Bandleader Eubanks familiarly / SUN 3-26-17 / Monastery head's jurisdiction / Title creature in 1958 #1 Sheb Wooley hit / Onetime acquisition of G.E. / Lyre-plucking muse / zen master's query / Biggest employer in Moline Ill / Dystopian film of 1971

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Constructor: Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Mixed Results" — colors replaced by crossing colors (in circled letters) that, when combined, create the original color:

Theme answers:
Word of the Day: KOHLRABI (8D: Cabbage variety) —
Kohlrabi (German turnip or turnip cabbage; Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group) is an Biennial vegetable, and is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked. Edible preparations are made with both the stem and the leaves. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was oddly joyless. Not terrible, but without any moments of genuine pleasure, either in the fill or in the clues. Concept is blah, and oddly executed—YELLOW + BLUE = GREEN is a far far far far far (etc.) more iconic color equation than the utterly-new-to-me RED + GREEN = BROWN (???). And then there are really only four colors, and once you know the color gimmick, the themers are way too easy to pick up. Plus the fill has few highlights and the clues just sit there. Nothing clever or interesting. RAZOR WIT has a kind of charm, but otherwise, there's nothing much here of interest.

1A: Martin Van Buren was the first president who wasn't one (WASP) completely killed the puzzle for me, right off the bat. What a no-good, terrible, confusing, stupid clue for a perfectly good insect. Does WASP mean "white Anglo-Saxon Protestant" here? If so ... WTF? No one used that term in the 19th century, so ... I mean, "inapt" doesn't even begin to cut it. I can only guess that this is the information at play in the non-WASP designation here:
Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782, in the village of Kinderhook, New York about 20 miles (32 km) south of Albany on the Hudson River. Van Buren was the first President not born a British subject, or even of British ancestry. He was a descendant of Cornelis Maessen of the village of Buurmalsen, near the town of Buren in the Netherlands, who had come to North America in 1631 and purchased a plot of land on Manhattan Island; his son Martin Cornelisen took the surname Van Buren. (wikipedia)
Who the hell knows or cares about this? No, wait, forget who knows or cares—even if you knew and cared, in what universe do you take your knowing and caring and turn it into a clue for, of all things, WASP, which is a pretty generic, and in my experience, at least mildly pejorative, term? Baffling. That was at 1-Across ... and the sourness never went away. A good puzzle might've made me forget that WASP nonsense, but this puzzle did not make me forget. Instead it gave me SATNAV crossing KEV and TANK UP instead of PACK UP (5A: Get ready for a long drive)—in short, a handful of nuisance moments strewn about a field of blandness. Is this the second ABBACY of the month? That can't be a good sign. Better luck next time; this thing clunked.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ken Wurman 12:21 AM  

Fairly easy for a Sunday. Once We (my father and I) got the pink, the rest of the theme answers came quicky.. most without any fill. Jim Croce was a give away. And didn't we recently have a puzzle with "A Clockwork Orange"? Have a nice day off.

Mike in Mountain View 12:29 AM  

LEONI crossing KOAN may be tough for some solvers.

The themers were easy to get once you sussed out the gimmick, but I admire the puzzle concept and unlike Rex didn't find this joyless at all.

Mike in Mountain View 12:32 AM  

Also, it's amazing how quickly ABBACY transformed from a difficult crappy entry into an easy crappy entry. Maybe there's an upside to a puzzle entry so crappy you don't forget it.

Trombone Tom 12:45 AM  

I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't fully comprehend the color mixing gimmick until I was nearly through with this puzzle.

I thought it was an interesting concept and must have put some real challenges in the way of the constructors. I don't think it was deserving of such a negative review.

Fairly easy and fun Sunday. And no Kanye!

Anonymous 12:47 AM  

I call bullshit - It's well known that Jefferson was the spawn of Normans interbreeding with Picts. No WASP he.

jae 12:54 AM  

Tough until I grokked what was going on and then easy-medium. Thought this was pretty clever, liked it.

abalani500 12:56 AM  

I wish I could say I was tickled RED from my big toe to my WHITEy but I can't. This puzzle made me blue.

Carola 1:48 AM  

I'm with @jae - I liked it. A clever concept and a masterful intersecting of the colors, I thought. It took me a bit to understand the theme: for all I knew, Springsteen's CADILLAC was RED. I caught on with HASH GREENS, and after that, the other theme crossings came quickly. More to like, too: CHOWDERS and KOHLRABI, BRUISERS and EUNUCHS, a SINGLET and a CATSUIT. The MALL COP making a STOP at the GAP was cute.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 1:49 AM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Robin 3:14 AM  

Not bad, not great. The theme was okay, but too many of the answers required RED.

Figuring out the "Target protector" clue have me a giggle while I sat at SBUX working through this one.

FWIW, it's my understanding that Martin van Buren is the only US president who did not speak English at home while growing up/

The Archbishop 3:15 AM  

I solved this puzzle while under the influence of a powerful hallucinogenic drug.

Never have the words had such meaning.

chefwen 3:45 AM  

Filled in HASHBROWNS early on and NTH worked so I thought I had the theme in the bag, then nothing else worked with the crosses, that was my AHA moment. After that it turned into easy.

Had to think about spelling KEANU, between him and Kanye West, one never knows.

@Fountains of whatever, stop already, it's getting tedious.

evil doug 3:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Flaster 3:46 AM  

Marvelous construction.
Like others, once theme was sussed the going became easy. Upon checking this was a DNF -- never changed flOPS to CHOPS or KEn to KEV.
Loved clues for HASH BROWNS and PTA.
The fill was very well thought out.
Thanks TG and JC

evil doug 4:10 AM  

KRAMER: Alright, so there I am at Lorenzo's - loading up my slice at the fixin's bar.. garlic and what-not... mmmm - and I see this guy over at the pizza boxes giving me the stink-eye. So I give him the crook-eye back, you
know...Then, I notice that he's not alone! I'm taking on the entire Van Buren Boys!

JERRY: The Van Buren Boys? There's a street gang named after President Martin Van Buren?

KRAMER: Oh yeah, and they're just as mean as he was!

Ellen S 4:36 AM  

I liked the puzzle, and @Evil's contribution. I did wonder if they had WASPs in the 18th and early 19th century, but what the heck, it's a crossword puzzle, and I figured Van Buren would turn out to be a Dutchman. Not a lot of possibilities - he wasn't a woman or a Catholic or black or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or BLAH BLAH BLAH. . So he just ... wasn't English.

@Rex doesn't know green and red make brown? He never had crayons? (In the small box, where you had to color mix). Rich kid, he must have been, or so poor he had no crayons at all.

'mericans in Paris 5:32 AM  

@Ellen S took the words right out of my mouth: didn't @Rex play with Crayons® when he was a kid? BROWN is, essentially, what one ends up with if you mix numerous colors together.

Mrs. 'Mericans sussed out the puzzle first, with the crossing at A CLOCKWORK YELLOW and MANDARIN RED -- despite being severely jet-lagged -- and the remainder fell pretty easily for us. Would have liked to have seen a YELLOW and BLUE combination to round out the puzzle, however. For example, BLUE DAY ("American Idiot" band) crossing YELLOW WITH ENVY (Extremely covetous).

Great to be reminded of The Purple PEOPLE EATER, but wondered whether millennials might struggle with all of the old-fart clues. We had not only old Bruce Springsteen songs, and 1970s cartoons, but an obscure dog from the 1930s!

So, we'd agree that the fill was mixed. For Martin van Buren, we thought of Whig, but we were pretty sure that Washington and Jefferson had not been members of that party. In fact, MvB was a Democrat, but was defeated in the 1840 election by a Whig (William H. Harrison).

As for ABBACY: EUNUCHS already!

Small grumble: I would have clued KOHLRABI as a "Cabbage family member", not "Cabbage variety". A cabbage variety would be "Savoy" or "bok choy". KOHLRABI is no more a cabbage variety than is Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or broccoli.

However, TANK UP is a better answer to "Get ready for a long drive?" than pAck UP, as one can take a long drive without needing to pack anything. I assumed that the answer was going to be about golf, however, so didn't get the answer quickly.

Finally, we were happy to see the NYT batting 1000 on Hawai'ian clues, with an entry for that ol' standby, Mona KEA (White Mountain).

BarbieBarbie 6:54 AM  

My time walk half-average, so it must have been easy, but it felt tougher than that. I really enjoyed it. Love the Seinfeld reminder.
For everyone's edification: these are mixes of color pigments. Colored light mixing gives you completely other results-- example, red and green make yellow. Cool, huh?

John Child 6:56 AM  

LOL @ MIke in Mountain View on ABBACY. I assume it's in Jeff Chen's list and until recently few other lists. It's a useful puzzle word... better than bishopric at least...

Lotsa RED today. I resisted the repetition for a bit.

There wasn't a Puzzle of the Week from Jeff Chen this week unless I missed something. Curiouser and curiouser.

chefbea 7:37 AM  

Finally a fun easy Sunday puzzle that I could finish...and very colorful!!! Lots of good eats...Kohlrabi, chowder, hash browns...and wash it all down with POM...which I love!!!

Hope everyone is having fun at the ACPT...Anxious to see more pics.

chefbea 7:39 AM  

Meant to say...guess everyone at the tournament is singing Yankee Doodle...since they are in Connecticut!!!

Anonymous 7:59 AM  

Surprised by OFL's brown ignorance. And he's mistaken about the color-mix hierarchy. A good case could be made that the only bypassed combination was BLUE and YELLOW (that's green, for you other pigment-illiterates). Next down the list would probably be gray (black + WHITE).

Had absolutely no issue with and indeed enjoyed the cluing for WASP.

Fun fact, in Russian light BLUE (BLUE + WHITE) has its own word, À la English's pink (RED + WHITE).

Birchbark 8:09 AM  

Not sure it matters whether WASP was a term back then. You could view Van Buren's election as a small but important cultural step away from this country being a set of former English colonies and toward a distinct American identity. Maybe even set the table for the later spate of Midwestern presidents.

I solved around all of the circles and only near the end had one of the better crossword "Aha" moments I can remember. But spelled kohlrabi with an "e" at the end, which gave me a plausible "reel" for "rein", and so guessed that maybe "Amalda" was a name. So did not finish but happily so.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Better be careful Rex or the Van Buren boys will be coming for you. They don't take kindly to anyone dissing number eight.

Hungry Mother 8:25 AM  

Played difficult for me. I got the theme, but struggled with some of the fill.

pmdm 8:29 AM  

John Child: I think Jeff has a minimal bar for awarding the POW. If no crossword for a given reach meets the minimum bar, there would be no POW that week. If my memory serves me well, it's not uncommon for Jeff not to award a POW during a given week. And at least once I remember him commenting that more than one puzzle deserved a POW award during a given week, but he will only award one.

For those who remain confused. There are three primary colors, red yellow and blue. Mixing any two of them gives you a secondary color. Mixing all three together gives you brown. So if you mix one primary color with the secondary color you get when mixing the two other primary colors, you get brown.

I liked having a colorful start to the week.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

What an easy puzzle! Cottoned on right away, filled in all the themers and lost interest in the rest of the puzzle.

Nancy 8:44 AM  

The B-side of my 2017 #1 single? BUT NOT FOR ME. (This puzzle, that is.)

The song from my best-selling album of 2017 that went viral on YouTube? I'M JUST A GIRL WHO CAN SAY NO. (To this puzzle, that is.)

How did you like those pop trivia questions, Tracy and Jeff? Did they give you any trouble? Did they make you, perhaps, want to heave my comment across the room? Well. then you have a tiny little inkling of how I felt when I saw all these long, obscure pop culture answers strewn across the grid. In fact, from what I could see -- even though I didn't hang around for long -- just about every single long answer was an obscure pop culture title. And I said to myself: No one's paying you to do this, Nancy. No one has a gun to your head. So I stopped, quite abruptly. Which reminds me of the song I recorded in back in the late '60s that (although I don't like to brag) went platinum. The title? JUST IN TIME.

BarbieBarbie 8:46 AM  

Actually the three pigment primary colors are cyan, yellow, and magenta, but we teach kids blue, yellow, and red because they don't know what cyan and magenta are. If you have some printed funnies, take out a magnifying glass and enlarge the halftones and you'll see the primary colors. If you do this on a screen, you'll see red/blue/green, because light is additive so you need to use the colors across the color wheel from CMY to cover the color gamut (sort of).
@'Mericans and anon@7:59, I don't think blue and yellow could have been used because there is no way to make a symmetric Roman cross. Aren't the others all symmetric? Can't comment and look, but I think they were.

Brian Scott 9:04 AM  

It took me forever to get the gimmick so when I did it gave me the sweetest hit of endorphins. For that alone, I give the puzzle a thumbs up.

Irene 9:08 AM  

Wild Turkey and Jim Beam are ryes?
I thought they were bourbon: ergo couldn't finish the SE.
Guess I'm a brown-liquor ignoramus.

Z 9:20 AM  

OMG - So much sort of accurate information we acquire in a lifetime. Let me suggest that everyone ignore anything written here about color and start with the very good article over at Wikipedia. Trust me, no matter what you think you know about color, you'll find something new or that extends and deepens what you know. For instance, @pmdm, the difference between additive colors and subtractive colors which makes your comment both exactly right and profoundly wrong depending on your tools. Fair warning, though, this is the kind of starting place that leads one down all kinds of knowledge rabbit-holes. Like, now I wonder what it would be like to be tetrachromatic instead of just a measly trichromatic human.

WASP? Well, my high school mascot was (were?) the Dutchmen, "If you ain't Dutch you ain't much!" so that should have been easier. Started with Whig and knew that couldn't be right. Poor Marty V.B. Stuck trying to clean-up the mess created by a "populist" with little or no policy knowledge who convinced the average white man he was on their side and then proceeded to wreck the economy over petty imagined slights from those more intelligent than himself.

QuasiMojo 9:24 AM  

WASP definitely stings. And not in a good way, for the reasons Rex mentioned. WASP is also redundant since, technically speaking, there are no "black" Anglo-Saxons.

Has "eunuchs" been used before?

I had a big fat DNF because I've never heard of a Papaw tree. And I still don't get "bridge setting" being "West." Couldn't they have clued that as Batman or Honey West?

Yes, Wild Turkey offers a Rye (we've had that answer before) but that type of misdirect for a three-letter word is annoying.

I would have liked this puzzle more if the colors didn't repeat so often.

Plus I had to laugh when I saw the answer to "Comic's asset" -- I don't think there's been a comedian with "razor wit" since Johnny Carson died.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Rex is a real downer. He rarely likes anything. Bummer on a lovely Sunday morning.

billocohoes 9:35 AM  

Quasimojo, check the bridge (card game) column, probably on the same or next page to the crossword. The four players are conventionally designated North, East, South, and West.

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

This must be an easy puzzle because I finished it without having to resort to google. But i had great fun and so happy when I got the color mixing trick. Can't believe that Rex never learned about the color wheel, and also that blue and orange also make brown, as do purple and yellow.

Isandxan 9:56 AM  

PAPAW is apparently the second or third obscure name for a papaya. And if you Google it, the first thing that comes up is pawpaw, which actually Googles much better for a fruit tree. So you have to dig deep into Wikipedia (a link from the pawpaw entry) to even figure out that PAPAW is a PSEUDO-legitimate word. Ergo, unless you play bridge or just guess WEST instead of tEST, you are doomed.

And cluing RYE with two well known bourbons is just dumb. It's like cluing Budweiser as a maker of baseball caps. Yes, it's true, but stupid.

Took a while to suss out the gimmick, but then puzzle was easy. DNF on the barely-exists-as-a-word PAPAW.

Lewis 10:07 AM  

@johnchild -- I hesitated to put i the RED repetitions as well.
@rex -- I love that psychedelic Van Buren!

I solved it thinking it was just color switches in the theme answers, and didn't think to look farther, so finding out the blends of colors theme aspect increased my appreciation of the puzzle. I was Naticked at KEV/SATNAV. And I liked the clue for MALLCOP. The solve went quickly and got my brain rolling for the day.

Wishing those in Stamford, CONN, lovely solving experiences today, and an exciting finale!

Unknown 10:09 AM  

A quibble: aren't all Targets free-standing stores and not part of a mall?

Unknown 10:13 AM  

I really liked it. Easy-ish but the fill was cool and I guess I've become such a nerd that I enjoyed the reference to the classic puzzle where you actually had to fill in the color orange in the grid to get A CLOCKWORK _______. If anyone even remembers that...

kitshef 10:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitshef 10:20 AM  

Normally I find Sundays quite unpleasant - dull and too easy.

I liked this one. The theme was nifty - though I wanted more than the four themers.

And after yesterday's brutal puzzle, it was nice to have one I could sail through.

@Rex spent waaaaay too much time worrying about WASP. And doesn't every kid soon learn first hand that green + red = brown?

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

@Joseph Welling No, they are not all free standing. The Target in Bellingham, WA is definitely part of the mall.

I liked the different color combos. I was like Nancy and was discouraged that I had no idea of any of the long acrosses on the first pass. But after doing the downs, I discovered that I could fill in the long acrosses without much trouble. I agree that WASP was clued weirdly.

OISK 10:25 AM  

Add me to the list of DNF on Kev-Satnav. It was certainly gettable, if one went through the alphabet, but KE_ for a male nickname comes up "KEN" for most people, and like many, I didn't change it when SATNAN made little sense.

I have actually heard, despite my voluntary insulation from most pop culture, of both bad, bad, Leroy Brown ( next line ends in town...) AND the purple people eater, so I wasn't bothered by those clues. For me, this was a pretty nice colorful Sunday puzzle, and I enjoyed it despite the DNF.

Jamie C 10:30 AM  

The New York Times just changed my "best" Sunday time to 6 seconds. So there's that.

Mohair Sam 10:30 AM  

@Rex - SHANE - Where's my Jean Arthur shot?

I Remember years ago explaining to a black friend how I wasn't a WASP because I was born an Irish/Polish Catholic. He said "Shit, from where we stand all you white dudes are WASPs." - He had a point.

The puzzle? Played medium for us. Two of my favorite constructors - but I gotta agree with Rex today. Also agree with those who thought it silly to clue RYES with two famous bourbons. I can now use ABBACY in a sentence. If WASP made Rex a bit uncomfortable, I felt worse with EUNUCH. And hand up with the Whig crowd (bad mistake).

QuasiMojo 10:35 AM  

@billocohoes -- thanks for explaining the bridge thing to me. I do the puzzle in an app so I don't see the bridge column anymore and rarely looked at it before. I never learned bridge although I loved playing Liverpool, which is kind of similar, as a boy. And thanks to those who explained the color wheel stuff. The Browning Version would have made a nice title.

Dolgo 10:35 AM  

I think you are really being picky, @Rex, when you object to WASP as being an anachronism. It was pretty obvious, since anyone at all familiar wit American history knew it couldn't be Whig. You just had to go through the list if the first 8 presidents and it pretty much just jumped out at you. This kind of hyper correctness suggests a pedantic streak that I thought I was the only member of this group to possess.
I, of course, liked the geezer clues. As I've said many times before, the constant appearance of the latest rapper and sports figures needs to be balanced a bit, out of fairness. Therefore I was really glad to see Peyey, Sheb Wooley, and others.
I found this puzzle to be a nice change from the usual ones, that are just a matter of filling in blanks.

RooMonster 10:43 AM  

Hey All !
Got theme at the BLUE/RED=PURPLE spot. Then the YELLOW/RED=ORANGE spot. Saw the two others, and figured RED had to be a part of it, since how many other three letter colors are there? Helped with BROWN, as like Rex, that seemed odd.

Had Whig for WASP (Hi @'mericans) until almost the end. Writeovers, bartend-TENDBAR (when bartend didn't work, I said Wha?), unitard-SINGLET, ABBott-ABBACY (not sure why y'all have issues with that), and jad the R and N in HASHGREENS, and put in bRowN before grokking theme, thinking colors would be switched in themers. (But then the PURPLE part wasn't working.)

So, enjoyed it more than OFL. And amazingly, got puz 100% correct! Didn't get my usual pne-letter DNF. Close, as wasn't sure of JUNTAS, CALMS (how is that a difficult sailing condition?), and TANKUP/KOHLRABI. Haven't heard of Cabbage type, have heard of Broccoli Rabe. And KOHLs store. :-) Also, OUTAGE, as clued. Oh, wait, just reread clue. Now I get it! I would say lightbulb moment, but it is an OUTAGE!


Paul Rippey 10:43 AM  

I thought Van Buren was the only president who wasn't married. Couldn't find a four letter word that fit. That and a few other blind spots and I DNF'ed it out of the park.

Clever theme anyway.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

OK, @Mr.Sharp, I guess you don't like the use of the acronymed-word WASP. What a rant over a non-issue. Following on your displeasure of ROEvWADE yesterday.

And I thought that it was only the first-rate northeast universities that had PC junkies, not backwater ones like Binghampton!

JamieP 11:00 AM  

Had an early mental block that there were multiple "red" answers. Once I got it, though, I had a definite "aha" moment that Rex said this puzzle lacked for him. Technically a DNF for me, but my iPad allowed me to try ken/keo/kep/kee/kel before kev gave me the little jingle. I turn up my volume so all in the vicinity can nod approvingly.

Oh, and "does anyone remember laughter guy"--I'm not sure where you think you are, but you should go back to Two and a Half Men or whatever Chuck Lorre vehicle you find so hilarious. The adults are talking on this blog.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

Andrew Jackson was Scots-Irish; technically not Anglo-Saxon or WASP.

Charley 11:13 AM  

Jim Beam and Wild Turkey are bourbons.

Norm 11:13 AM  

This was fun. I confidently put down WHIG for 1A and went ... nowhere. Fortunately BAD BAD LEROY RED made the light bulb come on, and it was a pretty easy solve from then on. I thought the clue for WASP was both very clever and very hard to guess. Classic Jeff Chen.

Lojman 11:32 AM  

I agree that WASP was off. For one thing, it wasn't clued as an abbreviation, which it definitely is. Secondly, I am a 43-year-old WASP myself, and have never heard the term used in the wild other than as a bit of an insult or accusation. Please understand, I do not equate it even remotely with any of the more common pejorative racial or religious terms. It's not even in the same stratosphere. But in 2017 that's what it is. Finally, I think the clue points to a distinction that may have been relevant in the 19th century, but is pretty trivial today.

Really enjoyed the theme, but was surprised not to see a yellow + blue = green answer pair. The presence of RED in all four pairs kind of throws the whole thing off kilter.


RAD2626 11:52 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle even though I am embarrassed to admit that I just thought color words had been randomly switched which seemed like a silly concept as a standalone theme. I should have paid more attention to the title of the puzzle which is apt and clever. Once I found out about the theme I liked the puzzle a lot. Like most Jeff Chen puzzles, meticulous attention to avoiding junk fill, partials etc. I thought the grid was splendid and liked cluing.

SHANE is such a great movie. My favorite scene is the commotion in the corral where the poor cows try to climb the fence. I hope they got it done in one take. The whole movie is worth watching for that one scene.

Mohair Sam 11:55 AM  

@Rex - I see Anon (10:46) has moved you to the Hamptons. Hoity-Toity indeed. It least you've gotten away from that endless 81/17 construction.

Unknown 11:59 AM  

As others have suggested, this was an entirely different puzzle if you didn't get the theme early. I had finished everything, except for the theme blocks (and probably a few of their immediate neighbors). I knew the four colors that were supposed to go with these answers, but I was clueless. Great aha moment when I finally got this.

Trey 12:13 PM  

We have a name for light BLUE as well - Carolina Blue (GO HEELS!!!)

Stanley Hudson 12:23 PM  

Enjoyed this much more than did OFL.

I find the Golden/Laughter person to be rather fascinating. What drives this sort of repetitive, obsessive-compulsive behavior to post on, let's face it in the larger scheme of things, a mildly diversionary and amusing blog?


Liz T. 12:34 PM  

Why does it matter whether the term WASP was used in Van Buren's time? It accurately describes what was unique about him. (It's said that of all presidents up until Kennedy, Van Buren's the only one whose lineage can't be traced back to King James.)

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Rye v. Bourbon. Please, just stop.

Unknown 12:51 PM  

For one, Colorado Mills Mall in Denver contains a Targer.

Trey 12:51 PM  

Bridge (the card game) positions are the points on the compass

JC66 12:55 PM  


Great post.


Im no sailor, but I believe that when it's CALM (no wind), it's tough to sail.

old timer 1:07 PM  

I read this review, and said to myself, "I guess haters gotta hate." Indeed, OFL was so overcome by his hatred he missed the few things about the puzzle that should have been criticized. Earlier posters have pointed them out. Gotta say, though, SATNAV is legit. I don't know if it is still in military use, but it certainly was.

I thought WASP was brilliant. In my experience, it is more often an observation than a slur. I would be a WASP myself, but my great-grandfather married a Catholic girl whose roots were in Maryland, so all his descendants are at least nominal Catholics, and for the most part quite devout.

"Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and RYE." But the two brands mentioned are by no means the most popular. Probably Bulleitt is today, but if you like rye, you might want to try Redemption. RYE is essential to an Old Fashioned, and I much prefer it to bourbon in a Manhattan.

Maruchka 1:07 PM  

'SHANE, come baaack!' Great movie directed by the great George Stevens. He knew more about screen love than just about anyone.

Well, this is another fine mess, OLLIE. Should have trusted the easy crosses would reveal the theme. Argh.

Fav of the day - MOB. I can see them now. Hey, PETEY - suss dose emus wit der gats 'n dolls.

Dad earned a RED/BLUE Heart at Okinawa. We were fascinated with his NAVal possessions. Knives, binoculars, medals, maps, all brought in for '50s show-and-tell. Now? We'd be arrested.

Andrew Heinegg 1:11 PM  

Sigh. I don't mean this in any kind of a personal way but, I find Mr. Chen's work consistently tedious. It seems to me that his puzzles have too many crossword cliches and commercial names. The two together make, for me, as Rex said, a joyless solving experience. What happens is that I seem to zoom through most of the puzzle and, if there are ever answers that I don't get right off the bat, I have stopped caring by then. As for the theme, did I notice that the crossed colors all come up brown and did it amuse me when I came here and found out that they did? Sorry, but no and no.

Then there is a technical issue. As Charley pointed out, Wild Turkey and Jim Beam are bourbons, not ryes. Bourbons contain at least 51% corn, which both of those brands do. Ryes are made mostly from rye grains. Shocker!

I usually find at least a couple of answers that I really like in Mr. Chen's puzzles and today they are junta, which was cleverly clued and kohlrabi being a cabbage which, being a decent cook and a bit of a foodie, was interestingly unknown to me.

I almost feel guilty for being so negative. It is just a wavelength I can't seem to get on. And, judging by most of the commenters today, I am on a bit of an island in this regard. Oh well.

JC66 1:12 PM  

Also, considering the theme, surprised no one mentioned that 29 D (STEEL) shouldn't have been clued as color (shade of gray).

Masked and Anonymous 1:14 PM  

M&A does lotsa watercolor paintin [for a week solid, once a year], soo can completely identify with and enjoy this SunPuz. However, this composition does bleed pretty RED, as others have mentioned. But … very clever idea, with eight themers, crossin in pairs. Always a tricky thing to manage, fill-wise, around them cross-themer squares. No wonder that the constructioneers really really liked RED.


fave weeject: KEV. Was worth it, to get weirdball different SATNAV. Apropos desperate KEV clue: {There's no "I" in Chcken ___ (chef team's maxim??)}.

Admired KOHLRABI & RAZORWIT, for their bizarro letter combos. Hard to beat a good CATSUIT, btw. Somehow faintly knew ROUSSEAU (first name: KANYE, as I recall).

@RP: yep. PACKUP/CITE were my first two entries. Lost valuable nanosecs (altho overall, a fairly easy solvequest). Anyhoo … wrong again, RP breath.

Thanx, TG & JC. Another nice collab (5 for 7 on puzcollabs, for the week).

Masked & Anonymo10Us

Janice Rossi 1:14 PM  

Also, WASP is an acronym. Was there an indication in the clue that the answer would be an acronym/abbreviation?

Nancy 1:15 PM  

@JC66 (12:55 p.m.) -- That's so nice of you to say. Thanks so much!

evil doug 1:15 PM  

I was hoping the little kid in Shane would get shot in the face. Irritating little punk....

Happy Pencil 1:22 PM  

@Roo, when the wind is calm, it's very tough to read where it's coming from and very tough to capture it to actually move your boat. So yes, that clue is accurate.

@Paul Rippey, you're thinking of James Buchanan, the only "bachelor" (wink, wink) president.

@others, bourbon is rye/made from rye. Try a rye and ginger someday -- probably sacrilege to those of you who like your liquor straight, but it's the only time I ever drink hard alcohol.

I enjoyed this puzzle and thought the mixing of colours was a unique idea. Sunday cluing, in my view, can't be too clever, given that the puzzle has to appeal to more casual solvers. So this seemed very solid to me.

Numinous 1:27 PM  

I haven' enjoyed the past several puzzles hardly at all. I thought the gimmick here was cute but hardly memorable. Oh well . . . .

WASP, HaH! I vaguely recall discovering, in elementary school, that I was one. Still am, I suppose.

Living in a primarily black neighborhood a while back, I was across the street talking cars with two of my neighbors trying to figure out a problem I was having with mine. I don't recall the conclusion we came to but I really cracked them up when I said, "I guess I'm just going to have to cracker patch it." Boy, did they look shocked before they started laughing.

Then, of course, @Trey, there is Go Doodger Blue!

Anoa Bob 1:37 PM  

Liked the theme since the science of color vision is bowling in my lanes. Fascinating subject, for sure. As I remember, if the three primary additive (i.e., from a light source) colors are equally mixed, you get white. If the same three reflective (i.e., from pigments) colors are mixed, you get black.

The three primary colors are coded at the retinal level by receptors (cones) that have maximum sensitivities at three different wave lengths of light (electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum). Further along in the visual system is a four color process where green/red & blue/yellow (plus black/white) are opposites.

That set the stage for a crowd-pleasing in-class demo involving negative after-images. I would tell students that I could make them experience an hallucination, that is, see something that was not really there in the external environment. [gasp!] Want to try it?

Click on THIS IMAGE. Stare at the white spot in the middle for thirty seconds or so, longer for a more dramatic effect. If your gaze wanders off, and it will, just return to the white spot again. Now shift your gaze away to a white, flat surface such as a wall, and hold it still for a few seconds. Blink a couple of times. Neat, huh?

But I think the most fascinating thing about color vision is that it is all in ours heads. There is no color in the external world, just differing wave lengths of light. Color is the way our nervous system codes those differences.

This lecturette is now complete and we return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

RooMonster 1:48 PM  

@JC66 and @Happy Pencil
Ha! Thanks for that. I didn't have the sailing part in the ole brain, was thinking a motorized boat, so I was all like, "Who wouldn't want to be in CALMS?"

I remember the word DIRGE from "Down Periscope". :-) Awesome movie. See it if you haven't.


*Some Random Ramblings...


Numinous 2:00 PM  

I have been beCALMed in the middle of Santa Monica Bay in my Hobie Cat for hours at a time. Every now and again we would see a bit of a breeze heading toward us (a breeze will make ripples on the calm surface of the water) only to die out before it even stirred a sail. Those times proved to be remarkably CALMing and peaceful and meditative. Sooner or later, an on shore breeze would come, producing some of the fastest sailing I've ever done with both hulls in the water (13 knots).

hankster65 2:08 PM  

CALMS - If it's calm there's no wind to propel the boat.

hankster65 2:13 PM  

Enjoyed the cleverness of the color mixing theme immensely. Somebody buy Rex some RYES and cheer the poor man up.

hankster65 2:15 PM  

Very interesting!

Canon Chasuble 2:38 PM  

I never knew that SatNav Was "military" for GPS. Satnav is the standard term for GPS In much of Europe

GeezerJackYale48 2:45 PM  

Agree on both points. Sitting here on the west coast and approaching the puzzle leisurely I get to see a gang of comments about the puzzle. Pretty evident Rex has seen too many puzzles to like many , in contrast to most of his readers.

Anonymous 2:48 PM  

If the constructors had used yellow and blue, as Rex suggests, he would have been whinging about the lack of consistency because all of the others used red as part of the combination.

Julope 2:50 PM  

I liked delighting as a clue for outage.

GeezerJackYale48 2:54 PM  

Yup, dumb clue for rye. Strange choice.

Tim Aurthur 2:57 PM  

Is it really inappropriate to use a modern term to describe a person who lived before the coining of that term? For example, Beethoven's father was an alcoholic; the word alcoholic didn't acquire that meaning until the mid-19th c. So it's not allowed?

GeezerJackYale48 3:07 PM  

Agree with your first statement. Second one is kind of a cheap shot, don't you think? Even when you spell Binghamton right.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Isn't the term *rapier* wit? As when one sticks the sword in and twists it slightly, while taunting the one about to die. Benvenuto Cellini did just that. *Razor* implies nothing but sharpness.

Amie Devero 3:09 PM  

It was ok... Agree with Rex about wasp. Totally meaningless distinction without any distinction. The big theme disappointment and source of SMH was why it was necessary to re-use colors. Kept expecting new entries... but alas, we never saw any interesting variations like violet, mauve, purple or aqua and instead got "red" over and over. So the theme got very staid very fast.

CDilly52 3:21 PM  

I got more pleasure from @Nancy's comment than I did from either the "famous" pop culture references or the mixing colors theme. Nancy made me truly laugh out loud. Hand up for WHIG before WASP (yes it absolutely is an abbreviation). In fact this became almost a DNF because of the WASP. Got the "theme" at the fruity MANDARIN, because the answer was clearly RED so aha, and meh. . . simultaneously. Spent almost as long trying to finish the NW as the remainder of the puzzle.

What really makes a "theme" a "good theme?" I know I prefer clever and related plays on words with an even more clever revealer, but is that concept what all you pros consider to be best for themes?

All I can say is, like @Nancy, this one left me slightly blue, but never Carolina blue...I'm a staunch Buckeye.

Rug Crazy 3:45 PM  

Rex nailed it again. I saw WASP and knew he wouldn't like it.
SATNAV/KEV was the only place that gave me trouble. Blog, once again, more entertaining than the puzzle.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

Right on, Rex. My sentiments exactly. Completely joyless slog.

kitshef 3:57 PM  

@Maruchka - thanks for the post of the day re: emus.

Nancy 4:48 PM  

What a lovely thing to say, @CDilly52. I'm so glad. Thank you!

Alan_S. 4:57 PM  

Compared to the average NYT Sunday puzzle these last couple of years, this was a gem. Exactly what the Sunday edition should be:
Original, clever, breezy and having a theme that produces a genuine aha moment. For me, this one had them all. Thanks Tracy and Jeff (pardon my friend Rex, he always seems to be a bit cross. Will, more like this please!

Can't We All Just Get Along 5:04 PM  

Things we can ALL agree upon (except Z, of course)

The USS Wasp was an aircraft carrier
The USS Van Buren was a schooner-rigger cutter
Martin Van Buren drank rye.
It is probable that he was stung by a wasp at some time in his life
He may have also dined on wild turkey.

JC66 6:37 PM  

No spoiler, but I just did tomorrow's puzzle and I can't wait to read all the comments.

Teedmn 7:38 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot and enjoyed my discussion of it with Tracy Gray at the ACPT. I had some trouble around the JUNTAS area but otherwise it was enjoyable. I was using the random solving function I use on Sundays.

Thanks TG and JC!

Unknown 7:43 PM  

@John Child

I emailed Jeff about the lack of a POW and he said that the Monday Neil Degrasse Tyson one was his POW, but it wasn't notated as such. Not sure why yet.

jberg 7:57 PM  

Definitely easy once I saw the theme, which was fairly early in the process. I was expecting scrambled letters at first, but suddenly the GREEN/RED one clicked, and I pretty much filled in all the others. Minor complaint: A CLOCKWORK YELLOW but (the) WHITE PANTHER SHOW. I guess the inconsistency was needed for symmetry, but it's too bad.

@QuasiMojo, here are some PAPAWs along with a song about them only spelled with an additional W, far more common.

And let me join in the praise for @Nancy's comments -- I always enjoy them, actually.

Anonymous 10:09 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle
very much.
The theme was clever
and the cross was tough.

D and A

Doc John 12:28 AM  

SATNAV is perfectly legal. Maybe because I have a lot of British friends but that is what they all call their GPS, too. Frankly, I like it better.
But yes, overall the puzzle was a clunker.

Joe Bleaux 12:29 AM  

Hu hu! Thanks for the memory ...

Joe Bleaux 12:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 9:08 AM  

Oh - I just loved this.
I'm an artist-wannabe, and have always loved mixing colors to get others. Only complaint is I would have liked to see more.

Liked "mixology" in the cluing - another hint to the theme??

I normally try to avoid the theme and the constructors when solving.
But yesterday afternoon, as I was leaving ACPT, I saw previous champion Howard Barkin, and went to say goodby.

Well, sitting next to him was Tracy Gray!

Acting like the starstruck solver that I am, I introduced myself, and handed her my puzzle board to autograph. We spoke for a long time. She is wonderful!
Thank you, Tracy, for taking time to talk to one of your fans...

Oh wait - a complaint - it's HINEY!!!! ;)

Question - which of you two are sailors...the answer to 105D Difficult conditions for sailing eluded me for a long time, because of course, we're looking for all the conditions that terrify, like dense fog, 30' waves, etc.. Ironic, because here on Lake Candlewood, and Long Island Sound, it is sooooooo common to have dead CALMS. And together with lots of power boats and barges in the water, it is, in fact, very difficult to sail!
Ha!! Ya got me.

Thanks for a Sunday I'll remember for a long time.

Wm Martin 10:48 AM  

I thought this was lightly clever and whimsical and easy which was a good thing as I solved it in an airport and on the plane, both places I usually find difficult places to solve. (I'm a WASP btw.)

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Paul Rippey : James Buchanan was the only unmarried President. And I think there are letters in which he discusses searching for male relationships.

I was stumped for quite a while on my first "color-mix" after confidently entering "Hash Browns."
Once I corrected "brown" to green due through crosses, the puzzle became super easy.

I'm surprised people haven't heard of SatNav - I was never in the military, but it's in lot of TV & movies....
(Then again, I have a son named Kevin, so Kev seems a common nickname to me.)

I'm also surprised Rex didn't like the mostly clean fill....not a lot of groaners.

And Rex must not have had much elementary school painting, where we all learned three primary color paints mix to brown - so red-green and blue-orange and yellow-purple all work (of course, later on we were confused in physics class when we heard green was a primary color.)

Unknown 12:45 PM  

I, too, had a problem with the "rye". I'm not a big drinker, but I know that rye whiskey by law must contain a minimum of 51% rye. Wild Turkey and Jim Beam are bourbons which must contain at least 51% corn. They may contain some rye, but they are NOT ryes. Gimmie a break.

Sommgirl 12:53 PM  

What's a SEDGE, anyway? I mean obviously it's a rush on a bank, but it's not even in for goodness sake!

Anonymous 8:12 PM  

Many bourbon distilleries also produce ryes.

#Nowyouknow 9:26 PM  

Hi @Sommgirl! SEDGE is in my, which gives it about 3/10 for difficulty index, ie, 'Most English speakers likely to know this word.'

SEDGE [sej]
1. any rushlike or grasslike plant of the genus Carex, growing in wet places.
Compare sedge family.
2.any plant of the sedge family.
3.siege (def 5).

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

Funny thing is, I DO know a bit about Martin Van Buren. Living in MA but being a native of your Triple Cities, for literally decades I've driven past the signs on the Thruway Berkshire Spur for his homestead site, and this summer we finally stopped in to visit. As with all National Park sites, the tour and the experience was excellent (go quick before Trump and the Repubs de-fund them all). So the first thing I thought of was that Van Buren was the first native born (after 1776) American president, but that didn't fit in 4 letters. Second thought was non-Whig, but anyone who's had their history refreshed through the joys of Hamilton knows there were presidents from opposing parties, so that didn't work either. When the answer became apparent, I agree, WASP was a HUGE let-down.

Paul 9:50 PM  

They are bourbon. Corn. Not rye.

Robert Berardi 8:23 PM  

I don't think the color mix needs to be "iconic", but nor do you need all that science (additive, etc.) to understand how brown is made. It's made by mixing two complementary colors, i.e. colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. RED + GREEN, ORANGE + BLUE, YELLOW + PURPLE.. any of those mixes will make (more or less) BROWN.

Fun art tip: to paint a shadow in color, mix the local color with its complement. So for a banana, lay down a purple shadow, then paint the light part yellow, and then mix that yellow right into the purple. Boom, shaded banana!!

rondo 10:48 AM  

Thirty-one minutes of, well, filling a large grid with little theme. But any puz with RON in it can’t be all bad. And yeah babies all over with Tea LEONI, ANNE Hathaway, AMANDA Peet. Toss in one time wild child Lindasy LOHAN and maybe KEANU for the ladies and it’s just chock full. Crossword-ease OKAPI, EPEE, etc. SARI, gotta get to work. Come back SHANE . . .

Burma Shave 11:29 AM  


it’s the SEMI-SINGLET CATSUIT he likes,
but it’s PSEUDO-ENIGMA and PART folly –
SARI, no RYES from a REAL messed UPDIKE.


faktchekker 12:02 PM  

Both the Jim Beam and Wild Turkey labels DO make a RYE whiskey. However, neither of those RYES would be considered their signature product. If you order a Jim Beam or a Wild Turkey by name from someone who TENDsBAR, you would get a bourbon. I believe the clue is "off".

spacecraft 1:05 PM  

To @OFL: Why do you do this? You can't possibly enjoy it. I don't know where in your life you DO find any joy, but it's surely NOT critiquing crosswords. Why don't you just retire (from this) and turn it over to Andrea or Annabel? Then maybe you can have a little FUN somewhere.

I chose NOT to be personally offended by 1-across; it's just a descriptive. Curiously, the first letter of the acronym represents--a color! I am in agreement that RED + GREEN = BROWN is a new mix. But overall I thought the theme was very clever and certainly SCOREd some originality points. The fill also was clean, ABBACY aside, and as @rondo pointed out, DOD candidates crowded the stage. All those he mentioned were good ones, but give me Michelle Pfeiffer--in that CATSUIT--and it's all over (as in "I used to kiss her on the lips, but it's all over now!"). Liked it. Birdie.

Unknown 3:03 PM  

They make a rye.

Eric Selje 3:05 PM  

6 seconds? Impressive!

Unknown 3:13 PM  

Once and for all Wild Turkey and
Jim Beam also make rye.

AnonymousPVX 3:58 PM  

Ok, I finished it, so it's not that. But…some truly horrible clueing coupled with the hated "gimmick" puzzle where the gimmick is just… a gimmick.


Anonymous 4:03 PM  

those bourbon companies may make a rye, but the clue is obviously misleading. Its sorta like a 7-letter word with the clue: "Heinz and Hunts". I think more folks would fill in ketchup before mustard. Nevertheless, since I already had the Y, I just groaned, shook my head, and filled it in.

mis-cued on the theme at first. Thought it was a play on some kind of shade of a color (i.e. BADBADLEROYtan). Finally got it after winding up at CLOCKWORKorange, which fit the space but not the crosses, nor my mistaken idea of "change the shade".

Diana,LIW 4:08 PM  

At least five out of my ten first answers were wrong. WHIG for WASP (even tho I KNEW that had to be wrong!) TEESUP for TANKUP - you get the drill. A little help early on gave me a dnf, but also a puzzle I could work on. SATNAn and KEn would have done that trick anyway.

I enjoyed the theme, but didn't realize till coming here that the colors combined - duh on me. I just kinda thought, uh oh, green paint. Too bad green paint wasn't in the puzzle. ;-)

At first it seemed heavy on the PPP - maybe because the PPP didn't give me any toeholds. 'Cause I didn't know them, or know them immediately.

Keep in mind, I hadn't had any coffee in 2 days when I started this. Finally put on my sneakers and was off to the Safeway for caffeine sustenance.

Mr. W is insisting on buying me a new computer, tho I have absolutely no problems with my current one - sites come up in seconds, and my computer uses are limited. (Email, Rex, weather, googling, the occasional word doc.) This would mean changing to Windows 10. I've heard W 10 is very baaad. Any thoughts? I hate buying needless stuff, having one more dead computer gadget in the house - this is wrong on so many levels. Help!!!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, but not for computer apps

leftcoastTAM 4:48 PM  

Got the theme early enough and had fun with it and most of the rest--until ending up in the SE:

RAJ/JUNTAS/AILEY and SATNAY/KEY crosses finished me off instead of me finishing it.

Unlucky guesses in unfamiliar territory.

Used Rex's suggested tactic of going for all the three- or four-letter answers first, then moving on the longer ones. It was helpful.

leftcoastTAM 5:33 PM  

You could have been a little less unforgiving of this pretty clever puzzle. It was not perfect, but it was good.

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

Sedges are not rushes. Sedges have edges; rushes are round.

Diana,LIW 7:43 PM  

And Ruffles have ridges.


Anonymous 9:41 PM  

@d,liw If you only use your computer for the things you listed, a Chromebook should meet your needs for less money that a computer with Windows 10.

You can set the default of Windows 10 to look pretty much like your Windows 7. That is what I did for a friend who just bought a new PC with Windows 10. She had no problems adjusting (ie: no phone calls for help).

Diana,LIW 10:20 PM  

Thanks, Anon. The real problem is - I HAVE NO PROBLEM. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I love my computer - just the way it is.

d, liw

Joe 1:23 AM  

Last time that I will read this blog. Too negative week-in, week-out. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous 7:19 PM  

Why should it matter that the term "WASP" wasn't in use at the time of Van Buren? No one referred to Neanderthals or dinosaurs as such when they walked the earth, and no one used the term World War One or the Six Day War while they were happening.

Anonymous 1:32 AM  

I worked this puzzle a week later when it ran in the Shreveport Times. Everywhere your original puzzle had circles, my puzzle had a black block. Imagine how difficult that would be. No idea how many letters to use and this on top of some strange clues. Also, because of that black block, some of the numbers for across and down were missing. This is the first puzzle in a long time that I could not finish. I could not figure out the theme until I read this column. Thanks for explaining the theme and several clues!

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

My puzzle, week later, i The Stuart Florida paper had all black squares where the original were white....made it annoying and almost impossible for me...UGH!

Tracy Mc 6:55 PM  


Tracy Mc 6:56 PM  


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