Opposite of trans with respect to gender / WED 4-12-17 / Black Tuesday event / Kate's sitcom housemate / Old sailor

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Constructor: Emily Carroll

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: SPLIT THE BILL (54A: Go Dutch ... or a hint to 20-, 28, 37- and 44-Across) —Circled squares on either end of themers contain names of famous "Bills"

Theme answers:
  • GUESSTIMATES (20A: Ballpark figures)
  • HOME INVADER (28A: Unwanted guest)
  • WALL STREET CRASH (37A: Black Tuesday event)
  • MARX BROTHER (44A: Any one of the stars of "Duck Soup") 
Word of the Day: Cisgender (23A: Opposite of trans-, with respect to gender) —
Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have "a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one's sex". It is the opposite of the term transgender. (wikipedia)
• • •

Never was much for these "split" themes. It's a step up from the non-consecutive circled square-type theme, but only a small step. You break a word and push its two parts to the ends of your themer ... voila. It's a pretty common gimmick, though the revealer here gives this one its own cute little twist. The theme is very loose. Very. There are so many Bills, and these Bills don't have anything in common besides being reasonably-to-very-well known. The set is fairly arbitrary. No Nye or Cosby or Clinton or Bixby or Blass or Pullman etc. Bill Walsh was the coach of the 49ers in the 80s, in case you wondering who the hell that is (lookin' at you, non-sports people). Hader was on SNL for a long time. Maher has the talk show, though honestly, after seeing MAHER embedded there, I was like "Oh, right ... one of those skiing brothers from the '80s. I remember them. His brother was Phil..." (turns out it's Phil and *Steve" ... and they spell their name MAHRE). Bill Gates, I assume you know.

Fill was pretty average, with a few nice moments (DYNAMITE! LIVE TV! HOT FOR!). There's probably too much stale stuff (e.g. ALEE ALERO ALITO ANTED ADEAR AEREO and a whole hunk more). Not a big fan of the written-out ampersand—ATANDT just looks stupid. The EPA is no longer "concerned with ecology"—try to keep the clues current. I whipped through this, with slow-downs coming only at 5D: Cayman and Cayenne (PORSCHES) (I wanted PEPPERS ...) and then WALL STREET CRASH (I wanted Black Tuesday to be some kind of sales event—a la "Black Friday"). -PLEX is a terrible suffix and terrible suffixes should not get winky "?" clues, as such clues lead to the opposite of endearment (34D: Movie trailer?). The SE corner is filled very cleanly. It's really a model for how to handle short-fill corners. Perfectly familiar words/names, all cluable in multiple interesting ways (well, except ALLIE—you're kind of limited there, clue-wise). One abbr., but ... that WACronym doesn't bother me a bit. Anyway, I notice when throwaway corners are not treated like throwaway corners. Wish I saw that level of polish more often.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Easy-medium for me. The PORCHES clue slowed me down. Thought @Rex Cayenne was a pepper and Cayman was an island? Now if it had been 911 or Carrera or Targa... Spelling GUESS with only one S didn't help. The rest was cake.

I'm thinking a couple of the BILLs are a not all that well known.

I needed the reveal to get the theme, not much dreck, liked it.

Phil 12:14 AM  

Had ????markETCRASH to start. Who doesn't know black Tuesday. Oh yeah... those doomed to repeat them.

Moly Shu 12:48 AM  

Today MAHER, the other day LIBERAL. What's next Hillary Clinton? My head may explode due to outrage if that happens. I might even think the sky is falling. No problem here with the PORSCHES, but CIS and THRALL were WOE's. trotS before LOPES, but other than that, pretty straightforward solve. Liked it.

Lee Coller 1:05 AM  

Bothered by the clue for "Alero." Wasn't that the last Olds' model. Thus it should actually be "newest Olds"?

jae 1:40 AM  

Oops - PORSCHES - not lanais

Hartley70 1:50 AM  

Thanks for looking at this non-sporty solver, Rex. I had no idea who Bill WALSH is and there must be 500,000 of them doing all kinds of important things in the USA. How to choose? I didn't know Bill HADER either because after about 15 years I couldn't keep up with all the SNL castmates, so there's that. Lately I've been paying better attention.

After I saw WALLSTREETCRASH I was hoping the themers would consist of two movie titles (BILLs) for another dimension to the last names in circles. I never see those circles until I'm nearly finished, so there was that too. I hate the tiny circles.

I have never seen CIS before and I really try to keep up to date with these terms. That was it for me.

I can't give this Wednesday a pan, however, because I totally fell for the PORSCHES misdirect and I loved it. I haven't seen THRALL in a long time, so it felt fresh, and I had to smile at Homer and MARGE as the love bugs.

I'm probably as surprised as the constructor to read the praise from @Rex regarding the SW corner. I can't remember him ever being quite as effusive about a corner. I'm not qualified to critique corners, or left legs for that matter, but I'll take @Rex's word that this is an outstanding specimen. Congrats, Emily and get this framed!

Larry Gilstrap 1:53 AM  

OFL seemed charitable enough tonight, even with those "throw away corners." Not a big fan of all that three letter fill, but my goal is to solve and every little bit helps. I really dig cartoon women; I could make a long list, but WILMA would be on that long list. Not spilling my short list on this forum. Ok, start with the girlfriend of Mighty Mouse.

I 2000 I flew to Anchorage and rented an ALERO and put over 800 miles on it. Get lost in Alaska! Good times. I was enTHRALLed by the beauty.

I have worked and lived for many years in Orange County, CA. We have Auto Spas and big shiny German vehicles abound, so PORSCHES are commonplace, even those named after condiments. Now, the place is filthy with Teslas. Better than Hummers and Escalades, from a few years back. Anyway, I wanted to give a shout out to a local brewery, CISmontane making it happen on "our" side of the mountain. Gender is confusing. Hard enough trying to be a guy all these years.

Finally, I'm not at all competitive, but if I were able to SPANK a competitor in the heat of battle... Is my face red?

puzzle hoarder 2:02 AM  

I don't often use the tablet to solve when I'm at home but printing is too much bother this late. Even on a tablet this was a breeze to solve. I'm quite familiar with Cayennes being PORSCHES. A Cayman is much harder to spot. I didn't guess the revealer even with everything above it filled in. My guess was DOUBLEDATE which wasn't even close. I blame that "Double Dutch" Liz Phair song and my having no clue as to what the names had in common. I just went right back to plugging in the easy fill and got it with a few crosses.

Robin 2:17 AM  

A little slow on this one, but there might have been beer involved. Didn't realize the theme until the grid was almost entirely filled in.

Some nice clueing on ONES and HALAL and SPANK. Kudos for CARSEATS.

Richard 2:48 AM  

The theme answers do have one constraint that makes it at least somewhat tight, namely that all the last names have exactly five letters. It would have been even tighter if the split had been consistent, such as three letters with the end pair of circles and two letters in the first pair.

chefwen 2:53 AM  

Easy enough for a Wednesday so no complaints from me. Didn't know BILL HADER and the only BILL WALSH I ever knew was our neighbor when we lived out on Lake Nagawicka, nice guy.

Two days in a row of asking people to do something for us BE AN ANGEL and BE A DEAR (I had doll first). I'm not that sappy, I stick to would you please, it usually works.

TrudyJ 3:20 AM  

Very easy one for me. PLEX was the last thing i filled in; it really is an awful Chunk O' Word. My husband works next door to a building with doctors' offices, massage therapists, etc., which is called The Health Plex. Just like that too -- three separate words, not even Healthplex. Ugh.

Loren Muse Smith 4:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 4:55 AM  

It’d be nice to see O'REILLY split.

I actually misspelled DYNAMITE . Good times.

@phil phil, I went straight to “__ Market” CRASH, too.

Love the portmanteau GUESSTIMATE. Reminds me of yesterday’s theme. I stole one from David Sedaris and sometimes have my students write a “guessay” predicting what might happen next in a story. Wonder how you could clue ”guesspionage.”

@chefwen- I know, right? I bet we all thought “an angel” before A DEAR.

LIVE TV crosses INEPT. Ok. The clip was probably taped, but it still makes me laugh.

I noticed I AM and IMAM. Wonder if an IMAM in South Beach has ever clarified things with Ma’am, I am a Miami imam.

Any puzzle that leads with MAN UP is ok by me. I knew all the Bills and enjoyed this one.

Anonymous 5:06 AM  

A not so subtle piece of advice for you snowflakes. Man up for God's sake.

Mark 5:17 AM  

This is one of the rare times I enjoyed. The puzzle less than Rex. There was nothing wrong with it (one reason he liked it), it just wasn't very interesting for a Wednesday.

Anonymous 5:19 AM  

I was sure it was the Oldsmobile Alera and the Palestine Liberation Army (since "liberation army" is a title used by many groups) which gave me a DNF. Aside from that this was one of the easiest Wednesdays for me in a while.

Having CISgender and MAN UP in the same puzzle seemed a little incongruous.

BigMistake 5:59 AM  

Dynomite was definitely an early entry for me!

Lewis 6:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:18 AM  

Pleasing quick-for-Wednesday solve, with some clever clues. Didn't need the theme for the solve, but it brought a sweet little aha when I saw it. I like the hopeful cross of RID/RACISM, and the neighboring synonyms TAR and SPANK, and it seems like we've seen AEREO quite a bit lately. I like the CIS crossing RACISM, a word in which it is embedded.

After some quick research, it looks to me like this theme has never been done before, and props for coming up with it, Emily!

Hungry Mother 7:12 AM  

This is only the second time I've seen CIS and it hasn't stuck yet. Very fast Wednesday solve with a weak theme.

BarbieBarbie 7:18 AM  

Easy, paid no attention to the theme or most of the Down clues, until after, and then I thought the theme was kind of cute. More a puzzle theme for the constructor than for the solver. One objection: CIS was over-clued. It's the opposite of trans, period. No gender identity descriptor required.

Charles Flaster 7:26 AM  

Easy and very likable puzzle.
Writeovers --HALAL for sALty and UTES for oToS.
Liked cluing for BIPEDS and anything with MARX BROTHERs is a big positive.
Overall this " filled the BILL".
Thanks EC

kitshef 7:27 AM  

HADER felt like a complete outlier – three household names (my household – maybe not yours if you are not a sports fan) and one ‘who’? I can see where for a younger and less sporty crowd, Walsh would be the outlier.

Clue for PORSCHES was utterly beyond me, but the crosses were fair.

‘CANAVERAL’ as an informal way to say Cape Canaveral is pretty lame. Better would have been 'Cape home to the Kennedy Space Center'.

Overall, blech. Overwhelmed by crosswordese. At first, I thought the theme was going have the circled letters be an alternate answer for the clue. Ballpark figures in the sense of an approximation are GUESSTIMATES. Ballpark figures in the sense of baseball attendances are GATES. Actual theme was a big disappointment.

chefbea 7:42 AM  

Hated the puzzle. Got split the bill right a way...Who in the world is Bill Hader??? and halal and thrall.....never heard those words!!!!

pmdm 7:59 AM  

If I correctly recall my chemistry classes, CIS and TRANS are frequently used to describe a single chemical that can be found in more than one form: the term describes the orientation of the atom inside the chemical. Or was it describing the orientation of bonds inside a chemical? Don't remember, but remember the use of the terms.

The EPA is currently definitely concerned with ecology: concerned that ecology doesn't place any burdens at all on American business.Bah.

Lewis 8:22 AM  

I don't understand what makes -PLEX a terrible suffix, but even if it is, I think spicing it up with a clever clue is better than just slapping a plain one on it.

Nate 8:39 AM  

Man, bested my personal Wednesday record by several minutes today (though I haven't really been tracking for very long). That's not a criticism of the puzzle, I just think, (a) the answers were in my wheelhouse, (b) there was not much that would be totally befuddling for the sub-35 crowd, and (c) Wednesday is always in my sweet spot as far as clue wordplay goes. In fact, I usually find Wednesday easier than Tuesday for some reason.

Beaglelover 8:58 AM  

Halal is the Muslim equivalent of Kosher. Dear butchered according to ritual, no mixing dairy with meat etc.

RooMonster 9:08 AM  

Hey All !
First, I'd just like to say how it boggles the mind how normally smart people don't believe in the changing of the ecology. Open your one-way-thinking mind, and look at the signs. EPA is supposed to support environmental issues, not dismiss them. Come on people.

For all the regulars here, sorry for that, guess I'm cranky today.

As for the puz, I liked it. Got revealer first, and thought the BILLs were going to be money denominations. When I saw they were names, like @LMS, went looking for O'Reilly.

@Larry Gilstrap 1:53, always liked Ariel, and the mouse that was on the show that I can't think of the name now. Help me out? Three mice, two male, one female.

Liked clues for SWAMP, MARGE, SPANK. Puz was eclectic in fact that it was splitting male names, while having a bunch of female names in the fill. Well, now that I look it over, there are also male names in fill. Ah, just forget what I'm yammering about. :-)

I'll MANUP, and admit IAM INEPT

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Yea, and when your face melts off when T-rump sends us into a nuclear war, then come brag to me. Oh wait, you won't be able to, you'll have no face.

mathgent 9:14 AM  

I was DENSE in the NW. I had ???SCHES and didn't see PORSCHES. I Googled "cayenne" and one of the first articles mentioned that it was the name of a Porsche. We have a few Porsches on the road out here, but I don't remember seeing a Cayenne.

I liked it. Quite a few fresh entries. MANUP, GUESSTIMATES (Jeff Chen said that they used to call them "wags" for wild-ass guesses), HOMEINVADER, THRALL, HOTFOR. I had 14 red plusses in the margins, well above my Wednesday average.

Lindsay 9:26 AM  

A very blah bunch of Bills. Never heard of Hader. Apropos of MAPLE LEAF, I heard French in the grocery store yesterday, so summer must be coming! (Quebec migrates south to the ocean).

I seem to remember that car reviewers were apoplectic when Porsche came out with an SUV, or whatever the Cayenne is, but there sure are a lot of them on the road.

QuasiMojo 9:31 AM  

I filled in all the spaces today without even noticing the theme. I'm a nitpicker about clarity so I don't like the "split the Bill" concept since one is not splitting Bill but the person named William's last name. The only one I recognized was Bill Gates. But after realizing who the Maher was, I recoiled. Perhaps that is why I put in "Street Trash" instead of "Crash" at first. There is no one in the media universe more offensive than that guy except perhaps a certain Fox-catcher.

Count me among the "DynOmite" crowd. I'm pretty sure that expression predates "Good Times." I also had "Erato" before "Marge." I've never seen The Simpsons.

"Marx Brother" is pretty weak.

I'm starting to acclimate myself to these tortured theme puzzles the Times is emitting. But why can't they be clever and fun? The WSJ each day is offering much more interesting fare and its online puzzles are free. (Sadly, however, just for the moment, I've heard.)

Finally, thank you @Lewis for that link late in the day yesterday. Her points were well taken.

GHarris 9:50 AM  

Hey anonymous at 5:06 AM snowflakes are beautiful, complex and independently original. Why don't you stop mouthing the party line of the Fox pinheads and try thinking for yourself.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:54 AM  

Bill Walsh was the chairman of the Massachusetts democratic party, two chairs ago. Way too obscure for a NY paper on a Wednesday.He quit that job to work for Deval Patrick, our former governor who might be a name to watch for as a new generation of national leaders begins to emerge.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

Despite the tiny little circles (have I mentioned hate tiny little circles? Yes I think perhaps I have), I sort of liked this puzzle. It posed some problems for me -- especially in the PORSCHES section (have I mentioned that I know nothing about car makes? Yes I think perhaps I have.) Like Rex, I wanted PEPPERS there, too, even though I've never eaten one called a Cayman. I was also thinking of ISLANDS, though I never heard of one called a Cayenne. Add to the fact that I don't watch early morning TV, so -OKE- at 17A was leading me to think of COKEY [sic] Roberts, who goes on much later on Sunday mornings (and spells her name differently. Took me forever to think of ROKER. I also wanted qUESTIMATES instead of GUESSTIMATES at 20A, which I couldn't make fit. So I struggled more than usual for a Wednesday and found this pretty enjoyable.

GILL I. 10:04 AM  

Oooof. Didn't get on Emily's wavelength till the very end. Boy, was I running around looking for a cheap date.
MARGE screwed me again. I had CIRCE. HALAL is cruel. I wanna WAC the BLIP out of those that perform that ritual. I don't know why, but not even WILMA brought me much of a smile. Bill WALSH was my football hero. I loved the 49ers then. You couldn't drag me away from a Sunday game. My husband thought the world revolved around soccer and that American football was for sissies. Hah! I got him to start watching with me and he became hooked. Sadly, they're playing so badly now that we rarely watch.
GNAWS TAR SPANK...What a corner.
After I fixed the can it/MAN UP/MARGE corner and finally got PORSCHES, I looked at the puzzle and then a smile did creep in. OK, so it's not a cheap date - it's BILL...!
TARA...not clued as a plantation...Finally!

Z 10:09 AM  

Speaking of DYN-o-MITE, I saw this on the interwebs so it must be true.

@Moly Shu - What? Anyway, one point of disagreement, MAHER isn't really a liberal. When you look at the totality of his positions he's a pretty typical middle of the road white American male. He's sometimes a bit ahead of middle of the road conventional wisdom, but he rarely ventures into truly leftist positions.

Never a prisoner to consistency, I agree with Rex and @Lewis regarding PLEX, i.e., horrible suffix but if it is in the puzzle I want some creativity in the cluing.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 10:13 AM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Nancy 10:26 AM  

@Z (10:09) and anyone else who's interested: I think that Bill MAHER prided himself for years on being a Libertarian-- which is nothing like a Liberal -- but it seems recent events have moved him inexorably to the left. I used to have a debate with myself: Who was funnier, MAHER or Stephen Colbert? But I don't think that Colbert has meshed well with his new late-night format, which somehow always plays to the lowest common denominator. (Those witless asides to the band leader, complete with drum roll, I HATE that.) So for me, MAHER has emerged on top -- someone who I don't think would compromise his acerbic outlook for a cushier, more mainstream gig. I wish I knew how to embed -- I don't -- but I highly recommend that anyone who's not slightly to the right of Louis XIV go to YouTube and watch MAHER's "New Rules: What Would a Dick Do?" It's devastating and so funny!

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

In chemical molecules with a double bond (that can't rotate), there can be a cis (same side) or a trans (opposite side) isomer, basically represents the 3-D spatial formation. Sometimes only one isomer is biologically/chemically active (because it fits into a receptor eg).

Mohair Sam 10:56 AM  

Five'll getcha ten that 90 percent of the folks who knew WALSH didn't know HADER and vice versa. I'm in the WALSH camp, cannot believe they entrusted that franchise to Chip Kelly for even a year - but I digress.

OFL has a point, I usually don't like a puzzle with lots and lots of three letter words - but this was enjoyable. I hardly noticed all the little guys, nice cluing. Kudos Emily Carroll.

The crash of 1929 happened on a Friday, and there was a nasty crash in the '80s that happened on a Monday. So we're just two crashes away from having every day of the week covered as Black. I'll second @LEWIS, no prob with PLEX as clued.

My older sister Margaret, an executive at a Long Island University, called everybody DEAR, absolutely everybody. Back in the '70s I worked for a small trading firm that paid all four of us in one office "nest" equally - three guys, one woman. We shared duties from trading bonds to answering phones. One day Karen answered the phone, my sister calling for me, she passed it along. After I hung up Karen walked to my desk and said, "Kindly let your Goddamned sister know that I am not her "Dear", and not your "Dear", just because I'm a woman I am not below the men in this department, I am not the "Dear" who makes coffee or takes dictation. Tell her a young woman can climb the ladder too, tell her I've earned just as much respect as she has if not more - DEAR!"
"Hey Alan," I calmly called to the guy at the next desk, "you took a call from my sister the other day. What did she call you?"
"DEAR." Said Alan.
"Hey Jim . . . . ."
"DEAR." Said Jim.
"Karen, do I need to ask the boss what my sister Margaret calls him?"
I left the firm two years later, but good old Karen was never addressed as anything but DEAR from that day forward.

Bax'N'Nex 10:58 AM  

As I was doing this, all I could think of was "Rex is going to list a bunch of other Bills that he thought were far superior to the ones chosen here". (Chosen by the person actually taking the time to CREATE the puzzle for our entertainment, not the one just criticizing it)

Jeff Keller 11:03 AM  

Definitely an easily fill, with the few unknowns easily inferred from the crosses. I did have LAUER at first rather than ROKER. I totally forgot about the theme until reading Rex's write-up (usually only do themeless Fri-Sun puzzles). Thus, it had no bearing on the solve. Never heard of Bill Walsh.

Joseph Michael 11:10 AM  

Come on, Rex, this was a DYNAMITE Wednesday puzzle. Cute theme, clever clues, and entries like GUESSTIMATES, MARX BROTHER, HOT FOR, and more.

Recently in Crossworld we were told to "be an angel." Now we're told to be A DEAR. Good words of advice in the age of incivility.

Couldn't help noticing the resurgence of AEREO, son of OREO, and the car that wouldn't die: ALERO.

Knew all of the BILLs, though I had to dig a little to remember Mr. WALSH. Go, Niners!

To those who hate Bill MAHER, and to those who love him, yes, I know what you mean. I have over the years shared both feelings but currently think he is one of the funniest damn guys on LIVE TV.

MotoUgo 11:16 AM  

That's so funny. I thought I was the only one who misspelled DynOmite specifically due to remembering how JJ pronounced it in Good Times!

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

What pmdm said (about the EPA -- I have no clue about the chemistry!).

Tom4 11:30 AM  

I was annoyed to see MAN UP but that is slightly mitigated by CIS

QuasiMojo 11:31 AM  

Well I guess @Nancy and I disagree about one thing. What I find objectionable about Bill Mayer is that he thinks interjecting the f word into every sentence makes him funny. Jon Stewart used to do this too, never liked him either. But Maher takes it to a new level. And seems to revel in his vulgarity. He's not even funny to begin with. I did want to comment too on "cis". I knew that one because of cisatlantic, a word pretentious people, including myself, use in contrast to transatlantic. Haha.

Hartley70 11:35 AM  

@Mohair Sam, your sister's a hoot. I loved your anecdote. Oh poor, dear Karen.

old timer 12:07 PM  

@Mohair Sam, I loved your anecdote. And hands up for knowing Bill Walsh but not Bill Hader.

I think OFL and I are on the same wavelength today. I solved top to bottom, left to right for once, and as I completed the top, I was thinking, this puzzle is terrible. Way too easy, and totally boring. Yet as I finished it, I thought, there is a lot to admire here. In a lot of ways, this Emily person is quite the elegant constructor. And SPLITTHEBILL made may smile.

Joe Bleaux 12:38 PM  

Also a huge fan of Maher, I've seen a couple of stories (one recently in the NYT) on how Colbert's ratings have risen consistently since Election Night, when his producer wisely told him to "be yourself" rather than focus on being funny. The result is a combo of the "real" Colbert and the pompous right-winger he portrayed on the comedy channel. You're exactly right about his not meshing with the original format, though; it wasn't working.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Snowflakes also melt when subjected to heat.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

@Anonymous 9:11
The sky is falling!!! There would have been a greater chance of nuclear war had the wicked witch been elected. Get a grip! He was addressing smart people, not smart-assed people.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

You are so clever and insightful I think I am going to faint.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Wow!! A lib that fights. Build any bombs lately?

JC66 1:21 PM  

I fall into the "old" camp (77). but unlike others, I somehow knew all the BILLS.

@ Joe Bleaux

Read the same interesting article about Colbert and think he's doing a terrific job, now.

@nancy may want to give him another shot.

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

@Hartley70 has my back today, as I too knew neither WAL_SH nor H_ADER, and for the same reasons. And I too have been paying attention to SNL more lately, probably for the same reasons.

Yes, Bill MA_HER uses the f-bomb gratuitously and far too frequently, just because he can on HBO, I think, but I do find him as funny as @Nancy does.

I liked this puzzle - I considered the theme fresh, if not the "genre" (per @Z yesterday) and there was some good cluing. It took me a bit longer than an average Wednesday because I was so DENSE - 1D, I have MA__E and I'm wondering why Homer, of epic poem fame, isn't spelling "love" AMORE. For some reason, I'm thinking that Kate was roomies with a bowling ALLey and the spelled out AND in ATANDT was slow emerging. So this gave a bit of challenge, which I enjoyed.

Thanks, Emily Carroll, great sophomore effort.

Andrew Heinegg 1:33 PM  

It continues to astound me how people on the left and the right have come to the conclusion that engaging in perjorative name calling of adherents to the opposite point of view of their own makes the perspective of the name caller more correct and/or appealing. I just don't get it.

Temporarily Derailed 1:38 PM  

After getting GUESSTIMATES, I thought sure the the theme was something like "two answers for the same clue but with different meanings:" Ballpark figures = GUESSTIMATES Ballpark Figures = GATES (i.e., paid attendance is "the gate"). So was scratching my head forever over 28A: wtf is a HADER and how is it an unwanted guest? lol

Moly Shu 1:43 PM  

@Z - what? Middle of the road, really? I hope you're joking (like I was)

Anoa Bob 1:44 PM  

I would have been tempted to put a "?" at the end of the clue "Beat handily" for 66A SPANK to add a little double entendre to "handily".

I usually can't help notice when an S is gratuitously tacked on to make a plural of convenience (POC) that boosts an entry's letter-count and grid-filling capacity (e.g., PORSCHES & CARSEATS), but today a horse of a different color caught my eye at 44A. MARX BROTHER without the final S just looks, and sounds, odd. Would it not be "One of the MARX BROTHERS? Does that make it a singular of convenience (SOC)?

What do you mean "...these BILLs don't have anything in common..." They are all BIPEDS!

Joe Bleaux 1:45 PM  

Luckily, I saved that PPP-infested (half a dozen of 'em!) NW for last today. I stalled there for a bit, but the EDS (no doubt wearing their NIKES and driving PORSCHES) helped me finish. Nice job, Ms. Carroll, on a groaner-free Wednesday puzzle refreshingly light on crosswordese and sprinkled with nice clues (and thanks for my first-ever sight of THRALL). @Lee Coller: A zealous nit-picker myself, hand up on ALERO, as new as Olds can be.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

Bill Maher is objectionable. Surprised that he's being normalized. He's an avowed womanizer. Very much a regular at the Playboy mansion. I thought Rex was a feminist? Silly me. I suppose Bill's ok because he likes to take cheap shots at Catholics and republicans. Wow He's so edgy!

GILL I. 1:53 PM  

@Quasi...I sort of agree with you on the "F" bomb, however Bill Maher, for whatever reason, knows how to deliver it without offending. The theatrical Dame Helen Mirren uses it all the time and her timing is perfect. Another perfect timer is Kate Winslet. You'd never expect it coming out of their gorgeous mouths.
It really is a wonderful word if you choose it wisely. On the other hand, I can't watch too many Irish movies because it's used as every other word and its effect is lost.
I remember the first time my grandmother said SHIT at the top of her lungs when she dropped a chicken. I laughed for hours. She was a tiny and very proper woman.....Vive

Nancy 2:09 PM  

@Joe Bleaux and @JC66 -- I, too, read that very interesting NYT article on Colbert, and that sent me to YouTube to search out some of his latest material that took place since the election. (I don't stay up to watch the Late Show, never did.) I was going to watch several recent shows on YouTube, but ended up watching just one. His opening monologue was fairly amusing -- but not nearly as funny as his old routines on Comedy Central. Worse, he stopped during the monologue, twice I think, for some truly feeble "banter" with the band leader -- both of which were followed by either a [totally unearned] drum roll or cymbal clash. So dumb. So sophomoric. I just hate that, as I said earlier. The Late Show has been doing that for like 40 years now. Can't they give it a rest?

As to Bill Maher's overuse of the F word -- Perhaps I don't see him often enough (I don't subscribe) to HBO, but I've never noticed that. Maybe he's been "cleaner" during the segments I've watched? Or maybe I've become really jaded in my old age? But I'm no fan of crude language, have been offended by many comics over the years, and yet I don't remember ever being offended by Bill.

TomAz 2:10 PM  

This was one of the easiest Wednesdays for me I've seen in a while. Virtually no resistance. My time came in just a hair above Monday-average; I missed a personal best for a Wednesday by about a minute. (I'm not that fast though, today's time was 7:47 for me).

Didn't see the theme until the revealer, and it didn't matter.

I was very tempted to put an O in DYNAMITE, however, especially the way it was clued. I am guessing solvers with limited exposure to 70s sitcoms wouldn't understand.

It figures the Trumptards would be all over MANUP the way a dog salivates at a doggie treat. Except the dog is more self-aware.

ani 3:03 PM  

Loved the o'reilly smack

Whirred Whacks 3:22 PM  

FWIW: I met BILL WALSH a number of times when he coached Stanford and later was their athletic director. Really decent guy. He signed and gave me one of his NFL hall of fame footballs. I met BILL GATES twice in the mid-1980s (he was only worth $100,000,000 then) when he spoke at several conferences I produced. A very smart and intense person!

Andrew Heinegg 3:31 PM  

I don't think there is much question but that Maher used to be a libertarian but has now come over to the left. I also think there isn't much question that he uses a lot of f-bombs.

His original entry in show business was as a comedian and parts of his current show are devoted to politics and part to political comedy. It has been my assessment that many comedians overuse the f word to calm their nerves or to get the attention of audience. I do think it can add to the humor of a joke but, not if it is every other word in the repertoire of the comedian. It gets tiresome to your ears at the least.

Maher can be very funny but his intellectual arrogance can be off-putting. And, as always with comedy, no one is going to be able to be funny all the time. It just can't be done. I sometimes wonder when comedians sense the joke has fallen flat whether they reach for the obscene words to get going again, as it were.

One thing that I do like about Maher is that he always has at least one person on his show that has the polar opposite perspective from his own although he has on at the same time a number of people on that agree with him. Shows that cover politics and are monochromatic as it were become very tiresome even if you agree with the points of view espoused thereon.

Anonymous 4:39 PM  

SPLIT THE CZECH would have been more challenging.

JC66 5:09 PM  

Good one!

jae 5:11 PM  

For anyone interested in what Bill HADER has been doing post SNL I recommend the IFC series "Documentary Now" hosted by Helen Mirren and the movie The Skeleton Twins" with Kirsten Wiig.

Joe Bleaux 5:47 PM  

Since comedy seems to be the favorite off-topic here today, and some folks thought "dynOmite" might have been a puzzle answer, this tidbit: "Dejus and Mero" on Viceland recently reported that Jimmie Walker is dating ... Ann Coulter! And of course they had a photo of them together. Double funny!

Joe Bleaux 5:50 PM  

(Didn't check 'til after I posted ... Google "Jimmie Walker Ann Coulter photo")

Anonymous 7:46 PM  

I can't swing a dead cat without hearing about fake news.
How about fake ideas? Cis gender? Puhlease.
No one is assigned a gender at birth, that fact happened well before.
Sure,incidentals like dress and declrum surroundong masculinity and femininits change, but so what?
A guy who cuts his penis off and wears a dress is not a woman, regardless of how sincerely he identifies as one.

Mark 11:17 PM  

Don't forget cisalpine

Jared 1:06 AM  

I have more of a problem with PLEX's clueing than the fact that it was in the puzzle in the first place.

PLEX itself is not a movie "trailer"... it's a movie follower. So when it's solved like the puzzle had, it doesn't really make any sense because you're assuming it's a word that comes before Movie.

Totally screwed up my finish so I had to write about it.

Aketi 5:14 AM  

I was on the road yesterday, so I this puzzle after finishing today's puzzle and my last fill for this April 12th puzzle was a clue for the April 13th. What are the chances of that happening? Haha.

Aketi 5:22 AM  

@Anonymous 7:46pm, that is actually untrue. Babies with ambiguous gender due to chromosomal, endoctonologicsl, or sometimes surgical mishaps during circumcision were routinely assigned a gender by doctors who claimed it was fir the babies benefit to assign a gender and use surgery so the baby's physical appearance conformed to that assignment. I had an internship with an MD who worked with genetic anomalies and he rarely even stopped to consider that the baby might later want to choose or even that parent's might have a choice in the matter. He told parents what gender he was assigning because he thought he knew best.

BarbieBarbie 6:19 AM  

Good catch, @Jared. Looks like "trail" can be used in more than one wau. But "to follow behind" is the more usual definition. Would be hard for a bloodhound to trail a suspect if he or she hadn't left any scent yet.
How are all those jobs going?

Anonymous 9:00 AM  


First, throw the surgical mishaps out the window. That the doctor made the gender difficult to identify through his mistake hardly suggests there was a gender to begin with.
As for the rest, yes there are a tiny, and you and I birth know it is in fact an infinitesimal percentage of babies with abnormalities that make the male/female call tricky. Though, of course, not impossible.

2tattered 10:33 AM  

Actually, I wouldn't have gotten it as quickly without the reference to gender. I'd be thinking trans-racial? Trans-Siberian? Trans-continental? Trans-Pacific?

Lock Facility 6:43 AM  

Creative minds..Awesome content makeover.New thing found to be informative.Thanks.

spacecraft 9:50 AM  

I've seen this clue set before (see my Monday post). Unfortunately, THIS is the puzzle that the careless editors should've screwed up. Who in the &$@% is Bill Hader?? Walsh I vaguely remember, but I imagine many would wonder who the &$@% he is too. There are plenty of fill ills as well, but all pales before the dreaded ampersandwich ATANDT: NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! Take it out and shoot it! I resisted SO hard putting it in. I saw what it was going to be, and thought, PLEASE, let me be wrong. Made the whole area much harder than it needed to be. When at last I gave in and saw that the themer was going to be "GUESSTIMATES," a stupid made-up word that means the same thing without the GU_S, that finally gave me MARGE. Silly me, my mind was in Greek classical when it should (?????) have been on TV cartoon characters. Thus the NW once again brings up the rear.

This is not a bogey, or even a double or triple one. This is INEPT; an "other." And to complete the insult I have to scroll past a &$@% spellcaster to post. Bad day!

Oh, the DOD. I'll take the one shining moment in this grid: THRALL, and recall that Kirk chick from STTOS' "The Gamesters of Triskelion" Shahnah, Angelique Pettijohn. I was HOTFOR her at the time.

Burma Shave 11:43 AM  


WILMA was in THRALLs for it and said ALOUD, “Be ADEAR,


rondo 12:38 PM  

Made up for lost time of the inkfest variety today in the NW: oToE ending where the E in ESTIMATES should have been, then various iterations of answers like lauER (I don’t know who’s on what network, IAM at work at those hours), a misspelled ALeTO, and thinking AheaD. Remembering that a coworker drives a Cayenne helped fill in the PORSCHES, and that CIS thing always trips me up. Hand up for thinking wrong Homer. At first left a blank in DYN_MITE in case it might have been that O so many mentioned.

My dad was nicknamed Harpo after the MARXBROTHER. It stuck with him for 60+ years. I had to put it in his obituary since that’s how folks knew him.

Does 13 years now constitute “old”. Olds’ last car made was an ALERO in 2004. If 13 is old, well what does that make the rest of us?

Finally an apt use of TAR. Bad cross with TARA.

I ELECT to name Olympic champ TARA as the yeah baby I’m HOTFOR today.

Paid no attention to circles. Except for the NW I was in good SHAPE.

leftcoastTAM 2:17 PM  

First thought: Not as smooth and polished as yesterday's, but okay.

Needed crosses for the HALAL term, and CIS-gender as a term seems superfluous to me. (Am I risking chastisement here?)

The SPLIT BILLs theme is a bit flat. The names are familiar enough, though I couldn't quite place Bill WALSH until coming here.

On the positive, liked the PORSCHES, bucket CARSEATS pairing.

Just thinking ALOUD.

Diana,LIW 3:10 PM  

Using my I know I know method, this puzzle was Monday easy for me.

When I started reading @Spacey's post, I had no idea what he was talking about. Had he posted on the wrong day? Paid no attention to the circles, didn't "get" or care about the theme, so HADER? WALSH? Where were they? And didn't notice ATANDT because I got all it's crosses.

Then I read @Rex, and aha! I missed the boat, even tho I had an easy and perfect solve.

Adored the story about DEAR Karen. (See Mohair Sam)

I had the same response as @Rondo to the "age" of the ALERO. My grandfather's Rocket 88, that's old. A Reo is old. An ALERO is probably still running. If it's in a parking lot, no one is going to go up to it and say, "look at this old ALERO - wow, it's in good shape."

Got the Homer misdirect right off the bat. I'm getting hip to this crossword world. Husband is a Porsche fan, so I know my models. And even tho I don't watch am TV, I've seen many an article or item about ROKER over the years.

So my wheelhouse was happy today. As was said a few days ago, gonna carpe the rest of the diem.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 3:21 PM  

As the well-to-do stock trader was leaving for the day, he said to his handyman, "If you finish the yard work in time, there's a can of red paint out back that you could paint my porch with." When he got home, the handyman told him, "I had lots of time for the painting after the yard work. But that ain't no porch back there. That's a BMW!" Maybe a mic drop there.

I drove a Porsche Carrera once. Spun it out in an acute left-hander. Wasn't allowed to drive it again.

Even though I didn't know who HADER was/is, this was an OK puzzle, easy, reasonable theme, and good revealer. I did write in SeparatE BILL, entailing much writing-over.

AT AND T didn't bother me. That's how they say it on the TV ads.

DOD? For me, I'll take Susan Saint James who played ALLIE, and also the wife in McMillan and Wife. A true yeah baby.

rondo 4:34 PM  

@rainy - Agree. Almost went that route.

leftcoastTAM 6:35 PM  

@Lady Di--I'm one of those perfectionists (i.e., OCD types) who don't think I have a "perfect solve" unless I've recognized the theme or gimmick, even if I've filled in all of the squares correctly. It may be a good thing that you're not.

Anonymous 8:27 PM  

I had nearly the entire puzzle finished by the last letter. Porsche seemed right but the opposite of Transgender was cis? I though it might be mis or dis like misgender or disgender. One letter away from 3 days without any hints or errors. At least it is only one letter off. They always teach to go with your first guess. Cisgender?


John 5:17 AM  

Really Good.Puzzles are my favourite..But this makes me confusing..How to make it complete?


Divine 5:58 AM  

Crosswords!! I love it..Actually good to be difficult so that it will be interesting...


  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP