Two-masted vessel / TUE 2-28-17 / Infamous prison featured in 1969 best seller Papillon / Breakfast food with rhyming slogan / Setting for much of movie Lion / Quaint inn informally

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Constructor: Jacob Stulberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for Tuesday—time just over 4)


THEME: STAND-UP GUYS (28D: Honest sorts ... or what the circled squares contain?) — circled squares contains synonyms for "guy" running "up"...

Theme answers:
  • NET NEGATIVE (4D: Outcome that's overall unfavorable)
  • RADICAL LEFT (26D: Socialist Workers Party's ideology)
  • ILE DU DIABLE (9D: Infamous prison featured in the 1969 best seller "Papillon") 
Word of the Day: ILE DU DIABLE
île du Diable ("Devil's Island") is the third-largest island of the Îles du Salut island group in the Atlantic Ocean. It is located approximately 14 km (9 mi) off the coast of French Guiana in South America just north of the town of Kourou. It has an area of 14 ha (34.6 acres). The island was a part of a controversial French penal colony located in French Guiana for 101 years, from 1852 to 1953. Although it was the smallest part of the penal colony, it is notorious for being used for internal exile of French political prisoners during that period. The most famous political prisoner on Devil's Island was Captain Alfred Dreyfus. (wikipedia)
• • •

Why do I feel like I've seen this exact theme before, but done with stand-up comics (e.g. LENO) instead of words for "guy"? Dunno. I do a lot of puzzles. Anyway, this seems a fine idea. Not one that really helps you solve the puzzle, or one that you even really notice as you're solving, but ... there it is! It played much harder than average for me, largely because of the beyond-Tuesday themer ILE DU DIABLE (real outlier, familiarity-wise), but also because of ugh-ish cluing on ERRED (25A: Muffed one), which I read as "adj. noun" and thus had as ERROR. This meant that with BANDB in place, I went with AT WAR for 7D: Not on good terms (with) (IN BAD). I also did not know a BRIG was a ship (I actually wanted BRIG, but talked myself out of it: "That's a ship's *prison*" I said to myself) (23D: Two-masted vessel). Had "Ready, SET" not "Ready, AIM" at 24A. Finally, couldn't figure out 44A: Things ghosts lack (BODIES). They have BODIES. They're just not ... solid? I don't know; something about that clue seems wrong / dumb. Oh, and I started with ELSE instead of ALSO at 3D: In addition. If you draw a line across the grid from NW to SE corners, virtually all of my trouble was on the upper (NE) side. That was like a Wed./Thur. puzzle for me. Rest was normal Tuesday.


How come VALE is just, like, an ordinary word today, and not all "poetic" or whatever it was a couple days ago? (54D: Area between mountains). It was not at all clear to me that 57D: Breakfast food with a rhyming slogan (EGGO) wanted a commercial product. "Slogan" didn't tip me off. After all, milk and eggs have councils that produce ads with slogans (e.g. "Got Milk") so ... yeah, went with EGGS at first. What is the movie "Lion"? (36A: Setting for much of the movie "Lion"). Is that famous? Ah, I see it was nominated for a bunch of Oscars this year. I literally have never heard of it until just this second. Meanwhile, I watched my 60th (!) movie on TCM since Christmas today. "Mildred Pierce" (1945). I am rapidly becoming not just old (i.e. stuck in my own past), but hyper-old (stuck in my grandparents' past). I'm hoping it at least pays some crossword dividends.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

90 comments:

Uncle Meemaw 12:06 AM  

I'm not just drunk, I'm dead drunk!!!!

Hazel W 12:14 AM  

How is Munchkins a clue for Elves? Munchkins are from the land of OZ (invented by Frank L. Baum) and have nothing to do with elves. I've heard of children being called munchkins, but. . .children are not elves either! So that was a terrible clue/answer. (Maybe they mean that they're both small, except for that elves are tall in many mythologies and are usually only called "the wee folk" ironically.)

Charles Flaster 12:18 AM  

In agreement with Rex especially that it should have been placed on Wednesday.
URSINE was one good piece of CROSSWORDease.
Theme was easy but did not expect FELLA.
Liked the design and symmetry.
I know someone out there remembers Sid BORGIA. He was a helluva STAND UP GUY.
Thanks JS

Whirred Whacks 12:19 AM  

Nice puzzle.

Speaking of TCM, I like how they've ordered their offerings for their annual "31 Days of Oscar" festival (running during Feb and early March): this year the movies are presented in alphabetical order. What fun! I got to watch "The Deer Hunter" (1978), "Deliverance" (1972), and "Designing Woman" (1957) on consecutive days. Robert DeNiro, Burt Reynolds, and Gregory Peck are STANDUP GUYS.

I assume there have been xword puzzles where the answers are in alphabetical order. Am I correct?

jae 12:24 AM  

Tough Tues. for me too because what @Rex said. Liked it, but it is not a Tues. @Hazel - I can vaguely see ELVES for Munchkins if you really push the small person definition, but not on a Tues. for Baum's sake.

@Uncle - sounds like its time for a night cap!

Moly Shu 12:38 AM  

RADICALLEFT ? In my NYT puzzle, how dare they. Do I have a right to be as upset and hurt and offended as @Rex and @NCAprez and @AndrewHeinegg are when alt-right or Devos make it into the puzzle??? Probably not, because I'm a homophobic, misogynistic deplorable and we're not entitled to have feelings. Other than that, I liked the puzzle. Especially the themers. Nice effort.
Relax, I'm just kidding

Robin 12:41 AM  

A couple early clues made me wonder, "Is this a Tuesday?", but nevertheless I got through it pretty quickly. Maybe you could argue it was really a Wednesday, but it was much too easy for a Thursday.

ILE_DU_DIABLE seemed practically a gimme to me, as Papillon was on TCM a week ago. But I would have known it anyway, as I first saw the movie at the theater 40-some years ago.

Anonymous 12:50 AM  

Rex-Go see LION--it's a terrific movie

chefwen 1:32 AM  

Thank the Crosswords Gods I never saw the clue for 9D, I would have said ILE DU wha? Got it with crosses only. Pretty difficult for a Tuesday. Got through it with only one write over though, ON Hire before ON HAND. Must be the Brit in me coming out.

Wonder what ever happened to my JEAN jacket, loved that thing.

puzzle hoarder 1:56 AM  

I must have skipped a publishing step and lost my entire comment. No more time to waste. I'll just mention that this was easy and BORGIAS was a debut only because it's a POC. Good puzzle though.

Larry Gilstrap 3:06 AM  

I experienced none of the blind alleys encountered by OFL and toddled through this fine Tuesday in a lot more than four minutes. I have such respect for speed solvers, but when I set a chronometer, I feel stress and glaze over. And then he describes his thinking process during the solve? DUDE!

Never made the OLEO connection with Kosher food, but it makes perfect sense. That's all we ever ate growing up and had no idea of Jewish dietary restrictions. We called it butter, but it was just cheaper.

One nit: B AND B is B&B in signage, in my experience. Sure, I know all about the puzzle letter+and+letter convention, but humor me!

I guess INCAS is proper in plural form, but the vast Inca Empire was run by a relatively small group, less a race and more like a class. They were managers, and very good at it. They had no written language and kept meticulous financial records and cultural history on knotted cords. Kinda like that scanner at Albertson's identifies your grocery items. Then, European contact destroyed it all.

Hartley70 4:09 AM  

The short answers made today puzzle feel easy, but there were several stumbling blocks among the entries. BRIG here is short for BRIGantine, not the jail onboard a ship. It should have been clued appropriately.

I remember the movie "Papillon" but it was released a very, very longtime ago. The name of the penal island escaped me until I saw the crosses. I hadn't realized Devil's Island was off the coast of South America. That sure was a long way to schlepp the "bad dudes".

NETNEGATIVE and RADICALLEFT feel less like clever entries and more like current buzzwords. There's not much music in their souls.

I know more about LATVIA than I ever expected in this life. I have a friend born in Latvia who returned there several months ago after leaving RIGA as a child refugee in WWII. I'm told the inhabitants all drive BMWs and live to eat phenomally well, especially pierogis. The days of care packages from American relatives are long gone.

I liked this puzzle because it was a STANDUPGUY and wasn't dumbed down to an ordinary Tuesday level. Good one!

Jonathan Alexander 5:00 AM  

Agree with Rex that the cluing was a bit rough in patches. As an example, here is the Merriam Webster definition of GHOST

a disembodied soul; especially : the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness

Notice the last few words? You could literally clue that answer in countless ways....parts of beer ratings (dunno why that came to mind first), mass grave scene, etc. etc. This is put on Will Shortz.

Aside from that fun puzzle...felt the theme could have been a little denser, but maybe tough to do with downs unless you made them shorter (sORBet, sCAMmer)

Anonymous 6:04 AM  

Disembodied means w/o a body. Appearing in bodily likeness is in contrast to "appearing" in bodies.

BarbieBarbie 6:24 AM  

Here's a bit of news: Papillion is a BOOK. (With McQueen on the cover, so ta-daaaaa.) Helps to spell stuff if you've read it. This puzzle was easy for me; I just filled it in. The only hard part was figuring out the circles afterward. When I finally got that, I had a Rexian reaction: meh. Enjoyed radical left so soon after Abbie Hoffman even though it's a vale-like coincidence.

Passing Shot 6:47 AM  

@Hazel W --I had the same reaction re munchkins/ELVES. Also not crazy about the cluing for RADICALLEFT -- I was looking for some sort of "ism," which led me to maxim for TENET. Had the most trouble in that bottom central section. Overall, decent puzzle.

Lewis 6:55 AM  

Theme was cute, Tuesday appropriate, and, as the NW was my last section to fill in, that T in GENT actually helped my solve. I like the AXLE/TONAL/HALE line, with its L-ending sounds. I like the palindromic neighbors of ONO and BOB, and the backward PEELS near SPA. There is a DROP down. HOBBES touched a warm spot in my heart. I learned that OLEO is kosher. YESMEN echoes the theme, and ERRED reminded me of the Oscars' big oops moment.

There are some other stand up guys in the grid: NAT, ED, ELI AL, and the aforementioned BOB.

The puzzle is on the harder end of Tuesday, but short of Wednesday, so it should give new solvers a taste of what's to come without being overwhelming. I had a grand old time with it, and thank you for all you put into it, Jacob!

Rip Tailor 7:05 AM  

The combination of a JEAN jacket and denim trousers (preferably both faded identically) is known as a "Canadian Tuxedo." Usually worn with a mullett haircut.

wgh 7:40 AM  

I give this one an ugh.

Rhino 7:41 AM  

Hobbes may or may not have been imaginary. Mr. Waterson never let us know - and it is certainly not Will Shortz's place to decide.

Otherwise... meh. It was a fine, unremarkable Tuesday.

Z 7:42 AM  

Does BAND B only record B-sides?

Is the RADICAL LEFT a bunch of former squares?

Are the Barenaked Ladies ever going to do a song about Brian Eno?

Would ERGO EGGO be a great slogan?

Was anyone else expecting a less positive analysis?

Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

@puzzlehoarder: BORGIAS is not what you call a POC. There were lots of famous BORGIAS, even a Pope or two, almost all bad dudes (Lucretia was a superbad dudette). The family is often referred to as "the BORGIAS." I thought this okay for a Tuesday. I don't keep track of my times (only competitive solvers do that -- which I only seldom am), but it didn't produce a great deal of sweat from me (BRIG, LION, even ILE DU DIABLE were easy enough). If you think it should have been run on Wednesday, okay, it should have been Wednesday.

chefbea 8:05 AM  

Never heard of some of the themers but got them with the crosses. Wanted tiny do-nuts for munchkins!! Loved the clue for chili!!!

kitshef 8:19 AM  

With a little more work, this could have been a perfectly dull little puzzle, with a weak theme, to be forgotten by ten am. But that north central section moved it into the realm of terrible.

CTA was OK from my days at U of C, but has to be a WoE for some. Clue for LAIN was awful. IN BAD is just garbage. TONAL, B AND B, yuck. The thing is there appears to be only modest theme-related pressure on that section, so why is it so poor?

We've had this kerfuffle before, but HOBBES is certainly imaginary, as is Calvin, and Susie, and Miss Wormwood. They are fictional characters in a comic strip.

Forsythia 8:27 AM  

I thought the correct term for people who live in Latvia was Letts? Anyone else have a "huh" on that answer?

Autrement 8:28 AM  

Got EG and was confident that we were talking about "the incredible edible EGG(S)"

I have to say that "encountered" is quite the euphemism for what happened with Pizarro and the INCAS.

Clueing for ERRED and ELVES is off. And surprised Rex let the awful TKT off the hook.

Is being IN BAD a thing? Pretty sure I'm not using this right, but this puzzle is seriously IN BAD with me.

QuasiMojo 8:32 AM  

I thought this puzzle was a disappointment, even for an easy Tuesday. Not only was the clue for "elves" completely wrong but it was stupid. Same with "quaint inn" informally. I've been to a ton of B&B's that are anything but quaint.

Since when does "stand up" mean to read something in reverse?

Purists may have wanted "exam" indicated as an abbreviation. "Lain" means "done nothing"? Since when?

"Allure" and "charm" have a lot of "air" between them.

Not all country singers have "twangs."

Too many abbreviations, too stale. And "oh no!" we had both "Ono" and "oleo" in one grid. That about sums it up.

I'm surprised by Rex's "kindlier" review. I am glad that he is catching up on all the great TCM movies. Mildred Pierce is a classic. As is "Papillon" which was just on TCM last week. And "Vale" is a better answer for a clue about Bette Davis in "Now, Voyager."


johns 8:38 AM  

I thought "Lion" was the best, most moving movie I have seen this year. Maybe it didn't make it to the hinterlands. Check it out!

Wm. C. 8:48 AM  

Re: @Rex unfamiliar with the movie "Lion."

I guess he doesn't read this blog, either. Sunday I around noon I posted a paean (my crosswordese is showing) to the FLICK (see what I just did there?). Ended with "Do yourself a favor and see it."

Yakov 9:06 AM  

Я решил головоломку за 3 минуты, и я не говорю по-английски. Давайте все становятся проститутками.

Wm. C. 9:10 AM  

@Autrement --

Re: TKT: I guess you've never been to NYC. There are several TKT booths (including the famous flagship booth in Times Square, with large-script signs) for unsold same-day plays. Discounted substantially. A great deal if you want to see the play.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 9:10 AM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Canon Chasuble 9:13 AM  

When you're from Boston, "Munchkins" can mean only one thing, "Dunkin' donuts." Oh, and endless kids' Saturday morning sports.

Roo Monster 9:17 AM  

Hey All !
DUDE! HAWAII is farther South than Florida? Neat fact.

Actually surprised no one has carped about it being another male-oriented puz. I actually submitted a female-oriented puz, titled For Her, but it didn't pass the muster.

All that aside, liked todays offering. Always liked FELLA as a descriptor. Had a lady call me that once when I was younger, not Young FELLA, just FELLA, which sounds strange on it's own when spoken.

Does anyone think ALSACE is being used too much lately? IN BAD is bad. Is that a real phrase?

BAND B-When the Main act cancels. Fun clue for CHILI. Writeovers, ONHire-ONHAND (Hi @chefwen), Rex's set-AIM, espy-SPOT.

Overall, puz was AOK, just ERRED a bit, LASTED just long enough for a half cup of JAVA. Didn't have the URGE to do YOGA at my DESK. ERGO, the ALLURES of my BODIES remains IN BAD TENET. :-)

AS WELL AMONG YES MEN
RooMonster
DarrinV

Carola 9:44 AM  

My brain is poking along this morning on a wonky AXLE (SLEEP having eluded me), so with the wheels turning slowly, the grid was filled at a leisurely pace. I enjoyed seeing the theme come into view and ILE DU DIABLE emerge from the mists. Favorite line: LATVIAN ALLURES (attributes of a Riga siren).

@Autrement - INCAS' BODIES seemed to sum up the result of that "encounter."

Mohair Sam 9:50 AM  

Wow, slept right through Tuesday - and then had to battle this tough Wednesday - but we persevered.

@BarbieBarbie - Checked "Papillon" out of my library a couple of months back and the book was so old that a picture of a butterfly was on the front and a 1969 photo of Henri Charrière (the author - a much more imposing man than Steve McQueen, btw)) was on the back - the movie had not yet been made. For those who may not know the book is an autobiography covering 11 years in the life of Charrière. It contains more than a bit of braggadocio, but it's a hell of a read. The movie leaves out tons of interesting stuff, ends far too soon, and the Dustin Hoffman character is a compilation of a few people and in many cases a total fiction.

@Wm C - Thought of your post as soon as I saw @Rex's comment on "Lion" - a flick we very much intend to see.

Joseph Michael 10:06 AM  

Though thin, the theme was AOK, but why are these three guys standing upside down? And, if there's a reason for it, why isn't the revealer doing the same?

Agree that munchkins ain't ELVES and that there seem to be a lot of VALEs in the grid lately. Also think that either EGGO or ERGO should go find another puzzle.

Had a moron moment while looking at HAW--- and trying to figure out what southern state that could possibly be.

Still stumped on how LAIN is the equivalent of "done nothing."

Also thought that the "start of many a doctor's visit" was sitting in the waiting room and that the EXAM actually was the visit.

But enjoyed the puzzle overall and appreciated the fact that it had a little more bite than the usual Tuesday.


GILL I. 10:08 AM  

Every single word in the puzzle has been spoken for already. Wow!
@Larry G. Thanks for the INCAS reference. I am fascinated with the history of the INCAS and the Mayas - well, just about all the Central and South American INDIAns. The talking-knots you referred to are called Quipus. No written language at all, just a bunch of knots to let you know when your mortgage was due.
I rather enjoyed the puzzle. Too bad we only got three.
ZORBA The KEEG.

Numinous 10:08 AM  

This puzzle took twenty seconds longer than my Tuesday average and left me with nothing. Ok, I liked ILE DU DIABLE. I enjoyed the movie Papillion.

I remember ABBiE Hoffman in Berkeley in 1964 before I'd ever thought of anything like a RADICAL LEFT. (T)(N)(E)(G) meant nothing to me, I should have read up on that. (E)(D)(U)(D) tipped me off and I was wonderign what the third one would be. (A)(L)(L))(E)(F) got me thinking about the Aribic origin of that word, FELLAh and the FELLAheen. A shortened form of FELLow? Well, maybe. But you wouldn't (or at least I wouldn't) say, "He's a fine FELLA" I'd say, "He's a fine FELLow." So to me, they seem different words.

"Leggo my EGGO." I'm gonna bet even @Oisk has heard that one.

In the end, all I had was, "Ok, that's done. What's next?"

r.alphbunker 10:21 AM  

First entry was CHILE for 5A {Dish that's sometimes rated in "alarms"} CHILI and it stayed there for the whole puzzle like an original sin. That eventually gave ELEDUDIABLE for 9D {Infamous prison featured in the 1969 best seller "Papillon"} ILEDUDIABLE which I read as EL EDUDIABLE which seemed Spanish enough.

Detail are here.

Biffgnar 10:24 AM  

Without getting into a debate about whether all literary characters are imaginary, I was still bothered by the clue as in the comics I believe HOBBES is very real as a stuffed a tiger. It is his coming to life and having adventures with Calvin that is in Calvin's imagination.

I think I saw someone question LATVIANs v. Letts. I've always thought of Letts as more of ethinic regional people, while LATVIANs would be all residents of the country of Latvia.

And completely agree that Munchkins are no way ELVES.

Nancy 10:24 AM  

I agree with Rex that most of the difficulty for a Tuesday came from ILE DU DIABLE -- which I didn't know either. But it's one of those puzzles where the effort and skill involved in constructing it isn't matched by the joy of solving it. And 26D should have been clued: "Socialist Workers Party, e.g.". RADICAL LEFT is not an "ideology"; RADICAL LEFT is a position on the political spectrum. Also, I never think of a GRIN expressing sheepishness (although I suppose sometimes it does). I think of a GRIN expressing happiness or amusement. But these nits aside, not bad for a Tuesday.

QuasiMojo 10:42 AM  

Cole Porter wrote " Lithuanians and Letts do it. " so perhaps the quibble is apt?

Nancy 10:46 AM  

@Joseph Michael (10:06) I had the same reaction as you -- that the EXAM isn't the start of the doctor's visit; it's the whole focus of the visit. I was looking for an answer such as WAITING or STRIPPING or WEIGH IN or BLOOD TEST or even URINE SAMPLE.

jberg 10:53 AM  

The theme did help me -- it gave me the FELLA in the otherwise incomprehensible RADICAL LEFT -- I agree, not an ideology. Trotskyism would be the right answer there. (And @Hartley70, think of Joe Hill - a radical leftist with music in his heart, all right.) And I hate to explain this, but since some people seem puzzled -- they are STANDUP GUYS because they are words for guy and they read up, not the usual down. Good enough for me. AS WELL, according to Wikipedia anyway, BRIG and brigantine are different things -- same number of masts, but rigged differently. It's news to me, too.

As for HOBBES, fictional characters are no doubt imaginary to their creators, and (one hopes) to the reader -- but not necessarily to each other. Within the strip, it's equally valid to think that Hobbes describes himself as a stuffed animal when there are people other than Calvin around.

I think I read Papillon when I was a teenager -- or maybe excerpts in the Saturday Evening Post or someplace. It didn't help much, but eventually I saw it was going to be Devil's Island in French, fair enough.

Didn't we just have ALSACE, as well as VALE?

Leapfinger 10:53 AM  

Show me the WHEY to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed


@Rex, it's true that ghosts lack BODIES; what they have is ectoplasm. My personal nit had to do with lackeys, who aren't necessarily YESMEN unless they also happen to be lickspittles.

On a whim, I also went with the MEDICIS before the BORGIAS (ruing one POC more than the other). I think on account of the motto Festina Lente speaks to me more than Aut Caesar, aut nihil [Aut aut, damned spot!] By the same token, it could also have been the SFORZAS by La SFORZA del destino, but Basta, basta!

Lucrezia BORGIA
Would never forgia
Simple signatures
On deeds with ALLURES
When poisons ON HAND
Produced BODIES so grand-
ly easy that even Cesare
Found his heart's Désirée
But sadly in disarray.
[with special permission of OGDEN, Nash not Utah]

Thought this a nice tight theme that deserves Honourable Menschen

Seattle Rick 10:57 AM  

Dear Rex,
You may be rapidly growing older but you've been a bit crotchety for a long time

Seattle Rick 10:59 AM  

Dear Rex,
You may be rapidly growing older but you've been a bit crotchety for a long time

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

I thought it was easy because anything challenging you could get with the crosses. Way faster than average Tuesday time for me. Nearly half my Tuesday normal time.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:05 AM  

Was this Xword EDITION by Jacob Stulberg, Medium-Challenging for a Tuesday, ALSACE it was! WHEY to go, JS!

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

what does POC mean? and WOE?

Wm C. 11:25 AM  

@Anon11:06 --

Plural of Convenience (easy way to fill the grid).

And What on Earth (geez, wasn't able to guess that one!).

Warren Howie Hughes 11:28 AM  

Dearest Leapy, Your comment this day, IMHO, is your Magnum Opus! A tour de force never before equalled, neither here on Rex's blog, nor over on Deb Amlen's Wordplay! You're without peer, the non-pareil of posters, and I am so proud you once so delightfully held me in such high esteem...I miss you terribly! :-)

RAD2626 11:42 AM  

I was one day early with my BAND B lament. Made virtually every mistake Rex listed and still finished in normal Tuesday time albeit a significant multiple of his. Liked the theme and the fill just fine. Off to a good start for the week.

@Charles Flaster. BORGIA and Earl Strom were real characters and great officials. With Joey Crawford gone, the entire roster is colorless and definitely not crossword worthy.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

In what alternative universe is it possible to watch 60 movies in two months, do a zillion xword puzzles, and knock out this blog every day? Oh...I forgot: college professor universe.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

Thank you, Wm. C., for that answer. Had no idea what POC could possibly mean, and thought that WOE just meant a clue/answer that causes worry and upset because it is too difficult to be solved.

Now I get it!

Matthew A. Harmer 11:55 AM  

I also had ("incredible, edible") EGGS in place of EGGO.

John V 12:17 PM  

Agree hard for a Tuesday. Wanted DALE for VALE but ELDES would not parse.

Andrew Heinegg 12:32 PM  

What a weird Tuesday; the Socialist Workers Party is one of those fringe groups that, for reasons best known to members thereof, do things like nominating a slate for President and Vice-president which persons are ineligible for the positions. And so, yes, I think you would have to say their ideology is radical although I would tend to describe it as in left field rather than radical left.

As usual Nancy is spot on in objecting to exam being the start of a doctor's visit, which itself should be written as visit to the doctor or doctor's appointment. How about the start being checking in, verifying insurance continuation with same company, waiting! etc.

I suppose that in bad has been said by someone sometime as an expression but I have never heard it or seen it written.

Do you suppose that there are casinos in Vegas that will give you odds and let you bet on Mr. Trump talking about his landslide win in the election in his speech before Congress tonight? I would be willing to bet on that one.

Charley 12:50 PM  

A friend who's a girl is an amiga. A girlfriend is a novia.

Numinous 12:54 PM  

I believe that in Las Vegas it is probably possible to bet on practically anything with a variable outcome.

I'll note that at the begining of many visits to a doctor, a nurse will check the weight, the blood pressure, the temperature and the pulse rate of the patient before the doctor even arrives. I'd call that an EXAM. Then, depending on the reason for the visit, the doctor may do some actual probing or may merely discuss the patient's problem and then write a prescription. Not all appointments are for physical EXAMS which typically are annual or even less frequent.

Joe Bleaux 12:55 PM  

LAIN bugged me too. Maybe as in, "What have you DONE today?" "NOTHING ... just LAIN around." I dunno. As @kitshef noted, that whole north central block was sketchy.

Anoa Bob 1:00 PM  

Maybe it's a regional or generational thing, but I have a couple of jackets (Lee) made of heavy blue denim and I call them denim jackets, not JEAN jackets. I call the denim pants blue JEANs.

With EL NIÑO, AMIGA & NADA already in place, I blithely dropped in ILE De DIABLo. Then the U at 27A URSIÑE showed me I had ERRED.

Anon@11:06, more than you ever want to know about the Plural of Convenience (POC) here.

Biffgnar 1:03 PM  

Even Vegas bookmakers have their limits on the dumb prop bets they'll offer. On the other hand Irish/English bookmakers love that stuff. That's the place to go.

JC66 1:28 PM  

@ RAD2626

*@Charles Flaster. BORGIA and Earl Strom were real characters and great officials. With Joey Crawford gone, the entire roster is colorless and definitely not crossword worthy.*

IMHO Mindy Rudolph set the standard.

Teedmn 1:31 PM  

Tough Tuesday for me, closer to a tough Wednesday time-wise. I couldn't see 1A so skipped to 5A and put in Curry as I prefer Thai or Indian to Tex-mex. But HOBBES and ABBIE helped me imagine a different solution there.

When I finally got 1A, I slapped my forehead - one of my favorite songs, by 'Ol' Yeller' a band from the Iron Range of MN, is JEAN Jacket Weather. Only an Iron Range band would wish that every day was CHILI enough to wear a JEAN jacket.

Even though I watched the Oscars and saw more than one trailer from "Lion", I still put in suDan off the D of ADS at 36A when it should have been obvious it was INDIA.

Nice theme, if sparse, so thanks for the Tuesday puzzle, JS, even if you tried to exile me on the ILE DU DIABLE.

puzzle hoarder 1:36 PM  

@glimmerglass, thank you for your response. I referred to BORGIAS as a POC because in my opinion that S is only there to make the word fit the allotted space. What got me looking into it was it's debut status I found it odd that such a famous name has never been used while I can easily recall MEDICI just from the Shortz era. It turns out MEDICI has appeared 10 X. As it's plural version 0x. BORGIA with no S 3x. I know it's common to refer to family names in plural but when the clue just calls for the name it shouldn't be plural. JEAN on the other hand should be plural. It's JEANS material. Who would say JEAN material? Pardon the TMI.





Masked and Anonymous 2:00 PM  

EDUD! Worth the price of admission, right there.

@RP: Agreed, that this is probably the 60th crossword that has used the down & backwards = "get to put 'up' in yer revealer" gimmick. At least U get to enjoy havin the circles family drop by. (yo - can be switcherooed to: "family circles"!) And Mr. Grebluts did to a mighty proud job, fillin up the grid.

Well, OK … maybe yer upper northcentral grid zone had the high desperation/low-U-count coefficient workin against it, I'd grant. That can be fixed, but what it boils down to: INDIA must go. Then U can re-do the deadly ???DB ending of 22-A to ???DE, and the rest is gravy, edud. [Complete changelog parking in the rear.]

staff weeject pick: TKT.
Extra-cool fillins: FLICK. Opening with a "J". HAWAII (with primo clue factoid). LATVIAN. BODIES & ALLURES, with their esses in the ASS.
Has a NYTPuz ever had HAWAII in the 5-0 Across or Down position? Or … ever have three themers go "up" into an ASS entry?
Better clue for INBAD: {Beheaded sailor, post-seventh voyage??}

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Stulberg.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Not IN-BAD version:
ACROSS
5. Valuable strings
15. Superman, to family members
18. One hundred smackers
22. Not just blue, shoe-wise?
34. Camera name
36. Mother of 23-Down
DOWN
5. Doggie show monogram
6. Ministers' digs
7. Making sound, in a way
8. Beret target
23. Son of 36-Across
32. Dark time at the poetry slam
34. Upstanding canal mule??
37. The Odyssey, for one


Trump's ultimate "red outing" puz:
**gruntz**

Düdie 2:15 PM  

OLEO? Seriously? I keep kosher and while we do separate meat and milk, any restaurant which serves milk will also butter. Personally I prefer margarine, but there's no reason I can't have butter. Boo.

Hungry Mother 3:52 PM  

I enjoyed some early week crunch.

Roo Monster 4:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Orcutt 5:59 PM  

Ok- a Spanish "girlfriend" is NOVIA-- female Spanish friend is AMIGA.

Also agree about the elves- rotten.

Peter Mowrey 7:41 PM  

Speaking of Oscars, has anyone done Erik Agard's current Oscar-themed puzzle yet? ("And the Oscar Goes To...") I worked this one yesterday, and once I caught on to the "gimmick," my jaw hit the floor. One of the most brilliant puzzles I've seen in a long time!

Bill Feeney 9:31 PM  

Am I the only one who doesn't understand what Masked and Anonymous is saying in his posts? I think they are cleverly written but I feel so out of it for being unable to parse the meanings.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 10:37 PM  

@Bill Feeney, try some LSD.

Badmom 11:40 PM  

Highly recommend "Lion". Interesting side note, it was my first non-Trump related cry in nearly 4 months.

du 11:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
No. 1 Fan 12:39 AM  

@Bill Feeney, you'd have more reason for concern if you understood @M&A's posts. I think you'll notice yourself understanding more if you keep on reading his comments, but you'll have to monitor things closely to see if the marginal benefit outweighs the side-effects of that indulgence. The abyss looking back at you, and all that good stuff.

If you're up for it, clicking on the sign-off 'gruntz' links and trying to solve his minis will help you understand @M&A's writings a little better. As noted, this carries its own risk.

Z 12:48 AM  

Catching up on comments and picking my jaw off the floor. It's a comic strip, so I guess there various ways to deconstruct it, but HOBBES is most easily interpreted as Calvin's imaginary friend. Watterson always draws HOBBES as a stuffed tiger whenever anyone but Calvin interacts with HOBBES. Unless you believe Pookas are real... but Harvey tells me that's just silly.

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Penelope 11:51 PM  

That bothered me no end, but as neither the Munchkins nor Elves have special-interest groups to represent them ... I guess they will continue to be smeared by crossword creators willy-nilly.

spacecraft 11:35 AM  

I remember "picking up" a copy of "Steal This Book" by ABBIE. Great stuff, especially memorable was the diner check switch. Luckily I didn't have money issues at the time, so never worked up the nerve to try it--despite being URGEd to "do it!" by a DUDE I knew.

I guess I'll never understand OFL--which may be a good thing. In one breath: "Why do I feel like I've seen this before?" In the next, "Anyway, this seems a fine idea." He doesn't usually like things he's seen before. Me? I did not like it.

After a long (I was hoping for permanent, but what can you do?) absence, the ampersandwich is back! That's enough to scuttle it all by itself, but there are other issues. With a NETN start, the term "NET NEGATIVE" is clearly descriptive of the clue...but WHO says that? And WHO says "INBAD?" I suppose you could write an OGDEN-like couplet:

I read all about the Journeys of Sinbad;
With many monsters that GENT was INBAD!

Despite these uglinesses, I didn't have as much trouble solving as our Fearless One. I unwisely put an O at the end of ...DIABL_ (wrong romance language there, FELLA!) and so wrote in SLOTH for the thing that tryptophan induces. I had not yet reached the reveal line. I was looking for a shorter one: MAN UP! That was the only place I ERRED, and it was quickly repaired.

At the start, I really wanted WAIT for the start of many a doctor's visit. DOD is TINA (either one mentioned in the clue: both have fine BODIES). Cute mini-theme with "pal"s BOB and NAN, but that 22-across abomination must be penalized. Bogey.

Burma Shave 12:55 PM  

AIR BANDB

YES,MEN, my LATVIAN AMIGAs ASPIRE to keep
the ALLURES of their URSINE BODIES a surprise.
With no NETNEGATIVE they may ASWELL SLEEP
AMONG INDIAn ELVES WHO are STANDUPGUYS.

--- JEAN HOBBES

leftcoastTAM 1:58 PM  

Long downs with built-in themers were good ones. Not sure, though, that the Socialist Workers Party is all that RADICAL.

Have to be a bit more careful about where you place a political group on the ideological spectrum, which has become pretty scrambled these days, hasn't it?

A little hesitant about LAIN for "Done nothing", and didn't know about the OLEO topping for kosher food.

NET positive here today.

rondo 3:08 PM  

Not that I minded, but it sure seemed like a HALE of a long way to go for so little themery.

I too had a copy of ABBIE’s book, and someone did steal it from my car. I believe that’s irony.

Either TINA could be your yeah baby today; guess it depends if you like it nice and easy or if you like it nice and rough. Me, I’ll take the beginning and do it easy and then I’ll do the finish rough. Or the LATVIAN.

Nice NEAT grid on a Tuesday. With all of this OT I might fall aSLEEP at my DESK.

rain forest 3:21 PM  

@Spacey - "Man up" Perfect.

A few observations: Up here we indeed call it a JEAN jacket. ERGO that is a correct clue. Mr. Ed only speaks to Wilbur when they are alone. HOBBES comes to life for Calvin only when they are alone. Make of that what you will. Pizarro certainly piled up the INCA'S BODIES; it's all there in the BORGIA'S EDITION. Finally, in my VAST experience, NET NEGATIVE is in the language.

I agree with @leftcoastTAM that this was A SWELL puzzle and not a NN.

Diana,LIW 4:42 PM  

Found most of the puzzle easy, but above Tuesday word wise.

But then...got stuck in the NW. Couldn't come up with JEAN for the longest time, and having ONcall instead of ONHAND didn't help things along. Finally JEAN got me going and it all straightened out.

Except for dALE instead of VALE - had no idea what ELdES were, but my munchkin knowledge is small. (sic) ERGO, dnf.

Had a socialist roommate for a short while who was certain "the revolution" was coming soon. WHO knew? That was 1973. I thought his idea was pretty RADICALLEFT.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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