematical argument holds weight as well.

Lady Di

leftcoastTAM 9:22 PM  

@rondo--Yeah, that makes sense.

leftcoastTAM 9:47 PM  

@Lady Di, yes, your interpretation was what I was thinking at first.

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