Ones with X-genes in comics / THU 6-29-17 / Republic state toppled in 1933 / Thomas entertainer with Presidential Medal of Freedom

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Constructor: Rich Proulx

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: country puns 

Theme answers:
  • KENYA GIVE ME A HAND (18A: Request for aid in East Africa?)
  • BAHRAIN WASH (27A: Call for cleanup in the Persian Gulf?)
  • GHANA FLY NOW (49A: Slogan for a West African airline?)
  • TAKE MY WIFE BELIZE (62A: Entreaty for a spouse's emigration to Central America?)
Word of the Day: ADELA Rogers St. Johns (37D: Writer ___ Rogers St. Johns) —
Adela Nora Rogers St. Johns (May 20, 1894 – August 10, 1988) was an American journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. She wrote a number of screenplays for silent movies but is best remembered for her groundbreaking exploits as "The World's Greatest Girl Reporter" during the 1920s and 1930s and her celebrity interviews for Photoplay magazine. (wikipedia)
• • •

I can't even muster up the energy to RANT AT this one. Corny, sure, but really bad corny. Just bad. Like ... no consistency, no zing, no thought. Just really lousy country puns. Four of them. Why these four? No reason. None. And the fill? Half-century old, at a minimum. Stale as heck. The fill is playing EUCHRE with ADELA Rogers St. Johns. Wow. ANGE? SSA? There's no excuse for fill this bad in a puzzle with such a light theme. And it's 16 wide? No, no excuse. Poor. Fail. SPAIN, NEUTER YOUR PETS! BHUTAN YOUR LIP! BOLIVIA ME! HEARING LAOS! NAURU ESCAPE! NORWAY, JOSÉ! SPEED THE PALAU! STRANGE PERU! POLAND FOR COLUMBINE! WELCOME BACK, QATAR! SWEDEN THE POT! TAIWAN ON! Are you not amused? Here, here is a cool video from the "Hamilton Mixtape." Trust me, it is ~100 times more entertaining than this puzzle.


Sigh. Later.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

127 comments:

Poopypants 12:13 AM  

I Canada liked it.

Mike in Mountain View 12:22 AM  

I thought Rex might give this a Chile reception.

Liked it more than he did, but didn't think it was very Thursdayish.

Sorry, got Togo.

Anonymous 12:32 AM  

I had to look up the lyrics to the "don't let your babies grow up" song and it is indeed spelled "Mammas" – I found that quite odd.

puzzlehoarder 1:12 AM  

This was a pretty straight forward early week level Thursday. It was much easier than yesterday's puzzle. If you went after the weak material it put up no fight. ADELA is a piece of crosswordese that I really ought to be more familiar with. It would seem that it's either this writer/journalist or a character from "A Back Passage to India." Which is more obscure is a toss up but having been used almost 50x in the Shortz era it should have been pounded into my head long ago.

Larry Gilstrap 1:18 AM  

I've never set foot on African soil, but it is intriguing and it is a huge part of the planet. I have a friend who is Pakistani, was born and raised in Nairobi, KENYA and lives and works in East London.

What! Shakespeare rears his Bardic head, again? This guy must have one helluva of an agent. The plays are intimidatingly complex, so I recommend reading the Sonnets. Claim one as your own. Sonnet 116 is so Melvillean; I'll claim that one, for now.

I maintain a home in a SAHARAN climate and it has been extremely hot and dry lately. Rewrite the record book.

Vintage TV featured stand-up routines from guys like Henny Youngman. He was so goofy looking that he was immediately disarming, and all that squirming. To learn timing, you have to watch the best. The set-up is followed by TAKE MY WIFE.....please! Funny man.

Rich Proulx 1:42 AM  

SWEDEN THE POT - good one! Do you mind if I use that in my next puzzle, Rex? :-) Honestly, my debut would have felt incomplete without this thorough skewering. Still a huge fan. - Rich

Larry Gilstrap 2:02 AM  

Thanks to @Rich Proulx for showing up. There has to be some faint praise in the damning? OFL being OFL.

Ellen S 2:17 AM  

@Rich, thanks for being a good sport. People who say some puns are "bad" are just pun-haters, that's what I think. The puzzle was too easy for a Thursday, but that's not your fault. I liked the puns and liked the puzzle better than yesterday, where I got bogged down in some of the too many proper names. ("Too many" = ones I don't know.)

Keep 'me coming.

Herodotus1 2:18 AM  

Love Welcome Back Qatar.

Ellen S 2:27 AM  

Keep 'em coming I mean. Damn autocorrect. (What did it think I meant?)

chefwen 2:35 AM  

Had a great time with this puzzle. Loved all the theme answers, I'd be hard put to pick a favorite.

Like @Ellen S. Thought it was a tad bit easy for Thursday, but I enjoyed every minute of the solve.

Keep 'em coming Rich, this was fun.

Loren Muse Smith 2:40 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 2:41 AM  

Hey, Rich! Always fun when the constructor weighs in! I like your style. Every now and then some constructors get a little testy here, and who could blame them? Some people seem to keep score of how many puzzles Rex eviscerates, but that would get depressing for me. I guess I kinda follow a self-imposed tally ban.

I appreciate how hard doing a theme like this would be. You can’t just take a country and make it a pun like, say, African hate creamed corn or Uganda eat that Rice Krispy treat? Rich had to find, as Rex did, real in-the-language phrases and then make puns. And THEN he had to make sure he had two symmetrical pairs. So the possibilities go from a bajillion to not as many. (@Mike in Mountain View – loved your “Chile reception.”) I really liked the four he went with.

I found this spot-on for a Thursday. My only mistake was putting MARLO’s father, Danny, first.

And I almost put in a ridiculous “naval” spray, thinking “navel,” and wondering it that was more efficient than a Q-tip. And I use NASAL spray. It can be miraculous. Seriously.

Loved the clue for STAPLED.

Hey, @Charles in Austin, @Larry – Take my wife, please – a quintessential paraprosdokian!

Liked MUTANTS crossing TRANSITION. Reminds me of when Mom had hair starting go grow out of her temples back when we were eating that food-grade flea killer. Oops. You may want to transition to something, but not anything involving a hairy forehead. That’s certainly mutant territory.
So a possible advice to someone travelling in Africa – Good GOLLY, miss Mali! Too SAHARAN, man.

Congrats on the debut, Rich. It’ll be a fun day for you.

jae 2:44 AM  

Easy-medium for me (NW a tad tough again) and, yes, too easy for a Thurs. Wierd week...a quip puzzle, Harry Potter dust up, baseball controversy over fan, and today....puns. Mildly amusing, liked it.

Gregory Nuttle 3:07 AM  

Not sure why this played so much harder for me than seemingly everyone else, but it was more than double my normal Thursday time to knock this one out.

Thomaso808 5:22 AM  

Easy Thursday, shoulda been a Wed except DNF on BELIsE. No clue on Pinza, but the Z is right there in the clue! And I worked with a guy from Belize for about four years! Grrrrr, crosswords teach you humility.

Congrats Rich Proulx on your debut! That's a lifetime milestone for sure. I hope your last name never comes up on a crossword because likely another DNF. But seriously thanks for the effort to add to the puzzle world.

I'm with @Ellen S, I love the puns. The words Bad and Good don't work with puns. The worse they are, the better they are, right?

And like @Larry G and @LMS, great to see you here. Sorry, but damning and evisceration means you got noticed, but I'm really looking forward to number 2!

BarbieBarbie 5:57 AM  

Way easy for a Thursday, and as a puzzle I thought it was great. For one thing, you can grok the theme and it doesn't do you any good-- you still have to figure the other themers out. And it's the nature of puns that it's really fun to figure them out and then not as much fun to look back on. Perfect for a puzzle-solve.

I'm still a novice, so please enlighten me: what's the big deal about a 16x16 puzzle? Other than being larger than usual? Is that supposed to make it harder? Sundays are big, but usually not hard... Maybe it's only a concern when your solve-time bottleneck is the speed with which you can fill in the letters?

Yesterday it was my turn to have my completely innocuous comment deleted by the blog gods. So on behalf of the absent @GeorgeBarany I want to say that Dewar flasks are all over the chem labs and boy is it exciting to drop one.

QuasiMojo 7:02 AM  

I'm not a huge fan of the recent (endless?) trend to overuse puns in the NYT of late, most of which are groaners but I'll cut this puzzle some slack. It showed some élan and humor put into it. Bahrain Wash made me laugh. I thought the ANGE clue, however, was a bit off. The cathedral is called Notre-Dame de Paris. That might have better indicated the French word for angel. And focusing on Peter Falk's having a GLASS EYE rather than something more important such as his talent was off-putting. Would you clue Sammy Davis Jr by his glass eye? Otherwise few quibbles today. Congrats Rich Proulx on your début. Any relation to Annie?

Anonymous 7:07 AM  

Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be snowflakes.

Hungry Mother 7:18 AM  

I liked this puzzle and took about average time with it. The puns were good and the fill appropriately crunchy.

kitshef 7:19 AM  

DNF at HIYo/MoMMAS.

KENYA and GHANA worked well for me, but BAHRAIN and BELIZE not so much, in that they have an extra syllable not in the source phrase.

Also, ITE, RAN TAT, IRR, MOL, SSA, EZIO.

So, for a day, agree with @Rex. Except that I would not use ‘entertaining’ to describe the Immigrants video, in the same way I would not use ‘feature’ for a glass eye.

Passing Shot 7:20 AM  

Not a fan of puns, but liked this a bit more than Rex did. Nice debut, Mr. Proulx. Agree with @QuasiMojo 7:02 that the clue for GLASSEYE was in questionable taste.

Elle54 7:36 AM  

Congrads Rich! I like puns! I'm gonna have to look up why hunky dory =jake though!

Annette 8:12 AM  

Record Thursday time, which means it was run on the wrong day, but setting a record is a nice way to start my morning. Normally I dislike puns, yet I chuckled at each themer. For once, I completely disagree with OFL. Loved the long downs.

Cass Garnet 8:13 AM  

Yukon say that again

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Brandon Victor Dixon Tweets.

Mohair Sam 8:15 AM  

Wanna make an easy puzzle tough? Spell BAHRAIN Baharain and put KENYA in West Africa on your mental map. NW corner stayed blank for the longest time while I ran through every East African country I thought there was, none made sense. Finally remembered Ovechkin's first name and KENYA become obvious. Phew.

We had fun with it. Not many threes so not much junk. Yeah it skewed old, but so do we - hence we didn't notice. When does the new season of "Columbo" and "That Girl" start? Anybody know why this appeared on a Thursday, btw?

@Rich Proulx - Thanks for stopping by - I envy you for two reasons:
1. Published NYT Crossword.
2. Attitude. If Rex did that to me I'd be starting a Tiffany Trump for Mayor of Confluence, NY campaign.

Hartley70 8:16 AM  

Well done Rich! I thought the theme was quirky and made me pause to run through the geographic possibilities. I leave that Jeopardy category to my well-traveled husband as well as any category containing the name Ovechkin. The audio component of having solvers sound out the phrases was a nice little extra. I've said BAHRAINWASH multiple times this morning.

The GLASSEYE controversy is a non-starter here. So he had a glass eye? Were we not to notice? It doesn't seem to have handicapped him one bit and he can hardly take offense at this point. Think Franklin Roosevelt.

Any NYT's constructor who shows up here on the day of his debut is a very good sport indeed. Congrats!

GHarris 8:16 AM  

Had to Google for GiGi. How is ite a suffix for residents?

Two Ponies 8:21 AM  

Hey, there's Hedwig! Now I can get my mail!

Nice debut Rich, thanks for dropping by.

Clues that seem moldy to Rex are right in someone else's comfort zone.
Soon the fresh clues of today will be moldy too. Obvious, I know.
He'll be old and I'll be dead. Then he can whine about the new stuff he doesn't know.

I'd stop solving the NYT puzzle if it was directed toward only one age group.

Lobster11 8:21 AM  

This seems like a typical, mediocre Sunday theme not a Thursday. But I'm thankful it wasn't a Sunday puzzle because then there would have been twice as much of it.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Missing the pun on BAHRAINWASH. Keep saying it and can't get what is is supposed to mean. Any help for the criminally brain dead?

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

I've said BAHRAIN WASH like twenty times, and I have no idea what the actual phrase is behind it. It must be my accent.

Also, I had to look up when JAKE (meaning hunky-dory) was current slang. It was 1895-1900. There wasn't a slightly more current way to clue that? I agree with Rex that I could see the must and the cobwebs on this one.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

I'm Anonymous 8:23.

As I posted it, I got it. It's BAHRAIN = BRAIN. I put strong stress on BAH, though, so I didn't think to elide the vowel in it.

So, for others confused, it's BRAINWASH.

Anonymous 8:29 AM  

@GHarris Someone from Caanan would be a Caananite, or someone from Brooklyn would be a Brooklynite as opposed to someone from Houston who would be a Houstonian. Loved the puns although I thought OFL's puns were hilarious---to bad he doesn't make puzzles for the NYT. Liked "Good golly, miss Mali" from LMS as well. This could be a fun exercise to do---thinking up puns from countries. I will have to see how much free time I have today. The fill definitely skewed old so that is my only criticism.

chefbea 8:32 AM  

did not like the puzzle even though I love puns. Too tough for me

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

No, I'M Anonymous 8:27. :-)

I had the same experience, got it as soon as I posted it. And I know the rules for puns have to be pretty lax, but I call foul on that clue. The others more or less pass for that they say. But since when is "Wash" a call for a cleanup?

Doh!

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Also liked it!
Touch easy, but that made me feel newly competent!
I liked the mix of clues -- old school and newer.
Congrats on your debut, and keep them coming!

RAD2626 8:45 AM  

Liked the puzzle, liked the puns, liked the fill. Thought the Henny Youngman pun was the best (also like Rex' Qatar one). Struggled in the NE until I got the part about common phrases (had KENYA GIVE ME A loan) but came back and cleaned that up. Going to spend the time I saved in solving on trying to figure out puns for Russia, Peru and France which must have some and then move on to Uzbekistan.

Congrats on terrific debut.

Nate 8:47 AM  

Don't mind the negative Nellies, this was good fun. I only got tripped up on the GIGI/ANGE crossing (I thought ANGE looked wrong...).

Question, though: is WHITENER really a toothpaste "ingredient"? I would think that there are ingredients that act as a whitener. Maybe "Toothpaste feature" would have worked better? Eh, I probably would have quibbled at that.

Z 8:50 AM  

@Mohair Sam - TeeHee.

@Rich Proulx - First, what's with the random X? Or is it Rich Proul X? Second, congrats. Third, I'm with Rex, "country puns" isn't enough to cohere into a theme. It's a good start for us pun lovers, but needs another layer to generate more love from your pattern seeking audience. And ADELA? If "silent movies" is a prominent part of the wiki entry it's time to rework. JOMO. How many more in the pipeline?

Two Ponies 8:56 AM  

Belize tourist shops are full of puns but the jokes usually substitute the word Believe for Belize. It's only funny the first time. Lots of phrases but always the same joke.

mathgent 8:57 AM  

Some nice geographic puns, especially from Rex and the commenters.

"Having a corner piece" for STAPLED. I'm missing the joke. Pieces of paper are stapled together on their corners. Is that all there is?

Is "Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge" important in the history of motion pictures? I hadn't heard if it.

Speaking of movies, we saw Baby Driver yesterday. I can't believe that Ms. Dargis gave it the NYT seal of approval.

OK, but I expect more from a Thursday.

Black Sun 9:04 AM  

Talk about Bahrain wash. That immigrant video is dangerous propaganda.

Betty Danger 9:24 AM  

@Rich Proulx has class. I loved seeing Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge!

Beaglelover 9:27 AM  

WOW, that Hamilton mix tape is powerful!!

Nancy 9:33 AM  

This puzzle seemed like one giant trivia fest to me, and even when the trivia was my generation trivia, and therefore easy -- ADELA; EZIO; DIAN; BEGLEY; MARLO (though I haven't a clue what she won a Medal of Freedom for; do you?) -- I felt sorry for younger generations who would have no reason to know any of them or care. As for the rest of it: the pioneering 1888 moving picture; Harry Potter's owl!!!!; the supermodel (if it's not Heidi Klum, Lauren Hutton, or Christie Brinkley, I'm not going to know her -- not even the one I just found out this week is married to Tom Brady), I don't know and I don't care. Oh, and then we have the puns. I'm someone who likes puns, but I certainly didn't like these. And to think we lost our Thursday rebus for this! A big disappointment and no fun at all -- at least not for me.

Joseph Michael 9:35 AM  

Uganda ever finish this puzzle?
I'm trying. I Congo any faster.

HIYA, Rich. Congrats on a JAKE debut. Enjoyed the punnery, especially TAKE MY WIFE, BELIZE and KENYA GIVE ME A HAND.

Looking forward to your next puzzle!

Stanley Hudson 10:04 AM  

Oman, well done Rich Proulx. And thanx for Papuan in.

Prancing Fop 10:07 AM  

Does anyone remember "Don't Call Me Daughter"?

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Impressive,fun debut,congratulations! And kudos for not getting blogged down in this culture of complaint. Continued success.

Craig Percy 10:21 AM  

I enjoyed it, Rich. Thanks!

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

What era has "jake" for hunky-dory?

Tom 10:23 AM  

Played more like a Whensday for me. Expect more trickiness on Thursday. But puns are fun.

G. Weissman 10:23 AM  

I got "take my wife Belize" and thought: No. Stopped there and visited this page to see what Rex thinks about this turd.

Alisha McCoy 10:28 AM  

I have read this blog for about two weeks, and I have a question or two for you regular readers. Is the "shtick" of this blog's author to be negative and unappreciative about darn near everything? What are his standards for an acceptable puzzle?

I find the NYT puzzles challenging, thought-provoking, and while not very reflective of cultures of POC, they are generally a fun means of entertainment. Seems to me if Rex Parker can't find and share joy in these puzzles, he ought to stop completing and ranting about them, and find a more fulfilling hobby for himself. I think he likes his role as armchair critic and 9th-most expert, all-knowing, "I could totally do it better than you" solver, though. ;-)

Rex, you are an established crossword puzzle community member. Consider using your power and voice to spread a little positivity and hope once in a while! Encourage us puzzlers and puzzle creators to keep coming back!

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

I saw "Hamilton" two years ago with the original cast. It's fair but way overrated. It's certainly no "Book of Mormon". Read Chernow's biography that inspired the musical instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars in an average musical.

RooMonster 10:49 AM  

Hey All !
Got ABRIGED first, and it being CenterPuz, thought the themers were going to be contractions, or something like that. So that slowed down my solve. Epic fail in NW for me. JAKE and SSA as clued were WOEs, had welCome for KEYCARD till the bitter end, and ogrE for ANGE. Finally had to cheat to avoid flinging computer screen across the room.

Also WEIMAR/MOL cross ugh-ly. Another cheat. So puz WHAMed me pretty good.

Only 32 blocks in a 16x15 grid, low count. Light dreck, funny enough puns, nothing to RANT AT. If I MAY say.

BY GOLLY MAMMAS
RooMonster
DarrinV

AZPETE 10:58 AM  

Liked ALL the punning. DNF, tho. Wanted Ste (?) ANNE for 24A and GINI for the super model.

lg 10:58 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle too Rich. I found it to be more in the medium range and really had to think about many of the clues and fill. I'm no expert by any means, but I've been working my way backwards through the NYT's archives and I'd say this was a very good Thursday puzzle compared to A LOT of Thursday's I've done so far (I'm solving July 2013 right now). Keep it up!

GILL I. 11:03 AM  

Hamilton Mixtape more entertaining than this puzzle? If you say so!
This was enjoyable in a JAKE sort of way. I like me some puns and these were just fine.
Wanted some trench coat action for Peter Falk but instead I got the evil GLASS EYE. He talked about it a lot on morning shows so I don't see any harm. Now they make them so that the prosthetic can actually move. If you've seen those new robotic dolls that speak and move and look like Dolly Parton, you can see the eye movement. I'm guessing it's the same science at work. Progress!
I kinda like that I MAY STAB BOSSY GORE corner in the SW. Was so happy I remembered WHAM. I guess I should listened to why MAMMAS shouldn't let their babies grow up to be cowboys. I like cowboys. What's wrong with cowboys?
Rich Proulox, I hope you frame @Rex's critique today. It may be worth something on eBay or maybe Etsy.
Congratulations.....

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

Rex owes his minor celebrity status to the New York Times crossword. Day after day he continues to hate it. You wonder why he bothers reviewing it then remember why he's known at all. t's very amusing. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

Carola 11:17 AM  

Having not exercised my solving skills for four days, I found the puzzle on the challenging side; or perhaps it was the 10 hours of watching mile posts whiz by that compromised my BAHRAIN function. The puzzle also challenged my belief that I enjoy puns - these just didn't budge the needle on my Delite-Meter. But I did love LEEDS overA-BRIDGE-D.

Trombone Tom 11:19 AM  

Count me among those who enjoyed Rich Proulx's puzzle more than the mixtape. As I said yesterday, I like nearly all clever wordplay -- even the groaner puns.

I also like curmudgeons, which is one reason I continue to return here. So, @Alicia McCoy, if you can't stand OFL's frequent negativity, move on to another blog. It's the price you (we) pay for his often brilliant insights into puzzle construction.

Kudos to Mr. Proulx for showing up and being a good sport. I think @Rex's review was way too harsh. I hope to see a lot more from Rich in the future.

That said, I do have reservations about the tenuous link between "Having a corner piece" and STAPLED.

Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

@RP: SPEED THE PALAU … ? In any case, how'bout a little love for M&A's fave runt country: TUVALU HARDWARE.

Cute debut. A dash too straightforward for ThursPuz meat, perhaps. Does have yer nice, desperate contingent of weejects to soothe the M&A palate: ITE. MOL. IRR. ASU. AGA. IMO. EPS. har. The new seven dwarfs. Like. A lot. Longer stuff is also nice. Really like GLASSEYE, and learned somethin about the Falkmeister.

15x16 grid. More for yer money. Probably really racks up the U-count, then …? ... whoops … not so rich, there, Mr. Proulx. Yer name has half as many U's as the whole puz. That's ok. Work on that, for next time.

Thanx and congratz, Mr. Proulx. Fun WedPuz on a ThursDay.
And thanx for droppin by and takin all this HooPalau so well.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


**gruntz**

jberg 11:35 AM  

Thanks for stopping by, @Rich, you're a good sport! I enjoyed the puzzle, but I did think the puns should have all been the same form -- two are exact, too have that extra syllable.

Toughest part for me was deciding between HIYA/ and HIYo/ MoMMAS. I mean, you hear the song on the radio, so how do you know how they're spelling it? HIYA seemed a little better, though, so it came out all right.

The clue for 10A was daunting, too -- neuro? lymno? patho? But the crosses made it clear pretty easily.

Many happy returns!

jb129 11:41 AM  

Got "Take my wife Belize" immediately, but struggled afterward

AW 11:45 AM  

Back in the 60's, we used to buy clothes at Falks in Ossining. It was owned by Peter's parents and there was a picture of him holding pride of place on the wall behind the counter. Nifty store, nice folks. Peter's GLASS EYE didn't slow him down one bit. My dad played baseball with him when they were in their teens. Peter told the story that once when an ump called him out at a base, he handed the ump his glass eye, saying, "Here. You need this more than I do."

anon 12:01 PM  

Thank you for an amusing, light diversion. Michael Sharp is just a petty, mean-spirited man who tries to build himself up by tearing other people down. Pay no heed to this self-righteous carper consumed by jealousy.

oldactor 12:06 PM  

@Nancy: Marlo probably won for all the work she's done for St. Jude Children's Hospital. I think it was started by her father.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Brandon Victor Dixon loves him some St Patty's day.

old timer 12:22 PM  

I finished with no lookups. Some of the puns I loved (TAKE MY WIFE BELIZE) some I didn't. I agree with OFL that the fill was outdated. ADELA Rogers St. John is anti que for sure, though I know her as the daughter of Earl Rogers, the top criminal lawyer in LA at the turn of the last century and as the author of his biography.

ANGE was very hard to find. I first thought it might be Mary, then I put in "vane". I mean, you can't exactly see what's atop the Cathedral when you are standing on the ground.

Ando 12:39 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ando 12:39 PM  

Can someone tell me what the red square and the grey word means each day?

Average Goy 12:45 PM  

If immigrants are so wonderful and walls are so bad why no outcry about Israel's wall and their lack of cultural diversity?
Just askin'.

Dick Swart 12:46 PM  

I stuck by 'AOKY' till the bitter end.

Enjoyed the Henny Youngman!

Ando 12:46 PM  

In the NYT app, which I just started using last month, you get full credit if you finish the puzzle but get the alert that it's not quite right, then you figure out the mistake.

Do people consider this situation a completed puzzle, or an incorrect one? I sort of wish there was a "Submit" button because I've filled in the last square before going back and checking everything, and get the feedback before I wanted it. But sometimes I would have submitted an incorrect puzzle.

OISK 12:57 PM  

It Israeli fun solving pun-filled crosswords, Finnished without any Syrias problems. Never heard of a rock group called "WHAM," but can't complain when Ezio Pinza is also referenced. In fact there was a very nice mix of old and new, cute and straight, history, science, sports in the cluing. Does anyone use "jake" to mean "fine" any more? I knew it from old pulp mysteries.

Easy for a Thursday, but fun, fair, lovely puzzle! Thanks, Rich.

OISK 1:12 PM  

Oh, needless to say, (but I will say it anyway,) given my oft-expressed opinions on hip-hop and rap, I did not enjoy the "Hamilton mix" in any way. Worse, I don't understand how anyone else could find it clever, amusing, meaningful, or worth watching. But I have good friends who don't understand how I can pay hundreds of dollars to watch a ballet. Chacun a son gout, as Prince Orlovsky would say...

Joe Bleaux 1:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph Phillips 1:16 PM  

I liked it!

walkingreject 1:25 PM  

Even with the antiquated fill, I was still able to finish in half of my average Thursday time. Was the theme loose? Yes... very. Was it corny? Yes... very. Was it like, really really really bad corny? Yes... very. But there's a small part of me buried somewhere deep under this brooding intellectual front that absolutely loves terrible, terrible puns. I have only one regret and it comes from my 8th grade self sitting in geography class: you TOTALLY could've done something with Djibouti!!! Shake Djibouti? Come on, I would've suffered through all of the old fill in the world to see that answer.

But I digress. My biggest problem with the fill stems from it being old. Yes, all of the answers were valid. But beyond being uninteresting, I just didn't know most of it. I made a lot of educated guesses which turned out to be correct. That's not how I like to solve crosswords. I like to rack my brain, trying to remember something that's just on the tip of my tongue, trying to think creatively, or in a completely different context. I thrive on that. I will never give up on a puzzle if I know that when I see the answer I'll think, "dang, why didn't I think of that?"

This puzzle didn't have any of that for me. I won't discount it, because like I said, it is a valid puzzle. Loose theme, maybe misplaced difficulty, but valid. I just hope we don't see too many more of this ilk in the future :)

Joe Bleaux 1:25 PM  

Congrats on the debut! I like puns, so I had fun with. Standout clever clue for STAPLED almost, but not quite, makes up for MAMMAS, which is just plain wrong (as I prematurely sounded off on in replying to a nameless commenter earlier). And if you HAD to have a Harry Potter appearance, I guess the owl was as wise a choice as any. Thanks for showing up, and I admire your grace and humor regarding Rex's unflattering criticism. Good luck on future puzzles!

Teedmn 1:30 PM  

Like @kitshef, HIYo MoMMAS DNF (a runt-style greeting, IMO). This did not play easy for me today.

Having caMAY for a long time at 53D (I think I've done that before, darn it) had me STAPLED to a chicken and was giving me HEAD SHAKES. My 51D "mess up" was bLow before FLUB - but I got the theme with TAKE MY WIFE BELIZE, clearing up FLUB and giving me something to fill the E_IO cross at 60D.

I like BARED for "Shown, as teeth" for some reason.

Congratulations on your debut, Rich Proulx. I think if I ever found myself with a published NYT crossword, this would be the last place I'd visit so kudos for bravery also!

Churlish Nabob 1:35 PM  

Does anyone remember the slaughter of the innocents?

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

@Ando - only a guess, but I've always assumed those represent the "active" letter and word in whatever format OFL solves in--hence, as pictured in the blog, the final letter that was entered.

Joe Bleaux 1:44 PM  

"They never stay home, and they're always alone, even with someone they love" ... "He ain't wrong, he's just different"

JC66 1:57 PM  

@Joe Bleaux

It's MAMMAS HERE:

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=willie+%26+waylon&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Image result for willie & waylon
Waylon & Willie
Album by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
Waylon & Willie is a duet album by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, released on RCA Victor in 1978. It stayed at #1 album on the country album charts for ten weeks and would spend a total of 126 weeks on the country charts. Wikipedia
Artists: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Release date: January 1978
Producers: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Nominations: Country Music Association Award for Album of the Year
Genres: Country music, Outlaw country
Songs
1
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
2:34
2
The Year 2003 Minus 25
3:05

Joe Bleaux 2:18 PM  

@LMS, "African hate " the feeble puns I came up with trying to match that one (and Rex's "Qatar"). Mine were to yours what a dash of SWEDEN-low is to a CUBA sugar. IRAN through my Atlas, but no matter how IRAQ my mind, I've gone as far as I CONGO.

Joe Bleaux 2:30 PM  

Your source is wrong. It's "Mamas" on the Willie and Waylon album that I dug out to confirm what I was pretty sure of. The word is sometimes spelled "momma," but not "mamma," which would be pronounced like "mammal" without the "l."

Ranter 2:34 PM  

LOL!

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Peter Falk and went to school together since about the fourth grade, all through High school. He was funny, disarming and charming at the same time, even then. The thing is, he didn't always have a glass eye. He, as was I, was dirt poor and his family couldn't afford the prosthetic so he just wore a patch for most of his youth which embarrassed him no end.. When we got to High School the Art teacher took pity on him and and painted a wood ball for a remarkably good simulacrum. It was better than the patch, but it still left him very self-conscious, shy and leery of girls.

Finally in our junior year in High School I and some friends dragged him to a school dance. After about an hour or so there were only two people not dancing, Peter and a girl named Becky. We goaded Peter to ask her to dance, but he kept demurring, saying she couldn't dance because she had a prosthetic leg. We all knew this was just an excuse, he was just too shy. Finally there was a slow dance and we forced him to go over and ask her to dance saying if she could walk (which she could), she could shuffle around in a circle - our version of slow dancing. Finally he acceded. When he asked her she was obviously elated, and said a little too loudly "Would I!" Peter, in the one act of mistaken cruelty in his entire life, responded "Well, fuck you peg-leg!"

Joe Bleaux 2:54 PM  

Hokay, but I'm holding the actual album, and it has "Mamas" on the cover, and on the record label within. (FWIW, I know from personal experience that "lyrics" sites are sometimes sloppy on details when it comes to anything besides the lyrics themselves.)

Joe Bleaux 3:03 PM  

Sorry to belabor this, but Willie and Waylon PRODUCED the album you cite. They are not the only artists singing on it. "The Year 2000 minus 25," for example, is sung by Kris Kristofferson, who wrote it. In the (sloppy) process of packaging the album, "Mamas" was misspelled.

Ralph Phillips 3:03 PM  

I agree

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

@joe bleaux,

I thought Rex was an asshole. You sir bested him.
The song is in fact Mammas. It was written by Ed Bruce. William Edwin on his birth certificate. Has it occurred to you that the record label misprinted it?
Do some sleuthing and see for yourself. Even better, don't. Wallow in ignorance. Just please shut your pie hole.

kitshef 3:23 PM  

@Ando@12:46. This is exactly the reason I don't use the NYT app. I don't WANT to be told I'm right or wrong until I decide I'm done.

That's why I use the interface at runtpuz.org. You decide when to have the puzzle checked. It's free, plus you can do cool things like hide the across clues or the down clues, and play back your solve afterwards.

Ando 3:24 PM  

To the @anonymous who posted the Peter Falk story: Screw you, you had me going until the punchline, dammit :)

Joe Bleaux 3:32 PM  

If I should've done more "sleuthing" than the album itself (not an online source), then I am remiss, and will shut my pie hole about it -- but not before doing a little more to earn my sobriquet (at least among anonymice): You should have credited Ed's wife, Patsy, as a co-writer, sexist!

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

There's no If here sir. You are dick. And it is Mammas.

Ando 4:24 PM  

@kitshef Thanks! I'll give runtpuz a try.

Mohair Sam 6:09 PM  

Sometimes I eat at MAMMA Mia's Pizza in Allentown, sometimes I drive to MAMA's Italian Restaurant, 7 miles away. No kidding. I'll ask which one is spelling her name correctly and solve this argument.

Naryana Gora 6:11 PM  

Having never constructed a puzzle, I admire all efforts. I just like doing puzzles. Thanks, Rich, I enjoyed your submission and your bravery in coming here.

Favorite reminder? The Henny Youngman joke, always loved it.

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

Do you ever get bored with yourself?

Anonymous 6:50 PM  

There's no argument. It might a misspelling but the song title is Mammas...

BarbieBarbie 7:32 PM  

That orange guy who used to be Speaker- he had a Yucatan.
It's cold-somebody turn up Tahiti.
Does Queen Elizabeth have a special room to keep Philippine?
Hawaii wish Natalie Portman... (Temporal puzzmanteau)
Scuse my phlegm. Oaxaca.

GILL I. 8:08 PM  

@BarbieBarbie...Thank you for the sincere groan....!

Nancy 10:26 PM  

@OISK (1:12) -- I have no idea what this scratchy, unpleasant Hamilton "mixtape" is all about, but please don't judge "Hamilton" the musical by this utter mess of a video. We agree so much on musicals -- from G&S to Kiss Me Kate, and we also agree on hating rap and hip hop in its pop incarnations.. So will you trust me, OISK, when I say that "Hamilton" is not overrated, that it is absolutely brilliant, enormously theatrical, completely riveting. That the rap treatment is perfectly suited to the material. Nor are all the songs rap. That it is, in fact, the best new musical I've seen in decades. That I think Lin Manuel is a genius and that he has studied and absorbed all the best aspects of musical theater in the Golden Age. He's worked with Sondheim and Sondheim admires him. I hope the prices will go down enough that you can go without mortgaging your home. It's really worth seeing!

Ando 10:31 PM  

@Nancy -- the Mixtape was a collection of Hamilton songs (some from the musical, some that didn't make the cut, and some alternate versions) that Lin-Manuel Miranda recorded with various musician friends. It's like a collection of b-sides. There's a lot of great stuff on there for Hamilton fans.

Chris Gerson 6:46 AM  

First time I've commented on this blog. I really liked this puzzle. Congrats, Rich! I'll keep my eye out for future puzzles from you. When I got "take my wife Belize" I sent a screenshot to my wife because I found it that amusing. I PERUse Rex's blog because it's sometimes helpful (I'm a beginner solver). but when the blog is really cranky, I find it can be SPAINful to read.

BrucieK 3:50 AM  

You're wrong, Joe. The puzzle spells MAMMAS correctly. I'm looking at the label right now.

BrucieK 3:57 AM  

And it was written by Ed and Patsy Bruce, who spelled it MAMMAS. Here's the label:
https://www.discogs.com/Ed-Bruce-Mammas-Dont-Let-Your-Babies-Grow-Up-To-Be-Cowboys/master/604268

Space Is Deep 8:17 AM  

ANGE crossing GIGI got me. Never heard of either of them.

Burma Shave 10:14 AM  

BLAME ASTRO-MUTANTS

PARDON my NASAL aches, KENYAGIVEMEAHAND, BYGOLLY, by gosh?
You see, my HEADSHAKES out SAHARAN sand since my BAHRAINWASH.

--- HEDWIG WEIMAR-BEGLEY

this ABRIDGED stream of consciousness a result of MAMMA’S GLASSEYE

Diana,LIW 1:42 PM  

Naticking nabob. ANGE? GIGI? EUCHRE? WHAM? ADELA?

And then I give you the famed MARLa Thomas. Just to put icing on the cake.

Roofing, day 7. IMAY lose my PLAIN old mind.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 2:06 PM  

Is Rex getting a little too jaded maybe?

The theme is clever, and not so easy. TAKEMYWIFE...(Henny Youngman's old joke) was the first to go and drew a smile. Other themers were not as transparent, particularly BAHRAINWASH.

Fillers were tougher, especially the GIGI, ITE, ANGE cluster. Had to stare a while to see that ANGE is French for angel. PARDON!

I liked it.





thefogman 2:36 PM  

I had a tough time with this one. DNF'd because I went with hACKy (as in hacky sack) instead of JACKS. Do kids still play JACKS? I know a hacky sack isn't really a ball but that's all I could think of. Got burned by ANGE when I wrote down ANNE (St Anne?)and finally, went with vOL (volume) instead of the more scientifically precise MOL. As a result of those gaffes I had hAKE instead of JAKE (does anyone really use that term today to describe hunky dory?) ySA instead of SSA, GInI instead of GIGI and WEIvAR instead of WEINAR - all were head scratchers to me. Those bad guesses lead to four squares with wrong letters in them. The clues just weren't in my wheelhouse today.

rondo 2:51 PM  

Gotta remember my Italian guys; EnzO is Ferrari, EZIO is Pinza; only write-over of the day. Got the KENYA themer right off, struggled more with the rest.

@foggy, Jamaica wrong turn at Albequerque?

Why did the magi wear red suspenders? They came from AFAR.

Have seen yeah baby GIGI Hadid in the one issue of SI purchased annually.

New work computer. Just PLAIN confusing. This puz was better than a rebus, nothing to RANTAT.

BS2 3:44 PM  

@rain forest - re: yesterday: impressivosity. Very nice touch

peter 4:24 PM  

Fire a Fossey. Canadian.

rain forest 6:41 PM  

Late. Babysitting the grandson again.

Will Mumbai me a New Jersey? Alaska.

Appreciated the wackiness of the country puns today. Overall pretty easy, but a lot of fun.

Hope you're enjoying your road trip, @Spacey.

Mimosa 7:48 PM  

Good one! @peter

Scott McLean 11:48 AM  

On the original "Waylon & Willie" album, it's Mammas (https://www.discogs.com/Waylon-Willie-Waylon-Willie/release/1623641), as well as the original Ed Bruce version and most other recordings (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammas_Don't_Let_Your_Babies_Grow_Up_to_Be_Cowboys?wprov=sfsi1).
Subsequent Willie Nelson greatest hits packages changed it to Mamas. You could make a case for either, I suppose, but I'd say Mr Proulx got it right enough.

Anonymous 10:18 PM  

Jacks? Anyone who played Jacks as a child is either dead or living in Florida.

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