Outer protein shell of virus / TUE 5-16-17 / Chicago squad in old SNL skits / Victim of river diversion in Asia / Divergent actor James

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Constructor: Bruce Haight

Relative difficulty: Challenging (this took me over 6 minutes; I haven't been over 5 minutes on a Tuesday in probably a decade; my average is about 3:40)


THEME: Well I could see that a state + an extra letter had to be anagrammed for the answer, but damn if I could figure out why. No idea. Kept trying. No idea. Finally read a different crossword blog to discover There Is No Reason. Random states + random letters, anagrammed. That is it. Why "Washington"? No reason. Why add the "R"? No reason. What does WARNING SHOT have to do with Washington? Nothing. Behold the Best Puzzle In The World. This is your god now.

Theme answers:
  • WARNING SHOT (17A: WASHINGTON + R = Intimidation tactic)
  • "I'M SERIOUS" (24A: MISSOURI + E = "No fooling!")
  • NORMAL DAY (???) (33A: MARYLAND + O = Period in which nothing special)
  • BANK RATES (ugh, these answers...) (45A: NEBRASKA + T = Mortgage specifications)
  • AFRICAN LION (52A: CALIFORNIA + N = Majestic)
Word of the Day: CAPSID (5A: Outer protein shell of a virus) —
[seriously, that is what come up at the top of the page when you google [define capsid]]
A capsid is the protein shell of a virus. It consists of several oligomeric structural subunits made of protein called protomers. The observable 3-dimensional morphological subunits, which may or may not correspond to individual proteins, are called capsomeres. The capsid encloses the genetic material of the virus. (wikipedia)
• • •

I keep rewriting this first sentence because I just can't quite come up with the right words to capture how dumb this theme is. I mean, aren't solvers everywhere asking "why these states?" Aren't they asking "Why Those Letters?" Constructors at home, despite the fact that the editor has apparently lost his damn mind / has so few submissions he has to accept nonsense like this—Don't Do This. Your themes need to have some hook, some sense of purpose, something. This is a joke. Maybe it is a joke. Maybe it's some avant-garde performance-art stuff—a puzzle that looks like it means something but actually means nothing! A Thursday on a Tuesday! I have no idea. But I don't think anything so Andy Kaufman-esque is going on here. I think this puzzle is just bad. Really bad. Objectively bad. Anyone out there who has Ever had a puzzle rejected by the NYT is sitting out there this morning going, "... REALLY?!" Yes, really folks. Enjoy!



Analyze this garbage? I would prefer not to.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

138 comments:

Passing Shot 6:31 AM  

Normally I agree wIth Rex, but I found this puzzle enjoyable. Two somewhat challenging puzzles on a Monday and a Tuesday? More, please. Thanks, BH.

smalltowndoc 6:42 AM  

My thoughts were exactly the same as Rex's. Theme was just horrible. Pointless.
And the fill? I DIG? What century are we in?

Lewis 6:44 AM  

Well, I figured Tuesday/Haight was going to bring a pan, and it was a super pan. I agree that the theme is random, and indeed I was looking for the hook, and I learn now that there is none, and so I give the theme a minus. The other minus -- and not Bruce's fault -- this was Wednesday level in difficulty, which, selfishly, I enjoyed, but this, IMO, shouldn't have run today.

However, I found a raft of plusses to counter that. Answers: RAWBARS, RAFT (in this sense), POSTUP, SCHUSS, BAS-RELIEF, and SENTUP. Clues: LIAR, ENROUTE. I learned CAPSID and DABEARS (don't remember that from SNL at all). A nice cross: WARNINGSHOT/DETER, and I like that RAFT floating above the ARAL Sea. I also like the dissonant cross of PEP and POOPOUT. The grid is clean as well. And one more thing: The theme helped me figure out what type of lion it was, as the F from California gave the AFRICAN away for me.

Bottom line, I loved the grit and had an enjoyable solve, while being puzzled by the theme. The randomness of the theme didn't ruin the puzzle for me, though. The plusses outweighed it.

Loren Muse Smith 6:46 AM  

DORMITORY- DIRTY ROOM nothwithstanding, anagrams don’t really float my boat. I think it might be because my non-puzzling husband routinely wipes the floor with me on the daily Jumble. I mean, it’s never even close; I have a terrible time unscrambling letters.

I liked the progression of WARNING SHOT – “I’M SERIOUS, Mr. AFRICAN LION. Now git. You’re a RANK BEAST. King of the jungle, indeed. {Spit} DAMN ROYAL. Go’on now – amscray, buddy.” Famous last words and all that.

VENISON – I never hear anyone here in this deer-consuming state say this word. I’m not complaining – it’s a word I’ve used my whole life. I just don’t hear it it here.

USED POT – my kids are moving in together in Raleigh and plan to go to the flea marked this weekend to buy stuff to stock their kitchen.

Well, yeah - like Rex, @Lewis, and probably lots of others, I finished and looked for an anagram of those added letters. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this:

TRONE
Noun
/trōn/
(plural noun: trones)
1. the act of adding a letter to a state’s name so that it can anagram into a common two-word phrase
2. What an ex-pat Brooklynite sits on in his LOO to read The London Times
3. someone who’ll believe anything if it looks like it’s a dictionary entry


I bet it was a bear to figure out which letters to add to which states. Thanks, Bruce! I'm with @Lewis on this one.

Forsythia 6:52 AM  

This took longer than usual but not sure why since it was easy once I figured which amount 1 across was. Alot? Seas? Aton? Not my favorite way to start a puzzle.

And no "aha." 35D reads DAB EARS to me, as in just got ears pierced and have to dab alcohol on them all the time. Would have preferred a hospital definition for 19A instead of plural conjunction.

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

Ono ain't no singer

Brian Grover 7:04 AM  

Rex is grumpy because his solve time was too high, so he trashes what was a really fun puzzle for a Tuesday. He didn't like the theme - as opposed to every other day, when he doesn't like the theme. Whatever. Enjoyed it - although agree with whoever said "Ono ain't no singer". :)

kitshef 7:14 AM  

I can honestly say that I never once said “why these states?”, nor “why these letters?” This idea that there has to be a larger point to the theme answers seems to be an obsession for @Rex, but one I just don’t care about.

What I particularly enjoyed was having a challenge on a Tuesday. Felt more like a Friday (though that could be a result of working a 13-hour day before solving).

And grid does not rely overly on crosswordese (but I see you, REO, ONO, ARIA). Add some nice non-themers (RAW BARS, POO POUT, DAB EARS, VENISON), and you have a genuinely enjoyable solving experience.

Well, as long as you don’t care about time, I suppose.

webwinger 7:14 AM  

Hand up for Ono not a singer. LMS, you had me at trone! (Almost redeemed the theme.) I knew capsid from my medical school virology study, but couldn't believe it would show up in a Tuesday puzzle. (A while back I immediately answered "mast cell" for "antihistamine target", only to learn from crosses the answer was dull old HAY FEVER.)

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

I could submit a puzzle that is better than this one, but because I'm self-loathing I think I'll just wallow in snark and take cheap shots. Colbert would approve.

Glimmerglass 7:27 AM  

Easy/medium for me. I got the "theme" at WARNING SHOT just from crosees in the NW. Didn't much look for deeper meaning -- it's just an anagram. The others were just as easy. So I guess this is a Tuesday puzzle because the theme is so easy. The fill was a bit harder, some of it quite interesting, some of it new words to me (CAPSID) but gettable from crosses enabled by the easy themers. I found this a fun early-week puzzle. @Rex is all about his time -- hard for me to relate to. Rex, I don't feel your pain.

Two Ponies 7:40 AM  

I would have enjoyed this if the "theme" answers had been clued cleverly. Anagrams make my head hurt and leave me feeling inadequate or dyslexic.

Avant-garde performance art! Good one Rex.

Hungry Mother 7:48 AM  

I thought it was me or that I'm on the auto-train right now, heading back to Delaware later today. I almost tossed in the towel, but pushed it through.

nick 7:53 AM  

Average Tuesday for me, within seconds. I didn't really struggle with the anagrams - reading the clues I guessed "anagrams" and for once was right with my guess. (Blind squirrel, nut, etc.)

Since we are all weighing in, I get Rex's frustration with the hookless theme, My expectations for a Tuesday themeless are probably lower. In hindsight, what this puzzle was missing was that knowing smirk after I figured out the anagrams AND was rewarded with a clever bit of wordplay. But there were just anagrams.

It was a Manhattan without the cherry waiting for me at the end.

r.alphbunker 7:57 AM  

10D. {Put off} DEFER-->DETER was particularly devious. I found this online
Put off: to make someone not want to do something, or to make someone not like someone or something
Robert's attitude toward women really puts me off
Robert's attitude toward women really DETERs me (from doing what?)

Details are here.

Casimir 8:00 AM  

I'm not as concerned with themes being innovative as OFL, so I kinda liked this puzzle. One mistake -- POP/ONROUTE -- anyone else have that?

chefbea 8:02 AM  

Found it a bit difficult but the anagrams of the states made it easier. Love oysters and raw bars!!!

QuasiMojo 8:02 AM  

I love anagrams. So this one was a breeze. I don't quite understand Rex's disdain today. These were pretty easy to suss out. What exactly is the confusion?

Diana was PRINCESS DIANA when she gave birth to William. No longer called LADY DI. (The abbreviation in any case should have been hinted at.)

Anyone else think the clue INFANTILE and the answer BABYISH were especially apt considering David Brooks's op-ed today in the NYT?

evil doug 8:11 AM  

When I get a Tuesday that makes me work a little instead of just marching briskly through it? That's a good Tuesday. I didn't mind the letter-state-scramble, and vivid terms like POST UP, IN STEP, BABYISH, SCHUSS, USED POT, BLENDS, FIRE HAT, RAW BARS, DA BEARS, and VENISON were enough to hold my attention.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Count me among those who did not think there was more to the theme. However, for me it usually goes the other way, i.e., I solve the puzzle and find out later there was actually an additional layer to the theme.

My biggest complaint with this one is USEDPOT, which no one ever says. ("Hey, let's use pot!") I started with GOTHIGH.
--Twangster

David 8:14 AM  

Didn't like the puzzle either, but the theme does make sense--simply anagrams of the actual state name plus the added letter.

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Agree with others that it was fun to have a challenge on a Tuesday, and particularly enjoyed some different/non-standard, non-crosswordese words.

It's really too bad that some people (lookin' at you, Rex) obsess about the time, as if everything that we do, including puzzles done *just for enjoyment*, has to be a competition. Who cares how long it took? If everything is a race then you just have life passing you by. I can just imagine Rex vs. me on a bike ride on the local trail -- me stopping for lemonade and chatting with the cool kids running the stand and him just complaining that even having them standing there interrupted his attention span and he lost 3 seconds in the time to ride the *recreational* trail.

Sorry for the diversion .... I continue to come here for the occasional interesting insights into the world of crosswords, and, as always, those of the commenters. I've said it before, I appreciate that Rex created this forum .... the community makes the crosswording experience richer, thanks!

Happy May!

-- CS

Andrea Ojeda 8:22 AM  

This was plain awful. And senseless. It made me angry. And I usually like all puzzles.

GHarris 8:23 AM  

Seemed ultra difficult until I got the theme. Then it was a walk in the park. Felt good to solve especially after reading how hard it was for Rex.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Rex, I love you, but I'm worried about you. Chill out!

Nate 8:29 AM  

I don't mind a basically themeless theme. That doesn't bother me at all. I struggled BADLY in the NW and N areas, and it's probably my fault. The following words did not land with me at all:

RAW BARS - Should definitely have gotten this one. I blame the coffee.

ARAL SEA - I mean, I know OF the Aral Sea... in reading the Wikipedia page about Soviet irrigation canals, I guess this is one that was skipped over in my history class?

FIRE HAT - What is this? The helmet that a firefighter wears? Is that called a "fire hat"? In what century? Ugh.

CAPSID - No idea. My bad, again.

ARG - Okay. Put this one in the useless memory bank.

PAS - Wha?

SCHUSS - Zuh?

USED POT - Come on.

POOP OUT - NOBODY SAYS THIS. They get "pooped", they do not "poop out." That's... no. NO.

Disclaimer: I'm a young 30-years old. Maybe people said that they got "pooped out" in the 60's, when they were using pot?

Nancy 8:32 AM  

A Tuesday on which thinking was actually required? Oh, joy, oh happiness! More like this, Will, more please! As for the theme: It provided an extra dimension to think about -- in this case anagrams -- and that's just fine. Unlike Rex, I'm never in any special hurry to be ALL DONE with a puzzle; I never have any idea how much time ELAPSES; I thoroughly enjoy the journey EN ROUTE to a solution; I don't POOP OUT when a puzzle is hard; and a good challenge won't DETER me. When a puzzle is too easy, BABYISH, even, I always feel that I LOSE. So thanks to BH and WS for giving me a Tuesday puzzle that I couldn't simply SCHUSS my way through.

Aketi 8:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 8:42 AM  

This took longer than a regular Tuesday. Got the "theme" right away but it took some time to figure the anagrams.
I agree with Rex that the theme makes no sense. An identical themeless puzzle without the gimmick would have worked better.
WARNING SHOT, I'M SERIOUS, NORMAL DAY, BANK RATES and AFRICAN LION are all perfectly good entries if clued normally.

Aketi 8:45 AM  

Firefighters wear helmets, not FIREHATS. Maybe the little plastic toy hats are stereotypically red, but in NYC and northern California where my brother worked they are black.

My father who claims he lived off VENISON, trout, beans and cornbread as a child during the depression. He always called what he ate VENISON, not deer. Perhaps it's a regional difference.

No TROLL in the puzzle today but there is an ORACLE with a MIRACLE.

@malsdemere, love the new avatar and the name Pogo.
Thought you might (if you haven't already seen it) enjoy Daffodil the dog that doesn't POOP OUT.

Mr. B 8:46 AM  

When I first started looking at the clues, I thought, wait - is this supposed to be a tuesday puzzle?
I finally found my starting point with DABEARS...and rose up from SSN, REO and ASS. VENISON and NICKS got me BANKNOTES and so I knew I was dealing with anagrams...and made my way back up... to finish with CAPSID (even though I had no idea what that is).

I had a feeling Rex wasn't gonna like this one - but was really surprised it was rated as "challenging" since I finished with a better than my average tuesday time according to my iPad. Anagrams don't bother me...time doesn't bother me...I'm always happy to finish the puzzle without any help or cheats....no more than an enjoyable daily diversion pour moi. I doubt I'll ever be as fast as OFL...not sure I ever want to be...

Thanks, Mr. Haight

Nancy 8:46 AM  

@Quasi (8:02)-- I had two similar reactions to yours today: I also noticed that LADY DI was wrong and that it should have been PRINCESS DI. And I also saw BABYISH in light of the same David Brooks column you cite. I didn't mention the former because you got there first, and I didn't mention the latter because it was much, much, MUCH too depressing to think about. (Except that, even when I try hard not to, it often turns out to be ALL I think about.)

Barbara Hohenberg 8:50 AM  

I dig dose trones.

Wm. C. 8:53 AM  



@Quasi -- Good catch on the parallel between today's Infantile clue and BABYISH , in re David Brooks' OpEd today. And btw, Brooks is far from a raging liberal like Krugman.

I find it just amazing that a credible columnist in our "Newspaper of Record" can write such a DAMNING piece about a sitting president, and have it ring true to me, a lifelong Republican.

Truly, a sad state of affairs...


TomAz 8:57 AM  

I didn't like this puzzle all that much either, but the reason Rex gives (essentially, random state plus random letter unscrambles to random phrase is random) is small potatoes. The bigger issues are the anagrams themselves. I don't find anagrams necessarily all that hard, but I do find them very tedious. Thus we have today's puzzle, an exercise in tedium.

The tedium is compounded by answers like BANKRATES and NORMALDAY and USEDPOT. This is some very dull stuff. And don't even get me started about CAPSID. Or a plural ORS.

A SLOG, indeed.

Barbara Hohenberg 8:58 AM  

You guessed it, Nate, this almost 80 yr old has pooped out. No longer using pot. Wishing it were legal everywhere.

Mr. B 8:59 AM  

...BANKRATES...BANKRATES...BANKRATES...

...ARG, I shouldn't type in the middle of the night...

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

Just because it takes longer to solve, Rex, doesn't mean it's a bad puzzle.

The thing that bothers me about your comments is that you are ripping the very clever people who create these puzzles for our enjoyment. Using Your status as the, "King of crossworld" (choke) to bully well educated people, simply because they create puzzles that don't match your idea of what a puzzle should be (i. e., Because your solve time is not within your standard deviation) is, welll, actually, it's downright Trumpian!.

Thanks for contributing to the already uncivil discourse in this Country. ( I would have thought an academician would be better than that.)

Blue Stater 9:03 AM  

A word game for the likes of Games magazine? Fine. A New York Times crossword puzzle? Fuhgeddaboudid. This was the worst in a long time, for all the reasons Rex cites and more. I finished it, but unhappily.

Ben 9:05 AM  

DA BEARS! That was my eighth heart attack this week

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

I was also snookered by writing in "pop" and "on route", so I had a DNF. This took a lot of time and I just ignored the anagrams even though I knew that was what was going on. If I want to do anagrams, I will buy a puzzle book with them but prefer they stay out of my daily crossword. So I agree with Rex, but thought it very lazy on Rex's part not to do much analysis.

jberg 9:09 AM  

Not sure whether I finished this one or not. For some reason, I didn't think of POT right away, and put in something like TCP -- then corrected the T to P from POOP OUT, and the P to T from POSTS UP. But by scrawled C looked a lot like an O, so I saw EN ROUTE there without actually changing the letter. Does that count as fixing the error from the cross? Not sure.

I didn't mind teh anagrams -- found some tougher than others. I used to be great a the game.

Bruce Haight 9:15 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith
Nice job! You came up with a clever hidden theme there! I think the reason this puzzle got accepted was
a)Unusual theme that had never been done before
b)Difficult task - try finding another 8+ letter state that you can add a letter to and anagram to a two word in-the-language phrase
c)Unusual theme phrases that have never appeared before

My favorite mini-theme explanation is this: The hidden theme is music because the added letters scramble to TENOR. What does a tenor sing? ARIA (14-Across) and AIRS (27-Down). Add 14 and 27 to get 41 (Down) and you SEE INTO the mysterious hidden theme!
Of course there are probably other hidden themes- give it a shot! Yes this was tough for a Tuesday, but none of you gravitated to NYT crosswords because they were easy.

mathgent 9:17 AM  

You just finished a great burger. Tasty, juicy meat. Brioche bun. Onion rings moist on the inside. And you complain that it wasn't a filet mignon dinner.

The most enjoyable Tuesday in months. Fourteen red plusses in the margins, Bruce Haight always comes through. Intelligent cluing, virtually no crosswordese, fresh entries. If it had some more crunch it would have been great.

Ross T 9:22 AM  

To pick a nit, because it added a full minute to my time:

Posting up is establishing a back-to-the-basket position near the hoop. It may, like many basketball moves, lead to a dribble, a pass, or a shot. It is not "preparing to shoot."

three of clubs 9:23 AM  

I don't really care for two word anagrams. Perhaps State -letter would work better. So, for example: NEBRASKA-A = BANKERS or TEXAS+C = EXACTS with some cutesy clueing.

Tita A 9:31 AM  



Mr. Haight...thank you for stopping in. I always appreciate the constructor adding his own insight and opinion.


I'll start with what I liked:
FIREHAT crossing ASHES.
The idea of that song - brought me back to kindergarten and Mrs. Pajoli.
POOPOUT/PEP
Fusions cluing BLENDS.
Educational clues as those for ARALSEA, ASS.

Now, I loathe anagrams. Not their fault. It's me. They just seem like a totally pointless exercise. One step below word ladders. So the puzzle was doomed from the start.
While I didn't ask myself "Why these states?", I did ask "Why these letters?". More disappointment.
And while I hugely admire the construction feat, this particular one is a rare example of one that holds far more joy for the constructor than it does for the solver.


Mohair Sam 9:33 AM  

@LMS - Ya got me at "Trone" - that was awesome.

We're anagram challenged in this household so the puzz played brutally tough here. But we had a lot of fun with it. Agree with @Lewis - so many pluses it is hard to get angry at the randomness of the theme. On the other hand, OFL has a point - you expect more from the Times. And his dropping of Andy Kaufman's name was just too good.

If at the moment I locked eyes with LADY DI (20 years, 8 months, 17 days, 21 hours ago) she and I had given in to our primal urges and run off together and eventually married I would NOT have become a Lord. In the same sense, by marrying John Lennon Yoko ONO did not become a singer. The clue for 16A is flat our wrong.

three of clubs 9:34 AM  

Just experimenting with state names but MINNESOTA anagrams to NO INMATES, FLORIDA to FRAIL DO, and OREGON to ERGO NO.

Kenneth Wurman 9:39 AM  

I agree that 16 across is an insult. Yoko Ono is as much of a singer as I am a neurosurgeon
Ken (the attorney)

Tita A 9:40 AM  

On the bright side ,I get to tell my 37D story.

Sitting at the bar at the Corner Pub, the closest thing to a dive that Ridgefield, CT had, and walking distance from our house.
Struck up conversation with the guy to our left. He was a landscaper who also was a hunter.
Many of his clients had enough acreage that bow hunting was allowed. He had a deer he had just bagged, and was bringing it to his butcher. He'd give us half of it if we paid for the butchering.
Deal!

A week later, 8:30pm, husband away on business trip. Hunter called. He's got the goods!
Meet him at Park & Ride. 9:30pm. His pick-up. My VW GTi.
Passing small white packages from the back of the truck to my trunk.

Me wondering what the conversation would look like when the cops show up.

Anyhow, between my husband and my next-door French neighbor, we had some wonderful meals.

Thanks, Mr. Haight, for evoking both that memory and the Ring Around the Rosy one (even if we've learned in adulthood the supposed macabre origin of that song).

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Usually am at odds with RP daily hate anymore, but I'll be damned if it isn't justified here. Oof.

QuasiMojo 9:48 AM  

@Nancy, we tend to be in agreement more times than not. I grew up playing Scrabble every day (often against myself), so anagrams are second nature to me. I also think I may have a tinge of dyslexia since I see words jumbled when I look at them. I'm not saying it is a great art or anything to boast about but it explains why I enjoy doing them so much.

Regarding "venison" vs "deer meat," I think it has to do with the evolution of the English language, when the Normans conquered England and imposed their tongue on it. So we have two versions of many words. For instance we say "mutton" for "sheep." Or is it lamb? And pork for pig. Pullet for hen. etc.

Nancy 9:51 AM  

@Mohair (9:33) -- Priceless! The 1st and 2nd sentences of your third paragraph are two of the funniest things I've ever read on this blog. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Charles Flaster 9:53 AM  

Love anagrams so this puzzle was enjoyable and did not care about a theme. My only slight delay was looking for one word anagrams until I hit NORMAL DAY.
Writeovers were TANNED for bAskED and
BLENDS for cLoNeS.
Liked cluing for EN ROUTE and AD FEE.
Thanks BH

Z 10:00 AM  

A couple of things:

1. I know it is passé, but if you read Rex and the comments regularly you should really stop by the FAQ page. If you do you will find this, "I don't care if you are faster / slower than I am, or if you don't care about timing at all. More power to you. Everyone does the puzzle differently. There are solvers of all different speeds who read this site. There's no reason for anyone to feel defensive / self-conscious." Candidly, it's not Rex who is obsessed with solving time. If you read you will find that Rex uses time as a basis of comparison for the relative difficulty of the puzzle. That's it.

2. LMS - Good one, but TRONE is a thing. Yes, you made me look it up.

3. Theme - What theme? @Bruce Haight enjoys constructing with different sets of constraints, but a constraint (8 letter state that one can add a letter to then anagram into a two word phrase) isn't a "theme."

4. I like word play. I don't much care for letter play. I know lots of people like letter play. The Jumble is in lots of papers. But as crossword puzzles go, anagrams get a big Meh from me.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

@Bruce Haight, I really enjoyed the Trump mini-theme: BABYISH, LIAR, ALEC, SENT UP, TANNED, CONS, I LOSE … and the cherry on the sundae: ALL DONE.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Ha, Trump f#!@s up, well on his way to impeachment. Where are the Trump defending trolls now?

Tim Pierce 10:19 AM  

*way* harder than a normal Tuesday for me. More like Friday solving time. Not entirely a bad thing, except that pushing through to finish the puzzle made me late for my morning dental appointment. :-) My own fault.

DNF in the NE corner: I guessed EN ROUTE, but POSTS UP and POOP OUT were both completely unknown phrases to me, and without more context I couldn't intuit PEP or ONO from the clues given. Oh well.

I also agree with some of the other solvers: Prince William's mother is not LADY DI but Princess Di. An acceptable clue for LADY DI would have been "Prince Charles's bride," IMHO (or maybe "fiancee" if you want to be really precise about it).

Teedmn 10:22 AM  

Well, this was anything but a NORMAL DAY Tuesday puzzle. I can't say I was IN STEP with it. Tough as only Mr. Haight can make them. CAPSID, hah!

I thought my answer of "iN limbo: for 12D's "Neither here nor there?" was fun but that made it look like short dance wear was going to be a TUba.

I did wonder while solving if there was any meta theme behind the chosen states, but not finding one didn't lessen my enjoyment. (And I'm another not-an-anagram-fan). I still liked it, thanks BH.

Roo Monster 10:25 AM  

Hey All !
Put me into the Liked It group. We can talk amongst ourselves about this neat puz.

Always liked anagrams, so thought this a cool puz. Who cares what States were used? This is a theme. Take some states that work with adding a letter to get two-word phrases. Repest 5 times. Theme! Don't understand Rex's vehement rant about Why these states, etc. Because they work! Stop overthinking it. They're tied together by the state+letter. That's it. Sheesh!

I do have to call Natick! on CAPSID/PAD crossing P. If you've never heard of either one (raises hand), then that's your DNF/alphabet run. :-) Also had iNROUTE for ENROUTE, so two-letter DNF today.

So, good one Bruce. Happy you keep getting your puzs in.

POOPOUT the LOOS
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Hope so. Then we'll have President Pence, a true Christian in the White House.

Stanley Hudson 10:48 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle greatly, so thanks Bruce Haight.

I kinda like Yoko, especially when I've USEDPOT.

And Mike Pence is a Pharisaical hypocrite.

Hopeful 10:55 AM  

It's not even 8 a.m. yet, and already there are two President Pence comments. While I'm no Pence fan, at least he's not totally bonkers, and if this indicates the beginning of the end for the DT who gives the nation the DTs (as in the shakes), it's time to jump for joy.

Malsdemare 10:59 AM  

I'm going to post before I read the comments because I'm so easily led astray by folks here. I thought the puzzle was fine; not the best one I've ever done but many of the clues were fun, there wasn't a horrible amount of junk, and the anagrams were fine. Is Tuesday supposed to have a theme? If not, why does it matter which states or which letters are selected? constructor says "Self, let's anagram some states," picks a state and starts playing around with the letters.

I did think the clues for the states were a little too easy, but CAPSID was vicious. SENTUP and USEDPOT clanked but worked. I needed the crosses to recall ASHES, which reminded me that Ring around the Rosie was a ditty produced by those watching Bubonic plague? decimate London. The ring is the first symptom, the posies were used to cover the stench, and the ASHES referred to the mass, open burning of the bodies. I may have gotten this wrong so please someone correct me. Course, I could look it up, but too lazy this am.

Nancy, my daughter named the tripod. We won't actually get him until I'm healed enough to deal with a rambunctious pup.

chefbea 11:07 AM  

At the diner we go to every sunday morning for breakfast...there are always a couple of fire trucks there...the firemen having their breakfast. When the are finished they give each child who is having breakfast a cute little red plastic fire hat!!!

Hartley70 11:09 AM  

I just did Monday and Tuesday puzzles and loved them both, despite today's jumble aspect. The jumbles were over quickly so I didn't have time to scream in frustration.

@Tita, we loved The Corner Pub too, but never vehicle exchanged any venison (yes, I'm in that camp), disguised as you know what, as a result of having a burger there. More's the pity.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Well, after a one-day respite, Rex is back to ranting and raving like the mad king in the castle. He actually makes Trump sound like he is not completely delusional (which may noy be a miracle, but is certainly a one in a million occurance).

Professor Poopypants 11:21 AM  

Agree that it is harder than a normal Tuesday by a significant amount. I'm not normally in sync with this constructor, but found this offering to be fresh and interesting. Which takes me to Rex. Normally he obsesses about the staleness of the themes in the NYT puzzles. Here you have a new theme and he does nothing but pan it. Yes, he is panning it for lack of the theme's logic, not its lack of freshness, but theme originality is so important to him so often that I think it should at least be recognized that something very important to him is being attempted here.

GILL I. 11:22 AM  

Atishoo Atishoo, we all fall down....Anagrams are perfect for some of us who have our brains wired wierd. My dad always said I was a classic. Maybe that's why I chose to be a poor artist - I always thought and saw in the abstract. Ooooh - I can do geometry but algebra can just lose its XYZ.
I enjoyed this Tuesday Mr. Bruce. You had lots of clever words today. I think Mr. @Rex is being a tad BABYISH. Never put KALE in your salad, it might make the POOP come OUT before reaching the LOO.

semioticus (shelbyl) 11:29 AM  

I disagree with Rex in that there has to be a bigger wordplay etc. to connect all the anagrams. I mean, if that were the case this wouldn't be a Tuesday puzzle.

Was this fun? Meh. But again, it's a Tuesday puzzle and I filled it alright. I wasn't expecting much anyways.

Malsdemare 11:29 AM  

@Tita. I occasionally buy/sell stuff via Craigslist. To make the exchange safely, I pile my big, scary dog in the back seat and we meet in a parking lot somewhere. I've wondered what it looks like to see the two cars, mine with the door wide open and the drivers exchanging money and packages. Some day I'll get stopped and will have a great story to tell here.

@ Bruce, thanks for stopping by and talking about your puzzle. I love the TENOR mini theme.

I did a double-take on LADYDI as well since the clue used her son's official title. But it asks for his mom, which is quite informal, and I for one always think of her as Lady Di. So I decided it was okay.

@Aketi. Holy hot rod but that was cute! I'm trying to mentally put an 90 lb. "wolf" in that contraption and all I see is destruction everywhere. Thanks for sharing. I wrote down the name of the company.

@Barbara, yes! This 71 year old agrees: legalize pot. Sure would make this healing process more tolerable.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Rex (today AKA Bartleby " I would prefer not to") is even more off base than usual. What an insufferable boor he's become.

@LMS, I know to a moral certainty you saw 5 down and immediately thought to yourself " yes, com is a synonym for fleece, not extort or bleed as that stubborn, but increasingly incorrect Bartleby wrote after your superb puzzle.

@Z are you on Parker's payroll? Don't you get enough swill at the public trough you engorge yourself at?

Joseph Michael 11:32 AM  

Tough Tuesday. At first, with 17 across, I thought the theme had something to do with postal abbreviations, such as WA for Washington, and was happy when that turned out not to be true.

Then I ran into ORS. ORS? I may have USED POT, but I have never used ORS. That began to make me aware of all the S endings in the grid, as in "The PAS suffered a number of NICKS while shaving in the LOOS of the British RAW BARS."

Had trouble parsing ARALSEA which at first I thought was an obscure Japanese city. Liked the clues for EN ROUTE and ROAST and thought the fill was generally solid.

So, while the theme left something to be desired, the solve was far from a SLOG. In other words, I kind of liked this puzzle in spite of ITTself. (Though not quite as much as the @LMS definition of a TRONE).

Masked and Anonymous 11:36 AM  

For m&e, the 61-Across clue tied the theme all together into a nice bow:
{1980 schlock sci-fi flick debut for William Hurt, and hint to this puzzle's theme}.

PAS/CAPSID forced a guess and a grunt out of M&A. Guessed the "P" correctly, so won't need to be comin down there today, Shortzmeister.

I thought the theme was kinda fun; got no big problem with anagrams and almost anagrams. Thought the fill was primo, other than for that little dribble of "P" mentioned earlier.

@muse. har. Also … TRONE + S = {One in a 61-Across}.

@RP: Day-um, dude. And good mornin, sunshine. Not U -- that's just my greetin for that there @Janine Gibson darlin.

Congratz*, Mr. Haight. And thanx for stoppin by. U must have some real tough hide on U, to read these @RP write-ups on yer puzs time after time. [ * = for yer brave ongoing quest to be weirdball.]
PAS can also be {Mas' main squeezes}, btw. No need to play the ballet card. Just sayin.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

old timer 11:37 AM  

Nice to see the constructor check in with his own explanation.

I do time myself Mondays and Tuesdays and sometimes Wednesdays. Yesterday my 9-minute time could have been even lower, it was that Easy. Today: 21 minutes, way slow for a Tuesday. But I am not good at anagrams.

I will join the crowd who does not care about early-week themes. OFL is being both cranky and inane. This was a well-constructed puzzle. Though I agree, Ono ain't no singer.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

When I saw it was Bruce I knew it would be hard - he didn't disappoint but it wasn't even enjoyable.

Honeysmom 12:03 PM  

Got the anagram catch early on, didn't need a theme.
But no fair making Tuesday so hard!

Colby 12:15 PM  

Bad theme, good fill. Strangely enjoyable.

Dick Swart 12:25 PM  

Hey, a hard Tuesday. My problem was holding on to 'zip' for too long!

I enjoy the puzzle as a morning wake-up exercise and for the enjoyment of the words and their overtones/recollections. I'm not into the meta analyses. I just want to enjoy the xword without overthinking the skills of the constructors or the acumen of the editor.

Lojman 12:34 PM  

Agree. Theme is severely lacking a hook. But the puzzle was relatively enjoyable, clean and fair.

Da Bears is an all-timer! Spend a little time on YouTube.

"Let's just say that the winner shall be a certain team, from a certain Midwestern town, that starts with a "C", ends with an "O", and in the middle is "HICAG".

Lojman

Carola 12:44 PM  

All I could think of was this RAFT - looking in vain for a theme that would rescue it.

@Forsythia -LOL! Keep up the DABbing and have fun with new EARrings!

foxaroni 1:00 PM  

I thought the puzzle was harder than usual, but do-able and enjoyable. Got "pas" from "pas de deux." Since I've never seen the term "capsid" before, I put in "cupsid," justifying it by guessing the tango came from URG; that is, Uruguay. Well, it seemed logical at the time....

I don't understand why some (Rex, et.al.) feel let down because there is no over-riding theme. Nor do I understand the "why THESE five states plus THESE extra letters" complaint. If this had run on a Thursday, I could better understand the perceived need for additional levels of solving/difficulty. But it's Tuesday--it's all good.

foxaroni 1:03 PM  

P.S. @LMS--you rock!

Marianne Campolongo 1:07 PM  

Agree it was Thursday challenging (nearly a minute over my average Thursday time) but I enjoyed the challenge. The randomness of the theme made it so tough but it was a good puzzle. Not impossible despite some things I'd never heard of. Like Loren, my husband is far better at anagrams than I am, but I had enough letters from the crosses to figure out the theme answers and the stuff that wasn't in my wheelhouse.

Masked and Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Official M&A Answer Page.

61-Across: {1980 schlock sci-fi flick debut for William Hurt, and hint to this puzzle's theme} = ALTEREDSTATES.

TRONE + S = {Dude in one of them 61-Across} = STONER. (Clue has been enhanced a dash, by the editor)

(Weren't gonna reveal any of this stuff so soon, but WashPost has claimed Trump just sent the above "code-level" answers to the Ruskies.)

p.s.
PAS can also be clued more sneaky than just {Mas' main squeezes}…
One-? clue: {Dads alternative?}.
Double-?? clue: {No mas??}. @Shortzmeister: Primo extra tool to have in yer toolbox, that double-?? clue. Yes?

p.p.s.s.
1. "What does WARNING SHOT have to do with Washington? Nothing. [Don't forget them "tapes", tho, Mr. Comey.] Behold the Best Puzzle In The World. This is your god now."
2. "Anyone out there who has Ever had a puzzle rejected by the NYT is sitting out there this morning going, "... REALLY?!" Yes, really folks. Enjoy!"
3. "Analyze this garbage? I would prefer not to."

@Bruce Haight: re:1-3 above. Not bad -- I've rarely seen this solid of a @RPBlog write-up groupin.
Major Problemo for @RP: now how does he top this, when a puz that's *actually* superbad comes along?
(Y'all might consider using my all-E grid fill idea -- it's ok by m&e for U to borrow it -- certainly worth a shot, to see what happens.)

Last time (18 Apr), I thought yer best overall @RPBlog feedback line was: "Let's all pretend today's puzzle never happened. Yes, that's nice."
Time before that (15 Mar) yer puz got pretty ugly @RPBlog press, too; but, won't count that, as it had The Circles, plus came pretty close to a pangram. That's always kinda like tuggin on Superman's cape. Or pokin the mask of the Lone Ranger.

har

Larry Gilstrap 1:49 PM  

Solving anagrams usually involves trying to make some random real word out of a bunch of letters. But today, on the other hand, we use real words plus a letter to make states of the Union. That's way more than I expect on a Tuesday, by far the most NORMAL DAY on the calendar, and I feel good about the whole experience. But, I'm neither a constructor nor a critic. And I have great respect for both Mr. Parker and Mr. Haight.

Not everyone feels that way: "Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic, because they are the people who can't get the job done." Was it Mark Twain who said that, or of a more recent vintage?

I room with a fan of the Royals, and she would quibble with LADY DI birthing William.

ArtO 2:26 PM  

Got the theme with WASHINGTON+R but must say that while the theme was most clever, it actually was little help in the solves.

Definitely of Wednesday or greater difficulty. As usual OFL finds a reason to gripe when his time soars off the charts (his charts that is, a most of us consider his times totally fantastic). Happy to see the constructor come and give the totally sound reasons for its selection. Thank you, Mr. Haight.

jae 2:27 PM  

Tough Tues. for me too.

CAPSID and POSTS UP were WOEs.

Anagrams don't thrill me and the "theme" had me looking for more, but, if you view this as a themeless, it wasn't that bad.

Bob Knuts 2:44 PM  

Theme, schmeem -- anagrams are anagrams and not necessarily my cup of tea. But describing this puzzle as "nonsense" is, well, nonsense. The anagrams had a Tuesday level of clever and, most importantly, there were a dozen great fill clues/answers. PostsUp in the middle of the NBA playoffs was perfect. Remembering all those times that the fearless Rex called puzzles out for good theme/poor fill, what about crediting very good fill even when one thinks the theme fell short? As for Ono as singer, it depends on how you feel about nails on a chalkboard.

Big Steve 46 3:06 PM  

Has anyone here ever done a puzzle constructed by Rex? Are they really that much better than what we see here on a day-to-day basis? Just askin...

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

What's a fire hat? Firefighters wear helmets and they're traditionally black. Was this simply because people associate red with fire? Toy (not professional) fire helmets are often red. Open to the possibility another profession is being clued...

Aketi 3:20 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Avid Reeder 3:45 PM  

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE TUESDAY? Last Tuesday was pretty ridiculous in and of itself (for a Tuesday) and now this??

Z 3:46 PM  

@Lewis - I always wonder if my pet troll is the same one that used to be @Evil Doug's.

chefwen 4:18 PM  

I love a Tuesday that gives us a little struggle, as this one did. Hate it when I'm finished before I'm ready.

Had one of "those tests" yesterday that people don't like to talk about so. 11D was particularly meaningful. Yeah, I know TMI.

chefwen 4:21 PM  

@Aketi - Loved Daffodil, what a trooper.

Doc John 4:44 PM  

As Rex always says, one man's WTF is another man's gimme. CAPSID was a total gimme.
That said, pee-you to this one. Cluing was terrible. As a prime example, to SCHUSS means to make turns as you're going down the hill, not to go straight down.
Don't even get me started on BANK RATE or NORMAL DAY. Puh-leeze!

kitshef 5:01 PM  

@M&A - so completely flummoxed on the runtpuz today I tried the all 'e' grid. Didn't work. Some day...

kitshef 5:06 PM  

@Doc John - re: SCHUSS, to steal from Inigo Montoya, "I do not think it means what you think it means".

Lewis 5:11 PM  

@Z -- Quite possible that you are so honored...

Naryana Gora 5:19 PM  

Two puzzles in one, what could be better?

Oldflappyfrommississappy 5:24 PM  

Lay off Z--he's no worse than the average Rexland simpleton.

Masked and Anonymous 5:32 PM  

@kitshef, 5:01pm- yep. One of the most primo handed-in grids old M&A's eyes have ever beheld.
Showed original thinkin and exquisite desperation.

@Aketi from yesterday on the subway - Nice E-grid variation. Mucho like.

M&A

Joe Bleaux 5:34 PM  

Yes! Thanks for the "Ain't just me." (See also 30A and 51A)

Joe Dipinto 5:59 PM  

@QuasiMojo -- loved D. Brooks's op-ed. He got it exactly right.

Joe Bleaux 6:03 PM  

Sunday in the LA Times, Tuesday in the NYT ... Bruce is doin' OK.

Z 6:09 PM  

Anyone else do today's Crossword Nation puzzle? There's a theme. Sure, we get "Rock star Brian," but the revealer being reflected visually in the theme answers... Nice. Could Shortz just give Tuesday to Gorski and ACME?

Brenda Bowen 7:35 PM  

Agreed! The "Prince William's mom" clue was all wrong for that answer. She was HRH Diana, Pricess of Wales when he was born, no longer "Lady" at all.

BarbieBarbie 7:48 PM  

Long solve for me, but that was because I kept falling asleep. So, no clue how to rate it. I'm not a "generalized anagram" fan, as in "how mamy five-letter words can you make from these letters?" but these easy-Jumble ones are fine, if not actually fun.
But I can solve anything, because I get great intel. I get great intel every day. Want me to tell you where it comes from? Want me to tell you how they get it?

Fireflies for sure.

Puzzles are fun distractions, people, but do you all realize it's only been FOUR FREAKIN' MONTHS???

Aketi 8:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael5000 9:21 PM  

This was the first NYT crossword puzzle I've done in a couple of years. I kind of liked doing the anagrams, but was thinking "if Rex is still doing the blog, he's going to find this pretty goddam inelegant." So now I get to feel smart about that, too.

Anonymous 10:12 PM  

One of the best Rex-jobs ever. It is a very bad puzzle, to be sure. But perversely worth it just to then see how Rex would destroy it.

Happy Pencil 10:35 PM  

Very late to the party today, so I'm probably commenting mostly to myself. I kind of liked the puzzle, but I have to agree that it would have been better if there was another layer to the theme answers. I was asking, "Why these states?" I would have enjoyed it more if there were an answer to that question, but the anagrams themselves were fun enough.

@Bruce Haight, I do give you huge credit for coming here and reading/commenting on Rex's post, given that he is usually not too kind to your puzzles.

Uke Xensen 1:52 AM  

This was easy, but not good.

Jared 2:28 AM  

Capsid on a Tuesday?!? That's the biggest problem I had with this puzzle.

The theme was decent but that just ruined it for me.

andrea carla michaels 3:18 AM  

I think anagrams are interesting (big Scrabble player here) so I too thought it was 2 puzzles in one!

I admit I took the leftover letters and thought NOTER ... Bruce was a NOTER of states plus a letter makes a new phrase!

MINNESOTA as someone above pointed out is NO INMATES but it's also NOMINATES
HOW can anyone not find that interesting on some level ?! ?!! ;)

So I liked....

My only criticism is that flying ONO as a singer is literally tone deaf ... And seems to be spoiling for a fight

Like, they are ready to spring on you that she screeched on some of John's records so therefore technically she's a singer.... But c'mon!

andrea carla michaels 3:20 AM  

Cluing not flying

William DiGennaro 3:33 AM  

If the David Brooks op-ed appears in some newspaper other than the New York Times or Washington Post, I might take the time to read it.

BarbieBarbie 5:18 AM  

It's just an op-ed. No need to read it if you object to the page it's Op.

My rant was about the actual news.

William DiGennaro 8:07 AM  

BarbieBarbie: My comment was not directed at you, if that's what you're implying, but others, and they know who they are. The David
Brooks op-ed did not appear in the International Edition. There were, however, already six negative articles about Trump or the
Republicans in Tuesday's edition, none of which I read through. I'd cancel my subscription, but my wife, who is German, reads it
from cover to cover, so to speak. She not only enjoys it, she believes it. Germans, as you know, are easily brainwashed. (Her having
married me is proof of that.). Other than its fanatical disrespect for Trump and all things Republican, I love the New York Times,
especially the crossword puzzle and all it's adherents.

William DiGennaro 8:22 AM  

"all its adherents"

bob m 10:02 AM  

This puzzle is so obvious. I'm surprised no one got the theme: "On a normal day I look at the bank rates and I hear a warning shot to scare African lions.

Bob Miller

spacecraft 11:54 AM  

Wait...it's only Tuesday? For a while there I thought I'd Rip Van Winkled it into about Thursday. Or even later: CAPSID? A gimme for one chemist dude, a WOE for the rest of us. My very last word, and I had doubts. Logged on here with fingers crossed. Whew!

That whole NW/N section was a BEAR. The term RAWBARS is unknown to me; sorry but I prefer my seafood to be cooked. And I could not for the life of me figure out what kind of "professional" HAT was called for. As to 2-down, no clue. A SEA as "victim??" On a...wait, it's only TUESDAY??? Finally took a stab at 1-across: what if it's RAFT? Then maybe--FIREHAT. Well sure--but they're like a dark gray with yellow trim around here, so that's why it took me so long. Interesting cross with ASHES--and BTW, it's "All fall down;" there's no "we."

These clues! It CAN'T be only Tuesday, can it? "Interpret" is a Friday clue for READ. I agree with the challenging grade. Nice aha! moment with "Neither here nor there" = ENROUTE. Again, late-week stuff but I liked that one.

NORMALDAY is really bland for a centerpiece. At least the crossing MIRACLE provides a sort of antonym! I don't know if I'd say a WARNINGSHOT is intended to "intimidate." It's more like "Freeze!"

The last thing I want to do is dis the memory of LADYDI, but I must award the DOD to one of my real heartthrobs, the incomparable Stevie NICKS. I'm a Scrabble nut, so I enjoyed this theme--not looking beyond the anagrams for any hidden layer. The three-stacks in the NE and SW create some fill problems, notably ORS, but overall fairly clean. Birdie.

rondo 12:34 PM  

I don’t mind anagrams and how can you go wrong with a double dose of yeah BABYISHness with the original and our own @LADYDI?

One square write-over at first entering DITzY. ARG! And whatever did we do before the ARALSEA dried up?

This puz was no SLOG, that’s part of the deal, ISNT it?

Diana,LIW 12:50 PM  

Come on folks. This was what we call a "crossword puzzle." Now pay attention. The idea is to fill in all the blank squares. With the correct letters. There may or may not be a hidden agenda.

When the top row offers not-very-obvious answers, I begin to wonder around. Seeing the state clues, I soon realize they are anagrams. Easy apple pie. The Jumble got me started doing the NYTP puz. I mean, anagrams GIVE YOU all the letters in the answer. Add a cross or two, and you are in OBVIOUSLAND.

Now this is coming from a puzzle eighth grader. (Yeah, I'm a teeny bopper again.) I often work my way up instead of down a puzzle - this one was inside out.

I've heard CAPSID before - now I know what it means. And it's 100 times better than skyey.

And LADYDI between the BIBLE and an AFRICANLION. glorious.

Wasn't the early SNL team the Second City TV folks? (That didn't fit...)

Didn't know BH was the constructor till I finished. I often find his are difficult, but what's a puzzle for? Puzzling...

LADYDI

Diana,LIW 12:51 PM  

Final thought - LMS was over-the-top hilarious with her thematic explanation/definition. Worth the price of admission on its own.

Diana, LIW

leftcoastTAM 1:10 PM  

Clever, interesting, and fun with bite, featuring our own LADYDI. A real treat.

CAPSID has to be the WOD. (Haven't looked at Rex yet.)

LIAR and ENROUTE nicely clued

DEmonS before DEVILS and INline before INSTEP.

An exceptionally good Tuesday. Nice work, Bruce Haight.

Bananafish 1:14 PM  

My theory is that this puzzle was submitted without identification of the states, probably with the idea to have it published later in the week, and then Will Shortz decided it was too difficult (or otherwise not suitable) and transformed it into a Tuesday by disclosing the underlying states in the clues, thus making it a pure anagram play.

Regardless I enjoyed it.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

From Syndication Land:

I'm glad Bruce Haight stopped by to defend his puzzle. Sure it played hard for a Tuesday. (At first I thought there was something wrong with my brain!) Once I slowed down and started tackling this like it was Friday, all the pieces fell into place. I guess I'm easily amused, but I thought anagramming states into other words was clever...even if you don't add a letter.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Work the puzzle. This one was fun and rewarding, only requiring one thing: as with all crosswords, IGNORE THEMES. You'll be much happier.

leftcoastTAM 1:22 PM  

Just read Rex. Wow. Didn't like it because it took him twice his Tuesday time? State name anagrams wasn't enough of a theme? What's up?

Burma Shave 4:26 PM  

CON’S SENTUP: EPISODE ISN’T ALLDONE

ONO, IMSERIOUS as NICK’S BIBLE,
not a DITSY LIAR who’s USEDPOT,
why the DEVIL’S the LAPD not liable
if they didn’t FIRE a WARNINGSHOT?

--- NORMA_L.DAY

rain forest 5:06 PM  

Late, as usual. At least I'm consistent.

I gather that @Rex didn't like this. Of course - the constructor is Bruce Haight. Sometime OFL is so transparent. I won't read his post because I'm happy and I'd like to stay that way.

However, I liked it. As usual, BH comes up with something different, refreshing, and with some bite. Hey, I knew CAPSID from discussions with a friend's daughter who happens to be a doctor.

A nice, offbeat, but fun Tuesday puzzle.

leftcoastTAM 6:03 PM  

I don't usually go back and read most of the realtimers' comments, but today I did, and it was worth the time-trip.

Lesson for syndilanders: DO NOT read them or Rex's review before coming up with and posting your own.

It makes for a better, more interesting than NORMAL DAY of puzzle solving.

Diana,LIW 8:24 PM  

Yo @Rainy and @Lefty!

Here's why I read @Rex, usually, before posting. I know his reaction will be one of the following:

a) stupidest puzzle ever
b) I cannot believe this wasn't printed in HighLights magazine
c) This is old, stale, obscure, too new, filled with used dental fillings
d) kind of ok - beats a sharp stick in the eye
e) my dog could/did construct a better puzzle
f) zzzzzzz
g) wow - the third good puzzle this year! (Never said on Jan. 3)

So I get that out of the way. And some days I'm rewarded with a notation like (from a recent puzzle, spoiler alert) "joyous as stubbing your toe and tripping and falling hard on your elbow and then trying to get up but your head hits the counter and when you finally do get up your dogs are looking at you like "???" and you forgot why you came in the kitchen in the first place. That joyous." CLASSIC! ROFL

Then I often read a few of the saner respondents. You know who they are. Then I read the Syndies, post, and often go back and then read the rest of the posts. Overall this makes for a fun diversion. And either way, I knew what I wanted to say.

Anyway, that's how I roll...

Oh yes, earlier I wondered instead of wandered. Oops.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

wcutler 4:32 AM  

I found this only a titch harder than a usual Tuesday and didn't have any trouble finishing it correctly. Anagrams were fine - a gimmick is a gimmick; I hardly ever find the early-week gimmicks exciting. How is this less of a gimmick than four two-word phrases that begin with the same letters? This was five anagrams. Fine. And now that M&A has revealed the Altered States theme, they're pretty good.

Bill_B 10:36 AM  

ONO is as much a singer as Bob Dylan is a percussionist (Mr Tambourine Man ahem)

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