Naturally in Britspeak / THU 3-9-17 / Challenge in demanding job / Office-friendly to Youtubers / R&B artist with 2004 hit 1, 2 Step

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Constructor: Jeremy Newton

Relative difficulty: Medium

[in the above rendering, the first "WORK" square is represented by a file folder, while the first "LIFE" square is represented by a house]

THEME: WORK/LIFE BALANCE (55A: Challenge in a demanding job ... or a feature of this puzzle?) — I think the two sides of the puzzle, the little U-shaped black-square formations, are supposed to be SCALES (47D: What someo black squares in this grid represent), on which one WEIGHS the words WORK (rebused into each of four squares 36A: One half of a 55-Across) and LIFE (rebused into each of four squares in 38A: The other half of 55-Across)

WORK side:
LIFE side:
  • "TO LIFE!"
Word of the Day: Edward BROOKE (41D: Edward ___, first popularly elected African-American U.S. senator (Massachusetts, 1967-79)) —
Edward William Brooke III (October 26, 1919 – January 3, 2015) was an American Republican politician. In 1966, he became the first African American popularly elected to the United States Senate. He was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, defeating former Massachusetts governor Democrat Endicott Peabody in a landslide. He served for two terms, and was defeated by Paul Tsongas in 1978. // Upon the death of Harry F. Byrd Jr. on July 30, 2013, he became the oldest living former Senator, and remained so until his death on January 3, 2015. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very short write-up today. Busy morning of doing things I should've done yesterday morning. I'll start by saying I liked this—it's thorny and weird in that way that Thursdays ought to be but so often aren't. My only complaint is that the visual is pretty rough. I could Rorschach those black squares all day long and not see SCALES. But since the puzzle tells me they are, then sure, I can play along. The gimmick took a little time to hit me—failed to pick it up in the NW, where I started out strong with PSAS ARTY SAY and CIARA, but things quickly broke down from there. Finally sussed it out on the other side of the SCALES. Knowing WORF was *very* helpful, as that "W" made me realize 26D: Good-for-nothing was not LOUT but LOW-something. I threw LIFE across, then soon realized "LIFE" needed to be compressed (i.e. "rebused") into each square to work with the Downs. Had a little trouble figuring out what was being balanced (didn't have revealer yet), but then it dawned on me and the NW got easy fast. After that, the only trouble was BROOKE, whom I'd never heard of. I got SCALES from WEIGHS (45D: Puts on the 47-Down) and never even saw it was part of the theme until I was done.

[Crossword's own MCRAE!]

So, nice work. Decent concept, interestingly executed, and—above all—the fill is fantastic. PIECE OF WORK! VEGAN PIZZA! AS YOU DO! Really nice, especially up top. An overall pleasing experience. Navigating the puzzle was a little dicey, given how ^&$%ing narrow the passageways are from section to section in the grid (the bottom half may as well be an entirely separate puzzle). But there are enough pure gimmes thrown into each section to get you going again if you can't quite make the turn. Is it a coincidence that there's both SLICE OF and PIECE OF in the grid ... and also PIZZA in the grid? Mmm. Hungry now. See ya.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:00 AM  

Lame. Once I saw the first rebus, the others just went in automatically. That made the reveal a gimme. And all those three letter words? Ugh.

Sorry Rex but I humbly disagree.

evil doug 6:18 AM  

You're young, but Edward Brooke was a remarkable, historic figure.

Unknown 6:30 AM  

This fell for me in 2/3 of my average time, because I found the "life" rebus row quickly, which led to the "work" one once I saw the puzzle's symmetry. Even the long cross fell relatively quickly, and then it was only a matter of guessing on Brooke (which seemed to make sense, anyway). My only hitch was that I had just written "work" and "life" straight across each of the two lines instead of filling in the rebus four times for each. That cost me a minute or two to correct.

I enjoyed this one. It was funky, and I agree with Rex on the quality of the fill.

Kdunk 6:58 AM  

Ditto on the technicality of actually having to fill in the rebus squares, and the overall ease/enjoyability.

Lewis 7:00 AM  

PHOTOOP is a DOOK is a Gridiom.

Well, I don't know what this says about me, but when I looked at the grid I saw a buxom woman. Primitively drawn perhaps, but there you go.

I learned that "WORKLIFEBALANCE" is a thing. In quotes, it Googles 21 million results. The puzzle was quirky, and I do like quirky. The lower half was harder for me than the upper half, which fell quickly. It's nice to have a rebus variation rather than the regular. I would like for the sides of the u-shaped scales to only be one black square high instead of two, so that the scales would only be holding the WORKs and LIFEs, and not the FRET and WORF.

I have actually just yesterday decided on a big change in my work/life balance (giving more weight to the life side). It's a bit scary, so I think I'm going to ask a lot of people to HUGME today.

Forsythia 7:16 AM  

Fun for me. Hard since took a while to get the rebus and then aha as each worked out. 19 min including learning how to use the rebus key, would have been quicker on paper. When I first got scales I thought we might need astrological rebuses. I love crosswords when I think "no way I will get this" and then I suss it out, without help! Happy dance for me today.

John Child 7:25 AM  

I feel a little like I'm watching Mikey tuck into a bowl of Life cereal. "He likes it!"

I did too, but I expected otherwise from Rex. It is nice to hear three cheers for a good puzzle from him occasionally.

The two long downs made it for me. Filling in the eight rebuses plus another WORK and LIFE pair was tedious, but I had a lot of fun otherwise.

EHUG to @Lewis

kitshef 7:27 AM  

Hand up for getting LIFE before WORK, and like @Rex specifically at LOWLIFE.

My first thought was the grid looked like and Atari space alien, but once I got the theme the SCALES visual jumped out at me.

Not real happy with AS YOU DO for naturally. I can't quite make the substitution work.

The Week of Many Threes continues.

I was going to say I had never heard of CIARA, but a quick Google reveals that I know the person, and assumed I was hearing 'Sierra'.

Glimmerglass 7:40 AM  

Great review, @Rex. I had more trouble than you did (as usual), and I had to get the bottom half (and the revealer) before I could do anything much with the top half and (very late in my solve) the rebuses sitting in the pans of the balance scales. For me, the graphic was fine, by the way. I'm from Massachusetts and old enough to remember Ed BROOKE, so he was a gimme for me, but I didn't find this easy. "Medium" is about right here.

r.alphbunker 8:03 AM  

Three cascos slowed me down
1. mEaTY for 16A {Substantial} HEFTY
2. LOut for 26D {Good-for-nothing} LOW[LIFE]
3. iluvu for 63A {Message on a candy heart} HUGME

Details are here.

Kim Scudera 8:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Scudera 8:12 AM  

(()) to @Lewis. Enjoyed this puzzle in a blistering 48% of my usual TH time, thanks to getting the WORK rebus early, off 24D NETWORK. Went across the grid, found a LIFE off the "L'chaim!" Clue and filled in all the LIFEs boom boom boom boom. Took a moment to enjoy the clue for Ali. Fun and over way too soon.

Wm C 8:14 AM  

Me too on Brooke -- easy for a Massachusetts native.

Had trouble in other areas, though. As you do??? Ciara?

Longer that average Thursday time.

chefbea 8:26 AM  

didn't understand this puzzle at all. Never heard the life balance. Might have to try a vegan pizza.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

My acquaintance with AS YOU DO seems fairly recent. I've encountered it being used with gentle humor and irony. Google confirms: "She stormed out of the cafe with her four children and returned with a 12-bore shotgun. AS YOU DO.” "After one pedal flew off his pushbike and into the drains near Marie's, he tied one foot to the remaining pedal with twine for the return journey and pedalled extra hard, AS YOU DO." "I was reading the Oxford English Dictionary earlier – AS YOU DO – and I discovered that the expression ‘AS YOU DO’ entered the Dictionary for the first time last month." (This last from July 2011.) Har.

QuasiMojo 8:28 AM  

Contrived and dull. If this puzzle were a person, I'd call it an UNPLEASANT SORT. A pill. Felt more like WORK than LIFE. I know, I sound like I must have SCALES, but a puzzle shouldn't feel like a punishment, like eating VEGAN PIZZA.

RooMonster 8:36 AM  

Hey All !
Funky grid. Neat to have two Z's connecting the NE and SE. Never really heard the expression WORKLIFEBAKANCE exactly like that. But know it's a thing. This week for me, WORK is winning.

Top half easier than bottom. Figured out rebus at SAFEFORWORK. Then saw the other WORKs, and initially thought the other side would be PLAY. But LOWplay didn't sound right...

Bottom has HUGME next to BVDS, and on top of SLOBS. Har. Liked PHO TOOP and TOOR EAL. :-) (Kidding, in case some don't get it... :-P )


SteveDubs 8:38 AM  

I have "rebus brain" so this one filled super quickly. Fast and fun, but felt like a Wednesday.

Unknown 8:48 AM  

Fun and funky puzzle, that was real easy for a Thursday. Once I got l'chaim it all fell together very quickly, finished at less than 60% of the normal time for a Thursday. If not for my klutzy typing skills in filing in the rebus squares, probably could have done it in less than half the time of a normal Thursday.

Eric NC 8:50 AM  

@kitshef. Ditto on alien except robot. I spent way too much time on fitting something to do with robots in the two answers.

Charles Flaster 8:54 AM  

Agree with many before me. Liked it but very easy. Used balance scales for many equation solving activities when I taught.
Liked creative clues for SLICE OF LIFE, CORNEA,and CURSED.
ODESSA is becoming a part of CROSSWORDease.
Off to BAL-A-NCE my taxes.
Thanks JN

Hartley70 9:15 AM  

@r.alph and I had the same three cascos and like @kim I had the rebus at NETWORK. I grew up on the Massachusetts line, so I remember Senator Brooke well. This played easy for me. Repeating WORK and LIFE in the revealer didn't hurt, duh!

I like the idea of having "rebus brain", @SteveDubs. I might have one too. I sure do love'em. Thursday is my favorite day of the week. I'd gladly trade Tuesday for an extra Thursday. Think about it, Will.

I watch the BBC NEWS every night before the NETWORK News. It's a much more HEFTY half hour.

@Lewis, fortune favors the bold. Go for it!

ArtO 9:20 AM  

I guess one either liked it or hated it but certainly a nice surprise to see a positive rating from OFL.

I'm on the positive side but agree that the WORK, LIFE fills went in quickly and made the downs easy to get.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

I liked it. 'Slice of" was what put me in the right direction as well as the adjoining down. I do see the scales now that I know the conceit. However, I would not have guessed they were scales on just looking at the puzzle. I did think it was some kind of little man.

Z 9:26 AM  

General agreement with everyone except anonymouse6:00 a.m. I also especially liked the "Gilt-y party" clue. Hand up for mEaTY before HEFTY, which slowed done everything initially. FRET was pouT, so a little surprising that NET(WORK) allowed me to fix that NW without excessive FRETting.

@Lewis - The only thing worse than changing is not changing. Good Luck, Don't Worry.

Stanley Hudson 9:30 AM  

Liked the puzzle and Rex's comments.

@evil doug, agreed that Brooke was a historically significant, and impressive, figure. I'm a history teacher, so may have to assign Brooke as a possible research topic.

@Lewis, best of luck to you as you navigate a new life stage.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

That had to have been tough for Rex to choose Edward William BROOKE as the word of the day. Another Republican first. From the party formed to end slavery in spite of all Democratic resistance.

Steve Silver 9:41 AM  

I did this puzzle in half my usual Thursday time. Cracking the rebus with two answers (work and life) appearing four times in a row helped! Knowing Worf and Brooke were useful, too. I liked this puzzle. It all fit together nicely.

Nancy 9:42 AM  

Wonderful! I knew it was a rebus long before I'd figured out what and where the rebus was. And, in a first for me: I actually noticed the grid design and pondered it. While that would hardly be a first for @Lewis, say, I am normally so nonvisual that this is highly unusual for me. Of course pondering is not figuring out, so once I had all the WORKs and the LIFEs, I couldn't decide what they were sitting on or resting in. A rectangular planter? A deep sofa? A coffin? (At this point I hadn't yet gotten to WORK LIFE BALANCE.) Once I did get there, SCALES came in, along with WEIGHS, and I had my answer. My biggest problem was 8D, where I had zAg; I never heard JOG used in that context. And I had dATE FOR LIFE before MATE FOR LIFE at 10D. CIARA was out of my wheelhouse, but I knew BROOKE (41D) immediately. That's because Barbara Walters once dated him. I had a terrific time with this and think it's beautifully executed and very imaginative.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

@Lewis -- It's amazing how seductive working less -- or even not at all-- can be. But if you need a HUG, I'm happy to provide it. I hope you richly enjoy your new-found WORK-LIFE BALANCE; I'm sure you will.

Teedmn 9:58 AM  

Cute concept but WEIGH too easy for a Thursday. I got the theme at MATE FOR LIFE, as I mostly started in the NE. NETWORK gave me the BALANCE of the trick and, except for not changing my YEs to YEA before hitting the "Check Solution" button, I had an uneventful solve.

I BVDly had "AS a rule" at 46A but naturally that had to be changed. And it was BALANCEd by the BBCNEWS, nice.

I like contemplating what the MAGI CLAMPS were used for on their trek to Bethlehem. And guitar FRETs come into play at GIGs. I would probably hesitate if any SLOBS said, "HUG ME!"

So thanks, Jeremy Newton for a fun SLICE OF VEGAN PIZZA LIFE.

jackj 9:59 AM  

Before winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1966, six years earlier Edward Brooke ran as a Republican for the office of Secretary of the Commonwealth in Massachusetts against Democrat Kevin White, (who also became Mayor of Boston in 1967).

While Brooke lost a spirited race in a close vote, his opponent had complained that Brooke had an unfair advantage in that he couldn’t ask people to “Vote White”.

(No moans allowed here since there was nothing racist in White’s comment in a state that loves its politics and does so with a healthy tolerance for clever political humor. In fact, White’s riposte was hailed by all sides.)

mathgent 10:11 AM  

What a lovely picture of Carmen McRae. I'm a big fan but hadn't seen it before. I just got her CD of Billy Holiday songs.

I never met a rebus I didn't like but this one didn't thrill me. BTW, my solution (incorrect, I know) didn't involve a rebus. I wrote in WORK for 36A and LIFE for 38A. That's actually what the clues call for.

Yes, the Terrible Two epidemic continues unabated. Third straight day with over twenty cases reported.

kitshef 10:21 AM  

@Nancy - I can't be the only one surprised that you noticed the grid. Perhaps your visual side is finally emerging.

@Lewis - In my circle of friends are a half dozen (including mrsshef) who have made a deliberate decision to go heavy on the LIFE side, and no far no one has regretted it. Drives me crazy when you read an article on 'the value of an education' and the ONLY measure used is earnings. Good luck (and a hug)

Leapfinger 10:22 AM  

Might be scary, but I'm betting on No Regrets. Doubt that anyone here would HUG ue not.

GILL I. 10:43 AM  

I thought this was incredibly clever and if you can't see a sumo wrestler flexing muscles next to that center LIE of WORK and LIFE, then maybe you need to rub the MAGIC LAMP.
I had a hard time getting started because I could not get DMVS out of my 1A entry. Like others I got LIFE first and then WORK because of the NET. God, I loved this puzzle. Two FOR, two OF - all a BALANCE in the grid. L'chaim!
I'm so glad my only BALANCing act these days is to figure out what cheese I want to buy at Trader Joe's...@Lewis....I took early retirement only because I got bored at one point and decided there were fun and scary things to do. Every 7 years or so, I want change. It's not always peaches but I swear I try to make the best JAMS out of them...then I pass them on to my new friends. I LUV U was my HUG ME.
@jackj...Good to see you again. Come back!
I had a VEGAN PIZZA once. There is no such thing as dairy-free cheese. There is no such thing as an enjoyable VEGAN meal. I hope they discover that tofu eventually makes you explode internally and that almond milk isn't milk.
Eat more cheese!

Brian B 10:45 AM  

One notes that the respective PIECE/SLICE OF and SAFE/MATE FOR answers are symmetrical, i.e. balanced. Nice touch.

puzzle hoarder 10:57 AM  

The grid looked strangely like Arabic to me. The clues didn't click until I got to OPAL and APED. The NE filled in quickly making the rebuses easy to spot. After that the top half was fast. An advantage with paper is you can just leave the rebuses squares blank.
The bottom was slower to start. I knew the theme had something to do with scales. At first I didn't get many of the lower half's clues. Once I figured out the gridspanner off of YUL and NUKED the rest fell in place.
This was amazingly clean given the constraints and tight spaces.

DJG 11:13 AM  

I feel like we've had this discussion before, but icing in the NHL ("Org. that penalizes icing") is *not* a penalty. It's an infraction that leads to a face-off not losing a man to the penalty box. Perhaps here penalize is meant in a general sense, but I still claim the clue is "wrong" since penalize has a specific definition in the context of hockey.

Also, for your, uh, enjoyment, here is a link to a very strange photo of a pregnant, naked Ciara with her child and the hands of her husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson. It's SAFE FOR WORK status is questionable.

Pete 11:15 AM  

I had a distinct handicap (other than my innate crossword handicaps, which are legion) while solving this puzzle - I did it immediately after watching the 11PM re-run of The News Hour on my local PBS station with its excellent political coverage. This made PIECEOF[WORK] invisible to me, as I had a different four letter word in mind.

Re LIFE/WORK balance and @Lewis - I've never met anyone who maintained anything close to it at any given time - life doesn't work that way. There are times where overdoing work is the appropriate option, and times where neglecting work is appropriate. The LIFE/WORK balance can only occur averaged over extended periods of one's life. @Lewis - maybe you took enough care of the work thing to be financially able to cut back and really the life thing - congratulations and have fun.

Joseph Michael 11:23 AM  

Excellent puzzle for all of the reasons stated above. Got the theme early on but struggled in the south after making my way through the narrow straits leading to it.

Did not know WORF which looks like a mutation of WORK hovering over the four LIFEs. Nor did I remember Senator BROOKE whom I surmised was Senator Brooks.

Some great cluing throughout, such as that for CURSED, CORNEA, MIDAS, LIE, and more.

Never really thought of SLOBS in the plural and, AS YOU DO, am still imagining what havoc a GROUP of them might cause.

Agree with @Lewis that PHOTOOP is a candidate for the Gridiom Hall of Fame.


JC66 11:37 AM  


Way to go!

Good luck.

jackj 11:39 AM  

@DJG- Just to recap, the clue for NHL was "Org. that penalizes icing".

Now you're correct that icing is not a "penalty" as defined in the rules of hockey. But, the team that ices the puck per the NHL hockey regs in effect today is "penalized", (as meant by the clue), even though not issued a "penalty".

The NHL "penalizes" the team that ices the puck by ordering the ensuing face-off to be held in their offensive zone and the offending team is not allowed to bring in fresh players for the face-off while the opposition can substitute with their best players for when play resumes.

You no doubt are totally familiar with all this but I couldn't help but point out that the clue as written seems OK.

jae 11:40 AM  

Easy-medium for me. CIARA was vaguely familiar but I needed most of the crosses and AS YOU DO was a total WOE. Caught the rebus with NET WORK and it went pretty smoothly after that.

Odd that you almost never hear the word LIE used in conjunction with reports of fake news?

@Hartley - We've also gotten into watching the BBC World NEWS on PBS.

Terrific Thurs. with some zippy rebus answers. Like it a lot!

mac 11:40 AM  

Excellent Thursday puzzle! I do like a rebus every once in a while. The scales in the grid were very clear to me, nice detail!

old timer 11:53 AM  

Got the WORK rebus early and BROOKE and CORNEA and ESL soon gave me WORKLIFEBALANCE. Knowing that LIFE would be rebused at 38A gave me the rest. Pretty Easy even though I did not know WORF. I was not delighted with the solving experience, somehow.

I well remember reading about Sen. BROOKE as a child. First Negro elected to the Senate from the North, and first ever, really, since in the Reconstruction era, Senators were not elected by the people, but by their state legislatures. BROOKE was a liberal Republican, a breed that is on the verge of extinction today. OTOH, we can take some solace in the fact that South Carolina is represented by a black Republican -- conservative of course, but Senator Calhoun must be spinning in his grave all the same. Before the Civil War, Calhoun of South Carolina was the polar opposite of Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, the smartest and most articulate defender of slavery.

Joe Bleaux 12:07 PM  

Wow! Ditto OFL's review (although I'm sure he solved much more quickly, we took pretty much the same road and encountered the same detours). @r.alphbunker (and Hartley70): What's a casco?

DJG 12:10 PM  


Yes, I understand that. My point (which I tried to make briefly in my original post) is that even if "penalizes" is meant generally the clue is still wrong because *within the context of hockey* penalize has a very specific definition.

If somebody asks you "Is icing a penalty in hockey?" the correct answer is "no," not "yes, it is a penalty in the sense that it's 'a punishment imposed for violation of rule', however it does not count in the stats as an official penalty and no play will serve time in the penalty box."

Lewis 12:10 PM  

@jackj -- Always good to see you here!

@johnchild, @kimscudera, @hartley70, @Z, @stanleyhudson, @nancy, @kitshef, @leapy, @gill i., @jc66 -- Thank you for those virtual hugs and kind and encouraging thoughts. You have deeply brightened my day!

Brian 12:17 PM  

I broke my Thursday record with this one. I got the theme early, and that really, really helped - so many words were either theme or crossed by a theme, that the rest fell pretty easily. It helped that the fill was solid, too. A nice little puzzle.

Trombone Tom 12:35 PM  

This was really interesting and a bit of a tail twister for me.

Hand up for not recognizing CIARA, thinking it was Sierra.

JAMS was pretty much automatic.

Had a hard time sliding from naturally to AS YOU DO.

Both the puzzle and @Rex's review were a breath of fresh air.

Numinous 12:36 PM  

Enjoyed this puzzle a great deal. I found it to be easier than did @Rex, as did others here. I got the [LIFE] rebus from the SLICE OF. I recall a time when, was it a British? Film genre was the SLICE OF LIFE film. Or maybe that was the "kitchen sink" form and SLICE OF was the American version. After that, all the other [LIFE]s filled themselves in. I had a hard time believing in SAFE FOR [WORK] but the other three also filled in easily.

I had to look up AS YOU DO and it took a lot of references to get to "naturally" or normally as suggested by the clue. From there I found a YouTube clip about the book by that name by Richard Hammond, one of the presenters of the British version of Top Gear. After looking at several clips about his accident where he crashed his jet car at 280 miles per hour and got brain damaged I came across clips of a completely different nature, clips that appeal to the inner fourteen-year-old in many of us. @Lewis seeing a big breasted woman in the gird design made me think some of y'all might like this SAFE FOR [WORK] video of Anastasia Sokolova. Reputedly, she is the best in the world.

Cheers and a broHUG to @Lewis. The balance is the thing. I'm no longer employed but I can find plenty of work that pertains directly to my life. Most of this workd is far more satisfying than any that I have been paid to do. Best of luck to you.

And the puzzle was pretty CURSED good too.

okanaganer 12:40 PM  

It's a waiter carrying two pizzas!

Former Bay Stater 12:43 PM  

Massachusetts Republicans are different from the norm. They have to be if they want to be elected. Look at governors William Weld and Charlie Baker

jackj 12:44 PM  


I've been following your posts on this blog for many years and you stand out as one of the most positive, thoughtful and witty contributors on Rex's Playhouse.

There is no doubt in my mind that your swing toward the "life" side of the equation will satisfy your soul, so enjoy and don't look back, (but do continue to post!)

Geophany 12:52 PM  

I'm *really*missing Rihanna in this grid.

RooMonster 12:59 PM  

@mathgent 10:11
I believe the MonPuz also had 28 3's.

@GILL I. 10:43
Your last paragraph was awesome! LOL

@Lewis, throwing in a Best of Luck at ya!

@Numinous 12:36
Wow! That takes some serious muscle to fling oneself around a pole like that. Oh, and yes she's sexy!


crackblind 1:06 PM  

I actually have an interesting Edward Brooke story. When I was in 4th Grade (around 1975-76), we took a field trip Washington, DC. My mother our group parent (five boys). While touring the Capitol Building, she realized that five 4th grade boys would be interested in the subway system beneath the Capitol because trains. She took us down and we rode back and forth a few times between the House and the Senate. After we went back up to see more of the Capitol, we all begged her to take us back to the trains. We went down again but accidentally took the train to the Russel Senate Office Building. We hopped into the front car to ride back but were ushered out to make way for actual Senators. We immediately recognized Ted Kennedy and he was incredibly gracious when we gaped at him, talking to us and signing autographs. Only my mother recognized the man with him, Edward Brooke, and she whispered into my ear who he was and that he was the first black Senator. Sen. Kennedy introduced us all to Sen. Brooke, and we spoke with him as well and got his autograph as well. We ended up as the heroes on the trip when our teacher asked each group to share their experiences, simply because my mother knew 4th grade boys would be more interested in a train than a building.

BTW The subway open to the public without escorts in those days. It's much more restricted now. I was able to take my kids on it a few years ago after our Senator arranged for one of her interns to give us a guided tour of the Capitol. It felt really weird to explain to this kid half my age why I was so giddy to ride the subway again. She had no concept of the public being able to just hop on it.

Masked and Anonymous 1:34 PM  


Real Different theme idea. Good. East-west grid symmetry. Nice. Smooth fill. Primo. Giant U's! Rodeo!

M&A went commando, on fillin in the sorta-rebus. Just wrote in WORK at 36-A and LIFE at 38-Across. Then just let the themers pour down and naturally merge on into them like puddles … or in-baskets, maybe.

Did have to pretty much reboot our solvequest, in the grid part below the scales. As @RP said, no biggie. Moo-cow clue for YUL got us up and runnin again, in a few nanoseconds. Especially since we then immediately started assumin BALANCE was feedin on YUL's L.

staff weeject picks: MIZ and PEZ.
new phrase dept: ASYOUDO. Kinda like "AS YOU WISH", from "The Princess Bride"?
Consonant barrage fave: BBCNEWS.
fave "hot" anagram-potential pup: PHOTOOP.

yo, @Lewis. All the best, on that. Upside: Perhaps you'll be crankin out more of yer excellent NYTPuzs?

Thanx, Mr. Newton. Fun ThursPuz.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Mohair Sam 1:58 PM  

Wild morning here - got to the puzzle late, did the bottom, middle top, stalled out. Never caught the trick. Very nice puzzle. Different. Fun. Had I ever watched "T.N.G." I would have known WORF and LOWLIFE would have replace LOUT and we would have whupped this puppy. But it wasn't to be. Huge dnf here.

Although we had a lot of fill in the corners things like mEaTY instead of HEFTY and ziG instead of JOG (both of which make sense) killed us. Lost some time down below too by throwing in pBsNEWS at 40a, pArsED at 40d, and sOlE at 59a - all of which make sense. CORNEA bailed us out there.

Terrific Thursday puzzle Jeremy Newton - thanks.

@Lewis - The only quality Work-Life Balance is being born with a huge trust fund - everything else is a compromise. Although Larry in "The Razor's Edge might have found the answer, who knows?

Debbie 2:02 PM  

Long time follower, first (maybe?) time writer.

It's so funny - every time I love a puzzle, I come here and find Rex bash the crap out of it. When I am disappointed and am certain Rex is going to hate it, he enjoys it! Clearly we have opposing views on the types of puzzles we enjoy.

I thought the theme was executed well but found the remaining fill disappointing. Never heard of JOG used as a change in direction, never heard of BVDS or BROOKE at all. I did enjoy MAGICLAMPS, STOMP, and BBCNEWS but otherwise felt the fill was uninspired.

r.alphbunker 2:04 PM  

@Joe Bleaux

A casco is a gridiom for a plausible incorrect answer. It is an eponym of the legendary commenter @Casco Kid who was a member of the commentariat a while back.

Chip Hilton 2:15 PM  

@evil doug- I agree on Sen. BROOKE
@crackblind-Wonderful anecdote

I enjoyed this. Clever clues, great fill, and enough resistance on the rebus to put up a fight.

Weep for the fans of Paris St. Germain, football fans. A Barca win for the ages (which I missed having left the tube with six minutes to go. Doh!)

Hungry Mother 2:37 PM  

I liked it and it played as a normal Thursday (Hard) for me. Very satifsfying to get the theme.

Lewis 2:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 2:49 PM  

Once again, thank you -- @numinous, @jackj, @roo, @m&A, and @mohairsam -- for those kind words of support and virtual hugs. Feels like family here!

Z 3:09 PM  

With all the Vietnamese noodle shops opening in metro Detroit I fully expected to find a PHO TOOP. No such luck (Pho Lucky is three short blocks from my condo, though).

@Chip Hilton - I turned it off when PSG scored the away goal. Five I thought possible, but not six.

"The road JOGs to the right just past the church." I had ziG first, too, but JOG used this way was an easy fix.

@DJG - I'm with @jackj, I think you're overthinking it. The icer doesn't get a penalty, but the team is penalized. It's the "Penalty Box" not the "penalized box" after all.

Mohair Sam 3:30 PM  

@Evil Doug - Senator Edward Brooke a class man, and an old favorite here too. Surprised that no one here has mentioned that a certain Hillary Rodham began her rise to fame when she gave him a verbal slap in the face after his speech at the 1969 Wellesley Commencement. Google Hillary Clinton/Edward Brooke if you're curious.

GHarris 3:38 PM  

This was one of those times I had to put the puzzle down unfinished. Took it on the subway and that second look opened it up for me. Got the revealer and once I changed meaty to hefty was able to finish in the NW. Lewis I wish you the best but must say my observation is that when you stop working, especially if the work was meaningful, one's sense of purpose is diminished and physical deterioration often follows.

Moly Shu 4:12 PM  

Exact same 3 cascos as @r.alph @Hartley and @JoeBleaux. Not sure if I should be honored to be in such illustrious company or they should be ashamed for deigning to my level. I'm going with the former. Great minds think alike and all. Once I got the rebus at TOLIFE, it was a fairly easy and uneventful solve. Liked the clues for ACES and MIDAS. Wish I had me some PEZ right about now
@Lewis, I skewed heavily LIFE almost 2 years ago and haven't regretted a day. The only thing I do regret is not making the leap earlier. Best of luck buddy.

Crane Poole 4:15 PM  

Once I saw WORK on the left side, I expected PLAY on the other. Wouldn't that make more sense? The revealer rang no bells at my house either. So... Not bad, enjoyed it less than some, I'm not a fan of Thursday trickiness.

jberg 8:02 PM  

I used to think about WORK-LIFE BALANCE all the time; then I retired June 30, and am now thinking about it from the other direction -- how can I keep up my work on the things I care about, and maybe earn some more money, while no longer having a full-time job? I love it, but think I may have to start eating more bacon and pork bellies to make sure I don't outlive my retirement fund. So @Lewis, go for it!

PBS before BBC, and I never heard of WORF or CIARA -- maybe that picture will help me remember her.

The graphic is pretty great. Except for the cheater squares in the top corners, every black square is part of the image of a scale. And that pillar of 3s in the center is crossed with two great long downs. I just admire this one a lot.

And while it's embarassing a bit, I do like to see myself described in the grid --16A. I never considered meaty.

G. Weissman 8:19 PM  

This would have been great if it looked even slightly like a scale. But it doesn't. Not a bit.

Lewis 9:13 PM  

@jberg and @molyshu -- Thank you for the encouragement!
@gharris -- There is always meaningful activity to do, if one looks for it. And thank you for your good wishes.

JC66 9:23 PM  


See, now you've got plenty of time to review the comments. ;-)

Sherm Reinhardt 9:34 PM  

Better than average Thursday, and would've been better, but I filled in WORK and LIFE instead of WORKWORKWORKWORK and LIFELIFELIFELIFE and the NYT interface took it as my not knowing eight squares.

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

Loved this one, perfect treat to end my day of surgery and convalescence. And it was extra gratifying to be able to predict accurately Rex's likes and minor complaints. For an OTG discussion sometime, please address the phrase PIECE OF WORK. It keeps making troubling appearances in the dialogue of period tv dramas like Downton Abbey, Murdoch Mysteries, and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Seems a likely crossword suspect though I can't think of other puzzles I've solved that use it.

jae 10:01 PM  

@Lewis- its a little scary to stop trading time for money. Consulting eased the transition for me. Good luck and best wishes!

Anonymous 11:02 PM  


I made that decision over 25 years ago. Took an auditing job that paid less but gave me a more flexible schedule. I was that coach, whether it be baseball, soccer or football who could run practices at 3:30, 4 or 5pm when other dads couldn't. Best experience of my life. With both my son and daughter I really got a chance to connect. While they were doing their homework, I was doing mine. I was here for them when help was needed. And as a matter of fact, I coached a number of players over and over during that time. Their parents seemed to like it very much. Not bragging, just FYI, but I have my National E license in soccer. What I've always taught my players is not that I wanted them to be "perfect" in what they did as that isn't reasonable. Just to do their best. The other was that, "We don't control what the other teams does or what the ref's call, we just control what WE do". Seek that BALANCE, maybe get involved with young athletes or scholars, (children, grandchildren, etc.), and you should be fine.
Best of luck, (luck being the residue of design).

Fountains of Golden Fluids 11:37 PM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Anonymous 12:41 AM  

AS YOU DO would be a nice entry for Aussie or British puzzles. Not so much for American grids.

chefwen 1:44 AM  

@Lewis - Traded in a paycheck for fun filled hobbies like pottery and plant science classes at age 50, thanks to my husbands generosity and willingness to fill the void that I left. Felt a little guilty at first and thought I would miss my every day routine and my customers, but I never looked back because I was having so much fun and learning a lot of new and interesting things. Go for it and have fun. May I get in that "hug fest" now? Good luck on your future ventures.

Gennie 11:50 PM  

I'm a programmer and I've never in my life heard it called a DO LOOP. There's loop as a general term, and within that there's for loop, while loop, do while loop, for each loop, for in loop...Do loop though?? Not a thing in any programming language I've ever worked with.

spacecraft 11:27 AM  

Not much more politically savvy than I am about R&B/rap/hiphop (Who CIARA??), I blanked on BROOKE. Sorry, but when I see that name all I can think of is DOD Shields. It went in on crosses, though--as did 12-across--so no harm no FOUL.

Failing to make sense of those long downs at 2-3-10-11, I cast about for a way in, finding it with YUL. This was a tough place to begin, on account of I never heard of "ASYOUDO--" this despite having spent three years in Merrie Olde. That puppy forced its way in square by square. Also the gridspanner: while it makes perfect sense, and people express that thought often, I don't typically run into that exact phrase. I put this in the "Wheel of Fortune" category of so-called "phrases" that aren't, really.

Nonetheless, I did finish with a tiny hiccup: had BROOKs until cross-checking with the Ds--oops, I mean DEA. The rebus lit up at 11-down when it started looking like SLICEOF...LIFE! Oh, but do pray tell, someone--anyone--Bueller?--what on EARTH that clue has to do with JOG? A brief, abrupt change in direction is a ziG--or a zaG, take your pick. JOG??????? Somebody he'p me! Serious candidate for bad clue of the month.

Yet withal, it was fun to do. I agree about the iffy imagery of the black squares; I thought they were those side-by-side bathtubs like in the Cialis ads--how DO those two get together?? But yeah, they could be SCALES, sort of. Interesting fill, including two cool long downs in the middle. Plus there's BROOKE, baby. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:30 PM  


He’s no PIECEOFWORK nor LOWLIFE; YUL SAY he’s CURSED with valiance.
It’s so CORNEA thing to SAY: they’ve EKED out their WORKLIFEBALANCE.


rain forest 1:48 PM  

I like puzzles where the grid layout visually represents something, and although I initially thought a body builder was being "pictured", a balance, or SCALES, is pretty clear.

Like @M&A, in the NW I wrote in WORK and let that stand as a '4 for 1' rebus at 36A. Likewise for LIFE in the NE. Didn't know CIARA, BROOKE, or AS YOU DO, but the crosses were fair. The bottom half was tougher than the top half, but overall, this felt like "medium" to me.

@Spacey - let me try to represent a JOG below
|_ This brilliantly depicts a JOG to the left as you travel down (or up).
You're welcome. See, this is what you can do when your WORK/LIFE BALANCE heavily favours the LIFE side of things.

Liked this one a lot.

leftcoastTAM 1:57 PM  

Enjoyed this one. Rex says about all that needs to be said, and a little more.

Would only add that Edward BROOKE was one of the last national Republicans I really admired. He was a moderate with a capital M. Few of those around these days, sad to say.

Nice WORK, JN.

rondo 2:15 PM  

WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK. Seems like that’s all I’m doing this week. Gotta get a LIFE. Or some of that WORKLIFEBALANCE, which is an actual phrase in the memo that comes out each year SAYing we are “authorized for” (you shall WORK) overtime.

I also had Z_G in place before it was necessary to JOG my memory.
And @Z had this above: "The road JOGs to the right just past the church."

With ten times the population of the Texas town, I would rather see ODESSA clued as the city in Ukraine, and wish I wouldn’t have lost track of Natasha there. TOLIFE!

Might not know much about yeah baby CIARA if she didn’t look so good hanging on Russell Wilson’s arm. I don’t listen to the stations that play her brand of music that might hit the pop CHART.

At least this rebus was unique. Well, back to the CURSED WORKing LIFE.

Diana,LIW 2:26 PM  

Thursdays give me trepidation, but this one gave me the satisfaction of a good solve - and with rebi? Miracle!

WORKLIFEBALANCE was what I preached as a career counselor. I took a leap of faith for several years by working several part-time jobs - all of them jobs that I loved. It paid off when my dream job opened up and I was ever-so-prepared for it.

Perhaps I'll deLorean off and tell Future Lewis.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 11:43 AM  

Gennie must be too young to remember FORTRAN. A DO LOOP was a real thing.

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