Counterpart of JavaScript / THU 3-16-17 / Pipe with tube / Eco-frienly seafood designation / Bacchus Ariadne painter circa 1523

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: REDACTED (66A: Used a black marker on ... or a hint to three chunks of black squares in this puzzle) — three 15-letter answers are each interrupted by three black squares, which you have to interpret as blacked-out (or "redacted") squares. In each case, the blacked-out squares are initials of agencies that might engage in redacting themselves:

Theme answers:
  • LOOSE-LEAF BINDER (19A: Student's note-taking aid)
  • DOLPHIN-SAFE TUNA (36A: Eco-friendly seafood designation)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS (52A: Large wire)
Word of the Day: J. COLE (27D: Rapper with the 2013 #1 album "Born Sinner") —
Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985), better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer. Raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early 2007. Intent on further pursuing a solo career as a rapper, he went on to release two additional mixtapes after signing to Jay Z's Roc Nation imprint in 2009. // Cole released his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, in 2011. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, and was soon certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[3] His next two releases, 2013's Born Sinner and 2014's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, received mostly positive reviews from critics,[4][5][6] while being both certified platinum in the US. The latter earned him his first Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Album. 2014 Forest Hills Drive was also the first rap album in over 25 years to gain platinum certification without any guest appearances or features. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is pretty cute. The revealer is what makes pop—it provides a nice visual, a nice explanation for what has happened to those letters (as I was solving, I was thinking I was headed for something like "UNDERCOVER" or the like). I once made a puzzle for the program of an off-Broadway play about Jack Ruby (true story) that had the FBI and the CIA hidden in it, but they were "hidden" in circles. I like the theme answers themselves too, just as answers in their own right. Well, OK, I don't *love* ASSOCIATED PRESS, but the other two are pretty original. I don't think a LOOSE-LEAF BINDER is a "note-taking aid," though. You don't take notes with a binder. You might keep your notes in one, although you're more likely to see spiral-bound or composition notebooks. Actually, you're increasingly likely to see some electronic device or other (though not in my classroom—sorry, kids). Loose-leaf binders are pretty chunky. Clue on ASSOCIATED PRESS is a little cheap, with its ambiguous and not-at-all in-the-language use of "wire" (i.e. you would call the AP a "large wire service"; you would not call it a "large wire"). But maybe the difficulty needed to be amped up some. In any case, this theme works fine.

["Private EYES"] (48A: Hawks have sharp ones)

Not too much trouble with the solve. REST____ could've been STOP, so I had to wait a bit there (18A: Place with picnic tables, often). Never can spell ROGEN's name right; went with ROGAN initially. Did a double-take at STRIAE but decided it was probably right and moved on. Had most trouble at DJED / J. COLE. It's a fair cross, in that "J" is really the only letter that works there for 26A: Played at a party, say, but it's always super-dicey to cross an initial in a proper noun that you *know* not everyone's going to have heard of (J. COLE is huge, but likely not so much with your crossword-solving crowd). The term NATICK (meaning an unfair crossing, usu. involving at least one non-iconic proper noun) came from crossing NATICK at the "N" with "N. C. WYETH," i.e. from crossing a not-exactly-famous-or-even-inferrable place name with an *initial*. But again, here, even though solvers may have to run the alphabet, that alphabet should (last I checked) lead you to "J." I don't think any other letter makes sense there. I should add that this section was made slightly harder by the highly ambiguous clue on SENSATION (46A: Hit).

Fill in this one is not strong (e.g. ITI III), but it's not weak either. Not a fount of fun, but not exactly an ODE TO SSNS, either. Somewhere in between. Kind of heavy on the improvised, silly-sounding adjectives (GLUEY! STATICKY! SILTY!) but I found those more colorful than irksome.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 7:24 AM  

xxxxxxxxxxxxx quite fun xxxxxxxx Joel xxxxxxxxxxx is the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx man xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx didn’t xxxxxxxxxxxx really understand xxxxxxxxxxxx the word xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx REDACTED xxxxxxxxxx untilxxxxxxxxx now xxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxx HOOKAH xxxxxxxx in HEELS xxxxx

And “Evie" xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx before xxxxxxxxx EDIE xxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxx THE TRUTH xxxxxxxxx is xxxxxxxxx getting the xxxxxxxxx SHAFT xxxxxxxxx these xxxxxxxxx days xxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxx Go xxxxxxxxx Heels xxxxxxxxx

evil doug 7:26 AM  

OR SO should be clued 'thereabouts', not 'roundabouts'.

Excellent theme work. Three meaningful and vivid phrases, three different redacting organizations.

Let me preempt everyone: "Yay, ACME'S in the grid!!!" You all can shut up now.

Lewis 7:27 AM  

Brilliant theme idea -- I love the visual of the redactions. And terrific clues for TIE, AFT, and ASSOCIATED-PRESS. The HOOKAH is appropriately high, and there's a mini-theme of double E's (5). It's a beautiful grid, with every section well connected. Enough grit here to feel good about solving, and two lovely AHAs. Thank you, Joel!

FETUNA -- Sounds like an old smelly hat.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

Much love for the theme, so I’ll give some of the shortcomings a pass.

First word in was STATICKY, and was pretty surprised when it stayed in.

“Don’t doubt me!” is probably the worst clue I’ve ever seen.

Nice to have the ACLU keeping an eye out on all those redacted orgs.

STRIAE is a pretty cool word. Maybe we can have a theme some day of six-letter words with three consecutive consonants in reverse alphabetical order!

Trey 7:32 AM  

LMS - best review ever (fits theme perfectly). Agree totally with "Go Heels!"

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

Still waiting for the world to come to the conclusion that rap isn't music. Should have a "c" in front of it.

Do I sound like a grumpy old man?

I qualify.

Hartley70 7:38 AM  

It's perhaps too much to ask, but I wish the REDACTED letters in the three horizontal themers had a vertical component also. A girl can dream.

I had the idea of the trick early on when I completed the NW and saw LOOSELEA. I hunted around for a nearby F until I saw NDER in the NE and got the gimmick. I didn't have any difficulty seeing the missing letters in the other two theme answers. I was finished by the time I saw the reveal. This wasn't quite tricky enough to make the Thursday Hall of Fame, but I would have enjoyed it on Sunday's larger scale.

I thought there was nice misdirection in roundabouts as ORSO (I had my car stuck in a mental rotary) and 7-up as a TIE. I tried gooey before GLUEY. I needed crosses for SETHROGEN because I skipped "Steve Jobs". I'm not big on biopics. I didn't see Stone's "Ali" either.

@Aketi, I'm feeling your pain when I think of KNEE, although I'm sure you weren't guilty of an underhanded attack unless we're talking literally.

Lewis 7:38 AM  

@loren -- Sounds like this puzzle caused you no paXXXweat.

John Child 7:39 AM  

This played pleasantly hard for me. The downs weren't helping enough to see any full theme answer, but I made progress elsewhere until the reveal. Filled in the era but still had to work for the completion. Quite a nice solve.

Johnny 7:44 AM  

I thought JCOLE sold shoes.

Glimmerglass 8:02 AM  

Fun gimmick. This is the sort of thing I look forward to on a Thursday. I never noticed that the REDACTED letters were agencies until @Rex. Even cooler. Good review, @Rex.

wgh 8:03 AM  

Thursdays are usually my faves and this was a good one.

Oscar 8:23 AM  

Nice theme, though I'll ding it a few points for using AP, which doesn't have its redacted letters spanning multiple words like the other two. Not very friendly letters, CIA. Maybe should have used OSS instead.

ECOLE/DEED would've been more typical for the NYT. Maybe JF is trying to attract solvers under 50.

chefbea 8:26 AM  

Never heard the word redacted to mean blacked out so too tough for me!!!

Hungry Mother 8:32 AM  

Another quick one for me this morning. Got the theme right away and sailed through it.

CDilly52 8:33 AM  

What fun!! And @Loren, you make me smile; I am buying you a metaphorical cup of coffee to honor your daily cleverness.

Great theme, a bit easy for Thursday, but the stack of ELICIT SENSATION CRYINGOUT was fun. Got the REDACTED right away for two reasons: first the LOOSELEA NDER clued me in; second, I had spent the afternoon redacting SSNs from some documents that go out in discovery today. Lucky Thursday for me. Enjoyed the whole puzz.

Ted 8:45 AM  

Great theme, great clues, good fun. Proper Thursday.

Anyone else get asked to do a survey by the NYT Crossword on the web page today? Just me?

Nancy 8:51 AM  

Oh bliss! Oh happiness! I loved this! A playful, crunchy, and quite timely theme, beautifully executed. The most wonderful thing about it is that all three theme answers are clued so subtly and/or the possible fill for each of them is so varied that nothing is given away too soon. Each one provides a separate Aha Moment. I got the theme at FBI, then immediately went down to fill in REDACTED. I hoped that the answers wouldn't all REDACT FBI, that the other agencies would be used too, and my hope was fulfilled. But even though I was looking for both NSA and CIA, that doesn't mean they didn't still manage to surprise me when they appeared. This puzzle was ALL IN FUN, so KISS ME THRICE because I'm so happy.

Ross T 8:52 AM  

The highlights for me were high, and all in the fill. That's because the theme is difficult to parse. Okay, we're REDACTING spy agency acronyms. Got it. ...Why? Are FBI/CIA/NSA redacted in sensitive documents? Aren't specific names/places/dates being struck BY the FBI/CIA/NSA?

Tita 8:54 AM  

@lms from yesterday... I want to get into hat cramped seat by the mouth breather as early as possible so's I can get my tiny carry-on in the overhead or under my seat. I went to the trouble of packing the barest of minimums so that I don't need to wait around by that carrousel, only to be told there's no more space for carryons because all the Zone 1%ers have filled it with dried hydrangea bouquets and Max Mara silk and cashmere hats,
Woe is me since I stopped being a million miler. me forever to figure it out.
Only complaint...wanted "Hawks have sharp ones" to be SHINS. (To anon from a while ago...I still say I saw a Sharpie!)

Thanks, Mr. Fagliano.

Hef 8:56 AM  

Loose tea for a long time!
I say so for I can so!
7-11 had me beat
Most enjoyable not for the longest time
Hope they keep it up

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 9:00 AM  

Oh lovely Thursday .... So nice to experience that genuine "aha" moment again. I thought it was gone forever.

QuasiMojo 9:01 AM  

I saw "WIRE, tapped" in Associated Press. haha. Timely!

Clever puzzle but one that left me sort of sad at the current state of affairs. The NSA, CIA and FBI have become ubiquitous in our culture. And now Homeland Security is working its way into our private lives.

Rex, thanks for the reminder about Natick's origins. I did not know it had to do with N. C. Wyeth. That would have been a gimme for me, as was Natick since I spent many summers in MA. But I get the point. I feel that way about J.Cole and Ellen Page (I only know Elaine Paige) and Seth Rogen whom I thought was Green. Come to think of it, who is TED PRESS? Loved the Oscar Wilde quote. And the faint nod to the ever gorgeous EDIE Sedgwick.

One and a half thumbs up for this one.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

@lewis - you're short an X, no? Puzzle lotsa fun.

Exubesq 9:05 AM  

I did yesterday. Waiting to hear if I've been selected for the follow up.

seastate5 9:06 AM  

Something completely different, missed the security agencies till I read the review. Solid "A" from me. Just the right amount of struggle.
I had the three middle letters "COL" for the rapper name, and really wanted "ECOLI", which would be a great name for a rapper.

Irene 9:07 AM  

I'm definitely in the minority here: I filled in every square, knew something was missing, but never got the theme. Ergo, I hated it.
And I even know what redacted means!

Nancy 9:08 AM  

Oops. I now see it was MISS ME, not kISS ME. That's because I don't know my HTML from my HTkL. Whatever. The DNF doesn't take away from my deep and abiding love for this puzzle in the slightest. Plus the fact that I'd much rather be kISSED than merely MISSED.

Greg 9:42 AM  

I'll give this one a thumbs-up, especially in contrast to the dreariness of the last three days' puzzles.

Lewis 9:51 AM  

@anon 9:04 -- No, it came out like I wanted. If you email me by clicking on my name, I'll tell you what I had in mind.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

I kept wanting 'dolphin-free' and was very confused by 'ree' which was running downward near the 'f'. My monuments were unlit (due to government cutbacks) so could not get associated press for the longest time. Agree with Rex that the AP is a wire service, not a wire---that is stretching the definition too much----not found in any dictionary that I canvassed. Good write-up by Rex, enjoyable puzzle.

gifcan 10:16 AM  

Lovely how the three blackouts are symmetrically placed.

Mohair Sam 10:25 AM  

Ah heck this was fun. Spent ten minutes here wondering wtf FETUNA? Determined there could indeed be a TED PRESS, but finally filled NDER and knew there had to be something rotten in Denmark involving more than the floating "F" from 19A.

Terrific Thursday Joe and Will - thanks.

@LMS - Great post.

@Tita A - Yeah, we used to be like Loren and never push, never rush - then we'd end up with our one little bag being thrown in the luggage compartment and waiting forever at the carousel. Meanwhile the pros would con a shoulder bag, a twenty pound bag containing an erstwhile lap top, and a back pack, and a maxi carry-on - and get nothing but a sweet smile. One time our one little bag got lost in Seattle - we changed forever. As far as I can tell you gotta be a pushy prick at the boarding gate or get screwed.

Wm. C. 10:28 AM  

@Quasi --

I think that the only connection in that puzzle between Natick and NCWyeth was the shared N in the cross.

As I recall the clue For Natick in that puzzle was something like "midway point on the Boston Marathon route."

Leapfinger 10:34 AM  

@Lewis, I think @Anon 9:04 knew you had INS in mind, and made a joke off that, suggesting you meant INXS. It can be challenging to pick up on subtle cleverness set in writing.

@QuasiMo, same here about TED PRESS; I guess it was FE Butterfly that made me think of FE TUNA.

OTOH @Lewis, no smelly hats, instead I was thinking of Forky and FETUNia Fig
ABBA di, ABBA di, ABBA di! That's all, folks!

Thanks for the quick and clever Thursday, JF! I had a FasT pACE in your FOOTRACE. And like the lady sez, Go HEELS.

GILL I. 10:39 AM  

The DOLPHIN gets saved and the Yellowfin ends up in a can. What a life.
LOVED this puzzle. Every little inch by inch. I, too, found STATICKY, GLUEY and SILTY colorful. My biggest oops was as that "Prince, for one." I had him DEAD rather than an HEIR.
I wish all constructors started their puzzles with fun words like HOOKAH. I think you could do a whole puzzle on sycophants. My favorite would be BROWN NOSER.
Only itty bitty HUH was the answer for "Don't doubt me!" I CAN SO sounds more like one of those playground retorts that we all hate.

Steve Marcotte 10:40 AM  

Recently saw "Hidden Figures" good movie, recommend it highly. "Redacted" was mentioned often in the movie. So that was easy. Wanted "dolphin free tuna" stared at that for a good while.

HumanBean 10:55 AM  

First time in a long time that I finished a Thursday puzzle with no look-ups! Enjoyed this one...challenging but fun!

Nancy 10:55 AM  

I am the Un-Tita (8:54) and the Un-Loren (from yesterday). While you guys are fighting to be the first person boarding the hot, crowded sardine can [sometimes known as an airplane], I am sitting placidly in the boarding area, clinging as long as I possibly can to what will be my last comfortable seat for many hours. All luggage has been checked. There are no suitcases for me to put in the storage bins, the former which I'm too weak to lift and the latter which I'm too short to reach. So while I do have to deal with the carousel when I arrive, I can [mostly] avoid the sheer madness of the boarding procedure. My goal? It's always to be the last person on the plane.

jae 10:59 AM  

Easy-medium for me. My solve was similar to @Rex's and my monuments were also briefly. UnLIT. Cute, liked it.

Crossnerds Podcast 11:03 AM  

Really liked this one, as I usually do with Mr. Fagliano's work.

- Assumed it was DOLPHIN freE TUNA (not SAFE) which left me with the strange SHAET for arrow part. Thought it was some esoteric lingo until, duh—SHAFT

- Always love seeing TITIAN show up

- Mucilaginous! What a word! What a glorious, perfect word!

Nice work, Joel.

RooMonster 11:11 AM  

Hey All ! Pretty neat puz, albeit not rated as high as some of you did in my little world. Opinions, and all that.

Grokked theme at the FBI answer, then confirmed by the CIA answer. Actually managed to fill puz primarily from top to bottom, which usually never happens for me.

Put III in, not thinking it was correct. But it was. Lovely when that happens. STATICKY looks wrong. KISSED UP is odd. Writeover FasTRACE-FOOTRACE, and 51D, litup-UnLIT-UPLIT. Never heard of TITIAN, sounds naughty. GLUEY is a cool looking word.

So a nice, fairly-easy-for-Thursday puz. @Lorens post was super. NDER could be someone from North Dakota. :-)


cwf 11:21 AM  

@Ted: I got the survey. Got it before about a year ago said I'd be willing to go in to their office for a chat. The main thing they were interested in was my impressions of their website solving experience, nothing about the puzzles per se. I told them I only used the site to download the .puz file, but might consider solving it in a browser if I could turn of the clock (I am not interested in tracking solving time; it just makes me anxious). The clock can still not be disabled, as far as I can tell.

It took about 30 minutes and they gave me a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Phil 11:25 AM  

HA!!!! So @LMS
You didn't mention @Joel left out the perhaps most prominent, devious and all around evil organization in the universe. The despicable XXX

Joseph Michael 11:41 AM  

The NYT puzzle rises from the dead after days of mourning. This is resurrection first class. Original theme executed with skill and wit. Thank you, Joel Fagliano.

Had just the right amount of challenge for me on a Thursday and had to back my way in from the bottom up.

Wanted "censored" before REDACTED in the south and "sucked up" before "KISSED UP" in the north.

One nitty nit: ELLEN Page may be in a Hollywood movie, but she's not "in" the script, which contains info and dialogue related to the character she plays not her.

Meanwhile, AS SO often happens, TED PRESS and DOLPHI FETUNA wandered through the LOOSE LEA near Fargo in search of a certain local resident and found only mucilaginous black markers that had REDACTED THE TRUTH about where the NDER had gone.

old timer 11:46 AM  

First rate puzzle. I had it almost all filled in and realized some black squares had been "redacted". ASS0: is that a word for "wire"? And what's a TED PRESS? That's when it came to me: I need CIA in the three black squares. FBI fell next, then NSA.

A delightful solve and a clever design. I am surprised these days if OFL likes anything, but his praise matched mine, as did his few criticisms.

Lewis 11:54 AM  

@leapy -- Actually, I had Loren's initials in mind!

Nancy 12:01 PM  

I couldn't puzzle it out. Lewis (11:54), you are too clever!

Elephant's Child 12:01 PM  

Didn't Li'l Abner have a character called MUCILAGINOUS Polecat? Alfred Caplin passed on in 1979; I wonder if he'd view today's scene ALL IN FUN [con]TITIAN?

Numinous 12:13 PM  

While TITIAN was mixing rose madder
His model reposed on a ladder.
Her position, To TITIAN,
Suggested coition
So he leapt up the ladder and 'adder.

TITIAN was the only painter I could think of, this morning, who's name begins with a "T". The limerick, I remembered later.

I would give tis puzzle the POW over Monday's. Maybe Jeff eschewed this one because Joel is Will's assistant. Which brings me to the thought; has anyone seen a crossword by Will Shortz? Like, I see Joel's work daily with the mini, why can I never see a Shortz puzzle? Not being able to pencil in the missing letters put a damper in my seeing FBI, NSA, and CIA until I read Jeff's comments on xwordinfo.

I loved @Capt. Jupiter's post. Capt Jupiter knows who I mean. Anyone here remember Big Jon and Sparky and No School today? I "Don't fail to miss every exciting post from Caaaptaaaain Juuupiiiiterrrrrrr."

The remainder of this post has been rexxxxxd.

Matt Foley 12:16 PM  

Well well, the old NYC broad actually likes a puzzle! Lahdi frickin' dah!

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

I asked this yesterday along with 1 other poster:

What are popular xword alternatives to the NYT?

I can do a search and find others, but I'm interested in knowing what is popular with people who post here and feel the NYT is slipping.


MBI 12:21 PM  

The confusion over "J. Cole" (not to mention "Adventure Time" and "hot take" last week) reminds me that I am of a much different generation than most crossword solvers.

Stanley Hudson 12:22 PM  

@Numinous, great limerick. In grad school we had a running gag for a while that hinged on singing songs and reciting poems in the voice of Bob Dylan; trying to image Mr. Zimmerman reciting your limerick.

Joel G, thx for a very enjoyable puzzle.

QuasiMojo 12:25 PM  

@Numinous 12:13pm. Grazie tanti for that hilarious Titian limerick.

evil doug 12:28 PM  

It's J.Cole? Ohhhhhh. I thought it was J.C. Ole. He does a mean version of La Cucaracha. Ay caramba!

Trombone Tom 12:36 PM  

Anon @ 12:17. Suggest you take a look at the WSJ puzzles.

Joel's puzzle was clever and fun to do. Using the agencies to break up non-words made things more challenging.

I've never heard anyone say ROUNDABOUTS for approximately. More likely "about" or "around." Rarely even "roundabout with no "S."

As one who frequently responds "What?" to my spouse I appreciate the clever cluing for HEAR.

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Short (z redacted) version:

unchecked undercover letters!
staff weeject pick and obvious better clue, for this puztheme: ANS = {Articles of Impeachment??}.
fave themer: ASSO TEDPRESS.

Thanx, Mr. Fagliano!

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Just ONCE NYTimes check out the lyrics of yet another misogynistic, racist, vile rapper you reference, this time JCOLE and maybe just maybe you'll re-work the puzzle. Here are just a few lines from Born Sinner:
"Okay faggot
Don't be so sensitive
If you want to get fucked in the ass
That's between you and whoever else's dick it is"

Offended??? Maybe not. Maybe the NYTimes likes getting f*cked in the a$$. I for one will pass. And this btw on the same day the NYTimes polled me for my opinions about its puzzle section. Had I done the puzzle first, you would have never gotten the "9" I gave the section.

Rose Madder 12:48 PM  

The Titian limerick @Numi cites is not original with him. Which @Numi scrupulously makes perfectly clear in his post. Here's a reference, for anyone interested:

old timer 1:02 PM  

I just thought of the following clue, for some reader/constructor's future use:

"Fishy heir?"

(As always, a little knowledge of French is helpful.)

Numinous 1:11 PM  

@Rose Madder, I've known that limerick since I started memorizing them in my teens. While I've written some myself, 99% or them are inappropriate for this audience. Also, limericks are deceptively difficult to write. Most of the limericks people make up aren't actually limericks they just sort of sound like one. Google 'how to write a limerick' to sse.

Thank you for noticing that I was in no way trying to claim that as my own.

Teedmn 1:19 PM  

Did anyone else KISS butt on this puzzle? I found it GummY at first but didn't get stuck too long in the GLUE. My LOOSE LEAF folDER was nixed by my doubting of I CAlSO. I worshiped in the Apse which was AFAR from correct. I had no problem with ASSOCIATED PRESS because I put CIA in right after the FBI and NSA emerged from their undisclosed locations.

Thanks, Joel, this was lots of fun yet pretty easy for a Thursday. I loved STATICKY, MISS ME and PINE CONE as clued.

Nancy 2:00 PM  

To @Numinous (12:13 and 1:11 p.m.):

A limerick quoted by Numinous
Is nifty and naughty and luminous.
He asks: "Can you top it?"
Oh, Numinous, stop it!
The struggle to do so's consumin' us.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

I really enjoyed this one. It was a nice change of pace after the last few, which were pretty uninspired.

JC66 2:16 PM  


Good one!

GHarris 2:28 PM  

Couldn't finish with the morning coffee. Had the AHA moment on the subway where I was lucky to get a seat. Thought it was north of medium but fun and satisfying to finish.

Brian 2:44 PM  

@Hartley70 Yeah, I went back to check if the blackout letters worked vertically, too, but i guess that'd be an insane feat of construction.

All in all a nice theme, though. I figured out LOOSELEx before seeing the second entry that went along with it, which made me think this might be a rebus puzzle whose theme was scandalous AF. Alas.

kitshef 3:00 PM  

All this brilliant limerickery reminds me that my initial entry for 50D was thEre, with limericks specifically in mind.

Happy Pencil 3:00 PM  

@Nancy, between KISS ME and your limerick, you are on fire today! I really need to stop taking a sip of coffee right before I read your posts.

@Hartley, I agree about wanting the redacted letters to work with the down answers as well. I also think I would have preferred it if the answers with the abbreviations redacted were still actual words (although I do love your smelly old hat, @Lewis). I can see that that might have made the puzzle easier to solve, but I think it would also have provided a better aha moment.

And this is very nitpicky, but none of these organizations themselves are hidden (in the sense of being unknown to the world at large), although many of their activities are. It would have been cool if the organizations cited were super secret in some way. Of course, I have no idea what those organizations would actually be ...

Overall, I liked the cleverness of this idea, but with just three theme answers, it seemed a little thin on the ground to me in its execution.

Happy Pencil 3:06 PM  

@Anon 12:17, I do the American Values Club puzzles, but they're not for everyone. A lot of people here seem to like the Wall Street Journal puzzles, but I do those only when someone specifically raves about one. Rex lists several independent puzzle sites on his homepage, and he also rattles off all the puzzles he does on a daily basis in his FAQ section.

I think finding the right puzzle venue depends quite a bit on personal taste, though. You may just have to try a few until you find the one you like best.


QuasiMojo 3:10 PM  

@Nancy, you had me from "nifty." Keep 'em comin'!

jberg 3:13 PM  

I sort of agree with everyone (except the trolls). For me, the toughest part was knowing the last redacted letters must be CIA, but wanting my big wire to be a COAXIAL something or other - write letters in the wrong places, obviously wrong, but it just took over my mind and wouldn't let any other thoughts come in until I had almost all the crosses. That plus FasT pACE. It finally worked, though.

As for planes, @Loren and @Nancy, I love checking luggage! I'd much rather wait at the carousel than struggle through the terminal with a heavy load. They've only lost my bag 4 or 5 times, 3 of them at the beginning of an international trip; it always turned up on the next flight, except when I went to my nephew's wedding in Guatemala. We landed in Belize, and they did send it to our hotel on the border, but we had crossed over into Guatemala by that time -- so for 10 days I wore the same clothes, not at all wedding-appropriate. It was a nice conversation starter -- and when we got back to that hotel, there was my little suitcase. I still check bags.

Ted 3:13 PM  

@cwf for what it's worth, yes you can turn off the Timer in the browser Settings now for the puzzle.

Carola 3:18 PM  

Cute theme, really nicely done. DOLFI[nsa]FETUNA - inspired. Over too soon, though; I'd have liked a little more resistance.

Unknown 3:45 PM  

I loved this—perfectly surprising and delightful Thursday fare. After getting done and enjoying the look of the thing, I had an inkling of the feeling @Hartley expressed: maybe it would have been nice to use the redacted letters in the downs, too. But upon further reflection: that would have probably been insanely difficult to construct, there would have been way too many other ways to suss out the theme, probably early, and I'm sure the fill would have suffered.

I got the theme early. Plugged in LOOSELEA and then NDER on the other side, rhought, "hey, that's FBI!" and I was off and running.

It wasn't easy to intuit the proper redacted agencies on the other themers, though, which is the gold standard for me. Understood it, still had work to do.

Beautiful puzzle!

Joe Bleaux 3:55 PM  

Yup (takes one, etc.). FWIW, Paul Simon was quoted as saying of the earliest rappers, "I can't wait 'til they discover melody."

abalani500 3:59 PM  

Great puzzle, lots of fun. Got REDACTED right away, and sussed out one part of the theme. Had DOLPHInfriendly at first, but after ASSO[cia]TEDPRESS, got the second part of the theme with cia, nsa and fbi, and the rest fell into place quickly.

One question, and I suspect it's an obvious answer that I can't do you get TIE from the clue "7-up, for example"???

Lewis 4:24 PM  

@abalani500 -- Seven up, as in the score 7-7. Great clue!

Joe Bleaux 4:33 PM  

If two competing teams or players have racked up 7 points each, the score is said to be "7-all" or "7-up," i.e., a TIE. (Had it been a reference to the soft drink, the "u" would have been capitalized ... I think.)

Crane Poole 5:31 PM  

Brain not ready today, far too much buffering going on. I eventually saw the light - or lack of it. Hello darkness, my old friend. I appreciate the creation and many of your comments. DOLPHIN freE TUNA gets over 6 million hits on Google. DOLPHIN SAFE TUNA only 3% of that. I've never heard 'safe', maybe that's just me. Messed me up.

Mohair Sam 5:40 PM  

@Nancy - That was awesome.

Anonymous 6:07 PM  

If you liked this puzzle, you may enjoy a similar one that I wrote and Brad Wilber edited for 10/16/15 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Joanne Sullivan 6:11 PM  

I meant to leave my name on my 6:07 PM comment, but it seems more appropriate coming from "Anonymous."

Nancy 6:31 PM  

@Happy Pencil, JC66, Quasi and Mohair -- Warmest thanks to all of you!

puzzle hoarder 6:37 PM  

I didn't get the theme until I'd almost finished. I then spent a few minutes figuring it out and changed JCALE to JCOLE.
For a while I had SUCKEDUP supported by TRIUNE.
@NancyI love that you don't know from HTML. I feel I'm in good company.

abalani500 7:14 PM  

Thank you! I've never heard a tie situation in sports referred to that way...must be my foreign upbringing!

abalani500 7:15 PM  


Jofried 7:21 PM  

Fun, fun, fun...and a quick solve. Whee!

Fountains of Golden Fluids 7:32 PM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Anonymous 9:07 PM  


Lewis 9:33 PM  

@anon 9:07 -- paLMSweat (using Loren's initials)

M 10:25 PM  

I like Hall and Oates as much as the next guy......but that is one lame, cheap video.

Anonymous 12:25 AM  

This theme is seriously flawed. If you uncover the redacted letters the down words
don't mesh. This is supposed to be a crossword puzzle, isn't it?

Nancy 11:32 AM  

Just thought I would post for the 7th time today since no one ever gets tired of me.

Anonymous 10:57 PM  

I hope you jump all over "pan in" as the answer to "prepare for a closeup." Perhaps they were thinking of Zoom in. Pan is a horizontal movement only, and you would never hear those two words together.

Sam Buggeln 8:17 AM  

And the rappers were like, "too bad he was so stunted on a rhythm and lyrical level" :) All in the POV

2tattered 10:11 AM  

Roundabouts = or so??
Not to me. Anyone know this useage?

Burma Shave 11:39 AM  


and CONTENDs she was CRYINGOUT, and on CUE laughed
when the SENSATION of the ASSOCIATEDPRESS was done.
She rolled her EYES, “No OTHERS have such an EENIE SHAFT.”


spacecraft 12:06 PM  

@Numinous: Hilarious limerick...and yes, I remember that Saturday show featuring "The Teddy Bears' Picnic."

This was a STATICKY, SILTY, GLUEY effort that amused and puzzled me at the same time. Sure, I got the missing org. names, but to tie them in with REDACTED is a paper-thin stretch. They do indulge, but I'd say the CIA much more than the other two. Still, it's clever.

Not without a price, though. An acronym fest, including crutchy SSNS along the right edge, and even a RPR (ICANSO). Then yet another rapper--and if the lyrics quoted by @anon. 12:43 are any indication of his "work," my failure to appreciate the genre only deepens.

I like to reach back for DODs, as followers of this blog know by now, and today is no exception. EDIE Adams takes the sash, though to be sure, there are OTHERS. I'm torn between par and bogey. Pogey?

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Irene is right. Good puzzle gone really wrong - saddled with an lousy theme.

leftcoastTAM 1:18 PM  

Tricky, and fun in the end.

ASSO--CIA--TEDPRESS was the first to see. Then it was a matter of placing the NSA and FBI where they belonged.

JCOLE and GLUEY downs made the DOLPHI-- harder to see, as did ORSO and KNEE downs for the LOOSELEA--.

So, not just fun in the end, but pretty much ALLINFUN.

rondo 2:28 PM  

No w/os so it couldn’t have been too tough, for CRYINGOUT loud. But I did mostly fill it in from around the edges until the ASSOCIATEDPRESS informed me of our “intelligence” agencies.

Have heard of JCOLE due to listening to 89.3 The Current, but wouldn’t know him if I HEAR him.

Next to JCOLE is cute as a button ELLEN Page, yeah baby for OTHERS since, for me, she bats for the wrong team.

Even with the RRN and RPR ICONTEND this was OK and ALLINFUN.

rain forest 3:17 PM  

Rats. I wanted to make a comment ending in ALL IN FUN, but it's been done, twice in a row. That's what happens when I post late, as is my wont.

I tend to want to solve from top to bottom, and frequently get stuck trying to hammer things out before moving down the grid. Thus, NDER really bothered me for the longest time. Eventually, I "saw" LOOSELEA(FBI)NDER, then went to the revealer. Excellent. Getting NSA and CIA was rather easier after that.

After all that enjoyment, the rest of the puzzle fell swiftly. Clever, unique, FUN.

Torb 4:17 PM  

Took me a while to find the trick but pretty much zoomed through this fun puzzle after that. Staticky sucked!

Wooody2004 4:58 PM  

For CRYINGOUT loud, HOOKAH right at the start to ring in Happy 420 Day!

I wish they had a puzzle that REDACTED OTHER drugs, like FAL(LSD)OWN.

GLUEY is the new SKYEY.

Diana,LIW 7:39 PM  

Did the puzzle. Liked it. Went to dentist. Not quite as much fun. That's mah day.

Diana, LIW

dougl 9:02 PM  

I do recommend seeing Steve Jobs. Nice subplot about his daughter.

Blogger 9:44 PM  

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Blogger 6:35 PM  

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