TD Garden athlete informally / TUE 5-23-17 / Friendly Islands native / Bread that's often brushed with ghee

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty:Medium-Challenging (a bit on the slow side for a Tuesday)

THEME: PAIRS (68A: Figure skating event ... or what the circled items always come in) —the circled items all intersect in intriguing but ultimately meaningless ways

Word of the Day: LEN Wiseman (26A: "Live Free or Die Hard" director Wiseman) —
Len Ryan Wiseman (born March 4, 1973) is an American film director, screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his work on the Underworld series, Live Free or Die Hard, and Total Recall. (wikipedia)
• • •

This simply doesn't work. It lacks consistency on many levels. No such thins as one PANT or one TONG, but there is, of course, such a thing as one SOCK or one SKI. Once you let SOCK and SKI play, now *anything* that customarily comes in pairs is fair game: boot, shoe, earring, whatever. I thought maybe the crossing PAIRS crossed in certain ways for certain reasons—the TONGs kinda look like TONGs, and the PANTs are arguably pant-shaped. I guess you could try to contend that the SOCKs form one big sock, but that's pretty tenuous, and then there's the SKIs, which ... have no visual relationship an actual pair of skis. There's some winning fill here and there, but there's a good amount of junk too (RWY!? Wow, terrrrrrrible—only used three times in past decade, and the other two were Sundays).

Puzzle felt more Wednesday than Tuesday. All the colloquial stuff made it quite slow (though also more enjoyable than it would've been otherwise—weird trade-off). [Enthusiastic assent] ("I DO, I DO!") coulda been a million things. Ditto ["Wow, unbelievable!"] ("I'M IN AWE!"). Two-worders were also slippery in places. IN RETURN took me forEver to see (39D: Reciprocally). And [Future perfect tense in grammar class, e.g.] is an absurd clue—an absurdly specific clue—for LESSON. Why would I think "tense" = LESSON. I get that one can teach that as a LESSON, but one can teach *anything* as a LESSON. [Parallel-parking at driving school, e.g.]. But in the end, the fill probably averages out to average. Not bad (well, -EME is pretty bad, and NON-PC can go jump in a lake, along with his ugly cousin, UN-). It's just that this is the kind of theme that you should sit on and rework and rethink until it's Perfect. Why run with half-baked stuff like this. Editor's job is to get the best work out of people. But here we have yet another case of "meh, good enough, run it!"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. NAAN is a bread. NAN (30A) is a Bobbsey Twin or a Talese. 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Mostly medium for me except for the NW where the nanoseconds (hi m&a) ticked away as I struggled to see TONGUE (which I always have problems spelling) LASH.

Very clever with some fine long theme containing answers plus stuff like BREWSKI and I BEEN HAD. Liked it a lot more than @Rex did. Nice one C. C.!

Aiwa Coarsen Maaaaaa 12:25 AM  

Besides her continual inventiveness, I like Zhouquin's speaking directly to the solver...

One person might see too much "I"...I see a direct engagement and puzzle dance!

Rough rough start for me, as I had Wash neighbor being ORE, so the quaint accessory was a cliPoN.

I was thinking from my perspective in California that it's COW...
California, Oregon, Washington.

Don't know the expression HASKITTENS. I guess it's related to HAVEACOW? Only smaller? For girls only?

And wouldn't bet my life on it, but I think you can have just one TONG and one PANT...bec it's a PAIR of PANTS. If PANT didn't exist, it would be a PAIR of PANTSES.

Anonymous 12:47 AM  

I've solved Burnikel's puzzles in the past. They were fun and constructed well. Today's was the hugest disappointment, not only of Burnikel's, but of any Tuesday I can recall.

Nonsense-looking fill:
NONPC rather than NOTPC

Unheard of answers:
I knew AIWA from previous puzzles but it should be noted here.
PLUM for "Coveted, as a position"

Then we get to the theme. Lame. Worse than yesterday's theme and the bar was set pretty damn low. Great concept, poor execution. Very underwhelming.

And because of such a miniature theme dump, the construction was all shifty and unpleasant. I count 24 three-letter answers, most of which were terribly clued.

Not sure how such a great constructor put this one out. Very disappointed.

Anonymous 12:54 AM  

I am glad to learn the word morpheme.

ebtobiassen 1:13 AM  

One tong a single Chinese criminal organization. One pant: a single loud breath by an exhausted dog or human. Pilpul, meet pilpul.

Anonymous 1:40 AM  

Totally agree about the "bread brushed with ghee" clue. I couldn't figure out how "nan" fit when it was supposed to be "naan".

Mr. Fitch 1:42 AM  

What even is "I been had"? Does anybody say this? Is it not "I've been had"?

Larry Gilstrap 1:51 AM  

Wow, one look at that old calendar on the wall and it must be Tuesday. Did OFL include some reference to grid art in his review? Seems like every time I've been in an alpine venue, my SKIs have crossed. Perhaps the PANTs are of the yoga variety? Trying to be supportive here.

Being a teacher and a home owner, summertime meant lots of time and no money, so I had to learn to do it all: plumbing, drywall, painting, carpentry, etc. The right tool for the right job, and boy, a SOCKET SET was a life saver.

We played PANTOMIMES for years. I will never forget my friend Jerry had a girlfriend Allyn Monroe, cute as a button and smart as a whip, and she drew the movie category and her challenge was "Misfits." We got the first syllable no problem, and then she played the sound alike card for the second. The room exploded. Love you Pearl!

Most English teachers focus on six tenses: past, present, future, and the perfect tenses, or the forms of "to have" plus the past participle. This also leads to continuous tenses which are formed by using the past participle of "to be" plus the -ing form of the verb. This LESSON has run too long, but my point being that once English language learners have the irregular verbs memorized, they are golden.

One of the greatest baseball players of all time is extant. Mike TROUT is having a great season again and he's 25 years old.

I had a erudite comment about NON PC, but I'll save it for a less hostile forum. Sorry to say.

Moly Shu 2:03 AM  

Had OHOh crossing hAL. No idea who KAL Penn is or LEN Wiseman for that matter.

chefwen 2:27 AM  

@Spencer pretty much said it all for me, so I need not repeat.

Like Monday, took me longer than usual and as I said yesterday that's O.K.

I'm with ACME with Has a Cow vs HAS KITTENS. KITTENS are too cute to throw into the CATagory of having a fit.

Robin 2:34 AM  

I was in the boat with @Moly Shu on this. Mostly cruised through this one, but the intersection of OHOK and KEN screwed me over. Lost about 4 minutes in tracking that one bad letter down.

Overall thought this was average at best. (Average relative to recent NYT crosswords, FWIW.)

Loren Muse Smith 3:10 AM  

Rex – point well taken on the one pant, one sock deal.

@Spencer – I know, right? TONGUE LASH looks weird. I had no idea that it could be used as a verb. It has to be a back-formation of tongue-lashing. I sniffed around online, and lots of places agree. (So there’s an inflectional morphEME for you - -ing ) I can’t come up with a sentence that sounds right.

Where’s Eugene? Oh, his mom will have tongue-lashed him by now, so he’s probably in his room. (And there’s your future perfect LESSON.)

@Larry – “potentially offensive” – I kinda snorted and thought “heard” (when “any*&^%thing on this planet” didn’t fit).

I’m with @Acme – didn't know the expression HAS KITTENS, but it does seem like a kinder, gentler experience than has a cow.

Two other potential PAIRS in the grid: EYE, EAR.

Favorite entries: SNL, ALEC, PANTOMIMES, OGRE, PIG.

BarbieBarbie 5:54 AM  

I wanted to chime in on TONGUELASH by citing another similar "tongue-lashing" word that can't be verbified, but I can't come up with one; they all seem legit. Yet this one made me cringe (twice- once for myself and once at the thought of OFL's reaction, which was disappointingly mild).
This was a good, normal Tuesday. Liked ALDENTE. Kind of wish CLEARUP had been acne-clued.

Anonymous 6:09 AM  

David Leavitt would fit in well here.

Two Ponies 6:17 AM  

Once again Tuesday is the red-headed step-child of the week.

Lewis 6:34 AM  

I liked the clues for MAT and ADORE, and the answers ALDENTE, IMINAWE, HEISTS, and SOCKEYE. Every time TROUT has been clued in the NYT, it's had to do with the fish -- I'd love to see a clue referring to Vonnegut's Kilgore at some point. The theme was cute -- it might work as a Wednesday or Thursday if it were paired with grid art, that is, having the circled-word pairs look like the items they represent. The 26 threes gave a bit too much staccato to the puzzle, IMO. I have heard the term HASKITTENS, but it was a long, long, time ago.

Very nice to see CLEAR_UP here today to balance out the recent ACNE breakout.

Aketi 6:37 AM  

The HAT PIN that runs through the TONGUE seems rather gruesome. Maybe it's retribution from the recipient of the LASHing.

The angle of the PANT legs is pretty pathetic as a yoga stretch, which is about all I can achieve. Looking at the angle of the SOCKs I'd say that's about the angle I'd achieve in attempting first position in ballet as well. The SKI crossing is also a familiar position. I don't know about your TONGS, but my TONGS don't have that much of a stretch.

My neighbors have a MAT that introduces itself to you.

Lewis 6:41 AM  

@barbie -- You comment hadn't come up yet as I was writing mine, and I see we were on the same ACNE wavelength. And then there is the ACME comment above ours. Then maybe, bouncing off ACME, there will be a Road Runner reference, leading to a TNT reference, then something about Ted Turner, leading to a reference to CNN, finally getting to TRUMP. Somehow it's going to get there before this day is out, I'm guessing.

btgrover 6:43 AM  

Nan is literally incorrect, that's ridiculous. You've got one job, Will Shortz.

evil doug 6:57 AM  

I could tell you who says I BEEN HAD, but I'd probably be tagged NON PC....

Hungry Mother 7:16 AM  

Double DOHs today: "ohoh" and "eoo", producing "hal" and "hoists". I actually know KAL Penn's name.

kitshef 7:20 AM  

My absolute favorite clue was the one for LESSON.

Overall pleasant, slightly marred by the first-person junk (IDOIDO, IBEENHAD, IMINAWE.

SKIs look like a pair of crossed skis in a half-pipe or slopestyle hit.

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

Michael Sharp, David Leavitt and LMS - uniting the world with their snarky drive-bys.

QuasiMojo 7:23 AM  

I guess one had to grow a PAIR to finish this one. I didn't dare put in OH OK because it seemed so lame. So I had a DNF at OH OH and HAL. Never heard of KAL. A LA @MolyShu.

The quality of the fill in the NYT is definitely getting weaker. I BEEN HAD. I'M IN AWE. SAT IN ON. I realize this is a Tuesday but that doesn't mean the Times has to talk down to us. One could even say that the NYT puzzle has become the BOOB CUBE.

TomAz 7:26 AM  

Everything Rex said plus OHOK. I don't know who KAL Penn is. Or is it Penn KAL? I couldn't tell you.

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

Someone please help me out here. Who are we sycophants supposed to hate more: Donald Trump, Will Shortz, or ourselves?

L 7:57 AM  

HASKITTENS? wtf is that?!? Add me to the I'VE been had camp and it's spelles naan, as far as I know. Weird puzzle.

Donald Trump's inaugural address 8:08 AM  

The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

Ted 8:23 AM  

Brutally slow and challenging for a Tuesday. Still finished, but with more of a Thursday/Friday time.

So many tough clues. So many potential misdirects, with answers that fit one way but were still wrong.

The theme was fine, I liked it.

chefbea 8:36 AM  

@ACM explained it well. All these things come in pairs!!! Found it a bit tough...but I did like all the food stuff - Al dente, trout, pantry, and nan

Nancy 8:41 AM  

I've skimmed enough of the comments to see I'm going to be an outlier today. This is the very first puzzle by this constructor that I've ever liked. Normally, she bores me to death with cluing I find mindless to the point of being insulting. Today, even though it's Tuesday, I thought the puzzle put up some resistance. RWY, instead of the RRS I'd written in quickly at 35D, threw me off in that section and so did morphINE instead of morphEME. What on earth is morphEME? Rex doesn't even mention it. Normally, POE would be clued as the author of "The Raven" or somesuch. Today the clue (44A) isn't obvious at all. TONGUELASH (great answer) is clued in a way that could have a totally different meaning (16A). So are ADORE (13A) and LESSON (7D). And yet many of the people who normally like ZB didn't like this puzzle.

Some other thoughts: A Dalmatian with a single SPOT (53D) would not make it past the first round of judging at Madison Square Garden. Heck, he wouldn't even be let in through the back door.

I knew ETHER (31A)because I was given ETHER when I had my tonsils out. If you remember ETHER like me, you definitely "skew old". And I knew HATPIN right off the bat. I never used one, but my mother may have, and my grandmother definitely did. Once again, skewing old.

Liked this puzzle just fine. Don't really understand all the complaints.

Nate 8:41 AM  

The theme was fine. Some of the longer answers were pretty nice - TONGUE LASH and BREWSKI come to mind.

But I BEEN HAD. That's... really, really bad. That's not a thing and everyone knows it. Surely we can do better than resorting to literal nonsense like I BEEN HAD.

I want to ECHO all the NAN comments as well. My first thought was there was some sort of AA rebus thing going on, but that seemed impossible. I had no idea that NAN was an acceptable spelling of "naan." Ooookay.

semioticus (shelbyl) 8:45 AM  

This was, um, weird. I don't know how to feel about this one.

Blue Stater 8:54 AM  

And a "pantry" is a room in which there might well be a "kitchen cabinet" or two, but is not a "kitchen cabinet" in and of itself. An[other] elementary editing error (and by no means the only one in this puzzle). How long, O Lord, how long?

pmdm 8:58 AM  

I'm one who has heard "has kittens" or "had kittens" many times although it isn't part of my own vocabulary. Considering how much slang makes it into the crossword these days, much of which I'n not familiar with, it's inclusion in a puzzle seems to me to be a non-issue as long as the crossings are fair which in this puzzle I think they were.

I think the clue to 57D is incorrect. I'll explain why. If I am incorrect, hopefully someone will correct me before I email my complaint to Mr. Shortz. My explanation is a bit technical, so don't read it if you don't care about such things.

My understanding is that a web address is actually a sequence of numbers separated by periods, such as (That's actually called the IP - Internet Protocol - address.) Something like is actually called the Domain Name which enables the software to get the IP address. The information stored at the web address is coded (in HTLM). The coding is sent over (transferred) to your browser using some type of transmission protocol, normally HTTP (hypertext transmission protocol). Therefore, HTTP is not part of a web address but rather something like a parenthetical instruction to the web browser telling the browser the right way to interpret the information being transferred from the web address site.

Am I correct?

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

noun: nan; plural noun: nans; noun: naan; plural noun: naans

(in Indian cooking) a type of leavened bread, typically of teardrop shape and traditionally cooked in a clay oven.


Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Although the constructor usually has a good command of the English language, "I been had" is definitely not what anyone says slangily or otherwise. The clue should have said, "What a scammed person might say if he spoke very bad English". I also agree with OFL on "nan"--really not an acceptable variant even if found on some website. The concept was cute, the fill was poor.

Nancy 9:10 AM  

Are you correct, @pmdm (8:58)???? Surely you're not asking me! You might as well show me a paragraph in Sanskrit and ask me if all the words are spelled correctly.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

hmh... well, dang.
A little faster than usual for me.
I solve crossword puzzles just for fun, don't get too deep into analyzing them.
If it's not too heavy with hipster bleep, I'm fine with it.
If there are two obscure words crossing which keep me from solving, well, I get in with my day and don't let it bother me.
I have a life, outside of newspaper puzzles, so...

Mohair Sam 9:18 AM  

Agree totally with @Rex today. And had the opposite reaction to @Nancy - this was that rare Burnikel puzzle that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. @Rex is dead right on NAN/NAAN, btw - jam your dictionaries.

@Lewis - Good old Kilgore TROUT, great idea for a clue.

@Leapfinger (from a couple of days back) - "Riis' pieces" - terrible. It was late, I assume you were drinking.

@Loren (from late last night) - Well said. Deb Amlen's place feels like a club - and Rex's feels like a local bar with folks you know but plenty of others wandering in and out. I like that. Besides, you know what Groucho Marx said about joining a club.

My father and his brothers were born and raised in Brooklyn a long time ago, IBEENHAD sounded perfectly normal to me - you got a problem wit dat?

RooMonster 9:23 AM  

Hey All !
Have to agree with this one not up to the CC standard. It just felt off. Lots of dreck and partials floating around. TOI/AIWA/HTTP section kinda iffy. It seems she did the best dreck in that area, at least. Pretty sure I would've gotten a reject e-mail had I submitted this.

Liked the concept. Can wrap the ole brain around the crossing SKIs and TONGs, even the L-shaped SOCKs, but the PANTs shape eludes me.

Hey @M&A, what's with the extra A? :-)


kitshef 9:54 AM  

@pmdm. I don't know enough to know if you are correct, but either way I don't think you can call it an incorrect clue, under the 'common usage' exemption. If the clue reflects a common lay perception, it is fair game.

kitshef 9:58 AM  

And I'll join the @Nancy camp. For me, this was soooo much better than last Monday's Burnikel puzzle that most folks seemed to enjoy.

AW 10:27 AM  

This one was easy, so of course I liked it. :)

But I agree with many others: I BEEN HAD is not legit.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

To all the strident folks insisting that naan is correct. This Persian speaker is here to tell you that the Pesian word for bread is nan. Pretty sure the Urdu coped it from us. In any event, the high falutin naan is a very recent phenomenon. Not entirely dissimilar to folks who say satiated instead of the simpler, and preferable, sated.

Dalir ( unless someone wants to correct that spelling too)

Hartley70 10:33 AM  

@Nancy never likes CC's puzzles, but liked this one. @Mohair always likes her puzzles, but didn't like this one. Well, I'm the third little bear that always likes a CC puzzle and found this one "just right"!

@pmdm, I think you've made an error with the fourth word in the fifth sentence of your third paragraph. You're very welcome.

I definitely HADKITTENS when I was in elementary school, but later on I had a shitfit. I wonder if that would pass the breakfast test?

Actually it's ETHER that doesn't pass my personal breakfast test. I had some when I was four and I swear I can still smell the icky sweetness and see the black and white spinning circle. For dessert one got to upchuck after the tonsillectomy.

KAL Penn is a gimme because his career path is so unusual. "Harold and Kumar" silly movie actor to the actual Obama White House and back to serious television actor in "Designated Survivor" playing someone who works in the White House. I think he plays that last role with a little smirk. He can't help himself. Ain't America great, folks!?

I thought PLUM was ambiguously clued. I was looking for a synonym of "coveted".

The theme was Tuesday OHOK. I always put on one pant at a time.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

This puzzle sucked. The whole west side was "are you kidding me?"

Tita 10:37 AM  

I'm with @Larry G going down the bunny slope with SKIs crossed.
I thought this was a fine Tuesday, and enjoyed projecting the visuals onto the answers. Realizing it was the same word helped with the solve n a few places.

I have heard, and love the term, HASKITTENS.

@Anoa...I don't think this counts as a has a cow, but definitely has kittens.

Thanks, CC.

(Inadvertently posted this on yesterday's comments- have since deleted my unintentional spoiler...)

Bill Feeney 10:59 AM  

Two things. One that will probably get me in trouble because @Nancy is beloved on this blog. One mouse lumped LMS in a "snarky drive-bys " comment. Is there anyone kinder and funnier than LMS on this blog? @Nancy. I take exception to your casual insult of today's constructor. If you met her at a party, would you tell her that she bores you to death with her mindless cluing that you find insulting? I hope not. We often don't think how hurtful our words are when casually commenting about some "faceless constructor". Please don't pride yourself on "telling it like it is", rather, think how your words can hurt someone willing to put herself out there for all of us to react to from our safe perches.

Nancy 11:00 AM  

@Hartley (10:33) -- Your helpful "edit" to @pmdm is absolutely priceless!

And also, @Hartley, we really should compare tonsillectomies-under-ETHER stories. We probably had them done at close to the same time since, though you're younger than I am, you had yours taken out at a younger age then I did. (I was 7). My hospital (Lenox Hill) was absolutely great. They brought out a small forest-green colored balloon. They told me to blow it up. I blew it up. I then asked: "Now what?" They said: It's over. We've finished. I didn't believe them. How could that be? I had just finished blowing up the balloon, after all. They brought me out a jar of (what they said were) my tonsils to prove to me that they had been taken out. (They probably had one set they showed to all the kids.) I had experienced no sense at all of "going under". I had experienced no sense of any lapse of time. Other than the repulsive jar and a terrible, but terrible sore throat, I really didn't know that I'd been operated on. And, @Hartley, I have no recollection of a sickly sweet smell. Nor, to the best of my recollection, did I ever throw up. I would say that my surgery was handled really well!

jberg 11:07 AM  

Just deleted my whole comment with some unintentional keystroke combination, so I'll try again. I liked it OK, but would have preferred it without the circles -- the revealer could refer to '4 places in this puzzle.' The TAD of extra effort would have made it more enjoyable.

To add to @Dalir's point (and not taking sides on which culture started it), Wikipedia says it was only called NAAN in English from 1979 on -- so maybe this is one of those Maleska-era things.

OTOH, in 1979 I think a PANTRY was still a room, not some kind of fancy cupboard.

People in Wisconsin had kittens and tongue-lashed, as I recall, so those didn't bother me. On the other hand, the clue for DOO has to be the second lamest ever (the lamest being that Timothy Parker one Rex quoted a couple of weeks ago).

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Awful - hate when I see this constructor

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Awful. Hate when I see this constructor (sorry...)

Nancy 11:14 AM  

We were typing at the same time, @Bill Feeney, so I didn't see your remark when I posted my last comment. Point well taken. I should always assume that the constructor is going to read the comments, and be much more tactful. I'll keep that in mind in the future. I do have to say, though, that if I met ZB at a party, I might well say to her: "Can't you please challenge us more with your cluing? Use more misdirection? Be trickier? It always makes things so much more fun." But no, I would definitely not say to her what I wrote in my earlier post. Sorry.

old timer 11:25 AM  

The one thing I knew for sure before coming to this blog: @Rex would have KITTENS about this one. I do think IBEENHAD was a good reason for WS to reject this puzzle, and demand it be reworked. Another reason for rejection, the theme is totally Lame. PANTs always come in pairs, so do SOCKs. But when we speak of TONGs in the kitchen drawer, we never say "a pair of TONGs" or at least I don't. Same with SKIs, they are plain old SKIs, no pair required. A better puzzle would have worked in scissors and dropped the SKIs and TONGs

It did not occur to me that TONGUELASH has never been a verb before, but OFL is right there I think. It does occur to me that TOI is not "you" in Tours, not the first word that would come to mind, anyway, TOI means "yourself" more often than "you", doesn't it?

Oh well. I was glad to hear that Melanie song at least. She does it well, that shameless hussy (any halfway intelligent child could figure out the body parts suggested by the boy's "key" and the girl's "roller skates" but it was clean enough in theory to get past the censors).

Better puzzle tomorrow, I hope.

GILL I. 11:25 AM  

"PAIR of pantses" got me off on a good mood.
I thought this was cute. CC has whimsy in all of her crosswords. This HAS KITTENS and I BEEN HAD whimsy. Poor cats - they get all the bashing. Ever wonder where "No room to swing a cat" or "Has the cat got your TONGUE" come from? Why the cat? How about "No room to swing a porcupine" or "Has the PIG got your TONGUE....
I hated trying to learn all the grammar terms in school. You'd throw the helping, causative, finite, auxiliary verb at me and I'd immediately think dangling participle.
One day I will learn how to spell OGRE.

puzzlehoarder 11:25 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle for it's quirkiness. While it came across, at times, as forced with short fill like RWY, EME, and NAN (a common puzzle variant,) there were also exceptional long entries like TONGUELASH and HASKITTENS. @,G.B. must really be AWOL if he's not showing up for one of C.C.'s puzzles. He knows the constructor and pointed out once that she's not a native English speaker. This makes her construction ability all the more impressive. I have no idea what her first language is but I imagine her spoken English is nothing like 10D. The obscurity of 60A does make me think she got it off a computer list but that in no way detracts from the quality of that SE corner. That was the one section I used the theme to help clear up confusion. Overall only an extra minute or so to a clean grid but interesting an interesting puzzle and and worth comment.

Aketi 11:28 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
old timer 11:30 AM  

I meant to add when we remodeled our kitchen years ago, one of the cabinets we added was a PANTRY cabinet. We had to get rid of the little room that was a PANTRY, so this cabinet became the replacement. So the clue, I thought, was legit.

Aketi 11:31 AM  

Blogger Aketi said...
@Hartley 70, I also HAd KITTENs, but they were followed by hissy fits before the shit fits. Wonder if Fit Bits can track the differential caloric expenditure for each of those. I BEEN HAD too because of my grammatically deficient English education.

Been contemplating the "which thing is different from the others" feature of TONGS. The cheap pair of plastic kitchen TONGS we have aren't very functional, because they don't crisscross like SCISSORS and as a result don't close completely. They might be useful, however, for picking up my son's dirty SOCKS and PANTS when they have been left on the floor long enough to become biohazards.

I wanted to rescue that TONGUE from the HATPIN and use it to PIN a tail on a donkey or maybe a PIG. You'd probably need glue to stick that LASH back onto the EYE.

BOREDOM is having to recertify for your profession by getting continuing education units by watching online educational videos of slides while a disembodied voice mind numbingly repeats everything on the slide. So far all I've learned from the process is that I can "binge skim" the slides and retain the same amount of information as when I listen to the voice accompanying the slides.

Bill Feeney 11:36 AM  

@Nancy. What a gracious response. True class. I usually much enjoy your amusing and anecdotal sidebars. Keep 'em coming.

Z 11:43 AM  

Nothing to add on the puzzle, so a moment on baseball:

@Larry Gilstrap - Mike Trout's career calls so far into question the whole notion of advanced metrics. His WAR was ~10 last year, so according to this metric the Angels would have finished last year at 64-98 last year without him. Were they really that bad without Trout? Or is his WAR over-estimating his impact somehow? IMHO, he hasn't deserved an MVP. Sure, the Angels finished first in their division in 2014, but promptly got swept by the Royals and he was a non-factor. Last year his 10 wins above replacement helped the Angels finish 4th in the West and 15 games out of the playoffs. I'd argue he wasn't even the MVP in his own division (José Altuve would have gotten my vote) let alone the league. I must admit, my view of him has been colored by the fact that, until the most recent series, he has been incredibly mediocre against the Tigers even as his team has beaten up on the Tigers. In effect, in the small sample size of games I've watched closest he has been well below his career numbers while his team has played better than their overall records, so that may skew my view a little. Still, he's no Miguel Cabrera, who at age 20 was hitting a World Series homer off of Roger Clemens to help his team win the World Series or helping the Tigers win back to back to back to back division championships or winning the first Triple Crown since 1967. Still, I'd gladly watch him play centerfield in Comerica for 81+ games a year.

Masked and Anonymous 12:08 PM  

This here pair-of-CCs puz was a hoot, even tho not quite up to her usual high standards. Reminded M&A of one of his fave watercolor paintin subjects:
Bunch of farm animals gathered inside a near-empty hayloft or some such, all starin in awe at this big quilt hangin on a weathered, knot-riddled, wooden wall. Quilt's design features a real pretty barn which has one of them snazzy barn-quilt artwork plaques attached to it.
Title of the masterpiece: "BARN BARN QUILT QUILT". [Contemplate the title, for a spell.]

Of the 26 weejects on display today, fave has gotta be DOO; another item that often comes in pairs. At least as often as SOCKs fresh out of M&A's laundry come in pairs. Don't even get m&e started, on missin SOCK mysteries. (M&A calls that day-um laundry room "Area 51" or "Triangle of the Bermudas".) Honrable mention to MAA (M. And A.) [yo, @Roo] Oddly, M&A gets more instant recognition from the goats than from any other species.

Here's the thing: This TuesPuz theme has 8 fairly-long themers, crossin each other in pairs. This really restricts yer other gridfillins. Desperation will ensue. Desperation often gets a bad name, in these parts. M&A tries to embrace the desperation; celebrate the desperation. Better for yer cinnamon roll digestion.

RWY. har [See that? Upliftin.]

Best desperation pair: SHH/HTTP. Collectively, reminiscent of sound made by missteppin on some DOO-DOO, down on the farm.

Thanx, CC. Feisty puztrip. … And now, it's BREWSKI time ...

Masked & Anonymo3Us

To all those (maybe a pair or so) that fussed so hard on yesterday's M&A word ladder challenge …

Joseph Michael 12:23 PM  

What is the sound of one TONG lifting?

I BEEN HAD was my response to the OH OK and KAL cross which ended up in my grid as OH OH and HAL.

This was one of the toughest Tuesdays I can remember. Stared at UELASH for the longest time and couldn't imagine how it could be an English word, especially when I was thinking about "dressing down" as a fashion choice.

The LESSON I learned was that I didn't know how to spell PANTOMIME.

And with OMNI in the grid and Marriott in a clue, I keep reading 1A as HILTON.

GILL I. 12:30 PM  

Oh, I don't know, @Bill Feeney....Calling someone out as you did @Nancy, is the height of bad manners in my opinion. That she answered you as graciously as she did, does indeed show she has class.
Saying a constructors cluing bores you to death on a blog dealing with crossword is not mean or intentionally nasty - it's an opinion. Calling someone names or being a bully is mean and nasty.
CC is a prolific constructor; she's published everywhere and I'd bet you all the pesetas I have in my wallet that she's gone some pretty tough skin on her.

Gabby Johnson 12:54 PM  

Does anyone remember authentic frontier gibberish?

Colby 12:55 PM  

Had PANTAMIMES instead of PANTOMIMES-- which made OTRAS instead of OTROS. Sounded right to me.

hankster65 12:59 PM  

DNF because of MAA instead of BAA. I raised four goats years ago and don't remember a single MAA. Aaaaargh! Hated IBEENHAD. IVE, darn it, IVE!

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

What's a PANTRY? A small room or closet. What's a closet? A cupboard, etc. What's a cupboard if not a kitchen cabinet. Many modern kitchens have floor-length cabinets called "pantries". Of course a kitchen cabinet is a PANTRY so is a room off the kitchen.

Ghostface Puzzlah 1:31 PM  

MAA? That's a thing? Like hankster, I was a DNF because I had BAA instead. This puzzle felt... rushed.

Teedmn 1:39 PM  

AIWA! I had a DNF today. I had TO_ at 42D and put in TOn as "You in Tours", but TOn is a possessive adjective in French, not a stressed pronoun. At least my mistake didn't come in PAIRS. (Or in Paris, hah).

With delvE in first at 13A (I fell for that old "dig" misdirection, gah) and "loam" before SILT, I had a couple of slow points here so I totally agree with @Rex's call of medium-challenging for a Tuesday.

@Nancy, I loved comtemplating the single-SPOTted Dalmation, and your chorus line lyric "If you knew ETHER like I know ETHER" (and I'd prefer your knowledge to @Hartley70's, any day).

Thanks, @LMS, for last night's addition to the discussion. The weird anon comments were confusing - it was like listening to one radio station and going over the hill and suddenly I was tuned into a totally different station (and AM talk radio at that).

JC66 1:58 PM  
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Anonymous 2:00 PM  

All those with a "Tolerance" bumper sticker on your car raise your hands.

Donna 2:25 PM  

Loved the video of "Brand New Key"!

G. Weissman 2:36 PM  

I guess that when you've been had you don't have time to say "I've." I been wondering about that.

kitshef 2:58 PM  

@Spencer, @hankster65, @Ghostface Puzzlah - I think it is a Will Shortz idiosyncrasy that sheep say baa and goats say MAA. While the initial decision appears to have been random, I think he is consistent with applying this rule.

Joe Bleaux 3:29 PM  

@GILL I., Why the cat? Good question. That godawful whip: Cat o' Nine Tails! Animal that sucks breath from babies in their cribs? Cat! Symbol of bad luck? Black cat! Witches' pets? Cats! And my favorite: What common animal is NEVER ONCE even MENTIONED in the Holy Bible? Yes, the cat! (Aside to cat people: The above is mere observation, NOT a reflection of my feelings about cats. Though a dog person, I'm totally OK with cats. Had a kitten myself once. Named it Robert Redfur, but it grew up to become more of a, um, Gary Busey.)

John Child 4:14 PM  

I'm pretty sure I have said this before, but here goes. The flat bread common throughout South Asia is नान. Transliterated directly, N A N. But there are long and short vowels in Hindi and related languages, and the vowel in this word is a long A. That is sometimes but not always rendered as AA rather than A. There is no standard for transliteration from Devanagari script to Roman script, and nothing wrong with NAN as a bread. That spelling is quite common in the Subcontinent on, for example, restaurant menus.

David in CA 4:14 PM  

Man, I can't wait until Will finally retires and Rex can take over as editor. We'll only get about 5 "daily" puzzles a year, but damn they will have been sent back often enough to be perfect! (Well, at least perfect if you share his tastes in puzzles).

Put me in in the OHOh/hAL camp. but I slapped myself - OHOK fits the clue perfectly, and OHOH certainly didn't.

Thought the puzzle was a fine. The theme holds together fine - the revealer says "always come in", and that can typically refer to how things are sold, making it spot on. (OK...maybe you can buy 1 water ski?) And I can totally seeing some mentationally challenged movie character slapping himself on the forehead and saying "I BEEN HAD", so what's the problem? It's cute.

QuasiMojo 4:37 PM  

I wonder if Nan Goldin prefers Naan.

BarbieBarbie 4:57 PM  

@jberg, YES that's exactly what I thought when I was done with the puzzle-- too bad the circles are there; no circles plus a clever revealer would have made for a great AHA and not much more difficulty. As it was, the revealed theme made it way too easy to fill in the crosses. But still, I liked it.
@pmdm, up to the (not very high) level of my understanding you have it exactly right except for the HTML typo. Don't let people make fun of you for understanding something that takes vertical thinking. STEMers unite. I like big brains and I cannot lie. (I stole that)
Everyone knows it as Naan, see...

jb129 5:04 PM  

If this is a double post, sorry....

So Rex is taking over??? Great - I haven't enjoyed a puzzle in a long time - good luck guys!

Long Time Reader 5:06 PM  

Kids these days - pikers one and all. Chumps who can't even put together a cogent rant let alone a cogent rant that inspires rage in their readers. You want to see what it was like when I was a mere lad, where people knew how to rant? Try the last time IBEENHAD appeard in a NYTimes Xword puzzle. Then go home and be ashamed.

Paul Rippey 5:55 PM  

I was buying pants about fifteen years ago and the sales person kept saying things like, "Well, here's an attractive pant," and, 'Perhaps you'd like this pant sir." This, despite my continually saying "pair of pants". I don't know where the affectation came from and I'm glad it didn't stick.

Aldente Corner Mats 6:32 PM  

@Paul Rippey @5:55
Hee hee! I had the same experience and it was all I could do to not slap him!!! I wanted to rippey him in the panties!

And if any of you ever met Zhouquin (CC) at a party, I hope you'd do nothing but give her a hug and be semi-TONGuetied over how accomplished and Brilliant and sweet she is!

@na(n?)ysayers, I look forward to one day solving your high quality puzzles in Mandarin!

Aketi 6:50 PM  

@m&A, expended mucho mega minutes getting TRUMP to GOATS. Now I gotta get the GOATS to PUTIN.

Anonymous 8:14 PM  

Never been a huge fan of this constructor, but I agree with most on here. This puzzle is really awful on so many levels.

Unknown 11:00 PM  


Wordsmith 4:03 PM  

Enjoyed it immensely and chuckled as I predicted the sophomoric comments of this youthful crowd .
Wait till you're seniors and your perspective will change!

Will 7:28 PM  

Your description of the theme made me chuckle - dude, all words in all crosswords "intersect in intriguing but ultimately meaningless ways"!

Madaline 9:26 PM  

i used to be financially unstable, until my cousins friend introduced me to a guy who sells blank atm cards online. i texted him on blind faith, and they came, they work on any atm machine and are undetectable. i sell a couple of these cards now. of you're interested in getting one, email me at

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spacecraft 11:44 AM  

Something smells fishy here--and I don't mean the mini-theme of SOCKEYE, TROUT and AHI. Is this really a Burnikel? I've come to expect better from this byline, but IBEENHAD. Come on, people, she DID say "informally" in the clue. OHOK*, it's still not primo.

SHH, we're in the middle of a PSYCH LESSON. Count me with the non-cabinet PANTRY people; that's a room. Theme was cute, though the visuals are a TAD skewed, but the fill! Yikes!

Had an old flame named IDA; she's my personal DOD today. Disappointing to see Ms. Burnikel's work COARSEN this way. Bogey.

*OHOh, I didn't know Penn's name either, so a 1-square DNF. Cest la vie.

Burma Shave 12:11 PM  


I ADORE ETHER, as a NONPC OGRE, a PIG of a man.


rondo 12:41 PM  

A leisurely 10 minute stroll through CC's puz. I didn't find it particularly Tuesday tough. If this had been used in the MN Xword Tourney you can bet that IDOIDO woulda been clued as the longest running play at Chanhassen Dinner Theater (or anywhere for that matter) with the same cast. 20+ years as I recall, and the couple actually did get married during the run.

The BREWSKI and ALE are making me thirsty, but it looks like I'm headed for a cuppa TEA.

AIWA made a fine reel-to-reel back in the day.

Stretch to yeah baby LILY Depp; musta got the looks from MAA.

OH,OK, TETE ALA TOI and some OTROS weren't top shelf, but I don't feel like IBEENHAD.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

Much harder than the normal Tues. but workable. Ignore the theme and it's fun to solve.

Diana,LIW 2:21 PM  

SOCKET nET anyone? My creative spelling trips me up again. A horse is a hoarse, of course of coarse. All my erasures were to fix my spellings "uncoursan your fingernails on the blackboard."

SOCKs and SKIs aren't real pairs? Right. Go and try to buy just one. They're like Lays Potato chips, you can't get just one.

Not difficult here, either. Finished in the NW - first thought was "flirt" for HITON, but left it blank and went elsewhere to toy with the puzzle.

But the DAnALI water was my downfall.

According to the dictionary, NAN is an Indian bread. But what do they know?

If Peter Piper picked a pair of pickled peppers, could they be in the puzzle? Nah...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 2:22 PM  

Agree generally with Rex about the theme and LESSON. (Speaker of IBEENHAD may need a grammar lesson.)

On the plus side, cluing of ADORE and TONGUELASH. (Would do neither to this puzzle.)

KAL looks like a name from a sci-fi comic book. (Superman's early extra-terrestrial life?)

Mixed up TOI and vous to get TOu, which gave me AuWA instead of AIWA. (Need both French and Japanese LESSONs, I guess.)

Have Tuesdays becoming a bit more interesting and crunchier in recent weeks? Seems they are, which would be a good thing.

leftcoastTAM 2:41 PM  

"...becoming..." meant to not "become", of course. Not really that much in need of a grammar LESSON.

Diana,LIW 3:25 PM  

When I posted earlier, I hadn't read the futureland posts and the kerfuffle about nan/naan. So upstairs I went, and looked in my (shorter) OED. On page 1881 you will find Nan described at the Indian bread (def. #2). A few pages earlier, naan is a VARIANT of nan. VARIANT. The defense rests. (Or is it de fence?)

Lady Di, friend of Oxford commas and dictionaries

rain forest 3:33 PM  

Poor Tuesday! Make it easy and it gets dumped on; throw in some "crunch" and they wail "not a Tuesday answer". Make it funky, and somehow it's not up to the constructor's usual standard.

I liked it, including the crossed skis, which is too frequently my practice on the slopes. HTML, HTTP, all the same to me. Also a cheeky visual.

Nice one, @Burma Shave (I say this much too seldom, but always think it).

I can't say I'M IN AWE, but certainly didn't suffer BOREDOM. Last second decision on OHOK, saving me a dnf.

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harada57 3:47 AM  
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