Uber-owned company that makes self-driving trucks / SUN 1-15-17 / Nickname for gilded age businessman with penchant for jewelry / Also-ran for golden apple in myth / Fashion guru Tim / Signal meaning no disease on this ship

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Easyish

THEME: "Grammar Lesson" — phrases related to grammar that are reclued super-wackily ("?"-style)

Theme answers:
  • FUTURE PERFECT (24A: Utopia?)
  • INDEFINITE ARTICLE (31A: Piece still under consideration for a magazine?)
  • PASSIVE VOICE (50A: "Village" newspaper that's namby-pamby?)
  • RELATIVE CLAUSES (66A: Santa's nieces and nephews?)
  • PRESENT TENSE (89A: Like shoppers worrying about getting the right gift?)
  • SENTENCE STRUCTURE (103A: Jailhouse?)
  • OBJECTIVE CASE (113A: The Prada that one really wants?)
Word of the Day: FIG WASP (43D: Insect that spends its larval stage inside a fruit) —
Fig wasps are wasps of the superfamily Chalcidoidea which spend their larval stage inside figs. Most are pollinators but others are herbivores. The non-pollinators belong to several groups within the superfamily Chalcidoidea, while the pollinators are in the family Agaonidae. While pollinating fig wasps are gall-makers, the remaining types either make their own galls or usurp the galls of other fig wasps; reports of them being parasitoids are considered dubious. (wikipedia)
• • •

THANK-YOU MESSAGE for the week ending January 22, 2017

Hello, syndicated solvers. Welcome to the present (briefly). Just wanted to thank everyone who made a financial contribution to the blog this week. The messages (both e- and snail-) of support, and the various solving war stories, have been entertaining and occasionally inspirational. I never have a very clear of who my audience is, where they live, etc., so it's thrilling (and somewhat educational) to have that audience suddenly become visible. Material. Actual. Real. Thank-you cards are forthcoming for those of you who sent me snail mail (and emails for everyone else). You are, of course, free to contribute at any time during the year. The mailing address...

Rex Parker
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905

And the Paypal button...

... live full-time in the sidebar of the blog. But this is the last direct pitch you'll hear from me for 51 weeks. It's been a lovely week. Thank you thank you thank you.


I like grammar. This puzzle, though, was something less than enjoyable. I solved it around my dinner table with my wife and visiting friends Lena and Brayden, and there was much gnashing of teeth (and swearing) and very few happy sounds and pleased comments. The theme type is very old (take a bunch of terms from any field, reclue them as if they are not from that field), but done well, common theme types can still be wonderful. But this one ... two answers basically ruin this theme. The first is SENTENCE STRUCTURE, which is a total outlier. The other theme answers are distinct, specific grammatical terms, but SENTENCE STRUCTURE is just a very vague, general concept. You can point to all the others. You can't point to SENTENCE STRUCTURE. It's loose. It's a category, and a big one. It can *contain* the other themers (e.g. RELATIVE CLAUSES are part of SENTENCE STRUCTURE). It just doesn't belong. The bigger problem, however, is the clue on OBJECTIVE CASE. First, the connection between Prada and "case" is so loose as to be laughable. If I asked you to name the top ten things you associate with Prada, first, you wouldn't get to ten, but second, however far you got, "case" would not be on the list. If you search [Prada case] you come up with random things like iPhone cases and sunglass cases (not iconically Prada). You also come up with "Prada gender discrimination case." Prada is a terrible, completely inapt point of reference for "case." Further, ironically, I can't make the answer make grammatical sense. Is "objective" an adjective or noun here? Even for fun and hoots and question-markical glee, it doesn't work. The case is your objective, fine, but OBJECTIVE CASE makes zero sense. No sense, on no level.

77-Down is disgusting, and continues the trend of the editor (and constructor, I assume, since they work together) gratuitously shoving neo-Nazis and neo-Nazi sympathizers into the puzzle at every opportunity. Oh, and this puzzle has an actual Nazi too, for good measure. There are any number (i.e. innumerable) ways to clue VON, you know? It's not like you had to clue WERNHER, in which case you'd pretty much have to use this Braun guy. It's all just so gross. TACKY, even. I really don't know what he thinks he's doing. But then I don't get how anyone can justify CSIS. "Oh, I watch many CSIS!" someone somewhere apparently says. Ridiculous.

  • 102A: Specimen, for example: Abbr. (SYN.) — "Specimen" is a SYN(onym) of "example"; tricky.
  • 43D: Insect that spends its larval stage inside a fruit (FIG WASP) — both Lena and Penelope (my wife) knew what this was. I read the clue and both said "wasp!" I said "... something WASP" and both said "FIG!" I didn't know there were wasp types. 
  • 6D: Toddler garment (ONESIE) — I wondered aloud if toddlers wear ONESIEs. Apparently some do. I associate the garment with babies. Newborns. Neonates.
  • 84A: Also-ran for the golden apple, in myth (HERA) — my first thought was HARE (as in "the tortoise and the"), so I was ... close.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ken Wurman 12:16 AM  

Did this by flashlight (power outage here). One of the easiest in recent memory. Grade B+

Moly Shu 12:21 AM  

God bless ANNCOULTER and her putting OFL in a tizzy. I follow 2 people on twitter, @RexParker and @TheIronSheik. Hard to say which one is more entertaining. As for the puzzle, I don't think I liked it. Of course, I don't know no grammar, so.....

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

geez, imagine if this puzzle had a communist in it. Rex would have had a stroke.

Anonymous 12:53 AM  

NRA SMART IFWE BUY GUNN. What kind of subliminal stuff is going on here?

jae 1:05 AM  

Mostly easy for me too. Liked it more than @Rex did.

Carola 1:10 AM  

Grammar was my bread and butter (along with the ice cream and cake of literature) in my thirty-some years of teaching, so I was eager to see what Joel Fagliano was up to. I liked the range of his grammar lesson, through tense, voice, case, parts of speech, and elements of STRUCTURE. I though FUTURE PERFECT got things off to a strong start and that RELATIVE CLAUSES was delightfully inspired. SENTENCE STRUCTURE didn't strike me as an outlier, as it belongs to a grammar lesson as much as any of the rest. I agree with @Rex, though, about OBJECTIVE CASE: I had as much trouble trying to wrap my head around that one as my students had with the German subjunctive.

Liked: SEA SALT atop OMELETS. Do-overs: ETHos, suEde jacket.

Gunsel 1:21 AM  

Aww, Werner VON Braun wasn't really that bad, was he? I dunno. I thought that's how we beat the Russians to the moon: Our Germans were better than their Germans.

I'm convinced that ANNCOULTER is a drag queen who performs a very committed cabaret act on cable "news" shows. In fact, the ANNCOULTER character might work even better as a puppet act, just like Waylon and Madame. I'm still not sure who plays ANNCOULTER but I'm going to pitch this idea to him.

My favorite Communist is Dashiell Hammett. Not just an iconic and bestselling author, he was blacklisted yet still got buried in Arlington Cemetery. THAT'S GOOD HUSTLE

Gunsel 1:23 AM  

Oh yeah I forgot: this puzzle sas easy. 12 minutes.

Trombone Tom 1:37 AM  

What @Rex said, sans political overtones. I agree with @Carola that SENTENCE STRUCTURE is not that much of a grammar lesson outlier.

This seemed to be a workmanlike creation; well put together, but not too exciting. I plodded my way through while the Texans initially stymied the Pats and then fell apart in the face of a relentless offense.

It is refreshing to see some focus on grammar when, to judge by many internet comments and posts, it is becoming (has become?) a lost art.

Given the major flu epidemic spreading through Northern California we won't be raising a YELLOW FLAG anytime soon.

puzzle hoarder 1:47 AM  

The fill was so easy I didn't have to read the clue for OBJECTIVECASE. So many letters were in place I just had to fill in the missing ones. Still this was the usual hour of steady solving.

Larry Gilstrap 1:56 AM  

I actually used the theme to solve this Sunday effort. That is a rare event. I had no problem with SENTENCE STRUCTURE as a themer, I know grammar. I always thought of a panegyric as a rant, like OFL on Twitter. He is an angel on this blog. But, EULOGY? I hope my eulogists rant, and rant and...

Remember when there was such a thing as IN BAD TASTE? Exhibit A: A brunette, a red head, and a blond walk into a bar...

Can't quite make the connection between packing and feeling secure. I guess folks feel threatened by their neighborhoods. Is that a real concern for many people? Apparently.

I have a good friend who has worked on one of the CSIS for years. He has an Emmy. Cool statue.

Dr. Bunger 2:19 AM  

Melville's voice is Ishmael's. Reading and studying Moby-Dick is all about connecting with the narrator. Chapter 35, The Mast Head, is a confession by Ishmael standing watch at the top of the mast while, "the tranced ship indolently rolls; the drowsy trade winds blow; everything resolves you into languor." Ahab would not approve.

Unknown 2:22 AM  

All of these comparisons to nazis should offend everyone. It diminishes what the nazis actually did.

Anonymous 2:27 AM  

Did anybody else solve at the NYT website and have their solve time doubled? This is the second time in the past few weeks for me.

Anonymous 4:30 AM  

@Ted Stamos - Amen.

'merican in Paris 4:51 AM  

Mrs. 'mericans is in America, so I had to solve this one myself. Agree with the easy rating, and for the most part liked the fill. I agree with @Rex, however, that puzzle TEETERS towards the right. NRA may have been forced by other fill (many in my family have been avid hunters, but I hate the term "packing heat"), but ANN COULTER was intentional. By the way, would an acceptable contraction for female supporters of our president-elect be FRUMPS?

I liked the answer CIDER, as a respite from all the IPHONE, IMAC, and IPAD answers to clues involving Apple. I own several Apple devices myself, but I prefer crossword puzzles to avoid brand names as much as possible. In that spirit, I would have clued 64A differently (e.g., "Carnival city, for short"), not the name of some car model.

As for FIG WASPS, the New Yorker ran a fascinating article on them last August. I knew that wasps specialized, but I had no idea that they specialized so much, and that FIGs depended on them so. Avoid the article if you are squeamish about what you eat.

OH YEAH, I agree with @Rex regarding OBJECTIVE CASE. I was hoping that somebody could explain what it meant, but I see now that it seems to be made up.

One thing @Rex can never be accused of, is writing in a PASSIVE VOICE. He has his opinions, and they always get a discussion going.

Since when did UFOS disappear from the tabloids? If they have, then I'm sure we can blame the TECHS in the FAA and the NSA for effectively suppressing news on that front. No doubt there are thousands of photos of spaceships CONFINEd IN BOXES at some secret storage site. Somebody just needs to find a smoking MEMO to blow open this conspiracy.

OH YEAH, and who let the MUSLINs into this puzzle?!!

Unknown 5:07 AM  

With apologies to sluts the world over for shaming you with this comparison, 77-Down is nothing but a common fame whore. You cannot reason with her. You cannot appeal to ethical or moral principles. Insulting her only provides controversy which gives her with the attention that she craves. When it comes to her, I try to follow the advise of Lisa Simpson and Paul Anka from the Halloween episode where advertisements come to life and wreck the town: "Just don't look, just don't look." Finding 77-Down in the crossword today was like finding a rat tail in my soup. Ruined the puzzle completely.

Lewis 5:49 AM  

On Wordplay, here's what Joel has to say re 77D: "As for the fill, the one thing that gave me pause was the inclusion of ANN COULTER as an answer. In light of the recent controversies over Eric Trump and Betsy DeVos references in The Times crossword, I worried that some solvers would be upset by this clue/answer. On the one hand, I strongly disagree with just about everything she’s ever written or said, and giving her book free press in the crossword brings me little joy. On the other hand, she’s undeniably an interesting and fresh crossword answer — she’s well-known by most Americans, and her full name has never appeared. Overall, my general feeling is that the crosswords should reflect modern life, positive and negative. Prominent supporters of the new administration are just as puzzle-worthy as prominent critics. That being said, I’ll try not go out of my way to include politically charged fill like this, knowing how it makes some people feel."

As for the puzzle, Wow! What a lovely experience, solving this puzzle. It never felt like a slog. It had smart theme clues (like "Jailhouse?" for SENTENCE_STRUCTURE), and there were many clever non-theme clues, like "Ghost story?" for ATTIC. I had to work hard, but not slave -- felt just right for a Sunday puzzle. I wouldn't want to change this puzzle in any way, so to avoid any dangling modifiers.

Anonymous 6:05 AM  

Ah, the lazy lib throwing around the N word. Mike Sharp must be a barrel of laughs around the dinner table. Not a fan of Ann Coulter, but I don't wet my pants and throw a tantrum either. Is this the level of discourse we have to endure the next four years? If you don't agree with me, you're a, well you know.

David 6:14 AM  

According to the app, this may be my new Sunday record, so I will agree with "easy."

Didn't mind SENTENCE STRUCTURE, as it is definitely still a concept, and the level of specificity didn't jump out at me---maybe I think immediately of sentence diagrams, so have a clear "thing" in mind? For OBJECTIVE CASE, it seems like "Hope chest" would have been a perfectly direct clue while still definitely preserving wackiness.

Loren Muse Smith 6:40 AM  

Lewis – hah! I went there too, but my thought was in bad taste. So let me get my private little Elephant in the Room off my chest- dangling modifiers. There. Whew. Alrighty then.

Be still my beating heart! I loved this. I agree with @Carola, Trombone Tome, Larry Gilstrap et al – no prob whatsoever with SENTENCE STRUCTURE. I do agree with Rex that OBJECTIVE CASE is the weakest. “Possessive case” might have been easier to clue, but what with pesky symmetry and all…

I liked the clue for SEX SCENE. The first time I brought my (future) husband home to Lilburn to meet the family, we all decided to watch Raging Bull together. Oops. Awk. Ward.

“That deep, blue, bottomless soul” – Cameron Indoor Stadium. February 9th. Go Heels.

I don’t really eat flowers, so the clue for AZALEA brought me up short. May well have been, “common centipede that’s poisonous to eat.”

@jberg from yesterday. SLINGER has no “g” sound, but “finger” does.


That symbol after the “ɪ” - the one that looks like an “n” with a dangling modifier – is a velar nasal, so the sound is articulated in the back of the throat, but it’s not a full stop like a “g” sound. I like @Slow Motion’s thoughts on the “g” sound’s presence.

@Tita from yesterday – loved, loved, loved your parrot story.

@connie from yesterday. Thanks for that anagram. It’s remarkable. And here I was happy with dormitory/dirty room. Hah.

Joel – excellent Sunday fare today. I had a lot of fun with this puzzle.

evil doug 7:09 AM  

No, Michael--Just as I refused to send money to the troubling president-elect, I won't be sending you a check, either.

You seek an America that's your personal echo chamber, where you refuse to expose yourself to honest debate with anyone or anything that contradicts your well-cemented opinions. Like the vast majority of college professors who enjoy power over their young charges, you're able to preach the gospel of progressive politics and political correctness run amok without fear of contrarian counterpunches. I could no sooner contribute to you than you could send money to the RNC or NRA. And, besides, I doubt you could bring yourself to accept my donation, tainted free-speech capital that it represents.

Yes, we all hate Naziism. But you dilute the cause by recklessly throwing the term around whenever it serves to terminate legitimate debate with those you disagree with. Ann Coulter, for crying out loud?

So I'll continue to freeload here, because I appreciate the *crossword* element of your opinions, and enjoy engaging with your lively audience through my own posts--at least, the ones you don't censor....

A donation in your honor has been given to my church, which will use the money to dig wells in Africa.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

If you're confused why your Binghamton grad is living in your basement, there's a fair probability you've donated to this site.

Glimmerglass 7:18 AM  

As a progressive Democrat, I too am more than annoyed by what ANN COULTER says and writes (not that I've read very much of what she has written). Kellyanne Conway promises to piss me off even more. However, as a puzzle solver, I find ridculous @Rex's slap the inclusion of her name in a NYT puzzle. No one objects to IDI AMIN or NERO as proper names. I expect to see Kellyanne soon, and I won't suspect Will Shortz of endorsing or attacking Trump. Shortz's politics are irrelevant.

chefbea 7:42 AM  

Liked the puzzle...like grammar...remember diagraming sentences way way back. We watch all the CSIS

Surprised Joel Fagliano didn't have Kelsey Grammar in the puzzle!!!

Dorothy Biggs 8:14 AM  

I loved how the puzzle included SLOG which has become synonymous with the Sunday puzzle for me. Just. Too. Long. I got to about 75% done and thought I was done. I was not.

Biggest hangup for me was the Washington DC area of the puzzle (no surprise there), with the IFWE/GUNN/PAWNEE crossing. I grew up in a state where PAWNEE is a county and a town. But somehow it didn't register that the PAWNEE was a tribe who fought with the Cheyenne. It might've help if I had learned how to spell AZALiA. I'm no American first peoples expert, but I was pretty sure there were no tribes that ended with an EI. Anyway, it was a mess. I finally relented and googled the poem and once I got IFWE, it all made sense. I guess that's a natick of sorts.

ISIAH...Looking at it in isolation like this, I didn't realize he spelled it that way. The biblical one is ISAIAH. ISIAH looks misspelled and if I didn't know it was pronounced the same way as the prophet, I would try to pronounce it differently.

Speaking of, 69D's clue for ATHEISTS was really bad. Just terrible.

The plural: CSIS, if you were talking about how CBS really overdid it by creating so many CSIS, then the plural makes sense...mostly because it's true. They created too many CSIS.

And I must be completely wrong with my idea of what "percolate" means. I would have guessed bubbly, or something more akin to a percolator. If I let some idea "percolate" it's bubbling around in my head. SEEP??

And finally, I find it hilarious that so many of you want politics kept out of the puzzle and comments section, and yes, even though Rex mentioned it in his blog, you waste no time in talking about politics. I don't begrudge anyone from talking about politics if it is relevant to the discussion here, I've done it myself (heh). But don't tell me or anyone else (including Rex) to stop talking about it, and then YOU do it. I believe that's called hypocrisy.

@evil doug: Funny also how you choose to go on record to say you aren't giving any money to Rex. This is apropos how? And we care why? What a sorry sort you are. Why are you so unhappy?

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

Gotta give Ann Coulter props for her bravery. She got just gratuitously ripped in that comedy roast that wasn't even about her. Then she went on Bill Maher and got bullied and laughed at by the panel and sycophantic audience when she predicted Trump would be nominee. She who laughs last . . .
No Profile in Courage for Michael Sharp or NCA Prez.

Dorothy Biggs 8:38 AM  

@Anon 8:19AM: Are you calling me a coward? hahaha...nice one from someone who posts anonymously. If you would like to speak like an adult, feel free to email me. We can have a conversation. But don't call me a coward without providing an opportunity to respond to you personally. That too is hypocrisy.

Email me, friend. Instead of posting here anonymously, why not try to be as brave as you purport AC to be?

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Thank you Will for not listening to the crybullies who would prefer the NYT crossword be a safe space from all things Trump. it's kind of funny to watch the meltdowns but they're getting old.

da kine 8:42 AM  

I LOL whenever I see something even slightly conservative as an answer or clue since I know it will give Rex agita. If the inclusion of "Ann Coulter" in a crossword has you looking for the fainting couch then you have serious issues. Same thing with "NRA".

Jofried 8:45 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle for the most part, though I was annoyed by CSIS. I finished in a little over 20 minutes, which is fast for me on a Sunday. And I just gladly donated to the blog. I sent in a little extra on your behalf, @evil doug. It's kind of like donating to Planned Parenthood on behalf of Mike Pence, right? I'm only sorry I forgot to put your tag line in the memo of my donation. Alas.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

I'm with Theodore Stamos. The Nazis killed six million Jews. Your comparisons are offensive.

Lobster11 8:53 AM  

I'm generally in favor of some version of the "Breakfast Table Rule." For example, I hope never to come across, say, "oozing pus" or "projectile vomiting" in a crossword puzzle, and I trust that virtually everyone would agree. And I personally find ann coulter (sorry, I can't bring myself to type it in caps) as repugnant as does anybody. But come on: If we extend the BTR so far as to exclude the names of any people who some solvers find objectionable, constructors are gonna have an awfully small pool of names to draw upon.

GILL I. 8:55 AM  

Uh oh..."In FRUMP We Trust." Wasn't the Chinese philosopher's name Mo TZu?
I rather enjoyed this puzzle but agree with @Rex about the confusing OBJECTIVE CASE... I only know about her shoes because of Streep in her role as the Devil Wears Prada. I always look at OMELETS and wonder where the other T is....Agree with the weird clue for ATHEISTS but loved the clue for PSYCHS.
@Loren..Hah! Your Raging Bull made me laugh. With my family and a bunch of friends, we sat down to watch "Last Tango in Paris" and my younger sister wanted to know (in a very loud voice) what was Brando doing with the butter...
@chefbea...Maybe because Kelsey spells his name GRAMMeR?
It's been very cold this winter in Sacramento and yet my AZALEAs are in full bloom. I guess they hate the heat as much as I do.
When your through with @Rex, donate to the SPCA...

seanm 8:55 AM  

i mostly enjoyed the puzzle, but partly that was because it was easy which was a nice change from the sometimes slog of sunday puzzles.

i really don't see how so many people are getting upset about coulters inclusion. she is a horrible horrible woman, that there can be no doubt (this from a moderate conservative). but to have the sight of her name be upsetting to you is just too much, and reinforces bad stereotypes for the few trumpkins that might actually come across it here. as an aside, i seriously can't believe there are trumpkins that read this blog. maybe they are russian trolls who really like puzzles? or maybe it just has to do with how old puzzle solving usually skews, and most of the trumpkins who know how to read are retired.

TOR, IFWE and GUNN were all woes for me but each very gettable from the crosses. only the second time it's ever taken me less than 30 minutes to finish a sunday

evil doug 9:01 AM  

"And I just gladly donated to the blog. I sent in a little extra on your behalf, @evil doug."

That's great, Jofried. I think it's fine for Michael to seek donations, and for you and others to offer them. You're welcome to do it in my name, and keep doing it til it hurts! And if the happy day comes when Rex eschews the gratuitous and hyperbolic political malarkey, I'd be proud to do the same.

zaustrich 9:11 AM  

OK. I admit to being thick. Will someone explain 5 down to me. thanks.

Teedmn 9:22 AM  

Hah, when I saw @Nancy's note in yesterday's comments regarding today's puzzle, I was certain it would contain rebuses so I was surprised to find none in the grid. But I share her liking of this puzzle; it's well conceived and executed.

I started "offside" at 1A and it took a long time to work out of that since SFO was still good and "diaper" worked as a toddler garment (though I thought to myself, hmphf, it's usually a ONESIE). I erased all that when FAA confirmed SCI FI.

I see we're having SEA SALT-seasoned OMELETS for brunch and our channels are filled with a SLURRY of SILT.

Actually, SLURRY reminds me of working at the Del Monte corn packing plant for one summer, as a "mixer". We were making cream-style corn (which I do not eat, trust me) and one of the handles I had to pull to add into the mixing tank was for the SLURRY mix. This sounded intriguing to me so I had to taste it. Yuck, salty, nasty. I'm sure it had the thickening agents and the salt and preservatives needed to make the corn "cream" style - a euphemism if I've ever heard one.

I enjoyed seeing my "linen" jacket at 59A turn into TWEED while I got my LINSEED OIL down at the bottom of the grid. And "dowdies" at 71D weren't "apple pan" but FRUMPS. My favorite themer was the RELATIVE CLAUSES.

Nice Sunday, Joel, and thanks to @r.alphbunker for the randomized solve.

Vincent Lima 9:26 AM  

Correcting someone's poor grammar gets you the label "grammar nazi," so maybe that's what inspired the Shortz/Fagliano team to include a Nazi sympathizer in this "Grammar Lesson" puzzle?

@zaustrich from Wikipedia:
The Number of the Beast (Greek: Ἀριθμὸς τοῦ θηρίου, Arithmos tou Thēriou) is a term in the Book of Revelation, of the New Testament, that is associated with the Beast of Revelation in chapter 13. In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the beast is 666.

Z 9:27 AM  

"I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo." Ann Coulter writing in her column on 21/12/05

"When we were fighting communism, OK, they had mass murderers and gulags, but they were white men and they were sane. Now we´re up against absolutely insane savages." Ann Coulter comparing the cold war to the war on terror 16/08/04

"I think [women] should be armed but should not vote...women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it...it´s always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care." Ann Coulter talking on the show Politically Incorrect 26/02/01

"The Great Satan is wearying of this reverse hegemony, in which little pipsqueak nations try to impose their pipsqueak values on us. Aren’t we the ones who should be arrogantly oppressing countries that unaccountably do not have the death penalty?" (sorry - "rightwingnews doesn't source it's quoutes)

"Back in the prelapsarian fifties, women worked if they happened to fall into the .01 percent of the population who are able to have interesting jobs or they retired in their twenties to raise children and, incidentally, do what all serious people would like to do anyway — be a dilettante in many subjects. As far as I’m concerned this was a division of labor nothing short of perfect. Men worked and women didn’t. So when our benefactors come under attack as “patriarchs” and “oppressors,” I realize, someone has to put in a kind word for the oppressors. For cocktails alone, I figure I owe the male population several thousand dollars. So I will be the one to step forward and say: To the extent one gender is oppressing the other, it’s not women who should be complaining."

"Ethnic profiling is the only reasonable security measure that has been thwarted in the war on terrorism." Ann Coulter's "Mineta's Bataan Death March," 2/28/02

She seems nice.

Ishmael 9:30 AM  

"Why, thou monkey," said a harpooneer to one of these lads, "we've been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a whale yet. Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here." Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic
ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it. In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space; like Wickliff's* sprinkled Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round globe over.

*Wickliff: English religious reformer John Wycliffe (mid-1320s-1384), a critic of the Catholic Church. After he died of stroke, the pope had his body exhumed and burned, and the ashes thrown into a river. (The first American edition of Moby-Dick named Thomas Cranmer rather than Wycliffe.)

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

@Vincent Lima: My employee ID number is 13 666. I kid you not. The first time our new assistant (who is very religious) processed an expenses-claim form for me, and I had to give her my number, she let out an audible gasp. Now that I think of it, has anybody ever looked through The Donald's orange hair and seen his scalp?

evil doug 9:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 9:37 AM  

Thank you, anti-glutenists. Time was, Hard CIDER was impossible to find this side of the Channel. Now it's everywhere. Only downside is that since Big Bev realized there is a market, they have been on a buying spree of the microbreweries, and it seems the first thing they do is add tons of sugar to the recipe.

Since unpasteurized CIDER has been state-regulated away, it has gotten really hard to make your own, which used to be really easy. Buy 2 gallons of (unpasteurized) apple cider from your favorite upstate NY orchard. Drink one right away. Drink next one next. By now it's begun to ferment and effervesce just a bit.

Hmm...loved the idea of the puzzle, but Mr. Fagliano just had to work way too hard to make them phrases. Didn't quite do it for me. I really wanted to like it better, as I like the meta quality of the theme.

Didn't know about YELLOWFLAG. Did vaguely know about AZALEA being poisonous.
@lms... I like your riff on not generally eating flowers. Though you may eat capers, which are flower buds. Or have a salad decorated with nasturtium blossoms? Fried squash flowers?
But your particular example for better clueing absolutely made my skin crawl. I've matured greatly since my "Eek a bug!!" days, a centipede is the one tiny creature that can cause me to turn ashen and beg the nearest superhero to run for the shop vac.

Joe in Newfoundland 9:38 AM  

Easiest puzzle ever. CSIS was unpleasant, could have been clued for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

evil doug 9:39 AM  

No, she's not nice, Z. But she's newsworthy, current and all over the non-crossword pages of the Times. To believe that her presence in the puzzle "legitimizes" her isn't logical nor germane. See Mao, Idi, et al...

LaurieG in Connecticut 9:39 AM  

I totally agree.

Moly Shu 9:47 AM  

@anon8:40, I half disagree, it's not getting old, it's getting funnier.
@Lobster11, I half disagree, I'd love to see "PV" in a puzzle. Better call @BEQ.
@Seanm, believe it, seriously.
@zaustrich, 666.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Never mind. You can disregard my obnoxious comment at 6:05am. I'm the real jerk face. If only I'd gotten more love as a child, perhaps I could show some compassion. Haters like me really are gonna hate, it seems.

Unknown 9:58 AM  

It's the Ann Coulters of the world who presume to tell everyone else how to think, to speak, to live, If you identify yourself as a liberal, and yet must throw a fit because you see her name in a crossword puzzle...well, shame on freaking you.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Hey, Mr. @Evil --

Good to se you here, 3x today so far ...

BTW, your icon pic shows someone boarding a fighter jet, but one of your posts a few days back (flying a turboprop C130 from East Anglia to Brindisi) reversals you as a Trash Hauler.

Teedmn 10:03 AM  

From yesterday's late comments, I enjoyed @Leapfinger's addition of "harbinger" to the slinger/finger discussion, and hope @LMS is enjoying her "ginger" fizz.

I sent my contribution to @Rex earlier this week. Thanks for all the work you put into this blog, Michael.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

Oops, "reveals" not "reversals." Darned spell checker!

kitshef 10:06 AM  

Love me some grammar in my Xword, so this was unusually pleasant for a Sunday.

Even as I wrote CSIS I wondered, 'can they be that desperate'?

Dreading reading the comments today...

kitshef 10:14 AM  

OBJECTIVE is clearly a noun in this case.

I had a boss who was superstitious about 666. If any of the numbers on the balance sheet or income statement ended in 666, she would make us change our reports to make it round to 665 or 667.

r.alphbunker 10:21 AM  

{1A Kind of kick} I wrote in SCISSORS for kicks and it was right! Rt 2 through Montana is 666 miles long. I discovered this on a bike trip.

Details are here.

Unknown 10:24 AM  

I've got to agree with Rex on the Prada clue. Nobody ever went shopping for a Prada 'case.' As for sentence structure, a bit of a reach, but not so bad.

Rex's comment on 77D was offensive. The Nazi's committed unspeakable crimes against humanity which Rex trivializes. Ann Coulter is an offensive, obnoxious right wing pundit, but she is not Josef Goebbels. The inclusion of a well known right wing commentator in the NYT crosswords is no more out of bounds than including a left wing commentator or the child of a president as an answer.

Maybe Rex wasn't being his usual censorious self when conforted with people or thoughts outside of the 'safe-space' in his cosseted academic environment. Just maybe he was being an 'agent provocateur' by throwing the Nazi comment as a little red meat in front of readers like me and seeing how we react

Hope it was the latter

QuasiMojo 10:24 AM  

I feel a bit "Hera-Brained" today. Took me far too long to finish this race. And no golden apple as a reward! If it hadn't been for @Nancy recommending it last night, I may not have bothered. I tend to avoid Sunday puzzles and do an Acrostic instead. But I am glad I stopped by.

I love how people complain when us "Frumps" badmouth the insertion of obscure rap and "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" and pop-TV dreck into the NYT puzzle. Agree: CSIS is god-awful. So is Conan, imho. But these naysayers are the same people who jump on any mention of someone like Ann Coulter or others who bark very loudly in the Trumposphere. I can't stand her but that doesn't mean I think she should be banned from a puzzle. Instead we need to encourage constructors to think beyond trendy events and create puzzles that have lasting relevance.

As far as whining here about the miserable state of American politics, get out and do something about it! March on Washington at the inauguration. Write your Senators and Congress. Go out and help people who are suffering. Make a difference. But don't expect us to pat you on the back for taking a stand in some silly crossword blog.

Contance Reader 10:25 AM  

Good comment, @Gunsel. Nice bit of Coulter Counter. Any thoughts on KellyAnne ShapeShifter? Didn't know that burial fact about Dashiell Hammett; to think he had to die for the honour. [Just as a side note, Canada had Tim Buck too.] As far as who had better what is concerned, we also had better Jews; of course, the Germans didn't have very many of those left. Talk about cutting off your nose in spite, eh?

The Nazis also killed about 10 million Russians. A larger number but a smaller percentage, so that makes it less heinous, I'm guessing. Besides, the Russian peasantry didn't have much of a life to look forward to, did they?

As you were.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  


A nit --Wikipedia says US Route 2 is 667 miles in Montana. Whew, you biked that? ;-)

Wayne LaPierre 10:31 AM  

@Anonymous 12:53 AM:

Just wait until the Hoplophobes on the board run across news of this legislation. The gnashing of teeth will be deafening!

Andrea 10:33 AM  

Names are words, puzzles are about words.
Any other interpretation for the content of this timeless pastime, is pointless.

Nancy 10:35 AM  

This was the Lay's Potato Chips of Sunday crosswords. I was just going to take a teensy glance and fill in a teensy bit yesterday so I'd have something to look forward to today, but once I started, I couldn't stop. So I must have enjoyed it. I loved the grammar theme and it never seemed long. In fact it was over too soon. No problems once I 1) changed OUI to ICI at 115D and 2) changed FLINT Mo to FLINT MI, which I did this morning. (ELoDE was staring up at me and I remembered, just in the nick of time, the admonition of @Always check your grid.) As for the ANN COULTER flap -- I despise everything about that smarmy, smug, coldhearted woman, but I don't mind seeing her in a crossword puzzle. I'm one of those people who doesn't mind seeing any name at all in a crossword puzzle. (Although if it were the completely disingenuous propaganda spinmeister, Kellyann Conway, even I might have a problem.)

OxfordBleu 10:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
OxfordBleu 10:40 AM  

@kitshef Isn't OBJECTIVE clearly an adjective in this case? Since EVERYONE wants a Prada case it's objectively desirable rather than subjective.
I don't agree with the flying but I assumed that was the intended meaning.

OxfordBleu 10:41 AM  

And by flying I mean cluing. Damn you, autocorrect.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Actually, Ann Coulter and Rex have a lot in common. They both produce silly rants at the drop of the hat, only good for a laugh and nothing else. I like it when we can stick to the puzzle and not politics. Of course, anyone can say what they want but it is better to leave it to another forum like Twitter or a blog (which is why I don't follow Rex on Twitter/blog/podcast).

I agree that 'objective case' was an outlier. Puzzle was easier than usual.

Emily 10:44 AM  

Did anyone notice ISAIAH was misspelled? In the puzzle as ISIAH.

Eamonn Lorigan 10:54 AM  

Oh,Rex, using Ann Coulter as a clue is hardly as troubling as the Times giving Eric Cantor space on the Editorial Page to whine about how hard it was to get Obama to work with Republicans (as if eight years of racist Republican obstructionism never happened.)

The puzzle was a tad too easy in general, though.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

@Moly Shu 12:21AM

LMAO! we both knew how Rex would take that answer! There is so much hatred on the left toward so many individuals on the right, that it would be hard to guess where Ann Coulter might be on their "hit" list? I'm guessing in the top five?

@ Martín Abresch:

I just knew you'd ralph in your corn flakes Martin. You didn't disappoint me. So sad to think that the mere mention of someone's name could ruin any individual's solving experience? I sincerely hope Ann's name didn't cause you any excess borborygmi?

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

For Emily at 10:44AM-

The first lines from Wikipedia-

"Isiah Lord Thomas III (born April 30, 1961) is an American retired basketball player who played professionally for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 12-time NBA All-Star was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame."

L 11:19 AM  

77D is fair game. We hate her in my home and can bring ourselves to say her name or even watch. We call it the Voldemort rule, and none of us has Harry Potte's balls to speak her name.

These comments are going over the top. I agree that throwing the Nazi thing around can be insensitive... but we often do it anyway. That's how we end up with the Souo Nazi. We take it case by case.

Anyway, I wish I could post my usual Facebook meme when in this situation. It goes like this: your Facebook political rant changed my mind...said no one, ever.

Let's stick to solving puzzles!


L 11:20 AM  

* can't speak her name, damn autocorrect!

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Soup Nazi is a joke. Rex isn't joking. Nice try.

newspaperguy 11:22 AM  

The plural of CSI is CSIs, not CSIS. That makes it more palatable.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

I was very much offended by the Betsy DeVos clue because it was indeed normalizing in a politically naive and disingenuous way. (That is, one person's freedom fighter is another one's terrorist, and choosing one label over the other can never be neutral). However, I think the Ann Coulter clue is reasonable, and does not try to twist her in to something she isn't or to obscure what she has actually done. I loathe what she stands for and what she says, but I have no problem with her inclusion or the clue in this puzzle.

SENTENCE STRUCTURE, on the other hand....

Unknown 11:31 AM  

Tom Lehrer's Werner Von Braun

MaryMc 11:33 AM  

I'm not surprised that so many people had trouble with OBJECTIVE CASE, given the prevalence of expressions like "between you and I" these days. The OBJECTIVE CASE exists in English for most pronouns, as the complement of "Nominative/Subjective" case, e.g.: "I" is subjective, "me" is OBJECTIVE (that's why it must be used as the OBJECT of a verb or preposition: "you know ME", "for you and ME"). Complete list: I/me, we/us, he/him, she/her, they/them; the outliers you/you (singular and plural) and it/it do not excuse people from using the correct case.

Also, "the also-ran for the golden apple" refers to the Judgement of Paris, wherein the Trojan shepherd Paris awarded the golden apple "for the fairest" to the goddess Aphrodite, thus spurning Hera and Athena and providing the casus belli for the Trojan War.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

@Evil Doug 7:09am
Excellent comment Sir! Couldn't have said it better myself.

@NCA President:

It's all about who fires the first shot Pres, and the first shot usually comes from the left side of the board. If Rex fires the first shot, then its game on! Don't expect those of us on the opposite side to sit back and let snide remarks go unanswered. Some regular posters here find it virtually impossible to refrain from making a snarky comment whenever the slightest opportunity presents itself, especially if they can tie it to the puzzle!

Anonymous made a comment to @Vincent Lima about Trump's orange hair. What did that have to do with the puzzle? May I remind Anonymous that Orange Is The New Black! See, I can be snarky too!

As to your past political remarks on this board, your recent restraint has been duly noted.

Mohair Sam 11:34 AM  

Well we loved the puzz. We're neither teachers nor English majors, hence the themers were all in the grammar region as far as we were concerned - so we were happy.

Thought the cluing was terrific throughout. Neat how CIDER is a misdirect on Apple products these days. Clue away on ANNCOULTER, she's out there - the NYT puzzle doesn't "normalize" her. FLINT in the puzzle saddened me more, should I complain it was clued without reference to the water crisis? I have friends in Flint, it matters.

For those few of you who don't know the Werner VON Braun argument - He could have been clued as "First Center Director of NASA", or "Director of the U.S. Army Ordnance Guided Missile Project", etc. Yes, he was a Nazi in WW II Germany under Hitler. But if you Google him you won't find a picture on page one of him with Hitler, you will find one of him with JFK however. Just how active he was in the Nazi party remains a matter of controversy to this day - but I think Rex's pointing out his Nazi background speaks more to Rex's seething dislike of Mr. Shortz than anything else.

@Evil - I don't get your point. I'm probably politically left of you, but Rex drives me nuts sometimes (today for example). But I read him, I read the various loons who pipe in here, so I contribute here. It just makes sense.

Malsdemare 11:39 AM  

There are 75 comments already and I've been up like two hours. Good grief, people. Is everyone iced in? So before I read y'all, here's my initial take.

INDEFINITE ARTICLE was my second entry and I was off to the races. I found myself shaking my head and smiling as one by one, the answers bloomed and my beautiful grid slowly filled from top to bottom. Last to fall was the G in FIGWASP, but that was my only guess. I had PAiutE before PAWNEE, dahLiA before AZALEA, my DIAMOND sporter was lIl before JIM, and I gave Ms. COULTER's first name an e before I realized it wouldn't fit. The themers were easy but fun, and as I entered each one, I thought "LMS is gonna love this!" FRUMPS, FETID, the nightmare of INBOXES, were fun to sort out. I knew Sra. Aquino but not how to spell her name. And as someone whose Swiss ancestors were held up in Liverpool, waiting for their transport to the US to take them away from famine and death (1860 or so), for three months because of rampant illness on board, I felt a pang as YELLOWFLAG took shape.

So now I'm going to go read REX, discover he hated it, and then the comments and see what y''all thought.

I am not a robot 11:41 AM  

NCA president, pretty much no one is going to want give you their email address.Your profile isn't that revealing, you don't use your real name, and you have no picture. It's not that they're cowards, it's just not a safe thing to do on the internet.

It would be like sending money to a deposed prince in a country you've never heard of. "His" email address is available too. Please don't take their reticence to mean that you're right or braver or a better man or a bigger person.

I don't post a profile so essentially I'm anonymous, but then I don't keep asking people for their email addresses.

Thumbs up @Evil. Even when I don't agree with you, I respect your opinions and I always enjoy your posts.

jberg 11:41 AM  

I love grammar, and got most of the themers from 2 or 3 letters -- SENTENCE STRUCTURE just from the S. So it was fun, but over quickly. I could ahve done without RST, REC as clued, and I've only ever hear "of a SORT," but maybe those are the price of the fun theme.

I'm very worried about what President Trump will do to America and will be joining the protest march Saturday; but I don't want my puzzles reduced to things I like. What does bother me is personal attacks on other commenters. Too much of that will take all the fun out of this blog.

Hi @Loren -- all I'm saying is that slinger doesn't sound like slinner. There's SOME sound in there, and that sound is indicated by the g. As far as I can figure out from observing my own mouth, you start to make the hard g sound but then stop in the middle -- right before you would have to exhale loudly, as it happens.

abalani500 11:52 AM  

First of, I thought the crossword was delightful. My wife and I had fun figuring out the themers and chuckled at how they were clued. FUTURE PERFECT and SENTENCE STRUCTURE elicited the loudest laughs. As for the commentary, c'mon people, chill out. This is a crossword, not a political blog. Love her or hate her ANN COULTER is newsworthy and therefore crossword worthy. If seeing her name in a crossword sends shivers down your spine then you are truly unaware of real issues that affect hundreds of millions of people in the world. I would love to be in a debate with those folks - no argument needed, I'd just mention "Trump" or "COULTER", sit back and watch them spontaneously combust. I'm not a fan, but I don't let it ruin my Sunday, like "finding a rat tail in my soup" (MA 5:07am)

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Agreed, Ann Coulter is a neo nazi. We shouldn't normalize them.

Pete 11:52 AM  

@Evil - Ann Coulter has argued long and loud for keeping America White and Christian. There are legitimate arguments to be made about illegal immigration, but keeping America white and Christian isn't among them. Applying racial / religious constraints on whether or not you're fit or to be an American is nazi-ism, plain and simple.

Liz T. 12:03 PM  

I agree totally about "Prada" being a damn-near inaccurate clue for "case," but as a grammar teacher I must say that the phrase "OBJECTIVE CASE" is, in fact, a thing. I used it mostly in Latin class, but even teaching English grammar I have occasionally said, "The verb 'to be' takes the objective case." (I only say that to the most grammar-literate of students...usually Catholic school kids who've studied Latin. But it is a thing in English, too!)

Joseph Michael 12:07 PM  

As one in the middle of editing a manuscript, I found this grammar theme to be fun and imaginative. Especially liked the new definitions for RELATIVE CLAUSES, INDEFINITE ARTICLE, and PRESENT TENSE.

Don't think that SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION, a common term, was an outlier. But do agree that the clue for OBJECTIVE CASE is a tortured one.

As for A.C., she's a despicable person who just wants to be in the limelight, but I don't think that her name in the grid signals the end of civilization. Couldn't help but notice that her presence is paired symmetrically with IN BAD TASTE.

All in all, a fine puzzle, Joel. I always enjoy your work.

Unknown 12:15 PM  


Malsdemare 12:15 PM  

@LMS. SEXSCENE reminded me of going to see "Bull Durham" with my 13 year old daughter because I thought it was a baseball movie. Sheesh!

@Tita forgot to tell you how hard I laughed at your parrot story. Keep 'em coming. It's tales like that that keep me reading this blog.

@NCA Pres. Yeah, I'm with you on the percolate clue; I too thought it had to do with bubbling. My error.

There's a highway 666 in NM; when I lived in a trailer on the Navajo res, my neighbor called it "The devil's highway." So I got that nice little snugly reminder of the best time of my life. Well, almost; I do have children . . .

The Ann Coulter discussion reminds me of teaching a unit on Semiotics, the study of meaning, as part of a course on research methods in Communication. One of the errors people make when they "misunderstand" is they confuse a symbol with its referent (think American flag and how you might feel to see it walked on). If I were still teaching, the blog today would be my poster child of an example.

Dorothy Biggs 12:16 PM  

@I am a robot: Lots of people include an email address in their profiles. You don't have to include your main one, but hey...if you're going to take issue personally, like many here have suddenly taken to doing, then it seems appropriate (and internet correct) to either not say anything or take it up personally. If you can't do that, then don't either.

BTW, the fear of emailing someone is nuts. It is so easy to create a disposable email address that even if things got nuts, you could easily delete it.

THE INVITATION STANDS. EMAIL if you have problems with me. And I promise I'm not based out of Kenya or I'm going to find out where you live. I think it IS the bigger thing to do.

And I'm not sure what the evil love is here. He's a self-professed ass.

But then again, a guy just like that just got elected. So, it's a mixed up muddled up shook up world, I guess.

Alan_S. 12:26 PM  

Way too much attention paid to Ann Coulter here and I'm just as guilty as anyone else for envoking her name yet again but this is exactly what people like her want; you know, like a controversial stand-up comedian craving recognition. That's it!, she's just a comedy act, and look at her; a one night stand if I ever saw one!

Oh, and the "non-prophet group" clue was just great. Overall, not a bad Sunday puzz.

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

I find it incredibly offensive that the constructor's name was used in the NYT. Will Shortz should do his job and edit names like this that so callously portray the biases of this once great nation. His name should appear as Joel Homosexualliano. Shame on you, NYT!

Cassie 12:37 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle but still don't understand Objective Case. I get the grammar concept but not the cluing. Surely there is something we are missing (or at least I am missing)? Here's hoping that someone who knows something about fashion can help? At the very, very least, wouldn't Vuitton be a better clue than Prada?

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Sharp doth protest too much. He and Coulter are cut from the same cloth. Both divisive figures when we all need to come together and find common ground. Wanna see hatred? Read Sharp's tweets.

DESievers 12:43 PM  

I guess it's to be expected from the brainy bunch who do crosswords, but boy, if we removed all comment verbiage posted only to show how clever or cute or better politically or historically informed one is, the comments section would be so much shorter and quicker to read. But then, surely less interesting and fun too. I seldom comment, but don't mean to imply I am any better for it, or for making this observation. It just seems right that someone should occasionally make it.

QuasiMojo 12:47 PM  

@Cassie, I think the clue is meant to imply that a fashionista's objective is to get a case from Prada. As in briefcase I suppose. Perhaps Coach would have been a better brand to use. Either way a tortured answer that underscores the absurdity of theme puzzles in general.

Unknown 12:52 PM  

i really liked it. he put ANNCOULTER near FIGWASP and that was funny. i thought the fill more than stood up to the theme, although i agree with rex that the theme had some weaknesses.

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Oh by the by, the GOP just recently decided to jettison the ACA which would literally cause the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Americans. But really, let's keep talking about the left "firing the first shot," or "being divisive." i seriously hope none of you Trump supporters wake up tomorrow with cancer, or diabetes, or have a fall and require surgery. I would hate to think that you voted in a group of people hell bent on letting you die.

Nancy 1:00 PM  

Normally, I hate anonymous postings and I hate snark. But every once in a while, when someone makes a political point in a really clever and amusing way, I can overlook both. @Anon 12:27's comment took me by surprise -- I had to go back and look at the constructor's name -- and then I chuckled. I sort of think that Anon 12:27 is one of our more humorous regulars and stayed anonymous because he didn't want to offend anyone. But I for one thought it was pretty funny.

Happy Pencil 1:01 PM  

Wow, what a spirited debate has been raging on here all morning!

I will go on record as saying I despise ANN COULTER, who, in my opinion, is nothing but a feeble-minded opportunist who will say anything to get herself more screen time. If you lean right, even very hard right, there are much, much better spokespeople for your cause than her.

Having said that, I feel again that she's a well-known public figure, and so I have no real beef with her appearance in the puzzle. Pretending she doesn't exist serves no one well, and at least she isn't clued as, for instance, a staunch supporter of the first amendment. I'm not thrilled that the NYT is giving her book a bunch of free publicity, but judging by some of her recent comments, she may already be concluding that her trust was misplaced.

I don't want to take anything away from those who raised concerns about minimizing Nazi atrocities, but I think it's important to note that Rex called her a neo-Nazi, not a Nazi. The dictionary definition of a neo-Nazi (from the OED) is "a person of extreme racist or nationalist views." @Z has supplied several examples of why the term is apt. And to his comments I would just add that she recently tweeted a widely known white supremacist slogan.

Take issue with the term "neo-Nazi," by all means, but the term does exist and Rex did use it correctly in this case.

And the puzzle? I thought it was a fun Sunday that I was able to blast through in a reasonable amount of time. The complaints about the unevenness of the theme are valid, but most of the answers were amusing enough to make up for that for me.

But then again, I miss still the Grammar Nazi. (That was his name, for those who are more recent to the blog. I'm really not trying to stir things up again!)

I am not a robot 1:12 PM  

@I am a robot: Lots of people include an email address in their profiles.

(They don't have your thin skin and insatiable need to have the last word on every issue no matter how petty.)

You don't have to include your main one, but hey...if you're going to take issue personally, like many here have suddenly taken to doing, then it seems appropriate (and internet correct) to either not say anything or take it up personally. If you can't do that, then don't either.

(You take far more things more personally than anyone else who posts here regularly and "internet correct" is an utter joke, especially coming from you. The very essence of an uncountable number of blogs is anonymity. Try not saying anything in the future that doesn't have anything to do with the puzzle and you'll make some friends. I used to read your posts. I did today until I got to the inevitable personal attack. I won't anymore.)

BTW, the fear of emailing someone is nuts. It is so easy to create a disposable email address that even if things got nuts, you could easily delete it.
(Really? Then send some money to the prince in Kenya. And it's not about being scared. What sane person would invite a nut into their house with the logic "next time I just won't answer the door?)

THE INVITATION STANDS. EMAIL if you have problems with me. And I promise I'm not based out of Kenya or I'm going to find out where you live. I think it IS the bigger thing to do.

(I'm not emailing you. It's not the bigger thing to do. It would be the insane thing to do. You think it would be bigger because you seem not to know what big is, in that you've never shown it about yourself here. That's the difference between you and @Evil. Write back all day. All you just did was confirm for me what I already thought.)

And I'm not sure what the evil love is here. He's a self-professed ass. But then again, a guy just like that just got elected. So, it's a mixed up muddled up shook up world, I guess.

(See above re. evil. And you, far more than anyone here, remind of Trump. Your personality, not your politics).

RooMonster 1:12 PM  

Hey All !
101 comments as I start mine. Wow. Must be a dust-up happening or something. Will go back to read 'em all.

For me, a Blah puz that took me a while, twixt work interruptions and some tricksy clues. Some writeovers as the ole brain decided to wake up. DNF on INSTYLE, had esSTeLE. That's a mag, right? :-)

Cute in NW, CONFINE IN BOXES - What a puz does.


William Occam 1:19 PM  

Good to see "Rex" continues to do his bit to ensure the Democrats become a party of irrelevance with his ongoing demonization of anything Republican.

old timer 1:24 PM  

The one thing I agree with is that OBJECTIVE CASE is very, very badly clued. Otherwise an excellent Sunday puzzle and not too much of a SLOG.

It was nice to find that CIDER at the top. Nice too to learn about the deadly AZALEA. My favorite edible flower is the artichoke. Had one planted in my yard for a while, but sooner or later the artichokes got infested with bugs -- disgusting wormlike creatures. So I went back to buying artichokes at the store, and for a few years let my artichokes turn into full flowers, which are quite nice to look at.

Leapfinger 1:38 PM  

@Joseph Welling, thanks for the Tom Lehrer. Headslap for my forgetting his take on Wehrner VON Braun! I Wiki'd WvB, and discovered his mother was descended from Valdemar I of Denmark. Significant? You decide. But nobody comes close to Lehrer.

@Rex and other CASE OBJECTors, for your consideration: Surgical procedure that uses radiofrequencyv energy to destroy abnormal tissue = ABLATIVE CASE
I know, I'm a face short of a nonahedron.

PLUPERFECT CASE would work for going through the self-checkout with a crate of non-GMO clementines, but there we have a face too many. Oh well.

Doesn't matter; my favourite was the LI'L CLAUSES kin, and I found them all worthy.

@'Mericans, also have to thank you for the New Yorker link. I hadn't seen it, but a few years ago PBS' Nature had a fascinating special about the African FIG tree, showing how, in a year's cycle, it wasn't only host to the FIG WASP, but also integrated with the habits and life cycles of several other insects and birds. I remember the overall process was complex and intricate enough in its PERFECT timing to make ATHEISTS believe in Intelligent Design. Or millennia of cumulative evolution. Glad I can revisit this now in your article.

VOILA!! They finally got DOSE right, though FE T.I.D. is probably excessive for any anemia. Liked the corner comments -- OIL LAMPS, CIDER ST, the intriguing SCIFI SCISSOR (Look Ma, no Hands!), and the Epeeist's angle to ELIDE EN GARDE. HEURE took me back to college days back when, in La Belle Province, we'd answer "See you later, Alligator" with "Tout à l'HEURE, Alligateur".

@Teedmn, glad you enjoyed. I thought it cool how it fit @M&A both as a HAR binger and a HAR bringer.

Good working Sunday, JF. You gave Grammar a DEFINITE DOSE of CPR.

GILL I. 1:40 PM  

@Nancy...I had to go back and read @Anony 12:27. That is some serious comic relief...Out loud laughing is so good for the soul.

MC 1:58 PM  

One of the easiest. I completed it in about 70 minutes on a cold, sunny, Sunday morning. I don't see how "seep" is a good answer to "percolate." As for your comments about Coulter -- well said. I just don't understand the meanness of such folk. Never will.
From a fellow SUNY-B grad.

r.alphbunker 2:06 PM  

@Anonymous 10:30

Re rt 2 Montana,
I should say that the first mileage marker I saw in Montana said 666. It was definitely a shock when I saw it. I had been counting down the mileage markers through North Dakota (there wasn't much else to do) and I was down to single digits when the mileage suddenly jumped up to 666. I was probably in Montana long enough to get voting privileges there. :-)

Hartley70 2:06 PM  

@Anonymous@2:27am, to respond to your query, yes! I thought I was losing my mind when I saw the timer. There's such a cacophony of political discord in today's posts, that I'm happy to focus on the mundane and think, " Whaa? What time is that?!!"

Joel did a great job constructing and the worthiness of the theme is undeniable, especially to an aging English major......BUT...... with the obvious exception of the craze inducing answer of A/C, this struck me as a fuddy-duddy offering. Fuddy-Duddy is exactly what came to mind as I cruised along without much difficulty or excitement through the grammatical themers. It certainly was timeless, since it could have appeared in the 1930's when A/C could have moved to her political homeland, and I know it had great appeal to those who prefer puzzles that are frozen in time. But I'm not that girl.

Anoa Bob 2:10 PM  

I could rate Sunday puzzles by how far I get into the grid before I lose interest and quit. I thought this one had a nice balance between theme & fill---not too much of the former and plenty of open space for the latter---and that kept me around long enough to completed the whole thing. So two thumbs up for this one.

Sometimes little things will help bigly to win me over. I appreciated the extra effort in the clues for POLO (58D) "Source for 'Book of the Marvels of the World', circa 1300", and OCEAN (61D) "'That deep, blue, bottomless soul', per Melville". Nice touches.

After I got me degree from UTENN (70D)(no one calls it that) I landed a gig with UMD teaching courses on U.S. military bases in Asia. I was in the Philippines, at Subic Bay Naval Station, when Ferdinand Marcos was kicked out, in a bloodless coup, and CORAZON "___ Aquino, Time's Woman of the Year in 1986" took over. I was watching TV in the afternoon before my night class, and Marcos was on, backed by an array of his uniformed and medal-laden generals, assuring his viewers that all was well and that he was in full command. The TV screen suddenly went blank and a few minutes latter a dim picture with the greenish tint of fluorescent lights came on with an announcer saying that Marcos was out and CORAZON was in. So CORAZON, Aquino or Marcos are always gimmes for me.

FIGWASP (43D) gives me a case of word list envy.

I feel confident that I'm the only solver in the entire xword puzzle universe who noticed that RELATIVE CLAUSE was one letter short of its allotted slot. POC to the rescue!

Hartley70 2:12 PM  

@Happy Pencil, I feel sure @Grammar Nazi was a she. @Doris disappeared at the same time....

Loren Muse Smith 2:19 PM  

@Anoa Bob - I noticed, but not for your POC reason. I noticed because the trick works only on the plural. The singular "Claus" isn't a grammar word. So I appreciated it even more.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Ann Coulter is a satirist, not a neo-nazi. She's gotten rich tweaking you snowflakes. Grow up and ignore her.

mathgent 2:31 PM  

I liked it a lot. A nice combination of crunch and freshness.

I dont understand why so many of us are offended when certain names are in the puzzle. But it seems to be a real problem and Will Shortz should keep that in mind when editing.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

Can you imagine Rex or NCA President in a substantive debate with Ann Coulter where they couldn't throw around labels, and had to stick to their cut and paste talking points? They'd get so frustrated they'd be reduced to tears in no time.

old timer 2:53 PM  

"und I'm learning Chinese, says Werner von Braun"

Just finished Piscop's Split Decisions. Don't know if it's on the Net, but is in the Magazine. Extra-crunchy and I will wait for next week to see if I goofed up,

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Has anyone here ever taken up @nca president on his offer to email?

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

@Anonymous 2:24PM

Good post, but I disagree with your characterization of A.C. as a satirist. I think the term pundit is a more apropos appellation. Love her or hate her, (and there are just as many liberal pundits who are as reviled by the right), Ann Coulter graduated cum laude with a B.A. in history from Cornell University. While attending that institution, she helped found the Cornell review. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School where she was editor of the Michigan Law Review. Coulter is the author of 12 books many of which have been on the NYT best seller list, and have sold millions of copies. That's just the short list of here accomplishments.

Now if you want to talk about satirists, lets talk about the darlings of the left. The three amigos that millennials think are hard news journalists! Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. As near as I can ascertain, none have a professional degree, and they have one best selling book between them.

Just Sayin!

longoftooth 3:19 PM  

It is Lao Tzu and Mo Tze

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

Obama's real legacy is the spawn of all these sniveling snowflakes who wake up each day and look for ways to be offended. Time for them to toughen up.

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

I look forward to the day "milo" is clued as "author Yiannopoulos." Then maybe Rex will completely lose it, leave us aloe and start blogging about the puzzle in the Binghamton Picayune. The answer to the question, "why read him if you think he's such an ass ?, " is that he and the other liberal fascists actually may influence the content of the puzzle. Most people don't want the puzzle censored, be it for alt-right people alt-left people neo-nazis, whatever. Don't be babies and leave Will and his puzzle alone.

Anonymous 3:22 PM  

666 is widely known as "the sign of the devil."

Loren Muse Smith 3:25 PM  

@Hartley- I sure don't miss "her." My guess is she's frequenting dinner parties and pointing out to all the guests whenever someone uses the wrong bread plate or eats the soup incorrectly.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  

I loved it. All the themed clues were fun and satisfying. For that reason it felt like a true Sunday puzzle to me.
Just for interest, 85 Down. Ghost story? - for Canadians a little tricky...but we are used to being extra flexible thinkers! (story/storey U.S./Canadian spelling).

Andrew Heinegg 3:33 PM  

Didn't y'all know upon seeing Ms. Coulter's name in the puzzle that the blog would explode? The way I read the tenor of the comments, everyone, no matter their political stripe, is in agreement that Ms. Coulter says things and advocates positions that are either opprobrious or sarcastically opprobrious.
The only issue then is whether she should be a proper subject for a crossword puzzle.

But, first things first. Can we all express our opinions without endless ad hominem attacks on the other side of the table, please. Your opinion on the issue is not a litmus test of whether you are a terrible person or not. So, why not just give your reasoning? It is a much better way to act in an increasingly less civilized society.

I detest what Ann Coulter advocates but the uncivilized manner in which she advocates it is what is bothersome to me. She may be being sarcastic but, she is still nasty in tone and we really don't need or want any more of that. People who behave that way want, no crave, attention and live and profit by that attention, both negative and positive.

The question is: by putting folks like Coulter in puzzles, are you feeding the beast? I don't believe so, as long as you don't 'normalize' them with anything other than a neutral clue, as in today's puzzle. If you try to demonize the person with the clue, you have played into the kind of attention-seeking that folks like Coulter are more than happy to get. So, don't feed the troll by reacting!!

Sorry for the long-winded verbal essay! The puzzle lacked snap for me. I took too long to solve because, in part, I was not entertained as I made my way through it. As always, if you insist upon constructing a pun themed puzzle, you need to either make them groaners or try something else. Fig wasp was interesting, tho.

Great parrot story yesterday @Tita!

Nancy 3:38 PM  

Oh, @Hartley (2:12 p.m.), how could you? You know how terribly, terribly fond I am of you and also how much respect I have for your considerable sleuthing abilities. But, in this case, aren't you taking credit for my considerable sleuthing abilities? Listen up, everyone: It was I who pegged Doris as Grammar Nazi when both personas left the blog in one swell foop. I based my assessment on 1)her Google profile and 2) her writing style. When they both disappeared at the same time, I was absolutely sure. I saw Happy Pencil's post earlier, but decided not to "out" Doris here, but now that her identity is out, I must claim the credit that is due me. I can't prove it, but I'd bet every nickel that I have in the bank that I'm right. Do you remember that first phone call I made to you, @Hartley?

@GILL (1:40) -- I agree. Laughing is good for the soul!

Anonymous 3:49 PM  

The three posts at 3:22 reveal either there are multiple anonymice or I am a really fast typist.

Mohair Sam 3:50 PM  

@Anon 3:11 - Food for thought. I've never been a fan of any of the four you mention because I fail to see the humor in mocking other people. That's the schtick of Colbert and Stewart especially, I've never liked either of them. At least Maher and Coulter don't pretend to be good people.

RooMonster 3:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RooMonster 3:51 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 4:00 PM  

The Trump hair comment apparently refers to "The Omen" where the Damien character is the Anti-Christ and has a 666 birthmark obscured in his hairline.

Joe Bleaux 4:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 4:17 PM  

How about a "Man vs Wild" episode where Sharp is airdropped into rural Pennsylvania among the "deplorables", with only his cunning and snark as tools of survival. Life can be challenging for the elites outside their bubbles.

Z 4:38 PM  

@anon2:53 - Why, yes I have. Along with @Evil, @GB, @LMS, @Aketi (did you ever get PuzzAzz to work for you?), and many others. I'm not particularly sociable and have still found occasion to email or reply to many. Didn't hurt a bit and no money disappeared from my bank accounts.

@Evil Doug - What Rex said was, "gratuitously shoving neo-Nazis and neo-Nazi sympathizers into the puzzle at every opportunity." The constructor states that he chose to include her. Seems to me that Rex is exactly right. And note that Rex asks for no action. He calls her "disgusting" and notes that Shortz is choosing to include new-nazis (BTW - not a term that applies to DeVos as far as I know, however much otherwise I find her contemptible). I barely noticed her presence in the puzzle, mostly I find her an embarrassment to America and Christianity, but can hardly fault Rex for pointing out the demonstrably true.

OBJECTIVE CASE is a thing, even a thing in English, but case isn't a very important concept in English so nobody but a very small number of specialists can reasonably be expected to know the term.

Who let in all the pigeons?

TR 4:41 PM  

@anonymous 1001/1004. It's not a fighter, but USAF T-38 trainer. Nice airplane, but almost everybody gets to fly them. After UPT, aircraft is assigned. Very interesting reading back and forth among folks. Keep it up campers, it's enjoyable.

Joe Bleaux 4:47 PM  

@Z: Thank you for your time and effort in posting the words of that vile woman. When I see her face or name, I don't think "conservative"; I think "putrid." The less she is portrayed as anything other, in any forum or context, the better.

Al Kaline 4:47 PM  

@Mohair Sam:

Very well said Sam! As far as I'm concerned, both Colbert and Stewart are unctuous weasels. On the other hand, I do respect Coulter and Maher for the courage of their convictions on certain subjects.

As to your first post, I have tons of relatives living in different areas of Michigan. Many worked for GM. I loved Trump's one liner when he made his victory appreciation speech in that state. It was something along the lines of, "Remember when they made cars in Flint, but you couldn't drink the water in Mexico?" Oh how true!

That got me to thinking about the before and after photo comparisons between Hiroshima and Detroit. Pretty unbelievable. I'm sure you've seen them, but if not, have a peek here.

Amazing what 55 years of continuous rule by a democrat administration can do, huh?

LOL! Only kidding!

Anonymous 4:50 PM  

As in "packing heat," speaking of Dash Hammett.

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

If he purposely included her that's a good thing. Give some edge to the staid New York Times and rattle the prudes. I'd similarly welcome Ta- Nehisi Coates and other left wing provocateurs.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

What we're witnessing on this board today is the result of eight years of identity politics. The nightmare is finally over. Let the healing begin.

Anon1001 5:20 PM  

@TR --

Tnx for the correction that Mr. Evil is boarding A T38 trainer in his icon photo. It occurred to me after the fact that a multi-engine transport pilot would have been unlikely flying a small plane that was a fighter -- a trainer early in his career would have far more likely.

evil doug 5:33 PM  

Well, Anon1001, I guess I'll accept that as an apology...

For the record: When I attended flight school in the early 70s,every pilot trained in the T-37 and T-38, and every graduate was qualified to fly everything in the inventory. These days trainees are split into specialties early in the training year, and only prospective fighter pilots (and maybe B-1?) get to fly the T-38.

For you 666 fans: I read that there was a Finnair flight 666 on Friday the 13th bound for Helsinki - - airport code HEL....

Anonymous 5:38 PM  

PBS Frontline - "Divided States of America". "Political divisions deepen during President Barack Obama's presidency as promises of change and unity collide with racial and political realities." When PBS admits it, it's hard to deny.

Hartley70 5:49 PM  

Yes, Nancy. I do recall that you surmised that Doris might be GN, first. My apologies for neglecting the citation. I'm willing to consider the possibility, but I'm not betting a thing on it. Wouldn't it be fun if @Doris was lurking and could confirm or deny the accusation or accolade, depending on one's point of view?

@Loren, I will plan my imaginary Rexworld dinner party carefully to insure you're at my end of the dining table, as far away as possible from Grammar Nazi's piercing gaze. I'll put you next to @Tita and she can talk parrot in your ear. She's such fun!

Andrew Heinegg 6:28 PM  

The idea that the Trump administration could or would 'heal' anything is beyond laughable. Healing requires empathy and kindness. If you can find any examples of Mr. Trump demonstrating those qualities, bring it on. And, with an approval rating of less than 50% as he starts his term, compared to 83% for Obama, perhaps the majority of the country is thinking that Trump needs to heal, not the country.

Old (but not bold) Pilot 6:30 PM  

@ evil doug:

C'mon Doug, I know that HEL is an actual airport abbreviation for Helsinki, but you were just kidding about the flight 666 on Friday, right?

I'm not challenging you, but a clarification please? You stated that you graduated in the early 70's, and were qualified to fly everything in the inventory? Would that include the Blackbirds? They were in service from 64 to 98. 32 were built and 12 were lost to accidents. That's almost 40%. You had to be seriously crazy to strap one of those beasts to your ass, no?

I'm sure you've heard the old joke about the soldier departing Ramstein on a Herc. with an all-female crew right? Still LMAO every time I think of it.

UP WE GO-----!

Charles in Austin 6:47 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle more than any in recent memory. I even paused it halfway through and split my solve over two days -- because I didn't want it to be over.

My favorite theme answers: RELATIVE CLAUSES and SENTENCE STRUCTURE.

I was typically disgusted but not surprised that @Rex hated it. I'm never surprised by him anymore.

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

Think about who a political moderate would ban from the puzzle. There is no one. Hitler, Osama, Jeffrey Dahmer, bring it on, Offhand, I can think of dozens Rex would ban. If I thought about it probably hundreds, possibly thousands. Think about that. Who's the oppressor ?

Anonymous 7:04 PM  

Yeah. He's wound too tight. No doubt it's been a while since he's been to the "bone zone."

Carol Spradling 7:13 PM  

Michael, thank you for speaking your mind. The morons who put an illiterate crazy con man in the White House will continuously try to silence those of us who see through his crap. Yes, I said morons. You had ample opportunity to see what this "man" is made of.

@Martin Abresch Regarding Ann ****ing Whatchacallit: "Just don't look" - Perfect. Do not give this person the attention desired. Plus, your comment reminded me of the Simpsons Halloween episodes which my family watches together - all of them, every October.

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

I hate Trump, pretty sure he's not iilliterate.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

Old Carol hasn't been to the bone zone in a looong time.

People In Glass Houses 7:25 PM  

@ Andrew Heinegg:

Still in denial? That's the first stage of grief my friend! At this rate, it will take you until the 2018 elections to reach the final stage of acceptance. Then, (looking at the current Senate map) you're gonna have to start the whole grieving process over again!

Empathy and kindness? If I remember correctly, President Trump was extremely gracious and kind on election eve. While acknowledging his victory, he went out of his way to admonish the crowd when they started to boo the mention of Hillary. He said some very nice things about her. Of course you wouldn't know what he said, because by that time you were either talking to the great white porcelain God, or you were getting a busy signal on the suicide hotline!

I believe Mr. Trump's approval rating will rise significantly fairly soon. What happened to the dire predictions of a market crash if he was elected? Please cite the latest source where Mr. Obama's approval record is 83%. The last figures I saw were in the mid fifties. No one ever said Mr. Obama wasn't liked as a person. It is his policies that were soundly rejected by the American public. Its pretty hard to lose over 1000 democrat held seats at the federal and state level in six years!

Please try and drag yourself to the "anger" stage at the very least.

Izzie 8:14 PM  

Re: the spelling of 121 across, it helps if you were in Detroit during the Pistons' heyday. This puzzle was fun.

Elle54 8:53 PM  

I liked the puzzle.
Don't hate

Happy Pencil 8:56 PM  

Yes, Ann Coulter went to Cornell. Steve Bannon can't be racist, according to Kellyanne Conway, because he went to Harvard. And Mussolini made the trains run on time.

Is there a point at which even one of you is going to point to a single thing she ever said to refute the accusation that she's a white supremacist? Because so far there's been a lot of schoolyard taunts and not much else.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

Hate spewing Samantha Bee crushing it on TBS. Down to one night a week.

JC66 9:01 PM  

I'm a big fan of Samantha Bee's. When was she on more than one night a week?

Fs4569 9:14 PM  

Okay, you college professor types who have nothing to do but wait for the puzzle to be posted and then brag about how you solved it so quickly to make us deplorables feel inadequate:
Get. Over. It.

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

Rex, you're smart but you're boring because you hate everything. What is the point of this blog? You are a super asshole to the people who create the crosswords -- everything is "boring," "lazy," "weak," "lame," offends your delicate political sensitivities, etc. -- have you ever considered their feelings? Do you really think that a stupid or lazy person would go to the trouble of writing a crossword puzzle and submitting it to the New York Times to be played by tens of thousands of people? Jesus Christ.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

Hi happy pencil. First of all, it's sarcasm, at least I hope. I don't think anyone who has read those quotes referenced earlier would believe she was being serious. And even if she was, so what ? She's a famous person, like her or not, eligible to be an answer in the times crossword. Or would you ban her as Rex would ? Let's make a list so Will doesn't offend the snowflakes.

Anonymous 9:30 PM  

It's refreshing to see that Rex and his puppets are being challenged for their intolerance and hypocrisy, and won't be "normalized".

Happy Pencil 9:50 PM  

Anon @ 9:21 p.m.: If you had bothered to read my original post, you'd see that I said very clearly that I had no problem with her appearing in the puzzle. All I asked is if a single poster who's defending her could point to anything to refute her own words, as supplied by Z. So far, no one has.

And no, it isn't sarcasm or satire or whatever other rationalization you want to offer up. And if you really think is (but we both know you don't, right?), you haven't been listening or reading very carefully.

Finally, what is up with your constant references to "snowflakes"? That's not clever or cutting; it's just childish. Put on your big-boy pants and have an actual adult debate with the rest of us. I'm pretty sure you're capable of it.

Kim 9:55 PM  

Goodbye, Rex.

I've enjoyed your blog for many years and even contributed money, but I'm tired of the politics. My crossword time is a rare pleasure in my busy day as a nurse, and that used to include your puzzle insights and humor. Lately, you just seem bitter--at the NYT and the world in general. Like celebrities, I look to you only for entertainment and wit, as I am perfectly capable of forming political opinions on my own.

Also, go easy on the Nazi references. If everyone is a Nazi, then no one is. Do a little research on Werner Von Braun. As a Huntsville, AL resident I can assure you Nazi is not the first thing that comes to mind.

Wishing you some peace in your life,


Anonymous 10:03 PM  

Hi Happy. i know nothing of Ann Coulter I am not a defender of Ann Coulter. I just want to let the frickin New York Times crossword puzzle be free from (insert epithet) like Rex Parker. Chill.

Kristen Westfall 10:08 PM  

Perfect comment!

Wick 10:13 PM  

Or for more confusion, there is ISAIH Thomas of the NBA who played for the Pistons and now Isaiah Thomas who plays for the Celtics. Constructor should differentiate IMO

Mohair Sam 10:51 PM  

@Kim - I keep hoping I won't get to where you are. The von Braun thing got to me too.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

Tom Lehrer recorded a satirical song about Wernher von Braun in the 1960s...

Unknown 12:33 AM  

So. I'm none too happy about how the election went either. But Trump and his cronies are 1) the government we're stuck with for the next four years and therefore... 2) current news, which makes them... 3) validly NYT crossword-worthy. So basically. Get over it. There's no point in complaining every time they show up in a puzzle. It's going to happen a lot for a while. And it should. Because it's current. Having them show up in puzzles doesn't give support their position. It merely makes the puzzles current.

Anonymous 10:35 PM  

To call Ann Coulter a Nazi is to demonstrate an ignorance of Nazism that is appalling. This is typical of the imbecility of the Left.

Coulter may espouse views you find objectionable, even morally abhorrent. But to equate her with Hitler, Eichmann, Goering et al is to trivialize the Holocaust and the 65 million who died in WWII.

You have a lot to learn.

Jay Bergman
professor of History
New Britain CT

spacecraft 12:21 PM  

Wow, such vitriol! I'm gonna leave the 77-down thing alone. It's just a name in a puzzle, guys. You don't have to freak out. Reading OFL's comments, I felt a bout of curmudgeonitis coming on. But order is once again restored in the universe: I disagree completely with everything he said! Ah, now I feel better.

Paradoxically, this was anything BUT a SLOG. I enjoyed just about every line. I ROFL at SENTENCESTRUCTURE! And as @Lewis said, many other clues were tricky too, in a delightful way. Here's the knee-slapper: "Awkward time at family movie night." OHYEAH, that SEXSCENE would sure be INBADTASTE! "Oops, wrong DVD! Uh, sorry..." Reminds me of that commercial that asks "Wanna get away?" LMAO!

Plus, that answer provides rich soil for one of @BS's crops. I just had a great time. Hardly noticed the RLS (random letter string). Also learned something new: about the YELLOWFLAG. No such linen out of MY pocket today. DOD is tough, but how about a curtain call for Tess OCEAN, the enchanting Julia Roberts? Eagle--and a tip of the golf cap to Adam Hadwin, who proudly wrote a 59 on his SCORECARD yesterday. Way to go, guy!

Unknown 12:22 PM  

We agree w/ the above comment. Sending money now is out of the question. We had been enjoying your blog...no more...Doug Wood, Col USAF Ret.

rain forest 3:52 PM  

Really enjoyed this one today. The themers were great, SENTENCE STRUCTURE being my favourite. Hey if you want to display coherent SENTENCE STRUCTURE, you better have good grammar.

This thing went incredibly smooothly and the clues were uniformly excellent, in my opinion. It was just fun to fill.

Who would really care about 77D being in the puzzle. Sure she's loathesome, but also current, and isn't that what OFL wants to see more of? Maybe he wants the NYTX to be the puzzle of the PC liberals only. I hope that day never comes.

Hey @Spacey, you neglected to say that Adam Hadwin is a Canadian (puffs chest out with pride), born in my home province of Saskatchewan (more puffing).

Really nice Sunday.

William Heyman 3:54 PM  

The politicized person "points with pride" at a member of their party while "viewing with alarm" a member of the opposition, when both are doing the same thing. Anyway Ann Coulter has already been mention as no more a Nazi than Marie Antoinette. Herr Von Braun was not politicized but forced to do what he did. He got most of his crew out to the western lines, and then on to Huntsville, Alabama. I knew pwoplw who worked for him. He was the de facto head of NASA,but could not be in public. The Redstone missile was an advanced V-2 and when the Navy had failures on the launch pad they came to Werner. He proposed the Redstone (which became the Atlas) and they pointed out that, by treaty with the USAF it was limited to 400 NM range. Von Braun said, "Ya, zat is becuase we only fill it half-way. It can go to the moon." And it did.Von Braun was a great American. You just do not know how great.

Burma Shave 3:56 PM  


IFWE are at PRESENTTENSE, we OTTO relax a while
then go CRAZY. It's TACKY to make an OBJECTIVECASE.


Diana,LIW 4:35 PM  

The TCM movie this afternoon is "Twelve Angry Men." Coincidence? You decide.

When you see 176 posts before yours, you know a bumpy ride is coming.

I'm with the free speech crowd. There are many, many people mentioned in puzzles who have opinions, or rants, that I don't agree with. Ayn Rand comes to mind. However, if we don't know about the opinions that are influencing public opinions, how can we make real opinions of our own and attempt to understand other folks? Now some of these folks I believe really don't have opins - just shock value. But many people read/listen and deeply BELIEVE. Some of these people are friends/family. If I want to counter their ideas, I need to know what they are. For clarity - not endorsing AR here, just her puzzle-worthiness.

The puzzle was pure joy. Every theme answer made me laugh, and being able to use the theme to suss answers - turns Slot Sunday into Funday. IMHO See mini rant. SENTENCE STRUCTURE, OBJECTIVECASE, RELATIVECLAUSES (my favorite) - lord lovea duck that was fun.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 5:25 PM  

OHYEAH? I'm staying outta that stuff, not letting politics get in the way of a yeah baby just because her name is ANNCOULTER. And how can you not like a puz with a SEXSCENE?

Probs N and NW with lax for SFO and roo for EMU (and SFO is the one I've flown into and out of). Also fell for Nf? for packers grp. (looks like they're about done). So I solved bottom up.

For like, eons, our highway construction spec book was written in the PASSIVEVOICE. No longer.

Will always take this kind of puz rather than multi-letters per square. Late today, it must be past comment CURFEW.

SmacD 5:55 PM  

I shuddered when I saw that I had to enter the name of the repulsive, despicable ANN COULTER, but then I wondered what answer she was symmetrical with. IN BAD TASTE. Maybe the constructor was telling us something after all.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

CSIS: Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Sort of like the American CIA, but more polite.

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

Also, her name crosses "TACKY", so y'all triggered types can maybe take solace in that?

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shahzad 10:42 AM  

Dog Fashion – Get Exciting Fashion Stuff for Your Dogs
If you’re like several dog lovers out there, then you’d probably want to shower all your love to your dogs. You’ll always welcome innovative and new ideas to make your dog feel blessed and happier. You’ll want to know about exciting and trending dog fashion items pet for, which can be an ideal gift for your lovely pet.

Stylish costumes for stylish dogs

BitSourceIT 5:50 AM  
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Anonymous 3:20 AM  
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wwe 6:46 AM  

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WWE Monday Night Raw Highlights

Movierulz4 11:31 AM  
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